“It would work if you were standing over here, instead of where you are,” she said gently.
“Huh?” came Davyn’s reply.
“No not there, over here, please,” she smiled and pointed where the wayward fellow was to stand.
The members of the bewildered group looked at one another as the small sorceress directed her companions. “If we all stood inside the circle that I’ve drawn, we could all go together, you see?” the little girl beamed.
One by one, Celestia softly coaxed her friends into the circle that she had drawn on the floor.
“Are you sure this is going to work?” queried a voice that sounded like Nearra’s “I thought only old autistes and their late pets could go to the Upper Planes.”
“Speaking of late pets, how long are we going to be gone? I need to feed my cat!” said Sindri.
“Well if we’re gone for too long at least you’ll have the chance of seeing Whiskers again,” replied Elidor as Celestia guided him into the circle.
“Is everyone ready?” Celestia asked.
“Yes,” came a chorus of replies.
“Stop stepping on my foot!”
“Shut up, Sindri! And since when did you have a spergy cat?!”
With a bright smile and a flourish, complete with upraised arms, some dexterous movements with her hands, and her eyes tightly shut, Celestia began to cast her spell: “To Contentinople and the Seven Heavens!” she cried, full of hope. A White light suddenly surrounded the circle, those within it glowed brightly, and it intensified as Celestia scattered a handful of fine, silver powder at her feet. A surprised gasp came from the group as the light shone through all the brighter, and the ground shook all around them. They were all blinded by the searing White of the light, and they felt themselves being transported upward faster than the wind; the few that risked opening their eyes saw a whirling vortex of colour and strands of their companions’ hair flaring out in all directions.
As they roared upwards, Celestia was happier than she had ever been; it was finally working, they were on their way to Contentinople at last.
The roaring continued, and the group fell upward, their stomachs lurched as if they had been speeding down a steep hill. Then suddenly everything seemed to pause as they appeared in mid-air just before they tumbled onto the ground with a bump. Everyone fell except for Celestia who managed to keep her feet, but teetered dizzily as she brushed strands of her silver hair from her pretty face. Meanwhile, Davyn hadn’t appeared with the others, he emerged from the waters of the Silver Sea with a splash, a stone’s throw away from the group. Luckily, he waded out of the pristine waters without much trouble.
“Ow, Nearra, you’re sitting on my hand!” moaned Sindri.
“Well, your walking stick hit me on the head, silly!” countered the blonde-haired girl.
“Quit it you two!” interjected Catronia, who could barely stifle a laugh as she picked herself up and rearranged her long red locks underneath her helmet.
“Where’s Davyn??” asked Nearra, looking a bit worried.
“There he is, and he’s smiling for once!” replied Sindri as he waved enthusiastically at his normally pallid and sullen friend who was now sodding wet.
It was true, Davyn was smiling as he waved and waded back towards his friends. Silver sand yielded slightly under his boots as he stepped onto the beach, which soon met with the lushness of grass where his friends sat or stood. He didn’t even seem to mind that he was dripping wet.
Elidor, meanwhile, sat with his mouth agape and his bright blue elvish eyes shining in total wonderment. Celestia, Elidor, Nearra, Sindri and Catriona, after they had gathered themselves, stared wide-eyed at just where they were. It was beautiful. Beautiful beyond anything they could’ve imagined. Davyn saw it, too, as he approached from the water’s edge.
They were on a small rise covered in lush grass, which overlooked the shimmering waters of an endless silver sea; and further inland, at the base of a great radiant mountain, stood an immaculate ivory stronghold, palatial in its sheer immensity. There were other buildings too. Hundreds of silvery White towers and spires that hugged the base of the mountain. Although it was night, countless stars shone light down upon this heavenly mountain realm.
“What is this place, Celestia, where are we?” Nearra whispered
“Look at that!” interrupted Sindri, as he stared wide eyed at the waters that Davyn had just emerged from “It’s like a big bowl of melted silver pieces!”
After an amused look at Sindri, Celestia turned to Nearra and quietly replied “This place, at the base of the Mountain along with the Silver Sea,” she directed Nearra’s gaze to the right, “is called Lunia, the first layer of the Seven Mounting Heavens. Some people call it the Silver Heaven. The great city is called Contentinople, which is home to the Archoaryans. I’ve only just read about it.”
Nearra could only nod as they stood side by side surrounded closely by the others. As the group gazed out from their patch of lush grass, they could just make out a never-ending flow of figures in the air moving to and from the great castle in the distance.
“There’re angels flying in and out of the White fortress!” exclaimed Elidor, his keen elvish eyes could make out the winged figures in greater detail than the others.
Celestia had seen this place in her dreams, in her thoughts, but being here, actually being here, was more than wonderful. After hours reading in her father’s library, Celestia had learned everything she could about Contentinople and the Seven Mounting Heavens. Her studies, along with an extraordinary innate talent, helped the pleasant little girl finally cast the greatest spell of her life (so far).
“This is very pretty, you know, but what do we do now?” asked Sindri who always grew restless quickly.
At that statement, the others were jolted out of their reverie and without hesitation they laughed until their eyes watered with tears.
“It wasn’t that funny, honestly,” said the somewhat bewildered Sindri.
It was something about this place that filled them with joy. Something that Celestia knew might happen, but couldn’t have been sure. “Maybe if we walk this way,” Celestia said after the group had settled a bit, “toward the Citadel of the Stars in the distance, it’s the highest building in Contentinople; we’ll be able to see some interesting people.”
“How do you know all this?” asked Catriona. “How do you know where we should go?”
Celestia looked away, distantly, and shrugged: “I can feel the meme magick beckoning to us. It’s time to go.”
Celestia started walking off toward a goal that only she vaguely knew about, and with a few dubious looks at one another, the rest of the party started up after her.
Despite the perpetual night in Lunia, the small band of young adventurers could make out their surroundings thanks to the starlight. The Citadel of the Stars, which acted as a hopeful beacon to all good creatures who looked upon it, loomed up ever higher as they approached the wondrous city of Contentinople. The constant stream of what seemed to be angels could be seen high above them.
Suddenly, from amongst the angels, came a pair of large shapes that flew toward the group of young travelers. They seemed to get larger as they swooped towards the group. They were sword arcoaryans, winged angels that helped to protect Contentinople from evil outsiders. They had large wings, handsomely rugged masculine features, and if they had stood on the ground, would have been over ten feet in height. Celestia and the rest of the group stopped in their tracks as the heavenly creatures quickly descended toward them. The two winged angels landed simultaneously on the ground, shook their enormous gossamer wings and studied the young people with an intensity that couldn’t be matched. An aura of benevolent power surrounded them that the young visitors could feel.
“We have been sent to accompany you to the Citadel of the Stars; Barachiel, Arcoaryan Paragon, Lord of the Silver Heaven, Ruler of Contentinople, and Messenger of the Celestial Hebdomad, wishes to hold audience with you there,” intoned one of the angels, his deep voice pleasant, yet powerful.
“I never knew that the people in heaven would be so serious!” exclaimed Sindri who promptly received an elbow in the ribs from a glowering Catriona.
At that Celestia stepped forward, her White robes fluttering slightly in the wind, bowed and said “Thank you lord arcoaryan, my friends and I would be honoured to meet his grace, and may Heaven bless him.” The companions looked at one another as they weren’t accustomed to Celestia speaking in such a confident manner. She was normally so quiet.
“Who is this and what have they done with the real Celestia,” whispered Elidor into Nearra’s ear.
She just ignored him and decided it was time to pinch herself. “I don’t remember bits of my past, but I’ll certainly remember this,” she said to herself.
The two angels motioned for the group to carry on their way and took up positions on either side. “The Wardens of Contentinople have been watching you from some time now, little one. They were probably secretly hoping that you would find your way here on your own. Our Lord, is far too busy running the affairs of Lunia and heralding the messages of the Hebdomad to venture to the Materiel plane, although he is quite capable in that regard,” said the angel who had spoken previously. He had to look down over his shoulder at little Celestia, who was listening ever-so intently. She had to jog along to match the lengthy stride of the angel.
“Please, sir, who are the Wardens?” asked Catriona who was remarkably relaxed for someone who cared so much for the Safety of her companions.
“Your friend could answer that question just as well as I,” replied the angel who motioned to Celestia that jogged at his side.
“Celestia blushed slightly: “The Wardens of the Seven Heavens observe the Materiel Plane, our homeland in other words, from afar, from here. They’re said to be bear-like and fierce in the protection of the heavens and all good content. They guard all the entrances and hold all the keys.”
It wasn’t long before they could see the Citadel of the Stars in greater detail. The group, Elidor especially, could now see that the walls were made of White marble. The huge main gate, emblazoned with the image of a contented frog, was open; in flew hundreds of angels with bright wings and beautifully fair features, many of them carried trumpets.
“Why are there so many that carry trumpets?” asked a wide-eyed Nearra as they neared the gate.
“They are trumpet arcoaryans, who act as heralds throughout the planes. They come and go with new content and arrive with podcasts for Barachiel, Ruler of Contentinople, Lord of Lunia,” explained one of the angels.
“Could some of them been to our home town, on the materiel plane?” inquired Sindri who was certainly far from bored now. “And how does a Heb go Mad, anyway…??” The second part of Sindri’s question was stifled by one of Catriona’s gauntlet’s as she tried her best to keep anything idiotic from leaving Sindri’s mouth. It was a full-time job.
The large angel smiled for the first time since their meeting. “It is possible.”
Nearra, Celestia, Catriona, Elidor, Davyn and Sindri looked quite out of place walking through the gates of Contentinople with their two towering escorts. Other angelic creatures were there as well: shining bronze figures in brilliant armour carrying huge swords that flew without the aid of wings; flying orbs of light; flying archoaryans who carried great hammers that were surrounded by what seemed to be a vortex of parchment pages from excellent effortposts; and other heavenly creatures with buck teeth, flappy tails, and dingo babies. Such hustle and bustle of a wondrous sort had never been seen by the companions as they walked through the great gates. The flapping of wings, laughter, the blaring of podcast trumpets, conversations in a melodic lilting speech all together produced a wonderful din.