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PostSubject: - Serenity -   - Serenity - Icon_minitimeMon Jun 18, 2012 7:40 am


      This is a piece that I started working on, and have been working on since the beginning of the month. It's a bit rough, still, but I thought that I might share some of it with you all here, because this thread looked miserably lonely. So, let us dust away those cobwebs and shine a little light here, shall we?

      If it seems rough, it is because it is the first time that I have ever written something in first person.

Chapter One

    Life is a blissful event of wishes and heartaches, but when the heartache was this beautiful then it is easy to see why life is worth living. In the dark twilight sky, the first of the celebratory fireworks was making an explosion. Its illuminating blues and reds sent a wave of cheerful gasps and awed coos through the crowd gathered in the pavilion of the castle. A parade would be beginning now, signaling the joyous occasion.

    My brother, Kale, was married earlier this day. He and his wife were long gone, but the celebration would last for about a week. I was hopeful that it would not be this rambunctious the entire time, but I have my doubts. The last time one of the royal siblings was married off, I was ten, and that was fifteen years ago.

    So, naturally, we celebrated.

    The last war had begun twenty years ago, and ended with the marriage of my eldest sister, Kaili, to the prince of the Sevryn Kingdom. Our kingdom, properly named the Utulivu Kingdom, rarely engaged in battle with any other kingdoms, but it was not uncommon for arguments to break out between our lord and the lords of the other kingdoms. We were a community of seven kingdoms set upon the mass of land that we call Alamea.

    When my father does get involved with a war, though, it is usually with good reason. Or so he says. I could not see why death should be the solution for anything, but however the kingdom lords wanted to solve their disputes was their business. My only duty was to stay out of the way and keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior.

    Suspicious behavior could be the man skirting through the crowds, hidden by a dark hood. It could also be the woman distracting a merchant while her starving children quickly grabbed fruit from his stand. Or, perhaps it could be the teenage pair slipping out of the crowd and into the forests that had terrible legends surrounding them.

    From my perch in a chair that sat in front of the window overlooking the crowds, I was well hidden. I had a button that would alert the guards to come running, should I find anything to be detrimental to the celebratory atmosphere. Because the details of what I saw were so intimate, that the eyes of other people would miss them, I would not report them.

    My father and I had a secret, one that would rip me from my safe home in the sturdy castle walls. Unlike the safe humans that dwelled in the city, I was gifted. My sight was enhanced, and there were other things that would get me shipped to another place, hundreds of miles away, to the Tower of Serenity River, where those gifted in magic are trained.

    Father said that it was the only a way to keep the kind that I was born a part of in one place and to suppress the ideas of outcry. It might be feminine compassion, or my tendency to stick up for the suppressed, but it seemed awfully rude to trap people inside a tower so that they can grow into people who would not be able to fit in socially when released from the tower.

    Letting out a sigh, I rested my chin on my clenched fists and continued to watch. The orchestra played a jolly tune to which many danced. Drunken laughter and giddy chuckles chimed in to the tune, and the world felt surreal.

    I could leave. I could just slip away now and never worry about hiding anymore. I could learn to develop whatever gifts I was granted and become something more than a political pawn. Children and leading were not my forte anyway, so why not?

    The thought of the look on my father’s face when he discovered that I was gone put a damper on those ideas. Even though I knew that he was doing the best for me by holding the truth about my gifts in the dark, I wanted to be free, like the adventurers in fairy tales. Dragons had been gone for over a hundred years, but there were other threats in the wilds that could be a danger to the people. I could make new friends; have allies that would have my back through the thick and thin, despite what I was born as.

    Like that would happen,” I grumbled to myself. The last thing that I could do was hurt my father. He had done so much to see if there was any trace of magical lineage on either side of my parentage, but there was nothing that he could find; naturally, if there was any magic in the family, it would have been left out of records, so that we would be left alone by the heads of the Serenity Tower.

    As far as I was concerned, that tower that stood over the river that flowed through four of the seven kingdoms was a much more appealing place to be than here. It was too noisy, and not being able to join in on the celebration was something that was a bit of a dampener to the joy that was supposed to be felt by the entire kingdom.

    A twinkle in the sky might have been the first hint, but the parade was marching, and fireworks were spewing into the sky, illuminating it to the point that it would have been impossible to tell whether or not I was really seeing what might have been incoming forces. A long and bright fabric dragon composed of dancers that made up the movements and appearance of the glimmering snake of a beast began the parade with their fluid movements.

    Entranced, the activity in the sky went on without notice to my sharp eyes. My heart ached to be among the people traveling with the parade. It was all so magical and enchanting. I wanted desperately to be a part of it, but as I had been told before, it was not the duty of royalty to partake in such festivities. Unless we were riding and waving daintily, parades were not something we were to be a part of.

    I heard the footsteps behind me, but I paid them no attention. The parade and fireworks were magnificent.

    Unfair, is it not?”

    My heart nearly leapt from my chest at the masculine voice and was accompanied by a yelp of shock. I was not being touched – no, heaven forbid that I be touched by an ally. Not turning from my position, and keeping my gaze locked on the dancers in the parade, I scowled. Embarrassment burned the tips of my ears as I grunted, “
    Life is not fair, Elian.”

    His chuckle told me that he did not believe that I meant what I had said. “
    Well, Keahi, you have a point, but I believe that you need to unwind a little. Watching the festivities cannot be that fun,” he taunted. “Come on. I bet that your old man would hardly notice.”

    I had no time to think about what I was doing. I was acting without thinking, something that I had a tendency to do. “
    I cannot afford to leave my post, Elian!” My fist collided with the solid armor that protected his chest. As a member of the royal guard, one of Elian’s established duties was keeping an eye on me to make sure that I did not get into trouble. “Besides, I know what you are getting at. I am not going to fall for your little games.”

    My arms folded across my chest victoriously. There would not be any dragging me away from my post tonight to partake in partying.

    Just then, shrieks rose into the air and the earth shook. I was flung into the hard armor that protected Elian and into his strong arms. “
    What was that?” I demanded. I turned my back for ten seconds, and now it seemed as though the world was falling apart.

    There was no vibration to signal a chuckle as Elian held on to me. I hated feeling defenseless, but I was not the one to be fighting, I had no armor. The screams outside my opened window only got more frantic as another chorus of shaking threatened the foundation of the castle. This time, though, it was accompanied by a noise that could only be described as an explosion.

    I believe that we are under attack.”

    I wanted to be taken back five minutes and only be worried about silly Elian and his teasing. Now this serious Elian had taken his place and was holding steady as though his life depended on it.

    Things steadied long enough for me to run to the open window and see an ominous wall of burning flames. My heart dropped to see the people scrambling about and fleeing. “
    I cannot believe this,” I breathed. It was hard to watch all of it, but there were things that should be done. In an act of not knowing what to do, I pressed the button that would summon the guards into action. The buzz ran up my arm until it felt as though I had been hit with a softball, and the tingling remained long after I pulled the palm of my hand from the button.

    You know that the guards are more than likely already in action, right?” asked Elian. His cheery face was paled with what could have been nausea as he looked over into the illuminated darkness that had taken the world that had seemed so peaceful for our entire lives. It was now chaos.

    Mutely, I nodded. It felt like a natural response. If there was trouble in the kingdom, press the button to launch an immediate counter-attack. Now that there actually was trouble, it seemed pointless to need a button. Anyone who had missed out on the fact that there was trouble here, where everyone in the kingdom was, would have to be either dead, or caught in a coma. As far as I knew, there could be plenty of dead people, due to these fire balls that were falling like cannonballs from the sky.

    Whistling air rang through my ears as the next orb of disaster launched straight for the castle pavilion. I was frozen in terror, but there was a force to react for me. In the next moments, a few things became clear to me.

    Utulivu Kingdom had made someone, somewhere, angry. This someone obviously had powerful friends. Next, we were likely going to be at war now. If not, then we would be wiped from the floors with scrub brushes, because everyone in the kingdom was dead.

    When I crashed to the ground, it felt like something had cracked. Pain spiraled through my chest, but the deafening roar in my ears hardly gave me time to sort through all of it. Things felt like they were going immeasurably slow. The floor moved as Elian crawled to the corner of the floor and the window. There was a three-foot tall gap I saw the door to this room, and from under, I could see straight to the door. The door to the room was standing ajar, and I was able to watch as men ran by. A pair stopped and looked in to see what was going on. I knew not why Elian had picked this spot to cower, but his experience was enough to make me trust him.

    Light illuminated the room and heat seared everything. Sweat wasted no time to come to life to cool my body, but the heat was impossible to not cringe away from. I let out an involuntary whimper as I watched the two men crumple in agony. Their cries fell on deaf ears as they twitched and writhed. Death seemed pretty okay right now.

    If burning was a fast way to go, then I could deal with that.

    The heavy weight on top of me could go, though.

    Things had gone eerily still with the passing heartbeats. As though it was a bat to the chest, the world resumed at normal speed, but it felt hyperactive. Elian stood and helped me up. His armor was burnt, and he was sweating. The heat had done enough to scare us into submission, but we were relatively safe from the harm that had come to the other men.

    The sounds of the surrounding world leaked back in like a sudden burst of rain in a dry spell. The screams of everyone that had been down at the celebration had become less noisy. The crackling of fire was another one, but the smell was more disturbing. Crinkling my nose in disgust, I tried to shift to look at Elian. He looked terrified.

    The whistling air, the balls of fire; whatever had sent them at us had done a good job of shaking us up. “
    Elian, we have to go help people,” I begged. I may not be the queen, or even the oldest daughter of the family, but I cared about the fate of the people that were governed by the rule of my family. They had not done anything that warranted such a tragic turn of events.

    A firm grip on my shoulder stopped me from leaving. I turned to look into Elian’s brown eyes, illuminated to show the concern that shook him to his core by the fire. “
    You cannot go out there, Princess. I must take you to safety.”

    The people need help, too!” I pleaded. Shaking off his grip, I ran to the window, which was strewn with scorch marks from the fire. It seemed odd that the fire had enveloped the room, but that there was no orb to be engulfed by it to attack in the first place.

    The fires lit the sky to reveal something that I had not expected to ever bear witness to. In the clouds of ash and smoke that rose in the air, a large shadow crossed. If that was the shadow, I would hate to see the actual beast that had caused this destruction. The lands were torched and charred, and the surviving people looked as though they were just as lost as I felt.

    I was removed from my view of the outside world and led away from the room. Without there being things in there for the fire to burn, it had gone out.
    I hardly noticed.

    My mind was on the huge shape of darkness that I had seen. Shouts came from every which direction, but they were not making sense to my ears. How could this be happening?

    Twists and turns that I had followed for the entirety of my life seemed foreign now as I saw pale faces run around like chickens with their heads cut off. The ground floor was teeming with heat and flames that seemed to grow back, even after being put out by the men working at keeping the castle from becoming a ruin.

    Above, there was a loud noise, like two hard surfaces coming under pressure that could flatten a mountain. The castle shook, and crashing was accompanied by screaming.
    Our pace hastened.

    When a guard caught up with us, he brought news that I could not process. What could he mean by saying that the west wing had been leveled? Vaguely, I realized that my room was in that wing, along with all of my training equipment. What kind of force could just knock over part of the building? It was made of marble and concrete and other substances that were supposedly indestructible.

    We were led to the back of the castle, but before we reached the exit, we were turned and taken in a new direction to a part of the castle that I had never been allowed in before. However, we were halted so that a trap door could be opened, and we were led under the earth.

    Which of my family members were there? Which guards had made the journey to this place? In the darkness of the cavern that we were led through, I could not tell. No one spoke, except to give the occasional order to duck, or watch our step.

    The light that filtered from our destination was welcomed with open arms. I looked around me and at the faces that would be my only fellow survivors, I assumed. The royal family, that is, we children to the king and queen of Utulivu, numbered at eight. My eldest sibling, Keanu, had been ten years my elder. He had been killed by an assassin hired by the kingdom of Xochitylu. Next was Kaili, and she was happily ruling another kingdom alongside her king. After her came me, and my younger siblings consisted of Kale and Kalea. They were twins, but Kale had left shortly after the wedding that had taken place at high noon to go on a honeymoon with his wife. Kalea was trembling against the rock wall of this cavern with her head buried in her hands.

    The next three were Kiele, Kai, and Kelii, respectively. Kiele was six years younger than me, and she seemed to not be here. Kai and Kelii were twins, like Kale and Kalea, but the two were brothers, rather than brother and sister, like their elder siblings. The two were two years younger than Kiele, and both seemed to be here. Kai had sunk into a chair and had slumped with his upper body propped by the table that stood next to the chair. Kelii was looking about as though this was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to him.

    Moments later, though, Kelii was shaking Kai worriedly. His twin responded with a grunt, which seemed to be enough for him.

    Father and Mother were there, of course, but they looked to be in worse condition than all of us combined. They looked over us, and took note of out condition.

    When my mother looked at me, her expression changed to one of terror. I was swaying on my feet, but I would be fine. Shock was nothing to worry about, compared to the hundreds of dead people that were littering the castle pavilion and with the large shadow that I had seen. Nothing that I had ever studied was that big and could fly like that.
    Maybe it had glided?

    Now I was just lying to myself to save everyone here from the terrible, terrible truth. I was being despicable by thinking that I could ignore the truth. The fantasy of a lie seemed so much safer than anything right now. Father could retaliate against another kingdom and I could go to bed, wherever that might be.

    Mother exchanged words with father in a private manner. I could not be bothered with curiosity. All this excitement had worn me out, and all I wanted to do was sleep it off. I swayed back, only to be caught by a sturdy body.

    Tilting my head back to look up, I saw that it was one of the royal guard members that were in charge of patrolling the castle with the specific duty of keeping our curious selves away from the area where meetings between kings were held.

    Unable to withhold my frown, I did my best to steady myself upright and found that my father had come over. His hands on my shoulders held me in place as his hazel eyes searched mine. “
    What did you see, my dearest Keahi?” he asked, eyes searching.

    I blinked and stared at him. Did he know something that I did not know? Had he expected this? He sure looked like he had expected. It was nonsense, to think that I had seen what I had thought that I had seen. It was just my eyes playing tricks on me.

    That did not happen, though. My eyes only showed me the truth. Hallucinations did not plague me, like they did those who had witnessed tragedy. My father knew well enough to say that my sight was to be taken seriously at all times. He did, however, let my siblings have the benefit of the doubt if I was brought as a witness.

    Tears welled up in my eyes, and the strange distortion that came with tears accompanied it. How could it be so hard to just say it? The shadow on the smoke had been easy enough to identify from art pieces, but now that it had sprung to life, it seemed so much more difficult to actually say it. I could tell him that I saw forced from another kingdom, if it would come out easier than the forever burned image of what had been seen.

    How would lies save anything? Sanity could be kept for them if I let them believe that it was an attack made by another kingdom. I would not be able to keep any sort of self reliance if I let myself tell them that, though. I would sink into a shell and never look to the outside world again.

    I looked at my father. He looked so aged with his wrinkles and with his facial hair burnt like it was. I wanted to shrink away from the terror that I saw in his eyes, but that seemed impossible. Shrinking away, I witnessed the first real flicker of pain that I had thought I had seen that night.

    It was so obvious and unrestrained that I was physically hurt by it. I loved my father, but even considering that, as his arms dropped to his side, I wondered if telling him what the shape of the shadow had been was really the best thing.

    When he coughed and wheezed into the folds of his once illustrious fabric, by hold on telling him that it had been an enemy kingdom attack faltered. What kingdom would be angry enough to cause this much damage? Unable to think of one, I swallowed my pride and rolled my shoulders. My father needed to know about this threat, for his people, and to warn the people of the other kingdoms.

    Reality began to sink in. My legs and lower lip trembled as I looked at my father. So much had been lost, thanks to this thing that had attacked us. A name; I needed to put a name to it. Out loud, so that I could not be trapped in the dangerous realms of my thoughts.

    A dragon,” I choked out. “I saw a dragon.”

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