Feral Magic Sample

Chapter 1


“You’ll probably die!” Toi’s lips trembled, moisture accumulating in his eyes.

I hung my head low, deciding to give him my fullest attention before I left. If I didn’t, he’d be jumping off the walls with worry until I got back.

 Toi may have been tall, but he was still slim like most who often went without food.

Toi would lay down his life for any of the hundred people in this room. He’d do it without thinking about it because that’s who he was.

Yilen nodded. “Be careful, Tieden! They’re killing Belen on sight. They feed our bones to their hogton hounds. You could become hogton meat and we’d never even know it.”

Yilen stood tall in character, though he was small in height. He was a bit on the slim side, his skin overly pale.

 He was one of the bravest guys I knew, though he wasn’t acting so at the moment.

Yilen spoke in a loud voice because it was the only way to be heard amidst all the ruckus in the abandoned building we lived in.

The noise around us was immense. Everywhere I turned the sound of talking, laughing, fussing, and fighting hit against my ears. We were a rowdy bunch, but we were family and that’s all that mattered.

Yilen threw a hand over Toi’s shoulder. He pulled him close. Both hung their heads, the air around them tense and scared.

I let my shoulders drop. I couldn’t leave them in such a state. They’d worry themselves silly until they knew I was okay. Sometimes one had to comfort one’s friends. I didn’t mind.

Though I was in a bit of a hurry. Still, they had a right to be worried, so I’d try my best. Even if they were being a bit dramatic about the whole thing.

They really thought one of the hogton hounds would gobble me up as soon as I stepped outside the door. Hogton hounds were the foulest of beasts. They stood eight feet tall, breathed poison, had teeth that could break your neck with one bite, and claws that could kill you with a simple swipe.

Uncouth animals, the lot of them. They were trained by the Nix to kill people like us, Belen. The whole thing was beyond rude, but the ones in power made the rules, so here we were.

Both Toi and Yilen stared at me for reassurance. They often did that, depended on me to make them feel better. I reached out to ruffle Toi’s long brown hair. It sat nicely against his dark skin.

At twenty Toi had an innocence and vulnerability I’d never been able to break. Yes, I was only three years older than him, but we lived in a world where staying out a minute past curfew could end your life. We were hunted daily. I worried about him.

I’d been two minutes late coming home once. He’d gone into a seismic meltdown. He’d run from person to person, telling them they’d never see me again because my body had been burned to keep the Nix warm.

Yilen placed a pale hand on Toi’s shoulder. “I’ll stay up with you tonight. We’ll wait for him together. If you want.”

I shook my head. Yilen often indulged Toi in his delusions. I’d never been quite sure if he actually believed them or was just being nice. It was perplexing, to say the least.

Toi nodded okay. Yilen’s golden eyes turned big with pleasure. At twenty-two, you’d think Yilen wouldn’t allow himself to be pulled into Toi’s fantasies like this, but apparently, he couldn’t help himself.

Yilen’s thick red hair tumbled into his face. It often did that. Toi kept a hair tie around his arm for just that reason.

They watched me with sad eyes, but Toi went ahead and tied Yilen’s hair back for him.

Yilen quietly thanked him, both staring at the dirt beneath their feet. I let out a sigh. They acted like once I left, they’d never see me again. Maybe that’s what they truly believed. Instead of walking to the exit, I walked toward Yilen and Toi.

I was really late. But I had to assuage their fears before I left. There was no way around it. “I’ve survived this long,” I said. “If I don’t come back, then pour out some Blizin wine in my name and toast to me when you drink it.”

 All conversation in the room stopped. Over a hundred pairs of eyes turned my way. Oh, boy. I’d done it now. I tried to smile.

Belens weren’t allowed to live within ten miles of any Nix. That’s why we were crowded inside an abandoned building on the outskirts of town. We weren’t allowed to hold jobs either. Which meant we had to scrape for every bit of food we found.

Many of the faces staring at me were covered in dirt, their hair matted to their heads. They looked to me as their leader, and I’d just casually advertised my death. A stupid thing to do when you thought about it.

 “Stop scaring them.” Lena gave me a chastising look. At thirty, Lena was only a few years older than me, but she really took pleasure in bossing me around. Well to be fair, Lena was the peacekeeper around here.

Yes, we needed someone to keep order. Though I did believe a person needed to run free every now and then. When you had over a hundred people living in a cramped space, sometimes it was best to let them be as undisciplined as they liked.

 Lena gave me a look that wasn’t very kind. She’d found water today. I could tell because her brown skin didn’t have a trace of dirt on it. Also, even though her hair was lifeless, it was still clean. It didn’t shine. Her hair was a beautiful shade of black, but we didn’t have the supplies that could really make it glow.  

“No one’s more powerful than you.” She said this loudly, probably wanting to remind everyone who and what I was.

I shook my head. She knew better than that. The look on my face let her know exactly what I thought of that sentence. “I can’t kill them all, Lena. You know this.”

Her eyes told me she believed otherwise. “You could bring all Xelony to its knees. On the River Tityen I know this.”

Oh, yes. When all else failed, invoke the name of the place the Belen had fought and lost their final battle against the Nix. The Efface War had happened two hundred years before I was born. Supposedly we’d fought bravely, proudly, and you know, lost, forever subjecting us to the rule of the Nix.

It was beyond my understanding why my fellow Belen thought this was something to celebrate. Oh, well. Who was I to judge? I myself used the phrase from time to time. It was a bit habit-forming.

I looked toward the exit. “Okay, but I have to go!”

Conwun, an ever-gracious ally, had left us a bag of flour under the bush in Hooklairs park. If we wanted food for the next couple of days, then I needed to get it.

Conwun was a Nix who secretly helped us. He did so at an awful risk to himself. That’s why I had to get that flour before another Nix came along and found it. I wouldn’t let Conwun get in trouble on account of my lateness.

The sun dropped low in the sky, and dust settled around us. This was another problem. I looked at the questioning eyes in front of me, all waiting for reassurance. If Conwun got caught, I’d never forgive myself. I decided to be a little tough. “I can’t stand here talking. You know what’s at stake.”

Any Belen caught out after dark would be punished. That could mean thirty days in the rooker, a place without sun or light. Or we could be killed on the spot.

The Nix could punish us, any way they saw fit, if they caught us out past curfew. The problem was, Conwun could only lay the flour out after seven when his employees went on break. 

 It started getting dark around eight. Now, I could use my powers to pop in there, and pop back out. The Nix monitored our power use that far in the city. If they found out about me…If they knew who and what I really was…. Well, let’s just say me and my entire horde would probably find ourselves missing heads.

All things considered, I decided walking was an excellent way to keep myself in supreme health. I set out on my path with trepidation and a small bit of glee. Though it was dangerous being out like this, we’d have food soon. That’s what really mattered.

Highway roads floated past me, all filled with empty chairs. If I’d been Nix and had the money, I could’ve taken a seat. I would’ve arrived at my destination in proper style.

Xelony was an advanced world. We thrived on technology, inventions, and science. We had things here other worlds could only dream of. How we came about those things is where the Belen and Nix differed.

Before the Efface War, Belen and Nix were both at the height of power and existed side by side. What a lovely thing that must have been. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have lived during a time when we’d existed together.

 I came to the road that’d take me straight to Conwun’s bakery. It started on the ground, then rose, crisscrossing in midair. The chairs on it were spaced twenty inches apart, for optimum comfort when riding.

Out this far the road was empty. As it traveled further into the city though, more and more Nix would grab a seat. My goal was to stay away from them. So, walking through the woods it was.

The Nix and Belen alliance had thrived for years but finally fell apart when the Nix raided one too many worlds. The Nix and Belen were biologically different.

We Belen derived our abilities from the energy around us. We had powers like telepathy, telekinesis, empath ability, and teleportation.

The Nix got their power from the elements. They could burn you with fire from their hands. They controlled water, wind, lightning, and other elemental things. You could always tell a Belen from a Nix because of the eyes.

A Nix’s eyes reflected the power they were most efficient in. All Nix had control over the elements, though some were better fire wielders than storm bringers. Someone born with a raw talent for controlling wind would still be able to throw fire, they’d probably just miss their target by a mile.

What they were proficient in was called their tec. Someone better at producing fire was called firetec, for wind it was windtec, and so on.

A Nix who was a windtec would have eyes that were constantly moving because the wind itself existed in them. Those who were windtecs had small pupils. Yet it didn’t hurt their eyesight. They could still see quite well, despite all that wind flapping around.   

Someone who was firetec would have fire in their eyes. No one wanted to get on the bad side of a firetec. You could be lit up in an instant. Which I assumed was very painful.

 A Belen’s eye color, on the other hand, was determined by the phase of the moon they were born under.

I was born during Seium, under a silver moon. Because of that, my hair stayed silver. Right now, it flowed down my back, a tangled mess in need of a good washing and shampoo.

 Except for my skin, everything about me was silver, including my eyes, brows, and nails. Yilen had been born under Teium, a red moon. Which meant his hair, brows, and nails, were red.

Even here in the woods, I knew the Nix could appear at any time. To distract myself and keep my nerves in check, I entered the mind of a decker bird. Many mechanical birds also flew in the sky, but the Nix controlled those. No. I needed a bird that was a living being. Not one that was man-made.

Once I merged my mind with the decker bird my heart lifted. I loved flying high in the sky, wings flapping, body soaring.

On the ground, I kept walking, my mind now in dual places. I had to be careful when like this. Splitting one’s mind was easy enough, but your body needed to keep up with the animal you’d merged with. I quickened my steps, trying to make sure the me in the sky and the me on the ground kept pace with one another.

I’d probably stay this way until I got closer to the city. Why not? It was an excellent way to let off steam. Up here I could easily enter another dimension. One thing all Xelonys could do, whether Nix or Belen, was open portals to other worlds. Not other planets. Alternative universes.

Many Belen had tried to escape this way, but the Nix tracked powers. They always found them. When they brought them back, they always made sure their death was brutal.

They’d not only kill them, but their entire family and anyone else they may love. After too many times, Belen like me stopped trying to leave. It wasn’t worth causing the death of everyone you loved.

A bit of energy shot from my hand and exploded on the ground in front of me. Rocks and dirt shot up into my face. I used my telekinesis to smack them away, then chastised myself for losing control. The Nix kept us locked in an iron grip. It was frustrating to say the least.

The Nix loved to fight, and would often invade other universes, taking their technology, their ideas, and their science.

The Belen, who I must admit, were a little conceited, believed no technology was above our own and begrudged the Nix for bringing inferior inventions to our world.

For thousands of years, this was but a minor dispute. That is until one of the advanced universes the Nix raided got the coordinates to Xelony and attacked. Both Belen and Nix died that day, and the Belen started to grow weary of the Nix and their constant warring.

It went on like that for years, until once again the Nix raided the wrong world. This time when the opposing universe attacked us, over fifty thousand Belen and Nix perished. After that, the Belen had had enough.

The bird I hijacked made a nosedive toward the ground, and I allowed myself the pleasure of dipping low with it, the wind like a soft caress on our skin.

After the attack where fifty thousand Xelonys had died, the Belen had stuck out their chest, only to have it crushed by the Nix.

The Belen weren’t a fighting people and the Nix had been battling and raiding for thousands of years. In reality, there was no contest to the thing. The war between the two had raged on for years, though. Until that final battle at the River Tityen.

The Nix had now ruled us for well over two hundred years. With each year we seemed to become lesser and lesser in their eyes. At this point, we were but mangey animals and they treated us as such.

The bird hit the ground, digging in the soil. Once its long beak scooped up its prey, I eased from its mind so it could enjoy its meal in peace.

Though I’d enjoyed myself immensely, it was time to get back to business. Let’s see, where was I now…?

I looked around. Ha! I’d come to the edge of the forest. This was excellent! I made quick steps to Conwun’s and was delighted to see he’d left out two large bags of flour.

 I licked my lips. We’d have food for days now.

Only it wasn’t that easy. Of course it wasn’t! When I went to retrieve the flour, I heard a twig snap. I slid behind a tree and watched this new figure approach. He leaned his head to the side, and I held my breath.

He knew I was there. He made quick moves to the flour, then stood in front of it like it was his. I watched, planning my next move.

His eyes were cold, hard. He turned my way, and I braced for attack.

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