3 – Darkness
Jenesis sat on the floor of a carriage traveling to an unknown destination. She could have sat on a seat, but somehow she just didn’t want to look out the window. The sight of her homeland would fill her with anger and rage. Her bag sat on the seat and she sat on the floor. Jenesis figured that she deserved it. Born the daughter of a wealthy sorcerer who was a loyal knight, she was spoiled with the fanciest dresses and lovely room with a balcony. All of her spoiling had made her rude and easily angered. She didn’t really care that her carriage was private, or that she had been apologized to for the rude treatment towards her. The shadow-shape who had caught her handed her over to another shadow-shape. He introduced himself as Tall-Oi,ee. Tall-Oi,ee wore a dark green cloak with white fur around the edges. Jenesis assumed that Tall-Oi,ee was a shadow-shape with power -the same way there are nobles and knights in the Shadow Realm. Tall-Oi,ee was very polite, and escorted to the her carriage. It was pulled by a pair or white horses. She had never ridden in a carriage before, her transportation was always by unicorns. Jenesis had heard of horses, however. They were similar to unicorns -only without the horn. She didn’t mind them. What was happening? A day or two ago her life was normal. Then, it seemed like her life was in chaos. Shadow-shapes were pounding at the door and smashing the windows. Her father was nowhere to be seen, although she thought she had seem him being chased out of the door with about five shadow-shapes swarming him. Jenesis quickly grabbed her mother’s luxurious maroon bag and stuffed it with three dresses, a brush, and a box of chocolates given to her just two days before by a visiting friend. She didn’t have much time to pack, but figured that it wasn’t necessary. Tall Oi,ee seemed to respect her, so Jenesis didn’t think that he would hurt her. Her back ached from her awkward sitting position. Really, there was no choice but to get off of the floor. Jenesis pulled herself up and moved her bag to the side to make room for her. She sat down on the seat but didn’t look out of the window. Unfortunately, she couldn’t rid herself from seeing altogether. Out of the opposite window she saw trees and a lake. The lake wasn’t a large lake, but its water was beautiful. It looked like its water had been drained and replaced with shimmering jewels. She wished that she could take a break from her ride just to dip her foot into the water. In a matter of seconds, her idea was already too late. The carriage passed the lake and continued down a dusty, barely-visible road. The road looked as if either it wasn’t maintained properly or it was ruined by some great physical force. She remembered this road vaguely from a trip she and her family had taken a couple years ago. She and her family were traveling to a party at the house of Elodie’s old lady-in-waiting. She watched the horses in front of the carriage turn around a cluster of trees. The cluster of trees she remembered slightly from her trip. However, when she expected the carriage to cross a wooden bridge, she had found herself incorrect. Instead, the shadow-shape driving gave the reins a flick. The horses gave a loud, fearsome whinny before galloping off the road away from the bridge. The carriage jolted and bounced around. Jenesis grabbed the ledge of the window with one hand and with the other held onto her bag. The horses didn’t seem to mind the rocks and the protruding roots. They galloped on, not phased in the slightest bit. She tried to look out of the window, but found that she had great difficulty seeing. Outside the window she could see nothing but smoke and ash. The temperature rose drastically. Jenesis could feel the carriage being jolted while traveling across the rocky terrain. At first, she didn’t believe what she was seeing. Pools of lava bubbled here and there. Rivers of lava flowed across the ground. Looking back, she couldn’t even see the Shadow Realm behind her. All to he seen was smoke and glowing sparks. It was amazing that the horses could stand it, but she figured they were immune to their harsh conditions. To complete the landscape, large volcanic mountains spouted lava in the distance. While clinging to the carriage for her life, Jenesis tried to shield her eyes from the stinging, smoke-tainted air. It was no use. The smoke acted as if it wanted to sting her, and only found its way past her and into her face. The dark-purple sky didn’t help her feel any better, either. Finally, after being jostled around until she couldn’t take it anymore, the carriage abruptly halted. Tall-Oi,ee harshly flung open the carriage door and grabbed Jenesis by her sleeve. Jenesis started to protest, but never had the chance to force her complaint out of her mouth. “Listen, you little brat!” Tall-Oi,ee’s voice sounded like a walnut shell and a dented flute were stuck in his throat. “You’re out of the Shadow Realm now. I don’t owe anything to you. You’re practically worthless except as a prisoner. So, if I were you, I would definitely obey me now -unless you want to be abandoned in this place!” Jenesis only felt a mixture of fear, shock, and panic. She couldn’t even remember what Tall-Oi,ee had exactly said to her. After grabbing her bag, she closed the door to the carriage. From now on she planned on not speaking a word until she was out of this place. Tall-Oi,ee started walking across the land with Jenesis following. Since the sky was dark and her vision not quite adjusted, she had to follow by fixating on a ruby attached to Tall-Oi,ee’s cloak.. Jenesis’s shoes made her walk difficult, so she decided to quickly stop to remove them. She almost ripped off the straps while taking them off. After stuffing them into her bag she got up and quickly continued following Tall-Oi,ee. The ground made her feet sore, but wearing out her shoes too quickly wouldn’t be a good idea. Besides, her shoes increased her chance of tripping and injuring herself. They came to a lave stream that crossed the path. Jenesis stopped, expecting for Tall-Oi,ee to have some kind of boat nearby. However, no boat was to be seen and Tall-Oi,ee didn’t seem to be concerned about the stream. There was nothing for Jenesis to do except to stand and watch Tall-Oi,ee. Tall-Oi,ee didn’t need any sort of assistance to cross the lava stream. All he needed to do was to simply glide over it -just as if he was gliding through a field or down a path. Easily, Tall-Oi,ee glided off of the bank and into the stream. Jenesis, being human, couldn’t accomplish this feat. She had to cross by boat or bridge. “Wait!” she cried out, pleading for Tall-Oi,ee to stop and assist her in the crossing. “I’m not waiting!” Tall-Oi,ee answered tauntingly. He continued across the stream leaving Jenesis behind. Jenesis didn’t have much time if she didn’t want to be left behind. A few yards to the right was a small amounts of rocks in the stream. A possible idea was to use them as stepping stones to cross the stream. They weren’t flat and large, but at least she had a chance to get across. Jenesis bolted off and ran down to the rocks. She had to hang onto her bag using her teeth. Her hands were going to be of much use for keeping her balance. First, she placed her left foot on the stone closest to her. The stone was hot and shocked her at first but she would get used to them eventually. Besides, she didn’t have a choice. She placed her right foot on a lumpy, arrow-shaped rock close to the one she was standing on. The rocks weren’t meant to be stepping stones and caused a difficulty to the crossing. A large rock was next. Jenesis stepped onto the rock. It was tall enough so that she could cling to it for security. The lava lapped around the edges of the rock, but the chance of it burning her feet was very slim. Still, the lapping lava was enough to cause her fear. She stepped from rock to rock, clinging onto the tall ones as hard as she could. Then, just as her feet were finally used to the rocks, she was as close to shore as possible. Yet she would have to jump from the small rock until she was on to the shore. The leap would be great, but it was the only way to get across. While making sure her bag was tightly clenched, she decided to take the leap. Tall-Oi,ee was almost disappearing ahead of her and Jenesis started to panic. Before she knew it, she was jumping into the air towards the shore. Unfortunately, she had jumped too soon. The miracle was that she didn’t fall into the stream. Her limbs were all safely on shore, but Jenesis turned around to look anyways. Only the very tip of her dress was slightly touching the stream surface. Cautiously she lifted the dress out of the stream. The tip was mostly burnt off, but around the edges it was only scorched and black. Thankfully, it wasn’t that much of a deal. Still, if she ever had to jump across something like that again, she may not be as lucky. Quickly Jenesis got up and brushed off her dress. Then she ran as fast as she could after Tall-Oi,ee. After running for about thirty seconds she had to stop. The ground was hurting her feet. She rapidly pulled out her shoes from her bag and forced them onto her feet. After hastily closing up her bag she was able to run without hurting her feet. Now she didn’t care about falling or damaging her shoes. Finally she caught up with Tall-Oi,ee. He didn’t even notice her gone or that she had finally caught up. Or, if he did, he plainly just didn’t care. Like before, Tall-Oi,ee didn’t speak or make any other noise. Jenesis thought that they would be walking forever. She was proven wrong, however, when Tall-Oi,ee suddenly stopped. Jenesis stopped behind him and stood. Something seemed different about her surroundings than when she first entered the strange, fiery land. Now the air was easier to see and breathe in. It was possible to see further than before. She was capable now of seeing past the volcanoes to what lay beyond. What she saw didn’t seem too significant. All that lay beyond were rows upon rows of sharp, triangle-shaped structures that protruded out of the ground. Jenesis just assumed that they were more volcanoes. This place was filled with lava and steam, after all. “This is our City of Flying Fire,” Tall-Oi,ee finally spoke. “We will travel there to turn you over.” Jenesis wasn’t surprised to discover that yet another horrible event was in her future. “Turn me over? To who?” “I will turn you over to our king” Tall-Oi,ee answered. “And why do you ask questions? You irritate me much. I could abandon you here, keep that in mind.” “I am very sorry” Jenesis said as truthfully as she could. Tall-Oi,ee didn’t say anything in reply. He started walking again and Jenesis was sure to follow close. Her feet were aching and she was hungry. As expected, Tall-Oi,ee didn’t care one bit. At least one factor improved the conditions of her walk. As she neared the city the ground began to gradually become smoother. That was probably the only factor that wasn’t against her. When Jenesis thought that she couldn’t walk another step, when she thought that there was nothing to hope for, she found herself standing at the gates of the City of Flying Fire. The shadow-shapes may be lethal and cruel but at least they had good taste in naming their cities. It was a wonder the shadow-shapes could sleep at night. What looked like enormous shooting stars of lava soared across the sky. The flying fire occurred at intervals of about twelve or so seconds. It was almost necessary for her to count the seconds in order for her to prepare for the fire. Another amazement concerned the tall triangles. Jenesis has thought of them as volcanoes or rocks previously but now it was apparent that they were actually buildings. The doors were composed of wood with a hold pounded through the middle. The hole could have been used as a doorknob or for checking to see if the home was occupied. The windows installed in the building were also triangular shaped and made of wavy glass. Overall, the buildings were not frightening or menacing. They were just odd. As Tall-Oi,ee led Jenesis through the main street of the city shadow-shapes of all sorts stopped and stared at her. The unusual scenery cleared Jenesis’s mind of her previous thoughts. She didn’t exactly wish to live in the City of Flying Fire, but it was possible that this experience would at least give her some excitement in her life. After Tall-Oi,ee and Jenesis reached the end of the street they found themselves standing in front of an enormous castle. It was immensely difficult to admit that this castle of rock slabs and stones surpassed the magnificence of the Shadow Realm’s own. The only difference was that the Shadow Realm’s castle was composed of stone laid into walls and turrets. This castle looked as if it was constructed by a pile of rocks falling randomly from the sky. “Come on, you lazy piece of stone!” Tall-Oi,ee shouted. “It’s time for you to face the king!” Jenesis felt Tall-Oi,ee grab her wrist and nearly pulled her to the castle like a bag of animal feed. It wasn’t until they began climbing the stone steps that she was able to regain her footing and stand. The climb up the steps reminded her of the staircase at the castle. She even found herself picking up her dress just like she would have during a ball. That ball could have been her last. Her chances for escape were very slim. At the top of the stairs there was a door. The rock above the door was inscribed with many symbols and letters. After entering the castle Jenesis was astonished with the interior. It was a huge contrast from the castle’s exterior appearance. The floor was composed of smooth and glassy marble. A red and gold rug was positioned in the center of the room. Unfortunately there was little time to examine the rest of the room. “The king is this way” Tall-Oi,ee told her. He led her across the room to another. After that they made two turns to the right and ended up in a large room. Jenesis thought that the houses were architecturally strange, but this room made the houses seem normal. The ceiling was covered in stalactites that had small crystals hanging from their points. There must have been about a few hundred candles either on the floor or attached to the wall. A purple carpet led from the door to a large throne across the room. Seated on the throne was a shadow-shape with huge eyes the size of apples. He had a huge cloak wrapped around him with a gold fastener. The edges of the cloak were made of white fur. Jenesis wasn’t exactly amazed with the king. She was petrified. The king stared down at her like a cat over a cornered mouse. For the first time in her life Jenesis realized that there were many things more powerful than her. Her survival depended on pleasing the king. “This is the girl?” the king asked Tall-Oi,ee. “Yes, your majesty” Tall-Oi,ee answered respectfully. “Brought from the Shadow Realm just now.” “Excellent work, Tall-Oi,ee,” the king praised. The king spoke in a deep voice that sounded like thunder if thunder could speak. The voice seemed to pierce through Jenesis and place chills through her. “Miss, are you aware why you are here?” the king asked Jenesis. “No,” Jenesis answered back. The king cleared his voice and stood up. “You are the daughter of a sorcerer,” he spoke. “Sir Delen, to be more specific.” “Yes, that is true,” Jenesis admitted. “I am King-Oink,ooh,” King Oink,ooh announced. Jenesis could barely keep herself from giggling. King-Oink,ooh sounded like a name for a swine. Still, if Jenesis started to laugh, her life was over right there and then. Fortunately King-Oink,ooh didn’t seem to notice. “Tall-Oi,ee, take miss Jenesis down to the dungeons!” he ordered. Jenesis wanted to fight back at him, to scream and rebel. Yet, somehow, she just couldn’t do that. Instead, she allowed Tall-Oi,ee to lead her out of the room and back through the castle. Shadow-shapes in many exotic cloaks floated around the castle. None looked over at Jenesis or even noticed her. Jenesis started to try to pull herself free of Tall-Oi,ee but it was of no use. Tall-Oi,ee was strong and had no struggle. He led Jenesis down a flight of stairs that curved and were dark. Only a few candles spaced throughout the flight of stairs lit the way. “Let go of me!” Jenesis pleaded. Like her previous attempt to free herself, there was no success. While struggling to free herself she almost slipped and fell down the staircase. After almost falling she didn’t struggle any more. At the end of the flight was a dimly lit underground room. When she entered it she saw that it was the dungeon of the castle. Metal bars and stone were used in the construction of the dungeon cells. Most of the cells were empty except for a few, which contained the skeletons of prisoners past. Tall-Oi,ee and Jenesis walked through the dungeon. They turned down a hallway and stopped beside a cell at the end of the hallway. Tall-Oi,ee took a ring of keys off of a nail in the wall. He searched for a key and used it to open the cell. Once the door was open he shoved Jenesis into the cell. Jenesis tried to turn around and run away but Tall-Oi,ee had already closed and locked the cell. “Wait! Don’t leave me here!” Jenesis begged. Tall-Oi,ee ignored her and left with the keys. Jenesis rattled the door as hard as she could. When that didn’t work she started kicking. Nothing would free her. Finally she gave up and sat down, leaning up against the door. She just now realized that she was still holding her bag. The bag was completely forgotten while in the castle. Jenesis opened it up and took out her box of candy. It was a good idea to pack it. She was very hungry and at this moment she didn’t expect for anyone to come down and feed her anytime soon. When she ate about three pieces she put the candy away. Jenesis really wanted to eat more but she knew that some must be saved for later. Having food brought to her wasn’t certain as far as she knew. While staring at her bag she thought of her mother and father. She wasn’t certain where they were now. It was difficult not to think back to her memories. Her mind was filled with the image of her and her parents having dinners in their dining room together and having fun during the balls at the castle. Now she thought back to the castle. During balls it was filled with light and everyone was happy and dancing. Queen Elodie would be mingling with guests and Gemini would be reading or standing around in a corner. Speaking of the prince, whatever happened to him after their last sight of each other in the city? Did he, too, get captured or was he hiding somewhere? Now that she thought of it, where was everyone else who was probably captured? She couldn’t have been the only one caught. There were plenty others like her. Maybe they were in the dungeons also. “HELLO!” Jenesis shouted. “IS ANYONE DOWN HERE?” The only reply she got was the bark of a dog. Everything else was silent. Another possibility could just be that nobody could hear her. Maybe the dungeons were so big and everyone else was on a separate level or something. She would try shouting one more time. If there was no reply, that meant that she was alone. “HELLO!! IS THERE ANYONE ELSE IN HERE!!” Again, there was no reply. Not even the dog. Jenesis really was alone. Nobody cared about what would happen to her now. She was a prisoner. Her life was at the mercy of Tall-Oi,ee and King Oink,ooh. Nobody was going to rescue her. After a few house the candles started to die out. More followed and soon the rest were dead. Jenesis was surrounded in black, total darkness.