Two drops of courage, one drop of soul

“My name is Stella Strafkou writer of this story and I will be posting this story on RoyalRoad.com”

Translation from Greek to English: georgiaath

Shiran was bursting with life that day. Children ran through the streets while streetwalkers showed off their wares to the residents of the Southern Castle of the Land of the People. The hot southern wind coming from the Ishar desert sickened Makrivei Otije who, even in her loose, light red dress, was dripping with sweat. The turban on her head carefully hid her non-existent hair, a tradition of the family that gave birth to her, to shave their hair. The Otije family, who had just learned of her gifts, made sure to send her to the Calvino family, in the town of Shiran.

There, she learned alongside leader Victor Calvino to wield her craft and not fear her enemies. In her 20s, Makrivei declares herself a proud Necromancer, a branch of Alchemy that was quite misunderstood by the people of Etherid. Who would be harmed if she saw spirits here and there? Who would be harmed by her dark magic? Certainly not her.

With the back of her hand she wiped her sweaty forehead. Green eyes itched from the sun and she felt a strong need for water. She was moving through the crowd, pushing left and right to walk faster. Market panic. Makrivei chose a side road as her escape. Reaching the middle of the road, she stopped to take a breath and calm down from the din. Today was the day, she had read it in the stars, and she had to hurry. She quickly walked down the empty alley and was almost at the northern gate of the city.

Reemerging on the main street the crowd had thinned out quite a bit, and she felt almost free. She would feel completely free when she finally reached her destination. She was almost running when she emerged from the gray walls of the city and saluting the guards she disappeared into the trees and bushes of Death Valley. A name that was given several hundreds years ago in the Great War, where many lives were lost on both fronts, on both sides of the road.

The smell of the wet earth in the company of moss and lichen, rocks and trees, made Makrivei smile, and take a deep breath that filled her lungs with the clean, ethereal scents. Having walked down this path many times she had made sure to leave marks, distinguishable only by her. A little blood on a few stones never hurt anyone, she thought and smiled broadly, walking deeper into the forest.

Soon she reached the cave, whose shadow and the moisture from the waterfall beside her, had sheltered her many times during her training. Away from everyone and everything she could be herself, practice her Necromancy and let herself go. Small screams could be heard inside the cave. “I’m late” she says, and picks up the torch she left on the ground last time. She quickly lights it and enters the cave. The darkness obeys her and moves away from her path. Soon she reaches a wide spot at the end of the cave. The screams had turned into plaintive vocalizations as the mother feeds her young. Makrivei smiles and places the torch on a ledge in the wall. She carefully approaches her beloved lynx, who had just given birth to her cubs. “Lyg, I’m sorry I’m late” she tells her and strokes her pointed ears. The lynx closes its eyes and lets itself be caressed. Immediately after she turns to a smell coming from her bag. Makrivei smiles, and pulls out two large pieces of wild boar meat and places them in front of the lynx. “I thought you’d be hungry, it’s all yours!” and turned her attention to the cubs. Two small things, two little lynxes sucking on their mother, looking for her milk and her warmth. She had been carrying them for a long time now almost 3 months but the cubs looked healthy and strong. But further back, at the lynx’s feet, there was a third one, smaller in size, breathing with difficulty. Makrivei took it in her hands, and carefully placed it next to the others. A sick little lynx which if not fed would soon die out. The little one started to suck on his mom trying to earn his share of life.

Makrivei visited Lyg and her cubs every day, which grew day by day, month by month. The lynx left every day for several hours in order to hunt and feed her offspring. The third and weakest one continued to be smaller than the others, but just as lively, though quite scared. It avoided Makrivei’s strokes and hid behind the rocks or plants around the waterfall. They all looked like their mother with their reddish brown hair, and their pointed ears, their heavy tread, and their intelligence.

One rainy day, Makrivei could not go see Lyg, but she made sure to go the next day and bring with her meat from a sheep she had slaughtered. Approaching the cave, she smelled it. Fresh blood. She didn’t have to reach the cave to see it running on the green grass. There was no doubt about what had happened… Makrivei, entering the cave, saw her…

Lyg was barely breathing, and tears came to Makrivei’s eyes. Beside her the two little ones had already takes their last breath. She bent down and took Lyg’s head in her arms. Lyg began licking her hands. Mastering its last ounce of strength, it looked up at her, and without a second thought, Makrivei put an end to Lyg’s life with a dagger. Her eyes drained of life and her body rested from the blows it had been dealt with.

Makrivei could not see animal spirits, but she was sure that Lyg’s spirit would roam around until she found the culprit of her and her children’s murder. She would smile at Makrivei lovingly and follow her wherever she went. She made sure to bury her by the side of the waterfall along with her two cubs and take a memento from her. A single tooth, a fang that would be feared by all who came for her. A Divine protection from her beloved Lyg. The third cub was never found and certain that it had been devoured, she cried and left for Shiran, never intending to return to this cave.

A few years later

“Makrivei concentrate on our subject!” Viktor demands. “Tell me what you see!”

Makrivei focuses on the spirit in front of her. She can’t hear what it says, only make some meaning, but even that is difficult. Something huge, some monster, teeth, jaws and big eyes. Makrivei tells Victor and the entourage of warriors. They are looking for something or someone who has already killed a Calvino mission in Death Valley. Even if this mission was a toss-up for Victor, leader of the Calvinos, he decided it would be a good training for Makrivei whose powers were still anarchic. After all, Necromancy was difficult to control.

Her spirit points to a direction west. They all set off with their horses following Makrivei and Victor. Victor’s Guardian, Kal, present at his Chief’s every step, would not intervene on this mission, not unless his Chief was in danger.

Soon they reach a clearing. Water can be heard a little further away. “The waterfall!” thinks Makrivei. Dismounting from the horses, Makrivei has her guard up. A shadow passes behind them, behind the trees. The men raise their swords, and Victor hides Makrivei behind him. The shadow reappears and this time shows its form. “A lynx” says someone from the expedition. A large lynx, a cat, with a strong step and huge teeth, approaches Victor and Makrivei. A brave man leaps forward to save them. “DON’T!” yells Makrivei while the lynx has already sunk its teeth into the warrior’s throat. The lynx is startled by her voice, and loses its concentration for a critical second, as the others, having recovered from the surprise, rush at the lynx. Makrivei shouts, and Victor holds her by the shoulders so that she is not injured by the mission that has jumped furiously on the lynx. Makrivei with tears in her eyes shakes Victor off, places her hands on the ground. “Shadow Grasp” she shouts, and tentacles of darkness grab and grapple the 3 party members and the lynx, holding them tight.

Makrivei approaches the lynx. She recognizes the smell of its blood, its once feeble breath that now roars and shakes the Earth. It is in pain, its pulse has increased, and it is looking deeply into Makrivei’s eyes. Ready to rush again, but the darkness holds him fast. “Makrivei? What are you doing?” Victor yells at her. But Makrivei does not listen, she only shows the lynx her bracelet, a bracelet with a single fang, that of its mother, which she had once buried, a little further down the clearing, next to the waterfall. The lynx’s eyes light up at the sight of the bracelet. The lynx smells Makrivei, and calms down. Its breathing goes back to normal and it lowers its head. Makrivei makes a move to stroke its ears, and the lynx lets her. Soon she leaves the tentacles of darkness to be absorbed by the earth and everyone is released. “Did you find the one you were looking for, the one who killed your mother?” she asks it in a whisper. The lynx points with its muzzle at the second warrior, Rag, an abomination for a Calvino warrior that everyone was wondering why he was still in Caleb’s personal guard. Makrivei turns to Victor to explain and ask for justice, but the lynx has other plans. It lunges at Rag’s throat, which in not an easy feat since Rag is a monster in his own right, a mass of muscle, no speed, but he manages to pierce the lynx’s stomach with his sword. Even wounded, it manages to take Rag’s life.

They fall to the ground, and Makrivei runs and pulls the sword out of the lynx, crying and holding it just like she once did its mother. She pulls out her dagger once more, and sobs as she looks into its eyes. The others do not move. Victor approaches her and puts his hand on her shoulder. “Show strength… Mother Goddess will welcome him into her arms…” she tells her, and in a single motion, Makrivei cuts the lynx’s throat, which she once held in her arms along with its brothers and their mother. A wounded animal, looking for revenge all these years. A sacred purpose that completed with two drops of courage and one drop of soul, its own.

Makrivei asked Victor to carry and bury the lynx to the waterfall next to its mother and siblings. None of them cried for Cal, but they made sure to take him back to the city to make the appropriate arrangements. Makrivei buried the lynx with Lyg’s fang to protect and look after it until it reached her and its siblings, where it truly belonged.

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