Monthly Archives: February 2013

Memories: Fatigue

You can feel the fatigue caused by your consciousness beginning to set in at last. It was, of course, only a matter of time. The stasis pod has a limited number of measures to keep its occupant alive nearly indefinitely, but those are specifically designed for the unconscious. Your wakeful state is consuming more energy than the pod provides, and you’re slowly dying. Still, now is not the time to panic. Panic distracts thought, and that would only accelerate your death.

You are reminded at this time of when you were alone in the city, before you found Shilo. You had wandered for so long, trying to find just one living person, but the residences which had even still been occupied when the Valkyries came were few and far between, having already been evacuated. Where people had still been alive before the attack, however, you found only bodies or remnants thereof. Wandering out too far, you had gotten lost in the smoky streets. You would certainly have suffocated had you not remained calm and resolved your situation rationally. Now, you must do likewise. You set back into Shilo’s memories.

Zhilo’di Khuda’Cronell, Age 6, Processing Zone, Blue Selection Grounds, Undisclosed Location, Osgord

Shilo steps out of the ship with tears drying on her face. Though it has technically been several days since her parents’ death, the event was only minutes ago from her perspective. She wipes her eyes as she looks around, the other girls looking a bit shaken but none quite so much as her.

Taking a few moments to collect herself, Shilo marvels once more at the sheer number of girls and women with blue hair of various shades and amounts, some with only a few locks of blue, others with only a few strands of hair that aren’t blue. Looking around, she tries to find anyone without hair like her own. She can’t.

Trying to figure out what she’s supposed to do, Shilo searches the crowd for some sense of order. Her attention is grabbed when she sees the flight attendant who had grabbed her earlier directing a group of girls into a multi-line formation, calmly giving orders that Shilo can’t quite hear. She opts to move closer and quietly sneaks into the back of the formation. For a moment, she thinks the woman has noticed her, their eyes catching, but the woman quickly continues her visual scan of the formation, either not noticing or choosing to ignore Shilo’s appearance.

“When you get to your quarters,” the woman says, “you’ll have five millidays to sort through your things before forming up and prepping for uniform issue. You may not be Academics yet, but that’s no excuse not to act like ones. Now, we’ll start off with a light jog. Follow me.” With that, the woman takes off in what couldn’t have been any less than a full sprint.

Shilo’s group takes off after the woman, who somehow turns around in the middle of her sprint, her face still calm and collected as she says, “Stay in formation! If you can’t stay in a simple formation like this during a light jog, how can any of you expect to be admitted to the Academy?” Shilo’s face turns to stone as she realizes that she could still fail admission. She doesn’t find the run particularly difficult to maintain, but many of the other girls are falling out of the formation, not sure where to line up. As the formation falls apart, Shilo looks up at the woman who clearly isn’t actually a flight attendant. The woman looks around at the faces of all the girls before locking eyes with Shilo.

As she makes eye contact, Shilo tries to reach out toward the woman’s mind in an attempt to ask if there’s anything she can do. She gets no mental response, and she’s not entirely sure she even succeeded at contacting the woman until she notices a slight smirk appearing on the woman’s lips, turning around to face forward once more, as if to say, “I can’t see anyone breaking ranks if I’m looking this way.”

Shilo picks up her speed and pulls to the front on one side, saying, “Line up on me!” The girls to her side quickly straighten up, the ones behind them coming slowly into a line again, most of them struggling to maintain pace, but soon the girls move all the strugglers to the middle, encouraging them as best they can to stick in formation. The middle of the formation stays a bit unstable as the strugglers fall out of line and are pushed gently back into it by the faster girls behind them.

Many of the girls are losing their belongings to the path as the things they carry fall out of bags or their hands open up to push strugglers along, but they’re too focused on keeping formation to worry about it. One girl drops what seems to be a stuffed ulfr, and her eyes grow wide. Panicking, she stops and turns back to pick it up. Shilo doesn’t look back far enough to see what happens to her, but soon she hears muffled shouting, and the girl doesn’t return to formation. Silently, she thanks the Great One that her satchel’s pouches are all tightly secured. Soon, however, tears come to her eyes as she recalls who secured them, and she pushes the thought aside, focusing on the run.

After what seems like several rosts, the woman leading Shilo’s group slows down, and the formation follows suit, many of the girls out of breath. They stop, and the woman faces them, pacing in front of the formation. She instructs the girl opposite Shilo in the front of the formation to lead everyone inside in a single file. The girl steps outside the formation and begins to tell her fellows what to do. Before she finishes speaking, however, the woman comes up to her and whispers something into her ear. In response, the girl looks at her incredulously, her eyes confused.

“Right, then,” the woman says as she paces back across the front of the formation, “You there.” She looks at Shilo, who meets her gaze with a hard but silent determination. “You’ll be leading everyone inside now.” Shilo nods in response but says nothing, waiting for the woman to break eye contact first before focusing on the task. After a few moments, the woman turns around and goes back to pacing, that same smirk vaguely visible on her face.

Shilo isn’t sure exactly what the other girl did wrong, but clearly doing the same thing will do no good, so she tries a different approach. She sends out a mental instruction to the other girls in formation, detailing when to enter formation, and starts walking inside, the girl behind her following and the other columns soon falling in behind her own just as instructed.

When Shilo gets inside the building, she finds herself inside a hallway. Unsure where to go, she begins probing the location. Most of the eastern side of the building appears to be a simple dining hall of some sort. At the end of the building, there seems to be a large bathing room and a kitchen beside it. That only leaves the western compartment. She turns into it just as she reaches the entrance.

What she meets as she walks inside the compartment is not what she expected. On the south side of the room, there is an arrangement of stasis pods, lockers placed beside each one, while the north side is mostly empty with an assortment of items against the walls. Shilo opens the nearest locker and places her things inside it, reminding those behind her that they have five millidays to form up.

While everyone else is talking to one another, Shilo pulls out her book and opens it to the page where she had placed her photograph as a bookmark. Tears begin to tread down her face, but the moment is quickly lost when the woman in charge of Shilo’s group comes into the room and walks directly to Shilo. “It’s Zhilo’di, isn’t it?”

Shilo blinks, her eyes meeting the woman’s for a few moments before responding, “Yes, it is. I’m sorry.”

“Sorry for what?” The woman asks. Her lips are pursed and to one side, as if she’s trying to decypher a particularly difficult puzzle.

“I know I was supposed to be in a different group, but you were the only person I recognized.” Shilo’s tears begin to make their way out of her again, but the woman crouches down to meet her at eye level.

“Honestly, do you really think I would have let you join this group if it were that important?” The woman smiles. “You did miss my introduction, though. I’m your Candidate Chapter Commander, Keliar’di. Like everyone else here, I’m a Khuda’Cronell. Since that would get a bit confusing, we just use given names and nicknames here. We’re all sisters in a way, after all, aren’t we?” She smiles gently. “I knew your mother at one point, Zhilo’di. Qzculi’Adri was one of the best instructors at the Academy. I’m sorry about what happened, but I don’t recommend dwelling on it. The selection process here can be complicated at times, and it’s always difficult.”

Keliar’di stands and looks at her bare wrist. Somehow, though, it seems that there is some unseen information that she has gleaned from the glance, and she begins walking to the northern end of the compartment, where most of the other girls have gathered. Shilo quickly puts up her book and makes her way back to her spot in the formation.

“Right, girls,” Keliar’di says after the full time has passed, all the girls having returned to formation early, “you may have noticed that there are no beds here. There are only stasis pods. Now, those of you who were tired before the flight here may have noticed an interesting effect of stasis: It completely restores your mind while you’re under. It turns out that stasis only requires about five centidays for that effect to complete itself, making stasis much more efficient than regular sleep and leaving the days longer and more open to training and lessons.

“Now, you aren’t going to go into stasis every day for the rest of your lives, of course.” At this, a few girls sigh in relief. “While stasis restores your mind, it doesn’t reduce physical fatigue very much. It removes the fatiguing chemicals from your body, but your body has no opportunity to restore its t
issues while you’re in stasis, so eventually, you will need to sleep. The selection process isn’t so long that that will be a concern, but there is one concern that I must address about stasis.

“Your mind can wake up during stasis. It’s not typical, but it happens. Of course, a working mind consumes more energy than a static mind, so if your mind awakes, but if you fail to fully exit or re-enter stasis, you can very easily die. Normally, this is resolved by having someone monitor the condition of those in stasis, which we will have. However, there is always the chance that the person monitoring your condition fails to notice that you’re awake. In that case, you need to know how to save yourself. This is how you’re going to do it…”

You return from the memory to a dizzying sensation, a signal that you’re very near death. You’ve spent too much time in the memory. There’s a very good chance that you may have taken too long listening to Keliar’di and are now going to die regardless of what you know. Still, you refuse to panic.

Focusing on what you learned, you do exactly as Keliar’di told Shilo. You carefully remove all thought from your mind except that tiny amount of focus allowing you to remember. Then, you visualize yourself going to sleep, allowing that dizzying sensation to sweep over you as you think about black silence and stillness. Finally, you let go of even the memory and focus on being absolutely still, commanding your muscles not to move, then your lungs not to breathe, then your heart not to beat, then your mind not to think, and finally even your eyes not to glow. You sink into the blackness.


You gulp for air as the pod releases you from stasis. Your mind reels as your brain comes all the way back online. You are startled a bit at the age of Shilo’s voice when she calls out in your mind, ‘It’s alright, Shilo. You’ve made it out. Everything’s going to be ok.’ You choose to believe her as everything fades to black again while you slip into a genuine sleep.

Memories: The Good and the Gruesome

You refuse to panic. Panic is for those who have exhausted all possible solutions. You are still in the middle of discovering all possible solutions; therefore, you have no right to panic. You reach out with your sensing abilities once more, confirming that you are, in fact, still in the dead of space. The inability to breathe, however, is what is truly driving you mad. You want so badly to breathe, to hear your heart beat, or simply to open your eyes. Attempts to enhance your glow state are still useless.

You have just returned from a memory you know to be the last time Shilo saw your parents. You know the designation number on the side of the shuttle in which they just flew away all too well. Shuttle 86492VI87S2M932O was the shuttle in which your parents suffered an all but fatal crash. The very thought that, even with the aide of Shilo’s memories, you will never see your parents in a new setting again causes you unfathomable distress. The fact that you’ve now reached a point where you’re sorting through memories of a person older than you is troubling in itself, as well.

You begin to work your way into a new memory, but something stops you. You haven’t been prevented by any outside force from entering the memory, but you are immensely troubled by something you cannot quite grasp. Then, it occurs to you. You return to the previous memory.

Zhilo’di Khuda’Cronell, Age 6, Qzcivden West Interplanetary, Qzcivden, Thor

“Alright, Shilo, do you have everything you need?” Shilo’s mother moves her hands through Shilo’s satchel, ensuring that Shilo does not encounter a lack of necessary supplies. Her long and nearly entirely blue hair, a rarity even among her peers, hangs softly on either side of her gentle face in tightly curled, glossy locks, her lips pursed as she sorts through Shilo’s belongings. After a few moments, she stops and starts fumbling through her own belongings. “You’ve forgotten your picture album at home, Shilo. Here,” she hands Shilo a picture of the two of them when Shilo had just been a baby, “this one is my favorite.”

Shilo takes the picture and slides it into her book so she won’t forget her spot as she closes it to hug her mother. “Thanks, mommy.” Her small arms wrap around her mother’s legs tightly before she’s picked up and held in a reciprocated hug, her mother’s eyes leaking a few tears.

“Now, remember, sweety,” Shilo’s mother begins again, “you’re going to be in stasis for the entire trip to Osgord. If you wake up, there’s a technician that checks in on you every three centidays. Just be patient and start counting in your head. Don’t worry, though,” she adds as a slightly panicked look crosses Shilo’s face, “you’re probably not going to wake up. That’s very rare.” Shilo’s face relaxes considerably, but not all distress has been cast off of her face. Shilo’s mother pushes the young girl’s long hair behind her ear, and a tear comes forth. “Oh, this is probably going to be the last time I see you with long hair, isn’t it? My little Shilo is going to be a pilot. I just know it.”

Shilo hugs her mother more tightly and asks, “Do I have to go now? Why can’t I wait for my schooling to start here, with you?” Her eyes say all that isn’t spoken: And why aren’t you coming with me?

At last, her father speaks up, ruffling her hair. “Come on, then, Zhilo’di. You know Blue girls have to wait for their admission on Osgord. That’s where legends say the Matriarch lives. I don’t think anyone’s even met the woman in a few hundred cycles. Some stories say she just lies awake in stasis and somehow sends the signal either accepting or denying admission from inside her pod.” His face drifts off into the morbid thought for a while. How lonely and maddening such an existence must be. “Of course, other legends say she’s one of the Valkyri’din and just spends most of her time invisible. And if you were an immortal among the ranks of the Valkyri’din themselves, would you let yourself be carted off to other planets just to watch over the newest students of the Blue and see if they’re worthy?” His smile returns in full force at the silliness of the remark. “Besides, I’ve heard that if she’s really pleased with a candidate, she’ll even come down from wherever she lives and introduce herself.”

Shilo grins widely, her eyes on fire a bit with excitement. Every Blue girl’s dream is to meet the Matriarch, after all. Even her mother can be heard on occasion musing how wonderful it would be. Obviously, Shilo imagines herself being one of those rare girls who meet the Matriarch. “Do you think I can do it, Daddy?” Shilo steps lightly onto the floor as her mother sets her down.

“Do I think you can do it?!” Shilo’s father exclaims as if the very idea that he would think otherwise were absolute foolishness. “Of course you can do it, Zhilo’Biornn.” He stoops low to hug her. Shilo steps into her father’s arms and receives his warm embrace, her eyes closing as they both take a moment to enjoy some of their last time together before she leaves. Shilo has always been a fan of biornns, and in addition to getting her an entire room full of stuffed varieties of th
e animal, her father long ago took to addressing her by the pet name of which she’s now so fond. “You can do absolutely anything you want. You’re a very talented young lady.”

Shilo opens her eyes as her father releases her at the sound of a low chime and looks to his wife. It’s time for their shuttle to leave. Unfortunately, Shilo’s flight doesn’t board for another few millidays because it’s running late, but the shuttles have been running early all day. They have to leave before she can take off. “You’re going to do great, Shilo,” Shilo’s mother says, giving her daughter a quick kiss on the forehead before making her way to the shuttle. Shilo looks at the shuttle preparing to take her parents home, leaving her here before she flies off to another planet by herself for the first time.

“We love you, Zhilo’Biornn. We’ll be praying for you. I promise we will, every day until we see you again. Drigan’di will be so sick of our prayers that she’ll answer them just to get us to shut up.” At this comment by her father, Shilo laughs, her white teeth showing as she grins widely, wiping away the tears that have worked their way forward, a few of the green hairs she received from her father working their way through the blue and across her face. He smiles back, his left hand running through his green hair as he puts his right around Shilo’s mother, the two of them stepping back into the shuttle. They wave as the door closes, the designator ‘86492VI87S2M932O’ easily visible in white against the fading red hull of the shuttle.

The bell indicating that Shilo’s ship is boarding sounds, and Shilo continues to wave as she turns away, listening to the hum of the shuttle’s drives starting back up. She turns back and sees, across the terminal, the shuttle start to take off as she makes her way into the entryway of the ship that’s to take her to Osgord. An attendant helps her along, pressing her hand lightly against Shilo’s shoulder, just as the unthinkable happens.

As the shuttle begins to take off, one of its drives explodes, sending shockwaves through the terminal and across the entire dock as bodies fly like rag dolls through the air and across the room. Shilo watches, almost as if in slow motion, as the shuttle spins and rolls out of control away from the terminal in reaction to the explosion, one entire side of the shuttle simply gone, replaced by a horrifying scene of bloody carnage. Then, the shuttle slams into another shuttle trying to fly out of its way, folding tightly upon itself as the two shuttles are driven down into the water surrounding the docks. Just as it seems nothing could get worse, another drive can be seen exploding in the water.

“No!” Shilo screams, but her own is muffled by the roar of thousands of others screaming with her. Robot crews can be seen running toward the scene just as others run away, the scene of the terminal turning quickly from a terrifying moment of shock to a fully terrified cacophony of panic, wreckage, and bodies. The attendant beside Shilo puts her hand up to her ear to better hear an order from the ship’s pilot and quickly drops it, moving instead to push Shilo into the ship.

Shilo hears the roar of interplanetary drives fully warmed up as she’s pushed through the entryway and into the main compartment of the ship. She barely has time to take in the strange appearance of the ship, which seems to be filled with much more women and girls with blue hair than she expected, before the attendant presses her into a stasis pod with a slight glow in her eyes, her brown wig falling to one side to reveal tightly wrapped blue and red hair beneath it.

As the stasis begins to set in on her, Shilo takes one last look around, seeing all the other confused faces in freshly sealed stasis pods beside peaceful ones in pods already fully active. Shilo closes her eyes and holds her book tightly against her chest, fully aware of the only possible outcome of two such massive explosions on her parents. They can’t be alive, but she still is. She begins to whisper a prayer to Drigan’di as the stasis finally catches up with her. The prayer won’t be finished until she awakens on Osgord in a quarter of a cycle.

Your mind reels as you return from the memory for the second time. There is so much to learn from that memory that you had never thought about before now. You once asked your daddy why he said that vague, almost subjectless prayer every day. He couldn’t remember. Now, thinking on it all, you’re surprised he remember to say it at all.

You think back to the scene of the ship. There were so many Blue girls there, and yet there are so few Valkyries. You wonder for a moment how selective this Matriarch must be that most of those girls never became Valkyries. Then, you think back to the destination Shilo had you program into the Valkyr navigation systems before entering stasis. You didn’t program Thor as your destination. Right now, as you silently float your rock through space, you are heading to the planet Osgord. You wonder for once what awaits you there.

Hungry for knowledge and still hoping to get out of this wakeful stasis which your mother once assured Shilo was very rare, you make your way into Shilo’s next memory. It’s time you start your training, after all…

Prophecy of the Dragon

Prophecy of the Dragon

Stars shall fall.

Worlds shall burn.

Councils dissolve,

A Monarchy’s spurn.


Two races remain,

At peace and at war,

Two fates divide them,

Their sorrows outpoured.


Soldiers shall live,

Light People be lost,

And evil shall find them,

Unspeakable cost.


Seeds shall scatter,

Their legacies great,

And outward shall carry

In vaults numbered eight.

A home once lost

Will be again found.

A world once great

Will bear a glass ground.

The Angels shall hide.

The Ghosts shall haunt.

The Crown shall destroy

With no détente.

The Red Dragon’s birth

To Blue warrior’s womb

Shall take that Crown,

The Void its tomb.

A king born to flames,

The Dragon shall fly.

For the Blue Water Planet,

His tears will she dry.

Innocent children

Shall fall to the blast.

A traitor amidst

To darkness be cast.

But in this a light

Can yet be found

For to the Red Dragon,

A sight beyond sound.

To Red Dragon King,

The righteous dictator,

Shall be born Gold Phoenix,

Her white light the greater.

The Red Dragon’s bride

Shall find the great Eight,

And all the old worlds

Shall cast out their hate.

Gold Phoenix, she rises,

Sword of ages in hand.

The Light People follow,

Their worlds again grand.

Red Dragon, his bride,

And Gold Phoenix breathe,

Their breath light the stars

As worlds lost unsheathe.

Red Dragon shall sleep

Beside his Blue bride,

And Gold Phoenix risen

His eternal pride.

And Ancients shall find them,

Their company great,

And in Risen Phoenix

Form eternal State.

Memories: The Story of Feliar’Gadi

The ringing pain of absolute stillness rocks your mind as you make your way out of another of Shilo’s memories. You take a few brief moments, or perhaps they were several hours, to contemplate your predicament once more. Somehow, your mind has released itself from stasis to the point where you’re even able to use your higher sensory abilities to a limited extent. A few attempts to enter into an enhanced glow state, however, have convinced you that your body is still entirely static.

A few wanderings in and out of Shilo’s earliest memories have left you a bit shaken. You had  never known your mother to be so young and full of life. Her pregnancy with you, after all, had almost failed due to the aging sickness that tears at Valkyries who have lost their healing abilities. You may not know much about the accident that had almost killed both of your parents, but you do know that it left your mother’s mind and abilities severely diminished, and your mother had never recovered fully before stepping through the Great One’s Doors. Now, seeing her so full of life and wit, your remorse over her passing is redoubled.

You wait a few moments before remembering that you cannot currently shed any tears. In fact, you’re surprised that you can even access memories since your brain shouldn’t technically be working right now. You have a working theory on what may be happening, but you don’t want to get your hopes up until you can at least figure out how this might have happened. Then, you might be able to figure a way out of the situation. You make your way into yet another memory, and you can’t help but think that Shilo must have repressed some of her childhood memories as this one seems to skip ahead quite a bit.

Zhilo’di Khuda’Cronell, Age 6, Basilica of the Great Sword of Drigan’di, Qzcivden, Thor

Shilo is standing in a large crowd between her mother and a man with a disciplined, military look about him. The basilica’s large, mirrored ceiling looms over the massive crowd of people, all of whom are wearing robes, most of them white but some near the front green. In the back of the basilica and the forefront of the crowd, standing before the altar of the Great One, is a piscopoliteer in a red robe reading from a text.

“…At that time, the great Spirit of Faith descended upon Feliar’Gadi, and he slayed the men who had come to his household to take him.” The piscopoliteer’s voice echoes through the basilica and out into the forum as he reads aloud the sacred texts. “When he had done so,” he continues, “Feliar’Gadi took the hair on the head of each man and wove it into a great rope, which he used to tie the men’s bodies together. He then carried the men to the temple of the local Dragons. When they looked inside his heart and saw that the Spirit of Faith was with him, the Dragons were filled with fear that they would be discovered, for the Spirit of Faith holds power over the Dragons when She calls them by name.

“And so, Feliar’Gadi lay before the altar of the Dragons the bodies of the men he had slain and said, ‘See, Dragons, how I have slain these, your minions.’ For the men had been filled with the corruption of heart that Dragons bear from Hikar’Diferus. But the Dragons, fearful that the Spirit of Faith would look upon them with scorn and fill their eyes with the sight of their misdeeds, did not reveal themselves and remained hidden.

“But Feliar’Gadi remembered the day that his family had been slain and remembered the faces of the Dragons, and he untied the bodies, reclaiming the rope he had made from their hair and saying, ‘Teach me the names of these Dragons, my Lady, that I may call them out by name and bring to them slaughter.’ At once, the Spirit of Faith spoke the names of the Dragons into Feliar’Gadi’s mind, and he repeated them, saying, ‘Come out, Dragons, in the name of your Lady and Mother, Drigan’di, and in the name of the Great One.’

“When he had said this, the Dragons were forced out of their hiding place and into his sight. But when he saw the fearful faces of the Dragons and their bodies, so sickly and fearful, he was filled with pity for these beasts. For they had been forced into their state by the corruption of Hikar’Diferus. ‘Oh, Great One,’ Feliar’Gadi prayed, at once falling to his knees with his hands outreached, ‘free these poor creatures from the burden of their dark father’s endless corruption.’

“When they heard this, the Dragons were filled with their father’s anger and charged at Feliar’Gadi. But Feliar’Gadi could not strike them for pity. And the Spirit of Faith poured forth from him and looked upon the Dragons, who rose to strike Feliar’Gadi. The first and greatest of the Dragons there saw her and took on an appearance of great pain and fell to the ground, turning to dust. The second Dragon, too, saw the Spirit and was filled with pain and turned to dust.

“But as the Spirit of Faith looked upon the third and least of the Dragons, the Dragon cried out for mercy and fell to the ground on his own, saying, ‘Forgive me, Mother, for the will that drives me is not my own, and I am too weak to fight it.’ But he would not look upon the Spirit of Faith for fear of her scorn. At this, the Spirit of Faith returned to Feliar’Gadi, whose eyes filled with Her light. Feliar’Gadi rose to his feet and placed his hands upon the Dragon, whose body was at once restored.  The Dragon looked upon Feliar’Gadi and saw the Light of Drigan’di in his eyes. Immediately, the Dragon rose with joy and began to praise the Great One, for he had been restored to the ranks of the Valkyri’din.”

The piscopoliteer looks up from the text and says, “Such are the words of the Great One, spoken to us through his servant, Yisha’idi.”

The response rises up from all the crowd standing in the basilica, “Blessings and thanks be given to the Great One.” Upon saying this, they sit upon their heels on the floor and attend to the piscopoliteer’s interpretations.

“Daddy,” Shilo whispers to the man sitting beside her, “Who’s Drigan’di?” A few eyes surrounding them dart quickly to Shilo and her father before returning to the speaking piscopoliteer.

Shilo’s father shifts slightly on his heels before leaning closer to his daughter and saying, “Drigan’di is the Spirit of Faith. She’s also the leader of the Great One’s army and the Mother of the Valkyri’din. She’s the one who gives us the strength to resist the influence of the Dragons and follow the Great One’s Will.” He looks away from Shilo and to her mother.

Shilo’s mother nods with a gentle smile before taking Shilo’s hand and locking glowing eyes with glowing eyes. “It’s Drigan’di that gives us the light inside us, Shilo. She is outside of time and space, and she is all throughout it at once. She brings us closer to the Great One and protects us from His enemies. She’s the example of perfect choice and trust in the Great One, and she is our Eternal Mother.” As Shilo’s mother finishes speaking, Shilo eagerly begins to raise another question but is interrupted by the piscopoliteer’s invitation to pray. The crowd stands, and as they sign the Sword of Drigan’di, Shilo smiles, her eyes glowing a bit brighter.

The memory fades, and you are again alone in the prison cell your own body has become. This time, however, you are filled with a slight sense of peace that had not been present before the memory. Your parents’ description of Drigan’di may not have been the most complete, but you know now at least that you have encountered Her. You wonder for a moment why no one names their children after Her, but the thought doesn’t linger for great length.

Your patience renewed, you make your way once more into the vaults of Shilo’s memories.