Part 4 : Earth - New Eyes

 It was cold.  I shivered slightly.  My limbs felt stiff as I tried to stretch them out.  What had happened to make my muscles feel so sore?  I sat up, looking around.  I was in a clearing that looked vaguely familiar.  A group of people sat not far off, linked by a silver thread of magic.  I wondered what they were gathered around and why the air felt heavy with sadness.  A cold nose nuzzled my hand.  I smiled slightly as I saw a black she-wolf curled around me.  I ruffled her ears gently.  Movement from the group of people turned my attention back to them.  They had disbanded a little, two silver-haired men walking a little way off and start to dig a hole.  I saw what they were all gathered around.  A dead girl.  Disgust welled up inside me.  Had they murdered her?  No.  That didn't make sense when you considered the sadness in the air.  A strange cross between a human and a purple monkey stood up, taking the girl into his arms.  I watched with a child-like curiosity as he walked over to the hole and carefully laid the body inside it.  A girl with short, purple hair reached into the hole.  With the sound of metal rasping against metal, she pulled out a sword, thrusting it into the earth at the head of the grave.  A girl in ragged clothes detached herself from the group, heading towards me.  I tilted my head to one side as she crouched in front of me.  There was something about her that I knew, that I recognised.  It took her a few attempts, but she eventually said:

"I'm Alba."

"I know."  The words escaped from my mouth before I could stop them.  Yes, I did know her, but I couldn't remember how, or why.  Then again, I couldn't even remember my own name, who was I to judge? 

"Shadow?" Alba asked quietly, "is that still you?"

Once more the name sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it.  "I...I...I don't know..."  Tears welled up in Alba's eyes, spilling down her cheeks.  I felt terrible.  We glanced up as the purple monkey boy joined the little group. 

"Do you remember anything?"

"It seems like a dream..."

"A dream... You mean your memories are vague to you?"  He seemed to think for a moment.  He pulled a necklace, an amulet, from his pocket, showing it to me.  I frowned slightly.  There was something about it that I recognised.  "Do you remember this?"  I did, I remembered pain and blood.  The hurt of betrayal.

"It seems so far away... I remember blood, and betrayal, but that's all..."

"But who are you?" Alba blurted out.  I looked at her.  Her bright green eyes searched mine, attempting to see something.  I rubbed my temples, desperately trying to remember.  My fingers brushed over a thick scar around my eye.  Frowning, I tried to remember how I got it.  I shook my head.

"Everything is so mixed up, so blurred," I murmured, hugging my knees to my chest.  The rest of the group gathered around me, fixing hard, distrustful gazes on me.

"You can't even remember Vrael?  Vrael Mercian?" Bart asked quietly, pointing out one of the men in the group.  I tried to swallow my rising panic. 

"No!  I can't remember anything!"  Bart gently laid a hand on my shoulder, bringing my attention to him.  I calmed down a little, but I couldn't tear my gaze away from the silver-haired man's.  I slowly got to my feet, keeping a wary eye on everyone.  I backed away a couple of paces before turning tail and running as fast as I could.  I had to get away from them.  I didn't even know who these people were!  I found myself crashing to the ground.  The other silver-haired man had me pinned to the ground, snarling.  The rest of the mistrustful group gathered in a circle around me, surrounding me so that I couldn't escape.

"Shaeman!" Bart said, arriving alongside us.  "She's scared, that's all!  Just let me and Alba talk to her.  We might be able to get something out of her."

"We can't trust her," Shaeman spat. 

"We don't know if she's Shadow. She doesn't know if she's Shadow. We don't know anything about her. The only way we can is if we get her to think calmly."  Shaeman shifted, releasing his hold on me.  I sat up slowly, rolling my shoulders.  The wolf slunk alongside me, curling around me and licking my cheek.  I buried my hand in the thick fur around her neck.  Bart put a hand on my shoulder again, looking into my eyes. 

"Think carefully," he began, "Try to remember your name. Search deep into your memories, or else, I'll have to use magic and search the deepest of your thoughts."  I could feel his unease as he spoke, as if he really didn't want to.  I swallowed hard, trying to get a grip on my emotions long enough to form a coherent thought. 

"I remember lots of names..." I murmured.  "Wolf... Roth..."

"Well, uh, I guess we could call you Roth for now..."

"No," Shaeman interrupted, "She bears no relation to our clan, and therefore has no right to bear the name. Call her wolf, if she is so attached to the creature beside her."

Bart shot a glare at Shaeman before turning his gaze back to me, encouraging me to keep going.

"I remember battlefields, with lots of blood... I can remember a kind, black haired woman singing to me... I remember," I paused, opening my eyes wide, "I remember killing people... standing on a battlefield and killing people..."  Bart clamped a hand over my mouth.  I pulled away, burying my face in the wolf's fur.  I tried to bite back my sobs as memories assailed my mind.  So many memories of blood.  I tried to think through them.  I saw a man with four red eyes standing over me with a sword.  Of Bart's voice as he kissed my forehead.

"I...I remember...I remember that my name is Shadow."

"That's what we were supposing before..." he said, but he seemed to be more interested now.  "Do you remember anything else that might be good for our ears to hear?"

"I can remember everything..." I murmured, looking down at my hands. "But I can't believe that I'm still here..."  Alba was watching me with a confused and curious look on her face.  I shifted uncomfortably.  "Alba, can you stop looking at me like that?  I know I just died, but still..."

"Sorry," she murmured, looking away.  I glanced up at the ring of demons still surrounding me.  My family.  My clan.  The distrustful look on their faces made my heart ache.  Amarath looked down at me.

"Run, Wolf, run as fast as you can and never look back."


What else could I do?  I ran.


After two weeks, I sat in a cave, keeping a low profile.  The wolf that had appeared during my reincarnation curled herself around me.  I had decided to name her Wraith.  I don't know why.  It just seemed to suit the black wolf.  She started up her strange, canine version of a purr as I rubbed the diamond patch of white fur between her eyes.  I had managed to pinch a few pieces of clothing from washing lines in the city.  A hooded sweatshirt and jeans several sizes too big for me, but they were good enough.  My eyes were rimmed red from crying.  I had lost everything.  Everything I had held close.  All because of that stupid prophecy.  It made me want to scream, but my throat was already raw from screaming in rage.  I tugged on my hair, remembering the reflection I had seen in a window in the city.  I hadn't even recognised myself.  My eyes were still purple, but more angular, my ears more pointed.  My hair was still waist-length, but black, with two white streaks on one side. I looked as if I was fifteen.  No wonder the clan had chased me away.  I rested my head against the stone wall, trying to figure out what I was going to do.  I had never thought about what I would do with my life.  I had never had reason to think that I was going to live very long.  Now I had the whole of eternity stretching out before me as long as I kept away from fatal diseases and people who generally wanted to kill me.  I sighed heavily.  Now what?  I rested my head back against the stone wall, closing my eyes as I let despair wash over me once more.

"Shadow?" Called a voice.  I cracked open one eye.  Wraith's plumy tail beat out a rapid rhythm as she wagged it.  Bart Kraferr stood at the mouth of the cave, looking a little sheepish, his tail wrapped around his leg.  He stepped a little warily into the cave before gathering up his courage and sitting next to me.  "How're you holding up?"

"Bart, I killed my dad, got killed myself, reincarnated and then got rejected by my own family.  How do you think I'm holding up?" I replied bitterly.  Bart grimaced, the tip of his tail flicking as if it just couldn't keep still.

"Well...uh...I..." Bart trailed off, looking towards the mouth of the cave.  I followed his line of sight.  The tops of the trees were waving in a peculiar pattern, almost circular. 

"Bart..." I said quietly, warningly.  A helicopter swung into view.  I charged at Bart, knocking him into the shadows at the back of the cave.  The milita swarmed into the cave, weapons at the ready.  I drew a knife I had managed to steal, preparing myself to fight once more.  I glared at them, trying to seem as menacing as possible.  From out of nowhere, a rifle butt collided with my temple.  In a shower of stars, I went down.


The thing with the milita is that they learn from their mistakes.  Although they didn't know that I had actually had help to escape from the cell the last time, they had taken extra care in shackling one arm to the wall and fixing bands of silver around my wrists and ankles.  I sat rigid in the cell, trying not to move so as not to aggravate the burns and sores opening beneath the silver.  I had already gouged deep scratches in my skin around the metal in an attempt to get them off, the effort and pain proving futile.  A pair of guards arrived to take me to what I guessed was going to be a round of torture disguised as experimentation.   Whoopee.  I can't wait. 


Instead of being taken to the lab, however, the guards escorted me down a different corridor of the underground base to a concrete bunker-type room.  This was odd.  Two scientists were already standing there, waiting.  I watched them with what I hoped was a look of bored annoyance on my face.  They didn't react to it, instead looking down at their clipboards.

"Despite a different look, this is specimen 004-666.  The mark is still on its shoulder and the blood tests came up exactly the same.  Do we assume that they can actually change their physical appearance?"

"We can't be sure for now.  In any case, let us test that device before the demon gets any funny ideas."  The soldiers gripped my arms firmly as the scientists took a loop of metal out of a box.  As they came closer, I noticed various wires and circuit boards in the metal, giving the whole thing an appearance of a computer gone wrong.  Whatever this thing was, I was pretty sure I didn't want it anywhere near me.  Everything about it seemed wrong.  Unfortunately, I didn't have much of a choice.  The strange thing was fixed around my neck.  As soon as the two ends joined, the little switch in my head that controlled my transformations flipped. 


Normally, my transition between humanoid and wolf is smooth, the joints, muscles and fur acting as if a well greased machine.  This transformation was all wrong.  Every inch of my skin burned as fur pushed its way to the surface.  My bones snapped to fuse themselves in different positions.  Pain ripped through my spine as the extra vertebrae of my tail formed.  My hands and feet folded up on themselves to make paws.  My screams of agony turned to howl of pain as my face elongated and vocal chords rearranged themselves.  My entire body ached as I lay, panting hard, on my side on the cold floor.  The scientists chattered excitedly to each other.  I twitched my ears feebly to try and catch their words, but my muscles were too exhausted.  Anger started to blossom in my chest.  They had put me through all that agony and all they could think to do was to stand there and make stupid notes on their goddamned clipboards!  A growl rose from deep within my belly.  Gathering every possible scrap of courage to withstand the chorus of aches in my body, I launched myself at them, teeth bared in a snarl.  Grim satisfaction flooded through me as I felt my mouth lock around soft flesh.  Blood spurted into my mouth.  Muscle tore beneath my claws as I gouged at the scientist screaming beneath me.  The rich feeling of vindication surged through me.  Even as blows rained down on me from the other scientist, I didn't care.  The guards pulled me off by the scruff of my neck, clamping my jaws shut.  The scientists I hadn't attacked jumped forwards to take the collar off my neck.  I collapsed to the floor as the transformation once more wreaked havoc through my body until I, once more, lay as a humanoid.  I couldn't help it as a bubble of laughter floated up from my aching chest.  I had attacked one of them.  I had attacked one of them!  It felt so good, like I had finally done something I had needed to do for a long time.  They deserved it.  They deserved everything I dished out to them for everything they had done to me!  I was still laughing when a needle slid into my skin, releasing a sedative into my system.


The feeling of vindication and fulfilment had gone by the time the sedative had started to wear off.  Instead, it was replaced by the feeling that I was in for it now.  I sighed heavily, rolling over, the clinking of the chain tying me to the wall the only sound to echo in the tiny cell.  I glared at the wall, cursing myself for getting into this mess in the first place.  It wasn't like Amarath was going to come dashing to the rescue this time.  Not while they thought their sister was now lying six feet under in a clearing next to the house.  I sighed again, scratching at the silver bands.  Blood started to clot under my claws as I did, but I wasn't paying attention.  Somewhere on the floor, a piece of paper fluttered.  I frowned.  That wasn't normal.  I wasn't allowed anything in the cell.  The scientists were too scared that I'd find out a way to escape.  I glanced at the floor.  Sure enough, there was a piece of paper there.  I reached down to pick it up, straining slightly against the chain in order to reach it.  Two words had been scribbled on the scrap.

Hey there.  I glanced at outside the cell, at the two guards who stood in front as an extra precaution.  One of them turned his head slightly.  Hope flared up in my heart.  Bart!  He smiled a little, turning around and reaching for the keys on the belt of the uniform I guessed he'd nicked.  The other guard turned as well, showing Dominique's serious, I'm-trying-not-to-smile face.  I had never been so glad to see the pair of them.  The door swung open.  Dominique pulled a pair of handcuffs from her belt, clamping them over my wrists as Bart unlocked the chain.  Neither of them spoke, but I knew that they were trying to simulate what the real guards would have done.


Bart teleported us away as soon as we had lost sight of the milita's headquarters, landing back in the cave.  Well, I say he teleported us.  If he hadn't had help, we would have ended up in the North Pole.  I tiredly made a mental note to teach him how to teleport properly without Dominique having to navigate for him.  I leant against the wall, trying not to throw up.  Bart really hadn't got the hang of teleporting.  Waiting until the wave of nausea passed, I closed my eyes.  Every single part of my body ached from the forced morph.  Dominique stepped up to my side silently, putting her hands over each of the silver bands in turn.  With a murmured word, they cracked and dropped from my limbs.  I nearly cried in relief.  The skin where the metal had touched had been burnt black, angry red sores weeping clear fluid breaking the dark colour. 

"Bart, can you heal those?" Dominique asked quietly as I sank to the ground.  My skin crawled and itched as he touched the wounds, concentrating on healing them.  When only faint scars remained, he sat back, sweat beading his brow. 

"Thank you," I said to the pair of them, knowing that the simple words didn't express the extent of my gratitude towards them.  Bart smiled weakly, getting to his feet to go and curl up at the back of a cave.  His light snoring soon began to echo off the walls.  I sympathised with him.  Healing took a lot of energy.  Dominique sat and watched him quietly.  I closed my eyes, hoping to get some sleep myself.  It would seem that fate was not on my side. 


It didn't take long for us to realise something was wrong with Bart.  His breathing started to become hoarse.  He twitched as if he was fighting someone in his dreams.  In the gloomy light, I spied the bony spines of his part demon form protruding from his back.  Oh bugger.  The static feel of magic filled the air as e began to lose control.  Pulling Dominique back, I tried to think of something, anything I could do.  Only one thing came to mind.  I had to fight him, try and bring him back that way.  I summoned my magic, issuing a challenge.  Four red eyes illuminated the darkness near Bart's head. 

"Dominique, you've got to try and stay out of this fight," I warned the Kraferrin.  I didn't want her getting hurt.  This was going to be an intense enough fight without me worrying about trying to pull my shots in case they hit her. 

"Shadow, you know that Bart's a Kraferr. I know more things about Kraferrs than you so, like their weak points and reflexes. You need my help!"  Bart leapt forwards, trying to land a punch.  I bared my teeth at him as I jumped away, throwing up my mental defences.  The battle had begun.

"He's also a demon!  You have no idea how much that changes things!"  Bart tried to attack again, magic strengthening the blow.  I closed my eyes, letting my own demon side burst forth.  It flooded through my muscles, taking control.  My vision turned red.  I brought my arms up to cross them in front of my head and chest, strengthening a shield I had created from my magic.  Bart crashed into it with astonishing force.  Despite the shield, I staggered back.  Bart retreated a few paces, planning his next move.  I took a deep breath, trying to get my demon side back under control.  He drew one hand back.  I braced myself.  He threw a bolt of magic.  It bypassed my shields easily, striking my shoulder.  Snarling in pain, I started to launch my own magical attacks at him.  I managed to get his right knee, weakening him considerably and hampering his movement.  I had to try to bring him down.  I threw another bolt at his knee, trying to destabilise him enough to make him fall.  As soon as he started to wobble, I curved another blast round his back, knocking him onto his stomach.  I manipulated a net of magic to pin him down, muttering a string of spells under my breath in an attempt to keep him there.  He struggled madly, forcing me to double my efforts to keep him down.  Slowly, he started to calm.

"Bart?" I asked quietly, wondering who was going to answer me.  The Kraferr or the demon?  The being under the net of magic started to laugh.  It wasn't in mirth.  It was high and mocking.  It chilled my bones to hear it.  I wanted to clamp my hands over my ears just to keep it out.  "Who are you?" I snarled, feeling the deep vibrations in the ground that told me I was using my demon voice.  "Identify yourself!"

The laugh faded away much to my relief.  "You've changed a lot, I see, ever since my death. If I told you the truth of who I really was, you wouldn't believe a word I say."

I ground my teeth.  This was definitely a demon presence.  I decided to pull the power card.  "I am Shadow Roth, heir to Karthragan, Prince of Darkness. I demand to know your identity!"

"I am what you were in the past. Shadow Roth- before the prophecy.  I am what you would call – yourself." 

"You are not me. I was in control of my other side. It posed no threat!" I snarled, but in the back of my mind, I wished that I could believe my own words.  With a near deafening crack, Bart broke free of the net of magic, aiming a kick at my chest.  It connected, sending me flying back.  Shaking my head to clear the daze, I started to get angry.  If this really was the demon side he had inherited through my blood, I should have no qualms about bringing him down as efficiently as possible.  Taking three running steps, I executed a manoeuvre Amarath had spent hours upon hours teaching me.  Using my magic to help me, I jumped over Bart, turning on myself to land facing his back.  As soon as my feet touched the ground I dropped a little to turn a roundhouse kick.  Bart ducked to try and avoid the attack.  My foot struck his neck with a sickening crack.  He lay sprawled on the ground.  Seeing him there broken every hold my demon side hand on me.  I crouched next to the Kraferr, running a light hand over the damage I had inflicted.

"What did you do to him?" Dominique screeched, reminding me of her presence. 

"Broke his neck by the looks of it," I said.  I moved his head as gently as possible, realigning the bones the best I could before my magic healed the injury.  I sat back, exhausted.  I struggled to keep my eyes open.  Without the adrenaline rush of the fight, I could barely stay awake.  Dominique knelt by Bart's side, stroking his hair.  I let my head fall back as I tried to think about the chances of Bart reawakening as the demon.  From what I could determine, they were pretty slim.  That was comforting at least. 

"Shadow?" Dominique sounded nervous.  I opened one eye I hadn't even realised I had closed.


"Do you know how to tell if someone's sterile?"  I had to think about that one for a few moments, coaxing my mind to give me thoughts that were at least vaguely coordinated.  It was pretty much like trying to get Amarath to stop sleeping with every single sword she owned.  Unlike that venture, I did manage to remember a spell from the book Armen had given me.  It wasn't specifically for testing someone's fertility, but it was close enough.  I nodded to the Kraferrin. 

"Could... Could you perform it?" She asked.  With a heavy sigh, I moved to sit closer to her.  Taking her hands, I pressed them together between mine, focusing on the spell I needed.  It was pretty long and not one I had ever used before.  Had it been anyone else but one of the people who had rescued me from the milita, I would have said no.  But I owed Dominique a favour.  I watched out joined hands carefully.  Dominique was staring at them with a single-minded determination I hadn't seen since I hid the dictionary from Onyx and she had all but torn the house apart in search of it.  My magic started to spark above our joined hands, like tiny droplets of fire.  They took the form of a triangle with the single summit facing upwards.  Dominique looked at me.

"Well?  What does that mean?"  I had to take a moment to try and best phrase the spell's findings. 

"I'm sorry Dominique, it's not possible for you to bear a child."  Not knowing what to do, I got to my feet, moving to the back of the cave where I curled up, closing my eyes.


When I woke, the cave was silent.  Bart and Dominique were nowhere to be seen.  Bright daylight spilled through the mouth of the cave, lighting up the interior better than a lightbulb ever could.  I yawned, stretching before running a hand through my unruly hair.  You could say that I was really not a morning person.  Someone coughed politely from the mouth of the cave.  I leapt to my feet, drawing my dagger.  A young woman stood there.  She felt and looked nervous as she bowed to me, one hand fisted over her heart.

"Please excuse me for this intrusion, Princess," she said, "but the council of Aspheri wishes to know if you intend on stepping up to take the throne?  If so, I have been instructed to escort you to the dimension and serve as your lady's maid."

Princess?  I had to sit down again.  Of course.  The prophecy said that the victor of the fight was to take over rule of the dimension.  The demoness gasped, rushing to my side, fussing over me.  I pushed her away with assurances that I was fine, just a little shocked.  She nodded primly, stepping back.  I took a deep breath.  I had nothing left in this dimension.  Not now that my clan had rejected me.  I looked up at the other demoness.  Getting to my feet, I raised my chin, standing tall.

"Yes, I will take over rule of Aspheri in my father's stead."

The demoness squealed in delight, clapping her hands.  I couldn't help but smile.  Her joy was infectious.  But my smile faded a little as I remembered Bart and everything he had done.  I couldn't leave the dimension without saying goodbye.


The demoness agreed to let me have a little more time to myself, to say goodbye to the Kraferr. I tracked his signature, teleporting to a small lake not far away.  Well, his final teleportation ended up at the lake, or rather in it.  In the last ten minutes, he had made at least five attempts.  One of them landed him in Antartica.  I crouched on a boulder on the shore of the water, watching as the Kraferr pulled himself out, soaking wet.

"Well, I have to say it, apart from Archangel and Onyx's failed attempts at navigation during their teleportation, you have got to be one of the worst cases I've seen." I tilted my head to one side as I watched him, "Most demons actually manage to get within one kilometre of their target on the third attempt. I think you broke the record."

"Shadow!" He protested, "I'm trying!  Not my fault I can't get it right!  I'm used to just being a Kraferr. Demons have magic throughout their whole lives. I've only used magic occasionally up to now... And I'm still worried about my demonic crisis. If ever that happens again, and that you aren't there, you can say bye-bye to most of people on the face of the earth..."

I chewed the inside of my cheek, wondering if I should tell him now that I wasn't going to be around anymore.  I opted not to.  Not yet.  "Part demons only have their magic from around their third year of life.  Other than that, welcome to the life of every part demon that has ever existed. You're lucky. You're not alone."

"I'm going to get this teleportation thing sooner or later. Just watch me," Bart said. There was a hint of boastfulness in his voice.  I tried hard not to laugh.  "I'll get it in no time. I think I got the knack now..."

"Yeah... we'll see about that..."  I walked a little closer to the Kraferr before pushing him back into the lake, teleporting to the other side of the water, yelling out: "Tag!"

Bart broke the surface, spluttering in confusion.  Seeing the smile creeping over my face, he concentrated hard for a moment, vanishing from the lake, appearing a couple of metres away from me.  Trying to hold back my laughter, I teleported away again as he lunged for me.  The game turned into a lightening quick battle of wits, trying to outsmart each other.  It was a case of trying to get to grip on your new surroundings before the other cottoned on to the fact that you were there.  We both ended up in the water more than once when we forgot to be precise in our coordinates.  Bart managed to tag me once, but I got him back.  Before long, we were breathless from laughing, sitting on the banks of the lake, wringing out hair and fur.  I wiped the tears of laughter from my cheeks, turning to look at Bart.  Movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.  Oh goddess.  I got to my feet, facing Vrael, Shaeman and Amarath.  Bart scrambled to his feet.

"Don't come any closer!" He warned.  The demons didn't move, staring at me.  I gritted my teeth.  They were testing their dominance over me.  Ok, so I had decided to take my father's place, but this was really not the time to bring that up.  I broke eye contact with them, lowering my gaze, admitting that they were stronger than me.  In pretty much every sense, they were.  Three on two.  More specifically three trained warriors against one warrior and a half-trained Kraferr.  Not great odds.  Vrael pulled an arrow from his quiver, nocking it onto his bow.  I kept an eye on that.  It didn't bode well, especially not at this range.  If he had his bow out, I would rather be on the other side of the lake to him.  Vrael's skill with a bow had been honed over years and turned his muscles into steel.  From this range, his arrow could easily go straight through me.  Shaeman and Amarath pulled out their own weapons, Shaeman his throwing stars and Amarath her sword.  I drew my dagger, but placed it on the ground, signalling to them that I was not a threat to them.  I was never unarmed while I had my magic, but it was the symbolism of the act that counted.  I dropped slowly to one knee, fisting a hand over my heart in a sign of respect.  I glanced up at them before getting back to my feet.  Vrael was scowling, an expression I had rarely seen on his face before.  He was always so calm, so rational.  To see a look of such open hatred and anger on his face was terrifying.  He raised his bow in warning, pulling back the string.

"What are you doing here?" Shaeman demanded.

"Training.  I was helping Bart with his teleportation," I answered calmly, trying not to think of the drawn weapons on front of me.  If I thought about them, I'd break down.  I was sure of it.

"Leave, now," Vrael ordered.  I raised my head so as to stand tall.  With hindsight, I would realise just how stupid a move this was at that stage.

"This isn't clan territory.  We have a right to train here as long as we don't attract attention to the clan, which we haven't."  Vrael's arrow buried itself in my shoulder.  I didn't react, as hard as it was not to flinch.  Hoping my voice didn't shake, I spoke again.  "Have you got that out of your system now?"  Vrael didn't answer, taking another arrow from his quiver.  I raised an eyebrow, but I didn't want to start a full on fight.  Touching Bart's shoulder, I turned my back on them and started to walk away from the three demons, my three siblings.  I steeled my mind, trying to escape the emotions that wanted to run riot through my mind.  The hurt of being rejected by my own family, the denial that Vrael had hurt me of his own free will, the disbelief of their coldness.  I reached up to my shoulder, pulling the arrow from my flesh and throwing it to the ground.  Once we were out of sight of the other demons, Bart turned to me, laying a hand on my injured shoulder.   I felt the skin crawling as if swarmed by insects as it healed over beneath his hand.

"Thanks," I said, flopping down against a tree.  He watched me for a moment before sitting down.

"What are you going to do now?" He asked.  I turned to look at him.  Time to let loose the news.

"I'm going to Aspheri, the demon's dimension, to take over Karthragan's place."  For a moment, he said nothing, but then he nodded.

"You're going to finish the prophecy."  He looked at me with a sadness in his eyes that I could feel, but couldn't find the cause of.  "I wish you good luck with that."

I smiled at him a little sadly before kissing him on the forehead.  "Kraferric way of saying goodbye," I murmured, echoing the words he had spoken to me the night I died.  Before he could answer, I teleported away, back to my cave where the demoness was waiting for me, to take me to Aspheri.

The End

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