Authors: Jenn Nixon
Tiva Boon: Royal Guardian
King Harer Delos emerged from the shadows when High Healer Riin rushed into the critical care chamber with a motionless infant in his arms. After placing her on the table, Riin attempted to breathe life back into the stillborn child. His efforts seemed in vain.
“The Boon child, sire,” he said gravely between breaths. “She was born with no spirit…”
Shocked, Harer backed out of the room to allow Riin privacy to work, praying he could somehow save the child. A gentle cry rose from behind, Harer approached the child and read the name.
“Infant Tyra,” he whispered. The sight of his child in the swaddling cloth filled him with joy. He pulled back the blanket and caressed her cheek with his finger. “You are a beauty, my princess.”
He picked her up, rocked her gently in his arms. His spirit soared as her tiny fingers curled around his thumb. Harer bounced his daughter tenderly and moved closer to the critical care door only to see Healer Riin placing a silk death shroud over the Boon child. His heart sank. He could not fathom losing a child, especially now, but he knew, under the circumstances, that it would happen no matter what decision he made.
His former lover, Ziola, continued to manipulate him. Concealing her pregnancy until he married another, forcing her way into the palace to seek him out, and threatening to reveal their secret if he didn’t come to the medical ward was proof she was determined to have her way. He refused to be at the beck and call of anyone, even the mother of his first-born. He knew of only one way to rectify the situation.
Before entering the chamber, he called one of his guardians to ready his hovercraft to ensure a swift exit. High Healer Riin turned with a solemn expression on his face. The king placed his daughter in Riin’s arms. “You will present this child to the Boon family as if their own.”
“What of the Lady Tyra?” he asked, confusion crossing his features.
“I will handle her. Inform your staff that Lady Tyra’s child did not survive
, but you saved the Boon child. I trust that you understand what is at stake here. You are to speak of this to no one. Am I clear?”
“Yes, your Majesty.”
Tiva crept out of her room in the middle of the night and made her way through the darkened field. She wore her favorite cloak over a pink and black jumpsuit to keep warm in the early morning chill, and brought her favorite doll for company. Her tree, which she had named Te, waited for her as always.
The thick roots of the old tree protruded from the ground creating a circle at its base in which she sat. She leaned her head against the smooth sliver-gray bark of the tall thick tree. Its thin sturdy branches reached up toward the sky, curving only at the tips. The long, delicate, golden leaves swayed in the soft floral breeze. A few of them, long enough to reach the ground, tickled her as she stretched out on the soft grass.
“Spirited greetings to you as well, Te.” Tiva laughed and looked upward at the branches. “I can’t sleep. It’s my special day, the Remembrance of my birth.”
She moved her hand along the grass and the leaves swayed again. Through the spaces between the branches, she saw the countless stars in the night sky. She secured the cloak tighter around her tiny frame and held the doll to her chest. “It’s quite cold for the first day of the Warming, Te. I do hope the suns warm the day for me.”
The old tree’s branches bowed to her as the wind rushed across the field, she smiled again and pulled the hood above her head. She sat silently for a while absorbing the scent and sound of nature around her. Minutes and hours passed. Tiva talked with her favorite tree until the suns began to rise.
Upon seeing the first hint of sunlight, she jumped to her feet and hugged the trunk. “I’m going to climb up now, don’t let me fall.” She giggled, grabbing the closest branch. She swung her legs around the trunk of the tree and pulled herself up. Gently pushing aside some of the smaller branches, she took her place in the middle of the tree, at the point where the trunk split. She crossed her legs and prepared for the rising of the suns.
A voice shattered the serenity of the early dawn: “Tiva! Are you hiding in that old tree again?” The tall, thin figure with a head of long, unruly, white curly hair came toward her from the distance. Tiva frowned and jumped down from the tree landing firmly on her feet.
“I’m not hiding, Mother,” she called back. D’laja approached with a small smile on her maroon colored lips. “Sleep would not take me.”
“Have you been out here all night again?” her mother said, hands on her hips, looking as if she were about to chastise her. Tiva lowered her head, kicked at the grass
, nodded, and looked back up at her mother. D’laja knelt down, tilted up Tiva’s chin, and smiled. “I did the same thing when I was a child. Give your mother a hug and kiss. I will pretend you were sleeping in your bed all night.”
Tiva wrapped her tiny arms around her mother’s neck and showered her cheek with kisses. D’laja laughed with delight, picked her daughter up, and swung her around.
“Dearest, you should not be moving so!” another voice said from the field.
“Father!” Tiva gawked at her mother. D’laja released her. Tiva raced through the field and leapt into her father’s arms. He lifted her up and tossed her playfully in the air, catching her with a tight hug.
“Did you think I would miss this special day, dearest one?”
“No, Father, I knew you would come.” Tiva smiled and kissed him. D’laja joined the two, wrapping her arms around them and rest
ed her head on her husband’s shoulder. “Mother is having two babies, Father, did you know?”
Kevler turned to his wife, who stared bewildered. “Tiva, how did you know?” they
asked in unison.
Tiva shrugged and touched her mother’s stomach. “I can feel them.”
“Your empathic senses are very strong, Tiva, we will have to start your training soon.” Kevler smiled proudly, put her down, and began to walk back toward the house.
“But today is a day of fun, and we have a surprise for you, Tiva. Something you have wanted for a very long time,” D’laja said.
“I am to meet the king today,” she said, bouncing up and down as they walked. “I heard Uncle Devler telling Aunt Zizi. I didn’t mean to listen
, but they were very loud, Mother.”
“A stern talking to your brother is in order, my beloved,” D’laja said and opened the door to the back entrance of the house.
Tiva was shocked to see most of her family already gathered in their home. Starting the day with Te, then her family, made her feel warm inside. The rest of the Boon family greeted the trio as they made their way inside.
, everyone,” Devler Boon—her father’s twin—bellowed, appearing in the middle of a crowd of people, “and a very happy Remembrance to you, dear niece.” He knelt down, hugged her, and handed her a small box wrapped in a soft blue paper. He pulled her close and said, “Open that later. It is for only you to see. Now, go get dressed.”
Tiva smiled, nodded to her uncle, and skipped out of the kitchen to ready for her gathering.
Tiva ran into the middle of the gifting circle as her family began to sing. She turned first to her mother and father, bowing her head slightly, then to Zizi, Devler and her cousins Rae and Rux. She sat on a mat and smiled at everyone. It had been almost a cycle since this many of her family were together, and when they were, Tiva took the time to enjoy it. Her father’s kin, all guardians, always had plenty of stories to share. Even her cousins, though still in training, loved to share their experiences.
Rounding off the circle to the left was the eldest Boon sister, Jinka Xent. Trach, her husband, was on duty at the palace—their children stood beside her. Next to them was Towt Narja, the eldest cousin and nephew of Trach, the first of her cousins to become a Royal Guardian.
The only child near Tiva’s age was Tespor Roxon, the last of the fourth guardian family. He had just celebrated his seventh Remembrance, and currently studied with the older guardian trainees preparing for his induction into the Guardianship.
Tespor stood motionless; his cobalt eyes seemed cold and unfocused. Tiva studied his features. His flaxen hair was scattered across his forehead, yet his markings were a dark purple. Tespor had recently lost both his parents in a hovercraft accident and the Finto’s, the second Guardian family, had adopted him. She sensed anger within him
, but did not completely understand.
Kevler approached, diverting her attention. She grinned up at him. As tradition, the eldest male presented his gift before all others. In his hand, he held a large elongated package. Multi-colored paper hid the contents. He placed the heavy package on his daughter’s lap.
“Open it, dearest one.”
Tiva carefully peeled the paper back, her fingers shaking with anticipation. Once the wrapping was off, she opened the wooden box and peered inside. Her eyes widened and a large grin formed on her lips. She flipped the top back, exposing the beautifully crafted sword. She looked up at her father in utter shock.
“Thank you, Father! Thank you!” She jumped up, squeezed him with all her might. “Does this mean I can start to prepare for my induction, Father?”
“Yes, dearest one, it does.” He hugged her tight. “For now, however, we must continue the gifting…” he lowered his voice to a whisper, “everyone is hungry.”
Tiva giggled and nodded.
She sat back down, resting the sword in her lap. Her hand naturally curved around the hilt, the grooves perfectly cut to fit her fingers. She raised it slightly to get a feel for the heavy weapon. The pommel at the end of the hilt was a purple, half-moon crystal. The dark-gray handle was smooth and wrapped with a thick hide for a better grip. Between the end of the hilt and the cross-guard sat a diamond shape crest, the family name encrusted in bright jewels of every color. The cross-guard curved outward and up toward the blade of the sword, each end capped with a crescent moon crystal. She ran her finger along the flat of the blade feeling the smooth cold metal. The double-edged silver blade itself was long, thin, and sturdy. Vines and leaves decorated the deep grooves of the blood let.
Still in awe of the weapon, Tiva barely noticed her mother approach. D’laja cleared her throat. Tiva snapped her head up, still smiling. D’laja placed another long package on her lap; this one was much lighter.
“Open your gift, precious one.”
Tiva took the package in her hands. She again peeled back the wrapping and upon seeing the sheath, she jumped to her feet to hug her mother.
“It’s wonderful! Thank you Mother! Did you craft it yourself?” Tiva
“Yes, I did,” she said. “I used the finest hide, and engraved the designs myself.”
Tiva released her mother and returned to her sitting position. She slipped her new sword into the sheath and examined it. The smooth dark brown hide had a musky smell. The stitching crisscrossed along the edges of the sheath in an erratic but attractive pattern. Through the middle of the casing were all Tiva’s favorite shapes; moons, stars, hearts, vines and flowers, the cross of the Boon family, diamonds, the long wispy leaves of her favorite trees, among others. At the opening edge of the sheath, she saw her name, the lettering elegant and sharp. Tiva ran her finger along the letters and smiled again at her mother.
She sat for a while opening other gifts from her family. When through, other than the sword and sheath, she collected several pieces of clothing, a belt to hold her sheath, ribbons and clips for her hair, a doll, a few other toys, a silver charm bangle, and a neckband. Her mother and father helped her to carry the new possessions to her room while the rest of the family retired to the dining area to eat the morning meal.
Tiva carefully placed the sword and sheath on her bed mat. She carried it herself not wanting to part with it. Her parents hung the clothing on her rack and put the toys in her chest. She put some of her other belongings away, then picked up the sword in her hand again.
She glanced at her reflection in the window. Her new belt, secure around her hips held the large sword tucked safely in its sheath. The sword was less than a foot shorter than Tiva; still it did not intimidate her. She turned to see her parents watching her. Somewhat embarrassed, she felt her markings turn lighter to a pink. They chuckled.
“Well, I can see your markings have become responsive to your emotions, dearest one.” Kevler put his arm around his wife’s shoulder. “Mother and I are so very proud of you.”
“Thank you, Father.” Tiva said. “This has been the best Remembrance ever!” She ran up to her parents and wrapped her arms around their legs. D’laja caressed her forehead with her thumb. Kevler knelt down to face her.
“This sword you carry was forged with the greatest care, and the strongest metals of Abennelp. The king himself could not ask for a better weapon. Keep it close to you whenever you leave this home. Become one with it, cherish, and respect it with all that you are. As you grow you will learn the beauty of the weapon, but seeing your face when you saw it, and that which I sense from you already, tells me that you will become the greatest Boon Royal Guardian this kingdom has ever seen.” Kevler tucked a stray hair behind her ear, touched her cheek.
“Can I become an elite guardian like you father?” she asked.
Kevler smiled and looked up at his wife, her eyes widened at the comment. She shook her head, shrugged. “Only time will tell Tiva, only time will tell.”