Aurella :Sister of Sonia

The only thing Sonia and I had in common was the shared violence of our birth.

We were sisters yes, but most times we were like two strangers passing in the night.

She was beautiful, even as a child she stood out amongst us short dark Groundlanders.

Her father had been a traveler from far to the west: a huge bear of a man with fox bright hair and beard, covering his ruddy face. The villagers called him Red, and as his daughter Sonia inherited his name as well.

He spent many years in the Groundlands moving from one village to another trading his wares.

As the chiefs daughter it was my mothers' duty to tend to guests and so it came that Red and mother grew to love each other and were soon betrothed.

But before the wedding took place a band of marauders from the north swept in and began to ravish our country. Men took to arms to defend our villages; women and children were bid to hide.

The youngest and eldest villagers were hidden in caves high in a mountain pass. For days they sat in restless silence. The elders told tales to keep the everyone's spirits up but soon even those ran dry along with limited food and medical supplies. Discomforted children wailed and cried for their fathers, as they took ill with deep racking coughs brough on my damp and hunger.

One day my mother left the hiding cave in search of fresh medicinal herbs. The mountain pass was bare and she found herself in a valley surrounded by high peaks. The valley was on the east ng slope of the mount and so it with ample sunlight it was able to keep its summer warmth longer into the season, there she found the medicines our people so needed. Loaded down with herbs and edible vegetation she took a animal trail back up the mountain. The trail ended suddenly at a juncture of two terraces, mother found herself on open ground unable to retreat as marauder set upon her. He ravished her slit her throat and left her for dead.

Miraculously she survived and managed to drag herself back to the cave, still clutching the food and medicines her people so needed.

That was the last time Groundland was be set.

Red and many others perished in the fighting. But slowly the village was built on higher ground where it could be better defended against outsiders.

Several months later in the heart of winter I was born. Small, loud, and ugly. I had a broad dark face and long black eyes. The thick thatch of hair on my head, a blessing on Sonia , seemed a curse on me. My straight black locks reminded the villagers of the invaders, and it slipped no mind that I was the child of such a fiend.

My childhood was very difficult ,where as Sonia received blessing I was given nothing but rejection and harsh words.

Even as an infant I was treated like my fathers child. My mother, drained of all will to live, gave my care to the village midwife. There were seven other infants in her care. In the midwifes house I was only one open mouth amongst many others. Sometimes Sonia would visit me and whisper secrets and strange words and stories that her father had taught her. She would tell me of the wonderful times she shared with her parents before the hiding.

The vibrant youthful mother she spoke of was a stranger to me.

When I turned ten Red Sonia was fourteen. Her beauty surpassed every other in all of Groundland. She had many admirers in every village we traveled to with mother. After several years of depression mother had regained some semblance of will. She dedicated herself to healing and became the greatest medicine woman in Groundland .

Sonia learned the skill quickly. But I was too much my fathers' child. That nameless beast who devoured Groundlands innocence.