The delicate plum blossoms in the Scarlet Garden were in full bloom, signalling the passing of winter and the arrival of spring. A pair of tiny swallows sat on the fragile, yet sturdy branches of the plum tree as they sung their birdsong. A season of birth and renewal, Alaenera was usually excited for spring - but not this year. In less than a month, she would be leaving Jinqi, the place she had called home for almost a decade, and sailing west, to the land of her birth. To a foreign, yet familiar land - somewhere she could only vaguely recall. In her mind, this experience would be a grand adventure and a chance to help the principality by finding new trading partners and exchanging culture with other places. Then reality hit. Everything had seemed so exciting until she realized she would be leaving what felt like everything she had ever known behind. Alaenera breathed a deep sigh and headed towards the Temple of the Ancestors - a place where one could mourn the dead by offering fresh fruit and burning incense. Although she had no bodies to inter within the chambers, it was where she felt the closest to her parents whose faces she could vividly imagine through her brother's descriptions and drawings. Mother was beautiful and kind and father! Father was handsome, brave, and strong! Her brother who was six years her senior would tell her. They both had blonde hair and purple eyes, both of which are classical Valyrian features. Father was a man of the sword and had the muscles to show for it! He was my hero - a man who I had always thought I would grow up to become. Then he died. And I had to become the head of what was left of our House in a foreign land where our name meant nothing. So that is when I gave up. I knew I could never become him.