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Joser hovers at the edge of the courtyard spying on the girls known as the five. Girls whose skin is the perfect hue of ivory, a shimmering sheen of living bone glistening under stars that burn brighter in this darkened world. Girls whose ebony hair is streaked with all the colors of raven wings, beetle greens, peacock purples, and midnight blues. It is hard to tell them apart, especially since all the children in vereloche training dress in the same battle pants and dragon fly cloth shirts.

The girls stand together with dras curling through their legs, crafting tiny draslings from its aether even though they weren’t supposed to. This is a ‘frivolous use of their vere, vere that should always be at ready for battle,” Mistress Capret constantly reminds them. Even though the Empire is under constant attack from those that would put the world back the way that it was, kids will be kids.

Joser watches as the five pull tiny winged phenions, wicked butterflies and vicious nyths forth to battle against each other. Suddenly, a shining serl screeches forth from the aether and burns the other girls draslings to ash and shadow.

“What are you doing Martia, you freak! That is totally cheating!” screeches Thalia.

“Winning is winning,” Martia retorts.

“We only play with those most devoted to the Dras Rienne and if you are willing to use filthy ras vere, then you aren’t truly loyal.”

“It’s just a…”

“Cease talking, you are dead to us,” says Thalia stomping away, the other girls trailing after her like wisps of smoke.

“…a game,” finishes Martia.

Joser’s arms twitch with the desire to comfort his sister. But Martia has worked so hard to fit in where she doesn’t belong that she has forgotten the power of her own vere. Joser hopes this will serve as a reminder that their ras vere has always been more powerful that dras, even in this changed world. That there is hope still.


Inspired by Trifecta’s word of the week:

FREAK (noun)