Upon the double-eclipse of the red sun and blue sun; five will come to our reality from another. They will wield great power - in various guises. Four among them will aid us against the darkness that engulfs our realm. However, one will be a great hindrance. Their bonds in this world and theirs will determine the fate we face. And when time has come to pass upon them, only two will return to their world.
-- The Prophecy of Five
Attributed to Oneiromancer Dalgess IV of House Ettaph *
Delivered to His Royal Wiseness, King Prucius, upon his deathbed.
* Scribe's Note: It is rumored that Dalgess was possessed at the time by Demigod Alnneyz
An adolescent boy was seated within a subway train, a thick medieval fantasy novel between his legs. He was slouching uncomfortably over it, nestled between two strangers in the seats beside him.
Darn the bet, his thoughts cursed.
However, that was not why he could not concentrate upon what he was reading. That was not why his leg was tapping nervously. There was a young woman seated across from him, just a year older than him. Her fingers were tapping away at a hand-held video game. He knew her, as they regularly attend the same school.
If I don't tell her how I feel here and now, he deliberated, I get all the chores for the next two weeks. Darn Aaron and his bets. She gets off in two more stations. Hmmph, he thinks I'm a coward with my feelings! I'll show him.
He closed the book, committing the page number to memory, and looked across the aisle of the train at her; past silver bars and by standing, seatless strangers. And as she looked up to meet his gaze, he averted it.
"Moe," she said. "Your brother told me you had something to talk to me about?" Yet he avoided me all day at school? And there was something odd about the tone in his brother's voice.
Moe fidgeted awkwardly, sliding the thick paperback into a large pocket in his baggy jeans. Then, he pulled himself up from his seat by the silver bars of the subway car. And, then, as he made his way across the aisle, time stilled.
"What the heck?" Moe queried rhetorically.
The speeding subway car seemed to have braked to a halt, however it was sudden and without screeching. Out the windows, he saw no station. It was just a dark tunnel, with a few dim lights.
And all around him, people were frozen.
She was frozen!
Alison! He began to reach out, to move the hair from her face. And that is when things became stranger.
The floor at his feat was cleaved jaggedly in two by a shadowy lack of light. The black scar ran across the length of the aisle diagonally. It had severed passengers, windows and walls in its wake. And at that moment, it all pulled apart.
A solemn voice from nowhere intoned, "I have found the fifth, Master. He is falling now."
The other people on the subway remained immobile, and those split by the dark rending seemed indifferent.
"Ahhhhhh!" Moe yelled.
His screams fell upon stilled eardrums. And, with one foot on either side of the cleft, Moe lost his balance and fell, backpack hanging loosely off one shoulder. With his right hand, he caught a silver bar. And he hung above the abyss, as a shaded wind pulled downward at him.
"Alison, grab my hand!" he yelled, body swaying, as his left arm strained towards her.
She remained frozen.
His grip on the pole began to falter. And with his last strength, he swung his legs to the right, away from her. And then he swung back, like a pendulum, and let go. And in the brief moment that followed, Moe took the opportunity to grab Alison by the ankle.
Suddenly, she was tuned into the bizarre occurrence and screamed. She flailed her arms, dropped her hand-held gaming device, and slid from her seat and across the floor.
Giving up, and not wanting to pull her down too, Moe relinquished his grip.
However, there were no silver poles within her reach. Alison dug her hands into the edge of the floor, dangling above she heard Moe fall into the abyss.
"Noooo," he yelled. "Save yourself!"
Alison could feel her feet dangling against the edge of the tracks beneath the subway car. Though it was the only thing to grab onto, she feared the electrocution - and knew that if she avoided the wires, she'd still be grasping at hard pavement.
With a gasp of frustration and a look of despair upon her slender face, Alison fell after Moe, into the gaping fissure.
And as the adolescent boy and girl were lost in the darkness below, the cleft shut itself with a clap of dark light.
However, before the course of reality could resume, two voices fell unheard, from nowhere, upon the stilled passengers of the subway car.
"A sixth!? A sixth!" a commanding, outraged voice.
"Master Alnneyz, I assure you," the same solemn voice from before, now quiet with shame. "I followed the procedure!"
"You let a sixth Terran human fall!" Alnneyz's deep voice carried rich overtones, arching into high frequencies. "You defied the prophecy. That will diminish their belief in us. And when their belief falters, we cease to exist!"
"Master, I will kill one in our world, where we have divine jurisdiction and power."
"That's more like it! Fate is an artificial construct, and as such, we must guard it. Now, that is, very much, what I like to hear. I do not care which one of the six you kill, so long as it is not the one marked by my sister."
"Very well, Master. Consider it done."
Time hung still no longer. And whether either seat was empty or not; nobody noticed.