Completely safe for work.
Today I got the rights back to Taken, my first book. Bittersweet feeling. On one hand, it hurts to know that it’s no longer available. On the other hand, this gives me a push to look at the stories again and maybe revisit the world of the raedjour. (And isn’t it sad that I had to go look up how to spell that? *shakes head at self*)
So, in that spirit, let’s take a look at this guy who introduced himself to me today.
Keep in mind that I’m doing much of this from my admittedly faulty memory. I haven’t actually read the books in awhile and I’ve got some research to do to refresh my memory of my own world. But I think I’m pretty close to my own rules.
©2018 Jet Mykles
Solander crouched 30 feet from the entrance to the cave. The dust and gravel between him and the opening glowed with the rays of dawn’s light, but even those weak spears of illumination burned his eyes.
“Can you see at all?” he asked Darkin, who stood yet fifty feet behind him, further into the darkness.
“Not much, no.”
Solander nodded, expecting as much. His kind did not exist in the light. Or, rather, the elves of the society to which he’d been born did not. His mother had told him that her people had dwelt in the day like humans with no trouble with the sun. They had, in fact, relished the sun and its warmth, being a people of the desert. But then, his mother’s people were dead and gone and had followed an equally deceased deity. Rhae, the goddess of his people, ruled in the dark.
“Can you?” his life-long friend asked, curiosity lightening his deep voice.
“More than I thought I would,” he admitted, blinking some of the moisture from his eyes. More than he could just a season past. Because, like all young men, he’d braved the light of day as much as possible, that is he stood in this very cave and walked toward the sun’s light as far as he could, before the heat and bright of the sun cast him back to the comforting darkness. He’d played the game with his equally young friends and had always managed to closer to the sun, but not by much. Then just recently, he’d braved Rhae’s portal to commune with the goddess. She had marked him and told him he had a destiny if he chose to be brave enough to fulfill it.
He stood fully, hands dropping automatically to the sheathed daggers at either hip, more for comfort than the threat of danger. Although, his entire upbringing in the caverns of the raedjour assured him that what he was about to do was, indeed, dangerous. Nothing two daggers would help though.
“Are you sure about this?” Darkin asked.
“No. But she told me this was my destiny.” And one should listen to his goddess. At least that was what Radin had told him and the father of his heart and soul, if not his physical self, was rarely wrong about such things.
He took a breath and raised one hand from his hip to the center of chest to trace the symbol she had branded on him. A sun, the disc complete with curvy blades of light spearing out to nearly cover him from shoulder to shoulder, collar to navel. The white outline of the brand stood out in stark contrast to the indigo shade of his skin. Indigo, not true black like nearly everyone else he knew. They’d always attributed the color to the fact that his mother’s skin was the deep red of her race. His hair differed too. The base color was the snowy white of any raedjour, but red streaked his hair, faint during his youth and darkening with each passing season.
Cautiously, he stepped closer to the light. He felt it, a tangible thing to one of his kind, a heated presence that brushed his skin, a warning to return to the safety of the dark. But he was a warrior bred with direct guidance from his deity. He would do this. He took another step, squinting against the brightness. The heat intensified as he took another step, then another. This was insane. What was he doing? His people had survived for countless centuries in the safety of the caverns, venturing into the forest only under the cover of night in the watchful gaze of the moon.
As he neared the opening, he realized the heat was not painful. It wasn’t especially comfortable, but it wasn’t the searing burn that he’d known as a child. It was an unfamiliar warmth which he decided he could get used to, given time. Heartened by that, and by the following realization that his vision was clearing — still blurry and wet, but focus was slowly taking shape. He saw the trees beyond the entrance, leaves he’d always seen as dark green glowing bright. Lifting a hand to shade his eyes, he finally stepped into the direct light.
“Sol?” Darkin had come to help him as he could, to drag him away from danger if necessary.
“I’m… all right.” Wonder filled his chest as he watched a tiny creature of pure color flitter through the air. Delicate blades he decided were wings wafted the creature through the air until it finally lit on a bright pink flower. He stared at the pretty pattern of white and blue then laughed. “This is amazing.”