The world was mist; mist was the world. It was a world of pale, crystal mist. And in this crystallized mist floated Kalavai. Or rather, in it floated the essence of Kalavai, no bodies existed in this strange world. So Kalavai’s essence floated in the mist and tried to figure out where it was.
Her body felt strange. That was the first thing Kalavai noticed. Her body felt strange, and she was in a strange world. A very strange world. Kalavai tried to twist around to see behind her, but rather than twisting, she drifted gently to the side, bending backwards slightly. Startled, she tried to freeze, but instead, kept on moving in the same direction. Terrified now, she looked down, and found that she could see through herself. Kalavai screamed.
Or rather she tried to, but she could not do that either. Her mouth opened, but there was no sound. Confused and dazed, Kalavai drifted for an endless expanse of time. Finally, the mist cleared, and Kalavai found herself standing on the mossy ground of a forest clearing surrounded by crystal trees. And, seated on a crystal tree stump by a crystal pool, sat a women clothed in a shimmering gray-green material. Crystal leaves and twigs were twined into her pure white hair, and crystal leave were woven into the material of her flowing layered dress. Her face was strangely angular, and when she turned to face Kalavai, she could see that her large eyes had no pupils; they were a solid expanse of gray.
Who are you? Where am I? Kalavai tried to ask, but the words were not forthcoming from her mouth. Rather they stayed in her mind, a shimmering question. And to her surprise, the woman answered.
Why, you are here. She said, regarding Kalavai with her strange eyes.
Am I dead?
No. But you are here, in the Shaedowryn Realm, outside of and in-between life and death. And yet…. you are not here in body, only in spirit. You are not of the Shaedowryn. But these matters are complicated, and probably unwelcome. But you are welcome, child. Please, sit. The lady gracefully indicated a spot of crystallized moss near her with white nails, and Kalavai sat.
Please, Lady, who- what- are you? And what are the Shaedowryn? Kalavai asked.
I am…..myself. Or I was. Maybe I never was. Here the lady paused, as if immersed in thought. Then she laughed. But I am myself now, never matter. You may call me Lysh’alrii. And I am of the Shaedowryn.
The Shaedowryn? Who are they?
We, Lysh’alrii said, spreading out her hand in a half circle. From the shadowed borders of the forest came vague female forms, solidifying as they neared. They looked at first glance to be elves, but all of them had dark black hair, long curved nails, strangely angular figures and were deathly pale. And, unlike the Lady’s eyes, theirs were gold, not a gleaming gold, but a pale gold, sad and beautiful. Slowly they took places in a circle around the Lady and Kalavai, and behind each Kalavai saw a shadow of wings. More and more of them came, and the crystalline clearing seemed to grow to accommodate their growing ranks. A soft music filled the air, sad, mysterious, joyful, compelling, and the figures began to dance slowly. As they were dancing, a small hole appeared in the circle, and a final figure came through, weaving her way into the center of the dance. Her hair was black, but it shimmered, reflecting the light cast from the crystals. Her eyes were not silver, nor gold, rather they were every color and yet no color at all. She came up to Kalavai, and the faint music stopped. The dancers stopped. The crystals glimmered silently as the new figure gazed at Kalavai with her powerful eyes. Then, together, she and Lady Lysh’alrii answered. We, they said, are the Shaedowryn.
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