Daria reached the temple and
ran through the massive doorway straight into a tall, stately woman
with a long, bony nose and disapproving, arched eyebrows, almost
knocking her to the ground.
‘‘No he is not,’ said Freela
I’m so sorry
Elder Freela, I didn’t see you,’ said a breathless Daria as she
steadied the older woman. ‘I need to see High Elder Timus
immediately. Is he here?’
brushing her hands down the front of her robe giving herself time
to regain her composure. ‘He’s in the inner sanctum, a place I am
forbidden to enter. But look at you, your robe is torn, your face
is bleeding. What happened?’
‘Tripped! It looks like you ran
face first into a tree, go and see one of the healers. By the time
you return High Elder Timus should have arrived.’ Daria had no time
to say another word as she was hustled away by Freela.
When she returned a short time
later Freela was nowhere to be seen but High Elder Timus was
waiting for her. Like the rest of his race he was tall, with a
regal bearing, but unlike Freela who was rather unapproachable,
Timus had a cheerful face with a quick and easy smile. Despite his
great age he exuded a feeling of warmth and friendliness which made
him easy to talk to and popular with the young novices.
‘What is this I hear?’ said
Timus looking intently at her face. ‘Freela tells me you had an
accident on your way here this morning. Let me look.’ He took her
face in his hands.
‘It’s nothing,’ said Daria,
‘the healers have done their job.’
‘And a good job they did too,’
he said turning her face from side to side, ‘there is nothing left
but a small pink patch on your face. Now, what is it you wanted to
see me about, Freela said you were quite insistent, but you’ll have
to make it quick, I don’t have much spare time today as you can
well imagine. Let’s walk while we talk,’ he said heading off
through a doorway into the temple.
Daria had to jog along beside
him, just to keep up; for a man of his age he still had plenty of
spring in his step.
‘It’s about these dreams I’ve
been having’, said Daria, ‘every night for at least a month now.
They’re very dark and menacing and . . . ,’ High Elder Timus
stopped so suddenly Daria had jogged on a few paces before she
realised he was no longer with her.
‘What are these dreams about?
Have you been able to interpret them?’ Gone was his ready smile,
replaced by a dark frown.
‘No High Elder, that’s the
problem I wanted to talk to you about,’ said Daria as she retraced
her steps. ‘Something bad is going to happen but I can never
remember enough of my dream to see clearly what it is that
frightens me. I thought perhaps you would be able to help me
remember more, whatever it is, it’s very insistent, I’ve never had
a dream so intense before, it scares me.’
Timus relaxed a little, the
smile returning to his face. ‘I’ll see what I can do later for you
Daria, come and find me when the day is over, but for now you and I
have much work to do, be off with you,’ he said patting her arm
paternally. With that he was gone, striding down the passage-way
and disappearing around a corner.
Daria stood and watched him go,
unable to believe what she had just heard. ‘How can he take this so
lightly, I thought he would be the one person who would understand
the seriousness of the situation.’ Her thoughts were a jumble as
she made her way back to the public area of the temple.
The temple had stood for
thousands of years, sung into existence by the greatest singers
Elaxier had ever known. Daria was always amazed by what singers
could achieve with their songs, but the temple was beyond
comparison; it was the most beautiful structure ever built on
Elaxier. She had heard the story many times and never tired of
hearing how singers came from far and wide to play their part in
The temple was made from a
gigantic tree which was said to be at least ten thousand years old.
The “Day of Making” dawned warm and bright--so the story went—a
perfect day for the spectators who had arrived to watch the magic
of the singers. This was to be a once in a life-time experience, a
part of history, something to tell future generations, “I was there
when the temple was sung.”
A small spring bubbled up from
the ground not far from the trunk of the giant tree, this would
become the heart of the temple; a sacred spring in the inner
sanctum, accessible only to the highest Elders of the temple. The
water, it was said, had healing properties. Trees had been planted
around the edge of the clearing, encircling the one, giant tree,
these would be used to make the outer wall of the temple.
The singers assembled in a ring
around the great tree. A hush fell over the masses as they waited
for the spectacle to begin. The songs began soft and low, the outer
trees shook and shivered as they grew taller and wider, slowly
forming the outer wall and obscuring the singers from view. New
green branches appeared, twining and twisting themselves around
each other, plaiting and knotting together to form circular
windows. The crowns of the outer trees began to lean inwards,
creaking and groaning as they stretched their branches towards the
giant centre tree, inter-twining as they went to form the roof.
Inside, the songs grew in intensity as the singers designed the
inner temple. Branches from the giant tree slowly reached down to
the ground, forming rooms and hallways and sacred places. The song
changed, it became deeper, reverberating through the ground.
Precious gems began pushing up through earth, mosaics appeared
picturing scenes of life on Elaxier. Gems floated through the air
and embedded themselves in the walls of the temple, twinkling in
the sunlight that filtered down through the domed roof above,
giving coloured light to every corner of the temple: emeralds and
diamonds, sapphires and rubies, topaz and quartz of many colours.
The entrance into the temple was the last to be sung. The crowns of
two trees standing tall and proud were sung together to form a
giant archway. Embedded in the top of the arch was a huge rose
quartz crystal; Minerva’s symbol for peace, love and healing; next
to the rose quartz was a giant diamond, Apollo’s symbol for
strength, purity and truth. The singers were finished. Each vowed
never to sing again, knowing in their hearts this was the most
beautiful object they would ever create. It was a living entity, a
symbol of the love Minerva and Apollo had for the people of
By the time Daria walked back
to the public area the temple had worked its magic on her. Although
still feeling the lingering dread of her black dream, the intensity
of it had been tempered by the calmness she always felt emanating
within temple. ‘I should get to work,’ she thought, ‘I’m sure there
must be many people who want dreams interpreted today. High Elder
Timus will be able to help me when I catch up with him later.’
After hours of listening to
people describe their dreams to her, the fear returned. Daria
noticed a disturbing trend emerging; gone were the every-day dreams
which she could easily interpret, to be replaced by dreams similar
to her own, dark and ominous. She felt uncomfortable and uneasy.
Something bad was about to happen and she had no idea what it
Excusing herself, saying she
would only be gone a short while, Daria went to speak with the
other dream readers. The stories she heard were similar to her own;
feelings of uneasiness and dread were rife amongst the population.
‘I’m going to find High Elder Timus,’ she told a young novice,
‘this can’t wait.’
She found Timus ten minutes
later, he had a ball of light bobbing slightly above the palm his
hand and was instructing a young girl how to make it change colour.
The young child was enthralled and Daria hated to interrupt but
this was too important to leave. She walked towards them. High
Elder Timus looked up when he heard her footsteps approaching.
‘Daria my dear, how are things
going? Off you go now,’ he said to the child, patting her on the
head as she left.
‘Not good,’ said Daria, ‘many
of the people here today have been having the same dream as me, we
need to work out what it means and I don’t think we can wait any
Timus studied her closely, his
brow uncharacteristically furrowed. ‘I must admit, I’ve been
sensing something myself . . .’
‘Finally,’ thought Daria, but
she was not prepared for what he said next.
‘but I think you’re
over-exaggerating the importance of it.’
Her face fell, ‘I can’t be
hearing this,’ she thought. ‘What is wrong with him.’
‘But High Elder. . .,’ she
began, before Timus raised his hand, cutting off any further
‘You have always been very good
at your job Daria but this time I think you’re wrong. Now, I have
to leave, I have important work to do that can’t wait, but do come
and see me when the day is over, I need to speak with you before
you go home.’ He smiled and left.
Daria was shocked. ‘What just
happened? Did he just brush me off?’ she thought as she watched his
retreating back. Rooted to the spot, she was unsure what to do
‘Psst, over here Daria.’
Turning, she saw High Elder Dolmay. ‘Come over here,’ beckoned
Dolmay, ‘I need to speak with you about High Elder Timus.’ Daria
walked over and Dolmay pulled her into a nearby room, closing the
door quietly behind them. ‘Timus has not been himself lately,’
whispered Dolmay. ‘I’m worried about him, sometimes I hear him
talking to himself but I can never catch what he is saying,
something is seriously wrong and he won’t talk to me about
‘He’s‘I’m not sure, but I need you
definitely not himself but what can
do?’ said Daria, wondering where
this was heading.
to come with me. Perhaps there is a way we can find out what’s
going on. Please, don’t ask me any questions yet, time is short.’
She slipped out of the door with Daria close on her heels.
Dolmay knew every inch of the
temple intimately, she had been there since the temple was sung
into existence. It was said she was at least four thousand years
old, but no one knew for sure, not even Dolmay. Working with energy
extended the lives of the people who wielded it, but Dolmay was
considered old even by those standards.
Daria knew where they were
heading. ‘I’m not allowed into the inner sanctum,’ she said, ‘it’s
‘Shhh,’ hissed Dolmay. ‘Timus
has eyes and ears everywhere, he mustn’t know where we’re going.’
Daria followed in silence. Her uneasiness growing with every step
‘We can’t be too far away,’
thought Daria after about twenty minutes, ‘I can hear the splashing
of the sacred spring.’ Dolmay suddenly grabbed her arm, roughly
yanking her into the closest room. She held a finger to her lips
indicating silence. Two Elders walked past the door chatting
amiably, unaware Dolmay and Daria were listening to them on the
other side. When silence returned to the hallway, Dolmay opened the
door a crack and peered out.
‘They’ve gone, come, we must
hurry,’ she said, slinking hurriedly along, her back flat against
the wall. Daria ran to catch up, but her foot caught in the hem of
her robes and sent her crashing to the ground. Dolmay stopped, the
colour draining from her face, listening intently to see if anyone
had heard. When she was sure it was safe, she bent down and helped
Daria to her feet. ‘You must be quiet, we are both in great danger.
Are you alright?’
‘Yes,’ whispered Daria, her
knees throbbing, ‘let’s go.’
They continued on; along
twisting hallways, through ornately carved doorways, up steps, down
steps, always heading closer to the heart of the temple, until
eventually Dolmay stopped in front of a small, plain looking wooden
door. Fumbling in her robes, she pulled out a large silver key.
Looking over her shoulder one last time to check they were alone,
she carefully put the key in the lock and turned it slowly. The
click of the locking mechanism was so loud in the silent hallway
Daria winced. Dolmay opened the door and pushed Daria in, when both
were safely inside Dolmay locked the door behind them.
‘We don’t want to be
disturbed,’ she said.
Daria had never been this deep
into the temple before. The room they were in was about ten feet by
ten feet; the west wall was pulsating with a soft, mauve light,
this was the only illumination in the room. Along the back wall to
the north stood a long, dusty table upon which sat a plain, wooden
box; two small, wooden stools pushed against the east wall were the
only other things in the room.
‘Sit,’ said Dolmay indicating
one of the stools, ‘I will be with you shortly.’ Daria did as she
Dolmay unlocked the wooden box
with another key pulled from the folds of her robe. Hurriedly
pushing aside the velvet material within she found what she was
looking for. ‘Perhaps now we will get some answers,’ she mumbled to
herself as she removed a large, quartz crystal ball. Cradling the
crystal reverently in her hands she asked Daria to move the
remaining stool so they could sit opposite one another.
‘First,’ said Dolmay as she
lowered herself onto the stool, ‘let me apologise for not being
able to prepare you for what you are about to experience, it would
have been many years before you reached this level of
understanding, but I don’t have the time to explain.’ Thinking now
was not the time to ask questions she just nodded and smiled.
Dolmay continued. ‘You must not be afraid of anything you see or
hear, nothing can hurt you, but it is vitally important you
remember everything. Do you understand?’ Daria nodded again, she
trusted Dolmay not to put her in danger. ‘I am going to contact
Minerva and Apollo in the hopes they will be able help us.’ Daria’s
mouth dropped open.