When I wake up, the bustle of loud noises is the first thing I come to terms with. Sliding out of bed and creaking my bedroom door ajar, I notice person after person almost running about the corridor, as if they are eager school children determined to get to class on time. Perhaps the memory of school will never die down.
Flattening down my hair from the rough sleep last night and taking a quick glimpse down at myself - though there doesn't seem to be a mirror in the room - I make my way outside. A woman walks past me, holding a tray and a round cover over the top of what could be food. She smiles, almost sympathetically, before disappearing down the corridor, leaving the waft of English breakfast trailing behind her. What exactly has everyone been told?
Before I have actually made a decision about where I go from here, a hand grabs at my arm. I yank it away, just out of reflex, but then I realise it's just Trent. He gives me the same pitiful smile the woman gave me. Just give it a rest.
"So how did you sleep?" he asks, politely, fiddling with the hem of his shirt.
"None of this enlightening talk," I start, holding my hands up, "just tell me what the hell is going on."
"Well, you're subtle."
"It's my best attribute." I give him a false smile, turning on my heel.
He grabs my shoulder before I can even move a few steps. Turning back, I notice the purple rings circling his sea-like eyes, like a storm's about to brew. Clearly I wasn't the only one who was tossing and turning all night.
"And you think you know where you're going?" He asks, pointing down the corridor.
"I can find my way." I lie.
"Like you found your way here?"
I narrow my eyes. "Are you trying to say I didn't?"
"I don't know," he grins, "am I?"
I sigh, frustrated. Why does the most annoying person on the planet have to hold all the information I'm dying to know? Taking a deep breath, I attempt more questions.
"So what happened then? How did I get here?"
Before he says a word I butt in. "And I want the full story."
He turns me around, arm hanging loosely around my shoulders as we make our way to the big, swinging doors at the end of the hallway. Just another room full of 'Trent's' probably. And Aviur - whoever he is.
"So let's introduce you to Aviur first, hey?" He suggests, ignoring my questions altogether and somehow reading my mind once again.
He pushes open the double doors, pressing gently on the small of my back to get me to shuffle into the room and not back away. Looks like he knows I like escaping already, although I think that's pretty clear considering I escaped my whole side of the country to come here.
And then it suddenly hits me. What is it like over there now? How is Mum and Michael and everyone at school? What do they think of my disappearance? Are they worried or relieved?
Relieved, I think to myself, it's not like they ever really wanted me to be there.
"Valencia?" I jump back into the presence when I hear Trent's voice, his head leaning down to mine. "Move."
"What?" I ask, confused, but when I turn my head forwards I notice all the faces looking in my direction. A long mahogany table stretches the length of the room, every seat taken but two, and next to those two - right at the end of the table - sits a tall, muscular, big-built man. He raises his glass in his hand, clinking his spoon to it.
"Excuse me, one second." He pushes himself up from the table as people begin to chatter amongst themselves. I watch as he rises and rises, until he's standing taller than anyone in the room. He then stomps his way towards us and the immediate reaction I get is 'run', but there's no where to run to and I can't be seen as a wimp. Not now.
"Valencia, is it?"
No, I'm just another traitor of the left side of the country. Of course I'm Valencia. I'm one hundred percent sure he already knows that.
He chuckles, one of the big manly ones that takes you back a little. "You seem thrilled."
"Oh I am." I reply, deadpan.
He shakes his head, before laying one of his hands upon my shoulders. I don't think you could get bigger hands. Compared to Trent's, they're freaking huge.
"Are you alright to take a seat at the table with the rest of...my people?"
"You could say I'm a King," he says, "but we would all know you're lying."
I raise an eyebrow. What is that supposed to mean? Glancing at Trent, he shrugs. Instead, I force myself to follow this giant figure, realising that perhaps if Trent won't answer my questions, he will.
Sliding into my seat, I immediately have hands all around me, whipping a napkin over my lap and pouring me wine I would never be allowed to drink. Do they even know I'm underage? Perhaps they don't have a law for alcohol here...
"So before we begin, I'm Aviur." The giant states.
So that's who Trent was talking about. Aviur the Father of...something.
"Ah I see, I couldn't call you a King because you're a Father instead." I mention.
"I see Trent has already told you about our..."
"That's all I told her;" Trent cuts in, "you are to explain the rest."
Aviur gives me a gleaming, mischievous smile as he raps his fingers against the table. People's conversations around us still hover about my ear, wavering in and out, but my focus is always on Aviur. I want the answers.
He then stops with the drumming, his hands sliding to his lap. His eyes the dart to Trent's, almost as a warning. He then gets up from his seat.
"Should I show her how we're different?" He asks Trent.
He looks at me, and I laugh nervously. "What exactly do you need to show me?"
Suddenly, a flash of fire breaks out before me, reds and oranges and yellows burning in the air before me. Unstable, I feel myself toppling off my chair, shoved onto the floor with shock. I hear claps surround me, people cheering, loud noises deafening my eardrums. What are they doing? Why aren't they running? Why aren't I running?
Then, as the fire dims down, I notice the flickering flame hovering before Aviur. His face is lit up with joy, passion, and I watch intently as the fire burns out into his palm. Aviur the father of fire. Now it all makes sense.
I feel embarrassed and defenceless as I lie on the floor, scared out of my mind. I knew this wasn't going to be easy, but did I expect to see a grown man produce flames of fire in front of my very eyes? No. And how is that even possible? How is it possible for a human to just create fire like that? Unless they're not human at all...
I feel a sting starting to tingle on my arm, and turning to look at it, I remember the burn I noticed there when I arrived here. It's still there, burning bright as ever. I look to Aviur and then to my scar. Something clicks.
Is it possible Aviur saved me from the guards of the wall?