J U S T A N O R P H A N
Silver millennium
PG-13
Chapter 1
By stargirl
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ahh... the first story I ever started 2 years ago. Just an Orphan and
Secrets of the Night are still two of my favorites, and I promise I'll
strive to finish them both! For now though, I am revising them. I've
got goals to be published and my expectations of my writing have gone
up. I hope you enjoy it! If you haven't read Just an Orphan before, it
is a silver millennium and will be PG-13 (just to be safe). PLEASE e-mail
and tell me what you think!! I'm in dire need for the drive to work on
these stories. I've had the bad drop of starting at least 30 stories---
so if you really want me to work on a specific one, you're gonna have
to seriously let me know. As always, suggestions are always VERY
welcome =) [ stargirl152001@cs.com ]


My newest "project" is my site called Violet Attitude. Chatroom,
message board, writer's community, categorized fanfiction, membership,
ALL my art and writings, and more! The process is gradual, but the site
is getting there. I'd love to have you stop by and maybe even become a
member! =D

[ VioletAttitude.homestead.com ]


Oh! How could I forget? My penname is no longer SARAHTWILIGHT---I am
the same person, just a name change. For over a year now at message
boards, online writing course, at stories.com, I've been going by
Stargirl or Star and it's gotten attached to me. My e-mail address
has changed as well to the stargirl address.


Well, that should be all. SM doesn't belong to me yada yada yada...

----star ^.~




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




"Don't you get it, Darien? I'm nobody! I always was just an orphan, and
I always will be!"


Just an Orphan

By stargirl








"Be strong and brave. Don't be afraid of them. Don't be frightened.
The Lord your God will go with you. He will not leave you or forget
you." Deuteronomy 31:6











Piercing hazel eyes, sitting sullenly on a face of wrinkles, watched
the young man walk into the room. Not even acknowledging the polite
bow, she barked, "I want that girl out of my children's home. I don't
care what it takes. She belongs in the prison more than she does here."

The gangly soldier tried to hide a sigh, his soft brown eyes wincing.
"Which girl might this be, Lady Hollsworth?"

"You know very well which girl," Lady Hollsworth snapped, a frown
pulling at her already sagging skin. Her chest inflated with heat, her
overlapping necklaces wrapping tighter around her thick neck. "That
wretched little rat you yourself dumped on me."

"The child, your ladyship?" The man's thick brows creased despairingly.
"She is still but an innocent at this age. Her past is a black whole,
and must frighten her so. Clearly, you could excuse her a little. I'm
sure she'll be less of a burden to you eventually, it's been less than
a month."

Nicholas frowned suddenly. He was coming dangerously close to begging
to this awful woman. His eyelids clasped shut with scenes of a month
ago. He could easily hear the rocking thunder, the voices of a crying
child twisting through the rains growing pour and the lumbering stalks
of trees. The girl was hysterical, shivering beneath sagging and muddied
clothes that felt suspiciously like real silk. Lost eyes peered at him
with such... fear and confusion in the their blue depths. He had
whispered soothing words in her ear over and over as he clutched her,
carrying out of the forest. Promises. Everything will be okay, little
one, everything will be okay.

Nicholas' fists tightened at his sides as his body stiffened. He never
broke his promises. Regret bit at him. Everything wasn't going okay.
He thought of his choice of this children's home. It was the only
respectable one around. The lady who owned it was in the upperclass
herself, and the children she bred would not be as likely to turn to
the scum of the streets as would the others... But, looking at the old
hag, for noble or not, she was a hag, he couldn't imagine the fragile
girl, with long knotted hair of sunshine in such cold pudgy hands.
Well, that just proved how horrible it would be if he looked after the
girl himself, he surmised, trying to be rational. What a disaster that
decision would be. He was a far cry from being fit to care for a little
one. His eyebrow rose speculatively. Any more than "her" though... he
couldn't help but wonder.

A hard bang to the walnut desk made him jump as the woman rose angrily.
"I have given the brat more chances than my heart can bear. I am just a
widow, Officer Craigs," she bit, "I cannot deal with her like, let alone
perform miracles. I refuse to house that thing any longer."

"Care to remind me of your reasons for her being a burden?" Nicholas cut
in leisurely.

Lady Hollsworth snapped up, indignant. "Her attitude. She upsets the
other kids. Never associates with them, as if they are beneath her.
Disrespectfully clogs her ears when I, 'I', am talking to her. During
the time she's been here, I have lost the precious pearls the Lord
Dungsinton gave me. I don't care a wit about evidence, I know the witch
did it." She paused, and huffed up all of a sudden with an air of
smugness and pure pleasure. "And," she sang, "as I showed you, this morning,
she revealed her true nature with violence to one of our older children."

Violence? Nicholas stopped, still unmoved by the woman's words. He could
scarcely believe that the girl was capable of it. The proof laid in the
twelve year old boy that scowled into the room earlier with purple and
black marring his face. The scoundrel probably deserved it, the thought
cut out, gratefully managing to stay unsaid.

Get on the bad side to this woman, and it could very well mean his
position. With the preceding thought in mind, he treaded on carefully.
"Your ladyship,would you take it with your generosity, to grant the girl
just on more chance?" He winced. Lady Hollsworth's face had immediately
went red.

"Officer Craigs," she bit slowly, keeping her anger in tact. "I demand
that you bring your superior to me. I deam to believe that he might see
more eye to eye with me on this matter, and would be more than happy to
comply."

An objection rose in his throat, but he met the woman's pointed stare
and stayed silent.




* * *





"Ha, get this guys... I think the chit thinks she's better than us!"

"Aww... Is her highness gonna cry?"

"At least "our" parents didn't leave us in the forest to die. It looks
like they had some sense though... - ooof!"

Eyelids snapped shut. That was when she hit him. Maybe she shouldn't
have... she remorsed. But, she was right to! She was, he was lying. He
had to be lying, her parents loved her. They did.

Her brow knitted, lips trembling into an unwanted frown. So, where's the
proof? How do you know they loved you? Drawing in a ragged breath, she
strained her thoughts. Her head was clogged, all that came up was empty
blackness. She tried to form two people from the dark wisps, tried to
see the faces, the form of a man and woman, both with loving smiles for
"her." But the features wouldn't fill in, the smiles weren't there.
Nothing was. Absolutely nothing...

On instinct, her hand curled around the delicate locket that hung from
her neck. They gave me this, she thought stubbornly, willing herself to
find the sureness that it was so. None of the other kids had anything so
beautiful. Of course, she kept it hidden. They would take it from her in
an instant if they knew she had it. Stuffing it back under worn cloth,
she lulled her head back to the wall. The floor was cold beneath her, but
she was set in the opinion that the flimsy bed had bugs. All the younger
kids in the Home wore old clothes and had rooms of lesser quality than
the older ones, but she always had the feeling that her clothes were a
bit more worn, her room a bit more dirty.

She stared around, eyes as blank as the walls. Her stomach clenched with
hopeless familiarity. Ignore it... just ignore it, she breathed in her
mind, wishing the emptiness in her stomach and heart away. Her breathing
slowed into a dazed slumber, still somehow being aware of the darkening
room and persisting hunger. Hours went passed by in silent and blurred
minutes. Not one moment different from the next. The cold loneliness
lulled through her mind, met her barely open blue eyes in the form of a
gray peeling room.

Fingers were frozen curled stalks that were somehow attatched to her
hand. Her muscles jerked as she forced them to move. They were so numb,
she frowned, blinking back the haze that sifted around her. Biting
growls twisted in her stomach, and it wasn't hard to imagine a rocky
dark pit within her trembling from thunder. The empty cave inside her
seemed to give an unbalancing effect, dizzy shivers riveting through
her bones.

Food. There was a steady burning lust for it. An image of the kitchen
conjured in her mind, even though it was the next forbidden place to
go to short of Lady Hollsworth's bedquarters. That thought though was
easily dismissed in her blurred one-set mind. With a strained effort,
she pushed herself onto her feet. Was it bad that she swayed so much?
She thought absently, stumbling to her door. Lady Hollsworth expected
to be obeyed, it never occurred to her to lock the doors of a child she
ordered to stay in their room. The cool bronze knob twisted open easily.

Serena racked in a breath, trying to remember where the kitchen was. But
her mind was so groggy! It swirled, and it frightened her to think she
could fall over, for if she did, she couldn't imagine being able to get
back up. After a moment, her legs brought her staggeringly along the wall
to her right. Hating the effort to think at every turn, she pressed on
until the kitchen door was in glorious sight. Just a tiny bit further,
she could manage that far, she was sure she could... or at least she
hoped.

She stepped toward the door, but without warning, a buzzing tune in the
hallway sent her reeling as it turned around the corner, the cook
bustling not far behind with a merry air. Every muscle in Serena
scrunched as she stared at the woman in expectancy.

Mrs. Hurts stopped short, gazing at Serena with mildly started eyes.

Serena's balance shifted, and she shot her foot out to stop her swaying
fall. Eyes glittered back to the woman with squirming worry... What would
Lady's Hollsworth do if she found out?

The worry was short lived. A smile cracked the cook's face. Was it just
her, or was there a hint of sadness there? In disbelief, Serena watched
as the woman's pudgy hands made a quick motion for her to go forward,
mouthing what seemed to form go on.

Go on? You mean... she wasn't going to do anything? Her eyes followed
the woman as she backed around the corner with exaggerated steps. Maybe
things wouldn't be so bad af- Her vision spun and she gasped. Food now,
thoughts later, she whimpered, treading carefully into the abandoned
kitchen. God, how could she have forgotten the cook, though? The woman
hadn't even occurred to her with the thought of food beading around her
thoughts.

Minutes later, Serena looked startled at a loaf of bread in her hands.
None of the kids got anything like this, not even the older ones. The
bread was caked with sticky honey and nuts. Sweetness floundered in
her mouth as she ate it in chunks, feeling the bread's complete journey
down her throat and filling her stomach.

In one dropping moment, the door banged open. Nerves set on fire, she
stared at Lady Hollsworths red face, fear trickling through her in icy
trembling.






Serena's hair prickled in the back of her neck. She clenched her jaw,
refusing to let it tremble.

Lady Hollsowrth paced once more in front of her. "You're a nobody,
Serena. Someone not worthy of my time and effort. I've tried to be
patient with you, tried to be understanding-"

Serena's eyes squinted. When did "she" ever try to be patient and
understanding? With the next drawled words though, her face paled.

"I really can't say I blame you're parents for leaving you." The woman
shook her head, huffing back up again. "Your disrespect to your elders
is intolerable. Your violence apparent and dangerous to the rest of the
children. Somehow, you stole those pearls of mine, and I do 'not' take
pity on thieves-"

The words blurred to Serena. It didn't matter. All she could think about
was her parents, like an old wound reopened and ground with salt. Images
came involuntarily. Of a mother and father fed up with a hopeless
daughter. Sending irritated and icy looks at the thing they were stuck
with. Of finally abandoning her in a forest, not even looking back.
Something in her screamed. Shattering denials echoing off of the walls
of her soul.

The woman's sour voice babbled horribly in her head, twirling her thoughts
around in chaos. "You've been nothing but a thorn in my side since you
have been here. If I hadn't have brought you in under the kindness of my
heart, you would surely have died! Did you ever consider that and be
thankful? No!" Lady's Hollsworth's voice dripped with scorn.

Serena's head went dull, her bright azure eyes clouding over. Was Lady
Hollsworth right? She thought emptily. Maybe she was such a terrible
child that her own parents left her to die. Her blood ran with fear at
her own direction of thoughts. She desperately grabbed at the images of
loving parents that she had fantasized about for so long, forcing them
down her throat, to ease the pain of her previous wonderings. Without even
thinking, her fingers went to her neck, grabbing onto the necklace, her
string to sanity. Its presence lulled her mind. It was so precious. No
one would give it to someone they didn't love... would they?

She caught the sureness. The streak of knowing that her mother and father
had loved her. A relieved smile tugged almost invisibly at her lips.

"And another thing you ungrateful, little-," Lady's Hollsworth stopped
abruptly, the room suddenly cloaked in silence. Sharp hazel eyes
darkened. "What's that?" She jutted, eyeing the glint that Serena was
twirling in her hand.

Huh? Serena looked up, but before she could react, the woman's sagging
hands clawed painfully into her wrist that was still innocently
fastened onto the necklace. A strangled cry erupted from her as Lady
Hollsworth twisted her wrist painfully and inspected the piece of jewelry
with thoughtfulness.

"You shouldn't have something like this." Lady Hollsworth said with a
hidden edge of coyness. "It just might make up for all your troubles
you burdened me with." A twisted smile pulled at her thin beige lips.
With a leisured tug, she brought the treasure into her clammy hands.
Pure untainted gold, encrusted with a crescent mark and studded diamond.
Heavenly, simply heavenly... Worth far more than those blasted pearls.

Serena watched Lady Hollsworth in muted shock. In a simple moment, the
woman had taken the one single thing most precious to her. Her only
connection to any thought that she was cared for. Something within her
cracked. Her skin tingled.

Another aching hole that her locket once filled.

Thoughts went jumbled, dizziness streaking through her bones.

Light. A firm white thread of light burning slowly in the depths of her
dark soul. Whispers swept through her as it blazed as if set on fire.
Words... Ashi'ia kin eara, over and over like thousands of streams. Her
body went numb, the light taking over on its own accord, shooting into
every corner of her body. She lifted her head, eyes raging blue waters,
deep and embracing the thundering storm. "Give it back..." Her voice
was hoarse, numbly soft. It had no effect. The persistent words screamed
next time. "Give it back!"

Lady Hollsworths gaze shot instantly to her, irritation smoothly fading
into wariness, and then shock as her pale hand caught over her gaping
mouth.

Serena didn't know what sent the woman flying into trembles. Frankly,
she didn't care. The light and burning inside her was growing, her eyes
heated with a silver glow. She was lost to it. It was the only way to
say what happened to her. As if everything that began happening, the
searing white light that soon was a tangible force in the room was just
a vague dream. The power encompassed her like long graceful wings, giving
her strength to stand as they seemed set to protect her.

Ashi'ia kin eara, she thought in a daze. And everything exploded.

Her ears blared as for moments on end, all that was apparent was the
burning light. Something ripped, something crashed, something
shattered...

Chaos in blinding light... and she was in the center of it all. And
even though she knew she should be afraid, should have been cowarding at
the searing white light... she wasn't. A calm air draped over her
shoulders, her mind, drooping her eyes, numbing the emptiness.

It stopped all too soon. An absurb longing filled her, wishing it back.
Once again, she felt like a shell, nothing within her but dark air.

Shrieks and hoarse gasps levied in her ears, but her drums still rung
and distration made her not really listen. She turned in her spot,
looking lost in the once stately room. What- Her breath drew in. The
whole place was in shambles. The gleaming wood floor was ripped and
torched, occasional ragged pieces sticking out tipped with burnt ashes
that nipped at her nose.

Brown edged papers, broken glass figurines, scattered candle sticks.
They all fell under Serena's gaze... but when she turned around once
more, her heart lept at the fallen chandelier that was tilted on a
collission with the floor. Thousands of shards and specs of cut diamonds
blanketed everything, as if it had exploded.

So dismissing of Lady Hollsworths cries and of the rest of the room, she
didn't even notice when a male servant and the butler came running until
their hands clamped onto her arms. She spasmed in panic, screaming,
clawing, biting. As if a wild animal caught by the tail. They grunted and
pulled her through the halls, pushing her into the cellar. It wasn't until
the door clanged closed, just missing her reaching fingers, that she
stopped short. She was locked in... They locked her in! What were they
going to do? With wide eyes, her hand banged sadly at the door, before
slamming it with tiny fists. She shouted and screeched, "Let me out!"
hysterical, hating the dankness of the cellar. Leaning tiredly against
the cold door, tears streaked down her face, eyes dilated and blank as she
took in ragged breaths. The minutes passed slowly, gradually licking at her.
Bones ached and tingled, and she wasn't quite sure if they were still
attatched as she sank to the icy floor.

Shadows clung and seemed to move and transform before her eyes, as dark and
lonely as the opening hole inside her that returned full force. Mother...
father... she thought helplessly. Within a moment her hand reached to her
neck, lusting for the strength and calming that her locket would provide.
Only... it wasn't there, as if it had never been there in the first place.
Her fingers trembled over her bare neck. The doubts were already sifting in
without the protection of her locket. The taunting questions of her worth,
of her ever so naively believing she was loved. She was a nobody. A nobody
in a cold empty world. A pained sob stabbed the darkness, and soon her body
won out. The tiredness that seeped through them sending dark mist through
her mind. Her head swayed, eyes drifting closed as the pulsing loneliness
became dulled by sleep.







Her skin was cold, fingers feeling like ice as she curled them into her
dress. Mind, fogged and dancing dreamily, made out the dusty stone floor
still beneath her. Go back to sleep... she thought. She wasn't ready to
face the world yet, not ready to open her eyes. But something persistent
kept her from drifting, and voices from the other side of the door
swept in chillingly.

"General, I don't know what happened. But that girl is thief 'and' some
kind of witch. Just look at my study room!" Lady Hollsworth puffed. "And
of course... my necklace, I found it in her possession," the woman added
smoothly and Serena could just imagine her holding her delicate locket
and her belly was sickened.

"I understand," a grim voice replied. Serena shivered. What were they
going to do with her?

"We'll bring her to Bristleton and keep her there till further plans can
be made," the man continued, as if prompted by Serena's question.

Bristleton? Serena thought alarmed. The earth's infamous prison. Fear
caked through her veins as she scooted away from the door. Flashes of
being trapped in a prison filled with torture and mangled thieves and
cut throats. Her head shook, panic slithering down her vertebrae. She
stepped further into the dark cellar, eyes cutting wildly through the
blankness but determined to spot something that could aid her... And
finally she did. A steady silver glow skimmed the darkness from an
innocently high window. She stumbled towards it, groping for a way to
reach it.

It was so high... she thought despairingly, but with a stubborn jut of
her chin and running solely on the adrenaline of fear, she reached her
hands up onto the dusty shelf, forcing her muscles to pull her up until
she could reach a foothold. A blow of dust clogged her lungs, but she
just coughed and reached for another step, and then another. He bodied
sway. She was so high up! How sturdy was this thing? Did it just tilt?

An unwanted glance down made her queasy, but she didn't believe her
shivering legs could make it back down anyway. Squeasing her thoughts
she worked two more steps, forcing herself to believe that the shelf
didn't just rock. Glasses clinked as she slid them to the side, slipping
her knee up to help bring her up as she fought the image of the
structure slamming to the ground with her underneath it. Was it the
shelf that was shuddering, or her? Or was it shuddering because of
her? She groaned, shakily and hurriedly turning to the window. The
glass was cloudy, a spiderweb crack from where a boy must have kicked
it. With a leery hesitancy, her fingers reached out, curling around the
tiny latch and tugging.

It stood as sturdy and as closed as if it were part of the wall itself.
This can't be happening... she was so close! She made it all the way up.
A leery glance downwards to the shadowed unknown sent a flip flop in
her belly. By golly, she didn't even know if the thing even HAD a lock,
she thought as she looked through the clouded glass despairingly. So
close...

Gritting her teeth, she pulled at the window with both arms until her
muscles felt like they were being torn off. One more time, one big hard
pull. She didn't even notice the short creak as her heart stopped. Oh
God! The cabinet gave a daring tilt before shuddering back with a thump.

After feeling sure enough that it was okay to move, she glanced back at
the window. It wasn't just her! The window was open. Barely an inch, but
the tiny gape lightened her. Cupping her hands under the window, it lifted
out slowly with a one note screech.

Cool air instantly brushed against her, gloriously fresh. And with a
relieved movement, she ducked under and through, the ground only inches
below it once outside.

Delicate wet grass mossed under her hands, the splintered trees thick and
dark before her, draped by viels of weeds and ivy. Everything from the tiny
dew drops on the grass to the leaves of the trees was bathed in a calming
white hue. Serena looked up to the tiny moon sitting placid in the black
blue sky. Confusion etched at her. Though she didn't quite know what at.
Something about the moon and the longing that swept through her. Her
locket had an indent of a moon on it... she mused. She blinked. The glowing
orb in the sky, it made her feel how her locket had made her feel. A smile
curved at her lips. Maybe things wouldn't be so bad.

A door crashed open, a thick door. "She is a witch! I told you she was a
witch," a woman screeched. "How else do you believe she got out?"

"Hurry. The girl couldn't have gone far!" At the man's voice, a thick hard
log lodged inside Serena's throat, her worn muscles locking.

No... she gazed wide eyed at the lamp coming around the corner, tears
sheeting her eyes. She gasped at the looming soldier, tearing herself
into a run as she scrambled to her feet. Heart hammering against her
chest, she barged through the mess of plants. Large wet leaves slapped
her face and twisting roots jammed her feet. Blazes--It sounded like the
whole fleet was after her!

Her short legs felt like water, bending at turns, unable to hold her up,
and the effort making her dizzy at the unbalance. Every thump in her chest
made her feel whoozy. Fear drenched her veins, trembling through her body.

Branches snapping and rough shouts bit the silence behind her and the
stretching trees loomed above her seemed to move in chaos and shadows as
she watched them and ran. Claws... the branches began to look like boney
twisting claws, swaying and reaching.

Run... twist... duck. Never stop. The space between her and the soldiers
was dimming, as if even though she ran, she was being slowed by the air
until they could grab her. With a desperate pulse, she pushed with a
burst of energy, but with a startled yelp, a slimy root slipped from under
her feet and her body flung to an unexpected dip in the ground. Burning
pain sparked a side of her head and elbow as leaves and thickets clung to
her as she pounced and rolled jarringly to the ground.

Her body hurt, held an aching stiffness. Wet musty dark leaves
surrounded her head that had flapped to the side and damp dirt inflared
her nostrils. Get up! Please... get up. She sucked in a breath, turning
onto her stomach to push herself up, her feat already jamming against the
earth to lurch her forward. But the movement stopped with a jerk. A
riveting jerk that left her suspended in her position. The rough cloth of
her shirt tightened around her chest from the clenched knot of it in back
that was held by a thick hand. Her limbs lashed out wildly as the man
pulled her up, her fingers brushed against the prickly hairs of a small
beard, even catching his moist lip. He dragged her exploding body back
up the dirt slope, tossing her over his back.

The soldiers walk gave a steady up and down feeling. Her mind slowly went
numb, eyes gazing mutely at the dark trees, the tiny white glow that
sprinkled through the black leaves seeming coldly out of reach. As if a
whispering mother trying to offer her child comfort... but too far away to
be heard. It was all useless.

Minutes wafted by, and before she realized she was back at the orphanage,
big callused hands set her down on the ground, their imprints sore below
her arms. Everything was lost. She couldn't get away. Reserved, she looked
around at the faces dancing yellow in the torched lights. A few shadowed
dark blue faces peeked from a window high in the building. Brow creasing,
she ignored them. Ignored everything for that matter, except for the brief
lingering gaze on the locket strangled around Lady Hollsworth's thick neck.
She didn't even want to see the woman's smug face, but her eyes lifted
anyway. The cool satisfied hazel eyes and thin lips burned inside her, even
as one of the soldiers lifted her into a cart of rotting wood. Hay prickled
her fingers, but she kept on staring at the woman. When the door locked her
into darkness and the cart rocked into movement, her eyes were just as
intense, staring at the black door, still seeing Lady's Hollsowrths wrinkled
face. 'You're a nobody,' that face gloated. 'A rotting child who will never
be anything but.' As the musty damp air clung to her, and the cart bumped
and jumbled on the road for hours, that look never left her.





. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .





Here's the deal. I have, in the past two years, started roughly 40 stories.
I'm having a "tug of war" problem between them. Therefore, if you REALLY
Want me to get out the next chapter for this, you're going to have to make
Sure that I know! :)

Luv n' God bless!
*star*