It was not until they reached the inside of the temple that she put two and two together. As they entered, an old man rose, his frame like a craggy tree bent from the wind. He wore a long sleeved robe, his white hair flowing down his shoulders. His eyes were a milky haze that stared in particular direction, but the way he spoke made it clear that he knew of their presence without anybody’s informing him. There was a fatherly presence about him.
“Akmi ni trina buh?”
He held up his gnarled hand and a light flickered on above them. Advisors flanked the throne and two guards stood at the bottom of the steps. The man walked forward and kneeled.
“Ichniok ba dunet mi. Koru da yemaw buh signet poruk,” he spoke, gesturing back towards Serena. She thought it odd that he would make movement when the old man could not see anyway; perhaps it was of habit. When she looked up at the older of the two, however, she was startled to find the same cool, glacier blue eyes pondering her soul. His gaze made her uncomfortable, as though she was a piece of glass through which he could see.
Upon his face, blue tattoos swiftly danced, filtering across his cheeks and brow creating images that Serena did not recognize; except the one that appeared on his wrist and was constant. She gaped at the design, an unexpected coincidence because she had seen that same figure in a passage of the journal. Absent mindedly she looked down and there, framed by the odd pulsing light above, she saw that design, a legendary bird, faded upon her wrist.
The world seemed to progress in slow motion, then, as the man came back to her. On her wrist, she noticed, was the same creation and he pointed to it, drawing her arm out. Confused and disoriented she drew her hand away. This was ridiculous. It had to be a dream, she thought, I must be lying on the ground somewhere in a damp cave. Where was Kenji, she worried. None of this was real.
Then the voice floated through her ears bending the air with its dreamy noted and lines, “Ana mi oeh, ana mi oeh, mmmm; anah miro bah, mmmmm,” and the old man glided down the marble stairs, his hands clasped together, his face drawin in a gentle smile. A strange feeling radiated through her; it felt as if she had returned home.
Somehow, she could not explain it, but somehow she knew the words. They wafted through her mind like flashed images of a distant memory: I will be here, I will be here, come back to us. The phrase seemed cryptic, confusing, like she was suppose to know something beforehand.
As the old man moved closer, he placed a glowing hand upon her forehead. A sweet tingling scurried down, a feeling that left her slightly numb. She looked up to thank him, but the scene before her became hazy and black. Her eyelids felt heavy, heavier than the weight of the world. Her breathing became shallow-