Chapter 1:

1 - Rejection

The Legacy of Xaero: Rebirth from Silverfur

     “Will you shut up already? I’m not going to let a bunch of old farts dictate what I’m wearing or who I open my legs for!”

     The outburst had stunned the room into silence. Many of the Elders in attendance glanced at one another in uncertainty. At the head of the table the geriatric gorilla of a Sith with the brains to match glared back at Vaylin, as if his gaze alone could throw daggers and he was determined to bury her in stab marks.

     “I beg your pardon?” Atrion asked coldly. With his scrunched and wrinkled face peering down at her through his half-moon spectacles, Vaylin resisted the urge to leap across the table and make the old man ever regret meeting her.

     Beside her, Dorn, Vaylin’s sometimes-attendant-and-sometimes-paramour put his hand on her shoulder in a concerned manner. “Lin,” He murmured. As comforting as it was to have him with her, right now she wished his brother was here too; she would probably need both of them to restrain her from hurting someone considering what that elderly puke was demanding of her.

     There was just something about them all that made her fur stand on end.

     Speaking louder, Dorn tried his best to salvage the situation. “I-I think what Vaylin means to say is who she chooses to spend her company with is her business,” He stammered. Poor guy. He never did well in crowds. She’ll need to find some way to comfort him once this was over.

     His nervousness was warranted; she just didn’t care. Comprised within this room were the ruling Elders of their people. They were all a bunch of wrinkled silverfurs who had survived the Elves’ dumb war and making it her problem. For some idiotic reason, they thought she answered to them. And for some even more bewildering reason, she sometimes humored them!

     “No, don’t bother sugarcoating it,” Vaylin growled, standing up. “Let’s look at everything you’ve been doing to control me.”

     Atrion held up a hand in an attempt to forestall her. “That isn’t why we’re here. You don’t have the authority to derail this meeting.”

     She snorted in genuine amusement. “Pretty sure I’m the ultimate authority as the Divinity’s representative, aren’t I?”

     One of the other elders sucked in their breath at her reminder. Everyone turned towards Atrion to see his reaction. “Is this really necessary?” Atrion sighed.

     “It is.” She had to give him credit, the old man stared her down rather than be cowed. In the ten years she had known the insufferable twit, he had grown from a minor thorn in her side to a legitimate obstruction to her everyday activities.

     “Let’s start from the top,” Vaylin spat. “You restricted the kinds of food I eat.”

     Atrion started to interject. “You were eating nothing but barely cooked pork–”

     “My diet was fine, thank you very much!” Dorn winced. Feeling bad for him, Vaylin laid her tail on his leg, hoping it would comfort him.

     “Two, you threw a fit over where I lived and kidnapped me all the way to this dunghill of an island.”

     “This archipelago is the birthplace of our people!” Atrion hissed, his eyes narrowing. “The fact our cradle of civilization holds no significance to you is an indictment to your calling as caretaker of our race.”

     “And keeping me under your thumb at the same time,” Vaylin countered. “I was doing just fine as Asura before you came along, now I can’t help a kid sneeze without your permission.”

     “It’s called protocol, my dear,” he said with an impressive amount of blasé. “Something you would have known if your imbecile of a father hadn’t spirited you away to the middle of nowhere when we needed him most.”

     At the mention of her father, Vaylin slammed a fist on the table, shocking everyone as she proceeded to throw it aside. The table went flying with considerable force, smashing a hole in the wall, exposing the island’s beautiful beaches below. Lip curling into a snarl, she crossed the distance to Atrion as all his toadies recoiled in shock and fear. Many of them quickly made some excuse and left the room entirely. Cowards. To her irritation, the old coot still looked unimpressed.

     “Third, don’t you dare disrespect my father,” she hissed. “Valin was a better man than you’ll ever be. I don’t know if he was right to appoint me as his successor, but I know for a fact it’s better than any solution you’ve come up with.”

     “And yet you’ve continued to operate with impunity, meddling in the affairs of the other four races,” gritted Atrion. “They have their own Asura. Let them deal with their own problems.”

     “If I did as you just said, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Vaylin said quietly before stepping back with a smile.

     For the first time since she had known him, Atrion finally was caught off guard. His worried expression, while not something she intended to capitalize on, was incredibly satisfying.

     “You can’t do this forever,” Atrion carefully placed the mask back on, his expression betraying nothing. “People may love you now, but mark my words, operating without restraint or respect to the laws of the nations will bring you nothing but trouble.”

     “The only trouble I keep encountering is coming from you. I’m done with this.” Turning her back on the old fool, Vaylin pecked Dorn on the cheek for putting up with her antics and led him out of the room.

     “What are you doing?” He whispered as they began making their way towards her quarters.

     “Besides raining on their parade?” She said, almost holding back a laugh at how the meeting had made her heart soar. Perhaps now they understood how she felt. For a glorious moment, she allowed herself to savor the look on Atrion’s face. He had been scared. Of her. Of course, Vaylin had no intention of hurting the old man. At least, she didn’t want to. But she had already done plenty of difficult things over her life while searching for her father. If it came down to it, she would do anything in her power to help others, consequences be damned.

     Dorn’s brother – also her sometimes-attendant-and-sometimes-paramour – paced the room, a worried expression on his face. His bearish figure belying his tender personality. Catching sight of his brother and Vaylin, Bjorn hurried over, his hands outstretched like he wasn’t sure if he should embrace them or strangle them. “I heard a commotion,” he said, looking down on them. “What happened?” She knew from experience that with his size, he could easily do either if the situation demanded.

     “I finally stuck it to the old farts trying to tell me what to do,” Vaylin said casually, reaching up to pat Bjorn on the cheek. She sidestepped him and began to collect her things from around the room. There wasn’t much. She really only needed her reliable polearm she named the Monkey’s Paw, a spare set of clothes and her wallet.

     “What, why?” Her ursine friend asked.

     “Oh, it's because we were too loud last night,” She said, focusing on what set of clothing she should bring with her.

     Bjorn’s cheeks went red, and Dorn popped up from around him. “Are you actually using that as your justification to leave?” He demanded, his cheeks just as cherry red as his brother’s.

     “Well, it's not the only reason,” Vaylin confessed, pulling two outfits to her figure then inspecting them against the mirror. Unsatisfied with either, she tossed them aside, and began grabbing another set to examine. “It was just the last straw, really.”

     “And just like that you’re going to leave?” asked Bjorn. “What about us?”

     Vaylin paused to look back at them. They had been assigned to her by the Elders. The idea that they would prefer to stay wasn’t something she had considered. “Well, I was under the impression you would want to come with me,” she admitted sheepishly, realizing her mistake. “I mean, you two did say you’d follow me to the ends of Axis as we were wrapping up last night.”

     The two brothers glanced at each other, and crossed their arms. They looked uncertain, a silent exchange while looking at one another. A feeling of anxiety Vaylin wasn’t expecting blossomed in her chest, and she wondered what they would say. Did they only mean it as sweet nothings?

     She had traveled a large portion of Oros by herself and with others for as long as she could remember. Bjorn and Dorn had only been with her for a year at most. It would not matter at all in the grand scheme of things if they chose not to. Yet on a personal level, one Vaylin rarely understood, she hoped they would make this journey together.

     “Someone has to cook for you, I guess,” Dorn admitted, grinning slightly.

     “And someone has to point you in the right direction,” Bjorn added. “You’re hopeless with a map.”

     Something like joy erupted in her bosom. A huge grin split across her face and Vaylin closed the distance to give them both a kiss.

     The three of them made their way down to the island’s docks, and found a crew manning a smaller ship and getting ready to debark. Appropriately, it was called, New Dawn, and the captain, a friendly water lizard of a sith, was more than willing to give the Asura of the Cait Sith and her companions a lift North West to the port of Havenwood. When they had reluctantly explained Vaylin’s falling out with the Elders, the captain grinned.

     “Aye, he’s a right twat, he is.” The lizard guffawed. “Always trynna to pay me less than I’m worth. Donnae worry one bet, the New Dawn will sail ya ta the twin moons if ya say the word.”

     As they began to pull out of the harbor, Atrion and the other elders hobbled into view, demanding Vaylin return to port. Much to their displeasure, the ship’s captain reached out with his magyk to generate a small wave, drenching them in the briney water. Vaylin laughed at the sight, and making eye contact with Atrion, made a very specific gesture with a very specific meaning. Eyes nearly bulging from his skull in rage, the decrepit gorilla man nearly threw himself into the water to swim towards the New Dawn and Vaylin, if not for being held back by his constituents.

     Taking both her attendant’s hands in hers, she turned to look towards the horizon, excited for what the future might hold for her.