I am Amaery, the Warrior, Amaery the Protector, and Amaery the Wise. I am the last full-blood of my race. But there have been many of the last of the Shaki. Many who have said, as I have, I am the last of my race. No one knows but us, that until the Dream comes, we will always be. Will always be orphans, will always be gifted with more knowledge than even the four goddesses, themselves, and will always protect the Royal Family until there is no Royal Family.
Yes, the Dream is coming. That much i know for sure. But does it walk among us yet? I have no way of knowing, as wise as I am. I can only know that as long as evil spreads, the awakening of the Dream can only come sooner. But for now is a time of peace. The great War is over and that particular price has been paid. But Valruuah calls my attention back to the present.
“Are lessons finally over for the day, Avaery?”
Right now I sit under a tree, on a blanket, in the palace gardens with the young Princess of our land, while she pores over a book about the Gerudy Tribe. In the center of this garden stands a plain-looking statue. It depicts the sword and magix staff that had once belonged to Katrine, the Warrior Queen of our land and also Valruuah’s mother. The same weapons that had saved this land it’s freedom. The sun is setting in the West. I am her teacher and her guardian for now. I've tought her the legends and history of our land, Serene. I've tought her the arts of war and the politics to be a great Queen.
“Yes, I suppose. You look bored enough, as of yet, Lady,” I say with a smile.
“Well I would like to know what I am suppose to be learning from this book about the Gerudy way of life? It is not as if I must live the way they do.” She smiles as well.
So it was going to be the formal way out of lessons this evening.
“Your father suggested it.” My voice is flat with a suppressed snap.
“Oh yes, I forgot. The King always knows best.” She mimics her father in a deep voice.
We both laugh.
“Well let us go in then and have a quiet supper to ourselves. You may go on ahead my young ward, I will clean up and take the ‘materials’ of today’s lesson up to you wing.” I smile and feel the laugh lines move about my face. Funny, how smiling had always seemed so unnatural to me. As she runs on ahead, I can only sigh. *If only she knew the things that awaited her on the coming month. If only.*
As I turn to go I feel a thrum deep from within the Dreamers’ River, the well from which our people take our magic from. A realm parallel to the Living and the Spirit Realm. The realms of the Mortal and the Gods. The pulse draws me to its source. The statue was awakening its power. Which could only mean . . . the Dream had arrived . . .
* * *
In the far Southwest, in the desert valley, a man laughed in the approaching light of the moon. Desert coyotes howled in the Darkness, for even they did not understand the fate of their own land. The animals were the keepers of the land, and the four tribes its protectors, but since the War, the land had been tainted a bit. Tainted by the blood that was shed, as with any other war it would be. At the end of the War the corruption should have healed and cleansed itself, but so far it had not. Which to most who understood the Legends, it meant the War had happened for nothing.
The man, though, did not believe in the Legends. He had more important things to worry about than some prophecy. The man turned to an approaching woman, his lover in fact, and gestured for her to sit down.
“Are you sure this is necessary? A fight to the death with the King? Certainly there must be a better way than this,” the woman whispered. Her dark reddish-brown hair flowed around her in the breeze , as she undid the wind-swept braid. Her round, sapphire eyes gleamed with worry, eyes very different from the Gerudys’ natural gold. The three dark blue stripes on her upper left arm added to her exotic appearance. Not to mention she was a damn good assassin. She could pass for a fine Gerudy woman with some dark glasses and an arm-band.
“Funatoke, I have told you before,” he said as a croon. “It’s my claim to make. Death of royalty can be repaid by the challenge of royalty. It is a custom of the Old Ways. Graveis is a strong believer in the Old Ways. My father died by Katrine’s hand. I just want to repay the debt.” *Yes,* he thought, *I will send in the request for the challenge tomarrow when we are in town. That will do.*
Funatoke had considered the facts all but too many times before.
“But your father had poisoned her and that lead to her fall. She killed him before she died of his poison. The debt is paid!” she exclaimed. She understood her love tangled with a dangerous man, but to her, he had never seemed unfair or wrongly justifieable in his actions. But now it seemed the tables had turned and she could only listen and watch.
“But no one needs to know that do they? I only want to kill him, that bastard Graveis –no one else. The Rule of the Land will stay in that family’s hands because that bitch daughter is of age. She’ll rule Serene when he dies. I just want revenge for my father. Besides the King is a . . .”
“A pushover,” she interrupted with a snap in her voice. Her anger was rising, but there was something else she needed to know for sure. “But Aveilyruu, you know,” She hesitated. “Does she mean anything to you? Kunata made us leave. Please tell me you only love me. Don’t lie to me.” A pleading. She loved him, and needed him. He was the only love she had ever known since her mother and father had been murdered.
“She means nothing to me sweets. I told you this as well. All of that was only to get back in, to no longer be outcasts among our Tribe.” He kissed her on the cheek. His thoughts wandered as he began sharpening his war blade on a desert rock. Yes, then he had
played the lover of the daughter of the Gerudy Empress. Kunata was not pleased that Aveilyruu was falling for him, but at the time that was all he needed. Now he really did love Aveilyruu, because of the power she offered him after her mother’s rule ended. Which, to say the least, would be coming sooner than anyone would have thought. He needed the matron’s trust and the daughter’s love to make his plan work. Soon he would no longer be an outcast among his own people. Soon the Empress’s trust would back fire on her and be her downfall. Soon . . .
A kiss from Funatoke, took him from his thoughts. The kiss deepened.
“Do you want dinner?” Funatoke set up a fire and a skillet and began warming some meats.
“Let’s wait a while,” he purred with soft thunder rolling in his voice. She drew closer. After satisfying one hunger, they sat down to dinner, both looking out upon the far-away Lake Heroness.
To Be Continued . . .
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1229) How did you like the Prolouge? (Administrator: [~Saraneth~])
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