Iea

X : Crimson

"Now. I will not ask you again. Hand over that infant." Pale arms reached to the boy held in the shadow's talons. A smooth smile was spread across the woman's icy features as she bent down to his arms. "Give her to me, child."

Feeling the cold near him, Ain tried to turn away. Yorda violently wailed from his arms, the noise echoing in his ears. Trying to keep himself curled up, he suddenly felt a sharp tug on the side of his head. "Ah!"

A massive arm of the dark sea, doing the same action of the Queen, had wrapped around the child's horn. "I'll pull it out if you don't let me have her!"

Ecoule, after expending massive amounts of energy, suddenly dropped Ain and was dragged into the darkness, disappearing in an instant. Both of her companions were left on a small inlet of clear path, which was quickly disappearing. Ain stood up and backed as far away as he could, the dark 'hand' still wrapped around his horn.

"Please... Consider what you're risking for just an infant..." Dark feet swept closer.

"S-she's not just an infant!"

"All of this trouble over such a small, insignificant thing..." Her voice was rich, gentle, and smooth.

"Stay a-away from us!"

"So why WON'T YOU GIVE HER TO ME?" With a sharp pull of her arm, the Queen suddenly brought the child smashing down, hard, onto his side. Scooping the infant from the quivering figure of the boy, she turned and began walking away. The 'dark ocean' began sweeping gently back with her, back in through the windows and doors of the castle. "Wasn't this... easier, now, hmm?"

Lying on the ground, trembling, in an expanding pool of blood, Ain weakly moved his hand to the side of his head. A few inches away, his horn lie, having been completely and messily torn from the side of his head. In indescribable amounts of pain, the boy tried moving an inch, but found his body to be going numb.

"Y...Yor... Big.... Sister.... help...."

A faint dark shadow began to mix with the crimson pool.

"Don't... let me.... let me...die here..."

Very slowly, and painfully, a darkened figure rose. It brushed aside the horn, then slowly wrapped it's cold wings around the boy. Moving into a standing position, it held the limp boy, then stared out the open gate. Gazing back at the entrance to the hall, several incomplete thoughts ran through an empty mind.

Looking back ahead, it began to smoothly glide to the open gates. Slowly resting on it's knees before the edge, staring down at the angry waters below, it held Ain firmly in the air for a moment. Gazing upon his pained expression, it slowly leaned it's head forward and gave him a kiss on the side of his head.

"You will see on the other side."

Beginning to loosen it's grip, the shadow let out a breathless sigh.

"You mustn't die here. Someone is waiting for you. I'll miss you. Goodbye."

Pulling it's wings away entirely, the shadow watched as the boy rushed away. Getting up and turning, facing the castle, it barely noticed the sounds of the sea swallowing the small figure. Suddenly taking off into a flap, it headed straight for a window that led into the great throne room.

The loud sobbing had quelled in the great stone room, as the dark woman gently gazed upon the girl's face. Having cried herself to slumber, Yorda didn't notice the cold hands holding her aloft. Her soft features were caressed with such a cold touch that it warmed her skin; staring down at her new possesion, the Queen had a look of intrigue.

"I've never had an infant in this place, you know..."

The voice refused to echo in the hall.

"Such a treat... and they call you Yorda, hmm? A fine name for a daughter, I assume... as fine as anything a mortal could dream up..."

A darkened figure landed in the doorway.

"And you're all mine... all so deliciously mine..."

The Queen was torn from her self-talk when Ecoule angrily shook it's wings, creating an odd rustling sound. Frowning, she looked at the creature, "NOW what is it?"

Ecoule did nothing but stare.

"Did you bring that child back to me?"

"He's free."

"Hm?" The Queen gently rested Yorda in her lap, staring. "What is it you mean?"

"...He's free."

For a minute, the queen did nothing. Then, realization hit with a loud gasp, her eyes widening. The room grew darker in an instant, as the Queen's hands curled tightly around the rests of her throne. "You... Where is that body?!?"

"Free."

"Well..." She relaxed a bit in the throne, suddenly growing a terrible smirk, "We can just use yours, now can't we? For all the trouble you and that little bitch have put me through, it would be more than fair to use that body, now wouldn't it?"

A massive spurt of shadow suddenly wrapped around Ecoule, the creature falling into crazed shrieks. The darkness around her constricted terribly, causing massive amounts of pain. Feeling skin and bone compact together, Nia breathlessly fell from the mass when it all dispersed.

Rising to her knees, Nia painfully looked up at the Queen. She was standing up before the throne, infant resting gently in an arm. Harsh chuckles echoed down to the small girl, who slowly rose. "What.... why did...."

"Now... for my enjoyment... let's have a little show of powers, what do you say?"

Slowly beginning a walk to the girl, the Queen just smiled. Nia backed up to the doors, only to be find them sealed by a thick wall of black. Watching as the woman gently glided over, some paralyzing, silent fear welled up inside of the girl. Sliding down to her knees and staring up like a hurt child, tears began to run down Nia's face.

Stopping before her, and smiling down like a mother, the Queen ignored the muffled whimpers of Yorda. "Why do you cry?"

"D...Don't hurt me anymore..." Cowering, Nia's mind flashed with images of countless adults standing above her with the same smile. They all would silently gaze at her as she trembled, crying. Then they'd slowly draw their hands up- the Queen rose her own up gently, fanning her hand out at the child. Watching with growing panic, Nia suddenly screamed as the hand was brought down, closing her eyes tightly.

...everything went to black...

The great stone castle stood, once again, silent, in defiance to the sun. As the waves pounded below, not a living soul knew of the silent anguish spilling from the windows. For another generation, as most others, the story was as easily forgotten as it was told. As the deathly silence again took it's hold on the stone fortress, the birds continued to sweep about gaily among it's many courtyards.

The shadow coveted it's new light, placing it high in a tower as a muted beacon. Gazing upon it's newfound treasure, it faded the same, along with the story. Years rolled past, hitting against the walls and statues placed upon the island. A familiar tale continued the next generation, and off to the next...

Opening sore eyes, and gazing at the sun above, dotted by seagulls, the child let out a sigh. Closing off vision, he suddenly sat up, gasping. Eyes gazed, clearly, in full color at the endless sea and sky ahead. Soft waves rolled up against the shore as he stared ahead in awe. Head still aching, he slowly rose, looking around at the colors and light.

"I... I can...."

Looking down at a hand, a large smile grew.

"I can see! Oh, but... Sis?" Gazing around at the beach, the boy spotted a figure standing at the shore. Taking off into a run, Ain laughed in joy, able to see where his feet hit the ground. Across the soft, wet sands, and to the girl, he paused, smiling.

Sephiel turned her gaze to him. "Oh, Ain!"

"Hey, Sephiel!"

"What are you doing here?"

"I'm not sure... what about you?"

"I found this place..." She looked back at the ocean, the breeze teasing her hair. "At first I thought I was alone. But you're here, hm? So I'm not alone anymore."

"Yeah..." He stood beside her, staring off at the water. "It's a pretty view, huh?"

"Yeah..."

"Have you seen my Sis anywhere around here?"

"No, I haven't." Sephiel glanced around. Then she looked at him with a smile. "Let's go find her then, okay?"

"Alright..." Taking her hand, Ain gazed around. "Let's go,.... oh... that way."

Both taking off into a dash, their laughter mingled among the crashing waves...