Fiona Bayar despised her brother for a number of reasons.

For one thing, it was all because of him that they were living in a shabby lodge. From the outside, the lodge was badly shaken, either by recent Tamric weather or just age. Rotted wooden beams littered the entrance. The first time Fiona and Micah made their way inside, Fiona had ripped her wizard robes on the beams. At that time, her mouth was forming strings of curses and complaints about how Aerie House members are not fit to live in a pigpen. Now, after a torturous week in the lodge, Fiona had nothing to complain about. Her survival of the crazed Ardenine soldiers alone was good enough to cover any suffering. Memories of Wil Mathis being run through with a blade still haunted her at night. Wil was a good person, if not extremely loyal. And also madly in love with her. Shivers ran through her spine whenever she thought of the kisses they had shared, not too long ago. Now he was dead. Well. It wasn't as if she'd liked him.

If anyone should be dead, it should be Micah. He alone was the cause of the loss of Wil. Upon other things.

Well, maybe she shouldn't blame Micah too much. After all, he had been under the pressure of the High Wizard, also known as their father. So maybe she should wish her father dead. His plan to overpower the Queen Marianna ana' Lissa gave Micah the opportunity to rule the Fells. And obviously, Fiona wasn't about to get anything. While Micah and the princess heir Raisa are going to be all happily-ever-after, Fiona is still going to be the poor wizard twin who was left out of the plan.

Lying in her mold-stained straw cot of a bed, Fiona scoffed at the thought. Why should it be her, and not Micah? If her father really wanted to overthrow the Gray Wolf line, he could have disregarded Princess Raisa and established a wizard queen. Who would coincidentally be herself, Fiona Bayar.

Of course, a wizard queen would need a wizard consort. Fiona immediately thought of Han Alister. Even in the absolute, reeking darkness, Fiona could feel her cheeks burning. What was it about Han that made her feel like this? After all, he was a thief, a murderer, and a complete antagonist to the Bayar family. Which made him forbidden. But every time he fixed her with his gaze, and every time he challenged Micah, Fiona's breath would catch in her throat. The way he carried himself like a streetlord was intriguing. To top it all, his defiance and his stolen amulet made him a dangerous character. I paid a high price for the amulet, he had said. No matter how hard he tried to hide it, the pain in his eyes was apparent. Han Alister was dangerous, yet like everyone else, still had his own pains.

Suddenly, Fiona thought back to the scene in the library back at Oden's Ford. Her already-flaming cheeks flared even more, and she bit down on her lip to keep from crying. Not only had he rejected her offer to team up, but also rejected her as a friend. Fiona had kissed him, and even now she remembered the feel of his lips. Although he probably had less than half a heart in kissing her, Fiona could tell he was experienced and careful. But the moment didn't last, and she hated the way Alister had pushed her back and refused everything she had to offer.

Oh, shut up, Fiona, you are daughter of the great Bayar family, she thought. Nothing should bother you. But Han Alister is bothering you. Hmm. Maybe Han deserved to die more than Micah. After all, he had made her less like her old self. Fiona used to be uncaring and cold, but not anymore. Thanks to someone.

Fiona sighed, wishing that she could place a stop to the turmoil of thoughts in her mind. Along with the physical fact of being abandoned in a privy-like hut, the mental barrier that had formed between her and the world was broken. This was too much to bear.

As if to respond to her thoughts, Micah shifted in his cot and eventually sat up after a series of groans. "Let's go. There's no point staying here anymore," Micah mumbled. Like Fiona, Micah had changed too. Though not as significantly, as he constantly complained about his fate.

"Why should we?"Fiona asked sharply. Micah can be very arbitrary at times.

Her tone of voice seemed to catch Micah's attention, as he stood up abruptly and was immediately alert. "You sound like you've been awake for a long time," he said, a hint of suspicion in his voice. "Have you been sneaking out on me?"

Fiona snorted. "What, you think you are my lover? I'm sorry, but I don't like you very much." An image of Han suddenly pounced at her. Turning away from Micah, blushing furiously, she thought, what did I do to Alister to deserve this treatment?

Micah's tone was now serious. "We can't hide here forever. Sooner or later, we'll be discovered. I don't want to end up like the Mander brothers. You?"

No. That was for sure. Miphis and Arkeda Mander had been abducted, for lack of a better word, by General Karn. Fiona had no idea if they were dead or being trained for the wizard army. She didn't want to know, and was not willing to share their fate. But she wasn't going to subject to Micah. "Their own stupidity caused their death. Unfortunately, we are not exactly like them. Or me, at least," Fiona said, shooting Micah a smug look.

"Stay then. I'm going." Micah lazily picked up a loose floorboard and tugged out a bag. A familiar looking bag, in fact.

"No way. That's my bag, and you are giving it back now." Fiona said with a dangerously calm tone. She didn't feel calm though, as crossing Micah did not always end in the best outcome.

Micah ignored her, pushing open the door and slamming it in his wake. It happened so fast that Fiona had not a second to react.

Anger erupted out of her like a volcano. She should have known that something like this was going to happen. Micah, her own brother, had just left her alone to die. In her outburst, her thoughts cleared up, and suddenly everything started to make sense. When she had been foraging for food like a slave, Micah had been planning for this day. He never had wanted to accept her as a sister and partner in times of hardship.

Fiona blinked several times, hardening into her usual self. Who cares about Micah? She could live very well on her own without him anyways. After all, it was Fiona that kept both of them alive by tending fires and cooking food. Micah would probably die on the road, but she, Fiona Bayar, would not because of her skills. So be it, Micah.

"What are you talking about, pretty girl?" A voice sounded behind her ear. Startled, Fiona turned around to find a soldier standing behind her, grinning broadly. He was wearing Tamric insignias, and an unattractive mix of military and casual clothing. Seeing her reaction, the soldier mouth widened even more. If that was even possible, Fiona thought.

"So be it, Micah? Who's this Micah? Your sweetheart? Then maybe I shouldn't even bother," the soldier said sarcastically, all the while trying to slide his arms around Fiona's waist. He was so drunk that he didn't even notice the constant flow of magic around Fiona's skin. In fact, the magic seemed to be powering his drunkenness. Trying to twist away, Fiona longed for her stolen amulet. With it, she could easily burn this intruder to a cinder.

The soldier's hands moved unceremoniously to under Fiona's dirty shirt, making contact with her bare skin. Again, Fiona lashed out with her leg as hard as she could, but it never seemed to connect.

"Wait till I tell my brothers about this, me having such a beautiful girl, all to myself." The soldier finally succeeded in taking her shirt off and jamming his mouth up into hers. Fiona could not stand this anymore. First Micah, then this? So not fair, not fair at all. Her anger powered up a magical response, rivulets of flame tickling her skin. Surprised, the soldier finally seemed to notice the magic currently pouring into him. Then it came to a point where he could hold on no more, and he finally let go of Fiona.

"Pretty girl, you better come back her to me now. Turn off your jinxflinging abilities please, or else," the soldier moaned, suddenly more vicious. He took out a knife that was tucked under his armor, and held it up to Fiona's throat.

Fiona closed her eyes. She was exhausted to the point where she couldn't care anymore. I may be the first Bayar to go through this bloody life, she thought absently. Come on, do it. Do it before I start to become afraid

And then she felt the sharp pain of a knife in the crook of her neck.