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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5. History

The light of the flickering fire was still glowing outside, illuminating Lara's slight figure. Adrien and Kaden lay side by side, both of them snoring contentedly. I was probably the only one of us who was not fast asleep.

 

 

The reason for this was one that was quite simple, actually; I had used barely any energy today, possibly even a bit less than I did on most days. Adrien and Lara had fallen asleep almost as soon as they had gotten back into our tent, and Kaden seemed to be absolutely exhausted after waiting up so nervously for our friends, and after the incident with Keda, I could only hope he woke up before something dangerous had the chance to happen. Unlike the three of them, though I had barely done anything worthwhile all day. I hadn't even used any proper magic.

 


I wondered how the stars felt above me. Stars liked to dance and smile like the  night was a dress and they were the sequins, shaping themselves to fit a world of absolute beauty and complete refined elegance. I wondered how the stars felt, being taken such for granted, see to all to be part of one other thing but really just so alone, infinitely and utterly alone, u ntil finally they would die and nobody would realise until it was too late.

 


Lacing my hands together, I sank into the ground, and placed my hands on my face. It always used to calm me down, and for the first time in years, I need it.

 


The fire was still glowing outside. I thought I say a shape flit across the amber flames, but by the time I stirred it was gone, and the fire was still just as it always was before.

 


A ripple of cold ran through the tent, and I shivered, before scrunching myself up tighter in a sort of ball shape. I heard a scream nearby, and jumped up, heart pounding. My friends were all still silent.

 


"Lara," I hissed. "Are you awake?" Not even a sound. "Adrien. Kaden." Still nothing. I sighed, and decided to relieve myself of my boredom by going outside to sit beside the fire.

 


The wind was a whisper through the mosaic of canvases. I could see a faint outline of the castle, illuminated by the unnaturally bright moon. Waves crashed down onto the crumbling cliffs nearby, like the thudding of a thousand drums, playing with the sound of flutes dancing down the hills.

 


I drummed my fingers against the ground as I sat down, tilting my head back to stare at the sky, partly hidden by clouds. It looks like it's been dyed some sort of deep blue, but someone's accidently splashed on dirty rain water, casting a shadow of ugly grey over the silk. I sighed, sinking against the slightly soft ground.

 


My heart thrummed, and I wished I could go somewhere else, maybe burn enough energy to fall asleep. Most nights, of course, I didn't sleep, but whenever I was with my friends, we would usually all fall asleep at the same time. We'd all be tired, but today, I just wasn't.

 


Closing my eyes as tightly as I could, I thought of home.

 


Waves crashed maddeningly against the craggy grey rocks, foam racing towards the island and its grainy sand. I swam towards the looming grey sculptures, thrashing against the tide. Salty water got in my eyes, and I tried my hardest to prevent it from hurting me, staying focused on the shore. An old wound on my arm stung, but the cacophony of seaside sounds smothered the string of curse words choking around my throat.

 


When I reached the rocks, I clambered above them, looking over at the small collection of huts. "Wow," I murmured to myself. Home had barely changed a bit. I could still make out the shape of the house I used to share with Kaden, and beside it the place where Lara and Adrien would always laugh with us until we were high on the ecstasy of our own minds. Behind it, a fir tree marking the spot where we all held hands for the last time, before Keda broke our chain, cackling over our shattered minds.

 


Was she down there, I wondered to myself. Was she maybe thinking of that moment too, perhaps laughing, perhaps crying. Was she even capable of either?

 


My head hurt slightly from the journey, but I didn't think of it. Making my way to the old houses, I wished I'd worn more suitable shoes, sand grating against my feet. I pushed open the door of my home, breathing in its old scent. It smells like the sea and and flowers dancing over the ceilings. I can still see the ghost of Kaden's smile, an ancient portrait hanging on the grey walls.

 

 

A smile flickered across my face, and I sat down against a wall, tipping my head back. "Oh, gods, Keda," I choked. "Why did you make this all happen? Why did I let you?" I felt a tear begin to to trickle down my cheeks, and gasped, shaking slightly. A mental image of James flitted across my mind, and all of the others I'd ever 'loved'. I'd hurt them, I knew, and back here, at home, I realised how cruel that was of me.

 

 

My life had been a whirl of costumes; dainty pink dresses, seductive red gowns, straight hair, curly hair, saccharine lips, blusher, eye shadow, make up, nails. Theirs had been ones of ordinary pleasures, small smiles, belly laughs, and me, at the center before I broke open the circle.

 

 

I felt sick.

 

 

The old wooden floor below me was splintered  in place, pointed like Aurora's spinning wheel. The wind was still screaming at me, a load guttural cry that is ready to kill anyone with the height of frequency it somehow manages to pack into its maddening screeches. "For shit's sake, this wind is doing my effing head in!" someone shouts, and I sit up, like I've suddenly been electrified. No mortals live here - there must be more immortals here. "If it was a mortal, I would murder it beyond death!"

 

 

I hear a laugh, one that chills me to the bone. "I've tried to do the same with mortals, Jes, believe me. It never works."

 

 

"Well that's just a load of crap then, isn't it?"

 

 

There was another laugh, and I considered running right now, or at the least trying to get back to the campsite. Even if I might not be able to.

 

 

"Oh, Jes, I forgot to ask, I do still need you to talk to that boy. He might have some valuable strengths, he could help us." She laughed again. "But you know he won't want to just talk with me." Her voice was full of seduction, the most lethal kind, like honey dripping from blood stained lips.

 

 

"Of course he won't, Keda. None of them ever do."

 

 

That laugh was making me feel like I was going to scream. Why was she always here, how could she always find a way to get to me, to hurt me?

 

 

"I know."

 

There were footsteps, Keda and Jes (I assume that was her name), coming towards me, each vibration making me shudder. A thousand thoughts rushed through my brain - two of them, one of me, probably going to end up in some kind of a fight, need to find their weak spots - before they appeared in front of me.

 

"Oh," Keda said, sounding more surprised than cruel, like she usually did. "Darla. Why are you here at this hour? I assumed you would be still with Kaden." Then there it was - her wiked, wicked grin.

 

"No, actually, as it happens I had to leave him a short while away - he isn't feeling particularly well right now, after this morning, and I don't want my love to fall ill, not at such a time as this, especially."

 

"I quite agree, Darla," she answered unfazed, moving slightly to cover the girl behind her, which didn't really work with the height differences. The girl's hair was dark brown with red at the tips, and it brushed past Keda's knees almost, which was saying a lot, as Keda herself was not what one would call particularly short. Her narrow eyes were green like Keda's ugly heart, and I nearly laughed at my own mind. "It would be wrong to put one so loved in any danger. Jes agrees, too. Don't you?"

 

 

The other girl seemed to shrink behind Darla, which couldn't have been at all easy, though she nodded alongside her.

 

"That’s lovely that you two are on the same page. Some may even say it is a sign of two soulmates.”

 

Keda rolled her eyes, and Jes suppressed a giggle. “You know I don’t beleive in love, Darla,” she drawled with a seductive smile that always used to draw in the men. “Shame, or I could have had all the lovers of all the world's women stolen in an instant. Couldn’t I?”

 

“Of course you could,” I said boredly. “Is there any point to this conversation, or can I leave now?”

 

Jes laughed highly, earning her a scolding look from Keda. “Of course there’s a point to this conversation, Darla. There’s a point to everything – the point of the stars is to give us light, the point of me is to keep the world safe, the point of you is to destroy the world and all the mortals in it for your own selfish means. See what I mean?”

 

“We have no selfish means, Keda, only you do. Ivf you’re just going to make pitifully weak arguments against my nature, please do it at another time when I am not here to listen to your lies.” I picked myself up from the floor and clenched my fists, about to walk into the outside, when a great steel weight hit against the side of my head.

 

I fell backwards, my hands only just breaking my fall. “Bitch,” I snarled at Keda, who was now laughing at me manically, as if my fall was the funniest thing since a chicken crossing the road. In a second, I was on her, the two of us scraping one another’s cheeks with our nails. My elbow struck her ribs and she stumbled, before racing at me again, bowling me over.

 

I saw red.

 

Streams of power rushed out of me, snatching her and plucking her from the ground like a spider’s web of blood. She shrieked, and in a blur Jes ran at me, pushing me over out of the blue. Cursing, I hit her, and she crumpled to the ground.

 

Keda was still screaming. “What are you trying to do, Darla?” she screeched, spit flying at me. “You’re not allowed to use that sort of magic anymore!”

 

“Do you honestly think that I look like I care?” She was silent. “Exactly.” I took a step closer to her, fists clenched again, heart thumping. “Now, I want you to listen to me. If you really know me, you will know that I am not bluffing, which is why I order you to listen.” She rolled her eyes. “You will call off everything you are trying to do. You will bring the other immortals back, and you will hand yourself in to the mortal police without a fight, and no one will be searching for me anymore. You will stop this manipulative hold you have over the young one here, and you will beg for my forgiveness.” I was oddly satisfied by the sound of my hand across her face. “Understood?”

 

“Of course,” she stuttered, shaking slightly. It wasn’t always so hard to scare her as she made out. “I will. I just felt so lonely after so long on my own, in this exile from everyone. I suppose I felt vengeful. I was wrong. Sorry.”

 

“Good.”

 

A wall of deep blue hit me suddenly like an ocean wave, and Keda’s face flashed before me. “I was apologising for you.”

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