All i know so far is that I want Paige to almost fail and almost become a Hopeless. Other than that, you can do whatever you like to it. Just stick to the facts given in the Preface (this) please!
I stepped out into the hallway, shutting the door firmly. I ran my long white fingers over the brass handle. 'Eclipse!' I commanded. The wood-and-stone wall slid over the door, concealing it. Good.
I fastened the burgundy cloak under my chin and hurried down the stairwell. I couldn't miss this next one. A strong, willing girl of extraordinary beauty. Such a waste; why take her own life? Why had they all?
When I came down, the door was already glowing. Drat. I ought to have been there sooner. I did my best to compose myself - smoothing my dark shirt and even darker ponytail - and sat in a chair by the roaring fire. By now, the main door was rattling and humming. I drummed my fingers impatiently on the tabletop but it ceased after a short moment.
She had arrived.
There was a gentle, timid tap. 'Come in!' my voice rang out clearly.
A very young, untidy, dark-haired girl shuffled in. She was white and spindly, dressed simply in black pants of some kind and a loose purple tunic. The picture of innocence. I smiled, indicating the seat in front of me. The girl sat instantaneously, not one taking her eyes off me.
'May I asked your name, child?' Her pointed little chin jutted up, eyes alight with rage. 'I am fifteen - I don't appreciate being called a child! Besides, they told me that you're only sixteen, sire!' I sighed. So fiery, so passionate!
'Yes. That is true. I am sixteen. Now,’ I changed the subject. ‘Your name?'
She glared at me. 'I am Paige.’
‘Thank you, Paige. Please accept my apologies; you appear younger than your years. Though it befalls you well!’ I amended hastily.
‘Apology accepted, sire.’
I smiled. She was amazingly respectful too. Now, I did need to explain. ‘I am not a sire. I am Liam. I help those that chose their own time; people like you. At the present time, we are in Corridor Clock, the passage between the living and the dead. It is my home.
‘Paige, child suicide victims have two options. They can stay with me, as a Guardian, or they can go to the Candle Master as a Light.
‘The majority of the victims, the Rose Souls, choose to be a Light. It is peaceful and calm, so very away from the turmoil of their lives on Earth. The few that choose to be Guardians must be strong. They ferry the other Rose Souls to the land of the dead.
Paige’s eyebrows creased together. I need to choose, don’t I? Guardian or Light.’
‘That is quite correct. Do not forget, Paige, that the path of Guardian is a traumatic, depressing and occasionally terrifying experience. And, should you fail…’
She frowned. ‘Fail?’
‘The month-long trial. Straightforward enough: a few tasks. Anyone that does not pass becomes one of the Hopeless. It. Is. Hell. That’s why so few choose it. No-one has succeeded in the last four hundred years.’ I finished.
Her voice was sure and strong despite the fluttering high pitch.
‘I choose Guardian.’