Author's Note:

Thanks to support from Stormcat2002, RavenPirate, Jake Delfeir, Moonlit Evanescence (now Stars-Child), TheOneTheyCallBeaver, DigiDayDreamer, Belle the Shadow-cat, Netshark2003 and the rest whom I've forgotten to mention (Thanks you guys! ^_^) as well as the electricity of rivalry between me and my sis – *glares at Nessa Fefalas* – this chapter had been heavily revised! Whee! But of course, there'll still be mistakes… I mean no one is perfect, right? Still, I hope it's better than the old version! ^_^

What did I change, you ask? Well, some people told me that I refer to people by their hair color too much, so I've changed that. Some of my sentence structures are similar, so that was changed too. I spent weeks revising these thirteen chapters, so I hope it's better now! ^_^

A note to new readers: To those who're new to Shadow Claw, basically this is a story that takes place in a fantasy world where monsters take over every single place that is not inhabited by humans. This story is written in a style similar to the storylines of RPG-type video games – like the Final Fantasy series, Tales of Destiny series, etc. – so if you like RPGs, then you might find this story interesting. If you find the character appearance or the geography of the story confusing, you might want to visit the Shadow Claw section my site (the URL can be found at my profile page) and download pictures and stuff! =D Well, I hope that you like this story! =D

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Shadow Claw, Prologue

Written by Blue Dragon =) bluedragon_sy@hotmail.com

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The menacing laughter echoed through the halls of the castle, which was dark and gloomy, unlike most castles. There was an unusual stench in the atmosphere – the stench of death.

Several dead bodies were scattered all over the halls of the castle, soaking the carpet red with blood. Only one of the figures was moving – it was a man getting onto his feet, staggering because of his wounds. His spiky shoulder-length brown hair that was tied in the form of a low ponytail, his clothes and sword were stained with the blood of his friends and his own, and he seemed as normal as every human would be, except for his eyes. His eyes were unusual, for his left eye was as clear as glass and his right was bright blood red, and they would send shivers through anyone looking at them.

This man was Kryden Swordius.

As a large silver wolf stood at his side, its green eyes looked around for any traces of enemies, Kryden lifted his unusually long and broad sword with a red hilt from the ground, cursing the demon that had killed his friends, cursing at himself for not being able to stop him from doing so. He was too powerless – too weak to even help himself. All these years... he thought. All these years of training and searching for that demon... He swung his sword angrily and broke a part of a stone pillar, ignoring the pain that surged through his body. And for what?! To be defeated and have my friends killed?! It's as if I've killed them with my own hands!

"That's right, Kryden..." a deep voice echoed in the hall. "It was as surely as you have killed them yourself..."

"Shut up!!" he yelled. "You have no right to talk to me like that, you demon!! Where are you anyway?!!"

"I am in the throne room, just ahead of where you are..."

Kryden narrowed his eyes, for it was hard to see in the dark. In the direction he was looking at, large double doors stood with a strange design that represented something that was too hard to understand. Kryden limped to the doors and pushed them wide open, revealing the throne room was as dark and gloomy as the halls where a lone shadowy figure stood. It was hard to see who the figure was or even how it looked like, but the brown-haired man knew whom it was.

"Druegen!" he shouted, his voice filled with so much hatred for the man standing ahead of him.

"Such hatred..." Druegen said, shaking his head in the shadows. "Your hatred will bring you only doom."

"You're the one who'll meet with doom!!" The brown-haired warrior lunged towards him and raised his sword with his left hand, ready to strike his opponent. All his concentration was on killing that demon and nothing else mattered to him, even his own death. Just as long as he murdered him...

The man in the shadows did not move from where he stood. He simply raised his hand in front of him, the palm facing outward, and chanted some words as a dark light surrounded his hand. Kryden brought his sword down in the form of a downward slash, but a ball of dark light was thrown right in his face, sending him flying into the wall a few feet behind him. The silver wolf tried to attack Druegen as well, but there was another flash of dark light and it fell to the floor, unconscious.

"Ray!" Kryden yelled. He got onto his feet and charged towards the shadowed man again, stopping as he saw a beam of dark light heading towards him. At that moment, the dark throne room disappeared and was replaced by the scenery of the outer space. Stars surrounded them and planets circled in their orbits, and occasionally a comet whizzed past them. Druegen's beam of dark light turned into the image of a large dragon-like creature and charged through the warrior, knocking him back onto the floor.

"It's no use resisting me..." he said.

The brown-haired man tried to get up again, but failed. "Druegen...! That skill...!"

"That's right. I can finally use the 'Forbidden Spell', but that is only the first step towards my goal." A sword with a black blade materialized in his hand. "You are a hindrance to me, Kryden. You must die!"

The shadowed man thrust his sword forward, aiming for his Kryden's heart. When the blade was only inches away from its target, a burst of dark light came from the brown-haired man. Druegen was knocked a few feet away by the force as Kryden slowly got up, his clear glass and red eyes glaring at his enemy, the dark light around him glowing menacingly.

"So, you have finally shown your true power," the shadowed man stated as he got up. "But it's not enough to defeat me!"

"You will die for all the death you've caused!" Kryden yelled as he lunged forward with lightning speed, thrusting his sword right into Druegen's chest.

"Nice try, Kryden... but it won't kill me." Even as he spoke, dark blood started to flow out of his wound.

"What?"

With that, the black sword pierced Kryden's stomach.

"Augh...! How... could this be?!" the warrior exclaimed as he collapsed onto the ground, unconscious. The dark light around him faded away.

Druegen pulled the red-hilted sword out of his chest, stained with his own blood, and calmly threw it on top of the brown-haired man, as if he was not wounded at all.

"Fool..." he muttered under his breath. "He knew that he couldn't beat me. I'll just get rid of him and his wolf."

The shadowed man raised his hand and another dark light surrounded Kryden and the silver wolf. Then, there was a blinding flash of white light.

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Author's Notes:

Well, I know that some of the names that I've created look hard to pronounce, so I put them here so that you can pronounce them as I do! ^_^

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Kryden = Kree-den ('den' as in the word 'olden')

Druegen = Drew-gen (the 'G' in 'gen' is pronounced the same as the one in 'go' and the 'en' is pronounced as in 'olden')

Ray = Don't tell me you don't know how to pronounce this ^_^