Shattered

They were plotting against me. I just didn't realize it until it was too late.

The dank catacombs beneath the castle were large and gloomy. Rats scurried around in the shadows; large spiders hung from their webs, waiting patiently for some insect to happen apon them and become their next meal.

One living demon walked steadly through the catacombs, torch in a pale, clawed hand. The torch cast a yellow orange glow upon the cold stone walls, highlighting the moss and ice crystals that had formed there. The demon's foot steps bounced off the walls and the ceiling, echoing throughout the hall she walked in and causing the rats to hurry away, fearing the loud sounds and the bright light.

The demon's foot steps slowed as she neared a certain section in the hall way. She stopped and looked to her left. Three skeletons were laid carefully upon seperate shelves, each of them clothed in a black cloak. The demon bowed her head in respect, long amber colored hair spilling from beneath her hood.

After a few seconds, she raised her head and began to walk again, faster than she had been before she had paused.

She walked for nearly a half hour down the cold hallways. There were no more bodies filling the shelves like the three she had seen earlier.

Slowly, the hallway opened up to a large circular room. This room was marginally warmer than the rest of the catacombs, and a large platform rose up in the middle of it.

The platform stood about three feet in height, and was made entirely from marble. Two figures lay on the platform, flesh entirely in tact. As the demon neared, the two appared to be asleep.

The form on the right side of the platform was tiny. Snow white curls spread about the platform, eventually tumbling off of the platform and brushing the floor. Her face was small, delicate and finely boned with high cheekbones and pale pink lips. The girl looked to be about fifteen, with skin just a shade or two darker than her hair. A fine, delicate pair of black cat ears peeked out from the top of her head, nearly invisible amongst the mass of white curls.

The form on the left side was slightly larger. Hair black as a raven's wing covered his forhead and hung down into his closed eyes. His face was slightly broader, but he too had high cheekbones, though he looked to be about seventeen compared to the female lying next to him. His skin was tan, like he'd spent a day out in the sun.

The demon reached her hand out and touched the female's face. Her skin was ice cold, almost like she'd been encased in a glacier from birth. The demon then moved her hand to the male's face. His skin was burning hot.

"They're awakening," the demon murmured. Her voice was low and soft, with an underlying sweetness to it. "They're awakening."

xXx

Twelve years later

A group of four people were dressed in black cloaks. As they walked, their cloaks fluttered and snapped in the wind. No sound came from the four other than the faint sound of breathing and footsteps.

They were walking through a dense forest. Dead leaves and pine needles covered the ground, thick. The trees blocked out the sky, as well as the moonlight. It was pitch black; the only light inside the forest itself was from the lantern that the shortest of the black cloaked people held, lighting the way.

The howling of wolves sounded in the near distance, but it did not faze the small group. A chilling breeze swept through the forest, making the trees sway and moan. The breeze itself tore off one of the cloaked people s cowls, revealing whitish blond hair pulled into a tight bun. The person itself was a female, with a narrow face and piercing jade eyes. She did not bother to replace the hood as they forged on.

Without warning, the one holding the lantern disappeared into a thick wall of low sweeping willow branches. One by one, the other three followed to emerge in a large clearing. Moss covered the ground as well as the trunks of most of the trees. Ivy and morning glories wound their ways up the trunks as well.

There was light in this clearing; illuminated by fireflies. The short one blew out the flame in the lantern, and then set it down upon the ground gently. They straightened, and then drew back their hood. "Now, tell us, brother, why you have asked for us to meet in this place," she commanded, voice cold as ice. You know we re not to be away from the castle this late at night, let alone with only one guard-especially in this forest.

The tallest of the group reached up with a pale, long fingered hand and unhooked the clasp that held the cloak together at the nape of his neck. Once the clasp was unhooked, he shrugged off his cloak; it fell to the ground in a heap behind him. "I have asked for us to meet here because I cannot speak to you anywhere else without anyone overhearing," he said. His voice was just as cold as his sisters, however dull. He shook his head slightly, trying to get a piece of his black hair out of his dark emerald eyes.

"Well then, what is it you need to tell us?" the blond one asked, jade eyes fluttering quickly over the base of the tree trunk next to her. She smiled lightly as one of the vines of ivy unwired itself from the tree and wrapped around her wrist, hugging it.

The black haired male glanced over his shoulder at the only person still hooded. They stood silently, studying their surroundings. He then looked to the short female, whose sapphire blue eye and topaz colored eye glared at him. Her delicate, fairy like features were framed by glacier white curls that ended just below her shoulder blades. She was heterochromatic-- her eyes were two different colors due to her genes. "I need to speak to you all of your last fit, Lennana," he said.

The white haired woman shut her eyes. "I had a fit?" she asked softly. "I was unaware of such. Did Mother hear?" The blond haired woman was more interested in the vine of ivy wrapped around her wrist as she answered.

"Yes, you did. No, Mother did not hear." Her pointed ears twitched slightly as she slipped the vine from her wrist and turned to face Lennana and her brother. "However, Milan did." Lennana sighed and opened her eyes to look at the hooded person.

"Illyana, I suppose you silenced Milan?" The hooded person nodded.

"As soon as it happened, mistress." The voice was low, female. Lennana closed her eyes again and tilted her head to the side, raising a pale hand to her forehead.

"What exactly did I say?" she inquired quietly. The black haired man smiled grimly.

He said:

Ashes to ashes,

Dust to dust,

Step aside fore the willow branch bust,

Aura so black

Eyes ice blue

Beware fore the dark consume you.

The clearing was silent as the words hung in the air. After a moment, the man asked, "What does it mean?"

The blond stepped over the Lennana. "Can't we break it down, sister?" she asked. Lennana opened her eyes again and brought her head up.

"I suppose we could," she said slowly. Her eyes flicked to her raven haired brother. "Well, Shiki. Do you care to take a crack at it?" Shiki smiled.

"You're the only one with a black aura that is in existence besides Illyana back there," he said. "However." He began to pace back and forth in the clearing. "You have but one blue eye, and that is not ice looking. Illyana has two blue eyes, but they are sapphire." Shiki stopped pacing and looked to the blond girl. "Kitsaia, would you like to try it?"

The blond smiled. "Ashes to ashes, "she said slowly. "Hmmm...Well, based on your fits from before, Lennana, I would say that ashes to ashes meant something about much death." Her tone was carefree and light. "Illy, you try! And remove your hood!"

Illyana did as Kitsaia commanded her and removed her hood. Light pink hair tumbled freely to just below her chin. "Beware fore the dark consume you. I can only suppose that whoever it is isn't going to walk towards the light." She was silent after her two sentences.

"We can only assume that dust to dust takes meaning to something about ancient things," Lennana said. She swept her hands over the back of her buttocks and cloak before taking a seat on the dew slicked ground. "As to what the line about the willow branches- she waved her hands around the clearing, indicating the many willow trees and their branches "-we can only wonder.

Shiki frowned slightly. "I also came to discuss another thing with you." He glanced over his shoulder, where Illyana still stood. "All of you." Illyana blinked and moved to stand beside him.

Well, what is it?" Kitsaia prompted. Shiki's snow white wolf tail flicked slightly in annoyance.

"I think Mother is up to something nasty." Lennana's black ears that were set atop her head twitched.

"Why would you think that? She's always up to something nasty, if you don't remember." Kitsaia and Shiki both shuddered. Nearly three thousand years ago, their Mother had had their aunt place them in an enchanted sleep and erase their memories because things weren t going according to plan . The three of them were slowly beginning to get their memories back.

"Yes, I vaguely remember something of the sort," Shiki stated. "However, I do believe that whatever it is is far nastier than anything she's ever done."

In the distance, they heard the howling of wolves and the ripping of flesh.

The End

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