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Tia's World Myst based

#1 User is offline   Narayani Girl 

  • choortahn (learner)
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Posted 03 March 2010 - 08:37 PM

This story was inspired but not based on the Myst series. I couldn't quite bring myself to use the concept of a linking book in anything that wasn't D'Ni, so that whole part of the story is a little vague, something I hope to clear up in the sequel.

Comments and criticism appreciated.

I have been told by many esteemed persons that this account may be of great interest to Science. I do not agree, for it is only the ramblings of a madman, and I have many others like it. Nevertheless, at the urging of a certain Dr. Jeffries, who made many ungentlemanly threats to that end, I have agreed to release to the public these notes and papers written by Sven D’Neil during his incarceration at my establishment.
Unfortunately, his stay was short lived. He managed somehow to escape mysteriously a few weeks after his confinement. I do not fear for public safety at his hands, for he is but an unfortunate student, overworked and subject to all manner of mistreatment at the hands of unknown malefactors with the result of having convinced him that another world exists, a land he calls Ki’eva.
I hope that he may be found soon and brought back here where we may help him to realize that the real world still exists.

Dr. Hardy Falsing

* * *
It is the twenty-fourth day of April.
The day means nothing to me except that it is today, and today is when my fate will be determined. They say that I am going mad, that I am losing my mind. I don’t deny that it is true; I simply deny the reason for it. They are talking about an asylum, sending me away to live with other people who believe in fabricated fantasies, but my story is not fabricated. I am not given to lying. They tell me I dreamed it all. They want me to believe them and renounce my dreams. They want me to live a normal life, thinking only of myself and my comforts and nothing of other people, nothing of other worlds.
I can almost believe these trained, serious, practical doctors when they tell me that I dreamed up Ki’eva, El Torn, and Alkoran, but not Tia. I could never dream up Tia. I can still see her, hear her, and almost touch her. I know I’m going mad, but not because Tia doesn’t exist, but because she does. She comes into my room at night and just stands there, looking at me sorrowfully, not speaking. I call out to her and she fades away. That’s how I know I’m going mad. Tia is not here. She cannot be here so I did not see her. I am delirious. I am slowly loosing my mind.
I must get out of here. I need to go home, and breathe the fresh air, and get some work to do. Maybe go back to school.
I could lie. I could tell them I’ve realized it was just a fantastic dream. Then I would be free. I could become a scientist and study other worlds. Maybe I could find a way back. When you’re as old and crazy as my uncle, no one talks of asylums. But would Tia wait that long?
Uncle Claude knows more than he’s telling. If I could only get the truth out of him then maybe there’s a chance… but he’s too afraid. He knows I’ll leave and he’s afraid he’ll be condemned. It is a cruel world that denies a man his only happiness. I could write a letter but they wouldn’t believe it. They’d still blame Uncle Claude. Their minds are so closed to new ideas they cannot conceive of the existence of other worlds such as Ki’eva.
Yet it did exist. I have been hungry, cold, and tired there. I have been beaten and imprisoned there. I have told more lies than ever before in my life-- to El Torn, and I fell in love. With Tia.
I wish she were here now. What would she say to these skeptical, white-robed doctors? Would she talk about her country? Her uncle? Her father? Would she be the soft-spoken, meek, feminine girl she was when I met her? Or would she be the woman who could raise her voice in my defense and when men heard her, they not only listened, they obeyed? Would these men who have taken my liberty and are slowly taking my life listen to her? Would they obey her? I wonder.
They told me it would be good for me to write. ‘Write anything!’ the doctor said, ‘your early life, your fantasies, anything.’
They told me it would help to straighten out my thoughts and discern between what is real and what is not. I have not touched the book, until now. I suppose they will use it in my trial. But today-- today I have nothing to do. I am tired of thinking, and I am resolved to write.
Today is the twenty-fourth day of April.
This day is the day of my trial. I am to be tried for lunacy and, if convicted, sentenced to life-time imprisonment, banishment, to an asylum. My family will be there. I do not wish to see them. They could free me. If they said that they would look after me, and take care of me, I could go, but they won’t. They too are afraid. Afraid of Uncle Claude, afraid of Tia; afraid of me. I asked Reesha, my sister, to talk to my parents.
“I won’t talk of it,” I pleaded. “I’ll go back to school or- or get a job. I’ll work hard. I won’t be a bother. Just get me out of here!”
I was desperate. She was firm.
“But you still don’t realize that- that it wasn’t real?” she whispered,
I only stared at her. I could not speak. She left then, and I have had no word since. They have rejected me.
It is the twenty-fourth day of April!!!
Today is my last day of freedom, such as it is. My last day of hoping, such as it is. After today Ki’eva is lost to me. And Tia…
Sometimes I hear her sing. I hear her and I remember her promise. She promised to sing to me, even when I was far away, even if I forgot her. She told me that I had to leave, but that she would never forget me; never love another. I believe her. She’s waiting, and she expects me to wait. How can I deny her now?
Yet what am I to wait for? Death? Her father, Alkoran, assured me that she could not follow. Maybe her father was wrong. Or maybe she was wrong. She will realize then, eventually, that there’s nothing to wait for, nothing to hope for. I’m not coming back. But then, what if that’s what she hopes on and sings for? My return? Is she asking me to come back? Does she want me to repeat the miracle that once occurred? How can I do that from a prison? Yet how can I escape my sentence? Deny Ki’eva? Maybe. If the end justifies the means. Then, maybe, my uncle will talk.
Why do I deceive myself this way? Uncle Claude will tell me nothing. He will not risk my leaving. After what happened I guess I can’t blame him. That’s why I came back; to save him from imprisonment. You would think he’d do as much for me! Fear is a terrible thing. Why will no one get me out of here?!!
The walls of my room are suffocating. I need to get outside and breathe the fresh air. I need to see the sky and hear the birdsong. Tia would have loved it here. I need to see and hear and feel the things she could love, things that are like her. Then maybe I can heal. Here in this empty, sterile room there is nothing to do but think…and dream…and write…
I will go mad here. I am half-crazy already. I talk like a mad man. I pace endlessly, pausing only to beat my head on the walls. The pain brings relief but I dare not do it too much. If they notice I have injured myself they will put me under stricter watch.
Oh, Tia!
If I cannot be free maybe I can escape by remembering. Maybe if I write it all down, how I went to Ki’eva, how I came back; if I describe it all exactly as it was, exactly as I remember it, then maybe, when I read it, it will be like being there. It will be like a letter from home. Maybe, if I cannot be free from this place, to work and breath, to live and heal, if I am to be captive forever, I can read it again and again, immersing myself in her world until I am lost, until I am there once more, living the same experiences over and over continually, until the blood freezes in my veins from not truly living, until -in my madness- I kill myself.
It is a dreadful thought, being mad enough to kill oneself. Still, I am resolved. I will write of that other world, Ki’eva, Tia’s world.

I had misjudged my uncle. We all had. Perhaps the others still do, but now I understand. He loved to meddle with the unknown, the forbidden things; the dark things. Science, alchemy, even things bordering on wizardry intrigued him. He was gruff and stern and never talked about his studies. If you asked him, you asked for trouble. Yet I was intrigued by his dark, mysterious pursuits and tried every chance I got to sneak into his study. When I outgrew that I tried tactful inquiry instead, but I still learned nothing. Now I know why. Too late I learned what he had learned, of the power to link to other worlds.
It had been a long time since I was a guest in Uncle Claude’s house. I had given up my childish hopes of learning his secret along with my dreams of becoming a scientist for the more favorable pursuit of studying law. Great was my surprise then when Uncle Claude invited me to his home on New Years Eve. I pondered the meaning of this invitation for some time but at last my curiosity overcame my suspicions and I accepted. It was with some trepidation that I arrived on the eve of the New Year, not knowing what to expect. Much to my relief my uncle greeted me in a warm and friendly way, introducing me to his friends as his ‘lawyer nephew.’ The other guests were scientists in different fields, learned men all of them, prepared to usher in the new year through an elaborate discussion on the nature of Time. I by no means felt out of place, indeed I enjoyed myself more than I would have anywhere else.
I don’t know what time it was when the books were mentioned. It was near the end of the evening but not yet nearing midnight. Perhaps eleven or eleven-thirty. The subject of Time Travel came up and my uncle laughed at the idea.
“I am surprised that you don’t study the possibility more.” One Arthur Knopeck, a Physicist said, “Seeing as you so firmly believe in the existence of Other Worlds.”
“Other worlds,” Uncle Claude remarked, “Are entirely different. You are talking about traveling through time and events. I hold that the ‘other worlds’ are real places and that they can be reached, like hoping in your car and driving to New York. Or taking a plane to Las Vegas or a rocket to the moon. Not seeing your parents grow up or watching your grandchildren’s marriages before they’re even born.”
“What other worlds do you believe exist, uncle?” I asked,
Doctor Jeffries, the family doctor and life-long friend of my uncle, looked to me in amazement.
“Haven’t you ever shown him your books, Claude?” he cried; my uncle shifted uneasily.
“Actually, no.”
My curiosity aroused, I asked, “What books?”
“Oh, just commentaries,” Uncle said vaguely. “Things I’ve observed.”
“In other worlds?” I asked,
“Why haven’t you shown them to him?” Doctor Jeffries persisted; uncle tried to wave it off.
“I didn’t think he’d be interested.”
“I am interested,” I said insistently.
“Then go look for yourself,” Uncle said irritably. “And when you’re bored of deciphering my scientific notations, come back to toast the New Year.”
I was annoyed by his manner and tone but too excited at his offer to take offense. Making my excuses I went at once to see these ‘books.’ Now at last I would see what my uncle worked on. The study was dark and scrupulously tidy. I remember I turned on the light and began to eagerly scan the shelves in anticipation.
I found the books. Dozens of them, written in my uncle’s fastidious handwriting. They described other worlds. They were his observations, meticulously dated, of something he had seen. I glanced over them all and I wondered.
I aroused myself at last, wondering what time it was. The clock on the wall said it was ten minutes to midnight. I decided to return to the party. Then I saw the globe sitting on his desk. It looked like the crystal ball a fortune teller would use. Surprised I went closer. What did my uncle have to do with fortune tellers? Beside it was another book, one I had not seen before. The title on the cover was Ki’eva.
I remember I picked it up to see what it was and whether it was different from the other books but I never read a word. For at that instant I saw a movement out of the corner of my eyes. The colors in the globe were spinning in a bewildering array. Faster and faster they spun and at last they disappeared, breaking up before another picture appeared; the image of another world.
It was like watching a fantastic movie more real than anything Hollywood could do. I saw two girls run laughing through a field of pale blue flowers. They were delicate, lace-like, and incomparable to any plant I’d ever seen. I discovered that by moving my hand over the globe I could move in and out, like a telescope. Yet my field of sight was confined to those flowers and I wondered how I could see the rest of the world, if indeed it was a world and not just some toy of my uncle’s. The girls left and the field lost its novelty. Sighing, I laid the book down and turned to go, wishing there was another world, a place where I could be free from all my troubles.
Maybe it was that wish, maybe it was the beauty of the world that I had just seen. It was real. I knew it was. The grave doctors stand over me and say maybe I was drugged. Maybe I was over anxious. Maybe I had too much champagne. I remember nothing from the moment I laid the book down and turned to go. I remember nothing.
I remember nothing.
I know I was going to return to the party. My intention was to rejoin my uncle and his guests for the toast.
I never got there.

I was lying on my back staring up at a sky of pale pink with delicate wisps of purple, yellow, and blue. I’ve never seen such a beautiful sunset. I am lying in a field of delicate, lace-like, blue flowers when I remember; the blue flowers look so pretty because of the pink sky. This is the field in the globe. I must be dreaming. I tell myself to wake up because no dream should be so real. I am not dreaming. Little by little I realize that this is real.
I hear a girl walk though the flowers. I cannot see her from where I’m laying but I can hear her. She later told me she came to pray for a rescuer.
“Who were to praying to?” I asked,
“I do not know,” She said simply.
I told her then of my God and of His son who died for us.
“It is a beautiful story,” she said, “but how do you know that it is true?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “But there is a part of me that would not exist if it was not true.”
She understood. It is a knowledge that you understand with your heart as well as your mind, the way that I know that Tia is real despite all the educated doctors in the world.
As I lay there staring at that strange sky I could hear her voice but I could not understand her words. She spoke in a language I had never heard. At last in dawned on me to make my presence known to her. As I stood up and started to greet her she stared at me with such an expression of wonder and delight that I was at a loss as to how to react. She stood and began to talk rapidly, excitedly, her hands clasped before her, a look of rapture on her face. It took a while before she realized that I hadn’t understood a word. Then she came closer and started over from the beginning.
“Tia.” She laid her hand over her heart and gave a little bow. “Li pasa Tia.”
I made a clumsy attempt to repeat her words and gesture. She laughed and shook her head.
“Li pasa Tia,” she repeated, indicating herself. “Lor pasa ni’en?”
I frowned in confusion. She pointed at me. “Lor pasa ni’en?”
A light broke through and I smiled.
“Sven.” I said, speaking my name.
“Lor pasa Sven,” She said carefully.
“Lor pasa Sven,” I repeated. She shook her head.
“Li pasa Tia,” She said pressing her hands over her heart. “Lor pasa Sven,” And pointed to me.
“Li pasa Sven.” I said encouraged, “Lor pasa Tia.”
She clapped her hands in delight. I had gotten it right.
All afternoon she taught me her language, little by little, word by word. When dark began to fall she led me back to her village. The houses were built of stone but I could see little in the oncoming gloom. Her house stood alone at the end of the road. She opened the door and called out and a bent old woman shuffled forwards. Tia spoke so rapidly in explanation I could scarcely make out a word. At last she turned to me and tried to explain. About all I could gather was that the old woman’s name was Navene. I gave her my name and she laughed, as Tia had.
Tia took me everywhere after that, anxious for me to learn all about her world. At the end of a week I had a manageable knowledge of the language and could ask intelligent questions. Slowly I learned. This place was Ki’eva. Ki’eva was an island in the midst of a vast, immeasurable sea. When I asked her if the sea had ever been explored to its limits she shook her head and explained that no one had ever had any interest in going that far from home.
Strangely enough, no one questioned who I was or why I was there. Tia never asked me how I got to her island world or why I had come. I think she knew better than I did. At first I didn’t care where I was or what I was doing. Tia taught me everything. She was eager, even anxious for me to know every secret, every riddle of Ki’eva. She even taught me the ‘marks’ of the land. These marks were used to seal things, as locks. They came in pairs and there was a sort of connection between them. One you would fasten on whatever you wished to seal. The other you kept on your person. The door could not be opened unless those two seals were pressed against each other. Any attempt to break that door, or to damage the mark, would result in instant self-destruction.
I never did learn the mechanics of Ki’eva, their engineering was so vastly different from ours, but the time came when I had to know the symbols as thoroughly as if I had grown up learning them. Tia helped all she could but I needed more than she knew. I will never forget those symbols, not if I forgot my own name. Do you think that would convince my condemners that Ki’eva existed?

One day, I do not know how long it had been, Tia told me of her uncle.
El Torn and Alkoran were brothers and the shared the rule of Ki’eva. Alkoran was generous and much beloved by his subjects but El Torn was greedy and exploited the less fortunate. One day Alkoran protested against his misuse of power and nearly lost his life. The death of their beloved Alkoran was one thing the people would never bear though, so even while El Torn ruled the island absolutely everlasting imprisonment was the sentence passed on the Tia’s father.
“I can bear it no longer.” Tia said to me. It was a beautiful day. The sky, always pink, was striking. We were walking through the field of Sparra flowers, the first thing I had seen of her world. She had a little rowboat and we were going to take it around the island to get a glimpse of the castle.
“I used to live there.” She said wistfully, “It is a beautiful place. I want you to see it. I wish I could take you inside.”
“Where is your father being held?” I asked,
She shuddered. “It is an awful place.”
“Can you see him?”
“Could I see him?”
She turned to me in wonder. “But, Sven, how?”
“Because I am a stranger. I could talk to your uncle and maybe…”
“No, Sven. Not my uncle. It is too dangerous.”
“Why would it be dangerous? He knows nothing about me, and I could take your father a message.”
“Sven.” She stopped walking and turned to face me. “You don’t know El Torn. You can’t do this. I don’t want to loose you.”
“I’ll be careful.” I insisted as we climbed into the rowboat, “I want to meet your father.”
“Don’t. Please don’t.”
I took the oars and we moved out from the shore. “I won’t, if you don’t want me to,” I assured her. “I would never do anything to hurt you. I just want to help.”
She was silent a minute. “Do you really?” she asked, “Really want to help me and father and- Ki'eva?”
“Yes,” I said softly. “I do.”
Then she told me how afraid she was of El Torn, afraid her father would die at his hands. Though her race had no religion she had prayed for a rescuer. There were tears in her eyes as she looked at me and told me candidly that I was that rescuer.
“Why else,” she asked, “would you have come so suddenly, unexpectedly, and inexplicably, right at the moment that I asked for you?”
I wondered than if I was mad or dreaming.
“I’ve spent these weeks wondering how I had come.” I told her, “Now I know. I will save you and your father.”
We rowed around the castle and I saw its splendour. El Torn’s spies were everywhere, Tia said, there was no one we could trust. I would have to defeat him alone. As we started back for the village she asked me, for the first time, of my world.
“It is very- different,” I said struggling to find words to describe the noisy, busy, city, and the quiet, peaceful, country-sides. “You might like it. It is much larger of a place, not so simple or peaceful. There are many people. Yet it is beautiful too; the sky is blue.” I smiled remembering. “Maybe you will see it someday.”
“Maybe I will.” She moved closer to me. “Do you miss it, Sven? Do you wish you were there?”
“No Tia. I love it here, with you.”
She smiled shyly and I knew my words pleased her.

The next day I rowed out alone to meet El Torn. He greeted me cordially, though he must have known I was a friend of Tia’s. I told him I was a stranger in Ki’eva and he expressed his amazement at my fluency in the language. I told him a little of the mechanics in my world and asked about Ki’eva’s science. He told me that if I wanted to stay with him he would be happy to teach me. He said he was lonely. I accepted his offer.
It grieved me not to see Tia but since it was for her sake I shut my longing away. I was a bright and cheerful companion to El Torn and he came to be quite fond of me. I despised him more and more, yet I felt a strange sympathy for him too.
It was several weeks before I learned where Tia’s father was being held. El Torn had promised to show me some of the treasures of Ki’eva when a servant, one of the few I had seen, dared to intrude.
“The Ter you keep in the Skeol has heard of the stranger,” he said franticly. “You know how he is with us sir.”
“Get out.” El Torn growled,
“But sir, Alkoran….”
My heart lept at the name but I tried not to let my excitement show.
“Get out!” He shouted even louder.
“What’s wrong?” I asked innocently.
“These worthless idiots.” He growled, “I have something I must attend to Sven, I hope you’ll excuse me?”
“Let me come with,” I said eagerly.
He seemed to hesitate. “It’s not a pretty business.”
“Everything I’ve seen here is pretty,” I said laughing. “It’s time to shatter that illusion.”
El Torn smiled at my wit. “Come along then.”
We walked to the beach and took a rowboat to the wooded side of the island. There we came to a cavern in a hill. El Torn lit a torch and handed it to me. I held it high as he took the oars and rowed into the cavern.
The torch light reflected off the water and cast eerie shadows on the walls as complete darkness closed in around us. We continued on under the island for what seemed forever.
“This is Skeol.” El Torn’s voice broke the unnatural silence. I dared not speak and only nodded. There was no sound save the lapping of the water against the boat. After a while there was a gentle thump as we came up alongside a sort of makeshift dock. El Torn tied the boat to a protruding rock to keep it from drifting away and helped me up onto the ledge. The ceiling was rough stone only a few inches above my head. The floor was dirt. From the darkness ahead a shadow detached itself.
“Selleen,” the guard said, which served both as a greeting of honour and a title of respect.
“Wait at the boat,” El Torn growled.
The man nodded. We went on into the darkness, El Torn silent, I wondering. Was this awful place where Tia’s father was being held? Was Skeol the place she wouldn’t even name?
“So, it’s you again.”
The voice brought me up short. I could see nothing in the darkness but El Torn proceeded to introduce me to the voice.
“This is Sven, who is not from Ki’eva. Sven, this is my brother, Alkoran.” When he said his brother’s name his voice became a sneer that sent shiver down my back. “Alkoran, Ter.”
“What is Ter?” I asked.
“Dissenter,” said the voice.
“Rebel,” said El Torn.
“Come closer lad,” said the voice, “I want to see you.”
Obediently I approached and made out the wooden palisade that shut off one corner of the rocky cavern from the rest. A mild, gray-haired old man peered at me through the bars. I couldn’t see him very well but I could see the mark that sealed the door. The match to that mark was on a ring that El Torn always wore. I scarcely listened to the argument that ensued; my mind was already forming a plan to fool El Torn. First I needed to talk to Alkoran and then I needed to see Tia.
The trip home was passed in silence. As we came out of the cavern darkness had already fallen over the island. El Torn was brooding and preoccupied. He had little to say before I said goodnight and went to my room. I waited an hour to make sure the household was asleep before I snuck back down to the boat and set out alone for Skeol.
It seemed an interminable journey. More than once I considered going back. The darkness and silence was deeply unsettling. The air was damp and clammy and had a musty smell. At last I reached the dock, where a single torch burned in a holder in the rock wall. Beneath it the single guard sat with his head on his knees, fast asleep. I stole past him softly, carrying my own torch from the castle. It was a short walk to the prison. Alkoran seemed to be expecting me.
“Sven.” He said the name thoughtfully, “You are the one who was sent to rescue me.”
“How do you know?” I said startled,
“I know. I can tell,” he said with quiet assurance.
“Tia sent me,” I explained.
“You are El Torn’s friend.” He said after a pause.
“I had to find you” I said simply. “Tia sent me with a message.”
“She is a precious child,” Alkoran said sadly. “I hope this plan of her is not madness. I would not have harm befall her for all the power in world.”
“I will protect her,” I promised. “Even if it costs my life I would think it well spent.”
“You love her,” Alkoran said. He said it like an indisputable fact.
“I—I wouldn’t say that,” I protested, “I admire her, she was my first friend here but…”
Alkoran smiled knowingly and said nothing else on the subject.
I left him while darkness still covered the island. In the morning I was brought a message that El Torn was busy today and could not be disturbed. I had the run of the palace but I abandoned it and the opportunities it presented and took the boat around to the village. At last I was going to see Tia again.
She saw me coming and ran down to the beach just as I’d pulled the boat ashore.
“Oh, Sven!” she cried, throwing her arms around my neck. “I’ve missed you!”
I stayed silent. Her eyes were sparkling with excitement as she prattled on.
“How are you and uncle getting on?” she asked suddenly.
“Suppose you come with me in the boat,” I said, “where no one can hear us.”
Far out in the water I poured out the events of yesterday and my plans for tomorrow. She listened in silence. “When the time comes I will need help to overthrow El Torn’s followers.” I said.
“If we can rescue father,” she said, her brow furrowed in thought, “we can retreat to the forest and regroup. El Torn’s men would have to follow us and meet us on our own ground.”
“We’ll have to be fast,” I said.
“El Torn will have to be alone when you alert him,” She countered.
“This becomes more and more complicated.” I moaned,
She squeezed my hand reassuringly. “Father can help you, if you can see him. And I hear that you are uncle’s favorite.”
“Oh, Tia,” I sighed, “sometimes I think I’m not the one capable of this.”
“You are better capable than anyone on this island,” she whispered earnestly. Her words both thrilled and frightened me. I was thrilled that she thought so much of me. I was afraid that I would fail.
“You must come to see me more often,” she said teasingly, as I rowed her back to the village. “You stayed away so long.”
“The less El Torn sees me with you the less he will suspect that I am working for your father. I don’t know when I can return.”
“How will I know it will be time?” she asked.
“Row out to the castle every day,” I said. “When you see a white flag hanging out of my window you will know that it is time.”
I pulled the boat back up onto the shore and helped her out.
“Be careful Sven,” she said, touching my cheek, “El Torn is ruthless. I don’t want to loose you.”
Why could I find nothing to say as she ran back to the village? There was so much I wanted to say, so much I wanted her to understand, but my tongue was silent as she left. No greeting. No farewell. With a heavy heart I rowed back to the castle.

My nightly trips to Skeol became increasingly frequent my plan took place and I kept Alkoran informed. I began to be afraid that El Torn or his guards would catch me or that he would suspect I was up to something. I asked him about the Marks and how they were made and he was overjoyed to teach them to me, show me how they joined together, and what made a mark strong or weak. Little did he know he was working towards his own downfall. One day I made a mark that was suitable to my purpose and the next day I hung a white flag out of my window.
My Uncle Claude was a nervous sort of man and very often had to take sleeping pills at night. Earlier in the evening he had asked me to retrieve them from some odd place he had left them and I had done so, placing them in my pocket and forgetting to deliver them. I now took several of these pills, ground them up, and mixed them in with El Torn’s food when he came down to dinner. Hence he retired early and slept deep.
I knew the drugged sleep would last for eight hours. In the middle of that time, when I knew he would be sleeping soundly, I stole into his room and slipped the ring off his finger. I took the boat and rowed out to Skeol, the usual dread settling over me as I entered that strange place. I hoped Tia had seen the flag and would be waiting for me.
There was another boat at the dock and she darted out of the shadows where the guard had been the first time I came. The guard now was bound and gagged, still asleep.
“Sven,” she called my name softly. “Have you got it?”
I nodded and drew it from my pocket. When the two marks touched they glowed and the door swung inward. Tia rushed to her father. I removed El Torn’s mark and fastened my own in place.
“You’re going to get my brother now?” Alkoran said.
“Yes.” I handed him the match to my mark, leaving the prison door open. “Get out of here as quickly as you can. I’ll try to follow. Don’t wait for me or we’ll all be trapped.”
“We’re going now,” Tia helped her father into the boat and turned back to me. “I can never thank you.”
“Don’t try,” I said. “Save it for when we’re all safe.”
I climbed into the second boat and followed them out of Skeol. Then I returned to the palace. I went to El Torn’s room and replaced his ring. I went to my own room, took down the flag, and waited.

“Uncle! Uncle!”
I had taken to calling him uncle. He had taken to calling me son. He had hinted at making me his heir. We got along famously. He didn’t know I was a spy. He didn’t know I loved Tia.
“Uncle! Uncle! Wake up! Your prisoner has escaped, your brother, from the Skeol!”
El Torn was up in a flash, groping for his clothes.
“One of the servants told me!” I cried breathlessly. “The guards have been beaten senseless, and the door is standing open.”
“Impossible!” he cried. “I thought I dreamed someone came into my room last night, but who could it be?”
He ran after me down to the dock. I had the boat waiting.
“Follow us!” He shouted, to a lone servant standing unsuspectingly on the dock, “You worthless louts! The Ter has escaped! Get a party and follow us!” We set off at once, El Torn muttering dreadful things all the way, not pressing for details. He never glanced at the mark on the door, not realizing it had been changed. He went into the prison itself, looking for some hint of Alkoran. I slammed the door behind him.
“You!” he shouted furiously, wrenching at the bars, “It was you who snuck into my room last night!”
I bowed. “The same.”
“Traitor. After all the promises I made you, what reason had you for locking me up in here? What have I done?”
“I did it as a gift,” I said. “For your niece, Tia. Her side is my side. Her family, my family. Her enemies, my enemies. And you should know now, the mark on the door is one of my own. The match is in your brother’s hands.”
“You could have had Tia.” He growled, “You just had to ask.”
“She is not a piece of merchandise to be sold by misers like you!” I cried, flaring up, “She is as good as the angels in heaven and if she deigns to look at such a poor one as I than that is all I ask. I am sworn to her service.”
“But you lied!” he cried desperately, faced with the fate he had planned for his brother. “You betrayed me!”
“What promise did I ever make that I have broken? What did you trust me with that I have betrayed? When Tia pleads for you, you shall be free.”
Then I left him, but I had lingered too long. The men he had called to follow had come. I tried to fight past them but they were too many. The last thing I remember is falling under their blows, being kicked and beaten, urged on by El Torn who called me words beyond description.

I remember when I woke up, that I thought I was still in Skeol. It was dark and quiet, too quiet. I tried to sit up and look around but the pain in my head warned me not to move. As I drifted back to sleep I became aware of someone calling my name and I wished it would stop. I came suddenly back to consciousness when I realized who it was.
“Tia,” I whispered brokenly, unable to say more, afraid we had failed.
“Oh, Sven.” She reached for my hand. In the faint light I could see her, on the other side of prison bars. It was not Skeol. I don’t know where it was.
“Oh, Sven, I’m so sorry,” she whispered, keeping tight hold on my hand.
“It’s my fault,” I tried to say. “I should not have stayed and argued...”
“Don’t blame yourself!” she cried. “There were a dozen things we could have done to prevent this. We didn’t have to send you in alone like that. We could have left El Torn free, waited until we had men to storm the castle, or sent someone with you, to defend you, Oh Sven…”
“It’s all right Tia.”
“No it’s not. Be still Sven, and listen to me. We’re getting our people together and as soon as we can we’ll retake the castle and rescue you. It will not be easy. El Torn has friends you know nothing about who will act in your absence. They’ll question you darling.”
She reached her other hand through the bars and I could feel her hand brush my forehead. I could hear the concern in her voice, the worry. She was worried for me! For Ki’eva, yes, and her father too, but in the midst of her fear she had found the time to care for me!
“They will question you Sven,” she repeated, “but you must tell them nothing. Nothing at all. Don’t even speak to them.”
“I won’t.”
“Promise me. They will try to make you speak. They have hurt you already.”
“I promise Tia.” I said, “I would never betray you, even if I should die for it. You should know that. Love is stronger than pain, and I love you Tia.”
“I must go. They’ll catch me here if I stay.”
“I love you,” I whispered again, not letting her hand go. “Your father was right. I do love you.” I was telling a secret I had not dared to speak before.
“I know. Oh, Sven, may the God be praised who sent you to me!”
Then she was gone. I lay listening to the patter of her feet as she left, and then I fell asleep.

They questioned me.
I thought I could face anything after that. They lied to me, tortured me, told me I was betrayed, but I remembered Tia's face and kept my mouth shut.
The day came when I thought I could take no more. My questioners were nearly as exhausted as I was. Who was in command I do not know, but his patience was at an end. When I would still tell him nothing he threatened me with death. Then they brought in Tia. She was pale, but defiant and when she saw me our eyes locked.
“Since you have no fear for yourself,” my questioner said, “We thought perhaps you would speak for someone else. Do you love this girl very much?”
I dropped my gaze, swallowed a few times and answered as boldly as I could.
“She means nothing to me.”
“The girl means nothing to me.”
They were taken by surprise.
“Don’t you know who she is?”
“It doesn’t matter who she is. I may have seen her in the village a few times but I never learned her name. I spent most of my time at the castle.”
“This is Tia, Alkoran’s daughter. You freed her father for love of her. She’s the one who first brought you to Ki’eva. Are you mad that you do not know her?”
“How do I know if this is Alkoran’s daughter?” I asked, stalling for time, “How do I know you know anything? What if this is just a trap to get me to talk?”
“Ask the girl what her name is.” My questioner snarled, “Go on. Ask whatever you want.”
I found myself standing in front of Tia, but couldn’t quite formulate a question. She saved me the trouble.
“What are you trying to accomplish?” she said haughtily. “Are you just stalling for time? They know everything. There’s no point in lying.”
I knew what she was telling me. She had a plan, but she needed time, and there was no point in denying her identity.
“Why should I lie?” I answered in kind, “Anyone can see who you are. As to why you’re here…”
“The king’s daughter can do as she pleases. As to why I would please to be here, it was my uncle’s wish. I came to see him, but these insolent rebels have imprisoned him. I most certainly didn’t come to see you, foreigner.”
“Silence her!” my questioner roared, out of patience.“Who’s idea was this? She’s wasting our time. She means nothing to him. Can’t you see that?”
“They’re in love!” someone cried in astonishment, “The whole village knows it!”
“The whole village is wrong! Get her out.”
They drug Tia away and I watched her go, helpless to do anything.
“Now, as for this Sven,” he sneered, but got no farther. The men who had taken Tia away came rushing back in alarm.
“The rebels are here!” they cried, panic-stricken, “It was a trap! They sent the girl to distract us! The rebels are here!”
And they were. They swarmed into the room striking down El Torn’s men. They all wore masks that covered their faces with two holes for eyes. They carried heavy wooden clubs and a few had long pikes. Someone cut me loose and I ran out of the room in search of Tia. She couldn’t be far off; there had been no time to take her away.
I whirled around suspiciously at the sound. I had nothing to defend myself with, but the hall was deserted.
Turning toward the voice I made out a shadowy nook. Tia beckoned to me.
“In here, until this is over. El Torn’s men will think we’re rebels and the rebels will think we’re with El Torn.”
I sat down next to her and there was just room for both of us. It was dark enough that no one could see us.
“I was afraid for you,” Tia confessed. “Afraid you wouldn’t realize it was a trap and try to do something foolish to rescue me.”
“I didn’t know what the plan was,” I murmured, “but I knew you must have been up to something.”
The sound of footsteps in the hall cut her answer short. Three or four men ran past us. I couldn’t tell whose side they were on.
“I had to get you out of prison before the rebels attacked.” Tia said when they had gone, “I knew that if they captured me they would bring you out for questioning. Timing was essential.”
“Your timing was perfect,” I agreed.
Tia let her head rest on my shoulder. “You’ve done so much for us, Sven,” she whispered, “and they made you suffer so.”
When in school I had been praised for my speaking ability. A good lawyer should be able to speak well, my professor said, and I had the makings of a great orator. However, my powers of oratory always failed me when I was near Tia. I was never at a loss for words around my uncle or father, or her uncle or father, but with her I was positively tongue-tied. She didn’t seem to expect an answer though, and I was perfectly content to sit there in the silence with her head on my shoulder until the battle was over.
We must have fallen asleep for the next I know Alkoran was standing over us, a torch in his hand and a smile on his face. I opened my eyes because of the light and would have stood up except that I didn’t want to disturb Tia.
“Have you been comfortable?” He asked.
“Yes sir,” I said, and it was true. For despite the hard stone I was never so comfortable in my life as with Tia next to me.
“You’ve been protecting my daughter well I see.” He seemed amused at something, I didn’t know what.
“We’ve been undisturbed.” I said, slightly puzzled,
“No one’s going to disturb us, Sven,” Tia muttered sleepily, and woke with a start.
“I did,” her father answered.
“Oh.” She sat up and rubbed her eyes. “Is it all over?” She looked at me perplexed. “I must have fallen asleep.”
“Don’t look at him,” Alkoran said, “he was asleep too. Anyone could have come and finished you off with him on guard.”
“Don’t blame him father,” Tia said, frowning. “He needed to sleep more than I did. Who won the battle?”
“Who do you think won? El Torn’s in prison and I’m free.” He smiled broadly and opened his arms. Tia lept up with a glad cry and gave him a great big hug.
“You’re free!” She cried, “After all this time! Oh father,”
I stayed where I was and just smiled. At last Tia let go of her father and to my amazement, she pulled me to my feet and hugged me!
“I would order you to take your hands off my daughter, except that she would object so,” Alkoran said. Tia ignored him and just held on to me like she was never going to let go. I didn’t want her to either.
“All right Tia,” he said again, “I get the idea. You love him more than me.”
“Oh father.” She looked up and there were tears in her eyes. “I’m just so glad that you’re alive and-and that he’s alive and- well- that I’m alive! And we’re all together and free, and- and I think that you two are the most wonderful men in the whole world!”
Then she hugged both of us at the same time. I had never seen her cry before, but she was crying now. Her father patted her back and told her everything was all right and I stood there like an idiot and said nothing.

Tia was by nature very cheerful but in all the time that I had known her it seemed a great sorrow lay hidden under her sunny smiles. I had found that sorrow, and cured it, in the days that followed she could scarcely keep her feet on the ground. She was so happy her father was free she would hardly let him out of her sight, and I was so happy to be free I would hardly let her out of my sight.
One morning she came to breakfast bursting with the news of a wedding in the village.
“You’re to come father,” She cried, “And Sven must come too. He’s never seen a wedding in Ki’eva before.”
“Daughter, I have things to do.”
“You have nothing to do,” she said laughing, “that you can’t do later. You’re to conduct the ceremony! Allia told me she had waited to get married until you could be there. So you see, you have to come!”
“She could have been waiting forever,” Alkoran said, raising his eyebrows. “How do you know all this so early in the morning?”
“I went down to the village.”
“You’ve been down to the village and back?” I exclaimed. “I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet!”
“Then eat!” She sat down next to me long enough to say, “I’ve been to see Navene.”
“Navene!” I set down my fork and threw up my hands in imitation of the old lady.
“Li Ne’in Sven?” Tia laughed and spun around the room in delight. I slipped back into my own language in order to properly imitate my first conversation with Navene.
“What dreadful things is he saying, daughter?” Alkoran demanded,
“Oh, that’s just his native tongue,” Tia said, leaning over her father’s shoulder to kiss his cheek, “He’s not from here you know.”
“And to think, I owe my life to a foreigner.” Alkoran growled, “It’s disgraceful.”
“She doesn’t think of me as a foreigner,” I said plaintively.
“No, she thinks of you as a lover.”
“Well, she is going to marry me I hope.”
It was a bold thing to say, but I felt like anything that morning.
“Not in the least!” Alkoran shouted. “How dare you suggest it? Get out of my house and let me never see you again!”
Tia laughed.
“You can discuss the details of my household tomorrow,” she said. “I’m going to change for the wedding. I have a new dress, as blue as the Sparra Flowers. I never got to wear it because uncle had you imprisoned and I had to leave the castle. I am going to wear it today and Sven is going to tell me how he likes it.”
She flitted around to me, kissed my forehead and danced upstairs.
“Sven, your intentions had better be honorable.” Alkoran said, bringing me back to reality.
“Oh, they are sir.” I stared up the stairs were she had gone. “I’m madly in love with her.”
“That any fool could see.” Her father growled, “But what’s more obvious is that she’s in love with you.”
“I like to think so.”
“Listen.” He was serious, but I didn’t take his warning seriously then. “Half the lads in Ki’eva are in love with Tia. If she continues to show you favours like this there could be trouble.”
Then Tia came back and I forgot all else.
“I thought you were beautiful before,” I stammered. “I mean, you were only I didn't know it. I mean, I mean…”
“What do you mean?” Tia said laughing,
Her dark hair was pulled up away from her face but it still hung loose down her back. She wore a crown of blue flowers, the first thing I had seen in Ki'eva. Her dress was the same colour and the skirt came down to her ankles. It was the fullest skirt I have ever seen, made of some kind of light material. It spun around her as she danced around the room and repeated her question.
“You look like a Princess,” I said at last.
“I am a princess,” she retorted, “but I'll take that as a compliment.”
I can see her now. I sit here and try to describe what I see but I cannot do her justice. I find myself tongue-tied, trying to describe her to myself, just as I did when I stood facing her, unable to find a fitting compliment.
“The only thing I want to know,” I asked, “Is how we're going to fit three in a rowboat.”
“Silly, silly,” Tia said. “We're not taking the rowboat.”
“Oh? Are we going to hike overland?”
“Father would you explain?” she said exasperated, “He really is a brilliant young man but sometimes...”
“He's dumb as an ox,” Alkoran finished her sentence for her. “Tia, if you're ready, we'll just go.”
We went down to the dock and I caught my breath in surprise. There was a boat, with a golden sail and a dozen oars and a dozen young men to man them.
“Where in the world,” I exclaimed, “Did this come from?”
“Oh, this is the royal barge,” Tia explained, leading me up the gangplank. “It doubles as an exploration vessel. Nobody has ever been to the far side of the island but father proposes to circumnavigate it someday and map it out. Who knows what we'll find? There may even be other villages. Maybe we'll find your people, Sven, or did you really just drop out of the sky in answer to my prayer?”
“I suppose I fell from the sky.” I said, “One minute I was at my uncle's house at a party and the next, bang. I was here.”
“And you did not know that I was praying?”
“I knew nothing, Tia, until you taught me the language.”
She sat in thoughtful silence as the boat moved through the water towards the village.
The boat drew toward the shore until it scraped the sandy beach. A gangplank was lowered to the dry land. Once safely ashore Tia took her father's right arm and my left and we walked up to the village.
A great bonfire was burning and everyone was in a festive mood. The village girls were all dressed in their best with flowers and ribbons in their hair. As we came into sight a loud cheer went up for Alkoran, their rightful lord. They had all heard of the rebellion but no one had seen him since his imprisonment. The groom, whose name was Malhan, came to greet us and ask Alkoran to conduct the ceremony.
“Why should I conduct the ceremony?” Alkoran growled, “I have better things to do.”
Malhan smiled and waited.
“Of course young man. That's why I came.” he said, smiling broadly, “Tia told me this morning that's what you wanted.”
He held up his hand for attention and the crowd hushed and made a ring around him and Malhan.
“There are two among us,” he said, “who wish to pledge their lives to each other. We have gathered here today to hear their vows and to bear witness to them, that they may never be broken, in times of trouble or peace. Friends, family, dear people, I call you to witness the marriage of Malhan and Allia!”
Allia came forward then. She had been waiting near the back of the ring but I didn't notice her until she came forward to take Malhan's hands. Alkoran put a hand on each of their heads and blessed them.
“May you live to be as old and wrinkled as the sea.” he said, “May your children be as rosy as the sky. May your daughters be as fair as my daughters and may your sons be as brave as my sons.”
Beside me, Tia laughed. So did everyone else. Her father only smiled wider and continued.
“May your love for each other endure forever and be greater than your love for yourself. Your marriage is blessed my children.”
The onlookers cheered again.
“Now make your vows.”
Malhan spoke first in a clear ringing voice.
“Allia, I will love you forever, honour and cherish you above all else and never favour another woman as long as I live. This I swear before these witnesses. I will protect you and provide for you, putting your life before my own, and your comfort before my own, for as long as we both shall live. This I swear before these witnesses.”
Then Allia answered, “Malhan, I will love you forever, honour and cherish you above all else and never favour another man so long as I shall live. This I swear before these witnesses. I will be faithful to your will, and obedient to your leading. I will care for you and live for you, putting your life before my own, and your comfort before my own, as long as we both shall live. This I swear before these witnesses.”
“Bear witness!” Alkoran shouted.
“We witness!” The crowd answered.
Somewhere a chorus of flutes sang out. Malhan kissed his bride amongst much shouting and stomping of feet. Then a dance began. The crowd divided into several rings, one within another, with Malhan and Allia in the middle. For a long time I was simply pushed and pulled into place, but eventually I started to get the hang of it. By the time it ended, Tia had disappeared from my side.
Everyone settled down again and a quiet hush fell, as though something momentous was about to happen, and it did. For Allia began to sing.
It was a strange song and I did not understand it, but it was her wedding song, her love song, hers alone for Malhan. When Tia found me she asked me how I liked it.
“I didn't understand it.” I admitted.
“Silly goose,” she said, “have you never heard a bride sing before?”
I thought hard for a minute and said I hadn't. Tia pulled me through the crowd to hug Allia and introduce me to Malhan.
“Your song was beautiful,” she said.
Allia smiled. “Thank you. We are all waiting to hear yours you know.”
“I imagine we haven't much longer to wait,” Malhan said. “You’re a lucky fellow, Sven. You realize of course, that everyone on the Isle of Ki'eva has been in love with Tia at one point or another?”
“No,” I murmured, embarrassed. “I didn't know.”
“Come on,” Tia pulled my hand. “The dance is beginning.”
“Wait a minute.” Malhan caught her other hand. “I'll trade you.”
“You're not going to dance the first dance with me?” Allia said, feigning anger,
“You can dance with Alkoran's son and find out what your own sons will be like.” He teased, “Come on Allia, if we let them go now we won't see them again.”
“I can't dance.” I said ruefully,
Tia pulled away from Malhan. “I promise you the second dance.” She said, “I won't run off.”
Than she kissed Allia again, took my hands and tried to show me the steps. By the time I danced with Malhan's bride I knew enough to avoid stepping on her toes.
“You must be very brave, Sven,” she told me.
“What makes you say that?” I asked,
“Two things. One, Alkoran only pays the highest of compliments. Two, Tia is his only child. He considers you his brave son.”
I thought about that. Then I said, “I did save his life I guess.”
“You guess,” she laughed. “Tia knows. She told me a little of what happened. To listen to her talk, if Malhan is half the man you are I'm the luckiest girl alive.”
I had no answer to that.
“Sayings in Ki'eva come and go with the generations,” she added after a minute, “and I know that our children will grow up trying to be as brave as Sven.'”
Isn't it strange, how all growing up I always had plenty to say, an opinion on every subject, and always praised for my 'gift of oratory'? Yet ever since I went to Ki'eva I seemed always to be at a loss for words, unable to speak when it seemed there was something very important to say. Maybe silence was the best answer for such praise, the highest compliment I have ever received.
The other village girls laughed at me and praised me and taught me variations on the steps to the dance. Many were jealous of Tia and almost spiteful to me because I loved her. It seemed the whole village knew I loved her. Tia herself was not in sight. At last I went in search of her and found her, surrounded by the village lads.
“Tia?” I said, coming forward, “I've been looking all over for you.”
I could not miss the angry glances sent my way as Tia introduced me to them and remembered Alkoran’s warning.
“Sven, we were about to take a walk,” Tia said. “Do you want to come with?”
“I would love to.” I said, but apparently I was the only one interested because the others all found excuses and drifted away. Hand in hand Tia and I walked down to the shore.
“You will marry me?” I asked at last,
“Of course.”
“That you have to ask my father.”
We were walking back to the village now, arm in arm. It would be dark soon and we had no light. The darkness in Ki'eva was complete and absolute.
“I do not think he is likely to refuse the man who saved his life,” she added.
With the dark approaching the bridal pair retired to their cottage, the party broke up and Alkoran, Tia and I returned to the castle on the other side of the island.

I asked Alkoran for Tia's hand the next morning. He was strangely silent.
“Tia is yours,” he said at last, “but you cannot marry her.”
For once I had something to say. “Why not?” I cried, “Because I'm a foreigner? I love her, and she loves me!”
“You cannot stay in Ki'eva,” he said sadly. “You have to return.”
“Why?” I shouted. “And how?”
“Come with me Sven,” he sighed. “I'll show you.”
On the fourth floor of the castle he unlocked a door and beckoned me in. It could have been an exact replica of my uncle's study. On a desk was even a crystal ball, such a fortune-tellers use. Alkoran strode right to the ball and pressed a few buttons at its base.
“Look,” he commanded, so I looked.
I saw Uncle Claude's house, his study to be precise. It was filled with police and detectives, taking notes and emptying the room out.
“I've been watching them for a while.” Alkoran said in a low voice, “They've accused your uncle of abduction. It's turning into a murder charge.”
“Murder?” I repeated stupidly.
“They think he murdered you. You disappeared over four weeks ago Sven. You have to go back or they'll sentence him.”
My throat felt tight and I struggled to speak. Alkoran laid his hand on my shoulder.
“I'm sorry son. You have to go. You know you do. Tia will want you to.”
“How?” I said angrily, almost defiantly. “I don't even know how I came here.”
“I know how,” Alkoran said, “and I think we can send you back. We have a sort of laboratory downstairs. We've been observing other worlds for a long time.”
“Tia never...”
“Tia doesn't know. Few people know. It's been my project.”
I had no more to say. Alkoran escorted me out of the room, locked it, squeezed my shoulder, and left me.
I don't know what I did until Tia found me and I told her the story.
“Oh Sven,” she cried, “you silly goose, take me with you!”
“Take you with me?” I repeated,
“Yes! I love you, and I've pledged my life to you. Why should I not go with you to your homeland?”
And that was that.
Or so we thought, until we met the nervous little scientist who ran the laboratory downstairs.
“It's never been done before.” he said apologetically, “The system can't support it. Only because Alkoran insists will I attempt it. I must try to transport you while you are asleep, it will take less energy. All the same, I'm afraid it will permanently damage the system. The circuits can't candle it. There's just not enough energy present. We're still learning about energy and how to harness it. Two people? Impossible. It's a serious risk sending one. There simply isn't enough energy for two. You would both be lost forever, even if you did go anywhere.”
I looked at Tia; she looked at me.
“Can the system be repaired?” I asked, “Or strengthened later?”
The man sighed. I don't remember his name. “Maybe,” he said, rubbing his balding head, “but it would take a long time, a long, long time. I hope it can be repaired, because we've worked very hard on this.”
“I have to go back,” I was telling myself, trying to remember, trying to convince myself that it was the right thing to do.
They left us alone at that time, Alkoran and the scientist, left me with Tia, and I cried then, like a little child. I don't recall that I said much but Tia said plenty and I remember it all. I remember in the most vivid detail my last moments in Ki'eva, in Tia's arms.
“Oh, Sven,” she said, “things will turn out all right. You have to believe that! You have to hope, or you'll go mad. I know you too well, Sven, how happy you were here... what happened did once could happen again, couldn't it? My prayer was answered once, it could be answered again. We don't know. Our system can be rebuilt, maybe. There's always a maybe. Your world is bigger; there are more people, more machines, and more energy. You can study and learn and come back. Think of that. You need something to live for, something to work for.”
We were sitting on a couch along one side of the laboratory and I laid my head in her lap.
“I don't know what to say,” I cried. “How can I... say goodbye like this?”
“Don't. Don't say anything. There's no need. You said it all when you came. You said more than enough when you said you would help me.
“Sleep now, Sven.” She put her hand over my eyes. “Close your eyes,” she whispered, “and sleep. When you wake up, you will be home.”
My grip tightened on her hand. I did not want to let her go.
“I can't follow you,” she continued, “you know that, but I'll never forget you, and I know that you won't forget me. Don’t give up hope. And Sven...”
Her voice broke. She had tried to hide her grief, to not let me know that she was suffering, but I knew.
“I'll sing to you!” she cried, her voice filled with tears. “No matter where you are I will sing to you, and no one else will hear that song. No one, Sven. Because no one will ever love you the way that I love you.”
She sang to me then, a strange, wistful song and I fell asleep, with her hand in my hand and her voice in my ears.
And I never saw her again.
I never saw her again.

Oh God, can you hear me? Will you listen to me? I want her! I need her! I want to go back!! She told me to work toward finding her, to hope or I’d go mad. She didn’t realize I would not be allowed to do so, that I would be locked up like a criminal.
Tia!! I can’t bear it! I came home. I found out where Uncle Claude’s hearing was and presented myself. I told them I had been called away suddenly on business and hadn’t had a chance to let anyone know. The charges were dropped. I took uncle home and explained the situation to him.
“You’re the only one,” I said, “Who can understand about Ki’eva. You saw it yourself. Uncle, will you help me?”
“You’re mad,” he said, and that’s all he would say. He stoutly and steadfastly refused to acknowledge the books, the globe, Ki’eva. The police had taken and destroyed all his equipment and notes so there was nothing I could refer to. At last, discouraged, I went home. There my family wheedled the story out of me. I was reluctant to tell them but they insisted. No one said anything when I announced my intentions of finding a way back to Ki’eva but the next week my mother introduced me to a Dr. Falsing. He asked me to tell him about where I’d been but I refused. He then disclosed that my mother had already told him everything and that she was highly concerned about my delusions. They wanted me to see a specialist. I refused. Eventually they got an arrest order and brought me here.
What now Tia? What now Alkoran? I would rather have died in that fight in Skeol than be here now. They’re coming for me, they’ll take me to the asylum, and then? I saved Uncle Claude from a murder charge but he seems to show no gratitude. I should have let him die. I should have stayed with you. But that would not have been right. I couldn’t have done it and I know it. But who will save me from here?
They’re coming, Tia. I hear them in the hall. Soon the door will open, they’ll take me downstairs, and I’ll listen to all the reasons why I am a dangerous maniac and must be locked up, why I cannot take care of myself and no one will speak for me…
They’re here Tia.


It’s over.
No one spoke for me. I hadn’t thought they would. They’ve given me a room. It has a bed in it, and a small window over-looking the small yard I’m allowed out into once a day. They sent this book with me and some of my law books. Maybe I can live here. Maybe I can escape.
It’s over.
If I can keep my sanity, I will. If I can escape, I will. If I can die, I will. No one who enters this place leaves.
I’ll meet you in heaven, Tia, if nowhere else.
There is no more to say.


My name is Doctor Emmanuel Jeffries. Having been the D’Neil family doctor for thirty years I have known Sven since birth. Therefore I was greatly disturbed to hear of his disappearance and of how Claude was charged with his murder. I was abroad at the time of his return and only heard briefly of it in a letter from his mother. Needless to say I was deeply distressed when I returned and heard that he had been committed to an asylum. I heard all the reports from his family and the doctors who committed him and decided in my own mind that he was not mad; indeed he had been telling the utmost truth. I have often wondered about the possibility of other worlds having sometimes discussed Claude’s theories with him.
I hastened to the asylum to take Sven into my custody but discovered I had arrived too late. He had escaped several days earlier, unbeknownst to anyone. They let me search his room and I found this book, his account of Ki’eva. More than ever I am convinced that Sven is not raving, but speaking truly of a real place that he had the fortune to discover. It grieves me deeply that none of the learned doctors who interviewed him could realize this. There must be other universes besides ours, and to discover the links to them will be the greatest scientific discovery of our time.
I am determined to find Sven, to clear his name, and to convince him to aid me in furthering this great work. I do not think him likely to refuse; from reading this account of his I gather that he is rather anxious to return to Ki’eva and to his promised bride. All I can do at present however is search for him.
I admit that it is no small task. It could take months, or even years; indeed, it is possible I shall never find him…

#2 User is offline   Lostthyme 

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 09:15 PM

Sequel please? :P

Oh, and welcome to MYSTcommunity! :blinky:

#3 User is offline   Narayani Girl 

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 11:35 AM

Sequel? Already? Are you kidding? I'll write it when you tell me what it's about. <grin> I haven't been able to figure that out for close to a year now...

BTW I did write this right after playing Riven. So I hope it's not too obviously Rivenesque.

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