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Chapter 1

She covered her ears. She could still hear their laughter in her head. She tried to block out the sounds. She could feel her eyes pooling with tears.

She could still feel their hands on her body. She had been humiliated and disgraced. Her home and family destroyed.

She wrapped her arms around her bent knees. Hugging them to her body. Trying to get warm.

She looked at her dress. The only thing that she still owned. Once a beautiful flowing-gown, now destroyed. At one time, it had been a beautiful forest green color. Now it was faded, ripped and filthy. Just like she felt.

She looked up at the trees as the wind moved through them. Birds flew through the air. She could hear the rushing of the water of the river. As her gaze continued to look around the trees, she wondered where she was.

She was hungry. She was cold. And she just wanted to go to sleep. She moved to a hollow cut out of a tree. She curled up inside and rested her head along the side.

She heard voices. Children’s voices. She tried to pull as much of herself inside of the tree as she could. The voices were getting closer. She heard the children run past the tree.

“Stop!” she heard one of the small voices cry out. “Look at this.”

She tried to crawl further into the tree. Tried to hide away from the children. But it was impossible.

She saw four pairs of eyes looking at her. From the looks of their clothing, they appeared to be of royal blood.

“Who is she?”

“Where did she come from?”

“She’s dirty.”

“Hush sister.” The boy, who appeared to be the oldest and the one who had seen her first, slowly approached her. He spoke to her in a language that she hadn’t spoke in a very long time.

“Ettul.”
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