Chapter 2
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Kest endured her punishment alone, training in the yard under the hot afternoon sun her back to cold, gray palace where the other children rested inside. As if exhaustion would stop the shaking in her limbs.

She stepped across the stones that stuck out from the dying grass, stomping her feet in an effort to stop them from shaking as she moved through the sword forms. The tip of her sword dipped and shook in the air; she tried swinging it faster in order to make up for her shortcomings. Sweat glued her black undershirt to her skin, her dark purple tunic still loose and moving freely with her.

She focused on her swordplay, not noticing the boy falling through the sky... until he collided with her back. Kest's dull blade clattered down onto the stones and she was sent sprawling. She tried to catch herself with her palms and knees, giving herself some cuts and scrapes for her trouble before she collapsed completely to the ground under the boy’s weight anyways. 

Once air returned to her lungs, she wiggled until the boy fell off her then rolled onto her back, sitting up. She blew air onto her stinging, bleeding palms then shot a glare at the boy, thinking he was one of the many orphans of the palace- her so-called adopted siblings- come to bully her.

However, when her eyes fell on him she gasped. What she was faced with was not a child from the Kasm clan. Or even the Fol or Xul. He had short cropped black hair and tattered clothes that distinctly did not belong on Yelii. She stared at his unmoving form until his eyes twitched...

... Then she jolted to her feet and pulled him onto her back, running for the palace doors.