The Red King's Sword
By Moira B., Burlignton North Carolina, NC
The Lyoko Warriors“Morning” The postman sounded completely cheerful. Much more cheerful than Aelita felt. “Good morning,” she responded. Why was he here? He almost never came to their house. “A package.” The postman hauled a box out. “To a ‘Mister John Stones’.” “Not here,” said Aelita. The truth was, her father was here; he just wasn’t answering the door. He never answered the door. The postman handed her the package and left; that was the first unusual event of the day.
“Morning, love,” Chancellor Padme Amidala dropped a kiss on the head of her youngest grandson. Obi-wan said nothing. As usual, they were the first ones up, and the only ones in the kitchen except the family protocol droid, C-3PO. Obi-wan had always been a morning person. His mother, Lorna, always slept in because she worked in Republic services as a doctor. Obi-wan’s two oldest cousins, Anakin, called Nakin, and Ben, both nineteen, always went to bed at two, which meant they couldn’t get up until at least ten. Both Obi-wan’s uncle Luke and aunt Ahsoka were the kind of Jedi knights who only got up early when there was a mission involved, and this wasn’t a mission; not yet. “Why, master Obi-wan,” said 3-PO. “The Jedi council would like to remind your grandfather that he is to attend a meeting tonight.” Obi-wan poured himself juice—it was that mucky earth stuff, but it was better than nothing. “Tell Grandma, she tells him everything,” he said. “’Sides, I’m headed for Cadec.” “And are your things packed, dear?” Padme asked him. “Yeah, Grandma,” he responded. Obi-wan’s cousin Jason entered. Jason did not look like the rest of the Skywalker men; he was short, chubby, and pimple-faced, his brown hair constantly in need of combing. Jason was carrying a cage. Obi-wan didn’t know what was in it, but he guessed it was one of the rats from the basement. Jason constantly wanted a new pet; Obi-wan, on the other hand, was quite fine with the pets he had. He had a phoenix his mother had brought back from a trip to another world. Obi-wan called him Fire-Flyer. He also had a pet that was our cultural equivalent of a dog, only it had a beak. Obi-wan had caught her himself in the greenery of the Jedi temple. He called her Snowrunner. “Good morning Grandma!” Jason was already dressed in school clothes. “Good morning Jason,” said Padme. “Good morning 3PO!” Jason was always cheerful. Obi-wan never thought to be cheerful. Not with the dreams haunting him; not with the Warrior Council mission at stake. “Good morning master Jason, what would you like for breakfast?” Jason grinned. “What do we have?” “Earth slop,” growled Obi-wan. “Did anyone hear from my dad?” Obi-wan’s father, Qui-Gon, was on important Jedi business; he wouldn’t be joining the rest of the family until Friday. “Sorry,” said Jason. “Do you think I can take Winifred to school?” Obi-wan looked in the cage. There was not a rat there, but a large brown squirrel almost the size of Snowrunner. “The Bloors won’t even let you bring a goldfish, and they’re running Cadec now.” Obi-wan opened the refrigerator and gazed at the sorry selection of moldy fruit and bad-smelling vegetables. “Nothing edible,” he groaned to himself. It was then the member of the family who always got up last entered the kitchen. It was Obi-wan’s grandfather Anakin. “Hi Grandpa,” Jason called. Obi-wan held his breath; his grandfather was usually the last one down. There it was, the third unusual thing of the day.
“Good morning.” Aang tried to sound cheerful. It was a sorry chore. It didn’t matter; it was his first day at Cadec Academy. He was being haunted by those dreams and he could see from Katara’s face that she was affected too. Also sitting at the breakfast table was Toph, Zuko, Suki, and Toph’s cousins Yumi, who was fifteen, almost sixteen, and little Hiroki, who was eleven. Katara’s brother, Sokka, hadn’t gotten up yet. Yumi and Hiroki’s parents were visiting Yumi’s sick grandmother in Tokyo. “Good morning,” said Katara, trying to sound cheerful herself. “Sokka’s sleeping in my bed again,” whined Hiroki. “If you cleaned your room, he wouldn’t be complaining all night about sleeping on the floor,” said Yumi. “Nyeeh!” Hiroki whined. Zuko went to the stove and began to brew tea. He wasn’t saying anything, obviously fuming about the clothes Yumi’s mother had bought for him. Sokka came down. He was still dressed in pajamas. “Sokka, change,” commanded Katara, sounding as bossy as usual. That was good; the dreams hadn’t affected her so much. “Why?” asked Sokka, mid-yawn. “We got school, moron!” Toph snapped, speaking for the first time today. Sokka shook his head. “Not going,” he said. “Suppose the Fire Nation has spies out here. They’ll target your cousins and their friends.” “Hey, that new student fee is expensive!” said Yumi. “If you don’t go, you’ll have to pay us back—every cent.” Sokka looked down at the boxers and nightshirt he had slept in. Aang knew he didn’t like the clothes Yumi’s mother had picked. She picked them because she thought they were his ‘style’; same with Zuko, who was dressed in something that resembled biker gear. All the same, he had no money. “I’ll go change,” he mumbled, turning around and walking right back up the stairs. Zuko put the teapot on the table. “Jasmine,” Zuko murmured. “No honey.” “Why is there no honey?” Hiroki demanded. “I like honey!” “It’s the way my uncle makes it,” Zuko snapped. “No honey, no sugar.” The newspaper was on the table. Normally it would have been open to the funnies. Aang liked to read the funnies, even though he’d only been there a week and hadn’t seen a newspaper before then. Today it was open to news, which was odd; the paperboy was always good about opening it to the right place. “SUDDEN CLIMATE CHANGES OCCURING IN THE AREA,” the headline reported. “Sudden changes in climate?” piped Suki curiously. Zuko bent over the paper. “Like what?” “Lower temperatures and blustery winds, apparently,” he muttered to himself. Katara laughed. “Probably some kind of joke. Sokka, get down here!” That was the fourth unusual event of the day.
The fifth unusual event of the day was probably the most extraordinary; Larana was the first to notice it. From the home of the foster family the Council had placed her with; she noticed that the leaves had gone from spring green to the reds, oranges, yellows of autumn. Bundling herself up, she stepped out into the cold air and hurried across the street to the loft where the Skywalkers were staying. She rang the doorbell and it was not a member of the family that answered. It was Kenny. Kenny was twelve. He looked like he wasn’t endowed with the power to read minds and a great connection with the Force, but this was misleading. Larana knew more about his powers than anyone else. Today, Kenny’s gray eyes almost pierced her. “Hi Kenny,” she greeted in her heavy Na’vi accent that was not undone by her many years on Coruscant. “Hi,” Kenny said in the spoiled brat voice of a Jedi prince. He opened the door and let her in. “How long have you been here?” “Master Fitso let me out early this morning,” Kenny responded. “I came straight here so I could get a ride from ‘Nakin.” Larana didn’t get why Kenny, who was living with a great Jedi master, wanted a ride with ‘Nakin. He should have been perfectly fine riding with the Jedi who raised him. Larana, however, was almost inseparable from Obi-wan and didn’t completely trust her white, human foster family. Zain Umbra, who was sixteen and rarely spoke, was sitting on a couch in the living room, watching TV with Lowbacca, a young Wookie in the Jedi order. The television was turned to Supernatural. He nodded once to Larana upon seeing her, the closest to a hello he would give. Larana ignored them and turned to Kenny. “So, where are the people who actually live here?” Almost as she spoke, trying to master the shadows his father had hidden in so well, ‘Nakin Solo, dark-haired and blue-eyed, appeared at the top of the stairs with his half-alien cousin Ben, Jason, and his twin sister Jaina. ‘Nakin grinned. “So, I understand just about everyone’s ready, except Obi-wan, a’course.” “Where is he?” Larana asked. “In his room with Fire-Flyer and Snowrunner. Jaina bumped Larana with her bag. “That kid takes two hours just to brush his teeth. Why don’t you go up there and make your boyfriend hurry up?” she taunted. “He’s not my boyfriend,” Larana replied in the most crisp, emotionless way she could. Larana climbed the stairs to the attic. Just like every other room Obi-wan Skywalker had ever inhabited, this was filled with drawings and pictures of comets, stars, and planets, as well as sculptures. Obi-wan was very passionate about his work. “We’re going to be late,” Larana called, a grin spreading across her face. “Sorry, lost it,” he replied, returning her grin with a sheepish one of his own. Larana noticed that he was wearing a flannel shirt, jeans, and a pair of dirty sneakers; his usual attire. As far as Larana could see, he wasn’t missing anything. Suddenly Obi-wan pulled back his pillow and revealed a small star-shaped charm on a chain. “It’s an ancient heirloom from my mother’s side of the family,” he explained. “I won’t part with it for as long as I live. It represents all the grave and utter travesties they’ve survived.” Larana smiled, taking the small symbol from around her neck. “That’s like my lucky charm,” she said. “Come on, lovebirds!” Ben called in a slightly whiny, but commanding voice. Larana and Obi-wan followed slowly out of the door of the loft onto the windswept street.
Aelita climbed into the front passenger seat of the father’s Jeep. She was in a bit of a tizzy from the dream and from looking outside; she had never seen so many bright colors in April. Her father seemed even more paranoid than usual. Jeremy boarded the 9:04 bus as usual. He lived in a technically all-city part of Salem, but even he could feel how blustery the wind was. His books flew out of his hands and he had to catch them as he got on board. The walk to school was more eventful than Aang had expected. Leaves blew in his face and he had to bend the wind to keep it from knocking him over or costing him his new books. Sokka was having an even worse time, as he kept tripping. Aang liked it. Katara didn’t. It gave her a dark feeling. Charlie Bone contemplated how it was possible as leaves batted against the window of his great uncle Paton’s car as they drove to Cadec. Olivia Vertigo almost lost all her schoolbooks getting into the taxi from the fancy hotel she and her mother had decided to stay in this semester. It was strange; the wind had never acted like this before. Tony, Eden, Stragg, and Anora walked to school softly and briskly. They knew something was going on as soon as they saw the red and orange leaves; they didn’t speak of it. Tony did his best to mask that he had noticed it, but Eden couldn’t help but be afraid. In the woods at the edge of Salem, where Spiderwick manor stood, it always seemed to be fall, but Jared noticed that this fall seemed different. As he pushed past his siblings and climbed into the back of his father’s car, he felt a chill; like nothing would ever be the same again. Will didn’t know what to make of it. “Strange weather we have here in Salem,” she muttered decisively, shrugging off the extremely early fall as nothing important.
Riku was not a wild driver. Yet, the ride Sora, Kairi, and himself took across the city was nothing but wild. Maybe because the car they had bought didn’t have any glass in the windows. Sora maybe lost a page or two from his new notebook to the long and blustery winds; he liked blustery winds. They were common on Destiny Islands. Kairi, on the other hand, wasn’t really a fan of them. “Windy,” Zain observed, looking around, as the seven young kids and their two non-speaking nineteen-year-old chaperones pulled out of the loft. It is windy, Larana thought, as the wind pulled at her hair, even with the window closed.
Ulrich Stern hadn’t noticed the wind. He sat across from his father in his limo as they pulled up to Cadec Academy. His father had never taken it to school before. Over spring break, his father had changed Ulrich’s appearance; once, Ulrich had worn plain cotton clothes and had spiky, almost rebellious hair. Now his hair was flat and neat, and he was wearing ‘respectable’ clothes. “Ulrich,” his father said in a distasteful voice. “Today you begin a new semester. A semester in which I expect better grades and better behavior.” Ulrich didn’t respond. “I funded this little merge with Bloor’s Academy to make you a better man. And, from Ezekiel Bloor and his associates, you will become a better man.” Ulrich couldn’t think of anything to say. A better man—had his dad gone mental? And what is ‘a better man’, anyway. What Ulrich said was, “I’m not a man. I’m fifteen.” His father frowned. “You’ll be a man soon enough, and my son will not be a troublemaking slacker,” he snapped. Ulrich was not a slacker; he didn’t know it, but he was dyslexic. He couldn’t read very well. “Now out.” They stopped in front of Cadec. It looked different with the orange coat and the lion’s crest at the bottom. Ulrich didn’t notice the difference; not like Aelita did. The rusty Jeep was only a short distance away. Aelita felt her stomach turn. Just then, the sleek black limousine seemed to almost purposely knock itself into the edge of the jeep. The driver peeked out. “Watch where you’re going, huh?” he hollered in a thick New York accent. Aelita got out of the car and grabbed her back. “Bye, Daddy.” She kissed him on the cheek and ran away. The sickening feeling was so strong that she didn’t look back.
Jim Morales was a big man. He was approximately seven feet tall and about a few hundred pounds. He was a gym teacher and the school’s head disciplinarian. His word was law. Jim didn’t take nonsense from students and he didn’t believe in magic or spells. When he returned to his post on the day that all of this was happening he was ready for the rush. The strange weather didn’t bother Jim. He barely noticed. He was thinking of all the new attractive women that would be at Kadic this semester. For starters there were two new teachers from Kansas starting today who just blew into Salem. And Jim had heard rumors that Miss Yewbeam, the head disciplinarian at Bloor’s Academy (Charlie’s great-aunt Lucretia), was surprisingly unmarried. (Either he hadn’t heard everything or he heard the rumors wrong because Lucretia was nearly twice Jim’s age). He also was thinking about baseball season. Jim’s brother had enrolled his boy Joe who was sixteen into Kadic just before the start of the semester. Joe was a star athlete. The only thing Jim was really dreading was Joe’s younger cousin Eugene Keaton. Eugene was freckled and pimpled; at twelve he couldn’t throw a football. He couldn’t even hold a football. Jim got out of his car imagining the baseball trophy nearly six feet high in the school hall. “There he goes” Jim mimicked the announcer at a big game, “Jim Morales. The coach of the Champion team! The King of baseball! The……………..Hey what are you looking at” Normally this question would be directed at a student but today Jim was in fact looking at three cats. Now if Jim was not observant enough to completely notice the weather, he was not observant enough to notice there was something special about these three cats. They looked perfectly ordinary except for their color. One was crimson, one orange and one yellow. These were the Red King’s cats Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Jim just walked away from them. “No pets on campus” he murmured as he sauntered off.
“I haven’t seen her in ten summers” Larana tensely paced the little alcove of the Kadic hallway where she and Obi-wan stood, “I have no idea what to say to her! Ugh” “Will you calm down” Obi-Wan said exasperated, “You’re Larana Safire-eye. You turned fourteen yesterday on April 20th. You like animals and dancing. You originate from the Shoshone tribe, but you were raised by nuns in a Church Abbey” Larana laughed, that back story was completely stupid. “If you say so” she read the name on his nametag, “Obie Skylar” “Hey I didn’t pick it! The Council did” “They also picked the back story” Larana groaned. Obi-wan playfully punched her shoulder. “That’s my girl! See ya in class!” Larana smiled and walked the other way into a girl with pink hair sending books and papers flying everywhere. “Sorry” the other girl mumbled helping her pick up the books on the floor. “No it is my fault” said Larana taking a look deep into the girl’s emerald green eyes. There was something familiar about her. “I am called Lorana Safire-eye” she said suddenly. “You’re Larana” the other girl said softly. “Yes” “I’m your roommate” said the girl holding out her hand, “Aelita Stones” Larana held her breath, she was delighted to have already found her dear friend. “Is ‘Larana’ a Native American name” Aelita asked as the two girls stood up together. “Yes” Larana lied remembering the cover, “What kind of name is ‘Aelita’” “Arabian” Aelita though she really had no idea, “I think. My mother’s family came from the Middle East” “Where do you believe our room is” Larana asked her, eager to be with her old friend already and finally have some questions answered. “It’s in Building A. It’s the same room I had last semester only it’s been renovated” Just then they were interrupted by three snobby girls. Two were blonde. One had black hair. Two were skinny. One was fat. Two were, well, Larana didn’t know a nicer way to say it. Not as pretty as they thought they were. Which was, if anything, better than saying they weren’t pretty at all. But the third she was well perfect. Pink cheeks, long blonde curls, rosy lips, a sweet smile, pretty clothes. Aelita thought she looked like an angel but was pretty sure she wasn’t anything near that. She felt strange, evil almost. Larana thought must be wearing make-up, there was no way she was really that beautiful. “Oh, Mrs. Einstein” said the girl with the black hair, Sissy Delmas, the daughter of the principal of Kadic Academy, “It’s the first day back and you’re already loping around like an idiot you should be ashamed.” “It’s a mistake anyone can make Sissi” Aelita shot back. “And who’s your little hippie friend” Larana’s eyes immediately darted to her gypsy bag, she had chosen it herself, did it really look like a hippie thing? What did ‘hippie’ mean anyway? “My name is Larana Safire-eye” she said offended. “What kind of a name is that?” observed the fat girl. “It’s a Native American name” Aelita said giving Lorana a secret smile, “And what do your friends call themselves” “This is Dorcas Loom” said Sissi indicating the fat girl. Dorcas Loom? Aelita knew of her. The rumors about the Bloor’s Academy students said she could bewitch clothes. Larana, of course, knew these rumors to be true. “And this….” Sissi said happily holding her arms out to the perfect girl, “is the fabulous Belle Donner” None of the rumors, at least none Aelita had heard, had talked about Belle Donner. Larana had only read that name once, in a personal file of Yolanda Yewbeam. But Yolanda Yewbeam is dead Larana thought. It was then Aelita remembered that she had heard the name before along with Dorcas’s. On the same roster that told her about Larana! Aelita held her breath, she was sharing a room with these two and Sissi.
Jeremy entered his newly renovated dorm. He hadn’t been officially ready to settle in with roommates. Jeremy was an only child who had never shared a bedroom with anyone except Patrick and Adam. And now he was sharing with nine roommates. Thankfully the Bloors, despite the fact they were nasty, knew how to give their students their own space. There was already another boy in the room. He was a head taller than Jeremy, but definitely his own age. He was plastering space-themed paintings around one of two twin beds. There was another beside it. There was also a large double bed, a cot with a sleeping bag by the air conditioning, a set of bunk beds, and three large single beds with “Reserved” signs on them. The other boy had also already picked out a desk and set a computer, a photograph of him with his parents, and a sculpture of spaceship on it. “Hi” said the other boy fishing out a mobile of planets Jeremy didn’t recognize from a box and turning towards him. “Hi” Jeremy responded, “I’m Jeremy Belquois” “I know that” said the other boy looking him up and down, “I’ve seen your yearbook picture. The name’s Skylar, Obie Skylar” “Hey” said Jeremy, “You’ve met Aang, Charlie, Tony, Jared, David, Dagbert or Joshua yet” “Sorry” said Obie (Obi-wan) without a moment’s hesitation, “So you know Nicholas?” Jeremy wouldn’t stop stewing over the idea of sharing a room with Nicholas whose personal hygiene left a lot to be desired. “He went here last semester. So did I” Obi-Wan knew in fact that Nicholas Polkioff had gone to Kadic for quite sometime now. “What’s your relationship like” Obi-Wan had his own issues with former classmates and thought it would be better if established a rapport with Jeremy right off. “His personal hygiene stinks!” said Jeremy looking at Obi-Wan’s spaceships “Did you build all these yourself?” “I like painting” said Obi-Wan. And another friendship began.
Adam Belquois hadn’t received a roommate roster and was not surprised to find the room he had to himself. Adam was small for an eleven-year-old and so terribly akward. He could see and feel things others couldn’t. And he had trouble seeing and feeling things others could. His room was at the end of the hall, there was one bed, one lamp, and one desk. Patrick who had so much junk would have called it “a shoebox” but Adam didn’t have much. He, like Patrick, after their father had somehow claimed custody after the divorce and gotten arrested, had become a boarding school student. If a school tossed Patrick out, their father would pull Adam out too. That was bad; Adam’s power wasn’t the only thing distinguishing him from other kids. He got picked all the time. It was his worst fear to go to a new school. At a new school there would be new teachers who would think he was stupid because he said so little, and treat him like he was crazy. There was something that made Adam’s mind different from that of other kids but he was not retarded. And a new school would have bullies who pick on him mercilessly, in new ways. And then there were the Voices. The Voices drove Adam crazy, always going through his mind. If his father and Patrick were ever to know they’d ship him off for sure. Adam usually only heard the Voices at a new school, in a new dorm room, or a new classroom and only on the first day. This was different. Today he’d woken up in his uncle’s apartment (actually according to his father it was also their apartment for the next fifty-two months), and heard the Voices. And now they wouldn’t go away. Adam sat down on his cot and took out the box of treasures. This was the only thing Adam owned, he didn’t even have a toothbrush or an extra set of clothes. Those were useless things. They always seemed to be provided in some way, shape or form. In the box was a glass marble with the sign of two fighting swords. One was red, the other was blue. They seemed to have blades of light. Then there five books which the Voices had encouraged Adam to steal. All of them were foreign languages and Adam had no real idea what they were about. And then there were his drawings. Adam was not an artist. The drawings were of things he had seen in nightmares. The Voices always gave Adam nightmares. The first picture was of a silver heart. The second was of a sword that looked like a cross between the swords on his marble and a big key. The third picture showed a purple stone. The fourth showed a golden seal. The fifth pictured a leather bound book. The sixth had a green wing-shaped stone. The seventh was of a golden pentagon. The eighth featured a white moth. The ninth showed a blue oval. The tenth was a long brown staff, the eleventh was a bronze star, the twelfth showed a silvery blue stone shaped like an eye. The thirteenth showed a gray owl. The fourteenth featured a silver symbol (a circle with a dot in the middle, a vertical line on top, and three short oblique lines below with the same symbol as the marble). Adam slumped back on the bed and listened for a moment. The Voices were so loud. They were making his ears pop. Adam got up and began to bang his head against the wall. It was only making the Voices worse. But he didn’t stop. Just then the door opened and a tall woman with snow white hair and beady eyes stalked in. This was the dreaded Matron, Charlie Bone’s great-aunt. “What are you doing” she caught Adam by the collar. “The V-voices” Adam stuttered through their roar, “I-I c-c-can’t g-get r-rid of them”. “What?” “I-I c-can’t g-g-get r-r-rid of of the V-voices” Matron slapped him in the back of the head. “Get a hold of yourself boy” she said tossing against the wall, “You have detention. You won’t be going home until Saturday”
“Hey! Odd!” Odd Della Robia turned in the hall to Toph Beifong. “Hiya Tophie” Odd approached one of his closest friends and ruffled her hair. Toph smiled basking in the nickname he still called her by. As long as she had known him, Toph Beifong had had a crush on Odd Della Robia. They performed their secret handshake (spitting on their thumbs and rubbing them together). “So I hear you got him” said Toph as though this was a normal conversation. “Yeah” said Odd casually, “We did” “And the Supercomputer…………” “Still on” Odd turned to the stairs and Toph could tell he was waiting for someone. “Great” she said trying to distract,
“You guys taking Recruits” “Is that why you’re here” “Well are you?” Toph tapped her foot and some of the grass came up. “Yeah” Odd shrugged, “Aelita’s dad says there are other young heroes in the world and we should make friends with this merger with Bloor’s and all.” “Well in that case I’m your girl” Toph punched the air, “I’ll talk to the others and get it all set up” “Great” Odd looked up the stairs, “I gotta go, seeya kid” He ran up the stairs. Toph, of course couldn’t see who it was but she guessed it was a girl.
It took Aelita and Larana only fifteen minutes to find their dorm room but in that short time they got to know each other very well. Aelita knew all about Larana’s fake back story and Larana knew all about the campus and its rules. It wasn’t until Aelita opened the door to her room that she realized she had never before shared a bedroom with anyone and wondered what the experience would be like. The door opened to reveal Aelita’s old room only now it was different. Like Jeremy’s it now sported two twin beds, a set of bunk beds, a double bed, a cot by the air conditioning and three large single beds with “RESERVED” signs (Aelita could guess who those were for). The bunk beds and two desks were already taken. The lower bunk had a fur blanket with a small skin pack on the pillow. The desk beside was being decorated with ancient looking scrolls and a bottle of ink by a girl dressed from head to toe in icy blue clothes. This girl, Larana observed, was very neat for a teenager and probably mature for her age (which couldn’t be more than fifteen). The same could not be said for her bunkmate whose bed and desk her decorated with crazy colors everywhere and paper masks and things littering the floor from the bunk high angle. The girl lay stretched out on the bunk with the flare of an actress. “Hi” Aelita said trying to sound cheerful. The girl on the top swung down the latter and smiled obviously cheerfully holding out her hand. “Hi yourself” said the girl. It was only then Aelita realized this girl was from Bloor’s Academy, she was wearing a long purple cape the school uniform for the Drama Students at Bloor’s. If she’s from Bloor’s Aelita thought Maybe the rumors about Manfred Bloor aren’t true. She’s definitely not hypnotized. It was said that Manfred Bloor, the Headmaster of Bloor’s Academy’s son, could hypnotize people into madness. Of course there was the possibility that just because someone could do something didn’t mean they’d do it to everyone. “I’m Olivia Vertigo” said the girl happily. “Aelita Stones” said Aelita, “And this is Larana Safire-eye” Olivia shook Lorana’s hand steadfastly, and the other girl came over to join them. “You’re Aelita” she said looking Aelita up and down. Aelita nodded. “I’m Katara Quong” said the girl extending her hand, “I-I’ve heard a lot about you” “You’re Toph’s friend” Aelita said softly, “I’ve heard a quite a lot about you myself and this is my new friend Larana” “Hi Larana” said Katara. “Hi” Larana responded. It was then roommate #5 entered she was smaller than all the other but about the same age, shy too but Aelita immediately liked her. She said her name was Edien and put her things beside the double bed. Next came a tall redhead with lively brown eyes who plunked her things beside the cot by the furnace and said her name was Will. She was followed by a nice girl with auburn hair and blue eyes who said her name was Angela and took the other double bed. Soon all seven girls were laughing and talking like they were old friends. Aelita felt she’d known them all her life.