The Gaean Prophecy

an excerpt



Prologue

The End

Grayson knew he wasn't born of this world because he could still remember his past, yet he knew with every fibre of his being that he belonged here. The world he now found himself in, and these creatures that lived here, were in his blood. At first, he hadn't understood where he was, or how he'd gotten here--or if ‘here' was even real. He thought maybe everything he was experiencing was the symptom of some coma-induced dream, filled with the silent stories that his foster brother, Jarkebb, used to tell him. In the end, Grayson found it didn't matter anymore. Here, all those characters he'd always loved and hated so much were now more than just a figment of his overactive imagination.

Here--they were real!

Grayson looked down at his wounded companion. "Let me tell you a story."

Closing his eyes, he stroked his friend's long red hair as his head lay in Grayson's lap. It was matted with blood. Grayson didn't know if it was theirs or one of their enemies--and didn't care. He let his mind drift back to the day he woke up and found that he no longer existed. He concentrated hard on the events that occurred just before his world had changed forever. He could almost taste the smoothness of the Baileys on the rocks, could almost feel the warmth that flowed through him as Jarkebb had wrapped his arms around him in an excited hug. A smile touched his mouth as he recalled his other life. He didn't want to have to think about the sound of the feet marching towards them, knowing today might very well be the day they all died.

And so, his story began.

*****

The beginning

Lord Jondalar Arindad's body prickled with apprehension as he watched the wizard walk toward the Sigale. Even now it filled him with a sense of awe that the gateway still stood proud and tall in the pale moonlight. It was as if the Sigale knew its very reason for being was for tonight and tonight alone. No one knew for certain just how long the sacred gates had existed. Some say the gates had been this way since the dawn of time. Others thought they were a gift from the Great Dragons that had once freely roamed over the skies of Gaea. No one could know for certain until the Great Dragons wished to reveal themselves once more--which was unlikely ever to happen. In all the searches that had been made for their hidden lair, no one had come close to locating the creatures.

The ancient prophecies foretold a stranger who would come as a reward from the Goddess herself. With his arrival, a great change would begin. This would awaken the Great Ones and unite all Gaeans as one. Over a thousand generations had come and gone since the last Great Dragon had been sighted.

A thousand generations, during which Gaea had fallen into hatred and darkness.

A thousand generations in which despair had run rampant until all hope was lost.

The Sigales were created for something. There was one major Sigale on each continent, with lesser portals used to travel for those who knew how. The Sigales were meant to change the way of things, yet in recent history this particular gate had been used only twice. Once to send away someone who was banished, and now tonight it was being used to bring that same someone home.

War was coming.

Jarkebb Arindad had been in banishment for the past fifteen years. Now with the great unrest happening between the continents, he was needed home again. His return would bring forth the stranger destined by the Goddess.

The wizard stood before the Sigale. Turning slightly, the wizard looked directly into Jondalar's eyes to confirm all was in readiness to begin. At the slight inclination of his head, the magic man turned once more to face the Sigale. His whole being seemed focussed upon the incantation he was about to perform. Breathing deeply of the crisp night air, Jondalar watched as the wizard raised his arms towards the heavens and began.



"Ky del aeel ja emryss (I call upon the eye of the world,)

Tam liena na hale ghen (Where creation did begin.)

Ky del aeel fom Belda Gaea (I call upon our Mother Earth,)

Da gil sha sutrhun ralta (To promise her power within.)"



As the wind picked up in velocity, Jondalar's hair whipped about his face as he stared at the wizard's fingers lightly tracing over the intricate patterns upon the surface of the Sigale. The gateway was once more coming alive under his caress. Soon...soon the sacred gate would be fully open between the worlds and his son would be able to return home where he belonged. Jondalar stood and scrutinised what was happening, just to make sure the fool wizard was doing everything right. He didn't want to come so close, only to have it all ripped away from him.



"Ky del aeel ja Dragon essane (I call upon the Dragon's breath,)

Da Dias ja Sigale se frie (To open the gates of time.)

Ky del aeel ja dos nodine (I call upon the four winds,)

Jaey sutrhun da mietscra (Their powers to entwine.)

Ky del aeel ja dye fen sutan (I call upon the sun's own strength,)

Da raden ja janadrae hi (To light the traveller's way.)

Ky del aeel ja santarn dho (I call upon the rainbow's end,)

Tam Gaeae sutan anahol li (Where Earth's strength does lie.)"



The power in the air surrounding them began pulsating like the beating of a heart. The wind's intensity grew stronger, wailing in unison with the sound of the wizard's voice. Jondalar felt as if the very earth was rising up to wrap itself lovingly and protectively around his body, its presence responding to the ancient language in which the other man spoke.

As the Wizard Kynnan chanted, Jondalar's thoughts drifted to the beautiful face of the young man who had filled his dreams with nightmares for centuries. Those nightmares had vanished with the banishment of his son. Jondalar hoped that his actions tonight would not bring them back once more. For fifteen years, he'd both longed for and dreaded this night because--while his son had been banished--so had the dreams. This wizard had better know what he's doing and not screw things up like the last one had.



"Ky del aeel loscae chenadae roden (I call upon the star's true light,)

Da jahen ja janadrae erros (To bring the travellers near.)

Ky del aeel ja winane bien trel (I call upon the first moonbeam,)

Grietan ralta ja Dragon deoc (Trapped within a Dragon's tear.)"



Lightning tore across the darkened sky and thunder echoed through the nearby mountains. Both of them could barely keep their bodies upright as the wizard fought to finish the incantation.



"Ky del aeel ja ranae se frie (I call upon the royals of time,)

Da Dias ja Sigale rya winon (To open the gates as one.)"



The wind buffeted around Jondalar as he desperately tried to hold onto his footing. The elements felt as though they were both helping and hindering all at the same time. None of it mattered. The only thing that did was the return of his son.

Jarkebb would be here soon.



"Ky del aeel liena gael (I call upon creation's hand,)

Da envay sha baha rhal (To lead her lost souls home.)"



The darkness exploded momentarily into daylight as the full force of the incantation was released around them. The sacred gate now stood aglow. As if by magic, the midday sun had come to replace it. The imagery was there for but a moment before everything imploded into utter chaos.



Chapter One

Earth 2013

Grayson had always loved listening to Jay's stories. He usually lost himself completely in the lives of the creatures therein. He'd known Jay for most of his life. Though sometimes he felt as though he'd woken up one day and Jay had simply appeared, as if by magic. The reality was Jacob Arin was his foster brother. Jay's parents had been killed when he was only nine years of age. No one had understood his inability to speak. They blamed the disability on the trauma of having survived the car crash, which had taken the lives of both his parents, yet Grayson found his muteness calming, and was content to spend hours with his silent friend.

In all honesty, words didn't matter between them. For some reason, each knew exactly what the other was thinking. Still, for the comfort of the family, they used sign language--only occasionally falling back into their silent ways. Grayson had only been six when Jay first came to live with his family and after fifteen years, they were still the very best of friends. They'd even moved out of their home and into an apartment together when Grayson had turned eighteen.

Tonight's story was about one of Grayson's all-time favourite characters: Jondalar Arindad--Lord of the Elven-kind and Master of Gustave Castle in the province of Meadow Run. Jondalar was trying to bring home the son who had been lost. Their world thought the son had been banished by the should-be-king, Tristram Deloraine. None of them knew the truth, not even Lord Jondalar himself. Only the Lady--the Goddess--and King Tristram knew where and for what reason the child had been sent away. The boy had been instructed to find the person of whom the prophecies spoke. If he made it home again, he would fulfil an important part of his destiny.

Grayson wasn't even sure why he liked Jondalar so much, because by the way Jay spoke about him, the guy was a bit of an arse, but lately he often found himself just reflecting--or even dreaming--about the man. In his mind, he knew every little detail about him--from the distracted way he would pace a room when thinking, to the scar that marred his chest below his heart where the magics had burned him the night his son had been sent away. The scar was in the shape of a Dragon in flight and had intrigued Grayson so much that when he'd turned eighteen, he'd gotten the same design tattooed on the inside of his left wrist. Jay had laughed at his obsession with the Elven-kind lord. He couldn't explain why, yet somehow the tattoo made Grayson feel closer to the character. Okay, call him crazy, but some days he wished Jondalar Arindad was real.

*****

Jacob stared at what appeared to be confusion on his best friend's face. He was trying to explain to Grayson that his destiny, and the part he had to play in the prophecy, was about to unfold. The truth was, Jarkebb Arindad had always been destined to join the races of the Faerie and the Elven-kind. And in doing so, he would start war among the races of Gaea. This part of his fate was not something that Jacob looked forward to. Many innocent people would have to needlessly die just so he could return to his family, his home, and the man he had loved since his birth.

"Jay," Grayson signed, interrupting the flow of the story, "does Zadyn even know that he's supposed to marry Lord Jondalar's son?"

"They were bonded the day Zadyn was born. It doesn't matter if they know each other or not." He wished Grayson would just let him get on with the story--time was running out.

"Bit of a shock, don't you think? For Zadyn, I mean. What if this son's an arsehole? Or as ugly as sin? It's just that someone as beautiful as the prince deserves...well..." Grayson shrugged as he smiled at him.

"So you think that you know what the Faerie prince looks like, hey?"

"As a matter of fact, I do." Grayson blushed. "In my mind, I see him as perfection itself. Yet when out of his father's sight and hearing, he's freer. He's as wild as the wind and a touch mischievous. Is that how you see him? I wonder if Jondalar's son knows Zadyn has two sides? What's his name?" Grayson asked, and Jarkebb--Jacob--didn't know how to answer. "Why haven't you ever told me his name?"

Jacob smiled sadly. He wondered if Grayson was truly ready to hear the truth. The truth being he, Jacob, was, in fact, Jarkebb Arindad, son of Lord Jondalar, and Grayson Gellespie was, in fact, the person foretold of in the Gaean prophecy. Grayson may not be ready for it, but he needed to be told, for Jarkebb could already feel the sensation of his own body being called home. Soon, the doorway to Gaea would be open once more and they would both be pulled back through to their destinies.

Reaching out, he brushed a strand of hair out of Grayson's eyes. It amazed him that no matter how well he secured his friend's hair, those two strands always worked their way loose.

"I have only seen the prince when he was but a small child. I do not know what the prince looks like now, yet the way you have described him is how I think of him. In my heart, I know I'll love him with everything that I am. Only in death can a bonding be broken." Jarkebb winced as the roar of the gateway filled his mind.

"What?" Grayson looked as if he wasn't sure whether Jay was just yanking his chain or whether he really believed what he was saying. Fear flooded his friend's eyes as a strange halo of light appeared above them. Reaching out, Jarkebb took hold of Grayson's hands in his.

"Gray...I'm Jarkebb Arindad. I am of the Elven-kind. Lord Jondalar is my father."

Jarkebb knew this was the first time Grayson had had ever heard a sound other than terror, grief, or laughter come out of his mouth. It seemed to stun him. Jarkebb couldn't take the time to comfort his friend, so he tried to get it all out at once before Grayson's life changed forever. "We're being called home, Gray."

Grayson didn't have time to voice the building scream as Jarkebb grabbed him. He pulled Grayson to him in a tight embrace as the halo of light shot down and enveloped them both.

"I'm sorry," was the last thing Grayson would have heard before the darkness tore him away from Jarkebb and claimed him as its own.

*****

Admetus--parallel timeline

Jondalar stared in disbelief at the young wizard standing amongst all the destruction. His body pulsed with anger as he realised they were still alone.

He isn't here!

Something had gone wrong.

Where is my son?

Jondalar stormed towards the Wizard, until his hands connected with Kynnan's chest.

"Wizard!" Jondalar roared. The anger coursing through his body lent strength to his words. "Where is he?"

Kynnan stumbled backwards to stand in apparent stunned silence as the wind died and the dust settled around him. With the returning of the darkness, Jondalar could almost sense the other man's fear growing.

"I-I-I don't understand," Kynnan stuttered slowly. "He should be here. I can feel his life bond."

"I want him found!" Jondalar snarled at the incompetent wizard, before turning towards the portal. "And, wizard, I hold you to blame for this. Find him, and do not fail me again." He spat the last word out as he stepped through the portal without looking back.

Of all the idiotic things I've ever undertaken, retaining that fool to do my bidding is now at the top of the list. He'd better fix this, or all hell is going to break loose. I'll find a nice cell in the dungeon to accommodate him for a while.

The mere thought had him making plans as he slowly made his way back to the castle. Bringing Jarkebb home had been only a fraction of the things he had going on in his life. Somewhere in his household there was a traitor--someone selling information to Tristram, or more to the point, Tristram's sister.

*****