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Under the upside-down sky
03-09-2012, 05:50 AM
Post: #41
RE: Under the upside-down sky
CHAPTER 9

Keyla woke up from a violent shaking and uncomfortable posture. She was lying face down on some kind of a camp bed, and her wrists and ankles, tied up with thin ropes, which mercilessly cut into her skin, ached badly. It seemed, that she was kidnapped and carried away, she guessed, reluctantly remembering everything, that happened the day before.
So she ran out of the hated house! - she grinned without any joy and tried to roll over on her back to see, where she was held. It was very difficult to do, and, having made this almost acrobatic trick, Keyla noticed, that in front of her bed a girl, dressed in white garments, reminding of Nhali’s priests’ clothing, sat right on the floor.
- Oh, my lady! - she cried fearfully, noticing Keyla’s movements. - You woke up, my lady!
The captive girl couldn’t help but marvel at such addressing, and for a whole minute she was trying to understand, what was happening, and then, in despair, she decided to speak to a stranger.
- Why did you call me “lady”? - she asked, trying to sit up, but not succeeding in it.
- Because you are my lady, - the girl bowed her head, covered with a light scarf, so low, that it was not possible to see her face. Hearing this, Keyla thought, that she’s gone crazy. How could she in just one night turn from a poor peasant orphan into some kind of a lady? Perhaps, she has been confused with someone else...
- Who are you then? - she asked sternly.
- I am Mara, your obedient slave, - the girl responded, still without looking up. - I serve only you, my lady...
- In that case, why am I still tied up? – Keyla asked angrily, and obedient Mara deftly freed her from the ropes.
- Perhaps, you are hungry, my lady? - she asked, but least of all in that moment Keyla thought about food.
- Who stole me? - she asked, rubbing her stiff joints. - Answer me, once you've got to serve me! - she demanded, because Mara kept silent, humbly lowering her eyes.
- I am just your obedient slave, - she repeated with a respectful bow. - But I can call the one, who will respond your questions, my lady.
- Call him immediately! - Keyla said, and the girl quickly disappeared behind the curtain, separating the part of the van, where a prisoner turned out to be.
As soon as Mara left, Keyla began to explore the walls of her prison, hoping of escape, but she couldn’t find a trace of an exit. Meanwhile, she was carried away farther into the unknown, and she did not like it very much. She has already decided to look beyond the curtain, when suddenly it opened before her, and she saw a man in a sacrificer’s – now she had no doubts in it - clothes and with a big necklace on his neck.
- So it's you, who kidnapped me? - Keyla exclaimed indignantly. - But why? You killed all my family!
- These people were not your family, my lady, - quietly, but very confidently said the sacrificer, and Keyla again was pricked by the same addressing. It’s been a long time since she felt that lost.
- Why do you call me like that? - she asked. - Explain to me, what is going on!
- Because you are our lady, - patiently, as if responding to an unreasonable child, the sacrificer told. – We’ve been looking for you everywhere for so many years, and finally Nhali relented to us and pointed the right way.
- Looking for me? - the startled girl cried. - For what?
- You must save this planet from extinction, - the sacrificer calmly replied. - To do this, you were conceived and born, my lady.
Pictures of the burning temple and crawling scorpions suddenly flashed before her mind's eye, and Keyla for the first time thought, that these dreams were sent to her with a purpose - to bring her certain knowledge. These were not dreams, but memories.
- I don’t understand, what you’re saying, - however, she whispered. – Whoever I might be, how could I save this planet? Do I have such a power?
Nevertheless, asking this question, she no longer needed the response. Still, the sacrificer replied.
- It's time you learned the truth about your birth, my lady, - he said solemnly, and the maid froze in an obsequious bow. - I'm sorry to tell about it during our trip, but if you insist ...
Keyla insisted, and he continued.
- You were born of our great goddess Nhali, - he said. - You are her daughter.
Keyla shook her head in horror. The mad sacrificer was talking nonsense! She couldn’t be the one, for whom he took her! No, not her…
The sacrificer stepped forward, and Keyla involuntarily stepped back.
- Our lady should not be afraid of her faithful servant, - he said. - My name is Master Elmes, and I'll serve you until my last breath. You know, I will not hurt you! I just wanted to prove, that I speak the truth...
The girl froze in hesitation, and then the master Elmes’s palm removed a lock of hair from her neck.
- Your birthmark, my lady, - he said, with his one hand pointing to a large stone in his necklace. Keyla looked at it and couldn’t keep screaming. Her birthmark had the same shape as the pattern in the stone!
- Nhali’s sign! - Elmes declared. - Only her true daughter can bear it. Only the High priestess of the great goddess can save Al Maak from its death. So the ancient prophecies say...
- But you are wrong! – frightened Keyla cried. - I can’t be Nhali’s daughter! I do not remember anything like this from my childhood! My parents were simple people...
- Listen to your heart, my lady, - the priest said patiently. - There you will find the answers to all your questions. I'm not lying to you, you know this.
Keyla froze hesitantly again. Deep in her soul she knew exactly, that Elmes did not lie. But it was so hard to accept all, that has fallen upon her...
- But why did you kill my family? - she asked, feeling the evil tears coming to her eyes.
- They ill-treated Nhali’s daughter, - the priest simply responded. - And they could stop us from taking you.
Keyla exhaustedly fell on the couch, covering her head with her hands. Just yesterday she was a simple orphan girl, dreaming of distant lands and adventures, and here in the blink of an eye, by the sheer will of fate, she turned into a goddess’s heiress... Although she had to admit, that she has always felt something inside. This something probably told her, that there would be a different life and destiny for her.
- Where are you taking me? - she asked, looking up.
- To Nhali’s Temple of the Seven Stars - the last temple of the great goddess, - Elmes answered.
- The last? - Keyla could not restrain an exclamation of amazement.
- All the rest were destroyed by people or nature, my lady, - the priest threw up his hands. - We must hurry to catch up before this disaster will take over us, or the ocean comes out of the coast and destroy our Temple. We have a little time left.
- Okay, - Keyla said finally. – Then let’s go...
***

The temple of the Seven Stars was festively decorated for the occasion of the arrival of Nhallika - the great goddess’s daughter. Having heard about this miracle, promising to turn away predicted to the planet quick ruining, thousands of pilgrims from all the sides flocked to the temple. People have regained their faith again. Day and night they burned candles and prayed, hoping for Nhali’s mercy and for ancient prophecies. The priests claimed, that these prophecies could not lie. And in what else could now believe those poor people, who behest of natural disasters lost their homes, those people, who had to watch their relatives and their loved ones dying? They were ready to catch a hold of any opportunity to once again believe in something good.
Keyla looked in amazement at everything. She still could not understand, what master Elmes and other priests, whom she met in the temple, were trying to put into her mind. Despite of extremely respectful attitude toward her, she could not forgive these people the murder of her family.

On the very first day master Lestrus – the prior of the temple, an old man with sly eyes on a completely dispassionate face, wanted Keyla to meet with the inhabitants of the temple. He brought her out, and, staying on a small platform, where a long marble staircase led from below, she was struck by the number of people, who were standing down there and waited for her appearance.
- Behold Nhallika – our High Priestess! – the master proclaimed, bowing to the girl so low, that his perfectly bald head almost touched the sand near her feet. - This is your temple, our lady! - he went on. - These are your priests, your sacrificers, your assassins and your slaves, - he pointed to people, frozen around. There were so many of them, that it was frightening. - And this is your congregation, - he nodded toward the numerous pilgrims, who held in the distance. To avoid messes, they were not allowed to approach the High Priestess.
Keyla was silent, not knowing, what to say. She wanted only to know, what could be done for saving of the planet, to complete it and be free to leave. She didn’t wish to remain in the temple, where she was brought by force. With bitterness and pain in her heart she thought about Areas, sincerely hoping, that nothing bad has happened to him. She wanted so much for him to be by her side! Then she wouldn’t feel so lost...
Noticing her confusion, the master Lestrus made a sign to leave for everyone, but the maid.
- You’ll get used to it, my lady, - with the confidence, that Keyla didn’t feel, he said. - I know, that you don’t remember your past, so tomorrow I'll help you to get, what lies at the very bottom of your memory.
Hearing this, she shivered. Of course, she wanted to remember, but at the same time, it was scary. Was it all really true, and was she the goddess’s daughter? It was not easy to get used to.
- Come, my lady, - Mara called, and Keyla followed her into her rooms.

High Priestess’s apartments were located in the highest tower of the temple. Perhaps, this was intentional, so the girl would not even think about escaping. Looking out of the window, Keyla could see, what was going on behind the high stone walls - there still the candles were burning and people were praying, this time pronouncing her name.
- They have high hopes for you, - Mara said.

She stayed with Keyla, and it looked like new High priestess had to get used to the fact, that she wouldn’t be left by herself any more. Outside, standing still by the door, the two assassins – a boldly shaven guy and an amazingly beautiful girl, guarded her. As the master Elmes told, they were her personal bodyguards, but it seemed to Keyla again, that they were put there to prevent her from running away.

At night not far from the temple there was an earthquake. Keyla woke up because her bed was shaking, but fortunately, the vibrations were small and they only slightly frightened the inhabitants of the temple.


__________________________________

to be continued....

And as usual I'd be happy to know about your impressions after reading yes

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DublinRose (03-09-2012), Eire (03-09-2012)
03-09-2012, 10:52 AM
Post: #42
RE: Under the upside-down sky
I truly hope that Keyla hasn't ended up with bad people..... And that she will see Areas soon again.

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fontedivina (03-10-2012)
03-09-2012, 07:30 PM
Post: #43
RE: Under the upside-down sky
Tongue hummm like Sandra told... hope Areas find her soonBig Grin

"Life is a play that does not allow testing. So, sing, cry, dance, laugh and live intensely, before the curtain closes and the piece ends with no applause." Charles Chaplin
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fontedivina (03-10-2012)
03-10-2012, 12:20 AM (This post was last modified: 03-10-2012 12:21 AM by claudine.)
Post: #44
RE: Under the upside-down sky
.................or maybe Keyla will get the chance to escape?

Thanks for chapter 8 and 9 Katia, love it! Luxhello

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fontedivina (03-10-2012)
03-10-2012, 07:00 AM
Post: #45
RE: Under the upside-down sky
Thank you, girls, for your comments!
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I hope, that you will know soon, whethere these are good or bad people! I'll post the next chapter today in the evening and Keyla will remember her real past in it yes

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03-10-2012, 01:19 PM
Post: #46
RE: Under the upside-down sky
So, here's chapter #10 Ylinlove


CHAPTER 10

In the morning Mara prepared a hot bath for Keyla and brought her a nourishing breakfast, and then did her long hair so intricately to open her neck, and helped to put on a long, ankle-length dress - very simple, without any embroidery or jewelry. Dressed like that, the High Priestess went to the ceremonial hall, where she has already been waited for. On the surface Keyla seemed quite calm, but inside she trembled, and every cell of her body resisted to what was going on, because she was about to remember the things, that for some unknown reasons dropped out of her memory. She still could not bring herself to accept the responsibilities, which her origin has put on her, but she had no choice.
Silent assassins stayed behind the door, and the priests and the sacrificers bowed respectfully, as the High Priestess came under the arches of the great hall. Because of the high ceilings each step on the stone floor sounded a loud echo and painfully spoke in Keyla’s ears. The girl walked slowly, she did not dare to look up at all these people, gathered to see how her memory would be returning to her. She would prefer more intimate conditions, but Nhali’s priests apparently were fans of pompous ceremonies.
Finally Keyla stopped and forced herself to look at the present people. The High Priestess Nhallika should not feel embarrassed around people, who were supposed to serve her, she tried to convince herself. Master Lestrus approached and, without saying a word, but with an encouraging smile, he hung a long necklace with Nhali’s sign on her neck. After all these preparations Keyla felt differently, as if someone invisible has breathed inside of her a spiritual power, that she needed so desperately. And perhaps, this strength has always been within, but the girl just had no idea of its existence, and it was a pleasant discovery. It seemed, that she began to be imbued with Nhali’s spirit. She was getting ready to learn the truth about her past.
In the middle of the hall there stood a broad armchair, upholstered in gold brocade, and in a minute Keyla was sitting in it, and the master Lestrus was putting her into trance. She didn’t notice, how it happened, that the surrounding situation and the people around were completely changed.

Keyla found herself in a large and beautiful temple. Without doubts, this was the Temple of the Seven Stars, although it looked different - seemed more spacious and brighter because of the sunlight, flooding all around. She was still a little girl and ran around, laughing gleefully. Life was good, as it only could be in childhood, and Keyla enjoyed its every moment.
Her mother was the High priestess, and the girl saw, how proudly she held her head, crowned with a cascade of thick golden hair, and how reverently the priests and sacrificers bowed, when she appeared.
Her father was the prior of the temple. Keyla saw herself, sitting on his shoulders and swinging her legs. Her father adored her, there was nothing he could refuse, and he didn’t even punish her for her antics, so Keyla considered him her best friend.
And also she had a brother – a funny blond-haired baby, with whom Keyla liked playing so much. They had so much fun together! They were happy.
And how could she forget, that she was born in the High Priestess’s family?..
Suddenly the picture changed, and Keyla saw herself in a new situation - in a pine grove on the beach. She was older and was sitting on a swing, that the boy from the choir rocked. She was always amazed by his deep eyes the color of the ocean water, as it was there, near the horizon.
They were friends - the boy with radiant eyes and sunny smile, and she - the High Priestess’s daughter, who had to take her mother’s place one day. Once the boy, helping her down from the swing, kissed her on the cheek, and everything inside Keyla echoed with a sweet languor.
- You are Nhali’s heiress, - her mother said, kissing her forehead good night. - Never forget that.
And then she saw her initiation to the priestess. For the first time she was dressed in white, and Keyla was very proud of this. When a sacrificer cut her fingers, she did not feel any pain, but only joy, because now she has become closer to the great goddess. While her crimson blood was dripping on the marble Nhali’s statue and then running down to the sand, all the ancient wisdom of her predecessors came to her. She learned all about the goddess, who gave birth to people of Al Maak, about the religion, that was founded by her followers, about the priests and sacrificers, who served Nhali. Besides, she remembered everything about assassins – specially trained temple guards, who knew hundreds of different ways of killing. At the very lowest rung of the temple hierarchy were slaves - powerless servants, loyal to their masters with body and soul. Each temple was ruled by the prior, just like her own father.
During the ritual Keyla saw the great goddess, and Nhali spoke to her.
- A special destiny was predicted to you, - her father said that night, and she believed him. She was always special. Significant glances, which the boy from the choir threw to her, confirmed it. Keyla loved to hear him sing.
And then her happy and carefree life suddenly was interrupted. One dark night at Al Maak there was another change of power, the priests were outlawed, and the temple was attacked. Keyla was awakened by screams and the smell of burning. Her parents were killed, and their faithful servant brought her away.
She could not remember anything else.

***

When she woke up, Keyla could not immediately understand, where she was, and understanding, could not utter a word. So many things were opened to her, that before she would have needed several days to realize all this, to understand and to accept. But now she knew, who she was born and who she was supposed to be, and she knew, that she had almost no time.
Noticing her face expression changed, master Lestrus chuckled contentedly. And Keyla, not feeling a great desire to remain under the gaze of others, resolutely turned and left the hall. The prior ran after her and caught her up just on the stairs, leading to her apartments.
- I hope I have not violated any rules by leaving a solemn assembly? - she asked coldly, when master Lestrus, imperturbably pushing aside her bodyguards, came very close. However, even if she’d really violate something, under her so changed eyes the priest did not feel right to point it to her.
- You remembered everything, my lady, - he noted. - You're acting like true Nhallika.
Keyla was silent, looking with calm and clear eyes, and, opening the door to her rooms, entered. Master Lestrus followed her.
- Now you see, that we were not mistaken! - he added with satisfaction.
- Why didn’t I remember? - she asked. - I have very different memories of my childhood...
- Your memory has been blocked, because that maid, who saved you, decided, that it would be safer, - the priest replied. - She held a ritual on you, that only close servants of the High Priestess were trained, and put the other memories in your head. That's why you couldn’t even imagine, that you were born of the great goddess.
- But why didn’t you find me before? - Keyla continued to wonder. – You were looking for me, weren’t you?
- You were well hidden, - the master responded. - Your memory has been closed for yourself, you lived in the village under a different name, no one saw your birthmark... Besides, in recent years we didn’t have the power and our hands were tied.
Keyla wanted to ask again, why the priests cut her adoptive family, but she knew, that she would not hear the truth. Instead, she decided to ask another question.
- Did my brother survive? Do you know about him?
Master Lestrus shook his shiny bald head.
- We don’t know anything about him, my lady, - he said. – I guess, he was killed like your parents.
The girl bit her lip. It was painful – again to remember what happened then, but she had to focus on what was important, and to be strong.
- So, what should I do to save our planet? – gathering her strength, she asked. – Am I really able to save it?
The priest stretched his thin lips in a pleased smile.
- You are the only one able to do it! – he exclaimed. - We will hold a special ritual – we will call Nhali. She will help you, my lady. From now on you will be prepared for this ritual.
Keyla wanted to ask about these preparations and what kind of ritual it would be, but she bit her tongue in time. Silence is gold – one ancient wiseman told, and, still feeling with her skin a few dozen eyes, piercing her, she decided to follow his advice. In addition, together with the memories of her childhood came a desire not to say anything to those sly priests, with who it was necessary to "keep your eyes open," as her mother taught. The High priestess held an answer only in front of the great goddess, and in any case she couldn’t show her weaknesses to these self-satisfied priests, servile slaves and emotionless assassins. So, even if Keyla still didn’t feel in herself the true strength, which Nhali’s daughter was supposed to have, she was ready to play this role. To do this she already had enough of necessary knowledge. And she didn’t need a constant presence of the priests.

To begin with, Keyla made a rough plan of actions. First, she was going to complete her duty and do all, that was needed to save the planet.
Then she hoped to free herself and leave the temple. She was not going to stay there.
Finally, Keyla intended to find Areas. She also remembered something about him, and these memories tasted sweeter, than honey, but at the same time, they hurt, like a sharp assassin’s sword. She no longer doubted, what she felt. But the most surprising was the fact, that these feelings were born in her heart so long ago, in times, when she has not yet realized, that it was love.
________________________________

to be continued...

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claudine (03-13-2012), Eire (03-11-2012)
03-13-2012, 05:30 AM
Post: #47
RE: Under the upside-down sky
CHAPTER 11

After returning of her memory it was easier for Keyla to get used to the High Priestess’s life. Now she knew, who she was, what she was capable of and what she had to do. Moreover, there were pros in this life as well. Except for worship, respect and reverence, which were certainly pleasant, Keyla got an access to a rich library. There were so many books! It seemed that all the works of scholars, historians and literature writers of Al Maak were collected in one place. In order not to waste her time, waiting for the ritual, Keyla began to study ancient volumes.
Besides, she spent much time painting. However, now she drew only her mother, father, brother and a boy from the choir, and these paintings made her heart squeeze painfully every time.
Meanwhile, a great platform for the ritual was set in front of the main entrance to the Temple of the Seven Stars, right before the wide marble staircase. Seeing these preparations, Keyla for some reason felt strange sensations akin to vague alarm. Perhaps, this was due to the fact, that every day more terrible news of what was happening outside were arriving to the temple. Natural disasters were going insane very near, and they said, that almost all Al Maak was destroyed. Crowds of refugees went to the Temple of the Seven Stars, hoping for a miracle, that the High priestess was supposed to reveal.
Thinking about it, Keyla shuddered, realizing the responsibility, that was put on her fragile shoulders. However, not a living soul knew about it, because she did not trust anyone, and especially – to master Lestrus. Besides, she saw, that he was not fully candid with her too. He talked about the upcoming ritual, but for some unconvincing reasons he kept on delaying it, and Keyla was beginning to doubt, that he was really going to save the planet.

She knew, that she was unlikely to find any friends in this place, but she still tried to look around. Her slave Mara didn’t fit for this role. Keyla considered her being not too clever, and besides, it looked, like Mara also spied for master Lestrus. Probably, she was assigned to the High Priestess primarily for these purposes.
Suffering from a lack of communication with people, whom she could speak about everything, that was in her heart, Keyla drew her attention to the girl-assassin, one of her personal bodyguards. Apart from the fact, that she had a very bright appearance, she actually seemed to be an incomer from some far-distant country. Somehow, looking at her, Keyla remembered, how she studied for the first time the men from the wandering circus, who looked so unusual for inhabitants of Temekkey. Assassin’s dark hair was braided in two long tight braids, thrown behind her back. And she had a cute dimples and unusual blue eyes, in which Keyla could see a secret.
- Where does the girl-assassin come from? - she asked her maid, who was very curious, and certainly knew a lot about the inhabitants of the temple.
- Aessa? – the girl asked back. - Oh, she's very strange, my lady! She claims, that she’s arrived here from another planet! - Mara allowed herself a small chuckle. – Of course, no one believes her, because it's impossible...
- Why? - Keyla asked, feeling concerned about all, that she heard.
- Well, my lady! – the maid cried. - Because life exists only at Al Maak!
- How do you know, - the High Priestess gruffly replied, and losing interest in Mara’s chatter, she went to talk to Aessa.

The girl-assassin always behaved with great dignity, and Keyla liked it. She hated those flatterers and sycophants, which most of masters and priests of the temple turned out to be. She liked Aessa’s weapon as well - two long and thin swords, strapped to her waist on the back. It was assassin’s favorite weapon - the continuation of his hands. Aessa looked relaxed, but Keyla knew, that the girl was ready at any moment to defend or to attack. In that day she has had an opportunity to see, what her defender was capable of.
One of the pilgrims made his way to the temple and tried to attack master Lestrus. He was armed with a knife and probably had the most violent intentions, but Aessa didn’t leave him any chance. Keyla did not even notice, how quickly her hands worked, pulling out from her back the sharpest swords, forged by the best smiths of the temple. And in a moment the unfortunate murderer was on his knees, crying out in terrible pain, and his severed hand, still clutching the knife, lay on the bloody sand.
Yes, surely, Keyla, would like to learn, how to use such a graceful and probably deadly weapon...
- Why didn’t you kill him? - master Lestrus asked, but Aessa only respectfully bowed her head, returned the swords to their place and walked away, again becoming the invisible shadow of those, to whom she truly and faithfully served.
Keyla then repeated the question, and the girl spoke to her.
- I do not like to kill, - she answered reluctantly. – They’ve turned me into a perfect murderer, but my soul is not happy, when someone dies. Therefore, whenever it’s possible, I leave a life. It’s not for me to decide, whom to live and whom - to die.
This was said in such a tone, that Keyla had no doubts - this honorable duty would be laid on her shoulders.
- How did you get to the Temple of the Seven Stars? - she asked.
- I was abducted, - Aessa simply replied. Keyla knew, that the sacrificers often abducted children and turned them into slaves, but not into assassins.
- They say, you're from far away, - she said gently, and the girl smiled with a corner of her lips.
- Like everyone else, you will not believe me, - she replied. - But I saw another sky - blue, and there was only one sun...
- Where is it – ‘there’? - Keyla asked, feeling goose bumps crawling on her back, as if she was standing on the verge of disclosing Aessa’s secrets.
- On my planet, - the girl looked with such honest and pure eyes, that Keyla was surprised other people’s disbelief. She believed Aessa at once. Blue sky and the only one sun – wasn’t Areas telling her about it?..
- So, it's true, - she didn’t even asked, but confirmed. - But how did you get to Al Maak?
- Arrived on a spaceship, my lady, - Aessa responded, but seeing the High Priestess’s look, full of misunderstanding, she immediately explained. - It is a vehicle, able to move in open space. On my planet people have long used them for flying far…
Keyla felt like all of her skin literally electrified.
- It looks like one man has already told me about your planet, - she said. - I wish I could go there!
- Unfortunately, I can hardly go back, - Aessa smiled sadly. – I’ve had these hopes before, but now, since all around is dying...
There was so much physically perceived bitterness in her voice and eyes, that Keyla realized: she should help.
- I will not let Al Maak die, - she promised firmly. - You know, that I can do it. The ancient prophecies say so, and they don’t lie. And then together we’ll think of how to get you home.
This time the girl’s eyes were full of new hopes.
- You will help me, a slave without rights? - she asked in surprise.
- You're not a slave, - Keyla replied. - And of course I'll help you. Maybe I'll even fly away with you.
At this moment the priest, passing by them, looked with disapproval, and Aessa’s face instantly become impenetrable again, as if she wore a mask.
- You should not get closer to me, my lady, - she said hurriedly, following the master with her dry gaze. - Because we, assassins, are only obliged to silently serve you...
- Who said that? - Keyla said discontentedly. – After all I'm here The High Priestess, and it’s up for me to decide what to do, don’t you think? And I would like sometimes just to talk to you about your home planet... If this is possible.
Aessa suddenly smiled again - like a bright clear sun burst through the gray impenetrable clouds.
- Okay, - she answered. - If you want it, my lady…
Keyla twisted her lips.
- Forget about “lady”, - she asked. - I want us to become friends.
- I have never had a friend, - Aessa said thoughtfully.

___________________________________

to be continued...

The author will appreciate your comments, dear readers Ylinlove

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claudine (03-13-2012)
03-13-2012, 01:05 PM (This post was last modified: 03-13-2012 01:07 PM by claudine.)
Post: #48
RE: Under the upside-down sky
Now I had time o read the last 2 chapters.
My opinion is, that Keyla and Aessa will flee from this planat.
And maybe at the same time Areas is trying to find her. (well, that's the way, I would have written it Smile)
Your story stays exciting, dear Katia.
I'm curious if I'm right with my forecast.

Thanks again for your imaginative story Luxhello

Oh, where ae all the other fans of your writing? thinker

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fontedivina (03-13-2012)
03-13-2012, 01:31 PM
Post: #49
RE: Under the upside-down sky
Thanks, @claudine! It's always so interesting to read people's guesses ok Soo you'll know if you were right, but I can only say now, that thsi is rather long story and in the weantime Keyla is not planning any escape Tongue As for Areas, you'll hear about him very soon!

BTW, here's the end of the chapter 11 Ylinlove It was very long, so I decided to cut it in 2 parts ))

Hope, you'll enjoy it! One very important thing is about to appear Smile

______________________________________

After this conversation, Keyla felt less lonely in the temple. However, she still did not feel, that this temple and everything around belonged to her by her High Priestess’s right. Something was wrong, she was not a hostess here. It seemed, that ubiquitous priests were in charge of everything. Keyla finally realized this, when master Lestrus suddenly started talking about Nhali’s heritage.
- We haven’t talked about this before, but surely, my lady, you remember now of the artifacts, that each High Priestess owned, - he said, and Keyla shuddered. Reading about them in Eskhar’s books, she could hardly believe in their real existence, but now she knew exactly about it, and, of course, she hoped to find a way to them. But something in the priest’s tone or the fierce glare of his dark eyes made the girl think again, that Lestrus should not get these artifacts.
- Yes, I remember of them, - she answered cautiously. - But I do not have these artifacts, if you wanted to know about it.
- We’ve sent several search teams, but no one came back, - the priest informed, and Keyla was not surprised. If mere mortals were hunting for the great goddess’s legacy, what you'd expect from these self-righteous hypocrites? - We could send a new group, - suggested Lestrus, but Keyla immediately made him stop with a gesture.
- We have no time for this, - she said firmly. - When I'll be able to save the planet, I'll go on a quest by myself.
Master contritely shook his head.
- I'm afraid, it won’t be easy for us, because the artifacts endow the High priestess with a tremendous power, - he notified.
Keyla gave him a look, full of contempt.
- Do not judge, what you do not know, sacrificer, - she said toughly, already feeling herself much stronger, then this man, and that’s why allowing to reduce him to a lower rank. - These artifacts are only the attributes and symbols. I am perfectly able to do without them.
Lestrus helplessly smiled and bowed his head, but at the same moment Keyla caught a look of another master, who did not look so obedient. His name was Ulkan, he was quite young, and the girl from the very first meeting felt an inexplicable dislike to him. In his presence she felt awkward, and when he left, he immediately felt better. Keyla did not understand, what was going on, but she knew one thing: Ulkan didn’t respect her as the rest of the inhabitants of the temple. She decided, that she would keep her eye on him. In the end, she was the High priestess, endowed with power and strength!
And now Ulkan openly laughed at her words, but Keyla left him alone yet. She was sure, that she would have time to investigate and punish the guilty ones, if there would be any.

***

The same evening Aessa knocked on the door of the library, where Keyla was studying the books.
- A pilgrim wants to see you, - she informed. - He claims, that he was a Nhali’s priest, and he is dressed like one, so he was admitted to the temple. And he says, that he is your friend...
Surprised Keyla with a gesture allowed to invite a pilgrim in and nearly cried, seeing Eskhar. He was really dressed as a priest, and no longer looked like an ordinary shepherd.
- You can go, Aessa, - she said and as soon as the door closed, she ran to hold her friend.
- How did you find me? – she asked, when they parted their arms.
- I knew, that it was you, - Eskhar answered simply. - I saw your birthmark, and then I found out, that your family was killed... It was easy to see, where all the paths lead today.
- What is going on in Temekkey? – Keyla asked.
- The rainy season has begun, the river overflowed and the village is completely flooded, - he informed with bitterness. - Many people were killed, others escaped and gone...
- Do you know, what happened to the circus men? - she asked a question, that has been bothering her for so long.
Eskhar shook his head.
- I’ve brought something for you, High priestess, - he said.
- Don‘t call me like that, - she requested, but he knelt and touched the edge of her dress, as all Nhali priests did.
- Come with me, - he asked. - And let your bodyguard stay aside. You can’t trust anybody here, and the thing, that I’m going to give you, it is extremely important.

Outside the door, Keyla went to her rooms and put on a wide cloak with a hood, which was supposed to hide her face. She didn’t want pilgrims to recognize her and run to kiss her feet.
After these necessary precautions she took a couple of torches, nodded to Aessa and ordered her second assassin to stay.
Eskhar took her away from the temple, to the pine forest, where as a girl Keyla used to ride on a swing. Pine trees, like candles against the sky, kept a lot of memories - mostly pleasant, but there was neither time nor opportunity to reminisce. She felt, that something very important was about to happen...

Pulling something from the hollow of a tree, a former shepherd knelt down again and handed his open hand to the girl. She threw back her hood and wanted to raise Eskhar, but something made her change her mind.
- This ring belongs to you, Nhallika, - he said solemnly, staring at her with such adoration and love, that Keyla was unwittingly confused. She looked at the ring in amazement – a simple circle of white gold with Nhali’s sign - the same quatrefoil. It was beautiful in its simplicity.
- Is it Emblu ring? - she asked in astonishment, but Eskhar had no time to answer, because he fell, pierced by an arrow. The next one was clearly sent to Keyla, but Aessa was quicker. One of her swords met an arrow in its flight, while she threw another one in the direction, from which an unknown archer shot. There was a loud cry, and the girl-assassin rushed there too.
Keyla, hastily putting the ring away, bent over her fallen friend. The arrow hit him right under his heart, and he clung it with his both hands, as if trying to pull it out. Seeing, how quickly his face turned pale, Keyla realized, that he had no hope.
- Eskhar! - she called, feeling the tears burn her cheeks. – Please, don’t die!
The weakening man tried to smile.
- It’s gonna be alright, - he forced himself to say. - I've fulfilled my mission and I can go now…
- No, please, don’t, Eskhar! – the girl begged. – I need you so much now! I need your wise advices!
- You can do without me now, - he smiled again. - You've grown up so, Nhallika... Take care of the ring.

These were his last words, after which Eskhar’s eyes, a former priest and shepherd, closed forever, and Keyla sobbed silently. In a minute she remembered of the shooter and Aessa and, difficultly rising to her feet, went to look for her friend’s murderer.
She was totally shocked, when in the light of a torch, just in a few meters away, on the ground she saw a bleeding girl. That was a girl from prince Ingvar’s wandering circus. Aessa’s sword stuck out of her chest.
- Tayara! – Keyla exclaimed in amazement. – How did you get here? Where’s Areas?
- I don’t know, - the girl croaked, spitting blood. - I didn’t manage…
In a few seconds her rushing glance froze, and her soul left the body, and Aessa, seeing this, pulled out her sword and carefully wiped it on the grass.
- Do you know her? – she asked, and Keyla nodded thoughtfully and took out the ring, which shone with a strange light, as if it contained a power of several stars.
- Was she chasing it? - Aessa asked, looking fascinated. - What is it?
- It's Emblu, Nhali’s ring, - Keyla responded, wiped her tears and put it on her finger.

_____________________________________

to be continued....

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03-13-2012, 02:10 PM
Post: #50
RE: Under the upside-down sky
I have no clue what will happen next, but I'm looking forward to the next chapter already!

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fontedivina (03-13-2012)
03-14-2012, 01:03 AM (This post was last modified: 03-14-2012 01:05 AM by claudine.)
Post: #51
RE: Under the upside-down sky
I don't know it too, but I can say, that I love the sore more and more.
Thank you Katia Ylinlove

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fontedivina (03-14-2012)
03-14-2012, 01:45 PM
Post: #52
RE: Under the upside-down sky
LuxhelloLuxhelloLuxhello
i can't wait for the next chapter****

"Life is a play that does not allow testing. So, sing, cry, dance, laugh and live intensely, before the curtain closes and the piece ends with no applause." Charles Chaplin
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fontedivina (03-14-2012)
03-14-2012, 02:31 PM
Post: #53
RE: Under the upside-down sky
Thanks, girls! Next chapter will come tomorrow!

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03-15-2012, 05:55 AM
Post: #54
RE: Under the upside-down sky
CHAPTER 12

What was Tayara saying? Why did she kill Eskhar and want to kill Keyla? Why did she say, that she didn’t manage? What did she mean?..

Looking fascinated at the dimly glowing ring, her dead friend gave to her, Keyla could not stop asking herself countless questions. Perhaps, she even knew the answers to these questions, but did not dare to voice them even in her thoughts. It looked like they were able to materialize because of it and turn into a sad reality.
Now Keyla could clearly see, that in the Temple of the Seven Stars she hasn’t only gained her promised freedom, but committed herself to a greater danger, than ever. Perhaps, she should have thought about escaping again, but now she has lost a precious time. Besides, she still longed to save the crumbling planet.

Most likely, it was dangerous to wear Nhali’s ring. If Tayara chased it, there could be other hunters. Although, the circus girl might have only suspected, that Eskhar brought one of the artifacts to Keyla, but she had to be sure. In this case, there was a chance, that nobody else knew, where the ring now was.
And even if they knew!.. Keyla stamped her foot after thinking about it with a dull anger. She did not want to, she shouldn’t be afraid! It didn’t fit to the High Priestess. Besides, Aessa, who has already proved her loyalty, was always near. Keyla was sure, that if it would be necessary, she would protect her even from the masters of the temple, whose orders she was obliged to obey.

Nevertheless, the closeness of death could sober any person, even if that person seemed to be endowed with authority. In addition, the more time passed, the more Keyla was convinced of the fact, that her power was only an illusion. More and more she thought, that she was lured into a trap, that the priests needed her for something, that she ought to play some role in their drama. She was bowed and respected, but somehow she felt like a lamb, led to slaughter.
She missed so much her good friend Eskhar! He was sure, that she could do without his help, that she "grew up", but Keyla, thinking about this loss, felt helpless.
And yet she had some trumps. For example, Nhali’s ring. It was necessary only to learn, how to use it.
"The ring Emblu have been lost", - again she remembered Eskhar’s words. Whether he lied to her, or the ring was found recently? Keyla understood, that she would never know the truth, but something told her, that the shepherd has always had this ring. How did he manage to get it? Eskhar has always been a very mysterious person, but Keyla would never have thought, he could hide such serious secrets.
However, when they met, she was a naive girl, not knowing anything about the world around her. It was he, who showed her beauty and taught her to dream. He really loved her, if he gave his own life for her.

***

Keyla thought long about, whether to wear a ring or was there any need to once again attract the attention, and finally she decided, that Emblu belonged to her by her birthright. She should not have to hide it. What was more, she needed to finally make it clear to people, that she didn’t only want to be called the High Priestess, but to be the one.

Seeing the wonderful ring on her finger, master Lestrus just fell into a stupor for some time. Then his eyes lit up again with this strange sheen, that Keyla didn’t like so much.
- You said, you do not own the artifacts, my lady, - he said, and there in his voice was a poorly hidden poisonous resentment. - Where did you get that ring?
- It doesn’t matter, - she answered coldly, firmly intending to specify to master his true place. - It has found me.
- If so, may be we should send a new team to search for Nhali’s sword, shield and crown? - the priest exclaimed with enthusiasm, but Keyla stopped him with a gesture.
- As I have already said, if I need them, I'll find them, - she said. - To start with, I still want to save Al Maak. When will we hold that ritual, you’ve talked about?
- But, my lady, that would be a lot easier with artifacts! – Lestrus objected.
- You're always looking for reasons to postpone it, - the girl glared at him attentively. - I am beginning to suspect, that you're up to something...
The priest shrugged his shoulders nervously.
- I was just still hoping, that we would find the artifacts, - quickly licking his dry lips, he replied. - With Nhali’s magic it would be easier... But if you insist...
- Yes, I do insist! - Keyla interrupted. - Because all around us the mad disaster is raging, threatening to kill us all! Aren’t you afraid, that tomorrow tsunami will cover the temple and it will be too late to hold any rituals?
- Of course, my lady, - the master answered quickly, changing his countenance. - But we’ll need three more days.
- Okay, - she measured the priest with an appraising glance. - But if in these three days nothing changes, I'll hold this ritual by myself. And believe me, I'll know, what to do! - she concluded, trying to sound confident.
It seemed, that she manage to do it, because Lestrus went, looking extremely concerned.

This time Keyla decided to act cunningly. Putting a hood of a dark cloak upon her head, the High Priestess tried to become an invisible shadow of the prior. Master Lestrus walked around his possessions for some time, giving a variety of instructions to his subordinates, so that the girl even decided, that she wouldn’t see anything interesting. Finally, he, seemed to having finished his business, went towards the stone staircase, leading to the basement. Keyla has never been there and immediately scolded herself for such light-mindedness. It must have been the first thing - she should have examined all the nooks of the temple!
Lestrus was walking down for a long time, and Keyla quietly crept behind him, keeping at a safe distance. There were a lot of doors down there, but the master passed all of them, until he found the one, on which the girl saw the images of scorpions scratched. Feeling the painful shot in her heart, she abruptly stopped. What could be behind this door? No matter how terrified she was, Keyla had to get in.
The priest went inside, as if intentionally leaving the door half-open, so that Keyla carefully peeped into. It was a small hall, in the middle of which there was something, looking like a stone altar. Beside it master Ulkan stood.
- My master, - he bowed his head respectfully, seeing the prior.
- What’s new? - Lestrus asked abruptly, coming closer and resting his hands on the altar. – Is master Tirus back?
- So far there’s no news, my master, - Ulkan answered. - But we expect them any day!
At that moment he looked straight to where the girl was hiding in the shadows, and she literally felt his eyes. He must have actually seen her, because he gestured to Lestrus to keep silent, and promptly went to the door. However, when he came, there was nobody there, Keyla has managed to escape.
In a flash having run up the stairs, gasping with excitement, she thought for a long time about what she saw and heard. But after going down to the basement the next day, Keyla could not find the door with scorpions. Couldn’t she really see it in her dream! Apparently, Lestrus and his vile companion became worried and quickly cleaned up everything, she had to admit with regret. The further surveillance over the prior didn’t give anything as well.
***

In the evening Keyla was busy in the library. Seeing, that she could only count on herself, her faithful Aessa and the books, she hoped to find in one of them a description of the ritual, that Lestrus supposedly was preparing her to.
She was unpleasantly surprised, when the door opened softly, passing master Ulkan in.
The girl reluctantly put aside the book, that she was reading, and felt like everything inside her shrunk and grew cold because of these snake-eyes’ look.
- What do you want, master? - she asked, trying to keep her voice passionless. She couldn’t show her anxiety, or – what was worse - the fear of this man.
- I came to visit you, my lady, - he answered, still fumbling for her with his heavy eyes. - You spend so much time in this place...
- I am studying the books, - she said with hostility. - The High Priestess has to know a lot.
- Of course, my lady, - master Ulkan gave her a nasty grin, from which all Keyla’s insides pulled into a tight knot. She clearly felt the danger coming with this unpleasant priest. She wanted to be a thousand miles away, but at first she had to go at least from the library.
- If you don’t mind, I'll come back to my rooms, - she said and tried to pass the man, who stood on her way, but Ulkan didn’t step aside, as he was supposed to.
- You are very beautiful, my lady, - he continued with the same mocking grin, coming closer, so that Keyla even felt his breath on her cheek, that literally burned it.
- What do you want? – quickly retreating, she asked. - Aessa! - she called loudly, wondering why the girl hasn’t entered the library yet.
- At the moment your loyal assassin is at master Lestrus’s place, - Ulkan informed, without hiding his malice. - They've got a little meeting concerning your safety, my lady. And here we will have our own...
Keyla jerked aside, still intending to escape, but the master grabbed her with his both hands and violently flung her to the floor. She fell down, hurt herself and cried, still hoping, that someone would run to help her, but no one appeared. Apparently, Ulkan, having prepared this attack for a long time, really made sure, that no one would bother him the library.
Thinking about it, Keyla felt, as if she was doused with a tub of boiling water.
- Do not touch me, you bastard! - she cried. - You will regret about it!
- I don’t think so, my lady, - with an ugly smile Ulkan responded, looming over Keyla and literally going through her with his greedy eyes.
- Leave me alone, otherwise you will die tomorrow! – with her look she splashed so much undisguised hatred into him, that master unconsciously stepped back. But he was so inflamed already, that there was no threat able to compel him to abandon his filthy ideas.

When his hand began to tear her clothes, Keyla began fighting back with rage. That's when she remembered the lessons, her stepbrother once taught her. However, Ulkan turned out to be a very strong opponent, and soon, despite of her vigorous resistance, she was closely pressed to the floor and almost completely undressed.
At this moment, when she was desperate, her prayers were finally heard. The door to the library suddenly banged open, someone ran inside swiftly and, easily tearing the rapist from Keyla, tossed him aside. At the same time Ulkan hit the table very bad and fell down unconscious.
Trying to stand up and cover herself at the same time, the girl finally looked at her rescuer. She was almost sure, that would see the one of her bodyguards, but in front of her there stood the one, she least expected to meet.

- Areas? - she cried in astonishment.
- Hello, Keyla! - he said and smiled so, that she immediately forgot about the humiliation, that she has just gone through. - Call your guard, because this scum soon will wake up and he needs to be put into custody.
- Is it really you? - feeling like her eyes filling with the moisture accumulated, she cried again, rushing to her beloved. - You came after me!
- Yes, I have come after you, - he smiled again and took the girl into his arms.
_________________________________

to be continued...

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03-15-2012, 09:28 AM
Post: #55
RE: Under the upside-down sky
Finally, Areas has found her!!!! I hope she will be safe from now on!

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03-15-2012, 10:33 AM
Post: #56
RE: Under the upside-down sky
@Sandra, I wouldn't be so sure yet Big Grin

In the next chapter you'll know, what happened to Areas after Keyla was abducted.

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03-16-2012, 12:43 AM
Post: #57
RE: Under the upside-down sky
I'm thinking the whole time, what it could be.
And I have no idea......
So please tell us soon Big Grin

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fontedivina (03-16-2012)
03-16-2012, 06:53 AM
Post: #58
RE: Under the upside-down sky
@claudine, it's so nice that my story makes you think so much about it Big Grin I'm flattered!

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03-17-2012, 10:18 AM
Post: #59
RE: Under the upside-down sky

CHAPTER 13

Areas subsequently often tried to understand why his always so subtle intuition was silent this time. Apparently, the sudden happiness entirely muddied his mind, and he became blind and deaf, because he did not notice any signs, announcing the coming of disaster.
- Well, Romeo, did you have enough? - Ingvar met him with a sneer.
In order to explain his decision, Areas prepared a whole farewell speech, but when he heard that mocking tone, he realized, that Ingvar wasn’t worth it. Of course, he wanted to say goodbye to the others, especially to Milana... But she certainly was asleep, so he silently began to pack his stuff.
- Where are you going? - Ingvar asked. - Dropping us?
- I should have done it long ago, - Areas told, without looking up. Ingvar and his cheap tricks were disgusting to him.
- And what about our common mission? – the "prince" asked calmly. – Are you giving up? Now, that we are so close to make our dreams come true!
- What are you talking about? We haven’t found anything at all, - Areas replied wearily. - We have to admit, that we’ve just wasted many years of our lives. I'm going home.
- Really? – according to his tone, Ingvar stopped smiling. - Do you have everything ready?
- You can stay and continue your senseless quest until the very end of the world, - the musician said quietly, throwing his guitar behind his back. - And I've had enough.
- Surely you're not going to fly alone, - Ingvar noted in a sarcastic voice, and Areas at last raised his eyes at him. The prince looked satisfied, but why? Of course, Areas did not expect, that he would be sorry because of his leaving, they never really got along, but there was obviously something else...
- What have you done? - he exclaimed, finally beginning to feel what he must have felt long ago. Have felt and go with Keyla. - What have you done, Ingvar? - he walked closely and looked into the eyes of his former friend with fury. The man just grinned in response.
- Let's just say I've improved our situation a little with a help of your girlfriend, - he informed. - You know how valuable the information about the birthmark in the shape of a Nhali’s flower can be...
- Ah, you scoundrel! – not holding back his emotions any more, Areas hit Ingvar, and he fell. - You sold her!
- In exchange for the information about one of the artifacts, dear friend, - wiping his bleeding lip, the prince answered. - Now I know where there the shield is...
- Damn you! – Areas cried. - I knew you were capable of vileness, but didn’t expect you to do something like that to this girl! Be glad, that I have no time for you, otherwise you would be very sorry, that you’ve ever paid your attention to her!
Ingvar only smiled in response again, and Areas, realizing, that he needed to hurry up, threw his guitar and ran back. Along the way he prayed desperately to all existing gods, in whom he never believed.

Once in the street, where Keyla’s house was located, Areas saw from afar the glow of a fire. This meant, that he was late, but, biting his lips and digging his nails into his hands, he still ran there.
Greedy flames have almost completely devoured the wooden house, which was once tall and pretty. Ubiquitous onlookers stood at a distance, admiring the fire and releasing occasional comments.
- What happened here? – Areas asked, rushing to them.
- And who knows, my dear man, - indifferently responded one of temekkeyish peasants, shrugging.
- Where is the family? Are they dead? – the young man asked again, but the peasant turned away with indifference, not noticing the blind desperation in his eyes.
- They say, that Nhali’s priests did it, - confidentially told one of the women, apparently, a neighbor. - Their adopted daughter was abducted, and the rest... put on fire!
- I’ve always told Carissa, that they ain’t have adopted that girl! - another neighbor eagerly joined to the conversation. – There was always something dark in her... So look now, she brought disaster to the whole family!
Areas’s face was contorted with a grimace of disgust, but he was not going to persuade these women. Having coped with the first shock, he stepped aside and, painfully watching, how something, that recently has been a home, was falling apart, attempted to think sensibly. Nhali’s priests were unlikely to attack civilians without reasons, so they surely knew, what they were doing. And the fact, that only the adopted daughter was stolen, and the rest was left to die, clearly pointed out the cause of the tragedy. Apparently, a birthmark, Ingvar has just reminded him of, played not the last role. She was abducted because of this birthmark. With the help of the information, that the prince sold them, the priests found their High Priestess.
Areas had no doubts, that at first the priests wouldn’t do anything wrong to the girl. She was very important for them, but he worried about what might happen next. As Ingvar said, they all have read the books on the history of Al Maak, so in this area he was much more informed, than Keyla.

He could almost physically feel her fear and pain. That must have been a real shock for her – to find all her dear ones brutally murdered. And why couldn’t they just take her away, leaving those poor people alone? Thinking about this senseless cruelty, Areas imbued with even more hatred for the priests. He knew, that their assassins had no mercy, and their masters of the temples for achieving their goals were ready to step over the bodies of their own mothers. What could they do to the simple peasants?

Areas thought about it all, running back to the market place, where the wandering circus was staying. He had to go after Keyla - he knew it. Now he saw clearly, what path lay in front of him, and where his fate led him through all these years.
But firstly he needed to take someone with him.

***

…Areas had vague memories of his parents. They died in a plane crash, when he was fifteen and his little sister was twelve years old. He did not like living in an orphanage, and he was happy, when the opportunity to completely change his life appeared. But it was necessary to first learn a lot and then to leave everything and go away for a long time.
However, Areas had nothing, and after the careful training, he went away with his sister.

The mission, the young man got, presupposed his closeness to Nhali’s priests, and they were housed in a large and wealthy temple. This was the main temple of the whole planet, because there the High Priestess lived. She was revered as the goddess’s daughter and she had indefinite power. It was beautiful there.
Areas sang in the choir at the temple. He has always loved music. Since his childhood he learned to play guitar, and, having settled in the temple, he began to compose himself. Melodies come to him themselves, as if someone was singing softly to his ear, and Areas had only to play them on strings. However, at first he didn’t show his own songs to anyone except his sister. She liked her brother-musician’s creations very much.

Areas for the first time saw the High Priestess’s daughter, when she was just a little girl, riding on a swing. There on the beach, under the tall pines, resting against the green skies, someone built a swing, and the girl frequently came there. It was there, where they had their first, full of mutual embarrassment, conversation. Gradually, it became easier to communicate, they became friends and often saw each other.
This girl was precocious. Areas was constantly amazed by the way, she wanted and liked to learn and at how easy she assimilated to something new.
And when she laughed, her laughter rang with silver bells in his ears and vibrated in his chest. It was her, for whom he wrote his first love songs. But he had not time to sing them to her.

It seemed, that the disaster came right after the initiation of the girl to the High Priestess. It was an ancient and terrifying ritual.
Many pilgrims have come to bow to the great goddess’s heiress, but they were not allowed to the territory of the temple, because the sacrament was going there. The sacrificers dressed the girl in white clothes, and in the eyes of the priests, assassins and slaves they cut her hands. Her blood flowed directly to the stone Nhali statue - it was thought, that so the heiress was connected with her distant ancestor.

Areas suddenly realized, why the memory refused to show him, what happened after new Nhallika raised her eyes. Now, having remembered about everything, he was again amazed and frightened by her look – it couldn’t belong to the twelve-year-old girl, but to a mature woman. And these were a goddess’s eyes - the one, who was used to worshipping. Through these miracles Areas actually believed, that at that moment Nhali’s soul really has filled the girl's body, like a hollow vessel, and he lost his girlfriend, his first and the last love.

The next night they attacked - the opponents of Nhali’s priests, whoever they were. The assassins, who were supposed to defend the temple and the High priestess’s family, have been poisoned. Apparently, the traitors were among the masters of the temple, that’s why afterwards Areas hated them so much.
The raiders, whose faces were cowardly hidden with black bandages, killed everyone, and abducted the girls. So Areas’s sister was kidnapped - his only close human being. He tried to fight her off, but got a hit with a handle of a heavy sword to his head and lost his consciousness for a long time. Apparently, it saved his life.

Waking up in the empty, but at the same time filled with the corpses, temple, Areas heard someone crying. Someone has managed to survive, and it was a fair-haired boy, the brother of the one, who has just yesterday become the High priestess.
Areas left the temple and took a fair-haired boy with him. He did not know, what to do and where to go. He wanted to find his sister, and at first he tried to get the trail of her abductors, but with every day it became more obvious, that it was an empty idea. But the equipment, with which he was sending the messages to his home, survived, and Areas knew well, where to find the others, who were like him. Finally, he decided to go to them, and a fair-haired boy again accompanied him.
So Areas met with Ingvar and Tayara. After telling them a legend, that he has made up, he was accepted into their inner circle. They had their own mission, and soon under the disguise of a wandering circus they went together to travel over Al Maak. Ingvar came up with a loud title of "prince", and Areas decided, that could use his musical talents.
The boy, whom they called Elkhan, knew nothing about the origin of his companions. For him the circus was real, and he gladly began to master the art of juggling. In addition, Ingvar found a dancer, a singer, and two acrobats, and a completely different life began for Areas. But his natural distrust prevented him from telling even to Tayara and Ingvar, with whom he shared an origin and mission, the truth about himself. They never learned, that in fact, the musician had a different mission, that he’s never given up to. Although, Ingvar probably guessed of something...

The more Areas approached the marketplace, the louder his heart lamented. At this time his intuition did not fail.
Hearing the horses plaintive neighing, the clop of their hooves and the cries of women moving away, he realized, that here he was too late as well. When he rushed to their tent, he only found the acrobats’ dead bodies and dying Ingvar. He was obviously being killed with special cruelty, because he was bleeding all over, but still alive.
Noticing Areas, he showed with signs, that he’d lift his head.
- They took the girls..., – heavily pushing the air with the blood from himself, he said. - Tayara managed to escape...
- Did Nhali’s priests do it? - Areas asked.
- They deceived me, - the prince nodded. - I should not have trusted them...
- Where is Elhan? - Areas intensely was looking around, but didn’t see anyone else.
- I don’t know... I'm sorry, my friend, you were always right, - Ingvar squeezed Areas’s hands with his weakening palms. - I envied you, because Tayara loved you... And then there was Keyla - the girl with the eyes of a goddess... I hated you, brother... And I got, what I deserve... Forgive me.
- I forgive you, - Areas replied and comforted Ingvar breathed his last. Areas closed his eyes. He had to leave.
______________________________

to be continued...

You're my well of a living water...
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03-18-2012, 02:08 AM (This post was last modified: 03-18-2012 02:09 AM by claudine.)
Post: #60
RE: Under the upside-down sky
Now it is 2 o' clock in the morning, and I finally had time to read this chapter.
But tears are running down my cheeks. Now you know, how much your story
is touching me, my dear friend.
Please keep on writing, and never stop it.
Thank you so much Ylinlove

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[-] The following 1 user says Thank You to claudine for this post:
fontedivina (03-18-2012)
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