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School began without much of a hitch. Mrs. Wilder opened up the school house and the children begrudgingly filed in. They were joined this term by a few new children from the Pescada tribe. Karen was in the same study level as Breydon, and Breydon was on an eighth year study level. Asa was on a second year study level and Cheryl was third year. The three Forster siblings would wait for the children from the Pescada tribe to show up. Kipper, Bream and Cheryl would appear with a few of the other children from the watery deep. Kipper was a year older than Breydon, and Bream was the same age as the human boy. They all would trek together to the school house in town and meet up with the other children from town and a few of the surrounding villages in the yard.

Asa generally stayed with Cheryl, Kip or Bream throughout the day. The other boys in school would rapture on and on about how great at sports Breydon was and Karen was often busy reading during school breaks. Thadius was often sick but when he was at school, Asa liked him. Breydon was also good friends with Thadius, but the older boy was often wary of Thadius’ sister. Alana and her friends didn’t sit well wiht Asa, mostly because she was a strange breed of girl that he had grown to be frightened of.

It was a fairly normal day; winter was winding down, and Asa had worn a lighter jacket. Karen, Breydon and Asa had all went down to the beach after helping their mother set up shop at the bakery. Karen sat on a rock reading, while Asa and Breydon raced back and forth along the sand bars. The Pescada children would be arriving soon, and sure enough, they all started rising from the waves. Cheryl ran ahead of her brothers and ran over to Asa.

“Hey, Ace. Did you finish your homework?” she asked. He sighed deeply.

“Yeah, I did. How about you?” he replied.

You know how I feel about homework )
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Asa and Breydon woke up in the morning to bright sunshine and Karen’s singing. Asa yawned while his older brother growled and got up to poke his head out the door. Karen was skipping down the hall in her flannel night gown.

“What’s the big fuss, can’t you deafen another unsuspecting family?” he grumbled. She hugged her older brother.

“Only one more week until school!” she sang and twirled away down the hall. Breydon groaned and Asa sighed. School. It was something that neither of them looked forward to but Karen lived for it. She had already spent the past few days in the library getting a head start on the reading.

“Crazy girl,” Breydon said. “I’m going to be a mercenary, what do I need to know about books for?”

Asa didn’t say anything, but stumbled out of bed and got dressed. Karen and his father seemed to be the only ones in the house who did a morning routine in reverse. Instead of washing up and getting dressed and then eating breakfast, they ate breakfast and then washed up and got dressed. As Asa and Breydon came down, Karen, Father and Mom were setting the table.

“Children, your father officially has his course plotted and will be ready to leave the first week of spring,” Mom announced. The three of them groaned.

Dad, you’ll miss the Welkin return )
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Chunks of ice floated idly in the cold sea. Asa couldn’t go swimming now and his mother forbade him from leaping on the frozen slabs of ice. Sitting in the sand that mingled with snow, he waited for his best friend. Cheryl was from the Pescada tribe that lived beneath the salty waters. The Pescada were proud fish people, who came in all colors and sizes depending on what kind of water they lived in. The tribe that lived in Cullis Bay came in a variety of blues and greens, and were generally slender and lithe. With the unique ability to breathe above and below water, it made them ideal sailors, which was favorable in the small port town. Some of the tribesmen had married people who lived in Asa’s town, so there was constant and fairly peaceful relationship between the two different peoples.

Asa picked up a few shells and drew with a stick on the wet sand. Cheryl said she’d be back the night before. He wanted to tell her all about the things that happened while she was gone, like Breydon’s failure, and the latest story Karen had read to him. He really liked talking to her more than anyone else outside of his family. Everyone always talked about Breydon and how amazing he was, but Cheryl talked about… well anything. Asa was getting tired of waiting, the day was very grey and cheerless and he took to throwing rocks out in the water.

Poking her head almost curiously from beneath a slap of ice, was Cheryl. The fish girl swam to shore and shook the ice and seaweed from the mass of dark blue tendrils that served as her hair. Her wide, expressive mouth curved in a smirk as she raised her eyebrows.

I’ve told you time and again that when you throw rocks in the water you risk hitting someone important )
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Just as the old year ended at midnight, the men attempted to swim to Larkeny Island. It was just far enough to be inconvenient and coupled with swift currents; the swim the ultimate challenge of machismo. This would only be a renewed start to the attempts. Men from all over came to tiny Cullis Bay to attempt to swim to that tiny island. Mostly because the great hero Malcom was born here and braved the currents to retrieve an herb that would save his one true love. Such a swim was considered so difficult it was near impossible for any one but a destined hero to do.

Only one other person had ever made it to Larkney Island and he became a famous general, protected the capital city way inland, saved the queen, married the princess and became the now King Arcem. Every year, many men came through the city to try their hand at the swim, but a select few made it.

This new year, seven year old Asa was extremely jealous )


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February 2014

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