The water used to control me. It was unhealthy, dangerous and led to the near destruction of Atlantis. Whenever I talk to my brother about it, he usually has the same response:

“Who would bring a young, powerful hydrokinetic to Atlantis?”



Our parents, obviously. They would pretend Tam and I were a year apart and that Tam was my older brother. It wasn’t true. We were twins and that would never change. Though we looked extremely similar, we had very different personalities. I was the calm, more relaxed twin who was almost always smiling. Tam would usually lurk in the shadows and kept to himself. I was the only person he would talk to. Sorry, I’m getting off topic.



I remember coming home from school and seeing Tam already in our room. I ran up to him, wrapping my arms around him. I hadn’t seen him at Foxfire since I have left him for classes that morning and I had been so worried. A horrid feeling settled in my stomach when he wouldn’t meet me at lunch. Unexpectedly, he pushed me away. He hung his head when he saw the sadness and hurt in my eyes. He hugged his knees close to his chest and told me, “I’m sorry, Linh. I… please… don’t come close to me. I’m too dangerous.”

“What do you mean Tam?” I asked. My eyes strayed to the timetable beside him and, before he could stop me, I picked it up. “Ability Detecting… that’s when you ran away, wasn’t it?”

Tam did nothing, except look into my eyes. The silver flecks matched mine and I looked at the sheet of paper again. “You manifested. Tam, I’m your twin, I know what you feel, I understand you.” I talked to him in a soothing tone, coming to sit beside him. Unlike last time, he didn’t jerk away.

“I know,” he whispered. A tear rolled down his cheek.

“What did you manifest as?”

“A… please don’t be scared.”

“I would never be scared of you,” I told him.

“I’m a Shade.”

I looked at him, silence dominating. That was why he had been with Elwin. That was why Elwin hadn’t let me in to the Healing Center. “Tam, being a Shade will never make me love you less. I have to go get some things from Atlantis for mom and dad.”

I left him, a longing look in his eyes. Sighing, I opened the door and closed it, wishing I could always stay with him. When I repeated the scene in my head, I realised how awful my wording had been. I had made it sound like being a Shade was a bad thing. Regret ran through my mind but I took a deep breath and left the house. Our parents didn’t care how young we were because they would send us out to do their errands or get their shopping almost every day. I didn’t mind though. I loved the water enclosing Atlantis, the calm, cool feel of it relaxing me. Chatter and excitement rushed through the streets when I arrived and I looked around to see what was going on. Alden Vacker and his family were walking on the streets, Fitz drawing the most attention from the girls. A young boy with tousled blonde hair walked alongside them, smiling. But… it wasn’t a real smile. It was a smile to make people happy, a fake smile. I walked past them, not too excited at the sighting. My parents didn’t let me get to know people at school so I was usually pretty lonely. 



When I was walking away from a shop to head home, something tugged at my heart. I looked around, confused. Shaking my head, I continued to walk but the same thing happened over and over again. I looked up and I realised my eyes couldn’t be drawn away from the luscious blue water. It called to me, begging me to arrive. A young elf knocked my shoulder, shaking me back to the present. I tried to keep my head low so I wasn’t lulled into the calming grasp of the water. Panicking, I realised water, little droplets from fountains, began to gather at my fingertips. I ran through the streets, my hands clenched tightly on the bag of shopping. A few eyes stared at me, following me as I ran to a safe place to light leap home. I decided to duck inside an alley, drawing the crystal from my pocket. I had never been so thankful to be home. Placing the bags on the table, I began to unpack everything. At the bottom of the bag was a book. I remember reading Tam a book the night before and falling asleep on his bed, as Elwin checked in regularly. No wonder he had looked so pale. Without my parents knowing, I had bought another book to read to him that night too. Turning on the tap, I grabbed a glass and got a drink for Tam. In the glass, the water shook, sloshing from side to side. I dropped the glass in fright, causing it to clatter to the floor. 



“LINH!” Father yelled, storming into the room. He frowned at me in disappointment when he saw the mess on the floor. “Clean that up right NOW!” The last words stung me, as was his glare when he stood, watching me cleaning up. When he began to turn on his heel, he paused. He walked towards the table and stared at the book on it. “What is this?” he hissed through gritted teeth.

“A… a book… for Tam,” I replied, stammering in fright.

“Return it.”

“Dad, I… I can’t go back to Atlantis.”

“Why?” he glowered at me, a hateful look in his eyes.

“I… droplets of water just… came to my fingertips and…”

He cut me off. “You MANIFESTED?! In PUBLIC?!” The shouting frightened me and I took a few steps back. I knew how much his reputation meant to him but I nodded anyway.

“Quan… please.” My mother had entered the room, a worried expression on her face. “You can’t take her to Atlantis. She’s a hydrokinetic.”

“She can learn to control her powers there,” he replied. “Don’t you agree?”

Sighing, Mom looked at me. “I suppose.”



I remember Tam running downstairs, grabbing my wrist, obviously eavesdropping on our conversation. I remember Dad, pulling me away, dragging us all to Atlantis. Fear filled me as we walked down the streets, my head hung low. Tam stuck by my side, his head held high, his face furious. The water called to me, chasing me, clinging to my fingertips. I yelled as the water consumed me, elves screaming and shouting as it lifted me into the air. Tam shouted my name, trying to get to me. Then there was darkness.



I awoke to Tam wrapping his arms around me, shouting at curious and frightened elves. Mom and Dad were nowhere in sight as I stood up, Tam leading me to a dark alley.



As we left, there was one word that ran through my mind that I heard people whispering.


Exillium.

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