Chapter One: The End of Childhood

Linya checked to make sure her hood was firmly in place, and then looked up quickly, checking to make sure no one was there, before she darted across the street. "Good, no one saw you," a voice said when she reached the other side. "Now, where do you want to go today?"

The small girl grinned up at her mentor, the girl who raised her, who was her only family. "Why Elsa," she cried in fake ecstasy, "You actually care enough to ask me? I'm touched." The ten-year-old glanced up at Elsa's face to see an aggrieved expression there. "Thank you, Elsa for asking even if we never go where I want to. But since you asked..." the girl trailed off. Then she ran ahead while crying, "To the River!"

Elsa shook her head at her silliness. That girl knows what tough life is, so why does she continue to joke about it? she wondered. Elsa followed more warily. She was in her twenties, but she looked older than that. She was thin, and constantly had a worried look on her face.

Linya turned a corner in front of her and disappeared behind the building. Elsa grumbled and ran to catch up. She went around the corner, but Linya was nowhere in sight. There. At the end of the street. She had seen a flash of faded blue, the color of the younger girl's cloak. Elsa rolled her eyes once again at the younger girl's games and made her way confidently forward.

She had only taken a few paces, when she heard rough, jeering voices behind her. She spun around while drawing a dagger, seemingly out of nowhere, and cursed violently. At least five men had just rounded the corner and were coming toward her. Alas, they had seen her and were making comments that were not at all appropriate.

She could not win this fight; the odds were too great. Instead Elsa turned, and started sprinting. She dashed around a corner, and stopped short at a dead end. She spun, but she wasn't fast enough, she was blocked in.

Elsa didn't let a cry escape her throat, even though she longed to call to Linya. The girl may have been a nuisance, but she had been someone to talk to. She wouldn't alert the thugs that she wasn't alone.

She drew her dagger from her belt sheath and held it low in front of her, sinking down into a defensive crouch.

The men advanced slowly, circling her. They laughed when they saw her dagger, "So, they wench thinks she can defend herself does she?"

Elsa refused to answer. She let nothing prevent the state of perfect calmness she always let surround her before she used a knife. She had spent months teaching Linya the same trick. She sifted her stance to better take on the men, and let her mind go blank.

Two men approached from the right and another from the left. Two other men blocked her escape in the front. One on the right lunged, Elsa dodged then quickly brought her dagger in a downward swing into his neck, she twisted it, cutting the windpipe, and a fountain of blood sprang from the wound.

The other men roared in fury and two attacked at once, one from either side. Elsa dogged one, but the other caught her, and she lost her calm. She struggled, panicked, trying to twist out of his stronger grip. He grabbed her wrist and twisted it, forcing the dagger from her hand. But while he was distracted she slipped another from her other wrist sheath. She was barely able to stretch her arm but, keeping the new dagger out of the man's sight she twisted it just enough to bury it into the man's side. His hold on her instantly loosened, she twisted her knife out of his body. Then with a quick slice she cut his throat, puncturing the main artery, a fatal wound.

She heard the another man gasp and she spun around right onto the knife of the other man. She cried out in pain, and stabbed wildly. Her knife grazed his leg, before she collapsed in a bloody heap.


Linya felt something tear inside of herself, a soul crying out in intense pain, her body screamed in response to her hurt. She had turned back to see why Elsa was taking so long, just in time to see her mentor stabbed. Linya sat still for half a second on the rooftop as the crazed men looked up and saw her. They growled and started forward. Linya held herself calm, knowing that Elsa's trick worked, and she would have wanted Linya to use it. She descended into the calm before the men could take another step. Then she leapt from the building while slipping a small dagger from her wrist sheath.

She landed on top of one of the two men left unhurt. She dug the knife deep into his back, and then twisted it sharply. He cried out as his legs buckled beneath him and his heart ceased to beat.

The small girl darted away from him in total calm and approached the remaining furious men. The whole one attacked, swinging a club wildly. Linya dogged below the swing, and came up inside, stabbing his stomach and yanking up. The one that Elsa had grazed looked at the ten-year-old girl who had just dispatched two men with more grace and ease than any other killer he had ever seen, then turned, and ran.

Linya did not spend any time celebrating her victory. She ran over to her bloody sister, the only mother she knew. "Please be alive, please live, please Elsa," she cried in the desperate voice of a lost child. She seemed a totally different person from the calm killer she had been the minute before.

Elsa turned and looked up at Linya; her face was pale and drawn in pain. "Are they gone?" she asked weakly, her voice barely audible.

"They're all gone, they'll never touch you again," Linya said, trying to reassure her. "Come on, we need to get you to a healer." She was afraid to move the older girl, but she needed medical help quickly.

"It's too late Linya, I'm dying," the thin voice made Linya still with shock.

"No," she cried, barely getting the sound through the lump in her throat.

"Listen to me," Elsa pleaded with her, "Promise me, promise me..." she trailed off. She didn't have enough time to extract and explain the promise she had made herself.

"What is it Elsa!"

The dying girl improvised, "Never..." the faint voice came, "Help others...don't turn bad. Help someone as I've helped you."

Linya barely heard the voice as it faded away but still she said, choking it out, "I promise Elsa, I promise." She knew death, and felt the hand go limp in hers. Her head fell in response to her silent tears, just minutes ago she had been a child, running, and joking, and she had to face the world as an adult, and she was only 10 years old.


Kergalin- Cool name. Thanks for the review. I'll update as I write and as I get reviews. I'm working on other things as well. And it will make more sense. Hopefully it already does.

ladyevelynnanate- good for you, you need to update your own story.

shyXshortieXbabe- Thanks a ton!! I'm usually pretty bad at summaries, so it's great to hear that it was okay.