A Demonic Shadow

Rhilia Noth. A not so young girl who was raised to believe she was human. When her life is flipped upside down by a mysterious stranger, Rhilia descends into Hell. Literally. Told she is a princess of a universe she never even knew existed, Rhilia finds it hard to believe anything this stranger is telling her. Until he reveals he is her real father. Forced to adapt to this new world and the creatures in it, Rhilia struggles to keep her mind together. When an unknown entity, dubbed 'The Shadow', decides to ravage her kingdom, Rhilia must team up with her brother and her father to fight off and ultimately destroy it. But will she be able to master her powers in time? Or will The Shadow consume her world and the people she has come to love?

(Rhilia's name is pronounced Ri-lee-ah)

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3. The Demon Mask

Rhilia started off small. She went on the Internet and searched for pictures of the mask she'd seen in her dream and in her back garden. At first nothing came up. But after she looked through around 3 pages of pictures, she found it. The golden mask with the grimace. It had even more detail than she'd imagined. Rhilia would have described it as a work of art if it wasn't tormenting her. She printed a picture of it off and pinned it to a notice board she had on her bedroom wall. In the light, the mask wasn't that scary. It actually seemed a little familiar. Comforting even.
The next thing she did was look for links to the mask. Yet again, nothing came up. This time it took her around half an hour to find any information at all. Even that wasn't very useful.
"Dcemonis larva..." Rhilia muttered in Latin, "Oh, the demon mask!" Carrie and David never understood how Rhilia was able to read and translate Latin. According to them she'd been able to do it since she picked up a Latin dictionary in the library. 'Great. I'm being stalked by a demon mask.' Rhilia thought with a giggle. She knew how ridiculous it sounded, but until she had evidence to prove that somebody was pulling a trick on her she had no choice but to believe it. Considering she'd dreamt about the mask before she'd seen it, Rhilia couldn't think of another explanation.

It was nearly 2 hours before Rhilia came across anything remotely ground breaking. The first recorded sighting of the mask had been on the 24th of September, 1782. There were no sightings after that until the 1st of January, 1900. Then again on the same day in 1956. There was actually a picture of the 1956 sighting which Rhilia immediately clicked on. This time the mask was being worn by a man. Although the picture was a little dark, Rhilia could make out roughly what he looked like. He seemed tall, maybe 6"2. His short hair looked black and he was wearing clothing that Rhilia could only describe as royal. She zoomed in on the picture and saw that the clothing he was wearing didn't seem like it was from the right era. He had a long black cloak on, clipped at the front by a red flame. Rhilia thought it was actually a real flame for a moment or two, but brushed it off as lack of sleep. His trousers were black and so were his boots. 'Wow, talk about gothic' Rhilia thought to herself and turned her head to look out of the window for a few moments. Was she really doing the right thing? Was this even going to get her anywhere in the long run? Perhaps she was going insane and was imagining everything. Or perhaps this was actually happening and Rhilia's brain couldn't comprehend it.
Rhilia turned back to the computer and sighed. She may as well continue her research or it would be a waste of a Saturday morning. She right clicked the photo with her mouse and saved it to a new file she had entitled "The Demon Mask", before carrying on with her searching.

 

3 hours later Rhilia was still scouring the internet for evidence, but she had barely found anything of use. She pushed away from her desk and paced around her room. 'Ok. Review what I know.' Rhilia thought. 'The mask has cropped up at 3 points in history. Why are they important? The first date seems completely random but it's the 24th of September today so I think that's significant. Also, the 1st of January seems to be a significant date for it to appear twice. Why is that date important? It's my birthday. The mask showed up in my back garden. Was it meant to find me? Am I meant to have it? This is complicated. Alright, now the man.' Rhilia sat back down at her desk and opened up the picture of the masked man. It seemed strange to refer to him as masked man, so she decided to call him Danger. "All right then, Danger. You certainly aren't from around here. Firstly you aren't dressed for the era you're supposedly in. Secondly, you look far too regal to be in the East-end of London. Thirdly, you're posing for this photo aren't you? You stood there long enough to be photographed and I have a feeling that if you wanted to get away, you could have. I wonder, was I supposed to find this photo of you?" Rhilia hushed herself. What use was speaking to a picture going to do? She felt rather silly. Then again, if a mask from a dream could appear in her back garden then who was to say that this picture couldn't reply?

"Rhilia? It's nearly 2 o'clock are you coming down for lunch?" Carrie called. Rhilia looked at the picture of Danger and decided to print it off before she went downstairs. When she pinned it up next to the photo of the mask, Rhilia felt a chill in her bones. It was almost as if the photo's wanted to be together. She shook her head and walked out of her room, closing the door behind her. She was starting to lose it.
"I'm sorry I snapped earlier, sweetheart. I didn't sleep well last night." Carrie said as Rhilia came into the kitchen. A plate of waffles were waiting on the table and Rhilia smiled and began tucking in. Carrie had a habit of making waffles when she was sorry for something.
"That's ok, mum. Did you find the keys?" Rhilia asked through mouthfuls of waffle.
"As a matter of fact I did. They were on the garden chair. They're back in their place now. I found a letter addressed to you next to them. I guess somebody saw you go out and was kind enough to return the keys."
"Yeah. Somebody." Rhilia whispered and finished off her last waffle. This could be a turning point. Perhaps this was all a joke and somebody had written her a note to tell her so she wasn't scared. Carrie put the letter on the table and took Rhilia's plate away. Rhilia immediately dropped her idea of a joke. Her name was written in red ink. Not from a ballpoint pen but actual ink. She hesitantly picked up the envelope, turned it over and there was the icing on the cake. It was sealed with wax. Rhilia knew it was how royalty sealed an envelope and the wax had words in it.
"Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." Rhilia whispered to herself and she closed her eyes. She was as good as dead. "Thanks for the waffles mum, I'm going to go upstairs and study now."

 

Studying certainly wasn't on Rhilia's agenda. Should she open the envelope? Probably not but she couldn't resist it. Rhilia took a deep breath and picked up the envelope again from her desk. She was standing in front of the pictures of the mask and Danger.
"Ok. I'm going to open this now. I'm abandoning all hope. Do you hear me? I'll read your message but you can't hurt me. If you wanted to hurt me you could have done that by now, couldn't you? Ok, Danger? I'll read it." Rhilia said, completely unsure of what she was getting herself into. She tore through the wax and pulled out the letter. It was folded quite neatly and Rhilia's shaking hands struggled to open it properly. With a long sigh, Rhilia began to read.

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