Again she’d crept out of their bed, nothing but a cloak covering her heavy Victorian dressing gown, the red fabric swirling around the little slippers on her feet as she shuffled through the snow and into the oppressive darkness that covered Poland. Keyon, the largest of her Tibetan Mastiff, ran unleashed at her side, their bodies moving throughout the dark, twisted forestry as it unfurled in their path. It was as if it was warning them. That this time they would not come back out alive. Lachesis was willing to take that risk. She had to know. She had to know what she’d done, what she’d unleashed on the world.

Sonneillon Daemonum didn’t need to come and get her. He had no need of compulsion or spells or even simple commands. Even she could feel the sadness that hung over her forest like a cloud of black sulfur. It called out to the tenderest part of her heart, it made her weep even while she lay sleeping at her husbands side. What could be causing such pain? She’d wondered, curling into a ball, trying her best to block out the emotions that were not her own. The emotions that threatened to consume her. It wasn’t until she’d pin pointed where it was coming from, the little beacon shining from it’s own dark little world; Crying out for help though his lips had not uttered a sound, that she’d even realized it was Sonneillon. The demon of hatred. His heart was breaking.

She hurried, pushing herself faster and faster, tripping over raised roots as the very forest itself beckoned her to stay away, to not come any closer. Entire trees seemed to fall in her path, acting as a barrier. The snow fell faster, harder, pelting her flesh like stones. It stuck to her lashes and blinded her, all of it screaming KEEP OUT! But she wouldn’t listen. She would heed no warning tonight. She just had to know. Her curiosity and constant quest for knowledge would be her ultimate downfall, but she’d survived this far. She’d lived twelve thousand years, surely she could have one more night? Once more she called upon her luck to pull her through.

“Sonneillon.” His name was on her frozen lips as she burst into the clearing, Keyon sliding to a stop at her side. The demon was where he’d been two days ago. In the center, his body once again solid, fed by the anger and hatred that had soaked the ground like blood. Phanuel’s vengeance lived on, only in another form. The demon knelt in the snow, his nearly translucent white hair hanging like a curtain of silk around his solemn features. His skin held a gray cast, spotted by snow flakes that rained upon his face and melted against his feverish flesh. Though it wasn’t his appearance that gave her pause. It was the skeleton he cradled in his arms like a child. It was small, couldn’t have belonged to a person more than fifteen years in age, and yellow with decay. The bones could have been over five hundred years old.

“She was…” He began speaking, his deep voice as normal as she’d ever heard it. The sadness that lay hidden beneath it wrung her heart. The deep monotonous sound of heartbreak and unshed tears nearly made her forget all he’d done to her. “She was everything to me. To us.” he muttered and she almost asked him who he was talking about. That’s when she remembered. A hand lifted to stroke the moist ends of her now red hair. He was talking about Scarlet. Of that she was sure.

“Tell me about her. About…Scarlet.” She said softly and he lifted his head to growl at her, his jaw unhinging as he bared his sharp, pointed teeth. A roar of utter anguish left him, sending fear skittering through her. Keyon growled, barked and snapped at her side, waiting for the command to attack. But she would not send her pet to his death. “Quiet.” She commanded and the Mastiff slipped into silence. Even after all these years she still wasn’t used to seeing it; The ugly side of the Daemonum. The side that both thrilled and frightened her. “I won’t leave you. Just tell me. Tell me who you’re turning me into!” She shouted at him and he turned away from her, his jaw popping back into place with a sickening crack. She watched the bones in his arms glow, an apparition of a flaming haired young girl appearing over it. She had been beautiful from what Lachesis could see. Petite like the goddess herself, but with a mass of red curls, and even though her eyes were firmly shut in death she somehow knew they’d been green.

“Scarlet.” He began, his eyes tracing her form sadly, “Scarlet was everything. After we’d been imprisoned in the tower she was our only connection to the outside world. And we, Richard and I, were in love with her.” He rolled his blue eyes up to catch hers. The unbelievable anguish there stole her breath.

“It wasn’t like what you’re thinking. We we’re merely children, there was no lust involved. But we loved her. We loved everything about her. From the way she moved, to the way she sang and danced. Even the way she lied. We worshiped her like the goddess she was. Scarlet was the daughter of an Englishman who took care of the Tower of London. The man who was supposed to oversee our imprisonment. While she was supposed to be cleaning she’d sneak into our bedroom, bribing the guards so she could bring us trinkets and toys. And when the bastards gave us to little to eat she’d bring us bread and fruit. And water when our throats were so parched we could barely speak. So even you can see why we cherished her so. She was our salvation. Our only light in a bleak existence that we knew would only end in death.” He turned those sad eyes of his out into the distance, tracing the dark night sky as it blended with the heavy snow. “She was with us every night, except for those nights when my uncle Richard came. I’d begged her to stay away. She was so innocent, so pure. She didn’t need to witness what he did to us. Even though she had no carnal knowledge I wanted to protect her from the sight of our own flesh and blood molesting us in our beds.” His teeth clenched and Lachesis wept. She wept for Sonneillon and his baby brother. For Scarlet. Even though the tears she shed would not erase the tarnished memories that haunted him they fell still, unceasingly.

“The last night my uncle was to come for us, he announced it. He told everyone in the tower and made sure they knew he would be there, that he was going to take us away and give us a better life back in Ludlow castle. Only a fool wouldn’t have realized what fate he truly had in store for us. That night Scarlet came, even against my wishes. Smiling as she’d told us to keep our voices low and to hide in the armoire. She swore that she would keep us hidden from our uncle, that she would distract him and make him leave, and then we could escape. Of course we believed her. She was our Scarlet. She could have admitted the sky was falling and we would have taken her words as law.

We could hear his thunderous footsteps as he and his guard climbed the stairs and we hurried into the bottom of the large cabinet as she’d requested, our hopes high that we would finally be free of the bastard we called an uncle. The door opened and through a crack in the heavy mahogany doors I could see her standing there, smiling up at my uncle Richard who so greatly resembled my father I would have sworn his ghost had returned to bid us farewell. When we thought she’d tell them that we’d escaped, or had been kidnapped, some stupid lie that would make them leave, she only stood there. Smiling. ‘Where are they?’ He’d demanded and her grin only grew more twisted, more grotesque. The words that left her lips next will stay with me for all of eternity. ‘What will you give me sire if I tell you where they are?’”

“Oh gods.” Lachesis sobbed, a hand covering her mouth as she tried to quiet herself. She could only imagine what happened next.

“My uncle was not one to be tricked or bribed. He drew his sword and he grabbed her and he told her ‘If you don’t tell me where they are right now I’ll strike you dead!’ And she…” The pain on his face and in his voice was too much to bare as he lifted his hand and pointed towards himself. “And she…She lifted her hand and she pointed right at us.” Tears fell from his eyes, the crystalline blue nearly clear as he bit back sobs. “Oh he killed her anyway, there could be no witnesses to his crime. They pulled us screaming from the armoire. My uncle threw Richard on the bed first. He made me watch. He made. Me. Watch. As he murdered my baby brother in front of me…”

“Edward stop! Please no more.” She sobbed. She knew him. She knew this poor child and the fate she and her sisters had specifically handed him. When she spoke his name his eyes snapped fire. He was furious. And he had every right to be. The corpse in his hands disappeared as if it had never been there and in the milliseconds it would take someone to blink he was behind her. She heard Keyon snapping as he spun on the demon but she couldn’t move to save him, nor herself. His hands flashed as he pulled her head back and drug something sharp across her throat, spilling blood all over them both. He threw her forward into the snow, kneeling over her and gripping a fist full of her hair. Sonneillon lifted the knife to press against her bottom lip, her throat still furiously spewing blood, melting the snow until only deep red craters remained.

“You get me what I want. You kill your bastard husband and hand deliver his throne to me or I will destroy everything you’ve ever loved.” He swore, tossing her limp body backwards into the snow. Her eyes dimmed as the blood loss over came her. The last sound she remembered hearing was that of Keyon, her beloved dog screaming for a savior and the sound of the demons bare feet in the snow as he left her there to bleed to death.


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