Alberto McKelligan Hernández

When she walked, it was like ice falling from the table and cracking silently. As her hands stroked her frosted hair, shiny-smooth threads of silk, her violet gown seemed to flow about her, perfect ways from her legs unto the marble floors. The hands moved from her hair unto her cheek, as she suddenly rested near the window... wondering. Smooth and young her face. She then stroked her crystal pendant, and one would expect such a lovely vision to smile and rest easy in her beauty... but there was none of that.

None of that indeed for Schala; she stopped what her mother so often called "a waste of time" and got down to business. There was so much to do at the palace, she reflected, as she went down the stairs in a hurry. Mind you, her legs were a flurry as she ran from the stairs and into other rooms, drawing curtains and giving commands... but her face remained featureless, detached. "Ice-cold" Schala she heard the servants call her, and they were right, she thought to herself, as she opened the Palace Balcony windows to appear before her subjects to salute them. She took the blue irises from the vases, and threw them one by one to those in need, waving and smiling as best she could. She hated these activities, these con-up jobs to keep the people happy, to keep them from breaking down the system... or so she thought. The thing is she didn't know what she wanted or didn't want... except to get out of the palace... and her life.

Again she felt her pendant, and tried to calm down as her mind flurried from one thought to another... for she was worried. So worried behind her calm face it took her breath away, and felt herself being ground away by a boulder... or something. She had seen... the future? It seemed so odd... the forms in her mind, the swords, the faces... a girl with her pendant, holding her hands in prayer, light pouring from her hands... a sword made out of colors... Her mother was right... a waste of time.

Finally, the flowers ran out and she was able to leave the Balcony. Again, she hurried, for she had to meet her mother. There had been gossiping and talking all over the palace about something big... something important, to happen that very day, and now, Schala, the "ice-cold" princess had to hurry for the "oh so important" meeting. But just before that, just before feeling her strength and her courage and her very will stripped away one more time, as it always happened when she was with "the queen", Schala had to try something out. She had to try to see her vision, to the very end.

She came unto the Main Hall, richly decorated with tapestries and curtains as old as the palace itself, hung and forever admired by those who were lucky enough to walk though its halls. She looked around, through the corners of her eyes, and went behind the grandest of them all... a huge quilt, made up of literally hundreds of scenes... war, hunger, sorcery, revolution, creation, the dawn and decadence of time, all embroidered in a huge design which seemed too grand to actually exist. "Revelation" it was called. And Schala was behind it, cracking open the door that would guide her through darkened corners and cellars and crevices. At last she emerged from the castle's walls... unto her room. It was the only way she could try what she considered the "final experiment"... and later be on her way to meet her mother.

No one would see her as she took the pendant and gazed at it, as it rolled around playfully in her fingers. No one would listen as she threw it upon the mirror placed upon the wall, and the glass shattered into pieces. No one would marvel as the shards flew around the room, and in the exquisitely carved wooden frame, the image formed. Schala gasped. It showed everything, with vivid detail... the fate of all she was still to meet.... Past, present, future... the end of time... and herself. For in that mirror, Schala saw her fate... she saw it blow across her future self, a sudden force, no way to stop it. She saw her future face, and then, after all had been cried, and she had dried out... the new face. And this new face was not the stare of "ice-cold" Schala, it was something else... so... different. Awed and stricken, her fingers reached for the mirror, and as furiously as it had shattered it formed again.

"Miss Schala... your mother beseeches you."

"I know. I am ready."