Dedicated to allergictoglitter

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Portal to Sharaku Forest

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We stood around the flickering wall that made up the portal.

I was definitely not ready to see my old home. But if it mattered, I didn't really have a choice now that I was in front of the door.

I took a deep breath, breaking my frozen enclosure and readying myself for the worst. Oden had told me that they had rebuilt it, but I still didn't want to know what had happened.

Morgan, starting to get tired of my fear, walked up behind me and pushed me in. Before I could react, I fell through the portal landing in a very unfamiliar forest. Morgan materialized next to me a second later.

"Where are we?" I asked her as I looked around. Everything was so beautiful. The green of the trees, the sound of a river flowing freely, from the birds flying free in the sky above, down to the croaks of frogs and splashes of fish. The sounds were from Mother Nature herself, flowing out into the forest, making everything calm and wondrous.

"Sharaku Forest." Morgan answered. "It translates into Free Forest."

Sixteen people stumbled through the portal, followed by a dragon.

"Where are we?" Kate asked, rubbing her elbow.

"Not Avalon as far as I can tell." Her brother answered looking at me for confirmation.

I nodded and said, "We're in Sharaku Forest. As far as I can tell, it wasn't here before."

Morgan confirmed, "Many things have changed over the centuries."

"Yeah. Like first off you were seventeen and centuries later, you pop up only sixteen. How did that happen?" Lendon joked. Morgan hit him in the arm.

"I meant the actual land, dolt." She said to him. 

"How much changed?" I asked, the sadness deepening.

Morgan sighed. "We'd have to go to the map-room at Avalon to say for sure, but this is definitely a really big change. Most of the land changed, as did the creatures. Aia said that even the other worlds had changed over the centuries that you were gone. She said that change over time is necessary, but it rarely happens so quickly. Faery was the only world to have the actual land change."

I told my fourteen companions that Aia was the only mage in Avalon, coming from another world.

"We better start walking or we'll never make it to Avalon." Oden said.

"To tell you the truth, we've never really explored the new lands." Morgan said.

"So what you're saying is that when I was an old man in the outside world you were living in Avalon and not exploring new things that popped up?" Oden asked.

"We really have no clue where we are." Lendon confirmed.

"The portals are a special magic. When someone steps on the corresponding carving, we'll come and stop them from going through the portal. We come from anything at all, dressed for battle as we had been when the carvings were spelled. We could be taking a bath, go to the portal in full gear, and by choice either stay or return to the bath as we were before the battle, just with possible cuts. If we die then we don't return. Another guardian will take our place. But it's been millennia since someone actually killed a guardian." Morgan explained.

"Oh. Right." Oden said.

"Well, I guess our next step is to figure out which direction to go. Clarissa? Can you fly up and see which direction Avalon is?" I asked.

The dragon nodded and flew up in a second.

We waited for a few minutes, and when she returned she said, --It's very far, but I can still see it.-- She pointed at the stream. --If we follow this stream, we will be able to get there in a few days.--

Dragons have a way of speaking that is mind to mind. When she first spoke, I noticed that the wolves I brought with me clutched their ears.

"Which direction?" I asked her.

She pointed uphill, and said, --This is a stream branching off of Avalon River, which runs through the castle walls. It will not take long to find the main river, which will take us straight to the gates of Avalon.--

I nodded. "Thank you." I said to her.

I tilted my head to the fourteen people clutching their ears, signaling her to tell them that it was no use.

She nodded, and turned to them. --I am guessing that you have never heard or seen a dragon before. Taking that to mind, I will not take your stupidity as an insult. Uncover your ears. You look like fools, and it won't help.-- She turned tail and led the way up the river, leaving everyone, but me and the three other guardians, in shock.

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