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.


4. New Darkness

Once again, I catch myself just sitting there, letting my mind wander away, wasting time. Now that I have set the small raft afloat and crafted another bead to add to the necklace, there is no more for me to do but watch as the flow of tears and shocing sobs slowly lulls to me to sleep as I rest my head on the forest floor, just above the necklace. As I fall asleep, a last few thoughts come to my mind, though in my tired state I cannot quite think them through. Still, one thought stands out from all the rest. All this emotional pain from giving up Kiri  isn’t going away, and I need it to.


When I awake, I have nothing to do. I realize I have slept only a few hours, and it isn’t quite midnight yet. With the moon providing my only light, I stand to walk to the stream to splash my face with water in hope to clear my mind. As I rise, though, a sudden rustle of leaves and branches on the ground near a bush startles me and I let out a small shriek. I watch as a rabbit disappears through a cluster of bushes and I feel ashamed that I had allowed myself to be frightened by such a harmless creature. I continue towards the stream with shaky steps. I shudder when the cold water touches my my skin and rolls down my neck. The vision of the rabbit is still in my mind, and I am taken aback as another memory abruptly invades my mind. It starts years ago, on a day I know I will never forget.


I remember the feeling of joy as I giggled with delight at the sight of her. I, four years old, picked up my new baby sister to get a closer look at her. So young and beautiful,  with hair that would soon prove to be a soft chocolate color, and when I looked in her eyes, they were greener than lush spring grass. I had been lonely before then, in need of the love that can come only from the presence of a beloved sibling. As an only child, I was was nearly in tears when holding Chybeth for the first time. As she grew, we came aware of the fact that Chybeth was not like most girls. It wasn’t the normal different, where you don’t talk much, or prefer to be alone forever. She was...just different...her presence always sent shivers down your back-but they weren’t disturbing in any way. It felt more like a reassurance. And when you looked into her eyes...it was like she had some control over you, but once again, it was not disturbing. It was as if she had an invisible string attached to you like a puppet would have and she would pull the string a certain way if you were about to fall into a death trap.


These are all strong signs of being born with with magic, though Mother and I tended to avoid that subject when possible. We knew that the signs indicated Chybeth might have been born with good magic, but we also knew that magic can be hard to detect and identify in some cases. So we lived our lives fearing the worst, that Chybeth might have been born with dark magic in her. It was just too touchy and heart wrenching to consider it. But we would never shut her out, and guarded her feelings by not telling her our suspicions.


We found out the truth soon. I was walking on a path with her on the edge of the woods when we suddenly came across a horrifying scene. A fox had just caught a rabbit and had injured it, surely planning to eat him. But before he could have the chance to enjoy his meal, Chybeth and I ran over to scare him away. As he scampered off, I took a closer look at the rabbit and realized how bad the wound on his neck really was, and I could see that he would not make it. When I told Chybeth, her face stayed completely unchanged, emotionless. I rubbed her shoulders and kissed her forehead, thinking of  her love for animals. I grabbed her hand and gave it a squeeze, before tugging it gently and started back the way we had come. She pulled away but I heard soft footsteps behind me and I turned around to look at where Chybeth was going. I saw her leaned over the dying creacher, and I yelled in protest as I approached her to pull her away so she would not touch it and get sick.


Two feet away from her, I froze. There was green light with a hint of blue above her hands, as she held them, hovered just above the rabbit’s body and she had a peculiar glint of blue in her eyes, matching the colorful mist. The wound rapidly disappeared, and the rabbit rose to it’s feet, painting hesitantly, and then suddenly darted away behind a bush, vanishing. Chybeth looked up at my with an emotionless face and eyes that no longer looked pure green, but a dangerous amount blue in her eyes,  yet she simply shrugged and stood grabbing my hand once again, and we descended down the path. I was to astound to speak, but when we arrived at the palace, I told mother every last detail, and she sighed in relief, as we realized the heartwarming truth: Chybeth was born with not dark, but instead good magic.


So like Alilandra, Chybeth was born with good magic, although not quite as strong and powerful as the magic in Alilandra was. But instead of finding good magic, Chybeth found dark magic. We know very little about magic because it is dangerous to experiment with and few people take the risk, though over time we have developed theories. We believe that if a person that has dark magic has good magic added to the dark magic, that person will end up with good magic. In the same way, dark magic being added to good magic gives you a good magic. For instance, Chybeth was born with good magic. Some time as a young girl, she found a dark magic. When the new dark magic was added to old good magic, the good magic turned dark. This always happens when dark and good magics collide. It doesn’t matter which magic is more powerful. The new magic always takes over.


With this memory comes another. That day was not as joyful or promising as the day we discovered the type of Chybeth’s magic. To say it was depressing would be an understatement, by far. Chybeth was eight.  She had come home from a walk in our garden in an agitated mood because she had been stung by a wasp. When father scolded her for walking in the dirt near the nest, she became infuriated. We didn’t yet understand the cause of this unusual outburst. As Father tried to calm her, she raised her hand in fury and pointed at him, anger filling her eyes. That’s when I noticed the color they had become. Coal black, as black as the sky in the dead of the night is if there aren’t any clouds or stars or the moon. Mother and I gasped at the same time at the sight of her eyes, but what happened next made her faint and me collaps to my knees. From her pointed finger, Chybeth shot out a large, clearly powerful stream of magic, but this was not a mix of blue and green. Like her eyes, it black, though little bits of dark red could be seen here and there in the beam of magic.

Father was thrown back against the wall by the new, strange force, pain showing in his eyes. He looked as if he was about to gasp, but suddenly crumpled to the ground, forever stilled. The black in Chybeth’s eyes vanished at once as she realized what she had done. Her now green eyes looked first at our lifeless father, then at the unconscious form of our mother, before darting to stare into my own shocked eyes. She quickly shook her head, backing up as a tear fell from her watering eyes. She said she didn’t know what had happened to her, that she never would have meant to hurt our long gone father. Al she would say about the magic was that she had found a dark magic and that it was slowly starting to control her. She asked for my help to overcome this strong force and I agreed. But this was a strong dark magic and we had no chance of defeating it. Chybeth now had a dark magic inside of her, and there was nothing we could do about it.

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