The maid escorted them through the monumental buildings of marble with the only splash of colour being the vast and vivid posters depicting peasants, workers or - most frequently - portraits of Randall, The Great Leader. Rose ignored them on the whole but Alexis kept on stopping to gape at the face of their godfather, immortalised as he was with the sun as his halo.
Once they were at school they were separated with Alexis being led away to the nursery classes for under ten year olds. Rose was forced to sit next to a sweet yet apparently mute girl on her left and her sister Freya on her right.
When Rose looked at her younger sister all she saw was the vindictiveness and capacity for cruelty. She refused to acknowledge the fierce intelligence or the willowy figure and the large, hypnotic eyes of reflective grey. The two sisters did not speak. Rose listened with little interest to the benign greetings of Freya’s friends while accepting their brief nods in her direction. The classes were not especially memorable and as such Rose only truly began to pay attention once more on the walk home. Freya left the house early every morning in order to avoid any unwanted conversations but they had both learned that if they did not talk on the walk back from school it would be reported that they were ‘not being amicable’. This resulted in a tiresome lecture that lasted somewhere in the region of an hour and a half. They talked of their subjects and what they had learnt (where it became obvious that Freya actually had been paying attention) until their chaperone stopped listening and they lapsed into silence. Alexis walked between them with each little paw held securely by an adoring sister who took it in turns to affectionately ask him about his day.
Once they were back home they settled themselves in the library. Rose played with Alexis for a small while before forcing herself to open her textbook. Her eyes flicked from word to word before resting on the centre of the page. She did not move for the better part of ten minutes. Freya on the other hand had curled herself up into her chair and was reading avidly, occasionally scrawling a note in the margin of her book with a stubbed pencil. Alexis sat next to Freya and watched her - obviously fighting the desire to interrupt. He knew that once Freya had set her mind to learning something neither hell nor high water could distract her. He settled into a sulk. Freya always told him the best stories. They were all so absorbed - Freya in her learning and Rose and Alexis in their foul humours - that they did not immediately notice the library’s new occupant.