Chapter One.

When I think back on it now, it was the alcohol that got me through the first couple of months. I still have the scars on my wrist to prove I nearly didn't. Apparently I have what's labeled an 'addictive personality.' The cutting, the alcohol, the fighting and now the drugs. Ah hell, today is a world full of the changed, and some not so lucky as I. At least I look half human or else I would have been executed after the first Revelation. You see, I'm an attack mage elementalist, a sorceress with control of attack and defense with the elements, ice and fire. My hair and eyes change colours as the elements come into play. After the Revelation creatures of all kinds appeared, dragons, fae, unicorns, and other assorted varieties. Some of there were hunted and killed, some take, and used in labs.

My best friends scream as she was dragged away from me as I did nothing but stand and cry, echoes through my mind, causing me to clench my fist and shatter the tiny shot gloss in my hand. I swore and started picking out pieces of glass and settling them in neat piles on the bar.

"Karri, that's the forth glass this week, and it's only Tuesday. Or is it Friday?? Can't tell these days." The bartender crossed over to her. "I'm beginning to wonder if the protection you give me and my little hotel here is worth it."

Presently, yelling broke out somewhere in the direction of the pool hall. I turned to see two men and a woman, all yelling at each other. I turned back and shot a 'told you so' look at the bartender and the walked calmly over to the group.

"I saw you eyeing her off mate." I rolled my eyes, you have got to be kidding me, not again.

"Hey boys!" I said as I walked toward them. "Is there a problem?"

"What's this?" A policewoman? Such a pretty little policewoman, public servants never looked so good." He laughed and pinched my ass. A few seconds later he landed on his with ground shattering force, and I, with my newly acquired pool cue, had both put him there and sunk the eight ball.

"Bugger," I mouthed to myself, but to the others, "No way, I'm heaps better than that. So he's the one who started this." I poked him with the pool cue.

The other man and the lady were obviously together, so I spoke to them. "You two will have to leave ok?" The man was outraged, started protesting about freedom and all that shit. "Look man, I'm sure you will get your moneys worth before the night is over, go find another hotel."

Before they left I grabbed her wrist and dragged her to the side.

"Amber, stop bringing your clients to my bar."

"They want to show me off a little bit, and I figure there is always a good show here." She winked towards the guy on his ass next to the pool table and strutted out. I sighed and dragged the loser to his feet.

"C'mon Jeff, I'll kick your ass at pool." A short game later, I earned myself three hundred bucks and the absence of Jeff. I walked back to the bar. "You were saying?"

"Yeh, yeh," he polished a glass and put one in front of me.

"I'm going to sleep now," I said, lying through my teeth.

"Sure you are," he chuckled as I pocketed my earnings of the night, around nine hundred dollars from beating hopeless suckers at pool. My accommodation and drinks were compliments of Bob, owner of this establishment. I slipped on my black leather jacket and slipped out the door. The rain heightened as I stepped out and jumped from curb to road and dodged the traffic to the alleyway across from the hotel. I passed through the way and kept walking. Soon enough I came to an old abandoned harbor. It was used for shipping in the old days, but suddenly something came over it, soon after the Revelation. The ground where I am standing shakes as a wave pounds the artificial walls. I walk to the edge and look down, the swell and surge of the water giving me a slight sense of vertigo. The rain beats down unforgiving creating the effect of pattering on the tortured water. I turned from it, as the ground shakes again and follow the lip to a warehouse. As I walked up to the door, it swung open. I stepped out of the beating rain and thankfully into the warmth. Someone came up and took my jacket.

"James! It's been a while!"

"It's been twenty four hours, try not to get too excited."

"What are you after?" He slid an arm around my shoulders and pulled me into his office.

"Just my usual thanks." He placed two little gold boxes on the desk.

"Are you sure? We got this new stuff, it's awesome stuff I tell ya."

"Just the usual thanks."

"Here," I said, and slid nine hundred bucks to him.

"Four hundred for the heroin, five hundred for the axis." He winked at me.

"Yeh yah," I sighed and walked out. I went back to the hotel. Bob shot me a disapproving look as I dripped my way up the stairs.

"I am now going to bed."

///

The keys jingled in my shaky hands and the door was open. I shut the door behind me. I exhaled heavily and walked over to the sofa. I dumped my boxes there, but changing my mind I grabbed them and took them with me to the kitchenette in the next room. I grabbed a glass of water, got a teaspoon of axis and poured it in. I put the boxes away and picked up the glass of now purple water shakily, taking it with me back into the other room. I dumped my wet jacket on my bed and gulped the drink down, crashing onto the bed. Then, with a sigh-like release my eyes rollers, pupils disappeared completely into the empty grey green of my eyes, and by the time the glass shattered on the ground, I was a million miles away.

The drug seized my weaker psychic skills, taught to me by my friend, and amplified it, walking with it through the minds of millions of people, humans and changed alike. I see fighting, lots of fighting. Humans are fighting with humans over the acceptance of the changed. Humans and changes are fighting in some kind of sick new racism and prejudice. Changed and changed are fighting in their own private rivalries, even those wanting peace are spilling human and changed blood alike. In my extra time my thoughts are clearer, and faster as they rush past me and I comprehend all of them, every single one. I watch the fighting continue, swirling faster and faster and all of it around me, standing in the center, malicious hate and anger and hurt all beating at my face and heart. It goes faster and faster until it becomes one big mass of darkness, thousands of indescribable faces massing and boiling, getting hotter and hotter until it feels like I am standing on the edge of a black volcano. It erupted, swirling around and around me, picking me up to height after height.

I leave myself and zoom across a large plain. Suddenly I am not myself, I mean, I am myself, within someone else. Their thoughts are colder as they look onto the tower of dark massing fighting and a bright red light, radiating from the top. They were waiting, anticipating something.

From the bright red light burst enormous red wings that stretched other the entire plain, they were thin and angel like, but they glittered red and gold, and made a vast impression of power on my, and the other thoughts. The moment lasted for a few seconds, and then the black mass of fighting surged violently, overwhelming the light, which was disappearing fast. A rush of panic surged through the other beings thoughts. I was torn from the form, dragged across the plain and drawn up the mass into the light. As the blackness filtered through my vision and thoughts, I heard one voice penetrate the emptiness. I turned to the source and saw a great blue light both a pillar and a ray, toward me. The voice was male, thought if it was stone, it would have a name and two dates engraved in it.

"Nova!!!!!" There was a break in the darkness, a flash of blue light, but it faltered, the light went out and I was falling into the darkness.

///

I landed with a thud next to the sofa. Nova? What? I stretched, wiped my forehead clean of sweat and stood up. Nova? What is that? Ah well, like it matters, probably drugs fault. I shrugged off the question, but I doubted my own logic. I peeled off my wet clothes and took a shower. I stepped out and wrapped a towel around me. I went across to my wardrobe and wrinkled my nose in distaste at the contents. All that's left is a red dress, with crimson wings attached. About a month ago it was one of my ex-friends ideas to go to a costume nightclub. I put the dress on now and it still fits, which is all I need it for. Making a mental note to do some laundry, I down some aspirin and check the clock. One thirty, half an hour trip, that's not too bad. Nova? The question interrupts my head again.

"I need a drink."

///

I descended the stairs to help myself to a drink from the bar, expecting it to be closed. Instead I see some players in the pool hall, most of whom I recognize. At the bar I can see Bob, and someone else, a stranger. Damn, Bob must have kept open tonight. But these people weren't here when I left about forty-five minutes ago. I shrug, curse quietly to myself about my outfit, but just smooth it and speak out to Bob.

"Bob, I need a drink, do you think you can have me one before I finish these stairs?"

"You know it."

"Don't you normally only stay open on Saturdays?" I walked down the stairs more slowly, as my head spun slightly.

"It is Saturday, where have you been the past couple of days?" I was puzzled, but the stranger spoke, and I was distracted.

"Oh wow, what beauty descends these stair? I would call her an angel, only there are obvious complication to that. Blood stained, fallen angel? No. Phoenix. What's your name little phoenix?"

I raised an eyebrow at him, look at Bob, who laughed.

"Who the fuck are you?"

"Axis, you?" I sat down and look at him.

"Axis hey? Pleasure to meet you."

"The pleasure would be mine if I knew your name."

"What being you here? Scouting for changed to murder?"

"I try to avoid killing kin."

"Really? Kin? You're a bit trusting aren't you? I could be a changed hating human and you admit to it just like that." I snap my fingers with a sly smile on my face.

"What would a changed hating human be doing in a sanctuary for the changed?"

"Well, they serve good drinks here." He laughed.

"Ts, fair enough." I turned, picked up my drink, saluted Bob and downed it. I twirled the glass in my palm, and suddenly a sharp shot of pain on the back of my hand caused me to drop the glass. It shattered with a tinkle on the counter.

"Fifth glass!" I spun around on my chair and examined my hand in better light. A bruise was forming and getting deeper. I turned, my hair and eyes going red.

"Cut that out." The bruise stayed but didn't get any worse.

"The phoenix bird can change hair and eye colour." The glass next to him burst into flame.

"I am an attack elementalist which is a hell of a lot stronger than your simple attack." As I calmed down again my hair and eye colour returned to normal.

"Still, you can be my little phoenix bird."

"Hmm. Maybe that would be ok." He shuffled across to me and put an arm around me, which I snuggled into.

"I still don't know your name, but no matter, I shall call you, my little phoenix bird, Nova."