Rika started awake in a cold sweat, the last remnants of a nightmare sliding away in the wake of her awareness. The beginnings of life stirring within her as she sat up and rubbed her eyes, then wiped the sweat from her brow. She couldn't remember the last time she'd had a good night's sleep. Her eyes shifted to the darkness pressing against the tiny house's window, and she could have sworn she felt it peering back at her. She quickly looked away, afraid for a moment she would go mad. And through the weight of the darkness looking back at her, she could hear the soft breathing of the other occupants of the house in the other room. Every sense was heightened due the baby in her womb, and again she felt fear. She was afraid that her baby would be lost in the upcoming battle. She nearly screamed when heard a sharp tapping at her window. A jet black raven with dark gold eyes was sitting upon her windowsill. She recognized the tarnished gold of the irises and shuddered, then dressed and slowly moved to the window. She couldn't delay the inevitable, for you could never run away from the darkness.
Rika opened the window and immediately the raven flew in and swirled, smoothly turning into a fabric cape as black as the abyss. The hood materialized and within it the tarnished gold of the Saviour's eyes was revealed. The rest of her face was cloaked within the woman's beloved shadow. "Good evening, Child of Night." She murmured, her voice no louder than a whisper. Rika shuddered at the voice, though the disgust was not there. For her guardian to speak to her brought her bestial soul rapture, but her humanity was fearful. "My Guardian, my darkness, my life... I am honored you have appeared to me." Rika whispered, kneeling to her Guardian and dropping her eyes to the ground. She heard a scoff and looked up carefully, meeting the eyes of the Guardian and immediately looking down again. "Child of Night, you may have been manufactured by the Children of Eden, but that does not mean I will treat you as a bastard child. Do not treat me as if you are a stranger to the dark." She chastised, making Rika wince and recoil from her.
"I'm not... I was told that is how you show respect to your Guardian." Rika murmured, then stood as Raven's eyes calmly blinked. "No, Youngling. You are to treat me with respect like you would the others. I am your Guardian, and so you will not ever cross me or disobey." Raven corrected, staring down at the petite female before her. "As a Night Thing, you may show me your respect." A delicate hand slid from the folds of her cloak; the porcelain skin beautifully cared for, the nails translucent and sharp like manicured knives. Rika recoiled at the perfection which her skin was preserved, then cautiously moved forward to her, then kneeled again and swallowed. She was hesitant for a moment before the other side of her acted. She let a soft growl emanate from her lips before she gently cupped the delicate hand and licked the alabaster skin. Raven's eyes curved very slightly as if she smiled, "You are embracing it, Child of Night." Rika closed her eyes and shivered, then pulled away, trying hard to control herself. It was joy, no, ecstasy running through her. She was permitted to touch the grace of the Guardian of Night. Rika placed a hand on her face, reeling from the unbridled rapture of her other self. It knew the Sire of Darkness. It was blessed with the Touch of Blackness. Of the Abyss.
"N-No... I don't want this."
"Do not fight it, my Child. Embrace the dark animal within you. This darkness is not your enemy. Though my element is Guardian to the good and evil of all things in the Night, this is not that of evil. You are the last of my beloved species... When the humans made you, my heart rejoiced. You can become the mother of your species if you would just embrace it." Raven murmured, causing Rika to stepped back in disgust. "Never! They turned me into a monster!" She snarled. Raven turned on her in an instant, every shadow in the room intensifying in her anger, "HUMANS ARE THE MONSTERS!" She roared, her cloak billowing violently though there was no wind.
"THOSE PRECIOUS CREATURES THAT THE NINTH LOVES SO MUCH ARE THE TRUE MONSTERS!"
Rika's animal instincts kicked in and she crumpled to the ground, mewling softly to show her submission to her Guardian. This seemed to appease the great entity, so everything seemed to calm down. Raven's temper eased, but her eyes burned with hidden hatred. "A great and noble race was wiped out by the disgusting populace of these wretched fleshy beings. The Night Things were a proud race of Felines, created when the great earth was split into light and dark. Though they were shunned to the dark, I adopted them into me." She murmured, her eyes echoing the sadness she would have once felt. Rika hesitantly looked up, then felt shame. The Guardian of the Night cared for the creatures underneath her wing. They were the most like herself, in a way. Creatures shunned by those who walk within the light, creatures unable to stand the harsh rays of the sun. Both Evil and Good, she loved them all. Rika shifted to her knees, then pressed her forehead to the floorboards, bowing to the Guardian of the Night. "Teach me... Teach me of my heritage." She whispered, trembling with both fear and shame. Raven looked down at her, then looked to the darkness outside the window, fearing not the Abyss that stared back at her.
"Child of Night, Your heritage is that of many proud warriors. Night things are the cousins to the Lycans. Though you two fought for many a century, you gradually came to peace. That is... Until the Children of Eden walked the earth and hunted those that were different. We tried to harmonize with them, to walk among them, and though that worked for a brief time, the peace did not stay. They continued to hunt us until we had died out, though I have saved a very select few Lycans on earth in your time." Raven explained softly, drawing up Rika to her feet with a thought. The young woman shied away before she allowed the Guardian to move her to the bed.
"The Night Things are Felines borne from the Union of a human and the Great felines of the ancient times. There was the Snow Leopards from the North, the Lions from the South, the Tigers from the East, and the Panthers from the West. Each demanded a human female for payment to live upon their land, and was presented with a young female from each tribe of humans. The Felines, so taken with the perfection of human form, brought them into their tribes and mated with them. Thus, the Night Thing was born. Though, when the Humans learned of this, they grew furious and Hunted the offspring. Stole the Great Feline's Land. The Night Things cried out for me to hide them, to shield them from the burning rays of the sun and gift them with a way to escape the humans. I gave them the Human flesh during the day to clothe their fur, faces to hide their muzzles, and dull human appendages to hide their claws. The new moon was your symbol of your homestead and the darkness within it became your home." She murmured, then looked down at Rika with gentle eyes.
"Your ancestors were great warriors that fought in the wars against the humans and the Lycans. Though... They are stories for another time. The daylight presses heavily at my flesh. The night ends." Rika wiped her eyes, unaware of her tears until Raven stopped speaking. She looked up at her Guardian with grateful eyes, then sniffed, "My Guardian, I apologize for my transgressions against my race. I... I didn't know..." She murmured softly. All the defiance inside of her body fled, and Rika finally understood her purpose. Raven nodded, then glided silently over to the window, "Your history is important, Child of Night. Though another Child of Night stands before you, You must cut him down. I am not to choose sides, I am to keep balance. As we all are." She told her.
"Wait... You mean the others? The Guardians?"
Raven turned back to her, "Yes... We Guardians are all that is left of this Ancient world. When you return to your time, you will see it. The Children of Eden seek to control your world and the elements, though they cry out to us when they go wrong. What they do not realize is that it is we Nine who care for the world. We stop them from becoming too foolish." She said with a smile that was not without bitter maliciousness. The sight of such an expression made Rika shiver in fear. "I... I think I understand. " She stammered, looking off. As Raven made a move to leave, Rika felt another stab of uncertainty and fear. "Wait... Van Helsing and Carl... What... What do I do?" She asked, a hand protectively pressing against her abdomen.
Raven seemed to smile once more, and again it scared Rika.
"Child of Night, you have all the tools you need. You have the plans you need. You have waited long enough and Gabriel has readied himself for your arrival. You have done as I asked, so I will reward you with this," Her eyes flashed and made Rika's sensitive eyes burn, "Your children will be strong and just. They will be the first of many Great and powerful rulers." Rika rubbed her eyes hard with the heels of her hands, and when she finally regained her sight, Raven was gone. Rika thought of her Guardian's words, then smiled as the sun began to turn the horizon pink and orange.
"So... What I heard is we're gonna win." She grinned with sharp teeth, her slitted eyes gleaming with newfound strength.