Chapter 1: Elva

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Here's the story of a girl named Elva, who had disappeared from her hometown of Namatius, Senzacion on Monday, October 7, 2077 at 10:45 AM. Ironically, it had been 70 years since the end of World War III when Elva disappeared.

Before we get to that part of the story, here's a bit of her background:

Elva Shepherd lived in Namatius, Senzacion. The city was located where the city of Sacramento, California once stood. The overpopulated city sitting astride a stream is best known as the location of an ancient battle. The battle was the Venetian-Pacific War, which was fought during the years 2027-2039. Many of the city's residents were employed in pottery, and the city was famous for its luxurious mausoleums. The tombs were dedicated to the military and people who had died during that war.

Elva was a curious girl with sharp green eyes and silver-blond hair. She was 14 years old and short for her age. She had cream-colored skin, an upturned nose, high cheekbones, slim lips, and slightly pointed ears. In fact, many people who knew her said she looked more like an elf than a human, a fact which would later reveal itself later in the story.

Elva was born on May 9, 2063. Her mother, TaLuna, had died when she was a little girl and she didn't know who her father was. Raul and Victoria Shepherd (TaLuna's distant cousins) raised Elva in the community of Wildwood Arbor, which was located outside of Namatius. Even though Wildwood Arbor was a nice place, it was separated from the rest of Namatius; the people living there were anti-social. (In fact, rumors about the residents of the neighborhood practicing magic ran rampant throughout the city; that will be dealt with later on.)

There was no luxury in Senzacion (save for the elite families controlling the country), yet there were the problems of mental illnesses and gangs running unchecked through the city. Anyone with a mental illness would fall victim to the violence caused by the gangs; the police often had trouble with protecting the public and stopping the gangs.

Elva grew up dealing with the gangs that ruthlessly tormented the people every day; many orphans living in Wildwood Arbor were kidnapped and assimilated into the gangs. Raul and Vic didn't like this; they tried to protect Elva as much as they could. Yet the fact that she was an orphan made her a target for the gangs, who attempted to get her to join their ranks.

Even with that issue about her being targeted by the gangs, Elva did well in school and was among those who might have been sent to the capitol boarding school for advanced education. She was independent, loyal, sensible, and brave. Yet she was stubborn and rebellious, both characteristics which would affect her future.

With the deaths of Raul and Vic when she was 10 years old (she had no siblings or other living family members to take her in), Elva was sent to live in the community orphanage, where most children whose parents were unable to raise them would go. There, a group of adults (all who were part of the church) took care of the children until they became of age. At 16 years old, children living in Senzacion were considered adults; they were married off to a person their guardian chose. Marriages in Senzacion were usually arranged from birth, in some cases marriage happened between relatives (mainly cousins), and marriages were for life; divorce was prohibited. Seldom would an unmarried person be permitted to live in Senzacion, unless they were part of the local clergy, who were not allowed to marry.

One day, Elva was walking underneath the trees in the Wildwood Arbor Park. The park was small and old-fashioned. It featured many trees, flowers, and a small playground. Elva wore a checkered green dress, a red scarf, and black shoes. She was two years away from becoming of age, in which she would be married to a young man of the headmistress' choice. However, Elva didn't think she was ready for marriage; in fact, she was an independent girl who refused to be tied down by the normal aspects of everyday living, including marriage and family. Not when there was a large world for her to discover.

But little did she know that her future would take a strange turn...

As Elva silently protested against the unfairness of her life, a hand mysteriously appeared out of thin air. Elva found herself being snatched from where she stood, which was beneath a large tree. Elva gasped in horror as she was yanked through what looked like a portal in the tree. The portal closed quickly, leaving no evidence of Elva being there.

No one saw the kidnapping, as most of the people who lived near the park believed that a gang had snatched her. There had been enough rumors of gangs kidnapping orphans and forcing them to join their ranks that Elva's disappearance was seen as an gang-related kidnapping.

Although the search for her continued for several weeks, the authorities never found her. Many gang members were arrested and the orphans they captured were rescued, but it was too late to help them, as they were no better than the cruel people that captured them. (We'll deal with that story later.)

Yet, Elva had vanished from Wildwood Arbor Park; no one knew where she ended up. Elva had no idea that her life would never be the same...

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