Prologue

The twelfth of December

1881

Cecilia sat in the dark room, admiring the moon with tired eyes. She never could find a match to the glory of the moon. The grandfather clock chimed twelve, midnight, a time of sorrow, a time of pain. She sighed when the door opened, revealing two individuals. One was a young woman with honey colored hair and eyes, the only warm thing about her. Sharp features, pale skin, and thin lips gave her a look of the dead. As if Death itself had come and brushed up against her. Despite her cold looks, she was radiant. A slim hourglass figure, not needing a corset, long legs, arms and fingers, that made her look regal rather than gangly. Though she wore clothing worthy of the Queen, rags could not even dampen her beauty.

The other one was much more restrained, yet no less in beauty. As he stood in the dark, shadows carved his lovely face, and she had no greater wish then to reach out and touch him. Using her self control, she tightly folded her hands and whispered, "Rosaline, what a pleasant surprise, I didn't believe you to be visiting tonight."

The woman, named Rosaline, gave Cecilia a cold smile, answering, "Oh, I'm sure you knew of my visit. You know many things." Her sentence hung in the air for a moment, as if trying to gather momentum, but seemed to fall to the ground instead.

"Well, what has brought you here, at this hour?" The sarcasm in Cecilia's voice was subtle, and perhaps unheard.

"I came to ask a question actually, one I have been thinking over for a long time." She looked out the window, as if searching for the answer to her unstated question, pain showing plainly on her face. "When does the sun rise so the moon may set? When will night end and day take its place? When does the endless winter cease to be, to allow summer its own time?" With question came more feeling and emotion, until Rosaline was breathing hard and looking into Cecilia's eyes with great passion.

"The moon will never set, will it? Just as night will never end and winter will never cease. Shall someday the whole earth be damned to such life as this, or am I the only sane one, to say end it now!"

For the first time, the man spoke, softly, with a male sing-song voice, "She has been like this all night, which is why brought her to you. I just didn't know what to do."

"That is untrue. I brought myself here, of my own accord. Just as I have made my own choice, at this very moment, to do what you two have neither the faith nor courage. I will no longer be condemned to this endless midnight!"

"Rosaline, there is no love in what you do. No love for humanity or life." Cecilia's voice was even and calm, betraying not a hint of her fear.

"What life do you speak of? I have not had a life in decades, ages even. There is nothing but death in me, Death is my very soul." These words made her eyes redden as fire, burning into the gazes of the other two.

"Please, Rosaline, don't do this, I love you." The man pleaded with her. In his own eyes held hurt and lack of understanding. Creases and shadows increased as he looked into her unrelenting face. She stepped toward him, touching his face lightly.

"You can't love an empty soul, much less a condemned one. Release me, let me go. If you shall not, the pain will be greater still."

"I cannot."

A look of pity fell upon her lovely face, sadness in her eyes. After many moments of simply staring at him, her features lightened, and she actually smiled.

"I must go now, you will let go. You must, for it is the only way." With those last words, she lit a candle in the darkness of the room. The brightness made the man falter, grabbing for Cecilia, whose eyes were closed, and lips curved down.

Rosaline laughed, a wicked and heartless laugh, as she caught her dress aflame. Her two companions could only watch in horror, her suicidal actions freezing them in fear. When the dress was all entirely in fire, she jumped out the window, landing three stories below. All the while, writhing in pain, while screaming and laughing, until Death truly took her.