"I never wanted it to be this way. I never wanted it to end like this, with us so helpless, so alone. We were supposed to make a difference. We wanted to change our circumstances, change the lives of others for the better. Not for the worse. We never knew the consequences."

Excerpt from Corliss' personal diaries, date unknown.

Disclaimer: This story is mine. You may not use/copy/take without my expressed permission. These characters may or may not be based on real people, but the similarities end there. These characters are not my personal opinion of that person. Once I write these characters into existence, they make their own decisions and thoughts. I cannot be held responsible if their opinions and choices do not reflect your own, if you decide that a particular character is based on yourself. I do not own TWtWB, I am only using it as a base for my story. Please R&R!

1. The Beginning

'Hey Corliss, what's x in this question?' Said an extremely tall, slightly oriental-looking girl with long curly dark brown hair. She was lying on her side, a long-legged deer curled up in the crook of her belly. A raccoon was sleeping next to the deer, touching to a less tall, very pale girl with short red-brown hair. A smatter of freckles complimented her blue-green eyes, which were trained on a textbook.

'Uh, 43. I got it by multiplying the original pronumeral by it's factor. You get it, Maeve?'

'Yeah, but what about b?' Corliss launched into another explanation. Across the tiny campsite, a small fire crackled and spat bright embers into the dark night as a tanned and very fit long brown haired girl threw some more firewood on it.

'Eliana, don't worry! The teachers will not and don't know we are even up here. I mean, this is the Ag farm, it's not like they would actually care. We're just a bunch of Year 12s spending a few nights up at the farm. Though, if we had boys, it would be a different matter,' She paused, and winked dramatically. 'You know how they are about boys and girls… socializing. Anyways, they're all busy, the Battle of the Towns is on, and you know everyone goes. Oh, and no, they can't see the fire; it's really heavily wooded here. It's fine! This is supposed to be a relaxing weekend, don't get your knickers in a knot.'

The pale girl next to her flicked her short-ish mousey brown hair, and touched the owl next to her, who had fluffed up it's feathers. 'Loreli, this isn't a good idea. I have a bad feeling about this.'

Loreli rubbed the Turkish Van cat next to her. 'Loreli, I also have a bad feeling about this. It feels… wrong. Can we go home soon?' It purred.

'Larcothia, calm your farm. You are such a worrywart. We will not be going home today, not till later. Hey, Maeve, Corliss! Stop studying! The HSC isn't for a couple weeks!' Loreli called. Maeve and Corliss emerged from a tent, the deer and raccoon close behind. Corliss ruffled the raccoon.

'Camillashaa agrees with both Lari and Ekanarimata. I don't. I want to have fun for once!' Said Corliss. Eka hooted in agreement.

The deer said softly, 'Maeve, Corliss and I agree, this should be fun.'

'Meritathia, you always agree with Maeve,' said Lari. 'Have your own opinion for once!'

'Enough!' Loreli shouted, breaking up the squabbling between the dæmons. 'Let's not talk like this. This is supposed to be relaxing! Now let's sit down and roast some marshmallows.'

They did as Loreli said, soon settling down into the rhythm of marshmallow on stick, roast and eat. 'So, Loreli,' Maeve said, 'I heard from a little bird that you like a certain boy in your swim team?'

Loreli laughed. 'Yeah Maeve, I'm pretty sure that little bird was Seraph's canary, Sogria. That bird just can't help the gossip!'

Maeve smiled, and covered it with her hand. Corliss and Eliana laughed with Loreli. 'Oh Maeve, you never could keep a secret!'

Corliss pulled a very lightly roasted marshmallow off her stick, and got the goo all over her. She laughed with the others and wiped it off. 'How funny would it be if a war started while we were away?'

They all laughed. 'Corliss, don't be silly. That kind of stuff only happens in other countries. Not here in Australia, that's for sure. We would have a better chance of being hit by a meteorite in the next few weeks then a war starting. Now, who wants to paint nails?'

Loreli painted hers in a fuchsia pink, Eliana in a watermelon green, Maeve in a light violet, and Corliss in a foam blue. Loreli braided everyone's hair, so it would be all curly when they woke up in the morning. The dæmons curled up together, heads on backs, bellies and shoulders, and fell asleep as their people stayed up late into the cloudy night, talking, laughing and gossiping.

When Corliss awoke at 6 am, much earlier then the others, as she lived on a farm and had to feed the animals, she heard a low buzzing sound. A helicopter flew straight overhead. She sighed at the disturbance. She thought it was just a fire-rescue helicopter, they were always around at this time of year. She rolled over and crawled out of her sleeping bag, crouched as Cam jumped onto her shoulders and wrapped her arms around her neck, and tiptoed over several sleeping bodies to get outside. She stretched and dropped Cam onto the ground, then stirred the fading embers of the fire around in the pit. Deciding that it was non-salvageable, she walked around the campsite and collected a bunch of sticks and twigs, and arranged them in a teepee-like structure in the fire pit, with the smallest twigs in the center and the sticks pointing upward around it. Filling the structure, she scattered dry leaves around and over the tepee, then flicked a match into it. It burst into flames. She smiled inwardly, pleased that she was still able to light fires. All those years of having our only source of heat as wood fires has paid off, she thought. A rustle from the tent announced Eliana and her owl, perched on her shoulder. She stumbled over to Corliss and sank down onto a log.

'Oh, I had a terrible nights sleep, Corliss. I tossed and turned all night, worrying about this; I just feel we shouldn't be here.' She was clutching her cross necklace, twining it around and over her fingers. Corliss leaned over and wrapped her arm around Eliana's shoulder.

'It's okay, we're fine here. Come on, this is a relaxing weekend, not a worry weekend. Would you like some hot chocolate?'

Within the hour, Maeve and Loreli were up, and they sat around the campfire in silence, sipping hot chocolate. Loreli suggested a walk, which the group readily agreed with. Packing up the campsite was easy; they all had a pack with a small tent, a small solid fuel stove, a bit of fuel, some extra food (snacks and a sandwich, plus emergency rations), their sleeping bags, a weatherproof jacket, and some extra clothing. They packed up, and started walking toward the school. They were walking slowly, due to being in no great hurry and having a nice time socializing. By the time they got past the farm buildings, however, they stopped. They were looking at the oval.

Maeve spoke into the silence, her voice resounding in the still morning air. 'What is that?'