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  I think I would have let myself die in my first few months if it wasn’t for my new Mother. I didn’t scream and cry past that first day; I had never known that it was possible to have so much grief that I didn’t even have the energy to form tears. So much grief that I couldn’t feel hunger. So much grief that I was hardly even aware of where I was. Just grey, cloying, sadness consuming everything.

  But I couldn’t do that to Mother. Whatever happened to me, it wasn’t her fault. If I just let myself sink into that grey mass and slept until I passed away, I would hurt her - not beyond what I can imagine, not anymore, but now that I don’t have to imagine it is even worse - so much. For those first three months, Mother worried constantly that there was something wrong with me because I didn’t respond like a baby should.

  The desperate love of a worried mother for her child is a powerful thing. So she nursed me, I ate, and eventually I was able to contain my grief enough. It hadn’t gone away, but Mother deserved better than this. I smiled and laughed and played when she watched me, but silence found me quickly when I was alone.

  Which wasn’t very often because I was a baby after all.

  Today, Father was playing with me as Mother prepared dinner. If you can call him repeatedly poking my cheek as I try to stop him. Does my annoyance amuse you, Father? I actually know it does, because I can sort of understand the language. Just a few words so far, but enough to know that he finds my pout adorable.

  Maybe it is, I wouldn’t know, we don’t have a mirror in the house. Apartment? Tenement, that is a good word for our home.

  I wasn’t paying attention for the first bit of my new life, but now that I look around it becomes obvious that this world is at a medieval level of technology. Our home was a set of rooms in a wood and stone building thats’ windows had wood shutters instead of glass. It was a small place, without even a kitchen; Mother was cooking with a heavy pot over a hearth in the main room.

  We had two other, smaller, rooms. The larger of the two belonged to my parents, the smaller of the two belonged to my older brother and will eventually be mine too. And no, I wasn’t looking forward to sharing my bedroom with a brother six years my elder.

  It was pretty dark, I had never seen my parents use anything like candles, and the ceiling dripped in a spot near the common room’s window. The common room was small itself, you could toss it and one of the bedrooms into my former apartment in my previous world.

  I miss you all so much… It hurts…

 

  But there wasn’t any reason to think about that or compare. No, the important part was that Mother was magic! Despite it being like medieval Europe, our home was immaculately clean. I could watch Mother clean for hours, but she seemed to barely spend five minutes doing it. Even if Father comes home with mud on his boots! She spent more time scolding him than she did cleaning it up.

  Mother was a maid for one of the local nobles. No, that isn’t correct, it turns out that she was a [Maid]. It had just been a few days ago that I had discovered that the world I was born into had a system, exactly like Podi said it would. By thinking of opening up a menu, it would happen. And luckily, the menu seemed invisible to everyone else besides me. Which neatly explained why sometimes my parents would seem to stare into space at nothing at times and allowed me something to investigate and look at it while I was being a “good baby.”

 

  Character Menu:

 

  Name: Annora, Daughter of Elvid   Age: 0

  Class: --    Level: --

 

  Statistics:

  Strength: 4

  Endurance: 4

  Vitality: 10

  Agility: 6

  Dexterity: 2

  Perception: 5

  Acuity: 14

  Willpower: 3

  Charisma: 17

  Magic: 5

  Luck: 87

 

  Abilities:

  [First Words] (Incarnator skill, hidden)

  [Better First Impression] (Incarnator skill, hidden)

 

  Annora was, of course, me. And Elvid was my Father’s name, we didn’t have a family name, I was just Annora, Daughter of Elvid. I was honestly fine with that, despite the fact he was still poking my cheek. I had initially been worried about my incredibly low stats, but I had seen my Strength tick up just recently. It seemed that my stats were low because I was a child, except for my Luck.

  My Luck seems high compared to my other stats, but Podi told me the average for every stat was 100 and I have yet to see it go up… I am probably stuck with a Luck of 87 for the rest of my life, this one anyways. Ignoring Luck, my highest stat is Charisma, one of the stats that I added points to.

  I give up trying to use my pudgy hands to stop Father from poking me and try to bite him instead. Although, since I have forgotten that I don’t have teeth right now, it was not as effective as I would have hoped. I don’t know anything about baby development, would asking Mother for help be freakishly too early now? It is hard to form words with my mouth…

  HE POKED ME AGAIN!

  "MAMA!” I start crying, Mother rescue me from Father please!

  Of course, my first word blew up the room, and Mother rushed over while Father stopped poking me for a second out of surprise. Unfortunately, my gamble backfired as Father went from poking to messing up my hair.

  And it had just started growing in again!

 

***

 

  Being a baby got old fast and I might have rushed things a little. By the time I was a year old, I had mostly figured out the language. Trying not to talk was simply too hard, although I somewhat suspect that this feeling was influenced by my immature body.

  But that had been two years ago, I am three now and home alone. Well, my brother is here, but Kalvin is only nine. Really, I should be looking after him. Case and point...

  “Come on Annora, it will be fine, you don’t mind going outside with Mom or Dad.” Kalvin was a copy of Father. Both of them had dark blonde hair, both of them had sharp faces with hazel eyes, and they both were as skinny as a rake.

  Mother looked much softer than that Father did, although she was amazingly fit especially considering her children. Her eyes were a pleasant blue - green and her hair a rich brown. I can only hope I look as good as does when I grow up.

  Anyway, like any good two or three year old child would, I responded to my dear brother with eloquence and poise.

  “No.”

  “We are just heading out to the street! My friends are waiting for me!” Kalvin pleaded with me. “We are basically home, Mom and Dad won’t care.”

  Mother was a [Maid] working for a local noble and Father was a [Servant] for the same noble family. Mother had time off when I was born and for long enough afterwards that I was eating real food instead of breastmilk. I would say I am happy to be eating real food now, but I don’t think the mashed mush that I get to eat so I don’t choke to death counts.

  My Mother had a little lighter work for a while after that, but by a year and a half after I was born, she was back at work full time. This meant that Kalvin became my new babysitter, and as you would expect, he wasn’t exactly happy about it.

  He didn’t actually have to spend all day, every day with me, but because he had to keep checking up on me often he wasn’t able to go off with his friends.

  “No, I don’t want to.” I refused. I really didn’t like leaving home without Mother and Father. How could I feel safe in some weird medieval world like this? The only reason my brother and I were clean was because our parents had skills related to cleaning!

  “Ugh, they are gonna start Annora,” Kalvin stopped and looked at me, and I all of a sudden had a bad feeling. “You know what? I’ll just carry you out.”

  Well, no amount of “no” was going to help me now. Kalvin was more than twice my size, so I soon found myself outside blinking in the bright sunlight. Our home was so dark, going outside always blinded me at first. Not that there was much to look at.

  Vurden was, I am told, a larger city; an amazing city. The Duke of our province had his seat here, and while we lived with the commoners, we lived in some of the better parts of the city because Mother and Father worked for the nobility and had to be close enough to get to work. And to modern eyes, it was a pit.

  Most of the roads weren’t paved. It had rained last night, and the movement of people, animals, and carts had churned the road into a muddy mess. The buildings were stone and wood with stains from the smoke from cooking hearths; chimneys weren’t really a thing here. On the other hand, I was surprised by how tall the buildings were. The tenements were four or five stories tall, with the best rooms being closer to the road, and thus closer to the well.

  A sign of how well to do our family was that Kalvin only had to carry me down from the second floor.

  “Kalvin! You’re here!” Came a shout from someone among the group of boys that made up my brother’s friends, “Did you have to brin’ your sister with you?”

  “Dad’ll tan me if I leave her alone again Emil,” Kalvin winced at the memory.

  Like any good three year old and younger sister, I of course helped him move on from the memory of getting spanked by correcting his grammar.

  “You mean, ‘Father will,’” did I sound smug? Probably, I felt smug even though I was picking on a kid; I am a kid too, after all! “You need to speak properly brother!”

  Emil, a lanky - and dirty - boy with messy brown hair and rumpled clothes, just laughed as my brother groaned.

  “Well, forgive him today Annora.” Emil smiled as he spoke, “because today is a big one! My older bro is goin’ to be comin’ back from his Awakenin’ Ceremony soon!”

  Well that explains why my brother was so determined to be down here, the Awakening Ceremony every person goes through at ten years old allows them to choose a Class for the first time. Moreover, Emil’s older brother - Emyr, not the most inventive naming from their parents - was the oldest boy in my brother’s friend group, and so Kalvin looked up to him a lot.

  “Well, I won’t tell Father this time,” I cross my arms, although I doubt I look very distinguished considering my brother is still holding me and my feet are dangling off the ground. “But just this once!”

  “Wow, I dun’nt see her all that often, but your sis really talks well, huh?” Ian, another friend of my brother seemed surprised. I suppose my family was used to me, and I was still young enough that I haven't really interacted with others all that much. I probably stand out a bit…

  Eh, whatever, it isn’t like I am hiding.

  “It is because I am a magical being from another world,” I said casually as my brother set me down. “I am older than all of you and have experienced wonders you cannot even imagine!”

  My brother just rolls his eyes and says, “Mom and dad work for nobles, and they want us to as well, so they make us speak proper.”

  “Properly,” I correct him as I gingerly pick my way across the mud to the area right by our tenement door. The stones that make up the foundation also provide a place to sit down that is mostly dry. Now I just need to find a way to get the mud off my feet…

  “Haha, I wonder what her Acuity is? Maybe when she goes through her Awakening she will get a mage class or something.” Another one of his friends laughed. It was a fair sized group of boys, all between seven and nine years old. Well, seven and ten now with Emyr, although he might leave to start working now. They don’t exactly have child labor laws here.

  We didn’t have to wait long. Emyr, along with his parents - all dressed in their best clothes - came up the road. Emil probably hadn’t gone with them to the Church because they didn’t have another pair of shoes… They all had wide smiles though, and the boys immediately swarmed them.

  “Well, come on! Tell us, Tell us!” Emil was practically vibrating with excitement as he ran up to his brother. Most parents tried to convince their kids to choose the same Class that they had, but Emil and his family belonged to a group that believed that the child should choose for themselves. Which meant that the only one who could know what Class Emyr would get, was Emyr.

  Of course, peasants didn’t exactly have a lot of options usually. It wasn’t like Emyr was going to qualify for [Dragon Knight] or something and suddenly call a dragon down from the sky. Still, the occasional odd option popped up, apparently.

  “You are lookin’ at the newest member of Vurden’s militia,” Emyr thumped his chest and announced proudly. “I’m startin’ my trainin’ tomorrow as a new [Militiaman]!”

  The boys oohed and aahed; it seems boys in every generation are enamored with the idea of becoming a soldier, although chances are Emyr would evolve his class into [Guardsman] instead of [Soldier]. Either of them could be dangerous jobs, but they had decent pay and [Guardsmen] were rarely hassled by other guards. Considering it was an uncommon class for a peasant to unlock, there were certainly reasons for the smiles.

  I moved my legs to avoid being the way of a man walking nearby, seemingly trying to stay out of the muddy center of the street, and returned to watching the group.

  Suddenly, I was in the air. The man had grabbed me!

  “KALVIN!” I screamed as I tried to struggle, but I couldn’t even fight my brother off. The adult was able to hold me in one arm and cover my mouth with his other hand!

  “Annora!” My brother whipped around and I caught a glimpse of his wide eyed face before I was only able to see a blur of movement.

  “Stop! Kidnapper!”

  I think they ran after me, but this man is fast! And… Somewhat hard to look at. You would think people would notice a man running with a struggling child through a busy city, but no one did. A few minutes later, I was tossed into a carriage with my brother left far behind. I had just been snatched right off the street.

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About the author

vladerag

Bio: Hello! I am Vladerag the author of several stories here on Royal Road! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading, and I hope you check out some of my stories!

You can find them here! https://royalroadl.com/profile/76129/fictions

And if you are interested in supporting me, you can do so here as well! https://www.patreon.com/vladerag

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