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Andrea sat on her porch watching the sun set behind the thick band of fir trees that marked the edge of her land the wind caused the stalks of wheat to bow their heads as if in worship. As the wind blew against her face her hair fanning out behind her, Andrea closed her eyes enjoying the moment of pure content until the wind died down once again. With a sigh she reached over and picked up her cup of warm tea. Bringing it to her lips she sipped it. It was almost time to leave. The tall elven woman was somewhat reluctant to do so but the wind was insistent in itís message. It was time to go to the cityÖ
Looking around at the old farmhouse. There were so many memories, mostly of sadness and disappointment. Her mind drifted back so many years agoÖ. The wind was rustling in the trees caressing the elven infantís soft pale skin as she drifted off to sleep. A piercing scream startled the baby awake the green leaves of the forest canopy was replaced by a brown wooden ceiling the soft rustling sound was replaced by a shrill scream of a hysterical woman.
Andrea was confused and afraid and she cowered down in the rough woolen blankets in the babyís cot. Little did she know that her elven parents had traded their daughter for a pretty human child, leaving young Andrea in her place. Her new parents were heartbroken but they were not cruel people. Legends did tell that changling children would die off soon anyway due to the child not being in an environment that nourished her. After the initial shock they cared for the child as best as they could giving her the name Andrea Alfgale after the soft breeze that had blown through the house just before the switch was discovered.
Against all odds Andrea survived. Sadly her adopted family didnít. In her 16th year a sickness swept through the village killing more than half the population. Andrea was unaffected due to the fact that her physiology was not human. Still she carried on living in the house on the edge of the village. Generation upon generation of villages came and went, passing down stories of the ever-youthful witch woman that lived in the house in the corner. Children would dare each other to sneak into her yard, somehow always turning to run away before approaching the green painted front door. Andrea was only seen occasionally dressed in a velvet-hooded cape hiding her elven features. The soft youthful face was sometimes visible when traded her farm produce for other items in the market, mostly books and scrolls.
For over a hundred and fifty years Andrea lived in the old farmhouse. The wind was always her friend and she learnt all she needed to know from the news it brought. She read whatever books she could get and learnt early about her innate powers. Lately the wind had been insistent that she travel to the city to where the lord of the land had need of her. Destiny had a reason for keeping the elven changling alive and now was the time to leave the past behind and face the future.
Late that night a glow drew the attention of the night watchman. Leaving his post to walk in the direction to the west of the village he realized he saw the blaze of fire licking at the upper stories of the farm. The barns and lower levels were complete engulfed and collapsing. Anyone in the building would no doubt have been burned. He hurried to alert the town but in the early hours of the morning all they could do was watch the farm burn to the ground. If the hermit witch were still inside she would no doubt have been burned to death.
Away from the crowd a shadow took one last look as the eastern wall collapsed, then ducked into the shadows to being the long walk to the cityÖ