Once upon a time- oh how over used those words seem to be. They start every fairytale, begin every happily ever after, start stories that never go deeper than a princess and a 'the end'. Except for this 'once upon a time'.

This story is not the story of a simple princess who seeks her prince, nor is it a story for those who are afraid to understand what is real and what is simply… not.

No. This story is for everyone who looks into the sky at night, and knows that they are missing something very important. This story is for everyone who dreams.

"Do you believe in magic Cecil?" asked a fair-haired child. She was a soft, dainty thing who was out of place on the darkened cliffs of the ocean.

"Perhaps," replied the woman at her right. Unlike the child she blended in with the wildness of the sea. Deep in her gray stricken eyes there was the same hard-headedness that the stones empowered.

The child nodded in acceptance, grasping Cecil's hand tightly before letting it go. The hand fell back to the woman's side without any movement of acknowledgement. Puzzlement woke in the child's eyes.

"Cecil? Why do you look so sad?"

Ancient brown eyes glanced briefly downwards to the questioning girl. There was something startling in their depths, but to the innocence of a child Cecil simply looked tired. Cecil, who understood that innocence all too well, simply smiled gently and brushed her callused hand over the child's haloed head. Her eyes turned back to wide expanse of ocean that lurked before her.

"I am afraid sweetling. I am terrified. I have also lost something very, very important to me." She closed her eyes, sighing like the sea-wizened wind that twirled around the pair.

The child looked awestruck. "Afraid? Whatever for? You have nothing to be afraid of Cecil! I'll protect-" She stopped, realizing that Cecil was not even listening to her. The child was hurt, but she knew that Cecil always had a reason for ignoring someone. Instead of pressing the matter, the child, who was oddly wise beyond her years, hugged the woman's arm.

In response to the sudden sign of affection, Cecil, once of Mirth, then of nowhere, laughed and hugged the child. Crouching, she looking into the child's eyes.

"You'll look after them for me? The villagers, the people? Protect them, and you'll protect me."

Scared, the child pressed her face into the fluttering cloak of the brown-eyed fighter. "You're leaving?" she asked, her voice muffled by the deep blue cloth.

"Yes."

Cecil began smoothing out the girl's flaxen hair as soft whimpers began to echo into the air.

"W-why?" stuttered the child, clutching with intense little fingers to the woman's cloak. The whimpers hurt Cecil more then sobs would have. They rang of trepidation in her ears.

Cooing like a mother often does to her sick baby, Cecil clutched the child tighter in an effort to sooth away the fear.

"Because I have to find what I lost darling, until I find it I can not protect those who I love most. I do not have the heart to do so."

The sobs stopped as quickly as they had come, and the only sign of their existence was a patch of wet on the blue wool. Shocked, the child looked upwards. Cecil stopped the smoothing the flaxen hair in order to wipe a tear tack away from the dirt stained face.

"Oh no…" whispered the child. "The Berazi took it, didn't they? No… no…" The child moaned and the tears began to flow once more. "Sess, they couldn't have."

"Yet they did," cooed Cecil, something new in her ancient gray eyes. "They couldn't have, shouldn't have, but it is too late to argue against fate now. So sleep my little sister, and when you'll wake I will be gone."

As the woman spoke the child felt drowsiness settle on her thin form. Recognition flowed into her blue eyes and she struggled in Cecil's arms. The magic in the words were too strong for her.

Unable to argue with the magic, the child closed her eyes and fell like a feather into the arms of the warrior woman. Even when the woman no longer spoke, the power hung in the air like sea-twisted fog.

"I will come back Marie, my angel. I will walk with you again someday, but for now… I am without a heart, and so I cannot be with you. Not yet. Not now. But someday," whispered Cecil into her sister's ear.

She did not cry, she could not cry, but inside she felt something inside her breaking like it had when the demon had taken her still beating heart out of her body. Except this time, it did not cause physical pain… just mental anguish.

Inside she wept.

Outside, her gray eyes simply watched for a few heartbeats, memorizing the lines of her kin's face, then she stood with Marie in her arms and began to walk away from the cliffs. She would put Marie somewhere where the others would find her, and then she would continue on after the Berazi.

Just as she had promised.

From the shadows, all that had been would not be forgotten. The darkness watched the heart wrenching departure of the woman without a heart, a woman of the Darsk Kingdom. While the darkness did not feel sorrow, it did feel pity.

What was a warrior without something to fight for? What was an Arrow Whisperer, a Dragae, without a heart to speak from?

Then, as if reading a very good story, the shadow chuckled, and then faded into the shadows.

A/N: Poorly written. I'm sorry, I'll revise this later...