First Words: Final Lesson by Shakyra Dunn
A recently-crowned princess with a thirst for magic accidentally destroys her home. A simple youthful rebellion grows into a lifelong friendship. A young woman meets reliable allies. And a young boy is dealt a harsh hand when he sets out to make his own path.
Four tales. Four parties. All intertwined to set the stage for a bigger event. The sense of adventure builds as lessons prepare to be learned.
Wind chimes echoed through the near-desolate shrine, the salty air flowing through the open window, blowing out the jasmine incense on the polished nightstand. Thunderclaps roared from the outside, and she couldn’t help but grin to herself as she shut her eyes. Abrupt weather changes, a drift in the squalls. The calm before a brewing storm; that was always Leilana Erovina’s ideal time to meditate as a prolific start to her drawn-out morning.
Minsura’s grounds granted her peace, and sitting as the first heir of the kingdom ensured her guarantee to a wholesome life. Isolated, magicless, a free reign to the plight of idealism and growth. The hymns of her people reverberated in passion and solitude. It was as though this closed-off world was shielded behind the clouds, never to touch the cruel workings on the ground below their pedestal. She heard little about the world furthest east of their country, a place called Adrylis, but she knew that their society was fueled by magic and the power of the Warlords.
For generations beyond known time, essence and being was headed by the Warlords of old, who crafted all humankind and blessed them with the ability to conjure spells to breathe life into their own little world. Magic itself was a mysterious gift that few in Minsura were given; one of the chosen ones had been her own brother, Ennis.
The oldest of the two, he should have been the one seated at the foot of the shrine, leading Minsura as the first heir to his growing land, but his recent growth in power knocked him down several pegs. Magic was forbidden. She was grateful for the shift due to the quiet change of pace and the chance to better her country with her own hands as its chosen princess, but she didn’t understand why it had to be in this manner. Ennis didn’t ask to suddenly develop a life-threatening illness, saved only by what essence resonated within him from birth. He never asked to be turned away by those he loved for something that he couldn’t control.
A light rain pattered against the floor, and she decided to end her session for the day, getting up from her mat and closing the window shut. She rested her head on the windowsill, astonished blue eyes gazing up at the smoky clouds hastily filed in. As much as she loved Minsura and what the shrines had to offer, she couldn’t help but wonder what lied beyond the only land she had ever set foot on.
She couldn’t wait for the rain to settle down for long—she was already late getting back home, and her parents would already have a mound of duties waiting for her. Pressing her tiny hands against the large doors holding her, she pushed them open and watched the rain pour down on the stone building above her. She took a seat on the stairs for a moment, tapping her foot along the ground, her right leg bouncing in an anxious matter. How long was it going to be before the rain slowed up?
Shakyra Dunn can’t stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure around every corner! When she isn’t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town.