Chapter 2

The Kingdom of Sora, Anitioch

11 years ago

"Cake… The Queen is worried about cake, Arthur?" Rufus asked chuckling at the King of Sora. King Arthur was a younger look man with bright green eyes and short brown hair. It seemed like every day the king wore red or black which were the official colors of Sora.

"Rufus you know just as well as I do that she wants this to be perfect. Michael is second in command if anything happens to us. Though you remember to keep your word correct?" Arthur asked.

"Of course. I would protect your children to the best of my ability. I'm sure Charles and William here will do the same." Rufus asked looking at the other two guards who were stuffing their faces with cake from the King's sweet table. William and Charles both looked much younger with William having a grayish color hair and Charles with brown hair.

"I'll protect the little demons." William said grabbing a slice of cake and stuffing it into his mouth.

"Your Highness, should we let the townspeople through the gate now?" A maid asked Arthur.

"Actually not yet. William, Charles, we're going for a walk." Arthur said getting up from his golden throne. Charles looked up and picked his sword up from the table.

"Your cloak, Arthur." Rufus said handing Arthur his cloak.

"Your Highness the ceremony starts in less than an hour!" The maid said in a panic voice.

"Don't worry yourself. We'll be back before it starts. I would like to see how the town celebrates my son becoming a prince!" Arthur said before walking down the glass hallway with his friends. The guards bowed as the king walked past them and out the large oak double doors. Just before Arthur could put his hood over his head the priest walked past him and stopped.

"Your highness?" The priest asked.

"Ah Rupert! I'm just going out for a stroll with the guys before the ceremony." Arthur said covering his face with the hood.

"Your Highness, don't you think that's a little odd? Come we'll talk about the problems going on in Gen. You're about to take over that place in less than a week." Rupert said trying to pull Arthur back into the castle.

"Actually Rupert I rather go visit my people first." Arthur said sternly and walked away leaving the priest open mouth. Arthur and his friends walked down the dirt path and into the garden where Rufus pushed a bolder over and walked through a hole in the wall. Once everyone was outside of the castle Arthur walked past the large crowd of people who were smiling and cheering as they waited for the gate to open so they could watch Rupert make his son Michael a prince. Arthur noticed many people were from Gen and Nala, the cities that bordered his kingdom.

"Remind me to have another kid one day." Arthur said whispering to Rufus.

"Arthur, it's bad enough you have two." Rufus said as they made their way into the city. Around them stood high gleaming towers and window shops full of signs saying congrats to the King and Queen and Long Live the Prince! Since most places were closed so people could watch Michael, Arthur walked into the main square where many people were crowding a group of band players playing a new type of music that Arthur never heard.

"Pardon us." William said to the crowd. Everyone turned and looked at the guys.

"Hey let them through its Rufus!" A guy growled at the small crowd. People moved aside and the man who shouted stood in the middle and raised his arms.

"Haven't seen you in a while, Steven. How's the wife coming along?" Rufus asked. Steven pushed his brown hair out of the way and smiled.

"She's in that crowd by the gate with her sister. They're saving me a spot." Steven said shaking hands with William and Charles but looked suspicious at Arthur who was hiding his face still under his hood.

"So the wife must be boring you to death huh?" Steven asked Arthur.

"Only Steven will find out whom you are, buddy." Charles said slapping Arthur's shoulder.

"Too many people keep asking me stupid questions up there." Arthur said in a whisper.

"Hey it's better here. These guys are from the desert. They call this music African. It's pretty cool if you ask me. Here I'll show you." Steven said and nodded his head to a darker looking man. At once the group started to play slapping drums or playing whatever else they had that Arthur didn't recognized. Then they started singing in a language Arthur didn't know! Arthur smiled and clapped his hands to the rhythm. Once they ended the crowd clapped for them and Arthur moved forward.

"Very nice. Where did you all come from?" Arthur asked.

"The desert. There are a couple of small villages there that sing and dance all day long." The drummer said.

"Well now I know where to visit next when I go out of town." Arthur said. The drummer looked at him confused.

"Our villages are not as grand as this is. We have no skyscrapers or stores with expensive clothes. We have small houses and inns not hotels. Our villages are small but that is the way we like it. It is our religion to live in small houses and dance all day." The drummer said. Arthur chuckled and threw off his hood. The crowd behind him gasped.

"Just because you don't have building s that doesn't touch the sky or clothes that cost millions of dollars my family and I would love to visit your village." Arthur said and bowed. The crowd cheered behind him and bowed as Arthur shook the drummer's hand.

"It would bring our village great honor if your family would visit us, Your Highness." The drummer said and bowed.

"I hope you won't mind if my fellow friends here will come along too. This is Sir Rufus my trusted guard and protector of my children, Princess Aria Swan Alstina and Michael Robin Alstina. This is Sir William and finally Sir Charles. They also protect my family if anything happens to me." Arthur said as the drummer shook hands with the knights.

"May the gods of the skies bring you safety for your children." The drummer said.

"What is your name?" Arthur asked him.

"Kahini. I'm the leader of my tribe and the holy one." Kahini said bowing.

"Don't bow! If you are the leader of your tribe that makes you a king to me!" Arthur said shaking Kahini's hand.

"I did not realize though that today was the day the sun would shine so brightly. Whatever for this reason, your Highness?" Kahini asked looking up at the skies.

"My son is becoming a prince today. The Goddess is smiling upon us for she is excited that another Alstina is becoming royal. We are very close to the Goddess and this is her thanks to us. She blesses us with a sunny day for my son's ceremony." Arthur said putting a fist to his heart.

"I did not come here to bring good news though. You see danger comes to this place. Very bad danger because villages around us have been destroyed and nobody lived from these attacks to tell us what is destroying our people." Kahini said looking upset. Arthur gulped and shook his head.

"I might know what you are speaking of Kahini. Follow us and I will tell you." Arthur said waving to his people and flashed one of his famous smiles.

"My people! This is Kahini! He is the leader of his tribe and a friend of Sora. This man has traveled very far to visit Sora and with that let us welcome him to our kingdom!" Arthur shouted. The crowd of people that grew immensely cheered as Kahini bowed and waved his drum around.

"I feel that it is a great honor to be here and I bless this place with happiness for the coming celebration!" Kahini said as the crowd cheered and moved aside to let Arthur through. Once Arthur, Kahini and the knights reached the Iron Gate the Priest was there waiting for them not looking the least bit happy. The knights at the gate opened the gate and let Arthur and the others in.

"What made you think you could sneak off just before the ceremony?" Rupert asked angrily as they walked through the courtyard.

"If I didn't go I wouldn't have meet this man here." Arthur said looking over at Kahini. Rupert growled.

"Who is this man? Arthur this is no time for sympathy against the homeless. Your son is about to become a prince!" Rupert said angrily making the guards by the oak door jump out of the way.

"He is not homeless! He is the leader of his tribe in the desert and brings us grave news." Arthur shouted at Rupert.

"Arthur… What is the matter?" Sarah asked as Arthur stepped into the throne room and slumped into his chair.

"Daddy!" Princess Aria said running to her father and hugging his leg.

"Hello honey. Sarah this is Kahini the leader of a tribe in the desert." Arthur said picking up his daughter and smiled.

"Hello I'm Sarah, Arthur's wife." Sarah said shaking Kahini's hand.

"Will someone tell me what is going on here!" Rupert asked impatiently.

"Yes please Arthur whatever is the matter?" Sarah asked.

"Kahini said danger is heading this way. I'm pretty sure it's Maleagant up to no good again." Arthur sighed.

"NO THAT CAN'T BE POSSIBLE!" Rupert shouted.

"How can it not? He's been known to destroy villages and cities and leave no survivors. Kahini told me villages are being destroyed and nobody has lived to tell who did it." Arthur said.

"He is telling the truth. I have been told by the Gods of the Sky that evil is among us again. He plans to destroy all major kingdoms and take over the universe." Kahini said.

"Should we warn Maybeth? She should be able to help us if they plan to attack?" William asked.

"Maybeth is the Queen of the Stars correct?" Kahini asked. "I have seen her in mortal danger. She has lost something very important to her by this evil among us." Sarah gasped and held Michael tightly to her.

"Her son Amadeus. That's the only thing she has left. She couldn't have!" Sarah cried.

"Now now your highness. She couldn't have lost Amadeus because we would have known by now if she did." Rupert said trying to comfort Sarah.

"What's wrong with Amadeus daddy?" Aria asked her father.

"I don't know honey." Arthur said looking at Rupert.

"We should cancel this and prepare the army. I'll warn the mayor of Nala and Gen right away." Rufus said running out of the throne room.

"We can't cancel this. We waited too long for this and we have no time left. If we don't bless Michael now the Goddess won't accept him as prince and curse our kingdom!" Rupert shouted.

"He's right. Let's bless him quickly and prepare our army for Maleagant. If he's in charge of these attacks then we all know he'll be here to silt out throats." Arthur said.

"What about the children? We can't keep them here." Rupert said. Arthur thought for a moment until Aria hugged him.

"Daddy… Something bad is about to happen isn't it?" Aria asked him. Arthur looked at his daughter and pulled her curly brown hair out of her face.

"I surly hope not." Arthur said.

"I will pray to the gods to send protection to this place." Kahini said before he dropped his head and started to pray.

"William tell the guards to open the door. Charles warn the army and prepare for battle and bring your wife and Aidan in here for safety at once. Rupert take Michael and Aria and let them welcome the people." Arthur said giving Aria to Rupert.

"Don't be long, Arthur." Rupert said before walking away holding both Michael and Aria's hands and Kahini followed them quietly behind.

"Do Da!" Michael said happily to his father. Arthur smiled and waved goodbye to Michael.

"Where is the sword, Sarah?" Arthur asked as soon as Rupert was out of earshot.

"I'll go get it." Sarah said standing up.

"No need too. I grabbed it before coming back here." Rufus said stepping into the room holding a silver case and a helmet. Sarah grabbed the case and opened it in her lap. She pulled out a silver sword that glittered in the light. The handle was pure gold and had the symbol of the goddess which was the heart with four lines on the inside to connect a four leaf clover. A charm dangled off the handle in which Sarah grabbed it and held it in her hand. It was the symbol of Hope which was a Celtic knot and in the middle was a small blue orb that gleamed.

"Rufus you must promise us something." Sarah said still looking at the charm. Rufus looked up and watched as Arthur grabbed Sarah's shoulder as tears dripped down her face.

"I will promise you anything, Sarah." Rufus said.

"Protect them, Rufus. Protect our children. Remember what the Goddess told us. They are our only hope for this regime of terror to end." Sarah said crying. Rufus bowed his head.

"I will." Rufus said.

"One more thing, Rufus." Arthur said. Rufus looked up. "I want you to be a protector. Guard them with your life and make sure they are old enough before you tell them exactly what they are. The Goddess has blessed them with a very powerful gift and it is her last hope to destroy Maleagant."

"I will be their protector." Rufus said bowing. Arthur stood up and so did Sarah. Sarah took out her wand and grabbed Rufus's hand.

"Rufus do you swear to protect Princess Aria Swan Alstina and Prince Michael Robin Alstina? For the goddess needs them for her final plan to destroy the darkness and bring peace to the universe." Sarah said pointing her wand at Rufus's hand.

"I swear." Rufus said looking at his hand as Sarah started to burn the Goddess' symbol on his hand.

"Do you swear to keep the Kingdom of Sora holy for the Goddess because this is where she once ruled?"

"I swear."

"Do you swear to protect the city of Nala or the city of Gen for those places are also a part of the Goddess' holy land?"

"I swear."

"Finally, Do you swear to keep the sword of courage and any other valuable items that the Goddess needs in the future safe? Will you give the sword to the right person when the time is right?"

"I swear."

"Breaking this bond with the goddess will not only destroy the last bit of hope the Goddess has but will also destroy you and your soul." Sarah said pulling her wand away from Rufus's hand and she hid it in her gown.

"Don't break it Rufus. The universe depends on you and the children." Arthur said.

"I will not fail the Goddess or you two." Rufus said hiding his hand in his glove.

"Our lives are ending quickly Rufus." Sarah said holding the sword in her hand. "The Goddess chose us to help her and now our life here ends now. Now it's time for the children to carry on the plan."

"I understand, Sarah." Rufus said. Arthur handed Rufus a scroll.

"You, William, and Charles will take them to Nala and live there. I have heard you have a friend there so hide them with her. William will be the head of the army and you will become second in command. Make sure Aria and Michael keep low profiles and whatever happens they can't know about this plan until Aria is old enough." Arthur said. The castle's chimes sounded off as the crowd outside started to cheer.

"Gwen will protect them." Rufus whispered. Sarah looked over at Arthur and he gave a small smile.

"Let's enjoy the last hours of our lives, Sarah." Arthur said holding Sarah's hand as they walked out of the throne room, past the glass hallway and into the room where Rupert was standing by the balcony looking angry yet sad. His face was a hint of red which meant he was probably crying a while ago.

"They look so happy." Rupert said as they watched Aria and Michael wave happily at the crowd below them. A tear fell down Arthur's face and he walked up the step and outside next to his children. The sun was shining brightly on the castle as people below were smiling and clapping as Arthur waved his hand. Sarah stood next to him smiling and waving, holding Aria.

"Mommy they love us!" Aria said happily.

"They sure do honey." Sarah said.

"Love! Love!" Michael giggled. Arthur turned around to see Rufus with Charles and William and Kahini talking in low whispers. Rupert walked onto the balcony and the crowd grew silent as he raised his staff.

"Today we welcome another Alstina into the royal family as a prince!" Rupert said. The millions of people below cheered as Rupert waved his staff. "Michael Robin Alstina here who turned one a week ago is finally old enough to earn his blessings from the Goddess and become a royal blood." Rupert grabbed Michael whispered a prayer before sprinkling him with sparkling water.

"Goddess! A new royal blood asks for your blessings! Come let us pray!" Rupert shouted and everyone bowed their heads and prayed. Above the clouds in the sky moved over and shined a beam of light at the castle.

"The goddess has accepted and gives Michael Robin Alstina her blessings!" Rupert said raising his staff.

The crowd below burst into cheers as Rupert lifted Michael high into the air. Aria clapped and cheered at Michael who was smiling and laughing. The beam of light from the sun shined down on the Alstina children and the crowds below began to bow before them.

"Long live Prince Michael!" Rupert shouted.

"Long live Prince Michael!" The crowds below repeated. Arthur and Sarah smiled as they watched their kids hug each other. Rufus came over to Arthur and looked out by the mountains in the horizon.

"He's coming." Rufus said pointing at the horizon. Arthur looked up and saw that at the top of the mountains a dark cloud was slowly coming.

"Get these people out of here. NOW." Arthur said. Kahini walked up onto the balcony and saw the cloud coming.

"That's the evil that has been destroying the villages in the desert." Kahini said to Arthur. Rupert looked and gasped.

"Ladies and Gentlemen we would like to warn you that a terrible storm is approaching the Kingdom. Please quickly make your way to any transportation and hide safely in any of the bordering cities. We are sorry for the short delay but this storm is quickly growing stronger. Again please make your way to any buses, cars, or trams where they will take you to a neighboring city." Rufus shouted through Rupert's microphone. It was no use though since someone at the top of the castle looked out an saw the dark cloud coming.

"MALEAGANT'S COMING! HIS ARMY IS APPROACHING THE KINGDOM! EVERYBODY RUN!" Someone from the top of the castle screamed. Everyone turned and saw the cloud coming.

"MALEAGANT!"

"THE DARKNESS IS BACK!"

"RUN!"

The crowd let out ear piercing screams as they ran through the gate and into the streets trying to find somewhere to hide or anything to get them out of here. Anyone with broomsticks or magic flew off in the direction of Nala or Gen. Pretty soon people with flying cars, dragons, or anything else that could fly were gone. The skies were filled with screaming people trying to flee from the Kingdom. Arthur turned and walked out of the balcony room. In the hallways people were panicking trying to hide anything valuable.

"QUIET!" Arthur shouted as soon as he entered the throne room. Everyone stopped and looked at him.

"Anyone who can perform magic will stay in the castle. Knights will come outside with me. Archers will guard the windows and kill anything that tries to come through the windows. Everyone else will leave. Now GO." Arthur shouted and everyone who wasn't an archer or magic folk left. Arthur turned to the others behind him.

"Rufus, you go with Sarah, Rupert, Kahini, and the kids and hide in Sarah's room. William and Charles you'll come with me and help hold off Maleagant as long as possible." Arthur said. He walked over to Sarah and his kids. Michael looked up at him and started to cry.

"What is the matter, Michael?" Arthur asked him picking him up and holding him. Michael sniffed.

"Bad man. Do Da he gonna come and hurt us." Michael sniffed.

"Michael I'm going to tell you something. No matter what happens to me or your mother you have the blessing of the Goddess. She will protect you." Arthur said hugging Michael.

"Love you Do Da." Michael said hugging his father crying.

"I love you too son."

"Me too, Daddy!" Aria said as Arthur picked her up too.

"I love both of you. You are my special angels." Arthur said hugging both his kids and looking at Sarah. He put his kids back on the ground and looked at his wife.

"I love you." Sarah said hugging Arthur and kissing him.

"You know I loved you before you even noticed me." Arthur said. Sarah burst into tears and hugged him. She picked up Aria and Arthur picked up Michael and together they had one last family hug.

"We better hurry, Arthur. The cloud is just a couple miles away." Charles said giving his wife and his son a hug. Arthur gave Michael to Sarah and looked over at Rufus.

"Remember." Arthur said.

"I always will." Rufus said. Arthur grabbed his gold helmet and his sword and looked out to see the cloud coming closer and closer. He looked back at Sarah as a tear feel from his face.

"See you soon." Sarah said. Arthur smiled and put the gold helmet on his head and walked out with Charles and William.

"Are you sure this will keep us safe?" Charles's wife asked holding her son's hand.

"Laurel this place is the safest in the whole castle. There are so many spells cast in here this place could be the only thing left from this battle." Sarah whispered to Laurel as she quickly ran around the room closing the windows and pulling the curtains over them.

"Mommy I'm hungry." Aidan told his mother.

"Honey not now." Laurel said helping Sarah close the windows.

"Did Charlie tell you?" Sarah asked. Laurel stopped and looked at Sarah.

"He did. He doesn't know it's my time to go either. Aidan is taking my place." Laurel said.

"The Goddess would be proud of you." Sarah said.

"Mommy, Michael is hungry!" Aria said. Sarah took a couple of cakes from her fireplace room and handed them to the kids.

"Whatever happens keep these three safe, Rufus. I sense strong energy from the Goddess inside of them." Kahini said watching the kids eat the cakes. Rufus looked up at Kahini.

"The Goddess told me to protect them as well." Rufus said.

"Your Goddess gave us food during the drought we had many years ago. I pray thanks to her every night."

"We respect your gods as well. They are the reason why we have the sun and the stars." Rufus said.

"And Maybeth!" Aidan said.

"And Maybeth, yes." Rufus said.

"The Queen of the Stars knows what is happening. She has sent troops to help but I fear this will not help. They are after these three here." Kahini said looking at the three kids. Sarah looked up from her sword at Kahini.

"He's here for them?" Sarah asked.

"The gods have told me he seeks the blood of these three. He knows the Goddess gave them gifts and he wants them." Kahini said.

"If anything we keep them in here." Laurel said. Sarah looked over at Aria and felt her locket.

"My daughter has the greatest gift from the Goddess. Although she won't be able to use it without Aidan or Michael so she needs the most protection." Sarah said.

"Your locket, Sarah. Your mother's charm is inside it." Laurel said. Just then the castle shook making the chandelier above Rupert tinkle.

"He's here." Rufus said. He stood up and walked over to the door.

"Is that our cue?" Laurel asked him.

"Almost. Sarah gives the official cue." Rufus said. He looked over at Sarah who was sitting in a chair watching Aria who was hugging Michael.

"Aria come here will you?" Sarah asked. Aria looked over at her mother and sat on her lap. "I have something important to give you. You remember this right?" Sarah showed her the gold locket.

"Grandma's necklace!" Aria said.

"That's right. I want you to have it from now on. I don't need this anymore but you do." Sarah said unhooking the chain from her neck and hooked it around Aria's neck.

"But Mommy, Grandma gave you that so she could protect you." Aria said.

"Grandma told me though when it was time to give you the locket. I think the time has come. Grandma is going to protect you from now on." Sarah said giving Aria a hug.

"I will keep this safe with me, Mommy." Aria said holding onto the locket.

"I love you, honey." Sarah said and grabbed Michael also and gave them a hug.

"Mommy!" Michael said as Sarah placed both of them next to Aidan and grabbed her sword from the dresser.

"Mommy has to go. Mommy loves both of you." She said before Rufus opened the door and Sarah, Laurel, and Rufus walked out and closed the door again.

"Mommy!" Michael said and cried as Aidan hugged him. Aria looked at the locket her mother gave her and then at Kahini.

"You can talk to the Goddess can't you?" Aria asked him.

"Not your Goddess but I can talk to my gods." Kahini told her. Aria looked back at the locket then showed the locket to Kahini.

"What does your gods tell you about this?" Aria asked him. Kahini looked at the locket then closed his eyes.

"They say… It brings great power to you. It protects anyone who wears it." Kahini said.

"What do they want me to do?" Aria asked him.

"They want you to stay protected!" Rupert shouted angrily.

"Yes they do, Aria." Kahini said.

"No… No I feel like I have to do something. I have to protect Mommy!" Aria said running to her mother's dresser and pulling out her mother's wand. She quickly ran to the door and opened it.

"Aria no!" Rupert said but it was too late. Aria ran down the hallway and out of sight.

"Sissy!" Michael called to his sister. Aidan quickly got up and ran after Aria.

"This is your entire fault! You and your stupid conversations to the gods." Rupert shouted angrily at Kahini as he quickly shut the door.

"You're not going after them?" Kahini asked looking confused.

"No… The Goddess told me not to. She said they'll be safe." Rupert said quietly. There was a knock on the door and both of them looked up.

"That must be Rufus." Kahini said. Rupert stood up and walked over to the door and opened it.

"Aria? Aria where are you?" Aidan asked before he got pulled behind an armor suit.

"Shhh! You want to get us killed?" Aria hissed at him.

"Sorry."

"Come on we have to get to the throne room." Aria said and they took off in a jog dodging broken glass and ripped up carpet. They reached the hallway that lead to the main staircase. Aria walked slowly opening doors to make sure nobody was hiding.

"Princess?" Somebody coughed. Aria looked in a room to see a maid on the ground covering her arm with her hand.

"Lady Carolina! What happened?" Aria asked her quickly running to her side.

"The shadows. They cut up my arm and cut off my leg. I'm going to die." Lady Carolina said softly.

"No! You won't die. I have Mommy's wand. I can help you!"

"No, Aria. I don't want help. The Goddess wants me at her palace now. It's time for me to go."

"No I want to help you!"

"Aria listen to me. You too Aidan. You have been chosen by the Goddess herself to stop and destroy the Darkness. It is up to you two to finish them off. I believe in you. We all believe in you." Lady Carolina said. Aria looked at her as Lady Carolina started taking deeper breaths. She grabbed Lady Carolina's hand and held it.

"I will destroy them." Aria said.

"You will, Aria. I love you Aria." Lady Carolina said before closing her eyes and taking her last breath.

"Aria… Aria we have to go! Something is outside." Aidan said looking out the door.

"Your death shall be avenged." Aria said quietly. She stood up and saw a shadowy figure trying to walk up the steps to her mother's bedroom.

"My father gave me a gun. He said those things are killed using this." Aidan said taking the gun out and shot the shadow. He fell off the staircase and vanished into smoke before he even hit the floor.

"We better find mommy fast." Aria said grabbing Aidan's hand and pulling him down the hallway to the main staircase. Aidan and Aria stood mouth open at the horror before them. The walls that were once a glittering gold were painted with a crimson red. A chief at the very top of the wall was hung there motionless.

"That's not paint." Aidan said shaking.

"It's blood…" Aria said. They quickly ran down the stairs over any other corpses and stopped just before walking into the glass hallway. There the glass was stained with the crimson red and filled with dead knights, maids, and cooks. Aria took a step into the hallway with her mother's wand out. Aidan pointed the gun in front of him making sure no shadows would pop out. They walked past a wounded knight who Aria healed quickly using her mother's wand.

"Thank you, Princess. Please though hide quickly! They are looking for you and your brother." The knight said.

"Well they can't kill me when I have this." Aria said holding the locket in her free hand. The knight picked up his sword and gave Aidan the rest of his silver bullets to him.

"You'll need this to protect her. I have faith in you." The knight said and left. They followed him into the throne room and saw it was a battlefield in there with knights fighting the shadows and maids and cooks fighting people in black and had red eyes. Around were corpses from both sides and blood on the walls and floors. Aria and Aidan quickly hid behind Arthur's throne. She scanned the room looking for her mother until she spotted her mother fighting a man in black with cold dark red eyes. Her dress was ripped and Aria could tell her mother gathered scratches on her arms and legs.

"Where is she?" The man asked Sarah angrily.

"I'm never telling you where they are." Sarah shouted. She slashed her sword through the man's arm and he screamed in pain.

"Isn't that?" Aidan asked.

"Yeah… Maleagant." Aria said watching her mother battle the man who ruled the Darkness.

"Where's my mother?" Aidan asked looking around. He stopped and looked to see her lying lifeless near Sarah and Maleagant.

"Mom…" Aidan said and cried softly. Aria hugged him as he wept silently.

"We have to get out of here. He'll kill us if he finds out where're here." Aidan said to Aria grabbing her hand. Aria looked down at the locket then back up at Aidan.

"No. He can't kill us if we're protected." Aria said.

"But we're not! Rufus or my dad isn't here. The Goddess or Maybeth can't help either." Aidan said. Aria unhooked the locket and hooked it so it was around both of their necks.

"Now he can't hurt either of us. My grandma is protecting us and we need to protect my mommy." Aria said showing him her wand. Aidan took his gun out and looked at Sarah.

"She knows we're here." Aidan said.

"How?"

"Look." Aidan pointed and Aria saw Sarah battling Maleagant but she was looking at them. Maleagant slashed Sarah with his sword and she yelped in pain as another scratch formed on her arm.

"You are nothing, Sarah Alstina. Your kids will die just like you will." Maleagant said before stabbing Sarah through the stomach with his sword. Aria let out a silent scream as she watched her mother slam onto the marble floor dropping her sword. Maleagant laughed and kicked Sarah's sword out of reach for her.

"Nothing." Maleagant said. Aidan pointed his gun at Maleagant and squinted his eyes.

"For you, mother." Aidan said before firing a bullet at Maleagant. The bullet hit Maleagant square through his own stomach and into another shadow that was in front of him. Maleagant dropped his own sword and looked down to see his own black blood drip out of him.

"Your highness!" A black cloaked figure shouted. He grabbed ahold of Maleagant before he could fall onto the floor next to Sarah.

"We… We go… Now." Maleagant said before grabbing his sword and letting the cloak man throw some sort of dust on him and they both vanished. The shadows in the throne room went out the large broken window to the courtyard where Aria and Aidan heard swords clashing and screaming.

"Mommy!" Aria shouted before rushing to her mother. Aidan followed her quickly.

"Aria…" Sarah said softly as Aria grabbed her hand.

"Mommy please don't leave me. Lady Carolina already died in my arms and I don't want you to either." Aria said.

"Watch out!" Aidan said and shot a shadow that was right behind Aria. The thin turned into black smoke and then ash.

"Thank you, Aidan. Aria, it is my time. The Goddess said it is my time to go and be with her."

"No mommy it isn't."

"Yes, honey, it is. I know that you will do many great things. I will watch over you from above."

"Mommy please don't leave me!" Aria cried. Sarah smiled weakly and pushed a curl out of Aria's face.

"You are so beautiful. I love you honey. Protect your brother, Aria. You two are my last hope." Sarah said and she took her last breath and left Aria and Aidan to cry.

"MOMMY! NO MOMMY COME BACK! DON'T LEAVE!" Aria shouted.

"Aria no!" Aidan said grabbing her. Aria hugged him and cried into his shoulder. Aidan helped Aria stand up and they looked out the broken window and saw Rufus and William battling a man that looked like Maleagant. Aidan looked back at Sarah and his mother and cried.

"Aidan… Your father…" Aria said and pointed at his father by a rosebush bleeding. He was crying and holding someone. Someone with a golden helmet. Aria turned and grabbed her mother's sword and walked down the hallway to the entrance hall. She kept looking out the broken windows trying to see if she could see the person Charles was holding. She walked out the oak doors that were broken in half. Aidan went right in front of her and pointed his gun at a shadow that looked like he was feeding off a corpse. He shot the shadow and it turned into ash. Aria quickly hid behind the bushes and ran over to Charles.

"Aria?" Charles asked as soon as he saw her fix the wound in his leg. Aidan looked at Rufus battling the man.

"Dad who is that?" Aidan asked.

"Maleagant's brother. Aria I'm so sorry but…" Charles said and moved his arm over to show that he was her father. "He tried to hold Maleagant as long as he could but Maleagant stabbed him and he… He's gone. He's gone!" Charles said and cried. Aria cried next to Charlie holding her father's helmet.

"Maleagant killed my mother too." Aria said looking at her father.

"Aria?" Rufus asked looking at her knocking the man onto the ground. The man looked up and grinned.

"So? You're the daughter? Pretty stupid to be out when my brother and I are looking for you." The guy said tossing Rufus aside and slamming William against the wall.

"Kids get behind me." Charles said holding his sword.

"Stand aside worthless." The man said.

"Over my dead body."

"We can make arrangements then." The man said raising his sword.

"NO! Aria said holding the locket in front of Charles. The locket blasted a white light at the man and he stumbled backwards screaming in pain. Aidan held out his gun and shot the man in the arm and then the leg. Black blood started painting the grass as he fell and let out an ear piercing scream.

"You… You brats! You'll die for this!" The man said standing up and running after them with his sword held high ready to strike.

"Kids run!" William said.

"Not this time." Aria said holding her mother's sword in front of her. The sword sparkled and gleamed.

"Aidan get back!" Charles shouted. Aidan stepped back and watched in horror as the man tried striking Aria but her sword was blocking his every move.

"The Goddess…" Aidan said.

"It's the Goddess!" Rufus shouted.

"No… This is my fight!" The man said jumping back looking angry.

"You face me you face her." Aria said looking sternly at him.

"You're just a seven year old brat!" The guy said.

"A seven year old with the Goddess protecting me!" Aria shouted. She slashed the man in the arm and jumped back. He tried slashing her but the sword blocked him and Aria's locket let out another blast of light. He jumped back and blocked another one of Aria's slashes.

"I will not lose to a brat. I will kill her even if the Goddess is on her side." The man said blocking more slashes. He tried to slash a couple more times until she slashed him in the arm. The sword slashed him again and his own sword went flying into the air and Rufus caught it.

"The heart is the key, Aria." The Goddess told her.

"The heart is the key…" Aria whispered. She looked at the sword then at the man and knew what to do. She ran at him full speed and stabbed him right in his heart. He cried out in pain and Aria felt the sword go hot then cold. She could hear and feel the man's dead heart beating again and let go of the sword. Rufus grabbed her and they both fell backwards and watched as the man that Aria just killed turn into ash and Aria could feel the Goddess' breath as she blew the ashes away from her, away from the kingdom.

Rufus walked back into the castle alone looking for any survivors that hid during the battle. He walked into the throne room and saw Laurel and Sarah's body in the middle of the room. He walked over and kneeled by them.

"Please Goddess' make sure their happy in your palace." Rufus prayed. He felt wind coming from the broken stain glass window and saw Sarah and Laurel's dresses move.

"They are happy." The wind told Rufus. Silently Sarah's dress changed to a white dress with a light blue bottom that sparkled without the light hitting it. Sarah's hair changed back into her auburn curly hair and her crown appeared. Her face went back to the normal color and he cheeks and lips grew the rosy color Rufus remembered. Laurel's hair was fixed to her original blond color and her dress changed to white with a green bottom that also sparkled. Rufus wept and put a rose on top of each of them. Around him the blood was vanishing and the corpses were left of no trace of blood. The stain glass window repaired itself, shining a small beam of light into the glass hallway where the blood was gone and the corpses were left without a trace of blood as well.

"Michael." Rufus whispered. He ran through the glass hallway, up the main staircase where the dead were now gone.

"Oh Goddess please let him be alive still." Rufus said. He ran up to the top floor and through the hallway and smashed open the door where he saw the room was a mess. There was a giant hole in the wall that overlooked the courtyard. On the floor was Sarah's jewelry and clothes. Rufus walked in and saw the priest lying on the bed with a sword stuck right through his heart. The Goddess must have cleaned up all the blood for there wasn't any. Rufus saw the crib Michael normally slept in tipped over and smashed. Rufus prayed before pulling the blankets out of the way and saw. Under the crib he saw a child's arm and next to it was a vile with a shiny blue mixture. He threw the crib out of the way and saw Michael's small body lifeless. His eyes were big and bloodshot. Rufus picked up his body and screamed. He hugged him close and cried.

"OH GODDESS WHY? WHY DID A CHILD HAVE TO DIE THIS WAY? A CHILD WHO WAS JUST BLESSED BY YOU! GODDESS! I FAILED YOU!" Rufus screamed. The wind blew through again and changed Michael's outfit to small white robes and his eyelids closed so slowly.

"You have not failed. This is only the beginning of a new chapter." He heard the Goddess say from right behind him.

The next day was the worse Rufus or anyone else has ever had to live through. Not only did the Darkness kill mostly everyone in the castle but close to a million people in the city died. When Rufus and Aria helped the wounded they walked around the destroyed city and saw that the Goddess not only made the blood of the dead vanish but the corpses vanished as well. People cried as the Goddess left only red roses and a name by the flower to show where the person died. They walked to what was left of the main square and saw more roses there than anywhere else in the city. Today though, they were going to put the Priest, Charles's wife, Lady Carolina, and the royal family into the River of Life.

"Look at them…" William said looking over at Charles and Aidan who were crying near the river. He looked over at Aria who was holding a blue, scarlet, purple, and gold rose.

"I wonder where Kahini went to. We didn't find his body or a rose." William said looking over at Aria as well.

"He must have been taken away. He was unknown to them. They never saw a leader like him." Rufus said.

"Normally they kill everyone though not take as prisoner." William said. Looking behind him at the castle that was in the horizon. Even from far away he saw the tower where Michael was killed. The tower was completely destroyed.

"Rufus… Is it my fault that Michael died?" Aria asked him hugging his leg. He knelt down beside her and gave her a hug.

"It isn't your fault. What you did yesterday was very brave of you. You killed a man that killed many people. For that the Goddess thanks you." Rufus said. He looked from across the river at the people holding candles that were crying. People from all over the world came to see the funeral of the King and Queen. There were so many people that the newscasters have to show this on TV for people to see and any wizards that were left made bleachers and sitting areas for the people in the back. All in all almost every person in the galaxy whether they were watching it on TV or they were actually here were paying respect to the King and Queen of Sora. This funeral by request though was going to be silent except for a few prayers and the Pope's prayers. Rufus turned again to see the Pope walk through the Iron Gate and bowed to Aria.

"Shall we begin?" The Pope asked. Rufus nodded his head and the Pope turned and waved his hand to the guard. He walked forward slowly with six soldiers behind him carrying Rupert's body. Rupert was in white robes that didn't sparkle like Sarah's dress but it still meant he was safe with the Goddess. The soldiers carried his body slowly to the River of Life. They slowly lowered his body until his robes were touching the water. The Pope softly said prayed and sprinkled water on Rupert before he gave the signal to release him. The soldiers one by one let go of Rupert's body and slowly his body floated on the river for a second before it sank and his body vanished into the river. The next group of soldiers carried in Laurel's body. Rufus noticed that she was still wearing the same gown that the Goddess gave her yesterday. Slowly they carried her body into the river and Aidan and Charles followed them into the river. Aidan put a bouquet of flowers into his mother's hands and moved back as the Pope said a prayer and threw water onto Laurel. Slowly the soldiers let go of Laurel and her body also floated a second until she sunk into the river and both Aidan and Charles cried as they walked out of the river and stood next to Aria and Rufus. Aidan hugged Aria as Aria cried for Aidan. The next body was Lady Carolina and since Rufus didn't find her she was wearing another gown that was probably from the Goddess. Lady Carolina's was white with a deep scarlet color on the bottom. They carried her body in the river and Aria walked in and placed the scarlet rose into Lady Carolina's filled bouquet of roses. Aria said a quick prayer and kissed Lady Carolina's cheek before walking out of the river and watched as the Pope prayed and threw water on her. Lady Carolina's body sunk into the river and Aria started to cry once she saw her father's body come.

"Hey let's release him." William asked making his way into the river with Charles, Aria, and Rufus behind him. The soldiers place the King onto the river and let the knights hold him and they quietly walked away. Arthur was wearing white robes that looked just liked Michael's that Rufus saw yesterday. He watched as Aria placed a gold rose in his hands and kissed him on the cheek before the Pope said his prayer and threw water on him. Rufus nodded at the others and slowly let go of his best friend. The King of Sora.

"Long live the king of Sora. Long live the king of Sora." The crowd chanted mournfully. Rufus watched as Sarah's body was next. This time many people from the crowd started to cry and one little girl hugged her mother and dropped her small puppy dog. The soldiers carried her body into the river and let the knights and Aria hold her and slowly they exited the water. Aria placed a purple flower in her mother's bouquet of flowers and also kissed her on the cheek and said a small prayer. The Pope threw water on her and slowly Rufus let go of Sarah and watched her vanish into the river.

"Long the Queen of Sora. Long live the Queen of Sora." The crowd chanted mournfully sadly. Finally the last and most difficult body to put to rest was coming. The crowd burst into tears as one soldier came in carrying Michael's body. He handed Michael to Aria who slowly carried him into the river and gave him to Rufus.

"These are for you. I remembered blue and green are your favorite colors so I found them." Aria whispered. She grabbed Michael's tiny little hand and started to hum. The crowd watched as Aria hummed a sad tune to her little brother. Slowly though everyone started to hum as well and Aria started to sing:

Little child, be not afraid

The rain pounds harsh against the glass

Like an unwanted stranger

There is no danger

I am here tonight
Little child Be not afraid

Though thunder explodes

And lightning flash

Illuminates your tearstained face

I am here tonight
And someday you'll know

That nature is so

This same rain that draws you near me

Falls on rivers and land

And forests and sand

Makes the beautiful world that you see

In the morning
Little child Be not afraid

The storm clouds mask your beloved moon

And its candlelight beams

Still keep pleasant dreams

I am here tonight
Little child Be not afraid

The wind makes creatures of our trees

And the branches to hands

They're not real, understand

And I am here tonight

And someday you'll know

That nature is so

This same rain that draws you near me

Falls on rivers and land

And forest and sand

Makes the beautiful world that you see

In the morning
For you know, once even I Was a little child

And I was afraid

But a gentle someone always came

To dry all my tears

Trade sweet sleep for fears

And to give a kiss goodnight
Well, now I am grown

And these days have shown

Rain's a part of how life goes

But it's dark and it's late

So I'll hold you and wait 'til your frightened eyes do close
And I hope that you'll know

That nature is so

This same rain that draws you near me

Falls on rivers and land

And forests and sand

Makes the beautiful world that you see

In the morning
Everything's fine in the morning

The rain will be gone in the morning

But I'll still be here in the morning

Rufus remembered that song very well. Aria sang Michael to sleep during that thunderstorm came. Aria's voice made even the weeping birds stop to hear her beautiful but yet sad tune. The crowed hummed along softly until Aria sang the last note.

"You're in a better place. I love you little brother." Aria said kissing his cheek and took him from Rufus. The Pope, trying not to cry, said his prayer and threw water on Michael and gave the ok for Aria to let go. She looked down at Michael and then up at the sky and slowly she let go of her brother. He floated on the water longer than anyone else and then slowly he sunk to the bottom.

"Long live the Prince of Sora. Long live the Prince of Sora." The crowd said then cried.

"Rest in Peace." The Pope said and prayed one more time before leaving the river and walking through the Iron Gate crying softly. Aria started to cry with Aidan and the knights watched as the crowd left after saying their prayers.

"Come you two. We leave tonight." William said. Rufus picked up Aria and held her.

"Safe and Sound." Aria whispered.

"What did you say Aria?" William asked.

"Safe and sound is where my family is,"

That night Aria, Aidan, and the knights left Sora and fled to Nala where Gwen and later on her son Tristan lived which is also the place where our story begins.

End of the Preview of the Kingdom of Sora Book I: The Darkness Returns

Grab a copy of the turn paging thrilled coming in December 2012!

~The Goddess brings her faith into you~

Living in the Slums of Nala, Aria has lived eleven years in a low profile working in the museum gardens with her friends, Kyo and Carter, and the eight year old Tristan. Now that Darkness is after her once again the Goddess has reached Aria and gave her one of the many gifts the Goddess has planned for her. With only little time can Aria save what was once her kingdom and the Goddess' Holy Land before Maleagant and his army destroy it once and for all? The battle against good and evil starts here in the first chapter of a hero. Choose your side wisely mortal for the bloodbath begins now and only one side will come out alive.

The Kingdom of Sora Book I: Darkness Returns