River Stories

Ari has always wanted to be the one to break free, the one who knows she will be Light and can travel upstream to see where her life takes her. But when the curse of Alvado Falada begins to unfold, Ari begins to discover that life isn't what it seems and sometimes you just need to be yourself.

This is the story of a girl who faces tragedy, love, heartbreak and beauty to get to where she wants to be. Follow Ari on her amazing journey up the river.

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2. Chapter 2

The grassy patch just by the flowing stem of water was decked out with brightly patterned blankets for the Beckoneers and sturdy wooden chairs for the Elders, all set around a crackling fire. The glowing embers snapped and crackled, harmonizing beautifully with the hiss of the spitting fire. I spotted my Pa speaking to another Elder and waved when he looked over my way. He gestured for me to come and join him so I wandered over to where he stood tall and proud with my twin brother Ro next to him. I grinned cheekily at Ro and he smiled back at me, the true spitting image of my Pa.

Ro and I aren’t identical twins but we do share the same of a few features. Like our honey flecked green eyes, mine big and round like a deer’s and Ro’s smaller and more almond shaped, like our Pa. We both have a smattering of freckles across our noses and we both have baby button noses but there the resemblances stop. I have long, wavy black hair that constantly gets in my way, like my Ma’s used to be, and Ro has a mop of curly brown hair that always flops in his eyes and gives him a sweetly vulnerable look that all the Valley girls seem to love at the moment.

At birth, Ro and I had been inseparable, always together. We built forts out of blankets and pillows when we were meant to be doing our chores, spun worlds out of our dreams, swam in the river and pretended we were being chased by crocodiles. Ro was not only my twin brother but he was my best friend and we were there for each other when we needed each other most. But as we grew older, we were put in different classes at school and we eventually grew apart. We still had a special connection but he wasn't my whole world anymore, nor was I his.

Ro had always been the most shy out of the two of us and I was always the one to request an extra marshmallow in our hot chocolate or the one to push the boundaries and stay out swimming later. Ro was always the one who had the least amount of friends and I was the popular one, the one with all the friends. I felt sorry for Ro and always invited him to play with us but he shied away from my crazy, outgoing friends and I often found him on his own reading a book or something. My clever, gorgeous brother that I loved to pieces, I felt so bad at the time but now I look back and realise that we both benefited from my branching out. It helped to make Ro the charming, friendly person he is today with at least twenty billion friends and we both realised that we couldn't always be there for each other. I was proud of Ro for being who he was.

The meeting commenced when the sun was in the middle of the cornflower blue sky. The river danced beside us and I leaned over to dip my hand in the crisp water. It trickled over my hand slowly as I rotated my hand, palm down, to face the sky. Looking closely at my hand, I saw a faded grey mark that sat just between where my thumb and index began. I squinted harder at it to see what it was. As the water gushed over my hand, I saw it clearly. It was an intricate tattoo of a fish. So faded that I could barely see it, I wondered how it had got there and why it was there. Was it a sign? Was I going to be Dark. A flash of fear blinded me momentarily and I blinked in the bright sun, hoping that I could forget about it for a bit. I needed to focus on the meeting.

An Elder cleared his throat loudly, the sound rumbling in the back of his throat. A secretive hush fell over the campsite and every head, old or young, turned towards the oldest Elder, Calib Dreikili, the most powerful and the one with the most magic engraved deep into his bones. No surprise here, all the Elders were Light but one.

Capri Isilee Anidora sat just outside the circle of Elders. Her face was hidden in shadows where the glowing fire did not reach her face. She was tiny and looked as frail as a willow tree, but from the rumours I had heard she was stunningly beautiful. All I could see was her dark, poker-straight hair framing her face. I strained to see more but she didn't want us to. As if sensing my curiosity, she flicked her eyes up quickly and looked away just as. My jaw dropped wide open. Never had I seen such big eyes, eyes that were a piercing blue like that of a crystal clear river on a sunny day. Her skin looked to be olive coloured and her lips as pink and little as a rosebuds'. Immediately, I was envious of this girl. How could she be so pretty and be a Dark, yet she was allowed into the circle of Elders? And besides, she only looked to be a little older than us, how had she become an Elder?

I had to force my attention back round to Calib, who was speaking in deep, rumbling tones of the dark that blanketed us every Beckoning, leaving a trail of unfixable darkness behind it. Undeniably, Dark left a trail of poison through our cracked and broken world but Calib reminded us that we can't stop who we are meant to be.

Darks and Lights are chosen based on what your soul is like. It is the real you, the part of you that is a bird in a cage, fighting to break free and open your heart to the opportunities the world offers to the real you.  You can't choose who you’re going to be and you can't decide whether you want to be who you're chosen to be. Every little girl dreams of being a beautiful Princess, locked away in a tower where she knows a handsome Prince will come and rescue her one day. But the real world isn't like that, and this is the point in our lives where we have to face the music. It's time to embrace your soul.

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