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Elemental Of Fire This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The warmth of the fire made Naton wish he had politely refused the invitation to eat dinner with his parents. Even though it was snowing heavily outside the Terran Council family complex, he didn't feel it through his light summer jacket.

He removed his dark green coat and tossed it casually onto a rack before following his nose to the dining room. His parents were seated, both heads swinging toward him with twin grins of approval for his timely arrival. His father, Nitrick Crimson, had faint streaks of gray in his light brown hair; his bluish eyes squinted at the corners from his smile. Silla Crimson, Naton's mother, stood up quickly to greet her only child with a welcoming hug, pulling back to survey him with narrowed eyes. Naton looked down at his tiny mother, who was only 5'6", coming barely up to his shoulder. Her light bronze-colored eyes shifted from his hair to his eyes, a dark blue with a surprising halo of bronze surrounding the pupils, which were small in the brightly lit room.

"Well," Silla drawled in an amused tone, " you are still as prompt as ever, dearest." Turning, Silla motioned Naton toward a chair before seating herself while deftly pulling her white-blonde hair back into a bun. Dinner was served. Naton was greatly surprised to find all the dishes were his favorites, but he ate without comment.

If Naton was startled by the emanations of pride, love and fear from his parents, he didn't let on, but simply wondered what he had done. The telepathic thoughts, as well as the looks that constantly passed between them during dinner, made Naton clear his mind and focus on the food that covered his plate. When the silence became too much, Naton made polite table conversation, inquiring about his mother's health and other such news. Naton hesitantly accepted when they asked him to stay afterward.

With slightly unfocused eyes, his mother focused her telekinetic powers on the aclear' button opposite the large stack of dirty dishes. The china winked out of sight and, in the background, the automatic dishwasher could be heard.

Naton led the way into the sitting room, his eyes wandering about what had been the entertainment/work/ family area of his childhood. In front of him was a large view-screen through which all communication and visual entertainment were conducted. Four tall bookcases were situated in different corners of the room, each filled to capacity with books and family memorabilia. Plump chairs that sagged with age were placed in a semi-circle around the view-screen, and it was here that Naton and his parents seated themselves.

Just as Naton had settled himself in his favorite chair, the loud beep that indicated an incoming call rang through the room, causing him to stand. Since his father was a member of the Terran High Council, such calls were standard procedure each and every day of his childhood. He had come to expect that his father would never be home when he needed him. His mother had taught him never to whine about this.

Naton was very surprised when his father motioned for him to re-seat himself. Obliging his father, Naton clasped his hands and leaned forward, elbows to his knees. At this moment, right before the call patched through, the emanations from his parents nearly smothered him and he had to clamp down on both his annoyance and his pounding headache. Why were parents so troublesome?

Abruptly Naton's attention was drawn back to the screen as it lit up, showing first the jagged triangle/ square symbol that was the Quad Alliance's emblem. The symbol faded to a room where four people were facing him and his parents. He immediately recognized them as the ambassadors for each of the four planets that made up the Alliance. One was a Zoelion - a race that was mostly amphibian - and had webbed toes, a double eyelid, and gills behind their olive colored ears. Another was Terran, like himself. One who distinctly unnerved him was an Aiurian - a race that had long, elf-like ears and a very volatile nature. The final person seated in the room was a Chilandrian, whose race was avian-like.

After his brief appraisal of the ambassadors, Naton glanced at his father. Never had Naton seen his father so composed, calm and emotionally blank. It unnerved him almost as much as the Aiurian ambassador had.

The Terran Ambassador stood up and a name finally connected with the face - this was Ambassador Tulk. The fact Naton knew this man relaxed him and he realized his shoulders had tensed.

" Ah, Nitrick," Tulk said, his dark brown eyes barely concealing his inner anxiety, "and young Naton as well." Naton gritted his teeth. He was 27.

Ambassador Tulk cleared his throat twice before he was able to continue. "Nitrick ,with your permission?" Naton's father nodded slowly.

Ambassador Tulk focused on Naton. "Naton, information said this night is Top Secret and Confidential, understand?" Naton nodded, and then, barely remembering his manners, added," Yes, sir."

Tulk turned to face the Aiurian ambassador, a woman with dark blue hair and fierce yellow eyes, "Ambassador Strong?" The woman's eyes burned into Naton as all his classes on Aiurians raced through his mind. Aiurians were the oldest and most technologically (as well as evolutionary) advanced among the Quad Alliance. That was why most people referred to that race as "the apex of our pyramid."

The Ambassador's pointed ears twitched, indicating inward discussion, nervousness or annoyance. Naton figured that Ambassador Strong, like most Aiurians, had a hidden annoyance for Terrans. Lucky for Naton that, since his father was part of the council, he had been sent to the most tedious (he thought) classes that taught him to interpret ear twitches and eye shifts.

The only interest that Naton had shown had been in the eye shifting course. Aiurians had the ability to allow their irises to cover the whole eye, over the whites and pupils. This followed for certain other races as well, but so far only Aiurians had been found to display their emotions through eye shifts.

Their normal shade meant that they were in a normal mood, not bothered by anything. When the color paled, that meant that they were not feeling well, were frightened or sad/emotionally hurt. When it darkened, that meant that they were tired or bored. The vivid brightening of the eye indicated anger or that they were using one of their many powers. This also occurred when they felt threatened.

Ambassador Strong's eyes were normal at the moment, only slightly pale, so Naton took this to mean that the ambassador was tired and wished to return to her home world.

" Terran," she began, shifting slightly in her long council robes, then cleared her throat and began again. " Terran, you have been chosen to help your race." Naton frowned.

"Help? How?"

"It is simple. You will take all of your species' history and knowledge, and protect them."

Naton tapped his foot and controlled his frown at her clipped words. After a moment, he sighed. "How?"

"You will be provided with certain omnipotent powers, immortality among others. You will also need to protect this planet and the element assigned to you."

"And why am I being asked, or told, to do this?"

Ambassador Strong sat up higher in her chair, her chin up, while Ambassador Tulk slumped down lower, a sullen, defeated expression on his face.

"Because you and four others shall be the ones to help carry-on your race; to preserve it, would be a better word. The Raulions have created a virus that will de-evolve your race and force it to evolve again, naturally. This way, they will have millions of millennia to kill you before you would be intellectually and physically able to defend yourselves."

Naton was stunned. The Raulions were the enemies of the Quad Alliance. They were a genetically altered race that sought vengeance on Naton's people for, he thought, one of the stupidest reasons: Terrans had evolved naturally, while Raulions had to use science to speed their race forward.

Anger exploded in Naton. "And have you tried to help us?" he spat at the Aiurian. "Have you lifted a finger? Oh, wait, I forgot: Terrans are too young a race, huh? Why waste the effort?"

Ambassador Strong's eyes blazed into the brightest yellow, almost as white hot as the center of Sol itself, causing his parents to gasp. But Naton wasn't afraid. Why should he be, when he was filled with profound rage that screamed to be loosed on the treacherous Aiurians! Look what they've done! Nothing!

At that same moment, Naton felt a powerful blast slide through him, as if his whole being had been ripped in half by a razor-sharp, white-hot sword. When he reached down, there was no blood. A second later, that same pain shot through his skull, raining down on his mind like a burst of pure relentless fire. In the background, he heard Ambassador Strong's final words before all his senses were forced inward, "You will be the first Elemental, but I truly wish you were the last."

What seemed like hours later, he came to with his parents above him, endearing expressions on their faces. He tried to lift his arm, but it felt weighted down. When he attempted to raise his head and examine it, he found he was completely strapped down. He finally forced words through his desert-dry mouth. "What's happening?" Why did his voice echo that way?

His mother gently smoothed tendrils of his dark, auburn hair away from his head. "You're too weak, my son, from the chemical. It's changing your body, twining you and the element of fire together." When Naton frowned and started to say how preposterous that sounded, his mother laid a finger on his lips, effectively silencing him. "Hush. I don't know how the Zoelions did it. But they did."

But why am I leaving? He tried to say, but both mental and verbal wishes seemed impossible for him to voice.

Silla smiled lovingly down at him and kissed his brow. "You're going because your father and I don't wish to see us de-evolve; that's what the virus is. This is why Elementals are needed, you see."

As words started to slide out of his lips, the cart he was on was wheeled away. He couldn't even strain against his straps. He felt the prick of a sedative against his neck and heard his mother and father shout to him for the last time, "We love you, son. We are so proud of you." 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Firebringer17 said...
Nov. 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm
wow, this sounds like a book, great job, the dialouge is so real and the plot is so intersting, the character is likable and the description was amazing! I can't see anything more to improve on at all. I love fire stuff like this and i can't wait for more!
 
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