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Separate Lives: Devin & Talia (between AP and Aveyond)

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This is the "in between story of AP & Aveyond," and I figured it would pretty long, but eventually I will finish it. Keep in mind, this is fan fiction. So let me know if something is wrong as far as plot or even silly errors. Hopefully, I will have time to update every few days. :roll:

 

At this point, this story is very, very long. So please DO NOT try reading it in one sitting. :blink:

 

Disclaimer: This story assumes that you had Princess Alicia and Frederick in your party. Also that you didn't marry off Talia or Alicia to Devin. Instead, I am going to go by what happened in Aveyond. Some of the characters/events/places I mention will be complete fabrications...Enjoy!

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PART 1

 

Chapter ONE: “Victory”

 

After they defeated Lord Zorom and the Dark Priest, in turn, preventing them from resurrecting the evil Ahriman--or so they thought--Talia Maurva, Devin Perry, Alicia Pendragon, and Frederick Le Mew exited the hidden castle.

"We did it! We did it!" Princess Alicia cheered loudly once they were out.

Frederick turned into a dragon to blow out puffs of smoke and fire to signal their triumphant victory.

Once they reached the opening to the mainland, Talia and Devin embraced each other playfully and began dancing merrily outside the ruined shrine. Alicia cut-in to dance with Devin, leaving Talia and Frederick to watch. Talia watched quietly as the two danced, finding herself feeling a bit jealous at Alicia taking away her dance (however, she did not notice that he was glancing at her with every turn), but she was too happy to complain.

After a few minutes of celebrating, Talia began to wonder what they were going to do now that they had completed their journey.

"Devin, Alicia, Frederick--friends, what are we to do now?" Talia asked as their excitement had become a quiet contentment, and they walked to Candar Kingdom to stay the night.

"I don't know, Talia..." Devin replied first as reality started to sink in again.

"Well, I know I have to return to Thais. Hopefully mother and father have not  gotten too desperate to find me a husband," Alicia said reluctantly, sighing. They were in fact, eager as can be to give her hand away.

"I'm sure they will be patient," Talia said, feeling a little sorry for the princess. "Devin and I should probably go back to Elden soon. We have been away for so lon--"

"--No, Talia! I already told you I don't want to go back to that boring place!" he said annoyed, interrupting her.

"Hmph!…I suppose we can stay in Thais for now as well. We can keep renting that old room there," she went on, irritable, as she thought of other ways of convincing him later with better luck to travel back to Elden.

"...Devin, perhaps you can serve as the royal family's highest knight? I'm sure mother and father would agree that you would be a good candidate! Frederick and Talia, you can be...Mmm, we shall see," Alicia said, sounding a little haughty as usual.

"That would be wonderful, Alicia! I would love to serve as highest knight," Devin replied, glad to have an excuse to stay on the mainland a little longer, also touched and honored that the princess would extend the offer.

"Then it's settled! Tomorrow the four of us will go back to Thais," Alicia stated with finality in her tone.

"Actually...I think I should head back to Animalville. I miss my brother," Frederick interrupted. "Besides I want to show those pests my new shape-changing skills. But if you three ever need me, I would be honored to help you again. You know where to find me."

"Thank you, Frederick. We couldn't have done this without you," Devin said nobly.

As their futures seemed more certain now that the battle was over, the group fell silent to enjoy the sweetness and glory of the coming evening.

 -----

The party arrived at the inn in Candar where they rested. In the morning, Talia woke up before the others. She stepped outside and was surprised to find Gevolda, the high priestess from Mysten Far and another mysterious priestess, waiting outside.

"Hello, Gevolda...What brings you to Candar?" Talia asked, puzzled, thinking it odd that she would leave Mysten Far and travel all this way for anything less than urgent.

"The Oracle has told us of news that you have defeated Lord Zorom," Gevolda said sounding extremely pleased.

"Yes. Word spreads quickly, doesn't it? We were just going to visit Prince Edward to tell him the news that his brother is dead, before heading back to Thais," Talia said, thinking of the good, but bittersweet news her party had to give.

"No need to do that. We already informed the King of Candar. He is quite...heartbroken, to say the least," Gevolda said and bowed her head low. "...But we are not here for the prince. We are here to speak with you. Talia, this is Leana, the Moon Priestess. She is here to help select the next Dream Priestess."

"Um...Pleasure to meet you, ma'am," Talia said more confused than ever, still wondering why the two were here.

"No, no. The pleasure is mine, dear," the Moon Priestess said eagerly, lowering herself to a quick bow.

"Talia, after observing your great courage and extraordinary magical aptitude, we would like to invite you to come with us to Mysten Far. As I just told you, we need to find a new Dreamer to watch over the Dreamworld. We believe that you may be the one for the position," Gevolda revealed.

"What's wrong with the current Dreamer?" Talia asked, recalling part of their journey to the Dreamland.

"The Dreamer is ready to retire from her duties. She has been watching our dreams for nearly 10,000 years now. We have to replace her with a new Dreamer within a year, if not sooner."

"But I thought the Dreamer was immortal?" Talia asked, thinking how little she knew about the Dreamer.

"Yes, but one can only live for so long before growing tired of immortality. When a Dreamer steps down after serving for a very long time, she will become mortal again and live out her remaining years as she pleases."

"I don't know...if I should go..." Talia began as she tried making sense of everything and what it meant. Her heart stuck to one thought immediately: of having to leave Devin behind forever.

Just then, Devin walked out of the inn, door flinging open carelessly.

"Talia, where were you? We have to check out soon," Devin said as he became aware of Gevolda and the strange priestess' presence.

"Devin, this is Leana, the Moon Priestess. Gevolda and Leana have come to ask me to return to Mysten Far with them," Talia said forcing a polite smile, but hoping Devin would oppose them for even thinking of taking her away.

"You would have to serve a year as a novice priestess. After that, the choice is yours to drink from the Fountain of Immortality. If you choose to become the Dreamer, then you will be sent immediately to the High Priest Realm where you will train with the Moon Priestess, the Star Priestess, and the Sun Priest--Talia, you do not have to decide now, but a prompt answer is expected soon. The Oracle will have the final word after your training, I must warn.

"Take some time to think about all of this. We will be with Master Gerrith at the Collegium of War and Magick waiting for your answer tomorrow," Gevolda said, noticing Talia would not be leaving with them at this very moment as she appeared uncertain.

The two priestesses left the inn. Talia and Devin stood silent for a minute as they watched them converge with the throngs of morning villagers.

"Devin...what should I do?" Talia asked him after a brief silence. Only a day to make such a choice? she thought, grudgingly. Tomorrow did not seem to be enough time for such an important decision like this. It was too soon.

Alicia and Frederick suddenly pushed the inn door open ready to leave.

Devin pretended to ignore Talia's question. He could not bear to think of Talia leaving his side forever, but he knew that he would not be able to give her the life she deserved. He had nothing for her--and besides, they were only friends. How could he then ask her to give up the opportunity to become the next Dreamer?

"Home at last today!" Alicia announced to them grinning happily, ending the harsh silence.

”Yes.... Home. Home to Thais!" Talia said as if she had already forgotten the priestesses visit.

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Chapter TWO: Out of Reach

 

The party left Candar soon after. They headed to the port to sail on their ship back to Thais. Talia and Devin didn’t speak of the morning's events to each other or anyone else on the voyage home.

During the trip back, Talia sat quietly beside Alicia as Frederick tried amusing them by changing into different creatures. Devin was in charge of steering the ship. He glanced frequently at them from the top of the mass. Alicia was happily clapping her hands from amusement, but Talia kept looking out into the open sea.

He knew what she was thinking. But how can I let her go? Devin thought. He had promised her grandmother long ago that he would protect her and go with her where ever she went. Surely, her grandmother didn't mean forever? Then why couldn't he just tell her to go then? Why try to sabotage her good fortune of becoming the Dreamer?

 

As land came into sight, Devin finally decided that he would talk to her when they got back to Thais. He did not know what he would say to her, but he hoped to have his feelings sorted out by then.

 

They arrived at the Thail Port early in the evening. Frederick bid farewell to his fellow comrades and disappeared into the lush quiet forest.

Alicia walked with Talia and Devin back to the castle. They reached the walls of Thais when Talia could not stand avoiding the Dreamer matter with Devin any longer. She suddenly stopped as the two kept walking forward. Devin quickly realized that Talia was no longer behind them, so he turned around to see where she was.

"Talia, are you coming?" Devin said impatiently at Talia whom stared blankly at him.

”Why haven't you said anything about this morning...Devin?" Talia began. He noticed that she was upset; her cheeks red and her eyes watery.

"What is she talking about?" Alicia asked testily, confused about Talia's abrupt mood swing.

"Alicia, can you get back to the castle on your own? Talia and I need to have a word alone."

"Ahh...Sure. Devin, don't forget that you have a commitment with my parents. Just come by the castle when you are ready. But don't take too long," Alicia reminded Devin, as she waved good-bye to them. Her blonde hair bounced as she sped away.

Talia and Devin made it to the alley near their dormitory without saying another word. Peasants hurried by them to get home before dark came.

"Talia, I just didn't know what to say, alright," Devin finally answered once they reached the front door of their rental.

"Devin, I'm sorry for being rude. I just don't know what I'm going to tell Gevolda tomorrow."

"So...you have decided to go?" he asked trying not to sound biased.

"No. I am not going to be the Dreamer. I don't want to be the Dreamer, Devin! They can find someone else for the position. I just want to stay here in Thais!" Talia assured him, hoping he'd agree with her decision.

Devin looked at her searchingly. He knew that she was not one to venture out on her own. She was the type who wanted to stay put in one place for the rest of her life, but he also knew that she was destined to be more than just someone who settles down. After what she accomplished, Talia deserved to move ahead. She deserved everything. If defeating Zorom, a Dark Priest, and Ahriman the Demon didn't make her worthy, then what did?

"...Are you sure you want to stay here?" Devin asked to be certain.

"Yes. I am sure. Very. I want to stay here...with you," she replied with no second thoughts that could make her doubt her resolve.

Suddenly, he couldn't help hugging her, and flung his arms around her tightly.

"I'm so glad you're not going!" he said, all too joyful.

"How could I leave my woolly-eyed buffoon-of-a- friend behind?" she joked, but began yawning at the same time. "Okay, I should get some rest. I have to be ready to turn down Gevolda tomorrow," she stated, the last with sound relief knowing exactly what she wanted.

 

The two of them walked into their humble room where two small beds covered much of the floor. Dust settled on most of the few belongings after being away so long.

That night neither slept much. Devin stared at the ceiling all night wondering why he didn't try to convince Talia to leave. He watched a spider spinning a web in the damp corner above. It depressed him to think of Talia having to live in such squalor when she could live amongst gardens and temples of the gods.

Talia, on the other hand, was too happy to rest. She laid on her side staring at Devin's side of the room in the dark. Devin didn't want her to go. He wanted her to stay with him in Thais. Just the two of them. Perhaps, there was a future for them, after all. He just needed to sum up the courage to tell her how he felt about her, she thought secretly to herself.

The thoughts continued to race through her mind. Talia rested well and began falling asleep but her thoughts kept her from closing her eyes. When exactly did she start liking Devin as more than a friend? They were recent feeling she assured herself. But what if he didn't feel the same way about her? Was she making a mistake by choosing not going to Mysten Far? No, she thought, Devin didn't want her to leave and that was a good enough reason for her to stay. Before she fell asleep she decided that if he ever wanted her to go, then, she would go. Her eyes finally relaxed as she fell sound asleep.

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Chapter THREE: Out the Door

 

In the morning, Devin woke up knowing what he had to do. He had to tell her that she should take Gevolda's offer. Talia deserved to be the Dream Priestess, and as a friend, he could not allow her to ruin her life.

He got up to make her breakfast. Talia hopped out of bed when she heard Devin moving about.

"Good morning, Devin...You're up early," she said a little surprised to see him making breakfast, since it was usually her chore. Devin just smiled and went back to preparing the porridge.

He had to tell her now. He had to tell her to go the Mysten Far somehow. His thoughts distracted him as he stirred the contents in the iron pot, stirring faster and faster. Without warning, Devin knocked the pot over and porridge streamed down to the ground like a bubbling mudslide.

"Oh, Devin! You silly boy! Let me help you clean it up," Talia giggled, as she went to go find an old rag.

"No! I got it! I can do it myself, Talia... I don't need you," Devin said irritated. Talia took notice of his sudden crude attitude.

"I was only trying to help..." she said apologetically.

He instantly felt bad for having scorned at her. It's not her, it's me that should be sorry! he thought, remorseful. Her green eyes stared at him, as he tried to salvage any food he could for them. Talia, despite his protest, went over to help him clean.

"I should probably go soon to the Collegium to talk with Gevolda," she began, as they finished cleaning up.

"Let me come with you...I want to visit Master Gerrith since you're going there right now. Might as well visit him...Good ol' Gerrith. Wonder what he is up to these day?" he lied so he could have a chance to talk with her. He hoped that she would believe him because he was not very good at lying.

"Hmm...Okay, Devin. We can go together," Talia said smiling, now getting ready to head off to the Collegium.

 

The walk to the Collegium seemed to last longer than usual. Everything around Devin seemed to move in slow-motion. Talia was walking a little ahead of him. Her long but beautiful, red hair shined brightly from the sun overhead. The image of her moving through the alley imprinting in his mind like a portrait.

Now! he thought as they neared the Collegium. You have to do it! his conscious screamed. But they were already entering the building and going into Master Gerrith's quarters.

Talia was at ease the whole time and happy to finally put this whole Dreamer dilemma behind her.

"Hello, Devin and Talia. I'm so happy to see you two again," Gerrith greeted them warmly, as they came into his quarters. "I will return very soon. I have to go run a quick errand. I'll be back shortly," he said quickly.

Both Devin and Talia bowed their heads to curtsy, as Gerrith left. The priestesses were already waiting for them in the room.

"Hello again, Talia...and Devin," Geldova said to them, sounding surprised to see Devin there too. Leana the Moon Priestess smiled at them and remained silent. Talia had really not thought of the Moon Priestess' appearance before, but was a little taken by it this time. In contrast with the Collegium's less picturesque background, Leana had a quiet peaceful air about her, perhaps, because of her incredibly pale skin and hair. It was more obvious in the dim room than when the setting was against Candar's surreal beauty. Her robes white and sky blue, touching the dreary wooden floorboards, but she was not suiting the setting very well.

"So, Talia, have you decided to join us to perhaps to one day become the next Dreamer," Gevolda interrupted Talia's train of thought.

"Well, I really appreciate the offer, but I will no--" Talia stopped as Devin intercepted.

"Talia, no! You should go with them," Devin said trying his best to sound resolved and definite about his stance.

"What?...Devin, you can't be serious? I thought you wanted me to stay..." Talia said quietly, almost speechless. She walked toward him. He pulled her into the hallway, hoping to get a word with her alone out of the priestess' earshot.

"Don't you see, Talia? This opportunity will never come again for you. You deserve to go! I won't let you stay here in Thais. You must. I won't let you stay."

"But Devin I can't do this alone...I need you," she said, still trying to make sense of his reasoning.

"Yes you can, Talia. I know you can! If you were able to defeat Lord Zorom from bringing back Ahriman, then becoming the Dreamer should be effortless," Devin continued. He felt his heart beating rapidly making him nauseous, but he somehow managed to keep his composure.

Talia, too devastated to speak, just stared blankly at him. He didn't want her to stay after all. He was just trying to be supportive about her decision to stay in Thais. All her hopes were nothing more than her imagination setting her up to get hurt, she realized now, all too painfully.

"Devin...if you think I should go, then...I will go to Mysten Far," she finally uttered. "I can't believe I'm going and you're not coming!"

"Yes. I will miss you a lot, but it is for the best," Devin finished, as he wrapped his hand on hers to lead her back to the room.

"I hope you have made a decision that is what you want, Talia," Gevolda said firmly as Talia stood before her and the Moon Priestess again.

"I have. I will be going to Mysten Far to become the Dreamer."

"Talia, remember that you will have a year to decide whether or not you want become the Dream Priestess. But for now, we will be leaving shortly. There is much work to be done," Gevolda said with a glance to the Moon Priestess.

The Moon Priestess walked over to them.

"Right now we leave?" Talia uttered in disbelief, shocked that her departure would be happening so quickly. The room seem to be spinning.

"Yes. Unless there is something you have to do?"

"No...I guess I am ready," Talia said looking toward Devin.

Leana then opened a teleportation cloud and walked into it's mysterious, foggy mist. Devin walked up to Talia and embraced her snugly. Neither could speak. Gevolda then stepped in and disappeared into the soft, white cloud, taking up only a small portion of the room.

Talia knew that it was her turn and began to slowly step backwards, still staring at Devin. Her eyes suddenly filled with tears. She still hoped that he would reach out for her and stop her from leaving. No...He wants me to go, was all she could think. There was nothing left to say between them now as she realized he was sure about her departure.

However, as she stepped closer and closer toward the portal, Devin felt like he was having a horrible dream that would not end. His heart was churning with pain. A feeling he had never experienced before set in. He felt a heavy tear coming down his cheek.

"No!" he yelled, but she was gone.

He stared at the space where the cloud had been. Every image of Talia he remembered from that morning to when they were little children growing up in Elden, flooded his mind, filling him with instant misery. He knew now why he had decided to come with her to Thais all those years ago, why he protected her from harm, and why he didn't want her to leave his side just now. He loved her.

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awwww, how sweet! it jusr drives me crazy how some people want to change their desision at the last minute, and when it's already too late. how sad. but strangley i remember the exact sentence(i think) that is first in the next chapter. that is really wierd. this is another story i just realized i never finished! wow, am i actually glad the site crashed for a moment. i was sad at first, but now i can actually keep up with all the stories!!

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@princess: Aww, thanks! :) And very true about the crash. I guess things can work out in the end......NOW let's hope it doesn't happen EVER again! lol XD

Anyhoo, more decision-making to come. ;) I'll try to post the rest of the story (42 chapters left) at a decent pace for anyone else to catch up.

==================================================

Chapter FOUR: After Effect

 

Devin fell to his knees. The revelation of his love for Talia, resonating in all his soul, was too much to bear. "How could I have not known sooner?!" he tortured himself.

He wished that he could take back what he had done and bring her back somehow. But he knew that his friend--best friend--was gone.

All those years and he never knew it until now when she was gone and he had persuaded her (him of all pathetic people) to leave. It was almost ironic; simply unbelievable. It felt as though a sharp sword was cutting away at his chest.

He stood still, alone in the room when he heard the noise of a door opening behind.

"Devin, you're still here?" The voice asked. It was Master Gerrith. Devin turned his head and began to get up off his knees."Where is Talia? Did she decide to go with Gevolda?" Gerrith questioned, feeling concern for Devin. "I did not think she would leave..." he was now slowly coming toward Devin.

"LET ME BE!" Devin shouted suddenly as he stormed out of the room.

"Devin!!" Master Gerrith yelled pointlessly, but he was gone.

 

Devin ran faster than he had ever ran before. He stumbled once and scraped his hands but got up without noticing the blood droplets on his skin. Crowds of peasants stared at him as he pushed his way through to escape the emptiness that now followed him in place of his beloved friend. He was not sure what to do; he just want to get away from himself somehow.

"I need to go find her!" he told himself making his way toward the city exit.

The Thail gates loomed ahead. He was growing more and more tired as he came closer to them. When he reached the exit, Devin was forced to stop. His heart beat rapidly and he was out of breath. He hung on the side of the gate and stared out into the forest.

No, Talia was gone. She was indeed better off in Mysten Far. If he went after her now, then she would not even have the chance to decide if she wanted to become the Dreamer.

Devin turned around and walked back to their room. He locked the door behind him and drew the curtains shut.

-----

Meanwhile, Talia emerged in a priestess temple in Mysten Far from a small billow of cloud. Tears were still flowing like rivers from her eyes.

"Talia, is everything well?" Gevolda asked, rushing over to her.

"Yes...It was just hard saying good-bye to...to an old friend," she said carefully, not wanting Gevolda to know her true feelings for Devin.

"Aye, I remember having to do the same many years ago. Talia you can still write to Devin if you wish for the year. After that, communicating with him will be very difficult, if not impossible, if you become the Dreamer. "

Upon the news, Talia felt a little better that she could at least write to him, but at the same time she felt anger. Devin did not try to stop her. He did not love her, she thought. Perhaps it was best that she never speak to him again.

...No, she then thought through suddenly. I can't do that to him. He is still and will always be my friend.

Relaxed a little, Talia suddenly became aware of her surroundings. She was in Mysten Far now, with the priestess, and here to learn about the gods. Nothing really had changed since she was last here with the others when she studied in the Priestess guild. She looked around for Leana realizing she was no longer in the room with them.

"Where's the Moon Priestess?" Talia asked Gevolda, no longer crying.

"She had to go back to the High Priest Realm, Talia. Well, now that you are feeling better, I will show you to your room and give you the proper equipment for tomorrow."

Suddenly anxious to get off on the right foot, Talia began to search for her journal.

"My journal!" Talia cried out, when she searched her sling bag. It was her most prized possession. Everything that she had ever done was written in it. She then realized that she must have left it in Thais. But where?...

"Talia we can send for another one if you would like."

"No...It's okay I think I can live without one for now," she said, not being able to imagine using another journal than the one she had carried until now.

"Then let me show you around the temples. I do not think you have seen everything even with your many visits here," Gevolda said with a smile, now holding open the door for her.

Talia nodded, but felt compelled to look one last time where she had teleported. Did she hear Devin yell the word 'No!' she wondered, as she left the room?

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Chapter FIVE: Opponents

 

One week went by since Talia left for Mysten Far. The sun glimmered in through the small, spotty window facing the alley in Thais. Devin lay awake staring at the unmade bed beside his own. His mind was empty of all thoughts and feelings. How he wished he could just stay in the room as a hermit forever. He rolled over to hide his face in a straw pillow. He could hear children happily playing and merry music outside of the room--very much annoying him.

Suddenly, he heard a knock at the door but he had no desire to answer it, and it stopped anyways. After a long pause of silence, he heard another even louder knock, but this time he heard a familiar voice.

"Devin, it's me, Alicia. I order you to open this door at once!" she waited impatiently for a reply, but she did not get one. "Devin, I mean it!! If you don't open the door, I will break it down!! You know I can!!" Alicia yelled from the opposite wall.

Devin knew she most likely could break down doors (especially the rental's cheap wooden ones), so to avoid her troubling herself to knock the door over, he slowly got out of bed and finally open it.

"What do you want?" he said harshly. Princess Alicia then pushed her way inside, unaffected by his contempt.

"Devin, I've come to get you," she said sounding more demanding than implying this was an act of pity.

"I just want to be left alone," Devin said, as he slouched over and got back into bed face down. Alicia went over to sit beside him.

"Look, I know about what happened with Talia going to Mysten Far to become the Dream Priestess. And I...I will also miss her very, very much. Master Gerrith came to visit me this morning. He said he was worried about you. And besides, you still have an engagement with the king and queen and I expect you to come with me back to the castle this minute," Alicia said, determined to get him moving again, but Devin still refused to budge.

A glass of water was sitting on the night table beside the bed giving Alicia an idea. She picked up the glass.

"Devin, if you don't get up this instant, I'll...I will be forced to splash you in the face with this water."

Devin tilted his head to see if she was really hold a glass of water and was surprised to see that she was getting ready to wet him.

"You wouldn't dare," he sneered, but suddenly felt energized and mischievous again.

"Yes...I will if you don't get out of this wretched hole right now!" she held the glass over his head, tipping it slowly. Devin, without warning, got to his knees as he tried to snatch the glass out of Alicia's hands.

"Stop that! Give it to me!" she squirmed struggling to control the glass. After some resistance the water splashed evenly on both their faces.

"I'm wet!! YOU..." Alicia began, but instead started to laugh contagiously. Devin tried his best to not laugh, but also began to as he finally put both feet on the ground.

"Princess Alicia, I'm sorry. I was not being myself," he pleaded, suddenly realizing his place again.

"No, no. It's my fault for provoking you," she said, as she pulled out a handkerchief from her pocket. Alicia wiped her face and then handed the cloth to Devin, then walked over to the entrance. She picked up a basket she had brought with her and began to put fresh bread and fruit on the table. Being polite, Devin sat down with her, and they ate together. However, after being alone for a week, he enjoyed Alicia's company more than the food. The two of them talked about his impending meeting with the king and queen, but avoided bringing up Talia.

 

Afterwards, Devin got ready and headed back with Alicia to the castle. They entered the throne room where both the queen and king sat.

"Oh, yes. The young man that saved my daughter months ago. How could I ever forget that blue hair?!" King Alexander exclaimed. Devin bowed to them as he stood before their altar in the throne room.

"Mother, Father...Devin is the one I was telling you about. We fought Lord Zorom and the Dark Priest together."

"You are a handsome young man!" Queen Alisandra complimented and winked, making Devin turn red.

"Well, now for business, young knight. In order to become the highest knight, you will have to fight a skilled knight and beat him. Are you ready lad?" King Alexander asked, beckoning him to stand to his left.

"Yes I am, your highness," Devin said confidently.

One of the knights standing nearby stepped forward. The black-haired knight, not much older than Devin, pulled out his rapier.

"Ahhh, yes! Tailor will be your rival today," the king added, eager to watch the two men fight.

"Father, Tailor is the best knight in all the kingdoms. You never make anyone fight him!" Alicia said rattled about her father's choice.

"Devin must prove himself, Alicia," the king finished without saying more.

The other knights in the room pulled back to the give the opponents space for their duel.

"Okay, let us begin!" the king announced with a roar.

Alicia stepped aside and watched mortified from the sideline beside her mother whom seemed just as mortified.

Devin pulled out his Sword of Thor and the two bowed to each other. Tailor made the first swing, but missed, giving Devin a clear, vulnerable shot. Within seconds, Devin had him pinned to the ground with his sword pointed at Tailor's throat." There was hardly a fight.

"Well....Well done. Well done!!" King Alexander said ecstatic, rising out of his throne.

Devin helped Tailor to his feet and shook his hand. Alicia and Queen Alisandra applauded with delight.

"Very well, Devin, I hereby make you Thais' highest knight. You may move into the knight's quarters tomorrow."

Devin went over to the king and queen to thank them.

"Father, perhaps Devin can dine with us?" Alicia asked, still thinking about Devin's sorrow and grief that morning.

"Aye, Devin can stay," King Alexander announced, and lead the way to the royal dining commons.

"Thank you, your highness," Devin bowed grateful, but surprised for the invitation. Even more surprised and a little disappointed that he didn't have to endure more battling rounds.

 

After dinner, Devin and Alicia chatted about his duel and sword sparring. Alicia ranted on and on about his moves and Tailor's, and different moves she would have used to beat him if it had been her fighting him throughout the meal.

Devin left just before dark, and went back to his room in the alley for his last night. He opened the door, still hoping to find Talia sitting in the corner studying magic spells, but he knew that this would not be.

He decided to pack the few possessions he had while leaving Talia's side for last. As he made her bed, he spread the bed cover and was astounded to see Talia's journal hidden underneath. She would never leave her journal behind, he thought as he carefully crept up to it.

He picked it up and held it to his chest. He felt comfort holding it. This is all that I have of her... Should I open it? No. I shouldn't. I can't break her trust, he thought for minutes. He decided, finally not to read it.

Devin carried the journal with him to his bed and tucked it under his pillow.

That night he slept peacefully for the first time since Talia left.

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Chapter SIX: Sword Swinging

 

Seven months pass...

 

The sound of a sword and rapier clashing could be heard off in the distant woods behind the castle. Leaves of amber, orange, and red covered the surrounding trees and the ground beneath. The day was pleasantly warm and a gentle breeze blew in from the east, making the loose leaves scatter.

"Is that the best you've got, Devin?" Alicia prodded as she was trying to corner him into a tree.

"No--I'm just letting you--win!" Devin said a little uncertain, as he was forced to step backwards yet again a few more steps.

"--Perhaps you should put in some effort then..." she smiled, as he finally had his back to the trunk. Devin gave her a smirked when he managed to maneuver his way to the other side.

"I'm just warming up, Princess!" he said, now cornering Alicia as she had done to him.

"Don't be so sure about that!" She slipped past his left arm and hid around the tree.

Devin moved carefully to the other side, but was baffled that she was not there--or anywhere in any direction. He walked toward the surrounding trees holding his sword close, waiting for any trace of weakness that would hint her location.

"Alicia...Alicia?!” Devin called, after a few minutes of searching, but she did not respond; making him worry all of a sudden. But suddenly he felt a quick tap on his shoulder and turned around.

"Boo!" she blurted stunning him, then taking the opportunity to knock his sword to the ground. "I win!" Alicia declared merrily.

"Nice try. But you're forgetting something..."

"What is it that I'm forgetting?"

"Never let your guard down!" he exclaimed, as he picked up a pile a leaves and threw them toward her way. Alicia tossed her rapier to the side and the two began having a playful leaf fight.

 

After awhile of playing, they sat down on the drying foliage.

"Devin...have you heard anything from Talia lately?" Alicia asked causally. She'd been careful to bring up Talia, but she wanted to know what was on his mind, or more so, if she was still on his mind.

"Yes. Talia writes to me almost every week now. She's doing really well training as a priestess. I'm expecting another letter from her soon," Devin said dismally and stopped speaking as he became lost in thought.

Alicia remained silent thinking if she should continue with the subject.

"Devin, do you still love her?" Alicia asked a little too carelessly. She hadn't wanted to ask him until now, but somehow she blurted out the question. She found herself hot in the face.

"Aye, I don't think I will never stop loving her. I would give anything to see her again."

"Then why don't you tell her how you feel? Why do you torture yourself?

"I don't know if she feels the same way, Alicia. I can't expect her to give up becoming the Dreamer, yet alone, risk destroying our friendship."

Alicia decided not ask anything more, since talking about Talia always made him depressed. Devin stared quietly at his sword thinking about his beloved. Alicia noticed little twigs on his hair and began to gently stroke them off.

For the first time in her life, Alicia had a friend that would not assume she thought herself better than everybody else, or judged her for being royalty--or worse--tried taking advantage of her privileged circumstances.

During the past few months they had been spending a lot of time together. Alicia had grown quite fond of Devin as a companion.

"...Devin, my parents," she started again, "are throwing a ball for me in a week. I suppose it's another one of their hopeless attempts to find me a husband, as you know. But I was hoping that you would request to be present that night. I don't want to be left alone with those boring know-it-all princes."

She gave him a deliberate frown that was meant to provoke sympathy. Devin sighed and rolled his eyes. How could he not say yes?

"Yes, yes. Okay, I'll be there. But you have to promise not to expect me to be your prime source of entertainment again. I almost got into trouble with your father the last time."

"Agreed," she responded, but she crossed her fingers behind her back, knowing she couldn't keep her promise. After all, she was the Princess and could do whatever she wanted.

Just then, they both spotted a figure running toward them. It was Tailor.

"Devin--Thieves!" Tailor panted.

"What have they done now?" Devin asked, as he and Alicia got off the ground and searched for their weapons.

"They've stolen three ships on standby at the dock."

"Did one happen to have black sails?" Devin asked already knowing the answer, since there were only a handful of them at the dock.

"Yes, how'd you know that?" Tailor asked.

"Lucky guess--No, because it was my ship! Have they've gotten away?"

"I'm not sure yet. But the constable didn't expect to catch them. We think that they needed the ships to join pirates."

"Miserable thieves!" Devin flustered, spitefully.

He hadn't really been using the ship since his duties in Thais prevented him from going on any adventures. Nevertheless, the thieves had stolen something that was his.

"Come on. We can walk to the knight's quarters to see if they have anymore news for us," Tailor offered.

 

The three of them walked back to the castle. Alicia veered off to go inside the palace. Tailor and Devin walked back to the knight's quarters only to find out that the thieves had indeed escaped.

The two knights then agreed to meet later to practice sword sparring. Having some free time, Devin went back to his room.

The room which he didn't have to share for being highest knight was a better accommodation than the room back in the alley, containing a bed, chest, and small fireplace in the corner.

The day was still early, so he decided to rest. He still had Talia's journal under his pillow which he reached for immediately. He had not opened it after all this time, but having it with him was soothing for his heartaches.

The window in his room was open when a small, strange butterfly flew inside. Devin sat with the journal on his lap as he watched the mysterious butterfly circle recklessly above him. Without warning the butterfly began to flickered tiny sparks of light and then disappeared. A parchment of paper then landed on top of the journal. Devin was a little shocked at what had just happened, but he picked up the paper and began to inspect it to see from who it was from.

He immediately recognized Talia’s handwriting.

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It's fun to read the beginning again, Dis. How much agony could they have saved themselves if only they had been willing to be honest with each other? Looking forward to more!

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yay! i'm so glad to see this. (may i remind you, this was the reason i joined AM in the first place?... :D ) i shall be (im)patiently awaiting more, and i'll save you some jam. XD

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@Cherry: Aw, thanks for re-reading. :) This time around there should be less typos, and I'm a much better writer too than I was a year ago, so less typos! lol XD It's funny reading it over again though...If I had started writing it today I wouldn't have made Devin so...well...cowardly. XD Anyhoo, I plan to end the story with an "alternate ending after chap. 9" :evil: (sorry, but complicated to explain now...)

@Elie: It's great to see you back! :) lol, Sure you don't miss the story more than me? Devin is pretty irrestible, I suppose. :D Kidding, lol!

@kaz: lol So long as you don't share the jam with the daevas I think they'll be plenty left. XD Aw, thanks! Means a lot too me. :blink:

================================================

 

Chapter SEVEN: Journal Secrets

 

Devin wondered how or why he received a letter from Talia like this, but felt proud of her that she could accomplish using her magic to send things when she normally just sent a messenger. Without any more delay he began to read her letter:

 

Dearest Devin,

I hope I didn't startle you with the butterfly portal. I am slowly learning how to teleport small items, which is proving to be a challenge. But as long as you get this message that's all that matters.

The reason I am urgently writing to you is because I have been asked to become the Dreamer months sooner than expected. Gevolda believes I am ready to take on the Dreamer’s responsibilities as soon as possible.

The Oracle and priestesses will be having a ceremony for my Rite to Immortality a week from now, in the evening before the sun sets. I’m very excited about the news, however, overwhelmed with everything that is happening so fast.

As you know, once I become the Dreamer I will not be able to return to the world for a long time. I cannot imagine never seeing you again Devin Perry--my good and faithful friend. It feels like it was just yesterday we were leaving Elden heading to the Collegium together...

I am hoping that you will come to Mysten Far so we can say good-bye to each other one last time. Though, I will understand if your duties as highest knight do not permit the time. I will be expecting you anyways, but if you cannot make it for whatever reason, I will watch over your dreams forever.

Truly Yours,

Talia Maurva

 

Devin took one quick gulp as he finished the letter and then let it fall to the ground. He realized that Talia’s ceremony was the same day as Alicia’s ball. Even if he tried to get out of his guarding duties he had no way of getting to Mysten Far now that his ship had been stolen.

Perhaps it is best that I don’t see her go, he thought to himself, knowing how hard it was for him to say good-bye to her the first time.

I can't do it again. I might as well kill myself now to save me the trouble later. No...I just cannot go. I have to stay here in Thais. I have my duties... Devin continued thinking as he bent over to pick up the letter and folded the letter neatly into the journal under his pillow for safekeeping.

 

 

The day of the ball finally came. Fresh white snow fell heavily covering all of Thais and the surrounding forest. Devin got up and attempted to go about his business as he normally would on any average day. He put on his best knight armor for the ball and went to the dining commons to eat with the other knights. When he returned to his room he decided to light the fireplace. Devin stared into the fire and he could not help being reminded of Talia's lovely red hair.

Suddenly, in a fit of rage, he rushed over to his bed and pulled all the sheets off and threw them hard to the floor. The journal under the pillow landed open close to the burning log in the fireplace. He immediately dashed to save it from the hot flames. He gave a grateful gasp. No serious damage had been done to it, but the open pages facing him made it impossible to avoid reading what was inside. Devin noticed it was the last entry she had written. He gazed at the open journal. He nearly collapsed at what he saw. A large heart had been sketched on one sole page. Inside it read:

 

”Talia Maurva and Devin Perry together.

My soul mate at last and only true love,

Love will always be sweet with thee at my side.”

 

Devin read it over again and again to make sure he was reading it correctly. The words seemed so real and unreal.

”I’m a fool,” he said out loud feebly.

At once he knew what he needed to do: he had to go to Mysten Far now. Somehow he would find her. He knew that he didn’t have much time. Only half the day remained before Talia would officially become the Dreamer.

 

Devin needed to go to the castle first before he left, to let Alicia know of the change of plans. He picked up his sword and the journal and left at once.

 

The ball had already begun. Music and chatter filtered out from the castle and people stood around in elegant clothing conversing with one another. Alicia was waiting for him in the courtyard outside. She rushed to him before one of the guest princes tried to engage her in conversation.

"Alicia! I have to go to Mysten Far! Talia does love me! I have to go!" Devin said out of breath, but hearing the words filled him with immense happiness.

"What?...But how?" Alicia said confused.

"I accidentally opened her journal. I can't stay for your ball, Alicia. Please relieve me of my duty for today," Devin begged.

"Devin, I am not going to stop you...Just go to her," Alicia finished, secretly hoping that he would not leave.

At once, Devin ran out of the castle heading toward the Mule Express to get the next ride to Candar then hopefully transfer to Glenvale in time. From there he knew where to find the portal that would take him to Mysten Far.

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Chapter EIGHT: Cold Feet

 

The snowfall began to worsen with every step Devin made toward the Mule Express, which was quite a hike south of Thais. His legs were getting numb from the frigate wind and ice. When he arrived to his destination the attendant and mules were nowhere in sight. Instead, Devin saw a small a sign posted on the wooden gate that read:

 

CLOSED! Due to the dangerous climate and fragile state of the mules...

 

Furious, Devin kicked the sign to the ground knowing already what the rest said. He needed to get to Mysten Far soon, but his options were limited once again.

"The canoe!" Devin said ecstatic when he the idea came to him, and began running west toward the bridge. Although it had been a long time since he used the canoe, he knew it was the only way he could get to the portal now.

When he arrived at the bridge he dug for the canoe which was covered knee-deep under the snow. The water in the river was mostly slush, but Devin managed to slide the canoe onto the surface and keep it afloat.

He paddled aggressively through the ever increasing dense waters upstream. As he finally approaching the mountains, a large sheet of ice floated ahead. He tried steering clear of it, but the sheet, large and merciless, collided with the canoe breaking it in two.

Devin was thrown off board into the bone-chilling river water. Fearing the worst, he inhaled as the cold liquid seeped into his clothes, but clinging to his back out of the water's harm was Talia's journal, which he feared most for than losing his life. He scrambled forward, and quickly realized that he was only in a couple feet of water and ice. If it had been any deeper he probably wouldn't have escaped the current.

He crawled onto the snow covered shore nearby and began moving north again until he reached the base of the mountains. When he arrived it was only to discover a large glacier blocking the opening of the valley. Devin fell back on the snow, defeated and unable to stand, feeling the frost forming slowly and stealing the heat from him, sure he would die within hours.

"I tried my best Talia...I'm...going to die here without telling you... I'm sorry," he thought hopelessly now that he was barely able to move and began to shiver violently. He picked up her journal, found a quill hidden in his cloak pocket and began to write inside. When he was finished he looked up into the pine trees ahead. A white wolf emerged from the shrubs staring intently at him. With his last strength Devin pulled out his sword preparing to attack the animal. The wolf began towards him.

"Stay away beast!!" Devin yelled in hopes of scaring it away.

"Devin--friend? What are you doing here?" the wolf said throwing him off. However, he suddenly remembered that Animalville was close by, but who was this? Devin suddenly knew.

"Frederick...is that you?...I didn't recognize you," Devin said weakly, hoping to conserve his strength.

"Aye, it's good to see you old friend. Sorry about scaring you. I just learned to shape-shift into a wolf and was out hunting," Frederick said as he changed into his dragon form and blew hot air towards his friend. Devin felt a lot better almost instantly and they began walking towards Animalville, leaving Frederick behind. His friend quickly caught up to Devin, still wondering why he was here.

"Frederick, I have to get to Mysten Far. It's urgent! Do you know of any short routes that will take me to the portal near Glenvale?" Devin asked without delay, now with only a few hours before sun fall. Fredrick roared happily by his request.

"Besides knowing how to change into a dragon, I finally learned how to fly as a dragon. I think I can get you to the portal in time. But why do you need to go to Mysten Far?" Frederick asked, curious.

As Devin climbed onto the dragon's back and they lifted into turbulent sky, he began to explain everything that had happened.

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LOL...Dis, Dis...As irrestible Devin may be (I like his blue hair, mentioned this before in Kinnison's story xD), but I can resist him...;) After all my (Lord)Conrad Weller-sama (from Kyou Kara Maou) whom I think is better than Devin Perry... :evil: LOLz....

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@Elie: :D Your (Lord) whatever I bet doesn't have sparkling blue hair or chestnut-colored eyes like Devin's, eh? XD lol jk Well...so long as you don't tell him...I agree with you. He made me say it though or maybe it was Alicia! XD *Dis points fingers*

==================================================

Chapter NINE: To Be Free

 

The sun loomed closely to the horizon. The priestesses accompanying Talia divided into two rows and lined up on opposite sides when they reached the garden. A large bonfire that shined brightly different hues of white, red, and gold, had been started in front of the Goddess statue in the center of the garden square. Gevolda walked up to the statue's platform toward an old woman wearing an elegant blue dress and red scarf. Talia began to pace forward as well.

"Talia this is the Oracle, she rules over all priests and priestesses in the High Realm and the Druids of the world."

Talia attempted to smile at the old woman but she felt too desperate, wishing to somehow get out of the overwhelming ceremony and the uncertainty of what lay ahead. After all these months, she was only given a vague description of what was to come once she became the Dreamer.

"My dear, I have heard so much about you: how you found all the relics to bring Agea back and defeated Lord Zorom. It was absolutely noble of you to complete such a difficult prophecy. I am extremely confident that you will make an exceptional Dreamer," the Oracle assured Talia and gave her a light hug with her frail arms.

"I had help from my friends," Talia corrected the Oracle, not wanting to take all the credit.

The old woman and Gevolda turned away from her to discuss some things.

By now Talia had given up her hopes of seeing Devin again. She glanced one last time over her shoulder and decided to comply with whatever lied ahead.

"We should begin the ceremony, the sun is rapidly setting." Gevolda said, ending her conversation with the Oracle, as she looked towards the west.

----

At this time, after several hours of flying, Devin and Frederick finally reached the portal then found themselves in the grassy haven of Mysten Far. Frederick changed his form again into a unicorn and the two raced towards the temples.

----

"Talia Maurva...do you pledge to protect and watch over the dreams of mortals as Dream Priestess?"

"Yes...I do."

"Perform the duties necessary to serve the gods and goddesses of all creations."

"Yes, I do."

"Fight evil and darkness when it is present, till death, if necessary?"

"Yes."

"Sleep forever, as needed, to protect all dreams from demons and wicked creatures?"

"Yes," Talia said confused at what she had agreed to, but did not care anymore; her fate was sealed after each vow to the Oracle.

The Oracle then reached for a pearl-colored goblet resting on a pedestal nearby and placed into Talia's hands.

"As Dream Priestess now, you can live forever, if you wish, that is. But after you have served for a long time you can break your duties as Dream Priestess and you will be allowed to do as you please. Now that you have agreed to these terms you may drink this water from the Fountain of Immortality. Once you drink the water and it has fully absorbed within, you will ascend to the Dreamworld as the new Dreamer."

Talia held onto the goblet cautiously. She heard the priestesses whispering behind her, awaiting for her to drink the solution. She gazed down into it and saw a clear fluid bubbling gently. It looked like nothing more than mineral water, she thought, but still opposed the idea of drinking it.

"Does this mean I'm going to look seventeen forever?" She asked knowingly stalling the process, but she was also curious as well. The Oracle and the priestesses began to laugh.

"No, no dear. You can age as you please. You can become an old woman like me or stay your age if you wish," the Oracle said and then signaled for her to drink it.

Talia knew that there was nothing more to be said; no more questions to be answered. The sun now set low into the horizon. It was now time.

Ignoring all reason, she held the goblet to her lips and tipped the contents down. The water did not taste as she thought it would. The flavor was of heavenly honey so sweet and pleasant that she wished it would never end.

"Talia!" She heard her name being called from somewhere as she lowered the goblet. She turned half way to see who it was. Immediately she dropped the goblet and it shattered into pieces.

"Devin?!...Devin!!" She said as she saw him running toward her. She rushed to him and saw him holding her journal.

As if both had been waiting for this moment, they embraced each other. Devin's and Talia's lips met with a lasting kiss. After the few seconds of bliss, Talia suddenly felt every fiber in her body tighten reminding her of the terrible truth.

"I'm such a fool. I should have never let you come here. We can go back to Elden like you wanted. As long as we are together, I don't care what I have to do," Devin told her smiling joyfully and happy to have her in his arms again.

He handed her journal back, but both their hands still held onto it.

"Devin..." Talia started, but began to cry uncontrollably.

"What's wrong my precious red apple lips," he called her, never having done so before, but now he wished to call her loving names for the rest of his life. Devin watched her green eyes glisten like brilliant emerald stones as the last of the sun rays caught her eyes.

"...You're too late...I am the Dreamer," she said sharply as she put her head on his chest not wanting to let go. Devin looked at the broken goblet on the ground. He could taste "bitter" but sweet immortal water on his own lips.

"We can never be together. I will be leaving soon for the Dreamworld..." Talia whispered unable to fully grasp their circumstances.

"No, Talia! We can leave now! We can just leave all of this behind us as if it never happened!"

"Devin, I will be leaving soon...You have to go on without me. I want you to be happy...to have love," Talia whimpered, raising her head to look into his eyes. Every second counted, she knew that she had to let Devin free. As painful and excruciating as it was, she would most likely never see him again, so she would have to let him go forever.

"--Talia I will come with you!"

"Devin you can't come with me. They would never let you..."

"Then I will wait for you! I don't care how long I have to wait as long as we can be together! Talia, I love you!" He said, kissing her again, "We will be together, Talia. I will not let you leave or anyone take you."

Talia caressed his face and blue hair affectionately with her free hand and forced her tears to stop.

"No, Devin...I do not want you waiting for me. I want you to be happy and...free. Please just do this for me! I will not be able to live with myself knowing you are miserable and alone. You have to go back to Thais and live your life without me... I will watch over your dreams, my love, as I promised."

"Talia..."

"Don't speak...I just what to hold onto this memory and hold onto you. I love you Devin Perry and I always will," Talia whispered softly and began to recite the words from her journal to him. She knew she would be leaving any second.

 

"Talia Maurva and Devin Perry together.

My soul mate at last and only true love,

Love will always be sweet with thee at my side..."

 

The two of them kissed at the end of the verse one last time. Talia kept her arms wrapped around him now holding the journal in her hand tightly. Devin opened his eyes no longer able to feel her presence. In her place, thousands of tiny luminous lights ascending slowly into the dark and starry sky and disappeared into the night.

 

Immediately, Devin looked at the Oracle and priestesses all of whom were crying. Gevolda stood silent and watched Devin, waiting for him to react. Frederick had lowered his unicorn horn close to the ground, scuffing at the grass.

"I want to go with her!" Devin angrily shouted at them as he pulled out his sword.

"Calm down, Devin...." Gevolda stepped forward. The other priestesses began to shuffle away.

"Just take me to the Dreamlands and I will do no harm!"

Carefully, the Oracle stepped forward and walked up to him.

"Young man, it is impossible for you to go to the Dreamworld and stay there. You are not a druid or priest. It would be against all natural laws."

Devin let go of his sword. He felt somewhat foolish for threatening an elderly woman, especially the Oracle.

"I understand that you have had a terrible day, dear," the Oracle continued and grabbed hold of Devin's hands and rubbed them gently, "But you cannot go around trying to dictate yours and Talia's destinies."

"I just want her with me. I will do anything. I will become a priest if I have to!"

Gevolda then interrupted.

"Devin, not only are you qualified to be a priest, but I would even recommend you as a first choice. The problem with becoming a priest is normally long stretches of time go by before we must replace any of them. The last priest to step down occurred several hundred years ago, and that is if they do not pass down their duties to someone of their preference. You would have to be extremely fortunate if there were any position available even a hundred years from now."

"Then I will wait a hundred years or more to be with her!" Devin murmured furiously as he turned to Frederick to leave.

 

The Oracle and Gevolda watched Devin leave. Frederick came over to him as they walked back to the portal.

Devin did not know what he was ever going to do without her.

 

End of Part 1

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Dis,

 

you're so like a Devin Perry fan to defend him when I place him beneath Conrad-sama...>;D *snickers* or did Devin or Alicia made you said that while pointing a sword at you?:D

 

Doesn't chapter nine makes you feel that destiny and fate seems to be laughing in the face of Devin and Talia, does it?

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@Elie: :D Honestly, I didn't know who this Conrad Weller guy was so I had to look him up AND he, I admit, looks quite "irrestible" (yeah I'm using that word again, but ONLY because he looks a lot like Devin! I can't believe it! XD It's only the hair color that differs but everything else is strangely similar. o_O

Anyhoo, yep, tragic, ain't it? XD Hm, it's intentional though, I admit. I mean everything *conveniently* happened to diverge them then bring them together in the end...Even *cough* and *cough* deaths are "convenient. :evil:

==================================================

PART 2

 

Chapter TEN: The Heart of Time -TALIA

Her sleeping eyes remained closed. Talia felt the gentle intensity of a wind blowing over her skin increasing more and more as consciousness gradually stirred all her senses awake. But she wanted to stay like this; never move or wake again. She must be dreaming she told herself because all she felt underneath her was as weightless and as soft as a cloud of silk.

No...he was here...Devin was just here! Where is he? Where am I? The thoughts stormed into Talia's mind as she became alert.

She suddenly snapped her eyes open and stared straight ahead. Her head slowly tilted upright as she gazed at the unfamiliar surroundings. She realized that she really was laying on silk: lovely white silk sheets for that matter. She looked up onto a large bed that was surrounded by a canopy of blue and white transparent cloth.

Feeling still fatigued, Talia immediately decided that she needed to get up at once. After a second, she realized where she was now, as if she were living her worst nightmare, she knew she was far from Mysten Far and Devin. This was the Dreamworld.

She crawled towards the bed's edge to peak outside where she saw snow falling. But before she went any further, Talia remembered her journal and was forced to look back in through the canopy.

Every hair on her rose straight up with goose bumps that formed with trembling at what she saw next. In the same spot she had awoken, she saw a person--a girl--sleeping in her place.

It was her! But she was still sleeping and the journal was tightly wrapped in her arms! She rubbed her eyes to make sure she wasn't seeing double, but after a moment of watching the person asleep in the bed she confirmed that it was indeed her.

Chills ran through all her limbs as she decided to take a closer look at her sleeping-self. Talia had no idea how to explain what was happening. Her sleeping-other was alive and breathing, she noticed, as she continued to observe from a short distance. And she was not hurt, but her sleeping-other had her beloved journal. Talia wanted her journal back badly, so she started trying to pry it out of her sleeping-self's arms.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Priestess!" Talia heard a strange man's voice frantically addressing her, and turned at once.

"Who are you?" She said a little frightened towards the strange old man. Talia glared at the bearded old man standing a few feet from the canopy. He wore a fancy blue robe with gold and silver embroidery patterns etched randomly all over and held a gold pocket watch in his hand.

"Oh child, I did not mean to startle you. We are currently--at this moment in time--in the Dreamer's tabernacle in the edge of the Dreamlands. I am Vata, the Time Druid. I am also known as Father Time by most.

"We have much to do Dream Priestess. We must leave for the High Priest Realm and meet with the Oracle," he stopped speaking when he saw Talia's look of alarm as she stared back at her sleeping form. He cleared his throat before he beginning again, "Now do you have any questions for me dear? I am sure you have many right now," Vata asked politely.

"How...how am I awake and asleep at the same time?" Talia asked anxiously waiting for an answer.

"Well, as you know, the Dreamer must stay asleep to protect mortals’ dreams for an indefinite amount of time. However, as Dreamer, one must also perform duties that require her to be awake and moving. I certainly hope you did not think you would remain asleep forever?"

"I was never told how it was done," Talia answered not knowing what to think anymore. Gevolda never really explained much about becoming the Dreamer. It was just one secret after another, requiring a lot of blind faith on her part.

"But, in order for a Dream Priestess to be able to remain awake, I as Druid of Time, must bend time so that there are two of you: one that sleeps and looks after the dreams, the other, awake and performing priestly duties here in the Dreamworld and also the High Realm. I will not get into any specific details. It is just far too complicated for most to understand the fabric of time. But as I was saying, you are both the same person, except your sleeping-self is your past moments after you have been in the present. Everything that happens to you physically will happen to her, including death. It is important that she never be awoken. If the sleeping Dreamer where to be woken you would find yourself back in the Dreamer's Tabernacle awake as one and would be unable to protect the dreams. That is why this is a secret that only certain priests, priestesses, and druids know and must protect."

It all made sense now, Talia thought, but she did not care about any of it. She just wanted to go back to Thais; back to Devin.

"I don't want to be the Dreamer!" she suddenly wailed. "Please send me back to my world! Please Father Time...I was hoping since you are the Druid of Time, perhaps you can turn time back to before I came here. Please...I need to go back!" Talia pleaded and began to cry.

"I am sorry, but I cannot turn time for you. There would be devastating consequences if your destiny were altered. I'm afraid that you are the Dreamer, my dear," he finished speaking and looked away feeling a great deal of sympathy for her, but he knew that he could not perform this request for her.

"Now dear, please save those tears. They are the only way I can get home back to my shrine in the world. It is a bit ironic and silly, I think, but it is how things work around here!" Vata said trying to cheer Talia up.

Talia smiled a little at the old man and wiped her eyes.

This was her destiny as the Druid said and nothing could change her past now.

Vata opened his pocket watch and moved the hour hand inside. Immediately they teleported to the High Priest Realm.

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Chapter ELEVEN: Priest Realm-TALIA

 

Within seconds, the Druid of Time and Dream Priestess arrived in an alley containing a large marble staircase leading upwards. Vata wrapped his arm around Talia's for support and they began to climb the steps.

"Is this the High Priest Realm?" Talia asked a little unimpressed as they slowly ascended.

"Oh, no child," he quickly corrected detecting her disappointment. “I thought you would like to see your new home first! It is quite a magnificent place, you know. I love to bring new druids to the outer edge for a quick visit. Love to see their reactions!"

As he finished, the two reached the last few steps and Talia was finally able to glance at the new setting. Her mouth hung slightly open from awe when they reached the top, now facing a large pathway.

"Talia, welcome to Vin'aneer. This is the Oracle's domain!" Vata said contently.

Talia gazed in amazement at the city from top to bottom. The sky overhead was clear and an indescribable brilliant tint of blue that she had never seen before. High cathedral-like buildings most with soaring steeples and made of a fine shiny white stone faced each other along the curving mazy street.

At a far distance, an enormous white castle sat atop a mound of lime, green grass. A number of people, most of who appeared to be priests and priestesses, and a variety of creatures; monster and animal-like, moved swiftly along the street.

Vin'aneer was unlike any place Talia had ever seen before or even could have imagined. Up to this point, she believed that Candar was the most beautiful land that existed, but the High Realm's beauty was beyond comparison to Candar’s or any other place for that matter. There was something enchanting and graceful about the place, almost surreal. It was nothing like Thais with its many tensions between the upper and lower classes and incessant immoral acts and petty crimes that tarnished the city.

Still in awe, Talia didn't realize that Vata had stepped away from her for a moment when she heard his voice again.

"My dear, the palace is much too far from here. I thought we could take a chariot the rest of the way."

"It's beautiful..." Talia said softly to him, still keeping her eyes on all the details.

"Yes, yes, wait until we go further up the street and see more of the High Realm," Vata hinted as he pulled Talia out of the way of incoming bystanders. She finally looked away and saw a small wooden chariot parked on the road side.

As she sat down, she noticed that there were only three tiny brown horses the size of dolls attached to the head of the chariot.

"Uh...How will they be able to pull us?" Talia asked puzzled.

"You have much to learn child. Everything in this realm is enchanted. You see all of this is as the Oracle perceives it to be. Matter or illusion, she maintains the harmony and balance of the High Realm as well as our world. The latter such explains why Vin'aneer is the pristine city that it is, since this is where the Oracle resides most of the time," he paused and then pointed to the front of the chariot. "Those horses may appear to be small, but in fact, they are quite strong. That is, because they are enchanted. Otherwise, they would not be allowed in this realm," Vata finished as the horses began to pull them forward. Talia could sense the powerful magic that radiated from the land.

Talia continued to look at the vast landscape as they traveled towards the palace. There were smaller cross streets that trailed off with more of the same stone buildings along them. Stores for armor, weapons, food, and other items were open at the bases of some of the buildings. As they moved along, Talia's interest shifted to Vin'aneer's citizens. They were in fact other priests and priestess, perhaps from other realms, she realized since they wore priestly attire and a few were teleporting in and out of sight. She was surprised to see that some had children walking beside them but did not really think too much about it.

They reached the top of the grassy hill and Talia was able to get a better view of the rest of the realm.

She could see trees and ponds scattered all over the outskirts of Vin'aneer. The High Realm itself, was surrounded by what appeared to be mountains at every horizon. However, Talia focused her gaze a little more and recognized that they were actually clouds suspended in place like walls.

 

When they reached the palace entrance, Talia was reminded of her purpose here. She felt saddened all over again at the thought of spending all eternity without Devin.

"Talia child, I am afraid that you will have to go in on your own. I am running a bit short on time," Vata said as he pulled out his pocket watch. "I wish you the best of luck, Dreamer."

Talia thanked him for the brief tour and bid farewell to the druid. As she turned to face the castle, the palace doors swung open for her as she walked inside.

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Chapter TWELVE: The Moon, Stars, and Sun -TALIA

 

Talia walked carefully into a large empty corridor. The inside of the castle was as lovely and enchanting as the outside. The inside was of elegant design with a religious undertone. Decorations of paintings, busts, and statues of the many gods of the worlds were scattered over the long stretch of the corridor. She could hear the sound of faint music playing from somewhere in the dimly lit palace. Her footsteps echoed on the royal blue tiles under her feet.

At this point, Talia was unsure of where she was heading. No one was in sight, nor could she hear anyone around. Not knowing where else to turn, she decided to continue in the direction of the corridor.

Eventually she reached another stretch of corridor that was even bigger than the one before. This time there was a large open door at the distant end. As Talia went toward it, she saw another room off to the side and could not help peering into it as she passed.

The room was very big. She realized that it was actually gallery. There were eight very large paintings a few feet apart from one another covering all the walls. Below each painting, Talia immediately recognized the bright symbol marker of a portal.

She looked up at the paintings wondering about their significance and realized that they were images of shrines, most likely destinations, she thought. Though she did not recognize any of them. For a minute, she gazed at each of the portraits and attempted guessing where each went.

"Talia?" She heard her name suddenly being called from behind somewhere. It was the Oracle.

Talia quickly turned to face her.

"What is this place?" she asked.

"Oh, these dear are just short-cuts to the shrines for the Druids of the world. They are not used much. However, I have decided to open this room for you since I am aware that you are not quite ready to teleport yourself to the Dreamlands yet," the Oracle finished and then led her to the Dreamworld painting.

Her frail old hand, pointed at the image of a white, pointy, circular building with a violet colored background.

"That is the Tear Shrine in the Dreamworld. You will have to go there later on, but right now we must discuss your duties and hopefully soon you will meet the other Druids who should be joining us.

The Oracle then began walking toward the other room in the corridor and Talia followed along behind her. They entered an enormous dome-shaped room with multiple windows overlooking Vin'aneer.

Dozens of strange artifacts were displayed on low shelves off to the sides and a small elegant pool of water refracted light in the center or the room.

It's breath-taking, Talia thought, but then again this whole realm was amazing. She wished that Devin were here with her and thought how much he would have enjoyed the scenery. After all, he was the one that liked traveling and adventures.

"--But before we begin Talia..." the Oracle began, "we should first speak of the young man you left behind. Dear, if only I had known, I would have never summoned you to become the Dreamer. I have never had such a problem with these circumstances for any druid."

"Is there...a way that I can return and be mortal again?" Talia asked just to ask, thinking it unlikely anything would change.

"I am afraid that there is no way to undo what has already been done, my child. You must remain the Dreamer. It will be difficult at first adjusting to your immortality and learning how to handle your new abilities and tasks, but in time you will get use to things. For now, however, you will be unable to return to your world and must remain here to be safe. In the world, you would be vulnerable to being awoken in the Dream Realm because of distance and other magical factors that are not present in the High Realm."

Talia only nodded her head already knowing her sad fate: to be here forever alone.

"Although, there is no rule stating that you cannot visit Devin in his dreams. But dear, you did not hear this from me," the Oracle said and winked at her. Talia winked back a little content about the news, but still felt low despite the Oracle attempts to give her any hope.

The Oracle then reached into a small box that was sitting on a mantle nearby.

"Talia, this is a Priestess Guardian Ring. You should wear it at all times. It is very rare and valuable, but will help us find you if you are in danger."

Talia put on the gold ring on her finger.

"Now, shall we discuss you duties?...You have very unique and demanding work ahead of you. You are by title the Dreamer, the Druid of Dreams, and the Guardian of Dreams. This means that you are asleep in the Dreamworld, as you already know. You must heal mortals affected by nightmares and monsters. And we cannot forget you duties here in the High Realm..."

The Oracle went on for over an hour. Talia felt as if she were back at the Collegium all over again but listened closely anyways.

"...And finally, you will be training and also working with three other Druids that help govern the dream flow in some way or another." As she finished, the Oracle looked over Talia towards the doorway. Talia turned her head and instantly recognized Leana the Moon Priestess. Behind her another priestess walked in. Talia realized that they looked very similar to one another.

"Talia, it is nice to see you again. You must meet my sister. This is Trin. She is the Star Priestess and she is also my twin as you may be able to tell," Leana said as she beckoned to her sister to come closer.

Both priestesses were fairly pretty, Talia admired, once Trin stepped out of the shadow of the room, but they seemed to contrast in many ways with each other. Leana had a friendly and quiet personality. Her long hair was light yellow, almost white, and lay loosely over her shoulders. Like the many other priests and priestesses she had so far seen, Leana also wore a beautiful blue and white robe with silver lining.

Her sister Trin, on the hand, had the same oak brown eyes and exact facial qualities as Leana, but Talia sensed Trin to be somewhat unapproachable. And although it was too early to tell, a little arrogant. Trin also had long gorgeous hair like her sister, but hers was as dark as the night. Trin wore a black and purple priestess robe that was similar to Leana's.

"Pleasure to meet you, Trin... I am Talia the new Dreamer," Talia said holding her hand out to her but Trin simply nodded her head and looked away.

"Can you believe that they have been priestesses for over six centuries now? Their shrines are here in the High Realm. Perhaps some time you should go visit them, dear," the Oracle interrupted noticing Trin's unwelcoming reaction to Talia.

"Yes, quite a long story how we are both Druids. It is not at all common. We will have to talk later," Leana added.

Talia then recalled the Oracle mentioning that there were three Druids that she would be training with.

"Where's the other Druid?" Talia asked.

"Oh...you mean the Sun Priest? He should be here shortly. He is always so very busy," Trin finally spoke, but sounded irritable.

"Ask for where you shall be staying, Talia...You are welcomed to stay here in the castle for as long as you like. Many new priest and priestesses stay here because I am here to assist them. But in time some do wish to purchase a home and live in Vin'aneer or remain in their shrines," the Oracle remembered to mention.

"Yes, we live here as well. We will have to show you around the castle later," Leana said happily, squinting her eyes with glee.

Suddenly the four of them turned as they saw small flickering lights falling downwards and illuminating near the entrance. Talia unexpectedly shuddered as she saw the lights dance but quickly ignored herself because of the distraction.

A man emerged from the lights. He was the Sun Priest, she knew immediately by his red, green, and golden robes.

"Talia, this is Aydan the Sun Priest, also Druid of Light,” the Oracle announced.

"M’lady pleased to meet you," Aydan reached for Talia's hand and kissed it. "I have heard so much about you. I'm sure you will be quite the priestess."

Talia pulled her hand away a little surprised. Not even Devin who was the most chivalrous person she knew would ever kiss anyone's hand, but she smiled back to be polite. She looked into his stone grey eyes. He was quite handsome, she thought. His skin was tanned from the sun and his hair reminded her of King Edward from Candar, except that it was a rich dark brown.

"Uh...thank you," Talia replied as she stroked her hand on her dress. Their eyes briefly locked again, but Talia looked away.

"If you are ever in need of anything, by all means ask me," he kindly offered.

Trin watch jealously from the side and left abruptly. Everyone in the room, except Talia who quietly gazed down.

"Well it has been a long afternoon. Perhaps one of you should show Talia around the realm. I for one will be at hard at work for the rest of the day," the Oracle suggested.

"I will be happy to show Talia the High Realm," Aydan said without delay.

"I can join you two for a short while, but then I must head back to my shrine," Leana said, wanting to be able to stay with them longer.

Aydan smiled warmly at Talia as they headed out.

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@Dis

 

LOL...I think you're "addicted" to the word "irresistible"...Now you know why I'm in love with Conrad Weller ^^ (If only he's real) *dreamy eyes* xD hehehe...

 

I just noticed that Vata (in chapter 11) said:

 

"Talia child, I am afraid that you will have to go in on your own. I am running a bit short on time," Vata said as he pulled out his pocket watch.

 

Father Time is running short on time? lol...

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whew! caught up again. you posted a lot since i last checked.

i just love your descriptions of the high realm. it sounds like such a beautiful place to live. (if you're into that sort of thing. XD)

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