This morning felt foreign, as if she had never lived through a day. This wasn’t the case, but there was an inescapable silence and serenity which plagued this forest, bringing peace to a certain heiress’ spirit; she hadn’t been able to feel way for years. Dark eyes roamed across the brilliance of the forest, tall trees stretching their branches up towards the sky. The emerald hue of the leaves was awakening, bleeding back into the leaves like blood from a newly opened wound. She had stopped in the middle of the worn-dirt path, the wind picking up just enough to pick her cloak up and make it billow around her. This made her open her eyes, gazing at nothing in particular before her.
The musty scent of pine wood smoke assaulted her nose, signaling that a human village was nearby. She had arrived here only last night, and this place was still new to her, so she wouldn’t bother traveling into the town just yet. Humans were fragile and quite easy to scare, and she didn’t feel like inducing anymore trouble. Only last week, another group of demon hunters had caught up with her, and got her good with a large amount of arrows. Scowling at the memory, the young woman gazed up into the sky, releasing a soft breath. No, she wasn’t trying to enjoy the serenity, for she knew it would only last so long; she couldn’t get comfortable, even.
Her gaze was drawn across the horizon, billowing clouds of smoke raising from the chimneys of many a home in the village that was only miles away. Warmth seemed quite inviting at the moment, for this bitter cold still bit at her skin, tinging her cheeks a faint rose.
Once more she began to walk, her steps slow and silent, barely any sound being made other than the rustling of her clothes. She could hear the life of the forest begin to wake, rustling around within the bushes and chattering their simple, trivial lives away. Animals never seemed to think of death, even when they knew it was coming. ‘Pathetic…just like humans.’ She scoffed, gazing toward the opposite direction from the corner of her eye, the smoke still billowing above the treetops. ‘Why did I have to end up in another mortal inhabited area?’
Sighing softly, she continued to walk, heading into a darker part of the forest. The trees became more gnarled and twisted the further she traveled, her senses tingling, almost as if awakening from an inert state. And then serenity was lost, just as she had predicted.
After traveling for about ten minutes, she stopped. This place was pitch black, only a few speckles of light to be seem from the twisted and layered trees which loomed above her like so many dark, serpentine guardians. This forest held dark secrets; she could feel the menacing aura of darkness slithering around. She had been in a forest like this before, but for some reason, this place was unnerving. Stopping, she gazed before her into nothingness, waiting for the ugliness of whatever unknown evil there was to show its face.
. Cookie is my loveslave . Quark is my Necro-Loving-Fiend .
It was impossible to recognize the difference between night and day anymore, the darkness of this jungle nothing short of pitch blackness. Darkness never bothered anyone, but what lurked beyond it was the true culprit. Even in the black, bits of sky and scattered fireflies supplied enough light to display the extravagant designs of the surrounding foliage. They were so contorted and malformed that they seemed to form a single body rather than multiple plants. These trees were like aliens to the world; something out of a fairy tale, or nightmare perhaps. Their curving branches and warped configuration spewed about the woods in an erratic and unpredictable fashion. If one were used to seeing a tree grow vertically, they’d be surprised to discover that some of these trees seemed to yawn horizontally. Up and down, the trees had traversed, frozen in their slow exploration of the home they were grown in and would eventually die in. The knotted structure of this forest would amuse anyone with an equally twisted personality, and such a crooked individual was enjoying it at this very moment.
A paramount feeling, the sensation of exhilaration, fluttered through his soul. He could feel it in his bones; something great was in store for him today, something delightfully morbid and gruesome. The strange figure clacked his teeth in approval; oh yes this was a good day. Nights like this one were scarce, and when they came about he would savor each second of them. Such sensations as these were usually followed by his favorite game, or by something else, perhaps, that would excite and entertain him equally as much. Tonight he would kill, oh yes he would kill, that must have been the tangible air about him in this dark twilight. It was probably the scent of impending death on the night’s sky; how he wished he could breathe that delectable smell!
A soft breeze wisped through the trees ahead, waving through his exposed ribs and other bones. Clacking branches brought the image of dangling skeletons to mind, the rustling of the leaves striking the thought of a hearse pulling away in the distance. The wind whipped Toofy’s cockscomb back a bit, lop siding it slightly atop his skinless scalp. He didn’t care that his hat was about to fall off; in fact he couldn’t even feel it. He was too excited for any concerns other than ‘What is going to happen tonight?’
Caught by a sudden gust, a stray leaf scrambled for safety inside Toofy’s right eye socket. It took him only several seconds before he realized what it was, plucking it out before it irritated his good mood for much longer. He looked it over carefully, taking note of the lush green color and moist dew droplets visible even in the darkness. This leaf was fresh, recently plucked free. Even a wind such as this usually wouldn’t pry new leaves free. Something must have knocked it loose, whether it was an animal or some other form of life was undeterminable, but for now he’d try to keep low until—
He froze. Too late, he could see the forest’s transgressor now. An attempt to hide would only seem foolish, at this moment. Even though she was distant, he could tell she was a woman, outlined by a spot of dark blue sky in a circle of open trees far ahead. The way she carried herself was the main giveaway, however; gentle yet confident. Toofy straightened his cockscomb as if he was trying to make himself more presentable. She was quite beautiful, even from here it was obvious. Whenever he saw someone like her he’d remember the curse placed upon him, as well as the reason he was condemned by it; however, the thoughts quickly vaporized like they always did.
When her eyes fused to his empty sockets, he knew just a sample of what she was capable of. Just with that glance he could see a hint of her power, and in that same glance her guard went up, changing her stance ever-so-slightly. She saw him too, even in this pure blackness. His mind plummeted, racing suddenly at the thought of fighting in this dark, unique forest. No, he couldn’t get ahead of himself; a proper introduction might do nicely instead of attacking right away. If the woman wasn’t too frightened by his appearance, then rushing straight into a fight might be a good thing. Then again, if she was scared, he would play with that emotion a little more. She didn’t look scared, not from here, but maybe he could stir her fear a little. That was where true wars were waged: In one’s mind.
And so it came, quite quickly, drawing her attention away from the twisted branches and icy cold air. What it was, she could see quite clearly, regardless of the darkness which surrounded her. A skeletal figure, eyes pitless and black; empty. Turning her head a quarter to the side, she gazed at the bizarre creature wearily. 'What is this?' She pondered, 'Some sort of necromancery?' Not a drop of fear ran through her veins, but instead curiosity and amusement. The young heiress had never seen anything like this before. Of course, she had seen many skeletal corpses, but none standing like this, none that moved, and most certainly none that wore such ridiculous clothing. It was as if he was some sort of Jester, something that Eclipse had taught her as a child when exploring the different human existences.
Was it being puppeted? Perhaps some sort of magic similar to her own? No, that couldn't be.
The icy cold breath of night continued to whisper through the mangled forest, causing Knives to stay awake and aware, even more so now that she had discovered this--she didn't know exactly what to call it. 'Being? Perhaps undead?' Her eyes half-closed for a moment as she observed it. It was staring back at her; she could feel its eyes upon her. With eyes flashing dangerously, she flitted behind the being, leaving an afterimage in its wake to perhaps distract it for a moment or two. Drawing a hand up, she waved her hand deftly over his head, as if checking for some sort of strings. 'How strange...' She mused. Then, without a second thought she flitted before the being, reaching out to run her fingertips over the temple and jaw of the skull. The texture was smoother than she had expected it to be.
She felt somewhat like a child again, the simple feeling of being curious still defeating any other thoughts. There was a desire to know what this creature's purpose for walking the earth was. Could it speak? Surely it could move, she saw it do so earlier, when she had first seen it. There were endless possibilities here as to why this skeletal being existed, but she wasn't sure just how much time she would be given to ponder. Perhaps it would attack her without reason. If so, she would be prepared. There was never a situation like this in which she didn't have her guard up. As of now, it was up for sure, and she was watching it carefully, her eyes tracing over each rounded curve and line of its face and body.
Deciding that she would feel ridiculous if she spoke and didn't get a reply, she decided to speak through telepathy. "If you are able to speak, do so." Her voice was smooth and soft, mesmerizing and monotone.
A pulse spread throughout her body, causing her to close her eyes a bit tight for only a moment. 'Now is most certainly not the time.' She cursed under her breath. The Beast was stirring, and her aura began to spike, drawing energy from the shadows which the two figures were currently drowning in. It wished for the taste of blood, but she would not allow it. This was her time, not the beast's. Clenching her teeth gently, she gazed up at the seemingly undead being, calm once again.
If I do not get that which I desire...I will make you regret living.
The voice echoed inside of her mind, low and resonating. With the sole power of will, she pushed it to the back of her mind, a faint, ghostly smirk gracing her pale lips.
. Cookie is my loveslave . Quark is my Necro-Loving-Fiend .
She was truly a magnificent creature. Toofy casually took a tour of the stranger’s body, eyeing her from bottom to top. She was indeed beautiful, but something else about her was even more attractive. It was a surreal sort of feeling, almost tangible; something touchable that couldn’t be physically felt, but left an imprint on one’s spirit. Darkness; the essence of it was like a scentless perfume, darker than the very blackness encasing the forest.
The forces of darkness usually derived from one place: Hell; at least, that’s the only dark forces Toofy was aware of. Honestly, Hell fascinated him. At times he dreamed of contacting the afterlife with hopes of forcing Death into taking his soul, or maybe with the power of darkness he’d fine a new meaning for his existence. Either way, he was merely guessing at the woman’s abilities, there was no way to know for sure unless he experienced what she was capable of first hand. If she could do what he thought she could, he’d spare her; but if not, she was expendable.
Toofy’s attention snapped abruptly; something was out of place. He could hear a voice, quiet as it was, he could still hear it as if it were trying to contact the brain he didn’t possess. “If you … able to speak, do ...”
The words were fuzzy, but there was no doubt they were said. It was a form of telepathy, he understood that much, but he had never experienced a mind reading before. He wasn’t sure if they were always so fuzzy, but he guessed it was because he had no brain to make the contact; just the mind and consciousness.
Even as he pondered this, a pale color of tan caught the corner of his vision. What he saw next granted him a double take. The woman, she was suddenly in front of him! He glanced at her, then back to where she was standing mere seconds ago. Somehow she’d appeared before him and was now feeling the front of his fleshless face. There was no telling how long she’d been there; he had no nervous system to pick up on her light touch. How long had it been since a woman had freely brushed his face? The last time was far too long ago, yet how could he forget the face permanently burned into his brainless mind?
He couldn’t be thinking like this, not while he had other plans! This girl possibly had dark powers, and he wanted to know exactly what she was capable of. Already she’d given evidence that she had some sort of unnatural skill, but the nature of it was unknown. He wanted to know more.
Toofy’s eyeless sockets traced the sheathed blade at the lady’s side. “You know how to use that thing, madam?” Toofy asked casually, speaking as kind as his harsh voice allowed him to. “You probably should, a beautiful young lady, such as yourself, should be careful. You never know what you’ll find in a monstrous jungle like this.”