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A woman lay sleeping on a bed in the middle of an apartment. Her golden hair caught moonlight and formed a glow, almost halo like, around her head. The light of a pale full moon and a celestial pattern gently lit her sleeping face through an open window, the long lace curtain fluttering in the slight breeze. Through the dim light the lines of distraught on her pale skin shone clear; she looked as if she was having an inner battle with her dreams.

Even over the hustle of the city below, a slight rustling of feathers awakened her.

Her eyes snapped open, whatever had been troubling her gone now, and she sprang to her feet in a long-practiced motion. A broad sword was soon in her hand. A raven, darker than ebony, hopped forward cautiously from the shadows. It tilted its head and considered her a few moments with shining beady eyes, and then it hopped forward a few more steps.

She waited; still tense and rigid with apprehension, her icy blue eyes never straying from the small bird.

Suddenly, with a cry, it surged forward, flapped its wings, and began to grow. The jet-black feathers turned to pale cream skin and the piercing beak became soft lips. She struck with the sword, aiming for the forming figure, but her muscles that had brink on the brink of force, had struck too slowly.

Where the raven had been, there was a young man. Standing unscratched, despite the brutal force of the attempted blow, and a smirk slowly crept across his thin lips. He bore the shining, malicious black eyes of the raven, the same feathers that covered him moments ago, were now woven into an intricate braid of gleaming blonde hair. In one hand he held a long, ancient sword, meticulously decorated with jewels. Around his neck hung a black elliptical medallion on a silver chain.

The woman landed and stood directly into a basic defensive stance. A quiver of intimidation became to snake through her, but she banished and instead brought a defiant look into her eyes . Her highly defined muscles bulged through tight black pants hugging her lower body. Not letting her eyes stray from the man, she moved her sword in front of her in an extremely offensive manner. The powerful muscles danced around her arm as she slightly swayed the weapon back and forth.

Devi, said the man with a sneer, but the words were not spoken aloud. The mind speak caused a flash of hatred in Devi. Where have you been, my precious?

Ajay the Unconquerable,
she said, despising just the very thought of his name in her mind, I have been expecting you for some time now. Did you miss me? Devi answered, sarcasm flavoring the last bit.

Of course I have my dear, Ajay said, his piercing eyes gleaming through the dim candlelight illuminating the room. Suddenly he lunged forward, his sword just missing Devi’s heart.

She ducked and rolled out of harm’s way, tripping the man. Ajay stumbled briefly but quickly regained his balance. They circled each other, making quick thrusts with their swords, barely missing each time.

Ajay drew closer. His mind-speak was infuriating her in the worst of ways. I was expecting more from you. Your trainers hold you in such high regard. Why don’t you show what powers you really have?

Devi made no response but instead attacked with full force.

Ajay approached, becoming more menacing with each step. Frustrated with his sister, he swiftly arced his sword toward Devi’s face. She let out a gasp of pain as a gash was cut down the side of her face. Instantly blood began to run down her cheek and neck. She sucked in air as her fingers gingerly touched the wound, and she swore at how deep it was. She cursed herself for missing the opening blow, which should have put an end to his miserable life.

Foolish girl, Ajay taunted. You cannot win. Why must you cause yourself so much pain? You are just as weak as you were the last time we drew arms.

Devi swiftly sliced a deep cut into Ajay’s shoulder that went down to the bone. It would have been a crippling and possibly final blow to any normal man, but the wound healed almost instantly, and she suppressed a shudder. Ajay laughed aloud, a harsh sound, and began to walk forward, his eyes piercing into Devi’s mind. Ajay stuck and thrusted his sword at her, forcing her to back away again and again. Small sparks shone through the pale moonlit room as the two swords clashed over and over. There was sweat glistening on Ajay’s forehead and a grim smile on his face. Devi backed away, fazed by the indestructibility of her opponent, until she hit the wall.

What will you do now? Where will you run? Who will protect you from me this time? Ajay said, baring his teeth in a malevolent grin. With a quick flick of his hand, he used his mind to send Devi’s weapon flying across the room, and delivered a swift backhanded slap across her face. Stars danced across her vision and he delivered a blow to her stomach that knocked all remaining air out of her lungs. Devi slumped against the wall, fighting hard not to fall to her knees. She would not let Ajay bring herself lower than him. He only delivered more blows that caused her vision to dance.

The struggle for consciousness had grown more and more difficult. Her mouth had been flooded with the familiar flavor of fresh blood for a while and was now dripping from her mouth, salty and corrosive, yet somehow still sweet. Ajay smacked her again, making sure to agitate the gash on her face. Devi started dropping to her knees, against most of her will, gasping for breath as she slid down the wall. The blood dripping form her mouth and flowing freely from her face now stained her once white sleeveless shirt. She left a sickening smear of violent red on the wall as her body dropped to the ground. The adrenaline that had been pulsing through every vein in her body only moments before had vanished, now causing her to be nauseous and disoriented. Ajay grabbed her long hair and yanked downwards to expose the front of her neck. She closed her eyes and began to feel the terror rise in her stomach as she felt the cold, smooth, metal of a sword against her flesh, knowing that if she dare try scream it would mean her downfall.

Ajay smiled, enjoying the defeat of Devi.

“You wouldn’t be in this position if you had joined with me, my sister,” he said with a menacing smile.

She snapped her eyes open, this comment sparking a fire within her again, and glared at the creature before her. “You are not my brother,” Devi managed to say through gritted teeth, “You are a monster.”

“Such reckless words for one in your position,” said Ajay, the smile dropping abruptly off his face. He clenched his teeth tightly and continued, “I would not be so hasty to judge the one who holds your life in his hands.” He yanked on her hair and pressed the sword deeper into her flesh to accent his point.

“Kill me, then,” said Devi, a thin trickle of blood coursing down her neck.

“Maybe I will, sister,” said Ajay. The amusement that had pervaded his voice before had disappeared. He seemed without feeling. “Or perhaps, I will not. I have a few questions for you.” He withdrew the sword, released his grasp on her hair, and stood in front of her. His shadow towered over her in a controlling manner, and she cursed at the position she had put herself in.

“What,” said Devi, then said carefully changing her tone, “is it that you want to know?”

“Where,” he said leisurely, “did they hide her?” He paused placing the sword near he throat for a moment, then continued. “What have you done with Alexandria?” Devi could tell that the slowness was simply an act to make him seem to be in ultimate control.

Devi closed her eyes, bowed her head, and remained silent. "Tell me!" screamed Ajay. In a fit of rage he launched the sword across the room. The blade now protruded from the far wall. Fire sprung from his hands towards his sister, but Devi had dipped and darted behind a couch while the sword was still air bound. The flames of power that sprang from Ajay's fingers hit the wall of the tiny apartment and an enormous hole was blasted into it.

Snarling, Ajay spun and threw the blaze that was flowing out of his fingertips at the couch. Crying out in terror, Devi barely managed to throw herself out of the way before the sofa was left as a charred nothingness.

Ajay screamed in his rage. An aura of evil, hate, and power leaked from him, outlining his muscular figure in ripples of fire. He chanted something in an ancient language not known to Devi. She flung up a shield and tried to fire back, but her attempts were fruitless, as she could not match her brother’s seemingly endless powers.

Ajay let out a shriek, sending his bonfire strikes everywhere. The apartment building rocked with the force of the blow. Windows shattered and the entire building was consumed in flames. It slowly began to collapse into itself.

This isn’t over dear sister Ajay sneered in her mind. You’re precious child will be mine.

Go to hell!
she screamed back at him

Been there, as you should know, I’m sure you’ll love it too. He laughed maniacally in her mind, echoing around her skull.

Firefighters and police officers arrived moments later. In all the confusion, no one noticed a jet-black raven flying out of the wreckage and disappearing into the sky, or the screams of excruciating pain coming from the rubble.

Chapter 2