Sorry guys. I had to re-post this damned thing because it wouldn't let me edit it.
The second sun was beginning to set, painting the sky in blues and purples. It would be dark soon, and I was stuck away from the rikzu—our treetop palace. I could see it in the distance, a big, colorful paradise. I longed to be back among the trees and plants, but at the rate we were traveling, we wouldn't make it back until well after dark, when the nimkas came out.
Nimkas were small, playful creatures with thick fur and long faces. Their eyes were too sensitive for any light brighter than the two moons, so they only came out at night. I loved the nimkas, but I was in no mood to play.
We had been traveling for two sunrises now, and I was bone weary. Czy'da Aranion had needed me to visit Dakya, a kingdom that borders our own kingdom of Akshaan. Dakya was full of lush forests, grassy plains, and tall mountains. It was only slightly larger than Akshaan, but their Czy'da, Sziel, thought that meant we were weaker, and he has been trying to get Czy'da Aranion to hand over our lands. Aranion refused.
Czy'da Sziel has been making noise about sending an army to take Akshaan by force, so Aranion sent me to try to arrange for a peace treaty.
It hadn't worked.
I looked up to see Limron, second general of the royal guard. I knew he was older than me by five cycles, but he didn't look it, He was tall and lean, with an angular face. His waist-length, purplish red hair billowed around him like a gentle wave, making him look almost otherworldly.
Limron was looking at me, and I realized I had been staring.
“It will be dark soon. Do you wish to rest until sunrise, or would you rather keep going?”
I considered his question for a moment. I knew we were all exhausted, but I could see the Pohy, the Guardian Trees. We were so close, I could practically feel the leaves on my skin. But once we were past the Pohy, we would still have to travel to the heart of forest, and it was a big forest. It would probably take a day and a half to reach from here.
Either way, we would have to make a stop sometime.
I turned to face the other five males in my guard. I studied each one, trying to determine if we could all make it to the Pohy. A few of them kept checking their weapons, as if afraid their sheathes may have broken. I knew they were nervous about sleeping out in the open.
“We are but an hour away from the Pohy. If we hurry, we can be there sooner, and we will have cover for when we sleep. Is everyone up for the challenge?”
“Yes, Czy'dan,” Erusirdon, my servant, said. Eru was the only one there who wasn't trained for long treks or combat, and if he was ready and able to continue on, then my guards should have been.
“Good. Let's be on our way. Maybe we can make it there before the nimkas come out to play.”
We didn't. About ten minutes shy of the Pohy, the nimkas came out and surrounded us.
Play with us.
The request whispered through my mind—through all our minds.
Not tonight, little ones. We are exhausted, and we have important business at the rikzi.
Play with us, they insisted.
What do you do when a nimka wants to play, but you have neither the time nor the energy? You either make a run for it, and hope they leave you alone instead give chase, or you can enchant them.
I liked neither option.
Running only made them want to play more. They were like little children.
I also would not enchant them. There was something wrong about enchanting something so gentle and innocent.
So I did the only thing I could do; I sent them mental images to explain why we couldn't play. If we stayed to play, that would delay our return to the rikzu and Czy'da Aranion. Which would be bad, because we needed to find a way to keep Dakya from waging war on us.
Next time, I promised.
Two sunrises later, I waited in the antechamber to Czy'da Aranion's rooms. Limron stood behind me. With his broad back against the wall, his strong, muscular arms crossed over his bare chest, and his thick amaranthine colored hair pulled back from his face in a severe braid, he looked like he was supposed to: imposing, unapproachable.
“What do you suppose is keeping him so long,” I asked idly.
He didn't answer, and I looked up, meeting his bi-colored eyes. They were beautiful eyes; amaranth, with a deep violet ring around the iris. Those eyes marked him as a trihgna, a lesser.
My own eyes were tri-colored—they were pale blue with a ring of darker blue, with another, thinner ring of midnight blue. Tri-colored eyes were the mark of the God's favor. They gave us the power to see things others could not.
The door to Czy'da Aranion's inner rooms finally opened, and a tall, well-toned male stepped through. He had shimmery midnight hair that nipped at his ankles. His bi-colored eyes were pale blue, ringed with a darker blue.
It was almost like looking into a looking glass.
He wore a simple sahyta leaf and bark tahkin—two strips of sahyta leaf cloth, connected at the waist by the bark.
Sahyta trees have bright blue leaves and a dark blue trunk. The leaves were thin and flexible, which made them great for moving around in. However, they were hard to make into clothing, so they were expensive. Only magic held them together. As a result, only the royal family used them.
“Father,” I said to Czy'da Aranion, “we must speak immediately.”