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Chapter 4 - Angels

Chapter 4 - Angels

A Chapter by VassD

Everything was going so well...


Ania pulled open the door into her room, dropping the pack on the floor the moment she was in. Running to her wardrobe, she yanked open the doors and started rummaging through the clothing, looking for the clothes most suited for travel. She discarded her feast day tunics almost immediately, although she did pause over the one her mother had given her at the last Feast of Night. The embroidery had taken Cerena several months to complete, and it told one of Ania’s favorite childhood stories.


Eventually, Ania pulled herself from the feast clothing, turning instead to pull an armload of linen tunics and trews from the large oak-paneled cupboard and dumping them on her bed. Flipping through the pile, Ania pulled out the ones that were the least worm and looked like they could handle a trip to the other side of the country. Folding them as tightly as she could, Ania pushed them to the bottom of her new pack.


Now that the clothing was out of the way, Ania looked around her room, wondering what to take with her. On the tall mahogany shelf next to her bed, there was a book with drawings and descriptions of most of the other major cities in the Koronea. She picked it up, hefted it for a moment, and then added it to the pack. Definitely worth its weight. Ania added a few more obvious things - a compass, an oilstone for her knives, line for snares, a hunting knife, and an extra cloak and bedroll " but found herself at a loss as to what else to bring. There was still room in the pack, but there was nothing else she felt she needed to bring.


Ania gazed at her room, with its thick woven carpets and the elegantly carved bed with the red drapings. She stared at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, filled with both books of history and theory, as well as fanciful stories about lands and people she could scarcely imagine. Many of those books had been her fathers, and had been gifts to her on feast days and on her naming day. Ania felt an ache in her stomach as she realized that there was no way she could take them with her.


Ania walked over to her bed, flopping down onto the thick down-filled bedclothes. She stared up at the ceiling above her, letting her eyes trace the familiar pattern of the night-sky mosaic that was implanted in the stone above her. Ania wasn’t sure if she believed it or not, but her mother had always told her that it was an exact replica of the sky from the night she was born. It was a rather romantic thought, so Ania agreed with it more often then she questioned it. She remembered her mother telling her once that the stars were angels, and that the pictures in the sky told their stories. “The angels who watch you come into this world are the ones who will watch you and guide you throughout your life,” she’d always say. It was all so romantic that Ania couldn’t help but believe it.


While she lay there, tracing the patterned ceiling, she heard the door to the corridor outside open. She lifted her head up off the pillow to see who it was, and sat straight up when she saw her mother walk through the door.


Cerena Kyatei was a commanding presence. Tall and slender with dark coppery hair that reflected the torch light like burnished metal, she was almost impossible to miss. With split silk riding skirts that were covered in an embroidered tale of some heroic deed or another, she looked every inch the noble woman. Which she actually was not. The long, single-edged blade hanging from her hip told the real story " Cerena was a military advisor to the Counsel of Nobles in Magani. The equivalent of a general in the army. Cerena Kyatei was not a soft woman. But the small smile on her face belied that as she walked into Ania’s room. Ania had never known her mother to be unkind or unjust. Ania didn’t much care that most people in Avionne spoke about her mother in hushed tones Ania knew her as the woman who had raised her, and that was all she really cared about.


Cerena looked around her daughter’s room, her dark eyes taking in the pile of clothing and the stuffed pack. “What’s all this?”


Ania hopped to her feet, “While I was helping at Karra’s this afternoon, a Knight came by the forge and started talking to me. She said that they’re about to start training a new group of Knights, and she invited me to come to Magani so I could test!”


Cerena’s eyes opened almost imperceptibly, and she swallowed once before opening her mouth. “Testing? But… but Ania, you’re not even twelve years old yet!”


Ania met her mother’s gaze steadily, just like she’d always been taught, so she didn’t notice when her mother’s hand gripped the hilt of her sword in a white knuckled fist. “The testing isn’t until the last day of the Feast of Turning, which is on my naming day this year.”


“I… I see…” Cerena turned to the wall, leaning her fisted hand on the side of Ania’s wardrobe. “Ania, I- I don’t think you should go to Magani.”


“Well, how can I join the Knights if I don’t go to Magani?” Ania’s tone started out bright, but when she saw a shudder run along her mother’s shoulders at the word “Knights,” she faltered. What was going on? It wasn’t like her mother to be so ill composed. “Mama? What’s the-“


“Ania, I’ve made preparations for you to be trained as an advisor, like me. You’re good with other people, and you’re quick to learn. I think you’d do well.” Cerena let all of this out in a rush, as if she only had one chance to get it all out. Her normally straight shoulders were hunched, and her head was ducked down between them. It was all very foreign.


Ania stared at the scene before her and tried to make sense of it. Her mother " so strong, so implacable, so immovable " was all but huddled in a corner. And those words… They didn’t make any sense! “But Mama… I don’t want to be an advisor. I want to be a Knight. I want to help protect the country. I want to help people.”


“You can help people. You don’t have to be a Knight to do that.” Cerena’s back straightened, her voice strengthening with each word. “You can help people by being a leader, a guide. You don’t have to make yourself a pariah to make the rest of the world happy.”


“Mama, I want to be a Knight. They’re the only ones who have any power to really make a difference!” Ania thought of the people in town, who were all so set in their ways that no one was willing to change for the benefit of anyone, including themselves. The world was so stiff that the only thing that could affect it was something from outside the system. “I don’t care if I’m a pariah. I just don’t want to be worthless!”


Worthless?” Cerena spun around to face her daughter, and Ania recoiled from the fire in her mother’s eyes. “You think being an advisor is worthless?”


“No, Mama, I didn’t mean " “


“You think your life only has value if you can walk into the fires of battle to die, and you only have worth if you spit yourself on a Jocona spear?”


Ania wanted to back away from the raw emotion in her mother’s voice. Ania had never seen her mother like this. It was frightening.


Cerena rammed a fist against the wardrobe, making the heavy wooden casing creak and settle on its carved feet. “You never think these things through! My fool of a sister never did either. She always ran in before anyone could tell her to stop and think, and she got her bloody self killed. Is that how you want to live? Knowing your whole life that you are running towards your death?”


Ania felt her throat seizing up, like an iron fist was wrapping around her neck, squeezing tighter and tighter. The corners of her eyes stung, but she refused to blink. She refused to look away. “Mama, why are you saying this?”


“Because I don’t want you to die!” her mother shrieked. “I don’t want to lose you like I lost Alliania. I’m supposed to be your mother, not your executioner! I refuse to lead you to the slaughterhouse!”


“Mama, I’m not going to die,” Ania said. She’d never seen her mother like this before. “I can take care of myself. I’ll come home-“


“No, you won’t.” Ania’s mother straightened. She towered over Ania, looking down at her with eyes that seemed like cracked glass. “If you go to Magani…” Cerena paused for only half a moment. “If you join the Knights, you can never come home. You will no longer have a home, at least not under this roof. If you leave us… there will be no coming back. If you leave, I can no longer be your mother.”


A fist of ice closed around Ania’s heart. “Mama… What are you saying?”


“I’m saying,” Cerena whispered,” that if you don’t give up on this insanity, if you don’t swear to me that you will never become a Knight, if you don’t promise that you will do something else…” Cerena paused, her feverish glare locked on Ania, “You can no longer be my daughter.”


Ania’s ears were ringing. She felt like the world was spinning, like she was being tossed about like a rag doll in a whirlwind. Give up… Insanity… Never… No longer my daughter… They felt like a slap, like a knife grinding between her ribs.


Give up…


A fire started in her gut. Her heartbeat stilled until it beat with the rhythm of the stones at her feet. Give up? Impossible. She was Ania, and she never gave up. She would fight for what she knew she had to do, and nothing " not fear, not anger, not anything - would stop her. Her mind calmed, and her back straightened until she stood as firm as the walls that surrounded her. She centered herself, and felt her gaze steel.


“Mama, I can’t " “


“Then you’ve left me no choice.”


Cerena turned her back on her daughter, and stalked out of the room, slamming the door shut.


Ania barely made it to the doorway before she heard the key turn in the lock.


She fell against the door, pounding her fists against the unyielding wood. “Mama, don’t do this!” She heard footsteps receding down the hallway. Falling to her knees, she pressed her forehead into the carved wood until she felt the curved, swirling lings dig into her skin. This is wrong. Why is Mama doing this? Why would she let me do what I know is right? This is wrong!”


She felt trapped, and not just by the walls and the locked door. Her spirit felt chained, and a ball of ice was growing inside her chest, numbing her skin and stopping her heart. A single tear fell from her eye to splash on the stone floor. What was she supposed to do? If she couldn’t become a Knight… she was nothing.


A cry tore its way out of her throat, and she slammed her fist into the door. The skin stretched across her white knuckles split.


“Why do you hate me?!”

© 2013 VassD

Author's Note

Chapter 4. I'm not sure what to say about it, as I kind of think it speaks for itself. Ania loves her family very much, and so it was my desire to put a lot of emotion into this chapter.

Anyway, I would really appreciate feedback for this. Specifically, I want to know how engaging the story is. I have a lot of plans for this story, and I want it to fly. So, with this in mind:

►What did you like?
►What didn't you like?
►What was your favorite line?
►What do you want to see in the future chapters?

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Added on February 13, 2013
Last Updated on February 13, 2013
Tags: black horizons, draft two, edit, fantasy, knights of the covenant, ania kyatei, randen derris, alliania, vassternichdrauka, vassternich, drauka, novel, chapters



A tiny random town-city-dimension, ID

I'm a fledgling author with dreams about as big as one of Robert Jordan's books. Maybe more than one on top of each other. I love writing fantasy and science fiction stories (No matter how long a piec.. more..

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A Chapter by VassD