3 Nalia

That night she dreamt of a lavish room meant for a king, a figure lying on a bloody bed, and another wearing a crown of fire standing above it. Both of them were staring at a skull, in an old man's arms, which was crying blood. She couldn't see any of their faces, they were simply shadows still and silent. Outside the rain fell heavily, rating the stained glass windows.

The doors to the room swung open and in strode another shadowy figure, this one carrying a golden hand. It seemed to ignore the two at the bed and quickly moved over to the skull. Just as the figure was about to touch it a roar filled the room and everything went up in flames.

Nalia's eyes snapped open and she gasped. Which was a mistake as her lungs began to burn with pain causing her to begin coughing violently.

"Get up!" Nalia glanced around and quickly met the maroon eyes of her sister. Seeing Nalia's pained face Milah cursed, grabbed her hand and began pulling her towards the front door where she saw her mother with a small bag. Aranna, seeing her daughters rushing over, quickly wrenched the door open. Allowing them to run straight outside.

Nalia's eyes widened in fear, the whole village was burning a sea of flames engulfing her home. The screams of the inhabitants filled the air as men with axes and swords pursued them. She quickly spotted her father, axe in hand, fending off four men each holding either a sword or an axe. "Come on!" her sister shouted at her, eyes wide with panic. Nodding Nalia tried to keep up with her sister's longer strides.

She kept glancing back at her father still battling the men. But even with her inexperienced eye, she could see that he was losing. It happened suddenly so unspectacularly that Nalia didn't even realise what was happening. One of the pillagers, a man with a sword and shield, had stepped forward just after her father had swung and in a slow and calm movement drove his blade through her father's throat.

Tears began flowing down her cheeks as she saw him fall, his enormous frame toppling to the ground. She saw her mother's eyes widened at seeing her daughter's face.

Aranna spun around only to have an arrow hit her in the abdomen. She let out a grunt and fell to her knees, brown hair covering her face. Then another arrow hit her, this time directly between the eyes. Nalia screamed and tried to run to her mother's side but she was stopped by her sister who with all her strength managed to haul her away from the road.

Pulling her little sister to the ground, Milah hugged her, "It's going to be alright, it's going to be alright. We'll just hide and wait for all of this to be over, okay." She glanced down at Nalia but the young girl didn't answer. She just kept sobbing. Milah gulped and began trying to pry the boards off the house they were leaning on. She knew that it had been built on small stilts and that if she could get at least one plank off they could hide. She nearly screamed as one of her nails tore off when she finally managed to remove the board. Her eyes widened as she heard the sound of hooves approaching and so, grabbing Naila she quickly pushed her sister into the hole. Milah began climbing after her but alas it was not meant to be. As she was halfway though she heard the rattle of a man in armour dismounting. Her eyes met her sister's and she smiled before pushing Nalia further away.

Suddenly Milah was pulled out of the hole and back under the night's sky. Where a group of rough-looking men stood leering down at her. The tallest and meanest man grinned a nearly toothless grin, and slowly drew a dagger from his hip. Two other men quickly crouched down and held Milah's arms in place. The young woman's eyes widened in realisation and she began to struggle and scream for help as the man slowly bent down and placing the dagger under her nightgown, began cutting it open inch by inch.

Tears began flowing down Nalia's cheeks and she covered her mouth to stop herself from screaming. She watched as each of the men violated and raped her sister before her very eyes. At some point during the horror, Milah had looked back at her and kept eye contact for the rest of it. Only when each of the men had had their turn did the tall man finally bend down and slit Milah's throat. Nalia screamed into her hands and beat the ground with her fists.

It was hours later when the outlaws finally left the village, leaving only fire and death behind. Nalia crawled out of the hole and with a trembling hand brushed Miah's brown hair out of her face. But she didn't cry, no more tears would flow from her eyes as though they had dried up. "Sister." she whispered, pressing her forehead to Milah's. Nalia, spent and exhausted, slowly stood up and step by agonising step began making her way down the long winding road, a blood-red moon hanging overhead.

Her family, friends and everyone she had ever known were dead, but she realised something.

In this world of pain and cruelty, there were two types of people, predator and prey.

Those who wait for death and those who fight to survive, those who go against what the gods had laid out for them.

And she was no sheep she would fight, she would survive, she would kill those who stood in her way.

She was a dragon.

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