Set in a futuristic world, where the 1st world countries have banded together in a powerful union. A little girl sees a mysterious creature in the waters outside of her birth home. Afterwards, strange things begin to happen. A man from her mother's past randomly visits, small pewter boxes arrive in the mail, and soon even stranger things happen: death. The government refuses to tell the girl what's happened, and she's shipped to a boarding school, where a strange present is delivered to a room: a diamond that seems to be able to understand her. That's not all. She's haunted by dreams of a historical figure that died hundreds of years ago as well as dreams of that creature in the water. And soon she will discover the truth behind that mysterious man whom her mother used to know and the terrible organization and government plots that keep the people unaware of the outside world, where whole countries are sectioned off and governed by force.
I originally started this story in high school, then put it on hold when I was going through a pretty emotional time. Now, after lots of people have told me how interesting it sounded... I am FINALLY posting it. Warning. It may be riddled with grammatical and spelling mistakes since I wrote this story using four different computers and slowly had to combine it. It probably needs editing.
The World of LOTAO:
Time in LOTAO:
The world of LOTAO has 10 months with 30 days each
Days of the Week are charted below:
Culture Languages Equivalents and their Dialects:
English. EreglassuvEgrin, Glastfir
French. Furanshi, Furand
German. Doichen, Doutsuich
Spanish. Espiena, Spangola, Persunia
Chinese. Zhoungren, Zhaougren
Arabic. Arawii, Arawia, Arawin, Arawittia
Hindi. Baidu, Bandu, Baboa, Baidi
Italian. Italavi, Tavali, Tavita
Russian. Ryushee. Rysha, Ryuusha
Turkish. Terule, Terune
Tamil. Tanni, Tannila
Urdu. Urva, Urgol
Javanese. Hanal, Hanash
Japanese. Nihal, Nihani
People of the United Elite Nations [UEN] do not have an official religion. They are mainly atheist with minor pockets of agnosticism. It is looked down upon for one to be religious.
People outside of the UEN are free to believe in a variety of religious, each area tending to have its own local ideas on gods and goddesses. Most, however, tend to believe in a single god.
PART 1: BETRAYAL
I was but five years old when I saw one. I am undoubtedly sure the creature in the waters was one of them.
Outside, the clouds rolled on, gathering together in the darkness for a dance no one will ever truly understand. Winds blew gently, yet it hummed a knowing song in the air as the birds flew off to seek shelter. Having no perceptible sign of life among the waves that crashed and rocked against each other, the scene looked rather gloomy and somehow sad. It was past midnight, well away from my bedtime, but I could not sleep and did not care whether it would prove difficult to get up when the first rays of the bright morning sun beat down on me through my window. I loved the beating sound of waves as they broke onto land; how often I longed to see the stormy waters, especially when the moon was so full, for her gleaming brightness would waltz among the rolling waves. Yes, many times I have snuck out without my parent's knowledge, and all for the beauty that was forming in front of me. The stars shone overhead and the lighthouse's ever winding beam hit and would illuminate, if only for a second, the craggy rocks and the foam on the waves that rolled like plains below my house.
I lived in an older home, with architecture that was too often rare in my country., from a time that has been almost forgotten. It stood on two stories, which, by itself was another rare treat in the sea of familiarity, or three stories if one were to include the small attic in which my mother would store her seasonal gowns that I would occasionally flutter about in, secretly wishing to come of age, when she was not looking. The house itself was carved from stone with some of its original wooden doors and window frames intact.
My room was an odd, semi-circular shape due to the fact that I slept in the area called 'the tower.' It was not really a tower; merely, it jutted out from the main portion of the building and rounded off to give it the appearance of a tower from long ago castles that crashed into the sea. Lucky as I was back then, I was graced with the knowledge that my room was completely in its original state; nothing had been tampered or altered to accommodate the new technology or ways of living. My window took up the entire length of the back wall and offered me the greatest view from the house: the beautiful ocean with the semicircle chain of rocks along its shore and a jut of land that rose several feet into the air and was topped with a grand lighthouse of the olden days in the far left corner of my view. My four-poster canopy bed was centered on one of the walls with a small trunk at the foot of it. It was so large for me that I could lie down at center mark, roll over three times, and still have room to stretch out before I fell off the other side and onto the large red rug that was laid so that my bed stood on top of it. Besides my bed, I had little other furniture in my room. There was a bedside table and a tiny lounge chair located underneath the window. I had another chest with trinkets beside it. On the wall, adjacent to the window, there was a wall length mirror and my closet. My mother would move in a table from down stairs to place under my window when school time would start, and that was pretty much everything in my room. All in all, to me, my room was a secret paradise.
But let me just say a bit more on that window, for I loved that window. I often found myself gazing out of it every time I sat down at my personal desk for schoolwork. Sometimes hours would pass before I would realize I had been neglecting my work. At night, I would fall asleep to the glow of the lighthouse, hoping and praying that maybe for a moment I could even begin to know the secrets of the world. I believe that even then I was searching for something I could not name.
On the subject of the lighthouse, a live-in domestic often complained that I could not rest well with the "dang blasted" beams interrupting the darkness of my room at night, and, therefore, she would blame my "evil", or so she would call my personality, on the lighthouse, shaking her fist at it when she walked by as if it was a real being that had cursed me. I am just thankful to say that she did not shake her fist at me. Whenever my mother was in earshot, like, perhaps, at the morning table for breakfast, she would tilt her head in my direction and give me a look that meant to me like she was asking if I would doubt the servant's words. It seemed to me that maybe she thought it was not the lighthouse but never did she open her mouth to speak. That much about my mother, I was glad. Other children I knew had mothers that would thrice a day open their mouths for not behaving well. My mother would rarely speak with any one of her equals, let alone to little me. Instead, she chose to express herself through her grand piano every Quete when our house was open to guests.
I am rambling on; forgive me, and I will continue with my tale. On this stormy night, I had laid in bed restless for hours, staring out the window from the warmth of my bed. I could not see much from the angle, but I saw the clouds and the ever-lasting lighthouse in the corner. Then for some reason, I was drawn out of my bed like so many times before to walk towards the window. I pulled the translucent curtains away from the pane glass and was greeting by the sweet breath of the sea since I often kept the window cracked at night. I knelt on the lounge chair, placed my arms on the sill, and gently nestled my head into them as I peered down into the depth of that beautiful scene below me. I was there for nearly ten minutes, just pondering over how it looked. I think children are capable of feeling the same loneliness and longing that adults can in such a romantic yet morbid scene. I cannot honestly recall what exactly I was thinking as I watched those waves dance about with one another. I cannot even tell you why this next scene happened either, but I was startled out of my reverie.
I leaned back subconsciously and lifted my head from my arms. I had seen something that I know for sure. I quickly searched my room for some strange reason for something I don't know before running to the door to peek outside into the dark hallway. I suppose that at the time, I was searching the room because I knew that being awake at such an hour would lead to trouble. Maybe I had thought that it was only a matter of seconds before someone would pop up behind me to scold me for not being in bed. But it was so long ago that I cannot recall much on it. I do remember that the second floor of the house was shared only with the servants or other guests if there were any. Making sure that no one else was awake, I slipped away, down the winding staircase and through the kitchen to the back door. Just as I clasped the handle, I heard a noise that instantly froze me in place. I held my breath as my mind raced to place the sound. As soon as my mind caught on and placed the image of what it could be, I relaxed my muscles and turned round. A few feet away from me stood my father's dog, Brun. He was a sweet old dog that was grey in color and had a long slender body. His tongue stuck from his mouth as he peered up at me. He whined lightly and closed his mouth when he realized it was just me. I lifted my hand to shush him quietly and stepped outside, where I almost get blown back into the house from the force of the wind. I shut the door, fighting with the wind, placing my body against it and praying all the while that no one had heard. I heard the dog scratch at the door before I wound my way around the path that led towards the little semicircle of monstrous looking rocks that surrounded the ocean. I made my way to the area I believed I saw it appear from, the right. I climbed on the rocks, slipping from the wetness that seeped into its tiny pores from the hours of being hit from the tidal waves. I finally found my perch and raised my hand to my eyes to block out the light from the beams in order to search the waters for any clue as to what I saw.
On first glance, I thought I caught someone swimming past hours. I rocked back on the rock, raising my hands to form the amplifying 'o' around my lips to call the person in before the storm hit. However, that is when the light hit the waves and showed the creatures true features.
It was facing me and watching me. I realized this and lowered my hands back to the sides of the rock where they gripped tightly. Suddenly, I had lost my voice, and I am pretty sure my mouth hung open, forgotten, as I gazed at it. It was a 'her', somehow. Her hair was dark and fell past her shoulders, which barely made it out of the water, and she stared at me through large, glass eyes. The expression she wore was one I could not place, yet it was intense. I just looked at how strange her facial characteristics were to me. The beam from the lighthouse fell off her and reappeared again in a few seconds. This time I caught even more detail and almost reeled back in fright from the sudden movement. She had blinked, for surely that is what it was. She did not have any eyelids like anything I had ever seen, but it was some kind of flicker in her eyes that pronounced the glassy effect that held to me. Her lips were long, stretching thin, to cover nearly the entire width of her face. Spray dripped from her hair and her face. My heart beat against my ribs and I swallowed hard. She had no visible nose!
She blinked again and her head lowered into the water. I pushed myself forward as if that would help to give me an advantage in sight. Her chin and jaw was covered now so that only her eyes shone out at me for a moment longer as she evidently paused in her submersion, and then vanished as the light passed by her once more. Indeed, I checked myself after that, checked my eyes by rubbing endlessly. Never did she appear again each time I checked, but somehow I would not pass it into fiction yet.
I walked to my room quietly while I pondered over the sight of the creature. I lied in bed for an hour simply thinking about her face. I was not afraid anymore. In fact, I was sad. There was something written on her face that had seeped into my soul. I could not place it, but I had decided in the span of five minutes that the creature I saw was no beast but a beautiful, sad creature. Over the course of the next few days, I found myself reclusive like my mother. When I finally came out and told the story to the domestic, she shook her fist at me for a change and sent me up to my room. That same night I became so overcome with aggravation that she would not believe me, for I was not the sort of child that told tales just on a whim. I snuck out of my room with the intent of visiting the scene of the event; however, I was caught before I ever reached the kitchen. I turn around after freezing up much like when the dog had found me that particular night, but this time, there was no dog behind me. My mother stood in front of me with her hands folded together in front of her. I closed the door of the kitchen with a sigh and turned around to face her with my body posed in docile shame. I stared at the folds of her dress, which was swept the floor, as she glided across the floor of her entertainment room. Her way of dressing and manner was odd in these times, and I suppose that I inherited some of it because I enjoyed gowns like hers, heavy, yet delicately made, and embroidered with tiny flowers and swirls along the hem and bodice of the gown.
It was a rather large room decorated with the most splendid furnishings. There were white sofas all turned so that they faced one another, and also in the room, there were intricately carved tables and chairs. The floor was tiled, like all the others rooms, but unlike the other rooms, the tile was left bare. The walls were painted a light warm color that was accented with a golden boarder around its middle. To my left sat her elegant white piano with its lid closed, for it was not Quete and too late in the day for her liking in order to practice. All around the room paintings were hung and little chests of decoration lined the walls. The room had no windows of its own, but it was the brightest room of the house because of little sea shelled lamps bolted to the walls and long, golden, floor lamp by the sitting area. It was connected on my right side, farther down past my mother, to the breakfast room through large, white double doors. Behind me, the kitchen waited, and I thought to myself how close I had been to slipping free of the house.
"Where are you going, child?" she asked in a tone that was quiet but not condescending. I looked from her dress to the molding of the wall on my left and folded my arms down in front similar to how she had hers but decidedly did not speak a word. She continued on, "I heard that you were not to be let out this day." I heard the soft click of her shoes as she walked across the floor towards her piano where she sat upon its bench and lifted the lid of the keys. "Come," she said taciturnly. I turned my head to look at her, surprised that she would play this late and even more taken aback by her request, for I couldn't place a time when she had ever asked me to join her. Her fingers moved quickly and precisely as they danced across the keys and a soft, sweet melody filled the air as I walked towards her to stand quietly behind her. A minute or so passed before I realized that she had ceased to play, as I was lost in the thoughts and feelings that her songs always brought to light.
"Mother," I started, "Do you believe in fantasies?" I looked up from the floor at the same moment she started playing again, this time a much softer song that had a twinge of sadness to it. Several blissful moments passed while she played her song and only after I started ringing my hands in impatience did she stop to reply to me.
"You should go back upstairs, little one, and dream, my child, because that is where fantasies are alive." She did not turn around to face me as she spoke those words to me, and the fact only made me even angrier with her that she did not believe me. I felt foolish in front of her, so much like the child I was, and I whispered her name as an act of defiance before I spun around to storm up through the house and up towards my room, where I covered myself completely under the sanctuary of my covers. My mother did not come to comfort me, and this I did not find the least bit surprising.
The following day, I was awoken around -what I judged when I looked at the sky outside my window to be- 8:30 or so. My mother stood across from me in one of her much shorter but still expensive and somewhat old-style dresses that was the color of the night sky, a popular choice. Her hair was pulled back in a ribbon and hung down her back, and I knew instantly that the day must have been Quete, for she dressed this way to appear more common to the guests that came over. I noted that she had taken down the mirror that was placed over there, and in its place, she had erected a poster filled with words that I could not read from where I sat. She bent to take the mirror in her hands and turned towards me where her lips parted in a sign that I knew was shock; obviously, she had suspected me to remain asleep during her presence. The change of plans did not affect her, though, for she titled her head and said to me that the day was just beginning, and that I was to start a new kind of work. She swept across the room silently and shut the door gently behind her after pausing to set the mirror down in the hall. From the sound of her voice, I judged that she had come across one of the servants and guessed that she probably placed the care of the mirror into their hands. I jumped from my bed, almost tripping from the length of my nightgown, and run to the wall opposite where I read, or rather, tried to read the writing that was framed there; she had made plans for me to start a new language. I gritted my teeth, and, later, when the professor came to my house to teach me the introduction, I obeyed without complaint, but thought to myself how betrayed I felt, a betrayal made all the worse because it was from my own mother. From that day on, I looked at her differently with a new set of eyes although nothing had really changed in the manner we acted when we were about one another. I did my work like nothing had taken place, but I was alone in my thoughts, in my world, of a dream that would never cease to be.
The next time that the sky showed signs of an oncoming storm, I took myself outside and back to those craggy rocks on the beach. This time Brun followed me while he wagged his tail happily behind him. I perched myself on those rocks once more as I surveyed the area while hoping for a sign that the creature would appear before me once more. Somehow, it seemed that if I were to see her once again, it would, in part, prove to me more than anything that the creature was real. Brun jumped on top of a rock next to me and sat with his tongue waggling out from his mouth. He appeared to like the salty breeze since he licked his lips happily every time a big gust blew by. I pet him softly while I searched, but I knew in my heart that I would find nothing. With a heavy sigh, I hugged the dog and shifted my position. When the sky started to darken considerably, Brun started to whine. He jumped from his place on the rocks and started towards the house. He stopped and turned his head back to me, as if to see if I were following. "Inside," I ordered him, and he sloshed his tongue around before heading back up towards the house. I turned my attention back to the waves. It would only be a matter of time before my mother would come to look for me, so I knew that I should get up and leave; however, a part of me didn't want to budge from that spot. I kept thinking that the creature would appear the moment I would enter the house. It was ridiculous to think, but I still held a bit of hope. I sat there for a few moments longer before I saw lightning off in the distance, and the wind picked up, blowing my hair around me. "Please come," I begged aloud. I felt the burning need to be proven that I was correct, and I was beginning to lose the better of myself. Thunder sounded from somewhere as the waves hit the rocks hard. My legs got soaked from the impact, and I pulled my legs backwards. I leaned forward to dip my fingers into the water as I begged once more. I thought that I heard the word 'come' repeated while the sky erupted in a pattern of light. Over the noise, I heard my mother's voice call for me, and I knew that I had to leave. I hopped off the rocks to see my mother with Brun by her side as she occupies the doorway. I rushed on over to her.
My mother loved her elegant piano almost as much as me, or more, as I often felt. She gave lessons when she was forced to for pleasure for her guests, but I knew that it was more her secret joy than anything else. I often felt as if I had to compete with the piano for her love. In the beginning, I eyed the piano like it was truly a human enemy. She would be the only one to touch it, cleaning it every day and placing long beautiful patterned silks across the top along with a large vase with fresh flowers. She practiced constantly, at least an hour each day. My father thought it was splendid, feminine, and sweet. He always felt that she played to please him, felt that the soft melodies were meant to soothe his stress-filled job. He would listen from a distance, usually, in his office room, where he kept the door ajar so that the music flowed in to create a perfect background to his work. I think only I knew better because only I would watch her play. I stood there, behind her, watching her play. She did not care if he was there, nor did she care if no one was there, she simply played and played until reality would fall back into place upon her mind. It always seemed as if she would fall away when she played. She would keep her eyes closed through the entirety of it all, with her head bent lightly upon her chest, and sometimes even, she would sway ever so slightly. Many times I would be there as she moved the stool out so she could sit, and I would watch her for hours, standing there, and eventually, it would become so late that I would be forced to sit on the couch due to pain in my feet. I would still watch her, however, watch her until she finished playing. Sometimes, it would start while the sun was still barely peeking out from the heavens, and would continue long after it had gone. Watching her play always gave me a sense of calm, but also it gave me a sense of sadness. Often, I felt myself feeling as though she were going to disappear from me, just vanish, as she played. I caught myself reaching for a strand of her hair more often than once. I'd touch it, grasp it, even pull slightly, but, always, she would continue her playing, undisturbed by me. My mother, how often I felt that she also knew of the sadness in her melodies. I caught the faintest bit of moisture on her cheeks more often than not, but I would not say anything. Instead when she had finished and turned to me to take my hand in order to lead me to bed, I would glance back at that piano. I would grit my teeth, glowering at it, while all the while desperately jealous of it. I was a child then, and I didn't know or understand much of it all. But I did know that this machine could be there for her, could understand her more, than her own child. I wished that I could be there to help her.
My mother eventually thought that my standing so close to her meant that maybe I was interested in learning the piano, and so, she arranged for me to learn with a teacher. His name was Professor Leean, and he was quite the pudgy fellow with white hair that he tried to comb over the top of his sweating head. He always insisted on wearing a suit with a heavy jacket that he would never take off, not even in the hot summery days. He smelled funny to my little nose, and his voice gave off a faint smell of garlic. His large bulbous nose seemed to protrude out, taking over everything around it. I never once made light of him openly, although the servants did, but I think even my mom thought him a little strange looking. See, my mom did not know of him, but my father knew of him through a client at his work. He would come to my house two or three times each week to sit with me. Oh, how I loathed those times with him. I hated it simply because it was him, for it had nothing to do with the piano or learning itself. I, in fact, felt great joy the first time I sat at the bench, the lovely bench where my mother always sat. I thought I would finally be able to learn all that she knew, to understand her more, maybe. I was excited, and a bit proud that I was to be like my mother. That was, of course, until I saw Mr. Portly waddle into the room. I learned quickly, but he would always seem testy, as if I did not learn quickly enough. A few times, he smacked my hands. He did this when my mother was not there, when, perhaps, she had left to get us drinks or tend to maid's list of chores, or some other task. At first, I didn't notice that it only occurred during that time, but then, over time, I noticed that when she was around, he would gently place his hand on my shoulders and say, "You're doing well, just try it one more time. I know you'll get the hang of it for sure." So, after letting this play out a few times, I decided to test the professor. I deliberately set out to make mistakes as my fingers moved across the keys. He only patted me gently at first, but a few times in, he began to lose control over his temper. His eyes flashed to my mother quite often to see if she was still in the room with us, and, seeing that she was, he would attempt to smile and pat me again. He fidgeted with his coat sleeve and his comb-over multiple times during the course of the next hour as I continued to make mistakes until, finally, he had had enough.
"Your daughter can't learn a thing! She's un-teachable!" Smack. "Get it right!" Smack. I lowered my head and played the correct notes, waiting, and listening. He had finally done it, I thought with great excitement. I cared not about stinging on my hands, but instead I kept watch over the fat man out of the corner of my eye. My mother walked over to the fat man, and gently placed a hand on his shoulder.
"I think it's about time that you leave, professor," she told him. She looked to her, realizing that he had made a great mistake in touching me. He tried to smile as he searched for words, his eyes wandering about like a child's when he's caught red-handed. "Please, we are done," my mother continued. "Of course you will be paid for today's lesson, but hear me, you will not be giving my child anymore lessons after today." He made several attempts at an apology, but my mother would not here it. She called for the servants to get his things, and even opened the door for him on his way out. He tried to change her mind once he got to the door, but she gently pushed him outside. Oh, it was a splendid show for me. I was glad to be rid of his smell, and I hoped, with all my heart, that my mother would come to sit beside me on the bench and teach me herself. I popped up from my chair and followed her towards the door to look up at her expectantly.
But alas, she did not teach me.
She did, however, ask me if the man had been slapping me over the course of my learning, and I told her, yes, of course, he had, and she nodded. Two days later, I got a new teacher. He was an even older man than the pudgy one, but he was frail and thin. He had clear blue eyes and light reading glasses and always a light smile on his face. He was kind and knowledgably about many instruments, and their histories, but even with his gentle teachings, I was not happy. I would often spend time looking over to my mother as he spoke to me. I wished that she could have taught me. Still, I did not push the subject, and since he was a good man from as far as I could tell, I let him teach me. I used my full potential and learned quickly, hardly ever making mistakes, and even if I did, I was sure to remember after I had been corrected only once. I wouldn't make the same mistakes twice, and he was absolutely thrilled with me, I could tell. He told my mother one evening that I was his best student, out of teaching children for over 62 years; I was the best he has seen. He exclaimed in such excitement that I should be made to do concerts. I had the talent, the knowledge, the training, the face, and the poise, he told her. I felt a little shy as he said these words. I didn't want to be a part of any concert, for I only wanted to be able to play for my mother, for me, to understand each other more. I didn't care what others thought of my playing, nor did I care for being a famous child entertainer. I did not want my name in the media. I didn't like calling so much attention to myself, and from my mother's face, she did not seem to like the idea all that much either. She was not mean to the man when she turned him down, but she did eventually break off the lessons. Occasionally, she would still chat with the man when he came over during my father's business parties. He was a kind man after all, and he did not push the subject too much. I remember my mothering telling me how polite it was to still speak to him, and one should never be rude to people who are so sincere as that man. However, after he was gone, she would not get another teacher and she would not teach me herself. How lonely I grew after that. I was back to being separated from my mother.
I continued to watch her play, but I still felt lost and confused in those songs. I knew, at least mostly, the keys she was hitting, but still, there was more in it that I could not understand. It must have been that I was too young to comprehend. Oh, how I wish that my more mature intelligence could go back into time to take a look upon the situation, to see if I could see with these older eyes. I wonder if I'd be able to understand her even as I am now.
The scene with the creature has not changed my thoughts in this way, but merely encouraged it. Little did I know what would happen in the following years and what would come to be of my family.