Alisandra Tzara. She kept repeating her name as she looked out at the plains sprawling in front of her. Who was she? Alice’s mind kept running in a stalled loop – that is to say, she felt her mind was spinning around in circles on the same thing, with no progress being made in any direction. A feeling of being completely stopped in your tracks but having built up the potential energy to run for miles, and being unable to release that energy. In a shorter description, Alice was experiencing extreme mental discomfort. But Alice was too young to understand these ideas. She just knew she wasn’t happy, even as she looked out at her clan, running across the plains.
Nadia looked at her daughter across the fire, clearly sulking. “Pui, what’s wrong? Are you thinking too much again?”
“Nothing Mama.” Alice sighed.
“Pui, clearly something is wrong. You know what I’ve said before, ‘If you have time to sulk, you have time to talk about your problems and fix them’”
Alice sighed again. “It’s just…I don’t know who I am or what’s right and wrong. Bunica says that our way of life is a peaceful one and that we must live one with Tudi. But Tata and Uncle Stephen say that the Outsiders don’t respect the rules of Tanjo and that if we don’t protect ourselves, we will go extinct. I feel as though….both sides make sense but I don’t like either answer. And I don’t want Bunica or Tata to be wrong. So who are we? What do we do?”
Nadia sighed and then smiled and her baby girl’s astuteness. This girl was beauty as well as brains, but unfortunately, in their world, neither particularly mattered. It was power and strength that matter, and Alice was average in both. iI’m thinking again, Nadia pondered as she started to scowl. How were they going to find a suitable marriage for Alice? At 6 years of age, they were already late in arranging her match, but no one had asked for her hand. Stephen was their best bet with his son Nicolos, but he had yet to ask. Of course, it was a difficult decision for Stephen and they had innumerable other prospects; Nicolos was to be the future head of the clan after all. Of course, Seiryu willing, that wouldn’t be for a couple of hundred years at least. Nadia sighed again. Either Alice would have everything or nothing…but there was an excessive amount of sighing and thinking happening today and she wasn’t going to put up with it anymore!
“Alisandra Tzara! Copii your age should not be thinking. In fact, that’s a skill you’re going to need to start hiding a lot better.” She kneeled to face Alice directly. “Pui, you should be thinking of important things – honing your power, increasing your strength, how to be a good wife. These are the skills that will help you in life. You know I love you, and I love your beautiful little brain,” she said and she tickled Alice. Alice let out a loud giggle. Good. She’s cheering up. “But this thinking, this hobby of yours, it is not a trait you will need in life. Your husband will not care for it, and you know we still need an offer for your hand. If other copii or stramosi see you like this, we’ll never get an offer and you’ll end up like the Outsiders. I would never want something so terrible for you.” She held her daughter’s head into her breast, tightly, not wanting to let go. To protect her baby forever. If only I could…No more sighs!
Nadia stood up quickly with an assuredness. “Now, go get the rabbit from your Bunica! We’ll have them for dinner tonight,” she stated and she slapped little Alice on the butt. Alice giggled again, most assuredly in a better mood from the teasing. Alice scampered off the camp site, running towards her grandmother’s tent in the distance. In the distance, she saw Alice halt to speak to Nicolos, grab his hand, and run off in the complete opposite direction of the campsite. This girl…. she thought as a concerned mother as Alice and Nicolos went to go run in the plains. Nadia got up and started walking towards Bunica’s campsite herself. Alice had completely forgotten her task, but Seiryu willing, she would eventually grow into the skills to become a good wife. I just have to wait, Nadia thought as she looked off into the distance of the great plains.