(A/N: Hey everyone! This is currently my second original fic, and as some of you may see, I've had writers block on my other story Trapped in Different Times for quite a while. I'm thinking on it, don't worry . . . So, please read and enjoy, and please, be kind in reviews. Thanks!)

Chapter One

"Cecilia! Cecilia Travers!"

I put down the brush I had been using to groom one of our horses, and exited the stables. I saw my father standing at the front of our house. I hurried over to him, and he smiled, "Come now, it's time for lunch."

I nodded, and as I was about to step inside, he asked me, "Could you get your brothers, please? Your sisters are already here."

I replied, "Of course." I headed out to the cornfield, where my three brothers were currently working with David Grant and Luke Ashe, two of our hired hands.

"Matthew!" I called out to my eldest brother. He stood to his full height, and turned. "It's time for lunch!" He nodded, and they all walked towards our home.

As we entered the house, Mother reminded us to wash up and make ourselves presentable for lunch. We obeyed, washing our hands and arms. I examined myself in a mirror, happy with how I looked at the moment. I was wearing a sky-blue dress, and my white sandals. I ran a brush through my hair; it was rather difficult.

I had been riding one of our horses a lot that day, and my hair had become tangled at the nape of my neck and below that. The fact that my hair also came down a little below my shoulders made it more difficult. I looked into the large mirror, and tucked a strand of hair behind my ears. At times, I wished I looked like Mother, or my sisters, but overall, I was content with my appearance.

As I headed downstairs, I nearly collided into Gabriel, my second oldest brother. I apologized, and seated myself at our dinner table. We had a large family. There was my father, William Travers, who was forty-five years of age, and my mother, Evelyn, who was thirty-nine. Mother and Father were arranged to be married: their parents were good friends and arranged it. Luckily though, they fell in love, and the marriage wasn't a disaster.

My father, as I said, was forty-five years of age. You could tell that he had been very handsome when he was younger, and he still was. Father had short, graying black hair, and light brown eyes. He was tall as well. Father was kind overall, and he had a strong sense of humor, but he could be the complete opposite of that at times.

He was always fair; if my siblings or I had an argument with each other, Father would listen to both of the stories, then give fair punishments, if any were needed. My siblings and I all knew not to cross Father; he could be very strict at times. My siblings and I have all done that, and we have made sure we won't cross him again.

My mother, Evelyn, is six years younger than Father, as I had mentioned before. She, too, had been beautiful when she was younger, and like Father, her beauty still stayed with her. Mother had lighter brown hair that had been a chestnut brown when she was younger, and gray eyes that often reminded me of the sky on a cloudy day. Mother was just a bit shorter than Father.

Mother was extremely kind and caring most often, but, like Father, she could be firm. She and Father were very good parents to my siblings and I. They had offered love and support, they were kind and fair, and they gave fair punishments whenever they were needed. I was glad I belonged to a loving family, even though it was quite large.

I had five older siblings. Three elder brothers, and two elder sisters. My eldest brother, Matthew, was twenty years of age. Matthew had the same facial features that Father had, but chestnut brown hair that was just a little long, and emerald green eyes. I often wondered how some of my siblings acquired blue, green, or hazel eyes, when Father and Mother had brown or gray eyes.

Matthew, being the eldest, saw it as his responsibility to protect my other siblings and I. From what, I do not know. All I know is that Matthew sees it as his job to protect us. His personality is part of Father's, with his fairness and humor, and also the kindness and strictness Mother had.

Elizabeth, my eldest sister, is one year younger than Matthew, at nineteen. Mother always said that Elizabeth looked exactly like her when she was younger. I agreed with Mother. Elizabeth and Mother shared the same personality and the same facial features. Elizabeth had the same hair as Matthew, only hers fell to her shoulders, framing her face in soft curls. Her eyes were a bright hazel, and she had inherited Father's sense of humor.

Then, there were the twins, Gabriel and Veronica, who were seventeen years of age. But, they did not look alike, as most people would have expected. Gabriel had Mother's kind gray eyes, and dark, golden hair, which, according to Mother, had been just like her father's. Gabriel and Matthew were almost exactly alike in personality.

If one of them said something, the other would agree. Veronica, however, had shocking sapphire blue eyes, and long, wavy auburn hair that fell to the middle of her back. Veronica had also inherited Father's humor, and Mother's strictness. She was very caring, as well.

Nathaniel, the youngest of the boys, was sixteen. He looked very much like Father. Father said that Nathaniel looked just like him when he had been younger. Nathaniel had dark hair that was nearly black, and his eyes were the unique color of a bluish-green. Nathaniel always knew what was on a person's mind; there was no hiding anything from him. He also always thought before he acted or spoke, which was something I wish I could do. Nathaniel acted like Father, as well.

I was the youngest of all, at age thirteen. I had black hair, which was just a little wavy, and it came down a little below my shoulders. My eyes were dark brown; they were so dark, they were almost black. Mother says I have fair skin; I will take her word for it. I am the youngest in my family, and also the shortest. I am often told that I give in too easily, that I should stand up for myself. I have the reputation of being too kind, as well. But, I can be easily irritated at times. And bossy. Oh, well, everyone has their flaws.

We owned a plantation, and we had six hired hands, but they were more like family than workers. There were the Grants: David, who was twenty-one, and his sister, Katherine, who was seventeen. The two of them both had hair that was the color of wet sand at the shore, and sky blue eyes. The Grants lived not too far from our land; it was easy for them to walk or ride to work.

Then there were the Ashes: Luke, who was nineteen, and Therese, who was fourteen. They looked very much alike, both with black hair and dark brown eyes. However, Therese's skin was darker than Luke's. They also lived nearby. In fact, the Grants and the Ashes were what you could call neighbors. Then there were the Smiths, who were freed slaves. They also lived on our land. The Smiths were Tom and his wife, Beth; Tom was twenty-six, Beth was twenty-four.

Our house was rather large: two floors and a mid-sized stable for our horses; we owned four. On the top floor of our house were all the children's rooms, although, I wouldn't call my older siblings 'children' anymore, considering that they are all sixteen years of age or older. They were young adults, even though they could act like children sometimes, as did I.

We shared three rooms amongst ourselves. Gabriel and Matthew shared a room, as did Elizabeth and Veronica. Nathaniel and I shared a room with each other. There was also an extra room for guests. On the bottom floor were my parents' bedroom, Tom and Beth's room, and an extra room that was used as a study and a bedroom. The dining room, kitchen, and sitting area were also on the bottom floor.

We said our grace before meals, and Beth served us. Beth was like our cook, and Tom helped my father and brothers in the fields, as did Luke and David. Therese and Katherine helped my mother, my sisters, and I do work around our house, and Beth did that if she the time.

"How was your day?" Father asked us.

"Good," we chorused.

"Did you get the work done in the cornfield?"

Gabriel replied, "Almost. We're more than halfway done. We should be done by three o'clock."

Father nodded, "Good, good." I took a bite of my bread and thought. Here we were, in the August of 1774, and war was raging in our country. The thought of war frightened me, as did death.

"Cecilia?" Father said.

"Yes?"

He replied, "You seemed . . . distant, for a moment there."

I apologized, and continued my lunch. As of that day, our entire family was not taking sides in the war. After our meal, I headed to the back of our house and onto the open field. The cornfield was also behind our house, but it stretched to the right of our plantation. The open field stretched out to the left; a stream bordered the far reaches of both fields, marking the end of our property. A forest was to the left of the open field, and that marked the end of our property there.

I walked to the stream, and sat at its bank. I don't know why, but I always like being near a stream or another body of water (an ocean, pond, or lake). I just liked the water, I suppose. Therese came soon after, and sat down next to me. I was very close to her, as we were only one year apart in age. Even though Luke, Daniel, Katherine, Tom and Beth were nineteen years of age or older, they were like five other siblings. "What are you thinking of?" Therese asked me.

"Nothing," I replied. She looked at me skeptically.

"We've been friends practically for our entire lives. You're thinking of something, now what is it?"

I said, "War."

"War?" she asked me.

I nodded, "It frightens me. I keep wondering what would happen if Matthew, Gabriel, Nathaniel, or Father would enlist."

Therese smiled, "You do know that your family is neutral in the war, don't you?"

I nodded again, "Yes, but, I know that Matthew wishes to serve, and that Gabriel and he are very similar, so Gabriel would want to. And, I keep thinking that, if they were to enlist, what would happen if they didn't return?"

Therese admitted, "I keep thinking that with Luke. I'm worried, too."

We were just like twins; we thought and acted alike, and we even looked alike. A post-rider rode to our house, and delivered something, galloping away.

"We rarely get mail," I said. "I wonder what it is?"

Therese shrugged, "We'll find out eventually."
A few moments later, I heard someone calling our names very faintly, and I turned. I saw one of my sisters waving to us from the house, very urgently.

"I think they want us," I said. "Let's go." We stood up and hurried back to the house.

As we neared where my sister stood, we found out it was Veronica, and we noticed she was crying.

"What's wrong?" I asked. She just took my hand and led me to the house, where the family and the others were in the sitting room.

"What happened?" Therese inquired.

Mother wiped a few tears from her face and said in a shaky voice, "It's your Uncle Alex and his family. They're dead."

"What?" I asked quietly.

My Uncle Alex, Father's youngest brother, my Aunt Maria, and my two young cousins, John and Rebecca, dead? I sat silently next to Nathaniel and Therese sat near Luke. Mother, my sisters, Katherine and Beth were weeping softly, while Father, the other men, and my brothers sat, tears brimming in their eyes, but otherwise, emotionless faces.

Father explained what had happened to Therese and I. We found out that our friends had received word from a relative of theirs who lived near them. British soldiers had caught them tending to wounded soldiers, of both sides. They ordered the colonists killed, and when Uncle protested, a soldier shot them. All of them, even my young cousins, who were only ten years of age. The post-rider had delivered us this horrible news just minutes ago.

I closed my eyes and wept. Nathaniel put his arm around me.

"Who would be that heartless?" I asked quietly. "To kill the innocent? Even children?"

Matthew spoke, his green eyes full of anger and hatred, "I'm serving in the war."

"Matthew," Mother spoke softly, "Death won't solve anything. You know that."
Matthew remained silent, but I knew he was still going to enlist, whether our parents allowed it or not. I glanced over at Gabriel; his eyes showed no sort of emotion, but his face was etched with a mixture of sadness and anger, tears leaving streaks on his face. I knew that he would enlist if Matthew did. I looked up at Nathaniel, and his face held the same expression as Gabriel's.

Even though they weren't real family to them, the 'workers' had grown close to all our family, and, as I had said before, become a part of it. Father said, "The funeral is in four days. We're going to Charles Town. Get ready."

We all obeyed and went to our rooms, beginning to pack. We lived in Virginia, so by horse and carriage, the trip would take about two days.

I thought to myself, I hope this war will end soon. I don't want to have any more of my family dead. Or, any more of the innocent dead, for that matter.

At about six in the afternoon, Luke, Therese, David, and Katherine left for their homes, which were not far from our land.

"Bye," I said to Therese.

She gave a sad smile, "I'll see you tomorrow. I'm sorry about your relatives."

I nodded in thanks, but then realized: if anyone were to know death at a close hand, it would be David and Katherine; their parents had worked for us until they passed away two years ago. Luke and Therese were working to get enough money to pay the doctor who tended to their parents; they were very sick. Mr. and Mrs. Ashe were two of our family's good friends, so Father and Mother immediately let Luke and Therese work on our land.

Later that night, our family said a special prayer for my uncle and his family.

"May God rest their souls," Father finished.

"Amen," we all said.

As Nathaniel and I got into our beds, I asked him, "If Mother and Father would allow it, would you enlist in the war?"

After a long while, Nathaniel replied, "I am not so sure, Cecilia. Part of me would, to serve the cause for our freedom. Part of me wouldn't, for war leads to hatred and death."

"Oh, all right."

"Why do you ask?"

"I was just curious. Good night."

Nathaniel finally doused the oil lamp that had given a dim light, and we closed our eyes, letting sleep wash over us.

The next day, Father and my brothers packed the little luggage we had onto the carriages, getting us ready to leave for Charles Town. We bade goodbyes to the workers, who would be watching our house while we were gone. Father would lead the first carriage, and Matthew would lead the other. Occassionally, they would switch with Gabriel and Nathaniel, to get some rest.

When we finally arrived, we found many other relatives there. Father's sister, Anna, and her family, and his younger brother, Andrew. Father and his siblings talked together sadly, while I talked with my elder cousin, Michael. He was two years older than me, but we were very close to each other. The two of us were now the youngest, as John and Rebecca were gone. The minister soon arrived, the funeral proceeded. Many tears were silently shed, most of which were probably mine.

Afterwards, Father told us we would be staying with Anna and her family (with Michael) for about three days, then we would leave. We agreed, as there was someone we all could talk to. We all had someone about our age at their home. As the day progressed, we all became tired; some from the funeral, my family and I from the seemingly endless trip. I thought about the day's events, and sighed. This war could not make our lives any more miserable. But it turns out, I was wrong.

(A/N: So, did you like it? I've got many chapters written already, so I can update sooner, for a change. Please review!)