A/N: This is my first attempt at an original story. You can find my Harry Potter fanfiction over on , under the same penname.
Story description: This is the account of a goddess named Midaya and her guardian Gabriel. Along with the other six goddesses and guardians, they are charged with protecting their planet, Nevaeh, and it's six magical stones.
By Heather Brewer
Chapter One: The Ceremony
"All hail Adil!" shouted a guard as an elderly man dressed in white robes entered the dining room. The rest of the elders, four men and one woman, stood up immediately. Adil slowly made his way to the table, helped by his cane made of oak, the planets most dominate tree.
"Good morning, Adil," they said in unison after they were seated again.
"Good day for a ceremony," he said slowly, and then began to eat his breakfast of oatmeal and fresh picked fruit.
"Good day for a ceremony, indeed," said Haldir, the second in command, "but are you sure about your choice for Midaya?"
"Do not question fate, Haldir. The first words from the boy's mouth were an inquiry about her. We've only kept them apart this long to prepare them."
"They will change our world in more ways than we can imagine," said Minerva, the only female in the group. She had been offered her husbands position when he passed away, a rare decision, but one that had proven most wise.
"All the preparations are in order then?" Haldir asked.
"The girls are being dressed as we speak, and the soldiers will be in formation soon," Minerva answered with a smile.
"Why must we make such a spectacle of this? Why not introduce the guardians to their goddesses and be done with it!" Haldir took his anger out on his porridge, spilling it all over the table as he dropped his spoon.
"Calm yourself, Haldir," said Adil softly, "the people need something to excite them, to inspire them. That is the entire purpose of the stones."
It was, in fact, a beautiful day to hold a ceremony. The planet's usual dark purple sky was soft lavender this morning, and the entire population of Nevaeh was seated in their large dome arena before the goddesses even took their seats. In the middle of the arena was a large cemented area with a large podium and seats for the Elders. This was where all of their important events were held; including The Ceremony, and large thrones had been built at the top of the arena for the goddesses to watch over them.
Today, there were twelve soldiers on the arena floor as well. Ranging in age from fifteen to twenty, they were the best line of defense for Nevaeh, other than the goddesses, of course. Seven of them would become guardians for the goddesses, and the other five would become generals in Nevaeh's Army.
"Good morning citizens of Nevaeh! We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day as we reach a milestone in our planet's history. As you can see, we had added a new throne to our arena, as today we will crown seven goddesses and guardians, instead of six! We have much work to do, so let us not waste a moment! It is time the goddesses receive their guardians! Rise, my goddesses! Rise and grace us with your presence."
All at once seven young girls arose from thrones that could sit men three times their size. They descended their separate staircases in unison, quickly approaching the bottom of the arena. The crowd erupted into such a fit of cheering, the stone pillars began to shake. After a few moments of whistling, clapping, cheering and screams, Adil, the Supreme Elder, held up his hand. It had barely lifted from his knee, where it always rested, when the entire arena fell silent. The citizens knew better than to ever defy an Elder.
Minerva, having been the one to oversee the preparation of the goddesses, also rose, her long black hair flowing in the wind, and she walked to the center of the arena, where there was a large podium. She had to climb a few steps to reach the microphone, but when she did her booming voice filled the arena.
"Maiara," she paused for the young girl with black hair and a yellow dress to step forward, "the Elders have bestowed upon you the gift of wisdom. You will dutifully advise our armies, counsel with the Elders, and give knowledge when it is sought out. To you we present Elder Zeki's personal apprentice, Julius, whose wisdom is bested only by you. He will keep you well in conversation, as well as from harm."
A boy not older then fifteen removed his helmet, strode quickly to his new charge, and dropped to his knees. She kissed his forehead to bless him, as all goddesses have done when they first meet their guardian, and instructed him to rise. He stood beside her, beaming.
"Ida," the woman called, as Ida stepped forward on cue, "the Elders have bestowed upon you the gift of strength. You not only have physical strength, but also the strength to resist all temptations. For you the Elders have chosen Apollo, son of Artemis, the future protector of you and your throne."
Ida was dressed in her designated color, red, as she greeted Apollo. The goddesses were only allowed to wear the color that represented their ability and nothing else. Guardians were sent to the Arena in all black. Once they were chosen, goddesses would give them a colored scarf to tie around their arm to be worn at all times, on penalty of death.
"Brava!" the woman called more loudly than the first two names. Brava was her niece, and she never missed an opportunity to favor her. Brava held her head up high as she walked forward, her long purple train flowing in the wind. "Your bravery is matched only by Ida's strength. Together, the two of you defend our nation. The man who has been chosen to defend you is equally strong. A direct descendent of Adil himself, Gerard will be your defender!"
The crowd erupted in cheers, Adil's descendant had been chosen, and there were still four goddesses left. They once again quieted down once seeing Adil's hand, but there were still murmurs about who would be defending Midaya.
"Fatin," the woman spat. She watched her move forward in her much too revealing dress made from pink silk. Her movements were so graceful it was as if she was floating to her spot. "The gift the Elders bestowed upon you was beauty and grace. In your hands lye the future of our young ladies, and by them our future population. Spare your guardian, Galahad, your enchanting ways, but by all means share it with your apprentices."
Galahad, a tall man with dark hair and eyes, was the eldest of the guardians at the age of twenty. No man could resist Fatin, but Minerva hoped that Galahad, who was known for being a pure and simple man, would be able to. However, his eyes never left her as he kneeled and accepted his kiss and scarf. The fact that a pink silk scarf would forever be tied around his forearm didn't even seem to bother him.
Minerva's tone of voice changed as she called for the goddess of kindness, Adelaide, to step forward. She wore a simple white gown that covered her entire body, and had long blonde hair and a very pale complexion. She resembled the angels from Adil's stories, who, according to him, used to walk their planet. Before the angels left, however, they bestowed six boxes to the Elders. Each of them contained a stone that would give different powers to each of the possessors. Having there been six elders, each of them gave a stone to their wives, who wore them until the day the died, at which time the stone would be passed down to their eldest granddaughter. After a few hundred years, girls started being born already in possession of the power of the stone their mother wore. Adelaide's ancestors had been the first to be born with the ability to put anyone around them at peace.
"You have been bestowed with the gift of kindness, and in return your family has given us peace for many long years. We have chosen Caspian the Valiant to keep you safe, as you keep the rest of the planet at ease. Welcome your guardian, sweet Adelaide." Adelaide did as she was instructed, and returned to her throne with Caspian.
Astraea stepped forward before being called, which earned a stern look from Minerva.
"Astraea," she said with a forced sweetness in her voice that could be heard throughout the arena, "though the Elders and the Goddesses strive for peace and perfection, not all thoughts and plans are good. You protect us from temptation and sin, and for that we thank you. However, there is further the Elders require of you, and will require of your heirs. Although we are blessed by the outcome, we cannot have any more incidences with the stones, and therefore we are leaving them in your charge to make sure no one is ever tempted to steal them. To assist you in this matter, the Elders have chosen Darius, a possessor of good thoughts. "
Darius knelt before Astraea, who was barely able to move in her fitted royal blue gown, and accepted his gifts. It wasn't hard to tell how nervous he was to have been chosen to help protect the stones. The last time they had been stolen, a man from another kingdom had been sent to steal them for the King's Wife. The man was intercepted and held prisoner, but had dropped the stones in the forest while being captured. An old witch doctor found them and sold them to a poor family with a sick infant daughter. They placed all the stones in her crib as instructed and within two days their daughter was healed. Rejoiced, they told the Elders what these stones had done for them. Concerned, Adil himself came to visit the child and realized what had happened. He was relieved that the stones were once again in the hands of the Elders, but feared what this meant for their daughter. One woman had never been known to possess all six powers.
Fifteen years later, she stood in the center of the arena waiting for her name to be called and receive her guardian. She would then spend the rest of her life in luxury at the Main Palace, but also in fear. Guardians of the Goddesses were only necessary because men had tried to kidnap her when they found out what she could do. If the goddesses were made to produce boys, they would be the most powerful soldiers in the world, powerful enough to overthrow Adil as the Elder of their planet, Nevaeh.
"Midaya!" Minerva half screamed, which caused her to look to Minerva and then to the crowd. Apparently, she had been calling Midaya's name for quite some time. She moved forward and stood before six soldiers in their black attire. One would forever know glory, and the other five would have to settle for a life of service, bitter at the loss of their opportunity to defend a goddess, let alone the most powerful one of all.
"Although you were an unexpected gift, the Elders are grateful for you. You possess all six gifts of the sacred stones, and we are most eager to observe your accomplishments from the Main Palace. Therefore, it is only fitting that your guardian be as unique in his abilities as you are. Gabriel, who fell from the heavens to our planet as a child, will protect you from all harm."
For a third time during the event, the crowd erupted into cheers. This time, however, Adil did not raise a hand to silence them. Their goddesses were going to be safe, and that was reason enough to rejoice. Gabriel, a young man of nineteen with blonde hair and blue eyes, knelt before Midaya. She kissed his forehead and tied her green scarf around his arm. He kissed her hand and rose to her side.
"Don't worry," he whispered into her ear, "I'm going to take care of you now, Midaya. My father sent me to you after he saw what happened with the stones." She turned to him in utter shock, trying to figure out if she had misunderstood what Gabriel just said, as if the volume of the crowd could have altered his words somehow.
He smiled at her before escorting her up to the podium, where she received her sacred tiara. It had a large emerald in the center, with six smaller jewels surrounding it to represent each of the other goddesses. Since these tiaras were brand new, they sparkled as much as a hundred diamonds. Midaya forced a smile as she waived to the crowd.
Gabriel could sense her uneasy feeling over his words, so he offered her his arm once again. They walked together in silence to the Main Palace, and up to the green tower built in her honor, where she would spend the rest of her days.
"You must have many questions for me, my goddess…"
Midaya raised a hand and he stopped speaking instantly.
"I can see you are very obedient, Gabriel. I thank you for that. I will ask you to call me Midaya, as we are going to be spending the rest of your service life together."
At this, Gabriel kneeled before her, "I will serve you until the moment I draw my last breath, Midaya."
"What have I done to earn such loyalty? You were just assigned to me moments ago."
"Do you not know my story, Midaya? Has no one ever told you?"
Midaya's look of confusion was a good enough answer to Gabriel's questions.
"Please sit, my lady. I will poor you a glass of water, it is a story of minimal length, but it may trouble you,"
"And water will soothe me?" she asked, her large green eyes looking into his brown ones. For a few moments he felt as if he couldn't move, or even speak. The only thing he could focus on was Midaya, and this moment.
"Gabriel? The Water will soothe me?" she repeated, "Gabriel?"
"Forgive me, Midaya. Your eyes…they are so beautiful, and ever changing."
"An unfortunate effect of the stones placed in my crib. But I was under the impression that I would be hearing your story this afternoon, not mine."
"The water will soothe you, goddess," he said, finally answering her question and he gestured for her to take a drink, and she obeyed.
"I am a son born to a God, some thirty years ago. By the age of 15, I had won my father's affection by excelling at any task he gave me. I was always eager to gain his approval, and so when he said someone very dear to him on Nevaeh needed protection, a mortal child named Midaya who now possessed all of the talents from his stones, I jumped at the chance. He sent me down with a meteor back in child form, saying I would be more comforting to you if I looked your age."
"But you're really twice my age?"
"Technically, my soul is thirty-four, but my body is only nineteen. I have lived my formative years twice, and no one is more eager than I to finally be older. To be given the honor to serve my father, by means of you and Adil."
"So your loyalty is to your father, and because of that it is also to me?"
"I feel as if my heart beats for you, Midaya," he said, placing her small hands against his chest.
Their contact warmed her body instantly, and sent a tingling sensation down her spine. It was an unfamiliar feeling to her, but not an unpleasant one.
"I am touched by your story, sweet Gabriel. I accept your service and your loyalty. But what am I supposed to do now? The entire planet is expecting great things for me. The other girls were raised by generations of goddesses and they've learned to love their talents. It's effortless for them…"
"I know how it feels to be told everyone expects great things from you, and then offers no advice on how you're supposed to go about preforming miracles..."
Midaya gave a soft laugh, and Gabriel's demeanor instantly relaxed.
"I think you can use your talents better than you think, Midaya. Your beauty is flawless, your laughter soothes all sadness and insecurity…your eyes instill bravery in men."
"I'm afraid those are all thanks to the stones. Extraordinary powers given to an ordinary girl."
Gabriel softly lifted her chin, forcing her to look into his eyes; "there is nothing ordinary about you, Midaya Valerius, only daughter of Marissa and David, savior of Nevaeh. Even if your parents hadn't placed those stones in your crib, you would have done great things. This fate was one decided for you by the Gods, and you must embrace it to reach your full potential."
"You have so much faith in me," she said, lowering her head to hide her blushing cheeks, but Gabriel once again made eye contact with her.
"I believe in you so that you may believe in yourself. Learn from the other goddesses, but do not place all your trust in them, I have a feeling they are envious of you, and they won't help you if you falter. Never give them a chance to embarrass you, do you understand?"
Midaya nodded slowly, trying to take in everything Gabriel was saying, "but what do I do now?"
"You're the goddess, you give the orders. Then I obey you, no matter what."
"No matter what?" she asked with a mischievous grin.
Gabriel sighed, and then answered, "no matter what."
Unfortunately Midaya wouldn't be able to take advantage of Gabriel's loyalty for several more weeks. She was awakened early that next morning by a loud noise and then a burst of sunlight.
"Up!" she heard Minerva shout in her shrill voice, "up, Midaya! A goddess does not simply waste the day away! Wash up for breakfast, and be downstairs in 20 minutes!"
Midaya sighed and she flung the heavy covers off of her, exposing her legs and feet to the cold. She was downstairs within twenty minutes as instructed and took her seat next to Gabriel. Fatin and Astraea looked wide-awake and flawless. They already had their makeup on, hair pulled back, and had chosen much nicer gowns to wear then Midaya had. The other goddesses hadn't put nearly as much effort into their appearances, but they looked nice as well. It was Midaya who looked worse for wear, and she knew she'd be hearing about it from Minerva later.
"Ah, goddesses," said Adil after taking in a deep breathe, "bless you for making my morning so bright! Bless this food, that it may nourish our bodies so that we may preform our duties to Nevaeh without fatigue!"
As soon as he finished his short prayer, the servants began to pour bowls of oatmeal and set out large silver platters of freshly picked strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
The rest of the meal was eaten mostly in silence. The elders seemed to only speak when it was necessary, and the guardians only spoke when they were directly addressed. Midaya wondered if that was a rule for goddesses as well, or if they held special privilege.
After a few more moments of contemplation, Midaya's thoughts were interrupted by Minerva clearing her throat. Midaya looked up to she her dab the sides of her mouth gently with a napkin, and then place it on the plate.
"Adil, with your permission, the goddesses and I will retire from breakfast and begin our lessons for the day."
Adil gave a small nod, and Minerva gestured for the girls to follow her. Midaya placed her napkin on her plate as Minerva did, and glanced back at Gabriel before leaving the dining hall. It could have been her imagination, but the look on Gabriel's face told her he was just as upset to see her go as she was.
Minerva lead the girls into a small classroom with eight desks, one positioned at the head of the room, where Minerva took her seat, and the other seven made three small rows.
"Now ladies, I know this is all very new to you, so we'll start from the beginning. You are to rise with the sun at 6 every morning, and be downstairs at breakfast at 6:30am. You will demonstrate proper table manners and polite conversation until 7am, at which time we will begin our lessons. Lunch will be served promptly at noon, after which we will reconvene until 4pm. I expect you to be washed and ready for dinner at 6pm. Lights out by 8pm. Early to bed, early to rise!"
Minerva had a very stern look on her face, and the girls followed her glare to Midaya, whose hand was already raised.
"Yes, Midaya? What it so important that you can't wait until the end of class?"
"I meant no offense, Minerva, I only wondered when our free time was," Midaya said quietly, losing confidence by the end of her statement.
"Speak clearly, Midaya! It is unbecoming of a goddess to mumble. But to answer your question, what on earth would you need this 'free time' for?"
With all eyes on her, Midaya had to chose her words carefully, as it was too late to back out of the question altogether, "Well…I was thinking about when we'd have time for ourselves, perhaps to read or take a walk in the garden."
She heard Astraea stifle a laugh, and Fatin looked back at her, probably hoping to see Midaya's humiliated expression. Adelaide glanced at her, trying to convey sympathy. Brava, Ida and Maiara had their eyes locked on Minerva, their stares unwavering.
"Performing the duties expected of you is a full time job, Midaya. There is little time for unnecessary takes. But if you like, you make take the time between dinner and lights out to yourself, although it would be wise to use that time to study."
"Yes, Minerva," she said clearly before starring at her desk for the rest of the lesson, not daring to open her mouth again.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Gabriel asked as he followed Midaya through the woods.
"What happened to your sense of adventure?" she asked.
"It's buried by my fear of you getting hurt! I'd like you to last longer than a month, you know," he replied curtly. He heard a large cracking noise and quickly drew his sword, but lowered it when he saw Midaya laughing and pointing to a pile of twigs he had stepped on. It was now Gabriel who was blushing as he stuffed his sword back in his scabbard.
"There's nothing wrong with a girl knowing how to defend herself with a sword. Besides, I've been cooped up in that tower for weeks now, learning proper etiquette and curfews, and how to impress elders, it's enough to drive a girl insane! I need some time outside!"
"How did you escape? Minerva's had you locked up in the main tower for weeks. What purpose does a guardian have, with no goddess to protect?"
"My freedom today is in no way a result of Minerva's kindness, the Elders have been in a meeting all day. So let this precious time be for you to protect your goddess then."
"What use do you have with a sword, anyway? You have a guardian and sorcery."
"For when you're not around…" Midaya said with a smile.
"I'll always be around. Always…"
"And what's this about sorcery?"
"Midaya, you have Astraea's powers! I can't believe no one has trained you…"
"Astraea's powers are to help us to resist temptation…"
"Yes, with her magic powers…"
Midaya sighed, "Well until I learn how to master those powers, I will learn to master a sword!"
"Midaya, please" Gabriel said, gently gripping her arm, "let us return to the castle and seek counsel from the rest of the goddesses, I will make sure they do you no harm!"
"No! Gabriel, Son of a God, savior of Nevaeh, I command you teach me swordsmanship! And spare me no mercy, take me as an apprentice!"
Gabriel stuck his sword hard into the ground and placed his hands on his hips, starring only at the sword.
Midaya heard him muttering softly, and she could only imagine we he must be saying, cursing her for giving him first order that he didn't like, or perhaps asking his father to keep her safe.
"Alright," he said so abruptly it startled her, "if you're going to wield a sword, you've got to be able to lift one, so pull mine from the ground."
Midaya stood up straight, held her head up high as she walked up to his sword, placed both hands on the large hilt, and pulled as hard as she could. After a few attempts, she firmly planted her feet on the ground and arched backwards as she pulled with all her strength. She quickly lost her footing and fell backwards into the dirt.
Gabriel stifled a laugh and offered his hand to help her up. He hoisted her up with little effort, shaking his head.
"Just as I thought, we'll begin with wooden swords then,'' he said as he threw his satchel to the ground and removed two swords carved from oak. He threw one her way and she caught it by what would be the blade, which caused Gabriel to shake his head again.
"Let's work on your footing, Midaya," he said, giving her a playful smile.
Midaya returned to her tower several hours later, leaving her little time to wash up for dinner. Just as she poured water into a bowl to wash her face, she heard a small knock. Expecting Gabriel, she opened the door with a smile.
"Hello, Midaya," said a voice much too feminine to be Gabriel's.
"Hello, Fatin," she replied, her smile fading as she arched her shoulders back.
"I was just wondering if you'll make it to dinner? You look a mess, and it makes me wonder what you've been doing with your guardian in the forest for all those hours…"
"Not what you've been doing with your guardian in your bedroom for the past few hours, if that's what you're implying,"
Fatin stood up straight and gave her a harsh look, in what Midaya could only perceive as an attempt to intimidate her.
"I can be a very nice friend, Midaya, I usually help the other girls make themselves presentable, but that's not my only talent. I feel sorry for girls who are on the other side of my generosity."
"Lucky for me, I also possess your gift of beauty and grace, but I do not rely on it so heavily. I will see you at dinner, Fatin. Thank you for checking up on me." Midaya closed to door before Fatin could retort, but took satisfaction in seeing her expression after being bested in her own game.
Exhausted from her day of sword fighting with Gabriel, Midaya wasn't going to do anything special for dinner. Yet thanks to Fatin's visit, it would be foolish not to. She pulled back her hair, washed her face, and then quickly began putting on makeup, something her mother had taught her to do last year, before the incident. When she was done she chose one of her nicer green gowns with a diamond broach, and pinned her tiara into her long dark hair. She slipped on her silver slippers and hurried to the dining hall stairs, practically sliding to them. Gabriel was waiting for her there, and they made their entrance together.
They took their normal seats together on the left side of the table next to Maiara and her guardian, Julius. She was disappointed to see that all of the guardians seemed to be very smitten with their goddesses, especially Galahad and Darius, who followed Fatin and Astraea around like little puppy dogs. Had she been foolish to assume Gabriel had feelings for her? How could she misinterpret his kindness? Of course he was supposed to keep her happy, his only goal in life was to serve her. She wondered how many of the guardians had already slept with their goddesses, and whether or not that was part of their duty.
Midaya ate her dinner in silence, as she had much to contemplate, until Adil addressed her, something he rarely did for anyone, let alone a goddess, "Beautiful Midaya," he said, causing her head to pop up and immediately turn to Adil, and the rest of the table followed.
"Beautiful Midaya," he said again, "why do you seem so sad? Do your accommodations not please you?"
"No, Adil, your grace, my accommodations are more than I could ever ask for!"
"And how do you like your schooling?"
"I find my classes very educational. Thank you, your grace."
Adil's face scrunched up, something he did only when in deep thought.
"Perhaps it is your guardian, then. Is he not serving you well?"
Midaya's eyes quickly shifted to Gabriel's, and they locked for just a moment before he put his attention back on Adil. Someone, Midaya knew that his fate depended on how she answered this question, and she needed to do it quickly.
"Gabriel does everything I ask of him, your grace. He has pledged service to me until his last breathe."
"How romantic," said Adelaide, sighing softly. Caspian shifted in his seat, as if suddenly very uncomfortable.
"Then pray you tell me, Midaya, what is bothering a young woman as beautiful and talented as yourself?"
"I am upset, your grace, that I have not been of greater service to you. I have been in your palace for weeks now, and though I value what Minerva is teaching us, I'm afraid I thirst for more knowledge of my powers."
"Oh my dear, why didn't you say so? Why don't you come see me tomorrow at two after my lunch and afternoon meditation, and we shall see what we can do."
The table fell silent, Adil rarely accepted requests for counsel, let alone offered them. One of the royal assistants, who Midaya recognized as Damian, walked up beside the King and whispered something in his ear.
"Oh, well push it back to four then, we will dine after the meeting. The Generals can wait, I have something more important to attend to," he said, winking at Midaya.
Midaya couldn't hide her embarrassment from showing that he had chosen her over a meeting with Generals, and her cheeks had turned into cherries.
Minerva was forced to excuse Midaya from her lessons early, for it wouldn't be proper to keep Adil waiting. If only one good thing could come of her meeting with Adil today, it would be the two hours less she had to spend with Minerva. She had to follow a guard that had come for her after lunch, as she had no idea where the elders worked, but she assumed they called the palace home as well. They passed through a large throne room with 6 stone thrones, one was elevated higher than the rest. There were numerous statues throughout the room, each had name plaques and she recognized them as past elders. She glanced upwards and bright colors captured her attention, which caused her to stop abruptly. The ceiling was one large, beautiful mural…of painted goddesses.
The guard nudged her softly after a few moments, and she was brought out of her thoughts. "Beg your pardon goddess, but we musn't keep Adil waiting."
Midaya nodded and followed the guard the rest of the way to Adil's office, where he knocked in a sequence, of which she wasn't certain whether or not she should be remembering. She then heard a different sequence of knocks coming from the other side of the door before she could hear many locks being turned, and the large doors being opened.
"Midaya, right on time," said Adil, smiling, "please, come in,"
She made her way to a chair in front of his desk and sat down slowly, remembering how Minerva had taught them to sit.
"I am most pleased we could make time for you to come visit me,"
"Yes, thank you for having me, your grace,"
"Please, call me Adil. Just don't spread that around," he said, giving her a quick wink.
"Now, the matter of your training…I heard from a little bird that you've been ordering your guardian to teach you swordsmanship, is that correct?"
"It was just once, your…Adil, yesterday afternoon while Minerva was in meeting. You see, I get very little free time…"
Adil raised his hand and she stopped speaking immediately, "you have no need to explain yourself to me, my dear. I find your eagerness to learn fascinating. You have many years of learning ahead of you, but I can tell you desire a crash course. I pray you keep up with your lessons with Minerva though, as they will be useful to you someday."
"Yes, Adil, I will try my best to learn from Minerva."
"Good, good. Now…onto the subject of your powers…" Adil wasn't much for small talk, as he always made his point quickly, "although we try to remain very vague about it, Astraea possesses the gift of sorcery. This is why she was chosen to protect the stones."
"If I too possess those gifts, as well as the others, why wasn't I chosen to protect them?"
"Once again, I admire you eagerness, but if, by some tragic turn of events, something did happen to you, where would we be then? We couldn't literally place all our eggs in one basket, now could we?"
Midaya simply nodded in agreement.
"Since the art of magic seems to interest you the most, you shall begin there. I shall speak with Minerva, you will come to my quarters every day after lunch until I release you for dinner, and I shall teach your everything I know about the subject, how does that sound?"
"Oh, thank you Adil!" Midaya half shrieked, trying to contain her excitement.
"Yes, of course. I will do anything I can to help you, Midaya. You can come to me for anything, do you understand that?"
Midaya nodded again.
"I think you and I are going to become great friends, don't you think?"
"Oh, yes, Adil! I cannot thank you enough…"
"Now, unfortunately I won't be able to begin instructing you today, as I have a very important meeting with the generals, but I shall send someone for you tomorrow after lunch."
"I understand. Thank you again, so much! Praise Adil!" she said as she stood, bringing a smile to Adil's face.
"And bless you, my goddess," he said while waiving his hand, at which a guard opened the door and escorted her out the room.
As soon as the door was shut, Haldir came from a second room, where he had been for the duration of Adil and Midaya's conversation. His face looked as though he had just eaten something sour, "the girl is immature and unrefined, how can you possibly stand to take her under your wing?"
"If we leave her to herself, she will place all her trust in Gabriel. The death of her parents is still fresh in her heart. If I can fill her parental void, she will trust only in me. She will do anything I ask of her."
"Your personal weapon, your grace?" Haldir asked, now taking a seat where Midaya had been seated just moments ago.
"Precisely," said Adil, grinning like a small child who just received their favorite toy at Christmas, "I will train her to use her powers the best I know how, and then she will be the most secret weapon of all. No one will challenge me!"
"And what of her guardian, Gabriel?" Haldir asked, softly stroking his chin.
"That is where we must tread lightly, Haldir. He is from the heavens, and offending him would be offending the Gods. That is something we musn't do until we are capable of defending ourselves."
Haldir practically jumped from his seat in shock, "you would challenge the Gods?" he whispered, out of both fear and respect.
"Not myself, naturally. But in a short time we could have someone more powerful than a God…"
"Of course! The girl…"
"If everything goes according to plan, I will make her the Queen of Nevaeh, and she will forever be at my disposable. Then she will be powerful enough to take care of Gabriel as well. If something unfortunate happens, and she cannot overthrow the Gods, then we say that she went mad with power, that the stones were too much for her to handle, and they will have mercy upon us."
Midaya made her way back to her room quickly, as if floating. She was in such a good mood she couldn't bare to go back to Minerva's lessons. Besides, she knew Adil would vouch for her, which was better than any other excuse. She fell backwards onto her bed, imagining everything she might learn to do.
"Midaya?" she heard, just a soft whisper coming from far away. She heard it again and quickly went to the door, realizing it was Gabriel.
"Fancy another lesson?"
Midaya smiled, "I thought you didn't want to teach me?"
"Well, you've ordered me to teach you how to wield a sword, and I always complete a task. I'd like to promote you from a wooden sword before I'm too old to lift one!"
She gave him a stern look, which she held only until her smiled at her, "Let's go now, before anyone sees us!"
"Did you…" he glanced behind him to check if anyone was around before continuing, "did you ditch class today?"
"No!" she said defensively, "I had my counsel with Adil today, which technically ended in enough time to return to my lessons with the rest of the day, which Minerva will have no way of knowing."
"Right, not unless I tell her," Gabriel said with a smug grin.
"Right, and you won't, because I order you not to."
Gabriel crossed his arms in mock disapproval and said, "You're the goddess."
"That's right, so don't forget it," she said, uncrossing his arms. When she touched him, she got the same tingling feel she had yesterday in the forest, and she released his arms as soon as they had dropped to his sides, and then led him out of the castle, and into the forest. She had to keep reminding herself not to touch him, but sometimes the temptation was just too great.