A piercing scream rang throughout the silence, the scream of new life, the scream of a beginning.

Thorine was born to the winter nights, a time where the sun retreated far behind the clouds. The ice and frost were just as likely to take your last breath as the thieves that fought over every scrap that might ensure their survival of another day.

It was a typical winters evening when Thorine was brought into the world by her mother Alith in the early hours, on the third day of the Scorpion month. In the old times, before the Silver Wars, it was said that those born in the scorpion month had fire in their blood, and sure enough, as Alith looked into the eyes of her first born child she saw a spark.

“She has your eyes, Mikan” whispered Alith as she held Thorine close to her chest, their hearts beating as one.

“Impossible, my darling, she is so divine she must have come from Freya herself” cooed Mikan to his weary and exhausted wife. “Sleep, my sweet, I will take watch, if what your mother said is correct we will need to be vigilant”.

As Alith slept, Mikan looked at the woman he held so dear, he loved to watch her while she slept, her features at peace and a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. Her skin was as white as snow, her hair was even paler. The light from the fire made it look alive as though fireflies danced upon each strand, twinkling like fragile shards of glass. Her full and blackened lashes hid Mikan’s most treasured part of his wife, her eyes. Her eyes were a deep and endless shade of forestial green as though pure earth had found solace in her gaze. Throughout this never-ending evergreen lay specs of gold, like stars against the blanket of night, she had the eyes of something long forgotten in their world, Mikan thought – the eyes of an ancient one.

Alith was an Ice Elf brought up in the caverns of Lyria. She had the slight yet powerful body of her kind and yet Alith was completely unique. Alith had a heart, she had found love in Mikan and let the icy cage that lay rest beneath her ribs melt until she was bonded with him forever. Mikan’s thoughts drifted back to their first meeting when a snap outside the hut ripped his attention to the present.

His ears rang with the silence as he strained to hear anything that would signal they were not alone. He heard nothing but what he smelt made his stomach lurch, his nose burned as the acrid and sour stench got stronger. He began to feel lightheaded but held his ground, whatever it was that was coming for them, they would not succeed.

“What are you waiting for?” Challenged Mikan. Alith awoke and grabbed Thorine before joining her husbands side. “Run, Alith. Take Thorine, I will hold them back”

“No! I am not leaving you.” Alith brought up a wall of ice to surround her heart, readying herself for battle. She would not let any of them go without a fight.

The stench had become so stifling that Mikan was wholly concentrating on not vomiting, then they both heard a laugh. It was an ominous laugh, ascending from a sinister chuckle to a booming and maniacal force that flowed with darkness, consuming all light. Alith and Mikan stood back to back trying to get a grasp on what it was that was attacking them.

Mikan saw a flash before a shockwave of pain ran through him, he felt something warm dripping down his cheek and realised he had been cut. He could see nothing but he heard Alith cry out.

He tried to reach her but the darkness kept coming, his rage was building and building, he flung out his sword swiping anything that dared move. Then he was falling, falling, lower than the ground into an endless pit of nothingness, all the while trying to locate Alith and his baby girl.

Mikan’s thoughts paused on the image of his daughter, the daughter about to be taken from him. He let that protective feeling gather strength in his core, he thought of nothing but his wife and daughter until heat pulsated from his every vein. He took his sword channeling his unearthly power into the blade until the metal shone white hot before throwing it into the the darkness below.

He heard a loud rip as though the world was shredding around him, his lungs filled with what he could only articulate as smoke and the world stilled. As Mikan passed out in the snow his last thought were of his Alith and his Thorine, had he protected them?