Not the blades of a sword but blackest betrayal…

Don't try to hide in the distance,

It's just too big to ignore.

We work it out like business,

It won't work anymore.

Bangles I'll Set You Free

A jab of true pain shot through my entire body, strong and fatal. It was betrayal. Not the blades of a sword but blackest betrayal, a death bringer, it was. There was only one reason this happened to me. I cared, I trusted. And to the wrong person I did entrust to keep that secret. I'm an idiot. I trusted my heart and I would pay the price for it. I always will.

I was falling; my body dead weight; asleep and numb. My senses were alert, though. It did no good; unless, if I were taken, and then killed, maybe I'd know the name, the face of my death. Still, now I didn't see any faces of anyone. Black was all I saw, or could it have been deep, deep green?

Then, the feeling of air rushing past my face ceased in an instant. I was in a greenish place with Faye lying motionless at my side. Her hair was closer to my hair colour here which was a near-white blond, ivory in Suendreckhar sunlight, bleached to purest white in the Ecrathresh moonlight. I felt control slither back into my body slowly. When I was able, I rolled from my side onto my back.

And, I sprang up, or halfway, at least. My feet were bound… again. Then, I realized that the greenish place was a room with glowing green lights above. It was a holding cell. The suited beings were there, too. Somehow, they screamed Suendreckhar.

"We've got a live one." I must have startled someone. "Must be resilient; Rerock, contain her!"

"I vow not to harm anyone. See? I just want to know where I am."

I saw the reflective face covers move, one nodding. "Seren; that is your name… You are in a Suendreckhar containment facility. We found you, and Faye Saelyfe, at the inferno gate. Must be witches, you are. Otherwise you wouldn't be stupid enough to use it. She," he said in the direction of Faye, "was somewhat hesitant to go." Then I knew what they were talking about. They were saying the first time we tried to go, when I woke up in the van, when I met Elise and Annabel; that was what they meant. Only… that also meant something even worse. It was the marker for meaning that none of it happened.

It meant that Elise and Annabel didn't exist in reality, not to me, at the very least. And, that meant that it was entirely an illusion in my mind; it was a dream. Still, how was it possible? I didn't know any of that, nothing at all. I thought that this planet had always been home to the Suendreckhar and the Ecrathresh races. I knew nothing of the flowing words in Romeo & Juliet. How could it be? From the corner of my eye, I saw Faye slowly rise, too. She seemed slightly dazed and confused about the lights, the suited people, the room, and about everything that was here. I met her eyes, no hope within either participant. We were doomed.

"What is going on?" She whispered in the now silent air. My head lowered. How could I say what was happening without telling her the truth? There was no choice. There was a choice, though, just not one we would normally consider.

The choice was to either fight, killing ourselves and wounding them, or to die with nothing by our names. It was a grim choice; I knew that all too well. "We are the wyverns of night's shadow land, now. We are at the last stand of our time. We stand on death's hand."

It was a riddle that only Faye understood. One of the elders made it up. The riddles were our codes, meant only for us to talk to each other. I just hope she'd remember, because apparently I can't talk with her telepathically. It would have really helped at this moment. Through all the times we spoke through the looking glasses, we finally figured out that one day we'd be in the center of pandemonium. That was the first thought of coded communication, a way to say things when nothing was meant by it, to others, hopefully.

I saw a dim flicker of realization lash across her face, for a brief moment. "Not a word bled in day's might; shall a cut be come and come once onto words?"

That meant two things. One: she got the riddle. Two: that Faye wanted to know the details about the coming war, the future pandemonium, and the future of us. I shake my head, unwilling to say that demons coming to devour us would be less painful.

Her head nods. Faye's eyes didn't have a shred of hope in them anymore, her whole body slumped to the ground then, the liveliness drained by this predicament.

"Good, the last of the witches are here. Maybe they can help us," a male's voice chimed from behind me. He sounded overjoyed by the simple fact that the two of us were here in this odd room. His hands clapped, the sound echoing everywhere.

I hissed involuntarily as I spun to glare at whoever the man was.

When I saw his face, my hatred crumbled into nothingness, and I did stare, with my mouth hanging slightly open that is. It was like I saw right past his beautiful face, and was staring at a soul that was meant for me. I did see his physical features, though. He had literally white hair that brushed his shoulders as he stopped. His eyes were the colour of red flames, bits of orange and yellow speckling in various spots. All I knew was that he was somehow meant for me, though, being prisoner to him isn't exactly the way I imagined it.

His eyes seemed to spark, too, when I met his gaze.

He cleared his throat.

"Who are you?" Faye and I asked in synchronization. He smiled and that small thing made my heart thud erratically. Faye wasn't so… as joyous about this guy as I was. Maybe I'm insane to think anything good about this guy. Maybe I was just insane. I'd dreamt a dream of the freedom I would never have. That was enough to classify me as insane. Faye would undoubtedly agree. Something in my head told me that this was past acceptable insanity.

He came to kneel in front of me. "Kent Heolstor is my name."

Kent stood after a long moment, gazing directly into my eyes, searching for something. He turned away from us, toward a door. "Sleep well; you'll need it for tomorrow." With those words, he left.

"Cut the ropes so they sleep better, Fairfax," Kent said from outside, I barely heard his voice because of the obstacles. His request sent flutters through my body, tingling with joy that he wanted me to sleep better, free of rope burning pain.



I always slept very lightly, never able to go into deep sleep as I never knew if I needed to defend that way. The nearly ghost footsteps woke me from my dreamless sleep. The green of the room faded to near black, I was completely blinded. A set of strong hands clamped onto the tops pf my shoulders, then a whisper as silent as the words of Cenotos. "Come with me," it whispered.

I guess I wasn't entirely aware of what I was doing. I let the Suendreckhar guide me silently pass Faye and into a dimly lit hallway. The man was Fairfax, the same person who'd cut the binding ropes. He pulled me down a long hallway with doors probably leading to rooms containing sleeping people. We twisted and turned through many hallways until we reached one with titles in thick black letters were printed on each door.

Mid-Captain Ferren Drueck

Captain Lillian Therin

Leader Jeanette Storms

Leader Amral Claennis

High Leader Kent Heolstor; that was door we turned towards. It was the last door in this corridor.

"High Leader Heolstor requested your presents. Do not ask any questions, I know nothing. I simply do as is asked by my superiors." He knocked on the door swiftly; two sharp bangs. This couldn't possibly be happening to me. The door slide open.

There he stood, tall and godlike, handsome and striking; it took my breath away just to see him. He most likely didn't feel that way about me, a lowly Ecrathresh witch with nothing but a bad past. "Enter," he said sternly. As I entered, the door began to close on me; I hurried out of the way before it could squish me.

His room was sheathed in the darkest of shadows. The only light came from an open window on the eastern wall. Through it, I saw the tip of the moon, a glowing edge. I felt him come behind me. His hands touched my shoulders and he lightly spun me around so I faced him. Kent just stood there for a moment, gawking at me with unintelligent eyes. "Oh god, you're so beautiful," he murmured nearly as quiet as the silent room.

"Thank you," I whispered, blushing in the same instance.

"Okay… here's what's going to happen. You have a choice, just so we are clear. Help us, and we'll spare you and your sister even though you are witches. Don't help us and you both die. It's your choice."

"I can only speak for myself, not for Faye as well. But, I'd rather die than help you."

There was a faint smile in his voice. "Maybe this will change your mind."

Kent leaned toward me, though I kept leaning, inch by inch, away from him. This guy was a lunatic! He was taller than me and he won. I found my lips touching his. When it was over, he was smiling.

"You won't be so gay when I'm done with you," I swore harshly.

Faye and I were very quiet, afraid we were being watched. I tried to talk about inconsequential things. "What did it feel like when you said 'I swear if I EVER get my hands on them, they are going to rue the day they wronged me'?"

She laughed. "I was just angry; I guess it felt like wanting to strangle someone with your bare hands. Why?"

"No particular reason," I murmured. It wasn't a complete lie, I just wanted to know. By the way she described it I'd assume it was the same thing I felt after Kent did what he did. He managed to coax out most of my lesser secrets. He never did touch the one I would never show. Everyone has a secret they can never say. There was pain, sure, but, it was nothing compared to the pain if everyone found out. "I have another question. Did you have a dream between the time we were at the inferno gate and now?"

She shook her head. "You did," she replied certainly.

"Maybe, maybe not," I countered. "If I say yes, you will ask me, and that may not be in your best interest. If I say no, you will ask me why I asked you. I cannot win because there are some things best kept secret."

She shook her head. "You don't understand." She paused. "You did."

This felt like a clue, the kind that the person wanted to say, "Hint hint, nudge nudge, and wink wink." There was something in this clue that rang a dim bell. It was how I'd woken first, both times.

"Oh," I gasped. "I see."

We were called out of the greenly lit room at that moment. Mid-Captain Drueck, Captain Therin, Leader Storms, Leader Claennis, and High Leader Heolstor were lined up in order of rank and were all facing the door we were coming out of. Each uniform was slightly different, except for the two Leaders' which were exactly the same. Without a solitary word, they turned so that High Leader Heolstor was in front, guiding all of us. Faye, the guard, and I joined at the back of the procession. We were going down a corridor lit only by various coloured candles along the walls. The flames glowed faintly yellow against the face of the wall, extending only a couple of hand spans.

I tried my hardest to keep my face calm, inside I felt like painful fire ripped through every cell that created my body. It was tearing me apart from the inside out. I winced, though no one noticed. It hurt so much, I was dying, and I could feel it. We stopped at a door with two cloaked shadows in front.

Kent nodded. "It's nice that you could come, Elise; you, too, Annabel. I haven't seen you in such a long time."

"Likewise," the shadows nodded in synchronization.

Elise and Annabel… it couldn't be, could it? This was extremely queer, entirely abstract. The fact that two shadows appeared with the same names as the two people in my dream was just abnormal. We all nodded toward them. They moved out of the way and waited at the side until the very last person was through the sliding metal door and followed us in.

I felt another spasm of pain echo through me as I took a seat in the conference room.

I never made it to the seat. My body, now numb, collapsed onto the floor twitching in every way.

A dark voice echoed through my mind.

Remember what you said, sister. Deals. With. The. Demons. Bring. Your. Death.

Deals with demons bring your death.

I never imagined that it really could or really would.