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  • Writer's pictureE. Paige Burks

The Story of Gladianima - Part 19

"Gladianima?" Thyra whispered, feeling breathless as she stared at the woman. "What do you want from me?"

"My kin and I owe a great debt to your family, Daughter of Doran," she said. She motioned to the portal. "Without Doran's help, we would be lost just as the Men of Old."

"You mean the Priorae?" Thyra managed, still feeling stunned.

Gladianima nodded.

"Are you the one Doran wrote of in his journal?" Thyra asked, feeling her mind racing. "It speaks of a weapon that gave him great power. What happened to him?"

Gladianima smiled fondly, an expression that surprised Thyra. "Doran wasn't the first to wield the power of the anima, but he will always be my favorite," she said thoughtfully. "Doran Estrella was the last in his line to fight for the Priorae, to stand by their side and plead with the kings of old to allow them to live peacefully. Doran mourned the loss of the Men of Old, whom he'd come to love as his own brethren. It was only by the request of my master, Paeëon, that Doran was allowed my power."

"What happened to Doran?" Thyra asked again. "I've heard he was powerful, but no one knows what happened to him."

Gladianima was still smiling, and she turned to motion toward the portal. "Come and see for yourself." She turned and stepped back through the watery surface, leaving Thyra staring after her.

The portal was glowing brightly and rippling like a lake, but seemed solid in the wall. Thyra took a slow step toward it and held out her hand, feeling cold magic pushing against her. She drew a deep breath and stepped after Gladianima. A wave of cold washed over her like ice water, but then she was stepping out of the cold and into bright light.

She lifted a hand to shield her eyes against the sunlight that beemed down into her eyes. Her breath caught in her throat as her eyes began to adjust, and she realized she was standing in the middle of a field. Instead of lush blue grass, however, the grass was a thick green, and the sun was high overhead, brighter than the sun in Gexalatia.

"Is this the afterlife?" Thyra whispered, taking in the warm sunlight and cool breeze.

Gladianima laughed. "This is the new land of the Priorae."

A man's voice suddenly called across the field as well, "and this is my home."

Thyra stared as a haggard old man stood before them, bent over with centuries of age, a thick white beard hanging from his wrinkled face.

"Doran?" she breathed.

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