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Perhaps not surprisingly, the air in darkness holds different from that in light. It’s more still. Quieter somehow – and colder. It carries smaller sounds better than the light; and smells sweeter.

The night and the light, the night and the light; and in this case, a small light within the night drew Aurora closer and deeper into the depths of New Eden’s Dungeon. Her heart beat stronger, down the corridor, closer and almost in time with the approaching torches; who cast eerie and dancing shapes on the wet stone walls.

The Queen from the forest had sent her here, and in trusting the Queen, Aurora moved step by cautious step further into a cave she did not know – within a world she did not understand. The passage soon opened into a large chamber filled with smoke and haze.

In the center of the room, a bonfire cast its light to dancing women – and a singular, striking man who reclined comfortably on a stone throne. This was Dorian, the keeper of the dungeons – and a vision of arrogance. Moving tattoos covered his sinewy arms, and a smirk played upon his lips as he watched the women dance around his fire.

Aurora was quickly annoyed at the sight of it all. Dorien enjoyed this quite too much, like a spoiled prince never designed to be a king. This was who the Queen suggested Aurora see? He seemed content where he was, helping himself and in no hurry to help anyone else. 

Aurora’s annoyance flared further as she approached him, her having gone unnoticed until she was directly in front of the man. He was handsome, she couldn’t deny that. But as mesmerizing as his appearance may have been, Aurora sensed this was his strongest – if not his only – trick.

Having finally given his attention, Dorian looked approvingly at her, a glamor he had surely practiced a thousand times before. Thankfully for Aurora, she was more determined to solve the mysteries of her predicament than indulge any temporary attraction she might have felt.

“Dorian, I was sent here by the Queen within the Gardens of Eden. She told me I’d find answers here in the Dungeons. Can you tell me why I am here? How I can get home?”

Dorian’s eyes met hers, and for a moment his eyes seemed to change between a spectrum of colors and shapes. Dorian laughed then. An arrogant laugh, surely as practiced as his stare.

So, the Queen’s new messenger is finally here – and she’s uptight. How disappointing. You’ve had a long journey; why don’t you join the others and let loose? It might do you better to enjoy your moments now than it is to pursue the moments our good Queen has planned for you.”

Aurora’s eyes narrowed, her patience disappearing . “I’m not here to dance for you, Dorian. I need to know why I was sent here, what it is I’m meant to do here – and how the fuck I can get out of here.”

Dorian’s face shifted from amused to stoic as he leaned in, forward and closer to Aurora’s face.

“Very well, little one. A question you’ve asked, and an answer you’ll get.”

The Queen sent you here because she fears her own futureAn eon, an hour, or a day ago – who can tell? – the last Queen of the Gardens was murdered.

And the new Queen is convinced that a small but motivated conspiracy within the Secrets of Eden was behind the whole distasteful thing.

Her paranoia and conviction now brings the realm of New Eden closer and closer to war. And whether guilty or not – the secret sects within the Secrets of Eden seek to overthrow our new paranoid queen and restore peace and order to the realm. A lofty goal, no doubt – but not one without admiration of scale and self importance.”

Aurora’s eyes tightened to a frown. “What the hell does any of this have to do with me? I just want

What the hell does any of this have to do with me? I just want to go home.” Dorian stood and grew large enough to loom.

“You, my dear, are a missing link. A visitor who isn’t limited by rules or expectations of this place. You hold untapped and unknown powers that both the Queen and I can see. These powers could prove vital for our survival in all of this – and if we survive, we can show you home.”

Aurora said nothing.

“You don’t believe me. Well, that’s good in a world like this.

Trust is an ever swinging sword, cutting and defending. It depends on patterns and information – and you can only know what you know, can’t you? Strange and paranoid as she is, our good Queen is known to me – better than she’s known to you. But the Secrets…well, there’s logic in fearing the unknown, isn’t there?

Aurora’s mind raced with questions, uncertainty mingling against uncertainty.

“What do you want from me, Dorian?”

“Your abilities are unique and can turn the tide in our favor, but you need to learn to awaken them fully.”

Dorian extended his hand, a teasing glint still in his eyes.

“I want you to come for a walk with me, Aurora. I can show you more of this world and what it means to be amongst the Queen’s chosen few.

I can teach you to fight, how to harness your power. Together, we can save this place, and usher in an era of prosperity without the secrets.”

Aurora didn’t understand. All of this promise in such a short amount of time. Taking his hand would take her further, closer to the end, steps more and more towards home. Refusing his hand could mean forever becoming an enemy of Dorian’s – and the Queen.

And so, Aurora placed her hand in Dorian’s.