Ora In Training: Snow Tiger





By: Holly Rose aka Kitten-Luv





Chapter One - Anger

I know not of who I am

You though can read me better than myself

I hate you for that, and secretly admire your childish ways

Why am I so hateful and cold?

I do not know, maybe I was made to be like this

***

The sunlight hit the glass, reflecting back into the streets. On the cobble roads, people roamed around, going on their daily business, as was now a habit. A forced habit, if it were up to them, they would be treated just as equally as the squires. The women walked around, carrying their baskets. Some filled with cloths and sheets; others filled with food freshly plucked from the gardens. Men trekked to and fro, some leading horses, others manually pulling carts. Children would stay with their mothers, or tend to any special tasks that were meant to be done. But as far as you looked, you never saw a face that was particularly happy. Once bright eyes were now drained of their innocent youth, wearied away by work and responsibility. The harsh reality of their world had been suddenly brought down upon them, making some have slouched shoulders, and occasionally they would trip and fall. Everyone would rush to the fallen worker, that was also habit; they were all a family. They had to stick together, ere the dark wings of monarchy would swoop down, and provide them with only punishment.

Though, one was still full of childish energy, and held the happy innocence and sparkling eyes that gave the slaves hope.

"Mark, if you don't stop fidgeting...OOH!" A plump woman slammed down her knife, viciously hacking away at the rhubarb.

"But ma, I wanna got out and play. I hate sitting here and cooking. It's a woman's job." Mark pouted, sticking out his lower lip and slouching down in his seat. He was supposed to be making the cookies, but had ended up making the mess instead.

The woman sighed, giving a final chop hard enough so that the knife got caught in the wooden carving board, and turned around, hands on her hips. "Fine-."

Mark gave out a loud whoop and started to dash off, but his mother was not done yet.

"But take your sister with you!"

Mark tripped and barely managed to keep his face from smashing into the wall. "But ma, she's not gonna mind anyway. 'Sides, I was gonna meet the guys over at the field!"

Mrs. Datni sighed and shook her head, her long dark braid whipping around. "Even though I know you hate to admit it, but you two are very close, and I wish you wouldn't put up that show and act like all the other children. Who, by the way, are much younger, and you're bad examples for those poor children, and I wish you'd stop hanging out with them!"

But Mark had disappeared as soon as she had started to lecture, zipping down the hallway and barging into his sister's room. He glanced around and sighed.

It was the largest bedroom in the house, and she had only gotten it because she claimed to be a claustrophobic. Mark had found this to be true after a little accident when she fell into a deep, small hole and hadn't been able to get out. But the way she cluttered it; leaving her clothes anywhere she felt, stolen merchandise dappled here and there, and other miscellaneous junk; anybody would think it was the smallest one. In fact, there wasn't a space big enough for him to put his foot without stepping on anything!

So onward he ventured, treading as carefully as possible he made his way over to her bed where she was, once again, completely covered with her blankets. He was unfortunate to break one of her favorite mini-vases though. He prayed she'd never find out, or at least until he was a couple good miles away.

He gave the bundle of blankets a hard shove, and a stifled yet still a loud, angry groan pierced the air. He gave it another shove; another groan was his response. He frowned and repeated his actions a couple of times, always getting the same answer. Until she sprung up and lunged at him, pinning him down, murderous thunder raging in her eyes.

"What the hell d'ya want?" she screamed, and drew back her fist to hit him for disturbing her restful slumber, but their mom appeared at the doorway, anger shining in her bright, gray eyes.

"Would you like to repeat that, m'dear?" she said, lips pursed.

"No, ma'am."

"Good." Mrs. Datni peered at her daughter over her glasses. "How come you're already dressed?"

The girl's eyes widened and jaw became only slightly slack. "Uh, well, you see," a slight tap came from the window and all three heads turned.

"Kali, what were you planning to do this time?" Her answer was a flinch. Mrs. Datni made her way over to the window and peered out.

Kali took this as an opportunity and dashed out of the room, dragging Mark with her.

"What was that all about?" her brother hissed as they quietly slipped through the back door.

"Hold on and I'll tell you in a few minutes!" she snapped tugging him along.

But Mark didn't like to come in second place or walk behind somebody, so he quickened his step, which caused Kali to pick up her pace. Soon they were grinning ear to ear, running through the small forest that separated their house from the palace wall. Mark noticed that his sister was slowly gaining the upper hand.

His vision was starting to tunnel out, notifying him that his soul energy was kicking in. He jumped over the fallen logs and roots that had begun to protrude out of the ground. The bricks of the old farmhouse lay there still, scattered all around, moss beginning to cover them. The sunlight filtered through the trees, shining through the gaps and thinner leaves, leaving a splattering of light. The brown and green of the trees, whizzed past him, he not giving a second thought about the sides, only focusing on what was forward.

He could sense Kali right beside him, her breath quickening only slightly, while he was beginning to struggle. But he saw the wall, and he put on a final burst of speed and stretched out his hand. He was so close, almost there, only a few feet away, but the second right before he could hear Kali's voice ring out, "Beat ya 'gain!" in a strange monotonous voice.

He grumbled at the unfairness of it all, though still smiled and crossed his arms. He stood there a moment, letting his vision return to normal.

"Well, that was fun." He said, seeing her leaning against the wall, resting with her eyes open staring straightforward. "Don't you think so?

"Sure, I don't care." She shrugged her shoulders in a bored manner.

"Aw, c'mon, what's with you? You've been acting, like, well I don't know, but you don't give a flying pig about anything anymore."

"I'm a tool."

"What?" Mark asked bewildered. He didn't expect that, and didn't understand it's meaning at all.

"Our lives are just this game to them. We work for them, we make clothes for them, and we grow food for them. But what's our thanks? More rules, punishments for tripping because of exhaustion or malnutrition!" She stood, her fists clenched.

"Hey, Kali, come on, it's okay."

"No. It. Is. Not!" Kali screamed, stomping her foot. She whipped around to face him, and he took a step back. Her blue eyes were shining dangerously, and darkening very slightly with each passing second. "Those bastards think they can push us around like we're just tools to them! That's all that we are, tools!" Her breathing calmed and she stared past him looking at the sky. "But do you realize, that all of us, every single one of the servants, we're stronger than them. If they just would listen, we could overpower this god-awful monarchy, and demand our freedom and rights. We could win, and be treated like people again."

She sank back down to a sitting position and hugged her knees to her chest. She rested her chin and closed her eyes. "I want it to end. I want to be a person again, not a tool."

Mark sat down across from her and put his hands behind his head, peering at her cautiously. He knew she was like a bomb, never knowing when she was going to go off. But he could usually tell when she would, and this was unsettling. "This is too deep for me to understand." The boy said finally.

Kali looked at him, disbelief and anger showing on her face. "What?"

"You heard me. It's always been you're the thinker and the violent one, I'm here to calm you down and keep you from getting yourself killed," he paused a moment, cocking his head to the side. "And also to be the idiot."

She reached over and gave him a small push to his shoulder. "You're not an idiot, you'd just rather not think, that's all."

He shrugged, grinning. "I know. Life's easier that way. 'Sides, who's keep you laughing?"

She nodded, "True, true."

"And who would you keep beating at everything?" he asked, giving her an accusing look.

"I'm not great at everything!" she cried defensively. "It's you who are the one who thinks I am. I appreciate the worship, but hey, I don't want to play god, okay?" she sighed. "Though now that I think about it..."

"Oh no no no, don't you even begin to think about that. That's one thing I forbid you to even consider."

"Aww, why not, Marky?"

Mark's eyes closed to little slits. "Don't call me that."

"Mark the Lark!"

"KALI!" He jumped up, running after her. This time though, he was laughing, and wasn't focused on beating anybody.

They ran around, throwing occasional insults at one another until they had gotten to the pond. Mark jumped right in, splashing around and sinking down at certain places, as if to make himself comfortable like he would do with a bed.

But Kali didn't like to swim, not that she couldn't she just didn't like the feel of seaweed and fish brushing up against her. So instead, she sat in her usual spot. It was high in a tree that was closest to the bank. One branch hung sturdily, though seemed to swing in the breeze, and she always sat in this notch where the branch split into two separate limbs. She snuggled down and closed her eyes, preparing to go back to sleep.

"Hey, Kali, I've got a question!" Mark yelled up at her, his voice imitating a child's. He swung his arms back and forth, sending little waves out in every direction.

"What?" she griped.

"Why were you already dressed?"

Kali crack opened an eye and peered at him for a few moments. She closed it again before answering, "I had just gotten back in."

"Dear kiwi, woman! You weren't out seeing Torin again were you?" Mark asked, his eyes clouding over. "You know none of us like him." When he said 'us', he meant the family.

They didn't approve of her seeing Torin, but she did anyway. Torin was the little prankster, and quite snobby. His family was probably the most well to do of the town, and he kept everyone in reminder of that. It was also the reason Kali had decided to have a sort of 'affair' with him a couple of months ago. Though, if a person got past his personality, he was easily the most handsome boy. He had startlingly black hair, and striking dark brown eyes. His features were perfect, not a scar on his face, not one blemish, and his face glowed with charisma. Though, one rarely did got past his personality.

"Well, yes of course."

"But, Kali, please, I'm begging you. Stop seeing him, you'll be miserable if you end up marrying him."

"Like I'm not already miserable!" she snapped, sitting up. She dangled her legs over the branch and continued to glare at him, daring him to say another word about the subject.

Kali knew he wouldn't. He was, she guiltily admitted, a pushover and she took advantage of that. He was just too trusting, and wanted to make everybody happy. He did everything he was told to do, and more. He was ready to help out in any situation, and never broke a rule without being forced into it. Except when it came down to go running, wherever there was space, he went running. He usually ended up bowling people over, and quite often he would crash into some officials coming to make sure they were doing their job. But everybody loved him anyway.

"But at least," Mark said, but made a face, showing that he couldn't remember what he was going to say. He sighed, "Sorry. Forgot."

"It's okay." She lifted her head to stare ahead. It was all forest, trees overlapping one another, some shorter and basking in the cool shade. The sun glinted off the dark leaves, and reflected in the pool of water at her feet. Every time a ripple shook the water, the sunlight would move along, as though they were one. The light came off as sometimes as gold, but other times as an almost silver color. Thick, puffy clouds moved along lazily, without a care in the world. Birds chirped happily, singing to one another and reassuring the peace. In the distance, across the pond, she spotted a fox and its family. They looked so happy, the pups rolling and wrestling with one another. The parents glancing back every so often, making sure their children didn't go wandering off.

Then the feeling hit her. She doubled over, gasping and panting. Her eyes went wide, her pupils dilating to twice the normal size. Her sun-kissed hair floated up, and whisked around in a wind all its own. Her hands gripped the branch until her knuckles went white. Blood seeped through her fingers, the rough bark breaking her skin. Sweat trickled down her face, falling off her chin in one fluid motion, before falling with a small splash into the water below.

"Kali? Kali! Hey, hey, c'mon, don't do this now!" Mark had hopped out the water, and was scrambling precariously up the tree, trying to reach his sister.

Kali only heard a muffle sound, like that of a whining dog. This feeling, the same feeling she got when somebody was in excruciating pain, invaded her mind and body. It only happened when someone in the town was in torture, and in someway triggered to herself.

Her body was wracked with a black hot fiery fervor that almost made her relish the feeling, but it was so hot...and hurt so bad. It always started with a prickling sensation on her head, like she was getting goose bumps; it was a warning. It continued to gradually flow in a downward spiral. But it would also course up from her feet, until the two waves would crash and meet where her heart was. They wrapped around it, turning it black. Kali could feel evil coursing through her veins, taking her senses and all the goodness in her and deteriorating them. It felt like something else, another person, were taking over her body. Her brain would shut down, and all she could feel was the pain, the searing pain.

Images start to flash through her mind. Visions of people on their backs, reaching up, faces twisted with fear and pain, begging for mercy. Above them would stand something else, she couldn't make out if they were really human or not, a weapon raised high above their heads. Most would be bloody swords, though sometimes a half arrow, or a scythe would be there. Blood would splatter out everywhere, staining the corners of her mind, screams echoing, their pain never leaving her memory.

Then, it was gone. Though more slowly and painfully it had come, so quick would the visions and ache left her with a muddied vision of her surroundings. Kali faintly noticed something shiny, before it came up at her.

"KALI!" a voice screamed at her.

But that wasn't what mattered. The coolness engulfed her, rubbing against her sore skin. It soothed her, and her mind didn't take in that she had stopped breathing. Something soft lay beneath her, and she lay back, slowly and surely. Her arms rising up nonchalantly and hair billowing in soft tufts. Air bubbles rose from her mouth as she sighed, and laid there, content with all that was.

She was jerked out of her reverie though, as hands grabbed onto her wrists, pulling her back up to the surface.

"Oh man..."

Who was...? Why did she hurt again?

She groaned and leaned onto the person holding her. Kali's blue eyes glanced up, seeing a head of dirty blonde hair. Worried, bright green eyes peered at her.

"...Mark?" she asked; her voice though was mumbled, and she was too tired to think. She closed her eyes and could feel his energy come from his body into hers. After a few seconds, Mark pushed her away from him.

"That's enough." He panted. It hurt him when she did that. He knew it was just energy she was borrowing, but sometimes he felt as if it were more than that. Like it was his life she was draining.

"I'm sorry." Her voice was soft now, overflowing with guilt.

"It's okay!" he said, trying to act cheerful. "C'mon, we'd better get back to ma. You need to clean your hands."

Kali looked down at her hands and saw that blood was steadily seeping through the cuts. She licked her lips, almost in anticipation of something, before balling her hands into fists, the thin, red liquid seeping through the cracks. She closed her eyes and cursed every deity she could think of.

"It's all right. Come on, Kali, let's go home... I'm hungry!"

Kali looked back up, and offered him no smile. Instead she got quietly to her feet and walked silently back to the house. She heard his steps walking behind her, the sound resounding throughout the forest, echoing, notifying every living thing that there they were. The two weren't allowed to be there, and there was a punishment for setting foot on the land of the Prince and his wife.

'Hmph, the prince and his wife,' she thought haughtily. 'You give me two minutes with them, and I'll show you who could really say they can do anything. I'd kill them the moment I had the chance.' Her eyes thoughtlessly averted their gaze back to her hands. Blood everywhere, it covered her shirt in splotches, and had gotten smeared on her pants when she had nervously wiped her hands. 'Why do I have those attacks? Am I the only one? I want answers, and nobody has them. I'm starting to get pissed off.' The more she thought about, the angrier it made her.

If there was one peeve that set Kali off, it was when she either didn't understand something, or if somebody was keeping answers from her. Right now, it was both. She continued to walk, her footsteps light and quick. The anger was invading her mind, and she fought to keep it under control.

Something was knocking at her patience, determined to get her to break. She shook her head. The trees were going by faster than usual, a blur of different shades of green and dark brown. Voices whispered at her, making her angrier by the second.

'You're all alone, Kali. Why should only you feel the pain, Kali? Make the mortals pay, Kali. They hurt you, Kali. They left you alone, Kali. You're a freak, Kali. Why are you so different, Kali? Why are you so angry all the time, Kali? Kali, Kali, Kali?'

"SHUT UP!" She screamed.

Mark looked at her surprised. His mouth opened in shock at the site before him, before his better notion surpassed his brain. He turned to his left and ran back to the town. He had to get help; Kali was different and was in trouble.

While he ran off on his search for help, Kali was almost on fire with rage. Why was she different? Why was she cursed, why not somebody else? What made her so 'specical'?

Through her anger, she noticed that her sight was getting better. She could see much farther and noticed every little movement. The way the wind blew, the way the dirt would raise and swirl before falling delicately back to the ground. Bewilderment replaced her rage. Animals, she could hear so many animals. They were afraid, afraid for their lives. But why were they afraid? Kali strained her ears to pick up their chirping voices. The queen pixie, they were afraid of the pixie.

She glanced around frantically; there wasn't a pixie in sight anywhere. Then a thought dawned on her, what if...what if she was the pixie? She turned heel, and vaguely became aware of the dark color of her hair, that didn't move the entire time she ran. She also realized that her feet weren't touching the hard dirt below either.

The shining water drew closer and Kali dived in vigorously, splashing the water, dipping her head beneath, trying to calm her nerves. But as she looked at her reflection, her fears were confirmed.

In the water, a dark woman stared back at her. A woman with mud-brown hair, and gleaming black eyes, her eyes scrutinizing as she stared back up at Kali. All she wore was a ripped, bloodied white shirt, and a maroon skirt that was torn to look as though dark red leaves had been patched together. Her face was chillingly pale like the moon, contrasting greatly to her hair. Her lips wore a dark shade of crimson lipstick, and a necklace hung around her neck. On a thin chain hung a small sapphire.

Kali raised a hand to her neck, but didn't feel anything. She grasped a strand of hair, but it was still the same shade of yellow.

Sitting back, she sighed and ran a hand through her thin hair. "I'm damned. That's all there is too it. I'm damned." She murmured. Growling in the back of her throat, Kali got back up and trudged back to her house. She didn't think of anything, or she thought of too much. Either way, a headache was beginning to form quickly.

As she neared the house, Mark came running at her.

"Dear kiwi! Are you okay, Kali? You scared me half to death!" Mark panted, his eyes showed concern, but he stayed a few feet from her, looking aprehensive.

Kali raised her eyebrows at him. "What's the matter with you?"

"Whaddya mean what's the matter with me? What's the matter with you?" he huffed, crossing his arms.

"Nothing's the matter with me. You're the one acting all scared."

"I'm always scared."

"No you're not."

"Yes I am."

"No."

"Yes."

"I'm not having this conversation with you." Kali breezed past him, her usual emotionless expression on her face.

Mark hopped after her. Studying her movements. He frowned; she was always a really good liar. And always a good actor, she'd be able to get away with murder. In fact, now that he thought about it, anything that had to do with a sin or breaking a rule, Kali was forever at the scene, and the master of getting into and out of trouble with a blink of the eye.

He entered the house, smiling again. He didn't really know why he was always so cheery, but he felt it his responsibility to make sure everyone was happy.

The first thing he noticed was Kali and their ma cooking. Ma was furiously chopping at something else and Kali was grating onion or something of the sort. He grinned and asked, "What's new everybody?"

Silence greeted him.

He continued to smile though and started to blabber. "Well, anyway, Ma, we're both really sorry for kind of well, you know, running off. But see, it was not exactly on purpose. We raced, and then we went swimming, then we climbed trees, and then we started to walk around just relaxing. Thinking about life, well Kali was doing more of the thinking than I was, I was kind of too busy staring around." he trailed off as Mrs. Datni slammed her knife on the counter, it slid a few inches, and she stormed off. The slam of the door told them of her departure.

"Well, that was...how do you say it?" he grinned at Kali. When they were younger, he used to say everything was fascinating, and it was now considered a joke between them. But she continued to grate, her face completely unchanged through the entire ordeal.

"Fascinating," she said numbly.

He ran over to her, and gave her a big bear hug.

"ACK!" She squealed. "Mark, get off me! I don't like hu-ack!" she frantically tried to free herself from his grasp.

"AW, c'mon, we never hug anymore!" he hugged her tighter to himself.

The two of them stood in the kitchen, being forgotten about. Kali continued to flail around, trying to escape his grasp, while Mark grinned his big ole grin.

*****

"She's ready, now."

"Do you think it's really a good idea to take them away from her first, though?"

"It's the only way."

"But she'll need him to keep her...well, to stay herself. If we don't, she'll lose everything that we need from her."

"Like what?" the first figure demanded, grinning viciously.

"Well, first off her pure energy. If we keep him with her, she'll be able to keep the evil in her under control. Also her sanity is vital. She's angered quickly, and if she's set over the edge, she's not going to come back."

"We'll take that chance."

"But-."

"It's decided."

The second figure shook their head sadly, their lavender eyes flashing with sorrow.

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