Dormant for over 1000 years, Mount Codlata had recently begun rumbling. Although local populations were aware of this reawakening, little relocating took place. This was mainly due to Mount Codlata’s home in the desert sands and rocky hills of Goath. As one of the most remote places on Tallabh, the Goath desert was rarely visited, except when a scientist or adventurer found the inspiration to wander its lonely mountains or sandy wastelands.

Deep within the belly of Mount Codlata, magma churned graceful yet frantic now as nearly 100 years of activity would culminate in a spectacular eruption. From afar, scientists and ordinary citizens alike watched excitedly for the natural event of the era. Many had taken time from their busy lives to watch this explosive event which had sparked their imagination. Scientists waited patiently for the eruption, hoping once it began, samples would yield valuable data, as sediment from over 1000 years ago would be thrown forth.

So it was that Mount Codlata ruptured in colours of brilliant ecstasy, as the remnants from Tallabh’s indigenous history spewed forth in a river of hot red magma. The generated findings from this explosion were vast. Keeping many scientists and volcano enthusiasts occupied for years to come.

In its initial explosion, debris was flung many miles abroad, some even making it as far as the shoreline more than 40 miles east of the land of Goath. Much of those pieces were gathered for study and private collections. Many more were washed out to sea, carried away by strong currents. One such current brought pieces as far as the icy shores of the Island of Banbás, where the rocks, already cooled, began to freeze as the winter closed in.

One particularly large rock took several weeks to freeze entirely, but by mid-winter, it was frozen internally. The wind howled on the Island of Banbás, and it’s few inhabitants had all but ceased to leave their homes, during the worst of the weather the Island received year round. Winters on Tallabh last 150 days, as the planet, tilted on its axis, languidly orbits the star Glormaar with a circle of 600 days.

The rock in question began exhibiting signs no rock in the history of Tallabh had done. It had all but begun to shake. It’s idiosyncrasies began with gentle vibrations no one would have noticed without the correct equipment. Slowly it vibrated, then shook, then shuddered, until finally, it convulsed violently. As the days rolled by pieces of the frozen rock began to crack and fall away, until eventually after months of frozen shaking, a distinct shape could be seen.

The rock was now decidedly person-shaped. A tall shapely form, with a look of intense fear and pain on their face. One would have recoiled in horror looking upon the agony. Their teeth clenched, fingers like claws, and body contorted from the misery of a lava-encrusted death.

This body, continued its vibrations, day after day, week after week, month after month. It became with each passing week, less rocky and more fleshy. Had this been witnessed, none would have believed what they were seeing. Occurrences outside the laws of nature would cause dubious horror within. The skin eventually clear of all rock could be observed as dark and smooth. It could now be seen that the form was female, whose face, though contorted, was quite the beauty. Her hair was long, lips full, nose button like. Her cheekbones, while defined, made her face soft.

Then on a day near the beginning of the thaw, her brown eyes opened. She took a deep breath and unleashed a scream which carried across the Island of Banbás. This scream frightened the denizens who spread tales of a demonical temptress in the following weeks. None left their houses that day out of fear.

Chapter 1

A drooping plant, melancholy in its composure, caused Ellie to pause and sit down beside it. Although she had been growing things all her life, this plant was dying right before her eyes, and to her at that moment, she could not but connect this dying plant, to her empty womb. “The universe is giving me a sign and it’s that I cannot have a child.” Fat tears popped out of Ellie’s pale blue eyes and ran down her round cheeks. She had recently been with a doctor, in nearby Bandialann, and the news had been disheartening.

“Look Ellie, I’m really sorry, but we cannot exactly define why you and Eric have been unable to conceive. You must understand, in all our wisdom, our race still struggles to truly understand why sometimes people cannot get pregnant. Both of your tests have come back and there seems to be absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. I feel as though if you are not so hard on yourself that one day you and Eric will have a healthy baby.” Doctor Messa offered her gentle but firm smile. Although Ellie heard the words, her emotions would not allow this to be a peaceful moment of understanding. Her sobs had been loud that day, and Eric, silent in his mourning, had just held her.

Eric had tried for weeks afterward to keep Ellie calm and be positive, but even his inner dialogue was telling him it was hopeless. So when Ellie had told him yesterday morning that she was going to see a witch for help, he hadn’t argued or decried the idea, he had just nodded resignedly. Perhaps this would help Ellie to relax naturally, and that would help matters along. They weren’t that old anyway, barely 40, and people were living to 400 these days with medical advances. So he let her go and kissed her on the head supportively on the way out the door. “Just be safe, ok my love?” She had nodded bravely and set out confidently, back to Bandialann, to a famous witch and healer.

As Ellie sat on the floor staring at the dying plant, she remembered the words of the witch from the day before. Even before Ellie opened her mouth the witch had proclaimed her the mother of a future well-known child, and could she offer her any advice? Ellie had blinked at the outburst, and said through gritted teeth, “myself and my Cayla Eric are having trouble conceiving a child, so how could I possibly be the future mother of a famous child?!” Her bitterness was not hidden, yet it did not phase the witch as she smiled back at Ellie, “Oh my dear, you are so young, why do you worry so? I see children in your future, you just need a little push in the right direction.” The witch rose from her altar, on which Ellie noted a great many things she didn’t understand and glided to a nearby shelf of jars, trinkets, and fauna.

The witch reached in behind several items and pulled out a dusty jar, filled with what Ellie could only describe as dust. “You have finally come along to claim your powder.” Said the witch cryptically, her beautiful green eyes flashing with knowing. Ellie felt uncomfortable for the first time with the women before her. Although she was beautiful, mystery surrounding her. This was perpetuated by the fact that although her brown hair was streaked with grey, she didn’t seem to be that old.

“Now my dear, your future awaits, all you need to do is plant the seeds.” She proceeded to plop the jar of ‘powder’ into Ellie’s hands. Ellie starred into the jar, which seemed to glisten ever so slightly in the light. “What, am I supposed to do with this? Rub it on my body or something?” She asked with undisguised facetiousness. The witch threw back her head and laughed heartily, causing Ellie’s churning stomach to relax. There was something kind about the laughter and Ellie smiled.

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