The Familiar of Ages
My eyes shot open, laughter from the nightmare still ringing in my ears, today is going to be the worst day of my life. "I'd rather just stay in bed and maybe no one will notice" I'm murmured to myself as I heard the dreaded footsteps falling in the hallway. I close my eyes very tightly, willing my door to remain closed.
My mother from the outside "Open the door right now Lila" her abrasive but kind voice melted my anger and tension briefly enough for her to bum rush the door. "It's time la. I know you how nervous you are, but no one will be upset." That is where she was lying, we both knew it, maybe not my family, but I will be ridiculed for months if this doesn't go well; Maybe I should explain. We live in a world where magic is possible with the help of our familiars, the Animal Guides or spirits, that give us access to an unlimited power. Every family, every lineage has an animal or group of animals that come to their family and make them proud.
Even the most lowly family summon Lions, great elephants, bears. My family even though we come from a very prestigious bloodline, have never produced a "proud" familiar. My family has been full of weasels, otters, rats; though a couple of years ago a cousin from Louisiana summon an alligator! that's the best we've seen in years. Today on my 13th birthday, is my time to shine. I roll out of bed and face my mother "do I have to do this in the park?" I huffed. "why does this have to be a public spectacle?" My mother brushes the hair out of my face and smiles. she tenderly says, "if we have nothing else we have traditions."
I let out a sigh one of many to come today I'm sure. "Your momma has made your favorite breakfast" mother says as she tosses me my dress, and walks out of the room.
I walk down the stairs, after dressing, and smell lavender and honey; Our Homestead always smell so sweet when Mama is cooking. I sit down at the table with my brother and ate the breakfast that was set in front of me. Silence has no effect on my parents as I watch them go about their early day rituals. Mother wiping counters and stocking the fridge as her familiar, a orange tabby with a big mane, basks the sunlight on the window seal. Mama was finishing her cooking her familiar or should I say familiars at hand, Three Little Mice, no none of them were blind, pushing and pulling, scurrying all over the stove putting ingredients back into their places. I looked up and glanced over at my brother who like me 2 years ago, dreaded this day. looking up and giving me a reassuring smile, mouthed, "it'll be okay" the Old Clock in the living room started chiming. My family all met eyes and we knew it was time.
Once at the town Park four different families with children turning 13 on this day gathered. The twins from the family of bears and horses. John of wolves. Emma from the shark family, and myself from the family of weak and useless familiars. As the members of the families, Call to Arms, the flags wave and rise in the wind. Familiars coming to the sides of their Masters. The four of us step forward, all nervous, but none lacking excitement other than myself. John,goes first. Raising his energy and the lights around him start to spark and swirl. We hear a call of a lone wolf, like his father and his father before him a beautiful gray wolf steps to his side. Fate binding them together for life. Beaming with pride he walks back to his parents and takes his place within the ranks. The twins, Sarah and Mera, go second.
The energy around them purple and you can feel lightning static in the air. The ground begins to tremble speeding towards the girls, two the most beautiful horses, coats that look like sunshine, step to their masters. The girls shrill with delight, their only worry that their familiars would not matched like every detail on their faces. They took their places amoung the ranks of their family. Emma, a very shy girl, takes her place, going third and raised her hands off the wheels of her chair. you can smell the Fresh Ocean Breeze, warm and salty. Feeling the Mist on your face, from the park Fountain, 8 long legs rise from the water. orange and wriggling, a beautiful octopus crawls to his master wrapping itself around her. With a sigh of relief she wheels herself and her new familiar, back to her family.
It was my turn, in this case, saving the worst for last I stepped forward and begin to raise my energy like the teenagers before me. The smell of sulfur fills the air, I begin to sweat like I was standing inside a fire. you can hear the raise of the flame like a furnace. my hair begins to raise with the heat waves. It was like nothing I could describe, but then nothing shows up. I close my eyes as my energy leaves me, tears running down my face. "Great." I think not only do I come from a house of week familiars, I'm a failure amongst failures I'm a dud.
"No familiar wanted me", I open my eyes and looked at the faces of my family, and the families that have gathered there today. Bewildered I look to see my mama holding her heart like she was trying not to faint. The house of wolves leader, holding his hounds at Bay. I feel the heat behind me warm, comforting, but I don't understand. I look at my brother and he mouths "turn around." I slowly turn, and look up to meet the eyes of my familiar.
"A DRAGON?!?" I scream as I look at the creature before me. Golds, Browns, Reds, scales that glisten even no light was shining on it's scales. The dragon stood taller than the building surrounding the park, I kept looking up, bewildered that this could even happen. The great Beast lowers its head to meet my gaze. It's slowly closes its eyes as what I can only imagine was a sign of respect. No one has heard of a dragon familiar since the Medieval ages of Merlin and Arthur, and even then they were rare.
I turn back around and come to the scene of all the families including my own bowing to me and the Beast at my back and that was when I knew my life was forever changed.