Long ago I gave you a name, a title. Do you remember, celano?
May-Emily of the Emerald…Chloen’tyl.
The blooming strength of She you once called the Great Phoenix. Have you found Innae’tyl?
My inner strength? Isn’t that another priestess title-name?
No…remember your truth! Your memories of us and Dremael have been utterly corrupted by those seeking to make them their own or discredit you.
Music box … music box … music box.
Do you remember the Dremael of your girlhood?
There was no island city. No cataclysm of waters and storms, just the guardian winds. There was a Quartet, yes, but no Judge of Heaven imprisoned. Dremael, the centre world, where the Timekeeper Amatialle alone knew its passageways. Where I would search under the inky sky, a sky devoid of light, alit by fireflies. And then when the Others came, and the realm fell into a frozen eternity.
It was my world, always mine, but I knew there was another wanderer amongst its portals. For years Chloen’tyl searched for Innae’tyl, calling, until my voice grew feeble, and I shivered in the breath of winter that seeped into my land.
Kagami no Kaguyahime!
Then finally, I took flight from the deep, sobbing and soaked in the cold rain, rain that began to melt the frozen eternity. Stood up to stare into crimson eyes and a river of silver hair.
“Not all who wander are lost,” spoke this projection of Teacher. Then there is a unicorn. Oh hello, white beauty with the azure hair.
“Chrysalis Chaos,” I murmur, and she leads me into the forestry. I sigh. A fruitless search, time and time again. I don’t even know who Innae’tyl is, what Innae’tyl is. More unicorns.
Aura Canvas shall be reunited with you, her true mistress.
My wise Guardian, ever true, ever mysterious … I know the hour will come when you must leave.
Chaera is being restored as the Queen’s Envoy.
These words comfort my heart, but I still think I should return to reality and yet … Dremael. I haven’t been here in too long. Would it be a crime to remain just a little longer?
There is a curious circle of evergreen trees. Someone is standing in its midst. Chrysalis Chaos halts, and nudges me forward. I’m reluctant to leave her, but she insists, and I cautiously approach the figure.
Long white hair. Tanned figure. A strange manner of clothing. Little fae dancing around, one holding a crown, the other has the Timekeeper’s lantern. I shouldn’t draw closer, but curiosity gets the better of me. In all my years in Dremael, I’ve never seen this person, who now turns to face me, I can’t tell if his eyes are red or brown or gold. It’s hard to see in the firelight. Ugh, a man, I’d better run away now. My feet remain rooted. I can’t take a step forward or backwards.
“Welcome home, May-Emily,” he says, a rich, resonating sound. A hand decorated in bracelets and a single ring extends to me, I flinch and my own hand brushes my hair. I look at it with wonder. It’s blue. I’m also in a dress that vaguely makes me think ‘dark lolita.’ Not gothic, not sweet, but somewhere in between. I don’t know. It’s been years since I was interested in alternative fashion like that. People said I wasn’t cute enough, was too brown. They said bohemian was more appropriate for me.
I gasp and try to break free, but in the real world, Andrei is watching me with the same intensity as the white haired man, and a warmth runs up, not down, my spine as he repeats his words. “Welcome home, May-Emily.” I stare. No telltale signs of being borrowed or possessed. “Music box, music box, music box. Remember the Dremael of your childhood, remember the little girl now grown. Take my hand and step into the circle.”
I’m not being borrowed or possessed either, and yet my words are strange and familiar at once to me. “I am the Priestess of the Forest.”
Elysium and reality blur, I keep flickering between the two, my brain screaming at how weird it is to be having a shared simultaneous vision.
“Priestess and Queen,” both of them say at once, together. Or are they one and the same?
Reality and Elysium merge as I accept their – his – hand and I cross that boundary into the circle of evergreen trees.
The Sun is setting when we both remember the world again.