The wan crescent of the moon peeked its head from under the cover of clouds. The cool night breeze rustled through the auburn colored leaves. The darkness was not its usual stifling self, but rather an inviting friend, or at least that's how Celeste envisioned it.
Currently, the blonde-haired girl of seventeen years was waiting for the Event. It had started a week ago, almost to the hour, when, quite unusually, a comet appeared in the sky. She soon discovered more ominous omens. The wells throughout the countryside had filled up almost overnight, though the whole region was in a severe drought. Widow Mills' rheumatism had also cured itself. Many lesser events were happening, and it was leading up to the inevitable climax. Celeste could feel it.
The small farming village of West Grove was of the sleepy variety. Rarely did anything even slightly abnormal happen, and never anything momentous. West Grove was situated on the bank of a gently winding stream. This stream was the source of their prosperity. Its pure waters were used for drinking and farming, the soil around it was filled with nutrients necessary for agriculture, and the weather was mild year round. It seemed the perfect place to live.
Celeste spotted an abnormal light emanating from the air. It was a supernatural phenomenon that she had expected. The pulsating light began to coalesce into a solid form. The thing began to widen, with its center being a void. Celeste stared at it. As she did so, she felt that she could almost see beyond, but, to her dismay, a higher power forbade her to do so.
This strange hole in the air, void for lack of a better word, stopped its growth, standing about eight feet tall and about four feet wide at its widest point in the elliptical shape. Celeste's mouth was fixed in a seemingly permanent position, this position being wide open. To add to her shock something emerged from the void. Correction, something burst from the void.
A fireball flew near Celeste's head, but thankfully landed harmlessly in the nearby river. Two men ran straight past her, the void closing hurriedly behind them. She squeaked in her surprise. She hadn't thought the Event would be this.
"Dammit, Captain. What happened?" The first said.
"I dunno, Lance, but I'm sure as hell gonna find out." Captain replied.
Captain, if that was his name, glanced around finally eyeing Celeste.
"Girl, where are we?"
"West Grove." She replied after a slight pause.
"West Grove? Never heard of it. What country?"
Captain pondered for a moment, then opened his mouth but shut just as quickly. He thought some more then: "What the hell are you playing at? Galantine doesn't exist. At least not from where I come from. We Renonites are from knowledgeable stock."
"If I may," Celeste interrupted, "but Renon hasn't existed for at least four hundred years. It was wiped out by the Gothens."
"Now listen here, Girl. I know for a fact that Renon still exists. I was fighting for 'em, at Corant. Don't tell me any lies."
"The Battle for Corant was more than six hundred years ago."
Captain shook his head in disbelief, but Lance butted in. "Captain, I think that portal didn't just take us to a different place, but also another time."
"You think I hadn't figured that out?" Captain answered annoyed.
Celeste was seated at the inn's counter, conversing with its owner about rooming the two strangers. The smoke from many a villager still swirled about the common room, trying to find a way to escape to the outside air. A couple villagers were sitting at a nearby table, still finishing their ale, but drunk enough to not pay much heed to the two newcomers.
"I can't pay you a silver mark. You've never charged anyone such an outrageous price, Derrick. Surely you can't lower it to, say, two bronze marks?" Celeste asked.
"You must be kidding, Priestess. I could never live off two bronze marks per room. Those two are barbarians. You said so yourself. They'll wreck my rooms and harass my customers. I can go no lower than five bronze marks."
"Three marks and one half-mark. No higher, else I take them elsewhere."
Derrick laughed. "Where else is there to go, Priestess? Nowhere in West Grove. You get your price, but only because I like you."
Celeste handed over the coins and took the key. She motioned Captain and Lance to follow her. After much grumbling about having to get up, the pair complied. They traveled up the stairs and found their room. The door was unlocked and the men settled in their room. Celeste turned to leave but was stopped.
"What was that all about, he calling you 'Priestess' and everything?" Lance asked.
"I'm the priestess and the local temple. It's more honorary than anything else, but people like to call me it. Oh, before I forget. I will be waiting for you tomorrow morning."
After Celeste left, Lance asked: "So if she's a priestess, will she try to take us back to the battle?"
"Most likely. Time is not something to tamper with. If we stay too long, there might be repercussions."
"I don't want to go back, Cap."
"Me neither, Lance. Me neither."
The next morning Celeste was at the inn as planned. Something didn't seem right. Probably the two soldiers. She thought.
"Oh, I should be afraid that little Miss Celeste has come." Derrick said acidly. Some of the villagers laughed heartily to the sarcastic remark.
"What is this, Derrick?" She questioned.
"Maybe she should just crawl back to the muddy hole she came from." Shouted one of the drunk patrons.
Captain and Lance descended the stairs. Captain was glaring at everyone and Lance had his hand on his sword, ready to draw it at a moment's notice.
"Anybody who wants to insult Celeste has to go through us first." Declared Captain. The crowd instantly hushed.
"Let's leave this place. It has turned my stomach." He said.
The trio was outside the village discussing certain topics that required their immediate attention.
"All right Celeste." Captain said. "Us being here has changed things, a lot. Neither of us wants to go back, but things will most likely be getting worse the longer we're here."
"I came to the same conclusion, especially after what happened at the inn today. When I heard your names, I thought they sounded familiar, so I dug around in some old texts in the church and I figured out who you two are." Celeste leaned forward and whispered in Captain's ear.
"What?" He shouted.
"What is it, Cap?" Lance asked.
"Well Celeste says that we snuck into the enemies camp and killed the leader." He said.
"That absolutely absurd." Lance said, shaking his head.
"It's true, nonetheless." Celeste said. "I also know how to get you back to your time. It has to be done soon. I won't work if you've been out of your regular time for more than twenty-four hours. I'll need to get some things to do it, so go waste a few hours."
Captain and Lance were headed for the inn for a draft of ale when they were stopped.
"Halt!" A man in armor commanded.
"Yeah?" Captain said toughly. "On whose authority?"
"On the King's authority. No commoner is to carry a sword." The soldier-apparent said. "Hand over your swords and await to be judged."
"Let me have 'em, Cap." Lance said. He spat on the ground. "Draw your sword, Dastard."
The soldier did just that and swung at Lance. Lance parried and countered. Several blows were exchanged and blocked accordingly when Lance twirled to tip of his sword and flung his opponent's blade in the air. He next swung the flat of his sword and connected with the soldier's temple, knocking him back. Lance walked toward the prostrate body of the soldier and kicked him in the nether regions of the male anatomy.
"How 'bout we go find Celeste, Cap. This place has turned my stomach." Lance said turning toward Captain.
Captain nodded. The two spent the next hour locating the young priestess. She was mixing a potion of some sort in a pot. She greeted them.
"How long till we can go back?" Lance asked.
Celeste thought for a moment. "Five minutes, probably. Why?"
"Lance fought a soldier. I didn't think there were any here when we first got here." Captain answered.
"There wasn't." Celeste said. She proceeded to pour a powder into the pot. She took a cloth and covered the mouth of the pot with it.
"Why cover the pot?" Lance interjected. "I thought we would drink and you would say some mumbo-jumbo spell and we'd disappear in smoke and sparkles."
"That's only in fairy tales, dummy. The potion itself is toxic, but the fumes should create a portal like the one you arrived in." Celeste answered.
"So you're saying I could make this anytime I want and go to whatever time period I want?" Captain asked.
Celeste shook her head. "No it takes something more than that. To be more specific, the life of someone. Me, in this case."
"You don't have to do this, Celeste." Captain said.
"It is necessary. I will gladly sacrifice myself to restore the balance to the world." Celeste said.
Tears welled up in Lance's eyes. He suddenly hugged Celeste tightly, refusing to let go.
"Now, Lance. You're going to suffocate her." Captain said. "Thank you so much Celeste. You treated us so well when we really didn't deserve it."
"Yes you did Captain." Celeste said. She embraced him and she too cried.
That next morning the village of West Grove awoke as it usually did. Things were the same as they always were except for one thing. The priestess at the church was nowhere to be found. The nearby forest was searched, but their attempts were in vain. She had suddenly vanished, not to be seen again.