` Kalaythia tugged at the clips in her hair, reassuring herself that they were still in place. They were, just like always. Today she’d added bright multicolored metallic butterflies to the boring plain black ones that never left her hair.
They added a pop of color to her dusty gray braids.
The clips; or Sqalen however were practically apart of her head, she never took them off. The only time she’d never worn any, was as a baby, far beyond her own memory.
Then again all of her people wore them. They were an integral part of Kull kothwren society.
Designed specifically to keep them safe, to help them maintain the rhythms that other species followed so easily.
She wondered what it would be like, to be free of the ever-present weight they added to her head. To live unbound by the magic imbued in them.
It had been centuries since any Kothwren had removed their Sqalen, and for good reason too. The other people and races of the universe kept good relations with her people out of fear of it happening. Her people had been known to destroy planets when free of the Sqalen. It used to happen more often, back before the magicians started placing locking spells on the binding hair clips.
For a Kothwren emotions were extremely powerful, unlike any other creature yet found within the vastness of space, the Kothwren’s body could convert emotions into magic.
History told them that Kothwrens used to have a slight glow about them. That their bodies just produced so much magic all the time that they had to have a way to burn it off.
That was before the first off planet contact.
Before they knew they weren’t alone in the universe.
Before the first Kothwrens ever fought in a war.
Before all of that, no kothwren had ever experienced battle or bloodshed, they knew what their emotions could do what everyone’s emotions could do. They were a peaceful race that lived simply and happily, even their royal family had little more then a title, leaders and rulers weren’t really necessary in society where everyone got along.
Then they started leaving, to explore and see what lay beyond their world and everything they knew.
The first Kothwren brought to a battlefield destroyed the entire solar system and left the nearby star in burning pieces. They were the only living thing that survived. Survived maybe, but the Kull
Kothwren went mad over what they had done and most said it would have been a better fate to parish with everything else.
After that, for the first time a longing for something they’d never wanted or needed among their own came within easy reach; power.
Kalaythia’s people quickly became the strongest, the most powerful, the most wanted. For anything in the galaxy. Simply because of what they could do.
For years their kind terrified species of all kinds, and the Kothwrens became a cruel and ruthless race.
Destroying entire planets and wiping out races in an afternoon, forging friendships with kingdoms only to turn on them in battle.
Killing mercilessly for little or no reason at all as the whim struck them. Some even got elaborate star maps tattooed on their torsos and backs, the maps were of places they had personally destroyed or now ruled over.
Finally, one of their own, a Kothwren mother who watched her own children, become killers had had enough, she sought out the other magic races of the universe and convinced them to do something.
Together they created the Sqalen. Binding clips that suppressed the emotions and magic of the Kull Kothwren.
The Kull Kothwren had pulled back harshly when they were first forced to wear them. Then they’d opened their eyes and seen what they had become.
And the rest was history.
Kalaythia understood why it was necessary to wear them. She really did, but still she wondered, what would it be like to wield magic? To hold that much power and be able to control it?
Not that it mattered, it was impossible to break them, and even harder to unlatch them. She would die wearing them and she had accepted that a long time ago.
Except here she was 18 sols old, the royal princess of the Kothwren royal family, standing on a hidden docking point for smuggler ships, bargaining for passage, when the captain said he would let her aboard if she gave him her Sqalens.
She stared at him, shocked, everyone knew they couldn’t just be taken off, everyone counted on them not being able to do that.
She’d been about two seconds away from laughing in his face when he started talking.
“No, I’m not joking, and yes, they can be removed”
Her skeptical face must have told him just how much she believed his statement. He must not realize how hard it was to actually remove them.
“Look I would give them to you in a heartbeat, but not only is it illegal in nearly every star system, but I can’t take them off, no Kothwren can”
“I know, I’m well aware” He said grinning “However I have one of the very few people in the universe that can”
He waved to a woman helping load cargo and she came over.
“This is Flanea, her great grandmother help create them, it took a few tries but she can and has removed Sqalen”
Without any prompt or fanfare flanea encased her hand in blue crackly magic, reached forward and undid a Sqalen. Plucking it from Kalaythia’s hair like a speck of dust.
Kalaythia gaped at them, instantly aware of the lightened weight, like someone had cut a chunk out of hair.
“Take them” she said, whispering at first “Take them all”
The captain and Flanea grinned “I guess we have a deal then”
One by one they were removed. As the last one was pulled out Kalaythia felt like she was burning, like her hands and arms were on fire while standing in the middle of a raging river.
The power surged through her, storming and bursting after years of being sealed away. Her body began to emit a beautiful array of light and color. And as she climbed aboard the ship, she felt a smile tugging at the corners of her lips.
She could do anything she wanted. Be anything, go anywhere.
And there wasn’t a living soul that could stop her.