First things first. Don't volunteer for missions with random strangers. Especially if one of them has a crazy Shadow stalking them. Not to mention the other dweebs are either idiots or pompous psychos. I'm serious. We were six kids attempting to embark on the most complicated mission I’d ever heard of.
“I have no choice now, confined as I am to my home, but to ask you six to help me,” the rich man on the floating “wheel”chair said gravely. “My wife is missing, gone off to find a place few have ever returned from…the Heart of All Realms.”
“Do we have any clues, Mr. Jackson?” asked a boy with jagged ears and tanned brown skin.
“My son should be able to help you,” replied the man. A skinny boy with fair hair and a shy expression stepped up next to him. “I also have given Miss Violet Kyson here”—he pointed to the purple haired girl that looked like she had no idea what they were saying— “a bag of portals. They are all I have to help you, unfortunately.” Mr. Jackson then fell into a bout of coughing and quit the room, leaving the six alone.
Quiet fell over the hall. One boy put his feet on the table and his hands in his pocket. His expression was bitter but not hostile. Cody Jackson’s son stood nervously next to the boy who had spoken and who now spoke again: “Well…”
The pretty girl with red curls and a white skirt looking up, taking a cookie and breaking it into crumbles over her plate. Next to her, the purple-haired girl lifted an invisible teacup and drank. A winged girl with a black halo and black dress sat two seats away from purple-hair, staring stonily at the others.
“Erm.” Everyone whirled and turned to Mr. Jackson’s son except for the stony-faced girl, who simply turned her head slowly, like a statue. The boy faltered.
A few minutes of awkward silence later, jagged-ears said, probably over-enthusiastically, “Well, I’m Jing Long, last of the Tideborn, as far as I know. Sorry about the Shadow earlier.”
“That was your fault?” red curls asked, picking up another cookie.
“Erm, yea. I’m not quite sure what I did to anger him.” It was jagged-ear’s turn to look nervous. Curls nodded before pulverizing the cookie. Poor cookie. Another pause later, Ears fidgeted and turned to Jack’s son’s son. “So, what’s your name?”
“Kenneth,” the boy said quietly, as if he was afraid of answering wrong. The boy with his feet on the table rolled his eyes.
“Kenneth Jackson. Not a bad name.” Jing chuckled, which sounded strange for an 11 year old. “Beats Gold Dragon.”
“Kenneth Rizea. It’s my mother’s surname.”
Boots-on-the-table suppressed a laugh and Curls asked the question on everyone’s mind: “Why did you take your mother’s surname?”
“It’s actually my grandmother’s,” he explained. “My mother adopted it because she didn’t have a surname. Both my sister and I took the Rizea name…at my father’s insistence.” He shrugged. “I know it’s confusing. I don’t get it myself all the time. But yea. I’m Kenneth Rizea.”
There was a pause as everyone took this in before purple-hair said, “Confusing, family of yours is.” She proceeded to introduce herself. “Me is Violet, of Kyson.” She turned to feet-on-the-table.
He made a face before replying. “Wisconsin.”
“Of Wisconsin?” Curls asked innocently. He gave her a funny look. “You mentioned you came from Earth.”
He shrugged. “Surname Tynan. You?”
“Lewis. Maple-Ann Lewis. I hail from Cieonna Halls though,” she said the last part with a smirk.
A silence again.
“You are all fools,” the last person suddenly said. Everyone faced her, but unlike little Kenneth, she did not falter under their gaze. “You toss such names around as if they were common.” She turned her hard gaze on the amicable Jing: “Gold Dragon is a name of promise if not yet known. It was a well-chosen name, yet you waste your life in foolishness, anger a Shadow and endanger your kind. You know you are the last of your species yet you have not more capacity for seriousness?”
She turned to Violet without stopping a beat: “Kyson! She may be some distant relative of yours, but the blood of Kerra Dusk, Lady of Darkness runs strong in your blood. You embody one of the few phantasmic people that walk this world with neither curse nor confine and yet you cannot even begin to understand the legends that surround your family.”
She bore down on the youngest of the group: “You are young, but are a cretin nonetheless for not knowing your own name. Your father chose Rizea for your sister and you because it holds power, more so than the name Jackson. Aurora Rizea is one of the Nine Houses, Master of the Carpet Eveline, and the legendary Traveler of the genesis times.
“And you—“ She whirled on Maple, who sat calmly, a half-crumpled cookie in her hands. “Reon Cieonna is another of the Nine Houses, Master of the Scarf Eveline, Storm-Keeper, Ghost-Ruler—do these titles mean nothing to you? You forsake your name and by extension your birth and power. You have no idea of the power kept by the Halls of Cieonna yet you would cast it aside for some unknown “Lewis”?” She sat in an indignant huff.
“Fools all. I should call myself one for associating myself with you.”
She stopped there, and sat with her eyes piercing into the “cretins”. Her harangue had left Kenneth in tears, Jing in guilty silence, and Violet in stunned confusion. Only Maple seemed unaffected, the half cookie still in her delicate fingers.
Maple set the cookie down untouched and re-pinned a curl smoothly before saying, “And whom might you be, so wise in the ways of our families and our names?”
“I am known only as The Lady Archangel,” came the stern reply. “I am the Servant on the Nine Houses themselves, and a force not to be reckoned with.”
Maple-Ann Lewis of Cieonna Halls evidently ignored that last part. She took a bite of the cookie thoughtfully and set it down again with a pleasant smile. “Good cookies,” she said briefly to Kenneth. “Better than the kind my sister bakes.”
To the force that had named herself The Lady Archangel: “Yes, my sister. Esthien Cieonna, who carries the burden of the Curse of Cieonna. The Curse, and the powers that come with it.” She took another bite of cookie and continued evenly, “Reon herself named me Lewis. I do not aspire for more than I am entitled to. I do not aspire my sister’s position as I am certain she should not aspire to mine. My name is very much appropriate to my person.” She paused again to finish the cookie, perhaps mostly for effect, and finished, “And whatever sources you relied are clearly incomplete.”
The Lady Archangel didn’t miss a beat: “Notwithstanding you have left the Halls though, Miss Lewis. Is the calling of one of the Lost of Cieonna Halls too difficult for you? Why else would you linger so far away from the Halls and dawdle time snacking on—on trinkets!” she waved her hands expressly at the pile of cookie crumbs and crumbles that had gathered on Maple’s plate. “You are—a halfwit!”
Evidently Maple had no answer for this, as she simply took another cookie and nibbled away nonchalantly. The forgotten boy with his boots on his empty plate abruptly moved, shrugging his hands from his pockets and crossing them over his chest.
“What about me? You don’t seem to have a problem with me.”
“Tynan is an obscure name,” the Lady dismissed. “You are an inconsequential speck in comparison to the history that your companions keep.”
“Am I?” He suppressed a sneer.
“Your name is unknown. I suggest you disengage yourself from this motley group before your name is tainted as well."
“Right. I don’t know my name.” He paused, and this time the sneer was unhidden. “But I know my relations.”
The Lady stared down at him with narrowed eyes. “As you should, you—“
“I was abducted when I was 4,” he said flatly. “And before then I lived in the streets. I never met my family.”
“You may know them too.” He let that hang there for a moment before continuing. “Erin Jenevive. Know her name?”
He was met with silence.
“Didn’t think so. What about Nem Suis?”
“Suis,” Maple-Ann muttered.
“Veraline?” A pause. “Does Evangeline ring a bell?”
Maple snapped her head up, staring. Wen smiled. “Evangeline is my twin sister. I’m told we don’t look alike.”
“You don’t,” Maple said curtly, selecting another cookie from the few left.
“She has witch blood and I…another.” He withheld the information but Jing, the only other person besides Maple that had seen Wen fight earlier, supplied the information:
“A…warrior of the energy blade. What’s the word—“
Wen twisted his mouth and blinked. For a kid, the boy had caught on extraordinarily fast.
“A Leth,” the Lady breathed, half in scorn, half in disbelief.
The Leth shrugged. “Of course, no one besides this, what did you call her—this halfwit, has caught on yet what I mean. This must mean you, my good lady, are less than half-wit. Shall we say,” he paused, pretending to think, “A dimwit?”
Maple laughed aloud and Violet’s expression was caught halfway between a smile of amusement, a frown of disapproval and a twist of confusion. The younger two didn’t understand the battle of wits until the last word, when even they caught on that the older boy had called the Lady a dimwit.
“You withhold another name,” the Lady said, eyes narrowed but otherwise unfazed by the insult. “Say it.”
Wen shook his head with a superior smile. “You should know this, all-wise one.”
Maple finished another cookie, leaving only three more on the plate for the others, none of who had touched one yet. She wiped her fingers on a napkin delicately. “Evenette Suis,” she said evenly. “That is the name you are missing.”
“Surely that one you recognize?” Wen asked innocently.
Everyone recognized the name. Evenette Suis, the witch-that-had-gone-insane. Evenette, who had been gifted with the rare ability of dualcasting elements. Evenette, who held more power than entire armies in a single pointy fingernail. Evenette, who was rumored to be the Destroyer—who else could wreak havoc so easily without conscience?
“Your name is a tainted one,” The Lady Archangel said finally. “Yet you flaunt it. Evenette’s curse may yet be your own.”
“Evenette’s curse is her gift which is my twin’s.”
For a while no one said anything. Wen Tynan put his feet down and snagged a cookie from the plate. He bit, found it to his liking and consumed the remainder of it quickly. He tossed another to Jing, stood and patted his hands off on his pants and pulled a gadget out of a pocket as if checking the time. “Well, glad that’s settled. Now, if we have a clue where we’re going, I have a ship outside that might be handy. ”
Maple stood and waved a hand over her plate of crumbs, clearing it immediately. Jing, who was already standing turned to Kenneth, who picked the bag on the ground next to him and nodded. Violet looked up. “Me may…join you on quest?”
Maple smiled magnanimously and put a comforting arm on the purple-haired phantom’s shoulder. “Of course,” she murmured. “You are welcome.”
The five nodded and headed outside, leaving the girl in the long dress and black halo with the final cookie.
The Lady Archangel sat with her hands folded before her, eyes staring through the innocent cookie. “Their mission may yet be successful,” she murmured barely audible. She stood and looked after the five-some and back at her scythe leaning against the wall. She swept the scythe into one hand and flicked the cookie onto the blade in a single, practiced move. With precise movement she brought the blade towards her and snatched the cookie up with her free hand. She ate a little chunk, cocked her head in tasting and tucked the remainder away to one of the many cross-deminsional vaults created with a swipe of her scythe. Then she smoothed out her dress and walked through the wall to join the other fools.
Okay, fine, they turned out different than I’d guessed. But they were difficult too, and sometimes they reminded me of my old assassin crew. I just thought of it as another mission. It didn’t matter who assigned it.
Artist's note: Hi :) This is Silver Ink, hopefully reporting back after a summer hiatus. Yep!
So...I already know this is going to be a really really long note so I'll try to divide it up:
About the post/ story: So...yea...:D Wen's life took an unexpected turn, hehe. There are two other Wen-stories I already have written and will be posting... so... yea. As with any other story that vaguely mentions Wen Tynan, this is dedicated to TATAbox. Hopefully she's not disappointed that I posted something other than what I said I would....but it fit better to post this first, I think. :)
About the hiatus and life: Hehehe...Sorry about the unexplained unmentioned hiatus. I was away from my computer (omigosh -.-) for most of the summer and I had summer school so....that's my excuse? hehe! College is starting as well, so I don't know exactly how much I'll be writing yet, but I'll try to keep with the good old 500 words/ week :)
About...another blog. You might not have noticed, but this post is being posted from a different gmail account; email@example.com (cookies if you remember where Aurasine Windrose comes from). Don't worry; it's just a new alias. In conjunction, The River Windrose is now up, though not yet running. It's going to be only my stuff :P but it's not completely the same. I'll still be posting random stories and scenes here on DiW <3. TRW will be a little different. I'll keep an update on how that goes (expect slowly :P ) :)
Also, I realized that the subscribe button only works with gmail only and only to the blogger feed and that thus, no one was getting any notifications about posts! That's been altered to a subscribe by e-mail gadget now, so hopefully it'll be a little more useful. It's at the bottom of the right hand bar, right under the horridly outdated Links section. Tell me how it works! :)
Please comment! Thanks in advance!
Anyways...that's all for this week! Glad to be back!