Atop a stony plateau overlooking the lands of central Idalos, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from the rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence; firm in its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the many factions set aside their conflicting agendas and see this through?
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1st Ymiden, 703
Nightshade hummed to herself quietly skipping along. She had a bag of small candies and was chewing on one. They were the left overs of her yearly birthday gift. She only got one bag of sweets every year so she'd learned to savor them and make them last. They would usually last her all they way up till Zi'da since it was a good sized bag. She would only eat one every couple of weeks. The tune she was humming was a lullaby her father used to sing to her when she was younger. Sometimes when the 10 year old would have nightmares he still sung it to her. It kept her quiet, kept her safe. It was dangerous for her to have nightmares because she would make a fuss in her sleep. That fuss would usually attract attention and lead to a punishment of some kind. As she got older the punishments became much harsher and more physical. At 10 she was already getting beatings, though the master of the house held off on using his full strength.
She saw just how unfair this was a long time ago. Children usually hadn't seen much of the world and tended to be born with perfect back and white vision. Night realized how much she was treated like a lesser being a long time ago. She was usually treated the harshest out of all the children living on the estate. Many other children lived on the land even though she didn't see them often. The children of farmers and maids and servant and guards. Because how far removed the manor was from Etzos it meant that those who worked the land needed to live on the land, and those who were to serve the master of the house needed to live in the house. Of course this made it hard for families so the husbands, wives, and children of the workers ended up also taking up residence on the land and working just as hard as their partners and parents. The worst thing had to be they were paid very little, the master making the excuse that he paid for the dwellings and nourishment of his servants. If they wanted luxury they could save what little extra he so kindly gave them and save it. They were paid generously! Of course Night could see how much of a massive lie that was. They were given the lowest rung of living to simply be kept alive. Obedient and subjugated like good little servants.
Night was a little different. For the servitude of her father she was treated something like a member of the house, though a distant one. She was taught everything a noble might be taught by her tutors. Her father taught her the more practical skills she would need to one day leave this place. She had every hope in her heart she could make a fortune and buy the freedom of her father. Despite this her treatment was harsher than anyone else's in the Master's lands. She was critiqued and forced to be the embodiment of an unreachable perfection. Yelled at, beaten, scorned, forced to work till she almost passed out, those were just every day occurrences! Her father got a fraction of a better treatment. A full grown Avriel was of higher worth than a 10 year old half breed. Her father was built a lot stronger and larger than the average Avriel. With a large broad chest and powerful arms it was obvious he was more of a heavy duty fighter. But at the same time there was a wise look in his eyes, ones that reflected knowledge instead of a typical Avriel savagery. Though he was still prideful like his kind he was prideful of his skills instead of his birthrights. He was proud of the things he had earned in life instead of being born into a "superior race".
Night had taken her father's way of life to heart always trying her hardest to live up to the expectations of the Master. The one good thing she got for all of her efforts were the rewards. Her birthday was always nice as well as any other holiday. She perked as the sound of voices reached her ears, high pitched squealing voices. She turned her head slightly to the side and caught sight of a small group of children. She quietly mused to herself if she could possibly make friends. It wasn't often she had the chance to encounter another child. She had no friends, since you couldn't really call a tutor your friend. She never even crossed paths with the young master often, though that was more of a blessing than anything. The young master gave her a very bad feeling, she tried to avoid him at every chance she got.
She walked over on uneasy feet. Her claws got in the way and she nearly face planted multiple times, but finally she got in calling range. "Hey!" She shouted to the group and they turned their attention to her. She didn't get the response she though she would.
A couple of the girls screamed hiding behind the older and strong looking boys. Some were pretending to be scared just to mess around. Some of the younger girls, younger than Nightshade herself, had genuine looks of fear on their faces. Instead of hiding behind the boys they just froze becoming as still as a deer at the tip of a hunters bow. The boys who were armed with sticks from the game they were playing moments ago moved in front of the girls, scared and pretending alike. They held their sticks like swords of all kinds. The smaller boys had no stick weapons but they looked just as ready to jump into a fight. Night tilted her head not really understanding.
"Monster?" She asked. She'd heard the word enough times before. As a lonely child with no friends her largest joy came from reading and being read to by her tutors, her father didn't often have the chance to tell her stories but his were always the best. "Where?" She asked looking around herself turning in a small circle. Once more she nearly fell over. She beat her tiny wings to balance herself out and keep from taking a tumble. The movement loosed a feather which gently as a snowflake fluttered towards the group of kids. A chorus of screams was the result of such a small and innocent feather. This of course led Night to become even more confused. Had they never seen a feather before? Of course humans didn't have wings. She quietly observed that all of them must have been human as none of them had wings. Though there were a couple of other strange features to them. Some had shocking red hair and the oldest had a little animal perched on her shoulder. A bird. So why was she giving the same cautious look to Night as all the other children were? She must have been used to feathers if she owned a bird.
"Right there!" One of the boys said pointing at Night squarely in the chest. Emboldened by Night's seeming stupidity he took a couple steps forward, clutching his stick like it would save his life should the child turn feral. Night at such a young age had yet to start trimming her talons and as such both the talons of her fingers and feet were sharp and dagger like.
"Oh no silly! I'm no monster," she said with a happy-go-lucky smile. She took a step forward and entire group took a couple stumbling steps backwards. Her eyebrows creased together as a frown tugged at her lips. What was wrong with these people? Did Night look like any sort of threat. The girl was still fluffy in the wings. Her development wasn't the fastest and baby feathers still clung to the feathered parts of her body. The molting baby feathers came off at random times and made her just look silly. Of course in the every of the children she looked as harmless as a wolf pup. Cute and adorable for now, but with the potential to grow up into something dangerous should it not be raised right.
Another step forward, the group stepped back. Her features went from a frown into a look of sorrow. Her expression completely fell into a look of hurt as her eyes widened slightly already starting to glisten with wetness. She reached out a clawed hand hesitantly. The boy panicked swinging his stick. Night retracted her hand with a yelp. There was a horrible smack, and the beginnings of purple and blue and black started to kiss the skin that was hit. Nothing was broken, but even a bruise could be traumatic for a child. The wet started to poor out of her eyes in trails as the child sniffled. For a couple moments she tried not to shed tears, though she was already failing at that. But the second that moment was past the girl broke out in full on cry.
None of them had any pity, no sympathy, not a trace of empathy. One of the girls even went as far as to smirk. "Obviously this monster is completely helpless, younger than some of we! Look at her," the girl said tugging at Night's hair. Night yelped but made not a single move to try and defend herself. "But monsters this young can be trained. I'll tell you what monster. Give us that candy, and we'll train you enough that you can play with us," the girl said. There was a chorus of angry noises, sounds of disagreement at the idea of letting the monster into the group. But the girl quickly silenced them.
"Oh yes please!" Night said her eyes lighting up. She handed over the candy bag and wiped away her tears with the hand that wasn't bruised. The girl took the candy bag with a smirk watching Night recover quickly.
"Alright," she purred, "stay here and we'll all go set up the game so that we can train you!" At this point the other kids were starting to catch on to the plot. They snickered and elbowed each other and the group was quickly off. Night stood there, quietly and obediently. Soon the group of kids were out of her sight and she was left all alone.
Quiet, lonely, a break passed. She got tired and sat down. Two more breaks passed. She began to cry. Realization dawned upon her but she didn't want to acknowledge it. If she did that would mean it was undoubtedly true. More breaks passed and she finally accepted what had happened. They took her candy and left her, Night had been tricked. But she still stayed in that spot, ever the optimist she allowed herself to hope they'd forgotten or they were still coming to get her. More time passed. Eventually he sun started to bow down, allowing the moon its time to rule. Night was cold, she was tired, she was hungry. She had loyally waited in that spot all day long and they had not come. It left a sour taste in her mouth where the sweet taste of candies had once been. She was far to tired to waste energy on anger, but she wasn't tired enough not to harbor a bitter distaste for the sitaution.
She walked home on stumbling feet. The door creaked open with a welcoming sound but she paid no mind. She simply walked quietly not saying a single word.
"Nightshade? What happened? You've got a bruise and your candy is gone. No one stole it from you did they?" Her father asked turning to her with a concerned look. It was a strange sight, such a large and powerful man who looked better suited to battle hunched over a desk with a quill made by his own feather in hand. A strange looking pair of spectacles sitting atop his nose just a size to small for the man the immortals decided to make a size to large for the rest of his race.
A blush rippled across her cheeks. Like all kids she told her fair share of white lies to avoid embarrassment. She didn't want to have to admit the other kids tricked her out of her candy. "I fell and dropped it all into a pond," she said quickly lowering her head. The embarrassment over loosing her candy looked like a completely different breed of embarrassment in the eyes of her father. It wasn't to far fetched a lie, Night's feet caused her to trip a lot and bruises were common place when one tripped a lot. That's why she'd said it.
"Aww, Night. Baby girl, I told you that you need to practice walking more. Flying is always going to be a trouble for you, you need to be able to walk," the man said with a gentle crooning noise. She took offense to what was supposed to be a simple statement of fact.
"Will not!" She argued in typical child manner. "I'll become the best flyer to ever grace the skies and put ever other Avriel to shame!" She boasted proudly. She'd practice non stop the second her wings were mature enough to fly if that's what it would take. Her father smiled fondly with a shake of his head.
"Sweet heart, I'd love to see you do that. Maybe then you could put some of those snooty Avriel in their place. Damn monsters," her father muttered the last word quietly. It was almost too quiet for Night to hear, but she heard it. Her eyes widened as a connection suddenly clicked into place. The afternoon made sense now, perfect sense. She shrunk in on herself slightly slinking off to her sleeping area after that. "Good night dad," she said in a quiet voice as her thoughts swirled together dangerously. The word haunted her repeating over and over. Monster.
word count: 2378
Common ~ Ith'Ession ~ Lorien
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0/ 5 (solo thread)
Endurance: Working hard as a child
Psychology: Physical pain fades, psychological pain is harder to overcome
Psychology: Children are cruel
Discipline: Waiting when told to do so
Deception: White lies to save face
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Oh what a poignant thread! I really felt so sorry for Nightshade and those children were nasty bullies! I enjoyed this thread and the exploration of the pc. Thank you for sharing it!
All good - very emotional and well written.
Please do PM me if you've got any questions
word count: 128