I own nothing. All characters belong to the amazing Trudi Canavan.

Chapter 1

She did not need friends!

Sonea had repeated those words to herself over and over – her private mantra – until they were burned into her mind in letters of fire.

And it was true. If she had to she could do without friends. But being treated like a person. She was not too sure she could live without that - to be treated as though she was worth something, not just that girl from the slums. The dweller...The imposter.

"There she is,"

Sonea heard the cry come from an all too familiar voice behind her but refused to turn around. Instead she gripped her books tighter to her chest and lengthened her steps, but found all to quickly it was a fruitless attempt when she heard the quick clattering of steps as her pursuers quickly shortened the distance between them.

She would not show her fear. She would not!

Despite her desire not to do so she could not stop herself from tensing up when a rough grip landed on her shoulder and spun her around, forcing her against the hard, cold stone wall.

She felt the stone dig mercilessly into her back as her panicked gaze took in her surroundings.

How could she have been so stupid? She should have been paying attention. Why had she allowed herself to drift down an abandoned corridor? Things were no longer the way they had been when she had first arrived at the guild when she felt safest away from the scrutiny of others. To be safe now she had to be around groups, surrounded by unknowing protectors. How could she have been so stupid?

Regin's hands dug into her shoulders more firmly as she attempted to struggle out of his vicious grip.

"Tut, tut, tut," he clucked condescendingly, a cold smile on his arrogant face.

"That is hardly friendly behaviour. All we wanted to do was talk to you," he told her, his voice oozing with false friendship almost making her sick.

He pressed himself closer to her and she kept her books folded protectively across her chest – wanting him nowhere near her.

She broke away from looking at him for a split second to take in their audience and was not surprised to see familiar faces - male and female - each of them watching on with some kind of sick fascination.

So much for children of the Houses. The high classes. Animals all of them. All chewing at the bit to get their measure of flesh.

She tore her eyes away from them and focused on Regin, his fowl breathe brushing her face as he smirked at her.

Before she knew what was happening he drew her away from the wall just to slam her back into it. She winced at the pain as the shock of it made her drop her books and see stars.

There was nothing between them now as Regin pressed the whole length of his body to hers. She held back the whimper from escaping and tried to get her know empty handd between their bodies to push him away but he grabbed them and pinned them roughly to the wall on either side of her head.

"Feisty," he announced, earning giggles and chuckles from the assembled students.

She struggled again and only earned another chuckle from her captor as her body was pressed more firmly against the wall. She could feel it digging through her robes and tearing her skin.

She bucked and squirmed but there was no room for her to move her legs and now she could not even move her arms and she could not even throw him of.

She was helpless and none of the students were going to help her.

Regin seemed to remember why he was there and began to speak as though there had not even been an interruption.

"Yes, it is our understanding that you and your guardian have been having some fun in his rooms," he smiled and she thought she was going to be sick for a whole other reason when she he shifted his weight again, transferring both of her wrist to one hand and sliding the other hand down her arm to her neck and lower.

Anything but this! She screamed in her head.

She felt the power inside her begin to crackle and burn and slammed it tightly away. She could not let that happen again. She could kill them all, everyone in the building. What if she tried something else and lost control?

"Yes, we were wondering what your hourly rate was," he mocked her as his hand now found its way to her chest.

And still no one helped her. Where they just going to stand there and watch her being humiliated or was he planning on taking it further.

She took up struggling again - writhing and squirming, anything to get out of his grip. But he was immovable the bulk of his body against her own slim frame making everything she did pointless.

She could not remember being to helpless. Not even in the slums. She had always held her own.

Regin slithered his hand back to her neck and grabbed her there, preventing any further movement and nearly cutting of her breathing. She tried to scream but it only came out as a squeak before his hand smothered her mouth.

She took her chance and closed her teeth around his flesh, bighting hard and without remorse.

Before she knew it he dropped her arms only to back hand her across the face and send her flying to the floor, her head striking the stone with a sickening crack as she lost feeling in her face.

"You little slum whore," Regin screeched at her, his face twisted in furry as he straddled her.

She took up fighting again, kicking out with her legs and then she heard something rip and she felt his hand fumbling with her robes.

No, please not like this, she pleaded silently.

'Help!" she screamed in her mind, unable to focus through her panic as she continued to fight and struggle, only praying that Rothen...that anyone would hear her.


Rothen rubbed his eyes tiredly and glanced out of the window at the passing clouds. He had expected Sonea to be back by now, she was always sure to be punctual, never loitering after classes. He could not help but feel a deep sense of sadness at the thought of her being so friendless. She was a dear girl and when given the chance warm and affectionate.

He stood and moved to his book shelf, thinking to find something to glance through while he waited for her when he heard it.

The cry cut through his head and the fear behind it shot down his spine and settled in his stomach.

Sonea!

He dashed from his rooms, throwing the door open and not even caring if it was shut behind him.

He ran through the corridors not paying any attention to the countless other magicians and teachers who all came to the doors of their rooms and peered into the hallway – some of them even following him. He ignored the strain on his body – he was still young for his age but such activity was taking a strain.

He had connected with her enough during their practice and he quickly found thread to follow. He raced through the passages his heart beating as though it would break through his chest as panic set in, his robes billowing out behind him.

He noticed someone running so close behind him that they were nearly next to him and turned to see both the High Lord and the Administrator.

"We heard it too," Lorlen gasped as they continued.

They rounded a corner and Rothen felt his anger boil over.

He dashed forward and forced his way through the crowd of novices, paying no heed to what the other magicians were saying.

He reached the boy he knew was Regin and grabbed him by his hair, throwing him from where he was and into the grip of another magician. Rothen didn't care who.

His heart clenched as he saw the girl that he looked on as a daughter scramble away from him and push herself against the wall.

Her clothes were in tatters and her face was beginning to swell. Tears fell freely down her face. He glanced at Regin and saw that thankfully he was still fully dressed, did that mean they were in time or just too late. He would kill the boy himself for what he had done.

Without a second thought he quickly untied his robe to reveal his simple working tunic and trousers and approached Sonea slowly, blocking out the bustling and yelling in the back ground.

"Little one," he whispered softly, trying to get her attention.

She looked at him, her eyes misty and unfocused, tears still leaving shining wet paths across her bruised face as they continued to fall.

Suddenly a broken sob escaped her lips and she flung herself forwards. He caught her easily and quickly wrapped her in his robe.

He rocked her gently backward and forwards ignoring the cold floor as he whispered reassuring word to her.

"You heard, " she sobbed unto his shoulder as he hands gripped at his clothes.

"Of course I did," he whispered, planting a quick kiss on her forehead as he continued to rock her like an infant.

He didn't add that it appeared that all of the magicians in the building seemed to have heard her as well as she didn't really need to know that. Being as she was she probably hadn't realised just how many people had come bursting into the corridor only seconds after he had.

He glanced up, over her head, to see that the corridor had been emptied and only four stone faced magicians' remains.

'This shall be dealt with,' he snapped in his mind, aiming his words at the High Lord. He did not care in that moment if the man was to be shown respect. Sonea was hurting and someone was going to pay.

The High Lord nodded his head slowly in agreement his dark eyes focusing with a terrifying energy on Sonea's shivering frame. Rothen's arms tightened around her as he processed the High Lord's gaze.

"I want to go home," Sonea sobbed softly into his chest, breaking his gaze from the other magician.

"Yes little one. I will take you home,"

Hi. So I sat down to write a chapter for one of my other stories and this came out instead. I am only annoyed that it has taken me soo long to get into these books. I haven't read the last one yet but I think that the first two at least are two of the best books I have read this year :).

Anyhoo.

Please let me know what you think.

Do I continue or give it up for a bad job?

Keep safe.

:)