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It was almost entirely black where I sat. The moon was just a sliver in the sky, so small the side of my fingernail covered its breadth. The light it gave that broke through my window was nothing compared to the black smoke gliding off the pale candle stump sitting on the single desk I owned. Despite the amount of light given by the dead candle and the almost, but not quite, invisible moon, I still couldn't see my outstretched arms in front of me. I would have to fix that. I curled my thumbs around each other and held my fingers wide. It sort of felt like I was doing exactly what I planned to do; it sort of felt like an energy was about to blast from my palms. "Kelicah." I whispered in half a breath. The energy excreted wasn't exactly a blast; more like a drifting of the wind, or a small ocean crest breaking against the sand (well, I could imagine so, but I hadn't seen the ocean before, so I couldn't say for sure). The trickle quickly found the shape of my hands and took it for its own. An indiscreet head formed, along with two hand-like wings. In mere seconds, it had lifted away from me and lit up the room like the moon only had when there had not been a roof during the building of the one-room building. Once more, I was stricken by the manliness of the small, dominantly pink butterfly drifting off my fingertips without so much help as the wind's breath. I probably wouldn't admit it to anybody in existence (and probably not to a single one of my Gods, either), but I thought it was...dammit, I'll say it; it was pretty. Rainbow lights spun through it like blood in my body, streaming through in clear veins. Its wings flapped lazily and it gained height. With the pointing of a finger, it grounded itself on my desk, one foot perched on the candle stub. I hadn't even thought of the burned out item I had owned for only a few days. Karas, my adoptive mother, would have a fit, yell at me, feel sad (depressed, even), apologize, and get mad again before resigning to a night of loud snoring in her manse across town. The pink creature of Essence took flight again, now that I wasn't directing it, and drifted around the room pointlessly, every now and again flapping its butterfly wings to gain a little height. As my Essence summonings were wont to do (especially the butterfly, for some reason), it started to mimic shapes of the Forgotten Language in the air. I watched it waft around the room until its death about ten minutes later. Death for a summon wasn't usually dramatic; just a fading. The colors will run, turn gray, and then fade into the air, becoming lost energy carried by the wind and fed back into the world. It was the same for my little butterfly. The way it faded, the way it lost all sense before dying, painfully reminded me of the way my mother had lost her life, just a year before. She had lost all will to live, all happiness, when my father disappeared one night. He was out on a scouting with a number of other men, to investigate a report of a Geko camp nearby. They had stopped to rest one night and, come the dawn, my father was just...gone. None of the scouts had seen him leave, and nobody thought he would have run; there was no reason for him to leave. But, all the same, he was gone. And when the news reached us...Gods, that had been hard. My mother had cried for nearly a week, and I had to quit school for a few weeks so I could pick up the slack her depression created. I ran the stand, selling the last of her knitted clothing, until there was no more. While my mother continued to wail in pity, I had to take on all the jobs a fifteen year old shouldn't have to do. And then there was one day where she was gone, too. Only, unlike my father, her body remained. After that, I had been adopted by Karas, who agreed to feed me, clothe me, and give me a home; but I had to live on my own. She had a small shack built just for me. It was just a one-room building; my room. There was no way for me to cook, so I just ate fruits and other foods that didn't need to be. It wasn't much, but it was something. I dropped on my side, my head dropping onto a feather pillow with a thump. I sighed, and a shadow moved. I sat back up again, watching the wall. It was a person. I looked at the window and gasped; there wasn't anybody there, but a shadow stood on my wall. I don't even know how there was a shadow there! There wasn't any light in my room, now that the butterfly summon had died away. The shadow took a step towards me, coming off the wall, and I shrunk back to the far end of the bed. My breathing was heavy. Two holes were where the eyes should have been. It looked rather inhuman (well, it was, but that's not the point). It had long and skinny arms, similar legs, and a head like a length of wood. It stopped in the middle of my room and lifted a lengthy hand. It held something. A curved sword. It dropped to its knees and shoved the sword into the cold, hard floor. The shadow stood, staring at me, and backed away. When it was at the wall, it leaped. It gave an unearthly screech as it hit me. As it passed through me. And the shadow was gone, leaving me to cower on a lumpy mattress. Finally, after what seemed like hours shaking in my made-wet clothing (I wasn't about to admit that to anybody, either), I gathered some scraps of courage in order to peek over the edge of my bed. As I did, I saw the hilt of the scimitar still budding from my wood-laid floor. I dropped off the bed and froze, looking around like my movement might have caused the demon to return. It hadn't; I was safe. I inspected the sword closely, using another of the butterfly summons to light the room. My breath caught in my throat. The blade was curved, as I said, and a ruby was held tightly in its end, matching the deep color of rust that speckled and infected the blade I could see protruding from the earth. A single symbol was imprinted on the grip; a sideways eight. Infinity. It was unmistakable; it was my father's sword. The one he had cherished since his childhood, when a soldier handed it to him. The sword he had disappeared with. Suddenly, I wanted to see the shadow again, to meet it. Or, at least, to inspect it. I lightly touched the sword and felt a tingle in my fingertips; a jolt of energy. I grasped the hilt and planted my feet firmly in the ground. I tightened my hands and pulled with all my strength. It gave a little, then held firmly. I gathered my strength and gave it another go. Again it started to loose, then caught. A third time. The blade came entirely loose, sliding free from the ground as if all it needed were a nudge. When the blade came loose, so did my world. I am fifteen; I am male; I am in deep trouble; I am Jared.