When she was ten years old, her family sent her to the Heights.
Emine might have protested more. Or cried aloud. However, at ten years she had long since become aware that she was the latest in a string of children her parents could not afford. While she wondered why they didn’t send away one of her less helpful siblings, she reminded herself that all of her remaining siblings had to be loved more than her. It was only sensible. (Even if she did not know why.)
She sniffled in the back of the cart, as quiet as she could manage. She had kept from crying as her parents bid her farewell. Now on the road, there seemed to be no point.
The woman sitting near her offered her some candy. Emine shook her head. “Sorry. I don’t like sweets.”
With a smile, the woman returned her candy to her pocket and pulled a stick of jerky out of her bag. As Emine chewed on that, the woman told her something she had never thought of. “You’ve come from a remote place. Ever seen a dragon before?”
That was right. The Heights were the centre of everything. The jerky stuck in Emine’s throat.