Hey peoples! Its me again! This is a bit of work that is part of something bigger that I just might post here. Just a heads up: Don't try to steal anything. I'm extremely protective of this work. Copyrighted? yeah, I'm that protective. Here's the first part. I know I said I'd always finish the stories, but this one is if-y. we'll see...enjoy!

Chapter One: The Village

Far south, just beyond the borders of a realm hardly known, the midnight sky was painted deep orange. A village burned and the skies wept, yet the rain did little to quench the blazing infernos that consumed everything in sight. And the village was not only plagued by flames, but also invaded by darkness. Shifters killed mercilessly. Every moment last breaths were drawn. Yet the crumbling settlement was not forsaken.

Silver swords gleamed red from the light of the flames as they emerged from the near woodlands. Their wielders spared no time in cutting down every creature of shadow that crossed their paths. The men were without stallions, but they moved as quickly as one could with them. The swords were soon painted blacked; stained by the blood of Lybane.

Warriors of the Ellitos, bane of the shadows, had come.

Len-Ellito wielded his long, thin blade with incredible ease. A warrior and healer, he was the Lord of the Ellitos appointed by Elohim himself. Few could match his valor in battle and shape shifters were not of those few. Just as soon as one fell with Len's blade through its heart, another fell soon after, a victim to a greater power than the blade.

Len met a shifter in a forceful clash of steel and they both engaged in a deadly dance. The Lybane used his size to his advantage and he bore merciless blows down on the warrior. Len likewise took advantage of his size and speed by blocking the Lybane's blows and counter attack before the monster could retaliate.

Ducking a blow that would have severed his head clean from his body, Len lunged from his defensive position and drove his sword straight through its heart. With a quick and merciful twist of the blade, the beast fell to the ground lifeless.

In the few seconds that he could spare Len surveyed his soundings, looking to find his second-in-command. He was spotted near the center of the village fighting three shifters at once with impressive ease. His name was Caleb and he was the Ellitos Sword-master; he trained all the new warriors.

"Caleb!" he called, still fighting the Lybane in front of him without missing a beat. The monster was swiftly and cleanly dispatched. Len bounded over to his friend who had killed one shifter and was down to two. Wasting no time he swung his bow from his back and notched an arrow. The white fletched dart struck one of the Lybane straight through its black heart. Caleb killed the third one seconds later.

The sword-master nodded in thanks.

"Check the houses! Get all the survivors back to the woodlands and back to the Ellitos!" Len commanded, his voice followed by the frantic cry of a girl. The Ellito turned and released another arrow, never missing a target. "I want everyone out of this place!"

"Aye," Caleb relayed the order. The walls of flame were growing higher.

The closest house to Len was near completely engulfed by flames. In place for a door there was a wall of fire, blocking any view of the inside. Without fear Len ran to the house and crossed the burning threshold. The fire itself parted before him to allow him safe passage; not one part of him was touched by the inferno.

The smoke obscured his abnormally sharp vision so that he could hardly tell what was in front of him. He kept his sword low but at the ready in case of need to strike. Even without seeing he could sense that there was yet life in the house, but he could hardly locate its source.

Len suddenly stumbled before catching himself and looking down to find that he'd tripped over the body of a child. As fast as he could the Ellito sheathed his weapon and checked the child for a pulse. It was found, but it was much too fast; a testament to how much smoke there was in the air.

Gathering the child in his arms Len backtracked until he reached the door. Only then did he realize that the child would have never been in the house alone. Training his senses, he couldn't feel anymore life within the home other than his own and the fading one of the child. Saying a silent prayer he ran from the building, just before it collapsed into a pile that would soon be ash. The child would never see the home again.

Len was quick in handing over the child to another warrior and ordering her to be taken back into the woodlands. There had only been twenty-two warriors to begin with, and now that half of them were gone ferrying the villagers to safety, the odds in numbers were stacked against them.

Caleb swung his blade with almost a satisfied smile on his lips, caught up in the rush of battle. His mind and body were one, working together to create a deadly being.

For the second time since they'd arrived at the village Caleb stopped for a breath, instinctively looking for Len. The two had grown up friends and had become chosen brothers after the course of many devastating events in both lives. They were both parentless, but Caleb had a sister, while Len, after his ordeal, had no one. The three, Len, Caleb, and his sister Annabel had become a family in their own. Nothing could separate them.

Caleb entire body threatened to shut down as he saw a single Lybane lunge for his brother. And Len, he stood with his back turned to the threat. He was staring into the darkened forest at something Caleb could not see.

"Len!" he called frantically. He was too far away to help; he was out of arrows. "Len, move!" The Lord of the Ellitos seemed frozen in time as everything else around him moved.

"Len!"

The shifter's blade came down…