Karla has never been a supporter of the Orens. The old one was a fool, believing that his closeness to the people would really mean anything. Yushkov, called The Usurper by many, was the worst Oren she had seen in her rather short life up until now. He said he wanted to make Kosul strong, ready for the world, ignoring the fact that Kosul was strong in its own way. And now, Svetya, the girl who came home. She may have fought against the Usurper, she may have defeated him, but she would never defeat the rebellion still living in the hearts of many Kosulians.
Or at last that‘s what Karla believed. She was a young woman who did not yet see her twentieth winter. She had been born on the street, she was raised on the street. This does by no matter mean she would‘ve been dumb, no. Beneath her golden curls was a bright mind, and it focused on one thing in special: Freeing the Kosul people from the tyranny of the Orens. No person should rule a whole country and have power over all its inhabitants. It was just wrong. Freedom was all that she wanted.
It all started years ago. Karla‘s parents were poor. They owned what they could carry, living from what they earned day by day. There were very harsh times, especially in the long and cold winters up in the north, when nobody needed someone to help on the farm. In these times, they lived only by what Karla’s mother would earn by making clothes. She was good in what she did, but often enough it didn’t pay out well enough to keep their stomachs full for a day. They woke up hungry, and when they went to sleep, they were still hungry. Sure, little Karla was good at begging, but some Breadcrumbs were the only things most Kosulians were able to spare in the harsh winters. The ones at the top, on the other side, the ones who would have been able to help them out and would still had enough to feed their their family, didn’t care about them.
As Karla grew older, she realized how the world was. The rich people got everything they needed and more, while the poor fought for their survival. And even then, the rich still took the work from the poor, leaving them with less than they could have, and so more and more of the poor died in the harsh winters, either by freezing to death, or starvation. Karla saw that something needed to change. Nobody had the right to own a palace, filled with food and warmth enough for all the people dieing in the streets. Everybody should work for what they earn, and everybody should earn enough to survive. But as long as a few people ruled everyone else’s life, the would abuse them for their own wealth.
It really got clear for Klara in the harshest winter the had lived through in her young live., her fifteenth winter The harvest in this year had been rather bad, so the prices for food rose higher and higher. Her parents were doing everything they could to feed them all, but Karla saw how they got thinner and thinner, slowly starving away. She herself didn’t loose as much weight, and she realized, that her parents were sacrificing some of their food to keep Klara as good nurtured as possible. But it was too much they did. One night, when they slept in their tent at night, a very cold wind came from the north. Everything froze over. Even Klara’s parents. As she woke up, the only thing left from them were two bodies, frozen to the core. Klara realized that they had put all their blankets on top of her so that she will survive the night, sacrificing their own life for her. With only their own warmth, they died, being frozen forever in a loving embrace. But Klara was alone now. Nobody would care for her from now on, she needed to take care of her own. She sat there, next to her dead parents, as hours and hours passed by. She cried, her tears freezing before they hit the earth. During this time, more than once she thought of just staying there, dieing next to her parents. But after half a day, she finally said good bye to her parents. She had no possibility to bury them, no way to ensure that they would rest in piece. Her eyes still filled with tears, singing a lullaby that her mother used to sing for her, she rolled up the blankets and put them into her fathers backpack, the biggest of theirs. There was not much else she could take with her, only a necklace from her mother. It was made from a bear’s tooth, engraved with the names of her parents. She shed some last tears as she put it around her neck, saying goodbye to her parents. Then, she left them inside the tent, going to find her way alone in this world.
She did not find anything to eat this day. Nor did she the following day. She just marched on and on down the road, hoping to find something, anything giving her new hope. And she found something inside herself. Somewhere deep inside herself, she knew what she had to do: she had to fight for her right, for her freedom, for the lives of everone living on the Kosulian streets. It were this goal that kept her going onwards, until finally, at the third day walking lonely along the road, she saw a little farm with smoke coming out of the chimney. The last nights, she slept in a ruin and a cave, but she saw the possibility of sleeping in a warm house, next to a fire, and maybe eating something. Her mouth formed to a smile, as good as they could, as Karla was weak and tired. So she walked up the way to the door of the house. There, she fell to her knees, feeling the cold and the grief and the pain coming over her. She knocked, not strong, as she passed out.
At this moment, she thought she would die. All this pain, the sacrifice of her parents, for nothing. She still died, close to being rescued. But she wasn’t able to cry as she fell to the floor. Her last thoughts were for her parents, that she loved them and that she’d meet them again.
Then, she opened up her eyes. She was in room, warm and bright. She smelled a stew being cooked. She was still weak, but she was sure it would end soon. After all, she had died. She was in the Afterlife, and her body, no, her mind just needed to realize this. Now, she would see her parents again. She smiled, still weak, as she heard some footsteps coming close. She was ready to look in the face of her parents, as a head came into her view. But it wasn’t her father nor her mother. It was an old woman, looking down on her. As the old woman saw the open eyes, the smiled and turned away, shouting. Klara did not understand what she did shout, she was not strong enough to understand anything. The woman went out of her sight, just to come back shortly after, with a bowl filled with stew. The smell of the food awoke something in Karla, a will to survive. She was not dead. They saved her. With pain and a lot of effort, she sat up, taking the bowl and a spoon with shaking fingers. The old woman still smiled and laughed while she helped Karla eat her stew. It was the most amazing stew she ever ate.
While still eating, the room started to clear up in Klara’s sight. It was a little room. There was a fireside and a table with eight chairs. A big iron pot hang above the fire, and there was a door leading out of the room. Knittings hang at the walls, and a window showed her the outside. The snow was still lying at the land, keeping nature in its cold, deadly grasp. She sighed. At this moment, the door into the room opened up, and the room started to fill. In came two adults, close to the age her parents had. They surely where the owners of the farm. Three children, a girl and two boys, younger than herself, entered after her. The last persons entering were two young men, obviously the farmhands who were allowed to stay here during the winter. They all looked at her, and she started to feel uncomfortable. She stopped eating, looking at them. The older man, the owner of the farm, smiled as he went to her.
“Good morning, girl. We almost gave up on you. You were passed out for almost a whole day. But Grandmother said that there is nothing like a good stew to wake up the dead. Without her, you would have surely died.” Karla nodded weakly with her head. She understood what he said, but she wasn’t able to answer him.
The woman, the wife of the man who just talked to her, came over. “It’s okay. Eat up, girl. You can stay here while you recover. It’s our duty and our pleasure to help you get well.” The farmhands, not much older than Karla was, looked at her, but stayed back. The children, on the other hand, came close, laughing and playing. Karla smiled, while pain flodded through her mind. But she finished eating the stew. With a weak voice, she said. “Thank you.”
The man laughed. “Nothing to thank us for! Let me introduce you to the family!” He wrapped his arms around his wife. “That’s Anna, my wife. The best wife on this world!” Anna laughed and kissed him at the cheek. He pointed at the children. “They are Viktor, Vladimir and Natalya, the sunshine of our life.” The children came, introducing themselves again, before they started running around in the room again.
The old woman stood up. “I don’t need you to introduce myself, son. I’m not too old for this!” The man laughed. “I’m Erika, the good soul of this house.” She smiled, as she stroked the hair of Karla.
Then the young men came closer. The first,packed with muscles, smiled at her. “I’m Aleksandr. Pleased to meet you, girl. Hope you get well soon!”
The other one was a bit smaller and not as muscular and stuttered a bit as he introduced himself. “I...I’m Michail. I work here. Get well soon, y...you hear?” Klara smiled at him and nodded again.
Then the man started again. “Ok, if you’re finished now...My Name is Leo. I’m the owner of this farm. And I offer you to stay here as long as you want. Once you feel better, you can surely help us. But for now, how about you introduce yourself? What is a girl like you doing out in the cold at this time of the year?”
Karla gulped before she started to answer in a weak and low voice. “My name is Karla. I’m all alone. My...my parents...” Her eyes filled with tears as she started sobbing. “They...they died. They died, sacrificing themselves for me. They froze to death, out in the wild. They gave everything for me…” She started crying as the memories filled her head with pain. Anna sat down next to her and embraced her.
“I’m so sorry, Karla. We’re all sorry to hear that. As Leo said, you may stay with us as long as you want to. First, we’re going to make sure you’re back to health, and then you can work here. We’ll make sure everything will be fine.” Karla put her head on Anna’s shoulder and cried everything out, she cried and cried until everything started to go numb. Then, she layed down again and fell asleep, with tears still filling her eyes.