Chapter One: The Desire to Explore.
The Age of Magic - date unknown
Young eyes stared up at the stars, full of increasing wonder.
Her sensitive ears could usually pick up every noise around her; tonight, however, she heard nothing. The heavens above were all too much of a distraction. It had always been that way, and probably always would be- her mother said she was a dreamer, born to stare at those which she couldn't touch, imagining what it would be like to feel it.
Kya herself never understood perfectly though. The Mithra lived in solitude and peace, content with their lives; but she could never understand how it could be. Didn't they want to know what was out there? If others existed, just like them?
Apparently not, as she was always told to hush whenever her small but curious voice popped up. It was frustrating, but the only thing she could carry on doing was dreaming; continue staring at the stars...
She was unaware of the figure behind her, hiding amongst the bushes that created a backdrop to the small hillside she was sitting on.
But he continued to watch with careful eyes and a poised tail; he could see her hands tracing outlines in the air, and he knew she was matching stars together, creating images in the sky. He'd done it himself before.
He wanted to call her name. Kya. Kya. He'd heard it many times before but never uttered it himself. For she was the niece of the Chieftainess; royalty in the Mithra's eyes. Why would he ever have the right to talk to her?
The night rolled on.
Seven Years Later
The voice stumbled her dreams and she bolted awake, white hair tumbling in front of her eyes and ears alert. Her mind was fogged with the thoughts of stars - so many stars...
"Thank goodness, you'rrre awake!" A figure bustled into her room and thrust back the covers, causing the young Mithra to squirm with annoyance.
"I was just about to wake up!" The cold air clung to her bare skin and her tail twitched with irritation; this was one of the few things that could create a bad mood in her mornings, but her maid never seemed to understand that. Instead, the older Mithra just seemed content on waking up her mistress as frustratingly as possible, practically dancing round in the room in her daily cleanup, blonde hair tousled from the wind outside.
"How do you manage to get everrrrything in such a mess?" The maid tutted, scooping up odd items from the floor; but she was ignored as Kya walked past, gracefully entering the back room with a black cloud seemingly hanging over her head. Her first thought had been that she needed clothes. And quickly.
It wasn't like her maid hadn't seen her naked before - and many Mithra had no boundaries when it came to showing off their bodies, she knew that - but today she felt uncomfortable. Like... she needed to be covered up.
Her clothes hung neat over her windowsill - certainly where she hadn't left them - and so she grabbed the nearest garment, pulling the brown and white fabric around her chest before sealing it at the back. Behind her as she dressed, the noise continued; not stopping until she'd just closed the belt around her waist.
Silence fell for a few moments and Kya realised she was alone again, a wash of relief spreading over her.
...Then she remembered. She was twenty today.
A smile graced the Mithra's lips, almost a content grin; this meant feasting... this meant fun.
Her maid let out a surprised meow as Kya bolted past her, leaping outside and dodging any obstacle in her path; she had to find her mother, organise something, organise everything- the Chieftainess's palace loomed ahead of her - the tallest building on Elshimo Island, for sure- and then...
There was a group of them, all hustled round one hut, all listening intently; Kya could hear a voice as she drew closer, loud yet quivering in the air.
"...and there was a lot of them, let me tell you! Creatures like us, but without any tails, and ears on the sides of their faces, by their eyes! And some could do magic, amazing magic! It was such an adventure, let me tell you!"
Kya's ears twitched. The Mithra telling the story was old, cross-legged on the floor, long grey-white hair hanging tattered down across her shoulders; however, there was a spark in her eyes which Kya had hardly ever seen before - a spark of excitement, confusion, even fear. The audience in front of her spoke with hushed voices, many contemplating the story that the old Mithra was telling; Kya caught a few words, her own heart starting to race: "Do you think it could really be true? That there others, like us, but so differrrent?"
The sharpness of the word snapped through the air and many of the surrounding Mithra jumped, turning in surprise; Kya herself flinched and quickly looked over her shoulder, finding one of the palace guards standing there, a growl evident in her features.
"Nia, stop telling everyone such storrries!" The spear in the guard's hand wavering slightly and the crowd quickly began to disperse, leaving the old Mithra sitting there, frowning in their wake but silent.
Irritation swept through Kya at the unwanted interruption; she wanted to know more about the strange land that the elder Mithra had travelled to, curiosity pumping through her heart. However, a hand laid itself heavy on her shoulder and she turned, the guard from before still standing there, stern as ever.
"Kya? You must report to the Chieftainess's palace at once- your mother awaits you therrre."
Kya nodded in response, giving one fleeting look behind her at the answers she wanted to know before walking away from them, fists clenched; then she promised herself.
I will return tonight.
The wine was making her head buzz; they'd really gone all out, just for her birthday. Wait, was it even her birthday anymore? She couldn't remember...
Then she was running. Her feet were bare - her entire body was unclothed - and she was running, faster than ever before; in front of her, at the top of the hill, was a silhouette of a figure, the background behind them engraved with stars. Her heart pounded harder as she drew closer, her mouth opening to call out - but her voice faltered, her mind stuttering as she realised that the person was different from her; she could see no tail behind them, see no ears perched on their head...
The sound of someone's purring laugh rolling out loudly made her snap awake, despite the hustle around her; her mind was fuzzy, blurred, but her dream was still so clear in her head - how could she have forgotten what that old Mithra had said earlier?
Everyone was either dancing or laughing, and no-one noticed as she slipped out.
Retracing her steps, Kya found the hut from earlier, evidence of a long-gone crowd still painted in the dirt; the dim orange light of a fire flicked across the floor from the doorway, getting brighter as she approached.
The old Mithra jumped and turned at once with wide eyes as Kya poked her head round the doorframe, hesitance in her eyes; the two stared at each other with tension for a brief moment before the elder sniffled, expression melting into a steady frown.
"What do you want, young one?" Kya held back a sigh of relief as the other Mithra accepted her entry, making her way into the small and cluttered living space; there were odd items littered everywhere, mainly plants and books.
It took a moment for her to work out where to sit, eventually placing herself opposite the elder by the fire; then she spoke.
"I heard your... your storytelling earlier." Kya began, only to have her companion snort in response.
"Storytelling? It that what you call it?" The older Mithra shook her head with contempt, obviously irritated. "Let me tell you- no," - she stopped Kya as the younger Mithra opened her mouth to speak - "Let me tell you... I have been on many adventures. None of which I make up."
"Adventures?" Kya's eyes lit up with curiosity and she leaned forwards, hair falling about her neck; "What kind of adventures?"
The elder studied her for a moment.
"You rrreally are a curious one, aren't you?"
Kya blushed and she laughed.
"It's alright, child. I'm happy to retell my memorrries to anyone who will listen. What is your name?"
"My name... It's Kya."
"Nia. It's a pleasurrre to meet one who's name rhymes with my own. Now, let me start off with the beginning of my journeys..."
Time spilt over as Kya anxiously listened to the elder Mithra's tale, fists clenching and unclenching; she drank in her words, images of ships and mighty battles against beasts forming in her mind as Nia's memories span themselves into her imagination.
"The others... I never saw much of them. Only one glimpse. They stood taller than us, just by a little; but with none of our proud earrrs and none of our lengthy tails. They wore strange clothes and carried unusual weapons, unlike ours..." Nia's words trailed off, leaving a lengthy pause behind them.
"Did you ever talk to one?" Kya's head tilted as she stared intently at the Mithra in front of her, eyes unmet.
"Talk...? No! Oh, no. Never. We were only scouts, after all, sent to explorrre the land and report back. But, maybe one day..." Nia's eyes misted over before she frowned, shaking her head.
"What am I saying? The Chieftainess would never allow it; it is not the Mithra way to explorrre. And anyway, I am too old now." A sad smile graced her lips and her ears folded back before she continued speaking, her words catching Kya's attention once more.
Their conversation carried on throughout the night until daybreak, dawn's light seeping in through the windows; the fire was long burnt down by now, only a small wither of smoke pathetically trailing into the air. Farewells were exchanged before Kya left, taking with her the memories of another and a burning desire growing stronger in her heart.
The desire to explore.
The all-nighter had left Kya oddly refreshed; her mind was spinning, whirling with emotion. After learning that there were new lands out there, places to be explored - she couldn't keep still, she couldn't think of anything else - how could she? This was in her dreams, in her heart- in her soul...
She'd never really understood what the elders had said about choosing your own path of fate until now. It was like... she'd been enlightened; she suddenly knew what she wanted to do.
"I want to travel."
The sound of something breaking was not exactly the reaction she'd anticipated from her own mother.
"Kya! You can't!" The Mithra's high-pitched voice soothed down to a number of tuts as she idly kicked at the broken bowl on the floor, eventually bringing her eyes up to meet her daughter's.
"Darrrling... You know that you must take over the position in the council from me when I become an elder! Which won't be long, you know." Kya frowned as her mother's hands cupped her cheeks, forcing herself to smile.
"I know, mother..." The skin contact between them broke almost abruptly as her parent turned away sharply. "But... It's something I want to do. I need to do. You see..."
"No, Kya!" The maids around them stopped from their cleaning and began to stare at the pair; Kya flinched slightly at the harshness in her mother's tone, anger bubbling up in her stomach.
"You don't understand! This means everything to me, I don't want to be stuck here for the rest of my life, it's not-"
"You cannot! It is impossible for you to travel, as well as any other Mithra- you don't-!"
Both voices were cut off as a shadow emerged from the doorway, faces tilting upwards; at once, the servants in the room bent forwards in respectful bows, leaving Kya and her mother the only one's standing.
"My dearrrrest sister... Whatever is wrong?" The Chieftainess swept forwards into the room, long dark hair braided down her back, a few glints of silver here and there evident amongst the darkest strands.
Kya shifted uncomfortably as her mother put on her best smile.
"Nothing... Nothing is wrong, sister- I am just telling my daughterrr... what is best for her." Her smile widened as the Mithra stole a glance at her child, receiving only a sultry glare in return.
"Oh? I would like to hearrr about this... I too see Kya as one of my own, darrrling sister..." An amused purr echoed in the Chieftainess's throat and the tension in the room build up another notch.
The silence broke suddenly as one of the servants dropped something behind them, causing the three Mithra and everyone else in the room to flinch; the Chieftainess's eyes narrowed and she waved a hand, dismissing the maids and waiting until they'd scurried out, returning her gaze to her sibling once more.
Kya's mother hesitated before her smile faltered into a faint one. "Kya... she wishes to travel- to other lands. I have told her no but, no she will not take for a answerrr..."
The eldest Mithra's body seemed to freeze and Kya stared at the necklace around her neck, wondering where the jewels for it had come from; surely, not this land could produce such sparkling gems...
"Kya?" The Mithra jumped at the sharp sound of her name, eyes staring into her aunt's ones. "I said, is this trrrue? You wish to travel?"
Kya's heart stopped for a brief moment before she nodded.
Their eye contact lasted for another few seconds before the Chieftainess suddenly turned, body stiff.
"I see... You are not the only one. I have had another group of young Mithras wishing to trrravel the world as well."
Her words seem to echo throughout the room and for a second, Kya's hopes were lifted skyhigh- that was until, she noted the tone of utter contempt in her aunt's voice.
Her mother however, simply stared in horror.
"But they cannot! How can they even think..." The shock and anger flooded throughout her tone, her hands raising to her chest.
The Chieftainess remained quiet as she stared out the nearby window, apparently lost in thought.
It was a while before she spoke again but, when she turned, there was fire in her eyes.
"Their disregard for tradition has... angerrred me, my dearrr sister. But I cannot stop them; they seem set on it." Her footsteps seemed to get louder as she approached the other two Mithra again, sweeping inbetween them on her way to the door; she paused, her back to them.
"Their actions will not go unpunished however; anyone who goes seeking adventure will never be able to returrrn. I will make sure of that."
Her aunt's smile stayed with Kya many moments after she had left the room. It was a smile of the worst kind; a deep, dark promise that she was almost certain to keep.
Author's Notes: SO... hey! This is me, writing FFXI fanfiction. I just couldn't resist. I'm in love with Mithras and the entire game itself...
But yeah. I've tried my bestest to get everything right... If you wish to know more about the history of Mithras and what-not, google it. ;o
I've tried to not overdo the rolling of r's - I know it may be rather annoying for some people to read. If it's still annoying then I'm sorry. ;; But a Mithra's gotta do what a Mithra's gotta do!
That's also the reason that Kya - the main Mithra here - doesn't actually roll her r's.
Anyway, any critique, comments, etc, is very welcome and appreciated. ;o Hopefully this will end up becoming quite a large piece, if I manage to continue with it...
Thanks for reading. :D