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Lars' Quest: The call of destiny.

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This is a LarsxOC fan story set after Aveyond 1. It will be a huge multi-parter which will probably grow even more as I write.


By means of disclaimer, I'm taking huge liberties with our man Lars here.


First, let me introduce the characters.


(Seeing that it's very long I will begin the story in another post)



Aveyond originals:


Rhen and Dameon in a cameo most likely


Original characters:


Lando Orphan: Lars’s most talented apprentice. An orphan, he was found in the frests in Devonshire where he performed an act of disappearing for protection. He specializes in hipontic and mental skills, such as telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation, but he is very adept at any kind of black magic. He is a very enthuiastic and loyal , albeit shy and insecure young man. Tends to idolize Lars and follows him everyhere, much to the latter's annoyance. He is envied by the other students who never miss a chance to tease and bully him. Physical appearance: Short, lavender hair, steel eyes. Has a special mark on his shoulder.


Juliana Ipsum, Lars’ fellow teacher of summoning magic. She follows the team to keep watch on her young apprentice. She’s an idealist and dreamer but at the same time is reasonable and tactful.


Cirith Wenworth. A summoner in training, she understands the speech of animals. Her parents sold her to slavery with her sister Isis. When Cirith found her way to freedom she discovered her sister had been taken away by some organization who sought out her powers. Cirith makes it her goal to find her but she knows she can't do it yet so she presents herself at the academy and demonstrats her powers. She wants to train and grow strong in order to find her sister.


Wandering Montezuma: a cheerful, good-natured spirit whose only concern is merrymaking and wine but who offers good advice and occasional teachings to the team (stat boost from time to time). He is also a skilled trader. Having him in the party lowers the prices of items and lets Lars sell the team's items for more money.


Renegade Fox “Serin”: Within the forests of Thornkeep, there lives a tribe of silver foxes. They are shape shifters who, due to intolerance and hatred, chose to live as renegade foxes within the shelter of the forest For the purpose of the journey, Fox takes on a human form. He has long, silver hair and dark eyes. He has the most agility and is the fastest in the group, he also has impressive immunity to attacks. Serin feels misplaced among his community. He is a changeling, in reality a human who was saved by the shape shifters and taught their ways but he does not really feel like he belongs.


Derren the Elf , a solitary individual who is nonetheless a skilled archer and a white mage. Tall and well-built. Shoulder-length, blue hair tied in a tidy knot. Tends to be very protective of his friends.


Garf Olafson- a student at the academy, a traitor bribed by Isis to challenge Lars for a duel. Olaf loses in first try, but before that he manages to leak a great deal of info to Isis.


Isis Wenworth: Cirith's sister.


Carchek Suliman A mage of Thais, a double agent in service of The Society for the Education and Promotion of magical talents..



The list of charaters or the way they will appear, function and develop is by no means definite since I'm working out the details in order not to make this a plain Mary Sue/Gary Stu kind of tale.



Ok. on with the story which I am hoping will fire up.

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Chapter 1: Acceptance



The journey was done. My role in Rhen's story was finished. From now on she would become the Queen of Thais and rule wisely and peacefully together with Dameon. I know he isn't such a bad guy and he will treat her well, although the whole affair was just way too shallow for my liking. How could Rhen decide so quickly that she wants to be with him and just as quickly discard ....discard myself? I might have been insufferable as a kid, I know I teased her too much but surely she must have known that it was because I always liked her? In Galadrah, she stood out from the rest. She wasn't just a slave. She was spirited and brave to face up to the bullies that we were.

But perhaps it is time for me to stop dawdling on what might never be. All that remains in the past. And while you never forget the first things, you have to remember to explore the possibilities. Perhaps there is something better awaiting you. Rhen has already found her destined place. She will be happy while I should start forging my own destiny.


With a heavy sigh, Lars put the final dot in his journal entry and put away the quill. To forget and move on is easier said than done but the newly appointed high sorcerer of Veladrah Academy thought that with each passing day the regret was fading and he was finally breaking through the layers of unfulfilled wishes towards a future that might bring something better.


"All right, Fate. Bring it on. I'm ready!", He exclaimed boldly into space.


Hearing no immediate answer, he nodded in understanding. What was he expecting, anyway? It was late and tomorrow was another day. He blew out the lights and headed towards the bed. The only thing he did not regret about his journey with Rhen, he thought, was that, somehow, along the way.. it transformed him. He no longer tolerated impertinence in himself or especially in others and, moreover, he now had one established goal in his mind. Slavery was still thriving on the continent and while he expected Rhen to take care of it at once, there were things she would not be able to check out or do anymore. That was where he could step in to help, he hoped.


Tomorrow he was going to start looking for his destiny. Perhaps Fate would also help him do something about that Lando fellow.


Lando was an orphan who had been accidentally discovered in forests near Devonshire by one of the elder teachers of the academy. Apparently, despite being unaware of his powers, he was able to perform telekinesis and also make himself invisible to avoid a potentially dangerous confrontation. This feat in itself was commendable, Lars was forced to concede. He recognized Lando's high potential, took him under his wings. It would habe been a pity to waste such a talent. He approved of the considerable and steady progress the young one made since his arrival.

Together they came to the conclusion that it must have been inherited, given that lando had no knowledge about his family or why he was abandoned in the first place. He was of the cheerful kind, though and never seemed to worry about it. Unfortunately, other students did not share his mindset. How many times had Lars seen him give in to bullying? Countless times did he shake his head and wonder just what that guy was actually doing there. What was worse - Lando adored, almost worshiped Lars, much to the latter's embarassment and great annoyance.

Thus, Lando made it his personal ambition to spend as much time with his master and guru as it was possible, within the limits of reason. He would go s far as to try and fulfil Lars' wishes before they were uttered, please him to earn his "gracious approval". He was, essentially,like a puppy dog attached to a reluctant master.

News of this extreme loyalty quickly spread around the Academy. Which of course added to the bullying and became a source of legendary jokes.


"As if I need any of that", grumbled Lars nestling in his comfortable bed.


He was not even half asleep yet when he heard a loud smash coming from the other room.


"What the hell?!" he roared, furious that his slumber would be so rudely interrupted before it even had a chance to begin. He dressed within the blinking of an eye and run towards his office.


The window was wide open, he noticed immediately, feeling the cold breeze of night pierce through the thin layers of clothing he had managed to slip on. Someone was there, he could feel an unfamiliar presence lurking around, but whoever it was, they made sure to blend well with the darkness as Lars found himself unable to spot him or her. It did not feel like an ominous presence, though. The cold was not.. menacing. Lars trusted his senses, sharpened by the many adventures of his somewhat unfulfilled past.

He waited until the intruder would betray himself. It did not take too long, as it was to be expected. As the wind blew into the room through the open window, a cloak fluttered, lavish hair flickered, and a distinctly human shape became recognizable, albeit still vaguely. It, whatever it was, was standing next to his writing desk near the solid, stone wall. What was it looking for there? Lars hated to have strangers rummage through his things.


"Who goes there?" He exclaimed looking towards where the figure just flashed.

"I see you, don't think I can't!! Just what do you think you're doing in my office at night, huh? Are you one of the students?"


Apparently, he hit a bull's eye for the figure revealed its presence entirely, though it still did not look at Lars.


"Why don't you show your face now that you've revealed that you are here anyway?"


"What? You didn't..didn't see me?", came a faint question.


The voice, as he suspected, was distinctly female. And it did not sound as if she was meaning any harm. He sighed and inwardly berated himself. Did anyone here say something about Fate?


"I was bluffing, you moron", he informed her tersely and thought he heard the girl swear.

"Now, let me rephrase: are you or are you not one of the students?"


Seeing no other option, she turned around to face him.


"Fine. You got me. But you might want to turn on the lights first if you want to have a good look", she sneered.


"Don't be such a smart aleck, lady", Lars retorted but did as suggested nonetheless. Magic, came in handy sometimes, especially when one needed to light several candles.


When he could finally see something beyond the tip of his own nose, he turned around and nodded in comprehension. This much he could have expected.


Before him stood a tall, well-propotioned girl. Someone he ha come to know through magic classes. She had a shapely, oval face, big, crystal blue eyes that shone with innocence. Her silky, chocholate tresses were usually tied in a neat chignon but that night they were flowing freely, which had proven to be a big mistake


"Cirith Wentwoth, next time you go for stealth, you should tie your hair, you know", Lar's dry joke went by without so much as a blink on her part. Her was inscrutable. She was always like that. one never really knew what went through that pretty head of hers.


Cirith Wentworth was one of his older and more experienced magic users, training in the arts of summoning. He knew little about her, only that, much like Rhen, she escaped the fate of a slave and came to Veladrah determined to be accepted and train. The slave part of her story never seemed to click for Lars ecause he knew Rhen had already taen stepts to assure it was banned. But then Cirith explained that underground was thriving in these conditions and slavery continued to secretly flourish, which of course annoyed Lars. Something had to be done.

The strength of her resolve and her courageous spirit earned her his trust and respect. Was this incident about to change this? Lars wondered briefly how to approach her. He knew her well enough to know she was not the malevolent type. But what reason might she have to creep into his study at night like that?


"Cirith", he boomed in his most preaching tone, deciding to act furious. "Are you completely nuts? Just what do you think you are doing, eh?"


"I..I had my reasons", her voice wavered ever so slightly but quickly returned to its normal spunk. He thought he heard..disappointment?


"Anyway, what do you care? If you're going to say I have to be punished, go ahead and say it. I'm used to punishments."


Something in her voice made Lars pause for a moment. Whatever it was that he had heard before now bared itself more fully. It seemed that a cloud of some vague concern was hanging over her.


"So?", she continued smugly, "Are you- or are you not- going to throw me out? Go ahead, I'm just a..slave after all".


Was that all what it was about? Lars shook his head angrily.


"Shut up and stop provoking me, you idiot. You are a moron to say that. Of course you will need to be disciplined, any student who would break into the head teacher's office at night without reason or authorization would. The fact that you have been a slave doesn't make you anyone special, you are a regular student here. Understood?"


For once she seemed at a loss for words, Lars noted with satisfaction.


"I..I understand. What will my punishment be, then?"


"That, I will tell you tomorrow", he promised. "For now, how about you tell me just what exactly were you doing here and why do you suddenly bring up the slave thing. Has anyone hurt you?"


As cliched as it sounded to Lars, her eyes were round as some sort of saucer thing.


"Took you by surprise, huh?" he chuckled. "Well, don't worry. You do know that Rhen went through the slave thing herself and because of that, because I care for her, I decided I wanted to help her end this idiocy. Besides, slavery was never really to my liking. So, care to tell me what seems to be the problem? "Just, he added quickly, seeing something uncannily teary flash in her eyes, "don't cry, will you?"


He surprised himself with this sudden openness. He usually kept his feelings to himself or manifested them in a brusque round-about or pushy way. Which is why he could not really find it in himself to blame Rhen for not responding to him. How could she? She had never suspected there might be feelings on his part. She didn't know. So, why was he so open with Cirith? He couldn't fathom any reasonable answer to that problem yet, but because it felt good to be honest, he decided it would be best to remain this way.


This time his speech must have made some impression as Cirith nodded shyly.


"Ok. And for the record-I had nothing bad in mind. Actually, it was a mistake that I found myself here"


Perhaps it would prove to be a fateful mistske.


"That we will discuss later, I told you. Now, come and sit down, and let's hear your story"



"Isis! Where are you!" , a little, chocolate-haired girl was running around a small village, shouting at the top of her voice. "Isis! Isis!"


It was a very pleasant summer day and she and her sister were playing hide and seek, as usual. The only problem was, Isis was getting better and better at the hiding part, much to the irritation of her younger sister. Cirith knew she was doing it on purpose, she loved playing her sister like a fool. Of course, Cirith was never able to find her. Afterwards, she suspected Isis even back then was using black arts for her selfish purposes but as a child she was only irritated and worried that she could never win agaist Isis.


Which of course made her the object of Isis' constant and merciless teasing. As an older sister, Isis was often seen as more beautiful and more talented. She always had a string of faithful devotees following her around. There was a mysterious charm about her that made her even more attractive.


That day was Cirith's 13 birthday and she was annoyed that even then Isis would play tricks on her. She was also mad because a boy she liked, Jerome, had just told her that she should stop pestering him as he was a great fan of her sister and there was no one else he could ever like. Cirith was crushed but her determination kept her going.


"Wait until I find you, Isis", she hissed through clenched teeth, "Just you wait, this time I'm not going to lose!"

Where could that blasted moron be, she thought. She checked the church and the barns and all sheaves, and Mrs Willoby's and the smithery and the nearby forest (she ended up sore and stung by the bees) but Isis was nowhere in sight.


She kept going and going until she became convinced that her actions were futile and she was needlessly circling like the idiot Isisi thought she was. But her determination grew so much that she eventually stopped minding what she was doing. she just kept going. Which of course led her to bump into someone.


It was a tall man, dressed in immaculate white. A traveler in these parts is not a rare thing but they seldom came to this particular village unless they happened to e on a quest. Cirith immediately felt a distinct aura around here, although of what nature it was she could not read back then.



"I had no knowledge of the magic skills that were in me even then", She told Lars bitterly, breaking the narration for a moment. "But that guy was really strange. I knew he couldn't be trusted, which was only confirmed much later"


It was an awkward moment. Cirith felt the man's piercing look on her but tried to ignore it. She quickly got up and apologized for her clumsiness.


"That is quite all right, child", the man spoke. Despite the weird aura his voice seemed to be good-natured and cheerful. "Pray tell me, is the village anywhere near?"


Cirith nodded though inwardly wondered whether she really got that far away?


"Aye sir, just behind this turn over there, go straight and you should arrive at the village in no time"


"Thank you child. But aren't you afraid to wander off like that? There are monsters around here, it is not safe"


"I know, everyone keeps telling me that but I need to find my sister", she made a face "I'm not going back until I do"


"I see", the man nodded " Quote admirable for a girl so young to be so persistent. What's her name? Has she gone missing?"


"Isis is her name, sir, and we were playing hide and seek only I can't find her. It's not fair, she always hides so that I can't find her", Cirith pouted, glad that for once someone was listetning to her.


The man seemed to react to that name but if he was familair with Isis, he hid it well.


"Isis you say? What a pretty name. Tell you what, let me give you a hand. I'm a pretty powerful wizard and can teach you a spell of detection. I can feel magic flowing through you. I know you can learn. What do you say, little girl?"


Cirith, although unsure whether she should trust this man or not, visibly brightened.


"Can you really?"


The man nodded.


"Feel the energy rushing through your body, little girl", he said to her and then mumbled some obscure phrases under his nose. Cirith felt a strong sensation, one which seemed to be neutral, neither bad nor good. It allayed her fears somewhat, silenced and lulled her acute senses.

"I feel it! I feel it! She chirped enthusiastically, giving in to a typically childlike excitement.


A hint of a smile appeared on the man's face.


"Here, take this ring with you" he handed her a shiny object. It was plain and unornamented but at its centre it had a pretty green stone, the likes of which Cirith had never seen before. She accepted it, now more eagerly. When the metal from which it was made came into contact with her skin, she clinched, though and a shadow of a uspicion crossed her mind.


"What's this?" she grimaced slightly


"What, you don't like it, do you?", the man chuckled. "There are monsters in the forest, child. Wear it. It will protect you against all harm. Now you can safely find your sister"


"Oh, thank you kindly sir!"


"Good luck, I'll be waiting for you at the village.


And he went, leaving Cirith somewhat happier but ever so bewildered. Once he disappeared round the bend though, Cirith shrugged off any feelings of unease she might have had and went back to her quest.


She ventured deeper into the lush forest and was amazed at how beautiful and tranquil it seemed. Scary monsters in such an oasis seemed almost a myth. And yet soon enough she encountered a big, silvery and fierce-looking wolf. It appeared annoyed at the sight of a human girl.


"You're trespassing, girl", it growled, completely surprising Cirith.


That it growled would be perfectly normal, usually. But...


Did it just talk?


"You..you talk..?" she manged weakly


"Hmph. Of course I do. But not everyone can understand me. You must be special if you do"; it gurgled somewhat softer. "What are you doing on your own in these parts? It's not safe for a girl like you to be wandering around."


"I am looking for my sister, mister wolf. We were playing hide and seek and she, as usual, hid somewhere where I can't find her so she can taunt me afterwards".


The wolf seemed to ponder this.


"All right. Let me help you find her, you can't go alone further, other animals might not be as kind as I am"


"Oh thank you, mister wolf, thank you!"


"Charming creature, you are. And very polite, for your own benefit", the wolf approved "Come along now. Let's scour this area".


And so they did.


"What's your name, by the way?"


"Cirith, mister wolf", she answered coyly


"Much as I like you calling me "mister wolf", I am known as Ferocious and you can call me by my name, Cirith. I take it you are from that village nearby?"


She nodded.


"I see. Oh..?" He paused, sniffing something out on the ground.


"What is it?"


I believe we just may be in luck, young lady. I sense a human is nearby. She probably went to the lake. Let's go."


For a while as they moved eastwards deeper into the forest, Cirith gratefully followed his guidance. It seemed the foliage around had no end when eventually it began to grow more scarce until finally it opened up on a beautiful, crystal clear lake.


In the distance Cirith spotted a lone figure crouching on its sandy bank.


"There. That's her, I take it?" Ferocious deducted from the elated expression on the girl's face.


"Yes, yes it is!", she replied excitedly. "Thank you so much mister Ferocious wolf!"


The wolf emitted something of a chuckle.


"It looks like you can take it from here but I'll hang around just in case".

The girl, he noticed was no longer really listetning to him. He sighed. Humans. There was something he really needed her to know, though.


"Listen to me, Cirith, I have one request", he spoke more firmly, drawing her attention



"Don't ever mention meeting me, understand and for your own good don't go about telling everyone that you can understand the speech of animals. Don't tell a single soul, you hear? Not even your mother or your sister. It's for your own safety and they wouldn't believe you anyway. They would, instead, try to hurt you, I'm sure. Can you do this for me?"


"Yes, mister wolf, I will keep that in mind, thank you!"


"perhaps there will come a time when you will find yourself among people who will help you put your abilities to good use. For now, I thank you for restoring my faith in human politness. Perchance there is hope for your kind yet. Farewell"


"Farewell, Ferocious, I thank you again!" She whispered. And though he was already out the hearing range she knew he heard her and smiled, if wolves could smile at all.


When he was gone, she put on a brave face and moved towards Isis.


"boo!" she whispered to her ear playfully. Isis jumped, taken aback by the sudden appearance.


She looked somewhat tired and concerned but did not let on what was it all about and Cirith knew better than to ask questions which she would regret later.


"Cirith! How on earth did you find me,you little fool!"


"I just did. I'm not as stupi as you may think!" she stuck her tongue at her.


For some reason this innocent remark threw Isis off her limit. She had been at the end of her tether already but Cirith did not know it then. She thought it was her fault. She would for a long time.


"You idiot! You bring nothing but trouble! Come on, let's get back home but I'm not speaking to you! Ever!"


The outburst was so fierce that it shut Cirith up for the rest of the way back. Ferocious was nowhere in sight anymore. Why couldn't Isisi be as nice as him?


I'm sorry, Isis", she whimpered when they were back on the track leading to the village. She reached out her hand, trying to touch her sister but the latter caught her hand in mid way,


"And just where.did.you.get.this.ring?!" She brutally shook her sister in an attempt to take it off her.


"Why does it matter anything to you?!" Cirith yelled. Her curiosity was piqued. The man she had met seemed to know Isis, could Isis know the man, what was the connection? What was going on?


"No. But you should know better than to accept strange rings, you idiot", she hissed. "Give it to me and remember! Not a word about it to anyone, understood?!"


More secrets? What was it with everyone telling her not tell anything to anyone? Still, what options did she have? For her own good, it just might be better to keep silent. About everything.

Isis was gripping her so forcefully it hurt. Cirith knew her sister was strong and had some skills but of what nature they were, she didn't realize at that moment in her life.


They entered the village and hurried back home. Both parents were there, so was the strange man. They had obviously been talking but once the girls appeared Cirith noticed a sudden change of tone and pace of conversation. Something was brewing and she elt unease.


"Ah, young Cirith, so you found your sister", the man spoke good naturedly


The mother eyed her younger daughter suspiciously. It was a lithe woman with a face of an angel. Her eyes were small, almond-shaped and pierced right through you. She was shrewd and calculating, though you could have never guessd that by her looks.


"So you spoke to our good friend here? What did I tell you about talking to strangers, Cirith? You were lucky it was him and no one else!"



"It seems to me", interrupted Lars “like they were specifically avoiding the name.


Cirith nodded.


"You are right, Lars. They knew very well what they were doing. Everything had been calculated and planned, typical for mother.


"And how did the man learn your name, anyway? you didn't tell him, did you?"


"Mother did, Lars. Mother did" ,replied Cirith. That was probable, Lars concluded. But this story still seemed to lacl logic.


"Do you want me to continue?"


"Very well, please do, Cirith"


Her saw her drifting away to the days of old. It was obvious it was as painful to her now as it had been when it happened.


The night was slowly turning into day and though he was tired, he wanted to hear the whole story.

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The story continues. Not much action yet but getting there.



“It seems to me”, interrupted Lars “like they were specifically avoiding the name.


Cirith nodded.


“You are right, Lars. They knew very well what they were doing. Everything had been calculated and planned, typical for mother. But let me continue”


“Very well”


Her saw her drifting away to the days of old. It was obvious it was as painful to her now as it had been when it happened.


The night was slowly turning into day and though he was tired, he wanted to hear the whole story.



“Yes mother”, replied Cirith. Isis said nothing.


“Now, now, Elinor, don’t be so strict”, the man interrupted “The little one is very loyal to her sister and she has courage “


“Don’t be so kind to her. She’s a good for nothing spoiled brat, her father made sure of that”


“Elinor, Elinor”, mocked Henry in his distinguished tone of voice “That’s not nice to say”


“Isis there, well she has flair and talent. She might be useful. But this one here? I can’t imagine why would anyone want her”


“Mo-mo-mo-therr..” Cirith was in tears. How could her mother say such nasty things? She was always strict with her but Cirith thought she though it was necessary. But now, she was at a loss.



“That’s enough, you little fool”, the woman snapped. “This man here is Henry and he’s a old friend of ours. Tomorrow, he will take both of you to school, where Isis will be training her skills and you, you ungrateful wench, you will be learning discipline”


Isis snickered. Cirith froze.


“So, we’re going away?” Cirith inquired timidly. She feared her mother’s wrath at this point but she felt she had very little to lose


The mother nodded.


“Are you deaf or something? Now, go to your room and prepare. For your impertinence and disobedience you will not get any dinner tonight.”



“I hung my head but did as told, while Isis stayed behind. “ Cirith sighed. Lars did not know what to think. The mother was obviously abusive of her. It was hard to believe Cirith and Isis were natural sisters, given the difference with which, according to Cirith, they were treated by the annoying mother.


For a moment, Cirith seemed to be lost in her memories, a myriad of emotions flickering on her face. Impulsively, Lars reached out and held her hand. His touch was warm, it electrified them both and once she looked up at him, for a brief moment, they connected through a mysterious, inexplicable, intense link. Something clicked and then…Lars backed away, awkwardly, while Cirith froze somewhat puzzled. Emotions weren’t Lars’ forte. Neither were hers.


“Ah, Cirith, if you’re uncomfortable we don’t have to continue”, he cleared his throat, trying to cover up his own embarrassment


“N-n-no, Lars, I-I’m fine, really. I want to tell you”, she insisted.


“All right, if you’re certain it’s what you want. But before we go on, there was something that puzzled me. “

She raised her eyebrows “What is it, Lars?”


“Are you sure Isis and you are natural siblings? I mean, given the way your mother treated you and her…so vastly different…”


“I see your point, Lars. I can’t answer your question, though, this is something I don’t know myself. I wanted to believe Isis is my true sister but maybe your suspicions are not unfounded. My father was always good to me but since the day he had passed away, my mother started mistreating me, for what reason…I cannot fathom..though, as I will tell you in a moment she was a woman full of surprises.“


“I see. What happened afterwards, would you care to continue?”


Cirith nodded, took a deep breath and went on.



It was the middle of the night when something shook Isis out of her sleep. She didn’t open her eyes instantly as in her semi-conscious state she felt a disturbing, distinctly unfriendly presence. She didn’t want to see. And yet, she was forced to.


“Come, get up, you little whelp! It’s time to go”, the strange voice shrieked.


And then she knew. It was her mother. Reluctantly, she was compelled to obey. There was no need to antagonize her further then. She would probably never see her again, either. Through the corner of her eye she noticed Isis was still asleep. Lucky her, the spoilt favourite. What was going to happen to her, defenseless and helpless little creature?


There was fear, of course. Her heat was furiously beating against her mother’s shrieking coldness. Maybe, she hoped, she would have a better chance of survival wherether it was that she was being taken. There couldn’t be any other reason to her being woken this brutally in the dead of night. The Witch was going to send her off somewhere. And it was highly unlikely it would be the same place that beloved doll, Isis was going to.


“Yes mother”, she sighed.


Her mother appeared even more brusque and short-tempered than ever.


“Why do I have to make sure you do things right, you lazy girl? You’re going to school, as promised.”



“You ungrateful whelp! Instead of asking me silly questions you should be thankful you’re going there in the first place! They will teach you some manners there, I’m sure!”


Cirith felt further comments were unnecessary. She nodded and immediately followed her mother outside. Well, to be fair, it was more like the mother was pulling her behind, Cirith could barely walk from undernourishment.


Cirith was half expecting to see Henry waiting by the cart. But it was someone else. A man she had never seen before.


“Cirith, this is Gotard. He teaches at the Veladrah school of magic.”


She wasn’t expecting that. What was that all of a sudden?


Gotard, a tall, pleasant man with long, dark hair laughed gently. (was his hair dark blue, though? The night was dim, the faint light of the moon was cloaked by ominous clouds so Cirith couldn’t really tell)


“She looks confused, Elinor”


“I know, Gotard. She should be. I haven’t exactly treated her fairly. I’ve been very harsh, practically cold to her, all because of her talents. In turn, I have been spoiling Isis just a little too much so I’m quite sure she thinks I’m some sort of a bad witch. It’s time for her to go out there and unleash her talents. I know she can do a lot of good.”


“Are you sure, you will be fine? Has Henry been giving you trouble?”


From the sound of it, it was something serious. But little Cirith was too overwhelemed with this turn of events to ever notice. So her mother behaved this way- on purpose? So she wasn’t an evil witch? Did she love her then? If just a little?


Within Cirith’s hearing range, in the meantime, Elinor was brushing off Gotard’s concerns.


“Nothing I can’t take care of myself”


“What about Isis?”


“I will do what I can to keep her away from Cirith and Henry. It was bad enough Henry came by yesterday. He gave Cirith his ring while she was out in the woods looking for Isis. I feared he would learn too much from it but nothing bad seems to have happened.”


“You do realise Henry will likely teach Isis to unleash her talents. That would make him very powerful”


“I know, Gotard, but I have no other option. My only hope is that by the time it happens, Cirith will be able to face her sister”


Gotard nodded in understanding. Cirith did not really understand what they were talking about nor was she interested. She was too busy trying to understand what her mother's words implied. Her voice when she spoke about her, Cirith, was now soft and caring and the little girl did not know what to think.


“You should talk to your daughter, Elinor.” observed Gotard "She looks like she needs it right now. I will leave you two alone for a while”

And with these words, he just disappeared into thin air. Cirith didn’t question it. That’s what magic users would do, right?


“M-m-motherr? Stammered Cirith ucertainly, her beautiful eyes brimming with unshed tears.


Elinor took her into her arms and for the first time in her life Cirith felt the warmth of her mother’s love passing through her.


“Please forgive me for treating you this badly, Cirith. It broke my heart to see you cry but I needed to teach you to be determined and brave. I had known for a long time



“There were, I suspect, other reasons she didn’t tell me about. I’m sure Henry had something to do with it. But once the cart left the village, I never heard a word about either Henry or my mother or Isis for that matter”.


“Ok, wait. But how is it possible that Gotard came to fetch you? You know him know. Explain”


“Yes, Lars, I learned very quickly that he wasn't the man he told everyone he was” replied Cirith, “I will come to that in a minute. My mother’s clever planning, all the years of preparation, failed in the end, or so it seemed. But who knows, really. Maybe it was another of her wicked and very intricate schemes aiming at elevating Isis and giving her an advantage over me? I don’t know. I wish I knew her true intentions.”


Lars nodded. The mother seemd somewhat twisted, at the very least, playing with Cirith’s emotions to such a degree. Was she deliberately playing with fire, genuinely hoping it would help Cirith go above and beyond? Or was she, according to her seemingly usual pattern of mistreating Cirith, still trying to hurt her and raise Isis, the more talented one in the eyes of many?


What was she, that Elinor, Lars wondered. He distinctly remembered how in his youth his mother treated Rhen. But Rhen had been “acquired”, a slave. A slave to look down upon and disdain. An inferior being. A thing to manipulate and discard when deemed useless. Now Lars would shudder at this but back then he himself was inclined to agree. It did not help him to feel any better now.


In the meantime, he observed Cirith go back into the memory mode again. Her spirit was drifting in the past, bringing the story to the light.



Mother and daughter remained in an embrace for a long while.


“You believe, do’t you?” Elinor;s voice seemed full of sadness and..and..pain and something else which Cirith could not name. “Please tell me you do”


Mother’s eyes…had a desperate plea in them. A plea to forgive and forget. At that point Cirith could afford to do that, in her innocence.


“It’s okay, mama, I understand”, she whispered “ As long as I know you love me and that I’m not a worse child, it’s ok”


“NEVER think that you are worse in anything, sweetheart. I know my sudden outburst of caring is all too sudden but I had to be that way for your own good. One day, you will understand. But now-we have to part”, she added seeing Gotard reppear beside the cart.


“Will I ever see you again?” asked Cirith hopefully


“Maybe. Time will tell. For the time being, Cirith, you must grow to be strong and brave, all right? Promise me, you will be brave.”


“I promise”


These were the last words the two spoke to each other. After one last hug, Cirith was ushered into the cart. Her senses were stilled by the emotionality of the recent parting and thus she was numbed to the alarming signals that usually warned her of approaching danger.

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“The only other thing I remember about the journey that night were the eyes the colour of a ripe plum. Deep-set and attentive. Understanding and warm, like the eyes of a guardian angel, the kind you hear about in rural legends with a happy ending. They seemed to be emanating an aura..…but of what nature, for some reason that I cannot understand till today, I was too weak to sense. I slipped into darkness almost instantly and woke up only after I reached my destination at dawn the following day.

The Eyes were gone when I woke up and so was “Gotard”. I was alone. The ride, I thought, had been suspiciously short but at the time I had no knowledge to question anything. And of course it was not Veladrah that I ended up in at that time.



Where exactly they were, she was unable to tell, except that it looked like somewhere underground for she could not see any trace of sunlight in the god-forsaken, ill-omened place. The aura it gave off sent chills down her spine. It was not a place she would like to be. This couldn’t be Veladrah, could it?


Soon after arrival, she was dragged out of the relative comfort of the cart and, without much ado, led further into the thickening darkness. She failed to perceive the faces of her escorts. She could not even determine whether or not they were humans or perhaps something else- from head to toe they were tightly wrapped in dark cloaks. The costumes were clever, too for they blended well with the surrounding darkness. That much young Cirith was able to conclude. She dared not speak. There was no point, she most likely would not be answered. These individuals had a job to do and that was to escort her to wherever it was that they were taking her.


Initially, deadly silence greeted them but as they journeyed deeper, she concluded this must be a cave of some sort for the air was becoming thicker and breathing gradually became a struggle. Soon enough she heard hammers clashing against the rocks, with loud thumps. Many hammers, much noise. They must be close to their destination. Mines. These must be mines, she realized. She only knew mines from vague references here and there but she understood it was not a nice place to be. Too bad she was one of those who would have learn why it was so.


Much to her surprise, they did not continue towards where the sounds were coming from. In the winding, narrow corridors they took a turn in the opposite direction. How long they would still have to walk, she wondered. She felt like crying. She needed to pee and she was hungry.


As if on cue, one of her guards responded to these thoughts. Could they read her mind or something?


“You should get used to that, girl. Ask no questions, it is seen as disobedience. And disobedience is instantly and severly punished. Think nothing, for even in your thoughts you are not free. Talk to no one lest you might be suspected of plotting. In this place only the strong or those who serve to please may survive, although for what purpose other than more endless torture.. I do not know. Yet perhaps if you stand strong and unyielding, you may yet live to see the light of day. Hush now, silence your thoughts. We are approaching our destination“


The voice was distinctly male, deep and rich, although at the same time rather strained and tired but not in the least threatening. Why were they doing this, then? A thought occurred to her. Maybe these individuals were being controlled by something or someone? Something they could not resist.

In the past, Cirith recalled, she would hear stories of men or women possessing strong magic who, deemed dangerous to some evil doers, were simply bound by a portent spell. They were thus forced to do the spell caster’s bidding, whether or not they were willing. Thus, they themselves were neutralized while their powers remained usable. Was this some sort of a geis, as some seemed to call it? Or maybe not, she reflected. She did not know, she had little understanding of magic. She was confused.


He did not speak again. But he had told the truth. Shortly afterwards, darkness gave way to light. It was dim and cold…usually you could call it “romantic” even…but under the circumstances Cirith was finding herself in, it did not bode well. Nothing bode well. The narrow corridors gradually stretched to the width of a balcony as they eventually came to a halt upon a cliff. The view that opened up to her in that light…took her breath away. There, several feet below, lay a thriving metropolis, set in sandstone glimmering with its quartz grains. It was a genuinely breath-taking sight. She had to marvel at the clever architecture as she took in the buildings and districts, each built on its own layer. It was a complex construction, that city. In the distance, on the opposite side of the vast canyon, a huge building, all made of gold, stood out from the rest. Its spires loomed high over the city and sparkled with thousands of gemstones embedded in their roofs. Whoever thought of this, clearly loved excess and riches. Surely, this place couldn’t be that bad?


But then her eyes caught a vastly different sight. One huge area of the city was all dark. Noises and shouts were heard coming from that direction. Apparently, huge crowd were gathered there and her initial though was that it was a market on a busy market day. She was right. It was the Market. The Market where, as she soon found out, captured children were measured, valued and sold into slavery.



“We passed through the market on our way. These were mostly children there, of various races. They were touched and groped by potential purchasers, like some objects..It was disgusting.. They weren’t undernourished, though. On the contrary, they were well-fed and well-groomed. Neglected children sold for less, did not bring in profit. They made sure to feed them well.


They were mostly magical children too. See, Lars. Thing is.., children with strong magic abilities were the most sought for. Others, either “weaklings” or “non-magical” were usually at once sent back up since they were deemed unworthy and useless for the purposes they were supposed to serve.


“As magic channels bound by geis? “ Lars deducted


“Sometimes, that too. I will tell you all about it soon.”


“All right. “ Lars was liking it less and less. Was…could Rhen even be aware of how intricate the slave trade was and how well they were able to mask and hide their activites? Underground in an unknown place.. even Cirith did not seem to know where that slave trader city was.. He listened carefully and with each further word, his hair rose and disgust crawled into his heart. At the things he heard, at the double-faced hypocrites who ( as he was soon to learn) commonly respected in Thais and elsewhere, gained wealth through illegal means, at the expense of innocence…He was mad at himself, too. Once more, he recalled the days when he bullied Rhen and instantly felt burning shame. There was so much that was going on right under the noses of unsuspecting citizens.

“The worthless” , Cirith continued, “ were either discarded or sent to serve in the houses of the rich. The lucky ones were sometimes restored back to their families but I can’t imagine how hard they must have found it to readjust. That place, Lars…that place taught survival and mistrust above all else. “


“You said you didn’t end up in the market. Where were you taken, then?”


“To the very heart of darkness, Lars. to the lion’s den that initially captivated me so. I would live to curse my initial fascination. I was taken to the palace”.



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