Samuel Z Jones

Copyright Samuel Z Jones 2011

Ava had lived her entire life in fear.

Her mother had been a Silvan soldier, killed in the wars, and so little Ava had learned early what death was, and to fear it. She had learned to fear her grandmother too; the ancient Silvan Diva had taught little Ava what a warrior was supposed to be, what her mother had been, and inadvertently taught Ava to fear the life she had been born to.

All Silvan women were warriors, but from the moment the news came that her mother was dead, Ava had forgotten any desire to follow in the family tradition; it was not merely her mother's death, but the terrible look that came into her grandmother's eyes when she heard the news. The old woman had seemed for a moment as she must have done in her youth, upon the battlefield, sword in hand and death in her heart.

At the age of five, Ava had known that much as she did not want to die, she feared far more to become as her grandmother; bleak and terrifying, harrowed so that she resembled in spirit the ancient sword she wore until her dying day.

When the wars ended, Ava was seventeen, but there was no longer any Silvan army; they had lost, their nation conquered, all Silvan warriors commanded to surrender their swords. When the news arrived, Ava's grandmother killed herself. Without a word, she walked away into the woods; Ava had followed and arrived just as the old Diva fell on her own sword.

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