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A title of a book : River Meets Oceans
The room Alaina found herself was cast in darkness. The Argosi guards had taken her from her home and brought her into this small room. Time had no meaning in that room.
Alaina knew that they had not left her in the room long. Still, it felt like forever. She groped around the room; feeling for a way out. Her hands searched the wall for a crack. She could have clawed at it but she never got the chance. The door burst open to let in the largest guard that Alaina had ever seen.
“Your time of preparation is over. Your testing is at hand.” The guard who spoke gripped her arms and led her from the room.
Most people on Brington Peninsula would have called Alaina a brave young woman, but that was before… before fear and darkness controlled her life. Now fear called to her in the darkness and she lived in a waking nightmare. She thought she was a strong person but fear had changed her. Fear can morph a person into something they are not.
“Please let me go home,” Alaina pleaded. She was still young and every second she spent away from her family made her feel even younger. She was no longer the bold girl she had been.
The girls would prove their courage by jumping off the cliffs and into the sea. The tallest cliffs were reserved for the bravest girls. Alaina had been the only person to choose the highest cliffs on her first jump. She had been the bravest of the divers on Brington. Nothing had scared her before the Argosi came. She had fallen far from the person she had been.
She barely held back her tears long enough to repeat, “Please let me go home.”
“Pass the test by failing and you will be free to go about your business.”
“I can go home after this test? Do I have your word?”
“After you fail the testing, yes you may go home.”
“Do I have your word? A man is only as good as his word.”
“I am a guard! The weight of the Argosi Empire rests behind me! You have the Empire’s word!”
“Alright,” Alaina said in a shaky voice. Her voice never seemed to shake before. “Lead the way.”
They walked through the ship soundlessly and swiftly. The Argosi moved as if he had walked this path a thousand times before. Alaina felt more ill-at-ease with each step. The tension was alive in the air. Knives could cut through the thickness of it. Alaina’s senses all screamed at her. Each fact told her the same thing: this was wrong but there was nothing she could do about it.
Maybe she could pretend that nothing happened. Maybe she could go back to the person she used to be? She just needed to try harder. She pulled back her shoulders, stood ramrod straight and glided ahead of her guards.