Prologue

Stars...

My father told me once, so long ago, that they were in a place called Astrum, and that we humans would make the journey in our mortal lifetimes. He said they shined brightly against the darkness of evil and cruelty.

I knew I was close to death. I could feel the life slowly drifting out of me, like smoke escaping through my fingers.

But why could I not see the stars? Why could I not leave this realm for the living?

Why could I only see the terrible oppressor, darkness itself? Where were the stars to guide me and take me away, away to the merciful hands of Death?

The darkness was nothing compared to the evil in this very room. The evil which leaned over me, the devil in the shape of an Alpha Human, King Sicarius himself. I should feel pleased. The most powerful man standing on Earth, performing the torture himself.

"You have crossed, I think, through the very line between life and death. But as you well know, you do not deserve death. Not yet. Not when you are withholding so much from me. A little break. A little incentive." He sounded bored, as if what had transpired the last hour was just a dream. Or more like a nightmare.

I could only respond by gasping. The only light was the glint in this villain's malicious eyes, and in them, I saw the reflection of the long silver knife, my crimson blood stained upon it, almost like pure water.

"I'm ready to die," I whispered. "Kill me… I have nothing more to say."

I felt the chilling breath of the King as he bent his head, until we were eye to eye.

"We both know you are lying. Your reward is death- don't worry, it will come. I am already bored of this," he replied as he casually wiped the knife on my body.

I wish I had the power to retort, to laugh in his face as if I had enjoyed the pain. "Fine. Okay. I'll tell you." I took a deep breath, feeling the ragged breaths escape my ruined lungs and into freedom. "I am not the Lumenus."

I felt him pause, surprised. I held my breath. Would this work? Maybe if he knew, then my soul could fly with battered wings, all the way to Astrum.

His sharp acute laugh entered my disoriented brain. "You like it, then, human? You wish for death? I'll promise you one thing."

The next words were whispered directly in my ears with the hiss of a snake: "You will never get to die. Never."

As the knife entered my body, slicing upward in a fluid motion unsurpassed by swordsmen, my bloodcurdling screams filled the room once more.