The Cause of the Cursed Jazan
"Jazan, wait for me!”
The young Kyrii glanced behind him with a sigh. “We’ve had to stop six times now! You’re too slow, Leta!”
“It’s not my fault you’ve got longer legs than me!” the Yellow Kyrii stuck her tongue out at her older brother. “Maybe if you didn’t run so fast-!”
“There you two are,” a voice above them said. They looked up to see a Blue Uni, barely older than Jazan, flapping his wings and looking down at them. He dropped to the castle floor a moment later. “The queen told me to find you two. She says you’re late for your magic lesson, Jazan. And you’re late for your history lesson, Leta.”
The siblings groaned. “I hate magic lessons,” Prince Jazan muttered, crossing his arms. “Father makes them really difficult.”
“At least you don’t have to learn the history of the queens of Qasala,” Leta made a face. “It’s boring.”
Jazan tried for a smile, ruffling his sister’s mane of golden hair. “Trade you.”
The princess grinned up at him. “You wish. Father’s mean. I’ll take Mother any day.”
The Uni in front of them chuckled. “You two are funny.” he turned towards the princess, bowing a little. “Shall we go, your highness? I can give you a lift.”
“Ooh, yes, yes!” she giggled excitedly, scrambling onto her friends back. “Thanks Nyte!”
“Of course.” he looked back to Jazan. “Wanna go raid the kitchen after your lesson?”
“Sure,” the Kyrii grinned. “See you guys later.” He watched as Nyte turned and trotted off, breaking into a run before soaring up towards the palace ceiling, listening as his little sister shrieked gleefully.
Sighing, he shoved his hands into the pockets of his robes and began trudging towards the throne room, where his lessons took place. When he reached the large, golden doors, he took a deep breath to brace himself, then knocked.
“Enter,” an unfamiliar voice said. Jazan started in confusion, but pushed open one of the gold doors.
When he peeked inside, an unfamiliar Shadow Lupess stood in the room. He blinked. “Um, my apologies. I must have-”
“You are here for your daily magic lesson, correct?” the Lupess cut him off, her voice almost musical. “King Razul is off on business for a few weeks. I will be giving you your lessons until he returns.”
The Kyrii almost let out a sigh of relief, but held his breath to prevent it from escaping. “I see. Thank you.” he entered the room, closing the door behind him.
As he approached her, he realized there was some sort of magic surrounding the Lupess. An ancient type, one he was not familiar with. He used his magic to reach out and examine it. His magic was about to touch it when it suddenly disappeared.
The Lupess spoke, giving no sign that she had anything to do with her magic suddenly disappearing. “I imagine you have questions for me.”
“A few,” he nodded, still surprised. “Who are you?”
She tilted her head, her dark eyes boring into his. “I am known by many names. You may address me as Master Alkalia.”
“All right. Where are you from? I’ve never seen you in Qasala before.” He would have remembered, she certainly stood out.
She gave him an emotionless smile, white fangs glistening in the light. “I am from nowhere, yet I am from everywhere. I am a traveler, of sorts. Your father heard of me and requested that I teach you magic for a few weeks while he was gone.”
“What kind of magic are you going to teach me?” Jazan asked.
“Nothing you will not be able to master, do not fear.” Alkalia walked towards him, her midnight tail swaying behind her. “First, let us review. Demonstrate a shield spell.”*****
“Is that her?” Leta’s eyes widened as she stared at Alkalia in the distance. “She’s pretty.”
“Eh,” Jazan shrugged. “She’s kinda scary.”
“”Why do you think Father wanted her to teach you? Mother can do magic too, she’s taught you before.” the Kyrii girl smoothed down her cream colored robes, making sure she didn’t fall out of the tree they were sitting in.
“Maybe this lady knows things Mother doesn’t?”
“Or maybe she came to do business with Father?” Leta mused.
“Why would anyone wanna do business with him, of all people?”
“Well, he is a king…”
“Still. Maybe she-”
“Maybe she is behind you, wondering why on earth the prince and princess of Qasala are sitting in a tree,” a cool voice behind them said. They whirled around to see Alkalia perched on a branch behind them, her dark fur blending in with the shadows of the leaves. They hadn’t heard her arrive.
Leta nearly fell out of the tree, but Alkalia reached forward and steadied her. The Lupess tilted her head. “You are the Princess Leta, are you not?”
“I-I am,” the Kyrii stuttered. “P-pleased to meet you.”
Alkalia studied her. “The pleasure is mine. I am Alkalia, Prince Jazan’s temporary magic teacher. Tell me, why are you not in my class as well?”
“Leta can’t use magic,” Jazan rolled his eyes. “Father says she’ll never be able to learn, since she can’t even cast a guide spell.”
“Hey!” Leta stuck her tongue out.
Alkalia smiled a little. “I sincerely doubt that you have no magic, little one. I can sense a great power within you. Perhaps even greater than…” the Lupess trailed off, thinking. Then she shook her head. “You two ought to return inside. It is getting late.”
“Yeah...I guess.” Jazan dropped down from the tree.
Leta hopped down as well, smoothing down her mane of fur. She was more tidy than Jazan. “I wonder what’s for dinner tonight.”
“I dunno,” Jazan shrugged, the two of them watching as Alkalia dropped out of the tree, landing silently.
The Lupess nodded to the two of them. “Perhaps I will see you later, Princess. Jazan, do not forget to practice what I have taught you.”
“Yes Master Alkalia,” he nodded, giving her a short bow.
She gave him a single nod in return before heading off towards the palace.
“She is kinda scary,” Leta shuddered once they were a good distance away from Alkalia. “I wonder where she’s from.”
“I haven’t asked. I’m afraid she’d curse me or something,” Jazan said, flicking his tail nervously. “Let’s get inside.”
Glancing at his sister, he thought about what Alkalia had said. About the ‘great power’ inside Leta. The light haired Kyrii paid her brother no mind as she chatted about what she hoped was for dinner that night. If their father, the all powerful King Razul, had been unable to sense any sort of magic within the princess, how had the Lupess? Jazan didn’t even consider that she was wrong, he could tell she was certain of what she had said.
Something bad would happen soon, he was sure of it. Something would change. He didn’t know what, but he knew Alkalia would be the cause of it.*****
“Excellent job, Prince Jazan. You may end the spell.”
Nodding at Alkalia’s words, the Kyrii waved his hand. The invisibility spell he had cast on all of the pillars in the throne room was dissipated, and the pillars were visible once more.
“Hmm. I see you are an excellent teacher, Alkalia,” King Razul said from his seat on his throne. “You’ve managed to teach my pathetic son a thing or two.”
Jazan said nothing, clenching his fists behind his back. Alkalia gave a nod. “He has great potential. It was an honor to teach a son of Qasala, King Razul.”
“Hmm. I assume you will leave the kingdom soon, so it is time to discuss the matter of your payment.”
“Indeed it is,” the Lupess said, her eyes flashing as she glanced at Jazan. “It is time for you to return to your room, I believe. You are an excellent student, Prince. Do not forget what I have taught you.”
He gave her a deep bow. “It was an honor to have you teach me, Master Alkalia.” Bowing to his father as well, Jazan left the throne room, the golden doors slamming behind him.
Instead of heading back to his room, he hesitated. What was his father going to give Alkalia? Gold? Jewels? He doubted it. The Lupess didn’t seem to care for those things.
Making sure no one was around, he knelt down next to the doors and muttered an incantation under his breath. A moment later he was able to hear what they were saying. He silently thanked his mother for teaching him this.
“...what you seek.” Alkalia was saying.
“It does not matter. I am willing to pay any price.” King Razul replied, his voice tinged with greed. “I will not have death take me away from my kingdom.”
Jazan heard a sigh. “Many have sought the secret of eternal life. There is always a cost. A sacrifice. What you seek can be found, but the cost will be great.”
Silence. Then, “A curse. I can place a curse that will not take effect until after you die. It will allow you to one day rise from the grave, a shadow of what you once were, but alive.”
“And the cost?”
“Your life. You must die, King Razul. You can not try to prolong your life before the curse takes effect, otherwise it will go very, very wrong. Do you understand?”
King Razul chuckled. “Very well. It matters not. Tell me what I must do.”
“First, my payment.”
Jazan could sense the king’s impatience. “Very well. You may have Leta, as you asked. Though I do not understand why you want my worthless daughter.”
Leta? Alkalia’s payment...was his sister? Horrified, Jazan was barely able to remain where he was. He needed to know what incantation Alkalia would use. If his father were to live forever, the kingdom would be run into the ground. He wouldn’t have that.
“That is for me to know,” the Lupess said smoothly. “Now, remain where you are. I will cast the spell.”
He could hear her muttering something, but he couldn’t make out what it was. The temperature seemed to drop, and he could hear voices he didn’t recognize, whispering warnings. To turn back, to stop this, to save them. They were unanswered.
He felt it. A change. Dark magic, radiating from the throne room, the center of which had to be his father.
“Excellent,” King Razul cackled. Was that it? The curse was in place? Was there no way to stop it? “Thank you, Master.”
Master? Had Alkalia trained Razul as well? He heard the Lupess speak, “Perhaps I will see you in a few hundred years. Now, if you will excuse me, I must go to Leta. She will need to get ready.”
Silence, then the doors to the throne room were suddenly opened. Jazan stumbled back. Alkalia raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. King Razul didn’t appear to see him before the doors closed, and he caught a glimpse of his father testing some sort of spell.
“Well now,” the Lupess said coldly. “What shall I do with you now, Prince Jazan?”
“What more can you do?” he glared up at her. “You’re taking my sister away!”
“It is for the best,” Alkalia replied. “Should she develop her powers here, your father will abuse them to no end, perhaps even do away with her to take them for himself. Razul is a fool.” she said in disgust. He blinked at her words. She continued. “That spell will only bring him back for a short period of time. He does not realize that the cost was greater than he thought.” She pulled Jazan to his feet, studying him. “Perhaps you will be more useful than I thought…”
“What do you mean?”
She began walking, leaving him with no choice but to follow her. “Listen to me. Your father's life is now tied to yours as a side effect of the curse. You will be cursed as well, but only to live a very long time. You will be unhappy. Despair will overtake your kingdom. When your father perishes, the curse will spread throughout the entire kingdom. Dead among the living, never to move on.”
“Why did you do it then?” the Kyrii glared.
She ignored him. “It was the only way I could help you and your sister. You are strong, Prince Jazan. Stronger than your father, even. You come from two royal lines, both tainted with magic. I can not tell you everything, not now. To give you these small hints of your future...it goes against the laws of magic.” she stopped, looking at him. He was surprised to see sympathy in her eyes. “You will suffer much, and for that I am sorry. But these trials will make you stronger and bring you happiness, in the end. That much, I can promise you.” she reached out as if to touch him, then magic seemed to radiate from her entire being. “Goodbye, Jazan. We will meet again.”
Darkness flooded the corners of his vision, then he could see nothing. He felt drowsy, and then he knew nothing.*****
“My lord, there is a visitor here for you,” a messenger said, appearing nervous.
Next to him, the Nightsteed frowned. “Who could that be at this late hour?”
Jazan said nothing, just as clueless. “Send them in.”
The Kacheek bowed and left. A moment later, the doors of the throne room opened and a familiar figure walked in, making his heart stop. The Shadow Lupess regarded him calmly. “Hello Jazan,” she said, a hint of amusement in her voice.
“You,” he said, not bothering to hide to contempt in his voice. “How dare you show your face here!” he rose from the throne, his magic cracking angrily around him.
The Nightsteed stepped in front of him, preventing him from attacking Alkalia. “Listen to what she has to say, old friend,” he advised. “Powerful as you are, I doubt you would be able to defeat her.”
The Kyrii clenched his teeth, but released the magic. He sat back down, eying her distrustfully. “There is most likely a reason for you to have returned after all this time. So I will hear you. This time.”
She have him a mock bow, still obviously amused. “I am pleased to see you are doing well, Jazan.”
“King Jazan,” he corrected her.
Alkalia shook her head. “You are no king of mine, simply a student. I was old when you were born, and I am even older now. So I will not answer to you, I am afraid.”
He sighed. “I did not expect you to. Why are you here?”
“For many reasons,” she sighed. “First, to congratulate you for defeating your father, and for finding happiness.”
“Was it not your fault in the first place?” the Nightsteed asked, turning the Lupess’s attention to him.
She tilted her head. “Yes and no. If I had not cursed Razul, Jazan would not have been cursed either, and Qasala would have fallen into the sands, never to rise again. That much is certain. So I had two options-leave without Leta, and your family would have been ripped apart in the most horrid of ways. Or take her and give you a chance to defeat your father. As you can see, I chose the latter.”
“How did you know all this?” the Kyrii asked, furrowing his brow.
She gave him an emotionless smile, fangs as white as ever. “I have been cursed with the gift of sight as for as long as I can remember. Which is, in fact, a very long time. It does come in handy, now and again.” She waved a dismissive hand. “But no matter. I came for another reason as well.” her gaze hardened. “The next time something happens to the Faeries, let it be.”
“Why?” he shared a look with the Nightsteed.
“What happened to the Faeries was meant to be permanent, had you and your comrades not interfered,” she scowled. The temperature in the room seemed to drop a little. “Years of work, gone.” she took a deep breath as if to steady herself. “Perhaps it was my fault for choosing Xandra to assist me. She was not meant to get so greedy, to let her rage overtake her. I thought for sure I had trained her better than that.”
“You-you were responsible for-”
“Only partially.” she met his gaze, her ancient golden eyes boring into his. “But that is not your business. And not what I am really here for.” Alkalia flicked her tail. “I had to wait hundreds of years before deciding that it was safe enough for a visit. There are still those who would abuse the power my student has, so this will be very brief. She will be returning to her home afterwards. She may not stay, even if you beg and bargain.” She gave Jazan and the Nightsteed a smiled, one tinged with warmth. “She is very stubborn, just like you.”
A figure materialized next to her, and Jazan arose with a start. A beautiful Kyrii with golden fur stood next to the Lupess. She was older than the last time Jazan had seen her, but it was undoubtedly her. “Leta?” he whispered.
The former princess smiled. “Hello Jazan. It’s been a very, very long time.”