A faded to yellow letter lies unopened on top the desk as a young teen flicks his gaze away from the invitation and to the window that frames the desolate desert which is his home. Black rimmed eyes stare tiredly as sand blows through the air. Even with the unusual long sleeve shirt, the bruises that mar his small frame peek out. Finger-like marks in a deep black stand out on his neck as a painful reminder of how much his father despises him. Pine green eyes turn focus back to the letter with a nervous tapping of his slim fingers on the oak desk. He already knows what the flimsy parchment says, so why bother with opening it? Standing abruptly, the teen makes his way to the calendar on the far edge of the room and eyes the circled date marked in red ink. The day the school season begins is outlined despite his many attempts to ignore the longing for freedom that nags in the back of his mind.
Turning his thoughts back to the letter, the teen pulls out a large trunk from under his bed. A gift from his Master whom he will be staying with for the next few days until the time comes for the school to begin. Kneeling down beside his bookshelf in the far back of the room, he pulls on one of the loose stones to reveal a rather large hole that had formed from the shifting sand. Withdrawing the stash of healing potions his Master made when he learned of the abuse, he quickly swallows the pain relieving one and tucks the rest into the trunk. Turning his attention to the bookshelf, he pulls a pale blue book from the very top and places it inside as well as all the books on healing. Replacing the stone after removing a stuffed fox his mother had given him several years before as a gift before the sickness took hold. Shrinking the trunk with all the valuables he had, the young teen picks up the bag full of clothing and herbs and makes his way into the hallway, but takes the letter from the desk and places it in his pocket at the last second.
A harsh coughing fit echoes through the lowest wing of the house; the same in which he occupies during the rare times he bothers to stay. Wandering the way to his mother’s room, the teen waves his hand and sighs when the familiar warmth of his magic hides his lack of sleep and the true nature of his other relatives from the outside world. Worry etches his face while he knocks on the door before sticking his head in to catch sight of his sickly mother hunching over on the bed, gasping for air as her coughs grow in intensity.
“Mother?” He calls out, stepping inside the room that holds no color, done in a pure white. It gleams and has the pungent scent of disinfectant clinging to its very walls. Having remodeled the room specifically to fit his mother's needs, the teen merely shrugs away the overwhelming aroma to focus his undivided attention on his mother.
The woman smiles in welcome, “Come closer, Israel.” Her bony hand beckons him towards her bed; Israel obliges and sinks down to sit on her bedside.
“Has the letter come yet, darling?” The question tugs painfully at the hope that swells in his heart at any mention of the Shaden Academy.
“Yes, Mother.” The whisper of truth slips from his mouth before he can stop it and his eyes widen in horror as he quickly looks away from his beaming mother.
The young mother frowns at her son’s reaction and gently takes his hand, pleading, “Israel, look at me.”
Once his eyes fall back upon her own violet ones, she continues in a stronger tone, “I want you to attend. Is that clear? It is not a child’s place to care for his ill mother. Go and makes friends. Be happy, Israel, because even I know that being here does not bring you happiness as it should.”
Israel shakes his head. “I can’t! Who will care for you then, mother?”
Violet eyes spark with fire while the woman orders, “You will be going, son. End of discussion.”
Mouth open in shock, Israel struggles to reply before simply wrapping his arms tightly around her waist. “Thank you, Mama.”
Her slim arms wrap themselves carefully over his shoulders as she murmurs, “Make me proud, my darling Israel.”
Stiffening as he registers the warm smile she only shares with him, Israel nods in agreement to her order. As she slips into sleep under the medications he hands her, he whispers, “Of course, Mama. I will do anything to make you happy.”
Picking his bag up from where he had placed it outside his mother's door, Israel walks towards the castle entryway with a smile. The long corridors on the ground floor were meant to confuse others, but he had travelled them many times. The bag he had packed the night before rests on his shoulder. Soon the black shirt he wears is torn to shreds as black, bat-like wings unfold from his back. Stretching them wide as they can go inside the castle entrance hall, Israel prepares to take off to Master Xander’s when a frigid voice halts his escape.
“What are you doing, brother.” The sneered title sets Israel's nerves on edge as he turns to spot his eldest brother, Angeliquen, leaning against the marble staircase.
“I am heading to Master Xander’s, brother.” The venomous title is thrown right back and the two glower at one another in mutual hatred.
“If you think that you can take my right as heir then you are a fool.” Angeliquen snarls, amber eyes blazing in restrained fury.
Israel smirks as he opens the door leading outside. The harsh wind blows his mid-back length ebony hair into his face as he jumps, allowing the wind to take his extremely slight weight. Sweeping into the air, he laughs before replying, “The title of the Darksun Lord never belonged to you or father, dearest brother.” A triumphant and slightly vengeful glint enters the thirteen year old’s dark green eyes, “I am the rightful heir and poor father can’t do anything about it."
Fury showers the air as his brother’s magic bursts out with a vengeance. Sadly, the object of its rage is long gone as the heir flies at top speeds towards the only other person who cares for the young ruler, the exiled swordsman, Alexander.