Malthea Daldire is a rather simple woman.
She has two children and a loving husband, a life well lived as an Astrology teacher. Sharing her passion of the great beyond and the infinite possibility of the unknown.
However her life was not always this way, and in fact, she used to be unfit for the modern world. Unwelcome.
She was once a tribal creature like the rest of her kin.Her youthful days spent gazing up at the stars every night while she was supposed to be asleep with the rest of her terror.
Terror, she would learn, is the term for a group of Chimera.
Terror, she would experience from the men who would come to slay them.
Her kin were powerful beasts, capable of rending flesh from prey with ease. Though something always struck her as odd.
They would live peacefully farming their days away as the sun and moon made their rotations around her humble little life. Not once was she aware of anything wrong.
The days and years would pass without much conflict. Hunting would remain prosperous and farming yeilded varying results. Her people had developed many potions and mixtures to induce transformations to better serve themselves in certain tasks.
So then, she would wonder.
What was this strange metal thing that was so sharp that she had found?
She would bring it home and play with it like any stick, but this one felt so alien. Similar but strange. She dig with it, twirl and spin and one day even cut herself by accident.
The pain was delayed, but the blood was not. She feared she would get into trouble with her parents for having played with something dangerous, so she would hide her metal toy away and blame it on a fox she had found.
She would come of age, and still not yet know what this metal toy was, having gathered dust and dirt from years of being left behind. It was time for her to leave her home and travel west to the great city of Chalmekar. Here, she would study to improve her knowledge and grow.
She had neglected her hunting practice, not wanting to hurt anything. Her heart was always hoping for living creatures to live, never wanting to take a life herself.
She would take up a life of hiding the food her parents made for her, instead feeding it to her tail. To her, she did not train her body to listen to her, as she did not have many parts like her kin.
Her only extra part was a snake, whom instead of training to listen to her at any given moment or a mere thought as if it were another limb, she instead treated it as her friend and pet.
This would lead to the snake growing reluctant to listen and even acting out on it's own. She would often be embarrassed by it's actions and even be scolded for not training her own body properly.
Still, she grew up to be a fine young lady and during her pilgrimage, she would continue to keep that metal stick with her.
On this same journey she would encounter the strangest thing. A hairless monkey, only half her size, possibly bigger, watching their Terror traveling to the great city. Watching with wide eyes like a deer who was terrified.
She broke from the group to indulge her curiosity with this monkey. She would offer it food, which it took and ate quickly. Water as well.
She could feel the glaring eyes of her peers, knowing full well that the stories she'd heard of these creatures were of the violence and destruction they wrought. She did not care. This one was young and alone. To her, it did not deserve such hate.
Her visit would end as she would be left behind if she did not return to her Terror. Petting the small creature and headed on her way.
This encounter would later lead her to melancholy for some time, as her metal stick was lost. Somehow when she set her things down to feed and pet the hairless monkey, her metal stick must have fallen from her belongings in transit.
Still, she would recover as it was merely a sentimental item. Her studies went smoothly and the years passed.
She learned of gods, though she had little interest. She learned of their religion, yet this too she cared little.
She learned of nature and to this she grew interested, yet the one thing that made her light up was the study of the heavens.
She simply could not learn enough about the stars above and it lead many to wonder how one of their kin without wings could be so obsessed with something so far away?
More years would roll by as she studied, her life rather empty and unfulfilled unless she was in the midst of texts or lessons.
She did not know what to do with herself, or her life...
Until that decision was made for her.
Chalmekar would be sieged by hordes of armored creatures, strange and metal from another world they stormed into their great city and began destroying homes and burning down any structure they came across.
Even stranger still, more armored creatures of different shape and color came from some other direction and began to do battle with the invaders.
Malthea took shelter in her home, hiding herself in a closet and covered in blankets to hide her figure in shadows
It would not help, as her door would be crushed by the legs of these powerful armored creatures and two would storm their way inside with strange roaring pipes the threw fire that stuck like sap to the walls.
She clasped her mouth shut and tried to keep from screaming, but to no avail. She was discovered and dragged from her home and there were none there to help her. Her snake lunged out to bite the attacking metal creature but found no purchase.
It raised it's fist and began pummeling her face, body leg, whatever it could reach with it's metal fist, and just when she thought she'd lose an eye, from the blows, the beating stopped.
Her snake had wrapped itself around her body and grown plates of natural armor like a cocoon to shield her from these attacks.
A skill that she had not taught it nor that she had seen before, but had come directly from just how much and what kind of foods she had fed to it.
This did not last as eventually her snake grew weary and gave in to fatigue, and she planned to flee.
The moment her snake let go, she threw herself to her feet and used her horns to hit this creature anywhere she could, but failed to get and ground as they grabbed her horns and began to kick her while holding her head down.
She was panicing and believed that this would be the end of her.
Yet she still struggled with what little and insignificant strength she could muster.
Then, the sound of those strange metal creatures fighting outside would come inside.
One of the other ones, with blue cloth draped across them, would arrive with a metal stick and a struggle between her attackers and this one ensued.
She could hardly stand and limped her way to the window, planning to throw herself outside to get away, but the metal creatures had gone to blows, the newest one being attacked by the two who had hurt her. She could hardly make out what was happening
Then, one of their heads came flying off, revealing hair and flesh beneath. The blue clad one drew something from it's side and within a few more moments of struggle stood victorious.
This was no metal creature, but something she had learned about while here in Chalmekar. A human. A knight.
She limped as quickly as she could to the window but failed to get away, falling to her hands and knees. Crying and begging in a language the human could not understand to please let her live.
She heard thudding and banging as the human did something out of sight in her stone home, grinding of wood and metals. She couldn't move anymore and curled up into a ball in a corner sobbing.
She remained there for what felt like an eternity, the sounds of battle raging outside, screams and anguish. She heard her window slam shut and lock.
She finally glanced up from her knees. The blue clad human was standing, facing her door with his weapon, a sword at the ready. She had read about knights before, but...this sword was strange. It was different from the others. It had not sheathe which she thought was necessary.
The blue clad human was male, young. It made sounds she did not understand, motioning for her to do something, or gesturing in some foreign manner. Every motion made her terrified and cower even further as if she could disappear into the stonework she pressed her back against.
There was banging against her...doorway? The door had been destroyed earlier, what could this possibly be?
The human man grabbed the blankets she had been hiding in previously and pushed them to her. He grabbed her dining table and laid it flat on it's side, pushing it in front of her. She could only see the humans head now as it ran to her front door where she could hear more fighting.
It felt like it would never end, now huddling in her blankets, head pounding and eyes sore. The bruises and pain from her earlier beating now screaming to her nerves that she was hurt.
She woke up a short while later. She had dozed off. It hurt so badly to move, and as soon as she whimpered in pain she heard more metal moving. Immediately she silenced herself.
Clack. Clack. Clack...
The sound of those metal footprints grew louder.
It was so close to her. She could feel it's eyes upon her as she shook beneath her childish blankets.
The humans hand extended down infront of her face and she started to cry tears that only dried from lack of water in her own body.
She couldn't tell what sounds the human was making, but they sounded...different.
She looked up again, and found the hand hanging in front of her holding a cup with water swirling around inside. The human was leaning over that same table that it had put infront of her earlier. In fact, it was that same human.
She took the cup fearfully and drank quietly, doing her best to remain quiet and unassuming. The same thing happened again but with food.
She couldn't keep track of how long this went on, as battles sparked again and again, but every battle she would have one, or two...three...then one...humans would come and go from her home but every one of them would leave except this one.
What felt like weeks crawled into months and as time grew ever still, she began to understand the sounds humans made as words, and grew to learn what a few meant.
She learned more and more from this human who remained at her side as if she were an injured cub and he were a mighty lion.
She would learn that humans have names. That his was "Kenneth"
She mispronounced it often as 'Keneteth'
All battles come to an end, and finally the one taking place at Chalmekar would too.
She had learned how to say her name in the human language from Kenneth, and had come to recover mostly from her injuries. She would still need time to walk properly again.
She had learned that he had barricaded her door with her bed and other objects, later reinforcing it with metals and heavier things to keep others from getting in.
He had closed her windows, all but two on the north and south to allow allies in and out, an escape route of some kind, or a means to keep tabs.
She learned over time that this war had been ongoing for humans, and that this was a victory for them.
She learned that Chalmekar was a city besieged by Kenneth's enemies due to it's abundant and rich stores of alchemic knowledge.
Her sorrow would be spent in grieving the dead.
Her parents had gone missing, assumed dead in the battle.
Her only friend had survived, thanks to the similar efforts of the blue clad soldiers.
It would appear a complicated matter, but she understood what happened as, "The blue want to protect and the red want to take."
A complex landscape of politics and lords boiled down to a childish explanation that sadly was not incorrect.
Malthea would cling to Kenneth as the only means she had to communicate effectively with the other soldiers.
The time would come for them to leave, and Kenneth took up the role of returning her somewhere safe. Back to her old tribal home which since become a city.
Here, however, she would find her mother and father alive. They had left only a day before the battle began but due to her father being able to fly he had gone far away from the battle with ease.
They had only heard news of the conflict, unable to do anything and the reunion was joyful tears of relief.
Another two years would pass as Malthea would teach the humans language as best she could to her family, being one of the only ones to have learned enough to speak it.
And even more so, humans had begun to aid them in restoring Chalmekar, though there was resistance to modernizing it with human methods, it could not be helped. Their grand leader made the clear statement that "If we do not match those that trampled us, we shall be trampled again."
Her small tribe turned town had grown into a fledgling city by this point, and children could play without fear once more. Humans had come to protect them as they got back on their feet.
Then, in the midst of one summer day, she saw him again. Kenneth roamed into town without his metals or armors. Yet, he did still carry his sword.
He greeted Malthea with a wave and a bow, only to have her hug him.
they both had changed, with Malthea growing ever closer to adult hood, she resembled her mother more and more. Kenneth on the other hand resembled his mother more so than his father, yet retained his fathers jawline he would insist.
They would catch up on those two years, Kenneth recalling that he only fought for another six months before he was called back home. Then the war was over.
That he always wanted to come back and see her, but he was assigned to help with the relief effort of Chalmekar for the remainder of his service before being discharged.
He looked so much older now. Yet his youth still remained.
He had scars now, but he could still smile.
"Kenneth?" She would ask, tilting her head at him.
She would point to his blade, now sheathed in a black sleeve of hard material she wasn't familiar with.
"If the war is over, why do you still have it?"
He'd laugh to himself and tell her the story.
He had been at his families hunting lodge one day with the whole group consisting of himself, two brothers, 6 cousins and all their extended family for a retreat.
They were playing outside with the families dog when the dog ran after some ducks or something, he couldn't recall.
"Honestly, I should have known that stupid dog would come back. He loved us and wouldn't ever go too far, but I was too damn worried in the moment and got myself incredibly lost."
He'd rub his head and scratch at his nose as if trying to hide embarrassment.
"So you just got lost?" Malthea added curiously.
As if waiting for that, he continued, "Well no. I was lost for about two weeks."
"Two weeks?" She sounded so worried in retrospect to a past event. "How did you survive for two weeks?"
"I didn't have to for half of it." He chuckled.
She tilted her head again like a curious canine, her hair and ears flopping as she did so.
"See, I found a clearing of soft grass that ended up being a dirt path, or road or something. I followed it, but stayed on the grass near the trees. Birds got big around that neck of the woods and I had previously almost been snatched by one. Stayed close to somewhere I could hide at all times."
He leaned back on the bench, looking up at the clouds in wistful recollection.
"I remember being terrified back then, hearing stories about Chimera...'cept I was too scared to move."
"What do you mean?" She asked.
"I stumbled on a traveling Terror of 'em. Scared the daylights out of me. I just stood there like some deer in headlights, shaking in my shoes."
Malthea felt her hair stand up on the back of her neck as her postured sat upright slowly as Kenneth spoke.
"They all gave me these looks like they were going to eat me if I didn't run, but I just couldn't move. Too scared, too hungry, the works. Clung to my old stuffed toy like it'd keep me safe."
"Then I realized in my fearful daze, one of them was coming up to me. Some 'lass who was carrying a pack of things set it down and came carefully over to me. Couldn't understand a word of what she was saying, but it sounded nice."
He smiles to himself.
"Won't forget it. She gave me food, water and a pat on the head. Ran off before I could muster the courage to say thanks, though I was too busy eating and drinking to say a damn thing anyway. Still, I can't forget the asshole either."
"Huh?" She chirpped.'
"Yeah, see, I don't know why but that Chimera girl had an officers blade on her. Not sure how, but some asshole took it out of her things and threw it into the brush on the opposite side of the trail. Watched him do it. By the time I found it, the Terror had long since gone too far for me to catch up."
He pats the blade at his side.
"If it wasn't for this, I couldn't have fought off the Garfalks that swooped in to eat me later that week. Got home safe by following a stream I found later."
"I polished it, and kept it with my fathers permission. Treated it as a sign I should be a soldier I guess. Military wouldn't let me officially use it since it was an officers blade, but I used it anyway without them knowing. Now, I've earned it through service. So, they gave me the official sheath for it."
He shakes his head.
"I tell' ya 'Thea...If she's around today, I'd want to thank her for what she did for me."
He looks down at her, having heard a kind of squeaking whimper coming from the young woman, to find her wiping tears from her eyes.
"H-hey now, what's wrong? Did I say something? I'm sorry Thea, don't-"
He's cut short as she flings herself into another far deeper embrace, burying her head into his shoulder, smacking his cheek with her horns, though he doesn't complain.
"It 'was' you...that boy on the pilgrimage."
It suddenly seemed so strange, but it made sense.
Still, how could fate have been so miraculous? Did fate even exist or was this just some kind of strange series of coincidence?
Without thinking, she would pull from his warm embrace and kiss him. That would spark their later passionate nights and laughter filled days. Their difficult times and their prosperous times.
She didn't share her kins hate of those hairless monkeys.
She didn't share their fear of them either.
Perhaps because she was sheltered from it in a time of peace, but it was her love of life and desire to protect life as it is that lead her to provide for a lost human that so many others saw as a wild animal to be left on it's own.
That action lead to her lifelong friendship, love and family. In the wake of a great tragedy, the life she saved in turn saved her. Now inseparable.
Until the time comes.
"All is as it should be."