Chapter One: Empty Vessel
Three-year-old Akira Hendrix looked up at the bars above her. The bigger kids can climb the monkey bars, why can’t she?
“Move out of the way, runt,” an older boy said as he pushed Akira down, laughing, he climbed the stairs that led up to the monkey bars.
Akira held in her tears as she scrunched up her face. They’re always so mean to her, just because she’s small and has no powers. They think they’re all better than her. Well, she’ll show them.
She pulled herself to her feet and walked over to the stairs; the mean boy had climbed up. She took a deep breath, then climbed the stairs. She got to the top of the stairs and frowned; she can’t reach the monkey bars. She’s too small.
Akira heard the other children laughing at her because if she was a real Havent, she would be able to use magic and swing across the monkey bars. But she’s what her father calls an Empty Vessel. That’s why he hates her so much.
He’s a strong Warrior, and her mother is a very powerful Havent.
But Akira is a dud.
Not only is she a dud, but she’s also small. At least she’s smart. She smiled as she looked at the obstacle before her. She nodded to herself, then climbed the bar beside her, up and up, to the monkey bars. With a bright smile, she took hold of the first monkey bar and swung to the next. She’s doing it, she’s really doing it!
Where is Mommy? Mommy should see me doing this!
A strong wind blew, making her swing back and forth. She knows one of the kids was using their power, but she doesn’t care. She’s going to…she cried out when the gust of wind made her lose her grip, and she started to fall. This will hurt a lot.
Wolfric Selinofoto looked at the time on his phone. He’s going to be late for his meeting. For over ten years now, he has worked with his brothers (or rather for). Each of his brothers has their own Havent and tease him mercilessly.
Wolfric had finally given up on ever finding his and joined his brothers, despite their teasing. He knows they feel sorry for him, and only do it to keep his mind off the fact that he doesn’t have a Havent, his Psychi.
Passed a small park, he heard children laughing, and felt a hard wind blow. Children playing with their powers is always a disaster. He should know, his nieces and nephews have destroyed their parents’ house more than once.
He heard a scream and turned just in time to watch a girl use her powers to blow a very small child off the monkey bars. Without a thought, he rushed to the aid of the child. He skidded in the sand under her just as she landed. The air was knocked from his lungs. He grunted and closed his eyes, the small child in his arms was crying, and no one seemed to rush to her aid.
He opened his eyes and sat up, the child in his arms. He set her on her feet and brushed the sand from her knees. She sniffled as she watched him.
“Thank you,” the sweetest voice he has ever heard said as she wiped her nose with her arm.
Wolfric looked into the most beautiful eyes he has ever seen. The amber color was bright and shined like a torch. He swallowed as he tucked a hair behind her ear.
“Are you all right?” he whispered.
She nodded and continued to stare at him.
“What is your name?” he asked, his eyes still connected to hers.
“Akira,” she whispered. “What’s yours?”
Wolfric smiled, “I am Wolfric.”
Akira giggled. What a funny name, but she liked it. “I will call you Wolfie,” she said.
Wolfric chuckled, “you can call me anything you want, Psychi.”
Akira giggled again. He’s silly, he just called her a soul. She liked him. He was handsome and sweet. He kept looking at her, but it didn’t scare her. She felt peaceful around him.
“What are you doing with my daughter?!” a burly man demanded as he barreled over to Wolfric and Akira.
Wolfric watched Akira’s eyes dim and frowned. He pulled himself to his feet and looked at the man, he’s definitely a Warrior. So that makes Akira a Havent, he smiled. Now he knows why he hadn’t found her. She wasn’t born yet.
“She fell off the monkey bars,” Wolfric said as he watched his Psychi shiver when her father placed his hand on her shoulder. Something was definitely wrong here.
The man pulled Akira away from Wolfric and shoved her behind him, then got into Wolfric’s face and sneered.
“I heard what you called my daughter.”
Wolfric smiled. Not many fathers were too keen on a Direwolf as their child’s Warrior. But she is his Psychi, and he would never hurt her. No matter what she is. He couldn’t smell her powers, but they had to be there. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have a Warrior.
“I know I’m not what you expected for your daughter. But I would never harm her.”
The Warrior snarled, “I don’t know what your game is here, but my daughter has no Warriors, she will never have a Warrior. She is an ádeio docheío.”
Wolfric blinked. An Empty Vessel. No, that can’t be. He knows he’d seen it in her eyes. He looked around the large man at the little girl. She was crying again, her eyes red-rimmed and swollen. She looked at him, and his heart skipped a beat when they shined so brightly, he knew she was his. He looked back at the Warrior. The man wasn’t as big as he was, but he was a sturdy Warrior. He wondered where the other Warriors were, and the Havent. The child’s mother.
“You will stay away from my daughter,” the Warrior said as he grabbed Wolfric by the collar and lifted him off his feet. Okay, if this man wasn’t his Psychi’s father, he would be tearing his arms off about now.
“Daddy, no,” Akira said as she tugged on her father’s pant leg.
The Warrior tossed Wolfric to the ground and sneered down at him. “My daughter is off-limits. She has brought me and my Havent enough shame, she doesn’t need a pervert stalking her.”
Wolfric glared at the man. He didn’t know which he was angrier about. Being called a pervert, or the fact that he talks so of his own daughter. Many have had Empty Vessels as children, but sometimes they gain their powers when they’re older, and sometimes not. He growled as he glared up at the Warrior.
A woman with long blond hair ran up to them and pulled Akira into her arms and hugged her, kissing her cheeks. So just the father is ashamed. Where are her other Warriors?
“What seems to be the problem here?” an officer asked, walking up to them. Someone must have called it in.
“This man accosted my daughter,” the Warrior said, pointing at Wolfric.
“No, Daddy,” Akira said, pulling away from her mother, “he saved me. I fell off the monkey bars.”
Wolfric looked at the little girl. She had to be no more than maybe two years old. She was smart and had a good vocabulary. That alone showed she had potential as a Havent. She’s just a late bloomer.
The Warrior turned to Akira and looked to want to slap her. But stopped himself when he remembered where he was.
“I don’t want this man near my daughter,” the Warrior said as he turned to the officer, “he called her Psychi.”
Akira’s mother gasped as she looked at Wolfric. But it can’t be. She’s an Empty Vessel. Her Warrior would sense their daughter’s Havent, wouldn’t he?
The officer turned to Wolfric and shook his head. “Everyone knows that the girl is an Empty Vessel. They do not have a Psychi. They are ápsychos.”
Wolfric growled. That child is not soulless, he could tell that no one would believe him. It seemed that only he could sense her soul. Her Havent. It is buried deep within her, but he saw it in her eyes. He knows she is his, just as much as he is hers.
“I don’t want to take you in, Mr. Selinofoto. But if you are seen with that child again, I will,” the officer said, then turned to Akira’s parents. “I will make sure he never bothers you again,” he said, then turned back to Wolfric and pulled him to his feet, then led him away from the park.
Wolfric turned and looked at his Psychi. She was crying again as she watched the officer drag him away. She cried out when her father took hold of her arm and shook her, yelling at her for talking to a stranger. The words, Stranger Danger, ran through Wolfric’s head, and he chuckled. He will protect his Psychi, even if it kills him.
Akira laid in her bed that night. Her bottom was sore from her daddy, whipping her with his belt for talking to the “pervert.” Whatever that means. But Wolfie isn’t a stranger or a pervert. She sniffled as she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.
She dreamed of her Wolfie saving her from her daddy and taking her away to a land covered in snow, and she got to eat candy all day, and Wolfie read her stories at night. Just like Mommy used to do until Daddy beat her and told her a soulless Empty Vessel, doesn’t get Storytime.
Wolfric stood outside his Psychi’s bedroom window and listened to her cry. He’d been too late to stop her father from whipping her, and he swears to Zeus he will kill the man, once Akira is old enough, and he can take her away from here. Once she was asleep, he sat down on the ground below her window and scowled up at the sky.
Why have the Gods given him his Psychi after waiting so long, just to take her away from him? Many Warriors have found their Psychi at such a young age and helped the parents raise the child until they were of age to accept their Warriors.
He closed his eyes. He’d told his brothers what had happened, and they’d been thrilled that he has finally found his Havent. And angry about the child’s father. Why doesn’t Akira’s mother protect her? And where the fuck is her other Warriors?
He drifted off to sleep and dreamed about taking his Psychi away from her parents, to a place with snow, where they ate candy all day, and he read her stories at night. He smiled in his sleep as he held his Psychi close to his heart. She will be his.
Akira walked beside her mother as they headed to her pre-school, she was the youngest in her class and the smartest. She saw a shadow and turned. Something big was following them, but she didn’t feel any fear from it. Her little heart pitter-pattered as she watched the giant shadow. Then she saw him.
A gigantic wolf!
“Wolfie,” she whispered.
She knew he heard her because the wolf’s tail wagged, and his tongue hung out of his mouth. She giggled.
“What do you see?” her mommy asked as she looked in the direction Akira was giggling at.
Akira shook her head as she looked up at her mother.
Temple Hendrix smiled down at her daughter. Whatever she’s hiding, she will let her have it. She’s only three, and she hasn’t had the best a life could give. Being an Empty Vessel makes life tough in their world. Her Warrior denied the possibility of that Direwolf being their daughter’s Warrior. Akira has never shown any signs of having any kind of powers. But there has to be something there if that Warrior has claimed her. Right?
Akira waved to her Wolfie as they entered the schoolyard. She hoped she will get to see him again.