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Drops of Life

 
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Calena
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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 7:35 pm    Post subject: Drops of Life Reply with quote

I was seven when they took me from my family.

It was a great honor to get chosen. Usually they won't take you until your are at least ten, but my tests were off the charts already. Of course I was so young that I didn't understand why I wasn't going to be able to see my mother ever again. I cried for days.

Actually, I probably cried for the first year. I got really good at being able to hide it, because the Fylakas would whip you for it. Just one of many things that could earn the switch.

Years later when I was much older I started to realize why they were so hard on us.

I started to understand a lot as I got older, which wasn't what they wanted at all. They wanted us to be pleasant, agreeable little dolls who would thank them every time they drained our very lives away so that others might thrive. They did it to my family through punishing labor and to those like me very literally.

Some people are Givers and some are Takers. There are fancy names for us, but to a child that was what made the best sense and it just stuck. Most people are neither, just regular old folk with nothing special about them unless they happen to be smart or skilled.

Takers are almost as common as regular folk. They grow big and strong and fast. They make good soldiers. Problem is they need more resources than others. Lots of food and water. Though they don't sleep much. They often don't live for very long, especially in poor families.

What I am is a Giver. I can survive on less than others if I need to. We tend not to live very long either, though, because what makes us so hardy is also what makes us so desirable.

You see, our blood can heal almost any wound, cure any disease, and even prolong one's life. Our problem is we are very, very rare. One would think this would grant us a rather comfortable position in life.

Keep your people ignorant, keep them in check.
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Calena
Wyrmling
Wyrmling


Joined: 07 May 2017
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Can Be Found: Her auntie's tea and herb shop
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first few years of my life at the "training center" were rather uneventful. They weren't too different from my life at home, actually, except that I was better fed. Much better fed.

I had chores that I had to do every day, prayers, lessons in the worship hall. I was younger than the others, so they took me under their wings and helped me to get by when I struggled. Every month or so I was taken to the medical unit so that they could test me.

It was nice being there. The center had electricity some of the time so that we would have lights, but the medical building was fully powered. I got to get glimpses of their machines that make all the numbers and it was always nice and cool. The girl who was closest in age to me would go at the same time and we would get to talk freely while we waited. She lived in one of the other dorms so it was the only time other than prayers we would see on another.

The tests were fairly boring. They would look me over head to toe and take my blood. Sometimes they would make me run on a moving track until I was out of breath and check my heart and lungs. They never told us what the tests meant when we asked. To make sure we were healthy, they said.

When I was about ten my lessons started to change. I was the same age as most of the girls coming in and now I was allowed to go to school. There I learned to read and write, some simple numbers. And history. The history was the worst. We all knew the stories about how the world came to be as it was.

We destroyed the earth with our greed. Mostly. Nature was ignored and violated until the gods gave up on us and let everything die. If the leaders of the Fylakas hadn't kept their great seed vaults, we too would have died. Many, many people did die off before they were able to create stable pockets where people could live. Most are like the village where I spent my first seven years or the compound where the training center was: dusty, desolate, and dry. I never saw any green things growing until they decided I had a mind for herbs. Then I was allowed to visit the hydroponics house. But even that was cold, barren and sterile. Sad little plants growing in their earth-less pots.

Gone were the forests, and fields. Many of the rivers went dry as the oceans shrank. Along the coastlines they built cities where things are better. But to live there you had to either be wealthy or have a useful skill. Sometimes they would scour the small villages for Takers because they make tireless workers, but that was no better life that living under the scorching sun.

The one new thing I learned was how valuable us Givers were to reviving our world. They never quite told us why we were so important or how it was that we helped, but the most important lesson they tried to drill into our little heads was that we were servants of the earth. That was why we must commit ourselves to the Fylakas, to never question, never argue, and never think our own thoughts.

I was always very bad at that last one.
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Calena
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We don't get sick. Us Givers, I mean. Everyone else gets sick like is normal, I guess. The one good thing about the world dying was there were many sicknesses that also died. They couldn't survive in the harsh conditions. At least that is what we were told. The Elites would have us think that we were getting a fresh start to recreate the world. To make it better. We wouldn't reap the rewards, nor would our children, but future generations for know lush forests.

So when the whole compound became ill it was a very big deal. It was a gradual thing. Something was wrong with our tests. Actually, the tests were very good, but that was a problem. They shouldn't have been so good. It took the doctors too long to get worried, though. By the time they noticed there was a problem it was the worst problem.

The first sign was the fainting. It was this awful dizziness that had us dropping like flies with no warning. It progressed quickly to full body aches. Every joint inflamed. Some got rashes and lesions. I bruised at the slightest touch until it looked like I had been severely beaten.

From there it progressed very quickly. They tried to keep us calm by sticking to our usual schedule. During one lesson a girl started to complain that her stomach hurt. Before she could leave to see the nurses she started to vomit. Blood. The smell will stay with me forever. Within three days she was dead.

Then another. And another.

By the time they figured out what was wrong half of us were gone.
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Calena
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not everyone agrees with how the Fylakas have chosen to rule the world. Of course not. They rule it very unfairly. Only a small portion of the population is prospering while the rest barely get by. They promise that things will get better.

The rebellion doesn't agree. We were always kept isolated from their propaganda, so until they poisoned the center I didn't know what it really was that they believed. We were told that they were greedy and wanted more than what was available. What they said was that the Elites were really lying to us and things weren't as bad as they kept them. The truth is more complicated than that.

When they got us all better we were moved to a new facility. There were less of us, but they kept us even more separated. I was housed in a dorm with five other girls and we never saw any of the others. Everything went back to normal, except now we have to see the doctors weekly for... treatments.

The unintended consequence of the poisoning was it affect how much blood we produced. I don't know if this is because of how we heal, but it had long lasting effects. We were told eventually we'd go back to normal. Until then they would have to take our blood. I'm fairly certain that it was really the rebels who poisoned us originally, but I am not convinced that the Fylakas didn't continue to give it to us at a lower dose. I know a lot about herbs now and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

Over the next year there were more incidents. These were more direct. The dorm where I was living was hit and one of the girls living with me was killed right in front of me. I hid while she was slaughtered. I don't know how I stayed quiet the whole time I watched the light dim from her eyes.

I survived. Things didn't really get better after that.
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Calena
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, it was a bit of a lie to say that things did not get better. There were some things that happened which were wonderful. Like when I was sixteen I was placed with a family that drew me in with open arms and made me their own. Their gratitude wasn't just because they had two Taker sons who both got accepted into the military academy in exchange for keeping me. They were just genuinely nice people.

It was bittersweet, though. I wasn't supposed to overhear the conversation between my previous handlers and the doctors. I wasn't supposed to know the problem with my blood wasn't likely going to ever get fixed. It made it so we were less useful than those who hadn't been tainted. Tainted. What a waste, they said. They hoped that over time we'd get better, but if not...?

I knew what that meant. I'm not stupid. I'm not as naive as some might think. There was a finality there that told me my days were numbered.

After a few months with my new family I started to lose my hyper-vigilance. They lived on the outskirts of one of the larger villages in the southern province. I was originally from the north, near the mountains. This was near the old river where in the spring season water still ran freely. It was only a trickle about two paces across and less than knee deep, but it was more water than I had ever seen in one place. There were the deep caves that were closely guarded where supposedly there was huge deep pools, but they were obviously restricted.

It wasn't at all unusual for a family to adopt a distant "cousin", especially those in the more prosperous areas like this. There was no need for a story to tell, because people just wouldn't ask for details. Most families in these parts of the world knew losses.

My new father worked at the wells. He was an engineer of sorts and very smart. His job meant they could have a large family. Two boys, one older than I, one my age, and a girl a couple years younger. Taking me in wasn't much of a stretch, especially with my new brothers heading off to the academy. I never got to know them well. My sister had a talent for fabrics and had an apprenticeship with a seamstress. She didn't like me much.

By the time I lived with this new family I had lost all but glimpses of my blood family. If you ask me today about my mother I would tell you about Seda, the woman who pet my hair for an hour when a boy I liked rejected me. Who taught me the herbs for women and how to birth babies. Seda the midwife who taught me her trade and never treated me like we didn't share the same blood. Not the woman whose face I can barely picture and whose name I cannot even recall.

Speaking of names... I did not have one for most of my life. At the center they took our names and gave us numbers. We gave each other nicknames, but we would get punished for using them. I could not remember what I was called on my name-day, so my new family let me pick one.

Calena. It is mine.
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