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Twelve years ago...

Fire, smoke, and screams. That was all I heard. And what I saw? Practically nothing... The smoke was too thick, and I couldn't make out anything. I felt someone shove me, and I almost fell to the ground. I whirled around, but I still couldn't see anything. My heart was beating rapidly... I had no idea what was happening. "Tylaena, run!" I heard a voice scream at me. "Mother...? Mother, where are you?" The smoke was getting thicker, and was stinging my eyes, which were already filled with tears. I wandered about, trying to look for anyone familiar to me. I caught a glimpse of Devanar hiding behind a barrel in front of a burning house, far away from where I was. He was sitting on the ground, knees to his chest, arms around his knees, and head down, sobbing. "Oh gods, Dev!" I shouted to him. "Get away from there!" I started running towards the house. He looked up, and I saw his terrified face. "Sister! Where..." As I neared it, I heard crumbling and crackling sounds coming from the tall building right beside me. I shut my eyes, taking a few steps back, as tons of bricks and blazing wood came crashing down in front of me. When I opened my eyes again, I realized I had no way to reach Devanar. The heat of the fire was becoming extremely intense... I was tired, hot, dirty, and sweating. I slumped down to the floor, on my knees, and started crying. This is it, I thought. This is the end... "Get up, Tyl!" Recognizing my father's voice, I looked up. "Hurry, get up and run! If they find you..." "Father, no!" He was on the other side... And I knew for a fact that everything on the other side was burning... "No... I don't want to leave you, and Mother, and Dev... no!" I managed to stand up, looking towards the fire, with an arm out, as if trying to shield myself from the brightness and heat. The voice continued to speak. "Listen to me, your father! You have to go... At least one of us has to survive! Tyl, daughter, I love you... I know you'll make it! You'll make it!" I shook my head violently, with tears streaming down my face. "No..." But my voice was only a whisper. ~Do this for your family, Tyl.~ The unexpected Mind message startled me bit. ~They want you to live on... They trust that you will have a successful future. Please listen to them... You have a chance.~ All I did was stare into the fire. I noticed that the screams were dying down. ~If you don't run now, they will find you. Save yourself, Tyl. You will make it.~ I bit my lip, looking down at the ground, clutching the pendant around my neck tightly with one hand. I Mindsent back, in a bitter tone. ~Whoever you are... You'd better be right.~ With that, I turned and ran. I ran, without looking back, without stopping, even though I was exhausted. Mother... Father... I was still running. I realized that I was leaving everything behind... my parents, my brothers and sister, my friends, my whole past, everything. I wanted to cry... but it was then, that I realized I had run out of tears.