Leaving the Shadows

Darkness. I hate it here, but it keeps me alive, hides me from those who want me dead. Magic. I don't know what to do with it, or how to use it, but I think it's supposed to help me. Hunters. They seem to know how to restrain me from leaving without even knowing I'm here. Kiri. The one thing I have left to care about. The one thing left living for. The one thing keeping me from ending it all, right here, right now. I have to find her. Keep her safe. It's all I want now. It's all I'm asking for. It's all I've been asking for for the past seven years. But there are those that would be ready to kill even her to stop me if they found out she was my only weekness left. Shadows. The one thing holding me back from finding her.


3. Magic

Slowly and cautiously, I return the ancient box to the earth. I think about how I got here. I once lived in a palace. I was royalty. A princess and queen-to-be of the kingdom of Abiladia near the Whitemist Mountains. Don’t ask me how they got their name. I’ve often wondered myself. They’re a dark reddish color and not white at all. They are very dry and are nowhere near water or ponds, so there’s never any mist. Although the clouds might be mistaken for mist, the mountains are short and don’t reach anywhere near the clouds.


I have a younger sister who’s name is Chybeth. It means sweet, but strong. It reminds me of honey mixed in with cooked onions. My name is Kaima, which means extra warrior. It is a common servant name, but I am not jealous of Chybeath. In the royal family, and for several villagers that have caught on, it has been tradition for many, many generations to name all your children but your first born with a respectable, honoring, or charming name and also to treat them with a slightly kinder attitude than the first born child.


Several centuries ago, Queen Edarellen and King Mradak had two daughters. The eldest was named Aressa, meaning highest and most wonderful. They named their younger daughter Alilandra, meaning unimportant and a nasty hastle. From the beginning, the queen and king always treated Aressa with absolute love and glory. By the time Alilandra was born, Edarellen and Mradak were hardly able notice her for they were busy focusing their love and attention on more important affairs, or, in other words, Aressa.


Despite her young age, Aressa understood the neglect their parents had been showing to her baby sister. Through her kind heart, Aressa took care Alilandra and practically raised her herself. Aressa grew to love her younger sibling in both a motherly and sisterly way. Her parents were delighted and grateful to see Aressa enjoying the responsibility of caring for Alilandra for they had always considered it a burden.


Unlike her sister, Alilandra was cold. As a toddler, she loved Aressa. She loved her parents who were almost never around. She didn’t understand at such a young age and she didn’t care. But when she got older, she realized her parents loved Aressa with all their hearts, and yet they could care less, be happy even, if she disappeared into thin air and never returned. She also learned the meaning of her name, and of her sister’s name. She no longer accepted love from her parent’s favorite child. And in return, she loved nobody.


One day, Edarellen and Mradak had to leave and go to Ibiveth, a far-off country across the sea. But they never got there. A terrible storm turned their ship and everyone and everything was pulled to the ocean’s floor. While 19-year-old Aressa was devastated, 15-year-old Alilandra was unaffected. Or so it seemed. Her parent’s death turned on a light bulb in her head. A flash of opportunity. A time for payback for years of neglectance. She was going to steal the throne and bring the kingdom to ruins.


Alilandra was gifted in acting, and only she knew it. She easily concealed her plan through her gift. The truth was, she didn’t care much that she had been neglected. She never did. She just knew it would make her look weak and harmless. So she played. And everyone else watched without knowing it. Somehow it all worked out for her.


She had walked into Aressa’s room the night after they had gotten the news of their parent’s death. She put on a face so seemingly real, it could have been a crime to suggest she was faking it. She looked stressed, confused, maybe. As if she was tired of being forgotten. Aressa bought it, and with her kind heart opened up her welcoming arms to her young sister. But what she didn’t know was that she was also welcoming in her doom.


Over the months, Aressa grew closer to Alilandra and Alilandra kept playing. But, of course, she never grew to love Aressa like she had as a toddler. Aressa loved her sister and Alilandra pretended to love her back. They began to sleep in the same room, which was exactly what Alilandra needed.


Several weeks later, two days before Aressa’s coronation, Alilandra hid a butchers knife under her pillow. In the middle of the night, Alilandra woke Aressa and told her she was going to kill her. Aressa was doubtful. How could this girl who had opened up to her the way she had kill her? And who ever heard of anyone telling someone they were going to kill them before they act? She thought Alilandra was just playing a game. For her plan to work, Alilandra desperately needed Aressa to scream. She smiled evilly and drew the knife across Aressa’s throat just hard enough to draw blood but not hard enough to kill. Aressa slowly grew to an understanding and tried to reason with her sister. But, of course, Alilandra wouldn’t listen and slowly raised her arms above her head, the knife pointed at Aressa’s heart. Aressa started to scream, but death quickly silenced her voice. Alilandra started to scream and ran to the window to check the rope and drop the knife to the ground. She shattered her lamps and mirrors on the ground to make it look like she was fighting an assassin that “killed” Aresa. She heard footsteps running up the steps and huddled in a corner, still screaming.


The guards burst through the door to find the room a disaster, Aressa dead, and Alilandra huddled in a corner, seemingly terrified. After cooing to her to get her to calm down, Alilandra told them a man had killed Aressa and tried to kill her, but heard the guards coming and slid down the rope by the window. She told them a whole story of how the killer climbed the rope and got in the room through the window. Not understanding how the man managed to enter the room through the window (the window had been closed and locked, like every other night) the guards went to look at the window. They discovered a glass cutter on the windowsill and the window’s glass on the floor in one piece. That was how he got in. After he killed Aressa, he turned to Alilandra and started to pursue her, but ran to the window and quickly slid down the rope in fright of the guards. He escaped to the mountains, forgetting the knife he used to kill Aressa on the ground directly under the rope.


Alilandra could act and was so smart and was gifted in so many other ways. She had planned the killing so precisely and could say it so convincingly. She had cut the window, put the glass cutter on the windowsill and tied the rope to the window while Aressa was sleeping. She had thrust her lamps and mirrors on the floor to trick the guards into thinking she was fighting her fantasy villain. She had even taken a bowl Aressa had made her that Alilandra had convinced everyone she adored and shattered it on the floor to add to the fake fighting scene. She sprinted to the corner by her bed as if a man had chased her there before hearing the guard’s footsteps and fleeing.


No one thought twice about the tale Alilandra had told them. After sending guards out into the mountain to find the man, but, of course, they never found him. After that, Alilandra let herself become cold again. Everyone thought it was because Aressa was killed. And that gained Alilandra sympathy. She showed hate to all the people of the land and they feared what would come from her being queen. A few days later, the day came that Alilandra would be enthroned. The people of the kingdom had feared that day since the night Aressa was killed. Although no one knew Alilandra was responsible, they believed that she blamed them for her sister’s death and would surely bring torture upon them in the future.


Alilandra did not simply specialize in acting. She had power. Flowing deep in her flesh and bones, she contained the darkest magic in all of Abaladia. There is one main difference between a good magic and a dark magic; good magic cannot be used for evil deeds, or it will not work. Dark magic will work only in ways harmful to other people or the attempt will fail. Sometimes the magics will persuade its user to turn good or dark, depending on which type of magic it is and if it’s strong enough. Alilandra is thought to have been naturally born with good magic in her. Dark magic always comes from putting a good magic with another good magic. I, along with many others, believe Alilandra found the second good magic sometime as a toddler after she understood the neglect she received from her parents. This knowledge probably let the darkness slip in and help turn her cold.


Aressa’s funeral and Alilandra’s coronation were on the day Alilandra would become queen and then attend her sister’s funeral. When Alilandra moved in front of the throne and sat down, she was grasped by a force of magic and lifted into the air. For a few seconds, the force suspended her in the air, and she was not able to move or breath. Suddenly, the dark magic inside her split into thousands of bits of small, not so powerful good magics and were scattered all across the kingdom. To escape, the magic had to tear through Alilandra’s body. Once gone, Alilandra was left lifeless on the floor.


A portion of the bits of good magic went and entered Aressa’s body, mending the rip in her heart and breathing life back into her. Aressa told the astonished crowd that had formed around her how Alilandra had killed her. Just as she finished, a messenger ran through the door and blurted out what had happened to Alilandra before spotting Aressa and fainting.  Nobody understood what had happened or why, but they went on with their lives. Alilandra was buried and Aressa became Queen Aressa, my great great great great great great grandmother. Still centuries later, Alilandra has impacted the lives of the queen’s and king’s offspring.


Several years afterward, Aressa was in the section of the royal library that held the records of the previous kings and queens when she found a very interesting document. The records where very old, scratched into two old, sort of rusty pieces of tin. They were old and hard to decipher, but Aressa was able to make out a name on the bottom right on each item. One was signed by Queen Jelalden and the other by King Themos.


“Zunidd, who is Queen Jelalden and King Themos?” Aressa asked the librarian.


“I believe they were the first queen and king of Abaladia,” he replied. This confused Aressa. Very few people could read and write back then. Although the King and Queen were frequently an exception, usually there would be a royal scribe to write things down for them-and written on paper, not scratched into metal. Though tin was occasionally used for the most important records, what could have been so important back then to write on this tin? Alilandra didn’t remember hearing anything big happening back then.


“Have this analized and report back to me promptly,” Aressa told Zunidd. He nodded and walked away. Two days later, Zunidd returned to Aressa with a handwritten copy of the tin explaining what had happened when Alilandra had tried to take over. That had happened because the very first king and queen to rule Abaladia had put the magic in the throne to keep a steady line of firstborn royalty as rulers. The magic would shock those who were not firstborn royalty. They would fall unconscious, but not die. Alilandra had died from the reaction was kill all who are not and, if necessary, resurrect the true firstborn.


Anything might contain magic. Living things can have dark or good magic. The not living objects that contain magic have a rare magic known as illuminated magic. They do not perform with it this type of magic. Instead, illuminated magic reacts with unpredictable effects when colliding with other magics. The more powerful the two magics are, the stronger the effect and, sometimes, more destructive or even fatal. Like all magic, illuminated magic is hard to find. But illuminated magic is the hardest to find as it is in unexpected, seemingly casual random objects. Like the throne. The throne was protected by some of the strongest illuminated magic ever discovered.  Without it, the kingdom would be in ruins by today. And with it, the kingdom was rescued from complete destruction.

I would really like to say that was the end. That they all lived happily ever after, as well as all their future descendants. Like in all the childrens stories. But life doesn’t always work like that. Not in reality. Of course it doesn’t end with a kingdom save from ruins simply by magic and chance. No. When people say that it is the beginning, I know that there’s truth behind it. It is always going to be the beginning. Because when is there ever truly an end?

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