PROLOGUE INTRODUCTION: SHADOW'S NIGHTMARE

It's all coming back to me. Shadow the Witch smirked. It worked. I can feel it – the way it used to be.

Spreading her arms wide to embrace all evil, the witch tilted her head back and laughed, letting the sound echo through a haunted castle. Standing on top of a tower, she set a foot on the edge and leaned on one knee. The sword she held reflected her pale face. Her pupils were like black-holes staring into space – nothing but emptiness in her eyes. The light that entered them never escaped again.

Gazing below, the witch viewed a fallen kingdom. All was as it should be in this dark world of death – no sign of life. In the distance, she could see a sea of shadows. She found the sound of blood splashing against the shore rather refreshing. The charred desert sand drank it like rain. There was no wind; the whole world held its breath. It was so peaceful and still – silent as the grave. Everything here in Hell was black and white, except for certain items like candles.

This vampire-like vixen controlled the ancient elements – fire, water, earth, and air. The shape-shifting spirit could not only change her outward appearance with a magical mask, but also turn invisible using a moonlight medallion.

Magic was never meant to be used in such a weak way. With each life force I take, I salvage a small portion of my power.

A beautiful butterfly with colorful wings hovered in the air, then gently perched and rested on her finger. Seeing something so pretty was rare in this ugly place; she glanced up at it curiously and smiled. Then she grew jealous, crushed it in her fist, and incinerated it with a disgusted look. These creatures constantly competed for attention, but she couldn't feel such sensations.

It would have died anyway. The witch shrugged.

The Soulless, Heartless Princess of Darkness was so ruthlessly relentless even demons dared not approach anymore. No twilight terror was wicked as this keen killer with a violent, vengeful nature, void of human emotion. Her craving couldn't be satisfied, for the blood that flowed through her veins was black as coal and the heart beating in her breast was hard as stone. Pain and sorrow were all she'd ever known. Still, she couldn't help thinking something horrible was about to happen.

A gust of wind blew out a torch. A pulsing ray of sun pierced the horizon. The bright flash hurt her eyes, blinded her, and gave her a heart attack. Trees curled under rocks, refusing to reach out for it. She hid, wondering what it was, tasting fear for the first time. It brought back such strange memories, like a distant dream. This hope and happiness – the warm feeling inside just didn't seem right; it almost made her feel alive.

Is that? No, it can't be. A light! Dim, but growing bright… Glowing as it burned in the atmosphere, a falling star hurtled toward the ground. Butterfly swarms flew overhead; she ducked, protecting her face with one arm. Ugh! More of them?

The magic was gone; this beam was a threat to her world. Determined to stop it and restore the realm, hatred surged within her. Her chest rose and fell; she took a deep breath. Haunted by her past, she closed her eyes with a worried expression.

Harsh wind howled and whipped through her hair. Waves stirred the sea. Lightning split the sky. Thunder shattered the serenity. She didn't belong there, trapped in a nightmare. Then the vision ended. As somebody called out her name, she awoke.