“It does?” Daniel blinked clearing her sight. Revealing towering stone structures all around her. Daniel looked around slacked jaw, it looked like he stepped back in time! Ancient castle towers were all around him. People, or sphinx she should say were flying through the air. Young, and old were walking around shopping with leather bags over their sides.
“Don't gap dear, you'll look silly.” Annie reprimanded her with a small clucking sound of her tongue. Daniel shut her mouth with a click of her teeth. Staring with darting eyes instead. It looked like a medieval festival in the square Annie was dragging her through.
“Is there a festival today?” Daniel watched a white and brown sphinx haggle a price down at a wooden fruit stand. Other similar events were happening all around. In wooden stands, on display rugs, some were even in stilts in the air!
“It's always like this.” Annie turned back with a smile. “You get used to it.” Daniel hit Annie's flank with a sudden stop. “We're here!”
“Where?” Daniel's journey stopped tugged to stand in front of a fountain. Water surrounded the great white stone of a beautiful woman, sphinx. Sitting in her claws she held a large round blue crystal, she looked like she held it down to anyone walking by.
“Indra, the first sphinx. She helps guide people to their path in life.” Annie sat down beside the statue and waved her talons around as she spoke. Daniel noticed a few others stopping what they were doing to listen to her. “I came here many, many moons ago, and became a Guide of the city.”
“Guide of the city?” Daniel asked, tilting her head. “You guide sphinx's around here?”
“Half correct.” Annie smiled. “I guide them to her.” Annie waved upwards to the fountain beside her.
“What does she do?” Daniel looked up into the blank staring eyes of the white stone. Feeling a heavy weight come off it, she turned her head away.
“It's not good to look her n the eyes.” An older grey sphinx whispered at her side. “ She'll think your challenging her.”
“Oh,” Daniel paled. Unsure where to look, she stared into the crystal inside, but that made her feel uncomfortable too.
“Feeling a heavy weight...?” Annie laughed “I never got your name.”
“Daniel.” Daniel rushed it out, “Yes it feels weird, can we make it stop now?” Daniel had enough weirdness for one day thank you. The elder at her side laughed.
“I, too, felt the same way here, get on with it Annie.” She laughed in a soft cackle that only nice, but old witched could make. Making Daniel feel even more unease about the crystal and what she was doing there.
“Fine.” Annie sighed. “Sphinx's get more impatient each year, I swear.” Clearing her throat she sat up straight, reminding Daniel of an old teacher of hers. Sitting a little straighter herself, she didn't want to miss a thing.
“Put your talon's on the crystal.” Annie said with a regal nod. Daniel did so fast, before she could change her mind. A jolt sparked through her talons and into her body. She could feel a flow, like blood in her veins that connected her to the now glowing crystal.
“Yes,” Annie raised one talon in the air. “It's suppose to glow. Now star into the crystal.” Daniel stayed silent, staring into the depths. “Three options can selected.” Daniel nodded, feeling herself stretch into three direction. An instinct, a feeling in her heart told her. She would have to choose or let the crystal pull her apart.
Despite that feeling, she felt calm, the crystal carried a warmth of reassurance. Calming any fears that would have otherwise overwhelmed Daniel. It's amazing to have such a feeling of confidence! Daniel wished she had that before entering the jungle, then she might not have even come to this place!
“Once you choose, you can't change your mind. Choose with care.” Annie's voice got stern with a growl in it. “After I finish my explanations!” Daniel nodded. Choosing to remain silent seemed like the right decision.
“One. Schooling.” Annie's voice turned soothing. Rolling off her tongue like a children's story at bedtime. “You'll go and learn about magic, riddles or about teaching others. Depending on your talents.” Daniel perked up at the thought of using magic. Who didn't want to go around wielding power they summoned from the air? Teaching other's like Annie seemed out of reach, she was only a sphinx for about a day after all.
“Two. Work.” Annie waved her talons around the square. “ Shop keepers, adventures, or even hunters are all included here.” Daniel smiled with the cheers of some close by shop keepers. She didn't like the sound of keeping a shop, what would she sell? Adventuring sounded fun, like a video game, but she wasn't sure she had the heart for it.
“Three. A wild chance, other, a roll of fate.” Annie raised her talon's up in a sign of silence. “Helpers, brides or whim of fate can happen here. It is all up to Indra. Males are rare for Sphinx, one's looking to marry often look to this for a mate.” Annie shook a talon at her. “This had never happened once in my time here! Mostly, you end up in one of the first two choices.”
“May darkness strike those who falter” Annie shouted. “Now choose!” Flaring out her wings. Signalling Daniels start of a new life! With no interest in work. Daniel still had two very appealing options before her.
Written by psto1464 on 20 January 2020