The Four Realms - Intro Arys
14 years ago . . .
"Father's back! Father's back!"
There were few things that could pull young Arys from gazing at the roaring fire or at any puddle of water. But the arrival of her father was one of them. Arys jumped down from the stool she had been gazing at the fireplace from and raced out to the front door.
Standing in the doorway was a tall, handsome man with fiery hair. When his
eyes fell on her, the normally grim captain of the palace guard grinned and
opened his arms to scoop her up. Arys wrapped her small chubby arms around his
neck and squeezed.
"How's my little kitten? Have you been a good girl while daddy's not home?", he asked.
She nodded, beaming at him. "Did you get me something?".
He didn't get a chance to answer her as her brothers rushed out and tackled
them to the ground. For several minutes, chaos ensured. Arys was locked in a
tangle of limbs until a pair of slender arms plucked her from the jumble. Surprisingly,
she wasn't even a bit bruised. Arys hugged her mother as they both waited patiently
until the shouting bundle on the ground finished wrestling.
Finally, he managed to grab the twin boys around the waist and carried them inside to the living room which consisted of a sturdy table with chairs ringing it. Arys and their mother followed. As he deposited them, he turned to Arys' mother and said teasingly, "And how is the Lady of the house? Has she missed me?".
Arys' mother gently placed Arys on the ground and stepped into her husband's embrace to kiss him. Arys never understood why her parents did this. Sure, her parents do that to her occasionally and less often to her brothers. But why did they have to do it for so long? It was one of life's mysteries to the 5 year old.
Thinking that they had done it long enough, Arys interrupted them, "Daddy, daddy! Did you get me something?", she persisted.
They disengaged with Arys' mother looking a bit red in the cheeks. "Come here", he ordered and placed her on his knees as he sat down. As Arys looked on in anticipation, he reached into his belt pouch and drew out a necklace.
It had a simple leather tong but hanging from it was an uncut stone the size of her ear. Securing it around her neck, he explained, "This is a magic stone. It can be used in anything with magic, especially to keep magic or energy in it". Arys touched the stone, mesmerized by its multi-coloured surface. It was dark but when she held it in her small hand, she could clearly see her palm through it. "Be careful with it. It's considered valuable to the magicians. Don't lose it. Promise me?". He held her eyes as he said this.
Arys agreed readily. As her brothers gathered around their father asking for their gifts, Arys was lost in the depths of the stone. In it, she felt that the stone was empty. Thinking to fill it, she instinctively pushed 'something' into it, making the stone glow first red then blue and then a mixture of both. Ecstatic at the change, Arys held up the stone to show it to her family. They were all staring amazed at her and at the lights still playing on her features.
As she tilted her head sideways to regard them, a strand of hair fell across her face. The strand was no longer red hued blue, proof of her parentage. It was silver. A mark of those gifted with magic.
4 years later . . .
It was past midnight and Arys was still up. The reason for this was beside her stretched out form on the bed. It was a lighted candle and a bowl of water. This was her secret hobby. Arys found out one night that it was more effective in the dark. Since fire was strictly controlled at home, she did not share this secret with anyone.
The purpose of the lit candle and the bowl of water was that, when combined, it created an effect on her ceiling. This was due to the light from the fire reflecting off the water. The effect was mesmerizing. It made her feel as if she was looking out from under the surface of water. Occasionally, she would pass her hand through the flame or dip her hand into the bowl to change the pattern.
She loved sharing at the image. Sometimes when she was sleepy or was concentrating on a particular subject, she could see a scene in the patterns. The scenes were usually of faraway places that were familiar but never visited. She knew some were everyday lives or people and creatures from Gaia, Eden and Valhalla. There were also some that showed wonderful views of all the lands.
Of all these scenes, there were always those that Arys found alien and unreal.
They were pictures of tall stones that reach the clouds, metal creatures and
unfamiliar creatures. Those creatures that she did recognize were those in alien
clothing; a human being yet not.
There was one thing she noticed early on, and that was that there were no magic that she was familiar with. As she gazed into the patterned ceiling, Arys was unaware that her hobby was actually an actual spell casting. As time passed, Arys' eyes drew heavy and finally she slept.
As her hand relaxed in sleep and slumped down, it bumped the candle. The candle,
though safely placed, was precariously tilted. The candle fell to roll across
the floor, its flame sputtering. When it came to rest against the wall, the
flame started to lick at the carpet. Moments later, there was a blaze in her
room. Smoke gathered under the ceiling and dissipated through the open window.
Soon, the room was blazing. Unaware of the danger and too dizzy with breathing in smoke Arys was unable to help herself.
She was drowning. That was the first thought when she was rudely awakened by a bucket full of water. Arys opened her eyes to a red world. Fire was everywhere, clothing the wall and ceiling. It was hot! She could feel the heat emitting from all around her.
Arys sucked in some air to scream out her terror just as a stream of water
shot through her window onto her. Turning her face away, Arys drew in ragged
breaths and got out of the way. With only her nightgown and the stone necklace
on her, she staggered to the front door through the flaming house. The wet floor
was becoming a hindrance as the flames had heated it and was painful to walk
Seeing the flaming door, Arys hesitated. There was no way she could go through there but she had no choice. Better make it quick then, she thought. With that thought firmly in mind, she hurled herself at the door.
For a moment, she thought she couldn't get through and be burnt alive. But the door yielded and she was in the cool air outside. The flames had eaten enough of the door to weaken it, thus allowing her to burst through.
Suddenly, someone grabbed her and rolled her over repeatedly. She then realized that she was on fire and someone was trying to put it out. Already dizzy from the smoke inhalation, add it with the sudden revelation of the fire and water's dangerous nature, Arys gave herself up to unconsciousness.
The house was lost, nothing could be salvaged. Arys' family . . . her father and her brothers had died in the blaze. Her mother survived because she had awaken in time and shielded herself with what little 'gift' she had as an aquamancer. It was not enough to save her husband and her sons though. She died a couple of years later. Some say it was from guilt.
She died leaving Arys with only the gifted necklace, the clothes on her back and her untrained talents.
As a child, unable to comprehend the ordeal and thinking herself responsible, Arys' personality split. One facet of her was innocent, gentle and polite. The ideal child, lady, even woman. This side of her was sociable and friendly. However, she was naïve beyond belief for she was oblivious to sex. She also has a fear of fire.
The other side was the complete opposite. She was a rebel and likes to get into fights (Or so it seems). She is antisocial and extremely promiscuous, having no preference of either sex. This side fears water.
Either of the personalities would come out when one is more dominant of the other and this change is often unpredictable and inconvenient.
Present time . . .
<A little bit more, acushla. A little bit more and . . . sip!>
"Arghh!!". The scream of terror was heard for miles around. Heads
jerked up in surprise and some even winced in sympathy.
In a grove, the owner of the voice was shuddering and shaking in fear. Eyes, a moment before squeezed shut were now wide open revealing to the world light brown eyes. Her normally sun-browned skin was pale, vulnerable looking lips slightly parted as the young woman gasped for breath.
Her arms were wrapped around her knees. A big feline was curled around the figure, purring her heart out to comfort the terrified female. The cat appeared to be a cross between a tiger and a panther. She had the lines of a stalker, but bigger, like a tiger. Her dark fur shimmered as she moved in order to lick her young charge's face.
Several minutes passed by before the navy blue haired woman managed to pull herself together. Her spirit cat murmured soothing words in her mind via the bond that had been forged ten years ago.
<There, there acushla. Let it out. It's alright>
"You know I don't cry, cow". Arys straightened up and took a deep calming breath. Due to her fear of water, even crying terrified her. A single strand of hair fell across her face. With a gesture born of habit, she blew it away from her face.
Nimitz growled in displeasure but inside her anxiety with her charge decreased. She knew that Arys had no mean intentions by calling her that . . . that accursed name!
Nimitz bit her lightly on the arm as a reprimand. <It's alright now acushla. Lets go home. It's getting late>
"Why do I need to do this? There's no point".
<Because you need to learn how to control your powers. You cannot do that if you are afraid of it. If you are afraid of it, you won't be able to use it. There might come a day when you will have to face your fears and you will be forced to use a power you are afraid of. I've told you this time and time again>
"Told me what, kitty?", Arys asked in a sweeter voice.
Nimitz sweat-dropped. Arys had changed personalities right in the middle of her lecture. As it always was, the change had left one side of the personality with an amnesia of what the other personality had gone through. A hiatus. These amnesias didn't vouch on common knowledge though which was fortunate. Nimitz often found herself repeating the same information repeatedly because one of the personalities had missed a vital part of an explanation.
I must be so lucky in all the fun that I get to do, she thought sarcastically to herself.