Chapter One

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Once upon a time, there were two sisters; both were beautiful, both were princesses, and both were entirely different. One had hair the color of molten flame, the other the color of the abyss.

The one of raven-hair was outspoken, confident and admired by all for her battle prowess and leadership skills. She donned the furs of animals, carried a spear-like weapon and conversed with the creatures of the wood. When she spoke, people listened and paid heed to her words.

The one of fiery-hair was bright, hopeful and acknowledged for her kind spirit. She could alter one item into something completely different in a manner some called transmutation. A warrior and protector of the peace—like her sibling—she was skilled in variety of weapons she could produce and change at will.

Time passed on as the two girls grew into budding adulthood. Peace was, for the most part, prevalent and valued by all. Still, as with all good stories… nothing lasts forever…

A darkness fell on the land, war erupted in retaliation to the chaos, and one sister’s betrayal marked the end of an age. It was a swift, brutal and painful loss of life. In some grim finality, the city fell and the once sought after peace became a whimsical fairy tale; for generations to come, children would hear it told until the narrative was nothing more than innocent retelling to find sleep in.

But, an end always signifies a new beginning, and, as with all bad ends, there is always a hopeful new start.

For one of fiery hair, centuries would trek on in a search brought on by a desperate promise made to her dying Queen.

Never again; it was all she knew in the devastation she sought to avenge.

This… is her story…

Chapter One

In life, and in all her infinite wisdom, she’d come to the conclusion that people were generally one three things: the sideshow, the spectator, or, the headliner. Among the very few, there were those fewer still, who just wanted to be cleanup crew; they were the ones no one noticed and couldn’t quite go without unless they wanted the trash to pile up.

In some sense, metaphorical jargon aside, Red very much considered herself just that—cleanup.

And as she stood before a mammoth of a man, blocking his entrance into the hotel gathering room, she seriously found herself once more reinforcing the idea that this was the one part of her career that included the aforementioned title.

She leveled her ice-blue gaze him, behemoth that he was drudged up in a grey and white pinstripe suit. His eyes were hard; her features were set to match. She almost matched him stance—arms crossed over her chest and legs slightly spread under her.

He was stout, tall and very much reminded her of a mob lackey out of a comic book; which, was fitting, considering he was apart of the mafia—as was each and every man in line behind him waiting with either a bored or irritated expression for him to hurry up so they could get along with this ordeal.

“Everyone present much check all weapons on their person at the desk—” she said as she indicated with single digit down the hall the way the line went, “—down there.” Her voice held a droll level of instruction generally only used by overworked school officials.

If it were possible, his eyes hardened further.

“No weapons check, no entrance.”

“Do you know who I am, girlie?” His voice was deep and as stout as his rounded middle.

She frowned at the nickname. Her hands went to her hips. “I don’t give a damn, honestly. I was paid by your boss and the other one to keep toys,” she said as she jabbed a thumb to the double doors behind her, “from finding their way in there.

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