Prologue: A River Meeting
"Robin! Look! Look what I got!" called my sister. I looked up from my book of magic spells and flinched at her appearance. My sister's long silver hair that reached her lower back was an absolute mess with twigs and leaves sticking out all over the place. Her white summer dress was practically caked in mud and her arms were covered with a thin layer of dirt. In her hands was a small rat. I wordlessly stared at her with my jaw slightly slacked as she smiled brightly and held the rat toward me. "I caught a mouse!"
"R-Ravina," I began, my voice sounding hoarse, "Mother would scream if she saw you holding a rat."
Ravina huffed and dumped the poor rat on my lap. I panicked when the rat squeaked. I dropped my book of spells on the floor and picked him up gently, caressing him. I glared at my sister who smiled at me. "It's not a rat! It's a mouse!"
I sighed heavily, feeling a headache coming on. "Ravina, I don't care if it's a mouse or rat. You're a mess!"
"But, Robin!" Ravina begged. I shook my head, turning to the window behind me from my hard bed. I placed the mouse on the window sill. My joints ached as I struggled to open the window. Ravina sighed in defeat and climbed on to my bed to help me. With her help, the window flew open and the mouse leapt out in fright. We watched the mouse land into the grass and run off. Ravina pouted and rested her chin on the windowsill.
"Aw, Robin...there goes my whole morning!" she complained. I chuckled softly and took her arm. She followed me as I dragged her off my bed.
"Come on, Ravina," I said as we headed to the door of my room. "I don't want Mother to catch you like this. She's gonna be maaaaaad. Really mad."
Ravina looked over herself for a moment and laughed nervously, but I wasn't fast enough. The door was suddenly opened just as I reached the door knob. There, standing before me, was a beautiful woman with long silky, silver hair. Her big purple coat danced around her ankles with momentum when she paused at the door. Her dark green eyes were wide with surprise, but it quickly melted into confusion.
"What in Naga's name?! Ravina! Why are you so dirty?!" she demanded as she knelt to her knees and ran a hand through my sister's hair. Ravina scowled (very unlady-like) as she tried to squirm away from my grasp. I tightened my grip on her as I spoke up to my mother.
"Sorry, Mother, but don't worry! I'll take her to the river to clean her up." I said, my voice strained as I tugged my sister. Ravina glanced at me with blinking eyes as our mother frowned.
"Robin," she began, her tone lowering slightly, "Absolutely not. You're going back to bed and staying there until your voice comes back."
My eyes widened in dread. "But, Mother, I haven't been outside for a while!"
"Please, Mother! It's been boring without Robin!" Ravina added, dashing in a bit of desperation in her voice.
Mother sighed heavily as Ravina begged with me. Our consistent, high pitched voices seemed to aggravate her enough into agreeing. With a sigh of defeat, she managed a smile and patted us both on the head with a gentle, warm hand.
"Oh, fine. But I expect you both to be back before sundown. And Ravina, be careful with your brother." she told us sternly. I wanted to roll my eyes, and I could tell Ravina wanted to do the same thing. Nevertheless, both Ravina and I nodded quickly and we ran out the door. Ravina stopped by her room and quickly grabbed some extra clothes. I waited patiently for her, wondering if I could actually make the trip down to the river. My knees were already shaking from just the short walk. Something icky felt stuck at the bottom of my throat and gave me urges to cough, but I knew if I started, it wouldn't stop.
I hated this. I was the older brother, and yet my sister was the one doing everything while I sat around and did nothing but read. I was the one who was supposed to be learning how to wield a sword, not my sister! But, my body couldn't handle the training exercises. I couldn't do anything.
"Robin, I'm ready!" Ravina said as she popped out of her room with a small shoulder bag. I smiled and allowed her to take my hand as we began to leave the house. Mother was standing at the entrance as we left, reminding us to be careful and to come home on time.
Ravina kept us walking at an easy pace that I could keep up, following the dirt road to the river bank. I took the time to take in my surroundings. The trees were tall and rich. The air was refreshing and lifted my mood a little.
Ever since we moved into that small house, I wasn't able to look around. Ravina had told me about the forest surrounding us. She would bring home either a flower or a fruit so that I could have it. I wasn't very fond of flowers, but I learned to love them for the sake of making her smile. There were other kids in the closest village that was only a twenty minute walk, but she didn't bother to befriend them. I asked her why one day and she gave me a pretty blunt answer.
"They hate Plegians, so I didn't want to play with them. Besides, you're better to be around."
I honestly doubted that. After all, all I ever did was sleep, eat, read, and repeat the process. Yup, I just called myself boring. But then I guess, it was better to be with boring kids than kids that hate you. It didn't take us long to reach the river. It was only a good ten minute walk.
Ravina made me sit close enough to touch the water but refused to let me get any closer. Not that I minded. The grass was soft and lush underneath me. I held her small shoulder bag as she slipped into the river and splashed some water on her face. The water turned brown around her, but was quickly swept away. Soon, her silver hair shined in the warm sunlight. Her skin became her natural tan, giving her a healthy glow. Even her summer dress cleared up a little.
I smiled at her as she dove under and resurfaced a couple of seconds later. I looked into the water to see my own watery reflection staring back at me. My skin was pale; as if I hadn't seen the sun in days (which was, in fact, true). My dark green eyes showed a little life, but were still a bit dull (I blame the ever growing fever I had). Just like my sister and Mother, my hair was silver, maybe even a little lighter (if it was possible), but of course, shorter; still a little long for a boy, but it was still shorter. I wore a white ranch shirt with a pair of brown shorts. It was slightly big, but anything for my small stature was big anyway.
Oh, right. I'm sorry. I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Robin. I'm ten years old and I have a twin sister named Ravina. We look absolutely identical, so our Mother made sure to always trim my hair to tell the difference. It wasn't that hard to see the difference. I mean, I was a boy and Ravina was a girl. See? Not hard.
Anyway, one would think that Ravina and I would be alike in so many things, but it wasn't true. Even though I was older by a good ten minutes, I wasn't the one who took care of everything. Heck, I don't even get to do the half of it. Ravina was born stronger than me. She could easily catch on and was energetic enough to handle most things. But, I, on the other hand, was different.
Our Father was once a King of a kingdom that many feared. As first-born, I was heir to the throne. But, Father wanted me to be more. He was training me to wield a magic that constantly drained me of my energy. It felt as if it was trying to turn me inside out. My body couldn't stand the continuous strain from training to magic day after day. But, one day, after something pretty bad happened to me (I can't remember what exactly), Mother took us both away. She somehow got us into the country of Ylisse and hid us in an abandoned home in the forest closest to the main city of the kingdom.
I later learned that I was sick. Really sick. I had no idea why, but I just was. Mother told me I wasn't meant to be born ill, but there was nothing that we could do about it now. Everyone said I was dying. There was nothing that could stop it. But Mother believed that I can get better. Ravina, too. Which was probably why I love them so much.
"Hey, Robin!" Ravina's voice brought me out of my thoughts and I gave her a questioning look as she waddled out of the water. I cleared my throat and raised a hand to block the sun out of my eyes.
"Are you done?" I asked her. She wrung the water out of her hair with a bright smile. She was thoroughly soaked and I just realized that I forgot to grab a towel before we left. I bit the back of my lip and gave her a worried look. "I forgot to bring you a towel."
Ravina tilted her head in surprise. "Um, of course, you would. Robin, you weren't even going to get wet."
I shrugged as she plopped right next to me in the lush patch of grass. We sat there in silence, basking in the warm sunlight. I really didn't want this moment to end. I just wanted to stay here with Ravina, enjoying the gentle sounds of the river flowing and the high-pitched chirps of the birds around us; where there was no war, no hatred between countries, and anger. I felt Ravina rest her still wet head on my shoulder. I glanced at her and saw a smile on her face.
"I wonder how things could've been if we were a happy family." she said. I only hummed in wonder as I allowed myself to think about it. It made my back shiver at the thought of my father being a nice person. Him? Nice? Nope. That would be down right, dead creepy. But when I really thought about it, it really would've been nice. Mother wouldn't be distressed right now if things actually went well.
I placed a hand on Ravina's hair and began to comb it. Small clumps of hair were jumbled together and I used my hand to smoothen them out. The gentle breeze that flew by sped up the drying time and soon it was dry enough to change clothes. I wordlessly handed her the shoulder bag. She took it.
"I'll be right back so don't go anywhere." she said as she got up. I rolled my eyes and rested my hands behind me, leaning on them as I tilted my head back.
"As if I could go far." I said, offering her a small smile. She huffed in amusement before disappearing in the dense forest. I took the opportunity to dip my hand into the water. It was cold to the touch and felt very refreshing. I played with the water, swishing my hand back and forth against the current. A small fish swam through my fingers, surprising me. I kept my hand still and watched as the fish turned around and did it again. I blinked.
"Is this fish having fun?" I asked out loud to no one in particular. I messed around with the fish by moving my hand around a couple of times. I laughed softly as the fish followed my hand. "You're having fun, aren't you?"
"What are you doing?" came an unfamiliar voice. I gasped and yanked my hand out of the water (the poor fish shot away in shock) and snapped my head in the general direction of the voice. There, on the other side of the river, stood a boy with dark blue hair and matching eyes. He wore a dark blue, long-sleeved shirt that was folded to his elbows and matching shorts. His skin was peachier than mine, obviously stating that he's been in the sun many times. His boots were past his ankles and it made me wonder what in the world he was wearing. It seemed fancier than normal things. His hands were at his hip as he stared at me in wonder.
"Hey, what were you doing?" he called out to me. I rubbed my wet hand against my shorts to get it dry as I smiled hesitantly. I cleared my throat as best I could.
"I-I was just waiting for someone." I called out. By the confused look on his face, I could tell he hadn't heard me.
"What? I can't hear you! I think the river's too loud!" he said. I frowned at his answer and just shook my head. As if I could actually yell right now. I'd kill my throat.
The boy dropped his hands and looked around. I watched him as he pointed further downstream, noting the stepping-stones not too far away. He turned back to me and called out again.
"Hey, wait for me okay? I'll meet you there!" he said. I could only blink in response as the other boy ran downstream to the stepping-stones. He practically hopped like a rabbit across the smooth stones and managed to not slip. I was impressed. The boy was a little better than Ravina. I stood up wobbly as he made his way past the ferns to get to me. My knees shook slightly from the sudden movement, making me curse at my weakness. I was able to stand up when the boy reached me. He had a bright smile on his face as he scratched the back of his head.
"Hi! I couldn't help but notice you were by yourself." he said. I started at him with slightly wide eyes. I felt really uncomfortable with him talking to me. Especially, since he was taller than me by a good five inches. "And I was wondering if you were lost."
I bit the back of my lip as I took a small step back. The boy before me noticed and held up both of his hands; as if to say that he wasn't dangerous. "Whoa, wait! I'm not going to hurt you! I just want to help."
Mother had told me several times before that the eyes of a person are the window to their soul. With that in mind, I stared into his eyes and I only saw concern. He was genuinely concerned. Surprised, I felt myself loosen up. I didn't even know I tensed up. I offered a smile.
"Hi." was all I said. The boy before me went back into his bright smile and offered a hand toward me.
"I'm Chrom. You are?"
I was about to answer, but then I heard a twig snap in the forest. Apparently, the boy, Chrom, heard it, too, since he quickly grabbed my arm and pulled me behind him to shield me.
"Stay behind me!" he whispered in my ear. I gave him a weird look as he tensed. I stood there calmly as my sister popped out from behind a bush with a happy smile. Her white summer dress was changed to a worn red tank top, a chocolate knee-length skirt, and a pair of boots she usually uses for traveling.
"Robin, I'm ba-Hey, step away from my brother!" she snapped as she caught sight of Chrom. Chrom's eyes widened quite suddenly as he turned to look at me with surprise.
"You're a boy?!" he gasped. I would've back-handed him in annoyance if I hadn't noticed Ravina. I quickly side-stepped when my sister dropped her bag and ran to the bank with a "battle cry".
"YE-HAAAH!" I watched as she shoved Chrom into the river, completely catching him off-guard.
"WHA!" Chrom cried as he landed on his rear in the water. Water splashed all over him, soaking him pretty well.
"Ah." Was all I could say as Ravina punched the air in triumph. She pointed at Chrom with an accusing finger.
"That's what you get for hurting my brother!" she said. I raised a hand at Ravina.
"Ravina-" I was cut off by Chrom's spluttering.
"Hurting her? I didn't hurt her-" his eyes widened when he finally realized him mistake. Ravina glared at him dangerously and quickly corrected himself. "I-I mean, HIM. Him! I didn't hurt him! I was just-"
Ravina was quick to cut him off. "Just what? Thought you could help a little 'damsel' in distress?" I scowled at Ravina and she made sure to not look at me the whole time. "Hah! As if! I know Robin can look like a girl and the perfect target," (I face palmed here and grumbled under my breath, "Oh, Naga, someone stop her...") "But he's perfectly capable of burning down a whole forest by himself!"
"Ravina," I began with my voice heavy with irritation, catching both of their attentions as I pinched the bridge of my nose. "You just said that I'm a really bad person."
Ravina's eyes widened. "Oh! Oops! I-I mean...He's capable of talking to animals!"
...She made me sound like a stupid fairy tale princess. Chrom gave her a look that clearly said, "What in Naga's name...?" I couldn't help but agree with him as I shook my head. Sometimes, just sometimes, my sister could be such an embarrassing mess, but I still loved her because of it. It made my life less dull. Sighing, I took a step into the water and held a hand to him.
"Sorry about that, Chrom. My sister is just protective over me." I apologized as I glance at my sister, who was pointedly looking away in embarrassment. Chrom took my hand and I practically used all my strength just to help him up. Chrom frowned as he warily looked at my sister.
"Make that really overprotective." He said. We both shared a glance and laughed. Ravina glared at us both as she crossed her arms.
"Hey, I was just protecting my brother from strangers!" Ravina said, defending herself, as she flushed red. Chrom reached over and patted her head.
"Wish I was kind of like you." he said with a small smile. Ravina pushed his hand away with a pout.
"Oh, you don't wanna be like me!" she snapped. I sighed and stepped out of the river, taking my sister's hand into mine.
"Ravina, we should go." I said, my voice already straining. She gave me a look before turning away from Chrom and dragging me with her.
Both of us paused and turned to look at Chrom. He seemed to be taken aback by our actions, but he recovered rather quickly. "I'm sorry, but I didn't mean to offend either of you!"
Ravina bent down to pick up her bag on the grass and slipped it on. She looked over to Chrome with a small smile. "It's fine, Chrom." I nodded in agreement with her. Chrom smiled.
"Then can I get your names? I don't want to be rude." he quickly added. I shared a smile with Ravina and she nodded. I pointed to myself.
"I'm Robin," I said. I gestured to my sister, "and this is Ravina. We're twins."
"Robin...Ravina..." he said as if he was testing our names on his tongue. A different kind of smile appeared on his face. It was friendly and I suddenly felt as if I could trust him. Just by looking at the expression on Ravina's face, I could tell she felt the same way.
"Hey, Robin," Chrom called. I hummed in acknowledgement as Ravina clutched my hand a little tighter. My throat itched and my knees were practically knocking into each other. I was pretty sure that Chrom noticed with his constant worried looks.
"Sorry, that I called you a girl." he apologized. I gave him a long stare before shaking my head with a smile. I cleared my throat.
"I-it's fine, Chrom." I managed to say. Ravina tugged my hand and turned to Chrom.
"Well, it was nice meeting you and all, but we have to go. Mother would be wondering where we are." she said. Chrom nodded in understanding.
"Uhm, will I ever see you guys again? Here at this river?" he asked. Ravina looked conflicted for a moment, but she answered him.
"Ah...Maybe. We might be leaving soon, but I can try to stall our mother. She might say no, though." she said. Chom's shoulders fell slightly.
"Soon? Hmm. Well, if I don't get to see you guys again, then I wish you guys luck!" Chrom said. With a nod of gratitude, we turned to leave but Ravina stopped for a second. She glanced over her shoulder. Chrom was already on his way back to the stepping-stones. I sighed.
"Ravina, just say it." I told her. She gave me a smile and shook her head.
"Nah, I can apologize to him the next time I see him. You know what Mother told us? Have something to look forward to. Right?" she asked me. I shrugged with a smile.
"Well, I guess we have to see him again." I said. As Ravina began to lead the way back to our temporary home, I couldn't help but feel like I would meet him again. Little did I realize, that my world that just consisted of my sister and Mother, began to crumble away.