Chapter One Storm tossed waves crash against the breakwall, sending up mountains of spray. Pounding rain and hail pound the spit of land and the lighthouse with bruising force. A large wave washes over the breakwall entirely, as if it weren’t even an obstacle. The waters churn with whitecaps, while flotsam crashes against the stones with bone-crushing force. Lighting crashes overhead, as the winds increase to the point they sound like howling demons. A young woman sets off down the pier, recklessly daring the raging sea. Many souls have been lost on this lonely stretch of land due to a massive tsunami that came to land here. Behind her the ancient lighthouse’s foghorn sounds. Its mournful sound seems to call the young woman back from her escapade for a moment; however, she squares her shoulders and walks onward. The waves seem to be grinning like ravenous beasts as the maelstrom rages on, indifferent to the woman as it is to the mighty lighthouse. She stumbles against the wind as the slight shelter a large steel catwalk offered ends. Now bearing the full brunt of the wind she forces her legs onward, her jeans and blouse little protection against the hail and the waves. She grins, ducking her head as a wave washes over her, daring the sea that it wouldn’t be able to take her. She had been promised power and immortality. She smiles in anticipation of her gifts. All she had to do is reach the end of the breakwall and she’d receive those gifts. The lighthouse’s fog horn calls once again, and all becomes still. Ryo Sanada sits on his bed, half out of his school uniform, listening to his friend and roommate, Alex Koma, practice his piece of music for Solo/Ensemble. He had no idea what it was called, but it sounded fantastic to him. Then again, he couldn’t even play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on the piano that Mia had in one room in the upstairs. Meanwhile, Alex had the habit of striking up a song on it just kinda absently if he passed it for some reason. Finally Alex reaches the end of the song and looks up at Ryo with a look that was somewhere between "beaten dog" and "needs to please authority." "Sounded great, ‘Lex. You’ll knock ‘em dead," Ryo says, absently scratching White Blaze’s ears. "Was it that good?" Alex asks hopefully, his face looking like it would crumble if he told him otherwise. "I wouldn’t lie to you, Alex. I think it sounds good, but do you?" Alex shrugs and looks down at the floor. His self-confidence had become virtually nonexistent, and it bugged Ryo something fierce. This kid would be getting the Armor of Loyalty in another year. And he needed to get some backbone by that point so he could handle the warlord armor. What the kids needs is a dad, not a mentor! What the hell am I doing?! Ryo thinks, trying to find an easy way to change the subject. Soccer! We’re on the same indoor league, what the heck! "So. You think we’ll be ready to play Han’a High tomorrow?" Alex shakes his head, and runs his hands through his brilliant red hair front to back once again. "Hey, don’t get stressed out. You’re still too young." "‘Young?’ You’re only fifteen, O’ Fearless." Ryo leans down and grabs his soccer ball to fidget with, he nods at it. "Play ‘ya." "Only if you don’t mince my legs this time," he replies. "If ya wanna keep them in one piece, wear shin-guards! It’s not my fault you keep getting in my way!" Alex’s already digging through his closet for his soccer stuff, and surfaces with the hard, armor-like inserts for the guards but not the guards themselves. He changes into his nylon athletic pants and sweatshirt, then he runs downstairs with Ryo and White Blaze on his heels. Mia looks up as Alex skids into the laundry room wearing his soccer gear. "Alex, I haven’t gotten to wash anything! All of your soccer stuff is still muddy from yesterday!" "I know!" he calls softly as he sorts through the piles of muddy laundry to find his shin-guards. Alex jams them on over his feet, leaps down the four stairs to the entry, puts on his soccer cleats, and races outside after Ryo and White Blaze. Mia says a silent prayer, hoping that they won’t track in too much mud, especially White Blaze. It’s been uncharacteristically warm the past few days, especially for December. After all the rain and melting snow, the grounds were disgustingly muddy and made the ground out there as slippery as a skating rink. However, it was only those three right now who were bent on systematically destroying her house today. She turns back to her cleaning, humming a tuneless melody. The others had left for the week to visit their families, and Kento had taken Yuli with him. Ryo’s twin sister, Rahne, had gone with Cye for the weekend to visit his aunt’s home in America. She watches out the window as Ryo and Alex play an absolutely brutal game of soccer. It made her happy to see Ryo so lighthearted. He seemed so relaxed. He didn’t even seem to be worrying about Rahne, which he almost constantly did. It seemed like the twins had finally let go of their past. True, the both of them still experienced nightmares, but it wasn’t as bad as it had once been. Mia laughs as Alex ducks away from Ryo, who was intent at the moment to drill his knuckles into his scalp. The thirteen-year-old seemed to be enjoying himself out in the fresh air. It was easy to forget that he wasn’t a perfectly normal - human - boy. Outwardly, he looked like your average (though redheaded to the point he looked like a living fireball) kid. Alexander was only half human, and it showed in his too green eyes and too sensitive hearing. He was also telepathic and telekinetic; meaning he could read people’s minds and had "mind over matter" abilities. Though; due to his years of enslavement to an extra-dimensional despot and one of his thugs, Alex’s abilities had been left practically crippled. He was healing though, albeit slowly. Just yesterday he had watched a program on TV where they had a spoon bender on, and he’d asked: "Why bend spoons when you can make a Godzilla model out of ‘em - that moves?" Then he’d done it. Mia had jokingly called him ‘Mr. Mistoffelees.’ Partially because he watched the newly released CATS video almost exclusively. And partially because he could be a terrible show-off even though he didn’t have the best control over his abilities, just like the character in the play. And Mia couldn’t be happier. If he was talking or acting up, it meant he had gotten up some confidence. Alex needed something like this to distract him from his father’s death. He’d taken it hard, finding out that his father, Anubis, had sacrificed himself to save Kayura. Ryo catches him and proceeds to rub his knuckles back and forth on the top of Alex’s head. The younger boy just laughs and hollers, struggling crazily. They go back to their brutal one-on-one game for a while. Thinking about Alex reminded her of Anubis. The boy looked like his so much father that it was spooky. He had a certain grin that was exactly his father’s. Mia sighs heavily and looks back to the glass lamp-shade she’s washing, trying to distract herself. She loved this type of cleaning, everything smelled so fresh after she was done. Maybe she’d get Ryo and Alex to put the clothesline back up later so she could dry the clothes outside while the sun was out. Grand Haven, Michigan, USA. "You’ll love her, Rahney. Honest you will," Cye Mouri tells Rahne Sanada once again. He was nervous - bold, italic, underlined - it was written all over his face and emblazoned in his turquoise eyes. "And my Mom’s already there, too. And you liked her!" She turns away from him, wondering how long this taxi-ride was going to take. So far, he had repeated it five times in the last thirty minutes. Rahne runs an appraising hand over her red knit dress, making sure she was still in one piece. She hated dresses with a passion she usually reserved for the most extreme "problems." She only owned three actual dresses, and her skirts for school. Cye taps her shoulder. Rahne sighs and checks her watch. Three minutes exactly. "Pete and Re-Pete were in a boat. Pete fell out, who was left?" Cye suddenly sinks a little into his seat, his face reddening a little. "Sorry." "No problem..." Rahne sighs, trying to ignore how the dress felt on her skin. Finally the Taxi ride ends and they find themselves in front of a small lake-front cottage overlooking the harbor. "I didn’t think anyone stayed in these cottages... Ice removal’s gotta cost a small fortune!" Rahne tells Cye, absently patting the combs that were holding her hair up. "Yep, isn’t it great!!" Cye giggles and begins to skip up the stairs, leaving her and the bags at the foot of the stairs. Rahne watches him for a moment before taking the stairs rapidly, her bag hanging off from her shoulder. God, he's so cute, he rivals the Care Bears...! she thinks with a disgusted shake of her head. "Hey, Aqua!! Slow down! Some of us can’t take the stairs like that. And who’s gonna get your bags?" Rahne calls with a smirk, pausing to adjust one of her dress shoes. Cye throws on the brakes and runs back down the stairs to get his suitcases. "Heh. Just excited, Rahney..." he says sheepishly as he races past. "God, help me not to kill him," Rahne murmurs, feeling disgusted again as Cye tries to lug three huge suitcases up the stairs. She taps her foot impatiently, waiting for him to make it up the stairs. Finally make it up the long flight of stairs up to the porch. "Cyyyyyyyeeeeeeee!!" An excited middle-age woman practically flies out of the house. She proceeds to hug and kiss Cye excitedly, leaving lip-shaped spots of red lipstick all over his face. Rahne holds back a laugh. She had thought that kind of annoying aunt was a stereotype found in kids commercials - wrong. She now had living proof. The missing link. Finally she can’t help it, and she cracks a grin. Finally the woman notices Rahne. "Cye, who is the absolutely adorable little oriental girl?!" The woman asks, looking at Rahne as if she was some kind of living doll. Cye bursts out laughing so hard tears run down his face. Rahne scowls and tries to keep her hands hanging at her sides in a relaxed manner. She mouths to Cye in Japanese, "You are dead, English Brat!" Cye calms down to the point of snickers and motions to Rahne. "Aunt Vivian, this is Rahne Sanada. Rahne, this is my Aunt Vivian." Rahne bows as a proper young lady should, and immediately Cye’s Aunt stops her from performing the bow. She fusses over something or other that Rahne did wrong, says something too fast for her to make out. "Excuse me?" Rahne asks, hoping that Cye will take over for her. He isn’t taking the hint. He just standing close enough... Rahne jabs her thumb nail into his arm, evoking a surprised, and obviously pained, look from her friend. Cye puts it together rapidly, and casts Rahne a quick look of apology. "Oh, I forgot! Aunt Vivian, Rahne’s deaf. She can’t understand you." "OH, you poor thing!! Come inside before you catch cold!!" the woman exclaims, ushering Rahne inside as if she would fracture if exposed to extremes. Rahne rolls her eyes and "nails" Cye in the arm for good measure. He was hanging in nothingness. All his plans had been thwarted and Darr’rak had been killed by those accursed Warlords. Everything was in ruins!! However, he had one chance in the form of a sorceress in Dessan. If she get just three more, he could return and take his revenge against his enemies. If he had a mouth, he would have laughed: all was falling back into place. Soon, daughter of Inferno, you will be mine. End Chapter One