Orphic Phantasia

41: Unmasqued

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The mountain of Avalon rose up towards the storm-laden sky, a stone-grey obelisk of tightly knitted transmatter fibres capped with a swirling smog of Aethex. It must have been almost a kilometre in height, more massive than anything she had ever seen in her life, and yet miniscule in comparison to Malkuth. A hundred metres above her, a small crack in its surface marked the only hint of Jonas Mireille’s secret retreat. For a moment, she thought she noticed the slightest of movements in the window. Seelie, perhaps, or worse. A part of her — the part others would have called Emily Fomalhaut — wanted to scramble back up the mountain to find out who it was, to see if her friends were waiting for her.

She shook her head. There was no going back now. They would ask her — ask Emily — too many questions. Questions she didn’t want to answer. Maybe, when this was all over and they knew the truth, she could face them again.

Maybe.

She pulled Dante’s hood over her face. She would have sealed it shut and obscured herself fully from view, but she knew she needed to keep three eyes open. There was no telling who — or what — might already be on her trail. She had to move quickly. With one hand clutching Mireille’s crystal, she started down the remainder of the mountain. Somewhere to the south, beyond the veil of rain, lay the lake of Dozmary and, at its centre, a winding citadel to answer all her questions.

Aliza’s questions. Poor, innocent Aliza, who only wished she could be someone powerful, like the Macha, or somebody loved, like Emily. But Aliza was the only one left now, the only one who wasn’t a lie.

And, the moment the world realised that, the moment it recognised her the daughter of Aliana Adel, would be the moment Prince Freyr’s magic failed and Ketos won.

The fate of the world on her shoulders, Aliza Adel set off alone down the mountain of Avalon, seeking a path that would take her over the muddy hills of Bodmin and down towards the lake of Dozmary.

Chapter 41 End

Orphic Phantasia on

If only she had a trusty gardener at her side!

Interlude next week. I’m seriously considering filling the June updates with short snippets of material, background information and character sketches (of the written variety, that is) so I can both de-stress and refill my buffer. I’ll let you know for sure next week.

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