The three days of peace are beautiful. All around me, my people are having fun, laughter fills the air and many of our lost soldiers finally got the funerals they were so deserving of. I am reminded of the old times, before the good things between Elektra and I were lost forever, we tried our best to get along but nothing ever worked. The day my father died, my sister was gone, replaced by a grief driven control freak who was irritated easily, especially when she couldn't get her way. Quickly, I left too, the person I was abandoned me and I had to become strong. I couldn't let my sister control me anymore while I sat quietly in the corner, hidden in the shadows of my sister's ever brightening light. My old skin was gaping with holes, so I shed it and made myself a stronger one, better than ever. Never would anyone discover that it was a façade.
Balls are thrown in many houses and courtyards to celebrate our peace, and Owen and I spend most of our time in the palace gardens, where we used to play together.
But, here's the thing. Paranoia clouds my judgement, Elektra rarely makes promises without loopholes, and while I can't find one, I am certain that she can. We would be completely unprepared if she barged into our castle now, vulnerable. The three days are ending, we are already on day two's evening. I don't know whether she meant that they end tomorrow or the day after, and I'm not sure I want to find out.
Hairs on the back of my neck begin to rise, but I shake away the feeling as if I tell Owen he will just call me paranoid, which I am, or I could just be in need of some sleep. Eyes burn holes in my back, but when I turn around I don't see anything. I open my mouth to speak, but no sound comes out, and Owen is too busy gazing at the ever setting sun to look at me.
"Owen," I finally manage to say, "I think we have company."
Then, all hell breaks loose.
Arrows fire from every direction, and we duck and swerve appropriately, Owen cursing loudly as we run to the castle, but it's just so far away, and I know we won't make it before one of us is shot. I reach for the emergency throwing knife I keep in my boot whilst running (which is really difficult, by the way), but when I turn to throw it I almost stop in my tracks.
These aren't Elektra's soldiers.
Hell, they aren't even human.
The creatures are grotesque at best, with their bright green eyes set deep in their huge skulls, their elongated fingers grip the strings of their bows tightly, with nails as sharp as my knifes, and as long as my blades. They have to be at least seven feet tall, with shoulders broader than the trunks of the trees we are surrounded by.
A strangled cry escapes Owen as he sees them too, and if it was possible we would have ran faster, even though we both know now that this is the end of the line. I throw my knife, and the beast closest to me goes down, and I can see that on the top of his bald head there is a strange marking emblazoned in black ink, which has to be human.
Someone sent them.
In my confusion, one beast takes a chance, and a purple tipped arrow pierces my chest.
Everything blurs, and my eyes swim before the world tips sideways and I crash to the floor.