EPISODE I Destination

Before her stood the grandiose foyer of Waralea Airdot. The splendor and sophistication served no purpose; they were purely decorative. Its opulence seemed to emit hostility to the people who had not set foot inside the walls of the eminent airdot. It, indeed, seemed daunting…almost seeming to repel the people who would come for aid to gather convenience for their own crossing.

Carniff Vanderlux was among the dense crowd that had flocked to the entrance of the flamboyant edifice – and she stood in the midst of it. The wintry breeze that forewarned an adverse weather circulated within the vicinity yet the sun shone rather intensely; however, this remedied her unsettled feeling no ease. It was for this reason that she felt alone…completely foreign to the ground on which she stood.

She clutched her suitcases securely in her hands. Another luggage dangled from her shoulder, rendering her feeble due to its bulk. Instilled with the fear of being alone, she felt vulnerable to the dash of danger…particularly theft from within the mounting breadth of the swarm surrounding her. Standing still, she sighed to release the swelling anxiety that had plagued her being. She then began to walk slowly with the crowd.

Upon finally entering the vestibule of the legendary airdot, the intense noise of the crowd beleaguered her ears. There were even more people within the building, it was even more congested inside. It was not viable for her to reach the reception area easily. She was bound to unearth a way out of the bothersome situation she was in. People inconsiderately rammed through the mass, colliding with her, causing her collision with others. It was almost grueling to breathe with ease.

She was scheduled to go aboard the Yintrail Airship stationed at the field in the Dorelle Wing of the airdot. She looked for signposts for directions through her squinted dazzling sapphire eyes. To her east, she found a signpost that read 'To Dorelle Wing' escorted with an arrow sign that was directed to the right of where she uncomfortably stood. Struggling to make it out of the overflowing horde, she pressed through the blockades that stood in her way, occasionally uttering her excuses as well as her pardons with a careworn smile on her face. Carniff wished she could at least float so as to make use of the space above her that was given allowance by the high ceiling of the atrium. But, alas, she could only wish. She had to keep on. The infuriating condition she was in was nearing its end.

Carniff felt relieved upon reaching the immensely spacious hallway to Dorelle Wing. She walked hastily with the continuous flow of crowd to the destination she was bound to arrive at. Further down the hallway, glass walls tolerated natural luminosity into the intensely ornamented corridor. The transparency offered a spectacular panorama of the colossal Yintrail Airship, which was as imposing as the interiors of the celebrated airdot.

Upon seizing a remarkable glimpse of the airship she was to embark on, a forceful jolt of apprehension and exhilaration exuded from her heart, etching a tense yet exultant expression on her youthful vibrant face. Carniff continued to walk to the open field where the famed Yintrail Airship was stationed.

The egress to the field was not far off when the beautiful young lady came across a sparkling tiny object on the tiled ground. It shimmered amidst the elapsing crowd. She took notice of this and drew near it, and dwindling the burden that was bestowed upon her by the luggage she bore, Carniff knelt down modestly and took the object in her left hand. She wrinkled her brow in curiosity, setting her long curled dark brunette tresses behind her right ear. A pendant? How precious… Perhaps someone dropped this by accident. Carniff whispered to herself.

A man then stood in front of her, blocking the brilliance conveyed by the sun penetrating through the glass walls behind him. She held her head high to look up on the face sculpted on the form that remained motionless before her. The man looked down at Carniff's face, their eyes met. His hazel eyes were impassive…the coldness emanating from them punctured through the young lady who knelt on one knee before him.

"I believe this is yours," Carniff stood on her feet, wearing a meek yet gracious smile. "I found it lying on the floor earlier and…"

Just before she could finish her words, the young man grimly interrupted. "It is mine," said the man in a low, austere voice, still no expression on his face. His slightly long black hair was tied neatly on the back of his head, yet his bangs obstructed a side of his unreadable face.

"Oh," Carniff felt coerced in a way, yet she concealed her feeling with an engaging but timid beam on her face. "I dearly apologize. Here," she reached out her left hand, gesturing for the man to acquire the pendant embedded with priceless ruby stones resting on her smooth palm.

He obtained the enchantingly designed pendant from the lady's hand, looking straight into her uneasy bright azure eyes. "I shall repay you," he uttered cheerlessly. His face was completely blank; his eyes did not seem to express anything at all. The man turned and made his way to the exit to the field that was not far off from Carniff's viewpoint.

She watched the man walk away from her and realized that she was rather stunned after what had just took place. It seemed as if a glum energy had surrounded her, rendering her feeling more forlorn and filled with anxiety. Perhaps it was the coldness of the man she had just talked to, or perhaps she was just not ready for the journey ahead of her.

Carniff was destined to the City of Evyora where she would study at the renowned Armbronze Palace. She boarded a train at Dol Eisenbane Station from her hometown of Iyalmar to Waralea, and from there she was to go aboard the Yintrail Airship where she would meet up with her cousin, Ayna Arquinbale, who was also on her way to Armbronze Palace to finally reach the unfamiliar grounds of Evyora. Indeed, it was quite a lengthy journey she had to traverse; nevertheless, her dream of studying at one of the most prestigious palaces in Alon gave her assertive endurance.

The turmoil that had awaited her at Waralea Airdot was not truly a surprise. She was well acquainted with what the once humble airdot had come to be. It was the same airdot her merchant father had always gone to when she was a child. She could vividly remember how her father would relate to her and her mother how inconvenient it was to be amongst the brimming crowd that would flock to the airdot. Not only did the airdot serve a single purpose, which was to host numerous airships, but also it was a luxurious center that boasted several magnificent facilities – lavish bistros, deluxe lodges, grand taverns and exceptional recreational centers. None of these, however, interested her. She had to hastily make her way to the location of the Yintrail Airship to get there in time.

Within a few minutes, Carniff was inside the airship. Its classy interiors resembled that of long-standing castles in Filispain. The walls of the rather narrow corridors were designed with refined antique flavor. Likewise, voguish yet antique-looking wall lamps were affixed on the walls.

The flight from Waralea to Evyora would take two days and so it was deemed practical for the passengers of the Yintrail Airship to reserve for accommodations. Upon entering her and her cousin's room, she was pleasantly surprised by the elegant vintage zest of its interiors; however, she was not sure if Ayna would fancy the motif of their lodging unit as the latter had always made it evident that she firmly believes the latest fad is always the way to go.

She settled down her luggage beside a divan and walked towards the curtained window. She set aside the silk fabric of the curtain to allow sunlight into the dim suite. The idea that she was indeed destined to the prosperous city of Evyora dawned upon her when she felt the airship take off and saw the grassland far down from her sight from the window. Carniff heaved a sigh, bracing her self for what was ahead of her in Evyora.

Amidst the reflective silence, Carniff heard a loud thud on her door. Baffled, she rushed to open it. What she saw was even more unsettling.