Edited on July 22, 2014. I'm currently working through this story and making slight adjustments to the story in order to fix certain inaccuracies that started popping up later in the story.
I own nothing of the Black Jewels Trilogy or any following novels. All rights go to Anne Bishop. Thanks for reading!
Arina was a strange girl. She was a poor girl in an exclusive private school. She was there on a scholarship, for language. She had passed with 'flying colors' from all five high school classes in both French and Spanish while in middle school, so, naturally got a scholarship to best high school with the best language options. Thus, she was at Silverwood Private High School.
She saw her parents once a day, maybe. Her mother picked her up from school, when she remembered. Other than that, perhaps they would be at dinner. But most likely not. Her younger sister was a Heroin/Cocaine/….pretty-much-every-single-drug-out-there addict, and an alcoholic as well. She had dropped out of school. Her parents had taken all the money that would have been used for high school enrolment and gave it to Arina. That would be all the money she received for the next four years, so 'use it wisely'. Translation: don't let your sister get her hands on it. After that, her parents practically forgot that they had children.
Arina got up at an ungodly hour to get the bus to the public school closest to Silverwood: a mile away. She walked the mile and got to school an hour early. She was given the keys to the school in the first week she attended, because of the special circumstances. She spent the hour in the library, working on personal projects. She took the hardest classes the school offered, and all the extra classes about creativity (art, design, architecture, interior design, fashion design, cooking, writing classes) that she could. The schools classes worked rather like this: half studied, half didn't. The half that studied did well. Of the half that did not study, a fourth did not need to study, and did fine anyways, half bribed the school and the teachers for a pass, and a fourth failed and did not care. Arina had hours to study but did not need to, and as a result, was acing out of her classes. After school ended she waited until seven o'clock. If her mother had not come by then, she called a taxi. During the time from three thirty to seven, she did her homework, private projects, was paid to plan lessons, and studied things that fascinated her: ancient architecture, ancient civilizations, and old court systems. She read for pleasure, and roamed the school.
Even before her first month as a freshman ended, Arina was known as the schools 'go to'. About to be late for a class? There's Arina; ask her for a short cut. Want somewhere secluded for a make out session? Ask Arina where she'd suggest. Want to know the ways to charm the teachers? Ask Arina.
She was the universal teachers' pet, knew the layout of the school by heart. Everyone needed her, but no one wanted to be her friend. She had absolutely no friends, so channeled herself into things that she enjoyed. Other than all the time she spent in school, she horseback rode, was above a seven level black belt in several forms of martial arts, and had learned how to use weapons: staff, sword, knives/daggers.
She was also beautiful. She had glossy black, thick, waist length hair, complete with gold, silver, and bronze streaks, silver eyes, long nails, dark gold skin, high, angled cheekbones, long legs for her 5 foot 2 inch frame, small hands and feet, and an undeniable grace of movement. People were rather afraid of her eyes, because they were terrifyingly empty so much of the time. People rarely got anything but a blank look. It was only around animals that her guard would drop and she would smile, laugh, and let it go to her eyes. Anything else, they stayed empty.
She was also undeniably lonely. She was so strange that no one would be anything like a friend. They took what they needed from her, and then left her alone. She stayed out of the house as much as possible to stay away from her crazy, drug-driven sister, and uncaring parents.
Amazingly, Arina was not depressed. She wasn't suicidal. She did not feel the urge to use drugs. She simply built walls, walls that grew stronger every day. By now, they were impenetrable. Beyond the walls, deep in the core of her being was where Arina's feelings were. Somewhere no one could find them, and use them to hurt her any more than she already was.
And the strongest feeling there, a feeling so strong that she had built separate walls around it, to keep from hurting, was a wish that was stronger than any else. A wish to be somewhere, anywhere, else. Somewhere where she had friends. Somewhere she was…loved. Oh yes. She had to keep that wish locked away. Because if she didn't, then she would go mad from the pain when all her walls broke.
Lucien SaDiablo was pacing. And muttering. Again. His younger brother, Yaslana SaDiablo, sighed. His older cousin, Daemonar Yaslana, groaned. Yaslana's twin sister, Rose, on the other hand, exploded.
"What the hell is wrong with you? You mope around all day in a fit of depression, or you're frustrated, so you pace or pick a fight with Uncle Lucivar. Would you just tell us what's wrong? Or if not, then do your moping and pacing in your room, so the rest of us don't have to suffer with you." She stalked off, and everyone in the area hastily got out of her way.
Daemonar shrugged at the other male when Lucien turned his glower on him. "It is pretty early. You seem to have avoided your mother's morning tendencies, but your siblings weren't so lucky. Still, she has a point. What is wrong with you?" Yaslana raised an eyebrow, waiting.
Lucien stared at them both for a long moment. Then he abruptly turned and started towards the Hall without answering the question. The other two males got to their feet and followed him, at a cautious distance. All the children had received uncut Red's as their birthright. Daemonar had been gifted with the Ebon-gray after his Offering, like his father, but Lucien had gotten the Black. Rose and Yaslana were still too young to make the Offering to the Darkness, but most of the adults suspected that Rose would wear the Black as well. There was some debate as to which Jewel Yaslana would receive after his Offering, the Black or the Ebon-grey. No one wanted to piss off Lucien, not ever, really, but especially not while he was the only one other than Daemon and Saetan to wear the Black.
Lucien headed straight for the breakfast room. Rose having already joined the group after she had stormed away from her brothers and cousin, everyone but the three males in question were in the room. Jaenelle and Daemon; Marian and Lucivar; Saetan and Tersa; Surreal and Rainier; Morghann and Khardeen; Gabrielle and Chaosti; Kalush and Aaron; Sceron and Elan along with Astar and Grezande; Jonah and his sister Zylona, and of course, Karla. Then, of course, there were all the children with their parents. It made for one crowded breakfast room, and a hell of a lot of power.
Everyone turned to look at them as the three young males entered the room. Rose raised an imperious eyebrow at her older brother. Lucien ignored them all, focusing on his mother.
"Mother, could I speak to you?" Jaenelle raised an eyebrow. "Privately?"
Everyone else groaned. "Oh, come on!" Karla exclaimed. "We all want to know what's going on with you, and you're just going to leave us out?" There were several similar exclamations from the other women at the table. The males just looked at him sympathetically. Lucien scowled, wavering.
"Someone needs me," he blurted out. All conversation stopped and everyone turned to look at him.
"Who needs you?" Daemon asked his son, his deep voice soothing.
"I don't know," Lucien said, wretchedly. "I don't know who, I don't know where, I just know that whoever it is needs me." He sat down and put his head in his hands in frustration.
"So you want me to weave a Tangled Web to see if I can find her," Jaenelle clarified. Lucien nodded and looked up hopefully. Jaenelle had already called in her weaving materials and moved to an open space, and was starting a Web, with Karla and Gabrielle close by. "I'll need some of your blood, because it is your feeling." She informed him. "I will tell you when I need it." Lucien nodded again.
Rose came over and handed all the boys coffee. "You look like you need it. So, this feeling is what has been driving you crazy?"
"Yes," Lucien muttered, downing his coffee in one go.
"Humph." She muttered, wandering off. She sat down next to Titan, Rainer and Surreal's daughter, and the two immediately started talking.
All three young males rolled their eyes.
After a while, Jaenelle looked up at Lucien. "All right, I'm done here. All I need is the trigger."
Standing, Lucien moved to stand next to his mother, holding out his hand. Taking it, Jaenelle pricked his finger and let the drops of blood fall on the focal points of the Web. There was a split second when nothing happened, and then white mist swirled up the wall the Web was set against. Once the mist entirely covered the wall, it seemed to shiver, and then…
It was a small room, with a four-person table in the center. A kitchen, clearly, with dishes stacked on the counter, and some food boxes here and there.
There was a girl eating at the table, looking tired. There was a heavy looking bag beside her. (Several of the males snarled quietly; she was a Queen and Black Widow. She should have males, not have to do things herself) A few seconds later, another girl burst into the room, her eyes wild and empty looking, but somehow hungry.
"No Sara, I am not going to give you money to buy drugs with." The first girl said, not even looking up from her breakfast.
"I just need one hundred dollars! I'll break into your room and get it myself!"
"The day you break into my room, Sara," the first girl said calmly, getting up and cleaning her dishes in the sink before going back to the table and picking up her bag, "is the day I throw myself off a cliff."
Sara screamed and started knocking things over. She lunged for the first girl, but she nimbly sidestepped. Sara crashed into the wall, and the other girl went to the door. "Clean that up," she said sternly, before walking out the door and locking it behind her. Inside the house, the girl kept screaming.
There was a huge dog in the yard across the street—(a German shepherd, not that they could tell)—and it went bounding over to her as soon as she walked out of her house. Smiling widely, the girl knelt down and hugged the big dog, talking lightly to it. She finally got to her feet with a sigh. "I'm going to be late if I don't go. I'll see you later, J."
Even running down, the street, she almost missed the yellow thing (bus), but managed to get it. Inside, it was packed with children, all obviously younger than her. They stared, and whispered. The girl's eyes, which had been warm and loving when she was with the dog turned cold and empty. She got off quickly at a street that branched off, and the thing continued on. She started walking down the street. Ten minutes later, she was in sight of a huge building. She unlocked the empty building, and then went around turning on lights, getting things set up, before finally coming to a stop in the library.
She took some papers out and started to study them, making miniscule adjustments. Eventually the sounds of others in the school started to echo into the library. A teacher came into the library and headed for her.
Her hand flashed out and scooped up a pile of papers, which she handed to him. He took them, giving her a green slip in return. She slid it into her pocket as the teacher left. It went on that way, with people coming up to ask Arina things, and her telling them in a blank voice or giving it to them. If she gave something, then they would give her something green, (they decided that it must be money of some sort.) When classes started, it was no better. No one would talk to her, teachers used her for examples, and she just sat there with an empty look in her eyes.
She obviously had no friends, and that empty look never went away. Everyone wanted things from her, but no one wanted to be with her. At the end of school, everyone left, and Arina went around, locking the school, turning things off, then retreating to the library. She did her homework, did some things for other people, went and did stuff on some sort of screen, then read.
When the clock read 7:30 Arina went and talked into something, waited for fifteen minutes, then went to the front of the school, where a smaller yellow thing quickly showed up. Getting in, Arina gave the man directions, and a half hour later she gave him several green slips and got out in front of her house. She waved to the dog, J, then, sighing, went into her house. She made herself a quick sandwich, then went upstairs. Unfortunately, she was cornered before she could reach the door at the end by Sara, who once again begged for money, even going so far as trying to shove her down the stairs. Rolling her eyes, Arina slipped around her then slammed the door in Sara's face.
The resulting crash sent the Tangled Web against the floor, where it broke into pieces. The white mist promptly disappeared. Everyone looked at each other, shocked.
"Well," Karla finally said, "It's quite obvious that she desperately needs you, Lucien. If I had to take that every day…" Shaking her head, Karla left the room.
Vanishing the remains of the Web, Jaenelle went to the door, accompanied by Gabrielle.
"We're going to work on some way to get you to this place, dear, don't worry." Then they left, leaving Lucien staring after them.
"You know, I almost wish that I never asked. That was terrible," he groaned.
"That was pretty bad," Yaslana agreed.
Daemon and Lucivar exchanged looks, and nodded.
"I hope Jaenelle finds a way to get there fast. She looks like she's hurting."
"You've been in situations like that, haven't you?" Yaslana, remembered.
"Oh, yes." Lucivar said grimly. "We know exactly how she must feel. That's why we want to get her out."
"I don't think she feels anything." Surreal commented, leaning forward. "Did you see her eyes? They were utterly empty, like there was nothing in them. Even her voice was empty. I think she must have blocked off all of her feelings. She must be desperate. I mean you two," she gestured to Daemon and Lucivar, "You knew that Witch was coming, and that was what you were waiting for. She looks like she has nothing. Like she's drowning, and all that is holding her up is the way she keeps things at bay."
Lucien groaned again. "I wish you hadn't said that, Aunt Surreal. Now I'm having these thoughts that she gives up and dies."
"She's stronger than that," Surreal said, but everyone could hear the doubt in her voice.