Forever Young

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  • Published: 22 Dec 2015
  • Updated: 27 Jul 2016
  • Status: Complete
Darla is most definitely not a human.

She's one of the Ashki, an immortal race who have lived alongside humans from the very beginning. But friendships don't survive that long, and her contacts with her fellow Ashkine people are practically non existent, humans just tiny little pieces in the jigsaw of time. And an old enemy is back, proposing changes to the way their society has run and developed, and destroying the Ashki in the process.

Now Darla must gather her friends together to save themselves and their souls. But after so many millennia, is time finally running out for the Ashki?

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6. End of the Day

My head still hurt. It had been probably two hours since Keda left, judging by the way the ground dotted with flowers, but Jes was still curled up in a ball on the ground, not moving. not sure what to do, I stood up and kicked her with my foot. There was no sound from her lips. I kicked her again. Still no sound.

 

I considered for a moment the idea of perhaps taking her back with me, but I abandoned the thought. Adrien would almost definitely protest, and Lara and Kaden would be annoyed with me for leaving them, if they hadn't changed in the many years that we had not been together. It's impossible to learn everything new about a person in one day, even if you have known them for millennia.

 

Instead, I sat down next to Jes.

 

She reminded me of a story I'd been told by a mortal friend, many millennia ago, when Lara, Kaden and I were in Greece. The story featured a woman  y the name of Pandora, or so I was informed. She was gifted a box by the god Zeus, as punishment to the titan lord Prompetheus, for they were related in the way the was always confusing in those times, what with all the butchery of husbands and enslavement of wives that went on. In my eyes, life was the box, and Jes was Pandora, curious about it, so curious she was cursed with the pain of immortality. The evil that seeped through her life was Keda, and she couldn't escape Keda's grasp, for fear that her only solution would be worse. That was Hope, and I saw Hope as being the restof us immortals - the good immortals, those of us who look after each other when we really need it, protect against the mortals who don't know us and the evil that knows all too well.

 

 

Except, of course, when we don't help each other. Which was almost always. Into the silence, I laughed.

 

It seemed that by some odd evolutionary process that I had not quite wrapped my mind around, we had swapped places with the mortals. No longer did the powerful see slavery as acceptable, genocide as an exciting opportunity to retain the stability of our own lives. No longer in the mortal world was war and fighting placed above the idea of real love. Perhaps Keda had always been right: believing in love was foolish, at least for us. Take Kaden for example. He didn't love me, it was quite possible that he never really had. Those mortal men and women, I had made them fall in love with me - I never loved any of them, not really, not in the romantic sense that looks like rose tinted sunsets and sounds like violin music and feels like the wind whistling between quite nearly entwined fingers and smells like roses and tastes like the most bittersweet of desserts.

 

Love was no longer our lucky fortune to last the test of time, or our fair maiden calling down from her balcony to the lover she was forbidden to love by the rules of society. War was no longer so brutally wonderful for them, or a thing that they had not yet tarnished by the pains of too many woeful soldiers' tales.

 

Sad, really, that for all the mortals have down to save themselves, nobody has been able to save us. Everything was in small doses for them now - small happiness, small sadness, nothing to make them think that maybe there is anything more to life than this pitiful existence that can't even be called surviving. They didn't understand that this thing thye called love was something to be treasured that they were just throwing away like an old sock.

 

War is nothing good, love is everything brilliant.

 

We get the extremes - extremely long lives, extremely awful, long, dragged out existences, extreme disheartenment at the lack of love left in our hearts.

 

Love is nothing great, war is everything fantastic.

 

It is just so painfully obvious, and I quite frankly am tiring of this drabbling on about the woes and heartbreaks of the world. I should probably stop now. It's hurting me.

 

I heard a moan. "Jes?" I sighed, looking at the girl, who was frowning at me, eyes open wide.

 

"Who are you?" she asked in her absolute clear ignorance.

 

"I'm Darla. Your friend, Keda, she fought me, and you ended up unconscious. Remember?"

 

"No."

 

"What do you remember, then?"

 

She gasped, a shuddering breath racing through her chest. "Kaden," she choked out, fear dancing around her saccharine sweet words like the Heaven hell has always dreamed of.

 

"Excuse me?"

 

Her head fell to the ground.

 

I didn't care.

 

In an instant, I was on my feet, my heart pounding. I took Jes's hand in mine and kissed it softly, feeling her power flood into my bloodstream. With a smirk playing on my lips, I left my old home, painting an invisible star on the old door as I stood just outside of it. Castign a quick flitting glance at the house next door, the one fileld with old withered roses, and I let my mind wander back to the campsite.

 

Needless to say Lara was more than a bit pissed off about my sudden appearance and landing nearly on top of her makeshift bench.

 

"Darla! Where have you been? You've been gone since we all woke up, Kaden's going out of his mind and Adrien's blue hair is scaring off anyone he wants to ask if they've seen you!"

 

"I just needed some fresh air, Lara, it surely can't be that difficult to understand can it, not with your breath filling up the tent. Clearly there's been a fair amount of alcohol thrust down that throat of yours recently, I have a few idea why, don't get me wrong, I hope you don't plan on doing anything with someone like that, they'd never talk to you again, and I dread to think what that might do for your self esteem." I smiled. She slapped me in the face.

 

"Where did you go?" she asked, voice like a snarl and spit flying everywhere.

 

"Does it really concern you, Lara?"

 

"Of course it does, I'm your friend, you went somewhere last night and didn't inform anyone, and now you're arguing with me of course it bloody concerns me."

 

I rolled my eyes. "I'm tired, Lara. I'll talk to you later. Oh, and please tell Kaden to stay here with me. We need to talk." Lara biy back her tongue, and nodded at me as I ducked into the tent. She was cursing outside. I laughed, though I felt more green than the grass in the height of summer.

 

I fell asleep almost instantly as I lay, though my dreams were plagued with almost all the nightmares of awakening. In my dreams was Keda, her face twisted in a snarl, and Kaden, his face pointed in a happy sort of sentiment, his brown hair tousled. Keda tipped her head back and laughed, laughed like the cold echoes of the night were all that her body could not contain. She licked her lips, over and over and over again, a venomous snake preparing itself to bite.

 

Then there were the mountains, the mountains I kept climbing without moving, the mountains with Keda at its summit, calling down to me, screaming of my sorrows.

 

When I awoke atlast, it was only because of Lara's screaming, shaking me awake from my slumber. "We have to go, Darla!" she kept saying, over and over like a broken record. "Keda's here, she's here for us. Adrien's gone ahead to distract her, but we need to go, quickly."

 

She pulled me to my feet, where I shook for a second before taking a step forward, towards the tent's exit. Outside the fire was dwindling, but smoke still hung in the crisp, cool air. Lara busied herself with taking down the tent, which was done in a matter of mere minutes, before she stood up again to grin at Kaden and I. "Are you ready then?"

 

Somehow, she managed to stuff everything into one bag, which she slung over her shoulder with a laugh.

 

"Well, I'm ready, certainly," Kaden said. "Darla?"

 

"Of course," I agreed. "Although, if it is not too much to ask, could we stop at my village before we go where it is you plan for us to go? I didn't bring anything with me from my house. Adrien was in too much of a rush."

 

Lara chuckled. "If you want, I suppose. Adrien knows where we're going anyway, he won't mind if we are slightly late. Kaden, think Craymoor. That's where we are going. Hold our hands."

 

In but an instant, we were back in the park where I had been with James. "Follow me," I told the two of them, leading the way to my house, where hopefully I would find nicer clothes than the old dress that was beginning to make me feel really quite ugly.

 

I turned the key in the lock, and pushed the door open, greeting by a smell of strawberries. It was a nice change. "I'll be as quick as I can," I told my friends. "You can sit in the living room there if you want, and I think there is some food in the fridge, should you need it."

 

"Thanks," Lara said, smiling at me.

 

The stairs creaking slightly under my feet as I scrambled up them, to the landing. I nearly missed the top step - just as I always did - but caught myself before the fall, again just I always did. Clothes were gathered in my arms a quickly as I could lift them, and they floated down into my favourite bag. I'd bewitched it years ago, so that no one could see it unless I w anted them to - something surprisingly easy, actually, once I learned how to do it - and pushed in some extra little things: a book, my favourite necklace, the piece of paper I'd kept in my pocket for nobody knows how long.

 

When I got downstairs, Kaden and Lara were inside the cupboard. My heart thumped as I flung the door open, startling the two of them who were staring at the wall. "I didn't say you could come oin here." My voice was low like a drum, to match the sinking of my heart. "Much less look upon my walls."

 

"The door wasn't closed," Lara informed me, to which I rolled my eyes.

 

"And why should that excuse you?"

 

"You didn't say we couldn't come in here. How were we to know that we were not allowed?" Kaden spoke without looking at me, still facing the wall. His eyes seemed to be cast upon his own name, painted just bright enough for him to see it. I shook my head.

 

"Get out. I've finished packing anyway, there's no reason for us still to be standing here while Adrien is wherever you told him to be. Whoch, by the way, you still haven't told me."

 

"London. The eye." Lara said quickly, pushing past me. "And I quite agree with you, we must go now. Hurry up."

 

Kaden was still staring at the wall as I left, but in the garden he was with us, lips placed in a thin, stretched line. I imagined the eye in front of me, my hand only just brushing with Kaden's, though not through my own decisions.

 

All this travelling was beginning to annoy me.

 

Before me was a bridge, stretching over a muddy brown river. A few clouds rumbled above us, threatening to rain on the already slightly wet ground. A great structure loomed above us, a round thing that looked quite interesting compared to the tower across the river, where the clock was close to four in the afternoon. The city seemed alive with noises, children laughing with their parents, teenagers eating ice cream and rolls in the streets, laughing and gossiping with such a smell of grease and fat it made me feel quite sick.

 

"Adrien should be here somewhere," Lara said, though her voice just seemed to melt into the chattering of the crowd. "We need to wait for him, just in case he isn't here yet."

 

"What if he's seen sense and decided to shelter in that aquarium place there?" Kaden peered through the doors. "It looks like it's going to rain, and after being in America for so long he surely isn't used to it. Especially where he was. I'm surprised he hasn't drowned in the water here already."

 

"Do be quiet, Kaden, he is not a snail. Just look for him."

 

Kaden grumbled, though he failed to say anything but "Fine." I took not very long for us to find him, half hidden under a stand selling umbrellas, trying to shield himself from the imminent rain.

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