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Chapter 1

Present - 16 April 435 P.W (post war) - Azara

"Daddy, why do we have these games every year? It seems so pointless. Why don't we just send the criminals to the mines?" I moan for the millionth time.

My father, mother and I are sitting at the royal table for breakfast. I guess you can just call it a normal table, but because it can seat almost 200 people, we call it the royal table. My mother gives me a withering look for bringing it up, again. I can't help it, I've never known why my father was so lenient towards criminals.

"Now Azara, I've told you many times before that not all crimes are that bad. Some are just people who need to be taught a thing or 2," my father replies patiently, as always.

Today is the annual Death Games, I don't know who came up with the name but it's quite fitting. Every year, a bunch of petty criminals are sent to the ring to fight. The ring is mostly to protect us from them. At the edge of the palace a large dome like structure stands. The insides are lit with torches just out side the place where all of the criminals fight. A raised seating arrangement is placed just above the entrance so that my father can look at them to make sure nothing goes wrong.

"Dear, can we please talk about something else?" My mother asks me.

She's always been a soft hearted person, never one for talking about wars or the games. I on the other hand have been going with my father to see them fight from a very young age. I've always wanted to be able to fight and protect myself instead of having to rely on my guards. I made friends with the some of the guards who've been secretly teaching me how to defend myself from attacks.

"Fine. Can I go into town with you today mom? Please, please, please! I haven't been outside since last month and it's driving me insane!" I moan melodramaticly.

Just then the doors open and my brother walks in, Prince Nikolas. He's not a very charming young man, because he has more moodswings than a pregnant lady! Ever since he started coming into his powers, his hormones has been all over the place. Unfortunately, I have to wait 3 more years to come into my powers. No one really knows why, but males get their powers at age 16 while females only get theirs at 20.

"What is she moaning about now?" Nikolas grumbles underneath his breath.

I roll my eyes at him, focusing my attention back on my mom.

"Of course dear, just remember -"

"To never talk to the humans, yes, yes I've heard it all before," I interrupt her.

Her tinkling laugh fills the air, making my dad and I smile. Nikolas continues to brood while eating his breakfast.

"Alright, I have to get going. The general will be here in a few minutes. Don't want to be rude now do we? Oh and Azara, please think about my suggestion," he pleads with me, giving my mom a kiss then hurrying out the door.

I sigh, slumping in my chair. Next year is my coronation. I need to pick a suitable husband to rule as king when my father steps down. He's been pushing me to marry General Ashton for months now, but I really don't want him as a husband. He's good looking and all but he's got a permanent snear and he gets way to touchy when we're alone. He's also got blonde hair instead of white and brown eyes instead of green, as all seelie elves do. My mother explained to me that he's part faerie, that's why his features are different.

"I do wish he would pick someone else, that boy is an awful creature," my mom scoffs.

She's also never liked the general and is trying to get my father to pick someone else.

"Are you done? We need to leave in 10 minutes Azara. Nikolas your tutor will also be here in an hour, be presentable please."

"Yes mom," we both reply at the same time.

I jump up from my chair, hurrying towards the door. I push open the massive doors, startling a servant in the proses. I apologize quickly, racing through the various halls toward my bedroom. On my bed, carefully laid out, is a common outfit I normally wear when we go into town. A plain brown dress, reaching all the way to the floor. A brown veil to cover my white hair and a scarf to keep out the blindingly hot sun and black slippers to cover my feet.

"Princes Azara, Queen Rhea asked me to tell you to bring the books you lent from the keeper," Lacy says.

She's one of the oldest servants in the castle, reaching around 50 years old. She's also a close friend of mine whom I confide all of my deepest, darkest secrets to. Aside from my mom of course. I look at myself in my mirror, making sure everything is hidden where it should be. My white hair is covered with the brown veil, making my skin look more tanned than it actually is. My big green eyes stare back at me while I lick my plump, red lips. The dress hugs my body in all the right places, making my figure look more defined.

"I think I'm ready," I smile at Lacy, grabbing the stack of books.

I race down to the front door, almost crashing into various guards who chuckle at my clumsiness. I reach the front door, staring at my mother.

"What have I told you about running! You could run into someone, or even worse, fall!" She exclaims.

She's wearing the same dress as I am, only blue, making her pale skin look like porcelain. Her veil is a lighter blue with black slippers. Her green eyes are accentuated by the brush of deep brown shades of eyeshadow with rich golden undertones on her lids. She also added a deep scarlett red lip gloss to complete the look. Sometimes her beauty stuns me.

"Sorry," I say, not really meaning it.

Together we walk towards the gates, a few guards following us descreetly from a distance. I loop my arm through my mom's, skipping my way down the beautiful cobbled stones.

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