My eyes fluttered open slowly, a smile lighting my face as I breathed in the fresh air, the smell of the budding flowers around me. I had slept in the Field by my house that night, staring up at the stars, and even past that, to the great webbing of Magick that protected my World from the Humans.
I sat up slowly, savouring the smells, sights and sounds of a fresh Spring morning in the Everleen Lands. The Fields practically swayed with a joy that I could feel singing to me, deep down in my bones. "Izzy? Izzy? Isolde!" My Mother's voice rang out from the direction of the house, each time she called my name, her voice became more frantic, until the last time.
By then, she could see me, and was stood a few hundred metres away, arms on her hips. Even from here, I could see the disapproving look on her face. I am a Phury, a warrior, born and bred for one purpose, to fight for Queen and Kingdom. My senses and strength surpass that of most of the creatures in the Pyre as a whole. My Mother stomped over to me, her face starting to grow red with every step.
I rolled my eyes. Here comes the lecture. I stood slowly, waiting for the raging bull that is my Mother, to come to a stop, pushing her frizzy red hair from her face. "Isolde, I told you not to sleep outside last night! You have initiation in mere hours, yet here you sit, pissing about in the flowers, instead of preparing yourself like you should be! What would your Father say?"
I snorted, "Dad's not here."
My head swung abruptly to the side, followed by a harsh stinging sensation in my cheek. She hit me! I looked at my Mother in shock. She had never hit me before. She frowned, her face hovering between anger and guilt, finally settling on anger. "Don't you look at me like that Isolde Crown! You are supposed to be going to training today, and yet here you sit, with mere minutes until your pick up!"
"I just wanted to-"
"I don't care what you wanted to do! Neither will General Suko."
I rolled my eyes, General Suko, my Mother's proudest achievement. My brother. He also happened to be in charge of training all new Phury recruits. We used to be like best friends, and then he became an arrogant prick, funny that it happened when he became General. I started off towards the house, not saying another word to my Mother.
Her voice called out behind me, "Isolde! Don't you walk away from me, we're not finished!"
I looked back with a contemptuous look, "You wanted me to get ready to go right? Well, I am." I stalked back to the house, my cheeks burning with anger. I couldn't help but smile though, as I got closer to my Mother's house. Maybe this would be the last time I would see the old place. It was a large house, three storeys, made from bricks and mortar, a rare commodity in our world since the Worlds were sealed off.
It also had a life of it's own. It would grow and shrink, according to who was in residence. It used to hide things, when I was a child, and generally cause mischief. I ran my hand along the wall as I entered, breathing a sigh, "I'm gonna miss this place." The house seemed to groan mournfully in response. Maybe the house would miss me too. I made my way up to my room, the largest in the house, a fact that irritated my Mother to no end. It wasn't up to her though. Every time she tried to move me to a smaller room, the house would simply expand it.
Once inside my room, I closed the door and slumped against it. I'm not ready. I was supposed to be leaving today, to go to training, and it would be years almost before I could come home. It didn't matter that my Father is the Commander of the Queen's army, I wasn't going to get any special treatment. I looked over to my bed, a simple cot, with a lumpy mattress, preparation, according to my Mother. I wouldn't get nice beds when I was in the army, so I didn't get them at home. On the bed, sat a small duffel bag, no doubt already packed with the miniscule amount of items I would be allowed at Training.
We didn't take clothes from home, or anything like that. The only thing, we were all0wed to take, is pictures of our Family, a Codestone, to communicate with people back home. A useless device to my mind. I could only use it three times. Aside from that, would be a small package of food, for the journey. I already knew what my Mother would have packed in it. One piece of Venison, and small apparatus to cook it on, a loaf of Elzbread, and a canister of water.
The journey to training was a long one, and aside from hunting, this pack of food would be my primary source of sustenance. I dressed quickly, in the all grey garb that my Mother had laid out for me. Grabbing my bag, I stepped out of my room, closing the door softly behind me. I patted the wall, looking up to the ceiling. "Look after my things for me, please?"
With an obliging pop, my room vanished from view. I don't know what the house did with the things it hid, but I knew they were always safe, until the house felt like letting them go. I smiled, and rubbed the empty wall space where my room had once been. "Thank you."
I made my way downstairs slowly, the only thought in my mind, of how Lilou had not turned up yet. She was my best friend, and she was supposed to be here to see me off. I wouldn't be seeing her anytime soon. She is not a Phury like me, but a Genitor, one of the rarest creatures in this world. She could bend any element to her will, even create new ones. They were hunted to almost extinction, when the Kingdoms split, until the Monarchs realised how important they are.
I sat down at the aged old oak dining table with a resigned sigh. I guess she isn't coming. I looked over the table, at the mirror on the wall. A face I almost didn't recognise stared back at me. I had changed, again, my body preparing to become the instrument of war that it is. My face had filled out a little, my lips a little fuller. My skin, was naturally white, with a tinge of blue. My warrior markings were starting come through. A deep blue line, ran from my ears to the middle of my nose. Below that, several freckles of the same deep colour, had become apparent.
My hair, was the same deep blue, as it had always been, except now, what had once been flowing locks, that travelled down to my waist, was now short choppy hair, sticking out in every direction. Another of my body's preparations. Long hair was no good in battle. It had happened a few days ago now, and I had been mortified. I knew it was going to happen, but as ever, I wasn't prepared for it. I woke one morning, in the Field by my house, and lain beside me, was my soft locks of hair, grown out of my hair, never to grow back again.
It was almost time for me to leave, when Lilou, slid through my door. She looked me over with a smile and a mock salute, "Another precious soldier, off to join the rest of the Queen's lackeys." Her voice dripped with sarcasm. I rolled my eyes. She had always been sour about the Army of which I would soon become a part. She flicked her jet black hair over her shoulder. It had always been longer than mine, and I had always been jealous. Even more so now that I didn't have much hair left.
Lilou slumped into the chair next to mine, her face changed into a picture of sadness. "Do you have to go?"
I sighed, "You know I do Li, we've been over this." I had been one of the only constant things in Lilou's life, ever since her arrival in the Everleen Lands. She hadn't been born here like me. Lilou was rescued from the Lues Land when she was a toddler of only two. Her parents, couldn't be, didn't want to be saved. My Father, took Lilou, an innocent child, to save her from the harsh environment and the way of life that would be pressed into her. No one good ever wanted to live in the Lues Land.
She had had a lot of Foster Parents throughout the years. Most unable to handle her temper, and her strange ways. That's what they called it anyway. A lot of them wondered if Queen Marletta and her court hadn't already left their mark on Lilou. I wasn't sure, all I knew, is Lilou had been my friend for nineteen years and probably always would be. Always was a long time for us too. Our lifespan almost tripled that of any human.
I stood, knowing it would be that time soon, when the dropship would come and pick me up for training. It was a moment I was dreading, but also, I couldn't help but feel excited about. Lilou looked up at me, tears brimming in her eyes, an unusual thing to see from her. "I'll miss you Li." I laid a kiss on her forehead and wrapped her in a hug. We stayed like that for a moment, until a familiar voice, broke us apart.
"I'm sorry Hun, but it's time to go." I turned abruptly, shocked to hear his voice. My Father. He was supposed to be in the Lotus Land, on a mission from the Queen. He stood in the middle of the kitchen, a rare soft expression on his face. His greying hair was slicked back into a short ponytail, his grey eyes assessed me with a wistful look.
"Dad? You- you're supposed to be away."
He smiled. "I'm not. I'm here to take you to training." His skin shone, iridescent blue under the kitchen sky light, his armour, a deep silver, shone even more so.
"I thought, the Dropship-"
He waved a hand impatiently, "I know what the normal protocol is, but we have a stop to make first. You must say your last goodbyes to Lilou. You will see her again I promise, though she has places to be herself today."
I shot my Father a questioning look, ""What?"
"Lilou will be going to live in Panem's quarters. She will be training with him. She needs to learn how to control her abilities."
Lilou stood, her face flooded with hope, "I am?"
My Father nodded with a smile. He was far fonder of Lilou than he would ever admit. "Yes child."
I watched her with a smile, drawing her into one last hug. She whispered in my ear, "I'll miss you Isolde."
"I'll miss you too Li." A tear trickled slowly down my cheek. It was perhaps the first I had ever shed. Phury do not cry. I turned to my Father, brushed the traitorous tear away. "Where are we going Father?"
My Father gave me an important look, "We, are going to see the Queen."