I swam through the water. It was cold but clear and the tiny fall of the river into the pond made ripples. Minnows swam near me but never came too close before darting away.

I pulled myself to the bottom of the river and felt along the river bed. It was gravely and cover in slit, which clouded into my face and billowed out into the clear water. I felt two mussels attached to a rock and gave them a pull. They gave away easily and I pushed off the bottom, terrifying the fish. My lungs were starting to strain from the lack of oxygen.

I popped out to the surface with barely a ripple in the water, like my mother had taught me. I swam to the bank and place the mussels in the basket I had brought. I had a few others in there and some oysters and clams.

I pulled myself out of the water and squeeze out my hair. I grab my pants and shirt on the rock beside the basket and pull them back on. I walk down the bank a bit and check on the fish trap. My brothers and I have to check it twice a day. Once in the morning and once at dusk to make sure none of them are dead. We also have to feed them, usually dried corn.

None of them were floating belly up so I went back and grabbed my basket to take back to the house. I liked taking the path through the woods. It was always quiet and cool in the pines. Compared to how loud my brothers always are it was miracle that this didn't have the echoes of their laughter bouncing through the needles.

When I got near to home I left the path and slunk through the edge of the trees to see if anyone was up to anything. Ethan and Blaze were wrestling in the dirt near the trees and Mom and Dad were making bets on who would win and yelling advice at either boy.

I stood in the shadows on the trees and watched for a while, waiting for a point to jump in. Blaze and Ethan were both older than me by three years and twice my size. I place my basket down and watch as Blaze squeezes Ethan into a headlock. They were scrambling in the dirt 10 feet in front of me.

I hop out of the trees and fly into Blaze. He lets go of Ethan and falls into the dirt. I pull myself into a crouch and hover beside him. Blaze stands and grabs me around the middle and hoists me on to his shoulder. I push my elbow into the side of his neck which makes him cringe. I shove my knee into his chest and he coughs giving me room to wiggle out. I kick him in the back and he falls down. He flips over but I'm faster and pin his face to the dirt with my knee cap. I grab his hands and pull them under my stomach and pin them there too. Blaze wiggles but can't get up.

"Wisteria wins!" shouts my father as he grabs my arm and holds it up. Blaze got off the ground and brushed himself off.

"No fair. You caught me by surprise," he griped.

"Not my fault you weren't paying attention," I responded with my hands on my hips. Dad was laughing slightly.

"Dad!" Blaze exclaimed.

"She beat you son. Fair and square." He placed his hand on my shoulder and smiled at me. Dad had smile lines under his silver and gold eyes and around his mouth. He must have been really handsome when Mom and him where younger, his dark hair and tanned skin.

"Well you only won because of your Grace," Blaze said before storming off to the house. Mom must have gone inside because she wasn't on the side of the field anymore. Ethan was gone too.

I stared down at the ground in frustration and anger. I kicked at clump of dirt. Why couldn't he just admit that I beat him? I didn't play any dirty tricks. If he had been paying attention he would of saw me at the edge of the trees.

"Don't let him get you down Wisteria," Dad said. He reached over and grabbed my chin so I would be looking at him. "He's just upset because he almost beat Ethan before you jumped in. Though I think we all know he wouldn't have. Now go grab your basket and come back to the house. Your Mother is going to want those for the soup to night."

I went back to trees feeling a little bit better. I grabbed my basket and place it on my hip. We live pretty much in the middle of nowhere; the nearest town being almost 75 miles away. Mom and Dad had found this place when going on a mission to save Queen Bitterblue when she was only a princess 20 years ago. Lots of people are Graced in the kingdoms but usually we were avoided and discriminated against. Or so my Mom says. I had never left home and the mountains to any of the main cities in the kingdoms.

Some people have useful Graces. Like archery and fighting, like me. Some are more or less pointless. Like one man in Monsea is said to be able to open his mouth wide enough to go back and cover his head. Everyone that has a Grace has to two different colored eyes.

I pushed the door open with my shoulder and walked into the house. Mom was at the fire stirring the soup and the boys were peeling potatoes that were just pulled out of the out of the back garden. I place the basket on the table and grabbed a small knife that wasn't being used by Ethan and started shucking the mussels and oysters. I stacked the shells up beside me to use later on my art project.

I liked to do art. I have lots of paintings and drawings in my room with the scrap paper Mom has left over. For a while Mom thought that my Grace w

as just that, art, until I flipped Blaze, over my shoulder when I was seven when he scared me in the pond. Mom set up a whole bunch of practice sessions with me, being that her Grace was survival which made her a very good fighter. The twins were 11 when that happened and I was nowhere close to being as good as my Mom five years later.

"Blaze please go and get the bowls out of the cabinet and Ethan set the table," Mom said without turning around from the pot. She was stirring with much more force because the soup was starting to thicken.

"But Mom, I set the table yesterday!" Ethan complained as dumped the last of his chopped potatoes in.

"I asked for the table set not for an argument." Mom retorted with a little venom in her voice. Ethan got the spoons and knifes got without further complaint. You didn't want to provoke Mom.

Dad was off in the corner in thought, the farthest possible distance from the fire. I joined in the chair beside him. He was staring off into the distance. Seeing but not really seeing. Dad was graced too. He had the ability to see things and thoughts and feelings around him at all times. He could take information in and make a picture of the landscape. He could see caves and tunnels underground.

Dad was physically blind though. He couldn't see letters or colors. He could see the outline and shapes of these and guess what they are but he would never be able to see my face or the twins. He had lost his ability to see on the mission to save Bitterblue. That was when he found our home, when he was recovering from the concussion after falling off a cliff being chased by Leck's patrol. I wish one day I could be brave enough to protect someone I barely knew like that.

I watched my brothers as they set the table; Ethan grumbling a little under his breath. Blaze and Ethan weren't identical, thank goodness. They would always be pulling jokes on Mom.

Blaze had red and curly hair with slightly pointed ears and up turned mouth like he is always planning something. He had a mustard yellow and icy light blue set of eyes.

Ethan was blonde with straight bland hair. He had one dark blue eye like the ocean. The other was dark purple ringed with gold. He had a square jaw and a defined nose but he was always laughing.

Mom had light skin and dark brown hair. She never let it grow out long though and kept it short like a boys. Her eyes are green and blue and penetrated you like daggers when you made her upset. She had a similar Grace to me, survival. She could tell you where north is at the drop of a hat or could weave a water proof basket when the time arrived. She used to work for King Randa as an assassin in Middluns. Randa was murdered a few years ago and Middluns was now being ruled by his son, Raffin.

Once the table was set and Mom had spooned everyone a portion that was too big to be healthy we prayed. The soup was thick and white with small chucks of fish, clams, and potatoes. It was really good. One of the few things Mom could actually cook without it coming out black.

At the end of dinner Ethan and I did the dishes. I did the washing in a bucket of water that was warmed by rocks from the hearth. Ethan dried when I scraped off the thick remains with a rag, and placed the bowls back in our dusty cabinets.

"Was Blaze really going to beat you today when I was coming back from the pond?" I asked with my hands submerged in the water.

"Nah," Ethan said shaking his head slightly as he wiped down a bowl and put it in the cabinet. "He was doing good but I could have easily broken out of the head lock he had me in. Then you swooped in. Nice tackle by the way," he approved looking up from his work. "Blaze just thinks he would have won. Why did he say something to you after the match?"

"The usual, that I only beat him because of my Grace."

"Well that's not a good excuse for him to be taken down by a nine year old in five-seconds flat."

I didn't response and scrubbed at a tough spot. Water splashed out of the bucket a little. We were quiet for a while, focusing more on our tasks then were necessary.

"You know your Grace doesn't define you right?" Ethan asks.

"Yeah, I do. It's just… sometimes it's hard not to feel like I'm not being judged for it." I paused for a second. "Look what they made Mom do for years. She was protecting herself and accidently a killed her Uncle and they thought she had the Grace of killing. For years she was forced to kill people and didn't have any friends because they all judged her for an accident. How can I not feel like I'm being judged for being the daughter of Katsa. THE Katsa. Who has a daughter that also has a Grace that could and CAN kill people."

Ethan was silent for a moment, thinking, before looking up.

"That doesn't mean you have to be the same thing she WAS. People look at her different now. She was the leader of the Council. She helped over throw the kings who treated their people the same way she was by Randa. She made a difference and so can you" he finished putting the last plate in the cabinet.

"Yeah, but will I make a good or bad difference?" I ask. Ethan crouched down to my height on the short stool. He pulled a piece of hair that had fallen out of braid behind my ear and looked at my eyes.

"If there is one thing Mom and Dad have taught me it's that you get to decide what difference you make in this world"

Before going to bed Mom and played a round of Fox and Geese. It's usually played on a board with squares like chess. Instead of having chess pieces though you had cavalry, archers, swordsmen, and a castle. You set your castle on a square in your section, mostly closer to you. The point of the games was to move your other pieces closer to capture the castle. The amount you could move varied on how well you rolled your dice. The higher the number the more moves you get, with the choice to move backwards or forwards.

Dad sat behind Mom and would sometimes signal to me her next move in her head, since he could read her thoughts. Mom won anyway though even with his help.

Once the game was over there was a knock on our door. Dad got up and opened as Mom and I pack the game away into its box. Standing at the door was a Sunder guard. He had dark long greasy hair. He had on his regulated light tan coat, brown pants, and leather riding boots. He had dark blue sash on also that meant he was the leader of the squad.

"Are you Katsa and Greening Grandemalion?" a he asked in a voice that did not sound happy.

"Yes," answered Dad," Would you like to come in?" he asks him stepping aside.

"Thank you," he says coming in with his hands clasped behind his back. His steps echoed off the wall the only noise in the room.

"Kids," Mom says breaking the silence as he runs his fingers along the fireplace mantel. "How about you head down to your rooms? So we may talk to this man." She ushers us down the hallway and to the entrance of the twins rooms. Blaze and Ethan go in and I turn to go to my room. "No, Wisteria go in the boys room. I don't want you guys separated. We may have to leave here quickly. Be prepared to use your Grace Wisteria. You too Blaze." She shut the door and left. Her steps were muffled through the door.

Before I knew it there was scuffling outside the door and a huge crash. "What do you think that was?" Ethan asks standing up from the bed.

"I don't know but that did not sound good," Blaze answers as he walks to the door as a second crash was heard. This time followed by a yell we couldn't make out. Blaze and Ethan ran out the door, I stood to follow but the door slammed in my face. I grabbed the knob and tried to open it but it was locked. I shook the handle vigorously but it refused. The noise at the end of the hall grew louder but I was unable to help.

It grew quiet as there was suddenly no noise. Not even a creak or scuffle. I twisted the door handle and this time it was unlocked. Blaze's Grace is telekinesis; he probably locked the door when he ran into the living room to keep me out. If was now unlocked that meant something bad. He was either unconscious or focusing on something else.

I walked down the hallway slowly so I wouldn't make any noise. I peek out from the wall as much as I dared.

"Now I will ask you this again. Will you lets us take your children willingly or will we be telling them?" asked the guard that had entered our house minutes ago.

There was silence. "Just take them." Mom's voice was quiet, barely audible.