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Old Aveyond Shorts (all stories completed) - NEW THREAD LINKED INSIDE

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So this is the third Oneshot in the Shuffle challenge. This one actually took longer then anticipated, as I actually started with a different main plot that completely ran away with me. I spent most of my writing time yesterday writing the other fanfic idea before realizing that it had totally gotten away from the message I had taken from the song. Lol so off I went, restarting and ending up with this:)

Link to alternate version: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12617322/1/The-Silent-Song  

This fanfic is also an AU fanfic, but this time a modern day one! I won't say anymore at risk of spoiling, but I stepped a little out of my comfort zone for portrayal of Mel so I hope you enjoy since this is a little bit of an experiment.

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Intention

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Thais, known as the shining capital of the Western Empire. It was the city of opportunity and offered work to people from far and wide. Main streets constantly filled with busy traffic as Thais became a round the clock destination.

Further off the beaten path was a series of side streets, fancy neighbourhoods with pretty trim and immaculate gardens. Which is why the figure in dark blue with a hood up tucked over their head in the misty sun was such an odd sight.

At first neighbours eyed the newcomer nervously, then just as quickly seems to recognize them as they spared smiles before returning to their activities. The figure suddenly turned right to jog up a path towards a stately blue house with white trim.

They strolled into the the house before reaching back to flip the hood back, revealing the face of the young woman framed by short black strands.

"I'm home!"

She shrugged off her hoodie and watched as a fat white cat jumped down from the arm of the couch to come thread through her legs, mouth opened in silent meowing. Mel laughed and scratched under the cat's chin, enjoying the feeling of the purr radiating through her fingers.

From the kitchen exited a violet haired young woman, drying her hands on a towel as she smiled brightly at Mel before raising her hands.

"Perfect timing, Edward was just about to send out a small search party. He was positive you had been gone for too long."

The signs were slow and halting, a few mistaken movements that had to be corrected but Mel understood all the same and rolled her eyes with a theatrical sigh.

"He's going to really hate it if I ever get a life that doesn't revolve around these four walls." Mel said with a snort, seeing Stella cover her mouth to muffle a giggle.

"I'm afraid you might be right. He talks about how much he wants you to be able to function again, his favourite baby cousin, but I don't think he'll be able to handle you having a life. Did I tell you, he's all panicked now that he learned that your tutor is suggesting a day trip to get you out of the city so you can test your adaptability in another environment?"

At Stella's statement Mel groaned, passing her cousins wife as she loped into the kitchen.

"Don't even talk about him, I have to deal with my tutor later as it is. I don't want to ruin a perfectly good conversation with discussion about him."

Stella came around to stand in front of Mel, shaking her head with a smile.

"I don't understand why you two fight so much and you act like you hate him. I've seen you interact outside of fighting and you act like good friends for the most part."

Mel grabbed a small chip bag out of the cupboard and took opened it to pop a chip in her mouth, leaning back against the counter comfortably as she shrugged.

"Not friends. We have an agreement, I won't kill him and he won't purposely pile more work on during our sessions." Mel quickly swallowed as her brows furrowed slightly. "Speaking of, I really don't think I need them anymore. My signing is flawless, I can drive just fine now and I've gotten accustom to all the other aspects of my new life for the most part."

Stella tilted her head.

"He says you still need more work so he stays until you don't."

"Joy." Mel muttered.

She saw Stella laugh and smiled wistfully. Her laugh had always been so light and happy, it made a person smile just hearing it.

She really wished that she could hear it herself.

A new person entered the kitchen and Mel looked up to shoot a smile at the brown haired male that grinned brightly at the two girls. He signed a greeting to Mel who gave a lazily salute as he passed her to ruffle her hair on his way to the fridge.

"I was getting worried, you were out for an hour."

"Terribly sorry about that, dad." She said teasingly, her cousin making a face of mock outrage before she saw him laugh and walk over to wrap his arms around Stella. The chocolate skinned woman leaned into her husband and Mel shook her head at their romantic and lovey behaviour although she couldn't help the fond smile that crossed her lips. She really loved her cousin, and Stella who was like a sister to her now.

On Mel's wrist her bracelet suddenly gave a flash of white to pull her out of her thoughts and Mel leaned forward to glare at the door, her bracelet going off in time to the doorbell thanks to the system that Edward had set up for her so that she could see when someone was at the door.

Stella and Edward left the kitchen to answer the door and Mel leaned back against the counter again, enjoying her chips as she ignored the presence of the new company. When a tall figure entered the room she pointedly ignored them. She wasn't able to do that for long however when several long fingers dipped into her chip bag and stole a chip.

"Hey!"

She swatted the hand that pulled back to quick for her to catch, the black haired male in front of her shooting her a wicked smirk and tossing the chip into his mouth.

"Gyendal! You freaking jerk!"

She saw him laugh at her comment, dark green eyes sparkling with mischief as he quickly sighed a reply.

"What a cheerful greeting Mel, it's nice to see you too."

Mel gave a roll of her eyes as she pushed off the counter to stand.

"What are we doing today oh obnoxious and irritating one?"

"We're going through University application paperwork, I brought a folder with all the extra paperwork you need to look through since you're going through their assisted education program for disabled students." Gyendal signed, Mel nodding and starting out to the main living area to the long hall that led to the back patio.

Mel pushed through the back patio door to situate herself on the mini couch, Gyendal taking a seat next to her and pulling a thick folder out of his bag. The next hour was spent going through booklets of information and paperwork for her entry into the program.

"See, this is useful help. Why can't you be this helpful all the time?"

He raised a brow.

"Why I'm always useful. I help you build your patience."

"Yeah, I have Edward for that so you aren't needed. He can't even say the word deaf without mentally preparing himself as if I'm going to shatter like a glass doll. I went deaf almost a year ago, and he still can't fully process it." Mel said with a sigh.

He shrugged at her dismissal of her comment, smirking slightly.

"Oh you need my help, you're positively hopeless when it comes to winning battles to do what you want without Edward hovering over you like a haunting spirit. You really need to get a spine, it's rather sad."

Mel narrowed her eyes at the male in front of her, severely aggravated by the fact that he was unfortunately telling the truth. But never one to back down from a challenge Mel resorted to the next best thing, obnoxious comebacks.

"Bite me."

Gyendal blinked, as if taken aback by her words before a slow grin crawled across his face. The black haired male suddenly leaned in, arm moving so that his hand curved over her shoulder furthest from him as he tilted his head in mock question.

"Is that an order Mel?"

Her eyes went wide as she read his statement and she reared back, her cheeks going bright red.

"WHA-what the hell?! No!"

She saw him laugh before pulling back and turning back to the paperwork as he signed his reply without looking up.

"Just checking. I'd hate to not be a help."

Mel spluttered, glaring at Gyendal who easily ignored her.

"You're such a creep."

He gave a lazily thumbs up before going right back into business mode, Mel left to catch up with the abrupt switch as she recovered from his comment.

Stupid jerk.

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The rest of the session went relatively well and that evening after Gyendal had finally left, she quickly finished having dinner and cleaning up the dishes afterwards with Edward and Stella before heading upstairs to go through the paperwork.

As the night progressed however, her work slowed until she was sitting staring blankly at the papers in front of her.

She put on a good mask, pretended everything was okay. But every minute closer to tomorrow had her nerves beginning to fray.

Tomorrow would mark exactly one year since her accident and her going deaf.

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Mel sat on the corner of the loveseat, flipping idly through a magazine as she cuddled with the household cat snowball. It was evening outside and although she had managed to hide away for most of the day to watch movies with the subtitles on but they had managed to drag her out for dinner and convince her to stick around. She was quite regretting that decision however as her already thin patience was slowly being worn down but Edward fussing over her.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Edward hovering around the edge of the couch. He was pretending to read as he watched her, but the upside down book in his hand was a very clear give away that he hadn't even taken even a word of that book in.

All her muscles were tense as he finally stood and approached Mel for the millionth time that day, reaching out to set his hand on her shoulder to catch her attention as he signed to her.

"How are you do-?!"

Mel instantly ripped her shoulder free, Snowball tumbling off her lap onto the couch as she shot to her feet to face Edward.

"Would you stop?! I'm not a child or some sort of invalid! I don't need your fussing, I don't want your concern, what I want is for you to back off!"

Edward pulled back, defensiveness in his expression.

"I'm just worried about you! You've been off all day!"

"And it's not going to help with you asking me the same question every half hour Edward! I'm fine!"

Stella came rushing down the stairs at the sound of the arguing and came quickly up to Edwards side, catching his arm worriedly as she stated between the cousins.

"You're not fine! You haven't been fine in a year Mel, you changed after your accident and going..." His signing faltered and Mel's tempter spiked.

"Deaf? Is that the word you were looking for?" Mel hissed, fists clenched. "It's not that hard to say Edward, D E A F."

"I-"

"You know what? I don't care. I'm going out."

She turned and stormed to the door, grabbing her coat and shoving her feet into her brown boots as she snatched a set of keys off one of the hooks and left the house with nothing more then a flash of her cellphone to Edward and Stella to show at she was still able to be contacted.

Then with a slamming of the door Mel peeled out of the driveway and out onto the road.

Her grip on the wheel was tight, eyes wet although she refused to let herself acknowledge it as tears. Her brain was on autopilot as she made her way to where she had been going since the accident that had deafened her as her way to connect to what she had lost. She just needed to get away, she couldn't handle this.

Mel followed the roads up through the city before suddenly pulling off through several side roads onto a gravel path that led outside the city. She drove all the way out to a bluff where she parked her car looking out over the city below. Hands trembling slightly she reached into her glove compartment and withdrew a CD, one of her favourites from before the accident.

She put the cd in, turning volume and base up as close to max as she dared before climbing out of her car and hopping up on the hood. Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes and she allowed her head to droop forward as the base vibrated through her body.

This is what she was reduced to, trapped in her world of silence as she struggled to fight her way back to the word she could never fully be part of again. Didn't ever know what everyone was saying but knew they were talking so loud. It felt like every day she was drowning alone, no one to anchor her as the bitterness swept her out.

All of this because she had been late for work. Running across the intersection just as someone ran a red light, she had ever seen it coming and when it was all over the driver had walked away unscathed while she had been left in a two week coma. When she woke up she had lost a part of her world, lost in the silence.

She had expected to be able to sit out here as long as she wanted without disturbance when she felt a different sort of rumbling in the ground. Blinking she turned to face the road, watching as a black sports car carefully pulled onto the side of the bluff, Mel letting out a growl as she realized who was coming to invade her peace.

"Gyendal! What the hell do you want?!" She shouted angrily as she watched him get out of his car.

Much to her frustration he ignored her words, hands shoved deep into his leather coats pockets as he strolled over and stopped in front of her.

"Next time call someone when you want to take off like that." He said, slow enough that she could read his words.

"What are you doing here?" Mel bit out.

"You do foolish thungs when you're angry, I figure that if your cousins aren't around to handle it someone else might as well make sure nothing you do is damaging." He signed, having pulled his hands out of his pockets for easier conversation.

"I don't need a babysitter." She sneered, fists clenched in her lap.

"Well then it's a good thing I'm not here to be one isn't it?" Gyendal signed back, Mel looking away with a hiss.

"Just leave, I don't want to deal with you."

"I'm not going anywhere Mel, not when you're like this."

Mel snarled through her teeth, eyes blazing.

"Goddess, what is wrong with you people! I'm not going to shatter the moment someone gets out of my face about this for five flipping minutes, I'm so sick of being babied and treated like an invalid just because I'm deaf! I don't need a pity friend so get out of my face and leave me alone!"

Mel moved to shove off her car hood, but to hands slammed down on the car on either side of her, her eyes widening in shock as Gyendal loomed over her. She slowly leaned back as the black haired male in front of her leaned into her space.

"I want to make something crystal clear to you Mel, I never was and I never will be a 'pity friend'." Each word was clearly enunciated and Mel could easily read what he was saying perfectly. "That was never my intention behind any of this, you of all people should know that I don't waste my time like that."

Mel was riding on her anger, to keep herself from hitting the emotional crashpoint and so she threw a challenge at the feet of the man before her without thought, pain bubbling up inside her with the desire to lash out.

"Really? Because I happen to remember reading Edward's lips in the reflection of the window when he pulled you aside and asked you to "be a friend" since I was 'all alone' and he was worried about me." Mel spat. "You aren't doing this for pity? Prove it."

In hindsight her words were rather stupid. Gyendal wasn't a personality that played pretty word games, he knew what he wanted and he went for it.

Gyendal's eyes narrowed dangerously, and he tilted his head slightly as he slowly replied.

"You, really need to learn how to shut up."

Mel never got the chance to react as he took advantage of her concentration reading his words and pressed his lips to hers.

Frozen in shock, she never reacted as he moved his lips across hers. After a moment of her lack of reaction he slowed, then began to shift back from her. That was all it took to snap Mel out of her frozen state as she surged forward after him and kissed him.

It was exhilarating, the sudden clarity to the chaos that had filled her mind as she grabbed onto his arms that caged her in on either side.

Finally they slowed and stopped, both catching their breath as Mel leaned forward to rest her forehead against his shoulder. After a minute he reached up, pulling her back so that she could see his hands as he signed.

"This was never pity, and if that didn't prove it I don't know what will."

Mel's hands gravitated to grip the open ends of his coat, pulling him closer as she allowed a hint of a smile.

"Not to worry, I think that quite perfectly cleared up your intentions."

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This particular story is actually cannon compliant in a way. There is only one tiny change that's made to the very end of TDP so none of the existing previous game storylines are altered in any way. This will have a darker spin on it due to the song, but I promise a happy(?) ending...mostly XD

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Dark Paradise 

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It is said that when two people are meant to be together, it does not matter how much separates them whether it be time or walking apposing paths into their future. Even death cannot stop fate when two hearts are meant to be...

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As the Staff of Destiny floated across the room to the strangers hand Mel found herself scrambling back as the man flipped back his hood and smiled cruelly at Mel.

"Thank you child, you have no idea how long I have waited for this moment. So close to having you, then Gyendal failed me and I was left in limbo once again." The old man explained, glaring back at Gyendal who had just been pulled up from the prison below by several of the strongest darklings.

"W-who are you?!" She shouted, thrusting out her hand to summon the staff back.

The old man only laughed, the malevolent sound making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.

"I am the reason for your namesake, and you are the catalyst I have been waiting for. I am Mordred Darkthrop!"

"That's impossible!" Edward shouted from behind her, Mel stumbling back into Yemite behind her.

"Y-you died!" She gasped out, staring in horror at the old man.

"Oh that's what they wanted to believe, but I survived. I had been learning dark arts more powerful then any current Mage could ever understand, preparing a way out in case something went wrong. As that part of my tower fell I opened a portal to the demon realm to fall through, and that day only one person died." Then Mordred scowled slightly. "I tried to open the portal from the other side, but I was not the chosen one to fulfill the prophecy. So I waited, and I watched. Then you came, the prophecied child who would raise the dark empire..."

He lapsed into silence then, studying Mel before raising his head and the staff.

"You did exactly what I needed, the initial fulfillment of the prophecy. But I have escaped and only one of us can hold this throne. I'm afraid you have just outlived your usefulness child, and it is now time for you to say goodbye."

Mel let out a cry of terror as he raised the staff, her friends all shouting out in horror and chains rattling as Gyendal strained against the darklings with wide eyes.

"No! That wasn't part of the agreement! What are you doing?!"

Mordred sneered, shooting a look of disgust at Gyendal.

"Your time with her as a human has made you weak, and you'll receive your own payment for that in due time." Then he turned to Mel who threw up the strongest magic shield she knew, only to watch helpless as with a meme swipe of Mordred's hand he tore it down. "Goodnight child."

Mel let out a piercing scream, throwing up her arms in useless defence as a blinding flash of light filled the room and the collapsing of a body to the ground.

The first reign was over, the Darkthrop Heir was dead.

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With a strangled gasp a young woman bolted upright, blinking in the early morning light that filtered into her small room.

"Melina! Are you awake?"

The young woman rubbed her forehead tiredly, swinging her feet over the side of the creaking bed as she stood and exited her room into the main house with a yawn.

"I'm up Deron."

A burly man who stood at the oven stirring something looked over at the young woman with a nod as she sat down at the table.

"Took you long enough to wake up, we have to talk about something."

"Yeah, but we've talked about this." She sighed, tucking a strand of her black bob behind her ear. "I prefer being called Mel."

Deron dished breakfast into a bowl before setting it in front of her as he slid into the seat across from her.

"I know, it's just hard to get used to that. You only decided that two years ago, that was Thirteen years that I was used to calling you Melina. I still don't understand what prompted the change."

Mel shrugged as she shovelled a mouthful of food into her mouth.

"I don't know. It just felt right, Melina has always felt uncomfortable as it is. I just like it better."

Deron gave a resigned shrug.

"If you say so."

"I do. Is there any interesting jobs you'll be working on today?"

Deron got a calculating look in his eye as he leaned back and Mel perked up in interest. Her "adoptive father" had a most interesting job and Mel never ceased to enjoy learning and even helping him on his missions. After all, the job of a mercenary was never boring.

"Actually, that is what I want to discuss with you." Deron said, leaning forward over e table. "I have several small jobs I'm going to be taking care of, and in a few days I'll be heading to Sedona to handle a small...situation. I'm willing to take you with me as I usually do, however if you're open I just might have a more lucrative offer then petty theft and tagging along with me."

Mel grinned, setting aside her food in favour of hearing this offer. She enjoyed going along with Deron on his missions, but she had long since gained all the training she needed in order to do her own jobs.

"That lucrative offer sounds a heck of a lot more interesting then simply tagging along with you. What is it?"

"There is a client from the Northern Isle who specifically sought me out for a mission. He said that he knew I employed only the best and he wanted the job done, the collection of a rare metal for a weaponry project he's invested in. It's a dangerous mission, but he's offered ten thousand gold coin in return for the retrieval of that metal. I of course get ten percent of the payment but the rest goes to you. I've been training you since I inherited you after your father died on one of his missions for me when you were six, and you're nineteen now. I think you're ready. Are you interested?"

Mel's face was filled with glee at the idea of taking her own job.

"Ten thousand coin?! Done! What's the metal and where am I going?"

At her question Deron hesitated, as if he wasn't quite as happy about he answer to that question.

"The metal he's looking to have is called Epanenotheí, it's an extremely rare metal that can only be found underground where sand and magically infused water sit stagnant. As for where it's found...this metal is only ever found in the Ashera Tombs."

Mel's jaw dropped and she shoved to her feet, chair screeching back behind her.

"Ashera Tombs?! Are you insane! They lead right into Underfall, you know that place has been cursed since it was abandoned 150 years ago after the defeat of the Darkthrop Prophecy! Everyone knows about that after King Edward the Brave defeated the returned sorcerer Mordred and destroyed the prophecy the place was tainted by the deaths of two Darkthrop mages and the Disciples of Darkness. There are tons of books about it, Underfall has been abandoned ever since and anyone who's ever ventured in has never returned!"

Deron stood, holding up his hands in a placating manner.

"Mel, people have returned! You just need to have your wits about you, enough that you trust your senses but act using your smarts rather then superstition or fear. Yeah, it's been abandoned for a while but Acropolis is still a buzzing community and they also are the opening to the dwarf mines that lead up into the Northern Isle. I visit both places for trades sometimes."

"Deron, that's totally different! Those tombs are dangerous enough as it is, but you know that there isn't any metal left there. It would have been long since cleared out, which means that I'm going to have to go through to the tunnels on the other side! That means going through Underfall!" Mel snapped angrily. "Are you seriously telling me to go in there?!"

"You don't have to go in there if you don't want!" Deron said in exasperation. "Look, usually I would never offer a job like this to you but there have been some changes. I got an offer to work with an underground thief ring in Sedona. It's organized crime, I'm not going to be tied down here in Shoal Leiu anymore. You've been wanting to get enough Money that you are able to travel away from here, find somewhere you can create business or just roam. You could even join the thief guild if you really wanted I'm sure. But for everything you want to do, you need money. You need to be self sustaining, I'm moving on and I won't be supporting you anymore."

Mel gritted her teeth in frustration, knowing he was right.

"Alright, fine! I'll take the stupid job! When do you leave?"

"Tomorrow."

She nodded, glancing down at her food before turning away. She wasn't hungry anymore.

"Alright. I'll gather resources and prepare today, then tomorrow I leave.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel stepped up to the entrance of the tombs, glancing around her at the granite mountains edgily. She really did not want to go in there, but she didn't exactly have a choice. She needed the money.

Taking a deep breath she shook off the nerves and stepped inside, the sandy smell of the tombs setting her teeth on edge as she jogged along the sandy and dry ground. However, it wasn't long until she had reached the end of the dry ground and with a grimace Mel slipped into the water.

"Oh man that seriously tingles, how can anyone even remotely enjoy going anywhere near these stupid tombs." Mel hissed, moving through the water as quickly as possible.

There was a snapping behind her, Mel turning to look over her shoulder before cursing and throwing herself forward to swim rapidly towards the other stairs.

"Massive crabs?! You have got to be kidding me!"

She leapt up onto the next stair platform over, just narrowly missing the crabs snapping claw before quickly rushing along the sandstone walkway before they could get up the side. The paths through the tombs were deeply worn, and Mel could see areas inside the water that were dug up. Her stomach clenched at what that meant for her.

It was guaranteed she would not be able to find the metal she needed in these tombs. She didn't have a choice now, she had to go to the other area of the tombs. That meant that her next destination, was the forest area of Underfall.

Mel worked her way through the tombs before finding herself facing the slope down to the exit. She could feel the cold breeze flitting by the entrance, the dry scratching of movement in the dead forest.

It took every ounce of courage for her as she stepped out of the tombs, and into Underfall.

Part of Mel expected an explosion, someone trespassing into cursed territory. Yet there was nothing, no sudden silence or angry threats. Nothing. Her heart was nearly beating out of her chest as she carefully ventured into the misted island. She could see creatures moving in the shadows, dry rasping against the ground like brittle autumn leaves. A crack to her left made Mel jump and she spun sharply to face the source of the noise.

It was a monster, some sort of ogre that made her knees weak and her palms clammy. It was followed by a spirit and several skeletal monsters and slowly, as if they had all the time in the world, they began to advance on her.

"Oh goddess." She muttered, taking a half step back before whirling and sprinting away.

She had no idea where she was going, just that she needed to get away before the monsters made her lunch. She skidded around corners and through paths, running until she stumbled over a rock and went tumbling into a clearing. She landed hard on her hands and knees, right in front of her face a slab of sandstone that had seemingly come out of nowhere. Instantly she scrambled to her feet, her situation near forgotten as she slowly raised her head to look up above the sandstone slab. It was a staircase, one that led up to a floating island like nothing Mel had seen before in her life. Completely empty, she could practically feel how lifeless everything was.

"Underfall."

Mel's discovery was quickly interrupted as behind her there was a groan, and she looked back to see that the monsters were beginning to emerge into the clearing. She cursed under her breath, that fall and seeing Underfall had stripped her of her headstart, there was no way she would make it if she went out further into the forest.

She didn't have much of a choice and so with a whispered prayer to the goddess Mel turned back to the city and raced up the stairs. Then with one step forward, the young woman entered the cursed city.

If Mel hadn't fully believed in the curse before, she certainly did now. Out in the forest a cold wind blew, there were alive things that moved.

Inside the city there was nothing.

Everything was utterly still. There was no breeze, no movement of animals or monsters. None of the buildings were deteriorated, there was no dust lining the streets. As Mel carefully walked through and took in the houses with open windows and market areas with small vendors stalls set up it looked like the entire city had been put on pause. It was not ruins, it was simply empty.

Her steps were silent as she walked through the city, as if the very air was absorbing the noise.

She had never seen anything to do with the fabled city she was in now before in her life, no maps or old artifacts, yet somehow her legs carried her through the winding streets towards the side with the familiarity of someone who had walked the streets before.

Finally Mel reached a dead end, standing in the gateway facing a massive cathedral. She stared at it a moment, then approached before resting her hand against the solid door and pushing inwards. Much to her surprise the door swung in without a sound, light filtering in from the door.

"Wow..." She whispered, gazing around the room in awe.

She took in all the detailed sculptures, the stained glass and the architectural work in the ceiling. Every moment spent inside the cathedral was making something in her chest feel strange, the back of her mind grasping for something not there. It was strange, yet fascinating and Mel stepped further in, absently reached behind her to close the door. It slammed shut with a resounding bang, the sound echoing through the cathedral.

"SOMEONE! IS SOMEONE THERE?!"

Mel let out a strangled shriek as a desperate voice called out, spinning wildly as she tried to place where it was coming from.

"HELP ME!"

She never even paused a moment before bolting towards the door. Just her luck that she picked the place with the ghost. Her footsteps slapped against the stone and she heard another call.

"NO! STOP! I GOT TRAPPED IN THE PRISONS AND I CAN'T GET OUT!"

The call brought Mel up short, her mind instantly flitting to the many adventurers or treasure seekers that had stopped in their village over the years on their way to Underfall. Could one of them...? Mel gave her head a sudden and brisk shake, she wasn't going to fall for the trick of a monster.

"PLEASE!"

The panic and near desperation...

With a curse Mel spun and rushed back partway into the room.

"Where are you!"

"The prison! On your right when facing the griffin arch!"

"This is stupid, I'm gonna die." She muttered to herself as she took the stairs two at a time down into the darkly lit rooms below. "Where in the room!" She called forward, glancing apprehensively at the dimly flickering torches that were somehow still burning on the walls.

"At the back!" The voice called, now that Mel was closer she could tell it was low and male.

When she finally reached the very end of the prison she could see a finger shrouded in darkness gripping the bars of the only closed cell in the room.

"How did you get trapped in here?!"

"It was a-...no..."

The mystery man's confident tone faltered as Mel skidded to a stop in front of the cell, firelight reflecting off of her face as she squinted to see who she was dealing with.

The person stumbled back, falling against the wall as the dim outline of their face fixated on her.

"That's impossible. You-you di-"

"What on earth is your problem?! Do you want out or not?! Because I don't know what the hell I'm doing and I have a job to get done because I really do not want to die in the cursed city! It's bad enough I had to come here at all!"

She could hear their breathing as they straightened, appearing shaken.

"The keys. On the far wall, they're held down with magic so that only a physical being can lift them. The bars of the prison are reenforced with magic, no creature can break out of them or into them which left me rather trapped." They said, voice strained.

This was by far the weirdest day she had ever had was the thought racing through Mel's head as she hurried back to the wall against the staircase to grab the heavy ring of keys. It flickered slightly as Mel grabbed it, a snap sounding through the air before she reached the prison cell. Once there she forced all the thoughts that she was quite possibly letting a monster out that could eat her for all she knew to the back of her mind and fought the key inside the lock to turn. There was a sudden click, and Mel wrenched open the gate just as the mystery stranger lunged out.

"Thank the goddess, finally..." He murmured, the odd vibration in his tone making her vision flicker just barely and in so quick an instant that Mel was sure she had just imagined it all of the prison melted away to reveal a balcony overlooking a city covered in night and a glowing orb before her.

Instantly everything returned to normal, Mel staring wide eyed at the prison before shivering slightly. She skirted around the stranger, quickly making her way up the stairs out of the prison with the mystery man close behind. As soon as they reached the upper level Mel turned and backed away, hand on her dagger defensively.

"Now, who are you?!" She snapped, voice tense.

The man who was still hidden in the shadows was silent, before suddenly letting out a low chuckle.

"That's the first question she asked when she saw me, how amusing." He murmured, tone quiet enough that Mel realized she most likely was never meant to hear that. "To answer your question, I have been known by many titles but..."

He stepped forward into the light then, Mel giving a sharp intake of breath as she took in the hauntingly familiar features of the black haired man in front of her. A hint of a smirk, intense green eyes.

"My name is Gyendal."

His name felt as though it had struck a cord deep inside and without her realization a hand came up to press against her chest. Almost immediately the name Spook floated through her mind, a confusing mixture of attraction and betrayal hitting her and Mel gritted her teeth, giving a slight shake of her head as of to dispel the thoughts and unplaced emotions.

"So what is a young woman like you doing venturing into a city such as this?"

The smooth voice broke Mel out of her revere and her head shot up to meet the males gaze.

"I, uh, am here to retrieve an object of interest." Mel stuttered, trying to catch up with the question.

He raised a brow.

"A thief here also...?"

"What?"

The stranger, Gyendal, gave a brisk shake of his head.

"It matters not. What is this object you seek and where are you looking? Underfall is a deadly place, especially for a lone traveller. Nothing should be so important as to cross the threshold into the forest."

Mel eyed the male warily, considering her options. There was a part of her that screamed not to trust this eery man, yet even as that thought crossed her mind something stronger was drawn to him.

"I'm looking for a rare metal in the tombs. The other ones leading here have already been cleaned out, I need to go through the other ones. I need the money from selling the metal so I can get out of my small town and find a place I can support myself." She answered sharply. "What about you? What are you doing here and how are you going to get back when you can't even get through a city without locking yourself in a prison cell?"

The man's eyes narrowed and Mel twitched, Gyendal smirking at her reaction.

"How I got in there is of no consequence to you. How I'm going to get out? Well what kind of person would I be if I let my saviour get herself killed on her little mission? It's only right that I stay with you as a extra fighter, someone to have your back while you search for metal in the tombs. Who knows what could happen to you if you're left alone."

Mel gaped at him, shaking her head.

"You're not coming with me! This is a job for someone who actua-WOAH!"

Mel's shout was delayed as before she could even blink a silver dagger flashed bast her eye and imbedded itself in a wooden post in the wall directly behind her. A few stray black hairs that had been sliced free floated down as Gyendal strolled past her to pluck the dagger from the wall and hide it away in the red cloak he wore.

"You were saying?"

Mel blinked slowly, staring at him wide eyed before recovering.

"Nice to have you as part of the team, let's go get ourselves killed."

He laughed at that and Mel's eyes went wide as a chill went up her spine, the sensation baffling her and infuriating her on equal measures. She shoved her way out of the cathedral, pushing aside her unease as she and her odd companion moved quickly through the streets. Mel hesitated right in front of the exit into the forest, causing the male behind her to bump into her back.

"Would you give warning?!" He snapped, stepping up around her.

"Terribly sorry about taking the time to actually figure out where the hell I'm going to find these other tombs so we don't needlessly get ourselves killed in them." She snarked, shooting him a black look. "I'm relying on news from the two adventures that have actually returned alive and on book records. There are no maps to figure this out from!"

Gyendal snorted.

"I shall lead then. I know exactly where you need to go from here."

Mel did a double take as he strode purposefully down the stairs, leaving her to gather her wits and quickly follow before the darkness of the forest could swallow him from sight.

"How do you know the way around Underfall?! No adventurer in their right mind would ever come down here in the first place, muchless stay and explore enough to know the location of tombs and explore prisons!"

"Whoever said that I was in my right mind?"

The question made Mel falter, the young woman shooting her unwanted companion a look of unease.

"Uh, actually I'd really like to just believe that you're at least partially in your right mind since I don't seem to have much choice then to accept you as a tag along." Mel muttered under her breath.

Her companion let out a dark laugh and Mel flinched as he turned to look back of his shoulder at her, a startled gasp escaping her as his form flickered to that of a deathly white Gyendal with fangs and red eyes before returning to normal instantly.

"Oh trust me darling, if I have any sanity left it will be only by a miracle of the goddess."

"Wh-why the hell would you say that when I'm about to enter abandoned tombs with you?!" Mel shouted, Gyendal only shooting her a look with hidden meaning before pointing ahead of him at an entrance into a mountain.

"The Ashera Tombs."

Mel muttered a few choice words under her breath as they stepped inside the tombs, a hint of breeze from deep inside the tombs stirring the sandy air. Mel led the way down through the entry tunnels and down into the water, shivering as it lapped at her legs the deeper they went.

"The water levels have risen since I last came in here." She heard Gyendal mutter behind her, and she glanced over at her strange companion.

"How long exactly were you stuck in the prison for before I found you?" She enquired idly.

"Long enough."

His tone was cold and Mel took the hint, dropping the topic with a roll of her eyes. What a arrogant jerk this guy was, why did she have to be stuck with him?!

They tested several areas closer to the entrance in hopes of finding loose areas in the floor which would indicate metal but with no luck. So deeper they went, every so often Gyendal making a sarcastic comment about the water, or the tombs, or the mission being foolish...or how fast Mel was walking...

"Goddess would you just shut up! You were the one that chose to come along! I never held a knife to your neck and forced you, so stop making comment!" Mel finally shouted, spinning and stabbing her finger at his chest.

He watched her impassively and she poked him hard, glaring fiercely up at him expectantly. He tilted his head slightly to meet her narrow eyed gaze, before the sudden sensation of fingers dragging themselves up her arm towards her hand ever so lightly made Mel nearly jump out of her skin.

"The hell?!" Instantly she ripped her hand back and scuttled away, near bolting in the direction they had been going to get away from the male.

She could still feel where he had touched her arm, it felt like every nerve ending was overloaded and for the life of her Mel could not fathom why she would have such a reaction to a perfect stranger. Everything about this whole situation was wrong, the familiarity and the freaky weird way Gyendal acted and spoke. So why was she still doing this?

"DUCK!"

A hand slammed into her back, sending Mel flying forward as the sound of a blade meeting flesh came from behind. Somehow she caught herself, turning with dagger at the ready only to gape at the now dead carcass of a massive fanged fish floating right where she had been standing minutes earlier. Slimy blood dripped off of Gyendal's dagger and he gave a hiss of disgust as he swirled his blade in the water to get the blood off.

"What is that thing?!"

"It's a pitharate. They're venomous, one bite and you're as good as dead within the hour."

Mel gulped, taking a generous step back from the carcass as Gyendal moved around it to catch up with her.

"Uh, thanks for that. I'd rather not be dead before my Twentieth birthday."

At her comment Gyendal flinched hard, the sudden flash of darkness in his eyes making her recoil.

"Well it's only right that I'm the one to prevent it this time, I suppose I owe you after..." He trailed off before wading past her, lost in thought.

She stared after him, incredulous. This guy was crazier then a loon!

They moved further back into the tombs before Mel gave a sudden exclamation, having noticed an area of loose sand that glinted in the water. Grinning she took a deep breath and submerged herself, swimming to the bottom and pulling a small trowel out of her small leather pack. Carefully she dug, hoping against hope that there would be metal to be found. Then her shovel hit hard metal and with a grin and several trips to the surface for air, Mel managing to amass quite the pile of metal in her bag.

"Done. Let's get out of here."

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Once they had gotten out of the tombs, giving wide berth to the dead fish, they dragged themselves through the forest with small stumbling steps and heavy sighs. As they walked Mel began to notice the strangest sight far off over the forest.

"Is that...mist? It looks black and a whole lot thicker then what's already on the ground." Mel pointed out, Gyendal turning to look before letting out a string of curses.

"We need to get to Underfall, we'll never make it to the other tombs before it's rolled out over the forest and over us. We get caught in that and we're dead, it serves as the cover for the monsters that even the worst of Aia fears. Come on!"

They began to run, dodging monsters and racing for the sandstone stairs. Mel nearly fell with how fast she rushed up the stairs and through the magic film, shuddering at the sensation of the magic passing through her.

"So you're sure it won't come in the city?" She asked nervously, turning to watch the most extending over the forest."

"The entire city is protected by magic, it always has been. It keeps out the mindless monsters from the forest, and protects against things such as the mist." Her companion said snapishly, seeming edgy and displeased as he looked around the entryway to the city.

Mel nodded, watching the forest a minute longer before shrugging and starting towards the city.

"Well we have nothing better to do while we wait, let's go exploring."

"I thought you hated being around Underfall because it's cursed." Gyendal snapped, reaching her side with a few long strides.

"I do, doesn't mean that I'm not going to take the chance to poke around and look. We're trapped here either way." Mel pointed out with a shrug, ignoring his muttered comment as she picked up her speed to reach the centre of the city.

As they crossed over into the town centre, Mel perked up in mild interest as she took note of the huge statue in the centre of the city square. She glanced back to see if her companion was following but found him standing at the entrance to the square gazing up at the statue with such a look of rage and pain that she was forced to look away.

Carefully she approached, studying the black marble statue of a young woman garbed in a billowing dress with a hand outstretched. In the palm of the statues hand was a actual flame. When Mel's gaze moved up to the face she couldn't help the startled breath, eyes wide as she stared at what could have been a mirror.

It was her. She didn't know how it was possible, but looking at that statue was exactly like looking into her own face. The only difference was the statues expression, a dark smile as it gazed out in front. She shivered, the likeliness was uncanny.

"This place gives me the creeps." She muttered under her breath, tearing her gaze away from the statue to study the plaque below.

The writing was looped script and Mel carefully lowered herself down in front of it to better read what was engraved into it.

"The bringer of darkness and queen of Aia, felled by betrayal but her legacy shall transcend through all of history never to be forgotten. All hail the prophecy child M-..." Her jaw dropped as she read the name inscribed. "Mel Darkthrop?!"

This was a monument to the fabled Darkthrop heir. She had never read one of the more in depth history books written by King Edward the Brave and his wife Queen Stella so she had never learned the name of the girl thatad fulfilled the prophecy, but something rang so deeply inside her at that name that Mel whispered it again softly. Her eyes were fixated on the plaque, her breathing uneven as she reread the writing over and over.

"What are you doing?!" The sudden demand never even made Mel jump as she slowly raised a shaking hand to hover over the name.

"Don't touch that-!"

But it was too late, Mel pressed her hand down and flattened her fingers against the name of the Darkthrop girl.

It was as if her touch had released something from deep inside the earth as the ground around them gave a slight tremor, the blood draining out of her face as a ghostly grey form was near flung out of the statue. Mel stared above her, frozen as the mist form exactly like the statue it had just separated from seemed to stare back.

Behind her there was a shout as the form pulled back slightly before diving down at Mel, making impact before melting right into her. A sudden pain ripped at her chest and her hand flew up to clutch her shirt, such intense emotional pain taking over her mind nearly forcing her forward with the sheer weight. A faded scene played thought her mind, the dream she had been having for years of a sudden death with indistinct and faded forms all around as she was struck with magic and killed.

"It was never supposed to end like this!"

The words flew from her lips without her permission, words broken and desperate.

A hand grabbed onto the back of her shirt and Mel was ripped backwards, hand pulled away from the plaque as she was pulled several feet back away from the statue.

"What the hell were you thinking?! You stupid, stupid girl!" Gyendal snarled at her, leaning slightly over her only to be pushed away as Mel shook her head violently.

"I don't understand this, it's been happening for years but I come here and it just won't stop. Flashes of things I've never seen and I think I've imagined it but I can't have! It doesn't make sense, nothing adds up and then this stupid Dream just comes and comes and it's like it's trying to make me remember but I've ever lived this! I don't understand!"

Her body trembled as her mind grasped at nothing, Mel looking up to see Gyendal staring at her with heat, pain and bitterness in his eyes.

"You want to understand?" He hissed, leaning in. "You want memories?! Fine."

His hand whipped out, grabbing onto her jaw and tilting her head up as he crashed his mouth into hers.

There was nothing gentle about his kiss and Mel's eyes nearly tripled in size, the young woman letting out a shocked gasp which the older male took advantage of to deepen the kiss. He was a stranger, what the hell was he doing?!

Mel moved to yank herself away when he suddenly released her, and every single last cohesive thought was torn away the moment his lips left hers.

It was like a maelstrom of chaos, emotions so powerful and foreign battering her mind relentlessly. Snapshots of laughter and smiles from people she somehow knew, a chocolate skinned woman who radiated kindness and a hazel eyed man with a boyish smile and excitement in every movement. A vampiress that anchored everyone with her reluctant husband at her side. Places she had never been and sites she had never scene in a race against time that she had never lived. And a man, taking different forms that all led back to the individual that she had just travelled through the tombs with that brought a mess of hatred, confusion, betrayal and overwhelming attraction.

A piecing scream ripped through the air as Mel's back arched in agony, her hands knotting in her hair as strong arms wrapped around her shoulders and her waist to support her.

"Stop! Stop!" She sobbed out, memories strengthening and forcing themselves into her mind like a million daggers as she relived her life past right up until her death.

Then it was over.

Mel collapsed sideways into someone's chest, tears streaming silently down her cheeks as she gasped for air.

She had failed. Even after all those quests and spending those years running for her life away from Gyendal and the prophecy she had fulfilled it before meeting her end at the hands of Mordred Darkthrop.

Mel had lost everything.

"...y-you brought me back."

Shaking, Mel jerked away from Gyendal before shoving herself to her feet as the dark Mage quickly stood to face her.

"HOW COULD YOU BRING ME BACK!"

Her shrill scream bounced off the houses around them as she lunged for Gyendal, slamming her fists against his chest as he gave an audible grunt and staggered back.

"I've lost everything! Everyone I cared about and fought to protect is dead! There's nothing left for me and you brought me back anyway! How could you!" Mel's face was filled with torment, hands grabbing onto Gyendal's clothes to shake him. "I could have lived a life free from all of that knowledge but you brought me back and now I have to suffer more! Why would you do that to me!"

He laughed, the sound mirthless and filled with fury.

"You suffered?! At least you got to die! I never meant for that to happen, you were never supposed to be killed! All that time, I thought that once he had returned I would be able to get you away and we could settle our own issues separate the same way we had before but instead I was held back in chains unable to do anything as he struck you down! Your friends destroyed him, but at the end of all that they never killed me like they should have, they threw me into prison while Mordred's curse that froze Underfall in time spread over the entire city. I was abandoned there when the darklings realized what had happened, when they realized that what I had been telling them all along was true."

He grabbed onto her shoulders with a bruising grip, insanity in his eyes.

"One hundred and fifty years Mel. I was trapped in that place for one hundred and fifty years of hell. My age frozen, my need to eat an drink frozen so I couldn't just die. My magic blocked by the darklings enchantments over the prison, leaving me with no way out. You died and lived again while I was alone, slowly losing any hope and sanity I had left as my only companions were memories of what had taken place. Don't you dare talk about suffering until you have lived thought that!"

Mel strained against his grip, searching for answers in his face she knew he didn't have.

"I don't understand. Why did this happen, why did you get forgotten and why was I reborn. How is it possible that out of all the places I could have been and lives I could have led I ended up coming right back to you."

At her pained question his grip on her shoulders relaxed, no longer squeezing and now just resting on her shoulders.

"You do not know the reason for reincarnation? Did they not teach you of it at Shadwood?" He asked, tone calmer.

"No."

He sighed, fingers flexing slightly.

"When two people are meant to be together, when they meet and the fates weave a connection between them in the tapestry of life there is nothing in the realms that can undo that. If they do not come together in that life, they will be reborn until they do. It does not matter how many times it takes, they are doomed to repeat until they fulfill the weave in the tapestry. Fate will bring them together every time, no matter how impossible the odds."

Mel stared at him with wide eyes as she processed his words.

"You mean..."

"I remained here while you were reborn because fate still had to bring us together. This happened because Aia screwed us over worse then we ever could have realized. You have no idea how many times I wished I was dead, dead like you. Your soul was haunting me, every time I closed my eyes I could see you in my sleep and I never could understand why until you showed up outside my prison cell."

Mel closed her eyes, stumbling forward slightly into him for support as her muscles threatened to give out from under her.

"Those moments of silence and sleep are like a dark paradise, escape from everything unless that was a night when the dreams would come." He said bitterly, arms coming around to encircle her tightly despite his words.

"I want that back. That not knowing." Mel whispered, clinging onto Gyendal as she struggled to surface from the drowning emotions inside.

"You'll never have it back again. You and I are trapped here on Aia, together until we die."

Mel drew back slightly, staring up at him with haunted eyes.

"What are we supposed to do?"

He let out a long sigh, meeting her gaze steadily.

"I have no answer to that. We'll need to leave, piece together what we know which changes that have taken place and plan our next step. Perhaps find my sister and her brother, they were vampires when they left so they will still be alive."

His soft murmur served as a comfort in a way, she knew that sound. It was familiar in a time she didn't belong in. Seeing the conflict in Mel's face Gyendal's expression softened ever so slightly and he tilted his head down to kiss her a second time that day, Mel responding to him.

This time it was gentle, as if to both lend some form of comfort as well as seek it himself.

When he pulled back both of them relaxed slightly, Mel closing her eyes slightly as she leaned against her once enemy.

"There's no release from this, we have to live this life through." She said quietly. "We have to make the best of this, so we can die together and never have to come back."

"We'll make it through this." Gyendal said, tone leaving no room for argument. "We're too strong to give up now."

Mel choked out a laugh before pulling away, turning to face her statue that stood solid in the centre of the statue. The fire in the statues hand was gone and Mel carefully raised her own, holding her breath for fear of the result before letting it out in relief as a magic flame flickered to life in front of her.

"You know, in one hundred and fifty years a great deal of Aia has probably changed. That was my plan for the money from this, why change that now?"

She glanced over at Gyendal who shot her a slight smile.

"When this mist goes away I see no reason not to travel. Perhaps we'll stop in to inform my sister and her husband of the events that have taken place before continuing out to travel Aia."

Mel let out a long breath, looking out over the city. Seeing it abandoned like this brought an ache to her chest, it never should have been like this.

As if sensing her thoughts a hand slid around hers, closing tightly around her own as if to pull her back from following that thought.

"We cannot look back Mel, it will change nothing. The only way we can live through this is to move forward and leave the memories behind."

"Part of me doesn't want to leave. This may be abandoned but it has remained the same, it's probably the only thing left from what Aia used to be one hundred and fifty years ago." Mel murmured. "There's nothing here for us though. We can't stay."

"We will find our own place in the new Aia then. We do not need to hold onto the past to make our mark."

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So here is the fifth Oneshot for this challenge! This particular story is like the last one, complaint to cannon happenings with a divergence from the original story line. This one does have a much larger change then the first one, the change starts during the end of Gates of Night during the final battle and takes a pretty different story route from there.

This story has hugely pushed my comfort zone intensity writing wise, I hadn't actually planned to go this route but I was talking about the generalities of the plot idea with my friend and although she isn't an Aveyond fan (sadly) she's heard enough of my random rants and fanspazz moments to be able to help me figure out the story out and well, I fully blame her for pushing my brain in this direction lol.

The Gyendal in this story is one that's taking a much darker look at his character, so fair warning that he very much resembles the more original villain version of his character from the first two games before Spook and human Gyendal came into the mix. This isn't going to be sad intense like the last story, this is more...I don't even know honestly XD Just consider yourself warned.

Anyway, hope you all enjoy!

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Love To Hate It

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ged'ahre had long since been a place of constant and steady existence, change after all did not come easy to centuries old beings and they had never particularly needed to change either. The leaders of the council were powerful, vampirekind was protected, the world was fine as-is.

But then a vampire lord had risen, hungry for freedom and desperate for the power to make that possible. Yet he had been thwarted by a mere human and his own turncoat sister, and thus had begun a desperate race between two forces. They had come so close to losing... all the vampires on edge as they saw the billowing red cloak vanish into the memory caves.

But then he had emerged, carrying the unconscious heir to the darkthrop throne in one arm and the orb of life in the other.

He had sent the darklings into the caves to retrieve the others, all alive but incapacitated by the oppressive magic that bound them. Galahad and Te'ijal had been turned to human by the power of the life orb, the Lord of Twilight protected from it's magic due to being in contact with the Darkthrop heir and fuelling his shield around the both of them.

It had been a long awaited relief for the vampires of Ged'ahre as the humans and orc were taken to Thais by the darklings while The Lord of Twilight and all those of the Underworld that had been imprisoned below Aia for far to long rose up. It was a glorious day when the darkness orb had been brought out, the Darkthrop girl behind it in chains.

Then her hands had been set over the orb, the vampire lords over hers and in an instant the world had been plunged into darkness.

It was the beginning of a new era, the humans no longer able to control the underworld creatures and kill them at will. Now they had to respect them, they had to live their lives around what the Underworld dictated.

Even with their triumph, it was still not over. They awaited the commands of their leader, following as he sought the final orb. And through every step of the journey was a new face, resistant and defiant no matter where she stood and who she was facing off against. Declaring hatred for the vampire who had the control and everything he stood for.

Yet even through that, no one could miss the fact that she was at his side through every step of the way. A human who was able to gain grudging respect from most of the vampires and undying loyalty from the darklings. A Darkthrop child that held so much more inside then anyone had ever given her credit for.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the everpresent darkness over Aia all the humans in Peliad and surrounding area had fearfully retreated from the forest. Birds had gone silent, animals hiding away as a group of vampires moved through the trees like a deadly shadow.

In the centre of the black garbed circle of vampires two individuals stood out clearly, the leader in scarlet red and a young woman garbed in the luxurious robes of a powerful mage.

"We are here."

A hand settled on Mel's shoulder and she violently jerked it free, shooting a black look over her shoulder at her companion and captor before striding into the cavern with her head raised.

It had been two years since the world had fallen to darkness, and Mel was about to retrieve the death orb. It would mark the quests finally over, Gyendal would have full control over the only things that could ever stop the dark reign.

Behind her Gyendal let out a soft chuckle, striding past her to lead through the caverns to the back. They entered the final room and Mel's eyes zeroed in on the orb in the very centre of the room. The vampire Mage stepped into her line of sight, gesturing mockingly to the Orb of Death.

"After you my dear."

"Go screw yourself." Mel sneered, stalking across the cavern as the vampires filed into the room and blocked the only exit.

She approached the orb, watching as it slowly began to wake up just from her mere presence. After Gyendal had won and she had become his prisoner she had discovered a part of her that had remained hidden during one of their many blowout fights. Magic that had been locked away, yet even despite the danger Gyendal had trained her in against her will. She had become dependent on that power, craving the feeling of it running thought her veins. The magic came to her so naturally now that she didn't even need to call on it for the orbs to feel her.

Mel came to a halt in front of the black orb, feeling Gyendal come up directly in behind her. She placed her hands on the orb, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath as she felt the power swirling inside. Hands settled over hers, Gyendal fuelling his magic through her to get comfortable with the aspects of this orbs power.

The moment he activated the orb fully Mel bared her teeth in a cruel grin, throwing as much of her magic as she could at one time with the limits Gyendal had over her into the orb. It flashed with power, magic shooting out from it and incinerating the vampire minion closest to them with nothing more then a dying shriek.

"No."

Mel hissed out as she felt a clamp down on her magic and Gyendal stepped forward to cut off her magic flow to the orb. She bit the inside of her cheek to remain impassive as he leaned over her, his chest pressing against her back with no way out of his near embrace.

"Oh good try, but I assured them that I wouldn't let you kill them in one of your temper tantrums and I'd be a poor leader if I went back on that now." He murmured, leaning down to speak directly into her ear.

She sneered, eyes narrowed in irritation as he chuckled again and pulled the orb free of her hands. Slipping it into his cloak he summoned a portal, steering Mel through with their vampire escort directly behind them.

They exited into the massive Twilight manor, home of the bastard vampire and more recently the home of Mel Darkthrop.

"Anyone comes near my room and I'll send them so deep through the Underworld they'll come out on the other side of Aia." She snapped, taking a scathing glare over the gathered vampires before whirling and leaving the front hall with a swirl of black and purple.

Behind her there was muttered comments and Mel could feel a burning gaze fixed on her back until she had vanished down the hall and reached her room, door slamming behind her.

Upon reached her quarters she shrugged off her plum overcoat and tossed it onto one of the chairs nearby without care. Light from high above filtered in through the double doors last led out onto a porch outside.

Stepping up in front of a mirror Mel stared at the glass silently, reaching out to brush her fingers over the black frame. The woman that looked back at her was not the person she had started out as, garbed in a flowing black dress. Her eyes were lined in kohl, she looked every bit as powerful as she was. To look at her one would never guess that she was a prisoner.

Mel snorted then, flicking her fingers so summon small sparks of magic. When she arrived she had expected to be locked away, nothing more then a weapon to be protected in a fancy room and ignored. But no, instead Gyendal had pushed her from the moment she had shown. Forced her out of her sadness and surrender that had settled in and baited her until she had come out raging and violent. She'd lash out, and he push back harder each time. This game, she really didn't get but she still rose up to match every challenge he offered.

Her stomach growled suddenly, pulling her from her thoughts as she registered her hunger. The vampires will have been gone and Gyendal would be goddess knew where fiddling with the orb so Mel decide to emerge in favour of food.

Silently she padded down the halls, shoes making no noise on the plush carpet. She was just about to jog the last couple steps to the main room when low voices reached her ears and Mel slowed, brows furrowed slightly. Gyendal's voice sounded tense and irritable, responding to a older male voice. She quickly flattened herself against the wall, slowing her breathing as she strained her ears to hear.

"...if you have found a way to do this then there is no more use for her." The low voice of one of the senior vampire council members said sternly.

"And if the orbs reject me again? This is not a guaranteed success Peitrov, removing the only guaranteed way to use these orbs is an extremely foolish plan." Gyendal said lowly.

"It's as close to guaranteed as you can get with magic artifacts, or you never would have told us about this breakthrough. You're too proud to allow a failure to be made public. The girl is no longer necessary. The council as voted unanimously to have her...removed within the fortnight."

Mel flatted her hand over her mouth to muffle her gasp before with a glance back at the entrance to the hall she soundlessly sprinted away to her room. Silently she closed the door, locking it and shoving the chair under the doorknob.

She had never expected this time to come, to have outlived her usefulness. Mel wasn't sure what she had expected, but some part of her believed that they would be locked in this power struggle until the end of Gyendal's reign over everything. Every time they would clash, venom coating their words to hide meaning deeper beneath. She'd attack him with her words and he'd just laugh before telling her slowly all the things that he planned to do on Aia using her magic and her Birthright. He'd talk that talk and raise the heat with every word until it would dissolve into screaming battles and broken objects and Mel would storm away. It was so twisted, he made her go crazy.

"I won't die here." She breathed, her eyes narrowed in determination.

So focused on what was going on, she never saw that the council man had left, vanishing through the front gates of the property.

She ripped open the porch door and with nothing more then a backwards glance at her room stepped outside. Quickly she started towards the railing of her private porch area and braced herself on the metal, preparing to leap over when she heard a voice that she had most dreaded.

"What, exactly do you think you're doing?"

Mel let out a startled gasp, head flying up just as there was a flash of black and a large bat with blood red eyes reformed directly in her path. Gyendal's eyes were dark, face thunderous as she backed away, eyes darting around for an escape route.

"The hell Gyendal?! What are you, some sort of stalker now?! Since when do you care about what sort of things I do during my freetime?"

He smirked, but the expression was without amusement as he slowly advanced forward into her room.

"Do not play me for the fool Mel, I know you overheard us. I could smell your fear when I finished the conversation with Peitrov and I heard you run. The old fool never noticed and I escorted him out immediately after, I knew you would try this."

Instantly all attempts to talk her way out of this were thrown out and Mel fell into a defensive stance, magic coiling around her hands.

"I won't be killed for this Gyendal. The vampires have taken everything from me, I will not lose my life just for your pathetic council to make a point!"

He sneered, a flick of his hand and her magic was snuffed out as wind gusted around the room.

"And how exactly do you plan to stop an entire council of vampires out for your blood hmm? You are a human Mel, nothing more."

"And of course you'll just stand by like a coward as they go against what you want, to keep me around in case things with the orbs go awry!" Mel spat, Gyendal's baring his fangs ever so slightly at her words. "Goddess you have no idea how much I utterly despise you!"

He raised a brow before bursting into laughter, the sound echoing around the room.

"Oh do you? Yet all this time who has purposely sought me out in your moods and played the game just as much as I did. You really think that I missed those flirtations, the way you played off my words? Don't lie to yourself Mel, you aren't fooling anyone."

Mel's eyes blazed with fury at his words as she faked left to lunge around him. Instantly he lashed out and grabbed her, one arm caught in each hand as he hauled her back from the door to stand in front of him. She let out a hiss, attempting to wrench her arms free.

"Lie to myself?! What lie?! I hate your games!"

Gyendal never took advantage of his extra vampire skills during their fights, but somehow something in her words had triggered something and before she could even blink he had ran her backwards with him following every step of the way. Her back slammed against the wall, Gyendal holding her arms above her head flat against the wall and snarling down at her. His lips were fully curled back to reveal his fangs and Mel's eyes widened, never once had he lost control of himself like this in all the time she had dealt with him since Harburg.

"Oh but you love to hate it. Our back and forth, the constant battle for the upper hand yet even with the freedom you have to attack and harm me that I've given you over the course of the years you've never crossed the line to harm me. You thrive off of this life, you live for the adrenalin high or we wouldn't be here right now."

Mel strained against his grip, moving to twist free only for him to pin her in place with his body.

"What does it matter?! Even after all of this, you're still going to "remove" me for the sake of your council."

At her words Gyendal shot her a feral grin, eyes glowing in the dim light of the room.

"No, you're not getting away that easy. He doesn't want a human around, so I'm getting rid of the human. You on the other hand aren't going anywhere."

Mel stilled, blinking in confusion.

"Wait, what?"

He shifted one of her arms, gripping both wrists together in one hand as he lowered the other hand down. One finger trailed over her neck, leaving chills in it's wake before he suddenly pushed all of her hair on that side of her face out of the way and forced her head to the side. His hand gripped her chin to hold her in place, unable to shift back much to her puzzlement until she realized where his eyes were zeroed in.

"W-what the hell are you doing?! Sto-AHH!"

Mel's words were cut off by a pained cry, her statement too late as before she even had a chance to prepare she felt the terrifying sensation of fangs being plunged into her neck.

There were no words to describe the icy sensation of Gyendal's fangs being buried as deeply as was possible into her neck, two small trickles of hot blood escaping and trickling down her neck. Her entire body spasmed, vision going white as her body began to undergo transformations she remembered Galahad talking about. In her mouth Mel felt a shift in her teeth, canines elongating into fangs.

With a pinching sensation Gyendal pulled away, meeting her gaze head on. His pupils were dilated, blood sliding off of his still bared fangs and without realizing what she was doing or how Mel found herself ripping free easily and shoving Gyendal away with nearly all her strength. He went flying backwards, tripping and landing on the floor splayed out. Mel lunged after him, grabbing onto the collar of his cloak to slam him back against the ground as she knelt over him.

"What in Aia Gyendal?! You- What-"

He began to laugh, the mirth filled sound filling the room as his hands came up to rest on her hips.

"Well it goes something like this lamb. You would never be safe now from the vampires even with the Darkthrop name. They wouldn't hesitate to feed on you or just kill you in passing to prove something." He slowly sat up then, Mel leaning back to make space between them as he flicked his tongue over his fangs to clean the blood off with a sly smile.

"However, they will not ever dare to touch the Lady of Twilight."

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So this oneshot is going to change things up again. All of my previous works have had some sort of intensity and stress, all at varying levels and for various reasons, but this piece is a tad different. The song for this is one that looks a little bit more at the friendship that I personally believe has to be the anchoring force behind any love that will last. It's a more peaceful song, addressing the strength of friendship and love through hard times and I really worked to reflect that in this piece. It is an AU one, although it's set in the Aveyond universe much like the first one.

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Beautiful Mess

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The sun shone brightly over Aia, it's rays of light reaching out over mountain peaks and sprawling hills. It stretched out over lands uninhabited by any humanoid beings other then the occasional nymph that remained with their plant. Yet even a land virtually unknown there was movement, a large group of travellers travelling through winding hills with stumbling steps.

Close to the back of that group walked a young woman, short black hair pulled back out of her face to reveal two long pointed ears as she helped urge stragglers forward with the group.

Along the side of the group a small teen ran to those in the back who were helping and watching for danger.

"Mel!"

The black haired woman looked over, a glint of hope in her eyes.

"Timothy! Have the scouts found a camp?" She asked, slowing her pace from where she was at the back of the group to speak with the messenger.

"Yeah! We're fenced in by the mountain on two sides and a massive grove of trees on the other so the night watch only has to keep guard over one side. And there's a lake on the other side of the trees so we get to stay here for more then just a couple of days to rest and recover!"

A genuine grin bloomed on Mel's face, relief coursing through her at the news.

"Finally! How much further?"

"Only a few more miles! I'll go tell everyone else!"

The boy turned to run, only to trip clumsily and fall. Instantly Mel reached down to pull him to his feet, the boy blushing at his tumble.

"I'm usually a better runner then that..." He muttered, Mel snorting.

"Trust me, all of us are saying that right now."

He grinned and scampered off, Mel taking a deep breath and straightening her shoulders before moving tiredly forward to catch up with the group as she watched the younger elf run ahead.

It had been exhausting, this journey. When Mel had joined the exodus of elves out of the Vale, turning her back on her home and the elders that tried to imprison them there outside of Aia, she had never expected it to be like this. They had left to escape the elder council who had locked everyone within the Vale, threatening punishment and exile on anyone who dared enter Aia below and Mel had expected freedom. They were free, but since leaving the Vale they had lost others to illness or exhaustion.

"Now is not a great time to be spacing out Mel, perhaps considering picking up the pace a tad?" A dry voice commented from ahead of her, Mel's head shooting up to see one of the other elves that had been monitoring the back of the group approaching her.

She sighed, shooting the black haired male a irritable look.

"Thanks for the observation oh brilliant one." She said sarcastically as the taller elf reached her side and shot her a smirk.

"I'm so pleased that you are still capable of recognizing my superior intelligence."

"That was sarcasm Gyendal, if you didn't recognize that then you might want to reconsider your self-given label."

Gyendal laughed at her words, green eyes glinting with amusement.

"So rude, if I wasn't used to you I might just be offended."

Mel made a obscene gesture at him, the older elf only snickering before falling silent as they picked up the pace to reach the rest of the group. The elves were filled with new life at the concept of being able to find somewhere they could settle down for a while and rest. There was chatter, fewer people falling behind as everyone found a hidden energy reserve to make it to their new camp.

They crossed hills in silence, Mel focusing entirely on pulling one foot in front of the other without wavering until they finally reached the hill looking down over their camp.

"There it is!"

A cheer went up, several of the younger elves letting out whoops as they all nearly ran down into the hidden pocket of peace in this foreign land.

Mel grinned as she raced down the hill with everyone, black hair streaming out behind her.

A chance to stop, that was all they needed right now.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Temporary tents and shelters had been set up all over the massive clearing, families and friends grouping together in makeshift camps. Few were actually asleep as twilight began to fall but most had retreated to their camps to relax and unwind.

However much to Mel's frustration, relaxation and peace did not come to her. Herbed was restless, as if it couldn't process the concept of rest and in hopes of clearing her mind she decided to take a walk. She slipped down through the grove of trees, slowly walking along the tree line as she watched the dim light reflect off the face of the lake as the sun painted the horizon pinks and purples.

"Couldn't sleep?"

Mel let out a gasp at the sudden voice and whirled, studying the darkness past the treeline for the source to no avail.

"Gyendal! Stop playing and just come out!"

There was a soft snort before a rustle above her head from the mammoth oak she was standing closest too caught her attention. She craned her head back, blinking in surprise at the sight of Gyendal who was settled quite comfortably on a massive branch above.

"Terribly sorry to disappoint, but I'm not coming down. I'm quite happy here, the view is wonderful. You on the other hand are more then welcome to join me if you're that desperate for my company."

His words were mocking, but his tone gentle as he gestured to the open space next to him. Mel shrugged after a moment, deciding that the view would be worth scaling the tree as she grabbed onto the trunk and climbed up to just below where Gyendal sat. He reached down a hand, Mel accepting and allowing him to pull her up and guide her over him to sit on his other side as he leaned against the trunk.

Mel carefully settled herself on the wide branch, appreciating the stability of the massive branch that allowed her to relax as she stared out over the water.

"You picked a good place, this is an amazing." She said quietly, letting out a long and tired breath.

They sat in content silence a while, watching as the sun went down and the moon shone down from a clear sky to reflect off of the rippling water. It was a blessing to just sit, to allow the stress of the journey so far to melt off her shoulders for even just that night before she and the rest of the hunters in the group set off tomorrow to find food for their group.

Without realizing Mel began to shiver slightly and she mentally cursed. She had been so wrapped up in her thoughts and desire to clear her head that she had neglected to bring something warm with her for when the sun went down fully. Unhappily she contemplated climbing down to return to camp, but her train of thought was halted as she felt soft fabric suddenly being draped around her shoulder.

"Wha...?" She breathed out a startled enquiry, looking over at Gyendal in surprise as he ignored her and reached around front to pull the corner of his cloak smugly around her.

The action pulled Mel up tight to him, pressing their arms together as he made sure that the bottom of his travelling cloak wouldn't fall free from her shoulders.

"Wouldn't want you to catch cold with how weakened we all from travelling." He said simply, Mel mumbling intelligibly as she looked away to hide the redness in her cheeks.

"...thanks."

He gave a soft huff of amusement but said nothing about her odd behaviour as Mel pushed aside her embarrassment and turned back to face him.

"How much longer do you think that we'll be travelling before we find somewhere to settle? We have to be getting somewhere soon, we've been going for months." She asked quietly, the lightness fading from Gyendal's eyes to be replaced by an almost bleak look.

"I do not know. But I pray it is soon, there are many who will not be able to take much more and I dread losing more. Every day is lived in fear of tomorrow, of what tragedy we might be faced with."

Mel shook her head slightly, turning to look up at the star filled skies above.

"I'm exhausted." She whispered, finally voicing something she had refused to admit through the journey since they had left the Vale. "Every day I wake up I lose more of my will to continue. Part of me wonders if I never should have left the Vale, but then I think about how the elders ruled so controlling and cruelly over those who dared to think different from their wishes..."

"We don't have a thing to lose, no matter what they say or do. We were lost if we stayed, there were already elves that had vanished after rising up against the elders. We had to leave, there was never another option. Not really. Death would have come to us, at least this way it came with hope of freedom for us rather then to silence our voices" Gyendal said gently, his tone lacking the bite or mocking that it usually carried.

"I know." Mel said simply, leaning into his arm without thought.

She wanted comfort, someone to tell her that everything would work out in the end. Yet she knew that no one would tell her that, not truthfully anyway.

His arm between them shifted and Mel immediately sat up straight to get out of the way, only to stiffen in shock when she felt Gyendal wrap it loosely around her. When she looked over sharply he met her eyes with a steady gaze, dark green eyes calm.

"We'll get through this."

Mel choked out a laugh, leaning into him as she spoke.

"Our world is a mess."

"A beautiful one."

His statement threw Mel for a loop, her brows furrowing slightly.

"Wait, what?"

He let out a laugh at her confusion before explaining.

"You're right, our lives are a mess right now. But this mess has shown us things that we could never have imagined in the veil. It's shown us a wide open world, creatures like nothing we have ever seen, sites so beautiful that we will remember them to our deaths no matter how close or far away they are. It's a mess, but it's beautiful."

Mel considered his words, thinking about all that they had seen over the journey.

"You're right. I never considered it that way before."

He shot her a lazy half smirk at her comment, shrugging slightly.

"Well neither had I before now, so that makes two of us."

His comment made her laugh and he chuckled before yawning slightly.

"We should head back." Mel pointed out reluctantly, feeling the tiredness washing over her.

He studied her a moment before looking down at the massive branch they were comfortably seated on with room to spare. Then he grinned slightly before shifting, his cloak pulling free from around Mel to hang down past the tree branch at his gentle nudging of Mel out of his space as he carefully maneuvered himself so that he was sitting with his back against the trunk of the tree with his legs hanging over the sides of the branch.

"Mm, I think I have a better idea."

Mel shot him an incredulous look as he offered a hand, raising an expectant brow at her. His eyes danced, as if the idea of sleeping in the tree rather then going back to camp amused him immensely. She stared at him a moment before releasing a theatric sigh and accepting his hand, allowing him to help her shift on the tree before he reached out to hook his arm around her waist and pull her back against his chest.

She relaxed back against him, reaching down to pull the end of his cloak up from where it hang freely in the air to wrap it around herself and Gyendal. A fiery blush rose in her cheeks although thankfully it was hidden from sight by the night as Gyendal leaned his head down to where hers was slightly tilted back and their cheeks brushed gently against each other.

Instinct wanted to leap out of the tree, threaten Gyendal if he ever dared to talk about her moment of weakness here. But her combative words evaporated before ever reaching her lips as he wrapped his arms tightly around her waist and Mel found herself leaning her head black against his shoulder as her eyes slowly shut.

Surrounded in pleasant warmth and unwillingly comforted by Gyendal's embrace Mel found herself drifting away into a peaceful sleep.

Tomorrow they would have to face the world and the harsh reality of their journeyed, but for now...they would stay in this beautiful mess tonight.

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First of all I ADORE these XD I'm kinda lost and haven't read the last ones because you update too fast! I'm impressed! I'll rant in my reviews don't worry XD

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Hello all!

So here is yet another oneshot and oooh look, it's an AU too XD

This one is probably my longest one yet {9,960 words}, and it was born of an idea that took several days to cram down into a oneshot LOL. I'm happy to finally present it to you though, because if I had to listen to the song on repeat one more time there could very well have been a death.

This isn't my usual style of work but I had a lot of fun writing this:) Enjoy!

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Warrior

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Birds chirped and flitted between trees in the large forest, sunlight dappling the ground from where it shone down through the thick tree canopy. Through the dense woods moved a lone figure, cloaked in midnight blue and holding a basket of herbs and vegetables.

The young woman brushed black hair behind her ear and rifled through her basket, mentally counting the food inside.

"I have everything, perfect. Homeward bound." She hummed to herself, cloak snapping out behind her in the brisk wind as she strode through worn paths in the dirt that wound through the trees.

As she moved through the woods she began to notice an unnatural silence, animals peering above at the top of the tree canopy before scuttling underground and birds silencing their songs in favour of hiding in their nests and amongst the trees.

"What in the...?" Mel murmured, brows furrowed in puzzlement as her steps slowed.

Above the trees, she heard a faint yell before the shockwaves of a magic blast washed over the forest. Mel's eyes widened slightly and she froze, looking around worriedly only to let out a soft shriek and leap backwards as much further ahead she watched someone break through the canopy and begin to fall.

"Oh goddess!" Mel gasped, staring in shock and horror as a man with black feathery wings slammed into branch after branch as he spiralled through the air towards the forest floor.

Slipping slightly in her haste, Mel sprinted through the forest towards the stranger as with a final crack of a branch breaking under the force of the stranger hitting it he landed on the forest floor.

"Holy crap, ooh I am not equipped to handle something like this." Mel whispered as she dropped to her knees next to the stranger, taking in his tattered and bloodstained clothes, deep gashes and cuts from what she guessed was a blade all over his body. His forehead was matted with blood, the stranger unconscious although when one of his wings that was bent at what should have been an impossible angle shifted under him a cry of pain escaped the man.

Far above the woods Mel heard the sounds of powerful and angry voices carrying over the treeline. She stared fearfully above, relieved to see that the top canopy had returned to as it has before the stranger had fallen through. It was the broken branches below that showed proof of his fall.

"...we lost him!" A woman's voice yelled angrily.

"No! I can still sense him! Come, we may find him and finish this!" A man snapped back, Mel's eyes instinctively moving back down to the unconscious man next to her.

He was completely defenceless, lying there broken and bleeding from the fall. Her eyes flitted back up as she heard the yelling get closer, before making an impulsive decision she knew she might regret. But she just couldn't sit idle while someone unable to protect themselves was killed.

Before they could sense the man she pulled on her magic, extending it out over the broken man as well as herself to tie it into the magic in the fairy forest. Her heart pounded in her chest, Mel pressing her hands against the forest floor both to concentrate her magic around them and to steady herself as she attempted to pull of the stupidest stunt she had ever considered. She heard them flying above, then the wingbeats suddenly stopped above. Mel's heart dropped through to her shoes as she held her breath and prayed that they wouldn't notice her.

"He's gone! I can't feel him anymore!" One suddenly snapped, voice tense.

"There's only one way that would have happened to have vanished. It's if he's dead." The woman said, sounding triumphant.

"There is not point in finding him. Let the crows rid the world of his carcass, our job here is done."

With that there was several loud flaps before the sound faded quickly, they creatures were leaving.

Mel swallowed hard and slowly released her magic, looking down at the unconscious creature she had just saved.

"Now what am I supposed to do with you? I don't even know what you are!"

The winged man predictably did not answer and Mel heaved a sigh, standing to her feet and grabbing her basket of things. She would certainly need some of these herbs now, to make salve for his wounds.

"I am not even a healer, I cannot believe I'm doing this." Mel muttered, flicking a hand that glowed with magic at the winged man and watching as he began to lift off the ground.

Her magic encased him, holding his limbs still and protecting his wings as she walked through the forest with the large form of the winged man floating behind her. They moved through towering trees and thick brush until they reached the mouth of a small cave, bones of several small animals that had been licked clean by some sort of large wild animal were thrown into a haphazard pile in front of the cave.

Unlike anyone so hopelessly lost that they might come across this cave, Mel ignored the bones as she calmly entered the cave. She walked though the blackness, pausing a few feet in to flick her hand. A sudden flash of light as torches on either side of her lit up and she reached out to push aside a large curtain to reveal a small cozy home hidden in the back.

Carefully she stepped through and used her magic to pull the man through, letting the curtain fall as she guided the winged stranger through the room to the bed further back. After carefully laying him down and using various small tables to brace his wings on she stepped back and studied the damage to the male.

"Okaaay, let's start with stopping the blood flow. Goddess help me..."

This was probably the stupidest decision she had made yet, she just hoped it wouldn't cost her too much.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Several days later and long stretches of no sleep found Mel standing at her table tiredly, mixing yet more salve for her unwanted patient as she worked to remind herself that if she did this she would have successfully done her good deed for her lifetime.

"W-what...?"

The sudden groggy and confused reply from behind her made Mel blink before turning, bracing herself as the man began to stir slightly. His long black lashes fluttered slightly, the man shifting only to give a grunt of pain as his eyes finally opened.

Mel was still, not approaching as she watched him stare up at the ceiling in confusion before slowly moving to sit up with a groan.

"Where-"

"Hello, and welcome to my home." Mel said, cutting off his statement and stepping forward to making her presence known.

His head snapped down to stare at her but rather then reacting like any sane person should after waking up Mel found herself diving out of the way as a blast of magic was fired at the exact spot she had been standing.

"Woah! Are you insane?! Stop!"

Another blast and Mel knew that she would never survive if one of them hit her, so she made a split second decision and played dirty.

All it took was a soft hit on the splint on the man's wing and he let out a howl of pain, the blasts stopping as he let out a long list of foul explicative.

"Would you stop, I'm trying to help you!"

He snapped his gaze to Mel, blood red eyes filled with rage and pain as he waited out his wing recovering the blow. He went to move off the bed only for his body to give out on him, the man collapsing back on the bed with a hiss. Mel rushed to his side to help him only to have her hand slapped away with a snarl.

"How dare you touch me, filthy human."

Her jaw dropped, both at the loathing in his deep and the words he had spoken.

"Filthy human?! This filthy human saved your sorry carcass and is sacrificing her space to patch you back up so you can shove that opinion as far up your rear as your head appears to be!"

Her angry retort brought the stranger up short and he stilled, glancing down as if only noticing for the first time that his entire torso was covered in bandages. His eyes widened slightly before flitting back and forth between his wings to stare at the wooden splints holding them in place.

"What is this?" He questioned sharply, sounding angry and unnerved.

"Those are splints, you broke both your wings in several places and this is to try and make sure that the bones will set correctly." Mel said, holding her hands up cautiously. "Please don't touch them, they've only just gone a couple days ago and I really don't want you to mess up that work."

He glared at her, lips curled back slightly to reveal two pointed fangs.

"I need nothing of your worthless human inventions to heal, I have done just fine on my own for many centuries."

Mel did a double take at his comment, mouth silently forming the word centuries.

"Centuries...what exactly are you?!" She demanded, taking in his inky black wings and raven hair that made his blood red eyes that much more noticeable as he bared his teeth in a cruel grin.

"You don't recognize me? Seems my reputation has not spread as far as they would have wished, but perhaps the name Gyendal might ring a few bells."

Mel blinked, her mind racing to place the name she recognized somehow. It took a few seconds, but when she finally placed where she knew it from her jaw nearly hit the floor.

"Oh you have got to be kidding me..."

His eyes narrowed dangerously as she fell back a step, shaking her head incredulously.

"Gyendal, the angel who fell after creating a world war because a human ruler disrespected the angel guardians over Aia." She breathed, gaping and the man. "The fallen angel."

"Smart girl." He purred, eyes glittering.

He thought that fear would keep her here, that much was clear. But Mel wasn't about to stick around, this was just another example of her fantastically bad luck and she was getting the hell out of there!

"Screw this!"

"What-?!"

But Mel was already gone, sprinting out of the cave and tearing through the forest like the demon king himself was on her tail.

"What the hell, what the actual hell?!" She squawked into the air. "The one time I actually have a heart and help someone is the one time I NEVER SHOULD HAVE! A dark angel. The fallen angel of legend and I saved his flipping life!"

She slowed her pace slightly, her mind racing out of control.

"Do I go to the village for help?" She mumbled to herself, before glancing down at her arms where she could see the edges of winding symbols peeking out from under a glove.

She flinched slightly, tugging down the sleeve of her jacket before shaking her head.

"No, they would believe me cursed by his presence. I can't go to them. Ugh, I just wish there was a way off this damned island! But it's not like I can fly, I wish I had wings like the angel..."

Her thoughts came to a screeching halt of a sudden and Mel froze mid step, eyes widening as the idea hit her like a runaway train.

"Wait. A. Second." Mel slowly put her foot down, gaping at thin air as her mind pieced together an idea.

A stupid idea.

A reckless idea.

One that just might get her killed.

...it was brilliant!

As quickly as she had fled her home and the angel inside Mel turned back around again, racing through the woods with determination in her eyes. She reached the outside of her cave quickly and she hesitated, taking a deep breath before striding into the cave and through the curtain in the blackness.

"YOU! You drag me to your cave and then abandon me unable to move! Trust me mortal, when I can move you will-"

"What are you doing on the floor?" Mel asked, cutting off the raging angel who was collapsed on the floor with his splinted wings behind him.

He turned rage filled red eyes onto her, Mel tensing as he snarled.

"Well when the only being around who knows what you are flees while you are left behind like a sitting duck for whatever mob may accompany them back the only intelligent thing to do would be to leave, but your worthless human medicine clearly has done nothing to help me as I am very clearly unable to even walk a straight line."

Mel ignored his hateful words, reaching out with magic to instead lift the angel and manoeuvre him back onto the bed. It was a significantly more awkward affair when said male was mad enough to spit fire and was glaring at her the entire time but Mel managed to do it before moving over to deal with the mandates she was boiling to clean over her firepit.

"Actually, they did help. When I got you here you were steadily getting closer to death. I went over twenty four hours without a moment of sleep as I fought to bring you back and stop the blood flow. Two sets of completely destroyed bed sheets covered in blood had to be burned through the process. The fact that just mere days later you're actually awake is a miracle."

Mel's hands were busy as they folded already clean bandages for use, actions done automatically as she focused on how to word her next statement.

"You know that if I go down to the village you're dead." She finally said, Gyendal jerking in the bed as his body glowed slightly but she continued without pausing. "See, you clearly have as bad luck as I do since the only beings on this island just happen to be the fairies. They have direct connection to the Angels, one call and they'll be back to end you since after learning who you are I'm nearly positive they're the ones who did this to you."

The air pressure in the cave dropped, pain filling her head as Gyendal shot up with a grunt, hands glowing black with power.

"You kill me and you'll die here too!" Mel instantly cried, throwing her hands up defensively in front of her.

"Speak fast mortal, for I have long since surpassed any patience with you."

"You had patience?" Mel muttered under her breath before hurriedly explaining. "You aren't strong enough to take care of bandages or apply the salve to keep infection from whatever was on those blades. Not to mention your back and your wings and you certainly won't be able to feed yourself which you need in order for your body to hear properly. But I can do that, I'd be willing to help and get food until you're fully healed...on one exception."

Gyendal let out a snarl, surging forward slightly despite the flash of pain across his face.

"You would dare to try and bargain using my health?!"

Mel raised her chin challengingly.

"You're the one that crashed into my forest, not the other way around. If you're going to live here until you're healed I want something out of it."

He narrowed his eyes dangerously, the red glow unnerving.

"Does keeping your life seem like a suitable reward?"

The venom in his tone made her flinch, she was wholly and completely over her head when it came to this situation. But she refused to back down now so she calmly set aside the bandages and started towards the door.

"Fairie village it is."

She had barely gotten a few steps when she felt magic grab onto her in a vice grip, jerking her back towards him roughly.

"You're not leaving, and I'm not repaying you a second of work." He hissed.

Mild panic washed over Mel and without thought she gathered her magic, slamming it down onto the magic around her with al the force of a frightened Mage. There was a blast and Mel was thrown backwards where she landed onto the floor with a grunt that sounded in time to the startled shout from the male across the room.

"What the-?!"

She gave her head a slight shake to clear the fuzziness as she pushed herself to her feet, looking up to find Gyendal staring at her wide eyed before he let out the longest sigh and slid back to lie on the bed.

"Very well. You may make your offer. I do not deal with mortals, but you are something more...your little display was most interesting."

Mel studied him warily, puzzled by the sudden change in attitude.

"I-okaaayy?" It took her a second to gather her thoughts before answering. "I'll take care of you and get you back on your feet so long as once you're able to fly out of here you take me to the nearest human civilization that accepts mages."

Gyendal snorted.

"Such a simple request. I accept your deal little mate, and I swear to fulfill my side of the bargain."

There was a flash of light s the oath took effect and Mel let out a relieved breath, a burden lifting off her shoulders ever so slightly.

"It's agreed then."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel shoved through the trees with unusual anger, branches cracking and breaking away to make room for the angry young woman as she left the fairie city far behind. There was a large bruise already beginning to form on her cheek and she gritted her teeth as she stormed into her cave and through into the back sleeping area.

"Well aren't you in a pleasant mood." A mocking comment echoed from the far wall where Gyendal was sitting in the bed with a book.

She sneered at her unwanted house guest, slamming her things down on her table before reaching in to grab a strange knotted flower out to cast into the fire. They was a sound like a small explosion, bright green sparkles blasting out of the fire before dissolving.

"Typical." She spat, "Do they think that I know nothing about fairies enchantments?"

She raised a hand to touch her bruise with a wince before sliding off her gloves and shoes to set them aside, Mel glancing up only to catch Gyendal's eye.

"What happened to you?" He enquired, sounding bored as he gestured to her cheek.

"I unfortunately got too close to the fairies city for their liking. I only needed some herbs, but the younger fairies and the guards over the city thought that was enough reason to run me off with a few reminders of why I live on my own in the first place. Stupid elitist misquotes, they can't even acknowledge one who shares their blood as worthwhile." Was her sneered reply, Gyendal seeming amused by her anger.

"Their own blood? You have fairie ancestors?"

Mel barked out a hard laugh as she roughly undid her coat, yanking it off to bare her arms to his view and reveal the shimmering curls and flowers up her arms and he raised a brow. She saw his eyes move from her ever so slightly pointed ears to her large and unusually vibrant dark blue eyes.

"I wish that was all it was, but..."

"One of your parents was a fairy." The dark angel concluded, Mel giving a sharp nod as she came over to check the bandages along his arms.

The cuts on his chest and torso had healed the quickest despite being the most severe and no longer need bandages much to her relief, as it had taken a great deal of them. He rolled up his shirt sleeve to his shoulder to give her full access and she could feel him studying her as she worked.

"What already?!" She finally snapped, glaring up at him.

He snorted, shaking his head with his eyes fixed on her bruise.

"Willing to take on the dark angel yet unable to defend herself against a few mischief making fairies. Such weakness is deplorable, what a pathetic existence."

Anger flashed through Mel and in a moment of childish revenge she snapped his bandage much harder then necessary, Gyendal flinching before fixing her with a threatening look.

"Well isn't that nice for you to come in and make an unwanted observation. As it happens, I don't know anything about combat magic. Everything I can do is basic and born from watching the fairies from the cover of the trees so excuse me for not knowing how to defend against a bunch of pure blooded magical beings." She shot back at him, rolling her eyes angrily as she turned to grab a fresh bandage. "Unless you have a way to change my knowledge and skill keep your mouth shut."

"Well if you wanted me to teach you while I'm trapped in this infernal bed you could have just asked. I need something to do anyway or I shall go stircrazy" Gyendal said slyly, Mel turning immediately to protest.

"What?! I don't need your help-"

He cut her off with a smirk, seeming far to pleased with himself for her liking.

"Your weak and pointless existence was request enough. You'll never make it out in the world of mages if you can't even do the simplest of offensive battle spells." His hand reached out and caught hold of hers, Mel jerking at the sudden contact.

He reached up to tap her fairy markings and she inhaled at the feeling of a pain, a burn under her skin.

"That is your magic, locked away inside just waiting to be released the way you did when I grabbed you that first day. You have potential, but you must learn how to unlock that strength. I will teach you how to fight" Gyendal said simply, tone serious.

Mel pulled her hand away quickly and retreated to her table to start preparing their dinner, unnerved by his words. He said nothing more, returning to his book as she worked on the meal and tried to ignore the questions in the back of her mind.

Could she learn magic that would allow her to stand against the fairies despite their strength. She truly doubted it, she was part fairie but that by no means made her a powerful Mage.

Still...

"Fine. I'll let you teach me. At least you'll be doing something useful around this place for once."

Mel's words came off as harsh, but it was as if that damned dark angel could sense the unsureness behind it as he never bothered to look up from his book, but allowed a small smirk to flit across his lips.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Night had fallen over the fairie forest and the inhabitants of the cave deep inside the magical woods could be both found fast asleep. In the bed a dark angel in a restless sleep with both his wings extended and splinted out on either side of the bed, and in the opposite corner a pile of blankets and rugs all gathered together to provide a nest-bed for a black haired young woman.

However the peace of the night was quickly ruined by a clatter and a growl outside the cave. Both occupants were awake in an instant and Mel stitched the massive curved knife off the small table next to her before soundlessly racing across the cave and through the curtain towards the entrance. She could feel a presence behind her but she never fully registered it as she leapt out of the cave with her knife at the ready and magic illuminating the entire clearing around her cave.

"A wolf!" She gasped out, relief coursing through her at the sight of a woodland creature rather then a monster or worse yet, a fairie.

"Well that was a pleasant wakeup." Came the dry voice from behind her, Mel nearly leaping a foot off the ground as she whirled to face the individual who had spoken.

"Gyendal! You're standing!"

The dark angel smirked, towering over with his arms lazily crossed.

"Astute observation. Close your mouth, you look idiotic gaping at me like that."

Her jaw snapped shut as she gazed up at him, for the first time getting a bit of a reality check at who she was truly housing.

In the moonlight he looked terrifying, red eyes glowing and white fangs reflecting the moonlight that illuminated his bronzed skin. His height was intimidating, especially with his wings outstretched on either side.

The only thing that ruined the image was the wooden splints.

"Since when could you even get out of bed muchless walk?!" Mel demanded, urging him backwards into the cave once again so that she could get out of e cold breeze.

"I've been stretching my legs and moving around whenever you were away hunting or doing whatever it is you mortals do in the forest. You look so shocked, did you somehow expect me to come running to tell you all about being able to walk when I first was able to?" His tone was mocking and Mel's temper flared.

"Uh, yeah?! I've been trying to to everything around you being an invalid in bed so even a small update in passing would have been nice!" She snapped, Gyendal snorting as they reentered the living space of the cave. "How long exactly have you been up and moving during my hunting trips.

"Three weeks. You needn't be so startled, I have done little moving because I tire quickly. The venom from the attacking angels blades was deep inside my system by the time you finished cleaning my wounds and it is taking my power a long time to burn it out completely."

She had no idea how to reply to that and he never waited for her to make comment as he began to cross over back towards the bed. He had only taken a few steps before she saw him waver slightly and without thinking Mel quickly rushed to his side, catching hold of his arm as he stumbled slightly.

"I can take care of myself!" He snapped, moving to pull free. "I do not need to be walked several feet across the floor Mel, release me!"

"Oh look at that, somehow I don't really care what you say about your care since you clearly overestimate your stamina when you're like this." She singsonged as she proceeded to ignore him and steady him to the best of her abilities as he dropped down to sit heavily on the bed.

"You are an insufferable creature." Was the muttered reply to her words and Mel grinned.

"Glad I can repay you for what you're putting me through. You have got to be the worst patient in existence."

Amusement flickered across his features as he carefully reclined backwards onto the bed.

"I'm sure I should feel bad for that but I can't seem to find it in myself to care. You brought me here, I never invited myself into your cave unwelcomed. You even had a chance to run away yet here you are, being an irritant that tries to coddle me." He said mockingly.

"Yeah, well I wasn't about to leave you to die." Mel muttered as she crossed over to her own blankets and burrowed deep down under them.

There was silence after her reply and as Mel began to drift she wondered if he had fallen asleep.

"You would be a first to hold that sentiment."

Somehow she knew that his words were not meant for her to hear, perhaps it was the soft tone or the bitterness they held but they stuck a cord in her that resonated deeply. Sleep did not come after he made that statement, as a question played on her mind with nagging consistency.

What exactly had happened in his life to bring him to such a place as this?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Pull it in carefully. Too fast and you'll strain something."

Gyendal hissed out a sigh at Mel's instructions and she wondered if he was going to ignore her just on principle but for once he followed her instruction instead of going out of his way to contradict her words. Carefully one black wing was pulled back towards his bare back, Mel's hands resting on the joint at the top of the wing as she sat behind him to feel for any unnatural movements within the bones and joints.

Once it was fully tucked into a resting position Mel let go, folding her hands in her lap as she watched him carefully extend and pull back his wings to test.

"They are fully healed, I truly loathe admitting this but your mortal "splints" have done well in preventing the wings from healing in the incorrect positions." Gyendal finally said, Mel breathing a sigh of relief that everything was generally in working order.

"Well that's relieving. I've splinted bird wings plenty of times before, I hate to see a bird as powerful or majestic as a hawk among other large predator birds die because of a broken wing. Your wings seemed similar to bird wings so I took a chance."

He laughed lowly.

"As insulting as it is to be compared to a bird, I appreciate having mobility in my wings again so I can look that over I'm sure."

Mel snickered before her amusement faded away, replaced with curiosity as she studied the midnight black wings in front of her. She began to reach up towards them before stopping herself inches away and glancing up at Gyendal who had turned his head partially to watch her with a unreadable expression.

"Uh...can I?"

She could see his hesitation before he finally gave a sharp nod, turning to face in front of him as Mel ever so carefully reached out to brush a finger along his wing. She had of course handled his wing when putting the splint on, but only barely and the bit of contact with the top area stretched over bone had only made her more curious.

Her fingers gently slid over black feathers, Mel letting out a soft oh of surprise at how silky they were. After a moment she gained a little bit of confidence, her hand going flat to stroke the feathery wing.

"It's so soft." She murmured to herself, fingers trailing up along the edge of the wing to smooth over the long feathers.

With one finger she carefully traced over the top of his wing to follow the curve down towards his back. The skin right along where the wing was connected to his back was raised with several small scars and without thinking Mel allowed her fingers to brush over the connection of his wings to his back.

Gyendal let out a startled breath at her touch, tensing and instantly Mel pulled back.

"I'm sorry, I-"

"It's fine." He snapped, cutting her off as he slowly relaxed his muscles. "I just am not used to physical contact that isn't violent. It was just...startling."

Mel nodded, ears burning with embarrassment. She would never usually have done that, she had just been so caught up in her curiosity about the wings.

"Can you feel when someone is touching your wings? Or is it more calloused and deadened to feel?" She enquired.

He pulled his wing back fully before turning on the bed so that he was partially facing her.

"I can feel touch, my wings are actually more heightened to touch then most of me. I feel things more acutely when it comes to my wings then I would if someone touched my arm for example." Gyendal explained, the feathers on his wings ruffling ever so slightly before settling.

"What would that feel like on someone without wings?" She asked, curious.

He studied her with a raised brow before smirking slightly.

"It would feel something like this."

His hand reached out, brushing over part of her head with his nails scraping ever so slightly against her scalp before he pulled away. Instantly Mel's hand flew to her head, eyes slightly wider then usual as she felt her scalp tingle ever so slightly.

"Oh..."

He chuckled and stood, giving a wave of his hand as a black tunic shimmered into existence over him and he strode towards the entrance of the cave.

"I'm going for a walk to stretch my muscles." He announced before exiting the cave.

Mel stared after him a moment before quickly standing and busying herself with cleaning up the bandages and splints. It took some time to clean up the mess, and as she was working a glint of black caught her eye. She paused before bending down to pull it out from under the bed to reveal a long black feather. She glanced over at the wastebin for a moment before giving a slight shake of her head and carrying the feather over to place it with her things.

She never noticed the set of red eyes watching her movement from the shadows, eyes lingering on her fingers as she carefully laid the feather down.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Further back behind the cave there was a small stream that led down a mini waterfall into a deep pool of sparking and clear water. At the very bottom glittering crystals could be seen growing and reflecting colours through the water and along the walls. Sitting on the rock that jutted out over the pond was Mel and Gyendal, enjoying their lunch in the sunshine.

"The other fairies don't know this place exists?" Gyendal asked around a mouthful of food.

Mel shook her head, leaning comfortably back on her elbows as she lazily kicked her legs that hung over the side and were submerged into the water.

"Nope. They never really go out here because the more aggressive animals that inhabit the fairie forest reside closer to the edge. That's why I live in the cave, they haven't found me because they aren't interested in exploring this area."

"''Tis a foolish view, you were smart to ignore such worries and explore deeper." He commented offhandedly.

She laughed at that.

"I didn't exactly have a choice but thanks all the same."

He shrugged and reached over to grab a piece of fruit from one of the plates as Mel glanced over at him.

"Hey. I never asked but, what happened that you were attacked and hurt so badly?"

He twitched at her question, glancing over at her sharply.

"Pardon?"

Mel fidgeted with her sandwich, glancing away.

"When I found you, I had never seen anything like it. You were soaked in blood with wounds all over you, you fell through the forest and landed unconscious on the ground. I had to use magic to shield you from the other beings in search of you, they thought you were dead. I want to know what happened that brought you to the fairie forest."

Gyendal was silent for several long minutes before he began to talk.

"Ever since my fall I have been enemy number one of the guardian angels over Aia. I was the personification of the wrong in the world. A guardian who created war and had the blood of thousands on my hand." He grinned slightly then, expression dark and reckless. "Oh I gave them many a reason to hate me. If I was going to live an outcast, I was going to do everything in my power to make them regret casting me out. Eventually I grew tired of my revenge games, but even as those that were in my generation moved on in their lives the younger generations still burned against me. I am stronger then all of the angels of the younger generations, but even I can be taken unawares."

He exhaled, looking up at the sky above.

"That month had been one of constant attacks, relentlessly going after me. Their numbers were overwhelming and even an angel of my strength and power can eventually be overcome with constant battling and attacks. For every one that fell away it was like two more replaced them. They were determined to see my end. By the time I ended up over the forest it had been a full month of straight attacks, and their blades were enhanced with weakening venom. My wings would have been the worst, like shredded meat, but I was constantly fuelling my magic over and through my wings to keep them healed. I had lost too much blood finally, and when I received a blow to the head I was knocked unconscious. That's when you found me."

Mel listened silently, her food forgotten I hand.

"If they had never been part of your fall why were they so angry?" She finally asked.

He glanced over at her.

"I was a representation of my generation of an all-powerful guardian. I had the physical strength, I was intimidating even before I gained the fangs, red eyes and my wings changed. I was the most powerful mage of my generation. But I was young and angry and I fell, and to those younger generations that I was held up as an example to it was a betrayal. Thus, even when those that knew me had grown past it and no longer sought my destruction due to my choice to seclude myself from mortal and angel affairs both the younger ones were not yet sated."

Mel shook her head slightly.

"I can't imagine how that must have been, living your life on the run the way you do."

"Yet your story is not so different. You hide out trapped on the fairie island with beings that harm you and run you off simply for existing. You have your own story, one I'm sure would be most interesting."

He raised a brow and Mel laughed slightly at the obvious hint before going serious.

"My life isn't nearly as action packed as yours. My father was a fairie who had an affair with a human woman. His fellow fairies turned a blind eye to his actions, right up until that human ended up pregnant. They allowed him to bring the human here for care, so long as the woman and the baby left and never returned once the birth was over. It was agreed, my father never wanted a child anyway. He was only doing this because he didn't want the woman dead by birth complications which are common for mixed children of different kinds." She shrugged then, glaring out into the water. "Fat lot of good that did, since my mother died anyway. The fairies were furious when my father decided to keep me, he hated it as much as they all did but he felt honour bound since I was his blood. He lasted for five years before he up and left, abandoning the fairies that made his life hell and abandoning his "burden" right allong with them."

Mel reached over, grabbing a rock and throwing it out over the pool irritably.

"They let me stay in the city until I turned thirteen, I guess even the shallow and cruel breed of fairies have morals. They would never forget to remind me how worthless me and my mixed blood, mocking my existence and going on about how it's too bad I wasn't born to the illusive fairies that live within the land of the elves. But those fairies had no contact with these ones for obvious reasons, so there was no way to send me away. In the real world I would thrive, I could even one day come back for revenge so they refused to send me off the island. They chased me out into the forest instead so that I wasn't "polluting" their precious city. That's how I ended up where I am now."

Her statement was met with silence and Mel closed her eyes, enjoying the peace as she found herself lost in thought and memories. They finished their lunch wordlessly, before gathering their things and starting back towards the cave.

As they reached the entrance, Mel felt a hand brush her shoulder and turned to face Gyendal with a questioning look.

"You'll be leaving the island once I'm healed enough to transport us both. Consider it a personal request, but when you come back to repay them for their "hospitality", be sure to send my love won't you?" The sarcasm was thick in his tone and Mel couldn't help the slightly unpleasant grin that crossed her face.

"Oh trust me, I'll be sure to pass that along."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"I am honestly so jealous right now." Mel muttered, watching wide eyed as Gyendal crouched down before surging into the air with a powerful flap of his wings.

He shot up into the air, wings being pulled tight to his body as he spiralled up through the air. It was breathtaking, the midnight black wings twirling through the air as he dived down and spun like a corkscrew towards the ground before pulling up and slowly lowering himself to the ground.

A look of extreme satisfaction filled his features as he gave a brisk snap of his wings to rid himself of any old feathers that had come free before turning to Mel with dancing eyes. His face looked the most open Mel could ever remember as he gave his head a brisk shake to get the loose black strands out of his face.

"It'll take some more work to strengthen my wings and rebuild stamina for a long flight carrying extra weight but we're well on our way off this island." Gyendal announced, sounding pleased with the progress.

"How long do you think it'll take?" Mel asked, Gyendal shrugging elegantly.

"Unsure at this point. No more then a couple more months though, now that the hardest part is over it won't be very long now." Suddenly he paused, studying her calculatingly. "However, getting some practice flights with an extra person just might be a wise idea to help build up to leaving."

Mel blinked and he shot her a wicked smirk, stepping up to her.

"Better hold on tight, I'd truly hate for you to fall."

Her eyes nearly tripled in size as he wrapped an arm tightly around her waist and then without so much as a pause to let her brain catch up with what was about to happen he shot into the air, this time with Mel in tow.

"AAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

Her arms were wrapped so tightly around him that somewhere in the back of her mind she wondered if he was going to have trouble breathing, but a much louder and very much in control of her brain was far to focused on the fact that he was flipping through the air with her and she was so about to die!

"YOU'RE GOING TO KILL ME!" She shouted, the deep rumbles of laughter that she could feel through his chest doing absolutely nothing to calm her as the wind whistled in her ears.

Then, just like that it stopped.

His wings snapped out and right there in the middle of the air they stopped abruptly. Mel took several huge gulps of air, arms shaking with how tightly she was clinging to the insane and quite clearly psychotic angel.

"You can relax Mel, I have you. I'm not going to drop you, and you're half strangling me at the moment which is not a pleasant sensation." He said teasingly, it taking Mel several moments before she could recover enough to open her eyes and peer around them.

The sight of the clear blue sky and the sparkling ocean below made Mel gasp, the sudden wonder pushing her fear to the back of her mind as she gazed wide eyed around at the tree tops below and the smaller islands close by that dotted the crystal waters.

"It's...beautiful." She breathed, wonder filling her face.

"It is, isn't it. This is one blessing that only angels and those on the backs of dragons could ever understand, the beauty of the world below you. You cannot see borders and people from here. Only the lands they inhabit." Gyendal said, his voice quiet.

She smiled unabashedly at the vision below her before glancing up at Gyendal, eyes sparkling with excitement.

"You see this every time you fly. No wonder the goddess made angels immortal, at least someone can see the beauty of Aia and appreciate it through all it's changed over the centuries." She said, Gyendal raising a brow at her observation.

"It certainly makes everything else worth it when you can fly above it all and see the world as I can." He said, shooting her a genuine half smile before lifting his eyes to look out over the woods past her.

"Now, how does continuing this flight sound?"

Mel let out a laugh.

"How does that sound?! I'm not sure I ever want to stop flying so do what you want."

He grinned wickedly, grip tightening ever so slightly before they took off across the way to zigzag over the trees below.

This was like nothing Mel could have ever imagined, and more breathtaking then she had ever expected.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel reached up to pluck fruit from a branch above the one she was currently balanced on, before carefully placing it in the basket next to her. One thing she would miss about the Fairie forest was the star apples that grew there.

"Mel!"

A voice called from below and she shifted to look down, Gyendal standing in the clearing under her.

"One sec!" She called, leaning down to grab the branch she was standing on to swing to the one below before jumping off to land easily on the ground in front of Gyendal. "What's up?"

He raised a brow at her casual greeting before giving a soft snort of amusement at her appearance.

"You look like you just got into a fight with a bush and lost."

Mel glanced down at herself and laughed, seeing bark stains on her clothes and reaching up to few leaves tangled in her hair.

"Not at all, I'm trying to blend in here." She said with a snicker, pulling leaves out of her hair.

"Clearly. Anyway, there's a small family of rabbits trying to move into your cave and I figured I'd ask you what you want done with them. I'm always up for roast rabbit but-what are you doing?"

Mel muttered a few choice words under her breath as she tried in vain to unstable a small twig with several tiny branches from her hair.

"What does it look like I'm doing?! And no, I eat rabbits but I draw the line at baby bunnies. I'll get rid of them when I get back."

Gyendal rolled his eyes and shook his head, amusement playing at the corners of his lips.

"So softhearted." He muttered before reaching up to push her hands out of the way. "You're only making it worse, let me do it."

His hands took over and Mel froze in place, feeling his fingers running through her hair as he carefully untangled the strands. His fingers brushed over her scalp, and she could feel a hint of his breath across her head as he leaned down to better see what he was doing.

As he moved his hand to push some of the hair aside his finger brushed over the shell of her ear and Mel couldn't help the gasp that escaped her, a shiver running through her instinctively.

She felt Gyendal still, hand freezing in her hair and she looked up at him with startled eyes.

When their gazes met, Mel swallowed hard. The question in his scarlet eyes fading as he stared down at her. His hands rested gently in her hair, breath stirring the strands across the top of her head. It was like her eyes were locked on his, she couldn't have looked away if she had tried.

The sudden tension in the clearing made all the nerves in her body stand on end, her mind racing to find an explanation only to come up empty as she found herself swaying ever so slightly towards him.

His hands in her hair tightened ever so slightly and Mel's lips parted as if to ask him what was going on because she sure had no idea!

Then his eyes widened slightly and suddenly the moment was over. He yanked his hands free, backing away several steps before turning and striding away without a word.

Mel was left standing here in the clearing, frozen as she watched after the dark angel.

What the hell was that?!"

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel walked back towards the cave with her hunting kills tied to a branch. She whistled under her breath cheerfully as she approached the entrance to the cave.

However just as she reached the mouth she was met with a baffling slight, as Gyendal exited the cave with a small bag of things in hand. He never even spared her a glance, ignoring her as he had been for the past several days since that strange moment at the fruit tree.

"W-what are you doing?!" She demanded, Gyendal sparing her a indifferent glance over his shoulder as he answered.

"I'm finding somewhere else to stay until I'm strong enough to take us off the island."

Mel gaped at him, watching as he walked further away before putting her kill down and rushing after him.

"You're leaving?! Why!?"

He answered without turning this time.

"Because I no longer wish to share space with another and I've invaded your home for long enough."

"W-what the hell are you talking about?! You've been fine all this time, we don't get in each other's way since one or both of us is out of the cave most often during the day! And since when do you care about "invading my home"?!" She demanded, hurt and confusion swirling through her mind.

"I believe I've made by thoughts very clear. Do not bother looking for me, I'll do just fine on my own until it's time to leave. I have no desire for company." He bit out, his tone striking Mel in a way she never thought anyone could.

Her steps slowed before coming to a halt, fists clenched at her sides as she swallowed a lump. His words hit her to her core, she had talked with him and joked with him, but most of all she had trusted him with her story and he was cutting her off like her existence meant nothing other then obligation.

Just like her father.

Rage welled up in her and she took a jerky step forward, glaring after his retreating back.

"You know, I actually thought that I might have a friend in you. Someone who wouldn't judge and would just accept me for who I am. How stupid, you aren't any different then the other monsters that inhabit this island who use people and throw them away. You just come in a different form." Her words were thrown like fiery barbs, anger and pain clear in her tone.

"Oh that's rich, coming from the girl that abandoned a dying man in her home based purely upon his kind." He spat venomously over his shoulder.

"Are you kidding me?!" Mel shouted after him, nails biting into her palm with how hard her fists were clenched. "That was the mistake and fear of someone who has lived most of her life alone where new faces meant pain. Yet even then, you have never been "just a dark angel" to me! How the hell was I supposed to judge you based on the surface when even in the beginning I could see so much more, how could I do to someone else what has been done to me all of my life! The term dark angel means nothing to me applied to you! I care about the person, not some stupid title even if you're too shallow to look past that yourself."

His pace slowed, but Mel wasn't finished.

"You aren't a dark angel to me! You're a friend, you're-"

Her tone cut off as he abruptly halted and whirled to face her with glittering eyes and intensity in his expression that caught Mel off-guard.

"...just Gyendal." She finished, but her tone was uncertain now as she took in the way he stared at her so intently.

There was a single beat of nothing, neither of them moving as Mel waited for whatever came next.

Then Gyendal's bag slipped from his fingers, and Mel watched as the male in front of her crossed the clearing in wide steps to come to a halt in front of her. His hands came up to cup her face, and he leaned down the remaining space between them to crush his mouth against hers.

The sensations were overwhelming, terrifying and exciting all at once as he kissed her without giving her even a moments break to register what was happening. A sensation like nothing Mel had ever experiences as his mouth moved over hers she found herself leaning into him as she tilted her head further up to respond.

Then it was over, Gyendal pulling away slowly and straightening to full height while Mel caught her breath.

"Gyendal, what..."

She trailed off and he merely tilted his head in reply, muscles rippling as he tensed and stepped back. Mel stared at him, eyes widening as she noticed the shimmer of magic encasing the dark angel as he dropped his head back and closed his eyes.

She was just about to ask him what he was doing when the first feather fell.

It was a sight that Mel could hardly believe, the midnight black feathers falling to the ground with increasing speed from the bottom up as his wings began to shrink with every feather gone. The glow around Gyendal brightened as the skeleton of his wing began to be revealed, and then as the last feathers fell to reveal white bone, the skeleton too began to glow. Then it began to dissolve, the remains of the bones becoming stardust that spun around Gyendal before flying into the sky and exploding over it.

When the glow faded, Gyendal was left surrounded by black feathers looking as human as any of them.

"Gyendal?" She breathed, voice pitchy and fearful.

His eyes slowly opened, revealing intense forest green as he shot her a gentle and slightly pained half smile.

"A-are you okay?! What happened?! Did I-"

A long finger settled over her lips to silence her as Gyendal gave a slight shake of his head.

"No. It was not your fault, at least not how you think." He said, his voice having lost the razor like quality it once had.

"So it was my fault somehow?!" Mel squawked, Gyendal letting out a soft chuckle as he dropped his hand.

"Mel, do you know anything of the laws that govern the angels? I know that those on Aia know our laws, I do not know if you learned of them."

She shook her head in reply and Gyendal let out a soft sigh.

"It is written in the Law of Angels that an angel is forbidden to become involved with any of the beings on Aia. Our roll is to protect, we do not live among and develop relationships unless it is with a fellow angel. To break such a law, to fall for a human and act upon those feelings is a "sin" so to speak according to the laws. If we fall for a human we will "die" in that moment. We lose our angel wings and immortality, we become mortals ourselves." He explained, gesturing at the pile of black feathers around him.

Shock and guilt took turns battering Mel's brain as she stared at Gyendal.

"You became mortal?!"

He let out a soft laugh at the look on her face, reaching up to brush the tips of his fingers over her cheek.

"I did. It seems that you're my fatal sin."

"That's why you wanted to leave and avoid me, because of the law." Mel muttered, piecing her answer together before looking up at him. "I don't understand! If you knew that you would lose everything, why the hell did you kiss me?!"

His face went serious as he studied her and Mel waited nervously for his answer.

"Because I knew that the chances of finding someone who would see me as something more then a dark angel, and who was strong enough to stand with me especially amongst the angels was near impossible. I wasn't interested in leaving that behind just to save a pair of wings. Nearly nothing made me happy through the centuries of being an angel, but as a mortal not only am I free of the angels but I can start over with a new life."

His simple answer made her anger with him for throwing away all that for her vanish, his answer bringing realization that mortality came with a freedom that was held from him when he was an angel.

"So I have a different kind of question for you. Would you be willing to join me in my journey over Aia, leave behind the Fairie forest to travel at my side? We can explore all that this world has to offer, perhaps find those other fairies. I'm sure there are plenty of lucrative ways we can amuse ourselves at the expense of the humans..."

His question made Mel laugh, she never had to stop and consider her answer.

"Not sure what else I'd do with my life. I tried to stay aloof in the beginning but pretty soon I was entangled in the mess of your life thanks to you crashing practically onto my doorstep. Besides, through your harsh ways and training, you made me see what you knew was inside me all along." The last part of her answer was met with a chuckle from the male across from her and she shrugged.

"You acted as weak fairy halfling before." Gyendal stated calmly, before reaching out to offer his hand. "So what are you now?"

Mel smiled at his question as she recalled the last confrontation with a large group of fairies. A confrontation that she had won without struggle and instilled a fear of her that allowed her peace from their games. Firmly she set her hand in his, his fingers closing over her.

"I'm a warrior."

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Hello all!

I finally have a new oneshot for you all, and I gotta say that this one is not exactly fitting the theme of my other works so far. I went a little crazy for this one, and I do have to warn you that this one is my darkest Aveyond story yet. This was inspired by a thought I had when answering a meme on Aveyond dot com by the wonderful Rodania, and kind of exploded from there. So I blame this piece on here meme:D {Nothing like throwing someone else under the bus to buy time for escaping the angry mobs...}

I'm not going to say much here at risk of spoiling but I do have to give a couple warnings. First, this will not be a happy ending in any way. I won't be killing anyone off, but thats about the only thing I haven't done for this particular situation... Second, the version of Gyendal in this story is darker then the one in the game and more manipulative so fair warning about that. Lastly, this is not romantic. This oneshot is looking at one of the many, many ways their relationship could have been and the mental games that Aveyond just barely hinted at during Gates of Night and the Stella situation.

So yes, dark. I do hope that you guys will still enjoy the story since I had a lot of fun writing this, but it certainly won't be fluffy or feel good. I promise to make up for it in the future oneshots for this collection!

Enjoy! {plzdonthateme}

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Monster

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Late in the afternoon on yet another day of questing for Mel and her friends on their way to the life orb their group was walking into a city as the overcast sky above spit a few raindrops at their heads.

"Ugh, this is they worst! Now my hair is gonna get snarled, do you have any idea how miserable that is to have your hair feel like that when you actually care about your appearance?!" Lydia whined, Mel rolling her eyes as she scanned the square for somewhere to get some supplies.

"No one cares about your fashion crisis Lydia, least of all me. You wanted to come, I never invited you, or wanted you here actually."

Mel's snarky comment earned her an outraged squawk from the green haired girl and a sigh from Stella, the latter somehow managing to frustrate Mel more then the former.

"Perhaps stocking up on supplies instead of fighting amongst ourselves may be a better way to spend our time?" Te'ijal said from behind Mel, nudging her aside as the vampiress stepped out in front and started towards the market.

Mel's eyelid twitched slightly but she hurried after the vampiress with the rest of the group following behind. She quickly doled out tasks of things to buy for their next leg of the journey and quickly abandoned the others, the group running errands late evening before gathering together again close to the city entrance.

"We need to get going so that we can make it as far as possible before we have to break for some rest." Edward said firmly, Mel only half listening as she glanced up at the clouds moving to cover the moon.

"No. We already push our luck by travelling at night when the moon is providing us full light, within an hour the clouds will have rolled in and we'll be travelling in pitch blackness. We'll stay here for the night." She decided, the others in the group nodding in agreement.

"What?! Pitch blackness isn't going to make it any easier for Gyendal to catch us, and we already have been falling behind due to those monster attacks. We don't have the time to waste another night!"

"Everyone is tired Edward, even Te'ijal and Galahad. We can afford to get one night of good sleep." Mel said with a slight snort, Edward's face going slightly pink from embarrassment and frustration from her dismissal.

"Man, I really wish you'd actually take this seriously! Right from the beginning you've been winging every decision rather then planning, can't you work this out logically and not just act like this is some spur-of-the-moment quest?! The fate of Aia lies with whether you actually fix this or not!"

Edward never had a chance to react as she whirled abruptly on him, anger filling her features.

"You think I'm not taking this seriously?! This is my life Edward, I'm the one that has everything to lose in this. Other then Stella all of you could go on to start a new life if you left me here and went your own way. This prophecy doesn't change that, it just puts the world power in different hands!"

Edward gaped at her.

"What do you mean it changes the hands of power?! This prophecy will enslave the world! Get your head in the game, we're doing this to save the world!"

Mel gritted her teeth.

"No, you're doing this to save the world. I'm doing this so that I don't have Mordred's legacy hanging over my neck like an axe blade." She corrected, voice filled with aggravation.

"Are you kidding?! This isn't about you! This is about every single person on Aia! How could you dismiss everyone else like that?!" Edward cried incredulously, his arms flapping around dramatically.

"You find that when you're the one that's going to have your freedom taken away while everyone else just has to weather the storm of angry royals you become a little more focused on your plight then you do strangers discomfort. Now, I'm going to go get some sleep because contrary to your belief I'm taking this very seriously and want to be able to actually function tomorrow."

With that she stormed away, catching up with the others as they entered the inn. She didn't say a word to the others as she reached her bed at the far corner and curled up in it, back to the others as she began to drift off to sleep.

She was so sick of this, the fighting and the travelling. She just wanted to have someone on the party that could actually understand her. She knew that they didn't get it, they didn't understand why to her stopping this prophecy for her own sake was more important.

She just wished someone would understand.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

One wish.

That was all it took to change everything as unknown to her that wish made in the gateway between awake and dreamland opened a door to her that with a malevolent chuckle black tendrils of magic reached through to vanish into that opening.

And in Mel's head, a Dream began to form.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel was drifting on a pleasant cloud of nothing when her rest was disturbed by the sensation of wind gently blowing through her hair. She made a muffled sound of protest at the sensation and slowly opened her eyes only to bolt upright with a gasp.

"What the hell?! Where am I?!"

It was a forest, colours soft and muted as she sat in the middle of a quiet clearing. It was empty, no animals or birds or even insects could be seen or heard anywhere. She looked around wildly, the last she remembered she had been falling asleep in the inn.

"Wait a sec...I'm dreaming aren't I?" She questioned under her breath, reaching down to run her fingers over the petal soft grass below.

That was a foolish question, she realized as she thought about everything. This was clearly a dream, it was just so strange. She had never had a dream so vivid and lifelike before. She contemplated the situation for a moment, wondering if she should find a way to wake herself up. This dream was strange, and at the back of her mind she could sense another presence. One that had all the hairs on her body prickling.

"The fact that you have to ask that should answer your question well enough, don't you think?"

That one statement caused blind panic to set in as the voice of the very person she was fleeing echoed through her dream.

"No, this isn't possible." She whispered, stumbling back as she looked around wildly in search for someone who couldn't see. "How are you here?!"

There was a soft laugh and Mel was instantly propelled into action, she spun and bolted into the silent woods behind her. Her steps crunched leaves and twigs as she bolted through the trees with adrenaline pumping through her body.

"Don't bother running, I'm not going to go away. Have you forgotten that you are dreaming? This is merely one of your dreamscapes, made from the thoughts in your head and manifesting through what is at the forefront of your mind. I'm part of this dreamscape, and in turn a part of your mind." Gyendal's voice said, echoing through the forest trees.

"You think I'm going to believe you?!" She squawked, voice pitchy.

There was a snort of amusement and she fell into a defensive stance although it was rather pointless when Gyendal was at the moment nothing more then a disembodied voice.

"If I was really here, not just part of your dreamscape, and I was capable of harming you, do you really believe that you would still be here? Think logically, there is no merit in me simply existing here in a Dream if I was here and planning to harm you."

Mel stumbled to a halt, breathing hard and hands clenched as her mind processed what that meant. He wasn't here, but her brain was more then willing to terrorize her anyway clearly.

"So my mind won't even leave me alone to some peace when I'm asleep. Fan-freaking-tastic." Mel muttered bitterly, slumping against the nearest tree. "Remind me again why it's your voice I'm hearing and not someone's who I actually care enough to not want them dead?"

Another laugh and Mel groaned, rubbing her forehead.

"And now I'm talking to myself. Great."

"Perhaps, or perhaps not." Gyendal's voice said secretively. "Everything you made in your dreamscape may be an extension of your mind but you might as well be conversing with another person with how intricately designed yet near disconnected a person's dreamscapes are."

Mel pondered that for a long moment before shaking her head with a groan.

"I hate my brain, why Gyendal out of everyone I could possibly be thinking of."

"There are many possible answers to that, but...perhaps in a way this can be to your benefit." Gyendal's floating voice murmured, coming closer behind her before the echo drifted around in front of her.

"Oh I can't wait to hear this. Goddess, I have screwed up dreams..." Mel muttered.

"Well you wished for someone who could understand. Or more importantly, someone who wouldn't judge you for your thoughts. Well this is the perfect place to vent out everything, get it out so it no longer plagues you through the days of your journey."

Mel stared at the air incredulously, feeling equal parts incredulous that she was really having this mental conversation with her dream but also mildly interested by the statement.

"So go on, lay it out..."

After a moment of consideration Mel heaved a sigh and dropped down to sit at the base of the tree. Maybe venting and working it out in her mind might help.

Besides, one time of doing it this way wouldn't hurt anything.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When Mel woke up up she could hardly remember what she dreamed, she remembered the vivid feeling of the wind through her hair and the sound of a voice that now in waking she couldn't seem to quite remember the sound of.

But she remembered being able to vent, and sly words of encouragement that she was right in everything she thought so far.

She wasn't wrong for her anger, self preservation must come before all else when her suffering would be more then any one else's.

"Hey Mel! You finally ready to go?" Edward called from where he was sitting eating some bread for breakfast.

She nodded distractedly as she let out a long breath. That dream had given her the encouragement she needed, she was fine just as is.

"Yeah, coming."

Mel's mind didn't need to change, she just understood reality better then they did.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In a far away realm stood three nymphs, steadily working to weave the tapestry of life. One held a string with hesitation, vibrant blue and thrumming with life. So many months had been spent with the thread not being woven into any specific path. They could weave the basic of their fate, but it was up to the choice of the mortal to decide the path they walked in the end.

"She has decided." The one holding the thread suddenly said, voice soft and gentle like a spring breeze.

"Not completely, there is still time." The other said hopefully, voice kind and earnest as shimmering eyes met those of her companions.

"There is time, but things shall not be the same now. A choice has been made, the string is already starting to change. We cannot alter her path, it is time to weave her in." The third said solemnly.

The three fates let out a collective sigh before working together.

With but a few practiced movements the blue thread began to direct away from the woven rope of her companions who all shared the common goal of world protection.

Now it moved towards the lone string of blood red shimmering with black magic.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel laid on her back in the velvety grass, chewing on a long stalk as she watched fluffy clouds drift by in her dreamscape.

"You know, I can't understand why they don't let me send Lydia back the way she came. She drags us down, forces us to make stops to satisfy her own petty wants like those stupid dresses she's constantly wasting our precious gold on. Yet Edward just sighs and obeys her every whim. Even Galahad can't stand her, and that's saying something. I want to get this orb and end this whole mess and every moment she spends with us makes it harder."

There was a hum of understanding and a soft gust of air made the grass next to her shift as there was a flash of movement that Mel caught out of the corner of her eye. As usual when she turned to look there was nothing there and she shrugged slightly before turning her attention to the sky.

"Have you not considered just chasing her away on your own. You are the leader of the quest, you should have the right to make these decisions when it is your life this impacts." Gyendal's voice commented thoughtfully, Mel sighing.

"You'd think. But no."

Then she gave a halfhearted shake of her head.

"It doesn't matter. At least she's a useful Mage."

"Perhaps." The voice murmured. "But wouldn't it be so much easier if you had magic? You could take care of this whole situation without ever needing that green haired witches assistance. Never have to rely on someone else to deal with the things that only magic can help with. Magic never fully vanishes from a bloodline, and certainly not in so few generations. There might be something in you, just locked deep inside."

Mel's eyes narrowed in irritation.

"I don't have magic, and I don't need it. Goddess I wish people would stop trying to force magic on me!"

There was a sigh before the voice explained.

"They want you to have magic to help them in their wants and to prove their point. I simply suggest that perhaps magic might help you. The others do not count, but the things that you could do with it...imagine never having to rely on another person again."

"...I guess that's true..."

"Exactly." Gyendal's voice purred. "Simply something to consider."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel gritted her teeth hard enough that it hurt as she listened to Lydia snip at her about the fact that Mel even dared to be friends with Edward when he "clearly belonged to Lydia" for the millionth time.

"For goddess sake Lydia, I don't freaking want your prince! He's my friend, I'm not out to marry him! If you have a problem with who he talks to go yell at him and leave me the hell alone, or better yet get lost so that you don't have to see it anymore! Goddess knows I'd love to not have to listen to your shallow whining anymore." Mel finally snapped, whirling on the girl and slapping away the hand that was reaching for her shoulder.

"Ugh! Don't touch me you street rat, you probably carry disease or something!"

"Disease?! You-!"

But Lydia had already turned away to strut over to Edward and Mel was left standing in the path open mouthed and red faced with anger.

"Stupid, shallow, infuriating, insensitive, useless noble." She hissed under her breath, spitting the word noble like one would a curse.

"Oh dear, what happened?" A soft voice asked, Mel turning partially to see Stella come up next to her.

"Lydia happened. I swear her existence is solely to make my life even more miserable on this stupid quest." She muttered angrily, Stella sighing and resting a hand on Mel's shoulder gently.

"I know it's hard Mel, she can be quite trying at times..."

When her lilac haired friend trailed off Mel instantly shot her a suspicious look.

"Why do I sense a 'but'?! There is no 'but'! She's a trial, that's the end of it!"

Stella hesitated a moment before shaking her head.

"It's not fully her fault Mel, there's more to it then that. I've talked to her sometimes, when we're left behind while you guys shop or you scout ahead. This has been trained into her by parents. She doesn't know any better, yet there's a part of her that is trying to fit better. I see it."

Mel openly gaped at Stella, the entreating look in her friends violet eyes not effecting her in the least.

"Are you kidding?! I was trained that no life matters other then my own and that all nobles deserve to be killed while we get all their gold, does that give me a right to go around killing people?! I don't care what she was trained, she makes my life difficult and I don't want to have to deal with her!"

"Mel! I'm not asking you to be her friend or like what she does, but can't you at least try to have a little understanding? She's not as bad as you think! Edward gave you a chance even though you tried to run him off and look at what a good friend you have now. What if it's the same for Lydia? You aren't entirely innocent in your fights either, why don't you try not getting so angry at her and see how it changes things?" Stella said, upset by Mel's callous words.

The thief girl glared at her healer friend angrily and yanked her shoulder free.

"I don't care whether she's trying or not, I care about the fact that she treats me like crap, constantly insults and gets mad at Ulf simply for existing as an orc, and makes life difficult for everyone on this damn quest. Go pity her all you want, but don't expect me to coddle her right alongside you."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel wandered moodily through her dreamscape, kicking at any branches and plantlife that had the misfortune of being in her way.

"I'm not some perfect little doll for them to make how they want, I wish they would all just let me be to do this quest without trying to change me! Te'ijal and Galahad are the only ones who can just leave me be, but the others don't stop trying to "fix" things!"

There was a brush of phantom fingers over her shoulder in sympathy, Mel jumping slightly before continuing her rant.

"Stella expects me to just take Lydia's crap. Edward is all enamoured by Te'ijal's tales of his great ancestors quest against Ahriman and expects me to be all noble and caring like she had been, striving to save the world and putting her own life aside for the sake of others like some hero. Lydia just dumps her garbage on me, and even Ulf tries to suggest 'patience' as with that hesitant and caring way of his that makes me want to kick him!"

"They are really expecting to much from you. You already are taking on a bigger burden then the rest of them, yet they still force all these expectations on you." Gyendal's voice agreed, tone honeyed and filled with understanding.

"Exactly! What do they want from me?!" Mel exclaimed.

"They want you to change yourself, to become someone you aren't." Gyendal warned, "Don't let them do that to you."

Mel nodded to herself, determination filling her.

"No. I won't."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"You know what I realized?" Mel asked idly, doodling in the soft dirt with a stick.

"Hmm?" Gyendal's voice murmured, sounding lazy and relaxed from where it was coming behind her.

"More and more I'm remembering the events in my dreams. When I first started having them I didn't remember much, but now I know the voice I'm hearing and I can remember distinct conversations. Sometimes I even forget I'm not talking to another person during these dreams. What's changed?"

A flash of movement, but Mel was accustom to it now and never even shifted.

"Nothing, except your mind. You used to lock these thoughts away, you were already forcing yourself into the role they wanted. But you're freeing yourself now, and your mind is no longer trying to drown your musings out. That includes this dreamscape."

"So it's a good thing." She muttered to herself. "Well at least I'm having progress somewhere. It's not like the quest is moving along to quickly."

"It would be much easier on you if not for your human companions that hold you back. The orc, Te'ijal and Galahad all are working with you. The humans wish to work separate from the sole goal of your quest. It would be quite frustrating." Gyendal observed smoothly.

Mel's movements slowed as she thought about that statement, and how true it was.

"It it."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel whistled under her breath slightly as she skipped some of the perfectly flat rocks in her dreamscape. Her posture was relaxed, although frustration in her eyes did not mirror that.

"You know what Edward said to me today? That it would be nice for me once the quest was over, because then I would be able to settle down to live in Thais with all of them. He said he'd make me noble with a title once he was king, so that I would have security. Of course I would now have responsibility to noble gatherings and such, but I'd be able to have a good life." She shook her head angrily. "I told him I wasn't interested. I was planning on continuing as a spy under Professor Grey and he laughed."

She threw another rock, the splash it made sprinkling her with water.

"He told me that was a good job for someone not able to have a secure life they'd be happy in, but I would be better able to live if I was a noble. He completely dismissed my choice, and Stella agreed!"

"Have they no consideration for your wishes?" Gyendal's voice questioned sharply

"I don't know! But I'm sick of it! I'm sick them them seeing only what they want to see it me, and ignoring who I am! My roots are in Harburg, where I was an ace thief. I was good at what I did, and I liked what I did. I wanted more money and ability to buy what I wanted, but I wanted to do that in the same career I was in then! Being a spy is better and I enjoy it more, but both careers rely on similar skill sets and I'm not giving that up just to get old and fat in a fancy manor!"

A ghostly finger trailed over her hand, Mel twitching slightly at how real it felt.

"You are meant for far more then being yet another pathetic noble. You'd never fit that life, you're better then all of them." Gyendal's voice said, tone velvety

"Exactly. I'm not becoming one of his nobles. I'm a free woman, I'll be the only one to decide my life paths." She snapped, glaring out into the water.

"You hope. Our futures are never garunteed, unless you are the one in control you always run the risk of being controlled. That is how the human world works, conquest and conquered." He reminded her, the sensation of an arm brushing against hers making it so that if Mel closed her eyes she could picture someone sitting alongside her. "The only way you could ever secure your freedom to stay your own master, and never be subservient to another human would be to fulfill your Birthright."

Mel was silent, the absent tapping of her fingers on the ground next to her slowing as she considered his statement.

"Not that it matters, you aren't interested in the prophecy anyway right?" Gyendal's voice said dismissively.

"...yeah..."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel glanced up at the ornate sign above the weapons store before shrugging and entering, Edward and Lydia close behind. The door closed behind them with a cheerful tinkle of the bell and Mel let out a low whistle at the gold plated furnishings and fancy decorations.

"You'd never guess that you can just get weapons here. This looks like some sort of magic artifact store." Mel observed, Lydia nodding as she rushed past Mel to the staffs across the room.

Edward had already abandoned her to drool over the swords, although he wouldn't be getting one since he already had his Excalibur he still felt the need to ogle them.

"Can I help you?" A wheezy voice questioned from behind the desk several steps away, Mel glancing over to give the pudgy man a nod.

"Yes, we're looking to get some weapons that are ready for travel." Mel answered immediately, scanning the daggers on the far wall.

She expected him to offer up any sales if he was dedicated, or to take the more common path of helping Edward and Lydia due to their obvious wealth, but instead the man had shoved out from behind the table and stomped over with double chins wiggling as he sneered at her.

"You're in the wrong store for that little girl, this is a store for fighters and people who can afford good weaponry. There is a junk shop one street over that would carry weapons you could afford."

Mel stiffened and did a double take before her eyes narrowed. So he was one of those.

"I've got plenty of gold to afford a weapon, as do my companions. We-"

"Your companions?! Do not lie to me girl! I can see what kind of person you are, a street urchin come here to steal my wares and sell them! You'll not get what you want from here, I know better about your kind."

He spit his last words like they held an unpleasant taste and Mel felt such a strong déjà vu to not just her time in Harburg, but the times in Thais when she would wander the street. She didn't wear the clothing of the rich, she didn't fashion her hair into styles acceptable by nobles or even the middle class and people looked down on her because of it.

"Well my kind happens to have enough gold to pay you for a new blade." Mel snapped, reaching into her pocket and withdrawing a full gold bag. "So just show me your damn blades and I'll be out of your shop before you know- WHA?!"

The shopkeeper never even let her finish before he grabbed her arm, shoving her towards the door none too gently.

"Gold you stole! Don't try and bribe me with dishonest gold! I won't serve thieves and street scum in my shop!"

She yanked free but the shop owner reached up and shoved her shoulders hard, sending her stumbling out the door before she tripped on the stairs and fell hard to the ground below.

"Now stay out! You'll not pollute the atmosphere for my customers." He sneered before slamming the door with a resounding bang.

Mel gaped at the door before shoving to her feet, snatching her gold bag off the ground and shoving it into the pocket on her belt before storming off down the street towards where the rest of their party would be waiting.

She knew this would never happen to any of the other party, being looked down on and treated as scum simply for not dressing "rich" enough. Goddess she was so sick of people underestimating her and treating her as lesser because she wasn't noble.

But would they treat her like that if they knew who she really was, and exactly what she was capable of doing?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Goddess I hate them! Our human world is run by stuck up nobles, people who care more about how rich they look when walking down the street then they do about the world they live in, yet they're the ones that rule everything!"

Her expression was downright murderous as she stormed through the forest venting.

"Do you have any idea how humiliating it is to be thrown out of a shop and have to take that treatment because if I make a fuss I'm more likely to get arrested for disturbing the peace or being a thief or somesuch accusation then I am to be treated like an equal human?!"

"If they knew who you really were they would respect you. Heir of Aia, they'd never treat you with such disrespect." Gyendal's voice pointed out.

Mel barked out a hard laugh.

"Oh no, it would take more then that. The day I would get respect is the day I took on that prophecy and the power that came with it because then they would be forced to respect me. They would be forced to acknowledge that I'm an equal." She spat, rage in her tone. "Nothing less would do unless it came with a complete makeover into a noble."

There was a invisible touch to her shoulder, a encouraging squeeze before the sensation faded.

"They should all be down on their knees before you, you have the power to destroy them right at your finger tips yet you resist for their sake. Ungrateful and worthless, you deserve nothing less then their undying gratefulness and respect."

"They'd never give it to me even knowing that I'm choosing not to fulfill that prophecy. They thing they're owed the freedom they have, I would be hated for even mentioning that situation because only a monster would ever consider a prophecy that would take away their comfort." Mel's tone was thick with mocking as she spoke of the nobles.

Gyendal gave a hiss of disgust.

"They are not worth the freedom they have. You deserve power and respect, to do what you like without having to take the treatment they dish. Their being is worthless compared to yours, you are more then they will be and have a Birthright they would never begin to comprehend. You deserve the power to pay them back for what they do."

Mel nodded slightly, face still tight and angry.

"You're right."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel reclined back against a log in their camp, absently eating her dinner as she glanced around their group. Ulf and Edward were playing checkers, having drawn their board on paper and using stones as the pieces. Te'ijal and Galahad were talking in incredibly low tones about goddess knew what, then Stella and Lydia were discussing something about magic.

Taking advantage of the peace Mel slid down to lay partially as she snacked, gazing blankly up at the starlit sky.

"...I cannot believe that the spell actually worked!" Lydia's voice exclaimed incredulously, Mel glancing over curiously.

"Neither can I. I'm excited to know that I'm actually capable of making a dreamscape with another mind. I'm wondering it's when you aren't a healer though. It seemed to be struggling against my natural magic to access another person's mind like that." Stella said softly.

Dreamscape?!

Mel sat up abruptly, food forgotten.

"Hey, what are you guys talking about?" She questioned.

Stella looked over and smiled warmly at Mel, gesturing for her to join them. Lydia rolled her eyes and let out a heavy sigh but made no other complaint and Mel took her seat with the two mages.

"We were trying a new spell that allows a Mage to create a Dream connection to another person. While the other person is asleep it is possible to create what's called a dreamscape, which is almost like an alternate realm within a dream where two people can meet in the same dream reality."

Mel's muscles tightened as she listened, mind working frantically.

"Aren't dreamscapes just all the different dreams you have though?!"

Stella paused, staring at Mel in confusion at the black haired girls slightly panicked tone.

"Hardly!" Lydia laughed in answer to Mel's question. "Those are just dreams. Dreamscape is a term that applies only to a dream reality where two people meet. They can be created both with or without the sleeping person's knowledge, but only a powerful Mage is capable of doing so. The more powerful the mage, the more intricate the dreamscape."

All the blood drained out of Mel's face at Lydia's words, her thoughts stuttering to a halt.

"That's...wonderful." She said, a slightly hysterical laugh escaping her. "You know what? I'm going to bed now."

Turning slowly she made her way over to her sleeping bag, slipping off her boots and climbing in as slowly rage began to replace her shock.

"Hey Mel...are you okay? You're acting stranger them usual." Lydia said unsurely, staring in confusion at Mel.

"I'm fine." She squeezed out from between gritted teeth before closing her eyes tightly.

She didn't have time to talk right now, she wanted answers and she was going to get them.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When Mel opened her eyes in the dreamscape they were blazing with anger and she never waited for the voice-...no, for Gyendal to greet her.

"Where are you!" She shouted, striding angrily through the forest that she once thought of as peaceful.

Now it was just another reminder of a lie, a escape that had never been hers and months of a lie.

"I know you're here Gyendal, get out here and face me!" She shouted, hearing a shift behind her and wheeling to face it to see nothing but trees. "Or are you too cowardly to get rid of that cloaking spell?"

There was a low growl and Mel knew that she had caught him out, his pride wouldn't let him avoid her now.

There was a rustle in front of her, then with a rush of wind the invisibility cloaking was gone and Mel found herself facing the vampire mage who stood several feet away across the small clearing. .

"Gyendal." She greeted, voice cold although she couldn't quite hide the shake.

The powerful mage was silent, cloak ripping in the wind as he gazed down at her with narrowed scarlet eyes.

"So you finally figured it out did you?" He murmured.

"You slipped up when you called this a dreamscape, I heard Lydia and Stella talking about it and they explained everything." Mel said through gritted teeth, fists clenched at her sides.

She was bracing for an attack, for the game he had been playing of faking friendship to go up in smoke any second now. But he only tilted his head as he acknowledged her statement.

"''Tis an easy mistake, slipping up and using correct terminology when that was what was taught for so long." Was the unreadable reply.

Every muscle in Mel's body was on edge, rage pulsing through with every breath she took.

"I want answers Gyendal, what is this all about?! What are you going to do to me now? Why did you fake me like this, playing the sympathetic and now that I know this is real, acting as a friend?! You hate me, I'm the one screwing up everything for you so why are you doing this?! You gain nothing!" Mel snarled.

Gyendal smirked slightly, the expression making the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end as he raised one mocking brow.

"Who said I'm going to do anything? I never came here to harm you, or you would have long since been dead. No, I came here for a very simple reason. Curiosity." He said, a sly smile playing on the corners of his lips as he turned and started walking away.

Left with no other choice she started after him, not paying any attention to her surroundings as he wove through the thickening forest.

"I am a predator first and foremost, but I am also a scholar and a mage. Your heritage is fascinating, as is the power locked inside of you. I expected you to react like every other human I've seen, yet you were different and it intrigued me. I wanted to learn what you really thought of this, what drove you. This was the perfect way to learn that."

Mel snorted at his words, the muscles in her jaw tense.

"So I was basically just an experiment to you, something to pass the time as you hunted our group through Aia. So did you find what you want in my mind, did you learn what you were looking for?!" She sneered, tone poisonous.

"Oh I learned a great deal." He said smoothly before suddenly wheeling on her, Mel abruptly running into his chest as he leaned over her. "Such as that you and I are far more alike then I could have ever guessed."

His words brought Mel up short, as did the slight smirk on his face and she carefully took several steps back as she studied him warily.

"So what? We both hate people or something?"

He laughed, the sound dark and silky.

"Oh I'm sure that's part of it, but I was referring more to the reason you are standing here facing me rather then out there with Stella and Lydia and relying on others to face your problems as you make yourself into what they want. You are strong on your own, you don't trust blindly, you are strong yet your mind is your first line of defence rather then brute strength...and you have lived your life capitalizing on those who underestimate and undervalue you in all you do."

His words hit her hard, and she struggled to remind herself after all the time spent talking and venting in the dreamscape that Gyendal was not a friend to listen to.

"What do you know of being underestimated and undervalued? Te'ijal has told us plenty about you, the feared and respected Lord of Twilight."

His face darkened, lips lifting in the slightest of snarls to show a hint of fang.

"Oh I'm respected now, but did she tell you how many I killed to get to the place where I wasn't the lowest on the food chain? The one who took their kicks and mocking? I'm not a warrior, not like most of them. Many of those who were in Ged'ahre when I was first of them were knights that had been turned during raids on human villages that were common during that time. They had no respect for the slender boy who chose magic and books over swords and blood."

Mel watched as Gyendal held up a hand, black fire blazing to life and coiling through his fingers before going out.

"So I learned, and I plotted. Then one day in front of the entire city, I used that scorned magic and I killed their five ringleaders in one fell swoop. Then things changed, I grew in my own power and in political power. I'm feared now, but I was not always. I understand your life, and your need to break free of those chains." He said, taking a half step forward towards her.

"My life is nothing like yours. You were scorned, I have friends who protect me. I don't need your help to break any chains, I don't need anything you have to offer."

He laughed at her words, his smile sinister before he slowly began to walk around her.

"Isn't it though? You think your "friends" would protect you if they knew the truth? That they would care about you?" He murmured, eyes glittering cruelly. "Do not delude yourself. You think they would respect you? They don't care about you, it the true you. They blind themselves to who you are and hurt you as they try and turn you into someone you aren't."

Mel was frozen as he prowled around her slowly, unable to turn away from his words.

"You think they'd still love someone who sees all lives other then hers and those she cares about as expendable? That they'd respect you if they knew that you feel no guilt in taking what you need for your own benefit? That you would never sacrifice yourself for the sake of Aia's comfort the way they want?"

"Shut up, what do you know about love." Mel spat, voice shaking.

"Then by all means. Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me that they would actually love you when you dream of the power to pay back and silence those who mock and hurt you. That they'd still stand by your side if you killed one of their precious nobles to protect yourself." She opened her mouth to argue, both nothing came out and he gave a mirthless laugh. "If they knew who you really were they would turn their backs on you, and if you ever acted to protect yourself rather then their comfort they would never forgive you."

Mel stumbled back from Gyendal into a large oak, his words stabbing through all her walls deep into her heart. She squeezed her eyes closed, leaning sideways against a tree as she took a shaking breath to settle herself.

"Tell me I'm wrong." Gyendal challenged again, Mel choking out a laugh.

"No. Because if they knew the truth they'd probably hate me." She said bleakly, not even reacting as the vampire mage advanced towards her smoothly. "So what does that make me now?"

A hand reached up behind her to brace against the trunk of the tree as Gyendal leaned down until his mouth was against her ear as he began to speak. Mel's eyes drifted shut at the touch, a jolt going up her spine.

"That makes you just like me." He breathed, lips tracing the outer shell of her ear. "...a monster."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Above it all in a place simply known as dreamland the three fates watched below at the group of ragtag companions as the journey began to reach it's end. All three were focused on the black haired young woman, watching as night after night her thread began to actively be woven through until it slipped alongside that of dark scarlet red.

As they watched Mel in her daily routine they watched deeper then the surface, looking past the disguises that hid a person's true thoughts.

And while all her companions pulsed strong with vibrant colour, the sign of a soul following their calling, the three fates watched in defeat as in the young woman of such power and conflict black bled through sapphire blue and the soul of the Darkthrop heir was taken forever from their grasp.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mel stood face to face with Gyendal blue eyes cold and determined.

"Tomorrow we will reach the Naylith summit, the quarter keys have been completed and now that we have hatched that bird we will finally be going to taken to the life orb."

Gyendal's eyes glittered with wild excitement, the darkness and insanity swirling to the surface and breaking through his usually carefully controlled demeanour.

"We're so close to finishing this, ending the trials for you and freeing you from the bondage of your station amongst those humans. One more step, before you take hold of the power you rightly deserve."

"You have no idea how long I've waited to finally be able to stop running." Mel said, unable to fully erase the resentment in her tone.

Gyendal did not respond to her statement as his fingers fluttered up and down her arm, nails tracing over her skin in intricate patterns with a touch soft as sin while he fixed her with a piercing gaze.

"Are you ready for the final step. Are you ready to turn your back on their charade?"

"Yes. I'm ready to end this."

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

When Stella pulled the hidden switch that revealed the door to the orbs chamber Mel felt the thunk through her entire body. Every nerve ending in her body was humming with tension, every step closer to the chamber a step closer to the end of this mess. Her hand flew up to grab a new necklace edition, one that somehow the others had missed the appearance of from sleep to waking. It pulsed slowly in her hand as if with a life of her own and she shook her head slightly before dropping her hand and stepping through into the orb cave.

It wasn't time yet.

Mel felt the pull of the orb before she even could see it, the hum of the soft power inside. They followed behind her as she entered the cavern, the others spreading out around it and Mel moving around so that as she faced the orb, there was clear wallspace behind her.

"There it is." She murmured, eyes focused in on the lights swirling within.

"The orb of light." Edward added, excitement filling his voice. "Go on Mel, pick it up!"

She stepped forward, hands gripping on both sides as it began to glow and thrum in her hand. Mel lifted it carefully, stepping back as she looked out over the group, excitement and relief in all their faces.

The sound of glass shattering into a million pieces wiped that expression off their faces faster then anything that could have possibly been said.

"MEL!"

"YOU BROKE IT!"

"That was our only way to stop him! Why would you do that!" Stella cried, her angry and broken voice echoing above the rest as if the shattering of the orb was simply the icing on the cake after remembering Gyendal taking her wings.

Mel stared blankly at them, her mask that she had been upholding for so long falling away as her eyes grew cold and dark. Behind her she heard a vortex open, the others falling back with cries of shock as the energy of the very vampire they were fleeing exited behind Mel as she stood stone still.

"Well, isn't this a pleasant welcome." Gyendal murmured, Mel not even bothering to look over her shoulder as she felt him approach.

"Are you insane Mel?! Don't just stand there, he'll take you!" Edward shouted, sounding absolutely beside himself with anger and bafflement at her strange behaviour.

At his words Mel allowed the smallest of smiles, meeting her once-friends gaze steadily and allowing him to see the triumph inside her eyes as a leather gloved hand reached out to settle on Mel's waist and slide around over her bared midriff to wrap around her from behind.

The look of shock and horror on the expressions of almost everyone in front of them made something in Mel's heart clench, a locked away voice crying out that this was so so wrong.

But it didn't matter, she pushed it aside and leaned back into Gyendal as she scanned the faces of those she had travelled with.

"I don't think you get it Edward." Mel said, her voice cold. "He is here to take me, and that is because I told him exactly where to find us. I'm not running, not anymore."

"You told him?! How?" Te'ijal demanded, hands moving towards her bow slowly.

Suddenly Lydia made a sound of horrified realization.

"The dreamscapes!"

All eyes flicked to her as the green haired girl shook her head.

"I didn't think, but it's all so obvious. He opened a dreamscape but you never realized it! That's why you reacted how you did, you had just found out that it was him!" Lydia said urgently, each word falling over the next in her haste to get it out. "All along you've been dreaming of him, that's how you told him when we would be here!"

"Smart one, isn't she." Gyendal said mockingly, Mel grinning slightly at his words.

"Wait, this is because of dreams?!" Edward exclaimed before pointing at Gyendal. "He's manipulating you Mel, he's lying and using your emotions against you! This isn't who you are, not really!"

"Are you kidding?!" Mel snarled, amusement gone instantly. "What do you know of who I am Edward, the only me you ever knew is the one you chose to see. I'm so sick of being pushed around, of my life being dictated by what those who deem themselves above me decide. I'm making my choice, I'll decide my own future and with this prophecy I'll have the power to do what I want."

"Gyendal has only used you Mel, please see some reason!" Galahad urged, stepping forward pleadingly.

Behind her Gyendal laughed, the sound cold and dark.

"Use her? Oh no, I'm not doing a thing. Every single last thing she knows now is things she believed and knew all along. I just confirmed what she already knew, I'm hardly the one in control here. You underestimate her still, but I think that this more then proves you all wrong. She's making her own choice, I'm merely walking through it with her as a...friend." He stroked a finger across her stomach with a mocking chuckle, a sickened look crossing the faces of the others at the sight.

"See Edward, I told you that I was in this for myself. You wouldn't believe me, wouldn't listen when I said that I was doing whatever it took for my own sake. Now do you believe me?" She asked, her voice quiet in the cave.

Edward opened his mouth to reply, but before he could do a thing Mel saw a flash of colour out of the corner of her eye and jerked her head just in time to see Lydia summoning a spell.

Instinct drove her and without even realizing what she was doing Mel threw out a hand at her, there was a flash and a small explosion before Lydia was thrown forcefully backwards into the wall with a thunk before the green haired teen crumpled motionless to the ground.

"Lydia!"

Edward and Stella lunged for the girl, Ulf close behind while Galahad and Te'ijal just gaped at Mel. The raven haired young woman let out a strangled gasp, yanking her hand back and staring at it with wide and frightened eyes.

"I-I-"

"Your power, it's awakened!" Gyendal hissed gleefully, arm tightening momentarily around Mel who had started to shake.

"She's alive." Stella said in relief, Edward not even reacting as he turned to stare at Mel.

She met his eyes, her own wide and shocked as she opened her mouth. Mel wasn't sure what she had been about to say, an apology maybe, but the look on the princes face silenced her.

He was staring at her in horror, and the rage that simmered there was a look she had only ever seen applied to Gyendal.

A bleak understanding washed over Mel and she let out a strangled sound, she had never fully believed that they would hate her for once they knew the truth, a small part of her holding onto the tiny hope that they might still love her even through anger. That look on his face brought realization though, there was no other way this could have happened.

"You could have killed her." Edward spat, tears in his hazel eyes. "You-you're-"

Mel smiled, the expression hopeless as a mirthless laugh escaped her to echo around the cave.

"I'm what Edward?"

"You're turning into a monster." He finally said, the words escaping as a strangled sob.

Mel shook her head slowly as she began to move, turning her back on her friends to face Gyendal and the portal to her new life. As they stepped towards and through the portal the last words they heard from Mel were ones that would haunt them to the end of their lives.

"No Edward, I already am one."

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This last piece kills me even when I don't reread it. All I have to do is look at the name and I'm dead. And the end TTTT_TTTT

Please excuse me while I go look for fluff okay

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@Queen-of-Ice101 I decided to catch up on your Aveyond fanfics, and then I saw this for the first time, and oh man. I don't mean to gush...but this is probably my favorite AV3 fic out there. I love how you characterized Mel, and the dark undercurrent of Mel/Gyen, and how you made Lydia the object of sympathy and just. Everything? Parts of this were scarily similar to the outline of the dark!Mel fic I'm writing (the dreamscape and Mel's anger at other people telling her who she should be, specifically), so please don't think I'm trying to plagiarize you...you just inspired me, subconsciously:kawaii-nervous:

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@Mu11berry .......I am torn between being absurdly happy that I had such an impact with my story and feeling bad for putting your through that..... I promise to produce fluff soon!!

@moonpeace I am so happy to hear you enjoyed it that much!!! I was a little nervous about how it would be perceived because of how dark I went and the way I portrayed MxG so your review is extremely encouraging and I was super happy to read that:kawaii-happy: 

Haha don't worry, I wouldn't think that!!! The thing about dark!Mel is that using that plot base of the expectations and restrictions on there is honestly so useful for the plot because it fits the character we've seen all along so I think it would be more surprising if no one else had thought of it then if someone else wrote a story with those elements. {Plus dream based stuff, thats the ultimate fantasy story helper XD }  Honestly, I can't wait to read your fanfic!!!

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@Queen-of-Ice101 Maybe others in this fandom do like them, I don't know, but I adore dark fics, especially for something like Aveyond where the dark aspects of characters are hinted at but not shown too much since it's a lighthearted game. I found your oneshot collection on fanfiction.net with this story in it btw, so I'll be reading the others and reviewing them on there :D 

Yeah, I really do think that a teeny part of Mel wanted magic if only so she could have the power to blast away everyone who pushes her around. I'd add more character analysis because I have way too much of this stuff bouncing around in my head, but I don't want to spoil stuff I haven't even written yet :kawaii-sad:

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@moonpeace Haha yeah, I'm not sure either. Plus I'm always aware that MxG is a pairing that at times can push the limit for some people just as is so darker.....  Yesssss I love dark fics!!!!  Oooh yay, I can't wait to hear what you think of them!! 

agreed honestly. I especially remember how in TDP during that journal timeskip Mel talks about how the magic made her crave more and got her addicted to the power. I actually kind of think that a dark!Mel ending would have made more sense for AV3 then the dark!Rhen ending did for AV1.  Ooooh well then I'm really looking forward to this now!!! I love character analysis and fics that really dig into deeper emotional struggles.

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@Queen-of-Ice101 I am LATE but I am responding anyway to assure you that you don't need to feel bad for breaking my heart, it is used to it XD  So just feel happy that your story had an impact, that is the intention of my emotional rants.

However, if you're offering.... ... ... I can't resist the lure of the fluff XD XD XD

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Yaaaaaaaaaay October has finally come! I'm so excited to finally be able to share this with you all, I wrote it last week but since it was written for Halloween month I had to wait to post it.

So this piece isn't MxG at all, it focuses in entirely on Te'ijalxGalahad. This is probably my darkest Aveyond fanfic so far {XD XD So soon after my last "darkest" one, I see to be on a roll~} and I have to give a major warning before you go any further. This is not a nice fluffy fanfic, there is a hint of fluff but if you are easily emotionally distraught by fan fiction I give fair warning now should you choose to read that you are not going to find the happy stuff.

Not all of my works for Halloween will be like this, but this one is definitely dark.

So enjoy and please don't kill me at the end:D

{Putting in a spoiler so that people easily bothered by these kinds of themes can skip over without seeing anything}

Spoiler

Few things could shake the vampire paladin any longer, not after centuries of living cursed and damned to eternal torment as the one creature he had feared most. He had seen empires rise and fall, humans born and dead. Life had faded into a monochrome blur of pointless existence. This quest to figure out how to help the human girl Mel was only just another blip in his timeline of pain.

Then clarity had come, vibrant and piercing as Gyendal had walked into that tower with his minions behind him. His cloak billowed out behind him and Galahad knew with certainty that they had just played into the dark mages hands like puppets on a string.

"Thank you sister, for doing the work for me. I'll be taking that now." Gyendal laughed, holding up his hand and as with a crackle of magic the book flew from Te'ijal into his grasp.

Te'ijal shouted and lunged, but the vampires were too fast and all to quickly she was frozen with a stake pressing against her chest. Galahad instinctively moved to throw them away from his cursed wife but before he could even take a step he was also surrounded, armour ripped to the side with vampire magic to allow them complete access to his chest.

Galahad instantly froze, feeling the tip of the wood pressing into his flesh. Adrenaline pumped through him, instinct telling him to flee but knowledge of his impending death should he move so much as an inch keeping him in place.

"How regrettable brother, and utterly typical. Can't even do your own dirty work?"

Rage flaired in the younger Ravenfoot's eyes.

"Oh pardon me, would you like thanks for your work? I'm sure you have my heartfelt gratitude. In fact, I think that it's only fair I pay you back for all you've done. Stopping me from taking the Darkthrop girl and betraying not just your family but your entire kind."

There was a snarl as Te'ijal bared full fangs at Gyendal

"Don't tell me you plan to lock us up, keep us out of your way until this quest is over?"

Cruel laughter echoed through the chamber and Gyendal gave a mocking shake of his head.

"Oh no, that is far to temporary for my needs..."

Realization washed over Galahad like ice water at the implication behind his words.

"You plan to kill us." He said, mouth dry.

"No...I plan to kill my sister. You on the other hand have no part in this, you were dragged into our conflict." Gyendal said plainly, taking a half step towards Galahad. "A noble knight, had his soul and his future ripped away from him by the woman he calls his wife. Cursed to live an eternal nightmare. Consider my actions a gift, you are hereby released from Te'ijal."

"No! I am your sister! How dare you!" Te'ijal shouted, every muscle in her body clearly these as she battled the desire to leap free knowing that doing so would cause her the carefully placed stake to shove right through her heart.

"You would speak to the lord of twilight in such a way?! Can I stake her now milord?" One of the vampires asked eagerly.

"No. Staking is far to merciful for her crimes. Tie her up and take her to the top of the tower, she will die with the morning sun." Gyendal ordered before turning to Galahad. "Do you wish to follow in her steps? Or am I right in believing that you are ready for freedom that has long been refused? All I require in exchange for your freedom is that you do not interfere with my plans."

He never even fully listened to Gyendal's terms, everything in him was fixed on one word.

Freedom.

"I agree to your conditions!"

"Then leave and do not return." Gyendal ordered, Galahad breaking away from the vampires that guarded him as he sprinted down the steps and out of the tower.

He never paused or considered his steps as he went straight to the tavern, relieved to finally be able to enjoy one that did not serve blood. He took residence in the far corner, ordering a drink gruffly and snatching it across the counter to him before letting out a long sigh.

One drink.

Two drinks.

Galahad began to lose count as he waited, waited for the relief and joy to come of his freedom.

But nothing came.

His mind instead drifted, forcing him back to Te'ijal again and again no matter how hard he battled himself away from her. He let out a hiss grabbing his head in his hands and cursing himself under his breath.

"She is as good as dead, stop thinking of her! Enough!" He snarled under his breath.

Galahad closed his eyes tightly, his thoughts wandering once again except this time to the events that had taken place. His mind slowly replayed what had happened how close he had come to death and how relieving it had been to escape it-...

No.

A sudden strangled sound escaped him and his spine snapped straight as he stared straight ahead in horror.

He was glad that he hadn't died. He was relieved to continue his vampire existence.

"No, no this isn't right." Galahad breathed, shaking hands gripping the cup with increasing strength.

The sound of wood splintering ripped him into reality, wood piercing into his hand and he shoved the cup away. Several people called at him but he did't hear a word as he slapped money down on the counter and staggered off his chair and towards the door. One broad shoulder was all he needed to shove the door open as he pulled the wood splinters out of his flesh without so much as a wince, the door slamming shut behind him

"I'm accepting this curse. I'm glad to be alive, even being a vampire and alone. It's finally working, her curse is taking root." He breathed.

He looked down at shaking hands, almost expecting to see white. He would never drink blood, never lose himself like that. Yet he could feel it, the hunger that was always there in the back of his mind.

Again his mind flashed back to the source of this, Te'ijal. He could see her in his minds eye, swinging one hip out as she shot her one of her sultry smiles and walked away into another room.

"I can't get her out of my mind!" He shouted to the empty street, anguish filling his voice.

In the back of his head a soft and traitorous voice asked him if he even wanted to. Again he thought of her, and something in him clenched at the thought of living out eternity alone.

Without her.

A million emotions flashed through him and something deep inside his chest settled like a stone.

He knew what he had to do.

With running steps Galahad followed the path he had just agreed never to take again. He exited the main city of Harburg, moving through the night until he could see the ruins of the Darkthrop keep towering above. Two vampires stood guard over the walkway leading up to the keep. He reached into the bag he carried strapped to his armour, face impassive as he withdrew two razor sharp stakes.

When he stopped in front of the vampires he could see the disgust on their face.

"I knew you would return, you fool knight." One spat, the other opening his mouth to agree.

Galahad never gave the second one a chance to say a word as with synced movements he raised both stakes and killed the vampires without second thought. Ash landed in heaps on the ground, Galahad stepping over them with nothing more then a shiver as he thought of what he was doing.

Silently he entered the tower, letting the door slam behind him as he rushed up stairs and through doors, every moment one closer to where Te'ijal was being held.

Then finally he reached the top of the tower, hand reaching out to push the door open and step into the tower.

"...I'm still here and quite tied up if thats what you're wondering. Go back to guarding like good little lapdogs for my brother will you?" Te'ijal droned.

When there way no reply and no door closing he heard Te'ijal sigh, but her frustration vanished as he stepped around the wall column.

"Galahad! How did you get here?! What about the vampires below?! I thought you had taken your freedom!" Te'ijal fired at him one after another, struggling once more against the ropes around her.

"I thought I had too." He rasped, slowly crossing the floor to kneel down before her.

They were both silent as he studied her, the creature of the night that he hated so much but could not drive from his mind. The woman that had somehow ripped her way past his humanity and reduced him slowly to barely better then the evil being she was.

Fingers touched featherlight to her cheek and as if in a trance he leaned down, his heart letting go of the last hopes he had carried to remain the noble knight he had once been. Te'ijal's eyes drifted shut as he covered her mouth with his own.

His hands slid over her back, down the curve of her shoulder to the first set of knots. A small touch was all it took to identify the kind of knot that had been used. It was almost impossible to undo, but the vampires had foolishly left just enough give that if he was careful he could cut her free. His finger toyed with the rope a moment, then he reached around with his other hand and with a quick movement grabbed the rope ends hanging free and jerked them hard.

Te'ijal broke away from his kiss with a shout of pain, the knot uncompromisingly tight around her now.

"What are you doing?!"

Galahad stared down at her, the wide and shocked scarlet eyes staring back up at him before standing and looking out the massive window in front of him.

"I'm making sure I cannot give into temptation, that to cut you free would take to the time of the sunrise." He said simply as he reached to his waist and removed his sword belt.

The clatter echoed through the tower as he cast the sword scabbard away, his error following and leaving him in the soft cotton clothes underneath. A rare element of panic could be seen in her eyes as he dropped to sit next to the woman he called his wife.

"Why are you doing this?!" Te'ijal shouted, her voice desperate. "You had your freedom, why are you throwing it away!"

He let out a bitter laugh.

"My freedom? I thought I had it also, but as I stood out there in the streets I realized that my freedom was taken years ago. My mind is no longer my own, my desires are not my own. I promised myself I would never lose myself but even as I sit here your very existence inside my head haunts me and taunts me with what I have become."

Venom bled into his tone, his face darkening as rage swept through him hot and wild.

"Every moment of my existence no longer belongs to Galahad the paladin, there is nothing left of the noble man who you turned. You've tainted me, Te'ijal, made me into a creature of the night that clings to an unholy life of eternal death and hungers for the blood of the innocent. I am slowly becoming nothing more than an animal, not caring for the sins of my existence and desiring what I should curse and hate. I hated you, but the vampire wants you and needs you!"

Te'ijal gaped at him and just as quickly as the rage had come, it dissipated. Leaving him empty. His gaze became almost soft as he reached up to brush a hand over Te'ijal's cheek.

"Galahad, you-"

"It's alright." He soothed gently, "I'm making this right in a way I was too coward to do before. I'm atoning for my sins, I'm taking the penance I deserved from the moment I stepped into a marriage with you. We'll make things right for our existence before the goddess. We'll pay our price, and then we'll be free."

"You've lost your mind." Te'ijal breathed, horror and revulsion in her eyes.

But deeper he saw the love, the fear and the regret. A peace filled him, he could go on now that he that he saw her regret for her love of the vampire existence. Behind them the first signs of the sunrise began to show and he gave her a tender, twisted smile.

"We shall fulfil those unholy marriage oaths together Te'ijal." He whispered, taking hold of his wife's hand one last time as the first burn of the sun touched them.

"Till death do us part."

 

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That was extremely scary and yet, so very sweet... I really enjoyed this piece; for it truly had portrayed the hardships that married couple needed to go through.

Can't wait to read more of your October works!

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So this fanfic is one that I specifically wrote for @Honey Butter Chloe, the fulfillment of a general request I was given. Over a month ago Chloe asked if I would be willing to write a fic about her two OC twins of Mel and Edward, and I have been planning for a bit now to make it halloween themed. I had planned to write and upload this closer to halloween, however Chloe has been going through the great suffering commonly known as evil school exams and knowing how stressful those are I really wanted to do something nice as a sort of "celebration" for being finally over with them so I got to work and managed to get this written today. 1:00 in the morning and it is finally ready to be posted!!!

Chloe, I really hope you like this and it makes you smile after the long stint of exams you've had to do. Lots of hugs!!:kawaii-love:

Enjoy!!

_____________________________________________________________

:staff:Spooky Celebrations:sword:

_____________________________________________________________

Thais castle stood over the city like a shining beacon, a tall and peaceful sight. It was a symbol to the people of a secure ruler who watched over them and all who visited the grand city looked forward to seeing the massive castle in person.

However in this castle, peace was the last word that could be used to describe what was taking place inside.

_____________________________________________________________

"I want to be a demon hunter!!!" A wail echoed through through the spacious bedroom belonging to the young prince Markus.

There was a harried sigh as the blank haired woman standing in front of the petulant prince closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

"Markus-"

"Mommy! Mommy! I found my costume!!" A little girls voice exclaimed in excitement....before a girl came running out of the connected room in nothing but underpants and a witches hat.

"Eliza!!! What-"

"Mel, how are the costumes going?" 

The woman whirled towards the door so fast one would have thought that she had just been informed a lifetime supply of roast rat was sitting on the table downstairs in the dining hall.

"Edward!!!" She called in relief, her husband making his way over to her and kissing her cheek as he gazed around at the chaos of the room. "They're are out of control! Markus is dead set on getting exact versions of demon hunting weapons and refuses to settle for any replicas and just look at Eliza!!"

Much to Mel's aggravation Edward only laughed before stepping forward and raising his fingers to his lips before giving a shrill whistle, the twins instantly freezing before whirling to face their father who was fixing the two of them with stern looks despite the twinkle in his mossy green eyes.

"What is this I'm hearing about you giving your mother a hard time about your costumes?" He asked, Marcus getting a slightly guilty look on his face. "Now that isn't one bit fair to your mother who's been working very hard to get you the costumes you want. Now you two are going to give her a hug and let her go down stairs to have a little break, then the thee of us are going to find the perfect costumes together."

Mel shot her husband a thankful look as two smaller forms threw themselves into her arms for a hug before racing off to Eliza's room to go through her costume bin as well.

"Have some tea and relax sweetheart, I'll take care of the rascals." Edward assured her, Mel nodding and slipping out of the rooms as he followed the children into Eliza's room.

She strode down the grand halls as if she was going to follow Edward's suggestion, however as soon as she was out of sight from the room a mischievous smile flickered to life on her features as she exited the castle and made her way through the streets towards Madam Balywen's Costume Shop.

She had a small surprise for Edward waiting for pickup.

_____________________________________________________________

That evening the sun was just beginning to set over the mountains, but Thais was not settling down inside like any other night. Instead candles and lit pumpkins were being set outside, houses lighting up the streets as people prepared their decorations for Halloween.

Inside the sitting room just off the master suit Mel was curled up with a book, glancing up at the door with impatience every few minutes until finally the sound of excited voices echoed down the hall and Edward appeared in the doorway with the twins huddled behind him.

Her husband grinned at her before drawing himself up to full height and clearing his throat dramatically.

"Introducing.... Rhen Pendragon!!" He called out first dramatically before stepping aside, Markus presenting himself in her doorway with a look of immense pride as he displayed his costume.

To begin her husband seemed to have  a leather skirt of sorts that had been painted to match a portrait in the gallery of Queen Rhen in her sword singer outfit. On top he had borrowed one of his fathers old leather chest plates that had also been painted and to complete the look somehow they had managed to find a purple wig.

"I shall slay evil because I have power!" Marcus announced, brandishing his training sword.

Mel grinned and applauded her son, watching as he gave a very self satisfied nod before turning towards the doorway.

"Eliza, what are you going as hon?"

Her daughter let out an attempt at a spooky laugh before shuffling out into the doorway dressed in a shrunken down version of the luxury robes that powerful mage lords wore.

"I...AM AHRIMAN!!" Eliza bellowed, achieving a surprising level of volume for such a small person.

Mel glanced over at her husband who grinned sheepishly and rubbed the back of her neck.

"It was her idea, I just made it happen."

A small snicker escaped her at Edward's expression and she stood, both her children looking over curiously.

"Now, your father and I need to go get dressed so why don't you go downstairs and wait with Yemite." She instructed, the kids leaving her alone with Edward who she shot a wicked grin at as she led him out of the sitting area and down the hall towards their room. "As for you, your costume is waiting in the bedroom. I'll change in the bathroom so I can get the full effect of the costume I chose for you when your fully ready." 

The grin on Mel's face was wide as she pulled her own costume out of hiding and with some challenge managed to fit everything on perfectly. It was a pain to put on, but would be worth it when their little group headed out to celebrate Halloween.

"WHAT IS THIS?!?"

Mel couldn't hold back the laughter as she opened the door to see Edward gaping at the mirror, hands flapping about as he pointed at a very familiar costume.

"I'm Hercules?!?!? WHY?!" He whirled and pointed accusingly at Mel only to falter when he saw her costume. "You're....Yemite."

Mel smirked and struck a pose, raising a brow at Edward.

"What do you think? I think we'll make quite the striking pair."

Edward stared at her a moment before trying to hide a smile, clearly unwilling to show Mel outright that she had won as he came over and pressed a kiss to her head between the two green horns she had clipped into her hair.

"Come on, lets go grab the kids and Yemite."

The two of them quickly head downstairs to the front hall where they could hear Yemite talking with the twins, and upon entering Edward took one look at Mel's darkling servant before promptly bursting into hysterical laughter.

"You're dressed up as Mel, this is pure gold!!" He got out around his gales of laughter, Yemite bouncing up and down with a bright grin as the black hairs on her wig flew around her face with the exuberant movement.

"Mistress said it would be fun to trade outfits for the day!! She even had clothing that matched her outfits on the quest made for me!" The darkling exclaimed.

Edward winked at his wife as the three adults started herding the heater twins out the door.

"Mel is ever the creative genius when it comes to pranks and the like. Now, are you two ready?"

Marcus and Eliza turned and looked at each other with wide and excited eyes before letting out a cheer and bolting towards the door.

"Let's go trick or treating!!!!!"

_____________________________________________________________

Laughter and chatter filled the air as families milled through the streets with delighted children rushing on ahead of them to the doors to knock.

"Now, don't get any further then a house or two ahead of us." Mel instructed, the twins giggling and taking off with their baskets trailing out behind them.

Edward laughed before reaching over to wrap his arm around Mel's waist, the black haired woman leaning comfortably into his side and resting her head against her shoulder. Her eyes casually glanced over everyone before stopping on Yemite who was staring at Edward and Mel wide wide eyes and slightly pink cheeks.

"Yemite, is something the matter??" She questioned idly, the darkling shaking her head vigorously.

"Nothing mistress!! It's just weird seeing you dressed like me and Edward dressed like Hercules- I mean Grunt."

Mel blinked at her servant before studying her with narrowed eyes. Suddenly it hit her and she muffled a snort before pointing at Yemite.

"You have a crush on Grunt, don't you!"

"NO!!!!!" Yemite shrieked, turning bright red. "I mean, no mistress I could never like him! No if you'll excuse me I think I'll go watch over the twins now goodbye."

Yemite bolted for the twins and Mel could barely hold her laughter in until the Darkling was out of earshot before she could no longer control her amusement.

"She has a crush on Hercules, that is brilliant. And look at the two of us all cuddled up together." Mel said with a grin.

Edward snickered before wrapping both arms tightly around her and resting his chin on her shoulder despite the awkwardness of leaning over the way he was as they lurched along.

"That's because I looooove you, I could never let gooooo~ I must hold you and-"

"Stop that!" Mel squawked, elbowing him with a slightly pink face and the overly demonstrative physical affection.

Edward only laughed before releasing her as they caught up to the kids.

The rest of the evening was filled with laughter and candy and spooks as people hid behind trees and jumped out to scare people passing by. Eliza made sure to laugh extra evilly whenever they thwarted someones attempted scare plan, flicking her fingers and giggling when sparkles lit the air from her soft magic.

As the evening wore on however the kids began to slow until finally the twins returned to their parents sides with yawns and mumbles about candy.

"I take Markus and you Eliza?" Edward murmured with dancing eyes, earning a good natured sigh from Mel who nodded and gathered her daughter into her arms.

With heads snuggled into their parents necks and smaller arms hanging loosely at their sides the twins succumbed to their excitement and soft sleepy breathing could be heard.

"I'm so glad we decided to take them this year."Mel admitted softly, smiling as Eliza mumbled something about a pony and shifted in her sleep.

Edward nodded and Mel moved over to rest her head briefly against his arm as they slowly made their way back to the castle.

"It was wonderful to be able to be home for the holiday for once." Edward said in agreement.

Mel glanced up at her husband, his eyes twinkling in the light from the candles and windows all around the street. Smiling gently down at her he leaned over to press a soft kiss to her lips before pulling away, the couple sharing a look of contentment.

"Happy Halloween."

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DKDHODGDOEBEIWSISGIWCSIWSOS

I must be dreaming! This. Is. Pure. Gold. No, not gold! Platinum! Whatever! Diamonds! Whatever!

Mel and  Edward were acting a little too sappy for my tastes, but otherwise, this was amazing! I really, really, really liked how you made out Eliza and Markus' characters. They perfectly mirrored both Mel and Edward. It's honestly amazing. 

Also MxE i love you so much for this! I must repay you with some strange MxG prompts... When I can find the prompts. XD

Isn't there a button where you can fave this!? Oh my goodness omg I love this is this posted on Fanfiction? Can I please read this a gazillion times more?

All in all...

BEST AFTER EXAM GIFT EVER I LOVE YOU 

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Hello all!

So after all the suffering I have inflicted upon you guys I made a promise to the wonderful Berry that to make up for the horrible things I have done to the Aveyond characters that I would produce fluff sweet enough to rival all the candy you'll find for Halloween. Well I have delivered...in spades...drenched in sugar...and coated in icing and sprinkles...yeah I went a bit crazy.

So here is the promised fluff on sugar steroids and I hope you all enjoy my Halloween and fluff insanity. I believe I shall go write something creepy to make up for this now...

XD XD Enjoy!

Special thanks to @Mu11berry for saving me as I banged my head against the mental writers wall trying to figure out a title:D

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Emotions Unmasked

_____________________________________________________

There was a brisk chill in the fall air as the wind sent a pile of leaves flying through the air passed an old fashioned diner. Just as they settled on the road a older car screeched to a halt in the only empty parking spot as a black haired young woman leaped out of the car and quickly locked up her car before sprinting to the door and lunging inside. She greeted an older waitress absently on her way down to a U shaped booth with several collage students sitting at it in the far end of the homey diner.

"There you are Mel! We were just about to order some food!" The brown haired boy called from where he sat next to his gentle chocolate skinned girlfriend.

"Yeah yeah Edward. Sorry I'm late! I lost track of time and then when I was trying to get here I somehow managed to end up with all the traffic lights against me." Mel said, sliding down onto the empty side of the bench.

"You didn't speed all the way here did you?" The gentle young woman sitting next to Edward questioned in concern.

"Course I did Stella, what do you take me for? A law abiding citizen?" Mel said with a snort, shrugging off her coat and nodding to the couple sitting on the inside of the bench U. "Hey Galahad. Not working today Te'ijal?"

Her question was aimed towards the red haired woman reclined back against her scowling boyfriend. Te'ijal's parents owned the place they were eating at, Ged'ahre Diner, and Te'ijal worked as one of the waitresses during the week usually.

"Afraid my sister has the day off, which means that you'll have to deal with me today." A smooth voice said from behind her, Mel spinning to see Te'ijal's younger brother smirking behind her.

"Dude, what's with the hat?" Edward snickered, gesturing up at the black and red rimmed cap that was part of his diners uniform.

"It's called a uniform, but I'm sure that concept is a foreign for you seeing as one must actually have a job in order to have one." Gyendal shot back at him, Edward letting out a theatric cry before grabbing his chest.

"Ouch, shots have been fired!" The cheerful male said dramatically, leaning into his girlfriend who shook her head with a soft giggle before turning to their friend.

"I thought you didn't work here anymore though, why are you taking a shift?"

"I owed Te'ijal so I figured that covering for her today was hardly the worst repayment one could think of." Gyendal said with a shrug before scanning the table as he flicked to a new page in the notebook in his hand. "Now, what is everyone wanting?"

Forest green eyes moved to meet hers first, Gyendal raising an expected eye.

"I'll have a large order of fries...and a ridiculous looking hat like yours to go with it."

Gyendal rolled his eyes before reaching up to pluck the hat on his head off and settle it on Mel's, laughter ripping around the table as the brim fell over Mel's eyes and she shoved it back with a snort.

"Really?!"

"What, no milkshake or float? You ever forget to avoid your sweet treat of some kind." He mocked lightly, ignoring Mel's reaction altogether.

His question successfully distracted her as she slumped in her seat, pouting.

"I'm on a budget, no extra sweet treats for me this time." She lamented, the thought of not getting her milkshake paining her.

"I'm sure you'll survive, you have yet to die from no ice cream." Galahad said unsympathetically.

"Who peed in your breakfast granola?" Mel snarked back at the sullen blond, grinning when he merely sighed.

It took only a few minutes for everyone to order and once it was over Gyendal snapped his notebook shut, turning to walk back to the kitchen only to pause and study Mel for a moment. She watched the unreadable male in confusion as he broke into a wicked grin before slowly starting away.

"You should keep the hat, looks far better on you then it could on me."

The statement was tossed casually over his shoulder as he vanished into the kitchen, Mel reaching up to touch the hat with a snort. Stella and Edward watched from across the table while Galahad and Te'ijal talked intensely about something, Edward choking on a laugh as Mel commented absently.

"What the hell is he talking about?! I don't think it's actually possible to look anything but dorky in these."

Stella shot her a startled look.

"Mel, I think he was fl-"

Whatever her violet haired friend had been about to say was cut off as Edward gave her a nudge and cut in with a snicker.

"Probably just being sarcastic, right Stella?"

The soft spoken girl gave Edward a look before nodding, leaving Mel no more clear in the point of Gyendal's statement then she had been before.

"So how many courses is everyone taking coming the new semester?" Te'ijal asked abruptly, turning away from her conversation with Galahad easily.

Attention was pulled away from what had happened earlier as the young adults debated about course scheduling. One of the waitresses that worked at the diner delivered their food, smiling as she set a tall milkshake glass in front of Mel.

"Hey wait, I never ordered a milkshake!" Mel quickly called after the waitress, gesturing at the cup.

The frizzy red haired woman who had delivered their food turned back and gave a soft giggle.

"Oh that isn't from any order, it's a gift from the kitchen. Enjoy!"

Mel blinked, staring down at the milkshake that just happened to be her favourite flavour before shrugging.

"Just a gift from someone in the back?" Galahad said, sounding amused rather then grumpy for once.

Mel shrugged before taking an eager suck from the straw.

"Guess so, I'm sure not complaining!"

Conversation paused as they all dug into their food, savouring the delicious dishes they had all ordered. Mel had only just stared inhaling her fries when she was startled out of her food haze by the sound of a dish being set down firmly on the table next to her. She looked up to see Gyendal sans his uniform apron standing over her.

"I'm taking my break, move in and make some room will you?" He said with a light nudge to her shoulder, Mel sliding down to make room as he slipped into the bench next to her.

"Nachos! Sweet!" Edward said with a quiet cheer before reaching over to grab one from Gyendal's plate.

The resounding sound of a hand being slapped made several of the other patrons look over and Edward let out a loud yelp, snatching his hand back and glaring at Gyendal which put Mel into gales of laughter.

"I don't recall inviting you to touch my food." Gyendal said, shooting a black look at their now whining friend.

Mel grinned at their antics before studying Gyendal's plate with a mischievous look in her eyes. She hesitated for a half second before quickly snatching a chip with meat and cheese off the massive stack and popping it in her mouth. The black haired male next to her snapped his head to pin his glare on her so quickly that she half expected to hear a crack. She pointedly ignored his look as she nibbled on a fry and moments later she watched a hand slide across to pluck several fries off her plate.

"Hey! How come she gets to take food without getting a smack!" Edward squawked, sounding much like a petulant child.

"She's wearing a cook hat, it's the unspoken rule of the restaurant rule that those with the cook hat may test taste what they want." Gyendal said loftily before popping her fries in his mouth.

Edward sputtered and Mel let out a triumphant sound before chomping down on her fry.

"I get special privileges and you don't, suck on that why don't you Edward?" She taunted through a mouthful of fries, the hazel eyed teen grimacing.

"Oh that's pleasant to see, thanks Mel."

She smirked and swallowed before taking a large drink of her milkshake with a sigh of pleasure.

"Remind me to send the kitchen a thank you gift." She muttered under her breath, not noticing the pointed looks aimed at Gyendal who gave an innocent shrug and returned to his food.

The rest of the meal was spent joking and sharing around different food, the friends making plans for the long weekend that started tomorrow.

"Hey, did all of you hear about the Masquerade ball that Shadwood University is putting on for All Hallows' Eve?" Galahad suddenly questioned, pausing his meal to survey everyone.

Everyone but Te'ijal and Stella stared blankly at the male and he sighed, shaking his head despite the amusement flickering in his eyes.

"It's an old tradition that was started when the school first opened, they only removed it a few years ago after a magic incident that got several students injured. But several of the professors finally managed to convince the Headmaster to bring the event back, they already have spells prepared to ensure not accidents can take place this year and everything is going ahead full steam."

Mel and her friends exchanged looks of excitement at the news, events at Shadwood University were known to be over the top and memorable in the best way possible and one put on for All Hallows' Eve, a day where the darkest parts of the magical fabric of the universe were most powerful was exciting indeed.

"Well I think that we all know what to do this weekend then. This kind of event demands proper clothing, and seeing as how All Hallows' Eve is a Dark Magic celebration it's only right that those of us who are dark mages or come from those family lines look the part." Te'ijal said slyly, several snorts of laughter coming from the others sitting around the table.

However despite their humour it was unanimously agreed that they would take that weekend to find what they needed for the Masquerade ball, the six of them making plans in excitement as they considered the event to come. Over an hour later they finally all were finished and ready to head out, everyone rising and heading to the front counter to pay.

"Hey, don't take the red one! I want that!" Mel yelped as Edward reached to grab the last red candy in the jar

"I got it first!" Edward laughed, holding his candy up in the air victoriously only to stagger backwards as Mel lunged for his arm and half hung off of him to pry the candy out of his hand. "Hey! Get off!"

"Give the candy!"

"Never!"

The two of them tussled a moment, but just as Mel was just about to get it her prize was snatched away by two large fingers. Instantly she released Edward as they turned out Galahad with twin shouts, watching in dismay as he handed it to Te'ijal who unwrapped it and popped it in her mouth with a victorious smirk.

"So delicious." She drawled before gesturing towards the cash register where Gyendal had just handed Stella's card back to her. "You two should probably pay and take the fight outside however, before you break anything important."

Edward mumbled under his breath but payed for his meal quickly, the group of them starting out of the diner as Mel reached into her pocket for her money.

"Oh yours is already payed." Gyendal said before Mel had even gotten the chance to withdraw her money.

She paused with her hand halfway into her pocket, glancing back at her friends.

"Wait, what?"

Gyendal grinned at her, amusement flickering thought his gaze.

"Yeah, this meal is on the house."

"...oh."

He laughed at her reaction before grabbing the cloth he had left on the counter behind him and strolling back towards the tables that needed cleaning.

"See you tomorrow Mel."

_____________________________________________________

The next evening Mel stood outside her house waiting as a large black car pulled out in front. So distracted by her excitement about their plans it took her a moment to register as the door opened and Gyendal hopped out and gestured grandly at the inside of the sedan. She shot him a look of puzzlement and he smirked slightly.

"Edward has laid claim to the other side and I'm not sitting in the middle so get comfortable."

Mel rolled her eyes, hopping up inside to be cheerfully greeted by Edward who pulled one earbud out to salute before returning to his music. Quickly she slid into the middle seat, murmuring a quick greeting to Te'ijal and Galahad who gave a slight nod and a smile. She reached back to grab the seatbelt only to find it stuck, her brows furrowing as she tried to yank it free.

"Don't bother with that, it's been broken for almost a year and we haven't been able to fix it." Te'ijal tossed over her shoulder, Mel noticing the grimace on Galahad's face as Te'ijal's apparent lack of care about the seatbelt law.

Mel shrugged and settled into her seat as Gyendal climbed in and closed the door, his seatbelt clicking into place just as they started off. Mel turned to watch out the window, thoughts drifting absently. She was however jerked quite abruptly out of her thoughts as the car veered sharply around a corner and she was flung directly into the worst possible place in the entire car.

Gyendal's lap.

Hands grabbed her instinctively to steady her and her head whipped to stare up wide eyed at Gyendal who looked similarly startled. There was a cackle of amusement from where Edward sat on the other side of the car although Mel was far too preoccupied by her current predicament.

"Ack!"

She scrambled away, Gyendal steadying her as Te'ijal glanced back with a suspiciously innocent expression.

"Terribly sorry about that, you might want to brace yourself though since we have a lot of right turns on this ride." The older female said, smirking slightly when Galahad shot her a suspicious look.

Mel muttered something intelligible as she glared down at her lap, face burning. Anyone else would have been better to fall on top of, Galahad would have been all concerned had it been him and helped her and that would have been the end of that. Edward could have cared less if it had been him and frankly she wouldn't have batted an eye. But of course with her luck it was Gyendal which for some strange reason mad the whole thing feel horribly awkward and she didn't even know why.

Letting out a sigh she glanced up, just in time to see Te'ijal glance over her shoulder at Gyendal and share a significant look with the younger Ravenfoot who only inclined his head in response to whatever was going on. Rolling her eyes Mel braced herself against the floor as the car started off again.

But as they went around the next corner Mel could have sworn that Te'ijal was doing this on purpose because she turned the wheel in the other direction just enough to unbalance Mel before whipping around the corner in the correct direction and sending her into Gyendal's side again!

"Te'ijal! Would you stop that?!" She snapped, grabbing onto the front of the seat to try and catch herself.

"Stop what? I'm not doing anything?" The red haired woman said simply, whipping around another corner.

Mel gritted her teeth.

Oh she was doing it on purpose just to be a pain. What Mel couldn't figure out on the other hand is why she was choosing to torment her brother as well when he was notorious for being a terror when he was in a mood.

_____________________________________________________

By the time they reached their destination Mel was pretty sure she had spent more time forced against Gyendal by Te'ijal's unusually bad driving then she had in her own seat. She gave Edward who was thoroughly engrossed in some action movie on his phone a hard elbow in the side, the male nearly jumping out of his seat with a shriek as Mel laughed and slid out of the car.

"Hey guys!" Stella called, jogging over from the bench where she had been waiting.

"I envy you, you live in that apartment thing down the street so you didn't have to get up so early." Mel said with a sigh, Stella giggling and patting her shoulder on her way by to go stand with Edward as everyone turned towards their destination.

The Aveyond night market.

"Well what are you all just standing there for, let's go!" Te'ijal proclaimed, looping an arm through Galahad's as they set off into the market.

Laughter and loud voices washed over them dozens of languages from all over Aia mixing together as people explored the market. The six of them all bunched together as they wove through people filling the isles.

"A sword booth?!" Galahad suddenly called out, pointing towards a booth decorated extravagantly and filled with a variety of blade kinds.

They migrated through the crowd, discovering that the booth was in actuality filled with cosplay weapons.

"These are are so realistic." Galahad muttered, completely enamoured.

"Oh brother, here he goes." Mel muttered with a roll of her eyes before groaning as the other males moved to investigate the booth.

"Well if they're going to abandon us, then we are going to find ourselves some entertainment." Te'ijal said with a wink, Mel and Stella grinning before falling into step with the red haired female who led across the way to a glass blowing booth.

The man running the booth expertly rolled the glass ball on the end of his tool, smiling briefly at the three of them before returning his attention to his craft. Mel and Te'ijal watched in interest as Stella studied the glass decorations along one of the displays.

"Why'd you guys abandon us?!" Edward's voice floated across the path to them and the girls turned to see the three males wandering over. "Come on, there's so much more to see!"

Once again they were off through the market, stopping at various booths to browse and admire the different projects. As they strolled through the isle the breeze began to gain a biting chill. In her thin shirt and vest Mel found herself beginning to shiver, cursing her stupidity not to bring a coat the way the others had.

"You sound like a wind up chatter toy." Gyendal said from behind her, Mel starting to roll her eyes only to start as soft warmth was wrapped around her shoulders.

She looked down sharply and blinked in surprise as the sight of Gyendal's beloved red leather coat settled around her.

"Wait, you're letting me use your coat?! You nearly ripped Te'ijal's hand off when she tried to borrow it!" Mel pointed out.

Gyendal who had fallen into step next to her shot her a sidelong glance.

"My sister isn't always careful with the things she borrows from me. Not to mention that your shoulder is cold to the touch, not generally normal for you."

His explanation was casual and uncaring but a slight warmth fluttered in her chest and she smiled slightly, reaching up to pull the coat around her tighter as they stepped off the main market onto the boardwalk. The six of them strolled along the less crowded walkway, admiring the lights reflected off the store from the water below.

"Hey Te'ijal, so where is that store with the masks and dance-worthy you were saying was down here." Edward piped up, leaning around his girlfriend to watch the red haired female who was glancing at the signs.

"You can see the sign just ahead, it's the huge one that says Danby Formalwear." Galahad answered quickly, pointing up ahead to the boringly glowing sign. "I suggest that we split into guys with guys and girls with girls to get this done quicker. We can keep our outfits separate from the other group to keep the element of surprise for the night of the dance."

"I love that idea!" Stella exclaimed, glancing at the others who all voiced their agreement in varying tones.

Quickly they reached the massive store, stepping inside the heated lobby with sounds of relief before taking in the large vaulted ceilings and outfits that were being displayed around the large space. There were doors to either side of the hall that led to the men's section and the women's section, the children's sections and unisex further down closer to the tills at the other end.

"Look at this place..."

While everyone oohed at their surroundings Mel quickly slipped off Gyendal's coat, handing it quietly back to the black haired male who stood beside her glancing around at the displays.

"Thanks for the loan." She said, shrugging awkwardly when his glanced over and accepted his coat back with a dismissive shake of his head.

"No worries, I hardly mind sharing with you." He said with a half smirk before strolling off after the guys who had apparently set course for the men's department.

Mel blinked at his statement before turning to Stella and Te'ijal who were staring at her with the strangest expressions.

"What?!"

The two girls exchanged looks before Stella let out a giggle.

"Nothing Mel, let's go find our dresses."

_____________________________________________________

Mel stood in front of the mirror mounted on the back of her dorm room, trying to wrestle a particularly stubborn piece of her hair back out of her face and into a clip although the fight wasn't going particularly well.

"Te'ijal! Can you come here and fix this? It's not working!"

The red haired woman stepped out of the bathroom, her own black mask in hand as she smirked at Mel's struggle.

"You're pinning it at an angle your hair won't sit naturally in, of course it isn't working. Give me those pins."

Mel gave a grumpy look and stood sullenly in front of the mirror as Te'ijal stuck pins in her hair and somehow made it look fancy in doing so. Finally after several minutes of fussing her red haired roommate stepped back and nodded, apparently satisfied with her work.

"You're ready to go now. Just grab your mask and we'll head down."

Mel nodded and moved over to the sidetable where she reached down to grab her mask, lifting it to study for a moment. Shimmering blue with silver decoration and completely unlike her usual type of clothing.

"Mel! Stop gaping at your mask like an idiot and come on!"

"I'm coming already, don't get your underwear in a knot alright?!" She yelled back, tying the mask on before grabbing the midnight blue skirt of her dress and lifting it so she could take off after Te'ijal who was already out the door.

After locking up their dorm room the two of them headed through the halls, making their way through the crowd of other students dressed to the nines for the ball. The sky above was clear, no clouds to obstruct the full moon above or the twinkling stars which fit the mood of the dance perfectly.

As soon as they had got inside the massive building that was hosting the dance a wall of noise hit them, laughter and voices climbing above the music to create a cacophony of sound for anyone who had just come out of the relatively quiet outdoors.

"Mel! Te'ijal! There you are!" Stella's soft voice called over the din, Mel and Te'ijal quickly weaving their way through everyone to reach the chocolate skinned girls side as she stood with a man with a mossy green mask.

"Hey Stella, looking good Edward." Mel said casually, looking around them as Te'ijal waved down someone from across the entrance.

"I never expected it to be so busy!" Edward said with a laugh. "Since it was such a last minute announcement for us students I figured that people wouldn't have realized the significance behind the event and wouldn't have bothered coming but look at the amount of people!"

"It's pretty crazy." Mel agreed before glancing over at two tall men strode across the hall towards them.

"Crumpet, you're looking quite dapper tonight." Te'ijal could be heard saying in leu of a greeting as Galahad came to a stop in front of her, blue and gold mask glittering under the lights.

As the two of them conversed Mel found her attention being pulled from their guaranteed to be entertaining conversation onto the black haired male that had just come to a stop in front of her. Piercing green eyes met her own blue ones and he very deliberately reached down to take her hand, raising it to his lips to brush a kiss over the knuckles before releasing it.

"This blue suits you very well Mel, you should wear it more often."

Mel wasn't sure her eyes could go any wider as she glanced between him and her hand, brain refusing to compute what had just taken place.

"Eh?!"

Gyendal's eyes glittered with amusement as he shot her a small wicked grin, seeming pleased with her reaction for reasons Mel could not fathom.

"Is something the matter Mel?"

She gave a brisk and hard shake of her head, shooting him a suspicious look.

"No, nothing at all!" She squawked, scuttling backwards slightly. "You know, we should go join the others. They seem to be having a rather interesting conversation."

Mel had no shame in admitting that having said that she proceeded to flee the sudden tension of her and Gyendal's interacting, ignoring his gaze as he watched her rush to go stand with their four friends.

"What's with you?" Edward asked lowly, glancing over at her startled when a scowling Mel squeezed herself between him and Te'ijal.

"Nothing, and I don't want to hear any comments you have to share." She muttered before freezing as a hand settled on her skin, fingers curling softly around her arm as she was moved to the side to make room for one Gyendal Ravenfoot.

Edward paused, glancing for a moment slowly between Mel and Gyendal before a soft snicker could be heard.

"Edward, what the hell is you-"

She was cut off when he dropped a heavy hand on her shoulder with a grin.

"Nothing to worry about, now we should dance because Stella isn't going to finish talking anytime soon and I'm bored."

Mel eagerly accepted the invite, practically dragging her friend onto the dance floor to get away from the tingles that presented themselves all the way down the arm that just seconds ago had been pressed against Gyendal's.

"I had no idea you liked dancing so much, I should-" Edward began, the wide grin signifying that whatever he was going to say was going to be trouble.

"If you value your life and comfort for dancing with your lovely girlfriend later you'll shut your mouth Edward." She muttered from between gritted teeth. "I am not above using magic to pants you in the middle of the dance floor."

Edward burst into laughter and Mel muttered a few choice words as her friend slung her about during their fast paced dance. Forcibly she shoved thoughts of the...incident from her mind and focused in on dancing with friends and switching between partners with breathless laughter and jokes.

Finally out of breath and ready for a break Mel abandoned the dance floor and her friends to stand with Te'ijal.

"You seem to be in a much more pleasant mood now then you were when you first fled to the dance floor." Her red haired friend said with a raised brow and slight smile.

"I didn't flee to the dance floor!" Mel said indignantly, Te'ijal laughing and shaking her head.

"Oh yes you did, what I'd like to know is what set you so off balance."

Mel snorted and turned away, arms crossed over her chest as she glanced around the busy room. Her eyes absently drifted along people, occasionally sparing a small smile when she made eye contact with one of her fellow classmates. Wen her eyes landed on the tall form of Gyendal across the way she found herself stopping, unable to tear her eyes away as the dark Mage who was standing at the snacks table seemed to sense her gaze and turned to meet her eyes. He held her gaze unblinkingly for a moment before tilting his head slightly and raising a mocking brow. Instantly Mel flushed and turned sharply away to face Te'ijal once more, grateful for the mask that covered part of her now red face.

However turning did little to ease the discomfort as she found Te'ijal laughing silently as she watched Mel with an infuriatingly knowing look on her face.

"So it's my brother who's succeeded in flustering you. You are never bothered by the general actions of others, so what makes tonight different?" Te'ijal prompted.

Mel considered ignoring the question altogether but after a moments consideration came to the conclusion that maybe Te'ijal could provide some insight on what the hell was going on.

"It makes it different tonight because your brother has had a personality transplant and it's creeping me out!" Mel vented, arms flapping slightly as she dramatically shared her frustration. "He's always been more aloof to everyone, even you and you guys are quite close! Then all of a sudden he's kissing my hand and going out of his way to make physical contact and looking at me and complimenting me- why are you laughing at me!?"

Te'ijal was indeed laughing, the sound only serving to further aggravate Mel.

"I'm laughing because for someone so advanced and skilled when it comes to magic and reading people around you when it comes to combat you must be one of the most dense people I have ever met." Te'ijal said, her tone filled with mirth. "Tell me Mel, before Edward and Stella got into a relationship when he was going out of his way to find excuses to put his arm around her, sit near her and was complimenting her appearance or finding reasons to converse with her what was he doing?"

Mel blinked, thrown by the conversation change.

"He was flirting of course. But what-"

Her question died on the tip of her tongue as her mind caught up to what Te'ijal was inferring and Mel felt her jaw drop as Te'ijal gave her a knowing look.

"Wait...you mean..."

Te'ijal gave a slow nod and Mel's threw her hands up in the air in exasperation.

"This whole night Gyendal's been flirting with me?!"

"Actually I've been flirting with you for months now but thanks for finally noticing." A smooth voice commented from behind her, causing Mel to whirl and bring herself face to face with Gyendal who had slipped up behind her unnoticed.

She was not proud of the slightly squeaky noise she made, and the smirk he shot her did not help calm her in any way. Without looking away he placed the glass he had been holding into his sister's hands before reaching out to take hold of Mel's hand.

"Keep that for me please sister, I'll be back eventually I'm sure." He said as he placed a hand on her waist and walked her backwards into the dance floor.

"What the- Gyendal!" Mel moved to pull away and leave the dance floor when quite suddenly her entire world was tipped upside down and she instinctively grabbed onto his shoulder with her free hand.

He grinned slightly at her expression before pulling her back up from the dip and twirled them further onto the floor before effortlessly leading her in a dance.

"So how are you enjoying your evening so far?" Gyendal asked, lips twitching as Mel gaped at him.

"You were flirting with me?"

"Mine is going wonderfully, thanks for asking." He continued, purposely ignoring her question.

"You were flirting with me?!

"I had a wonderful time watching everyone and now taking a dance with a beautiful girl in my arms." He mused, outright grinning as he baited her.

"You were flirting with me?!" Mel said once again, Gyendal chuckling lowly.

"Yes, I think we've established this already."

"But-... y-" Mel was at a loss for words, her brain was short circuiting as she tried to process what she had just learned.

He smirked slightly at her, his hand on her waist sliding slightly around to rest more on her back as with a quick tug he pulled her closer to himself.

"Relax Mel, just go with things for a little bit. You can overthink everything later." He murmured, twirling her out before pulling her back in and leaving her pressed up slightly against him.

Mel was quite positive that she wouldn't have been able to formulate a cohesive thought at the moment if she had tried, her mind far to focused on the feeling of his breath brushing over her forehead and the feeling of his hand pressed against her lower back.

She was so distracted that she never registered where Gyendal was steering them until they quite suddenly stopped in front of a door that would lead into a back hallway where storage rooms and another exit were located.

"Gyendal what-"

He released her waist and pressed a finger to her lips to silence her, mischief twinkling in his forest green eyes as he pushed the door open just enough to slide through and pull Mel out of the main hall after him.

Their shoes clicked against the linoleum as he pulled her down the hall by their joined hands, Gyendal turning to face her as he used his back to push the breakaway bar down and open the back exit to guide Mel outside with him.

He pulled her out onto the grass of the field that the back of the event hall was against and reached up with one hand to remove his mask, revealing the amusement in his features as he slid his coat off and placed it on the bottom of the bleachers with his coat.

"What are you doing?" Mel questioned, smiling in spite of herself as Gyendal shot her a wicked grin and twirled her again as if still in a dance before dipping her low and dropping a kiss onto her lips.

She never even got the chance to react before he had pulled her upright and moved just out of reach, beckoning at her in the universal signal of "come and get me".

"You are so asking for it now!" Mel growled, yanking off her heels before tossing them down underneath the bench where his jacket and mask were sitting.

"Hardly, you have to actually catch me first and we all know how unlikely that is." He taunted before jogging backwards a few steps

Mel's eyes narrowed in determination and she reached down to pull her skirt out of the way before taking off towards him.

If anyone had been watching the scene it would have been a truly comical sight, the tall male loping arose the field with a wicked laugh while a shorter girl with a dress skirt hiked up to her knees chased after him.

"Do you want to die?!" She shouted after him, quickly gaining on him despite the hindrance of her dress.

With a final push she reached out and grabbed his shoulder, Gyendal turning and catching Mel as she tried to get past him to pull her into his chest. Mel couldn't help the laugh that escaped her as she gave up the game, allowing herself to lean into her friend as she caught her breath.

"That was completely unfair." She got out around breaths before looking up at him, laughter fading at the serious look in his eyes.

They stood facing each other in silence, a hand settled on her waist and both of hers coming to rest against his chest. Further back of campus the sound of the bell tolling rang over the grounds, marking in eleven o'clock at night. Around Aia there was a rush of magic, mist coming up from the ground as the darker side of Aia came out to play. Mel let out a breath she hadn't realized she had been holding as her eyes widened slightly, every nerve in her body was humming with the dark magic that washed over them.

Gyendal's eyes were glowing in the light from the magic and when he caught her studying him he smirked slightly. With a quick movement he turned her to fully face him, hand reaching behind her head to tug the ribbon on her mask. When it slid slightly towards being undone he paused, raising one black brow in question to her and Mel relaxed against the arm that had slid around her waist with his hand resting against her upper back, hesitating before closing her eyes in answer.

She felt the mask come undone before being pulled away and dropped in the grass next to them, excitement sparking in her veins as she felt the dark Mage lean in and brush slightly parted lips over her own again and again with featherlight touches. Her breath stuttered in her chest and she flattened her hand against his chest, sliding them up to link together behind his neck as she pulled him closed and pressed her lips firmly against his own. The kiss was not rushed, they had all the time in the world and Gyendal seemed determined to make the most of that time.

As the need for oxygen soon became far to present to ignore she felt Gyendal smile against her lips before slowly pulling away, Mel's eyes opening to meet his forest green ones.

"Well it took you guys long enough to just kiss and get it over with!" The sudden shout from partway down the field made them both jump and turn to face where their four friends were gathered, Edward grinning.

Mel muffled a snort before reaching down to grab her mask, Gyendal and her exchanging looks.

"I suppose it's only right to join them for the ceremony that takes place at midnight, wouldn't you agree?" Gyendal said with a shrug, Mel snickering as she gathered her dress skirt in the hand with the mask and nodded.

"As it happens I would agree, why don't we go and remind the idiots on campus exactly why Dark Mages are feared."

Gyendal laughed, the magic in the air thick enough that Mel could see it coiling around him.

"Yes. It is time to go celebrate All Hallows' Eve."

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Hello all!

Now presenting the grand finale of my Halloween fanfics:D  This is actually the fanfic that started my sudden desire to write stuff for Halloween, so you can thank this one for anything you have suffered thusfar XD  I had said I'd write something creepy to make up for fluff overload and I think I delivered on that for the most part in this one.

So yes, enjoy!!

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Fortunes of Fear

_____________________________________________________

Night had fallen over the massive city of Sedona, one of the biggest trade cities in the eastern isles. The humans inside the city who had a place to call home were long since tucked safely into their beds, safe from what lurked outside.

But not all were granted such security, left to huddle fearfully in the pitch darkness as they gazed up at the clear sky that held no night. It was the new moon, and whatever protection light had at one time granted them was now gone.

A man huddled in an ally glanced around warily before relaxing when he was unable to sense anything nearby. His eyes were just beginning to drift shut when the small sliver of light from a window above vanished. The man's eyes snapped open, sucking in a panicked breath that would be his last.

The sound of teeth sinking through flesh was the only sound that could be heard in the ally as life was drained out of the man, several minutes passing before a figure cloaked in deep scarlet red stood and dropped the pale body to the ground.

"Foolish creatures. You should know by now that you can never see us coming." A deep male voice said in disgust, stepping backwards and into the small sliver of light that illuminated his paper white skin.

As silence once again took over the alley the creature raised his face to the sky, inhaling deeply. His appetite burned, his snack only just taking the edge off as it cried out for something more. Something none but one could provide.

"I can sense her, hidden in this place. I will find her!"

_____________________________________________________

ANOTHER DEAD BY VAMPIRE!

There was a heavy sigh as a black haired young woman glanced over the headline at the top of a newspaper that her roommate had set in front of her.

"Another one dead?! What are these vampire hunters doing with their time?! It should not be this hard to catch one vampire for highly trained mages!" The black haired woman said, shoving the paper away from her.

"Mel, whoever this vampire is they are incredibly skilled. They're able to completely wipe their tracks from the hunters." A violet haired young woman said, finishing the braid that hung over her shoulder and snapping the elastic on.

"I know that it's hard Rhen, but there has to be something more they can do to help all the people out on the street. Five years ago that could have easily been me..." Mel said with a sigh, taking a drink of her coffee.

Her roommate and friend shot Mel a sympathetic look.

"It would be hard knowing that you at one point could have been living that. I wish they would do something for those poor people, even at least until the vampire is gone."

"But they won't, they never do bother for the "expendable ones"." Mel muttered, standing and setting her cup in the sink as she grabbed her jacket from the back of a chair and started for the door with a wave over her shoulder at Rhen who smiled before vanishing into her room to change.

Mel whistled as she jogged down the stairs, only slowing as she caught sight of a familiar brown eyed man climbing the steps.

"Hey Dameon!" She called, slowing to a halt in front of her roommates fiancé. "Whats up?"

Dameon smiled softly at her, smoothing his fingers over his jacket instinctively as he shrugged.

"Hello Mel. I'm just here to pick up Rhen to take her to her meeting so not much is up."

Mel nodded, glancing up the stairs at the edge of her and Rhen's door that she could just see before reaching into her pocket to pull out her house key and toss it to him as she began to head down the stairs.

"Here, she's getting ready so just let yourself in while you wait. Just make sure to stick the key on the table, I'll use the hidden spare to let myself in when I get home." Mel tossed over her shoulder, giving a teasing salute as she jogged to her car.

Quickly she was on her way, glancing up at the overcast sky above.

"Hope it doesn't rain today..." She muttered to herself, "I'd hate to miss the last day of the visiting fair."

When she finally pulled into the parking lot a grin flit across her face as she watched a figure at the front of the walkway leaping around. As she climbed out of her vehicle she could hear the sound of exuberant shouts, her name being the main subject of said reaction.

"I'm coming already, chill!" She shouted at her friend, locking the car behind her as she jogged across the parking lot to where he stood with Stella and Lydia.

"You know, telling Edward to "chill" when he's excited about something is rather like telling him not to breathe. It isn't going to happen." Lydia quipped, smirking slightly at her cousins outraged squawk.

"Lydia! Shut up!"

The three girls burst into laughter, Edwards gentle girlfriend Stella reaching over to gently pat his back.

"I'm sure you'll grow out of it one day." Was the soft tease, Mel nearly doubling over at the look of comical betrayal on his face as the four of them headed towards the fair enterance.

Once they had gotten in the four of them wandered down the isles, stopping at the game booths to take their turns throwing darts at balloons and playing the shoot and aim game.

"Hey, look it's a fortune tellers booth. We should check it out." Stella exclaimed softly, pointing at the tent draped with strings of beads along the entrance.

"No way! Those guys are just a bunch of rip offs, so real seer would ever travel with some fair or circus." Edward scoffed.

Stella let out a giggle and linked her arm though Edward's before grabbing a similarly unimpressed Mel by the arm.

"Oh come on, it'll still be fun. And it's only a few gold anyway."

They were dragged rather unwillingly into the incense filled tent with a smirking Lydia following behind. It took Mel a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the smokey atmosphere before she took note of the woman dressed in loose flowing robes sitting before a low table. She looked up at them from under half lidded lids and smiled dreamily.

"Welcome to my abode, you wish for readings do you not?"

Stella nodded and took her seat before the table, pulling Edward down next to her before the woman who laughed softly at Edward's grumble.

"You are not a believer in my abilities, that is fine. You are a lovely individual for humouring your love anyway." She murmured before reaching forward to take one hand of Stella's and one of Edward's before closing her eyes. "You have a life of peace before you, there is success in your future and dreams that will come true. However I do sense a hidden pain in both of you, a remorse and guilt over some event. There is a missing place in each of your hearts, as if someone has left or passed on that was important."

With that the fortune teller opened her eyes and released their hands, Mel exchanging a roll of the eyes with Lydia at the slightly awed look on Stella's face.

"I felt the magic working through my system, you truly are one who can see snippets from the future!"

"Uh yeah, can we go now?!" Edward pleaded, clearly uncomfortable after the mention about guilt and loss.

"Oh but Mel hasn't had her turn, and you couldn't possibly deprive her of that." Lydia snickered, gesturing at Mel who had been trying to slip out of the tent unnoticed.

"No way do you get to get out of this, I did and now you have to." Edward announced, grabbing Mel and pushing her down in front of the table.

"Let's see what your future holds my dear."

"I'm good not knowing, thanks." Mel muttered, placing around as she considered how she could escape the situation.

The fortune teller laughed again before grabbing Mel's hands and pulling them into the middle of the table, effectively ending her ability to leave.

Seconds later she felt the tingle of magic crawling up her arms and enveloping her whole. She watched carefully at the fortune teller who closed her eyes and soundlessly mouthed something. Mel expected a similar tale to Edward and Stella, success and maybe some suffering, the usual.

She did not however expect for the Fortune Teller to let out a blood curdling scream and tumble backwards as all the magic shot out of Mel leaving her feeling cold and empty as she struggled to gain her bearings again.

"N-no! In all my years I have never seen- how is it even possible that you cannot feel the call!" The woman stuttered, eyes wide with fear and shock. "You are in such great danger, it can only be fate that brought you here! So close to losing everything, you have mere days to save yourself you must heed my warning!"

Mel scrambled to her feet, backing away as she gaped at the Fortune Teller.

"What the hell is wrong with you?! What danger, you're crazy!"

"You don't understand!" The woman shrieked hysterically, lurching around the table to grab Mel's shoulders. "He's coming for you, he's been chasing for so long and finally he's found your essence in the city!"

"Who- There's nothing you-"

Mel was cut off as the woman began to shake her wit a feverish desperation in her eyes.

"You have but days before it's too late, you must escape here and leave this town, before All Hallows Eve and the new moon when his power is at it's strongest or you will be sentenced to a fate worth then death!"

"LET ME GO!" Mel finally shouted, ripping free and shoving the woman away as she quickly backed into Edward and Stella.

Edward wrapped a protective arm around Mel and guided her towards the door of the tent, ignoring as the woman called after them.

"Please! You don't realize-"

She never heard the rest of what the crazy fortune teller had to say as they rushed from the tent, her voice becoming muffled and indistinct by the thick fabric of the tent.

"What was wrong with that woman?! She completely lost it in there!" Edward exclaimed to the group, arm tightening protectively around Mel when he glanced behind at the tent once again.

"I haven't got a clue, but that was freaking weird. I'm done for the day, I'm gonna go home early I think." Mel muttered, pulling free from her friend.

"We understand, gave a good rest of your day." Lydia said, unusually curtious as she reached over and rubbed her shoulder as she walked past.

"I'm really sorry, if I hadn't suggested..." Tears filled Stella's eyes and despite Mel's current mood she reached forward to awkwardly hug the girl.

"It's fine Stella, you didn't know. Catch you guys later." Mel dismissed gruffly before starting back towards the fair entrance.

What an experience, why did this kind of crap always happen for her?!

_____________________________________________________

Whistling under her breath Mel strolled through the marketplace, glancing different ingredients as she passed. Chatter echoed through the market stalls and she let out a relaxed breath, enjoying the peace of the early morning.

"GODDESS HELP US!" The frightened shriek filled the market and all over people paused to turn towards a nearby alley, a panicked man racing out and nearly falling flat on his face as he abruptly came to a halt.

"The vampire got another one! And this time there's a message!"

Shocked and horrified cries filled the air and Mel felt her eyes widen, her legs carrying her along with the small crowd that rushed to the front of the alley.

A man dead, drained of all blood and slumped against the wall. That in and of itself was not nearly shocking for Mel, she had seen her own fair share of passed on homeless from her time on the streets.

She was not however prepared for what covered the wall above. It was like something out of one of Lydia's horror novels, slanted words painted in scarlet red across the wall. The sickly smell of blood reached Mel's nose and she gagged, stumbling backwards and out of the crowd before pushing away as she gulped in fresh air.

The scent had been so cloying...yet something in the back of her mind felt as thought it was stirring. Something akane to...excitement fluttered before dying out as Mel waited for the rolling nausea to fade.

She glanced back at the alley, thinking of the message painted on the wall and shuddered. Something had changed, this vampire wasn't randomly feeding.

After all, only someone with a purpose would paint the words "I'm coming" across the wall above their kill.

_____________________________________________________

The sound of crackling magic in the duelling rooms was a sign of a battle underway, two students training intensely as they sparred with their magic.

Mel danced sideways with her staff at the ready, watching Lydia warily as the green haired Mage girl blasted her with another spell. Quickly Mel raised a sheild to deflect, grinning when the spell spiralled harmlessly away from her.

"Good block, but you'll have to do better then that Darkthrop." Lydia said with a haughty smirk.

"I'd get off that high horse if I were you, I'd hate to see the damage you'll take when I win this match." Mel bantered back, grinning as Lydia's laugh.

It was enjoyable, sparring like this. Lydia presented a huge challenge to her skill wise making their matches about even with wins and losses. It drove Mel to learn more and that was exactly what she needed so close to graduation from the school of War and Magic.

Lydia raised her staff once again, preparing her next spell and Mel readied her shield again.

Then it happened, it was like a lightning strike that pierced through every magical barrier she had up right into her mind. A howl of pain sounded, Mel only just registering that the sound belonged to her as she tripped forward and landed on all fours.

"...MEL!"

Shouts of her name sounded around her, her unseeing eyes not moving from where she was staring straight ahead as her body shook. It was dark magic, so much deeper and more evil then anything she had ever felt in her life radiating out from a blast far away. She could feel it in her bones, making her limbs feel like jelly.

"Mel! What's wrong?!" The voice was closer now and she felt her mind relax as the magic faded, allowing Mel to turn slightly to see Lydia kneeling next to her with several teachers surrounding her.

"That dark magic, something's happened." Mel croaked, one of the professors looking out the window in alarm before sprinting from the room.

"Dark magic? What are you talking about? I never used any dark magic!" Lydia protested.

Mel shook her head as she pushed herself to sit back, rubbing her face as she tried to focus.

"Not you, something out there. I don't know what happened, but I felt it. So powerful..."

"Mel can you stand? We have a Professor Toledo is going now to see what's going on." One of her professors asked, Mel nodding and shrugging off the hands that reached to her as she slowly stood to her feet.

After a moment of gaining her bearings Mel made her way over to the couch, dropping down heavily as she muttered about having really awful luck to herself. The universe owed her roast rat and all the chocolate they could find, it was only fair after the streak of rotten events that had hit her this week so far.

"Well that was certainly a way to concede defeat to me." Lydia finally quipped, Mel snorting and rolling her eyes.

"You wish."

The professors were gathered by the door talking in a low tone with occasional glances back at Mel, although they said nothing to her. She exchanged looks with Lydia who had gracefully seated herself next to Mel as they waited, both of them picking up on the sound of running feet through the halls towards them as they waited.

Suddenly Professor Toledo burst through the door, pale faced and panting.

"They somehow fracked the vampire and cornered him in the south side near the forest, the hunters had gotten so close to getting him. That blast of magic was him getting fre and escaping, he levelled two small buildings and every single last one of the hunters that had closed in on him are dead. Vaporized on the spot. The ones that had held back to monitor the situation say they've never seen such dark magic used before, and on that scale of power." He blurted out, clearly relaying everything he knew.

All the professors turned at once to face Mel, faces concerned as Professor Gastor who had been overseeing the training match took a step towards her.

"That would explain why none of us felt it, even that level of powerful magic would have been cloaked from our senses the way all magic used by supernatural beings is." His eyes narrowed slightly then in thought as he studied her. "Which begs the question of how Mel was able to sense it, and why it impacted her so powerfully."

_____________________________________________________

Mel hooked her legs on the bar across the bottom of her chair as she waited at a local cafe for Rhen. A half eaten cinnamon bun sat before her that she absently picked at, waiting in the fading light until they could get their groceries and head home for a late dinner.

"Hey Mel!"

Said black haired female looked up to see her friend rushing towards her slightly out of breath, sliding onto the chair across from her with a smile.

"You look happy, did you and Dameon get more wedding planning done?" Mel enquires curiously, Rhen's face lighting up.

"We did! Dameon loved the dresses I found for the bridal party, he thought they were so pretty and flattering." Her purple eyed friend exclaimed, reaching into her bag to withdraw some magazine clippings. "What do you think of this! Each person can choose from these three styles and they all will be this lilac colour."

Mel accepted the clippings to study them, smiling at the flattering cut.

"These are perfect Rhen, they'll suit everyone in the bridal party."

"Right? Let me know which one you prefer and since I already have your measurements I'll put the order in tomorrow. Oh and-..."

Rhen's voice faded into the background for Mel as suddenly she felt what could only be discribed as the sensation of the tempature around her dropping and a full body chill washed over.

Mel had never truly understood the term of feeling someone watching her, but as the hairs on the back of her neck stood up Mel could feel eyes burning into her back with such a malevolent intent.

She let out a ragged gasp and whirled, eyes wide as she scanned the streets around her for someone, anyone, that could possibly be the cause of this. Yet she saw no one, no one so much as glanced at the two young woman as they hurried through the streets on their way to their homes.

"...what are you looking for?"

The slightly louder voice of Rhen jerked Mel's attention away from her surroundings and she turned back to her concerned looking roommate with a slight shake of her head.

"Sorry, I-..."

"Mel, what's going on? You've been acting strange for the last couple of days, even Dameon's noticed and he's seen you for all of maybe ten minutes in total over the last bit." Rhen prodded, leaning forward on the table to study Mel.

She exhaled a long side, absently smoothing her fingers over the side of her hair ribbon as she contemplated how to answer.

"Some really strange things have been happening, little things that set my nerves on end and just a moment ago I could have sworn I could feel someone watching me." Mel said haltingly.

"Strange things? Like what?" Rhen prodded, Mel taking a deep breath before explaining what had happened at the circus before going over the different events.

Rhen listened intently to Mel's explanation, eyes widening when she had explained about feeling the magic from the fleeing vampire. When she finally finished Rhen nodded slowly, a contemplative look flickering over her features.

"Mel...have you ever considered that maybe that fortune teller may not have been all crazy" Quickly her roommate held up a hand to stop the protests that were rising on Mel's lips. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying she's all right. But you know as well as I do that in our world coincidences like this don't just happen. You mentioned a pull, so did she, and the way this is all adding up together...I don't know but something feels off about this too me. Maybe consider talking to Dameon about what it could all mean?"

Mel reluctantly nodded, glancing away from Rhen's worried look as she grabbed her stuff and slid off her seat.

"Let's head home, I want to eat and watch a movie tonight I think."

Rhen nodded, the two girls strolling back towards their home.

_____________________________________________________

Neither of them saw the glowing red eyes in the shadows fixed on Mel, a feral grin bared at her retreating back.

"You're mine now, lamb."

_____________________________________________________

Cloud swirled around Mel, drifting softly along her skin as she drifted along on a pleasant cloud of nothing. Peace washed over her and she basked in that, her brain only just registering that sense of calm in the midst of her sleep.

The came the darkness, washing over her and holding her immobile. Layers of magic seeped into her mind, her consciousness struggling against the pull of sleep that tried to tug her under.

A chill washed over the room before what felt like velvet ice touched down on her, settling on the inside of her wrist before drifting slowly up her arm and over her shoulders to settle on her neck. Panic throbbed through her, Mel unable to truly wake or open her eyes to confront the situation. A part of her fought, terrified of what felt very much real. But another part of her pulled Mel deeper down with an unrelenting grasp into the blissful nothing of sleep, promising dreams if she simply gave in.

No. Mel struggled within her own head as she fought the unknown enchantment.

NO!

She struggled, her mind forcing it's way through what felt like mud with the way it dragged her ability to think and process. The struggle felt as though it was overwhelming her, and Mel was so close to giving in and believing it was a dream she was feeling.

Then came the heat, blazing in her neck before rapidly travelling through her veins. It was as though her blood had been set ablaze, her body feeling no pain as everything in her ignited and her body instinctively surged up with the call of the fire inside.

The Fire seared through the spells holding her mind down and she rapidly began to take control of her body once again, a scream ripping from her lips as she flailed out against the strong hands holding her shoulders down. Sleep still weighted her down like led weights but it could not contain her power, raw magic blasting out from her and erasing the pressure on her shoulders as she felt what only could be described as being cut from the inside of her neck.

Awareness came to Mel in a flood and she bolted upright with a terrified and choked gasp. Her eyes darted around wildly seeing nothing in her room from the dim moonlight that provided dull illumination, but she could feel them. She could feel the emotions and the power, heavy and oppressive with bloodlust that filled every crevice of the room, and she could hear the sound of breathing.

"Mel!" Rhen's muffled shout of alarm could be heard within Mel's bedroom as thumping footsteps raced towards her room.

Desperation flooded her and without thought for consequence she lunged for the door to her bedroom, feeling a gust of air pass over her left side as the presence suddenly faded as if flying right out her open window.

Her bedroom door was flung open with an explosive bang, Mel nearly falling into Rhen as her roommate slapped the light on and caught Mel by her shoulders with a look of alarm.

"Mel, what happened?! I heard you scream!" Her friend demanded, her purple hair tangled and sticking up all over from bedhead.

"I-I don't know!" Mel hissed out, feeling herself shaking.

Rhen looked her over for signs of harm, glancing just below her ear before going wide eyed.

"Your neck!"

Mel reached a hand up to touch where Rhen was looking, gasping when her fingers touched a warm wetness. She wrenched away from her friend, scrambling to the mirror on her wall to stare in mute horror as she pulled her fingers away to reveal two small holes on the side of her neck sluggishly trickling blood.

"What in the name of all things sacred." She breathed, her eyes meeting Rhen's who had come up to stand behind her.

"Great goddess! Mel, they're going away!"

They were indeed going away, the two holes suddenly beginning to shrink on the side of her neck before fading into nothing more then twin pinprick scars then vanishing altogether.

Her hands shook as she stared at the wound and she stared silently at Rhen for a moment, the two of them coming to a mutual agreement without having to speak a word.

"I'll call Dameon right now." Rhen stated, starting for the door with Mel right behind her.

"I think this situation calls for coco. I'll make it while you call. It's the closest I can get to a drinking myself into oblivion after what just happened."

_____________________________________________________

It hadn't even taken Rhen a full sentence before Dameon was coming over, ten minutes all it took for the Mage to go from dead asleep to walking into their apartment flat and heading straight to Mel.

"Let me see your neck."

Mel obediently tilted her head and touched where the two holes had been, feeling Dameon probing her skin and deeper with magic.

"I don't understand this, there is absolutely no sign of where you were bitten. But I can feel something different in you, as if something in your essence has shifted. Yet you've come to no harm, I can't sense anything wrong with you." Dameon said, sounding utterly baffled.

The sun priest moved back, settling himself down on the loveseat next to Rhen who was sorting through history books and old transcripts of records about supernatural creatures. She was compiling a list of all the magical beings that could have bitten her and restrained her mind with magic, yet not killed her with their natural venom.

"Explain again what you felt with what we figure was the moment of the bite?" Rhen asked, looking up quickly to watch Mel.

She hesitated before explaining once again the fiery feeling that had taken over her system and the strange reaction she had to it before falling silent.

"Well I have several different possibilities to why that happened, one is that you were just bitten by a pixie. When they are going into people's homes for little magical artifacts they can sometimes be drawn to the pulsing magic of a Mage, especially one who possesses different magic kind then themselves. If trapped or alarmed they will bite and it will result in a bezerking spell being transferred via the bloodstream." Rhen explained, double checking her notes as she talked.

Despite the tension of the situation Mel couldn't help but smile at the mushy look on Dameon's face. Generally his lilac haired fiancée avoided reading a research since it held little appeal to the sword singer but when given a problem she wanted to solve she was certainly capable of achieving that goal and it was clear that Dameon was utterly charmed by this rarely seen side.

"Another one is that you were bitten by a magical beetle, however unless the bug was at end of life there should be traces of venom still in your blood. And if it was end of life the carcass would still be there."

"Yes, both of those are a possibility I guess but neither of them explain the presence I felt afterwards." Mel pointed out.

Rhen nodded reluctantly, exchanging a look with the suddenly serious Dameon before letting out a sigh.

"I know, which brings me to my last result. I didn't want to bring this one up since it's nothing more then legend but it's the only other thing I could find on the topic. The final creature that matches this is a vampire." Mel opened her mouth to point out the impossibility but she was cut off as Rhen reached under the pile to pull out a thick book and open it to the marked page

"I know it seems unlikely with your bites Healing and the fact that you're still alive but hear me out. When I was looking through I found this small passage that I remember reading months ago for a school report. According to these records of legends there was once humans who were involved with vampires that were fed upon, yet never were turned or killed like other victims. Some marked as immortal, seen by those living with these humans with bite wounds on their neck that would heal themselves as if never having existed."

Mel stared at Rhen, reaching up absently to brush her fingers over her neck.

"How is that possible though? That goes against everything we have ever seen of the species." Mel said quietly.

"That is true, however when we think about it how little do we know of their kind? A society hidden from our sight, there is most likely countless secrets they have held." Dameon pointed out softly. "And I can offer the explanation of their existence if they're legends do somehow hold truth. These humans are said to be incredibly rare, according to the legends their existence is only birthed by the necessity of the existence of an incredibly powerful vampire. The more powerful the vampire the more they need to feed, and eventually even blood is not enough to sustain them. They require blood that holds a high quantity of magic essence, and that magic must directly compliment their own. If they go without this highly specialized blood, they will in time die."

Mel was beginning to understand where they were going with this and she shrunk in her chair, hands clenching into fists in her lap.

"These humans are born with the fate of being tied to one of these powerful vampires. Upon being found and bitten their life force is tied to that of the vampires, cursed to walk alongside the vampires for their immortal life. These humans are known in the legends as Blood Brides, a title that applies to both male and female. That fiery feeling would have come from the mixing of magics during the bite and the feeling of your blood being drained while simultaneously replaced by your system in accordance to the magical situation between Blood Bride and Vampire" Rhen finally finished, setting aside the books.

"Well that's all good an interesting, but it's a complete impossibility! Blood Brides? Magic blood to sustain vampires? If this is real why have there been no recorded happenings of this taking place, and why would it take such a powerful creature this long to find me?!" Mel snapped, fear and nerves coming out in her biting tone.

"Mel, we aren't saying this is what's happening. Like you said, this is just legend but even you have to admit that everything recorded here lines up to what happened tonight..." Dameon said, quickly intervening to calm the situation.

"I don't care, that legend most likely came into being during the vampire wars when they were searching for anything and everything to indicate ties to the vampires. You know as well as I do that hundreds upon hundreds of humans died after accusations of being sympathetic and in aid of the vampire cause, Blood Brides would have been just another perfect excuse to get rid of "threats to the humans cause"." Mel scoffed, arms crossed defensively over her chest. "It was probably a dark pixie, there's no other logical explanation."

After a moment of hesitation Rhen nodded in agreement, pushing aside her research.

"You're probably right. Well at least we found a reason, now we'll just have to ward your room against pixies so it doesn't happen again." Her roommate said, Mel nodding and leaning her head back with a sigh.

Dameon and Rhen across the way fell into quiet conversation them, leaving the dark Mage to her own thoughts. Anxiety swirled through her as she stared at the living room ceiling above her.

She was good at faking confidence in her conclusion, verbally dismissing Rhen's other research. But even as she tried to ignore it, a traitorous part of her mind reminded her of what the Fortune Teller had said, and of the events that had happened around her. If Mel was honest, she wasn't entirely positive it had been a pixie. But she couldn't acknowledge the other possibility, it was far to terrifying to even consider.

It didn't matter, what happened couldn't have been something else, it was impossible.

_____________________________________________________

Laughter filled a cozy house several blocks away from Mel's shared apartment as four friends gathered around a board game. Tomorrow was All Hallows' eve which meant that school and work were cancelled due to the significance of the holiday for any mages that use some form of dark magic and they had decided that a wonderful way to ring in the holiday would be to stay up as lasted as possible playing boardgames.

Mel grinned as Stella took one of Edward's pieces out with a little giggle, reaching over to steal a handful of chips from the bowl in front of Lydia.

"Hands out Darkthrop, these belong to me." Lydia snapped, pulling to bowl into her arms protectively.

Mel smirked and made a show of munching on the handful of goodies in her hand as Edward let out a loud sound of protest before arguing the legitimacy of the move.

"Oh stop complaining Edward, just accept the fact that your girlfriend has a better strategy then you and come help me get drinks." Mel mocked, getting to her feet with a sulking Edward behind her as Stella and Lydia burst into laughter.

"I still say she miscounted somewhere. There is no way I should have lost that piece so easily." He muttered sullenly, Mel patting his shoulder with a snort as she headed to the cupboard with the glasses.

"Keep telling yourself that Edward. Can you grab the bottle from the cupboard?"

Standing on her toes Mel reached up to grab the glasses off the shelf, only to on the last glass lose her grip. She swore as it fell from her fingers and smashed all over the counter in front of her. She moved to yank her other hand back but was too slow as one of the glass pieces pierced her hand, blood welling to the surface.

"Ow!"

"You alright?" Edward instantly asked, quickly coming over to her side.

"I'm fine, but that hurt like hell." She muttered, glaring down at her wounded hand.

"You're bleeding pretty good, we should get the glass out." Edward said, reaching out and pulling the glass free in time to Mel's hissed curse at the feeling.

He set aside the glass and pulled her hand under the tap, turning on the cool water and watching as it rinsed off her hand.

"Let's see how bad it is, the glass looked surprisingly deep into your hand." He pointed out, Mel silent as he pulled her hand out and went to gently use his thumb to move the skin around her cut ever so slightly.

"AAAAAAAH!"

It was magic, that was for certain, but Mel had never seen anything of the like before in her life. Just as Edward set his thumb down, more blood had beaded to the surface and touched him. The sizzling as the magic in her veins suddenly sparked beneath her skin made both Mel and Edward flinch before he had suddenly let out a pained shout, ripping his hand away as if she had burned him, and then when she saw his thumb it became clear that was exactly what had happened.

"Edward!"

"What's going on?!"

Stella and Lydia burst into the kitchen as Edward shoved his hands under the cold water, Mel flinching back with her hand held to her chest as she watched the water cascade over the magical burn.

"Her blood, it burned me!" Edward exclaimed, Lydia grabbing Edward's wrist to jerk his hand out of water.

Clear as day anyone could see the small burn, black webbing across the damaged skin shifting and moving to form patterns and runes before fading into something new.

"This is the result of a dark magic attack." Lydia reported, both Stella and Edward turning to gape at Mel.

"What?! But I-I never-"

"I know it wasn't you Mel, this is...different." Lydia said, her voice shaking ever so slightly. "This isn't just any magic, this is far far more powerful. They call it black magic, dark magic used to work spells through the blood of a being in Aia. It was forbade centuries ago which is why it's called black magic, there aren't even records existing on how to use it anymore. The only records of use since it was forbidden was by vampires during the war, how in all Aia is it connected to you?!"

Used by vampires, a vampire skill that no other kind had been recorded using.

Mel felt her face go white as she stared in absolute horror at Lydia.

"Only vampires?!" She whimpered, her friends reaching out towards her as she staggered backwards.

Reality slammed into her like a train, everything that had happened coming together to form a picture that made her stomach roll.

"The fortune teller was right, Rhen was right with her research about Blood Brides. I need to get out of here." She babbled, bolting for the door.

"Mel! Wait! What are you talking about, where are you going?!" Stella cried, trying to stop Mel who only jerked her arm free and grabbed her purse as she headed out the door.

"I have to leave before All Hallows' Eve Stella, I'm sorry."

Mel had never peeled away from a curb so fast as she stomped on the gas. She still had several hours, which meant that she had just enough time to grab a few necessities from her apartment and get Rhen to leave and go stay with Dameon where she would be safe.

When she reached her house and had gotten to the door she didn't even bother knocking to give Rhen a chance to react as she fumbled her key into the door to unlock and let herself in.

"Rhen! RHEN!" She shouted as she hurried down the halls towards her own room.

"Mel?! What's going on?"

"Go get yourself a bag and pack what you need for an overnight stay, we need to get out of here in the next ten minutes so I can get you to Dameon and then get myself the hell out of this town before midnight." Mel ordered, her hands shaking like a leaf.

"What h-"

"You were right Rhen, about the vampire thing. My blood burned Edward, Lydia said it's been changed by black magic. Get your things and meet me down at my car now." Mel snarled, cutting her off as she ran into her room and shoved her most important things into a old duffle bag.

As she strode through the hall towards the door she could hear Rhen hurriedly packing in her room and Mel blinked back tears as she took the outside stairs two at a time to get down to her car.

"I can do this, I can get out of the city before it's too late." She murmured to herself as she opened her trunk.

Carefully Mel slid her bag into her trunk, movements suddenly beginning to slow as in her chest she began to feel the strangest sensation. A warming and fluttering, the sensation making Mel brace herself against the lip of the trunk as she pressed her hand over her heart.

"What the..?"

Deep inside her magic flared, power coiling through her as if in reply to an unspoken order and Mel's eyes widened, glowing swirls moved beneath her skin as her magic reacted and strained to break free.

"No..." She whispered, feeling a pulling at the very core of her being that drew her towards the sparse grove of trees just behind their apartment building.

She stumbled back from her trunk, desperation fuelling her as she lunged for the drivers door of her car. She could feel the oppressive magic swirling through the clearing, leaves swirling off the ground and whipping around the outside parkade and she knew what was coming.

Mel wrenched her door open, but never got any further then that as a sensation far more terrifying then even the magic in the clearing could be felt. There was a gust of wind over her from in front and she staggered back as the world misted over.

"You thought to escape did you?" A deep voice murmured, a hulking figure shrouded in darkness standing before her.

Mel dragged in a gasp, fear stealing her voice as she felt the edges of her vision begin to darken. She felt the magic pulling her under, a single tear leaking out of the corner of her eye as she collapsed into a pair of waiting arms that lifted her off the ground to hold her to a hard chest. As the world around her began to fade she heard but one more statement before the world around her ceased to exist within her consciousness.

"Oh little lamb, you are far too late"

_____________________________________________________

Rhen hurried down the stairs with her bag over her shoulders, phone to her ear as she called Dameon. She knew he would understand what was happening and be able to tell her what to do, tell her what was needed to help Mel.

"So she's fleeing in fear of being caught by the vampire?! Do you really think that she's a Blood bride?!" Dameon asked, voice baffled and concerned.

Rhen reached the ground in record time and ran through the parkade to where Mel's car was sitting.

"I don't know! She just-..."

"Rhen? Rhen what's wrong?"

The lilac haired young woman stared at the car with dread, the trunk open and bag still partially caught on the lip of the trunk. Driver door hanging open and a few quick steps to that side of the car also revealed the keys lying on the ground.

"Oh goddess..." She breathed, the subtle feel of magic coming from the drivers seat making her peer inside to see something lying on the seat.

Carefully she pulled the door fully open to allow moonlight to illuminate the seat, revealing a black rose with blood dripped over the silken petals.

"Rhen?!" Dameon shouted into the phone, panicked by her sudden silence.

Tears filled her eyes as she stood staring at the flower in the seat.

"It's too late Dameon. We're too late, she's gone."

_____________________________________________________

The first breath in was so cold it burned, Mel's lungs protesting slightly against the unusually clean and fresh air.

Her eyes fluttered slightly, as she slowly returned to herself and opened bleary eyes. Almost instantly the events of earlier hit her and she whipped her head up to stare around her as she tried to gather her wits to evaluate the situation. She tried to move but found her muscles not holding, Mel slumping back down onto the stone slab that was attached to the wall behind her.

As she waited for her body to recover she did a quick scan of the room, her observations showing her stone walls and a black chandler hanging from the vaulted ceilings that lit the room with an eery glow. Other then that lighting the circular room was completely empty. Then her eyes landed on a window across the way that was complete open, hope leaping in her chest that perhaps she had been left hear by someone who didn't anticipate her waking when she did.

"Come on Mel..." She breathed to herself, pushing upright and sighing in relief when her body obeyed and held her upright.

Carefully she rose to her feet, the sensation of the cold floor against her feet making her flinch and look down only to gasp at the sight of what she wore. No longer was she dressed in her usual pants and vest, rather a loose and flowing black dress that rippled in the breeze coming in the window causing the hem to brush against her ankles.

Carefully she moved across the floor to the window, grasping the ledge and leaning out eagerly to see what laid below only to gasp at the dizzying drop revealed to her. Mel jerked herself back and glanced around her surroundings in shock, unbelieving of the sprawling forests surrounding her as far as the eyes could see.

"Where am I?" She breathed, unable to tear her eyes away from the view.

"You, my dear, are in my home."

A strangled gasp escaped Mel and she whirled, eyes widening as she took in the imposing figure several feet away from her.

Tall with broad shoulders and cloaked in a deep red, paper white skin directly contrasting the black strands that fell loosely along his angular features from the ponytail at the base of his neck. Her frightened blue eyes snapped up to meet scarlet ones and he smirked slightly, taking a step closer.

"You seem so shocked to see me, I truly thought you were smarter then that. I know you figured it out, I heard everything you said to that pretty little roommate of yours."

Mel stared at the vampire before her, the fear in her so overloading her senses that she felt a sense of numbness beginning to set in.

"The Blood bride legend." Fell from her lips without her consent, unable to look away from his piercing gaze.

"Legend? Oh no lamb, that is no legend. But I think you already have realized that, haven't you?" He purred, eyes glittering with darkness and heat.

Mel's heart raced, her pulse pounding in her ears as she slid sideways and began to edge along the wall away from the vampire before her.

"I'm not a Blood bride, you've made a mistake." She forced out, her mouth dry.

The vampire chuckled, licking his fangs very deliberately as he began to prowl towards her.

"Trust me darling, I have made no mistake. Even as we speak you already beginning to feel the results of our connection, you can feel the very blood in your veins heating and rushing through you. My magic runs through you now, it is calling to me just as is the scent of your blood and you can feel it."

Mel shook her head violently, denying his claim even as she felt her magic swell like a tidal wave inside. Ribbons of light rose out of her, dancing through the air as the vampire raised a hand. Red tendrils of magic nearly blasted free of his palm, racing for her own magic and twining around it. She felt the magic bleed together in every part of her magic, a cry of shock escaping her.

"W-what have you done?!" She choked out, grabbing onto the wall to hold herself upright.

"I have marked what is mine, the supernatural world can never mistake your for anything other then the Blood Bride of the great Lord of Twilight." The vampire Mage murmured, a look of dark satisfaction flitting across his cold features.

"I'm not yours." Mel spat, shoving herself off the wall as she glared at the vampire lord with fury in her gaze. "I will never belong to you, I'd rather die!"

No sooner had the words had left her mouth she lunged for the window, desperation driving her. She would never allow herself to be trapped eternally in the home of a being who fed upon her kind, and he had made a decision that would cost him his precious blood bride by holding her in this room.

"No."

Her fingers had just brushed against the window ledge when an arm grabbed her and ripped her right out of the air. She slammed backwards into a hard chest, cursing as he wrapped one long arm around her from behind and trapped both arms against her sides, holding her immobile.

"You have been mine from the moment I fed off of you that night in your apartment." He hissed, icy breath washing washing over her ear. "You will always belong to me, you were destined to belong to me from the moment you were born. You shall live your eternity alongside me, there will be no escape after I finish the bonding ritual by feeding that will tie us together for the rest of our immortal lives."

"N-no! I won't let you do this! HELP!" The panicked screams echoed futility around the chamber and the Lord of Twilight laughed cruelly.

"No one will come for you, there is no one that can save you." Was the silky purr in reply to her call. "And it won't be long before you won't want saving, even one such as you cannot resist the call anymore then I was able to."

Mel knew he was right, she had started to feel it from the moment he had pulled her too him. Her struggles slowed as lethargy settled over her and her head lolled sideways, resting against the shoulder of the vampire at her back.

"I'll make you pay for this, I promise."

Her half hearted words were met with a chuckle that vibrated against her skin, cold lips touching on the pulse under her ear before dragging down her neck.

"You can try, I welcome your attempts." He whispered.

Mel watched through half lidded eyes out the window, taking in the moon high in the sky. All that time the fortune teller had been right, had she only listened...

But it was too late now, she felt lips still on her neck right above where the bite mark had been that night. Then fangs pierced her skin and Mel jerked in his hold, crying out in shock at what felt like raging fire in her veins.

It was too late now, she hadn't left in time to escape before All Hallows' Eve and now she was fulfilling her fortune of fear.

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You posted the fluffy one that melts me and then you posted the one that makes me want to murder Gyendal XD But never fear! I did not reread so Gyendal is safe (for now), and I am safely still melted in a helpless puddle :heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart::heart:

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