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“Don’t touch that Little One. You’ll be itchy for the rest of the afternoon.”
The child turned his head, his mop of black hair hanging in his oddly coloured eyes, his pointed ears perked forward in fascination. “I no touch?”
The man smiled softly, folding his hands into the sleeves of his long black robes. “Preferably not. I know it’s pretty, but pretty isn’t always good.”
The boy looked back at the fiery red flower bearing orange speckles then back up at his uncle, his pointed face scrunched in confusion. “But…”
“But nothing.” The half-elf’s own delicately pointed face relaxed as he watched his nephew grapple with this new information. “Remember what happened the last time you didn’t listen.”
A tiny hand came up and scratched at his head where his horns had just started poking through his hair. “Itchy like this?” He looked up at his uncle, red eyes wide and questioning.
“Don’t scratch your horns. I told you you’re going to damage them. And it will be even worse, much worse, like a hundred times worse.”
“Not more itchy!” He gripped his stubby horns and ran towards the man, then clung to his leg. “I no want more itchy!”
The man bent slightly and picked the boy, resting him on his hip. “Then don’t touch it. Try listening to me for once.”
A soft touch on the half-elf’s cheek, his nephew brushing a strand of hair from his cheek then petting his head. “Where is Kil’s horn’s?”
“I don’t have any my Little One. You got them from Daddy, I look more like Mommy.” The man, Kil, walked down to the small stream running past their house where the water trickled slowly over the rocks, calm enough for his half-bred nephew to play in.
“Daddy had horns?” The child held onto Kil’s leg as he set him down. “Mommy didn’t?”
“Yes. Daddy had horns, and a tail and wings. Mommy was an elf. You know what elves look like.” He gently pushed him forward.
“Elves are pretty,” the little boy stumbled forwards, still learning to walk on his long toed feet that he’d inherited from his father, “like Uncle Kil.”
“I’m not pretty, child. I have an ugly human jawline.” He sat down, sticking his toes into the water.
The boy turned around slowly and dived into his uncle’s lap, bringing up a hand with short black claws to pat Kil’s face. “No. Uncle Kil is pretty. You have a face like an elf.”
“And so do you.” Kil pinched his nephew’s cheek. “Just like your mother.”
The child giggled, grabbing a fist full of his uncle’s soft black robes and hiding his face in them.
Kil blew gently on his nephew’s head, ruffling his ebony hair. “Lift your pretty little face, will you?”
The child giggled and peaked over his hand that was still twisted in the soft black velvet. “Will Uncle Kil make the water dance then?”
Kil lifted his hand, using minimal energy to pull a small orb of water from the stream, bringing it to float in front of the little boy. “Why don’t you make it dance?”
“No Calgin, you can. Remember, we’ve been practicing?”
He watched as Calgin reached out a little hand, concentration written over his soft features. Kil gradually released his energy on the water, watching as it quivered and warped under the child’s practice. It hovered perfectly still for a minute, then exploded into millions of droplets that dusted them with a thin layer of damp. Calgin sniffled, wiping the water from his face.
“Uncle Kil…” He looked up at him tearfully.
The mage laughed softly, wiping his own face dry. “That’s quiet alright my boy. You did fine. Nothing wrong with that.”
“You’re only young, it’s going to happen. Don’t worry about it.” He stroked the young boy’s hair, careful not to touch his growing horns. “It was better than last time.”
This warranted a giggle him. “Cause last time it went like shoooo!” He clapped his hands, indicating a water fountain.
“Something like that.” Kil waved his hand slowly, the water coating both of them racing over their skin to collect into an orb again. This the mage tossed back into the stream.
A high pitched yapping had the youngster looking over his uncle’s shoulder and into the forest, his ears twitching slightly. “Uncle Kil, I play with Espie?”
“I suppose you can. But where I can see you. I don’t want you wondering off again.”
The child made as if to stand but was pulled down by Kil. “Wait till they get here, it’s only manners.”
“Yes Uncle Kil.” He looked down at his little hands, a light blush creeping over his pale cheeks.
The older half-elf hugged his little nephew, watching as a small werewolf puppy galloped out the trees, a hulking male trotting after him. The puppy galloped full speed towards the pair sitting on the grass, bowling the boy right off his uncle’s lap.
“Esperious.” The male werewolf morphed back into his human form of a bearded man with warm brown eyes. “That wasn’t very nice, now say sorry.”
The puppy looked up from wrestling with the young half-elf, his body rippling as he struggled with the change from beast to boy.
Kil blinked his light blue eyes, a pleasant smile spreading across his face. “He’s getting better at it, Daveth.”
Daveth rumbled a laugh. “He’s getting there. We just need to work on those manners.” He cast a glance back to his son as he managed to complete the change into a boy with scruffy chocolate brown hair.
Esperious shuffled his feet, kicking at the grass. “Sorry Mister Aress.”
“It’s okay, child. Now why don’t you and Cal go play? I’ll be right here.” He watched as the two children ran towards the simple house in which they lived, giggling at the simple joys of life. Then he turned his attention to Daveth. “Hunting I take it?”
Daveth nodded. “I was trying to teach him, but one whiff of your boy and he was tearing through the underbrush like a rabbit.”
Kil shook his head slowly. “It doesn’t bother me. If you have hunting to do, I’ll be right here. I’ll keep an eye on these two.”
“I don’t want to trouble you…”
“Shhh North Lander,” Kil held up a finger, “you do not wish to annoy a Westerner like me.”
Daveth laughed loudly at that. “Oh Kil, you never are going to let that one go, are you?”
“Hush. You do not speak to such filth as myself. Be gone foul canine, leave thy child with me and go hunt.”
“I never quiet understood how I can find a mage so humorous.” Daveth flexed his shoulders, casting his eyes towards the house as the two young boys ran outside again, apparently having decided upon a game.
“And I can’t understand how I’m speaking to a flea riddled bone chewer.” Kil leaned back on his elbows, the sun shimmering off his golden blonde hair.
“I’ll be back to fetch him before nightfall.”
“Do not thank me, Wolf. It is what I do for a friend.” He looked towards the boys, Esperious holding Calgin’s wrists as the halfling struggled to hold his balance in the water. “You know how much I love the kids in any case, it is no trouble.”
Without another word, Daveth turned on his heel, back rippling with muscle as his beast form took over.
Kilgar slipped his elbows from beneath his body to lay flat on his back in the thick grass. His elven ears were sensitive enough to keep track of the children as his eyes slide shut, allowing him time to relax. He’d been looking after the boy ever since his parents had been murdered two years ago. He’d warned his sister when she agreed to marry the demon. It was a bad idea. It was a doomed fate, totally unheard of for an elven maiden to marry a demon. The result? Their son Calgin. Half-elf, half-demon, with powers undiscovered and blood much sought after. He’d never be safe, always hunted…
The sound of frantic footfalls on the ground had the mage sitting up so violently that a wave of dizziness washed over him. Esperious was streaking up the small hill, dragging Calgin along by the back of his shirt, the half-demon having hard time keeping up on his demonic feet.
“Mister Aress!” Esperious shrieked, skidding to a halt and hiding behind the mage’s leg, taking Calgin with him.
“Wha-“ He feel to silence when the sound of flapping wings and low barks reached his sensitive hearing. “Get inside. Now.” He scooped Calgin into his arms and pushed Esperious towards the house.
The sounds grew closer with every footfall as they made their way towards the house. Kil shut the door, sliding the lock into place and placing his hand against the wood, the humming feeling of magic in his blood setting his fingertips tingling. The air around the door rippled as a ward of protection was activated. Then he set his nephew gently on his feet, crouching in front of him and putting his slim hands on the boy’s shoulders. “I want you to go with Espie,” the small party flinched as a loud pounding resonated through the house, “you know that necklace with the claw on that you like so much? I want you to take it.”
The boy’s bottom lip quivered. “Uncle Kil isn’t coming with?”
“No my child,” the wood of the door began to crack under the weight of some great beast, “I must stay here. I can’t come with you.”
“No buts,” the mage reached into his robes and pulled out the thin strip of leather from which hung a claw, this he slid over his nephew’s head and settled it on his neck, “keep it safe and it will do the same for you.”
The child lurched forward, wrapping his arms around his uncle’s neck and burying his face into his neck. “But I need you.”
“No you don’t,” Kil dropped his voice to barely above a whisper so he wouldn’t be heard, “you never have.” He closed his arms over the child and held him a few seconds.
Savage snarls rent the air, the ward on the door pulsed, it was barely holding, time was running thin.
Calgin took a step back and scrubbed a little hand over his eyes. “Uncle Kil will come see my horns?”
Kil squeezed his own eyes shut to keep his own tears at bay, his throat clenching tight. He hated to lie to the child, but it was the only thing he could do that would get his nephew away from this place. “Yes my child, of course.”
“I’m scared.” Calgin looked at him with shimmering red eyes, his pointed face taught with distress.
“I know my Little One,” he took the child’s face between his hands and placed a kiss on his forehead, “but I need you to be brave, for me?”
Calgin closed his hands over his uncle’s wrists and nodded. The ward on the door spluttered and died, time was up.
Kil shoved Calgin towards Esperious who’d been standing quietly. “Take him, run. Go home.”
The werewolf pup took the half-demon’s one shaking hand as the other had closed over the claw. The children escaped through the back door, the sound of wood splintering and howls of pain echoing around them. They didn’t look back. They ran. Through the woods, deeper and deeper into the forest, Esperious dragging a sobbing half-demon behind him. Calgin may be young but he knew what was going on. He knew he was probably never going to see his uncle again. He tightened his grip on the claw Kil had given him, clutching it so hard it cut into his soft flesh as he raced through the forest with this best friend.
At the house, the mage looked up from the forced kneeling position on the grass, just in time to see everything he owned and loved go up in flames. His body was exhausted, his magic spent and wasted. Head bowed, he watched his tears drip off the point of his elegant elven nose, mixed with blood from a gushing cut over his eye, to splash onto the seared grass. He’d failed. He’d failed his sister, he’d failed her husband. Failed himself. But most of all he’d failed Calgin. He’d promised he’d never let anything happen to him. Said he’d keep him safe. All of it was for naught. The last thing he felt was a sharp pain in the back of his neck, then nothing but the sweet embrace of darkness.
Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...
Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...
Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...
: This is a very interesting book - mostly because the heroine is quite charming and well rounded, and has very real issues to manage in her life. Most of all,. I loved the view inside of the life of a South Asian girl/woman, the emotional self-talk, the customs and preferences, the expectations a...
Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...
Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...
Chris Rolfe: BOY!!! I sure love what Aer-Ki Jyr did with this series. IMHO he captured the essence of what stargate is all about. Thru out the Stargate stories Aer-Ki wrote Stevens and John Shepard some of the main characters in his stories are pursued by a corrupt I.O.A.. All the while Stevens is changing in...
Prasino45: Hi! I happen to see your updated chapter on FF.NET!It happened to be about you coming onto Inkitt with this story! I've been a fan for a while! I'm a scqualphie writer myself. I ship them HARD! Love this story! I'm gonna do a reread as you said you changed some things! Glad we both made the switc...
Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...
Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...
ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."