Chapter 1

Jade couldn't believe it, a Mage bearing one of her father's white roses was overtaking their castle. She hid in the shadows as she saw them start to sweep through the castle barely meeting any resistance.

She ran into her father's chambers, her golden honey colored hair falling out of its pins along the way. "Father, we need to leave." She cried as she approached him sitting behind his worktable. "We are being attacked!"

"I know, my child." He said calmly. "This is the way it is supposed to happen."

"What?" Jade cried. "How is this supposed to happen? We need to get out of here before they kill us."

Her father calmly dipped his quill into the ink pot and continued to write. "I think you may be overreacting. I am going to stay, I believe my time has come. If you wish you may flee."

She looked at him surprised by his answer, but she knew her father once he had made up his mind would not change it. Unsure what she should do Jade stood there for a moment watching her father write until she heard sounds coming from the hallway. She tried once more, "Father! We need to leave now." She urged.

"Don't worry about me, My beloved Jade. You flee. I will stay here and try and talk with them." He said in his calm fashion. "Go."

With that strange urging she ran up to the stone wall and uttered a single word and went through the new opening. As the door closed she heard her father whisper, "Remember no matter what happens, I love you."

Tears sprung to her eyes as she began to run as quickly as she could down the passage way. It led her outside the outer wall. She paused briefly to throw up a barrier spell on the door before continuing her flight in the forest.

Her father, High Mage Malici stayed at his desk writing. He only stopped when he came to the end of the page, he looked up to see a very large cloaked figure in the doorway. Malici gestured the figure into the room.

"You finally arrived, Nathan." Malici stated, "It took you long enough."

A bark of laughter came out of the figure. A deep voice growled, "I was unsure of your intentions. You invited me here saying that you thought you could help me. But in order to do so I had to stage an invasion. It left me very confused."

Malici smiled sadly, "For all appearances, it needs to look like you took over, or everyone will wonder why I did not pass the responsibility of this castle to my daughter Jade."

"Why are you not giving her the castle?" the cloaked figure asked.

"She would be overtaken easily despite the fact that she is a brilliant mage. You will understand in time, although you will need to catch her."

"Catch her? What do you mean?" Nathan asked startled.

"She ran away. She seems to think that you are going to kill her." Malici said calmly.

"What? You didn't explain this to your own daughter." Nathan roared.

"No," Malici shook his head, "I will leave that up to you." He muttered a word and the door in the wall opened up. Malici then threw a charm, which the cloaked figure caught easily in a large gloved hand. "That will help you get past her barriers. She is very powerful and I doubt she will like you right off. Be careful of her."

The figure looked over at him sharply to see that Malici was fading away, "Wait…" he called.

"My time has come. Protect my daughter, and this land and maybe your curse may be lifted." Malici said before he faded away completely.

Nathan paused torn between just letting the girl go or going after her and trying to protect her. His curiosity and the old man's promise won and he began to run after her.

Jade ran through the forest blindly, her only thought was to get away. She wasn't quite sure why she felt such fear but she did. This fear kept her running, it also had her activating and bringing up barriers behind her whenever she could. She finally stopped at the big rock face about two miles from the castle. The only way to the top was to climb it but with all the running and spell casting she had been doing she didn't trust herself to do it without a moments rest. Sitting down on a rock Jade stretched her senses back across her trail wondering if anybody had tried to take down her barriers yet. She was amazed to feel a barrier less than a half a mile away fall already. She was surprised it was a hard thing to take down one barrier much less the six that her pursuer would have had to gotten past to be this close to her.

Adrenaline pumped through her body as she climbed up the rock face, looking as quickly as she could for the familiar handholds. She was almost to the top when she heard crashing coming from the forest behind. Jade scrambled up and got to the top of the cliff and peered into the forest. She saw a large cloaked figure coming. That image sent more waves of fear through her and she turned around to flee.

Jade ran until she had a stitch in her side, she knew that she couldn't keep going. She looked for the most climbable tree and scurried up it. When she was comfortable on a high branch she prepared an illusion for her pursuer.

Nathan thought he had her when he approached the rock face. He could see her climbing it. He hoped that he could catch up to her there but somehow she found a burst of speed and gotten ahead of him. He ripped off his gloves, making a face at the claws that were usually hidden underneath. In the back of his mind he could hear a logical voice thinking how climbing was now much easier with these claws. He flew up the rocks much faster than he thought was possible.

At the top his sensitive nose caught her scent again. It had a great deal of fear mixed in with it. He was puzzled, she hadn't even seen him yet and she already feared him.

He quickly followed her trail until it stopped. He stopped and looked around, he saw in his black and white vision a hollow looking woman run off deeper in the forest. He knew that was an illusion. Another thing he wouldn't have been able to tell before, that logical voice commented again.

Making a face, Nathan turned to the tree that he somehow knew she had crawled up. "I know you are up there in that tree, Lady Jade." He called out, "Please come down. I really don't want to climb up and get you."

He heard the crashing of branches as he heard her come down.

"How… how did you know?" she stammered out

He looked at her from underneath his cowl, she was beautiful. It made him wish that he could see in color again. But his sharp eyes saw more than that, they saw how pale her face was, and the beads of sweat that were forming on her forehead.

"I need to take you back to the castle." He told her.

"Don't come near me!" she demanded as she called a spell to her fingertips.

"Don't be hasty, Lady Jade. You're pool of magic is almost gone. I can see you sweating from here. One or two more spells and you may drive yourself unconscious." Nathan said as he tried to calm her down.

"I will not be taken hostage by you." She proclaimed. "Just leave me alone." She raised her hands and threw a lightening attack at him.

He quickly raised his own hands to easily block the spell.

When she saw his clawed hands her face paled even more. "Busenal." She murmured.

He looked down and belatedly realized that he had not replaced his gloves after the climb up the rock face. He grimaced at his thoughtlessness.

"Busenal!" Jade shrieked, "You're a dark mage, turned into a beast because of your lust for power!"

He took a step towards her in an attempt to make her lower her voice, which didn't work.

"Don't come near me!" She shrieked again clearly panicking. Jade conjured another spell to throw at him, when he saw the spell fade away as her eyes rolled up into her head and her knees buckled. She was unconscious on the forest floor seconds later.

'I told her, she was near her limit, but she didn't listen to me.' He thought as he walked up and examined the still form. The pang of hurt that come when he thought about how much he wanted to see colors again formed as he looked at her. He couldn't tell the exact color of her hair in all the grays that were now his world, but he knew it was light. Her face almost looked like a pixie. Nathan put his gloves back on and gently picked her up. With his huge bulk it was an easy task and he had her back within the confines of the castle in no time.

Author's note- Please tell me what you think of this new story. Hopefully you can tell that it has strains of Beauty and the Beast in it. Please review!