Embers and ash: these were the remains of a love so brutal it had consumed all it had touched.

The house was dark and quiet. The night around it was still, unbroken by the violence. The illusion of a peaceful, sleepy community had not been shattered. All was as it should be, even in death.

The dark figure waited until silence reigned. It was only then that it could hear the low hum of fate as clearly as it liked to.

It swept in under the door like a cold wind, creeping through the crime scene in search of the treasure it had come for. It could hear its cries just over the din of memories splattered onto the walls like bloodstains. This house had much to say, but the figure was not interested.

It stopped in a darkened corner, waited, and listened. The prize it sought beckoned like a twinkling of bells. It was getting closer.

It darted between the shadows, mingling with its kin, comforted by their black embrace as it sniffed out its mark. It could have strode right through the house if it wanted to. There would be no witnesses to its intrusion tonight. But it preferred the dark, particularly in this form. There would be time to play in the light, but later.

As the melody of its prey grew louder, the figure spied it. There, in the fireplace. It swooped down, peeking through the andirons, bristling with glee as it caught a glimpse of the ash-covered splendor lying in the firedog.

It was beautiful—more so than it could have ever imagined—fresh and warm to the touch. The dark figure caressed it with the utmost reverence, basking in its radiance. It could still feel the currents of misery coursing around it, crackling through the air like miniature arcs of lightning heralding a coming storm.

It was the perfect analogy. The figure was pleased with itself for thinking of it.

It picked up the object—or rather, the assortment of objects—untouched by the flames meant to ravage it. This one had a lovely little spark to it, one so new that it was still forming at its core. It was like a star just blinking into existence, flickering in the void around it.

That little blink of starlight had protected it, shielded it from certain doom, and had allowed it to blossom into the sublime relic that it was.

Cursed. The shadow was breathless.

But it couldn't just take it. No, there had to be a trail left behind for those seeking its origins—they who would come much later to either drown in its darkness or free the true power within it.

The dark figure smirked. It wasn't sure which path would be more entertaining.

Sullenly, it grasped the treasure in its shadowy claws and wafted through the house. It found a box with urgent scribbling on the side of it, the handiwork of a panicked soul. Then, allowing itself one last longing look at the assembly in its hands, it dropped the precious package into the box and sealed it shut.

It reminded itself that the separation was only temporary. Soon the object would be in its possession again, and then, when the time was right, it would be bequeathed to someone else.

Someone with potential. Someone special.

And when that special someone appeared, the dark figure would be waiting.