Author's Note: Ataenia has been reinstated and completed. Part the sixth should clear up any strangenesses or confusions you have. This is dedicated to Anon, who got me back to writing on fanfiction.net when I had been forgetting about it, by reviewing all my fics (except that one bad one I don't know why I posted.) So, thank you Anon, and here is Part the sixth! Post Script: To those of you who think reviewing doesn't brighten an author's day, you're wrong. So utterly, completely wrong that it puzzles me.Part the Sixth:
Ataenia's body no longer remained in her parents' strict care. It was now a year since that fatal day when she had fought the intruder, and they had long ago given up on ever seeing their daughter open her eyes again. It was 6 months ago when they had buried her, under a tree as was the custom for the people of that village. They thought her spirit would remain in the woods, protecting the town as she had tried to, just before the spell hit.
Ataenia's parents were desolate. They had seen neither of their children in 11 months, after Kedmael had left to search for his sister's spirit, to find it and save Ataenia's life. They had given up on him long ago also, when he showed no sign of returning home. Both of their children lost, they lived alone, loved and pitied by the entire village.
As was custom in the town, a year after Ataenia died, a year after the spell was cast and Ataenia lost forever, her parents cut a dozen tulips and traveled to her grave. They meant to lay the flowers upon the earth under which their daughter was buried, to watch the flowers grow and bring their daughter back into the world in some small way.
They saw the tree, a slender ash. They approached the tree, but they were not ready for what was there. The earth was cracked, and their daughter's body missing.
They returned to the village without saying a word. The town was in an uproar. Little had they realized, but on this very day 13 years ago, a boy had walked into town and asked sanctuary. The townspeople had shut him out. Now, there was another little boy in the town, asking the same thing. Refuge from a harsh world. He looked so weak, so innocent, just standing there, alone, that some of the villagers had rushed over and given him food, clothing, kindness.
When Ataenia's parents walked into the village, every eye turned to them. They had recently lost two children, couldn't they take this one in? This poor, innocent child?
Ataenia's father had championed the fight against taking in the last child to come, 20 years ago. He was against taking outsiders in. But his children had softened his heart, and to see the little boy standing there, so like his own children had looked and so different, made his heart quell.
Needless to say, Ataenia's mother was instantly picking the child up and bringing him into their home, and Ataenia's father only smiled.
The doctor, Amina's enemy, followed, then turned, realizing that Amina had no idea what had happened. He started muttering. Amina couldn't understand a word that he said. Then she felt her eyes opening, even though she knew they were already open...
Her eyes ripped open, leaving the woods behind. She fell into a whirlwind of color, jerking herself up, seated. She had been lying down. She looked at her clothes. They were strange, a long blue shirt that reached her knees, and leather pants that she knew she would certainly never wear. And they were dirty, very dirty, as if they had been buried. In fact, she thought as she wiped the dirt from her face, her entire body felt as if it had been buried for a while. She started to dust herself off.
A voice broke her thoughts. "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING? YOU HAD NO BUSINESS TO GO AND ENDANGER YOURSELF LIKE THAT!" She turned. It was her opponent, the doctor from...
And then memory came flooding back to her, what was real, what wasn't... Amina didn't really exist, she was Ataenia, rescued from her own spell-gone-wrong. She stood up, continued to dust herself off.
"I should ask the same of you! What were you doing?! I thought you were our enemy!" Kedmael, her brother, Kevin from the dream, was asking the opponent.
"Hardly. I was just repaying the debt that village owed me. Stealing a childhood from them."
"It's a long story. And I believe someone has finally woken up," both turned to see Ataenia standing a few feet from them.
"Umm... hello, and thanks," she said. "I mean, thanks for waking me up. But, shouldn't my brother and I be getting back to the village?"
"Do you really want to? They think you are both dead," the opponent replied.
"Of course we want to go back! We need to go home, we're just kids!" Kedmael hastily replied.
Ataenia looked from her little brother to her opponent. "You'll teach me how to do that spell right?" she asked of her opponent.
He smiled. "Sure, why not. Although, you were doing it fine, just a little too obviously."
She grinned. Kedmael looked at the two in astonishment. "But, Ataenia, he's our enemy! you can't just go off with your enemy and forget about your parents, and your responsibilities, and..."
Not returning to the village seemed more and more appealing to Ataenia. After all, it wouldn't be unseemly, she was 19 years old, and he wasn't much older, only 21 or so. At least, he didn't look much older. The air of the doctor from her dream was quickly melting away and she saw him more as the opponent she had known as a dream from within her dream, younger, more handsome.
She remembered a young boy, probably only 8 or 9, who had come to her village when she was a child, seeking refuge. But she remembered then that he had been refused sanctuary, as there was a war going on and it was best not to take in strangers, no matter how young and weak they appeared. So this must be him, the young boy old for his age. Amazing that he would return. She smiled. "He's evidently not our enemy if he went to all that trouble to break the spell."
Ataenia was sure Kedmael said something more, but she didn't listen, merely started walking away, following the person she had thought was her enemy.