“Does she always faint like this?” I heard Lord Masa’Kall joke.
I answered him, “Only when I do not like seeing someone’s ugly mug.”
He growled at me, “What was that?”
Milord, please understand when I say this, but get away from her throat. She is my charge and if you touch her, I will tear you to pieces.
“There is no need for that, Mari’Anya.” I said as I opened my eyes and sat up. “Well, I no longer have magick and I know who the child was.”
Mari’Anya sat in front of me, I am sorry about you losing your magick.
“So am I.” I tried to reach the magick, but it eluded my mental grasp. I felt empty inside, like my heart and soul were ripped away from me. “And we will not be seeing the little boy again.” I looked around and saw the council gathered around me.
“Are you alright?” Hiku placed his hand on my forehead.
“I will be fine. But I think Mari’Anya, HellFire and I need to try to find the King. With the help of the Demon army, we have a chance against the Prince.”
The council looked to one another, uneasy. “There is a problem with that plan.” Lord Maadian spoke first.
“What?” I felt my heart drop.
“If you do not find them within the next few days, the Prince will and your King’s time limit is up. You have until the full moon to find him.” Lord Glintz said next.
I stood up, using Mari’Anya as support. “Where are they?”
“No one knows. There is only one Demon who can find them.” The Dwarf Lord told me.
“Dante.” It was not a question.
They all nodded.
“Where do I find him?” I knew I would have to do all in my power to find him.
I saw Hiku grimace, “Twilight, do you remember the story Dyne used to tell us about the Seven Hills?”
I knew what the story was and it was not a good bedtime story for the children. “Yes, I remember it.”
“He got that story from a traveler who had been to the Seven Hills. You were too young to notice at the time, but he was missing one leg and both of his lower arms. He said there was a Demon sorcerer who had taken his limbs for a spell.”
“Any idea where he said the Seven Hills were?”
“‘In the place where the darkness and the light meet for the eternal dance.’” He quoted the straight from the story.
I had no clue where that could be. Then I remembered part of the story the traveler told us, “The Seven Hills is in the North. I remember something about the ice and snow.”
“I am going with you.” Hiku told me.
“Like Hell you are. Hiku, if you went with me, you would get killed on sight. Dante has been calling me to him since I first belonged to the Demon King.”
That and your brother is royalty.
“That and you are royalt- Wait. What?!” I looked to Mari’Anya, “How do you know?”
The rest of us can see it, even if you humans cannot. He is the heir to the throne of Ancial, the younger brother of the Prince. She smiled to me.
“And you could not tell me this before?”
It just came into light not too long ago. A Lady named Dawn told us.
“Hiku, you are the heir to Ancial, the only hope the human kingdom has left. You are not going with me, but do not worry. I have Mari’Anya and HellFire to help me.”
“About that…” Lord Masa’Kall spoke to me, “Mari’Anya is coming with us. She is a part of my people and she is therefore under my jurisdiction.”
I looked to her, and she looked at the ground, Regretfully, he is right. She looked to HellFire, Are you willing? He answered us by vanishing in a column of fire. He said that this is your journey now and no one can interfere.
“Joy, oh, Joy.” I felt downhearted, first I lost my King, then my magick, my family, then my friends. “Then I better get going.” I grabbed the bag of food off Mari’Anya’s back and pulled down my bag. I pulled out the dirty clothes and set them on the ground, not caring if anyone said anything. I pulled out the book, ink and quill, and left them next to the dirty clothing. I stuffed the food bag into my bag and slung it back onto my shoulder. “See you all later… Hopefully.” I turned and bolted away from the group, not giving them the chance to say anything.
I had been running for most of the day and part of the night, not stopping to rest. I knew if I slowed down or stopped, I was going to collapse. I did not think, feel or tried to allow myself to do anything but run. I finally stopped when the cold of the North got to me. I found a cave and took shelter as a blizzard raged outside. I put on every piece of clothing I had; but since it came from the desert, it did not give much of a barrier against the cold.
I went deeper into the cave, trying to find heat and kindling. I found a little bit of kindling from dried moss and I knew it would have to do. I shivered heavily as I tried to light the moss. I was able to get it lit, but it gave little warmth and little light. I held myself as I started to cry from what had happened over the last few weeks.
“I am never going to find Dante if this blizzard does not slow down soon…” I looked out to the dark snowstorm. “But I have to…” I stood up and tossed exhaustion to the side. “I have to find him tonight!” I vowed as I stepped back out into the snow and ice.
I could barely see in front of me as I reached out, to block the wind from sending snow into my eyes. I could make out a small batch of hills in the distance. I trudged towards them, my body starting to fail with each step. I reached the crest of one of the hills, when I collapsed on the ground, the snow and wind too much for my human body. I stopped shivering as I felt my body get colder. One last thought drifted through my mind as my body fell to the icy-cold hatred of the blizzard, I am sorry everyone… For failing you…
“Do you think she is going to be alright?” I heard a soft female voice asked about me.
“The more people ask that, the more I wonder about my ability to survive.” I spoke, my voice horse and quiet.
“I am surprised she survived that blizzard. I thought for sure we would not be able to reach her in time.” A male voice answered the woman.
I opened my eyes a little, just enough to see shapes, but nothing more. “Where am I?” I asked, my voice getting stronger.
“You have reached the center of the Seven Hills.” The male told me.
Through my squinted eyes, I saw the delicate horns that marked him as a Demon. He looked a lot like Lumin, though his features were a bit more human. “Dante?” I guessed.
“I would ask how you knew, but I have been watching you, Twilight Dawn.”
I tried to move, but when I found out I could not, my eyes flew open. “What is going on?”
“I told you, I have been watching you. I sent my shadows to capture you and the Keeper stopped them. I tried to seduce you with power but Mari’Anya stopped it. Then I learn you have come to find me and I guess you can see how joyous I am that you made the decision to visit me.” He smiled, his face happy and jubilant.
“Let me go!” I yelled, but nothing happened.
He lightly touched my face. “Ah, I see you lost her. Damn, but though the magick would have been helpful, it is not needed.” He turned away from me.
“What do you want from me?”
“I want you. Your body, soul, essence and mind. I have been looking for you since you were born, the child of destiny. I lost you when you wandered into the human kingdom but oh I felt so wonderful when I learned you chose to come to be the King’s bride.”
“Please, let me go!” I felt tears well up in my eyes, “I need to find him to save his life!”
“You should worry less about his life and more about yours.” He turned back around, holding a dagger. He looked across the table, “Would you make sure she cannot move, my dear?”
I turned and saw a rotting corpse holding my wrists above my head. “Yes, my love.” She was the female voice I heard earlier.
I could not take it, I screamed as loud as I could. A glass globe of a thick liquid exploded nearby. Dante stuck a piece of clothing in my mouth, muffling my scream. “Now, that was not very nice.”
He cut into my skin, on the inside of my thigh, being gentle for a sadist. He watched the blood flow slowly and turned to get a goblet. He set is between my legs, catching the flowing blood into the cup.
I screamed again, but the cloth caused limited sound to come from my lips.
He bent close to me, “Do not worry, I am not going to kill you. Just enslave you as I did to this lovely woman.”
I looked at the corpse and recognized her eyes from long ago. “It cannot be!”
“So, you recognize her for who she is?” Dante smiled, “Splendid! That means you two will get along perfectly well.”
The woman had fiery red hair and light hazel eyes. She was about my height and had the same body structure. I knew this woman, a memory from long ago, before I went to the human kingdom. “Mother! What did you do to her?!”
“The same thing I am going to do to you.” He put a finger to the side of his lip, thinking, “But I just could not think about what went wrong with her. Then when I learned about you, I had my answer. You were the child of destiny, the one who would unite the races and stop the human Prince from annihilating the other races. You are also only part human.”
I looked to the woman, “Mother, please help me.”
She shook her head, “I am not your mother, child.”
“Oh, did I mention that she has no recollection of anything before the experiment went wrong?” He grinned and danced around the table to where she was. He planted a kiss on her dried cracked lips.
“Please, I know you are my mother… I remember your eyes, special in the human race, they are rare and can only be passed from mother to daughter.” I told her. “You have to remember who I am. I am Twilight Dawn, your child.”
“My daughter died at birth.” Her voice was distant, but not without emotion.
“No, I did not. He is feeding you lies!” I felt my blood still flowing. I had to do something or I was going to bleed to death.
“Do not listen to this bastard child, my love. I have done nothing of the sort.”
“Mother, what was your child’s name?”
She thought for a tick, “Her name was strange, a lot like yours. It was Twilight… and whatever my surname is.”
“Mother, I am your child. Your surname is Dawn and I have been looking for you my whole life and you are going to let this Demon kill your only child. Please, remember when you gave birth, who was there?”
“It was my daughter, myself and…” She tried to think, “A man… My husband… My true love…”
“Describe him!” I had to hurry, my mind already growing fuzzy. How many times am I going to faint on this journey?
“He looked a lot like you, same facial features… He had light gray hair, blue eyes and…”
“And what, mother?”
“She is poisoning you with images, my love! Fight them!” Dante realized what my plan was. He grabbed the knife and pressed it to my throat, “I was going to allow you to live, but not anymore.”
“Wings…” My mother said, her voice kind and quiet. “He had wings… He was an Angel, not a Demon.” I saw a flash of intelligence glimmer in her eyes. “Dante, you are not my husband.” She saw the knife, “Step away from my daughter.” Hatred filled her eyes.
“My love, she has poisoned your thoughts. Fight against her influence.” He turned to face her, pleading to her.
“Dante, leave her alone. If you touch her with that knife, I will tear you limb from limb.” She picked him up by the collar and threw him aside, before untying my wrists. “Twilight, I am so sorry. I cannot believe what he did to my mind.”
I sat up and hugged her tightly. “Mother… I never thought I would find you.”
“I know, my daughter. But it is too late, I am dead and I must rejoin them in the earth.” She pressed her hand to the inside of my thigh, healing the wound.
Dante stood up, rage filling the air. “First my brother takes my throne and exiles me, and now you, his bride, takes away my love! You shall pay for this!” He threw the knife into my mother’s back. He spoke quickly, “The creation I made is showing insolence, send her back to the earth where she belongs!” My mother exploded into ash and dust, while I still held her.
I cried out, “No!” I looked to Dante, hatred for him filling my soul. I untied the ropes off my ankles and growled, “That is twice you took my mother away from me. The fires of the Depths will judge your actions and send you to an eternity of pain.” I swung my legs off the table and I stood on the ground.
He held his dagger high, as he charged at me. The world slowed down around us, as magick flowed through my body. The hatred I felt towards this Demon was seconded only to the Prince, but at this moment, he was my target. I dodged passed him, grabbing the knife from his hand. I swung the knife into his back.
The world sped up, as he slammed into a table with globes of liquid on them. “So you want to fire with magick?! You will lose, whore.” He used magick to pick up the table and throw it at me.
I stayed where I stood, the warmth of magick running through me. The table disintegrated not four inches from my face, becoming desert sand. I felt a wind kick up around us, as I sent the table-dust back at him.
He laughed as the dust did not hurt him, “You think a little dust can hurt me?!” He looked to where I stood, realizing I was gone. “Where-?!”
I came from behind him, plunging my hands into his back. I felt around and found what I was looking for. I ripped his heart out from his back, gripping it in my left hand. I kicked him forward, spinning him around. He looked at me astounded, “How-”
I started to squeeze his heart and he screamed for mercy. I stopped squeezing, “Where are the Demons?”
“They are with the Devils. They were caught not too long after the Prince killed the High Priestess of the Apocalypha. Please give my heart back!” He took a step forward, reaching for it.
“Thank you.” I squeezed the heart until it exploded in my hands.
He screamed in pain, before he himself exploded in a mass of blood, bone and thicker organs. I felt blood hit my face, a little of it getting onto my lips. I dropped the crushed heart on the ground and found my supplies. I went to a reflective glass and saw my irises a dark bloody red. There was blood splattered all over me, including a few streaks on my face and neck. I licked my lips clean of the blood and walked out of Dante’s hideaway.
The blizzard had stopped and I thought to myself, Dante was controlling the blizzard through his magick. I started to run towards where I knew the edge of the North was.
I had my magick back and I felt myself already starting to lose it. I knew I would not be able to use anything like that again, since it sapped most of my magick. I thought to myself, as I ran through the ice and cold, using my rage to heat my body. I have a limited quantity of magick, unlike a full angel… I wonder… I stopped moving as I felt my shoulders spasm.
I dropped to the snow covered ground, clutching my shoulders. I felt two razor sharp pains in my shoulders as two pure white wings erupt from my skin. I looked at both of them, as my left one became black with the darkness in my heart. “Lovely…” I touched the soft downy feathers and decided to save them for when I needed them.
I stood back up and ran towards the edge of the North. I thought to myself before dedicating my full mind, body and soul to running, I am on my way, Lumin… I will find you and I swear to you, you will live to see another day.
I made it to the edge of the Jungle to see the different races head off to Ancial, in a large precession in the desert. I ran over to them, reaching Hiku, Mari’Anya and HellFire at the front of the precession. “Hiku!” I yelled to him and he looked over to me.
He smiled to me, calling me over to them. I was out of breath when I reached to where they were leading the races. “Twilight!” He saw the wings protruding from my shoulders and looked at me confused, “What happened?”
“Hiku, I found my mother! Granted she was dead and was killed a second time in front of me, but I found her. Dante was holding her captive and I can tell you that we no longer need to worry about him trying to get me to give my blood to an altar.”
Mari’Anya looked to me, Did you learn where they are?
I looked at the ground, gloom filling me, “He said the Prince found them.” I reached into my pocket and felt a crumpled piece of parchment. I pulled it out and looked at it. It was the bloodied the High Priestess gave me. “Wait a tick. Hiku, would you say that you pretty much have the world memorized, right?”
He shook his head, “I would not say that.”
I handed him the parchment, “Where is that?”
He looked at the map and gave a sort of smile, “You should know that place as well as I do. That is the Siren’s Cave, the entrance to the Crossroads.”
Crossroads? Mari’Anya asked.
“The Crossroads in the Siren’s Cave is a split between the four Realms. You have our World, which is where we are, the Depths, where Devils reside, the Heights, where angels reside and Oblivion, the Dreamscape.” I answered her, going from the stories I remembered. I remembered what the High Priestess told me when I was in the Dreamscape. “I know where he is!” I gasped aloud.
“Where?” Hiku asked me.
“The King is in Oblivion and I bet the other Demons are trapped in the Depths. I remember that the Oblivion always amused the Prince and he said it was in that Realm he would take me.” I shuddered involuntarily.
Then what are we waiting for? Have the races attack him as a distraction while we get the King and the Demons out. Mari’Anya smiled at me.
“Will your Lord approve?”
Do I care? That answered my question. HellFire, arise, we know where our King is. HellFire erupted in a column of flames and nuzzled against my arm, showing that he was happy to see I survived.
The other Lords were looking at us, just noticing I was back. They all gathered around as the precession continued on passed us. Lord Masa’Kall talked first, “What have you learned, Angel?” I noticed his tone changed now that I was now longer seen as a Victual.
“I learned a hella lot, which means I know what to do now.”
Lord Maadian spoke, “What would you wish for us to do, milady?”
I smiled, “I just need you to get your races to Ancial and give a distraction. Mari’Anya, HellFire and I will find the Demons and we will attack from the flanks. We will crush the Prince and Hiku will take over command of Ancial. Maybe with the end of the old King and Queen’s dynasty there will be an end to the wars between our different races.”
Lord Glintz came close to my face, “Spoken like a true Lady…”
Lady Fero hit him in the arm, “No, spoken like a true Queen. She twas never a true Lady, though she was captured for that purpose.”
The Lords each put their hands to their chest except for Lord Masa’Kall, who roared loudly.
I turned to Hiku, “Good luck, my brother. Enlist the help of all able-bodied men in Ancial and seek help from the Gypsies.” I climbed up onto HellFire’s back and smiled to him, putting my fist to my chest.
“Take care of yourself and I had better see HellFire on the horizon soon. I do not know how long we can hold out against the Devils.” He put his fist to his chest.
I wheeled HellFire to the side, “Let us get going then. We do not have much time.” Mari’Anya opened her mouth and roared silently as HellFire neighed loudly.
We bolted out of the precession heading for the mythical place of Siren’s Cave.