What is an Acromidite? Ever heard of it?
Most likely not.
An Acromidite is a creature of the air; the strongest of its element, gliding through the clouds without wings, a living stature sculpted with precision, just like their lives.They literally live by the books. They play by the rules set by the authorities… no questions asked.
Nothing we can’t find in our world today.
Do we find ourselves not fitting into the ideologies of the majority? Or are we one of those that steer clear of such people?
Are you Aly… or the typical Acromidite?
“I give up.” Aly said with a groan as she let her hand drop to her side, releasing her hair from the ponytail she was attempting earlier. “I can’t do this.”
Her hair took up most of her mornings. She usually had no trouble getting up— as she was by nature an early riser— or deciding on what to wear, but she spent a long time scowling at her reflection in the mirror. In her opinion she wasn’t much to look at: she was a little shorter than average, with her honey-brown eyes and long chocolate brown hair that fell past her shoulders. Her hair was a bother to her though; because she could never pull it into a ponytail without exposing her slightly pointed ears. She didn’t need any reminder of her imperfections, as if her mum wasn’t enough for that. She always wished she could cut her hair— not cropped, but short enough to stop prickling her back and still cover her ears. But her mother would freak if she tried it, and that was not a pretty sight. She remembered the way her mother reacted the first time she brought up the idea, and she did not even want to imagine what her mother was going to do if she actually did it.
“The hair is the pride of the Acromidite women.” Her mother had told her then (after screaming and clutching her chest to be dramatic). “Whether in our true forms or not we ought to still look dignified.”
Her mother said things that annoyed Aly for no apparent reason. What did cutting her hair have to do with dignity? It wasn’t as if it was going to affect her real hair or anything.
But she kind of expected her mother’s reaction. Acromidites were more like super models… even better. No supermodel can fight off a Brocklin without breaking a nail (or numerous body parts). They looked fragile, but were known to be as strong and brave as any warrior in the four regions. She sometimes wondered why her ears still looked a bit like her real ones unlike the rest of her family but she didn’t give it much thought since she was different from them anyway.
She grabbed her backpack and raced down the stairs, her senses awakening as they registered everything around her. Though she was barely out of her room she could hear her father turning the pages of his newspaper; mumbling about how things were much better in their world than here (it didn’t make sense to Aly why her dad would compare the human world with their world— the humans were far from advanced compared to them, even with their technology). She could also hear her big brother Jordan munching on toast and even her mother pouring juice in a glass and scrubbing something off the kitchen counter; and the sounds became clearer as she moved down the stairs.
Carried away with her thoughts, she missed a step and tripped, but landed gracefully at the bottom of the stairs as if nothing happened. Her senses were far more advanced than the average human, resulting in the possession of amazing reflexes. She was always glad that their special abilities were retained even after the transformation, since she didn’t have perfect balance like the rest of her people, even in her real form.
“You really need to be careful Aly. Sometimes even your reflexes can’t keep you from getting hurt.” her dad said silently from the kitchen, not looking up from his newspaper. It was weird how he was so precise— almost as if he read her thought (which was impossible because Acromidites can only read the minds of creatures other than their kind). She liked the ability, though she wished that it was more than just hearing voices in her head. She wished she could see images like Lagarithans and Bormans (that was practically the only thing she would wish for that a Borman possessed— they do not possess admirable qualities or features, in her opinion).
She trudged into the kitchen and threw her backpack in the corner, avoiding any possibility of eye contact with anyone. She didn’t even have to make that much of an effort this morning. Jordan appeared lost in thought as he finished off the piece of toast he was holding. Her dad was still absorbed in his paper and her mother was making a list.
“I really wish you’d stop dragging your feet dear.” her mum said without looking up from the notepad she was scribbling in. “It hurts my ears every time you do.”
Aly turned to look at her mother without speaking. She looked amazing in her human form. Her wavy brunette hair fell all the way down her back, almost reaching her waist. Hers only fell to her shoulder, and she hated it. She took in a deep breath and began to let it out slowly. It was a way to calm down; which as something she had to do whenever she was around her mum. Taking deep breaths was also a way for her to concentrate. She concentrated on the scribbles her mum had put in the notepad, trying to figure out what she was writing by tracing her handwriting. She followed the movement of her mother’s pen as she wrote shampoo on the list, and to her surprise, lavender next to it.
“Why do you want to change your shampoo? You never use anything outside peach or passion fruit.” She blurted out without thinking. It made no sense to her why she was talking about shampoo, but she was trying to strike up a conversation. Besides, she hated lavender; and she didn’t want her mum going about the house with the scent.
“It’s for you dear.” her mother said, her eyes not leaving the notepad as she spoke. “I thought you should change your shampoo — sunflowers don’t work for me — you know I never liked them in your hair.”
Aly rolled her eyes as she was forced to remember how as a little girl her mum would shake her head in disapproval when she came in to the house holding a sunflower or with her mouth full of the seeds. Acromidites revelled in nature as much as the arts, though they could not be compared with their earth-dwelling and less sophisticated cousins, the Aviaters. They usually had a passion for their favourite flowers and fruits, and most of them were vegetarians and vegans.
It didn’t surprise her that her mother found her favorite flower distasteful. Her mother always had issues with her preferences. She felt it was because she wasn’t as perfect as her kind; and it was worse when she was in human form. She didn’t look like the average Acromidite in the human form. Her hair (that’s supposed to be wavy when she turned human) was spiky and straight. There was a time she curled her hair often just to please her mum but that stopped a very long time ago. Her ears were also pointed— almost as pointed as when in her true form— enough to be noticed and laughed at. Her appearance seemed to bother her mum even more than the fact that her interests differed from the average Acromidite female: She would rather get lost in books than take up visual art or music. She took up art in school though (just to please her mum because it was either that or music. And her voice, though pleasant, could not be compared to the voices of the Acromidites back home— she didn’t need to be reminded about that). She was also a fairly good artist, but she’d rather be lost in the archives, though history was the interest of the males.
It was a general requirement for all Acromidites to learn the art of physical combat and defence, but their civilization had developed in a way that the men mastered various sciences and histories while the women were more proficient in the arts. Even though they all had equal rights, every man and woman knew their place in their world. Aly seemed to be the only one that didn’t.
She loved history more than any Acromidite female loved art. There were nights (even in the human world) that she would stay up with Jordan— and sometimes their dad— and read through the parchments in the library that bore records of the history of the Acromidites and other creatures (Acromidites were supposed to take a personal copy of the parchments along whenever they leave the kingdom). She was naturally drawn to learning about the ways of her people and well as other creatures and the fact that she had not exhausted the archives even after so many years of reading fascinated her more than anything. She even enjoyed history class in the human world, even though the humans got history facts mixed up a lot. She couldn’t explain that she knew how the pyramids of Gaza were really built because her dad had worked in disguise as one of the slaves that built the pyramid (getting another human form for an Acromidite was another long process— for Acromidites only possess one human form all their lives— but he managed to get a temporary form for the duration of his mission in Egypt).
There was no way she could say all these things, so she kept her mouth shut.
Even with her skills and abilities, she still wasn’t good enough. She wasn’t as graceful as the rest— she was sort of a klutz sometimes— and she wasn’t as pretty as the other Acromidites (she didn’t even think she was pretty at all). To humans she might seem almost perfect, but she was nowhere as good as most of her kind.
And her people live and breathe perfection.
She did not behave like an Acromidite, and she knew it. This made her feel out of place with everyone, and feel like the least in everything (beauty and skill mostly). There was a time she tried to do everything to fit in, but that didn’t last (since she couldn’t even do that right) and she got frustrated most of the time so she stopped trying. Perfection meant everything to Acromidites, and they were irked by anyone who fell even an inch off the pedestal, which was still a long way off from where she was after long years of trying. It was probably why she wasn’t a very social person and kept few friends. Besides, a lot of the Acromidite girls didn’t like her because her habits were peculiar to them. Even in the human world, she became more of a loner, being accustomed to segregation. But no one understood, and some people even considered her a snob.
She was different in every way possible, and her mother would not let her hear the end of it. She wondered why her mother would name her Alaria (which means different in their language) if she had a problem with the concept. Maybe her idea of different wasn’t what Aly was dishing out for her. Her father and brother didn’t care much that she was the way she was, but it was harder for her mum because she was admired by a lot of their people, and yet her daughter was so unlike her— or their people in general.
It hurt most when her mum compared her to Cornelia.
Cornelia was the sister she never knew, the one who died a warrior during the epic war between the Acromidites and Bormans. Everything about Cornelia was exceptional; she was extremely beautiful, with a voice that a lot of girls envied. She was an awesome artist with a confidence and flair that attracted others to her.
Alaria was one of the very few born a century after the war, since many Acromidites had not recovered from the effects it had on them psychologically, and were afraid to bring children into the world they felt was unsafe. The Acromidites were fighters when they needed to be, but they had never been involved in a war before that time. There had been countless battles, but never a war. And even though they had eventually won, they were greatly affected by the side of life that had felt foreign to them. Death and the dying were not new to them, but losing their people in hundreds was.
No war in all four regions had been known to exceed a day, but in that single day out of five hundred Acromidites that had fought a thousand Bormans only two hundred were left, and only a hundred of those bodies were successfully recovered for burial.
But another century passed and things got better, and people began to enjoy life again. There was no sign that a war would rise anytime after that, even though the detestation between the Acromidites and the Bormans had increased.
The Acromidites born in Alaria’s time had the memories of one of their deceased family members implanted into their brains to raise children that will ensure that the knowledge of the those that had died during the war were preserved. It was not a painful process, but it wasn’t one that was usually successful. Only five memories were successfully implanted, and Cornelia’s memory was one of them.
But out of the five with memories implanted in them, she was the only odd Acromidite.
Her mum probably thought that having Cornelia’s experiences encoded in her brain meant Cornelia was a part of her. But really having Cornelia’s memories meant knowing the general stuff she knew (like facts, culture and military tactics), not living her life or knowing much of her personal thoughts or any of her secrets.
Aly was no Cornelia, and she could not ignore that when her mother kept rubbing it in her face. Sometimes Aly would be very sad and intimidated; but most times she found herself actually happy she was totally different from Cornelia, because it would have increased her mother’s expectation of her to live in her late sister’s shadow. She had learnt from Jordan how much Cornelia had hated written history— she was content with the history she could accumulate through experience— unlike she who was endeared to history because she never got to live it (she had only lived a few hundred years)
Experience: that was a true edge Cornelia would always have over her. Being one of the newest breed of Acromidites, she had hundreds—even thousands— of years between her and most people she knew. It made her feel insignificant, and she felt that was why a lot of people did not respect her opinion because well, she didn’t really know much.
She might have the looks— the long straight silvery-white hair that shimmered in the moonlight; thin, slanted, clear blue eyes the color of the sky, porcelain white skin like polished marble, sharp, pointed ears and full lips— but she would always be different because of the way she thought and viewed life.
The sound of Jordan crunching toast snapped her out of her thoughts. He was biting into his toast louder than usual, and he knew his plan to bring her back to reality worked.
She grinned at him and he grinned back, not taking his eyes off her as he reached for the last piece of toast in the plate in front of him. When he touched the plate, he realized that the toast was no longer there. Aly grinned at him and held up the toast.
“Hey freak’s got super speed now.” Jordan said, laughing as she bit into the toast. As he said that he caught his mum glaring at him. He wondered why their mum always made a big deal out of anything he said to Aly. Aly knew he was joking and never took it to heart, but his mum always insisted he made fun of her because she was different (like putting up with their mum wasn’t enough damage). He treated Aly like everyone else appreciated her for being who she was; in fact he respected her for it. But for their mum, it was a problem. In fact, he felt like his mum didn’t like him teasing Aly because it reminded her of how different his sister was from others. To him, that just made her a lot more unique. Maybe realizing that helped him understand her more than anyone else.
“I’ve got to go.” Aly said as soon as she was done with her toast.
“But you’ve not had breakfast yet!” her mum exclaimed.
“But I just had toast.”
“You call that breakfast?” her dad asked. “Have some cereal.”
Aly stared at her dad as he set a bowl of cereal and a bottle of milk in front of her. He never used to make a fuss about her eating breakfast. Suddenly it occurred to her that they were trying to make her stay back, for a few minutes at least. She only hoped it wasn’t for the reason she had in mind.
Her dad cleared his throat and looked at her mum, who in turn looked at Jordan. He frowned at them and cast a sympathetic glance at Aly before walking out of the room.
“We— your father and I— wanted to know how things are coming along in school.” her mum said, making sure to point out that Jordan had nothing to do with this talk. She really didn’t need to be reminded that he was the only one that really believed in her. “I mean with the—”
“I know you are talking about the Borman mum. I have told you that there has been no disturbance in school; the Borman has done a good job with concealing himself. Either he doesn’t want any trouble, or he has not gained full power yet.” Aly said hastily, cutting her mother short. She had told them this a lot of times, but for them the report was unsatisfactory.
“Even though a creature’s conspicuousness is dependent on his level of power, it doesn’t take a lot to identify a magical creature, no matter how weak.” her father said wearily.
They always spoke to her like she didn’t know a thing about Bormans… like that was even possible. She was an Acromidite, and hunting Bormans was her life, something naturally encoded in her DNA even before she was infused with Cornelia’s memories. Her parents were extra careful with her though, so she did not get into a lot of action like the rest of them. It was partly because they felt she didn’t do too well in battle (they had never let her do much anyway) and they didn’t want her to get in Jordan’s way, since to them he was more valuable than she was.
Since she was born she and Jordan were magically tied together, so they literally felt each other’s pain. If either of them were to get hurt by something magical, the other felt the pain. She could vividly remember nights of pain when Jordan was captured and tortured in Midole, a remote land of rock creatures called Midols. It was more annoying when they had training. When it was with the swords and other equipment it was fine, but when they had to use their powers it was bothersome. So they never train on the same day, so one isn’t put off balance when the other is being hit.
Sometimes she wondered what would happen to the other if either of them died. This was the thought that calmed her down when she is put in the less heated part of the battlefield where she was likely to inflict blows less than she was likely to sustain them. But she knew within herself that the major reason for their paranoia was that they weren’t ready to lose another daughter. It was a reason that hung thick in the air when the topic was brought up. It hung there, but it was never touched.
She had tried to find the Borman, but it seemed like there was no trace of its existence. She began to wonder if there was really a Borman in the school as her family had been told. But she could never voice out her thoughts, for that would mean she was questioning the power of the higher authorities. Her people (the Acromidites) were magical creatures who were known for tracking down Bormans. They were creatures of the air, the most powerful. Bormans on the other hand, were the most powerful of all sea creatures. They possessed a lot of power, but sometimes usually had a lot of problem controlling them. Not many Bormans take time to learn how to handle the power when it comes in an abundance (especially because they’re very impatient creatures) so most of the time they usually go out of control. The Bormans that end up like that become ruthless, with an insatiable thirst for blood and dominance. In that state they often have the drive to conquer people or destroy things out of sheer amusement, just to show off their strength, so it is the job of the Acromidites to protect other creatures from Bormans.
But even though Bormans weren’t known to be pleasant creatures, not all of them gave other creatures much trouble. As an Acromidite you couldn’t get in trouble for putting a regular Borman in check once in a while, but you aren’t allowed to interfere in their lives unless they became a threat. It is only then that you were allowed to demobilize or even kill them if necessary.
Luckily for Acromidites, not many Bormans leave their underwater kingdom, as they saw other creatures as inferior; and felt it degrading to dwell among them, and Bormans that lose control of their minds and powers were found to be even more powerful than their average of their kind. But generally, Bormans depend more on strength than intellect— and it was a general fact that brains usually have an edge over brawn— so Acromidites were able to handle them since they relied on both.
Her family had been sent to the human world to monitor the activities of a Borman spotted within the town they were presently residing. But the Borman had been docile, and didn’t stay long enough to be identified. But the family stuck around just in case he was coming back again. Then recently, another young Borman was said to have moved into the same area, and that brought about a bit of concern because male sea creatures were highly territorial, and if the other Borman returned there might be trouble… that is, if they didn’t both have something planned.
The Acromidites would naturally have waited to see if he would be of any threat before monitoring him, but asides from the fact that he was trespassing on another Borman’s “territory” (and obviously asking for it, since a Borman could tell if a location was already taken) he was noted to be very powerful.
The young Borman though, was said to a teenager, and had been attending the local high school Aly also attended. So she was asked to identify and monitor him. But a month had passed and there was no sign of him— which meant Aly’s ability to handle the job was being questioned.
“Aly it’s not like we doubt you can handle it—”
“Lies.” Aly thought, narrowing her eyes.
“But we just feel… Look we know you do not have backup and—”
“Except the Aviaters.” Aly said quickly, interrupting her mum again.
Aviaters were close cousins to the Acromidites, and looked almost like them, though they weren’t as strong and their abilities weren’t as advanced as the Acromidites.
Over the centuries they have helped the Acromidites fight the Bormans. They would have helped during the war as well if they had been allowed to— but only battles were fought with allies. They dwell a lot closer to the ground than Acromidites and are always of help to the ones that have to reside among humans for one reason or the other. Backup from other Acromidites only come when things get intense, and because of this, Acromidites on duty on Earth are mostly alone (except they are with their family— and even family members may be assigned to different units) and have the Aviaters as their only company. Though Aly did not usually ask the Aviater at her school for help (in fact, she tried to avoid him as much as possible) she felt she could use him at her defence. At least Jordan and her parents work with his family a lot.
“Yes, we know the Acromidites are of great help.” her dad said as he watched her mum stare at the window, clearly embarrassed at the fact she had not remember the Aviaters. Aly didn’t need to be a mind reader to know that her mum was silently hoping the Aviaters next door had not heard their discussion. It was obvious that she had forgotten that the hearing of an Aviater wasn’t as good as an Acromidite.
“I can do this alone… His help wouldn’t be of much use anyway.” she said angrily, pouring milk over her cereal just to keep her hands busy. She really wasn’t hungry, but she needed to do something with her hands before they started to tremble.
“You don’t give Jordan trouble about not having backup.” she said, her anger building up as she stirred the cereal absentmindedly. “Is it because u thinks he would have located the Borman if he was the one in my school?”
“Aly don’t talk like—”
“I’m sure if we had the ability to reverse the ages of our human form you probably would have made Jordan seventeen again.” she said quietly.
Her parents’ silence confirmed she was right. Angry at them for not believing in her, she got up from the table to face them.
“Too bad you have a poor excuse for a daughter.” she said, her hands trembling now. Her hands only trembled when she was angry, and at the moment, she was furious.
“Why are you behaving so immature? Grow up Aly!” Her mum yelled in frustration.
“For your information I intend to stay seventeen for another decade!”
Her dad frowned and glared at her through his glasses.
“You’ve been seventeen for three decades now— and you still don’t think it’s time to grow up?!” He asked sternly.
Despite her anger, Aly almost laughed. It was funny when your parents tell you to grow up— and mean it literally. Like the strongest of the other elements, Acromidites are immortal. Immortality came with a special ability that allowed one to slow their aging process before the period they are to naturally stop aging. This means they can stay (or rather look) a particular age as long as they wanted. This ability wears off as they advance in age until they completely stop aging. In Acromidites aging stopped at forty fifty in Bormans. Aly had decided not to age because she loved being a teenager and it was a way she could unintentionally upset her mum. This was one of the few “crimes” she had committed with her brother, since Jordan too had chosen to stay twenty-one for about two decades now.
But he wasn’t the one their parents were begging to grow up.
“I’m running late.” Aly said as she picked up her backpack.
“What about your cereal?” Her mum asked her. Aly stared at her, stunned by the question. She couldn’t believe her mum would still talk about cereal after what just happened.
“I wasn’t hungry.” she said slowly.
“At least clear your bowl.” her mum said, feeling defeated.
“Sure.” Aly mumbled, picking up the bowl and placing it gently into the sink. Concentrating air with her hand she directed it to the bowl. The airflow wiped the bowl clean and disintegrated its content. Using the move on the dishes was another way to get on her mum’s nerves— and it only took five seconds.
“Bye Jordan!” She yelled dropping the bowl and dashing for the door.
Her parents looked at each other and sighed as they heard Jordan chuckle in the living room. Her mum picked up the bowl cautiously and frowned.
“Now I have to wash the bowl.” her mum mumbled, as she cleaned out the sink. “Who knows how many dust particles she accumulated into the bowl with that air flow!”
“Mum you know the airflow didn’t pick up any dust.” Jordan said from the living room, still chuckling. “The air movement wouldn’t have sounded as clear as it did if she had.”
“Why do you encourage her?” Her mum yelled at him angrily.
Jordan walked into the kitchen, clearly amused at his mother’s frustration.
“Why shouldn’t I? It’s not like you ever do.”
Thank you so much for reading the first chapter of my novel. It’s going to get published once I get a publishing company willing to share that dream with me. And if no one cares enough to publish this novel, I’m doing it myself.
Sometimes we wait too long for the approval of others before we move forward. I’m not going to wait to long for that. I believe in this Novel.
I will put up more chapters (two more) if I get positive feedback on the piece. And if I don’t, i’ll still put it up (Haha.)