Elaina the Warrior
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As a child, Elaina Mason lost her parents to the darkness. Orphaned, the girl was taken in by the brethren, raised to be one of their elite. Now at twenty-two, Elaina is no longer that same, weak child who could only watch as everything she loved went up in flame and ash. She comes forth with the help of her comrades to protect what she now holds dear and wreaks vengeance and havoc against the dark days ahead.
Fire Rages and brimstone falls,
With darkened days, chaos rules all.
The dark king rises, painting the heavens red,
Men and women bow, loyalty will be pledged.
Fire, that was the only thing the little girl was comprehending as she looked straight ahead. Flames were licking all around the house in which she had lived. Smoke plumed into the air, the flames reflecting on them giving the scene a hellish glow.
It didn’t make sense to the little girl, the house shouldn’t be on fire, it should only be lit by lamp glow, the same lamps that her mother read underneath and her father sharpened his blades in.
Around the little girl people screamed for help, telling someone or another to call the fire department.
They’re too late, the little girl thought numbly.
Nothing would be left of the house by the time they arrived, nothing except ash and smoldering piles of her life gone forever.
Snapping out of her daze, the little girl screamed, launching herself towards the house.
Hands grabbed her from behind pulling her away. She kicked and screamed demanding to be let go of, but the hands didn’t loosen their grip. The hands were dark, the color of caramel, the little girl noted only looking away from the scene in front of her for a moment. The voice that came with them was soft and comforting. Vaguely she began to realize that the hands belonged to Samantha Morgan, her best friend Charise’s mother. Of course she would be here, she had just dropped her off.
“We need to go.” Samantha murmured, continuing to pull the little girl along.
“NO!” The little girl wailed. “My parents are still in there!”
“It’s too late.” Samantha insisted, continuing to pull the child.
In the distance the little girl could hear the sound of sirens making their way to the scene. They still sounded far away, too far away.
A shriek sounded from the burning house as glass and debris flew towards them.
Samantha launched them backwards tumbling through the frostbitten grass.
They stopped tumbling inches away from the street.
People all around were screaming in horror. Before them a creature emerged from the burning building, black as night. It stretched out its scaly wings and released a piercing cry. Its eyes blazed just like the fire.
The little girl was mesmerized by the thing in front of her. Samantha tensed and pushed the little girl aside, jumping up and pulling something from her boot.
The little girl recognized the dagger before Samantha flourished it and stepped into a fighting stance. It was all too much, the little girl felt dizzy and passed out.
Elaina woke with a start, her heart pounding in her chest. The sheet she had covered up with earlier in the night was wrapped tightly around her body.
Squirming, she managed to free one hand, which she used to push her thick dark hair away from her damp forehead.
It was still dark all around her, nowhere near time to be waking up just yet.
A giggle sounded from the room beside her, obviously Charise had just arrived home after a night of partying and was most likely entertaining a guest, or two. You never really knew her.
A sigh escaped Elaina’s lips as she freed her body the rest of the way.
The nightmare she had just woken from was still clear as day in her sleep fogged brain. They always haunted her this time of year, it was when it happened after all. The beast had attacked her parents and then lit her home on fire, leaving her an orphan.
After it happened the monks had taken her in, giving her shelter and food. In return she trained vigorously with them and promised to uphold her duties as a warrior, the same duties her parents had promised to uphold as well.
A loud thump and laughter drifted through the wall, it looked like they were going to be up for a while.
Not wanting to play the audience to Charise’s games, Elaina got out of bed and got dressed quickly, then headed out of her room and out of the house.
The air outside was crisp, not yet cold enough to wear a coat but chilly enough to send goosebumps up Elaina’s arms as she walked. She didn’t really know where she was going, or what she planned on doing, but the night air helped clear her mind, chasing away the demons in her head.
All around her homes were dark. Everyone was fast asleep and comfortable, with not a care in the world.
The streetlights above lit her way as she moved faster.
Elaina envied those people sleeping happily in their beds. They knew nothing of the creatures that existed, the same ones that haunted Elaina’s waking and sleeping mind.
The children that lived around her had their parents still; they didn’t know what it was like to have them ripped away in a single moment. They didn’t know what it was like to have to train day in and day out, using that training as an escape from the memories. Sometimes it just wasn’t fair, but then again, Elaina thought bitterly, life wasn’t fair.
Shaking her head once Elaina began to jog watching as everything around her blurred together. Her adrenaline pumping always helped calm her. She wished that there was a monster or something to fight in order to completely block out everything, but lately things had been strangely calm.
The monks thought it weird, because there was always something around, even if it was a little burlack beast. But even now they were nowhere to be found.
Elaina continued running not sure of her destination, but knowing that she had to get somewhere. It was almost like a magnetic pull, something was urging her forward, telling her where to go.
Elaina was running at full speed now, her breath coming out in puffs.
Finally, she began to slow down and then stopped altogether.
Standing in front of her underneath a street light was one of the monks. He wore the ceremonial yellow and burgundy of peace.
He studied Elaina curiously as she made her way towards him.
Most of the monks Elaina knew had shaved heads and no facial hair whatsoever, but this monk was different.
His dark hair fell messily around his face and he looked like he hadn’t had the opportunity to shave in days.
“Are you new?” Elaina asked, stepping before him.
The monk continued to study her thoughtfully, a little smile playing on his lips.
“Do I look like just a little babe?” The monk’s eyes flashed in amusement.
Elaina bristled, “I didn’t mean it like that.” She crossed her arms indignantly and continued to watch the monk.
“I am brother Joseph of Northern Brethren.” He said finally. “I was sent here to warn the brethren of the East.”
“Warn them of what?” Elaina asked curiously, eyeing Brother Joseph.
Too bad he was a monk, he wasn’t half bad looking, you could even say he was cute.
Brother Joseph continued studying Elaina as if considering what all he could tell her.
“The impending doom that is coming this way.” Brother Joseph said finally. “It has already attacked my Brethren, most did not survive.”
Explains the unshaven face and hair, but that would mean that brother Joseph had been on the run for a while, Elaina mused. It did not however explain why he brought the warning.
Elaina knew that the brethren had some circuit that spread news all throughout the brotherhood, usually they never left their shelters in order to see one another.
“Why are you here instead of there warning the brethren then Brother Joseph?” Elaina asked quietly.
“Shouldn’t you be warning Brother Isaac instead of talking to me?”
Brother Joseph didn’t seem the slightest bit offended by Elaina’s words, which in all honesty was typical of the brethren.
“You found me, I didn’t come find you.” Brother Joseph pointed out solemnly. “But it is a good thing I found you first.”
“Why’s that?” Elaina snapped.
Brother Joseph didn’t finish his sentence. In a move so fast Elaina almost didn’t catch it he ripped his robe off revealing a belt full of weapons. Attached to his shoulders was a sword in which he yanked free and flourished before her.
His eyes Elaina noticed now were dark as a night, small sparks of red flickered there. A wide smile formed on his lips as he lifted the sword ready to fight.
“You’re too trusting Elaina Mason.” He said smiling.
Elaina smiled sweetly at the man before her. He watched as she reached her hands behind her head and in one swift move pulled the dagger she always hid in a strap attached to her shoulder wielding it before her.
Elaina knew that her little dagger wouldn’t help much against this man’s sword, but maybe it could hold him off long enough for her to escape.
“I guess I’m not too surprised.” The man said idly, eyeing the dagger in Elaina’s hand. “Although, I don’t quite understand what you plan on doing with that little toy of yours.”
“More than you could possibly imagine.” Elaina responded crouching into a fighting defensive stance.
It was true, she had used just her dagger to take down three opponents at once.
For the most part she had held her own pretty well, aside from a few broken ribs and a sprained ankle she had walked away unharmed. The problem was those men had been goonies of the dark brothers sent to kidnap her.
This man was a demon, but she didn’t know just how much of the darkness he had in him.
With a cry the man moved forward positioning his sword towards Elaina’s chest.
She dodged, but not fast enough to avoid the blade cutting into her arm. She clamped down on a yelp of pain and rushed toward the man while he tried to get his footing again.
He was fast, much faster than her and easily moved out of the way.
Whirling she moved again, focusing all her energy on the beast before her.
He smiled savagely, easily batting her dagger away.
Deciding that defense wasn’t the best option Elaina decided to try to be offensive. She steadied herself turning and facing her opponent once more. He was smiling maniacally watching her with amusement.
“You really did think that you could defeat me with that little thing didn’t you Elaina Mason?” He laughed.
Elaina gritted her teeth, “Don’t call me that.”
Seeming even more amused the man started moving slowly around her. Elaina moved with him, never taking her eyes off the man’s weapon wielding arm, she knew that if she did that would be her end.
“Why not Elaina Mason?” He asked now. “Do you not like hearing your family name? I suppose it could be a little upsetting since your parents' death. Terrible thing that, if only they had cooperated they might still be here today.”
Anger flared in Elaina almost causing her to lose her concentration, realizing immediately that was what this beast wanted she pushed it all down and bared her teeth in a snarl.
“You know nothing about my parents.” She spat.
Another laugh erupted from the man, this one deep and guttural. “I know much more than you would think. Who do you think sent that beast to destroy them?”
Elaina’s ears began to ring, the man's words seeping into her brain. Was he telling the truth? Had he actually sent that creature to kill her parents eleven years ago?
A white hot rage rose in Elaina, one that shocked even her.
Not caring anymore about trying to keep the beast at bay she let out a cry and ran at him again, a move that would’ve cost her greatly if someone hadn’t shoved her away at the last minute.
Elaina went sprawling on the grass as the beast took in a shocked breath.
He turned to face whoever it was that had saved her life at the last minute.
At some point they had moved from under the light so all Elaina could really make out was the person's outline.
He was holding something in his hands ready to swing at the beast if it decided to come for him.
“Get out of here!” Her savior yelled savagely. “You stupid girl, you shouldn’t even be here right now.”
Anger welled up in Elaina again at being called stupid.
Jumping up she rushed the beast tackling it from behind while it was distracted. They went tumbling to the ground again, the beast clawing and flailing.
Elaina tried her best to keep the beast's attacks at bay, but at one point his fist made contact with her temple, sending her flying through the air. She landed against something hard, all the air rushing out of her lungs.
For a second everything was blurry and her ears were ringing.
Gasping she tried to stand up again ignoring the screaming protests from her body.
“Stay down.” The person said again rushing towards her. “Do you hear me? Stay down!”
Elaina found herself face to face with a man, his green eyes blazing angrily. Dark curly hair hung in his face. Elaina noted a scar on his cheek, the sure sign of a battle, a mark he would wear for the rest of his life.
“If you value your life you will stay where you are you hear….”
He didn’t get to finish his sentence as he was lifted by the beast and flung through the air.
Gasping Elaina jumped up readying herself for another attack, but the beast simply hissed and disappeared into nothing but vapor.
Stunned, Elaina looked around trying to determine what exactly had just happened. There was nobody else around except her and the man that had rescued her laying limp in the grass.
Elaina ran to him, kneeling by his side and turning him over. He was awake and staring up in a daze, when his eyes finally focused he frowned and shoved Elaina’s hands off of him.
“Leave it to a woman to ruin everything.” He snapped sitting up and clamping a hand to his head. He pulled his fingers away sticky with blood.
“Damnit, you let that thing get away!”
Elaina flinched back as if punched,
“What do you mean I let it get away?” She growled. “I was handling him just fine until you interfered.”
The man laughed, “Yes, because almost getting stabbed through the chest is really handling things.”
“I would’ve been fine.” Elaina snapped indignantly. “I’ve had worse injuries. Who are you anyway?”
“It’s none of your business who I am.” The man said standing up and brushing grass off his clothes.
Elaina noted he was wearing the customary battle gear for the brethren, a simple black vest over a steel breastplate. Black trousers with many pockets to hide numerous weapons and hunting boots. He was taller than Elaina and glared down at her as if she was a disobedient child.
“What?” Elaina demanded feeling slightly self-conscious.
“Shouldn’t you be at home sleeping where it is safe for children?” The man asked, crossing his arms.
“I’m not a child.” Elaina said through gritted teeth.
“You’re what, sixteen, seventeen maybe?” The man continued to push causing Elaina’s temper to reach its boiling point.
“I’m twenty two.” Elaina snapped, “Legal age of a warrior of the brethren.”
This caught the man off guard; he stared at Elaina in a new way as if noticing her for the first time.
Elaina was used to people thinking she was young. She had inherited her mother’s looks, dark wavy hair that framed her face making her look like a baby doll with bright blue eyes, and only standing at five foot even. The only thing that indicated she was mature was the womanly curves she had luckily been blessed with.
“You’re a warrior of the brethren?” The man asked, looking suspicious.
“What do they think a tiny thing like you can do?”
Having heard enough Elaina stormed forward grabbing the man by his arm and shoulder, then with one jerk flipped him over her body. He landed on his back and lay there looking up at her in shock.
“What was that about wondering what a tiny thing like me can do?” Elaina asked sweetly, dimpling her face.
“You got lucky.” The man said simply sitting up. “That won’t happen again, trust me.”
“You’re right it won’t, because I don’t plan on running into you again.” Elaina said simply turning and walking away. Leaving the idiotic man behind staring dumbly at her retreating figure.
Elaina awoke the next morning feeling the battle from the night before.
Inching slowly out of bed her body screamed at her insisting that she just stay put, which she wanted to do, but knew that she couldn’t.
Ignoring the protests she took a quick shower and changed into jeans and t-shirt then hurried downstairs following the smell of coffee wafting through the living room from the kitchen, beckoning her forward.
“Morning.” Charise called not turning around from the smoothie she was throwing together. “I made you some coffee.”
Grateful Elaina helped herself to a cup and sat at the table.
As usual Charise was already dressed for work sporting black pants, a simple white shirt, and red apron. Her unruly brown hair piled atop her head.
Charise worked as a barista at a local coffee bar on the strip, even though she didn’t need the money she insisted it made her feel a little more normal.
Elaina had been confused by that, but Charise was differ
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