A DID system just trying our best and vibing. Certified weirdo but in like- a good way. Check out our alter list and our story, the Mailbox Continuum!
Irrequieto, Chapter One, "Birthday Cupcakes"
Her sweet black cat, oblivious to her plans, simply began to settle in. Again, Dev smiled and then proceeded to pick up Lil and set her back on the floor. She had fallen asleep on her favorite couch while waiting for her parents to get home, and her cat had great timing because she heard the door being unlocked now.
Jumping up and managing not to trip on the cat, she ran to greet her parents.
“Devain!” Her father yelled excitedly when he saw her, smothering her into a hug.
Dev sighed into his chest, but this was normal for him. No one else, not even her mother when she was stern, called her Devain. Only her dad did. She always guessed it was a form of revenge, seeing as his name, Triman, was equally as strange. The only one spared was her mother, Allison, who had the most normal name under the sun.
But this wasn’t the most important thought on Dev’s mind. As her mother gave her a kiss on the head, Dev turned to the table that could be seen behind her, completely set up with flatware and plates.
Her mother laughed. “Dev, it’s your birthday, what are you doing setting the table?” she asked.
Laughing as well, Dev sauntered over to pet Lil. “I was bored! I had nothing else to do before you got home, so I thought I’d just get it done, y’know?”
Her parents both nodded in agreement before getting settled in. Like they had said, it was Devain’s fifteenth birthday, an event that she had been waiting for since she turned fourteen. She loved her birthdays since she always got to have cake and not do chores. But aside from that, she also liked getting older. She knew one day she’d resent it, but not yet.
Allison laid out cupcakes she had gotten earlier and waved Dev over to the table along with her father. She stared down at the red cupcakes and green icing and winced. It looked like a Christmas party. But, her mother always insisted on green icing. “Like your eyes,” she would always say. Fifteen cupcakes, each of which would be eaten in the next day or two, one for each year of her life, sat on the table in a single row. A candle adorned the cupcake in the middle of the line of bakery treats.
Her father smirked as they all settled in. “Better make a wish before I take it!” he joked. He said that almost every year, and Dev knew it was her cue to make a wish. But as she blew, her head emptied. The wishes she had been planning to make floated out of her head unexpectedly.
She tried not to frown as her parents clapped. Grabbing the cupcake, she pulled out the candle and took a big bite, ignoring the strangeness of the occurrence. It happens, she supposed.
The rest of the day seemed to fly by her. A book from her mom, a succulent from her dad for her presents, Howl’s Moving Castle for the birthday movie, and chicken for dinner. It was pleasant and calm, exactly what she had hoped for.
Later that night, she sighed as she changed into pajamas and laid in bed. “Another successful birthday,” she said, to no one in particular.
Right as she started to drift off, her eyes closed, she shot up as a hand nudged her arm.
“What-” she yelled, frantic and unable to see in the dark room.
“Shhh!” she heard. Dev wasn’t about to shush just for that, but she quickly recognized the voice as her father’s.
“Dad?” she asked, annoyed. “It’s almost midnight, what do you want?”
He chuckled and pulled her out of bed. “Follow me.”
Irrequieto, Chapter Two, "The Field of Mailboxes"
Dev opened her mouth to argue and ask questions, but he shushed her again and noiselessly slipped out the bedroom door. She grumbled, but did as asked, slipping on simple cargo shorts, tennis shoes, and a black t-shirt with Leviathan, her last name, printed on it.
Yawning, she walked out to meet Triman, who was standing in the backyard. The moon was bright tonight, so she could see easily without a flashlight.
Her father smiled when he saw her, then led her towards the line of trees that separated her house from the incredibly large field next to it. Frowning, Dev followed.
“Dad,” she started, “What did you get me up for? Where are we going?”
He chuckled. “You act like you haven’t been asking your mother and I to explore the tree line for years,” he simply responded.
“Yeah, and I’m glad I get to check it out, but why? It’s only fifteeen feet wide, and it’s the middle of the night.”
“Well, that’s because our destination is on the other side!” he gleefully responded, pushing aside a thick, low-hanging branch from a tree. Behind it, a narrow but well-worn path weaved through the bushes and underbrush to the other side of the line, the field.
Utterly confused but curious and trusting of her dad, Devain followed him through the foliage. The trees seemed to flow around her without a breeze, sending a shiver down her arms.
It didn’t take long for them to break through the trees on the other side. As she took a look around, she gasped. “Dad, what-” she asked, reaching out in front of her.
Her dad smiled and set his hand on the mailbox. One of many, so many that she thought she could spend hours counting and never find the answer. “I pass this field every day to and from school,” she said breathlessly. “These aren’t- these aren’t here.”
Triman slapped the lid of the mailbox, sending a metallic clang through the air. “That sound fake to you? I’ve got a lot of explaining to do, I know, but I gotta make sure you know something first, okay?”
Dev nodded, steeling herself for whatever her father explained next.
“Not a single thing I’m about to say to you is me pulling your leg, making a joke, or trying to prank you. And I need to know that unless someone fits the bill of what I explain next, you never let what happens here reach the ears of any of your peers at school, or family members. Even your mother.” he said, a serious tone lacing every word.
“I- Of course,” she said. “I promise.”
Her father sat down on a patch of soft grass and patted next to him. Devain understood and sat as well, settling in. Triman looked up at the mailbox and smiled. “This mailbox right here- this has been my mailbox for almost thirty years. It’s been mine since I turned fifteen when my father clued me into the family job. Been an Ivy ever since.”
“An Ivy?” she asked. “Family job? Grandpa?”
He shushed her again, laughing. “Devain, we’ll be here till sunrise if you keep cutting me off, sit back and listen.”She stuck out her tongue at him but didn’t keep going.
“Yep, Grandpa Levi, which stands for Leviure, taught me everything I’m about to teach you, aside from a few tidbits here or there. And I’m gonna say to you what every teenager probably longs to hear- The world you see every day? That isn’t the world I’ve been living in the past 30 years.”
Dev leaned back as a little giggle escaped her throat, which caused her father to laugh as well. “I know, right? I sound like I’ve gone senile early. It’s exactly how I felt when I first got this all told to me. But like I said, I’m not pulling your leg.”
“There are all sorts of creatures out there, most of which are just as complex as you and me. And those same creatures aren’t all bad either, as you’ll soon see. But just like we have criminals, those creatures can do wrong just as much. And so, a group exists-”
“Am I gonna get to shoot some monsters?!” she asked excitedly.
Her father burst out laughing. “Ha, no! Well, maybe a little, but that ain’t our priority, us Leviathans. But to understand what we do, you’re gonna have to know about the rest of the Citadel too.”
“The Citadel is the organization that’s been managing monsters as long as the monsters have been around, at least to my knowledge. And within that organization, there exists a hierarchy that’s kept the place running as long as it has. At the top of the chain, we have the Venus. They’re the leader, the president of us in a way. They’re elected once every five years in a mass election, one of which will be occurring this year. The Venus can be male, female, non-binary, or anything in-between. They don’t have to be human either, you see. Our current leader is a Sylph who I think will be re-elected this year as well.”
“After them, we have the Hyacinths. They’re the assistants to the Venus, and they’re all ghosts. Well, a ghost isn’t really the right term, they prefer to be called spirits. Anyways, the Ivy overseer will be here soon enough to judge you, actually. She’s a Hyacinth that works directly with the Venus.”
“Below Hyacinth, we have the job you will need to familiarize yourself with- Ivy. There can only ever be one Ivy, and it tends to be passed down from father to son through the generations. Actually, you’ll be the first woman to get the job in quite a while. Of course, there are some backups for who it can be given to, but that’s a general way.”
“Ivys have a very specific task. They look after this field here we’re sitting in, or more accurately, the mailboxes in it. These mailboxes are assigned to each member of the Citadel. They can have assignments, letters, coupons-”
“Yes, coupons. The Citadel is a big business. But basically, this field is the hub for any worker in the Citadel outside of the actual headquarters building. An Ivy’s job is to maintain this field. Keep out any monsters, clean the mailboxes, keep out any regular people, clean up trash-”
“So… we’re janitors. We’re the janitors.” Dev said solemnly.
Her father gave her a wide smile. “Well, in basic terms, yes, but even Ivys get jobs from time to time. Every once in a while, those “business trips” I went on weren’t for the real estate agency."
“How did you manage to keep up with both jobs? And how does Mom not know?” she asked.
“I managed to keep up with both jobs since your mother did a majority of the work herself anyways, I was always just her assistant. As for her not knowing, I’m almost always out here after she’s asleep. I think she’s known for years that I’ve been doing something out here, but she knows I’m faithful and that I make it back to her in the mornings, so she doesn’t mind. It’ll be hard to explain you sneaking out of the house, but we’ll manage,” he said, giving her a wink.
“But anyway, back to the Citadel. Below us, the Ivy, we have the Roses. The Roses are the muscle of the Citadel. They’re the ones who deal with any people that break the law. Sadly for you, they get the shooty shooty bang bang.”
Dev giggled again. “I can live without the shooty shooty bang bang.”
He nodded in mock approval. “Below the Roses are the intelligence of the Citadel, the Lilies. Most Lilies live relatively normal lives, but keep a close eye on any supernatural creature around the area where they live. If one misbehaves, they’re who report it to the Citadel. They also get sent out to investigate monster nests on occasion.”
Dev yelped as a man that looked slightly younger than her father popped into existence at another mailbox about fifty feet away from her. Her dad smiled, waving to the man. He waved back, checked the mail, then popped out of existence again. “I’ll explain that later,” Triman simply responded.
“The lowest and final tier to the Citadel is the Violets. The Violets are so large, you probably have a few in your school as teachers. Any supernatural creature that is in good standing with the Citadel, or any human who simply has a knowledge of the Citadel, is a Violet. Some don’t even work for them, but most do simple jobs that can help provide for a safe and calm life without trying to hide who they are. Most Violets do not have a mailbox, but some with more important jobs will.”
Her father leaned back into the grass. “That’s the bare bones of how the Citadel works. Any question?”
Devain thought on that for a minute. “...No, not really. Nothing that I can pin down, at least,” she answered.
Triman sat up and looked down at his phone, which Dev hadn’t even realized he had. “She should be arriving soon…” he muttered.
Not even ten seconds later, a breeze ran through the trees as a figure appeared in front of Dev. She was startled, of course, falling back a bit. She blinked at the figure, trying to pick out what was strange before she realized she could see partially through her.
“Devain Leviathan, fifteen, daughter of Ivy Triman Leviathan, correct?” The apparition asked, her voice like a bell.
Her father put a hand on Dev’s shoulder. “You don’t need to be so formal, Terrow. Yes, this is Devain. Devain, this is Terrow, the Hyacinth that has overseen me the entirety of my job.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Devain,” she said politely. “Now, let's get started, shall we?”
Irrequieto, Chapter Three, "The Noctem Blade"
Removing the cloth, he showed off the item he had retrieved. Blinking, Devain took a few seconds to process. In front of her was a beautiful sword.
It was still sheathed, but that in of itself was a work of art. It was covered in a mesh of blacks, blues, and purples, with tiny white stars dotting along at random intervals. She then realized that those random stars weren’t random at all, they spelled out the word, “Noctem” along the side. But she didn’t see it for long, because her father then unsheathed the actual blade.
It had a simple hilt, stark white with a small blue gem set in the pommel. The blade was a dark black, with a line of blue about 3/4ths along the blade through the fuller. The sword in its entirety was just a bit longer than her arm, making it just shy of three feet long.
“This,” her father started, “Is the Noctem Blade. While fighting is not the foremost job for Ivys, it does happen, and it is important. But the Noctem isn’t just a regular Citadel sword. It has full control over the magic that keeps this field hidden. It also has the power to move the field, but that’s only if the current Ivy needs to relocate due to an emergency. It’s a gorgeous sword, but…”
Dev tilted her head, confused. “But?”
“The sword itself is- picky,” he said. “If it doesn’t like who it’s being passed down to, it just- won't work. It can’t kill monsters correctly, it won’t control the field. It makes itself a piece of junk. Valuable, ancient junk. Sadly, it never took to me. That’s why we still live here, in the old house where your grandfather lived.”
“So- you’re telling me that-” Dev sighed. “That I could have to store away this beautiful, cool as hell sword in my shed for years-” she paused. “Because it doesn’t like my vibes?”
Terrow nodded. “That has been the Noctem Blade’s way of doing things for a very long time.”
Triman gingerly handed the blade over to Devain, who ran her fingers just as gently up the flat of the blade. “How do I know whether it likes me or not?”
“Well,” Terrow said, smiling. “We leave you here alone until sunrise!”
Dev laughed at the sarcasm, but then they both drifted back toward the path. “Wait, seriously??”
A few seconds later, they were gone. The path in the trees seemed to close up behind them, leaving her alone with a sword and some mailboxes.
“This-” she said to herself. “Is utterly ridiculous.” But, she stood up, sheathed the sword, and began to explore.
Irrequieto, Chapter Four, "Ethereal Dreams"
It normally looked to be about an acre wide and an acre long, she could tell that it was about ten times bigger than that. She guessed that they needed the room though since each mailbox had its own area of about a five-foot square. With how many there were, they needed a lot of room.
In the center of the field was a circle about fifty feet in diameter. At the very center of that was a small well. At least, she thought it was a well. Mirrors were angled above it, directing moonlight down onto the pool of water below. Because of that, she could see the crystal clear water that had almost a silvery tint.
Stepping back from the well and unsheathing the sword, she grasped the hilt of the sword with both hands and tried to swing it around. She quickly realized that was not how this was meant to be held though, and tried it with only one. It fit much better this way, and she finally got a grasp on how it felt.
It was definitely not light, but it wasn’t exactly heavy either. It had a weight to it that wouldn’t hinder slashes, but would instead add momentum and force to the blow.
She felt the blade sing as she twirled it around, trying her best with the minimal knowledge she had on how to use a sword. Despite her lack of background knowledge, it felt almost effortless.
She sat down and cradled the blade after sheathing it once more. The wind was warm, and the crickets were quiet. Slowly, her eyes began to drift closed.
“Who are you?”
Dev turned around in the dark to see a figure with massive wings stretched behind them. They were only a shadow- she couldn’t even make out and facial features.
“I’m Devain. Devain Leviathan,” she responded. “And you’re the Noctem Blade, aren’t you?”
“Perceptive,” they said, nodding. “I like that. You’re father though I was a devil coming to take him away.”
“That sounds like something most people would think when faced with this situation, you know.”
The figure seemed to ponder that, tilting its head to the side. “True enough,” they responded. “But I am not looking for most people.”
They reached an arm out and pulled Devain into what she thought was an embrace, but she fell right through them. She kept falling, waiting for herself to hit something, for her fall to slow-
Stars glinted in the moonlight as Dev sat up and rubbed her eyes. Reaching to move the sword off her lap, she paused.
“What the actual hell,” she swore to herself, turning her wrists over. On each hand, right on her wrists, was a tattoo of plants that cuffed her arm. Not just any plant, ivy.
When she touched the sword, it was no longer just a dead thing in her hands, it thrummed with an unnatural excitement. She honestly didn’t blame it- she would be too if she was left in a shed for thirty years.
When she examined the blade again, she had a new appreciation for all the little details on it. The pitch blade, the gem in the hilt- it was a piece of art.
“Well…” she said, smiling at the blade. “Thank you for not making me leave you to sit covered in dingy cloth for a while.”
She stood up and left the well behind, making her way towards the tree line again. When she finally reached it, she saw the path that she had come from was still completely sealed off. Or at least, it looked that way.
Hesitantly, she reached out her hand. She barely even had to move for the plants to move aside, revealing the path that she had gotten here from.
Once she had made it through, she saw Terrow and Triman sitting on chairs under the moonlight. “Dad!” she called.
Yelping, he immediately fell out of his chair. He shot back up as quickly as he could, turning to her excitedly. “Devain! You did it! You did, right?”
Terrow smiled and drifted over to her, writing down more information on her clipboard. She opened her mouth to say something but paused. Her forehead wrinkled in confusion. “Devain, may I see your hands?”
“Yeah sure, it’s weird, right? Is this just like- initiation?” she asked, holding out her arms so Terrow could inspect them.
She shook her head. “I haven’t seen this before. I can’t say that it’s never happened before- but I definitely haven’t seen it in my years working with the Citadel.”
“Triman, it’s high time I go. You both also need some rest. Devain, I wish you well.” She then clicked her pen and was gone.
Irrequieto, Chapter Five, "You're the Tutorial, Aren't You?"
“What the- Ow!” she said aloud, sitting up and rubbing her face. Her mind was still foggy- she was waking up pretty late in the day if the sunlight was on her. She fought the urge to roll over and forget her obligations to eat and drink like a human and instead reached over to grab her phone and check the time.
Squinting at her phone’s bright screen, she read out the 11:17 AM time that floated over her wallpaper. That wasn’t too awfully late, but still egregious for compared to her normal 8:00 AM schedule.
Throwing on some semblance of an outfit, she stumbled into the kitchen. Her dad was sitting in a chair in the connected dining room, where he was watching TV and sipping tea. Noticing Dev, he offered her a steaming mug as well.
She sat down next to him and sipped on the tea. It was raspberry green tea- her favorite. She probably sat there wordlessly watching TV for a good couple of minutes before she spit out the tea she was sipping.
“Are we just gonna act like last night didn’t happen?” she asked, waving her now-tattooed arms around. Her father laughed loudly, gesturing for her to calm down.
“I was giving you time to wake up and adjust. It’s not really every night that you get the responsibility of taking care of an entire field and a magic sword.”
Dev was about to agree, but she closed her mouth. Then she opened it again to ask, “But you’ll be doing it with me, right?”
Triman sipped his tea and didn’t meet her eyes.
“R i g h t ?”
He laughed and set down his mug. “Well, you’ll be doing almost all of it. I’m just here to answer any questions. Grandpa always told me you learn more by doing!”
Dev groaned and slammed back her tea like it was a shot. “Okay, well- it’s a Sunday. I’m going to go to the field and get my bearings a bit more. Tell Mom that I’m over at the park if she gets home.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll cover for you. Just don’t be gone too long! And don’t worry if someone asks who you are, just tell them you’re my daughter and they’ll probably give some monster-hunting tips and move on.”
Still wrapping her head around the fact that people could appear next to her with no warning, she went back to her room to change and grab some supplies.
After digging around through her closet, she found a dark grey top that was made of sturdy material but was loose and cool enough for her to run around comfortably in. Next, she slipped on a pair of leggings made from a similar material. She couldn’t remember where she had gotten the clothes from, but they worked well enough for sword practice. She slipped on some tennis shoes and continued on.
Her next task was packing up a backpack. She decided to plan like she was going hiking, focusing on things like water, a couple of snacks, and a small multitool that she had been gifted to her by her grandmother before she passed.
With all this, she stepped back out into the kitchen. Her father was a bit startled. “I had forgotten I gave you those. Your grandmother was a Rose. Those were her field clothes.”
Dev threw her head back. “What, so everyone on your side of the family is all cool and stuff?”
He smiled and walked over, patting her on the shoulder. “Mostly. Your uncle isn’t directly in the business, and neither are his kids.”
Shrugging, Dev set off towards the back door. “No more history,” she commanded. “Just cool sword stuff.”
Once outside, she realized that she had no idea where her dad had stored the Noctem Blade. After Terrow left with her ominous message, he had taken the sword and sent her off to bed.
Luckily enough for both her and the sword, it didn’t take her long to find it when it popped into her hands.
“HOLY-” she yelled, almost flinging it away.
“You will regret dropping me if you ever do,” a voice replied calmly. It wasn’t any voice, either.
“Oh lord. You’re the tutorial, aren’t you,” she said, staring pointedly down at the blade.
“I am no such thing. I simply will not tolerate a completely idiotic wielder. In fact, I won’t be talking to you at all today after this.”
“Oh, I swear to god-” Dev threatened, but the bond between them that she didn’t even notice before loosened slightly, and the voice left her head.
Grumbling about her exchange with the Noctem Blade, she made her way through the trees and into the field. Now that it was bright outside, she could more fully appreciate the vast size of the field, as well as all the wildflowers that dotted the grass.
She didn’t know how her father managed to keep the length of the grass down, but it was barely tall enough to tickle her ankle if her leggings weren’t tucked into her shoes.
Weaving through the mailboxes, she made her way to the center of the field where she quickly noticed she wasn’t alone. Leaning over the well she had been sleeping by last night was a tall and slender figure who was filling what seemed to be an ornate flask with water from the well.
“Um, excuse me!” Dev said, trying to alert them to her presence. Turning around, the figure gave her a wide smile.
“Do you want some water as well? There is still some left in the bucket.” They spoke with a tone and lilt to their voice that was undeniably not human. Their short hair also helped this deduction, since it showed off the long and pointed ears they had.
“Oh, you’re a Fae!” she said excitedly. “Oh I- Sorry if that’s rude! I’m really new to all this.”
The Faery’s grin grew even wider as they took a long stride forward and clasped Devain’s hands. “You must be Devain!” they said happily. “I am Orlastumina! Most humans simply call me Orlas. Your father was always around while I got moon water from the well! He would talk about you on occasion. It is wonderful to see you!”
Smiling back at the Fae, Dev pulled her hands away and walked over the well. “What is the water in this well? You called it moon water?” she asked. The mirrors that had reflected the moonlight into the pool last night were now facing skyward.
They walked back next to Devain, lifting the flask that they had been filling. “Indeed, it is water that is powered by the moon! Many beliefs have a type or use of moon water. Fae culture is one of those. We use it for many things! It is very good for washing tainted blades.”
Devain made a spot in the grass and sat down, with Orlas following her lead. “A tainted blade is any blade stained with Rayiel blood! Many good swords lost with people who don’t clean them,” the faery continued. “The only sword that cannot be tainted is that sword on your hip! The Noctem Blade, the Night Blade. It was forged by the Fae for the Ivys back when the Citadel was first made! Very much history with that blade.”
“I’ve heard the word Rayiel a few times- what’s a Rayiel?” Dev asked.
Orlas smiled and clapped their hands together. “I forget, you are so new! Rayiels are the Citadel’s biggest issue, they have been fighting for years. They are big clawed humanoids that feed on children! Very bad food source.” they said solemnly.
“I agree. Bad food source.” Devain replied, nodding her head. She moved the Noctem Blade off her lap and unsheathed it. “Do you know anything more about what the blade can do? So far I’ve made it appear in my hands and create a path out of the field, but that’s about it.” she said, leaving out the “talked in her head” bit on purpose.
“Of course! It is told that the blade is imbued with the spirit of a Fae princeling who was exiled from the Land Under The Hill and that he is the one who chooses his wielder. Most people believe it is myth! I am not sure, but either way, it is a great sword. Take care of it well.”
Dev smiled and ran her finger along the flat of the blade. “I will. Thank you.”
“It is no problem little Ivy! I must be going though, vale!” they finished.
And with that, they were gone between one blink and the next.
“This is going to take some getting used to,” she said solemnly to herself before getting up to start training.
Irrequito, Chapter Six, "Square Up"
“How to build a sword… How to swing a sword- wait that’s a video game tutorial. How to act like an anime swordsman! Well, no, that’s not what I want.” she mumbled, filling the silent air.
Every once in a while, people would pop in and out of existence in front of mailboxes. All of them ignored her, but she enjoyed the inhuman features that some of them sported. The most common by far was the Fae- their tall and sleek figures were easy to spot.
There wasn’t just Fae either- for a while, she thought she was seeing Hyacinths, but after a while, she noticed that they were Sylphs that she was seeing- wind spirits. They also had a see-through quality to them, but you could tell them apart with the way their clothes billowed around them while no wind was present.
Sadly, whenever she got too distracted or sat down for too long, she felt the Noctem Blade hum in disapproval, making her groan and get back to practicing. Even with it’s judging tones, she felt that it was guiding her a bit. She had no prior experience with any blades but kitchen knives- and yet her arm was guided by the blade itself.
While she practiced, she could feel the blade nagging at her to check around the well. After trying to ignore it for a while, she eventually sighed and examined it.
She now knew it was for making moon water, but it definitely was for more than just that. And sure enough, after wiggling a stone, a spot on the ground that had been covered with dirt and grass creaked. After a few seconds, a hatch sprung up, spraying copious amounts of dirt into Dev’s face. “If this isn’t important-” she threatened the sword. “I will smash you into a rock.”
The hatch was a 3-foot by 3-foot hole, with a ladder that led down into a small room. Inside were training dummies, each about 6 feet in height. They were clearly used- and clearly not human-made. Each humanoid dummy was made with intertwining vines that seemed to mimic the way muscles would grow. She was slightly worried they’d come to life, but after hauling them out, they stayed inanimate.
They were the perfect things to practice on- each time the Noctem Blade sliced into one, the vines quickly grew back into place. If an arm or head was cut off, the vines grew out to grab it.
Getting bored, Devain cleanly sliced off an arm and ran off with it. She didn’t make it far before the vines retrieved it and reformed itself.
She had been outside for a few hours now, and her large water bottle was empty. Ready to take a break at the heat of the day, she packed up her things to head back home.
Grabbing the sheath for her sword, she went to put it up before hearing, “Stop.”
She stared down at the blade, annoyed. “What?”
She didn’t get to question it any further before she blinked, and it was nighttime. But there were no stars- an empty, dangerous sky was all that was above her.
“Oh lord-” she started. “What is happening?” she asked, staring down pointedly at the Noctem Blade.
“Get into stance. Face your back to the path you came from,” the sword commanded. Devain was annoyed but did as told. It was dark- darker then it had been last night. No one else was visiting.
It wasn’t too awful long before she saw a figure coming directly for her. It was small, but she kept her sword up, ready for a fight.
It wasn’t very long after that when she remembered that perception existed because it was not small. While she was in a field, even fields have slight hills. The figure stopped when it was on one such hill.
She tried her best to make out details from the figure, but it was too dark for her to see much except its height- it's massive seven-foot-tall height.
“That,” said the Noctem Blade. “Is a Rayiel. You must fight it.”
Dev’s hands shook. “You want me to fight that thing? *That?*” she whispered.
The blade simply thrummed in an impatient sort of yes.
“I guess I can’t argue with that." she grumbled. "Time to go fight my first monster.”
Irrequieto, Chapter Seven, "Singing Blade"
Warning: from here on out, this story will include many aspects of YA novels that may be upsetting or tr/ggering to some people. Any extra things WILL be tagged, and if there is anything you'd like me to tag, ask and I will do so, but otherwise please read at your own risk.
“You may not have any prior experience fighting with swords,” it whispered. “But this is not hopeless,” it said.
She nodded, gripping the sword and taking a deep breath. When the Rayiel was about thirty feet from her, it stopped. Now that it was closer, she was able to make out more of its features. It's cloak was ragged, and it's shape was hunched and distorted. Despite this, it was extremely tall, almost two feet taller than she was.
“Are you-” the creature started. Devain yelped, startled by the fact that it spoke at all. It's voice was like a whisper, yet it was rough as sandpaper.
It continued, undaunted. “Are you the new? The new keeper?” it asked.
Dev kept her mouth shut. The Rayiel didn’t like that. In the blink of an eye, it was standing just a few feet from her. Even in the darkness, she could now make out it's distorted fingers on its slender hands. It held a dagger made of an unknown material, posing so that it could strike at any moment.
It growled at her, and struck. It's dagger barely missed her, but she spun her heels and avoided the blade. She quickly brought the Noctem Blade around, but the Rayiel was faster than she was. She stepped back, dodging the blade.
She jumped backward, attempting to distance herself, knowing that she had the advantage of a longer weapon. She was inexperienced though and only could move aside enough not to get stabbed when the Rayiel threw the blade. It missed its mark but still left a nasty cut on her side.
It didn’t take long for the Rayiel to pull out another dagger of the same make and rush her again. Now injured, she was at an even greater disadvantage, but she managed to pull through and dodge.
Dev took a deep breath and made a quick decision- she needed to go on the offensive.
Her blade sang through the air as she swung at the Rayiel, hard. This time, she managed to leave a cut on its side, almost a mirror of her own. It made an inhuman screech and jumped back, slowly circling her.
It slipped it's dagger back into its cloak before darting away, seemingly uninterested now that she had hurt it. She sat down on the edge of the well, panting and clutching her side, which was now soaked with blood.
“If that cut was any deeper,” the blade commented. “You’d be in trouble. You need to become a better swordswoman.”
“Yeah, yeah. I get that,” she muttered angrily.
She didn’t sheathe her sword until the darkness faded from the sky, and the birds started chirping again.
Irrequieto, Chapter Eight, "Stitched Up"
She silently thanked Mother Nature that she left out any steep hills from the field. Just getting up the gentle slopes were enough to send a teeth-grinding shock of pain down her side. Occasionally, she even had to use the mailboxes as support.
Once she had reached the path, her head was swimming. She wasn’t bleeding an awful amount, but the pain from the injury made her feel light-headed.
She stumbled into the living room clutching her side, and right into her dad’s shocked arms. “What- you were attacked?” he asked, trying his best to act calm.
He sat her down on the couch, where Lil quickly curled up next to Devain’s side. Triman lifted up the corner of her shirt, examining the injury. “This isn’t that deep- I can get this fixed myself. Don’t worry about anything now, but I’ll need an explanation from you later.”
Devain laid back on the couch, expecting to faint, but she managed to stay lucid throughout her father stitching up her side. He had obviously done this before, and his hands moved with a gentle and speedy pace that made it easy enough for her to zone out of what was happening.
Surprisingly, she guessed that the reason she was conscious was the Noctem Blade. It had a gentle reassurance that she couldn’t put into words. But she knew that having it there gave her a nudge towards staying awake.
After about thirty minutes, her father sat back and sighed. Still almost horizontal on the couch, Dev slowly but surely began to explain her encounter with the Rayiel.
Her dad mostly stayed silent, but he would occasionally grip her hand or sigh with a tired sadness that made Devain want to tear up.
“Did it give its name?” he asked when she was finished.
“No, not that I can remember. Why?”
“If you did, we could send out a formal request to hunt it. Without it, we can just tip that one was seen in the area. Although, the fact that it got into the field at all probably makes this a special circumstance…”
“So the darkness wasn’t normal, huh?”
Triman chuckled and squeezed her hand again. “No, it’s not. Usually, the field is surrounded by monster-repelling wards, which makes it our bunker in case we ever are attacked by monsters. It’s why the job doesn’t have a high fatality rate- the only people that ever perish on the job either can’t utter the words to get sent to the field, are to busy to remember that it is an option, or see that as the “easy way out,” he said, sighing again after the last option.
“What word gets you into the field? Is that why people just- pop into existence?”
“That’s exactly it. Back when the field was first created, a spell was created so that any official member of the Citadel can say the word “Interius” and get warped inside the field. The opposite is true for “Exitus,” which does exactly what it sounds like.”
Dev nodded, but then scrunched her eyebrows together and asked, “But why didn’t you get teleported just then? Do Ivys not get such luxury?”
“Well, that’s not exactly the case. If we are inside the field already, like if we used the path to get in like we normally have, saying Exitus wouldn’t work, no matter what. You can’t teleport back to your last location if your last location is inside the field. As for why I didn’t get sent in a second ago, you will only be sent there if you specifically have the goal to be sent into the field. That’s why people who are in too intense of a fight may not be able to- they aren’t able to focus well enough to be sent out.”
Dev sighed, exhausted. “That’s too much exposition, Dad.”
He softly chuckled and ran his hand lovingly across her cheek, “I know, and I’m sorry. I wasn’t planning on dumping this all on you so fast.”
“You aren’t as angry as I thought you’d be.”
“Angry? No. Worried? Yes, very much so. I… I knew you would eventually have to go out and fight things, just like I did. It’s not usually a fatal job, but it’s not safe either. I just wasn’t prepared for you to fight so soon.”
He laced his fingers together and smiled at her. “I am proud of you though, you know that? Most kids would’ve frozen up, and gotten scared-”
“I was scared.”
“Yes, well, too scared to move. But I’m proud of you for fighting back. It’s the first step to getting stronger. Good job, Devain.”
Smiling, she gently coaxed herself upwards. She realized that sometime during her painful haze, the Noctem Blade had disappeared again. “What will we tell Mom?”
“Your mother,” he said, winking, “won’t be hearing a *word* from me, and not from you either. Unless you’d like to explain this all to her and hope she lets you keep fighting monsters?”
Dev shuddered at the thought. “Yep, you’re right, best to keep silent about it.”
Her dad helped her get to her feet and to her room. “Just lie down for today- the paste I used to clean your wound was made by a Fae friend of mine, it helps promote fast healing. As long as you don’t scratch at it, you should still be good to go to school tomorrow!”
She groaned, settling onto her bed and grabbing her gaming console. “All this and I still don’t get out of school, huh?”
“No can do kiddo.”
Irrequieto, Chapter Nine, "Names"
Her mother frowned but kissed her once more on the forehead before sending her off.
Once safely at the bus stop, Dev grimaced at the pain in her side. She had agreed not to mention it to Allison, her mother, but that meant that all the mothering hugs she would give would smush, poke, and prod at her wound.
She was lucky that it scabbed over so quickly, but it still hurt. But even with a slice to her side, she had to go to school like a normal kid.
The bus ride made her cringe every time it slammed to a stop or hit a bump, but she managed to get to make it through the journey mostly unscathed.
As she slowly made her way off the bus, the building of her high school seemed to loom over her. She had been going to Holly High since the year started, but even after two months of grueling school work, the school still felt foreign to her.
Begrudgingly, she climbed the steps up to her first-period class. She was early- she didn’t spend the extra time before the first bell talking to people she knows. It wasn’t like she didn’t have any friends, she did, but most of them either had to be on the opposite side of the school or had other things to do. Even with all that, she could usually count on her friend Erika.
Devain always misses Erika when she’s not at school for her many doctor appointments and the like, but when she was here, Dev couldn’t frown for more than a minute without a scolding to be happy from her bubbly bestie. She wouldn’t usually get along with people like Erika, be even she has a serious side that Dev appreciates.
After a few minutes of milling around, students began to take their seats and wait for class to begin. Standing at the front of the room though, was a kid that caught Dev’s attention.
He was taller than most of her classmates, probably at around six feet in height. He was also skinny, which added to his unnatural lanky look. His hair was red, but not like an orangish-red, it was a deep mauve.
As he hovered around the teacher, his hands moved slowly yet constantly, either rubbing the hem of his shirt or the edge of the binder he was carrying.
When the bell finally rang, her teacher, Mr. Eldri, got up and led the boy in front of the whiteboard where everyone could see him.
He cleared his throat to get the attention of the students, then began to introduce him. “Everyone, this is our new student. He’s transferred in from out of state, so make him feel welcome.” Mr. Eldri turned to the new student. “Go on, introduce yourself.”
The boy finally lifted his eyes off the floor, giving Devain a clear view of the crystalline color of his irises, which were an unnatural green. She thought that he must be wearing contacts.
“My name is Eriador,” he started. His voice had a lilt to it that she couldn’t put her finger on. “But please call me Eric.”
She quickly realized the hilarity of the fact that this new kid has as strange of a name as she does, the realization of which caused her to give a quiet little chuckle.
“I’ve moved here with my family from across the country, so I’m pretty unfamiliar with the area. I’ll hopefully be adjusted soon enough though.” he finished, his eyes flicking and taking in the faces of each student.
After he was finished speaking, Mr. Eldri shepherded him to an empty desk that sat across the room from Devain.
For the next twenty minutes, both Dev and the new student barely paid attention to the lesson. Eric was preoccupied with his binder, while Dev was preoccupied with studying him.
When Mr. Eldri announced it was time to pair up for a short project, Dev sighed and made her way over to him. When he saw her approach, he frowned and laid his head in his hand and quickly said, “I’d rather not work with someone who laughed at my name and watched me the whole class.”
Dev stepped back, eyes wide in shock. “You heard me? And saw me?” she asked. He nodded, and she smiled and began to laugh.
When she saw the anger build on his face, she calmed herself. “No, I’m not laughing at you. And earlier, I wasn’t laughing at your name, I was laughing at the fact that we both have weird names,” she said, holding out her hand for him to shake. “I’m Devain. Call me Dev.”
Now it was his turn to be startled, but he quickly broke into a smile and shook her hand. “That still doesn’t excuse you from staring at me, I was worried I had something on my face.”
They both laughed and introduced themselves to each other a bit further before deciding to work together.
The rest of the class period flew by for Devain, who enjoyed Eric’s stories while they worked.
When the bell rang and they stood up to part ways, Eric glanced at Dev’s wrists. “You have tattoos?” he asked.
She looked down to see that her sleeves had ridden up enough to reveal the marks that she had gotten from the Noctem Blade. “Oh, uh, no. These are just temporary!” she said, fumbling for an excuse. Eric didn’t press her further though, and just shrugged and left for his next class.
Devain swore as he left and jerked her sleeves down, embarrassed that anyone had seen the markings. She tried not to dwell on it though and prepared herself to deal with her injury as she made her way to her next class.
Irrequieto, Chapter Ten, "Maybe"
When the final bell for the day finally rang, Dev followed the sea of students out to the buses. She made her way back to a seat and quickly stuck her backpack next to her, hoping to secure the seat. Not more than a few seconds later, she felt a tap on her shoulder.
“Mind if I sit here?” Eric asked.
Dev looked over at him, surprised. “You ride my bus?”
He smiled and picked up her backpack, dropping it onto her lap. He slid into the seat and nodded. “Funnily enough, yes. I probably do in the mornings too, I just was with my mom this morning.”
“Then I can finally get a seat buddy! No more having to sit with weirdos! If you sit somewhere else I will feel personally attacked.”
He smiled again and laughed. “Noted.”
While the rest of the ride was only small talk, Dev barely noticed her stop coming up. She had to jump up and run out when the bus stopped, waving a quick goodbye to Eric as she did. On her way down the bus’s steps, she tensed up from the pain and had to catch herself on the railing.
“Be careful,” her bus driver said roughly. Dev nodded and continued down carefully, making sure not to breathe too deeply before she got to her house.
Making her way into the living room, Dev greeted her cat. Sitting on the couch was her father, who smiled at her. “Your mother got called in suddenly to work, so it’s just me for a while. How was school?” he asked, picking up Lil and setting him on his lap.
“Boring. Painful. Highschool,” she said, gently holding her aching side. “On the bright side, there is a new kid who’s pretty nice. His name is Eric,” she smiled. “Well, it’s actually Eriador, so we bonded over weird names.”
Her father paused from petting the cat. “Huh. I wonder if his family works at the Citadel.”
“What?” asked Dev incredulously. “Why do you say that?”
Her father chuckled. “The name. Most anyone with a crazy name has family that works in the Citadel. They’re usually family names, and some people just like them for the charm. That’s what I did with yours.”
“So that's why I’m named Devain?”
Devain scowled at this, cursing the weird tradition. She didn’t mind that much anymore, but she still was tired of being teased for her name. Now that she knows it was just a strange tradition, she wished she was left out of it.
“But- Eric. He could just have a weird name.”
Her dad sat and thought for a moment. “If he is really part of the Citadel, he’s old enough to start training. Did you catch his last name?”
She took a moment to think back on it. “..huh. No, not that I-” she paused, then clapped her hands. “Clutch! It was on his binder. Eriador Clutch.”
Triman tried to think for a moment but shook his head. “Nope, that’s no family I know. I wish the mailboxes we’re in alphabetical order, it would be easy enough to check then…”
“They aren’t?” Dev asked.
“No, when family names change and people die and such, the names keep getting swapped around. It might have been orderly generations ago, but now it’s a mess. It’s a functional mess, at least.”
Devain sighed and shrugged. “I’m going to head out there tonight. I have some homework to do, and I want to see if anyone is up for giving me some tips.”
“You’re going back so soon? After what happened yesterday?”
“It’s my job to take care of the field now, I can’t be scared of it, can I?”
Her father smiled. “No, I guess not. I should be scolding you for being so willing to talk to strangers, but most Citadel workers are good folk. And, well, you have a sword. Also, the Citadel is spread from around the world, so don’t be too freaked out if someone doesn’t speak English.”
“That makes sense,” Dev responded simply.
For the next few hours, Dev staved off her excitement to go back to the field. She ate dinner after her mother came home, then rushed back to bed. “I’m just tired,” she explained after her mother questioned her overzealous urge to sleep.
When she got back to her room, she checked on the wound. It was still scary to look at, but it was less gnarly and was healing very fast.
Laying on her bed, Dev summoned the Noctem Blade. It was just as beautifully crafted as before, but she now saw it as the blade that saved her life. She cradled it in her arms, letting herself daydream before she could leave to go to the field.
By 10:30, she knew her mom would be asleep. She was expecting her dad to send her off, but she instead found a note on the counter that read, “Don’t stay up too late! -Dad” in messy handwriting.