Chapter 1

A Fearful Encounter

It was dark out, shadows skirting along of their own accord, weaving elaborately in and out of the sparse light of the stars. I hadn't wanted to go out at all, but it wasn't as if I had a choice in the matter. Dujani, our village elder, had asked me to fetch water from the woods.

No sign of the luminescent orb that once surveyed earth-dwellers from the sky remained. Though the sun remained a constant source of energy for food, the moon was the main power source for magick. Without it, death and destruction would prevail. Magick held together the seams of all life, our village included. It had mysteriously disappeared the week before, fading into blackened abyss. It's only a matter of time.

A sigh escaped my lips as I bent down to examine a thyme plant on the path. I adjusted my vision slightly to see in greater detail, though even the minor amount of magick seemed to sap my strength. The key to night vision was to allow one's eyes to intake a great amount of light. Without magick, even the simplest tasks seemed nearly impossible. I could just barely make out the opalescent veins that webbed over the leaves' surfaces. The leaves were drooping, as were the stalks. Even the herbs are dying, I thought sadly, stroking one of the leaves with the pad of my thumb.

Tears started to gather in my eyes as I kneeled in the brush, one hand bent in the grass and moss to prop up my body. Angrily, I wiped the tears from my eyes with my free hand before they had the chance to travel down my cheeks.

Springing up determinedly, I continued on, stopping every few minutes to gather some herbs and place them in the pouch draped around my waist. I knew the water wasn't far ahead- I could already hear it faintly. Walking leisurely, I couldn't help glancing about every which way, studying the landscape. It seemed duller than usual, the colors less vibrant. Almost like it lacks the luster of life itself… I thought, feeling a shiver pass through me. How long would it be until the elves fell prey to these forces? The thought chilled me.

A zephyr caressed my cheek in passing, its skeletal hands tracing a trail of coldness upon my face. My teeth chattered together almost painfully, and I hastened my pace. At last, through the dense veil of leaves, I caught a glimpse of the stream. It was relatively small, for I could see both ends not too far away from each other. Bending down on one knee, I cupped my hands in the water, watching in fascination as the liquid slowly bled into my eager palms. I could see my pale skin reflected in distorted and broken fragments through the iridescent water.

Shaking my head slightly to free the hair that had fallen into my face, I brought my palm to my lips, the cool liquid quenching my thirst. It traced soothing trails down my throat, a lone truth in a place of secrets. The knot in my stomach lessened slightly, and the muscles in my shoulders relaxed, the previous tension dissipating into the air. I felt completely relaxed, sitting with my legs crossed at the side of the stream.

That's when I felt sharp metal press against my neck, and a hand cover my mouth. I started, trying to scream but muffled effectively by the palm that held my mouth captive. "Elven wench..." a gruff masculine voice whispered into my ear. I closed my eyes tightly, squirming to get out of my captor's grip. I was all too aware of the knife that still pressed against my neck, the tip needling painfully at the taut skin of my throat. Tears started to push their way to my eyes, full of frustration, fear, and helplessness. This time, I didn't wipe them away.

I stopped struggling. I probably looked pathetic- tears streaming down my face and at the complete mercy of a knife. His hold on my mouth lessened slightly. "Better," he said, relinquishing his grip altogether.

My first thought was: Demon! It was easy to tell; all demons had silver eyes. His were a sharp silver, the same color as the metal demons were so infamous for producing. Peering closer, I noticed one of his eyes was cloudy; he was blind in one eye. I felt seared under his gaze, so I glared instead at his reflection. Glad to see he isn't affected by the lack of magick, I thought bitterly His hair was raven colored, deep black that was roughly finger-length. Dark strands veiled half of one of his eyes- the blind eye. Upon noticing me studying his reflection, he smirked and grabbed a fistful of my hair, yanking it painfully so I faced him.

I winced, averting my gaze once again. Demons were known for their quick tempers, and physical strength as well. Not a good combination.

"Can I leave now?" I whispered, hating how my voice sounded so weak and submissive.

"No. You are to do something for me first." If my heart hadn't felt like it was in my throat, I would have rolled my eyes. I was bargaining with a demon. The absurdity of the situation didn't miss me.

I merely made a face inwardly, then nodded. The tip of his mouth tilted for a moment in a smirk, then faded. "You must surrender yourself willingly in three days."

A/N: This was fun to write… and you'll see next chapter how it has anything to do with the prologue. I really am sorry for the slow update- I just thought of the idea for this yesterday.

Review Replies:

Bubbl3gum: Sorry if this chapter wasn't too long. It just felt… right to end it there, for some reason.

Kashe: What would I do without you? Thank you so much for reading so many of my stories- you really do encourage me so much to keep writing.

Shadows Fury: Yeah, I am sorry about the shortness of my chapters. :P Thank you for reviewing!