Symbols of body, spirit and mind. According to the ancient spirits Phobos' sister of blood would be weaker. Her resistance would flail. She was almost ready to be collected. The spell wouldn't last forever, but Lord Cedric had already set a plan in motion. Prince Phobos could smell the air's clarity. All would be resolved regarding his blood-kin once she had been brought to him. Her coronation would be the crowning glory of her demise as he absorbed the power that had be scandalously purged into her impotent body.

Yes, soon enough Phobos would reign full power, and then he could save and restore. He would collect his new family for his own burdens. The boy of the plant people. The girl who was sent to walk for the castle. One was growing stronger and the other apparently already immortal. Neither of his blood, but what could Phobos do to complain. He was alone, so the Gods had allowed him to create a play-mate. He needed to be cared for, so the Gods had hand-picked a girl to replace his ghastly sister. The Gods had found someone who could take away the emptiness of being alone, and Phobos felt as he had when his mother announced he'd soon have a new sister.

Phobos couldn't wait to meet her.


"You have to go soon Elyon." Elyon Brown pushed her dust-cloth harder against the spines of the books. She didn't want to go. School didn't seem the place it used to be. She felt like she was fading; the world fogging over her as if she never existed. Cedric said it was pressure, but Elyon - thankful as she was that he'd tried to understand - knew it wasn't pressure. Elyon liked pressure. If she had a hundred and one things to do within the hour she felt like it must matter that she did it. That she mattered. But then there was the emptiness of being done. Finished. That after all those things she'd been expected to do, no one cared what she did once the job got done. She became disposable. Elyon had seen Cornelia get upset about Will and Caleb hugging. She'd been in the background. Invisible. No one even cared if she existed at school. "School s important. For now."

For now. That was right. What she did now wouldn't matter soon enough as in three or four years she'd be old enough to leave. Cornelia would go away to college. Irma and Hay Lin would lose contact. Taranee wouldn't help her study when math was starting to overwhelm her. And Will would disappear too. But that didn't necessarily upset her. The standard point was the same though. Nothing she did now would count for anything after school. Most people would fight that she'd get her qualifications. But Elyon wasn't clever. She didn't excel at anything and she had no idea where she wanted to be in ten years time. Wasn't that just pitiful? "Did you ever have a dream job Cedric? What did you want to be?"

"Elyon. As a young boy I only wanted to be one thing." Elyon's eyes traveled to Cedric's back; his plain jeans and baggy white shirt which he tucked in to his belt. His hair hung as always in a thin ponytail, and the straightness and colour lay as a constant reminder to Elyon of Cornelia. That reminder was quickly going sour. "I wanted to be alive. As long as we are alive, we mean something."

It was beautiful. It meant so much and nothing at all, but Elyon couldn't help feeling sad. Life wasn't always good. It could be hard and sad and lonely. But she knew what Cedric meant. It was all about purpose. Needing one. "I think that's beautiful Cedric."

"And what about you?" Elyon's stomach sank as she pushed more books around on their shelves, dusting as she went. "What do you want to be?"

It was a difficult question, but as Elyon refolded her cloth and wiped another spine she smiled. "Important."

"That, my dear, you already are."


"You know, my father doesn't even talk to me, and it's like my mom is from a whole other world. I just don't think I have anything in common with them anymore." Cornelia Hale held the door of Ye Olde Bookstore where it was, a crack open, between the frame and the bell. She could here Elyon's voice ringing out through the large room. Telling the shop owner the things she used to tell Cornelia. "It's like we don't have that thing.. That bond people are meant to share with their family.."

"Hello?" Cornelia had leaned on the door to hear better and the bell had sounded. Heavy footsteps were walking in her direction, and the store owner turned the corner as Cornelia was stepping inside.

"Hi!" Cornelia smiled, her grin was wide and fake, but she knew that the shopkeeper wouldn't know better. She raised her hand in a timid wave as Elyon joined Cedric, looking at her, almost resentfully. It made Cornelia's heart sink that Elyon didn't connect to her anymore, but even Elyon would have noticed the gap pushed between them by Cornelia's looming secrets. Will. Cornelia knew that Elyon thought Will was behind this, and in a way she supposed the girl was right. But it wasn't Will's fault. Cornelia wished she could take back all of the things she'd done to push Will and Elyon apart. The gossip. Matt. "Hi Elyon! You wanna walk to school?"

"I called you the other night.. Your mom said you were out with the other girls?"

Cornelia cursed her mother. Elyon had spoken casually; flicking a stray hair over her shoulders, but Cornelia knew what was in the voice. Fear. Hurt. Rejection. Accusation. "Right! Well.. We had to close a- ah.. There was this.." Cornelia's cheeks warmed a little, and a blush would be spreading over her face in a cool pinkish glow, but Elyon was still waiting, "Eh.. Will's frog was sick."

Not again. Cornelia could only ever get angry when Will was around, but she knew she shouldn't constantly use the redhead as an excuse. Cornelia was quickly filling a deep hole and she knew that Will was already stuck at the bottom of it when it came to Elyon. "Will's frog is a stuffed animal."

"You know.." Cornelia looked down, her skirt blowing slightly in the light breeze that entered the store from the open door behind her. "It wasn't so much of an illness as a washing machine accident.. Heh.. Heh.."

"I.. I have some stuff to do here. See you later?" It was probably a lie, but Cornelia knew she was at bad at fibbing to Elyon as Elyon was to her. She didn't have a right to call Elyon her best friend anymore. Cornelia nodded, feeling her mouth go a little drier as her eyes began to sting. Sometimes she wished none of this had ever happened.