"There is an old legend, it says there is another land. This land is called the land of the heartless. There are two ways to get there, if you have your heart replaced with a gem, and if you are very evil. If you have your heart removed, you have no emoticons. You lose everything feeling except for fear and sadness, some people feel a feeling so strong that a dull reminder remains. For those people if for some reason that feeling gets heightened enough they will regain all feeling. Once that happens the land of the heartless become cold and they have a burning desire to get the and their friends out as soon as possible. For the people who can get there simply because the are evil, they retain all feelings and do not feel cold or a burning desire to leave," Her mother told her. "This land is a dangerous place with monsters and all manner of evil things. It is very cold, but if you have your heart removed you don't feel it. It is hard to light a fire there and light seems to be swallowed by the dark." She shivered when her mum told her this. Her sister put an arm around her.
"Would you like to work on the tarot cards?" she said.
"Yes!" she squealed she loved the cards.
She slid down out of the hammock made of grape vine. She would have made it out of ivy, but that wasn't very comfortable. She stretched, walked over to the kitchen, and picked up a pouch of berries.
She walked to the window and grabbed the vine hanging out the window and leaned out the window and swung. She pushed off the side off the wall a few times and then when she was well past the moat that ran around her house she let go. She landed in the arms of a fern. She got up and dusted herself off.
She touched the necklace that wound around her neck. To anybody that did not know its significance, it looked like a vine of ivy with a emerald hanging from it. To her, it was something that allowed her to communicate with plants. Once she touched it, she would from a connection with any plant she was looking at.
In the language she used to talk to plants she said "Thank you." To everyone else it it would sound like wind blowing through the trees, "whoosh whissp whoosh."
"You're welcome ,"the fern replied. It seemed a little reserved. She pursed her lips. The plants being distant was never a good thing.
She walked over to where the stream meet her house. She splashed water on her face, gasping as the cold droplets hit her skin.
She looked up at the sky. It was clouding over. Suddenly it began to pour. Something seemed familiar about that. And then it hit her like a whip. Today was the sixth year since her family was killed. That's why the dream was so bad, and why the plants seemed a little removed. She jumped into the stream and swam to the bank on the other side and crawled to the roots of the tree and sobbed. Some of the plants wandered over to her and put their leaves around her. She cried and watched the thunder and lightning for the best part of half an hour.
Then abruptly, as if someone had put an umbrella over her part of the forest it stopped raining. The sky remained grey, but she liked overcast days. She put her face in the creek and washed off all the tears. The she opened the pouch of berries she had picked up.
She munched happily on the berries and then got ready to train. She picked up her long bow and strung it. Even though her bow skills were superb she still practiced every day.
When she was finished she walked over to one of the plants. It was a Schisandra chinensis plant, it healed and was edible. She formed the link and told the plant to go ahead and start teaching. She listened to the plant describing how to mash up her berries to make a paste for rashes and cuts. She learned how to make a tea for coughs. She got up and stretched.
"Hello dear," She spun around. A man in black sat on a nearby rock, watching her. He was tall and thin, and he wore a long black overcoat. He had a large plush looking, black cat, and it was sitting on his feet. She bit her lip, for some reason she didn't like him, although he was handsome and looked likable enough.
"How long have you been there?" she hissed angrily. Then before he could reply she sent a ivy vine spinning at him, it wrapped around his neck.
"How incredibly predictable that was," he said wearily. The vine turned black and fell to the ground, dead at his feet. the cat hissed and jumped onto his lap, giving her a full view of his feet. His boots were tall, and glossy, and black, that seemed to be his favorite color. She stared at the vine she felt sad and angry, the plants were some of her favorite companions. "You're going to need to do a lot better than that if you want to kill me, and the castle guards for that matter of fact. Hate alone won't be able to give you enough power. And in response to your question, I have been here since you woke up from your nightmare."
"How do you know about the guards?" she hissed angrily. First this man dares come here, and intruded on her solitude, then he kills one of her favorite plants. Then he seems to know about the killing ground, as well as the dreams that plague her at night. And to get in he had to have destroyed her barriers, which meant he killed a lot of her plants.
"Lets just say that it is my business to know things, just like I know that you have a vow of revenge. Why are you so worried about killing them? They weren't the ones who ordered your parents killed." he said.
"They could have disobeyed!" she said almost shouting.
"And got themselves executed? I don't think they had a choice," he said.
"Why are you questioning my motives anyways!" she said on the brink of shouting.
"Because I can give you the power to defeat them,"
Her anger faded slightly. "How?" she said simply.
"I will give you a mystical gem, as well as a large boost in power," he said, she had an uncomfortable feeling that he was smirking inside, but she couldn't tell why.
"What's in it for you?" she said, suspicious.
"I like helping people. Anyways I have a score with the guards. Just sign in the air with this quill," he said giving her a large floppy black feather quill.
She nodded, and decided, even if there was something he wasn't telling her, that if would be fine, she would get her revenge on the castle guards, after that she didn't care if she died. She signed her name in flowing letters that seemed to twist like ivy vines. The letters grew bright green and flashed once.
"Thank you, here is your stone," he said, picking up the letters, and putting them in a concealed pocket. He walked over to her, and suddenly pushed the emerald deep into her chest. "Thank you for your heart dear," her said showing her a bleeding mass that was pumping. He looked fuzzy and she couldn't focus. She looked at her chest, the green gem was slowly sinking into it, everything snapped into focus. For some reason she didn't feel upset. He started to squeeze the heart and then she felt a blinding pain in her chest. She felt herself getting stronger and dying at the same time. Then everything turned green, a dark shade of green like English ivy. Then it was black.
She woke up with this beating sensation in her chest. But that wasn't possible, he had ripped out her heart, then squeezed it, she should be dead. She put a hand on her chest and realized the thumping wasn't where her heart should be, it was in the center of her chest. That frightened her. She could only think of one reason her heart would be in the center of her chest, he had replaced her heart with the gem. She remembered a story her mother told her
"There is an old legend, it says there is another land. This land is called the land of the heartless. There are two ways to get there, if you have your heart replaced with a gem, and if you are very evil."
If her heart had been replaced with the gem it meant the she was in a different universe, one she had heard her parents tell stories of, she was in the land of the heartless. She opened her eyes, black stretched everywhere. She immediately closed them again, she didn't want to see what was out there. Her "heart" was beating wildly by now, she took a deep breath. "Its going to be okay" she told her self "You could be dead." her emotions were fading fast. She was trying to feel emotions but it was a losing fight. Slowly she was stopping feeling things. She cautiously opened her eyes again and looked around. There was black almost everywhere. She turned around slowly, and caught sigh of a small light like someone had managed to light a fire. But she wasn't sure how they would do that, you had to have an enormous amount of fire magic, to do something like that here.
She bit her lip and thought of the alternatives. She could sit here and wait for a monster for come and kill her. She could try and open a portal with her magic. She could try and make a home here. Or she cold walk towards that fire and pray like hell that whoever is there is friendly. She sighed miserably, she knew that the fire was the best protection you could get here. Even a house of the best ivy she could conjure would be ineffective against even the weakest monster.
She started to walk towards the fire when she heard a familiar noise. Her breath caught in her throat, she turned around slowly, not even daring to hope that noise was what she thought is was. A man eating snap jaw Plantae. She tried to laugh out loud but she could only force a small smile. But she did feel a lessening in fear and something that might be called relief. The snap jaw was hers. It had been dangerous trip to steal a baby one, and equally hard to train it. But now it was loyal to her and a fierce companion. Now she didn't even need to go to the fire. But her curiosity was aroused, so she sat on one of the large leaves and told the snap jaw to go towards the fire.
As she rode towards the fire light she wondered who had enough magic to light a fire in the land of the heartless. She came to one conclusion, the red magician. Her parents had told her stories of the six girls who would save the world. And the red magician was a fire magi, of the utmost power. She wondered, what the red magician would be doing in the land of the heartless. Unless that black man had taken her heart. She bit her tongue she didn't want to think of what would happen if that was the case. But she knew it had to be so the red magician was not evil so that meant that her heart had been removed. Slowly she stopped caring if it was the red magician, she didn't care that she was stuck there.
She thought, she knew who the man in black was. But it didn't interest her very much. It was the black magician, the stealer of hearts, the conqueror, someone who wished to stop what the other magicians were working so hard for. She did feel fear at this, fear was one of the emotions that was actually heightened by this place.