Category Archives: =Inner Realm Chronicle Diaries=
Chronicles of the Dragon Nations
#1: Young Guardian and the Dominionites
Part One: Dream Realm Crusaders
Prologue: Dream Memory
The Young Guardian of Dreams
Dream Realm Crusaders
I was stuck in a dream, paralyzed by a magical spell, yet I could hear every word. The magic that wrapped itself around me was warm and tingly, a gentle touch of freesia mixed in. I could not move, speak or open my eyes, so I listened.
“Well?” A woman asked. It sounded like my Countess Sita – sister – Dracora Dratianos. “Who was at the door, O’Dell?”
“Chase Moondancer with my successor,” that voice was the one of a fellow ruler, Lord Guardian O’Dell of the Mystic Realms. “Enchantra took Chase to rest in another room. He may need to Feed, Dracora.”
The Dragon Nations have always had warm relations with those of the Mystic Realms, as those Realms signed a peace treaty with us a century ago. Brakkon, the former Emperor of the Dragon Nations and my mate’s father, was like a brother to O’Dell.
“Aye; thank you.” Dracora sighed.
They left the room, closing the door behind them.
I continued to listen as conversations intrigued me. Perhaps I would gain a clue as to why I was there, paralyzed with magic?
O’Dell lowered his voice. “Does Dixie know what must be done?”
Dixie? Does he mean his eldest daughter, Dixilynne? Last I knew, she was a mere child when she and her two sisters were exiled to the Mortal Realm for their own safety. What did she have to do with anything?
“Aye, she knows and will follow your lead, as always.” The eldest Mystic Sister Enchantra announced. She was Dixilynne’s mother as O’Dell was Dixilynne’s father.
“The Empress is resting and under deep enchantments to stay that way.” O’Dell supplied.
A third voice cleared their throat. “So, what do we do next, my Lord? Just sit and wait?”
I knew that voice, and did not like it. That was Challandra, Enchantra’s twin who was haughty, thinking she was better than anyone else.
O’Dell sighed. “There is naught much we can do, Challandra. Destiny will take care of its own when it is good and ready.”
“Destiny is such a strong word.” Dracora announced as if bored when she walked in. I could sense as my Sita’s emotions turn to fear as she mumbled. “Uh oh.”
“Countess?” Enchantra asked.
The room was quiet until I heard a thump and the sound of a male voice moan desperately. “Don’t die on me now, Adarramena. I need you.”
That was Drakkar Dratianos, my mate’s twin brother and my own twin’s mate. I tried sensing my twin. She was currently knocked out with the same type of spell I was under, magic worn to the near-ends and mind exhausted. My heart raced to get to my twin, and I was at a loss of what to do. I tried telepathy.
Adarra? Her mind was fuzzy; I could barely feel the twin link between us. Now I was concerned. Please, awaken your mind. Break through the bindings and speak to me!
I received no answer, so I tuned my ears again to the conversation outside my door.
“What can we do for you, Prince?” Enchantra asked the question.
“It’s my mate, Lord Guardian.” Drakkar supplied.
“She overexerted both herself and her duo.” Enchantra surmised.
That explained the fuzzy mind-path. Not to mention why I felt magically drained when I had not used magic since terrifying visions forced me to leave my mate.
“Now you know why I took some of our people to the Mortal Realm.” Dracora explained. “Your duo has gone chaotic, and there is no end to his destruction.”
“There has to be a way to save Adarra from him.” Drakkar agreed.
“I believe we can help with that.” Enchantra looked to O’Dell. “My love?”
O’Dell took a moment before responding. “Challandra, please bring her in and set her beside her sister.”
They continued to talk as if I could not hear them. I heard the door open and felt myself rising from my position. I was floating in air, my DragonWolf wings useless.
Dracora gasped. “Adellandra is your successor?”
I must have been in the main room now, because I felt myself gently landing on a soft surface. I sensed my sister Adarra, my very twin, lying beside me in a binding quite like my own.
“I told you of my vision, Countess.” O’Dell supplied.
Dracora huffed. “Very well; carry on.”
I could tell my Sita was exhausted of O’Dell already. She and the Lord of the Mystic Realms never got along.
“There is something about those girls, O’Dell.” I could feel Enchantra staring at me. “Something that screams magic.”
“They are Draconian.” Drakkar said, hoping that would explain it. “They have great power.”
“Nay, it is something else.” Enchantra supplied. “They are worth saving. They must live, but not here. Not now. Not while many wars are being fought.”
I agreed; too many wars, between the Demon Realms and those of the Fire Nations south of the Dragon Nations. I fled to my childhood home to get away from them.
“For once, I agree.” Dracora’s voice broke my thoughts. “But what are you going to do with them?”
Enchantra smiled. “Give them another destiny.” She looked up to O’Dell. “Find Susan and bring her here.”
Susan. Why did that name seem familiar?
“Who is Susan?” Dracora asked for me.
“My Grankana, as you would call her.”
“Your Earthbound Granddaughter?”
“Aye,” Enchantra was proud of herself for remembering the Draconian word for Granddaughter. “She has five children already and more than enough room in her home and heart for three more.”
“Three?” Dracora asked.
That could only mean one thing.
Anton! I thought to myself, my mind trying to seek his. My satil – brother — was near; I could sense him.
“Do you mean Anton as well?” Drakkar inquired. It seemed even he read into my thoughts.
“We found him unconscious in a trench and decided to bring him here as well.” Enchantra nodded. “He is resting in the other room. I had to put him under a spell in order for him to stay that way.”
What was with these Mystics and their spells?
“He is a fighter.” Dracora told her. “I mean, neither of the Dranna siblings are dead; just weakened and under your wretched spells. How are you going to give them another destiny?”
“They will be reborn as Earthbound Ancient Mystics.” Enchantra said simply. Footsteps were followed by a touch to my cheek. “This one is different; even from her twin and brother. I cannot place it.”
If she only knew, I thought to myself.
“Adellandra has always been different.” Dracora remarked. She knew my secret. “She has always been kind, loving, gentle and good; yet a fierce fighter and an honorable Empress.”
I tried using telepathy with Dracora. Thank you for the compliment.
You’re welcome, Sita. Dracora said in my mind. I’m just sorry it has to be this way.
“Only she knows why she left our bratton.” Drakkar said, using the Draconian word for ‘brother.’
“It was to save the children from destruction.” Dracora replied simply, and I could feel both my siblings-by-mating staring at me.
Take the Royal Crest for me, please? I asked Dracora; for she was the only one I could trust with such a precious pendant. I will not need it where I am going.
Certainly. Aloud, she cleared her throat and took the Royal Crest of the Dragon Nations from around my neck. It was the only piece of royal jewelry I had left, and it belonged in her hands now. I wish you luck on your new Destiny, until it brings us back together.
That was an odd thing for her to say. Before I could think anymore, she spoke up to the Mystics. “I will keep the Royal Crest until she is ready once more.”
“What about me?” Drakkar demanded. “I’m the next in line, not you.”
“As I recall, Draconis is still Emperor and I’m a Countess.”
“Yeah, of Monarch’s Glenn.” Drakkar sneered.
“Enough!” Challandra cried out. “You can bicker and fight later.”
Before either one could say anymore, a young woman’s voice broke the tension. “Gramere? What’s going on? Why did you send Granpere for me?”
“Fetch the DragonWolf male for me from the other room, Susan. “Enchantra instructed automatically. “Set him down beside his sisters.” Enchantra instructed.
“Yes, Gramere,” Susan was confused, but obeyed, leaving to fetch my brother Anton.
I sensed his condition, besides the spell he was under. He was war-warn, and wounded. There was a hole in his heart and soul that was there since his own mate of Alexia, Dracora’s sister, fled. I felt so bad for him, and wished I could get out of this spell to heal him. Darn the Mystics!
It took a moment for her to stare at us once she placed Anton next to me on the couch. She gasped. “I know who they are now! She is the Lost Empress of Mal’estar, Lady Adellandra, and that’s her twin, Princess Adarramena. The male is their younger brother Sir Anton Dranna.”
This Susan was a very bright Mystic. Now I knew why her name was familiar; she was Enchantra’s grandonan who single-handedly destroyed five demons, saving several dragon pups from death.
Enchantra confirmed. “Do you know what I wish you to do with them?”
“I-I-I don’t know.” Susan whispered.
“Keep them safe.”
I felt Susan staring at us. “I understand.”
“No, I do not think you do.” Enchantra shook her head. “Your Grand-Uncle is at it again. We must keep their existences a secret in order for them to survive long enough to destroy him.”
“How are you going to do that?” Susan asked. “They are already fully-grown and in a form our Realm has never seen.”
“The time rift between Realms is different.” Enchantra began. “We wish to use the Ancient Mystic chants to blood them as our own.”
Blood us! What was she talking about?
“‘Blood’ them?” Drakkar asked, speaking up. “I mean no disrespect Mistress, but, surely there must be another way?”
Enchantra shook her head. “Not if you want them alive to see Mal’estar once again.”
“But blooding them as Ancient Mystics will –” Dracora began but was cut off.
She was about to say, “Blooding them as Ancient Mystics would take the memories away of who they truly are.”
“I know what it will do, Countess.” Enchantra supplied. “I assure you, there is no other way around it. They must be blooded as Ancient Mystics in order to survive your brother’s chaos and Orthos’ reign of destruction.”
Draconis was still chaotic? I was sorry to hear it. My mate had not been himself since before the war he raged with the Demon Lord Archimonde, O’Dell’s duo Orthos, and Brakkon’s own Chaotic form of Thorn. All that pent up negative energy turned him and forced terrifying visions in my mind.
I could feel Drakkar’s anger at being separated from his mate when he growled. “If you hurt her, I will know of it!”
“No, you will not.” O’Dell confirmed. “Once the ritual is done, the three of them will have no memory of who they once were.”
“They will have their powers,” Dracora pointed out, “and their forms. The Mortal Realm is not ready for DragonWolves. Mortals still believe the Nations – the very worlds in which they live — are myth!”
She was right, it was not ready. Neither was I ready to forget her, my beloved Empire, or my once-loving mate.
“She’s right.” Susan pointed out. “Only those with the Magical Eye know the truth.”
“All will be well.” O’Dell said sternly. “They will assume Immortal Ancient Mystic form and be taught of whatever magic their minds believe they are ready for.”
My siblings – Draconis’ twin and his younger sister – could say nothing to the statement. Susan broke the silence.
“Shall we begin?” She said quietly.
Chanting in the Ancient Mystic language, they spun a wild magical spell around the three of us. We were each already in their binding and sleeping spells, so why not add one more?
I felt dizzy just lying there, still unable to speak or move. My head hurt as my Wolfkin ears and Dragon horns were pulled inside my head. My back hurt, wings forcefully returning inside my body. My arms and legs hurt, as my body was changing to a strange Immortal human form. My wolf features diminished, fur retreating and hands instead of paws and nails instead of claws. I felt a multitude of winds wrap around me, one entering my body. That one caused me great pain, but I could not cry out. I felt my external body shrinking. Instead, my form was not my own, but of a young girl.
It was a powerful spell that would change my existence.
Breaking my thoughts was the whimpering sound of an infant.
“Shush, shush. There there.” Susan picked him up and held him. “I know what I must do next, Granpere.”
“Rename them and protect them.” O’Dell responded.
“What will you name them?” Drakkar could not stop staring at my twin. I still knew how hard it was to be parted – magical or otherwise – from your true mate.
Susan sat next to my sister. “You will be Aluna Star Woods.” She placed a hand on my cheek. It felt warm with love. “You will be Ariana Moon Woods, and you, my dearest baby, will be Antony Gregory Woods.”
“Great names, Susan.” Dracora complimented.
“Thank you, Countess.”
“The time will come when they are Called to this Realm once again.” O’Dell responded. “Until then, their true-names and lives must remain a secret.”
“Yes, Granpere,” Susan agreed.
That was the last I heard of the very interesting conversation. When the spell and ritual was done, I felt….different. My mind was the same as it was, but the memory of my life before that moment faded into near-nothingness. I only remember it now as a dream memory, with a little help from one of my closest Draconian friends: The Countess Dracora of Monarch’s Glenn.
Ten Years Later
My name is Ariana Moon. I am fifteen today, almost sweet-sixteen. I reside at the Shore Point Juvenile Detention Center, a ward of the State of California. I grew up in an orphanage not far from here. No one wanted to adopt me. It was probably because of the things I could do, or the way I spoke, or the color of my eyes. Any number of reasons was points against my being adopted into a loving home. Instead, I was “loaned” out to couples who needed a compliant servant.
My first “family” was the Sheridans, whom I met when I was in the hospital two years ago. They wanted me to be their daughter’s keeper; keeping an eye on her and obeying her every whim. Michelle Lambert-Sheridan was a Class A spoiled brat. She would throw fits if she did not get what she wanted, when she wanted it. Of course, her mother and father would comply, encouraging her behavior. I just kept my comments to myself; hoping that one day, Michelle would see the error of her ways and straighten up, before something bad happened to her. So far, there was no such luck.
The second “family” was the one I just ran from: the Dolls. Richard and Rhonda Doll were rich, even more so than the Sheridans. They had no other children to fill their home or help spend their money. Only me, and I was used as a servant even though they lavished me with everything under the sun. Of course, that was a ruse for Child Services. On a normal day, I overheard Mrs. Doll talking on the phone to an elder woman I once knew as Mrs. Gertrude. Turned out, Mrs. Doll was Mrs. Gertrude’s niece, and she was going to sell me back to my old orphanage master. Thinking of the abusive past I left behind, I packed my bag. Once the moon shone bright enough to see by, I ran as fast as I could away from the Doll mansion.
Only to be caught and brought back here: The Shore Point Juvenile Detention Center.
I have been here a week and suffered bruises and scrapes at the hands of bullies. On my first night, they thought it was funny to put ice in a sock and hit me with it. To their surprise and my delight, all bruises and scrapes were healed by morning.
That is one thing the other teenagers hated about me. Another would be the way I spoke. One girl told me I sounded funny, as if I did not know how to speak. I have always spoken like this, as those friendly adults I speak to would call “without using contractions,” such as “can’t,” “won’t,” or “I’m.” Another girl said my eyes looked weird. At a brilliant silver-blue, I would have said the same thing myself had I not been the owner.
There were a few more things I could do that alienated me from the other girls there. One of which was feeling their emotions with something I learned was called Empathy. I sensed one of the girls was in trouble with the warden. I confronted her about it, trying to cheer her up, but she denied it, calling me “freak” and pushing me away. The Center found I could read minds when I was in a group therapy session. The four of us were given a test where the counselor would ask the questions and we would answer them. Somehow, I took the questions out of her mind and answered them, even before she asked them aloud! Even the counselor eyed me as if I were a freak of nature.
Was I a freak of nature?
Nay; you are an Ancient Mystic. A female voice purred in my mind. It was the voice of my good friend Katherine Hawk.
Katherine was a Companion from the Mystic’s Realm of Dreams. According to her, I was a powerful Ancient Mystic that could do anything I wanted in the Realm of Dreams. Guardian O’Dell, Lord of the Mystic Realms, named me his successor when I was seven. He gave me a special necklace that represented my Mystic status and helped me learn to control my abilities.
I know, my friend. I told her sadly. I just want to get out of here and find my family.
Before she could respond, a knock on the door brought me out of my reverie.
“You got a visitor, Moon.” It was Greg, one of the nicer guards.
I stood. “Thank you, Mr. Greg.”
I quietly followed behind him.
My Companion friend peeped up with I have a good feeling about this one, Ariana. You will be fine.
I hope you are right. I teased her. I would be lost without your feline instincts.
No you would not. Katherine purred a giggle. Do you sense the visitor’s compassion as well?
Aye. I answered, agreeing. I have also felt the Goddess’s Hand on me.
He stopped at one of the counseling rooms, turning the knob and opening the door.
I stood facing an attractive teenage girl wearing a stylish blouse with a tweed skirt. She was about five inches taller than my sixty, wore sunglasses on her head and snapped her chewing gum when she saw me. Her legs were crossed as she sat at the table; designer high-heel boots half-way up her calves. I sensed she was no more than six years older than I, yet looked as if she were older. I could tell it was meant to be very deceptive and smart. Her hair was pulled up into a thick ponytail with dark-brown strands hanging down.
Mr. Greg stayed by the door, listening in.
The teenager stood, holding her hand out for me to shake. “Hello, Ariana Moon. My name is Bridget Guy. I’ve come to take you home.”
I politely smiled, hesitating before taking her hand. I was not convinced and stared at her eyes before reading her. “Really.”
“Yes, really.” Bridget supplied, pulling her hand back and shoving it in her pocket. “Read me. Am I legit?”
I used my empathy, sensing nothing but kindness and sincerity. There was no deception in her dark brown eyes. That was a relief. “Yes, and it is nice to meet you, Miss Guy.” I told her simply. “What can I do for you?”
She quickly glanced at Mr. Greg before responding. “Will you please excuse us, sir?”
Mr. Greg shook his head. “Sorry Miss Guy,” he told her. “She is my charge and must be watched over.”
Now I looked at him. “Have I ever caused any undue stress or trouble around here, Mr. Greg?”
He had to think for a moment. “No, Ariana.”
“Then you can trust I will be okay in her capable hands.” I continued my argument. It took him only a moment to nod. “If it makes you feel any better, you may stay at your post outside the door. That way, there is no way I can escape without your knowledge. Agreed?”
His glance went to a smiling Bridget to me before he finally said. “Make it quick.”
I nodded, smiling. “Thank you.”
Almost as soon as the metal door closed behind him, I heard Bridget shriek into her hands. “That was awesome! How did you learn how to do that? I can’t even talk my way out of a paper bag, but you! You basically controlled that guard.”
“Not control.” I told her. “For some reason, I always know what to say.”
“That’s so cool.”
“Thank you.” I said. “Now then, why are you here? You said you were going to take me home?”
“Ah, yes, right.” Bridget cleared her throat. “I’m from a teen detecting agency called the System.”
I knew it! Katherine cried inside my mind.
Katherine! I playfully scolded her, staring at Bridget, who was patiently waiting as I carried on the conversation in my mind. Am I allowed to handle it?
I cleared my throat and sat down. “How do I know you speak the truth?”
Bridget leaned in and looked into my eyes. “What does your empathy tell you about me?”
She knew that about me? But, how? I blinked, studying her. Sure enough, she was telling the truth. “You are sincere and honest, although a bit flighty at times.”
Bridget laughed. “Thought so. Come on, kid. Let’s get out of here.” She paused as her hand hit the knob. Not looking at me, she supplied seriously, “By the way, call me Big Guy. That’s my codename.”
“Codename?” I was puzzled.
Big Guy sighed. “You’ll see soon enough. Trust me.”
“If you insist,” I shrugged. “Anything to stop the circle of hate.”
It was her turn to be confused. “Huh?”
I smiled, echoing. “Trust me.”
Big Guy rolled her eyes and led us out the door. Sure enough, Mr. Greg was still waiting at his post.
“Hurry and get your things.” Big Guy instructed me. “I’ll take care of the legalities.”
I nodded. “Sure thing.”
Going back to the room I stayed was going to be hard. If anyone was there waiting, they were certain to bully me, just like always. If not, and I somehow got away with my belongings without anyone seeing me, I would be grateful.
Turned out, the Goddess was smiling on me today. No one was in the room, so I was able to grab my backpack and hurry back to Big Guy’s side.
I came upon the end of a conversation, with Big Guy saying. “I am an adult, and I have signed the proper papers for her immediate release from this institution and into the care of Shannon Ryan at Shore Point Academy.”
She pulled a manila folder out of her shoulder bag, handing it to him. Mr. Greg glanced through the pages with wide eyes. After closing the folder, he looked back at her. “Miss Guy, I apologize. Had I known –”
Bridget winked at him. “You didn’t know, and it’s okay.”
“I thought the Academy closed down years ago because the owner died during renovations?”
“Oh, it was, for a while.” Bridget shrugged, “The owner’s niece opened it back up on her eighteenth birthday and we’ve been prosperous since.”
They spoke as if I were not there. Usually that is a good thing; I could learn more that way, but this was idle chatter. I cleared my throat and crossed my arms.
They turned to my scowl. “As interesting as it is to hear all about this Academy I will be attending; would it be too impatient of me to suggest we leave?”
“Oh! Oh, right,” Bridget laughed nervously. “I almost forgot.” She turned back to Mr. Greg. “Now that the papers are in order, we’ll be on our way.” She wrapped her arm through one of mine and smiled at him one last time before shoving past him.
Once we were in the hallway, she broke into a run toward the door that led outside.
“Wait!” I cried, yanking away and rubbing my arm so it no longer hurt. “What is the rush? Why are we in such a hurry?
“I’ll explain later,” Big Guy harried. “We need to go, like now.”
I took a deep breath and ran behind her. I did my best to keep up with her, but she was fast. She stopped at a long black limo and opened the door for us.
Once we were both in and the limo was racing away, I had to know. “What is going on? Why were we running?”
“It’s hard to explain,” Bridget said, nearly out of breath.
“Please try, because I am terribly confused.” I told her. “Is there someone after you?”
“Not me.” She shook her head. “You.”
I blinked. “Me? Who would want to chase me?”
“Does the name Helen Gertrude ring a bell?” Bridget asked.
She would have to say that name.
“I should have known,” I groaned. “She used me as a compliant slave to any family that would pay handsomely for my services.”
“Right,” Bridget agreed. “Unfortunately, Mrs. Gertrude isn’t done with your so-called “services.” Now that they somehow found out where you were, we had to butt in. Fortunately for you, we got here first.”
“For which, I am grateful.” I supplied. “I am to understand they are right behind us?”
“Not yet, but they will be if we don’t high-tail it out of here.” Bridget turned and knocked on the tinted window that separated the cab from the driver. “Book it, Landry.”
I felt the limousine lurch forward and speed on the freeway. Appalled by his driving skills – he would be cited for more than three violations should he get pulled over – I closed my eyes and hung on tight.
“Crud! They’re gaining on us!” I heard Bridget yelp. “Take the secret route. It’s the only way.”
I heard Landry chuckle from the driver’s seat. What was he laughing about? We were being chased and he was laughing!
“I would appreciate arriving safely at our destination.” I forced out, opening my eyes. I was being tossed from one side of the seat to another. “Preferably with my lunch intact and body in one piece, sir.”
“Relax, Ariana Moon.” Landry said. “Trust me.”
“He knows what he’s doing; just let him do it, okay?” Bridget asked.
I huffed, keeping my mouth shut. The winding roads buzzed by me, making me dizzy.
“We’re almost there anyway, so you can relax.” Bridget tried.
“Please stop telling me to relax when it is my life on the line.” I ordered.
Soon, the limousine slowed to the speed limit and I looked out the window. There was nothing to look at but farms with cattle, horses, sheep and pigs. I opened the window to close my eyes and take a whiff. It smelled of peace, harmony and very earthy. For some reason, it smelled right; like home, but better. It was like I owned the land, and I was home. Was this Academy in the country?
More importantly, was there a country gal hiding in me somewhere?
I let the sights fly by, soon falling into a daydream.
I pictured myself and a young man overlooking the ocean, holding hands and walking along the shore. My heart skipped just thinking about him.
He snaked his arm around my waist so we stopped in our tracks and I was able to look into his eyes.
Mahogany-brown eyes, black-rimmed frames covering them and the feelings of infatuation for me growing with each moment we were together. He was taller by a couple of inches; perfect in every way. I had searched for him – or someone like him – all my life, and found him in a dream. The more time we spent together in the Dream Realm, the more I was pulled to him as the Young Guardian to heal his inner demons. At the same time, he was somehow pulled to me to do the same.
Unlike most of the people in my life so far, his intentions were sincere.
I smiled at the image.
“What are you smiling about?” Big Guy teased, watching me.
I shrugged out of my daydream, blushing as I opened my eyes. “A little fantasy.”
Big Guy was interested, if not confused. “What’s that, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“I call him my Imaginary Romeo.” I supplied. “I see him only in my dreams, but the thoughts of him keep me warm at night.”
My gaze went back to the window and I fell asleep as soon as my eyes closed. My mind and magic was exhausted.
I awoke from my nap nearly an hour later when I was tapped on the shoulder. Blinking back to life, I found the limo stopped. “Where are we?”
“We’re here!” Big Guy announced as I followed her out of the limo.
I shivered when the wind tickled my hair and the smell of warm magic welcomed me from inside. “Where is here?”
My question would be answered as we drove up an elongated driveway that led to a huge mansion-like building. Sure enough, as we reached the building, I could see echoes of letters spelling out “Shore Point Academy.”
Echoes of letters on a building usually meant it was no longer what it said. This, of course, meant Bridget lied to me.
I watched as my escort turned to the driver. “Thanks again, Landry. That’ll be all.”
The driver lit a cigarette, his eyes wide as he asked. “See you later Big Guy?”
“You bet.” Big Guy nodded with a playful wink. “I’ll win my twenty bucks back tonight.”
I stood by her when we watched him drive away. After a moment, I spoke up, crossing my arms. “You lied to me.”
Bridget sighed. “Only about the Academy part and I’m sorry.”
“There’s someone else here who will be able to explain it to you better.” Bridget walked, tapping a number into a security keypad and sliding a card through the slot. “Her name is Shannon Ryan, and she’s the owner slash boss of this place. Follow me; I’ll take you to her office.”
Tugging the backpack tighter on my back, I could do nothing but obey. There was something special about this place.
Perhaps this Shannon Ryan woman will be able to tell me why.
The Imaginary Romeo
Bridget was quiet as she walked me down the many confusing halls of this academy-like building. It was set up like an old college dorm, so she told me the truth about that. We stopped at a set of double-doors.
“Go through those doors and past the rows of computers to another door with her name on it.” Bridget instructed me, pointing.
“You are not going in with me?” I queried.
“Sorry Ariana,” She shook her head. “I have work to do, but I’ll see you later. Okay?”
I nodded. “Aye.”
Slowly, I opened the double-doors and could sense the amount of power in the room ahead of me. There was a spell here – a protection spell; I could smell it. Someone wanted to remain secretive. I closed my eyes and opened my empathy.
Somehow, I already know this Shannon Ryan. I thought both to myself and Katherine, if she was still around. I touched the door, immediately feeling the same tingle of magic behind it as I had when I sensed a man with the same surname two years ago. He had silver-blue eyes and dark-as-night hair and called himself a Mystic Wizard. Could they be related?
Before I could say or think anything, I heard a woman say, “Come right in, Ariana. My name is Shannon Ryan and I’m the Chief here at the System.”
I opened my eyes to meet the silver-blue – no wait – brown – no, they were definitely silver-blue eyes of a college-aged woman with long, wavy black hair and a bright smile.
I had to ask, since it was on my mind. “Are you related to Stephen Ryan?”
She smiled, nodding. “Yep. He’s my cousin. I heard he helped you in the hospital.”
I smiled. “He was very nice to me, but he disappeared before I could thank him.”
“You’ll get your chance.” Shannon explained, gesturing to a chair. “Take a seat. Your partner will be here any minute.”
“Wait – partner?” I asked, confused. The questions were going a mile a minute; such as, “What is this place, anyway?”
“Thought you’d never ask.” Shannon sat at a large oak desk and explained what the System was all about.
Originally, it was an Academy, owned by the county, but it closed down due to the Great Depression. Her uncle Theodore Ryan, aunt Dixilynne and uncle’s best friend Mikhail McNathaniels thought of the perfect idea: renovate the worn-down place and disguise it as an Academy and Home for the children no one wanted. (This made me wonder why I was not sent there) Anyway, Theodore Ryan died during renovations and Dixilynne was left to mourn, with Mikhail to comfort her. After a while, mourning was over and it was time to restart fresh. By that time, Mikhail – Mick, as he was known – and Dixilynne had totally different ideas for the buildings, so they went their separate ways. Along the way, her younger sister Sarabeth dying shortly after giving birth to Shannon, and a new arrival in Susan’s daughter had Dixilynne pretty busy. More children came along as she made calls and set everything up for her vision: still disguised as an Academy, yet funded by the county and private money (mostly Theodore’s). She turned the Academy into a place called The System Agency – a teen detecting agency, where teenagers and older children would be trained detectives first, and in specialties second.
“That all sounds good, but what am I doing here?” I asked her. “How did Big Guy know I could Read her?”
Shannon shrugged. “I told her so, as I sent her on the assignment myself.”
“How did you know about me?”
She smiled, blinking. “Come on, Ariana Moon.” She teased. “You can figure that out for yourself.”
The eyes. She could change her eye color. That could only mean one thing.
“You are an Ancient Mystic as well.” I surmised. “Does anyone else here know that about me?”
Shannon shook her head. “Not if you don’t want them to.”
The Inner-Realm Chronicles:
As Seen through the Eyes of the Lady Guardian.
Rewritten in her own words by:
Lady Guardian Adellandra Dratianos,
As Lady Head-Chronicler of the Realms
Since there are so many of them so far, written as a Trilogy of Chronicle-Diaries.
The Dream Realm Crusades
The Battles in the Unknown
War of the Realms
1: The Dream Realm Crusades:
Part One: Untold Beginnings
Part Two: Young Guardian and the Dominionite, which includes Welcome to Your Destiny!, The Dracoran Advisor, Confessions, a couple of the Dream Realm Games (DWGames) and Dominionite’s Revenge.
Part One: Untold Beginnings:
Entry 1: Begin at the Beginning
Entry 2: Before the Young Guardian Saga Officially Began
Entry 3: Lord Guardian of the Realms and a Thing Called Destiny
Entry 4: The Discovery of an Ancient Mystic Lifetime
Entry 5: To Live, To Learn, To Love, To Grow
Young Guardian Trilogy: Young Guardian and the Dominionite
Entry 6: Birth of the Enchanted Child
Entry 7: The Vicious Cycle of Hate Begins
Entry 8: Magick of the System Agency
Entry 9: Earthly Protector and a True Love
Entry 1: Begin at the Beginning:
Sulheya, Kaetaa, and welcome to my Diary. I am the Lady Guardian, Adellandra Dranna Dratianos. I was born in the Dragon Nations as a DragonWolf, a wolf with dragon’s wings, as my Dratyr, Sir Airemus Dranna is a dragon and my Matéré, Katerina Mout’ella, is a wolf. I have a twin sister named Adarramena and a younger brother named Anton. Along with being Lady Guardian of the Realms, I am also the Ancient Mystic’s Goddess of Spirit, Lady Empress of the Dragon Nations, Dragon Goddess Lady SilverMoon, Alpha SheWolf of the Mountain Wolf Forest Packs, Queen of the Illunae, Goddess Silver of the Luna Throne, Head-Chronicler of the Realms, and many, many other titles. I’m known as the Woman of Many Names, Faces, Titles and Realms.
In this Diary, I will attempt to recall my Ancient Mystic life, both in the Mystic Realms, also known as the Inner Realms, and Outer-Realm, the Mortallan Realm. There is a lot to come, and hopefully I will be able to remember as much as possible. I have already written them as the Crusaders told me and within mine own words and experiences, but now, it’s going to be a challenge to do it all in mine own words. All who know me know how much I love a challenge. This Inner-Realm Chronicles Diary is the main Diary written by myself as Lady Guardian.
The beginning of the Young Guardian Trilogy, as I called it, didn’t officially begin until I was the Earthbound age of fifteen, when I met my Earthly Protector, so I will try to tell the story before the story. From the time I awoke as an Ancient Mystic, unbeknownst to what adventures were to come in my Earthbound life.
As I remember it, waking as an Ancient Mystic wasn’t the best kind of reawakening I could ask for. Then again, I never asked to be blooded by the Ancient Mystics. I never asked for anything. I was just found by Lord Guardian O’Dell and named his successor, Young Guardian when I was barely a child in the Mortallan Realm. Somehow, I was thrown from the Dragon Nations and the Inner-Realms to the Outer-Realm known for their Mortals and fear of magic.
I will begin where these stories all begin. At the Beginning.
Entry 2: Before the Young Guardian Trilogy Officially Began:
I awoke slowly, rising to find myself in a mortal woman’s arms. I was no longer aged my two-hundred plus years but a mere mortal babe. The shell was a mere mortal child’s, five years old. I was holding onto the mortal woman’s hand, curious and clueless. There was another girl the same age, just as curious and clueless as I.
I looked to my hands, and to the other girls’. We were the same, identical.
Who am I?
Before I could find or think of an answer, the woman with black hair and strange-colored eyes of a silvery-blue tugged me along, wishing me to follow. The other girl who looked like me stayed behind, sitting forlorn in the car.
“Come along, young one.” The woman whispered. When we reached the door, she knelt to my level and kissed each of my cheeks, hugging me. “Your name is now Ariana Moon. There is magic in your eyes and heart.”
How could I hear her thoughts in my head? They were spoken like a spell, a certain magical essence about her words made me believe that was who I was. I didn’t remember anything before the moment she grasped my hand. Who was I to argue? Obviously, she knew more of who I was than I did.
The building she took me to was an Orphanage, and the very place where the Hell of my Mystic Life began.
“Come along, Ariana Moon.” The raven-haired woman said softly. “This is for your own good.”
Right away, I could sense something wrong with this house. Pain, hurt, anger, despair, distress and fear were all my Empathic eyes and ears would feel. There were no feelings of love, hope, or home. No feelings of family, just hate.
I shook my little head, my reddish-blond curls whipping in my face. My head began to hurt with the emotions I were feeling through the other kids.
“I don’t wanna go.” I told her softly, holding onto her comforting hand. In that woman’s hand was warmth and love. In the building before me was nothing but fear and anger. “It doesn’t feel right.”
“Shut your empathy off, child.” The woman said gently, bending down to my level and brushing hairs from my face to behind my ears. “You won’t need it here.”
I didn’t listen. I kept it open for safety.
We came upon a door at the end of the hall. It was half-open, but I immediately felt horror as I walked ahead.
It was in that office I met Mrs. Gertrude, the mistress to Shore Point Home for Children. She had a mean but patient glare in her eyes, and my Empathic sensors told me she was bad news. She didn’t look a day over forty, but I knew she was older than that. Beside her was a tall, dark-haired man, who I later learned was her husband, Gerald Gertrude.
I saw nothing but kindness toward me in his eyes. His intentions were sincere, but his wife’s were not.
“Why do you bring her here, Mrs. Woods?” Mrs. Gertrude replied, staring at me. “She’s one of you, isn’t she?”
I didn’t listen to the conversation as I sat silently in a chair. I only knew what happened next by the stories they told me.
“In a way, yes. I have an explanation for you, Helen.” Mrs. Woods remarked. “You’ve met both my mother and aunt numerous times, correct?”
“What of it?”
“You know of a thing we call Destiny?”
Mrs. Gertrude sneered. “Of course. What’s to be destined about her?”
Mrs. Woods looked at me before turning to stare at Mrs. Gertrude.
Mrs. Gertrude kept her stare on me as she commanded. “Gerald, take her to the twins. They’ll show her the ropes.”
“Yes, dear.” Mr. Gertrude said, moving to take my hand. After a moment, I took it, looking up at him. “Come, I’ll introduce you.”
“Why am I here?” I asked, curious.
“Mrs. Woods sent you here to live with us for a while.” Mr. Gertrude remarked. “We’re gonna have lots of fun.”
I believed him, smiling. I followed him to a large tree in the backyard, where a boy and a girl were playing. Each had dark brown hair, the girl’s was down to her waist and the boy’s was messy.
“Amethyst, Aaron,” He called their names.
They looked up at him, frowning. My Empathy told me they were lonely, and needed a friend or two. They only had each other, which was sad, because there were so many kids around here.
“Hello, Mr. Gertrude.” They chorused in one voice.
“I’d like you to meet Ariana Moon.” Mr. Gertrude said. “Ariana, these are the twins, Amethyst Theresa and Aaron Theodore.”
Aaron Theodore and I stared at one another for a moment. I let go of Mr. Gertrude’s hand to take his. That made Aaron smile.
Before leaving, he warned. “I want you two to show her how we do things around here, understand?”
“Yes, sir.” They chorused again.
Mr. Gertrude left, nodding his head and smiling at me.
I looked at my two new friends.
“How old are you?” Aaron asked. I put up five fingers.
“So are we!” Amethyst cried, grabbing my other hand. She turned to her brother. “Let’s take her to the attic.”
“It’s our private place.” Aaron whispered, smiling at me. “We don’t want anyone to know, okay?”
I nodded my head ecstatically.
“Can’t you talk?” Amethyst asked.
I nodded my head, but thought. “I don’t trust people, that’s all.”
The twins looked at each other.
“How did you do that?” Aaron asked. I looked at him quizzically. “Your voice was in my head.”
“Yeah, mine too.” Amethyst said.
I shrugged. I did it again. This time, I thought. “I think it’s called telepathy.”
“Good name for it, whatever it is.” Aaron supplied.
“Watch out for Mrs. Gertrude, Ariana Moon.” Amethyst said softly, looking down. “She’s not as nice as she says she is.”
Aaron put his arm around my shoulders. “Don’t worry. We’ll protect you.”
I smiled at that, thinking. “I’ll protect you, too.”
I didn’t know how I could, but I did.
Entry 3: Lord Guardian of the Mystic Realms and a Thing Called Destiny
Two years later, I awoke, alone and afraid. My orphanage siblings were sound asleep all around me, but I was wide awake. Something was on my mind. I thought over the past couple years. Amethyst, who wanted to be called Aimee, Aaron and I were together always. I found out soon enough the reasons for my feelings of pain and sadness. Mrs. Gertrude was beating the children. The three of us seemed to be her favorites, though I don’t know why. We couldn’t act like children without fear of being hit. Most of the time, Mr. Gertrude would shelter us from the abuse, but he’d died a little over a year after I met him.
That night, I met a male, a wizard, who would tell me of my Destiny. O’Dell, the Lord Guardian of the Mystic Realms came to my bedside. The Mystic Realms was a place I escaped to in my nightly hours, a place that felt like home.
There had been many a time I curled up in a ball and fell asleep by the sound of my own tears. That night was no exception.
Lord Guardian came to me when all was silent. “Hello, Young Guardian.”
I looked up but said nothing aloud. Since I knew how to send telepathic messages, I timidly asked in my mind. “Who’s there?”
I didn’t see anyone for a moment, but I Felt someone there with my Empathy. A hand gently touched my head, but I wasn’t afraid. That’s when I both saw and Felt him. The vision of tall male with silver eyes and long black hair smiled at me. There was a glowing white light around him, almost magical. Somehow, it comforted me.
“I am called the Lord Guardian of the Mystic Realms, and you will be my successor.” He told me.
“Why did you call me, ‘Young Guardian’?” I asked him using telepathy. “My name is Ariana Moon.”
O’Dell smiled, and explained. “You are a very special girl, Ariana Moon, doing things most cannot. You know this already, or I would not be here.”
Using what little empathy I knew, I opened my mind to sense his intentions. I smiled when he was sincere, and O’Dell’s very words soothed me.
“I don’t know why, but I just can.” I reflected, relaxing. I wrapped my arms around my knees, smiling in the darkness. “I can read minds and tell futures. I don’t know if I can do anything else.”
“Ah, but you can; all you have to do is bring up the courage and try. You can do anything your heart desires.” O’Dell closed his hands, opening them again to reveal a necklace. “I come from a place called the Dream Realm, and you can go there anytime you want to escape.”
I looked away for a moment, thinking of the orphanage Mistress, Helen Gertrude. Escape from this hell would be the perfect thing to do. Until now, I had no means of escape.
It seems so unreal – like a dream! I thought, staring at the necklace in his hands as I gathered my thoughts. Could this man help me escape this wretched world, or is he another breaker of promises like all the others who wanted me for slavery?
I took a deep breath and accepted the trinket he offered. It was a locket shaped like a crescent moon, with a star-shaped jewel hanging from the tip. The opalescent jewel was made of a kind of crystal I’ve never seen before. The crescent moon itself was surrounded by a dream catcher’s webbing. It was beautiful in a magical way, as it hung from its silver chain.
“Can anyone else see or hear you?” I thought to him, looking up from it.
O’Dell shook his head. “For now, only you can see and hear me in your mind and heart. Others will join you when the time comes.”
I smiled. “I can go to the Dream Realm anytime I want to?”
O’Dell nodded, smiling. “Come, I will take you now.” He pointed to the necklace. “All you have to do is close your eyes and I will do the rest. I will teach you a special chant that will take you there on your own.”
I placed what was now called the Dream Locket around my neck and clutched it as I lay down and closed my eyes. As he promised, O’Dell took me to the Dream Realm and showed me things I’d never experienced before. I felt free in a place with no pain, no anger, just beauty and warmth.
Finally, I am safe.
Entry 4: The Discovery of an Ancient Mystic Lifetime
The next morning, I woke to find the pretty necklace was still there. For the first time in a long time, I had hope for my future. I ran to show Aimee and Aaron the necklace, and tell them all about the things I’d seen, the places I’d been to in the Dream Realm, and the people I’d met.
“I wish you could go there, too.” I thought to them telepathically.
“You’re not the only one,” Aaron replied at breakfast. His sister picked at her food, daydreaming about the Dream Realm.
“What if we could?” Aimee asked. “Wouldn’t it be great? I mean, no pain, no worries, no hassles, just fun.”
“How?” I asked her.
“Tonight at curfew, when everyone’s asleep, we’ll make our move.” Aimee said.
“Have you been reading mysteries, Aim?”
Aimee smiled, silently telling her brother yes. I suppressed a giggle, not wanting Mrs. Gertrude or any of her slaves to hear me.
“We’ll go to the attic.” Aimee announced. “You’ll use that necklace to take us with you to the Dream Realm.”
“Like she said, how?” Aaron asked.
Even I stared at Aimee, waiting for her response. Instead of saying anything, she took each of our hands.
“Now you take her other hand, Aaron. Together, we’ll be linked in a circle.”
He obeyed, shrugging.
When he took my hand, I felt something in my mind, and gasped, tearing my hand away. That‘s when I knew, in time, he would come to love me. Question is, would I love him in return?
“What’s wrong?” Aimee teased us. “Don’t you like holding his hand?”
I shook my head, not wanting to tell them, especially Aaron, what I felt. “It was nothing.” I relayed.
The twins thankfully shrugged it off.
As always, we went everywhere together, Aimee, Aaron and I. We were playing in the backyard later that afternoon when she found out.
“Come and get me, Aaron!” I yelled, using my voice for one of the first times since arriving. “You cannot catch me!”
“Better watch out, Ari!” Aaron cried out playfully, running after me with his arms in the air. “I’m Superman!”
We were doing an innocent thing. We were having fun. That is, until we heard a dreadful voice of Mrs. Helen Gertrude.
“What’s going on here?” She yelled fiercely, making us stop in our tracks.
“We’re just having a little fun, Mrs. Gertrude.” Aaron ran to take my hand in comfort, hoping to shield me from any abuse.
In my mind, I told Aimee to make a run for it, before she was caught as well.
I admit; I was scared. I wished with all my heart and magic that something would come to Mrs. Gertrude, stopping her, if only for a short time. The new Locket around my neck grew warm. I used its warmth as strength.
Sure enough, as the wish finished, the mistress was frozen with amazement, widening her eyes as she stared at the necklace. The wish made Mrs. Gertrude frown, heading inside. I was about to cry when Aaron hugged me.
“Did you do that?” Aaron asked in my ear. When I nodded, he smiled, hugging me again. “That was a good one.”
I dried my tears and said softly, “Thanks, but I still do not know how I did it.”
“Right now, I’m just glad you did.” Aaron replied. “Race you to the attic!”
He began to run, and I followed.
“Aaron Theodore!” I replied, racing after my best friend.
I later learned Aimee was saved, and that made me feel better.
Later, Aaron and Aimee were on kitchen duty for dinner. I was alone in our tree house, pondering my new necklace.
How was I able to do what I did to Mrs. Gertrude? What about telepathy, and empathy? Why did I have those special abilities and the twins didn’t?
I dared to take it from my neck, examining it with my hands. Tired of thinking and asking myself questions I had yet to know the answers to, I closed my eyes, concentrating my mind on the image of the necklace’s special jewel.
Faintly, I could hear Mrs. Gertrude’s voice from afar, arguing with an older woman in her office.
“What do you want with me, Dixilynne?” Mrs. Gertrude demanded.
“I want to see her, Helen.” The woman said.
I could feel her sincerity, and hope of all hopes she was talking about me. She was kind, generous, caring, almost like the counselor who brought me here.
“Susan told me not to have any one of you see her or talk to her.”
“Why would my own daughter tell you that?” The woman, Dixilynne countered. “She is an Ancient Mystic now, and must be brought up as one.”
“So?” Dixilynne cried. “I just want to see how she is doing. Aluna Star cries in her sleep, wondering what is happening to her.”
“How is it you have one sister but not the other?” Mrs. Gertrude supplied.
“Father tells us it is destiny.” Dixilynne said. “I am not one to go against my own father’s wishes.”
“Funny. That’s just what Susan said two years ago.” Mrs. Gertrude said. “She claimed her being here was for the sake of destiny.”
“It is, Helen.” Dixilynne said. “I cannot explain it, but it is.”
Mrs. Gertrude’s reaction to that was a “Harumph!”
“Can I at least see her?” Dixilynne asked. “I want to be able to tell Aluna what is going on.”
“Doesn’t this Aluna have the same gifts you have?”
“Aluna is not as developed in them as her sister.” Dixilynne said. “She is afraid of it. It was just a few months ago she learned to trust in her powers.”
“Powers.” Mrs. Gertrude scoffed. “I’ll believe it when I see it. So far, the girl-child has yet to show her so-called Magical powers.”
Silence. After a few moments, Dixilynne broke it. “Where is she, Helen?”
“You sense and find her. I’ve got work to do.” Mrs. Gertrude responded.
It was then I opened my eyes and stared at the necklace.
Who were they talking about? Who was Dixilynne? Why did I feel so close to someone I didn’t even know?
I shook my head in wonder, replacing the necklace securely around my neck.
“Ariana Moon, come to me.” I heard the actual voice of this Dixilynne person. The same voice that was in my vision but closer this time.
I dared to leave the comforting tree-house to see what she wanted. I stood and looked out the open doorway to see a beautiful elder woman with long black hair and strange-colored eyes. Now that I think about it, she had the same eye color I did. Could she be a relative, come to take me home?
Dixilynne smiled. “Ah, there you are, Young One.” She said softly. “Will you come down and greet me, or should I come up?”
I didn’t know if she could read my mind, but I was too shy to talk and used telepathy to communicate. I gestured with a hand for her to come up to me. She looked to either side before closing her eyes and disappearing.
I had to rub my own to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I continued to stare out the tree-house doorway until I felt a hand on my shoulder. It made me jump.
Dixilynne laughed softly. “I do not mean to startle you, Ariana Moon. I only came to see how you were.”
“I am okay.” I told her. “Aimee and Aaron are my best friends. They protect me and I protect them.”
Dixilynne sat on the makeshift chair in the corner. “Come, sit on my lap. We have much to speak about.”
Sensing her kindness, I put my fear of strangers aside to approach her.
“Who are you?” I asked in my mind.
“I cannot tell you, yet, Young One.” Dixilynne said, stroking my cheek as I sat on her lap. “I am merely a friend looking out for you, and that is all.”
The thought of someone actually caring about me besides the twins made me smile.
“It is good to see you smile.” Dixilynne said. “My husband tells me, ‘darling, smile and the whole world smiles with you.’” She hugged my shoulders. “Why do you not speak aloud?”
“I am afraid to.” I told her. “When I first came here, I had no voice. I found it nearly a year later only to have Mrs. Gertrude hurt me when I used it.”
“That’s awful! You must be allowed to speak, no matter who wishes to hurt you for your words.” Dixilynne told me. She noticed the necklace. “So, Lord Guardian has finally given it to you.”
“You know him?” I asked, eyes wide.
Dixilynne laughed. “Of course. He is my father and a very powerful Wizard.”
“Aye, Ariana Moon. Magic.” She affirmed. “In fact, you have Magic, too.”
My eyes were widened at the thought. “Am I able to help and heal with it?”
Dixilynne nodded. “In time, you will be able to do many things with it. For now, since you are so young, you have only a few abilities you can control. The rest will come later, when you believe yourself ready.”
“Do you know what I can do?” I asked her. “Besides talking in my mind to people.”
“That is called telepathy, and I believe I know exactly what you can do.” Dixilynne announced. “Let me think. You can bring objects to you, read and send messages in the mind, and feel Earthbound emotions.”
I was confused at the last statement. “What is an Earthbound? Is that what I am?”
“In a way, you are, but no.” Dixilynne said. “An Earthbound is a mortal person without your abilities who lives their life on this earth.”
I wrapped my arms around her neck after a long silence. “Will you take me home with you? I do not like it here.”
“I am sorry, Ariana Moon, but it is not yet time.” She explained, rising. I rose with her. “We must each live our destinies.”
With that, she kissed my cheek and disappeared.
When I went to the kitchen to tell the twins, I completely forgot the entire conversation. It was only when I met her in the Realm of Dreams later in life that I was able to remember.
Entry 5: To Learn, To Live, To Love, To Grow:
Four years later, Aaron, Aimee and I ventured on our own one day early in the summer. We were only eleven, and our curiosities got the better of us. From behind a bush, we watched as two boys played catch in the yard across the street.
“Let’s go see if they want to play with us.” Aimee suggested.
“No way!” I said in my mind to them. “What if Madam Pain catches us?”
“Just use your powers to stop her.” Aimee supplied.
I shook my head. “I do not want another beating. Do you?”
Both twins shook their heads.
“I’ll take the blame.” Aaron said, standing. “Let’s go.”
Aimee and I looked at each other and followed him across the street.
One of the boys noticed us and waved. “Hi!”
When they both came up to us, the one with glasses introduced himself.
There was a certain tug of power I felt from him; it was faint, much so, that at the time, I didn’t know what to do with it. “I’m Scott Archer and this is my big brother Seth.” I looked to the brother; the tug of power wasn’t there with him. “What’re your names?”
“Ariana Moon,” I told him, clearing my throat.
“Aaron Theodore,” Aaron said.
“Amethyst Theresa, but you can call me Aimee.” She smiled at Scott.
“Nice to meet you.” Scott replied. “Wanna play catch?”
I smiled, nodding my head and the twins cried, “Sure!”
So we played with the Archer brothers for a few hours, and were even invited to dinner. Scott saw my necklace and asked about it.
“That’s pretty. Where’d you get it?”
The three of us looked at each other. The twins nodded to me and I asked. “Can you keep a secret?”
Both brothers nodded. I then told them all about the Dream Realm, Lord Guardian, and the adventures the twins and I had on our escapes there. They were fascinated, of course, and I Felt I could trust them with the knowledge of my magic. I even gave him the Dream Chant, so they could join us. It became too dark to see after awhile so we went back.
We were met by Matthew Steven, Madam Pain’s main spy. He had a snide look on his face and his arms folded. “Boy, are you three in trouble?”
Aaron took both our hands in his and we marched into Mrs. Gertrude’s office.
She wasn’t smiling; not that she ever really did.
“What do you three think you’re doing, going across the street?” She demanded, scowling with hands on her hips.
I inched closer to Aaron.
“We only wanted to play with them, Mrs. Gertrude.” Aaron remarked.
“There will be no playing of any kind for either of you for a week.” Mrs. Gertrude responded. “As of this moment, you are to do your chores and return to your rooms each night. Don’t think you can get away with anything because you don’t see me watching you. I have eyes where you can’t see them.”
I gulped. Oh, how I wished I could do something!
“Now, go.” She commanded.
We left, thoroughly scolded by her.
“At least she didn’t beat us this time.” Aimee remarked later that night.
“That’s true.” I told her, fingering the Dream Locket around my neck. “We’ll have more fun in the Dream Realm. That’s one place she can’t get to us.”
Aimee smiled at that.
A week later, we returned across the street to play with the Archer brothers. Though our playtime was cut short at times, it was worth it. They even came across the street before too long, and played with us there.
A week after our first meeting the Archers, Aaron surprised me with something I wasn’t expecting. Normally, I didn’t pay attention to the passing of time, but this was a day I wouldn’t forget. It was the six-year anniversary to the day I came to the Orphanage.
Aaron led me to the attic, where he took a package from a hiding spot in the rafters and handed it to me. It was a brown rectangular-shaped box.
“What is this?”
Aaron was smiling. “Just open it.”
I looked at him suspiciously, then read the card. “’To Ariana, from Aaron. May all your dreams come true.’”
“What are you waiting for?” Aaron asked, excited.
I laughed lightly, opening it to find crepe paper. I saw the tape on it, as if the paper were protecting something underneath.
Dropping the box, I sat on the couch, examining it.
Aaron sat beside me, watching.
When I managed to tear the paper off, I discovered a porcelain unicorn with a rainbow jewel on its head beneath the horn.
“It’s Lord Guardian!” I whispered, hugging him. “Oh, my Aaron Theodore, wherever did you find it?”
Aaron kissed my cheek. “Does it matter? All that matters is that you’re happy.”
I blushed. “It’s beautiful, I love it.”
“I thought you would.” Aaron kissed my lips softly. “When you’re lonely, make a wish and think of me.”
“I could never be lonely with you around, my Aaron Theodore.” I said softly, touching my lips.
Aaron looked down. “Someday, we’ll be apart, but I want you to keep this as a reminder of me.”
I made his eyes meet mine. “Somehow, I could never forget you.” I put the statuette down and kissed him, wrapping my arms around his neck. “No matter what happens, you will always be my best friend.”
That night, his words rumbled in my head. What did he know that I didn’t? As far as I knew, I wasn’t going anywhere.
I put the statuette in a special place by my bed.
A few days later, it was missing.
“Ariana Moon!” I heard the old bat scream out my name. “Get in here!”
I stopped playing in the attic with Aaron and raced to her. “Yes, Mrs. Gertrude?”
Mrs. Gertrude shoved a unicorn statuette in my face. “What is the meaning of this?”
I didn’t know what to say. That unicorn started my love for the fantastic. I knew I wasn’t allowed to have it.
“You know better than this!” She screamed at me, making me feel lower than dirt. “You’re eleven years old, and no longer a child.”
I stared at the floor, on the verge of tears.
“Do you know what your punishment is?”
I shook my head. Not another beating, I thought to myself. I still had bruises from the last one.
She grabbed me by the arm and practically dragged me to The Room. I have never been to The Room before, and I didn’t want to be there now.
I looked around. There was a wall with torture devices. I gulped when I saw there were no windows.
She closed the door and locked it behind us, making sure no one had seen her.
Mrs. Gertrude reached for the whip. She turned to me. “Strip.”
I gasped, but stripped down anyway.
She began to whip me all over – my butt, my back, my legs and thighs. The whip hit my face and ears a couple times, but I didn’t feel it.
When she started, I closed my eyes and blocked it out of my mind, tears streaming down my cheeks.
I called the Dream Chant and my mind was whisked away, my body’s controls on autopilot.
That night, I’d had enough with the abuse, but what could I do about it? I was only eleven, a mere child.
Aimee came to me. “What if we could do what you can?”
I didn’t understand her. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, what if Aaron and I could do magic too?” Aimee asked, settling herself next to me on my bed. Her bunk was above mine. “Then we could learn together and you wouldn’t be so alone.”
“That does sound like an idea.” I supplied. “I guess the only way is by blood.”
Aimee yipped, surprising me. “That’s it!”
I looked at her suspiciously, and checked to make sure no one was awake from her sudden noise. Sure enough, all the girls were still sleeping.
“What’s it?” I stared at her and tried to think of what she could be talking about.
“A blood pact of some kind.” Aimee supplied, yawning. “We’d better get to bed, before we’re caught.”
I nodded, hugging her. “Let me think about it. We’ll come up with a way, if you really want to do it.”
Aimee smiled. “G’night sis.”
I didn’t think about that blood pact idea until a year later.
A year later, Aaron and I are in our secret place – the attic. We had just run from Mrs. Gertrude, and were in hiding.
“Are you okay?” He asked me.
I nodded, even though I was shaking. We had done nothing wrong. Aaron and I were only playing around.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Gertrude caught us.
One look from her made me want to wish the worst cold on her.
Next thing I knew, she started to sneeze!
Aaron, Aimee, and I looked at each other and tried our hardest not to laugh! It was such a funny sight!
She sent one of her slaves to chase us. Aaron and I held hands and headed for the attic while Aimee was caught.
“Are you sure?” Aaron asked me then.
I nodded, pulling my hair out of my face. “Yes, of course I’m okay. For now.”
“I understand.” Aaron said softly.
I still wasn’t into talking, except to him and Aimee.
He looked deep into my eyes. “You’re very pretty.”
“Thanks.” I said softly, blushing and looking away.
He took my hand and said. “I really mean it, Ari.”
I smiled. “I’ve never had anyone tell me I was pretty before.”
“I know. That’s why I’m telling you know.” Aaron said with a grin. “So you know.”
I laughed softly. “Thank you, but why are you telling me now?”
Now he blushed. “I’m telling you because I….” His voice trailed and he turned away. He looked back into my eyes and finished, “because I like you — a lot.”
I looked him in the eyes, startled. “Really?”
He nodded. “I always have, but never like this.”
Aaron leaned closer to me. “Like this…”
He kissed me on the lips then, and I began to kiss him back. My world spun and I moaned as he began to kiss my neck, slowly moving down my chest, where his hands found my budding breasts. Aaron managed to slip off my T-shirt, making his way down. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew I liked it.
I liked it – and him – a lot.
I followed his hands with my own to my waist.
I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t care.
Right there, I knew I had to rebel. I undid the zipper on my shorts and pulled them, along with my panties, down.
Aaron asked me. “Are you sure you want to do this as much as I do?”
I nodded. He stripped down, and we began to kiss again.
“Oh, my Aaron Theodore,” I thought in my head. “I am scared.”
“We will be safe now.” He returned. “As one.”
Afterward, we lay on the couch together, holding on to one another.
“Oh, Ariana,” He whispered. “I not only like you, I love you.”
I didn’t know about love, but I did like him. “I was wrong for wanting this, but I liked it.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Look at us. Barely in our teens and making love.”
“We like each other, don’t we? Why should anything else matter?” He asked as he stood to dress.
I started to dress as well. “If Madam Pain finds out, I’ll die.”
“How will she find out if neither of us tells her?” Aaron asked, sitting down.
“I just have a feeling, that’s all.” I told him. I didn’t know how I knew, I just did. I knew that I had to plan an escape. “I have to run away. I don’t know when, and I don’t know where I’ll go, but I have to run away.”
Aaron hugged me. “When you do, will you promise never to forget me?”
I smiled. “Somehow, I never could.”
We kissed then, pledging our love for one another.
I tossed and turned in my bed. I was uncomfortable, hot, sticky and troubled. There was no air conditioning here and Mrs. Gertrude could care less.
That’s not what bothered me most.
What bothered me now were the constant nightmares night after night, with the dream repeating itself in my mind each time.
I awoke in the Dream Realm. Lord Guardian came to me there, teaching me how to use my powers. I would escape from my daily life there, and felt no pain from beatings or no hurting inside emotionally. I felt calm, relaxed, like I belonged in this world more than anywhere else. Most of all, I felt safe.
Then the horror began. I saw terror in the Dream Realm, and didn’t know what to do. I never did. I sensed danger out of my control, and failing to know what to do about it, I felt helpless.
I always witnessed a fight from the sidelines. I was in it, defending the good side. Others were behind me, but I could never see their faces. A Unicorn-Pegasus creature, which I recognized right away, was fighting against a deadly dragon-beast, losing his life and soul to the evil creature.
I knew of the Unicorn-Pegasus well. He was Lord Guardian O’Dell of the Realms, and someday, I would take his place.
What’s going on? I often wondered after I woke.
One night, I got the answer from a very strange source.
I sat up from my bed and quietly headed to the nearby window. I stared at the night sky through the bars, thinking about the dreams.
It is called the Dream Realm, and I am from it. A little voice answered back quietly.
I looked around to make sure no one was awake. Sure enough, each of my orphanage siblings was fast asleep.
Who said that? I asked in my mind. Somehow, I knew the little voice was harmless. Perhaps in trouble?
My name is Katherine Hawk.
I recalled the many times Lord Guardian took me to his world. I met a Companion by that name. Katherine claimed every morning a Dreamer would awaken, they would forget their dream, which included people and Companions met there. The more I visited, the more I remembered the Companions.
I’m Ariana Moon. I introduced myself, sitting on the bed and staring into space. Do you not remember me?
Katherine’s voice purred in my mind, and the Balinese feline Companion remembered. Aye, Young Ariana Moon. I remember how much power you have in the Dream Realm.
I smiled. How are you my friend, and how did you find me from so far?
Uncle Orthos Banished me here, once I found out about his laboratory. That is why I am here.
I didn’t say anything at first.
Katherine explained. I sensed my twin Kitten’s Claw in trouble, so I raced to her side. I was too late. She was already gone, Banished to the Outer-Realm. Uncle Orthos found me and Banished me as well.
How awful for you, Katherine! I replied.
Call me Kat. Katherine said seriously. Tell no one about me.
Okay. I then thought of Aaron Theodore.
I know how much you care about him. Go ahead, but be careful who you trust with your heart.
In the darkness, I nodded, thinking of him, and what had taken place just hours ago. I will. Please, Kat. Tell me more about your world.
I lay myself back down on my bunk, closing my eyes.
Katherine told me all about the Dream Realm, stories about both the Province and the Dominion. The Province is the most wonderful of places, Ariana! How I wish you could see it! Whatever you wish to happen, will happen! Anything you want will be yours. You just have to dream.
That made me smile. What about the Dominion?
The Dominion is the most evil place you could ever imagine. Unfortunately, that is where my sister and I are from.
How did you get there, then, if you are good? I asked.
It is a long story. I will explain everything I know to you later on. For now, rest, and I will try to take you to my world in time.
I’d like that. Thank you, and good night, Kat.
I clutched the Locket around my neck and smiled. I dreamed about the Provinces, and meeting my new friend Kat there.