She held the scroll with trembling fingers. Her mother had told her this day would come. Had told her to be prepared to receive it.
How could something so small, be so intimidating? Just simple brown parchment curled up, a blue was circle imprinted with the King’s crest holding it shut.
“Casey, you have to open it.” Her mother muttered, eyes swimming, lips trembling. “We have to know how much time is left. We have to know how much more time we have to train you.”
The kingdom of Sah’Tan’Ah was failing. For so many years it had succeeded, had thrived. But it was a small island. The thriving had led to overpopulation. Now, once you turned seventeen you faced The Culling.
Casey had barely made the cut off, she thought as she studied the scroll she had opened. By barely a week, thanks to her birthdate. She shuddered as she passed the scroll to her mother to read. “Two weeks.” The words slithered out of her mouth, and she le herself feel the fear for a brief moment. Let it course through her like a rivers current.
Then, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, clearing her mind. “Mother how many more plants are there to learn? How many more do you think I can learn in two weeks?”
“Casey,” her mother looked at her with thoughtful eyes. “There are hundreds more, and you already know hundreds. You have been studying since you were a babe. But I don’t think only two more weeks will be enough.”
Casey looked at her mother, stared into brown eyes that were similar to her own, and spoke softly. “It will have to be.”