Bulgaria, 1492

"Why do you have to go?"

Katerina tried to smile; her soft fingers tucked a stray hair behind my ear.

"I…brought shame to our family and now I must pay the price," she said quietly.

Tears were rolling down my cheeks, I clung my sister, wanting to keep her with me. What would I do without her?

"No…Father can not send you away, there has to be some other way…"

Katerina's eyes were watering up, but she shook her head.

"No, little one, there is no other way. You must not blame father, I brought this on myself."


"You must be strong Liliya, mother and father will need you after I am gone. Help Grigor to look after them. Promise me."

I swallowed my tears and nodded.

"I promise."

Katerina ran her fingers over my cheek and hugged me.

"I wish I could see you to become a woman, little one, all the men in the village will fight for your attention. But do not make the same mistakes I did."

I nodded; I was too embarrassed to admit that I couldn't completely understand what her mistake had been. Our mother had called it a sin, our father whoring. Grigor hadn't called it anything, he had only snorted contemptuously. I knew what a sin was, at least I thought so, but no one had explained to me what whoring meant. I should know about these things, I would be 13 soon. Katerina pulled away and cupped my face.

"You must remember that men can not be trusted, they will say the sweetest things, but they only want to violate you. You must not let them do that, not before you are married, otherwise you will end up like me. Do you understand?"

Her tone was very serious and it scared me a little, but I nodded, trying to look like an adult.

"I will not let any man to violate me," I assured firmly.

Katerina smiled and kissed my forehead.


Her eyes were watering up again before she hugged me tightly.

"I will miss you so much, little one."

"I will miss you too," I sobbed, never wanting to let go.

"Katerina," father said impatiently from the door. "It is time to go."

"I am coming, father," she said and dried her eyes. "Be strong, little one."

"Wait," I said and grabbed her hand. "I have something for you."

She looked surprised when I handed her a piece of paper. I had drawn her picture of me, father, mother and Grigor, so she wouldn't forget us.

"Liliya…this is…"

"You do not like it?" I asked insecurely when she didn't continue.

She laughed, wiping off the tears that were coursing down her cheeks.

"I love it; this is the most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given to me."

"Katerina!" father shouted from outside.

She hugged me one more time.

"I love you, little one."

"I love you too."

We both were crying when she pulled away and walked out the door. I couldn't follow her; I collapsed on the floor and cried. I would never see my sister again.

I know this is a short prologue, what do you think, continue or not?