The Seeress and the Stone 6
It was three weeks before Geoff took Angelia and her friends up into the mountains. Geoff and Celendar had talked several times and decided it would be best to look for the caves Celedand Galashad had mentioned in his journals.
It was a bright mid-week morning when they headed off on the path that led to the lake. They decided to search the hills above the lake and the trails that went southeast from the pass. Just before they left Angelia went into her room and retrieved the crystal her grandfather had given her from the wooden hands and put it around her neck. The stone felt warm to the touch and it shone deep blue against her ivory skin. She ignored the blur of images that flooded her mind and then quickly disappeared as soon as she was no longer touching the crystal.
The hike to the lake refreshed Angelia. A breeze blew down from the trail, carrying the scent of water and pine. As they neared the lake, she saw the calm of the water and felt drawn to its smooth surface. She felt a warm touch on her neck and glanced down. Her stone glowed a faint blue color.
They reached the clearing and Angelia headed for the lake. As she stood on the water’s edge she unconsciously reached her hand up to grasp the stone and suddenly a vision opened in her mind. She saw a large cavern in the mountains. In her mind she entered the cavern and found herself in a maze of passageways and rooms. As she moved through the tunnels she felt drawn deeper. After what seemed like hours she found herself inside a large room. In the room stood the most beautiful crystal she had ever seen. It was roughly six feet tall and three feet wide. Its clarity almost perfect, save one minor defect.
As she leaned closer to understand the imperfection she dropped her hand from the crystal around her neck. The vision faded quickly and she found herself back at the lake. She sat down in the warm sand and removed the stone from around her neck. Placing it the palm of her right hand, she reached out and brushed her left hand in the water. The stone turned a deep blue color and then Angelia heard a soft, musical voice.
“Hello Seeress, I have been waiting for you.”
She looked around for the owner of the voice, yet no one was there. “Who are you?” She said hesitantly to the air.
“I am Ellinsha,” came the gentle reply
“Ellinsha? The Seer Stone?” she thought in surprise. Of all the things she could do, speaking with the fabled Seer Stone was not something she thought possible or real.
“Yes, I am Ellinsha, the Seer Stone. And you are Angelia Galashad, chosen Seeress.”
Angelia looked around again surprised, but still no one was there. “Can you hear my thoughts?” she asked out loud.
“I can see into your mind and hear your thoughts, but only when you touch the stone I gave to Celedand Galashad so long ago. Through that stone I can see your dreams and feel your emotions. I have waited for a very long time to meet you,” Ellinsha replied.
Angelia realized the voice was speaking directly to her mind. “Me? Why do you want to meet me?” she thought.
“You are a very special woman, Angelia, and I have a task for you.”
“You must come to me.”
Angelia stared very hard at the stone in her hand. “Where are you? How do I find you?” she thought hesitantly. She wasn’t sure she really wanted to find this stone that could speak to her mind.
“Look into the lake and I will show you how to find me.”
Angelia looked at the still surface of the lake and before her she saw a series of caves open before her. Her mind moved very quickly through the maze. There were hundreds of galleries and halls hidden within the mountains. She looked and saw the path that led through the cave halls. It was lit by a soft blue glow. The opening to the cave was high up on the side of a mountain lined with boulders and pine trees. Beyond the mountain she could barely see the waves of the ocean and on the other side she could see the lights of the city.
“Angel? Are you all right?” French’s voice came floating to her.
She opened her eyes. She lay in the sand right next to the lake, her left hand in the water and her right hand clasped tightly around the blue crystal.
She sat up and looked at her friends. “I’m sorry.”
Sparrow asked, “Angel, was it another vision?”
“Yes. I think I know where the caves are.”
“Where?” Geoff asked excitedly.
“On the other side of the city. I could see the ocean from the entrance and the city lights were barely visible through the trees.”
“Can you lead us there?”
“I think so, but it will take us a few days.”
Geoff smiled, “Wasn’t that what we were planning for?”
They all laughed, though a bit uneasily. They all just stood there staring at her until French and Jord left to set up camp and the others finally left her alone. Angelia remained next to the lake deep in thought. When she was finally by herself she decided to try talking to Ellinsha again. She wanted to be sure she wasn’t just imagining things from the visions.
“Ellinsha, are you there?” she thought. Nothing happened and her heart sank with worry. Maybe it really was her imagination. She grabbed the crystal and asked again,
“Ellinsha, are you there?”
“I am here,” the answer came softly. Angelia still jumped.
“Why do I faint when I see things?” she finally asked after collecting her thoughts. “It’s embarrassing.” She had decided to avoid the weightier questions that filled her head.
“You are young to this calling and have yet to build the strength of mind and body. The temporary darkness you experience allows your mind to fully capture what you need to know. In time you will not lose consciousness.”
“In time?” Angelia thought with dread.
“Angelia, can you show me on the map where you think the caves are?” Geoff interrupted her mental conversation, making her jump again.
She looked up at him pulling her thoughts to the present. “What?”
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you,” Geoff said apologetically. “Can you show me on the map where you think the caves are?”
Geoff’s tone held a measure of disbelief that made her feel slightly defensive. She didn’t just think, she knew. For him to question her vision made everything seem all the more ridiculous. She was a child in his eyes, just barely sixteen. She hadn’t asked for this calling nor was she expecting it to disrupt her life as it had. Why should Geoff believe her. Did her friends believe what she had seen? Her grandfather seemed to, but he had also had visions of his own. She wondered if her friends would believe she had spoken to Ellinsha. She wanted to share the experience, yet Geoff’s reaction to her little fainting spell made her hesitant. After thinking about it, she decided not to say anything.
Geoff helped her to her feet and they joined French at the campfire. Geoff pulled out a worn map and studied it for a moment. “We are here.” He pointed to the small lake on the map.
Angelia closed her eyes to remember what she had seen on the surface of the lake. “Here,” she finally said, her finger touching a spot on the map in the mountains north of the city.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied with just a touch of uncertainty. “There is a ledge just outside the caves. If you climb up onto it you can see the lights of the northern gate and to the east I could see the ocean.”
“Caves?” French asked surprised.
“A whole series of passages and galleries.” If they were going to sound so skeptical, she didn’t want to tell them that Ellinsha lived in those caves.
“Interesting. This could be good for us if—I mean, when the attack comes,” Geoff replied, glancing sideways at her.
“But we would have to be prepared sufficiently to help hundreds of refugees,” French said, brushing over Geoff’s comment. “And have a way to get them up there without being noticed either by the city leaders or the attacking soldiers.
“It will be difficult,” Angelia said quietly. “Grandfather and I have talked to a dozen families and only two believed us. The rest said they weren’t interested in hearing stories again. One man was even angry with us. How are you going to get people to safety?”
“I’m sure your grandfather will have some ideas.” Geoff said nonchalantly. He looked back at the map. “So we have two choices. Either we go back down to the village and then up into the mountains from the north gate of the city, or we can try and find a way through the mountains from here. Either option will take some time.”
“I think we should find a way from here. It could be useful in the future to be able to reach the caves from two different directions,” French replied.
Geoff nodded in agreement. “Angelia did you see anything that could help us?” he asked hopefully.
Angelia shook her head. “In my vision I was coming from inside the caves to the outside.” Did he think this was something she could control?
“All right. Let us know if you see anything.”
Angelia bristled at his assumption that she would see something that would help them, like she was simply a pawn or a tool. Her parents treated her that way and she hated it.
“Well, one thing is certain,” Geoff began lightly, “we are lucky to have you with us. We would have been searching for the cave’s entrance for weeks, maybe even months. It will take us most of the week to get to the western edge of the mountains. If we had been searching for caves . . .” He whistled.
“I’m going to go lay down. My head is starting to ache,” she said a little tartly.
She left French and Geoff staring after her and went into the tent the boys had set up for her and her friends. After a few moments of self-pity she decided to go for a walk. Sparrow, Kya and Jord were looking for firewood in the forest and Geoff and French were still talking by the campfire.
She found the large rock that jutted out into the lake near where the river began. The noise of the water flowing over the rocks was soothing to her ruffled spirits. She lay on her stomach on the rock and trailed her fingers in the water.
Vague blurry images filled her mind. She tried to concentrate, but that just made her headache worse. Finally she gave up and just let the images flow through her mind like the water flowing into the river.
After a while she began thinking about what Geoff had said about finding a way from the lake to the caves and she realized the images were growing clearer. She could see the lake from a bird’s eye view. Directly to the east of the lake there was an opening in the hills. Trees obscured the ground near the opening, but further to the east a grassy valley ran between the mountains. A tall mountain stood at the far eastern end of the valley. She instinctively knew that was where the caves were.
“Angelia, dinner,” Kya called from the camp.
As soon as her fingers left the water the images faded. She got up from her rock and waved to her friend. She kept quiet during dinner, not wanting the attention of her discovery, but knowing she would have to share it eventually. She pondered what she had seen. It felt too easy, like everything was being laid out for them.