The Force Without

By Justin J.

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Chapter One

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It was a busy day in Centren City, home of ninety-percent of the world's guilds, both big and small. In the middle of the sea of people, a single young man walked, shoulders hunched and head bowed. Every guild he had applied to had rejected him, based solely on his amber hair. People never trusted men or women with amber hair.

There was a reason for that, but it was too depressing for him to think about. One more guild. Probably just get rejected again...

He looked at the name on the list. "The Sea of Chaos Guild? What kind of name is that?"

Feeling highly aggravated, he stopped off at a small corner store to buy a snack, forgetting (again) about the massive sheathed blade on his back. At least until there was a scream as he walked in as a woman took one look at him in his navy blue greatcoat, black jeans, boots, and red shirt, amber hair, and jumped to the obvious (for her, anyway) conclusion.

"Robbery! Call the police!"

He looked up and blinked. "Um... oh... wait, no! I'm not a...rob...ber..."

He swallowed. "...I'll just be going now..."

The young man turned around quickly, rushing out of the store. "...just not my day," he muttered. "I shouldn't have left home, damn it."

He stopped and leaned against a street light, sighing and staring up at the sky. "...oh damn it, I'm freaking thirsty."

A can of soda was lowered in front of his face, and the young man blinked in surprise and looked up, yelping in surprise and turning around, stepping back and staring at the purple haired girl that was standing horizontally on the side of the pole.

"Hi there," she said in a sing-song tone of voice, violet eyes dancing with amusement. "Soda?"

He noticed that she was wearing a strange, very old fashioned purple dress and shoes, though her hair was long and straight.

Neither hair nor dress were currently obeying the laws of gravity, much like their wearer. His jaw worked, but no words came out. "You're standing on a pole!"

The girl nodded cheerfully. "So, you want to join a guild?" she asked as she flipped off of the pole and landed lightly on her feet, tossing him the soda can at the same time. He caught it reflexively, idly noticing that it was a hard-to-find brand.

Her question penetrated his mind. "Yes," he said. "But I can't find one that will accept somebody like me."

The girl just tilted her head to the side. "Why?"

He blinked at her. "...um..." he pointed to his oddly coloured hair.

"Yeah, I noticed the hair. It's a nice colour, but you shouldn't dye it amber. People'll think you're one of his descendants."

"...it's my natural hair colour."

The girl pointed to her own hair. "This is my natural hair colour too."

"Oh. Wait, I thought only..."

The girl was very suddenly in his face, smiling. "Hey, you might want to hold onto the soda."

"Bwah?"

She flicked him in the forehead, and everything became a rainbow coloured blur.

oOoOo

It was a building built next to a lake of black water, surrounded by crimson topped mountains and white trees. The grass was, perhaps against expectations, green in the front lawn. There was a flash of light, and an amber-haired young man screamed as he flew towards a window, crashing through it and slamming into the room's occupant, dazing the both of them.

The amber-haired young man moaned as he recovered, his hand on something round and soft. Curious, he squeezed.

"...you have three seconds to remove your hand from my bosom and leave my bedchamber."

He looked down at the rather beautiful young woman he had landed on. She was wearing a very nice black strapless gown, with dark red frills, and a sweetheart neckline...and his hand was on her left breast. "...I'll just throw myself out of the window now."

The young woman raised an eyebrow, dark green eyes cold. "Yes, I would suggest doing it yourself before I force the option on you."

He stood up, snatching up the can of soda. "So, uh...bye."

It was...soft...I wonder if she's a real blonde...

"Hold." The young woman grabbed his wrist. "Where did you get that can of soda?"

"Huh?" He turned to her, blinking. "Some purple haired girl gave it to me..."

"What's your name?"

He blinked. "...Terry."

"Come with me, Terry. Oh yes, my name is Iris Faust." Iris turned and walked off, and Terry was drawn to the bare back of her dress. It showed her upper back, and he vaguely wondered if she wore that out.

Oh dear gods, she's gorgeous.

He followed Iris out, blinking as he stepped out into a hallway filled with doors and lit up by florescent lighting. The floor had a dark blue carpet on it and the walls were dark brown, varnished wood. "Hey, Iris? Where is this place?"

Iris glanced over her shoulder at him. "We are currently situated on the shores of Umbra lake."

Terry nearly tripped in shock. "...that place is off limits! The royal family..."

Iris just smiled. "Silly boy, you're clearly here to join us, so surely you know that guilds are above most laws. Well, within reason."

Terry slowed his walk. "...you're a guild?"

Iris stopped and turned. "Oh yes," she said. "You are currently within the halls of the main guild hall of the guild known as the Sea of Chaos."

She tilted her head to the side. "Here, you could very well find a home that other guilds will not give you. I know full well the legend surrounding the colour of the hair of your people. As a fae, I am inclined not to believe in such things, but the humans here will hardly care."

Terry stared at her. "You're a fae? I thought they never left their Courts."

Iris raised an eyebrow. "I disagreed with our Queen on a minor issue and was banished. Now come, I have to find you a room."

Terry stopped. "What? Don't I have to pass a test?"

Iris just smiled. "You already have." She pointed to the soda. "You accepted that."

Terry looked at the can in his hand. "I...what? Just like that? You know what my hair means and you just...don't care?"

"You know what purple hair means," Iris shrugged. "Do you think we are about amber hair here?"

Terry looked at Iris. "... can you show me to my room...?"

Iris smiled warmly. "Yes, and afterwards you can meet your guildmates."