Isabet Part 1

Isabet Part 1

A Chapter by Susanna F

On a far world of folk with powerful gifts, even an ideal society can fall prey to corruption.

The grand edifice of Tetra castle ascended from the top of a stony mountain ridge as if it had been shaped of molten rock �" which, in fact, it had. The city of Tyoneve spread out from it organically, part built close to the towers, part in the forested lower hills where the buildings merged and blended with the trees. This was where Isabet’s family lived, despite being of the noble line of Kore. Among the unremarkable homes of the Ungifted, the mossy stone and tree home of the Kore family stood out and had frequent visitors. But not on this day.

Isabet and her mother tried various colored robes and verdant or floral accessories in the sun-lit dressing room.

“This is a good chance for you to gain the attention of those nobles in positions of influence,” Lady Adria said, arranging her daughter’s dark hair. “We’ve never been to a party inside the castle before. Of course, this is a recent fashion, the nobles being awake all hours of the night.”

Isabet placed a few flowers above her ear. “Well, I’ll do my best. Don’t count on me meeting the King, though.”

Her mother shrugged and smiled. “You say you want to make a difference in how the Ungifted are treated. You’ll have to use every opportunity available to you.”

“It’s not just how they are treated, it’s how they are taught to think of themselves. As unable to attain anything better, as unworthy of gifts. I believe every Kaln has a gift, they just are conditioned to suppress their ambitions.”

Adria nodded. “Child… well, you’re hardly a child anymore, but… we understand that you want to restore the equity we used to have in ancient times. But those ideas aren’t popular anymore. Most people think the gifts can only be preserved by segregating. And so much of our history is lost, since the ancient manuscripts were misplaced. Just… I’d suggest you keep these opinions to yourself until you’re able to act on them.”

Isabet smiled and hugged her mother. “Let’s go get father, it’s almost time to leave.”

The party was as grand as Isabet had imagined, with a dizzying crush in the main ball room. She could make out the auburn hair of the King’s new consort, Laradra, over a dozen heads if she stood on the foyer step. Isa slipped away from her mother and father to meet the young woman, but lost sight of her through the crowd. Just as she had decided to wend her way to the pre-dinner refreshments, Adria found her again.

“Lords Noral and Lazar, Lady Lyda, I’d like to introduce my daughter Isabet.” Isa made the gesture of respect and bowed. “Lord Lazar has heard of your exceptional performance in political science, Isabet. He asked to meet you.”

Isabet said something polite, she wasn’t sure what. She managed to keep her composure despite being surprised to see someone else her age, especially someone so handsome. While his parents spoke with Adria, Lazar approached Isa.

“Would you like to see the Crystal Spires, my lady? There’s a wonderful view from the balcony as the sun sets.” She nodded and offered her hand. They walked from the crowded ball room. The “balcony” was more of a large area of flat stone roof. Lively evening breezes gusted warm and cold from various directions, lashing at the banners and snatching at their hair.

“They used to use this as a watch tower before the Ancient Accord was struck. When they had to worry about beasts and giants. It was positioned for its view, but catches all the winds,” Lazar explained.

Isa was about to ask how much he knew about ancient history, when she caught sight of the Spires glinting in the valley below the mountain. With the sky a soft crimson and pink above, the towering crystals flashed like fire, scattering the last light of the sun. She gasped at the effect. From above, the valley seemed to be full of glittering jewels. Isa could barely make out the shape of some creature leading its young through the faceted columns.

“Do you like what you see?” Lazar asked.

Isabet wondered if he meant the valley or himself. He should know that at seventeen she was too young for courting. She decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“That’s an understatement! It’s as breathtaking as my father told me. Are the tales true? Are they haunted by invisible beings?”

Lazar frowned, his brown and scarlet hair blowing forward in a sudden gust of wind. “I wouldn’t doubt it. I’ve heard things as strange reported to my father, in my work with him. No reports of the Crystal Lady, however.”

Isabet hadn’t heard that name before. “Is that what they call her?” Lazar nodded. They turned back to the view.

Lazar went on. “Anselm the Earthen pulled the crystals from the inner fires of the remade world, through stone and ash and what living vegetation remained. It wasn’t so long ago to the grandparents of our grandparents, who survived the great Awakening. But to the young like us, it’s hard to imagine that many thousands of years ago.”

Isa thought, this was her main area of interest, not politics. But she wanted to ask him more about his work. “I’d love to join in the work of serving Tyoneve with the other nobles. My father prefers to stay out of the administration. That’s why we live in the forest hills.” She paused, hesitating to say what was at the forefront of her mind. “The Ungifted there struggle to keep a balance between living with nature and finding food. The ones who can’t afford the trip into Tetra have to hunt and find enough plant food. Have you heard that they occasionally have gifted children?”

Lazar smiled indulgently. “I have. Those are the lucky ones. We have less to do to provide for them. But their own children may not be so lucky. Has your gift shown sign of emerging?”

Isa blushed. “Not yet. Mother says it’s normal for it to emerge as late as at twenty years of age. But I hate the waiting. It’s almost enough to push me to the Mage Guild.” She glanced at him sideways, hoping he wouldn’t be as offended as her parents would be.

Instead, he laughed. “Well, it may be frowned upon by the old guard as cheating to bypass one’s gift, but my parents don’t mind my interest in magic. If I thought I’d be paired with someone as brilliant and lovely as you, I would be at the next guild meeting. Why not? I can always quit if it doesn’t suit me.”

Isabet laughed with him, eyes alight. “We could, you know! There aren’t many young people, we’d have a good chance to be paired as partners, learn together. My parents don’t approve, but…” She glanced around. “I’ve been trying a few things here and there. I’ve made an herb garden of unusual size spring up overnight! With more skill, I could help initiate equity and change in Tyoneve.”

Lazar’s eyebrows lifted. “Truly? We should, then, my lady magician. The Guild has a convention in two weeks’ time. If you must obey your parents’ wishes I understand. But it sounds like you have genuine talent.”

Isabet stuck out her hand. “I’ll see you at the convention.” They shook on it.

© 2019 Susanna F

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Added on April 13, 2019
Last Updated on April 13, 2019
Tags: Kalna, Isabet, powers, magic, fantasy


Susanna F
Susanna F

Private, AZ

My name is Susanna. I love writing, and have written stories since I could spell. I write mostly fiction and poems, and have had several poems published. As a full-time working wife and mom, I hav.. more..

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