Tales from Aur Spectra

The outdoor temperatures were a relatively warm -22c when Princess Fortuna woke up, stretching her arms and legs from the perch she slept on at night. The sun shone bright on the fluffy clouds that made up the home of the Riaaki high on the mountaintops, creating a near-blinding scene outside the castle walls.

Fortuna spent some time pruning her feathers, and once she was satisfied with their condition, she slipped on her softest dress and made her way to the castle’s cafeteria. She wasn’t quite hungry yet, but she was excited to see everyone this morning.

Who was everyone? Well, that would be her parents and older brother. The royal family was generally regarded pretty lovingly in the public’s eye, so much better than the human kingdoms on the surface.

Fortuna gasped when her eyes rested on the scene below in the cafeteria. Her heart seemed to beat erratically, and she instinctively ran as fast as she could out of the room.

Daily life in the kingdom of Sylar was fairly simple. The civilians were well guarded by the best of the best knights, all classed in 4 separate tiers.

Your typical nonmagic Templar Knights were the typical heroes who bore no magic ability. This force was the largest forces of the kingdom, but as the king himself put it, the most expendable.

The next level was the second largest force, the Magia Knights. They tended to stick to a singular class or element of magic, as their magic wasn’t necessarily the strongest. However, when all you really need to do is heal people or create large walls of fire, a Magia knight already commanded respect beyond that of a Templar Knight.

The next step up were the Aural knights, with magic capabilities beyond that of the Magia Knights, capable of even manipulating the emotions of people around them, the strongest of the Aural Knights were even capable of calming entire crowds of rioting people with a simple movement of their hand. This category was mostly dominated by elves, by which their graceful hand the kingdom is entrusted to.

The last category was thought to be mythical, only achieved by the most legendary figures. They were thought to be so powerful and proficient in magic that they were capable of changing the fabric of reality itself. History tells of certain individuals capable of this very thing being hunted down and killed because they were far too dangerous. Some of the greatest pieces of art depict these warriors being burned at a stake while the kingdom feasts around the fire.

They are known today as the Spectral Warriors.

Until today, there hadn’t been someone legally classified as such ever.

What made Ryesli even more spectacular was the fact that she was a Riaaki. Born in the clouds, Ryesli’s parents were unable to contain their child’s propensity for magic, so she was sent to Sylar to study magic. That night, the kingdom had been raided by dark beings, darker than the deepest fears of humanity. Ryesli should have died that night, but lived because of the Aural Knight that swooped in and saved her life.

That was how she fought to be enlisted.

The graduation halls were quiet when the head captain recalibrated their latent magic stick and announced with a shaky voice, “Spectral Warrior.”

While she was very terrified of what would happen next, a piece of herself felt proud of her accomplishment. Here she was, one of the strongest knights in all history, now enlisted to protect the kingdom.

“Do you swear, Ryesli of Riaaki Landing, to protect the entirety of Aur Spectra and her lands to the best of your ability?”

“I do!”

Fortuna’s Perspective
Riaaki Landing, Aur Spectra

“Today, I come to you with awful news. My parents and older brother have died. In fact, I fear that had I woken up on time yesterday, I would not be standing now. As my parent’s responsibility lies on me now, I…”

Fortuna was not the best at public speaking. In fact, she was atrocious at communication. With her family’s deaths still fresh on her mind, this issue is exaggerated further. Though she tried to keep coherent and put-together for her public speech, Fortuna just wants to hide.

“Er… I just want you to know that I have contacted the Sylaran Knights to open an investigation on the murder. Whoever killed my family will pay dearly.”

The new Riaaki Queen stepped away from the podium and went back inside. She would not betray emotion to the public, but would sob privately, away from anyone’s sight.

“Your Highness, we have done some preliminary investigation.” One of the Templar Knights of Sylar spoke up, a fairly short but well-built human with platinum blond hair and electric blue eyes.

“What is the thing?” Fortuna tilted her head to the side, hoping her body language could communicate more than what she could vocalize.

“We are dealing with an entity that is far more powerful than any of us. It was a Riaaki, far more powerful than even our Aural Knights who came to assist us.”

“But it’s impossible for it to be Ryesli-”

One of the knights behind the Templar Captain spoke up. She was an elf, far taller than her human counterpart, with brilliant orange hair and yellow eyes. She carried her slender body with grace and beauty, almost as if she were practically flaunting it.

“We saw the bird. It was definitely not Ryesli… this bird had a bloodlust in his merciless eyes. He was brutal, appearing in multiple places at once, breaking the fabric of reality to bring terror to our forces. He decimated the backup Aural Knights in one fell swoop.”

Fortuna stayed quiet as the elf spoke.

“We recovered but a singular feather.”

The Templar captain spoke up once again.

“Your Highness, based on initial investigation I wish to contract the Spectral Warrior to take over investigation. Do I have your permission?”

Fortuna nodded, staying silent as the Knights swiftly left the palace. One knight, a human female with pure white hair and warm amber eyes, stayed behind.

“My name is Lumina, Captain of Aural Knight brigade 3. My team is tasked with your defense. You will see me, Scarlet, and Claire by your side, prepared to protect you at any cost.”

“Thank you Lumina.”

Ryesli’s Perspective

Since graduation, Ryesli had been busy helping the people of all Aur Spectra with even the smallest tasks. Thanks to her efforts, cats no longer had to fear being stuck in trees.

This was fine, but Ryesli longed for something more. She longed for adventure, for challenge. Something more than getting cats out of trees.

Ryesli now walked back to the barracks with disappointment on her face after the 20th cat rescue of the day. She would dream of saving the world, until the squad captain appeared in front of her.

“Spectral Warrior Ryesli of Riaaki Landing, your presence is requested by the program director.” The shadowy elf hissed, squinting their black eyes at Ryesli.

“Andorr I promise I didn’t do anything bad this time!”

“Then why does the program director seek you? Why are you nervous?” Andorr grabbed Ryesli, and slunk back into the shadows, stepping out once again at the program director’s office.

The program director was an old halfling now, his hair and beard now a pearly white, even in the candlelight. In fact, he was certainly old, even on his mother elf’s side they never lived past 800 years. One wouldn’t guess, but the half elf-dwarf man was approaching his first millenium. Despite his age, he was as lien and active as the day he retired from the Aural Knights 300 years ago now.

“Come in now, don’t be shy! Ryesli, I will need to talk to you. Do you wish for Andorr to stay?”

“I don’t remember-”

The old halfling laughed, wiping a tear from his blue eye.

“No, you are not in trouble. I have a mission.”

Ryesli nodded, her eyes going wide at the prospect.

“I take it you wish Andorr to stay. Do you stay Andorr?”

Andorr nodded as well.

“Very well. Ryesli, I will tell you that 10 years ago, possibly before you were born, the Academy had another Riaaki student. This student only had one similarity to you, and that would be your raw power.”

Ryesli tilted her head to the side as she listened to the old man speak.

“His name was Tamunar, and he caused far more trouble than you ever did. The final straw was using illegal magics to resurrect an army of undead elves as ‘practice’. We should have known he would try from his interest in death and manipulative magics.”

The old man seemed to lower his head somewhat, no longer wearing joy on his face like a few minutes ago.

“The slaughter after his expulsion from the academy was… indescribable. But we did manage to contain the bird and cart him away. Considering the… short… lifespan of your kind, we assumed that he would die and not be a problem after a couple of years, especially because he was approaching his 25th birthday.”

The program director now leaned forward, his pupils dilated a bit.

“He is 35 years old now. He escaped prison.”

Ryesli shook her head in disbelief. 8 years already felt like centuries to her, she couldn’t imagine living 20, or even 25 years. For a Riaaki to live 35 years and counting? The concept was unfathomable.

“That is a really long time…”

“One like yourself cannot fathom what is a mere blink of an eye to most species. Nevertheless, we have strong evidence to suggest Tamunar was behind the slaughter, and he may even be after far more than just the royal family. That is why I wish to assign you to the task.”

Another Riaaki female stepped up from behind the shadows, wearing her crest feathers in a simple yet elegant braid. The dress she wore was an elegant lavender, though simple in construction. She dipped her head to Ryesli and Andorr with grace. Just behind the Riaaki queen were what remained of Aural Knight Brigade 3, led by Captain Lumina.

“I am Queen Fortuna, and I do hope you do not m-mind us accompanying you.”

Riaaki bowed, and once she stood up she seemed to be smiling. Inside her heart was about to burst from excitement, the adventure she dreamed of was within reach.