Prologue

Fifteen thousand years ago, the world was created by Aleros, the King of Light. He created the human race to glorify His name, and the land of Dilovia to give them a place to live. For a time, it was good, as the humans built a powerful kingdom across the land, and from there they gave thanks to Aleros. This would continue on for four thousand years. Eventually, darkness crept into the hearts of the people. They began experimenting with evil magicks, and soon the once great land was lost to constant war and unspeakable acts.

After another thousand years had passed and it seemed like all was lost, Aleros decided to intervene. He created a human gifted with incredible power. Named Eman, he fought against the dark witches and warlocks, until eventually he fought a battle he couldn't win. He was burned at the stake, and with his death came a wave of light that snuffed out all magic forever. Those that still held Aleros in their hearts quickly defeated the last of the evil and rebuilt Dilovia. To this day, it still stands, and it was never threatened again.

Chapter 1

The alarm on Emily Baker's nightstand rang. She groaned, reaching over to turn it off. The sun wasn't out yet, but it would be soon. It was Monday, which meant school. Her outfit was laid on her chair the previous night, fresh and ready. She rolled out of bed, facing her mirror.

"Your hair's getting long," she said to herself, playing with her slightly shaggy red mane a little before turning around. She knelt, facing her window and gripping the red flame-shaped pendant she always wore around her neck. She let her head droop slightly.

"Dear Aleros, I thank you for this morning. Please protect me and guide me as I face my classes today, and help me achieve good grades. Thank you for the sacrifice of Eman and all of your devoted followers. May I be as unwavering as them."

Emily stood, letting go of her pendant and going to her nightstand. She opened the drawer and took out her brassiere. She put it on under the undershirt she was already wearing. It was tight, but that was good. She had gotten rather large in the chest, and a body like that was unbecoming for a young woman. The young men at her school could be more attracted to her, and lust, after all, was not something Aleros wanted his creations to feel. She smiled, knowing the pain she felt was all for Him.

She then dressed in the clothing she had laid out. The dress was white, but with blue trim to match her eyes. The top was loose, so as not to show off the shape of her torso, with long sleeves and material that was flush with the bottom of her neck. To be safe, she tied a scarf around her, letting the rest of it fall down her shoulder and down her front. The bottom of the dress was long, going down just past her ankles. She also wore thick stockings and boots to keep everything else covered.

With her clothes on, she went to her mirror and began applying makeup – enough to make her skin look smoother and fairer, but not enough to make her look promiscuous. Finally she put on her hairnet and wig. Red was too vibrant a color for decent young women, but blonde or brown was acceptable. She chose brown. Very few people were aware of her true hair color.

Finally dressed, she let the flame pendant hang visibly from her neck. She put on her best smile and opened her door to walk downstairs.

When she got down, breakfast was waiting for her. Her mother was one of the best cooks in town and everybody knew it. Her baked goods nearly always won the top prize in village contests.

"Dig in," said her mother. "You've got a big day today. Exams, right?"

"Yes, Mother," Emily said reverently. "It's the cooking portion of home economics. If I pass this I can move on to tailoring."

"That's wonderful!" her mother beamed. "Your father will be proud. He had to leave early for work."

Emily nodded, already a few bites into her omelet. Finishing, she stood, taking her books from the living room.

"I'm on my way to school! I love you."

"Love you too!" Emily heard from across the room as she stepped out the door.

The sun was finally up, still bright just above the horizon. Emily began her short walk to school, spotting several of her classmates walking that way as well. The young women all wore dresses similar to Emily's, and their hair was all shoulder-length or longer, sometimes worn up in a ponytail. The young men were dressed nicely as well, wearing slacks and button-up shirts, some with sweaters or sweater vests. Their hair was neatly combed to the side and kept short. None of them wore beards or mustaches, as that was not allowed until they graduated. All in all, they dressed as Aleros commanded – modestly and professionally.

"Emily!" yelled a voice from behind her. She turned, seeing another slender young woman with wavy dark hair and a yellow and blue dress.

"Hey Bridget," Emily replied, slowing to allow her friend to catch up. "How was your night?"

"Can't complain," said Bridget. "We watched Reverend James' sermon on TV. Have you heard him speak? He's amazing! So passionate and well spoken."

"My family swears by Reverend Keith," Emily said. "I'll have to check him out though, there are a lot of our classmates who like him too. Been reading anything?"

"Oh yeah!" Bridget exclaimed. "I forgot to talk to you about that. I've been obsessed with this." She fished a novel out of her book bag, handing it to Emily, who examined the cover. "It's the new one by Steven Fisher. It's about a girl around our age who grows her relationship with Aleros after tutoring a little deaf child. It's so good!"

"Sounds like the rest of his books," Emily groaned, "and every other fiction author's books."

"That's just what fiction is," Bridget stated. "It's not like there's anything else to write about. There's only so many types of things that can happen in the world."

"Yeah," Emily muttered, dropping the subject. The two of them continued to walk to school, catching up on things as they went before splitting up to their respective classes.