The Nyght Tales, book 1, chapter 1
"Are you up, Sa?"
Turning my head as I gripped the railing, I glanced over at my closed door. "I'm awake."
From my balcony, I watched as the slide doors opened, my ma stepping inside my chambers with the robes in her arms. "You are going to be late."
I raised a brow, "I thought it being my ceremony, I couldn't be late."
"Being punctual is important, no matter the situation."
I grabbed the robes from her, feeling the soft material in my hands. "Don't know why you're in such a rush." I glanced back. "Besides, I was watching Solara rise." Also contemplating whether or not to take flight, my wings aching for it.
"I want to see my son earn his stamp."
I flinched at the thought of having nano-armor implanted into me. I'd witnessed my brother receive his stamp three years ago, which he had passed out after plenty of pained cries.
"It's something you will only go through once."
I sighed, "Fine, but can I least get ready by myself?"
"Very well." With that, she exited, leaving me alone with my future.
Taking off my clothes, I stepped into the bathing room, turning the shower on. I carefully washed myself, unsure when my next chance to clean myself would be.
When I finished, I walked back into my sleeping quarters, making sure I was dry before slipping on the robes. They practically swallowed me as I tied back my hair, eyeing myself in the mirror for quite possibly the last time for a while.
I slowly meandered down the corridors of the House, paying careful to each detail, running my hands on the walls, the marble floor cold against my bare feet.
True, I would miss aspects of this place, like the privacy and the quiet, but I couldn't help the smile tugging my lips. I would join the Academy after the ceremony today.
All my family members stared at me when I stepped into the initiation room, a mixture of expressions on their faces.
"Fashionably late, I see, Sa." Va winked at me, smirking. "Takes after me."
Ma rolled her eyes, but I smiled back.
"So they don't fit anyone." My older brother, Kade, had his arms crossed. "Thought it was just me."
"Nope." Although I was taller, I was thinner. "I'm here, can we begin?"
Suddenly, the elders stepped into view. I did my best not to curl my lip. They never liked anyone who was less than a few thousand years old, and I turned twenty today.
"You're on time for once."
"Only for places and events I want to be at."
"Always quick with a response."
I shrugged. No one appreciated my humor, except for my father, but neither of us exactly fit into their box.
"Step onto the podium."
I did, keeping my breath even. Didn't need people pointing out my nerves. Couldn't help them though. I forced my body to relax as my feet were stuck to the podium.
Two handle bars erupted from the podium floor. "Remove your top robes."
They fell to the floor, the bottom half of me still covered. I then gripped the handles, sensing the snake like machine behind me. I braced myself, eyes closed.
Searing pain pierced my right shoulder. I hissed, water leaking from my eyes. I let them slide down my face. The internal burning quickly filled my whole body, sweat pouring off me, my breathing labored.
Why did this have to hurt so much? Not all the Houses forced their members to experience this level of pain when receiving their stamps. And they got to be in tanks that kept them immobilized.
Tradition sucked sometimes.
The pain subsided though, my muscles shaking. My shoulder ached profusely, but I couldn't release my grip from the bars, my hands locked in place.
"Sa?" my father approached. "Are you okay?"
I nodded, the podium ungluing my feet. "That hurt."
He chuckled, helping me with the robes. "I know, but it is quick."
"Mhmm." I leaned on him, my eyes heavy.
"It looks good."
I didn't have to see the back of my right shoulder to know the four point black star was now there, containing the nano-armor for me to call upon when required.
"Congrats, Kyrell," the one elder spoke, "you are officially a Nyght."