Princess Katerina of the tiny country of Celestia sat on her bed, singing softly to herself. She brushed her long, lustrous golden hair as she sung. Katerina had a beautiful voice that enchanted all who heard it. Her soft melodies brought hope and determination to the Celestians. She was Celestia's songstress.

Katerina's bedroom door squeaked as it slid open, announcing the arrival of Katerina's cousin, best friend, and confidant. "Happy twelfth birthday, Katerina!" Evelyn cried.

"Thank you," Katerina said graciously, like a princess should say. She smiled at Evelyn, whose eyes were sparkling with excitement.

"Come on! Let's go." Evelyn dragged Katerina into the main hall, where everyone was waiting.

Katerina's mother and father, the king and queen, smiled down at their daughter. "Happy birthday, dear," the queen whispered in her soft, delicate voice. Katerina smiled her thanks.

"Happy twelfth birthday, songbird!" Katerina grinned as she looked up into her father's eyes, the eyes that she had inherited. Her father's deep blue orbs always seemed to hold the world's mysteries and all the wisdom in the universe. And sometimes, when Katerina stared at her eyes really hard in the mirror, she could see mysteries in her own reflection.

"Thanks!" Katerina hugged her father and mother before moving on.

"Happy birthday," Sir Richmond told her. Sir Richmond was her father's advisor, and he was currently standing next to her parents, a coveted spot treasured by the whole castle.

"Thank you." Katerina smiled politely. She had never really liked Sir Richmond. He always had a glint in his eye that reminded Katerina of thieves, bandits, and danger. But her parents trusted him, and apparently he had done much for the country. So Katerina kept her thoughts to herself.

Katerina went down the line, talking to cooks, maids, and butlers. She was thanking the head cook when it happened.

A scream filled the air, one so fragile that there was only one person it could have belonged to. Katerina's heart pounded. No. No. It couldn't be.

But it was. Katerina turned around to see her mother slumping to the floor, the eyes that usually held a queenly elegance now vacant. Dead. Dead?

And then the king fell to the cold tiles, his crown slipping off his head. No. Mom? Dad? Stay with me. Don't go…

Katerina's eyes widened with shock when she saw Sir Richmond holding a bloody knife, his eyes filled with greed and desire. And he was walking towards her.

The whole castle was in turmoil. Out of the corner of her eye, Katerina saw Evelyn make her way toward her. "Katerina! We have to escape! It's not safe for us!"

Katerina let Evelyn drag her out of the castle. That's right. Evelyn's parents, her father's sister and brother-in-law, had died when Evelyn was six, killed by some men in black who had broken into their home. Evelyn had stayed remarkably strong after her parents' deaths. That's why Evelyn was unfazed by this.

But Katerina…Katerina had never lost anything. But now she had. She had lost her parents, the two people dearest to her.

"Katerina? Katerina! You have to run, we have to go. Sir Richmond's men will be after you next, you're next in line for the throne, he's after the royal family, so we're all in danger…" Katerina was still in shock. She blocked out Evelyn's words. Her eyes lost its luster. Dead. Family. Murder. Mother. Father.

Her father. She was—no, had been—her father's songbird.

Katerina fell to the ground, thinking only one thing. I shall never sing again.