Author's Note: Sorry, no Skekses or Uru in this story. :p In fact, this has really nothing to do with the original "dark crystal"(now known as the Crystal of Truth). I haven't gotten too far into it yet but the actual story is much broader than that crappy summary I gave you. So yes, Jen, Kira, and their daughter Aletha, are not the last Gelfling. There are others, but you'll have to wait to meet them. This story is actually an allegory(to what I won't tell; I have only written 7 chapters so far) so there might be fantasy racial elements(big hint) in here eventually. Currently, it takes place 12 years after Jen/Kira healed the Dark Crystal, with Aletha being the main protagonist. Please, leave reviews so I know that you enjoy this story! The more reviews you leave, the faster I put up more chapters. Also, the Dark Crystal and its characters don't belong to me. Brian Froud owns his characters of course. Aletha, however, is my creation.


1

The heavens were serene and silent, a testament to the fact that there were no people around for miles. Even then, the population was considerably small in the Valley. Scattered Podling "villages" were hidden in the dormant forests that bordered the swamplands in the center of the Valley. The swamplands were the most active places in the Valley; life never stopped breathing.

Yet on the rolling hills far from the Castle, Aletha could finally hear her thoughts. She felt a strong connection with these hilltops. There were old stones lined up in seven circles spread out throughout the hillsides. Aughra had told her why that area was so special and sacred; it was a place where her Gelfling ancestors could come and examine the stars.

There were 49 Gelfling who had met on those hills nearly 8 centuries ago to discuss certain ways on how to heal the Dark Crystal. That was when the Prophecy had been born; that there would be a Gelfling child who would find the Crystal Shard to heal the Dark Crystal. The 49 Gelfling astronomers and seers put their prophecy in stone, in what came to be known as the Wall of Destiny.

At least, that was what Aughra had told Aletha. But now they're gone, she thought. All the Gelfling are gone except me and my parents. All of them were killed by the Skekses. Tears came into Aletha's dark eyes. She was only 13 years old, and even then she felt like she was a century old. She knew she would die alone since she had been born alone. There were no other children to play with when she was little, except the Podlings, but they were so different. Podling children were hyperactive, and often roughhoused to the point where they would injure each other. Aletha had been different; she wanted gentle companionship and someone to relate to. Her parents, Jen and Kira, were the only people she could relate to.

Aletha had been born 12 years after Jen and Kira had healed the Dark Crystal. Now known as the Crystal of Truth, there had been complete peace throughout the Valley. It was ultimately the UrSkeks who had brought on that peace. I hate the UrSkeks no less, Aletha thought. It is their fault that they split the Crystal in the first place. They killed my entire race off. Aletha wiped her tears away. She could not change the past, and her future would never be altered. The only true companion she had was the furry little creature named Fizzgig. The Podlings domesticated the dog-like creature called "Fizzgig," yet her mother had always called the animal by the name it was referred to by the Podlings.

Even now, Fizzgig wasn't there with her. Her landstrider named Fijj made snorting sounds, obviously hungry. There were no tall trees on the hills, so Fijj couldn't feed at all. "I promise we'll go soon," Aletha reassured him. "I need to be getting back to my parents soon anyway. I don't even know why I came here." Aletha thought that Aughra had been right; that she would come here to these hilltops and feel a spiritual connection to the long dead Gelfling astronomers and seers. I haven't felt really much of anything coming here. It was just another excuse to leave the Castle and to be away from Jen and Kira.

Her parents had treated her with kindness and always tried to be by her side. But now, Aletha was older. She wanted to be around other Gelfling her age; not her parents. Is this truly how my parents felt before they met each other? Did they feel the loneliness like I do? That was something Aletha wouldn't dare ask her parents. Both Jen's and Kira's parents had been killed in Garthim raids. Kira had shared those visions with her in their dreamfasting, and they were disturbing to think about. Jen was more reserved with his emotions, only dreamfasting with Aletha once in her entire life. Aletha was afraid of dreamfasting, because her mother always shared the same memories. Even though most were enjoyable, there was one "scene" where Kira's mother had been strangled to death in a Garthim's pinchers.

Aletha shuddered at the mental picture. The wind on the hillsides had gotten strong, blowing her dark golden hair in the opposite direction. She panicked as the wind had gotten stronger. Out of nowhere, a thunderstorm began to build up in the far horizon. She called for Fijj, who was growing impatient from the rumbles of thunder in the distance. Aletha mounted Fijj with ease, trying to calm him in the Podling language that her mother had taught her.

Gently, Aletha kicked at Fijj's sides, and he immediately went into a "gallop" on his stilted legs. Fijj moved easily through the hilled terrain, trained to travel in and over steep land. The thunder grew louder, and lightning flashed across the sky. Aletha was used to these sudden thunderstorms, since the Valley had an annual heavy rainfall.

A strong lightning flash made the sky glow. For a short instant, Aletha thought she had seen strange figures moving on the faraway hilltops.