Life is a fairy tale. That is what everyone wants to hear, right? No one wants to wake up from a good dream where anything can happen. No one wants to realize that there is no such thing as vampires, or fairies, or elves…
Luckily, where I’m from, no one does. My name is Ren Tessier. When I was born, my parents put me up for adoption. I only know this because I am human in a world full of fantasies. My acquired mother Helen is a witch, her husband Van is a Vampire. Van, being what he is, can not have children, so they adopted me.
It’s a difficult life, being the only human in my realm. Sure, there are other humans who come to our world, but none of them have any permanent residence. Helen taught me magic, or as much as she could on account that I do not have the proper blood to master all the spells and rituals. I know enough to defend myself, and I have a gift for potions and herbal remedies, as Helen says.
Van was not keen of me for the first few years. He thought that having a human daughter would bring his family trouble. Humans were a delicacy to some of the creatures here; the ogres and the goblins. But when I was taken by a group of goblins when I was four, Van tracked them down and saved me. He killed all the goblins as a warning to all the creatures in our world not to harm me. For further protection, he had the king of the vampires and his father, Lord Valcon, gift me with an amulet of fairy blood.
As it would turn out, Van loved me more than any one would have ever guessed. My father was a powerful man, heir to the thrown of his people. He planned to turn me when he thought I was old enough so he could be with me as long as possible. My mother wouldn’t hear of it. She did not wish for me to be subjected to a world I was not meant to be in. I wouldn’t mind being a vampire. If I were to be changed, I would be able to master the skills of a witch and relate to both of my parents, rather than be an outsider.
So here I am, a seventeen year old human in the magic realm, living with a witch, and vampire, and a pet dog. Things really weren’t that different here then in the human world, other than magic and every creature humans thought were fake were out in the open. We had the same things; jobs, families school.
Speaking of school, I was running late. Helen left to her shop early today, and Van was already gone to the castle. I finished my morning chores and packed my lunch - bread, cheese, water, and an apple – and locked up.
The school was only three miles from my house, which was on the out skirts of town. The first mile walk was on the dirt road between the forest and a wheat field. The sun was shining today, beating down hot on my back. The wheat looked like growing strands of gold swaying gently in the warm, humid breeze. After a while, I stopped to tie up my blond hair. Helen refused to let me cut it shorter than my waist, though it was a nuisance in the summer time.
When I reached town, I couldn’t help but smile. Though I had lived here all my life, I was still fascinated by the way things were run here. A group of elves in silver cloaks walked beside a large carriage carrying vegetables and fruits for their festivities tonight. I loved the elves, they were graceful and intelligent.
Dwarves were knelt down in a circle, gambling over a game of dice in front of the bar. As I walked by a scent wave of whiskey and tobacco swirled around me. They shouted and cheered, clapped and cursed. The shops lining the main stretch of road were old and made of gray stone and rotting wood. They were for all different things, things that were and were not in the human realm. Black smiths, tailors, butchers, barbers, book stores, magic supply stores, vegetable and fruit venders. And weirder ones like the potion shop, where things like baby feet and cats tongue were sold, the Open Basket, where you could bring in any type of reed, or cloth, and had it made into a pet entirely of your design. That was where I got my dog, Skip.
I hummed to myself as I walked, listening to the chatter and laughter of the town, the singing of free and caged birds alike. Three times I had to jump out of the way of carts, and twice I had to assist someone carrying a too big load of cloths or food.
I didn’t mind being friendly. I tried to show people that I was on the same page as they were; that I was just like them, even if I was just a human. The goblins and the ogres still hated me, though. I tried to avoid the spots that they dwelled, and when ever they saw me they cursed and spat at the ground.
When I reached the school I ran down the narrow walk and burst threw the doors into the too thin hall. The school was large, but it could be bigger. There were only twelve class rooms, one for each grade and each class held about thirty two students. I was a junior you could say.
My class room was at the other end of the school. I ran down the hall and put my lunch in my cubby outside my classroom door. The teacher, Raven who is an elf, was already teaching today’s lesson. She was my favorite teacher out of all the rest. She had long silver hair to her knees, which she always had pulled half back, the tail braided all the way down. Her skin was ivory toned, paired well with her light hair and pale gray eyes.
Raven smiled at me lightly and motioned for me to take my seat as she continued on with the lesson. I nodded and rushed to my desk, ignoring the snickers and stares I received from my class mates.
“As you all know, the war between the Werewolves and the Vampires was a long one. In some parts, the war still goes on but it is very subtle. You could say it is like gangs fighting for territory, for authority, for respect. So, for today’s assignments, I want you to start writing an essay on why you think the Vampires and the Werewolves have such a prejudice over each other, and what things could be done to stop the wars all together.”
Raven walked to her desk and started passing out blank sheets of parchment to the desks in the front, which the students passed back.
“I’ll give you an hour to start the assignment. Then you can brake for recess.” I was already staring down at the blank sheet, trying to put the essay together in my mind. I had to admit that I wasn’t the best when it came to school. I kept finding myself day dreaming about nothing in particular. I tried to focus my thoughts on the war. I knew a lot about it, my father being a vampire and all.
I visualized the battles in my mind. The vampires, in their crimson and silver armor, meant to repel werewolf’s direct attacks. I pictured the battle field, golden and scarlet with blood, the sounds of swords crashing together, of beasts snarling and crying out in death. From all the stories my father told me, I never asked why the battles had started in the first place. I made a mental note to ask Van about that when he got home.
Time passed by quicker than I would have thought, and the teacher called the end of the hour. I hadn’t written a single word, not even my name or the date. I sighed and stood to follow my class mates out side.
“Ren! Ren, over here!” I turned and smiled when I saw Tallulah waving frantically next to the willow tree. Tallulah was my best friend, my only friend really besides Ton. She was a nymph, with pale green skin and black eyes. Her ears looked like little webbed wings protruding from her purple black hair.
“What’s going on?” I asked when I neared her, looking at the cluster of students behind the willow’s vine like branches.
“Ton and Opal are fighting again! Come on you just have to see!” Tallulah grabbed my wrist with her clammy bumpy hand and dragged me threw the branches. Ton and Opal were standing maybe three feet apart, staring each other down with vicious eyes. Ton was an elf, tall for his age, with short black hair and a lean, muscular body. Opal was a vampire, short but strongly muscled, with fire red and black hair. He was the school bully, you could say, and he and Ton have had it out for each other since birth.
“What happened this time?” I asked with a sigh, readying myself to break up yet another fight. Tallulah was practically bouncing up and down with excitement. She loved to watch Ton fight. She said it was like a dance because he was so graceful.
“Opal stole Ton’s amulet, you know, the one his mother got him before she died. Ton said that he was going to kill him if he didn’t give it back, and Opal agreed to fight him. Again.”
Just as she finished Opal let out a vicious growl and launched himself at Ton, his four razor like fangs bared and aimed for Ton’s throat. But Ton was quicker than Opal, and he merely stepped to the left, grabbing Opal’s arm and twisting it behind his back with crippling force. There was an audible pop and Opal yelped.
As quick as Ton was, Opal was stronger. He spun and howled with rage, rolling his shoulder until it popped again, and lunged once more. This time, his attack struck home. His teeth sunk into Ton’s arm, then his shoulder, leaving wounds gushing thick silvery scarlet blood.
That was when I had enough. I stepped forward, ignoring everyone’s protests, and raised my hands.
“Cante Oblivia!” I shouted, and opal went flying into the trunk of the willow, screaming in rage and unable to move. I walked swiftly by Ton, touching his shoulder for just a moment, before continuing on to Opal.
“You fool, you should learn by now that you won’t win any fights with Ton.” I slapped his face once, hard, and reached into the inner pocket of his vest to retrieve the amulet.
“And you should learn, bitch, not to medal in things that don’t concern you!” Opal shouted, snarling at me. “You’re only a human. You should watch who you piss off.”
I rolled my eyes at his empty threat, not phased by his words.
“Let us not forget who your master is.” I warned, and my threat was real. Opal bared his teeth at me and hissed, then roared out in rage as he struggled to get free from his invisible binds.
I turned back to Ton, who was staring at me with his usual calm, blank expression. I held the amulet out for him.
“Thank you, Ren.” He said in his quiet tone, bowing his head to me. I smiled and placed the amulet in his hand.
“You are welcome. But you are also bleeding. Come with me.” I snapped my fingers and heard the thud of Opal falling to the ground. I took Ton by the arm and led him out from under the willow to the school. Opal shouted behind me.
“Ren! You better not forget that I have friends in high places, too!” He ran up and stopped in front of me, blocking my path. I stared angrily down at him.
“A vampire who plays with werewolves does not scare me, Opal. But I would hate to have to ask my father to visit your coven again. If you steal from my friend one more time, I will.” I pushed past him and carried on, trying to ignore what he shouted back.
“You should be afraid, Ren! I’m not afraid of Van or his father! One of these days, I’ll show you just how weak you are when daddy and mommy aren’t around to protect you!”
I was angry as I blended the lavender with the lemon grass, crushing it with too much force. Opal always got me into moods like this, and for Ton to go about fighting who ever called upon him drove me mad.
“Take off your shirt.” I snapped at Ton unintentionally. I heard the rusting of clothes and sighed. We were in an empty class room, one the teachers used for meetings. If Raven saw Ton like this, he would be expelled for fighting.
I turned and stopped short for an instant. Ton was standing just a foot away from me, looking down at the wound on his fore arm. He was shirtless, as I asked him to be, and his stomach was…well, incredible. I had never seen Ton without a shirt before. The sight made me blush and I dropped my eyes to the strips of cloth I had laid out.
“I’m sorry, Ren.” Ton said lightly as I worked, dipping the cloths in the lemon grass and lavender ointment. I didn’t answer. I wet one cloth with water and turned back to Ton.
“Sit.” I said calmly, and he did as he was told, sitting atop a desk and watching me quietly. I held my hand out for his arm and inspected the wound as I cleaned away the old and fresh blood.
“These are deep. You’re going to need stitches.” I frowned, though I was quietly thankful that elves were not affected by vampire bites.
“Can you do that?” Ton asked thoughtfully. I looked up at his pale green eyes and nodded.
“And you are lucky that I can. If you had to go to the doctor you would be expelled.” I dropped his arm, gently, and turned to retrieve the medical kit. The teachers kept one in each room since a young witch injured six students practicing spells.
Ton was quiet as I worked on his wounds, first the bite on his forearm, then the one on his shoulder. The one on his shoulder was bad, the incisions deep and ragged. It was going to leave one hell of a scar and was a hassle to stitch together. I could feel Ton watching my face, and I glanced up at him.
“What?” I asked in a monotone. I never really did like to be stared at. It made me feel self conscious. Ton smiled slightly and looked down.
“I am waiting for you to be upset with me.” He admitted lightly with his elfin accent. My expression softened and I smiled, too.
“Well, then you are going to be waiting for a long time, because I’m not upset at all. Opal was out of line to take that amulet from you. He knew what it meant to you and you had every right to be angry with him.”
I picked up the clothes with the herbs and laid them neatly over the stitched wounds.
“Thank you, Ren.” And I knew that he meant it. I could see the sincerity in his eyes as he watched my face. I stared back at him for a long time until I started to feel my face getting hot. Then I closed my eyes let my breath out in a gush. How long had I been holding it in? I felt light headed.
“Just promise me you wont do it again, Ton.” I started, squeezing his hand. “You could really get hurt. What if the next time I’m not here and you lose? Opal wouldn’t hesitate to kill you. He would just do it and go rouge. It happens all the time. I don’t want to lose you.”
Ton pulled his hand from mine and I opened my eyes. He lifted my chin with his index finger so I was looking into his eyes.
“I promise over my mother that I will not fight anymore. Not unless it is completely necessary.”
My face was so close to his I could feel his breath on my cheek. He smelled of wood fire and moss, like he had since we were just littlies. My face grew hot again as he continued to stare at me.
It had started last year, when Ton came back to school. He had grown from the short gangly boy I knew into the man that sat before me. He had always been quiet, though he wasn’t shy. And since that first day of school last year, I saw him differently.
“Thank you.” I said, a little breathlessly. Ton stroked my cheek with his finger tips and my breathing hitched.
“Why do you blush when I look at you?” He asked suddenly. “You never used to.” A smile now, not a big smug smile like most guys got when they learned a girl liked them, but a small, shy smile.
“I…I don’t know.” I laughed a little bit, looking down at my hands. Shouldn’t have done that; Ton was still shirtless and I got a full shot of his perfect chest. I was sure I flushed crimson.
“Ren…” I looked up again, and my heart pounded in my chest. Ton placed his lips to mine and I stood frozen, shocked. His eyes were open slightly, watching me, gauging my reaction.
I didn’t know what to think. I had never been kissed before. But this was wrong! Ton was my friend! People didn’t kiss their friends! So why wasn’t I pulling away from him? Why was I placing my hands on his shoulders, leaning into his embrace?
Why did I like the feeling of his hands on my waist, pulling me closer to him? Why did I like it when his lips parted and he sighed, allowing me to taste his mouth? It tasted of herbs and spices…
The kiss was short and gentle, but I felt my body trembling slightly as Ton pulled away. I was breathing unevenly, unable to make sense of what had just happened.