Lynna sat by the sea, nestled comfortably in the sand. The low moon cast an eerie translucent glow about the water, and the rich sea smells floated pleasantly in the night air. All was quiet, save for the near-silent rhythm or the girl's breathing. Wriggling her toes slightly, Lynna delighted in the feel of the grainy substance against her skin, and a contented sigh passed her lips.

From behind her, some fifty metres away, she heard a shout. A deep, yet soothing sound echoed against the silent night. "Lynna!" it shouted, getting closer by the second.

A warm smile came to the girl's lips, and she responded softly. "Kayle?"

The voice was, indeed, Kayle's. Her brother's.

Slowly, reluctantly, Lynna got to her feet and turned to face the oncoming sound. Her eyes met those of her older brother, taller than her in stature, and clad in ebon.

"Lynna," he panted. Clearly, he had been running. "Dinner's ready, and mother's going frantic; she thinks you're lost again."

Running an idle hand through her hair, the girls shook her head exasperatedly. "I told her I'd be here, by the ocean, and that she needn't worry."

Kayle chuckled slightly, balancing the crook of his elbow on the hilt of the sword fastened about his waist. "Oh, Lynna…you are strange." He frowned, clicking his tongue quietly. "Why do you insist on being out here, alone, and in the dark?"

Lynna's brow rose, and she opened her mouth to begin to explain, but she knew her brother wouldn't understand, so she simply shook her head. "No matter, Kayle, let's just go home."

After trudging the five minute walk back to the village, Kayle and Lynna appeared at their front door. The house itself was crudely made, for neither their mother nor father had the funds to afford anything better. Inside, however, the atmosphere was cosy, relaxed, and inviting. At the far end of the room sat her father's chair, complete with a side-table that housed his favourite beverage – brandy. He greeted them with a warm smile, waving them both in.

"Lynna," he began, "your mother's been worried sick." He chuckled, lowering his voice ever-so slightly. "Nothing changes, eh?" With his last comment, he winked and took another swig of his brandy.

Her father wasn't the cleverest of men, neither was he the best-looking, but she loved him more than any other human in the world, save for her brother.

A slightly-podgy woman appeared from the kitchen, brandishing a wooden spoon before her. "Lynna! There you are!" she exclaimed, setting the spoon down on the large, oaken dining table. "Dinner's ready, dear, come and help me serve?"

Nodding, Lynna made her way over to her mother, and followed her into the kitchen.

A sudden thought hit the girl, and she regarded the woman curiously. "Is Hally coming back for dinner tonight, Ma?"

"Huh?" the woman responded, pouring some kind of stew into four bowls. "No, dear, she's not. She's working late with the Master again."

Hallerai was Lynna's sister; the eldest of the Rosenthal children, and the most successful to date. She, like her grandmother had been, was a high servant of the village Master, helping him in every aspect of his high-powered life. Her title wasn't much, but she held more influence over the Master than many dared to believe possible. Kayle wasn't particularly insignificant either, though, for he was an Advanced Apprentice (AA) to the Fighters Guild. Warriors of all different calibres trained there, from the youngest Underlings, to the most powerful and adept soldiers – the King's Champions. Kayle's rank was of high significance, as he was a mere two levels of become a qualified Guard. In fact, overall, Lynna was the sibling of least importance, at least in the eyes of the state anyway.

Lynna plopped the bowls on the table, rather haphazardly, and took her seat next to her brother. Silence followed, save for the clash of metal on china as knives and forks hit plates. Slow off the mark, Lynna's father looked onto his family, brow furrowed.

"When is Hal coming back, dear?" he asked slowly, looking to his wife.

Lynna's mother shot her father a fell scowl, shaking her head ever-so slightly. Both children looked to each other, then to their parents.

"What?" they chorused.

Kayle's hand was tapping idly at the table now, and his mother hissed, "Stop that, Kayle."

He shook his head, and Lynna looked on in trepidation.

"Stop, Kay," she whispered; her voice so low that she could barely hear.

Lynna tensed, she knew what was to come. Her brother was not the most mild-tempered of people, and being told to do something only riled him up further. Chewing nervously at her lower lip, she looked onto her father, hoping for him to intervene. He was, however, looking to his wife, brow dipped in a disapproving frown.

"Dear," he began, almost pleading with the woman, "They need to know…"

"No," Lynna's mother hissed furiously, "They don't"

"We do!" Kayle shouted, banging his fist angrily onto the table afore him. "Stop treating us like children, mother!" he yelled, rising to his feet, eyes ablaze with a livid rage, "Stop hiding things from us! We're not babies, we can take it! For Kalan's sake, tell us!"

Always, Lynna's mother hid things from her children, thinking it was protecting them, for she loved them more than life itself, and she could not bare the thought of any of them being hurt. This time, however, she had gone one step too far.

Kayle's outburst caused a shocked silence to reverberate about the room, only to be broken by the sound of Lynna's mother's sobs.

"Lynna," she spluttered, "Go upstairs…your brother, father, and I need to talk."

Lynna scowled, she had been on her mother's side trying to calm Kayle, and this is how she repaid her? Lynna wasn't having any of it, so she folded her arms across her chest, and stated simply, "No."

To her surprise, it was her father who spoke up next, his voice low and serious. "Go, Lynna…"

Shocked, Lynna complied. Only once had she heard her father's tone akin to that, and that was when they were informed of her grandmother's death.

Her bedroom was small and cramped, but Lynna liked it. She had covered the walls in paintings of various sights, mainly ones of the sea and the like. In the corner was a small table, housing rough notes: her school work. Makeshift coasters adorned the table too, simple pieces of paper folded into small squares were now tea-stained, and in dire need of replacing.

Lynna plopped onto her bed, fuming. She thrust her pillow angrily into the wall, and glared at the door. Why was she always the one excluded? Was it because she had no job, or maybe that she was useless compared to her brother and sister? Either way, it definitely wasn't fair…

Her thoughts were interrupted by the slamming of the house door, followed closely by the liberal sobs of her mother. Creeping to her door, the girl peered downstairs, and squinted. She could only make out the vague silhouettes of her parents, but she was sure her father had his arm around her mother's shoulders. She could hear his voice, too, but it was too low for Lynna to make out audible words. A soft muttering of her mother followed what seemed to be comforting words from her father, and they both began walking towards the stairs.

In two minds, Lynna contemplated just standing there, demanding an explanation. As her mother came into view, however, she could make out the shimmering of her eyes, and her tear-sodden cheeks. So, slowly and reluctantly, Lynna pulled back into her room and took back her position on her bed, nestled comfortably with her back against the headboard. Still now, her mind raced. What had they told Kayle to get him to leave the house at this time in the evening? Why hadn't they told her, Lynna? Why was her mother crying? Why was her father so solemn? Even with her mind full of buzzing thoughts, Lynna's eyes fell shut, and consciousness gradually slipped from her grasp.