She was twelve years old. Her father was teaching her very important smithing skills. He always made her wear boyish clothes, and, to her dismay, made her keep her hair short. Today, she was learning how to mend a sword. A sword lay in front of her. The metal keeping the two halves together was scalding hot. A knock resounded at the door.

Her father wiped his hands off on a rag before ushering his daughter to her room. He opened the door and the general entered, "Sir, the king requests your presence."

He grabbed his coat, in a rush, off the coat rack, and hurriedly put it on as he walked out the door.

His daughter opened the door a crack just in time to see the door close behind him. Later that night, she waited by the door. She put coal in, and tended to, the fireplace. She realized that he would probably not return home that night and her anger sent her to her room in a fury of slammed doors. By morning, however, she realized he would not be coming home ever again. Her frustration sent several pieces of metal flying into a wall and clinging to the floor.

Xavix was using a rag to finish polishing the remaining plates. As she finished the last one, she left the kitchen.

"Dad, I'm done with the plates. Can I go talk to Vera now?"

"Yes, dear."

Xavix ran up to her room where she pulled up a couple of floorboards. She carefully dug through musty straw to uncover a sleek, silver sabre. She slipped out of her dirty, cleaning skirt and into a nicer, purple one and slipped the sabre underneath.

She opened the door of the inn, business was light for once. But she knew her father would be overwhelmed over the next few days.

She made sure to avoid eye contact with anyone, especially soldiers or officers. They tried to find excuses to do what they wanted and they usually weren't good.

She heard a crash from a building she recognized as the smithy. The momentary distraction caused her to bump into someone. Upon realizing who she had run into she immediately began apologizing. He was an officer. The man beside him had no uniform, but she eyed his rapier wearily.

"S..sorry sir," she tried to pass by him, but he placed a firm hand on her shoulder.

"Woah, wait, where are you off to in such a hurry?" he asked.

"I...I just..nowhere," Xavix stuttered.

"Come here," he herded her over to a place less crowded.

Her nerves almost gave out as he asked, "do you ever sword fight?"

"What makes you say that? I'm not allowed to carry a weapon," she replied hastily.

"Then what about the one you're carrying?" He inquired.

She played with her hands, which were now sticky with sweat.

"Perrin, sir, don't you think she's had enough?" the man with him asked.

"Yeah, sorry about that," he apologized, and gave her a quick bow.

"Does that mean you're not really an officer?" she asked, completely aghast at their politeness toward her.

"No, he is, he's just not your everyday, typical one who hates the world," the other man replied.

"My name is Perrin Al'tor, and this is my frie- uh, apprentice, Saavedro Milwaukee," the man now known as Saavedro, bowed.

"My name is Xavix Is'tar," Xavix addressed them with a formal bow.

"Well, Xavix, we won't turn you in on the condition that," he paused for a second before continuing, "on the condition that you let us teach you how to properly use that sabre of yours."

She gasped and nodded, "of..of course...sir."