Shadows flickered across the faces of the people crowded around the great fire, adults with lines carved around their eyes and across their brows. The corners of their mouths sagged. Their skin was like leather, their hair wispy and concealed under colorful wraps that also covered most of their ears. One woman sat among them, young and powerful, clearly lit by the fire she warmed herself by. The eyes of the rest darted to her, smiles gracing their lips when she looks at them, her own eyes bright and cheerful. She was their hope, their story-teller and the person who gave them strength with just a brush of her fingers to their uplifted hands. She let her hair fall out of her headscarf, the wild curls covering her shoulders, her ears plain as day, their points signaling her power to any who had eyes.
She straightened, her mouth slightly open, immediately drawing the rapt attention of the entire group. She smiled at them, and started to speak in a low voice.
“This world began when the last one was destroyed by a power that no man should wield. The rich and influential of that world ran to special bunkers and underground cities with a few chosen lesser, while the rest were left to burn along with the rest of creation. Some thought it the end, that no one, not even the hidden, could survive such total devastation.
“But the power had another effect that wasn’t expected. It tore a rift in the veil that had so carefully hidden another people for many centuries. It forced a people who drew their life force from the earth, a people who were graced with power that none could explain, to join their cousins in the destruction of their world. And they used their great power to save their young cousins who had been abandoned. Together, the world was healed and remade. The two people mixed and became one. The earth was at peace.
“Until the hidden came back into the sun, expecting a world ready for them to use again to their own purposes. They were surprised to see that everything was fine, surprised to see the people of their myths and legends strolling about, living on the earth they thought was theirs. They were angry, and expected to be let to rule again with their machines and cruel greed. When they were refused, the hidden attacked the peaceful.”
The faces around the fire were cold; disgust, anger and fear filling the eyes and the lines of the men and women who crowded around. She looked at them one by one, noting who cried and who looked ready to take up arms. She sighed, and reached with a stick to poke the fire.
“They thought the peaceful defenseless, but they only became more adamant to destroy us when they saw that we could openly defy their science with what they thought impossible. They became fearful of us, as we are of them. They have sworn to destroy us because…”
Quick as a flash, she drew her knife, drawing it across her palm without flinching, staring at her audience with a cold look as the blood leaked from the gash in her hand before the cut sealed itself and looked as whole as it had before. She smiled grimly, finishing her statement, “We are powerful.”
The people around her smiled, looking at their own hands, remembering their own individual graces, and poking their fingers under their headscarves to feel the point of their ears, the physical proof of their ancestry. Slowly, one by one, they rose, and walked away to their beds, some holding hands to love in private, others searching to gather their children. They were ready to rest, and prepare for tomorrow, where they would live or fight, depending on the circumstances. She remained, smiling at those who approached her with ailments, hoping to be treated before sleep. She touched them, feeling her power flow into them to heal their wounds and pain.Finally, she was alone. She tilted her face towards the stars, smiling at the familiar constellation of the warrior before she stood to go to her own bed, stomping out the fire until it was only embers.