Origin – Chapter 1: First Encounter
written by: Tay Summerlin
There is a quote I came across some time ago that said, “Every end is a new beginning.” I have a great understanding and deep connection with this. For every time I believed my life was to end, I received another beginning. I suppose the greatest of examples would be the time I truly felt as if I were reborn and became someone with a much deeper and richer purpose.
All of which took place after I fell from the sky.
I was pushed through a portal and fell from the sky of a world I had heard tales of but never actually visited. The enemy had come through as well and attempted to take my life. Luckily, once we were on the ground, I was able to use the strength I had remaining to summon my magic and defeat them.
I remember feeling weak then collapsing from exhaustion. Before all went black, there was a man standing over me. He had…such gentle eyes.
After much needed rest, I awoke and found myself in a strange place. I recognized it as a bedroom, but not in a style I was familiar with. This one looked like many trees were cut down just so their logs could form the walls. Antlers hung all around the room; even from the ceiling to form what appeared to be a chandelier. It felt as if a huntsman from the wilderness lived here whereas the kind of room I was used to had vibrant colors with outrageous designs and styles.
A sharp pain hit my side when I arose. Looking down, it appeared as though someone had taken the time to bandage my wound, where the pain came from.
I remember a man, I thought to myself. Was it him who did this? The one with the gentle eyes?
Before I could continue asking myself any further questions, I heard a noise. Bark! Bark!
The door to my room opened, but there was no one present. I heard breathing and little footsteps walking in, but I could not see anyone. Then a strange creature jumped unto the bed.
I too jumped and positioned myself, ready to fight.
This animal was indeed strange. It was large, walked on all fours, covered in long golden fur, had a long tail that was wagging side to side, and the tongue hung out of its mouth as it began panting away.
It just…stared at me, like it was waiting for me to do something.
I slowly crouched down and held my hand out to show I was no threat. After the animal sniffed my hand, it began to lick it. From what I had gathered, this creature was no threat to me either. I came closer and began to scratch it as I used to do with the dragons back home.
“Oh, hey! You’re up!” a voice said.
I looked up and saw a tall, thin, dark-haired man- different from the one I saw previously- standing happily at the doorway. Where I came from, and in my experiences, a simple smile could be the first step towards another’s downfall. So, I jumped up and positioned myself to fight. I felt my magic fully return and I was able to conjure the spell that had a purple glow wrap around my hands, ready to shoot out blasts.
The gentleman held out his hands in shock. “Whoa! Whoa there girly!” he began to shout. “Wow. Shane really was telling the truth. You have magic. Like…legit magic!”
I began to wonder if this Shane was the same man I saw before falling unconscious and who probably rescued me. I needed answers and this man standing by the doorway was going to give them to me. “Who is this Shane of which you speak?! Also, who are you and where am I?!”
“Okay…Should of seen this coming…but I didn’t, so…my bad. Let’s try this again.” The way this man spoke reminded me of some other humans I encountered on other worlds, however, his method reminded me of my little sister; speaking their mind not realizing what kind of consequences they may have. He continued, “Hi, my name is Hunter and you’re currently in Shane’s log cabin just a little outside of Lake Arrowhead here on planet Earth.”
I became surprised, “Earth? This really is Earth??” I was told how this world contained not an ounce of magic. I had arrived at my destination after all.
The gentleman, Hunter, appeared to finally be put at ease when he saw my arms being lowered and the spell fading away. “Yup,” he said. “And Shane is my big brother. Well, technically he’s not my real big brother, we’re not related or anything.” He must have noticed the puzzled expression on my face, for he continued his explanation, “You see, he signed up for this Big Brother Program a few years back- wanted to make a difference in someone’s life- and got partnered with me. We’ve been friends and brothers to each other ever since. He’s the one who’s been taking care of you since you passed out.”
I couldn’t help but smile at that. I was reminded of my sister and the predicament we found ourselves in five years ago. Despite all that occurred, it never changed how we viewed each other. “I know what that’s like. I have a little sister who is not related to me entirely by blood, but we still love one another nonetheless. And this Shane fellow, you said he volunteered?” Hunter nodded. This man, the one who I assumed was the one with the gentle eyes, also had what appeared to be a good heart. I had yet to encounter such a man whose eyes weren’t blinded by the horrors of war or contained a heart so cold that watching his own brethren die wouldn’t faze him. “How noble of him,” was all I could say.
“I hope you mean that as a good thing.” Suddenly standing behind Hunter was another man.
This one seemed a bit older, large and broadly built, light brown hair, handsome features, and…he had gentle eyes. It truly was him, the man from before. My heart suddenly began to race at the sight of him. Was it because I was grateful to him for saving my life? Perhaps I felt honored to be in the presence of a noble man who not only changed the life of a young boy, but also saved the life of a complete stranger? Or could it have been that I thought he was the most handsome man I had ever laid eyes on?
I watched as the animal who first greeted me rush over to the man and happily jump on him. “Okay Chester! Down boy!” After a few scratches and a pat on the back from his owner, the animal calmed down then left. “So, did you mean it as a good thing?” the gentleman finally asked.
“What exactly?” I asked.
“That me being a big brother to this knucklehead was noble?” The two men began to play as young boys did; shoving each other around.
I chuckled at the sight. “Rest assured, I meant it as a good thing.”
“Good,” he said with a charming smile.
I remembered how a smile could be deceitful enough to lead down the path to another’s demise, however, this one felt different. I didn’t sense any kind of trouble nor anything that would be deemed as threatening. There was kindness.
“You must be Shane,” I said.
“Yup, that’s me,” he cheerfully answered.
It appeared as though I surprised them when I quickly kneeled on the bed and bowed my head. “Master Shane, I am indebted to you for saving my life. As part of the Ancient Code of the Sorcerer’s Guild, as well as in accordance with the Laws of the Natural Order, you have the option of having me as your servant for the remainder of my days or allow me to continue to live freely. The choice is now yours.”
Shane informed me later what was wondering through his Earthly modern mind. Although most of his thoughts were on how beautiful I was, he was also confused on how there was such a law that would determine someone’s future like that. Why couldn’t someone just commit a good deed without being repaid? It wouldn’t be considered the right thing to do if we expect to be compensated every time.
“Well…ummm…this is a first for me.” He didn’t like seeing me the way that I was: someone prepared to throw away their freedom for the sake of fulfilling a law that appeared hypocritical in his eyes.
I felt the bed move and looked up. There was Shane, standing next to me. He then offered me his hands- which I took- where he then lifted me up. “Look, I don’t know where you’re from that has laws as crazy as that one…but just know that I didn’t save you so you could become my slave. I did it because you needed my help and it was the right thing to do.”
What was it about this man that made me feel so at peace? There was this warmth radiating from him and I could sense the goodness within. A kind I had not felt in such a long time.
“Thank you,” I finally said.
“So, you gotta name?” he asked.
“Skye,” I answered.
“Nice to meet you Skye.” After a moment of looking into each other’s eyes, we realized that our hands were still joined. “Sorry,” Shane said as he finally let go. “So, where are you from? Has to be somewhere pretty different if you talk the way you do and have magic like that.”
My smile went away. A lot had occurred in such a short amount of time. “Where I came from is not of great importance. Especially since I’m not allowed there anymore.”
“What happened?” he asked curiously.
“It’s a bit of a long story I’m afraid,” I told him.
Hunter appeared to have his own sort of power, for he could sense something going on between Shane and myself. He decided to intervene by saying, “You know, there’s this cool little deli in town that sells the best sandwiches. I’ll go pick some up for us. You can fill me in later. Be back in thirty minutes, no more than an hour!” In the blink of an eye, Hunter ran off to get the items called sandwiches.
“What did he mean by, ‘You can fill me in later?'” I asked.
Shane sat down on the bed and chuckled. “It means he has a feeling that you’re going to tell me what happened and we can give him the shorter version of it later.” He patted the bed for me to sit on. I knew then that there was no escaping it, I was going to reveal all to him. I sat down on the bed when I felt the sharp pain in my side return. “Oh, take it easy!” Shane began saying worried. “You may be up and running, but you’re still trying to recover from that fight. Left some pretty nasty bruises and injuries. I did the best I could to patch you up.”
I had another good look at the bandages Shane placed around my body. He really had been taking care of me. I then noticed how the bandaging was wrapped around my torso. I sighed in wondering if that meant he saw the markings on my back. In the past, those who saw them would judge me and I was worried he would do the same.
“Did you see?” I asked.
I wasn’t entirely sure at first why he reacted the way he did, but Shane suddenly became defensive and almost turned red. “No! I didn’t!” There was pause and then he continued, “Well, okay, maybe I did see them, but it was kind of hard not to especially since I had to wrap the bandage around to cover all of the injuries on your torso.”
I became saddened believing his reaction really was about my markings. “I’m sorry you had to see them. I know they’re not the most flattering to witness.”
Shane attempted to make me feel better, however, he misread the reason for my sudden sadness. “I’m not sure why you’re sad about it. I think your boobs look pretty good.”
My face turned completely red and was left in complete and utter shock at what was just revealed. “What?! I was speaking of the markings on my back!!”
Shane was stunned at realizing his mistake. “Uhhhhhh…so was I.” His poor attempt to make me believe otherwise had backfired.
“You saw my breasts?!?” I shouted as I wrapped my arms around to cover my breasts.
Petrified and out of sorts, I looked down to be certain that I still had my clothes on. The attire of which I arrived in, though had rips and holes in some areas, was still present on me.
“I’m sorry!! It was an accident!! I swear it was!!” Even though I did believe him, I felt violated. I was only twenty at the time and never before had a man seen me unclothed. “I wasn’t trying to look at them,” he continued saying, “I thought you would be wearing a bra or some kind of padding there.”
I answered while still looking away, “Unfortunately, I can’t wear any kind of covering there. Straps and wrappings get in the way of my wings.”
“Wings?” Shane realized I truly was referring to the markings on my back.
He was unsure what I meant by that, especially since, for all he knew, they were just markings of two wings on my back. Shane continued to witness my vulnerability as I still couldn’t look him in the eye from pure embarrassment of the situation.
Curious about my wings, and to end the humiliating moment for both of us, he decided to change topics, “Those tattoos on your back. They’re pretty cool looking. Why did you look sad earlier? Did you get them done without your parents’ permission?”
My parents, how I missed them. One I knew for most of my life and the other only for a short while. Why did fate have to be so cruel to me and those whose lives I’ve affected?
“There is so much you don’t know,” I eventually told him.
Shane took my hand which caused me to look at him. “Then please…make me understand. I’d like to get to know you more.” The sincerity in his face made me believe that he truly meant every word he had just said.
I smiled best I could then answered, “In order to understand why I can never return home, you must first learn of how I came to be…and why the markings on my back aren’t just markings.”
“I’m all ears,” he said while smiling.
And so, I began to tell Shane my origin.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
SKYE’S KINGDOM: ORIGIN is a young adult fantasy (short) story about how a powerful Universal Sorcerer named Skye came to be and how she longed for a place to truly call home. In this opening, Skye has awakened after winning a hard battle. She finds herself in a strange place and encounters the one who mended her wounds. After some awkward introductions, she prepares to reveal how she ended up on Earth.
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