We found an oasis in the middle of the desert and stopped there for the night, though the sun was still above the horizon. I looked to the other two, “Are you two okay?”
Mari’Anya and HellFire were visibly exhausted from the flight, while I was still fine. We just need to rest for a while. I watched them lay down and within the minute, they were both out and asleep.
I took this time to explore the small oasis. I found the water and took a drink from it. The salt was too much for my tastes, but I realized I was in deep need of getting cleaned. It was not fit to drink, but it was fit to get cleaned.
I stripped out of my clothes and stepped into the cool water. I waded into the water, getting deeper as the closer I got to the center. I was chest deep when I reached the center of the water. I took a breath and went under the water. I grabbed sand from the bottom and hit the surface again. I used the sand to scrub at my skin, getting rid of the dried blood and dirt.
I looked at my arm, where the High Priestess had cut me and found a long scar, but nothing left besides it. I went back down and grabbed more sand, doing it as many times as I could to get clean. I then used it in my hair, scrubbing at my scalp and hair.
I rinsed my hair and waded back to the edge. I got out of the water and grabbed some leaves from a strange tree, on a hill. I set them on the ground and sat on top of it. I could see out across the entire desert from my vantage point.
Within ticks, my body was dry from the heat and sunlight, before it fully set beyond the horizon. I enjoyed the feeling of the breeze on my skin. I looked at my pile of clothes, knowing it would do me no good to have cleaned myself and to put those back on. I went to my pack and grabbed a set of light colored clothes. I went back to my vantage point and sat back on the leaves. Another light breeze tickled against my skin, causing a shiver to go down my spine.
Dawn… The breeze called to a part of me.
“I am here…” I spoke quietly, my voice more mature.
We have been waiting for you, Dawn… The voices in the breeze whispered to me.
“She knows not what she is.” My more mature voice spoke to them.
Then she shall need to learn.
“It is too early for her to know the truth.”
How long must we wait, Dawn?
“It is not long now. After we meet the Elfin, she shall learn the truth of herself.” I felt a shiver go down my spine again, bringing me back to normal. “The truth about what?”
Nothing answered me. I guessed the breeze spoke to the other part of me. “Dawn… That is her name. She is the magick user…”
I went to my clothes and put them on. I rolled the sleeves up as high as I could, allowing the rose tattoo to show. I went to my pack and grabbed the flint, book, ink and quill. I grabbed timber and dried leaves from the ground. I lit the fire and looked into it. “Lumin… Wherever you are, I hope you are safe.” I sat down next to Mari’Anya and began to write what had happened that day in my journal.
After I finished, I packed all my things, including the dirty clothes, though they were wrapped in the strange tree’s leaves. I went back to the fire and stared into the flames, my mind wandering elsewhere. We were safe for tonight, and I knew I should have gotten some sleep. I thought about everything that had happened up until this point. “Something the Sun and Moon can never have… The King will die… But we do not have those feelings for each other…” My mind wrestled with the thoughts, as I pulled out my blades. I looked at the engravings, rolling them over in my mind.
I put them down as I thought about those I counted as my enemies. “The Prince… Sold his souls to the Devils for revenge on me and the non-humans. What are his plans and why is he waging war on all other species of non-humans? Then there is the Demon, Dante. What does he want with me?” I continued to stare into the fire, as I felt the sun rise on my back.
I heard Mari’Anya and HellFire wake up, as they came closer to the fire and me. You stayed awake all night?
“I was hoping the fire would tell me what I needed to know.”
Then let us put it out and we can get to Sasmung by the end of tomorrow. Will you be able to stay awake for the journey? We are not going to stop for as long as we can.
I nodded to Mari’Anya before throwing my arms around her, “I understand. And thank you. I know my race does a lot of things that I wish I could apologize for, but I cannot.”
She put her paw around me, Do not worry. You have done nothing but try and help. Even then, not all humans are against the non-humans. It seems to mainly be those who are in power and at this moment, the Prince.
“Who is, ironically, no longer a human.” I spoke, my voice distant. “Mari’Anya, do you think we will make it to the King and find him someone who loves him within the time limit?”
I do not know. But I am sure we will think of something. I mean, you are surprising us all the time, then I have knowledge from the past generations of Skae and HellFire is full of knowledge about the places we have to visit. Between the three of us, we will figure everything out. She smiled to me, letting me go.
“Well, we should probably get going to Sasmung. If I collapse, do not worry about it.” I smiled to them as I packed everything up in my pack. I pulled some food and drink out of the pack on Mari’Anya’s back and realized it had been replenished. “When did this happen?”
When you were with the High Priestess, we were taken to a banquet, which is why we were not there when the Prince killed her.
“Makes sense, then.” I pulled out something for each of us and then closed the pack. I gave them their food, as we started to walk toward Sasmung.
That day and the next were uneventful, meeting no one on our journey across the desert. I only collapsed once, and HellFire carried me on his back as I rested. We reached the edge of the Jungle, the desert heat starting to get to us. We took refuge in the shade, resting when we saw the sand getting kicked up in front of us.
We saw not humans riding the horses, but Devils. “Where did the humans go?” I quietly asked Mari’Anya, not sure if they knew we were there.
I do not know. But we should get away from here now. We can learn about what happened to them when we reach the Elfin.
We ran through the Jungles, careful not to fall into any traps set by the Elfin. When we were sure that we were safe from the Devils, we slowed our pace. I was not watching my step, when I was caught in a net. “Mari’Anya HellFire, get away from here.” I told them, as I looked through the holes of the net. I watched them climb the trees and it was a wonder how HellFire managed to do it. I tried to cut the ropes with my blades. I do not know what was in the ropes of this net, but they would not cut. I was trapped until someone came to get me.
I heard hoots and hollers from what sounded like teenaged males behind some trees. Three male youths walked around the bend and saw me in the trap. They just pointed and laughed at me. One came right up next to me, “Looks like we caught a human.”
Another spoke, “Well, if she was not so stupid, she would have not been caught.”
The third was silent and I got the same feeling from these youths as I did of Gleaning, Lush and Sybil. “Look, males. I need to get to Sasmung. It is urgent and important.”
“Everything is important to a human. I swear, you are just like that Hiku male.”
“Hiku is here?” I was surprised.
“Yes, him and the rest of the human armies.” The leader told me as he sighed.
I watched Mari’Anya and HellFire drop out of the trees. They were ready to attack them, if they would not let me out.
The leader grinned to his companions, “Hey, how many humans does it take to get out of a tree?”
The second in command answered, “How many?”
The leader gave the answer, “Five. Four to get caught in the traps and one to go get help.” He slapped his knee and laughed, along with his second companion.
The third one rolled his eyes and walked over to me. “You know Hiku?”
“He is my brother.” I answered truthfully.
“Why are you here? And how did you not know he was?”
“I am here to find out what happened to the Demon King. I was told to come here by the Apocalypha’s High Priestess. I did not know Hiku was here because I have not seen him in months. I was sent to be an emissary to the Demon King and he was a knight.”
He untied me from the tree, the net hitting the ground hard. “Prove it.”
I stood up and shook the net off me. I walked over to him and showed him my rose. “Do you know what that is?”
“It is the sign of the Lady. Please follow me, we need to get you to the Lord Gipex.” He turned and saw Mari’Anya and HellFire. “Please tell me those are your friends.”
“Mari’Anya and HellFire.” I told him, as the other two youths turned to face them.
They took a few steps towards us. “What are they?”
“Mari’Anya is a Skae and HellFire is a…” I realized that I had no idea what kind of a horse he was. “Well, he is a horse, not sure what kind though.”
He is a Desu.
“Oh, ok. HellFire is a Desu.”
“How do you speak our language?” The leader asked.
“Absolutely no idea. It is just one of my quirks that allowed me to speak almost every language known in this world.” I looked to the one who helped me out of the tree, “May we get going now?”
He nodded, “Please follow me.”
He started to walk forward, down the path they came from. I heard the other two talking behind me, “She is kind of cute for a human.” The second youth asked.
“I would love to bed her…” The leader told him.
I turned to look at them, “Sorry, boys. I belong to the Demon King and I will only bed with those he wishes me to.”
“Demon King? You willingly went to him?” The leader sounded shocked.
“Of course. It was either that or get bedded by a selfish, annoying Prince who is now leading the Devils across the world to find me and take me back.”
They stopped, “You are Twilight Dawn?!”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
The leader looked to his companion in the front. “Drexis, this is Twilight Dawn! We have to hurry!”
Drexis nodded, “Come on!” He ran and I gave chase, being followed by Mari’Anya, HellFire and the other two youths. We were not that far from the village, so it was a short run.
The leader instructed us to stay by a large tree in the center of the village. They ran through the middle of town, running up an incline to the tree we stood next to. I looked to Mari’Anya, “Why do you think they are now in a hurry?”
Absolutely no idea. But be on your guard, there are humans about and any could be a spy.
I nodded to her, just I was attacked from behind with a hug. “Twilight!”
I recognized that voice anywhere, “Hiku!” He let me go, allowing me to turn around. I hugged onto him tightly. “I missed you.”
He held me close to his chest, “I missed you too.” He let me go and took a step back. “We have a problem.”
“The Prince killed his family, sold his soul, became a Devil and is leading the Devils in a campaign of evil across the world?”
“I was in the Apocalypha’s village when he attacked. What about you and his armies? I heard they were all here?”
“You heard correctly. The Elfin allowed us to come here until the Prince is killed.” We both looked up as horns were blown. “The meeting is about to start, come with me.” He grabbed my hand and led me to the incline.
I looked back and saw HellFire and Mari’Anya following us. Time to find our answers.
Mari’Anya answered, And, hopefully, none of the answers we seek leads to bad news.
We walked up the incline and entered a room in the trunk of the tree. Hiku led me to a chair next to him, with room for Mari’Anya and HellFire. One of the Elfin guards tried to stop Mari’Anya and HellFire from entering but I spoke up, “They go where I go.”
He had no choice but to let them in. We sat down and Hiku whispered to me, “What are they?”
“Mari’Anya is a Skae and those are the creatures that attacked you when the Demon army captured you. And HellFire is a Desu, a horse that breathes fire and has a short temper around those he does not know or like.”
“Ah.” He quieted down and looked to the center of the circle of seats.
I looked around the room, as the Elfin Lord started to quiet the room down. I recognized some Knights and commanders of the human army. I also saw the Faeyri Lord and Lady, the Apocalypha’s Lord, the Elfin Lord and a few other Lords of species I knew not the names of. I was jarred out of looking at these peoples by the Elfin Lord’s word, “Miladies and milords, we are at war. The human Prince has changed into a Devil and will not stop until he finds Twilight Dawn.”
I saw a short scruffy looking male stand up, “Then why not give her to him?”
Lord Maadian stood in my defense, “We will not do that. He not only wants her, he wants to destroy all the kingdoms, and with his Devils, he might be able to succeed. She is just his spoken target… In reality, he wants to kill all non-humans and has gone to great lengths to finish what he has started.”
The scruffy male answered, “Then we shall destroy the humans!”
Hiku stood up, as well as the other commanders of the army. Hiku spoke first, “Do you not understand, Dwarf? He has an army of Devils, meaning there are no humans left in his armies. It would be foolish to kill innocent humans just to get at one man who does not care about his people.”
The Dwarf turned to face Hiku, “Justly said by a lowly human.”
I stood up, “Enough!” A wind kicked up in the room, blowing in a cyclone motion. When I realized what was going on, I calmed back down, the wind dying out. They all turned to look at me, “Listen to me, Dwarf, you will not be going to war on humans. The rest of you will not be going to war of the Prince.”
Lord Maadian turned against me, “He killed our High Priestess and you expect us not to go to war on him?”
I closed my eyes remembering what he had become when exposed to the fire. “That is exactly what I am saying.”
“So you expect us to just sit here and do nothing?” Lord Gipex asked.
“No, I expect that you will gather your armies, all your able men and train them to fight against Devils. They are not as easy to kill as humans are.”
“Why should we follow you?” The Dwarf asked.
I turned and revealed my tattoo, “Because it is the code of a Lady. Dwarf, I know your Lady was killed thirteen years ago by humans, so I understand your position on this. But please realize, not all humans are like the Prince. Given the chance, they would do what is right and realize the truth.” I turned to the commanders, “How many humans left the Prince?”
“All six-hundred sixty-six.” The main commander told me.
“Good, I need you all to go home and prepare for war on the Prince and the Devils.” I turned to Hiku, “Tell Dyne all of the knights are going to need specialized blades.” I asked Mari’Anya, Any idea what kills Devils?
Silver is known to destroy their lifelines to this plane. She answered.
“Hiku, all of the blades need to be pure silver. Use the King’s treasury if needed and ask the Ladies for help. A few of them are very good healers and the others know how to take care of wounds.”
“Yes, milady.” He bowed to me.
I turned back to the rest of the council, “Separated, we will fall, but if we unite under a single banner and fight as one army, we can defeat the Prince.” I bowed slightly to the Lords, “Take all of your people to the human kingdom.”
The Lords all stood up in anger, “Why should we do that?”
“Please listen and understand, humans have done a lot of things wrong. Useless killings and prejudice have ravaged our peoples names, but this time of bigotry needs to stop. Take your people to the human city and we can protect them from the Prince.”
The Faeyri Lady flew up, “But who will protect our people from the humans?”
“We will.” There was a voice at the door of the tree. We all turned to see the Skae standing there. The leader looked at me, “Victual, you did not keep our deal, but we understand why.” He looked to Mari’Anya, “The kit?”
The one and only, Lord Masa’Kall.
I bowed deeply to the Ska, “I apologize for breaking our deal, but apparently I was in the lake for three weeks.”
The Skae walked into the council chambers, Lord Masa’Kall speaking the common language of human, “We will go with your women and children and protect them. I will have both a Ska and Skadi assigned to a race and should a human try to hurt them, we will tear them apart.”
I was a bit horrified at the thought of a small child being torn apart because they threw a rock at a non-human. “How about I make you a deal? And this time, it will be an oath of blood.”
“We are listening.” Lord Masa’Kall looked to me.
“Hiku, do you think you can contain the human females and children in the castle, along with the other races?”
He thought about it for a tick, “The castle is big enough, but we would have to open the west wing.”
“Do it and we shall have those who are able bodied outside the castle walls, in the castle town. Females and children tend to be better suited for taking care of other races.” I looked to the Lord Masa’Kall, “We are more needing of your people’s assistance on the front lines of battle. I swear to you that if anyone is killed within those walls, I will personally destroy the one who killed them.”
He walked over to me and stood up on two legs, using his size to stare down on me, “You have a deal, Victual.” He got back down onto all fours and walked to the side of the room.
“Okay, now, milords and miladies, we need you to trust me. Without that trust, we will fall and be obliterated. How many races can use magick?”
I saw three Lords raise their hands, the Elfin Lord Gipex, the Apocalypha Lord Maadian and the Faeyri Lord Glintz. “Three out of seven… Okay, I know Apocalypha can control Necromancy, but what about the Elfin and Faeyri?”
Lord Gipex spoke, “We control the four elements, fire, wind, water, and earth.”
Lord Glintz explained, “We control light and dark.”
I do not know what made me think of it, “Who control spirit and life?”
They all looked up at the ceiling of the tree, Lord Masa’Kall answering me, “The Angels.”
Too bad we have no way of contacting them… Mari’Anya said to me.
“Well, that is too bad, but I think we have control down here.” I spoke to myself. “Are there any questions?”
I looked around the room and saw only grim faces, those scarred by a battle not yet fought. Hiku stood up, “Twilight, where is the Demon King?”
I sighed, “I do not know. The humans attacked the castle when I was bringing Mari’Anya back from the dead.” I happened to catch movement out of the corner of my eye. It was the little boy from the castle peering at me. I turned and he bolted away from the door. “Wait!” I gave chase, leaving the council chamber in confusion. Mari’Anya, it is the boy again!
I heard her and HellFire come after me, followed by Hiku and the rest of the council. I saw him turn into the Jungle, but I would not let him get away. “Please, child! Wait!”
He looked back at me, his eyes haunted and full of sadness. He turned back to the path through the Jungle. He turned off it and went into the thick bushes. I tried to follow, but I was cut up by the bushes he went through. I ignored the pain as I continued to chase him. We reached a sparkling glade where light was penetrating the foliage in streaks. He stopped and I stopped behind him, catching my breath. “Who…Who are you?”
He turned to face me and spoke, his voice silent. He mouthed words I did not understand nor heard. I left the world around us fall away, as the sunlight vanished from the glade.
I looked to each of the sides, then back to him, “What is going on?”
Tis the Twilight looking for the Dawn. Always searching for the light, when all she has to do is look for her shadow, her reflection. The child’s voice drifted around us, after his lips stopped moving.
“What are you?” I asked as I looked down at the ground. My shadow was glowing lightly and moving on its own.
A Child of the light should not speak to a mortal. But you are what you are. Dawn arise.
I watched as my shadow came from the ground, and became human, looking like an older version of me. Her eyes were closed as she spoke, “Twilight, as you may have guessed by now, you are not human.”
“What do you mean?”
“Let me tell you of our past. You are me, reincarnated. I defied the angels by giving the other races use of magick and I was struck down into an child’s body. Your child body, to be more exact. Do you wonder why you can use magick, when no other human can?”
“It has crossed my mind a few times.”
“It has been because of me, and now that you have developed this far, I have the chance to leave your body and ascend back to the skies.” She leaned over to me, lifting my chin to meet her eyes. “But it is your choice.”
“Will I still be able to do magick?”
She shook her head, “No, you will become what you were before we merged.”
I sighed and looked at the ground, before looking back up to the older me, “If you wish to ascend, then you have my permission.”
I saw the tears of joy stream down her eyes as she took steps backwards to the little boy.
“Who is he?”
“He is my child. But it is time for us to part our ways. I will warn you, you are not completely, fully human. You are a mix of two different species and though I am not positive, I am pretty sure that in time you might be able to access magick, but not for a while.”
I fell backwards, into the darkness, watching her and the child vanish from sight. Once again, I was enclosed in darkness.