Dark Daughter–Episode 1

Originally, this story was part of a group project that came to an end. This is intended as a fiction series, like a television series, that does not necessarily have a single plot arc. I am moving it to my blog, and one of my favorite things to do is have my audience vote on the story. Stay tuned and you can help mold the plot and characters!

We are going to have adventures, my friends.

Episode 1–Dark Daughter
“There is a darkness in you,” the blind shaman rocked back and forth on the cliff’s edge, his crystal eyes sparking in the sun’s final rays. “A darkness that is part of your soul. A darkness that is part of who you are.”

Kyran turned back to the rippling horizon and watched the ocean swallow the sun. “What does that mean?” she asked through a tight throat.

“You must decide, my dark daughter,” the old man’s trembling lips left a drop of spittle in the corner of his mouth. “You must decide who you are.”

Picking up a scree rock, Kyran threw it into the growing twilight. “Nobody knows where I came from, what I am, or anything about me. How am I supposed to decide who I am when I don’t have any way to even start figuring it out?”

Waves rumbled against the cliff face, their white caps silver in the half light. Even as the shaman sat quietly, forcing Kyran to wrestle with her own thoughts, it was still not silence. On the island, where the ocean wind blew through the trees and the waves constantly chewed at the cliffs, there was never silence.

The old shaman shivered in the breeze, and Kyran pulled him to his feet and led him away from the cliff side. His bones felt brittle through the thick folds of his robes, and even with Kyran’s help, he picked his way slowly along the path that led to the caves of the city.

You must decide? What in the name of the Mists is he saying? Kyran’s anger churned in the pit of her stomach. I haven’t decided any of this. I showed up one day and they decided not to kill me, and here I am, some lost dark soul.

She felt the shaman’s skin grow warm and his crystal eyes glowed faintly in the night that the twilight had left behind. She knew he felt her anger as clearly as if she were shouting it at him.

Damn Soul Seers, Kyran cursed the people who had been her family, her home, since she had washed up on the shores of their island as a small child thirteen years ago. She was not really angry at them, but it was frustrating to always have them see how she felt. And unlike the Seers, she did not have the ability to erect a soul-shield.

It made her feel naked.

As they approached the waterfall that marked the entrance to the Crystal City, Kyran’s anger toward the Seers and the shaman dissipated to guilt and a growing disquiet. He has loved me as his own even though I am not. I should be grateful, not angry.

The rush of the waterfall was soothing, familiar as Kyran parted the waters and they passed through without a single drop touching the old man’s silver-white head.

At least, she frowned, I can do that much.

Their cave waited on the other end of the small city. Kyran hung her head and avoided the eyes that watched from along the river bank and out of the yawning mouths of the crystal caves.

One pair of eyes followed them across the bridge and begged at Kyran under the cherry trees.

Not tonight, Kichi, she sent out the thought even though she knew what he would receive was her agitated emotions, her desire for him to leave her alone.

The eyes stopped here under the Soul Tree, their crystal glow dim and troubled. Kyran would have to explain it to him tomorrow, even though Kichi understood her body more than anything else about her.

Veins of crystal webbed the stairs that had been carved into the stone walls of the grotto that cradled the city. Shards of cool blue light glowed anywhere that the Crystal City’s long-dead masons had carved into the cliffs. Kyran didn’t need the light, although she thought it was beautiful. She had climbed these stairs dozens of times a day since the shaman had taken her into the shelter of his cave as a small child.

The air inside was cool and smelled of earth and water. Kyran helped the shaman to his bed, a stone ledge marked with crystal runes that spelled the cave for safety and clarity. He grunted as he lay down in his furs, and Kyran unbound his sandals before arranging his silk robes for sleeping.

“My dark daughter,” a withered hand brushed her cheek, and Kyran knew he spoke as her father now, not as the Seers’ sacred shaman. “My gift from the sea.”

The disquiet that had been growing in Kyran’s belly since they entered the city knotted into a maelstrom of emotion, and she fought tears. One fell, and a finger, shaking with age, wiped it away.

Her father’s voice, usually steady with magic and wisdom, trembled as he caught the turmoil of her soul. “Perhaps, Kyran, if you do not believe you can decide who you are, you can decide who you will become.”

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