Prologue: Deadly Season

Fragile Tajime Tremaine was born in a time of peril. From her perspective, it only brought death and misfortune upon her small family. Under certain circumstances, she ends up in the care of a controlling aunt, dying uncle, and butler who is far more overprotective than any bodyguard.
Set on carving her own path, Tajime pushes through the extremes of deteriorating health, rebellion, and the resulting punishments to succeed in living her life the way she desires before her shortened life ends.

  They say everything that is brought about in winter possesses bad omen, only bringing misfortune and/or death to themselves and anyone who even comes in perimeter of them. Many tales have been created about this particular subject, causing those who read it to be apt in thinking that it is but a mere legend-folktales thought up just to frighten others. But I know better, for I myself am a product of this dreaded winter story, bringing heavy-weighted devestation on the very beings that brought me into life.

  I was born in a blizzard, one that practically made the once blue sky into one of a dull, opaque, grey wall that would cause anyone in its presence to quake. Like everyone else in our sect, my parents remained sheltered in their quaint home, not daring to step a foot out into the possibly fatal abyss. 

  Not that their home protected them from death.

  It came knocking on their door unexpectedly-an epidemic that had become the ravenous beast of all the sects and even the different kingdoms. No one knew its source, nor it's cure. Therefore, if you caught it you had an immediate death sentence.

  My mother, to say the least, was vulnerable anyway. My uncle told me that even before her and my father eloped, her immune system was touchy and practically defenseless. My father, on the other hand, was the opposite; a man of great health who'd only get simple colds every now and then.

  Perhaps that was why he was so somber when he began to notice the symptoms she'd started to display. Maybe...maybe he would've felt better if he'd been sentenced right alongside her.

  Who's to say he wasn't.

  It was on the day of my very birth that everything was put into play. My mother never even saw my face; she was already half-dead before I fully exited the womb. Don't ask me how I remember, but as soon as I was delivered, I could feel my father's dirtied hands trembling beneath me. I was on the brink of death, having been born to such a sickly creature, and it was hitting him drastically hard. 

  The following events happened way too fast after that. The next thing I knew I was a crying bundle lying in the lifeless arms of a cold corpse. This was the real starting point of my life. An unusual one at that. 

  My uncle wasn't one too visit the outside sects, you see. At least, that was what the excuse he planted before me in the years to come. Thus, it was completely surprising when he entered the quaint dwelling only moments after the twisted happenings, especially considering the disasterous blizzard that had hardly settled outside. Nevertheless, he came as a saviour, appearing at the right place and time. And, although I was terribly young, I remember the exact expression he wore, just like I did with my father's shaking hands. It was one of mortification; he was not only flabbergasted but also horrified at the scene spread before his very eyes. His dead brother, in-law, and a hungry, somber babe that thrashed about.

  He discribed his feelings well-just as I'd expect them to be. At first, a numbness overcame his body, completely switching off his brain functions. The poor sop couldn't even keep himself upright, wobbling about like a hideous drunkard until he finally just gave out, falling on his knees. Pathetic, really, but understandable nonetheless.

  Paralyzed. It lasted for many minutes, the grandfather clock ticking them off one by one as they carelessly passed by. Finally getting hold of himself a bit, he grasped my puny, wailing self, clutching me possessively to his chest like a homeless man would with any scrap of food he could find.

  We lied there for God knows how long, both of us crying out in our hopelessness. By the time we had finished our sob fest, the storm had already drifted over, leaving the sun to peek out from behind the branches of clouds as if trying to cheer those in mourning up. It was only at this that my wreck of a relative managed to walk on his own two feet.

  He thought that the wave of destruction had passed completely; that it was all over. But all he did was deceive himself, for the moment he stepped into his own elegant homestead, he collided directly into the furiated, foul words of his very own spouse. And, as I would in proceeding predicaments, I made it worse. What she screamed when her eyes first scanned my face, I cannot recall. All I know was that the hag went on about how stupid her husband was for bringing such an ugly child into her house. To make matter even more worse for both the my despairing uncle and I, he spilled out the whole story of finding his deceased brother with a lively child in his arms. This (not astonishing in the least) caused me to be deemed as a death omen by my aunt, who at first thought wanted to leave me in the fields of white to perish.

  My uncle, eager to keep me for his dead brother's sake, promised that if she allowed me to be in their care, I would become the next heir to their estate. In other words, a lady. This pleased her, convincing her to comply. 

  So it was decided. By my snobby aunt and meek uncle my fate was sealed. Starting from the time that I arrived, even though I was but a fetus, I was to be be raised as a proper lady.

  On that day, I, Tajime Tremaine, was to begin life in the most unexpected of ways.

The End

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