Today’s blog is the continuation of, Welcome to the Valleys. If you would like to catch up with the tale, the first section can be found at this link
That night, Jeremy dreamed again of the abandoned city. As before, he was perched on a high cliff overlooking the former metropolis. The Sun was setting in the West, and the dying light sparkled in the bay.
Jeremy found himself lost in the sight of the sprawling ruins before him. For several moments he thought the buildings were being illuminated by the setting Sun, but then he began to differentiate points of light shining out from the ruins. Evertorches were coming to life.
“We noticed this about a year ago. It’s when we first knew something was wrong.”
Jeremy spun to the sound of the voice, only to discover a familiar man. He wore slacks and a comfortable shirt which bore some sort of a logo. The young man stared at the speaker, trying to remember where he’d seen him before. Finally he gave up and settled for, “I know you.”
The man smiled and warmed Jeremy’s heart with his eyes. Chuckling, he added, “Your bond-mate did quite a number on your memory, that’s for sure. She really didn’t want you remembering just yet.”
“My bond-mate? You mean Sheilak?”
“That’s the one. She perceived the danger in allowing you to remember yourself too early, and has been sealing your memory to keep you safe. Until now, that is.”
Jeremy didn’t appreciate what “until now” might imply, so he spun around back toward the city and changed the subject. “I’ve been here before, haven’t I? We’ve spoken right here before.”
“Yes we have, son, both in physical space and in your dreams.”
“And,” Jeremy paused as memories began to flow back into this recollection. “You’re my father.”
The man nodded silently.
“And you sent me away to bring back a guardian and some healers because… there was something dangerous.” Jeremy rubbed his temples. “I can’t remember.”
“Those memories will begin returning soon. As soon as you begin traveling South.”
“Home. Sheilak will show you the way.”
“Are you waiting for me?”
The memory shifted uncomfortably. “I… don’t know.”
The answer Jeremy received again made him uneasy, so he pointed out toward the flickering lights which had cast the city in an eerie pale glow. The evertorches didn’t shine with the honey-colored glow of the Inner Valleys. Instead, they radiated a pale-blue.
“You said the evertorches were the first sign you knew something was wrong.”
“That’s right. No evertorch has glowed in this city since just after the Extinction War. Something is disturbing them, and it’s agitating them even in their slumber.”
“The silent ones.”
“Who are they?”
The memory smiled serenely and cocked his head. “I guess you’ll soon find out.” He then pointed over Jeremy’s shoulder to where a creature of light was just landing on Jeremy’s cliff-top perch. “She’ll guide you.”
“Yes, it is time,” agreed Sheilak.
“Sheilak,” breathed Jermey with relief. But then he stepped back from his companion and uttered, “Are you going to take my memory again?”
Sheilak shook her head sadly. “No, at least I will no longer strengthen the blocks you put in place yourself. It’s time to begin remembering. To do that, we must move South.”
“That’s what my… father… said.”
“He is correct,” Sheilak nodded to the memory. “Though your memory of this dream will be garbled when you awake, you will begin to remember your past. And what we’ve discussed here. You only need begin walking the path home.”
“How will I do that?”
“I’ll lead you. Gather our friends together and have the Old Fox think of a reason to take you South toward the settlement called Woodhall. You must leave in no more than 10 days.”
“Because after that time the road may be shut.”
“And you must convey a warning to those friends who remain behind.”
“What is that?”
“Beware the sea.”
Before Jeremy could respond to Sheilak’s warning a brilliant green light enveloped the city, knocking over the ruins as it poured through the ruins. Before the light overwhelmed him Jeremy woke up, gasping for break. He sat up in bed and shouted, “Walter!”