An Astral Sojourn
- Page Seven -
Maenthrai stood alone with her thoughts, her back turned to the door her dear friend had just left through. He kept her eyes transfixed on the city beyond the balcony doors. The pain that welled up inside of her was becoming too much for her to handle. The candle on her writing desk had blown out in a gust of telekinetic power she must have let loose in the last few moments.
Having Jephrin leave her side was the same kind of separation she endured when she had left Kaisos and her children in Morrthault City a few years ago. She felt her shoulders slump, giving into a long and belabored sigh.
She truly was alone now and although she trusted the remaining Azhemyra and her student-oracles with her very life, none of them knew the internal guilt and sorrow she held within her. She dared not confide in any of them, although she knew well that several of her more adept students could pierce her thoughts during her weaker moments. She didn't confide in them not because they wouldn't listen, but because they shouldn't have to endure the burden that was hers to carry, alone. The last remaining heartstring she had in this ruined and forgotten place was her brother, Serranos.
He was never the same after they had both heard the news of their family's slaughter at the hands of their mother. The news had come to them almost two decades ago.
Serranos was always a very introverted and emotionally sensitive person, even as a child. After the news, however, he turned cold and distant. Maenthrai felt like she constantly had to walk on egg shells around him — wearing a mask of false joviality — being frozen forever as the teenage sister who tried to keep him safe. She couldn't be serious around him. There always had to be some sort of playful sibling rivalry between them. She kept it up so he could stay sane; so that he could keep one last thing from his childhood, to remind him that not all of this world had become doom and gloom.
She would have to see him sometime in the evening. She could fee the energies building and bustling throughout the city. She knew it would be a matter of time before she heard a knock at her door. There would be some of Thaellon's students, ready to tell her the news that she could feel through the aethyric energies around her. That the artifacts she had commissioned and researched would finally be finished.
She began to feel a little bit giddy at the realization that within just a few hours she would have to prepare herself through arduous rituals of cleansing before she took the same ritualistic journey through time and space that her mother had done at the Ullthosian Temple so long ago. She would endure her own visions, just as her mother had, but these would not be granted by some alien intelligence from before the days of humanity's arrival into the world; the visions would instead be focused on what her mother endured during that time in her own visions. She would finally find out why her mother had turned into such a monster then, and what motivated her to slaughter not just her own family, but all of those people — innocent or not — who lived on the island that Maenthrai once called home.
With a push on the rusted balcony doors, creaking loudly as she did so, Maenthrai allowed herself to step out onto the crumbling balcony beyond her room. The ancient precipice gave a groan beneath her feet, but she felt that it could still hold her weight. Most of the balcony was still intact, with its finely chiseled railings being able to be used as a support. The far right corner of the balcony had given way some time ago — perhaps years, or more likely centuries — in the past. Stress fractures were spilling out from that spot like spider's webs, yet the ancient hands who had constructed this place, using their intricate magics and artisan skill, ensured it could last a few centuries longer.
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