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16+ Language Violence

The Forsaken Race - The Hidden Truth: Chapter 7

by RavenAkuma


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

Chapter 7 - Royal Secrets

    

   

Corelia's study was not as elegant as one would think. It looked more like a messy observatory. A domed glass roof revealed the setting sun outside, while drafts whistled through the aged wooden floor. They carried the scent of dust, parchment, and ink. The walls' diminished golden-brown wallpaper was speckled by spots of wear and tear. Tables and shelves, filled with a vast array of records, were scattered about. There was just one clear path from the double doors to the grand desk at the back of the room. The soothing amber light coming from the sconces kept the space from looking completely abandoned.

Corelia had several papers spread out across the desk, in front of her. No one was with her, but her expression revealed a troubling amount of confusion.

"Doesn't make sense," she mumbled. "She's never been exposed to anything beyond Sybilius. The lieutenant I have stationed in Lion's Bridge hasn't reported anything strange in the area. I guess I didn't account for merchants, though. It's always something, isn't it?"

The queen slid several papers out of the way, looking for something.

She sneered, "Her father is also the type to stir up trouble and ignore warnings. Maybe he was getting into something he wasn't supposed to, and Kita was caught in the crossfire. Even that is hard to believe, though..."

Corelia sighed, running her fingers through her violet-streaked hair. She finally turned around, looking at the many diagrams on the wall. Among them, most prominently, was the same four-flamed symbol that Kita confronted her about.

"I shouldn't be worrying about where it came from," Corelia muttered. "I should be worrying about where it could lead."

As if the ominous crest were taunting her, she glowered and clenched her fists. It took a moment to repress the negative feelings, after which she stood and headed for the doors.

"I can't do anything rash," she told herself. "However, I suppose I can't keep it a secret from everybody."

    

   

\\\\\

    

     

In one of the many palace rooms, Kita was staring at the wall across from her. Its soft-white surface had become shrouded by the night's shadows, and as if on cue, her mind made her see black specks running all along the darkened surface. None of them were real, though. She already tried hitting them.

The room itself was noble-worthy, for sure. The dramatic wardrobe, table, and bedframe showed it off well. The grand bed beneath Kita, though only wide enough to fit one, was very comfortable. Its plush pillows, thick mattress, and soft bedding were all infinitely better than anything she could hope to own for herself. They had a fresh, clean feel and scent as if they had never been used. Mao was also enjoying the luxury, passed out in the adjacent bed. Even though she had been offered her own room, she was determined not to leave Kita's side.

Despite all these incredible comforts around her, Kita still couldn't fall asleep.

'knock-knock'

The quiet noise made her stir, even though it was hardly audible. Kita got up and answered, and wasn't too surprised to find Corelia. The hallway behind her was dark, but the three-pronged candelabra in her hand offered some light. From what Kita could read, she was a bit anxious.

"I'm sorry to disturb you so late," Corelia spoke. "Given the urgency you described, I didn't want to make you wait until tomorrow."

"It's okay," Kita replied. "I just want to know what's happening."

"Well, I want to be very clear," Corelia explained. "I have an answer about the symbol. I can tell you plenty about its meaning. However, I still don't have a direct answer about your illness, nor its role in this."

Kita sighed, "It's a start. Please, tell me."

Corelia turned to leave. "Follow me."

For a moment, Kita thought about waking Mao, but decided against it. She followed the queen into the hallway. As she did, she tried to stay in the light, afraid of getting lost.

The palace felt like a whole different place at night. A strange eeriness filled the dark maze-like halls. Kita felt like pins were coming through the wooden floor, poking her feet as she walked. The wallpaper was white with a silver pattern, but she saw those patterns as distorted and unsettling shapes. She could've sworn one of them moved.

Just as Kita began to feel uneasy, Corelia gently nudged her forward, like a mother leading her child. At that moment, Kita felt the fear dampen until it was almost gone. As she looked up toward the queen, her expression was calm but stern.

"Stay close," she spoke softly.

Kita just nodded and continued to follow. This time, however, she focused her eyes straight ahead and stayed in the light.

From what Kita could tell, she was being led to the fifth floor; the highest of the main floors. Down another long hallway, they finally stopped at a set of large double doors. Inside, there was a messy observatory with many bookshelves and scattered papers.

Corelia looked embarrassed. "Sorry about the mess. I don't like others in here, including maids. I swear I pick everything up, then one hour later, we're somehow back at square one."

"I don't mind," Kita replied.

Corelia proceeded behind the desk, where many pages were spread out at random. Kita stopped across from her, sneaking a few glances at the papers. Not much of it made sense, or the text was too small to read.

Corelia showed a bit more of her worry. "I'll start this simple. How much do you know about demons?"

Kita felt the blood drain from her body. "Y-You mean to tell me that somehow, that symbol is connected to demons?"

"Yes," Corelia patiently answered. "The Zyrean Demons."

"But demons aren't real! And the shopkeeper told me that the tribe using this emblem was dead, that's why I thought it wasn't important!"

"Easy, try to stay calm. Demons are not imaginary, but they are dangerous. Especially the type represented by this emblem. Knowing more about this symbol means knowing more about them. It's not a story I like to share, but you clearly need an answer, and there's no great way to explain this without confronting its roots. Besides, I have the feeling that if I don't explain it now, you'll find out in a far worse way."

She turned toward the back wall, where all the crests were, including the one with four flames. Kita felt her skin crawling as she spotted it in the mix.

The troubled queen continued, "As you have seen, they are long forgotten among our citizens. I try to keep it that way to suppress the many horrifying memories linked to their history. However, there are people who either need to know, or dug deep enough to find out. Not to mention the army. That is how snippets get passed around, but it's rare when they escalate."

"A royal secret? Are you sure you want to tell me?"

"As I said, I want to help you. If this has any chance of giving us an answer, we may as well try it. Now, dismissing another falsehood, the Zyreans are not extinct. They took heavy damage in what we call the Extinction Battle, but let's just say that term is deceptive."

Kita shuddered. "I thought they'd still be around, but it's still frightening to hear."

"Well, they're not exactly flourishing. Only the survivors of their royal bloodline are left; a group of seven siblings. Zyreans had already developed a taste for Aubade blood, so it was no surprise that they chose to keep fighting. The warriors have irksome tendencies, but it's two who pose the largest threat. At times, a threat worse than a real army."

Kita looked at the flame crest again. As she studied the shape, just like the first time around, it gave her an odd sensation. She could vaguely see the flames flickering around it, and heard distant hissing and growls. It took Corelia's words to break her trance and make her look away.

"It's their leader," the queen spoke. "Him and the spirit-walker. They're wins."

"Spirit-walker?" Kita repeated.

"I guess it's their equivalent of a shaman," Corelia explained. "A strong sorceress with spiritual resources. She, herself, is a tricky woman keen on manipulation tactics. Before you know it, she'll get under your skin and into your head, until you're under her control."

"What about the leader?" Asked Kita.

"A battle beast. You may think this is exaggerating, but he can move like light, disappear like a ghost, and deliver a strike stronger than thunder is loud. I swear, he doesn't feel pain, and he never sleeps. With many stories to prove it, he is one of the most feared and powerful beings in the Northern Territories."

Kita barely refrained from curling up like a bug. "And he's hunting us?"

"Well..." Corelia winked. "I've been keeping him in check. We work very hard to ensure he does the least damage possible -him, and whoever may flank him in battle. As far as stopping him for good, that has been a long, repetitive, and excruciating challenge. There just doesn't seem to be an end."

The queen looked away, hiding a heavy sigh.

"So many soldiers have fallen to this one threat; spouses widowed, children orphaned, whole families destroyed. Citizens like to dream about how luxurious life must be for royalty, but it's really a curse. Having to oversee this violence is something I wouldn't wish on anyone."

Kita shook her head in disbelief. "This is just so much -I didn't even know that Aubades were capable of fighting in a war!"

"Oh, yes. We're disadvantaged as mortals, and we make an easy target. The Zyreans have been just one in our long history to exploit that, and we've had to adapt for our very survival."

"How did this start?" Asked Kita. "The conflict with the Zyreans."

Corelia looked to the crest. "They've never been fond of us, but ages ago, when the hostility grew to the point of violence, we had to strike back. It was brutal, and they held the advantage for a long time, but we soon found our footing. We even killed one of their leaders in a counterstrike, but the replacement was even more hateful, and he wanted to see us 'mortal scum' squashed like maggots. He would even exploit his own to achieve more power."

"That sounds horrible," Kita murmured.

"After many hard years, we reached the Extinction Battle. It was such a massive effort with massive losses, yet it was no end. To my freshly-coronated horror, we only entered the next phase. No more army, but six militants and the most terrifying leader yet. I can't even create a proper border on the fraction of land connected to ours, a frightening area called the Blood Forest, because they just keep slaughtering whoever shows up. The only bright side is that their numbers have greatly reduced their range of impact, and the frequency of their attacks."

"Wait, slow down. What does this have to do with me? Even if it is just a symbol, how is it in my head? Your majesty, you said you had answers, but now I'm even more confused!"

"I'm sorry. I told you, all I can offer is what the symbol itself represents. I was hoping something about this would 'click' and make things clearer. I suppose I was wrong. However..."

Though she was hesitant, Corelia trailed off there.

"What?" Asked Kita.

"I suppose I might as well throw this in..." Corelia sighed, "This isn't the first time someone has come to me with a problem similar to yours."

That time was even more of a shock than the story itself. Kita felt her heart pounding with anticipation; this was scary, but she was finally seeing a lead in her mysterious illness. Despite her instinct to turn and cower, she found the will to speak again.

"Who else came to you like this?" She interrogated. "Who?!"

"Calm down, calm down," Corelia insisted. "It was only once, from a very independent man. He was so desperate for answers that he stole my restricted documents. Then he confronted me and mentioned the Zyrean Emblem, demanding to know more. He had already proven to be reckless, so I refused."

"How did he fix his problem?" Asked Kita.

"I don't know if he did," said Corelia. "He, Kodin, soon left Sybilius to seek out these creatures. The result of that, while predictable, was no less horrific."

Kita furrowed her brow, feeling another odd sensation at the mention of that name.

Corelia cleared her throat, recapturing her attention. "I don't know what you will do with this knowledge, but I hope it will lead to a solution to your ailment. That is what matters most."

Though Kita wanted to end everything there, she couldn't. Just like before, she only felt more shaken and scared, unsure if it was even an answer. The more she felt stuck, the more she reflected.

Kita gritted her teeth, thinking harshly, Maybe this 'Kodin' was onto something. I don't like the implications at all, but this is the first real clue...

"Your majesty," she said hesitantly. "Where do these demons dwell?"

Corelia arched one brow. "Excuse me?"

Kita bit her tongue and thought more. This is crazy, but if being crazy has gotten me this far, I can't go back now. Especially now that I've posed the question, right? Ugh, fine! Here goes nothing.

"I know it's breaking a law," Kita muttered. "I know it sounds like a bad idea, but I have to follow his trail."

"What?" Corelia exclaimed. "No, you don't!"

"This is the right direction though," Kita insisted. "It has to be. The Zyreans are the source of this emblem, obviously, and Kodin could have left more clues on the way."

"Kita, trust me; you have no idea what you're talking about. Going directly into their territory is straightforward suicide. Besides, you can hardly tolerate leaving your house, and now you think you can handle leaving the territory?"

Kita paused to think about that. Though it was true that the desire to give up and hide was very prominent within her, all she could think about was how much she didn't want to get stuck in the cycle of backward progress again. On a more positive note, she also thought of Mao, pushing her forward.

"I don't like it," Kita muttered. "But everything else has failed."

"We haven't tried everything," Corelia replied. "For example, if this problem does pertain to your history, you could try to ask your father if-"

"No!" Kita snapped, slamming one fist against the desk.

Seeing Corelia's startled expression, Kita winced and folded her arms.

"Sorry," she mumbled.

Corelia looked uneasy. "No, I'm sorry. I should've known that was a bad solution. I'm only trying to make it clear that these demons are no less monstrous."

"I'd rather face a monster that everyone can see," Kita argued. "Instead of struggling with the one others can't."

"It can't be the only way. What you're talking about is illegal, and you're far from being an exception. You know nothing about navigation, survival, self-defense, or even what to expect out there. There's a lot more than demons that can kill you; the Northern Territories are a warzone beyond Sybilius. Please, stay and we'll work through this."

"I don't have time for that. I told you, nothing else has worked."

"I'm sure you've tried plenty, but Lion's Bridge isn't a town brimming with options. Some of the most talented people in Sybilius are right here, in the Royal City."

"Already tried that route too," Kita muttered. "I know I look especially frail now, but I can handle myself. I could even help you somehow, like scouting things out in their territory. I can serve you much better out there than I ever could in Sybilius. Right?"

Corelia shook her head. "It's not your duty to serve me, it's my duty to protect you. Which is why you're staying right here, period."

Kita tried to think of another point to make, but nothing came to her. Now that she was hearing herself, she also realized that arguing with the queen could come with repercussions.

"I'm sorry," Corelia continued. "I just can't put you in that position. I want it to be clear that you are still not in any trouble, but you do not have permission to leave Sybilius, and that's that. The demons are far too much of a threat, and again, they're not the only one. Orcs, beasts, and even some new creatures running amok. All of them could crush you with ease."

Kita clenched her fists, determination overriding her fear. As she looked down, she spotted something amid the clutter on the ground. It was a piece of paper that had been loosely rolled up, but the corner gave her an idea of what it was.

Likely sensing the tense mood, Corelia smiled. "We'll find a way. For now, you should return to your room and try to get some sleep. I'll talk to you in the morning so we can continue planning."

"That's not necessary..." Kita discreetly nudged the paper closer with her foot. "Sorry for the trouble. You're right, it's ridiculous to-"

She discreetly flicked a pen off the desk. While bent down to retrieve it, she quickly snatched the paper and stuffed it into the leg of her boot. She then stood back up with the pen, trying to keep a natural expression.

"Sorry," Kita remarked, placing the pen back on the desk.

Corelia didn't pay that any mind. "I'm glad you've moved off such a reckless idea. I'll try to find a good doctor to-"

"That's okay," Kita interfered. "Mao and I will just go back to Lion's Bridge tomorrow, and talk things through with Yuna."

"Are you sure?" Asked Corelia. "We should get this fixed sooner than later."

"Whatever I do, I'd rather have her with me," Kita replied. "I'll also try to write in advance."

"That'd be nice, but don't fret about it," said Corelia. "You just be careful."

Kita nodded. "Can I ask for one more thing, before I leave?"

"Certainly."

"Would you be willing to give me some books on the demons? I'll return everything you give me, and I won't let anyone see it. Not even my friends."

Corelia seemed hesitant. "I'm not sure if that's a good idea, dear."

"No, think about it. Maybe I can read something that'll give me the 'click' you mentioned. It's something to try."

"I guess," Corelia murmured. "I also know you're good with your books. I suppose I can spare some literature, but be very careful with it. Letting this type of content slip out could reopen some deep wounds."

"Don't worry, your majesty," Kita replied. "This stays between you and me."

"Brilliant. I'll gather some things for you, then drop them off in the morning."

Kita nodded. "Okay. Thanks for all your help."

To Kita's surprise, Corelia walked around the desk and hugged her. Kita was immediately calmed by this rare embrace, and her familiar smell of lavender and bergamot.

"Take good care of yourself, okay?" Corelia spoke softly.

Managing a small smile -a real smile, Kita hugged the queen back. After bidding her goodnight, she left the observatory. A guard was outside, waiting to lead her back to her room.

While Kita did feel bad, it wasn't because of her sickness, it was because of her dishonesty. She wanted answers; even if she found a miraculous cure, she still wanted to know why this happened in the first place.

And for now, the clues were pointing in just one direction.


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Fri Feb 23, 2024 8:48 pm
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keeperofgaming wrote a review...



Okay, so she didn't hide anything. That's good, but this makes it seem more interesting. The fact that someone had it before makes Kita different but not yet unique.
I'm still on the theory of the half demon, I'm not letting it go.
I like how she does want to be kind, but is simply put too far down.
I also like how Corelia isn't a pushover, and she remains kind while putting her foot down.
Corelia seems like a mother figure to Kita, despite her being afraid to go too far, and allows her to open up more.
Being near Corelia also seemed to allow her to tap into her mischievous side, when she took the document.
I also like how Mao didn't have a part in this chapter just to emphasize how hush hush the secret is.

Now for a minor edit suggestion:
"However, I supposed I can't
to
"However, I suppose I can't
The tense mistake is really the only one I could see, amazing job, I can't wait to read the next chapter.




RavenAkuma says...


Ah, thanks for pointing out that typo! Thanks for reading and reviewing! :)



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Sun Jan 07, 2024 10:21 pm
dragonight9 wrote a review...



Hi Raven! It's been a while but I'm back to review another chapter.

As I'm reading through:

I really liked your introduction to the study. I didn't know what sconces were but it definitely fit the vibe you were going for. Very well described.

I also liked how you used the queen's thoughts to reveal more about what's going on. It really showed her concern, some more mysteries about Kita's father, and kept the main characters in the dark about this info.

One spelling error I noticed. In the last line before the switch of perspectives the queen says "However, I supposed I can't keep it a secret from everybody."
I think you meant to say 'suppose' there.

I really like how you describe the noble furniture as being out of their reach as commoners. Yet even in such a place darkness still surrounds Kita. Then Corelia comes in with a light and leads her through the dark while comforting her. Love the symbolism.

I also noticed that Kita is once again bearing the burden of new information all on her own even when she could have shared it with Mao.

I don't have much to say about the next section other than learning about the history of the demons was very interesting and it makes me wonder if the battle demon is the one from the prologue.

I really loved this line: "I'd rather face a monster that everyone can see," Kita argued. "Instead of struggling with the one others can't."
So good!

One other slight error was here: "I can serve you muchbetter out there than I ever could in Sybilius." You missed a space between 'muchbetter'

I was surprised, and glad, that Kita was able to give a genuine smile to the queen. And that made it all the worse that she deceived her.

Great cliffhanger too. I'm very intrigued to find out what is on the paper she 'borrowed'.

Overall thoughts:

This was a great chapter to show both the situation our main cast will be getting into and the character of Queen Corelia. You gave many answers and many new mysteries as well. I wonder what kind of dangers Kita and her friends will face. They don't seem like fighters so it will be interesting how they overcome the challenges ahead.

Last thoughts:

I'm so glad you described more of the palace and I suppose that is enough but some small part of me wants to see even more. I guess I'll see in the chapters to come.

Have a great day/night.




RavenAkuma says...


Spelling errors noticed, thank you very much for pointing them out. And I'm very glad you enjoyed, thanks for taking the time to review! :)



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Mon Jan 01, 2024 12:51 pm
Liminality wrote a review...



Hi Raven! It’s Lim again with a review.

General Impressions

Looks like the plot is thickening here! I’m excited to see what exactly it was Kita stole from Corelia’s stash of papers and what clues it might have. I also sympathise with Kita feeling bad about taking it from Corelia, especially since Corelia has probably been the most helpful adult in her life so far. At the same time, it makes sense for her to do that given that her illness has made her desperate. I liked how Corelia’s character was fleshed out in this chapter and also her interaction with Kita.

Plot + Characters

Besides, I have the feeling that if I don't explain it now, you'll find out in a far worse way."

I liked that Corelia decided to give Kita some information. Sometimes stories have characters keep secrets even when it would be very disadvantageous to somebody they care about. Corelia’s decision here seems reasonable given that she is concerned with Kita’s well-being.

I try to keep it that way to suppress the many horrifying memories linked to their history.

That’s interesting - so she has the power to suppress memories? Were the memories wiped at some point? Or is it just most people who remember are dead/ have pushed it to the backs of their minds?

Additionally, it’s also ironic that the Aubades have *killed* a Zyrean before, even though the Zyreans seem to claim to be immortal? Maybe they just can’t die from old age and that’s why they think they’re superior to the Aubades? Corelia’s discussion of the Zyreans still leaves plenty of questions unanswered, which I guess is why Kita feels the way she does!

At first I wondered if Mao would be unhappy that Kita didn’t wake her up for this. But since Kita is going to tell her soon, maybe she’d be okay with it.

Another thing I liked about this chapter plot-wise is that it clarifies and develops Kita’s character motivation. She wants to find answers as to why she’s been experiencing all these supernatural and psychological events. That creates tension and drives the story forward.

Descriptions

There was just one clear path from the double doors to the grand desk at the back of the room. The soothing amber light coming from the sconces kept the space from looking completely abandoned.

I really like these two lines of description, because they convey a lot in a small space. I can tell how messy the room must be knowing that there’s only one way to get to the desk. Knowing the colour of the lighting also helps to set the scene as taking place in somebody’s ‘study’.

As if the ominous crest were taunting her, she gained a sharp glare and her fists clenched

I thought the use of the word “gained” here was a bit odd. Normally I think of “gained” as being used for things you can quantify (somewhat). For instance gaining a new friend. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen “gained” used with regards to expressions like glares or smiles.

She discreetly flicked a pen off the desk. While bent down to retrieve it, she quickly snatched the paper and stuffed it into the leg of her boot. She then stood back up with the pen, trying to keep a natural expression.

I like the description of the trick . . . it feels like it’d be hard for Corelia not to notice if the paper made paper noises, but I guess since it was a roll of paper it didn’t crumple while she was putting it into her boot – and Corelia is comfortable around Kita so she wouldn’t consider anything suspicious.

Overall

This was a tense and exciting chapter to read. Though Corelia hasn’t suspected anything yet, the thought of Kita being found out is certainly going to linger. At the same time, I’m curious to see what she discovers from that sheet of paper. It definitely feels like a bigger adventure is about to start.

Hope this helps!
-Lim




RavenAkuma says...


Your reviews are very helpful, thank you very much! :)



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Fri Dec 08, 2023 7:55 am
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thecursedpoem says...



I was just reading through the story from the first chapter and I should say I really like the character Kita, especially how she was introduced in the first chapter in a very vivid and visceral manner. The detailed descriptions give a strong sense of her physical and emotional state, drawing readers into her disoriented, unsettling world. Kita's struggles with a haunting darkness, insomnia, and a sense of being an outcast are clearly depicted, making her a character with depth and vulnerability.

And the story itself is so intriguing that I’m hooked TvT by all means, and also the setting of the story is one of my favorite genres. Kita's determination to seek answers, despite the risks, is pretty admirable. But with demons, royal secrets, and a whole lot of danger involved, it's definitely a perilous path she's considering. Do you have an idea of where you want the story to go next, or are you exploring possibilities? I’m excited as to how the story is going to unfold.

I’m really excited for the next chapter :3 !!




RavenAkuma says...


Thanks for reading and leaving a review, I'm glad you're enjoying it! Truth be told...this book is already complete and has been for a long time, lol. What happened was, a few years ago, I uploaded a *very* rough draft to Wattpad that no one wanted to help me with, and I tried again on Booksie, but no dice.

After countless revisions, but no traction on either site, I'm uploading to YWS in hopes of fresh eyes, and more honest and constructive opinions.

Anyway, thanks again, and if you want to see more, I'll be trying to upload daily! :)



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Fri Dec 08, 2023 7:54 am
thecursedpoem wrote a review...



I was just reading through the story from the first chapter and I should say I really like the character Kita, especially how she was introduced in the first chapter in a very vivid and visceral manner. The detailed descriptions give a strong sense of her physical and emotional state, drawing readers into her disoriented, unsettling world. Kita's struggles with a haunting darkness, insomnia, and a sense of being an outcast are clearly depicted, making her a character with depth and vulnerability.

And the story itself is so intriguing that I’m hooked TvT by all means, and also the setting of the story is one of my favorite genres. Kita's determination to seek answers, despite the risks, is pretty admirable. But with demons, royal secrets, and a whole lot of danger involved, it's definitely a perilous path she's considering. Do you have an idea of where you want the story to go next, or are you exploring possibilities? I’m excited as to how the story is going to unfold.

I’m really excited for the next chapter :3 !!





Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.
— Adrian Mitchell