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Trace Wright Pt 1

James Chance—

We are the Chosen, the ones born on the eclipse. And we wish to present two items.

Firstly, we wish to apologize for ever doubting your noble cause. The Elders’ grip was once strong, but nevermore. We realize the wrongdoings of our once mentors and we hope it will never happen again. May Asher be forever blessed for telling us.

Secondly, we wish to join your cause; we wish to bring the Elders away from power and let peace rule through Monlaea once more. To see all cry out not in fear, but in joy. We offer our services to the Resistance. We wait for your reply in earnest.

The Chosen


~Three months ago~


“Aaaargh!” Trace lunged and stabbed the dummy through its chest, then expertly pulled it out. Star fluttered and littered the ground. He gave himself a cocky self-satisfied smile, then straightened his back and turned to Finn, his boots making little noise in the stone courtyard. Finn can’t possibly find fault in that, he thought, sweeping his auburn hair from his piercing eyes.

But as Finn stood and left the shadow of the stone wall casted by a cheery sun, his pale, gaunt face eerily contrasting the grey sturdy stones, Trace detected a flicker of disappointment come across Finn’s usually passive face. Trace bit his lip and gripped his sword and bleached his knuckled. Anger welled up inside of him, but he forced it down.

“Your stance,” Finn said softly, in his usual short sentences. His voice had its usual quiet strength that could lash out any second. His ghostly blond hair, not yet white with age, fluttered in the wind. Finn snapped his thin fingers. The dummies flew back together. “Again.”

Trace gritted his teeth and thought how great it would be to fight Finn. He’d show him how good he was, how little he needed the hours of training of swordsplay. But he had dueled him once, and Finn had left his cheek scarred, right next to his lip, as a reminder to never be cocky. It was still here today. “Yes, Master Finn.”

A trace of a smile appeared on Finn’s lips. “Finn’ll do just fine.”
*

Trace collapsed onto a chair. Training had taken the whole morning, as usual, but instead of his studies in the afternoon, more training ensued. He thought after so many years of fencing, he’d get used to it, but no—Finn just pressed him harder.

He was seated at the dining hall, with a high ceiling and spacious rooms. Torches flickered along the walls casting dancing shadows. There were no tapestries that adorned the walls. Ceil believed stitching was a waste of time, time that could very well be used for practicing training. Her strict belief in tine never to be wasted was cause for death.

Trace stretched and placed his feet onto the dining table, his arms cradling his head. Ceil would never allow such, but Master Peter wouldn’t have cared.

He was very fun, Peter. He was never as distant as Finn, and definitely never as strict as Ceil. His cheery mood always seemed to brighten the castle.

Trace sighed and looked at the table hungrily. Food never appeared unless all four apprentices were here, Ceil made sure of that. Somehow, she knew, she always knew…

The door banged open, causing Trace to start. In fluttered Summer, a sunny smile on her face and her blonde curls flying. Her fine features broke into a wider smile when she saw Trace. Her small frame tackled him with a hug.

“HihihiTrace,” she spoke ecstatically, as usual. “Ihadsuchaboringdaytoday,you?Ididnothi ngbutstudyitsuckedIwishIhadaweponCeilonlytaughtmepressurepointsandmartialarsanditsuckswhat’sfordinnerwhy’syourfeetonthetableyouknowit’salaparoundMirageIslandifshecatchesyou.”

“That’s… great,” Trace managed as he dropped his feet to the floor. “And the island’s only a few miles around.”

“Touché.” She blushed the lightest shade of pink. It was very becoming, with her wings fluttering. “You know Ceil’s teaching me another language? It’s fun. I wanna dress though you know? They’re so pretty and she lonely lets me wear breeches.” She shook her head and tugged at them. “They’re totally guy clothes.”

Trace laughed. Summer always made him smile. “That’s because you can’t fight in one.” She fluttered her wings happily. “You know, for a fairy, you’re awfully tall for one.”

“You know, for a fairy, I’m awfully nice for one,” she countered, grinning and flicking his forehead playfully. “You don’t really believe those stories from those weird books, do you? That fairies are tiny whatevers and they sprinkle dust on peoples’ faces and they start flying if they think about candy?” she made a face. “It’s totally unreasonable.” Then she giggled and flew around the room. “What’s for dinner? When’s Grey and Jett coming?” She laughed again and seated herself in the chair next to Trace’s. “Grey and Jett.” Trace smiled too. It was common knowledge—not that there were many people on Mirage Island—that Jett adored Grey, but Grey would never give him the time of day if he tried to woo her. But Jett denied it so.

“Someone call my name?” a voice drawled close to Trace’s ear. He jumped again for the second time that day; he almost swore.

“Darn it, Jett, don’t do that!” Jett chuckled and stood tall. He had perfect black hair that swept better than Trace’s. His eyes were a dark green mixed with a light brown that made focusing on him difficult. He had perfect teeth and a tall, strong, thin build. To Trace, Jett was perfect.

He pulled up a seat opposite from Trace. “Where’s Grey?”

Summer pouted, somewhat mockingly. “Fine, don’t say hello to me,” she muttered.

“Hey, Summer.”

“Hi!” she squealed and tried to hug him. Quickly, faster than Trace could follow, he whipped out his dagger. It was his pride and joy, cleaned and shone perfectly. It was simple, a straight, four-sided one, but it was the one Jett was the best with.

“I don’t think so.”

“Aw, Jett, don’t be so distant,” Summer whined. “Don’t be a Finn. You know, Grey wouldn’t like it very much; she told me so,” She added with a mischievous wink.

Jett showed no sign he heard her, but his ears turned the slightest shade of pink, or at least, what he could see of his ears. His perfect hair covered most of it. “I can be whatever I want,” he said simply, placing the dagger back in a pocket.

Suddenly they all turned to the door; their ears were trained to detect the faintest of sounds, though Jett quite typically could escape the sound of their ears. It was Grey, who opened the door as quietly as she could. “Hello.”

She had dark brown hair, it was almost black, and it flowed quite easily to the small of her back, concealing her pointed ears. Her eyes were monolids and almond shaped and bottemlessly black, as if she was contemplating the best way to take you down. Her lips were slightly turned upwards, and full. Her only flawed feature was her skin, which was suffering from the gifts of adolescence. She was tall, thin, and always had her chin slightly tilted up.

But Grey had an air of power and grace that flowed freely; it made her flaws seem insignificant. She was the only one who could fluster Jett easily, and without meaning to.

She was always a puzzle to Trace. She was a beautiful creature, poised, but she always had a sarcastic, fun side to her. But that side only appeared when she was totally relaxed, as with her three friends. Very much unlike Summer, who was happy all the time, and failed to conceal it; then again, he knew she wanted it to never be suppressed. She was very nice, like Grey, but—

He shook his head to clear the thoughts. It was not needed. They were friends. And it was time to tease Grey.

“Finally,” groaned Trace. “I was beginning to think you didn’t eat.”

Grey laughed. “You’re so human, never having enough energy.”

“Oh yes, elves are the master race.”

She cocked her head and gave him a small sideways smile but said nothing. She seated herself next to Jett. “Summer,” she nodded. “Selkie,” she said to Jett, failing to conceal a grin.

He punched her in the arm playfully. He never got mad at her; she was the only one who could say that. “Selkies are cool,” he said in defense. “’Least, I am… Right?” he fished for a compliment.

Grey rolled her eyes. “Yeah, mutant. Where’s your skin anyways? Peter hide it from you?”

“Never had one,” he said shortly. “A Selkie knows when he’s a seal.”

“Please, we’re eating here,” Summer said. “Or, we’re supposed to. How are we supposed to eat, with you talking about Selkie—ah, here’s the food. Dig in.”

“Yes, m’lady,” Trace said mockingly and reached for a handful of grapes.

The table was bursting with food. Grapes, strawberries, pears, peaches and oranges piled high. Steamed vegetables littered the table, the aroma wafting through the room. Bread and milk and butter covered the area around the big pot of stew. There was every food imaginable.

The room was lit with merry talk and laughter, as it always was. This was a time of relaxation and talk with their friends. Trace smiled contently as he tore into a piece of bread. Oh gosh, he thought drooling, Ceil knows how to cook. Then he frowned. Ceil didn’t seem like the type to do that kind of thing. He shrugged it off. It was none of his concern.

“What… is that?” pointed Summer. She was eyeing the pot of stew with curiosity. “There are little chunks of… brown stuff in there.”

“Let me see.” Grey leaned over and ladled some on her plate. She sniffed it slightly and tasted it. She closed her eyes at the alluring smell. “This… is amazing. Oh, gosh, I want some more of this stuff…” she ladled a few more cups to the bowl next to her. “I guess that’s why this is here,” she muttered. “Huh. Odd. Not a plate, is it? A bit too deep for that.”

“Oh.” She nodded to the stew. “And I don’t really know what they are. But they’re great. Try some.”

“It’s meat.” Jett said suddenly. “We studied history this morning. I saw a few pictures of food they made back then, and I’m pretty sure it’s…beef?”

“Huh. Meat.” Trace ladled some to his bowl also “It’s quite good,” he said around a mouthful of food. “Flavor’s a bit harsh. But it’s good.” He began stuffing his mouth with it.

“I also read that if you suddenly eat lots of meat, then you’ll—”

Trace threw up suddenly. Summer jumped up to help him while Grey sat back and stifled a laugh. “I see,” she said, with a straight face. “Good job with your studying, Jett.”

Trace glared at her. “Thank you, Grey,” he said as Summer hovered around anxiously. “I’m fine, Summer.” He cleaned up his dinner and threw the napkin behind him. They all stared at him.

“Trace—” Summer started.

“I’m fine.”

“I just wanted to say—”

“I said I was fine.”

Dinner was awkward after that.





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