Hi. My name is Cyrilla Braulin. I live on the far eastern boarder of Tearnoc with my parents who own a very large and prominent farm and mill. For the past eighteen harvest seasons, I have helped work the land, grind the grain, care for the animals and clean the barn and houses. My life, so far, has been one of hard labor and little interaction with other people, besides those that work on the farm. Not that I would not like to meet more people, but my parents have been very protective and sheltered me since the day I came into this world. My only friend is Julie. Her father is my father's most valued and trusted mill engineer and we have known each other since before I can remember. Julie is the only person, besides my parents, who I can confide in and share my inner most desires and fears with.
When I was about four harvest seasons old, I was out along the line of trees that blocked the main road from our farm. As I walked along by the only thing separating our private world on the farm from the rest of Tearnoc, enjoying the warm sun and smell of freshly ploughed dirt, I noticed a nest lying on the ground. A tiny baby bird sat inside, crying for its mother. My heart leaped up and into action immediately. I couldn't allow this poor, helpless bird to sit on the ground, endangered by the plethora of feet, both human and animal, and the tools of the farm. Tenderly I picked the nest up, coddled it for a moment and then lifted my arms to the sky, willing it back to where it belonged. Suddenly a gentle breeze encircled me, kissing my bare skin, as if thanking me for bringing it to life. Ever so slowly, the breeze lifted the nest, bird sitting quietly inside, and carried it up to a large branch high above. As I watched the baby return home so his mother could find him, a shrill scream ripped me from my elation. When I turned around, I found Maria starring at me, eyes wide with fright as her hands covered her mouth. It seemed she was trying to turn and run the other way, but fear kept her feet locked tightly in the dirt. Her scream began attracting attention of others on the farm.
Since the day I was born my parents taught me that those who command magic are feared and hated by those who do not. And though I was one of those who did, they loved me more than I would ever understand, but others would not be so kind if they found out about my gift. If someone discovered that I was able to wield the intangible ability, they would certainly turn me in to Lord Tearle and his Gekozen who would lock me away with the rest of the Verbannen in Treandle. Up until that day I had done such a good job of keeping my gift locked away, but somehow I let it slip out in plain view of any who wished to see.
To my sudden surprise, Julie came running up saying how amazing it was that the breeze had lifted the nest so carefully and place it back on the tree. "It must be some sort of act from the spirits!" were her exact words. I can still hear them, as if I am standing along the tree line, fear of being caught more real than any four harvest season old child could even fathom. Somehow what Julie said registered in Maria's frightened mind and it brought her back from the dark recesses of fear. The others who had gathered around began taking up Julie's story and suddenly what could have been my demise, turned out to be a sign from the spirits. They were saying that because the spirits chose to save a bird on the Braulin farm, that this season's harvest would be the best we ever had. It actually turned out to be true. From that sun cycle on, Julie and I have been inseparable. She knows about my magic, accepts it fully and we share secrets and desires that no one else, even my parents or her father are privy to.
Now my parents are wonderful, I love them dearly. They take care of me, give me everything I could ever need, make me work for what I want, taught me that it matters not what is on the outside, but what choices one makes when placed in situations of fear, social pressure and disappointment, that matter when choosing who you will be friends with. But, they have kept me from doing nearly everything a normal girl of eighteen harvests should have already done. Most girls my age have been married for some time now and have at one child. We never travel; the only place I have been to is to Lord Tearle's castle, and we only do that on rare occasions. I do not resent them for keeping me sheltered from others for I too fear greatly what would happen if my magic is discovered. But my life has been one of boredom and monotony. Every sun is the same, every season yet another in the long endless drone of my existence. My only outlet has been the Droman Forest which Julie and I adventure in regularly. When we were younger we would spend all sun cycle within its confines, pretending to live there and survive off what the forest provided to us. Now that we are older, there is not much time for such childish fun, but we still make it there when we can.
I have always been a shy and introverted person, fearing to open myself up to anyone, lest they discover what is hidden deep within. Most Verbannen are discovered at birth and locked away within the confines of the containment walls. I seem to be a bit of an anomaly, for I have been living, undetected, for eighteen harvests. But behind my shy, reserved exterior resides something only Julie, her father, and my parents know about. I feel a sense of power, strength and confidence that I want to explore and actually show to others, but my parents and my fear keep me from doing so. I desire more than anything to break free from my fear, live openly and happily amongst both gifted and non-gifted and be accepted by all. If I could have that one wish, I would be able to explore the feelings I keep buried beneath my shy and reserved façade. Well, one can wish right? If I didn't have a desire and wish then I wouldn't be human.
Oh, there is one thing that has happened, not really to me, but that I am taking upon myself to explore. There is a new man about Tearnoc. He has been riding past the farm for the past few sun cycles and since the first time I caught a glimpse of him, I knew there was something about him I had to discover. I have never been in love, or really even attracted to anyone because I have no social life, and my parents have always pushed away anyone that has tried to get to know me. They don't know I have been watching this man ride past the farm because they would be upset and scared. I haven't let him see me. Instead I hide up in a tree and observe his carefree, joyous face, the way he rides with such confidence and relaxation, the way he connects with his horse, his well formed, muscular body as it moves with the motion of the animal. When I am up there watching, I have feelings I know nothing about, wants no one has ever explained to me and such longing that has never existed before. I can not let him see me though. I know nothing about him, how would I explain to him that I posses the use of magic? He would turn me in for certain, though I have thought of ways to keep such knowledge from him. How unfair is that? To keep such monumental information from a person you care so much about. No, I would have to tell him. But I don't know why I even worry about it, its just a young girl dreaming of finally meeting someone she could love and spend her life with and in return he would accept and love her for exactly who she is. I don't think I will be so lucky to find someone like that. Its best if I just sit up in my tree, watching and dreaming, then let him go so he does not have to be involved in my deception. What does it matter, I have always had the ache in my heart for more love and companionship, I can continue on like that forever if it will keep me from being locked away.
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