Lumin, Erac’Laun and Kell helped me get away from the Demons that were curious at me. I understood why they were curious, since first off, humans were not supposed to be able to do magick in the first place, but also because I was walking through the castle wearing nothing but a sheet.
We reached the castle gates just as the a horn sounded the coming of the night. They pushed me out the gate, right before it came slamming down into the night locks. They passed me the kit and Lumin reminded me, “Do not forget to watch out for Skae. We have no way of getting you back in here until morning. Please be careful.”
“I will.” I smiled, trying to put them at ease, but they all held a look of worry on their faces. “Do not worry. I will find the spring and she will be fine. The little one and I will be back by morning and we will be safe. Promise.” I put my fist to my chest.
Erac’Laun spoke before I could turn to leave, “Do not get yourself killed over a dead kit, Twilight.”
“I will not but I will bring her back.” I turned and faced the falling sun and the desert between me an the nearest forest and mountain. I held the kit close to my chest and ran away from the castle, as the night began to set in slowly.
I ran for what felt like hours, though the light in the sky told me differently. I slowed down and just started walking into nowhere. I watched the light fade from sight, no longer giving me any help in finding anything. The darkness was blinding and I had no idea where I was going nor how long I had been walking.
I looked up to the sky to try and get my bearings, but I did not see any stars above me. I heard a growl to my left and then another came from my right. I knew that growl, Erac’Laun had given it to the she-Demons. I was surrounded by Skae and without a bit of light, I would not know how to protect myself from them.
“I do not come here to harm anything. I am looking for the Lady Light to give life to a kit that was murdered this afternoon.”
The growling became louder as one answered, “Humans are not welcome here.”
“Please, I cannot see in this blinding darkness. And I have to find the life-spring.”
A different voice piped up, “You speak our language but do not listen!”
The original Skae voice spoke again, “I said, humans are not welcome here.”
I felt my anger rise, but I knew I had to stay still and keep cool, “Then let me find my way. If I had some help with light, I could easily leave you all in peace.”
Another voice came from the darkness, “You think we would let you leave?”
“Let me make you a deal.”
“We do not deal with humans.”
“Listen to me for a tick. Let me find the life-spring to bring this Skadi kit back to life, then you can do with me as you please.”
There was silence, but I heard movement in the dirt. The original one answered, “A Skadi kit was killed?”
“I tried to save it, but I was too late. I was able to save her brothers and sisters, but I could not save her. Please, I am begging you, let me get her to the spring.”
“The Lady Light does not show the way to humans. It was a fluke with her meeting the Demon King.” Another voice popped off.
“I do not want her to show me the way for myself. I want to bring this kit back; it is for her, not for myself.”
There was a flicker of light to our left and I heard all Skae whisper softly, “She is here… The Lady Light is coming…”
I heard the same voice that first started to talk to me, “She has accepted your deal, Human. At daybreak, we will find you to complete our deal. Do you understand, victual?”
“I understand.” My voice was soft, even for my ears, but they accepted my offer, because I heard them move away, as the flicker of light came closer.
The tiny speck of light was light blue and as I realized soon enough, it was not a Lady as Lumin had said. The light was right in front of my face, when I saw the faint outline of a Faeyri. She had long black hair, reaching down to her feet and she glowed a very light blue, against her snow-white skin. She wore a shimmering Lily of the Valley skirt and a lavender flower shirt. Her wings were almost perfectly transparent and iridescent.
I held my hand out and she stood on the tips of my fingers. I bowed my head to her, “Milady.”
She smiled sweetly, as she curtsied on my fingers, before sitting. “Twas brave, what you are doing for this kit.”
I shook my head; “This kit was killed because three she-Demons wanted revenge upon me for being sent to King Lumin.”
She giggled, her voice soft ringing bells. “You are willing to give your life for this kit.”
“She would have done the same. Tis only fair to give her the chance.”
“You do realize once you find the spring this one time, you shall not be able to find it again?”
I thought about it for a tick, but only for a tick. “I understand.”
She stood up and fluttered off my hand, “Then my people shall lead you to the life-spring.”
I watched her fly away, but she motioned for me to follow as best I could. I held the kit to my chest and ran behind the Faeyri, who I have to admit, was fast for her size. I followed her into a cavern in the side of the mountain, where she suddenly stopped. I stopped right beside her and looked ahead into the dense darkness.
Small points in light fluttered around the cavern, reflected a million times from the glint of precious stones set into the walls. She turned and faced me, “Welcome to the Unseelie Court. Someone will be right with you to escort you to the life-spring.” She turned back to the Court and vanished within the points of light.
I looked at all the different Faeyri and saw a rainbow of color and light. Someone did come up to me, a green-glowing male dressed in ivy leaves. He had the same long black hair as the other Faeyri, but his was cut shorted, only being waist length. His skin was the same pale color of moonlight. He wore a sword at his hip, signifying his rank with the Faeyri.
I bowed to him, “Tis an honor, your majesty.”
He put his hand to his chest and bowed back, “I would ask how you know our language, but I remember when you were just a child and you wandered into the court. Tis lovely too see you again, daughter of another father.”
I looked at him, shocked, “I do not remember that.”
He put his hands on his hips, “We will have to remedy that, then.”
“Is there a way to?”
He grinned, “Of course. Now, let us go to the life-spring.”
He turned towards the court and all of the lights stilled. We went through the various groups of Faeyri and found a spiral of stones, starting from the lightest opal to the darkest obsidian in the dead center. He ran his hand from the opal to the obsidian, going down the range of colors. The spiral began to glow before splitting apart in half. The wall of the cavern opened to reveal a huge steaming spring. The spring was a clear light blue, candles lighting the path to the edge of the water. I would have to take stairs down to the water’s edge, but it did not bother me a bit.
I looked at him and he just motioned for me to go inside of it. I walked into the area of the spring, as the wall closed behind me. I was alone in the spring, besides the kit. I let my eyes adjust to the surrounding darkness, candles trying to give light to the suffocating darkness.
I found the steps easily, each time, getting closer to my destination. I was at the water within the minute. I waded into the water, feeling as if I had done this a million times before.
The water was warm against my skin, though it bordered on hot. I went into the water, getting closer to the center and into deeper water. At one point, I lost my footing on the smooth ground of the cavern and had to swim. I looked at the kit I still held and she was still not moving. I realized I needed to learn to swim to get to the center.
I took a deep breath and dove into the warm water. I opened my eyes under the water and kicked. I moved forward a little, so I continued to kick. I went up for air a few times, before I was in the dead center of the spring.
I looked round for a sign that I did the right thing. The kit still was not moving in my arms and I knew I would not be able to stay here for too long, or my energy would run out. I looked into the water and found a glittering shininess at the bottom of the spring. I took the chance and dove straight down into the water.
I swam down trying too see how far away it was, but I could not stand it. I went to the surface and though I felt like I was going to die, I was able to get a good breath of air. I looked back into the water and sighed, I was never going to reach it.
I lifted the kit out of the water and saw her small body limb as she was when Gleaning killed her. I took another breath in, and I knew I had to be able to do it. It was not fair to the kit that she died, when they were trying to take revenge on me. I held the kit close to my body, giving it one last hug. “If we do not make it out of here alive, I am sorry.”
I flipped in the water and swan towards the glittering. I swam and swam and swam, getting deeper with each passing kick. I kicked as hard as I could, to get down there before my air supply ran out. I felt myself grow lightheaded, as I let a little bit of my air out. My body became weaker, but still I went down. I reached the bottom of the spring, and the darkness closed in on me. I felt myself drop the kit as the darkness swallowed me.
“Is she alright, Lord Glintz?” The Faeyri lady asked, her bell-voice riddled with worry.
“She almost drowned, what do you think, Lady Fero?” the Faeyri male answered her.
I coughed and sat up, air going into my starved lungs. They both came close to my face, and I saw their faces looking as worried as a mother would have looked.
“Are you alight?” The male asked me.
“Yes, but what happened?” I looked around and saw we were still in the area of the spring.
“We were told by the kit, actually. She said she woke up and saw you unconscious. She grabbed you and swam to the surface.” The lady told me.
“Wait, what? She could not have. I mean I am about eighty times her size.”
“Then you have not seen her since she became alive again, which fits her story.” The lord and lady looked at one another. They then looked to the spring and I followed their gaze.
A full-grown Skadi emerged from the water, looking powerful and majestic. As she came closer, I inspected her closely. She was all black, except for a band of pure white on her feet and around her neck. Both of her wings were silver with golden tips and she white mane was flaked with black tips. She came close to me, putting her nose to mine. Good morning.
I smiled, “Glad to see you are fine and alive.”
Only because you would not give up on me.
“I am glad I did not. But why can you not speak?”
Because the she-Demon snapped my neck, and since I saved your life, I was not given the chance to fully heal.
“I think I can fix that.” I reached for her, but she backed away.
You need to recover your strength. Even then, there is no guarantee that it would work. Do not worry, I can communicate perfectly well with anyone I need to.
“I am glad you are alive. I just could not stand you getting killed because of something to go against me.”
Twas not your fault. However, I do think we need to get back to the castle. The King and Erac’Laun are probably worried sick bout you.
“Worried sick about us. You are here too.” I smiled and stood up shakily. She moved closer, helping me use her for support. “How long have I been out?”
The two Faeyri looked to each other, before the male spoke, “About three weeks.”
“What?! But that makes no sense. You two sound like I had only been there for an hour.”
The lady replied, “You were in the spring for an hour and have been laying here for two hours, but one hour in the spring is a week in the real world.”
“Oh no…” I looked to the Skadi, “We better get going. They are probably worried sick!”
She nodded and we looked to the Faeyri, who opened the door for us. “Good bye, and you should have most of your memories back. I mean, it seems to have healed your mind, along with bringing life to Mari’Anya.”
That would be me.
“Tis a lovely name.” I smiled to the Skadi, before we walked out of the cavern and into light.
“Hello?” I made it to the castle in one piece, despite the deal I had made with the Skae. “Hello?!” I yelled down the hallway, my voice echoing through the corridors. I looked down to Mari’Anya, “Where is everyone?”
I do not know. I do not even hear my Skae brethren. Maybe we should check the King’s room?
“Sounds good to me.” We ran down the hallway to the King’s room. There were no guards stationed at the door, so we opened it. The room was thrashed, furniture was tipped over, the bed was ripped to shreds and even the altar was in pieces. “What happened here?”
Over here. I went over to where Mari’Anya was and saw blood covering the floor, though there was no body.
“What could have done this?” I knelt down and dipped my fingertips into the spot. The blood was dry and flaked onto my fingertips. “This happened a while ago. Almost the night I left…”
We looked at each other, I hope everyone is alright. We should search for survivors.
“Good idea.” I looked to the altar, “I wonder…” I went over to it and set it up again, just as I remembered it.
What are you doing?
“Lumin said Demons used blood magick, well, I am going to see if we can see what happened here and where everyone has gone.” I looked around and found a reflective glass. I set it next to the, in front of me.
Instinct took over, helping me remember how to do what I needed to do. I took a piece of flint off the ground and lit the lead candle. I then light the other fifty candles with that candle before letting one drop of wax fall onto the reflective glass. I put the candle in its place and reached for the dagger. I sliced my hand, one thin, but deep, scratch across my palm. I squeezed my hand tight, helping the blood flow and drip onto the glass. “Show me what happened here. Ereh deneppah tahw em wohs.”
The glass rose off the ground to in front of the lead candle. The blood created a dark sheen to the glass before clearing up. The glass showed us what happened from the altar’s perspective.
Lumin sat in front of the altar, “Show me where she is. Show me what happened to Twilight.”
The door burst open, Kell running into the room. “Your Highness! The humans from Ancial and the neighboring provinces are coming! Our forces cannot fight them off, we have to leave the castle!”
“What happened to our treaty with them!?” He growled as he stood up.
“They care not about that! The Prince of Ancial is leading them.” She grabbed his arm. “We have to go.”
“But she is not back yet.”
“I am sorry your majesty, but it has been three days. If she gets back, she will survive and last. But you are sick and we cannot chance you getting killed.”
“Let me leave something… She is bright and she can find us, even if the other humans cannot.” He took a ring off his finger, before throwing a fireball at the ground. “HellFire, arise.” He tied the ring to the horse, “When Twilight calls, you will go to her. Give her this ring and tell her…” He whispered into HellFire’s ear. “You are dismissed until she gets here.”
“Now, Lumin!” Kell pulled him from the room and out of the sight of the altar.
The scene went forward in time at a fast pace and about half a day in the glass later, there was movement.
“Where are they?!” The Prince stormed into the room.
“I do not know, your highness.” A lieutenant answered him with a salute.
“Find them! They have to be here somewhere!” The Prince dismissed the lieutenant from the room.
He looked to the altar and growled, “I poisoned my parents to become king and declare war on these monsters. I will have my revenge!” He tore the room apart and found a small Demon boy cowering by the bed. “Give me one reason not to kill you.” He put his sword to the Demon’s throat.
The small Demon whimpered, “Please… I know something the King left for the human girl…”
“Show me.” The Prince was curt in his demands.
The child threw a fireball at the ground and commanded, “HellFire, arise.”
The demon horse arose, though he was thoroughly unhappy about it. He blew fire at the Prince, who blocked it with his shield. He saw a glint in the horse’s mane where Lumin tied the ring. He used his sword to move the horse’s head away from him as he ripped the ring from the horse’s mane.
HellFire yowled in pain and fury before trying to strike at the Prince. The Prince turned to the boy, “Get rid of him.”
The boy nodded, “HellFire, you are dismissed!”
HellFire vanished in a column of flame, burning the Prince in the process. He cursed and turned to the boy. “Thank you. You will be glad to know you have the privilege of being the first to die.” He stabbed downward, through the boy’s neck into his body. He pulled the sword out and wiped the blade on the bed.
He put the ring on his finger and went into a rage when nothing happened. He tipped furniture over and ripped the bed to shreds before storming out of the room.
The reflective glass went dark, as it gently floated back to the ground. “Did you see all of that?”
Mari’Anya nodded, Wow. I wonder what the ring was for?
“Well, only one way to find out. We need to call HellFire.” I stood up and felt the magick drift just below my consciousness. “Here is to hoping this works.” I felt the magick rise in me without calling on it too much. I created a fireball in my hand and threw it at the ground, “HellFire, Arise.”
The horse whinnied and appeared out of the lead candle. He took one look at me and Mari’Anya before he stomped around the room. I think he was looking for the ring or the King. “They are not here. The Prince stole the ring and the King is hiding somewhere.” I then started to think about something. I turned to Mari’Anya, “Did not Kell say something about the King being sick?”
Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?
“He was perfectly healthy when I left, but I am gone for one day and he suddenly gets sick. It seems… odd, does it not?”
Now that you mention it, yes, it does sound weird. Maybe we should investigate the castle a little bit more.
“Maybe I will find my blades somewhere.”
HellFire neighed at us, causing us to look at him. He was looking at the door, his eyes wide. There was a little child standing there, his eyes wide. He ran as soon as we saw him and I looked to Mari’Anya. “Wait!” I ran after him, hearing HellFire and Mari’Anya following close behind.
We looked out the door and saw him turn the corner at the other end of the hallway. I realized I had never been down that way, but I still bolted after him. “Wait! We just want to know what happened here!”
We turned the corner and saw him going down a hallway that led to many other hallways. This was the crossroads for the center of the castle. He turned down a hallway, third from the end and we followed him further. We went down the same hallway as him and saw him turn another corner.
This continued for half an hour, before we saw him disappear down a staircase. There was no light going down, but I found a wall sconce that would do just fine. “Please, HellFire?”
The horse seemed annoyed to be used for something like that, but it was needed. He sneezed on the sconce, fire burning my hand as it lit the sconce. “Thank you, HellFire.” We went down the stairs, being careful as we stepped into the darkness. We were as quick as we could be, going down stairs, but we lost sight of the boy.
We reached the end of the stairs and found a huge chamber filled with long benches and tables. “What is this place?”
I do not know. How about you, HellFire?
I looked at the two of them, wishing I could understand HellFire myself, but I understood too many languages as it was.
Council chamber and dungeon?
I went forward, thinking, “I wonder…” I ran to the other side of the council chamber to a thick wooden door. I kicked it open and saw a row of jail cells. “Hello?” I called out.
I heard feet moving, “Hello?!” I heard a female answer. “Anyone there?!”
I ran down to where I heard the voice and found Gleaning, Lush and Sybil in three different cells. They had been bound and I saw dried fluid on their thighs. “Are you all okay?”
“Great, we get found by the human who tried to kill us.” Gleaning scoffed.
Sybil growled, “Shut up, Gleaning.” She looked to me, her eyes pleading. “We have been tied down here for days since the humans left the castle.”
I opened the unlocked jail door and helped untie her. I heard Mari’Anya behind me, What are you doing!? They killed me!
“I know they killed you, but they are the only ones beside that kid we have found alive.” I dropped the rope that had held Sybil bound, as I heard Mari’Anya leave. She rubbed her wrists and arm, trying to get the blood flow back in them. “Now, start talking. Why did the humans attack the castle?”
Lush cackled, “Why do you think they attacked? They are humans and their Prince wants revenge.”
I looked to her, “I was not asking you. Out of the three of you, Sybil is the most reasonable one. Give me one reason I should not let you die here as you should.”
Gleaning and Lush did not answer, but Sybil did, “I know we did some bad things, but please realize, we were only doing as we were ordered.”
“Who gave the order?”
“Dante.” Her one word answer gave me all the information I needed.
“Fine then. I will untie you, but I need to know everything you know about this.”
Sybil answered before the others could, “My sisters and I agree.”
I went over to Lush and untied her. I went to Gleaning and though I felt hatred for this woman, I could not bring myself to let her die like this. “Will you all be fine if we leave you here?”
“We will be fine, but I have to tell you. I do not understand why you are helping us after what we did.” Gleaning admitted.
“Honestly truly, I do not understand myself. But your judgment lies in the hands of the Skae, not humans.”
I turned on m heel and went to leave, when Sybil called me back. “Hold on, you said you found a child?”
I turned, “Yes, it was a small child, maybe three. Dark eyes, pure white skin and short back hair. He led us down here.”
“We have seen him too.” She reached around her neck and pulled off a necklace. “He gave this to me. I think I am supposed to give it to you.” She threw it at me and I caught it easily. “Good luck with finding the King. We will try to get this castle back in working order and we will await your return.”
“Thank you.” I turned again and left the dungeon.
Gleaning’s voce trailed behind me, “Please bring back our people! We cannot allow the humans to kill them all off!”
I was back into the council chamber where Mari’Anya and HellFire were waiting. I still do not understand why you let them go. They should have died in there, like they deserved.
“Please, Mari’Anya. I know what they did was wrong, but they have been used and abused since the humans arrived in the castle. And Sybil gave me something that might help us.” She showed them the necklace. The pendant was a heart with flame coming from the top with rose thorns going across the heart surface. “What do you two think?”
HellFire wishes to know who gave that to her.
“She said that it was the little boy we had been following. She believes he led us to them for a reason.”
That makes sense, I guess.
I turned to the horse, “Do you know where this necklace came from?”
He neighed at me and Mari’Anya translated. He says it came from a remote region in the desert.
“Sounds good to me. Would you be able to show us how to get there?”
The horse nodded its head, giving me the feeling he was willing to go to the ends of the earth to find Lumin.
“Well, we can leave the door unlocked, so the she-Demons can leave.” I looked to Mari’Anya, “No, I still do not understand why I felt as if I needed to save them.”
She just rolled her eyes at me, Let us get back to the room and let us get out of here.
We walked around the castle, and thankfully, HellFire knew the way back to Lumin’s room. We walked into the destroyed room and looked around. I found my knapsack hiding in a bureau drawer along with my blades. “So that is where he hid them.” I grabbed them and opened the knapsack up. It had my normal garb of a black tunic and leggings. I went through Lumin’s other drawers and found lightweight and light colored clothes. I packed them into my bag, along with a single candle, the reflective glass, the knife, a quill, inkwell, blank book and the flint. I found another bag and looked to HellFire, “Can you lead me to the kitchen?”
HellFire led us through the castle and we found the kitchen easily. I went through all of the cupboards, finding dried food and a few canisters of ale, water and wine. I packed them all into the bag, fitting as much as I could into the bag. I put the blades on my back, making sure I could easily reach them if we were attacked, then I put on the bag of food. I then put my knapsack on, using the one strap to hang it close to my hip. “Well, I am ready, how about you two?”
They looked at each other before nodding; We are ready when you are.
“Then let us leave this place and find our king.” I smiled, following behind HellFire, out the castle gates.