Enjoy an excerpt from the first chapter of ‘Past’s Prologue’.
Five hundred years ago, creatures known as Lotarians invaded the Four Kingdoms and began to tear the Realm apart. Harnessing the power of Kenisis, the ancient Shaitae engaged them in battle and the Shadow War began. With the combined might of the Shaitae and the Masters, the Lotarians were driven from the Realm.
Centuries have passed, and the events of the Shadow War have been lost to the pages of history. Memories of that time have been forgotten by all but the Masters and the Ma’Tradoms who inherited Shaitae ability.
Away in the North, the shadows are stirring. The Lotarians have returned. The fate of the Realms rest in the hands of a girl with no faith and a boy with a vengeful heart.
CHAPTER 1 : SCOTIA
= The Consequences of Curiosity =
It was early in the morning and I was spending my time in the stables of the Order. It’s mostly quiet here and the stable men didn’t bother me. I’m sure they wondered why I’d bother to spend time here, but I had my reasons and they never bothered to ask. The stable man choose instead to kept to their horses and cleaning out the muck. I am a Novilite of the Order and one day I will rise to the rank of a Ma’Tradom. We are able to control the natural elements – the Kenisis is what we called it – and while people knew that we contained ourselves from hurting innocents they were always wary of us.
I have been studying at the Order for eight years and my ability in the Kenisis was laughable at best. I would leave, but until I am able to past my trials and become a Proxi – the next level up – I was not allowed to leave. The Ma’Tradom’s said I had trouble concentrating and was unable to focus well on the Kenisis that I wanted to wield. I know all the mechanics of how it is suppose to work but, after failing time and time again at anything above the basic level I didn’t believe I could do anything more. I was resting against the horses’ feed sacks in the back of the stable, trying to focus on seeing the strands of hay on the dirt floor blow over to the side with a gust of wind, but all I could see was the hay.
Suddenly I heard the chimes in the clock tower ring, they were sounding off the ninth hour. How had it gotten to be so late already? I started to focus again on the hay when I remembered that I had Geokenisis this morning. I had forgotten about the class and now I was going to be late. Hastily I dashed out the stables. If I hurried I could make it to my class before the Ma’Tradom realized I wasn’t there.
I tried not to trip over my own feet as I ran as fast as I could up the grey marble staircases and down the brightly lit hallways of the Order. Lifting my long and heavy blue skirt up to my knees to allow my legs extra freedom I ran as fast as I could. I paid little attention to the other servants that were about, or the tapestries and artwork that adorned the walls of this old castle structure. The ending chimes of the hour beat at me from the large windows that I passed, mocking my attempts to get all the way to the fourth floor in time. Never before had the hallways seemed so vast as they did now.
I’m not going to make it! I prayed that no one from the Order would see me running. If a Ma’Tradom, or even a Proxi, caught me I’d be caned for sure. It was against the rules for a Novilite to run inside the Order unless their life were in immediate danger. This qualified as such a circumstance to me.
The chimes stopped right before I reached my destination and I skidded to a stop in front of the closed classroom door. Already late, there was nothing I could do about it now, but hope that Ma’Tradom Aquali would not be too upset.
I hated this class. Geokenisis. Out of all the Kenisis offered this was my weakest. Wiping the sweat from my hands on my skirt I opened the door, but only enough for me to slip inside. All the classrooms had the students enter in at the back so anyone coming in wouldn’t block the view of what was going on in the front. I never paid much attention to it before, but perhaps this could be my saving grace. The chimes had only recently ended, and if I could slip into one of the back seats I could pretend that I had always been here.
The students, other Novilites, stood behind polished wooden tables and the air smelled of wet soil and pine. I could feel the Kenisis energy flowing through the room. On the tables were pots of dirt and the Novilites had their fingers buried up to their knuckles in the soil of their pots. The bright sunlight from the windows bathed much of the room and my hope to go unnoticed vanished as soon as I stepped away from the doorway and into the light of the class.
“Late again, Scotia,” Ma’Tradom Aquail said. Her cool gaze fixed on me from the front of the class. She was tall with sunken cheeks, and when she narrowed her eyes and glared at someone she looked almost like a snake. I imagined her hissing at me now.
I froze in place and everyone suddenly turned to look in my direction. I turned towards the Ma’Tradom, kneeled and bowed my head to the floor in the way we were taught. Never once did I raise my eyes to meet hers and never had I been so glad to look at the marble floor.
“Yes, Ma’Tradom,” I answered, hoping that my voice came forth with more humility than fear of retribution. “I’m sorry, Ma’Tradom.”
I felt the soft vibrations her steps made on the floor as the Ma’Tradom approached me. “Today marks the fourth time you have been late for my lessons. Are you unable to tell the time?”
“No, Ma’Tradom.” My voice sounded soft, barely above a whisper. There wasn’t another sound being made in the entire room, making my small voice loud in my ears. The others of the Novitiate knew better than to speak while a Ma’Tradom was disciplining, to do so would bring judgment on them as well. “I tell time rather well.” I regretted my additional retort the moment it came out of my mouth, but I couldn’t take it back.
“I see. So then you purposefully choose to ignore the hour and interrupt my lesson so that you can pull at your classmates attention,” came the Ma’Tradom’s accusation. “Or perhaps you’re so advanced that you don’t need my lessons.”
I had kept my head down the entire time she spoke, but now I ventured to look up and open my mouth to speak in my defense. I saw that she had already turned away from me and was approaching her spot at the front of the class. The others had turned away from me as well and were watching Aquail.
“Pay attention Novilites,” the Ma’Tradom stated, “Scotia is going to show you all how to properly do today’s assignment.”
My heart sunk, I couldn’t believe what was said. I was going to make a fool of myself in front of the entire class. I had failed to show anything more than the smallest spark of ability in the Geokenisis and she knew that. My heart was pounding, but I couldn’t back down from a Ma’Tradom’s request. Curling my fingers into a determined fist I stood and walked to the front of the class, keeping my eyes forward and attempting to focus on the task at hand.
Upon reaching the front I stood behind the Ma’Tradom’s table. It was clean of anything but her pot. It was average in size, nothing much to mention, and filled completely with black dirt. A simple seed, I knew, was buried in there somewhere and it was my task to make it grow. At the very least produce a small sprout. We had been preparing for this part of the assignment for a couple days. One of the first things we were taught in Geokenisis was how to connect with the Earth. Become one with it, feel it coursing through your body and lend it your energy. It was something so basic that even those not strong in Geo could do. I had no problem when it came to connecting with the earth, it was in doing anything with it where my difficulty lied. I looked up and saw Ma’Tradom Aquila standing there with her arms crossed, waiting.
I pulled the pot towards me, placed my hands on the rim and looked down at the dirt, determined to show the Ma’Tradom and my classmates that I could do it. Easing my fingers into the dirt I took a deep breath. I felt the slight dampness of the soil against my skin and the life it contained. Grow. Grow. Come on. I focused as hard as I could on seeing this seed grow. Seeing the plant cracking open the shell and stretching up through the soil. It was going to work. I would make it work. Then, I felt the soil drying up around my fingers and the life in the soil was gone. This happened to me every time I tried to manipulate the earth. It was foolish to think that this time would be any different.