The Cascades, a place of wonder and mysticism. A place of peril and death. A place of power. Tytan stared at the jaded waterfall in front of him. The waterfall nobody went to, because nobody returned. It was the only way to show them. To prove he wasn’t scared of everything. That he wasn’t a coward. If he could pass through the Cascades and return, it would show them all. No more would they taunt and tease him, push him down and laugh at him.
Tytan steeled himself, unsheathed his sword and walked out into the lake. He gripped the hilt of his sword tightly as he stayed on alert. The mystical waterfall’s mist sparkled in the moonlight and sprayed his face as he neared it. The water became deeper, soon reaching his chest. The only thing left to do was cross under the waterfall. The Cascades. He took a deep breath and walked through it.
His skin began to tingle and his blood seemed to course through his veins faster as the water pelted him. It forced him underwater, the sheer weight of the Cascades raining upon him was far from normal. He tried to stand, tried to move forward, fighting against the pressure but it pummeled him down.
He could only hold his breath a little longer as he struggled against the force of the water. His lungs burned and darkness crept into his eyes. He fought, desperately, as he felt his very life ebb away but it was to no avail. He stopped struggling and the Cascades pushed him down against the bottom of the the lake. He relaxed his body, accepting his fate. At least he tried. Then, when his lungs felt like they were about to give out, a strong current came and pushed him out from under the waterfall.
He stood and waded away from the Cascades deadly embrace, it’s jaded hue seemed to mock him. Laughter sounded out behind him. It was light and intriguing. He turned, but nothing was there. He heard it again to his left. He looked quickly but saw no one. He realized his surroundings had changed. The lake was a different size and the trees were not the trees he had seen when he first entered the Cascades.
“And who might you be?” A soft voice called out.
Tytan reached for his sword but it wasn’t there. He realized he dropped it when he was under the water.
“Looking for this?” The voice sounded again.
The water rippled and his sword floated to the surface. He quickly grabbed it.
“Who’s there?” Tytan called out, his voice trembling slightly.
“They call me Genasys,” the voice came again.
“Where are you?”
He felt a hand graze the back of his neck and he turned around, his sword ready. The water had formed a hand and arm. He looked at it curiously as it broke apart and fell back into the water.
“Show yourself!” He yelled.
The water began to roll over itself until it formed the body of a woman from the waist up.
“What are you?” He asked.
“What I am is unimportant,” she said, following it with a giggle. “Why are you here?”
“I… I came to face the dangers of the Cascade. To prove my worth.”
“Your worth?” Genasys said, moving closer to him. “Tell me, what is your worth?”
“I am no coward.”
“Coward? Hmm, I see. What is your name?”
“Tytan, the Brave then,” she giggled. “So, you will rescue me? Many have tried, all have failed.”
“Rescue you from what? It seems we are the only ones here.”
“Shh, it comes,” she whispered. “It is a terrible beast. Fire pours from it’s mouth and it has claws sharper than swords.”
Tytan looked toward the forest around him, his eyes darting back and forth, searching for the monster stalking them.
“What is it?” He asked the water woman.
“A dragon lurks about. It devours all that come here.”
He turned back to her and saw a sneer upon her face. A sneer of pure rage and anger. Her form dropped back into the water and one of a dragon emerged.
“You dare come into my domain seeking glory? You have come to murder for the approval of others?”
“Wait, I thought there was a monster here. I did not come to hurt you.”
“I am the monster you silly boy! I am the protector of this place. Only those with blood from the chosen three can enter. Only those true to the Creator!”
Tytan saw the creature pull it’s long dragon head back, it’s mouth opened, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to escape. He threw his sword at it and it sailed harmlessly through it’s body. The water dragon brought it’s head forward and a torrent to boiling hot water shot at Tytan. He closed his eyes and braced himself as it hit him, but no pain came.
He slowly looked at Genasys and saw she was back in her woman form and looking at him curiously.
“Tell me Tytan, what be your lineage?”
“I… are you going to try and kill me again.”
“That all depends on the answer you bring forth, boy.”
“I am Tytan, son of Trydan, son of Kyra.”
“Trydan and Kyra?” Genasys whispered. “You have strong blood within you. Strong blood indeed. Come forth, receive your courage.”
Tytan waded closer to Genasys and she lifted a watery hand to the side of his face, caressing it. A tingle ran through his body and a great thirst came to him.
“Now,” Genasys said, staring into his eyes. “Drink from the waterfall and return to your world. You have the mark of the Cascades upon you. Everyone will know you survived it’s wrath.”
With those words, Genasys backed into the waterfall and disappeared. He approached the Cascades and drunk from them, he gulped as much as he could, trying to quench this sudden bottomless thirst. Once, he was sated, he crossed back under the Cascades. This time, he relaxed his body from the beginning. He felt himself being pushed to the bottom of the lake, then he floated back up and he was back in his world.
Tytan swam to the shore of the lake and sat for a moment, thinking of the events that just transpired. Then he gathered his things, but before he left he walked to the edge of the lake and looked at his reflection. By his left eye was a glyph of a waterfall. It’s crest was above his eye and it spilled down toward his cheek. He smiled and began his journey home, a new strength pulsating deep within him.