You can read chapter one here Demiria – A Clouded World
A Warm Welcome To A New World
The sun beat down upon Damien’s face as he awoke. He gasped for breath, spitting seawater onto the sand that surrounded him. Even with all the sun’s warmth a slight chill ran through him. He stared up at the cloudless sky and let the sand slip through his fingers. He was thankful to be outside the strange room, but something felt off. The forecast had been for overcast all weekend and the familiar sounds of New York were gone. There were no cars, no people, just the silent lapping of the water against the shore.
It took most of Damien’s remaining strength to push himself into a seated position. Once upright he looked out at a massive body of water. Its waves crashed against the sandy shore where he sat before they were sucked back into the water that stretched out as far as he could see.
“Where am I?” Damien wondered aloud. The last thing he remembered before he lost consciousness was swimming through the opening in the trap door.
It seemed impossible that he could have just washed up onto a nearby island. Especially considering there was no sign of New York in the distance. He looked around for a landmark to pinpoint his location, but there were no buildings, towers, or parks. In fact all that surrounded Damien was a distant forest, which curved around and met up with the ocean on either side.
Damien inched closer to the water’s edge and let his eyes drift towards its shimmering surface.
“It can’t be!” Damien stared into the waters depths. With strained eyes he tried to make out what he couldn’t believe to be real. At the bottom of the ocean there were buildings.
As Damien peered deeper, he made out more faint objects. Grass, parks, and even the Statue of Liberty-
Damien gasped. “Is that New York?”
“Yes, Damien, that down there is your Earth,” a gentle voice spoke from behind him.
Damien jumped to his feet and stared in shock at the young woman who had appeared out of nowhere.
“Who are you? Why is New York underwater?” Damien asked. He tried to regain his composure. “Is this some sort of time travel?… Am I -”
The lady smiled. Her dark hair rustled with the gentle breeze that blew along the shore. “I am Alexia, your Earth is fine, and last I checked you didn’t travel through time!”
“You’re the woman from my dreams. The one who led me here, right?” Damien asked, recognizing the elegant woman who stood before him. “Do I know you?”
“No,” she smiled. “But I know you.”
“How is that possible?” Damien stammered. His heart raced, her hair might not have been blonde, but she matched the beauty his father had described, and something about her seemed familiar, beyond the fact she haunted his dreams.
Alexia’s smile faded from her face. Her long white dress stood still as if Damien’s words had stopped time itself.
“Your mother is gone, Damien, I am your guardian. Your mother left me the honor of bringing you to Demiria when the time was right.”
“Demiria? Is that what this island is called?”
“Yes, Demiria, it is no island though. Demiria is the land we call home! It is the place where your mother grew up before she,” Alexia paused. “Before she left.”
“I don’t understand,” Damien stuttered.
“Before you were born, your mother grew up here in Demiria. One day she embarked on a mission to visit Earth, but while there she had a son,” Alexia paused and unsuccessfully tried to place her hand on Damien’s shoulder. “You’re a Cherub. Damien, just as your mother was before you.”
“Cherub? Are you sure I didn’t time travel? Last I checked New York wasn’t underwater!”
“Cherubs are the intelligent race of Demiria, we are the ‘humans’ here. Your New York is not underwater, it just seems that way through our mystical waters. You see, the barrier between our world and yours lies somewhere within them. Our waters are your skies.”
“No. I must have hit my head or something. This is a dream right?”
“Does it feel like a dream?”
The lady had a point. “No I suppose not.”
Alexia opened her hand and within a few seconds she clasped a letter within her delicate grip. She held the letter for Damien to take.
Damien’s eyes widened. “Did you just?”
“It’s from your mother.”
The questions were still burning in Damien’s mind, but the mention of his mother’s name was enough to calm the flames.
He snatched the letter from Alexia and unravelled the parchment.
If you are reading this the time has finally come for you to hear the truth. I know right now things may be overwhelming for you and I apologize for putting you through this, but if you are here dark times are upon the Cherubian people. Everything is in place for you – Alexia has brought you here and will guide you to where you need to be. I love you so much, Damien, you mean everything to me and I wish I could be there, as you grow up and become the amazing Cherub I know you will be. If only I had more time with you. There is so much I want to share, so much I want to say, but fate made other plans for me and now I fear
Damien flipped the page, but it was empty. “Where is the rest of it?” he demanded.
Alexia shook her head. “I don’t know Damien, this was all I was given. Maybe the Monarch has the rest.”
“Yes, the Monarch. He holds the position of highest power in Demiria. He is also the one who sent your mother on the mission to Earth.”
“Oh,” Damien nodded silently.
“Shall we go see him?”
Damien shrugged his shoulders. “Not like I have a choice. And if he has the letter.”
This time Damien allowed Alexia to place her hand upon his shoulder. She offered a reassuring smile before turning towards the forest.
Part of Damien still didn’t trust that this was real, but the trees that loomed around him, the warmth of the sun, and the sweet summer smell begged him to think otherwise.
Here he was, following his supposed guardian towards a forest in some place that loomed in the clouds. There had to be an explanation, some piece of information he had missed.
“I know it’s hard for you to believe,” Alexia said. “Trust me. When the senate found out that the world we saw through the mystical waters existed and wasn’t just an illusion the waters had created, we felt the same way. Cherubs have been trying to reach the world below for as long as history can remember. Your world is one of the biggest mysteries to the Cherubian people. We searched for years to find the answers, to find out if your world was real, why it sat so close, and yet so unattainable.”
“So my mother wasn’t the first whatever you are called to make it through to Earth?”
“Your mother was the first known Cherub or Demirian Beast to make it through to your world, yes. But she was not the first to try. Many Cherubs lost their lives as they attempted to swim to the alluring world that lay in wait at the depth of the mystical waters.”
“Beasts? You mean like tigers?”
“No, I have heard of these tigers you speak of. I suppose it is the same idea. Demirian Beasts are what we Cherubians call the beings of Demiria that are not of Cherubian aura. I believe there are some you may know of. Let me think. Are you familiar with dragons?”
“Giant, winged, fire breathing, mythical. Yeah I know of them.”
Alexia covered her mouth to try and mask her laughter. “Big, yes. And most fly and breath fire. But did you ever wonder why you’ve heard of so many creatures that aren’t ‘real’?”
“Not really, people dream them up. Seems obvious.”
“Well that much is true. But the reason they are dreamed up is because some Demirian Beasts possess the ability to travel to the dream world. Some with more control over their actions than a Cherub could ever hope to have.”
“Right. And I suppose unicorns pull horse drawn carriages too?”
“Why that would be silly,” Alexia winked.
Alexia continued on her path through the forest. Soon the sun began to lose its power as it vanished beneath the thick cover of trees that lined the forest’s path. Alexia paused and waited for Damien to catch up. “It’s getting dark.”
“And I suppose you can create a lantern like that letter?”
Alexia opened her palms for Damien to see. He stared in disbelief while her hands became engulfed in a fiery red glow.
“Okay, that’s cool. Can I do that?”
“Of course. Every Cherub can create magic, it is something that is built deep within your aura, but it is something that must be learned and taught. It starts with a glow,” The fire vanished from Alexia’s hands and a faint light took its place. “And then it becomes light. And. Fire!” Once more Alexia’s hands erupted in flames.
“Can you show me how?” Damien asked.
Alexia shook her head. “Now is not the time, Damien, we have delayed enough already. You will learn everything you need to know when we reach the great-fortified city of Fidelia. Now quell your questions. Oh and stay close. These forests are dangerous places, especially for somebody as new to Demiria as you.”
Damien barely took his eyes away from his hands as they made their way through the forest. “This is amazing.”
He flung his hand open hoping something would happen, but his dry cracked skin was all that greeted him. “Worth a shot.”
“Pardon,” Alexia said.
“Nothing,” Damien smiled. “Just taking it in.”
On the other edge of the forest hundreds of cottages lay strewn across a massive plain. They seemed older and their moss-covered exteriors rose no more than a story above the rocky ground.
“See I told you, time travel? This looks nothing like New York.”
“Because it’s not. This is the town of Pailioga. It is where we will meet with the Monarch. He should be just around the corner,” Alexia led them onto a small dirt path that ran through the middle of the town before continuing. “How you came here and who you are may be the greatest and most valuable secret in all Demirian history. You cannot trust anybody, the Monarch knows who you are, but even he may not know how you got here, or where you entered our world. Understood?”
“Yeah,” He didn’t think it would be a problem. He had no idea where he was, no idea how he got here, or even how to get back.
“Damien Vesey, do my eyes deceive me. Welcome to Demiria, I am the Monarch. James Harold III, and might I say it is a pleasure to finally meet you!”
Damien barely heard the Monarch. His focus was instead fixed upon the sight behind. “No way. Is that?” Damien turned to Alexia, “but you said.”
Alexia laughed. “Sometimes you need to see things for yourself.”
The Monarch followed Damien’s gaze, and he too began to chuckle. “That’s right! You don’t get to see a lot of these on Earth do you?” The Monarch pointed to the two unicorns that stood behind him poised to pull the carriage they were attached to. “The one on the left is Theoderic and on the right Eleanor. Go ahead. Pet them if you like, they are harmless.”
Damien walked towards the two unicorns. Their beauty and grace was unlike anything he had ever seen. It reminded him of the show horses on television only these horses had a two-foot horn protruding from their foreheads.
“Hey,” Damien whispered. He reached out his hand and stroked the nearest unicorn. It turned its head towards Damien and shook it lightly. The unicorn’s dark and glistening eye now stared at Damien causing him to take in his reflection for the first time since he had come to Demiria. Beneath his eyes the bags that usually loomed seemed lighter, but aside from that he looked the same as he had on Earth.
The unicorn’s fur was the softest thing Damien had ever touched. It was as if Damien’s whole body could feel every soft and delicate hair.
Damien smiled. As both his hands entwined the fur, his mind finally admitted it… one hundred percent, no doubts, or questions. Nothing had ever felt more real. “This really isn’t a dream,” he whispered.
The Monarch grabbed Damien’s arm, as if he had just won some grand prize. “Of course this is no dream, Damien, this is Demiria!”
Damien turned and truly looked at the man for the first time. He was tall. His hair lay neatly cut atop his head, and on his body he wore a white robe accented with golden leaves like that of a Roman Caesar. Damien saw why this Cherub ruled Demiria. He reminded Damien of how his father used to be – confident, proud, and full of life. For a moment the excitement of the world faded as Damien wondered if he would ever see him again. Only as he stared at the Monarch he realized he hadn’t really seen his father in years.
“You knew my mother?” Maybe if he learned more about why he was here, he could figure out how to get home, or better yet how to bring his father here.
“Indeed, I did. She was one of the most amazing cherubs I have ever met. She sacrificed so much for Demiria, and for the Cherubian people who live here.”
“Is… is she alive here? In Demiria?” Damien asked. He knew the Monarch’s response would be the same as Alexia’s, but a small part of him hoped that his wish to see her again had come true.
“After giving birth to you she wrote me a letter saying that something had gone terribly wrong while she was on Earth. Something horrible happened down there and she warned me of a darkness that was about to fall upon Demiria. She spoke of you. Quite highly I might add. And then said when the time was right Alexia would appear to guide you. That was the last I heard from her, but the darkness she spoke of is growing. A dark Cherub named Electus rose from the mountains of Teridoria. He murdered a pair of helpless travelers, and…” the Monarch trailed off.
“And we must get you to the fortified city, it is the safest city in Demiria. Dean Inzageal has been trusted friend since my inception. He will look after you when you are there, and at his school Fidelia Percium you will learn all you need to know about the ways of the Cherubian people.”
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