PROLOGUE

The oldest memory Clare had was the funeral of her mother that she witnessed at the age four.

She was still too small to under stand what was happening, but she did understand one thing, she was never going to see her mother again. It was a horrible thought, and that feeling caused her to wake up from nightmares, feeling like the monsters from her dreams were in the real world and would come to haunt her when she opened her eyes. The same horrible feeling she felt in the bottom of her stomach when she was in a high place and looking down, the idea of what calamity was waiting at the bottom of a dark pit, it terrorized her constantly.

But the most horrible thing was that her father wept.

O'Connell took his daughter's hand in trembling hand, trying to maintain control over the tears in his eyes, they flowed down his face like rivers anyway. Clare was crying also, she embraced his leg and hid her face in the rough fabric of his uniform. The sound of dirt covering the lid of the coffin flowed into their ears making Clare cry even harder. She covered her ears with her hands, even with her eyes firmly closed against her father's leg, she couldn't stand those sounds, they were worse in her nightmares. Now she no longer had a mother, no one to scare away the monsters, not one to say a few comforting words and hold her hand while she went back to sleep without fear. No more all powerful mom to scare away the badness of the dark.

It seemed to be an eternity before Clare dared to uncover her ear and embrace her father again. Many people approached them and gave their condolences to her and her father. The wondered why that every time someone offered "condolences" her father only seemed to become sadder. She was dying to ask, but she was too overwhelmed by sadness and fear and the heavy atmosphere to do so. Even Captain Herman, her godfather, approached them, he did offer condolences like everyone else, he simply placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed firmly before leaving them again, a gesture that O'Connell appeared to be thankful for, she saw the outline of a smile on his face.

Everyone eventually left and Clare and her father were alone against the covered with flowers. Clare had yet to learn to read but even so she could decipher the words on the tombstone: Selina O'Connell.

Below came the dates of birth and death, and under that engraved on gray marble and highlighted in gold was a drawing of her mother's white Pteras, Polaris.

O'Connell took his daughter in his arms, Clare held him around the neck with her arms, and both contemplated the tombstone a few moments. Then, the man turned around and smiled sadly.

"It seems that now it's just the two of us," he muttered, he trembled in her arms, and she felt him start crying on her shoulder. "Clare, I promise everything will be fine," he stuttered.