Chapter 1: Life at Platteland

Keena Ganford was sitting by herself reading at her favorite spot on the Great Hill. She was lying flat on her stomach reading her new book that her Uncle Conary gave to her as a present. Keena smiled to herself. Conary was so kind, and he always bought Keena books that he thought might interest her.

This book certainly was interesting. "I bet he had to go all over the Platteland to find it. He always remembers me." Keena thought to herself as she twirled a strand of her sandy blond hair.

Keena was a young teenager who lived in the beautiful farmlands of the Platteland. She had curly sandy blonde hair that fell to her shoulders and she had pale green eyes. Keena was never called beautiful, but to her looks did not matter all that much. Not one little bit.

Keena slowly shut the book that she was reading, and she looked around the rolling hills and the farmland before here. Her Uncle Conary, like most people, was a farmer. Everyone that lived at the Platteland was a farmer. There was no doubt about it. Keena would probably grow up to tend the earth around her.

Suddenly a voice was heard over the hills, "KEENA! Are you up there again?"

Keena stood up, and looked across the horizon. Her best friend in the entire world, Winola was running toward her. Winola Framton and Keena had been friends ever since Keena's parents were murdered in a goblin raid. That was so long ago. Keena was only seven years old when it happened. Her Uncle Conary was her only living relative, but he immediately took her in. Keena had so much to be grateful for.

Winola was slowly walking toward Keena. In Keena's opinion, Winola was much better looking then she was. Winola had long raven black hair that went down her back, and she had sparkling blue eyes that were always full of life. Even though Winola's family was simple farmers, Winola was a beautiful as one of the members of the Royal Family of Raga Terra.

Keena smirked as Winola approached her, "Yes, I am up on my hill again. Is there something that I can help you with?"

Winola laughed, "Of course you can! You were going to go to the Blueberry Inn with me this morning! Don't tell me that you forgot?"

"Hey, I was too absorbed in this book. Do what to hear about it?" Keena asked.

Winola shook her head politely, "No thanks. I would prefer not too. You know how I feel about reading books all day long. It can get rather dull. Don't you think?"

Keena shrugged, and put her book down, "What were we planning to do at the Blueberry Inn?"

Winola giggled, "Well, the usual. Eat their delicious green leaf salads, drink their warm apple cider, and keep a special eye out for Mohan."

Keena snorted at the mention of Mohan. Winola always talked about him, and would constantly say how handsome he was, and how nice he was. Keena thought that talking about Mohan was just as boring to her as reading books was just was boring to Winola.

Keena put on a fake smile, "Well, I guess we can head out to the Blueberry Inn now. But are we going to do anything else."

Winola pouted, "You do want to see Mohan, don't you? He is very good looking."

"I guess so." Keena lied.

"Then come on! Put down that ridiculous book, and let's go!" Winola laughed.

The two young girls walked slowly down the Great Hill together. Keena smiled to herself. It was such a beautiful spring afternoon. The sky was very clear, and there were only a few puffy white clouds in the sky. The warm breeze felt refreshing, and it was impossibly not to be in a good mood this day. Winola was humming as she walked slowly down the cobblestone road. "So how's your Uncle Conary been?"

"You know Uncle Conary, he probably hired Necia to do the farming again." Keena sighed, "He would much rather be reading about ancient legends then doing his farming work."

Winola laughed, "Well, I don't know how much he could count on Necia to do the farming. I mean she would be more likely to be eating his crop then planting it."

The two young girls smiled as they thought of their other friend Necia Devons. Conary hired her to work for him on the farmland occasionally. Necia however was not the most efficient worker. She was a bit clumsy and very accident-prone. Keena would sometimes wonder why Conary hired Necia of all people.

Winola smirked at Keena, as the two continued to walk through the streets, "Is something on your mind?"

"Huh?" Keena gasped surprised, "Something on my mind? What could possibly be on my mind?"

Winola stopped walking, and turned to face Keena. The two were standing at the bottom of the Great Hill. Keena couldn't help but smile to herself. The Platteland was one of the most beautiful places of all on the continent of Raga Terra. The rolling green farmlands were so iliac, and the town was so simple, and peaceful. Keena realized how lucky she was not to be disturbed by the troubles within Raga Terra.

"Hello? Keena? See! There you go again! Drifting off into 'Fairy Land'" Winola sighed despairingly, "Is there a problem with you that I don't know about."

Keena shook her head, "NO! Don't be silly. Is there a problem that I don't know about with you? You have been acting a bit strange lately."

Winola smiled, "How about this? There is not a problem with either of us."

"Fine by me." Keena chuckled.

Suddenly there came a scratchy, miserable voice from behind the two. "Well, well of it isn't Maiden Ganford, and Maiden Framton. You two better not be up to mischief."

Winola frowned and said a cheerfully as she could, "Good afternoon, Madame Taima."

Madame Taima was a cranky old woman who happened to live right next door to Keena and her Uncle Conary. She was a gossip, and very arrogant in general. Conary said to Keena several times that Madame Taima was person too, and that she deserved respect. But Keena could not see why she should give respect to someone who never gave respect to her.

"Good afternoon yourself!" Madame Taima snapped, "Let me guess. You are off to find that young Mister Mohan again! Well, let me tell you! Girls these days aren't as behaved as they used to be. Not a virgin anymore are you, Winola?"

Winola blushed scarlet, and Keena rolled her eyes, "Please Madame Taima! We weren't causing any trouble. We were just going for a walk."

"Argh! 'Just going for a walk!'" Madame Taima growled, "I bet you are up to no good! Why just yesterday morning I found that rascal Necia Devons lurking around in my crop! Oh! I will get that brat for this! Yes I will. Now if I see any of you causing mischief I am going to immediately report it."

Winola was still flushed about Madame Taima's previous comment, and she looked ready to shout back at her. But Keena kept her temper and muttered, "We will be sure to tell Necia not to do it again. Good afternoon, Madame Taima."

"Good afternoon to yourself." Madame Taima grumbled angrily as Keena and Winola continued on their way.

"Goodness! I cannot stand the existence of that woman!" Keena growled, "How could anyone be so nasty all of the time!"

"True." Winola agreed, "But we must try to be polite. It does pay off."

Keena rolled her eyes, "I don't see why we need to waste our time to be polite to her. I tried to explain this to Uncle Conary tons of times, but he never listens."

"Probably too busy going over his ancient manuscripts." Winola snickered.

Keena folded her arms indignantly, "Hey! I find those manuscripts to be quite interesting."

"You do?" Winola said in disbelief, "I find them extremely difficult to understand. There are always these long and complicated words. Sorry, I guess reading is just not something I like to do in my spare time."

Keena didn't reply, and the two girls just kept walking in silence. Keena was very good friends with Winola and everything, but she just didn't understand why she hated reading so much. Then again Keena also didn't understand why Winola liked Mohan so much. "Maybe there are a lot of things that I don't understand about Winola, even though she is my best friend." Keena thought to herself.

Winola suddenly smiled, and pointed, "Here we are! The Blueberry Inn. Shall go, and look for a certain brunette?"

Keena sighed, "Okay. Lets go then."

The two friends walked up to a huge wooden building that had a huge sign in blue italics that said: the Blueberry Inn. This was the main gathering place for farmers whenever they wanted something good to eat, and it was also an excellent meeting place for friends. Keena grinned. She really loved the Blueberry Inn's hot apple cider.

Winola threw back her long raven hair, "Lets go! I want to see Mohan. I haven't seen him since yesterday!"

"Since yesterday!" Keena said in a fake shocked voice, "Oh my goodness! It has been a very long time now hasn't it?"

"You be quiet!" Winola said, chuckling, "Come on! Let go in now."

The two slowly entered the Blueberry Inn. It was very bright inside, and all the windows were open, so all the sunshine from the outside poured in. The mahogany wood walls were quite shiny, and the red carpet looked like it had just been cleaned. Winola smiled, and said good afternoon to the innkeeper, and the she and Keena headed over to the room that said Tavern.

The Tavern was very comfortable and one of the most popular places in the whole Platteland. Friends from all over would gather there, and talk about what was going on in their lives. Keena, Winola, and Necia would come here often, and drink apple cider until their hearts were content.

Winola suddenly let out a squeal of delight, and Keena had to try her hardest to suppress a groan. A young man, around eighteen was walking toward them. He had brown hair and soft green-blue eyes. He was also rather tall, around six feet. He smiled at the two girls, and they saw his very white and even teeth.

"Hello Mohan!" Winola said happily, "How have you been?"

Mohan continued to smile, "I have been absolutely wonderful, and yourself?"

"Never been better." Winola said in a sugary sweet voice that made Keena want to gag, "I am very happy to see you again."

Winola giggled, and batted her long eyelashes. Keena forced a smile and said, "Excuse Mohan, can you please bring out two apple ciders?"

Mohan grinned, "Yes Madame! Not a problem!"

Mohan walked behind the stone counter, and pulled out a huge jug filled to the rim with warm apple cider. He slowly poured some into two small pint glasses. Winola smiled, "Thank you, very much."

"It is my duty to serve young ladies, such as yourselves." Mohan replied politely.

"Really." Keena muttered, "Well I am very grateful for that."

Mohan didn't pick up the sarcasm in Keena's voice, and he continued talking to Winola as though Keena was not there. Keena sipped her apple cider slowly, and every now and then threw a disgruntled look at Winola who was ignoring her completely.

After Keena was finished her apple cider, she said good-bye to Winola and Mohan who were going to stay at the inn a little bit longer. Keena walked down the streets of Platteland in silence. It was now sunset, and the sky was a bright orange mixed with a pale pink. The breeze gently blew Keena's blonde curls. "It is so peaceful out here." Keena thought to herself, "It is almost like a piece of heaven."

Keena looked up and down the cobblestone streets, and she saw nobody, since most people were inside for their supper. Keena pulled her book out of her pocket and stared at the cover. The cover of the book was so pretty. It had a picture of golden lightening bolts on the front of it. Keena shuddered. She never really liked thunder, or lightening, but the book was good.

Keena kept walking down the street. She was very anxious to get home, because she really didn't like walking in the streets at night. It was a bit of a stupid habit that Keena was afraid to be out at night by herself. She just hated the darkness that night brought. She didn't know why, but she just did not like it one little bit.

Then Keena thought she heard footsteps behind her. Keena spun around, and expected to see Winola or Necia. But there was nobody standing where Keena had heard the footsteps. The street behind her was as empty as before.

Keena bit her lip nervously, "Huh? That's funny. There is no one there."

Keena shook her head. Maybe she was just imagining the footsteps. Yes! That was it. There was absolutely nobody following her. Keena was not going to let her imagination run away with her.

Keena continued walking down the street slowly. She must have been hearing things. Keena began to whistle to herself to block out the thoughts that were coming into her mind. Keena had hoped that there weren't any goblins in the Platteland. Ever since the goblin raid ten years ago, the farmers kept a good eye out for them. But Keena sometimes thought it wasn't enough. Goblins were very bloodthirsty creatures, and would do anything to kill. Keena knew this well enough ever since her parents were killed.

Keena felt a cold breeze flutter through her hair. She shuddered, and wondered why it was suddenly so cold. Then Keena heard a voice. It was a voice that made her blood run cold. "Don't be frightened, my dear maiden. Power will come to those who deserve it."

Keena spun around, but she saw nobody. The street was as empty as it was before. Keena backed up slowly, and began to run. She just wanted to get home, and be safe with her uncle. Keena felt her feet pound on the cobblestone as she rushed by all the houses. Keena was running so fast that she didn't realize where she was going until she crashed right into someone ahead of her.

"Gosh, Keens! You scared the crap out of me!"

Keena felt herself gasping for breath as she stared at her friend Necia Devons. Necia stared at Keena with her big hazel eyes, "Next time you better watch where you are going!"

"I am so sorry, Necia." Keena apologized, "But didn't you hear it?"

Necia twirled a strand of her bright red hair, "Hear what? I didn't hear anything, except for you running for your life. Is something wrong?"

"The voice!" Keena said waving her arms stupidly, "The voice! Someone was saying something about deserving power!"

Necia laughed, "Keens, you have been reading way too many of those damn books! Come on now. Who would have said something like that? There is nobody out here anyway."

Keena was about to speak, but then she stopped herself. What if she was just being ridiculous? Necia was right. There was no one to be seen in the road, and what kind of person would go around babbling about power anyway.

Necia looked around, "Where is Winola? She said that she wanted me to talk to her about her boyfriend."

"You mean, Mohan?" Keena said with disgust, "That is all that girl ever wants to talk about. She needs to get over it."

Necia laughed, "Well, she is a bit of a stalker, and does need to stop following him all of the time."

Keena smiled, "At least someone agrees with me. How was work?"

"Decent." Necia said while shrugging, "I mean working for your uncle is a hell of a lot better then working for Madame Taima. She is a bitch."

"NECIA!" Keena said while giggling, "It is true though. She isn't very nice."

"That is an understatement. She is rude, nasty, ugly, and filthy. The less time you spend around her the happier you will be." Necia said as she smirked thinking of Madame Taima.

Keena threw back her blonde hair, and sighed, "It is getting late. I better head home."

"I guess you are right." Necia chuckled, "I don't want to be late for dinner. I need my yummy food."

"Is food all you care about?" Keena asked.

"Pretty much," Necia laughed, "I will see you tomorrow."

Keena and Necia went their separate ways. Keena walked as fast as she could. Even though she knew no one was outside, Keena just wanted to be safe indoors. As Keena approached her uncle's tiny farm, she looked back down the road and smiled, "Another day ends."

Hope you all enjoyed it! More to come!!!!