Gentle rocking interrupted by a sudden bob woke Trillian from his sleep. He opened his eyes to find the stateroom empty. Sunlight peaked through the curtains, falling in strips of gold on the floor. The sound of water lapping and splashing soothed his mind as he lay on the bed a few moments. Despite the calm, Trillian felt his chest constrict. He was anxious wondering when Sideon would catch up with them.
Gathering himself, Trillian braced against the rocking to sit up as he shifted his legs over the side of the bed. After grounding his feet on the floor, Trillian nodded in rhythym to the sway of the boat before standing up. The first few times he’d tried to stand from sitting, he’d lost his balance. Once in front of Yulissa, who laughed at him. The motion to stand was swift. He put on his shirt, aware of his need to eat and drink.
First he would find his mother and Yulissa, considering neither had woken him when they’d gotten up that morning.
Holding the handrail to balance himself, Trillian ascended to the deck, blinking against the fierce sunlight, shining freely in a clear blue sky. Trillian couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen the sky so open. There wasn’t much sunshine in the Severum.
Glancing about he easily found the women. Yulissa stood beside his mother. She smiled warmly at Trillian as they met eyes. This strange woman who’d entered his life a few weeks ago consumed his thoughts. He hadn’t decided yet whether it was because she was the first woman he’d encountered.
“And here is the devil himself.” Yulissa stretched a hand in his direction as mother and son smiled at each other.
Their eyes locked intensely and Trillian stepped forward eagerly enveloping his mother in a long embrace. She’d been waiting for them when they arrived at the docks two nights before. Trillian learned Yulissa had arranged the entire escape down to taking his mother with them. He’d been alert, spurned by nervous anticipation in each step that took them further from the Severum. Trillian sensed Sideon would be pursuing in flight, riding with his fleet of Morfin – hawk-like birds the size of lions. Each one naturally fitted with enormous talons, shaved to sharp points, able to pierce right through an enemy.
Thankfully they had still not seen Sideon or his henchmen on the horizon behind of them. Yulissa insisted it was because they passed through a portal to another realm, but Trillian was leery nonetheless.
Trillian let his mother go, taking in a deep breath of fresh air. Traveling by sea brought him joy. Perhaps it was the salty, fishy scent of the ocean, or the constant warmth of sunshine so foreign to him in the Severum. Maybe it was getting to see his mother every hour of the day, or the chance to breathe without Sideon’s ever-present gaze hovering in his mind.
“We have much to discuss.” Yulissa wasted no time. “We will be to the Gate in a few hours. When we get there, the ship will immediately dock in a large city. One greater than either of you could imagine. It is very important that you refrain from gawking. My mission depends on your absolute solemn behaviors, even down to the tiniest flash of light in your eyes.”
The ranger thought the order more than possible, though in his heart he wasn’t entirely sure he could agree to it. “Why is this so strongly required?”
Yulissa’s expression tightened, “Realm Jumping is forbidden, without permission from the High Ones. The tyrant overlord uses his repulsive minions to guard the gates, in order to keep them secret. They are trained to see everything, even the slightest flash of awe and wonder.”
“Who are these High Ones?” Trillian’s mother asked.
“Gorthnek, from the lands of fire. One of them, Urgo, decided he was greater than all the races of the Universe, and warred against the Realms, capturing the Gates as he went. After conquering the realms, he opened the Gates to hell and foul beasts flooded into the Realms.” She looked to Trillian, “It is my job to smuggle the beings of Light into Giordan and collect valuable items along the way.”
“But,” Trillian began, slightly confused, “is this Urgo not already aware of a gathering? If he is watching the Gates, and we passed through one, does he not already know?”
“Urgo does not fear Langoria, he knows Sideon rules with iron will.” Yulissa replied, her eyes flashing to Trillian’s mother briefly. “The people are subjugated to him, unaware of freedom and liberties. It is unlikely Urgo will notice the inhabitants of Langoria passing through the Gates until Sideon has been defeated.”
“Defeated?” Trillian exclaimed in disbelief, knowing such a thing was nearly impossible. “Who are you expecting to overthrow Sideon?” His eyes twitched between his mother and Yulissa.
“You.” His mother smiled.
A sensation of fear filled Trillian’s chest as he considered what that meant for him. “I am not–”
Yulissa smiled, “We have been discussing several options, Sosha and I decided you are the only one capable.” Sosha, being his mother. “I have seen what you are capable of, Trillian.” She stepped forward slowly, “You have amazing powers. If you could learn how to use those powers to your greatest ability, I guarantee you will defeat Sideon. And in turn, Urgo.”
The weight in his chest became heavier, “Mother, I…”
Gulls squawked over head as the Lookout called, “Gate ahead! All hands on deck.”
The crew came alive, preparing the ship for docking.
Trillian stood at the rail staring beyond the horizon into the uncertainty of his future, trying to imagine what it might be like to stand up against Sideon. He was absolutely certain he would be able to stay solemn as they entered this new realm he’d never seen before.