Standing in the attic of an abandoned cathedral, I walk toward a chest that seems to pull me into it. I brush off the dust and cobwebs from a box that seems to be perfectly preserved compared to all of the other objects. The latch had a small lock on it, but that did not discourage me. I knew I had to open it. Reaching into my pocket, I pull out my lock pick and easily turn the tumblers.
Being careful not to damage the contents, I throw the lid open and uncover the objects within. I found a set of seven bells, some pipes, and a small, leather-bound tome; all perfectly preserved. The climate in the country Kouvatsis was somewhat dry, but the cherry-colored chest should still have rotted and the instruments rusted…
This is the story of how I ended up in a country quite similar to what is called the Soviet Union. My name is Beryl and I am currently fifteen. I had spent my life running the streets of Melphy, trying to keep from the eyes of the police. I finally found my home in the abandoned cathedral where I had found that chest. I never removed those instruments from the attic, fearful of a curse or something only the mind of a child could conceive. Unfortunately, I didn't know how much truth my childish intuitions held.
I was ten when I first found the bells and pipes. I spent many hours running my fingers down the smooth, cool surface of the pipes and admiring the beautiful carvings on the handles of the bells. I knew that someone had loved these, that someone had spent a very long time making them. Once, I attempted to open the tome, but when my hands were about to pull the covers apart, I began to shiver and the hair on my neck began to stand up. I pulled it open, only to have it snap shut before I could read one word in it. I was twelve when this happened, and it was three years before I attempted that again.
I awoke and it was still dark outside. I didn't know what had awoken me, but I somehow felt like the red-stained chest was calling me. That day, I didn't get that same feeling when I touched the book. I hadn't even gotten to the box when I realized the book was ready to let me open it or it knew that I was ready, but when I approached, the book was laying on top of the chest. I tried to recall what I had done with it the day before, but I knew that I wouldn't have been so careless as to leave it sitting on top of the chest.
Forgetting the obviously strange situation, I tried to open the book. My fingers touched the edge of the cover and it flew open; the pages tuned like they were being blown by a hurricane. A pulsing blue light filled the room, and I was pulled into the pages, followed by the bells and the pipes.
I must have fallen unconscious because I awoke in a large, calm field. I couldn't remember anything. I didn't know who or where I was. The only details I could remember about my life were the bells and the pipes. I looked down and the bells were fastened across my chest by a buckled leather apparatus, something like a sword belt, but it fit the bells perfectly and they each had their own small pouch. The pipes were in another pouch that was attached to the belt near my shoulder. I tried to check my clothing for some clue to tell me what had happened. Around my waist was yet another leather pouch. I unbuttoned it and found a small, leather-bound tome. It seemed familiar in some way, but I couldn't say what it was.
Still confused, I tried to figure out where I was. That was when I noticed the man that was running toward me about fifty yards away. As he came nearer, he showed no sign of stopping, so I began to run after him and try to catch his attention. He didn't stop, so I pulled out my pipes and began to play to try and get him to look my way. He stopped quite abruptly, turned, grabbed my arm and began to pull me after him at a very quick pace.
After the surprise left me, I realized that we were heading toward a village that was made up of huts and other crudely designed structures. As we ran through what appeared to be a property line for the village, I saw a sign that must have displayed the name of the village, but it was in some foreign writing that I had never encountered. Without a parent or teacher, I was left to my own devices to acquire the knowledge I had. It was not very difficult because I already knew how to read, though that skill had seemed to be a natural ability, but apparently it did not cover unknown tongues.
The man led me to a large hut that seemed to be kept better that the others. Upon closer investigation, I could see that the hut was actually a house built of brick but disguised as a hut. The need for this precaution was not apparent, but I suspected that I might find out soon enough.
Once inside, the man indicated a chair that was carved of one large block of wood by the looks of it. It had crudely stuffed cushions mad of some kind of rough cotton-like fabric and straw. The man jogged to a room in the back. I heard him speak in a strange tongue, probably the same one from the sign. He speaking franticly and obviously worried about something. A few seconds later, a small, old woman emerged form the curtain door. She said something I couldn't understand and then, after a pause, asked to see the pipes in the common tongue. As if just waking up from a daydream, I quickly reached up and unbuckled the pouch containing the pipes and handed it to her.
She examined the pipes and shook her head. "You don't know what these are, do you?" she asked. I shook my head. "Did you find anything else with these?" I didn't know what to say, so I just unbuckled the bells and handed those to her. "And a book?" she asked. I had forgotten about it. I looked down and saw the pouch on my waist.
Completely confused I just gaped at her and stammered, trying to ask how she knew. Finally, I managed to get out, "Where am I?" That was all I could think to say at the time.
She looked about ready to jump out of her seat when I asked this. She caught herself and simply responded by asking where I had come from. I told her as much as I could remember, but that didn't help me much because my knowledge was restrained to the large, grassy field. Although I couldn't see how this could have possibly helped, it was enough to make her jump out of her seat and say something that could only have been joyous from the smile on her face. The man that had brought me here stepped forward from his place at the back of the room. Some words were exchanged and he studied me with an apprehensive eye. Slowly a grin began to peak out onto his face, even though he was obviously trying to hide it. "So you believe she could be the one, eh?" he asked the old woman.
That question had no meaning for me at first. It seemed like an odd thing to ask, but did not come across as something I should worry about.
I was terribly wrong.
That night, I was treated with respect and given the best foods and bed. There were celebrations I didn't understand, either. The next morning, my task was given to me. I was to find the stones called 'angel tears' and destroy the half-demon, Lazuli. At this, I blacked out. The weight of what had happened to me finally began to don.
The old woman, Kasha was her name, told me that the demon wasn't really going to be able to do anything because he was trapped in a tomb. This was meant to be reassuring. Then she told me that the angel tears were in the tomb with the demon.
Ok,I thought, kill two birds with one stone, huh? This can't be too difficult.
I was given a bow, a magical quiver that would supposedly 'never run out of arrows,' a set of travel clothing, a cloak, and a week's supply of food. Kasha didn't give me a choice. She assumed I would go and be a good girl, kill the half-demon, and bring her the angel tears.
Everything happened so quickly that day that I was well on my way to the tomb of Lazuli, when I finally decided to take a break and assess my situation. I quickly went through my belongings and came across a small, leather-bound tome. I looked at it with a hatred that burned deep inside my heart. "You," I said, "It was you that got me into all of this. I remember all too well now. You pulled me to that box; you pulled me into your pages. It was your fault." I couldn't help talking to the book like it was a human. It made no sense and didn't make me feel any better, but I did it anyway.
I sat down by a large, rocky outcropping. The book was still in my hand. I came to the decision that I should try to read it. Maybe, I thought, maybe it'll take me back home and I'll forget this nightmare. With this joyous thought in mind, I brought my fingers to the edge of the covers and threw them apart.
I was quite disappointed, but not discouraged. That which brought me here must bring me home, too, right? Frantically, I searched the pages for some kind of hope.
It was a music book. It showed my how to play the bells and the pipes for some kind of spells or something. I read every one of them. Some were pretty interesting, but none of them could open a portal or bring me home. My only choice was to find Lazuli.
After about three days, I came upon the door in the mountain that should have brought me to Lazuli's tomb. It was marked by a crescent moon with a hawk stretching its wings across the open end. The door had no visible handle of any kind. It was getting dark, so I probably wouldn't be able to see anything no matter where I went. This ledge seemed to be colder than the rest. I cursed Kasha for not giving me some kind of torch or a box with some flint and tinder. I had been able to make fires, but it was difficult, and the wind on this ledge was too strong for even a small fire to be started without some kind of ignition tool. After waiting a while, my attention once again rested on the book.
Perhaps one of the spells in the book could be of some help.
It took hours to search through the book and find a song that could be of any use to me. The first one I found was called the Song of the Fire Nymph. This was a joyous and much welcomed turn of events. Unfortunately, the book gave no kind of instructions. I nearly burned down five trees before I started to understand how to work the spells. I finally found that I had to have something to burn and concentrate on making it burn; not to mention concentrating on the intensity of the flame.
This brings you to my current predicament: finding a way to open the tomb. "Considering my experience with the Song of the Fire Nymph, the spell to open the door can't be too difficult. I've just got to open the book and flip through a few pages. The spell has to be something like the Song of Opening."
Beryl begins to flip through the book and finds a spell called the Song of Opening. To her dismay, the spell had no effect.
"There must be some kind of special song for this door, then. What would that be called? 'Lazuli's Song' or 'Sacred Opening Song'?" Whilst flipping through the pages of the leather-bound tome, Beryl leans against the door to Lazuli's tomb. The door begins to slip and Beryl plunges into the darkness within Lazuli's tomb.