|Chapter Seven: Aurora|
|Series||Fable Forever by Vampireninjabunnies|
|Previous||Chapter Six: The Road to Aurora|
|Next||Chapter Eight: The Canyon Dwellers|
|← Chapter Six: The Road to Aurora||Chapter Chronology||Chapter Eight: The Canyon Dwellers →|
“Hello.” Sophie called out. She searched around hoping to find any sign of life in the eerie white mist. She was utterly alone, with no clue as to where she was. She had thought they’d by some miracle made it to Aurora but perhaps that had only been a dream. Her voice echoed throughout the cold misty air. “Am I dead?” The question was directed more to herself than any being that may be living in the mist; so naturally, she had not expected any reply and jumped startled when someone answered. “No you are not dead Sophie.” “Who are you?” Sophie asked stepping toward the mysterious woman in front of her. “I am Theresa of the Spire. I guided your father and grandfather in their greatest triumphs.” Sophie stared at the old blind seer, a million questions running through her mind. She finally decided to address the most pressing issue. “So…where are we?” “We are in a dream. It is the simplest way for me to communicate with Heroes. I have spoken to your father in this manner on many occasions.”
“Great. I’m not dead…I’m hallucinating. I swallowed too much sea water and now I’m imagining talking to an old blind woman.” “You are not hallucinating Sophie. I assure you I am quite real.” “That’s not possible. If what you say is true and you really knew my grandfather during his quest to defeat Lucien that would make you older than well…older than even Jasper. And that’s not possible, you should be dead. No one is that old and still breathing.” Sophie pointed at Theresa; her eyebrow raised incredulously. “Perhaps I’m immortal.” Sophie laughed derisively, the very thought of such a thing as immortals wandering about Albion unnoticed was the most absurd notion she’d ever heard in her entire life. “Well now I know you’re lying. There are no such things as immortals except perhaps in books or the rather absurd rumours that tend to float around…” “Bowerstone Industrial.” Theresa interrupted quietly. “You’ll find that whispers of such rumours tend to follow in Reaver’s wake.” “Wait, how do you know Reaver?” Sophie was starting to wonder if perhaps this Theresa just might be telling the truth. “Reaver as the Hero of Skill was instrumental in your grandfather’s victory over Lucien.” “No that would make him over seventy years old. It doesn’t make any sense, someone would’ve noticed by now. Page would’ve noticed.” “Some people do notice. Your uncle did.” “Uncle Logan? So he does know where Reaver went.” “Perhaps and perhaps he doesn’t. But know that finding Reaver will not be a simple task. His secrets are well kept and there those who seek to stop you. They will go to any means necessary to do so, even if that requires your death.”
Sophie eyed the old woman a strange uneasiness turning her blood cold. “Who would want me to fail to find him so desperately?” “Who indeed.” Theresa whispered knowingly her eerie gazed fixed upon Sophie. “Just who would seek to stop you is of no consequence; just know that you cannot fail. The future of Albion depends on it.” Theresa turned her back on the Sophie leaving her confused. “Wait! I don’t understand!” But it was too late; Theresa had already disappeared within the surrounding mist. She ran through the mist, searching for Theresa. She had to be here, Sophie still had so many questions. What did she mean when she said Albion depended on her finding Reaver? How could he possibly have known her grandfather? The mist around her thickened as she ran until she could barely see in front her, everything began to spin causing her to come to dead stop. The mist had turned to thick black smoke choking her. The sound of panicked screaming filled the air around her, a man cried out in grief. His voice rising above the roar of death briefly before falling silent sending icy chills down her spine. The smoke dissipated revealing the most horrible sight she’d ever laid eyes on. It was the town she had seen burning in her dream, or more accurately, what was left of it. It was now nothing more than a lifeless marsh. The tragedy and grief that had touched this place hanging in the air so densely that it seemed almost tangible. As though she could just reach out and touch it. She wandered through the remains of what she new in her heart had once been a beautiful place that had known only joy and laughter. Voices whispered around her, too many of them for her to make out what any one of them were saying.
Sophie saw a young woman in the distance staring at her. The woman seemed faded as though looking at a very old painting where one could barely make out the colour of the paints. Sophie stepped toward her the sudden need to speak to the woman overwhelming her. “Who are you? What is this place?” The woman just continued to stare; her eyes reflected the grief that seemed to haunt this place. Theresa’s voice whispered in her ear. “This place is the proof of Reaver’s greatest sin, and the key to his salvation.” Sophie turned quickly expecting to find the old woman standing behind her but instead found only empty space. Suddenly the world around spun once more, her vision fading as voices calling to her reached her ears and she fainted.
“Sophie… Sophie please wake up.” Her eyes fluttered open, her uncle’s prematurely lined face staring down at her his brow furrowed in worry. “Uncle Logan?” “Oh thank the gods you’re alright.” He sighed heavily in relief as she sat up slowly. “Where are the others?” “Don’t worry princess. We didn’t lose anyone important.” Devon smiled wryly. She turned to her uncle concern constricting her voice. “What about Mr. Cash and Kaylee? The rest of the crew?” “They’re both fine but unfortunately it seems no one else survived the wreck. Although I think it would’ve been better if there’d been one less survivor.” Logan shot at glare toward Devon that would’ve had most men running in the opposite direction in fear of his wrath but Devon just smiled back at him as though indulging a stubborn child. Sophie stood stretching her tired limbs her encounter with Theresa weighing heavily on her mind.
“Oh you really should rest dear.” A lovely middle-aged woman walked in carrying fresh linens and smiling sweetly at her. Logan stood suddenly to help her with the load. “Sophie you remember my wife Kida.” Sophie nodded although truth be told she had only vaguely remembered that her uncle was married and had only met her aunt once before shortly after they’d been married. “Our son Andrew is playing somewhere in town but he’ll be home for supper. Mealtimes seem to be the only thing he‘s ever on time for. He’ll be thrilled to finally meet you; Logan speaks of you so often after all.” Kida laughed warmly. Andrew? Now that Sophie thought back, Reaver had mentioned that Uncle Logan and his wife had had a son, but after everything that had happened recently, she’d completely forgotten. Logan seemed caught up in conversation with Kida so Sophie took the opportunity to slip out of the house unnoticed.
She smiled as she set out to find a horse she could purchase. She still had no idea where to go from here and after her encounter with Theresa, she wasn’t sure her Uncle Logan would know either. Everything in Aurora seemed so different from Albion. The houses appeared to have been built out of the surrounding sand, the clothing seemed strange to her and she couldn’t even begin to describe some of the wares being sold in the market. Finally, she decided to ask a passing villager just where she might buy a horse. The man seemed unsure at first as though he’d never heard of a horse before today. But soon he pointed her toward the docks saying that was the best place to purchase such means of transportation. When she got to the docks all she found was man selling the strangest animal she’d ever seen in her life. It was about the size of horse with a thick tan coat, small eyes, and a large hump protruding from it back. “It’s called a camel, princess.”
She turned to Devon inexplicably stricken with the desire not to be alone with him. This is silly she thought to herself. Why should I be suddenly afraid of him? He saved my life on that ship and Reaver trusts him. Shouldn’t that be proof enough that she had no reason to fear him? Devon grimaced unpleasantly at the camel as she reached up to pat it. “Careful princess, they tend to spit. I have no idea why Reaver likes these damn filthy beasts so much.” Sophie laughed lightly. “Perhaps they remind him of you.” He looked at her smiling thinly. That was just the sort of thing Reaver would’ve said. He found himself both liking and disliking the fair princess, it was a complicated emotion, and he didn’t like complicated emotions. He liked to leave such things to Reaver who seemed to revel in complexity. He watched Sophie as she purchased the animal as well as a second; expressing the expectation of his accompaniment on her quest. Not that he wasn’t planning on doing just that. After all, it wasn’t very often that he got the opportunity to steal something from the great former Pirate King and Devon had decided that he wanted the princess. He only wanted her because she was Reaver’s and he knew that but he felt Reaver had done the poor girl a disservice by not bedding her. Something Devon intended to do one way or another.
He followed her as she led the animal back toward Logan’s home. God how he hated the heat in this god forsaken wasteland. Why anyone would choose to live here, he would never know. “Sophie there you are. Logan was ready to send a search party.” Kida laughed pleasantly. “Where is Uncle Logan? I need to talk to him.” “He’s inside with Andrew.” Sophie left her aunt with Devon and stepped inside in search of her uncle. Gleeful laughter echoed as she walked through the house, glancing into the rooms. She stepped into the largest room of the house, glancing at the strange furniture. Large cushions placed around a large low table, lanterns hung lazily from the ceiling casting a soft glow about the room. “Sophie, where did you wander off to?” She turned smiling brightly. “Uncle Logan, I was just looking for you.” “Daddy, I found you.” Andrew ran into the room, stopping abruptly when he saw Sophie. “Who is she?” “Your cousin Sophie.” “Oh.” He paused looking up at her uncertainty written across the small features that so resembled his father’s. “Why are you here?” "Andrew!” Logan scolded casting a glare at his young son trying to ignore Sophie’s amused expression. “Go help your mother with supper.” “But daddy… do I have to?” “Yes.” Andrew muttered begrudgingly as he shuffled out of the room sullenly. “So…why are you here?” He turned his gaze toward her a suspicious glint in his eyes. “Daddy sent me to see if you knew where Reaver had gone. He needs to see him about the proposals he had sent him; apparently, Page is having fits over a couple of them.”
He stared at her as she watched him, gauging his reaction. She was lying and he knew it but the ease of which the lie came to her astonished him. Hell the lie itself was even good. Under any other circumstances, he wouldn’t have questioned it. “Uncle?” Her questioning voice tore him from his thoughts. “Come with me.” He motioned for her to follow him and left the room without looking back to see whether or not she had. She caught up to him quickly her small feet falling into step with his long stride. “I don’t know where Reaver is and I’m not sure why you think I would.” “Well like I said daddy sent me. He thought you might know because Reaver visits you often…often enough anyway. Besides he thought I would enjoy visiting you and Walter.” “Ahh…I see.” They stepped outside into what she supposed served as a training area. Logan walked to a small shed as she fiddled with one of the training dummies. The hint of a small smile touched the corners of his thin lips as he carefully chose a couple swords and turned toward her. “Your brother isn’t here Sophie, hasn’t been for months. Something your father is well aware of. So what exactly are you up to young lady?” She smiled guiltily knowing he’d caught her. “Well…I…wanted to see you.” “And?” he prodded tossing her a sword. “And see if you maybe knew where Reaver was?”
He advanced swinging his blade gracefully. “You know as well as I do that Reaver has a tendency to wander off whenever he pleases. Why so interested in his whereabouts?” She blocked his advance and attacked him clumsily. “I told you, Father wanted me to find him.” He glared knocking the sword from her hand easily. “Don’t lie to me Sophie. You’re father has never once sent anyone to find Reaver and he isn’t going to start now. And he certainly wouldn’t start by sending you. Why do you really want to find Reaver?” She huffed frustrated at the ease in which he saw through her. “He left and…I…need to know why.” He looked at her speculatively. “Wh…” He scowled angrily as realisation struck him. “I see. Well I’m afraid I can’t help you. And frankly, I wouldn’t if I could. You’ll be headed home on the first ship tomorrow morning.” “But Uncle” “No. Trust me Sophie it’s for your own good. You should never have had anything to do with Reaver to begin with.” She glared at him defiantly. “Fine! I don’t need your help! I’ll find him myself!” She stamped her foot petulantly and stormed off pushing past Kida as she left. “What was that about dear?” “Nothing, I’m just trying to keep her from doing something stupid and she’s being stubborn.” He growled. “Perhaps searching for Reaver isn’t something you should keep her from doing?” He turned to her astonished. “How did you?” Devon told me, when I’d asked him why Sophie was with him. He says that Reaver genuinely cares for her. And even if he doesn’t if you don’t help her it won’t stop her.” “I know.” He sighed “But she’s so young.” “I know love but she’s as stubborn as you and Roren. You can’t protect her forever. She has a better chance if you help her.”
“Logan doesn’t understand Sophie. He has never understood what it takes to safeguard Albion. He cannot be trusted to help you.” Sophie scowled unpleasantly crossing her arms across her chest. “Look here you he’s my uncle and I trust him a great deal more than I do you.” “You’re going to have to trust me Sophie.” “And why should I? Just because you helped my father defeat the darkness or because you helped my grandfather defeat Lucien?” Sophie sifted her weight staring at the blind seer expectantly. “I did what was best for Albion as I’m trying to do now. You must head through the desert, the answer lies at the edge of its vast dunes.” Sophie woke suddenly squinting against the morning sun. She dressed quickly and climbed out the window. She had no intention of letting her uncle stop her from finding Reaver. She crept through the stables unhitching the camels. “And where do you think you’re going?” She turned toward her uncle’s soft voice. “You’re not going to stop me.” “No Sophie I’m not. You’re going to do this whether or not I help you. I suppose as your uncle the right thing to do is help you in anyway I can.” He grabbed the reigns from her and left the stables. “Come on I know a better way to get across the desert.” She followed him toward the docks listening with rapt attention. “I don’t know where Reaver is but in your brother’s last letter he mentions he knew a man who knows Reaver well. Walter referred to him as Garth. Perhaps he can help you.” “Great! Where do I find him?” “Samarkand and I’m giving you this to help you get there faster.” She followed him around the corner. “Oh my…by the gods. What is that?” She gasped “The prototype of the very first Reaver Industries airship.” He smiled broadly. “Reaver thought I might find it useful someday.” “He gave this to you?” “Yes.” He nodded. “And now I’m giving it to you. I’ve hired a crew and the ship has been fully supplied.” She stared in awe at the magnificent vessel. “Devon will be joining you by the way. Although I’d rather he didn’t.” He grimaced. “He’s already on the ship, it’ll be taking off soon, but before you go.” He pulled a thin beautiful sword from his belt. “For you.” “But I already have a sword.” She pulled out her own sword with difficultly. He laughed lightly. “Yes, one that is far too heavy for you. This is a rapier. It’s much lighter and far better suited to you.” She took the rapier from him gauging the weight swinging it gracefully. She hugged him tightly. “Thank you Uncle Logan.” “Be careful Sophie.” I will.” She started toward the ship but then stopped suddenly. “What do you know about Theresa the Seer? She keeps coming to me in dreams, and she makes me uneasy.” “She helped your father. If she is coming to you then it is for good reason.” Sophie nodded and headed for the ship. He watched her board the ship an uneasy feeling settling over him.
Sophie stood on the deck watching the city disappear as the ship took off. She smiled broadly, the hot wind on her face. “We should’ve just taken the camels.” Devon grumbled behind her. “Why this is so much more exciting!” She laughed leaning over the edge. “Besides I thought you hated camels.” “I certainly like them better than being stuck in one of Reaver’s crazy contraptions.” He hissed unpleasantly “His head always up in the clouds, why can’t he just keep his feet on the ground like everyone else?” She smiled at him mockery shining in her eyes. “Not afraid are you?” “Anyone with any sense would be afraid to get into anything Reaver thought up.” “Well I think it’s brilliant.” He huffed indignantly. “Then you’re as foolish as him.” She watched as he stalked off below deck, shoving past Mr. Cash. “Someone’s in poor mood.” “He doesn’t like the airship too much.” Cash laughed standing beside her. “No he wouldn’t. He can’t stand any of the old captain’s ideas, doesn’t do well with change. Crew says sandstorms coming we need to get inside princess.” Sophie followed him below deck unaware of Devon’s watchful gaze from the shadows. He skulked through corridors of the ship as sandstorm began its assault in the vessel. Reaver built a good strong ship there was no denying that and that was precisely the problem. This vessel would no doubt get them to Samarkand unless he found a way to bring it down. The crew ran about frantically ignoring him as he made his way down to the engine room. He pushed open the heavy metal door the stifling heat weighing down on him. “What are you doing down here?” He drew his sword and ran it through the engineer’s chest. “Just taking a look around mate.” He smiled sadistically, letting his blade slip from the dying man’s bleeding body. “Hope you don’t mind.” He looked around the room at the numerous knobs and levers, cursing to himself. He never understood these goddamned contraptions Reaver built. He kicked the engineer’s lifeless corpse in impotent rage. “I should have left the bloody bastard alive a little while longer.” He glared at the engine before his gaze fell upon a box of explosives in the corner of the room. Smiling broadly, he pulled open the engine hatch flame reaching out enthusiastically eating up the fresh air supply. Laughing to himself, he tossed the explosives into the engine and ran for the exit.
Sophie and Cash stood beside the captain at the helm when an explosion tore through the hull of the ship. “What the hell was that?!” Sophie ran up to the deck, pulling her cloak over her face to guard from the sand that beat against the ship like a whiplash. She leaned over the side. Half the ship was engulfed in flame and they were going down fast. “Captain it looks like the engine room exploded.” She hollered to the captain and Cash as they ran up on deck behind her. “Shit without engine we’re screwed. We need to find a way to slow down our descent. It’s the only chance we’ve got of living through this!” He ran below deck calling orders to every crewmember he saw. “Brace yourself princess it’s going to be rough ride!” Cash called gripping the side of the ship. Sophie looked around at the crew desperately attempting to slow the ship. She glanced down at her gauntlets an idea coming to her. She ran to the front of the ship, climbing up on the rail. “What the hell do you think you’re doing princess?!” “Slowing down the ship!” Sophie called back to Cash. She charged her vortex spell and shot it toward the ground. Devon ran up on deck, the ship was slowing. Not much but it was slowing down. “What is she doing?” He called to Cash. “Using that magic of her’s to slow down the ship.” Devon stared at her angrily, what a clever little bitch she was turning out to be. Sophie jumped off the rail and ran toward them. “Hang on, we’re going to hit!” They braced themselves for the impact as the ship crashed into the sandy dunes, the world becoming a flurry of flames and debris before going completely black.