Authors: S.E. Myers
Where the flames touched, Ryleigh felt only a gentle breeze moving along her skin. The warmth she felt from inside her own body rippled outwardly into white light. Tristan’s flames began to back down as her skin started to glow. It was surreal, Ryleigh thought to herself. She knew that this energy was of her own creation. She could feel the energy talking to her, almost singing to her inside of her mind with soft melodic tinkles. Tristan looked her dead in the eyes as she began to wonder if she could spread the light over Tristan as he had done to her. She looked down at her skin and willed it to move forward. She gasped aloud as she saw it shimmer and push toward his hands. She could feel a little resistance, inside, as if a barrier prevented her from moving it any further.
She pushed a little more but this time flames pushed her back. Ryleigh began to feel irritated. She was usually pretty good about getting things right the first time and wanted to push harder.
,” she thought to herself and could feel the resistance push and pull between her and Tristan. Looking up at Tristan she noticed the confusion on his face. His eyes then glinted deviously and he pushed his flames back toward her… for the last time. As he pushed back, she pushed forward and the collision of their energy blew them both back with a force landing them in the dirt behind them.
The dust settled and Ryleigh picked herself up from the ground. She looked across at Tristan who was doing the same, “What the hell was that?”
Tristan brushed himself off and offered to help Ryleigh up. Extending his hand he replied, “We have abilities. I was seeing what you could do with yours, and what you can do… I’ve never seen before.”
“What do you mean abilities,” she asked half laughing to herself.
“We have the ability to channel our energy. That is about as much as I can tell you. You need to ask your aunt the rest. And,” he continued looking at his watch, “We need to get back.”
Tristan wondered if he should have told Ryleigh instead of leaving it to her aunt. He wanted to know what her aunt would say. He wanted to know if he could find out any more information about his parents. He wanted to know if Vera was someone they could trust.
Family history in the making
“Where were you today” was how the night started. Apparently Aunt Vera had been keeping tabs on Ryleigh. Tabs she was quite unaware of… until now.
“I was at school,” Ryleigh answered, praying she could dismiss an automated call with Tristan’s excuse.
“I would rethink your answer. I know you left school today with Tristan. Where did you go?” Aunt Vera pursued.
“Why don’t you tell me the truth and I’ll tell you the truth,” Ryleigh challenged. She hadn’t expected the answer Vera gave her and felt her privacy violated. She was seventeen, why did she need to be watched like a toddler.
“What I am going to tell you, you should have been told from the time you were able to understand words. Each child in our family is taught and instructed from the time they are born until they reach the age of seventeen. The age of
. Fae hood.” Ryleigh was not prepared for the next question. “Do you know what Faerie or Fae are?”
“Um, magical creatures in children stories,” Ryleigh asked hesitantly.
“Faerie is a conglomeration of all supernatural,” Vera replied.
“Supernatural,” Ryleigh repeated slowly. After her experience with Tristan, she knew she wasn’t normal.
“It is an all-inclusive term. Fae are every type of supernatural being you have heard or read about. Vampires. Werewolves. Demons. Witches. Fae are the keepers of the land and have existed since the beginning of the universe. Does that make sense?”
“We, meaning our family, our heritage…we are descendants of the Fae,” Vera waited for a response from her niece.
Ryleigh had always felt as if she were different. Under any other circumstance, she would dismiss this as crazy-talk and find a way to escape, quickly. Because of her experience with Tristan that afternoon, she knew Vera was telling the truth. That this was not crazy and she needed to know more.
Ryleigh closed her eyes and took a deep breath, “Aunt Vera, why have I never known about you or our family or any of this until now?”
“Let me tell you a little more about our history, and then I’ll answer your questions,” Vera responded. Ryleigh nodded as Vera continued.
“As I mentioned, Fae are supernatural. We co-existed with humanity for centuries. As humans evolved, their perceptions toward us changed. We became something to be feared because of our varying abilities. We were given negative connotations by humans and shoved into make-believe stories to sweep our kind under the rug. Fae were labeled as ones who caused death and destruction. Evil incarnate. This caused Fae to take on these personas that men gave them. We became the enemy.”
Vera signaled for Siegfried to refill her tea.
“Fae often disguised themselves as human after becoming something to be feared. They lived, they loved, they had children…” Vera trailed off for a moment.
“Ryleigh. We, our family and others - as descendants, we are half-breed, partial-breed.” Vera paused for a moment before asking, “Do you know what a succubus is?”
Ryleigh knew what a succubus was; she had read many stories involving the ill-fated demonic women who fed on sexual energy.
“Yes,” she replied, “I do.”
“Well then, you know what you are. You are Lilin.,” Vera crossed the room to sit in the lounger by the fire. Vera was breathtaking. Each move she made, even a twitch, seemed intentional. Vera closed her eyes, and her lashes, long and curling at the ends so perfectly made Ryleigh secretly jealous.
“I’m not sure what you mean…exactly,” Ryleigh slowly expelled with her breath. Confusion and enlightenment took over her brain. Ryleigh stared at her Aunt Vera for a moment and then realized that what she was saying might be true.
“I don’t get it. What do you mean I am a
?” Ryleigh was on the verge of panic and tears. She didn’t want to be anything construed as evil. She wasn’t a bad person. She didn’t want to be thought of that way.
Vera’s British accent filled the room crisp and proper, “I’ve already explained to you about our Fae past.” Vera became very serious. “Those of us that exist today, we are all part Fae. You my darling, are also part Fae.” Vera sat up from her chair and crossed to grab Ryleigh by the shoulders. Looking her in the eyes, “You must understand that you can never tell anyone. Nor can you have a relationship with a human. Ever.”
Ryleigh sucked in her breath and started to shake her head and stammer, “But-but, that doesn’t make any sense. Why now? This doesn’t make any sense!”
“Because my darling, when we turn seventeen, that is when we mature. Haven’t you felt different your whole life? Known things? Seen things that weren’t there you shrugged off to your imagination? Dreamt things to come true?” Ryleigh recognized some of what she experienced from Vera’s talk. She nodded in agreement, “You must understand, what happened to your parents….” Vera seemed to choke back tears. She sat still for a moment composing herself before she dropped out the bottom from Ryleigh’s world. “I know that your father is not dead.”
Ryleigh turned and stared at Vera with disbelief. Screwing up her eyes with a little anger, “What do you mean you know my father is not dead?” Ryleigh asked more forcefully. This was twice that she has heard that father wasn’t dead in one day and she was beginning to feel nauseous.
“I know this, because your father and I are twins. We have a connection. I know he is not dead because…I can feel it. I have been looking for him and your mother since I was contacted about you. Since I found you in the hospital.”
“But why have I never known you? Or anyone from our family?”
“Because your father and I had a falling out. He wanted to live as a human and I couldn’t handle that,” Vera could remember the argument her and Tom had the day he told her that his wife was pregnant. She remembered the argument so vividly it killed her inside.
“Although Tristan and Illeana are your cousins, I prefer you to stay away from them. They are trouble makers and will do
but get you into trouble. Stay away from them,” Vera’s eyes narrowed when mentioning Tristan and Illeana’s names. Ryleigh could feel the heat emanating from Vera’s skin and she started to wonder what type of Fae Vera was.
“Tomorrow, we will start training,” Vera pointed out as she started to walk out of the room.
“Training for what?” asked Ryleigh realizing what she needed training for the moment the words left her lips.
“You need to learn how to control your tendencies. Fae feed on the energy of humans.” Turning around she said, “You may be classified as a succubus, but that is not truly what you are. We fed false information to humans so they would not understand our kind. Our history is covered out there in vast misinformation.” Ryleigh nodded in agreement. “There are stories out there that are slightly true; however, there are stories out there that are completely false. Succubae being one of them. You are a Chi eater and a purveyor of energy. You are Lilin.”
Witches were the first human descendants of the Fae. They worked with Fae side-by-side, helping keep order between nature and humanity, balancing black and white, good and evil. Witches were also the first to be told of the Lilin and their abilities. While each class of Fae has their own abilities, Lilin are the most powerful. All Fae have a power within them, an ebb of energy that can be used to create life, defend themselves, or even extinguish life. This energy life force can also be passed from one to another as an inheritance and happened from parent to child.
With the good comes the bad. One the flipside of the other. It all started with one. Valen. He realized that the energy that flowed within them, could not just be passed from parent to child, but could also be stolen. Stolen from the young. Valen became greedy, consuming not only his own kind, but humans and Halflings, Fae/Human offspring.
When word got out what Valen was doing, it caused ripples throughout the Fae community and a separation defining light and dark, good and evil. Before Valen’s actions, there wasn’t a visible line separating what was good and what was not. The Fae had always worked together in harmony, symbiotically amongst each other.
His actions created panic and families went into hiding, fearing for themselves and for their children. Imprisoning themselves in the Sanctum. Prior to a Halfling child turning seventeen, their abilities lay dormant, unlike whole Fae whose abilities are apparent from the day they are born. Once a child reached the age of
, turning seventeen, their abilities were enabled. They came into full maturity. If not properly trained or harnessed, their power would spiral out of control killing them. Valen discovered this and his mission changed. He started to hunt seventeen-year old Halflings. He kidnapped sixteen year old children and on the child’s seventeenth birthday, he would extract the Chi they carried inside them, increasing his own power, killing them in the process. This made him extremely dangerous. With each extraction, he grew more powerful. The Elders attempted to control him and stop him from what he was doing but he slaughtered all of them. Save one. His sister, Tounala, Vera and Tom’s mother.
Because of this incident, Fae allowed humanity to believe they were evil and were forced to go into hiding. Imprisoned within the Sanctum. They were called demon and devils and cursed. The only Fae left in the open were Valen and his followers. They called themselves the Order and fed on whatever energy they could without replacing it. The energy became like a drug to them. They didn’t just need it to survive; they craved it, yearned for it with a deep intense longing. They wanted it all and it didn’t matter where they got it from.
They began to prey on humans. They infiltrated corporations, politics, and the government. Creating war, death, and destruction. Eventually, they began killing each other off, leaving only Valen behind.
Vera waited a few minutes for it all to sink in before she continued. It was a lot for Ryleigh to take in. She now understood why when she hugged Cy he reacted the way he did. There were so many questions but she wasn’t really sure where to begin.
“What happened to Valen,” Ryleigh asked.
“He’s dead,” Vera replied. Vera stood wiping her hands down her pants to straighten out invisible wrinkles. That was all she lended to Ryleigh for information. “We’ll start your training tomorrow,” Vera remarked on the way out and that was the end of the conversation.
That evening, Ryleigh dreamt for the first time since moving in with Vera. She was in a dank cave and following someone that she couldn’t see. “Hello?” she called out her voice echoing in front of her, bouncing off of the walls that illuminated her path. It was unlike she’d ever seen. Carved into the rock were swirls and symbols unfamiliar to her. From the grooves an iridescent green glowed providing enough light to prevent her from stumbling along. A slight breeze caressed her skin and ran through her long dark hair. She felt comfortable here.
The cave felt familiar and safe. Ryleigh felt the air shift and a weight on her shoulder. She turned her head slowly. She wasn’t scared. Sitting on her shoulder was a strange creature. It had the ears of a bat with a small squirrel face. Its skin was mottled with purples and pinks. “Just keep going,” it told her. She wasn’t sure what it was, but she knew that it belonged to her and wouldn’t steer her wrong.