Arriadne lives in a world where Soul Keeper's - that's what she is - are born only to protect the Jewel Witches. But when Jewel Witches show up dead, Arriadne (the best Soul Keeper, and a world-famous Assasin) is forced to investigate this, with her Jewel Witch, Amethyst. But, when she falls in love with the prime suspect, things start to turn bad...
Emerald has come to represent the beauty and promise of spring. Ancients believed that the emerald would improve intelligence. It was also considered to reveal faithfulness between lovers. Emerald’s power is Light or Enlighten (they can light up the darkest of places, and can bring answers, where there are questions).
I closed my eyes with a well needed sigh, as I walked through the calming town. I could smell dinners that families had prepared, and I could hear the joy of being home. Without looking sideways, I kept walking, and smiled into the distance, where our planet, Pandora’s, third sun was falling, throwing its warm scent around me and massaging my skin and hair with red light. I loved my planet, and the people on it, no matter how complicated our way of life is. And I’m going to attempt to cut down years of lecture about our aforementioned complicated way of life, into five minutes worth (because I’m just that awesome).
I’ll start off with the planet itself. Pandora isbig, and no one has explored the entire planet, and come back. It’s not exactly dangerous, per se, I mean, all the plants are edible. It’s just that Pandora has secrets she wants to keep to herself and she will do anything to keep people away (and yes, I have decided it is a female, being the feminist I am, I mean can you imagine a guy named Pandora?). But, other than that, and the occasional bad weather, Pandora is the best possible place to be. Big, stretching fields, with exotic plants, sending their sweet and bitter scents across the grass, animals running free and wild. And, how could I forget our nine suns? Yes we have nine suns. But, one of those suns, died, and was possessed by a strong, evil sort of presence, and so when the Black Sun comes up, we have two whole days worth of night time, we call this Black Hour.
There are many different towns on Pandora, but they all live in harmony and mostly go by the same rules and religions. Some of them, however, have decided to take up some of Earth’s ways of life, the stupid people. My town is the centre town, and the biggest one on the planet; Treasure City. (The name might sound weird now, but you’ll understand it once I finish explaining).
Next, are the people. There are twomaintypes of people (there’s more sub groups). The first and oldest, and most important type of people is Treasures or Jewel Witches (hence the name of the town). This race of people were the first people to ever live on Pandora. They wrote the Prophecies, and they built the towns. Treasures are people with a certain Jewel or Gem encrusted somewhere in them (like on their arm or back), the Jewel is a pattern, and Treasures get certain powers from the Jewel, depending on the type. Eventually, after a couple of thousands of years, Treasures realized that they were slowly dying. Their own power was practically killing them, because the weight of it was crushing their souls. And so, evolution made the Soul Keeper, and that’s what I am.
Soul Keeper's are born to fight, and trained to protect. We go through a certain training program, and then we get chosen to be a Treasure's Keeper. The way we get chosen for a Treasure, though, is particularly cool. We don’t have to worry about having to protect someone we don’t want to, because it’s the Treasures soul that chooses. When we go through what’s called a selection ceremony, we’re all put in a big room, we have food and drinks and we go around talking to Treasures and Soul Keepers alike. Once you are near the person you’re supposed to protect, your soul will ‘come to life’ and the two of you will light up.
Then, there are the Ancient’s. These people can be either Treasures or Soul Keepers, but are mainly Treasures. They’re not really that special, I mean power wise. They do, have a lot of power over the towns, though. They are the people that control our planet. They make the laws, and boy do they enforce them.
And then, there are the ‘baddies’. The most powerful ‘baddies’ or villains, or whatever, are called Broken Treasures, or Broken Jewel Witches. They were people who were once Treasures, but turned mean, and evil, and their hearts turned black, most of them are completely insane. There are other types of bad people, as well, though. There are things called The Forgotten, these are either Treasures or Soul Keepers (mostly Soul Keepers who could never find a Treasure to protect), that have pretty much forgotten their way of life, and forgotten how to live properly, and so they turn into these nasty, selfish little creatures, with sharp claws, and venomous fangs. While they might be incredibly strong, they’re not that smart and almost boring when faced in a fight.
The rest isn’t really important, and is pretty easy to pick up. So there, years worth of lecture summed up intolessthan five minutes (I told you, I’mjust that awesome). So now that I’ve gotten history and Treasures and baddies out of the way, it’s time for my story.
My name is Ariadne, I am seventeen years old (the legal age is sixteen), and me and my best friend, Amethyst (who also happens to be my Treasured), are the best assassins Pandora has seen in centuries – not that I’m bragging.
My mother was a Soul Keeper, and my father was a Treasure. My father hated being ‘tied down’ with Soul Keepers, and he eventually became not only mean, but incredibly violent. He tortured and murdered my mother and my big sister, and if it wasn’t for some mysterious person, I would have gone with them. I was about three at the time, and started living with my aunty, and, despite the fact that she was grief-stricken about what her brother had done, she took me in with a big hug, a loving smile, and a warm roast beef.
I don’t hide what I’m thinking, and I tell it like it is, no matter who it hurts. Despite this, I will stop at nothing to protect anyone and everyone who isn’t trying to kill me. If it’s me, or a civilian in a fight, I would give up my life in the blink of an eye. The only reason that hasn’t happened is; I am just too damn good. That, and I have powers thatno otherSoul Keeper in the history of Pandora has ever had (Soul Keepers don’t generally have powers, and if they do, they’re usually not that impressive). I can call on the elements. The only bad thing about this power is I literally have tocallthe elements. I can’t just thinkwind, and bam, I have a tornado in my hand, I have to concentrate (a very hard thing for me), and I have to say the element I want. I don’t let my emotions control me, like most girls do, and I mostly shove them to a corner.
I’m pretty, and I know it (it doesn’t help that people tell me so all the time), I have lightly sun kissed skin – it comes with spending so much time training outside – really light, long golden-blonde hair, and big, deep chocolate brown eyes. My body is tight and fit – again, you kind of have to be, in my line of work – but I still have some generous curves. This face and body, I use to my advantage, a lot.
And then, there’s Amethyst, my oldest and closest friend, who is also my Treasured (which means I’m her Soul Keeper). She is the rarest and strongest Treasure (or Jewel Witch), in the history of all Treasures, and, even though they don’t like to admit it, she’s stronger and more powerful than most Ancient’s, she is what’s called a Gifted Treasure, and there’s only been three of them in our history. There was no Amethyst Treasure, until she was born. She has powers unheard of – usually Treasures have a category, and have a few powers to do with that category, well not her. Amethyst's Jewel Mark is just one of the special things about her. Most Treasures Jewel Marks are only on one part of their body. But, Amethyst's goes from the tip of her left hand fingers, up her arm, across her shoulder, over her back, up her neck, across her forehead and cheeks, then down onto her right shoulder, stretching all the way to the very tips of her right fingers.
And the Jewel only adds to her glowing, angelic beauty. She has pale, translucent skin, that makes her pinkie-purple – that’s the colour of an amethyst – eyes, and her Jewel's reallypop, she has long, thick white blonde hair, with a natural pinkie tint to it, and front bangs that frame her face. Her eyes are big and wide and somewhat glow, but are harsh, because of their color. And so, she has soft pink lips that dim down that harshness. She is small, and very frail looking – not unhealthy, it’s just the way she is – she looks incredibly delicate . . . until she gets pissed off. That’s when you run. Her eyes go big and dark, her hair glows a mean purple color, and her gentle face contorts into a purely terrifying look. But, luckily, this only happens when I get hurt (which isn’t very often), or when the second sun is in line with the fourth sun, because those are the two suns that call on her Jewel's Power.
Amethyst's personality is as gentle and as sweet as her face – when she’s not pissed off. She is basically the polar opposite of me. She is incredibly shy, and even when she’s not shy, her voice is so soft, you can’t tell. She is beyond belief nice and very selfless – the selflessness is the only thing we have in common – she is a pacifist at heart, which is stupid in our line of work. She loves doing things for others, a lot, and is incredibly charitable. And, she absolutely adores me – almost as much as I adore her – the only difference between my adoring, is, I don’t put civilians lives on the line, and I don’t do stupid things. Amethyst is very selfish like that. If it meant hers, any number of innocent people’s lives, or mine, she would rather them die than me. Which annoys me to no end, because it’s my job to protect her,notthe other way around.
Now, education is a lot different to Earth. From the minute we can walk and talk, and understand people, so at around three or four, we are thrown into classes, and we learn all the theory, all the history and all the laws of the planet. Every year, we have the Soul Selection Ceremonies, and once a Soul Keeper and a Treasure are paired up, their put into different classes. The Soul Keepers are taught how to fight, and defend themselves, and are told every day that you must not let anything happen to your Treasured. Treasures are put into classes to learn about their Jewel, and its properties, and myths and are taught how to control their powers. I was taught to fight at the age of six till fifteen. Graduating was, great; I earned the respect of adults and children alike, and, I was, pretty much an adult, even though I was still going through puberty.
The only bad things about graduating? Well, first of all, I had the best teacherever, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to see him much. His name is Gander’el, and, because he taught me from such a young age, he became like a father to me, and, though he doesn’t like to admit it, I am like a daughter to him. He always says ‘after you graduate, I won’t be there to save your ass anymore, so be careful’. I would laugh, because I knew for a fact, that if Ireallyneeded his help, he’d be there in the blink of an eye. Despite his age, and his old, worn out, frail looking body, the man isstrong.
The second bad thing is when I received my pill (andno,I am not talking about birth control pills). After we graduate, and have a party and a celebration, we are given a little blue pill, two actually, one for the Soul Keeper and one for the Treasure. The one for the Soul Keeper is circled in red, and, if taken, they die, instantly. The one for the Treasure transports them to Headquarters, even if they’re bound by magic. I always thought this was unfair. Why couldn’t webothhave the pill that saved us? The answer I got? Because there’s plenty of Soul Keepers to go around, but the Treasures are running out. I still don’t understand why we couldn’t have the same pill, but who am I to argue with the Ancient’s? (Not that I haven’t tried, I have, I just didn’t want to lose my job).
The sound of thunder cracking across the sky snapped me back to reality. I shook my head, and looked around, someone was near, I could tell. And, after I stopped, and sniffed the air, I’d realized that rain wasn’t anywhere near, so that crack wasn’t thunder. I had barely stopped for a minute before a figure, clad in black combat boots, black jeans, and a long black coat hurled into me, barely giving me enough time to react. But, because I was so good, I got in a small kick and pushed him a bit off the path, so that he landed, with a roll, on his feet on the floor. I straightened out of my crouch, and looked into the sharp jade green eyes of the only opponent that I’ve never been able to destroy, despite the fact that I’ve known him since I was about nine. His name is Lucifer (and I have no idea if he has any connection to the devil or not, so don’t ask).
His angular lips curled up into a smile, contradicting the sharp planes of his face, and a strand of black hair fell into his eye, only to be brushed back again. He was hot, yes, I will admit, anyone can see that, but I don’t let my emotions get in the way, at least during battle. Although, because I’d known him for so long, I did allow myself to join in with his meanly flirtatious banter.
“Nice job, you were nearly too slow, though.” He stood in his battle stance, but his face was slack, and easy, almost joking, which pissed me off, to no end. I hated how he flaunted that he’s the only one I couldn’t defeat, no matter how hard I tried. I hated it even more, when he gave me bruises, or a cut. But, as much as he dishes out, he gets back, because, from the second I met him, I could just tell in the way he held himself, and the way he fought that he wasn’t used to not defeating his opponent either, and so, I flaunted, that not only could he not beat me . . . but, he couldn’t beat me despite the fact that I’m a girl (stereotyping, I know), and that he’s immortal, so he’s got a lot of years on me.
“Pfft, whatever, old man, I totally could have run home and back in the time it took you to get to me, I think your losing your touch . . . what you’ve got left of it anyway.” I giggled, as we circled each other, both in our battle stances.
He chuckled, low and deep. “Watch it little girl, or I’ll have to give you a time-out.”
“You couldtry.” I said in a sultry voice, as if I was telling him to come back to bed.
“Don’t tempt me.”
“Naw, but that’s what I do best.” I pouted, cutely, and then went back into my battle stance, not wanting to get caught off guard. A wicked smile tilted my lips.
He narrowed his eyes, but didn’t respond.
“Oh! And no response, giving up already, old man?” I threw my hands up in victory. And I knew that was a mistake that Gander'el would have scolded me for, had he been watching, because Lucifer launched himself at me. His shoulder collided with my stomach, and his arms wrapped around me as he threw me to the ground. It seems I wasn’t the only one making mistakes though, because Lucifer forgot to unwrap his arms from me, making him vulnerable, and ruining any offensive moves he could have used.
I elbowed him in the cheek, and scratched him as I went along; stupid and childish I know, but one of Gander'el’s lessons was to use what ever I could, even if that meant scratching, slapping and biting. And so, I did.
Lucifer grunted as my second hit collided with his temple, hard enough to incapacitate him, but not lethal, unfortunately, I was at the wrong angle for that. I pulled my leg out from under his, and while he was still reeling from the last hit, I threw my leg on top of his, which was difficult to do, considering he was lying on me, but I did it, and I hooked my foot with his leg, and using the leverage my leg gave me, I pushed against him with my hands, and within five seconds, we’d switched positions. I jumped off of him, and got into my defensive stance, with my fists balled up in front of me, creating a barrier. I was sweating, and my hair had fallen out of the pony tail I had had it in. I could feel dirt caking my face, and hair, mingling with my sweat.
Lucifer got up only a second later, and I was glad to see he was a lot worse for wear. He was bleeding where I’d scratched him (I kept my nails long for this reason), and I could see two bruises forming from where I had hit him.
We were both breathing heavily.
I clicked my tongue in disapproval. “Wow, old man, are you forgetting how to fight? Because it’s common knowledge that you always keep your hands free to either protect or attack, especially in the position we were in.”
“Oh no, I just wanted to let you off easy, you, because you’re a girl.” He didn’t smile, but I could hear a slight patronizing tone ring out in his voice.
“You noticed that huh? What gave it away? The hair?” I cocked my head to the side, but didn’t let my guard down.
“No, it was those things.” He nodded his head towards my chest. I looked down at my breasts, then back up towards him.
“Um, ‘those things’? Seriously? And, I’m wearing a turtle neck, you can barely notice them.” This was a lie. I mentioned before that I had generous curves? Well, that’s from my point of view, from a guys point of view, I think the opinion would differ. You know, just a tad.
“It’s a bit hard not to notice them, when I’m suffocating in them. That was terrifying.” He mockingly shivered.
I snickered. “Thatis your own fault. And besides, most guys would be glad to die by my chest . . . unless, you know, you don’t swing that way.” I winked.
“Believe me, I only swing one way, why do you think I was so affected by your . . . uh, assets?”
He had me there. “True.”
He chuckled, again.
“Look, I really would love to stay and flirt, a little bit longer, but I have to babysit.” I said in a sugar sweet voice. And then I stopped for a second and laughed one short laugh. “Ha! Imagine that . . . the great Lucifer not only got his ass handed to him on a silver platter by a girl . . . but! He got his ass handed to him on a silver platter by a girl whobabysits.”
“I repeat, I was letting you off with a warning, you looked tired.”
I didn’t respond, because the only reason why I started the banter again; was to regain my energy, so I could really kick his ass. Problem was; we’d been battle opponents for so long, he probably knew that, and he was probably prepared.
And so I did the exact opposite. I ran.
I knew he wasn’t expecting that, because it took him a few seconds to catch up to me. But, the second he did, I went into attack mode, just when he was about to pounce, because I knew he’d least be expecting it then. I threw myself in the air, and gave him a flying roundhouse kick to the head. He fell to the ground, temporarily incapacitated.
Knowing full well it was safe, I crouched down, and brushed my lips against his, a ritual we had once I graduated (whoever won, gave the kiss), then I whispered: “Till next time, old man.”
And then I bounded off, into the long grass, taking to long way home, but putting him off the beaten track. I knew he wouldn’t follow me, because he was smarter than that, and he knew that if he did follow me, then I would finally be able to destroy him.
“Aunty Pam, I’m home.” I called as I stepped inside my warm, cosy little house. The smell of spaghetti bolognaise wafted around me, and I breathed in the scent of oregano, tomatoes and garlic. My Aunty Pam was the best cook ever. She could cook both Earth meals and Pandora meals to perfection.
I suppose you’re wondering why we have the same foods as earth. Well, Earth and Pandora have been trading food, animals, plants, clothes, jewellery, and much more things for years. Spaghetti bolognaise is actually traditionally a Pandorian meal.
“I really wish you would call me Mom.” Aunty Pam said, as she leant against the doorjamb of the lounge room. She was holding a wooden spoon caked in spaghetti sauce in her hand. Her apron was covered in tomato residue, and flour, from the home-made pasta.
I sighed. “I know you do, but it’s too awkward.”
She nodded. Pam was a very understanding person, and very considerate of other peoples feelings. I always wondered why I grew up to be the bitch I am today with a guardian like her. “Okay, but, don’t diss it, till you try it, Ari.”
I smiled at her. “Dinner smells nice.” I craned my head to see around her, into the lounge room. My four year old cousin, Echo was sitting on the couch, with my cat, Jasper in his lap. He was watching some ridiculous show about water. Echo is obsessed with water, or anything that floats. He has the same complexion as me, but has light blue eyes and black-blue hair. He is the Agate Treasure.
“Does it? It’s just something simple tonight.” Pam shrugged.
I cocked an eyebrow at her, but didn’t say anything. I knew that dinner would be exquisite and most likely set in gourmet form, and desert would be even better. Pam never doesanythinghalf assed when it comes to cooking. She was born a Soul Keeper, but decided not to take that path (like I said, there are sub groups). She owns a restaurant at the markets, and cooks for the Ancient’s when they have their council meetings.
You can tell the difference between a Soul Keeper who has decided to take the path of, well, a Soul Keeper, and one that has taken a completely different path. Because when Soul Keeper's turn sixteen, markings that looks like a tattoo imprints itself on their skin. My one was thin, sharp, yet oddly gentle lines in an intricate twirling pattern, like other Soul Keepers, my Mark went from head to toe, but because it was so thin, and so common, it didn’t look like it took up that space. It was almost like the space on my body wasmadefor the Markings.
Before anything else was said, I smiled at Pam, and then walked up to mine and Amethysts conjoining rooms. I didn’t like leaving Amethyst alone, but I made a compromise with her; I would only leave her alone, if she was in a crowded area, with a Soul Keeper that she trusted. And so, that’s why I didn’t mind when I had to run errands in town, and she wanted to stay home, because she was safer here. Pam might not look like it, with her old fashioned style auburn curls, pale face, and small, frail body, but she was kick ass!
“Hey, where have you been?” Amethyst asked as I walked into my room. She was lying stomach down on my bed, reading a book I bought her.
“Um . . .” I narrowed my eyes. The fight was so fresh in my mind; I’d forgotten what I’d been doing before. Lucifer had that affect on people. “Uh . . .”
Her pink plush lips pulled up in a superior smile, her delicate blonde eyebrows were up so high, they were nearly lost in her pony tail. “You can’t remember can you?” she laughed. “That’s my Ari.”
“Icanremember . . . I was helping Warren out with a demon of some sort. This one was anastyone; it had a Scythe and everything!”
She frowned, slightly. “I don’t like it when you go to battles without me.”
I snorted. “It wasn’t a battle, it was a . . . a little school ground fight, I didn’t even get hurt. It only took me, like five seconds.”
Her eyebrows rose again. “Really? Because that scratch on your arm looks like you got hurt . . .”
I looked down. The son of a bitch, Lucifer had scratched me, that bastard! “Son of a bitch!” I whispered, as I surveyed the seriousness of the injury. It obviously wasn’t that bad, because I didn't even notice it until now, and Amethyst had to point it out to me.
“And your outfit definitely suffered. Gosh, Ari, what’d you do, have amud fightwith the thing?” she stood up and shot a disapproving look at my dirt caked shirt, and denim shorts.
I looked up from my scratch, and smiled, wickedly. “Warren would have liked that, huh?”
She clicked her tongue once, in disapproval. “That’s not nice; Warren’s a really nice guy, why do you have to treat him so bad?”
And there it is; Amethysts annoyingly sweet nice side that I love and hate. “I don’t! I’m nice to him, I don’t tease him, and I rarely ever flirt with him.”
She gave me a bored sort of blank look. “Youdoknow he’s head over heels in love with you, right?”
“Pfft, don’t be silly, it’s just a little crush.”
“Just a little crush?!” she laughed, one short, sarcastic laugh. “Just last week, he jumped off of a cliff to save you from a demon that you hadn’t seen!”
“That wasn’t for me, he was protecting Amber, you know, because he’s herSoul Keeper.” I looked at her, and smiled, slightly. She new I was defiant, stubborn and determined.
“Amber wasn’t there.”
“Yes she was.” my eyebrows furrowed.
“No, honey, because Amber was babysitting Echo for you, remember?” there was a hint of pity in her voice, she was just lucky I loved her. Ever since I was little, and my father murdered my family, I hated people pitying me.
Amethyst nodded, and smiled.
“Well then he must have been protection you.”
She sighed and plopped down on my bed, giving up. She knew wasn’t going to win, even if I knew she was one hundred percent right.
“Echo was asking for you, all day.” Amethyst said in a bored tone, looking up at the roof, as I disinfected my cut (who knew what type of germs that asshole had?), and bandaged it up. It wasn’t bad, so I should only need the bandage on until tomorrow. In my opinion, I didn’t need it at all, but it was protocol.
“Was he? He didn’t even notice when I got home.”
“Yeah, but nothing can get his attention off of that TV show.” She laughed, quietly, and lazily turned her head in my direction. “The world could end, and we could all die, and he’d still be there, playing with jasper, watching his silly water shows.”
“Mmmm.” I mumbled. “I’m gonna go have a shower, get all this gunk off of Me.”not to mention the smell ofhimas well, I added, silently.
“Okay.” She replied through a yawn.
I picked up my clothes and toiletries and a towel, pulled my shoes off, and then hobbled slowly and tiredly to the bathroom. No matter how good I was at fighting, and how much I did it, I never got used to the fact that it wore me out, really easily. And that is why shower, coffee, Pam’s cooking, and Amethysts miracle remedies are my best friends.
After I washed all the mud and smell of Lucifer from my body, I washed me hair, not wanting to ruin my reputation for long, silky hair. I would have loved to stay in that shower for much longer, but I was interrupted by my stomach rudely growling, and Pam knocking on the door saying: “Ari, honey, dinner’s ready.” And so, with a sigh, I turned off the taps, wrapped a towel around my body, and one around my head, and padded back to the room.
I dressed in some cotton short shorts, a bra, and a black tank top, knowing that no one special would be visiting (well, hoping, anyway). After I ran a brush through my long, wet hair, I grabbed a jumper then ran down the stairs, knowing my stomach would eat itself if I didn’t feed it. When I reached the lounge room, everyone was already seated, and spooning helpings onto their plates.
“Save some for me.” I smiled, as I took my seat, and picked up the serving spoon, full of spaghetti, plopped it on my plate, and dug in.
Once dinner was finished, Amethyst and I washed the dishes, then walked upstairs, and just stayed up talking. We'd dragged my mattress from my room, into this room, and put it on the floor, next to Amethysts bed.
Just as I was on the edge of sleep, Amethysts voice cut through my slumber. "So, if that fight you did with Warren wasn't bad, then how did you get so dirty?"
She was asking, but I knew she knew the answer, she just wanted to hear me say it.
I didn't answer. I didn't want to bring up unwanted thoughts of him again.
And so, I closed my eyes, and pretended to be asleep.
As time went on, Amethysts breaths became slow and deep. I sighed. She had no idea how lucky she was; able to fall asleep without unwanted people intruding in her mind.
And then I drifted off to sleep, and tried to imagine, I wasn't breathing in the leftover scent of him, on my hands.