The story so far:
Layla slowly opened her eyes, and started breathing. She gasped, it had worked! She was in the traditional leaf! She slowly pulled open the leaf and crawled out. Quiet as a mouse, she raced back to where her hut tree was. There was a bush somewhere… Suddenly she fell through the forest floor into a dark tunnel. Then the leaves reformed and it was pitch black.
Layla put her hands on the cold, dirt wall and walked until she found what she was looking for. There was a small notch in the wall. She put her finger in it and dug around until she hit the wooden button. Then she stepped back onto the trick stone. A small patch in the wall popped open. She dug her fingers in the side and pulled it open. It revealed a candlestick, some matches, and a large, green diamond. Along with a very sharp stick used to draw in the dirt.
She lit the candlestick, blew out the match, and buried it in the dirt. Then she walked down the tunnel until she found the giant, marble circle on the floor. When she inserted the diamond in the empty slot in the lion’s eyes, and pressed each green bug until the circle became loose. Then it started turning. While it turned, it also lowered. Layla sat down in the middle and braced herself. It suddenly dropped. Her hair whooshed above her. It slowed down and then stopped. She got off and pulled a lever that was there. Then the circle sped back to the top. When Layla turned around, she faced the hard part of her journey- the maze. It was a large stone maze that wrapped around until it came to the stairway up. Only she knew the way. After turning and twisting through the dark maze, she finally found her way to the stairway. She crawled up, and opened the door cautiously. Even though the door was easy to open, to get there was hard. It was a hard door to find. Then there is the maze. Then you have to find the circle. She was at the shore of the ocean, it was nighttime.
Layla searched for awhile, weaving in and out of countless vines and trees and bushes. She finally found the little boat where she was going to be in for awhile. ?The boat was very special. It only took one person to sail because it was magical. It sailed itself. Layla started the boat, and then lied down to sleep.
She dreamed about everything that had happened to her, that lead up to this moment. Particularly, she was thinking about the Society of the Blazing Skulls. She thought back to the first thing she could remember. The first day everything changed.
It was a normal and beautiful morning; her parents were making breakfast with the other villagers. Layla was about 3 year old, carefree and naïve. She knew nothing about the Society then. Suddenly, they heard lots of crunching in the forest.
“Who is there?” the chief had said, intimidating but soft.
“Where is Star Cat and Green Sea?” replied a monotone and robotic voice.
"I do-don't know who you're talking about!" stammered the Chief in response.
"This is you're last chance. Give me Star Cat and Green Sea," said the voice again.
"I've told you," said the cheif urnestly, " I DON'T know,"
"You're lies test my patience. You will be anihilated in 29 seconds"
Everyone screamed and ran around, trying to get with their families. It was very chaotic, but Layla's parents stayed unswayed.
“Let’s go,” said Layla’s parents, looking at each other. Then they turned to Layla and handed her a pouch. “Enter that key into the notch in the wall. The password is ‘evening, dusk, dawn, morn”. Find the book. It will explain everything. I’m sorry, but we have to go.” Sadly, they walked towards the woods and stood at the edge.
“I am Star Cat,” said Layla’s mom.
“I am Green Sea,” said her dad.
“We will go in peace if you leave the village alone,” they said together. A huge pair of red claws popped out and grabbed her parents. They shot back into the forest. Layla screamed, and tears flowed down her face. She was screaming and kicking, while the chief pulled her back. Trying to run after her parents, Layla pushed and pulled.
“NO!” she shouted “No no no!” The once sunny morning became dark. It was as if time slowed, everything seemed fake to her. She turned around, wrenched free from the chief and ran away. She headed to her hut. She shimmied up the tree and climbed into the house. Sitting on her mat bed, she opened the house and poured the key out.
Holding it in her hand, she admired it. It was a simple looking key, but it looked very beautiful. It was a dull wolf grey, and there were little markings on it, that looked like a foreign, ancient language. She found the notch in the wall, and stuck the key in there. At first nothing happened, and Layla was disappointed. Then, she saw the wall pop out, and fall. It revealed a detailed map. Layla took it out. It was easy to read, perfect for a 3 year old.
A few minutes later, she had found the giant tree the map had described. She knocked on the tree three times, like the map said. A deep voice asked the password.
"Tell me the password, or thee shall leave," it said.
“Evening, dusk, dawn, morn,” answered Layla.
“Enter,” said the voice. Layla was confused. There was no door or anything. She reached out and touched the tree. To her surprise, instead of touching solid bark, her hand went right through. Now knowing what to do, she happily stepped through the tree.
Her breath was taken away when she saw the inside of the tree. She had been expecting a small, circular room with wood walls. Instead, she found a large room decorated with expensive looking stuff. It was like a ballroom of a castle.
“I wish that I knew what this was for,” said Layla. As if the tree knew what she said, a pamphlet appeared beside her. Layla picked it up, and read it.
“If you are reading this, you have found the Secret Room. Anything you wish for, you will get as long as it is not too big. But only in this room,” said the pamphlet.
Layla's three year old face lit up with joy. "Is this real?" she thought. She thought of all the things she could do in the room! She decided to have some fun.
First she thought she would like to see what was happening at her little village. Suddenly in her lap a beautiful, clear crystal ball appeared in her lap. as she stared at it, the sparkley surface turned cloudy then melted into a vision of her village.
The villagers were mourning the disapearence of Layla's parents. Layla's eyes stung just thinking about it. She willed the crystal ball to show her cabin. Inside was her friend, Daniela. She was also very young, but people always thought she was older. Daniela seemed like she's seen a lot for her age.
Daniela had always loved Laylas parents because they would bake delicious food and play fun games. But Daniela didn't look sad. She looked angry and guilty. Layla shook off the strange feeling and moved the vision to look at the death and disapearence hut.
The hut had been built when the village was first started. Back then, there was that hut, the main village hut, where they held celebrations and orientations and meetings. There was also about 8 huts, and about 4 people were in each hut in little cots.
In the death and disapearence hut, they had something to remeber each death. It had to be small, though. A leaf with their name, the preserved paw of their biggest hunting feat, their first small baby booty, made of animal hide. Anything that resembled them. One person had a sketch of themself, that they did while looking at themselves in a creek. But Layla sook what her parents were being remebered by.
Her moms was beautiful and kind and dinified. It was her prized posession, a gem she found in the river. It was a modest and small one, but it was the deepest and purest blue. It was as if the ocean bottled up it's beat water in it. Her mother's name, Dalila, was on a card with golden ink in the smallest, daintiest cursive. It complimented the blue beautifully.
For her dad was an animal hide of a male deer. The deer was a swift, strong beast, the doninent being of the deer group near their village. They had been trying to kill him for a few years, because he was the healthiest and meatuest they had seen for awhile. It had her fathers initialed in the bottom right corner, KD, Kekleman Darkwood.
Layla was satisfied. The villagers knew how to represent. Both of those items were what Layla wouldve chosen. Her dad was one of the best hunters, and her mom loved pretty things but also worked very hard. "Hard as a rock," her father used to say.
When she was done, she willed the ball to disapear. Then she thought back to what her parents told her. "Find the book," she remebered. She willed the book to appear. Suddenly, on her lap another item appeared, just as the crystal ball had. It was an old book with a leather binding. It looked official and important enough, so Layla opened it up. Surprisingly, it wasn't very dusty.
Layla opened the book, and instantly smelled all the years the book had been closed. She coughed a little, and turned the first crinkled, slighty yellow page ad begin to read.