"The Wolf. The Scarf. The Unknown."
Long ago the Moth-lands were founded. It was once an untamed land with no one to rule it. Soon there were four who had the desire to form their own kingdoms. Each of these four came from lands far beyond the Moth-lands. The four soon to be rulers all held power beyond imagination of the few who lived within the Moth-lands. With their power they were each quickly crowned as rulers, whether out of fear or faith it is unknown. Each land was named after it's ruler. To the north was Sharveu. To the west was Novan. To the east was Myria. To the south was Karin.
In the nation of Sharveu close to the border of Novan stood the city of Ue'cvis. Ue'cvis was the first city to be founded by the ruler Sharvek. It's mighty steel walls were decorated with massive shields fit only for an otherworldly behemoth. Proud azure blue banners flowed from the gate and most buildings within. The blue banners were decorated with wolf-shaped emblems. A large palace stood at the center of the city proud and ever vigilant to the city below. The buildings below were made from stone and wood, simple earthly materials.
A cold wind blew through Ue'cvis' streets, there was a blizzard coming down on the steel city. While snow fell on the city a lone figure walked toward the closed northern gate of the city. The lone figure looked like a small child in an elegant dress. A large azure blue bow adorned the center of her dress. Smaller versions of this bow decorated the end of her left and right sleeve. In addition there was ruffled material poking out of each of the long sleeves and lining the end of the long skirt. The dress was mainly the color black with some lines of blue to add color to it. Small puffballs hung themselves from each shoulder dangling. Just over the large center bow was a large silver bell the size of the girl's skull, it jangled softly every few steps.
The dress went well with the multicolored hair. The front bangs of her hair were dark blue, the rest of it was black as ebony. Her hair was long enough to go down her entire back and reach down to her thighs. Her eyes were like her dress a dark yet proud azure blue.
Reaching out her hand the girl touched the gate softly. After a brief pause she phased through the material as if it were nonexistent. Looking behind her she saw the guards stationed in the gate's tower. None of the three guardsmen saw this as they tried desperately to cover themselves from the snow. The girl then walked the snow covered streets heading toward the palace. Her reasons unknown to all but herself.
Within the palace's training yard were lord Arikern's two children. One sat on the sidelines resting with his back against a tree. This was Orson firstborn of Arikern and next in line to the throne. His hair was a crisp dark brown color, kept short to not get in the way of anything. His eyes were crimson red similar to rose petals. He wore his usual attire of a sturdy long coat fit for traveling. While not the simplest of clothing Orson liked sturdy clothing with many pockets. On his feet were boots heavy enough to help him get through snow. In his hands Orson fiddled with a small metal device he had been tinkering with. Orson unlike his father disliked heavy armor or weapons, they seemed so ugly and bulky to him. Instead he preferred to try to create his own style of fighting. When he was younger Orson often went into the commons to get to know the people of Ue'cvis, at times he would bring his sister Kite with him.
Kite the adopted daughter of Arikern was sitting with an open hand to the sky. She concentrated trying her best to form a weapon in her hands. Kite tried very often to use the arcane art knight arts. This had little effect however as she could not keep a weapon summoned for long. Kite was physically weaker and often sickly. Her hair was a golden blonde that seemed to shine in the sun. Still her hair was very messy and long due to her not caring much for it. Her eyes were a deep amber that reminded many of a sunset. From her mouth Kite had a single fang, proof of her not fully being human, she was partially an Ebbus. Her skin was paler than most due to her many illnesses as a child. She wore a pure white robe with lines of golden fabric, the sleeves were too large covering her hands. Instead of shoes she wore bandages to cover her feet.
Soon a bright light gathered in Kite's hand. Slowly the light began to form in the shape of a sword. As the light faded in her hands Kite held a silver long-sword with little runes engraved along the blade. The weapon looked slim and agile, almost fragile and easily broken.
"Took you long enough! Now can we go inside?" Orson whined.
Without a word Kite stood slowly opening her eyes. She examined her summoned sword before it disappeared in a flash of light. She could only keep it summoned for those few seconds. Orson stood holding the strange metal device and walked inside the palace. Kite followed taking a single look at the soft snowfall. As the two walked through the hallway Kite spoke quietly to Orson as if someone else was listening in.
"The weather it's changed."
"Well yeah weather changes." Orson rolled his eyes.
"Blizzards don't usually just last an hour."
"I don't usually care to listen to your mumbling. Let's not change one thing at least."
"I'm serious I think-"
"Don't care." He interrupted.
The two reached the door to Orson's room. Kite poked her head in as if expecting to see something out of the ordinary. The floor was covered in random its of metal and papers. The desk was hazardously organized without much care for the things there. In the corner near the large bed there was a single open box that seemed organized unlike the rest of the room. Orson let Kite look at the room for a few more minutes before she stepped back.
"You should probably clean up this room." Kite suggested.
"Why would I? This way anyone sneaking in will step on something then fall over."
"You might trip though."
"That won't happen." His hand went to the door.
Orson closed the door while Kite was speaking. Even though Kite used his preferred nickname he still had to trust his gut. 'Kite was right. Something isn't right.' Walking over to his desk Psix picked up a paper lying on the floor and placed it on his desk's surface.
"There we go, now show yourself."
As Orson spoke he stared at where the mess on his floor was not present. The sight of the floor carpet was enough to tell him someone had been inside his room. In addition to his gut feeling Orson just knew whoever had cleaned up the spot was present in some way. Floating down from above came a small girl with strangely colored hair. The front blue while the other strands remained ebony black. Her oversized dress remained still as she slowly descended. The only sound made was from the large silver bell that decorated her dress.
"Could you fall any faster?"
"I could make myself heavier if I wanted, but I'd rather just make my entrance this way."
The girl spoke slowly ensuring that every word was understood. Orson couldn't help but feel that she was speaking to him as if he was an infant. As the girl landed her short height and petite features became obvious. She spoke once again slowly.
"Greetings my name is Spectreveka Sharvek Servekil. I am the first ruler of Sharveu and your ancestor. You are Orson correct?"
"Orson is my name but I prefer to go by Psix. I expected you'd be taller." Orson said putting his hand on the girl's head.
"I haven't aged in a very long time. One of the perks of having twilight arts. You're quite calm for someone who is meeting me. Most people go into a bow or start to say how much of an honor it is to meet me. You don't think me a liar do you?" She no longer spoke slowly.
"I'm pretty sure there's an error somewhere in that sentence, but I'll forgive you since you're from another time. I also don't think you're lying. Honestly I was expecting you to be a lot more hmm what's the word? Exotic maybe strange. No wait taller, yes taller was the word."
"Sorry to disappoint next time I'll age myself a bit more." Surprisingly there were no hints of agitation unlike most who conversed with Orson.
"Why are you here? Aside from putting a hole in my defense system."
"I am here because what you're about to do will cause a nice new picture." A smirk came across her face.
"As pleasant as that smirk is I have no idea what you're talking about."
Sharvek pointed to the neat stack of parchment in the open box. Orson walked over and picked up the top schematic. On it was his idea for what he called a hand cannon.
"This thing?" Sharvek nodded to him. "It can't be made without a power source."
"And you're about to develop it. This will be the first ranged material weapon aside from the bow and crossbow. But more importantly, this will be a new arcane art." Sharvek whispered the last few words as if it were a secret.
"Right so how do I do that exactly?"
"Oh yes the actual act of making the moment happen. Well you see your soul is quite special. It's one of those extremely rare ones that has the potential to bring a whole new art into the world. It just needs a bit of inspiration."
Holding out her right hand Sharvek offered it to Orson. However he did not take her hand he merely looked at his drawn schematic. After a moment Orson looked back at Sharvek.
"You just said that I'm about to do it. I am not one to let someone else decide my fate."
Sharvek's grin grew ever so slightly as she began to chuckle. She laughed mockingly at Orson with genuine happiness. After what seemed like a full minute she stopped laughing enough to speak.
"You know this is not the first time we've had this conversation. You wouldn't know though. Last time you said the exact same thing. Last time however I don't remember there being that sister of yours."
"What are you getting at?" His voice had more emotion than he wanted to show.
"Well to put it in simple terms, Kite has a soul rare like yours. Her existence was such a low probability yet it happened. This small probability that is Kite's existence just might throw everything into chaos. I suppose I should spend more time investigating her instead hmm?"
"You say that as if you see other people as-"
"As numbers in an experiment. As little birds meant only to sing for me. As little playthings for my game. Yes you said that last time too. Honestly you were supposed to be the hero of this era. You can't be if you're already this predictable. I'd recommend against going for the dagger you keep in your inner-left coat pocket, it did not go well for you last time."
Orson said nothing merely glaring at Sharvek. The smile of joy Sharvek had now only grew as she saw a scene she was all too familiar with. With a quick jingle of her bell she disappeared leaving Orson to his thoughts.
Kite had already returned to her room. Unlike Orson's room Kite's was kept in a neat fashion. The room was quite bare having only her large bed, a closet, and small chest at the foot of her bed. Under the bed was a large carpet that would be pulled out on occasions. Kite sat on the edge of her bed, letting her feet swing in a childish fashion. Then in a flash Sharvek appeared out of thin air and stood in front of Kite.
"You're all there is, I always expected a rarity like you to be stronger."
As Sharvek spoke Kite jumped in fright. Losing her balance she then hit the floor face-first. After a few grumbles, Kite sat up rubbing her eyes. She saw Sharvek's extended hand and took it gratefully. Once on her feet Kite gave a quick bow to Sharvek. She then sat on her bed once again.
"I apologize for not being prepared for your visit. Miss?"
"Spectreveka Sharvek Servekil first ruler of Sharveu, a pleasure to meet you."
The reaction was what Sharvek was more acquainted to. It was a look of awe with a slight amount of confusion. Kite seemed to stutter a few unintelligible words. Somewhere in the stuttering mess Sharvek could piece together a row of apologies.
"Strange you're more surprised to see me than my own descendant." Sharvek said as Kite stumbled over words.
"I-I just well you're Sharvek! One of the four original rulers! The very founder of Twilight arts! The strongest and might I say best dressed of the four!" Kite seemed to forget to breath as she happily went through the larger exploits of Sharvek.
"It's a bit refreshing to speak with you instead of your brother. I suppose has not fallen too far that Orson has a creative mind. Still you have taken my interest for the moment. Tell me do you know your true parents?"
"Well no unfortunately. But I am quite happy with the Sharveu royal family." Kite answered.
"You must be curious. My bloodline always has dark black or brown hair. Their eyes are always a superb shade of Purple, blue, or red. But you… you're different as you know." Kite gulped as Sharvek continued. "You're hair is not dark it is instead bright golden and simply divine." Sharvek pat her hand on kite's head. "You're eyes like a sunrise, a topaz, a bright amber color. The coincidences are simply too much to be ignored. Yes I believe I've guessed your true family."
"Who?" Kite leaned in curiously.
"Oh come now telling you would be no fun. I will tell you that the path of a knight should suit you quite well. Going by your family history that is. Still there's something about your soul that… irks me."
"I irk you?"
"Yes I'm afraid so. Your manner and the way you carry yourself I find refreshing. Still there's something about you. I've seen lifetimes repeated as I did not like the outcome of them… You however are a strange anomaly. Each reset of time causes something different to happen, this time I suppose you were brought into existence."
"You can go back as long as a lifetime?" Kite's shock reached into her voice.
"It's not so simple as that I'm afraid. You see the way Twilight arts work is you can only go back never forward. To do so you must remember that each time you go back something will be different. Sometimes big things change sometimes little things. In order to go back I must always remember the risk may not be worth it."
"That surprisingly makes sense. I expected it to be much more complicated." Kite replied with a hint of pride at her comprehension.
"There are still things far more complicated than Twilight arts. Now then it's time for a gift."
"You brought me a gift?"
"Of course I did, something new like you should not be wasted. After all we can't have some stray slash of any sword take your head off." Kite gulped as Sharvek said this.
Sharvek rang the large silver bell around her neck. A large piece of white fabric appeared in between Kite and Sharvek. Kite looked at it unsure what to do with the cloth.
"It's a scarf." Sharvek said seeing Kite's confusion.
Nodding Kite took the white piece of fabric and wrapped it around her neck. It fit nicely but felt cold to the touch. The scarf was also extremely long and reached down to the floor as it went over her shoulder. A golden yellow rune appeared as Kite fully put it on.
"What's this?" Kite asked looking at the rune.
"It's your full name, Kitherine. Now this scarf is not normal as you can imagine. When I wore it it was black and had an azure rune that symbolized my name. Now you should know this scarf is the strongest piece of armor you'll find. Still it has limits. It will use your soul energy to protect you each time it feels a threatening blow. If you get sloppy and don't pace yourself it shall not protect you."
"This is very kind of you. Thank you."
"I would not rely on it too much. It is merely as strong as you are. Do not worry about losing it though, it's actually impossible to take it off as long as it's linked with you." Sharvek smirked saying this.
"Wait what!" Kite tried taking off the scarf and of course it did not budge.
"Do not worry about washing yourself the scarf can easily become wet and still work."
"At least it looks nice."
"I shall be letting myself out now. Good day to you young Kite." Sharvek rang her bell before disappearing to an unknown destination.
The next day Orson and Kite talked about their experience with Sharvek. Orson was incredibly interested in the scarf Kite was given. The two siblings sat in the training yard looking up at the light snow. Kite reasoned that Sharvek must have had something to do with the strange weather.
"So it's stuck there?" Orson asked looking at Kite's scarf.
"Yes. It's quite comfy actually. Still it's a bit cold for some reason."
"I'm more curious about what that bell-ringer could have meant about your blood related family. By path of the knight I reason she must mean knight arts."
"Well that doesn't make sense I can't keep a sword summoned for long." Kite scratched her head.
"She said something about me being a hero. Maybe she just means you're better off sticking with me. I mean knights and heroes go hand in hand right?"
"Arikern said knights are not loyal to someone because they're popular. He said they're loyal to the person they choose out of respect for their character personally."
"Old man is probably making that up."
Kite shrugged as she stood holding onto the end of the long scarf. Orson fished around in one of his many coat pockets and pulled out one of his metal devices. This had a large rectangle shaped piece of metal atop a handle. A large hole was on one end of the rectangle. Pointing it at Kite she looked back at him confused and unsure of what the device did.
"She did say that I end up finishing this thing. Apparently it's going to be a big deal. Makes no sense how I'm supposed to take magic energy and put it into something."
As he said this Orson flipped a small switch on the side of the device. There was an empty space just at the back of the rectangle barrel.
"What if you put a rock in it?" Kite suggested.
"Rocks? That may be the dumbest idea I ever heard you say!"
"Sorry, I just thought maybe it could shoot rocks. rocks hurt."
"Well it's a dumb idea! I can't shoot anything without some sort of arcane power source. Unless that rock had energy stored inside it the thing won't work be powered enough to launch the projectile."
Seeing Kite's face Orson realized she had no idea what most of what he said meant. The loud clunk of metal boots stomping on the ground interrupted any further thoughts. Turning to the entrance way Orson saw his father open the door. Arikern was dressed in his full plate armor that hid his face. Still there was no one else who wore wolf designed armor that made as much noise as him. His helmet decorated with a wolf was one of a kind. His voice echoed within the helmet as he spoke to Orson.
"Come with me." His voice was stern but not rude in the slightest.
As he walked away Orson followed him with Kite close behind. The three of them went through the hallways of the palace, Orson noticed they were not as decorated as usual. Arikern nodded to the city guard stationed at the front door. As the massive door of the palace opened the familiar sight of Ue'cvis was before them all. Arikern pointed one armored hand up to the sky. Without a word Orson and Kite looked up to see a large rift in the sky. It looked as if the sky itself had been cracked like a glass window. The large wound upon the sky seemed similar to a mirror, it reflected back an image the land it pointed itself down at. In this case the reflected area was the center of Ue'cvis where statues stood in a circle surrounding a fountain. Orson after staring at it for long enough turned to Arikern.
"What does it mean?" He asked.
"I do not know. However I do know I ride out tomorrow with the Mst'fre royal vanguard. Not to deal with whatever that gash is. I am to instead go out and face an army from Novan. I would rather not hear any arguments. This comes straight from the arch-lord of Sharveu."
Orson said nothing. He knew Mst'fre was the capital city of Sharveu and the army stationed there was not used unless there was a serious threat. A deep worry soon overtook him. War with the nation of Novan did not worry him, he was more concerned about the strange gash in the sky.
"Pardon Arikern. What do you wish us to do while you're gone?" Kite asked.
"While I am gone I want you to keep an eye on the wall. We're at war now so we'll need to keep moral up with the guards. Kite you are as much a symbol of Ue'cvis as your brother. Your presence may help. Orson I want you focused on that… thing. I don't know what caused it and it may be dangerous. I trust you with this task as it may be more pressing than the issue of Novan… I plan on going early. With all that is happening it is best to not delay. Goodbye and do tell your mother for me, I fear her wrath more than any army."
The metal covered Arikern gave a hug to his son Orson. He ruffled Kite's messy hair then walked off toward the gatehouse. It seemed he had been prepared for this to happen for a long time. The sky was cloudy but without a flake of snow.
Arikern was gone, as he left a group of no more than four guardsmen escorted him. As he was exiting the people of Ue'cvis shouted with wishes of good luck or other positive remarks. Orson confident in his father's abilities was not worried that Arikern would not return. He almost felt sorry for any Novan army that had to face Arikern. Orson took the duty of looking at the strange mirror-like rift in the sky with a lukewarm opinion. After one day nothing happened. He grew so bored before the first day was over that he asked a few random commoners to watch it for him. With his free time he decided to spend the second day working on his plan's for the hand cannon. Kite instead of reporting directly to the outer wall of Ue'cvis spent the first day without Arikern training and talking with the many citizens who came to the palace seeking Orson's council. In Arikern's absence it seemed that the people turned to Orson. Kite of course had to spend the day telling them all that Orson was extremely busy with political matters. This was a lie and Kite knew it but Orson was her eldest and thus did this when he asked her to. She did gain a good training session or two with some of the visitors so it was not entirely a waste of time. The second day Kite decided to walk out to the outer wall in the morning.
Walking in the streets Kite took notice of how every so often a citizen looked in the sky in the direction of the gash in the sky. Some insisted it was a good sign from Sharvek herself. Others said it was a bad omen. Whenever Kite looked up she cared more about the weather making sure to take note of it. At the moment it seemed simply cloudy and lacking of anything strange. The walls of Ue'cvis were as usual a grand sight. They towered high above all nearby buildings providing security to all below. As she walked toward one of the massive doors leading into the interior of the wall it opened.
Stepping out was a man far taller than she was. His hair was the familiar shade of dark brown nearing black like most Sharveu citizens' it parted at the center enough to show the orange cloth wrapped around his forehead. His face was scarred with exactly three cuts, one on his lower lip and two on his left cheek. His skin was a deep brown with a single darkened spot on his cheek. He wore a riveted coat of chain mail and a bright orange cloak that went down to his hips. Seeing where the cloak ended Kite looked to see what weapon he used but saw none. Looking back up Kite saw how his gaze seemed stern, it reminded her of Arikern. His eyes were chestnut brown.
"Lady Kitherine I presume." His voice seemed pleasant and welcoming despite his appearance.
"Just Kite is fine I'm no more royalty than anyone else."
"Ah yes modest as they say. You are here to check on the wall?"
"Indeed." Kite responded.
"The wall is quite secure. We have sentries posted upon it at all times. The walls themselves as you know are sturdy as the day they were made. The men upon them I've trained myself, I assure you all are able bodied soldiers."
"I have no doubt you have done you're job but I'd like to check myself to be sure."
"A responsible choice! Come along we have fortifications to check. Oh yes almost forgot my name is Rook. Now let's go!"
With the sudden amount of enthusiasm from Rook Kite was stunned. This moment of hesitation did not last long as Rook took Kite's hand and guided her through a doorway leading into the nearest watchtower. Inside sturdy wooden beams held up some areas while in primary supporting areas steel was used. The walls of Ue'cvis seemed even larger on the inside than outside. The inside smelled fresh despite what one would expect. No guardsman seemed to be inside the entryway.
"Most guardsmen just wait or train in one of the barracks areas. The rest should be atop the wall." Rook said this as Kite looked around for someone else.
"Where are these barracks areas?"
"The inside of the wall is divided up into four sections. Each section has a commanding officer who is usually found in their barrack's office. Then the four of them report to one central officer. The purpose is even if the central officer is killed there's four replacements. If a section commander is killed the central officer can take his place. To answer your next question all section officers have reported in today already."
"What about the central officer?"
"You're looking at him." Rook jumped with joy as he said this.
"Of course you are."
"Oh come now I'm not that bad. I may not be a colossus bound in steel like you're father, but I am very well off for a mercenary."
"We have a mercenary in charge of our wall?"
"Well technically no. You have four seasoned guardsmen in charge of your wall. They all just write reports to me and I decide whether to inform the palace of anything that happens. The only way I get much power is if one of the four officers dies."
"You seem to be very well informed of your position. I think this should due for a check up."
"Earlier you said you wished to see the wall for yourself. What changed?" Rook's head cocked to one side in curiosity.
"If you are this ready to answer my questions so specifically then nothing must be wrong with the wall's defenses. In addition I have a better idea than merely checking up on the wall. There is likely an extra bunk within one of the barrack's areas correct?"
"Yes of course. However I would recommend you instead stay with my personal guards in the central barracks. This way no one thinks you're picking favorites." Rook smiled as if he were joking, Kite assumed he wasn't.
"Agreed. Now where is the central area?"
"Between the north and east section where we get a clear view of the north gate. Then if ever we lose the north-east tower we have the smaller less comfortable south-western tower."
"Take me to the north-east one please. I will do my best to be on positive relations with your personal guards."
"Oh you'll love the two of them!"
Orson unlike Kite was not learning about the defensive structure of Ue'cvis' wall. He instead was sitting on the steps to the palace's entrance. He saw one of the two commoners he assigned to watching the rift in the sky. This did not bother him much as one pair of eyes was all he needed. Thinking on his options he had already attempted tinkering with his ideas for the hand cannon, thus he had nothing pressing to do. With a sigh Orson walked over to the man who he told to keep watch.
"I'm assuming nothing has happened." He said to the man.
Now that he was up close Orson took notice of the man's features. He was elderly with more wrinkles than days in a year. His calm gray eyes resonated with the wisdom only gained from years of experience. His hair was gray with random splotches of white. His clothes seemed to share in his old age. They consisted of a long dark green overcoat draped over a brown shirt with a large decoration that puffed out just below his neck. The decoration strangely resembled a fluffy tail. The elderly man turned to Orson saying nothing for a brief moment as his voice did not come at his command due to his old age.
"Darn thang been spacklin every once-in."
"Sparkling?" Orson asked.
"Well at least one of you actually kept your post. What do they call you old-timer?"
"Patches. Old Patches."
"Well nothing happened but I still think you've earned your reward. You get double your pay." Orson reached into one of his coat pockets and put a sack of silver coins in Patches' hand.
"What're these?" Patches asked looking inside.
"Those are coins. We don't use coins here in Sharveu but you could just trade them off as metal. Or if you're like me you'll use them to trade with one of those traveling merchants."
"Mighty thanks! I'll keep me eye'n the spackle. Free O charge!"
Patches went back to staring up at the rift focusing all his attention on it. Orson shook his head smiling to himself, Patches certainly was determined. Orson then walked toward the common area looking for somewhere to have a quick meal. He ended up not finding anywhere that stuck out in particular and thus returned to the palace, to bother a chef there for food. His thoughts were crowded with the rift in the sky. He simply hoped he could finish his tinkering in time for whatever threat came from the mirror.