Stories : From Orphan to Officer
Everywhere one looked was fire and destruction. Ruins burning and what once were trees, smoldering. In some places boulders and meteors from fallen bits of the now ruined moon, in other places, craters from where they hit and buried themselves or bounced to lay elsewhere. Amid the chaos, the smell of death permeated, seeping into clothing and hair, making one wonder if they would ever smell clean air again. It was into this new wasteland that the searchers walked, looking for items easy to carry off to sell to merchants that cared not whence they came. After all, the dead would not be needing such items again.
Such a pass-time was profitable for awhile. And sometimes, one could find rare treasures that were worth more than a few silvers or a couple golds. Treasures worth so much more. And so it was that the soft rustling was heard amongst what once was a house and it's inhabitants.
Thinking it to be perhaps a pet cat or dog, the searcher with the keen ears entered the smoking building without a roof and began to look, eager for the coins such a creature would bring. Making sounds of welcome and kindness, the searcher tried getting the animal to come out from under the charred bodies of two adults. When it would not, the male's body was moved aside first, cautiously in case the beast was feeding on the corpses. When nothing jumped out, the searcher bent and slowly moved the body of the woman, and the searcher's eyes widened.
There, laying on it's back, a Tier'Dal infant, arms and feet up as if it had been pushing on the bodies of the male and female, trying to get free of the weight. Ice-blue eyes looked up at the searcher, tiny face impassive, as what could only be it's parents were removed from it's small prison. They had died protecting their offspring from the Shattering. Picking up the silent infant, the searcher scurried off, sure that someone would pay well for such a treasure. Arriving a time later at the Shady caravan, the searcher was proven correct. Grinning around broken and decaying teeth, the searcher’s hand curled around the coins before running off into the waning light.
Taking the still quiet infant, the Shady trader took it into his trailer. Unwrapping the soiled swaddling from the body of the child, he looked to see what sex it was and discovered a girl child. Smiling to himself, he took a cloth with water and cleaned the babe before rewrapping her in clean cloths. What a deal he had gotten, such a quiet girl child for mere gold, and Tier’Dal besides. Such a gem would fetch many gold, perhaps platinum if her silence and meekness continued as she grew. Many nobles would pay well for such a one. The Shady trader didn’t really care why they wanted them, just that he could profit from it. For now, he would take the child to the Shady orphanage until she grew a bit and could fetch a higher price. After all, no one wanted the hassle of raising a baby, merely of the labor a more able-bodied and older child could do.
“She’s to be a Mage” bellowed one overseer of the children.
“A Guardian!” hollered the other.
The two looked at each other, dumbfounded and shocked beyond all comprehension. With wide-eyed stares, they turned their heads to the one who had spoken. Standing there, hands hanging at her sides and relaxed was the blue-eyed girl child. Up until now she had just been called Girl by everyone at the Shady orphanage. No one had ever heard her speak and so no one had thought to ask her if she had a name, and none cared enough about the silent creature to give her one. From the day she had come to the orphanage five years before, not one sound was made by the unnatural Tier’Dal girl. And her eyes of ice-blue unnerved everyone that tried staring her down. The intimidator was always the intimidated instead.
“What did you say?” they chorused together.
“Majian” repeated the girl.
“You wish to be called Majian, is that it?” the first asked her.
With merely a nod, the lean child turned and walked silently on bare feet from the room and outside. Watching her through the window, the two overseers of the orphanage merely gaped as the small girl marched into the middle of a circle of older children and between the two that were fighting. Not a word was said by the girl, she merely stepped between them. Fists suddenly lowered and both heads hung as the ice-blue eyes were turned on them before they turned and made their way into the crowd of other children. As all of the older children in the circle began to disperse, the small girl turned her unnatural eyes to the window and appeared to look directly at the overseers. They shuddered in unison as they both thought that surely she couldn’t actually see them, could she? With a small smirk toward the window, the girl turned away and padded silently around a corner of the outbuildings.
"Shhhh! She's coming! Rena, comb your bangs down! Arelian, stand straight. Would you boys STOP fighting," the eldest of them tried in vain to get all the orphanage children lined up properly for the choosing. "The woman only wants one this time, so would you all PLEASE BEHAVE!!"
A hush fell over the group as the noble woman crossed the courtyard with the overseers. Slowly, she looked over the rim of her spectacles, inspecting carefully each child, beginning with the eldest and working down to the smallest of them. Eyes, ears, teeth, musculature, all were prodded, pinched, and felt to see if they would be the one. When the last of them was checked over, the woman turned to the overseers.
"I was told there were twenty to choose from. There are only nineteen here. Why was I not given preference over the one that is now gone?" she inquired haughtily.
"Oh, she is not gone, Lady. She is not .... suitable. We wouldn't dream of allowing such a beast near your most perfect self." the elder overseer bowed humbly. "You are much too important for that one."
"Bring her to me. Let me judge." the High Woman commanded.
With a sigh and a nod the younger overseer ran to the barracks to gather the one missing, praying that she wouldn't choose today to be difficult. As they both came out of the barrack, the overseer was obviously overcome with fear of the child walking behind her. Nearing the woman and the rest of the children, the young Tier'Dal girl lifted her head in defiance. With a small nod at the line of children, she barely moved her eyes in a silent signal. As one, every child in the line-up sat. Looking into the High Woman's eyes, the pre-adolescent girl stood still and relaxed.
Fighting off a shiver of revulsion, the Lady stepped forward and reached out one hand to pinch the arm of the girl, missing completely as a swift step backward was executed. With hatred in her eyes, the ten year old dark elf merely shook her head no and stood her ground. The woman again stepped forward and lifted her hand to touch the girl. As the small lip curled upward in a silent snarl, the woman's hand stopped in mid-air, then dropped to her side.
"No, I see what you mean. This child will not do. She is unnatural and wild. You will have to tame her before she can be sold. Be sure that you do so before my next visit." Turning back to the line of now-sitting children, she raised a well manicured hand and pointed at Rena. "That one."
As the woman and Rena made their way across the courtyard to the Lady's coach, the overseers stepped around Majian and bid the rest of the children to get up. When they would not move at prodding or pulling, both overseers turned to the silent ten year old still standing there. "Do they have your leave to go now?" At her small nod, all eighteen children quietly got up and made their way to the barrack, Majian following them silently. Glaring all the while at her back were the two overseers. "That one is beginning to become a problem. We need to figure out what to do with her."
“MAJIAN! GET UP, WE NEED YOU! THEY’RE GOING TO TAKE TEN OF US!”
Blinking once, the whip-cord lean girl stands in one fluid movement from the pallet on the floor, looking out the window toward the yell. Seeing the others lined up like cattle, she feels her face settle into its customary scowl before heading out the door to the courtyard. Bare feet making no noise, she crosses swiftly, turning her face and body into the wind, disappearing from normal sight. Coming up upon the first male trying to shackle the eldest orphan, she merely doubled her fist and brought it down hard upon the back of his neck, shattering the bone. With a dull thud the man fell and as his closest companion turned, he found an unshod foot crushing his windpipe with the force of a bull charging. As he too fell, the remaining six men turned, their faces going pale at the sight of the Tier’Dal standing there, malice in her unnatural eyes.
“Now miss, we’re just going. No harm to ya, no miss. We’ll just be going on our merry way now,” stuttered the lead man. “Just gathering those we’ve been paid for and off we’ll be going.”
Narrowing her eyes, the teen shakes her head once before looking down at the two dead men, then back at those still standing.
“This is the part where you run away, male. These others are mine and are not to be sold, not by the overseers here, nor anyone else, ever again. They are free. Now be gone before I decide to continue my … correction … of your actions. Choose.” Putting her hands on her hips, she stands with feet slightly apart and knees barely bent, waiting.
“Can’t be doing that, miss. You understand how it is. We was paid a sum to come get these here and get them we will. Our Lady will be right perturbed if we don’t get back directly with them here.” The man slowly begins to advance on the teen, motioning his cohorts to surround her, still thinking he and his men could handle the situation. After all, what was one teen girl to six grown, burly men?
“You chose poorly,” was all she said.
One graceful, roundhouse kick later, six more men lay dead on the ground, bleeding from nose or mouth, all necks snapped. Turning toward the barracks, she took two steps before turning to the rest of the children.
“I suggest you grab what you can carry and scatter. You are all now free. You have ten minutes to get out before I raze this hellhole forever to the ground.” Standing there, looking up at the clouds in the dark sky, she allowed a small smile to cross her lips.
At the end of the time she had allotted, the fifteen year old Tier’Dal girl went into her barrack room and lit a candle, putting it up to the shabby window covering, setting it alight. When it was well caught, she traveled down the hall, room to room, doing the same to each. Once all rooms were set ablaze to her satisfaction, she took the candle to the overseer’s cabin and set that on fire as well. Listening to the fading sounds of cheering and laughing of her freed companions, she stood in the middle of the courtyard watching the flames consume the buildings as dawn broke over the horizon.
After the smoke had cleared, she went to the front door of what was the cabin and pulled off the one metal “S”, blackened by fire and soot, palming it and turning toward the nearest town. Walking confidently, the teen recalled all the times the Lady she was about to see had recoiled from her, shuddered near her and generally tried to make her feel weak and pathetic. That Lady was about to learn she had failed. Instead, she had created something else. For Majian was not weak, nor pathetic, she was in fact extremely strong and calculating, never doing anything without reason. And she was a teen that had Faith in but one thing. Hatred.
Walking into the tavern that the Lady owned, the teen walked right up to the bar and looked into the eyes of the barkeep with a smirk. “Tell your mistress that Majian is here to see her.”
Watching with amusement as the man’s cheeks went pale, she had to bite back a laugh as he scurried to do what she had bid him to do. As he scuttled into the back offices, she turned and looked around the room deliberately, staring down the frightened patrons with a sneer. All but one. Looking up into the chilling eyes of ice blue, much like her own, the young Tier’Dal teenager sees nothing but acceptance. Nowhere is the fear or revulsion that usually passes the face of those looking at her. A smile upon the lips of the woman makes her grin, and the impudent teen winked at her.
“Your britches aren’t that big,” the woman says, producing a chuckle from both of them. “You like causing fear and trouble hmm? Well, go on then and cause much. We’ll meet again.”
Grinning widely, Majian tosses the soot-blackened “S” at the Lady as she comes out of the back offices and addresses the woman and General Senity.
“Here. This is what’s left of your slave fattening camp. Don’t bother to rebuild it or that one will have a small accident as well.” She turned with a last grin at Senity before turning back to the Lady behind the bar. “Oh, and you’re about eight men short of a half-decent game of dice.” With mocking laughter, the teenager walked out the door.
After leaving the woman's tavern, the youngster ran about the streets of the city for a time, taking what she wanted from any too weak to stop her and deftly avoiding the guards. For months she survived by wits and brute force, laughing at the fear on people's faces when she came near. Continually she remembered the woman with ice eyes in the tavern and her message to continue to wreak chaos upon whomever the teen wished. And in her search for new victims, she heard of an island where many new faces were always to be found. The perfect playground, she thought, and thus she set out to find it.
Stowing away on a boat was no problem for the wily teen, and before long she stood on the sandy beach of the Isle of the Overlord. Wondering if there was yet another male she would have to kill soon, she began to wander, talking to the different trainers and merchants about the island, learning much. After learning all she could about fighting and the different styles, she turned her attention to skills and tricks of each trade. Slowly over the years, she built much skill in the different arts she had chosen to learn, her favorite being hand to hand and close combat.
Sometimes she terrorized others just for the sheer joy of seeing them flee and sometimes she let them think she was afraid of them, hiding as they tried to find her, laughing quietly as they failed. Whatever her whim, she indulged it, knowing the guards wouldn’t and couldn’t stop her. Even they avoided her after the number of years she roamed, stories of her passed from one human to another as they retired and were replaced. After all, she was Tier’Dal and timeless. They learned to just let her be to her own doings and therefore their numbers didn’t dwindle by sudden deaths.
Some decades after she had arrived, she was out in the middle of the glade practicing her many kicks when she became aware of someone watching rather than passing by. Looking up, she met the eyes of another Tier’Dal, a woman, and raised one eyebrow in question. Whatever it was about the other, Majian was intrigued slightly. It had been some time since anyone came near her other than to swiftly deliver a message or give information.
“Can I assist you with something?”
Smiling, the other woman answered, “I was just watching the beauty and grace of your moves. I wish I could do that.”
Not quite knowing why, Majian smiled back. “Come on then, I’ll show you how.”
She began to work through the steps of the kicks slowly, showing the other each part of it, as if in a slow dance. When the woman would wobble or waver, Majian would show her again, unusually patient with the slow lessons. And when the woman thought she had the how of it and tried it more quickly, she fell flat on her behind, robe askew and ponytail flopped sideways, grass in her hair.
“I guess I’m not really cut out to be a fighter,” the other woman laughed. And Majian laughed with her, holding out a hand to help her up.
“Best get on your feet, it’s not safe around here for anyone to think you’re vulnerable. I’m Majian. It looks to me like you need protecting, consider yourself safe.”
Looking up into the ice-blue eyes, the woman smiled back warmly and clasped the offered hand, getting up. “I’m Lyssia. As you can tell, I’m more of a magic user than a fighter.” She dusted off her robe.
Still laughing, the two journeyed together across the island, a bond forming beyond any explanation of either of them. All they knew was that love bloomed in both and blossomed fully, one more powerful in mind and the other more powerful in body. When the opportunity came for them to travel to
“General Senity! How fabulous to see you again. May I introduce to you my love, Lyssia. As you can see, I survived the trials of my youth and made it to adulthood. Is there any way in which I might serve you for the acceptance and strength you showed me when I was younger?”
Conversing the evening away with Senity, the two women were gifted with the knowledge that the General was building her army to rid the land of the Queen pretender and her minions, as well as begin the rebuilding of the Tier’Dal empire, reopening the city. Pledging allegiance, both women vowed to do whatever their new leader asked of them until death, in furthering these goals. And so it was that badges were smelted and formed, a Hall erected and slaves, pets and recruits found. For her hard, unending work and drive toward this end, Majian was given a badge of silver, proclaiming her Colonel, second only to the General herself. Lyssia was given a badge of bronze, announcing her as Major. And for a long time that peace was not sundered .... and then it was shattered.
With a whisper into the night, she vowed, "Never again will I allow my heart to overrule my head or my duty, Lord. Ever will I serve my General as the most faithful of daughters though we be not of blood. Always will I find a way to kill cruelly those who would think to take my place at her side and therefore at yours. For you, I reclaim the hatred of my youth, and I will never let it go again. For you, I protect her with every fibre of my being and serve you both for eternity. This I pledge in your name, Lord."
Taking the dagger, she draws it across her right palm, cutting deep and curls her hand into a fist. Once the blood begins to drip onto the floor, she leans forward and splays her fingers out, pressing to the altar a perfect bloody imprint of her right hand. Standing and turning to go back to her room, she sees a slave staring nearby and glares at him.
"Clean up my blood from the floor. Touch the altar and I will skin you alive slowly."