It had been a week since they arrived. Selena was lying on some fur pelts on the ground, looking up at the clouds. Vinicius, the name of the man who changed her, had made a small camp for them in one section of the woods. According to what he said, he had brought her to her new home, somewhere between New Zealand, Australia, and New Caledonia. She had tried to walk further inland. Only to be stopped by him telling her not just yet. Now she was waiting for him to return, from who knows where, and for maybe the 5th time that week.
"Soon, Selena." Hearing his voice, she sat up and looked up at him.
"Why all the waiting, Vin?" He sat down across from her and pulled out a raw gemstone. It was a deep ocean blue with speckles of white mixed in. He then pulled out some other tools and chipped away at the stone. "Vin?" His royal purple eyes looked into her lavender ones.
"Tomorrow… First light." He stated. She tilted her head. "You can go in tomorrow and follow that pull in your heart." With that answer, her eyes light up like a child's.
"You mean it?"
"But you'll have to go by yourself." This man was so confusing.
"By myself? I… How do you expect me not to get lost? I've never been here before. I don't know what's in there either." A smirk tugged at his lips, like what she said was a joke. He then looked back at what he was doing.
"No harm will come to you, Selena." Simply saying her name brought calm back to her. How did he manage to do that? Her eyes then wandered to the gemstone he was shaping and watched him.
"If you say so, Vin… But it won't stop me from worrying." It went quiet after that. The only sound that was heard was the hammer and chisel he used on the stone. Before she knew it, it was night, and he was starting the bond fire once again, cooking fish that he caught the other day.
"Why did you travel to the island of final rest?" Selena looked away from the roaring fire and up at him. Her brows furrowed. She was about to ask where that was, but it dawned on her. That must have been the name of the island she crashed landed on.
"Why do you ask?"
"I think I have a right to know, considering humans were never meant to go to such a sacred place." He looked at her from the corner of his eye. Selena couldn't tell how this man felt towards her. He seemed pretty content turning her, but he had been distant from her after they arrived on the island. He barely answered any of her questions, and when he did, it was some open-ended answer.
"I don't suppose you'll answer one of my questions if I answer yours?" She had started to feel more like herself when she arrived on the island. No more sobbing or crying out that she wanted to go home. Vin raised a brow at her and seemed to be thinking. But she still didn't feel like she was where she was supposed to be on the island.
"Very well." That was the first time he had agreed to one of her requests. Selena's jaw nearly dropped. Gathering herself up, she gave a weak smile.
"Then I suppose I should start at the beginning. I lived in this small rural area when I was young, maybe 8 or 9. Not a lot of people or development. There were a lot of wooded patches. One patch was in our backyard, and for a little kid that had a lot of imagination and nothing to do, it was the best playground ever." She giggled a bit. "My parents didn't mind if I played in there because it wasn't thick or hard to see through. No poison ivy or oak ether. Anyway, one day I went out there. I picked up sticks, trying to find one that best suited my needs. As I was flitting around, a little ways towards the other end, this flash of something black and bright yellow caught my eye. When I looked back, it was flowers. I walked closer and looked at them. It was a lily of some kind. The base of their petals was this deep rich purple, and the tips were a vibrant yellow. The oddest thing that stood out was that they grow in a perfect circle. I was so excited I had found something like it. I gently pushed the flowers to the side, making sure not to break them, and stood in the middle. My head was down as I turned in a circling making sure I didn't damage the flowers; however, when I looked up… I wasn't in that wooded area. Or at least that's what I thought. What I saw was… real woods. Not some wooded patch. But deep woods. The trees held thick green leaves, and the air felt clean and refreshing. Like it does here. Wildflowers carpeted the ground. Then the moment I blinked, it was gone. I tried stepping out and back in, but it didn't work." She smiled sadly.
"Everyone I told thought I made it up or may have dreamed it. I knew it was real, though. So I read all I could and watched any documentary I could. Once I was all grown up, and I had saved enough money. I started to travel. What I was looking for was the naturally strange places on earth. Things that people did dream of but never dare to try and find." She looked back up at him. "That's why I went to the island. I had heard rumors, seen horribly taken photos, and listened to first encounters of that island. I thought maybe it was a place like those lilies. I had to go and find out for myself." She rubbed the back of her neck, and her lavender eyes wandered down. "I guess I found something a little bigger." She murmured.
Vinicius listened intently. At first, he wondered why she started her story so far back. Then she spoke of the lionheart lilies, and he was shocked. She had seen a glimpse into the past, a very distant past. Not many humans can see those glimpses. Nature was rarely kind enough to let them know what used to be there. He never would have thought a full-grown human would see such a thing in all his years. It explained a lot, like why he was ordered to turn the girl.
"Those flowers, they were lionheart lilies. To see them is a treat for the eyes. To stand in their circle and see a glimpse of the past. That is a rare gift from nature." He explained. Selena watched him. Her eyes grew bright with interest. "It does not surprise me that you were able to see it as a child. One so young is more prone to believe in fantasy and magic. When people grow up, such flights of fancy leave them." Selena hummed and leaned back on her hands, eyes looking up to the night sky.
"Not everyone." Vin watched her as the amber light danced on her skin, and the wind-tossed her white hair in the breeze. His eyes softened. He was lost in the vision before him for one moment, and he had a small slip of the tongue.
"That's why-" the rest of his words got carried away on the window. Selena looked back over at him.
"I'm sorry?" Vin gave a look of shock before standing up.
"It's getting late, and you have a big day tomorrow. You should get some rest." Before Selena could press him further, he laid out his own furs for the night. Not wanting to ruin the good mood, she let it go and crawled under the covers.
"Good night Vin."
"Good night Selena."
The following day Selena was rudely awakened by the ever-rising sun. She groaned and pulled the covers over her head. The young woman was never a morning person. However, she sat up fast a second later. It was finally time. Scrambling out of her furry sleeping bag, she hurried and collected the things Vin had left her. Even the note he had written… in that ancient tongue. She hated trying to read it. It made her vision hyper-focus on the words and blur them until she understood what they said.
"Do not forget… the sleeping pelts and the leftovers. Stick only to the… Woods for now." She closed her eyes shut for a few seconds before blinking them back into focus. Stuffing the note in her pocket, she wrapped the sleeping bag in some leather straps, safely tucked the leftovers in the middle, and placed it on her back. There was also a bamboo shoot canteen with drinking water left for her. She stuffed that in her other pocket and made way for the woods. After sitting and waiting for so long, she was itching to see her new home. Her heart was pounding with excitement.
Selena walked past the oak trees she had been staring at for the past 7 days. It wasn't until about 15 minutes that she saw what they had been hiding.
Trees with gnarled branches, covered in greenish-yellow leaves, stretched in various directions but were only 9 or 10ft tall. Their trunks were covered in ivy and moss. Some even had moss starting to hang from them, making them look furry. They were spread out from each, not clustered. This was due to the moss-covered boulders that covered the ground. Taking careful steps, she moved forward. Selena dared not blink. Scared that the moment she did, it would be gone, just like before.
A chartreuse-colored light greeted her eyes when she looked up. It was like looking at a stained glass window. Never had she seen such a pure, untouched place. Even the birds flew happily through the gnarled branches.
Selena then took a step to where she thought the next flat surface was but had missed it and headed for the ground. She reached out and grabbed a tree near her. Effectively stopping her from falling and discovering something new about these trees. A thrum of life was beating under her palms, and when she took a breath, she could feel the wood's breath with her. After a moment, she finally removed herself from it and gathered her senses back.
Selena wanted to do it again. However, she felt that pull in her heart telling her to move forward.
After some time, she saw another set of the woods, only this one looked more dense and dark, giving it an eerie feeling. Just before she crossed, a moss-covered rock caught her eye. Turning towards it, engravings could be seen from the mossy outline. Her eyes started to hyper-focus as she got closer, and her mind put the words together.
Squinting, she read aloud, "Here, we made our… Home." This felt like it wasn't the starting sentence. Had there been one she missed? "Maybe, the rest faded." She made a mental note to ask Vin about it before moving onward.
The first area felt like a fairy's home. This one felt like a witch's domain. The trees around her stood taller, their branches arched over like witch fingers. The leaves were darker, giving this forest emerald lighting. Deep-sea blue moss grew in patches on everything. The best part was the lack of boulders covering the ground.
Snakes slithered over the roots and between small rocks but never near her. In fact, it felt like the scaly creatures were moving out of her way. Selena brought her attention back to the trees, and she pressed her lips together. Reaching out, she pressed her hand against the tree and gasped. A warm plus was flowing in the trees here. It was a completely different feeling from the previous tree she had touched. That same plus was also felt inside herself. Like the tree was reaching for something they both shared. Swiftly she pulled away from the tree and took a shaky breath. What on earth was going on with this place? What was going on with her? Moving on, she continued on her path. Making yet another mental note to ask Vin many questions about these woods.
It wasn't long after she came to another stone, "Here, we mourn the loss of an age." Selena was losing interest in the woods but gaining a lot more in the engravings she was reading. These engravings must have been from the first people who came to this place.
Selena then decided to make the stones her new mission. The exploration of her home could wait. Besides, the pull seemed to be leading her to these stones anyway. It wasn't long till she stood in front of the next one. "Here, we lay in wait." It was becoming easier to read. The hyper-focus was not taking nearly as long to blink away. Selena looked in each direction again until she felt the call pull at her right to another engraving. This time it wasn't a boulder. It was in the most magnificent piece of raw ruby she had ever seen!
"Waiting for the day when our world comes back. Comes back?" The young woman wanted to think about it more, but the pull was hard to ignore. Urging her to go on. Not too far from the ruby was raw sapphire, just as magnificent as the last one. "So until then, we will remember. Remember what? Old age? Which one?" Selena wished Vin had been there to answer her burning questions. She knew better, though. He wouldn't have answered any of them and would just move on. Letting her stew in her frustration. "Like I am right now," she growled under her breath. Taking her time getting to the next one, Selena let her mind replay all the stones she had read. Each put a story together, but no clear picture of what that story was about. Well, sort of anyway. She knew it was about the age when they must have been prosperous on some other land than here. Then they must have fallen, like all other great nations before them. Due to this, those who managed to escape, or survive, came to this island. Now they sit and wait for their age to come back… whichever age that was. "If only the stones had dates on them."
The further she went into the woods, the more her heart raced with mixed emotions. Anxiety, excitement, and even a little fear. Did Vin not tell her anything so she would come to her own conclusions? 'No, that couldn't be right.' She stopped in her tracks. In front of her, there lay a small tree circled by the others. The pull had left her heart, signaling she had found the last piece. Taking tentative steps, she made her way towards it.
The tree's bark was as black as night. Its branches were starched like an umbrella and covered in rather big leaves with an iridescent covering. She saw a section of the bark had been chipped off, revealing pure white wood underneath. And the last engraving.
"For we are the Dragonkin, and we will wait for our age to rise again."