Author's Note: Hi guys, this is a new category. I read The Emerald Atlas for my school's book club and decided I wanted to bridge off of it. I mean, some events and pairings I didn't care for so I figured, why not make my own version? So this is it. Again, some events are changed a bit, not very much, but a little. Stephen's Kate's age and there may be some romance between them. Anyways, I think I've talked too long. Please leave a review and enjoy! :)

- Prologue -

"Stop it, stop it right now!" Kate yelled, grabbing Emma's hand tightly and rushing forward to the boy in the center of the crowd. He was tall, and his hair was an auburn color. The boy whirled around, a look of fury in his big, brown eyes.

"Your brother is a traitor." He stated firmly, "Traitors hang."

There was a chorus of consensus from the children in the crowd. The boy looked to be the oldest of them all, the leader, if you will.

Kate's heart skipped a beat. He was quite attractive, but she didn't want to admit it. Not now at least, not when he was threatening to hang her brother, Michael.

"He said he's sorry!"

"But he's a traitor!" The boy stated louder this time.

Kate glanced at Michael. His face was a ghostly white and he looked rather sick.

"Who are you anyways?" Emma demanded. Kate remembered she was still grasping her sister's hand and Emma yanked it away quickly.

"Stephen McClattery." He stated plainly, turned away, and began tying a noose out of ripped bed sheets.

Recalling the fact that Emma hadn't been paying attention when she had been talking to Stephen on the way to the dam, Kate recognized that her younger sister only saw Stephen as an unforgiving menace and not the scared, but strong young man Kate had met before.

"Stephen…" Kate began, resting her hand on his shoulder, but she faltered when he turned to stare at her.

She gulped; it was like he was staring into her soul. Stephen's eyes had a look not of hatred or malice, but of anguish and despair.

Kate couldn't even begin to understand what he was feeling. Yes, she had been searching for her parents ever since she and her brother and sister were taken away and yes, they'd been shuffled from one horrid orphanage to the next. But Stephen, his story was different. Stephen had been ripped away from his mother and father, ripped away from his home, from everything he'd ever loved. He'd been tortured by the Countess. Kate and her siblings had never been tortured. Sure, they'd been harassed from time to time, but not tormented like Stephen.

So when Stephen ignored Kate's pleas to spare her brother for the mistake he'd made it was no doubt why. Stephen knew that because of what Michael had done he would suffer, but it wasn't him he was worried about. It was the rest of the children, all younger than himself, that were much too young to feel such angst.