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After Shock

Author: Birdpaw
Rating: Explicit
Status: In Progress
Series: Wolf Heart
Preceding: None
Succeeding: None


Wolf Heart
Preceded by:
None
After Shock Succeeded by:
None

Every story must end someday.

But with all stories that end

There is another beginning.

A story starting after one finishes.

Just the beginning.

Prologue

And sometimes

The consequences come back...

Chapter 1

They haunt you

Unrelentlessly

Two cloaked figures ran down the path, one stopped, panting, "How... Long... Until... We reach the border?" He asked quietly.

The other one looked back, and took their hood off, "Come on, Markus, we've got no time!" She snapped quickly, and continued walking.

Markus put his his hood down also, ruffling his wheat blonde hair, and he asked curiously, "Man, Lillian, why are you always so rushed, can't you relax?"

Lillian had stopped, and looked back at her old friend. It had been quite a while since they were at the mountain, four years to be exact, but the memory was still vivid in her mind. Sometimes I have nightmares about them... I've been searching for a way to stop that... With no luck.

Markus must have known what she was thinking, he stood beside her, and took out a book from his back pack, and said, "I've been reading this a bit between the lines," he gave it to her, "I'm not sure it would help, but it is nice for some light reading."

Lillian smiled, standing there in Grealach, near the same river where she met her friends when she was 15, it was a fond memory. She looked at the castle, and wondered quietly, I'm 19 now... I wonder how my father is doing. She jumped when Markus asked, "Well, should we get going, I really don't want to get caught by another dire wolf, talk about deja vu." 

They both laughed, Markus put his hands behind his head as they walked, "That seemed like forever ago, but it was fun."

"Don't ever let Lucan hear you say that." Lillian laughed.

"Lucan's not here." Markus pointed out, laughing also.

Lillian rolled her eyes as Markus continued laughing, she put her hand on the necklace that was given to her, it was warm to the touch, she smiled faintly, Four years... Amazing how something so small could keep me searching, to stop these stupid nightmares I'm getting. She thought.

Markus asked, "Think Lucan would get mad at me if I brought a great cat into the castle?"

"He probably would." Lillian said quietly.

Markus laughed, "Remember when I got one of those things away from you?"

"I don't think it was that big a threat." Lillian murmured, smiling.

Markus shrugged, and they continued walking down the path. Markus said sadly, "I kind of miss it, what happened back then."

"You do?" Lillian asked.

"Yeah, it was nice, working together," Markus said calmly. Lillian smiled, they stopped where the river drained out into the lake, they looked around, and Markus asked curiously, "Do you think the others feel the same way?"

Lillian looked on thoughtfully, then said quietly, "I'm sure they do."

They stood in silence, staring at the lake, Lillian twitched when she started getting the bad feeling again. Something was wrong, she looked around suspiciously. She asked, "Are you getting a bad feeling?" She looked at Markus.

Markus hesitated, then said flatly, "You could call it that, but it's more of a feeling of foreboding."

Lillian frowned, and Markus asked, "Is the feeling you're getting bad?"

She didn't say anything, then she murmured, "Yes."

Markus looked around, "Well, everything seems calm here," he looked up at the reddening sky, and added, "It's almost dawn too... Should we go visit then?"

Lillian nodded, and followed Markus. It was nearing winter everyday, with frost growing on the leaves, and the grass a frosty white. She sighed, "You can tell winter is going to be strong."

"Something wrong with that?" Markus asked curiously.

Lillian shook her head, and continued walking, it was finally dawn by the time they got to the border, Lillian put her hand on the post. It was cold to the touch, she murmured quietly, "I can't help but feel like something's wrong, you're right, it's more of a foreboding feeling."

Markus looked up at the sign, his arms crossed, Lillian started walking into Nixsan, the snow from the avalanche had melted over time, but there was still a lot of snow. Markus said, "Remember the caves?"

"Yes." Lillian said quietly.

They continued onto the straight path, the path they couldn't take when they were travelling with the pack. Markus sighed, "I'm kind of glad that the snow has at least melted enough that we can get through," he hesitated, then added, "How do you think the pack is doing?"

"I don't know, and I don't think it's best we run into them," Lillian murmured, "They thought we were real wolves, Kyrai is the only one that knows what we were." She pointed out.

"Yeah... She probably doesn't remember us anyways." Markus said calmly.

"You she probably remembers, you did save her life after all." Lillian pointed out, smiling.

Markus shrugged, "It was nothing, I couldn't just leave her to die like that, it didn't feel right." He muttered modestly.

"Did you hear what she said when Kyrai questioned us? Wolves usually leave abandoned pups." Lillian said cooly, raising an eye-brow.

Markus smiled, and shrugged again, but froze, looking over the mountain top suspiciously, Lillian asked quietly, "What's the matter?"

He pointed upwards, and Lillian narrowed her eyes, and realised that it was smoke, Lillian asked, "Isn't... That where... The castle is?" She stared at Markus.

"Bad sign?" Markus said faintly.

"Oh yes." Lillian agreed.

They looked at each-other, then nodded, and Lillian asked as they hurried along, "Why doesn't he call for help?!" She hissed.

"You know him!" Markus hissed back.

Lillian said nothing as she followed Markus, and she murmured, "I hope nothing super bad happened..."

"Knowing our luck, I doubt it." Markus said, and they continued. Lillian couldn't help but agree. But... I can't help but hope that this is just us being jumpy...

They stopped at the path to the heart of Nixsan, they stared at the castle at the distance, but the smoke didn't seem like anything more than a campfire, which was odd. Why have a camp-fire when you have a castle? Lillian thought grimly, and started to get an uneasy feeling.

Markus however, didn't hesitate, Lillian followed. It was soon midday by the time they reached the castle, and the smoke had been diminished, but something was wrong, usually there was at least some guards around, but there were none in sight.

"That can't be good," Markus peeked in the front gate, "I don't see anyone." He reported.

Lillian peeked in also, and Markus was right, the front courtyard was practically empty, she walked in, and called, "Lucan?!"

Markus poked her, "Don't be so loud, who knows what happened." He hissed under his breath.

Lillian headed to the doors of the castle, Some part of me doesn't want me to open this door, but another part wants me to make sure my friend is all right. She looked at her necklace in thought, then looked up determinedly, and she grabbed the handle.

Markus was behind her, sword at the ready.

They walked in, and both jumped when there was a noise. A guard limped up to them, blinded, and near dying, but suspicious, and he snapped weakly, "Who's there?!"

Lillian jumped back, the guard was bleeding all over, and Lillian said, "It's me, Lillian! I'm Lucan's friend! Where is he, is he alive?" She asked quickly.

The guard seemed to relax, then he muttered, "The prince got away from me after he ordered me to get away from here, he told me he'd be finding his younger sisters, but it's quite unlike him..."

"Who attacked you?" Markus asked quietly.

The guard said nothing, and he hissed, "I wish you luck, I was blinded before I could see, I need to find the king..."

The guard limped out, and Lillian frowned, then ran through the halls. Lillian called, "Lucan?!" There was no answer, she clenched her teeth, looking through every room with Markus on her heels.

"Where do you think he could of gone?" Lillian whispered.

Markus seemed to think, then he frowned, "Well... Lucan does have younger sisters, and he cares about family more than he does about offense."

Lillian murmured, "What's the most safest place to hide in a castle...?"

She sighed, "Storage." Then ran out the door, the layout was almost the same as her old home, with a few twisting passages here and there. She ran down a couple steps, then knocked on the door.

There was shuffles, then a sound of protest, and she snapped, "Anna, I know you're in there!"

It had gone quiet, then someone peeked out the door, it was Lucan's fifteen year old sister, and she asked curiously, "Lillian? Is that you?"

Lillian nodded, and exclaimed, "No, don't come out!" When Anna started to open the door. Anna closed it sharply, and Lillian asked, "Where's your brother?"

"I don't know, he just said he'd go find dad, I want him to come back..." Anna whispered fearfully.

Lillian looked at Markus, and nodded, "Stay in there, Anna, we'll be back with Lucan." She murmured quickly, Anna complied, and locked the door.

"Let's go." Lillian hissed worriedly.

As they walked down the corridors, Markus asked, "Where do you think he could have gone?"

Lillian murmured, "I don't know, it's not a good thing, something or someone attacked this place for some reason, maybe Lucan will be able to tell us."

"If we find him," Markus sighed, and he added, "Lucan has always been able to get out of situations like this, I don't know why it would be different this time around." He finished, and crossed his arms.

Lillian looked in another room, it was empty. She called, "Lucan? Are you in here? It's us!"

There was no answer, but Markus walked in, and Lillian hissed, "What are you doing?"

"Lucan told me of a secret passage in one of the rooms, the others didn't look like the room he described, but this one, I'm getting a funny feeling." Markus said calmly, looking around.

He brushed his hand over a bookshelf, then grabbed a book. Lillian heard the familiar clicking noise of the passage opening, Markus pushed the bookshelf to the side, and they saw stairs going down. But the lamps were out. Markus smiled, "Very well played, Lucan." He joked.

Lillian felt her way down the steps, and she jumped when her and Markus were pulled into a dimly lit room off to the side.

"What are you two doing here?!" Someone hissed.

Markus asked, "Can you turn a lamp on? I can't see!"

Suddenly, the room was lit, it wasn't small, and Lucan was staring at them as if they were the last people he wanted to see. Lillian stared, while Markus waved, "How are you doing?"

"I'll answer your questions if you answer mine." Lucan hissed.

Markus frowned. While Lillian stared at Lucan, You're traumatized... What happened to you... She thought sadly, Lucan must have gotten injured, because his hands were banaged, and there was an unnatural fire in his eyes, a fire she had rarely seen, last time she did though, it was in an old god.

Markus put his hands up in defense, and he said quickly, "Woah, Lucan, we're not your enemy!"

Lucan hesitated, then Markus said quickly, "We're here for a break, we couldn't find any leads. Then Lillian got a bad feeling, so we came here."

Lucan stared at the two of them, Lillian just sighed, "Lucan please, we're your friends. We're not here to hurt you."

He stared at her, then asked carefully, "Are my sisters safe?

"Yes." Lillian whispered quietly.

Lucan seemed to relax, and said coolly, "Cloaked people attacked us."

"What? But I thought people in Nixsan were pretty content." Markus said, shocked.

Lucan sighed, "A lot can change when years go by."

Lillian nodded in agreement, while Markus stared. Lucan said quietly, "I couldn't find my father."

"We'll help!" Markus perked up.

Lucan hesitated, then said quietly, "I'm glad that you're willing to help, but I said I couldn't find him, I didn't say I didn't know what had happened to him."

Lillian and Markus stared at him, then he murmured, "My father is dead."

They both gaped at their friend, and Markus waved his hands, "Woah, woah woah! What do you mean by dead?" He asked pointedly.

"What do you think I mean?" Lucan asked dangerously, and crossed his arms.

Lillian asked cautiously, "How do you know?"

"A guard told me, then tried to get me out of the castle, but I got away from him, I wanted to see for myself." Lucan said quietly.

"Then why are you in here?" Markus asked.

"I'm trying to figure out who did this." Lucan murmured.

Lillian said, "There's a part of you that really doesn't want to know..." She murmured softly.

Lucan stared at her, and said nothing, Markus stood up, nearly hitting his head on the low roof, and he said, "Well, we'll get you and your sisters out of here, don't worry~"

Lucan seemed to smile, and stood up, "I don't know if the people that attacked us are still here, so we better be careful." He murmured quietly.

Lillian and Markus nodded, and led the way out of the passage, with Lucan closing it behind them. As they walked down the empty corridors, Lillian got another foreboding feeling. She looked back at Lucan, who was looking around as he walked with sad eyes, she noticed that his hand was at his side, and she thought, Guess he hurt himself... Or his attacker got a good hit.

She asked carefully, "How are you feeling?"

Lucan shrugged, "Could be worse." He murmured.

"I'm sorry this happened..." Lillian said quietly.

Lucan frowned, "You didn't do this." He pointed out, dwindling even furthur behind. Lillian couldn't help but roll her eyes, but decided not to bother. Lillian was too busy looking at his hand, which was very lightly tinged with red. Lucan noticed her, and shuffled so that he was against the wall, and ignored Lillian.

"Yeah, I know I didn't." Lillian murmured, and continued to walk.

Markus was looking back at them, but when Lillian walked past him, he didn't turn to follow. He had his arms crossed, and he asked, "You don't have to be so secretive you know."

Lucan raised an eyebrow, and asked dangerously, "Meaning...?"

Markus looked at Lillian, then Lillian looked at Lucan, he did look a bit pale, but he seemed to be able to walk fine enough, but for how long? She walked up to him, and said, "Lucan."

Lucan blinked, then dropped his hand to his side, but his hand had blood on it. Lillian looked confused.

"So the guy got a good hit on me, it's nothing." Lucan shrugged, returning his hand to his side.

"Nothing, your side is really bleeding," Markus sniffed, trying not to laugh, "I'd love to see what was something with you."

Lillian frowned, and she said sadly, "I didn't even notice at first."

"Exactly, it's nothing." Lucan said flatly.

"Whatever you say, can't get you to admit anything anyways, might as well try not too." Markus said calmly, and shrugged. They continued walking.

Lillian asked, "So, can you elaborate on what happened?"

Lucan tipped his head, then sighed, "Well, I was just walking to see my dad. He had wanted to see me about something, but I guess something was wrong, because a couple of guards walked past me, as if they were being rushed," he hesitated, then said, "I decided to go see if my sisters were all right, then it gets fuzzy..." He faltered, rubbing his head.

"Did the person attack you then?" Markus asked.

Lucan shrugged, "I don't remember." He growled flatly.

Lillian and Markus stared at him in shock, and Lillian thought, Lucan's memory is way better than mine... But... What could make him forget? Lillian jumped when Lucan asked, "What?"

"Nothing, it's just... Your memory is usually better than most of ours." Lillian pointed out.

Lucan looked at her, confused, and said cooly, "Well, I guess once I get out of here my memory will clear up." He walked past the two.

Markus whispered, "Is it just me? Or is Lucan acting strange?" He asked.

Lillian shrugged, and ran to catch up to Lucan. But he had disappeared, and Lillian hissed, "Where did he go." She looked around quickly.

"Hey! Watch out!" Markus gasped, while Lillian turned to face the thing attacking her.

Another cloaked figure attacked the person from behind, and they struggled, until the person took out the hilt of their sword, and knocked them out easily.

They stood up calmly, while Markus took out his sword, and snapped, "Hey, watch it!"

The person seemed to look at him, and then took off his hood. It was Erik.

"Oh, Erik! You're looking better than we are!" Markus joked, relaxing his grip on his sword.

Erik had grown a bit taller than Lillian, and his dirty blonde hair had turned into a light brown, but his eyes were sitll their calming, friendly blue, and he asked curiously, "What's going on here?"

"We have no idea, did you see Lucan?" Markus asked.

Erik shook his head, "I'm afraid not, I just came here because Lucan wanted to ask me something, and when I did, I saw blood, and I realised something was wrong." He murmured, he looked around.

"Well, thanks for knocking that guy out." Lillian sighed.

"No problem, another one almost got a good hit on me, but then I returned the favour." He said calmly, he waved his sword a bit from side to side.

Markus and Lillian stared at their old friend, and Lillian thought sadly, He's changed too... He protected us from the shadows, and now...

Erik asked curiously, "Is something wrong?"

Lillian jumped, and shook her head, "No, I'm just thinking." She said quickly.

"Yes, you've been doing that a lot." Erik said coolly.

Lillian jumped, "Oh my, I totally forgot the link between us!"

Erik jumped also, "Oh, I've never actually heard any of your thoughts, I can just tell." He waved his hands in apology.

Lillian smiled, He has changed, but not a lot, he's still his sweet, gentle self...

Markus asked, "Do you know what happened to Lucan's father?"

Erik stared at them both, then sighed, "He's dead..." He added quickly, "Well, more like I walked in on him dying, at first he thought I was one of the attackers, and he put up a pretty good fight, then he realised I wasn't his enemy, and told me to find his children."

"And died?" Markus asked.

"And died." Erik said flatly.

"Wow," Markus turned to Lillian, "What are we going to tell Lucan?" He asked quietly

"Nothing, he already suspected it, Markus." Lillian pointed out.

Markus frowned, "I think he wasn't suspecting it as much as he was trying to be realistic. Just because he was trying to be realistic doesn't mean he wanted it to be true." He said quietly.

Lillian nodded, while Erik asked, "Are you two okay?"

"What do you mean?" Lillian asked back.

Erik frowned, "I mean, what about you? How did you end up coming here?" He asked cautiously.

Lillian stared up at the ceiling, and said quietly, "I've been getting odd feelings, at first... I thought it was something else, but this time, it was different.."

Erik seemed to understand, and said quietly, "I see."

"Are you looking for Lucan too then? He's hurt pretty badly." Markus said quickly.

"Is he?" Erik asked, then nodded, "Yeah, I'm looking for him, more out of curiousity out of what he told me, but now that you say that, you believe he is in danger?" He asked curiously.

"Who isn't in danger in this place?" Markus asked jokingly.

They continued walking down the dark corridor, and Markus asked Erik, "How long have you been in Nixsan?"

"A couple days." Erik replied.

Lillian stopped, she heard something, she nudged Erik, and pointed down to where the noise was coming from. Erik nodded, and edged toward the place the noise was coming from. Markus followed behind him, sword at the ready.

Lillian whispered, "What is it?"

Erik peeked around the corner, and whispered, "I don't see anything."

She hissed, "Really? Let me see!" She quickly took Erik's place, but he was right, I don't see anything, this is weird. She thought grimly.

"Am I the only one that thinks this is all a little odd?" Markus whispered from behind Lillian.

Lillian shook her head, "We need to find Lucan, he was hurt, and if those people are still here, he can only defend himself for so long." She whispered quietly.

She heard Erik walk ahead of her, he was more relaxed than Markus, but he still was keeping his hand close to his sword, and he murmured, "There's nothing here, come on."

Lillian and Markus followed him. Lillian asked, "Once again, where do you think Lucan would go?"

"Do you think he went back to that secret room?" Markus asked.

"I don't think so." Lillian said flatly. They continued walking through the castle, but Lucan was no where to be seen. Markus was growling something under his berath, while Erik relaxed completely.

"This is getting tiring," Markus grunted, "Maybe I should play dead somewhere, get some sleep."

Erik looked up at the ceiling, and said quietly, "I don't think these people would fall for that." He was now tensed up, and his eyes were narrowed.

"Wow, Erik, that was a swift change to being relaxed to being serious." Markus joked, but jumped when Lillian stepped on his foot, and pointed down the hall-way.

There was a shape walking calmly down the hall, and disappear around the corner. Markus asked, "Think that was Lucan?"

Lillian shook her head, "No... He was limping, this person acted like nothing happened," she whispered back, and followed the person quickly, but when she turned the corner, the person was gone. Lillian raised an eye-brow, and said quietly, "That's weird."

Erik and Markus looked around the corner also, and Markus pointed out, "There's no one here."

Erik frowned, "Yeah..." He murmured.

Lillian walked down the long hall-way, and said in disbelief, "That's impossible... I followed them too quickly, no way they could have disappeared."

Erik was looking at the walls, he looked around, and said, "There's no doorways in this hallway..."

Markus groaned, "Arg, this castle is so weird!"

"What did you say?" Someone asked behind him. They all jumped, but relaxed when it was only Lucan.

Markus turned to him, and waved his hands, "This castle, it's weird!"

Lillian asked, "Were you just here?"

Lucan looked confused, and said in an confused tone, "No, I haven't been in this part yet."

She sighed, and muttered, "Then I'll have to agree with Markus, this castle is super weird." She looked around, and narrowed her eyes.

"What makes you say that?" Lucan asked curiously.

"We saw someone! If it wasn't you... Who was it?" Markus asked curiously.

Lucan raised an eye-brow, "You saw someone? Maybe it was one of my sisters." He said quietly.

Lillian looked down the hall-way, and asked, "Is the exit that way?"

Lucan also looked down the hallway. "Uh... No?" He muttered.

Markus gasped, "A ghost?!"

Erik stared down the hallway, Lillian looked down the hallway too, and thought, Lucan's right... It was female, but it seemed a bit different from Anna, the person looked about my age.

"Lillian? We've got to get out of here," Lucan whispered. She didn't hear him, the person was peeking at them from around the corner, she caught Lillian's eye, and smiled. Lillian could barely see her, she was a mist, she waved, and disappeared. "Lillian?" Lucan asked curiously.

Lillian jumped out of her distant thought, and nodded, "Yeah." She followed Lucan and Markus, with Erik behind them.

They walked out of the castle without meeting anyone, Lillian looked at Lucan, who was frowning up at the castle. she asked, "What's wrong?"

Lucan hesitated, then said quietly, "There's no one else, my mum died, I found out a while ago, now my dad, and I ran into my sisters, and told them to get to our uncle, I hope he didn't move again..." Lucan face-palmed.

"We can check if you want." Erik pointed out.

Lucan smiled, "Thanks, I guess that'd be a good idea, but I've got to warn you... He's a bit..." Lucan faltered.

"Overbearing?" Lillian asked.

Markus added, "Crazy?"

"No... Just... You'll see." Lucan sighed, and lead the way, past the castle, even deeper into Nixsan.

Lillian whispered to Markus, "Lucan sounds like he's terrified of his uncle."

"Aw, he can't be that bad..." He hesitated, then asked in a whisper, "Can he?"

Lillian shrugged, and jumped when they stopped at a snowy ravine. Lucan looked around, and started walking, with Erik following behind. But Lillian and Markus weren't as graceful, and often tripped.

They stopped a fairly big house, Lillian asked, "Why didn't he live at the castle with your family?"

"He didn't like it, I heard him talking to my father, her said 'It's too closed, I don't like it.' and left." Lucan murmured, staring at the door with a distant gaze.

"Well, knock!" Markus pushed Lucan towards the door, who stared at it, as if he was dreading the suggestion. Markus laughed, "He can't be that bad!"

Lucan shivered, then knocked on the door. There was no noise, and they all stared at the door in confusion. They leaped back when it opened slowly, and a hand grabbed the edge of it. Lillian gasped.

A man had thrown open the door, at first, he looked a lot like Lucan, but he had a huge smile on his face, his eyes wide in excitement, and asked, "Oh! Hello, Lucan! What are you doing here?" He blinked his moon grey eyes, and patted Lucan's head, "You only visit if my dear older brother does." He laughed.

Lillian and Markus were sniggering behind Erik, who seemed shocked, as if he recognized the man. The man noticed them, Lillian gasped when he grabbed her hand and shook it, "And you must be Lillian! Lucan told me a lot about you!" He said very quickly.

Lucan looked horrorfied. The man laughed, "I'm Alexavier, but you can all just call me Alex~"

Markus had a big smile on his face also, and Lillian sighed, and thought, Yeah. I got it. But... I never expected him to be like this. She stared up at Lucan's uncle, and murmured, "Nice to meet you."

Lucan asked, "Uncle, did my sisters come here?"

"Oh, don't be so formal Lucan, you're too much like your father, relax~" Alex laughed, he said, "Yep, they're inside right now, quite a thing they told me." His eyes darkened, much to Lillian's surprise, the family resemblence was now shocking.

Lucan bowed, "Then you must have heard happened to my father." He murmured.

Alex rubbed the back of his head, "Yes, I wasn't sure whether to believe it, I was about to go there and see for myself." He said calmly.

"You're in danger just like the rest of us." Lucan said quickly, and stared at him.

"Difference is, I was more of a fighter then my brother, he was the smart one." He laughed.

Alex finally noticed Erik, and asked curiously, recognizement flickering his gaze, "Oh, is this your Hostrich friend?" 

"Yes, this is Erik, Erik..." He faltered, and his voice strained, "This is my... Uncle."

Alex shook his hand too, "You're part of the guard!" He said calmly.

Erik nodded shyly, Lillian smiled, Erik's always been the modest one of the group...

Alex noticed this, and turned back to Lucan, "I'm still going up to the castle, you're the one in most danger, and you should stay here." He muttered.

Lucan muttered, "I'm an adult, I can handle myself."

"I'm sure you can." Alex said calmly, but he crossed his arms, and the look he gave Lucan reminded her of Flynn. He had given Collin the same look way back when when Collin said he was going to do something dangerous.

Yep, they're related... Lillian thought, and jumped when Alex asked, "I'm sure my brother wouldn't want you to go back, did you see him yourself?"

Lucan hestiated, and shook his head. Alex sighed, "I understand, but you might not be ready for what you might see."

Wow, he's more like Flynn than Lucan is, except with a sense of humour that rivals Markus's. Lillian observed, as Alex grabbed a sword that was leaning against a barrel, and stared at it for a long time with a distant gaze.

"I can't stop you Lucan, but you haven't seen the damage people can do, the things I saw when I was your age..." He faltered, and said calmly, "They weren't pretty, they never are."

Alex then turned to them, and he smiled, "But, I wish I was still young, can't go to the places I want to anymore." He laughed.

Lucan whispered flatly, "You're not that old."

Alex smiled, "I'm glad you think so~" He turned, "As I said, I can't stop you, but prepare for what you might see, but first," he turned to them, "Check on your sisters." With that, he walked away.

Lillian watched as he walked away. She murmured, "He's uh... Something."

Lucan however, frowned, and he said sadly, "He hasn't been the same since the civil war in Hostrich."

Erik stared at Lucan, "Nixsan helped us through that, I didn't even know..." He murmured, watching the place Alex left.

"He wouldn't tell you... But he was the leader of a group that was protecting the area around the mountain, something happened though that changed him, he used to be a lot more calm and level-headed, but now he's... Well, that." Lucan said quietly.

Lillian frowned, "You'd never think he'd seen that type of thing the way he acts. He's almost as bad as Markus." She laughed.

Lucan however, didn't smile. "He's come to the castle a few times, I heard him and my father arguing. I was..." Lucan thought, then he murmured, "Actually, it wasn't that long before I met you." He turned to Markus.

"What did he say?" Markus asked.

Lucan had his arms crossed, "He told my father, 'Don't be an idiot.' and stormed out the room, I only caught the end of their conversation, and he muttered under his breath, 'Sometimes I wonder why father liked you best'." Lucan said quietly.

Markus and Lillian stared at Lucan. Lucan sighed, "I'll be right back." And he walked into the house.

Markus said, "Well, I thought his uncle was interesting." He laughed.

Erik was staring at the sky, and Lillian asked, "Is something wrong?"

Erik looked at her, and asked, "You didn't see it?"

Markus asked, "Saw what?"

"I saw the distant pain in his eyes, he did notice me, he was afraid of me, that, or there was something he did that he regretted, and I reminded him of it." Erik murmured, and he stared at the undergrowth.

Lillian stared also, and she said, "I didn't see it."

Erik crossed his arms, "I've seen people the same way, except they're very... Well, not like that." He murmured.

"Maybe he's different?" Lillian asked.

He nodded, "I guess, but they're not that different, he's just a lot more outgoing." He said quietly.

Lucan came back out, and said quietly, "Let's go catch up to my uncle."

Lillian, Markus and Erik nodded, but Erik brought his hand up to his necklace, and sighed, looking down for a minute.

"What are you doing?" Markus asked.

"Showing respect." Erik murmured, then followed them.

Chapter 2

You don't always think about what others might be thinking.

Imagine if you could.

They followed Lucan up the large snowy ravine. Lillian climbed over a log, and jumped when there was a thump behind her. Markus was on the ground, and he shook the snow out of his hair, and grunted, "I'm really starting to hate snow," he pulled himself up using the log, while Erik was trying to hide a laugh. Markus sighed, and asked, "Why did your uncle have to pick the steepest ravine to live in?"

Lucan frowned, "He didn't want to be followed, he wanted to live his own life the way he wanted to live it, he wasn't particulary fond of my father." He replied calmly.

"Oh?" Markus now looked extremely curious, "Why didn't he? Your uncle seems like he'd be able to get along and be friends with everybody." He pointed out.

Lucan looked at Markus, "I'm afraid it doesn't work like that, even you can't be friends with every person you meet," he turned back to the direction of the castle, "At first I wondered if it was jealousy, but now, I think there's more to it, maybe my dad said something my uncle didn't agree with?" He murmured under his breath.

Lillian frowned, and Lucan started walking again. Erik followed quickly after, while Lillian hesitated, then Markus asked, "Is it me, or is Lucan acting... Even stranger than usual?"

She stared, and thought grimly, Something about Lucan has changed... And I don't think it's for the best... I think he's turning for the worst. But how... I don't understand.

Markus stood beside Lillian, and crossed his arms, "Well, I refuse to stand here any longer, I'm going to end up being piled under snow." He laughed, and ran to catch up with Lucan. Lillian followed after her train of thought.

They saw the castle in the distance, and Markus asked cautiously, "You heard your uncle, you sure you want to do this?"

Lucan hesitated, Lillian noticed Markus back up, as if Lucan had yelled at him, but Lucan only turned, and said coolly, "I'm sure. I'm not a child anymore." He turned away from Markus and walked away from him. She looked at Markus, and was shocked that there was a look of confusion and hidden terror.

"That was an odd answer." Erik muttered thoughtfully.

Lillian nodded, "Yeah."

Markus however was staring after his old friend, like he was seeing him in a whole different light. Lillian poked him, and asked, "Are you all right?"

"Is he?" Markus asked.

Lillian stared after Lucan also, and frowned. "I'm not sure anymore." She murmured.

Erik walked past both of them, and said calmly, "Well, let's worry about one thing for now, we'll talk to him about it later." He turned to them and smiled, and ran to catch up to Lucan.

Lillian and Markus stood there in silence, and Markus asked, "Are you getting a really really bad feeling?"

"Foreboding?" Lillian asked.

Markus shook his head, "No... Like, a seriously bad feeling." He said quietly.

Lillian stared at Markus, and shook her head. Markus ran after Erik, a uncharacteristic look on his face, he looked serious. Lillian shivered, and followed after them.

They stopped at the gate, where Lucan was staring up at. Lillian walked past him, and opened the door quietly, Markus peeked over her head, and looked around quickly. She stepped in, but it was too quiet, she mused, "Think your uncle ran into trouble?"

"No, he's too good to be caught like that." Lucan muttered, and started walking down the hall.

They followed him nervously, but they jumped when there was shadows heading quickly towards them. They all jumped when a cloaked person ran towards them, but they weren't heading towards them, they were running away from Alex.

Erik tripped them, and they fell face first into the cold stone floor. Alex however ignored the person, and grabbed Lillian, Lucan, and Markus into a tight headlock, all three of them gasped, while Erik looked confused. Alex dragged them away from the person, and pushed them down another hallway, with Erik following.

Alex was leaning against the wall, watching the person as they stood up, and looked around. Lucan snapped, "What was that about?"

Alex put his hand to his mouth, and waved at them.

Lillian understood. Now was a time to be quiet. They heard the person run after them, and Lillian jumped back into Markus as Alex faced to meet the person as they turned the corner. They gasped as Alex stuck his sword through their side.

Lillian closed her eyes, I've killed animals, but... She thought sadly.

She opened them again, and saw the person on the ground, unconcious, but still alive. Lillian stared down at them. Alex turned to them, and sighed, "Somehow, I had a feeling we'd run into each-other at an awkward moment."

Markus stared at the person on the ground, "Awkward is right." He poked the person with a nearby stand

Alex's gaze was blank, which unnerved Lillian. He said calmly, "Sometimes, you have to do something that you'd rather not do. But if you don't, someone else might suffer."

Lillian stared at him, then murmured, "There's always another way..." She thought of the boulder, and what would have happened if she broke it, what she would have lost in the process.

Alex said nothing, but all of them jumped when Markus said quickly, "Woah! That was an awesome move, my old teacher never taught me that!"

Alex smiled, "Well, that's probably because you learned in a place where there isn't a lot of snow, or a lot of blizzards." He said with a laugh.

Lillian twitched, Leave it to Markus to change the subject.

Alex laughed, "Well, I guess I could teach you a bit, but you're used to a nice climate, where here, it's learn fast of find yourself at the edge of a sword without even realising it."

Lillian looked at Lucan, who shrugged. Alex sighed, and asked, "How about..." He looked at Lucan. "Let's go see the old castle, I ran into some of the guards, I need to get you out of here." He muttered.

Lucan looked like he was about to argue, but Lillian kicked him, and he flinched. They followed Alex out, Lucan asked, "So... Did you find my dad?"

Lillian frowned when Alex said nothing. They reached the Path of Echoes, and Lillian asked, "This is the way to the old castle?"

Alex nodded, "Yep, be careful though, in the middle of winter, snow is most likely to trip and make you fall." He pointed out.

"You can say that again." Markus growled under his breath.

Alex smiled, and led the way, Lillian soon saw why the snow would make you fall, they were on a hill, it wasn't as big as the other ones around it, but if you fell, you would certainly break something.

It was almost sunset by the time they reached the old castle. Lillian stared up at the gate, where a five pointed star and a moon were etched on the surface. Alex said, "I was six when we were forced to leave this place, I'm still not completely sure what happened, this castle is sturdier than the new one."

Markus asked, "Maybe something happened?"

Lucan grunted, "Thanks for pointing out the obvious, Markus."

Markus stuck his tongue out at him, but Alex muttered, "Put that back, unless you want to get stuck on something."

Markus looked skeptical, and asked, "Couldn't I just get it off the thing it's stuck on?"

"Around here, only if you're willing to grab that sword of yours and force it off." Alex said jokingly, his arms crossed.

Markus gasped, and groaned, "Man... You're worse than Lucan in the best way." He hid behind Lillian, his mouth now shut tight, although he was trying not to smile. Lillian smirked, and looked back at Alex.

Alex led them through the gate. Lillian however stopped as soon as she reached through the gate, and murmured, "What is this?"

Everyone looked back at her, and she murmurmed, "Something horrible happened here."

Alex looked at her and the others, and said calmly, "You'll get used to it."

Lillian looked up at him, and realised with a jolt that Alex's eyes were the same shade of stormy grey as Flynn's, but he was scanning the courtyard. Lillian looked closer, and realised his eyes were back to their light moon grey, and he said cheerily, "There's nothing here, try to relax." 

What was that? I swore his eyes were stormy grey, but now they're not? Lillian stared at him, and followed quickly. Lucan however stopped her as the others walked around the courtyard, chatting avidly, and Lillian asked, "What is it?"

Lucan looked at her, and asked curiously, "Do you feel anything?"

"Why are you asking me? You're the one with the weird family sensing thing right?" Lillian asked.

He said nothing, then closed his eyes, Lillian watched as he opened them, they were still lavender, but they seemed to have a lot more greyish tint in them. He also scanned the clearing, and he muttered, "Uncle was telling the truth about nothing here that was living."

Lillian watched as he continued to scan the clearing, then looked up at the castle. Lillian sighed, and admitted, "I feel this... Weird anger."

Lucan raised an eye-brow, and looked back at her. He muttered, "I see..."

Lillian shivered, This feeling... I know this feeling... The last time I felt this was when Nixsi possessed me, but it couldn't be her. She's gone. Is this my own anger? Or someone else's? She thought darkly.

Lucan blinked, and his eyes returned to normal. He looked back at Lillian, then asked, "Are you okay?"

Lillian looked up, and stared up at the sky, "So much anger..." She whispered. They both jumped however when they heard Markus ask loudly, "Are you serious?"

They both watched as Alex had a book in his hand, and his sword in the other, and he looked perfectly relaxed. Markus added, "I mean, how do you expect to fight me when you aren't concentrating on me?"

Alex shrugged, "I don't know, besides, I'm going to test the two of you."

Lillian and Lucan came up to watch, and Alex looked at Erik with flat eyes, "Let's see how a Skrealand resident fares against one of the royal guard, and I'll see." He said with a smile. Alex backed up, and let Markus and Erik have their space.

Markus stared at Erik, and said, "Hey buddy, go easy on me right, you're the last person I want-" He jumped out of the way when Erik threw a dagger at him, and hit a target leaning against a tree.

Markus snapped, "Hey! I said take it easy!"

Erik looked confused, and said innocently, "Just testing your reflexes."

Markus huffed, and said, "You could have seriously put me out of commision there, but if you seriously want to do this, let's do it!" He whipped out his sword.

Alex was still reading the book, but he was leaning against the wall, and Lillian noticed Lucan smile. As if he knew exactly what was going to happen. Lillian eyed him, and asked, "Am I missing something?"

Markus attacked Erik first, but Erik smiled calmly, and blocked it easily. Kicking Markus away from him, Markus jumped back, sticking his tongue out again. Erik looked like he was about to do the same thing, but Alex said, "Remember what I said."

Markus quickly receded, and soon launched another attack on Erik, who raised an eyebrow, and said pointedly, "You know Markus, once you've done a tactic, it won't usually work anymore."

He raised his sword to meet Markus, but they both gasped when they both smashed into Alex's sword, and he was still reading his book.

"It was getting interesting, but is that seriously the best you can do?" Alex took his eyes off the book, and looked at Markus.

Markus flared, and Alex said calmly, "How about you both take me on?"

"While you're reading the book?" Erik asked curiously.

Alex held up his sword hand, and said, "Hold on, I'm at the best part."

Markus and Erik stared at him, but Markus smiled, "Fine, this will be easy." He laughed, and went to attack Alex. But Erik looked horrorfied.

Lillian noticed Alex smile, and gasped when he stuck his sword through the hilt of Markus's sword, and disarmed him. Markus jumped back in shock, and Alex said, "Oh, wow, that was a shocking part." He turned the page with his sword hand.

Markus asked, "Come on, Erik, you're one of the best right?"

Erik looked shocked, "Well, yeah... But..." He stammered.

Markus poked him harshly in the side, "No buts, we can take him both on." He said loudly.

Erik still looked unsure, and could only watch as Markus grabbed his sword, and went for another attack. Lillian almost laughed when Alex stuck his foot out, and closed his book.

"Wasn't expecting that ending, but now, let's get serious." He threw the book aside, and put his sword in front of him in a defensive stance.

Lillian gaped, "No way, your uncle must be really good if Erik isn't willing to fight him." She muttered to Lucan, but he as staring at the doors to the castle.

Aw, forget it, Lilllian turned her attention back to the spar, My friends are way too weird anyways, I'm surprised I've gotten used to it.

Markus now looked unsure, Alex brushed the snow with his sword, and faced the two, with a smile on his face. Lillian muttered, "This kind of makes me glad I don't use swords."

Markus looked at Erik, and nodded. Erik made a face, then looked at Alex, he asked curiously, "What are you guys waiting for? I'm done reading my book~" He laughed.

Lillian watched as Markus and Erik both leaped at the same time, and Lillian thought, No way he can block that attack!

There was a sharp clang of metal, and she sighed as Alex flipped Markus onto the ground, while fending off Erik's attack. As they continued, Lillian noticed Lucan wasn't at her side anymore, she looked around, and saw him staring at the castle, with a look of shock and fear on his face.

Lillian turned away from the spar, and asked, "What's wrong?"

She widened her eyes when his eyes were fully grey, and he was shivering a bit. Lillian asked, "What do you see?"

Lucan looked around, and muttered, "Something's off all right." He walked inside the castle. 

Lillian squeaked, "Is that safe?!" She quickly followed him in, closing the door behind her.

He was still looking around, and Lillian thought grimly, Something is really bothering him... But what is it? Alexavier said that there was nothing here.

Lucan hesitated, then he asked cautiously, "Don't you think it's a little odd?"

"What's odd?" Lillian asked.

"My uncle didn't sense it, and if he of all people couldn't sense it, this is bad." Lucan growled, looking around suspiciously.

Lillian frowned, and asked, "Are you sure you aren't reading too much into this?"

Lucan continued looking around, and asked quietly, "You feel the anger still?"

"Well, it's kind of gone now, but it's still there," Lillian said quietly. He frowned, and Lillian shivered, "You're starting to freak me out Lucan, I don't understand what's going on."

Lucan seemed to relax, and said, "I guess you're right, maybe I'm reading too much into this." He looked around once more, and blinked. He walked past Lillian and towards the door.

Lillian was left alone in the entrance, she shivered, Lucan's never wrong when it comes to spiritual energy, there's something here... And it doesn't want us here. She started to walk towards the door, but Lucan had stopped.

"What's the hold up?" Lillian asked.

Lucan said nothing, he whispered, "Don't move."

Lillian looked at him confused. They sat in silence, and she saw Lucan pull on the door, but it wouldn't open. Lillian whispered fearfully, "Markus?"

Lucan shook his head. "He's too busy getting beat by my uncle..." He muttered.

"We're stuck in here?!" Lillian said a little too loudly, but Lucan held her mouth, and shook his head quickly.

"Not here, who knows what might wake up..." Lucan muttered, returning to the door.

"Wake up? Nothing is here." Lillian huffed.

Lucan muttered, "Exactly... Is your link still active?" He asked quietly.

Lillian nodded, and Lucan sighed, "Then we have some protection from the spirits."

Lillian frowned, and they both jumped when Alex slammed open the door, his eyes full of grey fire, he pulled them behind him, and stared into the castle. Lucan snapped, "What was that for?!"

"Don't look, there's a strange power here, it shows your darkest fears!" He said quickly, shielding their eyes.

"Hey!" Lillian said, looking under Alex's hand. There was nothing there, but she could feel an eerie darkness. She saw Alexavier shiver, eyes wide, but he soon narrowed them, and said darkly to the darkness, "I'm Prince Alexavier, second born to the king, we're not here with ill intent!"

There was an eerie silence, finally, the feeling of eerie darkness was gone. Alex sighed, "I didn't realise that old spell was still working, sorry guys."

Lucan and Lillian looked at him, Lillian narrowed her eyes, What did he see? What could cause such a reaction? She thought suspiciously.

Alex turned away from the door, "You two should be careful, Lucan can't deactivate the spell yet, and that would have been really dangerous to your mind." He said calmly, and walked away.

Lillian watched him walk away, and said, "I hate to tell you this, but your uncle is weird."

"He's always been weird." Lucan muttered, his arms crossed, then looked on thoughtfully, "But he's been acting weirder than usual, like he knew what was going to happen, or at least, was suspicious."

They watched as Markus jogged up to them, and said, "Heya!" Erik followed him, looking winded but joyful.

"Man, your uncle is really something." Markus laughed.

Lucan however said nothing, he only had a thoughtful look his face. Erik also had a thoughtful look, and he murmured, "He seems familiar..."

Lucan looked at Erik, Lillian noticed a hint of terror in his eyes, but it was gone as soon as she noticed it. Lucan shrugged.

Alex called, "Hey, you guys hungry?"

Markus laughed, "Oh yes! You have no idea!" He ran up to Alex. Erik followed, still thoughtful, while Lillian and Lucan hung back.

Lucan murmured, "My uncle is a cool and funny person and all, really loves his family, and is loyal to friends, but sometimes, I think... He's not totally there, if you get what I mean..."

Lillian only nodded, and watched as Alex started a fire. Markus sat right beside it, talking avidly, while Alex and Erik listened quietly.

They joined them, and Alex and Markus were telling jokes. Lucan soon got in on it, but Erik soon got a look of shock on his face. Lillian edged toward him, and asked, "What is it?"

"Oh man..." He whispered, standing up, and heading towards the gate.

Lillian followed him, and asked, "What is it?"

"I know you've been having bad dreams, Lillian, but I'm curious, have you had deja vu lately?" He asked quietly.

Lillian shook her head, and he sighed, "I know why Lucan's uncle is familiar..."

Lillian smiled, "Care to fill me in?" Erik however continued to frown.

"I never asked Lucan, because I was worried it would offend him, and his uncle seems like a perfectly good and funny guy, kind of like Markus, which was why I was suspicious if it was really..." Erik faltered, his voice disbelieving.

"Really what?" Lillian asked, leaning against the gate.

"You must have been little when the Civil War really came to a head, then..." Erik sighed. Lillian tipped her head, and Erik signaled to follow him. She complied.

"The Civil War is the reason Hostrich is a moving and distrusting fortress to other kingdoms, Nixsan finally came to help the west after years of trying to get them involved, while the east fought back hard." Erik muttered, his arms crossed.

"What does this have to with Alexavier?" Lillian asked, and continued following him.

Erik hesitated, "Many of my people died, most of them not by the other sides hands, but at Nixsan's, of course, we were thankful, but... Hard to get that out of your head. Of course, I was only 16, give or take, when this happened." He murmured.

Lillian looked on, confused, and he said, "They tell stories about one of the leaders of the armies of Nixsan, they say he was ruthless to the opposing side, apparently he didn't care about others, even if they weren't involved. Anything to forward power to the west, when he got into the war, everyone that wasn't really involved knew it was over. A master swordsman, the real and true best of the best. Of course, he was regarded as a hero in some places, but even the west was suspicious of him."

Lillian asked, "So?"

Erik sighed, "Prince Alexavier is him. He's the one who... As soon as he got involved, it was all over, many of my people died when he took control, some people in the east call him cold blooded, but now that I see him..." He looked back at the gate, "All I see is someone not that much older than us, and he's definately not cold blooded, but whether he remembers of even cares about what happened, I'm not sure." He murmured.

Lillian looked back at the gate too, "I can't believe it, he's such a nice guy." She murmured.

Erik sighed, "Whether you believe it or not doesn't change the fact, that because of him, the war ended, and because of him, Hostrich will never be the same."

"So you hate him?" Lillian asked.

Erik sighed, "No, after seeing him, there's something wrong, stories are just stories, but we had it beat into our heads that he was cold blooded and ruthless at the most, and calm and calculating at the least, and maybe he was at one point, but what did he see, to change him like that? It just doesn't make sense."

Lillian remembered his reaction to the eerie darkness, then she whispered, "Whatever he saw, it wasn't nice."

"What we saw wasn't nice." Erik pointed out quietly.

They stood in silence as Lucan and Markus listened as Alexavier told them a story. Markus looked excited, but Lucan was only listening halfheartedly. Lillian sighed, and returned to the fire, with Erik following quietly, Lillian noticed a distant look in his eyes, as if he wasn't telling her everything.

"Woah, that's awesome!" Markus laughed, he stared at Alex.

"Is it?" Alex laughed, and rubbed his head, "My brother can't swim, I helped him, then I laughed at him."

Lucan smiled, while Markus laughed, "If I ever did that to any of my friends they'd probably have a go at me instead of laugh."

"We have had a go at you." Lillian pointed out, and laughed.

Everyone but Lucan laughed, then Lillian frowned, then she asked cautiously, "Um, Alex, can I ask you a question?"

Alex looked at her, and asked, "Yeah?"

"Um, do you know something that will help bad dreams?" Lillian asked quietly.

Alex crossed his arms, a thoughful look on his face. "No, I'm afraid not, but I do know a book that might give you the answers." He replied, and smiled.

"Where is this book?" Markus and Lillian both asked, Lillian stared at Markus, but he didn't look at her.

Alex made a noise, and looked towards the old castle, and he said quietly, "It'd be in the library, in the castle."

Lucan looked up at his uncle, "Something's in there, isn't there?"

Alex said nothing for a while, then said, "Almost."

Lucan frowned, and said, "I'll go with Lillian to get the book." He stood up, but Alex looked shocked.

"That might not be the best idea, you don't know how to turn off the protective spells in there, they're meant to hinder intruders from going any furthur, and the library is in the deepest part." Alex said quietly.

Lillian asked, "Why don't you come with us then?"

Alex looked on thoughtfully, "Well, I could. But whatever is in there still makes me nervous, but okay," he said quietly. "I'll come with you."

Lillian smiled, Alex sighed and stood up. He turned to Erik and Markus, "I need you two to watch out here." He said calmly.

Erik looked like he was about to argue, Alex looked at him, then said with a laugh. "They'll be fine with me, don't worry."

Erik looked at Markus, and Markus nodded. Lucan turned to his uncle, and said quickly, "Come on, let's get this done."

Alex looked down at his nephew, and nodded. He led Lillian and Lucan towards the old castle. He stared at the door for a while. He finally sighed, and opened the door. Lillian and Lucan peeked from around Alex.

Lillian murmured, "This place is creepy."

"It's supposed to feel that way, to dissuade intruders." Alex sighed, and he walked in, with Lucan and Lillian following closely.

The halls were an eerie silent. Ice was forming on the walls, Alex looked around, and said sadly, "It's been forever since I've been here."

Lillian touched the ice, but froze whe she saw a blurry figure behind her reflection. She narrowed her eyes, and looked behind her, while Alex and Lucan stared at her curiously. "What's the matter?" Lucan asked.

"Nothing." Lillian muttered, and continued following them down the hall.

"So, the library is pretty deep?" Lucan asked curiously.

Alex crossed his arms, "That's what my brother told me, he practically lived in there." He said quietly.

As they walked past a door, Alex froze. Lucan and Lillian looked back, and he was staring at the door suspiciously. Lucan laughed with a hint of nervousy in his voice, "You know, not every corner we turn there's going to be a protection."

Lillian pointed out, "You sound like you don't believe that."

Lucan glared at her, while Alex grabbed the door handle. He whipped it open, and snow poured out. Lillian gaped, "Snow? Is there a window in there?!" She ran into the room, and almost immediately shivered. 

Lucan and Alex stared in after her. Lillian saw her breath rising in an icy white mist, she shivered and said, "Sheesh, it's cold in here."

Alex finally walked in, but Lucan stayed back. Lillian watched as Alex scanned the room, and muttered, "Empty."

Lucan finally walked in, he looked at the window, but it was barred shut. Lillian walked up to it, and tried to lift the bar. Lucan went to help her. She jumped when Alex said, "It won't open you two."

They both looked at Alex, who shrugged, and said, "Come on."

Lillian nodded, and followed them out. Alex looked around, and muttered, "This place is falling apart."

Lillian walked ahead of them, looking around. She looked around a corner, which was empty.

"Wait! Lillian!" She heard someone call her, but when she turned around, she saw a shadow descend from the roof with a cruel red gaze.

Chapter 3

Dreams

Can become your waking reality

Lillian opened her eyes suddenly, she realised she was staring up at the night sky. She sat up, and thought, Am I dreaming again?

She realised with a jolt that it suddenly got a lot darker, she hissed, and brought out a dagger, So, they're here for another round again? Can't let me sleep? Lillian stood up, staring down the shadows. "Come on, I don't have a lot of time." She said quietly.

The darkness seemed to be contemplating, then suddenly it got thicker. Lillian coughed, and narrowed her eyes, allowing her mind to go blank.

Lillian opened her eyes when there was movement behind her. She raised her dagger, and plunged it into the darkness, it seemed to recoil, and got even thicker. She coughed again, and snarled, "You can try to choke me all you want, but don't forget who's dream world you're in!"

She gasped when someone jumped through the dark mist, sword at hand, white as snow. The shape seemed to brace itself as the shadows turned their attention to the person.

"Hey, I don't need help!" Lillian said cooly, but gasped when the person pushed her away, and laughed as the shades descended on the two of them.

"Tell me that after these shades are gone!" The voice said jokingly, and raised their sword, plunging it into the darkness, "Now, if you can stand through the mist, I'm going to need help, there's a lot of them." The person said calmly.

The shadows seemed to hesitate, and soon, the choking mist and shadows were gone to reveal the rest of the dream. The person sighed, "Man, your mind is weird, shades and spirits alike seemed to be attracted to it."

"Yeah, you can say that again... By the way, who are you?" Lillian asked, looking closer at the person.

It was a a woman about her age, maybe a bit older than 20, she had her raven black hair pulled back, and she had moon grey eyes, kind of like Alexaviers. She blinked, and asked, "Me? Oh, no one special, really."

"No one special, how did you get into my dream?" Lillian asked curiously.

She smiled, "Oh, uh, I stumbled across it?" She mused.

Seems pretty fishy to me. Lillian twitched, and asked curiously, "You said my mind was attracting shades and spirits, of the bad kind I guess?"

"The bad..." The woman looked at her, and pointed at herself, "Also the good!"

"You're a spirit?" Lillian asked, backing up suspiciously.

The woman nodded, "Yep, I'm a spirit, or, whatever you want to call me." She laughed, and smiled.

"Usually the spirits I meet tend to be more malevolent than benevolent." Lillian said suspiciously, her eyes narrowed.

The girl laughed, "Well, I can see you're suspicious, but don't worry, you can trust me, interesting nightmare you're having by the way~" She added.

"What makes you think I can trust you?" Lillian asked.

The woman stood up, she stared right at Lillian, "How about I show you something?" She asked gently, something about her voice reminded her of Flynn.

She closed her eyes, and said calmly, "Eyes are the windows to the soul, someone once told me. They also told you the same thing a while ago."

The woman opened her eyes wide, and they were the stormy grey of Flynn's and Collin's, however they had a lavenderish tint to them.

Lillian stared at her, "What..." She mused.

She smiled, "You've never met me, but I'm Holly, I was the last queen of The White Wall before I died of an illness caused by a spirit." She said calmly.

"Holly?" Lillian asked.

Holly rubbed her head, "Man, it's been forever since I've left the Farlands, that place is still too stuffy for me." She laughed.

"Wait! If you're Holly, what are you doing here in my dream?" Lillian asked.

"Well, I saw the light coming from it from the Farlands, it made me curious, and a lot of other things curious, I think something about the natural spiritual block around your mind weakened, or shattered completely." Holly said calmly, staring up at the night sky.

"How do you know that?" Lillian asked.

Holly pointed upwards, and said, "Read the stars of your mind, they are the indicator."

Lillian looked up also, and realised with a jolt that they were a deep red, and she asked curiously, "Is the spirit block not being there is what's causing my nightmares?"

Holly shrugged, "I don't know, but I saw you were in trouble, and I had to help." She said sadly.

Lillian stared at her for a long while, This woman is a legend in Nixsan, yet... Some part of me is finding this hard to believe.

Holly laughed, "Well, it's up to you if you want to wake up or not, but there's something that I got to ask, and that might help you."

Lillian looked up, and Holly asked curiously, "Have you talked to Collin lately?"

Lillian shook her head, "No, I haven't." She murmured.

Holly stared at her, and said, "If you want the nightmares to ease up, keep the link alive, it's the only spiritual block you have left from what I can see and feel."

Holly started to disappear, and she laughed, "Looks like your about to wake up!"

Lillian stood up quickly, and held out her hand. Holly stared down at it, and said shyly, "It was nice to meet you..."

Holly smiled, and took it, her skin was cold to the touch, she shook it avidly, oddly like Alexavier, "Goodbye Lillian, it was nice meeting you too~" She said, and the dream disappated.

Lillian opened her eyes to a blurry world. Her head was pounding, and the floor was oddly cold. Where am I? She thought quietly.

She widened her eyes, looking around quickly. Lillian looked up, and realised the hole she fell through had caved in. Lillian was alone in a dangerous castle.

Ugh... Lillian stood up shakily, looking around.

"Oh man... I have no idea where to go!" She rubbed her head, and walked through the nearest door. It was a tall room, full of books, she gasped, and said quickly, "The Library? It must have been under the floor we were on!"

She reached a book, on the uppermost shelves, she read it, but it was mostly in runes. Lillian looked up when there was a noise above her, but it seemed distant, and she delved furthur in the library.

~*~*~*~

The castle grounds were eerily silent. Markus stared at the forest, and thought grimly, I dont know if it's just me, but I'm getting a weird feeling...

He looked at Erik, who was staring off into space, he nudged him, and asked curiously, "Um, is it just me, or is the forest giving you the creeps too?"

Erik stared at him, and looked at the forest for a while, and said calmly, "No, I dont find it creepy."

Markus stared at the forest also, and shivered, he sighed, "Not my fault, I tend to have a natural aversion to forests that are dark and creepy," Markus stuck his sword into the ground, and said quietly, "Wonder how long those three are going to be..."

Erik muttered beside him, "I don't think they'd be long, if they get in trouble, Alexavier would be able to get them out of it."

Markus looked at him, and said cooly, "Oh yeah, you don't know do you? The reason why we're here in the first place."

Erik tipped his head, and said calmly, "Care to fill me in then?"

Markus turned back to the forest, and crossed his arms. He said quietly, "Lillian thinks I don't notice, but I do. Have you noticed? She's been acting... Odd, lately."

Erik asked quietly, "Do you not know why?"

"I've been trying to figure it out, but all I know is she's having really intense nightmares," he gestured to the castle, "Then there's Lucan, he's acting even weirder than her."

Markus watched as Erik stared at the forest with a thoughtful look on his face, and he murmured, "I wonder..."

He watched as Erik walked away from the campfire, and towards the gate, his arms crossed. Markus asked, "What is it?"

Markus walked up to stand beside Erik, who was staring up at the stars, Markus asked curiously, "You're on to something?"

Erik looked back down, and said curiously, "I'm not sure, you know how my people usually have a natural spirit barrier that's a lot stronger than others?"

Markus nodded, and Erik said, "Remember how Lillian has a link to one of the Fates, he was from Hostrich, but if she's having trouble against malevolent spirits... I wonder..."

Markus stared at him, then thought grimly, That's right, either Lillian isn't aware that the link can protect her, or the Fate is having trouble himself...

Erik suddenly tensed up, Markus jumped, but Erik just made a gesture that told him to be quiet. Markus and Erik stared at the forest.

"What is it?" Markus repeated again. Erik looked around suspiciously. Markus shivered, This is unlike Erik, the modest and shy guy, looking ready for attack, it's easy to forget that he was the guardian for Aris. A king.

"Just be silent." Erik hissed.

Markus made a face, and stared at the forest, Erik took out his sword, Markus was about to grab his own, but Erik stopped him with a poke. They continued staring at the forest, and they both narrowed their eyes when a unnatural dark mist seemed to lift from the snow.

"That's not good." Markus whispered.

Erik hissed, "Lillian woke something up."

"Hey, how do you know Lillian woke something up?!" Markus asked loudly, which caused the mist to shiver and Erik to step hardly on his foot.

"Shh! I don't have Lucan's and his family ability to vaguely sense spirits, but in Hostrich, it's something we grow resistant, yet still feel inside when malevolent spirits are around, and when you become part of the guard, it's something you've got to learn to see just with your eyes and your mind." Erik said quietly.

Markus looked back at the castle, and Eirk said quietly, "We have to get inside the castle, it's the only safe place."

Markus stared at him, and Erik muttered, "Would you rather the spells on an old castle, which are easily taken care of, or this swallowing mist, which probably isn't so easy?"

Markus looked back at the castle, and muttered, "Protective spells."

Erik started to walk backwards, Markus following, but the mist was slowly following. He hissed, "How do we deal with this now!?"

Erik was looking around, as if for a way out, he then got a firey gleam in his eyes, and stepped forward, Markus jumped, "Where you going?!" He asked pointedly.

Erik ignored him, and Markus watched as he reached the gate, which the mist was nearing.

He did a hand signal, and Markus saw the shiver of some type of energy field. The mist seemed to stop, and suspend there.

Markus walked up to him, and laughed, "That was easy, nice job, Erik!"

Erik however had a look of dismay on his face, and muttered, "Oh, guess that's not going to work."

Markus watched as the mist started to seep through the field, the two men stepped back a couple paces, but the mist seemed to be getting faster.

"So, castle?" Markus asked.

"Castle." Erik said simply.

They turned and fast walked towards the door, but stopped and turned to look back at the mist, which was right on their heels.

"It'd be able to get in the castle, wouldn't it?" Markus asked quietly, watching the mist as it neared them every second.

Erik looked up at the castle, and narrowed his eyes, and said quietly, "Not exactly."

"What do you mean by-" But Markus didn't get to finish his sentence, Erik had thrust the door open, and kicked Markus into the castle.

Markus yelled, "Hey, what the hell, Erik?!"

He stood up sharply, Erik flinched as Markus grabbed the back of his cloak, and dragged him in, closing the door as the mist reached Erik.

"That was too close!" Markus laughed, laying down on the cold castle floor.

Erik nodded silently, Markus raised an eye-brow, and asked, "You all right?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." Erik muttered, and stood up, he looked around.

"I thought that thing had you for a second there!" Markus laughed, and stared at the doorway.

Markus looked back, and Erik only nodded again, and he murmured sadly, "I thought it did too, if I'm honest with myself."

He stood up, and looked around, he sighed, "Wow, this castle must be really old."

Erik looked around also, and said calmly, "Very old, probably dating back to the Great War." He looked up thoughtfully, Markus stretched.

"Shall we go find the others?" Markus asked.

Erik nodded, and Markus watched as he walked up to a door, and opened it, revealing a long dark hallway. Markus laughed nervously, "And behind door number one, a long dark hallway," he backed away from the door, and looked around, "Where's door number two when you need it?"

Markus turned, and Erik was staring at him, and he said cooly, "Don't tell me you're scared of the dark now."

Markus peeked into the hallway, listening carefully, then said quietly, "I haven't been fond of endless dark things since the tunnels, all right?" Markus eyes him, and asked curiously, "Aren't you scared of anything?"

Erik stared down at the darkness, and said quietly, "I've learned to push back my fears."

"You have fears though, right?" Markus asked flatly.

Erik hesitated, then nodded. Markus stared down the hallway again, and grunted, "I swear if something is down there, I won't be happy." He walked past Erik much to his surprise.

Markus heard Erik follow him quickly, and Markus looked around, trying to adjust to the darkness. Markus looked behind him, and watched as Erik walked past him, strangely limping. Markus joked, "What's the matter with you?"

Erik said calmly, "Nothing, let's keep going."

Markus followed him, and thought darkly, Why are all my friends acting weird? Lillian is being haunted by nightmares, Lucan is acting more colder towards us, and Erik looks like he's been through the lower spirit world too many times for his health. I hope Aris is the same person he was four years ago.

"Erik, stop for a second." Markus called back his friend.

Erik stopped, and turned around, confused, Markus asked quietly, "Is Lillian near?"

Markus watched as he looked around slowly, than said, "Not that I know of, why?" He asked curiously.

"No reason." Markus shrugged, and continued walking, Erik followed quietly, Markus let Erik walk ahead, then thought grimly, Maybe that mist got a good hit on him, it's possible, Erik isn't invincible.

~*~*~*~

Lillian poured through most of the books that weren't runed, she shivered as another wave of cold descended on the library, but she ignored it, and hissed, "I haven't been able to find anything relevant..."

She saw a book about dreams, and placed in it in her bag for future reading, and jumped when she heard her name called.

Lucan rounded the corner, and he asked curiously, "What happened? You just fell down the cave in. My uncle practically had to use the shade to track you down."

"Uh, I don't know," Lillian looked towards the ceiling, "All I remember is looking up, and seeing the shade and then the dark." She muttered, and thought, I shouldn't mention Holly... Not yet.

Lucan looked at the books also, "Uncle says it's not a good idea to stay around here after nightfall, he says the Black Mist comes around that time." He muttered quickly

"The... Black Mist?" Lillian asked curiously.

Lucan nodded, "It's this super dark mist, I don't think it's a spirit persay, but who knows, apparently it's really dangerous, and isn't afraid of people, actually, it's really aggressive towards them." He muttered thoughtfully, staring at the books.

"Erik and Markus are outside though! Aren't they in the most danger?!" Lillian exclaimed, staring at Lucan.

Lucan stared at her also, and said calmly, "They'll be fine, Erik's there, and Markus can handle his own against spirits."

"Lucan, Erik isn't always aware of immediate dangers, he has to know them, he doesn't know this, and Markus can barely hold his own against a spirit." Lillian said in a strained voice.

Lucan frowned, than signalled that Lillian should follow him, she complied, and she was led up a flight of staircases. Lillian whispered, "What would happen... If this mist gets a good hit on somebody?"

"I asked my uncle that, and he only shrugged, and told me he wasn't sure, only that his father told him to be aware of it, as it was really dangerous, and apparently lethal." Lucan muttered.

Lillian shivered, and continued following Lucan up the stairs, and soon they ran into Alexavier, who looked nervous. She said quickly, "Erik and Markus are in danger!"

"Don't have to tell me..." Alex said quietly, and signalled for the two to follow him. They did, and they rushed down the hall.

Lillian stopped when there was a sharp pain in her lungs. She took a sharp breath, and sat down. Lucan looked back, and asked, "You okay, Lillian?"

She took another deep breath, and nodded, Lucan helped her up, while Alex just looked around suspiciously. Lucan whispered, "Think it's one of them?"

Lillian stared at him, and she replied, "I don't know, but it's not anything I've felt before, so more than likely it's one of them."

Lucan nodded, and turned to his uncle, and said quickly, "We've got to hurry."

Alex nodded, and continued leading the way, and Lillian asked, "Can you tell us more about this mist?"

Alex muttered in a sad tone, "It's a dark mist, it's like this outward sickness, and if it even touches you, it's enough to knock you out for a good while. Get too much of it in you, you'll die."

Lillian shivered, and continued walking. She thought quietly, I can't help but get a really bad feeling like something's wrong... I hope we find Markus and Erik soon, before this mist thing does.

Alex opened a door to a long hallway. Lillian and Lucan looked in. They were about to step in, but Alex stopped them, and he said, "Hold on, let me go first."

Lucan stepped aside, dragging Lillian with them, and they both watched as Alex stepped into the hall-way, staring at it for a long time. Lucan muttered from behind Lillian, "Sense anything?"

"Um... Hmm..." Alex muttered, still staring at the darkness, than said, "Not exactly, I mean, there's nothing dangerous."

Lillian walked past Alexavier, and looked around. She tried to listen for any noise, but heard nothing. "I don't hear anything." She muttered quietly.

Lucan finally walked in, but froze, staring at the darkness.

"What is it?" Alex and Lillian asked him.

Lucan stared around, his eyes the same grayish tint, and he muttered, "I'm getting a bad feeling, we shouldn't be here." Lillian looked around also, she watched as Alex turned to face the doorway again, staring at it.

"Oh, we found you, about time!" Someone called from down the hall. Lillian, Alex, and Lucan stared as Markus  walking up to them, supporting a nearly unconcious Erik. 

Lillian gaped at the two, and asked, "What happened?!"

"Oh, this weird mist came up from the snow. It didn't attack us until Erik tried to use a barrier of some sort to stop it," Markus looked at Erik, who was staring down at the floor, eyes narrowed, "I haven't been able to get a word out of him, I think the mist got one good hit on him before I pulled him into the castle after he kicked me in." He muttered quietly.

Lillian went to help Markus, and she asked, "Is there any way to heal him?"

"Well, there is an antidote, but it's all the way in Ishari, and if you say they got a good hit on him. He doesn't have much time before he succumbs to it." Alex said quietly.

Lillian looked at Erik sadly, Four years ago, you faced the demon in the tunnels, next, you faced a horde of shades, came out tired but not seriously injured, seeing you like this... It's unnerving.

Markus stared at her, as if he could tell what she was thinking, and he said sadly, "He's not invincible, Lillian."

Lillian frowned, and shook her head, Alex said quickly, "I can probably get back to the castle and get a carriage there, we'll need to hurry though."

Lucan and Markus nodded, Markus led the way back to the tunnel, Lillian thought quietly, His breathing seems to be normal, but Alexavier seems worried, he doesn't know what will happen, he only knows what happens if we don't hurry.

Lucan asked, "Have you see someone attacked before? By the Black Mist?"

Alex said nothing at that, and continued walking, Lillian looked at Lucan, who shrugged. He's hiding something. Lillian eyed Alex, who seemed in shock at the attack.

They soon reached the doorway, and Alex said quietly, "I'll go first, the Mist is probably still out there."

He opened the door quickly, but there was nothing there. Markus laughed, "Well, guess we got lucky then!"

Alex however was frowning, his eyes staring at the distance, where the sun was rising over the trees, Lucan asked quietly, "Uncle Alexavier?"

He blinked, then looked at Lucan, and asked calmly, "Yeah?"

"Are you all right? You seem shaken up." Lucan asked curiously.

Lillian watched as Alex nodded slowly, and said quickly, "Come on, I'll go get a carriage so we can get to Ishari."

Markus whispered to Lillian, "How much you want to bet Aris is not going to be happy seeing Erik in this state?"

"How much?" Lillian mused as they followed Alex back the castle as quickly as possible.

"I don't have anything on me sadly." Markus said quietly.

"It's okay, I don't either, we'll settle out the details later." Lillian whispered back.

Soon, they reached the castle by midday, and waited while Alex went and got the horses and carriage, as there was no more guards left.

Markus shivered, "Man, why is it we always end up in these situations?"

Lucan said nothing, and Lillian laughed, "Who knows, Markus."

Alex came back with the carriage, and he sighed, "I couldn't find any guards, I'm going to have to drive the horses."

"Do you not like driving carriages?" Markus asked.

"My brother once caused me to fall off a carriage for a joke, broke my arm and a rib." Alex growled under his breath, climbing onto the seat. Lucan opened the door, allowing Markus, Lillian, and Erik to go first. Erik tried to protest, but Lillian poked him gently.

"We're going to get help, just relax..." Lillian whispered. Erik finally complied, they lyed him down on the carriage seat, where he soon dozed off.

Lucan finally jumped into the carriage, closing the door, and knocked on the driver window. Lillian jumped when the carriage started moving.

"Have you never been in a carriage before or something?" Lucan asked Lillian as they sat down across from where Erik was laying.

"Well, yeah, but it's been a while, I'm not used to it." Lillian said sheepishly, peeking out the window.

"How long do you think it will take?" Markus asked quietly.

"Well, we're not on foot this time, it's going to be a day or two though, depends on how long my uncle can go before he gets tired." Lucan said calmly.

Lillian stared at Lucan, and she asked, "Lucan, can I ask you something?"

Lucan looked at her, and nodded. She whispered, "What's going to happen to Nixsan now that..." She faltered, and looked down at the floor.

"Now that my father is dead?" He finished for her in a flat tone.

She looked up sadly, but he had a confused look on his face, like he was lost, unsure how to answer. He sighed, and said, "I'm not sure, I'm tempted to give the crown to my uncle Alex."

Markus looked at the drivers window, and asked, "I think the time for that is passed for him, he knows it, he'd never accept it, Lucan, you know that." Markus said quietly.

Lucan nodded slowly, and joined Lillian in staring at the floor. Markus sighed, Lucan looked at Lillian, "What do you think I should do?" He asked quietly.

Lillian looked up at him, and frowned, "Why are you asking me?" She asked pointedly.

"You understand." Lucan pointed out.

"Only just," Lillian sighed, staring out the window, "I was a princess, I don't inheret the throne."

Markus laughed, "You'd probably be good at it, you got us to the mountain in one piece, you got us back together in Ishari." But he stopped laughing when Lillian made a face.

Lucan said nothing, and turned back to staring at the floor, Markus said reassuredly, "We can ask Aris when we see him."

Lucan nodded, a thoughtful look on his face. Markus looked at Lillian, and said quietly, "I'm sorry if what I said brought up memories you'd rather forget."

"Nah, it's okay, I took it as a compliment, don't worry about it." Lillian said quietly. Markus smiled, and they stayed silent.

Lillian thought sadly, Maybe that's why Lucan has been acting so weird, he's stressing out about his kingdom. He thinks he doesn't have the aptitude for it. She looked at Lucan sadly, I do understand, a lot more than I let on... 

She reached a hand to her dragon necklace that was given to her four years ago, and sighed tiredly, turning to look back out the window.

Chapter 4

When you can't see through the dark

You need to look for the light.

Lillian had dozed off. There was a constant buzzing noise in her ears, she blinked open her eyes in annoyance, and realised she was back in the dream world. However, the stars were still their eerie dark red, and the night sky was pitch black.

She sat up, and looked around. She thought, I don't see any shades... But... She looked up, staring at the stars, I'm still vunerable, I no longer have the spirit block around my mind...

Lillian jumped up when there was a noise. "Hello?" She called.

It was silent, and the air was still. She heard someone say, "Well well, it's been a long time, Lillian, how are you doing?"

Collin came out of the darkness, he looked up at the stars, and asked jokingly, "Having trouble?"

"No, that's just it... There's nothing wrong, not that I know of," Lillian muttered quietly. She watched as Collin stared up at the sky with distant eyes, and Lillian asked, "How have you been doing?"

"All right, I guess," Collin said quietly, "Anima's been getting jumpy, if I'm being honest."

Lillian looked up at the sky also, and she asked curiously, "Can you see that?"

Collin blinked, and said curiously, "The spirit barrier is gone..."

Lillian stood up, and asked, "Is there any way to repair it, then?"

"Yes, but it's really complicated, usually, it would rebuild on it's own. I guess after you transformed back to a human, your mind didn't adjust." Collin said thoughtfully, he stared up at the stars with a flat gaze.

Lillian was about to say something, but she jumped when the dream started dissapating. Collin looked around, confused. She gasped as the dream disappeared.

She jumped up, Markus and Lucan were staring out the window curiously, and Erik was still unconcious on the carriage bench. Lucan muttered, "We've stopped." He opened the door, and jumped out, Alex was staring down the hill with flat eyes.

Lillian followed Lucan, and asked, "Why are we stopping?"

Alex sighed, "Just needed to see this place, you see, Daniel accidently cut off the horses line, causing us both to lose control of the carriage, right by this hill," He pointed down the smoother part of the hill, right by the rocks, "I pushed Daniel off the carriage before we hit it, and I ended up falling off, I rolled down the hill, and almost got ran over by the carriage, I came out of that with a broken rib and arm."

Lucan stared at him, and he continued, "My mum told me I was lucky that was all I got. I had walked all the way to the castle, then I blacked out. I woke up about two days later in bed, with barely any memory, I guess I hit my head."

Lucan looked back down the hill, and muttered, "My dad never told me."

Lillian also stared at the hill, and listened as Alex laughed, "I didn't expect him to tell you. He's not a talking person."

She looked at Lucan, who was frowning. She frowned also, and thought, He's unsure of his dad now...?

Alex sighed, and said, "Sorry, just needed to visit this place." He walked back up to the carriage, with Lucan and Lillian following.

Lucan opened the door for Lillian, Lillian nodded her thanks, and jumped into the carriage, sitting beside Markus, who was staring out the window with a daydreamy look. Lucan got in, and the carriage started moving again.

"So, what do you think?" Lucan asked quietly.

"What do you mean?" Lillian asked quietly back.

"My father has never liked my uncle, do you think he cut the lines on purpose?" Lucan asked quietly, staring out of the window.

Lillian stared at him, then Markus asked, "Did I miss something?"

Lucan looked at him, then narrowed his eyes, "Not much." He murmured, turning away from them both. Markus looked at Lillian, and made a face.

She looked back at Lucan, who had a thoughtful look on his face. Something's wrong... He's not acting like himself... I think he's starting to realise what his father may have been when he was our age, and he doesn't like it.

Markus stared at them both. Lillian finally turned to him, and thought, But it's you who understands him the most, I don't think you know that yet.

Lucan had dozed off, Lillian shrugged, then leaned against the seat. She blinked her eyes a couple times, before nodding off into darkness.

She woke up back in the dream world, she jumped up when Holly was sitting in front of her, her sword on her lap, and she waved.

"Hey!" Lillian exclaimed, looking up the stars. They were still that red, but they seemed to be slowly fading away, Lillian suddenly got a fearful feeling, while Holly looked up too.

"Yes, it's progressing quickly..." Holly looked down, and asked gently, "Want to go for a walk?"

Lillian looked up at the stars one more time, then nodded. She stood up, and followed Holly into the darkness. However, Holly seemed to brighten everything around her. That's probably because she's a spirit...

Holly said quietly, "The thing is... Once you've seen what spirits do. You start to learn a lot of things, stuff about others, stuff about yourself."

"Is this about the spiritual block fading away?" Lillian asked curiously.

"Yeah," Holly murmured, continuing to walk, "I guess it's about that, your mind is still seperated in a sense, a part of you still the beast of the moon. While another is the most dangerous thing known to this world, the spiritual block is being torn apart. A part of you isn't sure what's worse to be, keep this up, and you'll end up having your soul torn."

"My soul... Torn?" Lillian asked, following her.

Holly sighed, and stopped, she sat down on a fallen log, and said quietly, "Think about it this way," she held out her hand, and a small ball of light appeared, she muttered, "Imagine this ball is your soul."

Lillian watched as she let the ball out of her hands, it grew bigger. She waited until it was moderately sized. Then grabbed hold of it, then forcefully ripped it apart. Lillian stared at her in shock, and she let the ball fall to the ground, and it disappeared.

"Eh?!" Lillian exclaimed, and stared where the ball disappeared.

"Yep, that's about as close I can show you." Holly said calmly.

"Wait, how do I fix it?" Lillian asked curiously.

Holly looked up at her, and shrugged, "I'm not sure there is a way to fix it, not unless you somehow find out how to repair the barrier." She muttered.

Lillian felt like she was shivering, she was still staring down where the ball had been torn in two and disappeared, she muttered, "What do you think?"

Holly shrugged, "I don't know, I've seen a lot of things, but nothing like this."

Lillian stared at her, then looked down thoughtfully, Something about this seems familiar somehow... But where have I heard of it...?

Holly suddenly stood up, her eyes narrowed, Lillian looked up, and asked, "What's wrong?"

She looked around quickly, and said carefully, "I'm afraid I have to go, it's not safe to roam the spirit worlds at this time..."

"Why, what's going on?" Lillian asked as Holly disappeared, she stared into the space where she vanished. She sighed, and jumped when the dream started cracking. She raised an eyebrow, and murmured, "That's different."

"Wake up, Lillian." Someone said beside her, in a very alarmed tone.

She woke up with a jolt, and asked, "What's the matter?"

Lucan was staring out the window, which was open, and he asked, "What's going on?" He opened the door, and jumped out of the carriage, where Alex was staring ahead of him.

Lillian and Markus stared at him, and soon followed. Leaving Erik sleeping.

Markus and Lillian narrowed their eyes. Lillian muttered, "I don't get it." There was absolutely nothing of interest going on.

Lucan and Alex were frozen in fear and shock though, as if they could see something Lillian couldn't. Lillian raised an eye-brow, and said, "Okay, are we missing something here." She walked to them, and stared where the were staring.

It was the border of Hostrich, but it seemed normal. Soft grey clouds with light rain. Markus stood beside them, and said, "Yeah, we're missing something."

Lucan looked at them both, then looked at Lillian, "Are you getting a bad feeling?"

Lillian shook her head, and Lucan turned to his uncle, who blinked, and looked back at them, and said calmly, "It's nothing, let's keep going."

Lillian frowned, then returned to the carriage, Lucan and Markus followed hesitantly. Lilllian stared out the window, and Markus asked, "Are you all right? You don't look so good."

"I'm fine." Lillian muttered quietly, dismissing him.

Markus shrugged, and then said, "How does it look outside?"

"Rainy." Lucan muttered, also dismissing Markus. Lillian saw Markus shake his head, and stare up at the ceiling.

"Sorry, Markus, I guess we're just not in the mood to talk." Lillian murmured apologetically, and smiled sheepishly.

Markus sighed, "It's fine." He dozed off, while Lillian peeked out the window. She saw the moon piercing through the grey storm clouds.

Lucan muttered quietly, "We should be getting to the border of Ishari soon, I wonder how my uncle is doing..." He said quietly, looking out the window also.

"How are we going to explain this to Aris...?" Lillian murmured, looking back at Erik, who was still in a deep sleep.

"We'll do the best we can, Erik isn't one to go down without a fight," Lucan said quickly, "I've known him for a bit longer than you have."

She nodded, and Lucan continued, "Ishari is known for it's medicine, as well as it's... You know." Lucan shrugged.

Lillian laughed, "Yeah, I know." She froze though as Lucan continued talking again, she looked out the window sideways, Lucan stopped talking, and stared at her.

"Hey, Lucan, tell your uncle to stop the carriage." Lillian hissed, staring out the window with narrowed eyes.

"Why? What's wrong?" Lucan asked quickly.

"Just get him too stop the carriage, something's wrong." Lillian murmured, kicking Markus in the knee to wake him up.

"Ouch!" Markus jumped up, hitting his head on the cieling, he sat back down, his hands on his head, he stared at Lillian incredulously.

Lucan slammed on the window, and the carriage came to a hault, Markus asked, "Why are we stopping?"

Lucan shrugged, and pointed at Lillian. They both turmed to Lillian, and Alex opened the door, and asked, "What's the matter?"

Lillian opened the other door, and jumped out, she stared around, and said quietly, "There's something wrong."

"I think you're just tired." Markus narrowed his eyes sleepily.

Lucan said quietly, "I think she's wide awake Markus."

Alex only stared at them all, and asked, "Am I missing something here?"

Markus shrugged. He stretched, and sat down on the step, staring at Lillian curiously, "You're acting weird, Lillian."

"Weird." Lillian murmured, staring at the undergrowth.

"I don't think she's even listening." Markus hissed.

Wow, now that was weird for Markus... Lillian turned around, and narrowed her eyes when the carriage was no longer there. It was only a couple people she couldn't recognise, but familiar, their eyes were full of fiendish delight, but Alex was clear as day. However, his eyes were narrowed dangerously, and he looked a lot younger, a lot like Lucan, and his arms were crossed in a superior way.

"Hey?" She asked.

She blinked and realised Markus was standing in front of her, he asked curiously, "Are you okay?"

Lillian peeked around Markus, and looked at the carriage, Alex had followed Markus, but he no longer had that dangerous, dark look on his face. He only had a look of concern and confusion.

"I'm fine." Lillian muttered.

Markus sighed, "Man, we'll never reach Ishari if we keep making stops."

"We're nearly there anyways." Alex raised his hands to his eyes, and said, "It's just over the hill, then we're there."

Markus asked, "Well I don't know about you, but I'm sitting with you, I think that carriage starts to get to you if you stay in it too long."

"Sure, no problem." Alex shrugged, getting onto the drivers seat. Markus followed him, Alex let him take the reigns, and he stared at them curiously. Lillian sighed, and got back in the carriage.

Maybe Markus is right... Maybe I'm letting the tight space get to me... I've got to remind Collin to try and suppress that, I'm starting to hate closed spaces. Lillian closed the door, and closed the window, unable to stare at the pure white moon.

~*~*~*~

Markus sat in silence with Alex beside him, he stared at the ground, and Alex asked, "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, but they sure aren't," He pointed to the back, and shrugged, "Man, what's going on with my friends, Lucan is acting all cold towards us, Erik's out of commision for real, it's weird, and did you see Lillian's face, it was like she couldn't recognise me or anything."

Alex looked up, and asked curiously, "Is she a seer?"

"I don't believe so." Markus muttered.

Alex sighed, "I understand about Lucan, but he's actually more like his mother, not my brother. Thank the Fates..." Markus heard him mutter under his breath.

"What was his mother like." Markus asked curiously.

"She... Is hard to describe," Alex sighed, "She didn't like my brother at first, she didn't like either of us in fact, but she was loyal, and one of my best friends once we got to know each-other. She might not have been a social person, but she cared a lot for everyone, even if she didn't show it."

"What was the last thing you said to her?" Markus asked.

Alex looked at him, then looked forward, "The last thing before she died? Or the last thing before I left the castle?" He asked, smiling, staring at the distance.

"Whatever?" Markus asked, smiling also.

"Before I left the castle, I told her to give a good kick to my brother's shin. I think she did, honestly, my brother came to my house seething mad, and covered in snow, never laughed so hard in my life," he sighed, then stared at the reigns, "I didn't know she was dying... All I said was 'Don't do anything stupid, I lost my real brother a long time ago, we need someone to keep a cool head.' She just laughed and said 'Don't you worry.'"

Markus frowned, and stared at the horses, and he asked, "You loved her, didn't you?" 

Markus watched as Alex nodded, "I never told my brother, because I knew he loved her in his own way, I've never seen him happy before, so I never mentioned it." He muttered.

"Wow, that must have been eating at you for a while." Markus said, staring at the undergrowth.

Alex shrugged, "I guess I grew up." He muttered.

Markus frowned, and said, "I see," Markus looked up, and asked, "Erik seems to recognise you to some extent..." He stared up at the sky and the moon.

"Yes." Alex said oddly.

Markus jumped, and thought, Better not wander over that topic then... He jumped again when they stopped at the border of Ishari, the moon was going it's course, and a guard stopped them.

"Hold." He muttered, Alex jumped off the carriage, and went to meet him.

The guard eyed him, and Alex whispered something in a language Markus couldn't recognise. The guard listened, and nodded when Alex was finished. The guard bowed in deep respect, and stepped aside. Alex returned to the drivers seat, and Markus asked, "What was that about?"

"Your friend is suspicious of something, it seems." Alex muttered, urging the horses forward.

"Aris? Suspicious, that's a shocker." Markus muttered sarcastically.

"You better go wake up Lillian and Lucan, if they're even asleep." Alex said calmly. Markus nodded, and waited until Alex slowed the carraige to a walk, he opened the door, and swung in. Lillian was in a deep sleep, however, Lucan had a thoughtful look on his face.

Lucan looked up when he came in, and Markus said, "We're here."

Lucan looked at Lillian, Markus was about to wake her up, but Lucan stopped him, and he said, "Just leave her be for now, something's wrong."

"Now it's you with the weird feelings?" Markus asked quietly.

"No, it's something I see." Lucan growled, staring at Lillian.

Markus stared at him, confused, but he noticed that Lucan's eyes had the greyish tint to them as he glared at Lillian.

~*~*~*~

Lillian looked around as she was standing under a burning red sky, fire was surrounding her, she looked up at the sky, the stars were no longer there. She narrowed her eyes, and muttered, "So, it's gone then...?"

She saw a shape head toward her, and she blinked her eyes open to see Lucan and Markus staring at her, and the carriage had stopped. Lillian jumped up, and hit her head on the ceiling, and sat back down. Markus smirked smugly, and said quickly, "We're here."

Lillian looked out the window, they were heading towards the huge stone castle. She sighed, and murmured, "Aris isn't going to be happy about this."

"He's never happy about anything." Lucan muttered, sitting down.

The sun had raised by the time they reached the castle, and Markus rubbed his head, "Anyone want to explain?"

Lucan and Lillian shook their heads, and Markus sighed, "Of course," he opened the door, and jumped out, "I'll explain then, but one of you has to back me up."

"We won't have to back you up," Lillian muttered, helping Lucan get Erik out of the carriage, "Aris is our friend, he'll understand."

Markus shivered, and looked at Alex pleadingly, but Alex shrugged, "Not my business Markus, sorry." He smiled sympathetically.

Lillian frowned, staring up at the castle. Erik didn't seem to happy to see it either, he was frowning also, even though he had a sleepy look on his face.

"You feeling all right? Erik?" Lillian asked gently.

Erik looked at her, but didn't say anything, that was all Lillian needed to go up to the door and knock on it, and she snapped, "Aris! It's us!"

Markus and Lucan both jumped at her sudden hostility, while Erik got a horrorfied look on his face.

A tall man opened the door, Lillian stared up at him, Aris had changed a great deal, although his gaze was a bit less flat and had gotten softer. He asked in a weird tone, "Are you trying to break down my door or something, Lillian?"

Markus was hiding behind Alexavier, who looked confused, Lillian sighed, composing herself, then said, "We have a... Problem..."

Aris nodded, then asked, "What type of problem that would warrant breaking down my door?"

Lillian looked at Markus, who was wide-eyed, she then stepped aside to reveal Lucan and Erik, who were right behind her. Lucan laughed nervously, while Erik gave a small smile to his old friend, Lillian frowned when his eyes started to get cloudy, and no one else seemed to notice.

Aris looked confused, and then asked, "What happened?"

"The Black Mist happened." Lucan hissed.

Aris hissed, "The Black Mist, you don't mean...?"

Lucan stared at him, then jumped when Erik seemed to pass out, Lillian jumped also, Markus went to help Lucan with Erik. Aris sighed, "Come in, we must hurry if that's the problem."

Lillian looked back at Alexavier, and she asked, "Aren't you coming in?"

Alexavier smiled sadly, and said, "I'm afraid not... Not this time, we'll see each-other again. It was nice meeting you." He walked back to the carriage, Lillian frowned then turned to follow her friends.

Aris walked past a couple of guards, speaking swiftly in a language Lillian couldn't recognise. The guards stood at attention, then retreated deeper into the castle.

"What." Lillian muttered bluntly.

Aris opened the door to let Lucan, Erik, and Markus back in, Markus looked at Lilian as she followed in last, Lucan asked, "How much time do we have left?"

Lillian jumped when Aris looked up at her, and he asked, "Feeling anything weird?"

"No." Lillian muttered.

Aris turned around, looking at the shelves. "Then we have a little bit of time, now let's see... Where did she put it..." He thought out loud to himself.

"So how have you been doing?" Markus laughed nervously.

"Fine." Aris said bluntly, he looked around. Markus looked at Lillian, making a face. Lillian shrugged.

"What's going on Aris? A guard stopped us before we got in the border." Lucan asked curiously.

Aris looked at them, and said cooly, "It's nothing, not yet. Put him on the bed." He added. Lucan complied, him and Markus took Erik to the bed, and layed him down.

Markus looked straight at Aris, and said coldly, "There's something you're not telling us, Aris, it feels like you were almost expecting this."

"I was." Aris growled.

Lucan looked confused, and asked, "What do you mean?"

"The Black Mist, it wasn't originally from Nixsan." Aris said cooly.

Lucan looked at Markus and Lillian, who both shrugged, Aris sighed, "It's a curse from Yapry, but it's strange, I thought it was dormant..."

Markus and Lillian looked at each-other, horrorfied. Lucan and Aris both noticed this, and Aris asked coolly, "Now is there something you're not telling me?"

Lillian thought, It couldn't be possible, we never ran into anything like that in Yapry!

Markus laughed nevously, "Man, we've been travelling a lot, so we never really remember the places we visit." He rubbed his head.

Lucan asked coldly, "What did you guys run into at Yapry?"

Lillian looked at Lucan in disbelief, then looked at Markus, who frowned. She sighed, "We didn't run into anything, it was just a bunch of ruins, kind of like Azarath."

"If it was anything like Azarath, that should have been enough reason to stay away, there's dark energies in Yapry." Aris muttered.

Lillian snapped, "Hey, I wouldn't have gone if I didn't have a reason."

Everyone jumped at her snap. Lillian stared at them, and sighed, "Look, I don't know what I woke up, or if it was already awake when we went there. But I keep having nightmares of the event four years ago, the event we went through together, and you're telling me you haven't been having bad dreams?"

Everyone was staring at her weirdly, Lillian noticed Lucan narrow his eyes, getting a greyish tint. Aris got a thoughtful look on his face, "Bad dreams?" He asked curiously.

"Yes." Lillian growled.

Lucan muttered coldly, "Not just that, her soul is starting to spilt."

Everyone, including Lillian, turned to look at him. She hissed dangerously, "How did you know?"

"You can't hide everything, Lillian." Lucan growled, his eyes had turned fully grey.

"Wait, back up, spilt a soul? Isn't that-" Markus asked but Lucan interrupted him.

"Yes," Lucan growled, "It's irreversable, as far as I know, but I could wrong."

They all went quiet, and Lillian looked on thoughtfully, "There has to be a way I can fix this..." She murmured quietly.

"I don't think there is." Aris sighed.

Lillian stared at them all in dismay, then walked towards the door. Markus called in shock, "Hey, where are you going, Lillian?"

"Hostrich." Lillian growled flatly.

Before any of them could stop her, she closed the door behind her. Lillian ran out of the castle before they came after her. Alexavier looked like he was having trouble with the horses, and he was muttering something under his breath.

"Alexavier!" Lillian called.

"Oh, um, hello~" Alex laughed, trying to urge the horses forward, but they weren't budging.

Lillian asked, "Can you take me to Hostrich?"

Alexavier froze at that, and he asked in a weird tone, "Are the others coming with you?"

Before Lillian could say no, a voice laughed behind her, "Of course we are~" Lillian rolled her eyes, and turned around.

Markus and Lucan were staring at her, and she hissed, "This is something I want to do alone."

"Right, and what happens if you get in trouble?" They both asked at the same time.

"I can take care of myself." Lillian snarled.

Markus looked shocked, and then said quickly, "Look at you, Lillian, you're changing, your soul must be splitting faster than we thought!"

Lillian froze, and blinked. She frowned, then looked at Alexavier, who shrugged. She turned back to them, and nodded, "Come on, I know who might help me," Lillian walked up to the carriage, and asked, "What's wrong with the horses?"

"I don't know, honestly." Alexavier rubbed his head. Markus walked up to the horses, who stared at him.

"Ah, walking, brings back memories." Markus joked, poking the horses, who started to walk forward. Markus, Lillian, and Lucan jumped, while Alex stopped the horses from walking forward.

Lillian opened the door, then looked at Alex, who was staring at the distance, and she said, "Thank you, Alex."

"It's nothing." Alex sighed.

Lillian walked into the carriage, with Markus and Lucan following her, and Lucan closed the door, and the carriage started moving.

Lillian closed her eyes in frustration, Ugh... I don't want them getting hurt, even though they wouldn't get hurt... But the thing is, Erik did get hurt, and it might be my fault. She thought sadly as the carriage rattled on.

Chapter 5

Everything

Makes mistakes

Lillian frowned as she looked out the window, it was a dull grey afternoon, but it was only slightly raining. Lucan opened the window slightly, and said quietly, "We must be here."

Lillian looked out the window as always, Hostrich was a stormy fortress, Lucan knocked on the window, and the carriage stopped. He opened the door, with Markus following after. Lillian jumped out, but Alex was looking at the distance.

"What's up with him?" Markus whispered.

Lucan looked back at his uncle, and frowned, he shrugged. He turned to face his uncle fully, and asked curiously, "What are you going to do?"

"Go back and watch your sisters until this whole mess is sorted out." Alex muttered quietly.

Lillian frowned, He sure doesn't like being in Hostrich. She looked at her friends, and nodded, she waved bye to Alex, who nodded. She turned away from him, and led the way, deeper into Hostrich.

There were some people on the dirt roads, chatting avidly. Lillian could not understand what half of them were saying, but Markus looked on keenly. Lucan looked around, and asked, "So, want to see if we can find him?"

"Yes." Lillian said calmly, and continued on.

They soon left the dirt road, with the huge mountain as a landmark, they soon came across ruins, Lillian asked, "What is this place?"

Lucan shrugged, and muttered, "Let's head toward the hill to sit for a bit, I think Markus is getting antsy." He whispered the last part under his breath. Lillian looked at Markus, who was looking around curiously. They started heading towards the hill, they climbed up, and sat down, except Markus.

"Hey... What's that!?" Markus pointed at what looked like a large standing stone, except it had writing Lillian couldn't understand, and a bunch of names.

Lucan crossed his arms, looking at it with a flat expression, Lillian leaned forward towards the writing at the bottom, and thought, Hån liz ton hun'nin kir'ect wio reisek thep ani föl Hamark, what does that mean?

"What?" Lillian mused.

Markus stared at it, and said in a matter-of-factly tone, "It says, here is the honoured warriors who risked their lives for Hamark."

"How do you understand?" Lucan and Lillian asked simutaniously.

"Erik." Markus laughed.

Lillian raised an eye-brow, then looked at the names, and she whispered, "There's a whole lot of them, how many were affected by the Civil War?"

"Hey... Lucan's uncle was one of them!" Markus pointed at a name near a top, where a line of names were above the rest, he said thoughtfully, "They must have been the leaders."

Lucan looked where he was pointing, and so did Lillian, and sure enough, Alexavier's name was there, and she muttered, "So some of these people might not be dead then?"

"Yeah." Markus nodded.

"Some, not all." Lucan muttered, staring up at the standing stone.

Lillian frowned, also staring up at the standing stone. Markus asked, "What is it?"

She sighed, "It's nothing, let's take a break, I'm tired." She turned away from Markus, and sat down on the ground, staring up at the appearing stars.

Lillian noticed Lucan leaning against the tree, looking more tired than ever. Lucan looked at her, and he asked quietly, "Can I ask you something?"

Lillian watched as Markus lied down without any complaints, and she nodded, "Yeah, shoot."

"Would you go back if you could?" Lucan asked quietly.

"Go back?" Lillian asked.

"Home, to Graelach." Lucan muttered.

Lillian stared at him then looked foward, and she asked quietly, "Do you think I'll be able too? Does my father even remember me? And if he does? Can he even get the wolf inside out of his head?"

Lucan frowned, and he pointed out, "Maybe to get rid of these nightmares maybe you have to return to the place where it started."

Lillian looked at him thoughtfully, then she took out her dagger. She sighed, and brushed her hand through her long, braided hair. Markus sat up, watching her, Lucan stared at her.

She glared at her hair then the dagger. She growled, "I made a choice back then, it was either stay in the castle, and be forced into something I didn't want to do, or be free of it, even if I didn't know what might happen because of it."

Lucan and Markus's eyes widened when she brought the dagger up to the starting point of the braid. She quickly cut the dagger through her hair. She stood up, still holding her cut hair she disappeared into the woods, to a pond. She dropped her hair into a bush, then fixed the rest of her hair.

She looked up at the slowly rising moon, Maybe Lucan is right, maybe to fix this, I need to go back to the original cause. Just like in Ishari, we needed to go back.

Lillian turned away from the pond, brushing her hand through her now short blonde hair. She walked back towards the clearing and standing stone. Markus and Lucan looked up when she walked towards her bag, and opened it.

"Where is it?" She whispered quickly, with Markus and Lucan staring at her in confusion.

Lillian hissed when she couldn't find it, she stood up, zipping up the back-pack again. She swung it over her shoulder, and started walking towards the mountains of Nixsan. Lucan called, "Where do you think you're going?"

"Home." Lillian growled, and felt a strange anger rise inside of her.

She heard Markus and Lucan scramble to catch up to her, and he joked, "So much for resting right?"

Lillian looked back at them, but they just looked away, leaving an uncomfortable silence. She said calmly, "This won't take long."

"That's a weird thing to say." Markus pointed out

They finally reached the border of Nixsan when the moon finally reached the middle point of the sky. Lucan looked on with a distant look. Markus asked, "They'll be looking for you, you know that right?"

"Who?" Lucan asked while Lillian thought out the path.

"The people of this land." Markus grunted.

"They can take care of themselves for a bit longer," Lucan growled, and walked up to Lillian, and he asked, "Are you sure this is a good idea?"

Lillian crossed her arms, and started walking forwards. Markus and Lucan hesitated, then finally followed her.

"How long will this take?" Markus asked quietly.

"If we don't stop, a day or so." Lillian said cooly. Lillian looked back at Markus, who seemed more tired then usual, he shrugged.

"And it'd take a bit longer if we stop." Markus pointed out and continued walking.

Lillian frowned, and sighed, "I guess we can stop for the rest of the night, however..." She brushed some snow of the ground, and whispered, "It is winter, Lucan, how long would it take to start a fire?"

Lucan looked around, then said calmly, "If you do it right, only a little bit. Do it wrong, a while."

Lillian nodded, and realised Markus had already nodded off against a tree. She raised an eye-brow, and murmured, "He must be tired."

"We all are, it seems like forever since we actually rested." Lucan pointed out.

Lillian smiled, "You can say that again, but then again... It's been hard to get some sleep, almost impossible." She said quietly.

"The nightmares will stop." Lucan said calmly.

"I can only hope so, because what I was told in them... I don't know how much I can take." Lillian whispered, nodding off against a tree.

~*~*~*~

Markus opened his eyes, he rubbed his head, and watched as Lucan poked at the fire that he started. Lillian was sleeping a bit aways, looking like she was having a nightmare. Lucan looked up when Markus stirred, and he asked curiously, "Thought you would have been asleep longer than that."

"Nah, not that tired," Markus stretched, then looked at Lillian, "Is there any difference?" He asked curiously.

Lucan loooked at him, then closed his eyes, turning to Lillian. He opened them again, and said quietly, "Yeah, there is, and it's not good."

"What's happening to her?" Markus asked.

Lucan narrowed his eyes, "I can't say for sure, but whatever you guys woke up in Yapry, did not do good on her soul," he looked back at Markus, and added, "Or yours either," Markus's eyes widened as he continued, "It may not have had that big effect on you, but you'll end up like Lillian sooner or later. Her soul is ripping itself apart."

"Ouch." Markus flinched.

Lucan nodded, and said coolly, "I wish I knew how to halt it, but I don't."

"Do you think that's possible?" Markus asked quietly.

Lucan frowned, then nodded, "I'm sure of it. I'm just not sure how to do it exactly." He muttered, Markus grimaced, then looked at Lillian.

"She has been acting different lately. Cold, and then cutting her hair for no reason, girls are weird." Markus sighed.

"No, her being a girl has nothing to do with what's happening to her." Lucan stood up, looking around. Markus shrugged as he walked around.

"Why are you pacing?" Markus muttered.

"Shh." Lucan hissed.

Markus stared at him, he headed towards the fire, and kicked snow on it, dousing it quickly. Markus immediately shivered, and asked quietly, "What was that for?"

Lucan said nothing, his eyes darkened. Markus frowned, and sddenly got the feeling of chills. He reached for his sword, but Lucan stopped him, "That won't help, only way it would if Erik was here, but he isn't, so let's be quiet."

Markus raised an eye-brow, Lucan narrowed his eyes, and looked around again. Markus widened his eyes wh he saw light mist coming off from the snow. He hissed, "We have to get out of here Lucan. If that stuff took Erik of all people down, it'll completely finish us off."

Lucan hissed back, "Relax, that's what makes it agitated."

They stared as the mist kind of stilled, then disappeared. Markus sighed, and stood up, "Wow that was close."

Lucan however had his eyes narrowed. He whispered, "It can't be that simple..."

Markus walked away from him, rubbing his head, "If you overthink things Lucan, it'll just make things worse." He turned to him, and shrugged.

Lucan however, widened his eyes. "Um, Markus?" He stammered.

"What?" Markus asked. Lucan however only stared, Markus turned around, and his vision seemed to suddenly turn off.

Wait... What?! Markus thought quickly.

He tried to open his eyes, but couldn't, he was only floating in a never-ending blackness. He thought jokingly, Soo, I was killed by a mist... That was interesting way to die.

"You're not dead, stupid. Not yet, anyways." A familiar voice seemed to call from the darkness.

Markus narrowed his eyes, and realised Erik was sitting a bit aways from him, eyes narrowed. Markus rubbed his head, and asked jokingly, "How have you been then?"

"Just peachy actually," Erik smiled passively then frowned, "But seriously, Markus, you got the hit worse then I did."

"Ah, what about Lucan?! Wouldn't he have gotten hit too?" Markus asked quickly.

Erik stood up and stretched, "Lucan has his own ways against hostile spirits, and they're a lot more effective and consistent than mine." He said calmly.

Markus added quietly, "And Lillian?"

"The mist is threatened by her, so it won't go near her, because her soul is not very friendly right now." Erik said calmly.

"And you learned this how?" Markus asked.

Erik smiled, "Being stuck between being alive and being dead has it's advantages." He said cooly.

"Oh great," Markus joked, "Just what I've always wanted," he narrowed his eyes, and asked, "Wait, back up, what do you mean Lillian's soul isn't friendly right now?"

Erik smiled, and pointed at the shadows, Markus raised an eye-brow. He asked, "Is there supposed to be something there?"

Erik shrugged, "I don't know, it depends I guess."

Markus groaned, looking up at the sky. Then gasped, Erik jumped, and he asked, "What?"

The stars were a blood red, Markus asked curiously, "Is that normal?"

Erik looked up thoughtfully, "Now that's something." He mused.

Markus stood up, taking out his sword, then hissed, "We've got to get out of here."

"We can't, Markus, we're not even in the Waking Dreams." Erik hissed back, also standing up.

Markus rubbed his head, and he muttered quietly, "I wonder how Lillian is going to react?"

Erik muttered, "I don't think it's a good idea for her to react. Her soul is not in the right state right now to handle any more shock, the nightmares are pretty much tearing her apart, if she thinks your dead, which she'll assume, it'll be all over."

Markus laughed nervously, "Wow."

"Yeah, wow." Erik said flatly.

"There's got to be a way to help her from here." Markus muttered thoughtfully.

Erik sighed, "I've tried contacting her, but she either can't hear me, or she's ignoring me, which I don't get, the Fate said we are able to contact each-other in a way."

Markus looked on thoughtfully, "Strange, maybe she'll answer me?" He asked curiously.

Erik shrugged, "Try."

Markus looked at the sky, and thought loudly, Hey, Lillian, can you hear me!? If you can, say something, if you can't... Well, say something anyways.

They stood in silence, and Markus shrugged, "Nope, nothing." He said.

Erik muttered, kicking the ground in frustration, "Men'nat." He snarled at the ground.

"Yeah, you got that right." Markus laughed. Erik eyed him, and sighed.

"All frustration aside," Erik muttered, and stared at the sky also, "I hope Lucan also doesn't go so much into shock that he's unable to explain, because I have a weird feeling."

"That's usually bad luck for us." Markus laughed.

Erik grimaced, "Let's hope this time, it's nothing." He murmured.

"If it isn't I'll be shocked," Markus sat back down again, then looked at the shadows, "So... What else can we do?"

"Wait, I guess." Erik shrugged, sitting down also, as the stars began to lose their light above them.

~*~*~*~

Lillian shivered, she was in her dream again. The sky seemed blank, the stars were totally gone, Lillian frowned, "How..."

She started walking forward when she got a horrible sharp stab in her heart. She gasped, and nearly keeled over, she blinked, and growled, "What's that?"

I hope Lucan and Markus are all right. Lillian frowned at the sky, then headed forwards again, the pain subsiding.

She jumped when Markus and Erik were in a clearing, but they seemed nothing more then mists, and they haven't noticed her. Lillian ran up to them, and asked, "Hello?" They didn't react, but they seemed to be in a serious conversation.

Lillian sat down, watching them. Markus seemed to be indicating to the shadows, but Erik seemed indifferent. Markus had frowned, Lillian raised an eye-brow when there was the tiniest bit of worry in his gaze.

Lillian whispered sadly, "You guys can't hear me..."

Another voice whispered, "Open your eyes wider, Lillian, only then, will you see why."

Lillian raised an eye-brow, then stared at the two for a long time. She gasped when the mist gently rose at the ground, but didn't seem to bother them, it mostly seemed to surround them.

Lillian whispered, standing up, I don't understand... She thought grimly. She reached a hand through Markus, but it went through him, like he was nothing more than a spirit. She whispered, "Markus?"

Markus didn't hear her, but him and Erik must have been joking about something, because now both of them were smiling. Lillian backed up, and she muttered, "Please tell me this isn't what I think it is." She growled to the stars, but she got no answer.

I need to wake up... I want to wake up! Lillian thought quickly, looking around. She closed her eyes, she felt like she was being lifted up off the ground, and she snapped open her eyes to Lucan shaking her, eyes wide. She sat up quickly, and she asked, "What's wrong?!"

"The-The mist..." Lucan stammered in utter shock, he looked tired also.

Lillian asked quietly, "It got Markus, didn't it?"

Lucan closed his eyes, and slowly nodded. Lillian looked at the fire, which was flickering quietly. She walked up to Markus who was lying a bit aways, he looked asleep, but he was deathly pale. Lucan whispered, "I tried everything, he just wouldn't wake up."

Lillian sighed, and she asked curiously, "How did you fight back?"

Lucan shrugged, "My dad taught me this sort of warding thing, but I couldn't even tell Markus what was happening, and as soon as he realised, it was way too late."

Lillian whispered, staring down at Markus, "We've got to get help."

"How?" Lucan asked.

Lillian said quickly, "We have to get him to Graelach, to the castle, sneak in through the entrence, I know a guard who'll help us. We just need to get him some medicine, or at least some proper warmth."

"Medicine?! Lillian, the actual antidote for this is all the way in Ishari, we'd never make it, let alone Markus, how can you be sure Grealach will have it?" Lucan said quickly.

Lillian sighed, "It won't, but maybe we can halt the mists effects. If we don't, Lucan, he'll die!" Lillian snapped the last part. "He's dying right now!"

Lucan went silent, and Lillian brushed her hand through her now short hair, "There's got to be a faster way to get there, because we can't carry him there." She whispered.

Lucan only looked on the ground, and Lillian shivered, "It's not your fault, Lucan, we can still fix this."

Lucan shook his head, closing his eyes, "It's not as simple as that Lillian." He whispered

"Why not?" Lillian asked quietly.

Lucan hesitated, then turned back, his eyes fully grey, "Because I can barely sense his soul, it's there, yes, but it's like... Like something you can't see in the distance," he growled, he muttered, "Markus told me where it got Erik, Erik was lucky," Lucan pointed to his own side, "Got him just enough to knock him out, not kill him," Lillian flinched when Lucan fully turned to her, and pointed at his heart, "This is where Markus got hit, it threw his soul into so much of a shock he didn't even get a chance to defend himself." He closed his eyes, then narrowed them, now their sharp lavender colour, he turned away, also shivering from the cold, he paled, staring at the sky.

"Surprise attack." Lillian grunted flatly, then sighed, "Whatever warding thing you used, it took a lot out of you, you should go rest, right?" She mused.

Lucan brushed his hand through his hair, and said quietly, "I'm afraid after that, I can't."

"Are you all right?" Lillian asked quietly.

Lucan nodded, "I'll be fine." He muttered. He stood up and growled, "I just need some time for myself." Lillian watched as he walked away into the darkness, she thought sadly, Lucan...

She looked back at Markus, who was barely breathing. Lillian narrowed her eyes, and thought, Markus... How did this happen? Why did the mist not see me as a more vunerable target? I was asleep!

Lillian looked on thoughtfully, and finally muttered to herself, "Lucan is right, you are still there. I saw you in the dream..."

Lillian finally stood up, then looked around, "Where did Lucan go...?" She muttered, and walked towards the darkness. She stopped when there was a howl of a wolf. Lillian growled, "Wolves."

"Lucan!" She called louder, Lucan never answered, but a full grown grey white wolf padded out of the bushes. Lillian stared at it for a long time, and she muttered, "K-Kyrai?"

Kyrai looked up, shocked. She then looked at Markus, and whined, padding up to him, Lillian said quickly, "The mist, Kyrai! It was the mist!"

Kyrai stared at her as if she was crazy. Lillian stopped, and asked, "Wait... You can still understand me?"

Kyrai nodded, then nudged Markus sadly, who didn't respond. Lillian muttered, "Please, Kyrai, we're lost, you've got to help us, you've heard of the mist before?" 

Kyrai nodded, then nodded her head towards the far northern mountains, Lillian flinched, knowing what was across the range.

"Yapry," Lillian whispered, then said, "No, Kyrai, he'd never make it in time."

Kyrai whimpered, flicking her tail back and forth. Lillian sighed, "I was going to take him to Graelach."

Kyrai made a huffing noise, then nudged Lillian, and nodded. Lillian sighed, "Yeah, not the best idea I've had." Lillian watched as Kyrai turned back to the range, and continued flicking her tail.

"How, Kyrai, it took me and Markus forever to get over that range and back!" Lillian snapped.

"Who are you talking to, Lillian?" Lucan asked.

Lillian looked back, and so did Kyrai. Lucan stared at them both, Lillian said, "Kyrai, she thinks we should go to Yapry, or at least, that's what I'm getting." Lillian looked back at Kyrai with a harsh look, but Kyrai only twitched her tail, and nodded.

Lucan's eyes brightened, "Of course, why didn't I think of it..."

"Think of what?" Lillian asked.

"I remember dad telling me about how people would take sled over the range to Yapry a long time ago, before the Great War." Lucan said quickly.

"Oh, and I suppose you know how to drive a sled? It's not like horses, these are dogs we're talking about!" Lillian scoffed.

Lucan looked at Kyrai, and said quickly, "Well, I don't know how, but it could be our only chance, whatever happened to Markus and Erik, it orginated in Yapry."

Lillian frowned, then nodded, and she asked, "But where are we going to get a dogsled?"

"There's a town nearby, but I'm going to need Kyrai's help, but I need you to stay here and watch Markus." Lucan said quickly.

"Oh, no way, I want to help." Lillian growled.

They stared at each-other for a long while, Kyrai finally made a noise, they looked down at her, and she was sitting by Markus's side her eyes wide. Lillian and Lucan looked at each-other, then they finally nodded, Lillian muttered quietly, "Watch him, Kyrai, make sure nothing gets near him."

Kyrai nodded dutifully, and layed down by Markus. Lillian followed Lucan into the darkness, and she whispered, "I hope this works."

"It'll work." Lucan muttered, leading her through the deep forest.

They soon stumbled upon a small town, but LIllian gasped when Lucan pulled her behind a house, and looked around the corner. He nodded, and said, "Keep right behind me, Lillian."

Lillian nodded, and followed him to a some what large, low building, where low barks were coming from. Lucan looked around, then led her to the back door.

Lucan pushed open the door. The barks got louder, but there was no dogs in sight, Lucan looked at the sleds critically. There was a couple of wolf dogs staring at them weirdly, and Lillian waved. They raised eye-brows, and flicked their tails in greeting.

Lucan looked around, and said quickly, "Try and find the ropes..."

"You sound confused." Lillian muttered, looking around quickly

Lucan ignored her, trying to push a sled towards the big door, Lillian raised an eye-brow, and continued looking for ropes.

She finally saw the ropes and collars, she muttered, "I hope you know what you're doing."

"I'm going to be honest, I don't." Lucan muttered, and finally managed to push the sled towards the back. Lillian put the ropes on the bed of the sled, and sighed, "Well, who's driving it?"

Lucan face-palmed, Lillian examined it and she muttered, "Not like any sled I've ever seen, the back reminds me of a mini driver seat of a carriage, except you have to stand up."

"I forget what it's called," Lucan jumped in the back, then jumped up and down a couple times, "But I think this is birch wood or something, it's strong."

Lillian walked up to the wolf dogs, who stared at her in confusion, and she whispered, "Can you please help us?"

The dogs just stared at each-other for a long time, then looked back at Lillian, flicking their ears. Lillian smiled, and whispered, "Thank you."

Chapter 6

People change

As the days get shorter

Lillian and Lucan watched as the wolf dogs padded up to them slowly and cautiously. Lucan raised an eye-brow. Lillian shrugged, she grabbed the ropes, and tied them securely on the sled, the dogs waited while Lucan stared at the sled critically.

"Something wrong?" Lillian asked curiously, putting the extra rope in the back of the sled.

"No, at least, not that I see." Lucan muttered quietly, poking the sled.

Lillian pointed out, "You said it was strong." She went to the back of the sled, and started pushing it outside, while Lucan opened the door to allow the sled out.

He didn't answer her, but he muttered, "We better hurry, who knows who might be here," he helped her push the sled outside, with the wolf dogs following nervously as the wind surprised them. Lucan muttered, "They must not have been outside for a long time."

Lillian muttered as she examined the braces and ropes, "Okay, how do I set this up...?" She jumped when one of the wolf dogs padded up to her curiously, then flicked it's tail at the brace, and started tipping it's head quickly.

"Oh." Lillian muttered, holding the brace up so the wolf dog could cautiously place itself in the brace. Lillian tightened it a bit and the wolf dog shrugged. The other wolf dog sat by idly, waiting for it's turn. Lillian walked up to it, and repeated the step.

The bigger wolf dog took the front, while the smaller one took the back, Lillian muttered, "We're going to have to fix it later."

Lucan pushed her onto the back, and he said quickly, "I have to make sure it's going to hold." He pulled at the rope connecting the dogs to the sled. Lillian nodded, then looked at the the dogs who seemed to be waiting for a signal.

"Uh... Go? Woof?" Lillian asked, the wolf dogs staring at her disbelievingly, she looked at Lucan.

Lucan shrugged, Lillian huffed, "Go!" She snapped her fingers in annoyance. The wolf dogs stared forward, and pushed forward. Lillian gasped, being thrown back into the sled's wall behind her. She heard Lucan laugh, she huffed, and watched as the wolf dogs pulled the sled into the woods, with Lucan following beside them slowly.

"How does it look?" Lillian asked carefully. Lucan looked like he was about to reply, but the wolf dogs stopped, raising their ears in alert. Lillian raised an eye-brow. She looked back, the barks had turned into howls, and she muttered quietly, "I think they're going to realise what happened."

Lucan nodded, he finally jumped into the back, and he muttered, "We don't have much time then."

"Aren't you the-" Lillian stopped herself though, putting her hand on her mouth. Lucan eyed her, and he shook his head, "No, that won't stop them." He muttered.

Lillian stared at him disbelievingly, but he just said calmly, "Go on." The wolf dogs twitched their tails nervously, and didn't move. Lillian continued to look back, and saw human shadows rushing through the window light. "What's wrong with them?" She asked.

"They're nervous, they aren't used to the outside." Lucan muttered, staring at the wolf dogs in exasperation.

Lillian tried to urge them forward, "Come on, it's not that scary." She muttered gently, but they continued to stare at her. She looked around in panic.

"Calm down, Lillian, that'll make them more nervous." Lucan stared at her as she thought frantically.

Lillian turned to him in disbelief, "We're in danger, Lucan, we're sitting ducks!" She pointed out, then turned to stare at the building.

Lucan turned around to face the dogs, and he growled, "Come on..."

Lillian could only watched as Lucan tried to urge the wolf dogs on, while cloaked people came out, in the darkness, Lillian couldn't see their faces, but she could recognize the shape in their hands. Lillian hissed, then turned to Lucan, "Hurry up!" She growled.

Lillian kept a hand on the bow on her back, Lucan nodded, and they both nearly fell backwards as the wolf dogs howled as an arrow nearly pelted one of them and started to run. Lillian growled, "Keep your head low, Lucan, I'll deal with them."

Lucan stared at her, but didn't disagree. Lillian took her bow off her back, she tried to count the people after them. There's too many... She thought grimly.

"Lillian!" Lucan snapped.

Lillian turned to look at him, but there was a flash, and the whish of an arrow, she gasped, trying to dodge it, she grabbed Lucan's cloak, and pulled him back in as she regained her balance. They both sat down on the back, shocked.

"Wow," Lillian muttered, "If you didn't warn me and push me, that would have gotten me, so close one."

Lucan however, wasn't facing her, and he was shaking. Lillian turned to him, and asked, "Hey, are you all right?"

Lucan muttered, "It's all right, I'll be fine." He finally turned to her, and Lillian jumped back in shock, the arrow didn't get her. It got Lucan, he was clutching his side, and he sighed, "It's okay..." 

Lillian only stared at him, and she muttered, "I'm going to have to get that thing out of you."

"Can't that wait?" Lucan asked curiously.

"Not really, I've watched the damage arrows can do to people." Lillian hissed, turning to him. He rolled his eyes, and released the arrow.

Lillian rolled her eyes also, looking over the sled, she could still hear the people, but they were out of sight, she growled, "Now is the only time," She stood up, and growled, "Hold on!"

The wolf dogs stopped, panting and staring at the forest around them. Lillian broke the nock, and Lucan flinched. Lillian raised an eyebrow, breaking the arrow head, and she muttered, "Good thing it wasn't a sharp head, it could have killed you."

"Thanks for the comfort." Lucan hissed.

She raised an eye-brow, and pulled the wood out. Lucan flinched again, clutching at his side, and asked in annoyance, "Couldn't you have been a bit more gentler?"

"That'd hurt more," Lillian pointed out, "Now stay there, they're going to catch up."

Lillian stood up fully again, and yelled, "Hey! Go!"

The wolf dogs seemed to nod, and ran through the forest with more confidence, soon, the noises of the people were gone. Lillian sighed, and sat down beside Lucan. She heard a familiar howl in the distance, which the wolf dogs answered, and started heading towards the direction of the howl.

You're a genius, Kyrai. Lillian thought with a smirk.

LIllian asked, "How are you feeling now?"

"Not much different." Lucan growled through clenched teeth.

Lillian frowned, and mused, "Man, why us?" She gently banged her head on the back of the sled.

"You're going to give yourself a head-ache doing that." Lucan pointed out, then turned to watch the sky. Lillian raised an eye-brow.

"Is my soul really ripping apart?" Lillian muttered, looking at her hands.

Lucan looked at her, but Lillian frowned when his eyes seemed glazed, he muttered calmly, "Yes, but don't worry about it right now, I think there's a way to halt it."

Lillian made a face, then finally stood up, she heard Kyrai's howl again, this time closer than last time, the wolf dogs replied, and continued heading towards her direction. She asked, "Can you move, Lucan?"

"Give me a second," Lucan muttered. Soon he was standing up, although he was kind of leaning on the back, and he asked, "Are we there?"

Lillian murmured, "Are you sure you're okay?"

Lucan nodded, he was still holding his side. Soon they were near there camp, Kyrai came to meet them, and the wolf dogs greeted her with barks and whimpers. Lillian jumped out of the sled, but Lucan took his time, Lillian raised an eye-brow, then continued towards Markus.

"I hope we still have time..." Lillian muttered, staring at Markus, who seemed even more pale.

Lucan followed her, and said calmly, "We should."

~*~*~*~

Markus groaned, "Arg, this is so boring!" He lied down on the grass, with Erik sitting across from him, with a raised eye-brow.

"That's what they say." Erik muttered calmly, sitting against a tree.

Markus sat up, and asked, "Are you sure there isn't a way out of here?" Erik nodded, and Markus sighed, "Well, darn."

"How you feeling Markus?" Erik asked quietly.

Markus stared at him, and said coldly, "Well... I feel like mush."

"That's a weird answer and tone for you." Erik muttered, and raised an eye-brow.

Markus sighed, "I'm sorry, Lillian's bad mood is starting to rub off on me," he banged his head on the ground, "Or maybe, it's just like Lucan told me, my soul is slowly ripping itself apart for some reason, so I'm either going to die by mist, or die because my soul rips itself apart." He snapped at no one in particular.

"Relax, Markus, it's the mist making you feel this way." Erik growled.

Markus closed his eyes, and breathed in in frustration, he had a huge head-ache. He brushed his hand through his hair. "I just want to wake up." He murmured tiredly.

"As long as you relax, you'll be fine, getting all worked up just irritates the mist." Erik said calmly.

Markus widened his eyes, and said, "Hey... We haven't tried contacting Lucan!" He stood up excitedly. Erik looked thoughtful.

"No, I guess we haven't." Erik muttered thoughtfully.

Markus thought, Hey! Lucan! Can you hear me?

There was no answer, Markus frowned, and Erik asked calmly, "I'm guessing he didn't answer then?"

"What reason would he have for not answering, I mean, he hasn't been affected by the mist or what not...?" Markus muttered, sitting back down again, then looked at Erik, "Has he?" He mused.

"I doubt it," Erik said calmly, "However..."

Markus eyed him, and said pointedly, "You can continue."

Erik raised an eye-brow, "We don't know what's going on, seeing as we're not in commision right now, something could have happened," He muttered quietly. Markus just stared at him, then looked at the shadows with a searching look. Erik asked, "What is it?"

"Don't you think it's strange?" Markus asked.

"Strange?" Erik mused.

"That the mist came after us, you of all people especially, but was it even really going for you? It was me and Lillian that went to Yapry, and possibly woke that thing up, it attacked you like you were just in the way, it didn't have the intention to really put you out of commision." Markus pointed out.

Erik got a confused look on his face, "Are you saying the mist has some sort of mind of it's own?" He asked quietly.

Markus sighed, "Yapry, Lillian can believe that it was like Azarath all she wants, but that ruin, it was alive, Erik, Azarath, it felt static, dead, that the energies there were lingering, but forever dormant."

"What do you mean by alive?" Erik narrowed his eyes.

Markus thought for a bit, "I mean, it was more than just energies in that place, that place felt like... I don't know, like it was actually alive, and didn't like us being there," he explained, "When Lillian went to find things about her nightmares, I wandered around. I started getting a weird feeling, like I was being watched, even though people haven't been in Yapry for a long long time."

Erik nodded, then said quietly, "Not since the Great war, but if what you say is true, the dark energies are still there, and still not happy."

"Which means Lillian is in danger from it?" Markus asked quietly.

"Maybe, but as I said, the mist is afraid of her." Erik pointed out.

Markus made a face, then he said nervously, "We have to get out of here Erik."

Erik was about to say something, but he stared at Markus in shock, Markus asked, "What is it? Did I say something?"

Erik shook his head, then muttered, "Look at yourself, Markus."

Markus raised an eye-brow, then looked down at his hands, he jumped back when they seemed transparent, and asked quickly, "What's happening?!"

"You're dying..." Erik stared at him, shocked.

"Oh no way, I can't let myself die." Markus growled, then looked up at the sky, and thought loudly, I know there's a part of you that can hear me Lillian, be it the wolf or the human I don't really care! Come on! Show me, give me some hint that you can hear me, anything!

There was silence, and they both jumped when there was a growling coming from the bushes, a light silver wolf with dark eyes padded into the clearing, giving them a critical look. Erik and Markus stared at it.

"Looks like she heard you." Erik laughed.

The wolf bounded towards them, Markus gasped when it pounced on him, it's critical gaze gone, replaced by a look of delight.

"Hello!" Markus laughed.

The wolf allowed him to sit up, he said, "Listen... I'm dying, tell her she doesn't have much time left... I don't care how you do it, tell her there's something wrong with Yapry, and she shouldn't go back."

The wolf looked horrorfied, and Markus waved his hands, "No, don't panic, just tell yourself that okay? I'll be fine." He muttered.

The wolf finally nodded, then disappeared into the shadows. Erik muttered, "But, Markus, if she thinks going to Yapry is the only way to save you, she won't listen."

"I know, I just hope this time she does, whatever is in there isn't worth dying over." Markus muttered.

Erik raised an eye-brow, "She's going there because you're dying, you're one of the last people she wants to lose." He pointed out.

Markus nodded, "I know, but I don't see you becoming transparent." He pointed out, trying to joke half heartedly. Erik frowned at that.

"If she listens, Markus, you won't wake up." Erik pointed out, confused.

"She won't listen, don't worry, but I had to try." Markus sighed.

Markus narrowed his eyes when Erik muttered, "Ek'na deis orå y'in, Markus."

Markus only stared as Erik just gave him a critical look, then shrugged, then said cooly, "And I'm being dead serious when I say that."

Markus only turned away from him, then thought, I know you're serious... But that was an odd thing to say, even for you... What did you mean by 'Love does weird things'?

~*~*~*~

Lillian set up Kyrai, she looked at Markus, who was shivering on the sled's bed, she had taken out a blanket out of the bottom of her bag, but it didn't seem to be working. She stopped, and narrowed her eyes, Lucan was tugging at the rope aimlessy, she thought, What was that feeling? That was weird, it was almost like... Maybe it's my imagination.

She dismissed it, and looked at Lucan, who seemed pale. Lillian asked, "Are you all right?"

Lucan didn't answer at first, then nodded. "Y-Yeah, I'm fine." He seemed to be shivering, Lillian raised an eye-brow to the sky, it was lightly snowing, it wasn't that cold.

"Do you need to lay down before we go?" Lillian asked, heading towards him, taking over pulling at the rope to make sure it was strong. Lucan shook his head, and she shrugged, but stopped, and she mused, "Hey..." She turned to Lucan suspiciously. 

Lucan asked, "What?"

She reached a hand towards him, then stopped, and narrowed her eyes, He's radiating heat... He's sick... Was the arrow poisoned for hunting purposes? Or something else?

Lucan stared at her weirdly, and asked, "What?"

"It's..." Lillian frowned, then shook her head, "Nothing, it's nothing, are you sure you don't need to sit down for a bit?" She asked.

Lucan shook his head, Lillian got into the back, Kyrai was already collared up, Lillian said, "You know the way better than I do, Kyrai."

Kyrai nodded, staring at Lillian, then looked at Markus, they had fixed the placment the dogs were in, now the two wolf dogs were in the back, looking around, waiting for Kyrai. Lucan sat down on the back of the sled with Lillian, who was standing up.

"Maybe we should..." Lillian muttered but Lucan cut her off.

"No, let's go." He growled, staring into space. Lillian just frowned, and nodded at Kyrai, who barked at the two wolfs, and started forwards. Lillian sat down by Lucan.

"Are you sure you're all right?" Lillian asked quietly.

"Yeah, I'm sure." Lucan said calmly.

Lillian thought, Hmm, he's fine for now... Lillian looked at the sky, and sighed, "Again, why us, everytime..." She balled her hands into fists.

Lucan shrugged, "Who knows, it's not like we go looking for trouble..." He muttered.

"Uh, hate to tell you this Lucan, but you guys scared a Howling Bird, that's looking for trouble." Lillian laughed.

"Okay, that was an accident, we didn't mean to go near it's nest, ask Erik about that, the one who's never been to Grealach before, so he doesn't know what animals are there." Lucan said cooly, and turned to her, eyes narrowed. He smiled.

"Right, I'll ask him what he was thinking when he wakes up," Lillian laughed, and rolled her eyes. Lucan however frowned, and looked straight ahead. Lillian asked, "Did I say something?"

"Do you think Aris will be able to wake him up?" Lucan asked quietly.

Lillian frowned, then looked straight also, then muttered sadly, "If anybody can, he can."

Lucan asked quietly, "How are we going to wake up Markus then?"

Lillian sighed, then looked down at her feet, she curled up, and said quietly, "I honestly don't know... But I won't let him die."

Lillian looked at Lucan, who only looked away, eyes glazed and clouded. Lillian thought quietly, It's getting worse... And fast... This isn't good, why are all my friends dying around me? It's just like Solaris had showed me way back when...

"Lucan?" Lillian asked.

"Mm?" Lucan turned to face her.

Lillian made a face, and stared at the sky, "We're going to do this. We're going to get help." She said quietly, looking back at him.

"Yapry has been abandoned though." Lucan pointed out.

"No, there's only a couple people on the outskirts, me and Markus met someone once, we'll go to her." Lillian growled, narrowing her eyes. She blinked when Lucan's eyes had a greyish tone, he sighed.

"All right." Lucan blinked, and turned away from Lillian.

Lillian stood up, Kyrai was sniffing the air as she walked, and Lillian asked, "What's the matter?"

Kyrai whimpered, causing the back dogs to shift nervously, and Lillian growled, "Keep your cool Kyrai, just ignore it."

Kyrai barked, her eyes getting wide as she walked, Lillian looked around, and stopped, she muttered, "Hey, Lucan?"

"Yeah?" Lucan asked.

Lillian crouched lower, staring behind her, and she asked, "So, how do you do that warding thing?"

Lucan had a look of confusion on his face, and he asked, "Why?" He sat straight up also, and looked where Lillian was looking, but nothing was there. "Okay, I'm confused."

Lillian shivered, "There's something there Lucan, there's something not right..." She hissed.

She watched as Lucan looked at the pass in front of them, and he muttered, "Could it be the ruins giving off that energy?"

Kyrai barked at something, and broke into a fast walk. Lillian nearly smashed her face on the back of the sled at the sudden movement, she growled, "Hey, Kyrai, mind being careful?"

"Um, Lillian, about getting help." Lucan said quietly, staring at her with a greyish tone in his eyes.

Lillian raised an eye-brow, and asked, "Yeah?"

"How are you going to get help for your problem?" Lucan asked quietly.

"What makes you say that?" Lillian asked, staring at the forest they were leaving behind again.

"It's getting worse." Lucan pointed out.

Lillian stared at him, and murmured quietly, "I don't know... Someone told me what would happen if I left it unchecked, it wasn't pretty."

"Who told you?" Lucan asked curiously.

Lillian laughed, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you." She pointed back to Nixsan, which was getting more and more distant.

Lucan smirked, "Try me, Lillian, after what happened four years ago, nothing surprises me that much anymore." He pointed out.

"Hmm, okay," Lillian muttered, and shrugged. Then said calmly, "When I fell into the library and passed out, I saw her."

"Her who?" Lucan asked curiously.

Lillian looked back at Nixsan, and she said quickly, "Your ancestor, the last queen of the White Wall, and the first of Nixsan."

"Oh, really?" Lucan asked, and raised an eye-brow. "How was she?"

Lillian stared at the snowy land that was Nixsan, she sighed, "A lot like your uncle Alexavier, if I'm honest, at first, I didn't trust her," Lucan fully turned to look at her, and Lillian added quickly, "But, she showed me why I should trust her."

Lucan looked like he was about to say something, but Lillian looked up, and she muttered, "We're almost there."

Lucan asked, "What makes you say that?"

Lillian looked up at the moon thoughtfully, then turned in the sled, she pointed upwards, where there were ruins hanging over the edge. Lillian then saw the familiar building in the distance. Like Ishari, Yapry was a cultural Kingdom, and knew things that the other three didn't know or understand. Lucan asked, "What's that?"

"That? That's a really really big tower overlooking all the lands, it was where I found the library." Lillian said calmly.

Lucan suddenly looked nervous, "Lillian, I don't like this, this is odd." He muttered, standing up, but held his side from the sudden movement. Lillian frowned,

Soon Kyrai had stopped at the entrence to Yapry, panting. Then looked at Lillian, confused. Lillian looked around. The ruins were thick, and she murmured, "Kyrai, look for another human, a female."

Kyrai barked, and sniffed the air quickly. She finally started walking fowards, Lucan sighed, and looked around nervously.

"You'll get used to it." Lillian muttered, staring back to the four kingdoms, and she thought, When we go back, I'll go to Graelach, explain to my father why...

Kyrai barked repeatedly, Lillian looked up to see a cloaked person step in front of the dog sled, causing Kyrai to skid to a halt.

The person seemed to smile, and placed a hand on their moon and sun necklace, the sign of a seer, and she asked gently, "Back so soon, Lillian?"

"Trust me, I didn't want to come back." Lillian laughed nervously.

The women sighed, and said to Kyrai, "Follow me then, I already know why you came, we'll discuss more once we're safe."

Kyrai nodded nervously, and followed the women fearfully. Soon, they stopped at a house, she opened the door, and cut Kyrai and the two wolf dogs loose from the sled, and they sat down looking around in alert. Lillian and Lucan followed her, supporting Markus.

The women sighed, "It's sad, that this weapon got out of control, so many lives lost, and for what reason?" She pointed at a bed, and Lillian and Lucan put Markus on it.

Lucan asked, "What do you mean by weapon?"

"Yapry's residents were ambitious, and wanted to see the whole world, and didn't like obstacles, so they looked deep within this kingdom, and found what your people call The Mist." The women said, taking her hood off.

Lucan looked at Lillian, and shrugged. Lillian asked, "Can you help him?"

The women looked at her, then looked at Lucan, "You're lucky to be alive, your highness." She pointed out.

Lucan raised an eye-brow, "So I'm told." He muttered, staring at Lillian as if she was crazy. Lillian however, ignored him.

The women turned to Markus, and sighed, "What has corrupted his soul is very powerful, and very dark magic, I can try, but in the end, it's up to him," she looked at Lillian, and smiled, "Seems like he's not the only one with some sort of corruption of the soul." She added calmly.

Lillian made a face, and murmured grimly, "Help him first, get to me later."

The women bowed, "Whatever you say, Princess Lillian of Graelach." She murmured calmly.

Chapter 7

Sometimes memories of the past

Are all you have left

If you can't see the future

Markus asked, "Think they made it?" He looked at Erik, who was now pacing, Markus noted that he too was now fading away, but instead of tired, he seemed more alert, more aware of what was around him.

"Something tells me they did." Erik muttered quietly, and continued to pace.

Markus groaned, starting to grow impatient, he jumped when Erik faded even more, and he gasped, "Woah! You're almost invinsible!" He pointed out.

"Thanks for the observation, Markus." Erik said calmly.

"Dying or waking up?" Markus asked curiously, sitting down.

Erik looked at his hands, then looked at the sky, "Waking up." He murmured flatly.

"Aw man, I do not want to die like this, or be alone in this place again." Markus growled, crossing his arms and staring into the shadows.

"Don't you trust, Lillian?" Erik asked curiously, but Markus raised an eye-brow when his voice seemed distant.

Markus tipped his head, "What?! I can't hear you!" He said loudly. Erik looked at him disbelievingly, and disappeared. Markus jumped, and sighed, "Great... Of course I trust Lillian, but like you, she can't do everything."

He looked down at his fading hands, and thought grimly, He woke up, I'm slowly dying.

Markus scowled when his vision darkened, "Here it goes, death by mist, the Fate of Death is going to have a laugh." He growled.

"It's not really that funny." Another voice said in the darkness.

"Ouch." Markus muttered, and couldn't help but smile.

"You're not dead, but death by mist, not that funny if you really think about it." The voice said cooly.

"Thanks for the tip, but what do you mean by 'You're not dead.' If you don't mind me asking." Markus pointed out.

The voice had grown silent, and Markus jumped when light entered his vision. He sat up quickly, then looked around the house, and muttered, "This isn't the Farlands or the spirit world, or... Any place I recognize."

"Looks like you are awake." A familiar voice muttered calmly.

"Hey..." Markus turned to the voice, it was one of the last residents of Yapry, and she had her eye-brow raised, "Hello, old lady~"

The lady smiled, and asked gently, "That mist sure got a good hit on you, didn't it?"

"Oh yeah, Lucan isn't going to let me live that down," Markus crossed his arms in annoyance. The lady however frowned, Markus frowned also, and asked, "What is it?"

"Why don't I get Lillian, and let her explain?" The lady asked curiously.

Markus raised an eye-brow, and said, "I can do that."

~*~*~*~

Lillian stared at the ceiling blankly in her guest room, and yawned. There was a knock on her door, she sighed, "I'm coming..." She opened the door, and asked coldly, "What?"

"Wow, that was harsh. Even for you." A familiar voice joked.

Lillian rubbed her eyes, "Come on Markus, I was busy..." She murmured, staring at the person in front of her, then murmured quietly, "Markus...?"

"I think that's my name." Markus said calmly.

Lillian blinked a couple times, then widened her eyes she pulled him into her room harshly, staring at the hall-way suspiciously before kicking the door behind her, and asked quickly, "How long have you been awake?"

"Uh, a couple minutes, that old lady did a good job didn't she?" Markus asked. Lillian only stared at him, and he asked curiously, "Is something wrong? You're acting really weird still, and where's Lucan?"

Lillian frowned, and looked away from him, she murmured, "Lucan's sleeping, he's must have gotten sick from the arrow when he got hit."

"Woah, back up, Lucan got shot with an arrow? How long was I out?" Markus asked.

Lillian looked out the window, where the sun was slowly rising, she murmured, "Uh, a couple days, give or take?"

Lillian watched as Markus brushed his hand through his hair, and asked, "That long? Wow."

She frowned, and Markus laughed, "Hey, Lucan won't die or give up that easily, did you already forget who he was related too? Who his ancestors were?"

Lillian raised an eye-brow, and murmured, "No, I didn't forget."

"Well, it's going to take a lot more than an arrow to kill him." Markus said calmly.

Lillian narrowed her eyes critically, and muttered, "Well yes, but I think we have a bigger problem right now, Markus."

"What type of problem?" Markus asked.

Lillian said quietly, "When you were out, the old lady said that the mist was nothing more than a weapon to Yapry, and that's how they intended to use it, against Graelach."

"Ouch. But what does that have to do with your problem?" Markus asked curiously, looking out the window also.

Lillian sighed, "Think about it, Markus, the mist wants us, and it did get you, and Lucan said that his dad taught him how to defend himself against spirits, but what if he was too much in shock himself?" She asked curiously.

Markus asked, "I don't know, have you asked him?"

"No, I haven't," Lillian growled, staring at the tower in the distance, thens he sighed, "Remember Nixsi?"

"Crazy spirit? Yes, of course, what about her?" Markus asked quietly.

"Her accent, it sounded oddly like Aris's didn't it? Think about it, Ishari's people are descended from Yapry's residents, if not the same thing," Lillian pointed out, "Nixsi was from here."

Markus rubbed his head, "Still doesn't explain why it didn't attack Lucan," he said calmly, then asked, "Why don't we just ask him?"

"He's resting, that's why." Lillian grunted, staring at him, and crossed her arms.

Markus shrugged, "He's never minded." He laughed, opening Lillian's door. Lillian could only watch as Markus walked out of the hallway, and looked around.

"Lost?" She teased.

Markus narrowed his eyes, then she walked, leading him to Lucan's room. Lucan was staring at the wall, he was strangely pale, but he looked up when Lillian and Markus entered, he asked, "What's up?"

"Hello, I'm awake." Markus waved.

Lillian eyed him, and she muttered, "Lucan, uh, about that warding thing that you drove mist away..."

Lucan shrugged, and stared at both of them. Lillian sighed, and asked curiously, "Are you sure you did it? Weren't you as surprised as Markus was?"

Lucan stared at her, then brushed his hand through his hair, then said quietly, "To be honest, it's all fuzzy."

"Yeah, I was dead," Markus joked, but Lucan and Lillian only stared at him in disbelief, and he shrugged, "Hey, it wasn't fun being in that dark forest with just Erik for company all right?" He said quickly.

Lillian frowned, and she muttered, "But if you didn't do it, why didn't it attack you too?" She asked quietly.

"No idea, Lillian." Lucan muttered quietly.

It had gone silent between them, and Markus asked, "So, what are we going to do? We can't stay here, the mist will find us."

"How did it find us though, how did Yapry control it to the point where it would have destroyed Graelach?" Lillian asked quickly, she then turned to Lucan, "How are you feeling? I'm going to Graelach." She said quickly.

"Uh, I should be fine, but why are you going back to Graelach." Lucan asked curiously.

Lillian growled unnaturally, and Lucan's eyes narrowed with a greyish tinge to them, and she said, "I just have this feeling, it's like you said, maybe these nightmares originated from there."

"Well yes, but-" He was interrupted by Lillian.

"It doesn't matter, I'm not afraid, I can't anymore. I stopped being afraid, if I can't face my father, these nightmares won't end." Lillian said quietly.

Lucan sighed, finally standing up, "Whatever you say Lillian." He muttered quietly.

Lillian nodded, then said, "We can head out now if you want, we can't waste time."

Markus and Lucan nodded, they looked out the hall-way, but the candles were dimmed, Lillian tipped her head, and led the way to the front, she opened the front door, and led them out where Kyrai was waiting, but the two wolf dogs were gone.

Markus looked around, "You guys have no idea how weird this is." He mused.

Lucan rolled his eyes, and said calmly, "We better get going, I don't want anymore surprise attacks."

Markus laughed, "You can say that again! Wow!" He ran away with Kyrai following after him, Lillian frowned as Lucan went to catch up with him. She looked to the right, where the forested Graelach was, she thought, I can do this... I can do this. It can't have changed that much...

As they walked down the mountain, Lucan seemed to be muttering something under his breath, Lillian asked, "Are you all right?"

"Yes, I'm fine." Lucan said calmly.

Markus asked from the front, "Hey, Lillian, remember that time where you had that fight with your sister, and how you said you couldn't turn back?" He turned back, "What happened to that?"

"Well, things could have changed." Lillian pointed out.

"Not always for the better Lillian, if you get there, things could be different." Lucan said calmly.

Lillian laughed airily, "Oh come on you two, how much could change?"

"Look at Hostrich, it changed didn't it, and it only took what? Ten years of fighting?" Lucan muttered, taking the front, staring at the snowy land in front of him.

Markus looked on thoughtfully, "Ten years is a lot." Markus said.

"Not in that context it isn't, you saw how many names were on that standing stone." Lucan pointed out.

"I did." Markus said grimly.

The whole walk back down was silent, and the moon was high in the sky, Lillian muttered to Lucan, "You know this place better than any of us, know any quick ways too get to Graelach?"

Lucan nodded, he looked around, then pointed to the right of them, "Well, we could go that way."

Lillian started walking forwards, with Markus following her, Lucan seemed to hesitate, but didn't say anything, and followed them.

~*~*~*~

It had been a full two days before they reached Graelach's border, Lillian shivered, and Markus said calmly, "You don't have to go back you know."

"I have to, and so do you." Lillian murmured, and turned to look at him, "You haven't seen your sister for four years." She watched as Markus looked on with a nervous look, Lucan had his arms crossed.

"Nor yours." He pointed out, Lillian rolled her eyes, and started walking forwards with the two behind her.

Lillian shivered, "Oh, okay, had to remind me," she shook her head, and hissed, "That doesn't matter right now, I just... I need to see for myself if Graelach has changed."

They walked, following the river deeper into Graelach. Markus muttered, "Is it me? Or is it quiet?"

"I don't know." Lillian whispered.

Lucan however was looking around, and said, "It is too quiet."

Lillian and Markus looked at him, and he shrugged. Markus ran forwards when a small sign appeared leaning against a tree, he muttered, "That's odd."

Lillian looked at it thoughtfully. "Was it always leaning like that, Markus?"

"No?" Markus asked, studying it carefully. Lillian was about to walk forwards, but Markus froze. Lillian looked back, and she asked, "What is it?"

Markus stood up quickly, he ran towards Skrealand, Lillian and Lucan looked at each-other, and ran after him.

They stopped at the entrence to Skrealand, and Lillian put her hands to her mouth, while Lucan gaped, "It's gone, everything is gone..."

Lillian only stared at what was Skrealand, it wasn't gone, it was ruins, like some type of fire had ravaged it, she murmured in horror, "What happened?"

Markus didn't say anything, his eyes were wide in shock. Lillian walked up to a house that soon crumbled right in front of her. She stared at it in shock, she looked at Lucan, and asked quietly, "How many?"

Lucan seemed confused, but finally understood, he closed his eyes, then opened them, he looked around. He frowned, "It seems everyone..." He murmured quietly

They both looked at Markus, Lillian then looked at the castle. She twitched, and narrowed her eyes. Lillian stalked to the castle, leaving Markus at the remnents of his home.

She stalked up to the gates the guards immediately changed their stances to aggressive, she growled at them, "Do you not recognize me you two? Are you that forgetful!?"

They stared at each-other, and relaxed, the older one asked flatly, "Is that you Princess?"

"Who else would it be? Now let me through!" She growled.

"Um..." The younger one shuffled nervously.

The older one took over, "We can't... There's..."

Lillian took a step forward, they stepped back a bit, and she growled, "Tell me why, why can I not pass?"

Lucan stepped forward, eyes grey, and he said calmly, "Calm down, Lillian, you're going to make it worse."

Lillian looked at him, and relaxed, the guards did too, and the older one explained, "Because there's no one in it."

"No one in it?" Lillian mused.

"We thought the royal family died out." The younger one said quietly.

"Died out, what do you mean died out?! What happened?!" Lillian snapped.

Lucan however, seemed to understand immediately, "You mean...?"

The guards both looked at him, then the older guard sighed, "The king, your father is dead, your sister is missing, also presumed to be dead."

Lillian stood there in shock. Now she knew how Lucan felt too well.

"Then, what happened to Skrealand?!" Lillian snapped.

The guards shrugged, "We don't know, princess, one day it was fine, the next it was in ruins," they bowed, then the older one murmured, "We still can't let you through."

Lillian murmured pleadingly, "Please..."

The guards looked at each-other, then finally stepped aside. Lucan muttered, "Are you sure you want to do this? If your soul splits, I can't stop it."

Lillian couldn't look at him, she only inhaled a breath, and stepped into the now unfamiliar and dark courtyard. She looked over at the rose garden, but all of them were dead, she bit her lip, and shivered as she continued.

The guards called after her, "Call us if you need anything."

Lillian only nodded. Lucan was right behind her, she then stopped, "If you see someone from Skrealand, let them in."

"Skrealand? But..." The younger one said.

She shook her head, "No, there's still people left." She murmured, and looked up at the huge gate.

Lillian sighed, then reached her hand to the door handle. She gripped it, she narrowed her eyes, I... Can't do this...

Lillian pushed open the door, the light shed into the throne room, dust had gathered on the floor. It looked a lot like the old castle in Nixsan, with the same type of dark energy. Lucan walked in, and frowned, he murmured, "I-" but watched as Lillian headed up to the throne, where her father's crown was sitting under a banner.

She lifted the banner carefully, and then lifted her fathers crown. Lillian stared at it for a long time, she brushed the dust of the crown, the sun on the front of the crown was no longer shining bright, it was if the sun on the crown was somehow doused. Lillian looked down at the ground.

She sat down on the throne out of tiredness, and muttered, "What am I going to do?"

Lillian looked up at Lucan, who was staring at the ground also, he smiled sadly, and he murmured, "I've been asking myself that lately too, don't feel bad."

They looked up when Markus walked in and looked around, "Wow, those guards weren't kidding." He murmured quietly.

Lillian had the crown in her lap, she frowned at it, Why am I getting this weird feeling? Like I could have stopped this?

She brought out her dragon necklace, and stared at it for a long time. Markus spoke up, "This isn't your fault."

Lillian sighed, "I know it's not, but without the king, Graelach, it's going to end up... Crumbling away, just like Yapry." She murmured, looking around at the castle.

"Graelach is too adaptable to crumble away, you know that." Lucan pointed out gently.

"Yapry was too adaptable to crumble away, but it did anyways." Lillian pointed back.

Lucan just frowned, and Markus asked, "What are you going to do?"

Lillian stood up, and looked down at the crown in her hands, and she asked, "What do you think I should do? Neither of us have a home anymore."

Markus made a face, and looked at Lucan, he asked quietly, "Why are you looking at me? I don't know either."

Markus and Lucan just looked at her sadly, she took out her dragon necklace again, then asked, "Even if I did something... Would it even make a difference? Graelach is without a leader, and I don't want to be their leader."

Lucan just looked down at the floor again, Lillian noticed the movement, she murmured, "We could ask Aris for advice, since we never got around to it last time."

"You're going to leave Graelach again?" Markus asked.

"No... I just need to have a third opinion before I decide." Lillian put the crown down back on the throne, she backed away from it silently, then lead the way out of the throne room.

Lucan and Markus followed her quietly, the guards stood at attention, she stopped. Lillian turned around, and she growled, "See if you can find the residents that escaped from Skrealand, and help them rebuild the town."

"Yes, your highness." They muttered, and soon left the gate to go down to the town.

Lillian sighed, and looked at Lucan, but his eyes were flat. She walked towards the mountain for the first time in four years, intending to take the path that was blocked last time.

She looked back at the castle sadly. Usually it gave off a feeling of welcome, but now it felt like it was shutting her out. Lillian turned around and started to walk forwards. Markus was unusually silent, Lillian turned to glance at him, but he was staring off into the distance, Lucan seemed to be trying to avoid both their gazes.

"All we need is to get to Orskola, and right to the palace." Lillian said reassuringly, however, neither of them replied.

Lillian stopped, and frowned at both of them, they stopped also, looking at her. She murmured, "Look, I know things are a bit on the scary side, but it's nothing we haven't done before, we got through both the tunnels, we can easily get through this."

Lillian shivered, turning away from them, and thought grimly, Although... Who am I trying to convince? I'm more scared than they are... I don't know what will happen, and I don't know if I can fix Graelach, or even if I want too deep inside... But deep inside is a wolf.

She continued walking forwards without hesitation, Lucan and Markus followed a bit more quickly, and soon, the trees started to thin out into plains, and soon, the ruins of Orskola were in sight.

"Was it even worth it in the end?" Markus mused.

Lillian kicked the dirt half-heartedly, and she said coldly, "Who knows anymore."

"Do you still blame Aris?" Markus asked.

"No, not anymore... I used too, but if I was still blaming him by now, I might as well call myself a hyprocrite, I ran away too." Lillian grunted flatly, and continued forward.

Markus only rubbed his head as the palace came into the distance as the sun finally set, and the moon started to rise. Lillian knocked on the door a bit more gently than last time, Aris answered again, and he stared at her confused, and he commented, "You guys look horrible."

"Don't ask." Markus muttered.

Lillian smiled sadly, and she murmured, "I need to talk to you Aris."

"Okay, come inside, it's about to rain." He said calmly, and stepped back, Lucan and Lillian followed, but Markus looked up at the sky suspiciously.

"How do you-" But he was interrupted by a sudden noise, he jumped into the castle with no other comment.

Erik limped out of the room they had last put him in, he looked tired, but once again healthy, he waved cheerily, and Markus went up to him, and they spoke quickly, but Lillian didn't catch what they were saying.

Aris looked at the other three, and he finally turned to Lillian, "What happened?"

"How did you know something happened?" Lillian asked, looking up at him.

Aris kind of rolled his eyes, "It wasn't that long ago I ran away from something, and in the end, it caused something I didn't want to happen." He pointed out.

Lillian brushed her hair with her hand, and she muttered, "My whole family is dead, I don't know how, or why, and Skrealand is nothing but ruins, and I don't know how. All I know is, I'm the last of my family, and I don't know what to do."

Aris looked at her thoughtfully, and he mused, "So you're having the same problem as Lucan I presume?" Lillian stared at him confused, "He told me before you guys left, but he never did wait for an answer, he just told me and ran off to catch up to you." He added.

"Well, what do you think?" Lillian asked quietly.

Aris shrugged, "I'm going to be honest, I really don't know, but you should do what you think is right."

Lillian groaned, and she murmured, "I was kind of hoping you would have a clear answer."

Aris frowned, and she murmured, "Ah, nevermind, don't worry about it, maybe some sleep will help clear my head."

Aris directed her to a guest room, she layed down on the bed, staring at the ceiling. She soon felt her eyes close to darkness.

Lillian sighed when she found herself in her dream world. She rubbed her eyes, I don't... She felt tears come up to her eyes.

"Something bothering you, Lillian?" A familiar voice asked.

Holly was sitting across from her, with a sad smlie on her face. Lillian blinked, and she shook her head, "No, nothing is bothering me."

Holly only raised an eye-brow, but didn't say anything. Lillian asked quietly, "How long before my soul rips apart?"

Lillian watched as Holly looked up at the stars, Lillian widened her eyes when there was faint lights, Holly smiled, "Looks like your soul has finally decided." She said calmly.

Lillian asked, "On what?"

Holly smiled, "I don't know, but the fact that the spiritiual barrier is coming back up, either your soul has decided or an outside force is manually putting one there to help you." She mused, and shrugged.

Lillian frowned, and she asked, "Hey, Holly?"

"Yeah?" Holly asked calmly.

Lillian asked, "How did you react when you were the last of your line?"

Holly stared at her, then looked up thoughtfully, "I guess, kind of like you are, except half conciously, seeing as I was slowly dying," Holly laughed, "I guess, I meant more to Nixsi than I thought, she didn't give me a painful death, it was slow, but I didn't notice."

Lillian frowned, she murmured, "I get the feeling I'm worrying my friends, and I don't want to worry them, they have their own problems, Markus just lost his home, Lucan is having the same problem I am..." She rubbed her head, "I wish I could say sorry to them, that I'll help them, but I don't think I can." Lillian added quietly.

Holly smiled, "You should trust your friends more, they care a lot for you."

Soon she disappeared into a gust of wind, Lillian was left alone in her dream, she sighed, her gaze drifted off to the shadows.

~*~*~*~

Lillian woke up to the night, she sighed, and sat up. She rubbed her head and frowned, she could still feel the heaviness of the crown in her hands. She walked out of the guest room cautiously, there was some guards walking down the halls, but they didn't bother her as she walked out to the front.

Lillian sat down in the grass, staring at the mountain. She thought quietly, What am I supposed to do...?

She brushed a hand through her now short hair, she frowned, then looked at Hostrich, she stood up, and stared.

Lillian sighed, and started taking a step forwards, she murmured, "I need a place to think..."

She left the front gates, and started walking towards Azarath, when she reached the ruins, she frowned, and opened the temple doors.

She walked to the middle of the room, staring up at the statues of the old gods. Lillian sat down, staring at the floors incitricate architecture.

"This is weird, but I wish I knew how to handle this." She looked up at the old gods, particularly at Leilas and Orias. Lillian sat up, brushing the hilt of her dagger, she stood up, and looked at the walls filled with pictures. She brushed the walls, and frowned.

"These walls still haven't come true yet..." Lillian murmured, she looked back at the statue of Solaris, both him and Yuna had the biggest statues in the temple, she walked up to them, both Yuna and Solaris had their eyes closed, with Solaris holding the sun and Yuna, the moon.

Lillian walked up to Leilas's statue, and murmured, "Knowledge..." She pointed at Solaris, "Light," then turned to Yuna, "Darkness..."

She finally turned to Orias, and said calmly, "Truth, humanity."

She finally turned to the next two, she recognized Garaos, but didn't recognize the other one, but they stood at the entrence as if they were guardians.

"Balance and time..." Lillian murmured.

She suddenly felt small in the room, with the statues seemingly staring down at her, but she knew they weren't. Their eyes were set in stone, much like their real life selves, many of the old gods were focused on what they wanted.

"All of you were guardians..." Lillian murmured to herself, and stood in front of Orias, and she laughed coldly, "You weren't the destroyer of Guagamela, you were it's protector, it's guardian."

Lillian started to walk towards the entrance, she sighed, and opened the door to the night, with a new found strength.

Chapter 8

Never lose hope

Even if you can't see it

When Lillian had returned to the castle, it was almost day-break. Erik was staring thoughtfully at a statue, Lillian walked up to him, and she asked, "How've you been?"

Erik blinked, and turned to her, he said calmly, "I could've been a lot worse."

Lillian smiled, and asked, "Is something on your mind? Is it the mist?" She added.

Erik frowned, and nodded, "You could say that, I mean, I was talking with Lucan." He murmured darkly. He turned away from Lillian, and started to pace.

"What about it?" Lillian asked curiously.

Erik was about to say something, but Markus walked up to them, Erik quickly went silent. Markus asked, "What's up?"

Lillian looked at Erik, and Erik shrugged. Lillian murmured, "Hey, um, Markus, can I talk to you?"

Erik was about to walk away, but Lillian said quietly, "I might need your help too." Erik turned back.

Markus asked, "Yeah? What about?"

"First, about Skrealand." Lillian murmured quietly.

Markus frowned at that, which made Lillian flinch, she murmured, "I told the guards to look for survivors, and rebuild the town."

Erik looked confused, "Rebuild? What happened?" He asked, and looked at Markus.

Lillian murmured, "Before we got to Ishari, we went to Skrealand, it was destroyed... And my father is apparently dead."

Erik looked at her thoughtfully, he asked, "What do you think happened?"

Lillian shrugged, Markus suddenly perked up, "Hey! I know who you can ask!" He said excitedly.

"No, Markus." Lillian grunted flatly.

Erik however, looked as if he thought that seemed like a good idea, Lillian stared at him, and she murmured, "I haven't been in contact with either of them in a while."

Markus went silent, then he murmured, "We could go back, see if we can find anything that might have happened to your older sister."

Lillian was about to reply, but Erik cut in, "Uh, I'm not saying that's not a good idea and all, but Markus," he fully turned, "Last time Lillian and Heather were face to face, I had to pull her off Lillian." He pointed out gently.

Lillian looked on thoughtfully, "Well, yes, but I feel as if there's something off about this whole thing, I need to go to Graelach, Lucan's father is killed, and so is mine? Something is off."

Erik just shook his head, Lillian noticed Aris coming toward them, he asked, "Are you three hungry?"

Markus jumped, "Oh, I am!" He said loudly.

Lillian followed Aris to the dining hall, she looked back, and saw Erik looking up at the statue with distant eyes. Erik finally started following him, Lillian was reminded of the dining hall back home, but Aris was looking around.

Lillian asked, "So, know anything about the mist?" She took her seat beside Markus, who was staring at the food longingly.

Aris sat down, and looked on thoughtfully, "What do you know about it so far?" He asked carefully.

Lillian stared at him, then at her food. "I didn't see anything about the mist in the old tomes... I don't understand."

Aris sat back, "You wouldn't find it in old tomes, it was created by Yapry, it was supposed to be secret, Ishari has only one book on it, and even then, it's vague."

"Supposed?" Markus questioned, and finally, Erik sat down, Lillian noticed he seemed tense.

Aris nodded, "There's still a lot of it left, and it can be controlled. Except... Well it has a mind of it's own, shall I demonstrate, I promise there will be no danger." He said calmly.

Lillian was honestly curious, Aris nodded, and looked at a person hidden in the shadows, a guard, she presumed, he retreated away. Erik looked at him in disbelief. Markus asked, "It can be controlled? Wow."

Aris nodded, "Yes, but only certain people can control it, since this mist is connected closely to the lower spirit world."

Lillian took a bite out of the salad in front of her, Aris asked curiously, "Figure out your soul problem?"

"It's stabalised for now." Lillian murmured. Aris nodded, and the guard came back, holding a jar out of arms reach from him. Aris took it, and Erik stared at him.

"I must protest, how long has it been since you actually tried controlling it?" Erik argued, looking like he was about to stand up, Lillian stared at him in shock, his frustration was new to her.

Aris stared at his old friend, and smiled grimly, "How long? Hard to say, but the mist is potent magic, and very dark, created by the deepest darkness in humans, no wonder the Fates try to stay away from us half the time." He murmured sadly.

Erik went silent at that, Lillian asked, "You've... Used it before?"

"Only the part of the mist that is easily controlled, we have it kept under control deep under the castle, it's like... A dormant state, and a lot less lethal then what Erik and Markus were hit with." Aris said calmly.

Markus huffed beside Lillian, poking at his chest. Erik shifted uncomfortably.

Aris went to open the jar, Lillian wanted to flinch away, but she couldn't. Erik however, stared forward, his eyes narrowing.

Markus asked, "What's the matter?"

Erik looked at him, and Aris stopped. Erik muttered, "Nothing, show them." He turned to Aris, looking at him skeptically.

Aris nodded, and opened the jar, he muttered, "However, you might want to shuffle backwards."

Markus immediately obeyed, but Erik hesitated, but finally complied. Lillian however, she stayed where she was.

He opened the jar fully, and the mist started pouring out. Aris stared at it, and it stopped completely. He muttered, "It takes a certain type of strength."

Lillian heard Erik mutter dangerously, "And a certain type of energy of the user."

Aris nodded at his words, the mist started to be dragged back into the jar, and Aris closed it. He held it up, "Why don't you tell them Erik?" He asked flatly.

"Tell them what?" Erik asked.

"What the leaders of Nixsan did." Aris said calmly.

Lillian looked at Erik, Erik crossed his arms, and didn't look at them. He sighed, "Nixsan managed to control the lethal mist from Yapry, even for a short while, the east was destroyed, the west, traumatized."

"Leaders of Nixsan... You don't mean..." Lillian strained.

Erik nodded grimly. Markus was eating, but not sharing any input, Lillian couldn't blame him, as he wasn't looking at any of them.

The guard took the jar away, and Aris sighed, "Lillian, I'm not blaming you, maybe the mist was already waking up when you went there, it wouldn't be the first time."

Erik sighed, and stood up, "I'm going to bed." He grunted.

Markus looked upwards, then said calmly, "It's not that lateow-" Lillian kicked him, and he shut up. Erik looked at Markus, then left. Lillian asked Aris, "Was it something we said?"

"No..." Aris muttered thoughtfully.

Lillian ate the rest of her salad quickly, and stood up, "I'm going to go to bed too, I'm tired." She yawned for good measure, and she left Aris and Markus staring at her.

She closed the door behind her, and she saw Erik turn into a hallway. His eyes flat. Lillian followed him quietly, Markus is the only one not acting oddly... She thought grimly.

Erik went to open a door, but he froze. His eyes narrowed, and he sighed almost in a sad way, "You're as sneaky as Markus is."

Lillian stared at him in disbelief, she growled, "How did you know?"

Erik turned to her, and shook his head. He asked calmly, "So, what do you need?"

"I just wanted to see if you are all right." Lillian said calmly.

Erik didn't answer for a minute, he finally said, "I'm okay, how about you?" He asked back.

"Tired, confused I guess... Although I'm sure Lucan and Markus are feeling the same way... In their own way." Lillian muttered.

Erik only nodded, he turned back to the door, and Lillian bowed, "I'm sorry for bothering you... I understand that you want to be alone for a bit, I get that, I know how that feels." She said quickly.

He said calmly, "It's fine."

Lillian watched him go into his room and close the door, she walked away. I can't sleep... She thought quietly.

She went to her room anyways, and dozed off. She blinked open her eyes to see a somewhat shivering dream. There was a giant dire wolf there, and it was staring at her. She asked, "Um? Hello?"

It seemed to sigh, and the dream started to become more solid, but the mist was making it hard to see. The dire-wolf just got more transparent, but a shape started to form out of the mist, and the dire-wolf fully disappeared.

Lillian realised with a jolt it was her father, she asked, "Father?"

He didn't answer her, only stared at her flatly. Lillian glared at him, going into a defensive stance. He walked up to her calmly, she narrowed her eyes when he took the crown off his head, she asked flatly, "What are you...?"

He dropped it in front of her, and shrugged. Lillian watched as the dream started to disappate, along with her father, but now she knew he was dead.

"That was weird." Lillian muttered, blinking her eyes open. She opened the window, and the moon was still high in the sky. She flinched when she found her gaze drift toward Graelach. "I'm homesick..."

She looked down, and thought, Does he want me to get the crown?

Lillian made a face, and walked out of her room, it was quiet in the castle. She sneaked towards the back entrance to the stables, the horses were sleeping, she murmured, "I haven't ridden in a while..." She looked at all the horses.

One was half-asleep, and she grabbed the reins, it started to protest, and she muttered, "Don't worry..."

It obeyed her when she edged out of the stables, and stood in the night. She got up on the horse, and gripped the reins. It seemed to be waiting for her to go.

Lillian sighed, and joked, "Well, no turning back now, I like to say."

The horse neighed softly in agreement, and Lillian urged the horse forward and it began in a trot, but Lillian finally broke into a run, rushing to Graelach, rushing back to a home she didn't have for four years.

~*~*~*~

Dawn was nearly breaking when she reached the ruins of Skrealand, she left the horse to graze on a nearby grass patch, but the guards were no where to be found, she walked into the castle and listened intently. She walked up to the chair, and flinched when the crown was no longer there.

"Oh no..." She murmured, looking around.

She walked around the large castle, it was eerily quiet. She rushed around, trying to find the crown. Lillian also felt like something was watching her, the same feeling she got at Yapry.

Lillian walked into her father's large room, and grabbed the sword for protection, she walked back out, and continued looking around.

Lillian thought she heard her name called, but it went silent once more. She sighed, and got steadily more nervous.

"Ghosts... Heheh." Lillian murmured, looking down a hall-way.

Who am I kidding, if there's ghosts, there's ghosts... Maybe my father or my sister didn't get to the Farlands... Lillian shivered.

"Lillian," A voice said skeptically behind her, she grabbed the hilt of the sword, but easily let go of it, and stared at the person, except they were wearing a hood. "Collin?" She mused, the accent was the same piercing one.

The person shook their head, and they took the hood off, "Sorry," they muttered, "Markus noticed you leaving and wouldn't leave me alone about it."

"Erik?" Lillian sighed, Not a ghost.

Erik nodded, and he asked, "You seem lost? Why'd you come here?"

"Well, uh... It's difficult to explain, but I'm trying to find my father's crown, it wasn't where I left it, which I should of expected, but I got this feeling I was being watched right?" Lillian said quickly.

Erik picked up her sword gently, and he mused with mild interest, "This was forged in Hostrich." He turned the blade over.

"Yeah, that's what my father said, he told me Hostrich steel was as strong and tempermental as the people in the kingdom, but a trustworthy type of steel none of the less." Lillian said quickly.

Erik went to give it back to her, but she laughed, "I couldn't even hold it right, I dropped it."

"Probably because I took you off guard." Erik said calmly, and gave the sword back to her.

Erik looked around, and he asked, "No one's here?"

"Nope... Although I also should have expected that, and I'm getting the feeling the crown isn't here either, I'll never find it." Lillian muttered, clutching her fathers sword.

Erik blinked, and asked, "Do you know it's not here?"

Lillian stared at him, and shrugged, "It wasn't on the throne, someone could have moved it, I guess... But I doubt it, the guards weren't here, it's empty." She said quietly.

Erik only nodded, "Okay, it was the same thing with Lucan, think it's the same people?" He asked quickly.

Lillian sighed, "I don't even know."

He muttered, "Then I hope you know how to use that sword, it's not a yielding type of steel." He walked forwards, tensed up.

Lillian shook her head, and followed him. She walked rigidly, she still got the feeling they were being watched. Erik seemed wary, and he asked, "Maybe the guards moved it to Skrealand?"

"Where would they hide it in Skrealand? There's nothing left, no where to hide." Lillian pointed out darkly.

Erik stopped at that, and he asked, "No where to hide?"

"Yeah." Lillian nodded.

Erik got a thoughtful look on his face, "You know your secret room in your room?" He muttered, staring up at the ceiling.

"Um, yeah. What about it?" Lillian asked curiously.

Erik murmured, "How about we check there?" He turned around quickly, almost nervously, Lillian raised an eye-brow, and turned after him. They reached their room, but Erik was looking around.

Lillian sighed, "All right, what's the matter?" She asked.

Erik stared at her, he murmured in a confused tone, "You're not feeling that?"

"Feeling what?" Lillian asked.

He looked around again, Lillian looked down the hallway also, and felt a chill. Woah, this is... This is different from the feeling I got from Lucan's home, this is dangerous. I feel like I'm not welcomed here.

Erik started edging her towards her room, and Lillian hissed, "What is that?"

"Nothing friendly, that's for sure." Erik hissed back.

They entered her room, and Erik closed and locked the door behind them, Lillian looked down, and could almost see the darkness trying to get to them, she looked around her small room, and started to feel weird, she tried to breath, but couldn't.

"Calm down, Lillian." Erik growled, staring at the door.

Lillian shivered, "I'm not worried about whatever that is, I need fresh air." She went to her window, but stopped.

"There's nothing out there." Erik said calmly.

Lillian however stared outside, the moon seemed distant in the sky, even though it was late afternoon. She blinked, That reminds me of the calender in Azarath, that's not a good sign.

Lillian turned around, and flinched when the door's handle seemed to be trying to open, Erik stepped back, and narrowed his eyes. Lillian paced, "Okay, this is getting weird."

Erik stepped to her bookcase, and opened it, he murmured, "Lillian, whatever it is, it's not friendly, I'm getting the same feeling I got from the mist."

"But, it can't be the mist, the feeling it's giving me..." Lillian faltered, and quickly realised what feeling it was.

"Oh, no way..." She hissed.

Erik turned to look at her, she quickly retrieved the board from under her bed that she used to board her door when she wanted to be left alone, Erik mused, "What are you doing?"

Lillian stuck it on the door, which seemed to irritate whatever was on the other side. Lillian looked through her books, "Makes me wish I asked Lucan whatever that ward thing was," She muttered under her breath. She turned to Erik, "How did you stop the mist the first time?"

"It didn't stop it, it made it annoyed." Erik pointed out.

"Great, anything else?" Lillian growled, staring at the door.

Erik stared at the door, Lillian walked up to the door, putting her hands on the board, and closed her eyes, I'm so sorry... I never... I never meant for you to get hurt like you did...

The door seemed to stop shivering, but it was eeriely silent, Erik froze, and narrowed his eyes, "Lillian, I'd get away from there if I were you." He murmured quietly.

Lillian complied, and stepped back quickly, she looked out the window, and saw the sun setting, she murmured, "We have to get out of here, Erik."

Erik nodded, and backed away towards the secret corridor, Lillian followed him, the door was still silent, when they were in the corridor, Erik closed the bookcase behind them, and he kept his back to it, trying to listen.

"Lillian, do you know what happened to your sister?" He asked quietly.

Lillian blinked, and shook her head, fear rising inside her.

He sighed, "I was wrong... There was something in those tunnels."

"What? What was in those tunnels?" Lillian asked.

"I guess, it kind of works like the mist, except not as physical, more having way more to do with the soul primarily." Erik muttered, still listening, he growled, "We have to get out of here."

Lillian nodded, and they walked down the corridor. They came outside, and they looked up at the castle, Lillian narrowed her eyes when the window to her room was pitch black. She muttered, "Time to go."

Erik nodded, and they hurried away, she asked, "So, you have an idea what that was?"

"A soul not guided to the Farlands, or the Lower Spirit World, or both." Erik muttered. They stopped at Skrealand.

"It couldn't have been my father, I saw him in this weird dream, I thought he was telling me to get the crown." Lillian murmured, feeling sick to her stomach.

Erik looked back at the castle, "Odd..." He murmured, "Lillian, you can still talk to them right?" He asked carefully.

"Yes, why?" Lillian asked.

Erik stared at the castle, "Whatever was in there... It wasn't natural, it was like the tunnels darkness moved to the castle." He said quietly.

"But how could-" Lillian stopped herself, she looked around at Skrealand, "We rarely... This doesn't make sense."

"That's what's making me nervous," Erik murmured, and continued walking, "I want you to talk to the Fates, see what's happening."

Lillian nodded, she realised he was leading the two of them back into the tunnels, she thought quietly, Collin?

Wow you sound weird. Collin laughed. Lillian said nothing as they stared down at the caves, Erik's gaze was flat, Collin asked nervously, Um, Lillian, what's wrong?

I-I need to talk to Flynn. If that's possible. Lillian thought nervously. She looked at the tunnels, and started feeling sick to her stomach.

If you not puke, maybe. Collin muttered. Lillian flinched.

Sorry... This is important, I wouldn't be bugging you if it wasn't. Lillian blinked.

Collin went silent, Lillian waited, but there was no reply, she jumped when there was a rustle in the bushes, she jumped when a big black dire wolf came out, looking confused. She walked up to it, and bowed, "I'm sorry, but there's something wrong, and it involves a spirit, I think." She murmured, Erik continued to stare at the tunnels.

The wolf walked up to the tunnels, staring at it, it tipped it's head, and blinked, Lillian asked, "You don't sense anything?"

The wolf shrugged, It's not that I can't sense anything. It said in her head. I can... It just feels like it's halfed, if that makes sense.

Lillian blinked, then pointed at the castle, "How about there?" She whispered.

The wolf followed her movement, and narrowed it's eyes, All right, that I can sense. The wolf flicked it's ear.

Lillian looked at the tunnels nervously, feeling sick to her stomach, the wolf looked back at her sharply. She stared as there was a flash of light, Erik was still looking in the tunnels.

Flynn growled, "Lillian, your soul is splitting."

"Yes, I know, thanks." Lillian growled, feeling like she was going to be sick.

"No, I mean, it's splitting really fast." Flynn said quietly.

Lillian froze, she murmured, "But how, I thought it was stabilised!" She growled to herself.

Flynn looked at the castle, then looked a the tunnels, he murmured, "Lillian, you know your father is dead? Correct?"

She nodded, trying not to be sick. Flynn murmured even more cautiously, "Your sister... Not quite, not in the sense anyways." 

Lillian asked quietly, "What are you trying to say?"

Flynn looked back at the castle again, "Did you have good relations with her?" He asked carefully

"We got along, but then she went into the tunnels and-" Lillian murmured, but was cut off by Flynn.

"Okay, how did she react when she saw you after she went into the tunnels?" He asked quickly.

Lillian looked at Erik, who shrugged, she sighed, "She wanted to kill me, she thought I was nothing more than a vision."

Flynn frowned, he growled, "Don't go back into the castle, Lillian, this is really dangerous."

Lillian shivered, and walked up to a bush and was sick, Erik looked at her, shocked, but Flynn murmured, "Graelach isn't safe... I'm going to have to get Anima, this is odd, even for me."

"What do you mean?" Lillian rasped, "Can't you just get rid of it, like you did Nixsi?"

"This is different, Nixsi was still at least somewhat human, whatever is in those tunnels and in that castle, it's not even human anymore, and definately not in a good mood." Flynn said calmly.

"Oh." Lillian muttered, pushing down the feeling of wanting to be sick.

Flynn looked back at her, "How long has your soul been splitting? Collin didn't even mention it... But now I kind of understand why he's been acting weird." He murmured thoughtfully.

"Acting weird?" Lillian asked.

Flynn nodded, "He's been more restless than usual, kind of jumpy, which is odd, he's usually very laid-back, but now he never gets rest, Anima couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. Now it makes sense." He said calmly.

"I'm sorry, I want to fix it, I don't know how." Lillian murmured.

Flynn sighed, "Well, I can help you on that part, but don't go near this place, you'll just irritate it, and it'll possibly split for real, you have to give it time to heal, I'm tired of watching my brother pace around the mountain."

Lillian nodded, and closed her eyes, she could almost see her old life, Heather and her laughing in the rose garden, and the the day Lillian went back to the castle, only for Heather to treat her with hostility. She opened her eyes to see Azarath, Erik was sitting down on a piece of rubble, and Flynn looked around, he growled, "That's the best I could do, but don't go back to Graelach, not until me and Anima have figured out what's there."

He disappeared, and Lillian sighed, still feeling sick to her stomach. Erik murmured, "Not human?"

Lillian nodded, "I'm just going to say this, whatever that thing was? I think that was my sister." She murmured.

"How do you feel?" Erik asked quietly.

"Like a horse trampled on me." Lillian murmured, standing up, and stumbling towards the castle, Erik followed hesitantly.

They reached the castle, Markus was waiting for them, he asked, "Woah, you guys look terrible, what happened?"

Lilian murmured, "Don't go there, Markus, Grealach is as alive as Yapry, literally, and about as dangerous also." She walked past them, and looked back, and saw Markus shrug.

Markus said quietly, "You know, I've been thinking ever since Aris showed us he could control the mist, like, what did he mean that the leaders in Nixsan used it?"

Erik answered, "He meant that the leaders of Nixsan, near the end of the war, needed to turn to something to turn the tides, but to do that, they needed to find someone that could possibly control it."

Lillian asked, "And when you said it takes a certain something in the controller..."

Erik nodded, "I meant, Aris isn't the only one that can control that mist, Lucan's family has better control over it because of their connection to the spirit worlds." He said quietly.

Lillian thought, Which in turn, means that Alex must have used it against the East in Hostrich, and after that, he wasn't the same. That mist doesn't just kill you literally, use it against someone else, it's a whole different story.

Erik sighed, "However, the thing is, even if you're on the controlling end, you're allowing the mist to enter you willingly, and I'm guessing that has it's own effects on the soul." He shrugged.

Lillian frowned. Erik sighed, "We're just going to have to wait and see what happens," He walked back to the castle. Markus hesitated, looking back at Lillian, then followed him.

Lillian sighed, staring at the moon in the sky.

~*~*~

Lillian tossed and turned in her bed, and finally sat up, her ears ringing, "What's going on?" She murmured to herself. She had a huge head-ache, and she brushed her hand through her hair.

Man, I haven't been getting any sleep, I'm going to take a walk... She thought darkly. She got dressed in her outdoor clothes, and opened her door, and walked into the dimly lit hallway. The torches on the wall casting foreboding shadows on the ground, she walked down to the main hall, and opened the large door that led outside.

Lillian closed them gently, and walked to the gate, she sat down at the side of it, and stared up at the sky. She leaned against the rocky wall, and sighed.

She closed her eyes when her head-ache just got worse,  My head feels like it's going to explode... She put one hand to her head, and proceeded to poke.

"Um, what are you doing?" Someone asked behind her.

She smashed her head against the rock wall in shock, her ears started ringing, and she said, "Hey, mind not scaring-" She turned around, and realised it was Collin, she raised an eye-brow, he looked oddly pale and nervous. Lillian asked, "Is something wrong?"

"Um, I'm not sure yet." Collin said quietly. then added, "Flynn and Anima haven't come back yet."

"What do you mean they haven't come back?" Lillian asked curiously.

Collin huffed, "Well, they said they'd see what's going on with your old home right, that was..." He looked up thoughtfully, "Four days ago." He said flatly.

"Four days ago, what." Lillian muttered flatly.

Collin sighed, "Look, your soul was splitting right?" Lillian just nodded, and Collin sighed, "I'm just here to say that I'm going to see what's taking them so long, and if you don't hear from me, that means something really bad got them and me."

"Wait," Lillian sat up at that, and she asked, "It's just a regular ol' shade right? What's so dangerous about it?"

Collin shrugged, "I don't know, but if Flynn was unnerved, it had to be something bad, so him and Anima went, and didn't come back, so I'm going to go look for them." He said calmly.

"Woah woah, I'll come with you." Lillian went to stand up, but Collin stopped her.

"Not a good idea, your soul is still weakened, it could split if you went there." He said quickly.

Lillian sighed, and relaxed, "If I even get a hint of trouble I'm coming." She growled, Collin only bowed in assent, and disappeared. She frowned, Heather wouldn't know what she's doing? The damage she's causing? Could she?

She shivered, and went back inside, she walked up the stairs to her room again, but saw Erik walk down the hall rigidly, she raised an eye-brow, and called, "Hey Erik? What are you doing up this late? Is something the matter?"

He jumped, and looked back, "Oh, yes, I'm fine." He waved nervously, then walked off. Lillian only shrugged, and walked back into her room. She hesitated, then thought, Wait a second, Erik isn't usually that nervous, unless...

Lillian walked back out into the hallway. She followed Erik, she thought, What are you up to?

She raised an eyebrow when he walked outside, she looked around. Erik didn't seem a bit tired, he huffed. Lillian watched he raised two fingers, and she thought, Is that... A ward?

Lillian blinked when a barrier seemed to grow from the ground to surround the castle. Erik put his hand down, and sighed. Lillian thought, Woah... Even Collin would be impressed...

Erik turned, and they stared at each-other, he smiled, "Um... Yeah..." He made a face, and shrugged.

Lillian shrugged, but stopped when she got a weird feeling, her heart started to pound unnaturally quick. Erik seemed to notice the change, "Lillian, what's wrong?"

Lillian tried to steady her breathing, "I-I don't know... Something is wrong..." She rasped.

"Do you need to get Lucan? Is it a spirit?" Erik asked quickly.

Lillian shrugged, then thought quickly, It's Collin, this is horrible, this foreboding feeling is like nothing I've actually felt before, what is happening at the castle, what is that thing doing to them? She growled, "Erik you have to take me to Graelach!"

Erik jumped back, "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"I have no choice, something's wrong!" Lillian said quickly.

Erik looked around, then looked upwards. He finally nodded, "All right, but we have to be careful." He said quickly.

~*~*~*~

They were already on their way towards the castle when the moon was fully in the sky, Lillian frowned when she got a horrible feeling from the castle. Her and Erik walked through the ruins of Skrealand, Lillian felt like she was being watched. She murmured, "I think something's here Erik."

Erik looked around, and stopped. Lillian continued to walk though, Erik soon followed her, keeping his eyes on the shadows. She finally reached the huge castle that was once her home.

Erik murmured, "Are you sure you want to do this?" He mused.

Lillian nodded, "I shouldn't have left them to face my sister, she is my problem, they could get hurt doing this." She headed towards the door, she opened it harsly, and could almost feel the shadow choking her. Lillian ignored it, and stepped in.

Erik asked, "Where are they, this shade is massive." He looked upwards.

Lillian yelled at the shadows, "You're crazy! How dare you! Come out, and stop being a coward!" She took out her sword in annoyance. Erik jumped at her sudden hostility.

The shadows seemed to move in agitation. Lillian growled, "It's not them you want, it's me!"

Erik looked nervous, but also stood his ground. He walked up to the shadows, and made the same warding sign he used to create the barrier. Lillian raised an eye-brow when many little shining lights appeared out of the shadows, Erik snarled, taking a step back, "Impossible!" 

"What?!" Lillian asked.

"The shade somehow multiplied itself, I can't tell what's the real thing!" Erik growled.

Lillian looked around, the little shining orbs were all around them, it'd be pretty if it wasn't so terrifying. She asked, "How... How did this happen?"

Erik looked around, "This shade, Lillian, I'm not exaggerating, this shade is massive." He murmured.

"How massive?" Lillian asked carefully.

"About the size of the castle itself." Erik was looking upwards.

Lillian looked upwards, then jumped back when something fell from the darkness. She gaped when it was Anima. She landed not so gracefully, she was bleeding heavily from her side, "What are you two doing here?!" She snapped.

"We're here to help! Where's Flynn and Collin," Lillian said quietly, and added quickly, "I'm so sorry Anima, this is my fault."

Anima rolled her eyes, "No, it's not your fault, Lillian, and I don't know where those two are, this isn't a shade, it's a... I don't know what it is, it's definately not normal." She snarled at the shadows. Which seemed to shiver, and rushed towards Anima, who readied her sword.

Erik narrowed his eyes, and muttered something under his breath, and the shadows stopped their advance on the oldest Fate. The Fate looked at him, "You're Hostrian?"

Erik nodded, Anima seemed to smile, "Be careful young warrior, don't underestimate this enemy, but I'm sure you've seen this type before."

Erik nodded again, Anima fully stood up, "Let the shade go little one, I'm ready." She readied her stance.

Erik blinked, and finally relaxed, the shadows started to move again, Lillian took out her own sword, but Anima stopped her before she could make another move, "Your soul is fragile, are you sure about this, Lillian?"

"She's my sister, my problem, I'm ready." Lillian snarled.

Anima nodded as the shadows descended on the three of them, Anima yelled, "Don't let it enter you!"

Lillian asked, "How are we going to get to Flynn and Collin?"

"By fighting through this shadow, we've got to get to the heart of it, that's where we're going to do the most damage." Anima snarled.

Lillian asked, "Do you remember what happened to Flynn?"

"All I remember is us being overtaken by the shadows, I managed to fight back, I don't know about Flynn though." Anima muttered quietly, worry clouding her gaze.

Lillian assured her, "We'll find them both." She could barely see through the darkness.

Anima nodded, and looked around quickly, "Time to head deeper, let's go!"

Lillian followed Anima's form, Erik called to them, "How was this thing created?!"

"Well, whatever was in the tunnels needed something human, and I guess Lillian's sister was so affected that, well you know, she lost herself, and allowed it to take over her soul," Anima muttered, then added, "At least, that's my theory anyways."

Lillian frowned as they fought towards the heart of the shadows. Anima had stopped however, Lillian peered at her through the darkness.

"What-?" Lillian mused.

Anima however, did not look happy, her eyes had turned to a angry red, she was holding the scythe Flynn usually used. Lillian murmured, "Oh, that can't be a good sign."

Anima growled, "No..." She suddenly rushed headlong in the shadows, Erik hissed something beside Lillian, and followed Anima. Lillian followed closely.

The shadow quivered in excitement, Lillian looked around, she had lost Anima and Erik, but she could still hear them. There were a couple of flickers of bright light, and she braced herself when there was a large blast.

Erik got smashed into her, and they both fell, she stood up quickly, but Erik took his time, she asked, "Are you all right?"

"I'll be fine..." He muttered breathlessly. Lillian helped him up, and she asked quickly, "Where's Anima?"

Erik however, was focusing on something above Lillian, he growled, "Watch out!" She gasped when he pushed her away harshly, and rolled away himself as the shadow attacked. He stood up quickly.

The shadow turned to Erik, completely ignoring Lillian, she snarled, "Oh no you don't!"

They both jumped when Anime flew towards them, the scythe in her hands, she slashed through that part of the shadow, but it only dissipated, and she huffed angrily.

"Anima, where's Flynn?!" Lillian asked in horror.

"I don't know!" Anima called.

Lillian looked at Erik, Anima also looked at him, and muttered, "How big of a barrier can you make?"

"As big as you need." Erik answered.

Anima nodded, "I need you to make a big one, but don't push yourself too hard, Storm Guard." She muttered coldly.

Erik nodded, and stepped in the middle of them, Anima held off one side of the shade, while Lillian fended of the other, she watched Erik take out his own sword, it seemed to pierce the darkness of the shade, he stuck it into the ground, and sighed, he closed his eyes, and Lillian watched as the shade was thrown back, and a barrier of light shielded them, Anima relaxed, and murmured, "Okay, we need to think quickly, I don't think your friend can hold off this shade for long."

Erik narrowed his eyes, and murmured, "Don't worry, I can handle this."

Lillian stepped back from the wall of light, and looked at Erik, who nodded, his eyes unnaturally bright. Lillian asked Anima, "What do we do?" She whispered.

Anima looked through the darkness, and looked at Erik, "Can you kep this up and move at the same time?" She asked cautiously.

Erik nodded, "But it's going to be slow though." He murmured.

"That's what I need." Anima growled, clutching Flynn's scythe. Erik nodded, and took his sword, and started to move forwards, Lillian jumped back as the wall seemed to dim.

Erik smiled, and said calmly, "Trust me, Lillian, it cannot get past."

Lillian nodded. Anima murmured, "Will your other friends come to? Do they have any means to protect themselves?" She asked quietly. Lillian was about to answer, and shook her head. She jumped when Erik laughed.

"Oh, they've got their ways, Lillian, I wouldn't underestimate any of them, especially Lucan." Erik said quickly.

Lillian blinked, and she murmured, "Hold on, this doesn't make sense..."

Erik and Anima looked at her, and Lillian looked back at them, "The mist... It was here, in the tunnels back from the Great War, but if it's true, my sister was alive when we saw her, but she went into the tunnels, and came back out, but it's obvious she met the mist, and she allowed it in her..."

She narrowed her eyes, "Oh, hell no." She snapped.

Lillian walked up to the barrier, which the large thing continued to attack, she took out her sword, Erik raised an eyebrow, and he asked, "What are you doing?"

"My sister knew, we took all these lessons about the history of our kingdom, she knew the effects the mist had on people, she couldn't have been that stupid to allow it in her." Lillian hissed, staring up at the shade angrily.

She bowed, and looked at Erik, "Lower the barrier."

"What." Erik said flatly.

Anima blinked, and looked at the shade with something that resembled fear, Lillian shivered, then looked at Erik pointedly, who only sighed, and stopped.

The barrier seemed to close within themselves, they all stepped back, and soon the barrier dissipated. Lillian narrowed her eyes, the shadow seemed to look down at her in disgust, she took out the Hostrich sword, Erik narrowed his eyes.

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