Arakzeon City

Arakzeon City, a peaceful society where the Navitians and the Emphulettes live in harmony, after having made the Wiccors extinct, takes an ugly turn for the worse.

Marcus is the son of Mayor Gustus Gravelleli, a man who has dedicated his life to politics and has this year decided to run for President. Having criticised controversial views on the two remaining races’ ability to coexist, Marcus remains but only a shadow in supporting his father’s career, especially as his childhood crush, Megan, is Navitian.

Being an Emphulette means that Marcus can feel living creatures’ emotions and already knows that his tremendous love for Megan is reciprocated. Being a Navitian and hence able to determine the purity of any soul, Marcus fears that Megan can see evil inside him. Despite the mutual love, she has kept her distance. What he doesn’t know is that she carries a secret, a fatal secret that would not be safe in Marcus’s hands. A secret that could keep them apart forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First 3 chapters

CHAPTER 1

I was startled by a scraping noise against the window. The wind and rain made the branches on the silver birch push against it. Perhaps it wasn’t just the wind and the rain. I recognised the scratching sounds against our stone house coming from outside. I had heard them many times before. I shook my head in discontent and crossed my arms after having put my book to my side on the bed. As I had expected, Marcus’s wild black hair appeared, followed by his content smile. He fiddled his fingers in the gap under the frame and slid open the window to climb inside, shaking off the rainwater.

“What nasty weather,” he stated, and ripped off his sweater.

He corrected his t-shirt and assessed the state of his wet trousers.

“You can come in through the door, you know,” I pointed out.

I stood up from the bed and walked over to my wardrobe to bring out a spare pair of white linen trousers he kept at my house. I tossed them over to him and turned around to give him privacy.

“I prefer not to put your family through the stress,” he panted, as he wriggled the trousers on over his wet legs.

“They wouldn’t mind covering for you. They consider you a part of the family.”

“I know,” he confirmed humbly and threw himself casually onto my bed.

“I thought that of all evenings you wouldn’t visit me tonight,” I said challengingly as I closed the book I had been reading and placed it on the bedside table.

He exhaled amusedly from his nose.

“Of all nights, there isn’t another place I’d rather be.”

“Nights? You aren’t planning on staying over?”

“Do you mind?”

“The spare mattress is in its usual place, but do you really think it’s wise to stay?”

I looked at Marcus. He was suffering. He wanted to get away from it all, the gossip, the paparazzi and his family. Only his younger sister Margery hated the attention more than he did.

“Have I ever been wise?” Marcus queried playfully, trying to end a daunting conversation.

“It can be debated,” I responded equally as playfully and walked over to sit down next to him on the bed.

Marcus stretched his hand forward and opened his large palm to display a bracelet. It was made up of small, black rocky stones joined together by delicate chains.

“What’s that?”

“I made it for you. It’s an early birthday present.”

“But my birthday isn’t until next week. You can give it to me then,” I replied quickly to point out that there was no rush and that nothing would change in a week.

“You know how difficult it might be for me to see you after tonight,” he whispered and started to thread the bracelet on my wrist. “It’s made out of the meteor rocks that landed on earth fifty years ago.”

“Your grandfather’s findings. I thought that was classified as national security and locked up.”

“Yes, true. All but these ones,” he replied, and smiled proudly when turning it for my view. “Equally as unique as you, Megan.”

“I can’t accept these. It’s too much,” I murmured, feeling concerned he would get into trouble for the missing government research objects.

He poked his finger into my ribs, knowing how ticklish I was. I jumped and giggled.

“Your smile fixes everything.”

“Marcus…” I remarked disapprovingly and frowned with my entire face.

“I know, I know,” he replied and sighed.

“The result of the election will be revealed tomorrow and your father could become the President. How do you think he will react if you aren’t present at the conference?”

“And imagine if he found out it was because I spent my night at a Navitian’s house.”

“Marcus,” I whinged hopelessly, “you aren’t taking this near enough as seriously as you should.”

I walked over to the wardrobe and pulled out the mattress. He moaned and pulled a face toward me.

“When will you let me sleep in your bed?”

“Never,” I answered stubbornly, indicating that my assertive actions were going to mirror his stupidity.

He pushed himself off the bed and rammed into me, tipping us both over the mattress. Him on top of me. As it hit the floor, he started to tickle me as a punishment for my uncooperative behaviour. I laughed and screamed at the top of my lungs.

“Stop, stop!”

He rolled to the side and gazed into my green eyes after having removed strands of my long brown hair from my face.

“I will leave early tomorrow morning. I promise. My father won’t even know I was gone.”

“Thank you,” I said in a tone that indicated this would satisfy me.

“Should we do something we haven’t done since we were kids? Should we enter Mr Angry’s garden and help ourselves to some apples?”

I laughed nervously.

“Mr Angry must have been so pleased last year when you moved out from next door. Now he should see a vast increase in his garden’s harvest.”

“For old times sake. Come on.”

“Marcus, we aren’t children anymore. And what if the paparazzi sees you stealing, and with me?”

“When did you become such a bore?”

“When I became an adult. I will tell you how it feels when you are older,” I mocked as he was older than I, and I placed out a pillow and a blanket on his bed.

He smirked, lied down and focused his gaze at the ceiling.

“If my father loses tomorrow, then, can we be together?”

“Marcus…” I harshly called again and turned off the lamp on the bedside table.

“No, I’m serious. You can’t silence me forever. Why won’t you be with me? You can read my soul, what’s so wrong with it?”

“You know Navitians and Emphulettes aren’t allowed to share that information. It scares people like your father. People with power.”

“I know, but I won’t be silenced by him, nor anyone else, when it comes to you. I can feel you love me more than anything else. So I steal apples sometimes, but my soul isn’t evil. I’m not my father.”

“Good night!” I responded cutting him short, pulled my nightgown on and crawled under my duvet.

I took a deep breath and wished for continued silence.

“If my father wins tomorrow, he will ensure a purely Emphulettian society.”

His statement cut deep into my emotions. I could never imagine a life without Marcus. He had been climbing into my window since he could walk. He had walked me to school every day of my life. He had stayed with me every night there had been thunder and lightning. A tear fell from my eye and soundlessly dripped down my cheek.

“Good night,” I whispered again.

 

The blanket was lumped up into a ball after Marcus had left the mattress empty during the early morning hours. Just like he had promised me. I rubbed my face, sat up and corrected my nightgown, which had twisted around my body. I stuck my feet into my fluffy pink slippers and slowly made my way downstairs. There was a gloomy feeling to this day and it became increasingly confusing as I found my father packing a large basket with food supplies. The door stood wide open and I could view our horse strapped to the carriage.

“What are you doing?”

“Good morning darling.”

Father looked as if he had been caught off guard and looked around to be able to clear a space on the worn out red fabric sofa.

“Darling, come and sit down please.”

I got a wary feeling. Nothing good had ever come after the words ‘sit down please’. I did as I was told.

“Oh dear, well, your mum is at the market but…hmm.”

I sat quietly, looking at him trying to get his words out.

“Is this about me being defective?” I finally asked as father still had troubles knowing how to express himself.

“Defective? No, no darling, you aren’t defective.”

“Something’s wrong with me. I can’t determine the nature of anyone’s soul.

“Well, darling, this is the thing, you are going to be eighteen next week.”

He stopped mid-sentence as he looked around until he found his lucky eagleeye gem on the sofa table and slid it into his pocket.

“And you will go through some changes.”

“Changes? What do you mean? What type of changes?” I asked, feeling both curious and concerned.

“How would your mother explain this?” he mumbled as he walked over to the kitchen counter to carry on packing further supplies. “Your mother and I lived in the mountains until you were born. Our kind spellbind our children’s ability, for safety, until midnight on their eighteenth birthday. We wanted you to learn about all kinds so we brought you to the Arakzeon City. As the spellbinding will break on your eighteenth birthday we can no longer stay amongst Navitians and Emphulettes.”

“So you’re saying…”

“Yes, we’re Wiccors.”

“But they’re extinct.”

“So the Navitians and Emphulettes believe, but it isn’t true. We are fewer than what we used to be, but not extinct. We are working on building up a new society.”

“I guess I always knew,” I responded softly and felt a part of me had fallen into place.

I had always known I was different. I just hadn’t realised how different. Wiccors were extinct for a reason. Everyone feared them. They were harmless if they had a kind soul, but could be devastating to entire societies if their intentions were evil.

“Therefore, we have to leave before this afternoon.”

“This afternoon? But what about the election?” I exclaimed and stood up hastily.

“It’s best if we leave before the results are revealed, in case there is an uproar.”

“But I need to bid farewell of Marcus. I need to explain to him why I am leaving.”

“There’s no time. The sooner we leave for the mountains the better. The less he knows about you the safer it’s for all of us.”

“All of us?”

 

 

CHAPTER 2

 

You are saying there are more of us walking about in the city?” I asked in shock as I couldn’t imagine the danger our kind was facing if anyone exposed us.

“No, not in the city. They live in caves beyond the Rockmount Road; where the road was cut off never to be used a hundred years ago,” he replied and waved his hands as if it was an old story.

“So, how come we came to live in the city?”

“Because it was important that you learned the politics and the structure of the society in the Arakzeon City,” he again stated submissively and looked under the sink for a bucket.

“Why?”

Father sighed and stopped looking. He rose up and placed both his hands on either side of the moving box to hold his body up.

“Because that is the proper education required for a Princess.”

I now realised why he would have wanted to wait for my mother. She was better at breaking big news gently. I sunk down on the sofa to ponder.

“Darling, don’t read too much into this.”

“Don’t read into it? You are telling me that I’m a Princess of an extinct species; a humankind who has had magical abilities brewing in them for generations, and you want me to not ask about it? And the Royal Family has the strongest powers!”

That much I had heard from tales about the race.

“I wasn’t aware you knew so much about Wiccors,” he mumbled and tried to avoid a confrontation.

“Do you understand how badly Marcus’s father would want to kill me if he found out?”

“That’s why we have to leave.”

“But, I don’t want to leave. Marcus is expecting me to appear at the elections.”

“If he saw you again after you knew who you are, he would feel you felt differently of him and it could expose you. You are coming with us as soon as your mother returns from the market.”

“Marcus would never expose me.”

“Megan, go and pack. We are leaving.”

“Maybe Marcus could come with us?”

“I’m not bringing the son of the Emphulettian President, who wants a pure society, into a large group of Wiccors. Go, now!”

I bounced off of the sofa and ran up the stairs to my bedroom. I banged the door shut. It wasn’t due to anger but sadness. I knew a life with Marcus would be challenging, but yet I had always thought it would be us in the end. I walked over to his mattress and collapsed onto it to smell his pillow. It smelt of his grassy and lavender scent. I understood it would be my last memory of him. I went over to my wardrobe to bring out a backpack and started packing the essentials. I packed my jewellery, clothes and my book. I brought out a drawing I had made of Marcus and me on the Sunside Beach. I had made it last year when we were lying on a sunbed and he had his arm around me. All our friends knew that Marcus and I were only friends, however we were a close pair and no one else had ever approached us in any other manner.

When I arrived downstairs again my mother was home. I didn’t speak with her and she looked at me with eyes that understood my sadness. I went straight for the forward facing seat of the carriage and chucked the backpack at the floor, followed closely by the loudly slammed carriage door. I sat still and quiet to await the journey.

My father made a few attempts to communicate with me to encourage a pleasant atmosphere, as he was steering the horse from the driving box. My mother realised that I wasn’t in the mood and waved her arms at him insinuating to not bother and to be quiet.

It was hard to keep the proud silence as I had many questions circling in my mind. If I was the Princess, my parents must be King and Queen. My father was always geeky. It must be my mother who had the royal genes. She looked the part with her light brown curly hair, her smooth skin and her blue eyes. Her perfection might not even be real, but the result of a spell.

“Are you hungry?” my father asked kindly, trying again to make amends.

I turned my head to look out of the carriage, showing him I wasn’t going to respond.

We journeyed all night and when light reappeared we had reached the dead end at Rockmount Road. Our old carriage, not made for rough terrain, was parked to be sheltered by one of the many mountain caves. My father nodded for my mother to speak with me. She jumped over to sit next to me. She placed her hands over mine and although my pride strongly felt the urge to remove them, I kept them still out of respect for her.

“Darling, your life will change from hereon, but it doesn’t mean it’s for the worse. Life’s what you make of it.”

“I don’t want my life to change.”

“It hadn’t really ever changed. This is your…”

“No, the life I have lived was just one big lie,” I interrupted my mother’s speech of destiny and belonging of our species.

“Does your friendship with Marcus feel like a lie?” my mother challenged more authoritatively and I could associate the tone to when I did naughty things as a child.

“In a way, yes.”

I thought and knew her next speech was going to be a telling off for raising my voice at her. “It should have grown into something beautiful, something more, but my ‘true calling’ has now pulled me away from him. I would call that ‘living in a lie’.”

“Let me remind you that you have known him for almost eighteen years and never led him on. You have never given him hope that you would become more. You had already decided he wasn’t the one for you. Am I wrong?”

“I never let myself closer to him because I was confused as to why I couldn’t read his soul as a Navitian should be able to do.”

“What do you want me to say Megan? What do you want me to do? This is what it is and a Wiccor Princess is what you are. I can’t change that.”

“Just because you can’t change it now doesn’t mean you are less guilty,” I whispered softly as I had never spoken to my mother in this disrespectful manner before.

Sadness struck me as I, for the first time, witnessed my mother crying. She hunched forward to place her head in her hands and she cried.

“Mother…” I called in a whisper to try to get her attention.

I didn’t want to forgive her, however she didn’t deserve to go through the guilt she clearly had borne for almost two decades.

“I thought a short time as a normal child for you was better than none,” she sniffled sadly and turned to once again caress my hands with her wet tear-filled ones.

“Mother, I…”

She looked at me with her shiny blue eyes awaiting my understanding.

“I need to process it all with time,” I replied vaguely.

I knew my mother had wanted more. I had lost Marcus without an opportunity to say my farewell. I couldn’t give more. The fact that I was going to receive a magical ability when I turned eighteen and that my world around me would become hugely different didn’t bother me. It could be as different as it wanted to as long as I had Marcus.

“What do we do now?” I asked, to break the silence and to prompt our next move.

“Your father can teleport.”

I looked at my father as he nodded.

“What does that mean?”

“It means that you will close your eyes and when you open them again we’ll be in the Wiccor village, Rockmount Village.”

I looked around at a red landscape filled with sand and rocks as far as the eye could see. There was nothing out there, not for miles on end.

“So, why did we journey all the way here? Why didn’t you just do that from home?”

“Because it’s a fine calculation of distance and mass. I can’t teleport our entire belongings and all of us, all the way from home,” he defended, although he still had his fatherly teaching voice engaged.

“We have stopped here as I just wanted to ensure you are alright before we go. A lot of people have been waiting for your return and you might experience some unwanted attention so soon after finding out who you are,” mother carried on explaining to put my mind at ease.

My mind wasn’t at all at ease. I liked the life I had lived and I didn’t want it to change. I knew that I didn’t have any choices and therefore gently nodded. Father stretched out his hesitant hand to me and mother took his other.

“Close your eyes as there will be a flash of light; uncomfortable to the eye,” father explained.

 

CHAPTER 3

I didn’t feel a single movement in my body, yet, when I opened my eyes after the flashing light our carriage was stood on a gravelly hillside. Not far away from us there were five individuals sitting on wooden benches in a ring around a glaring fire. Beside them there were two men practising fencing with wooden sword-like sticks. I had expected savages or uncivilised tribe people, but they appeared normal. No bones were pierced through their noses and no tribal marks painted onto their faces. The clothing was different to the Arakzeon City’s normal wear. There were a lot of feathers, beads and leather. It was early spring with a chill in the air, highlighted by the five around the fire who still had capes warming their bodies. The fighting men wore beige kaki trousers with white shirts loosely stringed at the collar. I sighed. I didn’t like getting to know new people. I wanted to be left alone.

“Are you ready?” my mother asked and looked worriedly at me.

“Sure,” I murmured and only stared at the door handle.

When my hand finally decided it was time to open the door it didn’t feel like it was me who actually controlled it. I had no desire to leave our old green carriage. I looked at my mother accusingly. She smiled toward me.

“I can move objects with my mind,” she admitted and opened the door for me without touching it.

I rubbed my eyes and gazed at her again. This new world was going to be challenging to keep up with if all the individuals in the village had different abilities.

“And what can I do?”

“For you young lady and my only child, I wish nothing on this Earth will harm you,” my father said as he stepped down from the driving box.

“We’ll have to see when you turn eighteen,” my mother answered with another smile and nodded for me to actually get out of the carriage.

Two of the girls by the fire and one of the fighting men came running as soon as they heard the thud of the closing door.

“Hi Megan,” a younger girl greeted as she folded down the hood of her cape. “I’m Carissa.”

She was about fourteen I would guess. Her eyes were blue and not green as mine and her hair was blonde and not brown as mine. In fact, all of the Wiccors looked very similar to each other. The same features, the same fair colours and the same wide body builds. I didn’t feel more at home here than in the Arakzeon City. How could this be my kind? The other girl, perhaps in the same age as I, couldn’t resist to give me a warm welcoming hug.

“We have been expecting you. Come, sit down with us,” she invited and walked us all to the benches around the fire. “I’m Krimsa, by the way,” she introduced herself before she walked over to her spot on the opposite bench. “You must be hungry?” she asked and poured soup into bowls from the cauldron simmering over the fire, before we had had a chance to reply.

She didn’t offer us from the meat of the animal rotating on a metal spit above the fire. I couldn’t even recognise what type of animal it was and with this lot one could never know if it was for eating or for magical use.

An older man, largely built, tall and with a stern facial expression appeared by the cave opening and eyed up my father, who immediately excused himself.

“Who was that?” I asked Carissa in a whisper as I leaned closer toward her.

“That’s your father’s deputy, Manikaro,” she answered and carried on devouring her apparently still too hot tomato soup.

I tilted my head to look at my father. He, the King. I really had never looked at my father in this light. He instantly became much older and wiser in my eyes than I had ever appreciated him to be before. I glanced over to my mother, who openly sipped her soup from a spoon she wasn’t physically holding onto. Furthermore, no one appeared to find it strange. After a brief conversation with Manikaro my father resumed his place next to my mother. He seemed slightly tense.

“The Tomowathaa clan is coming tomorrow,” he told my mother and she exchanged a harsh stare with him.

Whatever that meant, it wasn’t entirely positive.

“It has been a long day, perhaps you should take the Princess to bed,” Krimsa advised so that my mother wouldn’t have to feel rude to cut the evening too short.

It had been a long day with plenty of news, however it was still early evening and therefore I suspected something wasn’t right. My mother’s grip around my arm left no doubt that this wasn’t the time to raise questions. I followed her deep inside the cave labyrinth until we came to a homely decorated room. It was modest with a single bed next to a king-sized bed. There was an oak wardrobe; similar to the one we had at home, and a matching bureau with wooden picture frames, porcelain ornaments and silver candleholders on top. In the middle of the floor was a bear skin without its head. Rather than a door, there was a thick dark blue curtain hanging in front of the room’s opening which offered a modest amount of privacy.

“What’s wrong mother?” I asked as I started to undo the patchy quilt-cover from the single bed, which I assumed was my sleeping arrangement.

“Nothing is wrong dear,” she answered.

“I find it strange that you say you are the Queen and yet Krimsa is ordering you to bed,” I mumbled and got undressed down to my t-shirt before I stuck my legs under the heavy quilt.

Mother came to sit on my bed as she always did when we had to talk and, in just the same way as when I was younger, my stomach knotted.

“Please try to relax and not judge and assume every detail about everyone in this village. Krimsa’s ability is that she doesn’t age. She stopped aging when she was eighteen.”

“So, she’s much older than she looks?” I asked and my mother smiled.

“And, she’s your grandmother, hence she has every right to order me to bed,” she said and stroked my hair.

I sat up on my elbows.

“What?”

“Yes, she’s my mother. Strange, isn’t it?”

“Yes. I can see that I need to learn a lot. You need to be more honest with me if I’m to agree to be more open.”

My mother fell sad again, her head tilting to view my hands.

“What?” I asked.

“I was hoping you would have had more time settling in before the Tomowathaa clan arrived.”

“Why? Why does everyone seem so worried about them coming?”

“The Wiccor chiefs have long debated the Wiccor’s weakening position in the world. With the new development in the Arakzeon City your father has finally agreed that we join clans.”

“That doesn’t seem too bad,” I consoled my mother on what appeared to be a remorseful decision.

“You have to understand that it’s the hardest decision your father has ever had to make. He has refused for years, however with the extinction threatening our kind he can no longer ignore the best solution above his personal opinions.”

“I don’t understand,” I said confusedly.

“To form the unbreakable bond that joins the clans, the Tomowathaa chief’s son has to take your virginity.”

“Oh my world, mother! I don’t want to speak about such private matters with you.”

“I know sweetie, but it isn’t a filthy thing. The son, Birkim, has travelled far to mate with you. He’s standing strong to honour the agreement.”

I let out a loud growl to drown out my mother’s voice as I covered both my ears with my hands. My mother gave me a disapproving gaze to say I was being very childish.

“And how do you know that I’m still a virgin? For all you know Marcus and I could have already done it.”

“You are protected by a spell, dear.”

I let out another angry growl and turned my back toward her, pulling the quilt all the way up to my nose.

“Please try to see reason,” my mother urged and gently stroked my back.

I made an attempt to shake her hand off my back and dug my nose further down the quilt. She sighed and I sensed her bodyweight leaving her spot at my bed. For a long time after I could hear her arranging and unpacking our items in the room.

 

When I woke up again my mother was asleep in my parent’s bed. My father was nowhere to be seen. I quietly snuck out of my bed and pulled my trousers back on. Every so often I turned my head backwards as I walked out of the long cave. I had memorised it as I was going in and therefore had to practically walk backwards to find my way out. The sun was on its way up, but wasn’t quite there yet. My father was sitting, pondering by the sizzling charcoal. He did look miserable. I wanted to console him equally as much as I wanted to give him a piece of my mind.

A large bird, with a wingspan of at least two metres, was circling above our heads and my father stood up. He walked over to the edge of the cliff-face awaiting the creature. It was an interesting sight to see as the white eagle gracefully descended to the ground and shifted into a human. I walked up closer as this new life had started to grow on me, however I hid behind some bushes to not be detected. The well built man, with his eyes full of charm, stretched his arms out wide facing the breadth of the landscape. He took a deep breath to fill his lungs completely and then turned around to face my father.

“What news do you have for me?” my father asked the man who now wore camouflage trousers and a white shirt.

“Mayor Gustus Gravelleli won the election. He has already started the separation, emigrating Navitians out of the city, causing my delay, my King.

“I feared as much.”

“He says he wants to recreate the society; build it from scratch, with his own legal system. He’s no longer to be referred to as the President, but as the Mirey. I believe it’s intended to be a title above King, although beneath the Gods.”

“I suppose it’s good news for the Wiccors as the focus will be on the Navitians in the first instance.”

“I wouldn’t count on it. To me, it appears as if he wants to deport the impure outside the city walls to be able to make them extinct at a later date without the Emphulettes knowing about it. In this way he seems more merciful as a leader. When he has closed those gates to the Arakzeon City there will be no stopping him ruling it as he pleases.”

“The Tomowathaa clan is coming to our aid. They are arriving today.”

“I know, I saw them as I flew beyond the Konickia Mountain. It shouldn’t be more than three hours until their arrival.”

“Thank you for the message Pivirio,” my father dismissed and threw him a pouch of coins.

I couldn’t stop staring at the man. His skin alike mine, however on closer inspection it was actually made of tiny scale-like silvery feathers. Although they were transforming into more human-like skin by the second. As it turned I recognised the reddish-blonde wavy hair and the high cheekbones. This man was also the messenger of Gustus Gravelleli. Judging by my father’s formal manner and the delivered payment it appeared as if he was an independent messenger.

“What about Marcus?” I questioned the man, as I had now stepped closer and out of the bushes.

“What about Marcus?” he retorted, viewing me with disgrace for the concern toward an Emphulette.

“Was he there?”

“Yes, he was there. He was by his father’s side; not making a single move to stop the evacuation.”

“No, he wouldn’t go against his father.”

Pivirio ejected a disgruntled noise at my remark.

“He has respect for people,” I defended against Pivirio’s rude snort.

“Is it respect for the people he has doomed to live in exile outside the city walls? No, that isn’t respect, it’s to be a coward.”

My father was about to break up the heated discussion, but I didn’t want to be the one leaving the fight at a loss and therefore carried on with my defence.

“And what did you contribute with then that was so heroic?”

Pivirio, who had thought his harsh words would have made me angry to the point of weakness now had to ponder on his own story. He stood bent forward over me yet I still had the upper hand. He stood in silence. This event seemingly amused my father who lowered his authoritative finger and crossed his arms with much content awaiting me to fight out my own battle.

The eagle-eyes with the small oval irides stared intensely into mine. I didn’t budge. Eventually he placed his hands behind his back and spread his legs in an submissive position.

“Touché,” he whispered, swallowing his pride and staring humiliatingly up into the sky; averting any eye contact.

“Next time, get to know someone before you judge them. Marcus has a good heart and wouldn’t action the same instructions as his father, should he have been the Mirey.”

After that clarification I stomped off to dump myself down on the large log next to the fire. There wasn’t much to do on this hillside and the fire kept me calm. Carissa was sitting on the other end of the bench flicking the ring pulls from the cans into a circle drawn in the sandy ground. She missed the circle on a few occasions, but managed to have the rings stay within the border most of the times. After she had flicked the last one she looked up at me.

“You don’t listen to your heart much, do you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You reject your inner voice to the extent it makes you unhappy.”

“I’m not unhappy.”

“How do you know?”

I sighed and pushed some hair away from my face. I wondered what power she possessed to be able to state my unhappiness. Was she right? I couldn’t say I was unhappy, but I also couldn’t say that I was happy. Carissa kept staring at me in silence waiting for me to reply. She was so precious. If I would explain her in one word it would be ‘delicate’. Her skin was as smooth as porcelain, her hair was shiny as silk and her face told of no miseries. Her eyeliner followed her large cat-like eyes and her cheeks bore the subtlest of pink.

“What’s my heart telling you?” I asked, as I didn’t want to respond.

“Well,” she said in a lower voice than before and it was clear that she was trying to hide it from my father. “I don’t believe its purpose is ordinary. It was born with ambitious desires. Your destiny was to fight the right cause,” she mumbled with conviction and corrected herself back to her previous position, bending down to collect the ring pulls from the sand to start the game anew.

As she had described me, was the way I also viewed myself, when I wasn’t directed by my parents. I didn’t want to be silenced. I did want to fight for my people and not hide for survival. I moved closer to Carissa.

“And what’s the right cause?”

“Stop pretending to care for the people you don’t care for and start investing your time in the person you do. You love Marcus. Why are you fighting it?”

 

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