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Oh gods above, what had he done? The memories were fuzzy and vague, although there was no reason for them to be. He’d walked for hours, he remembered that part, though it had felt as though he had hovered above his own tired, charred body. Charred? A fire, he guessed, that he’d somehow been caught up in. The sand was surprisingly cool beneath his cheek as he lay there, mind and body numb with confusion and the clench of guilt. Guilt, he realised now, sat where he’d always thought love would, just below the ribs; a solid pressure pushing to meet his spine and go all the way through him. As depressing as it sounded, that was all he felt right now aside from the sand, and sand hardly felt solid. What was worse was that he couldn’t for the life of him remember why.

“Is he dead?” Ryker felt something press against his ribs, a toe he guessed, but didn’t move. He couldn’t be bothered, didn’t see the point.

“Don’t be silly, he’s alive. His breathing’s loud enough to hear from over here!” The second voice was distance, cheerful. The prodding paused a moment, and Ryker could visualise the glare the foot’s owner was giving the other man. “Aw, don’t glare at me Skah. I know you aaaare~”

“Oh, be quiet. Bloody blind monkey.” The second part was muttered darkly as Skah prodded harder. There was little satisfaction in this for anyone, as the only reaction given was a quiet groan. “Where’s Tausiq? You outcasts are already stretching our supplies without bringing prisoners of war into it.”

“This wasn’t Tausiq’s doing.” A third voice had entered the fray, as if he wasn’t confused enough already. His head was pounding, as if a foreign object had buried itself there and was now settling around to make itself comfortable. This new voice, however, was different. It was deep and round and resounded comfortably in the back of his skull, water to a parched tongue. “You’d do well to show some respect, Skah.”

Skah snorted. “And you would do well to remember just who kept you alive out here when no-one else would aid you. I am returning to the nest.”

Nest? Ryker’s pale blue eyes fluttered slowly, spying a long, scaled tail slide away from him. A naga. Were he in his right mind he’d be scuttling away from the half-man, half-snake as fast as he could; naga were dangerous, barbarians who wanted to infiltrate the city! His sister would tell him off for thinking so, but the fear had almost been bred into him. Instead, against all instinct, he simply rolled onto his side with a quiet groan. He was thirsty, he realised with apathy.

“A trek from Triveni would make anyone thirsty.” Not certain he was being spoken to, Ryker looked up at the third man through a haze of blonde hair. Impassive, yellow eyes stared back. “Yes, you. Get up.”

Ryker wouldn’t have dreamt of refusing this man anything. He was tall, the blond realised when he’d finally found his shaky feet, almost a head and a half taller than him. Back home, Ryker towered over Anila, so he realised this must be how she felt all the time. The man was dark too from months spend out in the desert, a shadow in the dimming light. Ryker couldn’t tell whether the bare scalp was shaved or natural, it was that smooth. He looked too otherworldly to be allowed, like a figure out of some story Anila had read to him when they were little. One of those figures that were always evil or wise. Ryker wondered if this man was both.

“Come” Ryker’s head snapped up to focus on the man, ignoring the snickering of the blind boy behind him. Brushing blond locks from his face, Ryker followed like an obedient puppy. He was curious. He’d felt so little over the last few hours aside from guilt that the curiosity felt far too potent, too rich, in comparison, like he might be ill from overindulgence. He wanted to know…everything.

“I am Kyran. You shall address me as such.” The dark man said suddenly, and even this small fraction of knowledge seemed a balm to Ryker’s mind. This Kyran wouldn’t stand for any shams of false respect, Ryker felt himself think. The thought seemed a foreign one.

The question he asked next seemed to come out of nowhere. “Where is my sister?”

Kyran’s look was unreadable. “You killed her.”

The blond stopped dead in this tracks. He’d remember, surely he’d remember something like that! The guilt, the soot on his clothes…it would all make sense though, were it true. “I…I what?”

“Killed her.” Kyran may as well have been talking about shaking sand from his boots. “I’m surprised the house went down as quickly as it did. No-one could have gotten out of there. We can only hope she suffocated quickly, being up the back as she was.”

Ryker’s only reply was a low, heartbroken keen. There was no way, absolutely no way! He loved his sister; he’d come home after their mother’s death solely to keep her company. Strong, vibrant and confident, she’d protected him and he’d supported her, and visa versa. She couldn’t just die. Yet…she must have; he could remember now, taking the torch and oil and scattering flames through the cliff-built house like seed for the birds. He remembered barring her door. She’d deserved it, he’d thought, and now –

The thought ended abruptly. He couldn’t remember what he’d been thinking. Sure, Anila’s political career had thrust a few wedges between the siblings, yet still…to burn out the house…He’d stopped, frozen by the onslaught of memories, tears flowing freely from blue eyes. Father would never forgive him. Hell, he wouldn’t forgive himself. He couldn’t go back there, not ever.

“No, you can’t.” Kyran agreed, once more knowing exactly what Ryker was thinking. A thin film of perspiration coated his skull. “They’d lock you up for treason...or was the penalty death now? Such a harsh law…”

Ryker remained stiff. The penalty for treason was death now, the council had changed it a few days earlier. Anila had been so angry. “I deserve it.”

“Nonsense.” Kyran had begun walking again and Ryker felt compelled to follow. “You don’t remember much of it, do you? It was simply a case of temporary insanity.”

A hollow laugh. “Oh yes, insanity.” It couldn’t have been anything else, nothing could have driven a sane Ryker to have harmed a hair on Anila’s head. “That defence never works in court.”

“Which is why you cannot go back.”

“Oh, I can.” Ryker had stopped again, turning to face the city of Triveni which lay out of sight across the sand. “Whatever they charge me with, I deserve.” It sounded like bravery – the death penalty was hardly pleasant back there – but for Ryker it was really an act of cowardice. He couldn’t live with this.

“Thank you, but – “

A hand grabbed his arm. “Sleep.”


As Ryker’s eyes grew dim, his body relaxing to neutral, Kyran let out a quiet sigh of relief. Manipulating the boy’s memories, showing him only what needed to be shown, had been more tiring than he’d thought it would be. Ryker’s mind was completely open to him, yet still…the boy should not have wanted to go back, not after all the meddling and prompts Kyran had put into place. Yet he had. Kyran was disappointed; he was getting rusty. If Ryker had run off now, the entire week, and several headaches, would have gone to waste.

Anila was not dead, unfortunately. Close to, but not. He couldn’t let the boy know that though; Anila would be sure to make his sentence as lenient as possible were he to return and, even while feeling guilt beyond all measure, Ryker would return to her. That was the way the boy was.

Tausiq’s tent was warm against the desert night’s chill, and Kyan felt slightly uncomfortable with it. It made his head stuffy.

“You almost got yourself killed for this?” Tausiq, hulking man that he was, did not appear highly impressed. “The boy’s powers are weak at best.”

“But he’s a councillor’s brother.” Kyran countered, growing slightly agitated. He’d done well! “What better way to hold sway over her – ”

“After he almost killed her?”

Kyran was silent. Tausiq’s tone made him ache; it had seemed like such a good plan. His leader had stood and had moved over to the motionless blonde boy, tilting his head this way and that, as if he were some sort of animal he were considering for purchase, with a small smirk on his face.

“Well, at least he’s pretty…”

A thick stab of resentment passed through Kyran, and for the first time in his life he felt he could actually hate Tausiq. “Tampering with him will surely interfere with my mental hold over the boy. He needs to feel unthreatened.”

“Such a pity. I thought you had better control than that.” It was unclear which disappointed Tausiq more, Kyran’s lack of control or that he could not touch Ryker without threatening the mental hold. “He looks so like his sister, too…”

This was just getting creepy, even for Kyran. “We shall report in the morning, sir.”

“See that you do.” Tausiq already seemed preoccupied, so Kyran tugged Ryker from the tent with little difficulty. The boy would sleep in his tent, more for his own safety than anything else. Kyran could easily justify it if need be; close contact would make his mental domination of the boy’s mind easier for extended periods of time. He shouldn’t have to justify it. Still…when Ryker had been compelled to lie down in the corner, asleep like a baby, Kyran could see difficulties with this situation. They were in a refugee camp for their kind, after all, and arrangements like this always lent themselves to talk. Even if the other man was a prisoner. Seth would probably find that highly amusing, cracking jokes that Kyran would use his telepathy to…

Why was he even thinking about that? But as Ryker rolled over, his sister’s name on his lips, Kyran knew this was going to lead to problems, gossip being the least of them.
A very, very late birthday present for :icontsukiyohei: which I'm gifting to him because my other present sucked so bad. XD So yes...happy 16th Joejoe! Osi luffles you and promises a better present this year. XD <3

Thinking on it, this story may not make much sense if you don't know the background story. I didn't think of that, and I apologise. Basically, the back story is that in this world there are two different forms of powers. You have your elemental sorts, which are fire, water, wind and earth, along with seers, and you have more psychological powers, or 'abnormal' powers, such as telepathy, invisibility, etc. Less natural ones. People with these powers have been cast out of the city of Triveni and live in the desert with the Naga, waiting for a time to re-take the town. Ryker is the brother of one of the town's councillers, Anila, who is actually against the whole war. Kyran didn't know that. XD

Hope that helps a little ^^;

Oh yes. Ryker and Kyran belong to :icontsukiyohei: and are used with permission and love.
Tausiq, for better or for worse, is mine. Well, Tategami helped a little. Please no using without permission.
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RockerByBaby Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
"Guilt, he realised now, sat where he’d always thought love would, just below the ribs;"
If the rest of this sucked arse, I'd still fave this for that. :clap:

" A thin film of perspiration coated his skull" -- :wow:

:) :hug:

Few things"
"when no-one else would aid you. -- "No one" isn't hyphenated. :)

"vice versa" -- commonly misspelled as visa versa. That's what i saw when I just looked it up to double check myself before I informed you.;)

But this has wonderful vocabulary and imagery, and you write with excellent grammar/wording, descriptions, emotions, etc. And the plot is intriguing and original to me, as your names are.
I am impressed! :D

:heart: :rose:
VyvianLee Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
:blushes: You flatter me yet again, Byebaby! Thanks for the constructive crit too <3 I'll keep those in mind for future! I had no idea it was vice-versa, not visa...I always say it visa. XD Must be why. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

All names are belonging to :icontsukiyohei:, aside from Anila and Tausiq. *nods*
VyvianLee Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
XD Well, I didn't want to call you Rocker! And yeah, I guess that would be it. But now I know! : D

Well, you can call me Osi. XD My usual online tag is Osiris-Lee, but I didn't use that on here...Vyvian's one of my characters o_o I just stole her name.
RockerByBaby Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
That's exactly what the site said [link] -- that people misspell it because of how they pronounce it, which is common for almost any misspelled word, I think.

Love my new nickname you gave me! :)

Now for you....

Vivi? :lol:
Tsukiyohei Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008
asdlsdfljapoeualdsjdfjwer. *vomits rainbow love*

Kay, now that the fanboy-ing is over and done with, I wanna try and give you something constructive xDD

To start, you portrayed Ryker very well. After doing something like that, he'd go on a massive guilt trip, and I'm glad that you made the distinction that going back to a death sentence was -cowardice- on his part instead of bravery. I just... Ionno, that part in particular just stuck with me.

Tausiq is a creepy mofo D: Overall, you had very good characterization, but I especially liked his the best. As you know, "Well, at least he's pretty..." and "He looks so like his sister, too..." are among my favorite lines in my entire piece xD You -really- make him sound like the creepy guy looking over Kyran's shoulder, and as you know, I really approve of creepy stuff like that.

Speaking of Kyran, it's interesting to note that instead of making him look like the omniscient aggressor, you made him Ryker's defender in the Abnormal camp. And earlier on, you make him merely the messenger of bad news. (Also, I like the little hints of how much of a telepath he is during his conversation with Ryker) He seems moral and almost protective over him, which is a side of him that even I didn't really explore xD

Altogether, I really like it <333 Thankyouuuuu~!
VyvianLee Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
*giggles* I'm so glad you like it, Joejoe *squishes* I'm actually sorta happy with it, and it's soooo much better than my last present x.x *wasn't working on it around essays this time*

I'm glad I didn't totally kill Ryker or Kyran x.x I was so scared I was going to. I was kinda aware that my version of Kyran was a little...nicer than yours, but this is a fanfic. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

I was actually kinda hoping to put a little more Tausiq in there...he's -fun-. o_o As weird as that sounds. But he is!

In short, I'm glad you like it <3 Promise to write you something on time this year.
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