Violet hues blinked open, slowly. The first thing she noticed was the pain. It was everywhere. From the top of her head to the bottoms of her feet, she hurt. ‘Where am I?’ The thought filtered through her head, slowly. Like it was wading through cotton. Sunlight filtered through dense, bright green leaves; dancing across her face and making her wince. ‘What happened?’ Autumn pushed herself up onto her elbows, groaning. It felt like her bones were on fire. Another pain drew her attention; a burning on her right wrist. ‘No…’ she thought, dread pushing away the agony. “Please, no…” Her voice didn’t sound like her own. It was hoarse, gnarled and barely there. Shaking, she lifted her wrist into her view. It took a moment to get her fatigued eyes to focus. “No!” she exclaimed as soon as she could focus. There it was, dark against her pale skin. Three rings spanning across her wrist, the tow on the sides interconnected with the middle ring. A cry left her, full of rage. Autumn didn’t think, she set her claws on that mark. Pain bloomed as her claws raked her skin; blood ran down her arm. All futile. No matter how much she tore at her skin, the mark remained. The magic of it healed her skin in seconds. That mark was there to stay.
Sobbing, Autumn let her arm fall. She couldn’t bare to look at the mark anymore. It made her sick to her stomach. More memories came flooding in. Being trapped, her wings cinched to her sides. Blow after blow from the villagers. Pain, pain, pain. So much she couldn’t take it. Then, Fyra’s voice crying for someone to leave her alone. To get away from her. Dorrin. The man who’s mark she wore. “They tried to force a mate-bond…” It got fuzzy after seeing Dorrin’s face. Until she heard Fyra again. Chanting… To give away her magic! Every drop of it. Oddie wanted to tell her friend, her sister at heart, to keep it. To stop what she was doing. But she was too weak. Fyra would never get her magic back, it would always be a part of Oddie once it was gone. That magic slammed into her chest, bringing with it a new surge of vitality. Too little, too late. Seconds after Oddie felt the mate-bond. And she lost it. Her memories stopped there. Fyra… was gone. Her village, gone. The only life she’d ever known, gone.
She didn’t know how long she laid there, sobbing and feeling sorry for herself. Eventually, she had to move. Faint sunlight filtered through the leaves above her. Finally, Autumn took a look around. This forest wasn’t anything like the ones she was used to. It was warmer, but sparser. ‘Where am I?’ she asked herself again. The only way to figure that out and look around. It was better than wallowing in her sorrow. So that’s what she did. Autumn picked herself up and set out to figure out where the seven hells she was. Leaving behind the one place she’d called home. There was no going back.