Prologue: A Forbidden Stranger

Fiery golden hair flowed like lava across the crimson covered bed where she lay, completely unaware of the danger courting her bedside. Would he kill her now, or as so many times before, find himself void of the strength needed to raise his sword for the blow that would end her life? Though he knew that a true bond of love could never unite them, the fact could not force his feet from the balcony, where he stood mesmerized by her beauty.

Once more he watched her eyes flicker gracefully beneath the gates that kept their treasure locked away from those who would look upon it. Again he found himself wondering what it would be like to lose himself in their enchanting depths. He stood there for what seemed like ages gazing hungrily upon her- the phoenix. She was the source of all his misery, yet he could not find it within himself to condemn his glowing affection for her.

All the while the sun continued to rise ever higher, framing his tall, muscular body magnificently against the threshold of the balcony. Slowly, her head began to turn in the direction of the sunlight now streaming over her bed through the balcony doorway. One by one the dancing rays crept their way towards her brow. As they alighted upon her delicate lids, her eyes opened, releasing their glorious light, which they had selfishly kept shut away from the shadows of darkness that had fallen upon the tower at the sun's nightly demise. For an instant their eyes connected, her flames fighting his violets for supremacy, before finally relinquishing their power to the soothing strength of his gaze. Suddenly, the door to her room was flung wide, and he, the forbidden stranger, was gone, leaving only his thoughts floating like diamonds in the air behind him; You will be mine; I swear it.