Yells and screams rang through Timothy's ears, causing dread to rip through his heart. Not fear for himself; it had been many battles since he feared the arrival of death. He feared for the lives of the many who were scattered through the fort -men women and children. Archers frantically ran to the Archers' Station, a clever little tower; surrounded on all sides by water, with one block wides holes lining each floor ensuring they could shoot out, but none could shoot in.

Those not skilled in archery stood by the gate, weapons in hand. With reinforced obsidian walls and a single obsidian-piston gate, it was unlikely they would get through, but precautions had to be made.

Those unable to fight gathered stores and children, taking everything into the main part of the fort -a huge wooden house, able to hold everyone living there if necessary. The entire fort was preparing for a siege.

"They cannot move on without risking us attacking from behind, general," spymaster Lucas said (as if Timothy didn't know). Lucas raised his spyglass -an invention of his own, a glass pane heated up and melded into a curved circle of glass- and observed the approaching army. Every soldier wore armor of black, their flags white and depicting a massive black-purple dragon curving through the air, pale purple flame tearing from its maw. The army's forces were huge, spanning almost out of his sight. The numbers made Lucas tremble slightly - they had only 500 or so warriors in the fort. Even so, Lucas knew this was but a single division, and a small one at that.

"Check for archers," the general commanded, squinting through the tower windows at the Enderians.

Lucas scanned the plains, searching every person he could see. "No bows visi- Wait!"

Lucas' cry sent Timothy shooting out of his seat, glaring down as though he could stop the arrows with his sight. "How many!" He nearly yelled.


The spymaster's answer nearly caused General Timothy to strangle his comrade. He ripped the spyglass from Lucas' hands (with many cries of anger from the latter) and shoved it in front of his eye, squinting through the thick glass.

A teenage girl, perhaps 16 or 17, stood near the front of the army. Her hair caught the sunlight, transforming into every shade of red possible. In her hands she held a birch longbow, the white speckled wood barely a head shorter than her. Despite her age she fitted an arrow and drew back the string with practiced ease, aiming carefully. Straight at the general's tower. Once she had the aim right, she closed her eyes, and let the string go.

As the feathered end of the arrow passed the bow, a bright red fire blossomed from just below the arrowhead. Timothy could only stare as the arrow imbedded itself in the tower one story beneath him, tongues of flame licking their way upwards.

Most the inner fort was made of wood. The only exit was an obsidian gate, which was surrounded by the Enderian troops. The only other exit was via a river by the east wall, but thanks to the spring rains and melts, the water rushed by so fast and so strongly no boat could survive it and no being could swim it. As the girl fired more and more arrows (the fire seemed untouched by water, and therefore destroyed the archery station too) Timothy's hope lessened until it was non-existent. If the Ender army had a demon girl who could control fire, the Overworld would stand no chance.


As General Timothy stood in the main guard tower, waiting for despair and fire to consume him, another kind of fire consumed Zia. She could hear the screams and wails from the castle as easily as if the dying stood next to her. Panicking figures rushed everywhere inside the fort, unable to flee. Guilt and shame ripped through her heart. Why had she done this? She found no answer. But what option did she have?

Zia recalled nothing of her life before the age of seven. All her memory she had served the Enderdragon and its queen and in the End, they seemed right. But here, killing innocent people in a land so strange and yet so familiar, the girl could no help but think this was wrong. She closed her eyes and prayed silently that the Overworlders who died today reached the Aether, and that they were happy in their new life, ignorant of their past. Ignorant of the fact that they even had a past. Lucky them.