A Stranger Named Sam

Part I: The Departing

High up on a ridge, in the region of Azjura, once lived a pair of twins, Roger and Sam Capricios. Throughout their childhood, they blossomed like most young adults. They struggled with the emotions of life, as well as the drama that came along with relationships. Not only did they struggle to grow independently, they battled with maintaining the bond that twins share. The last thing the duo anticipated was to have their story become a legendary part of Azjuran history. Through their tumultuous tale of loyalty and betrayal, there seemed to be no hope for a peaceful resolution. 

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Years before the mythical tale, Sam and Roger were two simple Azjuran children. They shared an indescribable bond that only twins understood. Without exchanging words, and regardless of their distance, both were able to sense the emotions of their other half. If one expressed laughter or was overjoyed, their sibling would smile. If one felt deep sadness or sorrow, the other sensed their pain. 

Through their adolescence, Roger congregated toward his peers. He was an extrovert, which allowed him to create and maintain friendships well into adulthood. Being tall and handsome helped facilitate the life he had. Sam, the introvert, had a vastly different experience. Roger tried his best to welcome her into social circles, possibly meet new friends. He extended invitations to gatherings, but Sam consistently declined. It saddened Roger to see his twin avoid such memorable moments in life, but she was content. All Sam wanted was acceptance and for her family to focus their efforts elsewhere. 

The twins’ polar personalities remained well into their adulthood. While Roger and his parents continued to surround themselves with members of their community, Sam grew even more detached from society. Most Azjurans met the Capricios family, but considered Sam a stranger. Her introverted personality was exacerbated by the persistent self-isolation. She never had much interest in socializing, like her family, but over the years, she realized a new problem was brewing. Sam had grown resentment toward her family for feeling forced to change who she was. She grew tired of the constant pressure, the persistent invitations to monotonous events. They never made an attempt to learn who she was – her thoughts, interests and goals.

As years passed, Sam and Roger Capricios each left their family and lived on their own. While they were near one another, the siblings didn’t often speak. Every few weeks, they would have a short conversation, mostly to ensure the other was okay. Their shared ability to sense one another’s emotions had vanished. Although Sam resented her family, she still had love for them. Once she accepted they would never be close, Sam had felt a sense of freedom. The realization came as their parents aged. 

While Azjurans may be similar to other races within Diveria, there was one physical attribute that set them apart. Once a child was born, they would immediately begin forming two small sets of wings on their upper back. The upper set was small, with the outer tips reaching upward toward the sky. Beneath was the second set – they were larger with an arched top and came to a point toward the outer tip below. Although the lower set was larger, they weren’t large at all. Typically, these dominant wings were only half the length of the barer’s arm.  This physical attribute was appropriate, considering the location of the region. 

Azjura was located in the upper atmosphere of their world, residing on an extremely large, mushroom cloud plume. Although Azjurans cannot fly, they could hover slightly using both sets of wings. The size and appearance of their wings remained consistent for most of their existence. Once an Azjuran approached a certain age, their lower wings would fall off, which began their final phase of life known as The Departure. Arrangements would be organized, in preparation for their final flight into the afterlife. Reasons were not typically known for The Departure, but it was accepted as their fate.

Sam was notified by her brother, Roger, that they needed to prepare for their parents’ Departure. She could hear the sadness in his voice as he mentioned plans for them. Sam agreed to everything he suggested, as Rogers’ pain was much deeper than her own. Since her family never bothered to get to know the true Azjuran she was, Sam had always felt a strong disconnect from them. They had no idea of the life she lived or various interests she had. The improvement projects she worked on for Azjura, her passion for exploration and her flirtatious practices with darker forces had all gone unnoticed to them. 

The twins agreed they would meet the following day at their parents’ – just the four of them.

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