If there had to be a color associated with the bleak depression the woman was feeling, it would most likely be grey. She wasn't sure whether it was because of the grey clouds that twisted in turmoil overhead, leaving the world in their shadow. Or whether it was the grey rocks that surrounded her on her descent from the mountain, their shade turning darker as splotches of god forsaken water fell from the grey sky above. Perhaps it was the grey cloak or grey armor that encased her body. Or maybe it was that woman's grey eyes that burned in her mind, those lifeless eyes that preyed upon her thoughts. She could only take comfort in the color of her red tunic that rustled softly in the wind and projected out from under her armor, as well as her ginger hair that billowed from under her helmet.
Mount Targon's wind seemed to bite much colder on that day. Her arms crossed over her chest, hands grasping hard for the opposite arm, as if squeezing tighter would bring her more warmth. How ironic, for the Radiant Dawn to be cold. But she was in no mood to call upon the sun, to make it peak through the desolate sky. The sun...she felt betrayed by it, like a small school girl holding a petty grudge against an old friend. It was the reason she had not donned her usual golden Radiant Dawn armor and rather the armor of the grey Iron Solari vanguard. Maybe the color choice wasn't the best in hindsight.
The woman walked down the steep path, her steps weak, as if shaken by past events that haunted her movements. She stumbled on a loose rock, skidding down a few feet. Her helmet parted with her head and fell clanging over the side of the mountain. Raising herself, she looked over the edge, her hair blowing across her face. So clumsy, she thought. She was like this when her mind wandered, not her usual regal and professional self that had been perfected while at the monastery. Clumsy, laughing to herself at the word; she had been called that before.
The ginger girl walked around the corner nearing edge of the temple. She leaned on the rail of the terrace that overlooked the mountain lake below. Not hearing the sharp intake of breath behind her, she lost herself in deep thought. Sitting under the glow of the moon, she pondered her stay of execution earlier that week, the sun...even the moon and the Solari monastery into which she had just recently been initiated. She backpedaled slowly to sit on the bench, but again, she was always like this when her mind wandered. Tripping over her feet, she fell back, but did not hit the cold stone of the bench but rather the arms of a girl.
"Chosen of the Sun?" The girl whispered anxiously to the woman who had fallen into her arms. The ginger rose from her savior's embrace and bowed.
"Forgive me, at times I can be…"
"Clumsy?" The girl who had spoken so quickly, clasped a hand over her mouth. "I am so sorry, I did not mean anything, Chosen-"
The Chosen laughed softly, taking a seat next to the girl. Noticing they were similar in age and she had quite striking features.
"Call me Leona, please, I'm sick of all these formalities. Chosen of the Sun this, Radiant Dawn that. Why are they so formal and...afraid of me?"
" I heard that, the sun chose you, and in a beam of magnificent light, saved you from execution of the Rakkor. They fear you because you are the one chosen to wield the power of the sun, Radiant-... Leona." The girl quickly corrected herself as she received a stern glare from the girl across from her.
"Doesn't mean I'm not the same person I was before."
"I'm afraid you will have to leave that life behind. That is what the elders have spoken of. You are no longer the person you once were, you are the Radiant Dawn."
Leona sighed heavily and looked curiously at the girl.
"What brings you out here so late anyway?"
The girl stopped, her body tensing up, but after a warm look from a curious Leona, her shoulders fell and turned and sat back against the bench. "The moon."
Even though the clouds blocked out the sight of the sun, Leona was well aware of its position in the sky. It was setting and while the clouds would most likely stay and cover the night sky, she was in no mood to see what replaced the sun when it had finally set.
Leona assumed that if she continued down the mountain trail for another hour or so there would be an inn or residence to stay at, but she cared for neither. Rakkor or Solari presence was the last thing she wanted. The cave she found was cold and uncomfortable, but exhaustion ate away at her as she sat down and rested. Before falling asleep, she worried...would she plague her dreams again?
The library was pleasant as it was bathed in the glory of the sun. Clothed in a simple robed dress, Leona was free to roam for once, not stuck in chantings, meetings or lessons. Leona never had the chance to become adept in literature when she was young, but stories had always intrigued her more than war. She scoured the bookshelves and selected a book that peaked her interest. As she walked through the library she felt relaxed, the walls were painted with a warm golden color and the windows were high up, letting the light pour down. The ground floor was lined with bookcases but a spiral staircase led to a lounge. She walked to the back of the room to an occupied table.
"I did not expect to see you here," Leona said quietly with a warm smile, placing the book on the desk that a girl sat at. The girl promptly stood and bowed.
"Chosen one, I am glad to see you again." Her voice dropped. "You must be here to talk to me about what I said last week, about the moon." The familiar girl's face seemed to wince in expectation of pain. "You told the elders, did you not."
"No I did not. But I do not know why it would matter so much if I did. You shrink away in pain at the idea." Leona walked closer to the girl.
"Please, I mustn't trouble you with anything, Chosen One, I assume you are free right now and you do not want to be spending it listening to my troubles."
"Leona, again please call me Leona, and you'd be surprised. As bashful as you are whenever you talk to me, you...actually talk to me." Leona's eyes dimmed a little, the girl changed the subject.
"Well then, Leona, to answer your question earlier. I brought up my interest in the moon, that I shared with you, to an elder." She reached up and touched her cheek softly. In response Leona stepped forward, her curiosity peaked and she was quite close to the girl now.
"They were not happy, but I now know...that the moon is the enemy of the sun, I have no more foolish notions. Please forget I said-"
Leona's hand caught the girl's, pulling it away and brushing strands of her long platinum blonde hair to the side, revealing a deep bruise on her cheek. There was silence for awhile.
"You still seem to be interested in the moon, however," Leona said suddenly. Pulling herself away from the girl, she picked up the book the girl was reading before Leona had interrupted her and scanned it.
"A restricted book, about the Lunari, a group wiped out by the Chosen of the Sun and the Solari for their devotion to the moon. Seems a bit extreme to me, but then again, I am no religious leader, I am simply a tool," Leona let out a deep breath. The girl's grey eyes sunk once again in despair.
"Yes I admit it, I cannot stay away. I still am...drawn…to the moon and am interested by the Lunari. I...I am a shame to the monastery."
"And why is that?" Leona questioned, taking the girl by surprise.
"Well, you of all people, being the Chosen of the Sun, realize that my interest in the Lunari would make me the...enemy of the sun." The girl sighed. "Maybe I do deserve these punishments. I understand if you turn me in." Her eyes dropped to the floor.
"And why would you assume I would do that?"
The girl rose an eyebrow.
"It is not uncommon for the Chosen to eliminate the enemies of the sun."
Leona stopped and thought before speaking. "The true worth of a soldier lies in the ability to protect and defend, not to kill. Even if it means saving an enemy."
A man coughed from behind them.
"Radiant Dawn, there is an emergency council meeting. Please return and get dressed."
Leona shoved the restricted book on the Lunari in the couch near her, hastily hiding it. The elder approached and motioned for her to follow him. Leona turned to the girl.
"I must leave, but the Elders have been letting me eat in the main hall with the rest of the acolytes during meals. Would you join me tonight for dinner? It seems no one will sit with me."
The girl finally broke out of her stunned state, realizing she was not going to be turned in. Her face flushed slightly. "If you will it, I will abide." A genuine smile spread across the girl's lips.
"Until dinner then...Oh excuse me, but I've never asked, what is your name?" Leona said embarrassed.
"My name, it is-"
Leona woke to a sharp poke in the back from a jutting rock she rested on. Her eyes pleaded to be shut, but the thought of more nightmares held their demands at bay. Raising herself, she figured that she could reach the bottom of the mountain in a few hours. She exited the cave and looked up. The sky was still clouded by a deep, deep grey.