Disclaimer: All characters and ideas (at least so far) belong to P.C Hodgell. I just use them for my own amusement.

            Something was burning, or rather; everything was. A great inferno set against the backdrop of seething shadows rising up, seemingly endless. The stench of burning flesh permeated the air; the ashes of the dead lay thick, coating the throat of one who breathed. Someone had said the pyric runes to ignite the flesh of the dead, and apparently, causing nearly everything in the area to be consumed as well, but who? She sensed two other living presences as well, one, her brother, who she assumed had dragged her into this nightmare, as he had so often before, but the other was unidentifiable. She wasn't really there, though, at least not in the sense that Tori and the other were, she didn't belong. Snatches of phrases, or thoughts, were carried by on the wind chilling her despite the immense heat before her;

"Child of darkness, where is my sword? Where are my fingers?"

Father? Thought Jame. She knew his voice, the same that constantly berated her for being weak, yet feared her independence at once. Now though, it sounded as though issued from a body devoid of life.

Blank, lifeless eyes, the creak of unused muscles coming to life, or what passed for it. The deceased roaming the halls, tattered cloth and remains rustling in the dark. They're coming for him, he who left them with the responsibility, which their honor now could not bear.

Jame turned; dread filling her limbs, making her sluggish. She began to run blindly, not caring what direction, consumed by the need to flee. Got to run, hide, they're coming for him! Wait, him? Damnit Tori!

Jame, disoriented by the sudden ascent from sleep, momentarily believing that something was still burning. Then, after a moment's deliberation, relaxed again. Nope just the light from the sun, someone must've forgotten to draw the curtains again. She then began to drift off again into a peaceful slumber, the dream already forgotten. A thought rose to the surface of her sleep-numbed mind, just beyond her grasp.

Ignore it; it'll come to you later.

Which in fact, it did, approximately half an hour later. Apparently, that was sufficient enough time for the idea to form, at least for Jame. Is there supposed to be sunlight in the morning? Of course there is, idiot, unless your perception of reality has been skewed your entire life, which wouldn't be unlikely for you. But it's not, she protested to herself.  Supposed to be sunny, I mean. Well, not if you get up early enough. With that Jame shot up in bed, quickly glancing around the room with an astonished gaze, her silver-gray eyes wide with panic assuring her self that it really was late morning, and began to scramble out of bed. However, characteristic of Jame, she failed to notice the current state of her legs being entwined in the blankets, and proceeded to fall the rest of the way towards the cold stone floor, yet somehow managing to twist her small body in mid-air to avoid landing head-first. After a grunted "I'm okay" to whoever may have entered to investigate the source of the clamor, she wriggled her way out of the web of cloth all the while muttering to her self, and hastily crawled over to the bed opposite hers.

"Get up! We're late! We're going to have to miss breakfast, in order to be on time for lessons!" She demanded, prodding the inert form of her twin. Getting no response, she sighed, then went about the room trying to discern her clothes from her brother's, purposefully making as much noise as possible. When the dark head amidst the furs still hadn't moved, Jame stood for a moment, regarding Tori balefully with her silvery gaze, then sighed with exasperation, and commenced systematically stripping his bed of blankets.

" Arghh, I'm up, I'm up." A voice grumbled, emerging from the depths of the blankets, and easing itself into a sitting position. Silver met silver as Torisen opened his eyes, squinting.

"Good morning." He said, as though it clearly was not for him.

"Not for long if you don't hurry up, we'll be late again, need I remind you what our punishment will be?" She replied, snatching up her boots, and attempted to pull one on, not sitting down in her haste. It proved to be extremely difficult though; Huh, I probably laced them too tight. She thought, blowing at a lock of sable-colored hair that had fallen across her face.

"Did you even hear what I said?" Jame cried at her brother who, at the moment was unresponsive, blearily staring at a tapestry of a hunting scene, which hung against the stone wall of the keep.

Her twin still not heeding her, Jame turned her attention back to her rather stubborn boot.

"Wrong foot." Remarked Tori, after noticing his sisters' awkward struggle with her footwear, and slipped down off the bed.

Jame glared at her brother for a moment, elegantly arched eyebrows drawn down in a frown, before glancing down.

"So it is" Said Jame, and began the process again, this time making sure it was the right boot. Soon though, it came, rather unpleasantly to her attention, that no matter how extensive their efforts, they would not quite make their studies in time.

"All right then, I get the kitchen, you get the stables." Jame sighed, resigned. That granted a quick response from Tori, who had been shuffling about the room in a daze, getting his clothing in order.

" You know that's not fair, I mucked out the stables last time!" He exclaimed indignantly, glowering at her.

" And you did such a nice job, it seems you've finally found something you're good at" Jame replied with a wry smile, and an impish glint to her eye.

When Tori continued to scowl at her while pulling his shirt on, but with the look of an idea forming in the mind. Jame began to grow apprehensive.

"Oh no you don't" She warned, cautiously backing away. Her eyes grew wide at the sight of his sudden, wolfish grin, and whirled just out of reach with an affronted  "Eeep!" as he lunged for her.

Jame tore out into the hall with Tori dashing after her, the collar of his shirt caught on his ear.

Their game ended shortly though, as a giant form blocking the hallway halted both abruptly.

" M'lord wishes to see you," It rumbled, revealing itself to be a Kendar, or more specifically, one of their Father's Kendar.

Jame and Tori's flushed cheeks drained of color as they exchanged glances, clearly knowing what this was about, and followed the burly Kendar to their father's study, all the while attempting to make themselves presentable.