••• FOUR •••

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Chapter Four

The last and third day approaches as we spend the morning packing up camp. The weather last night was a storm, the winds blowing harshly as the rain hit the material of the tent like bullets. Soka said it was her gods, her gods telling her to get me out of her village's life, to leave her people alone.

As I throw the last sleeping pad made of feathers and a thin cotton sheet onto the wagon, the small boy who has become my friend tugs on my sleeve. "Alwin, what can I help you with?" I ask, sitting down on the wagon's edge as he follows.

"Udela says you are to be gone tomorrow night, to stay in the city."

Udela is his older sister, one of the two twins. She's the older of the two, Coventina being the younger of the two. I was told Coventina was named after their religion's goddess of the water, the one Soka says is warning her to get me out of here.

"I have to, I have to find someone," I explain, feeling his small hand take mine as everything else is loaded up. "But maybe we will see each other again?"

Alwin looks up to me with watery eyes, giving me a soft nod.

For seven hours we ride, the weather growing colder by the hour. Soon enough I'm being given a thick blanket to share, one that Alwin and I huddle under, my hands shaking. "Is the road to the Capitol usually this cold?" I ask Udela, watching as she puts on a fur coat.

"It is winter up in the Capitol, they are located higher above the sea, in four full moons it should begin to heat up," she explains, turning right back to her sister as I'm left to the company of a small boy once again.

Soon enough small villages once spotted every two hours ago become more consistent. Now, as we ride past, the villages grow in size and shorten in distance between each one. Eventually I'm spotting bigger houses, less farming, and even children running through the streets as they play. Nothing looks the same as back home, the once modern houses I was so familiar to seeing, now everything is made of white brick, shingles upon the roofs, and unique shapes making me only more interested in what the Capitol will appear to be.

I have many ideas. I can image tall walls just like the city of Troy, beautiful marble building like Athens, and upon a hill just like Sparta.

"Wolf, we are to be there before sunset, do you have everything you need?" Soka asks, walking over to the wagon as I remember myself who I am to be from here on out. To ever have hope of finding my father or going back home, I will have to take on this new identity. "Candice?"

"I have everything I need," I reply, watching as she nods and heads to another wagon, leaving me all alone in a strange world.

Before sunset I can already see the hill of the Capitol, the massive marble walls surrounding the city as a small town circles the gates. Soka told me within the walls are the wealthy homes, those of merchants, Royals, military officials, and much more who can pay for the higher living conditions. The castle can be seen as well, overlooking the town's below as it stands high, tons of towards with different heights coming from the center as the windows are beautiful, the deign just breathtaking.

"History says that the elves of the Third Age built the castle for the rightful rulers," Alwin explains as the cold air nips at my skin once again. Looking at the castle more, I can see the snow upon the roof, covering even the walls with ice sickles hanging low. The fields around the walls are surrounded in a thin layer of snow. "Winter has just begun, meaning the fields are to be dead longer than a month."

I nod, looking upon the child. "What do they grow out here?"

"Some do food, others grow items like cotton and even silk."

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