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Lost Years
by Alyssa


I don't know you. Not really. I can remember you when you were small, just a little babbling shape with pink hair and our mother's eyes. I can see you now, a tall graceful young woman versed in politics and all the ways of royal etiquette.

We shared a bedroom and a nanny once. We shared an adventure, a destiny. We share blood. We share eyes. We share a kingdom now, and we share a throne.

And I don't know you.

I know how you'd act if I told you that. You'd tip your head to one side, knit your brows slightly, purse your lips into an elegant frown. You'd stare at me, as if you could divine my meaning from my eyes. I know you well enough to understand that. I know the sound of your voice, the lines of your face. I know that you're kind and selfless to a nearly suicidal point, that you would give and give and give of yourself until it killed you, without ever paying attention to your own needs. I know all these things. But I don't know *you*.

I was only two when I was lost, you know. Only two when the water robbed me of one life and gave me another. I was barely saying my first words when you were born. I don't even remember that precious fragment of shared childhood very well...

What I mean to say is that I lived eighteen years not even remembering that I had a sister.

I never got to see you take your first steps or say your first words. I wasn't there for you when our mother died. I never got to see all the little things that made you Lenna.

Did Father take you out on the Hiryuu when you could walk and speak? Did you sit in his lap, and did he hold you all the tighter for fear that he would lose you to the same waves that took me? I think he did. Did you remember me then? Did he tell you about me?

I wish I could have been there. I would have sat in Father's lap and held you tight, and I'd have laughed when Father told me to be careful. "Nothing will happen," I would have said. "I won't let her fall."

It's a horrible thing, you know, returning to the life you were born to and feeling like an outsider. You grew up in the castle, and you are perfectly suited to every stone. I grew up on the sea, with salt on my skin and wind in my hair. Years in the waves and the sun have darkened me so I feel like a foreigner in this land of pale thin exquisite faces. My hands have calluses from work on the ship. I grew up a pirate and I don't feel like a princess at all. Sometimes I forget to answer to the name Sarisa, I've been Faris for so long.

It was not an unhappy life I led. I enjoyed it. But if I could trade all those years on the ocean for years in the castle watching you grow up, I wonder if I wouldn't abandon the sea.


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