These times force us to think about relationships in a different way—with the land and other humans—and about what it is to be grounded in a place that might not always be easily within reach. Read more →
Amira awoke with a start. Smoke was billowing out of her shattered bedroom window. She scrambled out of her straw bed and made her way to the broken window frame. The sight before her was enough to make an adult cry. Her town was ablaze and the people in the street screamed as if invisible forces were upon them. Her face was somber as she realized the choices before her. Run through the burning house, or jump from the second story window. She made her decision, closed her eyes, and jumped.
Expecting the hard ground, she was perplexed when she felt soft fir, then cold stone. It took a moment for her to realize someone had caught her and set her on the ground. She opened her eyes, finally, and found a tall man with strikingly white hair wearing a wolf pelt. “Thank you, sir. If it were not for you, I would have perished.”
In a deep growling tone, he replied, “Nem köszönöm, vérzsák.” Amira understood, roughly, “thank me not bloodbag.” Taken aback, the small girl felt overtaken with fear, then rage, as a strange white-hot power emerged from deep within her being. It was as if time had stopped, as a strange burning sensation enveloped her arm. A black symbol came into being on the inner part of her left forearm. It looked and felt like a fresh branding.
After this realization, she heard what sounded like a choir of voices speaking at once. “You have been chosen to be awoken early, young hunter. This will be your first trial. You shall be instructed again at a later time. Until then, look to your new weapon for guidance.”
The voices stopped all at once. Time began to flow forward once more. Taking in her surroundings again, with a sharper mind than before, she noticed that the tall man who had been standing in front of her had disappeared. The people who were once running from invisible specters were now on the ground, limp and lifeless. The town was still illuminated by the roaring glow of the fires. Amira stumbled back and tumbled over the rubble from the still burning home she grew up in. There was a metal clank as she hit the cobblestone path. Fixed to her hip, there was a silver-cast short sword with a large diamond in the hilt. It was small for an adult, but perfect for a small ten-year-old girl. “I don’t even know how to wield a sword. What am I supposed to do now?” she muttered under her breath.
The diamond in the hilt of her sword glowed brightly. She heard a soft feminine whisper, “What is it child? Are you weary of the troublesome events before you? Do you wish to help the town? There is not a point, the souls here have moved on. There is no longer anything you can do for this town, that vampire ravaged everything and everyone in his path. The best thing for you to do young one is to listen to the choir and what it preaches. Your journey will be a long one full of turmoil, that you can be sure. If you will let me, I shall guide you along the path you choose. The help I offer can be of great use to you if you know how to ask the correct questions. My name is Priscilla; call my name and I will listen.”
Amira was confused. She knew not where the voice came from until a warm vibration in her blade answered her unspoken question. “Priscilla, I don’t understand how can you be in a sword? Is there really such magic in the world?”
“Dear sweet, innocent, and naïve Amira. There is so much magic in the vast world around you. Although you are a hunter, and I a mage, there are teachings that were bestowed upon me to pass on when the time should arise. The first is called cleave. Choose a word of power and swing your sword at that tree.” The light from Priscilla’s jewel shined toward an old oak tree.
Searching her mind for a word of power, Amira stepped up to the knotty oak. A surge of energy went through her from head to toe then to the blade of her sword as she spoke her word of power. Blaze. She sliced through the thick tree, a true personification of her new discipline, cleave. The tree fell to the ground with a thud. “I did it! The word is blaze!” Again, she felt the surge of energy as she accidentally activated her power, slicing the cobblestone beneath her like butter.
“These powers are not something to be toyed with; you will call them edges from here on. As we make our way to Carthage, the supernatural capitol, I will teach you more edges that you will perfect before we arrive. An old apprentice of mine resides there. We will need his help in tracking the vampire that you met tonight. You will need to gather resources along the way, as everything here has been turned to ash and is useless to you. Walk toward the North Star. The trek towards Carthage will be years long, and I will prepare you when you decide it is time to begin. Heed my warning, many of the supernatural you will encounter will not be kind and your lifespan is nothing compared to theirs. Is this the path you choose?”
Chyann Haas is a student at Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College.