I bet you opened this book expecting a story of boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. Well sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not that kind of girl. And this isn’t that kind of story. Those kinds of stories only happen in fairy tales, and I’m no princess. Trust me. If you like your stories filled with murder, revenge & everyone living decidedly not happily ever after then this is the story for you. If you prefer stories filled with fluffy bunnies and rainbows and unicorns, then I would leave now.
At this point, I should probably introduce myself. My name is Tiffany (yes I curse my parents every day that they gave me that name, I am not a precious, delicate little girl) & this is the story of how I died. Yes I know at this point you’ll feel the urge to go “Aww” or something equally sickening, but don’t. I might be dead but you can be damn sure that I took the person who most deserved it down with me.
My tragic tale (oh who I am kidding, I burned out in blaze of glory) began on the day of my seventeenth birthday when I received the worst news of my life. It all started as every day of mine always did, outside beating up the guards (yes our house has guards, my father is one of the landed gentry) for fighting practice. I was in the middle of throwing a punch at Harry when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Little tip guys, never tap a girl on the shoulder when she’s throwing a punch, because she will swing around and that punch will land on your face (especially if her aim is as excellent as mine. It’s not bragging if it’s the truth).
“My Lady” James (our servant) said, clutching a hand to his bleeding nose.
“What?” I snapped, hating as I always have, my title.
“Your father requests your presence in the drawing room” James said.
“Tell Father he can wait until my practice is over” I snapped, whirling around to send a shot straight into Harry’s balls, leaving him rocking on the floor, crying out in pain. Honestly, men have no pain threshold, one well aimed strike and they’ll be lying on the floor, crying like a little girl.
“My Lady, please, your father said it was urgent” James responded.
I whirled around, flames burning in my eyes. James backed away but he was too slow & the reach of power was too far. I lashed out with my hands, commanding the air me and tossed James in circles as I tied him up with invisible air bonds. I dropped my hands and James plummeted to the floor. I stalked over to where he lay, and lifted his chin menacingly.
“My father will wait until I am ready, do you understand?” I ask. His bonds were so tight that he couldn’t move, but the fear in his eyes told me all that I needed to know. I lazily whipped my hand and released him from his bonds, before returning to my practice.
After an hour more of practice, which I thought was enough time for my father to angrily stew (honestly, I was pretty much done with practice when James came to fetch me, but I revel in making my father angry), I reluctantly decided to go and see what the old bastard wanted. I mean don’t get me wrong, I would have quite happily just avoided him until whatever it was he wanted to tell me went away, but I figured if this news was really bad, it could turn into quite a good screaming match, and I love a good screaming match.
I ascended the stairs to the first floor of our country mansion when the drawing room is. There were two goons already waiting outside, ready to open the doors and announce my arrival, but I’m having none of that. I prefer announcing my own arrivals. I summoned my air powers to wrench the doors open and then strode through.
“Disappointing daughter reporting for duty” I said as I entered, my usual smirk firmly plastered on my face.
“Must you do that every time Tiffany?” my dad said turning from where he was standing by the fireplace.
“I only say what you’re thinking, Father” I said. It’s not like it wasn’t true, my parents were always disappointed that their darling daughter was not the perfect lady.
“Today of all days is not the day for your jokes, young lady” my father said. I always knew things were getting serious when my father called me “young lady”.
“It’s my birthday, I thought that gave me a free pass on the humour. No?” I asked, trying to lighten the mood.
“It is your seventeenth birthday” Father said.
“Yeah, thanks for the “Happy Birthday” by the way” I said sarcastically.
“THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR JOKING” my father yelled and I was blown of my feet by a gust of air.
Now at this point, I’m going to take a brief interlude to my tale to explain what the whole flinging people and things around with the power of air thing is about, since you’re probably all a little confused. I come from a world called Elementa (it means Elements in Latin, as our kingdoms are split based on the elemental abilities of the people living in them. Yeah I know, some real brain power went into that name) and live in the Air Kingdom, which is known to those of us from our world as Aer. I don’t really understand why everything to do with magic in our kingdoms are named using Latin, I mean my father says that Latin is the language of magic, but personally, I just think some old dudes decided that Aer sounded better than Air when naming our kingdom.
The other kingdoms are, as you would guess Ignia (fire), Aqua (water) & Terra (earth). The kingdoms were formed because of a big war between people with the different elemental powers centuries ago. I’m not really sure what happened or what the war was about because I slept through History, but basically in order to keep the peace, the people split into different kingdoms based on their powers.
That probably seems like a lot of information to take in, but it’s all important, I promise. In order to understand what happened next you need to know all this.
But back to my story. There I was lying on the floor after my dad had literally swept me off my feet. Usually, I would fire back with a blast of air of my own, but I’m not suicidal. I might like to provoke my father, but I know not to push him too far.
“I’m sorry, Father, why exactly is my seventeenth birthday so important?” I asked.
“Do you not listen in any of your History classes?” he responded.
Reader, I think we’ve already established that the answer to that question is no and I told my father as much.
“At seventeen, you are now of age” he said.
“Of age for what?” I asked confused.
“MY GOODNESS TIFFANY ARE YOU COMPLETELY DENSE?” he yelled.
“Let’s just assume for the purposes of this conversation that I am. Can you clue me in to what exactly it is you’re going on about?” I asked.
“You are of marriageable age” he said, exasperated.
“MARRIAGE? MARRIAGE? I’M SEVENTEEN FOR AERRA’S SAKE?” I yell (Aerra is the goddess of air, in case you’re wondering).
“Language, Tiffany!” Father yells. Father is a lot more devoted to the old gods than I am. I mean, it’s great that Aerra gave me my powers or whatever, but I don’t know, all of his reverence to her just seems a little over the top to me.
“Father I’m not getting married” I said.
“You don’t have a choice in the matter Tiffany, you are seventeen, and you are the sole heir to this household, you must marry in order to continue our noble bloodline” he said.
“You really think I care about ensuring our fricking bloodline?” I said.
“You should! You are a noble lady, you should care about carrying on our noble lineage” he said.
“If I’m going to get married, it’s not going to be your choice, it’s going to be mine” I retorted.
“Tiffany wake up! You are a woman, you don’t have an opinion” Father yelled.
“WHAT NOW?” I yelled feeling thoroughly insulted. I have never bought into the view that a woman’s job is just to serve her husband. Sure, my father might have attempted to turn me into a perfect lady, but he never tried to stop me learning to hunt, to fight, to ride, or to kill. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from him.
“Your place is in the home, raising your family, like your mother did for you, like her mother did before that. What were you expecting to do Tiffany? Stay here and do your play-fighting every day until you die? It’s time for you to grow up and contribute to this family” he said.
“I have no intention of being a perfect little housewife. And don’t you dare talk about Mother to me. Ever” I growled. My mother, the only person who loved and respected me for who I was, died when I was a child, leaving me with the father I so despised.
“I have already arranged a match for you Tiffany. Lord Bridgeport’s son, Eric” he said.
“ERIC? ERIC BRIDGEPORT? Snivelling, simpering, Eric Bridgeport?” I asked indignantly.
“It doesn’t matter if you like him Tiffany, the match is advantageous to both our families and you will go through with this even if I have to force you” my father said threateningly.
I don’t take kindly to being threatened. Nor do I take kindly to being told what to do. I will not be coerced into marrying someone I do not consider my equal.
“I WILL NOT MARRY HIM” I yelled, whipping up air around me in a frenzy, creating a mini tornado, which I hurled at my father. The tornado spun him around the room and I kept him turning and turning and turning. My father struggled at first, but eventually he is able to take my tornado and shape it into daggers which he hurls back at me.
I stop his daggers with a wall of air. My father kept trying to hurl air at me but my shield remains strong. That should have been the end of it, but my dad broke my concentration by sending an air ball to one side of my shield. My shield broke and the air ball struck me right in the stomach winding me.
I felt my anger boil up inside, anger that I’d never been good enough for my father, anger that my mother was taken from me when I still need her, anger that I’d always been expected to be the perfect lady when that’s not who I am. That anger starts to burn, to fizzle and crackle and then I realise that the fizzing sound is not in my imagination. I bring my fingers up in front of my face and see that there are actual flames, crackling at the tips of my fingers. I didn’t understand this, I couldn’t. I was a Lady of the Air Kingdom, how the hell was I producing fire?
My father looked equally stunned. The flames had started to die a little with my confusion, but as I remembered my anger the flames grew again and they kept growing and growing until I had a full size fireball in each hand. Without really knowing what I was doing, I threw the fireballs at my father. He puts up an air shield, but it doesn’t stop the fire, it just burns through. My father managed to dodge the fire just before it caught him, but the wall behind him was completely alight.
I stood there in shock for a few moments, not sure of what I had just done. But then I saw the confusion in my father’s eyes turn to rage and I just knew I couldn’t stay there. I ran. Through the hall, down the stairs, out the door. I didn’t even know where I was going, I just knew that I had to run. Whatever I’d just done, however it had happened, I was in danger. And I needed to get out of there before my father killed me.
I know, it was probably a bit reckless of me to run away from home with no destination in mind, but it’s not as if I had planned for this. I mean my father getting mad at me, fine, that’s just a regular morning but the whole producing fire thing…..yeah that’s never happened before. It shouldn’t have happened. Air wielders are not supposed to be able to use fire. You would think that air wielders and fire wielders would be natural allies, after all air fuels fire, but you would be wrong.
I had of course heard the rumours about Elementals who could use all of the elements, Dominus Omniums, we called them (translated as Masters of All in Latin) but I had never considered the possibility that I could be one of them. I couldn’t be one of them right? I was a Sinclair, heir to one of the greatest families in the Air Kingdom. As far as I knew, there had never been a Dominus Omnium in the Sinclair family, I was descended from a long line of air wielders. Sure, way back before the war, there was intermarriage between different element wielders but that was centuries ago and I’m sure the other elements died out of our family long ago. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. More importantly, I didn’t know where I could go. There was nowhere in all of the four kingdoms where I would be safe, once my fiery secret was figured out, I would be hunted until I could not run any more. Still I had no intention of going down without a fight. If my father wanted to kill me, I was not going to make it easy for him.