Beyond the Borders Volume 1
“The crimes one commits is seen before the eyes of Tzira.”
—Tzira bat Nikolai
Aryia braced the butt of the rifle against her shoulder as she tried to slow her breathing. Focus, and breathe. This target is as good as dead. She steadied her aim, hoping that this time she would be able to hit the training dummy from fifty meters away. The wind blew slightly over the grasslands of the training grounds just North of the capital of Sylveria. As Aryia readied her shot, a somewhat older man dressed in a military uniform walked up to her. Even though his name was stated clearly on his name‑tag many just referred to him with a simple Yes Sir.
Of course, the nickname — thanks to Aryia — was Sergeant Loudmouth due to his constant yelling.
“Private Kozyki! What the hell are you doing?!”
The sergeant’s voice rang loudly throughout her ears forcing her bullet to veer off course. What a waste of a bullet, she thought as she lowered her gun. As the sergeant continued to yell, other soldiers started to stare.
“If I was that piece of cardboard I would have already killed you!”
“Well, I could have killed it if you hadn’t interrupted me.”
With that simple remark the sergeant looked as if he was about to pop a blood vessel. Of all the soldiers in Sylveria why did I have to be stuck with the lazy one, the sergeant thought. As the sergeant stared menacingly at her she stared back. Of all the sergeants in the Sylveria Army why did I get stuck with the one that enjoyed yelling at the top of his lungs? I swear this man yells in his dreams, Aryia thought.
“War is not a game soldier, if you hesitate in combat, you will die! Do I make myself clear?! Now drop and give me fifty push‑ups!”
She playfully stuck out her tongue.
“Nope, you have to catch me first.”
Using her wind magic to give herself an advantage, she dashed in the opposite direction of the sergeant. The red blood vessel on the sergeant’s face was now as red as his hair. He knew there was no way to catch her. By the time she was out of ear shot there was not much left for him to do but continue to instruct the other Privates.
After running for some time Aryia decided to keep running due to the freedom she felt from it. If only freedom could be more then what it was.
Everyone knew the Kingdom of Sylveria and the Republic of Versyi were at war with each other. There was a time when the whole kingdom was just known as Sylveria, however, those days were gone. The citizens of Sylveria believed Versyi to be nothing more then a group of anti‑Selverist while Versyi believed Sylveria to be nothing more then a kingdom of oppressive slave drivers. Aryia simply wished the fighting would end. She just could not understand why the two groups did not get along. She continued to run through the streets of the Priserra Academy, taking in sights.
Priserra was the grand capital of the Kingdom of Sylveria. It was home to many things, one of them being a large castle to which the Emperor of Sylveria called home. The other was the Priserra Academy — a military academy — that trained the best soldiers to fight. While the people that attended the academy were considered students, all of them were still soldiers. Any of them could be called on one day to serve their kingdom, no matter their age.
As she dashed throughout the streets, dodging common people left and right, she noticed a white haired girl enter her field of vision. Aryia knew she did not have time to stop the collision that was about to happen. Not good. Closing her eyes she braced for impact. A few seconds passed as she noticed that she was still running. Why am I still running? She opened her eyes only to be greeted by a large red brick wall. Shit… shit… shit… shit!
Lylianna watched as Aryia hit the brick wall with enough force to crush a human skull. What an odd girl, Lylianna thought. Without time to waste she headed for the large building a few meters from her. She meet up with the rest of her squad who were standing out front of the courthouse. Unlike other soldiers of the military Lylianna and her team were easy to pick out from the rest due to their uniforms.
Lylianna wore a simple black undershirt over a black military‑style overcoat. Her red‑checkered color military skirt was a bit shorter then the other skirts seen in the other military uniforms. She wore a pair of black knee‑high socks along with black combat boots. On her right shoulder was her rank of major while on her left was a white horse chess piece.
The rest of the squad wore the same uniform, aside from Deadeye who made the smart choice of wearing a simple pair of black pants.
“Is everyone ready?” Lylianna asked.
“Yes ma’am!” the rest said in unison.
Upon entering the courthouse they all removed their black berets that held the white horse emblem pin on it. Lylianna stood in the hallway while the rest of her team entered the main courtroom with the other people.
* * *
Aryia finally came to after a few seconds. That was painful. As she got to her feet she looked around and realized that the girl was nowhere to be found. She had never seen a girl like her before. What kind of magic‑user is she?
People continued to pile into the courthouse as Aryia wondered what was going on. She could only fathom a guess that an important trial was taking place. Deciding to sneak into the building — even though it was a public trial — she made her way down the long corridor and into the main courtroom.
The courtroom was quite spacious and looked immaculate for what it was. Looking around the courtroom she noticed people splitting off to the left or right, entering in what appeared to be a square enclosure — which was nothing more then a wooden railing only about three meters from the ground — around the courtroom for the spectators to watch. To the front of the room was a tall, dark oak wooden desk where the judge would sit and pass judgment based on logic, reason, facts and evidence.
Standing in the center of the room was an older gentleman pushing around fifty years of age. His black hair was trimmed short; his military uniform pressed and clean to the military standards. He seemed quite calm for a guy about to be put on trial. As people continued to pour in Aryia managed to get a spot near the front. Once the courtroom was packed with spectators a loud booming voice echoed throughout the room.
Like a herd of sheep everyone but Aryia bowed. After noticing that she was the odd one out she quickly lower her head too as not to draw attention to herself. Entering the room was a slightly tall man covered in a black robe. He wore a matching executioner’s mask to hide his identity. Once the judge sat down everyone raised their heads. As the judge spoke his voice was deep with a serious tone to it.
“Colonel Cortez, you are being charged with high‑treason against your own kingdom. How do you plead?”
“Not guilty sir.”
* * *
Standing against the wall — just outside the doors of the courtroom — Lylianna could tell the trial was not going as well as she had hoped. As minutes dragged on it appeared that Colonel Cortez was going to be found innocent. I can’t let it end like that, she thought.
“Very well, Colonel Cortez, I find you—”
Lylianna pushed open the large doors, stepping into the main room before the judge could pass his sentence. All eyes were on her as she made her way to the center of the courtroom. Aryia remembered how she almost ran into the girl. Who is this girl, Aryia wondered. Lylianna stepped up to the judge’s desk.
“If I may sir, I bring forth evidence that proves the Colonel was working with the enemy.”
Silence filled the courtroom for a brief second.
“Sir, there is no need to listen to this girl. She has no evidence to speak of.”
The judge looked to Lylianna who showed no sign of falsehood. He thought for a minute.
“I will allow it. Proceed Major.”
Aryia was shocked to learn that the girl she almost ran into held the officer rank of major. Lylianna placed her hand into her coat pocket and pulled out a voice recorder. The colonel started to look nervous. As a conversation between the him and a female played on the recorder the colonel began to sweat profusely.
“As you can see, Colonel Cortez plans to betray the Kingdom of Sylveria.”
The judge’s eyes gazed over to the colonel. There was nothing he could say to defend himself. With the events that transpired the colonel knew he was done for. Pulling out a dagger from his coat pocket he rushed straight for Lylianna with intent to kill.
Lylianna turned in the direction of the colonel. Within a blink of an eye he found himself surrounded by Deadeye, Ryliah and Melissa. Deadeye had his pistol pressed up against the colonel’s head. Ryliah’s dagger was only a centimeter away from his heart while Melissa laid under him with her pistol pressed up against his genitals. It was clear to the colonel that if he moved even a millimeter he would be dead.
“You Black Knights are all the same. Weak cowards—”
“If you are done colonel, I believe you have a prison sentence to adhere to. Unless you would rather serve those years in the ground.”
Lylianna grabbed the dagger from him, a calm but cold expression showed on her face as she stared into his eyes. Once she had the dagger the Military Police Force moved in to apprehend the colonel.
“Colonel Cortez, due to the overwhelming evidence presented and the blatant attempt of murder on an officer, I sentence you to death.”
“If it is all right with you sir, I would like to drop the murder charge,” Lylianna said turning to the judge.
The judge seemed a bit confused and shocked.
“Are you sure Major?”
“Very well. Colonel, thanks to the Major you will be sentenced to life in prison.”
The Military Police put the colonel in handcuffs and carried him out of the building. Lylianna looked to her team, and then at her watch. Without any words the four of them exited the courtroom.
* * *
Aryia left after taking note of the time. She knew she had a history class in a bit but the truth was she hated history. Math, science, and history were subjects that she failed most of the time. What good is it learning about battles fought before our time, she thought as she made her way into the main academy building. She always believed that being able to adapt in the present was better than clinging to the past.
Inside the academy was no different then a standard private school aside from the fact that all the students were soldiers in training. The teachers were also soldiers, some of which were retired from the wars past. As Aryia walked down the hallway she noticed three other girls heading her way. The three girls were from the same unit as her and seen as the popular girls in the academy. In a way, they were more like idols than solders. As the self‑proclaimed leader crossed paths with Aryia the two of them bumped shoulders just slightly.
“Watch where you’re going.”
“You bumped into me!”
Before Aryia could even say another word the girl grabbed her by the collar of her uniform — slamming her against the lockers. She held Aryia slightly off the ground, staring menacingly at her.
“What did you say to me, you little wind rat?”
Aryia felt a sharp stinging feeling in her ribs causing her horrendous pain. While the three girls continued to bully her they failed to notice the two girls walking down the hallway.
“Yare Yare, looks like we have three little girls being naughty,” Melissa said in a playful tone.
The three girls turned to see where the voice was coming from. What are they doing here, Aryia wondered. Melissa stood there with her hands in her coat pockets — a cunning smile on her face. In contrast Lylianna had an expressionless face, like that of a stone‑cold killer.
“Picking a fight of three‑against‑one is a smart tactic. Logically, the greater the numbers the higher chance there is to win.”
After Melissa was finished speaking the leader of the group dropped Aryia to the floor. Aryia could feel the acute pain in her right rib, like being stabbed with a knife. The three girls squared off against Lylianna and Melissa.
“Should I let you handle it Major?”
“Of course Mel.”
Melissa stepped back and leaned against the lockers, crossing her arms. She knew this would be over quick. Aryia figured three‑against‑one was completely unfair. There is no way she can fight three people like that, she thought. The three girls rushed forward at Lylianna, however, they ended up hitting the ground like bricks as they held their sides. They appeared to be in great pain from what Aryia could tell. How did she do that in just a blink of an eye, she wondered.
“Now, get out of here.”
Lylianna’s tone was demanding, it was clear to Aryia that she was not kidding. As the three girls got up from the floor they limped away as fast as they could. The three of them were in intense pain, almost as bad as Aryia.
“What did you do to them?” Aryia asked.
“I merely put them in their place.”
She believed Lylianna moved way to fast. Even the well known mistress of wind magic — Zhan‑Ming — could not even more that fast. As Aryia tried to get up from the floor she found herself rapidly holding onto the area where she was hit.
“Looks like they hit you harder then you thought,” Lylianna said as she bent down beside her.
She lifted up Aryia’s shirt taking note of the pale purple bruise starting to form. As she slowly traced her fingertips over the bruise Aryia winced slightly.
“Mel, take her to the medical lab and fix her up.”
It was surprising to Aryia that Lylianna — a small, petite girl — could lift her with ease. As Lylianna handed her over to Melissa she began to walk in the opposite direction. Before she walked out of ear shot, there was one thing Aryia needed to know.
“Wait, what is your name?”