"When I was a child, my mother would tuck me into my bed at night and tell me the stories of our world.
There was the Great Goddess Kiana, born of a comet and creator of Altaya. The four goddesses who ruled our world, blessed with the powers of nature. The Savianna, otherwise ordinary people who walked among us, born with powers us Tsia could never even dream of, from flight and healing, to the ability to turn someone's mind into mush within a second.
She told me that every one of those "people" cursed with magic is evil. They were theives, liars, tricksters. Demons who disguised themselves as angles. They were disgusting, twisted, and could kill you in a second.
She never let me become friends with any of the Savianna in my class. She said they were not to be trusted. She never took me or my brother to the doctor, to the parades in the city, to anywhere where "they" might be. We stayed behind locked doors and closed curtains for all of our lives.
Until the day she found out I was one of them.
I was only fifteen then. I had known for the past two years. Scared to tell her about my abilities, I hid in my room and practised. I started out small, turning wilted dandelions into beautiful roses, growing vines from my fingertips, turning my pencils into twigs.
But over time my skill grew. I wasn't limited now, my magic extended to all things on the earth. I could turn the leaves of an autumn tree from red to green within seconds. I could move the dirt beneath my feet. I turn the most plain of stones into sparkling diamonds.
One day, I was sitting alone in my room practising again, turning my hairbrush into a piece of bark, when my mother walked in. She was furious.
She screamed, she shouted, she threated to kill me if I didn't get out of the house this very second.
So I left.
Fifteen years old, homeless, and only a small bag with some bread, coins, and a change of clothes inside. I slept in alleyways for the first few nights, with only the pigeons to keep me company.
Until I heard about the Miaramila Miday. The Soldiers battle.
A competition held only once a decade to find the best soldiers to enter the Goddess Pyra's army, the P.N.I.
Defenders of the land from the Venti, fighting for the Goddess of Nature. Only the strongest got through, the weakest ended up dying, or worse. Some Savianna used their powers to win, and the results were horrifying.
People thrown a hundred feet into the air, only to land on rocks. People whose eyes were filled with shards of glass. People who were manipulated into biting off their own fingers, or cutting out their own tonuge. The worst things you nightmares could make, but a thousand times worse.
And yet, I was determined to enter. It wasn't ever my dream, but it was the only chance I'd have to find a place where I'd be gaurenteed food and shelter.
So I walked all the way to the city of Silvus, where the Battle was being held. It took days, but when I got there I put a smile on my face, and went into the arena like I owned the god damned place.
I lied about my age so I could get in. Said I was Kayla Nirwan, said I was twenty, turning twenty one next month, said I had been preparing for this for years. Every lie I said, it just brought me another sentence closer to a new home.
I found the smallest armour I could, and the only weapons left were a cracked sheld and dagger. I could tell I was screwed. I started to freak out. Like full on sobbing, gulping down uneven breaths and snot running out of my nose. Like, the weight of what I was doing just hit me like a tonne of bricks. I was 15, and I could be killed by some dude who was training for this for years and would do anything to win. Anything.
But then I saw this lady who was handing out the armour staring at me, so shoved my helmet on my head and acted like I was fine.
I joined the others on the benches and waited for my name to be called out. And when I was waiting, we could see everything that was happeming in the arena. Everyone out there was cheering, but the stuff I saw made me want to throw up.
People being torn limb from limb, swords being shoved into heads only to come clean out the other side. There was one kid, he looked to be in the same situation as me. He looked about fourteen at the most, if you were being generous. He was sweating and twitching like crazy, and when they called out his name he looked like he was gonna faint. But he went out there anyways. But within two minutes, he lost.
The dude he was fighting cheated and did something to his legs. The bones started shrivelling and shrinking and that kid was screaming and begging for mercy but that man didn't stop. He just didn't. He had this deranged look in his eyes, like-what's it called again, blood something or whatever. Oh yeah, Bloodlust. He wanted that kid to suffer. He didn't stop until one of the soldiers judging the match had to step in and stop him.
After ages and ages of waiting, it was finally my turn. I took a deep breath, and went in. The person I had to fight was this scary looking lady, looked like she was born, raised, and would die at the gym. By some miraculous coincidence, I managed to beat her. I didn't know much about fighting but every time I went to throw a punch, or deflect, or stab with the dagger, there was like this little voice in my head that told me "aim left, move back, duck, go for her right" and all that stuff. So I listened to it, and before I knew it she tapped out.
And so as time went on, I was rising through the ranks. I kept on going and listening to that voice, and eventually it became like second nature. I was moving like a god damn ballerina assasin, ducking and kicking and punching, and knowing just where the other guy's weak spot was.
Before I knew it, I was in the top ten. Only five got through to join the army. Best of the best, you know? And so me and these other nine bitches were teamed off in pairs to fight against each other in one final fight. And guess who I was up against? That bastard who destroyed that kid's legs. Lucky me.
The other people fought, and after four other champions had been declared, it was my turn. I walked into the ring, with that creep by my side. That guy had this sick grin on his face, like, it just sent chills down your spine. He was terrifying. He looked like the perfect stock photo for "insane serial killer who tortures puppies for fun."
So we stood there, three feet apart, and waited for the signal to start. The horns blew, and before I could even get second to think, he punched me right in the jaw. I heard about three cracks and a broken tooth. He was laughing, and just started beating me. He kicked and punched and used this giant-ass mallet he got from the armoury. I was curled up on the floor, covered in blood with about eighty broken bones. He just didn't stop. It was a never ending nightmare. I really thought I was gonna die.
When he thought I had had enough, he turned around to the crowd and laughed. He started gloating and saying all this arrogent shit about how he's the greatest warrior to ever be born, and how there wasn't a single person in the world who could defeat him. And then he started saying that all the Tsia were weak and worthless, and you the crowd went silent. He knew what he said was wrong, but he didn't give a shit.
"You heard me. All the Tsia are weak, pathetic, and powerless. Espicially this little bitch right here." He shouted, pointing back to me. That was his biggest mistake. Calling me a bitch, I could take, but the way he spoke about the Tsia? I was gonna get him for that. Like I know my mother was one, and she threw me outta the house, but she's still my mother, you know?
So when his back was turned, I got up. I spat out the blood and set my sights on my target. I stretched out my arm towards the ground, searching for something, anything, to use against him. Until I felt something. This giant rock hidden only about two feet beneath the surface of the dirt. I focused on that rock and nothing else, until the dirt above it started to shift. The crowd was still busy looking in shock at that creep to notice me, and so was the creep. It was only when the guy was laying dead on the ground they noticed me. I had thrown that giant ass rock into the back of his head.
And after that, everything passed in a blur. The crowd cheered, the judges congragulated me, and bada-bing, bada-boom, I'm now an "honoured member if the PNI, sworn to risk my life to defend our country." But the whole time they were all talking, it was just like white noise to me. All I could think of was that I just killed a man, and his blood was still staining the dirt just five feet away. I felt like I was gonna barf. And I did. I ran out of the arena straight to the bathrooms and just puked until there was nothing left, until I was just dry heaving, unable to get the image of that man falling to the ground out of my head.
I killed a man and didn't even know his name.
But by that evening, I had a home. I made friends, gotten a bed, and everyone knew me as Kayla Nirwan, a proud fighter. They told me stories about their first kills, and second, and twentieth. It was as normal to them as eating their breakfast in the morning.
So on that day three years ago when Caeli attacked, I fled like a coward. I didn't want to kill more people even if it would stop the deaths if thousands of others. Everyone else was defending their friends and family, charging into battle, and I was running in the other direction.
I knew that the penalty for fleeing during war was death, so I ran. I found other fugitives who knew a way out of Altaya. They told me about this chick Oranda who was a master of teleportation and could bring anyone anywhere they wanted. I asked her to bring me to Earth, and bam. Here I am today. Found a job, a house, a life. So there you go, my full life story. Just like you didn't ask for."