Author's note: it's posted under some of my other accounts online, and I actually added a bit to the end here... Un-betaed, written in a state of boredom. Have fun reading (and please review)!

I heard that old saying about red sunrises in my youth plenty of times, but never cared for it. Growing up by the sea, the sailor in the port would say it often to anyone who would hear. And many who couldn't.

It was a morning, a red morning, with a particularly red sunrise. That didn't matter to us. I was now employed as the assistant Arcanist in the landlocked castle in the rolling countryside. The only fairly interesting thing around were the sheep, and not because they were sheep. Yes, in a sense they were, but it was what they were before that was interesting. I blame the apprentices around here that are all learning magic.

It's really quite sensible actually, turning troublemakers into sheep. Then sell the sheep or sell the wool from the sheep and make a tidy amount of money. Nevertheless, no one around here would eat one, not even at knife point. Which really is inconvenient if we ever had a famine.

Then again, I wouldn't ever eat one either.

But we're a very peaceful fief though, one must admit.

I'm straying from the point, aren't I. Even like this, talking to this crystal.

Oh yes, it was a red sunrise all right. Pity, I didn't take warning. Although, I had never been the type who wished to sail.

I was never seasick when I was younger. My first storm, I was the one who was stuck with my unfortunate friend who was being sick everywhere. Some said I was a natural born sailor because of that, but I had never been interested in sailing. I was raised in a well-to-do baker's family, not too amazingly well-to-do, but they could easily afford sending me to the Academia for a basic education in the arts of the arcane and later on an apprenticeship. It also helped that I was the only boy for the first decade and a half of my life; my sisters didn't require more than me teaching them their letters and numbers for an education.

That was a luxury even, teaching girls their letters and numbers wasn't necessary, but we were a family who had built their fortune on commerce and trade so that would've been smart. My mother was well known for her beautifully elaborate cakes, and my father his breads. I had little to no pressure on me, even though I was the oldest boy, I was no heir to the bakery. My parents understood that; I was a capable baker but had no interest in it. It would be my youngest sister's husband who would take over.

I had finished my apprenticeship with my master and left. Although I had never had the intention of being an Arcanist (that position usually went to old men with long beards and dusty robes), I somehow had managed to find work as the assistant Arcanist. I soon had my hands full; covering up for an old man prone to drinking beyond what he should, eleven young apprentices that were left to me by their masters when they didn't want to deal with them, and the problem of finding someone somewhere to take care of the sheep before we could sell them.

It's an odd thing, life. Soon, I got used to this curious existence in the castle in the middle of nowhere.

Yet, maybe a little too used to it.

I wasn't expecting the bloody room when I opened it. Nor was I expecting the remains of what had formerly been the Lord of the castle.

Baron Kisbey had never been my favourite person at the keep. But I didn't detest him.I avoided him really, avoided being in his company and when I had to, I remained quiet. He never sought out my company and I never sought out his. We coexisted in the same shared castle, but were as distant as the stars.

However, he sought out the company of young ladies. Although he had a wife and several young children, he had two older ones; bastards from a few tumbles before his marriage. Maybe even during, I wasn't so sure on the details. They however were visiting now, for the festivities of the season.I think it's pressure, from families around them, from their teachers, from total strangers. Its also pressure from the Baron and his wife, to simply save face and keep appearances up of being kind and caring. They don't care for the beings in the castle, I don't really care about them.

It's not hate. I simply don't like or hate them. They're total strangers to me, the same for them.

There's no shame in admitting things, they say, but there is. The illegitimate children, the baron never really acknowledges as his own. He doesn't.

The servants serve them, they find them easy to serve. They don't demand things that are extremely odd or unnecessary, they don't act odd, they don't harass any of them. They're polite and distant, maybe not the perfect master or mistress, but at least very good ones.

I'm wandering off, aren't I? Talking to myself; muttering on and again, what am I to do for the possible last moments of my life?

I didn't use to talk like this you know, fancy airs and long words, but being taught stuff means people expect a different way of talking, of being, from you. My teachers, my peer, everyone really there talked like this. It didn't matter I was only the son of a successful baker and a women sought by nobility for her cakes, I was still a student of magic, an apprentice mage.

It only took a bit more of a year for my old seaside accent to drop, and my parents had a bit of a shock when I visited. Still, it lingers on bit in some of my words.

What was I talking about? Oh, the Baron.

I wouldn't call him a good man, but still, no man deserves that fate. His intestines (the small intestine) was splayed on the wall in pieces, while the large intestine had been dropped on the floor. What I think was his head was ripped apart with parts of the brain nibbled on. The discard was littered all over the floor.

I'm not even going to talk about his privates.

It was a disgusting scene and the maid who had found that scene had fainted straight away after screaming a high, annoyingly loud scream. Since none of the apprentices wanted to go near the door, and none of their teachers were willing to wake up at that time of morning, I was sent.

Sometimes I really hate being an assistant Arcanist.

I hadn't screamed though. Instead, I had done what my teachers had drilled into me from the young age I had began attending the Academy: take notes.

And take notes I did.

It's sick in a way, if you think about it. Here was the remains of man brutally murdered, and what did I do? I took notes about them. To be fair about it though, they were very accurate notes. I made sure of that.

After that, I sounded the alarm.

Of course, only a few apprentices came up, not their teachers. Why, oh why?

And as the only assistant anything, never mind assistant Arcanist, I was in charge of the bunch that had came at my call. They arrived at the scene, wide-eyed and afraid. A few of them gagged, one went as far as to throw up. One of the most delicate ones, Catyrina, fainted. Thankfully, we managed to revive her back quickly with the smelling salts one of them had on hand.

"Who did this?" One of them, Jordis, asked.

"I've got no idea, but keep an eye out for anyone acting unusual, different than normal. I think the person is very likely insane but still, keep an eye out. And don't approach them, I'd rather not have any of your deaths at my negligence."

They all nodded, faces pale and serious. I chose not to tell them of the missing parts, the parts that had been disposed of... In some way, but the mostly likely one was something I'd rather not think about.

Then they walked away, in a rush to get away from the Baron's bloody remains. I however was in no rush like they. Lingering behind, I caught the traces of that sweet perfume. Oil of dawnroses, they call it, once it was used for fertility charms but it was soon replaced by a less expensive type; now only ladies would buy it. It was a nice scent, I guess, but it was too sweet in my opinion. However, there was only one person I knew who wore it.

The Lady, Baroness Kisbey. She was from an old family. Basically, she was a snob. Whether she was a snob knowingly or it was trained into her from a young age, I did not know. I met her once when I was new here, and I was soon amazed at how irritating someone other me could be. It's a good thing she wasn't married to an ambassador since we would probably be at war with at least half a dozen countries by now. Anyhow, there was something about her that made it extremely to trigger a violent reaction in anyone. Like me, but with me I can at least control that something.

She wasn't originally from these rolling hills of green; I heard she was from the highlands of the north where they eat sheep and meat often. Her family had fallen into a disgrace of some sort from a traitorous family member who had been charged with a few generations ago she might have been wed to an Earl or Count, she was only married to a Baron. Still, at least she was nobility.

That scent sent a chill up my spine, but I pushed it to the back of my mind. After all, it was normal for a wife to be in her husband's chambers right?

There are many choices that you can regret, I guess this is one of them. After that, I left the tower. Heading down to the dungeons, I passed by many afraid servants. They sometimes whispered together in groups, with that fear in their eyes. The whispers would die as I passed by; people here in this shaggy green land had a different view of magic than what I had grown up with. They revered elementalists more than anything and were jumpy around all other types of magic. And if they were jumpy around other types of magic, just what would they think about the darker kind?

I didn't think to warn the apprentices' masters, I thought the apprentices had already warned them. So when I found the slashed throat of our Elemental Master, I could feel that heart pounding panic. The person had done a good job, he obviously had died without anyone , could anyone notice anything in this panic?

It didn't have any particularly noticeable things, by that I mean the corpse. Freshly dead, it had been seemingly left to rot. But then, I noticed.

From the right angle, one could realise a bit of his arm had been... Nibbled at. Then spat out, as if the thing or person didn't like the taste. Odd. And very, very gruesome. I left the former Elemental Master in his blood, ready to tell anyone near me of the body.

Then that smell, oil of dawnroses. Very easily smelt. What business would the Baroness have here? She didn't get along with the Elemental Master; they had their share of differences and never got along. It was like putting dragon's dung and impfire together, never a smart idea.

I had left that section of the castle in confusion. The thoughts had swirled together in my head, like a kaleidoscope of colours. Maybe I should have payed more attention to my surroundings.

A cold, clammy iron grip surrounded my neck. In my surprise, I panicked. I grabbed skin, flesh, anything with a trace of my attacker and summoned my magic. It came out dark and as substantial as I had remembered. Delving deep into the attacker's body, I wrenched that magic .A scream, a pain-filled scream blasted into my right air and those hands around my neck fell limp.

That smell was here again. I looked more closely at my attacker, checking in the features just to makes sure...

So my guess was right. It was her.

I guess I took too long thinking. For she acted, springing up faster than I had ever seen her, lunging for my neck. I kicked her back; I blame years and years of reflex on that. But she grabbed my leg, not letting go. At that moment, I didn't care that she might have been a Baroness. Although she wasn't by any means very high in the nobility, she still was a noble. But that didn't matter to me, she was going to kill me. Just like the others.

"I... Never liked you... Nasty little assistant, always lurking, watching..." She panted, taking care to attempt to rake her hands across my face. I could feel those long nails tearing at my skin and I jerked away. Taking an opportunity, I thrusted a hand of raw magic against her flesh, relieved of the cry of pain. The Baroness let go; shocked.

I ran, as fast, as swiftly as I could. At times, I thought I could hear her. Fear only made me go on, even when my muscles burned and my legs felt like stone. My lungs felt like they had been scrubbed raw on the insides, but I kept on going. I took as many servant's passages and hidden passageways I could.

Eventually, I made it out. Out of the castle, out of everything. I took care not to go near any places where a viewer from inside from see me, instead heading for the concealed footpaths hidden in the nearby woods. There I walked; exhausted. I didn't have any supplies or clothes; I had money, but I couldn't use that until I got out of the fief.

Then I came to a clearing, a very familiar one. It was where we kept the sheep. I could see the distinctive white coats on them; the local sheep were all black. I didn't know why ours were mostly pure white, perhaps it was because of all those pictures with white sheep. One of life's greatest mysteries I guess.

One sheep was missing, a rather noticeable one. It was once a bandit, preying on caravans and merchants travelling around. Now, it was an unique sheep that had brown patches on it's white coat, unusual for one of the turned.

I'm babbling now a bit, aren't I. It's not relieving really, all this talking. But somehow, it gives a sense of reality to everything. This crystal with a story inside it all might not reach you, but I'm desperately hoping it will.

The Baroness has just tried to kill me. I have honestly no clue why. Perhaps she is insane, from what I have heard from her, it suggests so. Keep people away from here, I have no idea what she'll do. I don't even know if she is the only perpetrator of this. She might just be a pawn in this; a small sacrificial pawn. I don't know the motives, I don't know much, anything really behind all this. But, it seems important to tell my tale while I can.

I don't know. You know I was always bad at politics.

Tell my guild master, the one you don't like. It's important, tell him. I haven't managed to leave the fief yet. I plan on leaving, yes, haven't managed to.

I hope that the ones in the castle survive. Call me what you want if we manage to meet later, but if it's just the Baroness, I think I'll be safe. Then again, when has life ever gone the way we wanted it to go?

I hope I'll see you soon. I guess if this is the only thing to survive me, I hope it gives a clearer picture. But I'm afraid it might not. I don't want to be remembered as a legend, or hero, but as someone. Someone who had lived, died and breathed the very air. Someone who had existed.

I simply don't want to fade into nothingness if I am to die.

Veldrin Clematisel, in the year of the gods, 978.