Sophie Staniforth


1. Prologue


The figure was born from the dark shadows cast across the dampened cell. The boy couldn't come to see the face of his intruder, but he knew who it was, and exactly what they wanted.

"Tiron," Spoke lips that didn't move. "It is time."

For a few short seconds, the boy didn't move. He looked up at the figure through thick black lashes, and finally rose to his feet. With a small faint nod, Tiron let the figure lead him out the cell doors he had been captivated behind for almost eleven years. He had nearly lost memory of the light that existed behind the barred windows. To his own surprise, Tiron found they were standing in a wide, unkempt field. He felt silly for so easily forgetting his cell was an abandoned stable off the edge of nowhere. Daylight stung his eyes, so he squinted, staring hard at the figure. A mask was pulled across the man's face, not showing eyes, or any other feature for that matter. Unwashed lanky black hair fell down towards the knotted grass, and a caped tunic hung over his dis-comfortingly tall body. He raised a deep scarlet red fingertip.

"Tiron James, my name is O. I am he-"

"Whatever," Tiron hissed, setting his jaw. "I know who you are, and I know what you want."

"Brilliant," O drawled in a sly, unsettling manner. "Then let's cut to the chase, shall we?"

His crimson fingertips fiddled with the mask fastened across his face. Untying the strings, it fell to the ground, revealing a haunting face. Two black eyes peered out of translucent white flesh that hung to a deformed skull. There was no nose where there should have been one. A pointed grey tongue lashed at the air, lips curling back to reveal dagger-like metal teeth.

"Young warrior," O sneered, with no movement of his mouth. "It is time to be silenced."

Tiron raised an eyebrow. "Don't think I didn't expect it to come to this."

O cackled, his long grey tongue licking thin cracked lips.

"Tiron James, we all knew it would come to this." His face broke into some nasty grin. "Think of your parents, waiting for you in The Nightmare. Re-united, how sweet."

His fingertips pressed together, and he lowered his forehead. Tiron took a sharp breath that stabbed his stomach, tearing his mind from O's words.

"Don't mention my parents."

And with the mutter of some words, Tiron's body was engulfed by a huge towering creature that tore down on O's withering body.

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