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Chapter 1

It was a grey, rainy day. The cold spring day was to end and the twilight darkness drew the air to a dark grey deck of clouds. The animals in the vast Askaro Forest did not show for a couple of days now. There was also a very strange atmosphere in the air since that time, as if some dark consciousness in the area had nested. As if each moment hell could break loose, so gruesome was the pervasive atmosphere. All in all it was a strange sensation.

Today she buried her father and mother who were killed in the devastating fire, which their house was placed in the shaft. Personally, she was not home when it happened, because she had been to the market that day, for shopping. The scene that she had to return to its glory was horrible. The flames beat from the house everywhere, through all the windows fiery tongues were licking at the woodwork, and a blackout smoke rose from the roof. In blind panic, she tried to run into the house, but Torval, the son of the prime village elder, had used all his strength to stop her. Despite her strange appearance, he had always been fascinated by it, and since their early childhood, they have always been very good friends.

As the years went by, his feelings for her kept growing deeper and he even declared his love to her. Luandra had dismissed this expression of his love as childish innocence, although his skills as a future member of the village council, like Luandra’s father, showed at early age, she found him inexperienced in love and unrealistic. It seemed almost certain that he had to take his place in the village council in time. But the man of her dreams would have to be more than just a promise. This hurt Torval deeply in his masculinity and the great friendship cooled down. And yet, the one who had prevented her from going into that torrid fire, was him. Somewhat recovered from the worst terror she was relatively calm when she listened to the story of the neighbours, anxiously watched by the man who once declared her his love.

Her parents were dozed off, so did the neighbours say. This happened often, because they were quite old. They told her only two years ago that she was adopted. Previously they did not want to tell, because they thought she would be too young to understand. But she had already drawn her conclusions a while ago, when she noticed how much older her father and mother were. Her real parents she had never known, but also her appearance revealed that she could not have been their daughter. She was noticed by her light complexion. She had a pale, almost transparent appearance in comparison with the other children, who were almost pink coloured. Her charcoal black hair was almost like silky fine spinning and none of the other children had hair that was comparable with hers. And then there was her body construction.

While the other children were plump and quite squatty, she showed a long and slim appearance at early age, almost skinny like – if you compared her with her peers. Yet had her adoptive parents lovingly introduced her in the village as their own adopted daughter, as an orphan entrusted to them by a distant cousin from a country that was at a few tens of days travel. Of course it caused much resistance from the others, but nobody dared them to go, out of respect for her father Danklor, who already had a prominent seat on the board of village elders. At very early age he had demonstrated administrative skills, which the grateful villagers welcomed, especially since the village council already had too little authoritative men. And her mother was taught a midwife by her mother at early age. All in all you could say that her parents both were highly respected members of the community.

In her early childhood she never wondered why she was so different than other children, and at one time she had found it normal that she was different. In fact, it was really nice to be visibly different. Yet, as the children were like, she discovered that she still was considered an odd creature. This was why she still had some questions about why she was so different. Her parents had never wanted to answer her questions, of course, especially because they were afraid that they would lose her, because – by her already temperamental behaviour – they then no longer could give her restrain, and then she would certainly find her real family. That search was postponed until this present time only, because she was now – more than before – convinced that her family was still alive and she would find her relatives.

And then there were these cursed visions. One afternoon – without warning – she got a strange vision of a place that vaguely struck her familiar, but she could not place that feeling – a sense of home, fully belonging. It was as if she were called by this strange place:
“Turn back; you do not belong there.”

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