I'm guessing everyone knows who my mother is, Berenene, Empress. Ladeda. But no one knows anything about her daughters. There are three of us, by the way. I'm the oldest at seventeen, Amee is fifteen, and Calissa is twelve. And yes, all of us have different fathers and none of us know who those fathers are. My mother…likes men…
Anyway, after we were born we stayed with our mother for a grand total of two years. Then we were taken across the country to keep us 'safe'. In reality, she just wanted us away from her.
We grew up with our foster mother, Lonnie. She taught us everything we know. Everything. She was a mage, not a very powerful one, but a mage non-then less.
We aren't the only ones who live with Lonnie. There are two more, two boys. Edwin is eighteen and Loric is seventeen. And, like me, they have magic. Lucky for them, they can speak.
I have magic, but it comes from my voice. If I sing-or talk- things happen. So I try not to do either. Ever.
When I was fifteen, Lonnie sent me to court to see my mother. I ended up leaving only a mere month later. I went to court, didn't speak, and they treated me as though I was a freak. The only person who talked to me was Quenaill, my mother's mage. We became friends- and my mother didn't like it. So, she switched her charm to Queniall and he promptly forgot about me.
My mother was ashamed of me, thinking I was mute. If only she knew.
I went back to Lonnie and have been there ever since. Amee three months ago for court, on her fifteenth birthday. She returned today.
"Three months." Amee said happily, hugging me. "That's longer than you lasted, Emera."
She laughed and I smiled. Then she saw Calissa. "Cali!" She cried happily, running to her. "I have to tell you both what happened while I was at court!"
I gave her an inquiring glance, and Cali looked at her, wide eyed. "Well, what is it?"
"Our cousin, Sandreline Fa Toran and her friends-"
"Her mage friends?" Cali questioned.
"Yes." Amee said, smiling, her eyes bright. Lonnie, Edwin, and Loric joined us then. "They had been to court. I arrived in the middle of a…war between mother and Sandreline. She and her friends tore down the wall."
There was a gasp. "Tore it down?" Lonnie gasped out. Then, slowly, she smiled. "Finally."
I broke into a huge grin and turned as Edwin put his arms around me. He was laughing. Loric was jumping and laughing. Cali and Amee were looking at us as though we were mad. "Why are you laughing? Our counties defenses are gone!" Amee snapped. She sighed then. "Emera, why didn't you tell mother about your magic? Did you know the people at court thought you were dumb? I told mother you, Edwin, and Loric had enough magic to rebuild it."
My mouth hung open in horror, as did Loric and Edwin's. Lonnie looked at Amee in shock. "Oh, Amee. You didn't…"
Amee frowned at us. "What are you all gasping at?"
"When are they coming for them?" Lonnie demanded.
Amee was still frowning. "They were leaving the day after me."
"We go." Edwin said, grabbing my arm and pulling me into the house, Loric following closely. "Now,"
We separated quickly, each going into our own rooms. I grabbed my bag and put as many clothes as would fit, then grabbed what little coins I had. Lonnie ran into my room a moment later, carrying another bag. "It's filled with food." She said softly. I looked at her a moment, then hugged her closely.
"Oh," She said softly, hugging me back. "Head towards Sommersea. Towards Winding Circle. Sandreline and her friends are there. They will help you."
I nodded once to show I understood and Lonnie left quickly. I looked around my room one last time, and made my way down the stairs. Amee and Cali were waiting for me. "You can't just leave." Amee said, glaring at my bag. "Mother needs you."
"Amee-" Lonnie said.
"NO! Mother needs you Emera!" Amee screamed.
I ignored her, and reached over to hug Cali. She held me close and I felt her tears soaking my gown. "Love you." Cali whispered.
I swallowed hard, and then whispered back. "I love you too."
Cali broke away from me, her eyes wide. It was only the third time she had heard me speak.
"Emera." Edwin said from the doorway. "Let's go."
I looked at Cali one last time and smiled, then looked at Amee's glaring face. I gave her a sad smile, and then followed Edwin.
"We've been traveling for two weeks." Loric complained, rolling his head from side to side to get the kinks out. "Are we almost there yet?"
I smiled and shook my head sadly. Edwin laughed at me then answered his brother. "Another day or so."
Loric started muttering to himself and Edwin smirked. "How about we stop and eat?"
I shrugged, but Loric was already jumping off of his horse. "Sounds good."
Sandry was sitting at Daja's house, fixing yet another pair of pants Briar had ruined. Tris was cooking and Daja was beside Sandry, doing something with a piece of metal. "Niko's at the door." Tris called.
A moment later there was a knock and Briar let in the older man. "Niko." Briar greeted, smiling broadly.
"I need to speak with all of you." Niko said, getting straight to the point.
Briar led him into the sitting room, Tris had already joined Sandy and Daja there. "Okay, Sandry, do you know of Emera?"
Sandry frowned. "Berenene's oldest daughter?"
At the mention of Berenene, all four young mages sat up straight, eyes alert. "Right." Niko said. "Well-"
"Wait, isn't she the one they spoke of in Court?" Briar asked.
"The one that was 'beautiful but dumb'." Daja added in.
Niko shook his head. "She isn't dumb. Emera is a mage, a music mage. But the problem is, her voice controls her magic, so she doesn't speak."
"What does this have to do with us?" Tris demanded.
Niko ignored his student. "Emera never told anyone at Court about her abilities-"
"Smart girl." Briar muttered.
"- but her sister, Amee, told them last month when she went to visit." Niko said with a warning glance at Briar.
"So?" Tris demanded.
"So," Niko glared, "Berenene now knows that Emera and her two friends are powerful mages. Powerful enough to rebuild the wall…and come after you."
There was silence for a moment as the four processed this information, then Niko continued. "Luckily, Emera doesn't like being used. She, and her friends, left before her mother could get to them. My friend Lonnie was their…foster mother. She sent me word that she sent them here, to find you."
"When will they be here?" Sandry asked softly.
"Late tonight. Maybe tomorrow." Niko answered.
"You said the girl was a music mage." Tris said, "What are the other two?"
"Edwin, then oldest, is a plant mage." He said, shooting a glance at Briar. "And Loric…lets just say he's very good at blowing things up."
"Finally." Loric said as they made their way through Sommersea. "Let's find a place to stay and get cleaned up before we go find the famous four."
"I agree." Edwin said. They found a room and tied their horses in the stable, then made their way to the baths. "We'll see you shortly." Edwin said.
Emera nodded and went into the baths. The water felt great, and all of the caked dirt was washed away. She finished quickly and made her way outside, where the boys were already waiting.
"So where to next?" Loric demanded, looking at Edwin.
Edwin wasn't paying any attention, he was looking over at a table that held various plants. Loric rolled his eyes. "Plant mages." He muttered.
A man passing heard him. "Are you looking for a plant mage? If I was you, I would either go to Discipline and talk to Rosethorn, or to Briar Moss."
I snapped to attention, my eyes focused on the man's face. Loric asked the question for me. "And where would we find Briar Moss?"