Prophecy Story Index
And Soon the Day Will Fade Away
As the sun sank in the distance, the old woman rested her hands on the low parapet and closed her eyes, letting the lingering rays dance across her face. Gentle winds tousled her loosened graying, once-blonde hair and picked at the dark green cloak draped over her shoulders. She smiled to herself, inhaling the familiar scents of the summer tree blossoms that floated in the breeze. In the courtyard below, she could hear the chimes that heralded the sunset of another day, echoed moments later by those in the city surrounding the palace. Reopening her eyes, she watched the sun continue its journey downwards, the smile still gracing her features. Behind her, she heard near-silent footsteps step onto the area overlooking the city below. Footsteps that she recognized very well after so many years.
"Home. I'm home, Rhian. In the years I have remaining, I will never grow weary of this -- watching the sun set on the hills, hearing the bells ring, listening to the wind whistling, seeing the banners snapping on the towers." She laughed quietly. "Maybe it's because I've only been home a month now, but I don't think so." Sighing, she leaned against the low wall.
A tall, thin figure detached from the shadows, stepping closer to the old woman, the diminishing light of dusk revealing a woman, a decade of years younger, clad in a long, deep red cloak that complimented the intricate braid of dark auburn hair that fell over one shoulder. As she stood next to the old woman, a glint of light caught her eyes, highlighting their yellow-green tint.
"This was and is your home, m'lady. The years between have not changed that." Her low voice barely disturbed the evening air. "Rillanda has been waiting for you, just as you have been waiting for Rillanda."
The old woman's eyes grew distant. "Yes, I suppose you're right. I loved Helv so much, but Bornath was never where I truly belonged." She ran her hand along the stones of the wall, remembered pain shading her voice and eyes. "And after he died...I knew it was time for me to come back. It has been so long. Too long. So much has changed."
Rhian remained silent by her side, eyes alert and focused on her.
Seyna, once-daughter of Rillanda, later consort to the King Helv of Bornath, now a widow returned to her homeland, finished quietly, "And yet, so much is the same as when I left." She chuckled quietly and glanced up at her younger companion. "You must think me quite maudlin."
"No, m'lady." Rhian shook her head. "Time changes us all. We can but change with it or be left behind." She gestured to palace and to the city of Brightstar spread out beneath them. "Although Rillanda has waited for your return, she could not stay time's passing in that wait."
Seyna turned and studied Rhian's face. "Oh, Rhian, my dear friend and Ysindran poet with words of such wisdom, why do you not return to your home now? Your days of servitude to me ended the moment we left Bornath, if not at the moment of Helv's death."
The woman's eyes darkened and her jaw tightened. "I cannot, m'lady. Once you leave Ysindra, you may never return."
"Never? Even if you didn't leave of your own will? And as a child?" Seyna blinked, surprised. "That isn't something I've heard before. Is that why so few ever leave your country?"
"One of the reasons, yes." Rhian nodded. "It's very...complicated."
Seyna straightened and touched Rhian's arm. "I'm sorry. You must miss your family, your own home."
Rhian hesitated and inclined her head slightly. "Sometimes. But they live here." She touched her palm to her chest, pressing against her heart. "And they live in my music of the present, my words of the future, and my memory of the past. They are always with me, m'lady."
"Just as Helv will always be with me." Seyna smiled. The two women shared a long look, then Seyna straightened. "If you cannot return home, would you consider remaining here? This old woman could use the company. But stay only out of friendship, nothing more. I won't hold you if you decide to go."
Rhian covered Seyna's hand with hers, gripping it gently. "I will stay, m'lady. As your friend."
Seyna's smile grew wider. "Then as your friend, you must call me Seyna. No longer are we mistress and servant. We are but friends."
Green-yellow eyes widened, then blinked before Rhian hesitantly nodded. "Very well...Seyna. Friend." They clasped hands, each vowing silently to remain true to their bond of friendship.
As they continued to watch the sun disappear, Seyna spoke quietly, "What brought you up here, Rhian? Surely something more than the desire to share a sunset?" A small grin pulled at the corners of her mouth.
An answering grin on her face, Rhian nodded. "Yes, m--Seyna. Something more than the sunset, beautiful as it is." The humor died away and she shifted her gaze to the heavens above. "I was working on a piece of music, trying the melody on a harp to see how it would flow. And words..." She hesitated, then shook her head, lips firming into a tight line. "Words came to me, using my voice to be heard, to be spoken. Wonderful, terrible words. Words of a prophecy like none other. Words that must remain hidden until the proper time."
Well aware of her now-former servant's occasional foreseeings, Seyna whispered, "What did the words tell you?"
"They spoke of circles of time and winds of fate. Of prophecy and destiny. Of trust and betrayal." Rhian paused, then added, "And of death and life." She looked down to meet Seyna's gaze. Her eyes whirled with secrets untold and words unspoken. "They said that now is the point of balance between what was and what must be; that the road of destiny has become cloudy; and that new light must illuminate prophecy's path." Rhian looked into the distance, her eyes becoming unfocused.
"Just before I was taken, when I still lived in Ysindra, I had a dream and a voice told me that I would be a portal through which many words would be spoken that would grant to those in times distant a shield with which to defend when peace faltered and a map by which to guide when the day's light had gone." Rhian took a breath and finished quickly. "But that I must be wary of those who would seek to destroy the knowledge I hold as enemies would surround me," she held out her hand, palm facing up, "and trust only she that called me friend in the midst of adversity."
Seyna swallowed hard and she grasped Rhian's in hers. "Then wary we will be. Do you remember the words?"
Gathering her cloak around her, Seyna turned from the parapet and gestured towards the stairway door. "Come then. We are about to write a book. A book of great knowledge hidden among the trappings of dull history."
Together they began their descent on the stairwell, their voices echoing softly, heard only by the rock walls.
"What did the words say? Exactly?"
"The one of prophecy and the sword of destiny stand against the one of fire, the adversary who is faithless, the warrior who is fallen...."
- The End -
Prophecy Story Index