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|This is an excerpt from a novel I would like to someday complete. It's of a flashback belonging to Miyetaran, whom can be seen in my gallery.||
By: Jennifer Hoffman
As he gazed out over the countryside of Gaia, Miyetaran pressed his back against the rough stone that still held the night's chill. His heart was stabbed by the richness of color in the green landscape; the vibrant emerald was only broken by the crystalline waters of a lake. Nestled amid the thick blankets of forest, it gleamed like a mirror for a moment before a small gust of wind caressed its surface, scattering the pristine reflection.
From the height of the cliff on which he perched, the harmony of the land below could be fully appreciated. There was no human touch here, nothing to mar the natural brilliance. He could smell the tranquility in the clarity of the air. He could see it in the movement of the tree tops as the sweeping wind made its way ever closer. Serenity such as this could never exist without the work of a vigilant dragon, and it pained him to know that the dragon he was closest to had long forgotten its ancient obligations. His beloved was a mar on the reputation of those noble creatures.
Feeling his thickly layered cloaks begin to flap slowly, he released a tired sigh. Bowing his head, he let his light silky hair brush across his face unchecked . He let it dance about in the breeze that had managed to survive to these heights. The crisp, fresh air that filled his nostrils made his not-quite-human muscles eager to soar. In combination with the dampness of the dew that clung to him, the anticipation of flight sent a shiver through him. Holding himself here for now, he reveled in the silence that rested upon the land. The beautiful silence, broken only by the occasional rush of the wind around him, was something he might never have known, something the rest of his people would never have the opportunity to know.
Where he came from, silence was nonexistent. The tortured, black planet which he had known as home was constantly plagued by rumbling earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; the atmosphere itself would burn the lungs of the unwary. He remembered clearly the life, trapped in underground cities by the gasses above and only able to see the light of day on rare occasions his master chose. His people would still be there, slaves of the dragon he had served for so many years. His brethren would never know this freedom, could never know the gift Yurisa had given to him.
Tilting his head up slightly, Miyetaran gazed through the loose strands of hair that darted carelessly across his vision. The early morning shadows that danced playfully over the mottled canopy of the forest reminded him of what Yurisa could not give to any more of his people.
She could never know what she had given to him, what she meant to him.
He tossed back his head and unfurled his wings, dispelling the dew that had built up on them over the night. Taking a deep breath of the refreshing air and feeling the warmth of the sun's young rays touch his wings, he quietly thanked whatever spirit of fate had sent him out that day. Of the thousands of minions his old master had had at its disposal, he had been chosen for the mission to capture an enemy slave. If he had not gone on that mission and had not targeted Kion, then he would never have met Yurisa, would never have found freedom.
Indulging in one last deep breath, Miyetaran fell forward off of the ledge, flapping his wings lazily. Relishing the gentle strain in his shoulder muscles and the powerful upward pull on his wings with each strong down-stroke they made, he let the rush of the wind in his ears take him back to a former life.
It was a sound he hadn't heard in ages, the joyous howl of the wind. It sang to him its lonely and hollow song, glorifying his people, as he soared higher. Both above and below were now swallowed by abysmal shadows, obscuring the true height of the massive pillar he was circling. He knew it was lofty, if only because the sharp, metallic smell of the city below had dwindled almost to nothing. Here the prominent odor was of the age-old stone that made up the pillar. Its barely visible black surface was crumbling, a testament of how long the monument had stood. He had to wonder if ancient ruins marked its surface, but he would never find out. The only light here came from a glowing mark around his neck.
He raised a hand to his throat and the great shadows that swept across his vision told him he was in the right place. However, the smooth skin there held no sign of the brand he'd had since birth. Often times, when he was young, he'd closed his eyes and pretended that it didn't exist, that he was free.
"Foolishness," he breathed. Freedom was a fairy tale, an invention of children who didn't yet understand the beauty of life. Life was hard, but together, his people would survive under the protection of their master. His master had taught him the truth of that the first time he'd been summoned to the pillar. Atop this pillar, which stabbed through the heart of their city, was the place his master resided. Though it was sacred to his people, it was full of mystery with little known about it beyond rumors. Truthfully, he'd only been summoned here twice in his life, but even had it been more often, he wouldn't remember the details. Looking upon the master was taboo, and chancing a glance around was too risky for his taste. There would be no way to hide an accidental viewing from the collective consciousness of his people, and they wouldn't allow such an offense to go unpunished.
Before his thoughts could wander any further, his vision was suddenly flooded with light. Although shady at best, the contrast from the previous darkness made him blink rapidly as his eyes fought to adjust. He didn't need to see, however, as a heady scent assaulted his nostrils and hailed the arrival of his destination.
Even blinded, he wasted no time in prostrating himself. Angling his wings down and inward, Miyetaran hardly had a chance to brace for the collision before the wind was knocked from his lungs. The coarse sand that covered the top of the pillar stung his bare palms, but nonetheless, pride filled him. The ever-present link between master and puppet was its strongest at these close quarters, and the consciousness of the deity poured into him. In comparison to that heavenly avalanche, no amount of pain was worth his attention. Besides, the layers of soft robes he wore had protected the rest of him.
Coughing up some of the bitter grit that had showered him upon impact, Miyetaran forced down a wince as he pulled himself to his knees. It would take weeks to rid himself of all the sand, but that thought flitted out of his mind as well. He was before his master; nothing else mattered.
Folding his wings and pressing a fist to his heart, Miyetaran pronounced in his strongest voice, "I answer your summons, my queen."
"And very promptly, child," the unreal, yet familiar voice replied. It was a deep hiss, really, though nothing like any earthly creature could achieve. It echoed upon itself and rumbled up from the ground below him, as though the rock itself was speaking. Despite the rough sound, the tone of the voice was entrancingly sweet. "I see I have done right in choosing you for this job. Your loyalty is unspoiled by regard for yourself; I have taught you well."
"I live to serve," Miyetaran stated when his master paused.
"Look at me, child."
There was no mistaking it as anything but a command. Uncertainty flickered through Miyetaran, but long years of practice kept it from registering on his face. The others would not forgive him for this no one in memory had ever gazed upon the master however, he could not disobey a direct order.
Slowly, his eyes wandered from the spot in front of him on which they'd been fixed. They followed the furrowed sand forward until they came to rest upon long, obsidian talons that were nearly as thick as Miyetaran's wrist and covered in the wear and tear of battle. Flexing and relaxing in agitation, they had long since carved deep ruts in the soft ground.
"Is something the matter, my master?" he asked, carefully controlled concern trickling through him.
"I see you are courageous as well, my child," the creature commended, a parental pride emanating from its rumbling voice. "You are my chosen. Listen carefully to what I say. It shall shape our destiny for all eternity."
"I am listening," Miyetaran replied without hesitation. Chosen? ...then, there is no way the others will accept me again. I am sorry, my brothers.
"My race is a proud one, as you well know," the honeyed voice began. "I have guarded your people and our home without fear for ages. However, now another of my kind is beginning to gain power. As it stands she may one day grow to challenge me unless something is done. I won't allow anyone to harm my children, as you well know."
Miyetaran nodded solemnly, "What do you ask of me?"
"Go to her now, while she is still in the young stage of her life-cycle, and take from her one puppet," his master instructed. "Through it I will become immune to her powers. You see child, the power of my race is like a virus. Once infected, there is no escape and no desire for such, for you become connected to us. Just as my children share one mind with me, so I would like for my sister to be of one mind with me. Imagine what strength our family would have then! Nothing would be able to threaten us."
Again, Miyetaran nodded. This time, however, determination was settling in, "I will go. For you and for the sake of your sister, I shall go." Standing up and bowing his head respectfully, he waited for further instruction.
"The distance is great, my child, and your abilities alone would not transport you to her home planet," the motherly beast explained. "I shall send you there myself. Come, stand in the center of my light."
As he raised his head, Miyetaran noticed for the first time the ring of eight, black lamp stands about the raised center of the pillar. Topped by eight violet flames, they were the source of the illumination that he had now become accustomed to.
Doing as he had been instructed, he walked to the center of the circle and turned to look at his master who stood just beyond the intricately carved dais.
"Be strong, my child." The words faded away as the scene wavered like a mirror's reflection turning to water. Everything blurred together into a colorless void as the smell of his master and the stone dissipated. The previously unnoticed sound of restless claws scratching vanished as well, leaving only a deep, impenetrable silence.
Miyetaran patiently waited for what he knew would come, and in only a few short moments, the process began to reverse itself. Now, however, the air that filled his lungs was brimming with varied scents. The delicate mixture of flowers and rich soil, of vegetation and clean water, seemed as alien to him as the gentle rustle of leaves in the wind. He'd never experienced these before in his life, but through the consciousness that he shared with his people, he knew what they were. This was a forest planet. Soon the shapeless green masses forming across his vision would be come trees. He crossed his arms and watched them slowly come into focus.
When finally things stopped changing, the world that had settled into place was lush and vivid. Squinting from the glare of real sunlight, Miyetaran's lips tightened into a thin line. It was bright! His lavender eyes had never experienced such light in his life, and he wasn't so sure had been missing out on anything. Holding up a hand to shield his eyes from the onslaught, he scanned the thick forest. He had no idea what he was supposed to be looking for, but as he turned around, his doubts were washed away.
Brushing aside a leafy fern that stretched clean to his chest, Miyetaran took a step toward the crimson structure that towered as tall as the trees around it. It was like no architecture that he had ever known, and a brief, mental scan of his people's consciousness told him he was not alone in this ignorance. The first impression that the place gave him was of a moist lump of clay pressed down into the forest. There were no seams readily apparent, and the entire place seemed as if it had grown with the forest. Exploring the soil like massive tree roots, the base of the building appeared disturbingly organic. Shaking his head, he followed the blood-red wall with his eyes, taking note of the rich, purple veins that spider-webbed its surface. Above, long tendrils streaked upward from the main structure like bony, crimson fingers clawing at the heavens.
Walking up to the surface, he raised a hand to touch it, but as he neared it, he drew back quickly. Something within him had screamed. What could set off his natural defenses this way, he did not know, but he trusted them whether or not he understood. Lifting his hand again, he cautiously moved it near to the surface, this time not pulling away when his internal alarm sounded. Careful to not actually touch anything, he held his hand close to the building. A definite heat, though faint, was radiating from it.
"I see we have a visitor."
Being extremely sensitive to the presence of life energy back home, the fact that someone had snuck up on him that he couldn't detect any life energy even now was unsettling. However, the first life lesson the youth of his people learned was to mask emotion. If one couldn't mask emotion, he was as good as dead in the harsh world. Enemies preyed on it. Over thousands of years, the skill seemed to have become a part of his people's blood.
Therefore, it was with a face devoid of anything that he turned and gazed at the odd speaker. Her long, wild hair was as dark a red as the building behind him, and her eyes were an emerald no less deep. Perhaps it was their dank home, but his own people's eyes were always fair. It looked on to see someone with such dark spots in her face. Also in stark contrast to what he was accustomed to was the girl's clothing. Flowing easily with her motion, the cloth had to be thin. Cloth like that couldn't offer much protection, and clothing for any other purpose seemed absurd. Regardless of what he thought, though, her clothing was definitely for show. The top of the dress matched the crimson color of the strange building and melted into the deep violet of the building's veins.
"And he's quiet too," the girl giggled. Her words were carefree and her expression equally as lighthearted. The smile, as though nothing in the world could ever be wrong, was as foreign to him as the wings that were missing from her back. "Is there something I can do for you?"
"I am," Miyetaran began, his mind spinning a tale to feed her, "searching for the chosen one."
"Say what?" the girl cocked her head to the side, curiosity plainly written in her features.
"I was told I could find him here," he replied cooly. "It is very important to my people that I find the chosen one."
"Well, I'm not sure you'll find any chosen one' around here," she commented, putting a finger to her lip thoughtfully. "It's just Kion and I here now. Mother used to be here as well, but she passed on a short while ago."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Miyetaran lied. Only the girl and this "Kion" were here? That narrowed his search considerably. He needed to find the dragon here and kidnap one of its puppets, one of its children. "Your mother, what was she like?"
"Well, I didn't really know her too well," the girl answered hesitantly, fear touching her face for a moment. After a slight pause, though, the warmth returned to her voice and she smiled. "I'm sorry. You don't even know my name yet," she chuckled a bit as she said it, then extended her hand. "I'm Yurisa. Pleased to meet you."
Almost taking her hand to shake it, as the memories of his people told him the custom should be, he was interrupted by a shout.
"Yurisa, who are you talking to over there?"
"We have a visitor, Kion!" the girl called over her shoulder, completely forgetting what she had been about to do.
Miyetaran silently thanked the spirits of fate. As he'd reached for her hand, he'd felt the same alarms as when he almost touched the wall. It seemed impossible that this girl could be a sister to his master, but if there were only two people here to choose from, and if she elicited such a response from his body, then there was no doubting what she was.
"What's his name?" The nearness of the new voice snapped Miyetaran out of his thoughts in time to see a tall, black-haired man step out of the undergrowth. Again, he was unable to detect life energy. Whoever these people were, their life force was made of a different energy than he had ever known. Being so unaware of their presences was uncomfortable, so Miyetaran settled on sizing up the new man. His spiked hair and thick shoulders gave him a tough appearance, though the way he held himself said he would be able to react quickly if the need arose.
"I didn't catch it yet," Yurisa answered, blushing slightly. "I was just about to ask him."
"What's your name?" the man demanded. His deep, nearly black eyes were anything but trusting, though they seemed to relax when he saw the girl was unhurt. That is, if a panther could be called relaxed.
"I am called Miyetaran." The name would mean nothing to these people.
"Well, Miyetaran," Yurisa said delightedly, "meet Kion! It's just the two of us around here, like I said, but you're welcome to stay if you'd like. Now that I think about it, you must be a long way from home. I'll go get a room ready for you!" With that, she darted off into the forest along the wall.
Kion started to follow her, but paused a distance away and looked over his shoulder at Miyetaran.
"You're not from this planet, are you?" he inquired doubtfully. "I've never seen an angel before, but despite what she thinks, I'm not convinced that's what you are."
"Angel?" Miyetaran kept his voice carefully controlled as the man again turned to face him. "Call me what you wish. I am just from another planet, that is all. I am searching for my people's chosen one. Do you think you could afford some information about this place?"
The smell of wariness wafted from Kion, but the man seemed unaware of it. Most likely, his nose wasn't powerful enough to pick up such scents.
"This is a temple to Gaia's plague," he explained with more than a little acid in his voice as he gestured to the crimson wall. "A terrible creature that attempted to enslave this planet used to live in there, but she's gone now."
"The girl's mother?" Miyetaran questioned.
Kion's face hardened for a moment, and his hand tightened on the hilt of the ornate sword strapped to his hip.
"Do not worry," Miyetaran assured him, his face complete composure. "I mean her no harm. I am here only for the chosen one, and now I am certain it cannot be her."
Moving his hand away from his sword to feign amicability, Kion nodded.
"The girl does not seem like a monster," Miyetaran commented, ruffling his wings to shift some unruly feathers back into place. "How could her mother have been one?"
"Yuri was exposed to human blood at birth," Kion replied, his eyes piercing. They were digging deep, searching for any sign of danger. Weapon ready or not, he was intimidating. "It changed her. She's not the same as that filth before her."
"I see," Miyetaran murmured, nodding. So that was how such a simple girl could be related to his master. She was contaminated. He could already see how infuriated his master would be upon learning this. Such a proud race as the dragons would not take kindly to one of the lines being made unpure. "In that case, I believe I have found the chosen one."
Like a prowling lion detected by its prey, Kion's already tensed muscles sprang into action, and the flashing steel of his sword was bare before Miyetaran even saw his hand touch the hilt.
Raising unconcerned eyes to the sky, Miyetaran willed the elements around him to respond, and Kion fell limply into the thick undergrowth. Had there been any less distance between them, the result would not have been so clean.
"For your honorable loyalty to the girl and your agility in battle, I shall see that no harm comes to you or the girl. You are going to a better place," Miyetaran murmured, kneeling down beside Kion's well-built body and resting a hand on his bare chest. I have done what you asked, Master. I am ready to return home.
Closing his eyes, he felt the world around him shift.
Calmly pressing the cool, metallic cup to his lips, Miyetaran sipped the bitter liquid and watched a pale, amber light from outside flicker across the table. It felt good to be home, even though things would never again be the same. It was only three days since he'd successfully completely his mission and all but two of his people had marked him as an outsider. Seeing the master, speaking with the master, and being "chosen" by the master were crimes that simply would not be tolerated. The master's affection was to be shared by all; anyone who became greedy would pay the price.
Right now, his people were attempting to cut him off from the collective consciousness, but he wasn't worried. The only one who could do that was the master, and the master had seemed most pleased with his performance.
Setting down his drab glass with a light "chink," Miyetaran rested his chin on the back of one hand and traced circles on the metal table with a stray finger from the other. His master had seemed upset upon his return, though not at him. It had been expected, partly. The knowledge of a dragon's line, even if it wasn't her own, getting contaminated by human blood should have infuriated her. Instead, she had seemed nervous, unsettled. It didn't make much sense to Miyetaran; the master had never been afraid of anything before.
He shook his head suddenly, and pushed the cup away, ignoring the angry screech of metal on metal. Paranoia must have been getting to him, because something didn't feel right. It was as though an unseen sword was pressed between his wing blades. Here, in the middle of their underground metropolis, nothing could threaten his people. Be that as it may, no amount of logic budged the threat he felt on the air.
A sudden scream outside cut through Miyetaran's thoughts, and before he knew what was happening, he was on his feet. Paying no attention to the chair he'd overturned, he mentally dove into his people's consciousness for what had happened.
The prisoner... she's come for him. ...ascending the pillar...
Without a thought about the consequences, Miyetaran closed his eyes and again reached out to his surroundings with his will. He formed an image of where he was in his mind. The glinting, rigid steel of the walls. The sturdy floor beneath his feet. The smell of metal and feather dust. The presences of the people moving outside. When every last detail was exactly in place, he moved to the world beyond. From above the small house, he would be able to see the street lights reflecting off of the sheet-metal roofs, would be able to feel the cold, open air about him. Slowly shrinking the image, his mind moved higher to where the low, rock ceiling over the city was pierced by the shaft that surrounded his master's pillar. Higher. In his mind, Miyetaran could see the flat top of the pillar, could smell the dry sand and feel it between his fingers. A shift.
Opening his eyes, Miyetaran was no longer standing in his one-room home. Instead, he was kneeling in the rough sand atop his master's pillar.
"You were the right choice," her voice asserted, touched by uncharacteristic fear. "My sister is coming for her puppet. There are... irregularities about my sister's cells that do not allow me to absorb her abilities through him. She is very dangerous, child. She will destroy us unless we can unlock her secret from this puppet."
"I understand, my queen." Miyetaran scrambled to his feet and, pressing his fist to his heart, he made a quick bow.
"If something were to happen to me," his master continued, "then the whole city our whole world itself! would be lost. I cannot stay here. Our fate will be in your hands alone."
"I will protect the prisoner to the end," he responded. The weight of the responsibility he was being given pressed down on him, solidifying his courage. Despite his typically stoic face, determination gleamed in his pale eyes.
"My sister approaches quickly now," the rumbling voice warned as it, as well as its owner, faded away.
"I will protect the prisoner to the end," Miyetaran repeated softly, but before he could turn from where he had been looking at his master, pain exploded through his back. The harsh sand tore at his cheek as he was slammed into the ground and the air driven from his lungs, but he didn't have time to think about pain. His enemy already had the upper hand.
Rolling as quickly as he could with wings, Miyetaran attempted to put some distance between himself and his attacker before springing up from the ground. Then, he closed his eyes for the half-heartbeat it took to summon his weapon to hand. When he opened them again, it was just in time to spin his spear made of a crystal stronger than the best steel and knock away the long talons that had been aimed at his heart.
The loud crunch of breaking bones didn't seem to affect his enemy, as she was flung a full wingspan to the side by the motion of his spear. She agilely flipped through the air and landed lightly on her feet like a feline. The long dress she had worn before had been replaced by a short skirt over tight-fitting breeches. Her hands, bent sharply where the bones had snapped, were not the hands he remembered. They were claws, now, nearly as long as her forearm and fading from crimson to violet in imitation of her dress. They glinted metallically in the purple firelight, and it was impossible to tell where soft flesh ended and claw began.
As quickly as she had righted herself, Yurisa's hands quivered and reformed, broken bones pulling back together to reveal the graceful curves of her talons. Her dark eyes watched him, and before he could tell she had moved, he found himself again spinning his spear like a shimmering staff to deflect sharp claws.
This time, however, there was no contact. Yurisa leapt out of the spear's path and sped around him, most likely making a target of his wings. Miyetaran barely had enough time to turn his weapon's momentum into a counter attack behind him, however the feel of his lance solidly connecting with something gave him a precious extra second to spin around and again face his foe.
A spattering of dark red on the girl's lips told him that his blow had broken her ribs, though he didn't count on them still being broken.
Spinning his spear in the pattern from which all his attacks originated, Miyetaran leapt into the air and angled his wings forward, plummeting straight at the girl. As the blade of his lance swung in at her unprotected thigh, though, it connected with something hard enough to jar him to his teeth. A disbelieving glance revealed deeply hued metal where only moments before there had been tight cloth.
Taking advantage of his distraction, Yurisa leapt onto Miyetaran's chest and sliced clean through his thick robes before he could knock her away.
Hitting the ground hard, he again rolled to the side and sprang to his feet. The cuts weren't too deep, but they burned intensely. He would have attributed the fact to the sand that had been ground into the flesh except for the fact that the slashes set off every one of his internal alarms. Blood quickly dampened the shredded front of his robes, and some dripped to the ground below. Thankfully however, the black sand drank it in and remedied any fear of slipping.
Not wanting to repeat his mistake, Miyetaran held his spear horizontally in front of him and called out to his surroundings with his will. Light gathered throughout the glasslike shaft of his weapon, and in the next instant he was blinded by a bolt of electricity that impacted the girl and sent her flying.
Rapidly blinking the spots from his eyes, Miyetaran saw the girl twist in the air to land on her feet near the opposite edge of the pillar. She didn't land lightly this time, and it was easy to see how labored her breathing had suddenly become.
Preparing another spell, Miyetaran was spurred to work faster by a look of concentration on Yurisa's face. Before he could finish casting anything though, twin, delicate spears of ivory white ripped from the girl's back in a spray of blood and sent her forward to her knees. In less than a heartbeat, flesh formed on the bones and dazzling white feathers sprouted.
Unleashing his now completed spell, Miyetaran cursed as Yurisa leapt into the air over a surge of blazing fire and, borne by her new wings, plunged toward Kion's body. There was no way Miyetaran could reach the dais at the center of the pillar before her; his speed was quite lacking compared to hers. However, he wasn't about to let his master down.
Leaping into the air and angling his wings on a collision course with Yurisa, Miyetaran's face suddenly went white.
The burning of the wound he'd received was spreading through his body, but that wasn't what froze his mind in its place. One by one his people's minds were vanishing from the back of his head. Panicking, he didn't notice as Yurisa scooped up Kion's body and angled sharply to the side to avoid being hit.
Crashing into ground, he didn't feel anything beside the growing void in his mind. At this rate, he would be completely cut off in a matter of minutes. If he was being separated from the collective consciousness, it could only mean that he had been abandoned by his master. If that was true, then he wouldn't resist his enemy. Death by her hands would be better than living apart from his master.
A solitary, unnoticed tear rolled down Miyetaran's dirty cheek as Yurisa lightly landed next to him. She made no sound on the sand as she knelt down and looked at the winged man's deadened stare.
"She didn't abandon you." The words were whispered, and though nearly inaudible, they cut through the silence and struck Miyetaran like a physical blow. Suddenly coming to himself, he scrambled away and picked up his lance again.
"What would you know?" he demanded, the spear shaking in his grip as he watched the crouched girl like a wild animal. Tears now ran unheeded down his cheeks, carving clean streaks through the dirt.
"When I hit you," she nodded towards Miyetaran's chest as she stood up. "My virus cells are different than they're supposed to be. They attack foreign ones; by now there should be few, if any, of your master's left to control you. You're free."
"Lies!" Miyetaran shouted, dashing at the girl and spinning his lance. His focus was watery, though, and his weapon was easily knocked from his hands.
Falling to his knees, he didn't make any attempt to go after his spear. He had lost his master. The thought tore a gaping hole through him and drained him of the strength to care.
"All is not lost."
The familiarly deep rumble he had known for years snapped Miyetaran's head up and filled his voice with quivering hope, "Master?"
"I am your master now." Yurisa's mouth moved with the words despite the fact that they echoed on the air and vibrated up from the ground. "The life of a puppet is for his master, who that master is does not matter so long as absolute loyalty on the part of the servant is maintained."
Uncertainty flickered through Miyetaran again, but this, at least, was familiar. Scrubbing a filthy sleeve across his face, he rose to his feet and bowed his head, "I live to serve, my queen."
"Then live..." Yurisa replied, reaching out a hand to touch his cheek and raise his face to meet hers. Never had his master touched him, much less with such a gentle hand. Miyetaran was so taken aback by her actions that he didn't even notice her claws had melted back to normal, human hands. "Live the life your people will never have."
|Glossary||The End of the Dream|