Title: No choice

Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Emily Rodda. Except the usual, you know? Plot, all that. Rath also belongs to me.

Author's note: No one really knows about spirits in this story. Nothing about Anna, and the Topaz cannot contact the spirit world.

Anyway, this was my first fanfic, and it's terrible, I'll be the first to admit. As I read others fanfics, talked to more people, I learned so much, and honestly, I wanted to discontinue this. But I don't want to give up. Even if I was to discontinue this, I wouldn't have deleted it. I don't want to lose the reviews, and I don't know, I just couldn't delete it. So, I'm going to give it another shot. I'm going to re-write it. Hopefully, all of you amazing readers will like it. I want to thank you all, for being there and for supporting me. Please, enjoy.


Chapter 1: Red Eyes


It was the dead of night. The stars twinkled brightly over this beautiful land, reflecting off lakes and puddles. It was a peaceful night and everyone was safety tucked into their beds, not a worry on their minds as they slept. No one noticed, though, that slowly, very slowly, clouds were beginning to shroud the moon. But, in one of the far corners of the land, someone was awake. She was about to call it a night, but she did not know that she was going to be awake for a lot longer than she had planned.


Jasmine walked down the hall towards her room. Or, at least, which way she thought her room was.

"Which way now?" the raven-haired grumbled. "Why does the palace have to be so big?" She turned right sharply at the corner, and was met with protesting squeaks from Filli, complaining about her speed, from under her jacket.

"It is not my fault," Jasmine muttered. "I want to sleep but I do not know where my room is." At the next bend, she turned left, her face a picture of irritation. Soon, her irritation would turn into pain. Everything was silent, almost deathly silent.

Bang!

The young girl immediately stopped, reaching behind her back for her dagger. Kree perched on her shoulder, alert, and Filli was almost shaking. Jasmine frowned.

"What was that?" she asked no one in particular. Bang! Jasmine slowly moved towards the sound, her dagger held defensively in front of her. The same sounds echoed through the once still air. The trio reached a door, where it became obvious that the sounds were coming from behind it. It sounded like something, or someone, was banging something. Suddenly, each bang was being followed by a eerie laugh. It made the hairs on Jasmine's arms stand up. Kree squawked, gently nudging her with his beak, as if saying that they shouldn't go in there.

"Hold on, Kree," Jasmine said, not even glancing at him. She was staring at the door, in a mixture of interest and... fear. Normally, she was not one for rules, but living in the palace had made her more polite. So, instead of barging in as she would have done, she reached out and knocked on the door three times.

The noises stopped immediately, and it was once more silent, as if nothing happened, leaving a confused wild girl thinking that she was imagining things. No, that could not be. Filli and Kree were still pleading with her to go from here. They had heard it, as well.

"Kree, Filli, shush," Jasmine hushed them, finally looking at them, and finally seeing their fear. Her eyes softened. "Just wait for a while." They fell quiet, but still looked at her with pleading eyes. She turned to the door again.

"Open up!" she said, hitting the door, instead of knocking this time. Well, she wasn't that polite.

"What do you want?" a voice from behind the door growled, in a very rude tone. The voice sent shivers up Jasmine's spine. It was frightening and Filli and Kree seemed desperate now. This was Jasmine, though. She was very angry at the way she had been spoken to.

Fist clenched, she grabbed the doorknob and twisted it.

"Do not talk to m-" she involuntarily cut herself off as she saw what was in the room. A young man, about Jasmine's age, with light blond hair and red eyes was sitting in front of a table and had been banging his head on it, which explained the sounds. His skin was so pale, it was as white as milk! Blood dripped down his face from a huge wound on his forehead. It stood out against his pale skin. Jasmine just stood there, her jaw slightly agape. She stared at him, not sure what to do or say. He just looked at her, his eyes steeled and jaw set.

Jasmine was trying to remember if she had seen him before because his features looked really familiar. She put her dagger back in it's sheath. Then she suddenly remembered.

"Lief!?" the raven-haired blurted out. Despite those words, which were true, this was not the Lief she had traveled all of Deltora and beyond with. This was not the Lief she had come to love.

Lief growled at her, suddenly standing up. His bright, joyful sapphire eyes had been replaced by a frightening red. Jasmine's heart was pounding so fast and she looked at him with wide eyes. She couldn't even register what was happening.

"Lief, what is this?" she asked, running to him. "Why-Why do you look like that?"

Turning towards Jasmine, he laughed with no humor behind it. Jasmine stood beside him, grabbing his shoulder. She was not sure what happened but she did know one thing: Lief was hurt.

"We have to get you to the infirmary. You must be ill or..." She didn't know. She was grasping at logical explanations, but it couldn't possibly explain this. Shaking her head, she said, "Come with me!"

Getting no response, Jasmine grabbed his arm. Suddenly, with lightning speed, Lief pulled his arm violently away from her grasp, and grabbed the dagger at her waist. Not even giving Jasmine time to move, he slashed at her arm with it.

She yelped, her emerald eyes wide in shock, and staggered back.

"Why? Lief, you..." Jasmine winced in pain. She took a step back away from him. Lief, out of all people, had just... This was unbelievable.

Lief laughed -a horrible, humorless laugh-, and then raised his head and smashed it onto the table.

"You really think a mere mortal can stop me!? I am Rath and all will fall before me!" he cackled, his crimson eyes starting to glow.

Jasmine was horrified. Lief, or whatever he was, was hurting himself. Her own pain was not important. What was going on? Who in the name of Adin was Rath? She took another step back; she needed help. She had thought that Lief would never hurt her. She was wrong. So terribly wrong.

While he wasn't focusing on her, the young woman ran out of the room, into the shadows, making sure to close the door behind her. She ran, without a specific destination in mind, forcing her legs to move. She turned a corner, and was just about to send Kree to find someone, anyone, when she saw Doom and Barda up ahead. They looked at her in surprise -Barda did, at least- as she ran up to them, her arm dripping blood.

She doubled over, gasping for breath, clutching her injured arm as Barda and Doom kept asking questions.

"L-Lief..." she managed to let out. That was all she had to say. They began to run back, Jasmine leading the way.

"What happened?" Barda asked, his eyes filled with worry.

"I do not know!" she responded, panting. They both looked at her in more confusion. They had every right to. Here she was, her arm bleeding, saying that Lief was in trouble, but she didn't know what happened. They would find out. Soon.

They arrived in the room that Jasmine had found Lief in, just in time to witness Lief's eyes returning to blue. Barda and Doom watched, shocked, for this was not at all what they were expecting. They had thought that there had been an attack or Lief was in some sort of danger. Lief looked weak and dizzy. He didn't seem to notice that people were watching him. His eyes closed gently, and he fell back. Jasmine took a sharp intake of breath, and then a sigh of relief as Barda had moved swiftly towards their young king and caught the now unconscious Lief, before he fell.


Well, let's hope the re-written version of Chapter 2 will be longer! Please review!

-ShadowOfDarkness