Graceling: The Girl With Time

[Author note: This is a fanfic taking place long before the appearance of Katja and Poo.]

She ran with all her might form the men that chased her even tho she knew that they were one kilometers away from her. While running her hat fell off and the bun she had tied her hair in opened up to reveal her black, long and flowing hair. There was roots everywhere as she ran in a dark forest trying to reach a light and getting away from those that chased her. She also knew that they had hounds chasing her which is the reason why she kept running. Exhausted and having her head bombarded with questions such as “Why?”, “Weren’t they my family?” and “Shouldn’t they support and protect me?” she kept running. They wanted her, and her grace. They didn’t consider her feelings and well being even though they are family. No, they rather sell her out to get what they want.

In a window frame not far from the place the girl ran away from sat once a girl. The girl, 14 years of age, had black flowing hair reaching to her thighs, a pair of pink eyes and a round face. Her body build wasn’t fat but it wasn’t thin either. That girl’s name was Sakura Linheid and was the daughter of a noble.

Sakura’s mother died when she was born so she only have her two older brothers, her father and the servants living in the same house and even neighborhood. More than house it was a dark blue mansion in the middle of a forest at the outer area of a kingdom called Middluns. The oldest brother, Jake, is six years older than her while the younger, Linud, is four years older. Her father, Lined is in his mid 40s but have looks of a young man in his mid twenties.

Sakura didn’t really feel secure lately around her father and brothers, she felt safer with the servant folk. She didn’t really know when she started to feel this way but she think it was about a month ago when her father’s business failed and people around began to talk about that the noble house of duke Linheid would fall.

When at the dinner table they would sit quiet while knowing that the servant folk whispered quietly behind their backs in the kitchen about what would happen to them if they lost their standing and become a fallen noble family. The servant would lose their jobs obviously but what would happen to the young mistress, the master and the young masters? Will they have to get out into a society they have never been in? Or will they be resistant and try to rise back up the society ladder?

Those there questions that always appeared in the servants heads, to them the master where kind and let them get a job here in the mansion far from the city. He let them have a housing in the surrounding area with their family. They get reasonable monthly wages and time with their families. If the master didn’t let them work here they would be doomed for a life in the city slums. Sakura knew this, she knew they where totally loyal to her father because he helped them but she still wanted to trust them.

When Sakura was young, even though the servants had children her age she had no one to play with. For some reason the servant had told their children to not go near the mansion so even tho she felt safe with the servants it isn’t because of friendship. She actually didn’t know why she felt safer with the servants, maybe because they didn’t force her to talk to them unlike how her father did.

Sakura jumped down the window frame and down on the grass below, she has done this a lot of times and she had done stretches every morning so she didn’t hurt herself. She landed softly on the beautiful green grass and ran softly towards the forest with bare feet. Inside the forest she had a secret spot that only she knew off, a spot inside a hollow tree. She had dressed the insides with the fabric leftover from her dressmaking.

More that sewing and dressmaking she also learn about etiquette and ball dancing like any noble noble lady would do. To be true to herself she disliked her teachers because they always nagged at her, the only thing she liked among those lessons was sewing. The reason she liked sewing was because she could make embroidery displaying her feelings. With animals and flowers as her motive she could put her feelings of anger, sadness and displeasure into the fabric. To her sewing was a thing she truly loved in life.

Sakura sat down on the fabric dressed hollow tree floor and relaxed against it’s wall, out here she could relax and think through things. If she felt like it she could sit there all day and just stare into space while letting her thoughts travel, but she couldn’t. Why? You might ask, it’s because she partly felt responsible to take care of her brothers and father somehow. She wanted to help them, assist them and even tho she felt a little uncomfortable around them, support them.

Two years went by, without her house falling apart, and on 14th April, Sakura’s 16th birthday, Sakura woke up with a headache in her pink colored room with rose motives on the walls. Sakura thought this would be a special day since it is the day she is considered a full grown lady, with good food and even a cake. Yet when she sat up in her bed and her maid came in, the maid suddenly screamed and dropped the things in her hands and put the hands over her own mouth. Sakura stood up and walked toward the mirror at the side of her bed while the maid ran out of the bedroom.

‘I thought there was something weird with that headache and that sudden scream of the maid, but to think it was this.’ In the mirror wasn’t the usual Sakura with her long black hair and pink eyes but one of her eyes color had changed, to red. In the world where Sakura live this would mean that you got a grace, a power. The type of power differs from person to person and it could be everything from bending a spoon to be able to read minds. People who have a grace can both be feared and respected depending on where you live. The question now was, what power does she have? How do she activate it?

Her father rushes into her room together with her two brothers and as soon as he gets in front of her he puts his rough big hand on her chin and lifts it up to take a good look at her eyes.

“The right one has certainly turned red” her father says to her maid who had entered shortly after Sakura’s brothers. “How do you feel? Do you feel that anything is different? Do you know what power you may have?”

“I don’t know… what power I have… what feels different?… I have a headache… father” Sakura says while feeling uncomfortable with her father’s hand on her chin.

“Anyway as long as it is not a weak ability like spoon bending this will help the family from falling” Jake says giving me a smile.

In this country of Middluns the royal family would give support to any family who sends their graced one to them, as long as it is a useful ability. With the support of the royal family the house of Linheid would certainly survive for at least one to two generations.

All of a sudden Sakura started to feel ill, her stomach started to hurt and her eyesight became unclear as well as darkened. Her father noticed that her eyes started to lose focus on him and that her balance became unstable. As soon as he put his hand away from her chin she fainted and fell on the wooden floor of her bedroom.

In her fainted state she saw a vision, an unclear vision where Linud fell off his horse and broke his arm. It really looked like it hurt and her father who was there to see it ran toward Linud and picked him up. Their father doesn’t look that biff but he’s really strong for some reason, he could easily carry Linud to his bedroom and then ask the attendants to help heal his wounds or get a doctor.

When Sakura woke up she was lying on her bed, surrounded by her family and some servants who ran frantically in the background

“How are you feeling? What happened?” Her father asked her looking into her eyes.

“I think… I had some kind of vision… father” she answered him.

“What kind of vision?”

“A vision where Linud fell off his horse while in the garden father. And it looked recent too.”

“That so…” her father said in a tone that makes one know that he only thought it was a dream. He didn’t think it was some kind of vision because Linud was the best horse rider in this family. Linud could even ride one standing if he wanted to. Everyone else thought the same as her father, there was just no way looking into the future through visions was her power.

Some days later Sakura’s father and oldest brother was observing Linud riding in the garden together with her father’s guest while Sakura was out in the forest, inside the hollow tree hiding.

“You got a nice young man there duke Linheid!” said one guest, with a handsome mid twenties look, clad in fancy clothing that suites a prince.

“Well he made it this far alone, I’m honored to have him as a son prince Randy of Middluns.” Her father said with a proud face.

“Where is your daughter? Have you figured out her graced yet?” The prince asked to Sakura’s father.

“You will get to meet her later” he answers and look towards Linud.

That was when it happened, Linud somehow lost his balance and fell right onto his right arm breaking it. It was exactly as the vision foretold and Sakura’s father, Jake and Linud, even tho he was writhing of the pain of his right arm, was all shocked. Her father quickly rushes forward picks him up and carry him to his bedroom where he calls the servant who have knowledge in healing a broken bone.

“Where is Sakura? Call her here!” he shouts as he had noted that the servant have started their healing. Linud had gotten a sleeping pill to keep him calm during the healing so he had fallen asleep.

“What’s going on?” The prince who had followed him there asked.

“On Sakura’s birthday her right eye didn’t only change color, she had a vision. A vision where just what happened here happened.”

“In that case then she got the grace of fortunetelling, a grace that has never before appeared in history!” the prince exclaimed. “If I can take her back to the palace you will get greatly rewarded”

“I’m honored to accept your offer my prince” her fathers says with a relaxed look. ‘This will save my family from ruin’.

“Duke! We have searched everywhere in the vicinity but we have yet to find miss Sakura anywhere”

“I think I know where she may be. You can follow me if you want prince or will you rather stay in the living-room?”

“I’ll follow you, I want to see this time lady called Sakura” the prince says and follow Lined out of the house.

They walked into the forest straight to the hollow tree where Sakura was hiding. Sakura heard their footsteps advancing towards her hiding place and looked out to see who was coming. When she realized it was her father and his guest, the prince. ‘How did he know this place? Isn’t this my secret spot that only I should know about? And isn’t that the prince? Why did he follow father here?’

“Sakura I know you are there so come out and greet prince Randy.” her father says with a stern tone in his voice.

“I greet thee with respect prince Randy” Sakura said as she rouse up after crawling out of the hollow tree. Her clothes dirty after crawling on the bare ground.

“Oh what an interesting girl, willing to dirtying herself. I will probably have to fix that.” prince Randy said with a curios smile.

“How did you know about this place father?” asked Sakura ignoring the prince fully knowing that it was being rude.

“I used to hide there when I were younger and I figured that someone among my children would find and hide there too.” Her father answered and then said. “Alright back to the main topic of why we are here. Sakura, as your grace predicted, Linud fell off his horse today and broke his right arm. This means that you have an invaluable grace of foresight and that the royal family would gladly take you under their wings. Under their wings you may live a life of a princess and will be tasked to foretell anything they desire.” The prince nodded in the background. “You will be helping the family a great deal if you go with the prince to the Capital tomorrow. Of course you will go for the family right?”

“Yes father” Sakura answers readily.

“Good, now let us go back to the mansion. You need to pack and I need to talk over some details with the prince.”

Sakura didn’t really want to go to the capital with the prince to probably become like a caged bird always listening to her masters called the royal family. She didn’t want that to happen at all and wanted to prevent it at all cost, yet she couldn’t openly disobey her father by telling him that she didn’t want to be the royal family’s pet or thing however one preferred to call it.

That’s why she left around midnight before the day had turned into a new one. She disguised herself as a young boy by using an old set of Linud’s clothes and an old hat in which she could hide her long hair in by tying it up in a bun on top of her head. It wasn’t really the best disguise she had seen but it sufficed for now. To drag as little attention as possible she took the way through the woods instead of the road. She didn’t know where she wanted to go, she only knew that she wanted to get away from that house.

She walked for about two hours before she arrived at the nearest town and thought she could relax. In town she could blend in with the shadows and get to a nice place to sleep before anyone noticed. She found a nice place dressed with grass under a bridge and fell asleep quickly of exhaustion.

She woke up by hearing dogs bark early the next morning. The feeling she got was an uneasy feeling that spread all the way to her bones. She looked out from under the bridge to the entrance of the town and saw a horse carriage followed by the mansions hounds. It didn’t even a second to realize that is was her family and possibly the prince that had come to find her and take her to the capital whenever she wanted to or not. Sakura ran in between the nearest houses, she would somehow get into the forest she went through this morning and then run south towards the capital in Sunder. There she would find a good place to hide. As soon as she ran parallel to the carriage but with a house in between she heard someone’s shout, a shout she believed to be her father’s.

“Sakura, don’t run away! We need you!”

‘They just need me to act like a thing, a toy or something like that. They only want my grace, but I won’t give it to them’ She thought in in her mind as she successfully managed to sneak out of the town.

The hounds started acting up right after she left through the entrance and her father, oldest brother and prince Randy left the carriage thinking that the hounds may have smelled Sakura. They thought right, and as soon as they realized they turned the carriage and ran after Sakura through the gate.

Sakura ran with all her might form the men that chased her even tho she knew that they were one kilometers away from her. While running her hat fell off and the bun she had tied her hair in opened up to reveal her black, long and flowing hair. There was roots everywhere as Sakura ran in the dark forest trying to reach a light and getting away from those that chased her. Exhausted but still running and having her head bombarded with questions such as “Why?”, “Weren’t they my family?” and “Shouldn’t they support and protect me?” she kept running. They wanted her, and her grace. They didn’t consider her feelings and well being even though they are family. No, they rather sell her out to get what they want. That is the feeling she got from them acting like this.

She arrived at a clearing and stumbled and fell, she quickly rose up and continued running but they had made the distance to her smaller. When she finally got out of the forest she saw a farm. She ran into the barn undetected from both the owner, the prince and her family. She dug herself down in the hay laying at one of the corners of the barn, hoping that it would keep both her and her smell hidden from the hounds.

It didn’t take long for the prince’s carriage to reach the farm and she could here them alking to the owner outside.

“I’ve seen no one like that coming here” he said to the prince and her family after they had described her.

“Then at least let us check your barn, you may not have seen her but there is a chance that she sneaked in and is hiding somewhere” Sakura’s father said to the owner.

“Oh well alright then, go on in but be careful and don’t damage anything.”

“Will do”

They entered the barn and started to search, first the stalls and then, the hay. Sakura felt how they lifted up the hay to see if she was under there and held her breath. When they where only and inch from being able to see her they rose up and dried away their sweet with a towel and then Jake said.

“Doesn’t seem like she is here”

“Yeah” her father said while he and the prince had their eyebrows burrowed. “lets continue, she can’t have gotten far away” they then went outside the barn and left with the carriage.

Sakura laid there for a while, maybe a couple of hours carefully listening if they came back, but they didn’t. She rose up from the hay around midnight when the owner was sure to be asleep and sneaked out from the barn and she ran, with all she had she ran with the thought “now I am free”.

Summary Graceling

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