Twilight Times Books logo


Prophecy: The Awakening
cover design © 2001 Ardy M. Scott.


Book Excerpt

To order this book:
Format: PDF, HTML, Palm
    Payment Method
PayPal -or- credit card -or- Fictionwise
List Price: $4.50 USD ebook

Format: Trade Paperback
    Available at
Amazon;;;  Barnes & Noble;  Borders;  other Bookstores
List Price: $18.50 USD



Prophecy: The Awakening

Ardy M. Scott



Odin's voice reverberated though the heavens…
"The Prophecy is about to unfold. Heed the call…awaken!"

"Through the mists of ages they come, dark and light alike.
All six from separate flows of demonic hatred, filled with the might of angelic love.
Seeker, Keeper, Key, all come from place the same.
They fill an end of bitter tears and fears of all round.
Two of these have seen and know the truth of each other's hearts
and yet only one of this bound pair will not be bound to death as well.
The other one who stands alone will find the Joined Souls,
this one will be the one who eats and Devours the plan whole.
Beware this third for they are the one who is nothing but evil.
Yet without this searching one, little of what is meant to sew
will untangle its black threads.
Key of Keys without a lock, they find a name, a home,
the time drips away, like the sands inside a deep array of deep and evil fields.
Keeper and Guardian of the Soul, quickness is your friend.
Beware your little deceits and white lies, for all they can bring is bitter end.
Joined souls are the two above, they have filled eachsoul with love,
sad but true is the bitter end, where doom is the one who holds all's end.
The Seeker last is not as true; they only seek the lies of one.
Once found through this they search for the other Joined Souls,
and seek this one out by their faulty love and trust in one who deceives all.
Once found this devilish creature will aid the master plan,
but after all has ended they will assure no one is left.
Three others will aid this group of lies and faults and evil.
These three hold only good inside and will balance out the first scary trio.
Names these three do not have, for the Dark Souls of three must find,
put names to these, little dark ones, or all will fall into deaths night."

"This is the first half of 'The Dream Lake Prophecy'
…Go forth now to Kefira Aisling Kasei our Keeper of Souls."


With the last words spoken, Odin's staff struck the ground with a mighty force. The fabric of the heavens rippled…light became dark, night became day. Rivers flowed uphill and chaos seemed to rule the very universe. The circle of Gods and Goddesses shimmered and slowly, their forms united. There was a blinding flash of multi-colored lights all became silent. Order was restored.

Taking a deep breath, Odin looked around. He was alone and exhausted. "It is done. The Awakening begins."

Chapter One

Soaring through a star-studded vista, she called, beckoning them to follow. The heavens were alight with a thousand souls, a thousand thousands, all desperate to reach her. To those who followed, Kryla was resplendent in her true form. She radiated an aura of purest white and yet, when gazed upon, it looked as though all the colors of the world had been combined. It was her they wanted and her they could not have, for destiny had not yet been fulfilled.

"Come my precious jewels," she crooned. "I can only guide you now, secret you off to safety. You belong to the Keeper of Souls and there you must remain…but not for long. Only until I can call you back. Then you will have what you desire…eternal life." Her voice was like music, permeating the heavens with the soft, gentle tones of purity.

Kryla felt a sudden tingling and paused in mid-flight as the feeling set off all her internal alarms. It was as though someone ran a feather over her skin, but here, she did not have a physical form. The tingling was in her mind alone and while the sensation only lasted for an instant, its meaning was apparent…a summons. The sending was urgent and even though no actual words issued forth, Kryla knew what it meant.

"The awakening has begun," she said with a sigh. Her voice was but a whisper as she tried to determine how much time there was before they drew her back. It was going to be a race with time to complete the task before her.

When the gateway appeared a short distance ahead, she quickened her pace. Even as the last souls passed through the gate to the Keeper's haven, Kryla could feel the pull. Reluctantly, she gave up all resistance and slowly began to fade. They saw her leaving and called to her, begging her to come back.

"Hush now," she chided softly. "You are safe here and I shall return soon." The last words spoken echoed in the void she left behind. Kryla felt their sorrow as she was drawn back to her own body and her eyes glistened with unshed tears at their pain.

Tears? I feel their sting, feel the thickening in my throat. This cannot be. I am ethereal. No, I cannot cry here…I will not cry. She did cry though, the sorrow was just too great to hold up under.

Brushing away an escaping tear, she quickly joined with her sleeping form. It felt like a dream within a dream passing from one plane of existence into the next. Two sets of memories collided and then became one. Kryla stored all memories where they belonged and willed herself to awaken. As the mists of slumber parted, she thought she heard a voice and focused her mind in that direction. When it came again her lips curved into a smile.

"Awaken child, the time is come." It was the softest of whispers from one she knew and loved. The words also brought back the bond between them; that reassuring sense of emotional security Kryla had missed. She now felt his affection and knew he could feel her pleasure at his presence. She smiled softly in the darkness.

"Must I?" Her question came out through a stifled yawn, barely audible. Like a cat, she slowly stretched to ease muscles, which had been in one position far too long. Still not wanting to open her eyes, Kryla rolled onto her stomach. Her reply was muffled by the pillow, "A little longer if I may?"

That soft, almost caressing voice, again wove its way into her mind, "The time is come, child. You must awaken." She heard His voice in her head, not with her ears. It is the way mind-speech works.

This time what He was saying registered. In one brief moment the mists parted and her eyes flew open. A torrent of memories flooded back. She recalled the last time they were summoned and how it ended in a furious battle for survival. Squeezing her eyes shut didn't stop the memories from flooding in.

I cannot do this again. How can I come face to face with those hideous beings again? Those creatures were evil incarnate.

Her eyes opened against her will, widening in horror. Everything shifted and sounds of battle were added to the memories. The moaning of those suffering their wounds, the cries for help, the screams. She kept hearing them over and over again. Kryla quickly shut her eyes again and held trembling hands to her ears.

Can I ever shut out the horror and the heartache of so many precious lives lost? This is too much for anyone to endure.

"My dear Lord, it cannot be time already, tell me this is not so!" Her voice had risen and fear began to weave its tendrils through her very being. She bolted to the side of the bed, searching for the one she knew to be near. Odin was there, standing by the room's only window. He stared out into the darkness, the long wisps of His snow-white hair floating around Him on the night breezes.

In a voice on the edge of panic, Kryla cried out to Him, "I am so afraid! I hoped this time would never come. Please, oh please, I cannot do this again!"

Kryla knew He could feel the pain and fear coursing through her and that He understood. Odin responded with softly spoken words. "You must Kryla, you know you must. We have finally come to the end of what has been a long and torturous journey for all of us. Besides child, none can change what has been written. Not even I can do that. You must."

"Why? Why must I? I did not choose to be who I am, none of us did. Written? Are you talking about a half-written Prophecy that takes a scholar to decipher? I am no scholar, so tell me why did it have to be written this way? Why were we the ones who were chosen for this? To die over and over again…all any of us ever wanted was peace. Oh please, I do not want to do this again," she begged.

When there was no response, Kryla became belligerent. "What happens if we choose to ignore the call? I do not believe we can be forced to go forth. No, I think not."

There! He has to come to His senses now and I will wait. She sat on the very edge of the bed, arms crossed before her and a face set with defiance.

He cannot make me go. It is going to be all right. Odin will understand and tell me it is okay. Yes, I will not have to be part of it anymore. This is all only a bad dream I am having.

The seconds ticked by. Silence met her defiance and she knew there would be no answers to her outburst. Odin simply stood with His back to her, calmly gazing out the open window. Oh Lord! What am I doing? I sound and act like a small child having a temper tantrum. Damn!

After what seemed like hours instead of mere moments, she slumped back on the bed. Everything kept spinning around in her mind, the horrors, and the fears all jumbling together. Kryla tried to calm herself by taking long deep breaths. It really didn't work very well. All the feelings were still there, but she was finally resigned to her role. "You are right, I must. Still, I dread what is to come. I beg forgiveness for this outburst, my Lord. You know I will do everything I must do. I did choose this and I will fulfill my destiny." She paused briefly. "Have the others been awakened?"

"Yes, it begins. Our Keeper has returned briefly and prepares for her final departure. The others are already where they must be. Even as we speak, they all begin awakening the memories of their mortal hosts. You must prepare yourself now Kryla."

"I know what I have to do." Her voice sounded peevish even to her ears. Sitting up quickly, she grabbed matches from the table. After a third attempt to light a match she gave up. Using energies and her mind, the candle on the table was finally lit. Kryla had learned many ages ago of her ability to call upon certain energies and fire was one of the threads readily available to her.

Pretending to busy herself, she began gathering together the few necessities needed for the journey. Kryla felt guilty for the angry outburst and peered at Lord Odin through her lashes. Even though words were not necessary between them, speaking aloud was preferable to mind-speech right now. Noise, any noise, was better than opening her mind and thoughts again. "All are out there?" she asked with hope in her voice.

He smiled at the question, but did not turn to face her. Kryla, you are a fiery young woman, who can push my patience to the limits. It is good that you can also be quite charming. "I know what you ask, child. Yes, all are out there. Shoran awakens too."

Kryla's heart seemed to skip a beat at the mention of that name. She smiled in spite of the fear only moments before. Shoran, you have come again. Oh, I have missed you so. It will be good to have you at my side my friend, she thought.

Aloud, she asked almost casually, yet not quite hiding her excitement, "I thought her lost for all time, my Lord. It will be good to see her again. Is she well? How will I know her this time?"

Odin was patient with her when He answered, for He understood her way. "She is well, Kryla. You and she will know each other just as you have through the ages. She has changed only a little. How she appears in the flesh means nothing. This you already know."

Small flashes on the ceiling alerted Kryla that there was something disturbing Odin. He always fingered the medallion on His chest whenever there was a problem to deal with. Waiting, even for an instant, was a torment in itself.

"There is something new about your friend you should know. And, it is important that you understand what has taken place since you last met." Odin turned from the window then and in answer to her raised eyebrows, He began talking in a quiet almost saddened voice. "Our beloved Guardian was once one person, keeper and protector of one destined to bond with her. She was slain, but promised to return to the world when the time came; when she was needed again. She has always been bound as light and dark equally."

Kryla was about to protest, to tell Him she knew all of this, but He held up His hand to stay her retort and continued. "But, when the call came again, at the wrong time, some things were altered. The end of her mortal life also brought about another end. Shoran the Immortal ceased to be. As you know, it is devastating to all when an immortal dies. Yet, at the time of her death, something miraculous happened. The Guardian's persona somehow split into two aspects. They return to the call now as male and female. The female persona keeps the name Shoran and is now of earth and water only, rather than all five of the elements as before. She is able to draw energies from spirit, although it is not a part of her anymore, nor is it a part of the other. She will still be a very good protector and grounder and this is what you are going to need my child. Your mortal life will be plagued with many trials, which will require Shoran's grounding force."

Kryla heard the smile in His voice even though it didn't show on His face when he continued to explain. "The other, the male side, has taken the fire and air aspect of what once was Shoran. He is her opposite now. We feel he too will bond with a chosen one, as Shoran will again bond with you. His fire/air aspect gives him a match with the Seeker's power over air and also the ability to turn anything she cannot defend against. We are confident he will bond with her."

After a short pause, Odin's expression changed to one of puzzlement and He continued as though thinking aloud. His voice became distant. "We have reflected long on why this happened or even how, but have been enlightened with only a few answers. They are now matched halves of light and dark and, for an unknown reason, it has become necessary that both be absolutely pure in order to bring about our success." He seemed to suddenly remember she was there and His tone softened again, as it always did when he be-spoke her. "It was not meant to happen this way, Kryla, and I would change all back to where it was if it could be done. There are limits to what even I can do. There are forces at work here beyond all of us."

She thought on this for a time, remembering the loss of one who was closest to her. Even now, Kryla could see her Guardian's face in her final moments. Kryla had cradled Shoran's head on her lap in an attempt to make her as comfortable as she possibly could. She had smoothed Shoran's hair back from her face. Her thick auburn hair had come loose from the long braid she always wore over her left shoulder. The two often joked about that braid. Kryla always felt she should wear it to the right in order to cover her bare breast, while Shoran argued that it would get in the way of her bow arm if she were to wear it over the other side. Shoran emphatically refused to do anything that would interfere with her warrior skills. A smile played at the corners of Kryla's mouth for a moment.

Then she saw again, Shoran's broken body as it lay wracked with pain, the short tunic she wore during battle no longer recognizable as white…blood covered her from head to foot. Even the heavy, metal belt that cinched her waist was bent and broken. All the injuries she had sustained came from protecting Kryla from the horrors. She felt the guilt still. Shoran's last words were but a whisper: "I fought my lifetime for you Kryla…our bond is again broken. 'Tis the end this time I fear… " And she drew breath no more.

Unshed tears threatened to escape and Kryla fought to hold them in. She busied herself around the room in order to give herself a little more time to regain some composure. Her voice was still a little husky when she was able to speak again. "So, how will I know her? From what you tell me my Lord, she has changed much. I have always been able to find her by the feel of the whole and from what your words have told me, she is no longer one I would know."

"Yes, I suppose she has changed. Yet I believe you will know her. Look for and feel the light. I know you will encounter no difficulty, child, save there will now be two. The other, you will have to look for and feel the dark. He must be watched carefully."

Kryla tried to puzzle this all out. Her brow's knit together as she thought. Their eyes locked as He continued, "He is worthy Kryla, fear you not, yet, watch him closely for he is now the hotheaded persona without the tempering of the whole. He may give the group concern and some will not trust him." Odin began to fade and his words became distant. "Once you find him Kryla, you will know the truth of him." By the time the final words were spoken, He was gone.

Left alone, she sat on the edge of the bed and let her thoughts wander. Hearing about Shoran and the other was confusing. How could the Gods not know what happened? The corners of her mouth lifted. I do not care. Shoran has returned and that is what is important. The smile froze and was replaced by a frown when thoughts turned to why they were being awakened. She shuddered at the thought of what was to come.

All this is based on a Prophecy that has never been completed. Still, we come to the call. Why? That which is missing must hold the key to it all…I am sure it must. What went wrong the last time that we were called? Odin says it was too soon. What does 'too soon' mean? That things did not go well? We all know that! So why were we called now? I wonder what year it is? How long has it been since last we were all called together? If this is the end, then I suppose three hundred mortal years have passed. Kryla eyes widened when she thought of that. Three hundred years!

Throwing her hands in the air, she got up and started pacing around the room. "There are just too damn many unanswered questions going around in my mind! How can I remain sitting? Think, I must think! Perhaps the sleep has not left my mind and that is what stops me from knowing all I need to know."

Kryla's mind kept wandering back to the Prophecy. I wonder why I keep ending up here? The Prophecy we know is dark indeed, yet it does tell of our coming. Perhaps remembering the words will help? It cannot hurt I suppose…and, there is reason for everything. What that reason is I do not know, but there must be something here…somewhere. Perhaps in those dire words I will find the answers I need.

She stopped her pacing to picture it in her mind. I can see them clearly, so ingrained in our memories were those words. Line by line, the words were clearly seen and Kryla spoke them in her mind. Only the last lines came out aloud, in a voice choked with emotion.

"…Names these three do not have, for the Dark Souls of three must find, put names to these, little dark ones, or all will fall into deaths night."

The final words left her mouth and all was silence around her. The single candle on the small table by her bed, flickered in the light breezes coming through the open window. The shadows danced around her. Kryla stood in the middle of the room that had been hers for these past ages. Most of the answers were remembered now. The pain of what had once been and the fear of what was to come again were clearly revealed. All this, and more, lay in those words.

"Can you not see what you have to do?" Her voice was but a whisper. This time she allowed the tears to flow unchecked. "Name us…name us all," she sobbed.

Chapter Two

How long Kryla stood in the middle of the room, she did not know. Time had little meaning in this place. When compared to a year on the Plane of Mortals, the same length of time here seemed but a mere breath. A soft knocking on the door forced Kryla to abandon her inner thoughts. Quickly brushing away any remnant of previous tears, she answered the knock with a single word, "Come."

When the door opened, the scent of violets preceded her guest and something else… apprehension, uneasiness?

Puzzled by those feelings, Kryla watched as a young girl entered. She smiled when she recognized the Keeper. Kryla's smile quickly disappeared, however, when the pale young girl halted just inside the door, eyes downcast and hands hidden in the sleeves of her long white robe.

Why will you not even look at me? Am I such a monster?

Matilion bowed her head formally and used the traditional mind-speech of the place. "Mistress Kryla, I have been sent with a message for you. Lord Odin requests that you join Him in the garden as soon you are ready to leave." Neither lifting her head, nor waiting for an answer, she turned to leave the room.

"Matilion? Will you stay and talk with me a moment? Please...."

The young girl hesitated. She'd almost been out the door when Kryla spoke. Stepping back inside the room, Matilion closed the door and turned to face Kryla. "Mistress?"

The look on her face was as Kryla remembered from their last time together, sad and accusing at the same time. "Please Matilion, I am no mistress to you in this life. I am Kryla, just Kryla… nothing more. We made our pact and I thought it would count for something. Yet, it does not, does it? There, in your world, you treated me with indifference. Here, you lower yourself to servant …Matilion, what happened cannot be changed. Will you hold this against me still? No amount of hurt or anger is going to change it…the past must remain the past. We all know the call came too soon and what happened at the time was a grave mistake. I do not ask for forgiveness, what I did was so wrong. I ask only for understanding."

Matilion let out a long sigh before speaking. "I try to understand Mis… Kryla, I do understand. I shudder when I think of that black time. God, it was horrid! Hundreds were accused and imprisoned… defenseless against accusations of witchcraft in a society driven by superstition and fear. It was a struggle for righteousness and supremacy. What we all were capable of was surely thought of as witchcraft. It was witchcraft! And, I was to blame as much as you at the time. I chose to save myself by bearing false witness against them. It was you and I both who had them burned at the stake. Neither Daniel nor Ophelia lay blame for what was done. They were wrong to do… no, no recriminations. We were all wrong. We made the choices we did and now we live with them."

Their eyes locked briefly. Matilion tore her gaze away. Her knuckles were white from clasping them together so hard and she quickly let them drop to her sides.

Speaking of this time finally forces me to realize I cannot hold everything against you. I have hated you for so long, Kryla. Now what do I do? We were all so wrong. Matilion slowly ran trembling fingers through her hair. It was so much easier to lay the blame elsewhere.

Matilion let out a long sigh and slumped back against the door. "Kryla, I know when you lost Shoran something happened to you, something inside snapped. You sought to destroy everything and everyone. I suppose we all lost…something happened to all of us at that time." She absently plucked at the threads of her robe and then let out another sigh. "What I do not understand is why we turn on each other? Someone always does when we come together."

Kryla stood by the window, staring out into the night with unseeing eyes. "You appear so young Matilion. Nonetheless, you are wise. Yes, always, it is one who betrays the others."

Thinking about the entire group of Immortals brought back so many memories, both bad and good. Betrayals, friendships, bonds and love, they were all there. Seeker and Key, Keeper and Key…he loved them both and they both loved him in turn.

And, I love you all.

"Do you still love him?" The question slipped out before she had time to think. "No, do not answer. I have no right to ask. He is the Key of Keys and destined to greatness, that one. I suppose I always hoped you would share in that, yet, it is not to be, is it? You may be bound to each other but the Prophecy does not leave room in his life for your love. Does it not say, 'only one of this bound pair will not be bound to death as well'?" Kryla started to turn around and stopped when she caught Matilion's gaze in the mirror. The sadness was still there, but they no longer accused.

"We both know it cannot be him. Three will not survive this battle, but death is not his destiny." A sliver of a smile appeared and her eyes held warmth and understanding for the young girl. "I am not as heartless as I sound, Matilion. I really wish things could be different…for both of us."

Matilion nodded, but her gaze never left Kryla's. After a few moments, a wan smile appeared on her face too. "I must go Kryla. Dawn approaches on the Plane of Mortals and her mind stirs. My young human counterpart will awaken soon. I came to you only to deliver His message and now I have much to do."

Kryla could sense the love and caring Matilion felt for her young mortal and smiled, remembering the feeling. Their bond is deep.

"Stephanie is a dream-walker, Kryla, but does not understand where her travels take her… like here. She must learn. We have been one since her birth and tomorrow is her twelfth birthday." She smiled fondly when she spoke of her young host. "The call has become urgent, so it is time to awaken her memories."

Her eyes locked with Kryla's again. "We will meet again, soon. The pact between us… Keeper and Gate… remains in place. They will remain safe, fear you not." With those words, Matilion turned to open the door. She paused for only a moment before silently slipping through.

Kryla spoke aloud as Matilion closed the door. "Until we meet again, my friend… until we meet again."

She felt Matilion's hesitation on the other side the door. I know you hear me and I know we will be good friends again. We almost lost that. I promise it will not happen again.

Closing her eyes, Kryla saw her friend smile. She watched Matilion hurry down the long hallway. Her body wavered, shimmered and then disappeared altogether.

Until we meet again. Kryla opened her eyes.

Turning toward the table to extinguish the candle, she caught her reflection in the full-length mirror and stopped. "It has been some time since I have had the luxury of seeing myself in a mirror."

It has been too long, much too long. What good is a mirror on a battlefield? She snickered at the images that conjured. Not good for anything unless you are some prim and proper lady. And, what good would someone like that be on a battlefield? Absolutely useless!

Shaking her head at the direction those thoughts took, Kryla stood straight and stared at the person reflected in the mirror. The woman looking back at her had changed little through the ages. Her long, strawberry-blonde hair hung in soft curls to her waist, held back from her face with a braided leather band. Kryla never thought of herself as a beautiful woman, although she knew she wasn't homely either. Her best facial features were her large green eyes, fringed with long, reddish-brown lashes. More often than not, they sparkled with laughter and mischief. Now, however, those same eyes staring back at her looked sad and haunted.

With a sigh, Kryla turned sideways, smoothing her long robe to vainly admire the outline of a well-toned figure. The only time she thought of herself as small was in Shoran's presence. They often teased each other over their respective sizes. Shoran was of Amazon proportions, shapely and tall. Kryla on the other hand, was a good head shorter and on the petite side.

Smiling, she fingered the silver buckle attached to the corded belt. The strange looking griffin was an exact replica of the mount Shoran rode through the planes. The silversmith had designed it to appear as though the griffin curled protectively around the Celtic knot in the center. It was her gift to Shoran. After the last battle, Kryla had the buckle repaired and wore it in remembrance of her friend.

You still live Shoran and when we meet again it will be returned to you.

With a simple gesture, she extinguished the candle and headed for the door… enough time for reminiscing later.

"I did not have much to prepare did I?" Kryla spoke to the empty room while feeling for the small bundle deep in the pocket of her robe. The Moonstone, her legacy, lay wrapped in a small, silk pouch. Curling her hand protectively around it, she opened the door, pausing only long enough to take one last look around. She peered longingly and lovingly at the small, sparsely furnished room that would be hers no longer. With a soft sigh, Kryla turned and slowly walked through the halls toward the garden and Him.

It is time.

No one hindered her passage and Kryla didn't notice how few people were about. This was the home of her Lord Odin, the All-Father…Father of all the Gods and men, God of magic, wisdom, wit, and learning. And, this place was called Valhalla, home of Norse Gods and Goddesses. It had been her home too, but after this night it would be her home no more. No matter what the outcome of this final meeting, Kryla would not return. It saddened her, but her place was elsewhere… destiny would be fulfilled. That knowledge alone would sustain her.

It will have to be enough.

Walking along, she idly reached out and let her fingers drag along the cool, smooth surface of the wall. When they came to the raised surface of the next windowsill, Kryla stopped and gazed out at the view. Here, it was forever night, yet, it was a type of night that was comforting. The moon always shone brightly and the stars glistened overhead like thousands of tiny jewels. Warm breezes flowed in through windows that never needed shuttering.

Through hallways, grand and unadorned, she slowly made her way to the garden. The gate approached all too quickly and Kryla hesitated, reluctant to leave this last bit of sanctuary. With her hand on the latch, she sighed loudly and looked out across the garden to where He would be waiting.

Kryla felt rather than saw a shadow… darkness. It disappeared quickly, but the ensuing silence lay like a cloak around her and she shivered in spite of the warm night. No one wandered the halls and the usual voices and laughter couldn't be heard from any quarter. The silence alone should have set off some sort of warning, but she'd been so absorbed with her thoughts.

How could I have failed to notice this…this strangeness? What is going on?

It took several attempts to relax her mind, but it was finally done. Gathering energies, her form quickly became insubstantial and she set off into the planes to search for something, anything that would explain what was happening.

Nothing! There is nothing out here. With a sigh, she started to return.

Something brushed her senses. "What is…"

"Little Gate? Is that you my pretty?" The voice sounded feral, haunting.

Kryla gasped and whipped around, trying to see who was speaking. There was no one. A feeling of uneasiness started in the pit of her stomach.

"Who is there?" she asked cautiously.

"I have waited for you little Gate. Come, come to me now, my pretty," the voice coaxed. "We were always meant to rule together. Come little one, come be my queen."

Kryla could feel the core of its evil, the black, rotten center of its being as it inserted slimy, cold unspoken feelings into her mind. Its sickening touch repelled her and her entire being writhed with repulsion so deep that she could actually feel its filthy shroud of evil wrapping around her soul as it spoke.


"Come to me my little beauty and together we will reign," the voice beckoned.

The loathsome words slithered through her mind, weaving their sorcery. Kryla frantically scrambled to reach the Moonstone, but her hand froze just inside the pocket.

"No my pretty, there is no need for your trinkets. Come to me and you will have all the power you desire. Come."

Spellbound, Kryla's body slowly moved of its own will, toward the corruption. Dear lord no! You fool! How careless! How could I have come here like this?

Oozing, black tendrils worked their way into her mind and her thoughts became disjointed. Through the fog, Kryla felt the darkness closing in, suffocating her, absorbing her, killing her.

You… will… not… have… me!

"You are already mine little Gate." The voice sounded triumphant.

Not yet! Kryla turned inward. I… am… fire. The spark of life that she barely controlled burst into flame.

The evil howled, drawing back from the inferno. It recovered quickly, but its reaction gave her enough time to escape the web. Kryla ran, frantically sidestepping a sooty tentacle that shot out to recapture her.

The corridors of her mind were cluttered with centuries of stored information. She knew where to go though and continued to run. Scarcely half a step ahead of the darkness, Kryla found her store of energies and sank to her knees gasping for breath.

That thing knows I have reached my energies, but it will not stay wary for long. How could I have been so stupid? Come on…come on! What are you going to do Kryla? Think! Time was running out.

Then it came to her. Only one option remained and timing would be crucial. Any sudden movement on her part would be stopped immediately. I need to put you off guard, just for a second. That is all I will need.

Gathering up the last of her energies, Kryla withdrew into the furthest reaches of her mind. One tiny corner! Is this all that is left? My god, it's killing me bit by bit. Tears of frustration welled in her eyes. No! I cannot think like that. I am not yours yet.

"Do you hear me? I am not yours yet," she yelled into the darkness.

Quickly scrubbing her face, Kryla sank to her knees and began molding part of the energy into a ball. When it was done, she spoke the words for the casting…all save the final one.

Kryla waited, huddled in the corner, rocking back and forth. I am not yours yet…I am not yours yet…I am not yours yet… The litany was repeated with each rocking motion.

It's coming. Her breathing quickened and she sat up straight.

The darkness appeared and slithered forward. "You are mine little Gate."

Kryla ignored the voice. Do not rush, wait. One… moment… longer. Now!

"Goibniu," she whispered and hurled the ball of fire toward the evil that was death.

It concentrated on deflecting her feeble attack, just as she hoped.


With the rest of the energy, Kryla reached for the power of the Moonstone and spoke the chant as soon as the stone was within her grasp. Only the chant could release the power needed to gain freedom.

"Great Mother, guardian of your children, I stand in great need of your protection" I cannot reathe…suffocating me! "There are those… who are against… me by thought, word, and… deed" Danu, Odin, someone help me! "Let their… efforts fail. Let their evil… return to… the lower… darkness" …so dark! Kryla began drifting off. No…must finish! "Great Mother, I… ask for… and accept… your protection." Energies flared deep within her soul and quickly spread through her body.

Evil knew its defeat. It writhed, screeched and pulled apart. It fought to reform only to tear itself apart again. The subsequent wail was deafening.

The Moonstone's energy glowed with divine power and quickly spread, driving the evil back, inch by blessed inch. Kryla could feel the energy cleansing the taint, the pollution left behind as the evil fled. It was glorious.

Within moments, she was free of the darkness, weak and gasping for air. There was no time to rest… not yet.

Kryla still needed to get to the safety, but her efforts were sluggish. With the last of her strength, she called upon the power of the stone once more.

Take me home now.

A gentle radiance wrapped around her protectively and quickly crossed between the barriers toward Valhalla.

"The Gods cannot protect you much longer little Gate. You will leave Valhalla soon. Then, my beauty, you will be mine. I will have you." The voice was a low-pitched whisper that caressed her like an intimate lover.

"Never," she spat vehemently.

"Ah, such spirit." Laughter thundered and echoed into the void.

Back within the boundaries of Valhalla's protective barriers, the echoes finally ceased. Kryla leaned heavily against the wall, inhaling and exhaling deeply. The Moonstone felt warm in her hand, she squeezed it tightly. The energies of the Mother Goddess still flowed from it. "Thank you Lady Danu. I am indebted to you once again."

The scent of jasmine permeated the air. An apparition of the Great Mother Goddess followed it. "There is no debt to repay Kryla," Danu spoke.

Kryla quickly went down on one knee, bowing her head. "My Lady."

"Oh, do stand child. You do not bow to Odin in such a manner," Danu chided.

With an effort, Kryla got to her feet and smiled weakly. "My Lady, Odin is like a father to me."

"Then treat me as a mother and let us be done with all this bowing. And please, do call me Danu."

"As you wish, I--"

"I do," Danu interrupted. She studied Kryla for several minutes before speaking again. "You have grown in strength, my dear. I think you are going to need all of it, and more."

Danu's raven hair shone with hints of blue whenever the moonlight caught movement. It hung almost to the floor with a circlet of sparkling jewels holding it back from her face. Her gown was of the palest blue and revealed much of her shapely body. A cape of sparkling silver lace was draped loosely over her shoulders.

Goddess or no, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

Kryla was in awe of this woman and felt dowdy in comparison. This feeling made her shift uncomfortably under Danu's gaze.

The Goddess' eyes were a brilliant blue and seemed to see everything, every secret.

"It was the Moonstone's strength that freed me Danu, not my own," Kryla said at last.

"Perhaps. Do not let yourself be fooled. The Moonstone is not your only source of power, child. The Nameless One wants you desperately. There is something in you that attracts him."

"I have no idea why that horrid creature always comes for me, Danu. No one is safe near me. I wish I did know," she added. A frown creased her brow as she tried to think of what it could be that attracted the evil one to her.

Danu smiled warmly. "He will not give up easily child." Pursing her lips, the Goddess tapped her cheek with an insubstantial finger. "Perhaps I should give you a little advantage … call it a parting gift."

The Moonstone began to radiate both light and heat. Opening her hand, Kryla watched in amazement as the stone lifted into the air and twirled. It spun faster and faster until it became a blur. There was a brilliant flare. Kryla shielded her eyes. When she looked again, the Moonstone was back in her hand and the image of a crescent moon was embedded into its smooth surface.

Danu smiled broadly, obviously quite satisfied with her work. "Speak your name child, and the little treasure I added will serve you well. Just make sure the Nameless One is there and you will have no problem."

Kryla nodded. "And, if he is not?" she asked.

"Then I would suggest you do not use that part of the stone, my dear." Danu wrinkled her nose and shook her head back and forth. "No, it would not be wise. That little present is for him alone."

With a wave of her hand, the Goddess became solid flesh and blood. "That is better. Now, I believe you were on your way to meet Odin. Come, I will walk with you." Danu hooked her arm through Kryla's and propelled her through the gate.

Beyond the boundaries of Valhalla the Evil One watched and seethed. "Do you think me a fool Danu? The child will be my queen despite your interference."

Chapter Three

Danu and Kryla paused just long enough to take a quick glance around the garden to see where Odin was. Spotting Him almost immediately, the Goddess smiled and pulled Kryla forward with Her.

Even though they could see over the tops of the flowering foliage, the path to the garden's center was like a labyrinth. Kryla remembered spending hours negotiating its twists and turns. The Goddess seemed to know all the right turns to take though.

Danu nudged Kryla with her elbow. "Is He not the most handsome man you have ever laid eyes upon?" she asked in a confiding tone.

"Who?" Kryla looked around and then stopped abruptly, her mouth dropping open. "You mean Lord Odin?"

The Goddess pulled her forward again and smiled mischievously. "Of course I mean Odin my dear. Perhaps you are just too young and inexperienced in the ways of men and women. We will have to have a little talk when this is all over."

Kryla tried hard to keep a straight face as they continued at a leisurely pace toward the garden's center. Me, too young and inexperienced? My goodness Danu, I am almost eleven hundred mortal years. I do not think I need a motherly talk at this time in my life. She bit hard on her bottom lip to keep from laughing aloud.

Odin stood by Avendesora, the Tree of Life and a passageway to the Plane of Mortals. He was deep in conversation with the mighty Thunderbird, Shekal. The two looked in their direction as they approached.

Shekal looked impressive in the form of a very large eagle. He towered over Odin and yet, Kryla knew this was only a fraction of his true size. His razor sharp talons wrapped around a large bench that was placed near the Life Tree. It was his eyes that drew Kryla's attention though. They looked like glowing embers.

Danu let go of Kryla's elbow as they neared and went to Odin with open arms. The deities greeted each other warmly. The Goddess slowly slipped away from Odin's embrace and with a slight bow of her head, spoke greeting to Shekal. No words issued forth, yet Kryla knew they spoke by the animated expressions on the faces of Odin and Danu, and the way the magnificent bird cocked his head this way and that as he listened and spoke with them.

Kryla could have listened to their conversation; it was within her capabilities. She had, however, learned within her first years here that this was not a wise course of action. Even knowing that using one's abilities to 'pry' was frowned upon in this place, she'd tried it… once. Her old mentor, Tenninen had been furious and, as punishment, he severed the flows of energy from her for a year.

It was the worst year of my life, she thought. Besides, who would be foolish enough to incur the wrath of a God and Goddess?

Instead, she let her thoughts wander to her encounter with the evil in the outer planes. What does the Evil One want with me? To be queen of the Abyss would be a fate worse than death! How could I have been so foolish to go out there without protection?

She shuddered at the memory and lightly stroked the Moonstone still clutched in her hand. It was so attuned to her thoughts and feelings that it heated and energies surged at the mere thought of the Evil. Kryla smiled at her treasure and squeezed it tightly. If I had been holding you in my hand when I went into the outer planes that creature would never have gotten near me would it? The stone warmed again and pulsed with energies waiting to be released.

Using inner sight, Kryla could see the crisscrossing web of shimmering, multicolored energies high over their heads. The amount of energy that went into its creation must have taken many powerful people, or Gods. Knowing that anything with the slightest of evil intent couldn't penetrate the defenses placed here was enough to calm her and the stone both.

Kryla peered around the garden and smiled. Roses, jasmine, lilac and mint were everywhere and she breathed in their intoxicating scents. This is such a beautiful place.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a prickling sensation on the back of her neck. Looking up Kryla saw three sets of eyes upon her and smiled shyly. "I am sorry. I did not realize you were finished talking. I was just lost in thought… I mean… I was admiring…" She stumbled through an apology, embarrassed at being caught with her attention elsewhere.

Odin's radiating smile reassured her there was nothing to apologize for. "Kryla, my child, come join us. You remember Shekal?" He asked. Without waiting for a response, He continued. "Of course you do. He will be your guide to the Plane of Mortals this night. Shekal has also agreed to assist you until the final meet. You can learn much from him in the time remaining, my dear. He has extensive knowledge of your new mortal host. It was he who chose her for you."

This surprised Kryla, although she hid her expression, or at least she attempted to hide it. The bond with Odin would not permit secrets of any kind. Still, she'd always been able to select the host when journeying to the Plane of Mortals and could not help but wonder why the choice was taken from her this time.

Kryla bowed deeply and be-spoke the time-honored words for one befitting his place in the Tree of Life. "I am honored to again be presented to the mighty Thunderbird, servant of the Sun, Guardian and Protector of the people of the Plane of Mortals." Her greeting to Shekal was formal. It was expected. Regardless of her curiosity, it would have been an insult to greet him otherwise.

Acknowledging the honor, Shekal bowed his head and responded in the same formal tone, "I too, am honored to be presented again to She who is Protector of the Spiritual Planes, Gate to eternity."

Shekal continued speaking. "You have many questions Kryla. This I see on your face. You try to hide this, yet my eyes are sharp and I see. There are reasons why it was I who chose your host. Reasons that will be told to you when the time is right for you to know."

Kryla groaned inwardly. Those words, when the time is right for you to know, were the words she had often used and heard.

I know, I know, the telling could alter one's direction and purpose.

Shekal spoke again. It was almost as though he could read her thoughts. "Life's journey is filled with adventure and excitement for those who are secure in their purpose and direction. That is really what we are all about… we are set above all others. A clear sense of direction and a solid purpose are necessary in order to proceed." He locked eyes with her and quietly asked, "Tell me Kryla, where do you stand?"

How dare you question me on this? Kryla's temper began to rise, but she held it in check.

"Fear not. My own direction and purpose are solid," she responded with respect.

Do I have a choice anymore, mighty Shekal? No, this was taken from me so many ages past that the mists of time cloud all memory from me.

"I do not seek the adventure and excitement anymore Shekal," she continued, smiling sweetly.

Adventure and excitement…ha!

"I am the Gate and I will do what I am destined to do. And, I will go on until I can go no more. Now please, if you will, tell me of my host?" Kryla stood straight, her face smooth of any emotion save a slight lift of an eyebrow.

That was nice. You did a very proper job of keeping control of your temper, she thought, giving herself a mental pat on the back.

Odin barely hid a chuckle in a cough. When Kryla turned to look, He made the pretence of straightening His robe.

When she glanced toward the Goddess, Danu was fingering a particularly large crimson rose, but Her shaking shoulders was definitely laughter.

Shekal looked at Kryla for a few moments and suddenly began to chuckle… a strange rustling sound that she heard in her mind.

"You are right, my friend. She has the spirit to do what she must. I must apologize for questioning you Kryla. I do not mean to ruffle your feathers, my dear."

The suggestion those words imparted caused Kryla to color slightly. She was unsure whether Shekal read her thoughts or was commenting on her words alone. When he chuckled again it did little to ease the tension. When Odin and Danu openly laughed at Shekal's mention of ruffled feathers, Kryla was a little apprehensive, but joined in.

She was first to sober as the memory of what she felt outside the garden again entered her thoughts. Some of the fear showed on her face at the remembrance. Prompted by their questioning looks and a reassuring nod from Danu, she told them about it. "I must tell you," she be-spoke them all. "I went out into the planes just before I came into the garden. I know we are not to use our abilities here without just cause, but I…" She paused momentarily, unable to find the right words to explain why she chose to use the seeking abilities. Because of her carelessness, she'd come dreadfully close to loosing her life.

"Please, my Lord, the people were not around and those I passed in the halls were so quiet, I knew something was not right. My Lord… Shekal… the horror is out there. The Lady Danu knows this too. How can that be? Is the time so close the evil is now able to come here? Is there nothing we can do to push it back?" She halted her volley of questions and stood looking from one to the other, waiting for answers.

Odin looked to Shekal, then back to Kryla. Finally fixing sad eyes on her frightened, questioning ones, He told her what He knew, or at least the portion of it that could be told now. "Yes Kryla, the Nameless One can reach even to this place now. He has awakened, although he is unable to move about yet. That time will come all too soon, I fear. To push him back would give him what he desires, knowledge. Unfortunately, now that he has encountered your energies, he now knows the group awakens and will try to stop you. We cannot let that happen. I hoped we would have more time and he would not know this yet."

Odin paced back and forth in front of them trying to decide if there was any way they could get past what was done. His long robe swished back and forth with each step. He tugged on his long beard so hard that Kryla thought He would soon pull it out by the roots.

He stopped abruptly and took a deep breath. Running his hands through his hair in frustration, "Well, there is nothing to be done about it now. It just means we must work as quickly as possible to bring you all together. Alone, you are in grave danger. Only when you come together will you have the strength to keep him from weaving his black threads of doubt."

Odin saw the look on Kryla's face. "I know there were so many unanswered questions floating around in that pretty little head of yours. Always that insatiable thirst for knowledge," He spoke to her alone, a smile tugging at the corners of His mouth.

Before she could open her mouth to speak, Odin quickly spoke so everyone could hear. "I know you want to ask all those questions at once, child, but before you jump in here, perhaps we ought to let Shekal tell you of your host."

Kryla peered over at Danu, her expression pleading. She wanted to tell Odin everything that happened, but He wasn't giving her the opportunity. Danu simply shrugged her shoulders. Taking a deep breath, Kryla obediently faced Shekal and readied herself for what he would tell her.

The great bird ruffled his feathers and cocked his head. Once Kryla relaxed her mind, she was compelled to look deep into his eyes. The deep glowing embers burst into flame and Shekal began to transfer the information. He felt her surprise first and then the anger start to build.

Expecting to see something completely different, her eyes widened as the pictures of her host's life flashed through her mind. A very young woman with short reddish hair appeared. Kryla could see an aura of power around her. There were images of bonding ceremony and children. The scenes moved quickly through the years and she watched the children grow into young adults and the woman moving into her middle years.

A man entered the scene. Darkness surrounded him and little by little that darkness reached out to envelop the woman. Her aura weakened as Kryla watched. She wanted to reach out, wanted to warn her, but the scene moved forward. Another bonding ceremony took place and the pictures began to dissolve.

When the final images faded from her mind's-eye, all Kryla could do was stand there, with a look of shocked disbelief written on her face. Shekal and Odin did not move, nor did they say anything. Instead, they waited for her to say something, waited for the tirade they knew would come.

Danu reached out to lay a comforting hand on Kryla's arm, but decided against it and drew back. She too waited.

It didn't take long for Kryla to voice her opinion about this new life that Shekal had chosen for her. She felt outrage at the obvious lack of compassion for her host and her family. "No! I cannot use this host, nor will I. What sort of barbarian do you think I am? No, this cannot be Shekal! The host has too many ties. And," she continued, pacing back and forth as her fury was unleashed, "how could you ever think I would agree to this? You know this is not our way. We must choose another. We will choose another," she finished. She stopped abruptly and her hands went to her hips. Kryla was never one to raise her voice when extremely angered. In fact, it was the lack of volume and those snapping green eyes that made a grown man cringe and back away from her. These three, however, remained unmoved by her outburst or the angry looks she sent their way.

Shekal was the first to break the silence. He be-spoke her in an almost bemused tone, which angered her all the more. "The choice has been made and cannot be changed Kryla. There are reasons why this host was chosen and if you would calm yourself enough to listen, I will give you the explanation you desire."

"What could you explain to me that would alter my decision, Shekal?" Shaking her head. "Must I say it again? This host has too many ties and this is not our way. You know as well as I do, a joining is done at birth and not with an adult. I mean no disrespect, but why was I not awakened sooner? No, I cannot take her life. She is unacceptable to me." Even without the words, her anger was unmistakable…eyes snapping, jaw set and arms folded across her chest.

She was ready to continue with her arguments when a sharp command thundered through her mind. "You will stop this nonsense at once! Do not try my patience further, Kryla. You will listen!"

She was shocked into silence. Never before had Odin spoken to her in this way and all she could do was stare at Him dumbfounded.

"Oh Odin," the Goddess whispered.

Kryla heard the whispered words though and looked in the Lady's direction. Danu rolled her eyes skyward and slowly shook her head.

"They certainly bungled this one did they not?" Danu be-spoke Kryla. "Men! They have no knowledge of how to handle delicate matters. I knew beforehand what they would tell you my dear. I hoped that another female present might soften the blow for you." Danu paused, tisk-tisked and then continued. "Perhaps I should have told you before we came in here. This match does go against our beliefs Kryla, but out of necessity, the Pantheon agreed with Shekal's choice."

Kryla heard what the Goddess said, but didn't respond. Everyone seems to know about this except for me. Her anger flared again. The moment it took for her to regain some composure was strained.

Finally, in a meek voice and feeling very chagrined, Kryla be-spoke Shekal. "I apologize for my outburst. I will listen to what you have to say to me." With head bowed, only the red splotches on her cheeks showed her embarrassment and anger. Kryla wrapped her arms around herself protectively and waited.

Shekal seemed unaware of what passed between any of them, or perhaps he wisely chose not to acknowledge what he heard. He accepted her apology with a slight bowing of his head and launched into his explanation without hesitation. "I first chose this host before certain ties were formed completely. At the time we sought her out, she was alone. I mistakenly thought she would remain so. Her convictions were very strong but she faltered. Still, this adult host is preferable. At this late date, it is necessary for your memories to remain intact Kryla. It is of the utmost importance and on this I will say no more. Just know that it must be this way."

Shekal's eyes flared briefly with the last statement and he slowly stepped down from the bench to move in front of Kryla. "Know too, she has some very special abilities of her own. When pooled together with your abilities the combination will produce some remarkable results. As I said, it was unexpected that she would choose another mate but there can be no help for that now."

Kryla briefly looked up at the great bird towering above her. It was a struggle not to snap off another angry response, but Odin's words still stung and she quickly looked away.

Shekal peered over at Odin and Danu. After a moment, Odin nodded his head and Shekal continued speaking. Kryla noticed the exchange and wondered what passed between them.

"As for her children, they also have been considered as hosts and two have been chosen. One in particular has proven most acceptable for another journey and will move along a different path. Even though all are gifted individuals, one child was chosen as a core group host…in the usual way," he added when Kryla's head snapped up and she glared at him. "His memories will awaken soon after your arrival. This is truly an extraordinary family. You would do well to heed my choice for you as the right one. We chose to delay your awakening until the last possible moment because you had other duties to complete, did you not? The consequence of leaving your summons so long has been well worth the good you have done. However, in making your pact with the Keeper of Souls there was no time to consult with you or select another."

Kryla looked from one to the other, wanting to voice her objections again. Instead, she simply nodded her head in agreement. What else can I do? Their decisions are made; their minds set as to what will be. And, I have little love for arguing right now. If time is as short as they seemed to think, then we all need to move quickly. Still, I cannot help wondering what thoughts this host will have once she realizes the truth of what is to be.

"If there are no further objections we should be on our way. Should I open the passage now?" Shekal asked.

"Yes, I am ready," Kryla answered, shoving her hands into her pockets. The calming energy of the Moonstone flowed through her, returning balance to raw emotions.

Odin nodded. It pained Him to see the young priestess so distraught. "Go in peace Kryla."

She pasted a weak smile on her face. Odin had always been like a father to her and saying goodbye was hard… so hard. "Until we meet again my Lord."

Danu came forward with outstretched arms and hugged Kryla warmly. Energies surged from the moonstone at the nearness of its creator. "Seek Shoran quickly my dear, you will need her," she whispered. "Go in peace child."

Kryla nodded and stepped away. "I am ready now, Shekal." Without a second glance, she slowly walked toward the spot where Shekal waited for her.

He whispered a word that Kryla couldn't make out. A limb of the Life Tree lifted to reveal a very large, ebony stone. Its surface was smooth as glass and reflected their images back to them. Upon closer inspection, one could see minute etchings, equal distance apart, in five separate locations. Kryla knew the etchings represented the five elements: earth, water, air, fire and in the center was the Odin Knot representing spirit.

Energies flared in Shekal's eyes and shot toward the stone. A gentle radiance of pale blue began in the center of the Odin Knot. In an instant a flash of startling blue light shot to the top-most symbol representing the element of air. From there, it shot toward the next symbol and the next, until there was a glowing diamond shape on the stone. Shekal spoke another word and the outer symbols writhed. The glow became a brilliant, blue light that quickly converged on the center symbol. There was a flash of dazzling white light and the stone became a smooth surface again.

Shekal bowed his head. "Farewell Odin, Danu. Until we meet again my friends."

He looked to Kryla. "Shall we depart m'lady?"

Kryla nodded and watched as Shekal launched himself toward the stone. There was a slight flare of blue light and he disappeared. Kryla followed at a slower pace. When her body came in contact with the passage, she felt the surging energies all around and smiled in anticipation of the new life ahead of her.

In an instant she too was gone.

Chapter Four

Upon entering the passage with Shekal, Kryla felt momentarily disoriented. The feeling passed soon enough and she was able to pay attention to their surroundings. Unimaginable colors assailed her. They swirled around both of them as they passed, creating a kaleidoscope of different patterns. Shekal appeared to soar through the multicolored vista. He flew off to the left and slightly ahead of her flowing form. He looked magnificent, gliding along, each wing spread to its fullest.

They were drawn forward by the passage itself, no effort was required by either of them as they progressed. She knew they were moving swiftly. Her hair flowed out behind and the long robe she wore clung to her, revealing the soft curves of her body.

The journey through this passage always exhilarated Kryla. "This is wonderful," she whispered and then giggled, throwing her arms wide to catch the wind.

It was one of a series of passageways to the Plane of Mortals and invariably gave her the feeling of going home. "I suppose I have dwelt on this plane, off and on, for many hundreds of years." Kryla giggled again and brushed at a stray hair blowing across her face.

When her mortal life ended, Kryla was granted the gift of immortality. Yet, being an immortal had its pros and cons, as any life does. Now, the return to the Plane of Mortals, was only when they were called and only in dire need. She could stay and live out a mortal life with any of her host bodies. The option was available to all of them. Kryla however, seldom chose to remain longer than necessary. There would be no more choice for her though.

"Destiny will be fulfilled," she sighed. "Once all this is done, I will either cease to exist, or I will take my rightful place… after all, I am The Gate."

Yes, I am 'The Gate'; the gift bestowed upon me by the Gods.

Thinking about what she was always produced a myriad of feelings for Kryla, ranging anywhere from fear to exhilaration. Almost a millennium ago, she and the others were chosen as protectors, guardians of the Spiritual Planes. In return for their loyalty, each was bequeathed a final glory. Once destiny was fulfilled, she would finally be able to take her place as the gateway for spiritual souls, the Gate to Eternal Life. Yet, in order for this to pass, they all would again face the most ultimate evil in the Final Meet.

Kryla didn't want to think about the final meeting and threw up her hands to ward off the thoughts before they could be given reign. "I will not let them spoil this journey."

Shaking her head, she glanced over at Shekal. To her annoyance, he didn't seem inclined to speak during their journey. Fine! I will just have to think about some pleasant areas to pass the time.

She tried to recall teachings about the Life Tree. Kryla knew that the Tree of Life depicted the entire world as a tree of prodigious dimension, a tree on which the universe was supported. Known by many different names other than the one she used, the Norse peoples called it Yggdrasil. Some of the other names include the Evergreen, and the Axial Pole of the World, Avendesora, the Mighty Ash, the Fountain of Life, Eternal Life and Immortality.

"I wonder who created the Tree of Life? There is no known history or myth anywhere that points to its creation. Hmm!" She remembered reading that the roots of the great ash tree tied together the three levels or planes.

It is said these levels made up the existing world, beginning in the underworld depths.

At the mention of the underworld, her thoughts started to turn toward the Evil One and Kryla quickly maneuvered them back to the Life Tree.

From there it travels on through the world of men, where it unites the waves, soil, and sky. Kryla saw it whenever she walked through Odin's garden. Its branches reached up, overshadowing even Valhalla.

Kryla glanced over at Shekal during her musing and the sight of him caused the direction of her thoughts to change slightly. She knew there were many tales about the mighty Thunderbird. Searching her memories, she tried to recall some of them.

There is one to do with the Thunderbird in the form of an eagle and…ah yes, the eagle and the serpent. It says the boughs of Yggdrasil were home to the giant eagle, known to be the Thunderbird, and the serpent. They are depicted in the story as light and darkness and were in perpetual conflict.

Kryla stopped to really think about that. Light and dark is supposed to be a balance is it not? I do not understand the conflict all the time. Her brow furrowed as she searched for a reason. I seem to remember there was also a squirrel known as Ratatoskr. Yes, that is it, the mischief-maker that constantly created strife between the two warring powers.

She looked again to Shekal, wondering what it would be like to be constantly divided, opposed in all you do. Kryla realized they were almost to their journey's end. Time passes quickly when lost in thought. Any further contemplation would have to wait for another time though. She filed this story in her memory as something that she would have to ask him about.

They came through the other side of the passage with a sudden flash of dazzling light and then plunged into darkness. It was night here, Kryla observed after her eyes accustomed themselves to the change. There were stars above them and the moon could be seen cresting the snow-capped mountains off to their left. It was a beautiful sight to Kryla and she smiled as her eyes took in the wondrous view. Their arrival was unnoticed by any mortal being on this plane. Here they were insubstantial, spirits, able to move about with nothing more than a thought. Shekal beckoned her to follow. This she did, for it was he who would guide her to her destination.

As they soared through the night skies, she took in all the changes that had taken place since last she was here. Oh, how they saddened her. Each time she answered the call, the Plane of Mortals was unlike the time before. The air seemed tainted in some way and large tracks of barren land showed where once there thrived many trees. In several areas the land appeared to be scooped away to make room for buildings and roadways of unusual designs.

I have much to discover it seems…much to learn and so little time in which to do it.

Shekal stopped, interrupting her thoughts. They were in front of a building she knew to be her new home. She could feel vast amounts of energy and…recognition; she looked to Shekal with a quizzical expression on her face.

"The one you seek sleeps and the other moves about. It is he, and his energies increase each time I return…this is good, he will awaken quickly. We will wait and watch if you wish."

"Yes, please, Shekal," she said. Kryla spoke no more while they waited.

They did not have to wait long. The door opened quietly and a young man stepped out. His strawberry-blonde hair hung past his shoulders and atop his head he wore a peaked cap. He appeared taller than she by several inches and was dressed for warmth. Kryla could feel a tremendous amount of energy and looked toward Shekal who simply nodded; yet he said nothing.

The young man turned, closed the door and then proceeded down the steps to a strange looking carriage. It was completely black, yet it shone and reflected the moonlight. When its side opened, a glowing shone outward, almost like a small candle being lit. The young man climbed up into the carriage and pulled its side closed. The light went out immediately and it appeared to swallow him up.

The sight of him disappearing inside the beast alarmed her and she looked to Shekal to see if he too, was as concerned. He simply watched and did nothing, so she continued to observe these new things with fascination. She was not prepared for the great roar that erupted from the carriage. She jumped and gasped, startled by the sound.

To her utter amazement the carriage lit up, a brilliant white glow at one end and red at the other. To further astound her, it began to move of its own accord. It moved away from the dwelling and out onto the roadway beside them. While she watched in bewilderment, the carriage changed direction, taking the young man away.

When it disappeared from sight, Kryla could only stand with eyes wide and mouth agape. She could do nothing else, so shocked by what just happened.

A soft chuckle floated softly into Kryla's mind. She quickly closed her mouth and looked at her companion in bewilderment. To her questioning look he replied, "You will know soon enough, Kryla. It is time now for you to do what you must and I must return."

"Yes…" She paused. "Yes, I know you are right about it being time for me. It is just that there are so many strange things here now. Much has changed, Shekal." She stood looking at where the young man and his carriage had disappeared only moments before. "It has been almost three hundred years since last I visited this plane. It will be…interesting if nothing else for me to learn all there is to know," she replied, slowly shaking her head.

Still chuckling, Shekal be-spoke her again. "Then I bid you farewell, my Lady Kryla." She quickly turned to him, apprehension showing plainly on her face. When he be-spoke again his voice was tender. "You will never be alone my dear. I will return, have no fear. Look to the skies." With those final words, he launched himself into the air and flew off in the direction of the passageway. Kryla watched him until he was out of sight, then turned her attention to what lay before her.

She let out a long sigh and slowly moved toward the home, her home now. Everything was quiet and bathed in darkness. This was a good sign. She disliked becoming one with a host when they were awake. She heard from others that a joining of this type often caused disorientation for both of them and, more often than not, fatigue. She climbed the stairs and since she was insubstantial, she simply walked through the door.

She walked silently through the house, feeling her host's energies as she progressed. Kryla wanted to look around before the joining, and spent some time looking from room to room and sleeping person to sleeping person. There were four children in this home. Kryla knew they were not related to her host, although for some reason they were in her care. Smiling, she continued looking around.

She was fascinated with what appeared to be the cooking area. There were so many different types of contraptions, odd shapes, and designs; she wanted to examine them all. Kryla closed her eyes and drew upon the energies of the spirit. The feeling of ecstasy as those energies filled her showed in the rapturous look on her face. Slowly, she molded the energies and in few moments her form became solid, human flesh. Spiritual energies were powerful and yet fragile at the same time. In this form, though, she could actually touch things and not pass through.

In the one corner, stood a large metal box. When she opened it, a candle lit. Her eyes widened with wonder. Reaching carefully toward the light, it surprised her to find it only slightly warm, not the same searing heat of a candle.

Truly this must be magic! Oh goodness! They keep food in here? I see no ice, yet it is cold. Amazing!

She closed the doors and walked over to another metal device; two square holes with odd shaped pieces of metal on top. The holes were not deep and she found she could move the first metal piece from side to side. The second metal shape moved the same as the first. Now this thing really puzzled her. She moved her head closer to get a better look.

All the while she continued to move the second shape back and forth. With her head almost to the bottom of the hole, she again moved the metal piece; from this angle, however, it moved upward instead of sideways. A stream of liquid gushed from the lower piece of metal, hitting her squarely in the face. Kryla gasped and jumped away, banging her head in the process. The liquid continued to flow into the hole and Kryla rushed back to try to stop it.

After a few moments of panic, she finally figured out how to turn it off. Licking her wet lips, she realized the liquid was water. Cautiously, she again lifted the metal piece and quickly pushed it down again. Again and again she did this, giggling like a child at play.

After several minutes of play, she decided to investigate further. Moving around the room, she looked at other contraptions. She didn't dare touch them, and trying to figure them out by just looking was futile. Looking would do for now, though, especially after the episode with the water. With a sigh, she realized how much she needed to learn.

Finally, she knew she could wait no longer. Kryla let go of the energies reluctantly and quickly became insubstantial again. Her ghost-like form silently headed to the bedroom door of her host. Here, a tiny creature with a wagging tail greeted her. The sight thrilled her. She had forgotten that certain animals could see her in this state. This was a hound of some sort, but its tiny size amused her.

Crouching down, she be-spoke the animal and held out her hand as she did so. "Well, my little one; we should say hello to one another properly, I think. I am Kryla. Would you be so kind as to tell me your name?" The little hound moved closer to her hand, sniffed and then promptly rolled onto its back, tail wagging all the while. Kryla giggled at the sight.

"Scratch tummy please, name is Tokkel. Watched you come." The tiny female voice be-spoke her.

Kryla complied and then stood talking to Tokkel as she did so. "That is enough for now, little one. I must get on with my task. If you watched, then you know I mean no harm to anyone. We will have much time for me to scratch your tummy in the days to come."

Without further conversation, Tokkel lay quietly, cocking her head this way and that as she watched. Kryla walked to the side of the bed and looked down upon the sleeping form of her host. She lay curled up next to her mate, snoring softly. Kryla smiled at this, for she had been told she also snored. She appeared much the same size as Kryla and that too pleased her. She saw again the pictures Shekal had placed in her mind.

If I remember correctly, you have strawberry-blonde hair. Much like my own, only shorter. Well, hair can be grown, she thought. All else about you is delightful. Shekal really did choose well. From this day forward, you will begin learning the answers to many mysteries, my friend, as will I. We will remain one until the very end. I am truly sorry for taking your life from you. I pray you will understand and accept.

Looking down upon the woman's sleeping form, a single tear escaped, rolling down her cheek. Not wanting to waste any more time, Kryla quickly reached out and touched her host. A soft, blue glow surrounded the two women and then slowly it coalesced into the one sleeping form of she who was known as Andrea.





Author Bio

Ardy Scott is an artist/author/editor/radio personality, co-Publisher of Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine and Managing Editor for Twilight Times Books.

Ardy always considered herself a jack-of-all-trades and master of a few. To date she is an accomplished writer of new age fantasy with two books published and two more in the works. She currently runs two businesses from her home: FantaSeeWorks Graphics & Designs with her partners Michael in Canada and her husband Ken, and Fantasy In Wood (wood sculpting). More, she is also a freelance artist, doing original art, unique cards and cover art for herself and other authors.

Although born a Canadian, Ardy currently resides in North Queensland, Australia with her Aussie husband Ken, Sherlock Hound (three year old Dalmatian) and Dogger Watson (two year old Great Dane/Bull Mastiff/Rottie).

Visit the author's web site





"Prophecy: The Awakening" Copyright © 2001. Ardy M. Scott. All rights reserved by the author. Please do not copy without permission.


To order this book:
Format: PDF, HTML, Palm
    Payment Method
PayPal -or- Credit Card -or- Fictionwise
List Price: $4.50 USD ebook

Format: Trade Paperback
    Available at
Amazon;;;  Barnes & Noble;  Borders;  other Bookstores
List Price: $18.50 USD

  Author News



Top Rating of 10 from Harriet Klausner

In reaction to the balance between dark and light heavily tilting in favor of the darkness, ancient gods create a force to fight the ultimate battle by making eight individuals immortal with magical powers. At the same time that the gods intercede, the Nameless One awakens, awaiting the moment to capture the gate keeper as a key step to destroy the light.

The gods awaken Kryla, She who is Protector of the Spiritual Planes so she can unite with a mortal host, Andrea as these two separate essences share one body with the goal of finding the other chosen. Kryla trains Andrea to use her extrasensory powers and become spiritually aware, but the mortal also has mundane issues relating to her spouse and four teens. However, her prime directive is to find and “awaken” the other seven knowing she must help them cope with their psychic skills and their fears of their responsibilities, the gods and the dark for their chosen life will never be the same due to magical forces at work.

This opening gamut combines mythological elements with a coming Armageddon that will thrill readers of fantasy. The story line is action-packed yet balances the key awakening inside of the mortals especially Andrea whose coping with the mundane and the fantastic seems so realistic as she doubts she has the right stuff. With strong characterizations (including the mythological) inside a powerfully descriptive tale of good battling evil, this reviewer prophesizes that A.M. Scott and her New Age series will receive strong acclaim. This first tale is a refreshing triumph in the age old theme of the light trying to stop the growing darkness.

Reviewed by Harriet Klausner for MBR Bookwatch.

Exhilarating -- Highly recommended

In the battle to balance light and dark, ancient gods awaken their warriors and guardians calling them to battle. Spanning the astral planes between the gods and mortals, a connection is formed allowing gods walk again among men when the dark begins to overbalance the light. The gods create a mystical force that can fight the ultimate battle between life in all of its forms. To that end, the gods grant immortality and magical powers to eight souls, naming them warriors and keepers of the spiritual planes. The Nameless One also awakens, and while he cannot yet move about, to push him back would give him what he desires, knowledge. The Nameless One especially wants the keeper of the Gate.

As the Nameless One threatens the light, the gods awaken Kryla, She who is Protector of the Spiritual Planes, Gate to eternity. Kryla joins with an adult mortal host, Andrea. Separate beings sharing the same moral existence, they join in an effort to locate the other choosen mortals who will aid in their fight. Andrea's latent gifts begin to blossom under Kryla's tutelage as she ventures into the astral to receive further teachings. Even as she grows spiritually, however, Andrea must maintain her ordinary existence, coping with a straying husband, foster children, and the challenges of bringing together other morals that are beginning to awaken. As the chosen mortals awaken they become more than simple beings. Called by the gods, forgotten memories of godhood lie in the deepest recesses of their minds. These mortals are now blessed with psychic abilities of varying natures, making them manipulators of magic. Yet walking in mortal bodies, they are also limited by mortal fears even as memory of their godly existence awakens.

With paranormal elements richly woven with varying spiritual beliefs, A. M. Scott creates a fantasy novel with ties to wicca, magic, and even the Celestine Prophecies. Bringing these varied concepts and insights into this powerful work of fiction, creates a novel rich in nuance. Vividly wrought visualizations accompany a fascinating journey of self-discovery, resulting fascinating characterizations. Creating such a tightly woven mythology and characterization limits the speed at which the plot moves, putting off the promised battle to the sequel. Nevertheless, with its rich textures, vivid descriptions, and fierce spirituality, PROPHECY: THE AWAKENING comes highly recommended.

Cindy Penn, Senior Editor, WordWeaving

The existence of Dark and Light, Good and Evil, pulses around us all, and for true well being, on all Planes, these energies must be balanced.

A.M. Scott, in her first literary work “Prophecy: The Awakening” addresses a frightening reality in the form of a question…what happens if this scale is shifted…leaning closer to the Dark then the Light? Prophecy: The Awakening, is a rich tapestry of mystical and mortal elements, addressing an event that started over a millennium ago. Great, powerful Gods: Odin, Danu, Morrigan, convened, and put into place a mystical force that would fight the war of all wars, that of life in all its forms. These Gods granted immortality and powers to eight souls, naming them warriors and protectors of the spiritual planes. To protect the Mortal Plane, they initiate the last of the Awakenings, that of Kryla, The Gate. She has been chosen to join with an adult mortal host, Andrea. Her role is not only in learning about her role but also in finding those other Mortals who will help in this most important mission.

Like a colorful astral journey, A.M. Scott floats us through the mind of mortals, spirituals, and the dark-side we all know exists. It is a pilgrimage in self-discovery, of finding those others that will make the Group Whole, and maybe, just maybe, be strong enough to fight the war of all wars, that of good against evil.

If you want a fantasy that is realistic to the extreme, wealthy in visualism, abundant in New Age principles then Prophecy: The Awakening is a must read that more than fulfils the most discernible of Fantasy tastes, and will ensure the journey of discovering whether good does indeed win over evil sends the pulses racing and the pages turning.

Reviewed by: Jennifer L. Bryson, Author and Reviewer,

RATING: 5 - Collector's Treasure

"Through the mists of ages they come, dark and light alike. All six from separate flows of demonic hatred, filled with the might of angelic love."
From - The Prophecy

Monitored by the Gods, the Battle between good and evil, light and dark raged on through the centuries. Evil has taken the lead, The Nameless One is growing in power. It's time for the Awakening, a ritual that begins with the calling of Kryla, the Gate.

Kryla joins with Andrea a mortal woman, although they are two separate beings they will share the same body. Kryla's mission is twofold, she must help Andrea realize her full potential, and she must assist in the massing of the remaining mortals who have been chosen to aid in the battle.

With Kryla's help Andrea discovers the many layers of her being. She learns how to cope in two very different worlds. In one world she is a foster mother to troubled kids, and wife to an unfaithful husband. In the other world she is a warrior-- training for the battle of her life.

A. M. Scott skillfully pulls the reader in a world of magic and "what-if" and still manages to stay in tune with reality. The reader is taken on a journey into the supernatural and into the heart and soul of two unique women. Andrea and Kryla, thousands of years and memories separate them, yet, from the start a common bond unites them. Mortal or God the heart of a woman endures. One body containing two minds think as one, two hearts that beat in unison, two souls that will battle with their last breath for what they believe in and those they love.

Whether the genre of choice, is New Age Fantasy, Romance, Suspense or Action/Adventure -- PROPHECY: THE AWAKENING will no doubt engage the senses and leave the reader eagerly awaiting the final novel in this two book series.

Reviewed by D.L. Bolk for FMAM (Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine).

Long ago, eight souls were granted the gift of becoming Immortal and becoming guardians of the mortal realms. Kryla, who has now become the Gate, on the path to eternal life is relcutant to heed the call to awaken, remembering with terror the last time they did battle with the Nameless One.

The Nameless One is once more abroad, and darkness follows in his wake. Kryla must join once more with a mortal soul, two entities in the one body. The host the gods have chosen for her, Andrea, is already adult, and already poweful in her own right, and it just takes Kryla to help her to use these powers to their full potential.

The time of the final battle draws near and Kryla and Andrea are in more danger than most, for the Nameless one has decided that he wants the Gate as his queen...

An inriguing fantasy, drawing on different faiths and mythology, with strange happenings going on in a very modern setting. Andrea has to deal with her new powers, cope with a house full of foster children, a husband who seems to drain her energy every time he is near, and fight evil at the same time.

The author has weaved a tale with words and nothing in the book seems far-fetched, everything flows very well, the changes between the Immortal world and Mortal one are handled very deftly. The gods have their weaknesses and their fears, as much as the Mortals, even though they have more power.

An engaging tale. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby, author of Writing the Dream and Silent Screams and editor of Twisted Tales webzine.




Back to the Featured books

Back to Twilight Times Books main page 





  A special note to TTB readers. All contents of this web site are copyright by the writers, artists or web site designer. If you discover any artwork or writing published here elsewhere on the internet, or in print magazines, please let us know immediately. The staff of Twilight Times Books feels very strongly about protecting the copyrighted work of our authors and artists.



Copyright © 1999, 2000 - 2009. Lida Quillen. All rights reserved.

"Prophecy: The Awakening" cover design © 2001 Ardy M. Scott. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 01-02-09.

Twilight Times Books logo design by Joni.


MIDI sequence courtesy of Jim Farris
Prophecy: The Awakening Title Piece