Star parried the blow from her ungainly opponent.

"Curse you! Do you understand or believe in the faith of relaxing every once in a while and letting me get a good hit in?" the sputtering blond snarled as she drew back and leveled the weighed blade at Star's chest.

She grinned a smile that belonged to a very unusual face. She was not the most gorgeous of all the women in the land, but at least, she wasn't the last in line.

Unnatural blue-white hair spilled behind her shoulders, considering she was only twenty summers old and hardly a old woman, but one look into her gray eyes made people wonder. Men who sought her fancy never seemed to find the her affection. Women who were less than she often searched for a slight streak of vanity in those eyes, but their search for her weaknesses where in vain. No one ever truly knew what she thought about or who she thought about.

"Well if I had my mourning nap, just maybe you may be able to sneak up on me Andrea!" Star laughed as she shouldered the sword and left herself complete unguarded and motioned for Andrea to attack.

Andrea grinned knowingly and charged...

She realized her mistake all to soon as Star's foot flew out, and with a tremendous clatter, found she was examining the Training Room's tiles.

When she rolled over, Star's sword was a inch from her face.

Star studied her childhood friend and grinned at her shocked friend.

"Your lucky I have a kind heart, Princess, or Redfern would be looking for a new heir to the kingdom." Star laughed as she pulled the sword away, "You took your eyes off my feet. The number one rule of combat is to never let your opponent take a advantage of you and never give your opponent a opening, were this real combat, or I simply had a grudge to deal with, you would be dead."

"Pardon me," a voice said behind them, "His Highness wishes a word with General Anderaine and Lady Redfern."

Star wheeled around, blade thrust forward as she stared into the servant who had slunk into the room.

It was the Head Servant, a mark of favor from Redfern, but Star frowned while Andrea snorted as she slide the weighted sword back into the rack on the far wall.

Star put the weighted blade away and pulled off the rack her own sword, and sheathed it at her side.

"General, don't you trust his Highness, surely..." the servant began before Star silenced him with a glare.

Of course she didn't trust Lord Redfern, not as far as her blade could reach, even.

She never trusted a man who conquered entire continents without a blink of pity, as he had, and his too accommodating attitude towards all the other generals put her at unease.

He was simply too sly for his own good.

She was a Anderaine and she had been breed to be weary of such ways and to be on guard, always. There was no 'relax' time for her family,as Andrea would put it. Never in the thousand years of its establishment had a Anderaine been unguarded. All of her family lived to see their golden years because of it. While the thought of being old and frail did not appeal to her, she did not like the idea of being killed from behind.

They followed the servant to the Lord's chambers and both waited outside as the servant entered first.

From inside, Star and Andrea, heard distant giggles, sudden shrieks of surprise, and the servant speaking softly as the shrieks dispersed and their sources were gone.

Star slanted her eyes in disgust and Andrea shifted uneasily.

She felt uneasy when her friend acted as she did about her father and wondered why she choose to use that particular behavior. It was perfectly alright for a widower like her father to love concubines in the abscence of her mother.

She wondered why Star felt so about her father, as she watched her childhood friend stand before the door as grand and imperial in her training shirt and pants as she would where she wearing the ceremonial armor of a general at a victory celebration. Andrea, on the other hand, was certain that she would be a terrible sight for her father to see.

The door opened and the servant indicated they should enter.

Andrea went first.

As she entered the chamber with Star at her heels, the servant announced, " Lady Andrea Redfern and Lady General Star Anderaine."

"Please, this isn't the Court." the tall man in the center of the room laughed as the two women entered.

His eyes rested lovingly on Andrea for a brief moment before he regarded Star.

The look in her eyes was one he would have reserved for a servent or soldier who had burped at a feast, and her looked angered him beyond words, but he could never repreve her for it, or face the consequences of Fax Anderaine, and Star herself.

As much as he hated Star, she still had to live to keep the Anderaines with him, they were too powerful as a family, in both strength and influence to be leveled agaisnt him.

"Father, why have you called us?" Andrea asked after a long pause before the servant left.

"Sadly, your meeting with me is military business. Andrea, we need to crush the Rebellion's lines to the north, they are growing too strong, I can trust you with this task far better than some of the louts around here and Star, that cursed dragon, Zaquel, has at last awoken and I feel I can trust you to his slaying, yes?" he replied, his eyes locking briefly with hers.

Maybe that impossible mission would rid him of her and he wouldn't ruin his relations with House Anderaine.

"Is it that serious, Father? Can we not simply change a few things and end the conflict peacefully? Why all the bloodshed?" Andrea demanded, surprise filling her face, as she regarded him blankly.

He ignored his daughter's outbreak, she would learn to love war, one day.

"Is this all you require of me, m'lord?" Star said simply, her eyes going cold, and for a instant, Redfern felt a chill fill him.

He had forgotten, she had obtained, through unknown means, a dragonic form that she used often for battle and transportation. As far as he knew, the one man who knew such techniques never took on apprentices and never spook to another soul outside the mountains of Kensha and invading the old hermits mountain would not work, there was magic there as old as the world itself, and only a fool would try. But the how infuriated and baffled him beyold all other irritants. If she could do, so could he! He was the ruler of this land, and everything was his, but why not this ability?

No, that will not be all, he thought sarcastically, tell me your secrets!

"That will be all. I just pray that you can defeat Zaquel. He will wipe out my kingdom if he is not defeated and I cannot spare men from the front lines to aid you." he said in turn as he flashed a confident smile to both women.

Still, in spite of his dislike for Star, she and Andrea where two of the strongest women alive and probably to ever live again.

"I will do my best, m'lord." Star said simply as she saluted him, turned around, and walked calmly out of the room.

"Do you think she stands a chance?" Andrea asked anxiously as she watched the retreating back of Star.

"Probably a better chance then Zar, even, were he here. Remember, she inherited the Wind Blade from her grandfather, Grey Talon. You know what that swords purpose is, and considering she has long since mastered it and its power, there is no doubt that the blade will shatter Zaquel's scales. Now go and ready yourself, Daughter, I will see you off, for you have a long road ahead of you, and your army still needs to be gathered." he replied.


A Opening Note from StarSword17:

This is a little something new I am starting, so I thought to commendrate its opening chapter by saying a few words, so here they are.

In its opening, I know it sounds a little like some of my others stories, but the fun in this story has only begun. You are yet to meet Fax Anderaine and a few other members of the family, and they, have their own story to tell. Watch out for Flint, when he arrives, things are going to strike a interesting note. Still, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I don't know how long I am going to make this story, its still being written, but I promise you it will be good. Still, please review this for me, I am trying something new here, and I want to know wether or not I should post more of it, or let this be it. Don't keep me waiting! If I hear nothing, I'll assume that its a dud and remove it!