“Name: Syrene Pectar.  Crimes: Thief and rebel; suspected Defender of Lord Havom; suspected keeper of the prophecy, suspected illegal half-one.  Home Kingdom: Efousiam. Weapons: Electric blue sword, small black crossbow, small dagger. Prison Level: Maximum Security,” the scribe explained, reading from a scroll.

Syrene struggled against the chains securing her in place.  She’d been in trouble multiple times in her childhood home, the Efousiam orphanage.

Queen Emerald looked up from her mirror when she heard the word ‘dagger’.  “By the kingdoms,” she stammered. “Lock her in the dungeon and only feed her leftover bread and filthy water.  Dismissed.”

“With all due respect, Your Majesty, there is still a matter I haven’t mentioned.”

Syrene bit her lip.  She had hoped the scribe wouldn’t reveal this information.

“We’ve had a few makeshift reports that Pectar had been assisted in her thievery by a, well .  . .

“Oh don’t stop there, do go on.” Queen Emerald insisted.

“.  . . Er, it’s probably pure rumor, but there have been, well .  . .” the scribe continued hesitantly.


“.  . .  A dragon, Your Highness.  A dragon in Efousiam!”

“Myths and legends.  No such thing,” the Queen scoffed, running a hand through her hair and flashing her straight white teeth at her reflection.  Her crown sat perfectly on her piles of blonde hair, where two jewels rested in the silver, but there were three holes where more jewels had obviously once been.  Her violet and rose colored gown was smooth, while her eyes seemed confused and unfocused, exposing her boredom. “All power-wielding creatures are banned from the north kingdom, and you of all people should know that law well.”

Syrene decided this was the time to speak her defence.  

“You’re right.  Dragons? They’ve never been allowed in Efousiam.”

“I’m what?”  Queen Emerald perked up, interest mingling with her admiration of the mirror.

“Right, and since dragons aren’t allowed here, there’s no real proof I stole anything from you.”

“She might be tricking you,” the scribe warned.

Syrene turned her ice blue eyes on him, staring.

A shiver ran down his spine as her gaze struck him.

The Queen noticed the exchange and asked, “What is it now?”

“H-her eyes; they, they’ve always given me nightmares.”

“What?  Ah, you are a laugh, Tom,” the Queen giggled.  “She is only a teenager, after all.”

“Sh-she’s one of them!” Tom Stimp stammered, hardly able to look at Syrene.  “One of the Defenders of Havom and the prophecy!”

Queen Emerald’s eyes grew cold.  “Don’t ever mention the Defenders again.  I’m annoyed with them altogether!” She sniffed, her eyes flicking curiously back to the prisoner.

Syrene held her gaze, her hand searching her back pocket while the two resumed bickering.

“Oh, Miss Syrene Pectar.”

Syrene froze, worried she’d been caught trying to escape.  Her whole body tensed, waiting for the accusation.

“I do have one question for you before you are locked up and everything.”

“Which is?” Syrene asked calmly, guiding her hand from her pocket gently, guarding the object she held so neither could see it, fighting past the catch in her throat.

“How did you manage your hair to be that glorious color?  It matches your eyes beautifully, except for the two silver streaks, of course!”

Syrene regarded the Queen for a moment.  “Sapphire Lily powder, brush your hair and stroke it in.”

“Really?” the Queen purred, satisfied.  “I must try that sometime. The King would think of it as dashing!”

The King.  Even after all these years living in the Kingdom of Efousiam, no one has ever mentioned his name.  I don’t even know what he looks like, Syrene thought.

“Your Majesty, you shouldn’t believe her!  She’s probably trying to trick you!” Tom cautioned, taking a worried step back.  A ring of keys appeared in his hand in a blur, and Syrene was curious as to how it happened; he himself not noticing, so caught up in his fear.

“Alright, fine.” Her laughing voice turned hard.  “Take her away. Let’s have the ‘high chain’ for her, shall we?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” Tom answered, beckoning for Syrene to stand.  

She did so, keeping her eyes fixed on his back as he led her from the courtroom towards the stairs.  She grinned to herself, pleased Tom thought of her so frightening, and relieved her practice of maintaining a straight face while lying had succeeded.  She did have a dragon fadith.

Syrene quietly stuck a thin, metal rod into the keyhole of her chains.  She posed her thumb so snapping the lock and escaping would prove easy whenever the right moment threw itself at her feet.

Tom showed her down a long narrow hallway, past doors with bars on the windows.  

Several voices shouting and guffawing hysterically inside the rooms increased in volume as they trudged along.  

“Here you are, Pectar,” Tom said, pushing her roughly through the door at the end of the hallway.

Rats scampered across the damp stone floor.  Chains made their way up the wall and down again.  A skeleton crumpled in the corner.

Home sweet home.

Syrene quickly flipped the lock pick and her bindings loosened slightly, releasing stress from her wrists.  

Tom seemed as if he forced himself to attach her chains to the ones hanging from the walls.  He hoisted the chains and yanked hard, pulling Syrene’s arms above her head and dragged her up the wall.  

Once the door clicked shut, and the guards footsteps faded, Syrene released her chains to gracefully slide down the wall, using her feet against the stone for support, landed, folded into a tuck, and rolled swiftly to the door.

Her three weapons were waiting for her.  These guards must not be thinking today, leaving my weapons with me in the cell and not even taking what they captured me for.  They probably didn’t reckon on a girl escaping.  She laughed silently to herself.  Her sword propped against the wall like a broom; her crossbow was laying in a filthy bucket; (she removed it and polished it right away) and her dagger was wedged between a few bricks in the wall.  

After sheathing her sword and deactivating its electric shock, Syrene chose two bones off the ground and quickly sharpened them messily with her dagger.  She charged her crossbow with the first old bone and blasted down the door, snatching up the second and reloading the weapon.

The door collapsed to splinters instantaneously.

She hooked her crossbow over her shoulder, dusted off her tight black robe, and walked out of the prison cell with her head held high.  Syrene, dagger in hand, crept down the hallway.

She snuck past the jeering voices and marched back to the castle.

She would’ve been able to escape, if it hadn’t been meal time for the prisoners.


Syrene whipped around to find ten strongly armed guards directly behind her.