A child of the water, the young xaela gracefully swam through the nearby river her tribe favoured in search of their next meal. She slowly sinks to the bottom, toes perched onto a rock for a moment before a vast jet of bubbles are left behind her as she propels herself forward, reaching her claws out to catch her prey. No voices, only the sounds of the slowed movement in the water. A common bitterling skewered onto one hand, the girl pays no mind to it for a moment. She closes her eyes and floats peacefully, gazing up at the surface in silence. The moon shone through so brilliantly. There was nothing better than this.
"Akul!" A shadowy figure appears above the surface. The young xaela snaps out of her blissful trance, bringing herself above water. An older woman xaela stands before her at the edge of the river.
"I told you not to play around tonight. C'mon, we're starving!" The girl stands up slowly at the edge, the water slowly draping down her body like a sheet of silk. She holds up her hand with the fish skewered on and grins before following the older xaela's lead back to their main grounds. 'Akul' was the name she was given. It meant 'shark' in her people's language. A fitting name for a skilled hunter at such a young age. Akul was always eager to hunt for her tribe, and she always took pride in her long, sharp claws that made her tasks that much easier. Akul was a very curious child, always wanting to learn more. Her elders believed her to have a bright future.
A peaceful life that became too mundane, Akul grew bored and tired over time. Tonight, she decided, she would explore further down the river. Most of her tribe was asleep late at night, but Akul always enjoyed sneaking out to enjoy the cool waters under the moonlight. Bringing nothing more than herself, she decided to leave behind any clothing for the night as well. Walking along the riverbank, she sighs. Her ivory skin almost illuminated by the moonlight, the xaela decides to dip into the water. "No one's ever told me what's at the end of this river before. They've always told me not to go, but why? There has to be more than just us out there, right? I know there are other tribes, but does the whole world only have xaela tribes? It can't be," she ponders while swimming idly down the river. Akul, lost in thought, hits her foot on the edge of a rock under the water. She grimaces for a moment, embarrassed she hadn't noticed. No one was around to witness, thankfully. She pauses for a moment, hearing a faint rumbling and roaring in the distance. Curious, the xaela pokes her head above the surface for a moment. The noise was much louder now. Akul started to feel fearful. What was that noise? Why was it only getting louder if she wasn't even moving? Just as that thought occurred to her, she realized she had been moving. The water was pulling her. She had never felt such a strong force pull at her. She panicked, quickly turning around to swim away from the noise. It was a moment too late however, as the water only continued to pull her towards the noise. The sound was nearly deafening to her now; a constant loud roar ringing through her ears as she tried to get away from it. Above water, the horizon from where she came was the last thing Akul saw before being pulled over the edge by the waterfall. She felt herself falling, and she didn't know what to do about it. She didn't know how to save herself. A hard thud is what she hears last before beginning to black out. The pain that coarsed through her body was unlike any pain she had ever felt before. "Is this how I die? How pitiful..." were her last thoughts before everything faded to black.
Perhaps fate had something more in store for her life. The xaela slowly came to, opening her eyes slowly. Within her vision, she sees a figure sitting next to her. She's in a bed, she realizes. Fully opening her eyes, she now sees the figure sitting next to her clearly. It is a male au ra, surely. Something was different about this au ra though.. their scales were a soft ivory instead of the dark cobalt she was so used to. Then she remembered. "Raen," she states out loud, unintentionally.
"I'm glad you've come to," the man replies, flashing a gentle smile towards the girl.
The xaela blushes in embarrassment realizing now that she had spoken out loud before really understanding her surroundings.
"What's your name? What tribe do you belong to?" the raen asks her.
The dark-scaled au ra stares straight ahead for a moment and begins to panic. "I don't.. know. I don't know. Where am I? Who are you?"
The raen raises his hands in submission calmly and grins. "You're safe now, it's okay. I found you bleeding and unconscious alongside the edge of the river this morning. I was just going to go fishing, but found you instead. I've no intention of eating you though, don't worry." He laughs for a moment before clearing his throat. "You really don't remember anything?"
She merely shakes her head no, still staring off into the distance, frozen sitting up in bed.
"I had a feeling that might've been the case.." pondered the male au ra. "I've talked to the others while you were asleep, and I've decided to take care of you! Isn't that nice of me? I'll take you under my wing. Like my daughter, I guess." He smiles for a quick moment. "O-oh, right! I should mention... I am a part of the Malaguld tribe. That is where you are. This tribe.. accepts au ra like me.. raen.. who have been exiled.. they give us a new home, a second chance. I'm eternally grateful for it and I think it's amazing luck that you've ended up here too after whatever you've been through!"
The small girl's eyes began brimming with tears. This seemed too good to be true, and yet here she was. Alive and safe. "Thank.. you," she choked out, staring down at the blanket covering her.
A few years later, Miyu was 'born anew'. Yes, Miyu was the name she was given. Looking up to the raen man taking care of her, he thought it fitting to choose a name of his own culture for her. It meant 'beautiful moon' in his people's language. He told Miyu he decided on that name because her pale skin in contrast with her dark scales reminded him of the moon and its different phases. Although she was curious about her past, Miyu was happy being a part of the Malaguld tribe now. They treated her well, and greatly valued her hunting skills. She loved her name, she loved her tribe, and she was grateful to the man who took on the role of her father figure these past few years. Though the man wasn't all that much older than Miyu, she still looked to him as such.
"Miyu! You know I've forbid you from going near the rivers! Now come, follow me," exclaimed the man. Miyu sighed but quickly accepted defeat as she got up to chase after her father. She knew he only wanted to keep her safe. If he found her nearly dead, of course he would be scared to see her go back and potentially put herself in more danger.
A ways away from the main grounds of the tribe, the two settled down by a cavern for the day.
"These are my secret training grounds, Miyu. I made sure it's farther away from everyone else so we have lots of space and privacy to train!"
The xaela smiled at the raen. "We're on a day trip then today? Show me what you were leading me on about earlier!"
"Alright, alright," chuckled the man. "First thing's first, Miyu, this is super secret stuff I learned before being saved by the Malagulds, okay? So just keep it between you and me, got it?"
Miyu rolls her eyes and smiles. "Of course, papa."
"Now, you've got to be very careful and very smart to understand how this works, but.." he holds his palm out, and slowly a small flame rises from it. "It's magic, Miyu. It's real magic. And I'm going to teach you what I know. Are you excited?"
"Of course I am, oh my gods! Show me more!"
The raen opens his other palm, and a small, cold ball of wind whirls around it. A snowflake falling to the ground, Miyu's eyes grow wide. "I've heard about.. snow...? Is that what it's called? I've heard of it, but to think you could create it with your very own hands...! How are you doing this?"
He closes his palms and stares Miyu straight in the face, lowering his voice. "This is dark magic, Miyu. And it's very difficult to learn. I.. found these books.. before I was exiled.. I'm glad I was able to save them. They took a few read-throughs but I finally understood how to do it. Anyone can do it, too. Isn't that amazing?"
Miyu makes a cute 'grabby hands' motion towards him. "I want to read these books, too. You know I love to read, papa."
The father figure chuckled. "Of course, Miyu. Patience, though. I told you I'd teach you all I know, remember?"
That day opened Miyu's eyes to something incredible. Something she wanted to learn more and more about. She wanted to even surpass her father's knowledge greatly. For the next year or two, the pair would make regular trips to their secluded little hideout and train. Train their magic, and when papa was asleep, Miyu would read as much as she could before falling asleep herself. In time, Miyu became a thaumaturge. A rather inexperienced one, but still one regardless. Using these magics to help them survive, they would spend even more days and nights away from the main tribe's grounds. Miyu felt a little concerned in the back of her mind that she was neglecting her other tribespeople, but this amazing knowledge powered over her desire for anything else.
One day, Miyu made a decision she had been pondering for a little while.
"I'm going back to the main grounds, and I'm going to share this knowledge, papa. I miss everyone, and I think it will help the tribe prosper even more so."
The man's brow furrowed at the girl. "No. I can't have that. We can't let them know what we know, Miyu."
The female au ra opened her mouth to retort but was quickly interrupted before she could speak.
"I KNOW WHAT'S BEST, Miyu!" he yelled. "I know what's best.. for the both of us, okay? You have to trust me."
The xaela's hands curled into fists of frustration. "I'm old enough to make my own choices. I can defend myself. I don't need you to watch over me anymore! You're so damn controlling!"
"I won't have it," the raen says in an eerily calm manor. Miyu releases the tension in her fists and stares at her papa, a looming cloud of fear making its way through her.
She turns to walk away, but her arm is abruptly grabbed by the man. Her digs his fingers into her arm and lowers his voice to a near growl. "You're not leaving me. You're not," he states before jerking her back towards him. He grabs onto both arms now and pulls Miyu against her will into the cavern.
"What are you doing? Are you crazy?!" Miyu yells, kicking and flailing as much as she can with her arms being restrained.
"I saved your life, I took care of you, and you want to leave me? You want to spill my knowledge to the others just like that? After I trusted you not to?" the man scowled in anger. "No, I won't have it. I won't have it," he repeats again to himself. Miyu continues to scream but soon her voice is muffled by a cloth that the raen gags her with. She continues to kick and flail but to no avail. Without at least the use of her hands, if not a stave, she cannot use any magic. Besides, her papa knows just as much if not more surely? It would be futile. The xaela tires out. Weary, she can no longer move to put up a fight. The male au ra's grip and stamina far exceeded hers. Her vision fades to black.
Miyu wakes up to find herself completely tied up and unable to free herself. She is no longer gagged, however.
"Oh, you're awake. Good morning," the raen says. Miyu lifts her head and stares at the man who had put her in her current situation.
"Why are you doing this?" Miyu begs. "Let me go, please.. papa."
"You know why, Miyu. I can't. Not for a little while, okay? If you're a good girl and obey your papa then all of this will just be like a bad dream, okay? Everything will be good again if you just listen and obey your papa."
Days, weeks pass. Who knows how long it's been? The only real company Miyu felt through these horrible times was the moon at night, when her papa was asleep. She had tried to think of everything possible to escape. She couldn't crawl, roll, or move any of her limbs. At this point, Miyu had given in. No matter how much pleading she did to the raen, he would not release her out of fear. Fear that she would betray him and leave him alone. His trust of her was broken and it would never be repaired. That's what he told her, too.
It was twilight now, and everyone was still fast asleep. Miyu constantly woke up at the smallest noises she could hear though. She hadn't truly given up all hope. Hearing the faint noise of a piece of cloth moving lightly through the air, she jolts awake. Before her eyes in a flash she sees a hyur-looking man with pointed ears. A black and green braid elegantly resting against his back, he turns to Miyu and with a swift flash, holds a finger to her lips. "Now, now, I don't want to kill more than what's necessary. Keep those pretty little lips closed for now, okay?" His voice was as soft and quiet as the finest silk in the Steppes. Valuing her life, naturally, she keeps her mouth shut. Glaring over at the sleeping raen nearby, she looks at the assassin before her for a moment as her eyes slowly widen upon realization of what's about to happen. Why though? How did this man know she was here? It didn't seem like he was here to save her. So then what did her papa do? Was he a wanted criminal? Question after question flooded through the xaela's mind as she sat quietly, staring. She sees the midlander pull out a dagger and a gasp instantly escapes her lips, waking up her papa. The raen swings around suddenly, grabbing a small boulder nearby to use as a shield against the assassin's blades.
"You could've gone quietly, but oh well," says the man tauntingly as he begins slashing away at the male au ra.
"I knew it. Any day now!" yells the raen. "How in the hells did you find me? Who even are you?"
"I'm just trying to get paid, monsieur," replies the assassin innocently as he continues to meet blade with rock. Despite just being 'asleep', Miyu's papa was sure quick to be up and ready to fight back.
"Wh.. what is going on?!" Miyu shouts. The assassin turns for only a quick moment to glance at Miyu but is instantly caught off guard as he feels a swift sweep of his legs under him, falling for a moment before quickly getting back up. Despite not looking like he was at any disadvantage, he had dropped one of his two daggers. It slides towards Miyu and she stares at it, eyes burning like never before as she struggles to slip it between her toes. A small cut appears there as she desperately attempts to flip the knife into her lap. She winces at the pain but that doesn't stop her. The two men are busy fighting still, and their eyes are not on Miyu or the dropped dagger. The assassin himself doesn't seem to be having any trouble with his work despite losing one of his weapons. Soon enough, as if the twelve had heard her silent prayers, Miyu lands the blade into her lap. She leans down and picks up the handle with her mouth, clenching her teeth tightly around the handle, she begins working at the ropes bound around her, praying the men don't notice. Thankfully they don't, as they are too occupied trying to get the upper hand on the other. The assassin is fast and doesn't let up in the slightest, so the raen is kept busy.
Miyu frees herself, her limbs aching and throbbing. She's running purely on adrenaline now. She holds the dagger in her hand and stares at it, seemingly deep in thought. Creeping around the edges of the cavern, she tries her best to stay quiet and unnoticed by the men. The xaela gulps. She's made her choice. The amount of seething hatred and resentment for this man who she called "papa" burns inside of her. The way he treated her, controlled and constrained her, it ate at her heart and made her sick to her stomach. As the men continue fighting, Miyu makes her move. She slinks behind the raen from a short distance, holding tightly onto the dagger. The midlander catches a glimpse of Miyu while fighting and sees her holding tightly onto the dagger. Grinning wildly, he backs away and drops his other dagger on purpose. "Alright, I give up! I'm going home!" he exclaims. Completely caught off guard, the raen pauses for a moment. "Huh?! Yeah, righ--" He's instantly silenced as Miyu digs the blade as deep as she can into his back, dragging it down to cause extra agony. Her limbal rings burn bright as she keeps her eyes glued onto her target. Watching the blood pool at the surface and pour out causes her to laugh lightly. Then it turns into a wicked cackle as she watches more of the crimson pour out of her abuser's body. The assassin smirks as he picks up his other dagger, quickly thrusting it into the raen's front while Miyu ravages the back.
"I think I like you already," the braided man says, winking at Miyu. She is far too tunneled onto what she's doing to notice, however.
The raen falls to the ground, a bloody mess. The hyur simply stands there watching Miyu as she stands silent, gripping onto the dagger's handle just as tightly as before. Her eyes wide, staring at the mess before her. The midlander on the other side of the mess continues to stare intently at the xaela, observing her. He decides to break the silence.
"That was.. fun, wasn't it?" he asks carefully. Miyu doesn't speak, only raises her head to meet with the man's gaze. She smiles and lets out an exhale she'd be holding for a while. Gathering the reality around her, her gaze at the assassin changes to fear.
"No need to be afraid, love. I'm not getting paid to kill you." He walks up to Miyu, who is frozen in place, and cups her chin, leaning his face closer. "You did wonderfully," he coos to her.
The xaela is speechless. She continues to stand frozen as she watches the man walk past her from the corner of her eye.
"Wait!" she calls out suddenly. The hyur turns back to her.
"I.. t..take me with you..please." she stutters, looking away from him expecting an instant rejection. Why ask such a stupid question to a random man you just met? Especially when he's an assassin? Miyu's not right in the head, that's what she tells herself. She regrets what she just said and bites her lip.
"Alright," replies the man, smirking. "Either stay out of sight during missions or make yourself useful to me then. If not.. you'll figure it out, I'm sure. I'm a busy man."
She follows closely behind the hyur, idly massaging her sore limbs while they walk out of the cavern. The sun is rising now.
"I'm Miyu," the xaela states, introducing herself. The hyur smirks again.
Miyu closes her tube of black lipstick and sets it into her pocket. "Ready!" she exclaims happily, turning to the man she's fallen in love with.
"I like that hair on you, love. You sure you don't want a more dramatic colour change though? People will be less likely to recognize you," Midori calmly warns.
"I don't care to change how I look. I've never been happier than I am now, being with you. Besides, I only cut my hair a bit because I've taken a liking to this style! All the royal and rich Domans have bangs like this, right? I want to look like I live in the lap of luxury. Besides, it's not like the nomadic xaela tribes will even know about me. That's in the past now."
"We're not quite there yet, darling, but after a good set of contracts I'm sure we'll be well on our way to this life of luxury you desire." The midlander folds and puts away the cloth he was just using to polish his blades.
"Doesn't matter, 'cause I feel like I'm living it anyway!" Miyu beams happily.
"So cheesy, love..." the man fakes a wince. "I love it, though." He then smiles warmly.
"Now, before we leave, remember that you agreed not to make a huge mess this time, okay? If anything, use your magic.. but still, keep it clean. Please?"
Miyu giggles, slipping on her shoes. "Okay, okay.. just for you, darling. We'd better get something good to eat after though! I'm starving."
The hyur smirks. "I'll make sure you've nothing but the finest, my dear. Don't you worry."
The au ra beams again, already excited enough for what they're about to do. A business she never dreamed she'd be into; but being an assassin, or at least helping one out sure does pay well and satiates her lust for thrills.