Hi. I know that the beginning doesn't really sound like fantasy, but believe me, it will by chapter five.

This is the first book in a trilogy I'm writing called Fate's Songs. And if you have any constructive criticism, by all means, please let me know.

***

It was already cool, but some people still insisted on wearing t-shirts. Aria was one such person, but she wasn't regretting her decision. No, she had grown up here, and was used to all of the bizarre weather fluctuations. Actually, what she was wondering was why she had worn her hair down, as every time she deigned to leave her hair down, the wind popped up and played with the icy blond waterfall. And to have it look like this on the first day of high school… she muttered something under her breath and fished around in her backpack for a hair tie.

She arrived at the school at the same time as she had finished twisting her hair back. Her heart sank as she looked around to see everyone already grouped. Since she didn't know anyone, and she certainly wasn't one of the beautiful people from another school, no one would invite her to join them.

Another lonely year. She sighed and slid her backpack of her shoulder and pulled it over to one of the benches in front of the building. It was a brick affair, about three stories high and very imposing. Two of the wings came forward to form a sort of courtyard in front, slightly sheltering them from the wind. She propped her chin on her hand and started contemplating the people.

There were about four distinct groups out here: niners like her who were carefully avoiding the gaze of any of the older teens, a cluster of jocks all jumping around and high-fiving each other and a few strangely dressed people who seemed to live for the thrill of acting strange.

And a bunch of the girls. The kind who seems to know who's doing what before they're even doing it. The kind that everyone admires, but from a distance. Not the preps, no, it wasn't in the way they dressed, or spoke. It was the way they moved, they way they held themselves, their very air. They were the beautiful people.

One of them broke off from the group, a dark haired senior. She walked over to the benches. Oh. Someone she knows is over here. The loose-knit group, it would appear, revolved around the twelfth (?) grader in the middle. Her gold-brown hair was short cut, and her eyes sparkled good-naturedly as she recounted some adventure or another.

"Hello. Whatcha watching? We aren't that fascinating, are we?" She nearly jumped. It was the senior, dark eyes smiling. "I'm Rasha. You?"

"A-Aria. Why?" Rasha shrugged.

"You looked lonely. Like you'd been through this before. Like me." Her eyes clouded slightly as she remembered. "Anyways, come on over and meet the rest of us." She grabbed Aria's arm and pulled her over. Her heart shot into her throat. No, its – its just a joke, they don't mean it. Still. Maybe it wasn't.

The girls parted in an orderly fashion, letting the two through and then sealing the gap behind them, as if to discourage any others from entering.

"Here's another, I should think," Rasha said to the queen-like twelfth grader, practically standing at attention. "She was sitting there, watching everyone like a hawk. Including us," she added with a chuckle.

"I think you're right." The blond turned to Aria. "I don't know anyone with your looks," she started. Aria flushed. Not many people looked like her, pale skin, icy hair, and eyes a blue-gray the colour of a frozen lake. "You moved? Or do you have an older sib who has committed some great evil, so that we speak not their name." She winked.

"No, I-I'm an only child."

"Name?"

"My name's Aria Davidson." The queen-girl extended her hand genially. "Shana. Just Shana." Aria shook her hand gingerly, not sure if it was supposed to be a joke.

"Shan, please. I know you want to spend all day discovering what your loyal subjects did over the summer, but at least let Aria and Kali out. They still need to get their timetables, and you know the last-minute crush."

"Auch, yes, it burns," Shan said, years of experience behind that simple statement. "Kali! You know the building! We're meeting in the usual place, you can chat later. Go get your timetable!" A smaller copy of Rasha extracted herself from a knot of girls with a groan.

"But Rasha-"

"Kali," Rasha started. "Do you really want to deal with mom's wrath when she finds out you were late on the first day?"

"No," she said quietly, then walked over to Aria. "Kali. If you hadn't guessed yet. Rasha's sister."

"Aria D-" Kali shook her head.

"No last names amongst our people. Now, lets go."

Even if the crush was that much worse just before the beginning of the period, it was still fairly crowded, in fact, crowded enough that she wondered how late she would have been if she had gone then. Finally escaping the people, she glanced at her timetable.

"Um, I got Williams and then Souther's. You?"

"The same," Kali said, gesturing at hers. "And Rasha says that Williams freaks about tardiness, so we'd better hurry." They sprinted down to the English wing.

"One-oh-four, one-oh-six," Kali muttered, staring the nameplates. "One-oh-eight, one-oh-ten. Here we are! One-oh- twelve." She pushed the door open. The class was still fairly empty, most likely the rest of the students were trapped in the lines.

"The middle," Kali decided. "That way he won't keep asking us questions to make sure we're paying attention, like he would if we sat at the edges, but he won't be hovering over us like he would in the front. That's what Shana says, anyways."

It would appear that Rasha's friends know quite a bit about how this school works. They are seniors, but could they have been in the same classes as us? And how would she know how the areas affect students? Aria resolved to pay more attention. Perhaps she would figure out this secret information system.

About five minutes after they had been seated, a swarm of students flooded into the classroom. Apparently they too had heard about Mr. Williams' wrath at latecomers. And just as the bell rang, a short, balding man arrived, watching the students with sharp eyes over his wire-rimmed glasses.

"Welcome, class. I am Mr. Williams, and I will be your homeroom teacher this year…"

And so it begins, Aria thought vaguely, reaching for her pen. She didn't know just how true that statement was.

***

"Kali! The caf's down that way! Why are you going to the art wing?" Aria ran to catch up with her friend, barely missing some older guys.

"Shana said they were meeting at the usual place. It's in the art wing upper washroom. Jus trust me, ok?" She nodded. They went up the stairs and into the hallway. The washroom was right at the end, as it was shared with the science wing too.

The washroom looked … like a washroom. It had a pale tiled floor, that bizzare shade of washroom stall green for the stalls, and the annoyingly low sinks. Not to mention a lack of mirrors. Somehow, Aria couldn't picture a bunch of teenaged girls meeting here.

"Confused? So was I. What we're looking for is in the last stall." Kali's dark eyes had a mischeivious light, and the grinned as Aria walked to the right window stall. In Aria's mind, it seemed that the window stall, and what would have been the most popular one, would have been a problem if there wasn't one strange tradition. There was never any toilet paper there, not in any school she had attended. This stall kept to the sacred pattern.

"No one ever uses this stall, cause there's no paper. So what better place to use as a door?" Kali pulled Aria in, then bluntly kicked the wall without the window. And it turned. She shoved her in, then pushed the wall back into place, leaving them in an open, well-lit room.

Its walls were still the same cream colour as the rest of the schools walls, but it was carpeted instead of tiled, there were chairs and benches scattered around, and some of the morning's girls were there. A few new ones too. Aria suspected they had been recruted in much the same fashion as she had.

"Rasha! There been a decision yet?" Kali called. Her sister appeared from a group of niners and shook her head. Then she pointed at Aria, then a door to Aria's right, mouthing the word 'Shana.' Shana wants to see me? Why? And what decision?

Kali's grin grew even wider. "You are so lucky. Shana might choose you."

"Choose me for what?" she asked, walking through the doorway, Kali following.

"Kali," came that royal voice. "You're confusing her. Remember, not all of us have had older sisters who know. She doesn't even have an older sister." Kali hung her head, but Aria just got more and more confused.

"Know what? Are you going to tell me?" Then she flushed at her impatience. Shana didn't seem to mind though, she just smiled.

"Yes, I am. My name is Shana of the Tanith region. They call me the gossip queen."

***

Yes, I know it's a cliffhanger. Just R&R, ok, and I'll post another chap.