1st Law: ‘High élanocyte count utilisers can deflect any energetic attacks from anyone of a lower count or status.’
2nd Law: ‘Only those of same count or status can re-produce. Usually, determined prior by surnames and blood types.’
3rd Law: ‘All surnames reflect their abilities given to every descendent, with higher élanocyte counts.
4th Law: ‘Higher counts are more diverse and more powerful. Strong Excelians bare stronger Excelians.’
“Nothing lasts forever.
Not pain. Not security. Not suffering.
And, especially not love.”
Gothalia Ignatius-Valdis always had the misfortune of causing fearamongst a crowd. Even, if that weren’t her initial intent. The type of woman, all Peacekeepers and guards alike, watched closely even from a young age, with caution and uncertainty in their hooded eyes.
Yes, eventheywere terrified of her.
They heard the stories; they heard the rumours. And above all, they read the reports of her bloodline. The documentation, that would forever socially exile her.
However, that was not always the case. There was once a time in her life Gothalia recalled the warmth of unconditional love and acceptance. A time in her life, when she wasn’t as alone and a time in her life, when everything was how it should be—peaceful and safe. Though, those times seemed so long ago. So distant. That not even Anaphora and L’Eiron, could rekindle such dormant forgotten feelings and neither could her cousins.
Even if they were always around, warning her to never go out without them, warning her to be in control of her emotions and above all warning her that her emotions, was what everyone feared. Never mentioning the demon within but the implication was there—it always was.
It was those emotions that both protected and harmed her.
Even now, as she glared at the men cornering her. She’d never felt more anger than she had in that moment, as they taunted her with intrusive questions like they used to when they were children.
Questions, Gothalia thought were far too invasive but questions they deemed themselves entitled to. “Are you really from the Ignatius clan?” one man asked. His eyes narrowed, and stepped closer to her. She caught a whiff of alcohol on his breath and she grimaced.
Before another queried, from beside him. “Aren’t you supposed to have blond hair?”
“Why’s your hair black?” Another asked. One man with brown hair and hazel eyes gripped the tresses of her thin hair that fell over her shoulder.
“It must be demon hair,” the first one said, and glanced at his blue-eyed friend. “Her eyes are black. Black as they come. There’s no colour in them and her skin’s darker than ours too.”
Gothalia remained silent. Until, a sharp yelp escaped her lips when another man on the other side of her yanked her hair, pulling her closer to him. “How dare she wear the insignia of the Ignatius clan and not even look like them? Can you even usefire?” The boy with amber eyes egged, regarding her closely with suspicion. “I bet ya you can’t. You mustn’t really be an Ignatius. You phoney.”
“Maybe she’s supposed to look like the Valdis demons?” Another announced.
“That’sexactlywhat everyone says.” the golden eyed man declared, staring Gothalia down.
“Aren’t you guys tired of those questions?” Gothalia remarked, gripping the wrist of one man that pulled at her hair. His grip loosened, stunned by her reaction.
A crowd had formed, long ago, and among them, Centurion Peacekeepers. Some smiled while others ignored the incident entirely but most of them watched and waited. With a trill of expectation buzzing the air. “How old are you lot, anyway? My age? Was it? Surely you’ve developed a brain by now.”
“What did you say?” The man in front of her asked.
His hostile golden eyes peered into hers.
“You heard me.” Gothalia remarked, with a cruel smirk, and twisted the man’s wrist as hard as she could until he released her hair completely. She smiled triumphantly at her little victory.
Her vicotry was short lived, when he struck her hard across the face, forcing her further against the wall. They surrounded her. “Don’t you demon scum have manners? I bet they did not teach ya any. You filthy savages.”
Gothalia wiped the blood from the corner of her mouth. “Takes one to know one, ass-wipe.”
“You little bitch! Let’s see you talk back when you’re six feet under.” The golden eyed man threatened. He was of the Barak clan, she recognised, and it showed when lightning permeated his fingers as he gripped her by the throat. Electricity shot through Gothalia’s entire system and she screamed in pain. Before another man punched her hard in the face spraying blood across the wall then in the stomach, forcing her to knees.
Even when she was on her knees, they attacked with an array of hard kicks. Gothalia returned a heated glare through her freshly bruised face once they paused and grabbed the ankle of the lightening utiliser. She forced, “Is that all you got? My grandma can hit harder than you.” A taunting smile pulled across her bloody lips. Anger and confusion twisted across every man’s face.
“Are you trying to die?” The golden eyed man asked hesitantly, the charge of electricity ceasing at his question. Her black eyes shifted to fiery crimson. Her bloodthirsty gaze tapered on her attacker and fear slithered through his entire frame. Subconsciously, he stepped back.
Before she could speak, a fist connected with his jaw. The force of it threw him from her. Another man was punched in the face and thrown from her.
Two men paused protectively before her, and the other men backed away. Her crimson eyes faded to black. “Cheap shot,” the lightening utiliser muttered, a member of the Barak clan, wiping the blood from his jaw before running his fingers through his equally golden hair once he was on his feet again. “But I bet ya you can’t get another one in.”
“Wanna to bet?” Anton threatened.
“Anton.” Gothalia gasped in surprise, then smiled when Maximus dropped beside her and helped her to her feet. “He’s not worth it.” she continued, wary of the number of Centurion Peacekeepers present and counting.
“And yet, they get away with hurting you. I’ll kill them.” Anton replied, his dark eyes observed the men surrounding them, with such hostility Gothalia pulled her eyes from him and peered at the nearby Peacekeepers in the crowd. Whom of which, eyed them carefully.
Their hands taunting poised on the hilts of their electric batons and the pummel of their swords. Worried, Gothalia gripped Anton’s arm.
“We have to go. Remember what Anaphora said.” Her thoughtful gaze on the Centurions and Anton followed her gaze. Then frowned. The Peacekeepers waited for them to react. Gothalia gripped his arm tighter and urged, “They’re not worth it.” Understanding, flashed across his eyes.
Discretely, a man kicked a small bag to Gothalia’s feet. She glanced at it curiously. Recognising, the red and gold lining the expensive lace, including the coins within. The same man peered at the Peacekeepers behind him with wide eyes and pointed at her. “She stole our money. We’re just getting it back,” he lied. The Peacekeepers approached.
Alarmed, Anton and Maximus glanced at each other, then with Gothalia, backed away. Her attackers smiled when the Peacekeepers unsheathed their swords and batons and marched to them.
Anton, Maximus and Gothalia backed up against the wall when the Peacekeepers paused. Fear contorted their features, and the men laughed. Even if they didn’t utter a word. “Stealing, are we?” the Centurion Peacekeeper asked. His red and silver uniform reminded everyone of his influence as he paused before Anton, whose arm stretched out protectively before Gothalia and Maximus. “That’s a big no-no.”
“We stole nothing,” Anton replied, staring the Peacekeeper down. “They can take back what they’ve planted.” He gestured to the bag on the ground.
“Anton.” Maximus declared, with concern.
“Planted?” the blue-eyed man yelled, outraged. “We did nothing of the sort. You liar!”
Anton’s eyes much like Gothalia’s narrowed. “Are you sure about that Garret?” Anton questioned, shrewdly eyeing him. His question caused the Peacekeepers to halt and their expressions to shift into one of confusion, uncertainty and hesitation. “Last time I checked, that bag has your family crest on it. As if a member of the Valdis clan would ever take money from one of the poorest aristocratic families. We may be ‘demons’ as you call us, but we do not need to take money from anyone. Let alone you lot.”
“What did you say?” Garret growled.
“You heard me,” Anton uttered, regarding Garret, dangerously. “We’re not thieves, and we don’t strike women or those of no threat. It’s beneath us.” The Peacekeepers eyed Garret who appeared equally alarmed as his friends. Convinced the Centurion Peacekeeprs sheathed their swords.
“I don’t see any crime being committed.” The highest ranking Peacekeeper concluded. “So, I don’t see any reason to be here. Move out.” He ordered his men. Swiftly, they turned their heel and walked away.
“But they—” Maximus declared.
“—Maximus!” Anton growled, in a rough whisper before clearly adding, “We’re leaving.” Without acknowledging the other men. He moved to Gothalia and took her from Maximus then guided her down the road. Anton glanced behind them once they were further down the road and scrutinised the men who watched them leave.
“I wonder what’s taking them so long.” Anaphora Reagan-Valdis declared, glancing at L’Eiron Augustin-Valdis as she placed the plates on the table beside the cutlery. “It’s getting late.”
L’Eiron pulled his eyes from the book he read, then out the window in contemplation as he observed the arriving sunset. “It is a littleunusual,” L’Eiron acknowledged, before closing the book and leaving the table.
“Where are you going?” Anaphora asked, curious. “Are you not hungry?”
With his back to her, he said, “I am. I’m just going to find them. Be back soon.”
Anaphora watched him leave. Her brows furrowed as she considered his words before her gaze drifted to the holographic clock on the wall then frowned.
L’Eiron vacated the manor and strode through the barren yet silent estate that once bubbled with life, contemplating where the reminder of their small family would be. Until, he noticed three figures entering the main gate, that led to a road and ran back to the city.
Closely, he eyed them then relaxed. They made it home okay. Until, an anxiousness washed over him as he watched Anton carry Gothalia on his back. L’Eiron jogged over to them, and they recognised his approach.
“Is she alright? What happened?” L’Eiron asked, concern etching into his features as he took in Gothalia’s bloodied and bruising face. Fury burned within the pit of his stomach as he marched to her. Gently, he ran his hand along the bruised cheek and dried blood. “Who did this?”
“The members of the Barak clan and their friends.” Anton spat. “Gothalia was hurt pretty bad. Do we have any medical supplies?”
“Yes, inside. Anaphora!” L’Eiron called, taking Gothalia from Maximus. He rushed her up the driveway, the stairs and into the house. Anaphora’s thudding footfalls echoed throughout the foyer as she ran down the stairs.
“What’s wrong—!” she asked, and took in Gothalia’s unexpected condition and ran to her. Worry and fear contorted her graceful features. “What happened?”
“The members of the Barak clan,” Anton answered, his frown deepening.
“I’m fine,” Gothalia managed, the moment everyone fussed over her. “It’s just a couple of cuts and bruises. I’ll be okay.” Gothalia climbed to her feet, then regretted it in an instant, when her entire side lit up in a fury of pain. She wasn’t too sure if the pain was because of where they’d kicked her, or how hard they had. Anaphora regarded the injuries. She’d known Gothalia to never bruise easily. It was in that moment she understood, those men threw everything they had behind their attacks. “Disgusting,” L’Eiron muttered, regarding Gothalia.
Anaphora didn’t utter a word.
Everyone watched Gothalia with concern and regret. Conflicting emotions splashed across everyone’s features before Anaphora’s lips pursed into a grimace as her eyes methodically ran over Gothalia’s injuries. Mentally counting and assessing each external injury. “Who did this?” Anaphora asked.
“The members of the Barak clan.” Maximus replied.
“She means specifically,” L’Eiron added.
Anton and Maximus glanced at each other. “We don’t know, they never said each other’s names.” Anton swiftly replied.
Deep in thought, Anaphora regarded Gothalia. “Could you identify these men if we requested for a Peacekeeper?” Anaphora queried, and Gothalia fell silent before Anaphora recognised the anger marring her features and the frown of her lips.
“They were there. They watched.” Both L’Eiron and Anaphora fell silent.
“Then I guess that answers that.” Anaphora replied grimly and helped Gothalia to her feet. “Let’s get you to your room. L’Eiron will call for a physician.” L’Eiron quickly moved from the foyer and retreated further into a house.
“Is there anything we can do?” Anton asked.
“There is,” Anaphora began, and led Gothalia away before adding, “Find out who did this and make them regret it.” At those words, both men nodded and exited the manor.
Once Anton and Maximus vacated the house, Maximus trailed Anton. “Why didn’t you tell Anaphora the truth? You know who one is. Isn’t that enough for us to go on? And besides, I don’t like that we lied.”
“If Anaphora found out who he was, who knows what she’d do.” Anton declared, deep in thought. “We can’t risk anymore problems. And that’s only her. We’re not even considering what L’Eiron would do if he found out who was responsible.”
“But it’s for Gothalia’s sake.” Maximus avowed once they were at the gate. His dark eyes much like Anton’s and Gothalia’s lingered over the city below. “I mean, it’s for us too wouldn’t it be?” Anton fell silent. Contemplating his words for a moment before marching down the road. “Also, why are we walking?”
“I need to think,” Anton replied.
“You can do that in a car.” Maximus articulated, with a furrow of his brows. Stopping, he glared after his brother.
“No, we can’t. They’ll recognise the car. At least if we walk. We’ll blend in.”
“Fine, but you’re buying dinner. I’m starving.” With that, Maximus followed Anton down the road, and into the outer city districts. However, it wasn’t until later that evening after they’d bought food from one of the few shops that’d serve them. Maximus and Anton heard a disturbance, outside a nearby pub. Out of curiosity, they investigated.
“You low-life worthless—!” a man shouted, then there was acrackbefore Maximus and Anton spotted a man thrown across the road. Onlookers from within, observed the interaction with curiosity and concern. Maximus and Anton regarded the brunette man with his sheathed sword in hand on the pub stairs. The light from the venue shadowed him, making it hard for both Anton and Maximus to discern his features, but Anton recognised the stance. The stranger placed his sheathed sword on his waist and relaxed his stance before striding to the injured man in the middle of the road.
“What’s going on?” Maximus asked.
“Not sure,” Anton declared, moving closer.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite hear you. What was that?” the man taunted, striding to the man.
“I said you’re a low-life! All Centurions are! You can’t even rid the world of the Xzandians and the Alastorians and yet you allow men and women to perish for a dying cause. It’s ridiculous! A waste of time and hard-earned taxpayer’s money.” Once Anton and Maximus were close enough, they saw the anger marring the Centurion’s features as he cracked his knuckles and took in his red, black and silver uniform. The sword at his waist sheathed in black, accompanied by the clipped daggers on his right leg. His family insignia on his shoulder while the Dragon Core emblem branded on his back and his rank on his chest.
“I suggest you watch what you say,” the Centurion warned. “Or I might crush you.” At that, the earth shattered then shifted beneath them. The other man regarded the ground, alarmed. Fearful, of the earth utiliser.
“Go ahead!” he fearfully managed. “You aristocratic families are all Regali aren’t you? While the rest of us are expected to be Caligati. Or am I wrong? Having you end me here now would prove that I was right. You Centurions aren’t honourable. You’re pathetic. I’m just surprised no one has abandoned their posts and—”
When the Centurion stopped before the man, he bent down and pulled the other man by the front of his shirt. The Centurion’s gaze darkened. “—And what? Say it, I dare you, because you know what. Civilians who don’t know what they’re talking about, should keep their traps shut. Many of my comrades have fallen so you can keep your freedom. If it weren’t for us—the specialised unit mind you. You’d all be corpses or slaves to the Xzandians. I’d watch where you step because the next person you run into may not be as merciful as me.” He threw the man from him and marched to where Anton and Maximus stood. Both Anton and Maximus stepped aside and watched him leave.
Maximus and Anton regarded the insignia on his shoulder. “That man . . .” Maximus began. “He’s . . .”
“—I know,” Anton declared. “It’s best we keep out of his way.”
“Run-away why don’t you! You’re all talk and no bite,” the man called after the Centurion who retreated into the shadows of the silent street. “You’re a coward. A worthless low-life just like the rest of your—”
The man’s words were silenced when Anton’s fist connected with his jaw, knocking him out. The Centurion paused, when the other man collided with the ground.
“Will you give it a rest already?” Anton articulated, more annoyed than disgusted, “you’re scaring everyone.” The Centurion turned around and moved to Anton, passing Maximus who was equally surprised by his brother’s reaction.
“You didn’t need to do that,” the Centurion declared, with a kind smile and held out his hand. “But I appreciate the gesture nonetheless.”
“No problem,” Anton declared and took it. Shaking his hand.
The Centurion began, “My name’s Danteus Nero-Drausus. Thank you for what you’ve done today, it won’t be forgotten. Unfortunately, he’s been causing me problems all week and I guess I just snapped,” Danteus looked away shamefully. “I know I should be in control at all times but well . . . you heard what he said.”
“I don’t blame you. The mouth on him.” Anton remarked, glaring at the unconscious man. “This is my younger brother Maximus and I’m Anton.”
“And your family?” Danteus asked, respectfully. Both Anton and Maximus shared a worried look. “What? You’re not aristocrats? It’s okay,” he declared, with a gentle laugh. “I won’t judge.” Anton shifted and allowed Danteus to glimpse the family crest on his back. Danteus’s eyes widened, as he observed the Valdis insignia. “Oh.”
Danteus regarded both men thoughtfully. “We know. We get it. We’ll leave you alone.” Anton declared and motioned to leave with Maximus following but Danteus stopped them.
“Did I say you had to leave me alone?” he asked them, deep in thought. “I know the stories that surround your family aren’t good but so far you seem—alright.” Danteus’s bright smile caught them off guard. Then they returned his smile and glanced at each other with equally large grins. “What brings you guys here, anyway? Normally, you lot don’t wander far from your estate.”
Anton’s gaze darkened as did Maximus’s, this surprised Danteus, who regarded both men cautiously. “We’re searching for someone and figured we’d look here. Where he’s known to be.”
“And who’s this exactly?”
“Garret Barak.” Maximus chimed in, causing a swift glare from Anton, who cowered beneath his brother’s scathing gaze.
“I know who you’re talking about. I heard he’s a bit of a troublemaker. What did he do this time?” Danteus inquired, then glanced at the man on the ground. “But first, we should probably get out of here before the Peacekeepers find us.”
“Good idea,” Anton declared. Danteus and Maximus ran down the road and rounded a corner. After they rounded the corner, they glanced down the road and noticed the teleported Peacekeepers in the distance who regarded the unconscious man on the ground. “That was fast.”
“Peacekeepers aren’t like the Police on the surface world they don’t waste time.” Danteus remarked. “I’m so going to get in trouble when my superiors hear about this.”
“Hey, it was all for a noble cause,” Anton voiced with a smirk, from where he stood beside Danteus. Turning his heel, Anton ran down another road while the others followed, until they heard a voice call from one of the narrow alleyways in La Volpe Heights.
“Look who it is. Demon scum,” a voice called from the shadows.
Anton paused and squinted, into the darkness, where out stepped five men armed with swords and short daggers. Such hostility stunned Anton and Maximus both of whom were unarmed. Finally, out of the shadows, strode a Centurion in equal rank to Danteus. A heavy arrogance straightened the frame of the other Centurion Danteus easily recognised.
“Danteus, what are you doing with those low-lives?” he playfully asked.
“Rufus, my old friend. I thought you were on a mission. It’s a surprise to see you here.” Danteus casually replied.
“Don’t dodge the question.” Rufus declared. His brown eyes narrowed on Danteus’s green eyes. “I would like to know what you’re doing with thoseoutsiders.”
“What does it look like?” Danteus replied, with a causal shrug. “I’m making new friends.”
Rufus laughed a hearty laugh. “You? A friend of the Valdis? That’s comical. Stop playing around and tell me the real reason.”
“Rufus, is that your name?” Anton declared cutting off Danteus. A sudden anger coated his voice. “What a ridiculous name. Where’s Garret?”
“How should I know? And what would you want with him?”
Anton cracked his knuckles. “I have a score to settle with that pathetic excuse of a man.”
“Oh, do you now?” Rufus queried. A dark smile contorted his features as he gazed upon Anton. With a snap of his fingers. The other men that once stood beside Rufus ran at Anton and Maximus. Anton dodged their elemental attacks and squared up to face the next attack. However, Danteus shoved him out of the way in time when ice shot up from the ground, almost impaling him.
“Anton!” Maximus called, before blocking an attack from the enemy. Easily, Maximus slipped past his attacker and elbowed him in the throat.
“Thanks for that,” Anton said, as Danteus helped him to his feet.
“No problem,” Danteus declared, with a kind smile. Danteus, Anton and Maximus faced the approaching men. “You know, I’ve been itching for a fight.”
“Oh really?” Rufus declared, from where he stood behind his friends. Anton and Maximus fought off the other men but not without a few mild cuts.
“Yeah,” Danteus declared, as the remaining men attacked. The ground shifted. Within seconds, the earth rose in thick cubes of earth and swiftly took out his attackers. When all the men fell, he eyed Rufus. “Why don’t you show me what you’ve got?” Small balls of earth hovered in circles above Danteus’s open palm and watched Rufus with a deadly smile.
Rufus despised the arrogance on his face. “You’re dead.”
Thank you for reading chapter 1. Chapter 2, now up! x
A science-fiction dystopian world with superhuman elemental manipulators known as Excelians who live within the Earth’s Crust as they hunt for the twelve pieces of Midnight Eclipse. In the underground country of the Fire Reserve, New Icarus is home to the Excelians. Long ago, they were Human but due to a suppressed gene every Human carried, they awakened, then were hunted and feared for their exceptional abilities. Centuries have passed since those dark times, and the Excelians now live peacefully in the City of New Icarus, harnessing the power of their élanocytes cells that give them their elemental and supernatural abilities. A series that follows the story of Gothalia and Noel-Len who have to survive an ancient war. Read more about Excelian Universe.
Thank you for reading!
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