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Fatefall Book 1: Black Magic
The night is dark.
Gone are the stars.
A darkly cloaked figure is stalking a shadowy prison. His sickly thin, sallow fingers grasp the cold metal bars of a small cell. A blue-clad form lays on the dirty cot, her head down and black waves tumbling over her face, as contrasting and unified as the shining moon in an inky sky.
She knows what is coming to her.
She staggers upright, sapping what little energy she has left. Her dusty midnight robes swirl, as if suffering with her, on the dingy metal floor. He steps on them cruelly, and twists his black boots, choking her. She falls to her knees again, and he shoves her into the cold floor, smiling virulently to himself under his hood.
"No! You can't...you can't..." she moans, her voice as faint as the setting sun. "Can you imagine what will happen... if Galaxy finds out?"
It is the wrong thing to say. He snatches her long hair and forces her head back, spider hands snatching, twisting the long obsidian strands. She gasps in pain, her own pride barring her from the scream begging to loose itself from her lips.
"But Galaxy won't find out, now will she?" a soft voice slithers from the hood.
"You overestimate your control on my sister!"
"No. You underestimate it. For it was Seliya..."
"What?" she asks, the poison of dread beginning to take effect.
"Now, now, Sera... there's no need for you to know." He gives a vicious tug to her glossy tresses.
Tears begin to race on their familiar tracks down Sera's forever-suffering cheeks. No. It couldn't be.
"Yes. It was your sister who ordered you imprisoned."
"No..." Sera moans, the poison taking a hold on her, chilling her body to the core, widening her eyes and opening her mouth in shock.
"She is now completely and utterly under my control."
Then, suddenly, she snaps. "How could you? How could you! You foul, reeking leech!""
A resounding slap makes her fall to her hands, holding in suppressed cries once more.
"Do what you came here to do then, and get it over with, Kamsa!" Sera growls, silver eyes meeting black ones firmly and without fear.
"You are gracious," Kamsa inclines his hooded head.
"We can't let you have too much power, can we?" A dark whip snakes out of his cloak, absorbing any light that ventures near. "Imagine what your powers could do on the now thoroughly magic-free Earth. But you are too weak now to wreak any of your havoc!"
Her screams, finally released, echo through the halls, fading, fading.
Long after he leaves, she whispers, "You are wrong. You are wrong."
Even in the heavens, the night is dark. Gone are the stars.
Aria Divum sighed and gave up. This is completely pointless. She is the oldest in her family; shouldn't she get her own room? But no, she has to stay here and clean up after her 10-year-old tomboy sister, Terra. She could at least get her own decor. But no, her parents get the decor unit and get to decorate their room however they like. So Aria shares a room with slimy, disgusting taddies of all things. Ugh, she thinks. Taddies. Foul creatures. They have too many legs than they know what to do with, have simply skankful buggy eyes, squelching, spotty skin, and make the most rude noises. It just had to be taddies Terra picked up. Couldn't she just find a nice, cuddly fuzzypuff? Fuzzypuffs didn't make farting noi-
"AAAAARYAAAA!!" Tenny, the six-year-old, screamed from downstairs. "I'm HUUUUNGRYYY!"
Aria decided to ignore her sister for the moment, as she wasn’t dressed yet. She dug around in her clothes chest, shaking the taddie pellets off her clothes gingerly with her nose in the air. Don't grimace, she reminded herself. Grimacing looks skankful.
She lifts up crumpled white-blue dresses, fashionable skirts, and shirts in need of a good ironing. She noticed a few new miniskirts, each sporting a flashing holotag that proudly boasted, "Droop's Discounts!" Aria smiled, realizing it must have been a present from her aunt, who always sent her birthday presents a week early.
But then she frowned. Her birthday. She had to do something about that; there was only a week left! All of the girls at upschool would be expecting a big fling. It was her sixteenth birthday after all. But there was no skanking way that she could let them see the shack she lived in. It would ruin her. People were already starting to notice she was wearing clothes over again. She was going to lose her position. She pinched the holotag as hard as she can, determined to rip it out and eat it. Its lights flashed, and it faded. Aria tossed the clothes aside- there was no way she could wear skirts that short to school, what with the principal being such a Daksha supporter- and peered into the chest again.
A beautiful, formfitting white dress embroidered in swirling blue patterns was at her hands, with an intricate lacy neckline and long sleeves cut at an angle. Long ribbons sewn into the hem of the sleeves fluttered in a sudden breeze that swept through the crumpled room.
“Now what is this?” Aria wondered, and reached out to feel the strange cloth that seemed to be a part of her.
Mareina Inda slowly opened her eyes, long lashes moving as if through water. She was determined to sleep in just for once.
“Mari?” a soft voice drifted over to her bed.
Mari rolls over and buried her face in her dirty pillows. There goes that plan. She forced herself to reply cheerfully.
“Yes, Belle?” Her voice, of course, came out testy and strained.
“Oh, Mari, I hope I didn’t wake you…” Belle seemed especially pale today. Her sallow, yet beautiful face looked tragic over the intricately embroidered cream Hassan silk sheets.
“Of course not, Belle.” Mari said. The smile meant to be kind and comforting did not reach her icy eyes.
Belle looked at Mari tentatively. “Could you… get me…”
“Water, dear Belle?” The words coming out of Mari’s mouth seemed frozen and hard. She stepped out of bed and ran out of the room before Belle could say anything.
Older sisters are supposed to take care of younger ones, not the other way around, Mari thought. Fuming, she didn’t notice her father in the kitchen until she had walked into him.
“MARI! What are you doing? You know Belle needs your help in the mornings!” her father accused, flipping a pancake. “And Daksha has raised the taxes once more. Belle’s medicine is getting more and more expensive! And you’re adding to our troubles by sneaking out!”
Keeping a straight face, she replied, “No, Father. Dear Belle wishes a cup of water.”
“Get it then!” her father barked.
My darling father, Mari thought. Filling another cup, she ran up to Belle.
“Mari…” Belle murmured.
“Yes?” Mari sighed.
“Happy sixteenth birthday, from Mother.” Belle pulled out a package and placed it on her bed.
Mari’s eyes melted softly. She examined the gift, an elegant dress in aquamarine silk, embroidered with silver swirling waves. The cloth seemed to flow at her intent gaze. Mari reached out to touch the mysterious silk that flowed smoother than water.
Calx Fortuna laughed and hugged her father.
“Ah, how quickly you have grown, Cal.” Lines that Cal never noticed before stretched across her beloved father’s face like a lazy web. Sorrow was etched on his face as plainly as if a sculptor carved it.
Cal chose to ignore this comment. “Dad, do you really have to go away next week? Couldn’t you postpone that meeting?”
“The Galaxy-wide Society for the Eradication of Poverty is a large organization, and they don’t have any other time available, honey.”
Cal couldn’t bear to see her father so worn. “It’s okay! You’re here now, that’s what matters,” she convinced him and herself. Herself more than her father, she thought.
She turned to the large pile of presents. “I’m glad all of my friends could make it. It was a great party!” she smiled. “You were right- those melted candy fountains are really in style. It was a big hit!” Cal paused. “But this dress is really starting to annoy me- it’s too girly.”
Her father does not reply, only looked away.
“Dad, Dad! It’s okay… it’s okay…” she gave her father another big hug, squeezing tightly. She didn’t know what was wrong, but was determined to soothe him.
“Calx, I have to tell you something.”
He merely held out a package and opened it. Inside lays a greenish brown dress made of the most beautiful satin. She reached out.
Cendia Aestus smoldered. They’re back.
Five boys stood a few khren away from Nia, who was reading on a rock in a grassy park. They chattered and shoved each other boisterously, arguing in unnecessarily loud voices.
“Hey, look!” The leader of the unruly pack nudged another in the ribs. “Tree-bark’s back!”
“Tree-bark, Tree-bark!” the boys snorted, eager to please.
“Been overdosing on the happy-powder, boys?” Nia asked calmly, turning a page in her book. Her eyes passed over the words, but do not register their meanings.
“Say that again, you…” A boy’s drugged mind struggled to think of a swear word good enough to get him ‘promoted’.
“Darkie bastard,” one pinned.
Nia turns another page.
“Daughter of a dirty pig,“ another smirked.
All the talks with her mother of “stay polite” and “don’t lose it” were forgotten. Insults to her were one thing, insults to her mother quite another.
She jumped onto her feet, pushing the book into the wet grass. She took a fighting stance. “You’ll pay for that one.”
An all out battle ensues.
Nia woke up an hour later, according to her holo-contacts. Police glider sirens wailed around her. She slowly opened her eyes and was surprised to see her mother crouching directly over her. She put a hand up and felt something sticky and crusty across her face. She peeked at her hand and sees a cruel explosion of red across the fingers. Nia felt the deep cut, tracing it from the tip of her right eye, over her nose and opposite cheek, and ending at the base of her neck. Tears began to leak out of a mangled eye, and she felt drops of wetness and the shaking arms of her mother around her ruined face.
“It’s time you knew,” she whispered, and holds out a package.
Nia opened it.
Quintessa Akasha Polaris poured the last sack of dried herbs into a wooden bin.
“Girlgirl! What you think you doing?” a crackling voice screamed suddenly.
Tessa squeaked and dropped the scratchy burlap sack, delicate dried camellia blossoms rolling out and getting dusty. “S-sorry, Tania,” she mumbled to the indignant, squat lady with crossed eyes behind her.
“Labelses is all wrong! What you think, camellia not caraway! Caraway not camellia! Mixymixy up, nono! Disaster girl ruins my shop and thinks all say is sorry!” the woman protested, crazed eyes whirring wildly.
Tessa looked down, ashamed. Now on top of that, she had to throw away the now-useless camellia blossoms. And they had taken quite enough work to dry.
“Stupid disaster girl.” Tania muttered and waddled off.
Tessa sighed and peered out the window. Salvation is near! she imagined. Salvation is near, riding his noble white steed, and he'll carry me off, brandishing his gleaming sword, away from this...
Tessa looked out the herbal shop's window at her den- it could hardly be called a house- and tries to see it as an outsider might. Dingy. Tattered. A squatter's sanctuary. Probably with needles and happy-powder hidden under the rocks and gray cloths.
Tessa hung her head and dusted her shirt and church jeans thoroughly, but it couldn't get rid of the acrid smell of dung from her clothes.
Why, oh why, did Tania have to be such a conservative little Wicca? Tessa cursed her silently. Tania, the last Wicca on Seriphan, never wasted. Not even dung, which she made Tessa plow into the overcrowded garden at the back of the shop. Stupid Tania.
She abruptly roused herself from her daydream. She had better finish her chores by sunset, or Tania would go ballistic. And one of the dark, homeless men might catch sight of her walking home late.
Tessa shuddered. A nightmare.
And in nightmares and disasters, were there ever happy endings?
Tessa groaned and shook her head. I can't allow these thoughts to come again. she thinks. Last time was bad enough. Last time-
No! the voice in her cried. Don't think about that. Dwelling on the past brings it to life again.
Dwelling on the past brings it to life again.
Tessa dove into her tattered rucksack and brings out a gray secondhand notebook and scribbles with the cheapest pen that ever existed.
Dwelling on the past brings it to life again.
Not too much longer. Tessa smiled into the sky
Book 1: Black Magic
“You’re insane,” Aria snapped at her mother.
“Aria...” Elaine Divum begged, her eyes sparkling with pain.
“I don’t believe you. That’s not true. You’re my mother, and nothing’s going to change that.”
“Aria-” Elaine gasped, her tears overflowing. “I’m not. Listen to me.”
“A prophecy?” Calx whispered.
“There are five others than you. Five others, representing the six elements of the world. When the six come together, something will happen at the will of the Goddess Sera." her father rushed out.
“Goddess? They don’t exist!”
“All your beliefs of what exists and what doesn’t will no longer exist today, Calx." Her father looked at her with sorrow sown deep in his eyes. "Just read this.”
Calx took the worn, leatherbound book in her hand.
“It’s a copy of the Terania.”
“The Terania?” Nia's eyes widened in horror. “But this is forbidden!”
“It’s forbidden, all right. It contains the Lementium Prophecy, the prophecy of you six.” Nia's mother breathed deeply, her dark hair falling over her unnerving golden eyes.
“And I’ll be killed for this as soon as you leave.”
“Killed?” cried Mari in horror.
“It’s okay,” Belle smiled soothingly. “Doctor said I only have a few months left anyway. And this is more important.”
“What could be more-”
“There’s a lot more important. Listen, Marei. There’s a darker force at work here, and we don’t know what it is. Daksha is taking over, but it’s said that he’s being controlled. There’s a whole conspiracy across the world to stamp this prophecy out.
“Yes. There’s a whole country after you.”
Quintessa Akasha Polaris squared her shoulders. It was time.
Embrae Kamsa Darkeye fingers her cloak.
They're all here, she thought.
They're all here. They all know. And when they find me, they will hate me.
The Moon is waning
as the Sun is rising
Its last attempt
Six there will be
One last chance
Light and Dark, life and death
Two cursed souls, forever condemned
One will lead, she will succeed
One will cry, she will die
Magic of the night
Or power of the moon?
Only time can tell
Who will lose.
I watched them from afar. So carefree, the lot of them. An airhead, a blackskin, a spoiled daddy's girl, and a weakling. Of all the girls in the world, Sera had to choose these. Girls like these would never care for the likes of me. I hated them already.
I leaped gracefully down from the tree that I was perched on, hidden from sight. They immediately turned their attention to me, stopping their idle chatter. My black hood fluttered around my gleaming waves of dark hair, hiding my eyes from sight. The cloak, embroidered in silver moons and spun from Sera's hand herself, flapped over the grayish grass and sharp stones on the ground.
"Well..." I began. "What do you know?"
Most of the girls looked amongst themselves, but one girl, wearing a white robe with black moons, bored her gray eyes into mine. A bit startled, I tugged the hood about my face again to conceal my own probing eyes. This was she. My polar opposite, my bitter enemy, and my destined leader.
"Well?" I asked the others.
After a long, awkward pause, the blond sardonically asked everyone, "Shall I get the nametags, or are you all old enough to introduce yourselves? My name's Aria Divum."
The dark-skinned girl snapped. "You haven't introduced yourself either, you sick anorexic!" Sniffing at her, she turned to the others. "I'm Cendia Aestus," she said confidently. "Mess with me, your face will look as dear as the big knot on the tree over there."
"Don't talk tough, tree-skin. Go back to your bar," remarked Calx, raising her diamond-titanium pierced nose high in the air. "Calx. Calx Fortuna."
"Better tree skin than angel skin that breaks when you smack it," mocked Mari. "Mareina Inda."
"Aren't we getting along famously?" she rolled her eyes at me.
I looked away uncomfortably, remembering all the warnings my deceased grandmother twisted into my head. She'll be the sole cause of all your suffering. Whatever you do, stay away.
"So. Aria, Cendia, Calx, Mareina. Nice to meet you all. I'm Quintessa Polaris, and she's..." Quintessa looked at me inquisitively.
Great. The rainbow montage of eyes peeked at me.
"Embrae Darkeye," I muttered, omitting my middle name. That was the last thing they needed to know.
"She speaks!" giggled Quintessa.
That laugh. It maddened me. It maddened me to the core, and it does to this day. The first and foremost thing I wanted right then was to smile, laugh, and nod. Blend in.
But Black doesn't belong in a rainbow.