The wind blew harshly against the old one-roomed house that sat on a snow-covered hill, smoke disappearing in the blizzard as soon as it left the chimney. The cold seeped through the brick house, pressuring the heat within. Inside was warm and comfortable, the fire strong as if a young relative of the sun. Near the fire sat an elderly man reading a soggy newspaper. His eyes, though old, moved quickly across it, scanning the front page for details.
An adolescent female sat near his feet, between him and the fire. Her features were lightly tan from the often sunny days, the sunlight reflecting off the snow, which gave her a healthy glow. There was a gentle pink in her cheeks and slight perspiration on her brow from the heat of the fire. Her hair was strangely navy blue and short, cut above her shoulders, and her eyes burned orange like the fire. The elderly man read while she poked at the fire with a long stick.
The wind shook their home hard, threatening to force it down around them. The room was the only one in the house and in it was a stove near the fireplace, a dressing curtain in the corner beside a large rough oak dresser, a small bathroom (the only other room within the house), a sink, and a cabinet near the front door. Opposite the fire, across the room was a mattress and a mat on the floor, both covered in old blankets.
A log cracked in half from the heat of the fire and turned to began to crumble further underneath the fury of the girl’s poker. The elderly man dropped the newspaper into his lap and rubbed his eyes, sighing deeply. He then turned his gaze to the fire, and shivered from a breeze that managed to enter the house through a small crack in the wall. The youth shifted slightly to look toward her elder, putting the poking stick aside. He shifted as well, his eyes weary and tired.
“It’s much worse than I anticipated,” he began softly, turning his gaze on her,” but alas, there is no more that can be done. We can’t fight it any longer. If we try, we might as well paint large letters that spell out the word ‘FOOLS’ on the front of our home.”
He finished with a bitter laugh; there was no joy in King’s newest law. The adolescent took a moment to process his words before speaking in a quiet voice. “So then… I have no choice? I have to leave?”
Her grandfather rubbed his eyes again, nodding. The girl swallowed hard, blinking away tears that were coming quickly to her eyes. They had been hoping that this development wouldn’t happen; yet it had.
She tried to speak, but her voice wouldn’t come. They sat in silence for a few moments. She sat remembering how it all came about. She had been at the Spring festival not eight months before when she had been teased for her appearance, got angry and accidentally shown herself for she really was: a Blessed child. The Blessed Children were an odd race of people that had begun to appear through the continent the last fifteen years. Logestella’s own abilities or “powers” had begun to appear while she was the in the orphanage she grew up in. She had runaway and hidden in the forest, travelling east and had been found by old man Evander who had taken her in and adopted her as his granddaughter.
Seven years of living in Snowfall Valley and she had been a normal child. Then that fateful day where she had accidentally shown her powers in front of the whole village. She had gotten very upset indeed when Norris Platman told her she was a freak for having blue hair and orange eyes. Immediately, the ground all around them had plants shooting out of the soft snow and the ground shook from her anger. Once she had calmed down, everything changed. Everyone was afraid of her, and Norris Platman told her she really was a freak of nature. She went home quickly after that and told Evander what had happened. He told everyone that she wasn’t dangerous, just upset.
But it was too late as the damage had already been done. She was reported to the nearest Sheriff who then sent a report to the Royal Registry of Blessed Children. The director then sent a representative to Snowfall Valley, searching around to make sure Logestella was the only blessed child there and then made a report on her powers. After that, the whole village pretended she wasn’t there, her only friends remaining were their neighbors, the Mondelliz family, who judged people on character, not difference.
Logestella finally spoke up, her voice timid and her heart sinking.
“Grandpa, I want to stay here. I don’t want to go to the city…” she cried quietly into her knees that she pulled tightly to her chest. The elderly man was silent and nodded.
“Stella, we knew that this would happen eventually. The king is paranoid. He fears an uprising. He doesn’t want his citizens to be more powerful than he or his armies are.”
The wind blew again, and the house creaked furiously. After another angry gust, the girl spoke, regaining some dignity with a strong voice.
“When are they coming to get me?”
“Two weeks. You’ll most likely be going on a wagon to Crystal Canyon. Though once in the city of Loppell, well, I’m not sure what will happen. It’s an odd gathering. It seems the King has finally decided to attend to the education of your kind. I have no doubt that you’ll find others like yourself. As it seems that the king will be gathering them throughout all the winter villages of the Shallom countryside.” The girl wiped away a rebel tear and frowned at the fire, not wanting to cry anymore.
“I don’t like my kind. They show off their powers and make people afraid. They cause problems for those of us who want to live peacefully.” The old man nodded again and looked her directly in the eye.
“I’d say not to worry, but we have no idea what kind of education the King will give you. I may be nearly seventy years old, but I have yet to learn to read the hearts of men. I can only pray for your safety and well-being, and pray that the King means well by making this gathering of the Blessed Children.”
Logestella paused to nod at his words, taking in the truth. But another realization came to mind.
“And what’ll happen to you? You can’t stay here all by yourself. Grandfather. What if the blizzard season becomes too much for you?” The concern in her voice for his well-being made him smile kindly at her and speak softer than before.
“If I have any trouble, Liza Mondelliz has already offered her boys to help chop my wood for me. I’ll be fine. She also said if it becomes too dangerous this season, I can stay at her farm with the family.” He smiled weakly at her, but all the same got up from his chair and stretched.
“Time for bed,” he muttered, heading over to the mattress. “Let’s not dwell on this all night, Stella. The King may be afraid, but acting rashly is exactly what will end up causing further suspicions for him. We must calmly obey the laws, otherwise his fears in a resistance were well-founded.”
Logestella watched the fire for a moment longer before getting up and going behind the changing curtain and getting into her pajamas. She then lay down on her mat on the floor. After wrapping herself in her blankets, she closed her eyes, wishing it all away. She had been doing that a lot lately. Wishing. It wasn’t like her. She let out a long tired yawn and mentally got a firm grip on herself.
‘Come on, Stella’, she told herself,’ are you a Lunian or not? Prove to the King that you are as safe as a snow bunny. You can do this, if not for yourself, then for grandfather.’ She barely smiled, already half-conscious.
“Logestella,” whispered her grandfather, “I’m pretty sure Liza promised us some warm breakfast if we got up with the sun tomorrow.”
That was the last thing spoken for the rest of the evening. Stella lay their silently wondering what the King possibly wanted with her kind, why he was really gathering them to the city of Lopell beyond Crystal Canyon.