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She pulls out a knife from her sheath and, taking careful aim at the target, sights and throws the knife. It makes a soft **thwok** sound, and lands on the target. She squints her eyes, trying to see through the glare of the sun to the target. On sight of the target, her face breaks into a smile: she made it to the bullseye. Because she rarely makes it so well, she takes a moment to bask in pride, a precious comodity to her.

"Well, is our little warrior woman playing with her little knives?" a voice jeers from behind her. She whirls around, brandishing her remaining two knives as she watches some of the younger men from her village advance on her. She growls deep in her throat; she is through of their taunts and abusiveness.

On seeing her knives, the leader raises his hands in mock defense and says out loud mockingly, "Look, she's going to kill me!" He smirks and cries tauntingly, "Oh, help! This little girl is going to hurt me with her little knives."

"Um, be careful," one of the man's companions cautions. "Didn't you see that last throw she made?"

"Aw, fools luck," another boy says with a smirk. "She wouldn', couldn't hit a live person."

She looks at each of the boys, wanting desperately to have the courage to hit them and at the same time wanting them to leave her alone. They see her hesitation and laugh at her. She grips her knives harder in response.

"See?" the boy says. "She's just a coward. Couldn't even kill a man." He steps foward and points at his chest. "Come on, little girl, try to hit a MAN." He continues to taunt her, degrading her endlessly until she grips her knife and makes to throw it.

She notices him glancing behind her, and she knows what is back there in a sudden burst of insight. She whirls around, about to throw one of her knives, but arms wrap around her and she is hauled off the ground in a huge bearhug. Trapped and totally helpless, she continues to struggle as the rest of the boys head toward her.

"Look at the little warrior now," He sneers, coming to stand in front of her and her holder. "She can't even get out of this little situation." His eyes rake her body, leering, and she turns her head away in shame. He laughs and runs a finger down her neck, going slowly lower as he says, "It's too bad you weren't a little nicer. Then you might know what a Real man is like."

She shivers and starts struggling again, much to His pleasure. He watches her struggle and when she pauses, he says, "It was hard finding someone who had your height and was strong enough, but I think we've found the right man." He gestures to the man holding her; she looks at her holder and almost faints. His face is a mask of scars and burnmarks, and his is smiling evily. She starts to struggle fiercly now, kicking and punching, using everything she has to get away. She sees Him nearby and plants a kick in his direction. It lands on his head, and her boot rips a ragged cut across his cheek. He howls in pain and turns away, and the arms about her get tighter. Slowly suffocating, she claws at the arms around her, wishing she hadn't dropped her knives as she uses her nails on the thick skin. When she draws blood, however, the arms just tighten more, and she can't take another breath.

"Bitch!" He roars, coming up suddenly and punching her jawline. The arms let her go and she drops to the ground, panting. A kick lands on her ribs, driving the breath out of her and causing her to roll over.

"Bitch!" he swears again, and lands another kick, this one to her abdomen. She doubles over, curling in a fetal position to ward off other blows. She feels her hair grabbed and she is hauled to a kneeling position, looking into the face of her assailant. The rip in his face is bleeding profusely, and it makes him look like he is snarling. "Look at me," he growls out, and slaps her on the face, keeping her head immobilized so as to take all the force. "Look at what you did to me, you little bitch." He puts his hand up to his face, and his expression gets uglier as he sees the blood on his hand.

"Bitch," he says once more, then his face breaks out into an evil smile. "Yes," he says, "a bitch. That's what you are, a low, stinking bitch." He laughs then, a cruel laugh. "And what does another dog do to a bitch?" he says, giving a howl like a wolf.

It takes a moment, then the words sink into her head. Ripping herself out of his grip, she stands up and starts running, ignoring the pain and just trying to get away. Before she can make it ten steps though, she is tripped and falls heavily on her injured side, shooting pain up her whole body.

She feels her hands and feet grasped, and He comes above her. "Bitch," he swears once more, but there is something different in his eyes, something she knows is bad. There is anger, but something worse, something evil. As she feels her clothes ripped from her body, she does something she hasn't done since she was a baby.

She screams.

Rezsia sat up in her bed, a scream dying in the back of her throat and raw fear pounding through her bloodstream. She brought her hands up to fight off the remainder of the dream, her scream still stuck in her throat as she clawed at the air. It faded, but she still felt her body throbbing all over, as if she had taken the beating and the violation all over again. She slowly stopped her clawing the air, and despair fell down on her again as she fell back onto the bed, tears squeezing out of her eyes.

{Rezsia?} a soft voice called, but was ignored. All Rezsia could think about is the revulsion she felt when she felt the hands all over her body, the faces staring down at her, the body moving above hers.....

{Rezsia?} came the voice again, louder this time. Rezsia clawed her way out of the memories, trying desperately to come back to the present. "*Jezze?*" she calls out both mentally and audibly, and suddenly she feels a presence behind her. Knowing exactly who it was, she curled up into a fetal position and began to sob uncontrolably, her body shaking with each breath she tried to take. She could hear a crooning noise above her, and felt her body being rocked gently.

{It's okay} Jezebel thought softly, {it's okay. It was only a dream. It isn't happening.}

"But it did," Rezsia choked out, still unable to stop sobbing. "It happened, and it was so real, I just couldn't get out...I couldn't get away..."

{It's okay} the dragon crooned, still rocking her rider. {It's over, there's nothing happening now. You're safe; I'll keep you safe.}

Rezsia listened to the soft crooning and thoughts and slowly calmed down. Her sobbing became enough that she could breathe regularly, punctuated infrequently by smaller sobs. "I'm sorry," she croaked out, still holding onto the scarlet dragon's wing. "I'm so sorry Jezze. I'm so sorry...."

{It's okay sweeting. There's nothing wrong. It's okay.} The dragon continued crooning softly until Rezsia's breathing returned to normal and she came out of the curled position. She still held onto the young woman, however, not wanting to leave her alone.

"I'm sorry Jezze," Rezsia said, looking up at her dragon's face.

{It's nothing sweeting, nothing at all.} There was a pause, then {The dream again.}

A foregone conclusion. Neither said anything because both knew exactly what it was. Rezsia was tempted to begin crying once again and lean on her dragon for support, but her pride reasserted itself. Wiping the back of her hand across her eyes, she sat back up, moving back to her bed. "When will it end?" she cried out, another tear coursing down her face. Her dragon, however, had no answer, leaving Rezsia alone with her thoughts.

{I'm so sorry} came the sorrowful thought of her beloved dragon, and Rezsia forgot her pride and moved back over to the comforting embrace of the huge dragon. {If I could only have been there, I could have....}

"It's okay, Jezze," Rezsia said softly, knowing that her dragon understood her. "It wasn't anything you did. It couldn't have been stopped."

{But it still haunts you} came the pain filled reply. {You can't let it go.}

Thinking back on her years since the attack, Rezsia had to agree. She hadn't had the dream in ages, but until recently she had awakened almost the same way she had just a while ago every night, sometimes screaming, sometimes totally delirious. She didn't know how to cope with her dreams.

{You really should tell someone} her dragon suggested sadly, but Rezsia only thought furiously *No! I am NOT going to tell anyone! Did you tell someone?* she thought accusingly, then immediately regretted her accusation when her dragon drew back a bit. {Of course not! I promise you I wouldn't!}

*I'm sorry, love* Rezsia thought, moving closer to the huge dragon. *I'm so sorry, but it's so hard. So hard to trust anyone.*

Wrapping her arms and wings about her rider, Jezebel just rocked her like a mother, crooning softly until the young girl was asleep.

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