Chapter 3: The Destiny Clock and The Invisible Tower
We didn’t stop running until we had left the castle and town far behind. I kept fearing that the monster Jamel was right behind me at every step. It wasn’t until it seemed impossible to take another step that I stopped running and realized that Jamel wasn’t there. Maybe the silver clothed boy had protected us again and stop his sister from following us. Tina was right beside me panting, though not as heavily as me.
Now that we had escaped what should we do now. We couldn’t just head back to the castle and the jaws of Jamel even if we wanted to. We had run far enough that I didn’t think I would be able to find way back even if I wanted to. Now I had no idea where to go because I was totally lost. I didn’t think I could even find my way back to the Buried Sea. While I knew I might be able to rely on Tina to guide me I was sick of having to rely on someone else to save me.
So instead I decided to forge my way through the mushroom forest at random, anything might be better then returning to the castle where the monster was. I beckoned to Tina and set off into the forest. I hadn’t taken more then a half a dozen steps when I began hearing a ringing sound. It was loud and close. It sounded similar to the alarm at my clock at home. I looked around vainly for the source of the sound before I saw Tina pointing at me.
It was then that I realized that the ringing was coming from me. Armed with that knowledge I began rifling through my pockets. It quickly found the source of the ringing. It was a small pocket watch that I never remembered having before. Almost as soon as I had pulled the watch out of my pocket it stopped ringing. Confused I opened up the watch. However the inside of the watch was even stranger. The watch had seven different hands, each of which was a different size and color and moving at a different speed. Where had I acquired this unusual watch. As much as I tried I couldn’t remember where I had found it.
“Ema, there is something else in that pocket.” said Tina as I was staring confused at the watch. I looked down at my pocket and realized that Tina was right. There was something else in my pocket. It looked like a small piece of paper. I pulled it out of my pocket and read it.
Ema, now that you are reading this you will have found the watch I have left in your care. I’m sure you will find it more useful then I will.
That watch is called a Destiny Watch. They tell you when the future happens. I can’t really explain it any better then that, but I am use you will figure out how to use it correctly in time. I can however tell you that one of the hands shows the time of your Destiny, however I will leave it up to you to figure out which one. Maybe you will never need to use the watch but I have never put much stock in luck which is why I am leaving it with you.
I read the name written on the bottom of the letter again, Bix had given this to me. However I couldn’t figure out why. The letter was so cryptic that I though I understood less after reading it then I did before. A Destiny Watch? What sort of thing was that, did Bix really expect me to believe this? But then, I had just run through a mushroom forest away from a strange monster. I wasn’t sure what I believed now. I looked at the watch again, the letter said that one of the hands represented me, but I didn’t have any idea about how to figure out what hand it was.
I showed the letter and the watch to Tina but she didn’t have any more of an idea about what the watch could be used for then I did. I only thing I could really do was put the watch back into my pocket. Maybe it would come in use something, after all Bix apparently thought it would be. All I could do was trust in Bix’s judgement and continue on into the forest, no more wiser then I was before I found the watch.
That was the first time I had saw the Destiny Watch, it seems so long ago. I didn’t yet realize the importance of the Destiny Watch or why Bix had given it to me. However since then it has proved to be important in ways I could never have expected then. Yet at the time I was unaware of what the Destiny Watch really meant. Instead I blundered further into the dark future without knowing I had a candle to lit, after all that is how I lived my life before then.
So I continued into the mushroom forest, away from the danger I knew and toward the danger I didn’t know. I’m not certain how many hours me and Tina walked after we left the empty city but it must have been at least four or five because the sun was almost setting when you finally found our way out of the mushroom forest. We found ourselves at the edge of a cliff. Well it was more of an enormous hole in the ground. It looked more then a mile across and about half that in either direction and it was so deep that I could only see darkness in the bottom.
Yet mysteriously floating in the center of the giant pit was a tower. It was starting just feet above eye-level and stretched into the sky, almost taller then I could imagine. Staring at it I thought it was impossible for me to have not seen it before now. Yet here it was floating in the center of the large hole in the ground. Looking at it closely I noticed that it was tethered to the side of the hole by a single rope bridge not to far from us.
Given our previous experiences I was understandably hesitant to want to enter this floating tower. Yet it seemed to draw me in and how else were we to find our way home. So I walked to toward the rope bridge and was about to step on when Tina grabbed my arm and yelled, “Ema stop! What are you doing!”
I turned back and looked into Tina’s eyes. They were worried and desperate. Confused I said, “What are you saying? I know we have had some bad experiences but there might be someone in that tower who knows how to get use home.”
Now it was Tina’s time to look confused. “Tower? What tower?”
I blinked a couple of times before pointing toward the tower that I thought was impossible to miss. “That tower. Is there any other tower I could be talking about?”
“Ema, I don’t see any tower. All I see in a giant hole in the ground.”
I didn’t really know how to respond. Was it possible that Tina couldn’t see the tower or was it I who was seeing something that wasn’t there. Could it be possible that the tower wasn’t actually there? I wasn’t sure what to think anymore.
“But... I can see a tower, it is right there floating in the air.” I stopped and realized how silly that sounded... but I wasn’t about to dismiss something just because it sounded impossible. After all a upside down waterfall and an enormous monster might have sounded impossible to me only a couple of days ago.
I thought about what was happening before eventually saying, “I see a bridge from right here to a floating tower. It is possible that the tower is real and if so we might be able to find a way home.” Tina looked skeptical as I spoke, which is unfair I’m supposed to be the skeptical one. “If the bridge is real I’ll be able to safely stand on it, so I want to to grab me and make sure I don’t fall if it turns out that the bridge isn’t real.”
“Are you sure Ema, that sounds really dangerous. If the bridge isn’t real then what it I’m not strong enough to pull you back.”
For some reason I wasn’t really worried, thinking back I still aren’t certain where my confidence at that time came from maybe it was from the tower itself. “Don’t worry Tina, I trust you. You’ll be able to pull me back if I fall.”
Tina grabbed my hand tightly and I took a hesitant step onto the first plank of the bridge. I was relieved when my foot stopped where the bridge was supposed to be. However the moment of truth was when I lifted my second leg and set it down on bridge. Tina stared flabbergasted at me, “Your floating Ema.”
“Tina, how about you stay there while I check out the tower. It might be to dangerous to walk up a bridge you can’t see.”
Tina nodded, “I think I would be to frightened to walk up a bridge I can’t see. I’ll wait her until you get back. Just be careful in there.”
“You be careful too.” I responded before turned back toward the tower and walking up the bridge. The bridge was long, very long. It wasn’t easy walking across it. Every time I looked down I felt a shiver tingle through my spine. Who knew how far I would fall if I fell of the bridge. However I eventually reached the end of the bridge. There was a door in front of me that had a wrought iron door knocker but didn’t seem to have any way of opening the door.
So I, standing over a who knows how drop and on an apparently invisible bridge, reached up and used the knocker. The door almost immediately opened. A person covered from head to two in a brown robe stood on the other side. I couldn’t see the persons face or even it the person was male or female. “Scion of Truth, Anchor of Freedom, The Destiny of Destiny. The Hour of Eternity Awaits. Your Third Question shall be answered in the Tower of Nothing.”
What could I say, I didn’t even understand the words that were coming out of this person’s mouth. Scion of Truth? Anchor of Freedom? What was that supposed to mean? My third question would be answer here, assuming this was the tower of nothing. But what was my third question? Or my first and second question for that matter. However from all of that I think I was being invited inside, so stepped off the bridge and into the floating tower.
Inside was dark and I could barely see anything. I could almost make out the robed form of the person who opened the door and I thought I could see some more people moving around in the darkness.
The figure who greeted me shut the door plunging the room into even more darkness. Somebody spoke while my eyes began to adjust to the darkness, I think it was the person who greeting me at the door. “Scion of Truth, travel with me until time parts us.”
This person has a strange way of talking. And why did he call me the Scion of Truth again, I didn’t really understand. My eyes had finally began to adjust to the darkness when I saw the robed from start moving away. I tried to follow it and shambled through the darkness after it. We walked up fights of stairs, seemingly endlessly climbing to the top of the tower. I wondered how long it had been since I had left Tina at the edge of the cliff. Eventually the person stopped in front of a door. I could see light flowing out along the edges of the door and when the person opened the door I was blinded by the light.
It was a small room. There was one large window on the wall that had light streaming in through it which made it hard to make out the rest of the room. I could tell that there was a person knelling on the floor. The knelling person looked elderly, maybe an old woman.
“I have been waiting, Scion of Truth. I knew that you would arrive before time prevented us from ever meeting.” The voice was croaked and elderly, like the person speaking was almost on their deathbed. I saw the arm of the elder lift and motion more me to sit. I walked into the door and knelled in front of the elder. Now I could tell that the entire room was bare except for the window and the two of us. The person who had lead me here shut the door behind me.
“I am glad you are here, The Beast of Ruin shakes in its sleep and you arrive before us clean, uncertain, innocent. I have waited for you here for ten years knowing that you would come before me. You have taken your first precious steps to the Seat of Eternity yet you know nothing of your journey or its meaning. That is why your are here so that you might understand yourself, the Destiny of Destiny.”
It seemed that everything the old woman was saying was a riddle, one which I couldn’t decipher. “What are you saying, I don’t understand? Are you saying that I am special and that you foresaw my arrival here? That is impossible, everything that has happened in a coincidence.”
It was hard to make out the woman’s features through the bright light streaming through the window but I think she was smiling. “Coincidence is but a stepping stone for you, Destiny of Destiny. Whatever coincidences might have brought you here are irrelevant, you are here. Yet despite your pleas you have already met four of you hands, Scion of Truth, Anchor of Freedom, Destiny of Destiny. Only three more hands until you are complete, only then will you fully realize who you are.”
“Four of my hands? What are you trying to say, speak clearly so that I can understand you.” I was starting to get frustrated, there is only so much ambiguity that I can stand before it starts getting on my nerves. I also dislike the term destiny, I like to think of myself as in control of my own future. However this brazen old woman kept calling me Destiny of Destiny and spoke as if everything was foresawn. It ground at my nerves. “Listen old woman, how about you drop the mumbo jumbo speech and tell my how I can get home.”
“So hasty and so young. Yet you will grow to become your future. When you can clearly see all your hands then you should seek me out again. Then you will accept my words and accept the true gift I have for you. But until that day I will give you what you desire. The path you desire has already been past. It is in two of your hands, those which are bound closest together, yet those hands are the most different. In those two hands is your way home but you must bring them together for that to happen.”
“Two hands, what are you speaking about? Which hands are these and how do I find them?” I felt like all I could do was ask questions, nothing this old woman said was making sense.”
“Your Clock, take it out.”
Wow, that actually seemed to make sense. But I didn’t have a clock... oh! Did she mean the pocket watch that Bix had given me? How could she have know about that. But now that I thought about it Bix had called it the Destiny Watch in his letter, was it possible that he was in contact with this old woman and told her that he had given me the clock... but how could they have know I would come here. Was it really true that the old woman had predicted my arrive here.
I drew the watch out of the pocket and popped it open. It still had those seven hands.. wait seven. The old woman had said I had met four of my hands and there were three to go. It couldn’t be a coincidence that those two numbers were the same. I just hoped this wasn’t some elaborate hoax that Bix and the old woman dreamed up together just to tease me, though that seemed really unlikely.
“The Silver Hand of Duty and The Red Hand of Beauty, they are the ones that will guide you. Yet the Hand of Beauty if blocked, it must be freed before you can get your desire.” Said the old woman as I looked down at my Destiny Clock.
It looked at the clock and saw them, the perfectly straight silver hand and the red hand which was ornately carved with images of roses. However the red hand was crooked and bent at several points. Those two hands two almost overlapping and moving at the same rate.
Silver, that hand bugged me in a way that I didn’t understand. Then it struck me, “The silver-clothed boy, he is the silver hand. He is the one who can help me get back home.” The old woman nodded and smiled as if she was glad that I managed to crack one of her opaque clues.
“Go to him, free the Red Hand, only then can you find your way home. Once you have accepted your seven hands and truly become the Scion of Truth then you will find me again.” Also as if on cue, the door behind me opened and a robed figure said, “Time is escaping.” The old woman only nodded and said “Time is parting us, you must leave and return to your hands.”
“Wait, who is the Red Hand? What is your name and why is this happening?”
“Dear child, you will find the Red Hand with the Silver one for they are inexplicable bound together. This is all happening because you are you, the Scion of Truth, Anchor of Freedom, Destiny of Destiny. The Hour of Eternity Awaits. Your Third Question shall be answered in the Tower of Nothing. Now time is escaping, you must leave but I will give you my name. I am Zero, the Hand that is not a Hand. No go.”
The robed figure grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the room. The person shut the door blocking the line of sight between me and Zero. I was quickly guided down the stairs and before I knew it had reached the bottom floor, the journey down seemed unusually quicker then the journey up. When the door outside was opened I was surprised to find it almost dark outside. I remembered seeing the sun through the window in the room with Zero in it. “Goodbye Scion of Truth” said the robed figure as I stepped outside. The door shut behind me and I was left on the bridge hanging over a enormous hole in front of a floating tower. I didn’t really have any other choice but to start walking across the bridge and back toward Tina. I hoped she wasn’t too worried about me taking so much time in a tower that she couldn’t see.
The sun just began to dip below the horizon as I reached the edge of the bridge and reached firm ground again. “EMA!” came a shout from nearby and I was tackled by Tina. I was thrown to the ground by the blow. “Ema, you made it back ok. I was worried when you just vanished in the middle of the giant hole.” I smiled and placed my hand on her head, just between her cat ears.
“I’m glad to be back as long as you don’t start speaking in riddles.” I knew I could count to Tina to be easy to understand. She always did what she felt and didn’t hide what she was thinking behind veiled words. The whole experience in the tower seemed a lot like a dream but I knew it was real.
I eventually managed to get Tina off me and stood up. I looked back at the tower and was startled to not see it anymore. No longer was there a giant tower floating above a hole in the ground. I wondered brief if there tower was still there but I could no longer see it or if the tower was really gone. Eventually I decided it didn’t really matter.
I pulled out the Destiny Clock and looked at it again. I stared at the Silver Hand and the Red Hand. I at least had a clue as to what to do next but I had no idea about how to go through with it. During my walk down the tower and across the bridge I came to the conclusion that Jamel, the silver-clothed boy’s sister, was the Red Hand. How she was the Hand of Beauty I didn’t know but that hypothesis was consistent with some of the things Zero had said. It the Red Hand was near the silver-clothed boy then it must be Jamel but how I was supposed to straighten her was beyond me. I wasn’t even sure how I was supposed to get closer.
I took a look as several of the other hands, Zero had said that I had meet four of them so maybe I would be able to figure out the identities of the other two. Eventually my eye caught on the Orange Hand. It was the fastest of any of the hands, making a revolution around the clock every thirty seconds or so. It was curved as if pointing in the direction it was moving. I glanced up at Tina and instantly knew that this hand was her. I was somewhat glad that Tina was one of the hands, it the destiny that Zero talked about was real then I was reveled that Tina was a part of it too. It made everything feel a little be more comfortable.
Now I just had to do the impossible. I had to return to the city and find the silver-clothed boy and Jamel. Then I had to fix everything so that me and Tina would be able to go home. Yet to do that I would have to face a monster and return it to normal. I didn’t even know where to begin. I didn’t know if I had the courage to go through with it, but Destiny is a strange thing. It has a way of forcing you along while giving you no choice and making you think that you are in control. But I, the Destiny of Destiny, doesn’t believe in Destiny. I forge my own way through life and force Destiny to follow the best it can.