Prologue – Shin

A young man leans against the warm wood of a Great One, ancestral trees that watch over and protect the Univir, living, sentient guardians that will never fall nor die, ancient and powerful.

He watches as the Univir move around the small settlement, completing their chores or playing as the small children did.

Several normally shy animals had gathered around him, settling themselves near to or on top of the young man. They are not fazed by the massive tigress curled up near the man, some even daring to touch and play with her, knowing that this boy would protect them from all danger.

The man stretches, his long blood-tinted black hair released from its confining braids as he works the kinks and knots from his muscles. He smiles down at the small family of Unara curled up on his lap, the miniature Pegasus (1) never failing to lift his mood, as the fast fading light tugged at the glint of red in his startlingly colored eyes. Golden and wide, they contrasted sharply to the ice pale skin that was marred by silvery, barely visible scars and a single silver sigil in the center of his forehead, covered by his bangs.

He had a small, finely built face, long black eyelashes that had a tint of red at the edges, his face framed by his long, curling hair. He stood up, shifting the Unara carefully so as to avoid waking them, and bent backwards until his head touched to back of his knees. His hair brushed his ankles as he walked, the massive tigress a silent shadow by his side. He was short for his 16 years, only 154cm, and it was often remarked that with his beauty he would have been better off being born female.

"I am afraid, Hikariana." He said to his bond-blood, face expressionless as he walked towards the Univir settlement.

"Have no fear. I will protect you, Shin, Protector of the Aelmarialis." Sent Hikariana telepathically, reassurance and confidence in her mind-voice.

"Aelmarialis… Protector of Nature and Her Gifts… a weighty title… one I am afraid to bear." He whispered, as much to himself as his only friend.

I am afraid… afraid… and yet I must go on… he thought to himself.

"I go to Elementralia Academy tonight. The only one I can turn to is you, dear heart, and even then I fear… " He broke off, breaking their telepathic connection as he doubled over with pain, clutching his head and letting out a high, keening sound of pain.

His eyes closed as he fainted, landing gently on the forest floor, body wracked by pain.

He walked through a forest, green in the gladness spring had brought, with a shining figure by his side. All was well. All were happy. Animals gamboled around him and his shining companion, their young voices raised in laughter and the joy of life. All was quiet, and Death broke that silence as he raised his voice in a shriek of triumph.

The animals following them fled, the sound of gunshots and screams rending the air.

He and his shining companion broke into a run, their small feet flying, moving quickly and surely on the familiar forest floor. They ran, gasping for breath, onwards towards their village, premonitions of what they would find playing with their thoughts. They ran into the village, something breaking within each of them as they witnesses the horror before them.

Their village burnt, people screaming as blood tinged the air red, the streams flowing wetly, water turning to blood. Women, children, men. All were cut down, those who lived tortured, the old and the young. Children screamed as bestial faces loomed, grasping them, taking them to who knew where.

The dragons set flight, fleeing the scene of carnage and the spectacle of death, fleeing their master's deaths as they had been told to do.

His shining companion laughed, a chilling, blood-curdling sound, an his shining silver aura turned black as he killed.

The trees wailed in agony, fire dancing its glorious dance of death through fabric and flesh, bone and home. A man he thought of as father reached for him as his blood gushed from a wound to his chest, eyes wide with desperation, spraying the boy with blood.

"Run, Aelmarialis. Run… my son…" he whispered as he died.

Darkness fell, and he ran. Blood from his parents corpses, the villagers corpses, the corpses of animals, soaked him and his clothes. Scenes of torture, of flails, of skin being torn, flesh being eaten, blood being drunk, filled his every waking moment. He endured, unaware of how long, until finally he could endure no more.

He broke, something inside him snapping as he endured one more day of torture, of insanity.

He broke, and all around him burned.

He broke, and all around him drowned.

He broke, and all around him smashed.

He broke, and all around him fell.

He broke, and all around him were torn.

He broke, and all around him died.

Shin sat up, gasping for breath as sweat trickled in rivulets down his body.

He groaned, putting his head on his hands, and tried to ignore the pounding headache he got each time his nightmare visited him.

Hikariana butted her head against his chest, pawing at a covered tray left on his bedside table, probably made by Kiran, his adoptive mother.

"How long have I been asleep?" he asked Hikariana is a soft whisper, looking at her blood-red eyes, so like the blood sprayed in his nightmare…

"Two hours, Shin. You have exactly 57 minutes to get ready and run to the departure terminal to travel to Elementralia Academy. Nivar said that he has already packed what you will need, and has put it all in a Mouraliastra." Replied Hikariana, amusement at her chosen's shock plain in her laughing eyes.

"He also says, that if you want to be an idiot and complain, he'll just make you take two."

"That bastard. Where did he get the money to buy a Bottomless Bag? For Christ's sake!" Shin exclaimed angrily, looking at the black satchel lying on the foot of the bed.

He got up unsteadily, holding onto Hikariana for balance as he dressed in black, loose pants, and white top with black edges and an oversized Shiwaza, a black parka type top that could stop a sword or axe, probably even breaking the offending weapons. They were imbued with the magic from the horns of dead Ancestors, as were most of his weapons. The Univir took great pride in having horns, their magical abilities an added bonus.

He slung a white quiver over his back; a black Katana strapped to his waist and his other weapons and his bow going into the Mouraliastra. Pausing, he unstrapped the Katana and placed in into the bag.

"Well then, shall we go, dear heart?" he asked playfully of the tigress, watching as she drew a magical circle on the earth floor. She grew to approximately two times her original size, lying down so that Shin could leap effortlessly to her back.

She stretched, forepaws kneading the ground as she tensed than relaxed her muscles one by one.

"Ready, chosen?" she whispered boisterously, letting out a small mew of excitement.

"Always."

She burst through the door, running full pelt through the settlement, reaching the edge of the forest in seconds.

Shin laughed in exhilaration, his normally carefully guarded expression letting slip, allowing a moment of pure joy to shine through.

For ten minutes they ran, happiness and relief their only emotions as they went deeper into the forest.

All too soon, they reached the airspace terminal, Shin reluctantly jumping down from his perch. He looked back once at the world of Iellendell, his reverie interrupted by Hikariana's low mew of sadness for, for all her size and wisdom, strength and courage, Hikariana was merely a pup, barely two years old.

She had been the one to find and nurse him back to health, to take him to the Univir settlement and teach him to trust once again.

He gazed at the transport terminal, odd flashes of dream or memory, he wasn't sure which, making his vision darken and head pound.

He grabbed at Hikariana as another wave of pain hit him, sending him to his knees. The pain was excruciating, even though he was slowly numbing the pain, blocking any nerve signals to his brain using Silver magic.

A terminal officer approached him warily, keeping an eye on Hikariana's predominantly large teeth, displayed to their full splendor as she gave a pointed yawn.

" Are you alright?" she asked, reaching out as if to help the young man up.

Hikariana growled at her, restrained only by his hand as he fought to calm her.

"I am fine, thank you. If you may, please tell me the location of terminal 23, ma'am." He replied in a monotone, forcing himself to an upright position.

"Turn right once you go through the entrance, following the red lights to terminal 22 and go straight ahead. Through 22 and to the left." She answered, concern professionally hidden as she watched the young man give her a nod of thanks, relying on his… pet… to keep him upright.

He walked on, leaning on Hikariana, and entered the terminal.

The small bag hanging from his shoulder bounced as he headed to the nearest toilet block, his energy slowly returning.

He entered, closing the cubicle door behind him, and turned to Hikariana.

"Riana, Riana." He whispered, gazing into her understanding eyes.

"I'm sorry." With that, he put his hand on her shoulder, murmuring Silver words in the Auyld tongue of the Ancestral Univirian, a flashing red symbol enveloping Hikariana.

"Shinver, Shinver, Riana al Shinver toranaria." He muttered, watching as she shrank before his eyes. He undid the bag's clasp, turning to his kitten-sized friend and smiled sadly.

"Come on then. In you hop." Shin said as cheerfully as he could, picking up Hikariana and putting her inside the bag. "Rest well, dear heart. We'll be there soon."

He walked to terminal 23, following the directions of the officer, and arrived in a matter of minutes, moving to the back of the shuttle where the Academy only rooms were situated.

He lay back on the single bed, hands behind his head, sighing once before taking out the now miniature Hikariana.

"We'll be there soon, dear heart. Sleep for now." He muttered, already nodding off, bag clutched securely to his chest.

A Pegasus is rather like a horse, aside from the fact that they have wings. So just think; mini horse with wings, generally snow-white, and in some legends unicorn (2) horns.

A Unicorn is a legendary creature that is said to resemble purity and all things good in this world. They are said to be a pure white horse with a single silver or gold horn in the middle of their forehead.

A/N: This is my first story, so please be nice. I am only 13 after all.

This here is my first character, Shin. In Japanese, his name means death, an apt description considering his childhood. Please, please, PLEASE Rate and Review. If you don't, I won't. Write, that is. Hope you enjoyed! The next Prologue with be about Mariastral (Maria) Glendolen, our second character. Enjoy!

At the start of each Prologue, I will have some picts of what the characters look like wearing the school uniform or in their various morphed states.

If you wish to see what I imagine Shin to look like, please go to:

.org/avatar/40952150

or for his school uniform go to:

.org/avatar/40952171