Nothing can change the nature of the scarred. They are anomalies in the world, with freak abilities no one understands. Marine was hidden by her family until she was found, now she must escape and avenge those who were hurt, and death is the only option. Nothing will stop her from killing those responsible for the destruction of the world, and her world, even if it happens to be the king and queen themselves.


3. 3



As a child I used to play in the forest by my home with my sister. We'd run and laugh until eventually we got lost and it took us hours sometimes to find our way back.

Then, I ran into those woods to hide. To escape from everything.

I let my legs carry me where they wanted to take me and navigated my way through the forest.

My heart burned inside my chest and my legs felt as if they would crumble if I took too many more steps, but I couldn't stop. I wouldn't stop.

When my body couldn't take anymore I collapsed to my knees and again, I cried.

I cried for my family and what has become of them, I cried for my sister who was helpless and probably afraid, and I cried for the scarred. This was their life. Running, hoping you get to live to see another day; another day of running. I cried until I fell into a deep sleep.

The sun shined bright into my face the next morning and I hissed, blocking my eyes. I heard snapping of twigs when I shifted then bolted up, wincing a little at the brightness, but adjusted quickly. The horrors of last night came back but I wouldn't let myself cry. 

I realized I hadn't changed from my blood stained clothes and cursed at myself.

The forest fell unusually still and silent and I froze and held my breath so I could hear. Somewhere I heard shouting and I turned toward the sound. I stood and slowly, I inched my way towards the sound when suddenly there was a flash of bright light and I smelled something burning.

When there was another flare of light I rushed towards the sound.

I stopped when I was close enough to hear what was happening and see a bit of it.

There were two men fighting, only one had a weapon, the other had a ring of fire burning around him. I was almost scared as I observed them, but I was also fascinated.

Only one fought with precision and strength, something I trained for and it was tedious and incredibly time consuming to learn something like fighting. I remember all the blood and tears after my sessions when my father was present. He would sit and study me as I dueled with someone of his choosing, usually a man much better and stronger than I was. 

'Again.' He would say after every single mistake. Sometimes my training would last well into the night, and of course it made me better but I was still not as good as he wanted me to be. I wasn't the best fighter in the land, but if it came down to it I could defend myself. 

I got distracted from the fighting and shook my head to get back into the world. 

The man, or boy really, in the ring of fire seemed to be on the defensive side while the other with knives was trying to attack from the outside.

Every once in a while the boy with fire would launch a burning sphere at the other, but the other would easily dodge and come back swinging with the small distraction and concentrating of using his scarred ability.

My ability wasn't an obvious one like the other scarred. I didn't have bursts of it that others could witness, no one would even know I was using it against them until it was too late. I would creep into their mind beyond their will and reveal any secrets I wanted or take away any I didn't want them to have. I made the mistake once of putting something into their head and since then I have avoided using my ability, except when my father made me practice.

I didn't know what to do, whether I should jump in and stop it altogether or help one of them; but I didn't know who to help.

They were a slightly too far for me to reach any of their minds and display what I wanted to me. 

I crept closer and hid behind a tree and a bush close enough to attain what I needed. From a closer distance I could feel the heat of the fire rippling through the air. He had a strong ability but wasn't good at using it, and he had to be only my sister's age or younger. 

I reached for the energy that connected me to everything around me and pulled slightly, just enough to break into their heads.

The one closest to me, with a ring of white fire surrounding him, was easy to break into. 

His thoughts came pouring to me; he was afraid. Terrified, actually. He was probably going to lose. I flipped through his mind like a book until I stopped at a particular memory. 

The king was there and there was a drawing of the other man he was fighting. 

I dove into the memory and let it replay in my head like it was in his.

"George, find this boy and eliminate him for me and I will let you and your family free of your charges." The king said. "Why?" The boy, George, asked. "He's a scarred George, I believe you understand the threat that makes him." The boy nodded and took the drawing from the king. "And you won't harm me or my family for me being a scarred as well?" He asked. "Of course not, George, not when we see how loyal you are to the crown." The king said.

I let go of the memory and gasped when I came back to myself. Using my ability always had its consequences, usually I couldn't breathe as I rummaged through the minds of others, and if I was in too long I would eventually pass out. Afterwards I was always gasping for air, but I learned how to control it better so the after effects weren't as detrimental. 

They hadn't noticed me and after seeing the memory with the king, part of me didn't want to help this boy, but I had to see the other first.

I pulled again for the energy and brought it to me like a curtain, but when I tried to attain the contents of the other boy's head some force, like a wall, shoved me back and blocked me out. I stumbled back into some leaves and sticks behind me and yelped. Quickly, I threw a hand over my mouth and pressed myself back up against the tree I was taking cover behind before.

The wall had seemed to literally shove me back, and I couldn't explain why. No one has ever been able to do that before, or even know I was doing anything. 

I heard the fighting had stopped and my breathing became fast and labored. They knew I was there and I was screwed. 

"Please, don't do this. If I don't get rid of you the king will kill me and my family." George said. "He will kill you anyway! That's what he always does." The other argued. "No, but you don't understand. We are faithful to him and he is merciful with his most loyal people." George tried to explain. I almost scoffed at what he said but kept quiet.

There was a long pause before the other boy spoke again. "You're lucky I'm killing you now instead of having to go through what the king will do." He said. "No! Please!" George cried.

I don't know what made me do it, but in a second I stood up and launched one of my daggers towards the boy approaching George. It hit it's target and lodged itself into his arm. He cried out and snapped his attention to me, he was furious. 

George looked at me with tears on his face then bolted away, towards the village he must live in.

The boy was definitely better looking than he was in the drawing, but it wasn't a thought to dwell on when he probably wants to kill me now. 

"You don't know what you've done." He said through gritted teeth and approached me, gripping his knives, that seemed to lengthen, until his knuckles turned white.

"Wait! I didn't mean to hurt you, I know the boy was trying to hunt you down but I let him run so he could get what he deserves from the king." I said.

"You think he deserves it because he's scarred?" He exclaimed, even more enraged. 

"No!" I shouted. "I'm scarred." I added.

He stopped and surveyed me, scowling at my bloody dress. 

"Prove it." He said.

I remembered the wall that kept me from his mind and tried to think of something he could believe; or do something he would believe. 

"I can't." I mumbled.

He threw his head back and roared with laughter then started towards me again. He ripped the dagger from his arm, without so much as a wince, throwing it to the ground then held the wound with his hand.

"I can't because you won't let me." I corrected.

"How?" He asked.

"You won't let me in your head, it's like a wall is blocking me out. It shoves me back if I try to enter." I said, explaining what had happened when I tried to invade his mind.

"What, you can see in my head? Read my thoughts? Make me kill myself by putting a thought into my head?" He questioned, although he seemed like he knew exactly what I was and what I could do.

"How?" Was all I said.

He glared at me and the ferocious look in his eyes made me back up a step. Fighting him would probably be a mistake, my best chance would be to run and that wasn't the best idea at the moment. He looked built to be better, stronger, and faster than me and I wouldn't test my luck by trying to escape. I had to convince him to let me go, make him see that I am nothing and he should leave me alone.

"Please. I just watched my parents get killed and my sister be taken by the king's guard because I was a scarred. If you don't believe me I can take you to my house now and show you their bodies. Just let me go." I explained.

His face relaxed and he didn't seem as angry as before, but he didn't loosen his grip on his weapons. 

"Go ahead. Run." He said.

I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding and rushed past him to get farther from my house. I wouldn't actually show him my parents to prove myself, I wouldn't step anywhere near that place again or I'd risk being caught.

"You might want to be faster before I change my mind!" He called after me. 

My pace quickened but then I stopped. If he was a scarred and hadn't been caught, then where did he stay? How does he survive? I thought I should probably know since I had to be doing the same from then on.

I turned to face him but his back was to me and he was inspecting the wound I made in his arm.

I went back to him slowly and tore a piece of clean cloth from the hem of my dress. 

"Here." I said and handed it to him.

He glared at me over his shoulder then turned to me, annoyed. 

"Girl, how stupid are you?" He asked and snatched the cloth from my hand.

He tied it tightly around his wound, using his teeth to tighten it even more, and took his knives out from where he had them previously sheathed on his belt. The knives grew when he brought them out, to at least a foot long. I gulped but didn't show any sign of fear. I wouldn't be a coward anymore. "Why didn't you take your opportunity to leave?" He asked, but before I could answer he added, "Too late now."

This time I threw my energy out and meshed it with his with as much force as I could and barreled through the wall in his mind just long enough to force him to stop. I made him stand dead still and told him not to come another step toward me before he thrust me out with surprisingly fast power. I was thrown back a step by the strength he had used to push me out.

"So, you weren't lying." He said. "Doesn't mean I won't kill you still."

"I could help you." I blurted.

He raised an eyebrow and grinned at me. "You think I need help?" He said. "The last thing I need is someone to worry about and get in my way. Besides, they wouldn't want you. I could tell you were here all along." 

"Who's they?" I asked.

"No one you should be concerned with, but if you want to help me then I suggest leaving, that would be a great start." He said.

My cheeks turned red with anger and I clenched my jaw. "I didn't miss a killing hit by accident by the way, and you're lucky I didn't." I snapped. "I'm lucky? I wouldn't have let you kill me, girl. Cute that you think so highly of yourself." He retorted. "Go to hell." I barked.

He laughed again and I tried hard not to punch him in his too perfect face. 

"Well, you aren't going anywhere with me dressed like that." He said eyeing my dress.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I said crossing my arms. 

"You have blood all over you." He said.

I looked down at my dress that was torn and red with blood from my father and mother. "What do you expect I do?" I asked. "Change." He said. "Into what? This is all I had when I ran for my life just last night." I said, my voice breaking as I fought back tears that wanted so badly to spill. Don't cry now, he won't take you with him, I thought to myself.

"Fine, I'll just go naked then." I said. 

He rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I don't need a naked lady running around with me. Your home must be nearby just get something from there." He said. I shook my head vigorously. "I can't." I said. "Why not?" He asked. "They will find me." I said. "And we can kill them, easy." He said with a shrug. I stared everywhere except at him and nodded once. "Fine, since you're so confident. Follow me." I said.

I led him back to my house and I know I made a mistake, outside were too many guards to count. We didn't have a chance, and I definitely didn't have one if he left me. So I did the only thing I could, I brought him inside anyways.

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