It was a perfect day for shunting. Crisp gusts of wind swept across the dunes catching the rider's chutes and gliding them down the almost vertical sandy drops.
Corinthian felt a burst of wind render her weightless as her heels arched up and her toes pointed down into the sand just before they lost contact with the ground.
The exhilaration of suddenly hanging in the air forced a squeal of frightened delight. Her stomach gave way to an intense tingling that felt like a swarm of butterflies racing round her insides.
Down below peels of laughter and shouts burst out; this was the first time she had taken flight. She was only a few feet in the air when her makeshift chute sagged a little, dropping her just enough to drag the end of her toes along the sand before another gust of wind gave it a sharp snap that whipped her up with a kick into the air.
"Don't go so high!" One of the girls at the bottom of the dune was flagging her arms.
"This is amazing!" Corinthian shouted. She had never gotten off the ground before and now she was so high she could see outside the city wall into endless miles of of desert and sand.
It was if the wind had never stopped, she was so high now the kids below had shrunk to have size.
Today was amazing. In a couple of hours she would be holding an official Deamon citizen certificate in her hands and tomorrow she would walk into council with her parents to petition for full-fledged adoption. Then they could be an official family in the sight of the law and no one could ever taunt her about being a nameless orphan again.
Without warning the wind cut off, there was a second of silence before the patched up chute collapsed like a deflated balloon and she was hurdling downward in a sudden free fall.The screaming voices beneath her accelerated at the speed of her decent. Somewhere beneath her they were scrambling to get an unoccupied chute and stretch it out under her to break the fall.
Problem was Corinthian's fall was no ordinary drop, she had risen so high that when the sudden stop of dead air hit, she was falling farther and harder than any of these kids had ever dealt with. That's probably why they were still screaming, but not with accolades.
The thin sheet of the chute gave little resistance before it split with a loud ripping noise letting Corinthian pass through and land with a solid thud several feet later as she slammed into the sand.When her head had cleared a little, she could see that everybody had crowded around and could hear voices of kids on the outskirts asking if she were dead. "She's not dead," a face close to her determined."Something must have got broken!" a girl was trying to be practicable.""Naw, she's moving and moaning," it was a boy up front and most of the bystanders took his word for it.By the time Corinthian was able to sit up, most of the crowd had lost interest and had left to go back to their shunting.One girl had stayed by her side, "You know it was my parachute that you destroyed with your stupid flying trick?" The indignant girl leaned over Corinthian with one hand on her hip and the other holding up a piece of mangled fabric.Corinthian's head hurt, "You can have mine?""Yours!" the girl snorted, "why would I want some old patched up piece of trash when mine was made of Perasian silk?"Corinthian looked at her blankly, she had no idea what Perasian silk was.The girl waded up the torn chute and flung it straight into Corinthian's face, "you can stare at me with that stupid look on your face all day, but your parents will have to pay for that." The girls face slid into a derisive grin, "I hope your parents don't have to sell that little shack of theirs, then you wouldn't have a place to live."Corinthian filled her fists with sand conjuring ideas of what she would do to the girl as soon as she blinded her when a boy on the opposite dune began jumping up and down in an attempt to get everybody's attention. He was calling for everyone to hurry and soon the whole group was scrambling up the mountain of sand like an army of ants.From the top of the dune was a birds eye view of the town below, especially the main street. It was obvious that something had the citizens in an uproar, dozens were piled out into the streets brandishing sticks and stones and yelling.Being the last one up the dune, Corinthian noticed that whatever was ever happening down in the city had the whole group completely engrossed. She skirted her way around them and scooted part way down the other side of the dune so that she was center front a few feet below them.Now she saw why everyone was so riveted, people in the streets, many of whom were these kid's moms and dads, had transformed into a riotous mob. They had drug a woman out of her house by the hair of her head and right behind her, almost getting his arm yanked off was a young boy. In the middle of this, trying to free his wife and child was a man Corinthian recognized as Mr. Sekhush."Oh my gosh, is that Mr. Sekhush? one of the kids was completely astonished."Why are they doing this to his wife and child?" another child asked.
The girl who had threatened Corinthian earlier stepped forward, "I'll bet you someones finally putting an end to all this allowing humans to move in here. My mom said letting them move here was one thing, but them pushing for citizenship was just too much.She threw a dirty look at Corinthian, "My dad says nobody knows what to do with all the half breeds." Everyone now was looking at Corinthian who had turned bright red from both embarrassment and anger.Now that the girl had everyone's attention she went in for the attack, "look at her, nobody knows where she came from, she doesn't look like any of us, I doubt she's even half Deamon." She paused for a dramatic air, then finished in a superior tone, "I'll bet you her parents don't even know what she is!"It's like the girl had been saving up for this moment, she was seething with animosity and hate.Corinthian's temper sent her to her feet and up the dune, "I'm getting my Deamon citizenship today! And tomorrow my parents are applying for adoption!" Her fists clenched until her fingernails dug into the palms of her hands, " I belong here just as much as the rest of you!"The last words Corinthian uttered sent the girl into a rage, she stalked up and rose her hand to slap Corinthian in the face, but before the girls hand could make contact Corinthian grabbed the girls wrist and held it midair.The girl shrieked, "How dare you touch me!" She swung back her other hand but before she could do anything Corinthian took hold of it and used both of the girls hands to shove her to the ground. Murmurs of disapproval broke out among the kids."You don't have the right to do that," a large boy stepped out of the crowd towards Corinthian. She knew that it didn't matter to anyone that she had acted in self defense, Dyshya was the last girl Corinthian should have fought back with, the girls family was so rich and connected that they were practically royalty. She knew she would be a fool to stick around, so she spun round on her heel and ran for it.Once she was in the clear she took the long way getting home, avoided the main street and stayed out of sight by taking the back alleys.As she walked home she chided herself, "My stupid temper how could I be so stupid! I should have taken that slap from that spoiled brat and left it alone, now my parents are going to have two more problems their going to have to deal with."It was supposed to be the perfect day, it had felt like the perfect day when she was flying above the city; but now she had to go home and tell her parents what had happened.Then it hit her, this whole thing might mess up the adoption plans, and that's what got it started; the tight restricted choking in the throat, the hot tears she struggled to hold back, and the frustration and anger at not having worth.It was bitter to know that you didn't hold enough worth to other people to be able to defend yourself no matter how unfair something was.She hung back from the entrance way to her home wondering how she was going to break the news to her parents when she heard a familiar voice intermingling in with her parents."I apologize for any inconvenience this unannounced visit may have caused, I assure you that I wouldn't have come unless the circumstances hadn't thoroughly warranted it." It was Lisidar, her parent's mysterious elven friend that came to visit every year."No, no inconvenience." Her mothers voice was soft and reassuring."Do you know why I've come then?" His voice was both fluid and authoritative."well, I...."Another voice broke in gruffly, "Where is the girl!" it was stern and commanding."The mother already told you she is up at the dunes playing with the other children," Lisidar deflected the unknown man's demands then continued in a reasonable tone, "I'm sure we can wait a few more minutes."Corinthian decided it would be best to not say anything about what had happened about the dunes to her parents until the visitors had left. She entered the tiny room where her parents were sitting at a small wooden table."Corinthian," her mom invited her to sit down next to her by patting the seat of the chair."Is that the girl?" The huge man filling the corner eyed her suspiciously. He took a step directly at her, "Where's your mark?"Lisidar rose from his chair making a barrier between them, "I will handle this."Mark? Corinthian was dumbfounded. Did they know about the fight already? She looked at her wrists, they were fine, no marks, besides wasn't she the one that had grabbed Dyshya and thrown her to the ground?An awkward silence filled the room.Corinthian felt she had to give some kind of explanation, "I'm sorry. Really, please, I didn't mean to-just....""Corinthian, what are you talking about?" it was her father and her looked completely perplexed."I, um, well....," Maybe it would be better after all if she didn't blurt out a confession. "I mean, I meant to get home earlier, sorry." She hung her head down hoping that would work.The man in the corner was visibly irritated, "I didn't make this journey to waste time with a penitent child. Show me the mark."Lisidar faced the hulking giant squarely, "There is no mark."Confused, Corinthian looked at both of them, this is when she realized that the mammoth looming menacingly out of the corner was also an elf, at least that what his pointy ears were eluding to. Lisidar had been the only elf she had ever seen and this big guy didn't look anything like him.He was muscular, broad, and almost six inches taller. As pale and white haired as Lisidar was, this guy's complexion was like the desert's sand and he had thick black hair pulled back into a tight braid that emphasized his chiseled cheek bones. The main feature that really struck her though, was his brooding mahogany eyes intensified by two slashes of black brow.The guy was pretty good looking and she would have found him cute if he hadn't been acting like a scary ogre."What do you mean she doesn't have the mark!" The dark haired elf sounded furious, the veins across his temples bulged from the strain he was putting on his clenched teeth."There never was a mark." Lisidar's voice was impassive."What have you done Lisidar?" it was more of an accusation coming from the dark haired elf than a question.Still nothing was making sense to Corinthian, who was watching her mom and dad for some kind of explanation.It was her mother that broke in now, she was almost pleading, "does this mean it ends here then? Can we finally go through with our adoption now?"The dark haired elf wasn't listening, "do you realize who you have deceived? Do you realize the risk you have put to our people?" He was so close to Lisidar that Corinthian thought that he was going to pick Lisidar up and throw him.Lisidar lifted his right hand and began to whisper in elvish or what Corinthian perceived to be elvish, for it was a sound of movement similar to the motion of the rising and falling of a rolling swell of water. A wave of cold air pulsed through the room as a pale blue light emanated from the palm of Lisidar's hand.The unwieldy elf was instantly pacified, he retreated solemnly back into his corner subdued.Corinthian and her parents were struck with awe, they had never seen anything quite like this before, so this must be what everyone referred to as elven magic. "I, too, have no time to waste on fruitless conversations." The light may have gone out of Lisidar's hand, but not his presence, there was a lingering sense of power that kept everyone's attention."The answer to your question, madam, is yes." Lisidar was addressing Corinthian's mother who was sitting quite still.Lisidar looked over in Corinthian's direction, "this is the end I had intended for Corinthian," then gestured towards the dejected elf in the corner, "and this will be the end my companion Zennen will comply to when we meet with the council in a few minutes."Corinthian glanced at Zennen, 'so that was the name of that big galoot.' His horrible attitude hadn't engendered any sympathy from her, she was glad to see him banished to the corner.Lisidar came and placed his hand gently on her shoulder, "It will all be over soon little one."Although Lisidar sounded reassuring, what exactly would be all over was still not clear in Corinthian's mind and she was still hoping that the trouble she had caused at the dunes wouldn't come out until they got through today's afternoon council meeting.And what did Lisidar mean when he said that his companion would comply at the council? Why would elves have anything to do with a Deamon citizenship council meeting?There was a loud pounding at the door. Everyone in the room was looking from one to the other questioningly when a second more profuse pounding made the door creek in it's hinges. "OPEN UP! IN THE NAME OF DEAMON LAW!"Corinthian's mother jutted to the door just as it flew open, there in the doorway stood two public guards with spears in hand and right behind them stood Dyshya's parents."Corinthian Lucca Estrandler, you are hereby charged with malicious intent to inflict serious bodily harm upon said citizen: Dyshya Pencilla Bafoonler." They held up a scroll of parchment indicating a warrant."Under authority of Deamon law, we hereby arrest you according to your crimes." they then marched forward seizing Corinthian by both arms. Lisidar strode to the front door, "There must be some mistake, she is appointed to go before the council within the hour."The guards looked at him as he were some fly on the wall making no attempt to reply, they just pushed right past him out the door."You have no authority here, elf." Dyshya's father glowered at Lisidar and cast a round of disgusted faces as he looked about the room. "You," he was directing his last words at Corinthian's parents, "should have known better; what a disgrace."Corinthian was literally pick up and dragged down the street with her feet dangling several feet from the ground. Dyshya's parents were directly behind strutting and narrowing their eyes at her as if she were some dangerous criminal that had been at large and had finally been caught. Their chins were tilted up in triumph as if they themselves had gone and captured her.When they arrived at the court room, Corinthian was shoved into a room adjacent to the judges quarters, the door had been left wide open so she could hear the Balfoonler's conversation with the judge."Oh, my poor, delicate daughter, she was barely conscious after that vicious unprovoked attack!" Dyshya's mother was pouring it on thick, she must have pretended to have been faint because Corinthian could hear Mr. Balfoonler's voice employing her to sit down for her own safety."Where is the girl now?" inquired the judge."Oh, she she has already been apprehended she is...""Not the accused, your daughter!""At home in bed your honor, Senz is at her bedside as we speak.""Has she seen a doctor? What is the prognosis?""Well, no. She hasn't yet, we didn't want to traumatize her any more than she already has been, with that malcontent threatening her-""Then you have not brought with you a diagnosis of her condition?""No sir, but I promise you it will be forthcoming, so I demand that that girl be confined for the safety of the other children.""Mrs. Bafoonler, the court is not accustomed to having demands made by the plaintiffs." Even the judge thought that this was being taken too far."Oh yes of course sir, in all due respect I meant nothing of the kind, I was only fearing for the well-being-"The judge cut her off, "Send the accused to the holding cell till the letter of damages is brought." With that the judge slammed the stick on the table and court was adjourned.