The smell of burning wood caused her nose to wrinkle. Safira slowly stretched her limbs kicking her blanket in the process. She wasn’t able to sleep well, the thought that this day was their sixteenth birthday made her anxious of her surroundings. Getting up slowly, she strode towards her room’s window and opened it slowly. The cool blue ray of the eastern sun welcomed her. A vast green and white with no neighborhood, to her east was the frozen garden her mother stubbornly made and to her left was a water less well, frozen since the day one of winter. Of course.
“Do you plan to spend your birthday zoning out, Safira?” her brother Rohan peaked his head from her slightly open door. Closing the small wooden window, she faced her younger twin brother. Though they were not identical twins. While she had a white hair paired with lilac eyes, her brother had white hair paired with an eyes as blue green as the southern mountains. Her skin was unscathed from head to toe while his face had small prickles around his nose making him looked so adorable. And with the same height, one could barely guess who’s the elder between them, not that she would mind though.
“I just wish we stopped aging when we turned fifteen you know,” she said under her breath. Rohan’s eyes softened with her confession and grabbed her immediately to engulf her in a warm embrace.
“Too bad we are not the silver bloods, we are the red bloods. We stopped aging at eighteen,” he lightly said and she stiffly nodded her head to end the conversation. She walked past her brother as she find her mother and father leaving a worried Rohan. Zestaria’s monarchy pyramid was her least of concern today. She had more pressing matters to think.
Being one of the lowest red blood races was a struggle to survive but being the lowest of the lowest was way harder. They were the bottom of the food chain and they were branded as the outcasts of the system. Many said that they did not belong inside the wall, a part of that remained to be seen. While silver bloods ruled the nations across the land of Zestaria, red blood races fought for power. Red blood nobles such as the cocky vampires and the head strong lupines fought for the silver bloods attention. She couldn’t blame them. After all, silver bloods were as divine as the dragons these silver bloods rode. Next to the monarchy pyramid were the egocentric wizards who gathered magus, energy to create magic, from the four elements and the harsh centaur knights. Then came the proud dwarflings who gloated their wealth by collecting teran from the slaves and lower red bloods. This was why she hated nobles. They just prey from those beneath them. The three lowest red blood races were the snotty goblins who worked almost nonstop in farms and stores. The hotheaded minotaurs who were sold as gladiators in the arena to kill as nobles laughed like there was no tomorrow. And the bottom of the monarchy pyramid was the calm hell hound race where she belonged. They did not belong to the lupine race because lupines changed to a full bodied gigantic wolf for only once a month during full moon while hell hounds could change any time of the day and they did not change into all four. Hell hounds changed to a hideous monster in a silver hair with a body of a man but a canine sharp as razor, eyes red as blood and claws sharp as blade.
Every sixteen years, a coming of age for all sixteen years old attended the annual coming of age ceremony held in the city of Elixion where the palace of Eliria’s silver bloods stood still. All were excited except those who were born in the bottom three races because this ceremony only meant they had to leave home and be a slave or be an Afir. To be chosen as the Afir meant honor for the family but death to the chosen one for there’s no life beyond those wall, so they said.
And I prayed to the gods, neither of us would be chosen. She whispered in her mind. “Safira, my child, it’s time to eat.” the sweet voice of her mother invaded her thoughts. “Come sit and I’ll call your father and brother.”
When her father and Rohan arrived they silently shared the one small beaver and wheat to spare. Her glass was half filled of water which was divided by her mother fairly for the four of them. Her father as usual sat in his spot and eat quietly as he was tired spending hours in a cold dawn to hunt.
“Safira, Rohan. After eating I will dye your hair,” her mother softly spoke. She nodded. Her mother being used to her silent demeanor proceeded to Rohan to await his answer.
“Of course mother,” Rohan barely said as he was busy stuffing food into his mouth. When the small food vanished from his plate he longingly looked at his sister’s plate. Sighing, Safira carefully pushed her plate to her younger twin brother.
“Rohan! That’s your sister’s share,” their mother said in alarmed tone. Rohan shrugged, “But she gave it to me willingly mother.” he reasoned out.
“Let him be mother, I am in no condition to eat,” she said and she chugged her water filling the empty space in her stomach.
As her mother was finished, “Rohan you cleaned the table and the dishes. Let’s get your hair dyed first Safira.”
Safira followed her silently into their back door where her mother had prepared everything already. A wooden basin with water inside, an old cloth hanged in the side and a Durin’s flower which extracts turned anything to yellow.
“Now sit before me,” her mother commanded her which she followed silently.
To dye their hair into yellow to cover their milked white hair that signified they were from the hell hound race was her mother’s idea. Her parent’s believed that they would not have a fair trial if anyone found out about their race.
“Safira, you will guard each other right?” her mother’s voice broke. Tears welled in Safira’s eyes, she blinked twice urging herself not to shed a single tear. She nodded her head in response.
“Good. I will wait every day of my life for yours and your brother’s return.”
“I promise upon the name of the gods, mother. I promise.” Safira replied to her mother. She just hoped she could keep her promise.