I look at Hanna and her shock is evident in the whiteness surrounding us. I am as astonished.
How is it possible? How does a woman appear as light in the darkness, if not by magic? This is high talent, though, and I have never heard tell of it, not even in the most obscure legends.
Gazing down, I have the clearest impression the woman waits for us. She is unmoving, but there is about her a sense of expectation.
Despite my disquiet, I make my way down to the clearing below. Hanna hisses at me to stay put, but I understand nothing will change until we deal with this phenomenon. The apparition will wait into eternity and we will be bound to the hilltop. Maybe that is fanciful, but it is how I feel.
I hear Hanna behind me. Twigs snap and leaves rustle.
The waterfall is ethereal also. Perhaps it is the energy that allows the woman to maintain presence.
“Hello?’ I venture, coming to rest a few paces away.
A smile erupts. “Hello! Thank you for coming to talk to me.”
Hanna and I glance at each other. I clear my throat. “Who are you?”
“I am Sassen, the lore keeper of Arc. Who are you?”
Her voice is real. How strange. “I am Lyra.”
Ethereal hands clasp together. “Lyra? Oh, finally! I have been waiting for you.”
By the stars, this is eerie. “You have been waiting?”
“Yes! The names of all are written in the book. Those who came before and those who came after.”
“Before and after what?” Hanna demands.
“Me!” the woman laughs. “Sassen is my name and after me there is …” She ticks off on her fingers. “… eight names, and then Lyra. The others failed, though.” She grimaces and then stares directly at me. “My hope is that you succeed.”