Quote of the Day: Dangerous Peace

Peace in a dark world is not even worth thinking about as an imaginary ideal in a fantastical perfect utopia. Peace, given any thought, will grow from a small kernel of light to a glimmer of hope to a full blown dream. To be an idealist in a dark world is dangerous. You upset the wrong people with your hope, you die. You think all are peaceful, you die. You defy norms and to promote peace become a pacifist and do not fight, you die. Do not become an idealist in a dark world.

— Katharine Shelby, The Pure Chimera, Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Nawe

Peace in a dark world is not even worth thinking about as an imaginary ideal in a fantastical perfect utopia. Peace, given any thought, will grow from a small kernel of light to a glimmer of hope to a full blown dream. To be an idealist in a dark world is dangerous. You upset the wrong people with your hope, you die. You think all are peaceful, you die. You defy norms and to promote peace become a pacifist and do not fight, you die. Do not become an idealist in a dark world.

She ran. She could hear the shadow following her, so she sped up to full speed. It didn‘t take long until she believed herself free from her pursuer. She ducked into a familiar doorway. It was unlocked as usual and she thanked the owner of the house silently. He was a kindly old Arbe Chimera who tended to help those less fortunate than himself. His house was a sanctuary.

She climbed the house to its sixth floor where she knocked on a door. The kindly old Chimera opened the door letting her in. She entered and collapsed in relief.

“Hello Nawe“, she greeted with cheer she didn‘t feel. He didn‘t indicate offence, merely turned to go rummage in his things coming back with a small piece of bread. He handed it to her with silence. She gave him a grateful glance before consuming the bread rapidly. Nawe watched her eat.

Arbe had the fur and ears of bears, their eyes round and dark. The features were quite human with the exception of the nose. They did not have manes like the Atnan, but had finer fur many of them tended to style like humans do with their hair. Arbe had wings similar to the Atnan and had no tails.

Nawe was white from his clawed feet to the tips of his wings. He had red only on the tips of his ears. Even Nawe’s eyes were light grey instead of black or brown as was more common. He was a descendant of the Abyad of Arbe (abyad = white) , the only one of the Thnashar. They were rare and thought to be extinct as Nawe kept away view and was only known by those who knew of the sanctuary.

Trust was a rare commodity the most valuable of all.

Alktyra finished and then stretched her wings and other extremities languidly like a cat animal on a hot afternoon on the savannah. Nawe saw this and gestured for her to follow. She understood his silent request and followed him through dingy corridors into a room made to resemble a den with synthetic furs strewn across the floor. Some were gathered into nest-like piles.

The room was occupied. Alktyra could see a wing cover a form in one of the far corners of the vast bedroom. It was sleeping. Alktyra glanced at the Arbe next to her inquiringly. He simply shook his head. A tired one.

There was one nest sequestered from the others, a pile of antique furs made of the real animals that the Chimera descended from.

These were treasures of the Alwa (rulers) of the Chimera, sacred pieces of heritage that no one with any sense would touch. The Fahaqia they were called, thought to be holy, only to be touched by the Naqy of Atnan and the Alwa, believed to curse anybody else who dared. They were one of the last marks of respect left. The Fahaqia were priceless.

As Alktyra sunk into the furs, their familiar scent enveloped her into dreams of a happy childhood. They were the last ones that helped her remember her parents as if their very beings were infused into the furs. Sleeping in them she would see memories from her own life, but also of the Alwa before, all the way to Alwara’a Thania and Alwakarh Alwal, as if the fur contained them like a supernatural vessel. It could have been her own imagination bringing the stories she had been taught of her ancestors to life. Either way, they were comforting and helped her to keep the will to live.

*****

When Alktyra woke, she was more rested than she had been in a while. Well, since she had last visited Nawe’s sanctuary. This time she wast the only one in the room.

She wandered to Nawe’s main room only to find the other Chimera devouring a rare strip of juicy meat. He glanced up quickly when he heard her enter only to return his full focus on the meat. Alktyra’s stomach grumbled.

As if equipped with a sixth sense, Nawe appeared carrying a tray full of delicious foods. Alktyra had not seen such a luxurious sight since well before the death of her mother and father.

“Nawe, where did you get all of this?!” she questioned with amazement. The Arbe shrugged nonchalantly setting the tray down and indicating it was free to take some. She did not hesitate, neither did the other Chimera.

Her immediate needs being satisfied, Alktyra had time to observe the Chimera. She had never seen one like him. She was surprised to find that his scales were silver with a polished shine. He had a magnificent mane of a similar silver sheen. His wings were gradient, beginning in an almost black grey and brightening to the tips into a pure white. His eyes were a most unusual blue. His claws gleamed with sharpness and good care. He wore black pants and a black vest both which were notably not old and ragged, unlike her own attire. He was most clearly a high-born Atnan.

Alktyra finished her food and sent a look of burning questions to Nawe who nodded and got up. Follow me. She did, leaving the stranger in the room alone.

“Who is he?” she asked as soon as she thought they were alone enough. Nawe sighed heavily and looked away. He then broke his silence.

“He is Alqamar an’Asrar.”

“Why is this significant?” she wondered as Nawe only ever had broken his silence once before in her presence during their long acquaintanceship.

“He is here to kill you”, Nawe revealed.

“What?!” Alktyra exclaimed. Nawe refused to meet her eyes seemingly ashamed as the truth of what he had said dawned on her and she saw the door open to reveal the Chimera, Alqamar, smirking at her.

Trust is a rare commodity the most valuable of all. To be an idealist in a dark world is dangerous. You promote peace and do not fight, you die. There are very few who will voluntarily die when threatened.

Chapter 3: Thannaqya

Tranquility is where dreams are made. There is a beautiful place in the deepest core of all hearts. This place must be cared for, otherwise it withers. Once it has been destroyed, it is nearly impossible to bring back. Without this place of peace, beauty and dreams, there is only darkness.

The overworld is a light and beautiful place that is situated high above the surface of the old world. Domes of pure crystal shine in the artificial light of their synthetic suns. Roads of a strong translucent metal make arcs over vast gardens of green and blue and any other colour of the rainbow. Cars working off of clean energy zip through the sky as the force field covered world lives protected from the harsh sandstorms.

In this place that is called paradise there is an imposing building made of white marble like an old Grecian temple. Its great doorway is surrounded by high pillars. The edifice blends into the clean whiteness and shine of the surroundings, yet it stands out like a sore thumb. Where other buildings are curved and fluid, this building is rectangular and harsh. This is the House of Powers and Patrons.

In the throne room are three thrones, one for the First of Patrons, another for the First of People and the greatest for the Great Majesty of Paradise.

The throne room is as large as three football fields. Patrons and courtiers from the People mingle here day and night as a sort of powerless parliament that works as the sounding board of the three Powers.

The great doors to the hall that reach up as much as fifty metres open with a boom and two soldiers enter dragging between them a wretched figure. It is dressed in grey rags, its great gtey wings dragging on the marble floors. It is one of the creatures never spoken of, a Chimera of the lion variety.

The guards come to the foot of the great steps that lead up to the three thrones of the triumvirate of power. They dump the Chimera there with a violent shove. First of Patrons leans forward to examine the creature with disgust noting that by dragging it there, it had left a behind a track of filth. First of People simply gasps in astonishment. He has heard of the whispers of the monsters living under paradise in he’ll, but has never thought he would ever live to see one himself. Great Majesty of Paradise doesn’t move or look at the creature, simply keeps her (his) fingers together as s (he) does most of the time.

Time passes, the artificial suns begin to darken as evening approaches. It isn’t until it’s completely dark that Great Majesty gets up and descends the stairs as is custom at the end of each day. Coming to the end of the stairs s(he) seems almost surprised that the creature is still there.

“Thing, what are you doing here?” Great Majesty asks in a bored voice. The creature’s stirs.

“I was brought here against my will”, it answers bitterly.

“And what an really you?” Great Majesty continues without caring.

“I am a Chimera of the Great House of Atnan, one of the Thannaqya, first advisor to Alwara’a and Alwakarh of the Chimera race”, the creature intones with pride. Great Majesty of Paradise laughs at this.

“We are indeed in the company of monster royalty. I am honoured. I have heard of you animals. You are dealt with by the Patrons, it is their privilege and curse. Animal, what is your name?”

The Chimera looks up revealing slit green snake-eyes, greys cales and a brown mane. His countenance is terrifying to the Courtiers and most of the lower Patrons, but Great Majesty finds it exotic and oddly beautiful.

“Almustashar “, answers the Chimera.

Chapter 2: Siad

The laws of this world are made by the actions of those who live in it, even more so by those who have the loudest voice and can gather others around them to grow their voice. This way the laws are always governed by a dictator, the leader of the majority, or the strongest few.

Alquww of Thym was such a man.

In the house of Thym he was the loudest voice, the leader of the warriors, the many in his race who were Naqy. He was a Jizam’Atym, a son of the Atnan and the Thym Chimera, a powerful mix. As stronng as the Thym were in body, the Atnan were exceedingly so in mind, specifically those of the main branch, the Naqy of Atnan.

He gazed, bored, from his throne as two of his warriors, a seasoned gorilla-like Chimera who had served the leading family of Thym for half of his two century long life and a newcomer, a young brave creature from the purest cadet branch of Thym, the Rhwarari, were fighting out their personal grievances with each other. That was their way. Marabi, Alwuww’s right hand, entered the throne room in a booming stride. He stopped in front of his Siad and bowed deeply from his waist. He was allowed this liberty if dignity as he was second to only Alquww in the house of Thym.

“Siad”, he intoned with respect glowing from his yellow eyes.

“Speak, Mazim Marabi, Siad listens”, Alquww answered revelling in the male’s devotion.

“It has been located. Reports from our spies are coming in.”

Alquww stood up abruptly. His two warriors paused in their fight at his sudden movement. Their Siad (lord) was a man to fear. Alquww descended the staris to stop in front of Marabi.

“This is great news. We must act swiftly”. he said and began a fast pace out of the throne room. Without needing a signal, Marabi followed taking care to stay slightly behind his master. He was well trained from infancy to obey Alquww’s every whim.

And Alquww wished to reward him for his great service.

*****

The steps neared. She stayed still barely daring to breathe. Her heart was pounding in her throat as her ears twitched and her feathers ruffled in anticipation of flight or fight. Then suddenly, silence. She did not move. As a predator herself, it was sometimes beneficial to wait, to lull your prey into a false sense of security.

Time passed. She did not know how much. It was always grey in their world so even hoping for a dawn was useless. In the end she decided to get up. She could starve where she was as her stalker did not seem to be in any kind of hurry.

She relaxed her crouch rolling to the left to catch of the alley entrance. A shadow darkened the entrance. The shadow wasn’t big enough to be a full-blood Thym Chimera, but she did not want to make assumptions. She considered her options.

The shadow moved forward and a large figure came hurtling out of it towards her. Alktyra dodged to the side, but the figure was a ble toget a hold of her right leg stopping her from escaping. Her wings thrashed against the containers as she tried to kick the figure, but it was holding her with an iron grip. Her frustrated roar echoed on the walls. After some struggling she was finally able to kick the creature’s grip from her leg and take a new position farther down the passageway. She extended her wings and hissed at the figure.

The shadow laughed deeply and a sinister shine came from its dark eyes as it flashed its teeth. the shadow seemed to grow to block the whole lane. Her ears moved instinctively to listen as she weighed the odds of getting out of this alive or uninjured. She knew her body was seriously weakened from the several weeks of malnutrition as the scarcity of food in the Chimera world had been worse than ever.

The shadow begain encroaching at her, inching closer every moment. In a flash of action Alktyra spread her death dark wings to their full width and launched herself with the power of her hindlegs and a strong flap of her wings. She moved upwards and glided over the shadow until she was free of the narrow passage. As soon as her clawed feed touched the ground, she ran.

*****

Alquww was busy rewarding his Mazim in his sacred abode when a Tah Mazim, one of Marabi’s several underlings, burst into the bedroom of the Siad. Alquww paused his strokes to turn his black eyes to the young Chimera who appeared alarmed. No other show was needed to convey the Siad’s displeasure with being interrupted. Marabi, who had been on the verge of falling asleep when the Siad’s hands had stopped moving in his mane, opened one of his eyes to observe the shaking Tah-Mazim, who seemed to be unable to form words.

“What is it, Qalihid?” Marabi intoned patiently.

This snapped the young male from his stupor to stand to attention and to deliver his report:

“The Patron of Thym, his great majesty of the overworld is here.”

Alquww cursed loudly and flung himself passed the shaken underling pulling with him his cape as he rapidly exited the room. Marabi was soon after him only to stop to gaze tenderly at Qalihid and lick his forehead as was the custom amongst their kind. Then the Mazim followed with a calm stance, yet eqalling the speed of his Siad, to meet with their visitor from the overworld.

Chapter 1: Naqy

All men are self-governing. What is right and wrong is determined by the actions of the people. There is no such thing as destiny. All men make their own path. There is only the survival of life and the struggle not to die, for what else is there. Noble ideas and people are dead and gone. What can be done with nobility when you starve? What worth is an idea of peace and equality when the strongest prevail? There is no yesterday, nor tomorrow. The sky is always grey and the streets always dark. The Shadows are alive and creep. If someone has a roof over their heads, they are lucky. If someone has a jb, they are part of the elite few. If someone has food, they are emperors of the underworld. Crime is rampant. There is no hope.

That is what she had believed her whole life. She was one of the street rats, a creature that had no place in the technologically advanced overworld where hunger was a myth and the suffering of the underworld a well-kept secret. Part-animal, part-human, she was a descendant of the Chimera.

The Chimera had been the result of a long and exhausting scientificc research that had had the goal of improving the human genome. The team of scientists, a culmination of several generations of work, had used the dna of several animals sequenced together with that of two human embryos, the children of the future, Alwal and Thania. Yet instead of a genetically engineered superhuman, the Chimera race was born.

She, like many of her kin, had the mane of a lion and the great cat-king’s strength.  Her mane was black as pitch and flowed down her back in a velvety waterfall of curls framing her face. She had the nose of a snake and scales covered her from head to toe. They were a deep purple with blue, slitted eyes. The wings on her back surged upwards handsomely covered in dark, black eagle feathers. Her toes and fingers had retractable claws like those of a cat.

In her heritage, she was indeed one of the lucky ones. Though she yawned like a lion, roared when she was mad and had a liking for meat on the rare side, she was intelligent, more than an average human and definitely more than the greatest minds of the overworld.

There were several types of Chimera. Three, in fact, from the three human enchancing projects. The descendants of the latter undertakings weren’t as fortunate as the descendants of Alwal and Thania. From the second, came four Chimera who were quite normal, as far as the race went, but those of the last project were notorious. The purpose had been to infuse the power of the gorilla into the human race. Instead, it had made new Chimera, the six. They had been beasts consumed with rage towards those who had created them. They were monsters of pure instinct and raw power. An ideal weapon if harnessed properly.

The Thnashar, first twelve, they were called by the Chimera race. The first two, Alwal and Thania and their descendants of the Great House of Atnan were considered the most powerful and were respecte by all Chimera. The second four and their descendants of the Great House of Arbe were considered valuable for their loyalty. The last six and their descendants, the beasts of the Great House of Thym, were thought to be raging brutes though a few of them that had mated with those of the other two houses were loyal, kind and strong, gentle giants.

Alktyra was what the Chimera called Naqy, the pure. Being a Naqy of Atnan gave her power had she wanted it, but things had changed in the Chimera world.

Those who had raised her had told her several times that they could pinpoint the exact moment everything had changed. It was the death, massacre, of Alktyra’s parents. They had been Alwara’a and Alwakarh, first female and male, essentially the empress and emperor of the Chimera. Theere had been no others to take their place as she had been too young to inherit the throne. She was also the only Naqy of Atnan left.

It had been drafted into Chimera law that no other than a Naqy of Atnan could rule the Chimera.

Everything had darkened. The Chimera world had been taken over by the lower houses of Atnan and Thym. They ruled over the weaker and kinder of Arbe with force and cruelty. These lower houses were supported by factions of the overworld as a form of entertainment and proxy war to drive their own political agenda.

Alktyra Naqy had been raised by her parents advisors, the Thannaqya or the second pure, an elite of Atnan Chimera who were nearly pure in their bloodlines descending from the first Alwara’a and Alwakarh. But the Thannaqya had been decimated when she had been eight, all but Almustashar who had disappeared long before to the overworld.

Alktyra scavenged the garbage dump turning her lion-ears nervously as her tail twitched. She had not eaten in days as there had been nothing even resembling edible to find. Food was scarce and she suspected that the oppressed Arbe used all they could of the food they did have.

As she searched, she heard heavy footsteps nearing from the opening of the back alley that contained nothing but grey, decaying backs of buildings, rotting garbage and a few filthy containers, one of which she was currently rummaging through. She stilled her movements and listened. She knew she was not directly visible from the alleyway opening. Many lessons in her twenty years had taught her to never have her back facing a potential enemy.