How it all started
“A war was coming. It was inevitable, as long as the demons rained tyrant and mischievous and the humans all-knowing and pure-hearted. They would never change they clashed without any proper order to reestablish an agreement. Only the strongest had any brains or wisdom on the matter, for the strongest were the eldest. In case of demons that is, for humans this wisdom caliber is unknown by a shadowed veil. But alas as typical as ever the only thing that had kept peace between us for so long was the sprites, the wielders of life and death. But yet the humans tossed them aside thinking only about the money and magic they could get out of there very last breathes. Even if those ragged conceited humans are smart they are more stupid then anything ever known. At least one sprite survived, Jagger. My dear friend, my only friend. He is a rancid thing at some points, arrogant, conceited, with rude snide comments to match, but still he is my dear friend. I am the renowned demon Cecelia. My power so great that the mere mention of it shatters the mountains like they were made of frail glass. My name so known that a whisper on the wind can make people shudder. Myself so brilliant in wisdom and foresight, I knew the war was starting in a week. So I had a week to make a sword. But I am getting ahead I may need to take a few steps back, for you lesser beings to understand.” I sat on a dead tree trunk, my eyes steadily watching the fire. The hunter to my right and Jagger sleeping away his pain to the left. Even in the fire I could see the reflection of my child like body, I mentally scoffed at the cruelty of this punishment. If millennia asleep and my dear friend used, broken, and scarred to the point of being on the verge of death wasn’t enough. The oversized cloth shirt clung to my wet body. I could have used my powers to dry myself but this body from my childhood could not handle my powers. I wrapped my arms around my leg and continued to tell my story, my steady gaze set upon the raging fires gleam; I did not want to look at the hunter and his companion.
It was a day like many other, I was awakened quite abruptly by the shouting light born of the sun. The only crack where light and sound could seep in seemed to be right above my eyes and ears when I slept. I was living to far back for the light from the opening could come and wake me. The cave was cold, I engulfed my night gown covered body in the blanket to go and light the torch for a source of heat and light to see by. Instead of getting up I just lifted my hand and flicked my finger and suddenly a once unlit torch now danced with the flames atop its head. Everything was tiring lately; I guess that happens when you put a part of your soul into a sword. But it still was not finished, something was missing. The hilt a bronze tinted gold with encrypted patterns of my untold stories. The pommel in a shape of a dragon head. The guard with the dragons wings and talons an eye where the guard and blade meet. The blade a sterling silver with writing in red in which my name is written on one side with the ancient lost language of demons. A masterpiece truly, but yet for some odd reason….not yet finished. My mind filled with these troubling and surprisingly non trivial thoughts.
Absently I went to my dresser; the oak dresser was carved with the most delicate designs that seemed to leap off of it. Opening the top drawer revealed a blue dress just a few shades darker then my hair. I dropped the blanket and shed the nightgown to slip into the familiar silk folds. Embroidered all over were snowflakes, I took out a belt the color of shimmering sunlight and tied around my waste. Atop the dresser was a small pouch, in that pouch withheld my money. Next to the dresser was a coat rack, on it laid out my blue shawl, next to the rack was my ballet flats, these were white. They had a whole in the bottom and I need another pair.
I hate going into town but I have to for some shoes, at least along the way I can talk to Jagger was what I kept thinking. I stepped outside the cave. The stone path I made many years ago still stood its ground against the dirt and grass. I walked across those stones like a swan swims across water. There was a fork in the path, one way lead to town, and the other lead to Jagger. I took the left, the way that lead to Jagger. The path ended at a tree, this tree never bloomed or had leaves. But that’s how Jagger wished it to be. He said it was hard enough caring for himself, so why should he create life to just watch it slowly die. Jagger had told me long ago that if I were human we could never be friends. I was thankful for the fact I was a demon ever so more since then. Considering the sun only had risen moments ago Jagger would not be up yet by his own accord, so simply I had to wake him. Again.
“Wake up; I am in dire need of a companion as I walk down to the market. No one else in the entire forest can make me laugh as so you do. So wake up and accompany me before I get aggravated.” I spoke clearly, I knew he heard me he always does it just depends on if he chooses to answer.
“Of course I’ll come with you, it’s not like I have anything better to do then escort you to the market.”
“Oh, how I feel loved.” I mocked back sarcastically. Jagger knows the truth of why I hate going to the market alone, that I hate how I am treated even though they fear me. They only do it when my back is turned, if they did it to my face I could handle it. I just hate cowards. Jagger held out his bent arm for me to take, but I did not. I just walked beside him; I am more reserved than Jagger. Jagger is freer, cheerful. He is more fun than I.
Side by side we walked down to the human’s village. Their village, I will admit, is civilized. More civilized than most demons. But then again most humans are worse than demons. As I walked passed every stall with Jagger by my side I saw them nod and smile, even cower. But as I passed by I could hear the snickers the spit; the hatred radiated off all of their very being. Only one human was decent in this village, Sally the shoe maker. Sally told me she hated me up front and told me the only reason she allowed me at her stall was for the fact I had money. I respected her for that.
I came to Sally’s little stall, its roof nothing more than a red fabric covering from the sun. On the wooden stall about four feet in length had an array of different shoes in different sizes. Sally was bent down behind the counter, putting the finishing touches on some shoes.
“Sally, I am here for my order.”
“I see that you are Cecelia. No need to be so reserved with the enemy.” She slammed two pairs of new shoes, one pair identical to the ones I am wearing now and the other black with gold letters spelling out my name, onto the counter. Sally is an old woman of late fifties. Her hair grey and her eyes black and mean.
“Thank you, and how much this time, I’ve been told prices have been raised.”
“About double then the last time. The war preparations are raising taxes and prices.” I put a hundred silver pieces on the table. I pay so much since I’m a demon.
“I suppose you blame me.” I smirked.
“Oh, yes I do. I also blame you for the death of every person to die in the war. Don’t think I don’t know about the sword your making. I hate your kind, you can all die and never come back!” She spit in my face. I could feel that Jagger was getting angry, it would be even worse if he lost control. Another difference, Jagger has no self-control.
“COME BACK HERE YOU COWARD! You kill us, murder us and have the nerve to leave like nothing ever has happened! You monster! I’ll kill you all!” Her screams just faded to the background like that of an annoying bird.
Walking out of the village with my new shoes something landed on my head. It exploded all of its contents on my head, the smell of tomato wafted up my nose. I looked up with blurry vision at the direction of which the tomato came. Atop a roof was a small child, I smiled up to him and my mouth was filled with tomato juice and my eyes started to sting. The last thing I ever said in that village was “Nice shot boy!” Walking away with my dignity and pride still intact. That little boy was a nice shot indeed.
We went back to Jagger’s tree, then and only then I took off my shoes and replaced them with the new ones. A pin prick went into the sole of my foot and in withdrawing my foot from the shoe I found a pin sticking out. I removed it and with so the look of pain that once stained my face. A crimson drop swelled at the tiny wound, a moment later a trail of blood trickled out. I waved my hand over my foot mumbling a few words, after the touch of my hand left my foot the blood was gone and so was the microscopic wound.
“Sally, you sly old croon. Ha! To think, you thought I’d be bothered by a measly poisoned pin prick.” I snickered under my breath as to make sure Jagger never heard me. All my efforts regarding Jagger usually never prevail.
“Why do you let them treat you like that? I’m the only one who should be treating you like that.” He pouted, only to make it seem like a joke but I know what he is really thinking.
“Who knows what they’ll do if I don’t. There the ones who think I’m scary, they don’t realize there pretty much the only unpredictable species around.” I paused to sigh. “Plants die in the winter to come back again, loose their leaves in fall, and pop up in spring. Animals breed in spring, sleep most of the day, most hibernate during winter, and where they live is almost the same wherever they go! But humans on the other hand, oh, they sleep when they want, have no need for the extra time that used to be spent hunting, they don’t hibernate, they live on almost every inch of the world and they only do what they feel like doing! At least with demons I know what they’re thinking to a degree!” Again I paused, but this time for breath. “ Humans have lost their animal instinct, their drive, their touch with nature so we have no way of predicting who or what they are! This war that is coming up, I don’t want it but we need it. We’re going to teach the humans balance with nature. You can’t just go and do what you want, kill off a race for your own personal wantings, if accidently for your needings is acceptable. But not for wantings. It’s absurd. They need to learn. I will teach them. Even if the way to teach is by war then the outcome will be worth it. There’s no telling what they would do if left alone.” The words came out of my mouth on their own. The words kept flowing, this was the first but not the last time I lost control of myself.
“Seems as though you thought about this much a time.” Jagger spoke softly breaking the fragile silence.
“It does seem as so.” A sigh escaped my lips. Time grew old and pain grows worse. “But on to a different subject, shall we? The demon’s Midnight ball is coming upon us soon and I’m afraid I don’t have an escort.” I held out my hand for Jagger to take. He clenched my hand in his and we twirled around his never living tree. I was laughing having fun, singing in my head a song I haven’t heard in a long time. But that all ended when I heard the shouts.
“Turn the tides, chase her out. Stomp the beast’s life flame till no more breath can be breathed!” I turned around, in the far distance I saw the flickering of a torch. A mob had been formed, and Sally had been its mother.
“…Jagger…” The look on his face was…one I wished to never see again. It was the face he had when he realized he was the last sprite left. He let go of me and I turned back into my reserved self. I knew what must be done. I turned around and started to walk off. I wanted to look back but I didn’t, merely I just stopped and spoke so only he could hear me. “I will return that is my promise to you.”
“I know you will.” I could hear the croon smile on his face. Jagger’s presence slowly faded away as he went to sleep inside his tree.
I took the path back to my cave. Looking off I couldn’t see the mob anymore, maybe they got lost in the woods. A hope that I can’t lose, those words are all that kept me going then. I walked inside and grabbed my things I needed to travel with, money, my shoes, food, and my sword. Before I left my cave for the last time I unsheathed the sword for a real quick look. Its shimmering metal mocked me by its imperfection. Unable to find what is wrong with it in the split second I had, I sheathed the sword and hung it by my side, its proper place. I raised my hand and diminished the light along with any others signs that something living was once here. How I will miss that dresser. I exited the cave to see the mob approaching. I let out a sigh. They blocked my quickest escape and I couldn’t make it any other way fast enough.
I stood alone and watch the mob grow bigger and bigger as it got closer and closer, the eyes of fifty upon me. An old man stalked out from the middle, with pride he looked me in the eye. I decided then and there I will not harm this man for he is an honest man. He had a crispy beard that covered his mouth; his skin looked as if he was given too much and had nowhere to go. He looked that of any old man, but his eyes, I knew those eyes.
“Frayer.” I bowed my head in acknowledgment. Even in the past he was a man I would not harm but that was a many year ago.
“You do remember me, Cecelia I see you haven’t changed.”
“How could I forget the only high priest that could lock me up for eternity? The only man that I have feared? You don’t flatter yourself enough Frayer.” The power that once radiated off him as a young child was now that of seven fold.
“How long has it been now…seventy years?”
“More around sixty-seven, but Frayer what brings you here?” I was curious for since his wife died he hardly never left the safety of his own home.
“You do, they do, and the sprite does, but mostly that.” He lifted one of his boney fingers at my sword and ended with a point. No more words were needed, I drew my sword, still uncompleted, and stood in a defensive pose.
Out toward the left I heard a loud rustling noise, out jumped Jagger with his long dagger. He stood beside me, I wanted to tell him to leave but no words would help now.
“Turn the tides, down with the demons!” The mob started to chant together. Slowly it turned into a war against two. I fought with the back of the blade, so not to kill. I turned and stabbed, ducked then sliced. Block, parry, jump, lunge, than repeat. But from behind me I heard a shot. The world around me slowed down, as I turned I saw Jagger get hit near the heart, the shooter the boy whom tossed a tomato onto my head. I dropped the sword and ran to him wishing I wasn’t so weak right at this moment. With all the strength I could summon from within; I was able to cast a quick spell. We were starting to fade away I tried to grab the sword as someone lunged at us but couldn’t reach it. Flickering into a new location I was stunned to find half of a man’s body. The man that jumped at us when I casted the spell. Only half of him must have been in the bubble that transported us. I bent down in front of the man and closed his eyelids so that he could sleep in peace.
In a quick burst I remembered Jagger’s wounds. I looked at his wound; a fatality was the most optimistic word to describe the wound. The bullet was still in his chest and it was so close to the heart… I wish to not think about the fact that he may not survive the night. Maybe if I attach his soul to something, like my…… my sword?! A memory flashed in my face, I left the sword to get Jagger. I need to go back and get it…but I can’t leave him here.
“Jagger, you up for another move I need to get something to make your wound heal.”
“ This is the first time I’ve seen you this worried, if it’ll make you less worried then I can mov-cough cough, cough!” Jagger was thrown into a coughing fit, when he removed his hand from his mouth it was stained with blood. Flooding out the side of his mouth like a stream was also blood, the color of his hair. I had to go back and get the sword, but… I decided, with uncertainty, I will take Jagger with me and fuse his soul with the sword. I realized then what my sword was missing, the ultimate power, the power of life and death, the power to live. I felt disgusted with myself, yet I knew I wanted him to live on. I reassembled my pride and decided to move on when night fell upon us. I just hoped he would survive until then.
The moon’s first gleam rose over the far mountains. I starred at Jagger’s still body, barely breathing. I patched up his wound as best I could I had to rip my dress to get cloth to stop the bleeding. Of all things to pack why did I forget herbs? For the last time in millennia I would sigh. I bent down to pick up Jagger, his skin was cold and stiff, but he was still breathing. I put him on my back and transported to where my soul was calling.
When the world around me was once again visible and comprehendible I saw I was in a small hut. Outside the small window was the church, I was in Frayer’s house. I scanned around to find the only current inhabitants to be dust bunnies. I walked toward the bed in the left corner and laid Jagger down. Laying in a hanging mantel above the bed was my sword. I slowly reached for it, the power, my soul, calling. I grabbed its hilt, its grace now mine once again. I released its grasp and placed its equally cold body next to Jagger’s. Immediately, for I do not know how much time I will have before something walks through the door, I started to cast the spell. A light shone from my hands connecting Jagger and the sword. My hands burnt with life, slowly fading away Jagger’s body dissipated from my sight. In my hand for a brief moment, I felt Jagger’s entire being and the power he truly holds. Now I can finally understand why the humans were once so greedy for the power of the Sprites.
Afterwards the spell was complete, Jagger’s body was there no more all that remained was a blood stained bed, and my, no our sword. I picked up our sword and I knew it was finally complete.
Cecelia you saved my lif-BAM! A thought sent into my head with the voice of Jagger was interrupted. I turned around to see Frayer, I knew what had to happen next. In an instant the pain and side effects of casting such a powerful spell took place. My hands were flaming with monstrous pain. I fell to my knees still clutching onto our sword. At least I knew Jagger was alive and safe. Frayer raised his wrinkled hands and murmured his incantations.
“I will break free, I will return, you humans will learn” My eyes were burning into his and his into mine.
“I know.” Those two words were the last thing I heard since I slept for an entire millennia.
I don’t know what woke me up, the screaming, the running, or was it the night hawks? All I know was that I awoke in a cave and someone was stealing our sword. My power once again full, and my pride damaged. I had nothing to lose except our sword and I will not lose it. I rose up, there were two of them a man and a younger boy. The younger one held our sword, they were arguing over trivial matters as such to get out of the cave. I crept in the shadows and with a flick of my finger had the man tossed and slammed to the cave wall. I couldn’t believe how such a simple thing tired me so, I guess I wasn’t at full strength.
“Young boy give me the sword or face the wrath of the renowned demon Cecelia.” My voice calm and smooth echoed all around the caves slippery walls. Darkness ebbed at the boy at my beckoning, he stepped toward me.
“Nice one, where are the wires? Demons don’t exist, at least not anymore.” He was foolishly close, but the words he spoke startled me. Even though I reached out and received our sword from where he sheathed it.
“My friend, good to have you back,” a smile smeared my face but I snapped back to face the boy “You mere insolent fool, you. What have I slept through the war? You don’t believe demons exist. My boy, if demons don’t exist then neither does fear and you can’t have humans without fear.” He starred me straight in the eye. I wondered how long I have been asleep for.
“What war?” I stepped back, he was sincerely serious. How long had I been in imprisonment, how long did Frayer trap me for?
“The war between humans and demons.” I spoke, the one who answered was not the boy but the man I threw to the wall.
“The legend? The one that took place over a thousand years ago…why? Lupin, come over here. I think the kid’s crazy.”
“How dare you call me a fool! I could-“ I stopped mid-sentence for the fact that our sword started glowing. Slowly morphing our sword became Jagger. I ran up to hug him to find he has grown substantially, that or… I remembered that the man referred to me as kid. I looked down to see myself with the body of that of my ten year old self.
“Jagger, what has Frayer done? I’ve been asleep for a millennia, they don’t believe in demons, and I look like this?!” I looked up to Jagger he only spoke two words.
“Our punishment.” He turned to the Young boy Lupin and the man.
“Lupin, Cain, this is who I was talking about. Cecelia this is Cain and Lupin. Don’t ask questions I’ll explain, just please come with us.”
We ended up in silence, I took Jagger’s word that he would explain. Somehow I became the one to lead us out of the cave. Droplets fell from the cave’s roof in a rhythmic pattern that followed the sound of the caves stream. By following the stream we soon came to the cave opening, but before exiting I tripped over my oversized clothes and fell into the icy waters. Immediately they had to take me out and start a fire. Winter was in session and hypothermia was the subject. Then once gathered around the fire Jagger began to explain. As he spoke the sun fell farther and farther into the sky until black night was all that was left.
“ Frayer trapped you in a sleep and I too. After the first hundred years I woke up and couldn’t wake you. I realized then I could change forms. I did try to leave the cave, but I couldn’t. I was surprised I didn’t die of starvation, but I guess a sword doesn’t need to eat. I waited there for you to wake up, but you never did. Hundreds of years past, but you never woke up. Finally I gave up then they appeared, while I was in sword form they took me. I’ve been traveling with them since. They just accepted who I was and that I’m now a sword. I don’t know how they were able to take me out though when I wasn’t able to walk out. I think it has to do with the fact that a sword needs an owner.” I had one question in my mind.
“If it has been a millennium since I walked this earth why does it look the same?”
“That is because of the cycle you should know that, also the war was a big issue. No one really won they disappeared or died. The war prevented the world to advance like it should.”
“I see.” We stood in silence a long time, things were different I could tell. I was scared, was I ever going to be me again? Or will I forever be ten? Jagger told me he was tired and would explain more tomorrow. Will I like what I hear? A heavy sigh hung in the air.
“You know our part what is yours? Jagger said his friend made him that way to save his life, but how could a squirt like you do anything like that?” Cain mockingly spoke to me. I sucked in some air to begin my story noticing some scars on Jagger that weren’t there before.
“A war was coming, it was inevitable…..” While I was talking all I thought was, how different will tomorrow really be? I clutched my wet body tighter and let my memories take me away.