Second Chance - By Bennett, Sawyer


The AltVeritas of Vyronas – Present Day

Laina Mercea, Chief of the Conclave of the Royal House of Clairmont, walked through town on her way to Conclave Hall. She had a meeting. One she was not looking forward to.

She glanced over at the schoolhouse, and decided to peek inside. She knew she was just avoiding the inevitable, but she still wanted to take a look. Her niece had just started teaching Vyronasian History and she was curious as to how she was doing.

Walking up the wooden steps to the school, she entered through the open door. Most doors and windows in Vyrona were always open, given the temperate climate.

Once inside, she immediately stepped to the left and leaned her back against the wall. She didn’t want to call attention to herself and ruin the lesson. The schoolhouse was only one room, and it was filled with desks and chairs, all organized in neat rows. A teacher’s desk sat at the front. Laina realized they were lucky to fill half of the seats with children. It had been a brutal four years and war had decimated their numbers.

Her niece, Shelana, was standing at the front. She was dressed in a long, flowing gown of lilac. It was simply belted at her waist and she had no other adornments. Jewelry and hair clips were hard to come by in wartime. Shelana looked up and saw her aunt, giving a short wave of acknowledgement. Laina gave her an encouraging smile back.

Shelana walked around the front of her desk and leaned back against it. “Today, we are going to learn how the AltVeritas came to be. Who can tell me what an AltVeritas is?”

A little girl with blond ringlets framing her face yelled out, “It’s the world in which we live.”

“That’s correct, Nadya.”

Shelana stood up from the desk and gracefully waved her arms in a large circle. The children all gasped as a holographic image formed in front of them. It was transparent so the kids could still see Shelana, but had enough color and substance that they could tell what it was. Taking note of the various continents and oceans, Laina realized it was a rendition of the planet Earth.

Shelana rotated the Earth model and pointed to a place just in front of the children.

“Here is where every AltVeritas started, in ancient Egypt. Now, much of what we know cannot be proven, as no written records have been found. Rather, these stories have been handed down from our ancestors.”

Shelana had a great teaching voice Laina realized. She spoke as if every detail she was revealing to her students was full of mystery and wonder.

“Legend has it that during the time of the Pharaohs, a large fragment of stone, larger than this whole schoolhouse, was found in the middle of the Egyptian desert. It was coal black, and dirty, and other than its immense size, it was not very interesting at all. It may not have been pretty, but it was different, for no other type of stone like this had ever been seen, particularly not of this size.”

“Was it a meteor from outer space?” one of the children asked.

“As a matter of fact, that is exactly what most people thought. The Pharaoh, King Khufu, certainly thought it came from outer space. In fact, he believed that this stone contained magical properties and he sought to hide it from the rest of the world. He built a giant pyramid over it that was later called the Great Pyramid of Giza.”

Shelana waved her hand to the side, and another holographic image appeared beside her, showing a picture of the Giza Pyramid. The children gave oohs and ahhs of appreciation.

“But, as is often the case, some secrets are not well kept, and people found out about King Khufu’s hiding place. Thiefs broke into the pyramid in an attempt to get the stone. Of course, it was so large, that most looters could only hammer off a piece or so to bring with them. Some pieces were sold, but most were studied by scientists, sorcerers and alchemists.”

Shelana made a quick motion with her hands, and both images disappeared. Hands clasped behind her back, she walked up and down the rows of desks as she continued her lecture.

“Again, we have no known records, just stories handed down, but our own mythology says that someone discovered that the stone could create a doorway that led into another world…a world that co-existed on the planet Earth.”

A small boy in front raised his