Here is chapter three of Demiria – A Clouded World! Don’t forget to share with the world if you are enjoying the novel so far! There are many great adventures that await Damien in the coming weeks…
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The Great City of Fidelia
The validation of his mother’s death weighed heavy on Damien’s mind as he settled into the carriage.
“Do you have the rest of the letter from my mom for me?” Damien asked.
The Monarch shook his head, “I’m sorry, Damien, all that your mother gave me was the letter I gave to Alexia.”
A silence filled the air, as the carriage bounced along the rocky road. Damien glanced at Alexia. She stared silently out the window. She had been so full of words before, but beside the Monarch she sat silent. Damien moved his gaze to the window as well. Dust blew up from the dirt road as the city of Pailioga disappeared in the distance. “Sir?”
Damien turned to the Monarch. “Why did you bring me here? My mother’s dead, and this Electus what if he finds out that I’m her son. Won’t he come after me?”
The Monarch tapped his index finger on his lap. It seemed that he knew the words he needed to say, but was unsure of how to form them. “We believe he knows something. Something that your mother must have realized. We can only assume that it has to do with your gift, your ability to travel between our worlds. Whatever is down there, whatever he wants, one thing is clear. He will not stop until he finds a way to get there and if he does it will spell the end for both Earth and Demiria.”
“If I’m the only person who can travel to Earth and that is what he wants, wouldn’t it be safer if I never came?”
“Electus is a master of the Dream World. From what we know he can control his every move when inside it. This must be what your mother had feared, she knew it was only a matter of time before he found you and lured you here. So she made sure when the time was right Alexia found you first.” The Monarch paused as the carriage came to a halt. “Everything your mother said would happen has come true – she knew this day would come.”
Damien tried to speak, but was cut short before he could utter a word.
“We are short on time, please, the Dean can answer any questions you still have. I know you have taken in a lot, but I must ask for your absolute secrecy in all I have told you. There are whispers in the streets of Electus’ rising, but we have kept hidden how imminent the danger really is. It is better if the people don’t know. Pay no more thought to it.”
The door to the carriage opened and Damien followed as the Monarch disembarked from the carriage. A massive stonewall stood before them. It ran for miles on each side and in the middle sat a small door that looked minuscule compared to the ten stories of rock that encompassed it. “Welcome to the great fortified city of Fidelia!” the Monarch gleamed.
Standing near the door were two ferocious looking beasts. They watched Damien closely as he approached. The fur on their bull like heads rustled in the wind. Their muscular arms held axes, which paled in comparison to the massive horns atop their heads. Chains ran from the wall and clasped tightly to their hoofed feet. Despite their terrifying demeanour Damien felt sadness for these creatures as he looked into their eyes.
“Are those what I think they are?”
The Monarch patted one of the beasts on its snout. “These are the minotaur guards, they protect the entrance to Fidelia.”
“Why are they chained? Are they dangerous?”
“No. Not anymore. During the Great War they were defenders of the evil Azareal, but upon his defeat they swore their allegiance to Abdiel and whoever sits on the throne of the senate. So as long as you stay true to what’s right, they will cause you no harm. Now Alexia and I must get back to the senate. It has been a pleasure to meet you, Damien. As much as I wish to see you to your place of rest, I think it best if I wait out here. The sight of me unnerves people these days. Alexia will show you through the tunnel and on the other side you will meet Dean Inzageal.”
The Monarch held out his hand and shook Damien’s goodbye before taking his leave.
Damien followed Alexia towards the small wooden door. A tiny waterfall poured from the stone beside. Alexia walked towards it and placed her hand underneath.
“What are you doing that for?” Damien asked.
“The mystical waters can reach deep into a cherub’s aura. The water can sense ones true nature, and will turn to red if a cherub wishes harm to the senate. All who require entry into Fidelia must pass their hand underneath to prove where their aura lies.”
“And if it turns red?”
“If the water turns red, the minotaurs you see beside you will no longer stand idly by. Instead they will make known their true power.”
Damien placed his hand underneath the water. He knew that he had no ill intentions, but his heart still raced, as his hand hit the water. Despite his worry and self-doubt the water stayed clear. Relieved that he didn’t have to experience the true might of a minotaur Damien followed Alexia into a dimly lit stone tunnel.
The damp air inside the tunnel bore a cool, musky atmosphere and Damien could feel goosebumps prickle up his arm as he entered. The cobbled floor responded to his every step with a faint click that echoed across the walls as if it had suddenly come to life. Each torch beckoned Damien forward inviting him to join them as he neared the city.
Damien ran his hand along the wall – the cool of the rocks spread through his body from his fingertips, causing a shiver to run up his spine. Touching the rock seemed so real – so vivid. His fingers took in every bump and groove in the rocks, no matter how small.
“Are you ready?” Alexia’s words echoed softly, whispering their way through the still air and snapping Damien back to reality.
Damien had been so focused on the surrounding tunnel he hadn’t even noticed they had reached its end. He looked up at Alexia and nodded. A calm radiated around him as Alexia’s lips formed a smile on her face.
“I will leave you here. Dean Inzageal will be waiting on the other side.”
“You’re not coming in either?” Damien asked.
“I’m afraid that even though I am not as known as the Monarch, some still know my face. These are scary times for the Demirian people, Damien. They worry the senate is hiding things from them, and even me being seen here will turn heads. Don’t worry though, you are in good hands.”
“But Alexia, aren’t you hiding the seriousness of all this from them?”
“None can enter these walls without passing their hands beneath the mystical waters, and none can leave without escort or permission from a member of the senate or the army. The people of Fidelia are safe here. The truth would only bring unjust worry.”
Even though he wasn’t a hundred percent convinced that the Monarch and Alexia knew what was best he offered no objection. “I won’t repeat what has been told to me. I promise.”
Alexia smiled. “You are wise to do so, Damien, and remember your secret must be kept hidden. Only Dean Inzageal should know that you came from Earth.”
With a final wave goodbye Alexia pushed open the door and motioned for Damien to pass through. The sun’s brilliant rays replaced the dim cool musk of the tunnel. They beat down upon Damien and his body absorbed the heat of the autumn day once more.
Before him was an endless tree-lined path. Cobbled stones were exchanged for marble slabs separating the thick shrubbery on either side. If it weren’t for a gentle breeze causing the leaves to shimmer in the afternoon light, Damien would have thought somebody had painted a portrait and stuck it outside the tunnel door. Every color here was multiplied, every sound clearer, every breath easier.
“Welcome to Fidelia!” a voice boomed, causing Damien to look up from his trance. Again Damien had been so preoccupied by the world around him he hadn’t even noticed the man approach.
“My name is Dean Inzageal, I am the head of Fidelia Percium, and you must be Damien.”
“Well, come along now, we don’t have all day,” the Dean said. He turned on the spot and strode off at an impressive rate for a man of his stature.
“Okay.” Damien replied. He turned around to say goodbye to Alexia, but she was already gone.
“Come on Damien! It is getting late, not much more than an hour to sundown. We must get you settled in before curfew, we don’t want you causing trouble on your first night here,” the Dean called.
The endless lane of trees passed by Damien in what felt like only a few seconds even though he had probably walked for over twenty minutes. Before he knew it, he was standing at the edge of the forested path staring at a giant marble staircase that ascended towards a stone tower. Massive golden pillars shot upwards, each bearing the immense weight of the archway above them.
Damien looked up and noticed carvings engraved into the archway. From what he could tell it seemed to be some type of battle scene. In it he could make out dragons, minotaurs, and some other creatures he remembered from books and television.
“Dean?” Damien called out.
Dean Inzageal stopped and turned to Damien with a smile. “Yes?”
“What’s this place, and what’s depicted on the archway?” Damien asked.
The Dean stared back at Damien. He moved in close, his once chipper booming voice dropped to a whisper. “You must be careful with your questions. If you go around asking silly things such as these it will only be a matter of time before your secret is found out, and if he knows, he won’t stop until he finds you!”
Damien’s heart dropped to his stomach and for the first time since he had come to this magical place he felt… fear. He knew he shouldn’t ask. Yet he had to know more. “Do you mean Ele -”
“This is not the time nor place, it will all be answered for you in due time. This building is the entrance fort. It was used as a second line of defense during the Great War in case any enemies got through the walls. And the archway you refer to is called a frieze. Its etchings depict the final hours of the war. Now we really must get you to the residence building before curfew!”
The Dean smiled and quickly returned to his previous chipper state sweeping up the last few steps. At the top the Dean paused and held his hands high above his head. He tilted his head back and closed his eyes. Damien stared in disbelief at the giant marble doors as they gave a loud rumble and began to open inwards.
“Impressive!” Damien said.
“It is just magic. Here it is not impressive. Remember that.”
“Sorry,” Damien mumbled. He lowered his gaze and shuffled up the final few steps and through the door.
On the other side was a massive hall. The far side bore a statue nestled between groups of benches. Plants and flowers filled the left and back walls while another set of golden pillars rose towards the intricate stained glass roof above him.
“This is amazing,” Damien gasped.
“This, my son, is your first step from young Afrielian cherub towards becoming an Abdielian!”
“What’s a” – Damien started.
“In time all will become clear, I promise you. You look rather tired. Do you think you will make it to the residence buildings? I am certain you have had quite the day.”
“I’m okay,” Damien replied.
Then, as if the Dean’s words had placed a spell upon him, it hit. Exhaustion. His mind had finally caught up with his body and was begging him to stop. It urged his legs to crumble, his eyes to close, and his heart to slow – it yearned for sleep.
There was something really strange about this place. It was like Damien could feel everything they wanted him to feel. When the fear had struck he felt it not in a guilty way, like when he accidentally broke his dad’s favorite mug and tried to superglue it together. The fear was different, foreign even, as if the fear wasn’t even his own.
When he was with Alexia he felt safer than he ever had before. Yet when the Dean warned him to be cautious of his words it felt as though all the evil in the world was about to enclose upon him. Now at the Dean’s will Damien was overcome with exhaustion. Maybe he was overreacting. After all it wasn’t possible for somebody to control you with the tone of their voice. Then again yesterday he was sleeping in his bed and none of this was possible, it was all a bunch of folklore and dreams.
Damien had so many questions, and needed so many answers. He tried to call out to the Dean, tried to ask, but the exhaustion took over and the bright and colorful world around him was replaced by darkness.
Come back next Sunday for Chapter 4 – Was it Just a Dream
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