~ Chapter one ~

Getting away from it all

In the darkness sat a teen; A pale body shivering from the cold in the dungeon. It was dark, moist and dank. He wasn't given any food, water or the basic necessities to keep him disease free. A corner of his cell gives off the foul smell of decayed waste and the remains of the cell's previous inhabitant. The same corner holds a pile of insect infested hay; his bed. He, however, did not try to persuade the guards to release him. He was a proud boy, almost to the point of arrogance. And why should he not be? His current predicament belongs to him, the guards belong to him, and even the dungeon belongs to him. Aye, he was a prisoner in his own house.

Every muscle in his lean frame seems to be on fire, every inch of skin on his body itches, attacked by microscopic parasites. His throat is experiencing some major burning sensation and it hurt badly, his voice was as rough as sandpaper. But all of this is expected; After all of the bloodcurdling screams, whipping and humiliation, he didn't expect his voice to resume its silky drawl, nor his body to feel comfortable in his skin.

Velus cursed his father and slammed his fist against the cold and slimy stonewalls. It was then he heard the steel door creaked open, like it was crying out for him, pitying him.

I don't need your pity... I don't need anyone's!

"Your Father called for you, young master." Velus turned his head away from the burly cell-guard and replied, "Tell him that I will be there as soon as I am presentable."

The cell-guard nodded and turned away, leaving the door open. Velus brushed the decaying hay from his cloak and folded his sleeves exactly the way his father demands it to be. He snorted with contempt, with his perfection… and with surrender.

Filled with resignation, he headed to his father's study room quietly yet swiftly, despite how weak his body felt. Velus's shadow, slithering behind him like a snake, tells of the ominous that is about to happen.

Flames crackled and sputtered in the large, stone fireplace before a high-backed, crimson chair. The room, even with the raging fire, held a cold air that chilled down to the bone. Residing on the chair was a man. His long, pale aristocratic fingers folded neatly together. Resting on them was a pointed chin. And above it was a pair of cold violet eyes that seem to engulf the flames before them.

"Father." Came a small, yet firm, voice from somewhere behind the chair. It came from a close proximity, but it seemed rather distant to the man sitting silently on the crimson chair. After a long pause, the man replied.

"Come." ordered Lord Vedavone. Even as he beckoned to Velus, his eyes never left the leaping fire.

Velus swiftly obeyed and paced himself across the room to kneel beside his father's chair, hoping to avoid further injuries. His pale violet orbs, very much similar to his father's, darted everywhere, alert for any signs of hostility. Sensing no imminent danger, the pale teen shifted his eyes to his father and stifled a stuttering sigh. Whether it was a sigh of relieve or of wariness, Velus did not know. Silence stretched across the room, like an arrow strung across a deadly bow, waiting to snap at any given time.

Patience… Patience is virtue.

His patience was rewarded.

"You are my heir, Velus. Without you, there will be no more Vedavones. Our family linage will die and we will no longer have the power we have now. But, if you take over me, my son, you will have the greatest power of all; Greater then even mine. For you are not only my son, but also the heir of Slerain: Father of all Timors. You are the only surviving heir of Slerain." Lord Vedavone whispered, moving his cold eyes to speculate his fair son.

Velus looked so much like himself when he was younger. Fair body, brilliant violet eyes, pale skin that never burned, silky black hair that shone even in darkness, a handsome face, with sharp edges. His determination, his tone, and even his exotic beauty… Everything was copied to perfection.

"O-of course Father." Velus stammered, attempting to keep calm. His world was about to change, for the better or worse, he did not know.

Interficio Timor…

Velus bowed his head down and closed his eyes. When he spoke, his voice was quiet and monotonous.

"When will I join, Father?"

He had no choice but to accept his fate. Then maybe he'd never have to take another visit to that dungeon again.

Lord Vedavone looked to his son and stared at him, the heir to the most successful manipulator of dark powers. "Very good, my son. For once you have done me proud." Lord Vedavone smirked as he stressed the meaning of his son's failure. "On the twelfth full moon, that is tradition, you have no choice. Only then will you truly be recognized as a Timor."

Velus gave a slow nod and stayed silent, his eyes still closed; thinking about his recruitment into Timor: one of the most ancient, most powerful organizations that uses dark powers in the epic battle of sorcery. And to be in charge of assassination…

An Interficio Timor.

It was twisted.

"This is your armor you so boldly requested for, take it and put it on. I want to see some improvement from you. You may go, Velus. We are finished." Velus snapped out of his musing, obeyed and left.

At least I didn't get beaten for nothing…

Outside, he let out a sigh of relief. He hefted his own armor and padding. He had to train, there was no choice, and he could not let his father down again. It was not for his father's sake but his own. He doesn't want to get beaten or get thrown into the dungeons again.

Velus held his fear and trotted down the marble stairs, which will lead him to his fatal ground. "Oh please, let this work," Velus muttered under his breath, emerging into a gloomy black hall.

The hallway was as cold as the dungeons had been, and dark to boot. Velus shivered at the memory of what happened in the dungeons. He was put there all because of Tom Owen. "Damned him!" Thought Velus. "If he didn't lead me into a fist-fight I wouldn't have to suffer in the dungeons with bleeding cuts from whips and bruises from fists. I hate that guy!" However, he couldn't stop a small voice saying, 'Well, you asked for the armor.' Velus shook his head to get rid of the annoying inner-voice.

Velus winced as he remembered what his father had said when he received an angry letter from the principle regarding the fistfight. "What is this I hear about the fist-fight? WHERE IS YOUR DIGNITY AS A VEDAVONE? They are lowly people who are not even worth our sight. And yet you went and picked up a fight with them! Where is your wit and cunning to get a scapegoat? What is the matter with you! Furthermore you have the cheek to ask me for a new suit of armor and complain that yours is old and rusty!" Spat Lord Vedavone. "Fine, since you like fighting so much..." By this time, his voice was softer and colder, that meant danger. Velus was right, for after that, the torture, screaming and laughing came at him with full force.

Velus shook his head to clear away those horrifying memories and took his own lead. Feet slapping on the cold marble floor drifted in his wake, his thoughts as dark as the hallway. There was an urgent need to show Father that his only son wasn't the coward the Gladius Timor claimed he was. And that he could succeed on the Gladius ground on his own.

Velus had always wondered why he was the only boy in the whole line of generation of Interficios, who realized that there were other styles of fighting than the Leader of Gladius Timors, Withen, taught. Maybe it was because, the way Velus had figured that there was no way, save for a miracle, that he could ever succeed at the back-hand-slash system Withen used. And no way Lord Vedavone, current Leader of the Interficio Timors and Slerain's right hand man, would ever believe that another style was just as good while Withen had his eye.

Unless Velus could show him, then Father would have to believe his own eyes.

And if I can't prove it to him... Oh god. I can't take any more of this.

Velus kicked opened the unlatched door to the Gladius ground. The early spring sunlight was painful after the darkness of the cold and dark hallway. Velus squinted as he thought he saw a shadowy figure standing a few feet in front of him. But as soon as he blinked, the figure was gone. Velus soon forgot about the figure as he heard a snide, cold, high-pitched and terribly irritating voice behind him.

"Practicing now are you?" Velus could actually hear the smirk in the Gladius's voice. "Thought you never took this seriously enough. The wiping really woke you up didn't it? Maybe I should arrange more of it." Velus could not believe his ears. "Yes," Withen continued, "It was I who pushed your father into this business. Surprised." It was not a question. It was more of a statement.

Velus turned around only to see the redhead, crag-faced Gladius polishing his sword, as if getting ready for a fight. He was right, again. Withen charged without any warning, and Velus had to scramble to get out of the way of the whirling blade.

With the knowledge that Withen is coming to him at full force, Velus could now pivot away smoothly, easily and with grace with the help of his agility. Velus ducked, wove, and saw an opening. He did a mad rush and jammed his sword against Withen's armor.

"That's enough!" A cold voice rang through the battlefield.

Swords clattered onto the ground as their owners spun around to see whom the voice belongs to, but Velus knew better...

Lord Vedavone swam in view as soon as he spun around.

"My son, I have an initiation for your recruitment." Lord Vedavone flashed a smirk.

Forgetting his moment of success, Velus obeyed his father and was by his side in an instant. Lord Vedavone whispered to Velus, making him shiver. After the message had been successfully delivered and Withen dismissed, Lord Vedavone simply left, after adding, "That display was acceptable. Withen is bleeding right now. He has failed, we must dispose of him." Velus was in shock, every nerve and every vein seems to be frozen. Soon, that feeling shook off and fear seeped in. By then, Lord Vedavone was no where to be seen. Velus sunk to the floor and wept in silence, his mouth opening every once in a while, forcing out silent scream. The notion of air squeezing through his constricted throat left it in a raw state much worst then before.

But he didn't care, nothing matters… Not now.

Tomorrow, tomorrow is the day.

**

Tom sat around with his best friend, Yohman Diamond, eating his lunch and listening vaguely to his recount on what happened in Biology. "That was real gross, that was... Seeing the beating heart of the dissected frog…"

Tom put his unfinished sandwich down. He had lost his appetite... somehow. After about ten minutes his soccer friends, Anthony, Mike and David came around, Mike sporting a soccer ball in his hand.

"Up for a game Owen?" Anthony said in a heavy accent. Anthony had never told anyone what country he was from, before he joined GreenHill High last year. Some people suspected that he was Italian though.

Tom looked for acceptance from Yohman and received one generously with a nod of a head. Tom smiled and stood up, brushing grass from his shirt and pants. "You're on. I won't be easy on you this time."

"That's what you said the last time." David shook his head.

"You're going to get it!" Tom challenged.

Tom and the other boys found an empty spot on the field to play. Tom smiled contentedly as he dribbled the ball back and forth around the field, dodging the others as he ran with the ball. He lived for soccer. It was the only real thing that made him truly happy. With the exception of spending time with his fathers: Sylvester and Leonardo Owen, of course. It made him forget every problem he had. He kicked the ball between his feet and prepared to strike. David was the goalie and he was pretty good at it too, but he wasn't good enough for Tom's reflexes, Tom did a fancy flip and kicked the ball past him easily.

Mike ran up to him. "Tom, you're way too good for us, you know that."

"So you need not be such a show off." He added in an undertone but Tom heard it and scowled.

Anthony appeared beside him, "You're definitely going to be a forward this year, dude."

David clapped him on the back. "Looks like we have an audience." Velus followed his gaze over to the car park where a tall violet-eyed, middle-aged man and a shorter teen were standing.

"You know, I heard that some people reckon that their eye-colour is the Vedavone's trademark. Seriously, I had never seen purple eye before, it's totally wicked and sexy." Came Anthony's voice. The whole gang looked at Anthony in disbelieve, save Tom.

Tom hardly heard the sentence. Instead felt that he almost couldn't breathe and he didn't know why. It was the Vedavones and they had been watching Tom and his friends play soccer. Velus was seemingly starring Tom down, but then he smirked and he and his father turned to enter the school.

"Tom, you okay?" David asked quietly as he practiced head-butting the soccer ball.

Tom gulped, trying to will the invading fear down. "Yeah... Wow! Nice limousine." Tom hoped to change the subject. It worked.

"Yeah... fancy stuff." Anthony said, Mike whistled.

"Rich dudes..." David chipped in.

"Besides, why all the fanciness and daddy? I've never actually saw his dad before, come to think of it." Mike said as he intercepted the bouncing ball from David's head and started bouncing it on his.

Tom shrugged... He just could not help feeling troubled about the weird appearance of Velus. Something was wrong and somehow he felt it. Soon, Yohman ran up to join them.

As if on cue, the bell rung for the last classes of the day and Anthony announced "Double History!" Everyone groaned.

"I wonder if I'll mess up some facts up again today." David sighed, not helping to cover his dread. And others as well for that matter as they all groaned again and pulled on their bags, following David to the Humanities block.

**

Velus waited outside the History Lecture Theater.

Stupid subject, stupid teacher. Improperly-dress, lecherous-

Then something clicked in his mind and ran off to find his dad.

It's him...

The Theater door opened, all heads turned towards the latecomer and quickly faced away once they saw whom it was. Not daring to double-cross a Vedavone. Velus strolled to his seat leisurely, not finding the need to rush even if Mr. Dheerise was staring so hard at him that he could almost feel holes drilling into his back

"Vedavone, detention with me after school today for coming in late." Velus shrugged it off and sat down at an empty bench.

Father had better have a reason for the weird one he just gave me... Why kiss? I mean who would want to kiss-

Velus's train of thoughts was rudely interrupted when Mr. Dheerise started his boring lecture, he does not have a clue to what was coming.

To put the "Kiss" plan in action, he wrote a note to Tom, who looked like he was going to doze off any minute now. Velus carefully folded the note as carefully as he disguised his handwriting, only waiting for the time when Mr. Dheerise to turn his back, to pass the note to Tom and the rest of the C'division soccer team. The note read:

Team,

Listen, want to play truth or dare later? Oh and Tom, bring your best friend. Meet at the field after school, I might be late so don't wait up. I'm letting you have the chance to play the icebreaker instead of training today.

PS: I dare you, Tom, to dare Yohman to kiss his sister, full blown, on the lips. *Winks* Oh and don't show this letter to Yohman, or I'll kick you all off the team.

XXX,

Captain

Velus re-read the letter and smirked to himself.

Looks like his handwriting, sounds like him too. I'm going to do everything properly. I am going to show Father what I am made off, my cunning and wits. It's going to smack straight at his face, show him what I'm made off. After this, I'm never going to be looked down by Father again, never get beaten...

He passed the letter on.

"Vedavone!" Mr. Dheerise hissed, "Pay attention!" Velus stared at him murderously. He smelt death coming his way, coming closer and closer as the minutes tick away.

Finally, the bell rang and classes ended. It was the beginning of the end for Mr. Dheerise. "Come back at 4 for your detention class" Ordered Mr. Dheerise.

That's enough time to fetch my sword.

Velus did just that with much guilt and fear. At exactly 4, Mr. Dheerise heard the silky drawl of Velus, "I came for detention." Mr. Dheerise turned around. A sword was drawn. A slash was heard. Blood splattered the walls and floor surrounding the two figures. There was no scream, no gasps; it was all too fast. Everything ended even before it started.

Velus wiped the blood from his sword with the victim's shirt. Tears formed a puddle on the floor and Velus followed in pursuit. "I'm sorry... I'm sorry!" Velus screamed to the corpse laying in the puddle of blood in front of him, "Its my Father... my Father..." He fled the room. The smell of Death hung freshly in the air. The dead had claimed its latest victim, whom had a straight mark slashed across its neck.