The rain had just ended, leaving the exposed rocks slick and the ground soft from the downpour. My clothes were drenched, and the humidity made the warm day miserable. Not that any of that bothered me, I was far too focused on the horror show that was unfolding in front of me. To make matters worse, there was nothing I could do about it.

Five feet away lay the body of someone I could've called brother. Even the grotesque image of his disembodied head was easier to handle than everything else, staring at me with lifeless amber eyes that had a thick circle of dark red along the outer edge of each iris. The searing pain stemming from the massive slash across my shoulder blades stole away most of my concentration, the rest I had to use to keep my composure in front of the monster in front of me.

His leering smile and smug voice was offering me salvation, but I couldn't even begin to consider accepting. To do so would be to betray the family I had grown to love, and would also mean a surrender of self that I could never relent too. I felt his minions pull at my arms a bit harder, which kept the wound open so that I couldn't do anything except witness the show that had been foretold almost a century before I was even born.

Then a lone figure appeared along the tree line behind the monster in front of me. Her presence should've been a release, she should've been my salvation. Instead she signaled the final countdown, the last few minutes of my life. I'd known this moment was coming, I'd been told there was no changing what was inevitable. I'd tried to stop it anyway, and failed.

The woman smiled widely at the man who held me prisoner, then quickly moved into his embrace. I closed my eyes in defeat, until that moment there had been hope in my heart. Then I took a calming breath and opened my eyes. I wasn't going to hide from death, there was no point. Whatever was going to happen, was going to happen. There was literally nothing I could do to stop it. I didn't have long to ponder my future though, because in the next moment they shifted out of their lover's embrace and turned towards me.

"My love, should I give her another chance?" The monster said, and the woman looked at me critically for a second and then shrugged.

"Do as you wish." Her voice was like a sword, piercing me with cold steel. I felt gutted, but I refused to look away. As he smiled viciously and opened his mouth to order his minions to kill me.

Author's Note: This prelude marks the beginning of a project that started last week (6/30/2014). I originally wrote this story three years ago, and it has been sitting on the site for a long time. There are a lot of issues with how I had presented it. First the shifting perspectives made the narrative difficult to follow. Second was the lack of a real ending. When I finished things up, I planned on writing a sequel that never seemed to come together. A few weeks ago I almost wrote an alternate ending to give some closure to the story. Then I started reading.

That was a bad idea.

Re-reading always illuminates the flaws, not just the little details like typos and whatnot, but also the bigger things. For example, there is a chapter that explains one of the main OC's origins that I never posted. There's a plot hole that I simply never addressed that nags at me. Then there is the fact that the story has no real lead up. Also the pace and flow of the story shifts too often because of the constant change in perspectives. Often the same event is covered from multiple perspectives. To make a long story short, this was a story that I'd been wanting to fix up for a long time.

I want to also say up front, there may not ever be more updates. I'm starting the process of editing, revising and rewriting. That doesn't mean I'll finish. What that means going forward is this, if I update this story expect to see many more chapters afterwards. Because I am never going to upload a story unless I'm already finished (or mostly finished) with it. I truly hope in a few months this prelude will be just the start of a much longer story. For now, it's basically a placeholder. For those of you that have read the story before, I've decided to keep first chapter up to preserve the followers, alerts and reviews. For those of you who will be checking out this story for the first time, I recommend you don't read the reviews. Most of the plot that was in the original story will be the same, even if the details are different.

I hope to update soon,

- SM