Aftermath;Destiny's Challenge3

Aftermath;Destiny's Challenge3

A Chapter by artaqstar

fantasy, action adventure, friendship



In a whirlwind of activity, two days passed by quickly, finding Destiny standing in front of the great door. Looking out over the crowd of people, people who trusted her, Destiny hoped that she had prepared them for what lay outside.
Flinging the doors open wide, she could hear the cries of despair and agony sing forth, many dropping to the ground as she had done, as her people took in all that they could see. Her heart ached to take away their pain but she knew it had to be…
“This is only our past! her voice sang out over the crowd. “Come see what we have done to this world, look and remember, make sure your grandchildren and their grandchildren remember.
We have been given a new start in a new world...”
Mikael and Henry stood behind her, heads nodding in affirmation.
“There is another task you must do before living in this new world.. You must believe like you never have before. Have faith and hope enough to cover those that may still have doubts. With this gift I have been given, I will place my hand to the ground and through your strength and His Grace we will be healed…” she shouted uncharacteristically showing emotion that the moment had caused.
In that single instant, grass began to spread, trees grew tall and strong. Desert land was replaced by prairies and ponds. Silence was replaced by the sound of wind through the trees, the whistling of fresh air through the grass. Birds now, sitting atop their perches, sang in unison a victory song. Her people standing in elation as they were engulfed in the feeling of love, didn’t see that at the moment of impact Destiny was thrown backwards. She would have fallen, if not for Mikael.
Reeling a bit from the shock and exhaustion, Destiny quickly refused his help. ‘I must remain strong,’ she thought. ‘Especially at this moment of uncertainty for our people.’
“Oh yes,” she spoke, trying to bring strength to her voice. “His gift is beautiful and precious, even more so because we have been given it twice. We must take better care of this world than we had our last, for it will be our final chance.”
“Its beauty only lies as far as you can see..” she continued. “Do not cross it for there is only desolation and death there.” Hesitating a moment a shiver ran through Destiny as she realized that this was exactly where she must go.
“ We will have limited use of our old world technology, by the end of the year it will fail. We are to make a new world, one clean of the past.”
Rapping her staff on the ground, she silenced the anxious whispering emanating from the crowd. “Three years ago we closed the door to the world we knew, should we be surprised that upon emerging we find a place we do not recognize?. We have been given another chance and it may be difficult. Although I think it can not be harder than what we have already accomplished. Let us be thankful for the opportunity and let us hope we have learned from past mistakes and be worthy of this second chance.
Her final words spoken, The ground began to swirl in front of her, leaning upon her staff, fatigue once again claimed her.
Standing at her side Henry sensed her weakness. “I recommend for now everyone stay close. We need to meet with group leaders in about an hour.” Concerned, he took the young leader’s arm leading her away.
“You must rest, what ever you did took more out of you than you think,” he scolded, quite concerned. “You are quite pale.”
“I can’t.” she sighed, while placing a strand of hair behind her ear. “I need to oversee the next few hours, make sure everything goes smoothly.”
“Mikael and I can do that. The group leaders have been preparing for this for many years. I think we can manage without you,” stopping, he looked at her sternly.. “I mean it, go and rest,” then softening a bit he said. “You make me worry and that is not good for an old man like me.”
Giving him a reassuring smile she joked, “So you would guilt me into taking resting? I’d scold you but I think you may be right.. The power that surged through me was amazing.”
“Are you sure it is safe?”
“That is the one thing I am certain of. Now you’d best go check out Mikael, otherwise I’ll ignore my weariness and your guilt trap and go back and oversee things myself.” She smiled.
“I’m going,” Henry said firmly, taking her hand in his, “ You must begin to trust him.”
“So I’ve been told.” Destiny mumbled.
Henry looked puzzled but Destiny quickly waved him away. “It’s nothing, go on.”
Breathing in the air, she found the difference astonishing. When first leaving the safety of the cave the air had been stale with no scents.. Now she was being bombarded with a variety of smells. Some of which she could identify; others were entirely new.
Although tired she felt a sudden urge to explore a bit of her new world.
Walking over to a group of trees she was pleased to find there were apples, already in season. Plucking one, she held it to her nose and drank in its smell. It had been years since she had smelled or tasted fresh apples.
It would be a treat for her people and she made a mental note to tell Henry.
Walking further into the grove, loving to be free of the constant pressure of her leadership, she regained her strength. At the impact of the dust, to others it seemed to have drained her of physical strength, however Destiny felt it as more of an emotional draining.
Climbing the nearest apple tree she sat in solitude for a moment, feeling as though she was a child again hiding from her parents and the chores that needed to be done.
The chores required of her now were so immense, Destiny sometimes wondered if she was up to it.
Deep in thought, she was startled by a rustling in the leaves next to her. Losing her balance, she landed with a thud on the ground below.
She giggled when she saw the creature that had caused her to tumble. It looked like a small fluffy black cat. Its’ eyes were as wide as an owl and its tail was used like an opossum.
Hanging upside down for a moment, it then let go of its’ tail and gently landed upon her lap.
“What am I to do with you?” she smiled, while petting the loudly purring creature.
“You are not too different from the animals I use to have and now missed. For a moment Destiny thought the creature understood her, brushing it off as fancy. It was then that the messenger appeared again.
“You did well today; things are going as planned, by tomorrow you should be prepared to leave.”
“Leave! So soon,” she exclaimed.
“There’s a lot of work to be done.”
“Yes there is,” interrupted the messenger, “But it is not for you to do. You must leave this place and go into the world for there are others like you. They will need your guidance, your support and your dust. He has chosen you for this; you must leave in the morning.”
Letting the young leader ponder what had just been said, the messenger hesitated a moment then continued. "This is your mission. It is what you were born to do, what your father prepared you to do. You have done well, so far, and now you must go past the safety of the green and lead in the other pockets of the world.. They are waiting for you. You need to take four extra horses on your journey. You will be meeting up with another group. It is imperative that you convince them to join you, only through your combined talents will you prevail.”
“What are they to help with?” Destiny asked a bit puzzled.
“That you must figure out on your own,” answered the messenger. “Your journey should start in the morning.”
Destiny sighed, things were moving so fast it was becoming harder for Destiny to catch her breath.
“Think of this as a race and evil is your competition.” Closing her eyes for a moment, there was silence then she continued. “You need to get back, others are looking for you.”
Once again the strange being disappeared and Destiny returned, dreading to tell Henry she must leave.
An hour outside of camp, Destiny paused as she watched the sun finishing its rise. Her home seemed to silhouette in the background. Destiny had been told to take ten horses with her. Skeptical of where she was to get the horses, on her journey back to the cave she found more than enough milling about, seemingly unafraid.
A gentle nip at her ear reminded Destiny that she had been daydreaming. The little creature that had found her the day before had not left her since. It was now dangling across her neck. Rubbing the creature’s ear in acknowledgement, she laughed at the name she recalled giving him. Tak, it suited him for whenever someone came near her it bristled as if it would attack them, waiting for her response to the one that approached before relaxing again.
Urging her horse forward, Destiny felt the staff that was cradled to the saddle. The irregular shaped gems encircling the top dimly glowed a hint of blue, an indication that she was going in the right direction. Inwardly she smiled as she watched the jovial group in front of her. T.J. leading them in song as he normally did. They were enjoying the outdoors, something they had not done in years. She wasn’t fooled though, Destiny knew that the majority of the travelers had an idea of what was to come. Upon the second day out, the trees and fields began to thin as dessert began to encroach upon the land. By night fall she could sense they were coming to the edge and by the third day the scenery changed once again. Dramatically the ground upon which they walked began to feel moist and spongy. Uneasiness crept over Destiny as night drew near. Sounds of animals she did not recognize echoed in front of her. Bringing her party to a halt Destiny decided not to push further in the now truly unknown territory.
Grabbing her staff from its resting place she tried to set it down so she could unsaddle her horse, but a strange thing happened, the staff would not let her go. Every time she tried to sit it down the staff would jump back into her hand. The blue light flickered furiously as it began to emanate a low hum. Something it had never done before. The staff was making such a fuss that the entire group stopped their unpacking and was staring at Destiny.
“Don’t ask me!” she stated confused.
“Maybe if you walk with it. The stupid thing would shut up.”
Destiny yelped. She never yelped, well she could never remember doing so. If anyone had a reason to do so it was Destiny for, it wasn’t one of the group that suggested this but the catlike creature around her neck.
“Did that thing just talk?” Mikael blubbered. “Can you talk… why haven’t you talked before?”
“My you are an excitable one aren’t you!” jumping from Destiny’s shoulders, Tak began sniffing around him. “I haven’t spoken until now because there was nothing to say. I couldn’t continue letting this spectacle to go on.”
Trying to regain her composure and leadership Destiny asked, like it was the most normal conversation in the world to have with an animal. “Why do you think I should walk with it?”
“Obviously it is a guide and right now it wants to guide you to something.”
“Makes sense to me,” shrugged T.J.
“Hush!” Mikael scolded him.
“No, he’s right I should have thought of it.” Destiny sighed, tired. “You four make camp, stay near the fire. If I’m not back by morning, well wait a day then head back. That is unless a special messenger tells you differently.”
They all looked at her questing. Destiny had never told anyone of her secret. It was hers, and sometimes Destiny felt as though she had given everything to the people, including her family. This was something she wanted to keep to herself. But if she didn’t return, Destiny didn’t want them to be surprised.
“Well you’re not going alone.. I won’t allow it!” Mikael commanded.
“That’s right,” chimed in T.J.
About to scold them, Destiny was beaten to it when Donny barked. “I think you forget who is in charge here. And it is not either of you.”
Surprise filled Destiny. Donny was the quietest member of the group and had been recommended by Henry. He was steadfast and always quick to obey and now, now he had proved his loyalty and belief in her in such a simple way. Destiny felt honored and glad she had brought him.
Giving him a quick smile, she continued, “That is right, until I am otherwise disposed of or dead I make the decisions. It is not safe for us all to go and I’m the one being led. You must stay back so that you may return and help the others continue forward without me. I’m counting on you.” She finished fixing Mikael with a stare that made him avert his eyes.
“Beside” she laughed “I won’t be alone,” patting the creature that was once again perched around her neck. He just yawned as if he was bored.
“Lot of good he will do.” Thinking no one could hear, Mikael dared mumble.
He was answered with a cold stare coming from the animal, it sent shivers down his spine making him rethink his position.

The remaining four watched as Destiny disappeared into the night. Silent prayers for her safety following her all the way. It wasn’t until they could no longer see her, did the group begin to set up camp

© 2009 artaqstar

Author's Note

Ruff draft any help would be great. :P

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Added on September 30, 2009



A small village in Ohio just this side of Fantasy land. :), OH

Writing is part of my soul. My saying is 'writting is the greatest adventure of all.' I am a wife and mother of three. I love plants and animals as well as the outdoors I have worked at a newspape.. more..