She woke up lying on the floor in a large, mostly bare room. There were few furnishings, and no decorations. She blinked and tried to orient herself. Tried to bring anything to mind that would tell her why she was in a room clad in nothing but her knee-length hair on a bare wooden floor. Something told her this was not normal, but it did not occur to her what this might be. She lay perfectly still, watching a tiny beam of light fall through a crack in the drapes that covered the otherwise dark walls before deciding it was time to move. She carefully calculated in her head the best way to attempt to use her muscles - she had a nagging sense of deja-vu that she had trouble moving before, but no memory of it - and put her arms underneath herself and pushing her torso into a sitting position. She felt a surge of pride in herself as she balanced upright, and made several mental adjustments to her equilibrium and fine-tuned some muscle control to keep her there, then left it to her subconscious brain to manage that, and turned to planning how to stand. When she had decided she knew how, Keladi put weight back on her arms, pulled her legs underneath herself and put her feet flat on the ground, and flexed her muscles from her arms, back, core and legs to push herself upright. She swayed uneasily before her brain learned to manipulate her body automatically, and she smiled as she stood straight and solidly.

Keladi glanced about herself and noticed a swath of gray, smooth cloth that had been over her body as she lay and picked it up. A nugget of information in her mind told her it was a garment to be worn on the body for both warmth and social propriety. According to the mental image that accompanied the knowledge, she slid it over her head and arms and the dress settled down around her, hugging her form perfectly in a highly comfortable way.

She turned her attention to moving and slowly began to take tiny steps, experimenting with shifting her balance and weight from foot to foot in the most efficient way possible. It took her a full turn of the room, and the speck of light had moved from the top of the room, to having nearly completely stopping granting any illumination to her lonely habitat before she stopped, tired and satisfied with her progress.

Keladi stretched her form out on the only rug in the room; a thick, plush thing that she sank into and still was cradled in, and fell asleep, which alarmed her at first so she jerked awake. She calmed herself with the realization that no one had forcibly made her begin to go unconscious, and relaxing more fully than before, she yawned and closed her eyes and slept soundly.

She awoke to a footstep outside the room and was instantly cognizant of everything that had happened the day before, and also a vast amount of knowledge and memories she was not aware she possessed that began informing her about who it was most likely it was outside her room, and her position with them. She realized that she hated not knowing. Not knowing anything! Abstractedly, she wondered if there was a library in the building, then wondered how she knew the word 'library'. Thinking about it further, she wondered how she knew about books, tomes, scrolls, and treatises.

All of this flew out of her head the moment that a door appeared behind the line of drapes, bulging out a section of previous flat cloth, and a figure stepped into the room. Keladi's heart flew into her throat and she stared at her father in horror. She had every intention of defying him, of standing up to him, and she knew not fully why, but one look into his eyes and she was trapped. She could not stand up to him. Somehow, caught in his gaze, he inflicted horror on her and terror and dread that was incapacitating. She crumpled to the floor, subservient and willing to please, just as she knew he wanted her to be, and was even more frightened to realize a part of her wanted desperately to please him. She gave herself up for lost - forever, she supposed - and barely had the will power to make small, secretive plans of tiny rebellions that would not have mattered to Alexir if he had known about them.

Alexir left her alone in the room, and she slept again, terribly. Nightmares and visions of dying, and slaying a tall, thin boy assailed her. The same dream from two different points of view. She knew that she was Alexir in the frame of mind that was vengeful, and murdering the boy, but she did not know who the boy was. Caught in the grip of her anguish as she was both in the dream, and watching it, she had not the mental acuity to divine who it was. When she awoke, crying and grasping at the rug in her sleep, she realized that someone who looked so much like Alexir, but younger, could only be one kind of person, and that was a relation, and more likely a brother. She lay flat on her back and stared at the ceiling fitfully. She seemed to recall a pair of gray/blue eyes that held hers with such intensity that she was caught in them, not painfully, but irrevocably for long moments. She recalled pain crinkling the corners of the eyes she gazed into, and then the eyes disappeared from her sight, and the memory faded, leaving her more confused than she was before.

As Keladi lay, torn, in emotional pain and mental confusion, Alexir finally returned. She knew not how long a time elapsed between her sleeping and his re-entrance to her erstwhile abode, but she was faint with hunger, and her dress she imagined already hung more loosely on her thin frame.

He said nothing, but beckoned to her, and turned to walk away. She shook with fright but followed with trepidation. They walked together into a hallway that was flooded with light to Keladi's eyes, adjusted as they were to the dark. She blinked rapidly and soon her pupils contracted and she was able to see comfortably.


Keladi followed Alexir down a dimly lit hallway. She was terrified of him without knowing why, and it showed. She felt pale and dizzy, and to her numb fingers, her face was cold. She mentally kept track of all the turns and stairwells they traversed, and took solace in the fact that she would be able to find her way back to where she was originally.

Alexir walked confidently in front of her, sure enough in her subservience that he did not feel the need to look to see that she followed obediently, to a possible doom.

Keladi tried to think of a reason why she was so afraid of him. She had been since she awoke, without a past or history, only possessing practical knowledge of how to live, but nothing about herself. It had taken some work to walk, and move, but that only took practice, and once she had mastered her own limbs and learned to know at all times precisely where they were, and the range of what she could do with them, she no longer had to give it a second thought.

No, there was not a reason why she feared her father at such a deep level. All she knew was every time she looked at him, it was if thousands of terrifying memories deluged her. A primal fear rose in her, choking her with her madly beating heart as it leapt into her throat, and clenching her jaw so she could not swallow or breathe. Keladi tried to calm herself by listing mentally all the reasons why fearing Alexir was illogical.

'He has never harmed me.' she told herself.

'But he drives fear into you with his eyes every time he captures them.' a little interfering voice said.

'He gives me food and clothing.' she told the voice.

'Those are inalienable rights, and he watches you in a way that is not right.' her rational voice said.

Keladi gave up trying to reason with her logical side. Listing things in that way caused her greater anxiety than merely following his quickly striding form to an unknown location.

She kept a running map in her head as to where they had been in the huge house. It was a very circuitous route, and the house must be absolutely enormous, she thought to herself, noticing that they had moved at least a kilometer in one direction. This seemed odd to her, as did the fact that there were no windows that she had seen at all, aside from the speck of sunshine falling through some drapes in the room she had awoken in.

Keladi continued to walk and theorize, and was vaguely disturbed by the house. Not only was it apparently huge, but the floorboards vibrated nearly constantly during their walk, and there was background sounds, like machinery turning with not quite enough lubrication on it. Alexir did not behave as though anything were out of the ordinary, but shivers went down Keladi's spine.

She glanced behind herself nervously at one point, and was astonished to see the straight hall behind her suddenly have a juncture of ways slide into being there. She stifled a gasp of shock, and began to pay close attention to the happenings. Halls moved constantly as she and Alexir walked out of them at a fairly quick speed. Stairwells moved aside after she stepped off. Once, she could have sworn that the entire floor they were one switched places with one below it, as they passed things on one floor that they had walked past two levels lower.

Keladi's face was taut and stressed as she realized that keeping a map in her head was worse than useless, in a house that the wings and halls could be moved at whim.

Alexir looked back at her and smirked at the expression on her face.

"Marvelous house, is it not?" he said, not requiring a response, and clearly pleased at divining the reason for her fearful countenance. She hated how he could guess her thoughts, and read her every flitting emotion on her face with ease. She resolved to stay serene at all costs, and forcibly relaxed her face into a mask and continued to follow him.

She mentally untangled every muscle in her body and soothed them into a fluid, graceful working process. Her trauma she focused into one area of thought that she could work over mentally at her leisure. Even this was frustrating, she thought to herself, because the amount of troubles bothering her caused her back and neck to begin to work into knots again, and she untangled them as she walked, irked at her body's betrayal of her serene intentions.

Alexir turned slightly and looked at her; he gazed at her pale face for a moment, then a smirk spread across his face, giving her shivers. She lost control of her visible emotions momentarily, and Alexir looked even more diabolical. She assigned the description to him with a vengeance.

"You are afraid of something." he stated, sounding rather pleased. Keladi shivered and did not respond. He did not seem to expect one, but turned down a smaller passageway and was walking through a plain wooden door as Keladi followed him around the corner and into the room.

It was a set of living chambers; a sitting room, a toilet room with running water in it - for some reason this surprised Keladi, although she did not know why - and a room with running water into a huge bathtub. It was already filled with heated water; steaming, it looked very inviting. He saw her looking at it.

"That is what I call a 'heated tub' and is very relaxing." he told her.

"I invented it. It uses electricity to keep the water heated at all times. It is not for cleaning one's body, but to lie in the hot water to soothe one's muscles." he told her, smiling as he watched her reaction. She noticed his constant attention to her physical reactions, and tried to supress a shudder at realizing that. She must have been partially successful, at least, because he appeared to lose interest in staring at her after a few moments, and turned away waving casually at another door.

"Through there is your bedchamber." he said offhandedly. "You ought to go in and see what it is like."

Obediently, she walked to the door and opened it, and kept her face blank and smooth as she surveyed the simple, yet lovely room. It was wooden walls, hardwood floors with thick, soft looking, white rugs scattered about here and there. A fireplace with a pile of logs next to it was burning merrily, and there was a fire burning merrily on the hearth. There were white drapes on the walls, and the bed was just wide enough that she would not be able to touch both sides at once laying on it. Gray and white drapes hung around three sides of the bed, and there was a lamp on a small stand next to the bed with a notebook and several pencils. The room appealed to her as much as if she had designed it for herself. Now that she thought of that, the sitting room also was a place she could easily have designed for herself also. She thought that was curious, but kept anything from showing in her body, or on her looked through the open door into the sitting room and realized that room was also perfectly suited to relax her and be comfortable. It was as if someone had arranged this room in the exact way that she would like it to be, and knowing that was an eerie feeling.

"I will not bother you in here." Alexir said suddenly, and Keladi jumped.

"This is your place, and as I expect to not be bothered on my floor, I will not bother you in here. If I wish to have your company, I will summon you." This piqued her curiosity enough to make her speak.

"Summon me how?" she inquired, her brow raising slightly. She forced her face back to serenity, annoyed at herself for showing emotion again. Alexir merely smiled in a superior fashion and walked out.

"I'll expect you for dinner." he said. "You have several hours." and shut the door on his way out to the hall.

Keladi rushed quietly after him and checked for the lock. There was not one on the main door to the hall, but the bedroom did have one, which was a huge reassurance to her, although she still did not know why.

Keladi stripped her dress off and let it pile on the floor and crawled between her slightly cool sheets and waited for them to warm up. It only took a few minutes, but she soon slept limply sprawled beneath her blankets, small enough to barely make a shape visible under the covers, but her brilliant hair spilling off the pillow and across the bed made her presence there in the wooden, white and gray toned room stand out. In sleep she was granted the serenity she had begun to strive for in her waking hours, for she did not dream, and lay in complete serene repose, barely moving at all, and her smooth, untroubled face had a touch of a smile as she slept.