Chapter 1: Introduction

Ellen lay in her bed pondering on her recent adventures in Doolin finally realizing her entire past. She stared at the ceiling fan that continued to make a whirring sound. She siged, smiling. Maybe she would take a trip back to the netherworld to see...him again. Keats. The writer that helped her along her journey to finding her past. Ellen was Cecila. Her mother changed her name to Ellen to protect her. Her mother...always protected her. The thought comforted her, and made her smile. All the people that helped her, and affected her. Of course people would think she was crazy talking about visiting the realm of the dead, especially in a city that normally never sleeps. She closed her eyes for a moment as she collected her thoughts towards focusing on school. She was currently finishing her education as an English major. Which in turn, entailed a lot of writing. Would she have to go all the way back to Doolin just to visit them again? It would only make sense. People in the city didnt think about dying, or death in general. She rose from her bed walking towards her computer that sat at the desk in the corner of her room. She wondered what Keats was doing...strange...he seemed so familiar now that she thought about it...

Keats sat at his typewriter and continued to type a story for his magazine. Unknown Realms. Strange...he didn't see this place as the netherworld. But it made sense to him...why he would be here. Perhaps he would see Ellen one day. Such a kind hearted soul, that only wanted what was best for Mankind. Otherwise she would have taken the spear out of the Twin Trees. He smiled at that thought. He continued living his days in his office as he did before. Only with a new realization...He belonged in the netherworld. For now at least. Until he was beckoned again...by her. He looked up at the ceiling fan in his room, leaning against his chair placing his arms behind his head, his glasses containing a glare behind them. Ellen...one day Ellen...we shall meet again.

Ellen finished typing her paper for her class that was due in 5 minutes. She gathered her shoulder bag with her books and things, slammed her computer shut and raced out the door. She ran out in the streets...it was raining, cold, and the sky rather glum. Its been 5 years since she had last went to the Netherworld Core, and closed the chapter containing the memories of her past. She then whistled loudly for a cab. It took her a few minutes to get one, but got one to stop eventually. She hopped in the cab.

"To Doolin Villa-" Ellen said as she stopped herself. What was she thinking? Why to Doolin?

"Where to miss?" The cab driver said, rudely interrupting her thoughts. She shook her head trying to gather her thoughts.

"Frostburg University please" She said sweetly.

"Yeah ok..." The guy said not paying attention to her. Ellen shrugged her shoulders.

She then looked out the glass window, as rain droplets fell down on it. Why did she want to go to Doolin? There wasn't anything she needed to do there...was there?

Keats feeling like he needed to break free from the same thing he did in the Netherworld. Decided to gather his things, and go to Doolin...To reflect on the incidents of 5 years ago. He never really gave much thought to Ellen until now...why now all of a sudden? Could she be in trouble? No. Livanes gone now, the Faery Lord died in the Netherworld Core. Scarecrow was also decimated. So why now...was he thinking of her. It continued to bother him, as he sat in his wooden chair feeling unsettled. He grabbed his long purple coat, and walked outside...for the first time in 5 years...Not knowing where the portal to the door would go, at least...this time.

Ellen rushed into her class, now 20 minutes late. "This was not going to go well"...She thought to herself.

She bursted into her class unwillingly, panting frantically. Her teacher glared at her, his glare almost singeing her skin. She stood there embarrassed for a moment, then sat down to listen to the rest of her class.

Having had some time pass as Ellen, was in the middle of taking notes, suddenly she turned the page to her textbook...

It revealed one of the Netherworld doors she had previously been to in Doolin.

Which one was it? Faery Realm? No...this looked like Endless Corridor. She could tell by the detailed anguish in its picture. It began saying something to her...

"Danger...in Netherworld...Help, Ellen." The Folk said to her, as it began reaching for her out of the Netherworld door. Ellen suddenly stricken with fear, closed the text book frantically.

"Ellen, is something wrong?" The teacher said to her concerned for a moment. She shook her head in response, and looked down at the text book.

What could that have possibly meant? The Netherworld shouldn't be in danger...what possible danger could be wreaking in the netherworld? Ellen thought to herself.

She decided to leave class early...something was unsettling about what she had just seen. Things in the Netherworld should only be reached from Doolin village, so how could a message reach her through a hallucination? Let alone a text book? She felt like running, from what, she didn't know...She just kept running, until she ran into someone.

"Oomph" Ellen muttered under her breath as she fell to to the floor.

"You alright there?" A familiar voice said. Ellen's eyes went wide in realization of who she had just ran into.

"KEATS?" Ellen said, rather joyous as she sprung herself up from the ground. He looked away, for a moment allowing whatever sunlight from the gloomy day to catch his glasses.

"What are you doing here?" Ellen asked, curious.

"Eh, I just needed to be out of my office for a change. I've been so busy writing for my magazine I haven't had time for much of anything" Keats replied simply.

Ellen smiled at the sight of him. He looked like someone else she knew from her past but couldn't figure it out.

"Ellen." Keats said to her simply, breaking her thoughts. She looked up to him.

"Has there been any danger recently? Anyone trying to call you? From there..." Keats said, simply already knowing she would understand what he meant.

Her eyes went wide in remembering what she saw in her textbook. The folk trying to get out, warning her and wanting to harm her all at the same time. It didn't make sense. Perhaps now that Livane was gone, she was the person to oversee the netherworld...its up to Ellen now.

"I saw something...in my textbook" Ellen replied to him. He looked at her with concern, ascertaining his unsettiling feeling he had earlier.

"Go on." He said awaiting for her to say more, as to unravel what was going on.

"It was a Folk, from Endless Corridor. He said 'Danger, in the Netherworld...Help Ellen' Then it tried to come out of my textbook and hurt me I think. Thats all I remember." Ellen said looking concerned.

"Keats, do you know of anything going on in the Netherworld? You've been there for 5 years now...heard anything around?" Ellen said to him. Keats merely shrugged his shoulders.

"Just a strange feeling was all" He replied simply to her question.

"How did you get here?" Ellen asked curious, wondering if he came here all the way from Doolin.

"I walked outside my office and this is where it took me. Thats it, I figured it would take me to you. Funny how our lives are always intertwined..eh Ellen?" Keats said wittingly. Ellen looked at him baffled.

"You didn't come from Doolin?" Ellen said alarmed for a moment.

"No, why?" Keats replied. Ellen looked puzzled and alarmed. Could something else be wrong? How was he able to get here? Its not the day of Samhain? Its not any special day? So why...was he able to make it here? Why are there portals of the Netherworld showing up in random places like these?

"Ellen, I'm sure theres a reason for this" Keats said to her attempting to console her, and her thoughts. Ellen looked at him, it was almost like he could read her thoughts. She wondered what 5 years in the Netherworld must of been like for him.

"Yes, your right" Ellen replied shaking away her thoughts.

"Well, its been so long since I've been out here in the real world. Why not go for some coffee? You look exhausted Ellen. You look like you could use some." Keats said warmly and wittingly. Ellen smiled at his attempt to cheer her thoughts. It has been so long since she had seen him anyways.

"EEEEELLEEEEEEN!" A girl yelled. Ellen and Keats turned to look who was yelling for her, both of them alarmed. Ellen then smiled and placed her arm in front of Keats, somehow knowing he would attack.

"HEYYYY POCAHONTAS!" Ellen yelled back to her. Keats looked at Ellen puzzled, and slightly confused. Ellen beckoned her over to her. She started walking towards her. Ellen gave her a warm hug and smiled at her.

"Hey! You miss were late to class! What happened? Did something happen? Or were you just having hallucinations again?" She said to Ellen.

Keats looked at Ellen alarmed. "So, she was having these hallucinations earlier but only told him of one", Keats thought to himself.

Ellen looked at the ground for a moment. Ellen was suddenly ribbed in the cage by her friend.

"Uh hum, you didn't even introduce me to your friend...uhh hes cute!" She said to Ellen having the giggles. Keats merely half smiled at the remark.

"Oh, how rude of me...Keats this is Pocahontas...or Erika. Erika, Keats." Keats offered his hand to shake hers.

"Pleasure to meet you Erika" He said smiling warmly. Erika shook his hand also.

"No, the pleasure is all mine" Erika said smiling warmly at him. Ellen twitched for a second.

"Well, it was nice to meet you Erika...but Ellen and I have some business to attend to" Keats said to her, as they walked away from her.

"Ok bye Ellen! See you soon! It was nice to meet you Keats!" She said, sadly and slightly disappointed.

They walked to a nearby coffee shop that was right next to the campus. They ordered there coffee and sat down next to the window that had rain droplets falling. Keats merely stared at her for a moment, as did Ellen. Then he stared out the window for a moment, hoping to gain his thoughts.

"Whats bothering you Keats?" Ellen said hoping to understand what may be bothering him. He squirmed a bit at her question.

"Just been having strange feelings...rather disturbing and unsettling thoughts...pertaining you and the Netherworld" Keats replied to her, still staring out the window. So he has been thinking about the Netherworld also...Ellen thought to herself. She sipped her coffee allowing the hot drink to soothe her nerves. For some reason, she had so many questions. About how he's been, how has the state of the Netherworld been...seeing as he's been there for 5 years now. Why now does he come out? Did he sense the danger too? Has he been having recent thoughts about the state of the Netherworld? & herself...

Keats looked back at her. Really taking in her features for a moment, she was much older from when he remembered her. Long blonde hair in the same braid she always wore it. Soft skin, with a natural pink blush to her cheeks. Bright blue eyes, still sensitive, warm, and caring. Her chest somewhat more grown out now...and lush pink lips. Back then her lips seemed pale, but now they were warm and soft...and held color to them. Perhaps thats what living in the real world will do then. You age, in the Netherworld...time doesn't really exist. You don't age, don't grow old, and you always look the same. At least thats what he could say about himself...

"What? Keats..." Ellen said, breaking his thoughts.

"Nothing...Ellen" Keats replied simply to her. He grabbed his coffee and sipped it also. She looked at Keats for a moment. 5 years hasn't aged him one bit. His brown shaggy hair, his muscular figure still intact as if the Netherworld only kept him younger, and her...older. His face, narrow, and still youthful looking. Still the same facial hair she remembered and still the same round geeky glasses that told her he was an intellectual person. Unlike her, who was having a hard time keeping up with her classes.

"So, hows the magazine coming along?" Ellen asked hoping to make conversation with him. They never really talked much about each other. He knew all about her, and little about him. Just that he worked for a magazine, named Unknown Realms. Did that magazine even exist? Now remembering it was a magazine for Denizens of the Netherworld. He smirked at her question.

"Eh, its alright...considering no one reads it. Its a magazine for the Netherworld Denizens...Ellen. Did that slip your memory too?" Hoping to make her laugh at his witty comment. She winced for a second at the comment. He realized later, it did the opposite.

"I'm sorry Ellen...I was only...ah, nevermind" Keats said keeping whatever he was about to say to himself. She looked at him...was he trying to make her laugh? Later realizing that. He looked really familiar, but she couldn't pin point who he reminded her of.

"Yes, Ellen?" Keats said, hoping to find out what she was thinking. Keats already knew what he was...a Half Life. He was not a Denizen of the Netherworld, nor a human. He was an image of Ellens drawing of what Herve would look like...if he were to grow older. He knew this once he found her picture in the corner of her room. The magazine he worked for, was not real. It was just something he did, something Herve dreamed of doing...when he was alive. So thats what Keats did. Wrote. & wrote, and wrote. Fufilled whatever dreams Herve had as an aspiring writer. Perhaps Ellen didn't know...

"Nothing its just...Keats, you look really familiar. To be honest I don't know much about you...except for you write in a magazine for the Denizens of the Netherworld. Thats all" Ellen said, curious and disturbed.

"Hm? Does this bother you?" Keats replied.

"Well, you helped me so much...you saved me numerous times, you helped me move forward and find my lost memories. Yet, I know nothing of you or anything about you." Ellen said, saddened by what she said. He could sense her saddness. He looked grim for a moment. Deciding on whether he should tell her the truth...on what he really was.

"Keats...What are you?" Ellen said perturbed by not knowing. It was another truth she needed to know...like she needed to know her past.

"Heh, I'm not really at liberty to say...Ellen. I will tell you, but...now is not the time for you to know" Keats replied to her, affirming his decision. Ellen winced, not understanding why he would not tell her. He does know, and she doesn't. He always knows something that she doesn't.

"Why not?" Ellen said, attempting to not let her emotions show like she did back then.

"Trust me, its not time for you to know yet" Keats said looking into her. Ellen looked outside, still cold and rainy. Perhaps she would go back to Doolin and see everyone. Whatever was happening in the Netherworld was not good...probably worse than before. Maybe the war had started between the realms? Maybe it had something to do with the halflives? She couldn't figure it out. She sipped her coffee as she pondered more and more on what possible dangers could be afflicting them.

Suddenly Keats looked outside and saw the Dreadornaught Folk heading straight for them.

"Ellen! Look out!" Keats yelled as he jumped across the table and pushed her out the way. He held her in his chest as the Folk continued to destroy the coffee shop behind them. Keats looked up, only to see...Folks. All different kinds of Folks, Folks from all the different realms. Endless Corridor, Faery Realm, Netherworld Core, Hellrealm, Undersea Realm, & Warcadia. Massive amounts of Folks. All heading straight for them. Soon the coffee shop, and all buildings were being destroyed. People were running around in mass hysteria.

"Ellen! WE HAVE TO MOVE NOW!" Keats yelled picking her up, into a sprinting run. Ellen looked behind her.

"Oh my God, what is happening?" Ellen muttered under her breath horrified at the sight.

"No time for that, keep running Ellen!" Keats yelled at her, as they kept running for the Folks coming for them. They were in the real world, so neither of them could fight. Keats turned a corner and stopped for breath...only to see a hut glistening in purple light.

"This way Ellen!" Keats said, pulling her towards the hut running as fast as possible. Keats glanced behind him, they were coming and fast. Keats holding onto Ellen, booted the door open as fast as he could and dove in. The door shut automatically behind them. The Folks banging on the door, slashing that sounded like thunder, roars that sounded like millions of dead souls. Keats looked up from the floor.

"Belgae! What is happening here?" Keats said out of breath from running. Man, the real world does catch up with you. Belgae was standing there with his book as usual.

"Someone led the Folks out from all the Realms" He said simply.

"But who?" Ellen asked, arising from Keats grip on her, from the floor.

"I'm not entirely sure, I believe it may have been a halflife" Belgae replied simply.

"Sir Keats, may it have been you?" Belgae said simply.

"Certainly not, someone had to have been more powerful that I to realese this many Folks" Keats replied simply to his question.

"Keats, your a half life? But how?" Ellen asked disturbed by this realization.

"I do not have time to explain this now Ellen" Keats replied shrugging her off.

"What else do you know, Belgae?" Ellen asked curious to know what else he knows.

"Know anything about this half life?" Keats asked him calmly now, ignoring the roaring sounds from outside. Belgae seemed to have looked down at the floor for a moment.

"Charlie" He said simply.

"Charlie?" Both of them said at the same time, puzzled.

"Who's that?" Keats asked.

"Ellen, you know him...you met him at the pub one night" Belgae said to her. Ellen closed her eyes for a moment to attempt to recollect her thoughts on who that may have been.

"YOU MEAN THE SKELATON GUY?" Ellen almost yelled finally realizing who he was.

"Yes. It appears, this has to do with Scarecrows death" Belgae said simply.

"How did he attain that kind of power?" Keats asked him.

"He went seeking the Faery Lord, and Livane. These two were the most powerful people in the Netherworld. They say that once a spirit dies, it dies...but he didn't believe that...and went to the Murk in the Netherworld Core. He found them, and gained their power. I'm still not sure how, but he did. Now your the only other powerful person in the Netherworld Ellen, and he wants revenge for his death. He has an army of Folks, but he seeks further more than just the folks from this world-" Belgae continued to say but was briefly interruppted by the sounds coming from outside.

"Theres not much time to explain, you must go to the Netherworld. I know a safe place for you. Go" Belgae said as he opened the portal to the Netherworld. Keats jumped in first, and Ellen followed behind him.