Chapter One - Shape-Shifter
Life is so much easier when you have people who care about you there.
“Electra, are you just going to stand there or are you going to join us for breakfast?” My new friend, Emery, shouted from the entrance of our tent. Emery was a strange girl, she came from the same realm as our leader, Aonie, and they were both similar in some ways. She had a shock of fuchsia pink hair that was moulded into a disarray of spikes that shot to her broad shoulders. Her big, almond shaped eyes were the colour of midnight. She was a large girl, in a pleasant way. She wasn’t overweight, but she wasn’t a size zero and that never seemed to bother her. Her muscles were well toned and she liked to take advantage of that, enjoying a good wrestle nearly all the time.
“I am coming, you are so impatient.” I replied a grin spreading across my lips showing my perfectly white teeth and contrasting shockingly with my ebony skin. I stalked up to my friend and she slapped me on the back, an action that knocked the wind out of me. As we walked up to the building that housed that canteen and the training rooms we discussed yesterdays lesson with lady Aonie. She was a very good teacher, making things more interesting and fun. Emory was excelling at the moment, I did say that she was from the same realm as lady Aonie. People from Psyatron were always good at psychic and mental things (hence the name Psyatron).
We sat with our food and I began to drift as I often did during meal times. I know, you are wondering what happened at the end of my last tale, when I appeared. I have a gift for being able to see everything how others see it, if I concentrate anyway. Maybe if I let you know about my past, that would be best.
I was born in Greece in the year 700BC. Olympia was a beautiful city, devoted to Zeus. My mother died giving berth to me however she had been aided by lady Arabella. Yes, Arabella. I had been born into a life of slavery, I was the slave of a doctor. I can’t remember his real name but he made me call him master. When I was old enough he made me pick the herbs and flowers so that they could be made into stews and teas. Arabella always stayed close to me when I was away from my master. She protected me, obviously, it was her job! My master was kind to me, he never did beat me, well I never really gave him cause to. He was a good man who was devoted to his job. I discovered that if you put certain herbs together and boiled them for a specific amount of time then it would create a broth that you could smear over new wounds and they would heal quicker.
That is about it for my true past. I died during a battle between feuding families, I died protecting my master. I was taken to Hades, along the river Styx and passed his three-headed guard dog. Hades looked at me with a strange look in his petrifying eyes. His queen, Persephone, sat next to him and observed me with more warmth than he. She liked me and wanted me to be part of her court. Hades agreed so I accompanied the Goddess throughout my time there. Word caught with the Greek Gods and Goddesses that the Shadow Moon were planning an attack on earth.
Hades, combined with his brothers Zeus and Poseidon, sent me here. So technically I am not alive. Actually I am not alive at all. My heart does not beat any longer but my brain still works. I do not need to eat or breath. I just do it because it makes everyone around me more comfortable. I do not understand how it works, but I cannot be killed either. I can, but that would mean the three gods dying.
I have made dear friends since my arrival here over two months ago. Emery, of course you know of her. Alec, he is in Centaur but we all catch up at meal times and in the evening. Alec has thick, mahogany ringlets that fall to his broad shoulders, skater style. He has Hawaiian shaped hazel eyes that are mystifying in the least. He is incredibly tall, at least a head taller than me. He looks seventeen but like the rest of us he has stopped aging.
Also, Aisling is a very nice girl. She is from Ireland on earth and her name suits her well. She is very much a dream or a vision. Her auburn hair falls to her bum in a straight mass of beauty. She has shocking blue eyes with a steely tinge to them. But the way she walks is like she glides, gracefully and smoothly. Her thoughts are nothing but pure truth and innocence. She sees the good in everyone. Which can be difficult at points.
Then there are the twins. Elena and Alejandro. They are from a complicated realm. It is called Espanzo. The Spanish people of earth were influenced greatly by everything of this realm. Their language, culture and tradition all came from this realm. I am not quite sure how they got a hold of it but somehow they did. The twins are very similar in looks and personality. They both have shoulder length deep brown hair and warm brown eyes. They both quite plain, but their inner beauty is beyond comparison.
And that is my main band of friends. The other volunteers have all mingled with each other to form groups of companions such as ourselves. However, we are known throughout the squadrons for our friendship and loyalty to each other. We are close, very close, there are others who we are friends with also but we mainly just stick to the six of us. The others respect that and include us in everything but never try to push us because they know that if one of us is hurt then the others will all leap to their aid.
“If you’re not careful you’ll end up making your food run away, what with that look you’re giving it!” Aisling stated across from me. The joke was clear and I couldn’t help but accompanying the others in laughter. Aisling had a wonderful voice, it was heavy with an Irish accent but high and bell-like.
“Sorry, I didn’t realise that I had spaced out that badly.” I replied still giggling slightly.
“It’s alright I just didn’t want you to go hungry, you should eat. Lady Aonie said that today would be hard.” Aisling, like Emery, was in Phoenix along with myself.
“You are so lucky, Lord Hunter can be very boring. But I bet you haven’t seen Lady Arabella in any of your lessons have you? She said that today she wouldn’t be in ours but that she was going to check on lady Aonie. So you three will have her today.” Elena commented from next to Aisling. Elena and her brother had a strong English accent even though they spoke a lot of Spanish. The twins were also in Wolf, they loved it really but they just made it seem like they didn’t.
“Wait, Lady Arabella is coming to our class today? Wow, that will be interesting. Maybe you and her will get a chance to catch up, Electra.” Emery stated as she nudged me with her elbow.
“Maybe.” Was all I mumbled as I finished my now cold breakfast and left with my friends.
Elena had been right, Lady Arabella would be in our lesson. As soon as everyone was in the valley that we trained in she told us: “Today we are going to be accompanied by two very good friends of mine Lady Arabella and Lady Helena.” At that the two girls had stood next to Lady Aonie and grinned out at us all. Lady Arabella’s golden eyes would fall on me for a second then look away every other time that I had seen her, but today she looked at me and smiled warmly as if she knew how I got here. Duh! Of course she did!
“What are we learning today, I wonder?” Emery whispered in my ear.
“I don’t know. Why?” I whispered back.
“The girl, the new one. She is good with animals.”
“How can you tell? What do you mean anyway?”
“Her aura. It is very primitive. I can tell that her talent is animals, like she can call them. Can you not see it?”
“No, and she is from earth. She doesn’t have any skills.”
“Are you sure about that because I see different.”
At that Emery moved forward to get a better look at the girl who was known as Lady Helena. Aisling crept up to my side and nudged me slightly.
“I can see it too.” She mumbled. I could feel her pushing the picture at me and so could Lady Arabella. She shot Aisling a questioning look and then looked at her friend who was laughing at something Lady Aonie was doing. I caught the image from Aisling’s mind and gasped.
“I wonder if she can? That would be magnificent.” I heard Arabella mumble.
“What would? Who? What you on about?” Helena asked Lady Arabella with a somewhat amusing look of parliament on her face.
“Nothing, Helena. Aonie why don’t you stop fooling around with that rock and get on with your lesson, we don’t have all day.” Arabella retorted. Lady Aonie stuck her tongue out at her but did as she was told.
“Right, today then we are going to learn how to communicate with animals.” Lady Aonie ordered and Emery gave a bark of a laugh that clearly said: told you so.
Without any further instructions, we broke off into our groups of three and began to work on calming our minds. I sat cross legged on the hard wood floor and put my headphones in my ears. The beautiful composures of Hans Zimmer filled my head and I instantly began to relax. I could feel my mind lengthening its grip so that the thoughts of Aisling and Emery were in my head also. In our first lesson we had been taught how to do this, it was an extremely useful skill. I always leaded them because I was used to meditating and I was able to cool down quicker than the others.
Once our minds were in synchronisation I opened my eyes and stood up, but I kept my music playing. Aonie had been going through the instructions while we were meditating so Aisling, Emery and myself began to work on today’s task. Arabella was making her way over to where we stood, my pulse began to pick up and my breathing quickened.
“I haven’t seen you in a while. I know… what happened. Pretty cool really. That was amazing what you did … for him. Wow.” Lady Arabella stammered. I swallowed loudly and she smiled at me awkwardly.
“Arabella, I would appreciate it if you didn’t distract my students. They have a job to do, you guys are doing really well.” Aonie snapped from behind her. I turned unwillingly away from Arabella and continued with my task.
“I am sorry, Aonie. Helena, come here will you?” Arabella called. The young girl with black skipped to her side and looked at her expectantly.
“Helena, this is Electra. Electra, this is Helena. Why don’t you two get acquainted while I have a word with Aonie.”
“Hey, s’up?” Helena greeted me with a beaming grin. I returned her grin and answered in her slang. “Not much, you?”
“Same. So you know Arabella?”
“Yeah. She’s working for your dad isn’t she?”
“Yup. So, like, why d’ya sign up?”
“I didn’t, they made me.”
“What, but you’re volunteers.”
“No, they didn’t make me. The people who owned me made me. Well, I offered but they won’t let me pull out.”
“Oh. That makes no sense. Ha!”
I couldn’t help laughing. Helena was a very sweet girl. Helena was a girl who knew nothing of the world that really existed and Arabella wanted it to stay that way. I could see why. She was a girl who loved to be happy and you felt the same.
“Are you two getting along?” Arabella asked as she strode up behind Helena with Aonie trailing behind her a calculating look on her face.
“Yeah. What were you guys talking about?” Helena asked back.
“You, Helena. We were talking about you.”
“All in good time, Helena.”
At that I grinned then turned back to my friends. I heard Aonie, Helena and Arabella walk off to observe the other groups but Arabella was letting me into her mind. She showed me what she knew about me (and she knew it all really). Also, she showed me that Helena was talented. Like Emery and Aisling had said, apparently she was a shape-shifter. A skill lost to all for two thousand years. My friends smiled at me and I smiled back.
We continued with our tasks and received only one other visit. The class came to an end all too soon in my opinion. We headed back to the valley and changed out of our training clothes and into something that was cleaner. Emery was deep in conversation with Aisling as we made our way over to the canteen for dinner. Our usual table was taken by Alec, Elena and Alejandro. Alec smiled at me when we sat but the twins were glaring at each other.
“Have fun today?” He asked. I nodded then grinned at the memory of Emery bursting into a sweat.
“Lady Arabella was in our class today, and you know her friend, Helena, apparently she is a shape-shifter. Well that is Electra said that Lady Arabella said.” Emery informed Alec who was probably the only other one but me at the table who was listening. The twins were still glaring at each other and Aisling was talking to a girl from wolf.
“Really. That is so cool! Does she know it yet or are they going to start her soon?” Alec asked aiming it mainly at me. However, I found it difficult to reply as he stared at me with those fabulous hazel eyes. He raised his eyebrows expectantly and I grinned impishly.
Luckily Emery saved me,
“She doesn’t know it yet but it is really obvious if you know what to look for.”
“Oh. So do you think that she’ll be just one animal or be able to morph into more than one?”
“I don’t know. She’s quite strong but I don’t know if that’s just because it’s been dormant for all her life. She’s very typical earth teenager if you know what I mean. She isn’t really the kind of girl that would ever try what you need to do to change. You have to completely relax and then picture every part of the animal you want for your first few times. After you’ve got used to it, it doesn’t take that much getting used to. So I’ve heard anyway.”
I began to drift, to think about Helena. Maybe I should let you in on her first transformation. Nothing important happened that night at the camp so might as well.