This was written as a birthday gift for Pyrestrike. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY PYRESTRIKE! I'm sorry this took so long! I wanted to write a story about what Savyna's childhood might've been like, and do a bit of character analysis. Thanks to celebistar for beta-ing! I know the title is kinda lame, but I honestly could not think of another one.
"Now, Savyna!" Savyna lunged and tore out the throat of the rock cat. It collapsed into a heap by her feet. She shifted her iron knuckles. They were still a bit large for her, but they were starting to handle better. Her master just nodded at her.
"Make sure you work on your speed more."
"Yes, Master," she replied obediently.
"That's all for today. You may leave now," he dismissing her, and picked up the rock cat she had killed, to skin later.
"Yes, Master." Savyna bowed low, and headed out of the woods. The thick underbrush made it hard for a child like her to go through, but she pushed on anyway. Her master would frown if she took the road, "To become a strong warrior, one cannot take the easy path," he had once said. Savyna grunted a bit as she encountered a particularly tough bush, but she didn't slow down. If anything, she started picking up speed. Today was Azdar's birthday, and she had promised him she'd be there. Savyna felt a bit happier as she thought about it, and quickly splashed across the stream.
She first stopped off at her house to drop off her weapons and change. She lived alone, ever since she came to the Empire, five years ago. She didn't recall what had happened, but apparently her parents had been killed by skeleton warriors when they were exploring the Ancient Library of Magic. Savyna didn't remember much of Anuenue, where she was born. Bits and pieces, hazy in the back of her memory. It just happened so that her master had been in Anuenue, caught sight of her fending off a spell shellfish, and decided to make her his apprentice. The neighbors had, of course, protested, saying that he couldn't just come in and take a child. But Savyna had wanted to go. Despite the protests from the villagers, she felt a connection with the man. Maybe it was because, unconsciously, she needed someone to fill the void of her parents, whether she realized it or not.
Whatever the case, her master had ended up taking her to the Alfard Empire, where she'd been ever since. They lived in a small community on the outskirts of Mintaka, close to the Azah village. Savyna grabbed her gift for Azdar and rushed out the door, making sure to close it behind her. It wasn't long before she reached his house, and heard the happy sounds of children laughing and playing. She slowed as she reached the gate, and hesitantly opened it. Savyna had never been in many social situations, and she didn't have many friends. She knew most of the people saw her as a stranger, who just dropped into their lives one day. She snapped out of her reverie when Azdar ran up to her, smiling.
"Savyna! I'm so glad you're here! I thought you weren't going to make it," he greeted her, panting a bit from the running.
"Oh, no. I would never break a promise, Azdar. I got caught up a bit by Master, but I came as fast as I could," she apologized.
"Don't worry about it. C'mon, we're about to have cake and presents!" Savyna nodded and followed Azdar to the rest of the children, who were already sitting around the table. They fell a bit silent when they saw Savyna coming, but then the cake came and they all concentrated on singing "Happy Birthday" to Azdar.
Afterwards, Azdar opened his gifts and the children 'oohed' and 'ahhed'. Everyone gasped when they saw what Savyna had given Azdar. It was a pretty piece of obsidian, black and glinting in the sunlight.
"Wow, thanks Savyna!" Savyna let out the breath she didn't know she'd been holding. She was afraid the gift would've been too mundane.
"I found it while I was training. I thought you might like it." Savyna managed to say. All the eyes on her were making her nervous.
"Really? That's so cool, Savyna. Where do you train?"
"Where did you find it?"
Questions bombarded Savyna, and she barely had time to answer them all. But she glad. Maybe they would accept her now.
The kids soon started a game of hide and seek tag, with Azdar being "it". All the rest of the children went to hide, and Savyna jumped into a tree that gave her a great view of the backyard and surrounding area. She grinned. No one would be able to find her here, and she could see if anyone was coming. Settling down on a thick branch, she could see Azdar starting on his search. He found several people hiding in the bushes, and one behind a large flowerpot. He was heading toward the strand of trees when Savyna saw it. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a sudden movement. If it hadn't been for her training, she wouldn't have even noticed. But as it was, Savyna saw a shawra heading towards Azdar. He didn't notice, and the monster was creeping towards him. She froze. Any closer, and it would strike. She had to do something.
Azdar was wandering around the bottom of the trees when he heard a loud screech and a thump suddenly. He whirled around and saw Savyna tackle a shawra to the ground, trying to subdue it.
"Stay back! It's really strong!" Savyna grunted as she fought to keep it down. By now the rest of the children had come out from their hiding places and were watching, wide-eyed. Azdar's parents came running, just in time to see Savyna rip out the shawra's throat with her bare hands. For a time, no one said anything, and Savyna just stood there, blood dripping from her hands. She could see that the trust and warmth that she had once gained had vanished from the eyes of the children. They stared at her in horror.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Azdar's father spoke. "Well, why don't we all head back to the house now. It's getting late, and your parents will be expecting you all home."
It was as if a spell had been broken, and everyone slowly tread toward the house. Azdar shot Savyna an apologetic look as he rushed to catch up with his parents. Savyna stared, then willed herself to move. The party had been ruined. The kids thought she was a killer, a murderer. She would never be accepted now.
Savyna took a step towards the house, but tripped on the dead body of the shawra. She grimaced at her scraped knee, and looked up. No one was there to help her. No one was there to offer her his hand. She was alone.
"Even years after the event, the rest of the villagers never trusted me again. They just ignored me; pretended I wasn't there." Savyna stared into the fire.
"Well, what about him?" Gibari gestured toward Azdar, who was on the night watch, off to the side.
"Well, except for Azdar of course. But his parents were nervous about him associating with me, so after a while, it stopped. And then we went to the imperial army."
"Man. You sure are talkative tonight, Savyna." Gibari commented, a grin spreading across his face. Savyna smiled.
"I don't know. I just felt so...social all of a sudden," she replied. Kalas, Xelha, Lyude, and Mizuti were all asleep. Only she, Azdar, and Gibari were still up. The cold desert air blew by, stirring the fire a bit.
"Well, it's good to let it out," Gibari nodded. "The fire's gettin' low. Wanna get some more wood with me?" he started to stand up, dusting off the sand.
"Sure." Savyna got up, and tried to get balanced in the sand. She made a mental note to invest in some flat-soled boots, as stilettos just didn't cut it here. She took a small step to try and steady herself, but the sand was too deep and she landed on her knees.
"Need some help there?" Gibari came around, and offered his hand. Savyna looked up. How different this was from her childhood. She took his hand.