Image via Wikimedia by Lijealso
Guest post by N. A. Foy
Marcia looked at the portals that were surrounding her. All twelve shone with a different color. After waiting a while, the guard still had not returned. She was furious that she was lied to and caught in place with no direction. She was afraid to where these other portals would lead.
She decided to walk past the portals to see what was surrounding them in the blackness. As she walked past, she entered a thick fog and a minute later, found herself back at the portals. She started to run and always ended up where she started. She soon relaxed to try to think things over. She would have to choose a portal to go through.
Suddenly, a piercing scream ripped through the air, and Lucinda felt out of the air and onto the ground. She looked around baffled. Anita was almost glad to have company, but at the same time, she didn’t want anyone else to be stuck here.
Lucinda looked at her, “Where am I?”
“I have been trying to figure that out since I got here. We are in a portal room of some sort. Why are you here?”
“I was thrown in as punishment.”
“You mean, by the people who captured our village?”
“Why would they punish you so soon? We just arrived.”
Lucinda looked at the ground as if she was looking for the right words to say. “I know the people who captured us.”
Marcia could feel her blood boil, “What do you mean that you ‘know’ them?”
Lucinda was silent again and eventually looked up to Marcia, “They sent me to spy on your people. I’m so sorry.”
“What! How could you?!?!” Marcia reached for her sword but remembered that she was no longer carrying one. Lucinda was armed.
“I didn’t think they would attack and take all the prisoners. They told me I had to spy on you in case Lamax was building in army. I thought that they didn’t want your village to overtake their village.”
Something didn’t sound right to Marcia, “Your village is much larger and stronger. Couldn’t you see that our village was small, and we weren’t a threat?”
“Well, in all honesty, I started to enjoy my life in Lamax. It was better than living in a city controlled by King Etan’s people. Your village offered much more freedom, especially for women.”
Marcia wanted to believe her, but was uncertain, “What do you mean that there’s more freedom for women? What kind of freedom is lacking in King Etan’s territories?”
“Women are forced to get married to whatever man choices them. Women must become a servant to their husband or else they will be punished and possibly tortured. There was a man here that had chosen to marry me, but before he made it known, I offered to come to Lamax to spy. I swear, I just wanted to escape the marriage.”
Marcia didn’t buy it, “If women are suppressed, then why would they even allow you to travel in order to spy on another village?”
Lucinda looked back down to the ground. “I promised to infiltrate your village and get a consensus on your soldiers. I also looked for weak spots where they could attack.”
Marcia paced back in forth, “How were you able to talk them into letting you do this?”
I was known to be stealth. I could easily influence people to believe what I said and could blend well with others. I was their best chance at getting to know what went on in the city.”
“So, it is your fault that we were attacked?”
“That’s the thing, I never reported back to them. They just attacked and seemed to know the weak spots. I don’t understand what happened.”
Marcia thought for a minute. She didn’t recall Lucinda leaving the village during her stay in Lamax. She thought it was strange that no one knew Lucinda beforehand, and yet, she was so easily welcomed in the village. Something wasn’t right, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.
Lucinda continued, “They punished me for not reporting back and threw me in here. How did you get here?”
Marcia told her story to which Lucinda responded, “That doesn’t make sense. So, the guard rescued you only to lead you here? It’s like you went from one prison cell to another.”
Marcia nodded her head, “Do you know anything about these portals?”
“Not a lot. It has been said that they have been here before time. There was once a temple built around this one, and people would come to honor the gods. During the first age, the village was abandoned, and the temple fell to ruin. Even the wise men of the village seem to know very little about the history of the temple. Zalonia is riddled with strange portals throughout the land, often found in places that are hard to get to.”
“Does anyone know where the portals lead?”
“I have heard rumors that they lead to strange lands and other rumors suggest that they transport people across Zalonia. There was one wizard who claimed that he was sent into the third age, but most people didn’t believe him.”
Lucinda stood up and said, “Well, I don’t think we will get anywhere unless we head through one of the portals. What do you say?”
“It seems that we have no other choice… but which one?”
“Apparently, we take a guess.”
“Will you go first this time? I was kind of deceived last time, plus it might help me move past the fact that you were a spy.”
Lucinda smiled, “I will go first.” She walked up to the portal that had a purplish glow coming from it. Marcia watched as she went through the portal. She quickly disappeared, and Marcia was alone.
Marcia walked up to the portal and felt herself shake with nervousness. She stuck her hand through the portal and felt a strange sensation tingling up her arms. Suddenly, it felt like something within the portal grabbed hold of her arm and pulled her in. Everything went black.