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When the woman returns in the scarred time with a lifetime friend, the undying world shall be right again.
Later on in the evening Markar came back. His eyes were filled with worry and his heart, I could feel, was sad.
“What is it Markar? You feel like the world is coming to an end.” I felt his face, it felt like ice. Imaginary friends often do that when they are feeling a certain way it is reflected throughout their whole bodies tenfold what a human’s responses are.
“You must come with me my lady,” he said with a formal tone. That I made a note of that because, after twenty years friends do not use formality. And as he waved his arms in a careful fashion that created an oval in which was outlined in a white shimmer that gradually turned into a dark blue. He grabbed my hand and brushed his lips against it very fondly and led me through the portal.
Markar was not an ugly dwarf or an elf with pointed ears, he was an imaginary friend. They are not aged looking like Hollywood portrays, imaginary friends grow with you and in time they fade away. Markar is taller than me with blonde hair and dark eyes that glitter. No matter how old he looks, his eyes never lose their child like glimmer. His smile never fades and his teeth never yellow; like the models in the pages of a magazine he never ever dulls.
Unlike Markar, my eyes are a deep green; my hair is long dark and wavy in an unnatural way. I am not fat but I am not skinny. I have developed the female curves. To me I look like a horror story queen, a horror queen who was in trouble.
When I walked through the portal I was taken back because Markar had not brought me where we normally come out by the gryphon’s nest. Instead we were in a large room, dim with only candle light. Enough candlelight though, that every corner was without shadow and you could see clearly, the flickering of the candle often disarrayed it though. There were five women sitting around us as if they were expecting us. Not just any women though, they were Jiadins, women of the old world, as Markar had told me in his tales when I was young. Jiadins were once the queens of the undying world, and there was only one thing that marked the Jiadins for who they were and that was their tattoos. The tattoos were a swirl of blue and purple and were marked directly on their left cheek. The tattoos were a mark of their devotion to the undying world with no tattoo being the same for not all the Jiadins had the exact same devotion. Markar calmly walked through the portal, and closed it slowly. I could feel him calming himself in my mind.
As a child an imaginary friend is created in your mind, and they then, materialize before you when you are young, if you have the right attributes for an imaginary friend that is. The child creates the friend and therefore has that connection to him or her until maturity seizes and takes that connection away. For Markar and I that never happened, and that was why we were here. Another thing about imaginary friends that was particularly useful was you could talk to him or her out loud or in your head and not many others heard of the latter, as well as feel the actions of your friend as if you were in their body and they can feel your feelings as well.
~ Markar what here can help us with our problem? ~I thought with some hesitance. Mind speaking was very useful.
~They were looking for us; just listen to what they have to say. ~ I felt him shiver as he said that.
“It is not kind to talk to your friend secretly my child,” the Jiadin with the complicated swirl for a tattoo said, “you wouldn’t want us to think you were talking about us.” She cackled knowingly.
“It was said that outsiders have lost their respect for us, it is also said that the undying world has changed drastically for the worst, that areas that used to be safe are now wrapped in man eating vines and hunted by creatures of the deep and dark.” The Jiadin with an elegant shape on her cheek said matter-of-factly, “is this true Deasha?”
“It is your Majesty.” I made the most graceful curtsy I could conjure remembering Markar’s tale of how these women ruled the undying world with an iron fist, keeping it strong and happy. There were no such things as man eating vines and deep creatures of the dark when they ruled. I treated them with the most respect I could at my angle: the Outsider.
The woman with the swirl sniffed, “If this is the case we have a little proposition for you, there is a reason you remain with your imaginary friend Markar here,” the Jiadin began her story with a thin smile, “we were just like you once, as children we had our friends and we came to this land to take a break of the realities of the other world and just like you as we grew we still had our friends.” The Jiadin looked to her right and five friends materialized and all of them were male.
“You see my dear,” The Jiadin on the right said leaning forward, “all of us choose a male friend as well, which is not common with young children for they tend to pick friends of the same sex. As the old tales go there were six Jiadin that ruled and no one realized that the Undying World could not be ruled with more or less than six of us. If you look around you can see there are only five of us, the sixth was killed in a scouting incident the eastern lands, and we have been forced into hiding by the deep magic of these lands, unable to rule and help our people. Do you….understand why you are here now?”
I noticed the only Jiadin who had not spoken was the one sitting directly in the middle. She has never taken her eyes off me as well, and she had a familiar look to her that I couldn’t remember where I had seen her. She stood up and at that point all the others turned and looked at her.
“We need a sixth Jiadin and you are the one who we chose. Ever since you first came here we have watched you. You are needed now. Are you willing to accept?” She sounded grave.
With a shock that made my knees wobble, I realized where I had seen her. She was my boss at the publishing company which I worked for in the real world. My head was beginning to spin, and until I felt Markar’s hand against my back. I didn’t I realize I had been backing up. I looked at him, and he gave me an encouraging smile.
~You were wondering why my love. This is our answer. ~ He still felt nervous and scared.
“There is one thing,” said the short Jiadin all the way to the left with an impressive design for her tattoo, “If you are to be one of us, you will never be able to go back to the world you call home, the Undying world will be your home.” The Jiadin leaning forward sat back as if to relax. I was anything but relaxed as I looked at my former boss with horror. My family and friends ran through my mind, I had a life other than the Undying World. All these questions and I had no answers, confusions only a child should feel, I should never have to question where my home is. I felt Markar grow more fearful, the light bulb clicked. That was why he was so afraid, he was afraid I would leave him. I looked into his eyes and it was a wonder I had never noticed it before, love shown through those eyes. More than I could ever hope for in the world I called home. There was nothing left to do, I stepped forward.
“Where do I begin?”
And everyone smiled.
And the woman sat down.