Some things are easier recalled when you’ve experienced them first hand. Other things are best left unsaid. My story begins when I was a young girl. It continues on today because we all know that even the best story never really ends.
The youngest out of four children, I was rarely noticed by my family. Couldn’t really blame them, you see, my parents ran the regions of Alazair. Then, one must take into account that I was the only daughter of the children. Boys will be boys.
Alazair was a small region west of the Chaosti holdings at Promistair, separated in part, by the mountain range. There really wasn’t much to the region. It had the family house, council building, market place, and numerous farms. I spent most of my time in the border forest content with being left alone.
Even in my youth I was gifted beyond the comprehension of my parents. Just by placing my hands on an item I could heal or destroy it. My mind knew not the limits that others lived within on a daily basis.
The animals spoke to me, called me by my name, assembled with me for communion with nature. I felt it was the way life was meant to be lived. Yet, somehow things change, as they always must. Even in youth ignorance is not always bliss.
Early one morning I stumbled upon an injured man. I just watched for a while from the cover the trees provided. His hair was long and black. His skin was pale other than the thin line of blood coming from the wound on his shoulder. I inched my way closer trying to conclude if he was indeed as harmless as he looked.
When his ice blue eyes met my pale green eyes, electricity shot through my limbs. I knew then that he was a guardian. I rushed over to help him.
“Hold still.” I said to him calmly as I put my hands on his shoulder. He looked at me, surveyed my youth and possibly thought me mad.
As his wound closed his features softened as the pain gave away to the healing. When he smiled it was warm and friendly.
“Thank you young miss.” He said pleasantly.
“You’re welcome.” I said happily. As I turned to go he grabbed my arm.
“You’re Jansis aren’t you?” He asked politely as he released his hold.
“Yes sir. Did the elders send you to be my guardian?” He smiled again.
“Something like that. My name is Draven. I would like to be the one to mentor you if that’s alright with your parents.”
“They won’t mind. I’d let you ask them but they’re busy.” The man laughed.
“Yes I suppose so little one.”
So it went on for a while. Draven would come show me a few things then be gone for days at a time. Not that I ever told anyone about him. It was my secret. Besides, the family was more concerned with running the region. I barely saw them anymore.
Then it happened. I could see Draven standing on the hill as the sky rained black fire. The keep fell first. My brothers, my parents they all went down in one frail moment. I screamed as Draven raced to save me. Then my world too went black….
I couldn’t remember a thing. My head hurt. The face I saw in front of me seemed kind and warm as she spoke softly.
“Welcome home daughter.”
“Thanks mom what happened?”
“You got quite the bump on your head playing out in the forest. Some kind men brought you back when they found you.”
“Yes that was nice of them, wasn’t it?”
So I was raised, Airis Chaosti.
As all things eventually come with time, so did the time I grew older. So begins the tale to the present.
“Come on Airis, slow down! I can’t keep up.” Corvan whined.
Airis kept climbing up the steep rocks until she reached the top of the waterfall. She reached her hand down to help her little brother up the last few rocks.
“Oh will you just grow up already. Big baby.” Airis stretched out her wings then turned to admire the view of the forest.
“Wow.” Corvan breathed out. “This is cool.” He said grinning.
Airis messed up Corvan’s hair and grinned. He was seasonally younger than she but much taller. Her wavy black hair looked nothing like his fire red head full of hair. She was lean and muscular with graceful wings and he was well, lanky, and uncoordinated.
The forest lay stretched out beneath them. The small clearing they now stood in harbored the small mountain waterfall and pool. From here the water drained into an underground river constantly flowing and cool.
The forest spanned as far as their eyes could see to the left and right of them. It broke only slightly at the pass into the mountains then opened up to rolling hills for which their mother ruled over fairly from their castle nestled in the city.
Airis felt a familiar twinge that signaled to her something wasn’t right. She pushed Corvan toward the path.
“Go home Corvan. Mom will be worried.”
“I’m not leaving without you. If you get in trouble again she’ll hang us both!” He whined.
“I said go home now.” She growled. He knew better to protest when she had that tone. He unfolded his arms and marched down the path.
Airis drew her daggers from their sheaths on her thighs and leapt from the falls to the water below. She watched as two men stopped to rest on a rock. The wake from the falls keeping her movements hidden, she climbed onto the bank just outside of their view then crept up to listen in on their conversation.
“Boss wants her taken alive this time.”
“I still don’t see what is so important about this girl.”
“Since when was it our job to question?”
The other wasn’t given a chance to respond. Airis had crept up on him at his place of rest, her dagger at his throat.
“Don’t move.” She hissed in his ear. He didn’t dare to breathe.
“Who are you?” She asked the other man who was now poised aiming his crossbow.
“None of your business wench.” He said coldly.
“Who are you after?” He replied by cocking and loading the bow.
“Put your daggers down now or I’ll just have to kill you.” The man grinned. She eased up the pressure on her dagger at the man’s throat.
In one swift movement she buried her second dagger deep into the other mans chest. He crumpled to the ground dropping his weapon in front of him.
“Do you want a chance to answer?” She whispered to the other man. He nodded shaking violently.
Airis stood walked over to the fallen man and put her foot on his chest. The dagger slid free with a slight thud. She cleaned it off with the fallen mans shirt.
“We’re mercenaries.” He stammered. “Hired to kidnap the Queen’s daughter.”
“By whom?” Airis asked picking up the cross bow and eyeing it casually.
“I, I don’t know. The job comes in by parchment.”
“You’re lying.” She said calmly aiming the bolt straight at his head.
“No, no! I swear it’s the truth.” The bushes shuffled around them.
“How many of you are there?” Airis growled.
“Don’t kill me!” The man said falling to the ground cowering. “They’re not with me I swear it.”
Airis turned to see the Queen’s guards men standing behind her. She silently cursed Corvan for his big mouth.
“My lady,” The head guard bowed.
“Sir Brenlen.” Airis grumbled.
The man on the ground groveled at the feet of the guards knowing they saved his life. They lifted him off the ground as he showered them with thanks and blessings.
“Your mother requests your immediate attention Princess.” Sir Brenlen pointed at the path. Airis cursed aloud but didn’t argue as Brenlen took the crossbow and marched her up the path to the castle.
“Just what do you think you were doing out there Airis?” Queen Deisha paced through her sitting room obviously frustrated.
Her hair was tied up tightly with braids woven around the gold circlet that adorned her brow. Her violet corset gown flowed behind her every step. Airis sighed and folded her arms in front of her.
“I was protecting the interests of this region Your Highness.”
“That is not your job young lady. Quite frankly I’m disappointed at your behavior lately. You’re skipping out on council, standing up those that attempt to court you, and now this blatant murder in the forest.”
“It wasn’t like that at all.” Airis said in her defense. “Those men were coming after me Your Highness. I did what I felt was necessary. Whether you approve or not is not my problem.” The Queen stopped pacing and looked at her.
“You are so much like your father. It saddens me. One day all that is mine will be yours daughter, I do not wish to see any harm come to you.”
“I’m sorry mother. I’ll be more careful.” Airis bowed and excused herself.
Airis found Corvan in the library. Defiantly she walked up behind him and smacked him in the back of the head.
“I can’t believe you told on me you little rat.” She growled.
“Ouch,” He said rubbing the spot she hit. “What was I suppose to do? They could have hurt you.”
“I had it covered no thanks to you.” She said storming off to her room to rest.
Airis closed her eyes and lay down on the velvet covers of her bed. As her sore muscles relaxed her mind wandered.
A child stolen in the night, locked away in the keep. Forbidden love bore child to live in a lie. A war raged amongst the people. The child a little older now watched as her world went black to be saved by a man in a cape.
Airis sat straight up and looked around to be sure of where she was. She was indeed still in her room. It was just another of those odd dreams she kept having. She sighed and dressed in a long gown then headed off to the council chambers for her first appearance in months.
The council was already in session as Airis strolled in and plopped down in her chair. The elders were arguing over the captured mercenary.
“So nice of you to join us Princess. Always makes me smile to see your beautiful face.” Lord Rathier grinned.
“I’m sure the pleasure is all yours my Lord.” Airis snickered. The Queen gave her a stern look. Airis went back to being silent.
“The man in question has said nothing as to why he was in the forest or who sent him.” Sir Brenlen reported.
“I would like to lengthen the patrol unit until we get to the bottom of this Your Highness.”
“Request granted Sir Brenlen. Put the region on alert until we can assess the threat level.” Queen Deisha responded.
“I can tell you right now that they were after me.” Airis spoke up.
“How can you be so certain Princess?” Lord Kronos scoffed.
“Cause I was the one that found those bastards before they reached our city.”
“Airis, that’s enough.” The Queen warned.
“That is not enough mother!” She said stomping her foot. “There’s more to this whole thing than anyone wants to tell me. Which honestly pisses me off cause it’s my tail they’re after. I will not just sit here and watch you all debate politics! I’m going to get to the bottom of this with or without council permission.” With that Airis stormed out ignoring the warnings of the members.
That evening Airis packed a small bag of food. She strapped on her daggers and pulled on her boots. She slung the bag over her shoulder and positioned the strap between her wings. She placed another smaller dagger inside the pouch in her boot then strapped her sword to her back. Corvan was watching from the door. He sighed as she pushed her way past him.
“Just what do you think you’re going to do Airis?” He called after her.
“Whatever it takes to keep this land at peace.” She replied not looking back.
Airis left the city behind on a brisk run. Once outside of the walls she took to the sky and soared above the tree tops. From this position she could see most of what went on in the forest below her.
Something moving off to her left caught her attention. She changed direction for a better view. A few deer took off into the under brush as a faint whoosh sound passed her ears.
Pain followed as the crossbow bolt sliced through her left wing. She spiraled then fell into the trees grasping at the branches to break her fall.
She landed with a thud. No worse for the wear. Her wing bled but it had missed the joints and would heal well enough. She surveyed the scrapes and bruises from the fall but luckily found nothing broken. Airis drew her daggers and buried one in the tree inches from a man’s head.
“I mean you no harm child!” He called. “Put those away before you hurt someone.” He said pulling the dagger from the tree. He handed it to her hilt first. She eyed him briefly then put them away.
“Who the hell are you?” She asked bluntly standing and dusting her self off.
“Just a passer by that caught your nose dive. Thought you might need a hand.”
“I don’t need a hand thank you.” She said harshly turning to go. He snagged her by her torn wing. She flinched and took a swing at him.
“Sit down.” The man said. Something in his voice commanded her to listen.
“You use to be one hell of a healer child. You’ve gotten lazy.” He said putting the ointment on the tear.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” She hissed as the paste began to sting.
“No, I imagine you wouldn’t. That should do it.” He said letting go. She eyed him impressed at his work.
“Thank you Sir.”
“No thanks needed child. You’re on the right path so far. Try not to stray too much.” He grinned and started to walk away.
“What do you mean? Who are you?” He didn’t reply, just waived as he disappeared into the shadows.
The would-be assassin must have come back to finish the job. Airis sighed as the crossbow locked into place and was pressed into the back of her head.
“Stand up and turn around slowly.” The male voice said. “Don’t make any sudden moves.” She did as requested.
There the man stood with one hand on the crossbow, the other on the sword at his waist. His hair was long and wild. His face was scruffy from many days without a shave. Airis noted his tattered clothing that hung loosely from his well built frame.
“Look what I’ve found here boys.” The man called. Two other men stepped out from the bushes each looking rattier than the first.
“I don’t assume to know your position great sirs. But, for the record, I feel you’re making a mistake.” Airis stated her feet firmly planted her hands at her side.
“Get her weapons Mathias.” The man said not taking his eyes off of her.
“Sure thing boss.” Mathias stepped forward and removed her sword and bag. He got right up in her face and puckered up. Airis head butted him.
Mathias dropped the weapons and reached up grasping his bleeding nose.
“Any more of that woman and I’ll shoot you where you stand,” The boss hollered. Airis smiled and shrugged.
“I think she broke my nose!” Mathias said in horror. Airis laughed.
The boss cracked her across the face with the butt of the crossbow. She went to her knees and looked up angrily.
“I wouldn’t do that again if I were you.” Airis growled. He raised it to hit her again.
In one swift moment Airis snatched the man by the wrist shattering it, forcing him to drop his weapon. Mathias raced forward to help his boss and was met by a fist into his already wounded face. He went down hard. The third man rushed her. She grabbed his arm and threw him to the ground. The three men sat there stunned as she gathered up her weapons.
“Just what is it that has you gentlemen snooping around the forest?” Airis asked as politely as she could muster up.
“We’re looking for the daughter of the Queen.” Mathias volunteered not wanting another beating.
“Why are you looking for her?” She raised her eyebrow.
“We’re being paid to start a war.” For that Mathias got kicked by his boss urging silence. Airis knocked the boss out with a swift kick to the head.
“By who?” Airis asked looking into Mathias’ watering eyes.
“I don’t know. Please don’t hit me again.”
“I’m not going to hit you as long as you cooperate, silly little man.” Airis grinned evilly.
“The order comes in on parchment. We never know who places it.” Airis sighed.
“Yeah, see, I really don’t like that answer at all.” Mathias flinched.
Airis didn’t strike him. Instead she tied his friends to a tree then turned back to him.
“Take a walk with me Mathias.” He didn’t argue as she nudged him toward the path to the city.
“Don’t worry about your friends Mathias. The guards will find them on their patrol. What I want from you is more information.” He nodded his understanding.
“Where are you from?” She asked.
“We hail from the north.”
“Not one of our allies. That’s interesting.”
“Who are you?” Mathias asked. She slapped him in the back of the head.
“That’s not your concern!” Mathias stopped suddenly causing Airis to look forward.
Sir Brenlen stood with his arms folded across his broad steel clad chest. He was obviously not amused. Mathias rushed at him grateful.
“Princess, doing my job again I see.”
“Sir Brenlen, interrupting as usual. There’s two more tied to a tree back there.” She pointed.
“You?” Mathias said obviously shocked.
“Did you expect it to be an easy capture?” He nodded. “So sorry to disappoint you.”
“You’re injured Princess. Go home and get some mending. Your mother will not be pleased.” Sir Brenlen stated.
“She never is.” Airis said walking past the lot of them back into town.
Sir Brenlen found the discarded rope and traces of blood in the clearing ahead. The other two men Airis had captured managed to escape. So much for that thought. He wondered what Airis had managed to beat out of the other man. He made a mental note to ask her about it later.
Airis was met by an enthusiastic hug from Corvan as she entered the castle.
“What’s with you?” She snapped. He failed to notice.
“I’ve been accepted into the priest hood at the Avalonian Temple!” He shrieked. She started laughing.
“I should have guessed you’d take that path.” He looked at her oddly.
“I’m proud of you kiddo.” She said messing up his hair and smiling.
All at once she grew faint. Corvan’s voice sounded so far away. As her vision went black another voice reached out to her.
“It’s time to remember.” The man said as images flowed into her mind.
Airis was standing on the mountain with the man from the woods. Looking down she could see the city engulfed in flames.
“Look at the destruction of your people and remember Airis. Remember the time long ago when you were but a child and I was just a wandering guardian.
The elders knew the Dracois would destroy themselves over the chosen one, the child born into a lie. Seek out your past to go proudly into your future child.” The voice faded away.
“Draven.” Airis said opening her eyes. The Queen stood over her with a worried look on her face.
“Thank the gods you’re alright Airis.” She said relieved.
“I want to know it all mother. Everything you can remember about the time before I was here.” The Queen’s eyes went wide as she flopped down in the large chair next to the bed.
“I should have known this time would come.” She sighed placing her head in her hands. Airis listened patiently.
“Many years ago I had relations with the Lord of the Dracois. I gave birth to a daughter several moons later. She, part Dracois, part Chaosti, by all right or wrong should not have been possible. But there she was. When the Lords mate found out what had been done she stole my daughter from me and raised her until the day a drifter came and burnt the keep to the ground with everyone inside but you. Draven rushed you home swiftly.” She took a breath.
“Why don’t I remember any of this?”
“We had your memories blocked for your protection. To prevent your powers from coming through.”
“Just speculation, theories cause no one knows what you can do. You’re going to be hunted forever because you’re unique and people will fear you.” Angry Airis rose from her laying position.
“How could you not tell me!”
“We believed it was the right thing to do at the time.” She said sadly.
“Leave me, all of you! I wish to be alone.” Although it hurt the Queen rushed everyone out the door closing it behind her.
Airis got up and made her way over to the balcony. Silently she went over what she was told. It seemed to make sense even with the secrecy. If it was true, if she was dangerously gifted then not only would those want to hunt her. Many would try to mate with her for access to her gifts.
She knew what she had to do. Airis took nothing but her weapons. She took out a pen and parchment writing a simple statement then spread her wings and glided out of the city.
Cold and weary she pulled the cloak tighter around her. As Airis made her way toward the Inn no one gave her a second glance.
“Name?” The innkeeper asked. She dropped a few coins on the counter.
“Jansis Drakon.” She replied.
“Room ten.” The man said pointing down the hall.
She breathed a sigh of relief then dropped her things in the room. She then made her way to a table in the back where she was certain she wouldn’t be bothered.
Jansis ordered a pint of ale and sat staring out the window. A hooded man sat down across from her.
“Plan on running forever Airis?” He asked.
“Name’s Jansis, sir.” She said bitterly.
“Yeah, I’ll believe that.” He said sarcastically.
“Leave me alone Draven. If you wanted to do more than chastise me you’d have turned up before now.” She retorted.
“You’re a time bomb child. When your memories reset you’re liable to go off. I’m just around to make sure you don’t go off in an unwanted place.” Draven stood and smiled from under his hood.
“Until next time my lady.” He bowed then disappeared into the crowd.
A Neyaphim strolled over to her table and helped him self to a seat. His horns stuck out slightly from his hair line. He had a bluish tint to his skin.
“Can I help you?” Jansis asked coldly.
“Haven’t seen you around these parts before miss. I’m Midval.” He said extending his hand. She didn’t take his hand. He didn’t take the hint.
“I’m head of research and development here in the valley.” He chatted away.
“Don’t come in here often myself. Kinda nice to see a friendly face in these parts.”
“How do you know I’m friendly Midval?”
“You didn’t try to stab me as I sat down.” He was so serious she couldn’t help but laugh.
“I’m Jansis.” She lied again. It became easier each time she said it.
“Where you from?” Midval asked.
“A bit of here and there.” She muttered.
“A drifter. How interesting! You really should tell me some of your ventures sometime.” He beamed. She shook her head and smiled.
The door flung open. In strolled the boss she recognized from the woods a few months earlier along with two new goons. He looked at her. She looked at him and reached for her daggers standing slowly. She backed toward the hall.
“Nice chatting with you Neya but right now I’ve got to go.” She darted into her room and grabbed her bag.
The men threw curses and chairs easily as they made their way across the room toward her. She cursed out loud. There was only one way out of this place and the guys stood in between her and it.
“We got her now boss.” One of them snickered. The room went silent as the boss raised his crossbow.
“I won’t miss this time girly.” He said pulling the trigger.
Airis threw up her hands to cover her face. Doing so, she emitted a large wave of energy that shattered the bolt and leveled the room. She grew dizzy. Shaking it off, she stumbled out the door and into the night.
Midval stood there silently amazed at the show of raw power. He vowed, then and there, that he would meet Jansis again some day.
Airis raced on until she reached the shelter of the woods and collapsed. Her whole body shook from the energy. Draven grabbed her by the arm.
“I warned you.” He said dragging her to her feet.
“What the hell was that?” She stammered.
“That was a weak attempt at an energy wave Princess. One of many things you’ll just have to get use to. I strongly suggest you go home.”
“No. If I go there I’ll be an easy target and I’m not interested.”
“This is bigger than you. If I have to take you back my self I will.” He growled.
“Fine.” She said figuring he was serious and decided not to argue.
Draven vanished into the fog. Airis took to the sky and headed back to her region. The sky glowed brightly that night. Her heart leapt into her throat.
When Airis reached the castle it was all but burnt to the ground. The guards had long given up trying to put the fire out.
“Sir Brenlen what happened here?” Airis asked out of breath.
“Your Majesty.” He bowed. “Your mother is dead.” He said sadly.
“How did this happen?” She said cursing.
“It just went up Your Highness. No one knows who or how. The council gathers. They do not know of your return.” Sir Brenlen stated. Airis raced off to the council building bursting through the door.
“Please don’t get up.” She stated sitting in the Queen’s chair.
“Welcome home Your Majesty.” Lord Rathier smiled weakly.
“I’m done with your petty politics and lies.” Airis stated calmly. “Now one of you if not all of you know what happened here and I want answers.” They all looked at each other saying nothing.
“No volunteers?” She raised her hand lifting Rathier from his chair sending him flying into a wall.
The now frightened council leapt from their chairs trying to escape. Each one of the eleven took their chances heading for the door. One by one they dropped to the floor and exploded in a mess of blood onto the walls.
One did not move from his seat. He sat silent and waited. Rathier woke from his position on the floor and looked around.
“Forgive me Your Highness. It was a plot to overthrow the region in your absence. It was a mistake it won’t happen again.”
“You’re right about that much.” She released her hold on him and watched as he splattered over the walls. Then there was one.
“What’s your place on all of this?” Airis stated calmly.
“That it is good to have you home my Lady. Been many years for me to wait to see the day you came into power.” He stated.
“Lord Drakon of the western keep, Your Highness.”
“Can I trust you Lord Drakon or will you eventually join the rest of the council?” He started to laugh.
“If it’s alright with you Your Highness, might I suggest a parliament that would operate in your absence so we avoid nights like this again.”
“Make it so Drakon.” Airis stood and threw open the council doors. The guards stared at the mess as she walked past them into the damp night.
The following day Lord Drakon sent word to the six keeps at Chaosti holdings. Airis began rewriting the law to support the parliament but leaving the final say up to the ruling Queen, when she finished she retired to her room at Chaosti keep where she fell face first onto her bed mumbling curses.
“Well done Your Highness.” Draven said appearing beside her.
“I hate you.” She muttered. He laughed.
“All in due time child.”
“I have no clue what I’m doing. I hardly remember my past or these episodes where the energy explodes from me. It’s too much too fast Draven.” She sighed.
“You’ll be just fine. Stop this useless self destructive behavior and get on with it. This is bigger than you.”
“So you keep telling me.”
“Until it all sinks in.” He said vanishing.