The bronze sword slashed at him and he scrambled backward, yelping in fright. He was too young to be out here, roughly fifteen. His father had given him barely a month of training. 'There is a war, Noah! You cannot be weak!' Noah tripped as he fell back onto claimed land behind the main ranks.

He swallowed down his fear. Don't let your emotions get to you, little fighter, his mother's soft voice echoed in his head, you can be incredibly dangerous if you do not control yourself. He was Cursed just like her.

"Noah!" His general shouted. Sweat dripped down into Noah's eyes, but the sting was a welcome reprieve. It gave him something else to think about. "Go to your brother! Nehim needs to close his ranks, tell him, go!" Noah turned and fled down the line.

There. Down the line. A group of men pushed faster than the rest of the men around to their left or right. If they weren't careful, there would be a hole and they would be surrounded. Noah let out a strangled cry, his voice catching in his throat.

"Nehim!" He cried out. Somehow, his brother heard him. Nehim turned.

Nehim's eyes lit up in excitement as they landed on his baby brother. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. This was his brother. He had watched Nehim, cheered him on in the training arena. Thirty-five and battle-worn, Nehim bore the attractive trait that all cursed with Immortal blood bore. Although Nehim had been granted the attractiveness, he was not Cursed. He had no power to protect him.

A bronze arc flashed behind his brother. Horror cut through his chest like a blade. He couldn't get the words out. Not enough time. He was too far away. The bronze sliced down through his brother's shoulder and across his spine. He heard the tendons snap as they severed apart from each other. The light died in his brother's eyes.

The world stuttered to a halt. Nehim… A scream tore through his throat. His brother… his brother was gone. Turning to look at him. He'd killed his brother. Power radiated around him like an explosion. He collapsed to his knees, his fingers sinking into the blood and mud of the battlefield. All around him, bronze, blood, and bone exploded like a firework of gore.

He screamed until his throat was raw, until he could no longer breathe, until his soul no longer existed. Until he was nothing.

He had no idea how long he sat there, his body bent over the mud, his forehead pressed to the ground.

A cool hand touched his shoulder. He jerked away, falling onto the ground. He scrambled away from the cold. His spine screamed at him for moving without stretching. His eyes landed on the tall, white woman. She stood before him, cold, impassive. She was draped in white and somehow, the filth of the battlefield never touching her.

"You made a very foolish mistake, Noah." Her words cut through him like ice. Nehim's eyes flashed through his mind.

"I killed him, grandmother. My actions killed him -"

"Nehim was of no use to me, anyway. His human blood was too strong," she waved away Noah's pain as if his brother's death meant nothing.

"He was my brother, grandmother," Noah snapped, "he was a quarter Immortal, just like me!"

"He was also three-quarters disgusting human. They are vile creatures, Noah, you would do well to learn that. The only reason we bred with them was that they were the only creatures compatible enough to pass on the bloodline," she shrugged. "You were blessed with Immortality and a gift of my kind. Do not spoil it by being bitter about a useless Cursed." He lowered his eyes.

"You've slaughtered thousands of men, Noah," she continued, placing her hand on top of his head, "thousands. Their bodies came apart by your command. Your father is not happy that his army is basically gone. This war is far from over. Your mother is grief-stricken and does not wish to see you. Her favorite son…" his grandmother trailed off, "dead because of her abomination." Noah broke. "Everyone knows of your Curse. Noah, you are not wanted to anywhere." Fresh tears slid down his face. She tipped her hand underneath his chin, tilting his face up to hers, "I want you, though, dear child. Let me teach you to control your Curse. Help me save others like you. Do not be afraid young Noah." She offered him a hand as a peace offering. He sniffled. His brother's flashed before his eyes. He would never lose control again.

He took her hand.