Prologue Smoke curled off a small candle, the only source of light. The wind flicked the candle left and right, leaving shadow puppets on the wall. “Give me what I want Reyahs, and I will leave with no harm appointing your orphanage.”
A young lean man with black hair and a strong build was looming over an elderly woman, the only brown in her hair was thin streaks, her wrinkles were over-pronounced and her eyes were wary with the wane of life. The old woman seemed to shake, quivering as if a cold air had blown in through the window. “I-I-I have no idea what you are talking about. Henya is our only girl at the orphanage, Mister Commander, sir.”
The man swallowed harshly and leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest in impatience. His silver badge shown in the candlelight, shimmering with each flicker. This man was an army commander, any suspicious behavior he immediately took note of.
“Don’t lie to me Reyahs.” He said calmly, although a fire was burning in his chest, embers flew to his eyes. “I need an obedient woman,” He stopped. “Or shall I return you to the mercy of King Requiem?”
Quickly, the old woman shook her head, fear sprouting to her hands as they twitched with a sudden itch to give him what he wanted. “No,” she whispered to herself sternly.
“I’m sorry?” The commander heard perfectly well, and Reyahs knew that. “Perhaps I did not make myself clear, Reyahs Equest.” He cleared his throat. “Give me what I have requested, or you will find yourself coming home to an empty house at the end of your shift.” A growl tinged his voice and the fire inside him grew brighter.
“Yes, y-y-yes of course, I-I’m sorry Mister…” The old woman cursed herself and hobbled over to a desk drawer. The commander waited as Reyahs opened the drawer. It groaned with protests, but she yanked it open. Reyahs took a deep breath as she peeled a rusty bronze key from the bottom of the drawer. She wiped cobwebs on it before turning back to him. “Come this way Mister, but I must warn you...no human has gone in this room in a very long time.” Her pale eyes seeked forgiveness even before opening the door, she knew she shouldn’t have kept them in there, but they were a different species, a group of monsters.
The rusty doorknob turned with the little key, and loudly opened. Splinters cracked through the door frame, and in the darkness, something seemed to slither. Reyahs held her breath and opened the door wider. “Come on Ellis, come forward Jeserisc.” She cooed softly, voice quivering with fear.
A boy no older than twelve stepped forward, sandy blond hair ragged and messy. His silver eyes traced a path from Reyahs to the commander, and he stepped away from the light. When he opened his mouth, a slow trickle of words came out, as if he was speaking to an infant. “Jeserisc is in the back, she does not want to sense your presence and is in fear of you.” The boy shifted his weight to his right at looked at the commander. Without saying anything more, he bowed and backed off.
“We need you both out here, Ellis, please, can you get her?” Ellis’s eyes glowed in the darkness like a cat’s, the only source of light in that room. He walked back until those eyes sunk into the darkness. Silence grew moist in the air, and Reyahs waited anxiously for Ellis’s return.
Moments later, a pale hand reached out into the light of the other room. Ellis came, guiding a girl his age with his hands. He whispered something in her ear, but before she could respond, the commander grabbed her and and yanked her into the candlelight of the other room. The girl yelped and Ellis could feel his heart hammer in his chest. “Let her go.” He demanded, breath hitching.
In the light, the commander could see the girl he was looking for. The suspicious behavior loomed around her like a shadow. A cloth was covering her face. “Talk to me.” He demanded, when she didn’t answer, he scowled and hit her hard across the head. “I am your commander!” He roared.
Ellis stood, leaning on the door frame. “She can’t talk.” His words gained the commanders attention. “She’s been mute and blind ever since the fire.” His eyes were challenging the commander, wisps of flames inside, but the commanders amber eyes roared with a devouring fire.
The commander turned his attention to Reyahs. “I apologize, I have come to the wrong house.” The fire melted into hot lava, cooling by the second. He brushed his black hair out of his eyes. “But the girl must take this cloth off her head.”
“No.” Ellis stepped forward before Reyahs could say a word. “She will not.” Once again his eyes challenged, rubbing heat against his pale skin, but despite that, goosebumps pricked the surface of his skin.
“I’m sorry?” The commander said again, voice a wolf growl. “Yes. She will. By order of the King Requiem, young boy.” he spat. He turned to the girl. “Take it off, let me see your identity.” Jeserisc hesitated.
It seemed everyone was holding their breath in that room, for they were petrified still, and the only one moving was the young girl, barely nine. She, with shaking hands, lifted the mask off her face.
Breaths were released, eyes were widened in horror. The commander grabbed Jeserisc by her wrist and yanked her out the door, Ellis screaming protests behind them.
Across her eyes, the girl had a scorching black burn, it was a straight line from temple to temple, and her eyes were completely burnt off.