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Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:34 am

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The sun was rising above the horizon, the misty clouds spreading. Aria stood alone by the edge of the forest, her breath making white puffs that matched the clouds. The morning was frigid, leaving Aria shivering in her fur coat. The forest around her was silent, only her footsteps crunching in the snow made sound.

The battle had taken place here was over. Over yesterday after ten years of fighting between the Phoenix and the Duron empires. Aria was heiress to the Phoenix Empire, she was learning how to fight, how to perform magic, and all the ropes to becoming the heiress of the most feared empire in the Arian world. Aria was thirteen, not even close to being ready, but there was so much to learn about this empire that her training had to start really early.

Aria sat down on a snow covered log, blinking the snowflakes that had started falling out of her eyes. Her brown eyes had flakes of gold in them that showed power. Aria's black hair was also covered with snow. She shook it out, teeth chattering once again. Aria had a cup of hot tea in her pack, well it used to be hot tea, now it was a frozen popsicle. She attempted to warm it up without any luck.

Aria had come to the forest to remember what it was like before the battle. She had only known it like this when she was three. Ten years later the battle finally stopped and she could come here again, relive her childhood.

Aria soon got up, ready to make her ten minute walk back to the castle. The birds sang hesitantly, as if afraid there might be fighting once again. The forest was coming alive again, after it's ten year rest. It seemed to be awakening all around Aria, bringing color back into her pale cheeks. She smiled, childhood memories suddenly flooding back to her.

The castle was visible from almost anywhere except when you were surrounded by trees. Aria saw it up on the mountain top, the snow emphasizing its glory. The stone walls rose high, each of the towers guarded.

'Home,' Aria thought to herself, grimacing. Sure the castle was great, owned by the best of the best, but it just wasn't her. She needed something else, another castle where she could shine. Aria didn't want to be cast in her mother and father's shadows anymore.

Aria was capable of a lot more than her mother and father realized. She knew the ropes of how everything worked, she realized how important everything that they did, and she got what they were trying to say. Her parents never realized that she was capable of this.

'As soon as I can, I'm going to get out of this place,' she thought, actually delighted by the thought. The closer she got, the slower she seemed to go. She didn't want to return here. She didn't want to go back to the bickering and chores. Aria didn't want to have to be plunged in the middle of the most painful and complicated family again. But she had to, it was the only way to take care of her little sister, Wind.

Wind was only eight, she was small and delicate. But also very very powerful. Aria saw the potential of her little sister, and used it to her advantage. Aria knew that she needed to protect Wind from her mother and father, protect Wind from getting beaten.

"Aria!" Wind shouted as soon as Aria stepped in the door, embracing her sister.

"Hey," Aria said, smiling, and ruffling Wind's chocolate brown hair.

"Mommy and Daddy are fighting again," Wind whispered in Aria's ear, clearly a little afraid.

"Okay, well don't worry," Aria assured her sister.

"Okay, come on, let's go to my room!" Wind smiled again, knowing that Aria was going to take care of it.

They climbed the stone steps to Wind's room on the second floor. Wind pushed open her door, revealing a bed, window, dresser, desk, closet, and door to the bathroom. Aria loved her little sister's room, it was so unlike her own. Their mother and father had taken better care of Wind's room than hers.

Aria's thoughts flitted to her room, the messed up stone walls, the drab bed and dresser. The closet which door squeaked, and the ceiling that had mold on it. Aria shook the image off, sitting down on Wind's bed. Mom and Dad had disguised themselves to the world as wonderful parents and everything, inside the castle they were horrible. They forced Aria and Wind to go along with it, otherwise they would receive a beating, and no one wanted that.

"How was the forest?" Wind asked quietly.

"Beautiful, you know, when we can get out of here I'm taking you and living in that forest," Aria told Wind, making Wind's eyes sparkle with hope.

"You have your first magic lesson tomorrow," whispered Wind, clearly indicating that she didn't want her sister to leave her alone.

"I know, but then I'll hang out with you all day after that," Aria told her sister, stroking Wind's hair.

"Okay, when am I going to have to start my warrior lessons?"

Aria had started her warrior lessons when she was Wind's age, and was expecting Wind to start hers soon.

"I think sometime within the next week," Aria said, smiling.

"Okay."

"Aria! Wind!" they heard the familiar booming voice of their father, Aragon.

"Coming Father!" they called in unison, jumping off Wind's bed and running down the hall.



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