There the stone was, sitting perfectly on its bed, the purple velvet cushion. It was sapphire blue, beautiful and looked very precious. Livanna Recren sighed. She wasn’t even going to try and steal it. Arax Filate was the proud owner of ‘Jem’s magical objects and repair shop.’ Arax was a man of caution and took pride in his lifetime business. Livanna was a thief. A magical one, only she didn’t know that part. Livanna didn’t know about her magic, she had run away from home at the age of seven. In order to survive, she had become a thief. She was known throughout the world as the best and only as the best. But, ‘Jem’s’ was way too heavily guarded to even attempt a job on. She entered anyway.
Arax jumped up from behind the solid oak counter and smiled cheerily, “How may I be of service?” He spoke with an ancient kind of air to him. His features scared Livanna. His face was burned and he had three scars running parallel to each other, straight down his face.
Livanna fixed her dark, scarlet red hat with a feather protruding out of the top of it. She wore a plain white blouse with lacy, brown leather pants. She brushed herself down as if dusting herself off. She smiled back and asked, “How much is that stone on the window?”
He answered. “Livanna Recren?” She was busted, “You can have it!” Arax reached across the counter and grabbed the stone from the window, hastily, as if he was in danger and had to hurry. He looked at her and thrust it into hands before she could react.
Livanna was stunned. She couldn’t move, she was frozen with fear. Thieves were usually hanged when caught. The part she didn’t understand was why he was just giving it to her. Livanna finally decided to run. So with a messy roundabout turn, she made a break for the shop door. A rough hand grabbed hers. Livanna spun to see Arax’s un- delightful features glaring at her coldly. He asked her to go into the back of the shop with him. Livanna protested and tried to run again, resulting in a failure. She couldn’t break his grip and fell, her hat falling off. Luckily, there was no one in the shop. Arax half pulled, half dragged her into the back of the shop- making the coloured beads hanging from the doorway dangle.
Livanna was dumbfounded by the man’s strength, and tried once more, resulting in the same, to pull away. Arax shook his head and muttered something. “What?” Livanna shouted.
Arax shook his head once more. “Livanna Recren, Daughter of Elise Evelyn and Darveckle Claw?” Livanna gasped with surprise and nodded and opened her mouth to reply. Arax cut in. ‘How did he know this?’ The sentence ran through Livanna’s mind repeatedly. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Arax chuckled, “Sit.” He said beckoning to a chair. Livanna slumped into the ornate wooden chair Arax had told her too.
“I know you ran away when you were younger, Livanna,” Arax continued, “And you probably don’t know this, but, I was a friend of you parents.” The front door to the shop opened, causing the wind chimes hanging from the ceiling to chime softly and melodically. It was beautiful. Livanna made to speak, but Arax cut in again. “Hold that thought.” He walked back into the front door of the shop. Livanna looked around. The back room was full of not only magnificently crafted swords and daggers and other weapons, but also of ancient looking artefacts and objects like vases and chairs. She got up and walked to a small katana sword, in a black sheath with a gold dragon coiled around the handle. It hung on the wall by two gold hooks. She grasped it in one hand and held it up, examining it closely. It was magnificent, really. Then there was a loud bang from the front of the shop. It was like something big had fallen. Livanna yelped and hung the sword back on its hooks carefully, trying not to make it look out of its place. She quickly sat back down on the ornate chair and listened, not making a sound. The stone inside her pocket glowed, and then burned her. Livanna pulled it out and saw it shining, luminously blue. There was a thin silver chain dangling from a hole in the top of the stone, which Livanna threw around her neck. The stone stopped glowing. She wondered why it was glowing in the first place. It was a mystery to her. Livanna sat still listening to a conversation.
“Where is it?” A loud, strange voice bellowed.
“I don’t know. It was sold this morning, a man in a suit bought it.” Arax sounded frail compared to the stranger.
“I think you are lying,” the stranger remarked, “I think you are. Now, tell me where the stone is!”
Livanna gasped and held the stone Arax had given her tightly, holding into her chest. The argument outside continued, but she wasn’t listening anymore. She was too busy trying not to make noise. Livanna could feel her heart pounding, beat after beat; it was like it was trying to get out of her chest. She took deep breaths and then the shop door slammed. Arax ran into the back room, looking ever so slightly older and concerned.
“So,” Livanna said trying to get a conversation started, and maybe some answers, answered, “How did you know my parents?”
Arax waved the question away and he became more serious. It all showed in his tone, he was anxious. “They’re coming, all of them, I need to leave. And so do you, get out of here. Run, and take the stone with you. Grab a weapon, and remember. Trust no one. They’re coming….” He repeated.
Livanna made to ask him who, but Arax ran through the doorway with the beads hanging from it and dashed madly to the door. Livanna shrugged and got up. She walked out to the front room. It contained vials of every shape and size and vases and other items. There were weapons hanging on the wall, all looked heavy. She kept looking around until she got to the centre of the shop. It was a disaster. Livanna took the banging noise as the wardrobe that was smashed on the ground in smithereens. She gasped. A blinding white light soared from within Livanna’s head and she nearly fell over. Then she suddenly remembered something. ‘Run’.
The word was clear in her mind, and it surged inside her, she wanted to run, but didn’t. The voice was strong and dubious. It certainly wasn’t hers. It spoke again.’ Run, get out, and run. ‘Go, quickly. Remember, trust no one. Get a weapon, you’ll need it.’ Livanna rushed back into the store room and grabbed the sword with the dragon handle. She stuck it through her belt and returned to the front of the shop. She looked for her hat which had fallen off her. She saw it lying, folded in half beside the counter. She frowned and went and picked it up, straightened it out, put it on and fixed herself. Livanna ran and vaulted over the smashed wardrobe and opening the shop door, and dashed through it quickly.
Livanna looked around, standing on the cobbled street of seventeenth century Dublin, Ireland. She gasped and ran. She ran as fast as she could, and as quickly too. She glanced back and saw two men in black shadowy swirling cloaks go into ‘Jem’s’ shop. She panted and continued running, now crossing the road. The carts and horses plodded along, and she did her best to avoid them. She glanced back and saw the men leaving the shop, looking angry. She continued running and got to the crowd square and stopped. It was market day and there would have been no point trying to get past the crowds of merchants, bustling and pushing, spending their money, investing in absolutely nothing. Livanna took several gulps of air, it was like water. Her muscles burned as if there was a raging fire within them.
The men were looking around outside the shop, calculating where Arax could have gone. They didn’t know Livanna had been to the shop. And if they did, she would probably be dead. ‘Jem’s’ exploded and fire spread out, shooting flaming tendrils out in all directions. Splinters of wood and glass flew out onto the street, smashing windows of carriages. Papers and parchments floated everywhere, landing on the road and in puddles. It was sunny but it had rained the night before. The men nodded happily, satisfied with their catastrophic work, and walked over to the square and into the crowd. They were ugly men, big and buff and dangerous.
The people screamed and plunged madly, terrified as they couldn’t see the shop. Only people with magical ascent could. All the mundane people could see was splinters and fire; it was like the air had spontaneously self-combusted. They made mad dashes in every direction, running around like headless chickens on slaughter day. They bumped into Livanna in hurried little packs, nearly knocking her over. Livanna looked equally as scared, although she could see the shop; she didn’t know about magic. The stone started glowing again, and it soon burned her.
She cried out loudly, making everyone look at her. She gulped, looking embarrassed. The people were confused by her glowing blouse, but then just started running again. The men in the black suits had noticed her though, more than noticed her. They ran at her, nearing to her every second. She saw them, just in time too, another minute and they would have grabbed her. Livanna spun sharply, knocking over an old man carrying a bag of potatoes. She yelled an apology and continued running, harder and faster than before. Livanna leaped over stalls gracefully, having had training during her years as a thief. She was fifteen and was quite tall. Her blonde hair waved, madly in the force of her running. She dodged another woman, spinning around to avoid her. She caught a glimpse of the men. They had gold stars in circles on the front of their clothes; she believed them to be pentagrams or something. Livanna ran onto the cobbled road and across the street avoiding oncoming traffic.She had just got to the other side, when a carriage came to a sudden stop in the middle of the road. It blocked the traffic, stopping them from moving. Yells of annoyance and anger filled the air. She looked at the man who was wearing a silver suit and a matching top hat. He put two fingers on his monocle and she swore he winked at her. Then the voice came again. It spoke louder and firmer. ‘Run’. Livanna did just that, running into a back alleyway that smelled of damp and sewerage. She stepped in dirt and muck. Slimy moss grew on the walls like horrible, green scabs. Rats scurried out from the shadows and out into the street. Livanna did her best not to squeal. It was horribly horrific. But she was safe. That was the main thing. Or at least that’s what she thought.
The scrawny sixteen year old boy was thrown into the damp, smelly alleyway by his master. He tried to turn and run, but was grabbed by his raggy, dirty shirt and was plunged deeply- head first- into the murky waters of the drain. Jonah Sanfrics was his name. He took in a mouthful of water, his lungs cringing. Then his master- a horrible old man named Drailic Flecks, pulled him up and laughed cruelly.
“Ye scrawny little orphan ye Thinkin’ ye can do wha's ye likes", he said angrily "You's took meh grandmother' ornamental plate to sell for yerself". He punched Jonah hard and repeatedly, winding him just above the waist.
Jonah cried out in agony, doubling over, falling back into the water. He spluttered and kicked out, trying to hit Drailic away, but failed. Drailic grabbed Jonah by his thick black hair and pulled him up at arm’s length. A knife pressed into Jonah’s neck and he winced, then head-butted out backwards. Drailic pushed him against the wall and punched him in the stomach. The force of the blow made Jonah double over. His emerald green eyes shed tears that rolled down his face, leaving streaks of white skin under a heavy mask of dirt.
Jonah pleaded, “Please sir, please, I didn’t take it. I didn’t…” Drailic spat in his mouth, pulled him up and threw him against the alley way floor.
Drailic was a heavy drunk, he always had been. He smelled of whiskey and rum, and couldn’t walk or talk properly. He took the knife from his pocket and got ready to fling it at Jonah. He didn’t though. Drailic fell over, slipping on the grimy muck that lay on the alley floor. He made a squelch when he collided with it and rolled about, like a headless chicken, yelling out in agony. The dagger flew down into a drain, sinking to the bottom.
This was Jonah’s chance to do something. Without thinking, he took action. He plunged for the dagger Drailic had dropped in the drain. He landed roughly beside the murky waters. Jonah reached for the dagger that was lying still on the drain floor. He reached further, putting his shoulder in the water, and then taking a risk, Jonah lowered his face into the grimy water. Jonah couldn’t swim, like most his age, he hadn’t learned how to. He had just grasped the blade end of the dagger when a hard rough hard grabbed his ankle. Jonah grunted, twisted and kicked, trying to get Drailic to loosen, or maybe even drop his grip. Jonah faltered and grabbed the dagger, barely grasping it by the tip of the blade. He threw it up and clasped it by the hilt, and in one swift movement thrust it through the waters murky surface. Jonah twisted a tiny inch and reached down, slashing Drailic’s closed fist.
Drailic screamed intensely, out of mere pain. His grip faltered, but he didn’t let go. Jonah kicked again, and again, his upper body still in the drain water. He struggled furiously to get up, kicking out, wasting his precious energy. Jonah’s foot collided with Drailic’s face making his neck snap back. Jonah pulled his head from the water and rolled over in muck and filth. He got up and peered at Drailic angrily. He raised the dagger and flung it at his master’s heart. It struck home with an unhealthy thwack! Drailic slumped to a still. He didn’t move. He was dead.
Jonah gasped. He had just killed; he nearly collapsed to the floor in disgust and shock, but also fears. He had killed. Blood ran down the alley, pouring into drains. It hit his shoes and he nearly got sick. He had killed. Jonah hadn’t meant to kill him, it was just, the heat of the moment. He thought no more and quickly bent down, picking up the dagger. He searched Drailic’s pockets, finding a gold pocket watch. The pocket watch was gold, encrusted with shining white diamonds. There was a small chain coming out of the top of it and he linked it around his neck, tucking it in to his raggy shirt. He quickly took off Drailic’s white coat and put it on himself, tying it up. He looked at it. Fortunately, there was no blood. Jonah looked around cautiously. He couldn’t leave the body there. He tried to heave it, but it was too heavy. He suddenly wished he had some strength. His thoughts strayed to the silk factory Drailic owned, and all the kids he had had enslaved, then he stopped. The body was too heavy so with a disappointed sigh, he dropped it. Jonah looked at the opening of the alleyway. He ran quickly towards the exit, hoping he could get away, to forget about all that had happened in the past few minutes.
Jonah reached the cobbled street of Dublin, and looked around, seeing horses and carriages and rich, fancy people wearing bright and colourful clothes. It was a sunny morning, and his eyes hurt from the change of the darkness within the alleyway. He went to cross the road and a carriage flew past, nearly killing him. Jonah jumped back, startled. He landed on the footpath in a puddle. He got up and dusted himself off, soaking wet and mucky. Jonah sighed then saw another carriage, a huge black shiny one with six white majestic horses pulling it. He made a run at it and jumped onto the back of it, landing heavily on a small ledge at the back of the huge carriage. He turned and looked to see if the driver had noticed anything, but he couldn’t see that much. All he could see was a silver top hat. Jonah sat back and made him comfortable on the small ledge. It was just about big enough to hold him. He rustled back into what seemed like a fur blanket. He didn’t care what it was, but it was warm. That’s what mattered. He settled back and soon fell asleep.
Livanna sat on a hard stone boulder outside Dublin city, looking out upon the country side. She was eating a loaf of bread she had taken from a shop. The country side was beautiful. Different types of flowers grew, all bright all cheerful. The birds chirped cheerily, singing a merry song. She was in awe. The blue stone lay on her lap as she ate. Livanna wondered why Arax had given it to her. She wondered what the voice was. She had so many questions that she herself could not answer. She finished off the loaf of bread and sighed. The chain dangled off her lap, swinging slightly. Livanna picked it up and put her head through the chain, letting it fall onto her chest. She glanced at the sword in her belt and picked up a satchel bag she stole in town and opened it. It was empty, as if now but she thought best to hide the sword in it. So, she did. Livanna jammed the sword to the bottom. She tied the bag shut with a piece of string.
Livanna then looked back on the city and saw a huge black shiny carriage leaving the gates. There were six white horses pulling it. Livanna recognised it immediately as the carriage that stopped the men in black suits following her. She stood up and gasped at it, staring straight at it, then stupidly walked onto the middle if the road.
The driver of the carriage, a man named Phoenix, rode on despite the blonde teenage girl in his way. He snapped the reigns and the horses gained speed, galloping, in perfectly synced strides. Phoenix wore a silver suit, a matching top hat and a white frilly blouse. A cane lay beside him in the carriage and a monocle sat perfectly around his left eye. He smiled mischievously, snapping the reigns more and more, making the horses go faster. Livanna was about six feet away from the carriage. She had second thoughts about standing in the middle of the road, but stayed there. The horses had just about reached her, when Phoenix pulled the reigns and they stopped. Livanna could feel the horse’s warm breath on her face. Their nostrils flared when they let breathed.
Phoenix looked at her curiously. “You’re brave girl, you’re very brave.” He remarked.
Only then, when the horses were fully up close, Livanna recognised their beauty. The horses were pure white and had thick gold manes. They were majestic, standing tall, about four feet high from the ground. She raised her hand to touch the horse nearest her, but the horse batted her hand away. Livanna looked at the man in the cart and asked, “Why do you think that?” Livanna spoke curiously. She looked around and saw nothing but fields and flowers. She sighed and looked back to the so-called Phoenix.
Phoenix smiled and nearly chuckled. “Anybody that does know me, well, they would think twice before standing in front of a carriage driven, by… me. Everyone knows I’m on the verge of mental insanity. But, I’m not. You’re very brave.” Phoenix nodded and smiled.
Livanna thought very differently, but smiled in agreement. Another carriage left the city of Dublin, a big oak coloured one and headed down the road Phoenix’s had. It was travelling slowly, being carried by only two small black horses, not strong enough to go any faster, trotting at their own painfully slow pace.
Phoenix looked back and smiled, looked at the horses on his carriage and then towards Livanna again. “It’s going to rain soon.” He said as a matter of fact.
Livanna peered at him strangely, seriously wondering if the man in front of her was alright in the head. He was a strange being and she had to give him that. She liked strange. It was different. Livanna liked that. Then, true to the Phoenix’s word, the sky darkened and it rained. First small droplets spilled hopelessly in a light drizzle and soon it gave away to thundering rain. Livanna yelped and looked at Phoenix.
“Do you want to take shelter in the carriage? I’ll take you to the next town. You probably want to get away, don’t you?” Phoenix’s voice was muffled by the thundering rain.
“How did you know it would rain?” Livanna shouted.
“I’m friends with mother nature! Now, get in!” Phoenix demanded.
Livanna walked to the carriage door and opened it, looking in. The interior looked expensive and extremely comfortable. There were red leather seats with gold rivets holding them in place. Red curtains covered the back and side windows. Livanna climbed up and got in, seating down. She opened the curtains and looked out the window. She saw the carriage with the small horses approaching ever closer, slowly. Then something caught her eye. Something moved just underneath the window on a small ledge. She leaned against the glass and saw a scrawny boy, lying on the ledge wrapped in a woolly blanket, getting wet. She smiled softly. Livanna called out to Phoenix.
“Hey, do you know there’s a boy asleep on the back of the carriage?”
Phoenix dropped down hanging upside down, smiling happily. The reigns of the carriage were tied around his legs. He laughed and said, “Yeah, of course I do.”
Livanna looked at him. “Do you want me to wake him?”
“No,” he replied simply.
“Why?” Livanna asked.
“It’s because I have plans for him, plans for him and you.” Phoenix muttered, swinging back up onto the seat and whipping the reigns. The horses pulled forward and began into a hard, fast gallop kicking up dirt as they went. The horses soon were well away from Dublin city, smashing through the heavy, dark rain.