I’m Kyra Staar, a seventeen-year-old working for The Light Gentry. Born into a life that has changed in so many ways, when we were overtaken by a harsh dictator. I’m just trying to get by the only way I know how, but I can feel it all slipping through my grasp.
It all began decades ago when the reign of Queen Inessa Alexandria became challenged by Beatrice Plath. Inessa’s reign had been a communal effort between the Otherworld and Human Realm for centuries. The Gentry didn’t have to be as vocal like they are now. But Beatrice wanted to establish an alternative regime. She didn’t feel like holding hands in solidarity with beings without power was a relationship where we stood anything to gain.
So then, the result was all out apocalyptic warfare, ravaging cities, and forceful hostile divide within communities in our realm. No longer were we helping our fellow kin and supes. We were punishing them for their loyalties to Queen Inessa. Punishing them for being who the Goddess bore them to be.
No longer embracing our strength and courage but condemning them.
I hadn’t been born yet, when all this happened, but my parents used to tell me wondrous stories about festivals and venturing to the other side. The Gentry used to be known for their elaborate festivals and gatherings. Of course, the Fae love their food, and their drinks even more. Any excuse for a party really, is a good excuse for a party.
Going to the human realm was like an adventure. Our realm is grand, sure. It has endless lands and spectacular water views, but even before war ravaged our home, it never came close to the innocent beauty the human realm held.
But now the closest thing we get to a festival, or beauty, is a stale piece of loaf and humming quietly in some dank far off corridor. Every portal to the human realm has been sealed off and heavily guarded, least one of us gets a grand idea of running away from our current sadist— cough, cough, I mean Queen.
What I would give to meet a human. Heck, what I would give to meet anyone else. I’m always stuck between work and training, I have yet to meet different kin. I’ve been working for this organization within an organization most of my life—or at least the life I can or want to remember. My old life seems so frivolous when I think of it now.
I mean sure, I love being a part of the bigger scheme of things. To be fighting for others who are no longer able to fight for themselves. But a girl sure can get lonely down here, even if I am Gentry, which used to be royalty, but we fell from grace long ago. Instead of royalty, I’m treated like a royal slave now.
Here’s the lowdown: There are two kinds of Gentry, the Light and the Dark. Like most things in any world, there are two sides. We have always been the keeper of the Goddess’ gifts. The keeper of nature and savior of mankind. Or at least we used to be, before we were forced into the shadows. Now the lines have been blurred so much even the Gentry don’t know what side they’re on anymore.
My father and godfather, Óisín, started our shadowy organization because of all the crap Beatrice put them through. While most Gentry lost their way, our crescent, our family seal, was supposed to shine through in the darkest of times. To be their protector once again.
My father thought we could work within our department as the best way to get back at her. The only way we can operate is under the ruse of being the new royals’ consultants in every matter of both realms. We have divisions dedicated to things like technology and languages, to runes and the fates.
The only ones allowed into the human realm are the Queen’s scouts. They keep tabs on them, like the mysticism held long ago still lingers. Even the Queen gets nostalgic I suppose.
Being both thinkers and warriors, we didn’t find the logic in bowing down to the new reign quite like the others. They didn’t have a choice. But neither did we. How could we let her get away with hurting the very existence we valued above all else, the freedom and liberties we held so close to our souls. So, all we do is train for a day I don’t even think is coming.
I throw my knife into a picture of her face. It zooms across the room, sliding a quarter inch away from her right eye. I roll my eyes and bite down on the inside of my cheek. Immediately my tongue tastes the bitter copper of my blood. And I hear him.
My godfather has raised me pretty much my whole life. It’s always been this never-ending test. The never-ending preparation for my unknown future. He tries his best to sneak up behind me, never failing to take a break from my lifelong training.
Smiling I quickly turn on my heels and face him. He’s unsurprised and maybe a little proud, “Oi cheeky,” Óisín says. “What are you thinking about?”
Óisín stands tall, so I must always tiptoe when I reach up for a kiss. His long silver hair in braids down his side. He usually has his hair in two braids when the Queen Bee visits. For being over 200 years old, he’s still as fit as any twenty-something Fae.
“Debauchery and mayhem,” I say with a smile and turn around to throw another knife from behind my shoulder.
“Only the best things I see.”
“What are you doing down here? You usually never come to see me so close to her arrival.”
I walk over to pull the knives from my dummy. Trying very hard to overlook the aching sensation in my heart. Something doesn’t feel right. Her usual inspection is only few short moments away, and yet he came down to see me.
A loud buzzer will cascade down the halls alerting us to sort our stash. She’s coming to see what cool new toys we have for her to use against our own kind. To use to enslave the very people we used to fight to protect.
“Well the Queen Bee is still a ways off, that buidseach.” he says fiddling between beaten up scrolls. “I wanted to come down and see you.”
I laugh out loud, “See me? Good one. Now something must be off. Do tell.”
“Can’t I come down to see my only kin without having an ulterior motive?” he says mockingly.
“The Gentry never do anything without a purpose, or motive.” I carefully inspect his demeanor for any insight into his odd behavior, and I notice he’s favoring his jacket pocket. A small glimpse lets me know he’s anxious. Of what, I’ll figure that out soon.
“Noted dear one. I will admit I had an overwhelming sensation to see you before her arrival,” he says helping me hide my dummy and picture in a false cupboard.
He places a vase on top and sprays the flowers with a solution to make them vibrant again. The flowers change from a wilted brown to violet and rose.
He sits the bottle down on my table, coming to stand over me. “I have been wanting to tell you that I…” he is interrupted by a loud buzzing sound echoing through the wing. He slumps his shoulders forward. And I groan loud enough I feel like they can hear me from above ground too.
“Looks like we have to put on our façade and hurry to her every whim.” I slide my knives into my thigh holster one at a time. “You should hurry to greet her, or she’ll have you beheaded.” I say half-kidding, half-serious.
“I almost forgot, what were you going to say before you leave?”
“I’m sure it can wait.” He pulls me into a hug and kisses the top of my head. And I feel small again, like the flightless child I was when my father dropped me off at his doorstep all those sleepless nights ago. I don’t want to let him go, and he lingers too. “Kyra,” he says, dragging my name out in a long whisper, and I’m not sure why, but this feels wrong. All wrong. He doesn’t say anything else before running up the cascading stairs to the second level.
“I don’t relish your responsibilities,” I say under my breath sliding in the last knife into my holster.
~ ~ ~ ~