"Wake up... Wake up." a gentle voice pestered. A fair woman with emerald sheer eyes and long blond hair put her hands on her hips struggling to get her children out of bed. "Oh. Come on now, I know you're up." she said as she started tickling her son and daughter.
"Haha-We're up we're up Mama!" I giggled.
"Oh good, now come on Ethan. You've got to wake too. Look your sister is up." he only grumbled. "Fine then Natalie you pester him til he wakes up. Breakfast is ready." she said as she climbed down the ladder from the loft. I started jumping on our crickity bed.
"Get up get up Ethan! You'll miss breakfast. Get- up-" I said as I started pushing him off the small bed.
"Ow ow ow okay okay I'm up.''
"Finally! Waking you up is like waking up a log. Your just Like papa. Now let's go!" I said tugging his sleeve.
"I'm coming." he yawned. I started without him.
"Good your both up now." She said as Ethan and I darted to the table. Ready to stuff our face with bread and cheese before we darted out the door. But our mothet was sure to stop us before we even made it to the door.
"Hold it- hold it! Where are you two going?" My mother asked.
"I promised Finn I'd meet him by the creek today!" I said .
"And I'm sparing with Odin!" Ethan stated but my mother just sighed.
"Aren't you two forgetting something?" She asked. I stared at my feet, racking my brain for what I could possibly be forgetting until I looked up at her defeated. She rolled her eyes and put her hands on her hips. "Your father is returning today." Ethan and I beamed. "Fine. However be back before night fall. Natalie don't get too dirty!" She called, which I graciously ignored that last part.
"Okay! We will!" we yelled out the door in unison and went our separate ways.
Our family was poor, and just made enough to survive. My father was Lackus Gavillion. A famous warrior of the crown and has the strength of a goddess. Its shown by the purple markings on his skin, a flower surrounded by abstract vines crawling up his forearm. That was the mark of Fina. Only those who have been chosen to be her champion get the intricate etchings into their skin. Often times he said I've been blessed too. I didn't believe it since I didn't have the markings but he said in time it'll soon show. He said that it'll show up when I'm older. And I was curious when it would show.
"Natalie! Over here!" a boy in rags waved. He had tan skin, dirty blonde hair, and gray eyes. I ran up to him, completely out of breath.
"Hey... Finn...." I smiled as I tried to force the oxygen in my lungs to stay in.
"Got your bow and arrow?" he asked.
"Nope. It's over here." I said as I walked over to a hollowed out tree. I always kept my bow and arrows hidden in a hollow tree. Mostly because my mother didn't like me having a weapon. But papa got them for me behind her back.
"Twelve copper coins says you can't shoot a fish in three arrows."
"Oh- you're on!" I said as I bent my bow a little. And strew an arrow in my bow and watched as the Red Haunah fish swam lamely in the creek. I let go and the arrow left with a woosh! I looked in the water to see if I killed it. But I only tore the fin off. He started laughing like a mule behind me.
"Shut it your scaring the fish away! Then you won't be the only fin torn apart today meanie!"
"Okay okay heheheh Fine."
I looked back to the water and watched as blood streamed from it's wound. Steadily I knocked another arrow in my bow. Finn bets three arrows. I can get it in two. I let go. My blond hair wisping in the air along with the arrow. Dead. I killed the fish.
"Ha got it. Now come on help me get it." I said walking into the water.
"What! No way! These are New trousers I'm not getting them soaked already!" he protested as I yanked the arrow with the dead fish on it out of the water "Woah! It's huge." He gawked Then I walked to my first shot and pulled it out of the slimy mud.
"You can be such a baby sometimes. Hand me the rag before I get blood all over my dress." he held it out as if terrified to get any closer.
"Gee thanks a lot. I believe someone owes me twelve copper coins." I said holding my hand out.
"Ugh fine." he reached into his pocket and drew out the money. I counted them out.
"Hey! There's only nine!" I yelled.
"It's all I've got. Didn't think you'd make the shot." he shrugged aimlessly.
"Fine guess its better then nothing." I grumbled I shoved them into my dress pocket, wrapped up the fish in a rag, then put my bow back in it's hiding place.
"Wanna get an apple or something?" I asked "My treat?"
"Sure!" he lit up. Finn was my best friend in the whole village, We've known each other since we were just babes. We walked to an apple cart and bought an apple for eight copper coins. He held onto the apple while I held the bloody fish. We walked to a near by tree and climbed up a few branches and sat there side by side.
He drew his dirk and cut the Apple in half and handed me a piece. "Thanks." I said, he smiled at me. I loved his smile, it was always so warm and kind, despite the small scar on the corner of his mouth
It was around noon now and we each just finished the half of an Apple. We sat in the tree for a bit more just watching the people below.
"Ready to go now?" he asked. I nodded. He made his way down the trunk. I looked down then looked at my pale patched up pink dress. And then the realization came into place.
"Coming down or not?" he said halfway down the tree trunk.
"Umm... I can't."
"Why not? Are you stuck?" He asked slyly, believing thag I was actually scared.
"No not exactly." When the realization set into place, is was written clearly in his expression.
"Ohhh..... Ummm throw me the fish when I get down. I'll shut my eyes. Promise." I nodded as he slid down the rest of the trunk. "Ready?" I tossed the fish down to him. He shut his eyes and turned around. Only then I shimmy my way down towards the ground.
"I'm down." I said brushing off my dress. He spun around and handed me the fish.
We started walking back but the roads were filled with more venders and people then usual. I was overwhelmed by the sight. He grabbed my hand and steered me to an alley way.
"Let's go this way it'll be faster."
"Alright." I followed behind him. When we rounded the corner where we were knocked back and landed on the ground with a thud.
"Are you alright?" I looked up at the familiar voice to see it was Odin and Ethan.
"Y-yeah we're okay." Finn said getting up.
"Where are you going?" I asked as I picked my game off the ground.
"Ethan was just went home about an hour ago, so I figured I would do the same, what of you two?" He asked as he brushed his red hair away from his eyes.
"We-we were on our way as well." Finn stuttered. Nobility always made him nervous despite the fact that Odin and my brother were friendly with each other.
"Alright. Natalie your brother is home and your father is returning tonight." my eyes lit up.
"Hey Odin, do you think you could teach me how to use a sword?" I shouted.
"I leave for the capitol in a few hours Maybe another time." he said patting my head. However how little did we all know that that tomorrow will never come. The village his family owned, and hoped to return to, it'll be nothing but ash and corpses by midnight .
We ran home. Then split ways "tomorrow?" he asked.
"Like always." I walked in my home. My brother and mother playing some game on the table and the smell of stew sifting through the air. My mother made a move and must've won by my brothers face.
"Oh good, you're home. Its getting late, I was beginning to worry." she said."you play with your brother. I'll continue supper."
"Mama mama I caught a fish!" I held out the bloody mess to her.
"O-oh erm... Very good dear" my mother stuttered, revolted at the sight. "We can add that in. Thank you." she took it and continued cooking. I played cards with Ethan. The sun had set and the lanterns around the room were just lit, that's when the door opened and I perked up. "Papa! You're back!" I screamed as I ran to give him a bear hug. He scooped me in his arms and balanced me on his hip. "Mama's making stew! Shes even using the fish I caught today!"
"Thats amazing! You caught it all by yourself?"
"Welcome home papa!" Ethan said.
"Yes dear sit down dinner is ready." we all sat and ate Ethan told us about his sparring match with Odin. While I proudly talked about my bet with Finn and excitedly told them about the fish.
"-And then I got it in two arrows! Papa! Two!" I rambled.
"We'll that's great!" papa said.
"Absolutely not!" my mother protested. "She shouldn't even know how to shoot a bow in the first place!"
"Nope no no no no no no go to bed both of you." She commanded and with that we climbed the ladder to the loft where our bed was. One by one our parents came up to kiss us good night. Then it was off to sleep.
It was my brother who was frantically shaking me awake. "Wake up wake up hurry!" I opened my eyes. Our hay roof was ablaze and smoke filled the room.
"Hurry! Get down! " he urged. I scattered down but before Ethan could follow the support beam cracked then collapsed.
"Help me!" he said as he coughed the smoke that invaded his lungs. My mother and I dug desperately to get him out as the flames lapped at our arms. His face was singed with ashes and burns but when we rushed to leave the door opened. Through the smoke a tall, strong figure stood in the door way.
"Oh Lackus thank Fina. Take the children and let's go-" my mother said until she was cut off with a sword to the chest. Her orange dress stained red and her hair was messy as she collapsed. Ethan got in front of me, trying to shield me from the man we thought was our father but It wasn't our father. Instead a tall pale man with blond slick back hairstood in the door frame.
"Over there!" he shouted to two other men,"Get the girl. Alive!" they ran after me. Ethan sliced their legs with broken piece of glass from the window. They cursed and kicked him aside. I threw a candle stick at them causing one man to stumble back as a thick trail of blood fell from his temple.
"Damn you." he had his sword drawn back ready to strike as I trembled in the corner. But Ethan took the blow, a bloody gash across his chest. His last words were "run."
"But what about you!" I begged. He grabbed my hand "go ...find papa." then his eyes closed. And they didn't open again. I screamed through tears and ran through their legs leaving the burning building. When I got out the whole village was ablaze and littered with bodies. I ran to the center where a grand fountain stood. And my father was there. Slaying whatever man that dared cross swords with him.
"Natalie! Where's your mother and Ethan!" I was quiet and kept crying. He knew, "Damn it! Let's go." he picked me up and carried me to a horse where hopped on and urged the horse on.
We spent aimless days running then we made it to the capitol late one night. He caressed my cheek. "I will come back." he said. "Stay here. I promise to be back." he slipped his necklace over my head." I promise I'll be back. Stay here, my daughter." and he left me right there on the steps of the orphanage.