2nd Era. 1506 c.c.

Enskuldez Mts.

Even as a young child of nine she had been one of the more developed girls in her static mountain tribe. It had been a small tribe, so the village could easily support the stationary life style of the five thousand plus tribesman, unlike the great roaming communities of the Tribes which consumed the resources of the land in a tremendously alarming rate. Standing at four and a half span, she stood half a span above anyone close to her age. She had hazel green eyes and short red hair that would have made her look like a boy if she hadn't started growing breasts a few months before. She wasn't happy nor was she unhappy. She was just isolated, and it wasn't just because looked so much older than her age. It was something more subtle. The village children avoided her when they could, and the adults watched her. It was almost as if she were constantly under some sort of lense by which they could study her.

She was ten when the war hit the village. The Al'than soldiers were searching for - something - she didn't remember what exactly. She was hidden away in the cellar by her guardian an older man with intricate tattoos stretching along his back. When she finally left the cellar she searched the village for survivors. The slaughter was...thorough. All she remembered was feeling cold inside.

After months of wandering, she was found half dead by an apothecary of the Ksil'sab, the great nomadic organism that was one of the Five Tribes named for the 5 human gods. Her new caretaker was nice but distant, which was just fine with her. Those months away from any form of human contact had made her mute. As a child dealing with the fresh trauma of the destruction of everything she ever knew she retreated within herself creating a barrier between herself and the world. The apothecary was a decent man and as such he realized living alone with an old man was no place for a young girl that never spoke. He sent her to live with a nice decent couple who couldn't have children of their own. After a few months of silence, on her part, the couple decided it would be best if she were with family more accustomed to her age, whatever it was, and sent her to live with a nice decent family of five: A husband and a wife with two sons one of whom was married. They were a very devout family following the teachings of Ksil'sab to the letter. When they realized that conventional methods would not fix her of her defect they decided that she must learn the ways of Ksil'sab, the ways of fear, to cure her of her illness. It was two cycles before any change in her condition occurred. Two cycles of beatings, burnings and all round brutality. Two cycles before finally she met Aneta.

It was one of the experimental nights when the whole family pitched new ideas to cure her, and it took no one by surprise that her foster foster brother's wife, Deliah, the only other girl in the family, won out that night. When describing Deliah, the first word that would to anyone's mind would be adorable. The 18 year old bride of the family's 26 year old son at little more than five span stood eye to eye with the twelve year old orphan had blond curls that ran down to her shoulders and eyes the color of the full moon that held nothing but innocence. She was bubbly, amicable and precociously diligent. When the family first took in the orphan girl, it had been Deliah who bathed her, clothed her and fed her. It had been Deliah who every night for three months told her bedtime stories until the rest of the family put a stop to it. It had been Deliah who retaught her to pain of fire and metal. It had been Deliah who taught her the meaning of silent unending fear. However, it was still Deliah she curled up next to in the communal bedroom of the family whenever she had one of her many incommunicable nightmares. Thus it was almost always Deliah whose opinion won out in matters dealing with her "treatment".

Deliah's proposal was to send her out into the mountains alone for a few nights with no clothes and no food. Her foster parents, Daneth and Arelah, commented on how perfect the treatment was for surely a return to her previous circumstances would spark some memory of speech within the girl and if she happened to be weak enough to die well it was the will of the gods.

Ksil'sab was relatively quiet at night a massive community of tents save for the few collapsible wooden structures that belonged to council men and watchtowers. In such a large community everyone tended to mind their own business so the girl, blindfolded, bound, and naked followed her Deliah by the tugs of rope digging into her cool bare skin as they went unhindered into the cold night.

After a few minutes of walking away from the encampment, Deliah began speaking to her.

"You know, you really should be grateful to us most would have given up on you by now but Father Daneth says that the great Ksil'sab put you in our lives for a reason and as such it is our duty to see you taught right. When I was your age I'd already learned a dozen ways to enlighten people. I wonder how old are you anyways. From the looks of you I would say you were about one or two years younger than me that would make you 16 cycles." at this thought Deliah squealed.

That would put you a couple cycles past the age for a husband. Oh it would be just perfect if you were to be married. You wouldn't even need to talk much a wife isn't really expected to." She endured several more hours of her foster brother's wife until finally they stopped moving.

Well this is your stop have a good night I'll be back for you in a couple of days." Deliah spoke as she untied her foster sisters hands and arms until she finally undid her blindfold.

I wish I could stay longer. We would have such fun together, and I would very much enjoy 'enlightening' your way to our god." Deliah's eyes danced with a glee so pure and innocent one could almost forget the malice that lay behind.

But it is not to be Father Daneth's orders were annoyingly specific, but I promise one day you and I shall have a day to ourselves and such fun it will be." Deliah giggled something that sounded a bit like a songbird's chirping and planted a kiss on her head. The warmth sent goosebumps along the orphan's freezing skin. Deliah giggled again and punched the red head beneath her rib cage doubling the orphan girl over onto her knees. Deliah followed with two heavy kicks which served to turn the red head onto her back gasping for breath as her eyes burned with tears yet to fall. Deliah crouched over her stroking the stray red hair that covered the injured girls face.

Hush now, please don't cry. Crying only makes me want to hurt you even more and I really must get back" Deliah cooed. The red haired girl only nodded trying hard to make even less noise than she ever had before. Deliah smiled at her pleased stood up and kicked her straight in the temple. The last thing she remembered before passing out was Deliah's smiling face.

When she woke up, the sun, shining down on the mountain clearing and its sparse amount of tree's she had not noticed in the night, had reached its highest point in the sky . Deliah was gone and in her place a short brown haired girl with freckles and jet black orbs that seemed to absorb the entirety of her existence, crouched over her.

"Are you okay" the freckled girl asked. She only nodded. The freckled girl raised an eyebrow a look that said she didn't believe her but wouldn't push it.

Well I just came out here because I always go exploring the day before the camp starts moving again and I found you just lying there all beat up. If you come with me we can get you all fixed up, dressed and figure out what to do with you. Alright?" She nodded again. The strange girl smiled a full open mouthed smiled that showed a gap in her front teeth.

My name's Aneta." Aneta declared proudly and stood with her hand out to help the red head to her feet.

What's yours?"

"...Neris"