The man stood poised, his unwavering gaze on Graciela. A small smile tugged at the corners of his lips, the only sense of humanity (if one could even call it that. It was a loaded concept if discussed with other supernaturals) in his features. His cobalt blue and black hair was perfectly styled and his stature, towering.
Graciela could feel the trembling of Caleb next to her, a familiar face she did not ever think she’d see again. Mason was next to him, a dark smile on his pale face. It seemed almost as if Mason was challenging the man. Given what her mother had told her in the past, it did not seem like such a far off idea. Though, it was obvious that the man standing was the alpha dog. The only other face that Graciela recognized was that of Dionysus. She knew little about him besides the stories that Pax and Camilla had told her. She would steal occasional glances at him, only to see a weak smile returned in her direction.
“Why are we here?” The man to her left asked in a huff. “I have places to be.” He slouched in his chair, unphased by the situation. What caught Gracie’s eyes was the myriad of tattoos on the man’s body. It reminded her vaguely of the man with whom her grandfather was infatuated with (yet would never admit) Callen Crew. Except this man was much less light hearted than Callen. There was no smile on his face. There was instead a look of subdued anguish that she seemed to identify with.
“You have an eternity to do what you need to do. For right now Dragos, your time is mine.” The man standing spoke effortlessly. He glanced around the room. “Maybe I should have introduced you guys to one another. No matter, the connection you all share will become self evident soon enough if it hasn’t already.”
“Who the hell are you?” Dragos demanded. He held his thumb firmly against his left palm, massaging it. Dionysus, who was next to him, gave him a look of reassurance. Graciela was wondering the same thing though, and wanted to know how exactly she had found herself here. All she could remember was her childhood. The last goodbye of her best friend. Yet, here she was, a young adult amongst people who were almost entirely strangers to her. What had transpired that she couldn’t remember?
“Very well. I’ll start then, if it’ll garner your cooperation. My name is Cassius, and you shall refer to me as such. I am a member of the Council of Dimension Keepers. Which I suppose means little to you all. But, as all things, it is only a matter of time.”
A matter of time…it seemed like a much bigger matter than that. A matter of identity? Placement? Stability? Where the hell was she? That what Graciela wanted to know. Why wasn’t she home with her parents and siblings? Was everyone alright? She reached out a hand to touch Caleb’s arm. At one point, they had been close. He was her comfort when the other kids weren’t paying attention to her. It hurt her a lot that he had left, but she hoped that he had found what he was looking for, whatever it was. Surely, it was better than listening to her blab about the darkness. Caleb curled his fingers around her own cold ones and squeezed lightly. Graciela could feel Mason’s gaze on her but she returned the attention by training her eyes on Cassius.
Graciela knew about the council. She knew about dimensions, time travel and the like. So did Caleb and Mason. Had the others?
“We’ve been busted. Is that it?” Dionysus asked. “You’re here to punish us all?”
Cassius shook his head. “You’ve all been punished enough, don’t you think?”
“Punished for what?” Caleb asked, looking up. He still held Graciela’s hand. “What did my niece ever do?”
“Punished for the mistakes of others,” Cassius answered, without missing a beat. The tension in the room was thick but he didn’t seem to mind. “Such is the plight of some. But none of that is my concern. I deal only in dimensional issues, and you’ve all been involved in several detrimental situations.”
Mason rolled his eyes and kicked his feet out lazily. “I’ve heard this speech a million times over. Can we just skip to the good part? Blah blah blah, dimension is crumbling because of my actions. I got it. What does that have to do with why I’m here?”
The silence in the room continued to loom, except that now the attention was shifted from Cassius to Mason who stared smugly at the man. “You’ve screwed up more than one dimension,” The pale male on the end uttered. He was also covered in tattoos, but didn’t seem to have as much as Dragos. “You’ve effected others with your reckless behavior.”
“Yeah, I get it,” Mason answered, rolling his eyes. “I don’t do that anymore. I have a family now.”
“Wow, big deal,” Graciela found herself speaking up, despite her nerves. “You have only one person who cares about what happens to you. You’re a sick man who ruined my family more times than once.” She yanked her grasp from Caleb’s hand. “My mom did nothing wrong to you!”
“If not for me, your father wouldn’t have been here at all,” Mason replied. “You wouldn’t have been born. You can thank me for that.”
“Enough,” Caleb muttered, slightly raising his voice. “None of that is relevant right now. You saw what happened, didn’t you? How can you all be so calm?”
The pink haired woman was barefoot. She was an elf of some sort, stretching her legs out in a relaxed fashion. “I haven’t seen anything.” The consensus around the room was the same. No one but Caleb had seen anything.
“The sight is yours and yours alone,” Cassius replied, walking up to Caleb. “You all have different gifts, some showing more than others. Caleb, you’re a contact seer, someone who unwittingly gains the ability to see the future but who has not been born with the ability. I suspect it has a lot to do with whom you’ve been traveling with as of late.”
“So what I saw was the future?” Caleb asked, perking up only slightly.
“The unfortunate present,” Cassius replied. “Which is why you’re all gathered here. Lunar Lakes has fallen.” Graciela hadn’t heard of the place, but from the looks of some of the others in the room, she knew it must have been an important place.
“What do you mean, Lunar Lakes has fallen?” Mason demanded, standing up. “That’s impossible. We have generations still yet to come.”
“Had generations. When the timeline was stable, it told you that Lunar Lakes would fall in ten generations and by a Gray from your line. That’s no longer the case. I don’t exactly know how it has fallen, but it’s no surprise to me that someone might have been able to slide into your dimension, as weak as it was. But anyhow, that is what you wanted Mason, isn’t it?”
“Stop talking in riddles!” Mason cried angrily. “I was the one who was supposed to bring down Lunar Lakes! I wasn’t ready yet! I still don’t have my answers.”
Caleb tugged on Mason’s arm, the only thing that could calm him. “We’ll figure something out, it can’t be that bad.”
“You just accept your power, not ever having used it before?” The pale man asked, with a raised brow. “You people are too trusting. I’m aware that Lunar Lakes has fallen, so I know it’s the truth. But the lot of you aren’t even asking questions.”
“We’re processing it!” The pink haired woman cried. “Some of us know nothing of Lunar Lakes and what importance it has to us.”
Cassius shifted his weight before speaking up. “I care little if you believe me or not, only if you do as you’re told and cooperate. According to Mason, if Lunar Lakes fell, it’d end the Gray line stemming from his brother. Which is also not the case as I see the heiress right here.” Cassius motioned to Graciela. “I was on your side, Mason. I believe that ending that dimension was what was best for it. But I suppose, that is not what the council wants. I was outvoted. Because for whatever reason, that unforgiving dimension created the seven of you.”
“Which means what?” The pale man in the beanie asked. “You need us for something.”
“As I said before, you all have powers that are needed in founding this new dimension. The one we’re standing in. If you were all cooperative, you’d have found that out already without the run around. Caleb may only newly have the sight, but he is enough to at least hold the dimension off until we find a proper seer. Dragos will be in control of this dimension’s wish bank, being the stellar genie that he is. The more wishes granted, the more power we have to keep this dimension up and running. Briella, you are cursed to a life of eternal suffering for your actions in the past, so I am putting you in charge of governing this dimension. You are after all, the former Queen of Auguria. Mason, you shall be the keeper of time, Asher- our link to the underworld. Dionysus, a traveler between dimensions and Graciela, the speaker of darkness. For, there is no light without it.”
“What!?” Graciela cried, eyes widening. “I don’t understand!”
“You want us to stay here?” Dionysus asked. “In a new dimension? What is the purpose of that? If Lunar Lakes fell, it must be pretty bad down there. We should be building that dimension up.”
“Absoultely not,” Cassius responded. “The council has sealed the dimension from all others except the one it is linked to. It is highly volatile for if it falls, both it and the one it is linked to will reset. The holes in the dimensions around it means that they will fall from the resulting explosion. Any actions not taken by the council are strictly prohibited. No one is to leave or enter without permission from all of us.”
“But my mom and dad. My family!” Graciela cried, reaching towards her quickly beating heart. “I have to be with them. You can’t keep me from them. Are they okay? What’s going on?”
“Their status is unknown, and I don’t have the clearance on my own to divulge any more information other than to tell you that your connection to the darkness is what we need. The rest is irrelevant.”
“I’m not helping you!” Graciela cried. “I have no reason to.”
“The reason is simple. The dimension here is being created in order to move the people from the old destroyed one over. When you create a strong dimension, things will resume as normal. Here, instead of there. We’ll worry about the specifics later.”
“It’s not a bad idea, Graciela,” Dionysus told her. “I think a healthy world for your family is worth it.”
She thought about it for a moment, but Dionysus was probably right. Yet one thing was bothering her. “I don’t remember anything from my childhood until now. The last thing I remember is Leon leaving. Here I am, an adult. What the hell?”
“Memory loss is uncommon amongst new dimension travelers, but it is certainly probable. I don’t see what else could be causing it. I’m sure it will return shortly,” Cassius replied.
“So that’s it? I’m alone here and I can’t even remember what happened yesterday.” Graciela huffed, throwing her arms around herself.
“You’re not alone. It is the seven of you now. You must all work together to create this dimension. Gather new people to join you, populate the world and make it flourish. You are our experiment, do not let the council down.” Cassius nodded to them. “I’ll be back later if anyone has any questions, but until then this Castle is your home. Do what you will to it. It should have enough for you to remain alive.”
Cassius chuckled at their bewildered faces. “And so, your new adventure begins.”