A chapter that prepares to all what will happen next :>

He opened his eyes, heavy eyelids making way to the sight before him. The gates released him from their embrace in a way that was not forceful or violent… but strangely wrong, if that was making sense. He thought it did. He felt as they strip him slowly, not from clothes or even skin, but his soul. It felt like they did allow him to pass, only to take a part of his spirit away.

It took a lot of time, he was free from this feeling.

The land before him didn’t differ from Avras… at least not at the first glance. Snow, everywhere cold, frozen woods, shadowed boughs and branches looking like hands. He was born in the forest, he knew perfectly well how it looked during night – unreal, darker than it really was, and way hungrier.

But here… the same trees looked like they could really pull the roots from the ground and look at him through the holes in the bark… and take interest in him. Something in the landscape was strangely alive. He couldn’t place what… until he looked at the sky.

His mind couldn’t find the purchase in reality, so he just closed his eyes. And when the first shock passed, he opened them, slowly, looking at the distorted wonder above his head.

The moon seemed to take half of the sky, big, pale and ominous in its size. The stars were scattered on the firmament, like small diamonds, just like in Avras… yet they were not known constellations among them… and something, some dark magic, was causing strange dissonance between his eyes and what he looked at.

Like the sky was about to crack. Or already cracked, leaving between the stars a painful emptiness, filled with pure chaos.

Do not look.

Tiyan knew that his own self from before the fairies entered his life, would look under his feet and never gaze above, for safety. However now, the sky and its vastness was tempting him, dragging his eyes up, to fill them with it. Because it was beautiful. Beautiful, in a dark, hostile way.

He knew he had little time. He was here, but there were only mountains on the horizon, sharp black teeth biting into the sky. Nothing indicates the existence of a palace or castle, where Mina could be held hostage. He was aware that fairies have a vast land, wider than Avras. But how vast and where was Mina? Will he have to go blindly forth, trying to guess? The remainder in the form of a dying man was too obvious – the fae wanted him fast.

In fact, he was almost sure someone would wait for him. He both feared this and wanted it. He wanted to be led to Mina and try to help her, whatever the Shadow wanted from him.

His fear and resignation, all which he considered an innate part of him, suddenly ignited into anger. Fearful anger, flamed up by worry about Mina and logs, the fairies seemed to toss under his feet, to enjoy his helplessness.

Anger is better than fear.

Even if just as useless.

The moon looked at him from above; enormous and alien.

If he has to travel again through vast woods and meadows, this must be another kind of torment – who knows what kind of creatures live here. Avras animals, pained, lost, were hard to fight, even with Ona by his side. Here, the animals were wild, strong and possibly touched by magic – but not in a way that would harm them.

He clenched his teeth. You learned so much through the last weeks. And one of these things wasn’t self pity. If you have to go through the woods, you will. If you have to bring the fae the moondust from this colossal orb above your head, you will.

Mina.

He gathered himself from the thick snow.

Ona would lead now. But Ona had own tasks to do and his only leads were the unknown stars above him… and the darkness between the trees.

In Ain’asel the air was even colder than in Avras, the winter had a home here and spread on others lands like parasitic tendrils. Tiyan didn’t know how he manages to rest in such biting, breath-catching cold, but he did that on the way here and he will have to now as well.

His steps slowly carried him into the thick forest, in the direction of sharp and looming mountains that hung above the landscape – the tops looking like talons of a colossus frozen long ago with outstretched hands.

The wind whispered to him a dark note, when he trudged through the snow – alone again. And he felt his scar under his heart burning with sharp pain, radiating on his skin. But he didn’t welcome it with fear anymore.

He started to slowly free himself from the shackles of fear. Slowly, restlessly, leaving part of the binds behind. Knowing it won’t help him if he will have to save Mina and himself.

And the fire… was his friend. He felt as the pain on his chest was washed by the flames, soothing it. Allowing him to focus on the goal.

Giving him courage to go up – into the maw of the cruel ridges and steep chasms.

2 Replies to “ATOM: At the Border of Madness – I”

  1. Tiyan! 🥰 I really liked how you described the difference between the two ‘worlds’. I’m curious to see his interaction with Lorian! Another great chapter! ^_^ Always fun to read it!🖤

    1. I made a special new character to guide Tiyan through dangers on Ain’asel 🙂 Their interaction witll be interesting too :>
      And of course Lorian and Tiyan will be cherry on top :>
      Thank you!

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