Azhure: This is the first one-shot under a new ‘chapter page.’ If you read my finishing touches you know I separated ‘More about the Otherworldly’ into its own chapter page. And yet, I put everything in the Wattpad version in one book.
Read after book Alicia Chapter 18
A little girl, six years old, who was an albino noticed the familiar signature of the Maneg Soul when entering the fire chamber. “Master Kenzie, greetings,” she greeted, giving a ladylike salute as she entered the chamber.
Kenzie, the third Fire Guardian, the elderly man in his sixties was relaxing in his chamber, reading a book. But he had trouble turning the pages ever since the 1246 Incident, he had to put the book down on the low table to turn the page and pick it up again. A wooden cane rests on the what remained of his right limb with the head of the cane overlapping the spot where his right ear would have been.
“Hello, Rose.” He replied softly, turning to see the young girl (who is almost as old as him) with a smile. “Hmm… I believe it has been a year… since you are recruited. How are things going for you?”
“I am doing great, master. This place is better than in my home. There are many people looking out for me.” She paused for a breath. “Elder sister would love this place. I wish I could tell her…” she mumbled the last sentence so the Fire Guardian wouldn’t hear.
Aah yes, Rose’s older sister, he thought.
Being the last child born to the Bloodlights as the matriarch died conceiving her, Rose was considered to be a failure of a vampire. It is due to her inability to ‘awaken’ her vampiric power even until now when her older siblings had done so when they are two decades younger than her. Another factor was her inability to drink blood, what vampires are known for in any world, without violently belching it out.
As a result, the rest of the Bloodlights neglected her and some even bullied her for being a runt or out of hatred for killing their mother.
But there was one member of the family that loved her, she was Marie Bloodlight. She was the eldest sister of the clan and the only family member that cared for Rose. Rose shared stories of how her elder sister occasionally brought her to human towns with a parasol for a stroll, her elder sister’s hobby. By the way, the name ‘Rose’ was a short for ‘Rosalie’ given by Marie. It was a bad idea however as other members of the family started calling her that for being a thorn on their side. Rosalie still loved the nickname regardless.
It was unfortunate that Rose had to keep her secret of being a Court Wizard to Marie. This is because of her family, Marie might make the slip and this could cause problems for operations in Arknoir if the Bloodlights starts interfering as they seemed to be the… uncooperative sort; make no mistake, after the 1246 Incident, you can tell your family about the Otherworldly Court, but only if it’s ‘safe’ to do so.
Snapping back to reality, Kenzie made his reply, “Hmm, I’m glad you liked it. So, what brings you here? You are not called for a mission… and this place still requires more… restoration.”
True, this chamber was facing the wasteland where the battle of ‘that incident’ occurred so it was not spared, including the computer systems storing most of the database located in the room directly underneath the chamber. But in truth, the wasteland was already there after the final battle of the Eleven-Century War that he remembered was the pre-first Guardians trying to bring the Mother Souls into Manegia for peace talks, but other So- Maneg Users jumped in and turned it into a bloody free for all.
Anyway, the entire balcony was still non-existent, a parachute was used to cover up the huge hole. There were still craters on the floor near the destroyed balcony. And the couch he was sitting on has rips and tears. Apparently, logistics were so bad that the western chambers were still not fully repaired even after over two decades, the more important facilities were prioritized to get the Otherworldly Court back up and running. Afterwards, the less important ones were neglected.
Funnily enough, when the newly recruited Rose asked what to do with the wastelands, he just blurted out making it a ‘Training Grounds’ on a whim and it stuck.
“Well…” Rose sat on the couch opposite to Kenzie. “I have observed many Court Wizards during missions and not. I can not help but notice the clothing they wore.” She also glanced at the Fire Guardian’s apparel. “Do you not have a matching uniform of some kind? Also, the banners in the Courtroom needed to be replaced, they are worn out.”
Kenzie closed the book he was reading and stroke his small beard. “We are… shorthanded. And we don’t have anyone who could… make one let alone have the time… to do so.”
After all, any problem confirmed in some world that required Court Wizards are given to the Court Wizards that coincidentally showed up at that moment.
“I see, then can you let me do it?” she asked, leaning forward to the old man.
“Hmm, I see you are quite a seamstress, aren’t you?” Kenzie studied the little vampire’s dress.
When they’re not making her life miserable, the Bloodlights couldn’t care less where Rose ran off to. Marie would be the only one that does – hence the reason why Rose still comes back to Arknoir – but she couldn’t spend time with her recently (according to a vampire). This meant Rose had almost nothing to do, so picked up sewing. And she got really good at it.
As Rose was a vampire of Arknoir that live very long (not immortal since Maneg Souls couldn’t merge with one), she had decades to hone her skills. Her older sister noticed this and brought her to a hidden room in the ancient Bloodlight mansion so she could sew in peace.
Now, she had produced many articles of clothing in which she wears a different one each time she’s here. Right now, she was wearing a red dress with intricate white outlines and a flowery red headpiece tying her short bushy white hair.
Azhure: Even today, she still wears something different every day. But I’m not wasting words by telling what she was wearing every time she appears.
“Then I will leave it to you… for our proper clothing,” Kenzie continued.
“Thank you, master.” Rose bowed. “I will start right away!”
“Hmm, I will look forward to-”
Suddenly, Kenzie coughed violently and pressed his chest. His cane fell from his torso and hit the wooden table with a THUD.
“Oh my!” Rose exclaimed. “Are you alright?”
“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” Kenzie reassured. “I’m just getting old, and the wounds I kept aren’t helping me either.”
“Geez, I do not understand keeping injuries for recollections.” Rose pouted. “It is bad for your health.”
“It’s fine,” Kenzie insisted. “Now off you go.”
TAP TAP TAP TAP
“Hmm…” Rose muttered to herself. “Let us see here.”
Azhure: You can think the monologue spoke in the mind and not out loud if it suits you.
Tapping her pencil against the artboard with a large piece of paper strapped to it, there were scraps of paper around the artboard, they were never thrown away. She was in her secret sewing room that was discovered by her elder sister. The pathway to get there was not maintained enough that others wouldn’t wander into.
She started the design for the uniform for missions.
Azhure: So I wouldn’t waste words, we’ll go straight to the design she concluded.
SHRAK SHRAK SHRAK
“I will start with this.” She started to drag the pencil across the paper, leaving trails of graphite over it. “Since it will be used for missions and it is usually secretive, it will be better if it covers the body so people will not see underneath. A hood is obvious. It will get damaged, a brown color cloth should be inexpensive to procure, even though it might not blend with the environment. That cloth in Manegia should do, and is also resistant to attacks.”
The illustration so far is the torso of a faceless man in a T-pose. She drew a hood over the man’s head. She added a note on the top right of the paper, ‘brown color’.
“Might as well put a mask. Hmm… I know, those masks at those human parties will do. Just need to extend it to the mouth.”
And a mask was drawn.
“The sleeves have to be tight so it would not get caught by twigs and not too tight that you can not bend your limbs.”
Rose then drew the sleeves. Slim and compact, comfortable to move around with.
“The robe should go all the way down to the knees and a bit more. It will be a problem if we trip.”
She traced two lines all the way down to halfway between the kneecap and feet.
“The robe should be open in the middle so we can take items under the robe.”
She added a straight line from neck to bottom, breaking the pencil along the way. She grunted as she pulled out a carving knife and sharpened the pencil, almost cutting her finger.
Azhure: Pencil sharpeners are invented in 1828 and technology of Arknoir relatively follows ‘Earth’ tech.
“It will be held together by a button, a tired string could get loose or a hard to untie. An embedded strap will hold the middle part, zippers might violate the fourth rule.”
Finally, she sketched a button on the neck and a belt-like strap that would be sewn to the robe around the part where a man would wear his belt.
“And it is done!” she exclaimed, picking up the drawing. But she pondered for a bit. “…There are not any Court Wizards with animal ears and tail nor that walk on four. This should suffice.”
Voice: What!? No half-animal Court Wizards!? Discrimination!
Azhure: I did not come up with one, and I not hastily making one for the sake of having one.
Satisfied with her work, she put the illustration away and set a new drawing paper onto the board.
“Now for a ceremonial sort.”
This time, she did not draw a humanoid figure as a base, but rather the back of a hooded cloak.
“A cloak will do, it should reach just above the feet. Master Kenzie said we might start doing talks with natives of other worlds. A separate mask should go with it.”
She drew the same mask that covers the upper facial feature.
“The colors should coincide with the Elements on the banners as well with the symbols.”
She added the word ‘symbol’ in the middle of the cloak. And then she sketched the crest of the Otherworldly Court, the scale over the spear and shield.
“Master Kenzie told me about the fourth rank, Duke and Duchess…”
From there, a thick line was traced along the edges of the cloak and the end of the sleeves.
“Guardians are gold, Duke and Duchesses are silver, and Grand Wizards are bronze. The rest are white or black, depending on the color. The symbols should be so as well.”
Tagging each part with notes and…
“Oh, I should not forget to add pockets to also store the masks,” Rose said to herself.
She jotted it down as a label beside the mask.
“It is finished!” she exclaimed. “And now to craft it.”
It was three months later that one Rosalie ‘Rose’ Bloodlight showed up at the Otherworldly Court. She had a bundle of clothing neatly folded in a small cart. It was due to minor setbacks such as obtaining materials and other factors that caused it to take so long.
“Miss Rose, what are those?” an operator asked.
“Our official uniform!” Rose said cheerfully.
With a glee, Rose pulled the cart and then realized that she will have to carry it up the spiraling staircase.
Fortunately, she doesn’t need to.
“M-Master?” Rose muttered.
“Ah, hello, Rose,” Kenzie replied.
She sees an elderly man with one arm and ear, sitting upright on a hospital bed, his cane set aside beside the bed. There were red nodes rising up from his body which then disappear; and for each node that appeared from one body part, that body part gradually fades away.
There were other Court Wizards and Guardians present in the small space with a solemn face.
“Is that your design?” he interrupted. “I would like to see it.”
Silently, she pulled out the brown robe and presented it to Kenzie.
He received the robe and inspected it. “Hmm, very good. Not too tight and not too baggy. The material is durable and the opening… means we can take tools on our… person. The mask should help conceal our face. Though I don’t know about the button.” He looked at the cart. “I would like to see the red one, all four of them,” he said as he returned the robe.
He received four sets of red cloaks, he carefully inspected each and every one of them. “Hmm, a simple design yet effective in showing… our hierarchy. I believe the kids would love the… masks.” He looked at Rose. “You have done a good work,” he praised.
“B-But you have not tried it yet.” Tears formed in Rose’s eyes. Other Court Wizards came to her side to console the little girl.
“Now don’t cry, Rose,” Kenzie said.” At the very least, the man known as Kenzie McQuire that… once existed has seen your work.”
For which the event called 1246 Incident – for the Court Wizards could never sink their hearts to call it ‘that’ – had cost the third Earth, Ice, and Lightning Guardians, while severely wounded the rest. And now, the third Fire Guardian is the fourth to go.
For the next two years, little Rose witnessed the rest of them end with a shimmer.
“The robe’s too baggy,” Hanz complained as he tossed the brown robe aside and launched himself off the cliff. Crea made a quick nod of apology and followed suit.
But I have always made sure it is not, Rose thought in her frown. Owen also preferred the ceremonial cloak to missions. I should tell Alicia and Rin about my story lest they follow their example.
She gazed downward to see her broken legs reinforced by the real essence of her soul, her loyal maneg, covered by her brown robe for she had a blue miniskirt underneath it. I am such a hypocrite am I not, master Kenzie? she mused. Though you will not answer.
Without others looking, she silently materialized a cane with fiery details, Kenzie’s cane, her mentor’s cane which she named: My Grandfather Kenzie.
As of 1262
Name: Rosalie 'Rose' Bloodlight Age: 62 Sex: Female Species: Sharp-teethed human (Vampire) World: Arknoir Element: Fire Element Color: Red Cherished Armament: My Grandfather Kenzie (cane) Rank: Wizard
Note: CA names cannot have special characters in them.
Notes (because putting it mid-chapter ruins it)
Due to lack of personnel, the third Fire Guardian, Kenzie McQuire ended up mentoring the young Rose.