Chapter 2: I'm not as happy with this chapter as the first, but oh well. Please read and review. Flames are welcomed. I forgot the disclaimer last time, so here it goes:

I do not own Warriors. The slowly declining writer Erin Hunter does. (Yes, I barely got through PoT, and I put down the latest book in disgust halfway through. I only did that to a book ONCE before that. Okay, now on with the story!

In every rise, there is fall. The higher you rise, the deeper you sink.

There is a end to everything. Ask the Bards, ask the "chosen" kittypets.*

Ask the Clan cats, ask the thugs who roam the streets and forests.

When the almighty Scourge fell, the news traveled like wild fire. His remaining followers fell apart, confused and lost. The stronger ones banded together, conquering here and there, pushing cats out of their homes for themselves.

That included Ranger, the rogues, and my old family.

Ranger's time was gone, and so were his subjects. Under the cover of chaos and doom, Dusk and I ran.

It was not unlike the first time we ran. But it was still so different at the same time. While our pelts brushed against each other, Dusk flinched and backed away coolly.

There was a chasm, and each day it grew wider.

Myth: Dusk was no longer Menolly. And I was no longer the Shade she fell in love with.

Fact: The darkness is near.**

---

Darkness. Light. I'm on the edge. Falling falling falling falling falling NO STOP NOOO!!!!

Can't stop it. Too fast. Hanging. Nothing left.

What?

Light.

It shifts, it wavers, but I see.

A little she-cat, purple eyes.

Lilac? No.

Daughter. Other daughter.

Light.

Darkness coming now.

It covers me, sinks into my pores.

I scream.

Madness, madness, losing what I have. Insanity.

So dark. So cold. Can't feel. Can't stop.

Daughter.

I feel.

Daughter.

---

I remembered waking up, gasping. The scream in my throat bubbled up into a gurgle. I looked at my side shakily. Dusk's nest was empty and cold. My anger flared, and I shredded the moss with my claws. How dare she disappear again!

As if on cue, she returned a heartbeat later with a plump vole in her jaws. She looked at the remains of her nest, her eyes expressionless. She set down the vole at my paws, then backed away, trying in vain to avoid me. I snarled, and raked my claws over her cheek. A drop of blood fell, but she did not blink. "You seem like you were busy today. Well, where did you go?" I hissed, ignoring the mouthwatering prey next to me.

Hollowly, she replied, "Hunting." For a split second, I saw a flash of pain in her eyes. Uncontrollable agony and sorrow, enough to tear one apart. But it vanished quickly, replaced by hollow orbs.

"I'm not stupid. You have the scent of a kittypet all over you." I landed another blow, this time on her head. "Are you seeing another tom?" My voice went an octave higher.

She stared at me with cold eyes, as if I was wasting her time. "If you weren't so smart, you would smell that the scent is of a she-cat's." I blinked at her, and she meowed in exasperation, "no Shade, I'm not lesbian either." I knew she was right this time, and that fed my anger.

"Really? Sounds like fun, sneaking off every day." The last time I said "fun" was to mock a cat before killing them at the spot. She freezed, and I saw that I had shocked her.

"Because of you, two valuable kits are gone," I hissed again.

She flared. "I had no choice!" she shot back, spitting.

"You did! You could have stayed with them, and two assassins would have been bred out of them to join us. Imagine us, more powerful than Scourge, deadlier than that self-proclaimed lord." I was rambling now.

She stared at me. "Sometimes-- no, all the time, I think I don't know you anymore."

"Then why stay with me?" There. The words that had been echoing and rattling in my chest was released, and I was genuinely waiting for her response.

She paused, the tension rising between us.

Dusk exhaled, and mewed softly, "I don't know." She left to collect more moss, clearly more disturbed than ever. I huddle at the corner of the cave.

There were no more answers.

---

I dreamed again.

It was blank. There were no colors, just a vast stretch of blinding white. It was searing, the worst pain. I squeeze my eyes shut, my throat opening to let out a pain-filled screech, but there was nothing. Everything was too bright, and I couldn't stand the immense light that burned my eyelids.

"Open your eyes, son." The voice was so grave, so terrible, yet soothing at the same time. Obeying, I peered out from squinted eyes.

The voice came from a large golden cat. I gaped at him, my legs shaking. If he wanted, he could have squashed me like an ant without a second thought. He was sitting on a equally bright rock, his face illuminated with rays that radiated from his body. His deep sun-colored eyes scanned me with love and grief at the same time. His whiskers twitched in grim amusement as I flung myself at his paws. There was so much power coming from him.

"Rise, child." Trembling, I did. "Do not be afraid."

"How can I not be afraid?" I blurted out. He laughed, a rich sound that filled me with strength.

"True, very true. I have brought down legions of creatures to my feet, and touched the hearts of many. They call me their leader and worship me. I am everything, from the smallest bud to the mightiest oak."

I blinked, still not understanding. "Who are you?"

He fixed me with his solemn eyes. "You know me," he said simply. "I am the voice in your head urging you to turn around, the whisperer of reason and love. I know everything. I know you too. I see, hear, and taste everything." He leaned down, his broad shoulders moving slightly with the movement. "Everyone is a sinner, my child, but they all have to repent one day. There is hope for those who accept."

Before I could reply, my dream shifted. I saw his face blur, and the painful light was fading. I relaxed slightly.

Now the scene was becoming a forest. The sky was dark, so I assumed it was night.

I felt perfectly at ease at the darkest time of the day; they were my whisperers. I padded around the clearing, narrowing my eyes for danger even though I knew it was only a dream.

Suddenly, a different cat appeared from behind a tree. I watched, waiting for him to see or at least smell me. But as he approached, he walked right past me without batting an eye. I sprinted to his side, wondering if he was blind. I waved my paw in front of him, but he didn't respond. Disgruntled, I sat down and licked my chest fur nervously.

But then I realized that the cat was familiar. Too familiar.

The cat was me.

The dream-Shade was hunting, waiting patiently for some prey. It was disturbing to see myself this way-- cool, caculating, and scars etched in my dark pelt. No wonder cats bowed their head, not daring to meet my eye.

There was a rustle, and both the dream-Shade and I turned towards it, claws unsheathed.

The rustle stopped, and a black cat slipped out. We both flinched in shock. I had never expected to see this cat again, until this particular memory replaying as dream.

"Chrysi...mother?" the dream-Shade chocked out. Remembering what happened next, I sat down to examine the scene from a different prospective.

"Shade?" The black she-cat was equally surprise, her dark blue eyes widening. "Oh, my kit!" Soon they were nuzzling and purring. I remember feeling the pain, the wanting to be loved. There was no sorrow or darkness. It was as if the mother's love banished those horrors by purely being at my side.

"Where have you been? Ever since we found your father dead-- oh Shade, we were so worried!" I backed away, the vision of my father's limp body too vivid and near.

"Don't... don't talk about that," dream-Shade gasped. My mother stopped, puzzled, but obliged.

She spoke of years of pain, revenge, and family chaos. After Rowan died, the males all fought for his position, leading a bloody battle. They were still recovering from the bloodshed when Scourge took over, and were weaker than ever when he fell. Scourge's last followers drove them out, and they wandered to this forest. I could not believe the coincidence. Chrysi looked at dream-Shade fondly. "But now you're here! Your father would have been so proud. Rowan had a hard life, you know."

He swallowed, than rasped, "Please, I don't want to hear about him."

My mother stared at dream-Shade, and her gentle features hardened. "No, listen to me, Shade. Your father was abandoned as a kit and raised by Poison, who was Scourge's loyal follower. He only wanted the best, to make you the best."

"Yeah, and look where that got him... and me."

"You were always an ungrateful brat!" Chrysi meowed loudly. "Your father is now dead, and yet you still are the same."

"I SAID STOP!" the dream-Shade yowled, his fur standing up in rage and desperation. "He is no father of mine."

"Whether you like it or not," she meowed, "he is. Say it with me, Shade. Rowan. Is. Your. Father."

He sank to the ground, clutching his head and tearing out his fur. "No, no, no..." he whimpered.

Blood. Violet eyes. "Well done... my son." Blood. So much blood. Death.

The grips of insanity were getting stronger, and he could not hold long.

"Please..." he begged his frightened mother, "go away, now. I don't want the same thing to happen to you... I don't want you to end up like Rowan..."

Realization dawned on Chrysi. I stared at the scene mournfully, knowing what was going to happen. "You... you killed him?" she squeaked, backing away. "You killed your own father?"

He was coughing, crying dry tears. "Go, now," he wheezed.

Falling. Everything's gone. Losing control, nothing to hide, nothing to lose.

"You monster, you killed him!" She disappeared, yowling frantically about murderers and monsters, leaving her son alone, drenched in his own guilt and memories. Chrysi dissapeared quicker than water between claws, taking the love and warmth with her.

If you must know, I really don't know what happened to her.

Rocking back and forth, dream-Shade shivered in cold, yet he felt like he was burning up at the same time. He was pathetic, alone, and weak. I detested it, forgetting that that wretch creature was me. I stared in disgust, scoffing.

"This is the monster," a familiar grave voice said. I looked up from my spot to see a white dove perched on a branch. The moonlight made his snow-white feathers gleam dully.

"Are you... Him?" I asked tentatively. The dove nodded, and I saw that his eyes were the same shade of gold as the shining cat's.

The dove then continued. "There is a monster in all of us, Shade. Whether we choose to fight it is the question. There will be a time to prove who you are and your true self. Do not let the darkness take control at the crucial moment." I didn't ask how he knew my struggle.

"I still don't understand."

A cooing vibration came from his throat, which could be only described as a laugh. "It should be fairly simple in due time."

---

By that point, I was awake. The cat/dove was still on my mind, as the memory of my mother running away... from me. Is this what I have become? So terrifying and close to darkness, that even the she-cat who gave birth to me was afraid of what I was capable of.

And violet eyes. It was queer, how the strange color survived all these generations with so many cats in it. There was Rowan, Tellda, Vervain, Medicon, Alder, Dusk, oh, and of course me. Our family was so big. I closed my eyes as memories, both bitter and sweet, began to make there way to my mind again. They were slow and blurry for being buried so deep all these years, but I could still sense them.

There were also our kits... Dusk and mine. The sheer memory of them opened up a wound, still fresh and deep. I winced, digging my claws into the ground.

They were gone or dead because of me, and I knew it. There was no more pretending on my part. Oh, Tom, Pine, the kit that died too early, and... Lilac. She was imprinted in my heart, someone who was dead long ago, even if she had lived.

A bright flash. Gray and black fur. Violet eyes.

And her. How could I forget? She haunted my dreams and mind.

She was my daughter.

Piercing eyes. They're not blinking, as if they were looking into my soul and disliking what they saw.

Endless darkness, stained by blood and bitterness.

So angry.

She'll never be strong enough to serve me," I mew, lying smoothly. How dare she, a kit of mere hours, evaluate me with such intensity? She stares at me with almost pitying eyes, as if they could repent me of my sins. "Shall I kill her?" Dusk flares at me, and I bare my teeth.

How I loath pity. Those eyes were pools of pity and offering redemption.

I don't need it.

It hurts too much.

She must die.

And I suppose she did.

All of my kin were dead, and the ones alive must hate me for who I had become.

If only one of them was alive. How I would love to tell them that I was sorry, and I would never hurt them again. I tried confessing to Dusk, but everytime I approached her, I was filled with emotions of hatred and anger. Not towards her, but she was effected by it anyways.

Everyday, I would compose my apology in my mind. Sometimes it would be gruff and blunt, but other times they were tearful and begging.

Dear Lilac... I never forgot the day you were dragged away from me. Your mother never spoke of it again, but I see the pain in her eyes everyday...

Rowan, we never understood each other. This was both our fault.

Dusk... I don't know what to say.

Chrysi, I'm not a monster... please...

Not a monster.

---

I see those eyes everywhere.

When I sleep, I dream. When I was awake, I see her those unblinking eyes staring at me, waiting for me to let her guide me.

Don't you understand? I wanted to yell. Nobody can help me anymore.

I can, those eyes seemed to say. I can help.

Help.

I was suffocating to the point that I was numb. The darkness was becoming a part of my life, almost a natural insertion. It no longer gripped me as I struggled; it sat back and watched me. Dusk grew more haggard by the days, and more cats were succumbed to my heavy paw. I did not rule them, but they each owed me a favor in protection. How, I shall not tell, traveler.

The darkness was no longer near. It was here. Now.

I can help.

---

Unsurprisingly, Dusk's nest was rarely slept in, and when I woke up, hers was already stale. I already knew the answer, but I still raved at he when she came back, despite the mouthfuls of prey she brought back. She stood as stoic as ever as I unleashed my anger on her, but my mind was on something else.

Violet eyes.

They can help.

---

Each day was a living nightmare. I wake up and see violet eyes. When I finally managed to go to sleep, those eyes haunt me, along with the gentle churring of a certain dove. It drove me insane.

This time I dreamed of something horrifying.

I was standing on a rock, waiting for something. Something I didn't know. Like all my dreams, it was dark. The stars were gone, and I could barely see my paws.

Shade... a frail voice whispered, sending chills up my spine. It was almost as delicate as the wind.

Shade... Shade...

"Hello?" I quavered.

Shade... slowly to my horror, I saw something move in front of me.

I was surrounded by cats, all pointing at my direction. I yelped outloud.

They had no faces.

Padding towards me slowly, they turned away from me as if in a trance. I stood there in shock as they parted around me, a sea of moving bodies. There were cats of all sizes and shapes and colors and ages. Long haired ones, short haired ones. Some wobbled from injuries achingly familiar, while other had their heads twisted in grotesque positions. The only similarity was their faces. Where eyes, noses, and mouths should have been was a terrible blankness, a mass of fur.

They were the cats I had murdered. I felt sick, and looked down at my paws, only to find mice dashing around them, followed by voles, shrews, squirrels, and even frogs. They threaded between cat's paws, all heading for one direction that was behind me. Not daring to look, I knew that they too were faceless.

I killed them all, I thought wildly, even the prey I hunted are here.It was so repulsive and frightening. I waited bracingly for them to turn and attack me in revenge, but that never came. Cautiously, I peered over the heads of the faceless creatures, shuddering.

They were all heading towards a shining light (why is there always a shining light?). I squinted, and to my amazement, it was...

.... her. She stood without moving a muscle, unblinking like my other dreams. Her dark gray and black fur and violet eyes. The cats stopped in front of her, acknowledging the glowing presence before passing by her. To my amazement, with each step they took, they melted away and she shone even brighter.

I stared at her, drinking in the pure, glowing form.

She could help me, I realized. If find her, she can wash away everything.

Everything I had done.

---

I was waking up. But before I did, I saw the dove shaking his head sadly. He flew away.

---

It was the sound of rustling bushes that awoke me. The wisps of the dream was still in my head as I weaved through the thorns that seperated me from the sunlight. Yawning, I stretched, unaware of something watching me. When I looked up, I saw those eyes.

I froze, not believing what I saw. She looked smaller ans more scared than my dreams, and her fur was sticking up from the wind, but I knew that she was my daughter.

She alone can save me. It was too real, too vivid. Can it really be her? But nobody else had those eyes... my eyes.

I tensed up, and the automatic greeting to cats that passed by here bubbled up. "Who are you?" I noticed a flame colored tom following close behind her, his green eyes wary.

"Acutally, we should be asking you that question," he mewed. I flex my paw and bared my teeth. He was in my way. "We live here," I growl, hasty to get to her.

Then she spoke, sounding terrified but determined at the same time. "Well, guess what?" You're just going to have to pack up and move out because you're in THunderClan terriory, of you don't mind," she mewed in a high-pitched voice. I stare at her, my eyes widening.

She was a Clan cat. I snarled,

Not believing her impudence and rudeness. How was this little scrap of fur my savior, my rising angel? Was I delusional?

She's my savior, I reminded myself quickly, but the fury was beginning to simmer out again. Angry, angry. I was always angry. Anger was a way for me to fight against the darkness, but it seemed to have become a part of it instead. "Matter of fact, we do mind, you worthless scrap of fur," I hissed. From the corner of my eye, I saw that Dusk had stiffened with shock, her fear scent heavy in the air.

"Well, too bad!" she snarled. I leaned forward, growling, searching for a sliver of the radiant, sleek she-cat of my liberation in her intense eyes.

There is, I tried to kid myself. She's there.

But I saw that they were wide with worry and distress. I back away in confusion. Had she suddenly remembered why she was put on earth for? To save me, to banish all my fears and pain?

She stumbled away, crying out as if someone had cuffed her. I took a step forward, wondering what was happening. She yelped, gasping and coughing.

If there was one thing I hated more than myself, it was weakness.

"What is the little piece of fox dung doing?" I mewed in disgust and wonder. The ginger tom's fur bristled, and his green eyes glinted with anger. Strange how I could do that to cats; calm one moment, angry for my blood the next.

He pounced on me, and I knocked him away with my large paw. I grabbed onto his neck fur and he yowled, ripping my skin with his claws.

"Rosepaw, run!" I looked up for a second, wondering who could be Rosepaw. Using my distracted manner, the ginger tom cuffed me hard enough to make me fall down, stunned.

"Firestar!" she cried, and to my amazement, she followed after the ginger tom's cowardly retreat. She was Rosepaw?

Wait, I wanted to yowl, come back! I lunged after her desperately, and she squeaked, accelerating to escape my grasp. I stood there numbly with only a worthless tuft of fur at my paws, vaguely aware of blood dripping down from my wounds.

Dusk finally spoke, her voice dazed. "Shade, I think that was my missing kit." I turned to her, feeling annoyed. Of course I knew that. Menolly would have never said that.

"Dusk, I believe you are right," I mewed sarcastically, but she was oblivious to it, clearly horrified that she had actually spoken her thoughts. It was the first thing she had said to me without spitting at me first.

"I shall gather the other cats, and we will follow them back to where they live," I announced, mentally making a list of the cats who owed me.

A plan was forming.

---

I remember staring at the cats, eyeing them critically.

"Remember your debts," I hissed, and they nodded nervously. "Fight your hardest; this may end badly."

"And why are we going against the Clan cats?" A dark brown tabby queried, his tone rude.

In a flash, he was down at my paws, his throat cut wide open. Another faceless cat.

"Anyone else objects?" I snarled.

The replies were mumbled and scared.

"N-no Shade."

"Of course not."

"Whatever you say, big brother."

"Good," I meowed, flicking my tail. "Be prepared."

---

It was easy to track down the camp. By the time we had reached them, a circle of cats was already formed, ready for us. I smirked. Dusk, who was besides me, was staring at "Rosepaw" as if she could send her a message without speaking.

"Hello," I mewed coolly, "we have some unfinished business."

"I don't know why you're here, but we have no quarrel against you," the ginger tom said clearly. The cats behind murmured and nodded in agreement. Thistledown. He was the leader.

"Oh, but I do," I growled, just for the sake of replying. In a flash, I was on top of him, slashing and biting. The other cats took this as a cue to begin fighting as the ginger tom yowled and flung himself on his back.

"I'm sorry," I heard Dusk mew unhappily over the din as she pinned down the pale ginger she-cat who was standing besides the ginger tom. The flame colored tom yowled, and flipped me onto my back. I was now on the bottom, struggling to break free from his strong grip on my neck. I clawed wildly, and forced him to let go without retracting my claws from his chest.

"No, Firestar!" a voice cried behind us.

I snarled in pain as Firestar buried his claws between my ribs. Neither of us were willing to let go, and we dug further into each other***, until I unsheathed my claws. He went limp, gasping in pain.

"We're not done yet," Firestar hissed and clamped his jaws around my ear. I yowled and shook in off, stars exploding in my eyes as I felt a chunk of my ear ripped away from me. Firestar spat out my ear as I felt blood trickle down the side of my face. We stared at each other for a split second, sizing each other up before flinging ourselves against each other. It seemed like moons, but somehow, I had gained upper paw and was pinning him down.

"I want to see you suffer," I hissed softly, and bent down to finish him off. Firestar yowled in defiance, and ripped at my raw belly. I was flung off, and landed on my side. Blood was dripping from my various wounds.

Blood. Death. Sightless violet eyes. Well done, son. Wetness… from tears or blood?

No, they can't be happening now. I forcefully blocked off the bitter memories, and got up, dizzy from the loss of blood. We circled each other, sizing each other again.

"You're an honorable fighter," I huffed, still trying to regain my breath. I was echoing the words I had spoken to countless of toms, whether they were fighting for themselves or their loved ones.

He grunted, "I can't say that you aren't either."

The battle was taking longer than I expected. Already the stars were dotting the black sky, and I shivered. This was taking too long, and She had disappeared in the mass of fighting cats. Panic rose like bile in my throat. Had She died already from one of my cats before saving me? Was I already alone in this, cruel, dark world of my mind?

With a yowl, I found new strength and pinned Firestar down, digging my claws into his shoulder and biting his neck. A gush of warm blood entered my mouth, but I didn't pause to spit it out. I wasn't as slow as last time. There was no time for formalities; I had to find Her. I glanced at Firestar's solemn green eyes for a heartbeat before lunging for his throat.

Right before I delivered the killing bite, a light weight landed on me, barely unbalancing me. A flicker of annoyance passed through me, and I batted the cat off. To my horror, the offender was her, and I immediately stopped scratching her with my sharp claws. She landed on the ground with a thump, and I turned back to deal with Firestar, but she leaped onto me again. A stinging pain from my tail coursed up my body as sharp teeth bit into it, and I shook her off, getting angrier by each second. I pinned her on the ground, snarling.

"You are worthless," I hissed, and she looked up not at me, but at Firestar, who was still lying at his side, coughing and spitting out blood. Her eyes were narrowed, and she gazed at him with adoration and love.

She loved that cat.

A pool. So dark, so red. Rowan in the middle.

"Well done…son." I shiver. Darkness.

"I may be worthless to you, but you're the one stuck with a face like foxdung," she meowed back. She closed her eyes, waiting for the killing blow. I growled, torn between decisions. I wasn't so sure now.

"You have no honor, chasing around my tail like a cowardly mouse. I should end your life right here, right now." Those words were triggered by confusion, with not a silver of truth in them. She was no coward.

Can't see, can't breathe. Faceless cats. Light, too bright. Can't smell, can't hear. Can't feel.

A savior did not act this way. A savior did not love another besides the one that they were supposed to enlighten. She was suppose to save me, and only me.

I watched as her face quickly changed from acceptance to horror then sickening realization.

She knows now, I rejoiced, she knows who she is now!

"You were my father?" She spluttered, and my heart sank. Her violet eyes, still wide and innocent, caught me off guard as I realized how much they were like mine, yet still so different.

"By blood, yes. Come with me, and you'll be more than a daughter. You are. You are the only one who can help me. Help me, please." I was begging now, and I suppose I looked deranged.

"You're mad," she rasped, gasping under my weight.

"You are my daughter."

"Am I? Well, you're no father to me!" She glanced at Firestar again, who was staring back.

No, no, no. No. This couldn't be happening. I squeezed my eyes shut.

White light. Flashing.

Her. Standing. So much light.

No, she's walking away.

Left alone, dark. So dark.

She wasn't my savior. I was under the illusion of something, or someone who could pull me out, who can catch me while I was falling into the abyss of darkness. Someone who can soothe me, bathe me in their light while melting away the wrongdoings of my history.

"Then you are no daughter of mine either!" I growled, tinges of red coming over my vision. She stared at me the eyes of a frightened kit, not of a savior.

And I knew. I was wrong again.

Nothing left now. Can't see anything.

Left alone, dark. So dark.

Without a second thought, I slashed her body with my long claws.

There. I had committed another sin, another name added to the long list of the ones I murdered.

But this time, she was not a random stranger, someone sent by my master to kill.

She was my daughter.

I stood over her, breathing heavily. But the comprehension sank in, and I was left standing over my daughter's limp body.

"No, no, Shade, what have you done?" Dusk whispered, mostly to herself. She didn't even defend herself as a young tabby raked her shoulder with his claws.

I looked at her, not knowing what my face displayed. Revulsion? Sorrow? Maybe satisfaction?

Nobody can help me now, and I finally understood that.

"Noooo, Rosepaw!" He was a flash of ginger, and suddenly Firestar was suddenly towering over me, his eyes wild with rage.

"You hurt her," he hissed. I stared up at him, unblinking.

I found myself lying again, as smooth as possible. "She was no more than a tick in my pelt. I did what I should have done the moment she was born." I spoke out of anger at myself and self-defense. After all these years, I was still the bumbling coward I was the day before I killed my own father.

Gone, gone, gone. Nothing but fading wisps left.

"Than you deserve to die," he said.

I stared at him, purple meeting dark green.

"I know," I meowed. His eyes flickered with surprise, but he did not hesitate for a moment as he lunged forward and bit my throat. My vision blurred, and a haze of pain clouded over me. So this is how death feels like, forced onto me like how I did to countless others. With the last effort, and turned and tried to meet Rosepaw's eyes, trying to tell her mentally that I was sorry. But instead, I met Dusk's.

She stared at me, and she said something I did not catch. Was it "monster", something that my mother would have said? Or was it along the words of forgiveness? Hate? I never found out. It's probably better for me not too anyways.

The world was fading, and I was released. From this deadweight of a body, from the terrors I had committed, and from the darkness.

I was free.

Finally.

---

The dove never abandoned me. He was on a different tree the whole time. I saw him before I left.

"Well done… my son."

---

So you now know my tale, traveler. You can back away, or try to run. I will not chase after you. It's fine. Before you do, know this.

Judge me now, for what I have done. Judge me now, for in your eyes, I am evil.

Judge me now, for this is my tale. I am not proud of what I have done, and I have treaded into the waters of darkness, the places of no return.

But listen. Judge me. Judge me now, for I am Shade.

---The End---

A/N: Tada! Thank you for reading this. Love it? Hate it? Flame me if you want, just review.

I consider this my most compelling work yet. Reviews are greatly appreciated. I like to thank AquaFreez and everyone who took the time to review this. AquaFreez especially, who gave me the permission to "twist them [her characters] like a pretzel".

Notes:

*= something I've been planning, but at the rate I'm going at, you won't be seeing it for a long time. ]:

**= I swear, that is original.

***= that sounded wrong… oh well, who cares?

Can anybody guess who the dove is? He's very well known in our world, though I think I wrote him very badly. :( Whoever can guess first gets a Blanc pulshie or a lollipop or something.

Eh, I suppose I have to explain a few things before I get a rush of PMs filled with questions (not likely though, considering how much smarter people on FF dot Net are these days from a few years ago).

The reason why I didn't cover Shade's assassin days that much is because this is written on his point of view. He's not ready to spill out his heart to a random traveler (who, if you had noticed, is you, the reader). Even in the Dark Forest or wherever he is, Shade's still learning how to deal with his life on earth and sorting things out.

The italicized random tidbits are from the darker part of his mind. The words "Well done… my son" are important to him, no matter how much in emphasizes how much Rowan wrecked his life. Deep down, really, really, really deep down, he yearns for his father's approval. As you can see, he's still affected by that.

Was Rosepaw actually in his dreams? No, if you read it carefully, you see that in reality that she's scruffier, younger, and less sure, whereas in his dreams, she's a picture of calm and he describes her as his "savior". He becomes so obsessed by the unrealistic idea that she'll save him from the dark and redeem him from his sins that he began to paint an equally unrealistic picture of her.

What did Dusk say before he died? It's called imagination, people. USE IT.

Now, what if he did succeed and managed to capture Rosepaw? Folks, that's for another day, or never. Sorry, but I'm done with Shade. I think I've exploited him.

Okay, now, my loyal minions or (not so loyal minion)s, go and spread da word of Blancy (never call me that, just Blanc)! Remember to read AquaFreez's excellent fanfics. :D If you have more questions, feel free to PM me.