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Azura's Life (Part One)
From the time Azura was born, people knew she was special. Gifted. Everyone but her, that is. Azura thought that everyone had The Gifts. The day that Azura found out the truth was the worst in her life.
It had started out like any day in the land of Niflerta. It was market day, and everyone was in the market building. It was unbearably hot; the first time the covered market had been used in months. Azura was 9 years old, and she was playing hide and seek with some of her friends. She was the reigning champion of this game, due to the Gifts she would later discover. Azura had won the last five games, and it was now her turn to hide. “That’s a perfect hiding place!” she said to herself. Azura was directly behind a hollow pedestal. She climbed in.
Azura had been hiding in that pedestal for a good half-hour before she was found. But it wasn’t by one of her friends. Even many years later, Azura would never forget that frightening moment. She saw the man who found her for less than a second. He pulled a sack over Azura’s head, and then threw her into a dark and dingy wagon. When Azura finally got the sack off her head, she found about a dozen other children, all as scared-looking as Azura herself.
“Does anyone know what’s happened?” asked Azura when she had regained her voice.
“I don’t really know,” said a girl who she would later find out was called Jeanne, “I think it’s something to do with The Gifts. At least that’s what I’ve heard the men driving the wagon – the ones who kidnapped us – say.”
“What are The Gifts? I haven’t given anyone a persent recently.”
Scattered laughter. “You don’t know?” asked Jeanne, “You have to. That’s why they took you.” Azura was nearly in tears. “But I don’t know!” she cried. “Please tell me!”
“All right,” sighed Jeanne, “Let me start.”
“It all started one thousand years ago. Our country was in ruin. A terrible tyrant ruled the land. It was so long ago that nobody remembers his name anymore. But everyone remembers his actions.
“He wanted to be an immortal, invincible ruler for all eternity. So he called upon the most powerful mages in the land. He wanted them to cast a joint spell to meet his demands. All of them wanted to refuse him, but the king forced them to. The spell worked. It worked too well, in fact. The power was too much for the tyrant’s body to bear, and he turned into a wrinkled old man long before his time. Not much later, he died of shame.
“And what of the spell, you ask? Well, it turned into a dark, shimmering rain that spread all through Niflerta. Those caught in the rain also caught the Gifts, and their descendants inherited it from them. It only comes up every three generations.” Jeanne concluded, and took a deep breath.
This tale was like a bedtime story for Azura. She only had to close her eyes, and she immediately fell asleep.
Azura woke up to a banging on the door. One of the other children opened it. It was the man who had kidnapped her! “Get out,” he said, “We’ve arrived.” Azura, Jeanne, and the rest of them shuffled out of the wagon, and into the bright sunlight. They were separated by gender, changed into clean clothes, and told they would be given a test.