I followed the Priest of Jirth. People watched us standing by the side of the road, whispering. The sight made my spine tingle, again. Their eyes were all filled with panic. I looked back at the Pirest of Jirth, and the panic began to overwhelm me. In order to preserve my sanity, I ripped my gaze away. Some of the villagers tried to approach me, but I waved them off.
Priest of Jirth stopped and turned to me. Its black eyes peered at me. “The Einlari are worried. You must speak to one of them. Einlari might panic when you are gone.”
The blood drained from my face, I felt cold and flushed at once. “Gone?”
It looked at with one eye, then the other. “Yes. Gone. You are Teacher of Einlari. You will go with us, and become an Ambassador of Jirth. You will fly with us, to our home.”
My feet moved me back from the Priest of Jirth. “I don’t want to be gone. These are my people, my responsibility.”
“In this matter, Teacher of Einlari, you have no choice.” Priest of Jirth eyes shined on me.
I straightened my back. “You don’t get to dictate how I serve my people. I don’t even know what you are.”
Priest of Jirth twisted oddly, a shock of fear hit me, it’s loose robe fluttered around in. “How will you stop Priest of Jirth? If I must, I will bring Warrior of Jirth to force you to come.”
I couldn’t believe what was happening. A creature, I did not even fully understand what it was, came to my village. And, now it was demanding I leave. A small part of my mind was terrified, willing to do whatever it wanted. But, the iron will surfaced, I would not take this quietly. “No. If I start making a fuss, the villagers will attack. You’ll have to kill us all. And, if that happens I’ll never be your ‘Ambassador of Jirth’. “
“Teacher of Einlari, you do not wish to do this. I will prevail.” The yellow skin blushed deep red, and its spots turned deep purple. “Our world is amazing. You will learn, and see things you could never imagine. It is more important for you to leave, then stay.”
“And who will take care of them? Who will guide them? You have scared everyone here.” I jerked my arm out motioning at the growing group of people watching our exchange.
“Yes.” Priest of Jirth looked at them. “These are the first people to not attack us. We have travelled to many different places here. You are the difference. You are important.”
I reeled back, shock making my whole body shake. “You mean,” I swallowed hard. “Everywhere else you went, you were attacked. Why?”
It turned back to me. “They feared. They feared more than you. Why did you not attack?”
I sat back on my heel and considered why I didn’t. Honestly, I wasn’t sure. I was scared. They terrified me to my core. It was strange, foreign, and when it spoke to me it felt as my world was falling apart. Yet, I had always longed for places I had only heard about. As much as it disturbed me, part of me longed to know more.
“You are a riddle I can’t solve.”
It bobbed its head at me. “Yes. I understand you, Teacher of Einlari.”
The wind blew my hair back in a sudden gust of wind. “Why do you want me to go?”
“The reason is not complicated. You will learn Jirth. You will understand Jirth. You will come back and teach Jirth to your people. You will be Teacher of Jirth.” It took it’s uneven gait toward me, and rested a hand on my arm.
Its hands were strange to look at. I forced myself to look away. “How long will I be gone?”
“How long will it take for you to understand Jirth? You will come with us. Tell your people, then we will go.” It let go, and moved a good distance away, waiting.
I turned to look at my people. A pit formed at the bottom my stomach. I felt the acid climb up my throat. I motioned for them to come forward. They surged forward.
Questions were shouted at me, rapidly. “What are those?” “Are they dangerous?” “What is going on?” “Are they spirits from beyond?”
I pushed my hands down, and they went silent. I stared up at Ein praying for the first time in my life; Protect them, o holiest of holies, watch over them while I’m gone. “I’ll explain what I can. They are from the sky, from one of the star’s in the sky.”
“Impossible!” Our local Priest, Milo, shouted into my face.
“You are entitled to believe what you will. But, that is what I believe they are. I don’t know why they have come. But, they want me to leave with them. I decided I will go. I don’t know if I’ll be back.” Looks of fear, anger, and panic started to crop up. I shook my head. “It will be all right. I know that. I also know, I will miss all of you.”
Milo grabbed my arm shaking it hard. “You will not go with evil spirits of the underworld, Rilas. I forbid it. If you go, you will suffer in the eternal pits of despair.”
I pulled my arm free. “It is my decision, Milo. Goodbye.” I turned from him I felt a wetness trail down my face. “Goodbye everyone, I will miss you all.”
Everyone came forward embraced me. I felt more tears run down my face. I stepped back and walked up to the Priest of Jirth. “Do I need to take anything?”
Priest of Jirth looked at me with one eye. “No, Teacher of Einlari, you need only yourself.”
I walked away with it. This was my last mistake I would ever make.