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Before the earth was split up into 7 continents it was one supercontinent, most know it as pangea, but my family knows it as Tempus. Tempus was divided into three kingdoms, each one represents one of the three seasons ,spring, summer, and fall; there was no Winter like there is now, because nobody could even fathom the harsh and bitter coldness that would come with it. Each of the guardians has a child, and as tradition says on their seventeenth birthday, they would take over their parents kingdom. Spring would be ruled by Sadie, a young girl who was undeniably going to be the most beautiful woman to ever walk Tempus; her hair shone a beautiful color of gold and her complexion was as clear as the sky on a beautiful spring day. Fall would be ruled by Agnes, a girl with clear intellectual talent, anyone watching could see what a smart woman she would grow up to be. Summer would be ruled by fraternal twins, Aspen and Mason, Mason was a living ray of sunlight, he embodied the exact definition of summer always bringing happiness and joy everywhere he went, he was a star student, everyone called him the “perfect child”. Aspen on the other hand was a quiet girl, who never felt like she fit in with the summer atmosphere, her dreams filled with snow and coldness; she had read books about winter, although she knew it didn’t exist, she couldn’t help but think that it could be, that one day it could all be real. According to law, Aspen and Mason would both rule summer together when they got older, and Aspen dreaded the day she would have too swear fealty to summer and all that comes with it, Aspen didn’t want to spend her life in the summer weather, constantly feeling the summer heat, she wanted the cold, she wanted winter. Aspen was sitting in her room when a thought arose in her mind, what if winter is real? She got up and ran to the library. She entered the magnificent and vast library, the books spreading as far as the eye could see. Even though she frequently visited the library, she was amazed at its splendor every time she entered its doors. She made her way over to the mythical section where she began to look for any books even remotely related to winter, or snow, or even cold. She didn’t find anything, she was baffled at the fact that there wasn’t anything in the mythical section about Winter. Then it occurred to her, what if it was in the history section, all these stories about winter couldn’t have just came from nowhere, it had to exist, it just had to. She hurried to the section of historical reference, and searched for a book on the history of the seasons, after hours of searching for a book that would finally give her the information she needed, she came across a book titled, the forgotten season. She was baffled, why would this book be hidden so far beneath all of the other books. She took the book and began to walk back to her room, halfway down the hall her mom turned the corner and they collided;
“What are you doing” her mom asked, as she scrambled to pick up all the papers she had dropped.
“Nothing..” Aspen stuttered
Her mom noticed her flushed face and became suspicious
“What are you up to?” she questioned her with a firm intensity in her voice
“Oh you know, just some light reading” aspen laughed nervously
A long pause making the conversation tense and awkward, after what seemed like hours her mom responded...
“Okay…” And with that she walked away.
Aspen took a deep breath as her mom continued walking down the hallway. That was close, too close; she couldn’t even fathom how her mom would react to her research on Winter. It was not a topic of interest in summer. She continued down the hallway, finally entering her room and closing the door behind her. She stood still, her back against the door, thoughts of remorse entering and exiting her mind, she slid down the door until she was sitting with her knees to her chest, it was now or never. She opened the book and flipped to the first chapter, she started reading and by the time she stopped it was nearly dusk. She closed the book, so far she had found nothing of use, she hoped the last chapters of the book contained useful information. She heard her mom call her name and she quickly pushed the book under her bed. Her mom entered her room just as Aspen stood up;
“Aspen, it's time for bed” her mom said with a yawn
“Okay, goodnight” Aspen quickly said rushing over and quickly shutting the door
“Aspen, what are you…” her moms muffled voice disappearing through the closed door
Aspen leaned against the door as she locked it, her head resting on the door frame, she turned and looked past her curtain at a bright, shining light, she c***ed her head to the side and walked over to the window, she opened the curtain and stared in wonder. She was staring at a circle of eight stars, it was unlike she had ever seen before, she rushed over to the book on stars and constellations she had on her dresser, she flipped through the old and dusty pages, unable to find anything close to the circle of stars outside her window. She slammed the book onto her bed in frustration, looking down at the floor in thought, she noticed a shining light from under her bed. Looking under her bed she realized it was the book on winter she had found in the library, a single page stood out among the rest, mostly because it was glowing a translucent shade of white. She opened up her book to the glowing page and found a chapter on stars, she rushed over to the window and sat on the couch, she began to read….
“The winter circle consists of eight stars, Betelguese, Rigel, Aldeberan, Capella, Procyon, Sirius, Castor, and Pollux. The stars form a circle and are known as the most noticeable stars of winter…”
Aspen stopped reading, she was now more full of questions than ever, but the only question that stood out in importance was….
Why are the brightest stars of winter, noticeable in the summer?
She didn’t understand at the time, but she was determined to find out, she looked up at the stars and noticed they were hovering above a specific area of land near the northern boundary, where summer and the end of Tempus met, nobody was allowed to travel that close to the boundary. She immediately started packing her bag, grabbing all the essentials she would need for her journey.
She was going to the land below the stars. She quietly made her way down the long and dark staircase to the kitchen, as soon as she got there and made sure nobody was watching she snuck into the pantry and began to grabbed bread, and fruits for her journey, she filled a rather large flask she had found in the castle armoury with water. Once she was finished she opened the castle doors and tiptoed out to the stables. Her horse was a Black stallion named Silvia, she was one of the fastest horses in the entire royal stable, Aspen mounted the horse and rode off into the night, with only the stars and a book to guide her.
A few hours had past and Aspen and Silvia were getting tired, and the sun was beginning to come up, hiding the stars with its bright rays of light, Aspen decided to stop to rest in a nearby cave, which provided an adequate amount of privacy. Silvia was tied onto a rock near the front of the cave were she could feed on the grass growing at the mouth of the cave, Aspen rested a little farther into the cave, there she ate a slice of bread and an orange, taking a sip from the flask only a few times in order to preserve the amount of water. She thought about how her parents would come looking for her in a few hours, she knew she couldn’t have gotten very far from the palace, so she decided to rest only for an hour or so, and with that final thought she drifted off to sleep.
She awoke to the sound of hooves hitting the ground, she frantically scurried to the back of the cave, away from the head throbbing noise. As she hid behind a boulder hidden at the very back of the cave, a sudden realization came to mind….SILVIA! She had forgotten Silvia, the black stallion still laid at the mouth of the cave, present for anyone who passed by. She cautiously made her way to the mouth of the cave, frequently ducking behind large rocks, she finally got to the opening. She peeked over the large rock she was hiding behind and was aghast to find that Silvia was gone! She ran out of the cave without thinking about who was out there, and what the consequences may be, she stepped out of the cave and BAM! She was hit with a sudden force that sent her head into a confused whirl of pain. She fell onto the ground unconscious.
A few hours later Aspen woke up, her head pounded as if a thousand hammers were all hitting it at the same time, she heard whispers from across the room;
“Who do you think she is?” the voice was high, it had to be a women's
“I Don’t know Clarice, but she must be mighty wealthy to own a stallion as fine as this here one.” The voice clearly belonged to a man, the gruff tone could not be present in a women’s vocal range
“Should we wake her up, tis almost dawn, i wouldn’t want her to oversleep.” the women said
The two had very different accents, the woman, Clarice, was very proper sounding, where as the man, was obviously country.
“Yeh, I reckon Clarice, go on and get it done.” the man responded with a hint of sympathy spreading into his low and crackling voice.
Aspen wanted to know who these people were and how they managed to find her, they didn’t seem like they were sent from the palace, she glanced to the side, allowing them to acknowledge she was awake.
“Look Ralph, she’s awake” Clarice eagerly announced
“ well well, she does look like the girl on the poster Clarice” he walked over and examined the poster, it had the king's seal on the bottom. Aspens heart sunk, she was forced to accept the fact that they were going to take her back to the palace. Ralph broke the silence… “and look at this might reward, imagine what we could do with all this dough Clarice.”
This man was definitely not from around here.
“Money Ralph, We call it money here.” the women quickly corrected his mistake
“Well in wint…” ralph began Clarice cutting him off swiftly
“RALPH!” she yelled then quickly glanced in my direction
“Were you going to say winter?” her voice caused them to swiftly turn
“How does ye know about winter?” he asked leaning in closer to her face, he smelt like cigars and an awful citrusy smell Aspen couldn’t name.
“I’m.. i’m looking for winter” Aspen mumbled softly
“Speak up girl!” the man demanded
Aspen repeated herself allowing a more confident tone seep into her voice.
The man rushed off to his room and came back with a box, it was encrusted in tiny circles filled with intricate, fancy, patterns. He opened the box and inside was a map, this map was unlike any map she had ever seen, the roads and passages did not exist in Tempus.
“Take it” his voice softening “restore winter, please”
Clarice stood in the corner dumbfounded
“Ralph! What do you think your doing!”
“Helping to save winter Clarice.”
She wanted to know more, but She knew she didn’t have the time to ask question, with the posters published, everyone in tempus would be looking for here, she took the map and as the sun set she mounted her horse and rode off into the distance.