Shade used to like the winter. She never imagined she’d think of Raesul fondly, growing up abused and hated by almost everyone in her village. Times like these, she actually missed that hateful place. In Raesul, she had Savage Hall, her home. Dad, Tkeea and Vayle were always nearby. At this time of year, Vayle would settle into Savage Hall and they’d spend winter together. Now, she’d ride out winter by herself because using Lifeblood to travel during a snow storm was a waste of power.
She should be inside now, preparing. Why was she walking down a dirt road in Middle Jael towards Heaven’s Gate once again?
How was she going to build a school for Lifeblood beings when most blamed the Sciell for killing the world?
Scared, accusing faces wouldn’t leave her memory. She tried placing the incident behind a locked door in her mind. It wouldn’t stay there. It assaulted her when wasn’t strong enough to deal with it.
When did life become so tortuous?
Wraith kept with her pace. He did that a lot recently. She patted his horn. It was nice having him close by. She wasn’t alone. If only Wraith talked more. She communicated with him, mind-to-mind. Wraith was never talkative.
A solid forced bumped her, knocking her off the road. Wraith pulled ahead.
“You’re perfect the way you are,” she said, getting back on the road.
Wraith slowed down to walk beside her.
Shade dropped three skin tight shields over herself—one to hide any sounds she made, one to hide her scent and one to make her invisible. Wraith did the same.
The first time she went to the gate, rabid Del’Praeli attacked her. They were guarding that area for some reason.
The Gate called to her core.
Having three cores, three Dark Consciousness, merge with her own made her capable of holding more power.
Mascenore Tahylur, the first Sciell, gave his core to Phoenix Tahylur to save his life after Phoenix nearly killed himself turning human children into Del’Praeli/Sciell. Shade now protected the core of the first Sciell and all it did was drag her to Heaven’s Gate. She often dreamt about a colorful world with a bright red sky and blue grass. A big family was always around her.
That size family—the memory could only come from Haylan-the first Dark Consciousness, the being that first lived in Mascenore then Phoenix. He missed his family. The Gate was the key. It didn’t want her going through it.
When Haylan used Phoenix to talk to Grandma, he told her the Dark Consciousness in the first Sciell was alive. They used to have physical bodies. The cores inside their off-spring were different. It was a piece of the protective layer surrounding the parent’s core. It was a copy of the original Dark Consciousness.
All cores were alive. They grow by absorbing power and emotions from the host. Haylan was different. He had emotions and memories before he became the Dark Consciousness. He would always be more mature than the Dark Consciousness inside second and third generation Sciell.
It was like having a grandparent living inside her.
The Gate was in sight. How many times did she visit this place to sit for hours and watch nothing happen? She found her favorite tree and jumped. She leapt from branch to branch until she found her spot, high enough to see anything coming from the road or the Gate. Wraith didn’t enjoy heights. He stayed on the ground, wandering the area in search of food.
She collected enough supplies to last her all winter. She wanted extra. This winter was going to be worse and longer than the others. She felt it.
She closed her eyes and concentrated on the connection with Vayle. He should be close to Heart’s Leaves by now.
What’s wrong? Vayle worried voice came in strong across their connection.
She could picture him frowning.
What’s wrong Shade?
She hadn’t heard that commanding voice in a while.
I almost destroyed a small village of Miners.
Panic and anger blasted into her mind and through her body from Vayle.
You aren’t protecting your mind? His voice didn’t sound concerned, more furious.
Nothing’s happened in so long. The possession didn’t stick. Wraith and my Haylan freed me.
Silence and rage. It was still strange to be able to feel Vayle’s emotions this way.
Where are you?
Close to Old Dalibor.
Shade owned a house in the area. She wanted a small place away from humans, away from anyone and anything.
Why are you there and why are you giving me half answers?
It was mistake to called Vayle. She couldn’t lie to him. All she succeeded in doing was worrying him.
I’m always worried about you. Why are you in Dalibor? Your house isn’t near there. That town isn’t safe.
Her house was a day’s walk. To a Sciell used to being on the road, a day’s walk was nearby. To a worried brother, that was too far.
I’m not in town. She might was well tell him. I’m at Heaven’s Gate.
Vayle was a new level of angry.
You are aware of the stories, child. Stories of people disappearing in that area. Stories of rabid Del’Praeli owning that area.
I’m shielded. They can’t see or sense me.
Why are you there?
Haylan wants to be here.
Someone was here, walking towards the Gate. A small figure dressed in all furs. She couldn’t sense them. A sensation across her skin told her the figure approached. She didn’t smell them. Shade snapped another shield around herself.
Where was Wraith?
Hidden. Wraith’s usual elegant voice came across her connection
Vayle’s fury was beyond measure now. He couldn’t see what she did. He knew her thoughts and emotions. He knew someone was here with her and that Shade didn’t care for this person.
Don’t do anything stupid.
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