Once there was a king who ruled a land, a land unlike our own for in it were things that were only heard of in fairy tales, things that were of shadow and of magical archaic delight. Indeed, Magic was a familiarity and so were the resonance of fairies and their twinkling wings as well as other creatures unheard of. The king was benevolent and fair and he bore the kingdom three daughters but no sons. The oldest of them had sea-blue eyes that were as deep as the ocean and hair the shade of golden blond. Rosella was her name, and she was betrothed to Edgar who was tall, pleasant and of the right stature to marry her, being the prince of a neighboring country. The second, Raquel had skin that was darkest of all the sisters but hair as pale as the early morning dew. Many suitors did she have and so many hearts did she break. The third is where the story really begins, for she… was a Dream Seeker.
The Queen had died of an unknown complication right after Raquel was no older then 4 moons. She breathed her last on a breezy autumn day. The autumn splendor was such a mockery to her pale skin for she was cold like a day in winter and her lips were that of a shade less pink. She soon passed on and the seasons soon changed, becoming Winter and then Spring and then Summer and then finally Autumn again. By this time the King was over his sadness but it was now overtaken by loneliness; he soon met another woman who arrived at his castle door one winter’s night: cold, wet and so very lost. Soon he became like a young boy in love, experiencing the ‘love feeling’ one gets in their first encounter of such matters. Although he knew not of her past, he knew of his love and the strength of it. He soon married the woman who was named Maria and she soon bore a child two years later. However Maria was weak during childbirth, and she struggled to deliver the child. The mid-wife had wanted to kill the babe to save the mother and the alchemist gave her potions while the enchanters chanted their spells but Maria bravely refused all and called the babe ‘her hope’. Soon, everyone but the king had their hopes entirely spent. Maria knew she was dying as she delivered the child. She could feel life and its moments slipping away slowly but surely. With great difficulty she clutched the King’s hand and gave him a necklace while whispering the word “Robin”. Her face was brimming with tears but so were the king’s. The king never married again.
The years eventually passed by and the babe called Robin grew up into a woman. Her skin was white. So white that even the clouds in the sky would envy her and her face was nestled by long brown tawny hair. She had eyes that were of a paler green, distant and aloof. She was easily the most fairest of all sisters and had a grace matched by none, yet the King cursed her; blaming her for Maria’s death. It hung like a shadow over her and she grew up to be an insecure, quiet and depressed child. Robin never once called him Father, it felt wrong to do so. On most days, she was mostly seen with long covered dresses in dull colors such as black, grey and the darkest shades of greens and blues. The only color to her somberness was her mother’s necklace, which she wore everyday. It was a red jewel encased in metal, forged by fire and bounded by the magic of runes. Robin had a strange gift that made the King resent the child even more. When she was ten, things would catch fire around her for no reason at all. By twelve, she could set things on fire using just a gesture of her hands or sometimes even just her imagination. The viziers and those old, wise dreamers of the king try as they may, could not find a cure for the king’s daughter. It was these events that led the King to proclaim that his daughter never be allowed outside the castle. As for the village folk, they would be told that his youngest daughter was simply just a sickly child.
Many years soon passed and Prince Edgar was visiting the castle which was the cause of much celebration. Save for Robin; she saw no meaning for celebration; the court and its affairs concerned her naught, and she remained in her tower, detached as it was. Darkness soon arrived and she tried to sleep but her body refused, tossing and turning. As the evening passed, she felt even more restless. The towers were closing in on her slowly but surely; and it was on nights like this did the bowers of the night echo in her mind. Sometimes she felt a presence. It was a foreign yet familiar presence, and sometimes she caught a glimpse of it somewhere in the walls, in the shadows and especially in her dreams. Blank canvasses made up her dreams and she could hardly remember them except that the presence invaded all of them. A seeker of dreams she called herself as she wanted to seek this presence in them, confront it and face it but she failed. Tonight though, she somehow felt that she was alone. The presence was strangely vacant tonight. Robin felt the sudden urge to leave, even if for a few hours: leave behind the servants who feared her, leave behind her judgmental sisters and leave behind the King who scorned her every action. She quickly donned her bloody red robe… and left.
Robin treaded slowly from the tower and escaped into the woods leaving the sounds of those celebrating in the great hall behind her. She treaded softly along the pathway that dipped into rocks, shrubs, trees and bushes. She smiled as she had done before her exile, but it was indefinitely tinged with sadness. The moon in its heaven shone upon her far into the night, like a distant memory. She clutched her necklace tightly as she went further in, for the trees had a dark and hard edge to them and her heart pounded a little faster. She felt a very soft tingling on her skin and she felt less afraid. It was her mother or at least her essence in the necklace and Robin knew that. It glowed softly or so she imagined it to be. One thing must be known though, she never felt safe because of her power, in fact she feared it…
And that was when she saw him, among a groove of knotted trees. He laid very still and quiet on the ground. She approached but grew tense with caution as there was another presence there besides him and her own and she felt it. Her fists clenched, digging into the flesh till they were very nearly white. She turned away from him, her eyes narrowed as she turned to face the other presence. She tried to vaguely view the crouching figure that was now hissing at her; the darkness was her enemy.
“Imuldril ne feron?
The voice was male, harsh, and hoarse. She could not reply as she knew naught what was spoken. Robin paused as her words were trapped in her throat as she tried to utter.
“What aaree yy” she heard a laugh, it wasn’t pleasant and it was coming from the creature.
“A human indeed has crawled into Zai’s lair. A human indeed who’s flesh is juicy sweet, juicy sweet and nectar ripe. A human will be my dinner tonight.”
He lunged at her. Her eyes widened as she suddenly realized that he was much taller then what she expected and she fell back. Zai was right on top of her, his fangs glistening in the moonlight, and his eyes had a yellow shade to them and a strange madness. She tried to fight back, but he was far stronger then any human she had ever met. So she closed her eyes and prepared for the worse. But it did not happen, instead her necklace glowed with brilliance like none she had seen before, and there was a terrible cry from the creature which resonated in the forest. The creature took a step from her in pain and snarled
“How can there be a Witchi Amulet protecting you?!”
He made another lunge towards her attempting to rip the necklace away. She was afraid but at the same time brave and she leapt towards the side but tripped over his body. She shook her head and tried to focus but the figure was beginning to shadow and blur away. Then she heard a voice, it sounded as it was coming from him.
“Use your power! It is the only chance to save yourself!”
Her head jerked up in surprise and she saw Zai right in front of her, his claws ready to kill. At this point Robin was crying because she did not know what to do and prayed for a miracle. She knew she had to survive this, she had to find the presence; she couldn’t give up her goal to be a Dream Seeker. Then suddenly everything went from black to a sudden burst of red. Dazed she was at first till the stench of charred flesh began to foul the air. She could hear cursing in a voice so tormented with pain it was pure agony. It was Zai, cursing in a language that was guttural. His body was like a strange flicker in the cool forest night, slowly but steadily burning away. Robin took a step back and was so frightened that all she could do was kneel and cry; her eyes widened and her face paled into the darkness. Soon all there was left was a halo of ash. Time soon passed by and even the moon ran a little of her course, but she was still in the same position as she was before but this time shaking.
Robin moved her hand and suddenly felt his face. It was pale as it was nearly white but was stained with blood so red it looked so pure. His clothes were torn and tattered by what appeared to be claw marks. She couldn’t make them out except that it was a shirt of foreign design and long black pants. There was more shredded cloth beside him, remnants of his jacket perhaps. He was probably the one Zai was attacking before meeting her. She knelt beside him and swept his long black hair from his forehead that was as cold as those who are dead.
“He is still breathing… but barely” she said to herself, her voice faltering slightly.
As she touched his wrist to feel for a pulse, she felt a shock; a pulsing sensation that caused her to shiver even though she knew not who he was (if he were human). She had heard stories from the servants that other then fairies, leprechauns and elves; there were people who lived among them in darkness and they were called the ‘Witchi’. In the old tongue it was loosely translated as ‘creatures of the night’. She was very sure that Zai was one of them as they were pale and thin and had a certain ethereal or demon like quality to them. They feed on blood and were stronger then any human. Though no human had ever live to recall an encounter with them and now she knew why. She paused for a moment, a frown etched on her face. Then she dragged him back, with much strength to the castle. She continued to drag him into the castle’s courtyard, slowly for she lack the strength and also from the fatigued of the ordeal before. He was oddly still asleep. She heaved him one last time up the stairs and finally into the room. The stars were still absently shinning in the sky through the open window as she lifted his body onto her bed. Relieved by the absence of weight, she slumped to the side of the bed, pools of sweat dripping down before falling asleep.
“Can you draw the curtains? Robin woke up with a jerk as she heard his voice; it was low and smooth but strained and tired sounding. She wobbled her head a bit as her eyes adjusted to the light before she nodded and proceeded to draw the curtains. Her Guest had woken up. As she was drawing the curtains, she heard a noise from the bed; it was the sound of cloth tearing. She turned her back and saw his face this time a little clearer from the night before but still cloudy as the room was dark. His facial structure was narrowly elongated, sharp and the eyes shifty, nearly slit like. He was handsome according to human standards, and his mouth was stern yet it had a sensuous quality. It was currently in a pout like scowl, and just like all creatures of the night, his skin was that of porcelain color and texture. She remembered touching his forehead the night before and feeling them to be just as cold. She wondered if his heart was as cold too. Robin felt herself being closely watched.
“Why did you save me?”
“I just couldn’t leave you there.”
She wondered. Were not all the ‘Witchi’ afraid of the sun? Why was he still in her room? She then noticed that the sheets were stained red, very stained with red.
“Are you injured?”
He didn’t answer her but she knew. She lifted the sheets and saw that his leg was grotesquely injured with scratch marks and his ankle was twisted and perhaps even broken. It was loosely wrapped by what appeared to be a torn part of his shirt.
“Your leg is injured.”
He just grunted. It seemed as if his pride was hurt by such a statement. She ran to the cabinets to get fresh bandages and some water to clean his wound. He never flinched or acknowledged any pain while she rubbed some medicinal salt onto the wound and he sat very still as she bandaged his leg. If he was grateful, it never showed on his face.
“I have to wait for sun down…”
He seemed to have answered her question without the need for her to ask it.
“I see. But does not the sun’s rays hurt you?”
He didn’t answer, and they just sat quietly in the room. She soon broke the silence
“Who are you?”
“I am Amon”
“And what are you?” her head cocked to one side as she observed him carefully.
“I think you all ready know the answer”
She paused. He wasn’t giving her any straight answers and instead twisted her words around. He appeared to be as crafty as his eyes make them out to be.
“You seem familiar somehow. Have we met?”
He had a faint smile on his face as he answered
Robin was very confused by his answer. If she had met him, indeed she would at least have remembered him for he was of course, not human; and one tends to remember things that are unfamiliar rather then familiar.
and she flinched; he knew her name even though she had never revealed it to him.
His voice suddenly had a strange soothing quality to it now. It was as if she had heard its tone many times before.
“You are in danger Robin. There are some who are after you though you may not know it. Many of them are in fact in the castle as we speak.”
“Why are they after me?”
“Because you are Maria’s hope. The necklace is proof”
Robin flinched again as she clutched her necklace, he knew her mother or at least her name.
“Why is that of any importance?”
And he paused briefly.
“Because Maria was a Witchi”
She was taken aback by his statement. Her mother was a Witchi? How was it that she met the King? Her head was filled with even more questions then answers.
“I don’t understand” she finally said
“Your mother was running away from them, the Witchi hunters. They are called the Stanj. She soon found the castle and she lived there, away from us.” His milieu had a slight trace of pain to them. Robin felt a cold shiver as she clamped her hand tightly on the chair. Amon looked at her but his eyes were filled with a strange sense of comfort.
“Are the Stanj after me?”
“Why? I am human.”
He corrected her “Half human”
“But still… I am no threat, I do not live among the Witchi. I don’t even know who they are”
And he chuckled a bit, “But see how easy it was for you to kill one.”
She shuddered as she remembered the events of the night before.
“Why do you tell me this?”
“Because I am your protector. It has been that way since you were born.”
And with that revelation certain events that happened in her life made sense to her. How she felt a presence, how she felt protected most of the time, and when she reflected; it was him all the time she saw. He was the one she had been seeking all this time. He was what drove her to be a Dream Seeker.
“You have a choice, Robin. To save yourself, you may join the Witchi in our fight against the Stanj or you may stay here away from us, away from the Stanj. But I warn you, I can protect you no longer”
“Why is that?”
“Because the war between Witchi and Stanj is about to begin.”
He paused for a moment, then his eyes narrowed and his voice became grave and serious.
“But if you follow me, you can never return to this life”
She paused for a moment trying to fathom the very idea of who her mother really was while Amon gazed out the window watching dusk settle upon them.
“The sun is down, I can remain here no longer for I have stayed over long”
“I am a Dream Seeker Amon, you off all should know that”
And he smiled.
The sun and her last rays were curving off into the horizon. It made Robin melancholic to observed them, slightly though as they signified a dying day and the twilight of a new existence.