A/N: I know, I know. I should finish the first story, or at least make some more progress on it before starting a new story, but I just had to write this. It's another dream, just like my first one. Both were dreams I had on different nights, so I wanted to write them before I forgot. Anyways, enjoy. I promise to get chapter two up in a few days. If not, then just spam me with PMs reminding me of this promise :)

The train of wagons rattled and shook as it went over the uneven ground, picking up more children on its way to the capitol of the neighboring country. Inside one of them, there lay four children. Teal, the older of the two boys, laid there cuddling the younger of the two girls, Rose. They were the four children chosen from their village to give to the emperor as a form of trade in return for releasing the warriors they had captured with the help of their mages.

"I wonder what's in store for us when we get there," Teal wondered quietly to himself, "I hope it's not too bad at all."

"Speak for yourself, when we get there, my dad'll rescue us all," the other boy Slate, boasted to the rest of them.

"Oh, do be quite will you? Some of us are trying to sleep. I just hope they don't eat us alive," Violet grumbled to the other two.

Rose only cried harder at the thought of being eaten alive. Teal hugs her even tighter and tries to comfort her. They were all lucky, compared to him, Teal thought. They had parents they were going to see at least once before they would be lead away to who knows where to serve the emperor in any way he wanted. Teal thought back to what had just recently happened and how he had gotten into this position.

Less than a week ago, Teal and the rest of them had been living normal lives in their village of Castanova, when a messenger had arrived, bearing news from the emperor they were all fighting against. It was then that everyone had learned how the emperor was able to conquer so many lands with such speed. He had the help of mages. He had people with magical talent at his bidding and could use them to secure victory against any and all of his enemies. He held the different armies hostage, and in order to guarantee their safe return, he demanded four children, two of each gender for every village who wanted their husbands and older brothers back with them.

Rose was an easy one to choose, since no one at the village wanted her, for her father was with the military and her mother dead a year after he had left with his new lover, another male. Slate was a good fighter and wouldn't be missed too much, so no skins off anyone's noses. Violet was just there, and no one had really ever cared about her. Teal was the most unexpected one. His mother had died while giving birth to him, so his father remarried to make sure he had a mother in his life. His stepmother had two sons older than Teal from her previous marriage, and then one son younger than Teal with his father. She seemed to like him well enough, but after his father and her oldest son went off to war, life dramatically changed for Teal.

His stepmother no longer cared about him at all. She spent more time ignoring him and insulting him for his looks. He didn't have the normal darker coloring of this region's people; in fact he was the exact opposite. He had white blonde hair and blue-green colored eyes. While others were tall and muscular, he was lean and shorter than average. Teal remembered his stepmother shouting at him for being the son of a whore and insulting his mother. He had tried to go against her, but that just resulted in beatings.

Now, he knew not what lay ahead, but it had to be better than what lay behind him.

Tell me what you think. It'll get better. I promise.