And today it begins!
The Disparate Threads blog went live this weekend, with the first story segment (previously posted on this blog) already up. And today begins our regular updates. Each will be posted here, but I encourage you to visit (and follow) the Disparate Threads blog to explore more!
After a long journey, Ayerlla found her feet resting on the edge of a great cliff. Similar to the one she had left, though that momentous step now seemed so long ago. A lifetime ago, in the most literal sense.
This cliff towered above the water. Anchored to nothing, it was simply a part of the sky. The storm still churned in the distance; rolling clouds filled with murky colors, heavy with moisture and swirling winds. Simply waiting. The pressure was in the air, but Ayrella got the sense that the storm would continue to wait. Everything, it seemed, was waiting. She just wasn’t sure what it was waiting for.
Standing there, looking back towards where she had come from, Ayrella could feel the years lifting off of her. Through her time in Kirshenelle she had worked hard to ensure that she aged just right, just as those around her did, so as to not call suspicion. But now, back on the edge of the Horizon Lands, she felt those years fade away. It had not been many changes, so subtle that many would not even notice them, but had she not made the changes there would have been comments and Ayrella had striven to be very cautious. Little wrinkles around her eyes and mouth. The slightest lightening of her hair, a precursor to turning gray. All of that fell away now, fading as though they had never been.
But she knew that the years still carried in her heart.
She walked slowly and carefully, the feeling of early dawns mist on her feet. Down through the field towards the city, each step cautious and deliberate. Ayrella felt her breath catch in her throat as she approached the city, this gathering of buildings, each exquisite in its own unique way. Each reflecting the Revered Being who had built it and who dwelt within.
Thipar’s home towered above the rest, the jagged edges reminiscent of the lightning that he held as a symbol of his power. Kisha’s home spread out in a single story, the roof a seemingly endless wave, always moving in slight ways, like the fields that she loved so dearly. Yotar and Ilkan, the twins, had mirror houses of opulence, ever changing, with the acquisition of more jewels, more intricately designed glass, always trying to best the other. Orpin had a simple home, with basic wooden shutters on the windows, and a plain door. A chimney rose from the house, with the ever-present swirl of smoke, carrying with it the smell of fine roasted meats and delicious baked goods.
There were many more, and Ayrella took a moment to admire them, appreciating a sight once so familiar. They had changed in the years she was gone, some growing and others shrinking in reflection to the attention they received from the mortals. Yotar and Ilkans homes were even more pronounced as the world grew in their joy of material goods and finery. Thipar seemed to be doing well, more height added to his lightning-home as unsettling wars tore through many realms. Orpin and Kisha seemed to have much smaller homes than Ayrella recalled, likely because few seemed to understand the power of sending their prayers to a God of home and a Goddess of greens.
Continuing down the hill, descending into the city, her hesitation grew alongside her uncertainty. With no idea what to expect, she was in many ways wandering blind, and the power of the homes as she passed hit her with great force. Each with their own purpose, and each causing her a stir of emotions. She was saddened as she passed the home of Siron and Tyal, their once splendid house of gardens and joy now much smaller than she had ever seen. Still there was a warmth that emanated from it, the keepers of home and heart, marriage and family, yet they had shrunk to a bare minimum. It seemed that few paid intentional homage to them, and it burdened her heart to see.
The city was full of silence. Normally a noisy and bustling place, the silence felt oppressive. But, at the same time, it did not surprise her. Like the storm sitting out over the sea, waiting, the silence carries in it an expectation of something to come. Ayrella paused for a moment, listening to the silence. But it was just that, complete silence, and she could hear nothing hidden in the emptiness.
If she were called back, after such a certain and clear separation, then no one would be out wandering the town. It was a day when all would be in the Center, all would be focused there. And that was where she knew she needed to go herself. She hesitated while passing by Orpin’s home, right next door to Siron and Tyal’s, and felt a pull to go sit in the comfortable garden between the two homes, once one of her favorite places to be. But she knew that she could not. Matters of great importance were happening, or about to happen, and Ayrella knew that there was no room for fun and frivolities, or for sitting in peace and reflection, in this moment.
Approaching the center her heart tightened. It was a simple circular room that the entire village surrounded, with tall undecorated walls, an open roof, no windows, and a single door. Imposing in its simplicity. The last time she had been in the center there had been such an array of emotions and many words had been spoken. Some seemed to understand, but others simply could, or would, not. Siron and Tyal had been her greatest supporters, they had been her advocates when she found herself unable to speak. But others had not understood, and ultimately she had been forced to leave. Forever, she had thought. The disapproving looks, the pity, and the downright anger that had come from the others, was etched into her heart and she carried it, still powerful and aching.
She knew that she had been called, returning by invitation or order, but it still unsettled her to think what it was she might face inside the Center.