Iuliahna Elliah sat at the edge of the fountain in the center of the Town Square. She held her robe close round her so her flimsy abbey robes would remain hidden. She knew she couldn't relax yet, Father Darroch was sure to come after her. She knew that he had nursed plans for her, and he would not give up on them easily.

The bronze fountain was a large serpent that curled up around itself and water dribbled from its gaping mouth. It was an ugly thing to Liahna's eyes, but it was the first thing she had seen when opening her eyes, and so it held a certain degree of importance to her.

She didn't know what had happened in the Chamber of the Masters, and wasn't sure if she remembered things correctly. Surely the Masters weren't as petty as they had appeared.

The sun was well into the sky when she was roused by her hunger.

She had no currency, and people were giving her unusual looks because of her bare feet, so she crouched in a corner of the street until seizing an opportunity to grab a loose loaf of bread from the bakers stall.

Happy to sit and watch life go by, Iuliahna remained crouched in that corner of the street until a loud voice, which she recognised boomed out over the bustle of the market.

"Move aside" Father Darroch called.

With as little fuss as she could, Liahna stood and pulled her hood up. She made her way back to the fountain, towards the more populated area of the market, where Darroch and his horse couldn't follow.

"Eye's out for grey robes!" he shouted. It was then that Liahna noticed the other grey robes in the crowd. Sisters. "There she is!" one of them cried, pointing at her. The crowds parted and a small circle spread around Liahna.

"Damn." Was all she could say.

She ran.

Darroch reared his horse and followed, parting the crowds that were pressing in to see what was happening. Soon it became clear that pursuing her on horse was not going to work, so the priest abandoned his horse and followed his sisters in chasing the girl on foot.

If only he had checked on her that morning.

Iuliahna had tried to run away several times during her childhood, when Father Darroch had been unkind to her. He had thought that she had passed that stage. Now that she had defiled the Chamber, he would have to abandon his plans for her in the Central Hall of Priestesses, she could never become the Supreme Mother now. He would be lucky if they even let her back into the sisterhood.

Liahna pressed on, working up as much speed as she could as she struggled to avoid the many people who stood in the way. She glanced back over her shoulder to see where the sisters were and collided into the corner of a stall. Fruit was scattered all over the ground and Liahna fell.

She pulled off her cloak and leapt back to her feet, ignoring the stall owner who chased her away with profanities.

People began to move out of her way, and no one was daring enough to try and stop her. The gown of the sisterhood was never seen outside the abbey, and most people were too shocked at her exotic appearance to do anything but stare. She silently thanked her hard taskmasters for forcing grace and agility into her as her thigh began to ache from her crash.

The thin red fabric flapped behind Liahna's lean legs and the bells on her ankles jangled frantically, unaccustomed to the fast pace.

Liahna darted down an alley into a particularly thick section of the market. Her heart was bursting as she dodged between the people, her feet aching, not used to the rough, uneven pavement. She could feel a bruise forming on her thigh and her stride shortened slightly.

Ignoring the pain, she ran.

Sir Leon, a qualified knight of the highest rank watched the scene develop carefully. He rarely worked, as those who could afford knights, had them already, and because he was of such a high rank, most others could not afford to hire his services.

He didn't understand what crime the girl had committed, he doubted crime had changed its appearance so much in his time of unemployment to include her.

She was dressed unusually, in a thin material, which was wrapped tightly about her chest and hips and then fell to her ankles. Her stomach and shoulders were bare. For the cold conditions she was certainly underdressed.

He was unacquainted with the ways of Night's ladies, but was certain that, despite all the bare flesh he could see, this fleeing girl was of their class. Her face was bare of makeup, and her hair, cropped quite short, was undressed. Her tan skin and sunstreaked hair identified her as the citizen of somewhere of a warmer climate.

Seeing the girl approach, he strode into her path.

Iuliahna was too slow to react when the man suddenly stepped into her way. She hit him at full speed and both fell. The man blushed a deep crimson when he realised that she was straddling him. Liahna recovered quickly from the initial shock and struggled to pull herself to her feet. Beneath her the man gathered his wits, and before the girl knew it, she was being held firmly by his large hands and pulled to her feet.

She fought him as best she could. But each practiced move she had was countered by an equally practiced response. Seeing Father Darroch push through the crowd towards them, she sighed and her whole body went limp.

Leon could feel the girl's heart beating rapidly against his chest as he held her up. She refused to support her own weight, he suspected that she was too tired to care whether he held her or not. If he had let her go, she would have happily fallen to the ground.

Three priestesses in hooded grey robes appeared looking highly harassed and pink in the face. They surrounded Leon and the girl and eased her out of his hands, covering her with the cloak she had abandoned earlier.

Liahna, standing on her own, shrugged it off defiantly, if only to annoy Darroch and the sisters. When the sisters tried again to cover her immodest dress she tried to bite them.

"You are very good Sir, knight." Darroch said, patting the tall man on the back. "We will take her from here."

"What is her crime good Father?" Leon asked. This whole incident intrigued him.

"She ran away from the abbey." Darroch informed him. Patrons of the Sun who were gathered in the crowd gasped in horror. It was one of the greatest crimes a sister could commit.

"I fear that my dear daughter is not entirely in possession of full faculties." Darroch said, making a dizzy sign above his head. He congratulated himself on his own quick thinking, if Iuliahna were deemed simple he would be able to readmit her to the abbey.

Liahna's pulled a face at Darroch. Her hands still felt strange after her encounter with the Elliah, but she raised them confidently and carefully lowered a forgetting spell over the knight's mind.

While Darroch addressed the crowd she carefully sidled closer to the knight and then with as much force as she could muster, she kicked him in the chest with a floating leap. The confused knight lay stunned on the ground, his mind humming as he tried to recall the training he knew he should remember. Liahna smiled and ran; the sisters and Darroch immediately giving chase.

This time people were not so obliging. Liahna called out ahead of her, warning people to move aside if they wished to remain in good health. She could feel panic rising in her belly, Darroch was going to get her.

She had made it back to the fountain. Leaping up and over the edge she stood calf deep in the water. The knight, the sisters and Darroch stood around her, and many of Moree's citizens had come to the Father's aid. Iuliahna was surrounded.

Darroch smiled triumphantly as he moved closer, the sisters and the knight doing the same. Liahna smiled at the knight, knowing the knock she had given his pride. He glared dangerously at her and Liahna had to laugh. Darroch sighed, knowing the girl's tendency to laugh when she was nervous. He gripped her arm tightly and pulled her out of the water.

"I hate you, you know that?" he said casually as they moved towards his horse.

Darroch nodded his head. "You don't have to like me Elliah, you have to obey me. Without me, you would be dead."

"No" Liahna said. There was a firmness in her voice that caused him to stop and look at her.

She threw her head forwards suddenly and caught Darroch's nose with her forehead. There was a great crack as the impact broke his nose and the Father fell to the ground, holding his face in pain.

Iuliahna leapt back into the fountain, her arms raised as she called forth a spell.

She waded through the water, the sisters climbing up after her. Slowly the water began to rise. Liahna reached the serpent in the center and began to climb it. Magic poured out of her, as the water became unnaturally deep. The sisters were forced to swim their way to the center.

Leon watched on with some amazement as the serpent came to life below the girl's hands.

A child in the crowd began to cry and there were many astonished faces. The magic of the Priestesses was renowned but they had never seen it spill into the market like this before. And never in the form of a young dedicate.

Liahna was the source of the serpent's life, and Leon knew that if he could disconnect her from the thing, it would fall still once more. He recognised that she was desperate, a cornered wild cat, with nothing to lose. The people of the town could very well be in danger, Leon reasoned.

From his belt he pulled a knife and with the flick of a skilled wrist, he released it into the air.

Iuliahna cried out in pain as the knife entered her side, her eyes opened wide in shock and she slumped over the head of the serpent, which she sat upon. Without her focused energy, the beast fell still and the girl, bleeding profusely from the wound, fell.

Blood soon pooled around her and the waters grew so deep and fierce that despite the sisters' best efforts, they could not get close to her. The three sisters who were present were not mages, they were on the Father's guard. Only three qualified mages were resident at the abbey, after her dedication, Iuliahna would have been the fourth, none of them would waste their time chasing a runaway, despite her magic.

Iuliahna's magic, which flowed from her now, as her blood, was thick in the air. Darroch could feel it and it reminded him how much he wanted her. How much he needed her for his plans. He insulted the knight harshly, before moving to the edge of the fountain.

"You must persist, Sisters!" he cried, encouragingly. "She must be returned."

"When she passes out, we will get her" one sister responded, she was closer to the fountain's edge, where the water was less agitated. The other two could not speak, they were busy trying to hold their heads above the water.

Moments passed where the water raged and Iuliahna Elliah lay motionless, and pale in the bloody water.

Then, entirely against Liahna's fading will, the water fell still, and returned to its normal depth. Spluttering, the sisters climbed to their feet, and Darroch, his nose still bleeding, climbed up with them.

"I should like my knife back!" Leon called.

"Fool, I'll give you your knife back!" Darroch muttered. If Liahna should die, the man would feel of the Father's wrath. Knight or not.

A fifth figure stepped into the water, though no one had noticed him approach. He wore a thick brown cloak, and fine clothing. His face was concealed by a hood. He had a strange stealth about him, and reached Liahna first.

Weakly she brandished the bloody knife at him, that she had pulled from her side. Then, she seemed to recognise him, and allowed him to lift her carefully out of the water.

"No!" Darroch cried. The water rose up in a great wave over the pair and when it fell, neither remained.