She stood in the corner watching the wall. It wasn’t her fault. They started it. Why was she always the one being punished? Every single time? She didn’t understand.
“Have you stopped sulking Ezaria?”
She ignored her teacher’s question. Maybe she was too proud but she wasn’t going to answer. If he was going to take the others’ side every single time, she wouldn’t waste her words.
“I guess not,” he chuckled. Anger… She took a deep breath, bit her lips. Proud maybe. But she didn’t want to be expelled; she’d have nowhere to go. The teacher left. She heard the door. But she didn’t move. She wouldn’t give them the pleasure of knowing that she hated standing alone in that corner.
She’d tried to be more like Helia. Nicer and calmer. But the other kids they kept teasing her, calling her a freak. It all started with the stupid clan games… It was a way to get to know everyone they said. What a lie! They all gathered and divided into their particular clan; she was the only blue skin. She hadn’t expected that. And there were no children from the White ones since they were all destroyed, their genocide leading to the uprising.
So she had no one to speak to since one would tell their tales to someone of their clan. Then they sat in a circle and each member said something about the person with whom they talked. That red skin boy – Haber – came from Helion where his family worked metal and forged beautiful objects. Most of the kids belonging to that clan came from artisans’ families. He was good with fire. That green faced girl – Selina – came from the foot of the mountains in Grydei, more than a 1000 miles up North. She was the daughter of a wood worker and her powers were over the forest. One Gold skin could create gems that matched exactly those his parents worked in their shop in the capital. When came her turn, she started to speak but they shushed her. She couldn’t be the one introducing herself. When she said that there was no one, they laughed. They didn’t listen… And then they called her freak for the first time. It hurt. Badly. She hadn’t even done anything to earn it.
Even here, she didn’t fit in. After that “game”, they never played with her; when it was a team game, she was always last to be called. More often than not, if the numbers were odd, they had her be the referee or the one who waited.
She’d been nice just like Helia… for a few weeks. But it didn’t make the other kids accept her. They didn’t call her by name but rather ‘blue’ or ‘monster’. She was different. She didn’t know why at first, but she was.
So she stopped caring. And she got angry the next time they were mean. And the time after that. And again. Until one time it was too much. She’d meant to push the kid back but instead, she… she wasn’t sure what she’d done. But the teachers had all rushed towards the boy lying on the ground like he was dead… 15 feet away. And they punished her. The kids stopped speaking to her altogether. For a few days… until they taunted her again. She could still hear them.
“Look at the monster.”
She’d covered her ears but the names kept rushing past her. She wished she had the golden skin colour of her sister so she could fit in better. Helia never hated her for being a blue skin. She could have been red or green or gold even white and Helia would have loved her. Well Helia didn’t love her anymore. She hated her because she left. But it wasn’t her fault.
Sure the last Blue king was crazy: he’d tried to annihilate all other clans helped by his magician, the last in Ezaria’s family. But it wasn’t her fault. And her family and the blue skins had helped. Even among the Seramis, there were those who fought against their brother, uncle, father… It wasn’t her fault.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!”
She heard the screams but she didn’t watch, she didn’t stop covering her ears, until someone shook her. It was the school headmaster. She was whipped that day for using magic again against her classmates. They weren’t her friends. They were nothing. For two days she staid in her room, without any visit, or any food beside bread and water. When she went back, the kids were downright frightened. They left her alone. But kids can be cruel… and when she was the first to figure out one of the spells they were learning, the names came back, whispered so the teacher didn’t hear them. This time though she didn’t use magic… not that she’d voluntarily done it before. She jumped on the boy behind her and punched him, beat him until once more someone pulled her up. This time the teacher who placed her in the corner. Again. It wasn’t her fault. Why couldn’t she be another colour? Why was she blue skinned? Why did she have magic? She wiped her tears with her sleeve. She couldn’t cry: she shouldn’t. That gave them power.
“Ezaria?” She turned around. She hadn’t heard the door. “Do you understand why you’re being punished?”
She was tempted not to answer. She almost turned back… But she was tired. Tired of being alone. Tired of being hated everywhere. She had done nothing. She shook her head no. She only tried to defend herself. Unlike the kids, she wasn’t intending to hurt anyone. She just wanted them to leave her alone.
“Do you realize how powerful you are Ezaria?”
What did that mean? She shrugged. She wasn’t… she hadn’t done anything as crazy as Georg who had turned a flower into a butterfly. He was gifted. She was just…
“You are Ezaria. More than any kid in this school. That’s why you need to control it. Do you realize you could have killed them all?”
That! NO! She wasn’t… she didn’t!
“I know you weren’t trying. But that’s the point. We can’t protect them from you.”
Were they going to send her away? Because she was bad.
“You’re not bad Ezaria.” Did he read her mind? “I guess you could say that.”
She looked up. He was smiling.
“You aren’t a bad person Ezaria. You’re just a little girl with great power. And unfortunately we won’t be able to teach you. You need more than we can offer you here.”
“Don’t send me away. I’ll be good. I…”
She cried again. Only this time she sobbed into the teacher’s robes. It didn’t matter if he thought she was a little girl. She didn’t care. She didn’t want to go away again.
He explained something but she didn’t really listen. About guardians and a temple. And he told her that someone would come and get her. That Fauna wouldn’t go with her; she’d stay here. Good! Fauna hated her and helped the kids punish her. She might as well be alone.
“You won’t be alone Ezaria. But you’ll be with children and adults who truly are like you.”
She didn’t understand but it was alright. When a few days later a man came she heard the name ‘Guardians of Perth’ for the very first time. And there she would belong.