4 Chapter 2: A Day of Firsts: Elyeria
"I figured it out!" I shout I feel my mouth spread as a grin started to form. I narrowed my eyes waiting for her to figure it out, she stared back at me with confusion etched onto her face, "his nickname!" I said "duh"
"Shut up!" she whispered loudly
"Nobody's here and I didn't mention any names anyway" I explain "don't you wanna hear it?"
"You ask me as if you're not gonna tell me anyway" Sheera looked at me knowingly
"You're right, I remember what you told me and what you pointed out," I say "Greatsword!" I splay my hands in the air, as if the letters would appear "What I don't- oh" her mouth slowly opened "you're terrible!" she laughed, resting her hand on her belly
"and you're way to innocent for your age, I guess we compliment each other at least until I corrupt you" I said, wrapping an arm around her.
A boy in slightly dirty beige clothing came up to me "your father wants to see you" he said, making eye contact with me for only split seconds and looking at the ground most of the time, he hid his true face well even in the short glimpses I got of his face. "escort my friend to her chambers or Baron DuVaulian"
"Don't worry, he dishes anything then he'll be killed" she keeps her breathing in check, to stave off her Frights. "don't worry, if he doesn't like you then he's obviously not smart enough to be worthy of you" I give her a squeeze on her shoulder, I lean in to whisper "I'm sure The Sword isn't too much for you, you always manage to stretch yourself when it comes to challenges" I gave her a wink, she chuckled. I gave her a hug "I'll see you in the gardens" I wave her goodbye as I walk away. Walls that were painted red with brown diamonds that always manage to stay symmetrical except for one the was ever so slightly out of place. I was told by my mentor that to always beware of aberrations, he believed that they were a portent of danger if not understood, but an opportunity if one can use it to their advantage, although many of the lessons stuck with me, that lesson is what was stayed fresh in my mind. I walked through the halls wondering what my father wanted me for, he never called me for anything neither did my aunts and uncles, that was what was normal I was the sixth child, the child who didn't receive the divine inheritance, I learnt to not care, I found people who cared about and allies who were of use to me, in a way I chose my family, me being ignored was normal, my father requesting an audience with only me let alone me at all was an aberration, an anomaly, something that was wrong and may not bode well for me.
I reach the lifter and I walk in "take me up to the Aerilas Office!" I said to the people who worked to pull the lifter up, they carry me upwards to the highest floor. I walk out into another set of hallways. Sunlight streamed through the windows that gave me a view of the beaches and the forests. I hear the tweets of birds and see Folla birds, their golden feathers streaked past the window. I walked through the hallways until I reached the door to my father's office. I don't bother knocking, I walk in and sit down, we sit in silence for a second waiting for my father to talk. He looks from whatever papers he was looking at, probably trying to feed our citizens, once he realised food is important than parties the money was already spent. "what do you want?" I said, breaking the silence. "you know that there are duties that one must do to secure our future" he began, my blood already started to boil, I kept it behind a blank mask. I go through the little he's said, by the way, he's speaking trying to imply that I have to do whatever he's about to ask of me, so I know I'm not going to like it. How did my father expect me to secure my family's future, I didn't have the spirit of One of The Five inside of me. Allegedly. How was I important enough for my father, uncle, and aunts to see me as able to secure their future. Unless. "you're going to Bouvach to marry Davin Dachou" he finished. I could feel myself start to shake. I push the nail of my thumb into the skin of my index finger to not give anything away "so because you forget that you have citizens and now you can't pay back the loan you took out from House Ristikos, you want to sell me for an army for when they attack us" I keep my speech in a calm state, my father said nothing "I refuse to clean up your mess" I get up to leave
"If Meldavorne and Bouvach aren't united then Ristikos could win and pillage the villages, storm the castles, send the children into the Golden City, they won't care who they'll hurt" I knew what he was implying, what was worse was that he was right. If it was not for him, or the family I was related to then it would be for my family "I expect you by the port in an hour" he said. I walk out, I speedily walked to my room, I call one of the servants and make them pack my things and bring them to the port. I sit in my room. I was shaking now. I attempted to distract myself but to no avail, I tried anyway because I didn't want to face having to leave my home for a cold, bleak wasteland, I didn't want to face losing the only people who cared about me. It was mainly because every time I thought about this situation, I was filled with so much rage that I couldn't breathe.
I found myself gripping onto the dagger at my bedside to the point my knuckles were in pain. I sat just there, I was so in my head that I barely noticed that my forefinger dug into my thumb to the point that I tore skin and drew blood. My door opened, "what's wrong?" Sheera asked, I tried to force myself to breathe, I started crying, I started to speak "my father" I gasped for breath "he's sending to some cold shit hole because my family can't get their shit together" Sheera hugged me. I felt release. I tried to keep my mask on but I couldn't, all that I've bottled up today came pouring out, I could breathe again, I relished every breath that I could now draw. "I knew that the rulers were struggling to pay back Ristikos but I never knew it got to this point, I'm so sorry" her hug tightened, I felt safe and cared for, although she was losing a friend, she never made it about her, which something my aunts weren't able to do. I stopped crying, I think I was okay now, "come on" Sheera stops hugging me and puts on a smile "head up, we're Elyeria and Sheera, we'll always find each other" she holds out her ring finger "I promise" I lock my ring finger around hers "I'll come back to you" I give her one hug before I grab my dagger and sheath it on my thigh strap, then Sheera and I walk to the port.
I arrive at the port to see the mentor of me and my siblings. Kaalan. Erroneous. That's how it felt to leave my home. To leave him. The ship with our weapons and food waited for me. He was the only person that seemed to care about me, who taught how to 'Dance' and 'Climb'. He knelt down slightly to so that he could be level with me, "remember what I taught you, you will survive this, remember that, never give up, keep climbing, keep fighting, keep ruling, Scorpion" it was the first time he called me that, it was always Elyeria when in public or 'Little Scorpion' when I had to take extra lessons when I was behind. I never caught the attention of my father or any of my aunts and uncles, I was the sixth child. "May we meet again, Father" it was the first time I called him that, it was a day of firsts I guess. First time I was to leave Meldavorne. First time I was no longer The Little Scorpion. The first time I said out loud what Kaalan was to me. The first time I was to Climb on my own. The first time in years I was going to be alone. I walk over to Sheera and embraced her once more and I whisper "say hey to Greatsword for me" I give her a wink and walk towards the boat, I give my relatives to a curt nod and walk onto the ship and set sail.
After some time I arrive at Bouvach, the sky was grey and with sparse clouds, the terrain was stony and cold. Lesson 3: When in an unfamiliar setting, try to peer behind the masks, see the thing about a person that they want to keep hidden. I rode the carriage, to the Dachou castle, it stood tall and proud, surrounded by watchtowers and guards standing evenly spaced. I looked at the faces and I couldn't discern anything. I walk through the halls, the sounds of my footsteps echoing through the castle. I was led to my chambers, or at least the ones I'll be in until the wedding takes place. I don't open my bags once they're brought me because I don't need anything now. I know that Kaalan would want me to build alliances but I couldn't bring myself to do so. I was still recovering I guess. A servant came to me, "Davin wants to see you" she says, I push myself out of bed. I let the serving girl lead me there, I walk for a surprisingly long time until I reach my two doors slightly larger than the other ones, the girl opens it for me and I walk inside. The room had a table was oversized for what I assumed would only be for me and The Marquis, he is sitting at the end furthest from the door, I could see his green eyes and pale skin, I saw the brown stubble on his face our dinner is there waiting for us. I take my seat not knowing what to say. I tried to recall one of my mentor's lessons but nothing is coming to mind. "So, I know that you might not be as fond of me as I would like you to be" his voice derails my ship of thought, "given the fact that you're only here for my army" I looked up from my plate, to see him trying to repress his nervousness. "well, I'm trying to fix my family's mistakes, why did you agree to marry me?" I ask
"well I need an heir, I am the eldest in my family, you were a woman of high enough status, still unmarried and from the family with the strongest naval force" he explains "just because we married for convenience doesn't mean we shouldn't get to know each other" the nervousness within him seemed to evaporate and we talk and started eating before our food got any colder.
Davin was nicer than the other citizens of the Bouvach, I don't mean in doing your acts of politeness which are obligatory in certain situations, he was nice because he wanted to be not because society dictates it. I think I may be able to tolerate the cold. The Marquis let me pick the wedding date, a part of me wanted to get it over with, get my nation the army, another part wanted to have a back up plan before I take this next step, but I didn't know how to do that, so in the meantime, I try to peer through the masks of the people, their posture gives off confidence, in their honour and physical prowess. Some of them had their head downcast, I heard of Bouvach's struggles after the mercenary trade was disbanded Bouvach couldn't afford to pay for food from Esior. They felt shame because for all of their might and for all the wars they won, you can't fight nature. The cold made it so that all crops died and their only source of income was made illegal, they were a people in famine. Once proud, now fallen. Davin was different though he seemed happy, optimistic as if he knew something that nobody else did.
I slept in my bed, I hear shouting I grab my dagger, I slowly open the door to my room, the torches were still lit. Doors were being kicked open, the invaders were searching for something. I see none of the bandits on my left so sneak off into the dark. I tried to keep my steps silent. I gripped onto my dagger. I tried to hide it from anyone that might find. "Let them underestimate you, let them think they can beat and once they realise what a true threat you are, it'll be too late," Kaalan's voice said in my head. I thanked Onira, for the fact that one of his lessons managed to come to mind when I needed it most. I moved slightly and quietly, taking my time. I walk, I see an exit in the night due to the torches. I look back and realise that I didn't get much distance between me and the bandits and they were closing it. I see the door, I froze. They were getting closer. I silently edge my way to the door. I turn the knob, I push it open and then hear a creak. My body stiffens, the bandits' heads turn towards the door, I push it open completely and start running. I make it down the staircase and I see moving flames in the distance. Bandits. I run into one of the rooms. One of the bandits came in I was hidden in the wardrobe. I leap out and shove the knife into him. He slaps at me I wriggle the knife around to do more damage, I pull it out. I look out the window. I see the candle burning on the bedside table. I open the window and shudder at the breeze that washes over me I drop the candle out into the cold. I watched its orange fire shrink, it kept shrinking until I could barely see it. Then it was gone. I had to find another way out. I hear through the door the shouting grew louder. I heard the clash of metal clad feet against the stone floor and the colliding of swords. I heard armour falling to the ground. I opened the door, hoping to not be noticed, I keep to the edge. I get away from the battle. I get to the door I see that the bandits are winning. They do, they turn to me. I start running down the stairs. I get to the bottom floor. My escape is so close now, there are bandits in front of me, I turn around to see that the people chasing me just came out of the stairs. I run into one of the rooms and lock it. I open the window and climb out. The winds cover my skin in goosebumps. I start running looking for the guards, I see none. I get to the exit, then the night was consumed by void.