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[Orig '12] Wish 01/?

So. I've been threatening to post original work for months now, and it has finally come to pass again. I started writing Wish for NaNoWriMo 2004 and been working (and reworking) on it ever since. At the moment it hustles in 60,000 words or thereabouts, and is only half complete (obviously I didn't make NaNo Goal >_<). Tried posting this in '06, and it was sloppy at best, even with my awesome beta reader, tj_dragonblade, running interference. I have ordered a few things differently since then.

Summary: Micah Peynizhad always wanted to fit in, but as the son of a Djinni and a Human, there doesn't seem to be any place for him. After meeting the Human side of his family, Micah realizes he'd rather be accepted amongst the Djinn. Unfortunately, the only way he could do that is if he learns how to grant a Wish.

It's slow starting with lots of world building. If anything is too unclear this early on, please let me know. I try to explain throughout the telling, but I developed these Realms when I was twelve, and sometimes I forget that not everyone knows what I'm talking about. However, there is an Appendix which should help some things.

so. once more, with feeling, and even some pictures, I present:

WISH
©: Ken Black, all rights reserved.
No warnings this chapter.
Thank you TJ.

Chapter One: Born of Flame

The day was dismally bright as Ariana S. Peynizhad led her young son by the hand. The hand felt small and fragile within her grasp, though, it was in sharp contrast with the heat emanating from the sand, air, and sun overhead. It felt refreshingly cool to the touch. When he was a baby she recalled often placing his hands or feet on her cheeks simply because it was different from any sensation she had ever experienced. The boy had always been a cold flame. In this instance, that attribute kept her own palm from sweating; though any inclination to sweat would not have been from elevated body temperature. One didn’t grow up in Jihinistad, a desert country, and ever feel hot. But there was a definite heat upon her; an urgency to reach their destination, and quickly. The feeling was not unlike being a desert beetle under a magnifying glass. Ariana disliked the comparison.

A tug on her hand had Ariana peering down in to curious sunset titian eyes placed in a very young face. They were the wrong color for where they were headed and there was nothing she could do to change them. Those eyes were very pretty, unusually solemn. He was short for his age, the traveling cloak swallowed him whole and pooled around his little feet. Ears that were a little too large for his head and perhaps a little too pointed on the tips to ever be regarded as completely Human, silently reproached her with their innocence. None of this mess was his fault. He didn’t even have any idea what was about to happen to him, no inkling of why they had suddenly left home.

Emma . . . water, please?” he asked in his soft voice. He never spoke over loud; always just enough to be heard by the one he was speaking to and no more. It was as though he was trying to go unnoticed by the rest of the world, and yet by the same actions daring some passerby to encroach and also listen to what he was saying. And yet Ariana understood the philosophy behind it. The child had never been known to have many friends.

“All right, we’ll stop a moment,” the mother in her conceded, though the more logical part of her argued against it. But the boy was only seven years old and didn’t have desert stamina built up to her level. She stopped, released the coolness of her son’s hand and took the water skin from her side. As he drank Ariana fretted and looked behind her. Of course the heat haze prohibited her from seeing far; she hoped the same disadvantage was upon the one holding the glass.

The woman looked down onto the crimson hair growing from her son’s scalp and frowned. The ears aside, the hair would damn him. Only those born of flame had red hair. That feature by itself proclaimed him to be one of the Djinn, or at least betrayed his mixed heritage.

Emma . . . here.” He offered the skin back to her. Ariana withheld a sigh somehow. Undoubtedly she had crippled him in language skills also. It hadn’t been intentional, just the end result. The blood in the boy that made him not Djinni also exempted him from the laws of the Djinn. It would have been too easy to offend someone, too easy to receive anything just from using everyday phrases that others could use freely without repercussions. “Emma?”

Ariana’s eyes were looking into the boy’s burning gaze once again. Her hand was clasped within cool confines and extended forward. The boy had tried to continue their journey, but she hadn’t budged. The woman shook herself and allowed the boy to lead her. She didn’t often focus on what could be considered faults with her son. Those of her tribe had eventually come to accept him and Ariana hadn’t thought of the differences since then.

Emma. . . story, please?”

Ariana smiled. “Which one, baby?” Sometimes the kid was a little too perceptive. Somehow he always knew when she was preoccupied and just as often tried to fix it.

There was a pause, and Ariana knew that it wasn’t so the boy could think about what he wanted to hear, but how he should phrase it. “New . . . please?” he answered. Ariana waited to see if more would be said, but rare were the times the child ever added on to what he considered to be a complete sentence. She supposed he was terrified of saying too much, or even saying it the wrong way.

But ‘new please’ she understood translated to ‘can you please tell me a story that I haven’t heard before.’ “Okay, baby.” Ariana glanced behind her then forward once again. If the haze wasn’t playing with her vision — and there was no guarantee that it wasn’t — she could see where the desert was fading into packed dirt and stubborn shrubs. The possibility of leaving Jihinistad saddened her and yet was a relief. “Have I told you how the Djinn were born?”

“No, Emma.”

“Then we’ll go with that one.” A balladeer by the name of Quin Windsong had once recited the tale to her in his rich tenor; he had been a talented bard and she hoped her imitation would do him justice. She shifted the pack on her back, and readjusted the water skin so that it wouldn’t chafe against her side with her free hand. “A long, long time ago the Southern god of this realm, with eyes of crystal, and a heart of hot ice, looked down from his mountain top and spied the most beautiful creature he’d seen in his life. Wrapped in green and kissed by flowers, he’d sit and watch her play for hours. The most vicious of animals, around her were tamed, and where she danced filth couldn’t remain. For her smile, his hot heart would pang, and his warrior’s soul knew quiet whenever she sang.

“But the South’s idle gazing did not go unnoticed, for the Western god longed for his kiss. And perhaps it was jealousy that prompted the West to say, ‘she will never love you anyway! You wonder why you see her and feel such peace; did you not realize you look upon Vaisyn Davidya East?’” Ariana paused and looked down at her utterly captivated audience. Vermilion eyes riveted on her face, small mouth partly ajar, her son’s face was full of marvel.

He tugged her hand impatiently. “What . . . next, Emma?”

“Of course these words caused his hot heart to doubt, and before he could disappear to find a place to pout, the god of the West, with desperation did shout, ‘The East may not love you, but I do Xakkiya South!’ And so, afraid of rejection by the one that had him charmed, the South went from gazing, to Vakiya West’s arms.”

Another tug on her hand caused Ariana to look down into curious orange eyes. “Gazing . . . to arms?” the little boy asked.

Perhaps she should have waited to tell him this particular tale until he was older, Ariana mused. But she was against treating children as though they couldn’t understand some adult concepts. Besides she’d prefer that the boy learned about relationships from an adult rather than forage around when he was older, confused and ignorant. “Yes, baby, that means, Xakkiya quit watching Davidya from his mountain top and let Vakiya have him.”

“But . . . not love . . . her,” the child protested.

“Maybe not,” Ariana agreed. “Love is very complicated at times. But, baby, I think maybe the South was happy that Vakiya West cared for him, and he didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Sometimes you do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do in order to spare someone from getting hurt. Understand?”

A sharp nod, “Yes . . . Emma.”

Ariana smiled and then continued the tale. “A long time passed but it was still a long time ago, that Onuya North asked the Vaisyn of snow, ‘is the West who you want?’ but the answer was, ‘I don’t know’. Thinking only to help his fellow Vaisyn out, the North asked the East how she felt about the South. And when she answered, ‘I miss him watching me dance,’ the North knew Xakkiya still had a chance. And so it was, with flowers clinging to her green dress, Davidya East visited Xakkiya South to confess . . .”

“Vakiya . . . saw?” the boy interrupted.

Ariana nodded absently as she looked behind once more, squinted, and then faced forward.

Emma . . . okay?” the pressure on her hand increased; contrarily instead of heating it merely grew colder.

“Yes baby, your Emma is okay,” she hurried to assure. She focused on the hand within hers, so small, dependent on her. Ariana continued, “Davidya East visited Xakkiya South to confess, and tears filled the eyes of Vakiya West. The drops fell on the continent of Kernantz and where they landed nothing more would grow, the misery for her loss visible to all who wanted to know . . .”

Jihinistad is sand . . . because of the tears?”

“Yes that’s exactly right. Vakiya was very sad, and sometimes when you’re sad you can’t help but let everything else around you know it.”

“Like . . . you?” her son asked. Those sunset eyes were on her face again, Ariana could not meet them. “Emma . . . are you . . . sad?”

“No, sweetheart, I’m not sad,” she squeezed the hand and hoped that the show of affection would ease the lie she had just told, for she knew that the boy knew that what she had said was far from the truth.

They walked in silence for a moment.

And then his soft words and halted speech prompted her. “Emma . . . next, please?”

“Right,” Ariana breathed a sigh of relief. “Completely consumed by her grief . . .” she glanced down, noted the confusion, and realized that the boy’s vocabulary didn’t extend to that level yet. “That means, Vakiya wasn’t thinking of anything aside from being angry — Completely consumed by her grief, Vakiya West drew her sword to challenge Davidya East. And from their blades smokeless fire fell from heaven, and landed in the desert where Vakiya’s tears swim, and where the fire touched burned jewels that could not dim, and those jewels became the hearts of the Djinn.”

“Who . . . won?” reached her ears a short time after she’d grown quiet and they’d walked together in contemplative peace.

She shrugged. “If anybody knows that baby, it’s a well-kept secret.” Her free hand irritably scratched at the back of her neck; it took an act of will to refrain from turning around once more. She could sense that the magnifying glass had found the ideal angle for intense scrutiny; it made her more than uncomfortable.

Emma . . . where . . .”

“To Najort, baby,” she answered a little too quickly. Usually she allowed him the time he needed to form the questions she’d ordained as safe to say around Djinn, but at the moment she felt too harassed to display the proper patience.

“Why?”

She gently squeezed his hand. Realizing she had the potential to unintentionally hurt her son in her current state of paranoia she stopped their progress. Ariana crouched to the boy’s level and placed a kiss to his forehead, and then meeting his eyes answered, “Enough questions for now okay? We need to pick up the pace a little, and we can’t stop for water if your throat gets dry again.” She reclaimed his hand and they continued their journey east.

† ♦ †


The country of Najort was composed primarily of port towns as it was so close to the southern tip of Nomadia. Most merchants set up shop along the coast and traded with the Nomads while the nobility of Najort retired to the lush countryside. Unlike Jihinistad the country behaved as a proper Southern province should. The wind alone could chill the marrow in one’s bones during certain times of the year, and yet it retained a timeless beauty in its frozen entirety. There was a certain wonderland type of quality in all the snow carelessly littering the ground, and clinging to the branches of naked trees. It blanketed the earth, not as a layer tuned toward preservation of the life that could grow underneath it but in place of it. Interspersed with the white snow were blades of grass, equally white.

The child at her side had been appalled. It had been a few hours since the incident but Ariana still smiled at the thought of her son squeezing her hand and refusing to move another step as he examined the ground distrustfully. He had only ever seen sand in his short lifetime, and hills of snow were a shock. It had been enough to take her mind off the eye, real or imaginary, following their progress.

They approached a manor’s gate that read Diamond Flake in wrought iron as the sun kissed the horizon. Ariana led them through it and up to the large bright blue door. And when they were led inside by a stern faced butler that had raised an inquiring eyebrow but said nothing at all, the woman crouched before her son again. She took his hands and placed them on her cheeks. “Micah . . .” she began but couldn’t continue. She tried to smile, realized how phony it probably looked and lowered her head.

The boy lifted it, “Emma . . . you’re sad aren’t you?”

“Yes, baby, I’m very sad.” It felt good to tell the truth, Ariana acknowledged. She took the hands from her cheeks and placed a kiss in each palm. “I have to speak with the man who owns this place now, okay?” She kissed the hands again, memorized the unique temperature. “Emma loves you, Micah.” She took the bag from her back and laid it at her son’s feet. She stood and disappeared down the hallway; Ariana knew which way to go.

Micah Peynizhad patiently waited in the foyer for his mother to return.

The foyer was huge Micah noted absently as he stood in the center on a plush ivory rug.  The many candles blazing from the crystal chandelier overhead lit the room brightly and gave it a cozy glow.  The floor was tiled in blue stone. Crafted furniture that could only have come from the Fruitful Tree Colony enhanced the grandeur of the room. His bed at home had been crafted by the Dragonslayer when he’d come to visit once; Micah knew it to be a great honor only because his mother had told him to bow and wait on the boy hand and foot. The Clover DragonSlayer was a fun person and had taught him to recognize the intricate workmanship from one of his Colony. And when Micah had repeated a very colorful phrase the other boy had spat at the Dragonsayer, the Slayer had ruffled his burning locks and said he was good lad in the lilting tones Nomads were known to have.

There were two stair cases on either side of the room that led up to the second level.  They formed a semicircle that was overlaid with carpet of the same blue hue as the floor. The banister was wrapped in a gauzy fabric that looked more like an arm casually draped over a friend than a separated material.  In all the corners there were vases and ornaments of various colors and categories.  When the light above refracted through them the colors would vibrate through the room like a living rainbow. Micah wondered if the Soaking Sun Colony's City of Glass was as beautiful. When he would have moved to investigate which vase was casting a particularly sparkling shade of rose, Micah's sandals nudged the bag at his feet.

Emma sure is taking a long while, Micah thought. Usually his mother didn’t leave him alone for long stretches of time. She tended to hover protectively nearby, a physical reminder to speak in the way she’d drilled into his head since before he could remember. He never understood exactly why she’d said to say things in a certain way, omitting words, and sometimes people, but if it made his Emma smile when he got it right he saw no harm in doing as she asked. Micah didn’t admit it often, but it was hard sometimes when he tried to remember which words were bad and which ones weren’t. He was going to have to try harder, he decided, perhaps Emma wouldn’t be so sad if he could remember all the time. Micah hoped she would return soon. The hall was pretty, but it was starting to become a little scary. He didn’t like the way the other man in the hall was eying him.

The butler of Diamond Flake had seen many things in his years of service. When he’d been but a boy of sixteen years he’d inherited his position in the manor after his father’s death. He’d had the privilege of serving three generations of the Najya family, and looked upon his current master as more of a little brother. The house hadn’t changed in décor in a long while so perhaps he’d been immune to how it looked. But as he watched the small child fidget, he could sense the monotony he had fallen in rhythm with losing its beat. It was not an unfamiliar feeling. Madam Ariana had always disturbed the schedule of Diamond Flake. In her own way, the madam had fit with the manor; her son did not.

Madam Ariana’s hair was a pale shade of blonde; he’d wager even white. The son’s head was like its very own beacon in the pastel painted room. The shade was too loud for this side of the country. The poor child. The butler left his post beside the bright blue door and approached the boy. Titian eyes followed his movement.

The man was tall, very, very tall, Micah thought. People in Jihinistad didn’t reach that height, it wasn’t natural. His hands alone could probably hold four of Micah’s easily. One of those large hands rested on his red hair and gave it a friendly ruffle. Micah was reminded of the kindness the Dragon Slayer had shown him, and was no longer afraid. “Emma . . .?” he thought to ask, as the man would likely know what was keeping her.

“Not yet,” he answered as he stooped from his great height to kneel beside the boy. “What’s your name?” his voice was deep but soft, defying the man’s build.

“M-Micah Peynizhad.”

“Well, young master Micah, a bit cold out today wasn’t it?” Micah shrugged. He wasn’t familiar with the word cold being used in reference to the weather. In Jihinistad there was only one temperature. The old man smiled. “Would you like some hot chocolate?”

“What’s chocolate?”

“Ah well,” the butler began. He grabbed the bag by the strap with one hand and the boy’s hand with the other. The touch gave him pause. Micah’s hands were blessedly warm. Not hot, as Ariana’s had always been hot, but a temperature that could make one wonder if the womb had been that perfect. “You’ll just have to see, won’t you?”

“What’s your name?” Micah wondered.

“Smithyrs, young master,” he was answered promptly.

“Mista Smithyrs?” Micah began and paused. Waiting for acknowledgment was another characteristic his mother had drilled into him.

“Yes?”

Emma . . . will she know . . . where to find me?”

Smithyrs pasted on a smile that only thirty years of practice could fool anyone as being real. “Of course, young master.”

† ♦ †


LyAnne Najya was incapable of walking with the graceful steps she’d been taught in finishing school not more than a decade ago. As she treaded down brightly lit corridors the candles seemed to flicker in fear when she passed and servants scurried from view. She was dressed in an expensive red riding habit; the whip still present in her hand. Her long blonde hair had escaped its neat coiffure. LyAnne had been a little flushed from riding, but anger had suffused her face with an unbecoming shade of red.

Upon returning from a late afternoon ride she’d heard it straight from the head hostler’s mouth: ‘She’s back’. There was no need for names. ‘She’s back, and she’s brought her get.’ Ariana S. Peynizhad, LyAnne growled mentally. She stopped walking, picked a wall at random and began whacking it with her riding crop. It felt good. It felt primal. The clapping sound echoing down the hall could almost be mistaken as the sound of flesh being tormented when LyAnne closed her eyes. It would be beautiful, so beautiful if Ariana was the one she was hitting now. Ariana S. Peynizhad, LyAnne knew without being told, was long gone now. The crop broke. LyAnne threw it down with disgust and continued up the hall. The pressure of each step reverberated through her feet.

The servant had said she’d brought a child.

LyAnne shook.

She was a good woman, the entire town said so. Just out of finishing school she’d been offered lots of banding proposals but she had refused them all. She’d wanted to become a Najya. She’d wanted to become banded into the most prestigious name in their province, and she’d succeeded. Some might say many unkind things about her due to jealousy of course, but they would never call her a failure. LyAnne had married Tym Najya eight years ago. They had a nine year old boy who would always claim to be a year younger for the rest of his life. It wasn’t flattering to LyAnne to say she’d had a child outside of the band after all. They had a beautiful home here in the countryside of Najort. Diamond Flake was prospering.

How dare she come back?

LyAnne and Tym had their differences, she would never claim otherwise. Really, what couple didn’t argue from time to time? What old banded couple didn’t have a few lovers on the side? And generally, LyAnne forgave Tym for his numerous shortcomings, and he overlooked her very few faults. But not this time. The man had gone too far.

She threw open the door to his study.

“TYM!” LyAnne screeched. Her hands were pale from the compulsion to keep them balled into fists at her sides. Her Onban was seated behind his finely created Fruitful Tree desk. Boyishly light blonde hair obscured his green eyes from view as he peered through Soaking Sun crafted glasses perched on his regal nose. Her Onban idly glanced up from his paperwork. He seemed neither distraught with her anger nor contrite over his past transgressions. He wasn’t surprised to see her in the least.

If LyAnne were a volcano she would have exploded. The woman was livid with his nonchalant attitude.

“With THAT woman — THAT — CREATURE!” She couldn’t catch her breath. Vai was without a doubt stealing it from her so that she couldn’t say something she’d likely regret later. The woman didn’t think she’d regret anything later aside from foolishly wanting to marry into the Najya family. Vaguely, LyAnne realized that she wasn’t being coherent and couldn’t find it within her to care. “I want it out!”

Tym Najya removed his glasses from his face in a deliberate movement. Did he know how much she loathed that action whenever it was performed? He probably did. LyAnne was shaking again. “No,” he said simply.

“With her, with HER you . . .” She shouted loudly. Not a word, just pent up frustration. Emotion which had no clear phrase to even begin to suggest the amount of rage she felt within at the very thought of Tym with the woman who needed no name. Tym had cheated on her. Fine. Tym had cheated on her with Ariana S. Peynizhad. Not fine. She wailed again, stomped through the study. LyAnne snatched the documents from under her Onban’s nose and tossed them into the air. As the papers floated down to the floor in a dance around them, LyAnne stood before Tym heaving breaths of air, the epitome of a harried wife. Tym sat before LyAnne leaning back in his chair, the epitome of calm.

For five minutes they stared at each other. LyAnne used that time to reclaim her sense of self. Her finishing school instructors had told her time and time again that a man was a simple-minded creature. A little sweetness went a long way.

She attempted to offer a smile, and knew it fell far short of sweet. “I don’t want that child in my house.”

“It isn’t your house.”

A breath. She needed to breathe. She needed to think. “What of Sabél?” she managed to ask, her voice was a little raspy, a little too high pitched.

“What of him? He’s still the eldest.”

“Then what of the neighbors?” LyAnne knew she’d raised her voice, perhaps sounding a bit hysterical this time. She tried again. “What will they say?”

“They will say what they will. We will only say the truth.”

“And that is?”

“The boy is Ariana’s child . . .”

LyAnne jumped over the desk and tackled her Onban with a screech of pure fury. There was just something about that name. Whenever she heard it a flame born of sheer vexation ignited within her. Her hands were at his throat, squeezing, loosening as somber green eyes watched her. LyAnne released him; she didn’t have the strength to strangle him anyway. Tears of frustration welled in her eyes. “You bastard. I hate you,” she grieved and pushed away from him.

When she felt the tears slip down her cheeks, LyAnne was aghast. Showing such weakness in front of Tym was not acceptable. Crying because in the end Arian — don’t think about that name! Don’t think about it! — that woman had won. A sound that could be mistaken as a sob escaped. But LyAnne Najya did not cry; especially not for something as trivial as this.

She sniffled; slapped herself hard. “Stop it!” she ordered. Another slap. “Stop it! Stop it! Don’t be a baby!” When she would have hit herself again another hand intervened; grabbed hers by the wrist and yanked her to a strong chest. She struggled, LyAnne was sure she did.

In the end she capitulated and allowed herself to be comforted by her worthless Onban.

† ♦ †


Sabél Najya padded through the maze of halls running through his home on two layers of socked feet. At times like this he was glad they had carpeting throughout the structure. His daddy had paid a high price for Rainbow Streams artisans to weave it. The rug stayed warm with the kiss of the sun no matter how cold the weather or the stone beneath it. It was thick, and soft, didn’t stain. Sabél wondered if the heavens smelled as it did. The boy spent a lot of nights camped out on his room floor in lieu of the bed.

His friend Desmond wasn’t so lucky to have carpeted floors. During the coldest season of the year Desmond would beg his parents to let him stay over for weeks at a time. They usually conceded. Fortunately it was nearing the phase in the year when Xakkiya South routinely sent the first of a series of snowstorms and dropped temperatures. Sabél was looking forward to it. He didn’t think so often, but sometimes being an only child was a little lonesome. As he came to the end of the hall he dropped to his knees and peered around the corner.

It was dark outside and his mother had rebuked him time and time again for coming in after the sun had set. She was rather fond of saying ‘Don’t let night beat you home.’ He didn’t feel like having his ears boxed today. And while Sabél believed he was too old for spankings LyAnne frequently would disprove the theory and put him over her knee whenever he misbehaved. Sabél didn’t feel like going through that humiliation either.

Curious was the fact that Smithyrs wasn’t present beside the over bright blue door. Usually, when not performing other duties, the old man sat in the Nomadian made chair beside the door and flipped through some musty old tomb he’d found in the library. Sabél knew they had a library; he just wasn’t exactly sure where it was. More than that though, Smithyrs wasn’t at his post. Sabél had a tendency for inconsequential thought. One moment he knew what he was talking about, the next his mind was in free fall mode. Sabél wanted to break himself of that habit, though he was also aware that it may be an inherited flaw.

Sabél hadn’t seen Smithyrs and he hadn’t been spotted while roaming through the house. His goal had been the second floor and a bath before his mother found out he’d missed curfew again. Sabél wasn’t ignorant enough to believe his stealth skills were so great that he could sneak about completely undetected. Come to think of it though, even with Smithyrs excluded from the number, he hadn’t spotted a single servant in the halls.

A scream resounding through the house spooked the thought from his brain. Sabél jumped and then looked up with an irritated pout on his face. Only his mother could be so charming. Shouting so early in the evening, what was her problem this time? Sabél was never one to disclaim the fact that his mother was a bit neurotic. Oftentimes she contained it better. Obviously this wasn’t one of those times. Little wonder that he could not think in concentric circles.

The child shrugged; if nothing else he now had an explanation for the absence of servitude. No sane person wanted to be around his mother when she was in one of her moods. He also knew he’d be off the hook as far as coming in late was concerned.

He redirected himself toward the kitchen, the head cook’s daughter, Telinda, always kept a mug of hot chocolate for him by the stove.

The halls were always brightly lit. When candles burned down servants scurried to replace them for fear of being replaced themselves. LyAnne detested shadows. She always complained that the house was too big and empty. And once Sabél had heard his father mutter so was her brain. His mother hadn’t heard that though. For Sabél’s part, he loved Diamond Flake. No part of it was too large or scary even when ensconced in shadows. There were many acres of land surrounding the vast manor house. It was the best farmland in the entire country. Najort wasn’t known for its fertility — Mintz on the West coast had that honor — but there was one item that grew in Najort and no where else; Xakkiya’s Devotion. Diamond Flake’s orchard was brimming with them.

Xakkiya’s Devotion was a brand of apples. They were purest white, and sweetest in taste, and could only be grown in temperatures of constant cold. The legend had it that Xakkiya planted a single seed in a clearing where Davidya East danced. The seed grew into a tree and bore fruit. The fruit was a symbol of Xakkiya’s undying love for the East. Someday the orchard and the manor would be all Sabél’s and he’d work very hard to ensure it remained as beautiful then as it was today. The thought made Sabél very proud.

Even if one were new to Diamond Flake they would be able to find the kitchen. It always smelled of fresh baked bread, or sweets. It was always warm and inviting in a busy kind of way. It was unusually crowded for the time of day though. By no means was Sabél an expert in the kitchen’s schedule, but he did know that the servants should be preparing dinner. Instead they encircled the wide island stand as pots bubbled and yeast rolls fermented. Some sat on scrounged-from-somewhere bar stools while others stood; some leaned on someone else for support. Sabél recognized many of them as servants from the East wing. The mystery of Smithyrs’ absence was also solved when he heard a deep guffaw coming from the midst of the group, all chuckling over something.

Spying his customary cup of chocolate by the stove, Sabél took it by the handle and moseyed closer. Careful not to spill a drop, he ducked in to the circle through an opening of legs belonging to a tall servant and stood up. Disturbingly bright red hair immediately caught his eye. Sitting beside Smithyrs was a little boy. In both hands he carefully held a mug of something, other mugs of various colors rested before him on the table. The boy took a sip from the cup in his hand and made a face as he shook his head.

“Yucky,” he proclaimed it and the servants laughed even more. Obviously, the kid had done that a lot.

Spotting him, Smithyrs beckoned him forward and gave up the stool he’d been sitting on. “Thank you,” Sabél said politely. He liked Smithyrs; the man was more like an old uncle than a butler. He drank his chocolate and glanced to the side. The kid was watching him; his eyes were the same color as the sunset, Sabél noted. He placed the mug down with a decisive thump and faced the other boy head on. “How come your ears are pointed?” he asked, curious.

“H-How come . . . your ears . . . aren’t pointed?” he was asked in return. Sabél didn’t know the answer so he dismissed it. He didn’t want to smile but he could feel one tugging on the corners of his mouth. Accent aside, the kid had a funny way of speaking. It was cute.

“Never seen a person with orange eyes,” Sabél commented.

“N-Never seen . . . green.” Sabél decided to take that as a compliment. The kid hadn’t said it vocally but his mannerisms indicated that he liked his eyes.

“The sun isn’t so strong around here. How come you’re so brown?”

“How come you’re so . . . not brown?” The words came a little faster this time. No stuttering in the beginning. “Are . . .” a pause, maybe a change of thought. A warm finger touched his hand a moment. “Have you . . . been sick long?”

“Sick?” Sabél wondered as the servants’ snickering engulfed them. He spent more time outdoors than in. While the sun wasn’t as powerful on this side of the country, he did have a tan albeit a very light one. It drove his mother even further insane that he didn’t have her milky complexion. She always said if he wasn’t careful he’d wind up looking like a commoner. He had the Najya family trademark green eyes, and — even further cause for worry on his mother’s part — light brown hair where before there had only been generations of blondes. He shook his head to clear it. Stay focused, he berated himself. “Where are you from?”

Jihinistad.”

That gave Sabél pause. “Jih–what? You mean Peyirzha, right?”

The boy shrugged, baffled. The brunet decided to let it go.

“I’m Sabél. What’s your name, kid?”

“Micah,” he was answered. Sabél had never seen one of the Vaille, but he’d heard stories of their beauty. He was more than positive that a smile from one of them would look just like the one on Micah’s face at that moment.


† ♦ †


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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
bgreenwivy
Jul. 4th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
Let's see where to begin. Okay now overall I adored this chapter. I must make a small request though. Can you please include maybe a short set up of what the different titles mean. Like Emma...is mother I think but is Onban lord or husband? It would help greatly. Also the map isn't very clear...at least to me but I think I can figure out most of it.

The descriptions and the set up were nice. The flow was eloquent and the story Emma told was fluent and gave that feeling that it would be important somewhere along the way. What happened to Micah' mother? I am interested in knowing did she leave or...Well better not think that. What is the history between her and the lady of the house so to speak.

This was definitely intriguing if nothing else and I look forward to the next bit.
entitys
Jul. 5th, 2012 05:38 am (UTC)
Awesome. glad you think it interesting enough to continue. The next chapter should answer a lot of your questions (and probably give you new ones ^_^). Your request for explanation of terms and ideas has been answered here. I think I covered enough of everything needed to know for right now, but if I missed something important for clarity just let me know. Thank you so much for the comment!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )