As a child, I remember the excitement each year as twenty people gathered for Iridian. Parades would be thrown, people dressed in costumes depicting magical creatures that had once roamed our earth. Countless celebrations would be held as families gathered together and hoped for an invitation of their own. I had loved watching the parades on our old television, had loved the glittering costumes of the dancers that pranced down the streets. The celebrations continued until a victor emerged, gloating of the adventure and wonder that is Iridian.What the television didn’t talk about
A rough knock sounded on the front door, taking Mom’s attention off of me. She brushed past me with a disappointed sigh, walking from the kitchen into the living room. The floor creaked under her feet as she padded over to the front door.“You’ll thank us for this someday, Rachel.” Dad frowned, and though I could see the concern burning in his eyes, it did nothing to stifle the anger running through me.
My Mom's warning stuck with me as we drove down the road. I contemplated asking the man when the game actually begin, but I doubted he would give me a straight answer. Those who returned from Iridian were unable to speak about the details of the game, but I heard the rules and setting changed every year.'Must be a lot of work to change your entire pack every year.' Rayna mused, 'If they change the rules and setting, why are they so secretive about the game itself?''Maybe, they're trying to hide the fact that they don't have Magic. After all, Grandpa Kent said Magic left us a long time ago.' I shrugged.'Maintaining a healthy skepticism, I see.' Rayna chuckled, 'Grandpa Kent also said, the only place that still has Magic is the Iridescence Pack.''Maybe they don't want people finding out how some of the contestants vanish, or how some are driven mad.' I grimaced, feeling the food I had eaten at my birthday party swirl within
After Apollo's vanishing act, I wasted little time stepping onto the train. The sliding doors opened with a quiet hiss, revealing a guy just a few years older than myself. The guy was nothing like Apollo, with his flamboyant suit and shimmering hair. This boy looked quite normal, and was sporting what looked to be a waiter's uniform. His lips turned up with a polite smile, and I visibly jumped as the doors behind me closed. "Welcome, Rachel. I am sure you have questions, but unfortunately, I am not the one to ask. This entire compartment belongs to you and four other female contestants. Food and drink are provided, as are sleeping quarters for your time here. We will arrive at the Iridescent Pack in four days. This train also houses the other contestants, male's included, though you will not have access to them. Do enjoy your stay."Without another word, the guy gestured to his right. The scent of food wafted in the air, much different than wha
I had slept like the dead, only waking to the sound of two unfamiliar feminine voices. Sliding the door to my small sleeping quarters open, I peeked my head from the room. The woman with a permanent sneer on her face, Liliana, was chatting with another woman, one I hadn't seen before. I assumed she was the fifth contestant on our small portion of the train. Her hair was impossibly long and curly, her skin a shade of deep bronze. She looked as though she spent most of her days under the sun. I'd have assumed she worked outside if it weren't for the shimmering crystal necklace that wrapped around her throat. She held the same air of superiority Liliana sported. Whatever conversation they were having halted at my entrance. Two sneers turned on me, and I didn't bother resisting the urge to roll my eyes.'Already making enemies, I see.' Rayna yawned, shaking out her fur.'I didn't do anything.' I snorted, padding down the hallway to the small bathroo
That night we tried a decanter of scarlet liquid, thin in viscosity with little chunks of what looked like fruit inside. As I inhaled the scent pouring from the decanter, I noted strawberries, cherries, and other fruits I had no name for.I looked over the symbols carved onto the bottom of each decanter. Some were small stars with five points, the ones I was warned about, others had large eight-pointed stars, while one decanter in particular had a crescent moon. I couldn't help but wonder what effects the decanter with a crescent moon held. The liquid in was midnight black, but was ripe with hues of indigo and purple, with little silver flecks dancing around. The bottom of this particular decanter had an eight-pointed star.Helena had been true to her word, bringing the scarlet liquid to her lips, her eyes bright with anxiety and bravery. For a moment, Helena looked around confused, until her gaze landed on Camille and I. Her eyes widened; her l
Yesterday we had let Helena choose one of the decanters, and today Camille wanted a turn. I had warned them both about the decanters marked with a small star, and was pleased that they took my word seriously.I had scanned the bottom of each bottle, noting how they either had a small star, or a large eight-pointed star carved onto the bottom. Only one bottle had the carving of a crescent moon, and I was growing more and more curious of its effects. The nameless waiter hadn't said anything about the bottle with the crescent moon, and I could no longer stifle my curiosity. Once we arrived at the Iridescence Pack, I would no longer have the opportunity to try it. The decanter with the crescent moon held a liquid the shade of night, though the color was anything but flat. Inky black mixed with deep shades of indigo, plum, and silver. Tomorrow would be my turn to choose, and I wanted to try the decanter with the crescent moon.Camille chose a pleasant beig
Gentle wind whipped around me in waves, lashing against my bare skin with its cool caress. Where the wind chilled me, the sun provided warmth. Plump clouds hung in the sky, round like cotton though none dared to drift in front of the sun.I looked down at the outfit I wore, running my fingers over the thin yet sinfully soft material. A white shirt, and lavender pants. The events of the last few days rushed over me, the wind growing colder against my skin as I realized this was all a dream, a production of the magic infused liquid I had drank.I had gotten my invitation to Iridian, and was on my way to the Iridescence Pack. Helena and Camille flitted through my mind like a distant memory, though I know I had seen them merely hours ago. I remembered the midnight liquid in the decanter, the crescent moon etched onto the bottom. I remembered the explosion of flavor, both foreign and familiar, as the liquid touched my lips. I remembered falling into bed, m