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A Secret Message

Willow ran a hand over the front of her mother’s journal and she called to mind all that she had learned in just the few days on this journey. Something inside her told her that her mother’s words held an even deeper bit of truth than what she had come to know from Judah and the lores of the land. She could not quite define what it was inside of her but it had something of uncertainty to it, something of foreboding and she hesitated several more moments before diving into the words that were scrawled across the page in her mother’s writing. She decided to read the entries in reverse this time hoping that she might pick up on something she had not before.

Not more than three pages into her reading, she began to piece together a cryptic bit of information that stood out based on the way her mother had written certain words. She had not noticed it before and she carefully scrutinized each entry searching for the strange printing of certain words. From her rucksack she dug out a pencil and began writing the words down on a blank page in the back of the journal. Dear. Willow. There. Is. Danger.

Willow stopped reading and stopped writing and took several deep breaths as she realized that her mother had left her a coded letter. Although she was desperate to know its words, she found herself hesitating and fearful of what she would discover with each word from her mother’s journal entries.

“Willow, are you okay?” Poppy crouched beside her, looking into her friend’s eyes.

“Oh. Yes. No. I will be,” Willow told her. She did not want to tell Poppy of her discovery until she knew all of what her mother had hidden in this message to her.

“Shall I sit up with you?” asked Poppy.

“Thank you, my dear Poppy,” said Willow. “But that will not be necessary my friend.”

Poppy bedded down not too far from where Willow sat with the small torch that Galeal had affixed with a few rocks to allow Willow to read without holding the light over the book. She watched Poppy as she began to fade into sleep and into her world of dreams and she yearned to know what it was that Poppy held that threatened the angels of darkness that sought to stop both of them on this journey. When she was certain that Poppy had drifted deeply into her dreams, Willow continued putting her mother’s message to her together.

Dear. Willow. There. Is. Danger. Everywhere. Trust. Truth. Always. You. Cannot. Quit.

Willow felt the tears building and erupting from deep inside her chest and inching their way to her eyes. She had begun to consider her mother’s death in the last 24 hours and now she found herself considering it again. Considering it as not quite the natural death as it had first appeared. She saw her mother as a threat to the realm of darkness and the angels of darkness because she saw what they did not want anyone to see. She saw truth and she saw what people could do and what they were able to do. It was no wonder that her mother had never left on her own journey, Willow thought. Her mother’s destiny was too tightly tied to those who would walk with her on this journey.

She returned to her mother’s journal and wrote out t=more of the words.

Dear Willow, there is danger everywhere. Trust truth always. You cannot quit thought you may find the journey difficult. You travel alone, but you are not alone. Poppy holds the truth that you need. Always protect the truth.

Willow looked over at Poppy who slept peacefully not more than two feet away from her. What did Poppy know that Willow did not? And did Poppy know what she held that threatened the realm of darkness? Or was Poppy like Willow, ignorant to what she had been given and with what she had been entrusted. Willow shivered in the darkness, wondering whether she would indeed be able to protect her friend, protect the truth and do what she was called to do. Her eyes grew heavy and she longed for sleep, but she also longed to know again the story contained in the book, Beyond the Legend. She wondered if there were things within the words of the story that held meaning in a way like her mother’s journal entries. And she knew that if she did not at least take time with the book tonight, she would miss the opportunity for she knew that tomorrow the journey would begin in earnest.

With care she opened the cover of Poppy’s book and traced the words with her finger. How many times had she and Poppy read this book together since they were young girls, she wondered. Suddenly, she found herself wondering where the book had come from, who had given Poppy the books she treasured. With some trepidation, Willow turned the pages, studying each word on each page, wondering if they contained some kind of message that she was intended to decipher for this journey. Beside her Poppy stirred in her sleep and became restless, as if her dreams were vivid and causing her some uncertainty in sleep. Willow was not used to such things with Poppy for never had Poppy recounted dreams to Willow; it was always the other way around with Willow telling Poppy about the dreams that kept her running and hiding as she was pursued by unseen evils.

“I pledge that there be truth beneath the Rock of Balance,” Poppy mumbled in her sleep.

Willow wrote down her friend’s words in her mother’s journal and wondered about the Rock of Balance.

“Never quit,” Poppy said as she tossed and turned. “I shall never quit.”

Willow wrote this down also and then laid a hand on her friend’s forehead, shushing her as she did her younger siblings and as her mother had often done when she had bad dreams as a young girl. Poppy whimpered and fussed in her sleep and Willow considered waking her, but before she could decide, Poppy fell back into silence, leaving Willow to wonder what visions Poppy’s dreams held.

Willow turned back to Beyond the Legend turning pages and glancing at the words and the painted pictures that were so vivid and filled with energy and color. As she peered more closely at the picture on the page before her, she realized that she what she was seeing was familiar. It was of the small lake by which they were camped and it included the rocky crags of the surrounding mountains. Where had this book come from, Willow wondered. She turned each page, studying the words and seeking the ones with illustrations and painted pictures. As she made her way from the back to the front of the book, she saw that many of the illustrations in the beginning of the book were of the places she had traveled. She found the Bridge of the Angels and the meadow where she had seen all of the amazing wildflowers and the hillside that she had climbed with Poppy and the rocky area where she had met Sentiary. Her mind could not entirely grasp the meaning of what she was seeing within this book.

Without hesitation she turned to the back of the book, seeking to see what illustrations were included in the way of the rest of her journey and was disappointed to find that there were no paintings in the final chapters of the book. She turned to the words, hoping that she would find something to which she could cling, something that would offer her some sense of what came next, but it was nothing more than the familiar story. But the story must hold some meaning, she thought.

“You cannot see what has not yet been written.” It was Judah’s voice from just outside the mouth of the cave where she sat.

“This book is about me?” said Willow.

“That book is about truth,” Judah told her. “It is about what is happening and as for what has yet to be, it is about principles and hope.”

“My mother,” she began.

“What you suspect is true, young Willow,” Judah replied.

“I do not understand,” Willow said.

“You do not yet understand,” said Judah. “But the time is coming when you will see what you cannot see in this moment.”

“Surely the Elders knew the true cause of my mother’s death,” said Willow, “and yet they said nothing, did nothing.”

(Day 14 word count: 1438 for a total of 25,090/50,000)


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