The Heir:Darkstone Trilogy

LOST cont’d (Part 5)


It was All Round’s Moon eve in Orein’s world. A night when the huge, round moon shone bright and appeared to be within arm’s reach. In my world, some referred to it as the super moon. For some reason, this was a cause for celebration.

The clearing at the center of the forest was filled with floating orbs of different colours and sizes, illuminating the whole area. Garlands made of leaves, flowers and vines decorated the perimeter. Long tables covered with food and beverages occupied both ends of a rectangular space which served as a dance area. There were throw pillows scattered around where everyone could sit and enjoy the festivities.

Everyone was dressed in festive clothing in different colours and themes. Some had head dresses made with fruits, some with branches and leaves, and yet others had intricate designs of woven vines and flowers. A beautiful silk dress in fall colours was left on my bed in the morning, and that is what I wore to the festival.

There was a group of ladies in colourful costumes made of leaves and flowers performing an intricate dance to the soothing music playing in the background. I looked around to see where it was coming from and found a group of little folk playing their instruments. They were situated on a platform that floated in the air among the tree branches.

I had no idea how long I have been stuck in this other world with these other worldly beings. There were different species, as far as I could tell, such as fairies, the elves, nymphs and the little folk (of which I had no clue what they were.) They stood to about my waist, were skinny with long, thin arms and legs and narrow faces. All of them were quite friendly and accommodating. Quite respectful towards me, if I may say so.

Ever since the Lady Mara spoke to me in my bedchamber, making me realize that crying and moping in my bed would not help me escape this beautiful prison, I have started to communicate and get to know those around me. So far, though, not one of them was willing to share how to go through the walls of magic. They seemed to divert my attention to other things when I started asking questions. I just went with the flow, determined to find that one being who would slip and tell me something. I must admit that I haven’t given up hope of crossing over and going home. But as time passed, that hope was slowly fading away and I had to keep reminding myself to be strong and not to give up.

“Hello, my beauty. You look lovely in that outfit. Our clothing suits you.”

“Oh, thank you, Orein.”

“Have you eaten at all?”

“Yes, indeed I have.”

“Did you find everything to your liking?”

“Mhmm…Everything tasted wonderful. In fact, I am so full I feel like I would burst.”

Orein smiled widely, his eyes twinkling in the lights. He held out his hand towards me.

“Come then and dance with me.”

I smiled at him as I put my hand in his. He helped me up and led me to the dance area. The music was soft and mellow, and Orein held me close to him. One hand behind my waist and the other clasping my hand to his chest. My eyes were drawn to his and what I saw sent shivers down my spine. He looked at me with a smile that reached his eyes. The happiness I sensed from him seemed to radiate towards me, making me feel light and content.

The soft material of the dress I wore billowed in the air as we danced. Orein was an excellent dancer, guiding me as we swayed along with the music.

“You dance very well, my beauty.” I felt my cheeks flush at the compliment.

“That is only because you are a great dancer, Orein. Otherwise, I have two left feet.”

A frown formed between his brows as confusion showed on his face.

“What do you mean?” he asked as he gazed down at my feet. I laugh out loud, which brought smiles to everyone who watched  us.

“It’s just a metaphor. It means that I am not a good dancer.”

Orein smiled at me and it brought tingles to my insides.

“I do not know who told you such a lie, because as far as I could tell, you are doing an excellent job dancing with me right now.”

“Why, thank you kind sir. That makes me feel less awkward. Maybe it’s your magic that has made my feet light,” I teased.

The smile on his face disappeared. In a flat voice he replied.

“I would never use my magic to control you, Anya. You must know that.”

His words hit me like a blow in my face. His words and demeanour confused me and left me speechless. The air around us seemed to shift and grow cold. The light and happy feeling from earlier was gone as we continued to dance. He felt a million miles away from me.

Orein was silent and looked everywhere else except me. As soon as the music ended, he pulled away from me and led me back to where I sat earlier.

“Thank you for the dance, Anya. I believe I must leave now, you should stay and enjoy yourself. I will see you soon.”

Before I could even reply, he turned and walked away. I felt deflated as I watched him go. The fact that he called me by my name and not his usual ‘my beauty’ hurt.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered with tears in my eyes, “I was just kidding.”

Orein seemed to pause in his walk and for a very brief moment I thought he was going to turn and walk back.  But he continued on his way without a backward glance.

The hurt and confusion I felt stayed with me after he left. I didn’t hear the music that still played, nor did I see the others dancing and having a good time. The night which had started out to be such a lovely evening just grew dim and cold. There was no point in staying.

With a heavy heart, I turned towards the surrounding forest. A walk would be good. Hopefully it would ease the heaviness that squeezed my heart.

Orein had been very good to me since he brought me here. Though the circumstances behind it all was not ideal, I knew he had good intentions. He had been nothing but patient and kind. I had no idea that my joke would offend him and I hoped I could find a way to make it up to him.

The darkness of the night enveloped me as I walked deeper into the thickness of the trees. The cold night air surrounded me, chilling me to the bone, and yet I didn’t feel it as I dragged my feet, one in front of the other. I reached the edge of the forest where an outcropping of rocks gave way to a beautiful view of the mountains.

I sat beside a huge rock and gazed into the night. Among the company of the millions of stars and the bright moonlight in the heavens, I have never felt lonelier than I felt tonight. The tears started to flow from my eyes, falling to the ground. A sob escaped my lips and I found I couldn’t hold them back anymore and there I cried as the moon moved across the sky.












LOST cont’d (part 4)

“What shall I do, Mother? She hasn’t spoken a word since I showed her what was beyond the magical walls?”

“Has she eaten at all?”

“No and it has been an equivalent of a day in her world. I am quite worried.”

“Is she awake?”

“I believe she is asleep in her bedchamber.”

“Let me see if I can help.”

I quickly ran back to the softest and most comfortable bed I’ve ever lain on. I hope I could keep my breathing even and that my eyelids won’t move while the Lady Mara checks in on me. I really have no desire to talk to either her or Orein. What I would like to do is find a way to go back home. I simply can’t stay here, my parents and siblings will be heartbroken if I don’t go back.

“Anya, wake up child. I’d like to speak with you.”

I ignored the hand that lightly tapped my shoulder.

“I know you’re awake. Come now and let’s discuss this. Otherwise, I will just talk and you shall listen.”

I opened my eyes but didn’t utter a word. The Lady Mara sat on a chair at my bedside. I wondered how she moved with such stealth because I did not hear a single sound to indicate that she had entered the bedchamber. I heard her sigh.

“You have to eat, Anya. You can’t just let yourself waste away. Orein brought you here to save you from certain death. It is a different way of life than what you know, but at least you are here and not gone forever. I know you are worried about your family, but whether Orein left you there or not, they would have mourned for you.”

My eyes flooded with tears at the mention of my family. Her words made sense, they would have mourned me either way. It was just difficult to think that I was alive and yet I can no longer see them, talk to them, or hug them. I would miss them so much. It was better to be gone than to exist in this strange place with these strange beings. At least then I would not feel the loneliness and the loss.

“Anya, child, please try to adapt to our world and our way of life. Change is not always easy to accept, but if we keep an open mind, the transition will be less stressful.”

I felt the tears roll from my eyes, and I kept them closed. I couldn’t stop the sob that rose from my throat. My heart felt like it was being squeezed tight and it was getting harder to breath.

I felt the mattress dip a little as a gentle hand rubbed my back to comfort me.

“There. There. Everything will turn out alright, Anya. You just have to give it a chance.”

My mind was working overtime, trying to process what the lady said. Sadness still filled my heart, but my thoughts were going in a different direction.

After a few moments of contemplating and a bucketload of tears, a warm feeling seemed to engulf my whole body and I felt myself relax. The last thought I remember was: “Maybe living here won’t be so bad. I could try to adapt to their world while finding a way to go back. Someone should have an idea because they could go through those walls with no problem at all.”

Let’s make each other’s day today!

It’s funny how we don’t realize how much we touch other people’s  lives with the little things we say or do.

It could be at work, in the grocery store, along the street as we walk to work, in the train or bus, at the coffee shop or even while filling up at the gas station. For us, it is just something that we do as part of our routine, a necessity or a form of communication or relaxation. 

It could be a gesture as small as smiling at the other guy at the next pump, saying thank you to the barista who just handed you your coffee, reaching for the box of tapioca from the top shelf for the little old lady beside you, or being nice and courteous to your customer or patient. 

We could also touch other people’s lives with a picture you took and shared on social media, a painting you did and hang for all to see, a poem or a story you wrote in your blog. These can serve as an inspiration to someone, encouraging them to follow their dreams, or find hope in life.  

These are just examples of the little things we could do everyday which may affect others. 

That smile you gave or the ‘thank you’ you uttered could have shown the other person that someone cares, that he matters. 

The small gesture of helping that old lady or just plainly being nice to your next customer or patient could have eased their minds of worry and anxiety. 

It is sometimes good to remind ourselves that we are a small part of a big picture. What we say or do can make a difference. 

So don’t be indifferent to your surroundings. Be aware of your next move. Be careful of what you do or say. Smile and say thank you to the next person you meet today. You may just make their day! 

LOST cont’d – (part 3)

Images of my life flashed before my eyes, much like how they describe it when one is in the brink of dying. I began to wonder if this is one of those moments.

My heart was breaking as my brain slowly processed the fact that  I was stuck in this world where these strange beings lived.

I would never speak to my parents again, nor see my brother Seph and my sister, Sarah.

I gasp.

They would all be worried about me because I didn’t tell anyone I was going for a walk in the woods. There would probably be search parties looking for me once they realize I’ve gone missing. Mom would be in tears and Dad would be holding her in a tight hug, desperately trying to console her.

Oh no! When they find my body, (if that was even my body) it would crush Mom’s heart. They would all be devastated!

Bastian would be heart broken! We were going to get married in the spring of next year! I was going to be a blushing bride, walked my down an aisle decorated with white lillies. Our vows would be recited under a bough of flowers and vines. All of our friends and family would be cheering once we were pronounced man and wife. There would be dancing and drinking and heavy partying. It was going to be grand! My fairy tale wedding! Now it wouldn’t be happening…

I pull my hair out with both my hands in frustration.

“What am I going to do? I have to  go back! I’m getting married!”

Orein dropped on his knees and pulled me into him. When did I fall to my knees and ended up sitting on the ground? My heart was in a panic, my mind going a hundred miles a minute. I grabbed onto Orein’s arm and held on tight, hoping that I could gather enough strength to face whatever is coming. Tears fell down my face and all I could hear are my sobs. My limbs lost all their strength and my body leaned onto Orein for support.

“What am I going to do? There must be some way to go back…”

My eyes felt heavy after all the crying I’ve done. I felt strong arms lift me just as I was drifting off to sleep. Blissful nothingness felt good right at this moment.


LOST (cont’d)

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, my beauty, but you are absolutely not dreaming. I refuse to be just a dream.”
I turned around to face the magnificent specimen before me. If I was in a dream, I wouldn’t want to wake up anytime soon.

“Why did you bring me here?” The confidence that exuded from Orein earlier seemed to fade a little upon hearing my question. Gesturing for me to proceed before him, he says:

“Come. Walk with me as I try to explain myself.”

We’ve taken quite a few steps before he continued speaking.

“When I encountered you in the forest walking along that path with your head bent, shoulders slumped and seemingly deep in thought, a sudden urge to protect you came over me. At first I thought it was just my warrior instincts kicking in. However, once your eyes met mine, a sense of peace I haven’t felt in a long time overcame me. I tried to walk away from you, but something held me frozen in place. It was only when I decided to take you with me that I was able to transport back to my home.”

“But all I remember is seeing the stag there, and all of a sudden I found myself here. How long did it take for all of these to take place?”

“Time is not something the fey need to worry about. It is irrelevant to us for it does not exist in our world.”

“How can time not exist? How would you know when things need to get done?”

“In the land of the fey, one need not worry about being late or when to do things. We take life as it comes and accept what it brings in its own time. There is no sense stressing one’s self with such useless worries.”

“But…but…you took me here, and everyone back home will be worried and will be looking for me. How long have I been here already?”

“It doesn’t matter, my beauty. Come, the Lady Mara awaits”

Orein took my hand and in a blink of an eye I found myself in a beautiful garden where a small feast has been laid on an intricately carved table. A few flying bugs as big as matchbox cars hovered over the food. One of them flew towards me and I was amazed to see that it wasn’t a bug at all. It was a fairy!

Her blue, almond-shaped eyes were filled with curiosity as she looked at me with a smile. Her red hair was pulled up in a messy bun, and she was wearing a yellow, sleeveless frock with a brown belt cinched at the waist.

“Hello there!”

The fairy waved her hand in response. I smiled with a frown on my forehead, wondering at her non-response.

“Fairies do not speak, my beauty. They respond through gestures and actions.”

Orein tugged me forward.

A huge bouquet of flowers adorned the center of the table, adding to the elegantly prepared table settings of huge leaves that appeared to be used as plates, wooden wine cups and embroidered linen napkins. Different kinds of fruits, vegetables, crackers, cheese, flatbreads, pastries and wine lay on beautifully carved platters.

Mara stood at one end of the table, a crown of white flowers adorned her hair. She offered me a smile and gestured towards the food on the table.

“Come, let us partake in the bounty prepared specially for your arrival.”

Orein pulled my chair for me and pushed it back as I sat down. He served me a small portion from each of the platters and poured me some wine. Mara watched him with an indulgent smile on her face.

“I’ve waited hundreds of years to see my son this way. I am so happy that he finally found someone who has sparked his interest enough to take her home.

I turned towards Orein who was sitting beside me. His cheeks were flushed as he looked me in the eye.  A shiver ran down my spine. I tried to smile but something in Mara’s statement bothered me and my heart started to beat faster. Something was not right.

“Orein is my only son. Heir to the throne in all of Feyland. Maybe now that you are here, I can look forward to having grandchildren.”
I gasped.

“Don’t worry, my beauty, I will do my best to make you happy.”

“But I can’t stay here. I have a life in my world, a family and a job to go back to.”

“We are your family now,” Mara insisted.

My breathing started to become faster and I could feel the panic starting to rise within me.

“But I have to go back.”

“I’m sorry, my beauty, but once you cross through the magical walls, there is no going back.”

“How do you cross back and forth?”

“I am Fey. Humans can only cross through them once. There is no going back.”

“No. No. No, this can’t be happening. Please take me back. I can’t stay here!”

Suddenly, the beautifully set table disappeared with Mara and I was left standing with Orein.

Tears streamed down my face as I looked pleadingly at him.

“Please, Orein, please take me back.”

Orein was looking at me with sadness in his eyes.


He takes my hand and suddenly I found myself looking through a misty wall. On the other side, I recognized the green rain jacket and khaki pants I put on before I went for a walk.  A body lay on the forest floor.

“Who…who is that?”

Orein did not respond. I blinked in an attempt to make the image clearer. I could not stifle the gasp that escaped my lips. Tears blurred my vision as a sob rose from my throat.

“No! That can’t be me! I’m alive! I know I am!”

Orein took me in his arms and hugged me tight.

“I am sorry, my beauty, but you were not in great shape when I found you. If I did not take you with me through the walls, you would already be gone.”


Leaves gently fell on the forest floor, covering it with a carpet of brown, orange, red and green. Its layers cushioned each step creating a squishing sound every time my foot hit the ground.

A rustling of leaves to the left attracted my attention. I turned my head and right before me stood a stag in all its magnificence. Its antlers were spread wide, its stance proud and strong, its muscles firm. I almost felt like I had to fall on my knees in deference.

My eyes were drawn to its brown ones and a strange feeling envelopes my whole body. Almost like a sense of peace seeped into every pore and made me feel like I was floating. I closed my eyes and reveled in this wonderful bliss.

When I opened my eyes, I found myself standing in the middle of a clearing. The green grass felt marvelous under my feet. The sound of a waterfall caught my attention, making me turn around. A beautiful mini waterfall flowed from a hill, the clear water flowing into a small stream where a fish or two swam within its depths. The trees that surrounded the clearing were all green and their pine scent filled the air. The freshness of the air seemed to cleanse me to my very soul.

I frowned as I looked around. The stag was gone and I was by myself.

“Where am I?” I asked aloud. A gentle breeze blew from behind me and a shiver ran down my spine.

“You are in the land of the fey,” a voice behind me replied. I turned around abruptly.

There before me stood a beautiful lady in flowing robes of iridescent white. Her long, light hair gently fell on both sides of her shoulders, covering the whole length of her torso. Her skin was creamy and looked so soft and smooth. Her eyes had a gentleness that immediately put me at ease. There was a small, indulgent smile on her full, pink lips. Her regal nose slightly upturned, indicating some sort of royal blood flowing within her. Her whole being oozed of power, yet exuded a sense of peace.

“Who are you?”

“I am Mara. Welcome to our realm.”

“But how did I get here? One moment I was walking in the forest, the next I’m here in this beautiful place.”

“Orein brought you here. It would seem that he was drawn to you. He couldn’t explain it but something told him to take you with him.”

“Orein? Who is Orein?”

“He is the leader of our warriors in this realm. Orein was on his way back from an errand when he came upon you in the forest.”

“You mean the magnificent stag I saw as I was walking?”

“Yes. He is in another form when he goes on missions to the other side.”

“I am sorry if I confused you, my beauty.” The masculine voice that came from behind me made me jump and turn towards it’s direction.

I had to blink twice to get rid of the surprise on my face. The Adonis that stood before me looked like a Grecian god dropped down from the heavens. He stood over six feet tall, with muscles that were carved in perfect form. His long, dark hair flowed behind him in the gentle breeze. But it was his cerulean eyes that mesmerized me, holding my gaze and trapping me in limbo.

“Are you alright?”

I shook my head to free myself from his entrapping gaze.

“Yes, I am, thank you. You must be Orein?” He nodded and bowed in response.

“You brought me here?”

“Yes, I did.”

“But why?” Orein gave me a sheepish look and I heard a chuckle come from Mara.

“Orein, I shall leave you with our guest for now. After you explain yourself to her, take her with you when you come to the celebration.”

“Yes, my lady.”

I looked between the two strangers before me, my confusion evident on my face. Right before my very eyes, the air around Mara turned shimmery as she slowly disappeared. My eyes bugged out and my jaw went slack with shock. I must be dreaming!

My Lolo

I’m sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table. A plate of mangoes set before me.

Hmmm…this mango is surely sweet. A dribble of sweet mango juice flows down my chin and I wipe it with the back of my hand. I’m so engrossed with what I’m eating that I’m startled when a finger makes a quick swipe behind my ear.

I look behind me but grandpa is busy reading his newspaper, oblivious to the world around him. He is sitting in his favourite chair, one leg crossed over the other, swinging up and down. No one else is sited near me and I narrow my eyes at him suspiciously.

I turn my head back and continue enjoying my fruit.


There it goes again, that finger swiping. This time it’s at the back of my head, touching my hair. I quickly look back, but grandpa is still reading his newspaper. His leg still swinging.

I carry on eating, but I look behind me out of the corner of my eyes. My focus is no longer on what I’m eating. I’m intent on catching grandpa red handed. Before I know it, the fruit is gone and it’s time to bring the plate back to the kitchen and wash my hands.

Lolita, the housekeeper, helps me reach the sink so I could wash my hands. It’s not easy for an eight year old.

I go back to the living room and sit beside him. It’s not even five minutes and I feel the swipe again. I quickly look and I could see the twinkle in his eyes now. I smile and hug his neck tight. He encircles me with his arms and squeezes gently.

I love my grandpa. He was the best. In my entire life, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose his temper. He was always jovial, rarely formal. What I always saw was his love for his grandkids. He would do anything for us.

He and my grandma had nine kids. That’s right, nine! And his grandchildren? There were 32 of us, ranging in age from 2 to 19 years old.

We used to have family vacations at the beach every year. Each family would have their own vehicle, though grandpa used to have a driver who took him everywhere in a jeep. When it was time to go swimming, it was a race to get a spot in that particular jeep. Regardless of how many other vehicles were available, a spot in grandpa’s jeep was always in demand.

However, as the number of grandkids grew, he realized that there was no way his grandchildren would fit in his tiny jeep. One summer, he arrived with a Jeepney that could seat 19 adults including the driver. 😂 With kids, he could practically fit almost all of us in there.

Memories of our younger days fleetingly cross my mind every once in a while. We are all grown up now, some of us even have grandkids of our own. Yet those moments will always stay in our hearts.

Grandpa’s been gone for more than twenty years, but I still miss him. There was no denying his love for all of us. Looking back now I realize that we were his life and joy.

When he passed on, it was the darkest day in all of our lives. Each of his 32 grandkids felt the loss. We were all adults then, maybe one or two who were teens, but it was as if we all wanted to turn back time and be kids again…racing for the prime spots in his jeep.

Last night, I dreamt of grandpa. And when I close my eyes, I can still see the smile he used to give us…full of love and some mischief.

I miss you, Grandpa. Wish I’d get a chance to hug you even for just a minute or two.

FALL…a season of change

The beauty of fall…

…reds, oranges, yellows and browns make the colour of this season. The starkness of the different shades of their colours insinuate STRENGTH, CONFIDENCE, BRAVERY.

When a person wears these bright colours, it shows that they do not fear the stares that others would be giving them. They are comfortable with who and what they are.

Being associated with this season would definitely need all these character traits because to be like the season that transitions the glorious days of summer into the dreary gloom of winter, one must absolutely be strong and confident enough to say: “hey, whether you like it or not, winter is coming!”
[That sounds so much like a popular phrase from a popular TV series based on a book. 😄]

I would like to be associated with Fall simply because I would like to be strong, confident and self assured. I’d like to be able to face change and accept it, to take everything astride.

Life is a constant series of change, and if I can take it the way Fall transitions Summer into Winter – with beauty, confidence and grace – then I could walk this earth as a happy person.

Enjoy the beauty of Fall!

Stand Out!

Stand Out
I borrowed this picture from a good friend of mine. The stark contrast of the yellow coloured leaves against the surrounding green of the evergreen trees struck me. Immediately I thought, UNIQUENESS.

In today’s society, people tend to try too hard to fit in to the greater majority. Whether it be to satisfy their need to belong or just be accepted by everyone, each has their own reasons. Some may do this in very subtle ways, though there are those who may go to the extreme.

Close your eyes and slowly exhale. Look back into your life for an instance when you actually did something just to fit in. Come on, be honest with yourself. It is innate to want to feel like you belong, that you are not different from the rest of the world.

Do we really want to be ‘generic?’ Don’t we want to be unique? Have our own identity? Be identified for who we really are? There is nothing wrong with being different. We were created to be unique.

How would you feel if everyone else had the same face as you? Walked the same way you walked? Talked and laughed the way you did? You might as well be a robot, created from the same mold as everyone else. It would indeed be a very boring world we would be living in.

Dare to be different!
Photo courtesy of Anj Gonon

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