Her eyelashes fluttered softly against her cheeks as she stirred in her sleep. Momentarily her lids parted to reveal clear silvery eyes that slowly flooded a bright spring green as they adjusted to the very dim light that surrounded her. It gradually dawned on her, as the green in her eyes gave way to a red so deep it was nearly black, that she was not at all comfortable. Shortly thereafter she also came to the following conclusions: that her head was throbbing, that dim sunlight filtered in around her through the slatted walls within which she was contained, and that she was most definitely in a cell of some sort. As she became slowly more aware through the cerebral sludge that seemed to be blocking her ability to process thoughts at a reasonable speed she became aware of the fact that the swaying sensation that she had attributed to her throbbing head and nausea was in fact genuine movement. Her cell was apparently also some mode of conveyance.
As she huddled herself in to the corner of her cell rough hewn wood planks snagged at the linen threads of her black tunic. She drew her knees to her chest, folded her forearms atop them and moved to rest her throbbing head against them only to pull away abruptly when the movement was accompanied by a damp, sticky sensation. Blood, and a fair amount of it at that, matted her hip length raven-hue locks and was thick and mostly dry against her scalp. A gentle probing with her fingertips revealed a gash that almost certainly ought to be stitched as even at her most gentle she had split it open once more and it began to bleed again. It was very obvious now how she had ended up in this cell without being any wiser, though how she had never heard her attackers approach. She had thought herself so well disguised in that roadside ditch too.
Ever since as early as her birth it was obvious she would deviate from the norm. She was the first of her kind to be born of a woman not of their blood and to retain all of their traits. Not only that, but her mother being a slightly more than half elf (and half Drow at that, her story was something else entirely), she had a higher propensity for certain things the rest of her kind did not.
Her kind in and of themselves were honestly quite the deviation themselves. The Krilli were a triumph in some ways and a dismal failure in others, though mostly they were not what their engineers had wanted them to be. Later genetic variations of their kind were the deadly, obedient, unthinking war machines her father's iteration were supposed to be. Instead, the Krilli were everything their future iterations became, without a thread of the obedience their creators required of them. They matured quickly, were nearly impossible to kill, incredibly long lived, and the greatest achievement of all were fearsome in their less humanoid forms, but capable of remaining inconspicuous in a predominantly human appearing form.
It was this final trait amongst her kind that sealed her first act of deviation, she was born in her fearsomely demonic looking form. It was this unfortunate, though defining, occurrence that killed her mother.
From there she continued the trend. In being the only one of her kind born from a, more or less, half elf mother she different rather greatly from her kin in appearance. Her more humanesque form instead drew heavily on her elven genetics, gifting her with very delicate features, a slight and wiry frame and, most noticeable of all, the long slender point of her ears. That was really only the beginning and she would continue to deviate from there on out, for the entirety of her rather long life.
“An opportunity for you good Sir or Madam! Please see the enclosed sample! Prepare according to the packet instructions and taste before sweetening to ensure your utmost enjoyment! If the sample is well appreciated, please feel free to sent a letter detailing your experience to Healer Abernathy's Curative Teas, to be found in West Umbridge, South of the Glass Lake in the Rook's Wood. Please note, any letters sent will be deemed permissible for publication in future advertisements.”
She turned the letter over in her hand, a bit confused as to its sudden appearance leaned up against the door of the room she rented upstairs at the tavern. Peering up and down the hall her suspicions grew as it became apparent that no further doors had an such packets leaning up against them. She presumed, initially, that the others had merely been previously collected by the occupants of aforementioned rooms owing to the lateness of the hour. With a thoughtful slowness she folded the letter and peered back in to the envelope it had come from.
Nestled within those parchment confines was the promised “enclosed sample.” It was a small drawstring bag no bigger than the pit of a large peach. It was made of a delicate cotton muslin and stitched carefully to the string that drew it closed was a folded paper card. She bent her head closer to inspect the tag, raven locks glistening blue-green as they slid over her ear with the motion. In the dim light of the hall outside her door she squinted ever so slightly to make out the smudged, minuscule writing. On the outside of the card were the words “Healer Abernathy's Curative Teas” followed by the subheading “For the healing of digestive ailments.” She tilted her head ever so slightly to one side as she opened the card to see what it said within. The writing contained within was smaller still, though not so smudged as the words without had been. Upon the inner part of that folded parchment card seemed to be an ingredients list. All quite the usual things for a tea to aid in stomach upsets, there was ginger root, peppermint leaf, catmint leaf, chamomile flower, the zest of several citrus fruits, fennel seed, and cinnamon. In fact it seemed almost suspiciously thorough.
With a shake of her head she quickly replaced both letter and sample within the small parcel and withdrew the key that hung down the front of her tunic on it's leather cord. Unlocking her room and slipping the key back down the front of her shirt to rest nestled in the hollow between the gentle slope of her breasts she slipped through the door way. With a swift, quiet muttering the lantern on her desk was quickly alight and she laid the envelope in its vicinity upon the deep mahogany surface. She locked her door once more from within, the heavy bolt thudding in to place, before she began to get ready for bed. As she slowly peeled her tunic up over her head she decided that, as surely as she was now enclosed in her room, that sample was staying enclosed in that envelope. It was just too fishy.
It did not take but five seconds in to her life for Draco to first hear the word devil. Granted it wasn't devil as known in the common tongue, but it meant the same and was a word she quickly learned to say in many more languages than she could fluently speak.
When she was first born her skin was not the creamy pale, soft skin she commonly wore, but a deep, dark, red the hue of rust and the intensity of night. It was of a leathern texture in most places, though scaled in others. Her face, though small and sweet and clearly infantile was studded across her brows, cheek bones, and along the bridge of her nose by a series of delicately whorled, pale honey colored horns. Her feet were clawed and digitigrade, the nails upon her tiny little hands as black as midnight, and when her lips parted and her first cry echoed into the too quiet chamber with all the sorrow of her mother's loss her little tongue was entirely wrong.
Úmaia, rhaug, teufel, cythraul, deabhal djowl she had heard so many names, so many times, before she could ever speak. Though she did not appear as such often, her father saw to that swiftly, the names were a near constant mantra of whispers and mutterings behind her back and insults thrown in her face. They all amounted to the same, she was a little devil as surely as she was a child to all outside her bloodline and it was only by the virtue of her father's constant guard that she lived. She also had her sister, born mere minutes before her own ill-fated arrival, to thank for what little protection the uncertainty their nearly identical natures provided her. One could never quite be certain which of the two was truly the devil.
The ocean had, at various points in her life, been a place of incredible solace for her and yet, sometimes it was also a place of intense sorrow. At this precise moment, it was a place for a large portion of both. This ocean was cold and black and white capped with the freezing wind that buffeted the misty damp air across its surface.
Raven dark hair whipped in a violent frenzy about her lithe, diminutive form, the intensely overcast conditions rending it devoid of it's usual blue-green iridescence. The same wind that sent her hair to whirling about her also caught dangerously at her skirt and loose sleeved tunic, threatening to send her over the edge of the rocky cliff upon which she stood.
This cliff, unfortunately, was strikingly similar to the one upon which she lost her first son and, while she did find solace in the vast and seemingly endless beauty that stretched before her, that was not a memory she would ever lose. The sight of his tiny, broken body being pulled in to the deep after a long fall away from the arms that had clutched him so desperately to her chest for days was something that would never fully leave her. It had been a long struggle to not lose him, and a longer struggle still to accept his passing, and she would always question the way she finally let him go.
It was, however, the way she chose to let him go that meant the ocean would always hold some solace as well. It had, for all of his short life, always been his favorite of places. A constant source of fascination and enjoyment. The light that shown in his eyes at every new seaside discovery would forever be brought to mind at the sight, scent, or sound of the sea and so she took solace in the fact that it had been his final resting place.
Draco was a person that took promises seriously. She was a person who took promises seriously because of how many things she had been promised in her life and never received. She never wanted to be a source of that sort of sorrow in anyone she cared enough about to make a promise to. She always took promises to herself infinitely less seriously than she did promises to other people. She was told once by her father, long after their relationship ceased to be normal or entirely amicable, that the only person that should ever require a blood oath of her would be herself because that is how seriously she took a promise she made to anyone else.
That being said, the seriousness with which she took her promises also meant that she was often highly reluctant to make them to begin with. This typically offended people more than a lot of things she ever did, but in the long run she figured that she didn't really mind offending as many people as it took to fulfill the one promise she ever made to herself that she felt mattered. She made it the day her father had left her with her stepmother, her sister in tow. She promised that day that she would never break a promise she made to another person. A carefully worded promise that would forgive her frequent trespasses against herself.
Lost was a relative term. While Draco was not a person who was often physically lost, she did spend a fair amount of time lost. She had lived long enough that is was incredibly hard not to get lost in her life.
Whether it was losing herself in her past, of which there was plenty, losing herself in her present, which happened rarely and usually involved getting wrapped up again in the trials and tribulations of life at the manor where most of her Krilli kin chose to reside, or losing herself to worries of how she would adapt to her future there were always ways to lose herself.
For all the time she spent lost, she relished the times during which she was found. When she was lucid, when she was not trapped in various flavors of darkness, when she was full of the pure joy that many people would never believe her capable of. For all the time she spent lost, she wished she could spend more found.
Draco had lived through many beginnings in her life. From the literal beginning of her life to all the times she had been forced to start anew in some manner or another there had been many beginnings. Her very favorite of these beginnings had been the one that had spawned nearly all of her beginnings since.
She had stood at the edge of that forest for what seemed like hours. Gazing in to the clearing of the valley floor before her she could see the warm light spilling from the windows of a large building reflecting in many shimmering shafts across the surface of the lake the spread across this portion of the valley floor. She had watched people come and go from her place just off the path for quite some time before stepping out on the path and hesitating once more.
With a deep breath she practically ran up the path only to stop again just beside the broad steps that lead up to a spacious porch beneath a handsome awning. Her lids squeezed shut tight over the rapidly whorling colors her irises currently contained. She fought for control, or at least a semblance of slowing, in that rapid fire kaleidoscopic show and, after a few more seconds of hesitation and another deep breath, she opened her eyes once more. The color change had slowed to a almost subtle shift of slightly more natural hues and the dramatic somersaulting of her stomach suddenly seemed infinitely more manageable and so with a series of reluctant steps she made her way first on to the porch and then to the door she paused to take in, as if somehow aware of it's meaning, its history, and what it contained for her future. This heavy oaken door required both hands and a precarious lean of her still young, still untrained body to haul open. She didn't know then that she was opening the door on her most treasured of many beginnings.
Her charcoal smudged brow wrinkled slightly in silent concentration as she worked with a practically crazed sort of intensity, nestled in the formidable, nearly night-dark shadow of the Sugar Maple she sat beneath.
She was drawn from her mad-cap reverie by a series of distressed shrieks of the sort that could only really mean one thing: her snare had worked! She brought deep swirling eyes up from the page before her and gazed about her darkening surroundings.
Delicately arched brows that hooded her intense eyes softened in their critical frowning slouch as her eyes slowly bled free of their maniacal gleam. She turned her eyes back to the thick page before her that now held the likeness of some anonymous horse-mounted man, no longer even the man she had started to draw, dignified hawk startled into fluttering its wings for balance as it was raised on a powerful forearm that itself was raised to check the balance of the horseman upon his horse as it slid on a steep gravelly slope.
The page told a story as it developed in her mind, richly full of detail and lain down with startling clarity in charcoal. She took her eyes again from the detail-ridden page up to the night sky, tilting her head back against the trunk of her beloved Sugar Maple, to gaze at what was barely visible through the rest of the trees.
With a deep sigh she closed the sketchbook in which she drew, sliding the charcoal back in to its spine before slipping in in to her bag, She stood, the golden and russet hued leaves that crackled and crunched around her releasing their heady autumnal scent as she headed deeper in to the woods to find her dinner before she did. After all, even the best set snare wouldn't stay full indefinitely.
Draco had never dealt well with absolute silence. Total and complete silence usually meant that something was wrong. Usually horribly wrong. Every single horrible memory she had in her long life, and there were many such memories to be had in a life as long as hers, had been preceded by a dangerously all-encompassing silence. Even before she had consciously made that connection the silence had always irked her. It usually meant an absence of all the things she loved the most. However, once she was old enough to have made the mental connection between silence and danger, it did not merely sadden her, or set her on edge. True silence eventually terrified her.