A/N: This is the first non-fanfiction I've written in a long time, and it's my first one on the site not including my poems. It's the first book of a series, and I'd really like some critisism on it - if there's anything you think I could improve or that doesn't make sense, please tell me! Anyway, without further ado, here is the first chapter of Released.

In the beginning there was good, and there was evil. On the side of good were the races of the elves and of the humans, and on the side of evil, the demons.


"There they are."
A smirk spread across a girl's face as she raised her bow, carefully aimed, and then, with hardly a sound, released the string. The arrow hit with deadly accuracy, right where she had planned for it to – straight into the heart of the Tundra Elf in the back of the group. The target dropped instantly, the snow on the ground cushioning its fall and causing it to land noiselessly. None of the others noticed. They were too busy scanning the area, looking for any large rocks or snowdrifts where someone could be waiting to ambush them. They were in the territory of the mountain elves, and the mountain elves took a liking to hiding behind boulders and snowdrift. Too bad for them I'm not a Mountain Elf, she thought, grinning to herself.
Another arrow sent flying, another elf down. This one, however, caught the eye of one of the other elves in the group, who let out a shout and ran to his friend, followed by the others in the group. They crowded in a circle around their fallen comrade, not even bothering to look around. The Elvin girl rolled her eyes. Oh please, this is too easy.
Raising her bow a third time, she shot the elf closest to her clean in the back. He dropped like a stone. A cry went up from the group as they shot to their feet and quickly started scanning the area.
"Someone's shooting at us!" one cried.
"No kidding, genius," she muttered under her breath. The stupidity of the Tundra Elves amazed her at times. A fourth arrow zinged from her bow, hitting the ground at the feet of the one who had shouted and causing them all to look up at the tree she was in. She had meant to do that. She wanted at least a little bit of a challenge. It was no fun otherwise.
The girl stood and walked out to the edge of the branch. It was a strong, sturdy branch, and she trusted it to hold her weight. She had gone out on branches half the size of this one, and they had still held her weight. She raised her bow as she reached the end of the tree branch, and the Tundra Elves below gasped as they got a good look at their attacker.
"It's the Inalshka!" one shouted, terror in its eyes.
She suppressed a laugh at this statement. She knew that she was known around these parts as the Inalshka – the Tundrian word for the archer demon – but it never ceased to amuse her. It had started when she had begun carving her first initial on the cheeks of her victims with the arrow she killed them with. Her first initial just happened to be 'I', the same letter as their word for 'archer demon' started with. As luck would have it, the Tundra Elves began thinking that the 'I' stood for 'Inalshka', rather than for Ialia, which was her real name. Also lucky was the fact that she did look a bit like a demon from afar. Her raven black hair fell to her knees, and she had incredibly piercing blue eyes, eyes that made you feel more like she was looking through you than at you. Her ears seemed to be larger than normal, as well – demons were rumored to have very large ears. Of course, her ears were normal sized, but for one reason or another they gave an appearance of being large. Maybe it was because the snowy-white of her skin contrasted with the black of her hair and caused them to stand out more. Or maybe it was just because since they believed her to be a demon, and so she appeared to be one, even though she was just a normal girl. Either way, they looked to be quite large, helping to tie together her 'demon' appearance.
She shot an arrow at the one who had called her the Inalshka. He panicked, and instead of running, jumped into the air. The arrow pierced his left leg and he sank to the ground in pain. The others drew their weapons – various types of daggers and knives, and advanced toward the tree. Ialia rolled her eyes. What did they think they were going to do with those things? Cut down the tree? She was well out of their reach, they couldn't possibly being thinking of attacking her. She took down a couple more of the Tundra Elves as they approached, weapons ready. Honestly, what do they think they're-
Ialia ducked as a throwing knife flew past her head, missing her by about a centimeter. The air from it blew a bit of her hair back.
Oh, she thought. That's what they're doing.
Doing a 180-degree turn, she scampered back along the branch. Once safely hidden by the tree's large branches, she began to climb, her hands and feet seeking out sturdy branches quickly and efficiently. She had been climbing trees since she could walk.
After climbing an extra 10 feet or so, she picked another branch capable of holding her and walked out. The Tundra Elves were still searching for her down in the lower branches. Crouching so she could see where she was aiming, she loaded her bow and fired. The arrow slid into the head of one of the Tundra Elves like a hot spoon into ice cream, and he fell to the ground. Looking up, one of the remaining elves threw a dagger at her. It fell short by about five feet. Ialia put an arrow in her bow and shot him. The others, watching her crouched on the tree branch, bow loaded, ready to fire, began to back up. She released the bowstring and the elves turned heel and ran. One, struck by Ialia's arrow, crumpled into a heap. The rest disappeared into the snowdrifts. Once she was satisfied that the others were far enough away, she jumped down from the tree, rolling as she hit the ground to break her fall. She began to carve her trademark "I" into the cheeks of the fallen Tundra Elves, her sensitive ears picking up sounds dozens of feet away, just in case the other, still alive, Tundra Elves decided to come back.
As she finished carving the last "I" some footsteps and a voice caused her to look quickly up from her work. They were coming back! Acting quickly, she swung up into the tree, balancing herself on a branch and pointing her arrow in the direction of the sounds. Her motto was, 'Shoot first, ask questions later.' A rustle and a movement from behind a bush was all it took for her to release the bowstring and send the arrow singing through the air.
A gasp and a cry from the bush she had shot at, followed by a voice – a human voice – crying, "Oh, Suez, you're hurt!" told Ialia that she hadn't shot a Tundra Elf. She dropped from the tree and ran to the bush that she had shot at. She stopped short in front of a young human boy, about 18, who was sitting on the snowy ground, blood pouring from a wound in his leg made by Ialia's arrow. A human girl of about the same age was sitting next to him, trying to stem the bleeding with a strip of cloth from her shirt. The two looked up at Ialia as she stood in front of them, bow in hand, a slightly guilty look on her face. She looked into their eyes for a second, and a chill ran through her as she did so. Beneath the anger and confusion she saw there seemed to be an infinite darkness in them, but she shook it off as an imagining.
"I can explain," Ialia began, as the two humans glared at her angrily.

A/N: So, what did you think? Was it good? Horrible? Tell me! I need help!