-Somewhere in England, 1612-
A man sat, his face in shadow, behind a large desk, his expensive, blood red garments giving the impression of great wealth. A second man, seeming to be in his late forties, was on his knees before this great desk, three guards stationed around him.
"Your debt is months overdue, my dear man. The time has come for you to pay," a deep, gravelly voice said, coming from the shadowed man.
The older man shook visibly, sweat beading on his brow. "I…I have nothing to give, my Lord Balian. We have even less money than we did when I borrowed form you…."
"That is no concern of mine," the lord answered in a calm, icy voice, ruffling a set of papers on his desk that were the man's file. "The debt must be paid."
He lifted the file to read it better, face still completely in shadow, as he read it, then turned the page and seemed to freeze, staring at it. Almost five full minutes later, he tossed the file on the ground in front of the older man, the page showing being a painting and profile for a young boy with extremely long brown hair and gleaming crimson eyes.
"Him. Give me him as payment," the lord stated voice still cold.
The man gasped and stared in horror at the file. "B-but, my lord! That is Silas! My…my son! He is-"
The lord's mouth turned up in an unseen smirk, though it was visible in his voice. "All. You. Have. Left. He is your most precious belonging. The ONLY thing you have left to pay me with," Balian purred, knowing it was true.
The old man continued staring at the shadow, still not able to see the man's face, yet his eyes were pleading. "Please! Take my house! Take me! I can work! Anything but my Silas!"
Lord Balian made a dismissing gesture with his hand. "I have no use for a run down old hovel of a farm house, nor for the rundown old man that lives there. Give me the boy. That is all I will take."
The old man began to cry slowly, realizing there was virtually nothing he could do. "M-my Silas…my boy…" he whimpered, face in his hands.
Slight chuckling came from the shadow of the lord, and the lord waved a gloved hand to dismiss the man. I shall see you on the morrow, . Bring good Silas with you, or I shall destroy everything you hold dear. And that includes him."
Eighteen year old Silas Averheart sat at the kitchen table in his and his father's run down cottage. His worried crimson eyes gazed out of the window at the darkening sky. Night was falling, and his father had yet to return. Sometimes Silas worried for his elderly father, for though the man himself was not the focus of scorn, Silas most assuredly was.
He kept his hair long, even though it was illegal for men to have long hair in these times, and his eyes were a deep crimson red. These red eyes brought fear to his church-loving community.
"It is not natural. The Devil's color, they flash. Behind that beauty is a demon."
"He never goes after the women."
"...always has his nose in some book…"
"So quiet. He doesn't hunt or do any sports."
"Does he even have any friends?"
"Not natural...not natural..."
Despite this, Silas was not a bad person. He was, however, somewhat anti-social. He preferred to stay in and indulge in a good book, rather than go out and hunt innocent animals that he had nothing against.
He valued knowledge over physical strength, and was very slim, along with having rather sharp, planed, yet soft, facial features that made him look like the scholar he was. These looks made him look more "pretty" than "manly" and yet it didn't stop some women from pursuing him.
Silas was gentle and very caring by nature, though when made truly angry or hurt; his temper was a force to be reckoned with, his intelligent words and keen observations about a person's character, or lack thereof, which were always correct, were enough to make most people wish they were never born.
Many young and old boys had seen the truth of this after trying to make fun of his figure, facial features, or hobbies. Earlier, he had gotten back from town to see that his father was gone; leaving a note saying he had some business to take car of and would be back before dark.
Silas was worried because the old man was not back yet, and pulled on his cowled riding cape, ready to go out and search for him. That was when he heard the hoof beats of the horse his father had taken, and rushed outside to greet the man.
"Father! I am pleased to see you have arrived back safely! I was about to ride out to find you," the young man said kindly, helping his father dismount the solid, obsidian black stallion he had been riding.
"Ah…oh really? I am sorry to have worried you, my dear boy," his father said in a trembling, quiet voice.
Silas stroked the horse's mane and observed his father through soft crimson eyes.
"Father? Is there something wrong?" Silas asked hesitantly, seeing how defeated and tormented his guardian's eyes were when he looked at him.
His father froze, eyes becoming teary. "Oh, Silas….my BOY. I'm so sorry! Forgive me!" he moaned in despair, legs giving out.
The teen immediately rushed to his side. "Oh my God! Father? Are you unwell? Here, let's get you inside," he murmured, slipping an arm around the man's waist and putting his arm over his shoulder.
Not being particularly strong, it was a bit of struggle to get his much larger guardian inside, but he managed to do so, sitting the man down in a chair. He was sweating lightly, but was much more worried about his father than himself.
Silas wet a rag and wiped away the other man's sweat form his brow, but his father suddenly grabbed his hand and shook his head, causing Silas to jump in surprise.
"No. Do not help this man who had wronged you so," he said, confusing Silas extremely.
"But you have been nothing but kind to me my entire life, father," he answered quietly, reaching once more to wipe his father's brow.
It was then that, although he hated himself for it, and thought very assuredly that Silas would as well, he told Silas what happened. Throughout the entire tale, Silas eyes remained wide, and switched more than once between green and red, which was used to.
When the story was all said and done, Silas clenched his fists and bowed his head, trembling slightly. "I understand, father. There was and is no other choice…" he muttered, voice shaking lightly in fear, yet it was accepting. There was no anger in his tone.
Silas understood, and what's more, he felt responsible. Half of the loan money his father had borrowed had gone to his education.
His father saw that look and bit his lip, reaching out to take Silas' hand. "No! I can't! I won't let them! Take Blazon! He's a good horse; he'll get you very far, very fast. Go!"
The brown haired boy smiled sweetly at his father. "No, father. I cannot. They would come after you, as well as me, then. I could never let this happen if I know there is a way to stop it. I'll go," he said, and though that smile was still on his face, his red eyes were lacking in emotion.
He bowed to his father. "I shall go and collect my essentials," he murmured, letting go of the old man's hand and going to his room.
He wasn't angry. Really he wasn't. He was just….afraid.
No one had ever seen Lord Balian's face. Nor his father's, or even his grandfather's. The lord covered every visible part of his body, no matter how hot it was outside; even cover his hands with gloves, and at times where it was essential to speak face to face, a silver mask covering his entire face.
Balian Calervan was one of the most powerful nobles in England, but he lived far away form society in a castle, in the Recveral Woods, which were said to be haunted. He was also…one of the most powerful loan sharks in England.
He would give you whatever you needed, but in return his asked almost ten times what he gave you. The man was cruel.
All of these thoughts were going through poor Silas' head as he packed a small suitcase with an extra outfit, a few of his favorite novels, an extra pair of shoes, and a large gold pendant on a delicate chain.
This was the one thing he had left of his deceased mother.
His mother, Belle, had been very pretty, and he was often told he looked and even acted a lot like her, that she had had a strange love of books as well. She had died giving birth to him.
Dread was filling his heart, and his stroked the golden pendant, tracing the ridges of the dragon engraved there. "I am making the right choice…right, mother?" he whispered in a scared tone.
A light feeling, just barely a whisper, of hope seemed to seep from the gold and into his finger tips. He sighed and smiled lightly, though his eyes were still sad.