Character Gauntlet Challenge Day Eleven
|Onyx's eyes slid open, and stared blankly at the ceiling of her bedroom. How did I get here? The last thing she remembered was a heated dual with Ido. He was surprised to see her when she came striding into his village.
"Onyx," he gasped. "You're supposed to be..."
"Dead!" Onyx spat. "Oh yes Ido, I was dead, Lao killed me in my bed. Was that his idea or yours?"
"He was to kill you," Ido admitted, "getting into your bed was just a bonus."
"I see," she shifted her gaze to the women and children around them. "You all should take cover."
Ido's people cleared the streets. Both Onyx and Ido bombarded each other with fire balls and lightning bolts that should have killed them both. Just as she was about to strike what she thought would be a killing blow with her staff a sudden calm settled over her, and she slipped away into a dark unconsciousness.
A shifting body beside her pulled her out of her remembering. She turned to see a sleepy Tomas emerge from beneath the covers.
"Good morning my darling," he purred.
Onyx shrieked in terror. She pulled away from him when he reached for her, and toppled out of the bed. She freed herself from the covers, and grabbed her staff from where it stood leaning against the wall. She held it across her in a defensive posture.
"My love?" Tomas pulled the covers back, and slid out of the bed to stand in front of her. "What is wrong?"
"I saw you die," Onyx accused. "Ido killed you in the same manner he killed my father."
"Another nightmare," Tomas soothed. He reached for her, but she backed up until her bare back hit the cool stone wall. "Why do you retreat from me?"
"This is not real," she whispered. "Stay back!"
Tomas froze mid step, and put his hands up to show her he meant no harm. "I thought Kari was helping you get rid of those dreams."
Kari was the member of the Council of Five whose focus was spirit.
"Why would he help me?"
"He has been working with you since you became the Council's fifth member," Tomas managed to slowly close the distance between them. He rested his hand on her face. "Are you alright? Would you like me to have Kaela fetch the cleric?"
"Kaela?" Onyx lowered her staff. "She is dead. Ido kidnapped her, and his pack they..."
"That was a nightmare you had a few months ago," Tomas soothed.
"And Lao killing me a few nights ago?" Onyx inquired. "Was that a nightmare too?"
"No, that was real," Tomas's face hardened. "He seduced you while I was hunting, and when I returned the cleric informed me of what happened, and that you were ready to be res erected. I went to Lao's shop to tear his throat out and found Ido had done the job for me. Then after you regained your strength you went after Ido."
"The last thing I remember is fighting Ido.â
Onyx felt the staff fall from her slackened grip. Tomas caught it before it hit the floor. He guided her back over to the bed they shared and set the staff back in its place. He sat beside her and took both of her hands in his. She looked down and saw matching metal bands on their left ring fingers. She looked up at him in shock.
"When did we...?"
"After we drove Ido and the other dire panthers from your land," Tomas pulled her close. "Oh my dear, I think the stresses of the Council and your nightmares are starting to wear on your mind."
An excited knock at the door, and giggly voices broke the tender silence. Tomas smiled brightly. He moved from the bed and assumed his hybrid form. He moved to the door and gripped the franticly jiggling handle.
"Just a moment," he warned through the door. He looked back at Onyx. "You might want to cover up."
Onyx assumed her hybrid form just as Tomas released the door handle. The door burst open and two furry creatures dashed in squealing with giggly laughter. One of them climbed Tomas like a tree, and threw its arms around his neck pressing a loud kiss to his cheek. The other rushed at Onyx. It hit her with enough force to knock her back across the bed.
"Easy Kyo," Tomas warned trying to contain his laughter. "Mama is not quite herself this morning."
"Did you have another bad dream?" Kaela inquired from the doorway.
Onyx sat up sliding the young Kyo onto her lap. She looked at Kaela as the woman came into the room. Kaela opened a one of the wardrobes along the wall, and pulled out a council robe with the fire symbol on the front. Onyx eyed it curiously.
"It was the one your mother wore," Kaela explained. "I had the seamstress alter it after you were appointed to your position."
"How long ago was that?" Onyx inquired.
"Shortly after you and Tomas married," Kaela answered. "Maybe you should stay home today Ony."
"Yes, Ony!" The child in Tomas's arms exclaimed. "Stay home, and we can play!"
"Sayo, you know you are supposed to call her Mama," Tomas scolded giving the little one a firm tap on her panther nose with his finger. âOnly Aunt Kaela calls her Ony.â
"Yes, Papa," Sayo smiled up at him adoringly, and batted her eye lashes.
"That is quite enough of your mischief," Tomas set the child on her feet and sent her scurrying from the room with a light swat on her behind. "Kyo, get yourself and Sayo ready for your lessons. Your teacher will be here any moment."
"Yes Papa," Kyo slid off of Onyx's lap, and ran off into the hall calling after Sayo that she better be getting dressed in human clothes.
"Those are our children," Onyx clarified. "How old are they?"
"Kyo is seven, and Sayo is three," Tomas stated.
Onyx stared wide eyed at him. How is that possible? Iâm only twenty. For those children to be that age I would have had them in my teens. That wasnât unheard of, but she couldnât recall even kissing Tomas until she was sixteen.
"Is something wrong, Ony?" Kaela asked.
Tomas pulled on a tunic and breeches and excused himself to check on the children. Onyx stood, and allowed Kaela to dress her in her mother's Council robe. Kaela ran a brush through the long silky strands of Onyx's hair.
"I do not think this is right," Onyx stated. "Tomas died, and so did you. He and I never had children, and we certainly never got married."
"Ony, calm down," Kaela soothed. "Yes, all of those bad things happened, but that is behind us now. Your cleric resurrected me, and Tomas. After seeing you both drive Ido out of your lands the Council reconsidered their decision to make you a Council member."
"And the beast I became after you died?" Onyx inquired.
"That is why Kari is working with you to purge those nightmares," Kaela explained. "The beast is another curse from Ido."
"I see," that made sense to her. "I am a council member, but my children do not attend the school of Elemental focus?"
"They would have to live at the school," Kaela reminded her. "You and Tomas were heartbroken at the idea, so after they were tested for their root elements you hired teachers from the school who specialize in those elements to come here."
"What about their interactions with other children?"
"They play with the servants' children, and some of the children in the village," Kaela set the brush down. "Do not worry Ony, the cleric said that the resurrection could cause some memory loss; especially after such a violent death.'
"Was it the same for you and Tomas?" Onyx made eye contact with Kaela in the looking glass. The horror in the other woman's eyes was answer enough. "I am sorry Kaela. Stop remembering that night."
Kaela shook herself, and the horrific memories left her eyes. There was a knock on the door, and a handsome blonde a bit older than Kaela came in carrying a breakfast tray with two plates on it He set the tray on the bed, and moved to Kaelaâs side. He honored Onyx with a bow.
"My Lady Onyx," he addressed her. "I am Owen, I was..."
"It is alright Owen," Kaela rested a hand on his arm. "She does not hold Lao's actions against you."
"Of course not," Onyx nodded. "How long have you served me Owen?"
"Only for a few days my lady," he took Kaela's hand. "I came to you after... Well, I asked for your pardon, and to take Kaela as my wife. You agreed as long as I worked for you for a year."
"That sounds like something I would do," Onyx took both of their hands. "I wish you both happiness."
'Thank you my lady,"
After a wonderful breakfast with Tomas, Onyx made her way to the sky tower where the children were learning basic spells with their teacher. She hugged each of them, and pressed a kiss to their heads. Sayo snuggled into her arms, and Kyo pulled away as fast as he could, claiming he was too old for such motherly displays. Onyx smiled indulgently, and left them to their lessons. She found Black Wind saddled and ready for her in the courtyard. After a warm kiss goodbye from Tomas she rode off to the Council Hall.
When she arrived at the hall she was met with the warmest reception she ever received from the people in the courtyard. The same people who had gawked or looked away in disgust were now rushing to curtsey, bow, and offer her compliments. She was tempted to sweep them out of her way, but then decided to enjoy their adulation, even if she couldnât remember doing anything to earn it. Once the guards cleared a path for her she swept into the council hall, and made her way to the meeting chamber. The door opened for her and the other members welcomed her to their table. Tehran even went as far as to kiss her cheeks before they sat. Sayo, her daughter's name sake, offered Onyx a warm smile, and asked about the well-being of her family.
After they dealt with council business Kari offered to give her another one of his temple massages so that she would not be disturbed by her nightmares. She sat in the chair he offered, and he massaged her temples murmuring soothing words. She felt herself slip into a trance, and was jolted from it by the sounds of her familyâs pleas for help.
"Onyx, what is it?" Kari asked.
"My family is under attack."
Onyx jumped out of the chair, and flew down the hall. She transformed into her panther form and sped off toward her home. The sight that greeted her was as horrific as the sight she and her father had encountered on her tenth birthday. Onyx listened as she made her way through the palace. She stepped over body parts, and through pools of blood. She reached out with spirit to connect with someone. Tomas answered her. He was fighting something in the sky tower. The children were clinging to each other watching their father fight a monstrous beast. Onyx locked eyes with the creature through Tomasâs eyes. It was the beast that lived within her. She reached the top of the tower just in time to see the beast land a killing blow on Tomas. It turned its attention to the children. Onyx moved between them and it, and assumed her hybrid form.
"This is not real," the creature growled. "I am the part of you that knows this."
"I will not let you kill them!" Onyx exclaimed. She rushed forward and locked arms with the monster. The two of them rolled across the floor biting and clawing at each other. The creature over powered Onyx and lifted her off the ground with one hand around her throat. It carried her over to the edge of the sky tower, and held her out in the air.
"This is a trick from Ido," it growled. "It is time for you to wake up now."
The creature released its grip and Onyx felt herself plummet toward the ground. She let out a soundless scream as the world around her went darkâ¦
Onyx awoke shrieking. She used the adrenalin from her dream to break the restraints that held her. She got to her hands and knees and stared down the female in dark robes that was backing away from the table. Onyx recognized her as a dark cleric. She sprang off the table and tackled the other woman in her hybrid form. She placed her knees on the womanâs shoulders to pin her to the ground.
"Where are we?!"
"In the temple of chaos," the woman smiled up at her. "Why could you not just leave well enough alone? Why did you have to ruin the world I made for you? Is this world so much better?"
"It was not real," Onyx snarled. "Did Ido put you up to this?"
"Yes," the woman answered. "Please do not kill me."
"I will not," Onyx stood, and pulled a robe off a peg near the door. She returned to her human form and covered herself with the robe. "When Ido is through with you, you will wish I had."
When Onyx returned to her palace a groom was waiting to take her horse. She made her way through the dark empty halls to her room. When she was inside her room she took the robe off and tossed it into the fire Daniella had built in the hearth. She lay on her bed, and cuddled the pillow that Tomas would have been using to her. She sobbed as she fell asleep remembering him and the children they would never have.
Word Count: 2,344