How had it all gone wrong? Where had her life turned to black? And why was she just lying there, her life's blood poring out of her? Words came to her, words she had heard an assassin use once, seconds before he had died. Life was pain, and you just got used to it. But she couldn't get used to this. It was terrible, horrifying, final.

Tears poured from her eyes. She wanted to laugh at herself. She had used to think that tears were meaningless, and now she knew they were. She would die, at the ripe age of nine, before she ever got her first kiss or fell in love with a long lost prince, as she had once dreamed she would. Now, she would never dream again. Because she was too weak to get up and walk away from the horror that was surrounding her, the horror that was taking over her.

An image formed in her mind, that last she believed she would ever see. It was of her older brother, her sweet, loving older brother, with his lopsided grin and his sparkling blue eyes. She looked at the way his brown hair fell across his brow, and she remembered how she would push it back. It was a lovely picture, and she knew in her heart that he was the only family she had truly had.

Her story was what one would describe as the poor princess kind. For indeed, she was a princess, who's mother had died giving birth to her, and who's father was a sadistic ruler and derived pleasure from brutally torturing and killing the servants and the common people. Her only true family had been her brother, who was ultimately to become the best ruler in the country, and her nurse, who had raised her since the time she had been born. She had been the only mother she had ever had.

But then they had come, the people who called themselves the Tortallan people. She thought sadly of all the stories she had been told by her brother and her nurse, Jasmine. She had thought these people beautiful in their express of freedom. She had loved the stories of them the best, for they had reminded her of a story she had once had read to her when she was a young child. She had loved them so much, that her brother had taken her to a fare in their city of Thermalie. She had had the greatest time of her life there, seeing the people and their culture. She had once wanted desperately to be a Tortallan herself.

No longer would she think that. She had been wrong about these people, wrong in believing they were just and above the innocent killing she knew her father partook in. These Tortallans were not great people. They had come in the night and cut down her people. They had killed her brother when he had tried to save her. They had killed her maid when she fought against them to protect her mistress. And they had killed her father for being who he was. A king of an opposing country. They had killed everyone.

Everyone but her.

They had sliced open her belly and left her to die. "No one survives a gut wound," they had said as they left her choking on her own blood and lying in her own guts. "Leave her, she'll die soon anyways." Then they walked away, their laughter stinging in her ears.

Even as she thought of it, the image of her brother changed, until it was dead, his face deformed as the Tortallans had left it. The sight of that face, that beloved face, that had once been beautiful and had shone with innocence and love, hacked to pieces by a careless hand gave her the strength she hadn't had before.

A voice filled the air in song, a voice that any siren would envy. The girl's wounds soon healed and she stood. She slowly walked into the throne room, her gray eyes cold and emotionless. She was immune to the gory sight that was before her.

She walked to the throne and climbed onto the seat that had once held her father. On the wall behind the throne were two objects, the sword known as Avenger, and the Royal Crown of Serinda, her countries crown.

She placed the crown upon her head, and then took down the sword. It weighed more then any nine-year-old girl could hold, but her determination, and her hate gave her strength. Then she spoke, her voice ringing through the defiled throne room.

"I, Novellee Nubiano, Princess of Serinda, swear to my people that I will find the men who did this, and kill them for what they did to my family and to my country."

Then without any hesitation, she sliced open her palm, dipped her finger in the blood and drew the royal symbol across her forehead, in the sign that she would hold true to her promise.