Chapter 1 - First Impressions
Chapter 2 - A Second Look
The day was, for most, like all others. But that day was a special day for her even if she did not know it. It so happened that I was in the village of Whitestorm on this day and passing through the town square on my way home ran into her and the others who were there. The square was virtually abadoned except for a group of people huddling around the elder's chamber, and a lone girl standing a ways back from it. A storm was brewing and, ahead of the rain, the first storm winds blew though the village.
There were nine benches which circled the fountain. It was usual that every now and again people would walk by and take a seat as they would wait for their companions to finish their daily business, and when their friends arrived, would meet up and go on with their daily tasks. But today was not usual and the nine of us were all there was.
My attention was of course directed to the lone girl. A true vision to be held in my memories for all of time. She stood there oblivious to the fact she was being watched, not knowing the impact she was about to have on the world, or on myself in particular.
Her hair, as red as dying embars, was being tossed around in the growing gusts. It was recently combed and braided loosely behind her and fell almost to her feet. It had never been cut, it had never been trimmed. Entangled into her hair was a tiara of dying leaves. She wore a cloak of green which glistened in the dying sunlight. The winds of the coming storm blew through her on occasion and caused her cloak to flap with the ferocity as if she were escaping captives on horseback. Though I am sure she did not mean to pose she stood as if she were the last soldier in a dead war, observing the end of eternity from her point atop the mountain of the gods.
Her face held no emotion, neither joy nor pain. It was unmarked by any scars from battle or disease, unspoiled from any false colours or paints. Her skin a creamy white, her lips a subtle rouge. Her ears were not pierced and she wore no decorations other then those on her cloths. She had wisdom beyond her age in her heart, she held knowledge above her time in her soul. In her eyes she carried the fate of the world.
She stood there, alone, invisible to the others, listening to their conversations from afar.
Knowing who she was, and who she would one day be, I took the opportunity to speak with her. As I approached she turned to me and I greeted her, "Hello Kala, what a fine day it is. How do you find this day to be?", those were my exact words.
She replied, "I find this day quite interesting to say the least. But tell me stranger, I do not recognize you. Have we met before and how do you know me?"
I replied to her, "I am just a traveler, here to worship. We have never met, but I have heard of you", and I gave her a smile, "And what may I ask do you find so interesting?"
"Well for starters that you have heard of me. I find it hard to believe that a name as my own would travel far in either time or space. I am but a lone individual. One I suppose that does not matter." She stood quiet for a moment then continued, "Over by the elder's chambers is a subject which I find most interesting. Notice the four individuals standing by the entrance, and the three others seated at the bench."
I had in fact noticed them earlier, and knew them all personally as they knew me. But I kept silent as she went on, "Notice the tallest by the elder's chambers. It is rumored he is true evil. In the past he has cheated and lied to gain power and wealth. With him his exact opposite, true good. He has gained his power and wealth from honorable dealings. In fact his honor is his one fault for he will not lie nor deceive. With them are their children, a daughter and a son, just coming to the age of marriage. They will marry each other in the coming days in an effort to unite the two families into the controlling power of the city. With such families working together the elder's power to council would be obsolete. While one would live on sin the other would be worship and the city would surely fall into utter chaos."
"Then we have the old man sitting on the bench. With him the two daughters of a long forgotten union. He has been here since time began and awaits for the elder's to emerge from the chambers. He is the third and the only one who stands a chance of being chosen above the others." She paused for a minute and I could tell she was eavesdropping on the conversations being held by the chamber doors. I could not hear any conversation above the daily noise of the city and the approach of the storm, but then again I was not her.
She continued on, "I have been standing here myself, listening from this point to all their conversations. The old man has said very little and I do not know his plans. But the others have been loud and I have learnt a lot about them."
I took this moment to observe her again, this time from a much closer position then before. Though her face was clean the rest of her was not. She wore only wooden sandals with weak leather straps on her feet. Her hands were bruised and blistered and covered in the same dirt which covered her all. The cloak she wore was badly ripped and smelt of the rock soap used by the poorest of villagers to clean their cloths. In fact her cloak was still damp from being recently washed. Under it a tattered and torn skirt was wrapped about her waste and over her body.
It only then occurred to me that this was not the girl I had thought she would be. Though it was her in person she was not crowned in gold nor lavished in silk. This was not a leader and hero to millions, this was a lone girl unsure of the future, unsure of the past, unsure of the present, blind to all that each held. It was no wonder she was able to stand out in the open, unseen by those whom she was so diligently listening to.
I was intrigued and almost uncontrollably I reached for her cloak, but before I could touch it she pulled it away. She turned and faced me and fingering the tear said with a sigh, "It is a tiny rip, I know. I have been meaning to mend it but have not yet had the means. As for the dampness of my cloak, it would be a waste of time to dry it completely for I shall get it wet tonight in the rain, and by tomorrow it would be in need of a wash again."
I was a little taken back that she knew my thoughts so well and for a moment I considered the possibility that I had mistakenly spoken those words aloud. But before I could respond her attention once again left me as quickly as it came and she faced back to the others listening to all they had to say as though the incident had never transpired.
We stood there like that for some time, it could have seconds, it could have been hours. On occasion I was able to pick up the odd word being said by one person or another as the cold winds of the approaching storm steadily grew. Then after a few more moments she turned to me and continued on as though I asked the question.
"It was two nights ago that the previous leader of Whitestorm was taken by death. He was a good leader and helped rebuild the city, perhaps a bit slowly. But he did. Today the elders are in seclusion in their chambers. They will choose a new leader from those in the square and the chosen one will lead Whitestorm until his own death comes and the cycle starts again."
And then the rains began to fall.
I quickly took shelter within a public building nearby and called for her to join me. But she didn't come she just stayed there, then after a moment she turned to me and said, "I am not afraid of the storm."
It was not long after that the doors to the elder's chambers opened, and the new leader of Whitestorm named.