Chapter 1: The Lead Up

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Quiet thumps echo around me as I make my way through my home barefoot. The torches suspended on the walls flicker daintily as I pass by them, acting as the only light source in the otherwise barren halls. I wrap my arms around myself tighter, the coolness of the place reminding me that I should have dressed in more layers, or at least wore shoes.

The emptiness of the palace would usually be concerning, but it's the middle of the night, so of course it is to be expected. Most people should be in bed, aside from the occasional guard or service men and women on their way to do their duties. Despite this, I haven't passed any of them as of yet.

Even I am usually in bed by this hour. But tonight, I'm not. Tonight, I'm searching for my parents. You see, when I sought them out just a few minutes earlier, they were missing from their chamber and the guards stationed outside were non the wiser of their location. I had wanted to speak with them regarding the upcoming warriors event, for I wished to attend. Perhaps brush up my (nonexistent) fighting skills. This type of event only occurs once a month and it was to be put on tomorrow; the talk couldn't wait.

So here I am, searching for my parents. One may say that "curiosity killed the cat", however, do duly note, reader, that the ending of the saying is "satisfaction brought it back", and so my reasoning is justified.

My watch glows faintly on my wrist, displaying the time, 1:23 am. Seeing it makes me wonder how I ever got away with bringing it here. After all, it's unnecessary for my people to need these gadgets when we only have to look at the sun or the moon to figure the time out—trained since children to survive, it seems silly to have to cheat.

I soon pass through the empty dining chamber, an odd change from the usual sight of bustling people and energetic children running around. I hear a small cluttering sound emit from the kitchen as I'm about to set foot through the exit. Perplexed, I pause. No one should be back there at this ungodly hour! It's far too early in the morning. It must be my parents.

"Mother?" I call into the darkness with a smile as I turn and step towards the kitchen door, "Father? It's me."

Receiving no answer, I put it down to the fact that I must not have been loud enough. My hand rests on the door handle as I open my mouth to call out again, just to let out a squeak when a hand touches my arm.

I spin around, expecting to see my parents laughing at my doltishness, but instead am met with the sight of an unfamiliar man. He wears unfamiliar clothes, unfamiliar armour, unfamiliar weapons. "Who...who are you?" I falter, pressing my back up against the door.

He stares at me, silent and watchful. Tense seconds pass as I stare into his cold eyes, wondering what he's going to do. Then, before I can blink, he's pressing his body up against mine and stopping me from moving. I watch wide wide eyes as he reaches over his shoulder with one hand, the other clamped over my mouth.

His hand returns gripping a dagger and I realise, just what exactly, he is going to do. Terror runs through me. He's going to kill me!

I don't understand how what happens next happens, or why it happens. I just know it does...

As he moves the dagger towards me, I swing my arm up at him.

There's a flash of white light and I feel a pang of hot pain in my arms that has me crying out, followed by an intense headache which (oddly) fades almost immediately. Then bright golden light surrounds me, blinds me, blocks me, and all in the span of a second. Then the light is gone as soon as it came, and I'm left staring at the man, now sprawled on the ground at the base of the far wall. There's a crack in the wall above him and I'm left wandering if his body did that.

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