Notes: This story contains spoilers for certain parts of Kall-Su's past up to, roughly, the time when he struck out on his own. If you don't know them and don't want to be spoiled, by all means pass on by. Otherwise, warnings for slight violence, slight language, and disturbing themes. Also character death, but only of a rather minor and relatively unimportant OC. Er. You'll see.
by Ginzai


He has seen the moon light going through you
He has heard the whispers of your voice.
Mana won't be blinded from the Luna,
Who will you be crying for, Evangelina?
You're lost with out your own directions
Got lost within your own deceptions
Where do you go from here?

Let yourself love your pagan baby

- Zeeza, "Evangelina"
Sweet child.

Beautiful child.

Hated child.

Elana had never been meant to be a mother. It had been a joke among her peers when she was young, how fickle Elana would never woo and catch a husband - more so as she jeered back that she didn't want one. Hardly proper behavior, Elana knew now, but it had been impossible to convince her younger self of the same.

The gods knew of her evil, fickle ways. The gods knew, for they had sent to her the only man who she could have ever loved, and the only one which she hated so dearly. She'd been punished for them, trapped by fate for years by an albatross about her neck which never faded, never fell.
The demons had come when Elana was sixteen.

She'd been playing with the mayor's son, Peter. It was a game which led to fun for the both of them, so long as his father and her mother didn't find out. She'd been shrieking with laughter in the hay stall behind the mill, and he had tossed straw onto her head and caught it in his hair, and looked so lovely that she'd had to kiss him then and there. He'd kissed her back and they spent several long moments involved in nothing more than each other.

The screams had distracted Elana from her game.

Horrified, she sprang away from Peter, pulling her dress and apron back into place. They had stumbled together, clutching onto each others fingers as the demons descended.

They swept out of the sky, pale and strong and terrifyingly beautiful. Their long hair had swept behind them like rivers of silver and gold, lit to fire by the early morning sunlight. Their skin was pale and soft, their eyes deepest indigo and shaded by ice and cold and all things frozen. Serpentine grace surrounded them; they seemed filled with it, more beast than human. They had been born by slender webbed wings, a dark rainbow of shadows. She was mesmerized by them, fascinated as they swooped close and passed her by.

Peter had cried out and fled, leaving Elana standing alone in the dust of the street. She hadn't noticed, too caught up in staring at the creatures.

They came, they picked and chose those of whom to take their pleasure. They were glorious and wild; dazzling her mind and eyes. Almost too beautiful to be real, Elana remembered thinking later.

Most had run before them, fathers gathering their daughters close and hiding them in their root cellars, husbands and young lovers standing bare fisted before their quaking wives and intendeds. This stopped not the demons, for all soon learned that they cared little for the sex of their partners, and more often than not, the protector would be taken and not the would be victim. They quickly found what they wanted, snatched them away. The demons took the best, the prettiest, those most alive, and cared not for the screams of those carted away in their oddly slender looking arms. Most were never seen again.

Elana was.

She had stood alone when they came, with a feeling that was not quite apprehension thudding through her veins. No father there to hurry her away, as her own was dead, and no lover to protect her, as hers had run off. She had not moved as they flew through the town, taking the best and most lovely of the villagers. She trembled in place, watching those ice cold eyes sweep over her, dismiss her, and move on to another.

One had not.

The tallest, the darkest, the most beautiful had stopped, settling down and flaring his wings back in a gesture of unneeded defiance. He regarded her, stripping her of all thought and emotion save the grim and sudden knowledge that he would kill her and that she was about to die. It struck her that she did not regret this, if only he were the one to do it.

"Who are you?" he asked, and his voice was deep and accented, almost guttural. "Why do you not run like the others?"

"I have no where to run to," she had answered and because his eyes demanded the truth and she could not defy him, she added, "And I don't want to."

"You are beautiful," he had said, and when he reached for her, she went willingly.

It had been dark before he left her, somewhere south of the town in a valley that she had explored often as a youth. Elana had clung to his arm, had asked, then demanded, and finally begged to be taken with him. Thoughts of a world beyond the small village that she had known all her life had awoken within her breast, and she thought that love for him would kill her, if they were separated.

He had smiled and stroked the dark hair back from her face and kissed her tears, licked them away with a tongue both rough and long. He promised her then, in the dark of the valley where the lights of the town could barely be seen, that he would someday return for her and that which she bore. She did not know what he meant, and had asked as much but her demon lover had not replied.

He left on wings of silver and deepest violet, soaring into the night sky like a star fleeing the earth. She watched him leave, huddled on the suddenly hated ground, her clothing in rags about her. There would be little chance of keeping it secret from the others, when she returned.

Wild thoughts of leaving the town flew through her mind, only to be easily dismissed. Elana knew better than that. She'd no money, no belongings, and little hope for survival outside of her home. Wearily, she regained her feet, clutching the tattered remains of her dress about her shoulders, pausing as a glint flickered in the starlit night.

A long sword lay in the dust. His sword, Elana realized. She reached for it, but had to withdraw her fingers quickly, hissing in pain. It was ice cold, bitterly so, aching like a wasp's sting.

Elana sucked on her fingers until the smart receded. Grasping one of the torn pieces of skirt, she wrapped it about the hilt and dragged it with her when she returned.

Her home was shattered after the raid. Its calm, idyllic life was gone, and its people frightened and clinging to each other in the wake of the tragedy. Families grieved together for their lost loved ones. The demons had burned homes in their frolic, set torch to houses and stores, not caring that there were people still inside. They'd used strange powers to freeze the very marrow of their victims; laughed when they tipped their frozen prey over to see them break into a thousand pieces of iced blood and flesh.

Elana said little on her return. How could she, when her neighbors moaned their loss, wailed their sorrow to the winds? How could she deny their pitying eyes, when they saw rape out of what had been deepest love? It was too hard to explain that her lover's touch had been cold fire, but that it had made her live, too difficult to state that his eyes had seared, but that they'd been tempered with passion and affection. Far too hard to explain why she felt sorrow, but not for death and destruction, but instead for loss of cold fingers and sharp eyes.

They would never understand.

She preferred to let them count her among those poor who had been used and cast aside and survived to tell the tale.

Around her, people muttered words of vengeance, of hatred, and she winced to hear them. She stayed to herself most of this time, and if they thought it was because she was still raw and healing from the supposed attack on her person, she did not correct them.

A month after their coming, life had pulled back together. Homes were rebuilt, the edge of cruel hate gone from their eyes. They scanned the sky and flinched when elementals drew too close, and when a traveling mage came to the village shortly after the attack, they stoned him out. Magic had been distrusted before the attack and it was reviled now.

It did not take long for Elana to realize that she carried a child. Her monthly bleeding had not come, and she despaired as the first of the morning sicknesses came on her. The thought of ridding herself of the child did not occur, and instead a harsh practicality took over.

It was easy enough to seduce Thom Blackliner, the smith's second son. Easier still to convince the dull witted man that he had got her with child. Less hard to convince her mother of the same, but the woman was aged and weary of a wild daughter. It took little to gain her approval.

A wedding was held not two weeks after, and she moved in with Thom, taking only the dark sword that had been left behind. His was a small house, build outside of the town proper, and it was a relief to escape the prying eyes of the townsmen.

Her mother died not long after, too tired to continue on in life now that she was no longer needed. Elana missed her, but it was easy enough to put the memory of the woman aside now that she had a husband in life and a demon lover in her dreams, and they both thought themselves to be the father of her child.

Thom was stupid, she knew, and easily manipulated. But he was dark of eye and light of hair, and when the sun lit him from behind, it lit his hair aflame. She could almost pretend that he bore wings and that when he touched her, his hands were soft and strong, not twisted and rough from a life's work in the cold north. And he cared for her, even though they both knew that she could not, would not, ever return his affections.

She bore the child for ten months, and this saved him. Had he been born early, the suspicions of the townspeople would have seemed undeniable, and they would have taken him from her, dashed him on the rocks outside of town as they had all the other unholy babes when they were born.

When her water finally broke and the labor pains came, she screamed in both pain and relief. The birth was a hard one, and mother and child alike nearly died in the course of it.

Her son was born, and he was red and blue of skin as all new babies seem to be, before they grow used to living. He had a small pale tuft of hair flattened to his skull and eyes that were somehow deeper than the usual newborn blue. He did not cry, and exhausted as she was from the turmoil of birth, she feared for him. He did not open his eyes beyond that first moment, but flailed tiny limbs as the cord was twisted off, and he was placed, bloody and small, into her arms.

Thom was there, taking in this child that would never be his own. If he noticed that the babe looked nothing like him, he said nothing of it. Instead he loudly proclaimed the birth, claiming the child for his own.

Elana was grateful for this, and when his dark eyes caught her own, dull but knowing, she shivered for it. When he left again, promising rounds at the local tavern for all to celebrate the birth of her son, she sighed in relief, cuddling the small sleeping form closer to her breast.
The child grew, as all children do. Elana's husband named him, as was the custom of their people, and called him Kall-Su. It was an odd name and unusual for Thom's tastes but she did not ask why he had chosen it. Elana thought she knew, and it was a subject not spoken of in their home. He loved the boy, that much was easy to see, even as it grew even more glaringly obvious by the day that Kall was not his own.

Kall's hair grew lighter that summer, and by the time fall came again and he was able to walk, it shone like dark gold. His skin was softer than that of the other children, his eyes deeper, and if he didn't speak, then no one accused him of being a dullard. Thom doted on him, tossing him into the air and making him squeal with joy.

"Small Kall!" Thom called out as the boy flew, and Kall would land safe in his arms, clutching his tiny fingers tight around Thom's neck. There was a look of wonder on Thom's worn face during those moments, a sense of love in his eyes which could not be faked.

Elana was grateful for this, for while she thought her son to be beautiful, as beautiful as his father, she could not love him. How could she, when to look at the son was to see the face of another? It had been nearly two years now since the raid, and the love she carried only intensified, deepening into a weeping sadness at times. It was made worse to see Thom so thrilled with the son that was not his, to see Kall turn his father's dark blue eyes on her in sadness and love.

Kall grew slower than the other children born that winter. He was smaller then them, though he managed to find and use his feet before they. He was brighter somehow, but this, combined with his silence, drew suspicious eyes from the townspeople and their whispers followed the small family when they went to market the following spring.

"Demon child," they said, and their eyes narrowed at the golden haired boy lost in a sea of dark crowned people.

"Beast," they chanted, and Kall, her sensitive, quiet boy, retracted from them as if he could feel the hate they pressed on him. This merely gave them courage, and their cruelty grew when they found that, unlike the full demons, he could not bring the icy fire to strike at them.

"Slut," they called after Elana, when she went to buy milk or bread, and the merchants over charged her and told her to leave their stores.

"Whore," they shouted, "Demon's lover!"

Elana said nothing. How could she, when their words were true?

It grew worse as time passed, so that by the time Kall had passed his fifth birthday, Thom forbade her to return to town herself, and undertook all of their errands in her steed. He became rather unpopular as Kall-Su grew. Often he would stagger home, nursing split lips and blackened eyes, his dull eyes glittering with hate at those who dared to insult Elana and Elana's boy. He roared his protection of them, shouted and cursed those who would dare to sully their names.

Elana told him to stop, that it would be the death of him, but he smiled his dull, now oft bloodied, smile for her and she found that she could not find the words to scold him for it.

Instead, she mended his torn skin and his bruised face, and though she could no more love Thom than she could love Kall, she found a stronger affection there then she would have thought possible. One night after he had made his way home, stumbling through the doorway and reeking of blood and with mud caked in his hair, she had thought that she could perhaps love him after all, for in him she could see the fierce pride of her demon.

That night they fell together, and she screamed in pleasure as she had not done since that afternoon in the valley, nearly five years prior.

He stroked her face afterwards, and held her close, and when he did not leave her with a babe in her belly and a permanently frozen blade, she thought she did love him. Not for pride, or fire lit hair, but merely for being Thom, her dear, dull, Thom.

She twined her arms around his neck, and they slept together, lost in one another.

The next spring, Thom was dead.

The miller sneered at her son when he went to buy grain to bake with, the bread maker no longer accepting their coin. He was a large man, stout with thick arms, more than enough a match for a small nearly seven year old child, who had cried out in pain when the miller snatched his hair, held him up by it, laughing when Kall had grasped his wrist with fingers that could not encircle it completely.

Thom had leapt to Kall's defense, and the fight had begun in earnest. Kall was tossed quickly to a wall, and a crowd of jeering men joined ranks to circle the combatants. It was not a fair fight; Thom was a blacksmith's son, but had not worked the forge in years and no longer had the strength he once did. He might still have won, but for the mob lost in bloodlust against he who dared protect the demon spawn in their midst.

Thom had died under their fists and booted heels, face mashed and skin torn. When he had expired before their bloodlust ceased, they turned their eyes on Kall, who had regained his feet and screamed at them over and over to leave them both alone, to stop, to go away, to die. This last reignited the furor of loved ones lost to the winged raiders, and when both bloodied bodies were finally dropped off at the foot to the path which lead to Elana's home, they were unrecognizable.

Elana remembered little of the time which followed.

Kall recovered, huddled in a pained ball on his bed, skin a blue bruised map of despair and loathing. Thom she buried, eliciting the help of his estranged father. The smithy had not wanted to, having had little to do with his son after Thom had refused to forsake Elana and his son even when it became painfully clear that he shared not blood with the one nor marital loyalty with the other.

A curious numbness filled Elana after that, and for the first time, she felt the glimmerings of hate towards her first and true love, the winged demon who had never told her his name.

It grew worse after Thom's death.

There was no longer the comfort of open arms and dull, beautiful dark eyes. No longer the protection of a man against the cruel jeers of the townsfolk, no longer the love which had helped her through those times when despair would have filled her. Kall tried, once he could walk again and the broken bones had fully mended. He loved her with a desperate fierceness, and clung to her when she would have abandoned him in her grief and misery.

She could not love him. She had tried to for so long, when he'd first been born and now that effort seemed to be too much for her. If he was still beautiful and grew day by day to become more so, in her eyes he only looked more like the demons who had abandoned them. She found a deep rooted disquiet began to appear when she watched her son playing, instead of the joy she had once hoped for.

So small, he was, so pale and quiet, and his fears were not those of the other village children.

Kall avoided them, and in turn they sought him out, hunting him in packs and groups, tossing stones at his back which left bruises and cuts. He bruised easily, but did not cry over the black and blue marks which would have left another child wailing. Elana tried to love her son for that, for the pride which kept his pain bottled and trapped inside, but the best she could muster was a vague sense of indifference. A normal child, a small voice inside of her spoke, would have cried over their words and their fists. A normal child would have wished to die.

Kall did not wish to die. This much was obvious, when she looked at him. Small and slight as he was, he seemed to be almost too beautiful to think that he was real and not a spirit or a ghost of the demon come back to haunt her. He loved life, curious about so many things. When the humans of the village drove him out, he found affection with the animals of the town, all of whom seemed to love him.

Elana was grateful for their love of her son, as it seemed to relieve the need in her to do so.
Five months after the first anniversary of Thom's death, when Kall was barely eight, her son came to her room one night while she was sleeping. His cool fingers had pressed into her shoulder and when she stirred and looked at him. His eyes were wide and frightened. Fear was not an emotion which Elana was used to seeing in him, but somewhat to her dismay, she could not dredge emotion up enough to cause worry over it.

"Maman," he said, for he still referred to her as such in those days, not having to keep the image of machismo with no male friends to teach him that such things weren't for boys of his age.

"Maman," he said again, and his voice was high and tight, "The sword is talking to me."

She stared at him, and the shadows painted his face blue and indigo, leached all color from his eyes and leaving them pools of darkest ink.

"The sword?" She asked, though there was no doubt which he referred to. Kall nodded regardless, pointing with one visibly shaking finger back out of her door, to where a slight luminance showed.

Elana pulled herself from the bed and swept her robe about her. When she moved down the hall into the main room, Kall followed close behind, his fingers twitching every now and again, as if to clutch at her skirts. He had not done that in a long time.

The ice cold falchion rested where Thom had placed it so very, very long ago, hung high on one wall above one of the doors. He had never questioned where the blade came from, merely laughed at Elana's insistence that it be kept. He'd placed it high on the wall, so that "Small Kall won't get hurt by it," and it had stayed there since.

That night it glowed softly, casting a pale blue light about the room. Elana turned back to look at her son, standing in the glare, his features not softened by it, as she might have expected, but instead brought to an odd, joyous life. Elana felt fear at that; ever so slight and never admitted even to herself. In that moment, Kall-Su's demon heritage seemed stronger than ever, and he looked far less than human.

She stepped away from him quickly, not wanting to look when his eyes fell in hurt. She saw it regardless.

The falchion flared then, and Kall turned his head up to stare at it.

"It talks to you?" she asked quietly, watching as his face furrowed in concentration.

"Yes," he said, and sounded bewildered, the pain of her rejection fading below this new mystery.

"What does it say?"

"I..." He hesitated. "I can't really explain, Maman. It tells me... stories."

As she watched, his face lit up with an inner joy.

"Maman, it tells me I can _fly_, it tells me-"

"It tells you _nothing_." She hissed, and slapped him once on the face. Before he could react, she had spun towards the blade, pulled her robe on top of it, tossing it upwards to cover both flash and chill. The light, muted now, seemed darker, more menacing under the fabric of her robe, and she pulled the heavy sword down from the hangings, dragging it out of the room.

Kall followed her, as she walked, lugging the falchion behind her. He rubbed the cheek which she had hit fitfully and watched her with nervous eyes. She had never struck him before, and at that moment she wondered why. There wasn't a child in the world that did not, at some point, deserve to be slapped.

They walked together, the son five paces behind the mother, out of the house, down the long winding path in the back, into the forest and back into the valley, where so long ago a demon had promised to return to her. It was cold, and her breath puffed against her lips in cool white clouds. It reminded her of nothing so more than icy cold fingers held close against her skin. She shuddered and threw the memories aside.

Elana dropped the blade somewhere as close as she could think she had first been involved in this mess, where years before she had lain with beauty, and lifted her head to the sky. She screamed then, railing words and insults, curses, defiance, and hatred towards her beautiful one, her demon love, and later she could not remember what she said. She knew only that the carthesis had been needed and cherished.

When she was spent and her voice hoarse, she turned to look at her son. Kall shrank back from her, his arms huddled about himself in the cold. There in the darkness a sudden idea came to her: she could leave him here. Leave him, as his father had left her, and then there would be no more half demon child to remind her of the loves she had lost, and no more pale gold hair to separate her from her townspeople. She could leave him here, in the ultimate revenge against the one who had torn her soul from her body, she could tear his small heart out, use the falchion against him, could -

Her hand twitched, and her eyes promised pain, she could see it reflected in Kall's night darkened gaze. Elana had already started to kneel to grab the falchion's hilt when Kall blinked and bolted, running far too quickly for her to catch, up and out of the valley.

And then Elana was breathing hard, murderous thoughts fled and left her shaking. She didn't want to kill Kall, she didn't want to kill a child... *Her* child, she remembered, and fell to her knees in the darkness.

It was several long moments before she could find the strength to raise her head. Another thought came to her then, as she shakily climbed to her feet once more and prepared to follow her son home.

She didn't have to kill Kall to take him away from his father. She had to change him, mold him into a perfect *human* boy. That would be her revenge against the demon; that would be her saving.

She stumbled home, limbs shaking. Kall wasn't there.

It was over a week before he finally returned, eyes wide and hunted. She doubted that he would have at all, if he had been able to find food or shelter elsewhere. Elana greeted him with a smile and warm eyes, both things that she had not shown her child in years. He regarded her warily, his small body held rigid in her embrace and a wall behind his eyes which she had never seen before.

Elana didn't care. She bandaged the small wounds which he had received living on his own, nurtured him and prepared his favorite rabbit stew. Elana packed Kall in blankets and made him laugh shyly when she told him of how he was as blue as the day he'd been born. She took the clothing which he had worn and mended it, and later that night told him the stories which her own father had regaled her with, as a child. She thought then that he would have liked this demon son, had he lived long enough to see him.

"Sweet child," she sang to him as she tucked in into bed that night, "Sweet Kall. You love me, don't you?"

He hesitatingly nodded, dark blue eyes still betraying his nervousness.

"I love you," she lied, and then, thinking of his father, she added, "And I'm the only one who ever will. You know that, don't you?"

Again he nodded, but that time he didn't look at her. Satisfied, she turned and left the room, still humming. Her son was home, and there were plans to be made.

A slight glow caused her to narrow her eyes as she made her way to the hearth. She cocked her head upwards, staring in surprise at the falchion, resting once more where Thom had hung it. She gaped at it for a long moment, mouth open and eyebrows raised. It seemed to flare smugly.

Elana scowled at it and hissed.

"_My_ son. He's _mine_ and you can't have him!"

The blue light increased in intensity, and she seemed to hear whispers somewhere behind her ears, not heard through the normal, _human_ method but by a darker and far more personal one.

'My child, my child, my child - I shall return for you'

She clamped her hands to her ears, ran forward to throw apron over the blade, pulling it down again and tearing out of the house with it behind her, crying and gasping away from the voice in her head which called out in increasing frequency and volume until it sounded like a voice shouting at her, screaming at her the same maddening phrase over and over.

This time when she abandoned the blade in the valley, she formed a burrow over it, a tower of stone and rock. When it still didn't cause the voice to quiet, she screamed at it, found brush and sticks and striking flint. She lit a fire and built it up, let it burn most of the night, until finally, finally the voice died down, smothered by the earth and ash over it.

She returned home, wearily, just as the sunlight first cast over the mountains, and collapsed back into her bed.

"I hate you," she muttered and her voice was raw.

"/I hate you!/"

For the first time, she meant it.


Spring came fast that year. A hard summer was promised in the early April heat. Elana didn't mind. She loved the warm weather, though Kall seemed to prefer the winter. To curb that, she sent him out, and often. This had a double effect; it bronzed his pale skin, changing it to something more like the olive tones of those around them, but it also bleached his golden hair and turned it to a salt white shock. The sun loved him, caused his hair to sear like fire. It was easy to hate him in those moments, and it became harder to push back that hatred.

She sent him into town as well then, for a school had been started and she thought it important to be with his peers. He hated that, and complained of it bitterly, but she merely told him to 'make peace' with his classmates. When he returned bruised and beaten, sporting fat lips and blackened eyes, and looking so much like a blond haired Thom that she wanted to wail her loss, she gathered him into her arms and wept over him.

Kall always seemed vaguely uncomfortable when she did, and would guiltily beg her not to cry. Elana bandaged his wounds, and held him close, whispering "I love you, you know this, yes?"

He always nodded and said that he did.

"I'm the only one who will ever love you," she murmured into his hair, and eventually he forgot to tense when she said that and when he nodded true acceptance of this, she silently cheered.

/Mine!/ she thought fiercely to the sword, which reappeared on the wall no matter how many times she threw it into the valley.

/Mine! /

And the sword glowered but did not respond.


Life continued, as life will.

Kall grew. Still small and slight, at twelve he looked to be eight, possibly nine. Elana trimmed his hair short, cutting it as close to the scalp as possible.

"To stop the demon from showing," she said cheerily, and he did not respond.

Elana no longer returned to town. She sent Kall instead, sent him with small coins to purchase that which was needed. She did not want to face the stares and the jeers of his kinsmen until she had made her son completely her own.

It was rare that he had to go. Money was short, so Elana had planted a garden to sustain them, and had eventually planted a small wheat patch after the miller had refused to sell to them. Kall would walk in the woods for hours, days if she would let him, and when he returned he came with small game. She did not ask how he had caught them, but looked suspiciously at the carcasses when it became apparent that they had no wounds and their necks whole. When she readied them for meals, Elana could see their shattered hearts, and a dark fury took root in her heart.

She did not mention this directly to Kall. Meat was meat, even if gained through sorcerous methods.

"Sweet child," she would instead say as she cooked, and she looked at him fondly. "Magic is evil, you know this? Only demons use magic.

"Vile, soulless creatures." She added scornfully, and laughed when guilt flashed through his eyes.

Sweet child. Beautiful child. Hated child.

He was beautiful, she thought with something that resembled pride, and she would smile when she looked at him.

"Sweet child," she told him, "Almost too pretty to be real."

He didn't like that. Elana could tell by the way he flushed and looked quickly away. He loved her though, and said nothing aloud for fear of hurting her. She laughed and held him close.

/Mine! /


When Kall-Su was thirteen he betrayed her.

Elana had been trimming the fat from a side of venison, humming a sad, slow folk tune to herself. It was late winter, and cold, so there was not much of it. Little to melt into tallow and use to coat their cracked boots, less to pour into the candle mold to have light in the early nights.

Kall was out of doors. He'd mentioned once that he loved the winter, and the cold smooth snow it brought. Elana had laughed uneasily at that, and stated her own preference for the summer heat. When he had not automatically reasserted his favored season, Elana's lips twisted in disapproval. He'd not argued the point, merely slipped away out into the ice covered world.

Such a quiet thing, she thought, cutting a large section of red meat away from the flank. Her hands were covered in its juices; they seemed stained red and she noted this with vague disgust. Elana sliced the meat into pieces, setting some aside to ice and placing the rest into the stew pot hung low over the fire.

In the next room, the falchion hung, silent now that Kall was hidden from its sight. She looked at it with narrowed eyes, but made no move towards it. She and it had made their peace in the years which had followed her initial attempt to rid herself of it. It no longer whispered to her promises of a failed return, and she no longer hid it under the stones and lit it aflame in the valley.

Kall slunk in then, face bloodied. He tried to turn from her before she could see, but she caught him by an ear and forced his face upwards. He flinched as her fingers trailed over it, but made no sound as she clucked her disappointment. Leaving him only long enough to fetch a wet rag, she began to scrub at the blood which had dried on one cheek.

"Sweet Kall," She sighed, and went to work.

He did not speak that night and his eyes were shadowed. He went to bed early, and she followed not long after, falling quickly into slumber.

Later, Elana would not be able to say what had awoken her. Her eyes opened slowly onto her dimmed ceiling, the long shadows and darkness promising several hours of wintery night yet. Something called to her, and she yawned and stretched. Elana stood to pull her robe about her shoulders, wearily rubbing the back of one hand across her eyes and stumbling silently into the hall.

She froze then, her mind catching up to her eyes.

Blue light, witch light, demon light, spilling from the ice falchion, a whisper in her mind but speaking not to her. It floated in the air, free of hangings and trappings and in front of it knelt Kall-Su, /her/ Kall, her sweet, hated child. He was speaking, his tone quiet and curious.

"But I don't understand," he said, and his voice reflected his frustration. He held one hand out in front of him. "It doesn't work for me."

More whispers, ones which she couldn't hear and all the more infuriating for it.

"But, I-" he said, and cut himself off, shaking his head wryly. "You're right, you're right, I'll try it like that."

The fingers on his outstretched hand clenched slightly, and for a terribly brief moment white fire had gathered on them, twining about his digits. It vanished quickly.

Kall nodded, eyes still locked on the falchion. His fingers twitched again, and this time the light stayed in place, coalescing into a ball too terrible to look at.

Kall laughed then, a sound of delight which Elana had never heard from him before.

"I did it," he crowed and grinned towards the falchion, "Look, I did it!"

And the whispers seemed to praise him, a sound so grating to Elana's ears that once more she clamped her hands over them to stifle them out.

Bitter tears, as her son knelt still unaware. Bitter, bitter tears - he looked beautiful then, just as he had that night over five years before when the damned sword had spoken to him for the first time, and she launched herself at him.

He looked to her, blue eyes startled as she struck him over and over with a closed fist, screaming at him. The light of both his hands and the falchion winked out, leaving nothing but the sliver of a waning moon to show his frightened face as she struck him again and again.


After that, there was no need to pretend her love for her beautiful, sweet son. More than ever he wanted to please her; she could see it in his eyes. There was a desperate need for forgiveness there, but she could not give that to him. Her plans, so carefully constructed to save son and self from the demons which had haunted them his entire life, had crashed around her and left her huddled in the despair wrought from dreams broken yet again.

Elana was filled with numbness after that. She did not speak to Kall, though he would occasionally try to entice her into conversation. She pretended that he did not exist. If she did that long enough, perhaps he would leave and finally she would be able to mourn.

That spring she stood in his doorway as he slept. He was a light sleeper, had always been, and her steps as she walked to and away from his room had to be quiet. She watched him at night when his father's eyes were closed, and thought little more then of how she hated him and his father both. How she hated the creature that had left her alone that night so long ago, and how she loathed the child begot from it.

Not hers, after all. He did not belong to her, as she had once hoped and dreamed.

/Not mine, / she thought bitterly, and wept over her loss.

Sweet child. Beautiful child. Hated, hated child.


Life caught up with them that summer. Kall was fourteen now and looked ten, eyes still wide and large for his face. He still tried for her affection, and she had not caught him working magic since that night. The game which he returned with was suddenly older, gamier, and killed by natural means. He attempted to regain her love as though he'd ever had it, and when he inevitably failed, she watched him store his failures away to remember when he was alone.

She still sent him to town to get supplies and he went for them without complaint, even though each time he did he returned battered and bruised.

She had sent him for fish that afternoon, tired of game and lacking poultry for variety. There had been a surplus from the lake that summer, and a glut in the market. Surely the merchants could stand to sell Kall some, demon spawn or not.

Kall didn't return home that evening, but she didn't worry. Brief hope that he had finally left stirred in her breast, but she squelched it mercilessly. The falchion still hung above the door, after all. It followed Kall, and she could not rid herself of either so easily.

She slept well, that night, without the child in the house. When morning came, she woke refreshed and sated, and sat on the steps to watch the sun rise.

She was still sitting there when they came for her.

Townsmen, cruel of face and long of jaw, they were. Their faces were half familiar, and she started to see the boys she had once roamed with in their men's faces. When they spoke their voices were deeper than she was accustomed to, having had only her Kall's gentle unbroken tenor to listen to for so long.

"Madam Blackliner," they hailed her and she started to hear that name, so long unused. Thom's name, she reminded herself and blinked at the men.

"Yes?" She'd queried and smiled up at them. It had been so very long since she had seen anyone aside from her sweet child.

"Your boy has done wrong." One of them answered coldly. It was the mayor himself, Peter Durcel, who she had long ago ran in the fields and laid with, before the demons came and she was ruined.

Then the words sunk in.

"My boy?" Elana asked slowly, "Kall? What happened? Where is he?"

They told her then, and their eyes were dark and hateful. Kall had killed; her beautiful child had slain the sons of the village as they walked past him, playing their games. He had called forth the icy light that his father's clan had used, that day almost fifteen years previous, and had shattered the skin and the lives of three innocents.

Their voices rose in shouts and choruses, demanding vengeance for the dead, for the demon which they had too long allowed to rest among them. Elana let them wear themselves out, the slight smile still on her lips.

When they had finally calmed down and their need to express their hatred was appeased, they stared at her expectantly. She had nothing to say, but said with her shoulders back watching them in return.

"Elana," Peter said then, and his voice was quieter, more compassionate, "You know what must be done."

"You want to kill him," she stated, and they seemed uneasy with her bold proclamation. Peter in particular frowned at it, and made ready to further defend his actions.

"Please don't worry about Kall-Su," she told them, and stood. Everything seemed so clear now, crystalline in her mind.

One of them snorted at that and Peter cut him off with a wave of a hand.

"We've put him in the old church, Elana," he said quietly. "We aren't going to let him out again. The old gods can take him."

"No," she mused, "They can't. He is a demon, after all." They watched her and seemed surprised at her reaction. She really couldn't imagine why. Her smile grew and she continued.

"And leaving him there won't solve the problem. Demons can last a remarkably long time without food or water."

With that she stood and turned, humming again. They peered after her, eyes comically wide and she was reminded of Kall in the dark, of Thom bleeding his life away to save the demon child, of the winged silver haired lover who had raped her of her youth and innocence so very, very long ago.

The men did not follow her into the house, though they gasped when she returned, the ice falchion double wrapped in sheet and blanket, carried close against her chest.

/Not mine, / Elana thought, and began the long walk to the old church.

/Not mine, but not yours either. /
April 13, 2003

I don't exactly have much to add here, save for a disclaimer that I've never actually read the volume of the manga where it talks about Kall's past, so the information presented may be incorrect. As for the actual canon aspects of the fic, Elana is a name I made up myself. If there is an actual name for Kall's mother out there, it isn't one which I have found. Thom is a completely original character.

Have you ever written a character who you completely disliked? I'd not done that before today... It's something of an odd experiance.

As always, reviews are much loved and appreciated.