At the center of the city, a pearl white castle stood like a diamond in the middle of a coal pile. Its four turrets, which marked the four points of the rectangular palace, reached high into the night where the black sky contrasted the castle perfectly to make the magnificent structure appear even more spectacular. Brilliant lights blazed through the windows as the dignified ceremony continued late into the night. The streets surrounding the castle had been blocked off to any person who did not have an invitation though several people had jumped from roof to roof, above the blockade, to watch the royal festivities. Dozens of elegant cars drove up to a long red carpet, where powerful and exotic passengers would step out, before they walked the crimson rug into the dazzling palace accompanied by the ringing of the large iron bells in the two front turrets. The uninvited guests who had perched themselves upon the roofs of the surrounding buildings looked on in awe of the ceremony, their senses overwhelmed by the brilliant lights and sounds that escaped the castle.

Instantly, the bells froze mid-swing as two dark figures burst out of the castle doors, knocking over the extremely wealthy couple about to enter the palace. The appearance of these shady creatures ushered in an uneasy quiet as the unwanted spectators held their breaths hoping not to be spotted. The dark entities moved around the royal estate on all fours with their noses close to the ground, sniffing it. They paced around the yard like untamed shadows until one stopped abruptly and smelled the earth under it for several seconds. It stood motionless, nose to the ground, before it lifted its small head towards the sky and let out a demonic howl. Its companion soon accompanied it as their howls rang through the still air, terrifying the onlookers who covered their ears in a desperate attempt to escape the piercing noise.

Every dusty streetlamp had been lit in the old city that surrounded the palace and their lights flickered upon the mobs of common people who had decided to celebrate the occasion together in the narrow streets where they talked and drank large kegs of fire water. The decrepit houses that lined each side of the streets were left vacant for the night as their owners drank and partied away the sorrows of life. The dark figures sprinted on all fours through these crowded alleys, pushing through the throng of intoxicated men and women, as they raced howling out of the city.

"Crap. They've already noticed I'm missing," she whispered to herself, her head turned towards the illuminated castle far behind her "I thought I had another half hour before anyone would find out I had run away," she muttered, spiteful of her miscalculation, before turning back to the dark hoard of trees just in front of her.

"Obsidian Forest………" she said breathlessly, as she beheld the place most the town's horror stories, she had heard, were told of. It was not the fact that the trees in the forest grew so close together that it always appeared to be nighttime that made this place so terrifying, nor was it that exiled murderers and thieves were known to roam its depths that made it so dreaded. What made the jungle so feared was that it was where the Darkness began.

The Darkness was not a tangible object but took on the appearance of a black fog that rose only inches off the ground and despite the awful stories the townsfolk had to tell of it she was not worried by its presence. The city she had lived in, up until a few weeks ago, had always coexisted with the Darkness, and though she new of its destructive power (by the way the steel bases of the buildings in the city corroded abnormally fast compared to the rest of the structure) it had never caused her any direct harm. It still, however, did not make the black jungle ahead of her any more inviting.

"Alright they'll be here any minute, I'll never be able to outrun them, my only chance is to go through the forest and hope they loose my scent." She analyzed the situation, "Now it's just like getting into a freezing lake, just jump in and hope you don't die from the shock"

She held her breath, closed her eyes and plunged forward into the untamed forest, as she thought to herself, "I really should have thought of a better analogy!"

She had run only a few yards before her abdomen plunged right into a thick tree branch, which made her exhale sharply and open her light blue eyes. She waited as her eyes adjusted to the pitch black environment before she continued her trek through the thick brush. She moved clumsily through the forest as the tree branches and bramble tore large holes out of her long gown, leaving a trail of white cloth in her wake. Suddenly, the entire forest began to vibrate as another round of baying filled the ebony jungle. The howls echoed off the trees and signaled that the dark creatures that were pursuing her had followed the girl's scent into the woods. She tried to run, kicking up clumps of dirt and mud, but the tangled brush under her feet made it nearly impossible, as she fell hard to the cold ground.

"Ugh, Next time you decide to run away through a dark, tangled jungle………take off the heels!" she scolded herself as she stood up and put her left foot out in front of her. She soon realized she was at the edge of a steep hill when her foot did not have any ground beneath it and she toppled face first down the muddy knoll.

"Oh Crap!" a voice yelled, as she felt her head take out a pair of legs and saw the shadow of a body fly over her as the sudden impact helped her skid to a stop.

The two laid there for a minute, in a slight daze, before she heard the same voice as before ask, "Are you OK?" as a hand up was extended towards her.

"I think so...Sorry that I knocked you o—MY GOD!" she screamed as she looked up at the hand's owner, "Get away, get away, get away!"

"Huh? What's wrong?" the voice asked quizzically, dumbfounded at the sudden yelling.

"You're completely naked!" she squealed as she quickly turned her head away from the nude teenage boy in front of her, blushing so profusely it showed through her mud stained cheeks.

"NAKED!" he cried in horror as he moved his hands over his eyes, before letting out a relieved sigh. "Don't scare me like that, I've still got my sunglasses on."

"THAT'S ALL YOU'VE GOT ON, YOU IDIOT!" she yelled in frustration.

"Yeah, but if I had lost these glasses... then I'd be really weird looking." The boy said calmly, not worried that his lanky teenage body was completely exposed.

"What do you mean THEN you'd be weird looking! You look pretty weird without any cloths on. And besides its pitch black in these woods how can you see anything wearing sunglasses?" She ranted, already exasperated with her new acquaintance.

"Well, I guess I can't really see anything." he smiled pleasantly as he pushed his dirty blond hair out of his eyes, "I mean that's why I didn't see you before you slid into me."

"Ughhh!" she sighed, frustrated at his incoherent logic.

"Besides we're all guys here, right!" he said innocently.

"WHAT!" she screamed as she stopped blushing and turned around to face him. He was a little taller than she was but her heels helped her look at him eye to eye, "What do you mean we're all guys here! I'm a girl! Haven't you ever seen a girl before or is it because you're completely blind wearing those stupid sunglasses in the dark………"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Calm down! I just didn't know girls your age liked to wear old, dirty, torn cloths, roll down muddy hills in spooky forests, and knock innocent naked guys over, that's all." he explained smiling nervously as she stared him down.

"Old Cloths?" she paused from her angry ranting long enough to look down at herself, "Oh………" She stared at what had once been a tightly fitted snow white gown that cascaded elegantly towards the ground with netting sleeves and pearl embroidered hems. It now appeared to be nothing more than a shapeless clump of knee-length cloth, having been torn and frayed by the sharp tree branches while she had been running through the forest, and stained a dark black with mud when she rolled down the hill.

"I don't think I would have recognized myself the way I look right now." she apologized; stunned at her appearance.

"Hey don't worry about it………" he started as another smile began to cross his face, "Sir."

"YOU LITTLE JERK! I TOLD YOU I'M A GIRL!" she yelled at him as she wrung his neck.

"I was just………joking." he gagged, regretting he ever teased her.

"Here." she said as she reached up and untied a long veil that had held her hair back allowing her auburn hair to fall messily in her face, "This isn't to badly torn, you can wrap it around your waist………before I go blind"

He nodded and did as he was told.

"My name is Kade, by the way," she added pleasantly as she watched him tie the veil tightly to his hip. She waited a minute for him to reply but when he didn't she added "So what's yours?"

"Oh my name," he started slowly, "I don't really know it………. people call me Brash, though."

Kade stared at him in disbelief as he just smiled nervously back at her.

"You don't know your own---" she started to reply but was interrupted mid sentence by two deep growls that shook through the trees.

"Crap. I forgot about you two." Kade whispered as two dark figures emerged from behind nearby trees, "This isn't good………"

Authors Note: Whew. A Cliffhanger on the first chapter, pretty nasty of me huh? Sorry to do that but for an introductory chapter it was getting too long (there will be longer chapters but not to start off with) and this is an opportune moment to stop. And you all know the best and quickest way to get anybody (especially me) to add another chapter is to review, review, review. Thanks to all of you that took the time to read my story, I hope you enjoyed it and will continue to enjoy it as it progresses