The Legend of Time
The Legend of Time
In my world, much as on earth, there are certain myths that are common to all the countries, though with noticeable variations. On earth, we have creation and flood 'myths', all stemming of course from the great Truth of the Creation and Flood. We also have 'tales' such as Cinderella, which can be found in many different variations in almost every culture of the world. In just the same way, the legend of Time is found in all the southwestern part of the world dimension of Heszeret, and possibly elsewhere.
The World of Heszeret-Alacta
Heszeret-Alacta is the name of the world I am developing. Heszeret and Alacta are two separate dimensions, and it is possible to travel between dimensions. Heszeret is inhabited almost exclusively by humans and human-like creatures (such as dwarves), at least as far as sentience goes. Magic in Heszeret is much different than in Alacta. Magic in Heszeret is never inherent. Any magic is either learned or granted by a higher power. In Alacta, magic is essential to the fabric of that dimension. Some forms of magic can be learned, but the most common form of magic is that which is inherited.
Only a very few have traveled between the dimensions, and it is even rarer that those who found a way ever came back. It is more common for someone from Alacta to go to Heszeret and return than for someone from Heszeret to visit Alacta and return. This is because one from Alacta is more likely to know magic that will enable them to get back to their own dimension.
Traveling between the dimensions requires time travel, dimension travel, and distance travel. The legend of Time is commonly believed to be true, and to show at least one way of going from Heszeret to Alacta (though not the other way round). This is the Arvindian version, and it is my favorite.
Alric could not remember where he was, or how he had come to be on the top of a high mountain; so high that the clouds which surrounded it looked to be a mountain's height beneath him. A large house stood in front of him, and, shivering with cold, he knocked on the door. It swung open immediately, and he stepped inside. He saw at once that there was only one room. No doors led into other rooms, no stairs led up. Two windows were in the room: one on his left as he entered, the other on his right, exactly parallel to each other, and exactly the same.
There was a fire burning in the middle of the floor, and beyond it, as his eyes adjusted, he became aware of several people. The most noticeable was a woman, who sat almost perfectly still in a straight backed wooden chair. She was extremely old and wrinkled, and her completely white hair hung down and covered the floor, so that it was like a carpet. On the old woman's left, Alric's right, stood a young boy, tapping his foot repeatedly. Alric looked hard and saw the strangest thing: after every little while, the boy would become much younger, looking to be about three years old, and then change rapidly until he looked as though he were twelve. Then the same thing would happen again and again, until Alric's eyes hurt from staring so hard. When at last he turned from the boy, he saw yet another boy, this one on the old woman's right. He and the first boy were facing each other, and every time the first boy was about to become younger, the second boy would lift his foot and give the floor one sharp tap. He aged much more slowly than his companion, but, as Alric watched, the second boy suddenly changed until he was a small child of three or four. The old woman remained motionless.
Alric advanced a few steps, blinking rapidly and wondering what other strange things he would see before he left this house. No one spoke, so he walked forward until he stood almost facing the old woman.
Tap, tap, tap, went the first boy's foot, incessantly. It was beginning to unnerve Alric. He cleared his throat.
"Hello," he said to the woman.
She turned her head and looked him straight in the face.
"How did you come here?" she asked, in a voice slow and rich, yet almost weary sounding.
"Actually, I don't know," said Alric. "I can't seem to remember how I got here. What is this place, and... who are they?"
The old woman laughed softly.
"This is the house between. That boy is Minutes, and the other is Seconds. They tick out the time of the world."
"Ahhhh," said Alric. His brow furrowed. "Then, who are you?"
"I am Time," she replied. "Old, old am I. Since I was a babe, here have I sat, guarding the house between, as my two brothers tapped out my life-span."
Alric's eyes widened. A thousand questions rushed to his lips and died there, and the only thing he could manage to say was, as he reflected later, a very foolish thing.
"Can you be killed?" he asked
A deep sigh rose from Time; she furrowed her brow, and said with great finality,
Then, after a pause, she added, with the same decisiveness,
"I was, once."
For a moment, all that Alric could do was stand with his mouth hanging open. Then, he whispered,
"How... how were you killed?"
"I will not tell you that," she said firmly. "But I will tell you that when it happened the world was thrown into utter chaos; pandemonium reigned. When at last it was over, and Enderel brought me back to life, the world had been rent in twain, and neither part could be accessed by those in the other unless they came through my house."
"You mean, there is another world?" Alric asked, breathlessly.
"Not exactly another world," said Time. "But that is the simplest way to think of it. Another way to explain it partially would be to say that it is another dimension of the same world, the world of Heszeret-Alacta."
"And which part are we in?"
"We are in neither at the moment. You live in Heszeret, but you are not from it. You have been drawn here, because you belong to Alacta. Look through the window on your left."
Alric walked to the window, and, peering out, he saw the steep slope of the mountain descending to an unimaginable depth until it was lost in cloud.
"Now," said Time. "Go to the other window."
He did so, and to his surprise, it seemed as though the house were in a cave; outside of the cave, not far away, was a sandy shore, where sparkling waves were lazily lapping almost to the cave's mouth.
"That is Alacta," said Time. "If you wish, you may go there. That is where your father came from, after finding a way to my house."
Alric took a deep breath; there was something in the blue water and the cool dimness of the cave that called to him, beckoning. This is your true country. Come, come, come to us.
"I'll go," he said at last. "How do I get there?"
"Open the door you came in by," said Time. "But first, have you no family in Heszeret? No friends?"
"Friends, yes," said Alric. "Family, no."
The last thing Alric saw before opening the door was Time, sitting between her two brothers as they tapped their feet, endlessly, never tiring. Her unblinking eyes followed him, and for an instant, a smile crossed her face. Then, he turned and entered Alacta.