The dark was alive.
That was the way it seemed, anyway. Dorothy Catalonia frowned, making sure not to focus on the swirling patches of shadow that filled the room around her. They can’t be displeased with me to the point where they’d make me see them, can they?
No. Her masters were smarter than that. There was no way they’d toss aside a perfectly good servant just because of one simple mistake. She could still help them, after all – she had spent most of her young life studying the boy known as Seeker; she knew things about him that could be invaluable. They couldn’t dispose of her, not now.
Drawing those thoughts about her like a barrior against attacks, Dorothy stepped forward, as a defendant might in a trial, approaching final judgement.
"Fail. You fail."
"It’s nothing." Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, the girl faced her masters squarely, trying to appear confident. "We knew the Seeker would find the keys. The important thing is to keep him from using them."
A good sign, right? She kept going. "I know his weaknesses. He’s far too kindhearted. We can use that against him, can’t we? There are four gates. If we keep only one open, we win. Once we have completed our Sacrifice, there will be no way for anyone to stop us." Her voice grew lower. "Even the Darksbane."
"Darksbane…" There was no small amount of venom in the whispered word, as though it had been spat out.
"Use me," Dorothy urged, feeling her chances begin to slip. "I can help you. I can."
A cold breath of air brushed her right cheek, and she shut her eyes immediately, against the vision that could well drive her mad. Fear made her heart pound faster than normal; cold washed over her entire body, but she felt none of it.
"Open," the voice hissed, malevolently. "Now."
Her eyes shot open at the command, and the feeling of intense terror increased a hundred times over. The shadows were shifted around her, coming into plain sight. She could not close her eyes, or look away, as they took shape before her…
An agonized shriek filled the room shrilly for a moment, highlighted only by the hissing that had been echoing through it all along. The scream rose in terror and in agony until it came near to reaching the point where a listener might even feel some of the emotion themselves.
Then it stopped.
Bonelessly, Dorothy Catalonia’s body slumped to the ground, eyes still wide and unseeing.
"Use you," the voices whispered softly, disdainfully. "We will."
The Seeker with a head of spun gold
Eyes like the sea, shifting blue to green
Competence and bravery, hand in hand
Weakness in the failure to see.
Sacrifice – darkness
Contrast in bright eyes
But a hardening of spirit, resigned to fate
Beneath strength, there is weakness in uncertainty.
The Darksbane, soul of mystery
Hair of the earth’s shade and eyes containing death
Self-sufficient and needing no being’s aide
Yet unable to comprehend emotion.
The Seeker finds the keys
Pullin your seal of fate from where it hides
Gold at the stone on the mountain high
Find Ice when darkness blocks the sky
Rowan from the dangers among the trees
Emerald in the dive to the lake from the seas
Diamond in the fragments of the beast
Silver from the fury at the feast
Amber already holds your soul
Used at once to complete that goal.
Guard well the Gates,
North, South, East, West.
Confinement brings with it,
One option left,
For in the moment
One’s life’s blood is spilled across your altar
Will the Gates fix and the keys
Shall be rendered useless.
Seek your Sacrifice
And gain the assurance of victory.
Your only obstacle,