Time passed and the Anagativa suffered—fighting and starving and perishing—just as the great crystals had predicted.

 

Though their knowledge had expanded, the Anagativa had thus far endured a challenging life filled with long, grueling days and little peace to be found.

 

As they continued to suffer, they pled to the sacred crystals, begging to be saved from the purpose they’d been granted.

 

But the crystals never replied. No matter what was asked of them, no matter what was said, the words of the restless Anagativa were repelled from their brilliant, gleaming exterior like so many seeds cast against solid stone. Silence became their armor, and the elevated Anagativa—already so downtrodden—grew ever more hopeless.

 

“What shall we do?” asked the clans. “The crystals have abandoned us.”

 

After a time, a lone, courageous Anagativa stood and spoke. She was Ellaria of the Nisarga, and she was brave. As she cast her emerald eyes upon the others, they stared blankly back at her, confused.

 

“I will speak with the Nisargan crystal,” said Ellaria. Murmurs of bemusement rippled over the clansfolk that had gathered round.

 

“And what will you do when the crystal does not speak back? What then?” asked a haughty Nisargan clan elder.

 

“…Then I will journey to the next crystal,” Ellaria responded, “and to the next, and the next, until our calls are acknowledged—until an answer has been given and there are no more crystals left to question.”

Though it was clear few believed her journey would bear success, Ellaria set out undeterred to seek council with the great Nisargan crystal. The hope and doubt of her people weighed heavy on her back, dulling her step and slowing her pace.

 

Though her feet sank in the mud and disappeared into the muck of the marsh as she pushed onward, Ellaria finally reached the desolate cave where the Nisargan crystal dwelled. Breathless, she approached the slumbering, sacred shard.

 

“Great crystal, it is I—Ellaria of the Nisarga—and I come in search of answers. My people, they plead as they perish, and yet still you remain silent. I beg of you—give to me what you would not give them, for I shall accept no less.”

 

The crystal was silent.

 

Ellaria sobbed and snarled, weary from her restless wandering. She had begged and pleaded to her own clan’s crystal, but still it would not answer.

 

As she sat in despair at the foot of the great, shining shard, Ellaria suddenly felt a raging anger growing hot within her heart.

 

“I will not stop here,” she growled. “If you will not answer, I’ll seek out another who will!”

On she marched, journeying through endless days plagued with difficult ways, creeping over towering mountaintops and trudging through low, muck-filled valleys. Finally, she found herself standing before the dank graveyard of the dark Myrtunan clanlands.

 

There at its edge, the Myrtuna crystal softly shimmered. Ellaria pushed past the dead that lay motionless amongst those hallowed grounds and stepped forward, for hers was business meant for those still living.

 

“Myrtunan crystal, it is I—Ellaria of the Nisarga—and I come in search of answers. My people plead as they perish, and yet you remain silent. I beg of you—give to me what you would not give them, for I shall accept no less.”

 

Just as the first of the sacred crystals had done, the Myrtunan crystal remained silent.

 

Ellaria sat and slumped graveside in frustration, an aching despair gnawing at her heart. “I will not stop here,” she mustered through clenched teeth. “If you refuse to answer, I shall seek out another who will!”

From crystal to crystal, Ellaria journeyed on in this way—across the frozen, frigid wastelands of the tundra-dwelling Tandarans; through the sweltering, molten chaos of the fiery Keozans; past the silent, sunbaked realm of the secretive Sykomanans—with each crystal giving the same empty, silent reply.

 

With every day that passed, the doubt of Ellaria’s people grew heavier upon her back, slowing her step. And yet, for all her struggle, Ellaria finally stumbled weary and weatherworn into the sun-soaked, sky-kissed lands of the angelic Lyuminans.

 

Slowly she approached the last of the sacred crystal’s shimmering shards.

 

“Lyuminan crystal, it is I—Ellaria of the Nisarga—and I come in search of answers. My people, they plead and they die, and yet still the rest of the sacred crystals remain silent! Please…give to me what you would not give to them…for you are the last hope, and I cannot bear to fail my quest.”

 

The last crystal remained silent.

 

Though she felt her heart could take no more, Ellaria did not speak nor argue. She did not growl, nor sob, nor plead helplessly as the others had done before. Instead, she simply sat quietly by the crystal’s luminescent side.

Long moments passed before Ellaria found the words that had until now eluded her. Quietly, she spoke.

 

“’What shall we do? Where shall we go?’ These will be the questions uttered from the clan elders when I return home. How can I properly respond or allay their fears? I refuse to simply shrug my shoulders,” she said.

 

Ellaria raised her head from her trembling hands and looked up at the stoic crystal. She stared for a moment without word.

 

Suddenly, a fiery resolve ignited within her heavy heart and bloomed out from her core. “If you will not give us answers, we shall find them ourselves,” she whispered. “I will not stop here,” she continued, her tone rising as she got to her feet. “If you will not give us answers, then I will be the one who does!

 

At that, the great crystal finally spoke, its long-forgotten voice booming loudly above the swirling winds.

 

“Ellaria of the Nisarga, we have heard your words and felt your sorrow; we have accompanied you on this difficult quest, delighting in your triumphs and despairing in your downfalls. We have seen the true strength of your heart, so do not weep, child, for you have earned our solace.”

 

Ellaria looked back at the crystal, the fire that had kindled within her suddenly roaring.

“Child?! I am no child,” she boldly spat. “...Not after the burden you’ve placed upon me, not after I have journeyed thus far without aid. I will not be coddled now; that right was stolen from me long ago when my own clan’s sacred crystal turned its blind eye to the desperate pleading of my people. We are far too forgotten for your salvation. You may keep it, for we do not need it now.”

 

“Brave Ellaria, you are mistaken,” replied the crystal. “It is not you who needs us—but we who need you. Long have we heard the plight of the Anagativa and been unable to act. We could not stop their suffering, nor delay its progress, for those were lessons needed learned on their own. In our desperate heartbreak, we were forced to remain silent…for we lacked the answers for which you so hoped.”

 

Ellaria gazed into the face of the brilliant crystal, her eyes emblazoned in its glow. The crystal continued on…

 

“Dear wanderer, it is you who already contain the very answers you seek, for though your journey has hardened you, it has also made you wiser. Can’t you see? Though we may not always have the answers to your questions, know that you already possess the power to answer them yourself.”

Ellaria stood silent for several long moments. She thought long and hard, and it was only after she’d done both that she found the words to speak again.

 

“You claim I possess the knowledge my people seek, but I am only Ellaria of the Nisarga, a lone Anagativa weary from travel,” she said. “What authority will my words hold when I return home? How shall I fill the void left in the absence of your wisdom? If I must seek out my own answers, then show me how to deliver them without dispute.”

 

“You shall return to them, brave one—not as Ellaria of the Nisarga, but as one who bears no clan affiliation. Rise up now and return to them—after you’ve canvassed the whole of Ailur and mastered the understanding of all ancient, sacred knowledge—return to them with great wisdom in tow. Though suffering and great peril will constantly beckon, your selfless trials will one day soothe the ache of all others’. Rise now, Ellaria of the Raksaka, for you have been shown the way.”

And so it was that on that day, Ellaria, the first of the ancient Raksaka warriors, was born.

 

When she had traveled the full expanse of Ailur and mastered the ancient secrets of the six sacred crystals, Ellaria returned home to her people. With sword swift and magic strong, she was met with a new sense of purpose, acceptance, and understanding.

 

Over the years, the Anagativa prospered under the peaceful leadership of Ellaria, First of the Raksaka. As time passed, she showed others how to speak with the crystals and understand the sweet, sensual nuances of their song.

 

Many she tried to teach her wisdom, but only those worthy enough to master the art of knowing and bear the burden of protection were granted the highest honor of becoming a true Raksaka warrior.

© 2020 Astral Clocktower Studios