PETRICHOR

(This is the rough draft version) This will be a story of a girl named Rivka who lives in a village called Ginseng Fréamh, where all the inhabitants, aside from those born within it's walls, appear randomly at the gates with no memory of having been brought there, leading the citizens to dub their new home the Lost Village. Outside this village are beasts and creatures of unimaginable power and unknown purpose. Rivka is the youngest to have ever appeared in the city and has the power to influence organic and earthly matter with her emotions leaving her to be stoic and unfeeling in order to control herself. With her world constantly changing from attacks by sentient beasts, the deaths of those around her, and the loss of her only friend, she finds it harder to find peace with her environment as well as herself.

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1. Seedlings

I like the way dirt feels on my feet. Soft, sometimes slightly wet. I love to dig my toes in the soil of the gardens. I love the smell of after-rain, it made me feel blessed, alive, and content. The gardens were huge, filled with hedges, ponds, flowers and vines. The most beautiful attraction was the willow tree that bloomed. All the softly delicate flowers would drift and fall in the wind down to the pond surface leaving a sparse but beautiful blanket of white, a lovely compliment to the swans that floated by. The gardens were situated in the middle of a castle in the city called Ginseng Fréamh. My Momma worked the gardens, I always came with her and used my gifts to aid her because of her old age.  Dah is always worried that she will trip on a root or rock and hurt herself and no one would be around to help.

      Today after I finished my chores, I ran off to play in the bushes, Momma said to stick close because it seemed like it would storm but I disobeyed. It is nowhere near time for the storm season and a little rain won't hurt me. Besides that, I needed to be alone, I needed to release. Spending time with her or just playing wouldn't benefit me.

      With my eyes closed I lifted my face to the sky and let the slight drizzle wet my hair making it cling to my neck and face. I got on my knees facing the sky, putting my hands on the ground I put myself into the earth. I let all the happiness and emotion flow from my chest down to my hands and knees. The soil readily absorbed after which I finally faced the ground and opened my eyes. Small seedlings poked their stem and leaves around my hands and knees and as I stood up they overtook the space I was just kneeling in.

      If I didn't do this regularly, it was impossible to control, in seclusion I release my emotions and feed the earth. Sometimes around in the gardens, sometimes I walk alone by the outskirts near the far wall, past our lakes and farms, where new homes are built for newcomers. People appear there all the time, no memories, no home. All they must cling to are the clothes on their back. 

      I was the same as them, except I appeared here in the gardens, in the hollow of the willow tree in the middle of winter. Momma says that it was amazing that I was found, that I wasn't dead. They knew I was different because despite it being the middle of a harsh winter, deep snow, and in a storm, the willow tree kept me safe and warm. She said there was magic that night.

      Thinking about that makes me scared, terrified that someone other than my accepting parents will discover me, hunt me down like they do the feral beasties in the woods. I crossed my arms and tried to calm myself lest I make a real noticeable scene.  

      “Rivka?” I whirled around to see the young heir named Ivan running just at the peak of a soft green hill. He sprinted down the slope as best as his athletic skill would allow him to, his curly bunched up black hair shook droplets of water everywhere as he nearly trips. Luckily, he had just made it over the hill after I had finished growing seedlings. I had been trying to avoid Ivan all day, he had a particularly bad streak lately and I didn't want to be in trouble because of him again.

      Ivan was very dirty. 

      His feet caked in a coat of mud and his clothes are soaked with the recent rain.

      “Rivka, I’ve been looking for ages, why do you keep leaving me alone? I thought we would go play in the puddles and make mud pies. It gets so lonely in the castle, you're my only friend.” I was known to be stubborn. His soft blue eyes questioned and begged for my attention that I nearly surrendered to Ivan and his pretty irises. 

Nearly.

      “Ivan,” I began, “the last time we decided to make mud pies you were barred from seeing me and the garden for a month because you literally put that 'pie' in the dining room and made someone sick.” I looked at him angrily, still as unforgiving as ever. "I wasn't allowed to come to the gardens with Momma for two weeks!"

      He pouted a little bit, picked up a small lump of mud and started molding it into a ball. He looked at me and the ball back and forth many times and then finally spoke, “Why are you always like this?”

      “Like what?” I replied.

      “I don’t know, you never let anything go, you’re always so mean and far away.” He scowled at me and crossed his arms, but they quickly softened, "but hey, I'll be good, I promise! If it means spending more time with you, getting in trouble isn't worth it. Please don't ignore me for the sake of being able to see me, that makes no sense..."

      “Do you think I like not being allowed to see you? You insist on getting us into trouble, separating us for months in trade for a good few seconds of fun. It feels as if you want a reason to not be able to see me.” As I spoke I turned away following a small pebble path deeper into the garden. It started to pour. The smell, petrichor, no longer prominent.

      Ivan followed, but said nothing. He was obviously thinking but one can’t be sure what goes on in a ten-year old’s mind. Despite him being three years older than me, of higher status and intelligence, I was indeed much more mature and graceful, ignoring my current state of bare feet and now soaked, yellow dress. Because he is more intelligent than I and could sense that I need his attention more than he needs mine, he probes and probes at me, triggering unwanted reactions I try to hide. I keep forgetting that we are both children and that I should be less stubborn and less hardhearted to him. I suppose one can blame my distance on the fear of losing myself. Ivan is the only other child that enjoys spending time with me, why ruin that?

Smiling I proposed, “Lets climb a tree.”

      Ivan never turns down such a simple and yet daring feat. He is honestly a pebble. Dull, smooth and innocent with bits of mostly unnoticeable earthy waves of color that draw the more interesting people into his life. The people who can see the beauty in the pebble. People like me. I suppose I am the only child that enjoys my time with him, and with that I hope we will never change.

      Still soaked from the ongoing rain, we came upon the willow tree, the birds light up as they see us come by. They sing happily when they see me, they can feel what I feel. I whistle to them and they sing back their songs, sitting under the protection of the willow. 

      "They are always excited when you're around, do you feed them? How do you do it?" He smiles at them although they are never happy because of him. They can feel my emotion.

The rain really started to pour at this point and thunder could be heard loudly. Out of fear, I scurried into the willow tree's hollow. Ivan laughs and follows behind me. Embarrassed at my sudden irrational fear of the thunder, I pull my knees close to my chest. We sat in silence for a bit, the cold from the rain finally seeping into our bones. Shivering we hugged each other. Rainy and storm seasons were common but not this early in the year, we were trapped in the hollow. When there is a bout of storms people are restricted to their homes because we can't afford to lose any citizens.

      We stared at each other, smiling. I can't remember the first time meeting Ivan, he was always there. Momma said he couldn't have care less about me when I was a baby, crying for this and for that. He did grow interest as I started to walk in talk, calling me HIS baby, and that I belonged to him only. 

      I belong to no one, but I let him think that until I had a mind of my own. Then came the constant bickering and fighting and seeing who could be in charge of what was the next game. Always fighting to see who was the boss of the other. Momma said amid those fiery quarrels, my eyes were bright and my red, curly hair would shake ferociously. She said it could've convinced anyone my way. Anyone except Ivan, who would fight with me for the fun of it.

      A couple more minutes pass and my teeth chattered. I could hear Momma and servants calling in the distance for us but they weren't allowed this far in in such severe weather. Holding each other we both fell asleep, the rain lulled us. It was a couple hours until they found us in that tree, I didn't wake up till the next morning. Ivan and I were sick in bed for the next week, however, we were even more inseparable thereafter.  

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