The Guardian - The Silva Chronicles

The Guardian - The Silva Chronicles

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

Casey is an 18-year-old Guardian-in-training, who struggles to find her place in this world. With her friends, she discovers that everything her father has taught her about the mysterious "World Beyond" is wrong. Their journey of hope, betrayal, lust and love brings them closer and closer to the truth behind the mirrors.
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Summary

Casey is an 18-year-old Guardian-in-training, who struggles to find her place in this world. With her friends, she discovers that everything her father has taught her about the mysterious "World Beyond" is wrong. Their journey of hope, betrayal, lust and love brings them closer and closer to the truth behind the mirrors.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: June 03, 2017

Reads: 36

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: June 03, 2017

A A A

A A A

I was sitting cross-legged in my father's study, books lay open around me, some resembling the Christian bible, some my own schoolbooks, while I admired the breathtaking sunrise in the window behind my father. It was casting all hues of reds and oranges over the white, sheep-clouds as the cornfields glittered golden. I had always been a light sleeper, but had given up on tossing and turning a while ago and had decided on two things: First, to get a dog. I needed to get out, I needed something normal to do aside from the Guardians' work that occupied every inch of my mind. I'd eventually gotten my mom to agree, and behind my father's back, we'd rescued a dog that had supposedly been some kind of Labrador-sighthound mix from Mexico. Turned out, there was something along the lines of a Newfoundlander in her. Honestly, they'd just sent us the wrong dog. But, upon seeing that small, scared bundle in the cramped box at the airport, what could we do? Send her back? No. Lila stayed, and even Dad fell for her eventually.

The second revelation I'd had was more complex, and went against everything I had ever been told: I couldn't believe in everything my father wanted me to. That had been a recent epiphany of mine, after I'd seen an old friend, Melissa, nearly burned out in a cheap motel. I always passed it on my way to school, and she had been sitting on a bench next to the entrance, reading a book. When I'd gone to her, calling out her name, she didn't react. It took me several moments to get through to her, and when I had, she'd looked at me in astonishment, but not recognition. I didn't know what had happened to her, but after she'd reassured me she had no idea who I was I'd simply got going, brooding over what had happened to her.

Of course, I had been smarter than to ask my father. I knew that the Guardians had their own ways of letting unworthy people go, and had learned that questioning that matter wouldn't do me any good. Emma always confirmed as much when our father spoke about the importance of our work and God's guidance and she shot me warning glances that kept me from saying something stupid. Dad, despite loving us very much, was incapable of forming a mind of his own. He strongly believed in the Guardians' work, and his chest swelled proudly when he talked about the good they were doing. We were a secluded, very exclusive group, whose most important task was guarding the Mirrors. We had one standing in father's study, it was a gigantic, however otherwise normal looking mirror, with a heavy, golden frame engraved with magical ornaments that gave it its true purpose: This mirror, like many others of its kind, functioned as an entrance (and sometimes, though rarely, exit) for the supernatural world. Guardians, for some reason, were born with a colorful birthmark that looked like a feather and was mostly found on our right shoulder blade, and it made them immune to offensive magic spells of any kind. If some creature were to cross the border and stand in our study, we could easily bring him back. Old fashioned like we were, we'd never do that by consulting other magical creatures; we simply pointed a gun at them and forced them to go back. Most did after confirming their fire balls just vanished right before hitting us. Some were harder to bring back, more stubborn, but in the end they always decided to go back and find a different exit, one less guarded. That's where things became chaotic. While these mirrors were known exits from the world beyond, any magic wielding creature could create a temporary, one way exit in every mirroring substance they could find, be it a puddle or a window of any kind, and then appear somewhere in our world. Guardians always knew when a creature from beyond crossed the border, they could feel a change in the atmosphere when more magic flowed into the mundane world. Dark magic especially left its mark, and the exits could be easily detected because no soul, animal or human, dared to get close to the darkness summoned, and plants withered around it. That wasn't of great help to us, since by the time we reached it, the demon was long gone.

Free the world of evil. That phrase had been burned into my mind, it filled every inch of my consciousness, and I carried it wherever I went, along with the Guardians' beliefs of the world beyond, and how God had created it so we were safe in ours. It was something I never questioned, never dared to question, as our father preached the same, repetitive words, over and over again, making sure they stuck. Recently, however, I felt different. Like my mind didn't function like it was supposed to. When the high priest preached enthusiastically about God and the first Guardians every Friday night, I could unconsciously feel my eyebrows rise at his words, would find myself chuckling and generally disbelieving his strong and charismatic monologues. Dad would give me disagreeing glares, but mom's and Emma's faces lit up whenever I stepped out of line, and I had a feeling that none of us would've chosen this life if we'd had a chance.

To be quite fair though, I had been given a chance. And even if I disagreed with most of what the Guardians said, the love I felt for my family consumed my whole body, and the joy I felt whenever we all were together made my knees feel week at times, and I knew I had to stick to the Guardians' rules to maintain that glorious feeling of belonging. I owed them so much, and despite feeling trapped so many times, there was nothing I wouldn't do for them.

“Still with us?” Dad's voice sounded through the room, forcing me to blink the waterfall of thoughts away and look at him. Next to his desk slept Lila, waking at his powerful voice. When dad spoke, his words seemed to vibrate through every inch of his surroundings, his voice loud although never raised, and everybody listened.

“Of course,” I said, grabbing the book closest to me. Even though he loved us, there were many things Dad disliked us doing, and in order to maintain harmony within the family, mine and Emma’s lives consisted of the constant pressure of behaving according to our father's etiquette. Being their biological daughter, Emma didn't face nearly the same stress I did trying to be good. “I was just reflecting yesterday's service.” It was a blatant lie, but when my father's face lit up vividly, I knew it was the best one I could have told.

“I looked over your shoulder, and when the beautiful sunrise painted the world behind you – our world – in these unimaginable colors, I felt Gods' existence closer than ever. Only He could cast such perfection.” I wondered whether that had been a tad too much, but dad leaned back satisfied, and offered me a genuine smile. Him smiling was a sensation rarely seen, and I took it in greedily as I flashed a smile back. I was adopted, and with a father like him, one that always looked so grim and serious, it was hard imagining he liked having me around. Despite spending very much time together, he never seemed to actually enjoy it.

“Ah, Casey.” He sighed, contentment sugaring his voice. “I knew it was the right decision to take you in, and you've proven your worth every day ever since. You make an old man very proud, and I wish all those who were against you knowing our secrets could hear you now. What an intelligent, reflecting woman you have become.”

Funny, I thought, giving him the happiest smile I could muster, I'm not sure intelligent and reflecting are the adjectives I'd use to describe our views. But I stayed quiet, enjoying my father's praise, and went back to studying. I liked my father being proud of me, no doubt, and I knew the pressure on his shoulders was just as heavy as mine. I used to live with my real, biological father for a while, until I was six or so. I didn't have much memories of him, which stung every time the matter crossed my mind, only that he was a musician and we traveled a lot. I did remember my Hello Kitty suitcase, that always held the same clothes, as we didn't have much money left to buy new ones, and still owned Ivy, an old plush elephant that I had always clung to my heart when I wanted to fall asleep and dad was at some job.

One day, I got lost. It was a painful memory, especially since it had been my own fault. Dad had tucked me in bed, sung some lullabies, and then left with the promise to return before I awoke. The impulsive and idiotic child I was, I'd decided to look for him. He was supposed to have his performance somewhere in the Hotel we stayed in, and I was eager to find him. I never did, and when I returned to the room and had no keys, I panicked. I blamed it on me having been a child back then and not really thinking about any consequences, but I'd finally decided on searching the other hotels on the strip for him; after all, he couldn't have gone too far.

As it happened, I lost my way. I don't know exactly for how long I wandered the streets, but by the time I reached the circus on the outskirts of town, I realized two things: I couldn't remember the hotel's name and had never memorized my father's number, even though he'd urged me to so many times. The circus director took me in immediately, and even helped looking for what little family I had. We never found him, and eventually the director decided to keep me. I traveled with them for three years, until the Lanes found me. Adopting me was out of question for them, and so, at the age of nine, I'd finally learned what it meant to have an intact family.

The book I'd grabbed earlier was still in my lap when I urged the thoughts away. Today wasn't a day to mourn. I had to be happy. And my mother confirmed as much when her cheerful voice called for my father and I to come down for breakfast. Emma was already sitting at the table, her scarlet hair tied up in a messy bun, but otherwise looking as dazzling as ever. My own black hair was open, but not combed yet, and I assumed it looked like a lion's mane. Emma and I were as different as day and night. She was beautiful, girly and well-liked. She had long, red hair, full lips, and an athletic built one had to have as a cheerleader. Boys queued up to talk to her, and even though she never met with any of them, she was a goddess when it came to flirting. I, on the other hand, had thick, black hair, which I'd long ago cut into a short bob with bangs falling into my forehead. While Emma loved wearing skirts and dresses, I felt most comfortable in pants. My soft spot were hats, especially red ones, since I loved how they contrasted to my charcoal hair. My eyes were my favorite part of myself, and the only thing I didn't envy Emma for: They were of honey's color, with little, jade specks in them. Emma's eyes were light blue, a color that would have been more outstanding if her skin allowed any kind of tan.

“Morning,” I said, sitting opposite of Emma. I took a sip of my Earl Grey and tried deciding between a lemon or milk to add to it, when mom walked in, a huge birthday cake in her hands. My father was next to her, quietly clapping his hands as he gave the rhythm for my birthday song. Emma stood up as they walked out, and them singing “Happy Birthday” filled the room while Lila was glued to my mother's feet, hoping we'd share the goods with her. I blinked back tears and blew the candles, before every one of them pulled me into tight embraces and kissed me several times.

“You'll get your presents later,” Emma and mom assured me, sharing suspicious looks I found hard to ignore.

“Eighteen,” Emma said when we were all seated, shaking her head slightly as she eyed me. “These nine years have passed in a blow!” I agreed, feeling a little overwhelmed at all the attention and unable to respond.

“Now you're officially one of us,” Dad said, face straight, although his eyes gave away his happiness. I nodded, but a strange nausea clogged my throat, and I tried not to choke on it. As so often when talking about the Guardians, I felt trapped. And with my 18th birthday today, he was right: I now was officially trapped. Dad had even gifted me with an appointment at a tattoo studio nearby, so they could replicate the birthmark. He really did want me to absolutely belong to them. However, despite being adult now, did I want that? Did I want to live a life that forbid me to ever be free? I thought back to Melissa, and whatever the Guardians had done to her, I couldn't have them do it to me. I forced the smile back on my lips, and ensured my dad that nothing could make me prouder than to officially becoming a Lane.

“You already are a Lane,” my mother ensured, taking my hand. She breathed a kiss to my forehead, and hugged me again. “And you always will be, dear. Casey Lane.”

“Not if she ever marries,” remarked Emma, taking a mouthful of her Omelet. My father shifted in his seat, and we all knew the reason: He and mom were the last Lanes if Emma and I ever married. Unless, of course, we would find men who wanted to take our surname. Bloodlines and Name lineage was something very important to the Guardians, and if our children didn't carry our family's name, they'd be forbidden to become Guardians, even if they were born marked. Dad had always tried to get my mother to have more children, at least until they were gifted with a son, but my mother, probably unable to put another child through the Guardians' brainwash they called education, refused. She'd said that once she was a grandmother, she wanted grandchildren that could visit her whenever they felt like it, wanted a family she could spend the holidays with without them being summoned to wherever a demon had used the high spirituality in the air to escape the world beyond. Although dad disagreed, there were no arguments against that reasoning. And, as flawed as he might have been, one thing was for sure: Dad loved mom with every fiber of his being.

 

After tidying the remnants of breakfast, I decided to help mom in the kitchen. We had guests coming over for my birthday; nobody fancy, just our neighbor and long-time friend Miss Nimmity and my best friend, Niko. My birthday parties were nothing compared to Emma’s. She loved being celebrated. Me, not so much.

Lila was fast asleep after our extensive walk in the early morning hours, and Emma accompanied dad to run some mysterious errands I absolutely couldn't be a part of. Around noon, Mrs Nimmity joined us, helping us peel, clean, and add ingredients to full pots, but never taking over the stove. We all knew Mrs Nimmity was an excellent cook, but knew just as well how she hated having to share the kitchen. Her being here said a lot about our relationship. Mrs Nimmity had raised me just as much as my parents had. Whenever they were gone, whenever they needed a sitter, Mrs Nimmity had been there, casting spells over us with her ancient stories. We never got her to tell us where those stories were from, and I still stumbled over them whenever I thought back to our childhood.

We all stood in the kitchen for most of the day. I excused myself after some time, taking Lila out for a walk and headed for Niko's house after two hours of wandering the forests. He was already awaiting me, as were his parents. They all pulled me into tight hugs and shared their congratulations, emphasizing how happy they were I stumbled into their lives and that they hoped I felt as welcome there as they tried me to feel.

“Remember,” his mother said, cupping my face with her hands, “whenever things don't go the way you wished, whenever you feel lost or trapped, and whenever you feel like nobody understands you; our door is always open for you, Stea.” Apparently, Stea was Romanian for star, and her nickname for me ever since I'd played a star in a school production of some unknown play. She kissed my cheek, and I had to admit how much better I'd fit into their family. Their hair was dark-brown, it could have passed as black if it hadn't been for the occasional rays of sun hitting it and revealing its true color. Their eyes, despite darker than mine, were brown, too, and the light honey of mine could have as well been a gift from a grandparent or some other ancestor. Her and mine build was similar, too, lacking obvious feminine curves. She, however, put much more effort into looking like a woman than I did. I didn't mind people turning heads and wondering whether I was a very pretty boy or gorgeous girl.

We went home together, Lila's leash hanging over my neck as she obediently walked beside me. I nearly never needed the leash, unless we were in a crowded place, like the market. All the temptations there just were too much, even for a calm soul like Lila. When we arrived, Mom and Mrs. Nimmity were sitting in the living room, wallowing in old photo books of Emma and me. Sadly, a fire at their old house had burned most of Emma's childhood picture, but they did have some birth pictures, and my mother cherished those very much. She often wished she had pictures of me as a newborn.

Niko and I immediately hurried off into my room, waltzing over old books, but mostly just talking. We usually talked about the same things, trivial stuff that happened at school, a lot about my sister and what she was up to – I had a hint she meant more to Niko than he revealed – and then always ended up with the same topic: Our near, future plans. I had this whole web created with Niko, where Emma would go to Thailand like she'd always wanted for a semester abroad. Niko and I would do the same, only that he would go to Romania – he had never been there and wished dearly to discover his roots – and I had planned to take off to Sweden, or Iceland. Somewhere cold, where the night perceived and created the most beautiful of pictures in the skies. I desperately wanted to believe in those visions, those utopian phantasies, but knew they were all but far-away wishes, dreams for another universe.

“We'll Skype whenever we can, what with the time differences, and visit each other every holiday,” he recited the all too familiar words, the dreams whose unattainability kept me up at night, and I courageously smiled at him, trying not to falter. “You'll show me how the Swedes do it, Em' will be all tanned and changed when we go there for Christmas, and you'll learn the Romanian ways around Easter. Easy.”

“Easy,” I agreed, the trapped feeling tugging at my shoulder, creeping up my neck, leaving a long, cold line of Goosebumps. I urgently wished for all those dreams to come true, to someday be granted a normal life. However, my education ended after high school. And by then I’d be a full-blood Guardian, for the rest of my miserably stable life.

 

In the evening, all of us sat around the dining table, including Emma and dad, who had finally returned from their errands, but had spent the rest of the day in dad's study, letting out an audible chuckle every once in a while. I wondered what all of this was about, but helped my mom decorate the table while Niko sat on our couch and talked to Mrs. Nimmity. She knew him just as well as she knew me, and it once again struck me how I would regard all of them my family.

We shared all the things my mother had cooked, she'd baked bread, had made a whole goose with her tasty cauliflower and quark filling, while the other side of the table had a whole plate of pirogues, a Russian dish common in Romania, my favorite food. I had once tasted it at Niko's, and was in love ever since. My mother had asked Niko's for the recipe, and had created all kinds of variations in the past years. She disliked the mess it made, but couldn't deny she loved them just as much; the effort was totally worth it.

I stuffed my plate with mashed potatoes, a chicken cordon-bleu with raclette cheese, and an uncountable number of pirogues, and started stuffing my mouth with all the goods. We all ate in silence for a while, until all of our bellies were sated enough so we could lean back and fall into soft conversations. I noticed Mrs. Nimmity watching me from across the table, gaze unusually sharp, as if she was searching for something. Feeling unsure under her almost piercing glare, I averted my eyes, hearing Niko babbling with Emma about anything he could come up with. He was desperately trying to involve her in an interesting dialogue, but despite her nodding and smiling, it was evident that she wasn't as interested in what was mostly a monologue on his pa. He eventually gave up and turned to my mother, who was much more talkative than Emma. He complimented on the food, and the two of them soon included Mrs. Nimmity in a fierce argument about the healing ability of plants. I sighed, and watched as Emma and Dad fell into secretive whispers, as ever so often not quite feeling as if I belonged here, but also not knowing where else I belonged.

My mother noticed my silence first. She frowned, giving me a questioning look, but I waved it off with a smile, yawning to show her I was just tired. She nodded briefly and clapped into her hands once, making everybody at the table stop to look at her.

“Everybody done?” She asked, looking at the empty plates in front of everyone. “Let's start with the presents, then.” It was all that was needed to get everybody to stand up and scurry through the living room. Only Mrs. Nimmity and Niko stayed seated, obviously having brought the gifts from home and not hiding them everywhere in the house. Once my family was gone, Mrs. Nimmity leaned over the table, taking my hand gently into hers. The expression her eyes revealed now was solemn, but kind, almost... worried? I blinked, a small smile gracing my lips.

“Eighteen,” Mrs. Nimmity sighed, reminding me of Emma at Breakfast, “And still no different.” She withdrew her hand from mine and shook her head, almost in disbelief, and I could see in her eyes that there was something she couldn't understand.

Before I could find out what bothered her, my family scurried back in, pushing their chairs close to mine. Mrs. Nimmity went first, giving me a beautiful silver necklace with a deep, sapphire, shimmering stone, that had traces of lilac and cyan and with its glittering, looked as if it had the universe captured inside. I adored it, running my fingertips over its smooth surface.

“Thank you,” I breathed and hugged her. She helped me put it on, and stepped aside for Niko to come forward.

Niko knew I was the kind of person that disliked fancy presents and liked it simple, so there was no pressure for my presents to measure theirs – I was selfish like that, presents just weren't my ways – but I could still see him waver when he reached me the little velvet bag. I opened it, and out slid a thin bracelet that had a small, aquamarine snowflake, glistering just like the necklace. “I thought it'd fit. Mrs. Nimmity gave me a nudge to get something that’ll fit the necklace.”

“It's beautiful,” I said, already putting it on. “I'm getting showered in jewelry! Up to this day, I never wore any,” I laughed, hugging Niko, too, so thankful to have him.

“Get used to it,” Emma smirked, handing out a big, yet flat box. On top of it, she'd glued on a smaller box, that had an “Open me first”-Note on top. I ripped it off, and opened to see a pair of earrings and a ring, whose stones resembled Mrs. Nimmity's, but were clearly imitates of a different stone.

“Those are from mom,” She clarified, but before I could hug her, Emma stopped me. “Open mine first. They go together.” I nodded, still thanking my mom, and opened Emma's huge box. Inside was a dress, one I'd certainly never wear, a vest, which made it a little more appealing, a black hat with a silver ribbon, at which point I knew something more was planned for that outfit, and high-heeled shoes. I looked up, mustering a smile while eying Emma.

“Where am I supposed to wear that?” I asked, and Emma's eyes glittered.

“Tonight! Niko, you and I are going out.”

“Who'll drive us?” I asked, and Emma clapped her hands in delight, while dad reached me another box. I opened it, and inside was a dog collar. I beamed at my dad – he knew how much I loved Lila after all.

“Take it out,” Emma urged, and I rolled my eyes at her impatience, lifting it still. On a small thread hang a pair of keys – car keys. I sprung to my feet, looking at my parents in disbelief, and then hurrying out. There it was, a turquoise VW beetle. I stormed back inside, and pulled my parents into tight embraces.

“You shouldn't have.” I said, forcing back tears. It finally ended with us all hugging and telling each other how much they meant to us, until eventually, Emma forced us all to part.

“Alright, sis, you get 20 minutes to shower. After that, I'll make your hair and make-up. No arguments on the dress, it stays. I'll take mom's car and drive Niko home, so he can get ready, too. 


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