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Fate of Undine chapter 1
The ice in her drink rattled together as she sat waiting in the mid-day sun. People traveled to and fro pass the little café near the market of the capital city of Chronos. A group of woman snickered in their elegant dresses as they passed her by causing Blair to sigh as she glanced down at her attire. She wore a white blouse with a leather half corset that strapped over her shoulders in a halter and a pair of tight brown leather pants. Thigh-high boots laced up her calf to her knees and her chestnut hair was pulled back into a simple ponytail. She preferred practical over the frilly and lace dresses that were popular in the city. So the snickering she received daily didn’t faze her as much as being stood up like this, which infuriated her.
Blair stood up and placed several coins down angrily which drew the attention of the other patrons and the started to stalk off. Her heels were loud against the cobblestone street as horse bound carriages passed by. A hand seized her arm lightly causing her to spin, drawing a dagger with her free hand hidden by her waist. The tip of the dagger’s blade stopped shy of her assailant’s Adams apple.
The young man appeared to be the same age as her of sixteen summers old with long untamed black hair bound near the middle with a crimson red ribbon. His blue robes slid down past his elbows from his upraised hands in the form of surrender. He was scrawny with an engraved tome and several vials around his tiny waist. Blair returned the dagger to her hip before placing her hands angrily on her hips. “Cain Reidfield, you know better. I could have killed you!”
“Fierce as ever I see, Blair. I came as a massager for your brother, Shane. The king has an important mission for our squad and he apologizes for standing you up again,” Cain explained. The color of his face drained away as he started to back away slowly. Blair’s fury was clearly written on her face and he didn’t want to be here when it boiled over. “I…um…really should go.”
Cain started to run off and got far enough before spinning around on his heel and say,” he said he will be back for the ball and will make it up to you.”
Blair picked up a loose pebble and threw it as hard as she could and connected against the back of the retreating Cain’s head. He stumbled and toppled over before scampering up and ducking out of side through a side street. Cain had been around as far as she could recall as the three of them were inseparable growing up in the lower streets, bouncing from orphanage to orphanage. Then one day Cain started to show signs of magic and the capital took notice. Their entire life changed that day, Cain and her brother had joined the royal army, they moved into a new house on the upper streets where the castle was always in sight, and even schooling for her. Shane even pushed to have her tutored on how to be a proper lady though she fought tooth and nail over it.
In the time lost in her thought, she hadn’t noticed that she was standing outside of their two story house. She stood there letting her anger fade when the thick wood door swung open with force. A plump older woman stormed down the porch steps and up to Blair with her overlay made up face beat read. Blair imagined steam pouring from the woman’s ears and couldn’t stifle the snicker fast enough.
“Blair Nightengale! I waited half the morn for our lessons. Your brother stated that your lunch would be over by noon. So where have you been up till now,” the woman scolded clenching her fist with handfuls of her dress.
Blair was surprised by the woman’s speed upon reaching her so rapidly despite the frilly hoop dress flowing around her. She tried to turn and run but the woman seized her ear and tugged, dragging her back to the house. “You may have ran off all your other tutors but I’ll be damned if I don’t turn you into a proper young woman. You will be tripling all of your exercises for the week.”
Several long and horrible days later and the royal ball was starting later in the day. Her tutor had spent that whole morning going over dance etiquette one last time and had painted her in make-up. Her hair fell in ringlets that gleamed in the light and she had bathed in a milky mixture bath that had been concocted to make her skin smooth. The dress she wore was strapless and pulled tight with a seamless hidden corset before flowing around her in an elegant silk. Sleeves stopped above the elbow with more of the thin silk of the skirt falling from it made of thin lace. It was an ice blue in color accented with silver and glittered embroidery. A pair of matching heels slipped on her feet that she had spent the week learning to walk in them. The only saving grace was the intricate silver and emerald mask that covered her nose and eyes before curling up into the tips of fairy wings around her temples.
Blair stared into her reflection in the mirror like she was looking at something alien. Every nerve in her body screamed to rip the dress up and run screaming to the hills. What made it worse was the amount of cleavage she showed. Her endowment was already a burden causing uncomfortable attention that she wished not to remember and this dress perked them up making them look even larger. However she contained the urge because it was the princess’ birthday and the few times they had met she truly enjoyed. Though the princess dressed up and played the part, she wasn’t much difference in opinion as Blair had originally thought. They had become close friends and Princess Lena had pleaded for her to attend for courage, though she would not say for what. The sound of a carriage stopping outside told her that it was time to go.
The royal palace was beautiful in the setting sun when her carriage crossed over the main bridge with the Araxia River flowing thirty feet below. Carriages filled into lines along the main courtyard which was decorated in flowers of every color imaginable and a fountain adorning the center of the long stretch of pure white stone. Her carriage came to a stop several minutes later and a masked servant raised a hand to assist her out. Blair stopped and looked up at the tall structure made of marble which worked its way up, narrowing to a point almost to the clouds she thought. Intricate neo catholic designs graced the building giving it more of a cathedral look than a palace. A dense tree line surrounded the palace as vivid colors danced against the marble as night fell with magic, illuminating it.
Blair made her way up the grand stairs with a lot of effort in keeping her balance and filled into the grand hall. Large tables sat in the center adorn with a magnificent feast and enough wine to intoxicate a large army. Socialites milled around striking up conversations as more people began to fill the hall up. The sound of music drifted off from her right and she began to shuffle in that direction. Taking a glass of wine, she took a sip as she entered the ballroom. A carpeted grand staircase led down onto the polished redwood floor that was filled with a myriad of colors from the dancers below. The golden chandelier suspended from the high vaulted ceiling as the flame from hundreds of candles flickered against it illumination the dance floor. Mounter candelabra provided ample light along the other two stories of balconies.
At the far end raised on a stage that stood above the height of the dancers was the king for all to see. Beside him was a beautiful young lady with long flowing hair the color of gold. The silk dress covered her shoulders before plunging down to show the curve of her breast. It was a dark sea blue that faded to a sea green as it went further down as diamonds and pearls decorated her midsection and waist. Golden thread made up the design of feathers along her back and down the train of the dress filled with a vivid amount of colors much like the tail of a peacock. A simple tiara sat on her head and expensive jewels decorated her neck against the light tan of her skin. Princess Lena was no doubt the most beautiful person in attendance.
The being said Blair had her fair share of eyes on her as she tried gracefully making her way down the stairs. She made her way past the onlookers as she dismissed a young suitor by handing him her glass with not a word and came to a stop at the base of the stage where the royals stood. Blair noticed the princess’ emerald eyes were empty and she wore a fake smile on her face. Lena had confided into her before that she had hated these events and felt more like a trophy on display than a person. All she wished was to be able to have fun and dance like everyone else.
“Princess Lena, I wish you the happiest of birthdays and wish you many more to come,” she stated as she curtsied and lower her head low.
“Blair,” Lena exclaimed jumping off the stage. Lena embraced her in a tight hug cause Blair to look up. There was a sparkle to those eyes now as she was released. “I’m so glad you were able to make it. Come, come, lets me introduce you properly to father.”
Lena pulled her by the hand around to the side of the stage and up some stairs leading to the stage before coming to a stop in front of the king. He eyed Lena with a stare that Blair feared would melt the young princess but it seemed Lena didn’t notice. Blair started to panic inside as she stood up there in front of everyone including the king of the entire continent. Lena released her hand and stood behind her father while whispering in his ear.
“Father, this is Blair Nightengale. Her brother is Shane and she is the friend I have spoken about.”
The kings scowl slowly vanished as he studied Blair as she curtsied again looking down on the floor. He cleared his throat and spoke catching her off guard. “Lift your head child. Your kin has been a great boon to this kingdom with his abilities. He’s a remarkable lad and corrected my knowledge of the elemental spirits.”
“May I show Blair around father? I promise not to evade the guards this time,” Lena pleaded with an excitement her father did not fail to notice.
“If the guards stay with you, I see why not. But do not delay for you must be back before the big announcement,” he replied sternly.
Lena faltered at the mention of the announcement but recovered quickly and gave her father a kiss on the cheek. A smile tugged at his lips as Lena took Blair’s arm pulling her away. The two made their way off the stage as two guards fell behind them. She led her to a curtain which hid a door leading away from the ballroom.
“Your dress is so beautiful Blair. It really shows off your perfect body and makes me a bit envious of you. You truly are a diamond in the rough,” Lena noted as they walked down the empty hall.
“Lena, you’re the most beautiful one out there. You have no reason to be envious of someone like me,” Blair comforted as she laid a hand on the princess’ shoulder.
The princess stopped and lowered her head, placing a small manicured hand on Blair’s. She thought she felt Lena start to cry but dismissed it as her imagination. However she had for Lean spun and drove her head into Blair’s breast, enwrapping her in a hug as she began to sob. She stood there stroking the princess’ hair for a minute, allowing her to get all of her emotions out before pulling away questioning.
“I’m going to miss talking to you Blair. You are the only person to ever treat me as something other than a princess and the only one I feel like I can share my true feelings with,” Lena said drying her eyes.
“What are you talking about Lena? I am not going anywhere,” Blair responded confused.
“I envy how free you truly are Blair. Whether you choose to dress up or wear what is comfortable, you never let it stop you. You do not set still, if you want to do something, you do it and there is no one who can stop you. You don’t realize how truly luck you are. That being said I wish to ask a favor of you as a friend,” Lena explained regaining her composer. Blair nodded still confused and entertained the princess. “Please see the world for both of us Blair. Don’t settle and please experience our dream of traveling for the both of us.”
Lena explained everything to her. After tonight, Lena would be leaving the capital and may never return. Still a bird trapped in a different cage. The two girls embraced in another hug and this time it was Blair restraining her tears. She was losing the only female friend she had and it was not a single thing she could do about it. It was just not fair. One of the guards interrupted, tapping Lena on the shoulder and she pulled away, standing up strait. Somehow with all the crying, the princess had dried her eyes without messing up any of her makeup. All sense of sadness or worry had vanished in an instant and she was the elegant princess once again. Clasping Blair’s hands together in hers, Lena gave her a weak smile and left. It was a few minutes later before Blair could reign in her emotions before following the way back to the ballroom.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to extend my thanks to all of you on behalf of my daughter and myself. Eighteen summers have passed and my daughter has grown to be every bit of the woman her mother was,” the king announced as the court watched on offering applause. Blair clenched her fist in anger and the king continued to praise his daughter who stood beside him with that false smile. The princess’ eyes met hers and she slightly shook her head in abolishment of Blair lashing out discreetly. He continued on finally with the twist, “However, since she is a woman now it is time to take a man. She shall be wed to Prince Naziem with in the year.”
That moment a man of twenty summers stepped up on stage and stood next to Lena. Blair took note of his every feature and stored it away like his dark tanned skin native to his home on the neighboring continent. He was tall and lean with muscles toned under his tux suit that he wore tight. Wild jet black hair fell to the tops of his shoulder that was pulled back, bound, and adventurous brown eyes peered beneath his bangs as he placed the lightest of feather kisses on the top of Lena’s hand. The cockiest of smiles played against his smug face as the girls in the crowd all swooned over him.
“I promised you this now King Nal, I will do everything in my power to cherish and protect your daughter,” Naziem announced with a flourish.
The crowd erupted into cheers all around Blair but she knew the truth of the matter. Lena was being bartered off to Naziem as a political move. His reputation was well known throughout as someone who went through more women than undergarments. He was the next heir of the Dykuma Kingdom, whose military might far exceed our own even though the sea separated them. The odd thing was that the kingdom had risen to power without needless bloodshed. Many flocked to your prince’s banner and any who challenged his claimed with might had been crushed without mercy. So for a bid for an alliance, Lean was being forced to marry him.
As the king started to say something, a screamed pierced the crowd ripping everyone’s attention from the stage. Something heavy crashed into the crows and landed near her as more screams erupted. The crowd dispersed around the shrouded figure but she could notice the disfigured corpse of the aggressive suitor she dismissed. As the gurgled screams of others died out the grotesque figure was revealed arching over the base of the steps. Its skin was like rough dried leather while its arms and legs were horrifically disproportionate from its body. Blood dripped from razor sharp claws that were longer than her arm and a wide unhinged jaw chewed on someone’s leg like a dog with a bone. Beading black eyes darted around franticly as its powerful legs bound it up to the third floor balcony. Another two just like that one burst through the marble door already covered in blood.
Blair kicked her heels off and bound up on the stage even though the dress made it harder than it should have. She shoved the bewildered Naziem out of the way with more force than she planned and snatched Lena while running. King Nal followed behind with the three soldiers of his guard close behind. Naziem recovered and produced a large scimitar from behind his coat before following the group. They rushed passed the panicked people and turned into the secret hall from earlier. Lena worked her heels off as she tried to keep up with Blair who was dragging her. Screams echoed from the ballroom causing the princess to not look back while terror fueled her legs.
The sound of loud heels clicking on the steps further ahead caused the group to slide to a stop. A tall curvy woman slowly walked towards them except she had a pair of horns sticking up through her long silver hair. A skimpy crop top struggled to contain her extremely large bust and matching gloves that ran up most of her arms. Her toned abs was bare as an extremely revealing side cut skirt that sat dangerously below her hourglass hips. Flame like tattoos ran from her feet up her left side all the way to her head as talon like fingers wrapped around the handle of a demonic looking blade. Swishing excitedly behind her was black silk like tail that had a spade for the tip. She was gracefully and beautiful in that deadly way while licking her pouty lips while stalking towards them.
“Tisk, tisk, I must ask that your highnesses please return to the ballroom. Now for the others, my master didn’t say a thing about keeping you alive,” the woman said as she ran her tongue across the blade of her sword.
The soldiers pushed forwards drawing their swords at the woman but Blair noticed a slight quiver to them. The woman threw her head back in laughter which felt to Blair like the most attractive motion she ever seen. All of a sudden Blair started to feel tingly below as her body grew warm but before she could push through the sensation, Lena sealed her lips against hers. The kiss was deep and filled her with a sense of needing and excitement as she craved her touch as Lena ran her fingers across her skin. The embrace seemed to last for what seemed like eternity while wanting more.
Finally Blair was able to pull away frilling her lungs with fresh air while stepping away from the bewildered Lena. Her head started to clear, though Lena still had that look of needing, and spun to see the corpse of the soldiers lying in a pool of blood. Even Naziem was struggling to resist the effect washing over them. Looking back at the bodies, they had been slashed by sword and claw with the appearance like they welcomed the pain inflicted to them with open arms. Blair reached for one of the dropped swords and leveled it on the woman.
“Ah, it seems my powers are weakened on you precious. I will just have to have fun with you the old fashioned way,” the woman said rushing her.
A young man appeared form a corridor around the same age as Naziem, intercepting the woman and clashing with her. Short chestnut hair moved quicker than humanly possible as his short cloak billowed behind him. Dual daggers arced meeting the woman’s blade and the other lunged at her driving her back. His garb was the color of moss growing on a tree with elvish designs adorning it in brown thread while his trousers were the color of a tree’s bark and light brown boots allowed him free movement. The two clashed again and the met and pushed the woman back, striking true and leaving cuts across her perfect skin.
“Blasted Hikari! I thought you were taken care of,” the woman spat. She examined her wounds that secreted black blood that sizzled as it hit the ground then back at the young man. She sensed that she couldn’t win against him in these tight halls right now. “This complicates things but it doesn’t matter. My master’s plan is already taking effect.”
The young man lunged at her again but she jumped backwards avoiding the strike. Black leather wings had unfurled from behind her giving her more distance between them although one dripped blood from a cut. Blair never saw the young man’s blade strike her as the woman let out a snarl at her attacker. She began to beat her wings and creating a strong gust that kicked up all the dust around blinding everyone. When everything settled, she had vanished though a trail of her sizzling blood lead up the steps. The young man sighed as he sheathed the daggers in a motion that was all too familiar to Blair.
Her brother Shane turned to them as surprise slapped him in the face as he saw her standing there, her mask being knocked off from the kiss. He rushed to his sister and lifted her up in a tight hug that she was starting to get tired of a little today. She pushed free and punched him hard in the chest but it did not seem to faze him. Shane snickered as he tossed her ringlet hair as she hit him again while pulling away. Then he noticed the king and Princess Lena behind her shaken and went to them as he knelt.
“I’m glad to see you both unharmed, your highness. I regretfully report that our mission was a failure. We were ambushed by demons and if it wasn’t for the wind, even I wouldn’t be here right now. It was like they knew right where we would be,” Shane reported with his head still low.
“So the rumors are true. The Dark Brand has found a new owner,” Naziem said as he clasped Shane’s arm in a greeting, the scimitar vanishing again.
“Should have known you would have made it out of this unscathed, you lucky bastard,” Shane laughed as he clasped Naziem’s arm back standing back up.
Naziem chuckled at that, “This time it was not my luck that played a part in this my friend. Tis your little sister that I owe my thanks to, for her quick reaction to events kept us from too much harm. She is also a feisty little thing, must run in the family.”
Shane turned back to his sister and winked at her with utter pride that made her beam brighter until he froze; his thoughts distant for a moment then panic hit him. He glanced to Naziem, who picked up on Shane’s alarm and nodded in understanding. Naziem gentle took the still dazed Lena’s hand and pulled her p into a princess carry with ease in both arms securely. Then he started to sprint down the corridor that Shane had come from as Blair started to protest. Her brother caught her gaze and shook his head dismissing her argument with serious expression that was foreign to her, causing her to drop it and trust her brother.
“My lord, Sylph has informed me that some serious dark magic is starting to brew. We need to leave this place now,” he suggested as he lowered his eyes.
“No my boy, I will stay here and face what is to come. Take thy sister and be gone from this place. Your mission is to keep my daughter safe, for as long as she is hale and happy. It does not matter what happens to this old man,” the king said slouching down the hall.
Now that she looked more closely, she noticed how the king’s age had started to catch up to him. Deep wrinkles lined his face while dark bags hung under his tired eyes. Something was draining the energy from him but he nodded to him and Shane grabbed her hand running full speed up the flight of stairs the woman had taken. She looked back one last time on the king she despised earlier that night and now worried for him as he disappeared from sight.
“I have to check one thing first sis. We have to make it to the roof post haste,” Shane explained never looking back.
The night wind buffeted her as they pushed through the heavy wood door to a balcony. Blair turned up to see the needle point of the palace which made her head spin as she labored for breath in the thin air way up here. Shane caught her with an extended arm, nodding ahead. Anger contorted his features as he glared out in the dark night even though she could not make out anything. Shane drew both his daggers and crouched low before pushing off with little gust of winds swirling around his boots. Sparks danced around in the blackness but was not enough light to illuminate enough for her to see what was going on. So she crouched down low and made her way forward while staying in the shadows and behind other obstacles till she was close enough for her night vision to see.
What she saw caused her stomach to revolt as thirty or more grotesque creatures varying in size and appearance paced along the balcony. Her brother fought against the winged woman again as she darted around in the sky. Shane floated in the air too as wind circulated around him and moved in the direction that he needed to maneuver. The thing that disturbed her the most was the figure that the creatures surrounded and protected. Long untamed hair whipped in the wind bound by a thin ribbon as his blue robes pulled against his petite frame. A spell tome rested in his hands as his lips moved for the words of the incantation.
“Cain! What are you doing,” she cried out.
Everything turned to her direction as Cain’s eyes locked on hers and he pointed towards her causing to creatures to stir. Three of the creatures like before started to come at her as she back away from her hiding spot. She got so close to the edge as her foot slipped causing pebbles to tumble off the edge and down the side of the castle before blinking out in the darkness below. The smell of sulfur and death assaulted her as one of the creatures reached for her. Blair squeezed her eyes shut as warm liquid splashed against her and her body grew warm. She opened her eyes to see black instead of red blood stain on her in relief until it started to sizzle. She let out a scream as the sizzle turned into a burn that was unimaginably painful. The winds began to swirl around her tossing her hair and skirt violently and the burning started to give away and replaced with a cooling relief. Shane stood defensively in front of her as the three creatures lay dead at his feet. His breath was labored as his right leg seemed to falter under his weight but he still manages to stand.
“Why must you resist Shane? Is it because Sylph whispering in your head,” Cain finally spoke as he walked closet to them.
“Go to hell you traitor,” He spat in response as his body tensed and wind surrounded them both.
“Don’t need to, it came to me. Soon the kingdom will belong to me and I would have loved my two best fiends by my side. Since you still keep resisting though I guess I will have to strike both of you down like the cattle you are,” Cain mussed as he flicked his wrist.
Black ominous blades appeared and sliced through the wind barrier followed by piercing her brother in several places. None of the blades had touched her but she cried out in anguish. Her brother fell to his knees and coughed up blood but fought to stay upright. Shane managed to choke out the word Sylph and the wind spun turbulently between them forming the image of a young boy.
His eyes were the color of storms as teal hair curled into a pair of rotating twisters Gust swirled around his body as a garb made of dense wind fitted him like an oversized shirt. An innocent smile comforted her as he reached for her hand. More blades rushed toward them and he reached the other small hand, creating two small tornados which engulfed the blades.
“Please Sylph, save my sister,” Shane croaked spitting up more blood.
The spirit gave a playful nod and embraced Blair, resting its head against her chest. The ground gave away from under her as she floated off the edge of the roof. She cried out fighting to reach her brother as he stood reading the twin daggers but Sylph held her tight and drifted further away. Something wet touched her skin and she noticed the child like sprite sob with pain in its turbulent eyes. It did not want to leave Shane either but had to honor his last wish. The two sobbed as the castle faded from sight while flying to who knows where into the night.