Calida walked into the expansive dining room of the home she shared with her father and two brothers. Her father, Cyra, had called a family meeting that morning, which included her father’s four brothers and three sisters. Calida walked slowly into the room, knowing these meetings were never good. Their reign had just ended and her father was never keen on the transition.
Calida’s long, electric red hair draped over her shoulders. The long wavy scar-like lines around her temples were a dull yellow. She knew they gave away her trepidation, and she resented them for it. She glanced at her father and saw his lines were a dull red, showing his mounting temper. She was grateful to be sitting at the end of the long mahogoney table and prayed he did not notice her mood. Her aunt, Eliane, smiled at her when she sat down and reached under the table to squeeze her hand.
“Well,” her father began, getting up from his chair to circle them. “We rescinded power to the Inber people today.” He said it slowly, baiting the room. Calida held her breath for the inevitable shift, which came quickly. Cyra slammed his fist on the table when he returned to his place at the head.
“Honestly, Cyra, must we do this every time?” Elaine said exasperated. The wavy lines around her eyes were a light red, showing her frustration.
“Do what?” Cyra growled. “Recount the events of the day with my family?”
“You know what you’re doing,” Eliane said and stood up. “I refuse to do this, this year, Cyra. Yes, the power was turned over to the Inber people. We were all there when it happened. Yes, you hated doing it, but it happened. It happens every four years. Yes, it will be twelve years until we reign again. Yes, you hate that. But there is nothing we can do about it. Do I need to give you a history lesson about how we got here?” Eliane paused for just a moment, knowing he wouldn’t take the bait. “No, I didn’t think so. The Inber people are choosing their leaders today, so we will see if any of us have to move. I doubt it since they prefer to live by the water.” At this, Eliane gestured to the floor-to-ceiling windows that showed an expansive forest of trees and wildlife.
Calida waited. Eliane was Cyra’s older sister and the one person he truly listened to. When Calida’s mother died, Eliane stepped in to help them out. Her father and her aunt Eliane’s relationship was always strong, but after that, they were like two forces of nature. Forces that battled within as strongly as they battled in the protection of the other. When her father did not speak, her aunt continued.
“We have this discussion every transition year. This year, I would like to spare the headache, Cyra.”
“Oh you would, would you?” her father said, standing again. The lines around his temples were turning a brighter red, which Calida knew was never a good sign.
“Yes,” Eliane said. “I would. You can throw your tantrum somewhere else. You know where to find me if you want to have a civilized conversation.” With that, Eliane walked out of the dining room, into the grand entryway, and out the massive double front doors. She let the doors close behind her loudly to emphasize her departure.
Cyra got up from the table and walked out the back door onto the porch. Calida heard the porch door slam behind her father loudly. The sound made her jump in her seat. When it was clear her father was staying outside, she let out an audible breath. The lines around her temples were almost white, showing her fear.
She looked at her brother, Ember, wondering what to do next. Ember simply shrugged his shoulders. Cyrus got up to join his father on the porch, but before he did, he glared at the room and said, “Aunt Eliane should have let him speak.”
Calida rolled her eyes at this but immediately regretted it when she realized Cyrus saw her.
“What, Calida? You have something to say?”
“No, Cyrus,” she said exhaling while she spoke. The lines around her brother’s temples were escalating in color to a bright red. He styled his red curly hair to maintain it.
“Then what was that look?” He yelled.
“Aunt Eliane is right,” she said, pushing her chair back and standing up abruptly. The large mahogany chair screeched against the floor when she did this. “The speech never changes! Dad just yells at everyone for the fact that we have to transition power, we shouldn’t have to, we are truly meant to rule, same as our ancestors, it never changes! And you know what also doesn’t change, Cyrus? The RULES! We have to transition power. Everyone does!” At this, she was screaming. “So, why do we have to listen to it? Aunt Eliane is right, we might have to move, so we should be preparing for that! We should be spending the morning in a pro-duc-tive way!” She strung out the word productive for emphasis.
“And what? You don’t agree?” Cyrus shouted back. As he ran his fingers through his hair, Calida could see the wavy lines run down his forearms. They were bright red now. She had definitely riled him up.
“I am not going to waste my time answering that question,” she said quietly while glaring at him. She turned to her aunts and uncles and said, “I apologize for this. I will see you all at dinner.”
She nodded to her family and walked to her room. Ember quickly followed her.
Cyrus exhaled loudly after her and walked out onto the porch to join his father.
Calinda went to her room so quickly, she only shut the door right on Ember.
“Woah, what did I do?” Ember asked, with a slight mock to his voice.
“Sorry, sorry, I didn’t mean to…I just… UGH he infuriates me sometimes!” She gritted through her teeth.
“I know, but what do you expect? He’s dad’s little puppet.” Ember said. “He also gets more of it than we do. You know that.”
Calida did know that. Cyrus got the wrath more than they did because her father expected Cyrus to lead their people after him. Their father could never turn off being the “leader” when he was with Cyrus, while he could turn it off for Calida and Ember. There were times when he could just be their dad. Calida also got slightly annoyed at Ember. He was right, he always was, but she just wanted him to be on her side right now.
“Whatever,” she said cooly. The lines around Ember’s eyes and along his arms always seemed to be a golden color. It was as if almost nothing phased him and she was jealous of that. Her moods were greatly affected by her father’s mood swings. When he chose to yell at them, she sometimes couldn’t control the tears as they welled in her eyes. She would vow to distance herself from him, but then he would ask to have dinner with just her and be the kind and caring father she loved. Or he would surprise her with a gift to remind her that she was his only daughter and that was special to him, and she would love to just be with him. The whiplash was exhausting sometimes.
“Well, at least you knew to walk away. Today is always tense.” Ember said.
“Well, that is not why I walked away…” Calida started.
“What do you mean?” Ember asked.
Calida looked at her twin brother intently. He gave her a quizzical look and slowly leaned back from her. “What’s up, Calida?”
“I don’t.” She said simply.
“I don’t agree.” She said, emphasizing each word. When Ember continued to look puzzled, she rolled her eyes dramatically. Come on, she thought. I am trying to make a point here! When Ember still didn’t catch on, she decided to give up on her big moment and spell it out for him.
“I don’t agree that we should be the ones to rule.” She said quickly. “I mean, maybe if Aunt Eliane was ruling, but I do not believe Dad or our people should truly be the ones to rule.”
Ember took a deep breath in and then slowly hung his head.
“Cal, I know you don’t. This is no surprise to me. But you and I both know you should never say that out loud. Especially in the same house as Cyrus and our dad.”
Calinda smiled slightly at this. Looking down at her hands, she saw the colors on the wavy lines slowly fade to a golden red. Her calm was coming back to her.
“I know. But Dad and Cyrus have different priorities than I do, especially when it comes to leading this country.” She was gaining steam again. “I mean, come on, shutting down the phone lines to the Inber, Terra, and Ventus people? But keep ours running? Only open schools for our people? I was shocked that Everett has allowed it every time!”
“Cal!” Ember jumped up and shh’ed her quickly. And he did it not a moment too soon. Within a few moments, their father and Cyrus knocked on her door. Ember’s senses were unmatched by anyone, of any group of people. His sight, his hearing, his intuition, were always heightened. Calinda always wondered how he could be so calm when he could hear and see everything at that level. The idea made her dizzy.
“Come in!” Calinda called to them.
Her father opened the door and came to sit down at Calinda’s desk. Calinda’ room was massive. She had a large, gold-framed four-poster bed with a bright red canopy. Her large mahogany desk had a large red velvet chair and across from it was a cream couch with gold accents. At least four people could stretch out on that couch, which faced a huge tv mounted on her wall.
Cyrus came in and sat next to Ember on the couch while Calinda sat on the edge of her bed, leaning her feet on the smaller couch at the foot of her bed.
Her father had a very intense look on his face, and Calinda looked at him curiously. The lines around his eyes were a very deep color red. The darker the color red, the more intense the emotion. He felt very deeply about what he was about to tell them.
“If your aunt did not rudely interrupt me today,” he said slowly but with intention. “I would have been able to share with you what I know.” He paused at this. Calinda looked at both her brothers who looked just as unsure as she did. All of their wavy lines were the same color of pale red: anticipation.
“We will rise again.” He said quietly. It was not a suggestion, it was a promise, and his tone wreaked of foreboding. Again, Calinda looked around, but she only saw the same confused faces on both of her brothers. Her father’s stare intensified as his eyes narrowed. He looked as if he was imagining something.
“Yes, we will…” Cyrus tried. “In-”
“Not in 12 years!” Their father bellowed, causing all three of his children to pull back. At that, he threw his hands in the direction of Calinda’s fireplace, and a small fire crept to life. His powers were coming back, but slowly. It would take some time before they returned entirely for all of them, Calinda knew.
“It will be far, far sooner than that.” He said, regaining his composure.
Calinda was getting tired and a little irritated with her father’s dramatics. “What do you know?” She asked, trying not to let her frustration creep into her tone.
Her father looked right at her, then to each of her brothers, then back to her.
“You’ll see,” he said, as a smile climbed slowly across his face. “It’s about Everett.”Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in