Ayla swung a steel blade back and forth in front of her pale face. Her heart was racing and sweat dripped down her face. She was in a large stone room filled with many pointy objects and weapons. A frosty wind blew through the open windows making Ayla's breath foggy. She spun jabbing her sword into the air and drew it back slowly, almost as if it was being drawn from a body. Her ebony hair fell into her eyes as she knelt on the floor, eyes wet.

"Why do they torture me!" she screamed into the empty room, only an echo answered.

Her hands clutched the sword with a vengeance as she rose to her feet again. Her green eyes flashed as she hacked at the air faster and faster until she lost her grip and the sword clattered to the ground. The echo remained in her ears as she stood in silence. After a few minutes a young girl came to see what had caused the commotion, when she got there only a sword laid on the floor.

"She's going mad I tell you! Simply mad," a young girl whispered.

"Wiony, don't be stupid," a bossy voice scolded.

Wiony's little voice answered, "But I saw her talking to herself! Nobody else was in the room!"

"How would you know?"

"B...because Maggie, I saw it..."

Maggie's eyes rose skeptically but then gave in.

The two girls walked down the hall passing the room that Ayla had just been in. Dark eyes glared out from a corner, Ayla, although fifteen sat curled up like a child, rocking back and forth humming. The navy blue dress that she wore was shredded down the sides and her hair fell limply around her face. As she continued rocking tears started to stream down her face, dripping onto the cold floor.

That night Wiony sat on the balcony watching the garden below. Only the wind moved and everything was quiet. Wiony's deep blue eyes stared into the distance as if watching for something, nothing happened. With a deep sigh, Wiony returned to her small cot and lay down to sleep, but there was not such luck only her unexplained wakefulness. She was only around the age of nine and her body shivered in the cold night air. Taking a blanket she draped it around herself and walked out into the hall. Only a single lamp was lit outside her room, its dim light cast small shadows about Wiony's bare feet. She walked silently wandering farther and farther from her room until she came to a narrow passageway. Her small feet carried her trembling body down the hallway to a bright light. As she drew nearer the strange light grew brighter and Wiony closed her eyes. When she reopened them a silhouette stood in the light, blocking some of the glare. Wiony stepped forward to move closer to the figure but as soon as it had come it disappeared into the darkness. Instead of following she took it as a warning and walked away. As she walked up the twining stairs her body got weaker and more tired until she sat down. Her body fell lifelessly on the cold, hard stairs and her eyes fell closed.

"Wiony! Wake up; it's an hour past dawn!" Maggie's poked.

Wiony winced at the loud noise and curled into a tight ball, since she was still on the stairs though she crashed down six steps before she caught herself. She opened one eye to see the bottom of Maggie's simple cotton dress, "Uggg, I'm coming…slowly".

Maggie stalked off calling behind her, "Hurry up the kitchen pots don't clean themselves!"

"Yes mother," Wiony scowled sarcastically beneath her breath.

Wiony dashed down the hallway to the kitchen where several other maids, slightly older than her stood washing dishes. The mountainous piles of dirty plates and bowls overflowed out of the wooden tub that sat in front of her. She grabbed a plate and stuck it in a basin full of soapy water. The icky slime of food that had stuck to the plate peeled off from the smooth surface of the dish and sank to the bottom of the basin. Her small hands scrubbed over the rest of the plate and then placed it on a rack. She continued this process until the pile was about half way done and the lunch bell rang. Hurriedly she wiped her hands on her apron and ran to the door. The girls around her were all chatting away about the latest news and things they had heard about from their parents. Wiony was silent and walked slowly until most of the girls were already in the servant's dining room. When she finally got there and looked into the room no tables were left. She laughed slightly at herself for being so slow but headed around the corner to the courtyard.

Wiony pushed open the small wooden to the courtyard, the door open slowly on its rusty hinges. Vines and weeds occupied the courtyard and you could barely see the towering stone wall that surrounded the area. Wiony shouldered her way through the vines to a small gazebo. The vines acted as a curtain to the gazebo and the only sound that Wiony heard as she peacefully ate her lunch was the wind rustling the grasses together. It was a soothing feeling knowing that no one was there to tell her where to go or what to do and she could finally relax. The stone floor that she sat on was unusually warm and comforting so Wiony lied down. Soon she was asleep.

"No, no, no," a voice whined, "Not her fault no, no, no".

Wiony sat up to see Ayla sitting across from her staring into garden. Her pale face was streaked with black tears and blood oozed from her shoulder. Four long slashes were the source of the blood; they looked infected with a dark murky green color.

"Ayla's a good girl, she does good things, never bad, no, not her fault no, no no," Ayla said as she laid a death grip onto the rusty steel gazebo railing.

Wiony slowly stood up and headed for the exit. The lunch she hadn't finished still lay in the corner she had fallen asleep in. More quietly than Wiony had ever been in her life she tiptoed over to the small sack and picked it up. She had one foot out of the gazebo when Ayla shrieked, "NO ONE LIKES ME!"

Wiony froze and dropped the bag. Ayla turned to face her and slowly stalked forward. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head so only the whites showed and Wiony screamed. Wiony could not move she was too scared to do anything as Ayla grabbed her by the wrists.

Ayla calmed for a minute and stared at Wiony, "Do you hate me?"

"Why would I hate you?"

Ayla sank onto the floor dropping Wiony's wrists and started to bawl. Her hands covered her face and Wiony stood in bewilderment watching Ayla. Sympathy overwhelmed Wiony as she hovered above this poor creature, she reached down to touch Ayla but she flinched and pulled away.

"Don't touch me!" Ayla scowled.

Wiony backed up a few steps and watched Ayla run off into the garden.

Ayla sat hidden in the corner of the garden her wounds still slowly gushing. She watched Wiony gather her things—cautiously—and rush back to the kitchen. Ayla's eyes glowed in the dimming light as she clambered up a ladder that was leaning against the back wall. Once she was at the top she sat on the thick wall and stared into the sunset. Tears fell from her eyes rolling off her cheeks and hitting the stone wall, each drop started to form a black puddle that burned the stone.

"No one believe me…no one cares about me…no one understands that these voices torment me," Ayla cooed to herself, her voice sad, "I'll show them someday, they will regret what their tongues spoke of, they will know how I felt, everything you do being judged".

"Yes we'll get them Ayla, plan very carefully and yes, we'll get them," Ayla murmured with clenched fists, and a dull stare of lifeless eyes.

Even when it grew dark Ayla sat motionless on the cold stone wall in the brisk fall wind. Her hair flying into her face and her face dark, she did not shiver, but only closed her eyes in contempt. Only when the moon rose above her head did she move. Her body slipped down the wall and to the ground, and then she silently sneaked into the forest.

Once in the forest Ayla stood up in a more humanly position and ran through the trees. She only stopped when she reached a miniature hut—too small for any human to fit in—and knocked on the wooden door. As if anticipating a long wait Ayla made herself comfortable against a tree and closed her eyes. Her whole body was relaxed and unusually calm for her normal self. When the door finally opened a small hedgehog crawled out.

"EEEK! Eh raaaatt tiikiie!" the hedgehog squealed.

Ayla sat up, rubbed her eyes and whispered gruffly, "Took long enough".

The little hedgehog in quite an elderly manner sat down and in a scolding tone said, "Well you try coming from the underworld at my age! It's not easy you know".

Ayla just shrugged and stood up. The hedgehog only came up to Ayla's shin, and barely. To settle the height difference Ayla bent over and picked the hedgehog up. They began to chatter in the hedgehogian and walked deeper into the forest.