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The Seeress and the Stone 44
Christiana stood quietly in the background and watched. She had followed Celendar in the darkness, not wanting him to find her. She ran her hand along the smooth passage wall and walked in the blue-lit darkness. It was by chance she found the narrow passage and stairs that led up to the balcony. As she walked she could see the alteration in the light and her hand felt the break in the smooth surface. If she had been using torches she never would have noticed the change in the soft blue glow that emanated from the walls.
She felt strongly she should follow the new passageway. She took the stairs up for a while until she found herself in a balcony across the cavern from the main balcony where the now shattered crystal wall had stood. She could hear voices and she watched the scene below unfold. She caught the tail end of French’s battle with the evil king and listened as Angelia spoke with Le’Mone. She wanted to run to her daughter, but something held her back.
A passage connected the balconies and she waited until Angelia and French turned to leave before she moved to follow. A movement on the cavern floor caught her eye and she ducked back into the shadows. She watched for a few minutes fearful of being caught and then she slipped into the shadows of the passage to follow.
It took them about an hour to reach the cave where Ellinsha’s sentinels sat. The passage wound smoothly through the walls of rock. When they reached the sentinel cave French stared in amazement at all of the blue crystals embedded in the walls and on the floor. The two giant stones that stood at the entrance to Ellinsha’s cavern glowed a deep azure color, filling him with a sense of peace and hope.
Angelia gently took French’s hand and led him through the guarded archway into the smaller room. The walls seemed to be solid crystal similar to the wall French and Le’Mone had encountered. Standing resolutely in the center of the room, a giant crystal reached almost to the ceiling. Angelia walked to the crystal and placed one hand on the smooth surface and the other on her own blue stone. She removed her crystal from her neck and then found a spot on the large crystal and fitted her own into the place. It was not a perfect fit, but it slid into its place smoothly.
French watched her face as lines of concentration formed, like she was following silent instructions. The blue stone in her hand shimmered and then sank into the smooth surface of the crystal followed by her hand and wrist. Inch by inch her arm sank into the stone. At first she struggled, but then relaxed as her arm, then her shoulders were enveloped in the blue crystal.
French’s concern grew as her body slipped through the stone. He stepped forward to grab her free hand and pull her back out when he heard a sudden shout behind them. He whirled around as Jarr’oshed burst into room, his sword ready to strike.
Before French could pull his weapon up to meet the blow a blinding light filled the room. Jarr’oshed stopped to shield his eyes and French dropped to his knees. When he looked up there was a woman standing in the room between Jarr’oshed and the crystal. It was the same woman who had helped Le’Mone shatter the crystal wall.
Jarr’oshed stared at the woman in amazement and then realization crossed his face. “You!” he cried out, hatred and fear thick in his voice.
The woman stared at Jarr’oshed and then finally spoke, “You will not pass. The stone is beyond your reach. Return to your people and discard this foolish lust.” Her voice penetrated the walls of the room and the floor shook with its power.
“I will not be thwarted by a dream or vision!” he yelled taking another step towards Angelia.
French’s mind came alive in an instant and he stepped into Jarr’oshed’s path wielding the crystal sword. The two blades met with a resounding crash and blue lightening filled the room.
Hatred burned in Jarr’oshed’s eyes and he turned to strike again. French met the blow and again blue lightening danced around them. The two men circled the room each thrust blocked and each blow stopped.
Finally in desperation Jarr’oshed turned to strike at French but at the last moment whipped around and thrust his blade toward Angelia. Instead of piercing her body his black, steel blade struck the smooth surface of the giant blue crystal and exploded under his fingers. He was thrown back into wall of the cave.
French watched in horror as the blade struck where Angelia had been and then realized with even greater despair that Angelia was no longer there. The room filled with blue lightening and the ground began to shake. Large chunks of crystal fell from the ceiling and shattered on the floor, sending shards flying everywhere. French dropped to the floor and covered his head.
The woman stood next to the crystal and spoke softly in the tongue he had heard earlier. After several minutes the shaking stopped and the room became still. Jarr’oshed lay unmoving against the wall, fragments of crystal littering his body.
French stood in panic and cried, “Where is Angelia?”
The woman looked up into his eyes and then at the giant crystal. French followed her gaze. There clearly outlined in the smooth rock was Angelia. French stared at the rock for a moment and then began clawing at the surface.
“No!” He shouted. “Let her out. Help me,” he pleaded with the woman.
She reached out and grasped his hands. “Stop.”
Her voice held authority that was not easily dismissed. French became silent.
“Give me your sword.”
He retrieved the weapon he had thrown on the ground and handed it to her. She grasped the hilt and gently pulled the blue crystal from the pommel. The sword turned grey and heavy. She dropped it on the floor and placed the small crystal against the smooth surface of the large one.
“What is happening?” French asked.
“Ellinsha has enveloped Angelia, to protect her,” the woman replied.
“How do we get her out?” He began to pound on the solid crystal.
“French, please stop. I need your help. You must place your hands on the crystal with me. I will speak the words, but I need your strength. Speak to the stone with your heart, just as you speak with the trees.”
“But what do I do?”
“I need you to pull her out.”
French nodded his head. The woman placed her hands on the stone and French placed his hands on the opposite side. The woman began speaking in the strange language again, but nothing happened. She spoke more firmly and French could see the strain on her face. Still nothing happened. After a few minutes the woman shook her head.
“Ellinsha is too strong for me. I need Le’Mone.”
“Meria?” A voice called from the entrance of the cave.
French whirled around surprised to find Christiana Galashad standing in the archway. She slowly walked into the room her eyes wide with disbelief.
“Meria? Is it really you?”
“Christiana,” the woman said softly.
French looked at the woman and something clicked. “Meria? Meria Galashad. Your Angelia’s grandmother,” he said in disbelief. Meria nodded. “But you are dead,” he added, his voice heavy with confusion. “Who are you?”
Meria looked at French and sighed. “I am the Keeper. I was born for one purpose, to aid the Chosen One in moving Ellinsha to her new home.”
French looked at Meria. He did not understand what she meant. “The Chosen One?”
“Four Stones of Power and Sight were place in the earth upon its creation. Keepers were sent from the sky to watch over and protect each stone until the people of the earth would be ready to fulfill that purpose. The people of the North willingly accepted the responsibility. It is from those people that Celedand is descended.
“I was sent down to become the Keeper for Ellinsha. I was given certain tasks to fulfill so that the Chosen One could come forth and fulfill their duty. My tasks are almost complete.” She sighed, “I have been here for a very long time and I am ready now to rest with my people among the stars once again.” She turned to Christiana, “I am sorry I had to leave you. When you told us you were pregnant with Angelia I knew my work there was complete. The Chosen One’s time had come. The line of the Keepers would continue with my granddaughter and her children.”
French stared at Meria for several moments and then quietly asked, “Angelia is the Chosen One?”
“Yes,” Meria replied. “She will be the Keeper. It will be her duty to protect Ellinsha. Her power is strong and will continue through her children and grandchildren,” she finished speaking and the room fell silent.
“Where is Angelia?” Christiana finally asked.
“In the stone. Ellinsha pulled her in to protect her from Jarr’oshed,” Meria replied. She looked back at the stone and shook her head. “I need Le’Mone,” she muttered. Then glancing at Christiana her eyes widened. “Ah, Ellinsha, you do know all. Now it all makes sense. Christiana, you can help us.”
“But I don’t have any power,” Christiana replied.
Meria took her hands. “Oh Christiana, you always had power. It is here in your heart and it flows in your blood. Your heritage is just as strong as Angelia’s and Le’Mone’s otherwise Angelia wouldn’t have come through you.”
Christiana looked at Meria with disbelief and then at French. She then nodded and hesitantly placed her hands on the crystal surface.
“I will try.”
“You can do this Christiana. Do you remember the words I taught you when you first married Gerald?” Meria asked as she placed her hands on the stone.
“I have never forgotten,” Christiana replied firmly. Then Meria began speaking the strange tongue and was quickly joined by Christiana.
French placed his hands back on the smooth surface and focused on the words the two women spoke. He pushed his mind toward the stone willing it to soften and release its captive. After a few moments he felt his hands slowly submerge into the rock.
He thought it would be like sliding through water but instead it felt like knives shredding his arms. Each painstaking minute took him inches closer to Angelia’s crystalline form. After what seemed like eternity his hands closed around Angelia’s arm. Slowly he grasped her arm and then inch-by-inch began pulling her out of the crystal.
After what seemed like years Angelia’s body came free of the giant crystal. French held her unconscious form in his arms. In her hands she tightly clasped a large, almost heart shaped crystal. The crystal pulsed like a heartbeat with a brighter, purer blue than any of the stones that lined the wall.
Meria and Christiana knelt next to French. “How is she?” Christiana asked.
Meria laid her hand gently on Angelia’s forehead. “She is sleeping. Ellinsha did this to protect her.”
She looked back at the giant crystal casing. It had turned a deep midnight blue and tiny silver cracks began to form all across its surface.
“We must leave this cave immediately. The crystal cannot hold its form now that Ellinsha is no longer there. It will shatter,” Meria admonished.
The two women stood weakly and began making their way to the arched entryway. French picked up Angelia’s unconscious form and stumbled toward the door. Glancing over his shoulder he could see each fracture, now illuminated by a white light. Then as he crossed the threshold into the outer cavern a deep crack resounded through the caves and the earth around him began to heave and groan. The dark blue crystal shattered into millions of pieces and large chunks of crystal began falling all around him. The two women struggled to reach the outer passageway, but the shaking ground tossed all of them about.
French called out in desperation, “Angelia, help us!” Angelia eyes came open. She looked first at French and then at the large crystal in her hands.
Very softly Angelia spoke one word, “Ellinsha.” Immediately the ground stopped heaving. French carried her into the passage until they were a safe distance from the weakened cavern. He set her lightly on the ground.
“Mother? Why are you here?” Angelia asked her voice filled with concern.
“She was meant to be here at this time,” Meria responded.
Angelia looked at the blue stone in her hands and then up at Meria. “Grandmother!”
Meria knelt at her side and Angelia embraced her.
“We must talk, but later,” Meria said. “The caves are not stable.” To punctuate her statement a deep groan sounded from the mountain above them.
French helped Angelia to her feet. He did not know what to say to any of these women and he wasn’t sure he understood what had happened.
The earth trembled again and Angelia took his hand. “We must leave the caves now. Ellinsha cannot control the earth much longer. She has been here so long that the cave is collapsing without her presence,” she spoke with authority.
The foursome quickly made their way down the passage led by Angelia who carried the glowing heart shaped crystal. They could hear the sound of crystals shattering on the cavern floor. The shaking ground stopped them occasionally, but they made good time. Once they reached the giant cavern balcony, they made their way quickly down the long passageways.
It took them approximately three days to reach the cave opening in the mountains at the southeast end of the Emeralde Valley, but their energy remained strong. As they finally came to the opening and stepped out they could see the sunset, lighting the sky on fire with oranges and reds. A deep note rang throughout the valley as Ellinsha’s surface reflected the fiery sky. They had left the caves at last. French grasped Angelia’s hand and pulled her into his arms. He silently vowed never to go back into the dark passages again.