The Seeing

Mirabel Bromithius never asked to have magic. It was all just kind of thrust upon her at birth. She always knew she was destined for something great, but being the return of a lost magical race was not exactly her first choice.
Her powers have never really been too exact, anyway. First light would dance on her fingers--then a glass would shatter.
One day, in a fit of anger, she accidentally kills a man and burns down a tavern, and the Royal Guard believes Witches like her must be hanged. Mirabel manages to escape to a safe place, only to discover that she's not the only one with powers.
They're Belqs--powerful, supernatural humans--and they live under a river. They're more surprised to see her there than she is.
The only way to stay with them and avoid persecution from the Royal Guard is to train like a warrior, for something she'd never believe was coming.

Something bigger than the Belqs.

Bigger than the Royal Guard.

The Keepers of the Mountains have awoken. And they're hungry.


4. Chapter 1

*two days later*


A deafening bang sounded suddenly throughout the cottage, snatching Mirabel out of an afternoon dream. She sat up at once, crumbs of her midday snack rolling off her chest. She hurriedly dusted them off, rubbing the sleepiness out of her eyes. "I know you’re hiding!" someone, a man, shouted from outside. "Show yourself now!"

Just then, cold, hard hands wrapped around her shoulders and jerked her off of the bench that she slept on, dragging her across the floor. "No--!" she cried out, but the person covered her mouth tightly with one hand. Kicking and writhing, she tried to break free, but the intruder held her tight. Mirabel tried to scream, but the sound was so muffled, she could hardly hear herself.

The person shoved her into a tall cupboard, and the familiar face of her father came into view. He looked uneasy and held her tight.

"Hush, Mirabel. He will hear us."

"OPEN THIS DOOR!" the man shrieked from outside, pounding on the door with an intent to kill.

She immediately clung on to her father's shirt in a panic. "Dearest, promise me you won't move from here," he warned, voice shaking with fear. He kept on glancing anxiously over his shoulder. Mirabel shook her head. "Papa, what's happening?"

Her father hurriedly forced a smile onto his face and stroked her hair. "Nothing at all, my princess—just please promise your Papa that you will stay here until I come get you. Will you do as I ask?"

Mirabel was chilled by the desperation in his eyes and the urgency in his voice. She nodded and held her breath as he closed the cupboard door, leaving just enough of a gap for her to breathe.

Whoever was outside had begun hammering on the door with newfound strength, so much so, that the hinges groaned and creaked like a fishing boat on a stormy sea. "TÛ FELLE IES DIORE, BROMITHIUS!"

With each bang, for the first time in her sixteen years, Mirabel's heart palpitated with the truest fear. Suddenly, a loud blast resonated, followed by a horrible shattering, and Mirabel knew that the door had been breached. She squinted through the gap, and saw a wide cavity where the cottage door had once been. It had been thrown to the wall and smashed. She heard the heavy footsteps of someone's boots make their way inside. Mirabel held her breath and eased the cupboard door open, just slightly more, peering out. What happened next shocked her.

There was screaming. Too much screaming. Blood rushing through her head, Mirabel watched in her hiding place as the man's sword brutally found its way through her father, who shrieked with pain. He fell to the floor, pleading in the ancient language of their ancestors.

"Tûche queuem mi sadiev! Ai nuevôur mi sadiev!"

Mirabel racked her brain to remember what little of the Serpian language she had been taught. Someone help me. Anyone help me.

"Didn't I say I would find you, Bromithius?" the same rough voice asked, coated with venom. "Where is the girl? Tell me or die a painful death!"

Her father shook his head and coughed up blood. "How did you find me? No one knew that my wife had any family!"

The man chuckled and lowered his sword. "Ah, yes. I remember Gisella. Prettiest woman I ever had the pleasure of forcing myself upon."

Mirabel felt tears well up in her eyes, and she cringed with disgust. Ten years before, the entire city assumed her mother to be a Witch, and they’d slain her for that, but she was pure human. There was even a song about it Mirabel had learned, but she could never tell anyone about the circumstances of her mother’s death. It was humiliating.

“She's dead," her father managed to choke out, grasping his throat, "Mirabel is dead. Three years ago, a runaway drove of untamed horses took my daughter's life. She is no longer here. Believe me!" He clasped his hands weakly and prostrated himself before his attacker's feet.

From where she sat in horror, Mirabel could not see their faces, but it all seemed as though she were right in front of them. She closed her eyes tightly, blinded by tears.

"She is alive, you old dolt!" the stranger insisted, kicking him away. “And her powerful ability grows stronger. There is no telling what your daughter is capable of. She has your wife’s gift. Do you think we have not been watching you, blacksmith? I demand you bring me your daughter!"

Mirabel clenched her teeth and balled her fists. Mention of the King sent fire rushing through her blood. He was the wretched bastard who had crucified her mother, shamed her, and burnt her alive ten years prior. Now, he was too cowardly to come himself, but dispatched his knight to bring herself to him, claiming that she belonged to him?

Shaking his head and cowering in fear, Mirabel's father continued pleading and repeating that she was gone. The man snarled. "You are brave to lie to me, Bromithius; too bad your courage is idiotic. I will find her myself in this dung heap of a house, so your life is of no use."

Mirabel cringed as she heard the sword make its mark again in her father's chest. Time seemed to slow as he used his final breath to call her name, then dropped to the floor, stiff as a board. The man chuckled and knelt down next to him. "Look how pride can kill a man and orphan his child. You should have lost your arrogance and given me your daughter, Bromithius. Instead you tried to be a hero," he raised his sword above her father's chest, "what a dumb thing to do." Blood spurted onto the man's armour as he sunk it one last time into her father's limp body.

Mirabel was immediately zipped back into reality, the seconds of the clock ticking faster than her heart was beating. Anger welled in her mind, despair gnawed at her, and she did the first thing that came to her head.

With a menacing shriek, she flew out from her hiding place and plucked the knife from her father's stomach; at least she could spare him further pain in the bit of life that remained in his body.

Catching sight of his assailant, she sped towards him, knife raised. The man spun around immediately, and a nasty smile crept onto his ugly face. "There you are," he said slyly. "You're coming with me." He grabbed her arm and tried to subdue her. An uncontrollable fit overcame Mirabel. Using whatever skills she had practised with the weapons in her father's workshop, she lunged at him with all that she had, introducing the weapon to his shoulder.

The man shrieked in pain and grasped his shoulder. "You swine!" he screamed as the wound drew blood. From the belt that hung around his waist, he instantly plucked a small, spiked mace with a chain attached to it, and swung it around swiftly, intent on clobbering her. The dagger was knocked out of her hands. Clang. Mirabel heard it clatter to the ground. She stepped back, rage subsiding and fear returning with full blast.

Was this her end?

Memories of her short life flashed before her eyes. She hardly knew what to do when she would die.

Accepting that this was her end, Mirabel tried her best to keep it together as the knight swung the mace over his back and brought it down over her head.

Then something bizarre happened.

She felt a supernatural energy push its way through the room. The chain of the mace froze in midair and fell right out of the knight's hands, a mere second before it collided with Mirabel. Without a moment to spare, she took the opportunity to kick him hard in the stomach, between two plates of armour. He yelled out and collapsed to his side, but she wasn't done yet. Grasping the dagger tightly, she ran it through him four more times until she was sure he had gone to hell.

When she could no longer feel him fighting back, Mirabel stood up and wiped the perspiration from her face. She had just bested a Royal Guard at his own game, and luckily, there was only one of him at her cottage.

Breathing heavily, she examined her hands. They were rough, dirty and her clothes were tattered, but nothing else could be expected. She had just killed a man. Then, realisation hit her hard.

"No," she whispered, stepping back. "That did not just happen."

Revenge, more likely, her mind assured her. But the law didn't acquit for revenge.

With lost hope, she knelt at her father's side and wept for what seemed to be hours, until finally, crying became useless. At that moment, her heart hardened with hate for the world. Her young mind became overrun by bitterness.

There was simply no use for tears anymore. He was gone, and with him the rest of her happiness. She glanced at the murderer and swore in anger for the first time in her young life.

Screaming, she flung the dagger across the room. It sailed through the air, landed on the cupboard door and stuck there.

Someone would eventually find the dead bodies, but she promised herself that she would not be there when they did. She had to leave her village.

Quickly, she searched the man for any valuables and found a golden ring, with the anchor-shaped markings of an Eprean soldier carved into its band. On the ring sat a single emerald gemstone, no doubt plucked from King Hames's crown itself.

Mirabel pocketed it, absolutely sure that it would be worth something.
She kissed her father's forehead and bode him a final farewell.

Then she raced out of the hut with nothing but the ring, into the world that was waiting for her.

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