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“Claire! Claire, are you here?” Luke yelled, outside her home. It wasn't a huge home; in fact it was a simple log cabin, with one, large room, a decent fireplace and an outhouse in the back.
Sophia decorated the cabin with care; making sure to keep it clean and fresh, hanging up curtains in the windows, keeping a vase of wildflowers on the table and the only portrait of their family on the fireplace. Thus, despite its impoverished appearance, it felt quaint, homey and was sufficient for their needs.
“What is it?" Claire said as she burst through the front door obviously irritated.
“I need your help in the square." he replied impatiently, shifting from one foot to the other.
“I just got home from a hunt and I’m trying to help mom cook dinner. You know she isn’t feeling well these days. Whatever is going on will have to wait, okay?”
Just then a large ruckus sounded from the village square not far from Claire’s home.
“See, I told you I need you.” Luke replied softly.
Completely in love, Claire and Luke desired to get married but, the government did not allow marriage between the commoners. They would rather them "mate", but not form close bonds with each other that would perpetuate the idea of unity and togetherness. Family unity was too strong of a bond for the government to fight so they just outlawed it.
Luke was a quiet man but his presence commanded attention. Humble and kind to those around him, he had many loyal friends. Many said that if the Freeriders were still governing, Luke would be an amazing leader in the government and army. He would make a formidable soldier that was certain; with his 6'4" frame, thick muscles from working in the field, and quick reflexes.
Grabbing her bow, Claire told her mother she would be back shortly and ran out the door. Luke was a few yards ahead of her armed with his ax he used to chop wood. He had never been the best with the bow and usually let her do all the killing when they hunted together.
When they arrived, two villagers were in a heated argument over money.
“I know you stole my six gold pieces, Rodrick! You steal everything in this place that is not nailed down! Not even Carmen knew where they were! Return them to me now!” roared Emmanuel.
Emmanuel was the wealthiest villager by far but it is common street knowledge that he made most of his money in drug trafficking. He sold opium along the coastline and gave the Tormentors a portion of his earnings to keep himself out of prison. Carmen was his mate for life, since the Purji refuse to honor marriage between couples.
Rodrick was a stocky, yellow skinned man who was known for being a liar and a suspected thief. No one had ever been able to prove that he was the thief due to no one ever witnessing his crimes. But, he always seemed to be in the same vicinity whenever someone’s belongings came up missing.
“Emmanuel, you are a fat pig and an addict. I’m sure you were in one of your opium dreams and hid your gold my friend and now can’t remember where you put it.” Rodrick replied snickering.
Rodrick took a step back from the large, rotund man swinging at him, his fat arms jiggling with each swipe. There was honestly no way Emmanuel could ever endanger Rodrick with his bare hands but, eventually the Tormentors would be here to check on houses at night fall and they must have put this argument to rest. Hearing the word thief would only excite the Tormentors into a mass beating.
Although, many would want to tell the Tormentors the truth, it would take multiple tears before someone broke. Despite all the Purji’s laws to stop unity among the people, the village had formed quite a bond and even when deserved, no one had the desire to turn a fellow villager over to the hands of evil. It was their small act of defiance against the cruel government; they could