Clash of Universes

Chapter One:
"The Zephyr's Message"

There was an ominous feel to the chilly midnight as an eerie zephyr crept its way in through the slightly opened window of the second story study, causing the crimson curtains to ripple and persuading the door slightly ajar. The lovely Dream's long, amethyst hair swayed steadily in the new current as she pondered aloud, her voice being carried out the door and down the halls hand-in-hand with the breeze. Her ruby lips shimmered in the dim candlelight.

"The zephyrs sing frightening songs this foggy evening. That's a significant change from their usually cheery nighttime lullabies. Why, there has never been such a change since.no." Just then, as if cued, the zephyr struck full force and blew out the only source of light the study had. Dream snapped her eyes shut, increasing her other senses for a few moments. Then, slowly and determinedly, her eyelids, unnoticeably purple with shadow, began to rise. "It's time."

Out in the pitch black corridor, Tint and Tone were clumsily making their way to the study where they knew Dream to be, for that is where she always was at this time of night. All light had been swept from the other rooms in the house as well, and the two sisters demanded reason. Blinded by the dark, their arms flailed in all directions, barely missing various portraits and valuables hanging on the wall. Tint's hair, usually a flaring pink, was pulled back in an enormous, messy bun to prevent it from getting in her face, though little strands kept escaping the elastic grip and cascaded down into her perfect complexioned face, which she found rather annoying after a while. Tone, however, didn't need to do anything with her forest green hair. Though decently long (just below shoulder length), it was straight and limp. All it took was tucking it behind her ears to get it out of her cold, green eyes. As they waded through the sea of darkness, a terrible shriek exploded from the study, taking them both aback. They would've heroically dashed down the long hallway in an attempt to cease the source of the terror, but the handicap was too great to risk running into a wall and breaking something, be it painting or limb. So they scuttled along the smooth textured walls and bent down as they ran, in fear of fracturing their skulls on a corner of a picture frame.

They soon approached the door, both of their hearts trembling, Tint's body shaking in sync. "Okay, lets go in," Tone whispered in a rather annoyed voice. Whether she was annoyed by the situation, by Tint's expression of her fear, or whether it was a combination of both factors will remain unanswered, for her expression, though dark, gave away not the slightest hint of emotion.

Stealthily, they slithered through the slight crack in the doorway and immediately put their backs to the deep crimson wall adjacent to the open window. They swung their heads around in every direction, searching for some kind of hint as to whom or what exactly made that noise. The soft moonlight helped none, for it shone only upon the fluffy, black carpet that covered the entire area of the rather petite room. Tone sighed and said aloud into the monster of darkness, "Who's there?" There was agitation in her voice and, though Tint was terrified and mumbling what sounded like prayers to herself, Tone seemed to show no fear whatsoever. She was definitely the braver of the two and the one that kept Tint from turning back now. As the petrified girl began to whimper, a strong hush from the courageous subdued her whining. One step at a time, Tone casually waded out into the middle of the furniture-littered room, missing an end table by barely an inch. Her bony arm groped for a box of matches she knew to be on Dream's cluttered desk. After sliding several papers out of place and knocking over a picture and a few books, she had it. Now all she had to do was find the candle.

But before she could bother with that, a loud thump echoed across the room. Tone stood rigid as a plank of wood, knowing that her and Tint weren't alone. However, she did know that they were hopeless without light to see by. So she conjured up as much calmness as she knew to and hastily, but steadily, lit a match. Now she could see, but only objects very close to the flickering flame. She was determined to discover the mysteries of the dark, so she frantically felt around for the candle. Now, Tone would hold the candle up to see by if it weren't for her fear of setting papers on fire. Then I could see, she chuckled to herself, her bad sense of humor making her even more uncomfortable for fear that she would never find it. Battling her overriding pessimism as she felt around for the candle stick, fear trickled up her spine like a reverse waterfall. Then, she finally had it. The slightly warmed wax of a freshly burnt candle warmed her pride, the wick stinging her fragile skin, though she seemed to take no notice. With a miniature jump of triumph, she ceremoniously and significantly lit all three of the white wands of wax. "Aha! Now we can see what's going on in here, Tint!" The giddy girl pivoted around 180 degrees, her ego inflating to the size of a hot air balloon, then deflating again at the scene before her.

There was a motionless body wrapped in a lengthy, shimmering dress the color of a starless sky, matching the one encircling the whole World of the Unborn right then. This unidentified girl was face down on the floor, her short, just above shoulder length, ice blue hair calmly lay just barely out of place, frizzing out only a little in the back. On the dark red couch, Dream lay either sleeping or unconscious (Tone bet the second one). Tint screamed out in joy, and then horror as her eyes fell upon the motionless Dream. Clumsily, the screaming girl rushed to the couch, worry drenching her in pure panic. A mortified look carved itself into Tone's stone-cold expression as she realized what exactly had happened. She choked on her words; her best attempt to hide her sheer disgust failed miserably and her true opinion became more obvious with each bitter word.

"Well, well, if it isn't our new sister, Shade?"

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Sunlight peeked cheerily through the window of Dream's very purple bedroom, plum, amethyst, sunset, and eggplant all being brought out to look their best. Birds chirped as they fluttered on past, one nearly dodging the large, spiky plant sticking halfway out of the screen-less window. The beaming blue backdrop contrasted almost too perfectly with the fluffy marshmallows dotted among the sky.

"Uh." Dream moaned as she began to stir from her violently forced sleep. The blaring sunlight blinded her delicate grape eyes, causing her to shut them immediately. Someone had forgotten to close the blinds. It was then that the realization struck her. She hadn't gone to sleep as she normally did, half past midnight, calmly and peacefully, but she had been struck by someone. Then the remainder of the situation dawned on her. Shade had been born.

Gracelessly and desperately, her head throbbing with agony, she fumbled out of bed, uncharacteristically leaving the covers in a messy lump, and dashed for the door. The crystal doorknob opened easily on most days, but today, since Dream was in a panicky state, her sweaty palms prevented her from opening it on the first try. When she finally got it to turn the right way, she hastily swung the door open, almost as if escaping a fire, and ran with all of her speed down the lengthy hall.

Never before had the corridor seemed this long, even when she was walking at a very casual, laid-back pace. When she finally came to the white-carpeted staircase, she stopped suddenly, for she could see that in the kitchen were Tint, Tone, and Shade, all eating breakfast, Tone sitting a few seats down from the other two. Tint and Shade were laughing so loudly, it amazed Dream she didn't hear them all the way from her room. Overwhelmingly relieved, she sighed and gracefully placed her slender hand on the hard, wooden rail, determined to show no sign of previous terror.

"And then the next day, when we all went to the beach to hang out, we." Tint's loud and obnoxious voice trailed off suddenly when her eyes fell upon a very serene Dream gliding majestically over to the counter the three sisters were sitting at. Tone shot a nasty glare at her, as if to blame her for the events of last night. Tint, however, smiled and said gaily, "Good morning, Dream! Did you sleep well?" Tone was obviously ticked off by the cheery atmosphere in the kitchen, so she excused herself and escaped to her gloomy, secluded room.

"Why yes I did, Tint. Thank you for asking." She gave a broad, genuine smile and then turned to Shade, who was now pure white with fear. Dream's smile lessened to a grin as she examined the young girl. Though scrawny like her sisters, she appeared to have quite a lot of strength and courage, and despite her shaking hands, Dream concluded that she was overall in control of herself, based on her confident eyes. "Now Shade, did Tint and Tone tell you anything about what has happened, or where you are?" When Shade nervously shook her head, causing her hair to sway into her face as if to mask her cowardly dread, Dream nodded approvingly.

"That's great. You did exactly as I instructed, Tint. Now go to your own room and let me explain things to Shade here," Dream ordered politely, knowing that Tint would follow her instruction, unlike her sister, Tone, who would've responded defiantly.

Turning to Shade, Dream began, "You are in the World of the Unborn. This world is not reality, yet it is not fiction. Now you, Tint, and Tone were created mentally by me. Do you understand what happened when you first came here?" Dream bit her lip, knowing that she might have rushed the explanation a little.

"I was wearing a dress, a black one. It was long, and I tripped over it. That's when I hit you in the head and knocked you out." Her voice softened and she looked down. "I'm terribly sorry for that. I didn't mean to."

Dream put a reassuring hand on Shade's quivering shoulder. "Don't worry about it. When Tone was born, she knocked me out for several days, and she broke my ankle." As she reminisced, a proud smile came onto her face and she chuckled heartily. Then she snapped back to the situation. "Now, what happened when you arrived; what did you see?"

"There was a light. It was blue, not deep, but icy. I was cold, so cold I couldn't move. And then a sudden patch of dark. and then I was there, in your study, on the floor, then more dark." Shade struggled to remember more details, but it was all a blue blur. Discouraged, she once more bowed her head, concentrating on her thin hands clasped tightly in her lap. A comforting giggle escaped Dream's fiery red lips.

"You remember more than Tone or Tint ever did. All they could mention were the colors, not the feelings they had or anything. Now, sit back and listen to what I have to tell you, for it is a lot of information to take in all in one day." Shade hesitantly sat back on the pearly white couch they were seated upon, half eager and half dreadful. Dream, however, sat up like a teacher about to address a classroom of quiet children. She sighed heavily, as if to clear her mind of all unnecessary information and began to speak.

"I created you in my mind to join Tint and Tone in fighting the evil Lady Karanai. You'll learn all about her later, but for now let's keep it simple. You three are going to aid me in first of all, finding her, then defeating her, and finally, fixing whatever she has broken. Now, that would include people as well as worlds and possessions, so you'll become rather familiar with blood and death." Seeing Shade's worried expression, she immediately threw in, "But you won't be seeing much of that until we find her, of course. You see, she's hurt so many people, destroyed so many worlds, and taken so many lives, and now she's after Mi. um. people in the Real World.

"You see, you were born here off of sheer desire. I wanted you to come alive, and so you came, but not easily. It took a lot of mental strength to bring you into the World of the Unborn, but it was worth it, because we all desperately need you here! Now, I will be teaching you more and more as the days go on, but for now, I think this is enough for you to worry, I mean, think about. Do you have any questions?" She exhaled deeply to mark the end of the lecture, not as long as Shade had anticipated. With the slight shake of Shade's obviously uncertain head, Dream was bellowing for Tint and Tone to come clean up the kitchen. "You can help them tidy up, Shade. I have some thinking to do." And with that, Dream glided up the steeply ascending staircase as serenely as she had soared down.

Tone shuffled in and said in a rather rude tone with her expressionless face, "Come on, Shade. Let's clean the kitchen."