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Chapter 1:

A solitary figure slowly trudged down one of the few lamp-lit thoroughfares of the dead industrial sector. Glo-lamps illuminated small patches of the dingy concrete ground every 15 meters or so, if they even worked at all. It was hard to tell that anyone was even there. Wrapped in a black trench coat with hands shoved deep into its pockets, the figure almost dissolved into the black. The only give-away was the constant rustle and crunch of building debris underfoot.

The shadow trudged onwards in to the heart of the crumbling cityscape, leavening the well lit security of the residential suburbs to lag behind in the distance. Not may people would be caught wandering around the old industrial sector, especially at night, but if personal safety isn't an issue and solitude is, then the dead city is the perfect place to be.

The figure passed under one of the few function street lights and was quick to get out of its radiance, leaving little proof of his passage other than the glimpse of a green scaled tail and swirling wisps of dust. Pausing just beyond the harsh glow, he listened for any sound that might suggest he wasn’t alone. Hearing nothing he continued on, passing boarded windows and burnt out buildings on the way to his destination. Announcing your presence in the decaying city was not the most intelligent of ideas. While it seemed no safer than the rest of the area, street gangs did take up residence in many of the buildings and they often felt obliged to make your life just that much more difficult if they could.

He turned into a gate leading to a deserted construction area, made his way into the base of the unfinished skeletal girder work, and began to climb. Four stories up, when the scaffolding abruptly ended, he resorted to clinging to the girder work its self and continued upwards until he ran out of metal to climb. Here, perched on the highest girder he could reach, overlooking the entire valley, was his favorite place to think. Here, high above the decay, the cool night breeze ruffling his hair, and the view overlooking his home and the open water beyond.

It was lonely up here, but he was used to being that way. He was lonely and out of place every where he went. Strange looks where not an uncommon thing, and with his odd appearance they were warranted. He was taller and much more heavily built than the typical Kuvrahk and many found that intimidating. But that wasn’t all. He could deal with odd looks and people shying away from him, but when they got up close their curiosity turned to horror and revulsion. What they saw reminded them of things they read about in history books. Reminded them of war and suffering. Reminded them of fierce, cold blooded fighters of a now almost extinct class. Reminded them of a Sa´arthas.

He frowned, looking down at his knobby knuckles. He couldn’t even claim being a quarter-blood as both of his parents only had mixed Sa´arthas ancestry.  His scowl deepened. For all the love he had for both of them, he often wished they weren’t who they were. Wished that he could have had normal parents so he could be normal with normal friends living in a normal community. But wishing never did any good. He still woke up each morning, looked in the mirror, and saw something people were afraid of.

There was still one more thing that set him apart from even his entire species. Wings were not a common trait among Kuvvies. History texts didn’t even have much to say on the subject. While not completely unheard of, those few who did have them had little use for them because of the small size. The vestigial structures had little use for even mating displays, if such a thing existed anymore. But some how he had done the impossible.

As of just over 6 months ago, he could have passed as normal, even with his odd and unwelcome ancestry. He could still pass as just another face in the crowd. But things changed. It happened the night of celebrating his 26th birthday. The corners of his scowl turning up almost is if he fondly remembered the events. It wasn’t every day that you were suddenly considered an adult, and it had been quite the party with a guest list so exclusive only he and his mother were invited. Not that he really had any one else he wanted to invite. But it still had been fun.

In the proceeding weeks, he had been noticing his back was looking odd, but he just shrugged it off. It had to be a Sa´arthas thing. He only realized the cause when he woke up that night in extreme pain as a gigantic pair of wings tore themselves free from underneath the skin of his back. It had been quite the nasty shock for his mother when she had come in to wake him, only to find him crumpled on the ground in a dried puddle of blood a giant pair of leathery sails sprouting from his mid-back.

They hadn’t been too big at first, but much to his annoyance they didn’t stay that way. Finding creative ways to put on a shirt had become far too troublesome, so for a while he just gave up. Being creative as ever, his wonderful mother had made a handful of shirts with zippered slits on the back, making them easy to slide on. She had always been watching him in awe, as if expecting all of these odd changes. She always took everything in stride, but maybe that’s the way all mothers are.

He subconsciously drew his cloak tighter around himself. That had been one of the many small changes to his life style with his ‘irregularities.’ People can't gawk at what they can't see. People made him uncomfortable for some reason, and he wasn't completely sure why. What it just being around them? Was he afraid of their reaction to him? Or was the fact that others were uncomfortable around him that made him uncomfortable as well? Regardless, he avoided large crowds and tended to keep to himself. It wasn't a particularly happy or rewarding way of life, but it was his.

A flash of lightning on the horizon shattered his thoughts, rudely awakening from his reverie. For a moment, he turned his gaze up and watched the rapidly approaching storm clouds. To him, thunder storms were a beautiful thing and he enjoyed watching them, though being perched on top of a steel tower was not the best place to enjoy them from. Giving a sad sigh, he stood up and took a step off the girder he had been perched on. His cloak flapped open quickly followed by his wings and landed softly in a crouch.

Vestigial my ass.

He got up, folding his wings tightly and pulled his cloak tightly around himself once more then set off down the deserted street towards his neighborhood. A flash of lightning momentarily illuminated the street. A flicker of movement and a flash of purple caught his attention, but it was just as rapidly lost to the darkness again.

He stopped for a moment and looked around for the trace of a moving shadow. He had rarely before seen anyone here in the decrepit industrial sector and was wondering if it was just his eyes. He shrugged and set off again only to stop a few moments later by the sound of scuffling. He turned around and try as he might, could not find the source of the noise. He set off again at a somewhat brisker pace, finding the prospect of someone else around, now possibly following him, a little unnerving. That, and he wanted to get home before the rain started.

He left the industrial sector and turned right on a street leading into a small residential development. He passed by a few houses, many of which had lights on inside. The sound of laughter drew his attention to a house that had its flood lights on and a group of children playing out in the front lawn. As he approached, a woman stuck her head out the front door and called to them.

“Hey kids, come in before it starts raining.”

Most of them set off towards the front door to meet their mother but one, a little girl, noticed the figure moving past their lawn. She squealed and ran to the figure.

“Sparky!” she yelled and immediately attached herself to his thigh.

Sparky squatted down next to her. She was a pretty little thing with soft pink scales, a light cream underbelly, and lime green eyes hidden behind brown curls. He felt sorry for all of the hearts he knew she would break once she grew up. With the wide grin she had across her snout it was almost impossible to resist her charm.

“Hey Sarah, how are you doing?”

“Good. I’m having fun,” replied the little pink-scaled girl. “Watch you doing?” she asked in a melodic voice only a young girl could have.

“Mmm… nothing,” he lied. “Hey, your mom’s calling. You should probably go inside.”

“Alright.” She gave him another hug. “Nice to see you again Sparky.”

Sparky got up, ruffled her hair and gave her a nudge towards the door. “See you around kid.”

He almost had reached his driveway when the rain started to pour, and in the less than 10 meters to shelter he got completely drenched. The garage door was up and he went in through there, knowing his mom wouldn’t want him slogging through the main rooms. He went in to the foyer that connected the garage to the kitchen and closed the door behind him.

“Is that you honey?” called a woman’s sing-song voice from the next room

Sparky didn’t immediately respond as he took off his soaked trench coat land hung it up. Picking up a towel he dabbed the water from his face and quickly ran it though his hair.

“Yeah it’s me,” he called back.

He took a moment to push a faded orange sweatband higher up on his forehead before entering into the kitchen. He only made it a few steps before his mother spun around in the kitchen and brandished a cooking spoon at him.

“Mister, you had better go back in there and take those shoes off before you track in any more mud! And make sure you dry off your feet too!”

Sparky rolled his eyes. “Yes Mother…”

He was sure to try and sound as exasperated as he could before backtracking back to the foyer to do as she asked. He grabbed a clean rag from a nearby closet and threw it down on the kitchen floor and, using a big three-toed foot to drag it around, cleaned up what he had tracked in. Only then did he dare to venture back in to the kitchen.

Like every other room in their house, the kitchen was small and made good use of every available space. Lining the wall, though which Sparky had just come, where the refrigerator, stove, microwave, and a wide array of cabinets. The adjoining wall was home to the sink and a pair of windows looking out upon the meager back lawn. Separating the never used dining room from the kitchen area was a high granite countertop, beneath of which there was a dishwasher and even more cabinets.

Sparky padded across the kitchen area, feet gently slapping the cool floor tiles as he made his way to a tall stool on the far side of the counter. There he took up vigil, ready to pounce when food presented its self. He had no idea what was being cooked, but its spicy sent both cleared his sinuses and made his mouth water.

T’Kira Bluefang was not a small woman by any means, however she was dwarfed in comparison to her son. At 1.68 meters tall, she was barely eye-level with the bottom of his throat. While their builds differed greatly, Sparky still shared many of the same traits as his mother. Both had the same grass green scales, deep aqua blue eyes, and an almost identical set of angular splashes of light blue along the top of each of their snouts and along the top of each shoulder running to mid-bicep. However, while T’Kira had fiery red hair tamed in to thick braids and an underbelly of a lighter, paler green, Sparky had inherited his father’s untamable shaggy blond hair, light gray skin, and a cobalt blue zig-zag that ran down the middle if his back and tail.

Sparky watched his mother move about the small kitchen as she prepared their dinner, her lithe, athletic body making the menial tasks seem almost graceful. He could see why his father had fallen for her. The graceful way she carried herself, the angles of her face, slightly different from a standard Kuvrahk, had a unique beauty to them, and her melodic voice having a thick accent from growing up in an area where an ancient tribal language, now long dead in most of the world, was spoken. All that, in combination with her normally cool, almost stoic demeanor, made for quite an alluring package. If he ever ran in to another woman like that of his own age, Sparky knew she would be the one. He’d marry her, assuming he ever worked up the courage to talk to her, let alone ask her out on a date.

The smells of dinner-to-be was beginning to make his stomach churn, demanding attention in its own way. Sparky would have loved to give in to its demands, but his mother was still working at the stove and he knew better than to ask when she would be done. He knew better because the answer to that question was always the same no matter what she was doing: 'It will be done when it is'.

The rain continued to fall outside in torrential sheets, only partially muffled by the walls of the house. The occasional rumbles of thunder where the only noticeable disruptions of the silence that hung thickly in the small kitchen.

T’Kira had been standing at the stove, stirring a pot of bubbling liquid and keeping her back to her son since he had entered the room. Occasionally she would glance back at him out of the corner of her eye as if she wanted to say something, but either thought better or she didn’t want to know the response she would get. Sparky noticed her odd behavior and knew almost immediately the cause. She wanted to know where he had been, and she would not be happy when she found out.

“So what are you making? It smells good,” he said, breaking the silence and trying to steer clear of questions regarding his whereabouts.

“Stew and leftovers,” she said quietly, pausing to stir the pot a few more times. “Where have you been? You’re home later than usual.”

Sparky looked down at the countertop and became immediately engrossed with twirling a pen with his fingers. “I was out… walking.”

She whirled around to face him, her fiery braids flying about her head like whips. “You were wandering around the industrial sector again, weren’t you?”

Sparky said nothing and remained focused on twirling the pen around. A quick glance up in to narrowed eyes and flared nostrils told him all he needed to know. She was pissed, and her normally calm demeanor was beginning to crack.

“You know I don't like it where you go there! It's not safe! You could be kidnapped or even killed! I can't go through that again.”

“Oh yeah? Well staying in the 'safety' of our own home didn't do Dad very much good, did it! He one night disappeared from beneath this very roof! Nowhere around here is safe anymore, and it hasn't been for a long time.”

Sparky almost immediately regretted what he said as his mothers anger was immediately replaced with sorrow. He only caught a glimpse of the tears forming and a quiver of her jaw before she turned back to the stove and her entire being seemed to sag.

His father, Caligon Bluefang, had disappeared with out a trace almost a decade earlier, and it was still an extremely soft spot with his mother. They had been extremely close, knowing each other on a level that most other couples couldn't even begin to fathom. His disappearance had left his mother a broken, empty shell for some time before, true to her warrior like ways, she pulled her self together and pressed of with life. The one comfort she did have was her only son, and she did every thing she could for him, and Sparky knew and appreciated it.

Sparky hopped off his stool and went directly to his mother and, from behind, wrapped his strong arms around her slender shoulders. “I'm sorry,” he said, brushing his snout against her temple. “I shouldn't have said that. I miss Dad too.”

She reached up and patted his forearms. “No, you're right... It's just that you're all I have left. I can't lose you too.”

Sparky opened his mouth, but anything that he said was drowned out by a series of violent thunderclaps. Sparky looked at his mother in concern. “That's not normal thunder...” he said, only to be cut off by another roll of thunder.

Sparky released his mother and briskly walked out of the kitchen, though a small sitting room, to the front foyer. Wrenching open the front door, he stepped out on to the sheltered front deck and his jaw dropped in awe.

The rain fell in sheets so thick that it almost completely obscured anything beyond a few meters. That was not all that surprising as heavy rain wasn't uncommon. The lightning however, was. Giant purple bolts lanced across the sky, almost constantly lighting it up as the energy repeatedly smashed in to the ground somewhere within the walls of the old military base. The repeated strikes made a ghostly silhouette of  the old base, visible even through the rain, giving it an evil, otherworldly feel.

T'Kira had joined Sparky as he stood agape at the light show he was watching. He glanced at her, then did a double take. She seemed genuinely upset by what was going on. Not much could phase her, but this did for some reason.

At the climax of it all, as the lightning strikes were almost constant and the sky was lit like day, a tremor ran through the ground, and then it all stopped. The sudden silence was defining as the lightning suddenly stopped. The only sound was that of the rain, but even that was rapidly letting up as the sky cleared at a rapid pace. Within minutes the violent storm had disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.

Sparky remained staring at the outline of the base, illuminated by the faint light of the moon. Something odd is going on here. What he just saw couldn't have been natural. He let out a long breath and sat against the deck railing.

“You're upset,” he said quietly.

T'Kira looked over at him for a moment before turning her gaze to the sky. “The last time I saw something like that was just after your father disappeared.”

Sparky looked down at the floor and grimaced. Everything seemed to go back to him. T'Kira stepped up to him and rested her hands on his shoulders. Sparky looked up to meet her gaze. She pulled his shoulders down and gently kissed his forehead.

“Come,” she said, grabbing one of his hands and tugged him towards the door. “Dinner should be ready.”
I'll say right up front that Kuvrahks and their world belong to Casey Young and not me. However, the plot line, characters, and a bunch of other stuff (I'm not sure yet because I haven't come up with it yet) are original works. If any one has questions on what belongs to who, please ask.

I'm probably going to be pulling inspiration from other works as well, such as "Fear Nothing" and "Seize The Knight" by Dean Koontz and a multitude of StarWars novels and fan-fictions.... so some things may seem familiar. I don't want to copy, so if some things seem a bit to familiar, please tell me.

Also, I am open to ALL kinds of feed back. Praise is good, critiques are better, and thoughts and insights are welcome.
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Submitted on
May 20, 2007
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