Beware the Dark Side! 🙂
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Shards – by Shana
“Azreal, Crown Prince of Lorary!” the herald announced to the waiting crowds below. Azreal blushed as he stepped forward onto the balcony, in full view of the hundreds of people below. He shuffled his feet uncomfortably as the herald announced his sister, “Lilith, Princess of Lorary!”
Lily came gliding out gracefully, smiling and waving at the crowd. She cast a superior glance at her brother. Azreal, scowled at her from where he slouched behind their father.
King Lars stepped forward and called to the crowd, ” People of Lorary!”
Azreal heard the loud cheers rising from below. He winced, and wondered whether his father was distracted enough for him to put his hands over his ears.
“We are strong!” King Lars bellowed.
“Strong!” the crowd cried back.
“Duke Lious’s armies cannot defeat us!” King Lars continued. “They are barbarians. WE WILL DEFEAT THEM!!!”
“Yes!” the crowd roared. They were filled with visions of glory. Lily beamed, and King Lars was clearly full of pride. But Azreal cowered against the wall, filled with nameless horrors.
1 year later
Azra pushed his mop across the tiled floor and wiped his bangs from his face. Memories of his old life seemed so strange now, like a dream. They were all gone, Lily, King Lars, even Lorary, gone like his mother from childbirth. Even Azreal was gone. That shy prince was no longer here, replaced by a servant. Duke Lious had never suspected a thing, and Azra was glad of that. If word got out, Azra would not last much longer than Azreal.
Azra spun around. A young brown haired girl was peering in through the one of the doorways lining the hall.
“Rachel,” he said, putting the mop in the bucket. “What is it?”
“Duke Lious has two newcomers,” she answered. ” He was about to take them when I left.”
Azra groaned. “How long?”
“About a minute.”
Azra stared hopelessly at rest of the vast hall he had to mop. Sensing his problem, Rachel quickly spoke up. “Seal and I can finish it for you,” she reassured him.
“Thank you,” he sighed, jumping to his feet. “No one else will do this stuff for me anymore.”
“One of the other Shadowed would,” she answered quietly. “Having a Shadow helps us know why you do what you do.” She glanced up, and following her gaze, Azra saw Seal, a frail looking black haired girl, crouched in one of the windows sills, twenty feet above the floor. Seal gave him a cautious smile, and Azra waved back.
Turning and sprinting for the door, he ran down the spotless halls, passing other servants as he hurried by. He took no notice of them, as he was looking for only one person. Suddenly his eye caught on her, a slender blonde haired girl standing out of the way of all the other people.
“Storm!” he gasped, skidding to a halt. “Where have you been? I thought you were with me in the hall! What have you been doing?”
Azra had never been sure if he was hearing Storm talk to him or not, and this seemed to prove it.
“Who would you have been waiting for?” he asked. “Why in the world would you say that?” He shook his head, dismissing the question. “Never mind. I’ll be back in a minute. Stay here!” he added, though he knew she never would. He ran down the hall, and soon a large, pair of door loomed up in front of him, a snake ready to strike. He took a deep breath, and knocked.
“Who is it?”
Duke Lious sounded annoyed. Azra felt deep relief. They had not been taken yet.
“It’s Azra,” he called. “I’ve come to fetch the newcomers!”
There was a long silence. At last Duke Lious replied. “Fine. Come in.” The lock clicked, and Ara entered.
Two girls stood in front of Duke Lious’s desk. One had had curling dark brown hair, the other girl’s was lighter and straighter. They stared at Azra as he entered, but didn’t say anything.
“This is Azra,” Duke Lious said. “He will escort you to your room, and show you around Go.”
“Um, sir?” Azra dared to ask. “Which room, sir?”
Duke Lious scowled at Azra. “Your room. There’s an extra bunk.” He turned away. This conversation was over. Azra nodded, though the duke couldn’t see him, and beckoned to the girls to follow him.
Once out in the hall he relaxed, and turned to the girls. “Hi,” he said. “I’m Azra.”
The pale haired girl nodded to him. “I’m Sharlie,” she said. “This is Lira.”
Lira nodded too. She was staring at Azra, her gaze flickering between his eyes and his hair.
Azra sighed. “Done staring yet?” he asked crossly.
Lira jumped. “Oh! Yes. Sorry. It’s just…”
“I know,” Azra muttered. “I’m albino.” He hated the staring.
Lira nodded again. “Sorry.”
Azra sighed. “It’s all right.”
“Um, Azra?” Sharlie interrupted, staring over his shoulder. “Who’s that?”
Azra turned and jumped. Storm was standing behind him. “Ahh!” he yelped. “Don’t do that Storm!”
Storm might have smiled then. Azra sighed and turned back to Sharlie and Lira, who both looked like they’d seen a ghost. “This is Storm Shard,” he said. “Storm, this is Sharlie and Lira.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Lira whispered.
Azra hesitated. How much would the duke allow him to say? He settled for the bare facts. “We don’t know what’s wrong with her,” he said. “Five kids just appeared one day like this. We call them Shadows, because they each chose one person to follow around. I’m Storm’s Shadowed.”
“But… but Storm can’t be her name,” stuttered Sharlie. “Can it?”
“We don’t know their real names,” Azra admitted. ” But each of the Shadowed somehow knew what to call their Shadow. There’s Storm Shard, Seal Shard, Map Shard, Cloud Shard and Tiger Shard.”
“No!” Sharlie cried. “You don’t understand. We knew her. Her name’s Layria!”
Astonished, Azra turned and stared at Storm.
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