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In a land far away, where people no longer had blue or green eyes. All people young and old had brown and black hair, brown and black eyes. Before this occurred, The ruler was a lady born of the earth. She gave the gift of the golden leaved trees with golden-plated lemons. The next ruler was born of the winds, who gave cold chills in the winter. Now ruling was the lord born of fire, he lives in the palace of the center of the land. Only the rulers have blue or green eyes.
Every week, he comes into the village to collect taxes. His daughter, Fiery stays in her room, but spends most time on her balcony. She too, has brown eyes and long black curly hair. Her father on the other hand, had fiery red hair and a beard and green eyes. Her mother whom was abandoned from the palace by the king, was left in the city. Some say she died of a disease. Though no one really knows. She left when the princess was only four years of age, and unfortunately could not keep her daughter.
Fiery is a good-natured girl, and always is curious. She has always wanted to go to the village, but her father wouldn’t allow it. The good thing was that her balcony had perfect view over the wall. She could see the entire town, people pushing carts full of lemons, children playing near the fountain, peddlers selling some fruit for the golden leaves, some even selling meat, which is very rare. In the fields on the other side of the palace is where cows and horses grazed. There was one time she was able to ride a horse, but it was inside the castle. She was disappointed, but rode anyway.
She wanted to visit the town square just once, so she planned to sneak out. There was not any possible way to go through the front door because of all the guards. So what she did was simple. She was going to jump off her balcony disguised in her cloak onto the wall. From there she could get in the village. So she put her bag of gold-plated lemons over her shoulder, pulled her hair down to have the hood cover her head and stood on the railing. She gave a deep breath and leaped onto the wall. Then she nearly fell over because she saw her father collecting taxes in the town! She could not get back to the balcony so she jumped down on the other side. She didn’t have a pleasant landing. Her hands were scraped and ankles jolted in pain. She was lucky she did not fall into the river, for if she did, she would have flowed into the town, be seen, and drown. When she looked up, she noticed a small boy and a little girl hugging each other for warmth. They were wearing barely any clothing at all, just torn up leather as if they found it on the ground. Of course, Fiery didn’t know of poverty, because she has never felt it or known of it. But she knew these kids were frightened.
"Who are you?" Fiery asked. The rush of the river was loud. She asked again. "Who are you?"
The boy stood up, only to be about two thirds of Fiery's height. The girl also stood up sucking her thumb. She had light blue eyes.
"My name is Nathanial, please excuse me and my sister, we were to be only here for a few moments," The boy said.
"No, it's ok," she said. Fiery walked closer to them. "What is your name?" she inquired the girl.
"Her name is Lydia, ma’am, Don’t worry, we'll leave right now." The boy said, and started to walk away.
"No, don’t go!" She exclaimed. The boy stopped.
"I was told to show respect to a princess, and I should be doing that now. Why do you not want to be respected?"
"Oh, you will respect me, and I will respect you. Don’t call me ma’am, my name is Fiery. But it's the first time I have been out of the palace. I want to meet new people, so I wanted to meet you. Will you come with me to the village?" Fiery said.
I can't. I haven’t any golden leaves." Nathanial said.
Well, lets go get some!" Fiery said obliviously.
"Don’t you know it's against the law to do so?" he said.
" Oh. Does your mother have any?" she asked.
"My mother died. And no, my father does not have any because he hasn’t returned yet."
"What do you mean 'not returned'?" she inquired.
He went to the town again, he intended to bring us, but did not have enough leaves. He said he would come back for us as soon as he found enough money, but never came," he explained.
"Well, I'll take care of you then. c'mon, we're going to get some leaves." Fiery announced. Nathanial did not seem the least bit grateful, because how could you get into the forest? How could a princess know anything about it here? He knew he would have to explain a few things to her, but not yet. Even so, Fiery dragged Nathanial and his sister on toward the gates of the forest. As they traveled by the water, cold chills were causing the little ones to shiver. Then Lydia stopped and sat down in the grass. Fiery did not notice until Nathanial tugged on her cloak. She turned around. " Cold," the small girl creaked.
Her brother hugged her warmly. Then Fiery suddenly felt pity for the two siblings and decided to give up her cloak to the girl. She bent down and took off her cloak and when she was putting it on Lydia, for the first time, she noticed her bright blue eyes and VERY light brown hair, As if it was fading. She gasped and fell over. Nathanial stood up and felt concerned. " What is it?"
Your sister! she, she, she's gotten blue eyes!" Fiery cried out and pointed at the girl's face. Nathanial held his sister's hand. "And what's wrong with that?" he inquired.
Fiery nearly gasped again. " You don’t realize what this means?" She asked.
Nathanial looked at his sister again, "No."
"You don’t know what this means at all?!"
"No," he replied again.
She paused, looking for the right words to say this. But Lydia gave her a hard time, for she was looking straight into Fiery's deep brown eyes. She turned away.
"Nathaniel, you know for a fact, that my father, the King, is the Lord of Fire?"
"And do you know of the prophecy yet to come?"
She looked at Lydia again. " this girl you are taking care of for is-"
"She's my sister!"
"No, this girl was born of the water. Nathanial, you must realize, Lydia is truly, our next ruler, Lady of the water!"
Nathanial was silent. He turned away from Fiery and let his eyes follow the river. He refused to turn back.
" Nathaniel, please do not be so ignorant. You must tell me, how she came to you as a family member. You must remember how it was," She let her hand lay upon his shoulder. He shook it off.
"She's my sister! My mother died having her! Only you, can't understand!" Tears ran down his cheeks after listening to an old frightening memory.
"Were you there to witness your dear sister being born?"
He put his head down," No, but daddy was, and he said so! He saw the whole thing!" He sat down and covered his face with his hands and started to sob.
Lydia crawled up to him to comfort him.
"Nathanial, we must find your father, for I fear he may be lying. Do you know where Lydia was given birth?"
He dug deeper into his hands and clenched between his teeth," By the river."
She looked at Lydia and knew this was clearing its way to the truth. Then she opened her purse filled with the golden plated lemons. She took three out and peeled them each. She hand one each to her new companions and then offered one to herself. At first, Nathanial would not except it, but when Fiery was looking at the river, he snatched it from the grass then ate it within a few minutes. Fiery chuckled to herself. Then after they had all finished eating, Fiery got up.
"Hurry and follow me. We will go to the Golden Leaves Forest to gather some so we may pass through the gates."
He was caught off guard in surprise. He'd forgotten to tell her it was impossible to pass through the gates of the forest. He finally turned to face her.
"You can't pass through without being caught! There are guards there and they wont let you pass through!"
"But I am a princess! Surely they will let us through, then!"
"No you can't! You ran away, remember? The soldier will most likely report to your father what you have been up to! You can't reveal yourself!" He cried out in frustration. Fiery went blank for a moment, then replied, "You are right. But one other cannot also be revealed. Lydia. She must stay hidden. I do not know how we will pass through or keep Lydia out of sight. All would be difficult."
Nathanial finally calmed down, although he still disagreed with Fiery about his sister. "Five lemon peelings is worth one gold leaf," he said.
Lydia's face lit up and lifted Fiery's purse up. She thanked Lydia and opened her bag. She originally started with eleven lemons, and they have eaten three.
"We only have enough for two to pass," she sighed. She didn’t know what to do. She had to save this little boy, and even more importantly, this little girl. She knew she would grow quicker when it was near the time to reveal herself, and already her hair was fading to white. Lydia was cuddled up next to Nathanial, together they were sharing her cloak. Fiery tried to warm herself in her dress, yet it felt impossible. She looked at her two companions huddled together it the cloak and-
It came to her! She got up so suddenly that they were startled. "Nathaniel! I have it!"
"Have what?" he asked.
"The answer to our problem! Lydia is small enough to hide in small places so while I can wear my cloak, I will carry her in my arms so she is hidden! That way, we won't have to pay for her through the gates!"
Lydia gave a small, yet a soothing smile to her.
Nathaniel looked at her confidence, and felt as he had to break it, though he did not want to. "Wouldn’t it be obvious something is in your arms and the guards would want to check it?"
Fiery's confidence did not fall. "If they must do so, I shall slip her into my purse, and if they wish to check that as well, she will climb into my arms again."
"What if they check both at the same time?"
"If all else fails, she will cling onto my back to make it look as if I am an old hunchback. Anymore questions?" She smiled triumphantly.
"No," he said.
So they each sat down again and started to peel the lemons for the gates.
When they finished, they're fingers were burning of the peeling pain, so they rushed to the river and dipped their hands. It did not help. "Ah! My fingers hurt so much! what can I do?" Nathanial was upset. When he was pulling his hands out of the stream, Lydia stopped him. She gently pushed them back down, forcing them to stay, and dipped in her hand as well. Then her hands touched his, they were immediately healed. His jaw dropped when he had finally come to realize, this wasn’t really his sister. This was truly the Lady of the Water. He nearly fell into the river in surprise, and Lydia held him still. Her hair seemed much lighter than when they met by the castle and she seemed taller and maybe older. This caught Fiery's eye.
"We must hurry," she said.
Nathanial nodded, so they made sure every peeling was there then started walking. He held Lydia's hand and noticed she grew to the same height as he was.
"What's happening?" he gasped. "She's only two!"
Lydia looked at Fiery.
"This indicates her time is close to become the ruler. I don’t understand, though. My father hasn’t ruled for a long time as the other rulers did. Do you think he did something bad?"
"Well, the village is poor, the taxes are supposedly high. Plus, some don’t got any money at all!"
Fiery glanced at Lydia. Her hair already turned completely white. She started to walk faster.
She stopped, and grabbed Nathanial's tunic so he would stop.
"What?" he asked.
"We are near the gates to the village. Look!" Fiery pointed to a distant figure of a wall and people. "Hurry, Lydia! You must get on my back!"
Lydia understood and struggled to get on. When she had a good grasp, Nathanial put the cloak over her. Luckily, it was large enough to cover them both. When it was completely on, Fiery bent over like a hunchback. "How's this?" she asked.
Nathanial chuckled and pulled the cone hair holder out of her hair so her hair fell down.
"You look like an old hag!" he laughed.
She smiled, then they walked toward the gates. When they reached them, a soldier stopped them. "Where too?" he inquired.
"The village of course!" Fiery said.
"The village? Ha! You are going to the village? You haven’t any leaves!" he snorted.
"We do, too!" Nathanial snapped, then showed him the purse.
"Ah, let me see," he said. He took the bag and dug his hand through it. Then he peeked in and glared at them. "All you have are peelings?"
"Yes, that’s all. Now take them and open those gates!" Fiery fired at him.
He gave them an angered look, but took them anyway and gave the purse full of lemons to the boy. He then motioned the other guards to open the gates and let them through. Fiery hurried Nathaniel behind the wall so the soldiers could not see them and took off her cloak and let Lydia off. She hurryingly covered her so no one saw who she was. Then gave each of them a lemon from her purse. They sat against the wall in relief.
"Now what?" asked Nathanial.
Fiery laughed, then looked at him seriously, we must find your father. We must know the complete truth of Lydia. Maybe instead of witnessing your sister's birth, he witnessed hers."
"But I don’t know where he is! He could be anywhere! I've been in the village only once and it was when I was born. I don’t remember anything here! All we have is hope to find my father!" Nathaniel almost started to cry.
"It's ok, we will find him, as long as you know what he looks like, we're in good shape." Fiery patted him on the back. "Would you like to sit by the fountain?" she asked. Nathanial nodded and started to walk. Fiery picked up Lydia so no one was able to see her face. No matter how much she grew, she always seemed light as a feather. They sat on the edge of the fountain. An old woman passed by her and whispered to herself, "Poor girl, so young and already a mother."
Fiery heard this and soon got up. "No, mam'! I'm no mother, these are, are uh, my brother and sister! Just, my sister is, um, sick, yes, very sick and I am caring for her now."
The woman smiled and walked away. Fiery sat back down.
"What was that?" asked Nathanial.
"Oh, nothing," she said. "Come on, we must look for your father."
"But where? I don’t know where he is!"
"Do you know what his name is?" she asked.
Yes, but how is that going to help us?"
"Just tell me his name!"
Ok, ok, his name is Ralfon but-"
"Good, now follow me!" Fiery grabbed his hand and they went to the closest person there. Then she asked him very politely, "Excuse me, do you know where Ralfon is?"
"Ralfon who?" he asked.
Fiery nudged Nathanial. "Ralfon Deriksson!" he piped up.
"No, I'm afraid not," he replied.
"Do you know where he lives?" Fiery questioned.
"Look girl, I'm very busy at the moment you can see, and I can't bother any time with you. I must get going." and he pushed straight passed her.
"How absurd!" she said. She then turned to speak with Nathanial, but he wasn’t there. She turned frantic. She looked around desperately to find him, but could not see him anywhere. Finally she noticed him speaking with another man over behind a house. She only caught the glimpse of his tunic, and rushed with Lydia in her arms. She quickly turned around the corner and found him.
"Nathanial!" she gasped. The man turned around and saw Fiery. His eyes widened with fear. "S-Sasha?" he croaked. She looked at him confusingly.
"Is it really you, Sasha?" he asked again.
"Sasha?" she said awkwardly.
Nathanial rushed over to her side. "Daddy," he said, "This is Fiery. Not Mommy."
Fiery was confused. Sasha was the name of her mother, but also his mother? And his father mistaken her for his wife? She always knew that she looked a lot like her mother because her father told her so. But this??
"Ralfon," she started to say," Who was, Sasha?"
He looked down. "Come," he said.
They followed him into his small home and he told her of Sasha. He told her how the king abandoned her and she was left on the streets. Fiery realized it WAS her mother. But she kept quiet and listened.
"I took her in, and we fell in love. When Nathanial was born, we had to go to my small home in the fields. We stayed there for a few years and then she became pregnant with…" he trailed off.
"With Lydia?" Fiery she said accusingly. She then took out Lydia who was wrapped up in her cloak and set her down. She was even taller than before. Ralfon gasped.
"Tell me exactly what happened when Sasha gave birth," Fiery said.
Ralfon looked down again and put his face in his hands. "Don’t bring this subject up, please. Now leave us."
"No. I'm not going to leave until I know the whole truth. You know this is not your daughter and your son has found out too. WE want to know the truth."
Lydia looked him in the eye. Ralfon sighed. "Alright, I'll tell you. When Sasha was ready to give birth, she was right near the river. Nathanial was at home and was waiting for us to get back," he paused," An' Sasha died right then. The baby didn’t live, but I found this little child in a basket floating along the river. I took her as mine."
"Aha! so she is planned as the new ruler! She was born of the water. Why did you not take care of her? Why did you leave her in the country? She had no food or anything. How could you?" Fiery went at him.
Nathanial defended his father. "I was there with her! she was not left alone and we had food! You gave us some, Fiery. We did not starve!"
"But before then? Before, you were starving. there was nothing in your stomachs." Fiery pointed out.
Then Lydia stood up in front. " Let us forget the past and move on with the present and future," she said. All the others stood back in silence, stunned. They were indeed surprised. Lydia had indeed grown much taller and her face was more defined. Although she was still only 2 years of age, her vocabulary has grown also. "Lydia's right. We must hurry with her to the river. She will soon become the new ruler," Fiery said, "Lydia, what will become of my father?"
"He will go back to his scorching flames, where he was before," she simply answered.
Ralfon, trying to forget the matter, led everyone to the table. "Let us all have some food so we can think on this, shall we?"
The children nodded and followed. They each had fried lemons with lemonade and water. Unfortunately, these people had nothing much of a diet for the only fruit there was, was lemons. Occasionally some would eat meat, but this is very rare. They all ate quickly and then talked what was to do next. Lydia was as tall as Fiery now, and as they talked, she grew taller and her hair turned lighter into a white with a bluish hue. She did not talk much, but listened closely. Then her eyes lit up and instantly announced, "It is time."
"Come! We must hurry or she will- Just come on!" Fiery shouted.
Lydia was covered in Fiery's cloak. She was a bit taller than Ralfon, so he became uneasy. He didn’t think he could carry her. Fiery rolled her eyes and picked her up. She had always been light as a feather. They rapidly ran out of the house through the streets. Some carts were knocked over in their rush. As they reached the river, Fiery's heart nearly stopped. She saw her father collecting taxes by the river. She did not halt, but dropped to her knees and let go of the girl. The king instantly turned around and gasped at the sight of his daughter. But she wasn’t looking at him. Instead, her eyes, along with the rest of the people were on Lydia. The water raised her up and the cloak became a wondrous dress. A crown was worn upon her head. She turned and looked into the king's eyes intently. "You, must leave. Your leadership is over, Lord of Fire," she spoke.
Fear overcame the king. He did not want to leave his throne. He wanted to stay.
"No! I will not go back! I like it here," he shouted.
"If you choose not to leave, you will be forced to!" Lydia's eyes glowed and her hair flared.
"Y-you can't make me!" he cried.
Fiery stared at her father in amazement. She had never seen fear from her father.
"The earth will pull you down with its grasp, the wind will drift you away where you belong, I will put out your flames of ignorance if you choose the wrong route, Fire. You will be easily overtaken by the rulers before you," she said fiercely.
“Soldiers!” he cried out. Attack! And, and take the two she was with as hostages!" he commanded to his army around him.
Two of them immediately grabbed Ralfon and Nathanial. "No!" Fiery howled out. "You shall pay for what you deserve, Flames," Lydia said angrily.
Fiery tried to go after her friends but could not keep up. The other soldiers got in her way and she could not see them. All she could hear was Nathanial crying out, "Fiery! Lydia! Fiery!" and his voice drowned out in the shouting voices around her. Lydia was very angry with the king. Before the soldiers could even try to hurt her, she had splashed into water herself. She went through the irrigation water systems to find her friends. They were being taken to the fields part of the country taken by two of the soldiers. Fiery had found her way to the gates, but unfortunately did not have any leaves. "May I please go through?" She asked the guard. "Leaves?" he asked.
"No. But I'm the princess. Will that get me in?" she asked nicely as she could.
"Sorry ma’am, but you'd need proof for that," he smirked.
"Fine, I'll just climb over the gate," she grumbled.
"Ha! I'll give you a leaf if you could do it at all!" he laughed.
Fiery frowned, but started climbing. She pulled herself up the poles and over the rest. Then she turned at the soldier and held out her hand. His jaw dropped. He gave her the leaf dumbfounded, and stood there astonished. She ran off smiling that she had outwitted that guard. She soon found the soldiers with her friends and told them to leave. They obeyed, for she told them she was giving them a message from her father.
“Come on, we don’t have time to go through the gates. We'll go under the bridge.”
Ralfon looked at her thinking she was crazy. He was old, he could not crawl under a bridge holding on over rushing water.
“C’mon, you got to!” Fiery pleaded.
Ralfon was not convinced.
“Ok look, you go first, I’ll hand you Nathanial and I’ll go last,”
“No, I can’t. I wouldn’t make it. Besides, how could I help?”
“Fine. I’ll go first and you hand Nathanial to me,” Fiery was getting impatient.
Fiery rolled her eyes then got down on her knees. She quickly jumped into the water grasping the wall. Nathanial watched intensely. Fiery could hear the soldiers and her father shouting and running over the rushing water. Although, she did not hear Lydia. She almost slipped. When she got to see out from under the bridge, she many soldiers running away, others fighting back, some were even protecting the other villagers. The ground was grumbling beneath her father and the wind was strong. She finally pulled herself through. The water was rising quickly.
“Pass him over! Hurry!” she shouted.
Once she saw Nathanial’s hands she immediately grabbed them and pulled him up.
“What’s happening?!” Nathanial pointed to her father. He was stuck inside the earth.
“Father!” Fiery cried, and she ran over to her father. “Father! Stop! Don’t let yourself be so, so stubborn! Please Father! It doesn’t have to be this way. Please,”
“Fiery, it is over. There is nothing I can do. If this is the end, I will fight for the village,”
“Father, look at this village. It is poor. You have done nothing to help it. I still love you Father, please give something to help this village from your power like the others. Do as the others have and leave. I do not wish it so, Father, but do it for the village,”
The Lord of Fire looked his daughter in the eye and gave her a sad look. Then he suddenly burnt to ashes and was gone. Nathanial ran over to Fiery, she looked at him and wept.
Then the ground stopped shaking and the wind died down and the water did not rise anymore. Then Lydia lowered herself down and put her hand on Fiery’s shoulder. “Fiery, please do not cry. Your father has not fully left us,”
“We have nothing left of him but ashes!”
“He has done what you have asked for, a gift like the others. Feel the air, Fiery. Are there any more chilly winds? No, only in winter. There are now seasons! Fiery! You can feel your father all around you!”
Fiery stopped. There was no icy air anymore. It had melted away. She smiled. Lydia then smiled also, then lifted her voice. “Soldiers! There is no need to be here! There is peace! Visit your homes and family today! It is a celebration!”
“Of our new ruler!” Nathanial piped up.
“Lydia,” Fiery finished.