Of all the members in our little expedition, Eanna has always been the most pure. Even when I first met her, she had treated me and Kyprosa with the kindness that is her hallmark.
It had been an unusual day, now that I think about it. Kyprosa had suddenly announced that we were going dress shopping, muttering to herself about "being invisible". I refused, of course, but she told me that I was growing fast and would soon need new clothes anyway.
So off we went.
Both of us were raised in the remote mountain kingdom of Daeier. When confronted by the countless shops of Delphinad's market district, we were at a loss. But as we wandered the streets in confusion, I suddenly felt the pull of fate from one shop in particular.
I grabbed Kyprosa's hand and pointed at the shop that had caught my attention. Its storefront was filled with mannequins in beautiful luxury gowns. Kyprosa looked skeptical, but allowed herself to be dragged in through the door, laughing.
Kyprosa was immediately intercepted by a fussy clerk, which gave me time to search the rest of the store for the presence I had felt. I followed the pull of fate deeper into the store, eventually rounding a corner and bumping directly into a young noblewoman.
She turned around in surprise, but when she saw only a wild-haired little girl, her expression broke into a delighted smile. I stared up at her, trying to understand how this pampered aristocrat could possibly be related to my destiny.
"Why hello there, little lady!" she said sweetly.
I heard panicked footsteps behind me, and Kyprosa appeared in a rush.
"I'm sorry, miss," she stammered. "Was my sister bothering you?"
"Oh not at all!" insisted the young woman. "I was merely worried that she had wandered in by herself."
She looked us both over, silently taking in the state of our clothes. Then she turned to Kyprosa.
"My name's Eanna," she announced. "And I'm going to be here for a while. Why don't you leave her with me while you shop? Besides," she said, winking at me conspiratorially. "I could use a second opinion while I'm picking out my dresses!"
Kyprosa hesitated, looking down at me to gauge my reaction. When I nodded, she reluctantly gave in.
After Kyprosa returned to her shopping, Eanna turned back to me.
"Actually," she confessed. “I've got enough dresses to last a lifetime. But it looks like you could use a few for yourself. Let's go have a look, shall we?"
And with that, I was swept into another section of the store.
I wasn't interested in new clothes, but this young noblewoman fascinated me. As she picked out dresses and had me try them on, I studied her mind closely--but I could find no hint of malice there. She truly did just want to help a little girl whom she'd just met.
There was a warmth to her, a generosity of spirit, that I knew that I would never have. This woman was everything I would never--could never be.
Eanna eventually settled on a selection of dresses that she claimed suited my pale complexion. And when I bothered to look in the mirror, I was surprised to find that she was right. I had never developed a taste for fashion or adornment before, but Eanna's keen eye had found a look that even I found pleasing. I smiled up at her appreciatively.
When we returned to Kyprosa, Eanna held up the armful of clothes that she'd picked out for me.
"I hope this doesn't seem rude, but...these look absolutely lovely on your sister, and I'd like to buy them for her."
Kyprosa started to refuse the young woman's offer, but she was interrupted by a bustling handmaiden.
"Lady Eanna, the thirty dresses you've ordered are packed and ready to be send to the shelter."
She looked down at the dresses in Eanna's hands. "Would you like to add those to the pile?"
Eanna shook her head. "No, thank you, Miranda. I'll be buying these separately. That is..." She glanced back at Kyprosa.questioningly. "If it's alright with you?"
Kyprosa gaped. "You're buying dresses for the homeless? New dresses? From this place?"
The handmaiden sniffed indignantly, but Eanna laughed.
"My family is very wealthy," she explained, shrugging somewhat uncomfortably. "It's never made much sense to me to keep all that coin locked up in a vault." She hefted the armload of dresses she'd picked out for me, reminding Kyprosa of her offer. "Please, I insist."
Eanna could be quite convincing when she wanted to be. By the time we left the dress shop, I had a bag full of new clothes, and even Kyprosa was carrying a few dresses that Eanna had helped her find.
But more importantly, we'd made a new friend.
We soon learned that Eanna was the daughter of Delphinad’s governor, and was one of the city's most beloved philanthropists. She could often be spotted working at soup kitchens or homeless shelters, handing out food and new clothes without a thought for her health or station.
There wasn't a beggar in the city that didn't know Eanna's face, or an orphan that had not benefited in some way from her kindness.
After we'd finished our shopping, Eanna insisted on taking us out for the day. Again, Kyprosa's instinct was to politely refuse. And again, Eanna's infectious good nature soon won her over.
Before we knew it, we'd been treated to lunch, had our hair styled, and been shown the sights of the market district. I noticed that the longer we stayed with Eanna, the easier Kyprosa's smiles seemed to come.
It wasn't that the young woman was magic, per se...it was that she exuded such a powerful aura of good intentions that you couldn't help but be affected by it.
I still didn't know what her purpose in our future was, but I was glad to have her be a part of it.
Eanna soon became a regular at the Shadowhawk House. She had often heard of the famous vigilantes, Gene and Tahyang, while working in the homeless shelter. When she learned that we were staying with them, she was too curious to keep away.
The others took to her quickly enough--not that anyone in their right mind would actively dislike Eanna. And while I had little in common with the gracious noblewoman, Kyprosa seemed to benefit from having another woman to talk to.
Well, someone besides me anyway.
Watching both young women during dinner, I couldn't help but compare Eanna and my sister. Whereas Kyprosa was cautious and guarded, Eanna strode through the world with confidence and optimism. Both strong in their own way--but my sister seemed weighed down by the secrets that she kept, her inner light diminished by a greater darkness at her heels.
I often wondered what Kyprosa would be like under better circumstances.
If she hadn't been raised under the cruel gaze of the Fir Queen.
If she hadn't saved me from the wolves on that bitter winter night.