“Holland! Mira! Hurry up!” A boy with black as night hair and deep dark blue eyes called out. He was already waiting in the hall for his brother and sister. He was overly excited, ever since Madam Whitechapel had said he could go with them to Weiss.
“Right here, you hyper-active-monkey!” Holland called out.
“You really need to quiet down, Little Brother! I have a head ache that seems to haunt me.” Mira said while messaging her temple with the palms of her hands.
“Don’t even think about hurrying me along William!” Madam Whitechapel scolded, before Will could even finish taking the breath to call Madam Whitechapel ‘slow’.
“I know what you are thinking William and I’ll have my way with you yet, daring to even think I’m slow is crime against me.” Madam Whitechapel teased… half serious…
They had only packed a few clothes and some weapons. Mira had strapped to her back a bow and a Quiver filled with arrows. Holland preferred the pistol and had two strapped to his hips with bullets to spare, enough to go hunting for fun after raiding a few small Darkling camps.
Madam Whitechapel held strapped to her side a rapier; a fancy thing it was, what with its delicate designs etched into the thin blade.
Will himself hated the obvious, and preferred his ‘flute’.
“All ready?” Madam Whitechapel asked.
“Wait!” An elderly man pleaded taking the stairs down two-two at a time.
“What is it Ermin?” Madam Whitechapel asked curious.
“I wanted to give this to the children.” He held out his hand, three beautifully woven charms.
“We’re not children Grandpa Ermin!” Mira protested.
“Oh, but you are in my heart still the children I remember playing with out in the garden. Please take it! It’s for protection. Though I know none of us are related by blood we are each other’s family and as I’m already too old to be much help outside the Sanctuary, as a Guardian I can still do my part to better ensure your safety.” Ermin spoke with a raspy old voice. His hands shaking for no reason at all. After his illness started showing he grew older by the day… Faster than anyone could anticipate.
“Grandpa Ermin… Thank you!” Will gave the old man a hug, for he loved Ermin, Ermin always told him stories as he has always told them again to other children.
“Thank you Ermin. We are off then.” Madam Whitechapel gave him a loving smile and a kiss on the forehead.
“Be save! It is a long journey from our fair city. May your Vows bring you great fortune!” Ermin called out after them as they vanished into the crowed plaza. People walked right pass the Sanctuary, for which the door opened directly onto the middle of Pioneer Way a street that could get as busy as a bee hive. The door to the Sanctuary was after all a Rift, created long ago before the city was born and grew as it did. Only those with the Gift of Sight and permission could enter, and it was unfortunate that mostly all humans have lost that Gift…
A knock on the door echoed through the Sanctuary, Ermin had just a closed the door, hidden behind the Rift, after seeing off his fellow Guardians.
A Girl stood there awaiting the invitation to enter the Sanctuary. Her fiery red hair seemed to burn as the sun that rose behind her.
“It has been some time, has it not? May I come in Uncle Ermin?”
“Sarah…” Ermin smiled warmly at the Warlock girl and with a nod, permission was granted for her to enter.
The sun was setting low now and Ermin seemed frightened…
It had been three days since the festival… Three days since the anniversary of the death of Arialita… Three days since Madam Whitechapel told him of the song Will had hummed… Three days since hearing from the little Miss Brail that she saw a girl by the name of Celestine run away from a self-proclaimed Guardian… And he knew… A big change was coming, that which has never changed before…
How could he have ignored the Prophesy even after her birth and also her death… The day she was born, was the day the Highest of the Council, Elohim Malachy, had shown himself into the Sanctuary, along with Elohim Phera, Kala and Feya. They had come to claim a new Angel’s birth, an Angel not an Elohim, something greater. She was the only child born that day… He had insisted that they bring ‘her’ to him to protect her while she learned the ways of Angels from birth so that when she is ready she can Ascend into heaven and receive her title… The High Councilmen Malachy had said then already that another threat would be born and would show itself only when she showed truer signs of her birth right… That only happened usually in and after the sixteenth year… But now that he thought hard about it, Arialita had saved a Fair Child only a month before her own unthinkable death…
What was it she saved her from… The Fair Child had mistaken Flower Berries for Elder Flowers… There has never been a cure for the poison of Flower Berries, so how was she healed?
“I heard singing, but I couldn’t make out what was being sung. When I woke the first thing I saw was that girl unconscious beside me. She was smiling though… I knew she was the one that saved my life, how, not even I’m sure. While waiting for you Guardians to show up after I called out to you, she had awoken just for a moment and she said she’s glad I’m alright… Her voice was the voice I heard between life and death. She has power in the words she sings!
He only had seven days to comply with Malachy, and bring the new born… For the day she was born was the day of Blessing.
Ermin could not help but now believe that it was the sign that she was, as High Council-man Malachy had said, an Angel herself! But there had only ever been two Angels in history that lived and was born in any World other than the inaccessible World of the Angels and Elohim and even then Malachy had no need to show himself, High Elohim Elam only announced the news, never demanded anything or the likes, and with her it was different; the others were only Blessed when they were already much older. When it was given to him the task of bringing Arialita to the Council for protection, he could not have a parent separate from their newborn, not over his good conscience. So the High Councilmen Malachy had him demoted from a Warrior Guardian to the Sanctuary’s watchman in Tahoe City.
Arialita’s mother was a single parent, her husband had died, killed during a raid on a Darkling camp, bit more over nine months before her birth, she was born two weeks late. After a year her mother remarried. Mrs. Kate and Mr. John Gale. Then it happened; the end of their peaceful lives… Demons attacked and brought Hell Fire with them. But how was it that the one place protected and warded against that kind of destructive natures and the unwelcomed guests was able to burn as it did?
“Aria… Save… She’s gone… He…He…”
Demons… They didn’t wield weapons such as swords. Warlocks relied on magic, spells and potions… Sure a few would animate weapons to fight… But they weren’t allowed on Hollowed grounds… Not without Permission. The nursery was Hollowed and is why they often referred it to as a type of Sanctuary itself. They had to be invited! Arialita, besides being as shy as she was, would never allow strangers into the room where her baby brother and sister were, not without her parents there with them… Only Humans and Guardians… It wasn’t a Rift just very well protected. And hidden from view as it was built in warped space.
The door opened, Ermin pacing back-and-forth, shocked_
“Kate!” Ermin screamed out as Kate entered and collapsed in the entryway.
“What happened?” Blood pooled around her figure.
“We were caught off guard… A Demon attacked us. It… It was waiting inside… our… shop…” Her breathing was rugged and she was being drowned slowly by her own blood.
“John… His dead…” Tears streamed down her cheeks and neck.
“The Twins!? What happened to the Twins?” Ermin was beyond panic!
“I could… not…find…” Slowly she breathed out a shaky breath, her eyes gracefully closed… Peace was bestowed upon his friend for all the troubles she had lived through… Oh the beauty of death; everything that living is not…
Ermin rushed out of the Sanctuary, only having grabbed a dull claymore from the wall. Though ill and old he still had strength enough to fight one last fight!
He ran to the shop on Fairway Drive. Hoping beyond hope that the Twins were alright! Alive and Healthy! What felt forever was only five minutes; Ermin had reached the Gale’s new home and small bakery shop. All guardians had great speed…
Ermin rushed into the building, in and out every door of the shop up the stairs and into the living part of the ‘house’.
The Twins were nowhere to be found… Dread filled him! How could he be so forgetful?
“I love it when you Guardians just rush ahead of yourselves! I always believed you were trained otherwise! The Elohim must have given some slack on their precious Guardians’ training in the last few decades!” A voice as evil as the darkness is to children…
“Why are you here Maigoeut? What did you do to the Children?”
“Children?” The Demon called, Maigoeut, perked up.
“Why if I’ve known there to be children here I would have loved to play with them!” He grinned baring his saw like sharp teeth.
“You leave them be! I’ll be sure to die before an advocate of the Elorhim has their claws on innocent children!”
“No! I’ll find them in due time. And after the Master has had her way I’ll bring them with me back to my realm. I’ll feed on them for the next ten years. Live meat is always so much sweeter! Doesn’t rot like it would if it’s dead…” Maigoeut whispered into Ermin’s ears, before ripping his joints apart and leaving him there to die!
I failed them all I should have allowed Arialita to be raised as an Angel, I should have told Will what he always wanted to hear, that he did hear her sing, if only to give him some closure, and more importantly not have had Maigoeut have the better of me… The Twins they’ll be my final regret one I’ll carry through death…
“Can I ask you a question?” He remembered Sarah asking him. Why do you always say for the good of something or other that is ‘ever changing’?
He never asked her why she refused to be trained by her own kind, why she refused to live with them to be a part of them…
All he knew was that she was still young, though always will be, she had woefully thrown a tantrum when her kind offered to teach her all the truths of this world after she discovered she was a Warlock and he even took her to Richard, when she said she rather die, that Warlocks where evil. She didn’t know half the things she should, not even the basics Only a year later did he learn she had run away from Richard as well. That was all over forty years ago. After another five or so he had heard rumors she was an advanced Necromancer. Perhaps he could have been more help to her after all she was still so young then.
Everything is always changing even eternal beings such as the Warlocks, Vampires, Fair People of all kinds and even the Elohim and Angels.
They have to constantly choose and change their ways of thinking and acting. They learn new things still even after a millennium since their coming into being. They constantly fall in and out of love, except for most the Fair People; they tend to fall in love with each other and not Humans, Werewolves, Guardians and the like, and those of the Fair People that did fall in love with a mortal, usually mourned long time before choosing a new lover. Even death is ever changing; for every life taken two is born, as the dead rot they give life to their surroundings… Even the earth, plants, water, sun, wind is ever changing, giving life, growing it, shaping it, taking it…
“What is there that is never changing that you view as ‘bad’? The young Warlock is smart, and would have been more so if she allowed herself to be taught.
“The End.” Ermin answered finally
The End? What about the End? What End?
The End of time… the End of life… the End of all realms… the End of all that is every changing…
“You mean the apocalypse?”
Guess it could be called that in a way too…
Yes indeed a change is coming, a change that has never changed before… Change itself…
Wings could be heard brushing the sky before Sylph could see the giant bird carrying a small fragile looking girl.
“Aria…lita…” The Elven Fairy, Sylph’s, voice broke apart seeing the girl everyone had thought died… Without a thought Sylph embraced the girl just as Lightning had placed her back on solid steady ground.
“Who are you?” Celestine, or Arialita as she was known as before, asked sheepishly and with that shy voice Sylph recognized immediately. Truly she hasn’t changed at all that much, even with her memory… gone…
“Sylph, I’m Sylph. I’ve vowed to protect you since the day you were born, but you were suddenly taken away from us, your friends and family. I’ve never stopped looking for you!” Sylph said and for the first time knew what it felt like for Humans to cry, and why they always cried so easily, it cleansed their hearts.
“Sylph… Why did you need me to come to the lake? What danger am I in?” Celestine looked up. Sylph was standing over her. Her figure was almost distorted. Shimmering in various colors as the sun shone on her. It was snowing all around them except where Sylph’s almost golden ‘robes’ laid, spread around them. How she could move with such a large dress was a fascinating fact in itself for Celestine.
“I’m taking you to somewhere where you’ll be safe. That man that you call ‘Papa’ he wants to use you to destroy all that is ever-changing… Your Gifts are a tool to a means to end things just as it can be used to make… “
“I don’t know what you mean. And to be frank, why should I even trust you, you are a stranger to me!”
“The night before you met Snow and Lightning was the night I first heard you sing after so long, I have been unable to reach you or hear you. You sang the words to seal all unwanted thoughts, feelings, memories… It was in the Ancient Language of the Warlocks. I can teach you the Languages and the words for unsealing everything, but you must try to feel it with your very being when you say them, sing them rather… You once called these songs Verses. But not all your memories will come back, the night we lost you, you had sung a song, a Verse, and you ended up destroying your whole mind and almost took your own life with it as well…”
“Papa told me he had found me abandoned, left for dead… In the snow… When I was just a baby and that I lost my memories in an accident… almost four years ago, when our Town Manor burned down. And you say I did it to myself… These words you say you’d teach me is it not English?”
“Ka-Est Zweer Sha Elohim.” Sylph spoke, but it did not pass Celestine’s ears as meaningless.
“I understood that! Vows sworn onto Elohim. Angels!” To the last Sylph shook her head.
“Tif-Gê Lé-Ví Sha Lee Revér.”
“Great gifts are bestowed to protect and defend. Why is Elohim not as Angels?”
“Elohim are angelic in appearance, but not Angels. Angels have tasked the Elohim to defend all worlds against Elorhim, at that time all the worlds were young and uncorrupted, thus travel between them were easy for the Elohim, but since the first sinners, that and one Elorhim having found a way to seal the Rifts from Elohim to use it by corrupting the Rifts, the Rifts towards any Human world was inaccessible by Elohim, this corruption has since spread and the Elohim can now only rely on Guardians to protect those that has lost their Gifts. You understood the eldest language of The Elven Fairies, my own kind. It is ancient and only still a few of the eternal beings remember it, Elders as me, the young does not know it, even when we try to teach them they do not understand. The Elven Language is closely intertwined with that of Angels, thus is why only a few Fair People were able to even master it to a point. We are losing our Gifts… Our power…” Sylph seemed distraught.
“Why did you promise to protect me?
“I Vowed to protect you even before I knew who you were, before I knew what you would be capable of. When I saw you, I knew for the first time what it meant to truly love. I’ve never had a lover or children of my own. You, as the Humans would say, stole my heart. Your real father is a dear friend of mine and also one of the few who could learn some of the Ancient Languages. He is in many ways ; after realizing your mother pregnant with his child, after two months and you were still alive in her womb; an outcast of his kind…”
“He is a Warlock. More than 900 years old.”
“You’re lying, Warlocks are Evil; they summon monsters and raise the dead!” Guilt filled her eyes immediately, it is the reason she had run away after all to find out for herself whether it was true or not.
“Some, yes… Though not all are Necromancers specifically, or practice magic in the Black arts. In some sort of a sense, yes cursed by Demon blood they are all capable of all types of sorcery. You must understand that it was not them who chose to be born as they were just as you did not choose to be born with the power that you have. Most like your father never even practiced any magic in his life, believing it all to be evil, like you said – but it isn’t, not always - but when he thought you dead and I having immediately set out after you, with the bond between us fading, my bond to protect you, only to sense you, briefly, for the first time in four years about a month ago and unable to get any closer to you and then unable to leave further than half way past the lake, as my vow would not allow it having come so close to finding you… he has stopped trying to live all together. He has been trying to summon you from the dead ever since then. He has tested multiple spells in finding any clues as to who is to blame for your apparent death and even tracking that person. The winds whispers these things to me, carrying the voices of the spirits. Though unable to send a message to anyone who cannot understand the wind is difficult, and other creatures aren’t bound to deliver messages, unless they are Fair Folk and had said specifically vowed they would deliver the message to the person you want it to be delivered to. That man couldn’t have found you as a baby, for you are the girl I saw grow up, up until you were six. And to prove it, you have what they call a birth mark the shape of spiral on your left shoulder.” A nod confirmed that what Sylph said was the truth, and for some reason she wasn’t surprised to hear Sylph know that much of her. Deep down inside her soul she knew that Sylph wasn’t a threat and that she could trust her.
“I never thought ‘Papa’ good, I knew he was bad, but don’t ever suggest he is evil! He took in Mr. Larks when he was ill and starving. He saw he had promise; he is skilled in self-defense and hunting you know, he told me all about how wonderful a man Papa is, despite the obvious characteristics Papa more often showed. Mr. Larks said he was saved by ‘the Master’ to serve Papa, before he even knew who it was a few years before he found himself wondering the darkness lost, hungry and bleeding to death. Then there was that cat girl he found wondering just outside of his ground. It was winter, the first after I lost my memories. She was abandoned by the rest of her litter after their mother was killed by a lone Werewolf, she died shortly after, Papa said she was too sick... And…” Sylph shook her head…
“This so called Mr. Larks was killed, just after you left, for many reason two of those reason where because one he forgot to mention you hearing my voice upon the wind and two he thought your ‘Papa’s’ plan to lure me out would fail… the ‘cat girl’ or Werecat specifically a Nekomata, she was murdered cold bloodedly. And dumped into the lake for the shadows of my kind to devour. I’m sorry to disappoint, your ‘Papa’ is evil in most every sense he had taught you what evil is… Just as the wind carries the smell of Mr. Larks death to me now, I was able to find this place because of the death that grew ever more in this area… A Selkie had come to tell me of all the horrors that had occurred over the years, and especially of the Werecat, she said specifically that a servant had called the greying man ‘Mr. Evergreen’ and the tall crow-like man ’Mr. Larks.”
“Shadows of your kind…? No! He wouldn’t… He Couldn’t!”
“He did, Vodianoi and Rusalka live in these waters, not just Selkies, Melusines and Naiads that you’ll come to meet these next few days before we leave for Weiss!” Sylph truly sounded saddened at the thought that not all Fair People of the different Worlds were bound by words, maybe then one of them could have saved the Nekomata girl. Sylph embraced her then; she loved this girl yet had no real reason to.
“Who am I then if not…”
“Your birth name is Arialita. Though you are now called Celestine correct? Your name does not make you, you, though. I can tell you that you as Arialita was kind and gentle, helpful, shy and yet very playful. You are strong willed, when you speak you need not demand or shout to get your way, you have a lot of knowledge that a girl as young as you shouldn’t have, and this is why everyone has always listened to you. Is this not still how you are? And if you are not sure listen to Snow and Lightning, they can tell you that in this short while of since meeting you last morning, you are all of that!” Celestine looked towards Snow and Lightning…
“They can talk…?”
“Not like you and I are now, but listen closely and you’ll learn to understand them…” As she focused on Snow and Lightning it was like the first light of morning that awoke one from sleep… Two strange voices greeted her, and she realized it was Snow and Lightning!”
“You heard them just now, didn’t you?” To that she nodded.
“They told me all that and some more, have I truly not changed from who I was before and who I am now?”
“No. Except… I think you are braver than before, and even stronger! Which is only natural as you are older now.” Sylph smiled and in return Celestine took peace in knowing that she is she, not who she was, not who she will be, but who she is at that very moment!
“Now get some rest you’ve had a long night getting here.”
“Will you sing me a song? And teach me to sing as well?”
“I cannot sing the Angels tongue, though I know a few of the words, I’ll sing to you a song from when I was still young among the Fair People of all kinds.” Sylph said so gently that it already calmed Celestine. The song made her weary. The sun already having signaled the first day.
By the third day Celestine, or as she decide to go by now her old name, Arialita had learned some words and even the words to undo the seal she had renewed on herself a few nights ago, as soon she did the Angel’s Language came even easier to her and quicker. But it was draining, and took a lot of energy to learn to sing Verses again, and besides the feel of intruding eyes for which Sylph reassured her were not there to harm them, Arialita felt at unease, as if something was going to happen soon…
“Get some sleep we shall leave first thing tomorrow morning. I think we’ll have evaded most of the places then they’ve most likely searched for by now, so we won’t alert them.”
“ Your ‘Papa’, Mr. Larks and the Demon who works with them.” Arialita looked a bit upset, but quickly shook it off.
“Don’t leave me!” She was afraid unlike ever before. She had to find out the truth and knew Sylph would help.
“I would never! Sevt Neér Sha Mê-Ra-îd.” (‘Safe night’s dream now’) Sylph said and already Arialita was being lured to sleep.
I want to forget it all, all the pain of yesterday. I want to be able to feel nothing, not even the joy I might someday have. I do not wish for death, only nothingness. Is it that hard to understand? I’ve always felt alone knowing it to be the truth is no worse than having felt it, it just made it more bearable. I could be something great, but it feels rather I’d be the reason for the end of something great.
I want to forget it all, all the heart ache of longing to belong. Now I know there is no place as home, it is but a myth. Shadows are we who can live in the in the dark and even in light. Does it give reason to say then that we differ from one another? We are no one’s equal and yet we are the same. No wonder then I belong nowhere, everywhere has already been taken.
I want to forget it all, forget everything. Bring an end to all, and might there then still be a new beginning? Not even I then would know. How can one know when one knows nothing? Remembers nothing? Is nothing? It could be pleasant just drifting away, not truly existing, but just to be…
What Was it that she said back then just before that dreadful night?
“William Carter! Did you not hear me?”
“What is it Mira?”
“Stay still do you want to be dinner?”
“There’s a Shadow creature up ahead, a Darkling. They don’t hear very good, but their smell and sight is as sharp as yours would never be! Madam Whitechapel and Holland went to kill it.” Mira hissed.
“Oh. Oh! Where’s Madam Whitechapel?” Mira slapped the palm of her hand against her forehead; never had she thought any one being could be so daft, yet here was Will.
“She went around, to kill it, along with Holland.”
“Oh, that’s nice.” Will said, he truly hadn’t been listening at all to what Mira was saying.
Regretting the past will not change the future.
Arialita had had one of her rare ‘talking’ days, unlike those others where she seemed almost more like a normal child, whenever she had started talking at random she always amazed everyone with her wisdom; this randomness came a few times, it was at these times he felt her get even further away from him, that feeling that made him feel like he would lose her forever…
Singing helps. She had told him. It helps to clear your thoughts, to change negative thoughts to more positive ones. Music carries all your feelings in it, makes it impossible to regret. In fact it helps you to treasure everything. Though when singing, there’s more strength in it. Words can’t always represent your feelings or what you truly want to say. You have to be careful! Even when just talking casually.
“Mira how many words are there?”
“Why all of a sudden this awkwardness from you?”
“I was just wondering.”
“Well to answer your question; specifically in English, easily over a million. Then you need to remember there are thousands of languages as well.”
“Why then is it so hard to have the right words to say?”
“Will, why? Why would you worry about all that now?”
“Never mind? It is just me rumbling away with nonsense!”
“Alright it’s safe!” Holland called out.
“Finally!” Mira said in an over exasperated why.
“How long still before we reach the Rift for Weiss?” Will asked still in a daze.
“Another day or so. We have made quite the progress over the last three days.” Madam Whitechapel answered. It had been strange that so far their only encounter with any being was now this lone Darkling, and that itself was strange as well, they usually kept to pairs of three at least. Night had fallen and it was an eerie darkness…
“We should be on the outlook for more. Darklings aren’t ever alone.” Holland was reading Madam Whitechapel’s thoughts; he knew what was bothering her, he could feel it to.
Something was terribly wrong… The night was as if haunted.