I stepped off the ferry and pulled my jacket tighter around my chest. “Angels its cold.”I cursed under my breath as the guy standing next to me shook his head and stomped off. The wind was blowing right through me and if I didn’t get inside I was going to become a meat popsicle.
A man a little taller than me, brown hair, vivid green eyes and looking to be in his early 40s, though he was probably 120-130 years old considering how people age here in Nalrin, walked up and held his hand out.
“You must be CJ Mathewson.”
I nodded and shook his hand, not sure what to say.
“I am Vernadali James. Vernadali Samuel asked me to meet you and take you to his office.” He explained. “Do you have any other belongings on the ferry?”
“No sir. Julian said I should pack light.” I told him pulling my hands up under my arm pits to try to stay warm.
“Bit cold are ya?” James said.
“Yea. I’m not dressed for this weather. If I had realized it would have been so cold, I could have brought my warmer jacket… and my gloves… and scarf.” I told him as we made our way toward the gate.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it soon enough. Once you’re done with Vernadali Samuel I’ll take you to get your gear and set up your classes.”
“What exactly am I going to be learning in those classes? When Julian said I was a Vernadali he didn’t really give us much information as to what I’ll be doing here.”
James walked up to the security gate, raised the sleeve on his arm where a scanner scanned a tattoo of the Vernadali crest and beeped. The gates opened with a creak and squeal that if it were night, would have been the best set up for walking up to a haunted house ever. James motioned for me to catch up to him. We walked in silence for a few minutes and I could tell James was trying not to say the wrong thing or bring it up. I sighed.
“I know you want to know. “ I said to him when we reached the edge of the cliff. “AHHH WOW.” I said my thoughts temporarily interrupted.
James smiled. “Yea. That’s what I said too when my Dad and Grandfather brought me here for the start of my training. Amazing isn’t it.”
“Ya.” I said looking out over the area. All the buildings were made of glass and stone, but deep into the ground. It was like the whole city and training area had literally sunk 300 feet into the ground. “How do you keep tsunami’s and flooding out?”
“The whole island has a variety of incantations cast upon it, along with a very elaborate drainage system, that also recycles all the waste water.”
“So we drink our own pee?” I asked a little put off.
“Is it really any different in some parts of the Manusia where you recycle your water?” He said curiously.
Even after everything we have been through this last year, to hear of my home as the Manusia was weird. It had always been Earth, the United States, etc. But no, since Megan dimension jumped, it was now the Manusia. I sighed. Megan. I missed her already, but at least Julian was able to arrange for me to take some leave during the Manusian Christmas Holiday in a few months. So I’ll be able to see her then.
“CJ?” James asked pulling me out of my thoughts.
“Oh right. Sorry.” I said shaking my head. “The pee water. No I guess it isn’t all that different.”
“Well the recycled water is also filtered through the fountains and used for the crops that grow on the outer parts of the isle.”
I nodded and James lead me down to the elevator.
Before stepping inside James turned to me and said. “After you get inside, there is no turning back. You must complete the Vernadali Training. You will then be assigned your Charge and protect your Charge for the rest of your lives. Is that understood.”
Maybe he didn’t know after all and I sighed. “So you don’t know …”
“Know what?” He said.
“The circumstances of why I’m here?” I said hesitantly.
“You’re here because your family has always been Vernadali. Just like the rest of us. It’s in your blood.” He said as a few other people walked by.
“Not exactly, but let’s go.” I said moving toward the elevator, but just as I was about to step past him he grabbed my arm.
“What do you mean, not exactly….” He said.
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to be a freak show here. I just want to go and get my training done, get back to Megan, marry her, and spend the rest of our lives in peace.
“Yes, I know. Vernadali Samuel told me. You’re the Angel Blessed Vernadali that was rumored to arrive.” He said under his breath. His grip on my arm loosened slightly and up pulled me closer to him. “Don’t worry I won’t say anything. Your secret is safe with me.” Then he released my arm.
I relaxed slightly. Maybe I wasn’t going to the outcast here. Then I giggled lightly. Of course I was going to be. These guys have been doing this for generations. They are light years ahead of me in knowledge, but what I have, that they don’t is the comfort of knowing who my Charge is already.
And Megan is worth this. All of this.
“Let’s go” I said stepping into the elevator and looking at James, who followed me into the elevator, slipped a key in a hidden slot and hit the bottom most button on the elevator.
“Welcome to the Curtails of the North.” James said with a smile. Then I was free falling to my destination.
(This is a work of fiction based in the world of my book series and prompted by today’s Daily Prompt . Here CJ feels like a singularity in the masses of uniformity. )