Before the Fall

Fanfiction of When the World Falls to Darkness by DragonSoulJess.

The fall has begun. alliances are being formed, and guardians are being rounded up. In a small outpost called Ryoko, a small number of guardians still fight for their freedom.

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11. Master

 

    Kylora was numb. The human had unlocked her chains, letting her slump to the ground. Then he had ordered her to get up and follow him. She had followed him without a word. Inside, part of her was screaming, but she ignored that part of her. She was dead. She had died long ago. All she could do was obey. That was what her life had always been destined for, hadn’t it? She was a guardian. Her kind were always forced into slavery. It didn’t matter when it happened, because it would happen anyways.

    She didn’t remember much of where the human took her. Everything was a numb blur. Self hatred had consumed her, and she did nothing to stop it. She had sworn she’d never surrender to the humans. Even as a child she had held strong, even unto her own death. But now… well… now she had lost all of that. And for what? A life of slavery? Hylla would never forgive her.

    Their final destination was what must have been a mansion. This human was important then.

    As they got closer, Kylora saw another human waiting outside the building for them. He was young- close to Kylora’s age. He approached with the expression of someone who’s holding back their feelings. But he wasn’t looking at her, he was looking at the other humans.

    Kylora prided herself in being able to read others. If she had to guess, she’d say that these two were tense around each other, and maybe even slightly hostile. But the older human glared sharply at her, and she dropped her eyes to the ground.

    “Son,” the older human said. “I’ve brought you a gift.” She felt the younger one’s eyes on her, as the older one kept speaking. “I’ve decided it’s high time you had a guardian. Every noble family should have one, and perhaps this will teach you a little more responsibility.” There was cold criticism in the older human’s voice. The younger human didn’t seem to notice. He was too busy staring at Kylora in absolute fascination.

    The older human gave her a shove forwards. “It’s yours. Now I have other matters to attend to. I expect to see you tonight for dinner.” Then the human swept past, and into the building. Kylora was left alone with the younger human.

    He didn’t seem to be able to take his eyes off of her. She wanted to say, done staring? But she knew she would be hurt if she did. So she waited. Finally, he spoke.

    “So you’re a guardian?”

    She nodded.

    “Wow.”

    That response confused her. He didn’t sound repulsed, or angry, or hateful. He actually sounded like he admired her.

    “My father has a guardian,” he kept going, “But I’m not allowed to talk to him. But since you’re my guardian, I guess I can talk to you, right?”

    What would I possibly talk to a human about?

    She waited still, restraining her temper. This is what she had sentenced herself to.

    The human noticed her silence, and gestured towards the building. “Come on. I’ll show you my rooms.”

    

    His rooms were nicer than anything Kylora had ever seen. Then again, she had spent most of her life living in caves, and sleeping under the stars. These human buildings with their roofs and windows made her uncomfortable. There were less escape routes. Not that she could escape…

    Once they reached the human’s rooms, he closed the door, and gestured for her to sit. She did, and he sat across from her. His eyes were still wide with fascination, which made her uncomfortable. She didn’t like humans looking at her and seeing what she really was. That usually led to her getting tortured.

    “I’m Aaron,” he said finally. “What’s your name?”

    You don’t deserve my name, she thought. But she had surrendered now. There was no fight left in her.

    “Kylora,” she whispered.

    “Ky-lo-ra.” He sounded it out. “That sounds like an angel name.” There was no scorn when he mentioned angels either. That was also confusing. She thought humans hated angels, and guardians. This human was clearly an oddity. Maybe that was the reason for the scorn in the older one’s voice. He studied her again, and he frowned. “Don’t you have two forms? Can’t your transform?”

    Kylora shook her head, lightly touching her throat, where an iron collar burned against her skin. The human had locked it around her neck, and warned her that if she tried to transform, the collar would choke her. He had the only key.

    “The collar keeps you from transforming?” Aaron guessed.

    She nodded.

    That seemed to fascinate Aaron even more. Of course it did. Humans always seemed to love methods of hurting guardians. This one was no different than the others.

    “So since you can’t show me, I guess you could tell me about it,” he said thoughtfully. “What’s it like, having a second form? Does it change how you think? Does it give you special abilities? How long can you hold it for?”

    Kylora wanted to pull away from all the questions. She couldn’t figure out what this human’s goal was. Was he trying to find out how guardians worked so that he could report their weaknesses to the other humans? That didn’t seem to be his intention, but it was hard to tell with humans. They didn’t think in the same way that guardians did. Their minds were chaotic, and unpredictable. There was only one thing that was certain. Humans were greedy, and would gladly kill or imprison any guardian they came across. They had no sympathy for her kind, and regarded them as little more than animals. Beasts to be subjugated for the human’s convenience.

    “I don’t know,” she whispered. “I’ve never wondered.”

    Aaron cocked his head. “You’d think, after all these years we would know more about your kind… I guess no one has ever bothered to ask though.”

    Humans don’t bother to ask guardians anything. They just take and take and take, and they beat us and reduce us to this.

    Aaron studied the collar intently. “How does it open? Do you suppose I could take it off of you, just so I could see what your second form looks like? I’ve never seen a guardian transform before. My father won’t let his guardian transform- he has a collar like yours. I’ve always wanted to see it.”

    How stupid was this human? Didn’t he realize that a guardian’s second form was dangerous, and gave them incredible power? Didn’t he know that in her second form, she could kill him with a single swipe of her massive claws? He didn’t seem afraid, only fascinated. Kylora studied him with glazed eyes. Why was he so fascinated?

    It doesn’t matter, she reminded herself. None of it matters. You’re his slave now. You do what he says, or you die. And if you die, you’ll never get a chance to see Hylla again- a chance to apologize to her, and tell her everything you’ve been meaning to say. A chance to thank Miel, and tell her how much I need her. A chance to keep fighting for the other guardians. A chance to be something more than another slave, forgotten and alone.

    But I’m alone anyways. The humans beat the spirit out of me. Does it matter what I do? They won. I lost. That’s how it goes. That’s how it’s supposed to go. How can I think of escape still, when I’m trapped here?

    “Boy!” the human’s voice called from below. Aaron frowned.

    “I have to go eat. Guardians aren’t allowed to eat at the table with us. Stay here, and I’ll bring you some food.” he paused, and then added, “Are you hungry?”

    Another odd question. Why would a human care about something that simple? She wanted to reply that yes, she was starving. Days of beating and deprivation had left her weak and skinny. But she said nothing. The human was testing her for weaknesses, she was sure of it. She had lost, but she couldn’t totally give up or she’d lose herself completely. And she couldn’t face that fate.

    Aaron took her silence as confirmation, and gave her a half smile. “Just… stay here. I’ll be back.” then he slipped out the door, closing it behind him. Kylora didn’t miss the sound of locks engaging. This human might be nicer than some, but she was still a prisoner.

    She let her head drop against her chest, and began to cry softly.

 
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