(Note: This fanfiction is also available here at Tarra Dragon's webpage)

by Tarra Dragon


Contrary to British’s slip of the tongue, the Avatar didn’t remember the Isle of Fire.  Not the way he told it, anyway.  The old castle echoed with her footsteps as the world faded away to her inquisitive mind.  The stone, and moss, and air; it did feel familiar, but just not… familiar.

Like a dream, really.

It could have been any other old stone structure in Britannia; dark, dirt covered, and damp were constant features where neglect was concerned.

Alas neglect came in many forms, and not always to do with buildings.  Forgetting her companions, the woman turned sharply, only to be reminded of them by tripping over the younger teenager that tagged along behind her.

For a moment, Spark was terrified.  He’d done his best to avoid being troublesome, and this one of legend had rarely given him a second glance since they left Britain.  To tell the truth, he’d been glad of it.  She had taken care of him, and let him follow; but there was little guarantee she wouldn’t send him home at his slightest misstep.  But instead of scolding him, or being angry, she burst out laughing, and the boy joined in with his own relieved giggles.

Whilst the rest of the company didn’t join in with laughter or giggles; they did, with patient sighs and shaken heads, and even a smile or two, they put right the situation.  Dupre hauled the Avatar to her feet, as Janna tended to Spark.

The Avatar brushed herself off absent mindedly, her eyes still searching for wonders amongst the ruins.  She took a few steps, followed by a few more.  The feelings here were old, and it was the old that caught her.  The suffering pained, but the intrigue beckoned and drew her further.

And she did find a prize, of sorts.  An obelisk, black as midnight and absorbent of all light sent its way caught her attention through a broken door.  The attraction was instant, and she scampered through the threshold to get to the thing.

She felt its call, and reached out to touch it.  A gush of emotion poured forth, and she thought she heard shouting, or many or none, but it fell to the darkness as the same engulfed her mind.

Hundreds of years passed in an instant, and to her surprise one image lingered.  She saw herself, but not herself.  Yet the surrealistic reality continued, not stopping to the whims of the small creature trapped in its wake.  The instant ended, and she fell further into the oblivion of memory.

When she awoke, it was to the rhythmic movement of waves.  And there were voices.  Well-known voices, she realized, must be the Golden Ankh.  She waited a few minutes, but impatience took hold.  Eavesdropping was no fun when you could only pick out a few words.

She sat up groggily.  Pushing irritatingly short strands of black hair out of the way of her eyes, she gazed at the congregation of people within the small cabin – people that didn’t seem to notice her presence at all.  And there was that word again.

“Should I ask what on Earth an Exodus is?” silence fell; apparently she wasn’t supposed to be awake.  No one volunteered an answer, or even a word, so she decided, “Fine, if ya’ll are being like that, I’m goin’ back to bed.”  True to her word, she shrugged back under the covers and turned to face the wall.

“Avatar,” the old voice; familiar voice; changed voice….  But a voice that used to sing her lullabies, she remembered, unexpectedly and for the first time in… how long?

“Exodus is a thing from the Ages of Darkness; from before your time,”

the old bard explained, but it sounded unusually forced from him, “An evil thing; please understand if we don’t wish to speak of it lightly.”

A spark of… something flashed in her mind.

Two warriors and a wizard stood by her… her fingers manipulated the strange contraption with ease, even as her comrades looked on in confusion….“Love,” she fanned the card as she considered the ports.  This had to work.

Then she realized how she had woken up when she hadn’t gone to sleep.  She crawled from the bed, painfully aware that all conversation had died.  She glimpsed at her friends, to find all eyes upon her.  Resigned to her fate, she swallowed hard.

“All right.  What did I do this time?”

With great hesitation, yet the song of monsters spurring her on, she slid the first card into the machine.  “Sol,” she continued, a little more confidence creeping into her actions.  “Moons,” compared to this automation, she was a living thing, but in this world and time she was barely more herself.  “Death,” the last card was placed.  Nothing happened.

She caught a word and scolded herself; but friendliness made her feel better, if a bit mothered.  She wasn’t always accustomed to this world, and blacking out was becoming a bad habit.  Even through the fog of her mind, a revelation did occur.

“Is Exodus why I’m here, then? Is it responsible for…” she trailed off into thought.

Exodus sounded dangerous, or so the Avatar mused as she leapt from the boarding plank to muddy, but more solid ground.  The island was as it was the day before – green tinted natural and carved stone.

But then the ground suddenly shook violently...

But then the earthquake struck suddenly, and shattered the castle as they fled for safety....

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