When I was first arrived in Udiria, I wasn’t sure what would happen to me. When you’re a young child and you lose your mother to an evil creature in the night, you’re not old enough to understand the horrors that await you, but you’re old enough to know that the horrors are there, lurking in the darkness. A small part of me assumed my father might show up. I wondered if he would be called back from the war by a thoughtful king to mourn his dead wife and retrieve his only son. I didn’t know then the scale of the Second Invasion or how close the Yunai were to conquering our world.
I was put up at the local inn, given my very own room in the back where no one ever bothered me, and there I waited as time continued to pass. Meanwhile, the other survivors from our small group slowly gathered their strength and left on their trek to the main Northern Kingdom of Lederan. The city of Udirian felt like a stronghold, but it didn’t boast the impressive military numbers that one wanted to see when they were at war. The city was a resting point, but not the final destination for many travelers. The Udirian, in turn, seemed fine with that. They favored those that had the gift.
I had no parent to take me onward. I had no one to take me back. I languished in my room at the inn, wondering if I’d ever understand what was really happening to me. Finally, one day after long giving up on my father coming to save me, I started seeking out things to do that might fill my time. At first it was little jaunts through the halls of the building where I was staying. I started spying on people that, no doubt, heard and saw me despite my best efforts. I started picking food off of traveler’s plates after they left, despite the innkeeper always making sure I was fed. I became a bit of a bother, I am certain of that.
Then one day, I wandered out of the building and into a large garden area. The plant life was beautiful and the garden was secluded from the rest of the city by large stone walls. This place offered me security, privacy, and just enough sunlight to feel warm.
I do not recall how long this went on. When you are a young child, the passage of time feels very different than when you are an adult. The days of slipping out of my small room in the morning and collapsing into the warm sunlight went on for what I thought might be ages. In all, it may have only been a few months. What I do remember, however, is that every day when I returned from the garden, there was a plate of food waiting for me. Nothing fancy of course, but it was food none the less.
I did not know it at the time, but a family friend of my Grandfather had already investigated the incident that had led to my mother’s death. After they had confirmed that I was indeed the grandson to Ciganis Sepher, and they took pity on my situation.
They had assigned one of their youngest studies to care for me during my childhood years. Her name was Lady Sonea. I suspect she was only in her mid-twenties when I met her. I caught her slipping out of my room when I came home from the gardens early one day. She had fair skin and deep black hair that was straight and waist-length. The dark hair framed her pale face and made her bright blue eyes explode with color.
I wasn’t a foolish child. I knew someone was bringing me food every day, but I hadn’t really bothered to try and figure out who it was. When I saw Lady Sonea standing at my doorway looking at me, I felt a smile develop on my face. She smiled back at me and winked, then walked away without a word.
Soon enough I would intentionally change my schedule, returning from the garden at random times during the day just to catch a glimpse of the woman. You know how they say that sometimes you have a guardian angel that watches over you? That was Lady Sonea. She was mysterious to me, yet I knew I depended on her for every aspect of my strange new life.
Eventually I decided to step outside of the building where I had been living. The garden still felt safe, but it had grown small and familiar to me. It had no secrets left to unravel and I was still a curious young lad.
If you’ve never been to Udiria then you’re certainly missing out. The city was built from the ground up by those who knew how to harness magic powers. It was more than impressive. It was a cornerstone of civilization at its best. The roads were swept clean, horses were well groomed and trotted along with prideful steps. There wasn’t any cruelty or sinister dark alleyways in Udiria, at least not in clear view. The entire city felt somehow purified by the magical energies found here.
I didn’t have any money and I didn’t want to wander too far, but something about the fresh air and bright light of the sun made me feel some level of peace that I hadn’t felt since living on the farm. I decided that I would have to keep coming outside, if for nothing else than the refreshing lift in spirits.