It was a chilly night as the door of the hostel swung open. The owner glanced over, smiling brightly as two girls walked in. A tall-looking woman beside a younger child stepped through the doorway, removing their hoods from their colorful assorted clothing. The child looked worn from her travels, sleep claiming her as she rubbed at her eyes. The taller one wrapped her arms around her protectively, leading them closer to the owner. Both of the girls shared the same color of eyes, dark hazel with gold flakes. The owner was sure they were sisters just based on their similar looks and how close they were.
“Evening ladies, what brings you here tonight?”
The taller sister stepped out in front, reaching into a small bag hanging from her hip. The sound of coins clinking together could be heard as she pulled a smaller coin pouch out. Placing it on the table, the girl spoke.
“Just a bed for me and my sister to share. Anything will do.”
Her voice was melodic yet cold. The distrust was palpable to the owner, a tone she was well acquainted with. Anyone walking into a hostel late at night regardless of their appearance always had a story to share, if not a past they were running from. It wasn’t always that way since most people spent their time travelling and seeking adventure. Something about the way the older sister held herself said otherwise, yet who was the owner to judge?
“How many nights will you be staying?”
The lady glanced back at her sister, hesitating a moment. “For the time being, a few nights. We’ve travelled a long way and may need a night or two to recover.”
The owner nodded, taking up her pen to write in her ledger. “Alright. What name shall I put you down as?”
Absently she replied to the owner, hinting she had used this alias several times before.
With a welcoming smile, she led them into the back. The small hall turned into a larger room with several bunks lining the room. Each bunk had a storage chest attached to the top and bottom, along with a lock. The owner showed them the farthest back bunk, grabbing at the large ring of keys in her pocket. Pulling off the number to the bunk, she handed it to the eldest sister.
“Take the top, I hope it will give you comfort and safety.”
Drina’s serious face relaxed, giving the owner a relieved smile. Mouthing the words “Thank you” she helped lift her sister up to climb into the bed to sleep. The owner stepped away, heading towards the front once one before Drina stopped her.
“Um.. sorry what was your name ma’am?”
The owner turned back, the same friendly smile on her face. “Luludja, but please, just call me Lulu.”
Drina nodded, brushing her raven hair out of her face and behind her ear. It was a nervous habit, Lulu could tell. Turning she gave her space, leaving Drina with her sister. The room was quiet since most of the renters were already asleep or still out enjoying the night. Drina twirled the key in her hand a bit looking at the chest. She knew in places like this that the chances of a thief were limited, yet her trust issues didn’t allow for her to place anything within it. She pocketed the key, climbing up beside her already dozing-off sister. Maybe the several days of travel were too much for her. Leaning against the wall, her sister shuffled to cuddle in close to her side allowing them both to get comfortable. Drina brushed her sister’s hair off her face and shoulders, scanning around the room as she did.
“Lana,” her sister’s groggy voice in a barely audible voice pulled her attention back to her. “Are we going to actually stay here a few nights?”
Drina shushed her, “Remember Jeta, call me Drina. We mustn’t let anyone know our true names. I taught you this a while ago.”
“Do I really need to go by Ocan?”
Ocan rubbed at her eyes, fighting to stay awake by her sister. Petting at her head, she offered a warm smile. After all her teachings, she still had so much to learn. A name was a deadly thing to give away, especially with all the power she might have once she unlocked it. It was their bloodline, and Drina was well aware of what consequences awaited them. It took constant concentration to conceal her abilities and locking her gift away drained her. Yet in all it’s tiresome effort, it was worth it. She couldn’t risk the dangers for her or her sister. All Drina could do was hope to teach Ocan how to control her emotions and pick up some of the teachings.
“Yeah, I promise there is a reason. Now go to sleep.”
It didn’t take her much convincing before Ocan’s fully drifted off. Drina sighed heavily. Now if only she could follow suit. A few of the beds around them were still empty, giving Drina hope that maybe she could give in a little and feel safe enough to drop her guard just a little. Being constantly alert, it made her always feel uneasy. The hostel did give off a sense of peace though, as Drina continued to watch several others in the room. It was then that several footsteps could be heard from the small hall. Drina tensed a moment, seeing people entering into the building. Several looked like they had been partying in the nearby pubs, while others were dressed up in fancy duds. It was odd how respectfully quiet they had been entering and finding their way to the beds. Quite often in the past hostels, they could get loud and rowdy.
Without waking Ocan, Drina readjusted herself to reach into her bag. Pulling out her folding fan, she began to fiddle with it. It brought her comfort holding it, the black wooden guard carved with intricate roses and the inside decorated with constellations, their signs each with brightly burning stars within them. A small beaded It was her mothers, passed down to her when she passed. Drina still didn’t know the truth behind her death, but it led to their now constant running. She couldn’t trust the household she lived with, the constant feeling of fear and deceit around each and every person. Closing her eyes for a moment, she poured her thoughts into the fan. Hoping for the outcome to be a good one, she rolled her fingers over the flowers before flicking it open. Several whispers called out at her in a slurry, filling Drina with concern. Opening her eyes, she was drawn to the door instead of the result showing in her fan.
There at the entrance to the room of bunk beds was a woman. Blond hair that shimmered with the light, violet eyes as deep as the night sky, and a smile that made anyone’s temperature rise. She was wearing loose clothing, wrapped with dark colors around her hip and torso. It was tight enough to show off her curves in all the right places. Time paused in Drina’s world as she stopped for a moment to connect with her eyes. The pit of her stomach flipped. Emotions began to stir within Drina, her control slipping as the whispers grew. Dropping her eyes in a hurry from the woman, she looked to her fan. In the dead middle of the slips open was Cygnus the swan. Snapping her fan closed, Drina felt her heart pounding. Maybe telling the future when everyone was still up and about was a mistake. Opening the fan fully, she glanced at all the rest of the constellations. Why out of all of them did it have to be Cygnus? Glancing back up, she caught the woman’s eyes once more. She had moved to the right side of the room, opening her chest to take out clothes to change into.
Drina absently fanned herself, biting at her lip. The whispers are ever still present, reminding her to gain control over them once more. Breaking eye contact once again, Drina looked down at Ocan. She was the reason why she needed to guard herself. Indulging in a fling no matter how tempting it was didn’t matter as much as her sister did. It was an internal battle she fought with her powers that was almost disorienting when the pressure of the whispering stopped suddenly.
“Hey, sorry to bother you. I just couldn’t help noticing you when I got in.”
Drina’s heart jumped, turning to face the woman now up close. She stood by the foot of the bunk, her beauty even more magnificent up close. The woman’s eyes caught the head of Ocan, causing her to break her smile with a shock.
“Oh.. sorry I thought you were alone.”
With a quick reply, Drina spoke with a quiet voice. “No, it’s alright. It’s my sister. We had a long journey today and passed out right away.”
The smile returned hopeful to the woman while she took a step closer.
“I see, where from?”
It was hard to resist how stunning this woman was. Drina watched her playful smile stare up at her, stirring a fire within her. How was she going to answer her? Castromnia was a large country with five regions: Ellstria, Scion, Bablalion, Vercian and Gasfriac. Both the Scion and Gasfriac regions were at war while the other three stayed neutral, however, refugees were not so easily welcomed from either region. Drina was cautious, knowing that giving away her travels may cause concern if not distrust, especially since her kin were travellers to begin with. With a quick lie, she offered a grin.
“We came from West Vercian, near the lakes of Laruia.”
The woman brightened, taking another step closer towards the head of the bunk. Her hand crept ever closer towards her knee, sending shivers throughout Drina the moment her hand connected with her.
“Vercian! That’s quite far from home. What brought you here to Ellstria?”
Drina’s control was slipping, her emotions out of control as her breathing picked up. She needed to calm down, yet this seductive dish in front of her made her mouth water. Not to mention her travelling hand had made its way from her knee up her thigh. Clearing her throat, Drina’s eyes wandered from her face down her neckline and continued on past her chest and hips. Flicking her eyes back to the woman’s eyes, she licked her top lip.
“I hear the sights here are spectacular. Although, we are just passing through for now.”
With a chuckle, the woman withdrew her hand and finished walking to the head of the bunk. Stepping up on the bottom bunk, she lifted herself up over the edge, bringing her face close to Drina’s. The smell of sandalwood engulfed her senses as she stared into the eyes of the woman. Biting her bottom lip, she tilted her head at Drina.
“What’s your name?”
Swallowing hard, Drina knew that this was the start of a problem, one she wasn’t sure she was going to regret just yet.