One of my favorite characters, meaning you won't see much of him posted ANYWHERE. His name means Moon beams. As you can tell, I named him so that a play of words could be nearly endless and all quite fiting to his character. He is the Lord of Ruin (a powerful warlord), Lord Rue (for his miserably unhappy disposition), & Moon beams (which only tells you where his magic lies; I promise no one says it to his face unless they are calling him by his chosen name: Rue'hine). No, I didn't draw this picture...
LORD RUIN a.k.a. RUE'HINE (prolog only)
Broken images plagued the broken mind springing into awareness. A fierce headache accompanied these thoughts…a headache...and nothingness. There was no sense of awareness belonging to the body he inhabited. No sense of familiarity, yet the images frightened. People being tortured, slaughtered, or chopped to pieces and not dying! Perhaps it was the sheer brutality being inflicted...Or perhaps, it was the fact that so many of these tortured souls didn't seem able to die! Death was a release that they were not allowed. The images tore through a mind drenched in agony! A hoarse scream sounded forcing awareness into the blind eyes. Suddenly, the world became very clear.
Light blazed making the figure on his hands and knees wince. A raw sound scratched at a dry throat and the creature didn't even recognize his own voice. Sounds of people over the hill caused him a great deal of distress and terror. But an even closer sound caused the figure to whirl around and stare at a child! The tiny boy eyed him warily. His white hair and skin clashed with his wide, black eyes. It made them look enormous! The light hurt, so he closed them. A tiny hand made him flinch away in fear. The boy frowned at him and ran...
Fear blanked his mind as an older guy came up to grab the little kid. He sighed as he slipped back into the cool safety of darkness. But the dark didn't stay safe. The images returned full force. His body seized up in terror as gentle hands lifted him, but his mind didn't feel it. It only felt the exquisite agony of mental torment! The little boy cried as he followed his father.
The villagers all stared in concern as they passed...as he was returned to the darkness of solitude to hide away in his mind once more...
A sixteen-year-old To'Shilee warrior was hurrying up through the forest. Luc stopped his hunting party with only a raised hand. The white hair and skin of the boy drew everyone's vacant, blank eyes. The To'Shilee stopped in wary discomfort. The strange boys among Luc's group bothered him. All of them looked alike the To'Shilee, but Burrin knew it was an illusion. He approached more slowly. Unlike most of his village, Burrin saw the black hair, or green eyes, or darker peach to tan coloration. These creatures did not belong. They had chosen the To'Shilee people to protect them...to hide them from harm. Luc had brought them here...and Burrin's family had long ago adopted Luc as one of their own. The thought terrified him! These things were deadly, yet they slept in some kind of trance.
"One of your boys is having problems," he stated softly.
Luc frowned. "Problems,” he asked. “What do you mean?"
"Not nightmares. All of them have those, but he...he stumbled while doing an errand." The To'Shilee shrugged his shoulders in helplessness. He was at a loss to understand. "He looked up frightened, and screamed. No one knew what to do! He looked around like he couldn't remember where he was. He flinched when touched. He is sleeping right now. I think he passed out."
Luc scattered the unit into the trees. They moved with the silent efficiency of a military, assassination squad. Yet most of them only looked about six to eight-years-old. It was chilling to watch. They were only hunting game!
"I will return with you! Maybe I can see what is happening. I am sure he is fine. Sometimes the nightmares disturb them during the daylight," he said sadly. Burrin nodded and hurried after him. Luc's eyes bothered him more than the blank stares of his boy's eyes. His eyes saw hell!
Sick fear churned his stomach and turned his tongue bitter. He sat silent and still staring into Lucacine's eyes. Only his eyes! Below his throat, he did not exist. His body lay in tiny bits all along the dusty, red clay. Just bloody, little lumps! Yet his dark eyes streamed with tears of pain and confusion.
A hooded man knelt there beside him. His blank, brown eyes stared at nothing. His vacant, tan face was nondescript and oddly streaked with similar paths of liquid. His lanky, brown hair was hidden beneath the hood of the concealing cape. He was crying, too, but otherwise could have been nothing but a living puppet. Fear lived and breathed in this darkened plane.
Two men stood behind him arguing...a younger boy hid nearby shaking in sick horror as his eyes looked upon Lucacine's ruined form. The men's faces were a blur that he could not remember as they continued to shout angrily. His mind refused to see them, but he knew their faces better than he knew his own...Still, he could hear their words!
"Stop this, now!" 'Don't you see... ?’ "Clearly, I do! Better than you, it seems..." 'Tears!' "Don't do this..." 'It means that he still isn't broken!' "Good!" 'He disobeys me...' "Do you blame him?" 'I won't allow it!' "Monster, that child loves you!" 'Does he? Why does he disobey my every command?' "Look at what you ask him to do!" 'I ask nothing that I would not do myself...' "And that should comfort me?!" 'What are you saying?' "....." 'Do you wish to challenge my actions?' "....." 'Why does he only cry when I hurt this one?' "Are you mad? It is his brother, for God's sake!" 'Don't speak of God to me, you insolent fool!’
Crying sounds of pain rend the air. They become more and more awful. These are the noises of the night. The sounds they live with constantly. The smell of death, the look of blood, and the sound of sickened screams! If you protest, you are hurt for it. If you scream, it only gets worse. If you sit still, no one notices you. You hope!
"No!" A hand automatically tightens down as he tries to move away. He stills in sudden fear. His eyes see Lucacine, but his mind refuses to believe that death isn't lurking in the shadows nearby. "Look at me," he snarls and he does. His eyes had wandered to take in the pale boy behind him, but the order snaps him to attention.
"Luc," his shaky voice whispers. Lucacine's face tightens. "Where are we? Where is he?" Fear causes him to curl up tightly. He rocks mindlessly as his eyes see horrors that only exist for him. Horrors others have witnessed, too.
Luc sighed watching him slip away with a regretful look. Burrin knelt down to his side cautiously. "Is he in pain? Luc..."
"Yes," he whispers softly. "He is...in pain."
"What do we do?" He glanced at the boy as a soft moan of fear makes him shiver. "What is wrong with him?"
"Everything," he answered solemnly. “It is in his mind. Only he can deal with this."
"Will it kill him?" The boy didn't look very healthy. His face was a shade of gray. His skin was damp with sweat. He was also shivering violently and breathing sporadically.
"Maybe...I have seen grown men die of fright alone." Burrin tensed. Die, of fright? "Come, Burrin. There is nothing that can be done. Keep as many people as you can away from him! I don't want them to frighten him, or him to attack anyone. Better to be safe. He is so confused right now," Luc advised solemnly.
"But Luc...," the boy protested. He caught up to him outside. "I don't understand! What scared him? He was fine this morning." He thought he heard a muttered 'was he', but pressed on. "Did something happen that I am not aware of? Something that triggered this...Is he psychic, Luc," he asked softly forcing an answer this time.
"We all are," Luc replied softly. The answer shocked him. He was stunned just to hear him finally admit it to anyone. "You already know, Burrin..."
"What happened to him? Why is he like this?"
"Terror..." Luc continued walking and he expected him to drop the subject. "Fear has blanked out their minds. If immortals cannot die, they can at least forget. It is a defensive tactic." Burrin had to hurry to catch up to him. "Too much terror...too much pain...causes a type of trance. Few people ever wake from it. The ones that do have...blank spots," he said frowning.
"Amnesia...," Burrin added. It was what Luc had when they had found him wandering. Had, he thought, because Burrin saw his face when he thought no one was looking. He knew Luc might not remember everything, but enough to make him bitter, sad and angry. Just enough to hurt!
Luc frowned and nodded. "Amnesia," he curled his upper lip over the word distastefully. "Trouble is...I know each one of these boys by heart. And I do not know them at all. Who or what they were before..."
"Before what," Burrin urged him.
"He came..." With a glare at Burrin's mouth as it formed more questions, Luc moved off to rejoin his hunting expedition. Burrin hesitated. Luc scared him when he was angry, and clearly he had said enough!
"But who is he," Burrin whispered to the wind. There were close to two-hundred broken boys living among the To'Shilee's three, largest villages. Who could have terrified so many people? Had he raised them from infancy and taught them to be so afraid? Or worse…Had he taken them as adults, and terrified fully, grown men so badly that their sub-consciousness had splintered into these things. Forcing them to take the forms of children because they no longer knew what they were, or who. Why? For the mindless, military drones that now operated under Luc's orders? And just who the hell was Luc, he worried not for the first time...
Fighting the nondescript, brown man woke his senses suddenly! The warrior was far better than this, yet he refused to strike a deathblow. "Look at me, old one. I have yet to kill an ancient. There is no desire in me to do so now." He frowned.
"Dante," he whispered. The brown eyes focused on him.
"Careful, old ally. I might believe you live," he teased tensely. He looked around strangely disoriented. "We are alone. You always were the best of the best."
"Nearby. If we run, we can make it."
"You can make it," he challenged.
"Come with me. I am terrified of being alone!"
"No...for you...alone is safest! I am a walking time-bomb...I cannot fight your father."
Dante looked angry. "You fight him now!"
"No. I fight you! And you want me awake..." Dante's brown eyes widened. It was true that Dane had given his eldest son control of most of the ancients under his power. Enslaved warlords, all of them, and he couldn't argue with his logic...It was probably true.
"Help me! Please...If he catches me..." His punishment would be more brutal than anything his father had yet done. Dane had never sexually abused his sons. He had others do it, but never personally. For this...Who knew where he would draw the line?
"Go! I will follow you...At a distance..." So he could pretend to be following him and not betray his master unless necessary. "Go! Now," he screamed. Dante ran. Oddly, his mind wanted to see Dante as a very, young child. He couldn't remember why. He kept seeing the face of a very young, very frightened child...not the fierce and deadly warrior fleeing before him now.
Suddenly, Brue'jinn leapt out of the shadows screaming, "Run, my prince! I will hold him..." He attacked.
Blades sliced the air and met ringing out clearly along the silent expanse of desert. Brue'jinn was better than any of the warlords when he was aware of himself. He was the best, because he was often awake. This was because he fought better than Dane who controlled them all, but he found himself falling back before the skill of the man he faced. He fought like an amateur against this warlord! He saw the fear blossom on the ancient's face, and smiled..."Good Gods! You are awake," Brue hissed astounded.
"Am I," he asked of him sarcastically. Brue'jinn paled suddenly seeking a way to escape. He sighed. This battle was great fun, but the Death Horde was closing in on them fast. "Strike me down, boy,” he ordered him ruthlessly. “Strike at me hard…swift!" Brue flinched at his tone and struck to counter what he thought was surely his own death.
The sword bit deeply into his ribs...Brue'jinn stumbled back looking shocked that he was unhurt. He had willingly taken a killing blow, but it would not kill him...he wasn't a mortal. He sank to his knees. "Now go...and save him." Brue turned and stumbled away, grateful beyond words. Funny, he thought to himself, Brue'jinn hadn't been afraid until he had seen a soul flickering within the depths of his eyes. Dante had called him an ancient.
The lead warrior coming over the hill was much too close to the fleeing one following his friend ahead. He let the man come to him. Just when he was about to run by blindly, he twisted up on his heels turning as he impaled the warrior on his blade. Then, he sliced his throat just to be certain. He paused, hesitating mid-swing before continuing the stroke. For just a second, the eyes had focused on his face in startled recognition. Had he imagined it? The warrior died at his feet with him still wondering.
The next group came over the hill far more slowly. They were expecting his attack. Dane had used his puppet's eyes to warn them. As these approached, he noted the red flame of Dane's soul burning in their eyes. Possessed, he realized...The thought alone left him cold and aching with betrayal. He turned away from them and knelt in complete submission. Fighting further was useless. His sword dropped to his feet in the dust. Something about the dead man's eyes caught him up...Held him, still wondering why he felt he knew him.
Burrin was the only one in the room with him when he awoke. Carefully, he moved quietly so he didn't waken the child. He studied the young man's face, and slid the sword away from the kid's hands taking it for his own. It made him feel much safer. Yet the boy's very whiteness scared him. Dane had always had two white men...his companion and a young boy. Did he keep more now? Burrin's eyes had been rather innocent. Perhaps he was someone else, someone not of the Death Horde. Yet the sword and empty room stated clearly that he was guarding him. Protecting? Or imprisoning? There was one way to know for certain. Brue'jinn had been afraid. That scene was the last clear image of his life. How long ago had he gone permanently asleep? He slid outside silently without waking the kid.
A dark moon hung over him. Another was orange-red just to the right. It was his moon. It would guide him. He knew this but wasn't certain of why. The village slept but sentries would be alert in the surrounding trees. He fled like moonlight of obstacles...to the right and his moon. No one sounded an alarm. He clasped Burrin's sword tighter and disappeared into the night.
Miles and miles away, he stopped as a twig snapped. A To'Shilee in strange apparel stepped out from behind a tree. "Rune," the boy said casually to him, "where is Luc?" The boy stood there silently without answering him.
Rune, the boy, winced a tiny bit as his head threatened to explode in pain. He gripped the sword tighter. "What is wrong? Did Luc send you? Has something happened to him?" The To'Shilee drew nearer unaware of his danger. He wasn't trained well enough to be a real To'Shilee he thought in disdain. It also confused him.
"Step aside, Remy," he jumped as he heard Lucacine's soft voice from behind him. "Rune is not himself at the moment."
Remy didn't look afraid. Instead, he looked...more or less...confused. "I don't understand," Remy whispered but he did move a step back and to the side regardless, trusting Luc's words.
"That is obvious," Rune stated plainly not knowing how to take this strange, new individual. He saw Remy's eyes widen with sudden fear. "And you," he called back to Lucacine, "your comment is debatable!"
"Are you not Dane? That would be a pleasant surprise for us all..." Luc stepped out of the trees behind Remy casually, but his angry eyes saw everything around them. "I cannot let you return to him, Rune. I am sorry."
"Return," he stated subdued at last. The boy looked back towards the village searching with his powers rather than his eyesight. "He isn't here," he whispered astounded. He frowned, confused beyond words. "The Horde is here, but not Death...Why, Luc? What have you done," he asked in fear.
Lucacine pulled Remy behind him when he saw Rune tense. The boy's eyes widened as he noticed. He heard Luc's breath hesitate in his chest. It was then that he knew he had an incredible bargaining chip. "Leave Remy out of this," Luc hissed suddenly too angry with him to take any chances. He had caught the look of awareness in Rune's eyes.
"Why? You love him...That is a powerful tool for me to use! I need all I can get at the moment," the boy stated softly. "I want to leave, Lucacine!"
"No," his answer was swift and firm. "This is still my army...and you belong to me!" Rune flinched at his tone. "You cannot leave, but I dislike forcing you to stay like this, Rune," he said more softly seeing the boy's reaction. "I need you here!"
"Why," Rune nearly pleaded when he asked. He didn't understand what was going on! "If you are in charge, why can't I leave here?" His entire body went numb. Had Dane convinced his youngest son to join him, he wondered hoping he was wrong. Obviously, he had been given to this child at some point. After Dante fled? Had he even lived?
"Dane searches for us," Lucacine tried to explain wanting him to understand, wanting his willing help in this. He did not like having to force them to remain. "I have the aid of a powerful psychic and the To'Shilee's natural, magical barriers to keep us from being seen. But if you leave this place, these areas that are considered safe for us..."
"He will know," Rune finished for him grateful that he really was wrong this once. "How did you arrange for all of this without his knowledge," he asked amazed. Remy backed up finally realizing that he did not know who was speaking to them. Rune gave him a tight little smile. It made him look cruel, he knew. The little cat gasped in fright.
"I didn't! I was just as clueless as you," he stated sympathetically. "I couldn't remember anything when I first woke up, either."
"Did Dante and Brue'jinn escape," he had to ask.
Luc frowned at him thoughtfully. "I don't know what you are talking about." Rune stepped back away from them coldly. He lied! "Really, Rune, I have no idea what you mean! Don't look at me like that! My brother was long gone from the horde when I was born...Why would you ask me that? When would I have seen him?" Rune stared at him in complete shock. He sounded sincere.
"You do not remember him..."
Lucacine narrowed his eyes in suspicion. "No, but that does not mean that it did not happen. I remember very little of my childhood...Are you saying Dante knew me...personally," he whispered asking in disbelief. The cold hatred in those words should have warned Rune not to answer.
"He knew you well! Only hurting you ever hurt him by the time I was taken." He paused when he saw Luc flinch and pale swaying slightly.
"Then, I have even more reason to hate him...don't I?" He turned and walked away leaving Remy alone with him. He frowned seeing how shaken he was. He had left a loved one with a possible enemy and hadn't noticed, at all. He wasn't happy about being so casually dismissed. Rune noted that Remy was watching his face rather carefully. Such a rookie mistake, he thought wanting to take advantage of it.
Remy surprised him by stepping in closer. He stopped when Rune tightened his hand on the sword hilt warily. His black To'Shilee eyes met his gaze fearlessly earning a small measure of respect. "Luc escaped to come to me...I needed him...I was in a lot of trouble. Dane couldn't catch him, and he tried hard." Rune nodded impressed that the young Luc had been able to do such an incredible thing. "He forced Dante to use himself as bait to get Lucacine back. When Luc went in to save him, Dane sprung his trap...The punishment was...severe...Yet he let Dante walk away."
Rune shook his head knowing that wasn't true. "I cannot imagine Dante willingly hurting his brother," he stated rather coldly. "You did not see what I saw. He loved him...only him among the Horde. Dante hated his father, and sympathized with the ancient slaves he kept bound to him. Yet nothing could break Dane's hold on his mind. His father shouldn't have pushed. He ran to save Lucacine!"
Remy frowned puzzled. "Dane must have found him. He did trap Luc! To gain his own freedom; I was there! And I saw it..."
"You saw what the Death Lord wanted you to see, boy. He is a clever master of trickery! Dante would not have used his brother in such a fashion...He would have died to save Luc from abuse. You didn't know him! Obviously, you never met the real man I speak of...," he swore fiercely at him.
Remy sighed seeing his belief was complete. "I never met him. Not once..."
"Are you certain it was Dante you saw that day? Perhaps he used his twin to trap him, instead...Or Dante was not himself at the time," he suggested. A harsh gasp accompanied his words. He turned to see Luc standing at the edge of the trees silently. The kid was good that he hadn't known he was there.
"A twin...I have two brothers," he asked strangled.
Rune focused forcing the information from his traumatized brain. It was on the tip of his tongue. What was the other one's name? Dante Daemon...The little white child had been called Singu...a darker boy...he was Antonie Dunner...Then, the twin...The silent, angry, cold twin..."Donovin Vin'di," he recalled as his head finally ripped down the center. "Antonie helped him escape...as a child...all of them." He sank to his knees moaning in pain. No one moved. "Dane caught Dante and Sing...He punished them..." He closed his eyes feeling sick. Remy caught hold of him, and his relaxed into the boy's touch. He sighed letting a more solemn Luc disarm him. For a second, he was grateful for the shy kid...grateful to be held again...As darkness swallowed him.
2007, (Jenna Karro). All rights reserved. No republication of this material, in any form or medium, is permitted without express permission of the author.
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