Prologue:

The moon floated in the sky, pale gold illuminating the edges of clouds, the rest fading into the ocean mist that hung heavy and cool in the gloom.

It was two more nights until the full moon, the waters below still on the horizon under the glow of the moon, the waves crashing dully against the rocks and the beach.

As if they knew to be quiet, to respect the pain festering in the air.

Long fingers curled around the lantern's handle, holding it aloft as longer legs strode to the cottage and slipped inside. There was a kitchenette, two armchairs and a plush couch with a white afghan throw draped over the back. The double bed had four posts, sheer fabric draping down the sides and protected the woman who lay within them.

The energy in the room was stale, harsh and decaying. Xe knew there wasn't much time left, and what there was, was stolen.

"Hey," the woman breathed, the effort drawing soft whimpers from her.

"Do not speak, love. Rest," xe said, setting down the lantern on the bedside table and perching cautiously on the bed, fingers careful and light as they brushed dark auburn hair from the woman's face.

She nodded, turning a little more onto her side and burrowed a little closer to xir. "Stay for a little while?" she asked, hand trembling as she reached for long, black box braids to hold between her fingers.

"I will stay, love. Of course," xe promised, preparing xirself for the energy xe was about to transfer.

Ten years. A decade.

That was the price of trying to heal the damage done to xir lover, xir fiancée, to give her a few hours of painless sleep before she would need more.

At least, if xe was being honest, a decade of xir own life was barely a blip. An insignificance.

Xir palms and arms tingled, the sensation turning prickly and bordering painful, heat building between xir palms when xe clasped them together.

"Earth father, sky mother, hear my pleas," xe murmured, lips twitching with a snarl at the pain before laying xir palms on her shoulders, eyes screwed shut as xe pushed the energy, xir own life force, out and away, embedding it into the tears and wounds in her energy.

She was an innocent, one who had nothing to do with the dispute, the skirmish... and they'd torn into her like she was nothing.

The woman whimpered and mewed, dry sobs forced from her as her body greedily sucked in the life force xe offered to heal the wounds in her energy.

She was one of their own, and now she was dying, unless xe did something about it.

And do something xe would.

Xe stayed until her lover fell asleep, a tense, painful rest until it woke her once again.

"I will avenge you, my love. I will avenge you and use their blood to heal you. I swear this," xe breathed. "No matter what it takes, or what becomes of me, I will make sure that you live, and are whole, and that they will suffer."