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     I stripped off my black mourning veil and threw it to the far side of the room. My swollen eyes were wet, but determined. I dressed myself in a brown jacket and my old riding boots, searching for the sword I hid in my closet. When my hands found the cool blade, mother’s voice drifted into my head. 

     “A girl is not fit for such things. Leave the fighting to the men.” Well I was done waiting.  Something had to be done, or I would lose something else precious to me. Father always believed in taking matters into his own hands. That was exactly what I needed to do now. 

     I unsheathed the weapon and looked at my reflection. A different girl stared back at me. Her dark eyes flashed with anger hiding behind a smooth glass of despair. Her skin was emptied of color, no longer the girl who spent hours patiently practicing her swordsmanship to make her father proud. This girl was cold and hard. Lifeless. Her eyes narrowed at the temptation to cry. 

     I fastened the relic to my waist and crept off my balcony window, one thought filling my head. 

     The beast must die.