Heart: Ache Prologue

Prologue

Three women cloaked in the colors of the House of Lowe, ruby red and maize, strolled the confines of what they called their home. An eerily serene glow illuminated the darkness as they traversed the ethereal domicile. Trillions upon trillions of glowing crystal spheres lined countless shelves that were hung in midair reaching for the heavens.
“Sisters,” one of the women cried. Her words sounding coarse and brittle as they passed over wizened lips. “Our most feared prophecy needs to be set in order.”
Another of the women rolled her haunting violet eyes. “We know Dia. We’ve only had all eternity to try and decipher it.”
“Oh hush Elina! We’re all nervous about the possible implications of this prophecy. No Sister from any House has ever done what we may have to.” the third chastised.
The one known as Elina huffed in disgust and stuck out her tongue in a childish gesture. The Sisters continued to traverse their home, gliding over the midnight black floor. They traveled along like apparitions until they reached what they sought.
In the midst of the bright, gleaming rows of spherical crystals, a lone crystal sat as black as a panther’s coat. Neither Dia nor Elina made a move to grab it, leaving the remaining Sister the burden of doing so. No fear marred her beautiful mahogany face or her almond shaped yellow eyes.
As she held the orb in her elegant hands, a creeping chill slinked down her spine. This feeling was quite unnatural here, in their home. Feeling the all too real effect of apprehension made her feel violated. It was that feeling which brought about the large knot in her belly.
Inside the dark crystal there appeared to be a storm brewing. The darkness was swirling about like angry thunderheads. Flashes of bright light struggled in vain to burst through the cloudy atmosphere.
The brave Sister’s supple lips parted slightly as she whispered a quick incantation in the elegant ancient tongue of the Sisters of Lowe. Once the last word was uttered the stormy orb began to levitate before her, then over their heads. Dancing high above them the sphere grew in size until it resembled a massive globe.
“Shall we review the prophecy one last time before we come to our final conclusion?” asked the brave Sister with a cool calmness that belied her trepidation.
The elderly Dia merely nodded while the younger Elina sucked her teeth and gave a dismissive whatever with her hands. They each removed the hoods, which had shadowed their glory to better see the damned prophecy.
Thin wispy white hair marked the one called Dia. That hair tumbled over useless eyes that were sewn shut with ugly black wire. Her teeth were a horrid combination of green and yellow, and many were askew. A massive hump on her spine forced her to double over on a withered cane made from petrified trees.
Her counterpart, Elina, on the other hand was blessed with nearly flawless alabaster skin. The young Sister wore her raven hair in long thin braids, which were laced in diamonds. Every time she moved and her hair caught the light it seemed as if she had stolen the twilight skies to adorn her head, stars beaming bright.
Lastly there was Cora. In any world people would have knelt before her or began carving out statues of her likeness, assuming that she must be a goddess. Those golden eyes exuded power, strength, and confidence, made ever stronger by her ebony skin. Atop her head was short pixie like hair, fiery red, with a lonesome bang drifting lazily over her right eye.
The Sisters fixated on the wafting orb. Inside the orb the storm clouds parted, clearing the way for the scene they’d witness millions of times over. Every last moment of the event was already etched into their minds, yet it made the process no less disturbing. For Dia, whose eyes were stitched closed, the experience was far worse as she could feel the pain and the emotions of every being within the prophecy. However many times they watched it the answer still eluded them.
When the prophecy was finished the orb reverted back to its original state. Dark clouds once again muddled the crystal as it replaced itself back on the shelf. Seeing the lone dark crystal amongst the lit one gave it a strange presence. It was a blight that could not be voided.
“Well Sisters,” said Cora. “This prophecy has haunted us for eons. Whatever decision we come to will be our final concerning it.”
Dia snorted with her decrepit voice. “It’s unthinkable! Deplorable! The Order would have a conniption if we were to actually go through with this. Actually interfering with the lives of those we are destined to watch? We cannot defy the Laws. The Laws were in existence long before the Houses of Many were created. Who are we to tamper with the very fabric of other peoples lives?”
“Wake up Dia,” snapped Elina as sucked her teeth yet again. “Heart is in a state of decay. If nothing is done there will be no people to watch.”
“Have you even considered what if the prophecy is because we interfered, you imbecile?”
Elina rolled her eyes, a touch of redness flushing her pale face, as no comeback found its way to her tongue. Although Dia wasn’t able to see her Sister’s dejected face she felt her disappointment. Feeling such a thing brought smug grin to her wrinkled face.
“Both options are very true,” Cora said as she paced about in a small circle. “We are supposed to be watchers over Heart. On the other hand we have been given an inordinate amount of power, enough to sculpt it and save it from itself.”
“Cora dear, it is forbidden by the Laws,” Dia pleaded.
“We are also called on to stop the devastation of the world. Looking at Heart now I’d say we haven’t been doing our job.”
Now it was Elina’s turn to grin in victory. “Told you so.”
“Can it Elina!” scolded Dia.
“Hush, both of you! Each moment spent bickering over nothing the world grows closer to death.”
The two sniping Sisters quieted themselves as they watched as they watched Cora pace around them. The dark skinned goddess massaged her temples in a smooth circular motion. Her Sisters marveled at how she was still a sight to behold even with the obvious crushing burden of the world thrust upon her slender shoulders.
“Alright. It’ll be a simple vote to decide. What do you say Dia?”
“I cannot willingly condone the action, but I will go along if it is decided.”
“Fine, you’re a no. And what of you Elina?”
“Standing stagnant should never be an option. Heart needs us to be more than whispers and myths. We have to act now.”
Cora exhaled a grudging breath. The ache in her skull managed to nestle in behind her immaculate eyes. “So that leaves the decision up to me.”
She paced around soundlessly, her eyes searching the fathomless darkness above for an answer. Finally after what felt like an eternity she return to face her Sisters.
“I have made a decision,” she said. “But let us return to the Cornerstone.” She led them away from the Prophetic Halls to the Cornerstone, which can only be described as the only entrance into their domain from the outside world. “As I see it we are left with no other option but to intervene. I feel ashamed for how long we sat back and remained dormant. We are at fault for the condition of Heart. I pray we are not too late already.”
An irritated huff escaped Dia’s mouth. While this happened Elina danced a merry jig in her head. Cora was silent but inside her mind she was very vocal. She reprimanded herself for coming to this decision and cursed the fate that she may have condemned her Sisters, as well as herself to.
When they arrived at the Cornerstone the messy display they had left was still there to greet them. On the cold dark floor lay a girl, pale as moonlight with hair as dark as a murderer’s soul. The girl was resting in a pool of her own cyan blood. She struggled to breathe, resembling a fish yanked from its watery sanctuary. Her dress was ragged and soiled with the bluish blood, no longer did it resemble the royal garb it had been.
Kneeling by her side with her ghost white hand in his was a young boy, nearly her age, fashioned in battle worn armor. He was handsome despite the fear and pain scrawled over his dirty face. Internal agony pronounced itself in his lone blue eye as the Sisters approached. A large deep scar shut the other eye. His mouse brown hair was dishelmed and caked with dirt and blood. Trembling he awaited their verdict.
“We will help her,” Cora said, managing to muster up a warm smile. “Be forewarned that the price will be great on all our parts. It is no simple task to align ourselves outside the will of the Laws. Then again it was no easy task for you to seek us out. Many have tried but only you and another have been successful.”
The young man wearing the crest of Charta, a red lion breathing fire, on his damaged armor was not rocked by the revelation that another had made it into the hallowed grounds of the Sisters. There was a much more important matter at hand. He nodded his forlorn head with the greatest of humility to the Sisters. After he did so he let his head hang down to hide the falling tears streaming down his face.
When he spoke his voice was choked with those tears. “Thank you. I know it was foolish to seek you, but I was desperate. She may not appear to be much but-”
“We already know of her good sir,” Cora interrupted. “We know her beginning, her middle, but not yet her end. Rest assured it would not be on our floor bleeding out like a wounded animal.”
Cora’s lips parted soundlessly as she spoke another sweet chant. Shortly after the girl’s body levitated off the now murky floor. Floating in midair her hair swung back revealing a pair of sharp ears. The Cornerstone was filled with her frantic gurgling breaths.
“Dia, will you please do the honors?”
The elder Sister did not speak, nod or give any other indication that she understood. She simply made her way over to the wounded girl. Dia tapped her cane on the floor in a hypnotic rhythm that echoed throughout the Cornerstone. With each blow the air grew more crisp and chilled, much like the air just before an autumn storm. The knight didn’t understand the beautiful gibberish coming from the old Sister’s mouth, but he knew it could only be the language of the Dacaii, better known as the First Ones.
Elina and Cora stood over the bowed knight who was trying in vain to veil his tears. They knew he had been through much, but this moment was far from over.
“Her body has been poisoned beyond what even our magic is capable of healing,” said Cora grimly. “Nevertheless it is the spirit that is truly of importance. It is the fuel of the physical vessel. That is what we must protect and save at this moment.”
Elina continued. “Once we extract the spirit we will have to place it somewhere safe until it is needed again.”
“When will that be?” asked the knight.
“Perhaps another milleninum,” said Cora. “Until then we will need someone to watch over her spirit and bring it back here when the time comes. I can think of no one more loyal or capable than you. Do you accept the position?”
“It will be my honor. I shall not fail.”
“Glorious. However you are of Tomiaskin blood thus incapable of the longevity required. We can transform you into someone or something else to extend your life indefinitely. However agreeing to such a thing will leave you that way forever. It is not something to take lightly.”
Despite the warning the knight answered without hesitation. “I accept.”
Cora and Elina nodded to each other. Cora started the lengthy incantation while Elina laid a reassuring hand on the knight’s shoulder. The air started whipping, a stinging pressure that did not seem to bother the Sisters in the least.
“Think carefully young sir,” said Elina. “Your charge will have no recollection of this life or this world. Perhaps if you choose to transform into someone she will remember it will help speed the process of her return.”
The knight’s mind shuffled through what he knew of the young girl’s life. No one struck him as particularly memorable. His good eye, tear streaked but otherwise useful, lingered on the hovering girl. Seeing her so wrought with pain made his heart ache, but through it all he gained a clear image of who it should be.
“Moxie,” the knight proclaimed triumphantly. He braced himself to explain his decision, but stopped himself when he saw the look in Elina’s eyes that told him she already knew. She appeared pleased with his decision, her violet eyes dancing.
With the decision made Elina joined her Sisters in the incantation. Gracefully, without missing a single beat she joined the churning ebb and flow of the rapid-fire words. The air was frigid, but the darkness was becoming light. A light so brilliant it was like being in a star.
The knight closed his good eye embracing the solitude of the dark once more. His world was consumed with blackness and the lovely dead words that invaded his ears.
Soon the moment came to an end.
An end that marked a new beginning.

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