A woman in her early twenties opened the door. She had black hair in an up-do with strands hanging loose complimenting her grin that enlightened her dark-blue eyes. She wore a sepia-brown vest over a puffy-sleeved, white shirt, and a dark brown layered skirt shorter in the back than in the front.
"PYROOO!" She squeed, tackling him in a tight hug and then noogying him softly.
"Hey Kal," he said, grinning.
"Oooh, guests!" she said, turning to Dilmon and I. She half-walked, half-skipped to us and gave us each a warm hug. Her cheerful enthusiasm was contagious so that I found myself grinning and hugging her back.
She stopped in her tracks, looking at me with bulging eyes. My grin faltered and I put a hand to my head, finding out her hug had made the hood of my jacket fall, revealing my hair. I hastily pulled it back up lest anyone else see.
"Princess!" She exclaimed in a slightly awed tone. I winced and blushed as she curtsied.
"Kal," Pyro said, and began explaining all that happened in the past few hours. Surprisingly, it didn't take that long. "They both prefer to be treated as any other person in Eladra," he finished. I smiled at him gratefully.
"Oh," said Kal. She had listened intently to Pyro, and now she was smiling warmly at Dilmon and
Again, I was slightly shocked by how different this was than what I was used to, in the palace. The floor was a plain, wooden one, with some scruffy-yet-fuzzy-looking carpets strewn all over the place. The ceiling had thick, dark, wooden beams across it. The furniture was simple, bare. The walls were covered with works of art, both drawn and written. I walked over to a framed piece of parchment written on in golden ink;
For you’ve asked the greatest question
Which is simply labelled Why?
What’s the point at all in living
"When eventually you die," whispered Kal from behind me. "This is a verse from The Loss of Hashiness, by Octaboona, sometimes known as the Purple Poet. My Purple Poet!" She grinned, waggling her eyebrows. I chuckled.
"Speaking of which," she said, a little louder so that both Pyro and Dilmon could hear as well, "he really needs to get home soon!"
And then, with perfect timing, the door opened, and a man I took to be Octaboona entered the house.
"Kaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!" he half-shouted, half-sang, picking her up and spinning her around, finally stopping to dip her and plant a kiss on her lips. He then looked up.
"Oh," he said. "There's guests. Hello."
I waved awkwardly. Dilmon just stared at the couple. Pyro was trying not to laugh.
"And you are?" he asked, smiling as he got up from his dip with Kallista and inclined with his head at Dilmon and I.
"That's Dilmon, there," said Kal before I even opened my mouth. "And this is Red Waterfall."
"Oh! We're in the presence of Royalty?" His wide grin stopped me from taking his question seriously.
"Not today," I grinned back. "Today I'm here for something else."
"And what might that be?" asked Kal. Pyro hadn't mentioned the fact that the Runes had told me to get Kallista to come with us.
Octa took her by the hand and they sat down on a rather small armchair. Both of them. Hmm.
He beckoned us to sit on the sofa, and we did, me sitting between Dilmon and Pyro. I explained what I understood of what the Runes had told me, about the dying World and the first part of the Prophecy, in which I was told I was one out of the two people in our entire World that could actually speak to the Runes.
"Wait, what does Kal have to do with all that?" asked Pyro.
"The Runes chose a group of people, from all over our World who deserve to survive... it." I said. "Kallista's the first on the list." I smiled at her.
"What?" she said. "Me? I don't deserve to be saved, no no no, there are other people more important-"
Octa interrupted her with a kiss. "Sometimes you're too modest for your own good," he said. "It's natural that you're the first on the list, you're the best person there is!"
"You're a teeny tiny bit unobjective, don't you think?" she said, sticking her tounge out at him.
"You have to choose whether or not you want to come with us," I said. "You have to choose now, because there's no time to waste. We leave in the morning."
Dilmon sighed. He hadn't said much at all since we reached Eladra. I could tell by his face that he was deep in thought.
"I'm coming with you," she said. "Me too," added Octa.
Suddenly, my vision went blank.
The World, it sings it's pained and broken song
You mustn't make a step that's out of line
For if another joins that isn't named,
The World will reach a devestating end.
You have to realise you hold the Fate
Of both your World and all the Worlds beyond
Kallista Pendragon must come alone
Until she does, no other name will show.
If you do not hurry up and quicken
Then all you know will fall and crumble, break
So you cannot leave without Kallista
For then all Worlds will reach their horrid end.
Vision returned, and at first, everything was blurry. I gulped in deep breaths, coughing slightly.
Only after fully regaining the ability to breathe I noticed I was on the floor, everyone huddled around me with worried looks on their faces.
"I'm fine," I said, getting up. I sat down on the sofa again, and everyone sat down where they were before. "It's fine," I reassured their still-worried faces. "The... the Runes just spoke to me. I didn't know they could do that outside Bakazak. Took me by surprise."
"What did they say?" asked Octaboona.
I recited what they had told me.
"So... I can't go without Octa?" Kal's voice wavered.
"I'm sorry," was all I could say.
She took a deep breath, and her lower lip trembled slightly.
"And all the Worlds depend on whether she comes with you or not?" asked Octa, protectively cuddling her.
I nodded. "It seems so."
"I guess.." Kal said slowly. "I guess I have to come with you. I have to... leave Octa, for now." She looked up at him.
"Sleep on it, Kal," I said. "Don't rush with this decision."
"Okay," she said. She and Octa looked into each other's eyes with such intimate intensity, that I felt I had to give them time to themselves. I got up and went outside.
I sat on the front porch, head slumped on my hands. That was insanely cruel of the Runes, making Kal choose between her happiness and love, and Worlds she never even knew existed.
It was dark, with only a hint of light blue at the horizon, where the sun had set. I didn't hear the front door opening, but the orange blaze lighting up the porch told me that Pyro had come outside, too.
"Runes are evil," he stated, sitting not quite next to me, but close enough that the heat from his flame warmed me up from the now-chilly air. I nodded.
"Where'd Dilmon go?" I asked him.
"Upstairs, to the guests' bedroom. Kal offered you'd sleep here and he agreed."
"That's very kind of her," I said softly.
Pyro sighed. "Something wrong?" I asked him.
He shrugged. I smiled at him. He smiled back.
He looked away, and I could just about see a slight redness in his cheeks. My smile widened as I felt my own cheeks heating in a blush.
Despite the slightly awkward silence, I was comfortable. I think I could've stayed there for a while, with the moon just about rising, the nice, cool air, the soft, warm blaze of Pyro's flame... there was just something about Pyro that made me feel... free. Made me feel myself, without any masks or forced emotions.
But.. wait. What am I thinking?
I'm thinking that... well...
But I only just met him a few hours ago!
And yet it feels like I've known him for years...
I felt my eyes widening as I took in my epiphany.
I.. I had.. feelings for Pyro.
Yes, I was certain of that.
But.. how does this all work? As the Heiress of Sylvenia (sigh), I haven't exactly ever thought of boys. I didn't need to. I was to be assigned a husband at the age of seventeen and that's that. I had no choice in the matter.
But it didn't matter. Not anymore. Not since this entire World is going to die.
But then when will I have a chance to tell him??
I felt like hitting myself. No way am I going to tell him. Ever. There's no way he'll even ever think of me like that. I'm just this weirdo princess picked by mystical forces to gather a group of people and save them from destruction. I internally groaned at how true and awful that was.
I peeked back up at him, clicheicly meeting his gaze. I immediately looked back down at my lap, my cheeks growing more and more like the colour of my hair.
I took a deep breath, about to say something when-
"How can you even say that?!" shouted a voice from inside the house, making both Pyro and I jump. The shout was Kal's.
"Kal, calm down," said Octa. "All I was saying was that you don't have to do this, not if you don't want to."
"You expect me to just sit here and live my life while a World dies?!"
"Kal, I'm saying you should do whatever you want to. And sure, I'd love it if we didn't have to be apart, but you-"
"How can I possibly leave after you tell me that?! You know how much I love you, and how I'd much rather be with you forever, but I don't even think you understand! A whole World is at stake. Thousands, if not millions of people will die, because Kallista Pendragon was a selfish person and stayed with the one she loves more than anything!" Her voice broke, and I heard sobbing, gradually fading, and then a door slammed shut. Octa sighed.
I closed my eyes and rubbed my forhead. I hated the fact that Kal and Octa were fighting over it now. It was my fault. They seem such a lovely couple and now, because of me...
The orange light shifted, and Pyro got up and went back inside. I stayed outside.
It was pitch black now; the half-full moon was just behind a small cloud. I leaned my head on my palms and sighed. I closed my eyes. It was nice, being just me in the dark.
Without Pyro's flame, I got cold, and my teeth started to chatter. I went back inside.