Dothraki, Valyrian, Asshai? Francine had no idea what these languages were, nor did she ever hear of their existence in her years of being a linguist. Francine was in her office in the museum she worked in as a special linguist translator. The hot blazing sun of Egypt was shining through her window as Francine spent hours translating the multiple documents she had about these 3 unheard cultures from the land called Westeros. Francine had copies of ancient documents with written Dothraki, Valyrian, and Asshai language. She obtained them from the museum she worked for in Cairo, Egypt.
Francine sighed and looked out her window to see that it was getting a little late. She stretched and grabbed the documents, heading towards the curator's office. "So, have you figured out what these documents are, Franny?" the museum curator asked lounging back in his chair.
"This one is called Dothraki, this one is Valyrian, and this one is Asshai," Francine said pointing to the respective copied documents. "They are all part of some country or continent called Essos. All the documents on Dothraki talk about their leaders referred to as khals. Their warriors were horsemen, I would say similar to something like the Huns on their reliance of horses, but also with a hint of Native American tribes from the way they fight. The Valyrians were something like the rise and fall of Rome. They seemed completely invincible during the apex of their rule. It says they had dragons, and they were tamed by their sorcery."
"Dragons?" the museum curator asked with an eyebrow raised, now resting his elbows on his desk with interest.
"Yes. There was even mention of fire-breathing dragons. But there was a massive civil war that led to the destruction of their rule and the extinction of the dragons."
"Yes, very similar to Rome, indeed. The Asshai's?" The museum curator sat back in his chair with continuing interest.
"They seemed to have some sort of an ominous reputation throughout Essos. Their language was known as the language of witchcraft."
"Witchcraft, eh? 5 hours and over 30 documents," the museum curator sighed with amaze. "Your parents would be very proud of you." Francine flashed a smile and excused herself for the night. "Going to play basketball?"
"Oh, you know me too well, sir," Francine smiled.
"Just don't forget to get here on time tomorrow. You're going to be meeting very important people, and I want you to make them feel welcome."
"Aw, I'm offended. You don't think I'll make them feel welcome?"
"Of course not," the museum curator laughed at Francine pouting jokingly. "I just know about you and your tendency to be late whenever I need you to be early." Francine reassured the museum curator that she'd be on time and bid him goodnight.
Francine walked back home and quickly changed into gym clothes. She then headed to the nearby park with the basketball courts. She already saw some of the other men playing basketball, and Francine joined in with her friends. As always, she was the only girl playing, but the guys learned to not take her lightly or go easy on her or else they'd get their ass beaten by Francine shamefully.
"Damn it, Franny! How do you always get that shot down?" one of the guys growled as Francine dumped a clean 3-pointer right in front of his face with his hand in her face.
"Cus she's a dragon," another guy laughed, referring to her horoscope animal according to the years. Francine and the guys played a good game, and they all headed to the local bar when it got darker. They all ordered beer and talked about their days: going out to the Great Pyramids to look for archaeological artifacts, going out to the Sphinx, working as a translator for the American Embassy, and whatnot. Francine kept her discoveries to herself, knowing better than to say anything about 3 new undiscovered cultures, especially when they mentioned mythical creatures and witchcraft.
When everyone felt a good buzz, Francine got in the mood for her usual freestyle raps. One guy provided the beat, while another challenged Francine to a rap game. Francine went first, and she got a little bit crazy and out of control with her rhymes. There was no way the other guy could even touch Francine with his game, and it was a unanimous vote that Francine won this game like most other times.
Francine had no complaints. It was Friday, and it was her day. Back when she was at home at Newport Beach in the sunny Southern California, she used to party all the way to Sunday or maybe until Monday. Francine would even get confused thinking back because everyday seemed like a holiday back at Newport Beach in college where she earned a degree in Linguistics.
Then came reality. It was when Francine was working full time at a high school teaching ancient history as the TA. The head teacher didn't do jack squat, and Francine took it upon herself to teach the AP class. Her first two years were difficult with many struggles, but things turned around when it all clicked together. Francine's junior AP world history class had an 87% 5's, and the rest were 4's. The students all agreed unanimously that the credit came from Francine's help. She was a great lecturer and knew how to engage with the students to get their interest in the material. It took so much time on Francine's hands, but her fuel was the sake of teaching her students the beauty of ancient history. Plus, the alcohol and greens helped relieve the stress a bit, seeming to make things a little bit easier.
"Oh shit, look at that babe," a guy drooled over a group of girls who just walked into the bar. The guys coaxed him into talking to the girls, and he gave into peer pressure. He stood up and went to the girls sitting at the bar.
"How could you do that to him?" Francine glared at the guys. "He's your friend."
"This shit is funny as hell. Don't ruin it, Franny," the guys laughed. They saw the guy spitting his usual game out with "what's your name, girl" and "what's your sign".
"He must be outta his mind to think that game still works," one guy laughed. They all watched as the guy walked out of the bar with his arm around the ugliest girl ever, and he had a cocky smile thinking he got a great catch. The guys all gave a thumbs-up, and Francine just smiled nicely. When the guy left the bar, they all burst into hysterical laughter.
"I can't wait to see his reaction tomorrow when he wakes up without the beer goggles!" When the group felt good with their buzz, the guys all walked Francine home first. She bid goodnight to all the guys and got ready for bed.
When Francine was ready, she sat on her window sill looking out at the city of Cairo. She leaned her head back against the wall and looked out into the city. Cairo and Newport Beach were two complete opposites, and it made Francine a bit nostalgic. She pictured her home back at Newport Beach, and she could see the beach from her window. Francine hummed a familiar melody, one her mother used to sing to her whenever they were at the beach at night.
Moon river, wider than a mile. I'm crossing you in style, someday. Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker. Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' your way. Two drifters off to see the world. There's such a lot of world to see. We're after the same rainbow's end, waitin' 'round the bend. My huckleberry friend, moon river and me.
"Oh my god, I'm late, I'm late, I'm really really late!" Francine shouted and hopped out of bed. She quickly washed up, put on clothes, grabbed a piece of bread from the kitchen, and ran as quickly as she could to the museum. Francine felt like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, continuously shouting to herself that she was late.
"Ah, Francine!" the local baker greeted Francine.
"Hello, sir! I can't talk! I'm late! I'm really late!" Francine waved her hand goodbye to the baker as she kept running as fast as she could to the museum. She arrived breathless, and there in front of the museum stood the curator with a group of people behind him.
"You are late," the museum curator spoke sternly.
"I know, I know and I'm really sorry," Francine apologized breathless.
"You will apologize to the expedition crew waiting for you outside."
"Expedition crew?" The museum curator led Francine outside and introduced her to the expedition group. "And just what is this expedition crew for?"
"The documents you found," the head poncho of the crew spoke up. "We believe that we can find more artifacts on this new undiscovered culture, and we need you to come with us to help translate." Francine looked back at the museum curator, and he gave a nod to her. She agreed to go with the crew, and they went out for a drive out to the desert.
They arrived at the large cave where they discovered the ancient documents of the continent of Essos. Francine was in the middle of the crew, looking around at this dark and creepy cave. She had the chills, especially since she was wearing thin clothes because of the summer heat. The cave was cold, and Francine's heart was racing in her chest. Dark memories filled her head.
"Dad, quit it!" Francine laughed and grabbed the basketball away from her father. Francine was in her mid-20's, working full time as a high school teacher.
"What did I tell you, Franny? Eyes on your opponent on defense. Your hand is a magnet to the ball. You don't need to worry about getting the ball. You need to focus on your opponent. Men's thoughts are always written in their eyes."
"I know, I know, dad. Alright, one more try." Francine's father checked the ball, and Francine looked into her father's eyes, trying to read what his next move was going to be. He scooted left, and so did Francine. At the right time, Francine smacked the ball away from her father as he brought his hands up to shoot.
"That's what I'm talking 'bout!" her father shouted with such pride in his daughter.
"Alright, now it's time to wash up and head over to Adrienne's place," Francine's mother told the two.
"Mom, why do we have to watch that stupid ballet? You're not even into ballet."
"Yes, but it's a social event, and you will go whether you like it or not. Now, go up and wear the red dress I put on your bed."
"Alright, mother," Francine groaned. Francine took a shower and wore the dress that was on her bed. Francine's mother helped her with her hair while Francine did her own make-up.
"You are so beautiful, Francine," her mother smiled.
"I got good genes," she replied.
"Sure as hell you did." Francine and her mother shared a laugh. "I know you hate these social events I make you go to, but you know we have a certain reputation to keep up here."
"That's why I hate it. Why do we need to show a front? Why can't we just do things that we like, like...I dunno...go to a basketball game."
"You don't understand yet, darling," Francine's mother smiled at her daughter and brushed her curls aside. "Sometimes, you just can't let loose. Sometimes, you need to show restraint, dignity, and grace."
"I can't wait to go to Egypt and stop going to these boring social events," Francine sighed.
"Oh, you can't wait for the day when you leave my nest?" Francine's mother jokingly said it sadly.
"Aw, mom, you know I don't mean it like that," Francine laughed.
"Trust me. You're going to miss doing these things when you're in Egypt. Besides, you're going to be more self-conscious when you're there, Francine. You might even have to go to many social events with Ed."
"Mr. Stark wouldn't make me go to a social event, would he?" Francine had never met the museum curator in Egypt, but he was very good friends with her parents from their times as university students.
"Ed has an image to keep up in the community, and I know that you'll be just as famous there as you are here. You'll have no choice but to attend social events there, too." Francine didn't reply. She didn't agree with her mother on a few things, and this was one. "I know you hate it, but you must. I'm not giving you a choice."
"But I'm 26-years-old. I'm an adult."
"And you're still under my roof, and you are still my one and only daughter. Just try to think of something else at the show." Francine sighed and promised she'd try. When the family was ready, they headed out in their beamer to meet with their family friend. They then all headed over to the ballet show together in separate cars.
Francine was nearly asleep in the middle of the show, and her dad nudged her awake. Francine jumped and immediately sat up straight, completely acting as if she was into the show the entire time. Her father shook his head with a smile, and whispered to his wife that they needed a breather. The mother agreed, and so Francine and her parents excused themselves silently. They all headed out of the show through the back, and Francine stretched like a cat. "Thanks, dad. You always know when I'm about to die."
"I have to admit, this is the worst I've seen by far," her mother stated.
"Let's just go back home and spend some family time together. Besides, Franny's gonna head to Egypt in a couple of months. We won't be able to spend as much time with her then," her father stated.
"Aw, thanks dad!" Francine smiled and hugged her father. The mother agreed, and as they all continued to head out from the darkness in the alley they heard a click.
Francine's father froze in his footsteps and pushed Francine and her mother behind him. Out from the darkness came a homeless man with a gun. "Scream, and I'll shoot your family." They were silent. "Now gimme your money." Francine's father took out his wallet and didn't keep his eyes off the bum.
"When I give you my wallet, you must put the gun down," Francine's father spoke calmly.
"You don't tell me what to do! Gimme your wallet or your girls will die!" the bum shouted pointing his gun at Francine's mother. She squeezed Francine's hand, standing in front of her daughter to protect her. Francine's father handed the bum his wallet and the bum looked into the wallet. "No cash?!"
"My cards are in-" The bum shot Francine's father right in the chest point blank. Francine and her mother screamed from shock, and the bum then shot Francine's mother. Finally, he pointed the gun at Francine, but there were no bullets left. He clicked it 3 more times in disbelief, and he threw the gun down and ran away with the father's wallet.
Francine fell on her knees, looking at her parents' cold faces smeared with shock. She felt their blood streaming around her knees, and they lay as still as statues still with the look of shock on their faces.
"Ow!" Francine shouted when she smacked her face on a jagged wall. She gasped when she saw no one around her. She was all by herself in the dark, creepy cave. "H-Hello? Hello?" Francine was alone and lost. "Alright, just calm down, Francine. You just need to retrace your steps..." Francine turned around and walked back. "Shit, just my luck." She came upon the pathway splitting into two different ones: one going left, one going right.
Francine could imagine Morpheus standing there in the middle, his left hand with the blue pill and his right hand with the red pill. "This is your last chance," spoke Morpheus in Francine's head. "After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I'm offering is the truth – nothing more."
Francine sighed, taking the red-pill pathway, that just being her personality to take on new challenges. After a few steps, Francine's heart nearly flew out of her chest when she felt no ground beneath her. What a fucking irony, Francine cursed at herself in her mind. Francine screamed at the top of her lungs, and she was knocked out by the fall.