The snow always fell in whispering flakes, swinging down like drunken ladies, landing and piling everywhere it could. Winter's beautiful kiss dusted twisted metal and jagged skylines, broken concrete and those that lay in rotting death. The streets, lined with bodies of what once were, what once was, lay silent and ignorant of the world. Somewhere beyond a veil unseen, their owners whispered like the snow, sad and lonely, lost and cold. Day and evening blended into something unrecognizable, a long-stretching twilight that satisfied both nocturne and diurnal. Whatever twitched, their movement echoed; there was no silence but the odd blow of breeze, and somewhere far off, the whistle of a long, straining train.

It was a surprise that the area's tracks still worked.

With the wind came footsteps, two sets — four-legged and two. They padded, slowly, against beaten sidewalks, avoiding crumpled heaps that were better left unexplained and undisturbed. Not all of the bodies that littered the ground were obvious, and stepping into the frozen ribcage of some lost soul was unwanted. The barren bones reminded the two walkers of their own, with ribs that pressed against scarred, frostbitten skin, the great beast of hunger gnawing at their guts. There was no remorse for the actual person, not anymore; the dead were the dead. They were numerous, they were unpleasant, but the dead were the dead.

The one on two legs shifted the gear on her back. All of her belongings were in one backpack, growing heavier under a malnourished frame. In one hand, there was a Bowie knife — visible to all whenever possible — and by her side, a dog. A black-and-white dog of Irish markings, he was some sort of husky crossbreed she had found tied up and dying in a long-abandoned kennel. He was the only one that breathed, whimpering in the cold, the four bodies of his kennelmates lying beneath their coffins of thin snow. That had been when she had first set off on her own, after her family had been lost to the winter.

She looked down to the dog, now called Dragon. He had earned that name savagely, teeth flashing, jaws snapping, and despite being punched and kicked repeatedly by whatever foe came at him. All throats were Dragon's to tear if needed, but he always plodded back to his shaken mistress; he would be there, tail wagging, eyes comforting. He washed her tears with a bloody tongue; "Don't be scared," was what the crossbreed told with a few, simple licks. "I'm here. The dog's here."

The dog was there, and so was she, even if the world seemed lost and dead. Everything was covered in a grey haze; it had been in such a state that for some time. Nobody had expected the world to set itself on fire, bombarded with weapons of such massive awe and power, the world sickened and dead from its people's own hate and greed. Now, what once could be called Eden was Purgatory, for her and the rest of her selfish, sadistic race, with no place to grow food and no clean water to drink. It was why many had sought the embrace of death.

She was stronger than that. She had continued on, even after the loss of her father in the old wars, the death of her mother by sickness brought in its wake. Her brother, her last protector, had taken her little sister on a desperate attempt across the sea, towards stories of warmer climates and some semblance of bounty. She had stayed behind, perhaps foolishly, out of nostalgia and love for a country that no longer had a pulse. He had begged her to think otherwise, called her foolish for it; she rebuked his words, called him foolish. Within both, sadness and tinges of regret lingered for such comments.

Once, her name would have been called Louise Hamilton. Daughter of an officer in a military long disbanded and dead, and of a housewife typical in every sense of the word, she was now but a wandering figure upon the lost world. Somewhere, anywhere she was going, searching for that speck of green on whatever was left of her precious blue dot. They had called her "Lou" for short, and she remembered that name being spoken during happy, if tense, times — birthday parties and summer vacations, graduations and achievements she had worked so hard for.

That name did not belong anymore. After leaving her remaining family, after travelling for so long with only Dragon as a companion, she had found another name: Luna. It was a name for the moon, which managed to shine through some nights, silver and mysterious in the faraway sky. Some said that the moon induced a craziness, lunacy, in certain people; considering her odd, overtly exuberant nature, which sometimes poked through holes in a stoic face adopted, she felt it was fitting. It was like her name of old, yet carried newness, a purpose to it, and so long as she chose the life she chose, it would be her identifier.

Luna Hamilton, formerly Louise Hamilton, lifted her head to listen to the long cry of the train again. It didn't sound far.

End Prelude

The World of Darkness copyright White Wolf Publishing

Luna Hamilton, Dragon and other OC characters copyright me