Chapter One

The large figure moved down the halls at a steady clip, his red jacket billowing behind him. Statues and pictures lined the walls, depicting different figures within their stone arts. "Sir!" A high male voice yelled.

Looking over his shoulder at the being that jogged, to keep up was a small creature; large pointed ears peaked out from a feather tufted green hat. "Yes?"

"The meeting, it's begun! You are the last to reach it." The creature panted, running a short ways to jog beside his boss.

"I am aware of that." Taking a sharp turn to a small flight of stairs that led down a dark hall, the figure kept moving, not once dropping his stride. Unlit torches lined the walls and, as he approached them, they lit up. "What I was not aware of was the war that reached my borders but hours ago!" A light green glow was at the bottom of the steps, its soft pulsing acting as a heartbeat to this kingdom.

A large metal door was in the heart of the green glow, a crystal embedded in the seam of the thick metal doors. "They await you sir."

"Thank you." The large man said, moving forward and bodily pushing the door open. His sleeves pulled back to reveal blacks crossing the tanned skin.

Inside the room sat a large table, a sole crystal stabbed into its stone surface. Uncomfortable looking stone chairs were set around it, a chiselled carving sat at the peak of the seats. Doors were set in the alcoves behind each chair the same carving from the chair in the centre of each door. A lone green crystal blinked on five of the many doors. A sixth was red, the rest were dark.

"Sorry I'm late." He huffed, moving towards his chair with a large stone bell at the head.

"Its 'bout bloody time, mate." A distinctly Australian accent exclaimed.

Looking to his right with a scowl, the large man studied the rabbit before him.

Standing close to five feet without the ears on its head, it was by far not a natural creature. Tan fur showed the gentle waves of lean muscles. Showing its natural love for vegetables, a carrot sat in its mouth, bobbing gently as it chewed.

"I'm sorry, but I had more important matters than to sit here and argue about what must happen."

"This can be fixed without the need to draw in another innocent." Another voice pleaded.

Off to his left, wings making an irritated buzzing noise, sat a small girl, barely taller than a six year old. Blonde hair tied in a ponytail down her back, she sat forward hands before her on the table. A tooth was carved into the chair above her.

"Nick we can't do this to another." She continued, looking around her she studied them all. Two others, both well beyond their prime, sat side by side. Both were pale with long straw like silver hair and white robes.

Above the mans' head sat a clock, the women's a tree. "Mother, Father, you can't let this happen." The girl continued, pleading with the elders.

"I'm afraid the hands of time are in motion." The old man sighed with a sad shake of his head.

"Nature must take its course." The old lady agreed. "Since the beginning there were four rulers, of four lands. There cannot be three rulers of four lands."

"There wouldn' bloody be only three if you let us 'elp my mate out!" The bunny roared, fists slamming down onto the table top.

"Easy Eric, it wasn't our decision but Kris'. It was his choice to fight the darkness alone." With a weary sigh, Father rubbed his old eyes. "He was a true Hallowed Knight."

"Enough of this, what's done is done!" Nick roared. Standing to his full height he leaned forward, an angered rumble issuing from his chest. "The darkness is at my border right now!"

Worried looks were exchanged and unconsciously the other four cast a brief glance towards Nick's door. "Tina." Father sighed turning to look at the small lady with wings. When he had everyone's attention he continued. "Gather the fairies."

"Yes Father." Tina bowed slightly before with a light buzzing noise got up and flew towards her door. Pausing half way to her door she looked back at the gathered group. "How will I know who is right?"

The muffled sounds of moving was her answer as Mother slowly walked up to her a medallion held in her wrinkled hands. "This was Kris'; he gave it to me knowing that his end was near." Handing it to Tina, she smiled sadly as the fairy handled the worn metal with so much care. "It holds the last of his power."

"I will guard it with my life." Tina vowed.

Looking one last time at the being gathered in the large room, she let out a smile before flying to the open door.

Wind blew about her as she flew from the cave entrance that her door was in. Small fairies no bigger than a foot each flew between open pillared walls. The light keening of the wind brushed their ears, but only the smallest of gusts reached them.

"Fairies! Gather round!" Tina yelled her voice echoing powerfully through the open room.

Seconds passed as, with a droning sound, all gathered before her, big eyes wide with excitement. "Father Time and Mother Nature have given a task!"

Excitement buzzed through the air as all eyes fixed on the medallion that Tina held against her chest. "We have been given the task of finding the bearer of this medallion, the Medallion of Shadow."

"What does it do?"

"What is it?"

"Whose is it?"

Those questions and many others were directed at the flying girl. Backing up slightly at the onslaught, she waited for it to die down. She learned many centuries ago to just let her friends ask their questions, and when they were done, to answer the popular ones. Finally, minutes later, the questions had settled down.

"This is the Hallowed Knights, and I don't know what it does, just like they don't know what my magic is capable of." To demonstrate this, she flicked her fingers a small glitter of light shooting up and exploding a little above them in a show of sparkles. "What I do know is that we need to find the new Hallowed Knight."

Pausing for added effect, she let the excited grin cross her face. The excited buzz turned into a thrum of energy. "Wings up girls we got a kid to hunt!"

Excited laughter filled the air as with a rush of many insect like wings, they flew from the room. The wind caught them as they flew towards the closest city, the Windy City, Chicago.

School had just ended for the weekend and with a relieved cry the students ran from the building, funneling into the already crowded streets, or towards the multiple city and school buses that dotted the road way. "Move it, short stuff." A gruff voice ordered pushing aside a small pale kid.

Stumbling forward, he caught himself on the flag pole and frowned at the offending bullies, brows pulled down. Huffing, he hitched his bag higher on his shoulders, feeling the weight of his multiple text books. Moving back into the ever present flow of people, he followed the wave as it moved down the side walk. This is what he knew, the crowded noisy streets, the thick smoggy air, the angry drivers, this is his home.

The sidewalk had more traffic though than he was used to. He seemed to have been pushed right into the crushing middle of the crowd, larger people surrounding him. He pushed as much as he could, but aside from some angry glares and choice words, he was trapped.

A street sign passed above him, a street sign that he should be turning at. On the smaller sidewalks across the street, he got some luck. Not ten minutes later the crowd had thinned just enough for a gap to show. He made it through, but tripped in the process.

A foot had caught his own, and already off centered from shouldering through the gap, he tumbled to the ground, rolling slightly to stay on his side. Sitting up he leaned back on his hands with a sigh. "Figures." He sighed.

Before him sat his math text book, a page now loose as it lay open on the ground not a foot before him. The problem was, there were feet moving between him and the now damaged book. Before he could even reach for it, a small hand swiftly reached down and grabbed it up from the ground.

The hands owner quickly danced through the crowd and stood before him. "Need any help?" She asked, head cocked to the side with a sweet smile on her face. Brushing a lock of blonde hair from her eyes, she handed the heavy book over.

"Ah no, no thank you." He smiled, a light dusting of red on his cheeks as he took the proffered book and shoved it in his pack before standing. "Name's Ryan." He introduced holding out his hand after rubbing the dust off of it.

"Tina." She smiled taking his hand gently in her own.

A beep sounded from his wrist and he looked down at the black sports watch that wrapped around his arm. "Crap, I have to go. Listen I'm so sorry for leaving, but good meeting you!" Scrambling backwards, he quickly ran into the alley that lay between the two restaurants.

Tina's smile dropped almost right away as she frowned at the retreating form. Stepping forward and behind a large dumpster, she shut her eyes. Sparkles of light circled her and her form changed. Her blonde hair grew; her blue eyes brightened with power. She shrunk a little, and wings sprouted from between her shoulder blades as a light buzzing sounded, only to be drowned out in the constant noise of the city.

The alley wasn't Ryan's first choice for a shortcut. The smell of the dumpsters clogged his nose, t bad enough to make his eyes smart. What he hoped was the brown that danced in the thick water was mud. Small scratching noises drifted to him from either side.

Despite all this, his mind never strayed from that girl, Tina. He blushed at the thought. It wasn't that he liked her, it was more about how she was cute, a girl, and she talked to him. He didn't talk to most girls, it wasn't that he was shy; it was more that he was ignored most of the time.

He fisted his hand, the hand that he shook with. When he shook her hand, he got the oddest tingle, it was like he knew her, but yet he didn't remember her at the same time. It was reassuring and scary.

Lost in his thoughts, it was only his body that kept him from walking onto the street. Shaking himself to get rid of the distraction he smiled sadly at the building before him.

A worn sign was attached to the wall. Just above the doors the words "Chicago Orphanage" presented in chipped paint. The bricks were cracked and weather beaten, showing in a faded red color that gave away its age. The twin red wood push doors guarded the entrance and gave a feeling of safety besides their brittle appearance.

"Ryan!" He shook himself at the sound of that voice. Miss McCrety was looking at him from the open door waving her hand to get his attention. "Hurry, you can't be late for the family!"

"Coming!" He yelled back a wide grin on his face. Running across the road at the first break in traffic, he smiled up at Miss. McCrety. She does her best to get a family interview for all her kids at least once a month and today Ryan had one.

The door shut behind them with a hollow thud and he looked at all the photos that lined the walls. Some were paintings bought to liven up the place, but most were group photos of the kids at the orphanage.

"They're waiting in my office." Miss McCrety told him. "Why don't you drop off your things first."

Without a word, he moved to the staircase and ran up it, taking the steps two at a time. Doors lined the upstairs and he moved to the last on the right. Opening it, he took in the cluttered appearance of the room. Clothes were all over the place, on the floor, desk and chair, a pair of shorts even hung from the small book shelf.

Moving through the chaos with ease, he opened and dumped his stuff on the clothes free bed. His books and binders tumbled out, loose crumpled sheets and notes falling after them from being shoved inside without a care.

He was just about to turn around when something caught his eyes. It was a bronze chain, dangling from his partially opened textbook. Picking up the thick book, he opened it to the separated pages.

A light gasp escaped him at the sight. Before him, nestled on some algebra problems, sat a palm sized bronze and black medallion. Primarily a deep bronze in color the only black on it was the candle design.

The black was so deep it drew Ryan towards it, almost hypnotizing him. Before he noticed, he had reached forward and touched it.

He drew his hand back with a startled hiss as a wave of heat travelled through him and then was replaced by cold. Shaking his head to relieve the fog that had settled over it, he dropped the book back onto the bed. "That was odd." He muttered confused.

A ringing made him jump and he reached for the phone that sat on the bedside table. It was a private line that Miss. McCrety had made up. With a building this big, it saved a lot of time, from her office she can call anywhere in the building.

"Ryan what's taking so long? The Statios are getting impatient!"

Steadying his breathing to something resembling a regular pace, he grinned sheepishly despite her not being able to see him. "Sorry, I'll be right there. I-I was distracted."

The call ended and he rushed from his room, shutting the door behind him. Running down the stairs, he could hear the television in the living room. Miss. McCrety's office was right across the hall. Stopping he took a moment to steady himself before knocking. "Come in."

Taking another deep breath, he opened the door and entered.

The office was plain, an old wooden desk with a chair where Miss. McCrety sat. Two chairs sat at an angle to the desk with two older people in them. Then, against one wall, was a couch where two others sat.

"Ryan." Miss McCrety greeted standing. The two old people did too, showing surprising ease for people of their obvious age. "These are the Statios."

"Fredrick Statio." The old man introduced reaching forward to shake his hand.

"Ryan." Ryan greeted.

"This here is my wife Margaret." Mr. Statio told him gesturing to the old lady who nodded with a sweet smile. "And these are our children. Eric and…"

"Tina!"