Guess who's back,
Dressed in black,
Come to take her soul back.
In ancient Greece, a long time ago, there was a time when witches and humans lived in peace. Granted there was always a boundary of uncertainty that separated the enchantresses from the common folk; but in most of the large city-states, they were respected. It was in the smaller villages that ignorance lead to fear and hate. Pandora was one of their victims. She had been born with unnatural pink hair to an unwed mother, and was considered an omen of misfortune. The town did their best to avoid her, not wanting to deal with any bad luck that might befall them should they speak with her. Only one person in the whole village paid her any mind, Persephone.
Persephone was unlike Pandora in many ways. She preferred bright sunny days to dark winter nights, surround by many friends, everyone loved her. Still, to the bewilderment to the village, she reached out to Pandora and tried to teach how to deal with the many beautiful things of the world. Such a positive outlook was rare, for the throne of the Underworld was due to change hands at any moment. The west jumped at the chance to take hold of as many villages as possible. The villagers feared that Mavro would become one of their targets. In an effort to calm their fears Persephone volunteered to talk with Odin and prove that the village would be safe. None begged her to stay more than Pandora, whose reputation hung on the fate of the village. Still Persephone set forth. Her friend was left defenseless among the narrow-minded villagers. That afternoon Pandora wept under the branches of an old oak tree. As she sobbed, she heard a voice from behind her.
"Such a pretty girl should not be crying in the woods alone." She turned and saw a cloaked boy holding a strange box. Her, beautiful? She was a disgracefully frail shell of a person; dark circles were permanently a part of her blemished features, and her eyes, an eerie shade of purple.
"W-who are you?" She sniffed, "I've never seen you around here before."
"My name is Haden." He said with a slight smirk.
"Th-that's a s-strange name." She said as she leaned further into the roots.
"I'm a traveling lord," He explained, "and couldn't help but see you were crying." He crouched down to her level, his black irises danced with an inhuman mirth. "What could have made you so unhappy?"
"My friend went to talk with Lord Odin about the safety of our village and I have a sinking feeling that she won't return. I tried to stop her, but she wouldn't listen to me." Tears began to flow down her face again. "I don't have anyone else here." The lord frowned and glanced down at the box he held in his hand, then held it out to her.
"Do you know what this is?" He asked. The box he held in his hands was made of polished sulfur, with twisted bone to line its edges of the box.
"A box." She asked, recoiling at the sight.
"Not just any box." He said placing it in her hands. "This box will grant your deepest desire."
"But I don't have any-"
"You seem to need it, more than I. A word of caution, in order to grant your wish, the box must take something equal in value. It will hold your soul as payment; so don't lose it." Pandora glanced up to protest once more, but Haden was gone. All that remained was the bone and sulfur box that lay in her hands.
He says come,
Let's have some fun,
Open the box, the game's begun.
Pandora couldn't bear to leave the box behind. Something that could rob someone of their soul was too dangerous to leave where unsuspecting persons might open it. As the days turned to into months, Persephone did not return. The villagers blamed Pandora, claiming that she bewitched the girl into running off. Despite Pandora's pleas, she stayed the enemy in their eyes. After all, no one was left to side with her. When news of an invasion from the west came, she finally was at her wits end. She no longer knew how to deal with the angry people that surrounded her life. After a particularly cruel day she trudged to her room and looked down at the box. Mud dripped from her clothes as she reached for the lid. Anything had to be better than the treatment she faced day to day. Carefully she threw open the lid.
All at once, a black monster burst forth from the box, its form dripped as if made of pure liquid. She felt a sickening, spiritual wave length come from the creature.
"You've have set me free from my prison fragment." Its etheral voice curdled. Pieces of its body dribbled to the floor and took shape; running off in different directions. "In exchange I shall grant your wish, and destroy those that you do not know how to deal with." Her soul ripped itself from her body and was sucked into the box. As the lid snapped tightly closed, the black creature took off, breaking through the roof of her room. She watched as the massive demon disappeared over the horizon.
Slowly she turned to the floor at a puddle of ichor the creature left behind. The puddle quivered and stretched, and twisted into a spire. Limbs jutted out of the sides and the base split. Slowly it grew skin and the black liquid dripped into iron armor. A demon knight with pitch black eyes stood where the puddle once had been, masquerading as a human. A sadistic smile glided across its newly formed features.
"Your wish is my command." He said. Still in shock Pandora watched as the knight walked into Mavro and drew a jet black sword. He sliced the villagers in half like butter, laughing at how their blood painted the dirt. The whole village was becoming a war zone before its prime.
"S-stop." She whispered, "Please, this isn't what I wanted." Still the swords man hacked and hued the dwindling villagers "STOP!" It was too late; the entire village had been slaughtered. She ran out of the house and grasped the arm of her knight. But no words would come out, only tears.
"I understand miss, but be patient. Your wish has almost been granted." She shook her head not understanding. Then the sound of horses drew her attention. A nobleman from the west hopped off of his steed, taking in the state of the village in disbelief. Thunder shook through the sky and cold rain drenched the caravan.
"What happened here?" He demanded.
"It was terrible," The knight said, "our own country thought the town was producing weapons for the east. They slaughtered the whole village before I got here. She is the only survivor." He gestured to Pandora. "I found her hiding in a corner behind the doors of her home." The noblemen took her hand.
"I'm so sorry this happened to you. Surely they must have been mistaken." He looked to his men. "We are taking her back with us; I can't leave such a beautiful lady behind in such conditions."
"If I may," The knight stated, "I hardly know you, I don't think my conscious could rest if I let her walk off with a strange man." The nobleman was taken aback.
"Are you her caretaker?" The knight nodded, "I can not stop you from following. Very well, we head back to Italy." The man shouted to his companions.
"Beautiful? Me?" She looked to her knight, "He couldn't be serious!" The knight chuckled darkly.
"Have you seen yourself lately?" She looked at her reflection in the ground water and gasped. Her face was clear of all blemishes, her frame and hair flowed healthy rather than falling limp in the rain.
"I don't understand-"
"A soul like yours was weighted down with all of the negativity you held. Our body is, after all, a reflection of the soul; without one it will flourish on the madness of the world instead."
"What is madness?" She asked. The knight cackled at her naivety.
"You'll see." The knight chuckled.
The nobleman she met turned out to be the son of a wealth Italian merchant. She stayed in Florence and soon married the man that took her away from her Greek village. Still, she could not run from the terror she unleashed onto the world. Disease began to spread through the countries, poverty entrapped the smaller towns, and no one could take a step in the world without fear flooding into their soul. As people grew more and more, distressed Pandora grew more beautiful. She couldn't stand it! The people of Florence loved her, she had a husband and daughter, all the riches of the world was at her finger tips. But the guilt of unleashing madness onto the world gnawed at her conscious. She dismissed her knight, and grew distant from her family. She didn't want to be reminded of the pain she had brought the world with her selfishness.
Eventually the only solace she found was in her rose garden. The white flowers reminded her of how she used to be. Until one day when she went to pick a rose and pricked her finger on the thorns. She recoiled and went to bring the wound to her lips to alleviate the pain. Then stopped, her eyes widening at the sight of her hand. Her blood ran black with sin.
What an act,
Her blood is black,
She'll never get her soul back.
She tore through the mansion to the embellished room she had lived in for the past thirty years. There, on its own table, sat the sulfur box she had traded her soul for so many years ago. Desperate to undo what she had done, she grabbed to box from its perch and hurtled it to the marble floor; praying that death would be merciful and allow her out of the deal she had made. The box shattered into many pieces and her soul floated free of its prison, yet made no move to go back into her body. A long shadow stretched along the floor and a gloved hand grasped the fragile soul.
"Lord Death, thank goodness you've-" She looked up with tear in her eyes. "HADEN!"
"Hmm?" The male Shinigami furrowed his brow. "I'm not-" He stopped mid sentence as a memory bursted from his conscience. "Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Hades, now lord of the underworld." Pandora backed away on the floor in tears.
"B-but when I met you, you said-"
"That I was a traveling lord, which was true. As you can guess my presences wasn't exactly welcomed in the towns that I passed through, so I used a pseudonym while I migrated."
"Were the one that gave you the box, yes."
"No. Nononononono!" She cried, "This can't be, I thought that if I- and then you-" Pandora curled into a fetal position and bawled. The Shingami frowned at the sight. "I thought that if I broke the box I could take back the wish I made and now~ Oh if only I didn't open that stupid box everything would have been fine."
"…you didn't like the gift." He stated, void of emotion.
"How could I, because of it-"
"Then let's make a deal." Hades said, Pandora looked up from her knees. He held the same mischievous smile she saw when she first met him. "Since you don't like the way your wish turned out, I'll give your soul a second chance. If one of your decedents can stand in the face in madness, I will give you your soul back in exchange for the soul of a Kishen. If your family can not break free by the 1,000th year, your linage will end and your soul will belong to me." Pandora considered the offer carefully.
"H-how do I know you won't cheat?" The Shinigami chuckled at her.
"I'll give you a fair chance. Your soul's wavelength can guide your decedents and I will do the same for mine." He pulled on his own soul and held it in his other hand. "Do we have a deal?" Pandora hesitated then nodded placing a hand on his soul.
If she's won,
When she's done,
She will be back on square one.