It was a rainy evening, not stormy like the backdrop of so many stories of arrival, but unpleasant nonetheless. The kind of cold, early spring drizzle that permeates your clothing, soaking it against your skin and chilling you to the core. This was the night when she arrived. She didnt arrive on her own accord, nor was she even aware of where she was or why she had been brought to this place, she was far too young for abstract thought of that kind.
To her credit, Alluna had brought her child to the best orphanage in the area. It was large, clean, well funded and housed within its walls an onsite school so lauded that even children from the surrounding areas came here for their educations. The child, however knew nothing of this, and was not yet of the schooling age anyways. All she knew was she was safe, she was warm, and now she was alone. Well, not quite alone, but close enough. There was the crying of another infant from somewhere else in the darkened room, then another, and yet another.
Soon the lights flickered on and an overtired woman in a dressing robe and plain looking pajamas drug herself in through the doorway, hushing the infants as she walked. "Hush, hush now, you're alright, quiet down." She said in a tired, yet kind voice. Our young girl liked the sound of this voice and she turned to try and see who it belonged to. She tried rolling onto her side to look through the bars of the crib but couldn't quite manage the feat, settling instead to wait for the owner to come to her. The woman went from crib to crib, quieting each infant in turn and putting them back to bed. Once she got to the crib where the newest arrival lay waiting, an assortment of emotions played out across her face. Confusion, fear, panic, and disgust flashed by in a quick but mostly silent parade. She did well not to reawaken the other infants as she left the crib side of the newest arrival and swept out into the hall.
More lights and the sounds of doors being opened, followed by quiet, urgent conversation growing closer. The sweet voiced lady returned with panicked tears forming in her eyes as she hovered behind a much more severe looking older woman. From the prospective of our girl, the could see a tired looking young lady with pretty dark eyes and hair, standing beside an older lady with greying hair sticking out from around a sleeping bonnet. From their prospective they saw a pale, bald abomination with mismatched eyes where once laid a human baby. Sleep worn and not in the mood for late night trouble the older lady, Laurenette peered over the edge of the crib, the child within cringed back. She wasn't sure how she knew, but it felt like she was in trouble, something wasn't right, this didn't look like home, this didn't smell like home, and these ladies didn't look like mother, no mater how sweet voiced the other had been. "See? I told you, a changeling child." The younger lady said with a fearful tone. Laurenette heaved a heavy and long sigh, looking around to the other cribs before she spoke. "Yes, it would seem we have fallen victim to a Hag. She took Timothy and left this in exchange, it would seem." She sighed again and slouched a little, leaning on the crib side for support. "Will he be alright? Timothy, i mean?" The sweet voiced lady asked. Laurenette rolled her head to look over at the younger woman. "I would assume? They usually only take another child to keep up appearances. This Hag must live within city limits, someone would have known she was carrying, questions would have been asked had she been seen without child. Even more questions would have arose had they seen her with this thing, her identity would have been blown." She sighed yet again, turning away from the newest addition to their orphanage and taking a few steps back towards the hall, shaking her head in defeat.
"It only makes sense that she took the youngest one we had." She added thoughtfully, wringing her hands slightly as her brow creased. "What do we do with this?" The younger woman asked her superior, waving a hand over the crib as she peered in briefly. Laurenette stopped and looked over her shoulder at the stolen crib. "Well, city rules state that since it is already within our building, we are obliged to make sure it survives until we can find it a new home." She said, sounding disappointed in the turn of events. Kathryn, the younger woman looked nervously at the infant, as if afraid it would bite. "But that is all we are obligated to do." Laurenette said with an air of finality and a meaningful look as she turned and swept out the room to go back to bed. Kathryn felt uneasy, knowing she wasn't going to be able to sleep now, she pulled the wooden rocking chair from the corner of the room to the center and sat herself between the changeling child and the other inhabited cribs. She felt as if this was something to be feared and distrusted. Something wild that would eat up the other children like a fox in a hen house. Never again would the kind voice of Kathryn be heard directed at this child.
The next three years were of nearly absolute neglect. Though the environment of the orphanage was welcoming and warm for all other children in its keep, it was cold and sterile towards her. She would watch as the other children were doted on and well cared for as she became a target for abuse. She was never given a name, just referred to as "the changeling" and eventually "the Git". Dirty diapers never got changed until it became a nuisance to be around. Food was scarce and usually cold leftovers that she had to steal from the others her age. She had to grow up fast and figure out how to take care of herself as soon as she was able. But even that lead to conflict as she was often punished for her actions. She was often found in the kitchen, trying to make her own food, or in one of the bathrooms, trying to wash up either herself or her clothes in the sink. These actions, punished when she did them, would be easily forgiven when it was others. It was a frustrating situation to grow up in.
She was constantly in trouble, being made to stand in the corner or eventually the 'time out room', a modified coat closet that they eventually made up just for her. She was ridiculed and bullied by her peers and 'caregivers', being blamed for any wrong doing or misdeeds found around the orphanage whether she had done it or had been framed for it. The only friend she could count on through it all was the orphanage nanny dog, a large, shaggy brown mutt by the name of Morning, who was meant to be a guardian to the children in the care of the home. She formed a strong bond with the young changeling and they were nearly inseparable. Morning would even go as far as to shoo away other children who where already learning to display cruelty to the strange looking toddler.
The Git eventually discovered she could model her growing body after her friend. Playing pretend one day and mimicking her adopted mother figure, she slowly started sprouting a shaggy tail, sharper teeth and sparse bits of fur to match. To a young child anything is possible, so she saw nothing unusual about this at all, of course she could change her form, couldnt everyone? Things were funner this way, at least in her mind. She would crawl around on her hands and knees, even trying to bark, howl and growl like Morning did. Morning seemed to encourage this behavior, but when the other, two legged nannies found her they gave her a harsh scolding for changing her appearance. "How are we going to get rid of you now with you looking like that?! No one wants you as it is and now this?! You look like a drowned dog! You change back right now!" They scolded, forcing her back into a corner with their hostility. She was frightened and in tears, knowing she would get a nasty swatting yet again. She tried to change back but was too frightened and couldn't really control her changeling transformations very well. She was indeed swatted and sent to the corner in tears, Morning by her side, refusing the calls of the nannies to leave her child alone. Punishment aside, she still liked her new form and it became her permanent appearance, regardless of the scoffing of the caretakers. As she was severely discouraged from changing her form any further, and as a result she partially forgot about the option. It was safer this way, even if it got her unwanted attention from the others.
The next five years were of absolute misery for her in the orphanage. She eventually adopted the title of "Git" as a name of sorts. The other children had learned they would not be punished for the cruelty they inflicted on her and abused the privilege as much as time allowed. They often would steal from her the very few things she had acquired as her own, break them and pass the blame onto her when an adult would walk by, drawn by the sounds of her frustrated recovery attempts. Among the other abuses, they would also collect sticky and dirty things from the surrounding grounds of the orphanage and it became a game to stick things to her curly hair and fur patches so that she would be left trying to painfully remove the filth on her own, all while caching hell from the ladies of the orphanage for getting so dirty. Even with all this she was still determined to do well in classes, but school was hard to focus on when fellow students tormented her at all times. She would often fail classes or pass with the lowest possible score no matter how hard she tried. It wasn't that she was unintelligent, in fact, had the scores been honest and accurate, she would have been just shy of top of the class. The constant tormenting from the other kids and the animosity from the teachers made classroom learning almost impossible. She would often be found in a little nook of the library, reading on her own or with Morning on her lap. This was how she did the most of her schooling, learning things far beyond the expectations of her peers.
By age nine she was so beaten down that she no longer even tried to defend herself when things would happen. She had learned her usual fist-fighting, biting and scratching weren't getting her anywhere but in more trouble, she eventually stopped reacting at all to the provoking of others and took to being sneaky, hiding most of the time in an attempt to simply avoid conflict. Although things were about to get worse quickly. Morning was in failing health and there was little anyone could do due to her advancing age. Git took to the library and studied anything she could to help aid her friend and mother figure. Though the death of Morning seemed inevitable. The shaggy brown dog had grown old and frail over the years and when her old body gave up Git was beyond devastated. She grew violent when the adults tried to take the body away for burial and scratched Kathryn across the forearm. There were three deep gashes and a fourth, shallower scratch where she had missed, all immediately bleeding badly. Kathryn pulled away with surprised scream, holding her arm and backing away. "Darall!! Darall! Help!" She called, shouting to the doorway. Git's eyes widened, that wasn't good at all. There wasn't many men who worked at the orphanage, just a groundskeeper, cook and a maintenance man.
But Darall, the maintenance man, worked duel duty and a bit of muscle when a child got out of hand and needed to be forcefully carried to their punishment. She could hear the heavy footfalls coming down the hallway and panicked. She wanted to take Morning away with her, but the vacated body was so heavy and awkward in death. Git needed to run, needed get away before he arrived or it would all be over. Kathryn continued calling for help as a small amount of blood ran between her fingers and hit the tile floor as she held her wound. Git was near an unfortunately tall window, but she tried to drag Morning with her towards it anyways. But she was too small, too weak, and Morning was too heavy now. "Im sorry." Git said, speaking into Morning's ear as she hugged her one last time and jumped out the second story window, grabbing a nearby tree limb with the idea of climbing down, but it bent much more than she had expected and she nearly fell the whole way. The limb finally held tight and was almost ripped out of her grip about eight feet from the ground. She dropped the rest of the way without injury and began running across the yard she was soon captured by the grounds keeper who carried her back kicking and fighting. The other children had watched all of this. Some pointed and laughed at her, some held private conversations behind their hands as she was carried past them, all looked as if they were thoroughly enjoying the scene.
The groundskeeper was a large man, rumors had spread that he had troll blood somewhere in his heritage, but no one had ever asked him and couldn't prove it. The fightings of an underweight nine year old meant nothing to him as he stoically walked her back inside. She was tucked under his arm and he had a hold of both of her arms in his other hand. She kicked and bit at him as frustrated tears left streaks down her face. "Let me go! Let me go let me go let me go!!" She demanded, but he didn't seem to even hear her. He walked past the maintenance man, who was carrying Morning's body out for burial, causing a stronger outburst from Git as she tried to follow her only friend to her final resting place. The ladies of the orphanage had always been slightly fearful of this child, and now they were good and scared at the sight of this outburst. They refused to even take her into custody, instructing the groundskeeper to simply deposit her in a tiny closet beside the library, which was used for time outs of a severe magnitude. He tossed her in and locked the door and she was told she would be let out after dinner tonight if she had calmed down by then.
It took a long while for her to stop crying, she had just lost her only friend after all, and her escape attempt had failed. All in all it was a pretty shitty day if she did say so herself. It was just before lunchtime, so she had resigned herself to the fact she would be missing some meals yet again. No big deal, she supposed, at least she couldn't get blamed for spilling food today. After a little while there was a small voice at the door, then another, whispering and laughing. Word had gotten out that she was in 'the closet'. "Hey ya dumb Git, what did you do this time?" The mocking voice of a child sounded through the door. By the sounds of it, there was at least two, if not three out there. She didn't answer, she was too devastated yet to even be a smart-ass. "Did you kill the dog?! I heard you killed her." The voice tried again, sounding smarmy. Git's hands curled into fists and she gritted her teeth without even noticing the actions. "Are you sure shes in there?" "Yeah, Kennith said he saw them put her in." "I don't hear anything, maybe they let her out?" The voices spoke from the other side of the door. Git could see their shadows moving under the door. There was just enough room under the door to see a knee and a hand on the floor. "Hold on, Im gonna look." One voice said, followed by a shuffling sound as they got into position. Git moved her face as close to the crack as possible and waited. As soon as an eye was visible she growled and bared her teeth just as viciously as she could manage with a door between them. The results were satisfying though as the tormenting child was sent sprawling backwards in fright from the door with a terrifying squeal. "What'd it do? What'd it do?! Did she get you?!" The other kid asked, helping their friend up. Now he was mad, the fallen child got to his feet with as much dignity as a recently startled twelve year old can be said to have and kicked the bottom of the door with a loud thump. Git had moved away by then and was unmoved by the action, sitting in the corner and pouting at the rotten turn of events that day.
The kids eventually left out of boredom and Git was left alone once more. She eventually calmed down from the lost, still painful, but manageable. She was getting hungry too and had no way of telling what time it was. She peered under the door and could see a tall grandfather clock in the hall, but couldn't get an angle on it to where she could see the face. She wanted to leave this place, all it was to her was a place to sleep at night, and even that was questionable due to harassment from the other kids in the dormitories. Since arriving at this orphanage she had been left out of every event or holiday that took place and was routinely blamed for the loss of some kid she never even met named Timothy. She had grown up being told she was an abomination because of her race and the way she had arrived in this place. She was lectured almost daily on how no one wanted her, not even her own parents and how she would never find a home. And now, with Morning gone, she had no reason to stay.
She was very tired and hungry by the time they remembered to let her out, not to mention she had to pee. She was allowed to use the bathroom before being ushered to the kitchen where she was told to do the dishes as the second half of her punishment. Doing the dishes for a building this large was a daunting task, this would take all night as she was to have no help. The groundskeeper was sat in a chair to watch her and make sure she didn't try to run off again and she was put to work. At least there was plenty of scraps left on the plates, pots and pans. She ate what she found as she cleaned up, keeping an eye on the groundskeeper to see if he was still watching. She tried to start conversation with him, but he wouldn't answer her and she eventually gave up. Somewhere around midnight though she was given a chance to run, he had fallen asleep in the chair and she was alerted to this by the low, unsteady rumble of snoring. She set her things down and crept over to examine him, she had a plan, and she had been thinking about it most of the afternoon and evening. She was nervous as she collected a moderately sized kitchen knife and pocketed it, the blade sticking out of her back pocket awkwardly as she walked along. Next the found a book-bag on the hooks and emptied its contents onto the floor, gaining a bag to pack.
She was going to the library next and moved through the open archway silently, collecting a few books she thought would be useful and moving to the main hall. Here was the next challenge, actually getting out. The maintenance man would be lurking somewhere if he was awake, but she wasn't sure where. He wouldn't be looking for escapees necessarily, but for roamers or anyone trying to get in. The front door was locked and she wasn't sure how to open it, it was a complex looking thing meant for safety, so the window it would be then. Shuffling open the window, she managed to slide out unnoticed, she couldn't hardly believe it. She had half expected there to be shouting, sirens, horns, whistles and lights the moment she set foot outside. And here she was, with nothing happening. She shrugged and set off at a run across the grounds. It was a large lawn, with a gravel path up the middle, she knew to avoid that, it would be too noisy. The moon was full and that made her nervous, it was too much light, and the light blue dress, which was standard uniform for the girls housed at this orphanage, was all but glowing in the moonlight. Fortunately there was several large and very old walnut trees on the property and they cast wild shadows in the moonlight. She tried to put as many trees between herself and the orphanage as possible as she ran.
She was nearly floored when she made it to the edge of the property without being caught, seen or even acknowledged. She got through the fence and dared to look behind her, nothing but moonlit grounds and a dark building. She was scared but excited. She had done it! But now what? She was only nine and had only packed a kitchen knife and a small stack of books. Well, surely someone would take her in, take care of her, maybe even love her. Right? She thought so anyways, she still had hope yet. And if not, well, who's to say she wasn't old enough to take care of herself? She can do it, she has books, and a knife. No one better mess with her! She can take them out! Shes done it before! Well... okay maybe not.
She started walking towards town, it wasn't far and she could see the lights from her current location. At least the weather was nice, mid summer and clear skys, she felt hopeful. Although a feeling of anxiety threatened to overwhelm her like a tsunami, she tried to hold it back. This was only scary because it was new, she tried to tell herself. Maybe no one ever adopted her simply because they hadn't met her yet. She would just have to go out herself and find a family. The way to the city looked a little daunting and scary. She really hoped someone would help her soon so she wasn't left alone for very long.