D I V I D E N D S
By: Essevera

Chapter One:
For Tomorrow Shows No Promise

"Make your move, Arrow. I've made mine." Her words echoed through the chamber hall and bounced against the walls, among the ears of the witnesses, and to the man who was only partially there. She stood upright with her hair pinned back, revealing what little scars remained on her face. Her eyes were so cold, and yet so pure—the dignified justice held by any true heroine. As her hands fell to her sides, the bracelets and shackles at her wrists fell to the marble floor with a clang.

No one moved except the girl of extraordinary wonders. Looking at her was a wonder in its self. She was dark-skinned and raven haired with purple streaks that cascaded to her lower back. Her sai daggers hung at each hip, but the last slung across her shoulder blades. Her face revealed the wisdom beyond her years and the sureness of her decisions, movements, and actions. Brown eyes glimmered with a mysterious dazzle. For one so small, one would've thought that she was a sage…had it not been for the daggers.

Arrow, only half-visible, watched her go as the worry in his facial features darkened. This girl was destined for great things, born outside the protected walls and held the secrets that could destroy the threats beyond the void. Having lost part of his soul, he was almost useless with a body less than tangible. It was a pathetic state especially for one of a ruler. He showed himself only to the most important…including her.

"Sire," said his humble lady servant, "I can get her in the next fifteen minutes, yes?"

If she knew how difficult the situation was, she wouldn't have volunteered to get her back so quickly.

"Not now, Fey," Arrow answered. He folded his hands and slowly exited the chamber hall to retire to his bedchamber amid the hushes of the quiet hundred witnesses. At the age of twenty-one, he was already feeling old.

After he had left, a new decree was put up.


As of five hours ago, she decided she would never ever lose a battle ever again—a vow she would live by to the end of her days. Her heart still ached, and her mind was still beating her fury. Taking whatever strength she had left, she poured another glass of Amory wine. The evolution in the making of food and beverage was going well these days. Supposedly, a certain wine can cure a certain thing: take depression and heart ache for example.

Gulping her third glass down, she poured more of the maroon colored liquid as she thought, 'Happy birthday to…me… May these other years be worth the trouble that I put myself through... Cheers to my misery…' She was twenty-one, the age of legal…'stuff,' she quipped, 'I don't need anyone to hang around me like baggage anymore…no need for anyone to lay their life down now. I'll be in my solitude unless summoned.'

These thoughts were drowned out by more wine, forgetting that she should've taken the Forget Me Not wine.

Perhaps it was more heartache than wanting to forget.

As of six hours ago or whatever time it was, she lost her first duel. It felt somewhat undignified to be outwitted than hurt, or rather killed. Then the duel became a contest and the contest led to kill.

She lost her best friend, her bodyguard, and her mentor. It was worth remembering—his living, not his dying—which was why she took the Amory wine. He was after all…like her first love.

The tears began to fall, streaking her olive toned skin. She could hardly bear it anymore until she remembered why they met and why she was still alive…and why he had to die.

He died a very bad death to say the least: decapitated by a girl of equal skill. The girl was nothing more than a puppet from human corpse. It explained why she never blinked and never spurred blood. Corpse puppets were of common use by those planning assassinations. What was really terrible about was that they would fight on the equal skill/level as their opponent. Either the opponent got better and "killed" it or got killed.

"Here's to you, Zef."

By those words, she fell unconscious upon her bed, letting her wine glass drop to the floor into many pieces.

The purple streaks faded into black as she drifted into Dreamland.


"Vio," a little boy said to his older brother. "Where are we going?" His hand clutched tightly to the hem of his brother's cloak; the other hand pulled his own cloak tighter to his chest while the cold winds brushed against his round pale cheeks. He had lived with various distant relatives until his brother would bring him to the next one. This time, however, was different from the rest.

Vio gripped his little brother's hand. "Hush, Corin, your voice will give us away!" Vio, only twenty-two, carried a haggard expression and a knapsack full of Corin's belongings. He hurried his pace and quietly trudged across the snow, occasionally looking from left to right for any followers.

Just one chance to go leave…there was no choice but to take it.

Beyond the senses, one could feel the presence of a void. According to legend, there was a void that separated the worlds across space. From the void, you could go to any other world. The problem wasn't finding the other worlds…it was finding the void itself.

"Vio," Corin whispered, "something's weird about this place…"

'The legend had to have been real…I've put too much effort into finding the void…' thought Vio. He dropped Corin's hand and went on his hands and knees, groping for something in the snow.

In your world of cold and snow
The void is held and you shall know
Keep heart to heart
Be strong and seek
The stone so cold for those so meek

With the fable was attached the simple poem. Only a peasant could find the stone when they sought it out…or maybe it was really only a peasant to believe such a silly tale.

"Vio," Corin said again. "Maybe we should go…" He turned his head side to side and watched faint rustles in the woods around them. His heart was pounding through his ears as though he were to meet his doom soon.

"Corin, hush," chided Vio. His hands fumbled through the cold snow as they lost their senses. No nobleman would've ever believed such a child's tale, and they would never dig their hands into the ground desperate for a stone. Only a peasant would.

Then what was this sense of hope? He pushed his hands deeper and deeper into the ground. Maybe it was fool's hope—his mind only telling him he was closer…

"Vio," Corin repeated.

"Not now," answered Vio. He could feel the stone in his mind. Closing his eyes, he pictured himself holding the stone.

It was really just a bright orb of light.

"Corin, Corin!" cried Vio, "I've found it! Grab my hand now! Corin…?" Vio swerved around looking for his nine year old brother, who was nowhere in sight.

seek the stone so cold for those so meek…

"Damn poem," muttered Vio in disgust and rage.