The Children of Aris (An Original Group Story)

The world of Aris has been overcome with a new species, elves. They are thought to be evil, but are they really?

Chapter 1

The Bringer of Karma ~ Ashen Willow

by: Grunge
Gagged with a bloody cloth. Bound tightly to the wall with rusted chains. Soon to perish by my very own hands. Right before me was a man, of elven kind, completely vulnerable to my frequent attacks of brutality and torture. I was taught to bring suffering to others that had done wrong in the past, it was a duty of mine, I was the bringer of karma. This man was of the elven race which meant he was an evil being, he was cold-blooded. He deserved to be punished for his heartless doings and I was the one meant to inflict the punishment. You see, a very long time ago the humans lived in a peaceful world. That’s what I was, a human, I was no dirty elf. Over hundreds of years in the past, the humans lived in purity and solitude. No problems seemed to ever graze the surface of humanity, but of course nothing would last forever. The everlasting peace did not stay, it vanished right before our eyes.

Our world was overtaken.

One day a boy with strange pointed ears was spotted in the woods, he was a horrible omen, a warning telling us that there was more of his kind, and that they would have no mercy. Our suspicions grew stronger and stronger as we began to spot more of the strange pointed eared ones. Eventually we noticed they had made colonies, villages of their race. We named them elves.

The elves had started to become something, and they weren’t one of us.

We had decided that the elven ones had to leave our land, we had to get rid of them. Our race soon announced the arrival of war against all elven kind. To this day we still participate in the blood oriented vendetta, lives are frequently lost from both sides of the war. My own mother was killed in a battle by the hands of an elven man, one much like the one I had bound and tied up in front of me now.

Our entire world is now revolved around the extermination of the elven race. All children are trained to be useful to the war, either to fight and kill the elves, or to serve our kingdom by providing trades or displaying certain talents such as cooking. We lived in the Kingdom of Aris and we were the Children of Aris, forever pulled into the quarrel between the two races of the land. My name is Ashen Willow, I’m a Mage in training, I was meant for battle. Other than casting spells and conjuring beings of different dimensions, I learned from my father who was the kingdom’s torturer. He taught me the ways of a bringer of karma, and that’s what I was doing right now, inflicting pain to an elven being who has done wrong.

“Please, I beg for your mercy!” the elven man cried from before me. I squinted my cold silver eyes at him and brought the blade I held closer to his throat. He flinched at it’s cold metal surface when it grazed his fine skin. I wouldn’t kill him yet, he still hadn’t suffered enough. I clutched my glowing fuchsia sapphire pendant in my free hand. My mother had given this to me the night before she was killed as a gift, now it’s the only thing I had left of her. It was all the elves fault, they killed her.

“Leave me be!” he screamed as the blade sliced into the soft skin of his neck. A beautiful ruby substance emerged from beneath the blade, blood. A small smirk stretched across my hollow looking face. I can imagine being in the elf’s place, being maimed and tortured by a mere seventeen year-old girl. It must be sort of embarrassing in a way, or just hurtful. I traced the blade around his face, creating a magnificent incision that stretched across his eyes to his chin vertically. Skin would be removed before he died.

“Ashen!” a familiar voice pierced my ears. It was my teacher, Silvia. I whirled around in a smooth, elegant movement.

“Can’t you see I’m busy?” I asked her. Her soft amber eyes searched my icy metallic ones.

“Come.” she whispered. I sighed, slit the elf’s throat quickly behind my back to end his life, and began to follow her out of the torture chamber. When my dad arrived, he’d clear out the body.

Silvia lead me around the castle gardens, I studied the abundance of flowers as we whisked past. A cluster of colored petals stood on pale green stems nearby a pond. I spotted bluebells, my favorite, so I bent down and cracked one from the ground then placed it in my charcoal colored hair.

“Although I’ve known you for years, your sadistic mind is just now starting to disturb me.” Silvia called as she looked behind her shoulder at me. I chuckled, I grew up with it, I got it from my father. Silvia wasn’t one to be afraid of blood either, but I still wasn’t surprised to hear her say that. Silvia wasn’t as brutal as I was, nobody really was except my father. I wasn’t brutal and sadistic all the time though, it just wasn’t efficient to be that way. Then again, Silvia never saw me torture and kill someone like that before. I guess it bothered her, but she’d just have to live with it.

“So where are we going?” I asked. Her eyes widened and she stopped in her tracks.

“You don’t remember!?” she questioned, baffled and taken aback. The soft wind blew her wheat-blonde hair in her face, she readjusted it with a dainty caramel hand. Silvia and I sort of contrasted against each other, but we still got along fairly well. I was rather intimidating at first, and cold, but she was friendly, welcoming, and outgoing. Other than our personalities varying from one another, our physical appearances did as well. She was on the short side, sort of skinny, and was defined in friendly warm colors. Her eyes were a welcoming amber that glowed in pure daylight and her hair shone a natural golden. Then there was me, who looked about as dead as my victims. I was on the tall side, and very frail looking. My skin was sheet white, and my facial shadows were dark. I had high cheekbones, and I was kind of gaunt looking in a way. However, being small didn’t mean I lacked strength. I was only slightly built, but I was quite a power house at times. As a Mage I didn’t need too much brute force, we used magic, but I did have it. Other than my body type, my hair and eyes added to my lifeless look. My eyes were an emotionless pool of cold stone and my hair was an extremely dark gray, almost black, like my fathers. It was pin straight, shiny, and cascaded down to my rather wide hips. Usually the King and Queen of Aris assigned teachers who were alike to their students, but in my case they hadn’t. At least it turned out good in the end, Silvia and I were actually a good match.

“Ashen!” her voice pulled me out of my thoughts, and I remembered what she had asked me.

I shook my head at her question. I had no clue what was going on today.

“It’s the Pre-Exam day!” she cried, now facing me.

Oh, right, so it was. I’d totally forgotten.

Every three years we would have the Examinations, they we held to test our strengths in the category we were training as. We would be assigned into squads of six, all Children of Aris. Usually the squads consisted of at least one Mage and one Cook or Maid, and probably two Hunters and Warriors each. The squads would travel out into the wilderness, without a teacher, and were to find at least one elven being, capture them and bring them back to the Kingdom. It actually wasn’t a very easy task, the human race still didn’t know where the elves kept their colonies. That’s what made this a challenge, and there was also the threat of being killed out there. Aris wasn’t a safe land, there were dangerous wild animals, and rouge humans that would kill on site. On top of that you never know when an elf would spontaneously appear, they could kill you too. For the Examination, you had exactly one year to achieve the goal, to capture an elf and bring them back to Aris. I know a year seems like a long time, but it doesn’t when you get lost and cannot find your way back, or simply cannot spot any elves. Believe me, I’ve done it before. If you don’t come back, the King and Queen will assume of your deaths and will send out a searching squad to retrieve your bodies for burial. If you still come back to the Kingdom within the year, but you carry no elven hostage with your squad, you will be reassigned to a new teacher and you’ll no longer train to be the person you were training to be before. For example, if I returned to Aris at the end of this year without an elf, I wouldn’t continue training to be a Mage afterwards, I’d have to change categories because I clearly hadn’t learned enough in the past three years. It was sort of disappointing, but it happens.

Silvia and I reached the magnificent brass doors of the Castle itself. It was a beautiful site to see. It stood a massive seven or so stories and was harnessed in stone and brass. The castle had been built over thousands of years ago, before we first spotted the elves. Silvia slid through the doors and I followed close behind her. When we emerged into the main throne room, we found out we were late. Everyone had already arrived and was seated. I looked at Silvia who was beat red with embarrassment. A full time maid whisked over to us and quietly directed us into a free seat. I noticed that the ceremony had already started, there was already a squad chosen, they were standing at the edge of the room. It appeared as two Mages, a Maid, a Hunter, and two Warriors. It was a pretty decent set up, I recognized a few of them, they would work well together. The next squad announced consisted of three Hunters, one Warrior, one Cook, and one Mage. That squad would defiantly do good with three Hunters. Hunters were skilled in tracking and stealth, and by the looks of it, those hunters were very good at what they did. The newly formed squad strolled up to the front of the massive room and shook hands. For them it might’ve been the very first time they met each other. That’s how it was sometimes, you might be put in a group full of kids who have never even saw before.

“I shall now announce the third squad!” thundered the King from his giant velvet throne. His voice was kind of harsh and crisp, but also reassuring. That’s what you looked for in a King. “The first member of the third squad is Xavier Vega, the Hunter!”

I’ve seen him around before, he’s usually out hunting with the side companion of a black cat. I catch his eye whenever I walk from the torture cellar to the library or garden.

“Next will be the Cook, Mcallister Ravenwood!”

A cook, as the King said, I hardly see him except when I’m buying food. He was a skilled cook but I suspect that had got a lot more to him under the surface.

“We’ll also have two Warriors in this squad; Tate Michaels and Alexia Mckee!”

Tate, a name thrown around a lot. He was one of the most handsome Children of Aris, most of the girls claim to be in love with him. Sure he was good looking, but he never said anything, and he was actually some sort of a criminal, a thief. Alexia is someone I’ve never heard of before, or saw.

“We’ll have one more hunter, Karen Blackwood,”

I’ve think I’ve spotted her hunting once, maybe.

“And one Mage, Ashen Willow!”

Oh, so this was my squad. I looked at Silvia who gave me a proud smile.

“You’ll do just fine, I believe in you.” she whispered in my ear. I also thought the same thing she had just said out loud. She patted me on the back as I saw the rest of my squad rise.

Together, my squad and I walked towards the King. We would set of in a weeks time, we would get prepared together, get to know each other.

I just hoped we wouldn't perish in the unknown forest together.

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