Reaching for the Moon

It was a late winter night, though there was no snow on the ground. It was late. Very late, it had to be at least midnight, but it was easy to see, the night sky was clear, the full moon shining brightly in the sky, giving off enough light for one to be able to see for a fair distance in a clear area, but it was certainly still dark enough for those who would hide to easily be able to cling to the dark shadows of the cold forest.

The trees of the forest on the outskirts of Iris Academy weren't totally bare, the leaves have only just started to grow back, but if one were to climb a tree, even in the dead of night as now, they would easily be seen by passers-by. The ground was wet from recently melted snow, though it hadn't snowed in weeks; the daytime air didn't nearly reach the temperature to dry it, it could barely even melt snow for how cool it was. Puddles were abound in the dark, cold forest, and where there wasn't puddles or pools of water, there was mud, and lots of it.

Not that it mattered.

A particularly lively dark shadow practically flew through the swampy midnight forest; small foliage and leafless shrubs crumbled in it's wake as if a bulldozer had gone through them.

Keep running, that's all you can do. You've failed. In more ways than one.

Finally the shadow came to a stop in a small clearing whose ground was covered in wet, muddy leaves, his Falcon Hall school robes were already a sticky, muddy mess, though he had only been in the forest a few minutes; his blue skin was littered with cuts where he had cut through foliage at blinding speed, slight drips of ink-black blood emerged from them, but he didn't seem to notice.

"GAH! WHY? WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN?" He screamed in anguish up to the sky, to the moon, it's unfazed white light mocking him, but there was nothing he could do. What was done was done, and he would never have a chance like he had again.

I'm a fool... I'm such an UNBELIEVABLE fool... DAMN THAT GIRL! DAMN THAT OLD WITCH! DAMN THEM ALL TO HELL! He mentally screamed, unsure of whether or not it was still in his own head, or if he really screamed it. He felt like he heard it, but then, his fingers still felt wet and sticky with blood, and they had long since dried... hadn't they? How long had it been? It felt like it was weeks ago it had happened, but he knew it wasn't, it was only mere minutes ago.

Who AM I? I am Damien Ramsey, a prince among demons. Or I was. No, I was destined to be, it was my birthright. Was... but now, I don't know anymore... I am certainly not a prince of demons, I lost that chance, but I am certainly not anything else... so I am nothing... nothing...

Damien finally lowered his head back to his surroundings; his dismal, wet, dark and muddy surroundings. Fitting it seemed, for one who failed at the simplest and most basic tasks to be thrown into the mud. After quickly scanning his surroundings, Damien spotted a fallen tree, and slowly walked over to it so he could have a seat. Damien's feet sloshed through the disgusting mud-leaf mixture that formed the ground, at the deepest reaching about halfway up his shins, filling his shoes with the icy cold pudding-like mixture, but he didn't care. Damien needed to think now, and his cold, filthy shoes weren't exactly high on the list of what he needed to think about.

Damien finally came to rest on the fallen tree, where he took a few deep breaths and collected his thoughts. It wasn't hard for him to find a place to begin his reflections- the ritual.

There she was, Elena Roberts, the wildseed he had so perfectly manipulated for really so short a time- so naive she was, everyone telling her how horrible he was, all the things he had done the past few years, but like the perfectly kind and innocent girl she was, this only pushed her closer to Damien, thinking she would be the one protecting him, to protest his unfair exclusion and punishment supposedly for being different when she didn't know a damn thing.

So innocent and pure, an eternal light of kindness and virtue emanating from her... always willing to lend a hand or an ear to one in need, even Damien, who, beneath it all, needed nothing but the one thing she absolutely shouldn't have given- her immortal soul- but in the end she did, for one reason or another. She was under the completely ridiculous notion that it might have preserved Damien's own life, but why would she agree to such an outlandish request? An eternal sacrifice, for another mortal's gain? Was that just complete and utter naive foolishness that she would have done it to help anyone, or was she really, truly in love with him, and she would do it for he and only he?

"No! Stop it! This is NOT helping!" Damien shook the thought of her from his head, then re-focusing himself on what had happened. The ritual, right after she made the fateful cut; everything before that was so clear in Damien's memory- the note, the plea, her consent, and the setup. After that seemed... fuzzy. She made the cut, and then he told her the bitter truth. Damien felt her energy seeping into his body, empowering him to new heights he had never known before, and the look of helpless horror on her face, the utter agony and despair and anguish; it was a moment Damien had been waiting most of his life for, revealing his betrayal to his helpless victim, savoring their suffering as he ascended to untold power- but... it was nothing like he imagined.

Even now, as Damien recalled her suffering as her very essence was drained from her body, he felt like his heart had suddenly filled with iron and sank to the bottom of his gut, an ashen taste filled his mouth and he felt nauseous. It was supposed to be a grand conquering moment, but it wasn't. It was supposed to be a turning point in his life, and in a sense it was, just a turn in exactly the wrong direction, straight downward.

"I... this wasn't supposed to happen... I... I can't see her die... anyone else, I don't care, but not her... never her... but now I can't, after I failed her, I'll never get another chance at getting a witch's soul... I've lost, now they all know me for who I am, and I have nothing to show for it... I... I HATE her... but... I care for her... I... I want to be with her... forever, but I so desperately want her to DIE as well... slowly, with that priceless look of helpless agony on her face, knowing this was ALL HER FAULT.

Damien abruptly stood up and screamed at the moon again, this time unleashing a wave of red magic that obliterated everything that was nearby- leaves, his previous seat, even some of the surrounding trees simply disappeared as the massive shockwave passed, but beyond 10 feet or so, it was like a passing wind, just the same as any other.

I... I have nowhere to go now... I certainly can't go back to Iris Academy, Potsdam will be waiting for me and now she's ready for a fight, in my current condition I'm certain to lose that fight... I can't go back to Otherworld, I'd be the laughing stock the moment I arrived there... everything will be lost... no, everything IS lost, it's just right now it's still private...

And then it hit him- he could never go back to Otherworld. He'd be a laughing stock for the rest of his life, as the demon who couldn't take a soul that was literally being given to him. Add to that, he couldn't go back home either, and he certainly couldn't return to Iris Academy. There was nowhere to turn to, he was a fugitive from his own past, everywhere he had been, he could not return to.

But then... I could turn to the humans... they're separated from the magical world, so if I keep a low profile and disguise myself, I should be safe, at least for a time... Damien thought. But that doesn't solve the long-term problem, nor does it give an answer to what -or rather, whom- got me here in the first place. But Elena made it quite clear with what would have been her last breath... she hates me, and for very good reason... the moment she saw me, she'd likely use every spell in her arsenal to make sure I was quite dead... and while I KNOW I can beat her, I certainly can't defeat Potsdam, or Grabiner, and they'd both know the moment I set foot on academy grounds... so... what can I do?

Once more, Damien turned his attention skyward once more, focusing himself on the luminous moon, so alone in the dark sky. Like himself. No, not quite... it was more like...

"The moon... it's beautiful... It reminds me... of her face... and the black sky, her hair..." Damien said, transfixed on the moon, he reached both hands up towards it as if he hoped to grab a hold of it. Damien was so certain he could see her face, staring back at him... was she smiling? Or was she crying? Damien was crying, softly. Quietly, for there was no one left who would listen, so why waste his energy sobbing loudly? Not that he would sob if there was someone to listen... well, maybe just once, right now.

Gone. It's all gone... I am nothing, so... my path is obvious... Damien finally decided, flaring his wings once, then flapping them rapidly to lift himself off, never lowering his hands.

Soon Damien left the forest behind as he ascended rapidly, soon reaching 50 feet... then 100... after a short while, 500 feet in the air. Then, he stopped. He just stopped, and his ascent quickly ceased, and his descent had begun.

I only wish... that I could look upon her once more... and she would look upon me without malice... but there is no forgiving what I've done... I could not become a prince, and I cannot reach the moon...

Damien's descent quickly turned into a rapid plummet, as the upward gust of wind acting against Damien's body caused his straight descent to teeter and spin wildly, but his speed only increased as he continued his descent to the black forest below.

I only wish... I knew what I wanted... what I truly wanted all along, before I fell from her, the luminous, beautiful moon's, shining grace...