How To Save A Heart-Chapter 1 | TeenInk

How To Save A Heart-Chapter 1

July 7, 2019
By SunSoul BRONZE, Morganton, North Carolina
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SunSoul BRONZE, Morganton, North Carolina
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Navisha sat in a meadow, that was overcast in dark shadows. The moonlight just faintly illuminated the blades of grass that danced against her paws. She looked deep into the eyes of her Trainer, Tutor Scarred. Tutor Scarred looked angelic with an elegant triangular face, a star-shaped ruff, a slender torso with a curved back, and three thin tails that ended with a diamond-like point. But what stood out about Tutor Scarred was her six graceful wings and her deep green eyes which gazed into Navisha's with such an intensity that the young Athorian shivered. Navisha had the same slender body, and star-shaped ruff, but her head was more oval, her eyes more gentle, and finally she had two tails instead of three, and four wings instead of six.

''You are an Athorian,'' Tutor Scarred began, never for a moment taking her gaze from her pupil's. ''And as such, it is your purpose to take the light from the soul of others, and the life out of their bodies.''

Navisha tilted her head to one side. The Athorians never tired of telling her that her purpose was to ruin the lives of other beings. She knew in her heart that they were wrong, but had never found the courage to say so. For if she did, she would be killed. She sighed recalling one Tutor Scarred's many barbed lectures-You fool! You can't love light! How many times do I have to tell you always love the darkness and despise the light! Navisha sighed again. I can't help it if I love light. She thought. It's just the way I am. But she didn't voice her thoughts. Instead, she asked a rather simple question.

''Why? What would happen if I gave them light?''

Tutor Scarred's gaze sharpened.

''Never think like that!'' She hissed ''None of the others deserve life.'' She felt confused. None of the other's deserved life? As far as she knew, none of the other beings had done anything that made them deserve death. She didn't understand this way of thinking.

''Why?'' She asked again. She needed to understand what would cause such a twisted believe. She needed to understand why any Athorian would believe that. Tutor Scarred sighed, her three tails lashing in unison, then intently put her face close to Navisha's.

''What do you see around you?'' She asked in an urgent hiss.

Navisha gazed around her. There was an endless amount of grass that stretched all the way into the horizon. All of it lay in shadows. She gazed above her. The sky was an endless expanse of blackness without a star, and the moon was a tiny sliver of light. The only light came from the fire that Tutor Scarred and Navisha sat around. But she couldn't see anything that would have to do with being cruel to others.

''All I can see are shadows and darkness everywhere.''

Tutor Scarred nodded approvingly.

''What does that tell you?'' She asked. Navisha thought for a moment. What does it mean if I can see shadows? She thought. Does it mean that the universe is ruled by darkness? No, she corrected herself, If that were the case, there would be no light. Then does it mean that the universe is going to end? Somehow Navisha she didn't think her Trainer was referring to the end of the universe. Does it mean that everyone must live in harmony with the darkness? Navisha couldn't convince her self that anyone could live in harmony with darkness. Does it mean that everyone had some darkness in them, some shadow cast on their soul? Navisha knew Tutor Scarred wasn't referring to that, which left one answer.

''The fact that I can see shadows tells me that our world is in shadow.'' She replied.

Tutor Scarred let out a hiss extended a paw and slashed Navisha's ear causing her to flinch and shrink back.

''No, no, no, you dummy!'' Tutor scarred spat glaring at Navisha furiously. She swept one of her tails around the area in one grand motion. ''This tells you your purpose! This tells you the meaning of life!'' She exclaimed. Then locked gazes with Navisha.

''And the meaning of life is to cause suffering and chaos to those who've made you suffer.''

Navisha frowned. That didn't make sense. She thought If it were true then there would be no light.Her shoulders drooped. Light. . .Just once Navisha wished she could live in some other culture . . .One that celebrated light, not darkness. The only light she had was the fire that she and Tutor Scarred were sitting around. Navisha gazed into the fire. The orange flames burned through her soul. She shuddered. She could feel the power of light as the flames gently warmed her skin. Even though all around her was dark. She turned her gaze back to her mentor.

''That doesn't make sense,'' Navisha argued.

Tutor Scarred merely laughed manically and began to prowl around Navisha. ''Oh it makes perfect sense.'' She said maliciously ''Ask yourself what do others do for you? Nothing! They mock you, they scorn you, they abuse you, they watch you fall as the world tears you down and laugh. It makes perfect sense to make them suffer in return.''

Navisha narrowed her eyes thoughtfully. That did make sense. But the problem was it made too much sense, or rather that it was to easy an explanation. It was all too easy to make others suffer in return for suffering they did to you. Navisha shifted paws. Did the fact that making others suffer was easy make it was right or wrong?

Tutor Scarred stopped her pacing and pressed her muzzle close to Navisha's face. ''Listen'' she whispered, then glanced uneasily around the meadow. But the two were alone.

''Once I was like you. I too, once thought that the meaning of life was light. I too, once thought that life was full of hope.''

Her voice dropped to a bitter snarl ''Then things changed. Then, my mother, father, and sisters rejected me! Soon enough, my best friends and leader joined them. They said I was a fool! They called me weak! Eventually, they gave me two choices-either I leave Athoria, or I become the lowliest of the low and be used for experiments. I choose the secant option. How could I leave my home? So I was shut in the dark, and in every sense of word used and abused. I thought I was going to be there for an eternity!''

Then she jumped in the air and made a vicious clawing motion in the sky, by the firelight, casting a shadow against the grass. A vicious gleam entered her eyes, as firelight reflected in them. Navisha shivered. It was as though all the burning hatred in Tutor Scarred's soul was alight in her eyes, rather than flames. ''As I sat there in the Laboratory, alone, unloved, the scum of this wretched planet, I realized that I had been wrong. The meaning of life wasn't light. The meaning of was making others suffer for the suffering they caused you. And I vowed right then that, if I was nothing more then the shadow of the light to everyone, then I would give them shadows of their own deeper and darker then the ones they gave me.'' She laughed again. ''And that was my vengeance.'' She paused for a moment then went on quietly, with a strange stillness to her voice, ''I'm telling you these things so you don't end up like me. And because your Trial will start in a few moments.''

Navisha shivered, fear gripping her heart like freezing water. Once they were eight years old, every Athoian had to face what was known as simply the Trial, to determine rather the Athorian taking it was cruel enough to join the rest of their society. During the Trial, they were asked to either kill or fight, a family member, or close friend. If they refused they were forced to. No words struck fear into the hearts of the Athorians more than the simple words The Trial. There was not one Athorian who had been forced to make a sacrifice while undergoing it, and there was not an Athorian who passed it without wounds, either external or internal. Navisha felt terrified about what was going to happen to her. What if she lost sight of the power of light? What if her mind became as corroded and twisted as the rest of the Athorians? The very thought made her heart pound. She didn't want to be one of the Athorians. She did not want to lose sight of the light as they had. Her heart was a heart of light, not one of darkness. And Navisha knew with all her soul that she was a being of light not of darkness.

''And'' Tutor Scarred went more quietly ''They'll be expecting you to understand the meaning of cruelty.''

Her fear deepened. Navisha refused to understand cruelty. She focused on understanding mercy instead. She knew the meaning of mercy. But could not fathom the meaning of cruelty.

''I can't give you much advice'' Tutor Scarred went on, ''I can only tell you to be brave, be bold and be deadly.'' She sighed heavily, and Navisha was startled to find a trace of grief on the hard old face she knew so well. Tutor Scarred looked away. ''Even a heart as cold as mine can't help but grieve as such bright warm hearts as yours are darkened and freezed.'' She whispered. Then for a moment, the two sat in silence. Silence filled with a million questions, the grief of a hardened heart, and the quiet whoosh as a breeze rustled through the grass. Then she heard the sound of pawsteps, and Tutor Scarred rose to her paws. Navisha found her self shirking back as the stern, imposing figure of her father, Atman came into view. Her mother, Ciarda was just behind him. Her manner was that of a cobra about to strike.

 ''It's your big day!'' She purred, yellow eyes gleaming. Her three tails arched in a threatening way. The gleam in her eyes hardened ''Because you are our daughter the people will have high expectation of you. By no means will we be going easy on you.''

Atman turned his gaze to Tutor Scarred, who had been frozen stiff.

''Is she ready for The Trial? Is she ready to draw blood?'' He asked. Tutor Scarred glanced at Navisha and met her gaze. Those eyes asked her one question-are you ready? Navisha wasn't sure. She didn't want to harm anyone, and she wasn't sure she could bring herself too... But she had no choice. She didn't want to harm anyone, and she wasn't sure she could bring herself too... But she had no choice. She nodded yes. 

''Yes I believe she is.'' Tutor Scarred responded.

''Excellent.'' Atman purred, then turned to his daughter. ''Come Navisha, your Trial awaits.'' He informed her then turned and walked away with Ciarda. Tensely Navisha rose to her paws and followed them down the path to the Trial grounds. Her heart fluttered wildly. She didn't want to be a killer. She wanted to live a life of innocence. But then if she didn't break that innocence, that very life could be threatened. She let out a quiet hiss of frustration. Why couldn't things be simple? She thought. It's the simplest thing to want to be innocent and blameless, but why can't it be easier to actually be just that? Fear raced down her spine as a darker thought raced through her mind-What would happen to me now? She gazed around her. The path she was walking along felt smooth and cool to her paws. She scraped them against the dirt, relishing the coolness under her feet. Then continued on. She began to notice that the farther down the path the darker the shadows grew, and along with them her fear. Finally, they arrived at a circle of flat stones. Inside the middle of the circle, there was nothing but silt. Navisha shuddered as she noticed bloodstains that staind the sides of the stone, as well as the silt. Around the stones was all of Athorians that populated the planet. Navisha gulped nervously. Atman stayed next to her while Ciarda jumped on top of the largest stone in one agile leap, and stood their proudly, an evil grin upon her face, her three tails lifted proudly.

''Loyal Athorians!'' She began a hint of mockery in her voice. ''My beloved daughter Navisha is now eight years old and as you all know that is the age that they must prove themselves true Athorians and face the Trials.''

A cheer rose up in the crowd. And Ciarda watched her gaze expressionless. Navisha widened her eyes with disbelief. Beloved daughter? She couldn't believe she had just heard that. 

''When undergoing The Trial, the participant must take a test specially chosen by the rulers. Being that Navisha is the daughter of the rulers, her test will be especially tough.'' Ciarda went on smoothly. The crowd cheered louder this time. Navisha couldn't believe it. They were actually excited about her suffering? Ciarda paused to rake her gaze across the circle of Athorians. All of them were attentive. And she continued ''Now typically the Test chosen is a face-off between the participant and his closet friend or offspring. But we decided to go a step closer to the heart.''

Navisha felt her chest tighten as fear crawled down her spine, and tightened her chest. She didn't like where this was heading. Ciarda waved a tail, and Atman shoved Navisha into the middle of the circle of stones. Every Athoian turned their gazes towards her. She shivered. Their eyes were filled with a hunger for bloodshed. Navisha wished she could disappear, or that something would swallow her, and hide her from all of those stares. Her heart began to pound so loud she swore the others could hear it.

''Look at me Navisha!'' Ciarda's sharp command echoed through the night. Slowly Navisha forced her self to meet her mother's yellow gaze.

''We have decided that for her Trial, Navisha will fight her brother Evren.'' Ciarda announced.

Navisha felt horror fill her chest. Then anger and despair washed over her. My own brother! She thought. How could I... how could Mother... .she turned a pleading gaze towards Ciarda. But the Ruler ignored her and waved her tail again, and two stalky Athorians dragged in a much smaller Athorian. Evren . . .Navisha thought desperately her heart twisting. He looked thin, dirty, and beaten. His three tails dragged in the dust. Scars and blood covered his body. Then Navisha shivered. There was a wild, crazy, desperate look in his eyes. This Athorian was dangerous. Not to mention her brother. And she was supposed to fight him.

Navisha dreams of a world of light but lives in a world of light. Elix lives in a world of darkness but dreams of a world of light. What happens when the two meet? 


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