Chapter One: The De Capo of the Beloved
By: Midnight Siren
Breathing in the sunset
Watching through the stars
Making fearsome demons
Come from afar
I see the seal on the glowing stone
I neglect the warning
I release the spell
A gentle voice sang gently from outside the cave, darkness surrounded him as he heard the small voice chant. He smirked in his demonic way before he reached out for her, tricked her into chasing after his astral projection her childlike fascination taking over her. She chased after his image until she stood before her, sapphire locks like rippling waves and sea foam green eyes blazing with intelligence as her wide childish eyes looked up at him.
A sudden wave of emotion made him pause, but he quickly banished the feeling sending out his aura to envelope her while the child's eyes grew blank. Her face grew smooth as a copper ring formed around her irises, she walked forward robotically to touch the stone in which he was trapped. As her hands lifted and touched the stone, he grinned as a connection to him and the world of the living was opened. He rushed out of his stone prison and into the body of the child as a woman rushed in screaming with tears in her eyes.
"Alea!" she shrieked running to the child as his control over the girl faltered momentarily where she broke free and fought against him. A battle between them erupted as he realized how strong the girl's will truly was, her power nearly surpassed his own but it was unrefined. Her body became ill as they battled against each other, retracting into the depths of her subconscious as they fought.
One year earlier...
"What on earth?" the old man asked the thin air as he looked down on the small cloaked figure on his doorstep, they looked up as sea foam green eyes looked up at him innocently. Her blue locks tumbled from the hood as her dirt streaked face gave him a small smile before handing him a letter in a deep crimson envelope.
"A letter? For me?" he asked without a reply, as he took the letter he flipped it over and started. The wax seal was familiar to him as he saw the single wing on the right edge of the design, before breaking the seal and inviting the strange child inside. Inside the envelope was a beautiful cream letter with black, swirling writing that foreshadowed grave pasts that surrounded the child as he began to read.
Dear Sir or Madame,
The reason I have sent this child to you is because her life is in great in danger if she is to stay with her birth mother. I ask whoever she finds to take her in that they might treat her as any other child, I fear the terrible things I have been told about my beautiful child but I cannot let her be harmed.
I hope that whoever she meets and gives this letter that they might love her as much as I have.
Meanda of the Barony of Springs
"Meanda?!" the old man gasped quickly recognizing the name of the goddess who watched over the prayers of children and their souls. "Your mother was named after the Goddess of Children?"
A simple nod was all he received as he turned to the small girl. "Do you remember what she looked like?" he asked seeing how old and worn the envelope was, receiving another nod in return while he skimmed through the letter once again. Turning his gaze from the letter he turned towards the small girl before him, looking at her carefully.
She was a beautiful child with pale skin while her sapphire locks fell in ringlets and her intense foam green eyes stared up at him with a mature interest, waiting for something to appear on his face. He watched back for a moment before he was forced to look away from the intensity of her eyes before they bore a hole in his soul. As he turned away so did she, finding the room around her to be much more interesting as she saw the many vials and jars of ointments and herbs.
"Do you know my profession child?" he asked, hoping to get a verbal answer from her.
She mearly nodded before continuing her quick trek around the small room, looking inside all the vastly colored bottles. Easily enough she was able to identify most of the herbs in the room along with their potency and uses before she was interrupted.
"Dear girl, might I ask your name? You haven't said a word since you came here." he asked genuinely, giving her a wrinkled grin.
"Alealelleth." she replied in her bell-like voice. "Alealelleth of the Barony of the Springs. My mother Meanda said to come here and search out the old warrior Kamurai, to trust him with my life."
"Where are you from child? If you don't mind me asking." he continued, hoping to get more information about this strange girl as he thought about how Alealelleth's mother might know him.
"From the far south, from the Celestial Province." she replied as the old man in front of her was frozen with shock.
"Where the Auzui are said to rest... " he finished for her, eyeing her more closely now her billowing sapphire locks and pale skin, her thick cloak no doubt hiding the scars and tattoos of a true Auzui. "Child I ask you now, are you an Auzui?"
A nod was all he needed before he made up his mind about the small Auzui girl while he walked out of the house calling on the wise woman who knew of all their fates. Alealelleth followed him closely as she wanting to know where they were going all of a sudden, her curiosity forever unsatisfied she watched the people around her. People stared back at her with blatant curiosity, some looking away from her piercing eyes as she stared back before she continued forward.
The young woman who they came to meet was beautiful in her own sense, though her plain brown hair and green eyes were pretty an ethereal aura surrounded her casting an almost unseen glow around her. As the woman turned and looked upon Alealelleth, the woman's eyes widened seeming to see into her very soul as her eyes did hers. Her simple stare turned into a wary glare before long as the woman's eyes began to make her nervous. The soft sliding of a blade from a sheath caught the elder's attention as he whirled around on the child.
"Don't Kamurai... she's okay." the woman soothed in her gentle voice. "I think I just unnerved her is all."
"But Iseall this child is of the Auzui... " he whispered as the woman's serene face did not flinch. "She is dangerous to us but she is innocent."
Nodding, Alealelleth revealed the short crystal blade with runes carved into the stone. The blade was a clear sky blue but the elder knew it was made from the fangs of a monstrous beast that roamed the snowy mountains of the Celestial Province. In the province there was said to be five baronies with the Barony of Springs being the capital.
When the mentioning of her so-called innocence was brought to the front she tensed, waiting to be attacked as her Auzui blood instinctually knew would happen if she let her guard down.
"Calm yourself Alea... I'm not going to hurt you." Iseall said gently to her as the child took a step back. "Alea... "
Suddenly she was gone, shocked the beautiful woman whirled around in search of the sapphire haired girl. She found her quickly on the top of a nearby roof, a long javelin in her hands a pointed and wickedly sharp blade adorning its head. It was made of the same crystal as her short sword, she stood in a stance unknown by the soothe sayer with the head resting on the back of her left hand. Her right hand reached back at an odd angle while the pole rested along her shoulder and back, her feet spread apart for stability.
"She truly is of the Auzui." Kamurai said in awe as he watched her glare at them with caution, the experience past her years etched into her blood by her ancestors burned bright in her steely sea foam eyes.
"Come down now little one. We won't hurt you, we want to help." Iseall said lovingly, confusing her as to why someone would treat her so well after just meeting her. Slowly she walked forward until she was on the edge and she stepped off much to Kamurai's and Iseall's fear before doing a midair flip and landing on her feet masterfully. She strode forward, javelin pointed down and away from the two adults before her. Willing the bladed pole to shrink, it retracted into her cloak becoming a short, thick cylinder while it was not in use.
"Are you okay Alea?" Iseall asked, walking up and kneeling before her to wipe the dirt from her face. "You've come a long way to get here, you've been through a lot. I can see it in your eyes."
She nodded, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. This woman made her feel things she thought never existed in her life, pain of losing her mother, joy of being accepted, fear of what would happen. Auzui weren't supposed to have emotions, they were the female warriors of the gods while their men were loving and gentle. They were a stark contrast to each other even more so than the Auzui and outsiders, her tears began to fall freely as her emotions broke free from her mental dam.
Iseall wrapped her arms carefully around the small girl, holding her close as she cried. "I want... to go home... " she muttered tearfully.
"I know, I know... " she soothed her. "You've lived such a hard life... I'm just glad you weren't able to become a warrior before you learned how to be kind."
"But I want to be... " she whimpered. "I've always wanted to be a warrior, just like my mom... ever since I can remember."
"You can stay with me... how about that?" she asked gently, wiping the tears from her face like a mother. Alea nodded wiping her eyes with the back of her hands before taking Iseall's hand and following her back inside the small cottage where she lived.
"You're so beautiful I'm surprised no one's taken you in themselves." she chuckled, leading the small child into the house while Kamurai followed. Alea frowned as she digested what Iseall said, she wasn't any more beautiful than the other Auzui children she had met.
"I'd have to say that you're wrong about those other girls you remember." Iseall suddenly said, making Alea jump. "And yes, you're right I can read your thoughts. It's one of my powers, like you Auzui with your superhuman strength and immunity to magical attacks. Not to mention your amazing agility and physical immortality that makes you so dangerous."
"Stay out of my head!" she exclaimed her hand flying to her crystal staff.
"You're quite adept at using your N'mra aren't you?" she asked.
"I've never heard of such a weapon Iseall, even with my extensive knowledge and experience with all types of weapons." Kamurai asked, curious about Alea's strange crystal weapon.
"A N'mra is a crystal weapon which is made in the body of an Auzui child before birth." Alea explained seriously, trusting the two. "At four years of age the crystal breaks away from the body and the child can change it into any shape they desire so they might find the type of weapon best suited to their needs and preferences. That power will gradually disappear as we age until our N'mra settles into one type of weapon and stays like that."
"The crystal manifests as horns growing out the back of the neck, it helps us support our own heads while still infants. We're more advanced than regular humans like all of you, we can protect ourselves as infants." she concluded, gauging the old man's reaction. "You humans are useless while babies, we are strong from birth to death."
"You remember everything since your birth don't you?" Iseall asked curiously as she read her thoughts once again. "You even remember your birth."
"Being born is a horrible thing, I remember things even from before I was born. When I was still in mother's belly, the Auzui are not human." she replied, letting the woman see her thoughts willingly now. "We are said to be the descendants of deities or at least that's what our history depicts... "
"That's enough for today, how about we get you some clean clothes and a bath?" she suggested with another serene smile as she lead the sapphire haired girl to a semi large bathroom with a deep set bathtub and stone walls. "Come now little one, I had already filled the bath for myself but you may go ahead and take it."
She nodded after a moment's pause as the door was shut behind her, stripping off her dirty clothes she let herself sink into the hot water that filled the deep bath. Diving down beneath the surface she stayed there for a few seconds letting the filth to be washed from her body before breaching the surface again. Leaning her head back she thought about the strange old man and young woman who had accepted her so openly. Well... mostly openly, the old man seemed wary or maybe even jealous of her.
She chuckled. 'Humans being jealous of me? That's a laugh... ' she thought, her mental age surpassing her actual age by many years. 'Every human warrior wants to have the power of the Auzui, but I don't see why. Why would they want to be like us?'
"Because the Auzui hold tremendous power." Iseall's voice called from what she deduced to be the kitchen with the smells wafting under the door. "Your people are so powerful you're all but immortal."
Alea let her eyes fall to the waters around her before she pushed her hair out of her face. 'I wish I wasn't immortal... ' she whispered, knowing Iseall could hear.
Later she emerged in a plush cotton towel pulled tight around her shoulders like her cloak looking around for the brunette woman before she turned the corner to see her setting a table in the small kitchen.
"It thought you might have fallen asleep in there, I was just about to go and check on you." she chuckled, pausing for a moment before returning to her settings. "Your new clothes are on the bed in the guest room, they're my old clothes that my mother had stored away from when I was little. They should fit you well enough, I think you'll like them."
"Thank you... " she muttered before disappearing around the corner and into the room meant for her, it was a simple chamber with deep aqua blue walls with lighter green vines dancing across the walls at different areas. A high shelf, queen sized canopy bed, nightstand and wardrobe that made up the interior of the room. She spotted the pile of clothes on the end of the bed, a pair of underwear, a long shirt and billowy pants.
Pulling on the underwear and shirt she realized that there was also a kind of chinese dress that split up either of her thighs and tapered off halfway before her ankles in front and back. She pulled on her billowing pants and then pulled the chinese styled dress over her head, tying the hem of her pants around her ankles tightly so she wouldn't trip over them.
Walking out she was met by a serene smile from Iseall watching over her maternally as she set a bowl of stew in front of her as she sat. The smells told her that it was well made with many herbs and spices that she hadn't had while in the Celestial Province.
"Go ahead and try it, I made it from scratch myself. Tell me how you like it okay?" Iseall asked as she saw Alea's skeptical look, glancing around she searched for the old man before her thoughts were interrupted again by the strangely beautiful woman sitting across from her.
"He went back home, he was called back by a woman who's daughter has had a high fever." Iseall explained as she heard the thought in her head.
"How do you do that?" she asked, genuinely curious about this woman's strange powers. "The mind reading, were you born with it?"
"The mind reading no... I was given the power to see the future at five when I saw the death of my village. I was able to warn my family and a few others to leave before it happened. The mind reading came after I fell off of a cart as a teenager, something must have triggered the power when I fell but I don't know what." she explained taking a bite of her stew. "I've had my powers ever since and use them to become a soothe sayer and fortune teller."
"You tell fortunes?" Alea asked, stiffening as she had begun to take a bite.
"Yes but I'm only good at runes and palm reading." she chuckled as she realized how tense Alea had become. "Is something wrong? Alea?"
"The fortune teller of our barony... she had a vision unlike anything she had ever experienced... " she replied, knowing the Iseall would learn of it from her mind soon enough. "She said that I would fail as a warrior and be taken over by a demon of death and destruction."
Iseall said nothing as Alea spoke before contemplating on what the fellow teller could have meant. "Alea... " she began, setting down her spoon before lacing her fingers together in front of her. "You make your own destiny, what a true reader or teller would know is that every time you look at someone's palm it only shows one possible destiny. It changes each day, so though the lines on your hand may look the same as they always have they are always changing."
"It changes?" she asked. "When? How?"
"Everyday." she replied, smiling at the awed girl in front of her. "Each decision you make each day changes the destiny that is portrayed in your palms."
Sudden the hope died in Alea's eyes at they dropped to her tight fists on the table in front of her. "The teller of our barony tried so many different types of telling tools and they all said the same thing... that I would fail and have my soul devoured by darkness... " she replied, her voice strained with controlled anger.
"Let me tell your fortune after dinner." Iseall suggested after a moment as Alea reigned in her emotions. "Your fortune's bound to have changed since then."
Alea only nodded and took a bite of the soup, her eyes widening in surprise. "Something wrong with it?" Iseall asked a little worriedly, hoping there wasn't anything wrong with it.
"No, it's really good... " she replied taking a couple more bites and savoring the taste. "It's the best thing I've ever tasted! Can you show me how to make it?"
"Alea how old are you?" Iseall asked giving her another once over and deciding that she looked almost seven.
"Oh, um... " she muttered not wanting to be made fun of. "I'm actually nine."
"Really?" she asked in amazement as Alea's face went red. "You look so young! I'm amazed!"
"You're not gonna make fun are you?" she asked childishly as Iseall began to laugh lightly.
"Of course not Alea, why would I do that? For a woman that is a good thing to have when you get older." she explained waving the issue away with her hand. "Go ahead and eat, don't worry about anything else for the time being."
She nodded and happily dug into the stew once again while Iseall also brought out a kettle of herbal tea that made the sapphire haired child drowsy. "It's only a mild sleeping elixir. I thought you might need it to help you sleep tonight since you've had such a long journey." she explained as she saw Alea yawning and rubbing her eyes. "You're full, warm and comfortable. I don't think you'll be awake much longer."
As she turned she giggled as she saw that Alea had drifted off as she had been speaking. Picking her up, Iseall left her in her room before closing the door behind her and closing the door.
"Good night little Auzui." she whispered before walking into her own room to sleep.