Chapter 6

Chapter 6

A Chapter by fayriii

*Excidium Sect Commander*

He watched the three of them through the trees, listening to their conversation. The girl was bickering with the shorter boy, the dark-skinned boy looking harassed as he tried to stop them from fighting. The man’s lip quirked in an amused smile as he watched. If he never got around to disposing of them it looked like they would tear themselves apart first. 

The man brought out a transparent crystal, holding it in his hands as he pictured his leader’s face. The leader’s image faded into view in the crystal, an expectant expression on his face.

“My lord,” the man in the trees started, “the three of them don’t look like a threat. I could take them out myself, if you’d like.”

The leader swirled his drink in his hand, contemplating what the man had said. He saw an idea form in his mind, his lord’s eyes brightening a bit as it came to him. “No, Gabel. Change of plans. Let them get as far as Helmfirth. As soon as they leave the town, attack them. Defeat them within an inch of their lives, but don’t kill them. Let them live in fear of the Excidium Sect.”

Gabel bowed his head, memorizing his leader’s commands. “Yes, sir.” 

“Good.” The image faded out from the crystal and Gabel put it back in his bag, turning his attention back to the group he was watching. They’d walked a bit farther to his right, but they’d stopped as the girl and the boy quarreled again. Even from his place in the trees he could see their faces getting red with irritation. 

He smirked. “‘Defeat them within an inch of their life’, huh? That, I can do.” 


*Zared*

Zared sighed as he fought to keep his composure. With Miria and Terrin getting under each other’s skin every five steps, it would take them forever to get to Zalfari, let alone the Excidium Fortress. He glanced at the pair as they continued to squabble.

“How do you know what’s best for this group, huh?” Miria blazed, her hands in fists at her sides. 

“Because I’ve been on my own far longer than you have, Princess,” Terrin bit back, throwing contempt into that last word. 

Excuse me?!” Miria cried, taking a step towards him so that their faces were barely a foot apart. “You don’t know the first thing about me, Pickpocket. Do you have any idea what kind of life I’ve led? No, you don’t. So stop assuming you know any better!” 

Alright. It was time to intervene before either of them started throwing punches. “Guys, guys,” he started, stepping between them and placing a hand on their shoulders, “let’s not forget that we have a common goal we’re working towards: defeating the Excidium Sect. And to do that we have to stop fighting each other, and start fighting them. So let’s just forget about this and move on.” Both of them glared at him, but he refused to back down. “I’m bigger and stronger than both of you, and I’ll use force if I have to.” 

Terrin huffed disbelievingly at that and Miria rolled her eyes, turning away from them and stalking into the forest. He and Terrin set off after her, Terrin lagging behind a bit as he pouted. Zared sighed wearily. If he could just get them to stop fighting, things would be so much better for him. 

He didn’t understand what’d happened. They’d been fine yesterday after the river incident, and then suddenly this morning they were back at it again, rubbing each other the wrong way. His mind traveled back to what happened yesterday, and he felt shame grab his heart. 

How had he not known that Miria had a fear of heights? He knew everything about her, from her favorite food to what her ticks and bad habits were. So how  had he not known about that? He reasoned with himself that since he’d never been to a place high up with her there’s no way he could have known, but the guilt still ate at him. He’d been too far ahead of her on the tree. She could have died if Terrin hadn’t caught her first. 

Just like it had after Terrin had saved her yesterday, jealousy writhed in his stomach. Zared knew it was irrational to be jealous of him when all he did was something any person with a good heart would have done in his situation. So then why did Zared feel like punching everything? He sighed again. Miria had never noticed his feelings for her. He wanted to tell her, but didn’t know how or when. Staring ahead at her as she stomped through the woods, he felt butterflies dance in his gut. He hated it. Why did he have to be in love with his best friend, of all people?

After a few hours of walking the city of Zalfari loomed ahead of them, and Miria stopped to allow him and Terrin to catch up. By now the both of them had cooled off, though their words to each other were still clipped and toneless. They paused at the western gate, exchanged glances, and continued in, hoping to find a place where they could stop and eat as they talked over their plan.

“I’m going to ask the guard over there,” Miria said as she pointed, turning around before hearing his reply. 

“Be careful!” Zared called after her. He watched her leave and realized that Terrin was staring at him with a questioning expression. He frowned at him. “What?”

“You know she’s not a little kid, right?” Terrin asked, his eyebrow quirking up.

Zared was taken aback. “I-I know that. I’m just letting her know to be careful.”

Terrin scoffed in disbelief. “She’s a double sword wielder and can hold her own in a fight against thugs twice her size. I doubt she’ll have a problem being careful.” 

Jealousy flashed through him like a bolt of lightning, and he bit back a scathing reply. Was Terrin suggesting that he looked down on Miria? He didn’t know her like Zared did, and yet he’d heard it: a note of respect in his voice that was hard to miss. Zared clenched his jaw as he struggled to calm himself. There was no need to cause a scene. He was being irrational. 

Miria jogged back over and grinned. “According to the guard there’s a small square a few streets to the left of us with a really good diner. She said it’s not very well known so it shouldn’t be too crowded, plus it’s pretty cheap. Let’s go there!”

Zared forced himself to smile back at her and nodded. “Yeah. Let’s go.” Miria took the lead and he followed her, not looking back to see if Terrin was following.


*Jonete*

Jonete stared at the sky, playing a game she did often as a kid. She stared at the clouds as they sluggishly passed by, imagining them as different animals, plants, objects, anything. One passed by that looked like a dog, and she smiled. She loved dogs. An unpleasant memory surfaced when she thought of that, and her smile faded. 

She remembered begging her parents for a dog. She’d wanted one so badly. They’d been patient with her at first, but the more she had asked the more irritated they had become. When their tolerance had faded, they had hit her. Over and over again. She’d cried and cried, begging for forgiveness instead of a pet. But they hadn’t stopped. They never had. 

She shook the memory from her mind, standing up as she stretched. That life was over with. She’d escaped. She’d run away from her parents and their abuse, and she never had to experience it again. She took out her map and paused for a second. She wasn’t sure where she wanted to go next. She knew that she wanted to  travel around the entire country. She’d never seen more than the city she grew up in. But she didn’t know how she wanted to go about it. 

To the northwest of her was Helmfirth. She knew that Helmfirth saw snow in the winter, and she smiled at the thought. Whenever it’d snowed back home she had never been allowed to go outside. But if she went to Helmfirth and waited until it became colder, she could interact with the snow for the first time. She nodded. She’d go to Helmfirth and live there for a while, leaving after a few weeks of snow. 

She rolled up the map and put it back in her bag, deciding to go for a walk. Zalfari was well known for having a beautiful city. 


*Miria*

She bit into the leg of deer, the flavor singing on her tongue. She made a satisfied sound as she chewed into it, the meat melting in her mouth. She demolished it in a few swift bites, just now realizing how hungry she’d been. 

Miria finished her cup of water and set it down on the table, sighing contentedly. She beamed a smile at Terrin and Zared. “I’ve never had a meal like that before. I feel like royalty!”

Zared smiled at her and nodded as he ate his share, and Terrin chuckled. “Man, how I would love to be royalty. Even just being the king’s guest of honor would be enough for me. Getting to sit at that table would be heaven.”

Miria coughed. “Yeah, except you’d never be able to sit there because you steal people’s things for a living.”

Terrin gave her an arrogant smirk. “Oh, yeah? Then in that case I’d just steal the king’s food. Might as well live up to my fame.”

Miria rolled her eyes, but she smiled despite herself. “I think you mean ‘infamy’.” 

Terrin laughed at that, and they continued firing playful insults at each other as they waited for Zared to finish eating. Terrin would often say something so outrageous it would make her burst out laughing, and she had to contain herself so that she didn’t disturb the other people in the diner. 

She mused about that in the back of her mind. How come she got along so well with him at times and so poorly at others? Earlier today she’d been ready to sink her fist into his face, and now they were laughing together like they’d been friends their whole lives. She couldn’t understand it.

Zared finished his plate and stood up, his chair scraping against the wooden floor. “Let’s head out, guys. I want to see if I can buy some crystals here. They were too expensive in Azmar.”

They left the diner and stood a little ways outside it, staring out at the square. It wasn’t as big as the circular hub had been in Azmar, but it was certainly more beautiful. Lush green vines snaked up the walls of the stores, budding into pastel yellow flowers that popped up every so often. An impressive fountain stood in the center of the square with a few tables scattered around it for people to sit down. The streets were almost entirely free of dirt, which she didn’t see how was possible with people walking over the pale bricks every day. But the city was obviously very well cared for, and she smiled to herself. She liked Zalfari. 

Carrying voices caught her attention, and she looked over to see a group of about six, big guys loudly demanding something from a person they were cornering against the leftmost wall of the square, about thirty feet from where she was standing. One of the guys shifted and she caught sight of a girl around her age standing in the middle of them, obviously being harassed for something.

She turned to Zared and Terrin and pointed to the girl. “Guys, there’s a group of thugs over cornering that girl. We should help her!” They looked over to where she was pointing and she watched as they took on two different reactions. 

Zared looked back at her with worry. “We shouldn’t concern ourselves, Miria, We don’t know how strong those guys are, and there could be trouble.”

Terrin glanced at Zared before turning to her, a mischievous, lopsided grin on his face. “I say we go over there and give those guys a present they’ll be glad to receive.” 

Miria smiled at that and turned her attention to Zared. “Sorry, Zared. Two against one. Come on!” 

Without waiting for an answer she dashed over to where the girl was, dismay yawning inside of her as she realized the guys had gotten rowdier, pressing in on the girl as if getting ready to attack. She opened her mouth to interrupt them when something else happened instead.

The girl was glowing. The guys stepped back a bit, their gazes uncertain. The girl yelled something that Miria couldn’t catch, the words said so fast that she didn’t have time to decipher them. One of the guys dropped to the ground, his eyes closed and a deep snore echoing in his throat as he slept. The other guys glanced at him and bristled at the girl, obviously angered that their friend had been knocked out.

They lunged at the girl and Miria stepped forward to help, pausing when she realized the girl really didn’t need any help at all. She was dodging all of their attacks with a calm but focused expression, and whenever she saw an opening she yelled something else that caused either her hand to glow or the thug to flash once with a bright light. Miria watched as one guy got flashed with light and just stood there, his expression blank. Another guy lunged at the girl but jumped back just as quickly, yelling incoherently as he tried to put out a small fire that had caught on his shirt. She’s a mage. Soon most of the thugs had all fled, the rest of them knocked out cold on the ground. Miria exchanged glances with Zared and Terrin, and she stepped forward to talk to the girl.

“Hey, are you alright?” she asked, gazing at the thugs on the ground. “That was some magic you were using.”

The girl glanced at the her with a kind of impassive expression, then at Zared and Terrin. Her long hair was tied in a high ponytail, and in the sunlight the black color had dark blueish tint to it. Her light blue eyes were sharp, not missing anything as they stood out against her caramel colored skin tone. “Thanks. And yeah, I’m fine. Those guys were asking me about my armor, and wanted to know if I had any money to give them.” 

Miria could see why the thugs had been asking her about that. The girl sported a torso-sized chainlink armor that ended at her elbows. A leather corset was tied in place at her waist, protecting her chest and abdomen. Shiny black material covered her entire body underneath everything else, and her mid-shin boots were scuffed with age. The girl’s clothing was the kind of thing only more wealthy people could afford, and it stood out amongst the middle class citizens of Zalfari. 

Miria thought for a moment before giving the girl a warm smile. “Hey, how hungry are you?”

The girl gave her a quizzical look. “Uh, I guess I’m pretty hungry, why?”

“We’ll treat you to lunch, if that’s okay with you,” Miria offered. “To be honest we were going to help you beat up those thugs when they saw that they’d cornered you, but you took care of them all by yourself so I have all of that adrenaline prepared for nothing. I figured taking you to lunch is better than finding some poor person to beat up.” 

The girl’s mouth lifted in a small smile as she nodded. “Alright.”

“I’m Miria, by the way. Miria of Dewhurst. This is Terrin of Azmar, and Zared, who’s also from Dewhurst.” She extended her hand to the girl. “Nice to meet you.” 

The girl took Miria’s hand and her smile widened. “Nice to meet you. I’m Jonete.”




© 2017 fayriii



Author's Note

fayriii
please leave a comment if you see a mistake, have constructive criticism, or even if you'd just like to see more :)

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Added on January 7, 2017
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fayriii
fayriii

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Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by fayriii


Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by fayriii


Chapter 3 Chapter 3

A Chapter by fayriii