Shey peered mistrustfully around the room. A single stool sat in the middle, and the entire room was an indistinct colour which may have been white. No windows, one door. she was to stay here until Faegun, the First Spirit, revealed to her – and to all those waiting outside – the colour of her soul. It was this that Shey found disconcerting. Nobody had explained to her what exactly that meant, and their assurances that it was nothing to worry about rang hollow.
But it didn’t seem she had a choice, so she approached the stool and placed herself carefully upon it and waited. Her mind filled with thoughts from her previous life: school, then varsity, then her first job… then Erien came along and her life turned into a hilariously incongruous fairy tale which saw her transported to an alternate reality via a magical portal at the bottom of a filthy lake. How her clothes weren’t completely soaked and dirty, and she hadn’t contracted gangrene was beyond her. But then again… she had just traveled through a magical portal and into another reality, so the magic probably had something to do with it.
Something in the corner of her eye stirred, or at least Shey thought something stirred. When she focused her attention on the spot in question, it was just as bland as the rest of the room. Then something stirred in a different part of the room and she snapped her eyes to that spot, only to be met with the same blandness. Maybe she was losing it a little. Taking deep breaths, Shey closed her eyes and tried to calm herself. Paranoia probably wasn’t going to help with this process, whatever the process happened to be.
Just as she relaxed a little, Shey heard a sound coming from the world beyond her eyelids. When she opened her eyes, the room was changing around her. Patterns emerged from behind the non-descript walls and seemed to seep through into the air. Large swirls of something purple gathered only to dissipate, leaving behind a fine mist that slowly edged in all around her. And in the mist she saw the figure of a woman -not a tall woman by any standards, but definitely a striking one.
She seemed to blur in and out of focus as the swirls gathered and dissipated around her and the whole room was engulfed in the fine purple mist. As it settled around her Shey brought her hand up to feel and realised that what surrounded her now was not mist at all but fine powder. Her face cycled through several emotive reactions and the blurry woman laughed.
“Unusual, I know.”she said softly. “But that’s how this works.”
Shey stared at the woman stupidly for a moment before shaking her head and gathering her thoughts. “So, does this mean my soul is… purple?” She asked.
Again the woman laughed, and as she did so a swirl briefly obscured her lower body. “Why yes it does, Shey.”
“You know my name?”
The woman stepped closer and seemed to solidify for a moment before returning to her powdery state. “Of course,” she spoke warmly. “I know the names of all my children.” The woman stepped closer again and Shey fought the urge to scoot back with her stool. The woman stopped. “I am a manifestation of Faegun,” She explained. “And I’ve been waiting for you to come to me for a long time.”
Shey thought back to her first encounter with Erien, how he had looked at her like he knew her. “You sent him.” She realised.
Faegun nodded. “I needed to find you.”
Shey bristled as her thoughts moved to the moment just as she had exited the portal, reaching back and seeing Erien disappear with the light. Her tone carried a sullen accusation. “Did you know he would die?”
With a soft sigh Faegun’s powdery apparition blurred into several large swirls before returning to focus, seated on the floor. “He’s not dead. He’s… lost, in the space between realities. Another part of me is looking for him. Now, will you listen?” Though the purple woman’s outline had no discernible eyes Shey had the distinct feeling of being stared at intently. She shuffled uncomfortably before breathing deep and nodding slowly.
“As you’ve likely surmised, the colour of a soul in this reality is of some important. Most souls are simply a manifestation of life. When they enter this room, these souls manifest themselves simply, in white or grey. But there are other souls which wield immense magical potential. These souls never die, not really. They simply cycle through lifetimes. There are very few of them, and when they enter this room, well… this happens.” The woman smiled as the powdery swirls picked up all around her in fluid motions.
Shey sat silently, now waiting for herself to wake up. Clearly, this was a dream. Alternate realities, magic, colourful powdery souls, Erien… She was clearly dreaming it all, or had accidentally ingested shrooms and was now in some kind of hallucinatory coma.
“No, Shey.” The woman said quietly. “I’m afraid this is not a dream. It is quite real. I need you to be strong now, my child.” the woman blurred out of sight and re-appeared standing mere centimetres away.
The room began to settle around them until Faegun’s apparition was the only thing left of the former scene. A pouch materialised in her hand and Shey reached out to take it. As she did so the apparition also began to seep into the floor and walls. Be strong, it echoed in her head, and Shey was alone again.
She opened the pouch and regarded its contents – a fine purple powder – the colour of her apparently magical soul. Uneasiness knawed in her stomach again as she heard the door open behind her. Faegun hadn’t said it in so many words, but Shey knew as she looked at the powder. She had just walked into a war.