Book One in A Series On Prejudice.

Summary: A young foreign war captive accepts her lot. To be used and then tossed on the rubbish heap. But a kindhearted spy changes her and makes her into something amazing. But the prejudice of Sophians against who she is prevents everyone from seeing the real person she is. Including the One who is made for her…

Background: Later.

Author's Note: Review, please.

Claimer: I own all characters, plots, and ideas in this story.DO NOT STEAL.

Master Aeon awoke to a familiar sound ringing in his ears. He tossed his heavy silk sheets aside and plopped his feet on the ground. He hung his head and rubbed his eyes with his large black fists. He listened for a moment, praying the sound was just a fluke, but to his utter disappointment the shrill scream that only he could hear sounded again, banging like hammers against his temples. Sighing he threw on his slippers and long dark blue robe, and started out the door grabbing his spy belt as he left. He followed the winding halls of the castle, its cold dank corridors anything but friendly and once again questioned his intentions in bringing his young charge, Sicily here. She was still a babe, barely sixteen, but sometimes the master spy forgot that, she was so mature for her age. Aeon continued to plod down the dark hallways, although dark had never affected him, and chided himself for his doubts. Sicily had been having nightmares ever since she was brought to Sopheterra. Being torn from the place you thought was your home, and then being hunted by vile creatures that ruled this land could give any thirteen year old nightmares, even a strong willed spirit such as Manx. Aeon never expected them to last into her sixteenth birthday however.

Finally the Top Spy was at Sicily's doorway, he didn't bother to stop and knock he just silently entered and stood by his charge's bed. Her sheets were in a knot, her brow furrowed and sweaty. She made not a noise, but Aeon could hear her pain as loudly as if she were shrieking them. Aeon slumped down by her bed, and looked at her in deep empathy. He loved Sicily, his little Wildcat, as much as he would have loved any biological children, and it hurt him so deeply to see her in pain. Gently he laid a hand on her forehead and smoothed the wrinkles developing there. A blast of pictures and thoughts raced through his head, they were Manx's thoughts. She dreamed of the day she was captured, and the day she almost became the king's whore. Aeon had met her that day, and after the brave way she defended herself he found himself considering her to be his successor. He saw a glint of intelligence, and foolhardiness in her eyes that day, two things he knew any successful spy needed. After she had been released by the weak King Haile Selassie II he started to tutor her. Now she was almost proficient at spying as he himself was, and Aeon smiled at the pride he had for her.

Sicily whimpered, almost inaudibly and Aeon remembered his task. He sent her off into a dreamless sleep and then stood to his feet his cool hand still on her forehead. He bore her pain, but he had no resentment in his eyes only compassion and love. He whispered softly to the girl who was like a daughter to him, his voice carrying an almost unbearable measure of pain,

"I'm so sorry, my dear Sicily. I wish it hadn't been this way."

And with that he picked up his blue silk robes and left, his presence there only marked by his sweet scent, and the lessened tension in the room.

Sandra woke up early to prepare the dishes for her young mistress and her master. She was hoping to be able to go see her beau Tyler, sometime after breakfast and was planning on finishing her chores before the master and mistress were ready for breakfast. She hummed a merry tune and danced about the room her petite frame and flowing red hair making it quite clear why all the boys adored the buxom maiden. She smiled and flipped her hair quite happy she wasn't someone else. Sandra heard a noise and she abruptly cut off her merry humming and whirled about her broom ready to defend her self. She relaxed a bit when she saw Mistress Sicily standing in the doorway her beige robe hanging about her thin shoulders. Her face was gaunt and thin and her very tall willowy frame towered over small little Sandra. The maid found herself having to back up a bit to look at the mistress' face directly. She tried to smile, but wavered when she saw Sicily's crimson red eyes. Truth be told, Sandra was terrified of her young mistress. There were stories circling the court that Sicily Manx Kant was part vampire. And with all the recent vampire problems the kingdom of Sopheterra was having Sandra didn't like working for some half-Vampire harlot one bit. She curtsied stiffly and spoke in a cold voice to her mistress,

"May I be of assistance, Mistress Kant?"

Sandra added the ladies last name because she knew how much the girl hated it. It was given to her by King Haile Selassie the Second and it was meant as an insult. Sandra was rewarded by a flash of emotion behind those granite eyes, but soon she saw the young lady school her face back to the marble like quality it was known. She sat on a bench, and closed her eyes, and for a moment she looked like such a trouble worn child that Sandra felt sorry for a moment for her meanness. No one really knew for sure if she was part vampire, so who was she to judge? She was about to wrap an arm around the girl, but before she could a large form barged into the tiny kitchen area. It was Theo, and Sandra forgot all about Lady Sicily as soon as he picked her up in his arms and twirled her about. Sandra laughed in delight and slapped Theo playfully on the arm and shrieked,

"Oh, put me down, you big ox!"

He laughed a deep throaty one, and she giggled as he set her upon the stone floor. A sniff from the kitchen table reminded Sandra of her mistress still waiting for her breakfast. She looked embarrassed and was about to apologize but then she caught a glimpse of the disdain Sicily was hiding in her stony features. For the first time that morning the mistress spoke,

"Sandra, if you wish you may take the day off to spend with your sweetheart. I can make do without you for breakfast."

Sandra opened her mouth in disbelief, but then blurted out the first thing that came to her head, in her particular red head fiery fashion,

"Well, what about Master Aeon?"

She felt a meaty finger poke her in the rib cage, but she merely flipped her hair and stared Sicily down. She had always like Master Aeon, no matter what kind of trash he insisted on dragging into his home and the royal castle. Before any heated battle could ensue however, she felt Theo's strong arm around her shoulders and before she knew it she was being dragged out the kitchen door as Theo called out behind him,

"Sorry Mistress Sicily, I don't think Sandra is quite herself today. We'll gladly take you up on your generous offer!"

And with that they were out the door. Sandra angrily shoved Theo's arm off her and turned around to glare at him. Although he wasn't the tallest man around he was still much taller than her, and she found herself on tiptoes so she could glare at him. She started to yell at him, not caring or even realizing Sicily could hear her,

"Why'd ya do that, Theo! I could get fired, for not making Master Aeon breakfast! I just know that's what that little Vampire wants! She's always hated me!"

She shoved him, and he fell a little back not a bit surprised at her sudden outburst. Sandra was known for her easily excited temper, especially where Mistress Sicily was concerned. Theo took his trembling girl into his arms and pulled her close, and then he whispered into her ear, he was after all much more thoughtful than Sandra and very much aware Sicily might hear even though the door that separated them was very thick.

"Shh, sweet, its fine. I'm sure Master Aeon wouldn't fire you no matter what that whore says to him. You've been a faithful servant for years. Now let's enjoy this day, and just take gifts like these no matter who they come from."

He heard her sniffle and then snuggle into his chest, and he knew he had won over her temper once more. He tugged her off to a certain place he had in mind…

A large old tomcat strode out from underneath the kitchen table after the little red headed maid and her great lumbering ox of an admirer had left. He had never liked her, always running around, and feeling the urge to make annoying noises. Grandfather, as the old veteran cat was named, liked the quiet Sicily much more to his liking. See, he had even bothered to remember her name. Sicily. He liked how it rolled in his mind and seemed to vibrate pleasantly. More nimbly than seemed possible the substantial piece of cat meat jumped up from the cold tile floors, where he had been unsuccessfully trying to nap, and jumped into Sicily's lap. He felt a tremor in her stomach and he saw her ears perk up, almost like a cat that was listening. He purred, matching the vibrations in her own stomach and finally she was alerted to his presence. Grandfather looked up into her eyes, his clearly expressing reproach at her lack of attention. She seemed to understand him and quickly her body language changed. Grandfather made a grunt of approval at the way she communicated with him. She spoke like a cat, not with words but with subtle body changes. She seemed to reek respect and curiosity at why Grandfather sought her out. Tentatively she rubbed under his grey streaked and orange chin, and although normally the grouchy old tom would have protested this treatment he found her long thin fingers quite skillful in her massaging. Soon she was entirely engrossed in Grandfather and he purred in satisfaction. Suddenly she grabbed his face and turned his eyes toward her. He yowled in protest, but his cry was cut off when he saw her eyes. They were a mellow ocher color, and they seemed to glow. He felt a change in the air, and Sicily began to grow more cat like, and for a moment Grandfather thought she was one of his own kind. Their trance was broken, however, by a loud knock that sent him scampering off under the table. Sicily stood to her feet, her face pale and her hands clammy. Grandfather saw the wooden door swing open and metal clad feet entered making the cat cringe as the clanging of metal assaulted his sensitive ears. He saw Sicily's body language change as well and he knew the sound hurt her as well. The soldier entered the room, his bulky frame further upsetting both cat and girl. He seemed not to notice their discomfort, he only scowled at Sicily and stood up straighter, but still found his head only coming to her nose. He grumbled something and the old tomcat saw Manx nod her head, her eyes once again the blood-red color they always were. The words of the soldier seemed to rattle around the room and Grandfather didn't bother trying to ponder their meaning.

"King Kha wishes for an audience with Mistress Sicily and Master Aeon for lunch and a business talk. Make sure to dress nicely."

Said the vile soldier, and with the last comment made a pointed gesture of scraping his eyes across Sicily's shapely thin form. She glared at him until he left. When he finally did leave, she collapsed onto the wooden chair all her earlier dignity gone.

"Oh, Grandfather, why do they hate me?"

But it was too late; the old tomcat had already left to his warm nest in the loft above the stables.