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Kieran Quinn (KEER-an)

Survivor of Clearbrooke

Written by J. L. Gryphon

Ambient sounds courtesy of tosha73 and EminYILDIRIM

Greetings to those below. I am Death, though Azrael is the name I’m known by. Today we will discuss Kieran. Poor Kieran. He’s been through a lot these last twenty-one years. Ever since his hometown of Clearbrooke was destroyed.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I get to Clearbrooke and the woman who plucked him from dragon fire, let me first start with an orphanage that no longer exists. In that orphanage was a cruel human, Kieran’s smelly bed, and a monster. A rill.

Monster in the Orphanage


by J. L. Gryphon via Artbreeder
  Now, I have mentioned abominations in the past, those animated bodies brought into being without a soul. But what I perhaps haven’t explained is the fact there are several different types of abominations. The rill are one of them.   I will spare you the more visceral details about rill. All you need to know for now is this: Just because a rill lacks a soul does not mean it is unintelligent. They resemble humans more than anything, enough so any real human’s skin would start to crawl because of that resemblance. I believe that is called the Uncanny Valley where you come from, those below. They crawl like spiders over the ground, and yet they can have full conversations, respond logically, and . . . understand you. A rill will be calm right until the moment it snaps. It is a monster. An unpredictable monster.   As for how a monster came to live with Kieran in the orphanage, well . . . that’s an unfortunate story. The orphanage caretaker, an absentminded undine, took a sort of laidback approach to his profession, which meant his head slave managed most of the property. This became so common, some of the children grew up believing the slave was the actual caretaker. I believe Kieran was one of them, being as young as he was.   The slave was a cruel Tressian (human) who saw the children under his care as tools rather than fellow souls. Especially the non-human children. Kieran is a jeenta, you understand. Now, considering how the jeenta came into being, they may well be distant cousins to the Tressian people. The jeenta wouldn’t like me saying that, but there it is. Either way, though, none of that mattered to the slave. Kieran may as well have been a dog.   So it was this slave would send the non-human children into the town to, well, steal. Anything the children brought back was immediately added to the slave’s own private stash. “A way to get back at them,” he would say. I assume by “them,” he meant those who had enslaved him. With that in mind, I can certainly see his side of things. However, my sympathy for him ends when I recall what he would do to the children who refused to steal for him. Or the children who disobeyed him. Or the children he decided he just didn’t like, completely on a whim, of course.   This brings me back to the rill. Somehow, the slave had . . . befriended one . . . after finding it skulking near the town. As a punishment for the children, the slave would force them to feed his . . . pet. I was always drifting nearby whenever he did this, just in case, but the slave was smart enough to know he couldn’t get away with the outright killing a child. Still, you can be sure fingers and toes went missing each time dinner was served. For Kieran’s part, the one time he stood up for himself, he received a seven-inch black claw in his shoulder. The creature almost took his arm. Even now, he still has the scar.  

Stealing a Pegasus


by Dorota Kudyba from Pixabay - Modified by J. L. Gryphon

  That silenced Kieran to any further protests on becoming a thief. But wouldn’t you know, becoming a thief was the very thing that saved his life. You see, despite the slave being rotten to his core, he was something of an accomplished spy. And one day, he spotted something he knew he would never see again.   A pegasus.   Now you must understand that pegasi are an extinct species. They were hunted by . . . well, I’ll just confirm to you now that I collected the last living pegasus almost 10,000 years ago. Beautiful creature. I was sad to see it go. And yet, there was apparently a pegasus, black with silver wings, sneaking through Clearbrooke’s surrounding rainforests. I imagine the slave was almost drooling. There was the pesky detail of the pegasus bearing a rider, but that could be fixed. Why not send Kieran to steal it? Poor Kieran. The boy was only eight years old at the time. But he was brave, and he did pluck up the courage to at least try. Well, amidst not having much choice otherwise.   By this point, I had caught wind of the plot. Curious, I followed the jeenta boy as he crept toward the pinprick of a campfire on the horizon. It was a tempting thing to steal such a beautiful animal. But Kieran almost fled when he saw the rider. Not because he was afraid of getting caught. He was afraid because she was a shade-elf, and if there’s one thing you learn growing up in Clearbrooke, it’s that all shade-elves are assassins. (This isn’t actually true, but you must remember Kieran was eight.)   Luckily for Kieran, Litzana Riel was not an assassin. To make a long story short, I don’t think you’ll be all too surprised to hear the theft failed. As Kieran tried leading the pegasus into the trees, Litzana simply watched with fleeting amusement as the boy instead was met with a highly-opinionated animal who had no intention of going anywhere.   “Get out of here, boy,” was all Litzana said. Kieran, of course, ran as if she was an assassin.   As to how I was able to witness this chance meeting, it’s because I was . . . in the area. I was preparing for . . . well, why I was there happened a few days later.  

A Dragon’s Inferno


by Jae Rue from Pixabay

  As I said, Kieran is originally from the town of Clearbrooke. Twenty-one years ago, Anāriel the Black Unicorn was sighted there—caught by a mirror. Vānima the Veldriss panicked. She sent Elghinyrrok the Judge, a brutal red dragon, to end the Black Unicorn once and for all.   Clearbrooke burned.   Now you see why I was there, why I arrived a few days early to prepare. I was . . . busy that night. But I was glad for at least one thing amidst the slaughter. Kieran, that brave jeenta boy and would-be thief, survived. He survived thanks to Litzana. She rode in on her midnight pegasus and snatched the boy’s wrist, hauling him from the flames right as they leapt to devour him.   I breathed a sigh of relief as I watched them flee into the surrounding jungles. At least one lived that terrible night. At least one.   Thank you, Litzana.  

His Tenuous Savior


by J. L. Gryphon via Artbreeder
  However, Litzana Riel was not a perfect savior. She was quite troubled in those days. Still is now, I’m afraid. A lot has happened to her that, well, if you really knew all of it, you would understand why she is the way she is. Yes, she saved Kieran, but I think it was all done in the heat of the moment. After the smoke cleared, based on everything I know of Litzana, I have no doubt she had something of a shock.   You see, there is a big difference between feeding a stray dog some scraps and inviting that stray into your home. Litzana had inadvertently done the latter. Now there was suddenly a child she had to care about. She couldn’t take him back home. There was no home left for him. And she certainly couldn’t take him with her . . . could she?   I’m certain there were many times Litzana almost left Kieran at one place or another. But she never actually did it. Kieran, for his part, idolized his heroic shade-elf rescuer. He believed she was a star sent specifically to watch over him—that all this was somehow fate.   Ah, poor Kieran.   He’s a young man now. I’ve caught glimpses of him here and there in the eastern jungles. Ever since he and Litzana joined Ree’s thieving gang, he’s seemed happier. Better off. Having some semblance of a family other than Litzana has done him good. And yet, in these glimpses of him I’ve seen, I can tell he’s . . . worried—worried his saving star might actually leave him this time.   Poor Kieran.

Signed your shame-filled narrator,   Azrael the Star of Death


Book Information

  To learn more, hop on over to the books page OR hop on over to the teaser and get a sneak peek of Chapter 1! For more articles like this one, have a peek at my Worldbuilding Journal and explore Orosta.  

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Image by J. L. Gryphon via Artbreeder
Chaotic Good
Date of Birth
The Month of Chal, Day 21, 14972 NS
Year of Birth
14972 29 Years old
Current Residence
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
The Children of Le Sair (non-practicing)
Aligned Organization
Other Affiliations
Known Languages
  • Orostian (1st - fluent)

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