Chapter Three: Pre-teenage Years:
28 March 1990 - 28 March 1998

From age ten on I was trained to fight, although not perhaps in the sense that most would think. The only reason was for self-defense. Law forbade us to use our training on another person unless he or she threatened our life. I learned how to fight with my hands and I learned how to fence from my father himself. Each of my siblings learned how to use a different weapon, all trained by my father. My fencing lessons soon became the highlight of my days, time spent with my father whom I called Ayai, meaning 'Daddy'. I also learned meditation from my great- grandmother, Nanaeya - the clearing of the mind, calming of the spirit, cleansing of the soul.

Also, I was required to spend one hour a day among the Commoners and Street-dwellers, as community service. This served two purposes, the first being so that I would not become proud. As a child of the Adjuen, I had more than could possibly be desired, but the time spent with the less fortunate of Quelavericaea helped me to humble myself. The Commoners and Street-dwellers had their own problems that they had to deal with, varying from needing childcare to needing food. Sometimes, I cared for the children on Market Day when the normal caregiver was ill; other times, I served food to those on the streets. My tasks varied, but the community service taught me lessons far beyond any that could be learned in a schoolroom.

The year of my eleventh birthday, I resumed schooling fulltime. I had only three years of schooling left before I would enter into a study that would be complete upon my coming of age. I studied forms of biology and chemistry, literature and grammar, and two languages of choice, one of requirement. My languages of choice were French and Spanish; I was required to study Latin. And even after my fencing skills were rather advanced, my father and I continued to fence daily. It was our time together and he and I grew quite close. That year I also began home keeping with my mother, learning how to sew and how to cook. My brother Skaliah, ten years my senior, taught me in an advanced study of the history of Quelavericaea. He and I also grew quite close, and when I was not in lessons or spending time with Ashaequor, I was spending time with him.

As a child of the Adjuen, my life was very structured. We had a code of behaviour that we had to conform to. While it was at times difficult, my siblings and I accepted it and moved on. We were raised in a stricter environment than most children of our society would have been, even the children of the upper class, but we hardly noticed. We had many people looking out for us, and it was easy to be caught in wrongdoing. My younger siblings were especially mischievous, but it makes for wonderful memories now. I can look back on my childhood with fondness, and smile, and I cannot describe how invaluable that is to me.

Of course, throughout all of the changes during my "pre-teenage" years, I continued to venture Outside. On January 23, 1998, I found the Child of Darkness. We had gained knowledge, of course through my trips every three months, of several crimes that he had committed over the years. As I saw him, I did not hesitate. Striking out, I struck him a fatal blow to the back of his head with the butt of my fencing foil. In the Outside, it is against the law to take another person's life, just as it is in Quelavericaea. However, my people believed that there was justification in certain instances and the killing of the Child of Darkness was one such instance. Still, committing such a terrible crime taints your soul, and I am no different. For days after, I remained in meditative state, but still the 'mark' remained. I would never be completely the same, but I had learned from the experience.

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[A/N:] All right, chapter three!! We are fast approaching the time of the Floods and the present time, at which Shehariah is writing this whole tale! Chapter Four will be about her teenage years and will end with the Floods! And guess what chapter five is? .. Ha! Did you think I'd tell you? ;) Sorry! That's too far into the future, and I'm not even completely sure yet. A major shout-out goes to Saotoshi and Anni (again!!) and also to Ceetz! (She knows who she is. :P) Ceetz was my beta for a fan fiction story I tried to write at one time, and if she's read this, I -uberly- hope she's enjoyed it. Ceetz, if you ARE reading, be sure you drop me a review or an email (or I will go back on my word and I -will- kick your arse. ;). Hehe).