When most view Light and Shadow,
They see Good and Evil,
Yin and Yang,
Day and Night.
But cant these views be mirrored?
Is it not the Shadows
That protects us from the suns searing light?
Yes, the Shadows can be Good,
And the Light,
Can be as Evil and Corrupt,
As the Otherworldly flames from whence it originates.
A Geohistory Lesson
WAKE UP! said the fox.
Five more minutes, responded the girl as she rolled back over.
Ayrin, you said that five minutes ago, and the five minutes before that, and the five minutes before that! Its time to WAKE UP! Its already noon, were late for lessons AGAIN! Weve already missed Arithmetic, Language, and Spell-Shaping!
With that Ayrin awoke with a start, starring straight at her bleach-white familiars face Oh no! The Teacher is going to kill us!
Yeah, you remember last week dont you? He and that dogone dog familiar of his swore if we were late one more time they wouldnt be able to describe what was in store for us!
The fox familiar was acting very nervous now for he was thinking more about that punishment. Whatever happened to one of them, happened to the other. If Ayrin was going to get twenty lashes, Toklan would feel every one. Ayrin was already dressed and ready.
With that, Toklan, the fox familiar, let out a semi-relieved Finally and they were off towards the Academy.
**Familiars, by the way, are lifelong animal companions to all humans. They share a bond closer than two humans could ever share. The animal which shapes the familiar inhabits reflects their, and their humans natures. For example, Toklan is a fox, so naturally he and Ayrin are quick witted, a bit sly, somewhat skittish, physically agile, and quiet on their feet, among other things. However, those who are in power or become important to Septerrath, the world, have familiars that inhabit the shapes of mythical creatures such as Dragons, Griffins, Phoenixes, and Kitsune, along with a host of others. For those who become empowered or somehow important, their familiars change. A Komodo Dragon may, in fact, become a true Dragon. All familiars and humans have a set of unwritten rules that they follow. They will look after one another no matter what, they always try to stay by each others side, and they should never lie to one another. These are only the three cardinal rules, there are many others though.**
Earlier that day at the Academy the bells were ringing and classes were starting. With barely a glance at the empty desk the Teacher said, Late again as usual. referring to Ayrins empty desk. Oh well, her loss.
Ayrin and Toklan soundlessly entered their room at the Academy, just as the Geohistory lesson began. Today was a review day, but not even being quiet would save them from the inevitable
AYRIN! the Teacher was booming, and clearly aggravated. This is the LAST STRAW! See me after lessons today!
Yes sir, answered Ayrin meekly.
Toklan had bolted to a corner of the room as soon as the teacher had started to yell, foxes are skittish creatures after all
Now, however, he slowly crept out of the corner and laid down at Ayrins feet. Toklan was keeping a keen eye on the Teachers familiar, Sajinu, a great and menacing Alaskan Husky, who was in turn glaring at Toklan as if this was all his fault. This accusation was not entirely false however, it was Toklans responsibility to watch out for Ayrin, and hers in turn to watch out for him. In this Toklan had failed. He should have tried even harder to wake Ayrin up. Maybe next time he would bite her to wake her up.
Yes, he thought, that might do the trick
Once things got settled back down, the Teacher began the review lesson. So, who can tell me the names, symbol, and nature of the seven lands we just studied? As usual, it was Ayrins bookworm best friend with the answers, Yes Kayla?
Lets see if I remember correctly. There is our land, Kogterra with the symbol of the crescent moon, which represents darkness. Theres Luterra with the symbol of the sun, which represents light, theres Sehterra with the symbol of the boulder, which represents earth, theres Tulterra with the symbol of the cloud, which represents wind, then theres Hoterra with the symbol of the burning flame, which represents fire, and theres Vasterra with the symbol of the breaking wave, which represents water. Oh yeah, and The Golden City of course, with the symbol of balance (a Yin-Yang with a golden scale superimposed on it ), which represents the balance of all the lands.
Well done, Kayla. responded the Teacher.
Show off. said Ayrin and Toklan in unison.
You would have been able to answer too, if you two were ever here on time! snapped Kaylas beautiful red-tailed hawk familiar, Hitaka.
Hey, back off! yelled Toklan, Ive tried waking HER up for the past week now! nodding towards Ayrin.
Try harder, responded Hitaka in a condescending tone.
I HAVE TRIED HARD! barked Toklan.
Calm down Toklan, I was only joking. I know how hard it is to deal with humans sometimes, believe me. said Hitaka in a hushed tone.
QUIET DOWN IN THE BACK! yelled the Teacher and Sajinu simultaneously.
Yes sirs. answered all four in unison.
On to the next question
What are the familiars of each lands lord?
A shaded figure slowly raised its hand in the back corner of the room. Yes, Sarvak?
I can answer this. retorted Sarvak.
Everyone in the class had turned, not because of the question, in fact everyone knew the answer, even Ayrin. No, it was because of who was answering the question, Sarvak. Everyone knew Sarvak was a genius but knew little else about him. He kept to himself most of the time and he had never answered questions during lessons before. Sarvaks familiar was strange too. He was a cobra named Grail. He, like Sarvak, always kept to himself and never left physical contact with Sarvak.
Very well, whats the answer? asked the Teacher.
Each Lord has a Dragon familiar that is representative of their respective lands. These are Yoryu, the Black Dragon of Night, Ragdia, the White Dragon of Day, Jordrag, the Brown Dragon of Land, Dedrak, the Green Dragon of Air, Rotdra, the Red Dragon of Fire, Serlegon the Blue Dragon of Water, and Agrato, the Golden Dragon of Balance. hissed Sarvak and Grail together.
Correct, Sarvak, that was a textbook response!
Exactly. Chapter three, paragraph six, lines ten through fourteen of the Geohistory textbook by Kral Terwal. answered Sarvak with a near pompous smirk of supremacy.
Humph, exhaled Ayrin, Even I could have answered that!
Hush Ayrin, interjected Toklan. There is no way you would have answered that question like Sarvak just did!
And why do you say that?
Because he reads his homework, unlike someone I know!
Ayrin had no response to this. Toklan was right, she never did read her homework.
The rest of the days lessons were relatively uneventful, but for Ayrin they passed by way too quickly. Every moment brought her, and unfortunately Toklan, closer to the teachers unexplainable punishment!
Far off in the distant land of Light an event was about to take place that would involve the entire world, but more specifically, Ayrin, in the greatest struggle of all time. A great wrong was about to take place and it was Ayrins destiny to right this wrong. One of the great Dragons was about to fall and another about to rise, causing the start of the greatest battle of all time. The unseen, and as of then, long forgotten force was about to make its first move of this dire chess game. The first pawns move is the most important. There would soon be far more troubling things for Ayrin and Toklan to worry about than their Teachers punishment.
. . .
Sire, the Emissary of Kogterra is here to see you
Yes, by all means, send him in, never make a guest wait!
Yes, my Lord, Ill retrieve him at once. With that the Light Lords servant went to get Ricko, the Emissary from Kogterra. Ricko was there on ordinary business, to revive old trading agreements, but this trip would prove to be anything but ordinary.
Yes, Ricko was it?
Business as usual?
Yes sir, just here to renew old trading agreements, nothing more.
Good, good, just give me the parchment and Ill place my seal on it.
At this very moment Ricko produced a scroll from his robe and placed it on the Light Lords desk. In a movement so fast and practiced, it was hardly discernable, the Light Lord stamped the parchment with the seal of the sun.
There, now that that business is done and over with I think Ill be retiring now. Ive been up since two now and its getting late. Oh, and Ricko, a room has been prepared for you upstairs if you wish to stay the night.
Thank you, I think I will. answered Ricko.
There they departed, one to peaceful dreams and a troubled future, and the other to troubled dreams and to future war.
Well, at least we get to stay under a roof tonight, eh Ricko? asked a voice from behind him. The voice was that of his familiar, Mapala, a raccoon. Her words were as quick-witted and smooth as herself, the same traits that Ricko had, making him a superb Emissary.
Isnt that the truth. replied Ricko. With all the traveling that we do, its good to have a roof over are heads, instead of a tent!
On the other side of the castle the Light Lord was in his bedchamber, What a day.
You said it, growled the enormous White Dragon occupying the entire left side of the Lords bed chamber. This, of course, was the Light Lords familiar, Ragdia, who rarely moved from this spot since the Lord was put into power over 200 years ago. The fact was, he never had to move. Dragons had the ability to see anywhere they wished without going there, just so long as they had been once upon a time.
Well, goodnight, Ragdia, said the Light Lord.
Goodnight, responded his familiar. It was at this moment that history made a cruel turn
A little more than 200 years ago, a powerful being of Chaos was sealed away, and Septerrath entered a time of peace that had endured ever since. However, Chaos was vengeful, always looking, searching for what seemed an eternity for a way out of its prison. Finally, it had found one, through the realm of dreams. Now, it was about to make its first move, possessing one of those who had imprisoned it, the Light Lord!
The Lord awoke with a start. He had a terrible dream; Luterra had declared war on Kogterra, breaking all treaties!
Wha-what was that? Luterra attacking, but Id never order an attack on Kogterra.
It was a premonition, said a voice with no sound, a voice in the Light Lords head that was not his own.
Who-who are you? asked the bewildered Lord.
Not who, but what?
Then what are you?
POWER. answered the voice.
Why did you show me such things?
To show whats to come!
Why do you see yourself as equal to Kogterra? Is it not the light that people wake to? Is it not light that protects travelers in the night? Doesnt the light hold back the darkness?
What are you getting at?
You have power, why not use it?
It would disrupt the balance of Septerrath.
Let me take control and Ill give you unimaginable power!
That wasnt a request.
With those words still ringing in his ears, the Light Lord collapsed, convulsed, and came to, but not as himself. Ragdia knew something was wrong but hadnt the chance to react before he too collapsed, convulsed, and came to as someone other than himself. They had both been possessed by Chaos. Now that the first pawns were ready, Chaos was about to make the premonition a reality! H e was going to declare war on Kogterra!
Moments later, four Royal Guards burst into Rickos room, arousing him from a peaceful dream. They grabbed him roughly around the shoulders and hauled him and Mapala off.
Whats the meaning of this? pleaded Ricko.
Lords orders, youre hereby under arrest! responded the guard to Rickos left.
Under what grounds? demanded Ricko.
You are now a prisoner of war.
Wha-what, a prisoner of war?
Yes, Luterra has officially declared war on Kogterra, and youre the first prisoner of war.
Shortly there after, the two guards threw Ricko into a cell, followed by Mapala, who was being escorted by the other two guards. The two carrying Mapala had their hands full for she had fought viciously trying to evade capture. But, alas, now they were locked away in a small, damp, and dark prison cell unaware of their, or Kogterras fate
With this act of treachery by the Light Lord a cataclysmic event took place in the City of Gold, the Golden Lord and his familiar had tuned to stone. Such was the price for representing balance which was now broken, and so was its representative.
. . .
A feeling of dread shot through the Teachers head like an arrow.
Sajinu, did you feel that?
Yes, it seems the Light Lord of Luterra has just dissrupted the balance!
So much for teaching Ayrin and Toklan a lesson. Weve put this off long enough, its time for Ayrin to know the truth, only she and Toklan have the ability to right this wrong, only they can restore the balance.
Ill inform Toklan when they get here. said Sajinu.
Ayrin and Toklan arrived shortly after.
Glad to see you two on time for once! said the Teacher, who was a bit uneasy at the time.
Toklan was sitting at Ayrins feet with his tail twitching nervously with dread. If only shed woken up! he kept telling himself, We wouldnt be here!
TOKLAN! barked Sajinu.
Yes? answered the dread filled Toklan.
You have FAILED in your responsibilities as a familiar.
But Ive tri
Follow me, interjected Sajinu.
Weve decided on two things, began Sajinu once they were out of earshot from Ayrin. One, no punishment will help either of you change your habits, only tutoring, and two, more importantly, to tell Ayrin the truth
Wait, youre going to tell her about her father?
Yes, its time she knew the truth, we didnt find you two abandoned, as weve told her
I know, I remember.
Yes, but she has no recollection of times so far passed. Remember that humans dont have the memory of a familiar. Listen, Toklan, Ayrin and you must rise to your destinies. You two are the only two that can undo what has happened.
Wait, what happened? asked a now near terrified Toklan, thinking of all that was about to unfold.
The balance has been disturbed.
The forces of Luterra are on the warpath, heading straight here, to Kogterra! This is why we must train you and Ayrin how to fight.
With this, Sajinu turned and headed back to where the Teacher and Ayrin were. Toklan followed, a bit bewildered by the thought of everything that was about to take place. Toklan immediately ran up to the Teacher and asked, Have you told her yet?
No, I was waiting for you two to come back over, itll be easier for her if her familiar is with her
Tell me what? asked Ayrin impatiently.
Its better if you sat down for this Ayrin.
Just trust me for once!
Once Ayrin was comfortably sitting at a desk the Teacher took a long deep breath and began
Ayrin, under the present circumstances Sajinu and I have decided to tell you
The truth about what?
The truth about your father.
What does it matter who he was, he and my mother abandoned me at the border of Kogterra, didnt they?
No, youre of noble birth, and were never abandoned. You were given away for protection.
Then who are my parents?
Im getting to that! So impatient!
Wait, Toklan, you knew all this, didnt you?!
Yes, but I had to swear an oath of silence until the time came for you to know. answered Toklan sadly.
But its wrong for familiars and humans to hold secrets from each other! yelled a distraught Ayrin. She felt as if she had been betrayed.
Not if its to protect that person! yelled a hurt Toklan.
Ahem, interjected the Teacher.
As I was saying, you, Ayrin, were given away for protection, and Toklan was made to swear an oath of silence to protect you. You arent of just any random nobility either; youre the princess of the Golden City.
WHAT?! and with that Ayrin blacked out and fell from the chair.
END CHAPTER ONE
Heritage, Destiny, and Destruction
OW! Ayrin awoke to a sharp pain in her arm.
Heh-heh well biting does work! thought Toklan. But oww, I didnt think about being able to feel it too!
Ayrin was on her back staring up at the Teacher, Sajinu, and Toklan, of course. She had been out for about ten minutes.
What happened? asked Ayrin.
You blacked out. Anyway, we need to start your training. answered the Teacher.
Training for what?
As I was saying before you fell, youre the princess of the Golden City, and something grave has happened.
What happened? Just tell me already! interjected Ayrin.
The balance that has endured for over two centuries has been disrupted! Your father, the Golden Lord, represents this balance and he, and his familiar have turned to stone as a result! explained the Teacher.
How do I save my father? And where exactly do I fit into all of this?
As heir to the throne of the Golden City, only you can restore the balance and save your father.
Me, only me?
And Toklan of course, but yes, only you two.
Will I have help?
Of course, Sajinu and I will be accompanying you two on your journey.
The one you must take to find the source of this unbalance.
So well have to leave the village and Kogterra?
Yes, you dont honestly think youll find the source of this unbalance in our village, or even Kogterra, do you?!
No, but when will we leave then?
In time, but not for another month or so. The forces from Luterra are still far way from here. If all goes as planned, well have enough time to complete your training, that is, if we start in time. You will have to keep this between us four though; we dont need to start a panic.
But how will I train? asked a very bewildered Ayrin.
Well have to disguise it, as Detention
for you always being late.
laughed Ayrin mockingly.
Im dead serious Ayrin! Your training starts NOW!
and WHAT!? ***********************************************************