Recap: The Connarii are suddenly transported to a land of featureless mist in the middle of the night. Younger princess and seer Aislynn identifies this land as the Otherworld, a gateway of sorts, predicting great danger, but recommending journeying through it to seek new lands. Her older sister, Edana, in typical combative fashion, would rather look for a way back and fight their oppressors to regain their lands in Cornwall. Her rival, Camlin, seizes on this idea as a way to advance his own ambitions, but King Toryn overrules the youths and rallies the people and sets off on a quest for a new homeland.
"Father?" Edana moved up the line to whisper into Toryn's ear. "Are you sure you know what you're doing? Be reasonable. How can you make decisions about our future when you don't even know where we are?"
"If you'd spent more time with your sister, listening to the elders instead of running off to the woods and mucking around with swords all the time..." Toryn shot a reproving glance at his eldest.
"Better than sitting around all day with those shriveled oldies." Edana hated being compared to her sister, and she especially despised any form of inactivity. Sitting and listening to tales was well enough for the infants, but once a child could walk, why should they be made to sit and listen when they could be out discovering the world for themselves?
"Aislynn? Explain, will you? I haven't the energy." Toryn waved his younger daughter over wearily, hardly helping matters. He stumped away, and Edana made to chase him, but Aislynn called her back.
"You remember Bronwyn Maugh?"
"'Course I do. I'm surprised that you remember her at all. She died years ago, back when you were just a mucky little brat."
"Just because you're a mere two years older than me..."
"Anyways-" Edana spoke over her sister's retort. "She was really going off, there at the end; her stories never made much sense – always so vague and strange. Gave me the creeps; mostly stayed far away as I could."
"And do you not find the place that we are in somewhat 'vague' and 'strange'?" Aislynn smiled, regaining the upper hand in the conversation. "Creepy, even? Her stories never made much sense because they came from the Outside. They came from this place; you just had no frame for comparison."
"But what is this place? You can't seriously think that-"
"Don't you remember? Think back to the stories. Remember how they always started? The traveller finds suddenly that the world around him is fading. Fog and mists raise themselves around him until the world that he knows is blotted out, hidden by blank, shapeless clouds. He continues on through these blank lands, and at last the mists begin to clear. Through the sinking fog, he glimpses a bright land, glowing and brilliant with life and happiness... Now do you remember? The Midlands, the boundary lands between us and the Otherworld- it follows all the stories; we have been cast out of our own world and are now in the borders of the Otherworld. If we travel on, we should come to the land of the stories. Except..."
"Except what, all-knowing one? Sounds like you've got it all worked out, huh 'Lynnie? Where's the catch? Where's that "Time of Darkness" you were going on about earlier in all this?" Edana shifted her weight, rolling her eyes at Aislynn's portentous tone.
"Oh, stop your pestering, 'Dana. It's just this; in some stories, it is true that the wanderer came to the bright-lands, but that does not account for all the tales. It seems that in some, the fabled land was not so... utopic. Some stories indicate a land that would be somewhat less than ideal. The descriptions have differences that could not be accounted for by one land alone. I believe that it is possible that there are many different lands that may be reached once a traveler enters the edges of the Otherworld. I also fear that many of them may not be such good places to set up house in..."
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Flame of the Connarii: Book One of the Legends of the ConnariiFantasy
ON HIATUS When a combative Celtic princess and a feral boy raised by wild cats in the ruined jungles of a lost world join forces, neither tribal power struggles nor the attacks of jungle beasts can separate them. But will they be able to survive the...