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General Art Revenge of the Stari


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Here's the next chapter.

Chapter Sixteen

I almost fell over. “W-wha-what did you just say?”
Narus gave me a sad smile. “Yes, I am Balthscar’s son by Tristiana. This is Streak, her cheetah partner.”
I thought for a minute. Tristiana was a woman who always wanted to see outside of the forest. She had married my father, but when she had miscarriages over and over, she felt she couldn’t give Balthscar his heir. She left the forest, saying nothing held her back any more. Streak had gone with her out of loyalty, but many people believed that Tristiana had conceived once more but didn’t want the humilation of another miscarriage. I nodded slowly as I digested this information. “So you are my half-brother. As Stari, you know the language of animals. You know to ways of the forest. You can help me avenge our tribe.”
Narus didn’t know how to respond to the last statement. It looked like surprise was chief among his emotions. He collected himself pretty quickly, though. “Why would I help you avenge a people I never knew except through the stories my mom told? Why should I leave my place here and go with some girl, who may or may not be my half-sister, to who knows where for who knows how long? Huh? This is my home and I’m not leaving it to follow a stranger around the country like a dog!”
I was amazed at the bitterness in his voice. I looked at him for a while, the sound of my torch being the only sound. Finally, I asked, “What happened to her? To your mom?”
Narus snorted. “She went to a tavern when I was 2 and got drunk. She said it was because she missed the forest. But a man came and hit on her, and the next thing you know, I have a brother and step-father. And she’s giving him kids like nobody’s business. Pretty soon, she wanted me to get a job so I could help support all these kids. And what was dear old Dad doing? Taking our money to spend on drink. I just turned and left. I couldn’t take it any more. I think she had seven kids and was pregnant with another when I left.. I wondered where I may, taking Streak with me. You see me now as I was seven years ago. A thief who found good pickings. I owe the Stari nothing!”
I was amazed at his story. It sounded familiar, but I decided not to dwell on it. “So you are angry at the Stari, because your mom met some man who abused her relationship? That doesn’t make any sense! How do the Stari fit into this?”
Narus gave me a wicked grin. “Because of the ability they left me.” He extended his fist to me, and opened it, palm up. A moment later, lightning currents appeared to spread across his palm. I watched, fascinated. Stari often had special powers, part of the goddesses gift to our founder, but I had only seen Stratus’s gift, the ability to control dumb animals. Midnight hadn’t either, and when he saw the lightning, he yelped and ducked behind me.
Naurs allowed his fist to crackled with the lightning for a little while before closing his hand and pulling it back. “You see? The Stari gave that to me, and because of it, I am faster than most people. They don’t see it as skill, no, they see it as a curse, something to be feared. So I’m an outcast because I’m unique.”
I was still puzzling over this new development. I think I recall Tistiana was a great healer and that was her gift, but where did Naurs get his lightning? It must have been from Balthscar. But what was my gift. I mentally shrugged and pulled myself to present. I turned to Narus. “And why do you care? You’re Stari! Descendant of a prince who was abandoned by his father! No one knows abandonment like the Stari. We have dealt with it for centuries! Why should you care if these people respect you, when they aren’t even of the same noble blood as you?”
Narus looked startled. “Royalty? I’m not royal at all! I’m the son of a traitor and deserter. How can I be royal?”
I gaped at him. Surely his mom told him of our founding? I told him of it, finishing by saying, “Chief Balthscar is a direct descendant of that prince. Therefore, you are too.”
Narus actually looked giddy at the thought of being of higher blood than his tormentors. I asked him again to join me in my revenge. This time, he said, “Fine, but on one condition. You teach me everything about the Stari. Every legend, every skill, every tradition. Everything.” I nodded. He smiled, then extended his arm to me and escorted me back to Samara’s.
We arrived a little before light, and my body was angry at being kept up so long. I almost fell asleep a couple times on the walk back, only Midnight’s butting kept me awake. I looked up when I heard the clashing of blades. Something must be wrong! Samara should be sound asleep, though I knew nothing of what Hillysu’s habits. I let go of Narus and hurried over.
I leaped the fence and landed in the yard, crouching down so that I was hidden in the shadows. Narus followed me, and also crouched. It was weird to working with a Stari again. I whistled quietly, hoping that Star could hear me and could tell me what was going on. She didn’t come, though Midnight told me no one strange was in the yard. I slipped out of the shadows and moved silently on my belly until I could see who was dueling. When I could, I breathed a sigh of relief and stood. It was Samara and Hillysu dueling, though they seemed more evenly matched than Samara and I.
Narus had crept along behind me, and stood up with me, though his expression was wary. I could guess why. He didn’t know these two, and as a thief, you didn’t trust who you didn’t know. I walked towards the two combatants and stood watching them for a while. They were sweating freely, which meant they had been out here for awhile. It looked like Hillysu was winning with his strength, but Samara was able to keep him back with her speed.
Suddenly, Samara ducked Hillysu’s strike, instead of parrying it like he apparently expected. He stumbled and she slipped behind him and place her sword on the nape of his neck. They stood there panting for a little while. I started clapping, and they jumped, jerking over to look at me. A smile of relief spread across Samara’s face and she ran to me, giving me a hug. “We were worried about you! Gone all night, without so much as telling us where you were going, or what you were doing! Next time, tell us!”
I laughed at her breathless scolding. I turned to Hillysu. “I apologize for leaving without letting you. Now can you take your girl off me before she strangles me?”
Hillysu didn’t even look at me. He was watching Narus warily, as if he knew him. I looked back and forth between them. Now I knew why I recognized Narus’s features. But surely it was impossible? I went over Hillysu’s history that Samara had told me. They matched. “You two are sons of the same mother, aren’t you? Of Tristiana?” They nodded in harmony.


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Here's the next chapter. It is fairly boring, though.

Chapter Seventeen

“I can’t believe it. He’s your brother and Hillysu’s brother? Does that make you Hillysu’s brother?” Samara still couldn’t wrap her head around the tangled web of our family.
I laughed at her puzzled expression. “Not quite. Narus and I have the same father, but different mothers. Narus and Hillysu have the same mother, but different fathers. So we three are half-siblings. I don’t think Hillysu and I have a relationship.” I looked over at the two men in question. They were dueling in the yard, while Samara was, as usual, painting and I was sitting next to her. Hillysu wasn’t as good a swordsman as Narus, though he was much more honorable. Narus kept having to stop himself from resorting to cheap tricks. They swords, Narus’s blue and Hillysu’s plain steel, flashed in the sun as they fought.
Samara sighed slightly. I returned my attention to her. “What’s the matter?”
Samara flushed. “Well, if you aren’t related to Hillysu, you can pursue him, right? And Hillysu is more likely to take you than…” Her voice trailed off.
I smiled at her. “No, I don’t want Hillysu. He’s all yours if you want him. Besides, he only has eyes for you.”
Samara smiled really big at me. “You mean it?” I nodded and she whooped, then quickly recovered her composure before the guys noticed. “Now I just have to convince my parents.”
I glanced at her. “You can convince them. Just take Hillysu with you when you next go visit your parents, and introduce him as your fiancée. They’ll have no choice but to sanction it.”
She looked at me, her eyes full of pleading. “Will you come? I’m supposed to see them by the full moon.”
I shook my head. “Sorry. I heard about a place called Snowpeak I want to visit. I heard it was supposed to be hard to traverse.”
Samara shook her head, a grin spreading across her face. “Typical you. You don’t like to sit still, you have be right in the middle of the action. Who are you taking with you?”
I shook my head. “Only Star and Midnight. You aren’t really strong enough, and I bet Hillysu wants to stay with you. I already charged Narus with training Gerrard while I was gone.” I had told her all about my adventure last night and my deal with Gerrard the day before.
Samara nodded slowly. “When are you leaving? Fairly soon, if I know you.”
I smiled at her. “I have to get a few supplies, but I should be ready to go by tomorrow.”
Samara’s eyes widened in surprise. “So soon? You couldn’t wait a little longer?”
I shook my head. “I want to get there soon. If I leave now, I can spend a month there before winter makes it difficult. If I didn’t miscalculate the distance.”
Samara sighed. “Okay. If you need any Rupees, I can give you plenty.”
I smiled. “Thanks, but that won’t be necessary. I can get what I need easily. I can just sell my wooden carvings if I need to.”
“You want to sell those things? But they are so cute!” Samara loved my little wooden carvings. She had taken to painting them after I finished carving them.
I stood and smiled at her. “I can make more easily. Probably better ones, too. For now, I need to see Gerrard and tell him to meet with Narus for his training. I also would like to find something to use for heating in the mountain.” I gave her a small bow and left to the market.

It didn’t take me long to get down everything I needed to do Narus didn’t want to teach Gerrard, nor did Gerrard want him to teach him, but I insisted. I had to promise Narus quite a bit of money, and Gerrard ‘proper’ lessons when I returned. Hillysu and Samara promised to keep their eye on the two. Hillysu had already taken over training Samara in swordsmanship, and Hillysu and Narus had decided to switch pupils often. This, hopefully, would keep Narus and Gerrard from each other’s necks for awhile.
I woke with the sun and grabbed my bow, quiver, sword, and bag. I had already packed the night before, so I knew I had everything I needed. I left the house and whistled for Star and Midnight. They came hurrying over, both already awake and ready. I patted their heads and headed out.
At the northern gate to the city, I paused. I took a deep breathe to reacquaint myself with the smells of the wild. It wasn’t as wild as the forest I grew up in, but it was wilder air than this city. “Beautiful, isn’t it,” a voice said from behind me.
I smiled. “Yes it is,” I replied without turning.
Narus stepped up next to me. Together we looked out at the field spread wide before us. “It will be different without you.” Narus said.
I smiled. “You only met me two nights ago. How can it be different?”
Narus smiled also, though neither of us stopped looking at the field. “Two nights ago, I found out that the legends my mom told me about were real, not legends. I found out that I really am a descendant of a prince. Two nights ago, I found I had a sister, not from my step-father, but from my true father. A true daughter of the forest.”
I turned to look at him. He looked at me and smiled, then placed his fist over his heart and bowed. “May the sun be at your back, may the moon be at peace with you, and may the stars watch over you.”
I returned his bow and farewell. We embraced in a hug, then pulled away. I walked towards the mountain to the north, while Narus turned back to his city. Star and Streak said farewell to each other before turning to follow their masters. Midnight sat next to me, ready to go. The three of us headed to the Snowpeak mountains, not knowing what we would face, but ready for it anyways.


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Next chapter.

Chapter Eighteen

Snowpeak wasn’t near as cold as I had been led to believe. I had my cloak on, but it was almost unnecessary. I wore my black pants, but I wore a turquoise long-sleeved shirt and black gloves. It was snowing around me, though not so much that I couldn’t see Star and Midnight on either side of me. I glanced at the two of them. They had told me their fur would protect them from the cold, though I wasn’t sure how cold it was for them. I had always been more resistant to cold than most other Stari. They thought that my gift was immunity to weather, as no one knew my mom’s. But my trip through the desert showed I wasn’t immune to heat. I shrugged and ignored those thoughts for now.
Night fell and we set up camp. It wasn’t much, as usual. Just a small lean-to to protect us from any winds that blew up. Star and Midnight managed to track down some game for dinner. I cooked it as best I could, but there was scarcely any fire wood up here. I mentally cursed myself as I realized I should have stockpiled food before coming up here. I sighed and ate my dinner.
I was just snuggling down to sleep when I heard howling. I glanced at Midnight. He was laying just inside the entrance to the lean-to, his head up and ears cocked. “What are they doing?” I asked.
One ear swiveled to me, letting me know he had heard me, before returning to its original position. He listened for a while, then said, “They hunt.”
“Do they scent us? How close are they?” I asked.
“Not close, but this wind will let them scent us soon.” Midnight replied.
Star, who was laying next to me, lifted her head and listened for a little while. “They sound more like Wolfos than wolves.” I looked at Midnight, who nodded his agreement. I sighed. Wolfos could walk on all fours or just their back two legs. They were faster and could smell better than regular wolves, however, they were stupider. This made them difficult to fight, as they refused to stop attacking, until all of them were wounded or dead. The only way to beat them was to hope that they ignored you.
I pulled the lean-to down and put it in my pack, put my pack on my shoulder, and headed out, Star and Midnight walking on either side of me. We could probably find a cave or something to get out of the wind and attempt to hide our scent. The three of us hurried along, hoping we would find shelter of some sort, the Wolfos’ howls getting closer.
We had been moving for little over a hour when they caught up with us. Fifteen of the brutes circled us, their red eyes burning with hunger, their white pelts glistening in the moonlight. Star, Midnight and I stood back-to-back, ready for them to attack. It didn’t take them long to charge, all at once. We fended them of as best we could, though their ferocity made it difficult.
We managed to kill or wound all of them, but another pack came almost as soon as the remaining of the other fled. This one was larger, with roughly 25, and they seemed smarter then the previous. They attacked us in turns, so that we were always fighting a fresher Wolfos. It was tiring and we very quickly grew exhausted. I must have taken so many bites and scratches that I had more scars than skin.
Suddenly, all the Wolfos stood still and turned as one to the north. I glanced at my partners, Midnight was looking that way as well, though Star was focused on the Wolfos whose tail she was chewing. The Wolfos turned and fled, while Midnight growled, his fur rising. Star let go of the tail and turned as well. I looked over, though I kept an eye on the retreating Wolfos.
I saw a man coming over to us. He just a little taller than me and almost as tan as a Gerudo. His dark brown hair was scattered all over, like he had just gotten up. His large build was covered by a black shirt, red coat, a black scarf, and trousers. Hanging from his trousers were a knife, a bag, and a gold coin. He walked up towards me, his honey eye flashing in anger. I took a step back from the force of the anger. He drew the knife and charged me. I ducked quickly and thwacked at him with the edge of my sword. He fell over and started rolling, but quickly caught himself and stood. He turned and glared at me. “What is your problem? I wasn’t doing anything!” I shouted.
“This is my mountain. No one can come without my permission.” he growled.
Midnight turned to me. “He has killed my brethren. I can smell their blood on his clothes.”
Star spoke to me while keeping her eyes on this person. “I smell wolf and Wolfos blood on him, but they are stale. Right now, I mostly smell his distress. Something has happened that hurts him, but he wishes no one to know his hurt.”
I nodded and turned back to the male. “My partners say you hurt from something. Will you tell me? I have lost many also”
He shook his head. “Nothing hurts. I’ve lost….” his voice broke a minute before he recovered. “It’s none of your business! Get off my mountain!” He started to charge me once more.
I ducked him and grabbed his scarf. I pulled it off, causing him to lose his balance. I quickly took the knife and tied his hands together with the scarf. It wasn’t as sturdy as I would have liked, but it would hold for now. I pulled him to his feet. “Now, none of your funny business. All I want is to train up here and get stronger. I want to be able to defeat my enemy without him defeating me. Show me a place where I can stay for a month so I can train.”
He grumbled but complied. He led me to an area that was fairly flat, with tall enough rocks rising around it that the wind couldn’t come in very easily. I glanced around, then moved to a spot and set up my lean-to. I untied the man’s scarf and handed it to him. “Thank you. I will remain here and practice. Just leave me alone and I will be out of your hair by the next full moon.” He scowled and walked away.
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Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Next one.

Chapter Nineteen

I practiced my swordsmanship and archery often. I tussled with Star and Midnight, sometimes one at a time, sometimes at the same time. And they didn’t go easy, their teeth were bared for real. I had several new scars by the time we would finish. I often went on runs, running as fast as I could for as long as I could. I had found a frozen lake, in which I would often swim. I was surprised to find that, even though the water was frozen, I didn’t get too cold. I had to be careful not to get frost-bitten, though, because I wouldn’t feel it if it happened.
The mountain man came and watched me periodically. Sometimes I thought I saw amazement in his face at something I did, but it was gone when I tried to look closer, replaced my his usual sullen glare. I just ignored him for the most part and concentrated on my practice. Midnight, however, wouldn’t. He often glared at the man when he came up, and would slink away. I told him he was just being paranoid, but he still tried to avoid drawing attention to himself.
I had been training for a couple days when it finally happened. Midnight attacked the man. I knew it was just him taking the initiative, but he really had no excuse. I hurried over after Star told me what happened. I found the two tussling on the ground, the man trying to get his knife, Midnight trying to sink his teeth in his neck.
I sighed and reached over. I grabbed the man by his collar and Midnight by the scruff of his neck and pulled. It took a little while, since they were both stronger than me, but I managed to yank them apart. I pushed the man away, but kept my hold on Midnight. I put my free hand on my hip. “What are you two doing?”
Midnight growled. “He threatened me! I swear it on the moon, he pulled out his knife and threatened me!”
The man couldn’t understand him, but spoke nevertheless. “I pulled my knife out to clean my nails and your mutt attacked me. You need to teach him better manners.”
I looked down at my wolf. He was shaking with anger, but I think he was calmed down enough for me to let him go. I did so, adding a push away from the man. He growled but walked away, stopping just far enough away that I wouldn’t scold him, but close enough that he could hurry over if I needed him to. Star snuggled up to him.
I turned the man. I noticed now that he was Hylian, as he had tidied his hair up enough I could see his pointy ears. He scowled at me. “I’m sorry about Midnight,” I told him. “He has been edgy since he scented wolf blood on you.”
The Hylian looked at me with surprise, then scowled. It seemed he didn’t like showing any other emotion. “No excuse. He shouldn’t have attacked me.”
I sighed. “You pulled out a knife. He scented blood of his kind on you. Naturally his first thought would be that you were going to kill him.”
He scowled again and made to walk away. I called to him. “You know, I never got your name.”
He turned just long enough to say, “Gabriel Fonsoc” before leaving. I sighed again, then walked over to Midnight. “Next time, could you wait a little while to see why he drew the knife? I don’t want to have to fight him, especially if Star is right.”
Midnight rolled his eyes as best a wolf could, shook his coat, and stood. “Very well, Sephira. I will wait long enough to see, but I will not be nice to him.” I thanked him, then turned to the lake, wanting to wash away all these negative emotions.

For awhile, things stayed calm. Gabriel came and went, never speaking unless I spoke to him, never smiling, always scowling. It was starting to get on my nerves. So when he came over again, I cornered him and challenged him to a duel. He scowled but agreed. He got his sword and we fought. He was a difficult opponent, but only because of his strength. He had pent-up anger that he now let loose in his attacks, as well as sadness, I think. I smiled, Sarah always said you could learn a lot more from a man in a duel than in a conversation.
I finally disarmed him. We stood there panting, him scowling, me grinning. Finally, he spoke up. “You have nice skills. Where did you learn to fight?”
I sheathed my sword before answering. “I learned from the Stari, a race charged with guarding the forest borders. I am Sephira. That is FallenStar, who goes by Star. You already know Midnight.”
Gabriel frowned. “Yes, I know him. Sephira is an interesting name. What is it?”
I smiled. “Stari. I am the daughter of Chief Balthscar.”
Gabriel stared at me. “You are the daughter of the chief? Then what are you doing here?”
My turn to scowl. “I told you, I have an enemy to defeat, and I must do it alone. None of my tribe can help.”
Gabriel looked surprised. “Why not? Surely as the daughter of their leader, they’d-”
“Because I am avenging their death!” I interrupt. “The Stari are dead, with the exception of me, my half-brother, and his half-brother.” I kept to myself that Stratus was also Stari, because in my eyes, he had lost that honor.
Gabriel scratched his head. “So you have lost many also…” he muttered under his breathe. He looked at me. “Would you like my help?”
I was surprised by his offer. “Why? Just a bit ago, you were wanting to chase me off the mountain. What changed?”
Gabriel knelt. “For that, I ask forgiveness. I thought you were an enemy I needed to chase away, but I see you only wished to better yourself. I see I need to do the same.” He sighed. “See, my family died in an avalanche recently. I am the only one left. This coin is all I have left of them.” He patted the coin on his belt. He glanced at Midnight. “My family did hunt wolves and Wolfos for a living, but I see your wolf is different. If he will let me, I would like to be friends.”
I glanced at the wolf in question. He looked back at me, then walked over to Gabriel and nuzzled him. I smiled as Gabriel stiffened then relaxed and patted him. Star snuggled up to him as well. I grinned at the picture they presented and sat down with them, welcoming the warmth that spread from them.
For the next several days, Gabriel came and trained with me. He would watch me practice on my own, also, while teaching Midnight and Star how to hunt in the mountains. A few weeks after we came to terms, we were sitting around talking when he asked, “Why are you immune to the cold? I’ve never seen you do much as shiver, and you always feel warm.”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. The Stari often have special powers. Narus can control lightning, and Hillysu can heal scratches and such. I was always thought to be immune to temperature change, but my recent voyage through the desert proved I’m not. So I don’t know what my power is. And I’m not immune to the chill, it just takes a while to make me cold.”
Gabriel nodded. “When do you think you’ll find out?”
I shrugged. “Normally, I’d learn it on the first day of my sixteenth year, when the telepathic ones of the tribe would ‘feel’ me out. But since I am still in my fifteenth and they were all killed, I won’t know until I accidentally activate it, as my brothers did.” I stood up and stretched. “But that’s for another day. For now, I need to get my supplies ready.”
Gabriel stood also and looked at me. “Why? Are you going somewhere?”
I nodded. “To my friend Samara’s, to regroup with my friends. You’re coming with me, I assume?” Gabriel nodded, and we gathered our supplies. The end of the week would see me coming back to my base camp, with another friend ready to help me achieve my revenge.


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Here's this one. I want to see your faces when you read the end.

Chapter Twenty

“Do you mind if I go say good-bye?”
I turned to look at Gabriel. I was in the middle of packing up the last few things. The sun was just starting to peak over the ridge, which meant it was mid-morning. I straightened. “Sure, I don’t mind. How long are you going to be? I could just wait here for you.”
Gabriel shook his head. “No, you go on ahead. I also need to swing by my hut and pick up a few things I forgot. I know where you’re headed, I’ll just find you there.”
I nodded. “Okay.” I pulled my pack onto my shoulder. “I’ll see you there then.” I turned to leave. Star walked next to me, but I quickly noticed that Midnight wasn’t. I turned to find him standing next to Gabriel, looking at me with a pleading expression. Gabriel was confused as to why he was still there. I grinned at the two of them. “Of course you can go with him, Midnight. Just make sure you don’t fight, you hear?”
Midnight let out a happy bark, then started to lead the way for Gabriel. Gabriel laughed. “You’re going the wrong way. It’s this way.” He started off in a different direction. Midnight barked and hurried after him.
I smiled fondly at the two of them before returning to my course, Star following me. It had been a long time since it was just the two of us together. We chatted about various things, though there wasn’t much to chat about. We wondered how Narus was doing with Gerrard, and how Hillysu was doing with the both of them. I grinned when I considered how Hillysu must be feeling towards the two thieves. Star wondered how Samara was doing, and if she had finished her latest painting.

A few days later found us almost to Hyrule Castle Town. We could just make out the spires of the actual castle. We couldn’t have been more than a hour away. But then I noticed shadows on the ground. Looking up, I saw several Dracomos circling. I turned to Star. She looked at me. “Too many for us to fight. We had best retreat and find some place to hide.”
I shook my head and pointed to a blue Dracomo. “They’ve already seen us. See? He’s getting ready to dive. You need to get to town and find the team. Bring them here. I’ll hold them off as long as I can.” Star opened her mouth to argue. “Star, you’re faster than me. You can get there and back before I cave. Go, and may the wind lend you speed.”
Star growled but ran anyways. Hopefully, she would be able to get help before these beasts finished me. I looked up defiantly at them as they started to dive for their attacks. I shot at them with arrows until I ran out, but still they came. I had gotten almost two hits for every one I hit. I drew my sword and hit back. I was having such a feeling of déjà vu.
Then they pulled back. A black Dracomo, larger than the others, landed. I faced it, though I kept track of the other Dracomos with my peripheral vision. The Dracomo went on all fours and let of its rider before taking to flight again. Strattus drew his black sword and grinned at me. “I knew when the Dracomos didn’t find your body that you were still alive. Now I get to do the job properly.”
I hissed at him, completely ignoring the Dracomos hovering overhead. “It takes more than a little fall to kill me, Strattus. Even if I had died, I would have come back, simply to kill you.” I feinted an overhead pass, then tried for underhand.
Strattus blocked it then stabbed at me. “So, still not seeing the truth, eh? You still think the Stari shouldn’t have been wiped out? I’m starting to regret not killing you when I found you on the field.”
I dodged it and whacked at his side with the flat of my blade. The force reverberated through my hands and sent him staggering backwards. “You were too weak. You never liked having blood on your hands.” I pounded it word out with various attacks. “You never liked killing anything. You could order something to die, and not care. You could tell your little pets to kill something, and not care. But when you have to do it yourself, you get cold-feet.” I twisted his sword out of his grip, then laid the tip of mine on his neck. I panted slightly, pleased that I had beaten him.
But then I looked into his eyes. I saw nothing there. No anger, no sadness, no plea for mercy. They were just empty, like a thing already dead. I couldn’t kill what was already dead. I hesitated, then withdrew my sword. “You sicken me. You aren’t even worth killing.” I sheathed my sword and walked away, surprised that I couldn’t kill him, even after all the anger I had towards him. I heard him get up. I turned around…
…right into the knife he had drawn from his belt. Blood blossomed on my chest as I felt the knife pierce through to my heart. I staggered back, shock covering my features. Strattus leaned forward. “Weak, am I? You don’t know me very well, love. Now you will never get the chance. Give my regards to the tribe, in the Underworld.” He twisted the blade and I knew no more.


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Here's the next chapter.

Chapter Twenty-one

I dipped my brush in the light blue paint on my palette. I gently brushed the paint across the top of my canvas. My sky was turning out beautifully. Star’s input had helped a lot. She couldn’t see in all colors, but she knew how the colors really blended. We had improvised a way of talking. She would point to different parts of my various paintings and I would guess what she was saying. If we were talking about my paintings, she would point to various tubes to tell me what color to use.
I smiled to myself and rinsed my brush off. I wonder how that cheetah was doing. Sephira and Midnight, too. I stepped back and looked at my finished painting. This one was of Hillysu and Narus with their blades crossed in battle. I love watching them fight and I finally got around to painting a picture of it. Right now, those two were in the market with Gerrard. I had no idea what they were shopping for, or if they were even shopping.
Suddenly I heard a scratching at my door. I turned, confused. Sephira would just walk in, and her two pets would stay with her. I didn’t have any other animals that came to my door. Then I remembered that Narus has a pet cheetah as well. Maybe he had gotten tired from being in the market and decided to come home. I walked over and opened the door. Star stood there panting. I sat down next to her and rubbed her back. “What’s the matter, girl? Where’s Sephira and Midnight?”
Star stood and walked over to the wall where I hung my paintings. She touched her nose to one of the pictures of Midnight, then one of a hill. “Midnight is still on the mountain?” I guessed. Star nodded, then pointed to one of the pictures of Sephira then of a field. “Sephira is in Hyrule Field? But why are they separate?”
Star waved her tail, indicating it wasn’t important right now. She looked at my finished picture and pointed at the crossed blades. “Fighting? Who’s she fighting?” Star looked around, but she didn’t seem to see what she was looking for. She looked at some of my older paintings. She pointed to one of a dragon I had done before meeting Sephira. “She’s fighting a dragon?”
Star cocked her head at me, then tapped a picture of Narus, then one of Gerrard, one of Hillysu, and one of Sephira. I wasn’t understanding. I scratched my head as I tried to figure out what she meant. Then I remembered that Sephira had said Strattus controlled beings called Dracomos who were humanoid, but they looked like dragons. “Is she fighting Dracomos?” Star nodded, then ran to the door and meowed.
I grabbed my sword and hurried out. Star ran next to me as I looked around, hoping to see one of the men. I didn’t, but I did see Streak weaving his way towards me. I waved him over and explained to him what Star had told me. He nodded his understanding and hurried to find the others. I didn’t want to wait, though, and followed Star out of the city.
It was my first time outside of the city since I was a child. I was amazed at how differently the air smelled compared to the city. Then I saw some things in the air flying away from a small mound. Star screamed and ran over to it. I followed quickly. We arrived to find Midnight and a tan Hylian crouched by…
“Sephira! No!” I yelled. A knife was sticking out of her chest. I collapsed next to her, bursting into tears. Midnight howled his grief to the skies; Star leaned against him, her head bowed. I felt warm arms wrap around me and looked up. The tan Hylian smiled gently at me and I broke. I buried my head in his chest and cried. I cried until I could cry no more. The Hylian rocked me gently as Hillysu, Narus, Gerrard, and Streak arrived.
The three stood there in shock as Streak walked over to Star and Midnight, and attempted to comfort them. Narus screamed in rage, much like Midnight was doing now. Hillysu collapsed, stunned. He had seen Sephira fall of a cliff, and survive; he had thought her invincible. Gerrard walked up to Sephira’s body and pulled the knife from her chest. He looked around, tears streaming from his eyes. “Now what?”
The Hylian holding me answered. “We finish it. She died fighting, he battle must be finished.”
Hillysu spoke up. “We’ll take her body to the forest. She’s like to be buried there.”
Narus shook his head. “No. Stari burn their dead. They believe it purifies the soul and frees it to go to the Underworld. We burn her.”
“In the forest,” I added, my voice cracking slightly. I looked at her body. “She’d like to be with her family.”

We spent the next couple days getting ready. Hillysu rode ahead on Bree and found the perfect spot for the funeral. It was a clearing just large enough for the sunlight to stream through the leaves, dyeing the forest floor yellow and green. Flowers grew along the edges but only one flower grew in the clearing itself. It was a bright blue, the same color as Sephira’s eyes, with a center the color of her hair. It was as though it was marking this as Sephira’s resting place.
As the men prepared the pyre, I prepared Sephira’s body. I cleaned off the blood and took off her tattered clothes. I dressed her in a blue dress, similar to what I wear. I undid her hair from its braid and brushed out the knots. I put it in lots of little braids, putting in several blue flowers.
Star and Midnight sat vigil over Sephira the whole time, not sleeping, not eating. Narus explained that this was tradition. If a Stari or his cheetah partner died, the other would mourn until the body was burned. The only difference between the two cases was that the cheetah would choose a new partner while its master burned. A wolf wasn’t a normal Stari partner, but Midnight seemed to be following the tradition. I worried about them, while at the same time wondering who they would choose. It might seem insensitive of me, but I hoped Star would choose me.

The sun was setting as Narus and Hillysu placed Sephira’s body on the pyre. The red-orange light streaming through the leaves looked like the fire Gerrard kindled to light the pyre. The shadows cast around the edges looked reminded me of wings. I smiled as tears streamed down my face. Together the light and shadow made me think of Sephira’s last name. Phoenix.
As the pyre burned, everyone spoke of found memories of Sephira. As night fell fully, Gerrard held up the knife that had been in Sephira’s chest. “I will avenge you, Sephira.” I smiled despite myself, remembering that Gerrard had confided in me his crush on Sephira.
Narus stepped forward, put his fist to his heart, and bowed to the flames. Sephira brought me hope when I had none. I will finish her mission. Rest easy, sister, and may the light take you home.”
Star and Midnight bowed to Narus and Gerrard, thanking them, I think. Midnight went to stand with Gabriel, as the tan Hylian had introduced himself, while Star came to stand with me. I knelt down and hugged her close.

It was about midnight when the fire died completely. The men sought their beds, but I couldn’t. Sephira had looked so peaceful I could just pretend she was asleep and would wake up any minute. But now I knew she was gone. I snuggled up to Star as she slept. I laid my head on her side and looked at the ashes. My tears dappled her side as I thought of Sephira. Of how supportive she had been. Of her willingness to teach me and be my subject in my paintings.
Suddenly I saw something move. The only light was from the stars, so I wasn’t sure if I even actually saw something. Then it moved again. I glanced at the men. They were snoring away. Star sighed in her sleep as I stood up and moved in for a closer look. It was the ash moving. I looked up at the tree leaves. They were still, as was the grass, indicating that there was no wind. I looked back at the ash. It still moved. I knelt next to it, trying to see what was moving it. I was sure anything that would be moving it would have died in the fire.
Then I noticed that the ash wasn’t moving uniformally, but towards a certain point. I looked at that point, wondering what was attracting the ash. It seemed to be forming something, but I couldn’t make out what. I stood up, then jumped as I noticed that Narus had been crouched next to me. He looked up at me and I saw my own confusion echoed in his expression. “What do you think it is?” he whispered.
I shrugged as I looked back at the pile. “I don’t know. It look like it’s forming something, but what I don’t-” Then I saw it and screamed.


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Next one.

Chapter Twenty-two

What…happened? I blinked open my eyes. It was white everywhere. I looked around. Where…am I? For a minute I couldn’t even remember who I was. I looked down at myself. I was dressed in black pants, a green shirt, and brown boots. I had a red sword tucked a black sheathe on a black belt around my waist. Then I remembered. I am Sephira Phoenix, daughter of Balthscar, last of the Stari. I looked around as my surrounDings suddenly changed. I was stanDing in a forest. There was a clearing ahead of me, surrounded by flowers, but only one was in it. A blue one, with a dark yellow center. I approached it, but hesitated to walk into the open sunlight. I wondered at this hesitation. Hadn’t I been in the open before? In the field, near the lake, on the mountain, and in the city? Or was that all a dream?
I looked across the field and saw a woman. She was almost the spitting image of myself, the only difference was that she had a phoenix tattoo on her face, so that her eyes peeked out from its feathers. She wore black pants and a red tunic, but no footwear of any sort. She walked across the clearing to the flower in its center. She bent down to smell it, then plucked it and brought it to me. She stopped so that I had to step forward to take the flower she offered me. She smiled at me as I took a hesitant step and accepted the flower.
I smiled back as I sniffed the beautiful fragrance. I turned back to the woman and noted that she had earring identical to mine, her hair was pulled into a braid like mine was. She could have been my identical twin but for the fact her eyes. Looking into them, I was surprised by how old those bright blue eyes looked, as well as the wisdom stored in them.
The woman smiled at me, and I realized that my astonishment was showing plainly. I blushed as I also realized I was staring. The woman smiled at me again. “Do not be ashamed. You are not the first, Sephira of the Phoenix.”
I looked at her, confused, suspicious as to how she knew my name. I opened my mouth to ask, but she cut me off. “I am Zandra Phoenix. I am the first of the true phoenixes. I am the mate of the prince whose name you have forgotten. I was blessed with the gift to be reborn from my ashes. This is where your tradition to burn your dead comes from. But when a phoenix conceives, she loses her gift. Your mother’s gift was unknown because she conceived you at so young an age. But you inherited her gift nonetheless.”
I managed to cut in. “But what is the phoenix gift? The only thing I can do is keep from getting cold.”
Zandra smiled gently at me. “You can do more, you just don’t know it yet. You have an internal fire, this is why you are never cold. I can’t tell you more than that, I am afraid. You must find the other parts on your own.”
I sighed. Then I remembered what had happened. “Wait, where am I? The last thing I remember…” I put my hand to my chest. I couldn’t feel anything, but I remembered the knife slipping in.
Zandra sighed. “This is where all of my direct descendants come when they die. Here, they wait for their burning. If their body has sat for a full week, then they force their own burning. This particular clearing is where your body is currently, but it won’t be very long before you are revived. When you wake, go to the Death Mountain. There, you will find a Sheikah who will be able to help you learn about you skills.”
I blinked. How could a Sheikah help me learn skills that only a Stari had? But Zandra faded away before I could ask. I sighed and looked at the flower in my hands. I looked at it closely and saw that the very center had a tiny red bird in it. I was surprised to see that it looked like my phoenix tattoo. “What kind of flower is this?” I asked no one in particular. A breeze blew through the clearing, carrying with it a word. Straining my ears, I managed to catch it. “Phoenix flower?” The breeze died, showing me I was right.
Suddenly, I started to feel tired. I was surprised at how suddenly the sleepiness struck me, and how intense it was. I stumbled, being drawn to the center of the clearing. I followed the pull, too tired to resist anyways. I laid down there, holding the flower to my nose. I took a deep sniff of its sweet aroma. I quickly dropped off to sleep.

I slowly came awake again. I could hear screaming, as well as swords being drawn. I cracked open my eye and saw Narus’s sword point almost at my nose. Samara was standing slightly behind him. She was the one screaming. Beyond them, I could make out Hillysu, Gerrard, and Gabriel waking up and trying to untangle themselves from blankets. I returned my attention to the more pressing issue on my nose.
I opened my eyes the rest the way. I looked up into Narus’s face. His eyes were glaring at me, trying to show me that he thought I wasn’t really Sephira. But behind that, I saw disbelief. I smiled cheekily at him. “Do you mind putting that thing away? I won’t be happy if you take my nose, thank you.”
Narus’s mouth fell open, though he recovered quickly. Samara knelt down next to me. “I-is it really you?”
Narus scowled as I grinned. Obviously I would say yes, whether I was or not. “No,” I said, trying to make a joke as I sat up. “My name is Samara and I like to paint. Of course it’s me, silly.” Samara laughed, but the others didn’t, as the sleepy three approached, all with weapons raised. I turned to Star and Midnight, who were standing away, both with looks of shock. “You guys know that scents can’t be mimicked. Do I smell like Sephira Phoenix, or an imposter?”
Narus turned to them, waiting for their answer. Midnight stepped closer and took a deep breathe. He barked happily and plunged at me, licking my face and barking. Star walked right up to me, complaining that Midnight was smothering my scent. She confirmed it was me, though, and rubbed my head, purring. Everyone stared at the happy reaction the animals gave me. I looked up at Narus. “Stari have powers. This is mine,” I told him.
Narus’s jaw dropped. Gerrard and Hillysu came forward and tried to hug me, though they had to fight Midnight off. Samara just sat there grinning, tears of happiness streaming down her face. Gabriel grinned like an idiot as he picked up Samarar and started dancing with her. I stood up amidst the celebrating. I looked Narus in the eye. “The hunt will conitnue. I want any raiding camps of the Dracomos to be destroyed.”
Narus nodded his understanding. “What will you be doing, Star Warrior?”
I stared for a minute as I recalled that meaning of the title. Star Warrior was a term used to address the leader of the hunting party. I nodded my acknowledgement to him. “I have to go to Death Mountian. There I will train to perfect my skill. I will return when I have.”


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Took longer than it should have, but here's the next chapter.

Chapter Twenty-three

“I’m going with you and that’s that!”
I sighed. Samara was being more persistent than a wolf after prey. And I knew from experience that wolves could be very persistent. A wolf never gave up on his prey until he either caught it, or, in Midnight’s case, I forced him to. I glanced at Samara. She was standing in the doorway, watching me pack. I turned back to my packing as I answered her, “Samara, it’s an active volcano. If it would Narus or Gabriel asking, I’d still say no. I don’t want to have to worry about someone up there.”
Samara crossed her arms. “I’m no good down here. At least up there I can try and help you. And who knows? I might be able to learn something about myself as well.”
I sighed as I turned back to her. I could guess that the real reason was that she wanted to make sure I didn’t die on her again. Midnight and Star took turns watching me for the same reason. I had told everyone about my reincarnation ability, but they still watched. I could understand why, but it was annoying.
I opened my mouth to tell Samara no again, but she cut me off. “Sephira, what good am I down here? While the men attack the Dracomos, I am sitting here twiddling my thumbs. With you, I can train with you, or I could stay out of your way and play with Midnight and Star. Please, Sephira! I want to feel useful.”
I sighed. “Fine. You can come.” I was tired of arguing with her. I held up my hand as she started to thank me. “But I have a few conditions. One, if I tell you to do something, you do it, no buts. Two, you bring only what you have to. I don’t want to have to carry your paints and canvases up. Three, try not to get hit by anything from the volcano.” I grinned at the last. Samara grinned back, thanked me, and went to go pack.

It didn’t take us long to finish packing and be ready to leave. By now, everyone had already headed to various places to hunt for Dracomos. Samara and I were the only ones left in the city. We left at pretty close to midday. Star and Midnight followed us as we made our way through Hyrule Field, towards Kakariko Village and, through it, Death Mountain.
I kept dreaming of the Phoenix clearing. Every time I was there, I saw another woman who looked like me. Each one was different in a small way, but they all had a phoenix tattoo somewhere. I always tried asking them for answers. But they always avoided it. They would just encourage me to go to Death Mountain, to follow my instincts, to let what will happen to happen. It was annoying and frustrating.
Another thing I noticed is that I was warmer. I didn’t feel warm, but every time someone touched me, they would jerk away. The first time it happened, Samara was handing me a plate of food. Her hand brushed mine and she jerked away. She rubbed at her hand, looking at me in surprise. I looked back at her, equally surprised. “What’s the matter?”
Samara continued rubbing her hand. “You’re warm. Really warm. It’s like you’re skin is on fire. I don’t remember it being that warm before.” She looked at me curiously.
I stared at my hand, then brushed it with my other. It felt fine to me, but if my whole body was warm, I wouldn’t feel warm to myself. I hesitantly reached out and touched Star’s flank. She had been sleeping, but as soon as I touched her skin, she jerked away, hissing, trying to figure out what had burned her. I patted her, and she flinched, staring at me. “How…?”
I stared at my hand. “I…I don’t know. I have always been warmer than most people, but this…” I trailed off, still wondering what the meaning of it was.
For a while, no one said anything. Finally Samara spoke hesitantly. “Is it maybe something to do with your phoenix abilities?”
I thought a little while. “Maybe. Zandra mentioned something about me having an inner flame. Maybe that’s it?” We thought for a little while longer, but no one had any other ideas.
There was one other thing I noticed. I didn’t get burned. I noticed this when Samara and I were practice fighting and she backed me into the fire while I was barefoot. Neither of us noticed until later, when I pulled off my pants and saw that the ends were scorched. I kept this to myself, not wanting them to think I was even more of a freak.

It didn’t take us very long to arrive on Death Mountain. It wasn’t difficult to climb it, either. It was rocky, but a path had been cleared out for anyone who wanted to climb the mountain. Not many people would, I suspected. After all, it was a volcano, and had a history of dragons. Star and Midnight didn’t like being up here, the rock hurt their bare paws. Samara didn’t like it either, she just wouldn’t tell me why. I kept teasing her, trying to get her to tell me. She kept refusing.
Suddenly, a fireball came right at us. I grabbed Samara and dove to the side. “Impressive,” a voice said. A Sheikah jumped down from a ledge above us. He had the usual white hair, red eyes, and traditional Sheikah clothing, though it was black. He was paler than most, and covered with scars.
I was just finished inspecting him when he launched another fireball. This one was coming too close and too fast for us to dodge it. I turned my back and shielded Samara from it. She stared at me with wide eyes. She must have thought I was nuts. Then it hit. It knocked the breath out of me with its force, but I suspected I would only have a bruise. My shirt, on the other hand, had its back burned almost completely burned away, revealing my phoenix tattoo.
I stood up and faced the Sheikah. He had a look of amazement on his face. “I thought the Phoenixes had all died, that I wouldn’t be able to train mine.”
I stared at him. “You’re the Sheikah who’s going to teach me about my powers?”
He nodded, then bowed. “I am Takeshi. My family has been training the Phoenixes of the Stari since Zandra came here. We learned together from the ancient dragons, but we have stayed here to train any future fire-wielders.”
Samara piped up. “So what can Sephira do? She always seems hot, and she apparently is immune to damage from fire…”
Takeshi nodded slowly. “She is more than immune to fire. She can control fire. That’s all I know of the Phoenix powers, though I do know that there are others.”
I sighed. So I had to learn to control fire, then figure out what other powers I had. Great. It was going to take even longer for me to hunt down Strattus. “When do we start?”


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
This is a little shorter than I wanted it to be, but oh well.

Chapter Twenty-Four

Takeshi drilled me hard every day. He started with just controlling the fire. He would light a fire, then have me try to get the fire to do what he told me to. I struggled to start, but I managed to get the hang of it by the end of the week. Pretty soon, I could take any amount of fire and use it to shield myself, or to attack my enemy. It always left me tired, though as I got used to it, it leave me as tired as the first time, like my swordsmanship did when I was little.
Then Takeshi taught me to actually summon the fire. I struggled with it. I could very easily use fire, but summoning it was starting to seem impossible. Every day, Takeshi would tell me to concentrate, that I wasn’t concentrating right. There were a couple times I’d tell him to back off, but he still kept getting at me.
Samara was no help. She would sit there, watching me, painting what she felt like (Takeshi had paints and canvas in his home, go figure). Sometimes she would practice her swordsmanship, though not often. She would cook our dinner while I practiced, eating lunch on her own. She was a great cook, but good food didn’t seem to help me ‘concentrate right’.
I rolled my eyes as Takeshi told me once more that I wasn’t concentrating. “You have to be the fire. Feel it burn in you. Hear it, see it, smell it, taste it. You have to become fire.”
I scowled as I concentrated. I concentrated as I was taught, by clearing my mind and focusing on my objective. It was how I was taught to fight, to heal, to hunt, to hide, to track, to listen. I tried it both ways, but mine I at least felt like I was getting closer. I focused on my hand again, and tried to summon fire.
“No! You’re doing it wrong again!” Takeshi shouted as he hit me on the head. He kept doing that, whenever I did something the ‘wrong’ way.
I turned to glare at him. “Well, you’re way doesn’t even make my hand feel warm, it just makes me feel silly. My way is getting something.”
Takeshi sighed and closed his eyes. A few seconds later he grew fire in his hand. I glared at it. “See? It might not be what you are used to, but this is how you do it.” Takeshi told me as he extinguished the fire.
I stood up and walked away. I needed to get away, to relax a little, otherwise I might attack Takeshi. I knew he was trying to teach me as he had been taught, as he knew, but it wasn’t the way I knew. He said his way was right, but there isn’t really a right or wrong way. Not really. Right?

When I wasn’t trying to conquer fire, I was practicing other things. Takeshi was teaching better methods with the sword. He had good techniques that did improve my skill, though I didn’t need to tweak my skills very much. We mostly just dueled before starting our fire-control. He said it was to get me relax and burn off any extra energy that would keep me from working. I rolled my eyes when he said that, I was raised where you had to know how to stay still and quiet if you needed to. After all, Stari aren’t the biggest predators in the forest.
Sometimes, we would fight with fire. Samara would make a small fire between us, then get out of the way. Takeshi and I would throw the fire at each other, trying to hurt the other while not being touched by the fire. I was invulnerable, but I was still trying to learn how to transfer some of that power to my clothes. Often times, my clothes would be reduced to ash and dust, but I would be fine.
My control over fire grew gradually, but still, I couldn’t summon it. Takeshi would sit me down somewhere and concentrate. He would yell at me and hit my head over and over, but still I couldn’t do it. I was starting to get extremely annoyed with him.
The sun was setting as once more, Takeshi hit me on the head. He started his rant again, but I didn’t sit for it. I stood up and whirled around. Next minute, I had Takeshi on his back, my sword at his throat. “Enough! Hitting me isn’t working. Telling me to concentrate isn’t working. So stop telling me it will!” I yelled at him.
He smiled calmly at me. “You’re just not letting it. Once you relax and let it work, then you will be able to summon fire.”
I screamed. “You’ve told me this before! And. It. Hasn’t. Worked! Stop fooling around with me!”
Samara came running up. She took it all in in a glance. She ran to me. “Let him go, Sephira. You shouldn’t kill him.”
I snorted, but I let Takeshi up and sheathed my sword. Takeshi had a satisfied smile on his face. I scowled at him. He patted my back. “You did it. You summoned fire.”
I stared at him. He pointed to my shirt. I glanced down. Sure enough, the edges were burning. I smiled sheepishly as I mentally put the flames out. Takeshi smiled at me. “In order to summon fire, you must reach a certain level of anger, fire’s favorite emotion. Once you have reached it, you can summon fire freely.” He bowed to me. “You will learn how to summon more fire at a time, through practice. Your training with me is complete.” He threw something that made a bang, there was a flash of light, and he was gone.


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Next chapter. Better than the last one, I think.

Chapter Twenty-Five

“Typical Sheikah. Always vanishing with flair,” Samara muttered under her breathe for the hundredth time. I sighed and rolled my eyes. We were packing up our stuff, and getting ready to leave. I was more then ready to go, as I always keep my stuff fairly close to packed the whole time. Samara, on the other hand, wanted to take her new paintings. So trying to find space for them so we could take them was a little bit of a pain. We left a couple days later then I intended. We climbed down Death Mountain, through Kakariko Village, and onto Hyrule Field. After that, we turned towards the Desert, to see if we could find any of the others.
The first night of the field, I dreamed again of the clearing. This time, it was a woman who looked less similar to me then the previous ones had. Her hair was lighter than mine, her build smaller. On the whole, she looked a little frail, like a frailer form of me. I stared at her, for she seemed more familiar to me than any of the previous girls. I noticed that she didn’t have a phoenix tattoo, at least that was visible. “Who are you? And what do you have to tell me?” I asked, knowing that none of the ‘true phoenixes’ came for any reason but to tell me something.
She looked at me, her bright blue eyes glittering in the starlight. “Sephira, I am you mother, who died in childbirth.”
I stared at her open-mouthed. My mother, Jyotika, had died giving birth to me. I was the only child she had delivered usefully. I believe that she had had two before me, one just before Tristianna had left. I never knew much about her, Stari preferred not to speak of the dead. What little I did know was thanks to Sarah and her talent for getting on certain subjects without the people she was talking to getting suspicious
I looked at my mother. She looked so much like me, yet not. She smiled and gently chastised me for leaving my mouth open. “You’ll attract flies, dear one.” I closed my mouth as she smiled. “I thank the goddesses for allowing me to see my only child again. Look at you, all grown up. You are so beautiful.”
I smiled at the compliment. “Mother, I missed you.” I stepped up to her and gave her a hug. When she stepped back from it, I looked at her. “Why are you here?”
Mother smiled sadly. “Not for a social call, I’m afraid. I came to tell you where you must go next.” I scowled. Mother smiled. “No, sweet, it’s much more direct than my sisters have been with you. Lady Din gave you her fire gift, and Lady Nayrue her gift of life. Lady Farore now wishes you to know her gift. She told you to go through Hyrule Field and talk with a certain merchant you will find. You will know what to do when you’ve spoken to him. Just let your body do as it needs.”
I scowled again. “Mother, what is the gift? I must be prepared for it, and I must warn my partners and Samara, so they don’t attack me.”
Mother smiled sadly. “I’m sorry, dear-heart. Lady Farore has forbidden me to tell you more, and it is only by her that I have been allowed to come speak with you. I’m sorry, sweet. I feel her calling me back now. I pray to see you again, but not too soon, for it would mean you have died.” Mother put her fist to her heart and bowed. I mirrored her. When I straightened, the clearing was empty once more.

I didn’t tell Samara about my dream. She wouldn’t understand it if I did tell her. I didn’t tell Midnight or Star either. They didn’t understand what dreams were, as they never had any that they remembered. I told them that I was certain Narus, Hillysu, Gerrard, and Gabriel were somewhere in the field, and I wanted to find them. They could tell that wasn’t the truth but they went with it, because they could tell that I wasn’t going to tell them the truth.
I practiced my fire. It was still very difficult to summon. Still, when I focused on Stratus and what he had done, the anger surged through me and the fire sparked. I was sure that I’d master control over fire by the time I next met Stratus. I prayed to Din that her gift would be helpful in that confrontation. The fire answered my call, but it exhausted me every time. Telling it what to do was easy, but summoning it always took more energy than I wished. I sighed, it would have to do.
We always ate a midday meal, every day. I was used to eating a breakfast and a dinner, but not a lunch. Samara said it was to help us to wait for dinner. It helped us go through the afternoon without hearing hunger growls. I shrugged every time she said that. I could make do all day with my two meals, had since I was little. Stari felt that there was no need for the midday meal, which left more time to do the important things. The only time we ate at midday was during feasts, or on the day we celebrated Din’s gift of summer.
It was during one of these lunches that I finally met the merchant. It had been a week since Mother told me to seek him out, and we were camped by the path. Midnight alerted us first, growling low in his throat. Star turned and cocked her ears. “All I hear is the creak of wagon and horse hooves. All I smell is horse, human, and something else. It smells similar to what Sarah put in her cooking.”
I nodded. “Spices, eh? It must be that person…” I stood up as the wagon rounded a hill and came into view, rolling down the path. It was a small wagon, big enough for a few people to ride, but not very many. It was being drawn by a brown horse. I could see the rider, a young Hylian with brown hair, tanned skin, and brown cloak over a darker brown tunic. Samara watched him, though she stayed in her position on the ground.
The man brought his horse to a halt near our camp. He glanced over at me and Samara. From position on the wagon, he bowed to us, flashing a pleasant smile. “Hello, ladies. How are you pretty ladies today?”
Samara flushed slightly. I rolled my eyes. That girl needed to get out more. I turned to the stranger and bowed back to him. “Greetings to you, good sir. I am Sephira of the Stari. This is my friend Samara. Who are you?”
The man smiled again. “I’m Elliot Kastaga. I am a merchant and I sell many useful things. Would you like a lift to town? I’m heading to Hyrule Castle Town, but I can give you a lift to wherever you please.”
Samara opened her mouth to accept, but I beat her to it. “It would please us greatly to go with you to Hyrule Castle Town. We thank you.”
Elliot smiled, and extended a hand to help us up. Samara stood and grabbed her things. I pulled my pack onto my shoulder, then turned to ask Midnight and Star if they’d be alright following beside us. Elliot turned to see who I was addressing. His eye lit up when he saw Star’s pelt. “My, that’s a fine animal you have there. I bet her fur made make a beautiful coat.”
I stared at him in shock at what he was saying. “You mean, you’d kill my cheetah, to make a coat?”
Elliot smiled at me. “Why, of course! Have you ever seen such beautiful fur before? Why, a coat made of this fur would sell for millions of rupees!” He jumped down from the wagon and approached Star, aiming to feel her fur. Star bit him, and he jerked away, wringing his hand. “My, a fierce animal like this, it must have the softest fur ever! How much will you sell her for?”
I glared at him, a protective rage boiling inside of me. “She Is. Not. For. Sell.” I hissed through my anger.
Elliot didn’t seem to notice how close he was to being incinerated, though Samara backed away. “Then what do you want to trade her for? I can get almost anything found under the sun, and the moon too, I bet.”
Star hissed at him. I felt something going on in my body, but I didn’t care. The heat coming off me was probably capable of boiling a pot of water. “I will not trade Star for anything!” I shrieked, though my voice sounded off.
Elliot turned to look at me, and I saw his eyes widen in surprise. He started to say something, but apparently had lost his power of speech. I shrieked again, only this time I sounded more like a hawk than a human. Elliot stumbled backwards, then stood up and ran. I heard Samara scream and turned. My legs felt awkward, as though they were smaller than they had been. I almost fell over and stretched my arms out to catch my balance. They felt funny, too, as though they were….I glanced at them. They were wings! I glanced at my legs, and I saw the legs of a large bird. I stared at myself in amazement. Was this Farore’s gift, to be a true phoenix?


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Okay, I finally finished my next chapter. Sorry it took so long.

Chapter Twenty-Six

I was still staring at myself, still trying to understand what had happened, when Samara grabbed her sword. I looked at her as she extended the point to me. I stared at it as I tried to understand why. I glanced up at Samara again, and I saw that she was shaking in fear. Or was it anger? I couldn’t tell. But I did know that she meant harm to me. I spread my wings and, hesitantly, flapped them. I had just managed to gain some height when Samara stepped forward. She laid the point on my beak, which was a little higher than her head. “Let her go. Now,” she said, almost a growl.
I stared at her in confusion, but I landed again. I cocked my head at her, trying to convey my confusion. I opened my beak and tried to ask who she was talking about, but all that came out was bird language, not human. Samara glared at me, and made an attempt to stab at me. I grabbed the blade in my beak, purely by instinct. I quickly let it go as I realized how much it would hurt if Samara twisted it. Samara looked at me in surprise, then glared at me. “Let her go, and I might not skewer you like a chicken.”
I looked over at Star, who was still standing behind me. She was shaking her head, as though she smelled something weird. I again opened my beak, trying to speak to her. Bird was different from beast, though not by much. Star’s ears cocked as I spoke. “Star, what she talk mean? Who be she wish let?” I grumbled at myself. I didn’t even really understand what I had said. I prayed to Nayrue that Star would understand.
Star cocked her head at me. Her ears twitched. “Sephira? That is you?” She shook her head, then breathed in deeply, her nostrils flaring. Her eyes widened in surprise. “It smells like you, but different. Is it you?”
Samara made a noise and I turned back to her. She was kneeling next to Midnight, muttering something in his ear. The wolf was listening to her, though had the same look of confusion as Star had. I spoke to him, and he cocked his ears. Again, I could barely understand my own words, though Midnight seemed to be able to. Or at least enough to understand my meaning. He cocked his ears and listened, then turned to Samara and growled at her. Samara backed away, confused. I understood him, though. He had told her to leave me alone.
Samara glanced at Star, who just sat there. The cheetah watched her, her expression still mostly confused. Midnight walked up to me and bumped my chest. “Shift back. I know you can.”
I considered. I shifted to the phoenix form when Elliot had offered to turn Star into a fur coat. Maybe I could shift back when I focused on calmer thoughts. I tried it. I closed my eyes and focused on the days I had spent with Star and Midnight when we were younger. I focused on the days I trained with Samara, while recovering from my fall. I felt myself heat up for a minute, then cool down, slowly. I felt my feathers recede, replaced by hair and skin. My bones cracked a little as they shifted back to the position they were supposed to be in.
I blinked my eyes open. I was back to normal. I breathed a sigh of relief, then looked up at Samara. She was staring at me, her eyes wide. I smiled at her, then walked over to my pack. I had torn my clothes shifting, and was completely nude. I pulled on a new pair of pants and a new shirt. My belt had somehow stayed intact, as had my quiver strap, though both had slipped off. I turned back to Samara and smiled at her. “I’m fine, Samara. It was just…another Stari thing.”
Samara seemed to realize she was staring and looked away. She turned back, then started asking questions, almost faster than I could answer them. I just let her ask until she was out of breathe, as she repeated herself multiple times. When she finally stopped, I spoke. “Okay, I’ll try and answer as best I can. When Elliot offered to turn Star into a fur coat, I got really defensive and somehow that triggered the shift. I honestly didn’t even notice, I was so angry. I don’t know if it will affect anything. I think the intense heat was part of the change, but I don’t know.”
Samara nodded slowly, digesting the information. Star walked up to me and placed a cool paw on my leg. “Does Fire answer when you summon it as the bird?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know, Star. I didn’t try to, though I suspect it will.”
Midnight bumped me. “If phoenix means fire, then bird should summon it easy.”
I smiled at him. He was most likely right. I glanced at the wagon next to us as I heard something shifting around in it. Someone peeked out the front, behind where Elliot had been sitting. She had blue eyes and long dark hair. She seemed to have the build of a Gerudo, but enough of her father to make herself look different. She glanced around, then looked at us. “Hey, do you know where my husband got to?”
Samara giggled a little to herself. I pointed in the direction Elliot had run. “He went that way, Goddesses know why.”
The girl smiled at us and, thanking us, climbed into the driver’s seat and steered the wagon the way I had pointed. I laughed a little under my breathe as I thought about how much trouble Elliot would be in when his wife caught up with him, especially if she had the temper of a Gerudo.


Feb 7, 2011
Hunting with my wolf and cheetah.
Took longer than I thought, but here's the next chapter.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

That night, I fell asleep quickly, and dreamt of the clearing again. Only this time, I saw all the women. Every one who had come to me before, and others I didn’t know. Most stuck to the shadows on the edges. Besides me, there were only two women in the clearing itself. Zandra and Jyotika. They smiled at me. I stepped up to them. “What’s going on?”
Jyotika smiled happily at me. “You have mastered the three gifts. You are a full Stari now.”
I stared at her. “I haven’t mastered them. I’m only aware of them. I can only barely control my fire, and I have no idea how to trigger the shift to phoenix form.”
Zandra put up a hand, stopping further protests from me. “You have mastered them in the sense that there is nothing more you can be taught. Each phoenix has a different trigger to shift to the other form, and fire will come more easily to you now.”
“Why?” I asked, sounding like a girl asking why the sky is blue.
Jyotika smiled, same as she would to the girl who asked that question. But she didn’t answer the same as she would answer the other girl’s question. “Because fire is a phoenix’s birthright. Some phoenixes are pure fire. As a result, fire will obey them, always.”
Zandra stepped in. “You will see, as you practice your fire again. But there is something more important to celebrate than your full realization of power.” She and Jyotika smiled at me as I tried to figure it out. Then I realized. The spring moon had risen last night. It was the second day of spring. Tomorrow was the third, and my birthday. My sixteenth birthday, and my graduation to adulthood.
I smiled happily when I realized I would finally be an adult with the rising of the sun. The only form of celebration the Stari had would be to give me to my betrothed, but since he was no longer worthy to be my mate, congratulations were it. The women here came to me, and told me advise along with congratulations before slipping away into the darkness.
Very quickly, only Zandra and my mother remained. They came up to me and hugged me. Zandra told me that while normally I would be sent to live on my own for a week in the forest, I had more than proven myself in the past several months. Jyotika told me to follow my heart and instincts, as they wouldn’t let me down. Then they too faded away into the shadows, and I was alone once more.

I practiced my fire in the morning, and noticed it answered my call easier, that I didn’t need quite as much rage to summon it. I made it dance around, a pillar of fire, before I shaped it, sculpting it into a form. The face I formed laughed at me, the fiery sword the form held extended to me, a challenge. I glared at it, and the fiery Stratus laughed at me once more. I felt my anger surging, but the heat coming off my body didn’t increase, as it had when I confronted Elliot. My body didn’t feel funny, nor did I feel anything move without my will.
I sighed, then thanked and dismissed the fire. I sat down, wondering what it was that had triggered my shift. I was certain it was anger, but why didn’t it work when I saw Stratus, when I thought of what he had done? I looked over at Samara. She still slept, snuggled up to Star, who also slept. I looked over at Midnight. He was laying with his head on his front paws, but his eyes were open, watching me. I reached over and scratched his ears. “What do you think? Why does anger not make me shift now, though it did last time?”
Midnight lifted his head a little. “Last time, you were protecting your pack mate. This time, you were raging at an enemy. They are different, are they not?”
I considered. Midnight was right. When I had shifted, it was because I was wanting to protect Star. But an anger at someone seemed different somehow. I mulled over how a protective rage was different from an aggressive anger, but I couldn’t figure out what the difference was. I sighed, then stirred up the fire to make breakfast.
Feb 1, 2011
I just starting read this and so far it's really good.

I don't know if you meant to do this on purpose, but when you click on the link in your sig, it brings you to your story, and the word [highlight]Stari[/highlight] is highlighted.

The link is this:
When it should be this:

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