“Morning” Jeremy said to me. He smiled at me, and took his arms around me. It’s incredible how it feels to spend the night with the one you love. All night, just staring at each other! But I feel like I’m betraying Rachael. She is on the threshold to death. If it just goes to one side or the other, she’ll die, or needs to escape. Adrian can’t write to tell us how it’s going. Jeremy have a stone that let us see her, but the only thing we have seen was her kissing some boy – he looked quite good, I can’t deny that, but I thought Adrian and her was together? Jeremy thought it was interesting that she was kissing that boy –exactly him. And you could see the guilt in her eyes afterwards…. I wonder what Adrian would say to that?
“What is on the list today?” I asked. Jeremy keeps me occupied so I don’t have to think about her too much. Her dad haven’t left his room since she went, Jeremy told me about the grief the castle had for months while she was lost. Letting her go so soon, must be terrible.
“Actually, we can send her a letter today” he noticed. I stared at him. “Are you joking?” I asked. He smiled and leaned forward to touch my lips with his. “No, it’s her birthday”. I started calculating in my mind – there’s no calendar here. He’s right! It’s her eighteens birthday today! I can’t believe she aren’t home for that!
“So today the program is a bit different” he noticed “After we have written her a letter, we’ll send that and the invitation to her birthday party, that will be the day after she comes home, and then we’ll work on the decoration for that day”.
It was hard not getting too exited. I can’t wait to tell her how much I have missed her! Jeremy told me I should remember that guards will be reading them, gifts could be given when she got back. Anyway I couldn’t help but being exited. Jeremy and I wrote a letter each, and for the first time since she left, her dad were at the breakfast.
Jeremy and him started discussing how it should be planned, the letters were sent away, and I was asked to find the most beautiful prom-looking dress I could find in the human world and buy it – or even 10-20 different kinds, to make sure I would find one she would like. When I left, I got out into the human would, and for the first time in a long time I visited the apartment.
Breakfast was ready, so we all sat down. Me and all of my brothers. Dad looked tired, and for a while he just sat there, staring into the food, while we started taking. “Who is the extra chair for, dad?” my oldest brother asked. I looked around the table, and he was right. Next to my dad an extra chair was placed – usually not there.
“For our guest for today” dad said tired. A guard came in an placed letters on the plate. We sat and ate, waiting patiently on our guest. The doors opened at last, and the chains clanged towards the ground as she walked towards the table. Everyone of us stared.
Dad didn’t look surprised. Not even when she sat down.
“Good morning” Dad told her.
“Good morning” she answered with a cute little smile. Dad threw a key up in the air and she got it and then opened up her chains.
“Can the rest of us get an explanation?” my oldest brother asked again. Rachael looked up but then took the letters and started reading through them, and Dad took a deep breath. In silence, we kept on eating.
At last dad looked up. “There’s special dates, where her dad – if she is not treated right – will come and take revenge. Like today. That’s why the marking is canceled for today, and why she’s… dinning with us”.
“What is so special today?” I asked. She looked up and into my eyes.
“It’s a sacred day to my dad” she answered “apparently”.
She looked into the letters again, smiling for herself. “It’s her eighteens birthday”.
I stared at her for a moment, knowing all of my brothers did too. Her birthday? So her dad treats her like a … goddess? I looked up and down at her, I would too I guess. Why didn’t she tell me? I have no time to get her a present!
“What did your dad say to you spending the day here?” my brother asked her, he stared confused when she looked into his eyes. “He’s fine with it. He talked about some party – I didn’t really pay attention”.
We stared at her again. I love her and all…. But if the darkest lighter talks to you…. Then don’t you listen?
“Even though you all see him as evil, he is still a dad, and I’m still his daughter,” she noticed, “Surely you don’t always listens to your dad – even though he is ‘the king’?”
Some of my brothers blushed, and dad just laughed a bit for himself.
“You sound just like your father”.
She looked surprised at my dad, then shrugged her shoulders and smiled. “I guess. People have told me we look a lot a like. You are the first person to tell me I sound like him”.
She sighed. “My dad is a very private person, only the most close part of the family sees him the same way as I do”. Then she smiled.
“My dark light protector have written my dad sealed himself in his chambers until today”. She smiled “I knew he would”.
My youngest brother coughed. “How….. how is it to have a dad who…. Is evil?”
She smiled. “My dad aren’t evil, just pushed to the wrong side. He’ll be fine, he always is”
We all stared at her, my oldest brother looked like she had told a joke.
“You got to be kidding me! He tortures- he … he kills for the fun of it!”
This time she closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. Then she smiled to him. “And your dad does not?”.
“ABSOLUTLY NOT!” he declared. She started laughing.
“You dad may not hold the knife – but he gives the order” she noticed “he is the only person in this kingdom, that have the power to stop every torturing under his ruling. He haven’t done that”.
Dad didn’t look like he wanted to say anything.
“And don’t you have the power to stop your dad?” one of my brothers pointed out.
She smiled. “Of course. I fight better than him. And if I told him to stop he would. But then he would never be able to find Maria, and that would kill more people, than his torturing”.
“Never the less… I have to ask you to know your plans for the day” dad started.
“I realize of course that going to the city would course panic…. So I thought reading a book near some pond outside then town would be best…” she said “Of course with guards following me around”.
“You can’t-“ dad started.
“Visit anyone, and visit my old house” she answered “Got it”.
“Anything else? – you can’t just read a book all day” dad noticed.
She looked confused at him. “Then you don’t have a book good enough”. Then she smiled “Of course not. I would like to train, and explore the woods… I hope that is okay?”
Dad nodded. “Sure”.
“So you will spend your birthday alone?” I asked confused.
She smiled at me. “I’m not alone, the guard is with me”.
“How…” my oldest brother started “How is your birthdays usually like…?”
“My dad invites every part of our family home, breaks those out of jail he has too, and invites all the nobles, and a few family friends, that comes and celebrate my birth, gives me gifts and talks about news in the kingdom. For me it was the only day I was forced not to train, and forced not to read”. As she said it she smiled. “My dad thinks I shouldn’t do any of my duties, since it’s the celebration of my birthday”.
We starred at her. It doesn’t makes sense.
“Rachael is a special form of lighter, born into her duties, like all the nobles, but her duty is more than the regulars. She have to take care of a lot, and without her, the kingdom will eventually fall. So from birth she is trained to protect the kingdom, and to give her life for it, if necessary. She was taught from birth, how to give her life, by using all her time on work, training and gaining knowledge, until her death”.
Rachael didn’t seem sad, she was smiling, listening to dads words, like she know them better than anyone. I guess she does. “So the celebration of my birthday isn’t the celebration of me. It is the celebration of the work and training I do” as she said it, she smiled.
“For her this is a sad day” Dad noticed “and her dad knows that”.
“I wouldn’t call it sad,” she noticed smilingly. “I wouldn’t call it anything special”. Then she stuck her nose into her letters once again, clearly not wanting to speak to anyone.
Dad didn’t talk either. Silence was just there – during the whole meal. The thought of the kingdom accusing a person that works from birth to protect the kingdom is weird and hard. Why can’t her dad just let this Maria-business go? Wouldn’t it be so much easier for his daughter than to live a happy life with other? Not needing to hide, or be accused. Even if she get out of it this time, every time something happens, she will be accused, and the kingdom will eventually take her life. If not the accusing and the sadness of her birth drives her to kill herself first…
As the morning went on my anger got bigger and bigger. Why can’t she just be allowed to be happy? Why can’t people just leave her alone?
“The guard will take you to the showers and then your stuff, when you are done there a horse will be given and a secret way out of the castle will be shown to you” dad said “If you don’t already know it, that is”.
She smiled. “I have seen a lot of them on maps, but I have never been here myself”.
The meal ended, she didn’t seem sad when she left the table, she seemed at peace. Like a dead body in the grave. I guess I would too if I had a birth like that.
My brothers kept discussing everything they had heard when dad and her left the table and the door was closed. From what I could here, they all sounded confused. I split up from them and went back to my room. I know the guard will probably tell but…. An isolated birthday is the worst I guess.
I went downstairs, snuck into the bathroom past the guards and laid a Fima crystal into her clothing with a note saying I’ll find her.
When I snuck out, the guards had moved – I don’t know where too. I walked back to my room, happy for once. I’ll see her later with a gift.
I bit my lip and stopped. A gift. I need a gift to a girl that probably already have everything. If her dad really worships her like that, she wouldn’t need anything. I took my cape on and started walking towards the street, but a hand grabbed me from behind and pulled me inside the castle.
“Really, Jaime?”. A pair of eyes familiar to mine looked irritated. “Of all the people you could fall in love with, why this girl?” He looked confused, holding me up the wall. “Why not a normal girl?”
I stared at him. How long has he known? And how did he figure it out?
The door was closed, leaving us in the darkness.
“Why would you risk getting in trouble with dad and the nobles?” he asked “You have no idea of what a dangerous game you are playing!”
I took a deep breath, relaxed my back at the wall and sighed. “What are you talking about?”
He took a deep breath and started walking back and forth.
“Like I haven’t noticed the way you look at her!” He took a deep breath. “We aren’t allowed to marry nobles. You know that! And she has a boyfriend!”
“She aren’t together with Tyl-“ I started.
“No with Adrian!” he said “And that is more than enough reason for you to stay away from them!”
Some guards started to walk past us. We both looked into the ground, breathing heavily. I can’t believe ham.
“How… how did you find out about Adrian and her…?”
He took a deep breath. “When I visited the school… the one getting angry were Adrian, not Tyler”. I could feel my eyes watering up. Damn Adrian. Control your emotions! Why can’t he just leave her alone? Or at least let someone else defend her so she isn’t doing all the work! I turned around to face the wall, before I hit with my fist into it.
“And how did you discover about… her and me…?” my lips finally said. “It weren’t hard” he said. “When I got back and was about to tell dad about what I had found out… you looked like you were going to panic. And then I realized that the girl you had told me about… the one that taught she was human, but she was a lighter…. Were the same girl that the kingdom wanted to kill”. He looked like he was taking a big load of his shoulders. “And then… you looked so relieved when I told it was Tyler… not Adrian… so I could only guess that you knew it. That you had seen it. Knowing that you… that you fell in love with a girl… for the first time… I couldn’t make myself tell dad any of this. So I have just… kept an eye on you two… and if you don’t watch out… the nobles will notice that you are in love with her” he took a deep breath “and the nobles aren’t someone to make fun of, you will end up hurt”.
I turned towards the wall again, trying to keep my tears away from him. The nobles have never been interested in our family. And for a good reason, we do as we are told. Mostly.
“Please… stay away from her” he tried “I don’t want to lose my little brother because of a wild heart” His arms went around me, making my tears fall to the ground.
“Why…. Why is it me that haves to be the heir to the throne?” I asked him “This wouldn’t be a problem if… if…”.
With the cape I dried my eyes. “It doesn’t matter. I promised her I would see her, I don’t think she wants to spend her birthday alone”.
I turned around and looked at his smiling face. “Actually I think you are wrong. I think she wants to be alone. Just for today”.
I bit my lip and took a deep breath. Maybe he is right. Maybe he is wrong.
“Anyway… I… I want to give her a present,” I noticed.
“Really?” I asked her. She nodded. The city is hard seeing from this length. The pond she had found looked good. And the trees are beautiful, with flowers around them, and the daylight shinning bright.
“I wonder what this pond is called” I noticed. She was sitting with her nose in the dirty old little book she had taken form her luggage. Her hair is still wet, and the clothing she had borrowed seemed out of place leaning at a tree.
“Ricmo” she said “In old lighter-language. Now it’s just called Rising sunset”. I starred at her for a moment. “Is there something you don’t know?”. She laughed and nodded.
“Like?” I kept asking her.
“I don’t know. How am I suppose to know what I don’t know?” she asked me, still smiling reading through the book like it was the most interesting thing in the world.
“And lost. Lost were the little girl, trapped in the woods. When a light found way to her” the unknown voice made me take my sword and walk over to her. I tried to surround her, but it seemed impossible. The voice came from above. “Into her it went, and she was no longer lost. She was the spark in the woods. She became the woods, the ground, the earth”.
“I don’t think you need to have your sword out” she said.
“She didn’t die. She had found the first glow. The first light. And she became the first Earth Lighter to ever exist”.
The story-teller sounded pleased and dark. She didn’t seemed worried, just curious, I still had my sword out.
“Swim, swim, swim. The little boy came deeper and deeper into the ocean. Being better at holding his breath, he always tried to go deeper. One day he reached the heart of the ocean. Shinning with a beautiful blue glow. As it touched him, he no longer needed to breathe, and he could explore the oceans forever. So that is what he did, and what he still does”.
She started to giggle for herself. “He makes a dramatic entrance don’t you think?”
I stared at her. “Who is it?”
“The wind lighter was stupid. Heard of the other two she jumped from the highest mountain ever seen. Into the bottomless pit. During the night when falling, she hit a light, what she thought was a star”.
“An old friend of mine” she answered smilingly. “He likes to give himself an introducing that is worth remembering”.
I took a deep breath. A friend. That can be a good friend, or a bad friend. She doesn’t seem worried, so a good friend?
“The first firelighter was a very honorable man, running into the fires of his house to safe his family. The family died, but it’s still honorable”
She giggled once more, I hope he is going somewhere with this.
“The first ferike lighter now that is a story worth telling! He killed his family and ate their brains-“
She didn’t giggle, actually she seemed patiently irritated.
“The end” a guy appeared in front of us, sitting in the air, obviously using his powers. His hair was very dark green and the skin very light. The clothing seemed dusty, old and tight. With a book in his arms, he smiled at us. Then he threw it at me – or rather at us. I gave it to her, and moved a bit away. I was still close enough to defend her, but far enough away to not come between them.
“Thank you” she said, and then I could see the book was a gift.
“And here” he gave her a letter. “That’s from your dad, I guess he couldn’t send it with the mail”.
She nodded. “Thank you!”.
“Happy birthday!” he became invisible again.
As I looked at her, she smiled bright and happy.