My Disloyal Followers


   The leaves entwining barricaded the single path to the lush wonders that lay ahead. Azure flashes sped along until they reached the barrier. Dappled moonlight glittered all around the starry ground, illuminating the face of the wise.
   Although, the wise knew no better than the others.
   All around, they young, energetic stars frolicked and laughed, leaving light in their path. When they finally slept, a hush surrounded the growing light ground, and an arrow formed by light pointed towards the barrier.
Under the blazing sun and the roar of fire
Entwined by fear and afraid by love
The strength in the trunk of trees and the hesitance from betrayal
Will meet
The once powerful gem will succumb to the mercy of clay
And betrayal is at hand for the one who fears

   The words imprinted under the dying vines of leaves glowed brighter as the plant receded. And in a blinding flash, all disappeared.
   What was that? One star seemed to twinkle to another.
   I don't know! Will they...?
   The first star shushed the second. If it is so, we shall not know.

   Far away, in the town of Jacr, a young boy moaned in pain. In a nearby city, a younger girl relished the priceless items given to her, yet her mind lingered on the earthy smell of a growing tree and freshly watered soil.

Chapter 1: Stolen Thoughts
  A man felt something  tug inside him, as if an imaginary fiend was ripping his soul away from him. Angry, he  wheeled around to see a boy, of just about seventeen, attempting to blend in with the shadows. "Thief!" the man cried, rushing at the boy and grabbing his arm and twisting it around painfully.
  A gasp escaped the boy's lips, who trembled. His fourth time being caught stealing, he couldn't even begin  to think of the trouble he'd be in with the court. The man who gripped his so ferociously, pounded him hard in his abdomen, so he would quit fighting back. Finally, as the boy painfully gasped, he doubled over, limp, and let the man drag him out into the freezing, snowy weather.

The judge looked in her records, and saw Char's name written thrice already from times before."We will allow no more exceptions for a scoundrel like you," she denunciated, looking at him with an expression of contempt. "You are banished from this city, finally. You will be dropped off in the Forest of Ismuraa. And pray you don't come back."
  "But I had to steal this time! It isn't a crime if you have no choice!" Char protested, struggling and fighting the guards who were attempting to take him away. His green eyes flashed of gold for a second, which the judge saw. Char had no idea of this, and he continued fighting, kicking one of the guards hard in the shin. " I haven't eaten in three days! I have no money, and all I tried to take was a loaf of bread!" When he saw no effect on her face, he just asked, "Please?" quietly.
  The judge turned around to a man standing behind her. "Fetch him a few crackers before he leaves," she announced loudly, and coldly.
  Char's heart sank. He would surely die in the forest, it was winter and he was only a street boy who ate only once in about two days, because he couldn't afford food. He'd run away from home four years ago, and couldn't go back because pirates had raided the town he was born in, and killed everyone. Even if his parents were alive, he wouldn't have gone back. Anything was better than the home he had lived in. Only I didn't starve there, he thought miserably. The only thing he gained from living in that terrible place was that his family didn't kill him. But they wanted to. I know that.
  This judge obviously wanted him dead. Or why would she send him to the Forest of Ismuraa? Everyone knew how likely it was to survive there. It's nickname was the "Forest of Doom."
  Char gave one last pleading glance at the judge. When she only stared back at him, a wicked smile grew on his face, hiding his despair, as he quickly snatched out a knife and pulled away from the guards. "You won't catch me! I promise you!" he yelled to everyone present, as he fled from the court - and from this city too, he realized.

Urana Sephoria was a middle-aged woman, enjoying life as peacefully as she could, in the small town of Bejoyr. Or so people thought. Her small cottage was large enough for only her, not even a guest. It gave off a warm and cozy feeling, and was dark but lit up with many candles.
  When Urana heard of the thief who had apparently fled to Bejoyr in hope of refuge, she began to go outside in the late evenings for walks everyday. She had never been bothered about intruders, and she wasn't about to start worrying now. Especially not now.
  One night, as she strolled around casually, a glimpse of a shadow caught her eye. Very fit, and able to run, she darted after, but softly and quietly, so the figure wouldn't come to know of her. She slowed down as the rustle of leaves quieted. He's around here, she thought. Finally, as she rounded a corner, she saw a boy with golden skin and olive green eyes leaning against a tree and cursing under his breath. He looked dirty and half starved, as if he had been outside for a few weeks.
  "That wouldn't be the best place to hide, you know," Urana spoke confidently, but softly as she stepped out in front of him.
  Char jumped back, startled, and stood far from her, his hand clutching the hilt of his obsidian knife in his pocket. His olive eyes darted around for any chance to run.
  "You're the thief everyone is talking about," she observed out loud, and taking a step closer to him. "How old are you, boy?"
  His grip tightened on his knife he started at the woman with narrowed eyes. Thinking better of it, Char just gruffly responded, "I don't know." He looked down.
  Urana didn't blink. "And your name?"
  "Char," he muttered. "I think."
  Urana nodded thoughtfully. Finally, she reached out for Char's free hand and said, "Come with me."
  "No!" He pulled free from her tight grasp. "I don't even know you! And anyone, any sane person would turn me in! Except they don't know I'm not some person who doesn't have anything better to do than pickpocket!" Char shook his head, confused by his own words. "I don't know you. To you, I'm just some thief, and you're going to turn me in."
  "I won't turn you in. I-"
  Char laughed. "You think I'll believe that? No thank you, I'm doing just fine on my own."
  "Just fine? Does just fine mean your arm's condition right now?" she inquired, nodding her head towards where blood trickled down from his shoulder. When he didn't respond, she went on. "And how long has it been since you've eaten? You look starved. You can trust me."
  "I don't trust anyone. Anyone I've ever trusted has let me down. I've learned my lesson."
  Obviously this wasn't going to work. Urana finally said, "You come and stay with me, and do everything I tell you to, and I'll keep you from getting into trouble. You must realize you can't run forever. Stay with me, and you can be safe from them."
  Char looked thoughtful. He sifted his weight, still thinking about the offer, then asked, "You promise?" He suddenly looked like  young innocent boy, begging his parents to buy him a toy.
  She shook her head. "I can't promise anything. But I'll try."

Once seated in Urana's house, Char's stomach growled. It had been at least four days since he'd eaten, and one week since he'd left the court.
  "We'll clean the wound on your shoulder first, then you can eat," Urana told him, obviously noticing. Char nodded, pulling off his shirt. He winced as he remembered how he'd gotten the cut. It was old, yet it wouldn't stop bleeding. The next day after he'd run away from the court, a few of the guards caught him and swiped a knife across his shoulder in attempt to make him weaker. It didn't work. He got away.
  When Urana came back from the other room, she was holding a bottle of some yellow-ish liquid and a paper tissue. "I'm going to let you do this, because it will sting. You must do it though, or you'll never heal."
  Char nodded again, solemnly, and put some of the liquid on the tissue. As he held it to his wound, he flinched away immediately, shocked by the intensity of how much it burned. Then he squeezed his eyes shut and forced himself to rub hard on the wound before he could change his mind.
  "You're definitely underfed," Urana remarked, looking at him. Char just nodded weakly as she took away the tissue. "Leave it open for a while," she instructed, signaling to the streak that was no longer a deep red on his shoulder. "You don't seem afraid of pain," she said to him while walking out of the room.
  He glared after her. Couldn't she see he didn't want to talk to her? He didn't trust her either. That "deal" they made, that didn't prove anything. She could easily get him banished after getting what she wanted from him. It wouldn't be the first time, anyway. He could deal with it yet once more, he realized.
  Why was she helping him anyway? He'd known that everyone in the town (whatever it was named) knew about him and were afraid; why did she go looking for him?
  When she'd found him earlier that evening, he had been shocked. He'd completely frozen, cold dread trickling into him slowly as realization crept into his mind that he might not get away again. And although he'd been clutching his knife, he'd always known that he would not be able to use it. It would be too cruel to use it, even if in defense.
  Char glanced up as Urana stood over him. "Your knife?" she asked expectantly, her hand stretched out towards him. When he only stared at her, bewildered, she explained patiently, "Your knife. The one you had thought of using on my but couldn't? I'd like to have it."
  "But-" Char began, but stopped, still recovering from shock. How did she know he had one? It was as if she read his mind. "But, I don't want to give it to you," he muttered straight out, not thinking of politeness. He never did.
  Her hand was still extended in front of him, and her lips were pursed tight, not saying a word. Finally he gave a long, loud, exasperated sigh, and reached a hand in his pocket. "Must I?" he asked once more? He met her eyes, and the intensity of her eyes burning into his was enough of an answer. He pulled it out, and laid it on her hand, not at all carefully.
  Urana smiled, and strolled over to  nasty, damaged looking wall. Raising her hand high, and far behind her, as if she were a skilled fighter, she plunged it into the wall. The cottage shook slightly, by the power of her blow. She spun around, and looked him in the eye, still smiling. For a moment, Char thought he saw a fire flash in her eyes. "Now. You may not pull that out from the wall, should I not allow you to. Knives have no place in this house, nor this town."
  Char simply glared at her. "Watch me," he snarled, while standing up. He then stalked over to where the hilt of the knife jutted out of the wall.  Not at all tentatively, he reached a hand out, but a moment before touching it, white hot pain began to burn the palm and fingers of his hand. He screamed and held his hand with the other. The pain slowly faded away; it had been worse than anything he had felt before.
  "You may not pull that out from the wall, should I now allow you to," she repeated monotonously.
  "Then I, am leaving this,," he declared, marching defiantly to the door. Just as he reached out, a glimpse of the sensation he'd felt before crept back. He pulled away immediately, and turned back to Urana. ", what do you want me for?" he asked sheepishly and weakly.

 "May I ask you something, Char?" Urana conversed early in the morning while frying an egg. Char just looked at her expectantly. "What do you yearn in life? Do you wish to always remain a street boy? Or-"
  Her voice stopped as Char turned away, his eyes hidden. Anger blazed through him like a dancing fire. She talked so freely! Why couldn't she just understand that he didn't want to be here?
  "You may leave if you want to," Urana piped up. "I realize all too well that you may not want to be here, that you may wish to live on the streets, with no food." Char greedily looked at whatever Urana was cooking.
  Ignoring her question, he asked, "What is that you are making? I've seen people cook it before, but never knew what it was."
  Urana sighed. "This, is a fried egg," she responded, scooping it up and dumping it in Char's plate."Eat," she commanded.
  Char didn't need to be told. He was already stuffing it in his mouth. His aching stomach still yearned for food; Urana forbade him from eating more than she served last night for dinner. He'd anyway tried sneaking over to grab some more food, but that pain restricted him. That annoyed him. And unnerved him.
  "What do you keep doing to me?" he asked bluntly, staring straight at her.
  "That is not for you to know yet. In time I will tell you. when you are ready," she added forcefully, seeing his mouth open in complaint.
  A slice of bread landed in Char's plate. "You know what that is?" Urana inquired. Char just nodded, remembering the loaf of bread he'd try to snatch the other day.
  He shifted uncomfortably as Urana sat next to him. Afraid that she would do her burning thing again, he forced himself not to move away from her instinctively. Char flinched as her hand landed on her shoulder.
  Instead, a soothing warmth crept into him as if he sat beside a flaming hearth. Relaxing, he let his shoulders fall ad turned wide-eyed and expectantly to Urana. She smiled.
  "Do you want me to teach you? Teach you what everyone learns at school."
  Char raised his eyebrows, surprised. What did this person want to do with him? he wondered yet again. "Sure," he shrugged.
  "You must follow my rules though, alright?" Urana asked him, her face serious. Light flickered in her eyes for less than a second as Char nodded.
  "You mustn't leave here shall I not instruct you to do so. But now, I would like you to take these, and go and buy a small book," she instructed, holding a few coins. "Also, select one food you would like." Urana paused for a moment, then added with a wry smile, "And do remember to pay."

Char figured it would be alright to go to any store, so he just entered the first one he found. Picking up the first things he found, he looked around for whoever he was supposed to pay. When he saw a man accepting money, he walked to him. Tension glimpsed in him, though he suspected he was doing nothing wrong.
  "Here," Char announced, holding the money out to the man, not because he wanted to, but because Urana would fire off at him if he didn't, he knew.
  Glancing at Char somewhat suspiciously, the man snatched the money away from him. "Who are you?" he asked gruffly.
  "Someone," he replied casually, but returning the glare equally.
  "Don't test me boy. Who are you?" he demanded roughly.
  Char's and immediately flew to his pocket, to find emptiness. He cursed under his breath, then answered, "You don' need to know."
  "Boy...." he warned in a low, threatening tone. Char just shrugged.
  He gasped as all of a sudden he was slammed into a wall. His shoulder screamed with pain as it was wrenched. Then, gathering all the strength he could muster, he hit the man as hard as he could in the stomach - with little success. But the man was caught off guard, and Char did it again, and again. The man slumped down, and Char fled at full speed to somewhere he could hide.
  Creeping around in an alleyway, Char cursed and muttered under his breath, kicking around at small objects on the ground. He'd already ruined things in this town for him. If things got too bad, he may have to escape again.
  After calming down, and stopping all the trembling, Char sighed and decided to go back to Urana's house. Oh, she won't be too happy, he dreaded, anticipating her reaction. Feeling something hot and liquidy on his arm, he glanced over and saw his shoulder was bleeding again. It pained terribly, too.
  This wasn't the worst off he had been before though. Once, with his "friends", he had broken into a rich noble's mansion. When a glass broke, the couple owning the place came to see what was happening. The man of the house went ofter Char himself, and got hold of his knife. Char shuddered, remembering the state he had been in when he finally escaped. The other two thieves had been punished greatly after that night. They had killed the man and woman in an attempt to flee.
  Char reached Urana's cottage, unwilling to step in. Bracing himself, he slowly picked the lock, as slowly as he could, then shoved his way in.
  Urana was standing there, waiting for him. "I heard the lock," she explained. Amusement danced in her gray eyes. "I hope you realize that you may just knock and I will open it for you?" When he only stared at her, dumbfounded, she looked at his shoulder. "Sit," she commanded.
  Char shuffled to a nearby chair, suddenly feeling weak. Collapsing down, he stared at the floor, waiting for Urana to speak.
  For a long time, no one sounded a word. Finally, Urana said softly, "Tell me what happened." Char looked up at her. Her eyes reflected disappointment, but also curiosity. Though she seemed to already know, by the tone of her voice. He just looked at the wooden floorboards. "Tell me now." Her voice became firmer.
  Reluctantly, he finally explained the happenings. "It wasn't my fault!" he finished. "It wasn't, it really wasn't!" Char cowered under her unaffected gaze.
  "Go to bed," Urana instructed simply.

Chapter 2: Yet to be named
   Startling azure green leaves danced and frolicked gracefully towards the ashen, bare ground. Flashes of white flew by, little moths flapping their wings hurriedly to abscond to the world beyond, escaping the wretched wood. Sunlight trickled in through the leaves, and sucked no moisture out from the barren dust, rolling impatiently around the blackened trunks of trees.
   Help! Each grain seemed to cry fervently. I need water! Brown, charred leaves fluttered around, circling nothing but dry air. Or so it seemed.
  Mens' voices interrupted the eerie peace, as a young girl weaved nimbly between the trees. Brown cloth covered her, and she held a bow and arrow. Out of breath, she leaned against the trunk of one tree, and glanced untrustingly in the direction she came from.
   The girl felt the tug of the breeze calling for her to play with it. “Oh, hold on,” she whispered. “Let them men get off my trail first. Who do they think they are, saying who can live in the forest and who can't!” she muttered to herself. She smiled as the leaves seemed to murmur in agreement. They frolicked in a circle around her, but fell to the ground immediately as a man's voice was heard. They didn't want their friend to get caught.
   “Where is she?” a rough voice sounded impatiently.
   “I believe she went this way,” the other replied. Both spoke in fluent CommonTounge.
   “Well, where is she?” the first demanded, quite rudely, in the girl's opinion. Feeling they were coming closer, she pressed harder into the tree and held her breath.
   “Oh, leave it. She can't run forever. I'm sure we'll find her soon enough.”
   The other man seemed reluctant. “Alright,” he growled finally. “But by the end of this week, at the most.”
   As the two slowly left, the girl cautiously let her breath out. Relaxing, she stepped out confidently in the part of the woods she knew so well.
  Will you water us? Everything surrounding her seemed to ask. She whispered, “Of course, just let me get it.” The girl quickly ran over to the stream that ran nearby. It barely trickled, most of the water had dried up.
  As she remembered the dreadful night merely a few weeks ago, she scooped water out into a large bucket she'd found the other day. Since the big fire, she'd been caring for the parched plants lusting for liquid. The flames had devoured almost everything, instead of killing, they left the forest in chaos. Fortunately, it only spread in a small area before big men wearing yellow and black somehow put it out.
  The men who had been looking for her. She knew why they wanted her. A few years ago, she was living a noble's life, proud and wealthy in her parent's mansion. Some thieves on the street had broken into their place and began collecting jewels in their pockets. When her parents had tried to stop them, they drew knives and killed them.
  Her name was Flora then. Too dainty. More adjusted to living in the wild, she changed it to Fawn. Fawndria. She kept her surname though, Niforem.
  Fawn shook her head and hurried on to sprinkling the ground with water. She knew she couldn't do much now, but she could help at least a few trees. It matters to the ones she saves.
  A leaf landed on her head. Slowly Fawn reached up and picked it off. Curiosity prickled on her skin as she studied the pattern. It looked unlike any leaf she'd seen before. In it, two veins seemed to snake across from each side and mingle with each other in the center. Then, one of the veins seemed to stop suddenly while the other continued happily along.
  A rustle in the bushes startled her out of her investigation. She nimbly leaped behind one of the trees.
A deer, she realized as a figure seemed to dart around the the clearing. Fawn stealthily crept closer, and drew her bow and arrow. Closing one eye to aim it perfectly, she let it snap and send the arrow flying.
  A few seconds later, the deer crumpled down to the ground. Fawn rushed over to it, examining its dead body. "I'm sorry," she whispered. Then, pulling out a knife, she began to carve a piece out to eat.

 Fawn was frolicking in the woods carelessly as the sunlight began to dim.  She knew no one else who lived here, but she didn't want to. This was her place now. If anyone showed up, she would drive him or her way for sure. She didn't want any intruders.
  Finally tired out from the day, she slowly made her way back to the den she had constructed. It lid on the ground, with many sticks resting against a tree. Space resided inside it, and it was larger than it looked. But it was cozy, all the same.
  Her bed held many bird feathers, to make it soft and bearable. After living in luxury for eleven years of her life, she hadn't been able to completely adjust to the forest life. Though she wished she could. But there's a limit. There always is.
  Not hungry, she simply laid down and pulled the animal skin over herself.  Closing her eyes, she drifted peacefully off to sleep.

Flora slowly sipped her drink as her parents spoke quietly in the other room. Small candles dimly lit the room, one illuminating her face in the shadowy corner. Her parents, the High Niforem and his wife, spoke in hushed whispers, probably about financial issues, Flora decided. Whenever she asked what that was exactly, they always said that she was too young to understand. At eleven, Flora couldn't help but to think defiantly about how she is old enough.
  Flora sighed as she stood up ad pushed the chair in the table. Hiding against the wall outside of the room her parents were in, she listened carefully.
  "The golden one!" her mother whispered. "But really, what if that is her!"
  "We must make sure no harm comes to her then. We must find this other golden one and destroy it." Her father replied hesitantly, as if he wasn't sure if it would work.
  When all Flora could hear was them talking about some golden rubbish, she stood up straight and walked past the room, holding her empty cup. "Goodnight, Mother. Father," she said quietly as she made her way to her room, leaving the cup on a counter.
  Decorated much more to her liking, Flora preferred her room over any other in her home. A few pots of plants bordered around her room, and paintings of trees and forests hung on the walls. Otherwise lavish decorations approved by her parents lived there.
  A cry of shattering glass woke Flora from the delicate braid she was weaving, as she was getting ready to sleep.
  Quietly, she ran downstairs. Peering into the room where she heard the crash, she saw her father standing on one side and her mother on the other. The reason why was obvious. A group of boys stood in the center, each carrying a small sack filled with what looked surely like her jewelry. A few of the boys fished out knives from their pockets.
  Realizing a fight was going to break out, Flora restricted a gasp from escaping her mouth. Silence held the mansion for a moment. She saw her father's stare fix on one boy in particular, the one standing closest to him. Then he grabbed the boy and throw him to the ground. It was hard to ignore the crack she heard coming from him.
  Overwhelmed, Flora fled from the room and went into one close by, but from where she couldn't see the fighting. She waited out the gasps and choked voices of the street boys being punished for their attempt to break into her house. No pity mixed with her hatred, only disdain.
  A strangled gasp woke Flora from her thoughts. She ran back to the room she had been watching from and saw her father being stabbed by one of the boys. Her mother crumpled to the ground as another boy stood by her. The rest of the boys were strewn across the ground, not breathing. The one her father had first attacked lay next to where he was now falling to the ground. His chest was the only one that faintly rose and fell.
  The two remaining boys spoke to each other. "What should we do with 'im?" the skinnier one asked, signaling to the one who lay by her father.
  "'Dunno, Ash. 'is brother is dead."
  "Well he wouldn't be too happy if we di'nt keep 'im safe. I say we take 'im, Bristle."
  The one named Ash looked to be about seventeen, probably about four years older that the boy who lay unconscious. Neither of their language was spoken very well.
  Then she saw the one named Bristle glare directly at her. "She's still here," he told Ash.
  Ash followed his gaze, then exchanged a glance with Bristle for less than a second. Then Flora found herself pressed against the wall, a knife at her throat, and a thief named Ash threatening her. "You going to tell anyone about this?" he asked.
  At only eleven, Flora didn't know how to respond and ended up shrugging.
  "Well, don't. Else you're gonna regret it."
  Ash stalked over to the boy and picked him up tentatively, as if he didn't want to hurt him further. He was right doing so. As he was lifted off the floor, Flora saw a large pool of blood already under him.
  "Remember." Ash gave her one final warning before walking out with Bristle.

Fawn woke up with a gasp. Why had her dreams brought her back to the one moment she had come to forget about for two years? She didn't care about her old mansion or those boys anymore. She still hated them, but they were of the past. Now was now. Why had her dreams brought her back to the past?
  A wave of regret washed over her, as much as she attempted in vain to control it. She had trained herself to forget whatever she didn't like, and relish the pleasures she gained. Fear began to creep into her mind, for whatever reason.
  Then she heard the voice.
Under the blazing sun and the roar of fire
Entwined by fear and afraid by love
The strength in the trunk of trees and the hesitance from betrayal
Will meet
The once powerful gem will succumb to the mercy of clay
And betrayal is at hand for the one who fears

It was a man's voice, although he sounded old, and his voice cracked as if he had been terribly injured. It was hardly a whisper in her mind, and easy to brush off as a hallucination. But she didn't. Fawn shivered as the prophecy repeated itself over and over in her mind.
  Then she stopped. She couldn't let some insane thought overrule her life. Immediately, everything seemed back to normal. After a moment, Fawn slid under onto her back and drifted off to sleep.
Fawn looked around wildly, trying in vain to find the voice. When all she saw was red mist, she realized she was still dreaming.
The voice sounded more authoritative now, and she swallowed her fear and asked, "Who is it?"
"Hello, Fawn. You do not need to know who I am just yet." It was a woman's voice, now that she was talking longer sentences. "But I assume you've heard the prophecy?"
Fawn didn't respond. She didn't need to.
"You're a bright young girl. I hope you've connected the golden ones as being a part of it."
"As part of the prophecy."
"Well, Fawn. I'll talk to you more, and soon enough, you will meet me. You live in the Forest of Ismuraa, right?"
"Er, yes. How did you-"
"Never mind that. Farewell, Fawn."

Chapter 3: Attempted Thievery

  Screams echoed in his mind, and and his lungs gasped for air. Slowly, ever so slowly, the world began to fade into darkness. Numb, he barely felt the sharp fingernails grip his shoulder. Trying to inhale, he coughed and spluttered, though he could barely do even that since he couldn't breathe. The aquamarine floating around stung his eyes.
  Then he found himself on the moist dirt, a somewhat familiar girl's face peering down at him.
  Darkness flooded him.

  Char woke calmly, the sunlight trickling trough the slightly folded blinds covering the glass windows in his room. A sigh escaped his lips as he recalled the happenings of the day before. He still didn't know what Urana would say to him, and his shoulder still pained like crazy. He was fairly certain that he had injured it more than he had the first time now.
  Circumspect to make sure he didn't yank his bad arm, he slowly stood up out of his bed. Then, he quietly walked out of his room, and into the room where he had first been welcomed.
  The wooden floor creaked as he took soft steps. The room was empty. Urana wasn't home. Normally Char wouldn't be so anxious to meet anyone, but this home was like luxury, compared to his life before, and Urana was the only person who had been nice to him.
  Except Ash and the gang. He still remembered the night we're he'd been beaten so badly. After it, the only survivors besides him were Ash and another guy Bristle. Ash was more like the leader of them all, he decided what to do and what not to do. As for sneaking into the mansion, Ash hadn't been so keen to do that. Despite holding all the power, Ash was a nice guy. Everyone had been at least three years older then Char back then, but Ash always made him feel included.
  But look at where that had gotten him. If Char hadn't been in the group, things might have been very different. Such as Oak....
  No, no. Char stopped himself from thinking about Oak, blinking back a tear. He didn't like it, but Oak always got him upset. Stop it. Thinking about him will get you nowhere. 
  Sitting down on the sofa, he rubbed his shoulder. A little blood still trickled from it, but it had mostly stopped. He wondered when Urana would be home so she could help. Char was a little anxious tough. He had no idea how she would react. He had been spared the night before, when she had just sent him to bed, but she looked thoughtful, and a bit worried too. After finally finding a home, he didn't want to be thrown out.
  For a moment, he was so absorbed in his thoughts he was shocked by a woman's voice. Then he relaxed. "Urana," he nodded, turning his gaze up at her. "Where have you been?" he demanded. He always tried to act confident in front of others from habit, especially when he was worried.
  She held his glare evenly. "Out," she replied tartly. After another moment, her gaze softened. "How are you feeling."
  "Oh, just fine! Last night I hurt myself worse than last time, and I was completely ignored. I'm just fine."
  "Do you want to live here? If not, I've informed you already, you're perfectly capable of leaving."
  "I'll live as I please, tank you for offering," Char retorted, rolling his eyes. He didn't know why...all of a sudden anger controlled him. All he could think about was how unfair his life had been and how he needed someone to vent on.
  Char's fury evaporated as he saw Urana's eyes flash menacingly, and for a scary moment, he thought she was going to do her mind pain magic again. Then she sighed, as if she read his thoughts. "I know you've had a hard life, but now you're here, and I want to help you."
  Relaxing his shoulders, he flexed his bad one and met Urana in her eye. He didn't need to say anything, he almost seemed to communicate with her through his head.
  "Oh, alright. Show me your shoulder," she sighed, as Char immediately began pulling off his shirt, being careful not to wrench it further. "Looks fine," she said, glancing at him and at the same time, turning around. "Just rest it."
  "Huh? You're not going to do anything?" he asked, standing up and following her out of the room and into the kitchen. "But it hurts! You know what I'd like to know? If you can inflict pain, can you make it go away?"
  Urana froze in her tracks. Very slowly, she turned to face him. The expression glancing off her face made him fear he had gone too far. "Yes. Yes, I can." She stepped closer to him, ad feeling uncomfortable, he tried to move back but found he couldn't. "What do you know?" she hissed. "Has anyone told you anything? I said, has anyone told you anything!" she demanded.
  Strangely, he felt no fear of her sudden shift of mood. It was almost as if he was on the verge of finding the justification for her, and her behavior, but it was just beyond his grasp. "Nothing. No one's told me nothing." Taking a breath, he confronted her. "But I want to know. I know something's up. I know-"
  "You're mad."
  "I know you have some knowledge that you won't share with me. Why would you seek me out when everyone else feared I would steal from them? Why are you so intent to keep me in your home, in your sight? And what do you keep doing to me?"
  Instead of flashing in anger, her eyes glistened with morose as they flickered from gold to brown. "Sit." she commanded. Char wanted to protest, to say no, he was going to stand right there. But it felt as if there were a string attached to his muscles, pulling his limbs toward a large chair.
  He gave in to it, and watched Urana come stand next to him with narrowed eyes.
  "I can't tell you," came the answer simply.
  Rather than fighting back, he heard himself whine like a child. "But why? I really want to know."
  "I'll tell you soon. Perhaps tonight. Possibly tomorrow. But soon enough."

The door slammed loudly behind him as Char stormed out. He'd had enough of Urana telling him what to do, and behaving as if he were a small child. He still wasn't sure of his age, but he knew he was close to adulthood. Why should he listen to her orders?
  Against his will, the urge to steal something pulled at him like strings. Though without his knife, uncertainty gripped him on what he would do if he was caught.
  Fighting is not the answer, he heard her voice in his head.
  He muttered, "Shut up," to himself, trying to block his mind from acting messed up.
  His eyes narrowed in on a house, a small house looking abandoned but as if packed with junk. Or, trinkets that could possibly earn him food. Though his mind continued to pull him back, his body carried him forward against his will.
  As he walked up the stairs leading to the door, he thought he saw a flicker of movement inside. Char paid no attention to it as he slowly picked the lock and pried open the door. Blackness engulfed the room as he stepped in.
  He took slow, sure steps when something cold pressed against his throat. Recognizing the edge of a knife kissing his neck he halted. "Who's there?" he demanded.
  Uneasiness grew in him and there was a sound of slithering and breathing besides his ear. More cold knifes pressed into him, and the warm trickle of blood on his stomach contrasted with the cold blade. The voice that finally breathed in his ear was loud, destroying the show they put up.
  "We've been waiting for you. You're the thief that escaped from Hafvud. You're under arrest."
  Char resisted the urge to kick out and escape, knowing that he would only be stabbed by many knives. "No I'm not. You have the wrong person," he lied, his voice shaking. He felt a sharp pain on his stomach as the tip was driven in further.
  "Really. Let me go. I'm in the custody of Urana Sephoria. You can ask her whatever you want to know," he blabbered frantically, looking for a way out of the mess. The darkness still filled the room, not helping his fear.
  "Come. Sit. We'll let you explain everything," the man announced, cold malice in his voice. Char swallowed. He knew there was no way out of the situation, they wouldn't believe him whatever he said. And what they held against him was justified.
  A light shone brightly in his eyes and Char quickly glanced down, not wanting to be blinded. As he did, he felt a small prick in his throat and flinched. "Sorry," one man said, not at all sounding sorry. As Char blinked, he slowly made out the outline of a room.
  They shoved him forward towards a sofa in the center of the room. Trying to refrain from swearing at them, in fear of getting stabbed, he submitted to their hands and sighed as he set himself down. "Now what do you want?" he asked, resignation edging his voice. As he glared at each of the people surrounding him, he realized he would have to make his escape now, that he couldn't wait.
  "We have been following you, Char. Since the moment you escaped the court. And had that little fight on the outskirts of the town. I notice you're not completely recovered from that?" the man asked, a sly smile playing on his lips.
  Char didn't hesitate to curse now, as he muttered under his breath. Calming his temper, he looked the man in the eye, recognizing him. It was the one who had cut him, and the one whom Char had almost stabbed as he'd fought to free himself.  "My shoulder is fine, than you for asking," he replied, trying to make his voice sound cold. He also tried to remember how Urana talked, the words she used, so he could sound more formal. "And what do you want from me?"
  He flinched away as the man leaned in closer, grinning. "We want to turn you in. You shouldn't be alive. And now that you've run away, your penalty will be worse. Probably a public death. Maybe stoned?" He's enjoying this, Char thought furiously as he glared at him. Though it was true, whatever he was saying. He had friends who had suffered these consequences.
  Seeing no other option, he dropped to the level of begging. "Look. I'll do anything you want. Anything any of you want. For however long. Just let me go." When they didn't respond, Char added, "Please?"
  The man seemed hesitant before responding. "No. You see, we want you. We get paid for turning rogues like you in. And we want our pay." The man drew in a breath. I am Elsay. And you, will soon be dead." To Char's confusion, Elsay seemed to raise his hand behind him. By the time he realized what Elsay was doing, it was too late. That last thing he saw before the world plunged into darkness was a large hammer hurtling towards his head.

A loud banging woke him. Char stifled a moan as he opened his eyes, his head throbbing. As the light filtered into his eyes, and he grasped his surroundings, he realized he was in some sort of cell. The memories came flooding back to him. Oh no. Not again.
  He was in a new cell now, probably the one they had in Bejoyr. Moss covered the ground. "Char."
  "Ow," he whispered, clutching his head. He didn't bother seeing who it was, he could recognize Urana's voice. She sounded stern, as if she were about to launch into one of her lectures.
  "Char," she repeated. He hated when she did that. Just keep calling him until he answered. Couldn't she see he had a headache? Finally she seemed to get the message. "Char, tell me what happened."
  He sighed, and immediately regretted it. Every movement he made just exploded his head. It hurt to think. "I bet you already know," he muttered, not wanting to speak too loudly.
  "I do." Her tone was very matter-of-fact, as if she wanted him to just do what she said and not complain. Wrong person to expect that from. No matter how much pain I'm in, I won't be a doormat, he thought rebelliously. "But I want to hear it coming from your mouth."
  Rolling his eyes, he replied, his voice dripping with as much sarcasm as he could muster. "So, basically, you have your specifics and want 'em how you like it, no matter what condition everyone else is in." Raising his eyes to look at her, he attempted to glare.
  Urana sighed. She closed her eyes for a moment, puzzling Char. After a few seconds, he realized that she was somehow performing some magic to alleviate the pain. When it was all gone, and when she snapped open her eyes, he felt himself go limp with relief. "Thank you," he whispered.
  To make things even better, she didn't pester him about explaining himself. "How do you plan getting out of this?" she asked, in a seemingly oblivious mood to the danger of the situation.
  Char groaned involuntarily. "I don't know." He paused, then continued, asking the feared question. "They are going to kill me, aren't they?"
  Urana's startling eyes met his. "Yes," she replied reluctantly. "They are preparing whips for you."
  He felt himself sinking even lower to the ground. He let himself drop his face back in his hands. "It's not fair," he complained furiously, dread sparking his anger. "First we're treated so inhumanely, without any food. Then they kill us if we try to get it ourselves!" It never had to be like this, a voice inside him reminded.
  "It never had to be like this, Char. I do know about of your past."
  "What?" He snapped his head up, uncertain if he was more shocked by the wording of what she said, of the information which she's shared. Her face was tinged with amusement, she must have noticed his confusion.
  "Tell me about yourself. Why did you leave the life you had?"
  Char swallowed and looked away. "I don't want to talk about it" he replied curtly. Though, after living a month with her, he knew Urana well enough to understand she wouldn't allow that as an answer. "I left when I was seven," he whispered. "My parents never wanted me around. And Oak-" he broke off. He wouldn't talk about Oak. Not Oak, ever again. "All they did was make me study. I know, that isn't a reason to run away. But they hated me. My parents would have killed me if they could have. Besides, Jacr was gone a year later."
  Urana didn't respond, seeming thoughtful. Finally, she spoke in a soothing voice. "You're not wrong. It was right of you to leave."
  He jerked his head to face her again. Almost everything she said surprised him. It had been like that the entire time he had so far lived with her. "Of course it was. It was only too obvious what my fate would be if I had remained."
  "Did you know they were coming?"
  "Who was coming?"
  "The ones that raided your town."
  "They were looking for you."
  Char froze, he had been absently playing with his newly cut hair. "They what?" he blurted out, caught off guard. Why would anyone be looking for him? Before he could say anything more, the sound of shouting from outside cut him off. He closed his eyes and let out a breath. "None of this matters now. I need to get out of here," he muttered to her, standing up. After a moment, he felt himself swing back an arm, then punch the wall in fury. As pain shot up his arm, he thought he heard a crack from his curled up fingers.
  "Wise," Urana commented.
  He rolled his eyes, then turned to her. "Fine. I know what you want to hear. Will you please help me?" he asked, his annoyance overcome with desperation.
  Char saw her smile. "Yes, I will. Unfortunately, there is no way out of the cell other than towards the stage where they will kill you. You'll have to go with them when they start, then I will interrupt and pull you out of it. I hope you're not afraid of a few lashes," she responded, laying out the plan.
  He felt his own lips curl up. "I don't mind the whip. I've dealt with it enough times," he replied wryly, subconsciously fingering grooves in his back. As she turned to leave, another thought erupted in his mind.  "Wait. What about me after? I can't stay here." As he stared at her, he realized just how much he was relying on her. Char thought of how much everything had suddenly changed.
  She didn't seem to realize it was a problem. "Oh, don't worry about that. I have plans, and you need to come with me."
  "Where are we going?" he asked, for some reason dreading the answer.
  She smiled again. "The Forest of Ismuraa."


Connie said...

I like Chapter 3! I don't really know what else to say, though. It's very good writing.

Fira Marine said...

Thanks Connie!

Jessica said...

I likey :D But in chapter 2, you wrote the word "frolic" 3 times in quick succession.

Fira Marine said...

Really? Guess I couldn't help it. XD Frolic is an awesome word.

Molly said...

I love Celadon, maybe my favorite story, but I like Emerald, too. @Fira Marine: frolic is an awesome word, isn't it? Very descriptive for such a short word. In my opinion. =D You are such a good writer.

Audrey said...

Very good writing....I couldn't write better if I tried. I love the perfect balance of voice, description, and suspense. AWESOME.

Fira Marine said...

Wow, thanks! It means a lot to me.

Tiffany said...

I love this story!!! It's amazing!!!!! I like the Celadon quickwrites too. Please write more!!! This is are a terrific writer.

Fira Marine said...

Thank you! I would write more Celadon but for two problems. One, I have no idea what to do with Fawn and so I need to do some chapter planning first. Second, I always manage to tangle myself in at least three stories at once and then none of them wind up getting completed. At the moment I am working on Emerald, and until I finish that, I am refraining from working on anything else. It may be a while...I'm planning on finishing the whole novel.

Tiffany said...

Are you going to post Emerald on this blog, or are you not going to because it might be published into a book later and you wouldn't want people to not buy it because they had already seen it on here?

Fira Marine said...

I won't be publishing it on this blog. Sorry. :(