Prologue

What was my point in life? Why did I want to survive? Why did I cling to life so desperately and strive to live? Why was I born and raised on Chimaera?

I may never learn of the answer to the last question, however for the last seventeen years I have lived among hostile plants and cruel humans. During that time I found out some of the answers I had been looking for.

I had been abandoned. I later questioned myself how I ever managed to persevere through the dreary everlasting times of the night and the scorching times of the daylight without a Ring of my own. I eventually came to the fact that I feared death. That was the only reason that I was still among the living. I killed ruthlessly for food and I never felt regret for the families of animals I killed because I feared my own death. I wished that I didn't have a fear.

How did I not go insane? Why did I not commit suicide when everything seemed hopeless? When was it that I finally realized what it was that I had been looking for throughout my entire existence?

The turning point in my life was merely a year after I was abandoned. At the age of eight I dreamt of a place where I could look forward to waking up in the morning rather than wanting to have to guts to kill myself every night before I fell asleep. I dreamt of a time when my nightmares wouldn't be the only place where I didn't have to worry about being physically hurt.

I made up my mind. I lived, strived, and survived. I fought the plants and killed the animals. Reality hit me hard and I knew what I had to do and I would do anything to do it. I had to become strong, useful, and fearless. As I grew older I wasn't the helpless little girl that was abandoned for not being tough enough to hold my own anymore.

Seven years ago…

I ran at a verasoma as it moved quickly toward me. Time slowed for me and I felt as if I were running at death itself, knowing this plant could kill me instantly with its large vines and body. This was the only way I could think of to overcome my fear of death. My small feet carried me quickly forward before I ran to the left, jumping onto a branch while the verasoma passed by and I leaped onto it. I stabbed its bulb with my spear and hopped off before it continued on a while longer and stopped, dead. From that point on, I had overcome my fear of death. At the mere age of 10 I had faced death.

That was when I learned how to truly survive on my own. I trained to become stronger, hunted for my meals, lived through the deadly seasons in which the muses bloomed, slept and ate little, and created high expectations for myself.

I knew that if I wanted to join a Ring, I would have to prove myself worthy. When I trained I wouldn't stop until I was physically fatigued, when I hunted I only killed the strongest and never the ill or the weak, and when I was faced with a challenge I faced it head on.

I must have known where I was headed even before I consciously knew where I wanted to be because it took only a week at most to reach my destination, the Ochre Ring.