Kalkira watched in pride as his little sister stood still beneath the hands of the cleric. She was such a brave little girl, and he acted more as her father than her brother. After all, more than ten years separated them anyway.
She was the peace in his destruction, the light in his dark mind, the shelter in his rage filled storms. He lived solely to protect her, for he promised to his parents that he would take care of her until he died, or she was married to a respectable Edoheth. So far he had done his job, and now was her time of coming of age.
She would be married soon after. He knew that, everyone knew that. She was as pleasant to the eye, as he was as terrifying. He was a tall, muscled, quick beast that destroyed everything that he thought could harm her with either his strength, claws, or jagged fangs.
As you can imagine, she didn't have many friends.
The light of the spell started to surround her, the star shining down on her lithe form as her hair floated around her. He smiled sweetly, hoping she wasn't afraid. He never wanted her to be afraid, after all, she was his little girl, he was there to protect her and he would let nothing happen to her.
"Who is that anyway?" Rentham asked Master Leo, looking down at the dark haired Edoheth who had taken him capture. "I hadn't seen him again until now."
"Oh, that is my adviser. He is a very skilled warrior, can take down a man with just a needle. He isn't very strong though, so he tends to lean towards poisons." The lion man sighed a little. "He is also my uncle."
"When did you take the throne?"
"Two years ago. I am only two centuries old, I am not as experienced as my father was." He shrugged. "So far no one has tried to kill me, so I hope I am doing the best I can."
"What is he doing?" Lilith asked, standing up from the right of Rentham, staring at the same dark haired adviser. "He is getting a little too close to Peace."
"Peace?" The fallen king asked.
"Peace is one of the snow children. The girl with the white hair. Her brother is hovering over her like a vulture to a carcass, look!"
Down below the adviser slowly drew a needle out of his shirt, taking a quick, nimble step towards the girl. Kalkira had spotted him a mile away and caught his wrist in his clawed hands, slowly breaking it beneath his grasp.
"How dare you!" He growled, bending over the dark haired Edoheth, his terrible fangs glinting in the dim light.
"No, you fool, now dare you." The man smiled, his green eyes wild and dangerous. Kalkira felt a small prick on the back of his neck, and suddenly everything started to become fuzzy. He fell to the ground and watched as the entire ceremony was shut down, wild cat people jumping from the trees and killing everything in sight.
Master Leo jumped from his chair, drawing his sword as the companions followed, all wondering what this was about. The Place of the Edoheths was thrown into chaos in no more than a split second-
And it was all for Peace, the Snow Child.
This little white haired girl was one of the rarest beings on earth. She didn't know it yet, but her gift from her father was awakened in her right at that moment. She could touch something and make it go to sleep, she could wish to heal and it would be done.
She had the power to stop an army from attacking another.
The adviser ran his sleep poisoned needle into her arm and caught her, running into the darkness with her as fast as he could, his hired men following soon after, retreating from the quick legion of Edoheth protectors Master Leo had called to his side.
"NO!" Kalkira screamed, pushing the poison from his system as he got back to his feet. He had studied such tactics before he even turned twenty years old, learning how to expel poison from his blood or absorb a substance through his fingers. His body did things at his conscious command, but he wasn't quick enough to stop this.
No one was.
"Damn it how did I not see this coming?" Leo cried, a roar of rage escaping his large fanged jaw.
"No one saw it coming." Rentham replied, laying a hand on his shoulder in empathy. "My people were killed in one night, every last one of them. I couldn't stop it . . . none of us could."
"They took my sister!" Kalkira cried, trying to get to his feet but the sleep poison still stuck to his veins. He fell to the ground once more with a terrified cry.
"Don't worry, we will get her back." Lilith said as she passed, Rey running beside her as they darted into the woods after them.
"Why would they take her?" The dark warlock asked as they passed through the trees. "She is just a girl! They had millions around them, but they just took her individually!"
"That girl is special. I saw her when her brother attacked me. All she had to do was touch me and I felt the rage seep out of me. She has a magical gift, and I do not think it will happen again in the next millennium."
Their ears picked up a terrified scream from the girl only a few yards away. They slowly kept to the shadows, sneaking up on the sound as a cat would do to a mouse.
What they saw, they couldn't believe.
Peace was sobbing right in the middle of the bandit Edoheths. They were all dead, torn to pieces, and on her claws was their blood. She had killed them, killed them all with nothing but her natural weapons.
"I am sorry!" She screamed at Lilith and Rey as they slowly exited the bushes. "They wanted to take me away, they wanted to kill Kalkira! I couldn't . . . couldn't let them do that! I am sorry! I know killing is wrong, I know that it is evil and shouldn't happen in the first place, and I destroyed them all!"
"How did you even . . ." Rey's voice trailed off in a horrified gasp, staring at the brutal way she had torn their throats out.
"Kalkira never trained me." She shook her head. "But I watched. I watched and trained myself. He thought he was protecting me from the world, and in a way he was, but I caught it all. I knew what happened to everything around me, and he did not see through my mask. I didn't want him to, he would feel like he had failed."
Lilith slowly sat down beside her, taking her clawed hands in her own. "Tell me all of it. You will feel better."
"He . . . he kept me away from everything I loved. I was alone for the longest time when I was younger, never even getting a drop of sun out of our cottage. I started to sneak out than, see and meet things I never could before.
"But than I got hurt. I will not explain how, it would bring back to many memories, but I will tell you this. I was not so innocent after that day, and I decided to learn how to fight. Kalkira would never teach me, so I taught myself, and I learned everything he did.
"In a way, I protected him when he protected me. He got angry at everything that looked at me, so I calmed him with a touch, a smile, a cold hand. He would of killed everyone if I did not keep his rage inside of his chest. He would of smothered me, and I would of died beneath his protective hands.
"Kalkira needs to protect. He has to. If he does not, he goes crazy and doesn't know what to do with himself. I do not want to go back . . ." She covered her face with her hands. "I never want to go back, but I love him, so I will."
"No." Lilith said firmly. "Go on your way, we will tell him that you were killed in the fight."
"No please, you don't understand at all!" She grabbed the warrior woman by the shoulders and looked her in the eye. "Kalkira will suffer and die without me!"
Lilith stared at her for a moment. A while ago, right after she had left her home, she protected a small orphan boy who was being bullied by his classmates. She had lingered around the school house for more than a month, always watching, always protecting. She knew the feeling, she knew what Peace was talking about. "No he will not. Do not kill yourself for his sake. He will survive, I promise you."
Peace looked down at her hands. If she returned like this, she would destroy him anyway. Its not that she hated him, it was not that she wanted him to go away, it was the fact he thought she could not stand up for herself, and that she had to act like a child around him.
She couldn't do it anymore.
"Alright." She agreed, nodding solemnly. "You tell him that."
"I will ask you one question. Are you sure?" Rey asked, crouching down beside his sister. Peace nodded again after a moment to think. "Alright, than we will leave you here."
The two Spellbinders got up and stared at her one last time, watching as she continued to stare at her bloody claws on her snow white hands. Exactly when did her innocence get crushed? Exactly when did Kalkira fail?
One could never know.
"Come sister, we must leave her." Rey said, taking the tall woman by the arm and walking back to the Place of the Edoheths.
Kalkira put his head in his hands, trying with all his might not to cry in front of these strangers. "I want to see her body."
"We buried her for you. I did not want you to . . ." Liliths voice trailed off. "It would just be less painful if you didn't see her."
"I wouldn't care what she looked like!" He stood up than, shouting in her face, his fangs glinting from the reflected light from her eyes. She was tall, but he was by far the giant of the two. "She is my little sister, she is my light, she is the calm in the storm! I need to see her . . . one last time."
"I am sorry." Rey joined in. "But she is gone. Forever."
Kalkira seemed to calm himself as the dark warlocks words sunk into his skin. "Forever . . ." His voice trailed off in an echo as he turned around, impending rage fueling his steps as he walked into the forest. "Gone forever."
"Kalkira where are you going?" Lilith shouted, running to catch up with him. "You can't protect her any longer, she is gone! Stop trying to solve the situation, stop trying to find a way to make her come back! You can't protect her forever!"
"Yes, as sure as hell I can!" He grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her out of the way, continuing in his walk. He could smell her sent on the breeze, and he would find her body before anyone else did. He promised to protect her until someone else took up the duty, and so far as he knew, no one else was.
"Kalkira please! I know what you are feeling!" She got back up and held her right arm as she ran after, biting her lip to turn her mind away from the pain. "I was once like you, I needed to protect something! I needed to become the reason someone was alive, not the reason they were dead." She fell to her knees, crying out after him once again. "KALKIRA!"
"Why do you keep talking to me!? You defeated me, you threw me to the dirt, why do you even give a shit about what I am doing!?" He roared back.
"Because, I am a protector . . ." She gasped. "Just like you."
His face became confused. "You are not like me." He shook his head in disbelief.
"I had two little brothers once." She looked up at him, her raven black eyes meeting his. "One sacrificed himself to save us, and . . . I have never truly forgiven myself for his death. I should of protected my family more than I did, I should of given them more time to settle down, and I should of stayed with them until the end. But you know what I did? I left, damn it! I left them to fend for themselves, and now half of my family is gone or dead!
"Jackson was his name, and he was one of the most kind, caring people on this earth! Every time I look at Steven, my guide, you probably know him - I see my little brother, and . . . sometimes I can't even look at him. He reminds me so much of him." She started to feel the burning in her eyes one feels when they are about to break into tears, the horrible feelings that stirred her stomach until her insides were jelly. "Please, stop protecting. You can't, not today, not ever. The only thing you can do is watch your own back, and everyone has to want to stay alive to be alive."
"Are you saying my sister did not want to live!?" He shouted, bearing his sharp fangs.
"NO!" The warrior woman stood up, screaming at him. The memory of Jackson's death making the rage inside of her start to crawl out from between her lips. "You killed her with your protection! She was smothered by it, and she left! She didn't die, oh no, she did not die! Not when she was by herself anyway. You were the one who killed her, destroyed her innocence! You didn't protect her, you couldn't do it anyway! YOU CAN NOT PROTECT SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT WANT TO BE PROTECTED!" The magic of her rage started to swirl around her in green fire, setting the trees ablaze.
She was speaking to herself more than she was to the tall Edoheth, who was horrified at the sight of her. One minute she was begging for him to give up on the chase, the next she was bombarding him with rage and fire! She was unstable, and unstoppable.
"Lilith, calm yourself!" Rentham burst through the trees, running in front of her vision as she breathed heavily. "Calm down, just calm down . . ."
Gently, her rage subsided, the terrible green fire dying around her tensed limbs. Everything came back to her in that moment, everything that horrified her, and at the top of the fear pyramid was Jackson . . . plunging himself into the Abyss. She broke, her strong will broke beneath the memories, the broken hearts, the terrible moments when she lost her loved ones. She couldn't take it any longer!
Lilith fell to the ground like a bag of potatoes. All her limbs felt like jelly, and her mind went blank. All except a few words kept echoing in her head, like the whispers of death.
I, protector . . .