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Desert Memories


by meadows_lark

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The Pink Kyrii sat silently, looking over the Desert from her perch on the rock. Moonlight glinted off the sand, giving it a silvery appearance. The night was quiet. She shifted and sighed.

      She was wearing a white dress with intricate golden pins at the shoulders. Folds of white cloth fell down like a waterfall, forming the sleeves. The dress went down to her ankles, and on her dainty paws she wore fine leather sandals.

      The Kyrii blinked her deep brown eyes, flicking back a lock of her glossy brown hair. She wrinkled her nose as the wind tossed sand onto her lap. Finally, sighing, she closed her eyes and let her mind dive deep into memories she tried to leave forgotten.

      *

      "You, little Rainia," said the Red Kyrii, tweaking the Pink Kyrii's ear, "are my favorite Kyrii." The Kyrii girl looked up at her father, eyes wide. The Pink Ixi sitting beside her smiled.

      "Daddy, the story you told me isn't real is it?" Rainia asked. "Werelupes aren't real, are they?"

      The Ixi stood up.

      "I must go, Jazan, darling, Rainia," she said, patting her daughter's head. "I'll be back later." She left the room. King Jazan smiled at his daughter, lifting her onto his lap.

      "Werelupes are real, but they don't live here," he said.

      Rainia looked relieved.

      "You would protect me, if there were Werelupes, right, Daddy?"

      "Right," he said, reaching around her and tweaking her nose. "No matter what, I'll always be there for you."

      *

      The Kyrii stared up at her father.

      "I'm sorry," she said. She wasn't one to cry, but tears were brimming her deep brown eyes. "I didn't mean it."

      "Rainia, go to your room." The Red Kyrii's hand shook as he pointed towards the stairs.

      The Kyrii girl's face was streaked with tears as she turned and ran. The Pink Ixi standing behind her father touched his arm, eyes anxious.

      "Jazan, dear, wasn't that a little bit harsh?" she asked. "She didn't mean to..."

      "She should not have been playing there," Jazan said. "Nabile..." His eyes flickered to look at the torn picture in his hands, ripped raggedly through the middle. "She shouldn't have been playing there."

      *

      Rainia gave one look around her room before silently slipping onto the windowsill. Her sandals made almost no noise on the thickly carpeted ground, but it tapped quietly on the stone windowsill.

      She had made her sheets into a rope, and made a bag out of half of her blankets. In this, she had stored water and food which she had beside her bed.

      Wiping away tears, she let herself down on the rope, then pulled it down and coiled it up, storing it in the blanket bag. Turning, she broke into a run. Her dark cloak billowed out behind her, but she was still afraid of being seen, since she was wearing white clothes. She dodged and wove through the streets. Hardly anyone was about, but she didn't want to be seen.

      After a little while of running, she reached the city gates. There were guards here, so she swerved, and went to the shadows. She settled the hood of her cloak over her head, then put her foot on the wall. Here and there, bits of brick stuck out, and she began climbing the wall by gripping these. Twice she nearly fell, but eventually, she reached the top. She stared in dismay at the other side of the wall. It was smooth and flat, with no pawholds. But now the guards were squinting at the wall, certain they saw a small figure up there. She had to go or be caught.

      Pulling out her "rope" she tied it to a lump of brick sticking out of the wall. Then she began climbing. To her utter horror, the rope stopped a little more than halfway down.

      "Halt!" She heard." Who goes there?" The gate was opening. Eyes widening, she jumped.

      The landing hurt terribly, and winded her, but she stumbled to her feet, taking off. A guard began shouting. Rainia kept running.

      *

      "Are you ok?"

      The Kyrii opened her eyes. A Red Lupe was standing over her. The burning hot sand made her scramble to her feet.

      "And you are?" the Lupe inquired. She bared her teeth, backing away. "Oh come on!" The Lupe sighed. "I don't bite! Well, not usually."

      "I'm Rainia," she said slowly, her eyes never leaving the Lupe's fearsome teeth.

      "Isn't that the name of King Jazan's daughter?" the Lupe asked. His eyes widened when Rainia visibly flinched. "Hah! Are you King Jazan's runaway?" She hunched her shoulders miserably.

      "Maybe," she said.

      "Your father's worried. He's posted pictures all over the city."

      "It's only been one night," Rainia said, turning away. She whirled around suddenly. "Don't you dare tell my father about this. And- please, leave me be." He nodded.

      "I won't tell anyone." He turned to walk off.

      "Wait! What's your name?"

      He stopped, and smiled at her.

      "My name's Tomos. Tell your mother that I miss her." Before she could ask what he meant, he broke into a trot and disappeared into the glaring light.

      *

      The Kyrii stared up at the moon, fighting to hold back tears. She remembered once when her father, King Jazan, had told her that 'Rainia' meant 'rainfall' or 'rain showers' in Ancient Qasalan. It never rained in the Lost Desert.

      "Who would name their child Rainia?" Rainia growled, scuffing her toes in the sand. The air was rather chilly, but the Kyrii ignored it. Her mind felt numb, as it always did when she remembered those things. She sniffed, shaking her head. Her father had been stern.

      They probably didn't miss her.

      Rainia shrugged her shoulders, saying to no one, "They don't miss me. Do they?"

      She had been alone in the Desert, only going to the city when she had to, for four years. Four lonely birthdays. Four years sheltering where she could.

      The wind began blowing. It gently tousled her hair. Sand blew softly past her rock. She patted the rock fondly. This was where she and her parents would have picnics, when it wasn't too hot, and when her father had free time.

      Free time.

      Her father had almost never had free time. Sometimes he woulsd seem almost like a stranger in the palace. Sometimes he wasn't present at the evening meal, or the afternoon meal either, and Rainia had very nearly always had breakfast by herself. Sleeping in the Desert was half as bad as sleeping in a stuffy room with scented blankets.

      Rainia put her ears back, angrily. King Jazan and Queen Nabile were her parents. Why couldn't she be like them? Why couldn't she be suited to the life of royalty? Why couldn't she be normal?

      Tears pricked her eyes. She was tired of running. She wanted to live in one place again. She was tired of hiding. She wanted to be able to walk down the streets of Qasala without being afraid of being caught.

      "Someday, perhaps," she told herself, shaking hair out of her face. Then she stood, lifting her head determinedly.

      "Someday, Father," she said to the wind. "Someday I will come home again to you."

      *

      Back at Qasala, a Red Kyrii stood at the palace window. His eyes were searching, searching, searching for something. The sun was not yet rising, but the sky was lightening to gray. He sighed.

      "Someday," he whispered to the wind, "someday, come home to your father again, Rainia."

The End

 
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