Summary: It was just another day in the great demon kingdom until two white horses showed up and turned the lives of two half demons upside down. Born to a world where their kind is accepted by neither human nor demon, and generally hated by both, can these two sons of both tribes survive in a new world with a pair of talking horses in toe? And can they learn to trust the Heraldic circle, and eventually become a part of it? Rated for later chapters, rating may eventually go up. Hurt/comfort/drama/friendship Slash (Conrad/Yozak) mentions of past abuse, mental and physical, twisted laws, and anything else we can come up with at 2am.
Disclaimer: I and my mooncalled coauthors own nothing but our own strait jackets and some seriously twisted OC's. We are starving students so don't sue us all you will get is some pocket lint, and a round of rabies vaccines after the werewolf bites you. Okay? Okay awooo, on with the story.
Chapter 1: It all started with a Colt
Jissa sighed as she watched the young foals frolic in the grasses of Companion's Field. She turned her head to the grass at her feet and took a mouthful, watching quietly as her younger brother frolicked with the younger foals. At five years of age, Vanyel was still technically a colt. In another five to eight years however his time as a child would officially end when he gained his own Chosen. At eleven years of age her time of leisurely frolic was rapidly drawing to a close. Two months ago she'd began to feel the first stirrings of her still latent bond to the person who would one day become her Chosen.
It was a strange feeling, having the usually dormant bond with her Chosen flare to life like that. It had only lasted for a minute at most, but it was a completely addicting feeling. She knew from the first stirrings of that bond that she could and would forgive her Chosen of anything. From that initial glimpse down what would one day be their Companion-Herald bond, she'd sensed her Chosen's mirth, and seen briefly through his eyes. Since then she'd learned so much more about her Chosen; for one thing he was definitely male. For another he traveled - a lot. His hair was so red it was almost orange, and his eyes were almost as blue as her own.
She snorted in mild amusement at the sight of her little brother as the colt came so abruptly to a halt that he nearly fell over. Vanyel pawed at the ground, tossing his head about, so that his mane flared. Then, his tail flagged, he turned and headed off for the Grove at a full Companion gallop.
Curious as to the source of his haste, she followed, just at a more sedate pace.
Vanyel, when she caught up to him was deep in discussion with the Grove Born stallion, Rolan. The colt simply could not hold still, he pranced about, both in place and around the older stallion. She'd never seen him in such a state – in either lifetime! Her beloved 'Father Peacock' was currently putting on a flashier display then any peacock she'd ever seen! She'd have been strongly reminded of a little given too much sugar, if not for the rational words he was currently broadcasting.
: Why is this happening? : he asked, his mind voice heavy with concern. : I'm only just five; I should be at least ten before this starts. Yet I can FEEL my Chosen. He's not in any danger, but I can feel him! The bond is almost fully formed, Rolan! All I have to do is actually Choose him. Sayvil told me I wouldn't know my Chosen's name until it was time to go out and find him. Well I know his name, and I know where he is! Why am I Choosing so young? What is this going to mean for Valdemar? No Companion in history has Chosen this young that wasn't Grove Born! How am I even supposed to Choose him? He's on a different world. I mean that literally!!!!!! :
He continued to bounce about, working himself up into a froth. She didn't know what to do—on the one hand she yearned to comfort him – having to figure out how to Choose someone in another world couldn't be easy. On the other hand, it was his problem, his conversation, and his Chosen. She'd talk to him later, she decided, after Rolan had gotten him calmed down! She turned to leave –
- and was hit between the eyes with a flood of information.
She knew her Chosen's name.
And Vanyel's problem had just become her problem.
She sighed, loathed as she was to interrupt the Grove Born and her hyperactive younger brother, she had very little choice in the matter now. She made the mental equivalent of clearing her throat, before stepping into the Grove. : It would appear that I have the same problem. : she quietly informed them.
She got the impression that Rolan was only mildly surprised by this new turn of events. The Grove Born tossed his head briefly and looked at her out of one extremely wise blue eye, to his left Vanyel had gone still at her announcement.
: It would appear that we have your answer, Companion Vanyel. : He said mildly. : It takes a great deal of power to open a gate to another world, a gate that would have to be reopened so you can get home. It would prove easier to send you both through such a gate at once, rather than to simply send Companion Jissa now and to have you follow in a few years time. :
Vanyel pawed impatiently at the ground. : What do we do now, Rolan? : he asked calmly.
Rolan turned his head and glanced down at him out of one sky blue eye. : For now, I must speak with the Companions who are bound to the Herald mages, only those whose Heralds are Adept class. We will need their power, combined with your latent bonds to your chosen as a focus, in order to send you two into the proper world. :
: How long will it take to set up the spell, Rolan? : Jissa asked, her voice laced with curiosity, concern, and impatience.
It was Vanyel, however, who answered her question. As a mage he had the practical experience. : It won't take more than a few minutes time to set the gate; the problem is you have to know a place; have to set foot there before or the gate won't work. By using our bonds to our future Chosen, we will take the memories of the world and its lands, how it looks and how it feels, from our soon to be Chosen. But it will take time for the mages to garner the power to set the spells that will allow them to follow the bond to our Chosen. :
: Ok, so then how long will it take to set up the spell?: Jissa asked with mild exasperation.
Rolan interjected before Vanyel had a chance to get overly technical again. : It should take about a week for the mages to be ready to trace the bonds and gather the information we need to send you after your Chosen. A fortnight at most and the two of you will be off chasing down your Chosen. : He gave a purely mental sigh. : I will call for the two of you when the time comes. Until then, your time is your own. :
: Thank you, Rolan. : they responded almost simultaneously.
Vanyel pranced in place, impatient and more than a tad uncertain. He'd spent the past three days trying to find tack that would fit him. At this point he wouldn't have cared if the only rig they could find had been around in his previous life. He wouldn't even have cared if it was so tatty and old it was no longer blue, so long as it fit, and was secure enough to safely hold his Chosen until they reached the Collegiums. They hadn't been able to find anything even remotely close to the size he needed, not even in the tack sheds they kept the ordinary horse tack in! Everything there was either too big or made for a pony! He stomped a silver hoof in irritation. He needed tack, any tack; if he was going to go into another world and get his Chosen, he'd have to get tack. And while he honestly didn't care if he had to wait until he finished growing to get his tack, he had always pictured Choosing his Herald in full formal array, just like every other Companion had unless there were extenuating circumstances.
He needed to speak to Rolan.
He found the Grove Born stallion near the Grove, actually at the base of the very tower T'lindal had suicided off of. Sometimes it was still painful to stand in the very place he'd lost his first lifebonded. Talia, Elespath, three other Herald-mages, and their Companions stood with him, tracing out a magic circle of strength and protection to help ground the gate that would soon stand there. : Rolan?: Vanyel sent quietly, trying not to disturb the preparations for the magical workings that would soon be taking place here.
:Not now, Vanyel. : he replied, obviously preoccupied.
: Rolan - : he began again only to be cut off by the older stallion's tart reply.
:Busy: he retorted sharply.
Vanyel snorted, pawing impatiently at the ground. This was important – and if the Grove Born was unwilling to listen to him … he'd just have to make him!
Courtesy be hanged!!!!!!!!
He stomped one hoof, scrapping up the turf as he did so. Annoyed he reared up to his full height, and screamed like a small child for Rolan's attention with mind and voice. He landed gracefully on all four hooves, to the astonished gazes of all of the Heralds and Companions currently present.
For one highly amusing moment, he thought the older Companion's jaw would come unhinged, and then the stallion drew himself up to his full height – though his hooves remained firmly planted on grass. : What ?: the stallion snapped, his mindvoice pitched in a loud broadcast sending Vanyel was sure even Herald Talia heard. Hell, he was sure they heard him in Whitegriffon.
Vanyel pranced in place. : I don't have tack. : He sent plaintively, suddenly feeling like the rebuked colt he currently was.
For a moment the Grove Born just stood there, then turned his head and sent a flood of images at his Chosen. The Queen's Own, Talia blinked before inclining her head briefly to her Companion. She turned and calmly walked over to his side, gently patting his shoulder. "Come Youngling," she said kindly. "Let's get you some tack."
Vanyel refrained from telling her he was older them she was, as he followed her out of the field. Within the hour he found himself fitted for tack that would be done within the week. If the man doing the fitting had wondered why he was fitting such a young Companion, he hadn't said a thing about it, something Vanyel found he was extremely grateful for.
The young stallion all but pranced in place, somehow keeping pace with Herald Talia, as they wove their way through the city streets. He was going to Choose. He felt a wave of calm wash over him as Talia patted his shoulder.
He sent the empathic Herald a wave of appreciation and settled himself as well as he could. He wanted to run, and keep on running until he had his Herald in his saddle, just as any other Companion did when they felt the urge to Choose. Yet he knew the best way to bring his Herald home to Valdemar was to wait for Rolan and the Herald mages to open a gate for him and Jissa. He could run himself into the ground on his own and get nowhere. Still, it was probably the hardest thing he'd ever done.
It had been four days since his temper tantrum in the Grove and he was waiting patiently for Rolan's summons. At the moment he had his shoulder pressed up against Sayvil's, his head down, as he listened to the woman who in a past life he'd called aunt, even though she'd been more mother than anything else. It was fitting that in this life she was his mother. She was offering him small words of comfort and encouragement as he waited, and gently reminding him that while what they were about to do might startle his Chosen, it shouldn't hurt him. Unless the boy fought, the worst it would do was give him a headache. A headache, right— he could handle that.
He cocked his ears forward reflexively when Rolan called, despite knowing very well the voice was only in his mind. He sent his mother a brief and wordless thank you before setting off across the field to the Grove and Rolan, his tail flagged with pride.
He had a bit of an advantage over Jissa here. She knew what they were doing and what to expect because Rolan had explained it. He actually had knowledge of this type of spell from his time as a Herald. Without prompting, he pranced into the concentric circle formed by Heralds and their Companions. Four Herald-mages, including Elespath, made up the inner circle and five Companions made up the exterior, all of them stood quietly at an equal distance around the small triangle in the very center, triangle formed by Jissa, himself and Herald Talia.
Rolan moved back into his position, closing the circle, and slowly, very, very slowly the spell began. Talia gently placed her hand on the edge of his velvety soft nose, doing the same with Jissa. He opened his mind to her, and tugging gently, he led her in the direction of his latent bond to his Chosen. It was strange to feel someone else follow that line to his Chosen; he felt a brief flare of surprise jump down the bond, as Talia touched his Chosen's mind. He felt mild surprise tinged with pride as his Chosen snapped up his shields instinctively – so he was going to have to give his Chosen a headache in taking them down.
He felt Talia guide two of the mages down the line to his Chosen, and he did his best to send reassurance and comfort, which only seemed to make the hole-ridden shields tighten. He felt a brief flash of concern flare down the bond and he started in surprise at the feel of a completely alien mind and an odd mirrored feeling as Talia, Jissa and the other two Heralds briefly brushed his mind before he felt the Heralds slip through one of the holes in his Chosen's shields. He felt his Chosen's confusion and fear as he struggled to keep them out. He saw random flashes of the boy's life, as he fought them tooth and nail over their presence in his mind. Finally they drew back, having gathered what they needed from both soon to be trainees.
Vanyel braced himself, locking his legs in shock as they drew back, and pain lanced down his link to his Chosen. He felt it, a gripping pain, and one he recognized well—backlash, a bad case of backlash. It was followed by a strange spinning sensation, and a sharp pain in what, had he still been human, would have been his arm told him that his Chosen had fallen. Fallen, and quite possibly broken his arm! He reared, screaming in rage and pain, a Companion's challenge to any who would dare hurt his Chosen, yet in this case the only person he could trample was himself.
He dropped to all fours head hanging low, and tried to come to terms with what he had done. His Chosen was injured because of his actions.
He sighed and stomped a hoof as Rolan and Jissa sidled up to him pressing against his flanks in wordless comfort. He'd done what he had to do, and in seven days he would be off to find his Chosen, to bring the boy- no, the young man, home to Haven for good.