The Siren’s Rune—Chapter 1: The Beginning
“Emelyn, are you ready yet?”
“Just about!” I called back, blushing lightly. I put the scissors down that I had been using to cut my violet hair. On the floor, the strands piled up in a disorganized heap, but I tried to not let it bother me.
I quickly changed into a commoner’s outfit—a sleeveless shirt, a pair of pants, and some ruddy boots. From beneath my satin covered bed, I pulled out a wooden box.
“Why are you taking so long?” a voice called out behind the door. He seemed peeved and impatient, but I was long accustomed to it.
I slowly lifted the lid from the box.
Within it was a common black robe with no sleeves, but more importantly, hidden beneath it was a little stone rune.
Runes, when supplied with spiritual energy, would activate and cause special things to happen.
Runes came in many different forms, but the four main categories were stone, which were engraved into objects and hard surfaces; enchantment, which were wrapped around various magical items; magic, which were inscribed into the air as incantations; and soul, which were the unique, innate ability people were born with.
I had received this stone rune from one of my many suitors after convincing him to get it for me.
I sighed and, after putting on the robe, strode to the door.
Vaughn, the Royal Oracle, stood there with arms crossed. He always had a short temper, but if I had to marry someone, I wanted it to be him.
He was tall and handsome with a well-built body and remarkable facial features. His black eyes, which contrasted with his white hair, exuded an air of mystery and seemed to reflect the deepness of his thoughts. At times he could be brutally sharp with his words, but he always made my heart flutter.
Seeing my cropped hair, he wrinkled his brows.
“Bind this for me,” I said, holding out the small stone rune. I had trusted Vaughn ever since I was little, but if I was able to, I would have bound the rune with my own blood. It was a matter of pride.
Nodding, he grabbed the stone from me. He turned it around in his hand to examine each stroke.
“This is an uncommon rune that I’ve never seen,” he said. “Why do you have it?”
Runes were divided up into grades: common, uncommon, rare, epic, and legendary. Each had a different color when activated, and they were respectively white, green, blue, purple, and orange.
The only exception were soul runes which were unique grade and had the color of a person’s core. Their strengths ranged from common to legendary, but people with stronger soul runes tended to give birth to stronger children. Therefore people from royal bloodlines had a high chance of being born with a legendary-strength soul rune.
“Just bind it for me,” I said. “It’s for socketing my robe. It will cloak my spiritual energy and allow for my hood to completely hide my face.”
“So you can pretend to be a boy?” he asked with a light smile. He bit the tip of his thumb and let a small drop of blood fall onto the stone rune.
The red liquid coagulated into a pebble-sized depression at the center of the rune. It then changed from a red color to a light green. It was Vaughn’s core color and the color of his soul rune. The green continued swirling, meaning that the rune had a continuous passive effect.
I quickly grabbed it from his hand before placing it into a pocket lining the inside of my robe. “What’s so wrong with disguising myself as a boy?”
“It’s unnecessary.” He frowned. “Do you remember everything I told you?”
“Yes,” I responded.
Today was the day that Gnudeer, my kingdom, was going to fall. Vaughn, whose soul rune happened to be a powerful oracle rune, made some predictions. He discovered that one of my siblings possessed a powerful soul rune. There was a chance it could be a Divine Rune, a grade only heard about in legends.
Other oracles made the same sort of prophecies, leading to the information being leaked.
As a result, the three other kingdoms—Appenhund, Beecivet, and Hartebeest—wanted to destroy us. They were afraid that our kingdom would produce a Runist who could sweep across the continent of Haven.
“You will hide among the so-called chosen and wait there for about an hour,” Vaughn said for the millionth time. “Then, you must use the door formation to enter my room. Afterwards, take the secret passage and meet me in the tavern.”
I humphed to voice my disdain of his constant nagging, but as he quickly stepped into my room and shut the door, I blushed like a helpless child.
I really liked him even though I was seventeen and he was twenty-four. Whenever I needed him, he was always by my side. After my mother died, he took her place in secretly teaching me how to become a Runist.
I owed him a great deal.
Vaughn lifted his hand to the center of the door. From memory, he scribbled a rune that was part of the door formation, which was a collection of enchantment runes strewn together to create a larger rune. Depending on what he wrote, the door would open up to another room and allow instant access to other parts of the palace.
A trail of white light was left behind by his finger. When it came to completion, it flickered once before disappearing into the wooden door.
“Ready?” he asked.
As the word left his mouth, I took in a deep breath. I held back my eagerness, but it still shone in my eyes as I stared at the door. Looking back, I gave him a nod before pulling my hood over my head.
I hope everything goes well.
I pushed the door open.
As Vaughn slowly closed the door behind me, I glimpsed a strange smile on his face. It was almost mocking.
I stood in a large dungeon room, which contained a bit more than two dozen people. All of them wore very strange clothing and accessories, but I could instantly identify that the people who stood on the left side of the room were the rogue fighters while the people on the right were of noble blood.
These people were the so-called chosen, a euphemism for the unlucky souls who came through the Planar-Replacement Rune. Because Gnudeer was doomed to fall, the king and the most influential noblemen were determined to keep the Gnudeer bloodline alive by sending anyone of noble blood to another plane.
However, there were limitations to this rune. It only worked on people under the age of twenty-five, and for every person sent, a new person would appear.
Once that new person stepped onto the Planar-Replacement Rune, their soul rune would awaken. It usually had as much power as the soul rune of the person sent away.
I pulled my hood closer to my face and tried not to attract to much attention.
I heard the chosen talking among themselves in strange languages. My face became sour.
I should have asked Vaughn for a translation rune, so I could pass the time eavesdropping. Now, I need to wait in boredom.
I walked to the opposite side of the room and stood by the wall. Looking back, I had a good view of the door. I started counting the time.
After a minute, another person entered the room. It was a young girl around the age of five. Tears streaked down her cheeks. Upon seeing her, a woman, who had been trembling this whole time, rushed up to the girl and started comforting her. The girl’s tears soon vanished, and she smiled.
I scoffed at them; it was all pointless.
Gnudeer had no use for these chosen. They might be useful for another kingdom, but in this very room they would be slaughtered. They just needed to wait for the last person to be sent away. Then, all hell would break loose.
I was the Third-Ranking Princess. With Vaughn’s help, he convinced my uncle to send away the lowest ranking nobles before the higher-ranking royalty. That way, it would be easier for me to escape.
The next person to enter bore an extremely haughty expression. I could not help laughing at him; he had obviously fallen for the guards’ ploy to calm the chosen.
“Heroes to save the world,” “Powerful beings,” “Oh, angels!” I imagined they had said.
Whoever came up with the idea to trick them like that had a pretty sick humor, but I approved of their style.
The next person was trembling.
The following was anxiously gripping a dagger.
An hour had almost passed…
The fifth person to enter was different from everyone else. I could see it in his deep blue eyes.