I grew up in the countryside just beyond Essex and the walls surrounding county line. My parents were Naturalborns and were forced, like all Naturalborns, to the outskirts after the last revolution of the Prosaics. That was more than forty years ago now and was before I was born. I am the third born and only girl among my siblings. Oddly, neither of my brothers were born with Magicks. I have heard though, that even Naturalborns aren’t guaranteed to have children with Magicks, like my brothers, I guess. I have always believed, however, that they have it and are just hiding it, like me.
My favorite place, and where I spent most of my time, was the garden. The grounds around our cottage were always lush and full of life. Grass as green as a leprechaun’s suit and flowering plants all around, just bursting with lively colors. My absolute favorite spot was under the wisteria tree. I would go there to think, to write and to practice my Magicks in secret. You see, after the overtake of the Prosaics, the Naturalborns were outcast and it became taboo to be known publicly to have Magicks; those who are known… well, they face dangerous odds against the Prosaic Militia. I didn’t want to cause my parents more trouble than they already had and so, when I came of age and my Magicks made itself known to me, I never told them. I wanted to give them hope the way my brothers did.
I kept my secret sacred and only practiced when I could be more than confident that no one was around to see me. The first thing I taught myself was to perfect a protection spell so that I would never be found during my practice. OH, I guess I should have mentioned that my parents had a stash of banned books hidden under the floorboards in our cottage. The books were full of incantations, recipes, enchantments and history. So much delicious history. That’s where I got the information about my protection enchantments. Anyways, I never told anyone, until the day we were in danger – the day that I had to protect my closest friends: Sephi, Anjali and Brayden. Yakno, the ones who call me Easy.
The four of us have been the best of friends since I can remember, inseparable really. Growing up along the same broken down, cobblestone path with only four houses to be seen made it easy. Oh, I guess I didn’t mention that we lived all secluded like in a section of the countryside surrounded by hills and seemingly invisible to the outside world. I suspect Magicks, maybe from my parents, or maybe a group enchantment to make it powerful. I’ve heard of that, you know. Haven’t tried it though. So, yeah, I guess one day whatever had protected us for so long from the outside world was on the fritz, or sabotaged, because some Prosaic Militia came to visit. It was the first time I had ever seen them and I was sixteen.
My brothers were away. They had come of age and moved into the city of Prosaics to seek work. Naturalborns were allowed in the city if they passed a test that could prove that they were free of Magicks. Shame for the Prosaics, really, to be so… naive.
A low giggle rose up from around the room.
My friends and I were at my cottage, doing stuff that sixteens do, when my parents heard the Militia coming and became frantic. They had tried to protect us from the stories of what the Militia was capable of and what they did to those they found practicing Magicks, but we knew. We all knew. My parents no longer practiced, at least that I knew of, but they had held on to a lot of contraband materials – like the books I mentioned earlier, and trinkets. So many odd, unique trinkets. My mother grabbed me in a death squeeze and told us to run and hide and to not come back until we knew that the militia was gone and far away.
I looked into my mother’s eyes and saw a flame where fright should have been. A fury and a confidence, almost, that she knew everything would turn out for the better. It was, extraordinary, and it injected a kind of determination into me. I squeezed her one more time and told her that I loved her, then turned quickly and grabbed Sephi and Anjali by their hands and rushed to the back door of the cottage where Bray was already waiting, door open, with four bags hanging from his shoulder. I looked at him with a raised eyebrow as I exited the open door and he just said, ‘your dad – he put them over my head and told me to take them’.
I looked around desperately as we ran, trying to decide where we could safely hide, when I heard the shouts of men I did not know. It was too late. We were too late. They had seen us and someone was barking orders for a sub sect of the regiment to make chase and retrieve us. We were nearly at the wisteria tree and I knew that I had to make myself known to my friends, or we would be taken by the angry looking men in black rubber and cold steel who were bearing down on us.
I called to them and told them to huddle close to the trunk of the tree and as they did, I raised my hands above me as I ran and began to chant the protection spell I had used so many times in the past. I managed to make it into the perimeter just as the veil was closing around the tree; we were invisible now. I met my wide-eyed friends by the trunk of the tree and shushed them telling them that I’d explain when we were safe.
The militia men came closer and the one who seemed to be in charge was pissed. He cursed and yelled at his team, because, how was it possible for a highly trained unit to just lose a ‘couple of kids’.
The militia men eventually left; my protection spell held strong all day and over night until they did. When we went back to the house, it was thoroughly thrashed – and my parents… gone. We didn’t know if the militia men had taken them or if they, by some means (probably Magicks), were able to escape. We all prayed to the gods for the latter.
So… that was the day I came out to my friends. They all hugged me and one by one, they each came out too. It turns out that we all have Magicks, which was pretty cool.
I raised my eyes from the floor and met Raven’s kind, but pitying eyes. Raven looked at the timepiece hanging from the belt of her dress. “Oh, my darlings, the hour is late and we must all disperse before the curfew or I fear what may become.”
She looked in my direction. “Evie-C, thank you for sharing so much already. You and I have much to discuss.” The tone in her voice and the look in her eyes made me shiver just a bit, but I nodded affirmatively, knowing that I would be back.