by Danielle Webber & Maggie Hazen

This is a fantasy about the avatar of incarcerated young artist Danielle Webber. They story was built through a sketchbook exchange with her mentor Maggie Hazen while Danielle was spent four years at a maximum secure center for youth in New York’s, Hudson Valley.

Chapter 1: Neptune’s Child

In the distant realm of Neptune, a young goddess named Luna was born, her skin a hue of curious green. Her origins remained shrouded in mystery, for she possessed a secret power known only to a chosen few. Yet, even Luna herself remained oblivious to this latent force, kept concealed from her awareness by those who held the knowledge.

Neptune was a world like no other. A vast expanse of Re-taw, a mysterious fluid, covered its surface. Not quite water, yet not entirely air, it allowed the Neptunians to breathe with lungs evolved for this very purpose. Luna's gossamer wings, versatile and strong, let her glide and drift effortlessly through these ethereal seas.

But Luna, Ever since she was a child, felt like the odd one out.  Luna's heart and mind were consumed by tales of Earth, a place so tantalizingly different. Yet, her parents, revered and powerful leaders of their aquatic domain, had tainted visions of Earth. To them, it was a land of danger and deception. They saw Earth's inhabitants as evil and strange creatures, worthy of disdain and distrust. Luna could not reconcile the vast misunderstandings between the two worlds. Unknown to both planets, their fates were intertwined.

By her teenage years, Luna's refuge was the world of books. She felt increasingly distant from her peers. Their obsessions with the newest tech gadgets seemed trivial in comparison to the wonders Earthly stories held for her. This marked her as an outsider and she began to spend those years withdrawn into her own world. Mockingly bullied and labeled an outcast by her friends, Luna's isolation grew, but so did her resolve to uncover Earth's mysteries.

The quest for knowledge was fraught with danger. The merest mention of Earth could raise eyebrows, and Luna had to master the art of being discrete. Occasionally, she would sneak into the restricted sections of Neptune's grand libraries, hungry for forbidden tales of Earth. The repercussions were severe when she got caught, but her thirst was insatiable.

At a lavish and decadent dinner party her parents were hosting for all the political dignitaries on the planet, became the tipping point. Luna, tired of the hushed whispers about Earth, confronted her parents. "Why," she demanded, her voice echoing in the vast hall, "do you hate the people of Earth so much, what did they ever do to you?” Her father's reaction was explosive, and the ultimatum he presented was chilling: "Stand with us against Earth, or be cast out."

Within a moment, Luna found herself in chains as Neptunes armed guards forced her onto a ship headed for banishment. The last thing she remembers was the agony of pain as a tracking device was inserted into her neck. She passed out and everything went black.

Chapter 2:  Moonlit Solitude

Luna stirred in the shadowy grip of an unfamiliar room. The lingering memories of her father's enraged countenance blurred into the dimly lit confines. Gone were Neptune's mystic waters; instead, the vastness of space stretched endlessly outside the window. Panic gripped her as she realized her prison – a silent, stark room with doors and windows bolted shut far away on the Moon.

Beyond the window of her room, a planet shimmered, its blues and greens echoing Neptune but markedly different. Could it be Earth? Luna's desperation grew, each attempt to escape met with resistance. But as she persevered, a curious energy pulsed within her, resonating with Earths waters below, causing them to tremble. Was she somehow influencing Earth's vast oceans?

Sinking into despair, Luna was consumed by loneliness. But a budding curiosity about her newfound potential was kindled. Did she wield a force capable of influencing distant worlds?

Dreamscape: First Reverie

As she slept that evening, Luna navigated Earths ocean water, as she encountered a peculiar seven-legged creature. Awakened from the dream, her reality was a bitter reminder of her confinement, her anger churning like the tumultuous waters below. Trapped on the moon, it was evident her parents chose this punishment deliberately. As she was processing these feelings, Luna look out the window onto earth below and she saw an even stronger unfamiliar on the oceans below.

Days morphed into patterns. The silent delivery of food, and brief sojourns outside in the lunar yard where, shielded by barriers, Luna sought to figure out if she was somehow causing the water reactions through some sort of power within her. As she sat in introspection thinking about these potential powers she wondered if her lineage on Neptune held secrets of such abilities. The thought that her parents might have known, might have feared her potential, became a growing suspicion.

Dreamscape: Memories Resurfaced

As she slept a second dream beckoned. A vibrant orb of hues – yellow, pink, green – pulsed invitingly. Its allure was irresistible, a force drawing her closer until she consumed it. What followed was a chilling and traumatic past. Memories of her sick mother, consumed by the arachnid plague, surged forth as the spiders began to attack a young vulnerable Luna. Luna, cornered and terrified, screamed. But from the depths of fear, a newfound power awakened.

Awakening in a surge of adrenaline, Luna acted on instinct she now believed she was truly connect to Earths tides. As she put out her hands with her newfound strength and Earth began to tremble with the memories of terror from her dream, and the waters began to elevate creating a swirling vortex flying swiftly toward her. 

Just as Luna thought she'd grasped control, an odd sensation interrupted her focus – the same seven-legged creature from her dreams. Before comprehension could dawn, the octopus' tentacle ensnared her, pulling her into a cosmic maelstrom.

Distantly, alarms blared, and an echoing command rang out. Her father? Luna was hurtling towards Earth, with the universe seemingly collapsing in her wake.

Chapter 3: Whispers Beneath the Waves

As Luna spiraled down the whirlpool, the shifting colors seemed to shimmer and dance around her, each hue more intense than the last. The heat and pressure of the descent crushed her chest, making every breath an agonizing endeavor.

Just when she thought she couldn’t bear another moment, the pull relaxed, and the world around her settled into a serene blue. She was floating in what felt like a suspended time in the Earth liquid WATER, she had read from in her books. 

As she tried to yell I Can’t Breathe, the salty strange liquid invaded her mouth. Blinking away the sting from her eyes, Luna turned to see that same peculiar octopus, its seven tentacles undulating gracefully. Panic rose within her. She wanted to scream for help but no sound came out.

Then a voice echoed in her mind, clear and distinct, "Greetings, Luna. I'm Seven."

Luna stared at the octopus, eyes wide. "Did you just...?"

The creature moved around, its seven arms making these cool patterns in the water. Luna was confused, but she listened as Seven went on. "We don't talk like we do on Earth. It's all thoughts and feelings here. Our world is all about slow movements, like dancing underwater."

Swallowing her fear, Luna asked, "What's happening? Why do I feel so... different?”

"You carry an ancient power from the deity Neptune, passed down through your maternal lineage," explained Seven. "Your abilities manifest during moments of emotional intensity and trauma. Here, in the heart of Earth's oceans, I'll help you harness it by using the powers of peace.”

This confirmed that Luna’s mother had these powers too like she had suspected all along. 

For a moment, Luna was skeptical, but then she looked around at the amazing underwater world, the shimmering lights, and she started to trust. It was like she was in a dream, but she was awake. Luna was starting to get the hang of this whole new reality. Luna felt the anxiety drain away. But a sudden realization made her reach for the chip embedded in her neck. "They're tracking me..." Luna felt the anxiety drain away. But a sudden realization made her reach for the chip embedded in her neck. "They're tracking me..."

Seven's gaze sharpened. "We need to move.”

As they swam together through the vast night waters, Luna began to trust Seven and was curious about where he came from and how he knew so much about her. 

“Tell me Seven, how did you end up here?” Asked Luna

“I used to have a family here,” Seven responded, "I had a twin brother, but he was kidnapped when we were just two. We think he was brought to planet Neptune but we dont know. We did everything together, but since then Ive been all alone.  My parents left to warmer waters and I could not go with them. When my brother and I were born we were both missing a leg. Everyone thought there was something wrong with us and I had learn to survive alone because I could not swim the distance in our migrations.”

“Im sorry to hear that”, said Luna…I was locked up for going against the ways of my family and they locked me up to live alone.” 

Together, they continued to share memories of their past as the ventured deeper into the aquatic night.

Chapter 4: Tidal Deceptions

The dark waters concealed many secrets, and Seven felt a foreboding unease as he swam with Luna through the open seas. As exhaustion claimed them they found a rock enclosure nestled in a field of seaweed to fall asleep for the night. As Seven was drifting off to asleep a silvery net ensnared him, cutting off his telepathic link to Luna.

Unaware of Seven’s plight, Luna awoke to the sight of what she thought was Seven. But felt like something was amiss. "Ready to leave, Seven?"

Unknown to Luna, the creature, who was actually Neves, Seven’s twin who had been taken captive at the age of two and brainwashed into serving the military leaders on Neptune, replied with a cunning smirk, "Certainly."

Unsettled by the change in demeanor, Luna hesitated but eventually followed. As they continued on their journey, Neves uttered a strange word, it sounded like a command, as the world faded to black for Luna.

After some time had passed, she awoke, disoriented, to see Seven’s concerned eyes. "Why did you betray me?" she cried, recalling the deceit. Who are you!!!! You aren’t Seven. 

Seven rushed to explain the switch with his estranged twin. Heartbroken, he spoke of Neves's alignment with the dark forces of Neptune and Luna's father's schemes.

Resolved, Luna said, "We’ll face this together. For the sake of your brother for Earth and every soul in the universe, my father and his forces will not prevail.”

Chapter 5: Embracing the Shadows

As Luna's path took her through the winding alleys of her inner psyche, where memories long suppressed rose like specters in the dark she learned to confront the traumas of her past to harness her powers. With Luna's ethereal wings and Seven's graceful tentacles united, they became a beacon of hope, signifying that understanding could eclipse fear. 

By journeying inward, Luna found the strength to move forward, realizing that true power lies not in isolation, but in the bonds we forge. The universe, with all its chaos and beauty, is a dance of souls interwoven by destiny. And in this eternal dance, Luna found her rhythm, her purpose, and her place among the stars.