A cold breeze crept in through the window, coming off the endless waves of desert. The shifting sands didn’t seem to keep any of the wretched heat that had seared the day.

Daniel hated it. He’d never wanted to come here but he’d had no choice. When his parents had disappeared a month ago on an expedition somewhere in South America, he was allowed to make a single decision for himself: Stay with his queer uncle Zane in the middle of nowhere or be shipped off to a military academy. Tall, thin, and spindly, he was a dreamer not a soldier, which left him no choice at all.

Rubbing his beak-like nose, a gift from his mother who wore a nearly identical one, he sighed. It was an expressive sigh, one only a child with no options could make and like the sighs of most children, it was ignored by all who heard it- in this case, one crazy uncle and his mute servant.

The young boy peeked an eye over the large tome he’d been pretending to read for the last hour. Nothing had changed. Rolling his eyes, he flipped the page.

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