She lived in the middle of nowhere. Her abode was insignificant, landlocked by verdant timberlands from three sides and a cerulean lake from the last remaining side.
Maybe it wasn’t deliberate on her part, but this piece of land was directly under his dominion. It was owned solely by him and his people. It was a blessing for him and his kind, but a curse for the mortals. The inhabitant of that dwelling was going to perish tonight.
The brunet earth opened its maw and he came out of it regally, without a care in the world. He was here to complete an important task. The earth’s jaws rapidly closed once he was outside. The moon quickly vanished. Dark clouds suddenly materialized out of nowhere. Rain started falling heavily from the heavens above. He remained stoic, unaffected. Nature couldn’t harm him. It was a comrade, not an adversary. He was its Master, not its slave.
He looked around nonchalantly, the trees greeted him, the grass-blades underneath his feet welcomed him and even the scarlet-eyed, long-fanged, blood-thirsty creatures of the night received him from the woodlands. Humans couldn’t perceive those beasts with their mortal eyes. They could see, but they couldn’t perceive the truth. Mortals were genuinely blind.
He slowly made his way towards her abode, unfazed by everything that now transpired around him. He was the King. This land belonged only to him. And nobody would dare to come in his way tonight and forevermore.
As he neared her establishment, he vanished into thin air. He became a shadow among the shadows. He merged with the darkness, and became darkness.
When he arose, he was already inside her habitat. He was inside a trivial, inadequate, insufficient, unroyal room. He was still a part of the incalculable, inconspicuous shadows.
The occupant of that space was fast asleep. That thoughtless mortal was unafraid and unworried. She was wholly unaware of his deadly presence.
He was never afraid of mortals, but he wanted to observe their abhorrent ways, and observe he did. All he could see inside her domicile was complete and utter darkness. There was obscurity inside her heart and soul, just like the blackness inside her bedchamber.
Clearly the child was irrational, otherwise there would have been no darkness inside her room. The strong rain showers pelted against her fragile glass window. Her room was darkened by the shadows. He could see everything. She couldn’t escape him tonight.
Lustrous azure stars were daubed all over the sickly-yellow walls of her room. It would have provided her with comfort during the lonely and sad nights of her life. It provided no balminess in the unlit room.
Mortals might think that light could take away all the darkness from their lives.
No darkness meant light and no light meant darkness.
But he was here. He had to fulfill a purpose. She had committed a heinous delinquency. She must be castigated. He held no clemency inside his chest. Just like the foul ambiance of her room, his soul had besmirched over the millennia.
He could perceive artless human possessions – books, writing paraphernalia, dollies.
Imprudent child indeed!
Only eighteen years young. It was like she was a nascent floweret on the threshold of spring. She would obtain no prospect to bloom at all. He would abolish her before that fateful time.
Thunder rolled outside her abode, the rainfall strengthened. It was like nature itself abhorred her very existence. The nature, the otherworldly creatures – they were all her foes. She was a fiend. She was the one blamable for everything.
Like a dark figure, he moved towards her. He had no intention of abandoning her tonight. She would experience nightmares, she’d suffer. She would have no rest and that would be her undoing.
Of course he’d be part of her nightmares. They’d be filled with blazing flames, utter misery, immense agony, spilled blood and singed flesh. They’d be restless, relentless.
What a horrible fate awaited her both in this life and the afterlife!
There was no sliver of moonlight coming from her window. Dark tumultuous clouds had covered the moon. Just like the blackness inside her broken heart, her room was doused in shadows of the past. But she slept in her cradle without any qualms.
His heart clenched excruciatingly after seeing her for the very first time. She was indeed beautiful. But he wasn’t a mortal soul. Mortal females even if they looked handsome weren’t beautiful from the inside. He had learned his lesson the hard way.
He fell-in-love with a mortal – a fetching princess but she perished like the wind, many millennia ago. She never stayed, and left him behind. She never loved him, truly.
She was a royal from a faraway land, always embellished in heavy silk fabrics, adorned with pure gold, bejeweled in precious stones. Her eyes were like dazzling sapphires on a moonlit night. He had never seen a beauty like her before. But like glass, once broken, you could never put it back together no matter how hard you tried, his heart broke when her own kin slew her in rage. Suffice to say, he burned down the whole kingdom and drenched all the mortals in their own blood. He vowed never to love again. He now knew that mortals were intolerable, incorrigible and they never ever learned anything from their past mistakes.
As he neared her crib, he could see that she was indeed restless. It was her intuition. She was already afraid of him. Her body had sensed his ominous presence, but it was of no use. She couldn’t escape from his clutches now.
She moved from one side to the other. A white pristine fabric intertwined around her body like a leviathan constricting its prey. Her hair was deep cobalt, it was the color of a dying flame. Her breathing was labored. There was sweat on her brows. Her lips were ajar. Like a heartbroken romantic, he wanted to describe her splendor because she was indeed breathtaking.
But he wasn’t heartbroken any longer. He wasn’t a foolishly forlorn romantic anymore. He remembered his place and she needed to remember hers.
He didn’t dare to touch her. He stayed near her bedstead, kept gazing at her from the shadows. He didn’t want to harm her in the very first place, but he had no other choice. In his heart, he held no desire to possess her. Hair like a fading flame, visage like a porcelain doll and lips as red as flowing blood – she was a picture of finest beauty. But he was an aesthetic by heart and because of that, his sable orbs were deceiving him right now.
“Nozuub zjoo svia myrtesgenzivh xolenuv gifev. Nozuub gesvaz xivezugfiveh lu gesvaz wanzip wyvelyfi svia hylfow. Nozuub hozesyv muuvevi ivikylhuv. Nozuub hozesyv hoxzow ropum vygvimzoh sevooy.”
(Translation: “May all her nightmares come true. May the creatures of the dark devour her soul. May she never repose. May she scald in eternal hell.”)
An ancient spell spewed from his vile lips and he touched her forehead with a pale, bony, clawed digit. Immediately, a distinct star and a thin crescent moon appeared together in the middle of her forehead. They shone like brilliant emeralds on a moonless horizon and then vanished altogether. He retracted his coarse hand and retreated into the shadows. His task was done here.
Amber eyes snapped open. She looked at her surroundings, she wasn’t at home. What she saw, took her breath away. She was lying near the bank of a beautiful stream, her head was situated precariously near the edge and her cobalt hair floated freely in the crystal-clear waters. It wasn’t uncomfortable but she just had to get up. She slowly stood up. Her eyes widened when she observed her surroundings more carefully. She was lying on a smooth, soft, velvety grass bed. She caressed the silky-smooth grass blades with her nimble fingers. They sparkled like vibrant jades. Dewdrops glittered on their tips like priceless diamonds. She just wanted to keep looking at them but more visual feasts awaited her ochre eyes.
She looked at herself and her breathing hitched. She was wearing a long-flowing, pristine-white, satiny-silk robe. The bodice was formfitting and was decorated with dark-pink Sakura blossoms – it clearly accentuated her ample bosom and slim waist. The dress felt heavy yet so satiny-soft against her heated flesh. It was sleeveless, her arms were bare but not cold. The grass felt cool and pleasant under her bare feet, she wore nothing underneath her dress.
She was mortified. Somebody had taken great pains to undress and then redress her in such a magnificent garb.
She gazed at the crystalline waters of the stream, the reflection seemed nothing like her. She wore flower earrings, a necklace of interwoven flowers and flowers in her azure tresses – they were all dark-pink Sakura blossoms. Her hair was of the same color but instead of being dead-straight, it was now in soft curls and waves. Her locks were unbound. She twirled in delight. She felt like a princess at that time.
She looked at her surroundings and forgot all about her dress. It wasn’t just the stream that caught her eye, she was surrounded by woodlands – she was inside the heart of a forest. The stream emerged from the core of a small waterfall. A small hillock had divided in two and from in between its breasts, a beautifully breathtaking water-cascade had burst forth with all its might. On those two hillocks were tress of all kinds. She could recognize pines, spruces, bamboos and oaks. Wherever she gazed, she saw green. It enticed her senses, it enthralled her orbs.
She could find no flowers, everything was either pea-green, chocolate-brown, snowy-white or sapphire-blue. But those were her most favorite colors.
But then where did the flowers come from?
She didn’t want to think about that right now.
She dipped one foot into the cerulean stream waters and was delighted when they felt pleasant against her heated skin. She noticed jagged rocks, smooth pebbles, small emeralds and sapphires at the bottom of the stream. The shallow waters of the stream called out to her. She wanted to collect the prized jewels. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She bent down, scooped some water into the palms of her hands and brought them together to her suddenly parched lips. She consumed it with utmost greed. The taste was heavenly. She wanted to drink more, her thirst was becoming unbearably painful. But abruptly, she halted in her tracks.
Amber eyes now rested on an old swing. It hung down from a massive tree. It was on the other side of the stream. She languidly stood up from the edge and made her way towards it. She easily waded through the pleasant waters, not caring about her expensive silk robe. The waters never once deepened around her body. Like under an enchantment, she kept moving forward towards the said tree. She felt like a free spirit.
Finally she reached her destination. The spell broke, and her tawny orbs significantly widened as they eagerly took in the sight of the colossal tree. Giant fern plants were present on its backside. It was an ancient, gnarled, Sakura tree but it wasn’t in bloom. Its bark was dark-purple. She could always recognize a tree by its bark. After all, she was studying Botany this year. She rubbed her hand gently against the twisted bark. The swing was just a combination of two sturdy ropes that supported a wooden plank in between. She tested her weight on the swing and then started swinging excitedly. She never felt so alive in her life. The worn-out swing could actually support her weight even though it looked ancient. Then she heard a cry and the blood in her veins froze. It was animalistic, it wasn’t human.
There was a wild creature in the woodlands.
Was it a wolf or a bear? Was it a lion or a panther? Was it a tiger or a hyena?
Where was she in the first place?
Evidently, reality crashed upon her nerves but she wanted to control the level of fear that emanated profusely from her. So she got off of the swing and took deep breaths just to calm down her frayed nerves.
“In and out. In and out.”
That was her soft mantra at that moment.
But luckily, no beast jumped out of the woods, no monster attacked her from behind, there was no bear, hyena, lion or tiger. It was just her overactive imagination. She felt relieved, but it was short-lived.
She heard rustling. It came from the oversized ferns. She didn’t want to run. She couldn’t run. Her limbs became numb. It was like the forest floor had swallowed her feet. Dread had frozen her in place. She closed her eyes firmly and hugged herself tightly. The rustling intensified, someone or something was beginning to come near her.
But nothing came out of the massive ferns, no one came out from behind the gigantic Sakura tree. Unexpectedly, the rustling ceased altogether. She opened her eyes and saw no one near her vicinity, but then she saw him and her heart skipped a beat. It was definitely a man.
It was like life came back to her limbs as she started making her way back towards the edge of the stream where she found herself for the very first time. He stood quietly near the edge. He was looking at her as she looked at him. He wore an emerald cape, a long leather jacket immersed in ebony, verdant and gold hues, a full-sleeved black and viridian tunic, sable pants, heavy black-leather boots, and she wasn’t intimidated by him at all.
He was a stranger and she was only eighteen. He looked quite older than her. He possessed extremely pale skin, an aquiline nose, deep emerald eyes and dark curls that ended near his shoulders. His locks looked wild, untamed. His eyes felt like fire on her body. She was embarrassed, aroused and mortified – all at the same time. His lips were taut, stretched into a thin line. He wasn’t smiling. She could detect no ears, they were hidden underneath his jet-black tresses. His hands were behind his back. She didn’t stop moving towards him.
He was dressed impeccably even though his clothing style seemed medieval. He looked more handsome than anyone she had ever seen before. She had never been in a relationship, she was untainted and pure. Never kissed, never dated anyone in her life, but she was attracted towards this man like a moth towards the flame. His eyes seemed wild but not unkind, and she really wanted to converse with him. She wanted to know more about him.
Who was this man and what did he want with her?
There were so many queries that swirled inside her mind. She wanted answers right now.
With mesmerized, enchanted eyes like she was under a heavy spell, she made her way towards him and as she neared him, he muttered a few words which she couldn’t understand. It was a foreign language. She tried listening to his seductive voice again as his lips kept moving, but no sound came out this time. All the sounds around her stopped abruptly. Darkness took over her vision and she fell down unceremoniously in the cold stream waters. At that time, she felt utterly numb. She couldn’t feel her limbs, she couldn’t move. She couldn’t hear anything, she couldn’t speak and she couldn’t see anything anymore. With horror, she only thought about one thing.
This wasn’t a dream. It was a nightmare.
Then she lost consciousness as bleakness swallowed her whole.
“Xolenuv neyb xivezugfiveh. Xolenuv zemaw uevuzihag fuklem svia yozexpevmew sevzig zemaw svia divugexsivw hylfow.”
(“Come my creatures. Come and feast upon her blackened heart and her wretched soul.”)
He looked at her as he chanted an ancient spell. It was a fatal one. She was a thoughtless child even in her dreams. He kept gazing at her as she turned deathly pale in the crystal-clear stream waters. Her plump cheeks lost all the rosiness, her ears bled, her lips turned blue. Her azure locks wholly lost their sheen, texture and hue. Now they looked dull, coarse and gray. He moved near her body as she continued to lose her life years. Her eyes once amber were now without any tint. They were stagnant and lifeless. All black and white – monochromatic. He kept looking at her eyes as the ebony and sallow also vanished, then her orbs became petrified like untarnished glass and unfluctuating pebbles. Now, blood gushed out of them like crimson rivulets. She remained unconscious, unaware of her agony.
He smiled. It was a noxious leer.
Soon the creatures would ascend from the woods and they would consume her soul, would feast upon her rotten flesh and no one would be able to save her.
He looked at her one last time. She now thrashed wildly on her bed. It was soon going to become her very tomb. She now experienced the nightmare gifted by him. She would die before morrow. He saw an old wooden table in the center of her sleeping chamber. On it, he placed an emerald rose with a lithe stem and velvety petals. He left without saying anything else.
He emerged from the shadows of her nest. Rain didn’t touch his person. The russet earth opened up in front of his eyes like a massive ogre with an enormous maw, and swallowed him whole. He had to return to Faeland, to his people. He was the Fae King, the Demon Lord. He was Myrsrorhyn, and he belonged to the lost kingdom of Faes.
The Faes were an underground race of demons and they had been protecting the Mother Earth from any possible threat since several millennia. Amber Valentine was the sacrifice chosen for this lunar year. She had killed a Fae, intentionally or unintentionally, it didn’t matter anymore.
He knew humans couldn’t perceive Faes, but the Fae demons could see the mortals. And they had seen the ways of the mortals, how they obliterated everything in their path, how they eliminated every living breathing creature that they feared. Mankind was cruel and careless. They didn’t care for anything, didn’t care about anyone but themselves.
Their souls were selfish, their hearts impure.
The history was history and she had managed to kill one of his kin. So she deserved retribution.
Soon the monsters would come forth, they would emerge from the deepest, darkest bowels of the ancient kingdom at the stroke of midnight.
Charred visages with long, deadly fangs, those demon beasts would haunt her nightmares. Adorned with sharp, ebony horns on their robust heads, they would be restless in their pursuit. Red-eyed with sooty souls, they’d lust after her warm flesh. Ferocious, bloodthirsty in nature, they would hunt her down through her sweet scent. Pale, bony digits embellished with sharp, black talons, they’d make her scream in agony.
They’d search for the emerald rose which he had left as a sole symbol. When they’d find the said symbol, the inhabitant of that abode would vanish completely from the face of the Mother Earth. Never to be seen again. They’d devour her flesh, suck the red essence of life out of her veins, consume her heart and extinguish her soul. There would be nothing left of her at dawn. She wouldn’t see the next sunrise. The house would burn and vanish like the sullen ashes after a volcanic eruption. She would become a fable from the days of yore, a forgotten page from an ancient tome.
Her kin would search for her tirelessly, but they wouldn’t be able to find her anywhere. The earth would’ve swallowed her, consumed her by that time.
He would then search for his next mortal victim. The next human sacrifice.