PART THREE: SOUL UNIFICATION
Maude nervously observed Protector Alison and Thea as she made the bold claim that she would travel to the Shadow world and retrieve the lost prince of Wintria and return him to his mother safely and soundly.
“I have a better idea; I will accompany you to the Shadow World and retrieve the lost prince myself,” Protector Alison proclaimed.
“Avery, you can’t do that! If it’s a trap, then we will lose you too. We can’t afford that,” Thea protested.
“If I don’t tag along and it turns out Maude isn’t being sincere, they may end up harming the real prince or switching him with a fake. Wintria can’t afford to go through what it did with Prince Alyan again,”
“This is the Shadow World, Avery. You have no means of fighting there- if it is a trap then…”
“I put my life on the line every single day, Thea, today is no different. I promise you this though. I won’t give up without a fight,” Avery bravely stated. Thea continued to protest but Avery’s mind was already made up and Thea eventually gave up trying to get through to her.
Maude closed her eyes and sought Sven informing him that Avery had insisted upon tagging along. Sven thought it fine and opened up a portal to admit both Maude and Avery.
At first, the two weary travelers to the Shadow World were engulfed in pitch darkness. In that dark abyss, there was nothing they could sense using their common senses for a long time. Maude panicked and desperately called out to Sven who promptly came and calmed her down. In contrast, Avery remained calm even when the proverbial switch of senses was turned back on.
Maude and Avery both noticed the Shadow World was in gray scale with everything appearing to be in black and white. It was an eerily still and silent world with no moving objects to be perceived. Maude was surprised she was moving at all as she was unable to see her own body gently moving across the non-physical plane.
“I need you to trust me Maude, okay?” Sven telepathically spoke to her.
“I do… I trust you,” Maude stated telepathically. Her own statement astounded her. It was strange that she trusted this absolute stranger whom she knew had committed despicable acts without remorse. It was stranger still that Sven felt so familiar to her even though she had never physically met him before.
They drifted endlessly through the plane without so much as a peep until suddenly, they lost their senses again and by the time they regained them, Maude was lying down on the ground facing her unconscious sister lying beside her.
“What- what is going on? Sven? Sven?” Maude asked in a blind panic.
Sven did not verbally respond but instead stood over the twins, his face an emotionless mask.
“Where is the child?” she heard Protector Alison ask as if from afar.
There was eerie silence after that which prompted Protector Alison to ask the question again.
“Patience, Protector Alison. The child shall safely be returned to you,” stated a firm voice in the void. Succeeding the voice was the sudden appearance of a woman that bore a striking resemblance to Sven.
“Who are you?” Avery asked her.
“That, Protector Alison, is the million dollar question and I shall respond to it as soon as I have taken care of today’s most pressing issue which is giving Maude what is rightfully hers,”
“What do you mean, my lady?” Maude asked curiously.
“As polite as always, Maude. I mean that the woman besides you stole more than just your good looks. She stole large pieces of your fragmented soul and today, she planned on stealing the little pieces of it left in you,”
“Why… Why would Maura want to do that?”
“Maura would do so for the same reason the Dark Seer and all her prodigies did the same with their own Shadow Twins, Maude. You see, Shadow Twins are not exactly like identical twins. Shadow Twins stem from a very rare occurrence that happens during the pregnancy of a few casters…”
“During this special time, the Shade which is a representative of a person’s subtle body (which is one of the Spiritual Bodies a person possesses) in the Shadow world assumes a physical form and is thus born like any other person. However, the Shade is still very much a part of the original being- the Shadow Twin does not have a soul of their own but they share the original’s soul with them…”
“However, given how adaptable a soul is, like the mind, it may develop a Split Personality if you will meaning that the Shadow Twin can develop into a unique being that is entirely different from the original. However, the soul still largely belongs to the original.”
“Furthermore through that bond, in addition to sharing the soul of the original, they also share the other spiritual bodies possessed by the original with the original or ‘the Prime body’ having complete power and control over all of them including that of their own Shadow Twin…”
“The Dark Seer discovered a means of ensuring the Shadow Twin’s survival at the expense of the Prime. Gia created a dark ritual which she dubbed the Soul Loss Ritual. During this Ritual, the Shadow Twin fragments the soul and essentially steals those fragments away from the Prime, effectively gaining more control for themselves as well as gaining more control over the other shared bodies”
“Once the Shadow Twin has gained all the pieces of the fragmented soul and reconciled them to themselves, the Prime can no longer exist because
without a soul, the physical body ceases to be. That is exactly what Maura wanted to do to you tonight, Maude. She wished to further fragment your shared soul and steal the final pieces left to make her whole,”
Maude was stunned to hear that.
“However, fear not, Maude. I am a Shaman and have developed the counter-ritual to the Soul Loss Ritual. I have developed the Soul Unification Ritual,”
“What will become of Maura once you have concluded your counter-ritual?”
“She will return to the state that she was always intended to be in- she will return to being your Shade,”
Maude turned to her twin sister and suddenly felt great remorse for her.
“Do not pity her, Maude. She has taken away so much from you already. You know, the only way a soul can be fragmented is by committing heinous acts of evil. She used the deaths of your parents as well as other victims to fragment your soul and she retains a large piece of your shared soul and yet even that wasn’t enough. She wanted to destroy you entirely despite the fact that if it wasn’t for you, she wouldn’t even be alive,”
Sven smiled reassuringly at her and it was enough for her to agree to the Soul Unification Ritual. The Shaman drew mystic symbols on Maude and her twin sister and then began to chant. With each successive chant, a singular piece of light emerged from Maura’s body and struck Maude through the chest.
The process of reuniting with the lost pieces of her soul was excruciatingly painful and Maude’s eyes were constantly filled and then emptied of tears. She was unsure of it but Maude could have sworn that she was screaming in agony the entire time the Ritual was being performed. When her soul was fully returned to her, she not only could see every memory Maura had ever had but she felt every emotion her twin sister had ever felt.
The emotions seemed to be magnified hundredfold and it took Maude a lot of time to process them enough to function. By the time she came to, her twin sister was no more than a shadow with no features indicative of the fact that she was once a living being.
“Is it… over?” she asked the Shaman.
The Shaman nodded. “Your soul has been successfully unified to its Prime,”
“Where is the child?” Maude asked her worriedly.
“Worry not, we were merely keeping him safe while we performed the ritual. We shall return him to you shortly. Sven, please attend to her if you will,”
Sven nodded and helped Maude get back up on her feet.
“Are you okay?” he asked her worriedly.
Maude’s heart fluttered. She had never felt so much love for another being. Was she really the same person as when she entered the Shadow World?
“It will take some getting used to but you’ll get the hang of it eventually,”
“Who is that woman, Sven? Where did you find her?”
“Actually, she found me,” he explained sheepishly smiling.
The Shaman emerged from the Shadows with the lost son of Wintria contentedly napping in her arms. She attended to Avery and handed over the child to her.
“Thank you for everything, my lady,” Maude told the Shaman shyly.
The Shaman and Sven exchanged looks and then chuckled.
“What is it?”
“I think it’s about time we told her, right, Melody?”
The Shaman nodded. “Maude, my name is Melody. I am your daughter from the future,”
TO BE CONTINUED…