Sorry to those who had this on favorites before. I deleted the story, thinking that "no one read it so why bother," but I changed my mind and put it back up. (Shrugs) I changed the title form Other Worlds II to just Other Worlds. I did have a story before this one, but I have to change a lot of things so maybe I'll just turn it into a prologue or something. Oh, this is also the revised version. Enjoy.


Chapter 1

"Michelle! How was it out on the coast?"

Michelle walked down the aisles of pages, catching some conversations as she walked by, and headed straight to the main table. She bowed to Jonathan, King of Tortall and her previous knight-master, who sat in the middle of all of his closest friends. This was a rare dinner. Usually the only ones who dined in the mass hall were the pages, some squires if their knight-masters were at the castle, and page instructors. It looked as if everyone she knew and loved was here. She decided not to dwell on it and returned to her king. He wore simple breeches and a red tunic with a white, baggy shirt. They weren't garments usually worn by royalty, but in Tortall, the king and even the queen were rarely seen in fancy clothing. "It was chaos, if you want to put it lightly. I lost only a few men, but a many number were injured. I will commence with the burial services tonight." The king gave a thoughtful nod. He never liked hearing about losses on the battlefield but he also knew that they were to be expected. His sapphire eyes glanced and held Michelle's own icy-blue ones for a moment before Sir Gareth the Younger, the king's closest advisor and friend, grabbed his attention. Michelle heaved a silent sigh of relief. Jonathan was one of the most handsome men she knew. He had blue-black hair and beard accenting his eyes and his firm chin showing that he was a man not only to be admired but also respected. Michelle felt breathless whenever she laid eyes on him.

"So, I take it there were a large number of spidrens?" Alanna, the Lioness, said with a sigh. Alanna wore an elegant amethyst dress to match her eyes. Her copper-colored hair, normally cut short, caressed her shoulders. Alanna, although Michelle couldn't tell because she was seated, was on the shorter side. However, that could never stop her from being the King's Champion and one of the greatest swordsman in Tortall.

"For the small group I brought, yes there were a lot. It was surprising though. We had all the advantages, but they still gave us a hard time. Someone gave them weapons, I'm sure of it, because they were well-armed." For the past few months invading forces have been coming across the border. The fact that armies were invading wasn't the problem, the main thing is that neither Jonathan nor anyone else has ever seen nor heard of them before. They went by the name of Evaldis or, as the people of Tortall came to call them, Evaldians. Not only was Tortall being overwhelmed by their soldiers and cavalry, but a large number of powerful wizards as well. Some Immortals- creatures from the Divine Realms that can't die under natural means such as old age- had joined forces with the Evaldians and continued to cause hardship for the merchants along the west coast. Spidrens-immortals with the body of a spider with the head of a human being- were especially causing a ruckus.

"The Evaldians must have given them weapons. It's a shame that we can't send Daine out there to help you." Jonathan glanced down to Numair at the end of the table. Numair, the most powerful mage in Tortall, stood to be around six feet five inches. He had broad shoulders and a well-built body. His hair, a coal black, lay lazily on his back, tied up into a horse tail. His shadowy eyes stared down the king for a while before Jonathan gave up. Numair and Daine, the Wildmage of Tortall, had been master and apprentice until a few years ago when they fell in love. They've been together ever since.

"Don't even joke," Michelle scolded. "She'd got to have time to recover. I don't know what disease she caught, but it's sapped her of her strength."

"Let's just hope that she gets that strength back soon. We're blind ducklings without her spies." Michelle turned to the new speaker, Raoul. Raoul was the leader of the King's Own, as well as a good friend to Jonathan. He was a little over six feet tall with black eyes and a broad, glowing face. His curly black hair was cropped short.

"Haven't seen you in a while, Raoul, I hope you're not running Kel to death." Kel, or Keladry of Mindelan, was Raoul's squire. She was the second girl to try for her shield and the first to try after Alanna. Michelle talked to Kel frequently when she was Jonathan's squire, going for her own shield. Since her knight-master stayed at the castle most of the time, she was always around to give Kel a little company, even though she didn't need it with all her other page friends, her dog Jump, and a flock of sparrows.

"Why would you get the notion that I'd work her to death?." Raoul smiled with a mischievous sparkle in his eye. Michelle shook her head.

"Michelle, take a seat and stay a while," Jonathan offered, but Michelle denied the request.

"I have some other things I must attend to. Since I'm staying for a while I planned on helping out with the page training. If that's alright, Lord Wyldon." Lord Wyldon was the training master of the pages and squires. He was an older man and was gradually going bald, but that never stopped him from being on the battle ground. The scar that ran from his right eye to his hairline was a memento of the time that he saved the prince and princess. He was dressed in a simple blue tunic with a white shirt and black hose.

His brown eyes looked her over for a second, considering. After a moment he sighed. "Very well, but you probably won't be doing much."

"That'll be fine. I didn't expect anything more." She bowed a thanks.

"Maybe now you'll consider taking on a squire. I bet anyone would love going with 'The Wolfess'." This time it was Sir Gareth who spoke up. She turned to him and shook her head with a sigh. Gareth was a tall but heavyset man. He had pale skin and brown hair to match his eyes.

"Don't tell me you're going to call me that now too. It's nothing more than a nickname given by some obnoxious pages. It shouldn't even be allowed. Alanna's called 'The Lioness.' It's like taking the title and giving it to me. It's not fair."

"I like it," Alanna agreed with a smile. "It suits you. And it's not owned by anyone, not even me. I like nicknames myself. Why not just enjoy it? And besides… it's better then 'the Inferno' isn't it?" Michelle said nothing and averted her gaze. The title Inferno came from the power that rested inside of her. The god Mithros had stolen an ancient artifact that Mother Flame had kept away. This artifact, a black and blue flame that shimmered red, bestowed upon the wielder the power of fire which was both destructive and uncontrollable. Since Mithros couldn't use the power himself, every few centuries he would bestow the power upon a mortal. Michelle had been his choice, much to her dismay. Whenever Michelle got terribly angry or frustrated, flame would envelope her body and creep into her mind, controlling her. Whenever this happened, destruction laid in her wake. The force was so powerful that it could destroy anything in a mile radius, perhaps more depending on how much control the Inferno had. Numair and Lindhall Reed, Numair previous master and previous head of the Carthaki University, have been trying to teach her control, but so far things weren't going as planed.

"If it does anything it grows annoying." Michelle grumbled, sidestepping the Inferno comment and returning to the Wolfess nickname, and left with a bow.

"She likes it," Jonathan confirmed, turning to Alanna.

"Of course she does. It's obvious." Numair laughed as he listened in. Alanna smiled faintly at the mage, but the response from Michelle on being called Inferno was still fresh in her mind. She sighed sadly.

Raoul heard the sigh and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "They'll learn to trust her in time," he guaranteed, referring to Michelle. "I know you worry about her, we all do."

"We just don't show it as much," Jonathan spoke with a small wink. Alanna smiled, feeling a little better.

'I guess I'll say hello to Daine while I'm in. The ceremony won't start for a half hour or so.' Michelle walked down the hall that housed the classrooms until she came to a staircase and ascended. She glanced at the titles on the doors before finding Daine's. She took a moment to read names printed on the door. "Numair Salmalín" and right be low it "Daine Sarrasri." 'It seems that they haven't changed this in a while.' she thought with a smile and knocked on the door. "Daine?"

A woman, two years older then Michelle's 22, with curly brown locks and a stubborn chin opened the door with a bright smile. "Michelle! Come in! Sit and tell me how things went." Even though she tried to hide it, Daine was clearly worn. She had bags under her sparkling blue-grey eyes and her face was a little pale. Her brown curly locks obviously didn't cooperate this morning as far as Michelle could tell, but she had to admit, Daine did well to hide it.

Michelle walked into the room and took a seat at the table. Daine rushed around and put a hot cup of tea in front of her and herself.

"I see you were expecting me, but you aren't suppose to strain yourself so much." Michelle scolded.

"Oh, hush. I already have Numair on my case. I don't need my own sister too. I just heard that you arrived this afternoon and knew you'd be around after supper."

"Where's Kitten?" Kitten was the young dragon that Daine and Numair had come to take care of. She had soft-green scales that changed colors to match her moods and blue eyes. She had a nasty habit of opening doors whenever she wanted to or to just plain get into trouble. But aside from all of that she was very lovable and basically everyone liked her.

"I let her run around outside for a bit."

"Unsupervised?"

"No, Tkaa's watching her." Tkaa was a basilisk that Daine and Numair met on a trip to Fief Dunlath a few years back. He now stayed in the capital teaching the pages about Immortals. "But how did it go, sis?" Daine asked, never skipping a beat.

Michelle sighed and took a drink of her tea. She cringed when she remembered too late that it was still hot. "The spidrens were ready for us. Even though we had all the advantages they were still able to kill off three of my men and injure four others."

"That's about half of your squad isn't it?" Daine asked somberly.

"Yeah, I didn't have a large force, but it wasn't meant to be. The amount of spidrens that we received only said that there were around ten or so. There were twenty-five to thirty of those things."

Silence passed between them for a long moment, both dwelling on the losses and knowing there's only more to come. "I should be out there," Daine said at length.

"Don't be ridiculous, Daine. You can't, not in your condition."

"There are plenty of others out there worse off than me and they're fighting."

"Name someone. I don't know about our enemy, but there's definitely no one like that around here. We treat our soldiers right."

"You, Michelle. Ever since Amara left you've been working yourself to death. Take a break for once."

Michelle winced slightly at the name of her old friend but soon began to laugh. "You know, I guess it's not hard to see how we're related. Neither of us like to sit down and take it easy."

"And you're both terribly stubborn. Daine, you should be resting."

The girls turned to see Numair duck through the doorway. "Would you stop fussing over me? I'm fine. Duke Baird did a fine job."

Numair sighed and walked over to the table. "You know I just worry about you, love." He kissed her on the cheek before disappearing into the side room.

Daine smiled and waited until he closed the door to take a sip of her tea.

"You two seem to be doing fine," Michelle observed. "Not like I ever doubted it in the least."

Daine blushed slightly, "Y'know you could be just as happy. If you actually-"

"Not this speech again. Face it, Daine, something like that's never going to happen to me. I must say that to a certain extent I envy you and Numair, not to mention Alanna and George, even Thayet and Jonathan. But I can't bother with something like that, not now. It's too hectic as it is."

Daine sighed and shook her head. "I just hate seeing you like this." A moment passed before Daine yawned.

"You should get some rest. And don't argue with me," she added before Daine could offer a word.

"Fine…. I know better then to disobey you."

"That's more like it," Michelle smiled and finished the last swallow.

"Where are you off to?'

"Down to the courtyard. I have a burial service that's starting in ten minutes."

Daine gave her a brisk hug and headed towards her bedroom and sleep.

Michelle watched her go with a small bit of sadness in her eyes. She left without another word and walked down the stairway once more. 'Maybe she's right. I probably should take it easy, but every time I do I think of all the bad things that happened. Like Amara, Tsunami, and everyone else that Xilow hurt. It's so hard to think about. I'm stuck here, in one world. The others are all gone. I just can't believe it.' Michelle sighed sadly, not even knowing where her feet were taking her. Before she knew it she was out in the courtyard. She joined her other comrades by the pyre. The ones that didn't have serious injuries and didn't get a chance to go to the healer yet were on crutches or had arms in slings. They stood quietly, waiting for the service to begin. 'The door is closed and will never be reopened. I have to live here, this is my new life. Nothing can change the past. I know that, but why can't I accept it?'


"Ray, come here for a second." Wyldon motioned to the brown, shaggy-haired man that was a good friend of Daine and Michelle when they first arrived. He had grown considerably since that time, they all have, and was now a sergeant in the Third Company of the King's Own.

"Yes sir?" Ray asked as soon as he reached the page master.

"I want you to help out in the page training."

"Sir?" He was taken off guard by the remark, not knowing the reason for the sudden transfer.

"Don't worry, it's not permanent. It was Raoul's idea. He felt you needed a break." Wyldon dismissed him before he could argue and Ray shrugged.

Raoul smirked to himself as he watched Ray return to his steed. He watched the exchange between the two from a distance, careful to keep out of sight. 'There you two, I assigned him to page duty.' It was a well-known fact among their circle of friends that Ray had liked Michelle when they were younger. Daine and Alanna both had suggested trying to hook them up, seeing as Michelle was working herself to death and they were worried about her. They thought that someone else could snap it out of her and maybe even get her a social life too. Raoul didn't like the idea, but he knew better than to argue with those two and agreed to help. 'Ugh, Michelle's going to kill me.'


Michelle awoke at her normal time, just before dawn, in order to get in some training while she had the time. She figured that the grazing area for the horses was clear, at least until the training started for the recruits, and that was probably the best place to go. She put down her water jug when she reached the meadow and went through a series of stretches before beginning. 'How did it go again?' Numair had taught her a spell that would make an exact copy of herself in order to help with her training. The copy would have all the same skills as the original person, but the copy would change fighting styles to keep the fighter on his or her toes. 'Oh yeah.' Michelle mumbled a few words and when she opened her eyes she saw the exact image of herself. They had the same icy blue eyes and red hair. The same black and silver half-breastplate and black pants. The only thing different was their weapons. "Stryker and Antares can never be copied." Michelle remembered Numair explain, but the copy did have duel long swords.

"You ready?" The copy nodded and went into a defensive stance. "Oh, I almost forgot." She checked to see if she had her necklace on, one that would keep her from any harm that the copy would place on her. She felt the pain, however, but the wounds wouldn't stay after the training was complete for the day. "Now I'm ready."

As soon as Michelle finished her statement, the copy switched from a defensive stance into an offensive one and thrust her right blade at Michelle. Michelle managed to parry the attack and threw it out wide. "That's cheating." The copy smirked and the fight was on.

"I still have a few hours yet. What should I do?" Ray wondered aloud as he walked out of the King's Own's barracks. He stretched lazily, "Perhaps I'll just check in on Jade." Jade was one of Ray's horses, his warhorse. Jade was a valuable companion, not only on long trudges through the woods, but a help on battlefields as well.

As he was walking out to the stable, luck had it so that he heard Michelle's skirmish out in the meadow. He wondered what was up and decided to check it out.

At first he wasn't sure what he saw. The same person fighting itself just seemed odd. He was transfixed though. The sword dance that they were doing was mesmerizing. The series of parries, thrusts, flips and tumbles all seemed so perfect and in tune with each other. Neither warrior could out smart the other, so neither could get a sure hit. Little nicks here and there were shared, but nothing serious. Ray leaned on the wooden fence, enjoying the show.

"You're slow, copy." Ray decided that the one who just spoke must be the original. He wished he could see who it was, but never got a good look not to mention that the shadows from the forest were covering her. (By the sound of the voice and the high ponytail he guessed that it was a woman.) The first one he thought of was Alanna, but this one was too tall. He then thought of Keladry, but she couldn't use two blades like this warrior, and she usually used a glaive.

The sun rose slowly over the horizon. 'Must be around six thirty. The recruits will be coming out soon. Perhaps I should go.'

Just as he was about to leave he heard a cry of pain. He looked back at the skirmish and saw one warrior with a blade to the other's throat. It was then too that he noticed that one of the victor's blades glowed a light blue color while the other glowed a bright yellow.

"I told you you're too slow." The victor suppressed a smiled and helped the other up. They clasped hands in a handshake then the loser flowed, like a spirit, back into the victor. She exhaled then walked over to her things.

"Impressive." The victor looked up from her drink and over to Ray on the fence.

She walked over, "I thought I was the only one who gets up this early." Her breathing came quickly and her forehead covered with sweat, sweat that she idly wiped off.

"And I, me. Then again I just arrived a few days ago."

The sun finally enlightened their faces and each one pointed at one another.

"Michelle!"

"Ray!"

"I should've known it was you."

"You just came back yesterday? I never knew you left."

"I was assigned to port for the past year. We feared an attack by sea, but thank goodness none came."

"You stayed there for a year doing nothing?" Michelle cocked an eyebrow. It sounded pointless to her.

"No, that's where I was assigned, but Sir Raul came often and took my squad elsewhere. I came back to Corus often, but I never saw hide nor hair of you."

"I've been all over myself. I stayed at Pirate's Swoop for a few months to help out Alanna with some things. From there I went to Tyra to escort Emperor Kaddar to Corus, but I was called to help with a spidren problem."

"Sounds like you've been busy."

"All in a day's work." They both shared smiles.

"Well, I'd better check on Jade like I planned to before I ran into you." He smiled. "Good-bye Michelle. I hope we can talk again some time." He waved a final farewell and then disappeared into the stable.

"Ah, Michelle, there you are." Michelle turned towards Wyldon when she heard his voice. He motioned her to come closer and she obeyed.

"Anything interesting you want me to do?" She asked, eager to get going.

"We'll find something for you, don't worry. Ray!"

'Ray?!'

"Yes?" Having just strolled out of the stable, Ray walked over to Wyldon, but stopped when he saw Michelle.

"You two will be working together. I want you to help with the staff/sword training. I'll be there to supervise you, so don't think this'll be easy."

Both were speechless. 'It's quite ironic if you ask me.' Michelle thought to herself before shaking off the shock and nodding her approval. "Very well then. When shall we start?"

"Their training begins soon. They're in the mess hall eating right now so why don't you join them. I don't believe either of you have had breakfast yet." They saluted with a small nod and walked off towards the dining hall.

"Well, I guess I'm stuck with you for a few weeks at least," Ray teased.

"Yeah, apparently. Oh, and one thing," They stopped. "Don't you dare call me Wolfess."

'Wolfess?' Ray thought, but then shrugged and caught up to her.


"Today is your first day of staff training. I realize that some of you may have practiced the staff and/or sword before, but this is a time for you to get it right. Now, I want everyone to get a partner and spread out. We don't want anyone bumping into each other." Wyldon announced in that gruff voice of his.

Michelle had to admit to herself that she was nervous, though she really didn't know why. She had Wyldon's confidence along with all her friends, but still she felt uneasy. She remembered training in this very room about five years ago, but she still felt as if she didn't have the right to do this. Wyldon was older and more experienced than she was and so were his other officers and helpers. She just felt so… inferior.

"Relax." It was as if Ray had read her mind. "It gets better."

"I'm sorry. Is it that obvious?"

"No, but I knew you would be."

"Have you done this before?"

"Once for a month. If you just be yourself and teach them what you know you'll be fine. Everyone have a partner? Now I want you to practice the high strike and block. You two, what are your names and years?"

"I'm Valdor, a fourth-year page," announced the youth with dark brown hair and green eyes.

"And I'm Ridoc, also a fourth-year" the other page, with blonde hair and blue eyes, responded.

"Good. You two demonstrate for the first years." The boys did as they were told.

Michelle thought on what Ray had told her for a second while he explained more about the drill. 'I guess that makes sense. I have been here for a while, though it doesn't' seem like that long.' She sighed. '"Be yourself." I hear that often around here.'

"Remember what I said. Take it easy. We're just looking at your form and are going to correct you. Now, I realize that we haven't shown you the normal way yet, but don't fret. I always feel it's better for you to do it your own way and then we'll see how we can help."

It was a short cession. Ray and Michelle ended up showing the correct way to do things, seeing as Ray's philosophy didn't work. The first-years were so sloppy they had no other choice. "We'll continue this tomorrow. It's time for you to head off to tilting." They were off in a bolt, despite the pain that was likely coursing through their muscles.

"That wasn't bad. Some of the first-years caught on pretty quick. And the older pages were doing well too. Not too many mistakes on their end." Michelle concluded.

"Yeah, I agree. Perhaps since all the attacks and threats began, more and more families are teaching their kids self-defense."

"That makes sense." They exited the training building and out into the courtyard. "I'm going to watch the tilting, so I'll see you tomorrow."

Michelle walked off before Ray could say another word. He merely shrugged and walked in the other direction. 'That went well I thought. Some pages just have to work on some footwork, but that will come in time.' He looked back over his shoulder and over at Michelle leaning up against the fence. 'It's kinda strange that we're working together isn't it?' He shrugged again. 'Let's not think about it. It's just going to give me a headache.'

Michelle watched the practice in silence. She didn't really even want to watch them, at least not today. 'I just wanted to… get away from Ray.' She laid her head upon her arms and leaned on the fence more. 'I feel really bad thinking like that, but I just felt so uncomfortable. It's also really suspicious.' Michelle sighed and stood up straight. 'Let's not worry about it now.' She headed back towards her room.


The pages had education classes after lunch. 'So I only teach once a day…' Michelle thought with a sigh. 'What am I going to do with all of my time now? Perhaps this wasn't a good idea.'

Even though the day seemed like it was going to be long, the dinner bell sounded, startling her out of her reading. She shook off the surprise and walked to the dining hall once again.

Dinner was short for Michelle. She had taken her food outside to eat and was sitting on the fence, but she hadn't even started on her meal. She just didn't feel up to food at the moment.

"Aren't you a sight for sore eyes."

Michelle turned to see Maria walking towards her and ran out to meet her. Maria had been a good friend to Michelle when she first came to Corus, her and Ray. She had light brown hair that fell idly across her shoulders, and amber eyes to match. Maria, wearing a grass-colored skirt with a white shirt, stood to be about the same height as Michelle. They embraced in a hug. "I heard that you were doing well. Do tell."

"I'm still studying at the academy in the City of the Gods, but things are going smoothly. His majesty called me back to help with our wizarding shortage. Lord Lindhall Reed said that he would help me continue my studies here." Lindhall Reed was a professor at the magic university in Carthak, the land south of Tortall, before coming to Corus. He and Numair were old friends and never hesitated to help, as well as gain knowledge.

"That's great, Maria!" Although Michelle disguised it well, she was really worried. With the strength of the Evaldian's sorcerers and the amount of them, Maria will be outnumbered.

"And what about you, Michelle? I've heard you're a second Lioness."

Michelle smiled slightly, "Things have been reasonably quiet for the most part. Maybe a few disturbances here and there."

"I was waiting for the 'Nothing we can't handle' remark, but I don't think I'm going to hear it."

"We're doing the best we can. That's all we can do for now."

Silence passed between them for a short while. Maria knew the seriousness of Tortall's situation and Michelle didn't need to tell her. It was something that weighed on everyone's conscience. "I'm scared."

Michelle was surprised to hear Maria speak so. Maria had always been the one to perk everyone up and to make them think of the positive things. Her speaking just seemed so wrong. Despite this she had to agree. "You'd be a fool if you weren't. It's hard to stay positive and joyful during times like these. If you look at every soldier we have, whether he be one of the King's Own or she be one of the Queen's Riders, they are all frightened. We're outnumbered, Maria. It doesn't matter if someone wants to be positive or not that's the truth."

"What about you? Aren't you scared?" Maria just had to ask. Michelle always seemed to be tough in these situations.

"Of course." There was no hesitation or pause and Maria was glad of it.

'At least she's still human,' Maria thought.

"So, on a brighter note, have you talked to Ray yet? He's back too."

"No, I haven't. Actually you're the first one I've seen."

A long silence passed and Michelle decided to reclaim her spot on the rail of the fence. "I heard you and him are training pages together." Maria elbowed her friend, a funny look on her face. "How's that going?"

Michelle sighed. "Must you bring that up? Why does everyone mention that?"

"Because it's cute."

"Cute?!" In such disbelief Michelle jumped down from the fence. She turned to look Maria in the eye. "Cute?! Why is everyone all of a sudden concerned about my habits? What about you, Maria? Do you have a special someone?"

"As a matter of fact I do." This took Michelle off guard and her anger subsided instantly. "His name is Taren Ryder. He's a wizard at the academy. We're engaged actually."

Michelle had to laugh, mostly out of her own foolishness. "So, everyone does have someone."

"Everyone but you. Oh, and Ray of course." Maria smiled when she saw Michelle sigh. "I know you don't want to hear about this, Michelle, but think about it okay? He's a nice guy and I think it would be perfect." She put a hand on her friend's shoulder. "Give him a chance. Okay? You don't want to be alone for the rest of your life do you?"

Michelle was about to answer with a retort, but Maria had already left. 'Most likely to see if there's anything left for her to eat. I don't think she ate yet.' Michelle sighed. 'Give him a chance? I don't think I'm ready for something like that. I have so many things that have to get done and I never have time for such nonsense. I'm just so lost…' She sighed once more before noticing her dinner on the grass. She took the plate in her hand now, but realized that she still couldn't eat it. 'I don't want to waste it…Ugh! Where's Aquaris when I need him?'


Michelle's journal

August 16th

It's hard to believe that two years have passed since Tsunami closed off the door forever. I still remember the first time she opened our very first door, but then again I remember when the Enemy destroyed our World too. Apparently our World wasn't the first to get destroyed. The Enemy, Xilow, had been attacking other Worlds too. Tsunami saved us and sent us on a journey to protect any of the Worlds that needed help. It was a journey that I thought would never end. Even though we're so far apart now, Amara and I will always be "Sisters in all but blood.'

Perhaps I shouldn't reminisce on the past, but how can I not? I'll never see Tsunami or Amara again. The door was shut and Xilow gone. Tsunami won't have any more worlds to assign and Amara and I will never get to see who's the better fighter. Those were fun times. Amara and I were so competitive.

Maybe I should move on to happier notes. It was great to see everyone today. I missed them so much while I was away. Everyone's doing great. Daine and Numair are doing well and Daine finally got over her sickness, although she's still very weak. Jonathan and Thayet are doing an excellent job keeping everything in order through such hard times and Alanna's working hard although I can tell it's tough on her to stay away from home for so long. I haven't spoken to Keladry yet. But then again she's probably busy, being a squire to none other then Raoul of Goldenlake and Malories' Peak. I bet that's interesting. He told me he wasn't working her to death, but I know him better then that.

I haven't seen Aquaris in a while. He said that he'd stay in Corus while I was gone, but I haven't seen him once since my arrival. Perhaps I'll look for him tomorrow. That is curious once I think on it more. He's usually overjoyed to see me back and is the first one to "tackle me". Well, tomorrow we'll see.

I saw Maria today and actually talked to her. She's doing so well and studying hard. I'm so proud of her, but I'm really scared too. She's been called back because of our wizard shortage. That means she'll be right in all of the action and the main target. I don't know what I'd do if anything were to happen to her. I've already lost two of those closest to me, not counting all those lost in my Worlds, and I don't want to lose any more. That's impossible though. Death is part of this place, of this World. It is a natural thing that must take place.

Oh yeah, Maria's engaged too. It seems everyone is but me and I'm the only one that doesn't care. I think his name is Taren Ryder. They'll be happy, I know it. I promise that nothing will happen to her. I'll give my life for her so that she can finally have a happy life and a happy family. Her family was never that close. Her parents always fought and her brothers always got into trouble. She deserves what she didn't have.

I saw Ray too. He's doing very well for himself these days. He's a sergeant in the Third Company of the King's Own and is a good friend of Raul's. We talked this morning after I was done training. It was short, but sweet. After that we even taught some pages together. He's nice and all, but I don't know if I can handle someone in my life at the moment. I doubt he was even thinking that way when we were talking, but it's all really skeptical. Daine just yelled at me yesterday for working too hard and wanting me to find someone. Nah, I shouldn't judge them. He is nice though. Kind, compassionate, and caring. Everything a woman looks for in a man right? I guess so. I was looking for the bold and adventurous type myself. The chivalrous and knightly kind. Those are only in fairy tales though. There's no one like that around here. Maybe that's why I'm not attracted to anyone. Oh well. Let's not dwell on it.

"Be yourself"", that's going to be my theme of the day. Ray told it to me when we were helping the pages. It really is good advice and I'll keep it in mind from now on. Simple, but good.

Michelle Jarlin (Sarrasri)


A/N: Sorry this chapter is so long. Thanks for those who actually read it all the way to the end. So far this is my biggest one. :)

To those of you who haven't read this yet, I put little journal entries at the end of most chapters. It just goes inside the mind of Michelle and allows her to express herself. I personally really like them. (Shrugs) Anyway here's the end of the first chapter. I hope you liked it. Reviews are always welcome and loved as is the inspiration that comes along with them.

Strata