Chapter 10: Self Reflection
When class was over I gathered my friends together. Tina was easy because we were in the same class. Mink was also easy because she was in our class to. Luckily she was feeling better today, or at least pretended she was, so she had come to school. Because of that I was able to eat lunch with her today, something I hadn’t done in a long time.
Once I had gotten Tina and Mink the next stop was Jamel’s classroom. Jamel seemed to have acquired a couple of followers who seemed to have been quite taken with the idea of her being a monster and now gave her load introductions whenever she entered a room, something about the “Great and Dangerous Monster Jamel”. I couldn’t help from giggling the first time I heard it.
Once I had extracted Jamel from her devoted monster fans we stopped by the library for Quell. He seemed to be totally engaged in his current booked and I almost had to shake him out of it. It seemed to have slipped his mind that we were going to visit the dark tower today. Seriously, sometimes I wondered how someone who looked like like a human book could be so air-headed.
Finally together we all headed out, whatever dark secrets we would find at the tower we would find together. At least with everyone with me I didn’t think Etern would try to attack me again.
From what I could tell the tower was quite a ways a way on foot so we decided to take the bus to save on time. Even so it took us around half and hour in the bus before the tower began to get really close, because of it’s size it had looked closer then it really was. I had initially assumed that the tower was inside the city, but it turned out to be farther way then I had though. Instead of inside the city it was maybe a mile outside the city. We had to get off the bus and walk the last mile.
As we got nearer we saw a sign, it said, ‘Garian Memorial Park’. I squinted at the sign to make sure that I had read it correctly. Was the Tower of Nothing really in a park near the suburbs at the edge of town. It seemed... well anticlimactic. I was expecting something a little more dreadful, like maybe a graveyard or something.
“Ema look, the sign says the park was founded five years ago. It says that it was made in October, so it was made not very long after the Great Change.” I knelt down beside the sign and looked at the label. Tina was right, the park was created just after the Great Change. I couldn’t help but wonder what was here before this park was built, I couldn’t help but think that it was built to hide something.
The park was almost completely empty, which was good because I had a feeling something weird was going to happen at it was probably better for nobody to witness it. It was just a little ways left until the Tower of Nothing so we headed through the trees in the park. It wasn’t very long before we finally escaped the trees and saw it. It rose deadly high into the sky, black as night, the Tower of Nothing.
In front of us was a large pool of water, actually it would be more accurate to call it a lake. The lake was quite large and in the center of it emerged the Tower of Nothing. Seeing it there, I couldn’t help but compare it to the invisible tower I had seen in the New World. The hole it had been rising out of was about the same size as this lake and other then the colors the towers were very similar, I didn’t even bother thinking this was a coincidence.
“So that is the Tower of Nothing.” Said Mink in a bit of awe. I would agree that it was very impressive but that was partially because it was too large to have ever been built by human hands. If fact I doubted it would have been able to stand on its own if a human had built it, it probably used some strange magic to stand without toppling over.
“I must admit, it looks a lot bigger in person, sort of make you feel insignificant.” This time it was Quell that spoke. He was staring thoughtfully at the tower. “However truthfully I was expecting more to happen when we arrived here. I supposed there is still time for something to happen.”
“You’re right,” I responded, “There is still time for something to happen so we should still keep our guard up, who knows what might happen.” Together be began moving closer to the edge of the lake and closer to the tower. It wasn’t long before we stood at the bank of the lake.
“Umm, Ema, look at the lake, the reflection of the tower isn’t the same as the tower. It isn’t as dark, and it looks safer.” I followed Jamel’s pointing finger and looked down into the lake. She was right and the tower that was reflected was one I remembered very well.
“That is the tower I saw in the New World, the one that was invisible and floating above a giant hole in the ground.” I guess it was right to think that these two towers were connected. Yet, why they were connected I didn’t know yet.
“So that is what the formerly invisible tower looks like,” Tina leaned out over the lake and stared intensely at the tower. “This lake, it is almost the same size as that hole we saw isn’t it.” It seemed that Tina had noticed that fact too.
“Yes, it does.” I began walking around the rim of the lake, “And if this tower is similar to the the one I saw there then there might be a bridge to the tower somewhere around here.”
Everybody followed me around the lake but it was in vain. We had completed an entire revolution around the lake and there was no bridge. I guess that must have been too easy. Bix had said that only I had the keys to opening the Tower of Nothing. However I hadn’t fulfilled the objective that Zero has set forward, that is to find all seven of the Hands. I looked at my group, I had the Red, White, and Orange hands with me and I knew that the Silver hand was Arlan. That still left three hands that I hadn’t found yet.
I also didn’t know what role Quell played. Bix had told me that anyone who could see the tower would be important to Destiny but I didn’t know what role Quell played. There wasn’t a hand on the Destiny Clock that reminded me of him and that would contradict what Zero had told me, that I had met four of the seven hands and I already counted four.
“We are here... now what should we do.” I commented aimlessly. I tried consulting with everyone else but after several minutes of discussion I still didn’t have a better idea about what to do. I sighed a little, was this how it worked, when I finally tried to find out some of the answers by myself I didn’t find anything. It was a little depressing to think about.
Eventually I pulled out the Destiny Clock from my pocket and opened it. If personal effort didn’t pay off in the way I wanted then I would ask fate for some assistance in finding what I desired. Destiny probably would like wasted time after I had bothered to come all the way out here, or at least that is what I hoped.
The hands of the Destiny Clock ticked softly. I stared down at the watch. The Red, White, Orange, and Silver hands still ticked away like they had always done. However I noticed something strange with the fifth hand. That hand was Green, similar to the Red hand it too was carved, however it looked like leaves and trees instead of the roses carved on the Red Hand. The green hand was moving back and forth instead of spinning around. It didn’t seem to be completing a single arc, just as it almost did it turned around and began moving the other direction. Had that hand always been like that or was it a recent development, I didn’t really know.
“Look at this.” I pointed down at the watch, “Doesn’t that look strange.” Everyone gathered around me and looked at the watch with me. “What do you suppose it means, do you think whoever that is is lost or something.”
“Does it always point toward the same cardinal direction or is it relative to the clock?” It was Quell that asked the question, and probably a good thing to I might have never thought to check that.
“I don’t know... let me check.” I leveled the clock and then slowly turned it in a circle. Sure enough the hand continued to point in more or less the same direction no matter which way I held the clock. “Strange, I wonder why the other hands aren’t doing that.” I didn’t recall the other hands ever moving like this one, I really had a lot to learn about how to use the Destiny Clock.
I checked which way the clock was pointing. It seemed to be pointing past the Tower of Nothing and further away from town and into the wilderness, maybe it was proximity to the tower that had cause the watch to start behaving like this. “What does everyone say, do you want to check it out?”
I got a round of nods from everyone, we had all come out here for a reason so we might as well continue seeing it through. We began moving away from the tower and the town and into the forest. I asked Tina to try and remember our path for when we wanted to go back.
We had been walking for maybe fifteen minutes when I noticed a change on the clock. The hand was moving back and forth more erratically as if getting closer made it harder to pinpoint the position. The second thing I noticed was the background of the clock seemed to be changing... It looked like the background was spinning. I was going to point this out but everything seemed to be slowing down. I could feel my consciousness slipping I felt almost sleepy.
When I regain consciousness I was laying in a field of flowers. I sat up and shook my head, where was I. Where was Tina, Jamel, Mink, and Quell. I was about look for them when I head a different voice.
“I see your awake. Are you doing alright.” I looked to see a girl knelling next to me offering a hand. I took it and she helped pull me up. The girl was taller then me but she couldn’t be much older then me. Her hair was a light brown, like mine but hers was longer. Mine only reached to around my shoulder-blades but hers went a fair ways down her back. Her eyes were a light clear blue while mine were a darker shade of green. However as I stared at her I realized that she looked completely human, just like me. Of course Krien looked human too so this girl might be a Gifted too.
“Thank you.” I managed to say when I stood up. The meadow was quite large, it just seemed to stretch on and on, maybe it didn’t have an end. Wherever I was it wasn’t near where my friends were. I felt the weight of the Destiny Clock in my hand and quickly slipped it into my pocket, it didn’t look like this other girl had noticed it yet but I felt it would be better to hide it. “Do you know where we are?”
The other girl shook her head, “No, I was going to ask you the same thing but it seems that you don’t know either. Last thing I remember was hanging out with my friends and then I seemed to have fallen unconscious and when I woke up I was here and you were sleeping right next to me.”
“I see, that was about what happened to me too.” I tried to examine the other girl seeing what I could figure out about her and it looked like she was trying to do the same with me. Was this the Green Hand, somehow I didn’t really think so. This girl didn’t give the same feel to me as the green hand did.
I didn’t really want to continue to be rude so I offered my hand to the unknown girl and said, “My name is Ema, I wish I could have met you in more a usual situation but it is nice to meet you.” She reached out her hand too and shook mine.
“It is a pleasure to meet you Ema. My name is Dawn. While it might be an unusual situation I somehow doubt we would have meet in a usual situation.” As I shook Dawn’s hand I got a strange feeling. It was like a heavy weight had dropped onto my shoulders, it felt very foreboding.
It looked out over the endless seeming meadow, scanning it for anything that might be be a sign as for what to do. “I didn’t notice anything when I looked, but maybe you will have better luck.” Said Dawn from next to me. “I didn’t really want to wander around aimlessly looking for something, at least not until you woke up.” Dawn giggled slightly, “You looked like Sleeping Beauty when you were laying there, like you were waiting for your prince to come. I was almost sad when you woke up on your own.”
“Well, if I’m Sleeping Beauty then maybe you would be Cinderella,” I retorted, “You must wait pining endlessly, waiting for your fairy godmother to come and bring you a pumpkin carriage. Just remember to leave the ball by midnight.” We both laughed lightly, releasing some of our stress at being lost in a strange place with only each other for company.
“Since you are awake now, do you want to go searching for anything. I would probably be better then waiting around here.” Dawn suggested. I didn’t have any better plans and would probably have suggested something like that too so I agreed and we began walking aimlessly.
After a minute I spoke up, “Do you think this is just a dream and that we will just wake up to find our friends worried about us?” I didn’t really believe what I was saying but I wanted to find something to talk about.
Dawn put her hands in her skirt pocket and after a second’s though responded, “Assuming that was true and the two of us are sharing this dream then how is that any different then the waking world. Even that world might be nothing more then the shared dream of everyone in it. I think that even if that was true it wouldn’t be any less real because everybody is still experiencing it. That is real enough for me.” It sounded like a response that she had previously given some thought too. It sounded a lot like the argument that Mink had made at her house.
“I suppose you are right. Even if the world we came from was the dream that won’t make it any less real to me. I guess that reality is what you make of it.” The watch in my pocket reassured me that the world I had come from was actually real.
We continued to walk for a long ways in silence. I wasn’t sure how long it was we walked, it was hard to keep track of time in this place. The sun in the sky didn’t seem to move at all and there were no clouds in the sky. We could have been here an eternity and I probably wouldn’t have noticed the difference.
Eventually I stopped and turned toward Dawn. I stared deep into her eyes. I had been thinking for a while as we walked and I had finally come to a conclusion about her. “Your her aren’t you?” I asked, “You’re the girl in the mirror.” I remembered the picture of mine that Mink had shown me at her house. It was the picture of someone staring into a mirror and I was the one who was being reflected.
I reached down into my pocket and pulled out the Destiny Clock. I held it in my hand so that she could see it. “You have one of these too.” It wasn’t a question, I had already figured that out by myself.
Dawn nodded slowly and pulled what appeared to be an exact replica of my Destiny Clock out of her pocket. “Yes, I am. I wasn’t going to mention it but it is probably better this way.” When she slipped her clock back into her pocket I did the same. I turned and began walking again, Dawn followed me and we continued our seemingly endless walk.
“What is supposed to happen now?” I asked, “Are we supposed to fight or something. I don’t really want to be enemies but to be honest I don’t really understand everything that has been happening to me.” I hoped that Dawn would somehow have more answers then I did and might help me understand what has been happening.
“Us and our Hands are destined to come into conflict. Already my hands are going into motion to stop you from bringing about the second great change. However my hands are tied strongly by the chains of fate, I can’t stop you.” She sounded slightly sad or maybe resined.
“What do you mean, do you know why the world changed and what is going to happen in the future?” I asked. Now that I could have some of my questions answered I was begin to become afraid of what those answers might be.
“I don’t know everything about why the world changed. There are probably only a couple of people who actually do and probably the only one who completely understands it is Bix.” Replied Dawn. I wasn’t suprised that she knew Bix but I wanted to know how she knew him. “I do know that when the Great Change happened that Bix placed the fate of the world in our hands, maybe because we are young and he probably trusted the two of us the most.”
“I can understand why Bix choose me, he is my Godfather after all but why did Bix choose you.”
“Bix isn’t my Godfather, he has my actual father.” I was shocked to hear that. Dawn was Bix’s daughter. That made everything make sense even if there was the question of why I had never heard of her. However I didn’t know that much about Bix so it just could have never been mentioned.
Dawn continued speaking, “I can tell that you have already met Zero, well I did too probably several years before you did. She told me my entire destiny, all that the future would hold for me.”
“Then you know what is going to happen and what my Destiny is. Tell me why am I the Scion of Truth, Anchor of Freedom, Destiny of Destiny, and all that. What does all of that mean.” I could feel all the questions spill out of me all at once. Now that I had someone who knew the answers I wanted to learn everything.
However Dawn only shook her head, “I can’t tell you. You might think it is cruel but the chains of destiny that bind me are wound tighter then you imagine. If I told you then everything would change. My tragic fate entails that I cannot tell you much of what you wish to know.”
“Why not, can’t the future be changed. Aren’t I right that a strong enough resolve can break free from destiny and bring about a different future.”
“I don’t know. The future might indeed be able to change but destiny is indeed cruel. I willing go down the dark path of destiny because that path is the lightest of all the paths that I can see. Any other route would lead us into certain destruction. And that makes it all the more important that I can’t tell you because your knowledge of the future would invariably change it.”
We continued to walk for a time. How could I respond to such a doomed acceptance. Should I tell her she was wrong and that she should struggle for a brighter path, but what if I was wrong. Maybe the path destiny had chosen for her was the best path, how would I know if it wasn’t.
“I’m sorry if I’m only making it more confusing for you.” Dawn broke the silence. “I know you probably just have questions but no answers. If there was another way then I would suggest it.”
“I suppose I can understand.” I replied. “However is there anything you can tell me? Maybe you can tell me what I should do next.”
“I can tell you that you need to gather all seven of your hands, only then will you be able to enter the Tower of Nothing. That is where we will have our final confrontation. I’m sorry it had to be this way, in a different world maybe we could have been friends. As it is my hands will do almost anything to try and stop you and you won’t even know why.” Dawn looked up at the sky, “I’ve not even telling them the whole truth.” She looked at me and smiled faintly, “Maybe when our destinies are over we can try and be friends again.”
Something about that sad smile made me feel that we would never get the chance. Whatever her sad fate was I didn’t like it. But how could I change something for the better when I didn’t even know what it was I wanted to stop. I couldn’t really say anything that I thought would be good so instead I walked in silence.
Eventually Dawn spoke again, “I wonder how long this meadow is going to go on for. I can imagine that one of the purposes of bringing us here was for the two of us to meet. Since we are both here I imagine that there is some other reason.”
Regaining myself I looked around, I couldn’t tell how far we had traveled but it was probably a long ways. However, despite how far we have traveled almost everything looked exactly the same. “It times like this isn’t is best to consult with our Destiny.” I pulled out the Destiny Clock out of my pocket and flipped it open. Everything was the same as last time I looked at it, including the Green Hand which was still wasn’t spinning correctly. It did the same experiment that Quell had suggested and here too the Clock pointed in a specific direction.
“I see. So that is the way we need to go.” Dawn was looking over my shoulder at my Destiny Clock. “It seems that this place it where you will find another one of your Hands.” She stared down at the watch for a few seconds before continuing, “This one with be your fifth. Only too more after this...”
“You can tell that by looking at the clock?” I asked as we began to walk in the direction that the Green hand was pointing in.
“Three of your hands were more erratic then the other four, that is a sign that you haven’t met them yet. Once you have met them your connection with them stabilizes and that makes the Hand’s movement less erratic.” Explained Dawn. That made sense, at least as much as anything else I knew about the clock.
“Does that mean that you have found all seven of your hands.” I asked, “Etern is one of them. She has already tried to attack me.” It was hard to tell her that, if Etern was one of her hands then she must been friends with her.
“Yes, Etern Void is the Black Hand. However when she discovered what I had been hiding from her she left. She is determined to change my destiny, all by herself if she needs to, yet she too is uncertain as to whether that is the correct course of action or not. I was surprised when she suddenly transfered to your school, I guess that is her way of showing her resolve. She is the type who has trouble showing her feelings, she can only seem to show me her friendship in ways she regrets later. However that is just her own uncertainty showing, I can understand her meaning well enough.” Dawn showed me a lonely smile.
“What does she looked like beneath her mask?”
Dawn cocked her head a little and her smile grew, “She is much more truthful, I always thought that her real looks are much more beautiful then those she tries to hide behind. However I’m one of the few that think so, so she keeps it hidden from everyone else, which makes it hard for her to get along with other people.”
I too smiled, Etern was indeed a lot like Jamel. Yet they both thought very different about who they were. Jamel wanted people to accept her because of what she was while Etern wanted people to accept her despite what she was. While I subscribed to Jamel’s ideals I could understand why Etern would believe like she did.
“At least Etern has someone like you at her side.” I responded. “It would be worse for her if you didn’t believe in her.”
“Thanks, but she feels, rightly, upset that I had been hiding things from her. For the longest time I couldn’t tell her just like I can’t tell you. The chains of destiny are too strong for me.”
“Dawn, it is all right if you can’t tell me. I will do what I think is the best for me, you, and everyone else.” I tried to look as confidant as I could, but I will admit that I could have looked the part of a savior better.
Dawn nodded, “Thank you, that is more then I can ask. I wish I could tell you more I really do, but...” Dawn looked off into the distance. “No, just Thank You, I hope everything you desire will come to pass.”
I could really tell that Dawn wanted to say something to me but couldn’t. She looked like she knew if my boasting was true or not but couldn’t tell me. I was impossible for me to completely understand why because I didn’t know what see knew. Instead I just walked with her. I could do that at least.