Star Talon and Other Short Stories
By Nicole Bruers
Copyright 2016 Nicole Bruers
Table of Contents
I am in training to become a scientist for my people, which is why I have been told to go to ten planets and study them. We are trying to find other races we can live alongside and disperse our population throughout the solar systems. My people, the Zumblians, have already found thousands of planets we can inhabit. It is not enough though. Our planet Eosha is slowly dying and we still have a lot of families left on our home planet that need somewhere to go.
My instructor, Vuloff, said Earth was forbidden because it is unknown about how humans would react to a visitor. The other planets we have been to encounter other alien species before. Luckily my transmitter is not working at the moment so he can’t check up on me. Last I told him I was headed to a planet called Rylon. Rylon sits just outside of the Milky Way. Vuloff will find out what I am up to soon though. Humans would be great to befriend, even though we would not be able to live on this planet due to overpopulation as is. The surrounding planets have huge potential. I believe that we can help humans grow in technology so that they too can expand their populations to other planets.
For months I have been on Earth, watching the humans. With my peoples technology I am able to cloak myself into looking like a human. I landed in a state the humans call Texas. I picked the biggest city I researched, Houston. Enrolling into the University of Houston to study the mid-generation of humans as well as the professor’s help with studying the older generations.
My name is Xayan. The Zumblians is a race of amphibious bipeds that are governed by a council of scientists. We can live in water and out of water with our smooth skin and gills on our necks to help us breath in the water. We are an ancient race that has built an empire consisting of several thousand star systems. The atmosphere of our planet has become toxic because of war and pollution. We are trying to find new places to live and improve our way of living as well as other races. The families left on Eosha are forced to live in enormous bio-domes due to the toxic environment. The bio-domes will not last forever though as our population is forever increasing. That is why it is essential for up and coming scientists such as myself explore as many planets as possible.
Earth is on the breach of over population. I have written this in my report that I will send off to my instructor when the time is right. Even though it is over populated I still believe with our help, the Earthlings can explore planets for themselves. After viewing my memories I think the leaders of my race will agree that the Earthlings can benefit from us making ourselves known to them. For now, I must stay hidden. That is why I have taken on the Earthling name Xavier.
During my stay so far I have befriended a few humans. In doing so I have been able to study them a lot closer and learn their behavior. I have also become fond of my new friends. They are not test subjects to me. Jennifer, LeAnn, Peter and John are prime examples of how young human adults act. They are all-different from one another but are still good friends. I have brought up in the past about possible alien life on different planets and they all believe there is something more out there. When everything started to go downhill, they are by my side throughout it all.
“Xayan, you must hide!” Jennifer was frantic. All five of us were at her house. My house was not safe anymore because of a fellow classmate, Stan. “You’re all over the news!”
Stan followed me since the beginning when I arrived here. Since I wasn’t sure how humans behaved it took me some time to learn how to act like one. This tipped Stan off that something was not right with me. I never noticed him. I always uncloaked at home believing it was safe to do so and to send messages to my instructor. He eventually followed me to my house and snapped photographs of my alien form.
“Where am I going to go?”
“My grandma has a farm in El Paso, no one will find you there. I can take you.” John said.
“How are we going to get him there without him being spotted?” LeAnn asked.
“I can cloak into a different looking human.”
“You can?” Paul asked.
I laughed. “Yes I can. I can cloak myself to look like anything.”
They all gasped. They were all taking the news of me being an alien very well. Still, some things I mention about my race surprises them of course. I reached for my duffel bag of gadgets and clothes as Jennifer and LeAnn peaked out of the window to make sure no one was around. When they glanced back at me I was cloaked as a darker skinned human like Paul. The sudden change made them all do a double take. The women stayed at Jennifer’s house while Paul, John and I went to the farm in El Paso, Texas.
Weeks passed by while I hid away by myself at the farm. John’s grandmother is in a nursing home so she wasn’t there to question why there was a stranger staying at her house. Both Paul and John would visit randomly and bring me food to last a week or more. The food on Earth is delicious; my people would love to learn how to make the things the humans make.
My alien photographs were all over the media. Half of the humans talking about it think I should be captured and studied, seeing me as a danger to humans. The other halves are fighting for me, believing I am not here to harm them. The humans fighting for me make me smile. I sent off messages to Vuloff, revealing my real location and copies of my memories from my time here on Earth so far. While recording another message to Vuloff explaining what was going on with the media a brilliant idea struck me. I phoned my friends, requesting them to come over with a video camera and laptop. When they arrived I told them how Zumblians have cybernetic implants behind our eyes. Making it possible to record and share our experiences and memories. Together we set up the camera in the living room. I asked Jennifer to act as an interviewer and ask me a number of questions that the public has.
I explain why I am on Earth and my visits to other planets. I also explain why I am visiting a number of different planets and that I am not out to harm anybody. My people are not out to harm other races either.
“How do we know you are telling the truth?” Jennifer asked.
“Easy, I will show you my previous travels. I am working on transferring all of my memories and experiences on the other planets as well as my time here. The file will be attached with this video to show you all that I come in peace. I believe together our races can help each other out.” I also explain how the cybernetic implants work.
“How could we benefit from allowing you to stay here and allowing others of your kind to visit?”
“Over my stay I have noticed that you Humans are always worrying about over population and destroying your planet by the ever so growing population. With the help of my people we can figure out how to make it possible for you to travel off this planet. In doing so you could expand your population as your doing but without risking destroying your home planet. Which is inevitable. That is how my home planet Eosha has fallen and become toxic.” With that we cut the tape off and I transferred my memories to a flash drive for Jennifer to take to a news station. She left with the videos and promised she will call me when things are safe.
I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks. Finally the phone rang. “Hello.”
“Hey Xayan, it’s Jennifer. The footage has been watched all over the world and the majority of Earth is supportive of you. You can come out of hiding now. Paul and John are on their way.”
“Great! Thanks Jennifer!” We hung up.
At that same moment a message came through from Vuloff on my, what humans would call, computer. The leaders of my people are furious I disobeyed them but are relieved to hear there are planets we can inhabit. They are sending a fleet of scientists to further investigate and a small team of scientists to come to Earth. When the humans are officially okay with the idea of working with aliens our work can begin to better their lives as well as ours.
The fog rolled off the hills and weaved through the trees. The sun tries to rise behind a cover of clouds. The golden watch on my wrist dinged, indicating I had been in this dimension for 12 hours. It was time to change dimensions. Mother always told me never stay in a dimension for too long if it was not our home dimension because I could get stuck and wouldn’t be able to return. A bummer because this dimension was beautiful, the hills rolled on endlessly, trees were everywhere except where they broke to greet the different lakes. From spending so much time here and reading about it, the people here called it Earth.
I looked into the lake one last time, my mothers eyes starred back at me, I had my fathers strong and manly facial features. Square jaw line and rugged nose, my lips were kind of full for a boy but they proportioned correctly with the rest of my face so they didn’t look too big or girly. My shoulder-length hair was pure white like my fathers, not due to age, just the men in our family tended to have white hair from birth.
I looked down at my watch and turned the dial on it to the number ten. There were twenty different dimensions, and not many others knew about them. Certain families of each dimension had a family heirloom like this watch, which they pass down to the oldest sons or daughters. But there were never more than one person in each dimension that was allowed to use the “jumpers” as we call them in my tribe.
Ten was my home. I guess the people from Earth would consider us aliens. But we were all the same. We were just raised in different dimensions and some people from other dimensions did look different from humans as they consider themselves. My people are taller than most other races. Most of us grew over eight foot tall, and that is the minimum. I stand at eight and a half and I am still growing. I have lived for almost eighteen years now, and that is very short compared to our normal life span of two hundred. The tallest of our kind is usually our chief, who is my father and my grandfather; they both grew to be twelve foot tall.
“Where have you been Calanon?” my mother, Alassien, inquired when I sauntered in the door of our hut. She had her arms crossed and scolded at me with her blood red eyes. Her midnight-black hair framed her face.
“I was visiting Earth again.”
“We have told you to stop going there so much! One day you are not going to hear your watch go off and you are going to get stuck somewhere. That watch is not a toy, and you need to learn to be more responsible, you are going to be chief one day!”
“I won’t be chief for at least another fifty or a hundred years! Dad is still only a hundred and ten years old, and he is still going strong.” My parents always tried pulling the you are going to be chief one-day card on me to get me to listen or act more responsible.
“Even still, you need to learn how to control yourself and not act like kid so that when you do become chief you will set a good example for the tribe.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll stop using my jumper so much. But can you blame me? Those other dimensions are beautiful and so different from ours!”
“Thank you and yes they are all beautiful in their own way but nothing is better than home. Earth is not that much different from here.” She turned around and picked up Maethorion, my little sister, who had been pulling at our mothers dress.
“Mommy, can I have a watch like Calanon’s? Pllllleeeeaasseee!!!” Maethorion begged.
“No honey, there is only one and its Cala’s.”
“But why does he get to have it and I don’t?” Maeth pouted, pushing against our mother to let her down.
“You know why, he is the oldest and it always belongs to the oldest.”
I sauntered out of the hut, having heard this argument for years, since Maeth was able to speak and understand the uses of the watch she has always questioned as to why she isn’t allowed to have it. Waiting outside was Alagos, my wife-to-be. Our tribe believed in arranged marriages at birth especially for the chief-to-be. Alagos was the daughter of our greatest warrior and hunter, Ortherion.
For a woman, she was just as great as a warrior and hunter already. We were born a few months apart, her a little younger. Alagos was always tagging along and trying to get me to take her to different dimensions. We were allowed to take our significant others or a person of our choice, but no more than two people can be teleported. But I didn’t want to share the other dimensions yet; I didn’t want to get married unless I loved the other person. Not that she wasn’t gorgeous, because she was, I just didn’t feel that connection that I wanted to feel with someone.
Alagos flipped her golden hair over her shoulder her yellow eyes looking me up and down, “Cala darling, when are you going to take me to another dimension? I want to see other places like you have.” She placed her hand on my arm gently and tilted her head, batting her eyelashes thinking that’d work on me like it does with everyone else.
“On our wedding night, I promise.” I hoped to myself that that day would never come.
“But that could be years from now!”
“Yup, sucks but oh well!” I shrugged and pushed past her. Maeth ran out and grabbed my hand, pulling at my arm.
“Come here I wanna show you something Cala!”
Smiling and laughing we left Alagos alone to pout.
“So brother, when are you going to take your favorite sister somewhere?”
“We can always go now if you promise not to tell mother.”
“Oooo I promise!” She started jumping up and down and clapped her hands.
“Okay, settle down and take my hand.” I turned the dial to one and reached my hand out for her as she grabbed it.
Everything around us started to swirl and vibrate, turning into really bright colors as it wrapped around us. Maeth’s mouth fell open in awe as she stood next to me. Everything settled down around us, there were thick trees all over and a wooden path leading to a town. Maeth leaped forward and ran excitedly into the town. It was a sunny day here so there were a lot of people roaming around, and when Maeth saw them she gasped. This dimension was called Tessla and the people here we similar to humans but with a slight difference. They had tails and fluffy ears. Their tails matched the color of their hair, if a person was bald, so was their tail. Maeth ran back to me.
“Cala! Cala! These people have tails!!”
I laughed out loud, “Yes they do, but be careful! We aren’t supposed to mingle too much with others. A lot of them don’t know about the dimensions.” I had to remind her before she went crazy.
“This is so wonderful! I wish I had a tail!” She giggled and grabbed my hand. “Can we see another one?” Her big blue eyes looked up at me pleadingly.
“Anything for you sis.” I turned the dial to two and within moments we were in the second dimension.
A loud roar vibrated the ground and Maeth clung to my side. “What was that?!”
“Shhhh Maeth, come.” I instructed her to climb one of the really tall trees in the forest, following right behind her. When we got to the top I pointed to an animal in the distance.
She gasped again, “Is that what I think it is?”
“Well, what do you think it is?”
“A Brachiosaurus! I thought they were all extinct and only apart of the dimension called Earth.”
“They are extinct there but in this dimension it is nothing but all of the dinosaurs.”
“But I thought there were people in each dimension?”
“There are people here, but they are forbidden to kill too many dinosaurs for their food. They are nomads here and only hunt them when needed and never too much of one breed of dinosaur.”
“Oh, can we ride one?”
“Not today, we have been gone for a few hours. Mom will kill us if we are not back before dinner.”
Her face fell.
“I will make you a promise, if you continue to be a good little girl and stop bugging about the watch, I will bring you back here to ride a Brachiosaurus or a Triceratops. And I will take you to every dimension there is over time.”
“Yes, as long as you promise and keep to that promise.”
“Of course I will! I love you Calanon, you’re the best brother ever.” Maeth hugged me as I turned the dial to ten and we headed home.
When we arrived mother was waiting with her arms crossed in front of our hut, obviously ticked off.
“How dare you take Maeth without getting permission first!” Her nostrils flared as she reached out for Maeth’s hand and directed her into the hut, Maeth’s head bowed.
“I thought it was my decision who I could take with me.”
“Yes, but not your younger sister who is barely 8 years old. You know better than that! I thought something bad happened. You can bet your father will hear of this soon as he is home.”
I sighed and nodded. It is better to just take the punishment that I know will be the watch taken from me for a while. But it was well worth it to see my sister smile as big as she did. I’d do anything for her.
Of course when my father, Arthion, came home I got an earful. I shouldn’t be acting like a kid. I am getting older and should know better, blah blah blah. The same stuff parents eventually tell their kids but my lecture is a tad different since I was basically the “prince”. That night I went to sleep early, can’t argue if you’re asleep.
A few weeks passed quickly, there were lots to do around the many farms in our village. Since I was royalty I always had to roam around and help those who need it on their farms. It never bothered me though. It gave me things to do and helped keep me in shape.
The flaming arrow landed the hut of the farm I was working on, instantly catching it on fire due to the straw roof. Without thinking I ran into the hut to retrieve the infant girl and hollering for her parents to run. As soon as they were all safely out I passed their baby to them and ran off as they thanked me.
Screams echoed from all over, it was hard to tell where they were all coming from because they were coming from all over. We were being attacked. I had to find my father, he had my watch and where he was the rest of our warriors were sure to be getting their orders. There was another big tribe that we always rivaled with. They thought their tribe deserved the watch since ours has had it since, well, forever. But they haven’t attacked the village in a long time, since before I was born, which made me wonder, why now?
Running into the war hut where we stored our bows, swords and other weapons, I found my father.
“Father, what do you need me to do?”
Arthion was a big man, not only tall but beefy also, from all of the hard farm work, training and wars he’s been in. There were visible scars across his chest, arms and back, some more so than others. He straightened up from putting on his bear skinned armor.
“Son, this is your first fight so suit up and grab your weapon of choice. You have been trained for this. I ordered everyone else to his or her spot. You are coming with me. Since you are the next in line for the throne you are not leaving my line of sight.” There was no room for argument, not that I would have.
“Yes sir!” I reached for my just made bear skinned armor. We wore the finest made, other wore what they could afford or make themselves. As I finished my father tossed my watch to me.
“Get ready to port out if need be, but run to the hut before you do and grab your sister. Hang out in the other dimensions for a while and make sure things are cooled down before you come back. That’s an order.”
“Will do.” He lead me outside, the other tribe just making it to a few huts down from where we were, our warriors fighting tooth and nail to hold them back while the women who couldn’t fight could take the kids to our farm which was booby-trapped and the safest place for them.
Before we rushed to our people my father placed his hand on my shoulder and looked at me like he was looking at me for the last time. “I know I never say this enough, but I am proud of you son.”
“Don’t talk like that, we are both making it out of this. You will be chief for a long time yet.” I shrugged his hand off and started jogging toward the chaos, father in tow.
We roared our battle cry at the same time, in almost the same tone. Ortherion caught up to my father’s side and Alagos to mine. A few others surrounded us as we broke through the front line.
Blood was spraying everywhere from both tribes. Killing another person was something I wish I never had to do, but sometimes one is forced to be violent. And in this time I had to, it was them or my people.
The sword I chose was broad and wide, engraved with swirly designs. Most people would not have been able to pick it up, let alone swing it over their head to bring it barreling down on another person, which I was able to do multiple times.
Alagos and I were trained together a lot since we were so close in age, so we were able to fight around one another with ease. She was small enough to duck around my sword when I swung it around, cutting our enemies down. Her fighting style was dance-like and trance like if you never saw her fight before. Alagos’ hair was pulled back into a ponytail that was braided, whipping around as she did.
Their numbers were great, they kept charging from the tree line. But our numbers were greater. The battle was over within the day, the few that were left retreated into the woods. Alagos was kneeling on the ground, blood gushing from her leg. I ran over to her and scooped her up.
“Bout time jerk face, I thought I was going to bleed out before you noticed.” She teased.
“Yeah yeah, hold pressure on that.” I jogged to the medical hut where anyone who was hurt was heading. Those who weren’t were helping those who were. I could feel her starring at me as I sat her down on a deer hide cot. “What?”
“Are you hurt?”
“Are you sure?”
“Then what’s that?” She pointed at my side.
I looked down and moved my armor out of the way, revealing a deep gash running from my hip bone to the back of my rib cage.
“How in the hell do you not feel that Calanon?” As she asked the pain shot through my body like a tidal wave.
“Adrenaline.” That the last thing I remembered. It all went black.
Days passed before he woke again. The gash on his side was horrendous but sown up now. The tribe healer said it might get infected if he tries to do too much. So I tasked myself to stay by his side, what a wife should do anyways. Even though I wasn’t his wife yet. Calanon’s hand twitched seconds before his eyes fluttered open.
I gently rested my hand on his shoulder. “Please, don’t move too much, you’ll open the wound up again and get it infected.”
Cala smirked, “As you wish. Where is my father?”
“He is visiting Earth to get medications for some of the wounded, including you. Our medicines aren’t working as well as we hoped.”
“So he is alive and well?”
“Yes darling, a few scrapes and bruises but he is fine.” I smiled slightly, glad to see he was talking and awake finally.
“Good, how is your leg?” His hand touched where the bandage was, sending goose bumps down my leg even though it hurt a little when he touched it.
“Fine, it looked worse than what it actually was. It’ll heal quickly. It will be a wicked scar though, as will yours.”
He attempted to laugh but wound up coughing and holding onto his wound. “Yeah, it’ll definitely be a story to tell one day, though I have no idea who did it or when it happened. I was running on adrenaline through most the battle.”
“Most of us first timers were.”
“Were there any caught and taken prisoner?”
“A few, your father and mine have been questioning them. Apparently they’ve been planning this for a long time, their new leader got power hungry and wanted to take your bloodline out and the whole village.”
“Ah, wipe us all who have claim to the watch and steal it. Good plan but I bet they weren’t expecting us to be so well trained at this age!”
“Nope, they weren’t. They don’t start training until they are in their 20’s apparently.” We both shared a smile and it got silent.
I knew he didn’t feel the same way as I did about him, but I knew one day he’d come around to the idea of us being married. And hopefully one day would grow to love me as I loved him. I know I annoyed him a lot in the past but now all I will be focusing on is taking care of him and helping with his family and anything he needs me to.
When I woke up she was next to me, bags under her eyes like she hadn’t slept for days, which made her more attractive somehow. I never thought she would take care of me as she did when I was injured. The battle must have changed her a little to do this. I asked the questions needed to make sure everything was well off.
Alagos seemed to be lost in thought through most of our conversation, but always kept a watchful eye on my bandage. When I touched her thigh to inquire about her wound I felt different. Maybe there is a chance of us actually working out. But we have time for that in the future. I need to focus on getting better so I can be prepared for another attack if there happens to be another one.
It was weeks before I could get out of bed for a long period of time. And the whole time Alagos was by my side, helping me through it all and changing my bandages. If it wasn’t for her I would have not had healed as quick as I have been.
She was changing my bandage again when I placed my hand on hers, stopping her.
“What is it?”
“Nothing, I just want to say thank you for all that you have done for me even though you are injured yourself.” These past few weeks showed me a new side to her that I enjoyed seeing. Her bright smile lightened up my day, her golden hair a halo around her heart shaped face.
“It’s no trouble Cala, no need to thank me.” Alagos blushed, looking down at the bandages.
“No, really. You didn’t have to help but you did. And I owe you my life.”
“You really don’t, it’s the meds that kept you from dying really.” Her hair fell in front of her face.
I put her hair back in its place behind her ear. “Come with me.”
“Where? You shouldn’t really go to far.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be by my side if I need you right?”
“Yes, I will.”
“Okay then, come outside with me.” I smiled when her brows scrunched together questionably, tilting her head the way I thought was annoying over a month ago that is adorable now.
I wrapped my left arm around her shoulder, partially for helping me to get out of the hut. Once we were outside I directed her towards our makeshift branch fence.
“Where are we going?” She looked up at me with those yellow eyes.
“You’ll see. Close your eyes.” And she did so.
With my arm still around her I pulled her closer, almost into a hug and turned the dial on my watch without indicating as to what I was doing. When I stopped it at five we started warping. Her eyes still closed so she couldn’t see what was going on. Within seconds we were standing in my favorite place. It was dawn in Minnesota, the mistiness was still lingering around the trees, grasping for the last few hours.
“Open your eyes Alagos.”
When she did she gasped loudly and covered her mouth with her hands, tears welling up in her eyes. The sun was peeping over the evergreen trees to say good morning, across the lake as two swans were swimming side by side.
“Are we really here?”
“Yes darling we are.”
“Oh my word, it’s gorgeous!” I wiped a tear off her cheek she didn’t notice escaped down her face.
“Yes, it is, I figured it was time to share this with you.”
“But why now?” She turned towards me.
“Because, it is the perfect place of course.”
“The perfect place for what? Out with it Calanon!”
I smirked. “Will you marry me?”
Her mouth dropped open, “Yes! Of Course!” She laughed and leaped into my arms, making me grunt with pain. “Oh! I am so sorry!” She started to pull away but I wouldn’t let her.
Instead I held her close, looking down at her I kissed her for the first time.
The Prophecy’s Champions
Stanton and I were born a day apart, raised in opposite sides of the city. He was born in the castle and crowned prince. I was just a simple commoner born in the lower parts of the city. When we were five we met for the first time. Stanton’s nanny and guard were taking him for a stroll around the city as they did once a week in order for him to socialize with his kingdom. He always gave them the slip as soon as they turned their heads away from him for even just a second. That day I was playing in an alley near the market where my mother was shopping.
The dark haired boy with the light blue eyes slammed into me, knocking us both down. My hazel eyes tear up and the boy’s lip quivers. When he looked up at me he stopped crying and moved closer, feeling bad for running into me.
“Awe, please don’t cry.”
“M-my knee hurts.” I wiped my eyes dry with my left arm as I held onto my right knee that throbbed with pain.
“A-are you bleeding?” His voiced shook as he looked around.
“I don’t think so.”
“Good. I am sorry I hit you. I was hiding from my watchers.”
“Yeah, they watch me when mommy can’t.”
“You don’t have watchers?”
“No, my mommy watches me all the time.”
“I wish my mommy did, but her and daddy are always busy with things.”
“No, being King and Queen.”
“S-so you’re the Prince?”
His face lit up. “Yup! Who are you?” His little body scooted closer to mine, in awe of my filthy clothes and dirt-covered hands.
“STANTON! WHERE ARE YOU?” A ladies voice broke through the noise of the market.
“Uh-oh.” Stanton glanced towards the opening of the alley as a tall lady with pointy ears glided around the corner. My mouth dropped open.
“Mister you are going to get into big trouble if you keep doing this! We will stop bringing you here if you keep running off.” Her hands were on her hips and she scorned him, her brown hair flowing around her.
“I’m sorry Ms. Riniya. I won’t do it again.” His head bowed.
“Are you an elf?” I had never seen one in real life, mommy always told stories of them and the wing people. The woman named Riniya laugh was musical.
“Yes darling I am. Well Stanton it is time to go home, it is almost time for your archery lessons.” As she grabbed his hand he waved bye with his other hand and smiled following her without argument.
Thirteen years later, Stanton and I were close friends. Every week when we were younger he was allowed to come and play with his “watchers” as we still call them. Since we were a bit older he was allowed to leave the castle more often but still had to have Riniya and Larian in tow. Larian was an Akolonian, tall with blonde hair flowing down his back and golden wings to match. They were both the strongest warriors of their races from what Stanton told me. He said his parents hired them to guard over him because of some prophecy. Stanton never paid attention to it so I didn’t know the details.
Once a month we were allowed to go outside of the city walls to a meadow west of Arsla. Larian and Riniya were always not to far from us. Sometimes they would give us our space. Which was nice because Stanton and I were becoming closer than friends.
The meadow was beautiful. There were a number of different kinds of flowers of all colors washing the ground. Trees lined along the west side of the meadow, we were not allowed to go past that point. Stanton laid a black blanket down for us to sit on and set the basket on top. I plopped down next to him when he sat down.
“What do you want to do today Zara?”
“Hmmmm, can we just lay here today? We have been training so hard lately, it’d be nice to relax for a bit.” Whatever Stanton learned in his classes like writing, reading and fighting, he’d teach it to me. Since I was a commoner there wasn’t much I was able to learn because I couldn’t go to school. I had to help around the house and farm. Stanton hated it when I called myself a commoner. There’s nothing common about you Zara, you are not beneath me in any way. He’d argue with me.
We opened the basket and started munching on the food I packed. Stanton was a sweet guy for a Prince. Since he was raised around the town folk he didn’t turn out to be a shallow person. He cares about everyone in his kingdom and they all respect him already. I still in awe he is my friend and hangs out with me as much as he does.
Stanton’s hand reached out and brushed a red strand of hair out of my face. I blushed and turned my head away.
“What are you thinking about?”
“How lucky I am.”
“Lucky about what?”
“That out of everyone in the city you chose to be my friend. It still feels like a dream even after all this time.”
“Fate chose us to be friends. If I hadn’t went down that exact alley we might not have met, which I’m glad it happened that way. I have grown to care about you a lot I hope you know.”
I blushed again. “I care about you too.”
He moved closer. “No, I really care about you --.” Before he could finish what he was saying there was a loud explosion. We both jumped up and were on high alert when Riniya and Larian ran up to us from the city wall. Smoke was climbing higher in the sky somewhere within the city.
“Prince Stanton! Zara! We must leave this place.” Riniya said as she ran closer to us.
“But why? What’s going on?” Stanton knew to keep calm in these situations but you could hear the worry in his voice. I clutched his arm.
“King Tyslan is attacking the city, he wishes to kill off the Royal line here so there’s no one left that has claims to a throne.” Larian tossed me my bow and arrows and Stanton his sword.
“What about our families?” I couldn’t help but think of my mother and father and Stanton’s parents.
“If they survive they will meet you in Akolon, for now we must leave.” Larian never knew how to be sensitive in situations such as these.
“Let me fight Tyslan, I can kill him!”
“No Stanton! You and Zara must get to Akolon. If you die here then you won’t be able to acquire the forces needed in order to take his army on. If he assumes you are dead then he won’t see you coming. Plus you have to protect Zara.” Riniya knew how to get through to Stanton.
“Alright. Are you two coming with?”
Larian responded. “No, you must make the journey alone. We are going to fight next to your mother and father.”
“Are you okay Zara? You haven’t said much.” Stanton clasped his hands on my arms and leaned in closer, pressing his forehead to mine.
“Y-yes. Just worried about my parents and everyone else in the city.” Tears spilled over onto my cheeks.
“Riniya, can you find her parents and protect them? I am sure my parents would understand.”
“Yes, I will. Now go please before they find you out here. You must kill Tyslan when the time is right.”
Stanton grabbed my hand and led me through the woods surrounding the meadow. We were headed north towards the Empty Fields.
“I thought we had to go to Akolon? That’s west not north.”
“Yes we do, but Tyslan will be expecting people to run that way, which is why we can’t. We will make our way that way but first toward the Empty Fields. Tyslan won’t find us there.”
I simply nodded my head and ran behind him. Worried for our families and friends, tears still streaming down my face. When we arrived at the Empty Fields you could still see a large cloud of smoke hanging over where Arsla is. Stanton told me to stop looking back. Together we wondered through the tall dead grass, not knowing where exactly to go. We spent the night under a fallen tree, a rare sight in the Fields. We had never spent the night together before and if it weren’t for the circumstances it would have been romantic. Still, we cuddled and Stanton held me tight as I cried through the night. I don’t remember falling asleep, just waking up lying on the cold dirt. Stanton wasn’t in sight forcing me to fear the worst.
I heard movement behind me. I grabbed my bow and arrows. Posed to shoot I squinted to look closer within the grass. There was a flicker of a feather, I exhaled and released the arrow without a second thought.
“Ow! What the hell man!” A girls voice exclaimed as she broke through the grass, pulling the arrow out of her left upper arm. “You seriously need to watch who the hell you are shooting at.” Her whole body shook in aggravation, black wings rustled behind her.
I kept my bow at the ready. “Who are you? Where is Stanton?”
“I should be the one asking questions since you just shot me!”
“Hmph, fine. I’m Maya, and I have no idea where pretty boy is.”
“Do not call him pretty boy! The first shot was a warning. I will not miss a second time. What are you doing sneaking around?”
“Aren’t you going to introduce yourself?”
My eyebrows scrunched together in frustration. “Zara dammit, now what were you doing roaming around here?”
“That’s an interesting last name.” Humor flashed in her red eyes.
“Smartass, that’s not my last name. Why aren’t you answering my questions?”
A familiar strong hand lay on my shoulder. “Put the bow away darling.” Maya smirked and nodded at Stanton standing behind me.
“What if she’s aligned with Tyslan?”
“She isn’t. There isn’t a single Akolonian who would align himself or herself with that evil man. If they did their elders would execute them.”
I lowered my bow unwillingly. Even if she wasn’t fighting for Tyslan I don’t really trust her. As long as Stanton said she was okay though there was nothing I could really do about it.
Maya walked towards Stanton, swaying her hips; her black pants tight around her legs and knee high boots. She had a low cut blood-red shirt that also hugged her curves.
“Well it is a pleasure to meet the famous Prince of Arsla.”
“What do you mean famous?” I didn’t like the way she was looking at him, like he was a piece of meat.
“Our Elders have been talking about him for a long time. Him and his lover are supposed to end Tyslans reign.” She was standing within inches of him and pulled him closer to her.
“Excuse me, get the fuck off Stanton.” I leapt towards her. Before I reached her she jumped out of the way, fluttering her wings and laughed.
“I was joking dude, chill out. I know you two have a thing I just wanted to see how far you’d let me go.”
Stanton joined in her laughter until I shot him a look. “I am sorry hun, but that was funny. I didn’t know you’d get so jealous. It’s kind of cute.”
“Cute? I’ll show you cute!” I raised my fist to punch him in the arm.
“Anyways, enough of that. I came to help you two get to Akolon.”
I sneered at her, “We do not need help, and we are perfectly fine on our own.”
“With as many dangers from here to Akolon I think not. Plus it is my duty to escort you. If I do not the Elders would be pissed and I am not about to tick them off.”
“And what are you going to do if we ran into danger? Punch them to death?” The whole time she’s been here I have yet to see a weapon.
Snickering she raised her arms, crossing them above her, pulling two twin blades from behind her. “An advantage to having wings, you can hide things better than with no wings.” The blades reflected the sun back at us. “Lets get going then. There’s no time to waste.”
It took us a few days to reach Akolon. Having to stop and hunt for our food and camp out for a few nights. I didn’t mind at all though because it gave Stanton and I the chance to be alone and cuddle. I am not sure where she slept but it was away from us, which made me happy. When we arrived other Akolonians with griffins greeted us. An animal we thought to be extinct. I bent my head upwards in awe. The cities were as described in the books I was able to read when I was younger. Some were smaller and others larger. A lot of the larger ones had mountains or large farms I assume. I couldn’t see too much on them because they were so high up. The mountains were unmistakable though, piercing the sky with its magnificence. There was one island that had a waterfall falling off the edge of it and onto another floating land. It was simply beautiful.
“Hello Maya, it’s good to see you completed the task given to you.”
“Oh shove it Fenian.” Her wings flapped for the first time since we met her and she flew up to one of the lands that was a mile or so away.
“Forgive her for her rudeness. She doesn’t much like authority. I am Fenian and this is Keyra,” He motioned to the female Akolonian holding the reigns on the griffins, “we will be your escorts while you are here. Our elders wish to see you but insist on you refreshing yourselves first.”
A bath sounded tremendous. “We have to ride the griffins?” I never really had to deal with my freight of heights thus far and I started panicking.
“Yes, or I could carry you?”
I blushed and Stanton glared at Fenian. “I will ride with you Zara. I am sure they can carry two people.” Without another word Stanton lifted me up onto the closest griffin and climbed behind me. He possessively wrapped an arm around me and grabbed the reign with the other hand. “Lead the way.”
After washing up in a large stone castle we were escorted to a large hall. In there was a circular table that sat five Akolonians. The middle one had golden hair and wings as Larian did, and the others had brown or black hair. They looked to be no older than thirty years old, but I knew they had to be way older than that.
The golden one spoke. “Stanton, Zara, welcome to our wonderful city. We hope you didn’t have any trouble making it ‘ere.”
Both Stanton and I bowed our heads to him and replied. “No sir.”
“Now now, no need to make me feel old. Why don’t you sit down? We have a lot to talk about.” It was more of a command than a suggestion.
We were in there for what seemed like forever. The Elders wanted to be sure we were ready to go to war. They didn’t think we were though and insisted on us stay here for a few months for training. A few of the Elven army were here to help train us as well to better prepare us for the final fight. We both agreed to stay here and learn in both of their ways of fighting to strengthen our skills.
Before we left the large hall I faced the Elders again. “Where are our parents? Did they make it here with Riniya and Larian?”
It was the golden elders turn to bow his head. “Sadly they did not make it. Riniya didn’t make it either. Larian barely made it here to tell us the horrible news and is now recovering.”
Stanton and I had a feeling that was going to be the answer for they would have let us see our parents if they had been in here. With heavy hearts we went back to the rooms we were given during our stay. Instead of going into mine I just joined Stanton in his.
As the months passed we grew stronger in our fighting abilities and in our relationship. I even became friends with Maya, who wasn’t as bad as I thought. After three months of nonstop training we were ready. Before we left to the Ash Terrain where Tyslans army was headed we packed extra weapons. The Akolonians gave us our own griffins in order to get there faster. Maya was one of our personal bodyguards that were assigned to stick with us during the war. Larian was one of them as were Fenian and Keyra. All who we have become close friends and great fighting companions with. When we were all ready to leave Stanton and I mounted onto our griffins. There were thousands of elves waiting on the boarders of the Ash Terrain to aid us. Thousands of Akolonians were waiting all around us for us to take off, leading them into war.
Flying there it only took us a few hours. The plan was to meet with the Elven army and rest up for the night. By dawn we’d attack. As we arrived Stanton and I stared at the landscape ahead of us. Hardly anything of the cities that were once stood there was left. There was still a large blanket of ash covering everything. Here and there you could see skeletons of humans, elves, Akolonians and animals. It was truly a sad sight to behold. The first war and the last war will have been fought on this land. And we are all hoping we come out victorious.
When we landed I slid off the griffin and relieved her of the burden of the packs we placed on her. I petted her before I sent her away to rest and to be fed. I didn’t bother bringing a tent since we were only going to be sleeping for part of a night. Though it didn’t stop a lot of others bringing one. I suppose to feel normal at least once before a huge war. The sun was setting not long after we arrived, candles started lighting up in the tents and it looked as if there were thousands of stars on the ground. It would have been beautiful if it weren’t a little sad. Some of them wouldn’t see tomorrow night. Casualties were something nobody could help. When Stanton was done talking to the Queen of the Elves, Seldanna, he returned to my side.
“Hey Zara, are you ready to get some sleep? We have a long day tomorrow.”
I sighed, “I guess I can try, though I’m not very tired.”
Stanton’s hands cupped my cheeks and angled my face upwards. “I love you Zara.”
“I love you too Stanton.”
“Good, does that mean you will marry me if we survive this?”
“You don’t even have to ask, of course I will. And what are you talking about if? We will survive this. Together.” I tiptoed to kiss him.
“Come on. Lets go lay down.” We picked one of the few shadowy spots under one of the few trees that grew on the outskirts and fell asleep in each other’s arms.
The sun peeked over the horizon, indicating it was time to wake up. Everyone was silently getting ready. I could hear a few whispers of chatter here and there but none of it was cheerful. This was the war that has been decades in the making. Everyone wanted the terror of Tyslan to be over but was still dreading the fighting part. In the distance we could hear the clattering of Tyslans army’s armor and weapons.
Stanton handed me my pack of leather armor before he started dressing. I whispered a thank you as I opened it and started dressing as well. Our armor matched other than his was made for a man and mine for a woman. Both were black with red embroidery. I picked up my new bow and arrows that were made to match my armor. The Elves and Akolonians joined together to remake our weapons for us. Stanton had his new sword hanging from his hip and a crossbow on his back. I had a thinner lighter sword but just as strong and well made as his sword. Together we mounted our griffins again with a whole army behind us.
With the blow of an Elven horn we headed towards Tyslans army. It wasn’t long before we collided with them. Tyslan wasn’t anywhere to be seen yet so Stanton and I fought with our comrades next to us. Hours passed before a soldier ran up to us.
“Prince Stanton!” He bowed. “Tyslan was sighted a few miles ahead fighting our soldiers.”
“Thank you, please go help who you can.” Stanton and I made eye contact. Without even having to say anything we broke through the front lines, cutting down anyone who stood in our way.
Not long after we spotted Tyslan. He stood taller than a normal human. His armor had spikes on the shoulder and looked like it was made of scales. His helmet had large horns protruding the sides of it with little space in the front but enough for him to see and breath. He was a fearful sight. Stanton and I were not afraid though for we had trained to take him on. As we got closer he noticed us coming his way.
Tyslan pointed his long halberd at Stanton. “You are supposed to be DEAD!”
“It appears the dead walk amongst the living today.”
“It appears you do.”
“I was talking of you scumbag.” Stanton raised his sword. “Zara step back.”
“No! He is ours to kill together!”
“Don’t be stupid. Step back and let me take care of it.”
“Both of you shut up and die already. I tire of you.” Tyslan charged toward us.
Stanton blocked the first thrust of the halberd and swung his sword skillfully at Tyslans stomach, which was left exposed when Tyslan was recovering. Blood leaked through and spilled on the ground as Tyslan roared in anger. He raised his halberd and swung it again but this time faster, knocking Stanton’s sword aside and scrapping the chest of Stanton’s armor. I watched them go back and forth as soldiers of both sides steered clear of the fight. Raising my bow I shot at Tyslan. Hitting the small space between his shoulder pad and chest plate severing it and causing it to fall. I shot off another arrow right after at the other side and hit my mark again. Fully taking his chest plate off. Giving Stanton the opportunity to thrust his sword into the evil kings stomach. Tyslan stumbled back in shock and fell to his knees. Before Stanton could retrieve his sword to deliver the deathblow I shot another arrow that pierced through the small space in Tyslans helmet. Causing him to fall back.
Finally it was the end.
Stanton turned slowly as I jogged to him and hugged him tightly. It was over.
Nicole Bruers is an aspiring author who is currently working on getting her Bachelor of Fine Art’s degree in Creative Writing. She has several works in progress that she is hoping will be published within the next few years. She writes both short and long stories. Nicole has always been driven no matter what she does. She has also loved storytelling since she was a little girl. When she isn’t working on her stories she is focused on raising her two young sons. She loves hunting and fishing as much as she loves writing. Nicole loves to read and play video games with her husband. Her husband supports her dreams and is behind her every step of the way.
STAR TALON is a Sci-Fi story that is about an alien named Xayan, who comes to Earth despite his instructors warnings. Xayan gets recorded taking off his “human skin” by a human Xayan met. Xayan has to convince the humans he’s there to help them before they make drastic moves if they capture him. JUMP is another twist on Sci-Fi. In this story the main character, Calanon, is a sort of Prince in his kingdom who is in control of a device that lets him jump to other dimensions. Any leaders within the dimensions know of the devices that can jump multiple people to any dimension they choose to go to. Calanon has to fight a rival clan in order to protect his device from being used the wrong way. THE PROPHECY'S CHAMPIONS is a fantasy story. Two elves are born in very different surroundings, but are brought together when they are kids by fate. When their home is under attack, they must escape together. They must come together with a small band of different races and raise an army to defeat the evil King Tyslan.