Ella sits down amongst the trees in Roonwit and writes a letter to her mother…
“Do you remember when i was small, and we would go collect a rose from the crystal together? Everyday we would take one and everyday there would be a new one in its place. It didn’t matter how old they got, they never wilted. You would save them and then when we had enough, we would have a festival, then give them to the elders in town as gifts to show our appreciation.
I still go to the crystal encased rose. I collect a flower and I just hold on to it. I sit and reminisce on the time before you became the monster everyone knows you as. I have so many questions. Why did you do all the things you did? How could someone who had always loved everyone become a living nightmare for the world?
I’ve always spoken with the spirits, but even more so once you sent me away. I ask them now, with the darkness coming back, “Are you still out there? Is this you again?” but they never answer those questions. I scan the horizon, looking for you, even though I don’t remember what you look like. Sometimes I trance to see more than my natural eyes could ever see, but there’s never even a glimmer of your presence. That part is always a relief. I am my your daughter, but the taur of Centauria are my REAL family. I WILL protect them. I hope you realize that. I’m not going to stand by and let you hurt more people. We’re going to stop you. Mark my words, Mother… no… Vitrolia… WE WILL stop you. Signed, Your Daughter, Ella – Princess of Red Rose, Listener of Roonwit”
She finishes her letter, intending to go and throw it in the fire of one of the cookers, but is distracted by a loud explosion from the direction of the waterfall. She scrambles to her hooves to go see what happened, forgetting all about her letter and leaving it laying on the ground where she sat. Once she gets to the waterfall, she peeks her head in to find Cinnamon covered in dust and ash. She giggles quietly, with a small sigh of relief that it wasn’t anything horrible, and goes off to collect more ingredients.
A bored white raven circles around the Great Hall, as her keeper is busy with a potion at the Moon shrine… again. Back and forth, back and forth, following her, she’s been flying. All. Day. Long. To be honest she’d rather be doing something much more fun rather than seeing Cinnamon setting stuff on fire for no reason. “Cawww!! Caww Cawwww!!!!” Screams Zipporah as she lands at her keeper’s shoulder, asking permission to go hunt, or have fun, or both, by herself. “Oh, hungry, are we??… Fine” she sighs, “go hunt then. Just… don’t come home with a dead rat, or worse, half a dead rat” Cinnamon shivers “I see you later, Zip. Be careful!”
So, the raven takes off circling the realms looking for a prey… or anything to have fun with. She lands at Cloudbirth… Maybe anyone would give her a snack? But no. Everyone is too busy gathering. So she flies off again over Roonwit, and lands by the crystal rose, as she’s noticed a wrinkled piece of parchment abandoned on the ground. She grabs it with the claws, then takes off flying and lets it go in the air, turning around and doing aerial acrobatic moves, daring herself to catch it before it touches the ground, over and over again. After a few minutes, Zipporah gets bored of her own game, then thinks about flying off to the mill, maybe there’s leftovers of grain for her to peck at…?
Meanwhile, the poor parchment ends floating in the air, and caught by the wind it randomly lands somewhere in Glenstorm…
Ella FINALLY makes her first sword with some help in the mines from Pearl, and then some more help outside the mines from Kumi.
While at the forge she remembers her letter. “Oh yeah! I can just throw that in here and get rid of it“, She digs through her hair, trying to figure out where she put it. She pulled out so many things while looking for it… Kava roots, rubies… a couple eyeballs that she covered with saffron to keep things from getting goopy in there… but no letter.
“Odd… Where did I put that?” she mumbled to herself, as she tried to retrace her steps before heading to Glenstorm. “Oh…my…GODS!!!“, she screamed. Her voice echoed through the trees, a startled flock of birds scatter overhead. She pulls her sword from the forge and gallops as fast as her hooves will carry her, back to Roonwit to search around the crystal. “Oh no, oh no, oh no… no no no…. nooooooo!“, she says, as she frantically searches the trees on either side of it in vain. The letter just wasn’t there!
She hoped the animals would find it and do whatever animals do with random things they find. Who knows what would happen if a taur or someone found it. She tried to put it out of her head, and not worry… after all, what was the worst that could happen? The rhetorical question she asked herself made her even more nervous. She would look for it more later, but first she needed to calm down some.
Some days later…..
Lil Cinnamon is on her way out of the forge, and as she walks by Glenstorm, notices a parchment on the ground by the road… “For Chiron’s hooves, taurs!! No littering!!!” She rolls her eyes as she assumes the parchment on the floor is a discarded recipe… but… is it???.
Cinnamon keeps walking by and makes her way to the Halls to turn her recently made sword
some days later……
Kumi slowed to a walk when she saw Ella’s familiar silhouette ahead. Knowing she could often be seen meditating in the area Kumi stepped more purposefully hoping Ella would be alerted to her presence and not startle.
Ella smiles and raises to her feet, as she notices an energy moving towards her. She raises an eyebrow, “Kumi, yes?“, then closes her eyes to hide the glow that they do when she is meditating.
Kumi smiles warmly at Ella not quite sure how to begin what she fears will be an uncomfortable conversation. She reaches in the pouch at her side and pulls out the parchment that is Ella’s lost letter and holds it out to her. “I found this and I don’t reckon you want it read by just anyone even though I think you have nothing to worry about.”
Ella’s smile quickly fades to a nervous frown as she looks at the parchment taking it from Kumi’s hand. She knew it had gone missing, but she’d been hoping that it would not be found. She worried what people would think. “Oh… my letter… Thank you for returning it. I… um.. thank you… I’m sure you have questions. I will answer them.” Ella plops down on the ground and mentally prepares herself for a talk she’d been avoiding since she left Zephyrus’s domain.
Kumi nods warmly and moves closer reaching a hand out toward Ella to place it reassuringly on her arm if she allows. “I do have questions but I want you to know that I know you to be a kind and caring centauride and I in no way compare you to what your mother came to be. Pearl is the only other taur that knows of this for she was with me on the road when I spotted it and this is your story to tell, we’ll not share it. I only wonder what you might know that might help us against this darkness.” Kumi gives Ella a bright smile hoping that she feels less concerned.
Ella unconsciously flinches when Kumi’s hand touches her arm. She takes a deep breath and wipes the moisture from her eyes as she listens to Kumi’s kind words. “Thank you, but … how I am is how she used to be… ” Ella looks deeply into Kumi’s eyes, searching for a sign of insincerity, but not finding any. “I will try to help, but I don’t know if I know anything that will illuminate anything new.”
Kumi lightens her touch when Ella flinches but keeps her hand on her arm. She nods as she listens to Ella speak “I’m sure she must have been Ella, no taur is born so. Something happened to her surely. Someone turned her mind just as others can be turned, that’s my thinking. Who were her closest confidants? Maybe one of them was more than they seemed to be.”
“When I was small her most immediate advisor and guard was a centauride named May… I saw her here during the last battles… they were calling her Mayhem. She was the one with the crazy red hair. …” Ella hears a quiet whisper saying, “No, child… Go back to the moments before she sent you away… ” She pauses and recounts the days before then “Before Mother sent me to Zephyrus, outsiders had come to our home and were destroying everything we had built… and when she and my father sent people to speak with them, they’d never return. My father was the last to go missing before I was sent away and mother… changed…”
Kumi thought about what Ella shared, having been in hiding with the sentinel animals she hadn’t seen anyone. “I don’t rightly know what to make of it. I didn’t see the battles but people were disappearing here right before the battle. There is one thing I can offer you and that is to scry for your past. Pearl and I recently teamed up to help Rayven in this manner. Other than that I can only think that more clever minds than mine need to be consulted. But that’s for you to decide dear Ella.”
Ella nods, “Do you think Pearl would help us find the missing links? I… don’t want to go see her alone… ”
“We won’t know until we try. I’m quite sure she will help me do this, the magic is much stronger when we combine our skills.” Kumi gives a soft chuckle “Of course you don’t have to go alone.”
Ella’s eyes brighten up as she smiles. “Thank you, Kumi… I am nervous about what we’ll see, but I hope it gives some answers.”
Kumi smiles brightly, happy at having arrived at a decision. “Usually things aren’t clear to us who haven’t lived it, it could be that only you will be able to truly interpret the visions.”
“Maybe.“, she says with a hopeful yet apprehensive smile, “How does it work, what you two do?”
“Well, Pearl and I each have our own way of connecting with the leys of magicks that surround us all. We can do this with something of that person, but having you there also might be a great boost. Then we report what we see to you.”
Ella nods and wonders if she can also do that. She hears the seemingly constant whispers from the world around her all the time, and sees visions of the present in reflections on water occasionally, but even attempting to tap into her past or things that had happened in her past never even crossed her mind. “Do you… um… could I learn to do that too?” , she asks with a small smile.
“I do believe so Ella, I think that all of us can to some extent or another. It might be easier for those born to it than others but we are all part of this world and we have it in us. I feel quite strongly about this. There are differing paths to magic so this could be something you would explore to find which path to magic glows most brightly for you.”
Ella nods her agreement. “If things had not gone how they had, with mother becoming a monster and all that, I would’ve been assigned a mentor to learn everything from, but… “, she frowns for a moment, “… well… things went how they went… perhaps it is for the best that I learn these things now rather than back then.”
“Oh yes that’s very true, it could be the stars held a secret for you that could only be unlocked at this time. Magick is unpredictable and it works when it works not a moment too soon or too late.”
Ella hears a cacophony of whispers agreeing with Kumi, and giggles. “Yes… it sounds like you’re absolutely correct on that.“, she smiles. “Well, I look forward to meeting with you and Miss Pearl. Thank you again, Kumi.”
Kumi smiles and gives Ella’s arm a squeeze “Anytime Ella!”
Ella smiles at Kumi and trots happily back to her little home in Thessaly. Once she is out of sight from Kumi, she incinerates the letter in her hand. As the ashes fall phantom whispers angrily bombard her, echoing each other, “No! You’re not supposed to know how to do that! This was forbidden! What are you doing?!”
“Growing up.“, Ella says aloud, “I am my Mother’s daughter, but I will NEVER be my mother. I may not know how old I am, but I am not a foal will not be treated as such. I am going to see what made Mother become what she is, and I am going to make sure it NEVER happens to me… I hope I’ve made myself clear.”
As Ella passes the pond in front of her hut, a familiar face appears in the water for a brief moment, only to smile proudly and nod before dissipating as she enters her home and closes the door behind her.