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Slayers:Death's Aria | Prologue | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven
Aria didn't care to remember her life before the age of five. She couldn't help it that her village had been destroyed on the night of her birth. She didn't know why she had lived. She didn't like to remember the fact she was passed from family to family, village to village. Even though she was a child, she heard the whispers, caught the scowls that people looked to her with. "The dark child is in the village again." "Death, she brought it to her village by her very birth." "She's evil, some Monster's spawn, I say!" She never really knew what love was, or a caring family.
Aria's first taste of a stable home was when a man who was feared by everyone in the area asked for her. She didn't know why everyone feared him, all she could see was this mas was like her. Hated by people. She gladly went with him, unafraid to take his offered hand. Everyone said he was a mage, whatever that was. To an unloved five year old, just having someone that actaully wanted her was the greatest thing in the world.
Aria settled into her new life, she was a bright child no one could have denied that. She helped her new father out as best she could, getting plants he wanted, books, bottles or anything else she could reach. She was always with him, and he never once minded her questions. She asked about what it was he was doing, what was magic, what the difference was between black and white. She learning the craft without realizing it.
The mage was often visited by a strange man, he was tall and dressed as someone who traveled alot. When he would come alot to talk with her new Father. Magic was the usual topic along with the Monsters. She still wasn't clear on what they were. The purple haired man always smiled and often brought her candy. He spoke fondly to her, telling her what a cute little imp she was. She soon started to call him Uncle Xellos. At the age of six she was smiling happy child.
"Father teach me magic, I want to learn." He looked down at the mass of black tangles and big eyes that were turned his way. Chuckling he nodded, bending over picking her up he sat her on his lap and began with the basics. Every day before lunch he would spend an hour teaching her, then before supper he would give her another lesson. The nights were spent telling her of the Monster Race and the Dragons. He would not hide what he was or who he worked for from her.
At the age of seven she walked with her Father into a room she was never allowed to be in. She looked about in awe at the books and scrolls scattered about the room. She walked behind him wondering why he let her come here now.
"Aria, I have a question for you. You are a smart little girl, you have learned all that I can teach you of basic magic. Now you have a choice. I can teach you black magic, or I can send you somewhere that can teach you white. It is your choice. I have taught you the difference between them." He looked down on the small girl before him with pride, never imaging she would have brought him this much joy. He had looked for a child he could train as a servent and assistant, never dreaming he would find an adopted daughter.
"You have taught me black magic is evil, and white is good. You use black magic but you are not evil. So I choose black." Aria looked at him with a determined gaze, one he knew meant there was no changing her mind.
"Why do you choose black, is it only because I am a black mage?" He wanted to know the reasons behind her choice. To understand her better and how to teach her.
"People say you are evil and that I am evil. If those people are good, then I want to be evil." Her voice had grown quiet.
"No. No my Little Song. You and I are not evil, we are human the same as everyone else. A persons actions are what dub them good or evil. Let me explain this to you." He picked her up and carried her to a large chair and sat her on his lap. "Aria, we live in a era of change, what everyone has known for countless years is changing. They are afraid and superstitious fearing what they can not see or understand. They are good people out there in the villages, they just try to survive as best they can. Magic scares them and magic drawn from negative power they feel is evil, but magic in itself is not evil. I study and practice black magic to understand it and to use it better. Man can benefit from black magic if they would only stop being afraid." He paused to see if she understood him.
"What about monsters? They are evil and you work for them?"
"Yes, I use the monsters as they use me. I learn what I can from them and for my actions it does make me evil. I am not proud of what I have done with my life, but if what I can learn from the monsters helps, then I can live with myself." He hoped she would not ask what he had done, he wasn't ready yet to tell her that he was the one that found her, naming her Aria for her cries of life that he heard, or to reveal he had destroyed her village under orders from the monsters.
"So are all black mages trying to help like you?" She was slowly starting to understand.
"Sadly no Aria, most who are black mages do it for power and greed. Remember there is an exception to everything and to everyone. I am the exception to black magic. I use negative to make positive." He smiled to her, yes she would be alright. She understood more than she knew, all she needed was teaching.
"Uncle Xellos doesn't seem to be an evil monster." She looked confused at the shocked expression on his face.
"You know that he is a monster? How long? How?" He thought that had been well hid from her. He never imagined she knew that.
"One night I couldn't sleep, so I snuck out of bed and hid listening to you and Uncle Xellos talking. You said he was a monster, what could he know of being human." She was timid now admiting her crime of sneaking out of bed.
He thought for a moment and remembered that conversation. Xellos was visiting again, talking of a new mage that had discovered something he should have never known about. He wanted him killed. After business, Xellos stayed and a heated debate was held about the nature of humans and monsters. "No Xellos is the exception to the Monster race. He is curious about things." He looked at her confused expression and chuckled. "Monster feed from negative emotions and generally care for nothing but power and destruction. Xellos on the other hand has curiosity, something that is neither negative or positive. He also takes time to try to understand a bit better who his enemy is. True such a relationship to a monster is a double edged sword but, one must take risks." He explained things to her well into the night and the next day her life as a black sorcerss was born.
Xellos stood in the shadows watching her and her Father. He had been given an order that he did not look forward to carrying out. He did not care for the humans, but it troubled him to see them killed. "An order, is an order." He would give them this one last day he decided, as he phased out.
Aria had just turned nine years old and she was well schooled in magic, black being her forte. She had devoted the last two years of her life to learning what she could, she let go of her childhood to become an adult. She knew black spells that others had olny dreamed about knowing, though admitedly she couldn't cast most of them yet. She would have to grow physically before she could do that, but just the knowledge she knew made her feared.
She walked down to the lab carrying their lunch. She knew Father would forget to eat if she didn't remind him. She entered setting down the food out of the way, going over to where he was translating some text found deep in the mountains to the south. It was something about a Lord above all Lords. She was a bit mad that he wouldn't explain further.
The afternoon had passed quickly and had turned to dusk. Aria was about to go prepare dinner when Xellos phased into the room. She was immediatly aware something was wrong. He smile was gone, instead he wore a grim expression. "Good evening Xavier."
"So Xellos, by the look on your face I would guess? that you're here to kill me." He stood up straight and looked Xellos straight in the eye.
"Yes. I have been ordered to eliminate you, Lord Hell Master finds you to be more of a threat than an advantage." Xellos met his gaze with a somber expression.
"You seem to regret this. Is it possible for a monster to have feelings after all I wonder? You could just choose not to kill me. No, that won't happen ever. You have no choice in the matter, I know. Aria, what will happen to her?" He looked intentensly at Xellos. He knew this day would come, he had hoped that it would be later much later.
"Original orders were to kill her too, but I convinced Lord Phibrizo that she would be too useful. I will personally take her as my servant, training her and putting her skills to use for the Monster Race." Xellos was feeding from the despair coming from the child, but something didn't feel right. He pushed feeling away.
"Aria come here." She ran to her Father, tears already running down her face. He kneeled and took held her letting her cry, hugging her tightly. "Listen to me Aria, remember the night when you asked to learn magic? Remember all that I told you that night? Never forget it. That knowledge will keep you alive. Do as Xellos asks you to do. It won't be easy, but you have to try. Do this for me ok?" He wiped her tears and smiled to her. "You're my Little Song, you became my light in a very dark world. Remember me, and what I stand for."
"No..Father..I don't won't to be alone again..I hate Uncle Xellos, he is evil..you're wrong..he isn't different!" Aria could barely talk through her tears. All her fears and nightmares came rushing back to her. She had been safe, someone loved her. She wasn't evil in his eyes.
"Shooo. No. No. Xellos is not the one to blame. He merely is the messenger. Do not blame him, I don't. He will protect you when no other can. Now I want you to go upstairs to your room, shut the door and do not come out. Xellos will come to get you. Do not look back and do not regret. I will guide you and be with you still. I love you my daughter, my Little Song." He held her close to him, hugging her one last time before sending her away.
Aria let go and turned walking away slowly. She stopped before Xellos and looked up to him. "I won't blame you for following orders, I promised Father I wouldn't, but I can hate you for being a afraid to stand up for what you don't like. You don't want to kill him..you're a monster..you should take joy in this, but you're not." Her brave resolve broke as Xellos opened his eyes looking at the girl with shock. She ran from the room never looking back.
"She will come to understand how the Monster race thinks soon enough, but she is right isn't she? You don't want to do this. Why?" Xavier rose from the floor searching for an answer.
"No I don't want to kill you, I think there is still too much value in you. But Orders are orders and I have no choice." Xellos was bothered by what the child had said. She was only nine years old, but there was an ageless quality to her that held Xellos's curiosity.
He couldn't help but chuckle. "Well it's nice to know, I have not out lived all my usefulness in at least your eyes. What will you do with Aria though?" This was his only true fear left.
"Aria will be taught more black magic than any human could dream of having. She will be a weapon to be used if needed. What I will train her to be is a go between. I think from all I have learned about humans in the last twenty years, that more contracts with the monster race can be made if a human is used to negotiate them." Xellos did owe much of what he knew the human emotions and thoughts to this man.
"I see, negotiator and assassin. Wait a few years before you have her kill anyone. Give her time to grow and to adjust. And after she has done her first job, give her time then. Aria is after all human. She will possably break down after her first kill. Don't rush her into another. Patience has it's rewards if you wait. Well lets stop putting it off." He closed his eyes and sent his love to Aria, saying one final goodbye to her.
"I will give her at least two years to learn first. Then she will have her first assignment. I will atleast reward you for you service to me by giving you a painless death." Xellos lowered his staff to the man and began to draw energy.
"Thank you Xellos for Aria." He smiled to Xellos and closed his eyes. "Goodbye old friend."
Xellos felt the feeling of friendship from him, and for a second time that night the humans had caught him off guard with their emotions. He shook his head and phased out, reappearing next to Aria who had cried herself into a restless sleep. Picking up the child he looked at her and felt a strange feeling within him. 'Why do you humans hold such power over me. Strange, I actually regret killing him.' Phasing out, he leaving the area with a smoking crater of where once a house and wizards lab once stood.