(from Aurora's perspective)
It's different here ... Quiet and dark, with only us. The moon never wavers, even during the bright hours of the day. There are always two orbs watching me, like eyes through a dream; one gold, the other pale. The moon dances with the sun, and they intertwine a music, a soft melody that only they can hear. I watch them dance during the last few moments of the day, I watch while the sun sings a farewell ... Then the moon kisses her good-bye with his pale light, and twirls in the sky to take her place.
My world is different; drastically different. There is no evil here, there are no monsters, and there are no other people, except us. The village, I mean. And ... they aren't here ... Colin and Echo ... They disappeared just after the Mana did, and I felt helpless to stop it. If I could have stayed ...
The last thing I remembered seeing was my village, tattered and destroyed, and the white dragon, chirping at me ... He too, is gone, and I will never be able to look at my friends again. I haven't cried; there were never tears for them. I'm afraid that if I do shed a tear, my memory will go with it, and I'll forget them. Each tear serves as a single memory now, and I find myself unable to control them ... They fall, and as they do, the moonlight kisses each of them. And as this happens, I know that the memories will never leave me.
I watch the sky change her dress as she prepares for the night, as she changes from golden to bluish-black. The beautiful music of the night is woven together as the crickets chirp, the birds flutter to their nests, the wind whistles through the trees, as laughter floats through the air as the village tells the old legends. The beauty of the night is peaceful as the stars begin to shine, their faint light illuminating the moon. They twinkle and wink, reminding me of the laughter we shared; then the laughter fades, remembering the times we were caught. Trapped.
Sighing, I watch the moon rise higher into the sky, silently, its light casting shadows and bathing the land in a shimmering veil of light. I can still see their faces, and I can almost see them in front of me, saying the words that I never heard.
" Don't worry, Aurora ... "
" We'll miss you, Aurora ... "
" We'll keep the Upperland safe ... "
" Good-bye, Aurora ... "
I had watched as the tears welled up in Echo's eyes, how Colin held her close. He smiled sadly at me, the Mana Sword glowing faintly, hanging at this side. That is the last I remember seeing of them before they vanished from my sight ...
Standing up, I reach for the flowers glowing on a nearby vine. They're silky, the color pearly white, while the inside glows a pale blue. Beautiful ... I think of the name, and smile.
Lilies of Memory ...
I remember everything as I watch the fireflies dancing in the night, watch them play a harmony, which, once again, only they can hear. The memory of Grandpa's teachings in the Wind Palace return also with what he taught me about magic and summons, about the land and animals. The one particular lesson stands out to me, the one about these same lilies, and how rare they are ..
" Lilies of Memory have a faint magic, for their power rests in the imaginations and dreams of others. But as the dreams and hopes fade, so does their magic ... Never forget your memories, Aurora. Never forget your dreams, for when the day comes, these lilies will return to you your memories, through the dance of the moon ... "
He had smiled as he said it, I guess remembering a time when the magic had worked on him, through the dance of the moon ...
I look towards the ground, sensing a presence. I swing down the black vines and branches of the tree, watching the woods swing along with me. The sky tilts, almost as if shattering, and the fireflies float out of my direction. My feet softly hit the ground, and I look up at the moon, still winking down on me. I look at the trees again, their outlines black, but against them, the luminescent lilies stand bright.
My eyes flutter shut as the wind steals my breath; making the lilies' magic flow through me, causing every memory I have to be brought out into the night, into the stars ... they twinkle, as if smiling. I feel myself begin to twirl around and around, becoming a part of the sky, a part of the night, and a part of the magic. I open my eyes again a few seconds later, in time to see the fireflies twirl around me and the glowing part of the lilies do the same. The glowing part does too, and they, woven together, create a light which had been unknown to me before ...
... Hope ...
And, like grandpa had taught me ...
The dance of the moon ...
Grandpa was right. The dance of the moon does return memories ... I laugh and smile, looking towards the woods again. The lilies glow to their own melody this time, the music floating through the night, this time I can hear it. It's sad and full of the prescience of memories ... the melody of the past, of life ... and this time I see another outline among the lilies, a pale blue light in the outline of two living memories ...
I step towards the two, not sure of whether to believe my eyes. The two smile as I continue to hesitantly step towards them, their outlines becoming clearer as I near them.
" Echo? Colin? "
Smiles are my only answer.
" Is that ... you? "
I reach out to touch Echo's face, and as I do, she leans down and wraps me in a joyful embrace. Colin smiles and does the same, their shimmering outlines cold in the pale moonlight. I shiver a bit as I feel the two let me down, and then they kneel and look in my eyes. And then Colin speaks, his voice echoing, as if he were speaking to me in Gaia's Navel again ...
" Aurora ... we came here because we know you're troubled ... "
Then Echo looks to me, her voice the same as Colin's. Then she too, beings to speak.
" We needed to show you that memories never fade ... "
" And neither does love. "
Echo nods, her eyes once again, welling up with tears. She bites her lip, and Colin puts an arm around her. He smiles the same way he did just before I left ...
" And we have something for you, Aurora. You must keep it safe for me, until the next person needs it ... "
" W-what is it, Colin? " I say, my voice trembling.
He stands, pulling the mystical object out of its case. Gleaming in the pale moonlight, the Sword almost looks like a legend, a fairy tale, a myth born in the minds of the hopeful. Colin says a few quiet words, and then the sword begins to glow.
" Protect it with your life, Aurora. And always remember us. Never forget your dreams. " He hands me the sword, and I accept it bravely. I nod.
Echo stands, her pale eyes shattering the tears that she has been holding. They run down her cheeks, and she picks me up again. I wrap my arms around her neck, and too, shed the tears.
" I shall always be with you ... "
" And I with you, Echo ... "
Colin too, embraces me farewell, whispering a few words of consolation. Then he wipes the tears from my cheeks, smiles, and tells me to never forget the memories, the tears, the laughter, the dreams. Dreams will always remain ...
And then the two turn and begin to walk to the edge of the escarpment, Echo looking back only once, and even then I knew she was still crying. Her memory will never forget ... and neither will his ... Or mine ... For even though we can't stay together, we will always be in the other's dreams ... And that is why I must never forget ...
Seeming enchanted, out of nowhere, a moonlit stair case appears in the sky towards the moon ... Colin and Echo walk up it, and as they do, I realize this will be the final farewell ... and then I run towards them, shouting for the two to stop.
But they keep walking.
" Don't leave me ...! Colin! Echo! " I run faster, the Sword dragging me down, " Please! Please wait! "
And as they near the top of the stairway, towards the moon and the stars, they turn to face me one last time ... Their faces illuminated by the pale light of the moon, by the lucent light of the stars, they smile. Simultaneously, they begin to speak once more ...
" We shall always be with you ... Always remember yourself, Aurora ... and your dreams ... "
Then they vanish, into the night, into the stars, into the moon ...
I should be feeling sad, or small, but I feel lighthearted and complete ... I have seen them one last time, and I will never forget them. The Sword glints in my hand, allowing the Mana to flow through me once more. I feel connected to my surroundings again ... And I smile up at the moon.
And then I begin to dance in the pale moonlight.