• Darkness. Just one simple word, and images of the night sky flicker into humans minds. Maybe you see nothing more than that bedroom you slept in as a child, completely covered in inky black. Maybe you see a vivid flower garden before your eyes, and you can't get the fragrance of freshly cut roses out of your nose. For every person that has ever existed, the Darkness has never been exactly the same twice.

    For the members of House Diaze, we alone are cursed to wander it forever. You could say it's a curse from God, or that we simply do not age. But the truth is so much more cruel than that, and not once have we ever been able to prevent innocent lives from perishing. At least, not until I was born.

    My name is Sai Seros Diaze, and unlike those before me, I bore the crescent moon birthmark over my heart. I always thought it was just there, having no meaning or semblance to anything I would ever encounter. One thing you should know about me is that I'm rarely right about my own life. I'm taking the time to explain this, my family's beliefs, because you are already written into it. You may have never heard of me before now, but now you and I are tied together in this macabre dance of fate.

    My story begins where yours ends, and your story begins where mine ends. It is how we maintained our secrecy for eons, from world to world, and galaxy to galaxy. Perhaps you are wondering what I'm about to tell you. I'm simply what your race calls Death, the Grimm Reaper, or even simply The Reaper. If you are confused, I do not blame you.

    It's natural when we first explain ourselves to another race, and for all that we have in the Dark, we don't have one thing. We don't have hearts, or more specifically, we don't have human souls. Unlike humans, when we die, we don't have a Heaven or Underworld, or even a Limbo. We just cease to exist, and another being steps into our place, exactly when we draw our last breathe. Just like clockwork, and it had done this for literally thousands of galaxies life times, until I was born.

    So far that's two things I prevent, and even one not occurring throws the balance off. The moment I was born, the unraveling of time and space itself began to unwind itself. Little did I know that my entire bloodline had volunteered to throw me into the Abyss. My speech may have been just ramblings, or they could point to what could unfold now that the balance is messed up. That is up to you to decide, or not, it's your choice.

    I will never forget that single moment when I thought I would vanish. It shouldn't have been possible and it wouldn't have been, had I not noticed a faint light calling out to me. That light kept me away from the edge of total demise, and yet it also did something else all together.

    It gave me a human soul, a heart to feel excitement, happiness, pain, shame, and so much more. But most of all, it gave me a second chance, a chance to fix the wrongs my family committed to excuse the death of their own heir. I was determined to stop the erasure of the universe anyway I could. Humans say there is no force that could equal a woman's scorn. Obviously, humans haven't met me lately.

    My brown eyes searched the darkness of the dense forest quickly and methodically, as though my body was aware of something I was not. My silver hair shimmered in the moonlight, the long strands flowing in the gentle breeze. My black trench-coat hid the damage that the Abyss had done to me, effectively making my long-sleeved gray shirt resemble filthy rags hanging from my lean muscled body. Standing at five eleven, I seemed to be rather small compared to the ancient trees that I walked among. My black jeans seemed to help make me look as part of the dark background I walked against, while my gray boots showed only the light brown dust from the trails.

    "What's going on here?" I whispered to myself, my voice cracking slightly. My normally soft gentle voice sounded like a scratchy record, seeming to break occasionally when I breathed. "There is no way the Elders are going to let me be, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

    "Are you lost?" a soft, lilting voice whispered behind me. I stopped and turned around quickly, drawing one hand back in a claw. "Relax, I'm not going to hurt you."

    I felt warmth growing from my left side, and hesitantly put my right hand on it. Suddenly, I began to cough, and unable to bear the pain, I fell to one knee. I leaned forward, and coughed harder, smelling a metallic scent on the ground in front of me. I looked up at the innocent young woman I had almost hurt, and she smiled lightly before noticing my injuries.

    "How did you get this badly beat up? It's almost like you were tortured for weeks on end," she said, worry clear in her tone. "My name is Reina Sara Firaze. The fact that you seem to be so close to death means that I won't have to worry about you trying to hurt me. If you survive or not, you will have to trust me."

    I nodded once, and the scent of roses assaulted my nose, while the sight of her light blonde hair shocked me slightly. Her ice blue eyes may have seemed cold when I turned on her, but now it almost seemed as though they were alive with flames of compassion. She didn't seem to be much shorter than me, at most she was three inches shorter, while her black sandals gave her about a half inch height. Her flowing silver dress was the last thing I remember before I blacked out.

    I woke up, and noticed that the woods were eerily quiet, sending chills down my spine. Still, I had found one person who had somewhat cared for me already. My thoughts wandered to the girl who had simply told me her name, before I blacked out on the trail. "What happened after I passed out? Where am I now?"

    I thought for a moment, then shrugged my shoulders. The pine needles from overhead began to fall slowly toward the ground, creating a light brown blur between me and the other side of my bed. The only way that I had noticed anyway was the pain had suddenly sharpened all of my senses. It was as though my mind was going through a sensory overload. As I began to fade into darkness, I heard a soft whisper greet me as an old friend.

    "This is your new life, and your chance to get this right, Sai. No one can tell you any different, and when the time comes you will turn into the one thing you mocked. Heed my warning, and prevent the calamity from overtaking your new home. It's up to you now."

    I woke up on my bed, sweating and breathing hard as Reina seemed to melt away from the shadows. Something was very wrong already with this world, and it was no longer merely my concern to correct it. The others would have to take care of the problem now, because as long as I remained in a human form, I was very fragile. The problem wasn't how to get out of my body, so much as keeping it alive when I left it. The thought brought an odd question to my mind.

    Why was I bound to a human vessel, whereas my brethren were not? Was it to contain my Reaper abilities,? Was there a darker side of myself that I had carefully hidden from my own mind? Why was it awakening now of all times, now that I had no control over the same power I had commanded for centuries? Or was I not actually a Reaper, but something that held its powers for the first stage?

    Reina looked at me, an odd emotion visible on her face as she examined my body. I saw a single tear roll down her cheek, and instantly I forgot about my worries. I felt a sharp stabbing in my legs as I fought to stand up, but I managed to get over to her before she collapsed. I gently cupped my arms around her, holding her close as her sobs became louder and louder. It was unnerving to hear, almost sounding like a banshee's call in the middle of the night.

    The faint silver moonlight had just broken out of the clouds overhead when I felt something warm pulsing slowly from Reina's back. My blood seemed to run cold as I fought the urge to vomit all over the forest floor. She was bleeding out, and I couldn't do anything to help her.

    Rage overtook my entire being as I thought of the lone human I had met just one night before, and how completely in thrall to her I was. It was not anger at her, just anger that someone had hurt her, and I had not known at all. A split second later, and I felt the rift in the air widen rapidly. Surprise caught me as I recognized the vibrations calling to my very being.

    It wasn't uncommon for Reapers to notice rifts, but it was highly dangerous when one was opened in front of a human. The shockwaves could not only kill them, but allow vengeful spirits to cross over and inhabit their bodies. Because of this, Reapers were forbidden to travel in rifts anywhere on an inhabited planet. Until now, a Reaper couldn't open one by themselves in the presence of a human. Guess there was a lot about me that defied what ever else had come before me.

    As I struggled to calm down, a thin spider-like arm shot through the rift and grabbed Reina, effortlessly tossing her towards it self. Before I could react, the rift closed with an ominous thud! I fell to the ground for the third time in two days, feeling sick to my stomach for the first time in centuries.