Running Toward Destiny

Chapter 6

Illusionary

Hours from when Selenia fell asleep she finally stirred and, finding the gates wide open, she knew something must have happened.  An axe lay buried in the metal each of the gates, but there was no one to be seen.  A small scrap of clothing fastened to the end of the axe told her that the man had been a little careless at the first, but had recovered quickly enough to miss the axe.  She stood up quickly and moved through the room without touching any of the sharp blades, and then moved on down the hallway, wondering how far the man had gotten.  It would probably be a long time before she found him, because of the rooms up ahead.  He could be in any one of them, and it would be hard to search them all.  Maybe there would be some signs.

When she reached the hallway, she looked around.  The gates that seemed to stretch into forever didn't impress her, for she knew there was an end.  The first gate on the left was barred shut.  That meant he'd been there, if he still wasn't.  It was a bad place in there, a trap for many who'd ventured previously, but she knew the man would have figured out how to get through.  Indeed, she saw that one other gate was part of the way shut, which meant he had to be in that room, but where he was in that room was the question.  She walked over to the other gate and peered into the room.  The room, almost circular, contained only a small lake in the middle.  The thought of how such things got here had puzzled Selenia more than once, but she'd long since given up tying to figure it out.  It was just there.  It had a bridge that actually went under the water, and Selenia had taken a trip down it once to see where it led.  There was a house down there, but no one had been present when she'd arrived.  Otherwise, it was a worthless room, but the man might have been curious.  She walked in, avoiding the bar with ease.

Looking around, she noticed that there was only one person there, lying flat on his back on the lush grass.  He looked like he'd been in a battle recently, and it looked like he was trying to recover.  Careful not to disturb him, she carefully and swiftly moved back out into the hallway.  She was better off not to reveal herself to him now, lest he be frightened.

She looked around the hallway.  One of these rooms had a person in it that she had come to see often, but with all her recent events, it had been awhile since she'd been here.  She walked down three doors and peered at the doorway on the right.  This looked like the right room, the one she vaguely remembered.  She walked in.  The gate did not fall.  It had not noticed anybody's presence move thought there, and so hadn't reacted.  The invisibility spell was an especially good one.  It didn't matter anyway.  Selenia knew the secret to reopening the inner gates -only a simple incantation she'd learned.  One day she'd learn the real reason for this castle.  Her mother had claimed to know, but had never told her, and now she was gone, her knowledge with her.

The room was filled with bright pastels of all colors of the rainbow covering the walls.  The floor had been polished to a dull shine, and there were small pillars everywhere that each had a small thing placed on it.  Jahira, her friend, had always loved trinkets, and she loved showing them off to anyone.  Not that she got many visitors in this forgotten place, but she would show each of her new ones to Selenia whenever she came.  She walked farther into the room, moving smoothly around all of the pedestals.

At the back of the room, a small hallway connected it with Jahira's main house.  It wasn't that long, and Selenia was anxious to meet her again after such a lapse.  She almost ran through the hallway.  That is what probably saved her life.

As she rounded the last corner and burst out into the room, everything fell apart.  A statue holding an axe fell to the floor, only seconds after she passed it.  Then the room seemed to melt.  The colors there faded into one dull gray.  Selenia looked around.  This wasn't the right place.  Something had gone wrong.  She looked down at herself.  She was becoming visible, and she had no way to stop it.  There was a magical nullifier in here, and it was affecting everything.  It had probably been activated by her presence, and now she didn't have a clue where it was.  Trinkets were scattered all over the place, and one of them must be the nullifier.  Finding it would prove most difficult.  She had to try though, and get rid of it before it could do something.  The castle itself had been built with magic, and eventually it would completely fall apart.  She turned around.  The axe had almost covered the doorway, making that exit impossible to get to.  There had to be another way.  The only other way out was a passageway, but it only led deeper into the castle.  It was her only hope that it led somewhere.  But first, she had to find that enchantment.  It could be anywhere, but it had to be in here.  The source of the nullification was in this room.  She looked closely at the magic, its view just as plain as any physical object now.  It was moving, swirling inward toward a pile of trinkets.  She moved closer to that pile, trying to look closer to figure out exactly which one it was.  She picked through a few of them and then grabbed one.  It was an ordinary object, a small deep blue and speckled white glass marble.  The magic seemed to pool into it.  She hurried down the small corridor.

She first noticed that she was starting to fade when she was nearing the end of the passageway.  The hand that held the amulet was beginning to disappear.  She then realized that she wasn't holding a normal magic nullifier; she was holding one that would nullify anything, given enough time.  She ran out of the passage into another room, and immediately felt a pulling sensation.  Something magical was at work here, and it was distressing Selenia with the amulet affecting all magic.  She looked around the room.  There, in the corner on the floor, another marble was moving the magical tides of the castle.  It was another nullifier.  Near the edge of the two swirling tides, there was something strange, like a void.  Selenia couldn't look at it for more than a second before it affected her mind.  She threw the marble in her hand at the red and speckled black colored marble that lied on the floor.  The two hit, and a backwash of magic slammed her against the wall.  As she slumped to the floor, she faded back into invisibility.

It was some time later before Selenia's eyelids fluttered and she awoke.  The dim torch on the wall looked much brighter than it should have been.  She had a pounding headache, but otherwise she was fine.  She looked over at the marbles, now fused together as she stood up.  She walked over to the corner and picked up the oddly colored glass figure.  It appeared as though it would be easy to separate the two and use them again, but she wasn't about to find out right now.  She would wait until there was some dire need.  They were very potent indeed, and they had horrifying side affects.  Maybe there would be some way to modify them so that they could be used as normal magical nullifiers.  There was probably no one alive that could do that though.  She put them into her belt pouch and looked around.  She could go back the way she came, or she could walk down another passage, one that led even deeper into the castle, and perhaps find some answers there.  She chose the latter and started out, moving slower than before to search out any traps.  She couldn't be caught again like before.

It wasn't too much later before she broke out into another room.  She had seen this room before and knew about its traps.  The whole room had a sleep spell locked in it, one that would affect anyone that came into it.  Selenia however would remain unaffected by it, because of the potent invisibility spell she was using.  All of the spells in this castle had to have something to lock on for it to work, which meant that the nullifier hadn't come from this castle.  Where had it come from then?  Someone must have brought it in here, but it could have been anytime.  Its origin was a mystery that was unlikely to be solved, as were many things inside of this prison of time.  She decided that it was a good time to rest and eat, for she hadn't had anything for most of the day, and it was likely to be nighttime out now.  She sat down and pulled out one of her vials, uncorked it, and then sat down to a feast for one.