Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter 29

Fiction By Anna // 4/16/2009

Chapter the Twenty-ninth

Aria was in a dead wilderness.
Or perhaps it was a dream.
No, it was real.
Wasn’t it?
She couldn’t tell. She felt as though moths were nesting in her mind.
It seemed to her that she lay there, on the dry ground, for a long, long time. Suddenly, a face appeared over her. Great, shaggy, and grey- it was a wolf.
She did not wonder what a wolf was doing there, but she was very frightened. The only time she could remember being so afraid was… No, she had never been this afraid.
The wolf spoke, its voice low and majestic. "Do you remember me, little one? I knew you before you were ever born."
Aria knew those eyes, and though they were wild and untamed, she suddenly felt secure with the beast. But where was the recollection from?
She closed her eyes tightly. Memories filled her head, driving the moths into corners but not completely away. They were memories from another world, another lifetime. Snow, cold, being chased, tears, falling. Waking up. A wolf, licking her face with a warm tongue- restoring her to life before it was too late. "I- I remember you," she said. "I remember." And she knew she trusted him completely. Suddenly, she asked, "Is this death?"
The wolf shook its head. "No. Not death, not yet. Just its passing shadow. Now, hold onto me."
Aria latched her arms around his neck like a small, helpless child and held on as tightly as she could, burying her face in his long gray fur. As soon as she touched it, strength returned to her limp, weary limbs.
"Do not let go," the wolf warned, "or you may be lost."
"I won’t let go. I won’t let go," she said, her grip tightening. "But don’t let go of me, either," she pleaded.
"I never let go," said the rich voice that spoke of ages long, timeless and time-fulfilling.
He dragged her over mountains, across valleys, through rivers, under birds of prey. Aria should have been afraid. But she wasn’t.
You never let go, she thought. You are with me.
His thoughts answered her, traveling with her as well. I am always with you, he said back, And I will always be with you, dear one.
The journey was long and hard. But finally the wolf came to a stream. The water was clear and pure. "Drink," he commanded.
Aria leaned over the surface of the water and cupped it in her hands; the wolf stood over her, protecting her.
Aria drank.
The water was crisp and icy, sweet and good. She drank until her thirst was quenched, but the wolf told her to keep drinking. She drank until she was full. She drank until she could swallow no more. Under the safety of the wolf’s shadow, she lay down to sleep…
…"Wake up, child. Wake up."
Aria opened her eyes, and there was his face.
"It is time to go, dear one," he said.
"Oh, you’re not leaving me, are you?!" she cried, sitting up in alarm.
His face was fading away. "I will never leave you," he said again.
"Where am I going? Where am I going?!"
No answer.
"Who are you?!" she screamed.
His voice echoed all around her. "I AM. I AM. I AM. "
****
Gilligan sat with his head in his hands, feeling utterly helpless. Aria was dying, and he wasn’t even allowed to see her.
He had felt this way in regard to Aria at least twice before. First, when Torlith had taken Llorleya, and again more recently in the castle when Torlith discovered her. The first time, he had sworn to himself that he would never feel that powerless again- yet here he was. Twice the vow had been broken. Even with Torlith dead, he could not keep it!
The star rushed out of the tent. Gilligan looked up, as though asking if there was any change, but the star just shook his head and hurried away.
It fell silent.
Days passed in minutes.
The elf healer ran out, then she stopped. "Gilligan! It’s Aria."
Gilligan jumped up. "Is she dead?" He only mouthed the words. He could summon no sound to his throat.
The elf laughed. It was a shrill, relieved laugh. "No, nothing like that at all! Praise the Lord! She’s awake and she wants to see you!"
Gilligan didn’t hear another word after "she’s awake", as he was almost instantly at Aria’s side.

The moths had fled Aria’s mind. She felt less like a child and more like a queen again- but she could almost feel the woolly fur of the wolf in her hands, and she knew the feeling of utter helplessness without Him would never go.
It couldn’t have been only a dream.
Perhaps this, now, was a dream- perhaps her whole life was a dream- and only the wolf, the I AM, was real.
She opened her eyes. Songs circled around her, and she brushed them away as if they were cobwebs. Remnants of the ethereal notes whispered around her hair and flew through the tent ceiling in shimmering wisps.
"How long have I been asleep?" she asked the only other person in the room, a she-elf she didn’t recognized. To Aria’s surprise, the elf’s mouth dropped open, and she ran out of the room.
Aria raised an eyebrow. "What in the world… ?"
Next thing she knew, Gilligan had dashed into the tent and snatched her up in an embrace, whirling her around.
"What’s going on?" she asked, laughing.
"You don’t remember?" he asked, seemingly astonished.
"The last thing I remember" (from Llorleya, at least, she added to herself) "is that giant goblin creature."
"You were dying." There was a catch in his voice.
"How was I rescued?" she asked, sitting forward almost as if she were a child at story time.
"No matter," he said after a moment.
Aria cocked her head, examining his face, and finally asked, "What happened in the battle?"
"The fairies came," said Gilligan, smiling. "Just in time. We won."
She laughed aloud and hugged him again. "Really and truly? It seems like a dream." Gilligan smiled, but it faded when she asked who had died. "Anyone we hold dearly?"
"Loth," he said bluntly. "She died defending you after you were unconscious."
The wind left Aria’s chest. "It’s just like she said," she whispered, bowing her head. "It’s almost as though she’s seen visions, too…"
Gilligan did not ask her what she meant, as it did not seem like something it would profit him to know, or Aria to tell.
"Where is everyone now?" she asked, her voice quivering ever so slightly.
"The funeral pyres. They’re going to light them soon. One for those who were on Torlith’s side- and another to honor the heroes."
Aria looked up. "I’m going. Don’t protest! I’m not weak at all, honestly. Let me be with my people."

It was evening, and a calm had drawn over Llorleya. The sky had turned purple and chill quickly- winter was sending its herald to tell them, "I am coming; I am on my way."
There was a stench from the battlefield. The two piles of bodies that were to be funeral pyres reeked. But Aria felt no disgust- just sadness.
She met Rayne walking with a torch. The young woman seemed subdued, and Aria assumed it was because of Loth, or simply that it was a sorrowful time, a time to mourn. But she was only partly correct.
She clasped Rayne’s hand. "I heard," she whispered.
Rayne gave her torch to Aria, shaking her head. "Not- not just that. It’s… it’s Bronden," she said finally. "His sister was killed. I… he…"
Aria had no idea who Bronden was, but Rayne’s second sentence was laden with meaning. Simple words: Sister; killed. But together they became a fear in the night that mothers hug their children about.
Aria also knew the look in Rayne’s purples eyes. Maybe someone wouldn’t have known at a passing glance, or if he hadn’t felt it himself.
Rayne was in love. And now she felt that man’s pain as keenly as her own.
Rayne and Gilligan went off to get more torches, and Aria stood uncertainly by herself. A fairy then flew up to her, green wings shimmering in the firelight.
"I’m Tamello, a fairy bard," he sang. "Rayne told me about you, my Queen." Then he lowered his voice and alighted. "And I have something important to tell you."
"Certainly," said Aria, taken a little aback. What could he possibly say that was more important than what she was already doing?
When Rayne and Gilligan returned, they saw him speaking to her quietly. Her head was cocked and eyes wide with surprise. As they approached, she cast a sharp glance at Rayne. "Are you sure?" she whispered to Tamello.
"No," admitted Tam. "But I’m so close to being sure that I had to tell you."
"Thank you," said Aria, looking rather bewildered.
As Tamello flew away, Rayne asked, "What was that about?"
"Perhaps nothing," she said softly, remembering what an elf had once said to her. "But perhaps a very lot." Abruptly she turned to her friend and asked, "Rayne, would you say something to the people and be the first to light the pyre of heroes?"
Rayne almost jumped back. "What? Me?!"
Aria beseeched her, "Please, Rayne, you know I wouldn’t ask unless it were important. I hate to say it, but I’m strange to the Llorleyans. Foreign. I’m still Llorleyan, and I still understand them, but I’m also a star. Neither of those situations will change- but they don’t understand me. You’re familiar. One of them in a way I will never be again."
Rayne was stunned to hear these words. "What are you saying?"
Aria sighed. "I’m not sure. I haven’t figured it out quite as well as I thought I had."
After a pause, Rayne gave in. "Very well, then. I’ll say something for you. But I’m sure they’d rather hear from you!"
As Rayne walked lightly away, Aria shook her head to Gilligan and murmured, "If I were her, I wouldn’t be so sure."
Gilligan gave her a curious look, but had no opportunity to ask what his love meant; Rayne, afraid she might become too afraid, had already begun.
****
"We are here to honor and mourn the dead," Rayne said plainly. No use disguising the truth here with flowery words. For Rayne, at least, sorrow cut them out.
Her voice wavered a little, but she didn’t quite know whether it was grief or fear that shook it. "I’m only sorry so much blood was shed. But it was given freely, for freedom, and Llorleya must not forget her heroes.
"Blessed be the name of the Lord, who has given and taken and given again."
With those final words, Rayne cast her torch on the pyre of the fallen. At the same moment, Aria (who was hovering about the bonfire of their enemies) dropped hers. Others followed, weeping and praising at once, and the flames flared to life under the dark evening.
**********
Two days later, in the castle (after everyone’s been cleaned up)

Aria and Gilligan stood facing each other. He clasped her hands and brought them to his face, as though warming them. Aria looked up.
"I’m going to leave, Gill. My people need me."
Gilligan said nothing.
She pleaded with him. "You must understand. Without me, they will fall. They will die."
"I have always understood, you know," he said. "I thought this day would come, and I know you cannot stay… To have the blood of so many on your hands…"
"You said once you would follow me to the ends of the earth. Why can’t you come with me?" But Aria knew why; she just wouldn’t accept it.
"This isn’t the ends of the earth; it’s the beginning of the sky."
Aria looked down.
Gilligan said quietly, "I cannot fly."
"There must be some way of bringing humans-"
"But up there, I’d be useless, a burden, worse than lame." He hesitated. "Perhaps it’s best this way. You might fall in love with someone else, one who will not die and leave you to go on forever. You are a star. I am only human."
Aria began to cry, because she knew its painful truth. He would die someday. "I will never, never love another! Not how I love you. You must believe me! After all we’ve been through- time and time again we thought we’d lost each other. Now we’re finally together. We cannot be parted now! You must come!"
"Aria, I can’t!" he shouted.
Aria winced, pulling away.
Gilligan breathed in. "Aria, here," he whispered, taking her hands again. He slid the rings off their fingers and placed them gently in her hands. "I release you from your promise," he whispered, feeling as though his heart would be wrenched in two.
Aria’s world was crumbling down around her, so soon after it had finally been reconstructed. Those words had released an arrow to pierce her heart, and now it was in shatters. She ripped her hands from his, letting the rings fall to the floor with a cold clatter, and fled to her room. Sobbing, she threw herself down on her bed, and there Noonstar found her later, having cried herself to sleep.
****
She woke calmer, but so full of pain that she could do little more than lie around, listless. She could not think about Gilligan for the sorrow it brought, yet at the same time she couldn’t keep her mind away from thoughts of him. She barely spoke two words together, and left her room but twice, only to return and lie on the bed, staring at the ceiling with almost no thought or emotion.
The first time she left the room, she wandered the castle speechlessly. She did not meet Gilligan, but whether this was fortunate or unfortunate I do not know. Once she walked unseen in a bright, lonely garden, and saw Wynd and Raphael hand in hand, talking.
"I cannot fly," Wynd was saying. They were the first words Aria had heard her speak since her wings had burned.
Even those simple words made Aria’s heart ache. It was for the very same reason that she and Gilligan would never marry.
"Then I shall be your wings, if you will allow it," Raphael replied, putting his hand to her cheek.
The fairy smiled, for the first time since Torlith had taken her flight away.
Then Aria realized that this was not her conversation, so she left. She silently wished Wynd every happiness, yet envied her.
The second time she left was to eat, but she barely touched her food. Everyone noticed, but Noonstar was the only one who dared to search out the reason. Finally, after some digging, he got Gilligan to tell him what had happened.
He thought and thought, but there seemed no solution. They were both doomed to die of broken hearts, it seemed. Then he thought of his daughter, and the choice she had made.
And finally, he knew what to do- what he must do- for his granddaughter.
****
He called Aria and Gilligan. Aria turned her face away quickly when she saw Gilligan with her grandfather, and Gilligan looked as though a sword was plunged into his heart.
Noonstar hesitated. Was it too late to pretend he had never called them? But a heart of courage was beating in his chest, and he drew Aria aside.
"Aria, whatever happens to me next, you must know I did it for you," he said in an undertone. "Promise me this- after it’s over, you’ll go to Celestia as quickly as you can. They’ll know you- every star knows their queen by instinct."
"I never promise anything when I’m confused," she said. Tell me plainly what you mean, her eyes asked.
Noonstar smiled wanly. "Promise me anyway, that you will go to Celestia."
She sighed. "I promise."
"Gilligan, come here," Noonstar said.
Aria knew the look on her grandfather’s face. It had been in a vision. A long-ago vision, but she couldn’t remember where. Quickly, she reached out and touched his shoulder. "Grandfather, what-"
"Hush, Aria!" said Noonstar.
The Starking laid a hand on Gilligan’s shoulder. Noonstar’s eyes shut tightly, and his grip intensified. His light raced into one place- he could feel it gathering in his chest. Then it went out, into Gilligan.
Gilligan into the air, golden light changing his countenance from puzzled to exhilarated. He had no idea of what was going on, but he could feel it inside him, urging him to sing, to fly, to glow.
Aria shot up next to him, embracing as they rose higher. "Oh, Gill- you’re a star! You’re a star!"
Then she saw her grandfather.
When Cera had traded her race, she hadn’t looked old, just older. Noonstar looked ancient. Aria hardly recognized him as the strong, young-faced, wise-eyed Starking that had greeted her as kin. He looked centuries old, or more. No human, which was what he was now, could live that long.
She was immediately at his side, her joy vanquished, as dim and grey as ashes. The Starking lay on the floor in a heap. "Gilligan, I think he’s dying!" she cried in anguish.
Gilligan fell out of the air as though dragged down.
Noonstar looked up at Aria. "It was the best… I could do. I hope… trading my race…"
His breath was short.
"Gilligan is a star now. He can… go with you… I’m just sorry… I won’t see… your… coronation."
A tear dropped from Aria’s face onto his now wrinkled cheek.
He raised his hand and wiped away her tears.
"Your eyes are so much like Cera’s… so much," he whispered.
Then his hand dropped away, and his eyes closed.
Aria buried her head on Gilligan’s shoulder, and he stroked her dark hair as she cried.

Comments

Hurray

You put up the next chapter! I was about to be very angry with you...trying to break up Gil and Aria, but then, the wonderful starking! The way he was so willing to give up his "starship" to Gil even though he knew he would die was just so...so, WONDERFUL/SAD!
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"It's King Edmund, actually. Just King though. Peter's the High King. I know, it's confusing."--Edmund Pevensie

Ariel | Thu, 04/16/2009

*****************************************
"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

..................wow. *~*~*~

..................wow.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Thu, 04/16/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

This was just about the best

This was just about the best chapter. The wonderful starking. *sighs happily* So you turned Gill into a star?! I'm so happy, he really deserved it.
Then you left us hanging. What's up with Rayne? You never got back to it. Is she going to be queen of Llorleya or something like that?
Wonderful chapter....wonderful book.

"Borrowed, borrowed without permission. But with every intension of returning?" Jack Sparrow

Alecia | Thu, 04/16/2009

It awoke with a shrill shreak that can be trnaslated "How dare you leave me in this bed, when I am asleep and helpless?" My sister

A wolf!! Very cool! I love

A wolf!! Very cool!
I love this chapter! The starking's sacrifice was beautifully tragic...so heroic. You know why I love this story (besides that all the characters are just lovable)? It's because your characters are chivalrous, heroic.
Well done, Anna!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Heather | Thu, 04/16/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Incredible

This story has taken so many plots and twists and turns, I feel dizzy. Now it finally feels like it's winding down.
I am very, very glad that Gilligan and Aria will be together now. I'm adding Noonstar to my heroes list. But now that Gilligan is a star, I don't know if I'll relate to him as well...

James | Fri, 04/17/2009

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Aww....You almost made me

Aww....You almost made me cry! So sweet, Noonstar's awesome.

-Erin (One who obsessively watches American Idol).....(Love you Adam!).....(Allison and Danny are cool too).....READ THE QUOTE, IT'S AWESOME! Lol....

"I'm like your boy next door who decided that he wanted to be a rebel one day. So.. I'm a nice rebel." -Adam Lambert

Erin | Fri, 04/17/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

OFG: Thanks! I hated to kill

OFG: Thanks! I hated to kill him, y'know... but it fit so well.
Clare: Are you very sad? Thanks.
Alecia: That's quite high praise. Please, don't guess with Rayne- I hate revealing my plot.
Heather: Thank you. :) I love my characters too. It's hard to murder them, really it is.
James: I think I said something like that to Kyleigh not too long ago.. Something about the plot looking like a corkscrew... But yes, it's winding down. The next chapter is actually the last one... penultimate at the most.
And Gilligan won't change too much, you know... He's still going to be rather boyish and teasing.
Erin: Almost?! You didn't really cry?! JK. Thanks!
*************************************************
I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Fri, 04/17/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Lol =) Tears were pricking

Lol =) Tears were pricking at the corners of my eyes, so yes, I actually did cry! THE NEXT CHAPTER IS THE LAST ONE????!!!! OMG, HOW CAN IT END????!!!??!?!!? Ok, I'm done :)

-Erin (One who obsessively watches American Idol).....(Love you Adam!).....(Allison and Danny are cool too).....READ THE QUOTE, IT'S AWESOME! Lol....

"I'm like your boy next door who decided that he wanted to be a rebel one day. So.. I'm a nice rebel." -Adam Lambert

Erin | Fri, 04/17/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Yes, I'm very sad...and so

Yes, I'm very sad...and so full of different emotions I hardly know what to think. :)
Your chapters have a knack for that. If you've noticed, my last few comments on your chapters have been one-worded. :D

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Sing as if no one is listening;
Dance like no one is watching;
Live as if you will die tomorrow;
Love like it will never hurt."
-Old Irish Saying

Clare Marie | Fri, 04/17/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

A new chapter!!!! I love the

A new chapter!!!! I love the starking. He used to be just some character that was in there, but now I really like him.
The next chpater is the last one!?! That's wonderful, and terrible all at the time. It's going to be over. Can't wait to read it.

"Here are the beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." C.S.Lewis

airlia | Fri, 04/17/2009

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."
General George S. Patton

?!?!?!?!?!?

OOOOHHH, this chapter was good. The next chapter is the LAST? How could it be the LAST?
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"My brains, his steel, and your strength against sixty men, and you think a little head jiggle is supposed to make me happy?"--Westley

Kendra | Fri, 04/17/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

Sad...definitely sad. But

Sad...definitely sad. But all is coming together now, and that's comforting.
On Gilligan, I don't think he'll change much, if at all. Gilligan will always be Gilligan.
So, I'd like some more information on Rayne. Is she the real queen? You know, really, there was never any backround information on her. And since (as far as I can remember) there was no mention of her parents or relations (other than Josh, may he rest in peace), then any thing is possible.
Oh, and if you are going to end it in the next chapter, you better make sure that all questions are answered.

The Brit | Fri, 04/17/2009

Oh, that was so sad. *tears*

Oh, that was so sad. *tears* The wonderful, wonderful old starking! *sniffs* pardon me-I'm going to re-read this chapter and cry my eyes out. *sniffs*
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~
"I wish I could fly, like dandelion seeds
Following currents, floating in the wind
Leaving behind the old and tormented
Seeking a place to start anew
I wish I could fly like dandelion seeds..."
~Unknown

Sarah | Fri, 04/17/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Your tears honor me. Almost

Your tears honor me.

Almost all your questions will have answers in the next chapter. Fear not, dear readers... It's been a wonderful journey, and we're nearing the end.
*************************************************
I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Sat, 04/18/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

*Sobs. I can't believe it's

*Sobs. I can't believe it's so close to ending!!!

-Erin (One who obsessively watches American Idol).....(Love you Adam!).....(Allison and Danny are cool too).....READ THE QUOTE, IT'S AWESOME! Lol....

"I'm like your boy next door who decided that he wanted to be a rebel one day. So.. I'm a nice rebel." -Adam Lambert

Erin | Sat, 04/18/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Aww.....*sniff* This was so

Aww.....*sniff* This was so sad...but yet, so good...~Marie

Anonymous | Sat, 04/18/2009

?????????

Does the wolf represent God?

Rosie | Sat, 04/18/2009

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Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.
David Starr Jordan

Rosie:

Rosie: Yes.
*************************************************
I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Mon, 04/20/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Gilligan. Star. Hmm.

Gilligan. Star. Hmm. Excuse me while I put those two together in my head. Not that I don't like it. You need to post more now that I'm caught up.

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne

Bridget | Mon, 04/20/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

:) :(

Wonderful. (sorry about the late comment)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
January 1, I've got alot of things on my mind
I'm looking at my body through a new spy satellite. try to lift a finger, but I don't think I can make the call, so tell me if I move, 'cause I don't feel anything at all.

Bernadette | Sun, 05/03/2009

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