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16+ Language Violence

The Forsaken Race - The Hidden Truth: Chapter 35

by RavenAkuma


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.

Here we introduce a new character that is one of my personal favorites. However, regarding his name, I have gotten questions on it before, so I wanted to clarify for those who may be confused or interested.

The name "Surei" is pronounced "Sher" as in sherbert, and "Rye" like the grain. "Sher-rye."

That's all. I hope you enjoy!

*****

Chapter 35 - That Which Remains

                  

                    

It felt like Thundur had just gone from a calm yet blurry haze, to shocked and gasping awake. A ghost hovering in another realm, before being dropped into her very moment of death, oblivious to the cause yet still anticipating a lethal hit.

"Stay calm."

The spirit-walker instinctively flinched, but slowly started to calm down when she realized it was just Leiytning. He was holding her up with one arm, as she lay on the ground of the Blood Forest. The time had to be late, as the moonlight hardly cut through the darkness around them. Scorch and Jem were both nearby, keeping an eye out for intruders.

Her body and senses were almost completely numbed, leaving her nose, limbs, and animalian ears cold and immobile. Everything sounded muffled, her eyes weren't adjusting, and she could only feel pins and needles in her digits. Confused and disoriented, she only managed to speak one word.

"What..."

Leiytning draped a small blanket over her shoulders. "I sensed something was wrong, then failed to find you. We thought you may be in the summoning room, whereas Timbur was suspicious of the Blood Forest for unclarified reasons. Turns out he was right."

"I don't know what brought him here..." Jem crossed her arms, uneasy. "Nor where he went, if she's still here."

Though Thundur vaguely remembered being drawn out to the Dead Beach by something, she failed to speak, her tongue and throat paralyzed by the strange numbing sensation. Now that the shock wore off, she could barely keep her eye open.

Scorch suddenly yelled, "Hey!"

With his pale pink eyes fixed ahead, he whipped out his shotgun. Jem took a defensive stance, her muscles flexing menacingly, while Leiytning defensively pulled Thundur closer. Still unable to react, she just watched with a blank expression like a ragdoll.

Instead of a sylph, however, Timbur emerged from the dark woodland.

As he skidded to a halt in front of them, Scorch immediately assumed a less hostile position, but the concern was still prominent. After all, Timbur had several wounds. Most of them were very minor, but it was clear that there had been a struggle. Befittingly, he had a dark look in his seafoam eyes.

Letting Thundur rest against the tree, Leiytning confronted him. "Timbur, what happened?"

Timbur gained a tone of frustration. "Your stupid pet sylph happened."

Jem's gray eyes narrowed. "What? She did this?"

"She's been contacting Corelia using that stupid dog-creature. I thought I saw that thing in the forest earlier, but it disappeared before I could investigate. Then when Thundur went missing, I knew it was related. Sure enough, I saw her talking at the edge of the woods, in Sybilius, with Corelia herself and some of her henchmen."

"That goddamn traitor!" Jem snapped, punching a nearby tree out of frustration. It split the thick trunk deep enough to expose its core. "Where is she? You got rid of her, right?"

"I mean..." Scorch hesitated. "Could we not have given her a chance to explain, first?"

Timbur kicked his shin, making him yelp and jump back. "Explain what?! The exact details of how she was going to turn us into prisoners for that wretch of a queen?"

Leiytning intervened, "Hold off. Timbur, you had Seyber and Zin with you. What happened to them?"

Timbur subtly looked away and started fidgeting, like he was trying to find the best way to explain something. As Leiytning's sunken eye narrowed to a suspicious glare, everyone shared in the discomfort.

Timbur warily explained, "I didn't want that traitor coming back, so I tried to kill her. Corelia got in the way, and with Atara and Shira also helping, I was overwhelmed. Then the mortal twisted the plan around, and..." He hesitated. "They were taken."

'Crack-'

Leiytning smacked Timbur over the side of the head.

"What the hell were you thinking?" Leiytning snapped. "I've warned you about fighting Corelia, and I've warned you about fighting when outmatched or outnumbered."

"I know!" Timbur argued. "But we rendered the lieutenants immobile, so I thought I had a window. I didn't want that twit coming back, so I took the chance."

"And you got two warriors taken," Leiytning spat. "Brilliant work."

"That's obvious now," Timbur grumbled.

Scorch started pacing anxiously. "Corelia has Seyber and Zin now? Four have mercy, there's no way she's going to go easy on them, and Seyber's such a lightweight, it's going to be brutal for her. Ugh, and Zin will probably mouth off and get himself punched, or worse..."

"She isn't keeping them," Jem argued. "We're getting them back."

"What, you're going to confront Corelia?" Timbur said flatly. "Stand down."

Scorch tried to interject, "Hey-"

"What else are we going to do?" Jem spat. "Nothing? Wait for them to come to us, and take someone else?"

"Do you not remember how this went, last time?" Timbur retorted.

Scorch yelled, "HEY!"

Even though his gravelly voice boomed through the woods like dragonfire, causing all their ears to vibrate or twitch with discomfort, he immediately pouted as his shoulders drooped sadly.

"How will us fighting help them?" Scorch whined. "Stop it."

Leiytning barely refrained from facepalming. If the stress of losing two siblings wasn't enough, the foolish bickering turned it into a headache beyond words. Thundur, meanwhile, managed to drag herself to her feet, only to slump against him. Her eye was shut, her breathing heavy, and her voice came out weak and slurred.

"Please handle that..."

Leiytning held her up before she fell. Then, with his free hand, he snapped his fingers. The resulting electric sparks immediately drew the others' attention.

His tone was naturally intimidating. "Pull yourselves together and stop acting like idiots. I will retrieve Seyber and Zin, but in the meantime, we're going back to the fortress."

"But-"

"No arguing," Leiytning spat, cutting Jem off. "You and Scorch, help Timbur with his injuries, then retire for the night. If you still have questions, you come to me, not Thundur. Nobody's going back to this forest tonight, is that clear?"

It was obvious that they had reservations, but no one argued.

"We're on it, Leiyt," Scorch said calmly, ushering Timbur toward the portal. With one more annoyed sigh, Jem followed.

Behind them, as Leiytning guided Thundur back toward the portal, she walked with slow and befuddled steps. It was as if she was somewhere between drunk and concussed.

She wearily rambled, "Think that mortal will try to get in the way?"

Leiytning sneered, "I don't know, but if she does, she won't be happy about it."

Sensing her clouded thoughts, his tone softened.

"Seyber and Zin will be okay. We've trained them well, and Corelia isn't stupid enough to cause them serious harm. I'll be able to free them soon enough, we just need to wait for guard activity to go back down."

That time, he sensed Thundur calm down. Perhaps a bit too much, as she stopped walking entirely and went almost completely limp.

"You alwaysss saving ussss..." She mumbled with unexpected emotion, "I trust you."

"I know, sister," Leiytning replied, lifting her. "Just rest for now."

Thundur was one step ahead, practically unconscious again. For a moment, Leiytning glanced back toward the edge of the woods.

He was tempted to retrieve that which was lost. Perhaps even punish that which had betrayed them. However, knowing the state of that which remained, he silently turned and walked away. Even so, his darkened aura made one thing clear.

Someone was going to bleed for this crime.

           

         

\\\\\\

         

             

Kita found herself sleepless once again, but this time, it wasn't because of an illness. At least, she didn't think so.

After returning to the palace from her devastating encounter with Timbur, Corelia dismissed her for the night. However, while Stud was enjoying the noble-quality bed they had been given, Kita went straight back into the darkened hallways.

Candelabra in hand, she walked a long and convoluted path along the third floor, before finding the stairwell connecting the ground through the fourth. She ascended to the fourth floor and continued searching. The lengthy halls felt ominous at night, as if something was lurking just outside of her field of vision, waiting to strike. Unfortunately, between her preoccupied mind and limited vision, she soon found herself lost.

I usually can't make it ten feet without a guard eying me, but now that I actually need them, they're all gone? That would be just my luck...

Coming up on a break in the path -a straight or right fork- she spotted a set of large doors to the right. The molding around the frame made them look more elegant than other rooms', and through the crack left between them, a beam of faint moonlight shone through.

Curious, Kita slowly pushed the door open, causing cold air to rush out. As she stepped inside, she saw the chevron wood flooring was shined to perfection. The walls were lined with pale gold wallpaper, embossed with a faint elegant floral pattern. On the back wall was a massive window with a dramatic dark wood frame. The cloudy night sky, with the moon still shining through, was crystal clear through its panes. There was black matting rolled up and stacked against the walls, as well as some training dummies and weapon racks.

"Must be a training hall," Kita murmured. "For nobles."

"Can I help you?"

Kita flinched, turning to face the speaker. She hadn't spotted him at first, wiping down one of the blades before putting it back on its rack.

The tone of voice was somewhat bitter, but Kita expected nothing less from uptight palace folk. She took a moment to study the male sylph as he approached. He didn't look much older than her, if at all, yet he had the build of a limber warrior. The near-perfect waves of his shoulder-length hair were sandy brown, with the faintest golden highlights. It complimented his fair matte skin and olive green eyes, and softer facial features. His clothes consisted of a complimenting, warm-toned dark purple coat, pewter-gray shirt, and black pants. To her surprise, there was a golden revolver holstered to his hip.

Kita bit her lip, thinking, I'm glad Mao isn't here. This is definitely the type of man she'd fawn over.

The man arched one brow. "Are you going to say anything?"

Kita cleared her throat. "S-Sorry. I was trying to find the palace library, but I got lost. It is on the fourth floor, isn't it?"

His tone and expression softened. "Second, actually, but it doesn't help that everything here is harder to navigate at night. Here, I'll show you where to go."

"Thank you," Kita replied.

Once she handed him the candelabra, he escorted her back into the darkened halls. She stuck close due to the limited light, enough so she could detect the scent of rain-soaked woods and water lilies from him. With the silence as well, she quickly felt awkward and sought a remedy.

"By the way, my name is Kita."

The man glanced at her with surprise. "Wait, Kita Rein? So you're the one the others have been desperate to find."

"I didn't realize the word had spread," Kita murmured. "If you don't mind me asking, are you a lieutenant, or maybe a commander?"

The man seemed a little bit irritated, but sounded calm. "You would be correct. Surei Hitai, Royal Lieutenant. I was only promoted recently."

Kita blinked hard. That surname immediately hit her with a sense of familiarity; her mind flashed back to old news articles, statues she had passed in her travels, and even some books she read growing up.

"Aren't the Hitais one of those famous war families?"

His grip tensing around the candelabra, Surei grumbled, "Yeah."

"I thought you might be different, from having such a rare weapon. Although, if you don't mind me saying this, you seem young compared to most lieutenants."

Surei shrugged his shoulders. "I took the test, they approved, and that was it. Lineage does play a role, though. It's just how these noble brats work; you are what you're born into, for better or worse."

Kita sneered, "I've never heard of that rule, but it wouldn't surprise me. I've been spat down on too much to give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes literally, believe it or not."

At that, Surei cracked a laugh. "I do. They are an insufferable breed."

As they made it down to the second floor, Kita felt the dark clouds in her head subside just a bit. Pleasant conversations with new sylphs was a rarity for her, and not only was she enjoying this one, but she found it much easier to engage. Not just due to Surei in particular, but something that lingered in her mind. One of many lessons she had recently learned.

"'My guess is that you push away opportunity out of fear that it may hurt, even when you're already hurting. Well, if you're so desperate for things to get better, maybe it's about time you changed that.'"

Though she tried her best to avoid thinking of their speaker, the words rang alongside a sense of gratitude in her mind.

Soon, Surei led her to a larger door. The mahogany surface had dramatic carvings like they were telling a story, and the golden knob was shaped like a rose. As he pushed the door open for her, it exposed the gorgeous library. Bookshelves made up almost the entire sum of the walls, with even more towering wooden shelves standing between them. A few long tables broke the pattern between them. A spiraling iron staircase, with a scroll-patterned railing, led up to a balcony area connecting to the third floor. The row of humble chandeliers gave off a dim, soothing amber light, and there were several unlit lamps and candles free to use.

Books were everywhere in sight. Each pristine label drew Kita's attention and curiosity, as the homey aroma of parchment and ink hung strong in the air. The silence was so strong, even the light flutter of a loose page was like a crack of thunder.

"Incredible," Kita whispered.

"Have you not been here before?" Asked Surei. "You made it sound like you have."

"I thought I had," Kita murmured. "But no, I must've been thinking of another area. A much less exciting one."

"Probably the queen's study, or one of the parlors..." Surei set the candelabra down on a table. "Sadly, I don't really get time to read, but I had a friend that practically lived here during his time in the palace. I could point you in the general direction of whatever you're looking for."

Kita hesitated, trying to stall by looking around. She feared the subject would strike a nerve, given Surei's position and her apparent reputation. However, one more look at the vast collection of books around them, and she knew it would be foolish to turn down the offer.

"If you don't mind..." Kita cleared her throat. "I was hoping to find information on Sybilius's history."

"You mean like the Zyrean war?" Asked Surei.

Kita lowered her voice. "Well, it's not exactly what I had in mind, but it wouldn't hurt if I could find something on that."

"I just guessed, given what you've recently gone through. However..." Surei stepped closer, lowering his voice. "Just as a bit of advice, try to keep the subject discreet, and don't let it lead you anywhere you're not supposed to be. Trust me, even in the palace, things can get very ugly when that tribe is involved."

Though Kita felt a hint of irritation, it was quick to die out. Not only was Surei not making any specific accusations toward the demons, but even if he did, she couldn't blame him. Sylphs were taught to hate Zyreans on a regular basis, much less one from a line of army elites.

"I understand," Kita finally replied.

"Alright..." Surei pointed toward the balcony. "I don't know the whole range of subjects, but anything on Sybilian history should be there."

Kita took the candelabra. "Thank you."

Surei nodded. "No problem."

His humble smile left Kita feeling a bit more at ease. While he left the library, she proceeded up to the balcony area to search. After minutes of searching the vast array of labels, she picked out three books -two with the potential to harbor information, and one to help with her new goal. She took them to a table that was tucked away under the balcony. Its cold wooden surface was empty, save for a stack of blank pages and some fountain pens. It was cozy in the alcove, but the more she read, the more she lost the ability to enjoy it.

The first two books had only vague allusions to the war with the Zyreans, so she swapped her plan and moved on to the third book. Even though it had what she hoped for, she still felt a pit growing in her stomach.

Kita found herself staring at a page with a basic outline of the Aubade Palace's structure. It wasn't detailed at all, but it was already proving better than her memory.

"It's not beyond reason to assume that Zin and Seyber would be kept in the dungeon..." She hesitated. "Although, if most Aubades aren't supposed to know Zyreans exist, maybe Corelia would keep them in a separate area. I don't know."

As her eyes scanned the page, she grew more distant, disconnecting from the information laid out before her. In her mind, the clouds grew thicker -dark clouds, carrying a whole conflict of emotions and beliefs. It carried one feeling in particular that she didn't anticipate, especially now that she was home.

She felt lost.

Without thinking, Kita closed the book. She mumbled, "I feel like there's so much I'm missing, and I was forced to walk away from the only answers. But I know the clues..."

Still deep in thought, Kita pulled one of the pages and pens closer, then started jotting down notes. Her handwriting was sloppy as she rushed through them all.

"The truth behind the war, from either side. Leiytning and Corelia's motives to continue. Kodin's betrayal and death. That odd rumor about the twins. My arrival and its pretenses..." She sighed, "It feels like there's a connection and that is what will satisfy me, but I can't find it. I have to be missing a piece, or I'm overlooking it, but there's no way I can get anything more out of the demons. Likewise, how could I possibly persuade Corelia to tell me more, if she even knows what I'm after?"

Irate, Kita crumpled the paper into a ball, then threw it behind her.

She took a deep, rigid breath. "What have I gotten myself into?"

In her seat, she hugged her knees to her chest. She felt her eyes burn, but she refused to let them leak.

"I should've known. I was thinking I could leave Sybilius, break our laws, avoid the conflict, then take what I learn and go back home..." She bit her lip. "It all sounds so selfish now. Childish, ignorant, and selfish."

In her mind, she could hear the vile taunts from Timbur, and even from Thundur in the earlier stages of her visit. They felt deserved now. However, at the same time, she started to think about one person even more.

Seyber.

Whether it was their first encounter or their latest, Seyber was the only one who never did anything to harm her. She had only been kind and supportive -firm where needed, defensive where appropriate, but never resorting to threats or violence. Where others just couldn't engage with her, Seyber was willing to understand her struggles, tell her a painful story, and even denote her as a friend.

A sign of great faith, even though Kita had tarnished it. The same went for any faith among the demons, however much that would have been.

Kita clutched the book tighter. "I owe it to them to fix this. Somehow, someway, I will get Seyber and Zin out of here. In the meantime, they should be safe from harm. I just need the right plan."

Despite her attempt to summon some confidence, she immediately knew that it would be a lot harder than it sounded.


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Thu May 16, 2024 3:18 am
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dragonight9 wrote a review...



Let's see what happened after the exciting conclusion of the last chapter. What will Kita do now?

That upon which my dragon's eye fixed

I loved how you described the effects of the sleeping drug on Thundur. Very detailed and exactly what I would expect it to be like.

The difference in Jem vs Scorch's reactions was very well done. I also like how Leiytning was quick to see the other two were missing and ask about them.

Scorch yelled, "HEY!"

Even though his gravelly voice boomed through the woods like dragonfire, causing all their ears to vibrate or twitch with discomfort, he immediately pouted as his shoulders drooped sadly.

I loved this move from Scorch. It really showed me that even though he is soft hearted, he can still be quite powerful (and sensible) when he needs to be.

He was tempted to retrieve that which was lost. Perhaps even punish that which had betrayed them. However, knowing the state of that which remained, he silently turned and walked away. Even so, his darkened aura made one thing clear.

This line and the way you used the 'that which' throughout gave it a dark and heavy tone that fit perfectly.

Now back to Kita. I like how the first apparent thing she experiences back among Sylphs is darkness. It really reminded me of the tone before she left for Zyrean territory.

Surei sounds like either the main crush of the story or that he will have some similar role in the future. From the way you described him in the author's not, however, I doubt he will be so simple. (I am intrigued by his weapon too)

I like how Kita has two plans when she chose the books (though of course I prefer plan B). I was hoping she would have a chance to explain herself at least to Seyber.

Irate, Kita crumpled the paper into a ball, then threw it behind her.

Oooh, this is going to be important later.


I was hoping for some kind of jailbreak from Kita, though plans and execution don't seem to be her strong suit. (now that I think about it though, she does seems to be getting better like when she tricked Thundur)

Some loose scales

Other than a small note for potential improvement this was absolutely perfect! Great job ;)

The description of Seyber and how Kita feels about her was enough to make me feel sad but I wish it had gone on a bit longer with a more detailed reaction from Kita or how it made her feel.

As mighty wing soar overall

I really like how this chapter was divided into the next steps of both the Zyreans and Kita. This allowed for a good conclusion to the last chapter as well as setting up what will happen next.

A good introduction to a new character in Surei with a bit of both mystery and romance from him.

Then the plan for what might be coming next as Kita decides to try and help the demons escape.

Final wisdom of the scaled one

This whole section of your story is the most exciting so far! The emotions and connections of the characters are now established and you continue to add more even as you draw on them to create emotion and tension.
I'm really excited to see what strings from this web of a story you will pull on next ;)

May blazing dragon-fire light your path and ignite the flames of your inspiration.




RavenAkuma says...


Welcome back! I'm glad you enjoyed, thank you for once again taking the time to read and review! :D



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Tue Apr 16, 2024 7:15 pm
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keeperofgaming wrote a review...



I knew she would do that.

When I smiled:

Thundur's wake up was cool, I like how all of them were in a state of confusion, and she most of all. She managed to figure it out, and I liked that she was quite confused, even with hearing that Zin and Seyber were taken, like it was simply something unimaginable that her tired mind couldn't process.

I also like how Timbur was somewhat spiteful about Kita using Stud to talk to Corelia, but also calmed down Gem due to his minor understanding about what Kita was doing. I really love how he snaps at Gem before apologizing to Leiytning for ignoring his orders. It just shows his character, while simultaneously his loyalty.

And Kita, her calmness in the situation despite her guilt, and I'm hoping that she can actually save them and bring them to their family. Oh, that will be awesome to read. I also like how she interacts with Surei calmly and is happy that someone doesn't instantly hate her as people normally will.

A Line to Remember:

Kita clutched the book tighter. "I owe it to them to fix this. Somehow, someway, I will get Seyber and Zin out of here. In the meantime, they should be safe from harm. I just need the right plan."


I love this line, Kita summons courage while simultaneously knowing how hard it would be. She understands her mistake and has made the decision to fix it. I just hope that she can do it before one of the other siblings gets mad... OH idea, Timbur, who somewhat understood what she was doing, sneaks in and helps Kita do a jailbreak.

A New Lesson:

No issues, good work.

The Catalyst's Growth:

I already somewhat went over this, but a bit of continuation never hurt anyone... right?

Kita faced a lot of adversity in the previous chapters, and I love how she states that she deserved all of Thunder and Timbur's insults, showing how much she cares and regrets that her actions led for all of this to happen. The entire second part could be condensed to show her growth. I also love how she maintains her humility.

Overall:

Really well done. I'mma read the next.





The idea that a poem was a made thing stayed with me, and I decided then that I wanted to be an artist, not just a diarist. So I put myself through a kind of apprenticeship in writing poetry, and I understood even then that my practice as a poet was deeply related to my reading.
— Edward Hirsch