A/N- well, for those of you who asked for it, here is Kal and Allie's story! I hope you like it! )
Two months after Paris
"Elizabeth, ange, what do you have there?"
Elizabeth looked up and smiled at Gabriel, holding up the thick book. "Do you remember when Kal and Allie said they would send us their story?"
Gabriel's eyes brightened. "Is that it?"
Elizabeth nodded yes. "Shall we read it, or do you have other plans?" she joked.
Gabriel sat down next to her on the library couch. "I seem to have today free."
Elizabeth smiled up at Gabriel. It seemed so long since she thought him dead….and in a way, it was. Sometimes days passed like weeks, and weeks; days. It didn't matter, anymore, though. As long as they were with each other, they were content.
She leaned against his shoulder and he put his arm around her. Sometimes, she heard him wake in the middle of the night, calling her name. She suspected he still dreamt of that awful week they went through two months ago, where they both thought the other dead. Sometimes they both just needed to be near the other.
Elizabeth set the book between her and Gabriel and opened the book; the cover was black. They both let their eyes drink in the title before turning to the first page of their friends' story. It was a story that held much pain, and many nightmares, and, unlike their own, didn't end with "and they lived happily ever after."
But, like all stories, it had a beginning, and Alison and Kal had had the good humor to start it off as all faery tales should.
This is the story of Alison Destra and Kalendrakk.
Once upon a time….
Raven in the Fog
In the mountains, North America, 1857.
The little boy scrubbed viciously at him hands, trying in vain to scrub the blood off of them. As he stood waist-deep in the stream, more blood, his own, sluggishly fell down his back and into the icy water, making red scarves wave and dance across the surface. They stung with every movement he made, though, below his waist, his legs were numb.
The water was so cold.
His eyes stung as he stopped scrubbing his hands, just letting them hang limply in the water, suspended like they weren't really attached to his arms.
The boy's eyes stung as they filled with tears; his mind filled with something just as horrible, but, unlike with tears, he couldn't blink to make them leave.
His family…the village…everyone…slaughtered. Gone. Dead. His mother's blood still lingered in his nose.
The boy rubbed a hand hastily over his eyes, and looked down into the stream. A small face looked back at him, eyes looking into the water.
His eyes…they were always unusual. One an unnaturally pale purple, the other an inky black. His hair, short, black, and tangled with leaves and twigs, stuck out in odd directions.
The boy slapped the water fiercely, making the stream loose its mirror-like quality.
"I'll kill them for what they did," the boy whispered. If anyone was there to hear him, they would have paled at hearing such venomous words come out of a four-year-old's mouth. They were dripping with spite, and yet, the boy did not seem to be realize he was saying them.
"I'll kill them all."
15 years later.
Alison smiled ecstatically as she sat on the stone wall. A light breeze, carrying mist, played across her face. The sun was high above her, washing everything in bright light. Her dark blonde hair was matted from the mist the breeze was throwing at her, but she didn't care. Nor did she care that her dress was getting damp from sitting on the wall near the harbor, or her shoes were coated in damp sand.
I'm free! Finally, no lessons, no parties, just me relaxing by the--
"Alison Destra!" the voice, like a guillotine, cut through her peaceful daydream, snuffing it out quickly and efficiently. Alison straightened in her chair, wincing as she looked down at the needle-point she was supposed to be working on. The needle had pricked her finger while she was drifting, and now bright drops of crimson dotted the rather shoddy embroidery of an iris.
"How many times must I tell you--"
"A lady never lets her mind drift," Alison finished tiredly, fighting to keep her face emotionless, while she wanted nothing more to shout at the wrinkly, sharp-eyed old hag whom her parents had hired to teach her "proper etiquette". Where do needle-points fit in with manners? she thought crossly.
"Do not be smart with me, Mademoiselle Destra." Madame Lark, her etiquette teacher, shuffled across the room to examine her needle-point. "Oh, you've gone and ruined it! Not that there was much to ruin in the first place; the stitches are much too loose, and the thread have gone awry in places--"
"And I suppose it doesn't matter at all that I hurt myself?" Alison grumbled, interrupting Madame Lark's criticism.
"Oh. Very well, you are excused to get a bandage."
Alison got up, letting the needle-point fall onto the floor. "Why, thank you! I really needed to have permission to leave, even though this is my house!" She slammed the door behind her as loud as she could, then stormed off to her room, which was down the hall.
"House", actually, was a misinterpretation; it was actually a castle. Not a gigantic, beautiful castle, like the ones in faery tales, but a castle, none the less.
Alison reached her room and slammed that door, too.
Why do I even need an etiquette teacher? I'm already seventeen! They should have bothered raising me properly as a child, not try to fix me as a teenager!
During the period when Alison was growing up, her parents were never around. The were always traveling some place or another. When she would ask her nurses where they were, they would always stammer that her mother and father were on "business trips". These usually lasted from three weeks up until a month, and, when they did return home, they always ignored her. So, she grew up in the company of her servants and her friends.
Her friends were closer to her than siblings; they would always listen to her, and always offer their opinion when she had a problem. They grew up together, meeting at the age of five, and forming their own group that lasted into the teenage years of seventeen.
There were five of them, counting Alison. There was Kelly, Melanie, Keith, and Jordon.
Kelly had waist-length red hair that fell into long curls around d her oval face. She had pale skin and dark freckles, with large green eyes. She had a rather cat-like appearance, and was the most sympathetic one in their group.
Melanie had wavy brown hair that she kept jaw-length. Her hair , along with her dark complexion and dark eyes, came from her father, who was Spanish. She was short, but extremely feisty, and usually got all of them into trouble y picking fights with the village boys.
Keith was tall and gangly, and always walked with his shoulders hunched. Her had straight brown hair that was always falling into his grey eyes that were framed by silver spectacles; he had horrible vision. He was the calmest of the group.
And then there was Jordon. Every group had a practical joker, and that was him. There was always a grin on his face, and his short black hair always looked spiky and unkempt, despite the three girls' attempt to make it fall straight. His eyes were a light hazel flecked with green, and were usually sparkling with some sort of mischief.
As the group reached their respective seventeenth birthdays, Kelly and Keith began courting each other. Jordon soon fell for Melanie afterwards, and that left Alison the only one without a significant other. On some days, it frustrated her, but on others, the days when her mother or father introduced her to some money-grubbing Lord or Duke or Prince, all with some egotistical flaws or just interested in her money, she was extremely glad of it. Why would she need some idiotic man to court her, just so she would fit in?
Snapping back to her current situation (which was her finger bleeding on her dress), she dug a length of cloth out of one of her drawers and wrapped the tip of her finger with it.
Merde. Now somebody will yell at me for getting my dress dirty. She tossed her hair angrily. So what if they did? Let them waste their breath. Today, she wasn't going to listen to anybody. She'd had enough. It was time for a break.
She strode out of her room with her head held high, icy-blue eyes flashing. In the precious few hours she had managed to sneak outside, every week or so, her skin had become a shad darker, and her light freckles had begun to stand out. She hated them. They made her look like she was just entering her teen years, instead of becoming close to leaving them.
Alison stopped at a door, staring at the brass knob. It was always locked, her parents made sure the servants locked it. Alison had idea what it might lead to; a secret room, maybe, or perhaps something else. Whatever was behind that door, she knew it was something her parents didn't wish for her to find, and that was all the intent she needed.
She wanted to know what was behind that door.
Alison reached out and turned the knob…
…and to her disappointment, it didn't turn. Not even an inch.
Sighing, she left the door and returned to her room; her need to roam around had faded, and she might as well finish the book she had started to read. Madame Lark could sit in that room until nothing remained of her but a skeleton, because there was no way she was going back.
He walked along through the forest, whistling despite the fact that it was drizzling out. It was a gloomy day, even more so under the cover of the trees. As much as he liked such gloom, he despised the rain. It made his bones ache, like the cold. His right leg and arm were throbbing particularly painfully, as they were the body part he injured most frequently. His leg had been broken three times in the same place; his arm, four. His heart was also aching worse than usually; he had been shot twice in it when he was a child.
The rain soaked his waist-length black hair and his breeches. He had lost his shirt years ago, and the breeches were now too short for him, ending three inches above his knees. The uncovered skin was a patchwork of deep scars that he had earned over the last fifteen years. There was a thick leather bag strung over his shoulder on a string, and it bounced slightly from side to side as he walked at as brisk a pace as his bad leg would allow.
On his other shoulder a large raven was perched. It had a distinct white feather on its head, standing out boldly against the black. It cawed to him, and anyone else listening in would have heard only that. He, though, being a raven demon, understood the bird as clearly as if it had spoken French. Kal, where are you headed this time?
Kal looked at the raven slyly out of the corner of his eyes. His eyes always drew attention: one was an unnaturally pale purple, and the other was a black so dark that you couldn't distinguish the iris from the pupil. "Somewhere," he replied simply. His voice was a deep baritone, and even when he was trying to sound happy, it carried undertones of anger.
Oh dear. Who are you going to kill this time?
Kal smiled, revealing sharp fangs. "Who ever said anything about anyone dying?"
That look on your face did.
"What look was it? This look?" He dropped the simple illusion he usually wore, and his tanned skin became an inky black, the same tone all over. The whites of his eyes glowed blood-red, and his fangs lengthened by an inch.
Precisely, the raven said dryly. Kal grinned again and replaced the illusion, giving him the appearance of looking almost-normal, if you didn't notice the leaf-shaped ears under his hair. He continued on with limping through the forest, resuming his whistling once more.
That's it. I'm leaving. The raven leaped off of his shoulder and disappeared above the tree-tops.
Kal chuckled softly to himself. It was typical of the raven to do that. He always flew to carnage, but flew away from battle. Maybe it's the thing that people have…what's it called again? Oh, yes. A conscience. So odd.
Suddenly, the forest ended, a castle replacing the trees.
Here it is. Kal knelt down and dug a shallow hole at the base of a tree, putting the leather sack in it and then covering it with dirt. After he finished, he strode cockily up to the castle gate and knocked them down with a slight push, to the surprise f the guards who rushed at him. Obviously they had never heard of demon's superior strength. Or his, for that matter, since it out-matched any demons by tenfold.
"You! Halt!" one of them shouted.
"I'm halting," he said conversationally. He had only taken a few steps into the castle grounds in the first place. After burying his sack, he had dropped his illusion once again, so is understood the fear in the guards' eyes quite well. After all, who wouldn't be a bit disturbed by a six-and-a-half-foot demon that looked the way he did? "I'm here to see the Lord."
The guards each grabbed on to a forearm and began to march him towards the castle. Kal could have easily shaken them off and thrown them head-first into the stone wall, but he allowed himself to be guided into the castle. After all, it was part of his plan.
The guards release him as he entered the Lord's meeting room. He was a thin, middle-aged man with graying brown hair, dressed in expensive clothing.
"Bow down, " one of the guards ordered him, but Kal only took a step forward toward the Lord and smiled slyly.
"Forgive me, bur no-one rules me, so I bow down to no-one," Kal explained. "Especially not to a foppish, money-grubbing Lord who is most likely the product of bastardy." Behind him, the guards gasped, and the Lord's face darkened dangerously.
"How dare you insult me, Kalendrakk," the Lord growled.
Kal's smile grew broader, though it had no happiness in it. "So you know of me. How nice. I don't know of you, but I do know of your daughter. How old is she now, seventeen? A fine age. Pity I'm going to gut her like a pig and then swallow her heart while it's still beating, eh?"
"How--how dare you--" the Lord sputtered. "Guards! Throw him in the dungeons at once!"
Kal never stopped grinning as the guards resumed their grip on his arms and took him out of the room. He would kill them, of course. But not yet.
So far, everything was going exactly as he planned.
Alison watched in mild curiosity as the demon buried a bag or something at the base of a tree, then strode up to the castle and broke down the gates.
Huh. I wonder what he wants, she wondered. She had always been interested in demons and faeries and the like, ever since she was a child. Maybe it was because they were so different form humans. And much more interesting than some, if you considered dull old hags--or respectable elderly ladies, as everyone else would think of them as-- like Madame Lark.
Now two of the guards grabbed onto the demon's arms and were brining him into the castle. It was a rather funny thing to see, as the demon stood at a over a foot higher than the guards.
After they entered the castle, Melanie walked through the ruined gates, pausing briefly to examine them. Alison caught her eye (her room over-looked the courtyard) and waved. Melanie waved back, then continued the rest of the way. A few minutes later, she walked into Alison's room, not bothering to knock. "What happened?" was the first thing she said.
"Hello to you too, Mel!" Alison grinned from her chair next to the window.
Melanie, called Mel for short. Took a seat on Alison's bed. "So, what happened?"
"Oh, just a demon. He knocked down the gates. I suspect he's in the castle as we speak."
Melanie blinked, the laughed. "Oh, very funny, Allie!"
"I'm not joking."
"Of course you're not," Mel said sarcastically, then looked at Allie's face again. "You're not, are you?"
"Then how can you be so calm!"
"The demon has an escort."
Melanie shuddered. "I pity his escort. Aren't you the lest bit scared that he'll break loose and get you?"
Allie shrugged. "I guess not. Why would a demon have any interest in me?"
Melanie smiled evilly. "Well, there has been an awful lot of suitors coming to court you recently…"
"Ugh! That's disgusting, Mel! If I don't have any interest in human boys, why would I fall for a demon?"
Mel shrugged innocently. "You've always been a little odd."
"That's it! You are going to pay!" Allie leaped out of her chair and grabbed a pillow from her bed. "Die!" she yelled, then began bludgeoning Mel over the head with the pillow.
Mel shrieked and held op one hand to ward Allie off, then grabbed a pillow for herself and began fighting back. She soon gained the upper hand, and Allie fell to her knees and put her hands in a praying gesture. "I surrender, Oh Great Mel!"
Mel tossed her pillow onto the bed, placing on hand on her hip and pointed down at Alison with the other. "Grovel!"
Allie began bowing from her spot on the floor. "Oh, how I worship thine greatness! Please, spare my unworthy self! Spare me!" Then she placed one hand over her forehead and collapsed onto her side in a mock-faint.
Breaking into giggles, Mel offered Allie her hand. "You may rise."
Allie grasped the hand and pulled herself up, brushing off her skirt. Mel looked down and noticed the few drops of blood for the first time. "Ouch. What did you do to yourself this time?"
"Pricked my finger while attempting embroidery." Alison held up the bandaged finger In explanation.
"Disaster Destra strikes again, eh?"
Allie giggled at her childhood nickname. "I'm afraid so." She paused at the sound of footsteps, then a door being opened. Curious, she peeked out of her bedroom door in time to see a door close. It was the door that was always locked.
Mel appeared next to her, a moment too late. "What?"
"I think somebody just went into that room."
"Oh. Well, I guess they've already locked it now. I wonder what's on the other side?"
"Yeah." Alison stared thoughtfully at the door. "I wonder, too."