Ileyn is an ancient animal spirit that takes the form of a radiant white butterfly and has ever been a messenger of life or death. Drawn to Uiyaejn's respect of life it tested her of how willing she would be to sacrifice the life she had, for that of another creature; for to accept death, is to accept that you have lived.
Darkness didn't make a sound and behind the veil of closed eyelids thousands of mirrors could do naught but wait to reflect a light that shone upon them. Blind Uiyaejn shuddered, stepping out onto nothing and afraid to fall "Hello!" she yelled, the sound of her mysterious crystal touched voice echoed through the space, bouncing off the walls in an endless cycle.
"Hello! Hello!! Hello!!!" the sound grew until she could no longer hear.
Her scream was drowned by the swirling vortex of repeated greetings and blood poured from her nostrils. Gently padding her fingers against the warm liquid, loneliness clutched at her chest. Falling to her knees, Uiyaejn could feel the threat of tears tremble in her eyes, when she realised something soft cushioned her fall. Reaching out her hand the sensation of thousands of sharp tickling blades prick against her palm. On both hands and knees Uiyaejn crawled through the grass, searching for something, for anything but nothing came. Night after Night she would come back to that place and do the same thing over and over again, until one day she became tired and the word hello never escaped her lips, the blood did not pour from her nostrils and she could hear the wind on the breeze.
Forward she pressed on wandering blindly into nothing when suddenly the texture underneath her hand became different, it was smooth and chalky like freshly carved stone. Her hands wandered the masonry, etching every curve and crack that swirled beneath what felt like a body of water. In those brief moments she felt more alive than she had ever done, more aware as her hands finally found etchings carved into the rock of letters the she recited one by one.
Understand the end and you may speak
Cool water doused her finger tips and at that moment she would wake up. Every dream she would not speak, careful to even make a sound as the words berated her mind and in reality she took it as a sign to try to understand the true meaning of the world, a message meant for her and only her, but what did it mean? In the end, only though listening did she come to realize the truth "Do you think mum will go to the afterlife when she dies?" The key to that which she sought was not in the beginning or the end but rather the never ending cycle of life.
Upon returning to the pool of water Uiyaejn lowered herself into the water and closed her eyes "There is only the cycle," she muttered into the breeze that blew against her face. Fearful of the never ending echo she waited to be subject to pain once again, but none came. It appeared that the dream was happy with her answer.
"See," the haunting beauty of a crystalline voice echoed through the nether. Fluttering open her eyes Uiyaejn gasped at the landscape under the stars and gazed upon her picturesque surroundings. Stood atop of a forgotten shrine that looked to be no more than a rock pool, she breathed in the fresh air and studied the surrounding meadow. All around her pale colours of blue and white lit up the scenery, flowers dancing in the moonlight air and trees whispering to one another. In front of her, at the base of the rock pool an image of a white butterfly shone brightly in the depths of the water. When Uiyaejn would have thought she would have seen the bottom, all she could see was herself starring back at her.
"You don't belong here," the sound of Jeyme's voice drifted through the air "You've always been a burden to father, just another mouth to feed."
Every night as the moon said bedtime stories to the sunlight pain broke into her heart and stole hope, treating it like a mirage ready to sunder the steadiness of the earth that felt like glass beneath her feet. Alone to battle the endless flurry of words that stabbed into her skin, slicing and dicing away at her beliefs.
"Why are you so happy all the time? It's almost as if you enjoy seeing our mother on her death bed!"
"You think you're doing the right thing, you're cold."
Over time she listened to thee insults again and again and again, accepting the relentless rage that he sought to bring onto her where most sought to break into tears, she had none. It was not her brother's fault that he was so angry at her. For years she had given him hope that they would find a cure for her and every second that hope slipped away, once they had laughed together and now...
Uiyaejn clutched her heart in her chest and looked at her reflection, the tears that she had hidden for so long phasing the image in her own eyes, "How can you be so free?"
Jeym's image stopped speaking and starred back at her and for a moment she saw that smile that she had missed, filled with compassion. "Jeym!" she called, reaching to the water and before she knew it he was gone, replaced by a reflection of herself.
"Why am I not true to that which I feel?" her eyes lifted toward the clouded sky. Concepts like hate had fell into gravity drifting into an abyss that she never know how to search for. Her heart a tree filled with forgiveness and willing to embrace that which was unknown to her with unconditional love and still he loathed her. Two sides of a coin infected with the promise of hardship, whatever joy he held replaced with malice. She realised now that what lay in him was a reflection on feeling that she had and needed to let go of, it became clear to her now.
"No, why would I be so selfish? Celebrate life and death in their finality, Mother has the option of leaving at any moment and giving in and for us she chooses life. Even I have my limits, yet should she choose otherwise it is not the end."
"The cycle never ends," the crystalline voice spoke once again, growing louder as the faint sound of small white wings fluttered in the wind.
Uiyaejn awoke that day with a clear concious and understanding of what she needed to do and with a heavy heart told her family "I leave you now brother, as you have wished. Upon the day that I find something to save mother, only then will I return."
Gathering her things the young Sev'ryn set off on a journey to find this field of grass and the small ruin it beheld. After month of wandering, gathering and learning to live in the wilderness Uiyaejn finally came across the shrine.
Lost in a whirlpool of melancholy emotions, Uiyaejn's mind became shrouded in the doubts of what was to come. Starring into the moonlight she reflected upon her research. In order to save her mother she would have to embark on an almost impossible quest, one that if she failed; she would not survive.
"Come let the warmth of your heart find the cold embrace of truth."
whispered a voice of inner knowing. A brief sense of union settled upon her soul and her final test began...
"Come let the warmth of your heart find the cold embrace of truth,"
whispered a voice of inner knowing. Lowering her gaze onto the tranquil, grassy landscape she felt whole for but a second, What was this feeling?
Her clear sapphire eyes followed the gentle flutter of small luminescent white wings that drifted along in the soft breeze, whistling through the leaves, it was a butterfly.
Elegant, the creature was a radiant light in front of the backdrop of the clouded sky "Hello little one," she whispered out into the cool night air and for a fleeting moment the creature landed gently upon her finger almost as if it had acknowledged her greeting. As swift as it's arrival descended upon her, it lifted off again and flew into the trees. Compelled to follow, Uiyaejn wandered away from the rock pool whose waters so often comforted her thoughts and ventured into the unknown.
Going deeper into the forest Uiyaejn slowly became more and more concious of her surroundings, fear pounded at her heart as the shadows crept from every corner, dancing through the trees and playing with her mind. Scenarios of what could happen haunted her thoughts, the butterfly had disappeared and without a light to guide her she was lost. "Trust your instincts,"
a clear voice said inside of her head "...see."
Stood in the middle of a dark clearing Uiyaejn sought to calm her thoughts "breathe," she said to herself and wandered to a nearby tree. Ever since a young age the Sev'ryn had been taught the importance of life, to cherish and thank it; the belief that even the trees could hear you "I will be in your care," she uttered softly, loftily touching her hand against its bark. It was then she was reminded that she was never alone and relaxed into a seated position.
she reminded herself and closed her eyes, delving into the depths of meditation. Tranquillity spread throughout her body, her muscles, her mind. Each idea drifting into a soft white light, slowly fading into a sun-touched image of the forest that surrounded her. "Come," the hauntingly beautiful sound of a shard-touched voice echoed through her head and once again she saw the butterfly. Drawn toward it Uiyaejn could feel her spirit floating side by side, soaring through the trees in a rush to get to where they were going. Why were they rushing?
Her minds eye turned toward the trail ahead and in an instant everything became clear. On the floor behind a large shrub a wolf lay injured, a large wound gaping from its side. It was here that the butterfly landed "This creature is on the brink of life and death, you can save him," the voice said.
"How?" she asked, looking at the creature "I don't even know where this is."
"Trust your instincts, think... feel...remember," it replied with a sense of urgency and the vision faded.
Opening her eyes Uiyaejn looked about the forest, the sense of fear that once gripped her had faded and been replaced with worry for the wolf. "Let my instincts guide me," she uttered taking a deep breath with the hopes the tingling feeling in her gut would guide her. Almost an hour passed until she finally found it, the shrub where the wolf lay "There isn't much time,"
the crystal voice chimed in again.
Approaching carefully Uiyaejn looked past the bush to see the wolf gone, left with no sign of it other than the trail of blood that had pooled out onto the floor. Doing her best to follow the trail Uiyaejn found it laying next to a tree not too far away, its eyes closed, resting and helpless. It did not take long for the creature to notice her. One large eye opened to greet her, accompanied by stifled a snarl before it remembered its pain. "Shhhh," she whispered.
Weary of her the wolf flinched as she touched it "I won't hurt you," she said, trying to use the dim light of the moon to see the damage. She could feel it breath heavily beneath her hand, resigned to the pain that her fingertips brought to it. The wolf knew it was dying. Death did not wait for the living to prevent it, taking no chances Uiyaejn ripped her shirt from her body and tore it into long thin strands to make bandages. She didn't care if she would freeze, she was going to save this creature or die trying. Thinking back to what she knew, she took a small handful of herbs from inside of the special pouch her grandmother had given her. Mindful of the wolf's natural ferocity, carefully began to pour the water onto the wound to clean it of any infection that might have got into it previous to her arrival.
"Can you see the evening stars, that shine down over you, can you look up to the skies, then say your heart remains true. We all walk our own road, we go as far as we can go, hold your head up high, aim for for the sky and remember the earth loves you. Remember through my song, remember through the blood inside your veins, Remember oh, Remember, Remember oh, Remember the earth loves you..." she sung a soft lullaby as her arms wrapped slowly around the wolf's body, shifting it's weight to stop the wound from bleeding.
"I'll look after you little wolf."
Days and Nights passed, without a shirt to keep her warm Uiyaejn looked the shelter underneath the trees that blocked the bitter chill of the night air. Every day she would go hunting for wild berries and fruits to eat, sometimes waiting for small prey to come across her so she could catch it and cook it around a fire and sometimes having to go without meals. Over time the wolf began to heal, but the butterfly was nowhere to be found and although she wished to return to civilisation, she could not wander too far from the wolf. As she predicted the smell of the wolf's blood on the ground attracted some unwanted attention.
Danger reared its head at every turn and although she slept nights became long and uncomfortable, the cold sometimes too much for her to bare. Drawn by the scent of fresh blood, a panther stalked the bushes nearby a panther stalked, quiet and ready to home in on the wolf and deal the finishing blow and within moments it let out a booming growl, alerting Uiyaejn of its presence just before it's claw came down to slash across her body. Uiyaejn reared back in pain, her mind going numb as her primal instinct to defend herself took root "No!" her shrill cry echoed through the forest and the panthers claws swiped at her once again, tearing into her flesh.
Unable to move Uiyaejn weakly grabbed her dagger and threw it, lodging in the creatures side, only enough to give a distraction. The wolf too fought back, biting down into the creature's neck it pierced the large sabre's hide and pinned it's dying body to the floor. "Good job little wolf," she uttered weakly, perching herself against a tree, she held her fingertips against her wounds to stop some of the bleeding, she did not have long now. What was she fighting for?
Tears streamed down her face as she looked to the sky one last time "I have failed you mother," she whispered. Only the cold kept her awake now. Still in the quiet of the forest with nobody to remember her death but a wolf, she he her arms open to the creature "You'll be alright." It whimpered at her and tried to lick her wounds, even in death there was some comfort for her.
"Hello!" the sudden sound sound of a gruff voice came from behind the bushes, eliciting a low, gutteral growl from her companion.
"It's okay little wolf," she comforted it with her hand and used what small resource of strength she had left to call out "Here!"
A stranger suddenly appeared into the clearing, hooded and cloaked in dark coloured robes she couldn't make out in the moonlight. In these final moments, she wouldn't be alone. Wary of the creature that guarded her the man approached carefully "I am friend," he uttered quietly to the wolf "easy."
Reluctant under the assurance of Uiyaejn the creature, although injured kept a protective stance as the figure sat beside her. From behind the shadows of his hood, Uiyaejn was finally able to see a human face; rugged, pained and scarred by war "You have done well to get this far."
"There was so much left that I had to do," she replied as small droplets of water fell from her eyes. Reaching out to grasp his warm robe she searched for closure and in her heart wished that she could have loved another, to experience the warm embrace of unconditional love and hold its embodiment in her arms for but one time. She wished to see the smiling faces of children, a smiling brother and healthy mother. A father that didn't have to drink to remind himself the world could be a good place, and to understand there hardship "Please, look after the little wolf," she pleaded clutching to the wolf "I want.." her breathing was heavy and the pain was settling in "to have saved... at least one life."
A warm smile passed across the man's rough features "Shhhh," he cooed softly, "You're not going to die today."
Touching his palm close to her wounds, a warm white light flower from his fingertips, coursing along her wounds and with every waking moment the flesh slowly began to seal. Exhausted Uiyaejn resigned herself to fate, she gave in to the calm surrender of sleep.
Hours passed and an aroma of spiced meat reached her nose, hungry she awoke to see the stranger sitting there next to a fire, in peaceful meditation "Thank you..." she muttered, going closer.
Silence thicken intensity as fear washed over Uiyaejn, who was this man and what was he capable of? She sat and watched him from a moment, curious to the answers that he might have when she realised she hadn't seen the wolf. "Little wolf!" she cried out, searching frantically for the creature.
"He's gone home to live with his pack" the stranger informed her, it appeared he'd been listening to her all along.
Storming with emotions Uiyaejn's eyes drifted toward the forest "Good luck little wolf, go and make your own journey."
"You will be making your own," the voice came again.
"What?" she asked, turning to watch the man as he prepared chunks of panther meat, skewering them onto sticks and twisting them over the fire.
"You, young lady have seen my magic, I used it to save your life," he paused to grab a lump of slat from his pack "Unfortunately that means I can't let you go."
"Why not?" Uiyaejn asked, clearly confused and marginally frightened. She had fairy tales of magic, none of them usually ended well. Yet, how could something so evil save a life?
"Magic in these lands is considered a taboo, if The Seekers were to find out I betrayed our secret to save your life I will be punished," he replied, with a deadpan expression, he was serious.
Wide-eyed Uiyaejn realised the consequences of the actions this man took to save her life, yet he did it anyway. "I will do whatever you require, you are my miracle, the shining star that saved me when I was beyond hope."
Surprise entered his book worn eyes that starred knowingly at her, "Join us."
We have found our path
, the familiar and gentle crystalline voice re-entered her head as the radiant white butterfly landed upon her shoulder and she felt as if a bright light had filled an empty part of her soul. Beaming with joy Uiyaejn nodded to the stranger "Life awaits us."
And so the journey of life began...