Shindre: The Rising

"Go my guardians seek out you're bonded and save our world" a soft melodious voice whispered into the dark. As six colored beams of light shot out of the vast abyss.

Illiean 27th September 2019 11:53 pm

She stood in a void, everything was washed in white, devoid of all traces of life. No sound save for the thumping of her heart. Then in the distance was a soft voice called to her. She looked around but saw nothing. She heard the voice chime again, she spun around wildly searching, nothing. The weight of nothing pressed down on her she felt claustrophobic. Suddenly out of the corner of her eyes she saw a flash of color her world erupted in vermilion. Fire filled her sight, she tried to scream as it surrounded her, but no sound came out. Suddenly the fire shifted and started to crystalize around her hardening into a prison. She was trapped. Fearfully she reached out her hand and touched the chrysalis. It was oddly smooth and only slightly warm. She jumped back as a loud cracking sound hissed around her as the cocoon shattered. Sound rushed in with the cold wind and colors exploded as she heard the church bells ring.

Ashlyn bolted upright in bed and gasped for breath, her red curls resembled a poorly constructed birds nest while her forest green eyes wide and unseeing. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the world refocused, she was home in her loft bedroom. She could hear her father snoring downstairs. She sagged against her pillows in relief. She was safe.

"That dream again" she breathed shakily she got out of bed and made her way down to the main part of her room, tripping over a ball of yarn on the way. She turned on her desk lamp illuminating her desk. A pile of fabric was pushed aside as she reached over and pulled out a fresh journal. Checking the clock, she fumbled for a pen with still shaking hands she began to write.

Saturday 28th September 2019 2:07 AM

I had that dream again the one where everything is on fire and it closes in on me. I don't understand it. It started about year ago just after the first attacks, in the beginning, it was every couple of weeks but now it's every night. I don't know if the two are related but I believed them to be because as the attacks increased so did the frequency of the dream.

One day these jerks showed up and demanded we hand over the Shindre. No one knows where they came from, who they are or how they got here. We have no idea what Shindre is-are. All we know is that these obsidian 7ft Ultron want-a-be showed up one day demanding we hand it-them over. For the most part, our lives haven't changed that much. I still went to school and work in our family's bakery, still hung out with friends and follow the latest celebrity gossip. More so fashion trends then who with who doing what and all that rot. At the same time, it's almost like we went back to the time of air raids we learned about in history. Only instead of bombs being dropped, we get tall ugly obsidian, pink eyed grim-faced alien jerks. The raids are so common now we treat it like a Hurricane, you hear the air siren and you have about 3 minutes to get inside, lock down everything and you hide until it's over. Most people are used to it by now, we haven't lost anyone over three months. I don't know if that's good or bad…

The first few months were chaos. In the beginning, the police would try and stop them, reporters would try and interview them. Even the president tried to talk to them, to find out what they want, why they were here. Find out what exactly they were looking for. They didn't care to talk, we know their initial announcement they could speak our language- any of our languages but they were not open to communications. All our peaceful, and not so peaceful attempts at dealing with them just ended in death. What we did learn was they were powerful, more powerful than anything we had and they were searching.

The world came together with all the world leaders pooling their resources to try and find a way to combat them or, when that failed, find Shindre. Still over a year later and were not any closer to the truth than we were before. I'd like to say it was like the movies, we got beat down but then we got back up and whammed them. Good guys win, the end. The sad truth is it's nothing like the movies. In reality, there is no reassurance the good guys win. All that we can do is hide away and try to survive. A year ago, we were living, we were happy and free. Now…now we are just scared, scared and lost. I told Papa about the dream he thinks it due to trauma from everything that's going on. Mama thinks is a sign of change to come, I don't know think.

All my life I have done what I was told to do. I've never had a reason not to. I have two loving parents, amazing friends, and a wonderful life- well the first 15 years of it anyway. I was happy, we all were. You know how when you're watching a show or reading a book and the hero before they become a hero, will rush in and save the day? Or do some heroic selfless act? And you think to yourself, I would do that. Come to find out when it's not stories, when its reality, it's not that easy. We learned the hard way early on that those who defied them signed their own death warrants. Even if the act of defiance was simply not getting out of their way fast enough.

The first death I saw was old Mrs. Miller who was hobbling as fast as she could, trying to get to shelter once the sirens sounded. She wasn't fast enough. I remember her being engulfed in bright orange light, the look of sheer terror and agony on her face still haunts me to this day. That look felt like it lasted for hours, but in truth, it was probably mere seconds. I don't remember anything after that, save for waking up on the couch the next day. Papa said my mind sheltered me from the worst of it. The second one was little Thomas Hayes. He was barely six when one morning while playing with his puppy they came. Thomas could have made it in time, but he wouldn't leave Baily. The orange light took them both. Mrs. Hayes couldn't take the pain of losing her son, the next time they came she welcomed them with open arms. She just couldn't stand living without her baby boy.

I've been detached since that day. I feel as if I'm simply going through the motions of each day, shutting down at the thought that something worse is around the corner. Today is different, I feel it something will happen today. I don't know what, when or why, but it's coming. I think momma feels it too, she's been giving me these looks since I told her of the dream fire. Or maybe it's just me, maybe I am looking for something that's not really there

-Ashlyn Meagher

Solas Cruthú 11:53 AM

Ashlyn had been on edge all day. So much so that she was confined to the back instead of working with the customer in the bakery Solas Cruthú. Decorating the treats her father made did little to soothe her today. She left the bakery kitchen for the family kitchen anxiously trying to pin point what was wrong. Today was just like yesterday and the day before. At first glance, nothing was out of the ordinary. However, with a second look, everything was all…wrong.

The sun was out but it was quiet, still almost. Eerie in a way that's you can feel but not describe. The inhabitants of Illiean were used to this, but for one 15-year-old Ashlyn, something felt different. There had been no attacks or searches in over three weeks and people were starting to wonder if they had finally found the Shindre or, failing that, simply given up. Ashlyn didn't believe either possibility. It was just before noon and Nino was set to come over hostile unknown alien race invasion did not stop homework or group projects- thank you, Mr. Chen. Nino was set to arrive around noon. Currently, it was seven till, and Ashlyn had prepared a snack for the bottomless pit that was her closest friend when she was suddenly caught up in a memory.

*** It was early summer when the Meagher's moved to Illian she was all of seven. She was a shy child and when her mother told her to go to the park across the street and make friends, she did. Go to the park that is, she sat there quietly on the bench watching the other children play. She wanted to join in, but what if they didn't like her. She was startled out of her thoughts when suddenly a boy her age sat next to her, she wrung her hands and fiddled with her thumbs while shyly peeking over at him. He just smiled and blew bubbles. She liked bubbles. She was watching one bubble as it floated down on her nose causing her to go cross eyes to see it. She gasped in surprise when it suddenly pooped. She laughed and so did the boy. With another shy smile, this time directed at the boy with kind brown eyes, she knew she made a friend. ***

Ashlyn smiled at the memory, she hadn't expected to actually make any friends, lucky for her, she made the best one. She set about grabbing two glasses when that eerie feeling washed over her again, a chill as if she'd been dunked in ice water without warning. That moment where your mind hasn't caught up yet but your body knows something wrong.

She had just set the plates down when she heard that god-awful sound. No, not the warning sirens, this was much worse-singing, Nino's, her best friends sang as he walked down the street. It was worse than a cat in heat. She quietly thought to herself that, she gave him credit for his confidence; he was still half way down the street when she heard him. She shook her head and went back to her task. She giggled to herself and went to grab a juice and pop out of the refrigerator, setting them down when she heard him begin to belt out, 'Born This Way' by Lady GaGa. Nino was her brother she never knew she wanted.

She heard the church bells start to chime signaling the 12th hour had come. She spun around as the sirens drowned out the bells. Nino was too far away! She screamed for him to run as her parents went rushing through the house locking doors and boarding window yelling for Ashlyn to close the door. Her grip on the glasses tightened. She couldn't.

Ashlyn stood at the counter frozen. Everything seemed to slow down, the sound drowned out by her racing heart. She could see Nino running, but in her heart of hearts, she knew he wouldn't make it in time. She could feel her mind shutting down, she felt like it was collapsing in on itself. She knew what was coming next. The orange light would take him. Take him away from her.

"No" she breathed out.

"Not again… please not again!". Tears fell from her eyes as her mother rushed past bolting windows, her father racing to the door.

"NOOOOOO!" She screamed out and time snapped back spurring her into action, the glasses dropping and shattering to the floor cutting into her bare feet as she raced toward the door.

"NO! Papa! You can't" Her mother grabbed her trying to keep her back and give her husband time to secure the door. Ashlyn struggled and squirmed but her mom held her back.

"No Ashlyn, please you must stay". But she couldn't, not when Nino…sweet, kind, and silly Nino was still out there. She was frozen. This was it, she would lose someone again. Not just some neighbored but Nino. Nino who went out of his way to befriend the shy lonely new girl. The boy who took off his favorite hoody so she could cover the juice stain from Rebecca dumping her smoothie on her new dress she made. The same sweet boy who gave her his last cookie when she was crying because she couldn't do the splits in gym class and felt so humiliated. Memory after memory bombarded her, urging her to action.

She didn't think, didn't have time to- she had to act. Had to save him. She dropped, letting herself go boneless like a toddler after a tantrum. At the sudden weight change her mother lost her grip and, like a racer called to mark, she was off and out the door before either of her parents could grab her once more. She reached Nino at the front gate, grabbing his arm. Ashlyn planted her right foot and pulled him to her left using gravity and her momentum to swing him through the closing door. Right into her mother's arms, where he would be safe. Where they would be safe.

Safe and alive.

Her sight was washed in hunter orange and through tear soaked eyes she saw the faces of those she loved most stare at her in abject horror. But in that horror, she also saw love and pride. In that moment, for the first time in over a year, she was at peace. She saved him, it was ok.

The world was bathed in a soft red light as Ashlyn felt weightless and worry-free. Her eyes fell closed. She felt warm and there was a gentle breeze, reminding her of a perfect lazy summer day. Crisp clean air filled her lungs as she breathed, her heart calm and steady. Ashlyn felt like she was brimming with laughter it reminiscent of a better time, filling her with simple innocence and pure joy. She didn't have to watch anyone die again. Everything would be ok now.

She was okay.

Wait, she was ok. Her eyes opened and she looked down at her hands in confusion. She flexed them marveling at the simple motion often taken for granted. Why was she ok? Shouldn't she be, you know, dead or something? If she was dead that means the Christians really got heaven wrong…unless this was hell? In which case, it was a lot nicer than the church made it out to be.

She glanced around as her good feeling dissipated. It was replaced with a nervous web of panic. Her mind starts racing with every bad thing that could possibly happen. That's when she heard it, a soft chip, that filled her with light and calmed her once again.

"Relax child, you're not dead." Ashlyn spun around looking for where the voice could be coming from but found nothing, just endless sea of soft red. Suddenly before her was a tiny reddish orange creature, it looked like a tiny peacock but with hues of red, orange, pink and yellow. She stared at the creature not sure what to think. A kind smile she received in return.

"I am the Phoenix Vamina, and I am your Shindre." Do you ever have one of those moments where you're hearing words but you still have no idea what is going on? Because that what was going on.

"Huh?" Vamina sighed.

"I am sorry we do not have time to get better acquainted, I can only hold us here for so long, what you need to know is I am here to help."

"What do you- what do you mean by help?"

"The Shindre are the guardian souls of this planet and in time of great need we awaken to bond with those chosen, you Ashlyn are my chosen. The Ah'Maku's are after me and the Dragon Shindre Rion", Vamina went on to explain that there were seven total Shindres, the two most powerful of them were her and Rion. Together they were creation and destruction, light and dark, peace and chaos. They were two parts of one whole and when combined there bonded was a close to a god as you could get. For that reason, they are usually separated when active and had partners to help protect them.

Ashlyn's mind kicked into overdrive going through every anime, comic, movie and superhero origin story she had ever come across. She desperately wanted to, wanted to agree, wanted to help. But she had already learned life was not like the movies, she didn't know if she could. This wasn't some movie, this was real life. She wasn't strong enough for this. Butterflies raced around her stomach on lead wings, churning with indecision she felt like crying and throwing up all at once. It was too much.

"Sweetheart I know you're afraid but you are not alone, you will have me as a guide. Even as we speak there are others being awoken, but they cannot do this without you, I cannot do this without you." She didn't believe that for a moment? She doesn't like fighting, doesn't like conflict. She couldn't even stand up to Rebecca her tormenter since primary school. She felt herself being overwhelmed again. She closed her eyes and bowed her head desperately trying to recapture the peaceful feeling again. She missed that feeling.

"Breath, Ashlyn, just breathe- it's ok sweetheart" Vamina whispered, as Ashlyn's panic rose to new highs. Her eyes were screwed shut as she tried to focus on the claiming chirps Vamina was made. She wanted to hide away, to run away from the thought of any more loss, but could she really do that? Leave everyone when she could help them? Perhaps she was looking at this all wrong. After a few deep breaths at Vamina's prompting, she opened her eyes and held out her hands towards the little palm sized Phoenix. The real question was not if she could do it, but could she not. Could she say no and walk away, abandoning everyone she knew and loved? Every day people were lost when they didn't have to be, no one stood up for themselves or anyone else anymore. Everyone she cared about lived in fear. Death was a natural part of life but this- This death was not. If she could stop it, she would. She hoped. Oh God, I'm gonna die never having been kissed!

Ashlyn peered down at the little fiery colored peacock-phoenix thing with a soft smile, her mind made up. She would do it, she would bond with this adorable palm size creature, and save her world.

"To bond us you need to accept me and say, 'Wings Rise'." Ashlyn couldn't help but think that was the stupidest superhero activation phrase ever- but she didn't make the rules, so sure why not.

"Vamina, Wings Rise!" Vamina vanished into a ball of fire that shot towards her heart and disappeared while she was enveloped in a sparkling display of colors, her clothes seemed to melt into a red and orange body suit, complete with a peacock-like tail in fiery red, pink and yellow, and a feather mask upon her face, and a flirty pink pearl scarf around her neck. Once the colors died down she noticed that the once sea of red had condensed. The orange beam around her had turned into a chrysalis. She felt an odd sense of familiarity. My dream! From inside she could see Nino and her parents were in the same position she last saw them in. Slowly she reached out her hand and touched the chrysalis. It was smooth and warm just as expected. She jumped back as a loud cracking sound vibrated around her as the cocoon shattered. Their expressions morphed into shock and confusion for no one had ever come back from the orange light. The church bells chime one last time on the 12th hour.

28th September 2019 9:15 pm

A year ago, it started... At first, no one knows who or what the Ah'Muka's where or what they wanted. I found one of the Shindre. We now know that there are more of them than we thought and they are ours. They are the guardian souls of our world. I am one of those guardians. Before when you heard the warning, you get inside, you lock everything down and you hide until it's over. Not anymore, we have awakened and hope has been reborn. No longer will we hide away. We may have fallen but like a phoenix, we will rise from our ashes stronger than before. We did not start this war but we will end it.

-Phoenix

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