Week 18 - Novel - Dreams Part XII - September 30-October 6
“I had hoped that that would be the end of it, and determined that perhaps it was best that none ever harness the Heartstone after all. Despite all the immense good it could bring to the world, the risk of irreparable harm on an unimaginable scale was simply too great to chance it for that good. I further bolstered my vault in which I had stored the Heartstone, and placed sentry stones to alert me if its resting place was ever disturbed.
“A few more months passed in relative peace and quiet, but ultimately, the day did come where my worst fears materialized, and I was alerted by my stones to the disappearance of the Heartstone. I know not to this day how it happened and how he pulled it off, but I knew without a doubt that it was he, and that this would not bode well for Eukaon.
“I set to action then immediately, and desperately worked through my options. With the Heartstone in his possession, I knew that I was no longer any match for his powers, and if I could not stand up to him, then no one in this world could. Finally, I determined that there was only one possible hope left to us, and that was to attempt to find another possible host for the Heartstone who could champion the fight against Aeon. It was a far stretch, but I had my suspicions that it was his presence from Earth that had lent him his unique talents and propensities, and so I set about to find another such host from Earth.
“This is where you come into the story, Jo. By this time, I had already discovered how to access Earth, but still needed to find a compatible party to bring through to this world. You were that person, Jo, and I do not believe this was a mere coincidence. This earth, and our stones, have an intuition of their own, and they only call to those that they do with a reason.
“It has long been curious to me why, for instance, it should be that only strangers to our world are able to harness our most powerful stone, but I suspect now that perhaps those of you who come from Earth are not so foreign at all. Indeed, perhaps you are more close to this world than any of us. We were placed here by chance, mere accident and luck, but you were only able to come here through qualification and purpose. Out of everyone on Earth, you are the only one, besides Aeon, who has been able to make the leap to Eukaon. I suspect this world, and consequently its stones, for whatever reason, feel an especially close connection to you.
“In any case, you are here now, and you are the only hope we have of stopping Aeon, and stopping his destruction of our world as we know it. I have slowed him down in his progress, which is likely the only reason we are still here, but this will not last. When I mentioned that I had placed further safeguards in the safekeeping of the Heartstone, these extended to dampening the Heartstone’s power itself. Indeed, I would have tried to destroy the stone entirely, had I not suspected that, like its name suggests, it is in some way critical to the survival of this planet.
“However, I have sealed the stone deeply within many layers of inert rock, which significantly restricts the ability for the stone to be harnessed in its full power, and places enormous strain on anyone who attempts to harness the stone. However, these layers will eventually break down with repeated harnessing of the stone, and so this is not a permanent solution. Furthermore, as we’ve already seen in Tach, even with these dampening effects, Aeon’s power with the stone is still unbelievably immense.
“However, such a demonstration as Aeon enacted in Tach is sure to have put him out of commission for a few weeks at the least. The Heartstone, unlike other stones, is not consumed when harnessed, but rather consumes the host’s vitality itself upon its use. With my safeguards, this effect is amplified manyfold, and I cannot imagine, even with Aeon’s unparalleled talent and constitution, that he has emerged from such a harnessing without having exacted a terrible toll on himself.
“This gives us time, but not enough to spare. We must train you in the art of stoneworking, and have you ready to face Aeon before he fully recuperates and is able to break free of the limitations of the Heartstone in its present form. This, I can do for you, and take you under my wing as I did Aeon, but we must start immediately if we are to have any hope in this world.
“Now, I hope you understand our plight, and the urgency of our situation. Our first course of action must be to get you through the portal stone and fully here in earnest, and then we can begin our preparations. Now, are you ready to undertake this task?”
Elvir finally lulled into silence here. Jo didn’t immediately speak, still stunned by the sheer quantity of information she was trying to comprehend, and trying to come to terms with the full gravity of the situation. It was hard to grasp that she had somehow gone in a minute from entirely irrelevant and invisible high schooler to the last hope and salvation of a planet.
“Are you sure this isn’t a dream?” she said, feeling stupid as soon as the words left her mouth.
Elvir tapped his foot impatiently. “If it is, you will wake up from it soon enough, and all of this will have been inconsequential. If you don’t, then you have your answer, and the fate of our world will be in your hands. With those being the stakes here, I urge you with all my might to treat this situation with all the seriousness and import you can muster. I will show you the way to the portal stone in your world, and you can see it for yourself. Then, you can make your final decision and see if this is merely all just a dream, or truly your destiny.”