This is what I find to be a fitting introduction to one of my favorite characters: Elizabeth Brandon. This isn't so much a piece of writing as much as an exercise. I never really got her original story down and I figured it would be a fairly decent introduction to her story... even if it is a semi-draft. I am aware of some punctuation errors I need to fix, but since it's almost 1 I think I'll leave it for now.
Thank you for reading this, whoever you are.
I was eight when it all happened. Camellia and I were sitting outside, under the old willow tree. My head was in her lap, and she was fixing the bow in my hair. I had been crying; the pain from the marks had grown in the days before. I felt like my fingers and hands should have been bleeding, but they didn't. The marks never do. Camellia picked up my hand and looked at the dark orange swirls that had started there.
"They hurt, don't they?"
I nodded, and my sister put my hand down, wrapping her own over mine.
"Everything will be alright. The pain will go away, eventually. That's what Mother says."
She picked the old book she had been reading and lifted my head off her lap. Camellia kissed me on the cheek, then:
"Let's go back inside. It's too hot for this."
Camellia and I turned to see three women standing at the picket fence that surrounded our family's home. The woman who had spoke was tall, her long silver-blonde hair pulled into a braid at the nape of her neck, dark teal markings snaking over her collarbone, shoulders, arms, and down under her dress. I could see that her eyes were hardened, cold, even though we were a good distance away from the women. The general's insignia was present on her breast. Fear ran down my spine. As Camellia and I stood, I hid myself behind her, poking my head out every now and then. I noticed that the woman to the general's left looked much kinder, sweeter, with dark hair that curled gently. The lady on the right was obviously the general's daughter; they looked exactly alike.
"Who are you? What do you want?" Camellia asked, backing us up toward the house. The general smirked, heading suddenly to the gate. The kind-looking woman spoke something to the general’s daughter, but the younger woman shook her off. I could hear Matt and Peter speaking softly near the open windows of the house. Camellia tightened her grip on my hand.
The general kicked in the gate. I screamed. We turned and ran, Camellia pushing me up the porch steps. We got the door open.... and, suddenly, Camellia made this weird 'hnnnn' noise. She toppled forward and, when she hit the floor, I saw the knife – the dagger - stuck in her back, where her spine was. Her eyes rolled back in her head, and blood started to splatter out onto the hardwood floors. The book had fallen on the floor by my feet, and I took it up into my hands before screeching bloody murder.
The general was standing on the path leading to the house, her hands on her hips. She had this horrible look of satisfaction on her face. I screamed again, tears running down my face. Someone picked me up off the floor, rushing with me down the hall. It was my father; he looked strangely calm, like he had known this day would come for a long time. He took me into Matt's room where all five of my brothers stood. I was placed next to my twin, Peter. He was the only one who didn't have some kind of weapon in his hand. Father licked his lips before asking, "Does everyone remember their instructions?"
My brothers nodded, and Jake peered behind the curtains. I looked up at my father.
"Daddy, what's going on? Why did that lady attack-"
"There are more of them now, Dad. We should get this over with." Jake muttered. Father nodded solemnly. Peter took me by the arm and rushed me into the hall closet.... right as we heard some knock down the back door. We closed the door and waited. At first there was silence, then hell broke loose. There was yelling, several thumps like someone had hit the floor, and then... the gunfire. I clung to Peter desperately. It was all over fairly quickly. Someone went running down the hall and up the stairs; I heard Mother and Isabel scream. Someone-a man-cried out that he had found Rose- my mother. They brought her down through the hall. They were asking my mother questions, like which son was which, how old were they, and who were the young woman and the little girl who looked so much like Rose? My mother was silent. Isabel was brought down soon after, screaming at the top of her tiny lungs.
A woman was mumbling something about not knowing how to hold a baby correctly. Someone yelled about whether the bodies had been moved out yet, and a series of muffled responses followed. The same woman was asking.... was asking if the little girl had been found yet. A cold shiver went up my spine when I smelled the smoke. We pressed our ears against the door then.
"Ev, it doesn't matter now; the fire's been started."
The voices were getting closer, and I could see feet by the bottom of the door. I jumped when it swung open and let the smoke into the small space. I was choking- couldn't breathe-