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Chapter One

Aurora stood in the dimly lit bedroom of her grandmother’s house. Her grandmother had passed away, leaving behind the house and the memories in it. Aurora had come to say goodbye – but found herself sorting through a collection of trinkets and old pictures instead – watching dust move from hidden places.

Her grandmother had been something of a mystery. Aurora never bothered to worry whether the stories were true or not. She knew her as a storyteller – and was comfortable knowing that that was true, and that was that. The rest of the family, the rest of the neighborhood – probably the rest of the world – would know her as a wild woman. She had apparently been a great many things. A pilot, a gazer, a fighter, a lover – rumor had it, she had even seen the edge of the world and flown so near the stars they insisted she marry one. That’s probably where she was now.

It was odd knowing that she was actually not in the house. All her things were there; small things, big things – things that had her smell to them. Things Aurora knew had been touched by her. She could imagine her grandmother (who’s name was only known as Gran) wearing this dress, or that hat – or those horribly worn boots she never seemed to take off. Those bloody muddy boots. If they had been appraised as three hundred years old, Aurora would have called the appraiser a liar. The boots were twice that at least.

And so Aurora wandered and wondered – and In such a wandering moment as one has in their Gran’s empty home, Aurora caught herself in a mirror, her dark eyes ablaze with an unquenchable fire, her long black hair cascading like a waterfall of shadows, embodying a spirit both stubborn and fiery. She felt a rush of grief, for she had her grandmother’s eyes. And in the reflection staring back at her, she felt a twinge of pain… a sudden realization that the eye’s staring back at her were only her own, and not of the woman who raised her and took care of her for as long as she could remember. Aurora was much like her grandmother, she was a natural caretaker, bound by life’s responsibilities yet yearning for the thrill of adventure that beckoned her heart. As she continued to stare and reflect upon the reflection looking back at her, a strange light caught her attention…it seemed as though there were a peculiar wooden door peeking from behind a bookshelf.

Yes – Aurora could see it in the mirror – well, either in the mirror or on the other side…. it was the strangest thing. In the mirror, there was a door – hiding very poorly behind a bookshelf. But when Aurora looked at it over her shoulder, the door was very well hidden; hidden entirely, in fact.

Curiosity drew her attention closer. Aurora walked across the room and put her hands on the bookshelf to move it – it was lighter than she expected. And so she moved it further – revealing  nothing… she could no longer see the door she was so sure was there.

Except in the mirror.

Strange as it seemed, what she saw in the mirror was not what she saw in the room. Another trick of the light. The mirror very clearly showed a door that was very nearly an eighth open already, revealing morning light even though it was most certainly time for evening.

She decided to touch the wall to see what was really going on. She leaned her hand to inspect- and instead stumbled forward and fell into a dark and dusty room.

The once invisible door now slammed behind her with weight. Aurora picked herself up to open it – but found that she couldn’t. There wasn’t a handle to grab – or even hinges now that she was looking…

“God damnit..?”

Aurora turned to try and find another exit – when instead she saw the room.

It was enormous.

The walls were lined with tiered shelves holding large and imposing books; their leather spines cracked and used. Tables and cabinets held further trinkets, from wands to shimmering crystals and more.

“What the hell…”

The room seemed to climb upwards forever, narrowing in perspective the higher Aurora looked. The shelves spiraled and grew.

“Some more trick mirrors”, she supposed.

Things glowed and whirred the closer she got to them. Odd shapes and sizes, cups and stones. It was all so impossible and strange; a collection made up of things unheard of.

“Why would she have all this? What is all this?!”

It was captivating as it was confusing – but Aurora began to worry. This wasn’t right. Trapped in a secret room her Gran had kept from everyone – including her.

“How the fuck do I get out of here..”

She scanned the room again, this time moving carefully to inspect every possible angle.

As she made her way around, a sudden and strange green glow started to creep through the shadows. She began to walk in the direction of this light, which was growing stronger and stronger with every step. The faint thump of her heart beating in her chest seemed to be in sync with the pulsating green light coming from that corner of the room. As she drew closer, she saw a strange statue… wooden steps that led to an open hand. As if this statue wasn’t strange enough, the glowing jewel object that was inside the hand was certainly stranger.

Aurora slowly walked toward the jewel. It was more still than a jewel should be. Despite her best instincts, she walked closer.

The jewel released a bright green light that burned her eyes to look at it – and stopped shining when Aurora looked away.

Adjusting to the light, she looked harder at the jewel and saw it was on a necklace made with leather so thin it could have been a hair.


Aurora could have stared at it forever. Perhaps she did. It pulsed and called to her. She began to stare deeper and deeper, unable to look away, closer and closer still. Unable to resist its allure, she touched the necklace, and in an instant, she felt herself being pulled away from her grandmother’s house, and away from everything she knew.

As Aurora’s eyes slowly blinked open, she found herself lying on the ground in a strange, barren land. The sky above was a tapestry of unfamiliar stars, and the air held an alien chill. Her body felt like it had been hit by multiple trucks all at once, yet she had a strange newfound sense of energy and urgency.

 ‘‘Did… did I die?…”’ she thought to herself. 

Determined to understand her surroundings, Aurora picked herself up and began to explore. The sky and stars above cast an eerie glow over the desolate landscape. The air was cool, carrying with it a hint of otherworldly fragrance. She shivered, feeling a sense of disorientation wash over her. Confused again, Aurora picked herself up as she began to take in her surroundings.

The land stretched endlessly, its topography and colors like a painting. Objects changed and yet stayed the same. Rocks and plants dotted in and out of the landscape, their forms and colors unpredictable. A wind sang and then became wind again, luring Aurora forwards..

Aurora walked with the wind.

And she walked… she walked searching for an end. For a way back home. For a way back to her Gran’s empty house.

She walked. And walked some more. As she continued to cautiously explore this new realm, her steps led her to an unexpected discovery: three imposing golden doors stood before her in the midst of this surreal wasteland. Each door had distinct and unknowable symbols carved on their faces. And each seemed as dreadful and promising as the next.. The sight of these mysterious portals stirred a mixture of trepidation and curiosity within her, like riddles waiting to be unraveled in this enigmatic world. Heart pounding, body hurting, and mind screaming… she knew she had to choose – and all things being equally terrifying, Aurora opened the door in the middle and walked inside.

As Aurora stepped through the door, she found herself transported into a place of wonder and enchantment. It was a forest, where flowers glowed and the air filled with the songs of unseen things. Shadows moved around her, wild and playful. And the songs of a great many things began to grow closer and closer together until they became one great beautiful hymn.

“What the fuck is going on? This is a strange dream…” she thought to herself.

The hymn focused further to have a source – a singer of the song Aurora could hear deeper in the woods.

Aurora walked through brush towards the song until she came to a clearing.

There, standing before her, was a woman of breathtaking beauty and power. Her regal presence seemed to command the very essence of the forest. her long, silvery-white hair cascading like moonlight, possessed lashes as pale as fresh snow and eyes that pierced through the very soul. Her power was palpable, resonating like an ethereal symphony, and her voice held an otherworldly quality that sent shivers down the spine. In her presence, an aura of divinity and regality prevailed. The Queen, Ilysia, regarded Aurora with a gentle smile that eased the girl’s anxiety.

“Fear not,” Ilysia breathed “You are where you are meant to be.”

“And…and where is that exactly?”

“These are the Gardens of Eden. You are in New Eden, dear Aurora. You are finally here.”

“New Eden…I…I don’t understand”

“You are not meant to.”

“How can I leave this place?”

“Leave? Leave this place? No. You cannot leave.”

“I don’t understand..”

“You are here for a reason.” Queen Ilysia whispered.

 “You see, my child, you have an important role to play in protecting this realm from those who seek its destruction. But there is much to learn.. and time is of the essence.”

Aurora listened intently to every word Ilysia was saying but there was no time to offer more details.

The Queen suddenly turned sad and solemn, disappointed and angry. A rumbling and noise grew around them. The trees and ground shook with might and what was calm now felt riotous and angry.

“Go forth,” Ilysia urged.

“You must go forth into the Dungeons and find Dorian. He will help you. But you must hurry for the darkness approaches. And if you ever need my guidance, all you need to do is touch your necklace Aurora, I am here with you”

“But.. but… who is Dorian? Where are the Dungeons? I don’t understand, none of this makes any sense?”

“Hurry to Aurora! For deeper darkness comes; your path to Dorian!” The Queen pointed towards the path that Aurora should follow.

And then in a flash – the air was still.

Heart racing and a million questions left unanswered, Aurora nodded, her destiny intertwined with the fate of this mesmerizing world. Was this the adventure she had been craving all along? The last five years of her life were put on hold as she cared for her grandmother. Flashbacks of when she would stare out of the window each evening, yearning for something just to make her feel. Even if this was all just a dream it was certainly the most realistic dream she’s ever had, she thought.

Aurora turned and took her first steps towards the darkness, where the unknown awaited her with open arms. Knowing there was nowhere else, no path but what was given – Aurora walked to the Dungeons of Eden.

Stepping further, into the night.

Story: written by: Jon Gadling & Naz