The leather bound book inscribed in small cursive scroll smelled of dust and rot. Not that it had a unpleasant smell but it smelled like everything else around him. It smelled as well as looked old. Upon opening the book pages crumbled and tore at the mere touch of his fingers.Yet another book lost to age. To think what legends and spells it held. The thought of holding something so important gone to ruins made him slightly sad. Although it was no use in getting upset. When something died it was best laid to rest.
At least he had been able to save a few pages. The few pages he had managed to save were decorated with elaborate artwork. A small picture on one of the page caught his attention. 'The rune god of fire...' The legend of the Magic Knights from another world. The legend was old. Even he could remember as a young child the legend his mother told him.The legend of the Magic Knights.
The citizens of Cephiro did not know the true legend of the Magic Knights or the one true wish of each pillar. 'Hikaru, Fuu,.....Umi.' They were not the first Magic Knights but perhaps they were the last. They had to be the last Magic Knights. Hikaru had reformed the system. Instead of one person, the pillar, praying for all the people of Cephiro it was the people who prayed for Cephiro. Perhaps this was the best way. 'Emeraude...' She had died loving Zagato.
Clef slowly exhaled a breath he had been holding and turned the page over. 'The Rune god Celes...' It was the Rune god Umi donned, Celes. The picture of Celes, painted in flaked blue ink , showed the rune god holding a ball which held the sea. 'Umi...' Clef set the page down gently and made sure the image was face up. 'The Legend of the Magic Knights. Chosen from a different world to grant the one true wish of the Pillar as foretold forever.' Clef raised an eyebrow. 'Foretold forever?' The words rung in his head. It could mean something but it could also just be an ancient text written by a superstitious Guru.
With a wave of his staff Clef urged a chair to materialize. Exhaustion from sleepless nights and from the work of putting Cephiro back to the land it had been before Emerauld's death nagged him. 'A draught, a sleeping potion is what I need...' Clef closed his eyes and pulled his staff across the arm rests of the chair. A contented sigh escaped his lips while the chair floated, suspended in one place.
The remembrance of a dream touched the edge of his mind. A dream of the Forest of Silence;the day he had wondered off into the forest with out his mother's knowledge. Not that she would have let him go into that accursed place.
But it wasn't a dream. That day had been real although hundreds of years had passed. The memory, though foggy, still surfaced day after day. It had gone dim with age but the first visit of the Magic Knights had prompted the memory to reappear as a dream. The second visit of the Magic Knights had only made the memory much more prominent. Every time he fall asleep he remembered more and more of that day.
It had been the day that he had stumbled into the Forest of Silence. The place where magic would not work for mage nor Guru and especially not a young boy, who in a few years would be in training to the Guru. He had been frightened. Who wouldn't be at such a young age? Lost and alone with out his magic to guide him. He had only been 12 at the time.
'The day I stopped aging....' He had stopped aging because he had chosen to. Though his original reason for stopping his growth was lost he hadn't chosen to correct it. True, he was able to grow and his will would allow it but there was a deeper purpose for this. There was something about that day in the forest that he remained as he was.
His hand rest in a patch of sun that warmed him. Slowly he flexed his fingers in the light. What was in the past was best laid to rest with the dead. Clef spread his fingers out and lifted his hand off the armrest. The purple ring that acted as a key to the upper room with the pillar's circlet glinted in the beam of the early morning sunlight.
'Magic Knights...girls from another world...' Clef placed his hand back on the armrest and looked up at the glass ceiling. It had only been a few weeks since their last visit to Cephiro but perhaps on their world time slipped by differently. Hikaru with her willingness to do almost anything. She was a born leader and had a rare fire to her. She wasn't like most others. Clef smiled at the thought, 'None of the Magic Knights are like most others..not on this world.'Hikaru had the will to become Cephiro's pillar and she had done so. It was because of her that the world of Cephiro still survived. It was not her alone that helped Cephiro survive. Truthfully Fuu and Umi were just as important but neither had the will to become the pillar.'Why?' Eagle had the chance to become pillar but not even he could out shine the Magic Knight of fire.
The chair swayed momentarily as he leaned towards the table he had placed the pages on. Slowly he shifted through them looking for an answer. If this book was really a legend book then it had to contain some reference to the occurrence of would be pillars. As was Eagle slept in a deep slumber because Hikaru could not bare to part with him. Unsatisfied by the lack of answers the pages gave him her frowned outwardly. If only he had been able to save the complete text. 'The information is lost now..just like part of that memory...' Clef's brows furrowed together.
Unwillingly his attention had been brought back to that memory. The memory of the forest. He had eventually found a way out but he felt sad. Why had he felt so sad so long ago? He had survived the Forest of Silence with out his powers, and with out his mother. It was one of the things that had initiated him to try hard in everything that he practiced including the magic that had been forbidden in the forest. The Forest of Silence was still no laughing matter in Cephiro. The forest, however, had begun to shrink and with drawl back into the hearts of the people.
It was not the same forest that he had last seen nor the Magic Knights had seen. On their first visit it was there that they battled themselves in one of the first tests of the heart. It was there that Fuu meet Prince Ferio. Hikaru, Fuu, and Umi had survived. Even Fuu survived. Fuu who had been more of a magic user then both Hikaru and Umi. She had the knowledge deep in her. He had been told that in the Magic Knight's world magic did not exist. However Fuu had always held magic in here it just hadn't been unlocked.
Clef cleared his throat and looked back towards the window.The budding trees outside frequented the air with sweet scents of perfumes and yet he dared wonder what it was like in Umi's world. 'Umi...' Clef felt his face go hot for a moment. The more he tried not to think about the Magic Knight who controlled water, the more he actually thought of her. It was she who first stood up to him on the first visit. At first he had been no more then annoyed at her loudness and her rude attitude towards him. 'Umi, she had only been a girl wanting to go back to her world.' Clef pulled his legs underneath him in the chair with his head bent down.
"If I had been in the same situation I would have wanted to be back here in Cephiro," Clef said to himself absently. She had been lonely and afraid. She was truly a bird without wings to fly her home. Out of all the three girls he had been increasingly worried about her. Her figure,already taunt and lithe, grew thinner as she spent time in Cephiro. Umi had needed the most comfort and guidance out of the three. He had given that to her on her late night visits with him. Her visits were not unwelcomed. The visits she paid him actually cheered him up. Even though he listened to her it was as if he too spoke and was listened to. His actions prompting more issues and discussing. Those talks were breaks from the world around him. Cephiro had been falling apart even the castle had started to give under the lose of the pillar. It was the late night talks that had kept something bright in him to wish for. A Cephiro that was once more green and budding like the trees outside.
How could a man like him fall in love with a mere child? In the sense of love he was still a child himself. He never had the need to form relationships like that. There was no one there to hug or kiss him and that was how it was. He wasn't in love with the Magic Knight Umi. He couldn't be, but his thoughts always returned to her. Perhaps out of fondness. 'Yes,I do miss the Knights. If only...' Clef frowned, 'The Magic Knights have the ability to go between worlds now. If they wanted to come then they would have. Hikaru made sure of that because of Lantis.'
Lantis.Hikaru had Lantis as Fuu had Ferio but Umi had who? Ascot had seemed taken with her. He had even done what Clef chose not to do. Ascot had willed himself to grow for Umi. Though on the second visit Umi had seemed not to notice Ascot a lot. Even when Ascot talked to her she seemed distant. Was it her beauty that drew Ascot? Or was there something more to the Dragon water Knight that was just below the ocean's surface? A breeze ruffled his robes and he looked up from his lap.
'Cephiro...' Clef scooted to the edge of the floating chair and pushed his feet away from under him. Slowly he lowered his full weight on them and waved his staff again. The chair vanished to the void to which it had come. Just beyond the window past the over look of the gardens was the sparkling ocean of Cephiro.
For only a moment Clef could see her face reflected there by the ocean. Her hair blown back by the summer's breeze. Her face turned towards him looking almost directly at him with her hand to her hair pushing back a few lose strands of hair. Umi's eyes shone in the sun with a brilliance behind them.Clef blinked and the vision was gone but one thought was left on his mind, 'Her eyes....were always blue as the sea...' And for a moment time seemed to stop forever.
The Forest of Silence, the place where man nor beast could protect oneself from danger of monsters. Monsters that lurked around every corner and behind every tree. This was the forest of every children's nightmare. Once one entered one was most assuredly never heard of again. However, the locals of Cephiro would not dare to venture into the Forest of Silence. It was a place their hearts had created before memory. It was a place of forbidden lusts,desires, fears, and dark secrets. Magic could not even prevent the darkness of the Forest of Silence for magic could not be cast upon entering the forest.
This place, the Forest of Silence, was the place of every children's nightmare. It was also the place of Umi's nightmare. A nightmare that had come back with her after her first visit to Cephiro. Umi's nightmare where she was left alone forgotten in a dark spot in the forest. Alone, as a young child. The nightmare faded in her memory upon her second visit to Cephiro. The nightmare was pushed back into her mind as her and the Magic Knights fought beside each other to save the land of Cephiro for the second time. After returning to her world again the nightmare resurfaced.
Each night Umi would go to sleep and every morning she would wake up with the same feeling of emptiness, of being afraid. When she would awake the nightmare would fog and details became blurred. She had had a nightmare and had been in the Forest of Silence but what was troubling her? It was not the fact that she was in the forest. Perhaps because she was alone.
Alone, one thing she feared above most others. To be alone in this world or any other. Anyone would be frightened to be threatened with being alone forever especially in the Forest of Silence. But there was something just below the surface of the nightmare she could not remember. The nightmare was not complete. Perhaps she awoke each morning before her mind was able to complete the nightmare. It was just a dream though. What could be so important about a dream? Hikaru had had many dreams though. Hikaru had had dreams of Nova and Debonair. Was this nightmare something of the future or something of the past?
'A nightmare is just a dream stop being so childish,' Umi sighed and pushed back her covers. A saturday morning sun beamed in through a window by her bed. Bird's in the tree by her window chirpped in greating to the sun. Summer reminded her of Cephiro. The Cephiro of her first visit. Blue skys with white fluffy clouds that hung suspended in the vast sea of the sky. Floating islands drifted about lazily with no place to go.
'Cephiro...' Umi pulled her feet off the bed and placed them on the floor. Blue house shoe slippers touched her feet as well as the cold hard wooden floor. 'A nightmare..' Cephiro had been a nightmare as the world crumbled and fall. The inhabitants along with their world could not survive without a pillar. A pillar that prayed for Cephiro at all times.
'Emeraude...' Guilt hit her like a crushing wave. Her head tilted forward to meet her hands. Her voice, soft yet unsure because of the nights sleep, spoke softly into her hands. "It wasn't fair..." Perhaps that's what happens in her nightmare. 'Do I relive it every night? Is that my punishment?' Emerauld had not done anything wrong. She loved and she was not alone. But because of that love she could not pray for Cephiro but she did not change the system of the pillar. Why had she not changed the system of the pillar like Hikaru had? Did Emerauld not trust the people of Cephiro to govern themselves?
No, that wasn't her nightmare. Somewhere Emerauld was happy now. 'Emerauld is with Zagato now...' Umi pulled herself up from her bed and walked over to her window. The sun shone brightly on the world before her. As bright as any day in Cephiro. Her mind always returned to Cephiro. Even when in school she would drift off to Cephiro, her nightmare, and the inhabitants of Cephiro.
The Cephireans...those who had helped the Magic Knights and those who had plotted the distruction of their own land. Presea with her weapons and her twin sister who followed in her footsteps after she had died. Ferio, the on Fuu missed the most, who had helped them both times during their visits to Cephiro. It was he who was now the governing body of Cephiro. Caldina who had first plotted against the Magic Knights and then had come to their aid. Lafarga, Mokona both assest. Mokona the annoying pest who ended up being the creator of all five worlds. If some religions only knew how annoying the creator actually was. A giggle escaped her lips as Umi remembered chasing him around in the Forest of Silence. 'Yet again you think about that place. What is so important about that place?'
Then there was Ascot who had a crush on her since the first visit. 'Ascoto...' Ascot the bal or summoner who befriended some creatures one would not call monsters. He had even used his will to make himself grow for her. He was a friend and a dear one but her heart wasn't with him. Her heart was not with anyone, really. Ascot was nice but it could never happen especially since he was in Cephiro and she was here on Earth.
Emerauld and Zagato who fought for love and died for it. Lantis, Eagle, Nova... they were all there in her mind. Aska, Zazu, Geo, the sisters who constantly fought and cried, and the ones who wanted to help those from the other three world become the pillar of Cephiro. However Hikaru, little spunky Hikaru, had the greatest will of all and became the pillar. She did what all the other pillars of Cephiro could not and changed the system.
There were so many people she meet that had kept her and the Magic Knights company on Cephiro. They were the ones who helped her and who helped her keep the nightmares at bay. The first few nights of restless sleep during the second visit Guru Clef... 'You've avoided thinking about him...' Umi turned from her window and opened her closet. Cloths hung in neat rows with shoes below. Her old school uniform pushed to the back. Her junoir high uniform. Her new senoir high uniform layed on her desk. It had just arrived in the mail the other day. 'Your trying not to think about Cephiro again...'
Umi sighed and reached into her closet. Guru Clef had made her potions to help her sleep and before that he would sit with her and talk. More importantly he listened to her. People often talked to her but they didn't listen. Clef listened to her. If she had remembered her nightmare while on Cephiro she would have told him. She would have liked to tell him anything just to talk to him. He was so easy to talk to. Fuu and Hikaru were her friends but they weren't as easy to talk to. Hikaru sometimes didn't get what she was saying and Fuu would always come up with logical explanations. Fuu would understand but she always seemed preoccupied. Clef had been ...free and willing to talk to her. 'Now your thinking an aweful lot about him...'
She pulled out a long blue dress with a white over coat from her closet and threw it on her bed. A breeze drifted around the room from her open window and blew her hair back. The usual headband that pushed back her hair layed on her dresser by her bed. Umi took the cloths off the hangers and paused momentairly. 'Always blue as the sea...'