The entire manuscript can be found here: Starblood Manuscript
Part II: Training
A New Identity
Syther. People on Enquan used to whisper about this place. They said that it was a place of ghosts. A place where people lived without blood flowing through their veins. Parents threatened their children with this place. The few who walked out of this place alive had gone insane. They spoke about unimaginable things.
XS registered that they had arrived at wherever they were going, but she didn’t actually see anything but YK’s cold, pale, decaying, body. She shouldn’t even be alive. She should have died on that noose.
Someone took XS’ hand and took her outside of the Translock. Their hands were callused and hardened. It wasn’t AZ’s hand, his was still soft with youth. When XS got outside of the Translock, her eyes finally saw where they were.
It wasn’t haunted. There were no dead men walking. Only beauty. Real trees shaded the ground from a glowing orb in the sky. Animals – birds – flew from place to place, conversating with the other birds. Grass grew from the ground, not the engineered substitute Enquan had made. The sky was clear. There were no flying trains or smog.
XS turned and saw Arris next to her, his hand in hers. She quickly stepped out of his grasp. A woman called her name, and she looked over to see a woman in Cyran clothing. She had on a cream shirt underneath a navy blue suit coat. Her pants were also navy blue and were pressed.
“XS?” she called again.
XS walked over to the woman and was handed a slip of paper before the woman began calling another name.
Torri 09614 (XS).
Name: Saphira Thane
Date of Birth: 12/21/2127
Brother(s): Asher Thane (More information upon request)
Extended Family: Deceased
XS flipped the paper over, and YK’s information was written on the back. She wanted to know who he was, and yet she didn’t.
Torri 14729 (YK).
Name: Matthew Carrigan
Date of Birth: 6/12/2132
Sister(s): Aria Carrigan (More information upon request), Maddilyn Carrigan (Deceased)
Extended Family: Deceased
XS was conflicted. Was she Saphira or XS? YK would always be YK to her, regardless of his real name. No one would call her XS here. She would be known as Saphira. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?
AZ walked over, a slip of paper in his own hand. They traded papers, and XS read AZ’s.
Torri 09134 (AZ).
Name: Jase Rhodes
Date of Birth: 3/12/2126
Extended Family: Deceased
“It’s weird, isn’t it? Having new identities, new lives?” AZ asked her.
“Yeah. I’m not Saphira. Not yet, maybe not ever. I’m still XS in this new place. They can’t take my past away from me.”
“I know. But perhaps this is a chance to start over. To be someone new.”
XS nodded, but she still didn’t accept Saphira. Saphira was a different person, with a different past. In Saphira’s past, YK didn’t exist. And YK needed to exist.
AZ walked away, using his ability to talk to practically anyone to make friends. Arris took his place moments later. He had his shirt off, showing off his muscled abdomen. His golden skin gleamed in the sunlight. XS belatedly realized it was because he was sweating.
“You okay?” XS asked him.
“I should be asking you that.”
They both knew that was a lie. But Arris let it slide.
“A healer had to remove the bullet from my back. I’m okay.”
Silence followed because neither had any idea of what to say.
“It’s beautiful here,” XS finally said.
“It is. Whereas nature on Enquan is made from machines, Syther is a lot like Skylar was. In fact, Syther was modeled after Skylar. You’ll notice that many of the buildings are made of the same materials and are placed in relatively the same location.”
XS didn’t remember much of Skylar. She was only four when Lord Shaxx had invaded, and her life after that had been spent underground.
“Come on, I’ll take you to where you’ll be staying,” Arris offered.
XS nodded, and Arris walked away from the many people that had gathered here. He led her onto a paved circle that had many paths leading from it into many directions. On the pavement were eight symbols surrounding a single larger symbol.
“What’s that?” XS asked.
Arris glanced to where she was looking and said, “that is The Enchanted Circle. It portrays every type of Starblood magic on Syther.”
“I have no idea what you just said.”
“Later,” he answered.
Arris chose the path toward their right. XS followed him. They passed many different buildings. Arris named each one as they passed it, giving her a mini-tour of the city. After about ten minutes, XS’ eyes were drawn to an ivory colored mansion on her right. It had four columns, and in between them was the grand entrance. There was even a dome on the top.
“Home,” Arris said, looking toward the ivory mansion, a faint smile on his face.
“You live there?” XS asked, awed.
“I do. And now you do too.”
Arris walked up the long driveway, and five people – 3 men and 2 women – walked out of the double doors. They began calling his name, and one man ran up to bear hug Arris. Arris hugged him back. One of the girls walked up to XS and introduced herself. She had big light brown eyes and long curly dark brown hair. Her skin was an olive color free of any makeup.
“Hi. I’m Aria. Aria Carrigan.”
Every thought vanished from XS’ head. XS closed her eyes, fighting back tears. But a single tear slipped through anyway. On paper, the name Aria Carrigan was just that, a name. But here she was standing, in the flesh, a friend of Arris’.
“Hey now. What’s wrong?”
XS couldn’t respond. She couldn’t tell her that her brother had died. And somehow Aria understood. Aria took XS’ hand and led her inside. She led XS into a room with a bed and a built-in bathroom and closet.
“This is your room. I bet you’re tired, so rest.”
Aria let go of XS’ hand, and was leaving the room when XS whispered, “Aria?”
She turned to face XS and said, “yes?”
“Can you give this to Arris?”
XS pulled out the slip of paper that had YK and her information on it and handed it to Aria. Aria took the paper and nodded her head.
Aria left the room, closing the door behind her. XS hadn’t realized how tired she was until she looked at the bed again. She went into the closet, undressing as she did. The closet was stocked with clothes, and XS found a pair of night clothes. She, then, slipped under the covers. The bed was soft. Too soft. XS turned and twisted, but regardless of the fact that she was tired, she couldn’t fall asleep. XS stripped the navy blue and white sheets from the bed and slid to the floor. She curled up into a ball and fell fast asleep.