Staring out, the world looked bleak; winter was upon us and so far showed no sign of mercy. My skin prickled ashundreds ofminute white flakesskirted about, melting on contact on my warm body.Theonly protection against the harsharctic temperatures was athin tattered shirt and a pair of worn blue jeans, attirevery inappropriate for such unfavorable conditions that seemed to plague us these nights of late. Iforced myself through the battering winds towards what used to be home; there was little to nothing left aside from the remains of aonce prosperous village. I cringed at the memory of my former home; it had once been gorgeous, foliage of all kinds sprouting about in every corner, the sky shades of colors that you wouldn't even have imagined possible.
My house was one of the larger in the area, housing six growing kids and the mayor of our little town, not to mention our mother. Being the oldest of the children, all the responsibilities of taking care of my younger siblings fell on me. Soon my temperament adjusted to the constant cries and arguments of those in my care; I was no longer quick to anger and heard out each and every issue thinking everything through. As my brother, only two years younger than me, grew to be a young man at the age of sixteen, my father relieved my responsibilities and gave them to him. As for me, that wasn't the break I'd been expecting. No, as the mayor's oldest, I was to study with my father. Some would protest that a woman is not to be in such a place of power, even as limited power it is. My father thought otherwise, he was training me to take his stead.
I soon grew distant from my siblings as my father began to separate me from them, as he began to raise me a different daughter. My brother grew to resent me, hating me for taking the limelight from him. Everyone thought that he would be the one to take over for my father, being the oldest boy. When his succession was announced, shock rang throughout our little town. "No. Not Mia." "She's not even grown." "She's way too young." "She's a woman, no not even a woman, a girl." This is what I heard for the first few months. Finally, my father stepped down and let me take full control while he was still able to observe and recommend, and mend in the case of failure. Low and behold, failure never comes when you want it to; it has it's own schedule. Pulling me out of my memories,a cool hand rested on my shoulder and I turned around, knowing all too well who it was. "Kiam." I let out a sigh of relief, glad that he'd managed to sneak away. Lately his father had been so keen on keeping him indoors, out of the unforgiving weather. I wrapped my arms around him and held him close, grateful for his warmth and comfort in this time of need.
Somehow, his eyes always seemed to have a certain gleam to them, almost like diamonds in the night. "Thanks for coming; I know it's hard for you to get away." I smiled to myself, still wrapped up in his arms.
He pulled me away from him, "It's not a problem, you're worth it." He smiled at me and then looked away. "Kiam, what is it?" I knew that look; he was hiding something.
"My father thinks that you're the reason for the current conditions of the weather. He thinks it's a bad omen to have a woman in control." His eyes would not meet mine, and that bothered me.
"You don't believe that, do you?" I knew he didn't, but I wanted him to say it. I wanted him to look at me.
"Mia, of course I don't." He sighed and continued, "He told me that I wasn't to see you anymore. He told me that you were bad luck to any that had contact with you."
"Well that's silly. That's like saying all the people of my town are cursed because of me. If that were the case, it wouldn't be the entire region suffering from this terrible weather." My heart was racing. I'd just gotten over this not a year ago in my own home, now it was coming back. In the event of my father's death, I'd taken over and kept the town together. And they were questioning me. It didn't make any sense.
"Mi, I know it is. I know. You're a strong woman, I know that." He smiled, bending down to kiss me. Suddenly, Kiam withdrew a small box from his pocket and slipped a ring out of it, placing it on my finger. "Marry me?" He looked expectantly at me, worry etched on his face.
"Kiam…." I didn't know what to say. I smiled at him and said, "You know I want to, but is this really the right time?"
"Mia, this is the perfect time. My father plans to set a raid on your entire town and kill all of you. I won't give you up. If you're married, and have a man 'in charge,' maybe he'll back off." He took my hand and squeezed it, "Not to mention I love you. Besides, you'll still be in charge, I'll just be the public face." He let out a soft laugh, knowingall to well I'dsay yes.