Persian Warriors – Story 1: Adileh
"She is ready."
The group of seven god-like beings all stood around, watching the earth from their place in the heavens.
"All four of them are."
The seven of them turned to their master, who nodded.
"Prepare the warriors."
I sighed as I climbed out of bed, ready for another long day of school. It wasn't exactly my bad point – I was able to get my A's and B's in class all the time. It was just the fact that I was forced to wake up early every morning and get ready.
It was annoying.
I slowly trudged over to the mirror in the corner of my room and took a look at myself.
My name is Adileh Rose Daniels. Everyone calls me Rose because they can't pronounce my first name properly.
Well, everyone except Afsar, but we'll get to that later.
I'm fifteen years old, and not really that special. I have long, dark, curly hair, with brown eyes and naturally tanned skin. Well, not exactly naturally tanned. I have been told – multiple times – that I'm actually half-Persian on my dad's side. I, of course, find this ridiculous, but if it pleases my mother, I'll accept it. I'm not really that tall either. I only stand at about five feet, five inches tall. I'm fairly slim, which might be helped by the fact that I'm on a bit of a diet. (I tend to gain weight easily.)
Once I felt as if I'd spent enough time staring at myself in the mirror, I decided to head to the bathroom to get ready for school.
But, as always, someone was stupid enough to try and beat me into the bathroom.
I smirked as I watched my brother crash into the wall as he tried to shoulder past me. I quickly ran into the bathroom. "Not today, sucker!" I yelled at him as I slammed the door shut behind me.
See, I don't live alone with my mum. I also have a brother and a sister. My sister, Melissa, isn't too bad; she's a couple of years older than me, and is preparing for university – she's studying Ancient History, which I find quite strange considering our mother is always telling us about our Persian history and how we are always calling it 'stupid' and 'unreal'. My brother Daniel, on the other hand, is a complete and utter nightmare; he's two years younger than me, always trying to tread on my territory, and it doesn't seem as if he trusts me enough. If my mum moans about anything, it's that we're always shouting at each other. Which is very, very true.
What I find the most annoying is the fact that I'm the only one with a Persian name.
After I spent my set half an hour in the bathroom getting ready, I emerged with a towel wrapped around myself, with another wrapped around my head. It wasn't too far to my room anyway, so I just padded along the corridor to my room. I frowned when I heard someone sneaking up behind me, and quickly span, bringing my foot up to connect with my brother's chest.
He stumbled backwards, his eyes wide. "Woah…" He rubbed his chest, exactly where I'd hit him.
I stared in shock as well, not exactly sure how I'd done that. I'd never exactly been that athletic, so I would never expect myself to perform a kick like that.
My brother voiced my thoughts exactly. "How… how did you do that?" he demanded. "Have you been taking secret ninja classes or something?"
I sighed. "Firstly, it's Karate, not 'ninja classes'. And secondly… no, I haven't. And I don't have any idea how I did that kick either, so don't ask." I swiftly turned and headed into my room, shutting the door behind me.
Once the door had shut behind me, I leant against the it.
It was strange. I felt as if all of my senses were suddenly heightened. I didn't feel like… me anymore… I felt different.
It wasn't a bad different, but it was going to take some getting used to.
Unless it passed over, which would probably be far better for me.
Far, far better.
It took me another half an hour to get changed into my school uniform, which consisted of a grey skirt, a white shirt, a red tie and a matching red blazer. I go to Streatham High School, in South London, which is pretty close to where I live – only a bus ride away. I quickly brushed my hair and tied it back into a ponytail before grabbing my bag and heading downstairs for breakfast.
When I arrived downstairs, I smiled. Melissa was already down there, eating her toast as she read the morning paper. Ever since I was young, she'd taken care of me when my mother wasn't around and made sure I was well fed and cared for. I loved her so much, and I assumed she loved me too, so when I grabbed a slice of her toast as I walked past, she didn't complain.
"Morning," she greeted as she looked up from the paper at me.
I smiled at her as I grabbed a mug and began to make myself some tea. "Morning!" I greeted in return. "Where's mum?"
She shrugged, going back to her paper. "Not sure. She came down earlier, but I haven't seen her since."
I sighed. "Oh, okay…" I was a little disappointed. This usually meant that she had gone to work. Our mum was constantly working, making sure that we have enough money at home considering she's the only breadwinner in the family. It was hard seeing her work so frequently just to make sure she was happy.
I had been so busy thinking about my mum that I hadn't noticed when my mug had decided to slip off the counter…
And suddenly it was in my hand.
I blinked when I found myself in a kneeling position by the counter, the mug in my hand, unharmed. How on earth…
I looked over to see Melissa staring at me in shock. "Uh… yes?"
She seemed to blink for a few moments before speaking again. "What on earth was that?"
I blinked as well before answering. "I have no idea."
"Girls! I'm back!"
I quickly stood up and began getting my tea ready, moving at a speed I never even imagined moving at before. Before long, I'd finished making my tea, and had two slices of toast ready to eat.
Melissa just raised an eyebrow at me. "Wow."
"I know, right?" I muttered to myself, freaking out internally. I didn't know what was happening to me, and I usually knew exactly what was going on with myself, right down to the odd irregular toilet visit. I just had to know everything that was happening in my body.
So why was I changing?
Our mum walked into the kitchen holding a loaf of bread and smiled at us. "Well, you're down early." Her statement was obviously directed at me, considering I usually took longer to get downstairs.
I shrugged and continued to eat my breakfast. "Maybe I wanted to be the one who knocked for Affie for a change."
My mum merely chuckled before nodding. "Alright, if you say so." She turned to the stairs. "Daniel! Come on! Your sisters are almost ready!"
I heard a thump coming from upstairs, and a few seconds after, Daniel appeared at the stairs, his dark hair – dark and curly like mine – all ruffled and messed up. Actually, Daniel and I were the only ones with curly hair. Melissa had long straight hair like my mum, although it was the same shade as mine.
I heard Melissa laughing, and couldn't help sniggering as well. His tie was half done, his shirt was untucked, and his blazer was still ruffled up. He obviously hadn't done his ironing the night before.
My mum just shook her head at him. "Come on, Daniel…"
Daniel just grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, mum…" He walked into the kitchen and began to get his breakfast ready, righting his hair as he did so. "Hey, is there any Coco Pops?"
I rolled my eyes at him. "You're still in love with that junk?"
"It's full of chocolate-y goodness!"
"Alright, alright," Melissa sighed. "Top shelf, on the right." She grinned. "If you can reach it."
I grinned. Daniel, despite being a teen already, was still shorter than both us girls, so we tended to make fun of his height… a lot.
He scowled at us. "Shut up."
I just laughed and shook my head, chucking my things into the sink before heading out of the kitchen. "I'm walking to the bus stop today!" I called out. "See you guys later!"
"Bye!" I heard Melissa and mum call out.
I grabbed my keys off the hook near the front door before leaving the house, shutting the door behind me.
And thus I started my long walk to Afsar's house.
"Afsar! دوست شما در اینجا! (Your friend is here!)"
I waited at the door, only slightly understanding what was said. I'm not fluent in Persian yet, but I understand quite a bit of it. I'm more fluent in Arabic and Spanish – two languages that I am currently learning at school. Afsar, on the other hand, was brought up learning Persian, and is also learning Arabic and French at school, so she is multi-talented.
A few minutes later, I was approached by a 5 foot 6 inches tall Middle-Eastern girl, with dark curly hair and dark eyes. Her hair was definitely darker than my own, and so were her eyes, and she was slightly plumper than I was. She was wearing her uniform exactly like myself, and she smiled at me as she walked out of her house.
"Hey, Addie!" she greeted me with a grin, her Persian-accent leaking into her speech. "How are you today?"
I smiled at her. "Good, thanks, Affie," I answered as we began to walk to the bus stop. "How about you?" I asked.
She pushed some of her lose hair behind her ear. "I'm good, thank you."
I smiled at her. Afsar is actually a really pretty girl, and she isn't oblivious to it. She just tended to ignore the people that picked up on it and focused more on her studies. She's an A* student, mainly because she's strong willed and will do the studies to get the grades that she wants. I'm not exactly sure what career she wishes to pursue, but I know she'll get it no matter what.
We soon reached the bus stop, talking about something random as always. We weren't exactly the most normal of girls, considering we were both Persian in a way, and we both enjoyed studying and being alone far more than being with around large groups of people.
We were standing at the bus stop, waiting for our bus, when we suddenly heard a low growl coming from behind us.
I frowned, not used to hearing growling in South London. "Affie… did you hear something?"
Afsar frowned. "I… I'm not sure…"
I heard the growling again, and this time I tensed. I could sense something behind me. "Affie… do you feel that?"
She nodded. "I feel it…" She bit her lip. "I think we should run."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh, little Persian warriors…" a being snarled from behind us.
"Run," Afsar commanded.
We both sprinted away from the bus stop and down the road, not even turning to look back. We didn't know what was nipping at our heels, but we knew it was dangerous. We continued to sprint down the road, skidding around the corner and racing down an alleyway.
That was the most foolish idea we had ever had.
Not long after we entered the alleyway, we reached a dead end.
"A dead end!" I yelled before turning to Afsar. "Affie!"
She just turned to me with a look of complete and utter shock on her face. "I didn't know this would be a dead end!"
I growled and kicked the wall. "How do we get out of here now?"
She looked up and thought deeply. "There's a ladder right up there. If we manage to jump high enough—"
We both tensed before turning slowly to face whatever was growling and snarling at us.
My blood ran cold at what I saw. It was a being, more like a monster, with the body of a red lion and a human head. It smiled sinisterly at us, revealing three rows of pearly-white, razor-sharp teeth. And… were those wings on its back?
"Manticore…" Afsar whispered beside me.
This thing seemed to laugh before staring at us again. "Yes… that is my modern name… however, I prefer to be called a Martyaxwar by you Persians."
I instinctually reached for the nearest thing I could grab to use as a weapon, and it turned out to be a broken tennis racquet. I frowned. This wasn't going to be very useful…
The martyaxwar laughed at me. "Is that all you will use, foolish warrior? You of all people should know that I cannot be defeated by that thing."
I narrowed my eyes at it. This thing was getting annoying.
Afsar stepped forward. "Look, I don't care why you're here, Mr Martyaxwar," she said slowly, "but I suggest you leave us alone."
The martyaxwar growled at us. "Or I could tear you to pieces," it snarled before leaping towards us.
As it leapt, I did the first thing I thought to do. I threw the racquet in my hand, aiming straight for the thing, and closed my eyes as I prepared for it to land on us and tear us to pieces… but it never did. I reopened my eyes to see the martyaxwar lying on the ground, an arrow in its chest. I frowned.
That was exactly where I had aimed the racquet.
I looked around.
The racquet had disappeared.
"Huh?" I muttered, feeling very confused.
Afsar looked from the martyaxwar, to me, back to the martyaxwar, and finally to me again. "What on earth…?" she asked quietly.
"I have no idea," I answered.
We suddenly heard a booming voice from above. "Warriors!" it called.
Afsar and I both jumped before looking around for the source of the voice.
"Warriors!" it called again.
Afsar and I glanced at each other before looking back up.
"Who are you?" Afsar asked, her voice confident and unwavering.
The voice boomed again, "I am Ahura Mazda, the supreme god, and I have chosen you to be my warriors, the ones to fight monsters, to fight demons, to fight for the good of others."
I raised an eyebrow. "Ahura Mazda? The Persian supreme god?" I scoffed lightly. "Well, this is pretty hard to believe."
There was a rumbling from up above. "Stop being so foolish, warrior. I know that you believe. You have been chosen along with four others, one of which is not ready as of yet. You will be visited by one of my Amesha Spentas with what you need, child. Do not fear."
I looked over at Afsar, who had the same incredulous look on her face as I did. "This is insane…" I muttered to her.
"No duh," she muttered in agreement.
This time, we heard no rumbling from above. We shared a glance before shouldering our bags and sighing, heading out of the alleyway.
We had missed the bus.
When I arrived back at home after school, I was greeted by the most pleasant surprise.
A large being was standing in my room. If the martyaxwar in the alleyway wasn't scary enough, this eight-foot tall being in my room was terrifying.
"Who the heck are you?!" I yelled, grabbing my lamp and pointing it at the being.
It held up its hands, looking calm. "Fear not, young warrior. I have arrived with your gifts."
I held the lamp tighter, glaring at it. "You didn't answer my question."
The being sighed. "I am Aša Vahišta, the Amesha Spenta of Truth, or Righteousness, and Justice." He regained his composure. "I have arrived with your weapons, young warrior."
"Weapons?!" I was highly confused. Then, my conversation in the alleyway clicked, and I remembered everything. "What weapons?" I asked, lowering the lamp.
A bow and arrow suddenly appeared on the bed. The bow was made out of a firm yet flexible wood, and the sheath was full of sturdy arrows. I picked up the weapons and marvelled at them. "Woah…"
"The sheath has magical properties; the arrows are able to replace themselves automatically, so you will not have to do so yourself," Aša Vahišta explained. "There is also a dagger tucked into a compartment in the arrow sheath for short-range fighting." He gave me a small smile. "Enjoy your weapons, warrior of justice."
I frowned as I turned to him. "Huh?"
But he was gone.
I frowned and sighed. This… this was too much for me. A huge responsibility was suddenly set on my shoulders. As I turned to put my weapons somewhere that no one else could put them, I spotted something burnt to the wall.
Adileh the Just
Warrior of Ahura Mazda