Chapter 1

Blake Kerrington frowned as she walked into her apartment. She had just had a long day at work, and could feel a headache start to pulse behind her temples. She was looking forward to a hot bath and a warm bed.

Unfortunately, her plans were interrupted when she spotted a naked man lying across her kitchen table. After examining the man more closely, she realized that "man" was not exactly the best way to describe him. Firstly, he had the strangest black markings all over his body. The way they stretched across him in jagged, twisted streaks, they looked similar to the stripes one would see on a tiger.

This alone was not too shocking, as she knew there were those weird people out there that got too carried away with their tattoos. But there was a long purple tail waving and curling in the air around him, stretching all the way to his backside. She assumed it was connected to him, but did not really want to check. The tail also had the same black markings on it, as the ones on his chest. Added to all of this was a light purple tint to his skin that was almost indistinguishable, along with bright purple hair.

While she was assessing him, the man had sat up and was currently giving her a wide grin. Thus showing not only a spectacular amount of straight, blindingly white teeth, but also two sharp fangs.

Blake was currently just staring at him in a strange detachment. She wasn't sure why she was acting so calm. She just chalked it up to shock. She was actually quite proud of herself for not panicking. The last thing she needed to do was become a blubbering hysterical fool while there was a crazy purple man with a tail, wearing nothing but a smile, sitting on her kitchen table.

Then he started to talk. "Why hello there! I've been waiting for you," he said, his wide grin not faltering once. Blake wondered how he could keep grinning so wide, for so long. It was hurting her cheeks just to look at him. "Oh, Damien is going to be so pleased with me once I bring you back! You're all he talks about nowadays!" he continued, seeming to get more excited with each word. Well, at least one of them was happy.

Blake finally broke through her apathetic fog enough to say something. "Um…what?" she replied.

He simply giggled at her, and got up off of the table. "Oh silly me, I haven't even introduced myself yet!" he exclaimed. "My name is Drix. I'm here to escort you to Lakadia."

Blake blinked for a minute, before repeating the same ingenious words as before. Drix giggled once more, before walking towards her. She was still in her detached frozen state as he stood in front her and started twirling a lock of her brown hair. Now that he was closer she could see that he had bright golden eyes, with cat-like pupils.

He kept grinning as he said, "You're just as beautiful as Damien said you would be. You'll be absolutely perfect for the job! Well, come on let's not keep him waiting!"

Even though she was tempted to once again repeat her earlier words, she refrained. Instead she said, "Wait, what? Okay seriously, who are you and what are you doing here?! I'm ten seconds from calling the police, so you better get the fuck out of my apartment! How did you even get in here? And what are you?!" So much for calm indifference.

His only reply was to keep grinning and grab her hand. She started to scream and lash out at him, but he did not seem deterred. If anything his grin only got wider. Then he raised a hand up into the air. Blake watched in horror as long black claws started to erupt from the tips of his fingers.

She froze, terrified that he planned on using those terrifying claws on her. But he only winked at her and slashed his hand through the air, to the right of them. Blake stared as bright blue marks emerged where his claws had slashed the air. The blue marks started to widen and elongate, meshing together until the bright blue mark was slightly bigger than the both of them.

Then Drix lunged forward, right into the blue mass. And as he still had a tight grip on her arm, she was forced into it too. She felt an ice cold shock go through her, before everything went black.

Blake shifted slightly as she regained consciousness. She kept her eyes closed as she tried to remember where she was. It all slowly started to come back to her. The strange naked man, the bright blue mass, her being pulled in and then passing out.

She slowly took in her surroundings, without opening her eyes. She felt soft silky sheets under her, so she assumed she was in some sort of bed. And then she heard something. It sounded like some sort of purring and it was coming from right next to her. She thought that it might have been a cat.

She sighed and reached a hand out, eyes still closed, coming into contact with some very soft fur. She stroked it, and the purring started to get louder. She finally decided to open her eyes. What she was met with was not a cat, but the same man as before. He had a lazy smile on his face and his eyes were half-closed.

He was also still naked. And because of this, she was able to tell that he was very happy. She then screamed and yanked her hand out of his hair. She started to back away from him, but his only reply to her floundering was to open his eyes all of the way.

Blake just kept backing up, afraid he would pounce on her with those claws at any minute. But taking a closer look at him, she noticed that his hands were back to normal.

Oh well, she was still terrified of him.

She just kept backing up, making sure to keep her front to him so she could keep both of her eyes on him. This, unfortunately, led to her falling right off the edge of the bed.

As she was recuperating from the pain that was now spreading throughout her body, she heard giggling coming from on top of the bed. She glared at the floor and tried to get up. But when she had fallen, she had taken all of the sheets and blankets with her, leaving her to be tangled up in the heap of cloths. She ended up just falling over once again.

This caused even more giggling to come from the bed. But then she heard the giggling get closer, and all of a sudden she was being hoisted up into the man's arms. She screamed and started struggling, as he started to walk towards a door that she hadn't noticed before.

But before they had gotten even half-way across the room, the door opened. In stepped a man that looked to be in his early twenties and had brown hair, with bright emerald eyes. Blake might've stopped to appreciate the man's beauty had she not been so preoccupied with getting the hell away from Drix.

Then the new man started to talk. "Hello," he said, "It's so nice to finally meet you. I'm Damien and I see you've met Drix. I can't tell you enough about how glad we are to finally have you here with us."

Blake finally stopped struggling when she heard the man speak. He had a voice like melted chocolate, but there was something slightly off about him. She wasn't exactly sure what, though.

Damien gave a small smile to her, as his beautiful emerald eyes made contact with her own brown ones. He then looked over her shoulder towards Drix. He simply nodded once and then turned back to the door. As he started to walk out of the room, she felt Drix move and follow him out.

She then came back to her senses and started kicking and screaming. Both men simply ignored her as they started walking down a corridor. Once again Blake just had to stop struggling and stare at the passing hall. It was so odd-looking it had her completely captivated.

There were fire lit lamps everywhere lighting their way, along with huge chandeliers dangling from the high ceiling. There were also oil paintings hanging everywhere. The people in the portraits were very strange. Most of them looked like normal enough people, but every now and then a painting would depict an odd-looking creature. The creatures looked somewhat like humans, just with some added parts. Like wings, or cat ears, or a tail. It was all so weird.

The hall was also filled with people. These people looked similar to the ones in the portraits. Most of them looked normal, but there was the occasional strange one. Most of the people were ignoring the trio, too occupied with running in and out of the many doors that dotted the hall. The few that did notice them only nodded at Drix and Damien and gave her a knowing smile.

She noticed a sort of pattern in the people that did acknowledge them. They were older looking men, with only the occasional younger one, usually wearing long black robes. A few of them had their hoods up so she couldn't see their faces. As another one of these hooded men nodded at them, Damien actually talked to him. "Tyler," he said, "Could you please take Miss Kerrington to the Blue Room while Drix and I assemble the council?"

Tyler only nodded in what she assumed was consent. He then walked over to Drix, who proceeded to unceremoniously drop her into Tyler's awaiting arms. She was really getting fed up with all of this. She started to scream at Tyler as he began walking down the hall while Drix and Damien walked into a room to the left of them.

"Hey put me down! Let me go! What the hell is wrong with you people!" she screamed while flailing her arms about in an attempt to hit Tyler.

Tyler put his hood down with one arm as he held her with the other. This gave Blake the chance to see what he really looked like. He was one of those rare young ones and had the most beautiful green eyes. Even more beautiful than Damien's. He also had wavy blonde hair that went to his shoulders. This coupled with his tanned skin, made him look like the typical surfer guy. But it was his cold and formal demeanor that made her come to the conclusion that he was anything but.

He gave her a blank look as he said, "No matter how much you struggle I will not let you go. Besides, what would you do even if I did let you go? Run away? To where exactly? You have nowhere to go. Do you even know where you are?"

This last question made Blake freeze as her heart started to speed up. She was met with a cold realization. Tyler was completely right. She had no idea where she was. She had no idea how she would get out or where she would go. She had been taken from her home, from her friends and family, to God only knows where. She had no idea who these people were and what they planned on doing with her. She was doomed.

Suddenly, Tyler stopped walking as he got to a door. He grabbed a key from a pocket in his robe and unlocked the door. When he walked in, she was met with a large room that had a long rectangular table in it. It also had a huge fireplace that took up over half of one wall. The fireplace was not lit, so the only source of light was the large crystal chandelier that hung above the table. There were cabinets along all of the other walls. There was also a door right across from the doorway they were standing in, on the other side of the room.

There were three men seated at one corner of the long table. They stood up as Tyler closed the door behind him and walked further into the room. Tyler walked over to them and stood in front of them, still holding tightly onto Blake.

Now that she was closer, Blake could tell that these people were not normal. Each of them had a large set of bird wings, which she had not seen when they were sitting down. They were each different colors and shapes but around the same size. They were shirtless, as she figured having wings would make wearing a shirt a tad difficult, but they had pants on.

Tyler addressed them all as he said, "Hello gentlemen. Damien is assembling the council right now, so I'm sure he's looking for you."

A man with bright red hair and matching wings nodded and said, "Yes we know. We already ran into Damien. He told us to come to the Blue Room to help you out with Miss Kerrington."

Tyler looked bemused for a split-second before his face went blank once again. "Did he say why, Bane?"

Bane gave him a peculiar look and said, "Well not really, but he didn't have to. Is it not obvious why we would be needed? How else do you plan on bringing her to the Council Room?"

This time, Tyler could not keep his calm mask and shouted, "WHAT?! We're taking her to the Council Room? When was this decided?"

"I'm not sure. Did he not tell you? Where had you assumed we were taking her?" Bane said in reply to Tyler's outburst.

Tyler exploded saying, "Certainly not to the Council Room! We cannot take her there! The Shey will surely find out everything if we did!"

Bane gave him an angry look and said, "So you think she will betray us? She would never! And besides, Damien trusts her, why can't you?"

Tyler shook his head and backtracked, "It's not that I don't trust her. It's the Shey I don't trust. What happens if they get a hold of her? Then where would we be? Everything would be ruined, it would be the death of us all!"

Bane was silent for a few moments. Finally he replied, "I guess you are right. I hadn't really thought about it like that. We've all been so focused on what to do about Asher, I don't think we've spent enough time thinking about what the Shey will do once they know she is here. You should share these thoughts with Damien."

Tyler nodded and said, "I'll go right away. Here, Bane could you watch her while the others and I try to go find him?"

Bane nodded and held out his arms. Blake started to protest being shoved into another's arms once again, but no one heeded her. She was carelessly dropped into Bane's arms, and could only watch helplessly as Tyler, along with the other two men, walked out of the room through the door they had come in through. She then felt Bane shift her slightly in his arms as he started walking towards the other door.

She figured it would be useless to do any more struggling so she stayed still and silent. She was so confused. She had no idea what was going on. The conversation she had just witnessed only served to confuse her more. Why could she not go to this Council Room? And what were the Shey? And who was Asher?

She suddenly started to feel nauseous. Nothing was going right. She just wanted to go home. Was that too much to ask for? She then felt a grumbling in her stomach. Surely food was not too much to ask for also, right?

She looked up at him questioningly as she was sure he could also hear the groaning of her stomach. He shook his head and said, "It's not my place to feed you."

Well apparently food was too much to ask for. "What? What the hell is that supposed to mean? And where are you taking me?" she demanded.

"If you are hungry you can talk to Damien about it when he comes back. And right now I am taking you to your room," he replied as he walked into the now open door. This door led to what looked like another hallway. This hallway was a lot smaller though and only had three doors. It was very dimly lit too, with just a few torches on the walls.

Bane walked to the door on their left and opened it. Once inside she was met with a small room, furnished in warm neutral colors. It had a canopy bed that took up most of the room with an armoire and a vanity table that matched.

After closing the door behind them, Bane walked over to the bed and sat her down on it. He then walked over to the armoire and leaned against it while crossing his arms, so he was facing right across from her.

They simply stared at each other for several minutes before Blake couldn't take it anymore and blurted out, "What!? Stop doing that!"

He gave her a confused look and said, "Stop doing what?"

"Just staring at me! It's really starting to freak me out! I mean seriously, do you ever blink?"

He simply gave her a blank stare. A blank unblinking stare.

"Seriously! Stop doing that!"

"Then what would you have me do?"

This stopped her for a moment. Then she replied, "I don't know. But why are you even here? Don't you have something better to do?"

He shook his head and said, "No. Tyler asked me to watch over you. You don't expect me to just leave you alone, do you?"

Blake sighed and said, "Well if you're not going to leave could you at least answer some questions I have?"

He seemed to ponder over that for a little bit. He finally said, "Alright, I guess I can do that. I can't tell you everything though, as it's not my place to." Huh. It seemed like there were a lot of things that 'weren't his place to do'.

Blake pondered over what to ask him first. There were so many things she wanted, no needed to know. Finally she decided to start with, "Well can you at least tell me where I am?"

Bane nodded and said, "I see no harm in telling you this. Right now you are in Lakadia."

She gave him a blank look and said, "What?"

"Lakadia. It's in a separate realm from where you're from."

She continued to give him a peculiar look. Finally she decided to just let it go. Things here were obviously not right. For crying out loud, she was talking to a man with wings! She figured she would just move on to the next question. "So why am I here?"

"I'm sorry but I don't think I can tell you that," said Bane. He actually did look a little sorry, too.

She sighed and said, "Well can you tell me what is with these people? What are they? And what are you?"

He stayed silent for another moment before saying, "Well I guess I should explain a little more about Lakadia before I can tell you about its inhabitants. Lakadia is a special world. It is full of…well I guess you could say magic. That would be the best way to describe it. But it's not really like that. At least not like the kind of magic you would think, from your world's perspective. It's more like…it just has a special aura about it."

After seeing my bemused look, he went on, "The realm itself just seems to emanate this kind of feeling. And this feeling just kind of…well I'm not sure how to explain it. It just seems to draw out our powers. It attracts us here, it makes us stronger…we're more at peace when we're here."

He was about to go on but Blake blurted out, "Wait, what do you mean when you're here?"

He smiled at her, blue eyes twinkling, as he said, "Not everyone chooses to stay here. In fact, a lot of our kind chooses to live in your realm."

"But how is that possible? You kind of stick out you know. And I can't imagine how others would blend in too."

He gave her a mischievous grin and stood up. He stood still for a moment and closed his eyes. All of a sudden a bright red glow seemed to emanate from his wings. Then they caught fire all of a sudden. Blake screamed at the sight. But Bane didn't seem to be in any pain, as his face looked to be completely at peace. Then the fire started to die out and get smaller. Only after the fire was gone completely did Blake notice something crucial.

His wings were gone.

"Wait, what the hell just happened?" she said quietly.

Bane finally opened his eyes and said, "I got rid of my wings. It's only temporary and I can make them come back the same way. So does this answer your question?"

Blake nodded. But then another question came to her mind. "But what about Drix? How does he hide his…differences?"

Bane smiled and said, "Now Drix…he's a different story altogether. He's one of a kind, literally. He's the only known Csheare in existence."

At Blake's confused look he said, "Well, um…let's backtrack a little. How about I start by telling you about the more common creatures here. There are many different types of creatures. They all fall into two broad categories. There's the Feaie and the Shey. Basically it's just like good and evil. The Feaie are the good guys and the Shey are the bad guys. Both groups absolutely despise each other. We're actually at war right now. Have been for several years."

"Several years? So does time pass the same way here as it does in, um…my realm?" Blake said unsurely. She was still having trouble adjusting to everything. A part of her was sure that this was all just a dream and that she was going to wake up at any moment now. But after all she'd seen and heard, this belief was getting harder and harder to embrace. She tried to just accept the fact that all of this was real and move on from there.

Blake was a rational woman. Always had been. Like when she was 9 and her little brother and his friends had snuck into her room while she was sleeping, and slipped his pet snake into her bed. She didn't panic or scream, even though she was incredibly terrified of snakes. She simply wrapped the snake in a blanket and tossed it out the window. When she was 14 and a bear had attacked her friends' campsite, she didn't cry or become hysterical like the other girls. She simply followed the instructions her parents had given her for just this scenario. When she was 19 and her parents died in a car crash, she didn't sink into a pit of depression. She had her mourning period and then went on with her life. And now, at 22 years old, she had graduated college, had a nice, if not stressful job as a columnist for a newspaper, and was living in New York City in a decent sized apartment.

So she tried to just get a hold on things now. Familiarize and accommodate accordingly, that was her motto. Of course, she wasn't following that motto very well, looking back now on her recent behavior. But then again, there's a big difference between a bear and a non-human creature.

Bane answered her question saying that time did indeed pass the same way in both realms. Then he went on to explain more about the different kinds of creatures in this realm. He started by explaining what kinds of creatures were on which sides of the war. He explained how most creatures fought on both sides, but some stayed to a certain one. Some creatures that stayed on the Feaie side were fairies, unicorns, nymphs, and mermaids. Some creatures that stuck to the Shey side were vampires, gargoyles, goblins, and trolls. Most every other creature though could be on any side.

Some other creatures were elementals, elves, seers, healers, and shapeshifters. There were many other creatures but he explained that to sit here and name all of them would take days. What she was really interested in were the shapeshifters. He explained that there were many different types of shapeshifters, just as there were many different types of animals. He explained that he was a shapeshifter, more specifically a Polophics, commonly known as Polos. He was able to shapeshift into a full phoenix, along with several other powers, which he refused to tell her about.

He then explained more about Drix. He said that no one accept Drix himself knew where he came from. His powers were just as unknown as his past. He said that Damien probably knew more about him, as Drix was Damien's right hand man. This brought her to another question.

"What's with this Damien guy? Everyone seems to follow him."

"That's because he's our leader. He leads the Feaie side."

"Oh, okay. Well what is he?"

At this Bane's face closed off and he replied with, "That's not really my—"

"Place to say, I know, I know!" she interrupted him. "Fine," she sighed, "Well then can you tell me who leads the Shey side?"

"Well, no. But that's because we don't really know."

Blake pondered over this for a moment. How could you fight someone when you didn't even know whom you were fighting against? She assumed that it was a lot more complicated than that, but left the subject alone. Instead she asked, "Well who is this Asher person you guys were talking about earlier?"

Bane froze when she said his name. He didn't say anything for a while, and just as Blake had begun to think he was never going to answer, he said in a quiet voice, "You'll be finding out soon enough."

Blake wasn't sure why, but this answer chilled her to the bone. Seeing the scared look on her face, Bane gave her a warm smile and said, "Hey, no need to worry about him right now. You're completely safe from anything."

This made Blake feel warm inside. At least someone here cared. Or at least acted like they cared. She said with a small smile, "Thanks, really. You've been a great help, Bane." Just then her stomach started to rumble again, and she was reminded of her great hunger. She wondered how long she had been in this place. "When exactly is Damien coming back? I don't think I can wait much longer for food!" she exclaimed.

The second those words left her mouth the door was opened. In walked Damien, followed by Drix carrying a tray of food. Her stomach grumbled particularly loudly and her mouth started salivating at the sight of food. Drix obviously heard it, as he gave her a knowing grin, and with a twinkle in his eye, walked over to her. He sat next to her on the bed and sat the tray down on his lap. Blake was unsure what to do. After what Bane had told her, she didn't think he was as bad as she had previously thought. But she still wasn't sure how to act around him. It helped that he was finally wearing clothes, though.

Then Drix busied himself with peeling an orange from the tray. Taking a look at the tray she saw that it was filled with delicious looking fruits. She reached out a hand to take one, but Drix slapped it away.

"Ah ah ah," he said wagging his finger at her and grinning mischievously, "Naughty, naughty. Trying to steal my food, Blake!"

"What?! Your food? But I'm starving!"

At her outburst, his grin only got bigger as he said, "Yes, well, if you promise to behave, I'll let you have some."

Blake looked towards Bane for some help, but he only shook his head helplessly and shrugged. He gave her a small smile as he and Damien walked out of the room, conversing quietly. Blake looked back at Drix, who was now munching on the delectable fruit. Her eyes glazed over in desire as she looked at the food. Drix, noticing her stare put the fruit down and addressed her. "Would you like some?" he said sweetly. Too sweetly.

Blake gulped and nodded slowly.

"Well, then you have to promise me that you'll behave." After getting no reply from her, he said, "Come on. Just say that you promise to behave."

After battling with herself internally, she finally complied and repeated, "Fine. I promise to behave." She then lunged for the food, only to have her hand slapped away once again.

"Now that doesn't look like you're behaving! First you have to pinky swear!"

Blake couldn't believe this guy. Pinky swear! What the hell was wrong with this guy? Drix only looked at her innocently and held out his pinky. She glared at him for a minute before she finally gave up and locked her pinky around his. She pulled her pinky away shortly after, but he seemed to be contented with her actions. She didn't reach her hand out again though. It was already starting to turn a bit red from all the abuse it was getting.

Drix then picked up a piece of fruit and held it out to her. She assumed this finally meant she was allowed to have some. She reached her hand out, only to have it slapped away. Guess not. She was really getting pissed off with this whole hand-slapping thing. He only shook his head at her and held his hand with the food right in front of her mouth saying, "Now open wide."

"What?! You want me to let you feed me! Are you crazy? I can feed myself you know!" she exploded.

"Well then fine. Don't eat. That's not really my problem," he said as he continued eating.

After watching him eat for a few more moments, she felt her resolve crumble away. She was so hungry. Finally she tapped his arm and when he looked towards her, opened her mouth. He gave her another wide grin and popped a piece of orange into her mouth. She glared at him as she chewed. This was so humiliating. But the succulent fruit was almost worth it. Almost.

These actions were repeated until all of the fruit was gone. Blake had never felt so embarrassed and satisfied all at the same time before. Drix got up and set the tray on the vanity table. He then walked back over to her and sat down in front of her, on the floor. He put his head in her lap and just smiled.

Blake had no idea what he was doing. She wasn't sure how she was supposed to react. She didn't have to, though, as the door was opened and Damien walked back in. She wondered where Bane had gone.

Damien simply looked at them as if it was completely normal for Drix to have his head in someone's lap. And for all she knew, it was. "I know you have had a long day Miss Kerrington, and I hate to impose on you like this, but you are needed elsewhere right now," Damien spoke in a smooth voice.

Drix rubbed his head against her legs for a moment, before standing up. He then grabbed her hand and pulled her up too. Damien then addressed Drix saying, "I trust you to get her to the council room safely," before walking out of the room.

Drix then hoisted her up into his arms, bridal style. She started to struggle, but froze at his next words. "Now I thought you promised to behave! If you don't behave, I'll have to punish you!" he said with a wide grin.

Blake didn't know what he meant by 'punish' and was not looking forward to finding out. She then asked, "Well what are you doing?"

"I'm taking you to the Council Room. It's located in a revolving orb high above this palace. Usually we just have the Polos escort people who can't fly, but Damien thought that it would be wiser to just transport you, that way you won't know the exact directions of the Council Room"

Transport? Before Blake could ask any more questions, Drix extended a hand as claws once again started to sprout. He then slashed through the air, creating another big blue mark. Once it was big enough, he stepped through, and she felt the abrupt drop in temperature. Then everything went black. Again.

So what do you guys think? I'm sorry if it's a little boring, but I had to get all of the introductions out of the way first. Please review, I'd love to hear your opinions and constructive criticism!