“Eve, you are-not what they want you to be,” The young woman finally gave an answer to the young girl’s age old question, ‘What am I?’
“Oh, but I’d much rather be like them. I wish they all would stop whispering about me, Helena!” Eve’s woes were not simple ones.
“Eve, there is nothing wrong with you, and the legends are not true, I promise you.”
“How do you know?!” Eve shot back, tears dampening her eyelashes.
Helena’s hurt expression told all.
“I’m sorry. Please continue,” Eve added.
“They will never trust you like they do themselves. You will never grow up to be ordinary. Nobody will ever stop whispering about you. You cannot have a normal occupation, they will never assign you one. You need to show them that you can put food on your dinner table when you’re an adult. And there is only one way you can do that.”
“You must be a huntress Eve. You must, or else they will exile you because of the age old tales.”
Eve’s face looked glum.
“Would you like to learn?”
“Yes, I would.”
Helena had already caught her game for the hour, a huge red tail coyote.
“Do you see my knife Eve?”
“Yes. Anyone could see that,”
“I have only used it twice. Once with a night cougar, and once with another night cougar.”
Eve shuddered at the thought of the lion-like animal that haunted the forest.
“Then what do you use to kill these animals for the people?”
“This,” Helena held out a fern that Eve had seen growing all over the moor, “Is a snakeroot. It is the most deadly plant that takes refuge in Equinox. The stems are edible, but a single taste of the buds, and you’re gone.”
“I set traps with meat seasoned with snake root. The animal eats it’s last meal without suffering.”
“Will I do that someday?” Eve murmered just loud enough for Helena to hear,
“You will have to.”
4 years later
“Eve, just remember, you’re innocent. You have done absolutely nothing wrong.”
“But they think I have! I never killed anyone, and most certainly not her! Rebecca, I know what they will say to me. I am not a solstice child, I do not deserve this, and I know everything you are about to tell me.”
“Eve, I have tried my hardest to adopt you as my own.”
“You mustn’t feel sorry about that, you are already like a mother to me.”
“Eve, your mother was not bad. She was a good woman, and she loved you more than anything, Her death was- shocking to all of Equinox.”
“I am well aware,” Eve replied coldly,
“If they exile you today, you must remember everything Helena taught you. And Eve,”
“I love you more than you know, and if I lose you today, I want you to know that,”
“Well I love you too, Rebecca, and I’m sorry.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for.”
The 13 year old girl stared out into the huge world. The huge world she could only see through her window.
She glanced at her beautiful room, the room she would forever be trapped in.
“Why are you saddened Astrid?”
“Why do you ask, Father?”
“I’m concerned, sweetheart. I know that you want to leave here, but it’s just…impossible for you to be safe out there.”
“I want to leave! And you can’t stop me from escaping!” Astrid tapped the glass as she spoke, “This is not living! This is safe, but it’s not living. How is it fair that I have never been out there, I’ve never experienced life!”
“The people out there haven’t either, I assure you. It is perilous, but you are free, as of today, Today is the Summer Solstice, you birthday. You are free to go anywhere, I am no longer responsible for you. I have done all I can for-”
“I know you have, and I thank you for that. But I can’t stay here any more. This is torturous. 13 years of torture.”
“You are one of the luckiest girls in all of Equinox, Astrid.”
“Depends on what I consider ‘lucky’.”
Eve swallowed the lump in her throat as she said what she was required, “Good afternoon, Your Highness. Good afternoon, His Lordship.”
“We are gathered her in private today to investigate the accusation made my Baron Seth Wexler against Eve Moonstreak. I hope you understand how lucky you are to be having this meeting in private. I thought it’d be best not to get the public involved.”
Eve was thankful for that, because if this was public to the people of Equinox, the whispers she had been hearing all her life would have turned into shouts.
“My ruling will be the final judgement on this situation, and it will be based on what is fair and righteous for all the people of my kingdom, Equinox, as a whole. Let us begin. Sir Wexler, you may state your accusations.”
“Today is the day everyone has been waiting on for years. Let me start with this girl’s story. Today is the day she turns 13, today is the Summer Solstice. And we all know what the legends say about the evil doing Solstice Children. I firmly believe that this, girl is one of their kind. Ever since she was born, she has brought misfortune to Equinox. Our crops have been failing for 13 years. We have been in a drought for 13 years. One of our noble huntresses, Helena Orchid was murdered in the woods. And Eve was the one who did it. She was the only one who was with that young woman that day, as she was every day. She is not qualified to be assigned an occupation. She will not help the community, she will only bring it down. She has caused this kingdom to be dishonored ever since the moment she was born. Her father is missing, and her mother was struck by lightning. We all know what she is. I know what she is, and I think that she does too. I believe that the typical punishment for a Solctice Child is..”
“Exile,“ The queen finished.
“I-I have heard your pleads, Sir Wexler, thank you. I will now allow Rebecca Prim, who runs the orphanage speak.”
“This man is out of his mind. This little girl is harmless, she is kind, and has taken all her ridicule well. I know her well enough that she would never kill anyone, and certainly not her best friend in the entire kingdom. She is innocent, and she deserves to be a part of this community! She will serve you well, and she is the best huntress that has ever walked the forest.”
“Better than Ms.Helena?” Sir Wexler inquired?
“I have heard quite enough, thank you. I have come to the conclusion that while Eve may not have killed Helena, she has brought a tide of misfortune with her, and she must leave. I believe that she is a Solstice Child. Eve Moonstreak, I hereby declare you Exiled from the kingdom of Equinox, and as long as I rule, you shall never return. The failure to comply with my judgement is punishable by death. You may stay one more night, and as soon as the rooster calls tomorrow morning, you will be escorted out of Equinox forever. You will fight for your life in the vast forest. I wish you luck, Ms. Eve.”
“Th-thank you Your Higness. I am sorry for my crimes.” Eve let out her last words before her world fell apart.