Amber skin flashed in candlelight. The soft sound of sobbing could be heard in the dark room. A thin young man walked into the large airy room, his feet silent on the cold marble floor. He passed a large silver armoire and looked into the mirror. Large sad amber eyes glowed from his tan face. His eyes were the same vivid amber as his hair; his skin was a warm gold. Long elegant fingers reached up to touch his throat. His fingers touched the golden metal at his throat. A sign of his captivity. Strands of his hair fell across his face. He stared into the mirror mesmerized for a brief instant not recognizing himself. High cheekbones, full lips, perfectly white even teeth, the way his hair caught the light and shimmered from amber gold to the streaks of pale blonde and burgundy. How long had it been since he had looked in a mirror. A year… two… ever since he had been captured and made to be a Sultan's pet… or was it after he had been given to a king as a present. He shook his head looking away from the mirror brushing the arrant strands of his hair away from his face. He couldn't even remember anymore. How long had he lived this way? It seemed like forever. The sound of a quiet sob brought his out of his reverie. He shook his head to clear it. His eyes closing, one hand automatically coming up to run through his hair in a motion of comfort. One he rarely indulged in because he didn't want anyone to see.

He walked quickly across the room. His eyes adjusting quickly to the lack of light. He walked to large wooden double-doors and pushed them open. Moonlight flooded in from the adjoining room. He walked in and called out softly, "Aiden?" No answer. He blinked and stepped into the shadows. He bypassed a large marble bed, stepping away from the white gauze that trailed from the canopy of the bed. His eyes immediately knowing where to go. In the darkest corner of the room. He could dimly make out the outline of a small boy crouched on the cold floor. His legs pulled up against his chest as he sniffled. One of the boys hands raising to brush tears from his face. A slight wavering voice spoke, "Arland… I… I'm here." Arland smiled, and spoke gently not moving from his spot in the middle of the room, " I know." The boy looked up sniffling, his large glowing blue green eyes puffy from crying. Arland moved slowly forward and crouched in front of the boy and just looked smiling sadly. The boy sat on his legs; "I had a nightmare again." Arland nodded leaning forward and took the younger boy in his arms. Aiden stiffened for a second and then leapt throwing his arms around his friend, teacher and defender. Aiden burrowed his face in the soft silk of Arland's vest, breathing in deeply the scents of herbs, potions, and magick. Aiden sobbed softly, crying into his teacher's shoulder. Arland made soothing noises and gently patted the boy's ruffled platinum hair. If Arland resembled flame. The boy resembled moonlight, pale ethereal, glowing as where Arland seemed to have a slow steady burn like the orange soothing lamplight Aiden needed in order to sleep. Arland's eyes moved across the room and rested on the lamp, which had burned out. He smiled and slowly pulled away from the boy's embrace once he felt the boy was calm.

Arland's rested his hands on the boy's shoulders and looked into tear-bright eyes, "Do you think you're … alright now?" The boy nodded looking at Arland with an earnest determined look across his pale features. Arland nodded his approval. The boy was strong … and determined. Good. He would need it to survive. Arland brushed stray locks of platinum hair away from the boy's face and wiped tears away with quick gentle fingers. Arland rose quickly, gracefully, with the balance of a cat. "Al right… then I'll light your lamp." Arland covered the distance to the bed easily and reached into the shadows beside the bed and pulled up a fresh oil lamp. He snapped his fingers and a flame danced on the tip of his index finger, He reached in and touched it to the wick and began to burn. "Good… now with that done… do you believe you can sleep?" The boy nodded and rose walking to the bed and throwing the canopy open and hopped in, laying down on the white silk comforter. Arland smiled, "Good. Believing is half of the work."

He sat down on the bed beside Aiden and tucked him in. Aiden grinned; his eyes still awake and alert. This won't do…" Arland leaned forward running his finger down the boy's temple. The boy yawned and cuddled deeper into his pillows. Arland smiled gently, and hesitated before asking, "Aiden…" Aiden looked at him, blinking heavily, "hmm…?" "What was your nightmare about?" Aiden blinked as though finding it hard to remember, "It was the same one… the one… I've been having… about the fire… the attack." Aiden nodded his voice still containing the same calm soothing quality it always had, "I'm sorry." Aiden shrugged, no longer afraid, calm tranquil and sleepy to the point of borderline apathy, "It wasn't that bad…. Not as bad as some others…" Aiden cringed, shivering, "except the screams… and the smell of burning. It smelled like… something cooking… and yet … it made me nauseous…. I don't know why…." Arland stiffened, and frowned down at his student, "You could smell your dream?" Aiden nodded sluggishly, too far gone to notice the calm concern in his teacher's voice, "yeah… and I felt… felt a big… void." Arland's frown deepened. A void? "When you say felt… you mean sensed." Aiden shrugged his eyes now closed, "Not exactly…." He yawned, "I mean… I couldn't sense anything… nothin' at 'll-l." The boy had fallen asleep. Arland smiled tenderly and leaned down brushing a kiss to the boy's temple. Sleep well. He sat there watching the boy sleep as he thought. The boy had been through a great deal over the past few months. Being stolen from his parents, his village destroyed in a fire… maybe that was the reason for the boy's dream and yet… something didn't seem right. The boy had said he had smelled the fire… a memory from the day? No. He said he had smelled it and then there was the void… it didn't feel right. Arland shook his head, as he muffled a yawn. He would think on it in the morning. It should be able to wait till then.

He frowned, a look of tender sorrow on his face, he brushing the boy's hair away from his face. The boy's hair is almost as wild as mine is. He smiled sadly. The boy… one day he'll be like me… won't he? Sam what should I do? If you were here… you would know, wouldn't you? You seemed to know everything… and yet I can barely remember you… I can barely remember anything from before this…. He lowered his head, tears shining in his eyes. I can't remember being free…. Wasn't I this boy's age when I was found? You told me never to get caught…. How I miss you. You always seemed to know everything. Everything was so clear then …now… everything is so complicated. I can't remember… what color were your eyes? I have forgotten so much. I remember just enough to tease me. Arland looked down at Aiden, One day he'll forget too. Maybe that would be the best thing. To forget. To forget everything that was.

A deep voice rumbled soft and low from out of the shadows, "The boy had another nightmare." Arland jumped to his feet; his eyes narrowing as he glared at the man who ruined this boy's life. Arland's voice was cold and clipped as he spoke, "What do you want Damien?" The figure stepped out of the shadows to reveal a handsome man dressed in the black wardrobe of a soldier. The man was breath taking, dark eyes as black as an abyss, long black hair that fell to his shoulders in waves. A tight black vest showing off his muscular chest. Tight leather pants clinging to his muscular legs and leaving little to the imagination. His eyes smoldered in his darkly handsome face. "I would think that was obvious…" He stepped forward bringing his body into contact with Arland's, as he continued, his voice a darkly sensual purr, "I want you." A strong tan hand lifted Arland's down turned face. Arland's almond shaped eyes were narrowed and quickly changed from warm amber to a harsh metallic gold that burned with rage. His handsome face a mirror of contempt, his lips pressed tightly together with anger. He looked amazing angry. Damien brushed a strand of amber hair away from Arland's handsome face. Arland was not femine but next to Damien almost appeared so. Arland was tall, lean, muscular but almost frail compared to Damien's broad muscle. Damien looked down into Arland's upturned glaring face, smirking. "You look beautiful angry." He leaned in to kiss Arland on the mouth. Arland jerked away turning around spinning to walk to his room. A strong hand gripped his upper arm almost bruisingly. "A low harsh growl near his ear, "Don't you dare walk away from me." Arland spun, his arm still caught and glared up at Damien's face, which was no longer smiling but glaring with intensity. Arland spoke his tone filled with calm righteous anger; "I am not your slave." Damien's hand slid up slightly to touch a golden metallic armband that was welded closed on Arland's upper arm. He fingered it his gaze on it. A reminder. Arland repeated, "I am not your slave." Arland jerked his arm free, turning away only to be caught by the shoulders. Arland froze his back stiffening, his eyes closing tightly as he felt Damien step forward against him. He could feel Damien's beard and his hot breath against his ear as Damien spoke, his voice a harsh whisper, "You're right. You are not my slave. You are my father's. You and that boy…." Arland's eyes flew open in horror. Damien smirked and continued, knowing his point was understood, "it would be good for you to remember that." Damien's grip tightened painfully. Arland gulped his eyes once again tightly closed. He was released suddenly. Arland stood still and saw light flare as the door opened and the light vanish, as the door slammed closed with a sound that sounded very final. Only then did he start breathing again. A hand came up to tenderly rub his arm where he had been grabbed. He turned and looked at the still sleeping Aiden and sighed. Sam I miss you. Things were so clear with you. You always knew what to do.