Chapter 1

My name is Tabea Newhart. I am an orphan that was adopted by a band of thieves. The leader of the band, Odin, says that they found me in a farmhouse in Araluen. His wife says that they really found me in an abandoned Temujai camp they had looted. They don't know how I got there, and neither do I. I was only a year old at most when they found me.

My name had been stitched into the blanket I was found in. Odin gave me a new name that everyone is supposed to refer to me as. His wife told me the name I was born with. When we are alone she calls me Tabea, in public she calls me by the name he had given me, Zinnia Swiftfingers.

I am a thief that is to be forever untrusted in the eyes of others. I don't know what to think of myself. The band of thieves I travel with is made of men that disrespect me at all times. I am going to prove them wrong. I'm going to prove them all wrong.

"Zin! Can you come over here? We need someone to settle this!" Kaholo shouts over to me. He's the fastest man in our little band of thieves.

"Sure!" I shout back. I walk over to the main tent where we usually plan all of our raids. It's always up to me to help make the final decision, since I can always stay calm and am known to be fair when judging. It's mostly because I am a good strategist though and all of the men in there only know how to act, not think. If it weren't for their lack of brain cells, I would never be allowed anywhere near here.

I am 15 years old now, and I've grown to have a small build. My hair is an auburn brown color, and my eyes are a sparkling blue. My slightly tanned skin itches underneath this dress I am forced to wear. I would trade this for a tunic and trousers any day, but Odin would never allow me to. Wearing a dress is one of the rules that I don't break around here.

"We were thinking about going back to Araluen and robbing a few people in Redmont fief, and we're not sure how to do it."

I widen my eyes a bit in surprise and ask, "Redmont? Are you sure?" It's one of the most powerful fiefs in the kingdom, and it's sure to be well guarded.

"Yes, of course we're sure. That's why we're asking you. Now, should we go in the dark of night or simply in the middle of the day and have you bump into a few people or something?" Odin growls firmly.

I've truly lived up to my name. Everyone in camp knows me, and I've picked up all of their best qualities. I have speed, I am silent, I know how to lie, I can keep a straight face, I can forge documents, I know how to steal (obviously), I am persuasive, and I know how to use a weapon. People always wonder how I know so many skills, but I'm just a fast learner, and I've almost surpassed those who taught me.

I sigh. There's no way to change their minds around here. "I think we should operate during the night. Just sneak in, take their valuables when they're sleeping, being as quiet as possible. We don't want to wake them. That will just cause trouble. We can get there early and pick a few pockets too."

A wide grin breaks out on Odin's face. "I knew we could count on you, Zinnia! We're heading out tomorrow."

"What? We have to plan more; they have some of the best Rangers in the kingdom! You have to have my approval, or-"

"I am the leader of this band Zinnia! You are simply a woman; you have no say in these things!"

I storm out of the main tent and into Odin's tent where his wife, Maria, is waiting for me.

She takes one look at me and asks, "What happened this time?"

"They ask for my help with making a plan and then stop listening! They don't even wait for me to finish, they just listen to the first half and then pretend like they've come up with it! Then when I try to finish they say that I'm just a woman! Then when their plans go wrong, they blame me since I made it. If it goes right, they take the credit. It's just, ughhh!"

"I know, dear. I've been here longer than you, you'll eventually get used to it." She has a faraway look in her eyes, and I know that she's thinking of her previous life. She had been a low dignitary before Odin kidnapped her to be a trophy, nobody had cared. She had many sisters to take her place. Odin married her, and she eventually fell in love with him. It was many years before she became used to it though. She has taught me how to 'be a lady' so that I don't stand out when we go into public. It's hard to have manners when you live among men and you are a thief. I wonder how long it will be before I become used to life here…

"Hello Mrs. Maria. Hello Zin." My best friend, Renny, says from the opening to the tent. He's 13 and small for his age. He could easily pass as an 8 or 9 year old. He's thin, we all are, and he has jet black hair and dark brown eyes. We always use him to target people's feelings so that he can get money by simply begging for it.

"Hey Renny. What are you doing here?"

"Mr. Odin called for you."

I throw a worried look at Maria and follow Renny back to the main tent. He leaves once I'm inside, and I stand tall and proud in front of the men of the group. They have the most important skills in the group, and they're who I learned from. That's also how they got into Odin's inner circle.

"We don't like your attitude, Zinnia." Cadman says. He's who taught me how to handle a weapon.

"What attitude?" I ask sweetly. Persuasiveness is something I also picked up from Maria. I spend a lot of time with her since she is my caretaker.

"You know what we're talking about, girly." Danforth growls. He taught me how to forge documents.

"No, I really don't."

"Stop lying." Valdus says, voice rising as his fist slams onto the ground. He should know that I'm lying, especially since he's the one who taught me how. I'm quickly surpassing him though, he's losing his touch.

"Alright, I do know what you're talking about. I just won't give it up." I might as well give the gig up, they'll probably go after me soon and I don't want to be in a fight with at least 10 grown men. I'm skilled, but my fight training is far from complete.

"Why not?" Odin demands.

"Because you can't force me to do anything."

"Is that so?"

"Yes, because I'm your best strategist. No matter how many men you have, you always come to me for advice on your raids and such. Besides, I could easily let the location of your camp be known to the Ranger's Corps…" Growing up in a camp of thieves, you learn how to make threats.

Their eyes all grow wide. "You wouldn't dare," Odin whispers.

"Oh, but I would."

"Okay, okay, we get your point. We'll let your little attitude problem slide girly."

I smile wickedly and walk back out of the tent. None of them pursue.

A few minutes later Kaholo is running around the camp telling everyone to be ready to move out by tomorrow to raid Redmont fief. I sigh. They never listen.

So do you guys like it so far? Who knows where I'm going with this story. I haven't gotten very far in writing it so I don't really know much about it, other than a few major things. I'm babbling... I'm going to stop now.

Well I hope you enjoyed chapter one guys! Add to alerts, favorites, and PM me any suggestions. Don't forget to review!