Prologue

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A/N -- Thanks for the click! Hope you enjoy!

IMPORTANT: At this moment, Fearless is going through editing. It won't be perfect, so bear with me!

IMPORTANT ALSO (due to being asked more than once): While this book sounds incredibly personal by way of writing, it is not actual POV! It in third person. As a Mulan retelling, the main character will obviously disguise herself as a he. However, even in disguise, she will be referred to as she during the narration --as I, the narrator, am referring to her as a she. Unless the other characters refer to Iris as a she by spoken word or italicized thought, they are not referring to her as a she! It's just the narration. *thumbs up* Hope that clears things up!

Another thing, if someone calls the main character "girl". For instance. It's cultural and meant to be said with a warm inflection. Like calling someone "dear" or "daughter". Or "my girl" or "my child". It's not offensive. It's not insulting. I have meant it that way since the book is written. I've had a lot of confusion over it and am clarifying it here so I don't keep having to explain myself in the comments."









The general grimaced as his eyes moved over the razed village. Debris and ash painted a desolate picture across the soil, and the framework of what had once been cottages and homes served as a sooty skeleton to the now lifeless place. This hadn't been an accident by any means –in fact, it couldn't have been any less than an act of war against the country of Eldia.

As the general stared at the remains, he knew at once that no one had been spared –no one had been left alive. If the panorama didn't serve as proof enough of that, the lack of noise surely did. The quiet was certainly eerie, as it was a definite promise of horror –the calm before storm, as it were. The only sound that could be heard was the steady breathing of the horses. Several soldiers were mounted atop them, gazing outward –spectators to the destruction.

"General Zayn," one man finally spoke out, calling the attention of their supervisor. Zayn's eyes snapped over to find who had spoken. The general's eyes zeroed in on a younger soldier, who resumed speaking once he was certain he was heard. "This is the third village that has been attacked as of late. We have to respond with force –we have to take action, real action, else the whole countryside is gonna look just like this right here."

Zayn said nothing in response. Instead, he turned back around to the view. The soldier started talking again, but the general threw up a hand to silence him.

Now, Zayn closed his eyes and did his best to collect his thoughts. The soldier that had spoken wasn't wrong. Something indeed had to be done –something more than they were doing at present, or more innocent people were doomed to die. Gods damn it, how had it come to this? Zayn clenched his teeth and said several choice curses under his breath.

The general's horse whinnied under him now, impatient to the stillness or perhaps nervous to the atmosphere, causing Zayn to reopen his eyes and set his lips into a hard frown.

"My reports say that there's been activity at the Garhemian border," Zayn told them. "I'll send out more scouts as soon as possible to try and glean more information. But what about the rumors? Are we dealing with the country as a whole or otherwise? I need a report –anything that any of you can give me to go on." As he spoke, he jerked lightly on the reigns to keep his increasingly uncooperative mount still.

There was no answer for a moment as the recruits deliberated his question.

"Rumors have indeed spread, general. They say that the attacks lay at the hands of the Tokens." The response came from over to the left. Zayn cut his eyes immediately to look over at the soldier who had answered.

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