Death, in general, should be an activity reserved for those who’ve led full lives— or the handful who’ve committed some terrible act during life— like shuffleboard on a resort itinerary. He should’ve breezed right past the young girl of barely sixteen, but Mira was fortunate the Miners didn’t have a chance to drain her ethereal energy thereby sending her straight to Nuumyaj.
“Not again!” she wailed as she passed through the glitterfied Oracle of Hereclies. She turned to it. “Damnit!” Mira held the metal that, at some point, melted off the toaster and rested in her hand. “Send me back! I saved your ass… I feel like I’m always saving your sorry ass!”
Despite her tantrum, the Oracle refused to respond. “You know it can’t do that.”
Mira turned to face a figure standing among wisps of gray and white fog; it was the Empress. “Then what is it good for?” she folded her hands across her chest.
The Empress let out a short laugh. “I see your journey through earth left its marks. You’ll readjust, in time, but there’s one thing you need to know. When whatever Blessed Essence left in Cassiel transferred to you, it outweighed your Cryptonateur characteristic.”
“What does that mean for future lives?” Mira was beginning to remember Ashzaria.
“Well,” The Empress hesitated. “First off, thank you for being brave and sacrificing your life for Ashzaria.”
Mira huffed, “Like I had a choice.”
“To answer your question, it means that in the lives you lead, you’ll no longer be drawn to numbers, patterns, or puzzles. Instead, you’ll take on nurturing or caring qualities. What you end up being will depend on what plane you end up living in. Cassiel started losing her Blessed Essence when she started consorting with the Miners. Her soul ended up in Nuumyaj.” She looked to Mira who stared into the distance. “I suppose I’ll leave you to your thoughts.”
With that, the Empress disappeared into wisps of light fog that grazed the nebulous ground. Ashzaria wasn’t bright like stories she’d been told about Paraíso, but it wasn’t firey and bleak like the rumors of Nuumyaj. Ashzaria was neither pleasant nor unpleasant; it simply was— although it was a lot better with Saros at her side. She knew she could speak with others in an attempt to absolve the emptiness, but friendships and conversation weren’t appealing to a soul in the plane of limbo. The only solace she sought was in Saros; his return would be her remedy.
Shards of past memories revolved around her until it became apparent that she constantly died too young. More specifically, she passed away moments after meeting Saros, as though he were a talisman to her, dooming her back to Ashzaria.
But why? Perhaps if it happened in a handful of lifetimes, she’d accept it and wait for the next. Unwilling to linger and hope for an answer to drift by, Amiralina sat out to find the Empress. She flowed through thin clouds until she noticed a very different figure standing in the distance. Mira continued until she reached it.
The figure turned. “Mira,” she greeted. “I expected you to find me.”
“Empress, I’ve lived over eight-hundred lifetimes. Hundreds of centuries and I live in none of them,” she stated.
“I beg to differ; in a few, you and Saros spend quite a length of time together. In a couple, you’ve had a child… although the birth was your demise.” The Empress sighed and thought for a moment. “I’m afraid I do not have an answer for you, my warrior. You two might be eternally crossed.”
Mira was horrified, well, she was as horrified as she could be in a mundane state of existence. “What does that mean?”
“I don’t know. It could mean many things… the timing could be one.”
Mira studied the unwavering figure. “Is there a solution? Can we be together like the others?”
“I can only think of one answer, but it’s terribly risky. It could mean an eternity of missing one another in every life,” The Empress answered.
“We already do,” Mira protested.
The Empress sighed before continuing. “Let me finish. Not only in your lives but here as well. If you re-time yourself, perhaps it could align your souls, allowing you two to live lifetimes perfectly in sync, but—”
“Tell me no more. I’ll do it,” Mira interrupted, anxious to try the untested theory and running to the Oracle.
The Empress chased after the young soul. When she caught up with her, she explained, “I’ve never tried this; your mate is living another life in another plane. You may not end up in the dimension of Earth. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve never had a pair of souls living in different dimensions at the same time. This could prove disastrous. I normally would not allow this, but Saros is a dear friend and you…” she trailed off as she considered the eager, new soul. “… you saved Ashzaria. In that respect, I will approve of this, but I warn you: Remember your purpose. You are merely there to upset time as your soul and the soul of Saros experience it. I wish you luck.”
At that, the Empress left in haste as Mira, without hesitation, passed into the beckoning lights of the Oracle. Once in the glistening fog, the Oracle spoke to her. “You come too soon, child.”
“I’m here upon the approval of the Empress. I am now Amiralina the Blessed and I have leave to seek a new life,” Mira responded.
“You come as a part of a conspiracy; you come as a pawn, young one,” the Oracle’s soft voice warned.
Mira panicked. “I’m being used? Stop this, then,” she requested.
“It’s too late. Proceed to Astridia with caution,” the Oracle advised to an unaware, new life.
Before continuing, it’s important to note the spoken language in Astridia is Achai. As no one dwelling in Astridia is expected to read the chronicles, the narration will continue in American-English with a few words not having a direct translation. Astridia is a single island surrounded by drinkable ocean water with the land being divided into cities and grasslands.
The ecosystem of Astridia is such that plant-life harbors a high-nutrient density and animals are inedible making the inhabitants strictly herbivorous.
Astridia places a direct focus on technology and, as such, has successfully managed to harness natural energy to sustain necessities and finds no need for heavy industry. Residents either find employment in technology development, professional industries (education, medical, and legal) or tending to animals and farmland.
Socially, there’s no real need for anyone to travel far in the land. Families generally remain in the same township. Relationships are formed from logistics, not necessarily emotion. Because each township invests primarily in itself and does not involve itself in the affairs of another region, there’s little conflict or need for trade or currency exchanges.
Because its focus on environment supersedes an interest in land development and industry, Astridia’s environment is ideal and the life expectancy would translate roughly into ninety to one-hundred and twenty earth years.
Misa pulled her pitch-black hair behind her ears to keep the wind from blowing it back in her eyes and breathed the freesia air as it combed through strands of grass. In the distance, a group of Grau’s crossed the wide field. As the herd passed, one Grau lingered behind and glanced at Misa before continuing behind the others.
“I know how you feel,” she hummed to the lonely Grau. Emptiness filled her body and her mind. She couldn’t put a finger on it, but something was missing and she grew weary of the constant struggle to check sadness.
She took comfort that her family was a farming family and took to any excuse she could find to wander the length of the fields. That evening, the excuse was a search for an errant Eral who was thought to be digging up the rayn fields.
“I thought I might find you here,” came a gentle voice from behind her.
Misa turned as Doran knelt and took a seat next to her. Her and Doran had grown up together, their families both having business in farming. He ran a hand through his fresh-cut black hair and the sun sparkled off his chocolate eyes as he did. His face was clear, flawless and his shy smile revealed his immaculate teeth.
She raised her eyebrows and plucked a piece of grass. “You found me,” she sighed.
He chuckled, “Is that a bad thing?”
Doran inhaled a deep breath and did his best to hold his composure. He was nervous. Misa always made him feel that way. He loved her hair, the way it hung, long, behind her back. And her smell, floral and clean, hypnotic. Most of all, he loved her mind; it was soothing, clear and yet haunted by something that wasn’t there. She wouldn’t agree to it, he already knew, but his father told him he should ask, that it’d be better to ‘make her feel as though she had a choice in the matter before an answer was forced on her’. Doran didn’t want to do it, he’d prefer for her to want to be with him of her own volition.
She turned to him, using her hand to block the sun.
“W-would you…” another deep breath. The hand he leaned on tottered and nearly caused him to fall to his side. “Would y-you marry me?”
As expected, she shook her head and simply responded, “No.”
Another breeze blew through the open field and Doran shook a piece of wayward hair from his eye. “I’m the only son of another farming family. You’re the only daughter. If your final response is no, do you think our parents will leave it at that?” His voice was gentle. He didn’t want to sound threatening… hell, he didn’t want to be threatening, but he knew it was true; they both knew. The union would be one of logic. He respected and accepted her refusal, but their families wouldn’t.
She sniffed as a single tear formed and she gave it an angry flick. “Doran,” she turned to him and his expression turned to one of hope. “You’re a good friend— my best friend. Reason says I should be happy with you. You are kind and gentle and have shown me nothing less than respect, but I’m empty. I have nothing to give you. I’ve spent my short life wandering through this open field with no purpose.”
Without asking, he took her soft hand in his. “Then I will give you meaning. I, too, feel as though I venture aimlessly. We shall walk together, blind. I’ll ensure you have everything you want.” He pulled her up with him and they both stood, facing one another in the field, as the sun drew a silhouette around their figures. He kneeled before her. “You will be my princess,” he proclaimed with enough volume to raise a flock of Centries. “I bow to you and you alone.”
By that time, Misa was full of laughter and forced him up. “Somehow, you never fail to make me feel better.” She tried to stifle the jolts of laughter between her words.
“Is that a ‘yes’, then?” He asked, hopeful to have gained her agreement rather than being forced.
She cocked her head and flashed a half-smile. “It’s a hesitant yes,” she answered.
Doran wrapped her in his strong arms and she rested her head against his firm chest. It was one of many hugs they’d shared. But that was before— before he’d asked her to marry him, before she’d thought of him as anyone more than a friend, before a microscopic tingle trembled in her stomach and slowly filled her body. Could she fall in love with Doran? Could she forget the fantasy she’d written and directed in her head until it played on its own infinite reel? Could she abandon her enchanting, sandy-haired, solemn invention named Soras?