They also call me The One Who Left. My only regret was leaving my friend Molly behind.
Life at the Abode was all I had ever known. I knew all the rules. I'd been thrown into a cold, dark room called The Place for breaking the rule about singing. When I was finally released from The Place, I didn't care any more. I knew the rule about the mists that surrounded the Abode: Never Step Into the Mists Alone. You Will Die. Dying seemed like as good an option as any. Yet I stood at the edge of the mists, hesitating, willing myself to take that step.
At last I stepped in. And the mists didn't kill me. Instead, they took me to a world I'd never seen; a world where I found a family of my own. Only discovering an object that belonged to the man who controlled the Abode sent me back. I had no idea that my return would change...everything.
My name is Molly. I've lived inside the mists at the Abode for...always. I've heard about a wide world beyond the mists, but I don't know anything about it. I've never been there. The Smilts are the people in charge of me and the other children here. They tell us that if we step into the mists, we'll die.
My friend Fel, though, she stepped into the mists. I thought she was dead. But she came back. She came back to rescue me and take me to the wide world! She has a family there now. A family!
Fel and I tried to escape. We took two other children and Fel's parrot, Hidalgo. The mists told me to stay, though, and I knew I should listen to them. After the mists spoke to me, everything completely changed!
I hope you'll come with me to see how the adventure comes out!
Hidalgo here. Yes, I'm a gorgeous bird. Specifically, I'm a scarlet macaw, a kind of parrot. Like Fel, I'm an adopted member of the Arenas family.
I have to admit I'm also the smartest and most useful character of The Abode.
Don't get me wrong. Fel and Molly and the rest of them do pretty well, considering their human limitations. In fact, I'd give my life for either of those young women or, in fact, for any of the other characters you'll meet (with one exception). I can't blame the humans for not quite having the smarts of a parrot. And of course almost none of them can fly. We'll get back to flying later. I'm not allowed to tell you about Ywyn, as much as I'd like to. Just wait until you meet him!
Meanwhile, I do my best to keep all of them from making stupid decisions. Especially the one named Angel. He thinks he's so fierce and terrifying. Ha!
So, I help out wherever I can. Situations at the Abode can get pretty scary, so I do my best to keep everyone in line. I love my job. Wouldn't trade places with any parrot anywhere in the wide world.
Only one other knows my truth. He exists to only serve me, and the children, though they know nothing. This is as it must be. I must hold onto what I have created no matter the cost. If this means sacrifice from others, perhaps they would take comfort if they could know whom they serve. But alas, that secret, should it come to light, could mean my death.
I hide. I pretend. I flourish. Generations of humans have known me, conversed with me, shared their lives with me. But not one ever knew me. The children of the Abode call me Visitor. I roam between two worlds. The centuries pass.
Ahoy, everyone. I’m Sam Vargas. I’m 15, and my parents are ex-pirates. We spend our time robbing stuff that the bad kind of pirates steal, and then give those goods to the people who lost them, or to folks who can really use them. That’s some dangerous work, and my parents let me do that, so they finally let me go with Fel, Hidalgo, and my Uncle Angel into the Mists.
Our ship, where we live, is called the Silence. My parents have taught me, and Fel, and Hidalgo of course, how to move around anywhere without making a sound, even in the dark. I figured that skill, plus the fact that I can use a cutlass if I have to, might make me useful once we get to the Abode.
I hope so.
My name is Ywyn, pronounced “YOU-in,” by my human friends. I am a Dragon. My home has been this dark cave for…I cannot estimate the time precisely. Dragon time and human time are not measured in the same manner—but centuries, at least centuries. A chain around one of my legs binds me to the cave wall. Only one being can break the spell and free me, though I wonder whether my wings, after all this time, would still lift me in flight. How I miss flying!
The story of how I came to be a captive here is a long one. For now, let me say that I regret the decision that brought me to this place— a decision that has caused the others of my kind to live as slaves.
My dear Mol Leh (you may know her as Molly) tells me my regrets are for naught. I can only hope she is right.