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Part One: Once Upon A Time
Chapter one: The Fyguerine Empire
I was born in Jarh, during the Dexym Age, under the rule of my mother, her Majesty Queen Carydrosa. All of her subjects called us Specials, because of our powers. Though no one really knew why we had such power, it was accepted among them. My power was nature, being able to craft thin air into anything that would have existed without the influence of man. Except animals. And a down side was that it was completely sub conscious. Unless I concentrated wholly on making something, it didn’t work. And sometimes my mind worked on its own, creating things that got me in trouble. Like the time I was so angry at my mom for confining me to my room when she was having some duchess or something over that I set her table cloth on fire.
I wasn’t allowed outside my door for a month. My meals of bread, mince and water were brought up to me. My mother didn’t realize (perhaps because of the stress) that I could make myself pomegranates and cream to eat. I dropped the bread and water out my window to the hungry stray dogs.
I was a wanderer. My elation was exploring and discovering things. Mother didn’t care where I went, as long as I got back to the castle in time for all my meals and bedtime, and I couldn’t leave in the morning until the gates were opened. And I absolutely, under any circumstance, could not talk to the Commoners. She would know if I did, because one of the castle guards could hear thoughts.
Sometimes my twin sister, her Royal Highness Princess Crellaylia, accompanied me on my expeditions. Our cousins Ryochelitha, Sanellesia, and Drosleana were visiting from the nearby county of Gafsilen one day when we were all about eight. The five of us were waiting by the castle gates for the guards to open them, chattering excitedly. The sun was just rising and I wanted to show them a little lake I found in a nearby valley. I thought that it would look beautiful in the sunrise. They thought so too.
“Ah, finally!” said Sanellesia. The gates were opening.
We rushed through, pausing to nod to the guards, who tipped there hats in return. We rushed on, I leading the way.
“Come on, guys! It’s over here.” I ran up a hill, down into a little valley. At the bottom of the valley was my lake. The sun was just coming up, lighting the lake on fire.
It doesn’t matter who said it. She spoke for us all.
The lake, round as a coin, lay as still and smooth as glass. Wildflowers encircle it, just as I remember it, though now everything was enveloped in a soft mist. Through the clear water, even from my position on the hill, I can see little fish darting around. The golden sunlight caught on the surface and the flowers.
It was the perfect fairytale image. I felt that anything could happen.
For a moment, we just stood in silence, absorbing it all. But then our legs began to get tired, as do most eight-year-olds after standing unmoving for more than seven-point-five seconds. And anyway the sun had turned a normal white colour by then, and the lake was still beautiful but not as interesting.
“Lets explore!” Sanellesia said, shifting her weight from foot to foot. “Even though I’m sure Casser knows this place pretty well, I want to see more.”
I became rigid. One thing I hated was being called Casser. My name is Cassermaline. Everyone insists on creating stupid nicknames for people, without ever giving a thought to how they might feel. Maybe they liked their name. Or there are those people who don’t appreciate their names as they are.
Like Ryochelitha and Crellaylia. A beautiful name, a beautiful person, but Ryochelitha insists on being called Ryo, and Crellaylia insists on Crellay. What on earth is Ryo? It sounds like a common butcher boys’ name. Crellay sounds like a French pastry.
Or Sanellesia. She is almost as beautiful as Ryochelitha. Her name is pretty, but everyone calls her Senalle. She doesn’t really protest, but she might not like it. I made a point of calling her Sanellesia.
And finally, Drosleana. Well, I suppose Drosle isn’t that bad, but her mother probably put a lot of thought into giving her a name. She ought to be a shamed of herself.
I loved my cousins and my sister, but honestly.
“lets see what is in the wood,” suggested Crellaylia.
Up until that point, I had forgotten about the mysterious wood that lay just behind the lake. It looked foreboding. No wonder we were drawn to it.
But Senalle (I mean Sanellesia) was anything but drawn.
“Oh, must we?” she asked, lower lip quivering. “What if we encounter river people or dwarfs?”
Oh, bother. I had forgotten how much of a coward Sanellesia was. I wanted to just leave her there and come back for her when the dwarfs were finished with her.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13