BOOK ONE

~ LIGHT ~


.Prologue.

Screams.

That's the first thing she registered. She couldn't even open her eyes, and all she could see was black, but she could definitely hear the screams. She listened harder, and heard footsteps, lots of them, rushing around her. Murmurs, people talking and crying out hysterically - but she couldn't make out what they were saying. It was all so jumbled together.

She tried, unsuccessfully, to open her eyes. Her lids seemed glued together, and she let out a groan of frustration.

And then, it hit her. The pain in her stomach. The damp moisture spreading across her body, and she wanted it to end, she wanted the pain to be taken away in some way, if there was only a way for it to end...she groaned again, and this time, she heard herself.

Somebody else must have heard it too. "Is she alive?" she heard a panicked voice say.

"What happened?" another voice asked.

"Where did he go?" a female voice demanded, and though she was in so much pain it was unbearable, that she wished she were dead, she felt herself relax the tiniest bit at this voice. Her mother. Her mother was here, and she had found her. Her mother's words seemed to come at her through a long, thick haze of pain, and when they finally reached her, her thoughts spiraled out of control.

Where was he?

Wasn't that the whole reason she had been out here alone, in the first place? The whole reason this had happened? She had been chasing after him.

But then - what had happened to her now? She couldn't remember why she was bleeding so profusely; she had no memory of what had happened to her in between chasing him and when she started hearing the screams. Her mother's voice came at her again, brisk and fierce. "Lila!"

Her eyes snapped open, and she took in her mother's face, pale and ghostly white hovering over her. There were people moving all around, but they were blurred. The pain in her body became worse.

"Lila, you're going to be fine," she promised quickly. Two hobbits lads had moved next to her; they were kneeling above her as well, right next to her mother. "And we'll find him, Lila. Don't you worry. We'll find him."

Find him? They were going to help me find him?

No...

She didn't mean him. Because he was...she didn't even want to think the word. She didn't want to feel that right now, to know that he had left and was gone; not when the pain from her physical wounds was almost killing her. But if they weren't looking for him...then who?

"Find who?" she cried out, frustrated, yelping in pain as two of the hobbit lads picked her up to support her weight. Tears rolled down her face with the effort of not crying out every second as they began to walk her somewhere, quickly.

Her mother ran alongside them. "The man who did this to you, Lila," she said. "Do you remember what he looks like?"

And suddenly, she remembered exactly what had happened. Everything came rushing back to her with such perfect clarity that she began to cough, and the lad carrying her, knowing what was about to happen, moved his arms ever so slightly so that she wouldn't throw up all over him, but on the ground instead.

The pain in her stomach doubled. And then she remembered something much, much more horrifying, another reason why she couldn't be bleeding right now, not this badly; they needed to fix her, now, because if they didn't...unless it was already too late...

No...no, this can't be happening...

She was so sure she wasn't going to make it to the doctor. She was going to die right here, and she knew it.

'Goodbye, I love you...' was her last thought, before closing her eyes and letting the blackness engulf her once more.