Prologue

He stood there, still cackling; his voice was still strong yet I could hear him strain to laugh. He was a mad man. His fists were clenched into tight balls of frustration, anger, and unreasonable hatred. His hair was tangled and struggled to fight the wind. His eyes were so wide, you could look inside and see his past, and so alive that it could contain a thousand souls. His mouth was open and the words were now incoherent due to the mix in screaming and laughing.

And he was drenched in blood. His clothes were permanently stained with someone else's life. The skin on his hands was covered, and his face was painted with blood like war paint. Blood was evident on his lips and around his mouth as well, but that might have been his own. Yet, it was unknown. The smell was enough for me to vomit, if I had the time.

I strained to hold on to the rocks. He had not noticed me, thank goodness, but I was not strong enough to pull myself over the ledge. I was so close... The hair was getting me in my eyes due to the strong wind. The dagger in my hand threatened to drop, but I refused to let it go. I tried leaning away from the rocks to give my arms a break, but it did not help. I only felt the threat of falling below to my doom.

I pulled myself back up towards the rocks, only to have them dig into my arms. My own blood now surfaced to the top. Wincing at the pain, I only tried to focus at the task at hand. I had to get to the top of the ledge.

With a final effort, I pulled myself up a bit further enough for my head to go over the ledge. His feet came into my view, and they were disheveled as the rest of his appearance. His boots were cut up and stained with dirt and mud, and and his legs had wounds of their own.

I heard a painful cry in the distance. Sebastian was still in my realm. He had to make it to his own. My heart ached at the thought of if he didn't. I stumbled back to my previous position, no longer over the ledge.

My arms ached so greatly, I thought they were going to fall off. It felt as if I was being tugged at the tendons mercilessly. My heart ached at the thought of Sebastian not making it to his realm, of him being lost forever. Tears stung at my eyes, but I couldn't let them fall. I could cry when this was over.

The newfound hatred and anger built up inside me; I gained the strength to pull myself over the ledge again. I tried to adjust my feet below me, but I felt myself stumble. Once I felt a good grip on one of the rocks, I pushed myself up. I was suddenly over the ledge, until I realized I was no longer the one pushing myself up.

My face was now inches away from his. My voice was trapped in my throat, and all I let out was a squeak. I could feel his hot breath on my cheeks. I could outline every scar on his face, including the one I was kind enough to bestow on him. He continued to pull me to the top and dropped me to my knees forcefully.

"Thought you could sneak up on me, eh, poppet?" he hissed, his accent getting heavier the angrier he appeared to be. His eyes were wild with fire, icy cold blue with gold crescents around the pupil. His hair was matted with dried blood. He spit blood on my face as he spoke. He pecked me with that putrid mouth of his on an area near my mouth.

"Well, you thought wrong," he whispered. Arching his leg back, he swiftly kicked me in the ribs and blew the wind out of me. The dagger slipped past my fingers; I heard it clink on its merry way down, and I wished I could do the same. I was suddenly hopeless. My arms ached, my heart thudded too loudly in my ears... I was too tired to fight.

He pulled me up to my feet by my hair. The tears that provoked my eyes before released before him, only to receive a wicked smile in return. He pressed his cheek against mine, as if caressing my head. The odor of blood made my stomach cringe.

"Your people shall see you die. I shall have another pretty head for my collection," he whispered into my ear. "I'm going to kill you like I killed your little lover boy." At the mention of Sebastian's name, I shuddered. If I lived through this, I thought to myself, I was going to Britain and finding this freak. He dropped me back to the ground, my head just over the ledge. He took out his sword and angled it towards me.

When I heard the ringing in my ears, felt my heart about to break my bruised rib cage, heard the cries below me, the cries of war and anguish, I thought it was it. I was going to die. And yet, as I looked up to him, with the beautiful sword in his hands, the wind blowing the leaves behind him, the sun set casting a glow around him, I couldn't help but think it was a beautiful way to die.

Time seemed to slow, enough for me to notice the most insignificant of details. A white dove flew by his head. The twitch in his eye. I could even see his veins slowly throbbing from his unbeknownst hatred. Yet, it was all too beautiful to even question.

"I'm going to kill all of them, my love. I'll kill your people, I'll find your family and kill them, all of them!" he screamed. Suddenly, my beautiful image was shattered, and I finally found my voice.

"Go to hell," I sputtered. And the sword went up.