Bearers of Destruction, Angels of Light



Kane looked down at his fallen opponent, Bradshaw. He had just defeated him in a hardcore match. Kane was about to exit the ring when the lights went out.

An eerie green mist poured down the ramp and a white light focused on the stage. There stood two figures on either side. Each wore a black velvet druid robe and were both clearly women. Between them was none other then... Paul Bearer. He held a microphone in one fat fist.

Kane took a moment to listen to the music that played. It was a dark threatening funeral march that almost compared to the Undertaker’s old theme. His attention snapped back to the people on hand when Paul raised the mic.

“Kane Kane Kane..." he shook his head as if ashamed. "My retarded burnt son. You disgust me. You are weak. You betrayed me... First for that deceitful slime X-Pac. And then for the 'Jezebel', Tori. You even took ‘Taker away from me. You're utterly useless Kane!"

While the 'Fat Man' was running his mouth, the two mysterious figures had been making their way down the ramp. Kane watched them intently, trying to determine if they posed a threat to him.

They stopped a few feet from the ring and stood with their heads bowed.

Now Kane was confused. Then he heard it,

"Mia domoystan comosta. Mia domoystan comosta. Mia domoystan comosta." filled the arena. Two clear but rather low-pitched female voices chanted this repeatedly. They each held out an arm and dropped a handful of gray dust onto the floor.

"Nooo!" Kane screamed. "Not here!" He turned around in a circle. He was back at the House. Flames surrounded him. Sounds of his dying Mother's screams could be heard. "Aaaahh!" He shrieked as the flames engulfed his body. Kane collapsed in a heap, curling into the fetal position with tears streaming from his eyes.

"Stop!" Paul's high-pitched voice rang out. Instantly the chanting ceased. "Leave him. Let him suffer with the memories. Enjoy hell Kane. You'll be seeing more of it."

The arena went black again. When the lights returned, the mist was gone. So were the two women and Paul. Inside the ring lay Kane. EMT's ran out to help him. However, Kane was dead. Dead to everything but the painful memories.

Paul Bearer hurried the cloaked figures through the building as quickly and discreetly as possible. When they reached the waiting limousine, he ushered them in. Before he got in though, he checked to make sure that no one was following them.

Once on the road he said, "Well done my nieces."

They pushed back their hoods.

"Thank you Uncle." replied the eldest, Ember.

Freye nodded. "Thank you."

They each had straight, long, copper colored hair that hung to their waists with evil 'cat' eyes. Sharp features made their pale faces seem almost demon like.

Paul handed them each a goblet of red wine. "This Thursday on SmackDown we shall continue with Kane. You two are free to do as you wish until Wednesday. I shall expect you both home in time for dinner. Understood?"

"Yes, Uncle." they said together.

This was how they did things. Freye and Ember would go out and do their own thing while Paul Bearer would do the same. Then on a designated day, the two would rejoin their uncle.

Freye sipped her wine thoughtfully. "Should we raise spirits to haunt him?" she asked.

"No. Banishing them afterwards would be a nuisance." Paul told her.

"I agree." Ember added.

When they reached the hotel, Paul hurried off to his room. Ember and Freye did the same. But for different reasons. They were leaving that very night, while he would catch a plane the next morning.

"We only have two days." Ember stated, as she stuffed clothes into a black carpetbag.

"I'm well aware of that." Freye held a blood red bag of her own. "Where did you set the spices?"


Freye looked over then picked up the various bottles. She carefully set them in the bag. She held up a small jar of gray powder. "We need more ash." she remarked with a frown.

Ember smiled grimly. "That's where we're going. To get more."

"Why don't we just set spirits loose to haunt him? It's almost the same as what we're doing now."

"Because Uncle Paul told us not too. Besides, it's much more fun this way."

"Point made." grumbled Freye.

Once they had all their things ready, Ember led the way out to the balcony. She reached into a black silk drawstring purse that hung at her waist and pulled out two black four-leaf clovers.

Freye took one and placed it in her mouth under her tongue. Ember did the same.

Soon they were nothing more then two black figures in the sky.

Undertaker looked up as two blurs flew by him. "What the hell?" Revving his Harley, ‘Taker took off after them. They were to small to be airplanes but to large to be birds. He wanted to know what they were and he damn sure was going to find out.

"Ember, we're being followed." Freye said, looking back over her shoulder.

Ember glanced back and could barely make out a person on a motorcycle chasing them. "I guess a roadside stop is in order." She changed direction, flying off towards some woods.

They alighted in an old oak tree. Freye took their bags and tucked them in an old abandoned owl's nest. They waited in silence.

Undertaker pulled off on the side of the road. Carefully, he made his way threw the darkness. He stopped when he reached a clearing. There was a light smell of dying roses in the air. It wasn't entirely unpleasant. It was more disconcerting than anything.


Freye nudged Ember. "Just a man."

Ember nodded. "So I see."

Freye turned back to look him over. An image of a T with an X over it flashed before her eyes. "Beware. There's something not right about him."

"Does he walk the Darkside?" Ember demanded with a hint of nervousness.

Freye closed her eyes in concentration. "I don't know. There's a darkness inside of him but it's not entirely evil."

Freye possessed that extra ‘gift’. She was able to tell when someone who was 'out of the ordinary' was around. She could also generally determine if they walked the Darkside or in the Light. Not this time.

He frowned. "I don't know what kind of game ya'all are playin, but it ain't that funny."

Freye snickered at his Texas drawl. Ember elbowed her in the ribs sharply.

Bit by bit, ‘Taker was nearing the oak tree. He had seen something moving in it. Quick as lightening, he reached up.

Ember let out a startled shriek as he grabbed her ankle. Freye took her arms and pulled. There was a glimmer of amusement in her eyes.

"Down you come!"

With one good tug, Ember fell to the ground. She landed heavily on her rear end.

Undertaker stepped back to eye her. "So you're what I've been chasin‘? A lil bit of a girl?"

With as much dignity as she could muster, Ember stood. She wiped the dirt off her black gown before answering. "Sir, that was extremely rude of you. I assure you, I'm no little girl."

A grin crossed his face. "Maybe not. But what were you doin’ in that tree?"

"That is none of your business.” She informed him haughtily.

"Feisty mite aren't ya?"

"Sir, you are as obstinate as you are rude. Now please, go away."

"Where's the other person?" ‘Taker asked, blowing off her request.

"Other?" Ember feigned confusion.

"Don't let the accent fool you. I'm no dumb hick." he told her calmly. "There were two people that flew by me. You and someone else."

Her eyebrows rose. "Sir, people do not fly."

"Yes, some do."

Ember groaned inwardly and said, as if humoring a madman, "Mister, I can't vouch for what you saw. But I am asking you nicely: Please leave."

‘Taker's grin faded. "Lil lady, you're beginnin to try my patience."

"You're an ass and I don't have the time for this."

"Guess you're gonna make the time. Where is the other one?"

"There is no other." Ember insisted.

‘Taker shook his head. "There were two of you flyin’ round. Only people I can think of that fly are... witches."

"Freye, we have a problem."

Freye glided down from the tree to stand next to her sister. "Couldn't take a hint could he?"

"Evidently. What do we do with him?"

"Get rid of him obviously!"

Ember nodded. "But how?"

‘Taker listened to their prattle. "And you talk bout me lackin’ manners. You're both standin’ there talkin’ bout how to kill me like I ain't even here."

"Well we wouldn't be if you weren't here." Ember pointed out with a scowl.

"How about a spell or curse?"

"One where he can't talk preferably."

"Witches." ‘Taker said slowly. "Just what I thought. You're both witches."

"Now he does have to go!" Ember declared firmly.

"Sorry to interrupt this but..." His eyes rolled back into his head as he started to chant in a voice not sounding like his own.

"You can't do this!" Ember screeched. She clapped her hands over her ears to block his chanting.

Freye calmly reached into her brown silk purse. She pulled out some finely grounded powder. Raising her hand up, Freye blew it into his eyes.

"What the..." With a groan, ‘Taker slumped to the ground.

Ember uncovered her ears with a relieved smile. "That's much better."

"What do we do with him? He's to big and much to heavy to move."

"Bury him."

An hour later, they were finished. Undertaker lay buried alive less than four feet of dirt.

Ember and Freye got their bags and took off again. After all, there wasn't much point in being around when the body was discovered.


From the bushes, Kane watched the two fly away. When he was sure it was safe, he went over to the fresh mound of dirt. Kane dropped to his knees and started digging frantically. Soon a hand shot threw the ground. Moments later ‘Taker was able to sit. He coughed up some dirt.

"Those lil..." He stopped and looked up. "Kane?"

"I saw what they did."

"Bitches ain't they?"

"Dangerous." Kane placed his hand on ‘Taker's arm. "Help me."

‘Taker frowned. "Do what?"

"Destroy them."

"I can't."

"You can!" Kane countered.

"I can't, Kane!"

"Brother, please." Kane pleaded.

‘Taker looked away. "Kane, you don't know what you're askin’ me to do."

"Brother, they will destroy us." Kane stopped as he remembered what they had done to him. He knew that Paul Bearer would use the two's powers to destroy Kane and ‘Taker, along with anyone else who stood in his path.

‘Taker seen the look in Kane's eyes and sighed. He pulled himself out of the hastily made grave and stood erect. "I do this only because you asked me too." he said gravely. "But I will give no guarantee that all will be well."

Kane nodded. He stepped back as Undertaker raised his arms. Lightening flashed when he began to chant. The wind picked up swirling around the two. Kane watched in awe as ‘Taker's auburn hair started streaking black. He let out a yell as lightening struck ‘Taker. That was the last he knew.

"Kane... Kane, wake up."

Kane groggily opened his eyes. Everything was at first a blur but quickly came into focus. He saw his brother, the Undertaker. Only it wasn't the American Badass. It was the Lord of Darkness. His features had once again taken on the evil look. His hair was entirely black and he had the wicked looking goatee.

"Wow." was all Kane could manage.

‘Taker's lips pulled back into a menacing grin. "Exactly. Now... we have some business to attend too."

As the sun started to rise, Ember and Freye landed on the paved road. They were only a few miles from the town. Only a few feet from the remnants of a burnt house though.

Freye stood off in the grass while Ember made her way over the ruins. When she came to what might've been the living room she stopped and crouched down. Ember opened her black purse to take out a small red leather pouch. She scooped up some of the remaining ash.

It had been nearly twenty years since the fire had occurred. However, its leftovers were extremely useful to the two young witches.

"Get enough?" Freye asked as Ember came back.

"Yes. There isn't much left. Soon we'll have to use something else." Ember told her.

"Hopefully we'll be finished it before that comes."


They walked in silence until they reached the town. It wasn't to big but enough that it housed over 500 families. It was about eight o clock when they reached the main street.

Right away, the people noticed the sisters. Not many traveled dressed in Victorian Era gowns or carried velvet carpetbags. Women purposely crossed the street to avoid them. Children threw sticks and stones. The men all shouted out threats and profanities.

Ember and Freye ignored it all. They were more then use to it. After all people couldn't understand them. People fear what they don't understand.

"Get out of our town you heathens!" an old woman with a cane screeched. She waved it at the two. "We don't want the likes of you round here!"

Freye turned to face her. "Old woman, go back to your cats." she instructed in a monotone voice.

The woman's eyes dulled. She lowered the cane and obediently went to do as bid.

Ember glanced at Freye. "You didn't have to do that you know."

"I know." Freye agreed pleasantly.

"We're not here to hex these people. You would do well to remember that."

"Yes, Ember."

Ember looked up. "We need to find a place to sleep. We can't fly till nightfall."

"There's a motel across the road." Freye pointed out.

With a curt nod, Ember led the way. They went in and requested a room.

"Sorry. We're full. Go away!" The clerk lied. He didn't want to admit it but he was scared.

Ember smiled sweetly. "Of course. We'll be going on our way then." As they passed the door, she paused. "From this day forth, your rooms will always be as full as they are right now." She dragged a fingernail along the frame before leaving.

The man paled at the scratch mark. His motel was empty, not one room was rented out and he had just been hexed!

Freye looked over at Ember with a knowing grin. "Thought we weren't supposed to curse these people."

Ember frowned. "You of all people should know that I can't abide lies that have no real purpose other than fear or spite."

Freye chuckled inwardly. "But now where are we going to sleep?"

"Graveyard. In a crypt."

"Think this town has one?"

"I know for a fact it does." A sardonic smile crossed Ember's face. "In it rests Kane's dearly beloved family too."

Freye burst out laughing. "Oh the irony. It's so sad..."

They located the cemetery then the crypt. After a quick spell, the heavy stone door creaked open. The two went inside, relieved to escape the sun's rays. There were two large stone coffins. Freye took one and Ember the other. They lay down corpse style. Soon each was in a deep slumber, resting like the dead.

Undertaker and Kane had arrived at the city where that Thursday's SmackDown would be held. Not even noon yet so they had the day to do as they wished.

Kane chose to go to his hotel room and sleep. He was afraid it wouldn't come but gradually it did.

Undertaker, on the other hand, paid a few visits to his original Ministry members. About an hour later Mideon, Viscera, Farooq, and Bradshaw were all in his room sitting around a large table. ‘Taker explained the situation and was pleased to discover that they were all quite eager to reform the Ministry of Darkness.

"Now Farooq and Bradshaw, I need you to go to Paul Bearer's house and find out all you can about these women. In order to defeat our enemy, we must know how to deal with them. I assume you remember where Paul lives?" He eyed the Acolytes.

They nodded. "Sure do. We'll get right on it." Farooq assured him. They got up and left.

"What about us?" asked Viscera.

‘Taker regarded his two remaining followers. "I want you two to protect Kane."

"But what if he doesn't want us around him?" Mideon voiced.

"Don't let him see you."

With that, the two also took their leave.

Undertaker sat at the table for a moment longer. Finally, he got up and prepared to locate the two witches, Freye and Ember. He cleared the table off then laid out a black velvet covering. ‘Taker went over to a stand and opened the drawer. He took out a dousing rod. It was a long thin silver pole with a curved 'U' end. Next, he pulled out a container and a map of the United States. With a blank face, he carried the stuff over to the table.

For centuries, witch hunters to track down witches, occultists, Satanists, and so forth used dousing rods. Only this time the hunted had become the hunter.

Undertaker spread the map out over the table. Solemn faced he opened the container of dark rich red dirt. He shook it onto the map until the entire thing was covered. Taking the dousing rod, ‘Taker ran his fingers over it repeatedly until a light emanated from it. ‘Taker held the 'U' part in his hands, slowly moving it over the map. When he reached what he was guessing to be New Mexico the rod began to shake. He moved it slowly in each direction.

When the rod ceased to move, he tried a new direction. The rod started jerking violently. ‘Taker let it go. The rod flew from his hands. The tip buried itself into the dirt. He quickly brushed away the soil. The tip was set on a small town in Texas. Undertaker got up and left the room. Soon he was on the road. He knew where to go. He'd be there by sunset.


Kane looked at the tall green hedges that rose up around him. He was lost inside a maze. He was looking for a door or an exit. He spun around as two figures darted in and out of shadows.

"Who's there?" he asked nervously.

"Kane!" hissed two voices. That was followed by sounds of women giggling wildly. Evilly. It was hideous.

Kane peered in the shadows as the creatures kept dancing in them. Then he took off running.

"Run Kane run!" they shouted. "You can't hide! We're everywhere!"

Kane gasped as the hedges disappeared. In their place was a tall stone wall. It seemed to stretch on forever. He kept running though.

"We're in your dreams!"

They were coming closer.

"In your nightmares!"

Kane forced himself to move faster.

"In your mind..."

That was so close that he let out a startled scream. Kane seen a door. With a burst of energy, he rushed to it. He pushed it open and found himself standing on a cobbled floor. Tall green bushes loomed everywhere, forming a circle around him.

"Everywhere Kane. You can't run from us."

He spun around to find two figures in all black floating above him. "Who are you?" he cried.

"We are nothing. We are everything. We are despairing darkness but never the guiding light. We are the reapers of dark souls. We are the wealth that men destroy themselves for. We are the devils that holy men seek to avoid only to find themselves trapped in our claws. We are plague. We are war. We are famine. We are jealousy. We are greed. We are murder and lust. We are illness and ruin. We are your darkest secrets, desires, and fantasies. We are murderers, thieves, and those who would deceive. We are death eternal never life anew. We are us."

"You are riddles!" Kane cried out. "What do you want with me?"

The two figures seemed to be laughing at him. "To amuse ourselves. To watch you suffer. Vengeance."

"Vengeance? But why?"

Now they appeared irritated and angry. "Since when does death need a reason to strike? We do not answer to any earthly being. We do what we want and when it pleases us to do so."

Kane screamed in terror as the hedges faded away. They were rapidly replaced with walls of fire. He was once again trapped in the burning house. "Not again!"

"Suffer Kane!" The two cackled.

He tried to run but was held in place by some unseen force. Fire burned at his clothes, his hair, and his flesh.

"Kane, take our hands." came an entirely new set of voices. These were soft and sweet.

Kane looked up to see two figures surrounded by a white light. The light was so beautiful that it almost hurt to look upon.

"Take our hands." they said again.

He reached out and was engulfed in the light. He could feel a small hand in each of his. A feeling of safety filled him.

"No!" the evil ones shrieked. "He's ours!"

"Be gone demons."

With those words, the two demons disappeared. Everything went with them save for the two angels.

Now Kane and the two were in nothingness. Just floating there. He looked around but could find nothing.

"Who are you?" he asked in a whisper.

"We are your protectors Kane." they said. "We are your caregivers and companions."

Kane gasped as they started to fade away. "Don't leave me!" He frantically tried to hold onto them, to make them stay.

"We will never leave you." The voices were more distant now.

"Please, stay! How will I find you again?"

"You will know us Kane."

"But how? How will I know you?" he was now desperate.

"You will know us..." The two were completely gone now.

Kane shot up in his bed, crying and covered in sweat. "It was so real." he whispered over and over again. "So real." He looked down at his hands then gasped. On one palm was a gold half moon. On the other was a silver teardrop. Kane watched as they glowed brightly for a second before slowly fading away.

Now he definitely wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep. With a groan, Kane tossed back the covers and got out of bed. He pulled on some jeans, a sweatshirt, and some tennis shoes.

He left the hotel to go for a walk. He needed to clear his head and do some thinking about everything that was happening. When he got outside, he found that the sun would be setting very soon. He glanced down at his palms one more time.

They watched him as he started down the street. Then, sure, he wasn't aware of them, they carefully followed him. Being extremely cautious. They didn't want Kane to know that they were there. Not just yet anyway.

Undertaker arrived in the small town a bit before sunset. He parked his Harley alongside the road and dismounted. He took off his sunglasses, eyeing the town.

‘Taker looked down as a young girl tugged on his pant leg. He dropped down to one knee besides her.

"Mister, if you're lookin’ for the dark ladies they left." she told him shyly.

He gentled his voice. "Which direction did they take?"

She pointed towards the west. "That way."

"Many thanks little one."

A pale woman suddenly snatched the girl up. "Stay away from him Madeline." She ran across the street then stopped to look at ‘Taker. "You stay away from our children Mister! We don't like strangers in this town. Specially ones like you!"

If it hadn't been for the service that the child had been to him, ‘Taker would have probably put the woman in her place. Instead, though, he put back on his shades, got on his Harley, and drove off.

It was the faint scent of dying roses that attracted his attention to the cemetery. ‘Taker walked past the graves, looking around. He glanced up as the sun began its descent.

Freye awoke to the shrill squeaking of rats. She opened her eyes and raised her head up to find them swarming all over her chest, thighs, and feet. "Rotten little things!" she snarled, brushing them away.

"They're your familiars." Ember said, making it known that she was now awake.

"Well I hate the wretched creatures! I'd rather have something cool like snakes or bats."

Ember snickered, "Well next time you do a spell that's permanent, you'll make sure you think it through first."

"I despise you." Freye swung her legs over the side of the coffin. "Just because you were more careful."

"I knew that crows could be useful to me. Unlike you, with your vermin."

Freye reached down and picked up a large brown rat. "I like crows too. Especially basted in white wine." Then she snapped the rat's neck. "These things taste so nasty."

With a low chuckle, Ember got off the coffin. "Let's be on our way now, shall we?"

From atop a gravestone, Undertaker watched as the two young witches emerged from a crypt. His sharp eyes made out the family name engraved on the heavy stone door.

When the two were in the pale moonlight where he could see them clearly, he said, "Sleeping in the tombs of the dead? Surely that isn't something you were taught in finishing school."

Ember and Freye instantly froze. They stood back to back, looking around.

"Who's there?" Ember demanded.

"You know me." ‘Taker laughed softly.

"It's rude to hide from ladies. Present yourself."

Now he laughed so they could hear him. Then in a scornful tone: "Rude? Who are you to speak of etiquette? You two buried me alive."

Ember and Freye relaxed.

"It's just the hick." Freye muttered. "Come out zombie. Show us this walking corpse you've become."

"Ask nicely."

Ember smiled wickedly. "Come out dead man, unless of course, you fear us."

"I fear no one. Most definitely not little alchemists like you two." Now he was mocking them.

"Alchemists?" Ember sputtered. "How dare you!"

Freye was frowning at the vibes and images she was picking up. "Ember, he's different. You might want to be careful." she advised quietly.

"Why? Does he pose a threat?"

"He might."

"I do." Undertaker leapt from the gravestone to the ground in front of them with cat like ease.

Freye remained cautious. She eyed him thoroughly. "For a redneck, you cleaned up nice."

"And yet you still look like death warmed over." he returned. Then he looked at Ember. "You just look like death."

"Funny, the same could be said about you." she shot back. "Before we dispose of you (again), what is your name? I'd like to know the name of man I'm about to 'do in', if you'll pardon the cliché."

"I am the Undertaker."

"Undertaker?" they echoed, with amused smiles.

"Oh, that's rich!" Freye laughed. "An undertaker!"

He merely smiled. "And as for disposing of I don't think so." He reached out and grabbed Freye by the throat. "I'm the only one who'll be doing any 'doing in' tonight." His eyes rolled back into his head as he started chanting 'in tongues'.

Freye clawed at his hand as he began to chant. "Help me!"

Ember pulled a small brown ball out of her side pouch. "I'd rather you lived. Just so we have the pleasure of tormenting you." she sneered. Then she worked a curse,

"Sunset to sunrise. Thrice over, once each night. Enemy to man and friend to the dark."

‘Taker's hold on Freye loosened. She escaped his grasp and backed away. The two looked on calmly as black fur took over where skin should be. His limbs shrunk then reformed into those of a canine. His nose and mouth pointed out away from his face and two furry ears replaced his.

A long mournful howl came from the wolf that was once the Undertaker. It looked up at Freye and Ember before running off towards the road.

Ember opened the palm of her hand with a smile. In the center was a brown stain. "That was refreshing."

"He ran with his tail tucked between his legs." Freye snickered.

"He fears us. He now possesses the instincts of a wolf and not of a man." Ember replied smugly.

"He'll be shot. He's much larger than other wolves. He's more powerful." Freye pointed out.

"I'll make it a point to grieve." Laughing cruelly, Freye took her black clover and placed it under her tongue. Ember did the same. Once again, they took to the sky.


Kane looked up from the sidewalk when he heard soft laughter. Two young women had just turned the corner and were now walking in front of him. He was about to turn around but froze when he seen a flash of silver.

Kane peered closer as the two talked. The one on the right wore silver teardrop shaped earrings. The one on the left was wearing gold half moons. Instead of turning around as he was going to originally, Kane followed the two women a few more blocks.

"Tig, we're being followed." Fallon whispered to her sister.

Tigress nodded. "I know."

"What should we do?"


"Sounds good."

Tigress counted to three in her head before taking off. Fallon was right with her. They heard whomever it was start running too.

"Holy hell!" Fallon yelled. "He's huge!"

Tigress looked back over her shoulder and gasped. "Oh my God!"

They turned suddenly only to find a ten-foot chain link fence about three yards away. The two ran to it and started climbing.

Kane was growing frustrated with the two women. When they took off running, he found himself becoming slightly peeved. So then, when they had turned off into the alley he was more than a little angry.

He watched for a second as they started scampering up the fence. With a slight sigh, he stepped up and grabbed each gently by the back of her neck. He was extremely careful not to hurt either of them.

"Aaaahhh!" they both screamed. Each woman instantly began to lash out with her feet.

"Stop!" he growled.

They stopped.

Kane gently set them down infront of the fence. Slowly they turned to face him. Both women were pale faced with terror.

He studied their faces intently. Could these be the ones he was dreaming of? Were they his protectors? The fear in their eyes made him rather doubtful and yet... Kane reached out, gently fingering the shorter one's teardrop earrings.

"Tigress..." she whimpered.

He turned to the other one. "Tigress..." he repeated softly, touching a gold half moon.

She trembled slightly. "Fallon, help."

"You're the ones." Kane whispered. "You're the two from my dream."

"Dream?" Fallon looked at Tigress confused.

Tigress made a gesture signaling that the guy was crazy. She looked up as he flicked his hair back. In the dim light of the moon, she could make out a mask. "It's you!" she gasped. "Fal, it's him!"

"No, it was just a dream." Fallon insisted, shaking her head furiously. "It can't be..." Her voice trailed off as she looked up at him. "Ah feck. It's him"

"We dreamed of you." the one called Tigress told him. "There was a house with fire and..."

"Two blacks things." Fallon jumped in.

Kane nodded. "Witches. They're witches."

"This is to weird." Tigress muttered.

"You're telling me." Fallon looked around nervously. "We need to go. It's going to storm."

Not knowing why, Kane started panicking. "No! Stay with me. Help me."

The two exchanged looks. "Listen, we know something weird is up but..." Tigress trailed off, taking a step back towards the shadows.

"But it was just a dream, nothing more. Sorry man." Fallon added.

Kane took a step forward as they completely disappeared. He peered into the darkness confused. He let out a startled shriek as two white doves flew out at him. They circled his head a few times before taking off.

Bradshaw looked out the car window at the large dark house across the street. "Hell, Paul still ain't gotten around to cleaning that place up."

Farooq rolled his eyes. "Who cares? Do you see his fat ass around anywhere?"

"Nope. Looks clear to me."

"Good. Let's go."

The two Acolytes, under the guise of darkness, made it to the house. They crept along the side until they reached the back.

"Doors are locked." Farooq reported.

"Duh." Bradshaw looked up. "We can climb. That window is open. We can get in there." He began to scale the wall.

The house was made out of stone. Small ledges stuck out in criss cross patterns. The men used these ledges to get to the window.

Bradshaw let out a startled yelp as he lost his grip and fell. He caught himself by grabbing a ledge. He looked up at Farooq with a sheepish smile.

"Wake the whole neighborhood why don't you?" Farooq snapped.

"I'll try."

Rolling his eyes, Farooq pushed open the window. He helped Bradshaw in. "Damn, it's dark."

Bradshaw fumbled along the wall until he hit a small switch. He flicked it. They both stood there with their mouths dropped at the room.

It was completely black. Along one wall was two twin beds covered in old musty quilts. Above each bed was a shelf with the names 'Ember' and 'Freye' engraved on them. The shelves contained personal items of the women's.

The other wall was nothing but shelves. Assortments of jars, vials, and racks were on them.

The third wall had life-sized posters of men and women's anatomies. The parts were labeled and stated what it was good for.

It the center of the room was a large fire pit with a cauldron over it. A rectangle table stood next to it. The table was covered in strange looking implements and papers.

The fourth wall contained the door; a rack with dresses hanging on it, and two desks. Each desk had books on it along with old-fashioned notebooks and quills. There was an inkstand in the center of the desks.

"Rooq, I think we just stepped into the children of the devil's bedroom." Bradshaw whispered.

"I think you may be right." Farooq said softly. "Let's look around so we can get the hell out of here. This place is giving me the willies."

"I'm going to remember to tease you about that at a later date."

"You do that."

Farooq and Bradshaw went to opposite sides of the room. They each started going threw stuff, looking for something that might help their master defeat his enemies.

After doing a semi-thorough search, they moved on down the hall to a different room.

Downstairs the front door swung open. Paul Bearer walked in then froze. He looked up at the ceiling. He had heard the floorboards creak.

Kane stood there in the alleyway as it began to rain. However, he was oblivious to the fact that he was getting drenched. He couldn't understand it. He was sure that the two women he had encountered were the ones from his dreams.

Then, why had they run away from him?

"Why?" he asked the empty alley. "You said you'd be with me. But you ran." Kane looked down at the ground, a tear slipping from under his mask. "Why?"


From a rooftop, Tigress and Fallon watched as Kane slowly walked away. When he was out of sight they both sighed.

"We shouldn't have done that." Fallon said. "That was wrong."

Tigress looked at her blankly. "And what should have we done? Followed some crazy dreams? Gone with some strange man that we've never met before?"

"Obviously they're not so crazy. He exists. He's dreaming of us. And of them." Fallon pointed out.

"We're not going to argue about this here." Tigress started climbing down the fire escape. "If you like, stay and get wet. I'm going home."

Groaning, Fallon followed her.

A little later, Tigress and Fallon were sitting in their living room sipping warm tea. The only thing on was a small lamp.

"You know," Fallon began. "Maybe these dreams are more than what we think."

Tigress sighed. "Fal, how many times are we going to have to go over this? Maybe they are more than just dreams. But don't you remember what happened last time we tried to show 'who we are'?"

"Yeah but..."

"Yeah but nothing! Those people nearly stoned us to death! All because we are different from them."

"Tig, this is a new place. New people. Maybe..."

Tigress interrupted her sister again. "Fallon, there is to much risk involved."

Fallon set her cup aside and stood up. "You might be right. Nevertheless, did you ever stop to think that you could be wrong? I don't know about you but I hate hiding who I am. We're not normal. We're special and we should be proud of it. Not scared or ashamed." Then she went up the stairs.

Tigress stayed sitting until she heard Fallon's bedroom door close. Sighing she went over to the fireplace and picked up a small round crystal. "This is all for the best. Fallon just doesn't understand it yet." she told herself. Somehow though, she doubted it.

Tigress went out to the kitchen to make another pot of tea. She leaned against the counter with a yawn.

Tigress was in a burning room. She could hear her sister screaming at the top of her lungs. "Fal! Where are you?" she called out.

Fallon twisted the doorknob frantically. "Tig, help me! I can't get out!" She coughed as smoke came in underneath the door. She froze when she heard,

"Someone help me! Please, don't leave me in here." It was a man crying.

She managed to open the door. She found herself in a large room. Across from her stood Tigress.

Tigress looked over at Fallon then back at the center of the floor. There was a rather large man curled up in a ball. He wore a red suit that had jagged black flames running up the sides. She could see that he was also wearing a mask.

The two carefully crossed the burning room until they stood on either side of him.

"Help me." he sobbed.

Tigress tapped his arm. "We're going to help you."

Fallon held out her hand. "Come on. We need to get out of here. Trust us, we're your friends."

He looked up at the two fearfully.

"We're not going to hurt you." Tigress assured him. "We want to help you."

"Give us your hands." Fallon instructed.

Slowly he did. The two pulled the man to a standing position. The minute he was up the fire extinguished. Everything went black.


Spots of an unnatural green light appeared around the three in a circle. Two demons danced in and out of the shadows and the lights. The sound of their laughter caused Tigress and Fallon's ears to bleed.

The man was now crying like a lost child. "Go away!"

Tigress and Fallon stood with their backs to him with their hands joined together. They closed their eyes and started chanting.

"No!" the demons hissed in agony. "We will not let you!"

Just as sudden as it had come, the light along with the demons all disappeared. It was now just the two women and the man in a calm blackness.


It was the smell of gas that woke Tigress. She looked around her sleepily. She was now on the kitchen floor, slumped against the counter. She slowly rose to her feet and shut off the stove. All the water in the kettle was now evaporated.

For some unknown reason she felt her ear. When she pulled her hand away, Tigress found blood on it. Just like her dream.

"Oh God..." she groaned.

"Aaaahhhh!" came a scream from upstairs.

Panicking, Tigress ran up the stairs to Fallon's bedroom. She tossed the door open to find Fallon sitting upright in bed screaming at the top of her lungs.

Tigress gasped at the sight of a giant black wolf. He was standing on his hind legs with his paws on Fallon's lap.

"Get this damn thing off me!" Fallon yelled, pushing at the wolf's massive head.

Tigress warily approached. The wolf turned his head to her and growled. She froze immediately. Still growling the wolf dropped onto his paws.

"Oh God, Fal, what do I do?" she whispered, as the wolf slowly made his way towards her.

Fallon jumped out of her bed. "Bad wolf! Down!"

Surprisingly, he crouched down whimpering.

Tigress and Fallon stood there in shock. Neither had really expected that one to work. They watched as the wolf crawled, on his belly, over to Fallon's feet. There he looked up at her whining.

"I'm going to have a damn heart attack." Tigress muttered.

"How the hell did it get in here?" Fallon demanded.

"How should I know?" Tigress walked over to the open window. She shrieked as the wolf let out a warning growl.

"Shut up." Fallon told him.

Hand covering her heart, Tigress peered out the window. "I think I found out how it got in here."

"It's a he."

"How would you know?"

Fallon groaned. "It's a he. Now how did he get in?"

Snickering, Tigress pointed outside. "There's that ladder against our house. It's on a tilt so he could've came in that way."

"Up a ladder?" Fallon raised her eyebrows skeptically. "You need to go back to bed. Look at this beast.” She gestured to the cowering wolf. "He'd break the ladder!"

"Come see for yourself!"

With a huff, Fallon joined her sister at the window. She looked down with a frown. "You could be right." She admitted when she seen scratch marks on the windowsill.

"So now what do we do?"

"I don't know."

"Call animal control?" Tigress suggested.

Fallon looked offended. "Why? So they can kill him?"

"They'd ship him back out into the wilds. Who ever heard of a wolf in the city?" Demanded Tigress.

"Not me but still..." Fallon looked down as the wolf grazed her hand with his head. "Can't we keep him?"

"You're delusional."

"I suppose so."

Tigress and Fallon watched as the furs along the wolf's back rose. He peered outside at the light that was beginning to tinge the black sky. Dawn was coming.

With one leap, the wolf jumped from the floor and out the window. He cleared it and landed unharmed.

The two sisters watched alarmed as he did this. Neither was expecting him to walk away from that one. He did though.

"I think I'm going to pass out now." Fallon whispered.

"Me first." Tigress muttered. She looked over at Fallon. "I'm going to bed. We can talk about this in the morning."

"It's morning now." Fallon gestured to the sky.

"You know what I mean." Tigress walked out wondering why everything was suddenly getting weird.

Fallon lie back on her bed, thinking the same as her sister.


Undertaker woke up with a low groan. He opened his eyes to find that he was in an alleyway lying on an old mattress filled with straw. "Those two witches are going to die." he vowed to himself. He could taste blood on his lips and shuddered at thoughts of the various things he might've done while in the body of a wolf.

‘Taker unsteadily got onto his feet. He peered out onto the street to see if there was anyone out walking. Being early morning there wasn't. He looked up to find the hotel he was booked at looming in front of him. Anxious to get a hot shower and some sleep in a real bed, ‘Taker hurried across the road.

Fallon was woken to the feel of Tigress jumping on her bed. "You can be replaced." she snapped. "I want a pet hamster."

Tigress laughed. "Yeah, but would you ever find one that can make a hot fudge sundae like me?"

"I can try."

"Smartass." Tigress grew serious. She held out two small drawstring purses. One was gold and the other silver. "You're right," she admitted. "We shouldn't hide who we are."

Fallon sat up and snatched the silver one. She shook out the contents onto the bed. "Wow. Still intact."

Tigress dumped hers out as well.

In each pouch were two small vials. One contained a purplish-blue powder while the other held water. The vial with water was as cold as snow on a crisp winter's day. There was a green four-leaf clover in each sack as well, along with a crystal. Tigress' was a half moon shape while Fallon's was a teardrop.

"Think this stuff is any good?" Fallon asked.


"I'm glad you changed your mind."

"So am I." Tigress put the stuff away. "Now get your lazy butt up. We got to go to work today."

"Yes, Ma'am."


Kane looked up from the table as Undertaker walked in. "Don't you knock anymore?"

"When it pleases me to do so." ‘Taker sat down across from his brother.

"Where have you been?"

"Stuck in the body of a damn wolf."

Kane tilted his head to the side. "You had a run in with them."

"Yes. The little wenches hexed me for three nights." ‘Taker held his head between his hands. "SmackDown is out."

"What's it like to be a wolf?" Kane asked curiously. He didn't know much about the occult.

"I can't remember."

With a shrug, Kane returned to his charcoal drawing. He used one arm to cover his work.

"What are you doing?" ‘Taker demanded.


"What of?"

"None of your business."

‘Taker reached out and pulled the paper away. "Who are they?" He looked it over.

"Two women I met last night."

‘Taker eyed their earrings. He noticed that Kane had paid special attention to the detail and shape of the jewelry. "Prostitutes?"

"No!" Kane took back his drawing. "I've been dreaming of them. They've been dreaming of me too. And of the witches."

"Can they help us?"

"I don't know if they can. I know that they won't though." Kane finished the drawing and carefully folded it. "I think they're witches too. Oh and by the way..." he added casually. "If you wish your followers to live, don't let them trail me."

‘Taker absorbed all this information with a blank face. After a minute, he got up and left.

Tigress and Fallon had dressed and left for work. They generally tended to be at the shop rather early. As they walked past the alley where they had encountered the strange man, they both got cold chills.

"Let's not dwell on that." Tigress said softly.

"I'm with you."

Mideon and Viscera watched from the shadows as the two women passed by. They knew these to be the two that these were the ones ‘Taker wanted. Why, they didn't know. However, it wasn't their place to question his will. Just to obey it.

Quietly the men crept up behind the women. Before anything could happen, they each put one of the women in a sleeper hold.

They put up a struggle but it was futile. Soon they went limp in their unseen attacker arms, out cold.

The Undertaker peered down at the two sleeping women. Yep, they the ones that Kane had drawn in his picture.

He looked at the two wallets in each of his hands. Tigress and Fallon. They were sisters. Fallon was the elder by one year at 25.

His eyes roamed over Tigress, taking in her straight copper red hair and high cheekbones before studying Fallon. Springy ebony curls framed her pale oval face, gently he reached out and touched one long curl, watching as it curled around his finger.

"I hope you're the ones that can help us." he said sincerely.


Fallon came around with a groan. She raised her head to survey her surroundings. She was laying on a large feather bed with Tigress next to her. The room was dark save for the sunlight that streamed in from the balcony doors. There was a large round table near a wall and a high backed chair facing away from them. She didn't know if anyone was sitting there or not.

"God, my head..." Tigress muttered.

"Sssh... I don't know where we are." Fallon whispered.

Tigress sat up, looking around. "Let's get out of here!"

Silently, they got out of the bed and crept towards the door. Tigress carefully turned the knob only to find it locked.

Fallon reached into her hair and pulled out a bobby pin. She handed it to her sister. Tigress started to pick the lock but was stopped by:

"Escape is useless. You'll merely be recaptured and brought back."

The two turned to face the chair. A giant of a man rose from it. He stepped away from it, eyeing them skeptically. They stared at him rather nervous. With his pale tattoo covered skin, dark black hair, and menacing eyes, he looked something like a microwaved corpse.

"So you're the ones Kane told me about." he said finally.

Tigress looked at Fallon confused. "Kane?"

"Don't wanna know."

"Could you unlock the door?"

An amused smile flickered across his face. "I don't think so. You've been brought here for a reason. Have a seat." He gestured to the table.

That didn't sound to good.

"You're not a rapist or a killer, are you?" demanded Tigress.

"No. I don't condone rape. Murder... It depends on the cause."

"That's none to reassuring." Fallon told him with a frown.

"You'll have to take my word at it. Now sit down."

Tigress and Fallon reluctantly did as they were told. They placed themselves in the two chairs that sat near the wall.

Taker sat across from them. He was rather doubtful that these two could be any assistance to him. They didn't look like any powerful witches. If anything, they looked like two insolent little wenches.

"I'm going to ask you each a few questions. If you answer them truthfully then you have nothing to fear. Be fore warned though, I will know if you are lying to me and the consequences are severe." he cautioned.

The sisters exchanged looks that clearly said they weren't to worried, that they felt like they could handle anything he dished out.

"What's your name?" he asked Tigress.


With a sigh, he rose from his chair. "I warned you..."

Tigress shrieked as he grabbed her arms. "Let me go!" She struggled when he strapped her arms down to the armrests of the chair.

Fallon tried to help but got pushed onto her butt for her efforts. She watched from the floor with wide eyes.

Undertaker positioned her arm so that her hand was jutting out into the air. He took a lighter out of his pants pocket. "You'd do well to remember this in the future." he told her.

"I'll try to remember that." she snarled.

‘Taker flicked it on and held it underneath her hand. Tigress screwed her eyes shut as the tiny flame burned at her skin. When he pulled away, she had a third degree burn on the palm of her hand.

"That was white of you." Fallon spat, getting off the floor.

"That's a vulgar expression." ‘Taker replied, untying Tigress. "Don't use it when in my presence."

"Whatever." Fallon crouched down next to the chair, removing her pouch. "Give me your hand."

Undertaker stepped back to observe.

Tigress held out her hand while Fallon pulled out two vials. She poured a little bit of the purple powder onto the burn. Then she added a few droplets of the water to it.

"That hurts." Tigress winced, as Fallon began to rub the mixture into a paste.

"Hold on a minute and let the stuff do it's thing."

A few minutes later, Tigress' hand looked like new. There was no sign that it had been burned. She didn't even look like she was in any pain either.

"It's an illusion." Tigress said, seeing him watching them. "The burn is still there."

Tigress and Fallon exchanged looks.

"Can we go now Mr. Pyromaniac Arsonist?" asked Fallon.


"Why not?"

"We're not done talking."

"Oh God... Fal, cover your hands." Tigress said sarcastically. "We don't have anything to talk about with you buddy."

"I have a name."

"What is it then?"

"The Undertaker."

Both sisters looked at him blankly for a moment before starting to laugh.

"As in the Dead Man?" Fallon snickered.

"Something like that."

Tigress looked him over again. "Okay, listen you gothic punk wannabe, we don't know you. We have no clue what kind of junk you've been inhaling but... We want to leave."

"Gothic punk wannabe." ‘Taker echoed. "That's one I haven't been called."

Fallon rolled her eyes. "We're going now." She and Tigress stood up to leave.

‘Taker quickly rose from his chair and slapped the table. "Sit down!"

They sat.

"Now... Shut your mouths and listen to me. No interruptions. No smartass comments from either of you. Nothing. Just listen. Got it?"

They nodded solemnly. Both were beginning to get the idea that this guy was serious.

He lowered himself back down. "Good. The reason you two were brought here is because my brother says you two are powerful witches."

They all looked up as the door opened. In walked Kane, how convenient. He glanced at the two women, eyes growing wide.

"What are they doing here?" he demanded.

"Hey! Where the hell did you come from?" Tigress shot up from her seat.

Undertaker got up and went over to Kane. "I had them brought here."

"What for?"

"They could be of use to us."

Tigress and Fallon had stood up again and were slowly inching towards the balcony. But neither brother had noticed them yet.

"I already told you. They won't help." Kane said exasperated.

"Yes, they will. Won't you ladies?" ‘Taker turned to the table only to find it empty. Then he spotted them. "No!" He lunged forward and wrapped an arm around each of their waists.

"Let us go!" Tigress shrieked as he pulled them back over to where Kane stood.

"You're a jerk." Fallon informed him.

"And you're a bitch." ‘Taker dropped them to the floor. "Quit trying to escape. It gets monotonous after awhile."

Tigress stood up and glared up at Undertaker. She looked over at Kane, her expression going to one of disbelief. "I had another dream about you." she whispered.

"I dreamed again of you." he said softly.

"Are you even real?"

"Are you?"

"Yes." She reached out and gingerly felt his arm. "But you can't be. I watched you burn.”

"You saved me." He touched her hair. "I still can't believe I found you. What's your name?"

"Tigress. What's yours?"


Tigress was about to say something but was interrupted by:

"Put me down you freak!"

Kane and Tigress turned to see Fallon dangling from ‘Taker's hand. She was clawing at his hand and trying to kick him at the same time.


"Hey, put her down!" Tigress ordered, coming over to grab his arm.

‘Taker looked down at her irritated. "She deserves it."

"What'd she do?"

"What she tried to do." he corrected.

"Fal, what did you try to do?" Tigress asked, peering up at her sister.

"Readjust his brains."

Tigress grimaced. "That wasn't to smart."

"Nah. Getting stopped wasn't smart." Fallon's eyes bulged as ‘Taker squeezed her throat. "Help!"

Tigress smirked a little. "He is right... You do deserve it."


Tigress watched a minute longer. "Please, put her down."

With a low snarl, ‘Taker did. Fallon stumbled back holding her neck. She was giving Tigress the evil eye the entire time.

Tigress flashed a small smile before sitting down at the table across from Kane. He was resting his head on his arms. "What's wrong?"

Tired." he mumbled.

"Not sleeping well?"



"Guess." Kane looked up at her. "You should know."

“The dreams. You ain't got to get snappy about it though."


‘Taker escorted Fallon back to the table by her elbow. "Sit down and behave." He plunked her down next to Tigress.

Fallon shot a venomous look at ‘Taker's back before glaring at her sister. "You're a witch."

"Quit picking fights Fal." Tigress advised. "Now, Undertaker, how do we get out of here?"

"By listening to what I have to say."

"Say it."

‘Taker looked at Kane doubtfully. "I don't know anymore. After that little incident with Fallon... I don't think they can be of any help."

"I'm telling you, they're the ones!" Kane insisted. "They can help us! I know it."

"Kane, I gave it some thought. I had them brought here. But they're deceitful. They have no respect. I do not doubt you when you say they're the ones who haunt your dreams. I seen your drawing, they do exist."

Kane felt all his hopes rapidly disintegrating. "But they are the ones." he repeated desperately. "They can face the witches." One minute he was saying they wouldn't help but now... He was defending them. This was beginning to confuse him.

"Whoa whoa whoa." Tigress cut in. "Who the hell said we can take on some witches? What are you two whackos even talking about?"

"See?" ‘Taker said.

Kane looked at Tigress. "You and your sister are both powerful witches. I've seen it."

"Witches, yes. Powerful, no."

"Why don't you just tell us what you need us for anyway? Then we can tell you if we can help." suggested Fallon.

Undertaker sighed. "You won't believe it."

"Try me."

He glanced at Kane with an unreadable expression. "Last night I was cursed. I spent the entire night as a wolf. I have to go through tonight and the next as a wolf."

Kane and Undertaker waited for the sister's reaction. Taker was expecting scornful laughter while Kane wasn't sure.

Tigress and Fallon looked at each other with wide eyes. Then back to ‘Taker.

"You were the wolf in my room last night!" Fallon exclaimed.


"You were in her room." Tigress said. "I heard her screaming and went to see what was wrong. There was a giant of a wolf on her bed. You."

"Oh Lord..."

Fallon smiled sweetly. "You know, I think I liked you better as a wolf."

"I think I'd like you better as a corpse."

"Quit it." Kane snapped. "If they're not going to help then get them out of here."

"We'll help." Tigress put in.

"We will?" Fallon looked at her confused.


‘Taker sighed. Partly in relief and partly in annoyance. "Well then let's get down to business, shall we?"

The sisters nodded.

"Tell us anything that will be useful." Fallon instructed.

He eyed them thoughtfully before beginning, "I've already told you that I will become a wolf tonight and tomorrow night. That's how I was last night."

"Why don't you just wait it out?" asked Tigress.

"Because I have to work tomorrow night. Also, I need to be able to move freely at night without the risk of being shot." he told her dryly.


"Just tell me what you need and I'll get it for you. You can do whatever it is here."

Fallon and Tigress both broke out in laughter. Kane and ‘Taker watched them wondering what the hell was so funny?

"If you two are finished..." ‘Taker snapped. "We've only got about four hours till sunset."

"Sorry." Tigress managed to get out.

Kane looked over at her. "What do you find humorous?" he asked.

"Him." she gestured to Undertaker.

"And what is so funny about me?" ‘Taker demanded crossly.

"Well..." Fallon's mouth twitched, trying to hide a smile. "You said we could do our thing here."

"Yeah, so?"

Tigress looked annoyed. "No offense to you or anything, but you obviously walk on the Darkside. We don't."

"What does that have to do with anything? Darkside or in the Light, magic is magic."

"You're an idiot." muttered Fallon.

Ignoring her sister, Tigress continued, "It does matter. Our powers won't have any effect here. Everything you provided us with would be tainted with well... evil."

"Evil?" ‘Taker's eyebrows rose.


He slumped back in his chair. "This could be a problem."

"There is no problem." Fallon told him calmly. "You just need to come to our house. We can help you there."

"That's not an option."

Kane held up a hand as if to say 'stop there'. "Maybe you should listen to them. It's not like it will kill you."

‘Taker glared at Kane a moment. "I said no."

"Talk with me in private." Kane moved away from the table. Sighing, ‘Taker followed him.

"What is it?"

"If they're to help us, we must trust them." Kane explained. "You are not doing a very good job of it."

"Of course not. I have very little use for witches. Especially impudent ones."

"You might want to consider changing that policy then." Kane advised.

"Not likely."

"Listen to me, I'm positive that they can help us with Paul Bearer and his cohorts. But unless you treat them with a little more respect..."

"Respect is to be earned." Undertaker interrupted. "So far, I've seen nothing that would incline me to treat them respectfully."

"You did have them kidnapped."

"Your point would be?"

"I'd forgotten that you were unbearably arrogant as the Lord of Darkness." Kane groaned.

"Call it whatever you want. They've given me no reason to trust them. If anything, I should be wary that they don't attempt to stick a knife in my back."

"You still would do better to extend an olive branch."

‘Taker's upper lip curled into a look of utter disdain. "Don't preach the Bible to me."

“You know, this would probably be a good time for us to slip out." Fallon said thoughtfully as she watched the two men converse.

"Yeah, most likely." agreed Tigress. "I'm not to worried about these guys. We'll end up seeing them again. And soon."


Tigress and Fallon stood up. Slowly they edged their way over to the balcony. This time they weren't caught.

"Um guys?" Fallon called out.

Kane and the Undertaker turned to face them.

"Tig and I hate to sleep and run but..."

Tigress shook her head exasperated. "If you change your mind about letting us help you in our own environment, you probably know were we live."

"So don't be a stranger!"

Tigress slapped Fallon upside the head laughing. "So hurry up and decide. The clock is ticking."

‘Taker looked at Kane. "Are they idiots?" he asked. He didn't think nothing about them being at the balcony. What were they going to do? Jump?

Kane shook his head. He already knew what was coming. He chose to let ‘Taker see for himself.

The next thing the men knew was there were two doves hovering where the women had stood. They quickly flew off.

Kane chuckled at ‘Taker's open mouth and disbelieving expression. "I told you so." he murmured.

‘Taker quickly regained his cool. "Let's go." He started for the door.

"Where to?"


The two brothers walked out of the hotel followed by Viscera and Mideon. They got in the back of a black sports car with tinted windows. ‘Taker gave Vis the address to go to and they were soon on their way.


Fallon and Tigress alighted in an open window of their living room. There they took back on their true forms.

"That was interesting." Tigress remarked, straightening out her clothing.

"Tell me about it." Fallon replied with a slight grin. "Think they'll come here?"


"Then perhaps it would be best if we prepared for them."

"Probably." Tigress looked out the window. "Sunset isn't for another three hours or so. We've got a bit of time left."

"Yeah, but we really should set up the stuff." Fallon pointed out. "You can't hesitate now Tig. It has gone to far for that. You know as well as I do that we're going to have to finish this."

"Then what afterwards? We join them in some supernatural fight? In which, we most likely we will be on the losing end?"

"Hell if I know. Do I look like a predictor?" Fallon was keeping the mood light. Tigress was the serious and more realistic one. Fallon tended to take things lightly and optimistically.

"Nope. A little more like the witch from Snow White. A stooped over old hag." Tigress shot back, putting thoughts of future possibilities aside for the moment.

"Screw you."

Tigress walked over to a forest green wall hanging and pulled it back to reveal a door. "I never thought that I'd be going down here for this reason."

"No, we just completely redid the entire basement because we like having useless rooms about the place!" Fallon said sarcastically.

"Well you don't need to be such a snippety little witch about it Sassy."

"I know it. But I like to indulge in the pleasures of annoying you."

They walked down the flight of stairs then paused to look around at the bottom. It had been a rather long time since they had been in the basement. Generally, they tried to avoid it, only coming down when necessary.

The basement was just one very large room with a closet on the far end. It wasn't musty smelling, dirty, dark or damp like some. Deep majestic purple tapestries with silver six point stars covered the walls. The floor had been painted black with the signs and symbols of the Zodiac done in gold. Half of the ceiling was sky blue while the other half was midnight blue.

In the center where the two colors met was a half moon and the sun combined, done in gold and silver. Everything painted had been carefully hand done by the sisters. In the center of the room was a great round hole, about three feet deep, in the floor. Over it sat a large silver cauldron; it hung from a thick round gold bar that angled down to the floor. Like a gigantic spit. Only much stronger and sturdy.

To the left of the cauldron was a table made out of blue pine. On it sat a rack of purple tinted vials, an assortment of tubes and jars (all containing something or another), another long crystal, and a long wooden ladle. Underneath the table, firewood was stacked from end to end.

Against the wall across from the stairs rested a desk made from a cherry tree. The top was covered in a red felt and the only thing that sat on the desk was a thick red book, bound in gold with a gold lock. The edges of the numerous pages were also gold. It rested on the middle of the felt and seemed to have a golden glow surrounding it. On either side of the desks were two shelves jammed with thick hardbound books. Some appeared to be hundreds of years old just by the worn bindings. On top of each shelf was a crystal that stood a foot high. The one on the right was a clear half moon. The one on the left was a clear teardrop.

On the far end of the room, across from the closet was a small well. Fresh cold water from deep underground kept it filled but never ever flooded. Hanging on a peg jutting from the wall was a wooden bucket. This was handy whenever it was a particularly hot or dry summer. They didn't have to worry about their water supply ever diminishing.

To the left of the stairs were some more shelves. Instead of books though, these housed stranger things. One shelf was full of bones, both animal and human. Another had jars containing the parts off animal, reptile, bird, and insect bodies.

Then there were two sections devoted entirely to organs. The scent of alcohol and ether could be detected. Hearts, livers, lungs, kidneys could all be seen floating in glass jars. All looking quite fresh.

To the right of the stairs was another shelf. The first two bottom shelves held trays of dried plants and not to ordinary looking rocks, crystals, and a few containers of dirt. The next two shelves were lined with different tools. Not the regular hammer, wrench, or screwdriver. Dousing rods, clay bowls with fat grinding utensils sitting in them, extra vials and jars, oddly shaped daggers, and so forth.

The wall opposite the one with the well and closet was the most normal looking. Against it was a comfortable purple couch with an ivory-laced coverlet atop it. In one corner was a lamp so bright it lit the entire room. In the other sat a square black trunk. In it was old blankets and rags.

The room wasn't dusty even though neither woman had been down for several months now. An aura of well being and goodness in general generated throughout the entire basement, leaving a feeling of peace.

"Okay, enough looking. Let's get ready." Tigress said briskly. She moved over to the cauldron.

Fallon rolled her eyes, walking over to the table. She picked up the crystal and ran her fingers over it. She did this over and over while Tigress began toting water from the well back to the cauldron.

"Hey, our visitors have arrived." Fallon told her, watching as Kane and the Undertaker got out of a black car.

"Well put that thing down and go get them!"

"Yes, Ma'am!" Fallon put the crystal back in it's spot and rushed up the stairs to greet the men. She knew that they would let themselves in though.

"This place is so... so..." Undertaker looked around Tigress and Fallon's living room.

"Normal?" supplied Kane.


"What did you expect?" came Fallon's annoyed voice. "Beads and incense?"

‘Taker and Kane looked around the room. They couldn't find her anywhere.

‘Taker walked along the wall studying it intently. Kane just watched him.

"That was one possibility I had entertained." ‘Taker said.

"Hmm... You're a crackpot."

Kane took a step forward. He eyed a tapestry that was covered in dense green forests, myriads, and other mystical creatures.

"Getting closer." Fallon's mocking tone rang out.

He reached down and grabbed a corner. He gently pulled it back. There was a doorway with an octagon cut into it. There she stood behind the doorway.

"Good job Kane. You're a regular Sherlock Holmes." She looked at ‘Taker. "You need work detective."

Tigress smiled as she listened to Fallon. "What a dingbat. She just don't learn." she told herself.

"Why should I?" asked Fallon. She came walking down with the two behemoths following.

"You're not supposed to do that." Tigress reprimanded lightly. She picked up the brown bowl of orange stuff.

"Keep your thoughts to yourself then." Fallon joined her at the table.

Undertaker looked around the room expressionless. He spotted the red book on the desk. "What is this?" He reached down to pick it up.

Fallon and Tigress turned around. "Don't!" They shouted at the same time.

He pulled back. "What is so important about this book that you dare to yell at me?" he demanded angrily.

"Do not touch that book." Tigress instructed, saying each word distinctly.

Fallon picked it up and held it to her chest. "You can't touch it. Neither of you."

"Why not?" Kane questioned. He cocked his head to the side wondering.

Tigress sighed. "Take our word for it. Do not touch the book. Touch anything else in this room save for that book. Got it?"

"No. Tell us why." ‘Taker insisted.

"We don't have time!" snapped Fallon. "We have only a few hours until you perform your animal act."

"Listen, if you don't want to end up stuck in a supernatural prison, don't touch the book" Tigress stated.

Undertaker crossed his arms and glared at the two but didn't say anything.

Fallon hauled some small logs over to the fire pit. She put them under the cauldron and waved her hand over them. Soon a tiny spark flew up.

"Fal!" Tigress shrieked when part of the purple tapestry caught fire. She quickly ran for some water.

"Sorry! I didn't mean too!"

Tigress put the flames out. "Well learn how to do it properly then."

"I can do it right. Just not right now." Fallon defended herself.

"If you say so." Tigress poured the remaining water into the cauldron. She looked over at ‘Taker and Kane. "You two might as well make yourselves comfortable. This will take awhile."

"Awhile?" ‘Taker's eyebrows raised. "I don't have awhile."

"Patience is a virtue."

"And hurried work is a sin." added Fallon.

Sighing, Kane slumped against the wall. He closed his eyes and listened as the two rushed around the room.

"Wait a minute, ‘Taker. Don't you get comfortable. We need you." Tigress said after a moment.

Fallon tossed her a piece of white chalk. "Make it, will ya?"

"Talk normal and quit with the slang you hick." Tigress snapped.

"Yes Ma'am."

Rolling her eyes, Tigress crouched down on the floor and began to draw. She made a giant circle on the smooth cement floor. Inside the circle, she did a six-point star. When she was done, she stood up and surveyed her work.

"In the circle, DeadMan." Fallon instructed. She poured a small beaker of clear stuff into the cauldron.

Tigress walked over and started stirring the brew. She smiled as a thick purple fog spilled over the rim.

Undertaker reluctantly stepped into the circle. He shivered as a blue light surrounded him. "What is this?"

"Magic." Tigress looked over at him. "Does it scare you?"


Fallon grinned and winked at her sister. "He's just uncomfortable because it radiates white power and not black."

Kane opened his eyes. "What's the blue light for?" he asked.

"To ward off bad spells and stray magic." Tigress told him.

"Bad spells? Stray magic?" Confusion was evident in his tone.

Fallon handed Tigress the red book. "He was hexed. The wenches that did it might be aware of what we're doing. If so, they could try to prevent us from removing the hex. That blue light will protect him."

"I could have always set up my own ring." ‘Taker informed them coldly.

"You work on the Darkside the same as them. Not much protection there." snapped Tigress.

"Just hush up and stay still." Fallon said. She went over to a closet and started rummaging through it.

"Find it yet?" asked Tigress.

"No." came Fallon's muffled voice. She was now halfway into the junk. "Are you sure we kept it?"


"What?" ‘Taker demanded.

Tigress looked at him and calmly said, "A square rack that has curtains hanging around it."

He eyed her suspiciously. "What do you need it for?"

"To cover you." Fallon stated as she backed out of the closet. She carried the rack. "You're going to get nekked."


Undertaker's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. "No chance in hell!"

Tigress rolled her eyes. "Don't be such a baby. It's not like we're going to be seeing anything."

"Yeah, you'll be covered." put in Fallon. "Besides, how do you expect us to remove the hex if you don't let us do what we need to do?"

"How does my being unclothed help to remove the hex?" Undertaker demanded with crossed arms.

"Because you can't have any earthly possessions on you at the time. Unless you'd like to screw up the spell." Tigress explained. She laid the red book out on the table and opened it.

Fallon set the rack up around ‘Taker. The top of it came up to his waist. He looked down at her frowning.

"I don't like this."

"Never said you had too." she replied. Fallon went over to one of the shelves. "Okay, what do we need?"

Tigress scowled. "I can't find the damn spell!" She flipped threw the pages. "Asthma, Catarrh, Illnesses, Boils and Bunions, Transformations..."

"What about that one?" ‘Taker interrupted.

"You were hexed. These are for the more permanent kinds." she told him.

"Tig, try the middle of the book." suggested Fallon.

She did. "Oh, here we go. Hexes, Curses, and Spells. The good stuff. Removing hexes..." She was quiet as she searched for the right one. "Found it!"


"Herbs and plants first... Black cohosh, Calendula, Goat's rue, Mugwort, Nettle, Wolfbane, and Yarrow."

Fallon pulled the small jars off the shelf and placed them in a small basket. "Next?"


Kane listened as Tigress listed off the various animal parts that were needed. Two newts’ tongues the livers of a parakeet, one emerald cat's eye, and so forth. What he found disturbing was the fact that Fallon found all the stuff. He couldn't believe that these two seemingly nice women had slaughtered animals for their parts.

Undertaker, as if sensing Kane's thoughts, looked over at him with a grin. "Be grateful that they don't sacrifice the animals as some do."

Tigress looked up from the book with an almost evil look. "That's sacrilege. They were presented as gifts to mankind. To turn around and offer them to some deity..." she trailed off with a disgusted sigh. "We use every part of the animal Kane."

"They don't suffer." added Fallon. "With the exception of the occasional wolf." She shot ‘Taker a sly smile.

"I should've ripped your throat out when I had the chance." he informed her sweetly.

Tigress chuckled. "She'd still talk. Now a few more items and we're set."

Fallon brought the basket over. She peered over Tigress' shoulder to read the book. "This is going to be funny."

"What?" demanded ‘Taker. He wasn't liking the way the two sisters were looking at him.

"We need some things from you." Tigress explained.

"Like what? I'm not pissing in a cup."

They both burst out laughing.

"This isn't a drug test!" She informed him.

"Stuff like hair, fingernails, maybe some blood." Fallon flashed a knife.

Undertaker groaned. "Is this absolutely necessary?"


Tigress took her place by the cauldron. "Let it begin."

Fallon walked over to ‘Taker. "Take off your clothes."

He raised his eyebrows. "I don't like the smile that accompanied that request."

"It wasn't a request. It was a demand. And I wasn't smiling for the reason you're assuming." Fallon smiled sweetly. "Besides, I've probably seen better."

From his spot on the floor, Kane let out a low chuckle. He was finding this most amusing.

"Hurry up!" Tigress snapped impatiently. "We can't start until you're undressed."

Mumbling under his breath, ‘Taker obliged her. He handed Fallon each piece of his clothing as he discarded it. She tossed them to Kane.

"What do I do with them?" he asked.

"Hold them."

Tigress started pouring the various ingredients into the boiling concoction.

The purple fog took on an orange hue. Soon the entire basement floor was hidden. Becoming somewhat freaked out, Kane stood up.

Tigress handed Fallon the book. "You do the chant. I'll make sure the rest of the stuff is done."

Fallon took the book grudgingly. "Make me do the hard stuff."

Tigress snickered and picked up the knife. She went over to ‘Taker. "I need a lock of your hair."

He frowned. "How much?"

"Not much."

He bent down so she could reach. Tigress took a small amount so it wouldn't be noticed. She solemnly carried it back to the cauldron and added it. A small puff rose from the mixture.

Fallon took a deep breath and started to chant: “Curse of the dark ones, into that of your form I commend thee. " She chanted the same thing repeatedly.

While her sister was chanting, Tigress had taken some nail clippings from ‘Taker. She didn't think it was needed but just to be on the safe side, she also drew a small amount of his blood.

Tigress stirred the cauldron tirelessly for over an hour. During the middle of the second, she started to weary. She knew that Fallon's voice was also starting to wear out.

"Tig, it's time." Fallon whispered as the sun began it's descent.

Undertaker sighed in relief. His entire body was covered in a light sweat and he could feel the transformation starting.

Tigress and Fallon each took a white towel and dipped them into the cauldron. They approached ‘Taker quietly. He knew to be silent so he wouldn't disturb the magic that was at work around them. But he also knew he wasn't going to enjoy what came next.

The two pressed the towels against him. Instantly the towels went from white to black. The blue light vanished and a startling green took its place.

"Aaaahhh!" ‘Taker howled in pain. Fire seemed to course through him. He could feel himself shaking violently.

Kane watched in horror as the three were surrounded in the green light. Then he noticed that white lights were emanating from Fallon and Tigress. Their eyes were closed and each was trembling.

Finally, the light disappeared. Everything seemed to stop. Tigress and Fallon stepped back away from ‘Taker. On the right side of his chest was a tattoo in the shape of a wolf.

‘Taker looked down at it in awe. "Thank you." he whispered.

"Don't mention it." Tigress said softly.

"It was nothing." added Fallon just as quietly.

The next thing the brothers knew, Tigress and Fallon were laying on the floor passed out.

"What happened to them?" Kane asked. He moved over to the two.

Undertaker pushed back the screen and quickly pulled on his pants. He crouched down besides Fallon to check her pulse. "They've been drained." he muttered.

"Is that good or bad?"

"Bad." ‘Taker took a deep breath.

"What is 'drained' anyway?" Kane looked down at them worried.

‘Taker opened Fallon's eyes and seen they had dilated down to small pinpoints. "It means that they've used up to much of their energy. Too much of their strength. Their life forces are mostly gone."

"Will they be okay?"

"We're going to find out."


Ember looked at Freye as they alighted onto the porch steps. The door was open and they could hear Paul Bearer humming to himself.

"I wonder what put him in such a jovial mood." Ember mused.

"Maybe he lost some weight." Freye muttered.

"Don't be impudent."

They walked inside. Paul looked up from the table. He was working at some papers. A large smile spread across his face.

"Perfect. You two got here just in time." he gushed.

"What do you mean?" Freye asked curiously. "We always get in at this time."

"Of course of course. It is Wednesday isn't it?" Paul stood up and scurried about. "Yes, I believe it is. Now if only Thursday would arrive."

"Uncle, it will be here soon enough. Now what in the name of Hades has made you so excited?" demanded Ember. She set her bags down on the table. Freye followed suit.

"I have a present for you two." He led the way towards the basement stairs. With little looks, the two followed him.

They went down into what could only be described as a medieval torture chamber. There was a stretching rack, chains on the walls, and a giant fire pit with a spit running across it. There was a table with straps on it. And another table. Only this one was covered in dangerous looking implements. Then there was the girl's favorite, a five-foot deep pit of black tar.

"Over here." Paul directed. He gestured them towards the pit.

Ember and Freye looked down and through the dim candles they could see the forms of two men.

"Why it's Bradshaw and Farooq." Freye purred. "How delightful."

Ember smiled wickedly. "And it was perfectly sweet of them to stay until we got back. I hope you two are enjoying your little visit."

"As do I. Since it's sure to be an extended one." Freye snickered.

Bradshaw wearily raised his head. "Say what you want. You're both dead bitches."

Ember sneered at him. "I don't think so. And it's witches. Get the title right you insolent bastard."

"The dead have no titles." Farooq put in softly.

"Hmmm.... Neither do the undead." Freye pointed out. "And that's what you soon shall be. The undead."

Paul glanced up at a clock. "Before you start this interesting process of zombie making, come and eat. After that, I have some interesting news to tell you, I‘ve been scrying."

Ember and Freye obediently followed him. They could wait a bit more to have their fun.

Kane sighed as he walked down the stairs. Undertaker looked up from his perch at the window.

"They still haven't woke up."

Kane shook his head. "No. I don't understand. What happened to them?"

"I told you. They drained themselves." ‘Taker moved over to the couch where Kane sat at. "They will come around. Don't worry."

"But what if they don't?"

"I could use my own power to do it."

"I don't think so." came a faint voice.

Kane stood up. "Who said that?"


‘Taker frowned. "Who is me?" He looked around for the voice.


"Where are you?" Kane demanded.

"In your head.... I..." the voice faded.

Kane and ‘Taker rushed up the stairs. They went into the room that they had set up for the sisters. There were two twin beds lying next to each other with a few feet of space in between.

There lay the two. Tigress in one bed and Fallon in another. They were still deathly pale and motionless. No signs of life whatsoever other then the shallow falling and rising of their chests.

"I could've sworn I heard..." ‘Taker muttered. He turned to leave.

Kane went over and kneeled next to Tigress. He took her hand. "You were in our minds." he whispered.

"She's a snoop."

‘Taker spun back around. "Fal?"

"Yes...." she looked up at him weakly. "Is Tig okay?"

"I don't know."

Kane looked over. "She's a mind reader?"

"Something like that." Fallon's eyes shut.

‘Taker came over. "Fal, you need to stay awake."

"I can't."

"You must."

"So tired..."

He frowned. "I command you too."

Her eyes opened again. "You do not order me about."

"Knew that would work." He gentled his tone. "Fallon, you need to keep conscious if you wish to recover. Have you ever been drained before?"

"No." she whispered.

"Do you know what it is?"

"Some of our life force resides in you now."


Fallon looked over at her sister. "She's speaking to me."

"What is she saying?" Kane asked.

Fallon gave him a small smile. "That she can feel your hand."

"Rooq, how long do you think we got before them witches come back down here?" Bradshaw asked his friend quietly.

"I don't know." Farooq sighed. "I don't think we're getting out of this one."

"No, we're definitely screwed." Shaw agreed.

"Hey man, if you scream, you're a wuss."

"I ain't screamin. But when you do, you're a wuss."

They tried to keep the other's spirits up with humor and little jabs. However, in the face of their impending doom, neither could be even a little cheerful.


"How did you capture them, Uncle Paul?" Freye asked as she sipped her water.

Paul looked up from his meal. "They were rather easy to catch. I merely used a slight spell of illusion." He paused to add some suspense. "When I seen them lurking upstairs in your private rooms, I knew that they were here for a reason. What it is I don't know, I didn't bother asking since I knew that you two would enjoy doing that yourselves. Anyway, I waited until they split up to look about then merely made myself into the other's image. I first led that buffoon Bradshaw to the basement and then Farooq. Quite simple really."

"But why are they here?" Freye wondered.

Ember smiled. "We are going to find out."

“Now what is it you scryed?”

Paul started grinning widely, his multiple chins jiggling. “Something quite interesting actually, regarding your cousin and his brother… They seem to have made some new… friends…”

The two finished their dinner and went back down to the basement, leaving Paul to his own devices which seemed to run towards toying with Kane‘s world. Freye went over to the pit while Ember looked over the table.

"Now, we're going to play a game." Freye told them. "It's called: 21 questions. And depending on the way you answer them, you might just walk out of here alive."

Farooq rolled his eyes. "Somehow I don't believe you."

Ember came over carrying a small brown jar. "Well believe me when I say this, for I do not lie; I can make your deaths either quick and merciful or slow and so painful that you will beg me to kill you. The choice rests upon you two men."

"Now then, what were you doing in our rooms?" asked Freye.

"Shopping." Bradshaw snarled.

"Wrong answer." she turned to Farooq. "Your turn."

"We were doin just what he said. Shopping." came the answer.

Sighing Ember tilted the jar so a blood red liquid poured out. It surrounded the men in a circle. "That stuff right there is going to slowly eat away at your flesh." she informed them. "Unless you fully cooperate with us."

"Who sent you here?" Freye demanded. "Who do you work for?"

"The World Wrestling Federation." Farooq grinned. Freye's eyes darkened in anger at his insolence. She would have rather he cowered in fear before her and spilled his guts.

Bradshaw shifted as the red stuff slowly made it's way towards the two. He knew that they were going to suffer an agonizing death but at least they would die in honor. Or so he hoped anyway.

Ember smiled. "Nervous, Shaw? You should be. Soon you're going to watch the very flesh peel from your own body. Unless you tell us what we want to know."

"Never." he declared.

Freye was beginning to get impatient. She went over to the table and picked up a long silver dagger. She flashed it at the men.

"Let me demonstrate on how this works." she smiled. Freye approached the pit. "Now which of you is going to volunteer?"

Neither man spoke.

Ember pointed at Farooq. "Him." She knew Bradshaw would take the pain. She also knew though, that he had a very unstable nature and might reveal some information if he seen his friend hurt enough.

Freye turned to Farooq and jabbed the dagger into his bare shoulder blade. He winced in pain but didn't say anything. Bradshaw forced himself to watch. With a malicious grin, she pressed a small jewel. Five hooks shot out of the blade and embedded themselves into his flesh.

"Mmph." he grunted. Farooq closed his eyes, trying to block out the stabbing pain.

Freye slowly twisted the dagger then yanked it out.

Farooq couldn't help but let out a scream of pain as a mass of his flesh came out with the blade and hooks. He felt blood pouring from the gaping wound.

"That must've really hurt." Ember said sympathetically. She gentled her features. "It will all end right now if you'll just tell us what we want to know."

Bradshaw glared at the two witches hatefully. They already knew where he stood. Farooq just shook his head violently.

"No." he firmly whispered. His dark skin was bit-by-bit turning into an ashen color as the blood kept flowing. Ember had covered it in something that wasn't allowing the blood to clot as it should have. She wanted him to bleed to death.

Freye's face contorted into rage. She reached down and grabbed Farooq by the head with one hand. With the other she took the flesh she had ripped out of him and smeared it all over his face.

"Knock it off!" Bradshaw yelled. He struggled against the black ooze trying to free himself.

Ember watched with an amused look. "Struggle is futile, Bradshaw. You are there forever." She looked down at Farooq. His face was covered in his own blood.

Freye was still rubbing the flesh against him. Then she pried his lips open and shoved it into his mouth. He went to spit it out but she clamped a hand over his lips.

"Get me some hot tar!" she called out.

Ember moved back over to the table and got what Freye had wanted. She then kneeled down at the edge of the pit. Freye quickly moved her hand and Ember spread the tar over Rooq's lips. He now had no choice but to either keep his own flesh in his mouth or swallow it.

Bradshaw paled when he seen what they did. He felt bad for his friend but he knew that he couldn't betray the Undertaker. He also knew that come the morning, he and Farooq would be dead.

"Now Bradshaw, you've seen the sad fate that's befallen your friend." Ember said patiently. "There's so much more that can happen to him. Moreover, you'll have no choice but to watch. No choice but to listen to his muffled screams of pain."

Freye flashed the dagger. "Unless of course I decide to cut threw that tar so I can hear his yells." she sneered.

"Do your worst." he whispered.

"Certainly." Ember strolled leisurely over to the table. There she picked up a velvet casing. When she kneeled back down at the pit edge, she gave the men a cheerful smile. "This is going to be fun."

The tone of voice she used reminded them of a little girl that was going to get a doll she wanted. This wasn't going to be good.

Bradshaw and Farooq made themselves watch as Ember undid the casing. What they saw could only be described as medieval torture implements. No, this wasn't going to be good at all.

Tigress was falling down into a dark abyss. Her hands reached out frantically, trying to catch hold of something that would stop her. There was nothing. Just the blackness that she was falling into. She looked down and seen a green light coming to meet her. Chills went up her spine, causing her to shiver uncontrollably.

"Tiigreeesss..." hissed two voices in unison. "You're falling..."

"Who are you?" Tigress cried out, falling faster now.


Kane was keeping hold of Tigress' hand, watching as her face would contort into expressions of fear, anger, and sometimes-even hatred. He had tried shaking her but she didn't respond to him. He knew that she was trapped inside a nightmare.

Undertaker was trying to coax Fallon into eating. She kept steadfastly refusing him. "You'll need strength to get well." He told her.

"When Tig wakes then I'll eat. Until then, I'd rather go as I am now."

"You're on the verge of relapsing back into unconsciousness. Why?"

"Because I need all my senses."

"What for?"

"Tig." Fallon looked troubled. "There's something wrong."

Kane glanced over at the two. "I think she's having a nightmare."

Before ‘Taker could stop her, Fallon had tossed back the covers and was kneeling next to Tigress' bed. She placed a hand upon Tigress' pale brow.

"I need our crystals." she whispered. "And quickly."

Kane rushed downstairs to the living room. He had set their pouches on the fireplace after they had been laid in their beds. He shook out the crystals and hurried back to the bedroom.

Fallon accepted the two crystals silently. She laid them out on the blanket, and then took Tigress' hand again. She rested her head on the bed, took a deep breath, and closed her eyes.


Tigress had finally stopped falling. She was lost in a dense forest. It was almost like the tapestry at home on the wall. She was expecting a unicorn to appear at any given moment.

Tigress looked around for the two creatures that had been with her for the fall. They were nowhere to be seen, it was as if they had never existed in the first place.

Then she looked down. She was wearing a gold ball gown that reminded her of what 'Glinda the Good Witch of the North' wore in the "Wizard of OZ." Only it was covered in silver half moons and not quite as poofy nor the skirt so wide. Just to be on the safe side, she felt her hair to make sure that no weird looking crown was there. No, instead she found a small metal circlet, crowning her forehead. Most likely, it was made of gold.


Tigress looked up to see Fallon running from a thicket of wild cherry trees. She too was clad in an odd gown. Only hers was a silver cloth with gold teardrops and a silver circlet round her head.

"How did you get here?"

Fallon halted before her sister. "I'm not quite sure. I don't really remember anything."

Now that she thought about it, Tigress couldn't really remember anything either. A moment ago, she was thinking of... She'd forgotten that too.

Fallon smiled falteringly. "Oh well, it must have not been to important if I can't remember it."

"I suppose not."

"Where are we?"

Tigress looked around again. "I'm... I'm not sure."

"I think, it'd be best to find some people. Maybe they can tell us how to get back to..." Fallon paused, thinking. "To... home."

Silently, Tigress lifted the front of her skirt and started walking. There was no path to follow but that didn't stop her. Fallon shook her head and followed.

The two walked for over an hour, not saying a word. They both were lost in thought. And just plain out lost.

Kane looked up at ‘Taker. "What's happening?" he asked.

‘Taker crouched down besides the bed. "I don't know." He ran a hand gently over Fallon's face then Tigress' "They're like wax."


"Their skin feels like warm wax."

Kane gingerly felt the two's hands. "That's not normal..."

"Hell no!"

"Do you know what's wrong?"

‘Taker glared at his brother. "If I did, I'd help them."

"Maybe..." Kane started slowly. "We should do that thing."

"What thing?" ‘Taker demanded impatiently.

"Remember how Fal used that crystal? She went into some sort of trance. Maybe..." Kane paused again. "Maybe we could do the same?"


"You and I."

"No, just me. It's to dangerous for you to even consider."

"And just how am I supposed to bring you back if you don't snap out of it?"

‘Taker frowned. "I see where this is leading. Well, I guess we both shall go into the unknown to see what has become of our lady associates." His voice was dripping with sarcasm.

Kane went to move away but Undertaker grabbed his arm.

"I don't need crystals or anything else for this."

"I don't recognize this place..." Undertaker whispered.

Kane looked his older brother over. "If you do, make a stop at whoever your tailor is." he suggested.

‘Taker looked down at his apparel, then at Kane's. "The same could be said about you."

They both were dressed in pretty much the same thing. Black homespun pants that were tucked into black leather boots. White cotton long sleeved shirts, definitely not from any store they had ever heard of, with vests of steel chain mail over them. They each also wore long cloaks with hoods. Kane's was a deep red while ‘Taker's was a very dark purple.

"I expect we'll find this dress the fashion here." ‘Taker mused. He pulled back his cloak to reveal a long sheath. He carefully withdrew the sword.

Kane found much the same. "Please don't tell me we're going to be needing these."

"I don't know." ‘Taker looked around. "How convenient... horses." he made his way towards the two enormous Belgians, each bearing a saddlebag.

Groaning, Kane followed.

"Hey! Someone is coming!" Fallon finally broke the long silence that had reigned during their walk. They each had been trying to remember what it was they were doing here, neither could. In fact, the only thing they could remember was their names. However, that seemed to be fading too.

"Sounds like they're on horses or donkeys." Tigress stated, tilting her head to the side.

"Should we hide?"

"I think so."

The two darted behind some bushes just in time. They watched fearfully as two horses emerged from the woods. Long cloaks, the hoods draped over their faces, hid the riders.

The rider in the purple halted suddenly, whipping his head into the women's direction. He looked at the other rider and nodded. The two quickly dismounted, unsheathing two very dangerous looking swords.

Tigress and Fallon dropped to the ground and laid out flat. Both praying that they wouldn't be discovered.

Tigress looked over at Fallon and found her sister's face as pale as her own. Then she let out a scream of terror as she was pulled up against a body.

Fallon got up, wavering between assisting Tigress and running. Her hesitation got her caught as well.

"Put us down!" Tigress shrieked, struggling against her unseen attacker.

Surprisingly, she was released. So was Fallon. They stood back to back facing the two men.

The riders pushed back their hoods.

"Who are you?" demanded the one in red.

The women opened their mouths to say their names but... They couldn't remember them!

"Come on!" the rider urged. "Your names!" He pointed his sword at them. "You, in the gold, your name."

She looked down, wringing her hands nervously, playing with her gold skirt. A gold bracelet caught her attention. She turned it up and found it was a small nameplate. "Claudia. My name is Claudia." she whispered.

"Now you." he pointed to the silver clad one.

She looked down at her own silver bracelet. "Shemaine."

The riders exchanged looks.

"Now give us your names." Claudia insisted.

The rider in red replaced his sword, but not before reading the inscription. "Blaine of Morin."

The rider in purple had already seen the inscription on his weapon. "Stephen of Morin."

They had long forgotten who they were as well.

Shemaine looked suspicious. "Perhaps you could tell us the way to the nearest town?" she asked.

"We're looking for one as well." Stephen told her. "You two are more than welcome to travel with us."

Claudia pulled Shemaine aside. "How can we trust them?"

"Do we have much choice?"

"No." Blaine spoke up. "Not really."

"You would take us prisoner?" demanded Claudia with a defiant look.

"No. Nevertheless, necessity will make you come with us. We know nothing of these woods and apparently, neither do you. We would afford you much needed protection." Stephen added.

Claudia sighed. "I fear they're right Shemaine."

Shemaine eyed the men cautiously. "How do we know that... that um..."

Blaine and Stephen exchanged knowing looks. "We give you our word that we won't touch either of you." Blaine promised. "Don't we?"

Stephen nodded. "Yes. My word is as good as any written pact, if not better. Rest assure my Ladies, you both are safe with us."

Claudia and Shemaine decided to trust the two men. After all, when it came right down to it, what choice did they really have?

"We shall accompany you then." Claudia agreed gravely.

Blaine took her arm and led her towards his mount. "Your ride."

"I can walk..." Claudia's words were cut off as he lifted her onto the horse so she was sitting sidesaddle. "Oh dear me, this is a little high."

"You won't fall." he assured her.

"If you say so."

Stephen helped Shemaine onto his horse. "I'd suggest sitting astride but..." he looked her dress over. "I don't think that would be very lady like."

"No, it wouldn't." Shemaine agreed with a smile.

Blaine and Stephen took the horses reigns and led the way. The four traveled silently. Blaine and Stephen were both occupied with keeping a look out for anything that might attack them.

Claudia and Shemaine were both thinking about the strange men and whether or not they'd really be safe with them or not. They didn't know why, but they both got the same feeling. Yes, they would be safe.

As the sun slowly began to descent, Stephen turned off into a little clearing that was sheltered with tall thick oak trees. "We can camp here for the night." he said to Blaine.

Blaine nodded and set to looking threw his saddlebag.

Claudia and Shemaine dismounted. They stood off to the side watching the men warily. Now that night was approaching, they were both becoming increasingly nervous and tense.

Blaine looked over at the two women from his spot on the ground, he was making a fire. "They look scared."

Stephen glanced over at them carelessly. "So they do." He turned back to his task of erecting shelter.

Blaine dropped his gaze back down to the sticks in his hand as Claudia met his eyes. "Here..." Stephen tossed Shemaine a water bag. "Make yourself useful. Find a stream and some water."

She picked it up disdainfully. "Who are you to order me about?" she demanded.

He drew himself to his full height. "If you wish to eat and drink, then you will help."

Muttering to herself, Shemaine stalked off out of the clearing.

"Don't go to far!" he called out after her. Stephen faced Claudia. "You can go through our bags and search for food. Can you cook?"

"I can try."

"That'll have to suffice I suppose."

Blaine chuckled. "Don't be so finicky. For all you know she could be the most exquisite cook you've ever had the pleasure of meeting."

"That or she could be so bad that not even a dog would sniff her fares."

Claudia glowered at the two. "I'm still here you know!"

"Then we're not the blame," Blaine told her. "You should've been busy."

"You're both pigs!" she spat before going to do as she was bid.


Shemaine paused when she heard water flowing. Following the sound, she found a little stream that emptied into a clear pool. The only light to guide her now was what moonlight that filtered threw the dense foliage.

She kneeled down and quickly filled the water bag. Then she set it aside and peered into the pool. She frowned, trying to remember something that just wasn't coming to her. She peered threw the darkness at her gown, studying the teardrops. They held a special meaning, but what?

"Be careful you don't fall in." Stephen's voice interrupted her musings.

Shemaine looked up to find him towering over her. "I won't. I don't think this water is deep enough to drown in."

"Claudia asked me to come make sure you stayed out of trouble. She has Blaine busy helping her." he explained, sitting down next to her.

"And he is?"

"Yes. We're not as boorish as you two seem to think we are."

"I wonder what could have given the impression that you're boorish." Shemaine glanced at him slyly.

Stephen chuckled softly. "I could have been more nicer about asking you to get some water." he admitted.

"Could've. But you didn't, did you?"

"But don't hold a grudge Lady Shemaine. As soon as we find a town, you and your sister shall be rid of us. So be merry of heart and light in spirit!"

Shemaine couldn't stop the smile that crossed her face. "For some reason, I feel as if I already know you." she confided.

Stephen looked down at her calmly. "How so? I think I would have remembered you. There aren't many women that are as... unlady-like as you."

"Well, it's quite foggy, as if only a dream but you remind me of a man I once knew, a long time ago perhaps. He was over bearing and arrogant at times but then at others... more..." Shemaine looked out over the water, a frown creasing her brow. "More kinder, like his entire being was just a facade... a mirage... an image he built up to conceal himself."

"You speak as if you do know him."

Shemaine shook her head. "I don't. He's probably a dream I had once."

"And I am a reminder of this dream?"

"In a way."

"How so?"

She looked up at him. "You look at me the same way he did."

"In what way?" Stephen leaned down closer so he could see her better in the moonlight.

Shemaine blushed. "It was just a dream. Let's just forget it."

"Nay. Please, tell me."

"When you first looked at me, it was with a kind of contempt and indifference. Then an arrogant confidence when you demanded me to find some water. Now... Your eyes are softer. Not so hard and fierce like they were before." Shemaine looked down. "Silly, isn't it?"

"I don't think so." Stephen murmured. "Maybe we met once in a different life."

"No. Different life or not, I definitely would've remembered you."

Stephen stood up, brushing his long black hair back. "No more talk of past things tonight. We should probably get back to the camp before Blaine and Claudia start to worry about us."

Shemaine hoisted the water bag onto her shoulder. "That sounds like a good idea. Maybe she has some food made!"

Chuckling, he helped her to stand. "I just hope it's edible."

"I'm sure it is. She excels at most things. Cooking likely will be one of them."

Keeping a firm grip on Shemaine's arm, Stephen led the way back to the camp.

Claudia looked up from her place at the fire when Stephen and Shemaine emerged from the trees. "Fine time you get back!" she snapped. "Worry me to death that you were lost or..."

Blaine cut her off with a laugh. "Claudia has been driving me mad with her worries. Next time let us know you'll be delayed."

"If the mood suits me." Stephen replied carelessly, sitting down next to his brother. "Give me food so that I may eat than rest. We rise early."

Bradshaw paled to a deathly white as he watched Freye approach with a sickle. In her black clothes and with the evil look she bore, she was Death, only female.

"Farooq is about to die. Unless you tell us what we want to know." she hissed. "Speak now or forever hold your peace."

Bradshaw looked over at Farooq. He was shaking his head frantically. Telling Bradshaw to remain silent. He was prepared to die for his master. He was prepared to die with honor.

Bradshaw clenched his lips together tightly, refusing to speak.

Ember peered over her sister's shoulder. "Farewell Farooq." she kneeled down and whispered. "But before you die, know this. You will be reborn as my unholy servant. You will kill all your friends at my command. Die with the knowledge that even though in life you were an insolent bastard, in death you won't have any purpose save being my slave."

Farooq's eyes widened and he once again began struggling against the back ooze that held him in place.

Ember stepped back to watch.

Freye swung back the sickle. With expert precision, she slashed it across Farooq's chest.

He let out a muffled scream of pain; the tar that covered his lips blocked it. A long gaping cut appeared in his chest. Blood gushed out, quickly draining him to the point of death. But Ember was chanting softly, not allowing him to die just yet. She was prolonging it. Torturing him. Making him long for the release that only death would bring.

However, her words didn't even allow him that small comfort. To die would only mean he'd be resurrected as a mindless zombie that would obey the two witches every word. He didn't want that.

Bradshaw forced himself to watch as Farooq slowly died. He could no longer stand to look when Freye reached her hand into the vicinity of Farooq's chest cavity. When she pulled it back out, she held Farooq's weak, but still beating heart.

Farooq gazed on it for a moment before lapsing into the oblivion called death. The brave warrior had finally been defeated.

Bradshaw didn't know it, he wouldn't have given a damn even if he did, but he was crying like a child. He had just watched his very best friend die. When Freye had pulled out Farooq's heart, Bradshaw had felt his being ripped out as well. Slowly, he slipped into unconsciousness.


"Darling, wake up now honey. Come on..."

Bradshaw wearily opened his eyes. He tried to focus them on the blurred figure in front of him but couldn't. He blinked a few times before being able to see clearly.

"Mom?" he whispered.

She smiled tenderly. "That's right dear. You've fallen asleep at the table again. It's time for supper. Are you hungry?" She rose from her chair and walked over to a counter. "I've made your favorite. Steak."

Bradshaw looked around in wonder. He was back home. But how could that be?

"Hear you go dear." she set a plate down. She sat back down and began to cut his meat up.

"Mom, I... How did I get here?" he asked confused.

"Like you always do. You came down the stairs silly." she scolded lightly. "Come on now. Eat your supper like a good boy." She held a fork up. "Open up love."

Bradshaw obediently did as he was told. He chewed the meat thoroughly before swallowing. He ate in silence for a few minutes before speaking. "Mom, this meat is hardly cooked. How long did you cook it for?"

She smiled sweetly. "I didn't."

He dropped the fork. "What do you mean?"

"I didn't cook it Bradshaw..." she hissed. Her face dissolved into an unrecognizable mass then reformed into the wicked face of Ember.

The room faded away and Bradshaw realized that he had been trapped in an illusion. He looked down to see that he was still stuck in the pit with Farooq's cold corpse next to him. He could still taste the raw meat in his mouth. He licked his lips then froze. Praying it not to be, he looked up.

There stood Freye holding silver tray. She lowered it down so he could see its contents. On it rested a bloody dagger and the mutilated remains of Farooq's heart. The rest Bradshaw had unknowingly eaten.

"Oh God..." he cried, spitting over and over again. "What have I done?"

Ember and Freye stood there watching with amused looks. They both were enjoying seeing him go mad with grief.

"You only ate your friend's heart." Ember sneered. "How did it taste, Darling?"

"You're both the whores of Satan!" he shouted, crying now.

Freye tossed the severed heart over her shoulder with a laugh. "And who says that Satan even exists?" she asked. "Really Shaw, you of all people should know that God and Satan are only figure heads. Much like the president or the queen of England. Just there for decoration."

Ember eyed the red liquid. "Bradshaw, you've only got one hour left until that stuff eats you away. Now you can either answer our questions and die painlessly or I will make this the longest hour of what's left of your pathetic life."

His eyes flashed angrily. "What more can you do to me? Not much scares me anymore! In fact, death is looking pretty damn good right now!"

Ember smiled cruelly. "I'm going to tell you what I told Farooq before he died. You will die a mortal death only to be reincarnated as a mindless being. Your only purpose will be to serve our every whim. Either way, you lose."

"Now be a good fellow and tell us what we wish to know. It's not that hard to comprehend is it?" Freye demanded impatiently.

"Why must I tell you?" he challenged. "Don't you know? I thought ya'all were big badass witches! But you ain't nothin! Why don't you know?"

Ember lost her cool demeanor. She grabbed him by the hair and pulled his face up to hers. "I don't know why I can't find out without having to ask you! Believe me, I've tried to search your mind dozens of times. But I can't! Now tell me you son of a bitch!"

His only reply was to laugh at her.

Angrily Ember turned, grabbed the sickle, and with no regret at all, she sliced his head off. She did it with such force that it went flying across the room and struck the wall. Bradshaw's head landed on the cement floor with a soft thud.


Paul Bearer listened at the door of the basement as Bradshaw defied Ember, laughing madly then there was silence. Shaking his head, he retreated down the hallway to his own personal study.

There he seated his massive bulk in a plush leather chair behind a desk, tiredly putting on his reading glasses before pulling a leather bound book towards him. Unable to read tonight, he shoved the book away, staring into the fireplace, watching the flames greedily lick the logs.

He was a man with a dream, a dream to own a little corner of the world where he alone was king, or at least equal with the king. In the World Wrestling Federation he had found the perfect place to unleash the beginning of his dream, using the fact that they would accept anything done on television as long as it boosted their ratings and raked in the fans.

He could do whatever he liked and it would be explained away by technology, marvelous. The only problem was while he had the magick, he didn’t have the muscle. That’s where the Undertaker came in.

The Undertaker had been the perfect accomplice to Paul Bearer’s schemes. Power, wealth, notoriety had been theirs. The Undertaker was also a man with a vision and he did not care much how he accomplished it, explaining that everything was an end to a means.

The Undertaker was also a student of magick, a student that had seen the advantages to both the Light and the Dark and then decided that embracing the Dark side would be more beneficial. On top of that, he had the muscle to push his way through things where magick wasn’t prudent.

Then for some reason the Undertaker had turned away from what had apparently been his calling, choosing to walk away from the Dark side and his mission, instead walking the fine line between the two and keeping to himself.

Paul had even tried recruiting his own son, Kane, to his mission but that was a relationship doomed from the start. Kane struggled with both hatred towards his father for what had happened to his mother, and a yearning to be accepted by his father.

Paul had gone to the Undertaker, his stepson, pleading with him to control Kane. ‘Taker had merely shook his head, saying in gravelly tones that Kane would be the death of Paul.

Paul never took it literally, figuring that the Phenom had meant he’d be frustrated to death.

How wrong he was.

One night Paul had found a script written in the Undertaker’s hand laying on a metal folding chair. It stated that in a dream, ‘Taker had seen what was to come. Kane would rise against his father and smite him, along with any who stood beside him. Kane would tap into his own magical reserve, ultimately proving to powerful to conquer.

That Paul took seriously. It was also the night he and the Undertaker had parted ways.

Since then Paul had taken steps to insure his survival. Bringing his nieces to live with him, having seen to their studies from afar, now playing teacher, not surprised when their knowledge soon equaled then surpassed his own.

Determined that the Undertaker’s prophecy would not come to pass, Paul had attacked Kane while he was weakened from his recent betrayal of Tori and X-Pac.

Things hadn’t gone as planned.

Stephen and Blaine were up long before Claudia and Shemaine. They sat round a small fire, eating cold meat and discussing their plans. They both agreed that a town had to be not far off. The multiple fruit trees around the area suggested a semi well tended orchard.

"Think we should wake them up?" Blaine asked, gesturing to the sleeping women with his head.

"Probably. Unless they feel like staying here alone while we leave."

"Don't you dare!" Claudia exclaimed, sitting up from her makeshift bed of leaves. She pushed back the thin blanket she had used. "That would be cowardly to leave two defenseless women alone in a strange wood!"

Stephen chuckled. "And yet that's how we found you."

"Laugh all you want, but it would still be cowardly and you know it!" she insisted.

Shemaine groaned. "Must you complain so early?"

"Oh be quiet."

"Morning Blaine... Morning Stephen." Shemaine greeted sleepily. She tossed aside her blanket and rose. "I never knew how unpleasant it was to sleep in one's clothes."

Stephen eyed her rumpled dress. "You looked like a trampled butterfly." he commented.

She glared at him. "And you like exactly like you did yesterday! Mores the pity..."

Claudia laughed softly. "Nothing matches the wrath of a spurned woman. Beware Stephen, she'll bring a curse down upon your head yet."

At the mention of curse, Blaine's countenance grew somber. Something was nagging at his mind, begging to be remembered. He tried as hard as he could but he couldn't make himself see whatever it was that was plaguing him.

Seeing the look on Blaine, Claudia moved over to sit besides him. "Blaine." When he didn't respond, she placed a hand on his muscular arm. "Blaine."

He looked down at her, his blue eyes showed that he was clearly startled. "Yes, Lady Claudia?"

"Are you all right?"

"I'll be fine." he assured her. "Come on," he took her hands and rose to his feet. "Let's clean up and get going. The sooner we find a town, the sooner you rumpled butterflies can look like rare gems again."

She smiled up at him. "You should write poetry Blaine."

"My words spout from my lips, not a pen."

Blaine shielded his eyes from the sun, peering into the distance. After several hours of traveling, he could finally make out what appeared to be a city.

There was a high stone wall surrounding it. The buildings and houses seemed golden in the sunlight. In the center of it all proudly stood a white stone castle. Blue banners flew gaily from turrets in the breeze.

"Morin!" he cried out. A sudden rush of memories flooded his mind.

Stephen was experiencing the same thing. "That's what I was trying to recall! Morin! Claudia, Shemaine, come see our home."

The women quickly dismounted and stood with the men. They got their first glimpse of Morin.

"It's beautiful." Claudia whispered.

Blaine smiled brightly. "Is it not?"


"Does your home compare to this?" he asked curiously.

Claudia didn't answer. She was to transfixed with the scene before her.

"Come on! Let's hurry!" Stephen urged. "It's been months since we left." He picked Shemaine up and set her back on the horse, only this time astride. He swung himself up behind her.

Laughing, Blaine followed suit with Claudia.

The two sisters held onto the horse’s manes for dear life. Stephen and Blaine rode swiftly, jumping fallen trees and streams in their haste to be home. Neither was sorry when the ride ended outside the city gates.

"Halt!" came a strong voice. "Who wishes to enter?"

Stephen peered up at the tower. "I, Stephen of Morin demand entrance."

"As do I, Blaine of Morin!"

A face peeked over the wall. "You're back! Open the gates!"

The gates rose quickly.

Blaine and Stephen spurred their mounts on. They were slower this time but still, Claudia and Shemaine were happy when they came to the final stop. The men helped them down.

They didn't have time to look around, the men quickly ushered them into a building. People swarmed around the four, all of them talking excitedly.

Claudia and Shemaine had no idea what was going on. They just tried to stay as close to the men as they could. Soon though, they were pushed to the outskirts of the crowd. They followed behind slowly, not sure what to do.

"My sons!" boomed a deep voice.

Stephen and Blaine kneeled down in front of a tall majestic looking man. Everyone else stood back with heads bowed respectfully. Shemaine and Claudia kept quiet, watching from a distance.

"Finally, you have returned. I hope you succeeded in your quest."

Blaine looked rueful. "Alas, we did not."

The man looked up at the women. "Then who are these fair maidens?"

Stephen and Blaine rose and turned back to them. They each stepped forward and took the women's arms into their own.

"This is the Lady Claudia," Blaine introduced.

"And her sister, the Lady Shemaine." added Stephen. "Ladies, may I introduce our Father, King Tyrell of Morin."

The sisters curtsied deeply.

"Your Majesty, it is an honor to meet the Father of Prince Stephen and Prince Blaine." Claudia said softly.

King Tyrell studied them thoughtfully. "These are not princesses?" he asked his sons.

Stephen ran a hand threw his hair. "Honestly, we don't know. Proper introductions were never made."

Because some questions were about to be asked, Shemaine quickly said, "Begging your pardon Sire, but my sister and I are quite weary and are in great need of a bath and fresh garments. Perhaps, with your consent of course, we could be shown a place where we might refresh ourselves?"

Tyrell smiled broadly. "Of course! Forgive me my dears; it has been a long time since a woman graced my humble castle. Blaine and Stephen will show to you some rooms where you may refresh yourselves."

As soon as they were out of sight, Shemaine slapped Stephen, a resounding smack echoing in the hall.

"What was that for?" he demanded, holding his face.

"Why didn't you tell us you were princes?" she hissed. "Or do you always make jokes at the expense of others?"

Claudia glared up at Blaine. "That was cruel Blaine. To deceive us that way." she told him.

"I never meant to deceive you Lady Claudia." he said apologetically.

Stephen and Shemaine were engaged in a stare down, eyes shooting fire. The way they were eyeing each other sparked a memory. Claudia had a picture of two people staring at each other flash in her mind. But the spark quickly died.

"You forget yourself Shemaine." Stephen said coldly, pushing open a door that led to an unmistakably feminine room.

"No, I don't. Unlike you." she shot back. Then Shemaine curtsied again, only this time mocking him. "Now if your Royal Highness will excuse me." Haughtily, she brushed past him.

Stephen shot daggers at her back with his eyes for a minute before stalking off down the hall.

"Well..." Blaine watched him go. "That went smoothly."

Claudia laughed. "You jest surely."

"I do."

"Thank you for showing the way, now if you'll excuse me, I think I shall clean up." Claudia started to enter the room but Blaine grabbed her arm.

"Claudia," he looked somewhat shy. "May I escort you to dinner tonight?"

Her eyebrows raised, clearly startled. "Why... Of course. It'd be my pleasure, Prince Blaine."

He made a face. "Please, call me Blaine. Hearing the title 'Prince' from you is rather unbearable. It sounds so formal and stuffy."

"Okay, Blaine it is. I'll see you tonight." Claudia then disappeared, closing the door behind her.


"That insufferable little... peasant wench!" Stephen was ranting when Blaine appeared in his private room. "I should have her barred from the castle!"

Chuckling, Blaine sank into a chair. "You knew her character before you brought her here. You can't go acting all indignant now that she knows you're royalty."

"The hell I can't!"

"One minute you tolerate her and the next you despise the air she breathes." Blaine rolled his eyes dramatically. "You're rather impossible."

Stephen curled his upper lip in a sneer. "Just because I don't go fawning all over her. You best keep your words to yourself."

"What are you insinuating?" Blaine demanded, feeling insulted.

"Hah!" Stephen turned his back on his brother. "You are obviously falling for Claudia. I'm not dense, I see the way you look at her."

Blaine stood up and stormed out.

Claudia sighed happily as she reclined in a large bathing pool full of hot water and scented oils. "It feels like forever since I bathed last." she murmured, closing her eyes and sinking down deeper into the water.

Shemaine was sitting at a vanity brushing out her long dark hair. She had bathed and was now wearing a simple cotton robe. She set the brush aside absent-mindedly. "Claudia," she began slowly. "Doesn't this all seem very queer to you?"

"How so?"

"I don't know about you but, I can't recall anything before we met Blaine and Stephen."

Claudia turned in the water and rested her arms on the edge of the pool; she rested her chin on her arms. "Now that you mention it, I don't either. That is rather strange, isn't it?"

"Yes. I don't even remember where we come from are who we are. The only thing that I am positive of is that you are my sister."

"Not even of your name?" Claudia asked.

Shemaine looked back at the mirror, gazing at her reflection. "No. I hesitated when Blaine asked me my name because I couldn't remember it. Then I seen my bracelet and... Well... it said Shemaine and that seemed the logical thing, that it was my name."

Claudia reached for a robe, pulling it on as she climbed out of the pool. "Heavens Shemaine! I've been thinking about the same things. I didn't say anything to you for fear you would think me insane."

"We suffer the same malady."

"Aye. It's called severe forgetfulness."

"What are we going to tell King Tyrell?"

Claudia sat down next to Shemaine on the bench. "I suppose the truth is out."

"Unless we want them thinking we're mad."

"We'll tell them that we are from the Far East. We were out with friends on a picnic when we were attacked and kidnapped by rogues. We managed to escape them but became lost in our attempts to return home."

Shemaine looked puzzled. "And if we suddenly remember everything?"

"We return home." Claudia said simply.

“You’ve had too much time on your hands… you’ve seemed to answered everything.”

The two dressed in a thoughtful silence. They both were trying to remember things. They eventually gave up for the moment, intent on passing off the upcoming charade.

Upon entering the dressing room adjoining the baths, they found two new dresses lying out on two beds.

They were of the same cut and fabric, differing only in their colors. They were sleek velvet gowns with long sleeves that cinched at the waist, forming a sort of 'parachute' look from the waist on down. Claudia's was a deep blood red while Shemaine's was a rich purple.

"I dislike this color immensely." Shemaine complained as she dressed.

"I like the color. But as to it's apparent meaning, that is an entirely different matter altogether." Claudia replied, placing her gold circlet on her head.

"Hmmm... The Lady Claudia, wife to Prince Blaine of Morin." Shemaine said, trying out the title. "It has a nice ring to it, does it not?"

"You little imp!" Claudia shrieked. "How about this? The Lady Shemaine, consort to Stephen, Prince of Morin."

"Consort?" Shemaine snatched a feather pillow from a bed. "You take that back!"

"Never!" Claudia took flight; running threw the adjoining rooms with Shemaine hot on her feet.

They both halted in the sitting room at the sight of Stephen and Blaine. Both the men had changed into fresh black pants, not homespun, and had traded their cotton shirts for silk. Blaine still in red and Stephen still in purple.

"Are you two ready?" Stephen asked with icy politeness.

"Yes." They responded.

Blaine held out his arm to Claudia. With a small smile, she accepted it. As he led the way out, she looked back over her shoulder at Shemaine and mouthed: "Consort."

Shemaine narrowed her eyes at her sister then at Stephen. She ignored his arm and brushed past him. He stood there immobile for a second before chasing after her. He grabbed her arms and pinned her to the wall, clamping a hand over her mouth.

"I have had it with you Shemaine." he snarled. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you about being the King's son. To be honest it slipped my mind ('what did you try to do?' came a female voice from the back of his mind. 'Readjust his brains' was the cheerful reply of another women)," Stephen paused to use his massive thigh to pin her legs to the wall, just incase, "But you treat me as if I'm scum."

Shemaine's eyes had widened when he trapped her legs. She used her hands to beat at his chest. When he uncovered her mouth, the first words she said were, "You are scum! How dare you touch me so? I order you to unhand me you cad!"

"A minor precaution."

She glared at him hatefully. "You know why I treat you like you're scum? Because you treat me like I'm beneath you."

"Then I'd say we've been doing each other a grave injustice Shemaine." he said softly.

"Don't even attempt to play nice now!" she spat. "You did that once and it got me nowhere!"

"You misjudge me."

"Serves you right."

"Please, I'm extending the olive branch (don't you dare quote the Bible to me )."

Shemaine faltered somewhat, under his intense green eyes. "No." She slipped under his arms and hurried down the hall.

"Blaine, I'm nervous." Claudia whispered as they slowly made their way to the great dinning hall.

"Why? You look marvelous." he assured her.

"It's not that."

He smiled knowingly. "Scared that you won't fit in or something?"

"No. Let us not talk about it. Tonight shall be a pleasant one."


Laughing to themselves, Blaine and Claudia entered the dinning room. A bugle was sounded and come behind a curtain came,

"The Prince of Morin, Blaine and the Lady Claudia!"

All the guests respectively rose from their seats with bowed heads. Blaine sat Claudia on the left side of King Tyrell and then sat himself besides her.

"Stephen, Prince of Morin and the Lady Shemaine!"

Claudia looked up to see Shemaine on Stephen's arm. She could tell that behind the smiles, they both were in deep thought.

"I don't think those two shall ever be friends." Blaine whispered.

"Sad but true."

"With the way they hate each other, one would think they're married!"

"Blaine!" Claudia exclaimed softly.

"What?" he looked down at her innocently.

"You're quite incorrigible."


After Stephen and Shemaine had been seated, King Tyrell stood up and cleared his throat. "I should like to purpose a toast." he raised his goblet. Everyone at the table did the same. "To my sons, Prince Stephen and Prince Blaine, praise the heavens you have returned safely home. And to the two lovely maidens you have brought back. Lady Claudia, Lady Shemaine, I hope you find all you wish for in Morin."

"Hear hear!" chorused a good many people.

Claudia and Shemaine smiled politely and sipped their wine in acknowledgment. They suffered the entire meal through. Neither was accustomed to dozens of courses, or bawdy jokes being made at their expense.

More than once they overheard a man say, "I wonder what the two princes did with them out there in the wilds."

When dessert was served up, King Tyrell asked, "What kingdom are you two from?" Stephen and Blaine looked up interested.

Claudia set down her spoon. "We're from the far far east." she answered evasively.

"How far?"

"We're not quite sure your Majesty." Shemaine spoke up quietly.

He looked at her curiously. "Why not my dear?"

Shemaine glanced over at Claudia with a blank face before saying, "Well, you see, we were out with some friends on a picnic when we were all attacked by a band of riders in all black. Claudia and I were captured, blindfolded, and taken far away."

Claudia cleared her throat. "We traveled with them for a few weeks then managed to escape them at night. The guard had too much ale and couldn't keep awake. We were lost for days after until the Princes found us."

Blaine studied Claudia intently. There were a few questions running threw his mind but he didn't care to voice them in front of so many people. If they had been away from home for so many weeks, then how did their dresses stay so fresh? Only becoming rumpled after one nights sleep. He didn't believe one word the two were saying.

"It's most fortunate that they did." Tyrell stated gravely. "I've received no word of two lost damsels from any of the neighboring lands so you must be extremely far from home. But on the brighter side, you both are more than welcome to spend out the remainder of your days, and I pray you will have a good many, here in Morin in the castle with me, Stephen and Blaine."

Stephen interrupted, "I believe the Lady Shemaine was expressing a desire to visit the mountains. Weren't you Shemaine?" He smiled at her warmly; his eyes were daring her to contest him.

Claudia tapped Blaine's foot with her own. "He wouldn't?"

Blaine nodded and whispered, "He would."

"Actually Prince Stephen, now that I've seen Morin, my heart would burden me with sorrow should I leave. I am quite content to stay on and I thank your Majesty for his kind offer." Shemaine replied sweetly, flashing him a honeyed smile.


After the meal, which seemed like an eternity to Claudia, Blaine led her out to the gardens. The sun had already set and giant bon fires were being lit in celebration of the Princes homecoming.

"This place is so beautiful it's almost like a dream." Claudia commented as they strolled through the low cut hedges.

"Do you like it here?" he asked quietly.

She looked up and found him staring at her. "Yes, I do."

"Then you'll stay on?"


Blaine gestured for her to sit on a marble bench. "I wish to speak with you. I brought you out here because there is no one to interrupt us."

"Is it so important?" she whispered, sinking down onto the seat.

"Yes." Blaine sat besides her, looking her square in the eye. "Earlier this evening you said that you had traveled with the black men for several weeks, then wandered on foot for days."

"Yes." Claudia was wondering where this was leading to with a bad feeling.

"I have but one question for you."

"It would be?"

"How did your and Shemaine's gowns survive all that time in such perfect condition, only to be wrinkled the morn after we all met?"

Claudia knew she was caught. "Blaine, I... I can't explain." she admitted.

"You lied."

"Aye, I did."


"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

Blaine reached over to cup her chin. "I would Claudia." he assured her. "Just trust me."

"Please, don't ask me to explain it just yet." she pleaded. "I will tell you, but not tonight."

Blaine considered it briefly before saying, "Tomorrow then."

Claudia smiled in relief. "Many thanks."

"I expect to be reimbursed for my patience." he teased.

Pink tinged her face. "Blaine! One minute your lips spout poetry and the next vulgar suggestions. Are you sure you're not a jester instead a prince?"

"I'm court clown as well as royalty."

"I've noticed."

Blaine looked over her shoulder. "The fires have been lit. Want to go see them?"

"I suppose. I don't wish to hear anymore more remarks about what we do when we're alone."

"They don't mean anything. Just ignore them." he advised.

"I'll try."

The two made their way over to where the fires were being held. They stood back in the shadows watching the activity.

Claudia pointed across the grass to where Stephen and Shemaine stood. They were having what appeared to be a heated conversation. "Don't they seem to be having fun?"

"Not really." Blaine stepped back uneasily as the flames jumped higher.


"No. I just don't care much for bon fires."

"Why not?" she asked disbelieving.

"I don't know. I just don't." Blaine looked uncomfortable. "I guess I'm afraid of getting burnt alive."

Claudia looked up at him, studying his face. For a second, she could have sworn she seen scars covering his face. She took another look and was relieved to see his face still the way it was. She didn't like these mental pictures she was getting.

"Are you all right Claudia?" Blaine hesitantly touched her arm. "You look like you've seen a ghost."

"I'm fine. Just a little tired is all, you know?"

"Yeah. Would you like to go to your rooms now?"

She nodded. "Actually I would. Care to walk me?"

"My pleasure."

They slowly made there way back to the castle, both just enjoying the others company. When they reached her rooms, they stood outside the doors.

"Good night Blaine." Claudia smiled up at him. "Thank you for a fabulous first night in Morin."

"You're welcome." he said softly.

Before she knew it, he was softly kissing her. Her first instinct was to push him away but instead she returned it.

Another image of Blaine with a scarred face flashed threw her mind.

Claudia stepped back into the room. "Night." she whispered, shutting the door. Claudia leaned against the wall for a little while before changing into a nightgown. Then she went and stood at the window, watching as people danced around the fires.


Claudia glanced down to see a flushed Shemaine standing down on the lawn. "What are you doing down there?"

"Making merry! Come join me!" Shemaine raised a flask of wine. "I'll even share with you!"

"You're drunk!"

Laughing, Shemaine nodded. "Aye! Is Blaine with you?"


"Just thought I'd ask." Shemaine giggled as Stephen came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist.

"Evening Lady Claudia." he greeted.

"Prince Stephen." she returned. "What have you done to my sister?"

"I made her sociable."

"A little to much I should think."

He took Shemaine's hands. "I don't." Then they were off dancing, faces ruddy and laughing.

"She'll hate herself come the morn." Claudia laughed, disappearing from view. She lie on her bed and was soon fast asleep.


"Kane, come on!"

Kane ran out of the fire, breathing heavily. He grabbed Claudia's hand and pulled her away from the burning house.

"Your mask... It's going to melt to your face..." she reached up to pull it off. "Are you hurt?"

Kane allowed her to pull the mask off. "I'm fine."

Claudia tossed the hot mask aside then looked up at him. "Blaine!" she gasped.


"But how can that be?"

Kane looked himself over. "Tig, are you all right?"


Claudia screamed as he burst into flames. "Kane!!!!"


Claudia shot up crying. "Kane..."

The door flew open and in ran Shemaine, followed by Blaine and Stephen.

"Claudia, what's wrong?" she asked.

"He was burning... Kane..."

Shemaine looked up at Blaine and mouthed, "Kane?"

He just shrugged.

"Claudia, please, lay back down and rest." Shemaine gently pushed her sister back onto the bed. "It was just a nightmare, nothing more."

Reluctantly, Claudia did as she was told. Soon, she was out again.

"What was that all about?" Stephen asked, the jovial mood broken.

Shemaine shrugged. "I'm not sure. Good night to you both."

"G'night. I hope your head don't ache to bad come the morrow." Blaine teased, walking out.

"Blame your brother!" she retorted, shoving Stephen out.

"Aye, blame me." he agreed.


The next morning, Claudia woke up with a pounding ache in her head. She sat up in her bed and looked over to see if Shemaine was still asleep. “Shemaine?" she whispered.

Shemaine grunted.

"Time to get up. It's got to be past noon."

Shemaine raised her head from the pillow with a groan. "Ask me if I care. My head feels like it's going to burst."

"That is no one's fault but your fault. Next time don't drink as much." Claudia scolded.

Shemaine propped herself up on her elbow. "What were you screaming about last night anyway? Blaine try to kiss you?" she only half teased.

Claudia frowned as she thought about the previous night. "I had a bad dream."

"Care to talk about it?"

"Not really." she shook her head with a small smile. "But I know that you'll bug me until I tell you so I might as well."

Shemaine smiled back. "You know me all to well I fear."


"So tell me about this dream." Shemaine instructed eagerly. "And about this Kane. Who is he?"

Claudia pulled her pillow onto her lap. "I don't know who he is. I was running from a burning house with this man in all red, Kane. He wore a mask over his face. Once we were clear of the flames, I took his mask off. It was Blaine there in place of Kane. When I called him by his name, he acted confused, as if he didn't know who Blaine was. Then he called me Tig. I woke up then."

"Tig..." Shemaine said the name aloud. "What a funny name. I like it. Perhaps I'll call you that by and by. Moreover, I shall call Blaine by this man in the mask's name, Kane. What do you think?"

"Don't you dare!"

"Why not? I find it extremely amusing."

Claudia chucked the pillow at her sister. "I don't. I think the forgetfulness and these dreams are all connected somehow."

"Claudia, they're not." Shemaine assured her. "You're just stressed out is all. Nothing more."

"And you are not?"

"Maybe a little." Shemaine moved off her own bed and onto Claudia's. "Do you realize how hard it was for me to convince Stephen that we were really from a far away land? He kept bugging me over and over again. Finally he stopped though I don't think he believed me."

"Then you got drunk." Claudia scolded. "That'll give people more to talk about. I can imagine it, 'the Lady Shemaine runs about intoxicated at all hours of the night with men she barely knows while the Lady Claudia screams in at midnight."

"Oh well... Let them talk. Loose lips sink ships."

"We're on the mainland you idiot!" Claudia laughed.

The two jumped up startled as Stephen and Blaine walked in threw the parlor.

"Don't you ever knock?" Claudia demanded, pulling the blankets over her nightgown.

"Not when it's early afternoon and we haven't seen you since last night." Blaine replied sitting on the edge of Shemaine's bed.

"You two might have at least given us a warning so that we might dress ourselves and be decent." snapped Shemaine.

"Why? We've slept outside with you both. You seemed perfectly decent then."

Shemaine and Claudia tossed their pillows at Blaine. With a laugh, he swatted them aside.

"Get dressed, both of you." Stephen instructed.

"What for?" the two demanded.

"It's a surprise."

"Oh, to hell with your surprise." Shemaine muttered.

Claudia snickered. "Care for some ale Shemaine?"

"To hell with you as well."

Stephen and Blaine stood up.

"Dress quickly." Blaine said firmly as they walked out.

An hour later Claudia and Shemaine joined Blaine and Stephen out behind the castles in the stables.

"What's going on?" Claudia asked curiously, seeing four black Belgian horses saddled.

"We're going for a ride." Blaine told her. He placed a saddlebag over his steed. "Get on."

Claudia looked at Shemaine confused before doing as she was bid. Blaine mounted his horse and then led the way out.

Stephen and Shemaine were silent as they watched the two disappear into the forest. When they were no longer in sight, Stephen said,

"Our turn." He helped her onto the horse.

"And just where are we going?"

"For a ride. Only not to where they're going."

Shemaine eyed Stephen suspiciously. "He's not going to spirit her away is he?"

"Not at the now."

"That's none to reassuring."

Stephen laughed, his deep voice resonating throughout the stables. "Lady Shemaine! You and I are just going riding! There are plenty of flat lands for us to enjoy. Come on!" He raced out of the stables.

Shemaine chased after him, feeling up to the challenge that he was offering.

When they finally came to a halt several hours later, Shemaine dismounted with a groan.

"My rear is sore." she complained, rubbing her backside with both hands.

Stephen chuckled, sliding out of the saddle. "You poor thing."

"I know.” Shemaine tossed her hair back saucily. "I still bested you."

"I know," he admitted, shaking his head. "How you managed to outrun me..."

"I'm an excellent rider."

"So I noticed." Stephen led her to a shaded grove. "Anything else you excel at Shemaine?"

Shemaine looked up at him, feeling somewhat dizzy. "Lots."

"Such as?" He prodded, leaning closer to her.


"And?" His breath was warm on her face.


"Mmm..." Stephen covered her mouth with his.

Shemaine went limp in his arms, returning the kiss.

When they parted he said, "And kissing as well."

She blushed under his cheeky grin.

As promised, Claudia told Blaine everything. To her surprise, he was understanding and assured her that he wouldn't tell anyone save Stephen.

The days turned into weeks then months. Claudia and Shemaine forgot about trying to remember the past. They were busy enjoying the present.

The days were spent with Stephen and Blaine in riding, picnicking, and parties almost every night, and then there were the times of peace and quiet.

It was during one of those times that Blaine and Claudia became engaged. Soon after Stephen announced that, he and Shemaine were going on a trip to visit the neighboring mountains.

The night the wedding was to take place, Claudia and Shemaine took one final walk together in the maze of the castle garden. It would be their last.

"Scared?" Shemaine asked, smiling.

Claudia was nervously wringing her hands. "Yes." she admitted.

Shemaine rolled her eyes. "You'll be Princess of Morin and you're nervous."

"A trait I got from you." Claudia shot back. "I think we're lost."

"We are." Shemaine agreed.

They kept walking until they reached a small pool of clear water.

"This is nice." Claudia murmured, sinking to her knees besides the pool.

Shemaine sat down. "Care to swim?"

"No chance."

"There you are!" came a relieved sounding Blaine.

They turned to see him and Stephen coming threw the hedges.

"Pity. You found us." Claudia lamented with a smile.

"No fair running off." he scolded.

"Yeah, that's mine and Shemaine's job." joked Stephen. He peered into the water. "What's this?"

"You two were raised here. Don't you know?" Shemaine looked at him.

He was frowning. "No, I don't. Blaine, do you recall this being here?"

Blaine shrugged his shoulders. "Can't say I do. What does it matter? Perhaps it was put in just recently."

"But wouldn't we have noticed if any projects had been undertaken?"

"Not necessarily. We all have been quite busy as of late." he reminded.

Stephen kept his eyes locked on the pool, pulling Shemaine to him in a tight embrace. "Look. This is strange."


They all looked down. They stared into the water for a few seconds before a scene started to take place.

There were two young women standing besides a large cauldron. A few feet off stood a giant man surrounded by a curtain of sorts. He seemed to be fighting with one of the women. Then he began to peel off his clothes, tossing each article to another man in all red.

"Kane!" gasped Claudia.

"That's us." Shemaine whispered, her hands clutching at Stephen fearfully.

He glanced down at her, quickly kissing her reassuringly.

The scene shifted.

Two men were bogged down in some kind of slimly pit. One man was clearly dead. A large gaping wound was on his chest. The other man had tears streaming down his face as he screamed at two women in all black. One woman snatched up a sickle and sliced his head off in fluid motion.

"Bradshaw!" Stephen howled, falling to his knees.

"Oh God... Tig... What happened to us? I remember now." Fallon said softly, her hands resting limply on the Undertaker‘s shoulders.

Tigress looked down at her outfit. "How did we get here?"

"We're trapped in an illusion." Undertaker muttered, a single tear sliding down his cheek. "Those damn witches trapped us here."

Kane was standing off to the side. He felt the side of his face and could feel the scars. Now that they knew the truth, the illusion was fading.

Tigress approached him. "Kane?"

"Don't look at me!" he hid his face.

She grabbed his hands and pulled them away, taking in the sight calmly. "They're nothing to be ashamed of." she told him matter-of-factly.

Fallon turned around in a slow circle, watching as the hedges began to blur together. "Well... This keeps on getting better and better."

Undertaker rose to his feet and joined her. "Since we know the truth, their lies can't hold up." The two exchanged significant glances before looking away from each other.

"What's that mean?" Kane asked.

"Something is going to happen."

No sooner had that been said when Ember and Freye appeared.

Ember eyed Tigress calmly while Freye was trying to psyche out Fallon.

"So these are the two that you've enlisted for help?" Ember mused. "You must be regretting that now."

"Why's that?" Kane demanded.

"They're useless. Look where they got you stuck at." Freye sneered. "Kane... You just can't win."

"Step back." Fallon instructed.

"Or else what?"

"Try me."

Tigress smirked a little at Ember.

When neither backed down, she and Fallon punched them.

"You little..." Freye trailed off, holding her jaw.

"Want to fight?" Tigress snarled.

Ember smiled evilly. "Why not?"

"Not smart Tig..." Fallon muttered.

Undertaker stepped forward. "Afraid to fight with your hands?"

Freye rolled her eyes. "Ladies never get involved in brawls."

"When did you two become ladies?"

Ember smirked a little. "Enough with the idle chatter. We'll see you on Smackdown. Enjoy what time you got left. It's all you have."

Tigress and Fallon pushed past ‘Taker as the two began fading.

"Thanks..." Fallon punched his shoulder. "We could've tried to end this right now."

"In their world? Don't be stupid."

"It's an illusionary world DeadMan."

Tigress merely shook her head. Some things never seemed to change.

"How do we get back?" asked Kane.

"Very carefully. There's a door." Tigress looked at him "You can't be afraid."

"What do you mean?"

She waved her hand and where the pool used to be was a black void. "You first." It turned into a raging fire.

He jumped back. "No!"

"You have too. In addition, you must do it freely. Unless you'd rather stay here."

Kane took a deep breath. He approached the door slowly. "I can't."

"You can and you must."

"Come with me."

"I can't." Tigress smiled gently.

Understanding, he hesitantly stepped through. He was in fire one second and then he was back at the sister's house.

"You're next ‘Taker."

Undertaker looked at the door. It had become a white light. Soft singing could be heard. "No chance!"

"Don't be such a pussy." Fallon sneered. "It's just heaven."

"You little..." he stopped, took a deep breath, and plunged in the light.

"Our turn." Tigress whispered.

Fallon frowned as the door turned into a mirror. "I'd say it's yours."

Tigress' eyes widened at the sight of people on the other side. "Not this."

"Other side of the looking glass." Fallon gave her a quick hug. "It's not real sis. Close your eyes and walk."

Tigress stood at the edge. She hated the feeling of being on the outside looking in. She recognized these people and was very good friends with some. When she seen Fallon in the mirror she closed her eyes. "Just an illusion." she whispered before walking through.

The door shifted again. It took on the form of a black void with everyone she loved falling into emptiness. Fallon was slightly shocked to find Kane falling next to Tigress followed by the Undertaker. Before she started crying, she ran threw.

Fallon opened her eyes. "Hey..."

She was still on her knees resting on Tigress' bed. Tigress still lying down with Kane on the other side of the bed. ‘Taker was standing next to Fallon.

"Time hasn't moved. This is the exact hour we left." ‘Taker said, looking at the clock. "Isn't that convenient?"

"Lovely." Tigress sat up. "On the bright side, we've regained our health and no time has passed."

"Shut up..." Fallon growled, getting to her feet.

"At least we now know that they fear us." Tigress consoled.


"They tried to trap us in a dream world. Why would they do that if they're so confident that they can destroy us?"

"Good point."

"To mess with our minds." ‘Taker interceded.

"Didn't work all that well." pointed out Fallon. "None of us has been affected have we? We still tolerate Kane and I still despise the ground you walk on."

His upper lip curled into a snarl. "Point made." He stepped towards her, his eyes glowing brightly. “Though recent evidence suggests contrariwise.”

Fallon blushed furiously, unaware she had filled the gap between them, her body lightly touching his.

Tigress shook her head. "If you two are finished..."

They both looked at her mildly startled.

Tigress pushed back the covers and stood up. "You two need to leave now."

Kane and ‘Taker exchanged looks.

"We'll see you soon." ‘Taker said, before they walked out.

"That was fun." Freye said wickedly, watching as Ember ground some powder into fine dust.

"Definitely interesting to see how well they all got on." Ember frowned slightly, pausing in her work. "Though Undertaker and Fallon's tolerance of each other seems to be growing. We can't have that now can we?"

"Certainly not. Kane and Tigress together pose no threat, Kane still hasn't tapped into his powers and he won't have the time too. Tigress is weak. She might be the brains but it's Fallon who holds the power."

Ember's eyes showed her worry. "And her power coupled with the Undertaker's wouldn't bode well for us..."

"Well we'll just have to make sure they continue to hate each other, won't we?" Freye sighed, wiping her own dusty hands off on her black gown. “Uncle Paul’s revenge on his son has spiraled out of control, have you noticed?”

“Yes. Now we wage war on four instead of torture and disposing of one.” Ember frowned, lighting a fire under the cauldron that hung in the middle of their bedroom. “The stakes are higher than ever, but we also knew it was a possibility that the Undertaker would enter this war.”

“Though we never knew about the others.”

“I don’t think Paul did either.”


Fallon glanced towards the basement stairs when she heard someone thudding down them. A quick glance at her watch told her that it was only three A.M., it was a little late for callers and last she knew Tigress was sound asleep. She stared at the stairwell, her hand reaching for her athame, which rested on the couch arm beside her. A sigh of relief escaped her when she seen who it was.

“Planning on murdering me?”

She smiled slightly, resting the athame back in its place. “Not just yet Dead Man.”

The Undertaker nodded, studying her thoughtfully. She was sitting on the purple couch clothed in a silk gold nightgown that emphasized her gentle curves, her legs curled underneath her and a book encased in gold velvet on her lap, a peacock quill poised between her fingers.

Fallon’s eyes narrowed slightly. “When you’ve finished.”

Ignoring her, he silently crossed the room, reclining against the desk, careful not to touch the Red Book. “What’re you doing?”


‘Taker eyed the book in her hands. “B-O-S?”

“Yes. I’m recounting our little trip down illusion lane.” Fallon sucked on the nib of her quill for a moment before finishing her paragraph. Sighing she closed the book, tucking it underneath a cushion. “So what’s on your mind?”

“I couldn’t sleep.”

“And that brings you here because?” Fallon stared at him, trying not to smirk.

“I’m not entirely sure just yet.” ‘Taker started strolling around the well lighted room, taking time to study it thoroughly, something he hadn’t been able to do earlier. “Tomorrow night, will you and your sister be accompanying us?”

Fallon nodded, her eyes widening slightly at the thought of using her magick in front of millions of people. “I suppose so. Not like we have a choice, do we? We did promise Kane to help him with those two… witches.”

As if sensing her concern, he said; “If anything happens, it’ll be explained away. People believe it all to be part of the show.”

“Just out of curiosity, how does one mix wrestling and magick?”

“Very carefully apparently.” He didn’t bother to explain how he happened to become involved in all this.

Fallon rose from the couch, crossing the room to pick up a crystal. She ran her palms over it repeatedly for a few moments, watching as it began to glow. “Show me Kane.” She murmured.

‘Taker watched as she stared into the crystal, the white light emanating from it shrouding her face. “Well?” He asked as she set the crystal back down.

“He’s pacing a room talking to himself.” She traced a finger over the purple tapestry. “Does he do that often?”

“I wouldn’t know. Kane and I have been estranged for some time until the other night.”

“What do you mean?”

“We don’t generally get along.”

Fallon didn’t ask why, not sure she wanted to know. She knew ‘Taker walked mainly on the Darkside, he had made that very evident when they first met. Technically the whole illusion thing never really happened, it was merely that, an illusion. But Fallon could remember everything that had happened. There were months of memories crammed into her head, memories she knew didn’t happen in the normal sense though it did occur, out of time.

‘Taker watched as Fallon walked around the basement, apparently unaware she was lost in her own thoughts. He could guess at what she was thinking about and couldn’t help but smile, recalling the illusion in his own mind. True, it was just an illusion, but he knew the emotions that came from her had been real. “They were intended for Stephen though.” A voice spoke up inside his head. He banished the words quickly, knowing that Stephen was merely a reflection of another part of himself, same difference to him.

Unbidden a memory from that time sprang to mind:

“Stephen, where are you taking me now?” Shemaine demanded, a smile on her face, conflicting with the severe tone she used.

“It’s a surprise my love.” He replied, squeezing her hand as he led her through the forest, brushing aside low hanging branches. He halted in tiny clearing, barely room enough for them both to stand without brushing a shrub. “Now, close your eyes.”

Shemaine did, the smile still playing her face. She gasped when she felt a cloth being tied around her head “Is this really necessary?”

“It is.” Stephen’s voice was husky as he gently pulled her forward.

Shemaine giggled nervously as she tripped over what felt like a log, instantly being pulled up by strong arms. When she stumbled again, Stephen chuckled warmly, the rich baritone sound washing over her. She gasped again when she felt him lift her into his arms. “Stephen!”

“It’ll be quicker this way.” His breath was hot on her neck.

Shemaine sighed contentedly, wrapping her arms around his shoulders, resting her head against his massive chest. “I could get used to this.”

“I bet you could.”

They were quiet until Stephen abruptly came to a halt, carefully setting her down. He waited until she had regained her footing before untying the cloth.

Shemaine blinked as bright sunlight assaulted her eyes, raising a hand to shield them. It was a few minutes before she could see properly. What she saw took her breath away.

They were standing on top of a hill, gazing down at a secluded valley, rich with game. A river wound its way throughout the entire dale, sparkling in the afternoon sun. A herd of deer was cautiously coming out of the wood that made up the back of the valley, edging towards the springy meadow.

Shemaine turned to stare up at Stephen. “It’s beautiful.” She whispered.

He smiled down at her, wrapping his arms about her slender frame, pulling her close so they were body to body. “When we come back from our honeymoon in the mountains, our new home will be awaiting us, here.”

“Honeymoon?” Shemaine’s lips curled into the barest hint of a smile. “Is that your way of proposing?”


“I must say, I don’t think much of your manners.”

Chuckling, Stephen lifted her so they were face to face, kissing her soundly.

Shemaine tossed her head back, laughing as he trailed kisses down her throat. “Stephen, you’re impossible.”

He made a noise that clearly stated he agreed with her.

Shemaine, threaded her fingers through his auburn hair, her breath catching when he pressed her tightly too him. “I love you, my Prince.” She murmured.

“And I you, Princess.”

Fallon snapped out of her reverie, meeting ‘Taker’s gaze, knowing that he too had been dwelling on that particular moment. She couldn’t keep herself from blushing, glancing down to avoid his eyes.

“I believe I’ll head back to the hotel now.” ‘Taker said softly, approaching her. “Kane and I will be here later today.”

“That’s fine.” Fallon kept her head bowed. She finally looked up when she heard him disappear up the stairs, breathing a sigh of relief.

“Where’ve you been?” Kane demanded the minute ‘Taker walked into the room. “I’ve been waiting for you for hours!”

“I was out.” He removed his cloak, tossing it into a nearby chair. “What are you doing in my chambers?”

“Waiting for you to return.” Kane stared at his brother curiously. “Where were you?”

“That is none of your concern.”

“You went to see her.”

‘Taker knew who Kane meant and only grunted, sinking down onto the bed and running his fingers through his black hair.

“Are you falling in love with her?” Kane demanded.

“Kane, quit prying into my affairs.” ‘Taker snapped, baring his teeth.

Tigress bounded down the steps into the living room in a surprisingly good mood. She grinned at the sight of Fallon in the kitchen, standing at the sink staring out the window. “Nice to see you up bright and early.”

Fallon turned around and smiled wanly, a cup of steaming coffee in her hand. “Yeah.”

Mildly concerned Tigress poured herself a mug, adding creamer and sugar quietly. She observed her sister out of the corner of her eye, frowning. Fallon looked like she hadn’t slept a wink. “Are you all right?”

Fallon nodded. “Yeah, I just didn’t sleep very well last night, you know? I can’t wait for all of this to be over.”

“I hear you. If we can finish this tonight, tomorrow Kane and Undertaker will be out of our lives for good.”

Fallon seemed troubled.

“What’s wrong Fal?”

“I just don’t think that things are easy as all that. Those two witches aren’t pushovers, they’ll be expecting something tonight.”


At six o’clock that night the Undertaker and Kane arrived to pick the girls up. They were already in their wrestling suits, prepared to go to battle. Without bothering to knock, ‘Taker led the way inside, halting when he spotted Tigress and Fallon walking down the stairs.

Tigress wore a simple gold colored dress that flowed at the sleeves with matching high heels and her half-moon earrings, a gold velvet bag hung on her wrist.

Fallon wore velvet silver pants that flared at the bottoms over silver high heels with a white velvet sleeveless top with a knee length silver velvet duster, the sleeves also flared. She too wore her teardrop earrings and carried a silver velvet bag around her wrist.

“Battle garb.” Tigress said in answer to the quizzical look Kane was giving her. “These are our Sabbat clothes…” She trailed off when she noticed Fallon and ‘Taker were standing pressed together, talking softly. “What is up with those two?” She whispered, gently pulling Kane towards the far wall. “They’ve been acting different since… well, you know.”

He nodded, trying not to watch as ’Taker reached out and touched Fallon’s earring before running his hand lingeringly down her neck. “I think he’s in love with her.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“Does it look like I’m kidding?”

Tigress had to admit it didn’t, especially when she noticed Fallon was smiling all starry eyed at him. “Um… are you two ready?” She asked loudly, not sure how she felt about this new development.

Fallon and ‘Taker stepped away from each other, looking at their siblings blankly.

“Oh yes, Smackdown.” ‘Taker coughed. “The limo is waiting.”

“Limo?” Fallon echoed.

“Limo. We’re arriving in style.”

Ember and Freye were standing on the roof of the arena, staring down at the moving traffic, waiting for the program to start. They had left Paul waiting in the boiler room, along with their latest experiments.

“Think they’ll be here?” Freye asked, watching as an elderly woman nearly got ran over, smiling slightly.

“Of course they will, this is their turf is it not?” Ember turned her back to the wind. “Besides, the Undertaker won’t risk putting off this confrontation.”

“It’s time, let’s go.”

“Are you sure we’re allowed to be here?” Tigress asked nervously as Kane and ‘Taker led them into the arena.

“It’s fine.” ‘Taker said shortly, leading Fallon through the crowds of people by the hand. He nodded to a guard before walking past him into a hallway.

It was full of other wrestlers, most who looked at the two women curiously but otherwise nodded respectfully to ‘Taker, none commenting about his old look brought back.

“Who’s that?” Fallon whispered, watching as a grossly obese man stared at her from a corridor they walked by.

“Who?” ‘Taker turned his head.

Fallon looked back, shocked to find he wasn’t there anymore. “It was… a huge man. Really fat, in all black.”

“Paul Bearer.” ‘Taker hissed the word. “Come.”

Kane grabbed Tigress’ arm, urging her forward quickly. He didn’t let her go until they reached the locker room, designated to them.

Once inside, Fallon and Tigress each took a piece of chalk from their bags and began writing runes on the walls.

“What are you doing?” Kane asked curiously.

“Protection.” Tigress replied briskly. “These will keep us safe while in here and keep those wenches from spying on us.”

Fallon wiped her hands off on a towel ‘Taker held out to her. “Thanks.” She glanced around, finally looking up at the ceiling. “Shoot.”

“Here.” ‘Taker grabbed her about the waist and lifted her so she was sitting on his shoulder.

Fallon quickly scrawled a rune in each of the corners and finally one in the center before he set her down. “Thank you.”

The night proceeded slowly. They watched the matches on the monitor, looking for signs of the trio. When none came, ‘Taker got to his feet.

“We can’t hide in here forever and I have a match next.” He said evenly, pulling on a heavy velvet robe. “Kane will be back here to protect you. If they show up, then you may all come out. Expect the worst.”

Fallon, Tigress and Kane huddled round the small television watching anxiously as ‘Taker walked slowly down the ramp, his face blank as he stared ahead. He slipped through the ropes and stood waiting in the center of the ring.

The lights went out.

When they came on, Bradshaw and Farooq were standing on the stage, though they didn’t look like themselves at all.

Their skin was pale, looking like all the blood had been drained from them, and it almost had a bluish tint to it, even Farooq’s. Their hair was matted to their heads, coated in a black oily substance while their eyes were dull and vacant. Slowly, almost mechanically, they began to walk down the ramp, mouths hanging open obscenely.

‘Taker studied them for a moment, feeling a twinge of pain at what two of his most loyal followers had become. He knew they were now nothing more than soulless, mindless zombies and vowed to feel no remorse about what he’d have to do.

Awkwardly they made it into the ring, standing opposite him, their eyes staring through him as they raised their arms, reaching out as though to embrace him.

When Bradshaw opened his mouth, a black bile oozed out, dribbling down onto his bare chest, revealing black teeth, even more grotesque was the sight of thick black cord weaving in and out his neck, apparently his head had been severed.

Disgusted, ‘Taker wrenched off his robe, wondering how he was supposed to kill them in front of people. He knew it would have to look like an accident or something just to get prison time instead of a death sentence.

He frowned when they halted, turning their backs on him to gaze stupidly at the stage.

Standing there was Freye in Ember, clad in their usual, smiling evilly at him.

“How are you doing Undertaker?” Freye asked conversationally through a wireless headset microphone.

He just stared at her, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Well you came here to play, let’s play.”

“He’s going to get creamed.” Tigress groaned, watching the monitor, chewing on her fingernails.

Fallon was pacing the floor, pulling at her hair anxiously. “I hate those bitches.”

“Well we can’t get to them with magick, they’re blocking all my spells, they’ve got a barrier set up or something.” Tigress said, glancing at her sister.

Kane watched the two, looking back at the monitor. Ember and Freye were still taunting ’Taker.

“I’ve got an idea.” Fallon said suddenly, halting her pacing.


“They’re expecting us to use magick, right?”

Tigress nodded, trying to read the expression on her sister’s face.

“Well, we’re at a wrestling show, aren’t we?”

Kane started chuckling.

‘Taker was getting impatient. He kept glancing between the zombies and the witches, wondering which was going to attack first. A puzzled expression flitted across his face when he seen Tigress and Fallon creeping behind the witches.

“What’s the matter Undertaker?” Freye taunted. “Curious how you’re about to die?”

“You are so lame.”

Freye and Ember spun around only to be greeted with punches to the face.

Fallon smiled broadly when she seen the blood gush from each of their nose. “It’s our turn.”

When their creators had been attacked, Bradshaw and Farooq turned on the Undertaker, lunging for him.

Kane surprised everyone by running down the ramp, ignoring the brawling women on the stage. He slid into the ring and began whaling on the zombies.

Paul Bearer emerged next, grabbing Tigress by her hair and jerking her away from Ember. “Bitch!” He wheezed, slapping her viciously across the face.

Fallon finished with Freye, tossing her bodily from the stage thirteen feet below to the floor. “Hey!” She shouted, throwing herself onto the fat man.

Paul was taken back by the assault and was slow to defend himself. He let out high-pitched screams as Fallon clawed his face, leaving bloody gouges.

Ember and Tigress were circling each other. Ember started chanting under her breath and that was all the incentive Tigress needed. She lunged at Ember, grabbing handfuls of hair and pulling mercilessly. Ember shrieked but kept chanting.

“Shut her up!” Fallon shouted, in the process of backing Paul towards the drop. Seeing Tigress was taking to long, she kicked Paul in his chest, watching disgustedly as he tottered on the edge before falling back, his immense weight causing him to drop like a sack of potatoes.

Tigress winced as a sudden stab of pain hit her spine, taking the breath from her. She easily identified the pain as a knife stab, realizing that Ember’s chants were finally working.

Fallon seen her sister’s sudden decline and charged. “Tig, you need to grow some balls.” She chided, trying to tease while clamping a hand over Ember’s mouth and using her other arm to drag the witch towards the edge of the stage, intent on dropping her as well.

Ember put up more of a struggle than the other two did, consequently giving Fallon a harder time. Tigress recovered sufficiently from the magical attack, and rushed to Fallon’s aid.

Together they managed to toss Ember alongside the unconscious Paul and Freye. They stood there, staring down at the carnage they had wreaked for a moment.

“Hell.” Fallon muttered, running down the ramp.

Undertaker and Kane were battling the zombies to the best of their abilities, though it was hard to take down something that was already dead. ‘Taker kept track of the woman, watching as Fallon took out Paul Bearer and Freye unflinchingly. With Tigress’ help, she also disposed of Ember before starting towards them. “Kane, out of the ring.”

Kane shot his brother a confused look but didn’t disobey, sliding out through the ropes as Fallon slid in.

Fallon quickly invoked the fours corners, begging each one to aid her in dispatching the “poor” souls to the afterlife before attacking. ’Taker clapped his hands twice and the arena went pitch black. Knowing the technical crew would be on the lights in only minutes, Fallon and ‘Taker quickly took care of the zombies, taking advantage of their sluggishness.

Kane slid back into the ring and lifted Bradshaw’s body over the rope, motioning for Fallon and Tigress to grab the heads. ‘Taker followed suit with Farooq and they ran for it.

When the lights came back on the ring was empty save for a black pool of bile.

Paul Bearer and his nieces had also disappeared.


“I think we can concede the first victory to us.” Tigress said in the limousine on the way back to their house.

‘Taker studied her thoughtfully. “Perhaps, though I doubt you’ll catch them unawares like that ever again.”

“That’s how we’ll have to play their game though.” Fallon replied. “We need to keep them en garde, keep surprising them.”

“Won’t that make them more dangerous?” Kane asked.

“How so?”

“If they don’t know what’s coming, aren’t they likely to prepare for anything and be over cautious?”


Tigress smiled at him. “But caution can lead to paranoia and that will lead them to be dangerous, that means they’ll be more apt to make mistakes.”

“And that’s when we’ll end this.” ‘Taker concluded firmly.

Ember came to in her bed. Raising her head, she glanced over to find her sister on her own bed, a hand placed on her forehead.

“They’re all going to die.” Freye said coldly.

Ember started to nod in agreement but it hurt too much. “Yes, as soon as we’ve regained our strength, we’ll kill them all.” She whispered, drifting off into oblivion.

“So what’s next?” Fallon asked as the limo pulled up in front of the house.

“We’ll have to wait.” ’Taker said, opening the door for them. “It’s to dangerous to attack them on their own ground, look what happened to my men.” He held up a black sack that contained Bradshaw and Farooq’s heads.

Tigress winced, sliding out of the limo next followed by Kane. “Yes, well, let’s dispose of those, shall we?”

Fallon hesitantly took the bag. “You two get the bodies and bring them in.”

“How’re we to do that without the neighbors noticing?” Kane demanded.

“I’m sure your brother knows how to do a shielding spell.” Tigress replied, walking with Fallon into the house.

“Well, let’s get this done.” ‘Taker said, popping the trunk.

Kane peered into it reluctantly.

“What exactly are we doing with these bodies?” Fallon demanded as she followed Tigress into the basement. “You know as well as I do, there’s nothing we can do for them. They’re soulless, those witches made sure of it.”

“I’m aware of that but we got to do something so there’s no chance of resurrection.”

“Oh yuck.” Fallon made a face. “You don’t mean…”

“I do.”


Tigress screamed when first one body then the other came flying down the stairs, landing with sickening crunches and more black bile flying everywhere. “That’s disgusting!”

“Sorry.” ‘Taker said, not sounding sorry at all as he made his way down the stairs. “But they’re heavy.”

“It’s dead weight, of course they are.”

“Let’s get this done. Put one of them on the table.” Fallon ordered, pulling off her shrug while Tigress hastily cleared it off.

Kane hoisted Farooq onto his shoulder and carried him to the pine table, gently laying the body down face up.

Tigress was now selecting crystals, finally deciding on two clear ones that were perfectly round. “Ready?”

“I’m the one doing the gross work.” Fallon grumbled, reaching for her athame.

“You’re better at this sort of thing than I am.”

“What are you doing?” Kane peered over at them, watching interestedly.

‘Taker had his back turned, unable to watch what was coming, his thoughts on the two Acolytes who had served him well.

Fallon grimaced before plunging the athame into Farooq’s chest.

Kane spun around, barely keeping vomit down.

Tigress stood silently besides Fallon, forcing herself to watch as her sister quickly and efficiently cut out Farooq’s heart, working around the tough scar tissue of a previous wound, guessing that it was probably how he had died. She had placed the crystals on a shelf and was holding open a plastic baggie.

Fallon quietly reached into the chest cavity and withdrew Farooq’s heart, noting that in place of a normal human heart was a black, severely mutilated plump organ. She tried to determine if it was his heart and carefully sliced it open. When she noted the four chambers, relief flared though it was replaced with concern, what had done this?

Upon closer examination she discovered that the heart was mutilated due to apparently being feasted on. Disgusted she dropped it into the baggie.

Tigress tried not to look at it as she tossed it into the blazing fire.

Fallon quickly cleaned her hands before picking up one of the crystals. She held it to her forehead for a moment, wincing as it glowed red briefly before placing it in Farooq’s chest. She pressed her palm down on the wound and suddenly the flesh started sizzling, the smell of cooking meat permeating the room.

“Next.” She whispered, removing her hand and staring down at the now whole flesh.

Kane stepped forward and removed the body while ’Taker picked up Bradshaw’s headless corpse.

Fallon quickly repeated the whole procedure looking sick at the end of it.

“What now?”

“Bury them.” She whispered, looking at her gore stained arms and clothes. “I’m going to bathe.”

Tigress watched as her sister plodded slowly up the stairs, shaking her head with a sigh. “With the hearts burnt, technically they can’t be raised again and we’ve destroyed the brains. If by chance, Ember and Freye find a way around that, the crystals will drain any life that enters the bodies.”

“Basically a contingency plan.” ‘Taker said.

“Never hurts to have a fail safe.”

“So where are we burying these… things at?” Kane asked, looking apprehensive about touching the bodies.

“Out back. Fallon cast an illusion spell around them, it’ll look like you’re just planting seeds.”

“At night?”

“At night.” Tigress glanced towards the stairs. “You’ll have to excuse me, I’m going to go make sure she’s all right.”

Fallon was standing under a torrent of hot water, watching as the black liquid ran down the drain. When she felt she was sufficiently clean, she stepped out of the shower, reaching for a towel.

“Fallon?” Tigress knocked on the door, opening it just a crack. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. I’ll be out in a moment.”

“All right.”

Fallon sighed when she heard Tigress walk off down the hall and finished drying off. She quickly pulled on the jeans and sweater she had grabbed from the closet, ran a brush through her hair and exited the bathroom.

A glance at the hallway clock told her it was nearing two in the morning, what had happened to her regular routine? One day they were in bed by ten and up again around five, at work then home. It was all predictable. Now they didn’t know what was coming or what would happen, everything was helter skelter and she wasn’t entirely sure if she liked it.

Slowly she made her way down stairs, not surprised to find Kane and ‘Taker still there. “It’s late, shouldn’t you two be heading home now?”

‘Taker stared at her, unable to mask the concern in his eyes. “Tonight took a lot out of you.” It was a statement.

“Yes, it’s not easy performing that particular ritual.” She admitted, sinking into a high backed chair.

“Why didn’t Tigress do part of it?” Kane asked curiously, glancing from one sister to the other.

Tigress shifted uncomfortably, looking somewhat embarrassed. “You see, Fallon technically has more power than I do. She’s stronger than I am.”

“Tig knows the rituals front to back, and could tell you almost anything you wanted to know pertaining to spell work, I couldn’t. We both have our weak points and strengths. Since they’re the opposites of the others, we make a very good team.”

‘Taker and Kane were silent for a few moments before ‘Taker nodded, “That explains a lot.”

Tigress yawned behind her hand, her eyes straying to the clock on the mantle. “Well guys, I think I’m heading off to bed.” She nodded to everyone before heading up the stairs.

“We should probably get going too.” Kane said, taking a step towards the door.

“Yeah.” ‘Taker nodded, his eyes fastened on Fallon. “I’ll be right out.”

Shaking his head, Kane stepped outside, slamming the door behind him.

Fallon slowly got to her feet. “Are you all right?” She asked quietly.

“I will be.” ‘Taker stood in front of her. “How bout you?”

“I just need some time to regain my strength.” Fallon ran a hand through her hair, sighing. “Tonight was just exhausting all the way around.”

“That it was.”

Fallon was silent, studying him as he stared out the window. “Those men… they were your… friends?” Somehow she got the impression friends was the wrong word but wasn’t sure how else to say it.

He nodded. “They were Acolytes in my Ministry.”

“Ministry?” Fallon shook her head. “Never mind, I don’t want to know.”

There was the issue of him walking the Darkside still lingering between them.

As if reading her mind, ‘Taker gave an almost imperceptible nod. “Once this is all over Fallon,” He began, quickly crossing the space between them. “We have much to talk about.”

Fallon wanted to contradict him but found she didn’t have it in her anymore, the obstinate part of her seemed dormant. “All right.” She tilted her head back to look up at him.

Almost hesitatingly, he raised a hand to her face, gently brushing his knuckles against her cheek. “Good night.” He whispered, before suddenly turning and disappearing out the door.


Kane stared at the ceiling, watching as shadows played across it, his head resting on his elbows. His thoughts were focused on what had happened that night, reliving everything, his stomach rolling every time he thought of Bradshaw and Farooq.

He could still see Fallon plunging her hands into their chests and pulling out what used to be human hearts, the blank look in her eyes as she quickly did the horrible work. He admired her ability to do what needed to be done though he felt pity for her as well, the power she contained must have been a burden.

Though it was somewhat reassuring to know that that power was on his side.

Tigress woke up to the sound of Fallon talking to herself. Frowning, she tossed back her coverlet and got out of bed. She made her way down the hallway that separated their bedrooms and halted at Fallon’s door, listening.

“Damaine jaqtous hodeth…”

Tigress slapped a hand over her mouth, listening as her sister mumbled prayers in the Ancient Language, begging for… strength?

Strength for what?

“You ladies feeling better today?”

Freye glanced up from her desk, the sounds of her quill scratching against the parchment pausing. “You’re not amusing.”

Ember was hovering over the cauldron that hung in the middle of the room, stirring tirelessly with a large wooden spoon that was twice the size of her own arm. She surveyed her uncle out of cold black eyes. “You fared no better then we did.” She reminded, her tone like ice.

Paul wasn’t bothered, instead his smile grew wider. “If you knew what I did, you’d be in a better mood too.”

“Oh really.” Freye said sardonically. “What do you know?”

“Where those white witches live.”

Paul had just gotten the full attention of his nieces.

“Morning.” Fallon greeted, practically skipping down the stairs, in a mood Tigress hadn’t seen in awhile.

“Good morning, what’s got you so cheerful?” Tigress held out a mug of coffee.

Fallon accepted it with a shrug, closing her eyes and breathing in the warm, familiar scent. “Mmm… Delish, Tig.”

Tigress smiled, sitting back down in the chair she’d occupied all morning. “So, how’d you sleep?” She asked in a would be casual voice.

Fallon dropped down opposite her sister. “Fine, why?”

“Any strange dreams?”


“Oh.” Tigress dropped the subtlety. “I could have sworn I heard you talking in your sleep last night.”

“That must’ve been you sis.” Fallon smiled over her mug.

“Must’ve.” Tigress said softly.

“So what’s on the agenda today?” Fallon said by way of greeting when ‘Taker and Kane showed up an hour after she and Tigress had finished their coffee.

“Rest,” ‘Taker said quietly, allowing Kane to step past them. “After last night, we all need to rest.”

“Sounds good to me.” Tigress quipped from her chair, smiling as Kane settled himself across from her.

Fallon was somewhat surprised when she found herself being ushered out onto the front porch. “What’s wrong?”

‘Taker stared off into the street, not really seeing anything. “I’ve received word that Paul Bearer and his nieces know where you live.”

“Wait, you mean…?”

“They’ll be attacking soon. Maybe not tonight but tomorrow night most definitely.”

“So what do we do then?”

“Hide.” He turned to look down at her. “Kane and Tigress will be escorted to a safe house by my men.”

“As for me?”

“Who better to guard you than myself?”

Fallon sighed, glancing into the window to stare at her sister. “Not her though?”

“It will be safer if everyone is split up.”

She couldn’t argue with that logic though leaving Tigress would feel like leaving part of herself behind. “All right. How long till we leave?”

“One hour. Go inform her, then pack your things, one duffel bag should do it. Bring only what you’ll need.”

“What about our tools?”

“Arm yourself accordingly, after all, mine will be of no use to you Light walkers.”

“Is that a trace of humor I detect?” Fallon asked sarcastically. “You’d better be careful Undertaker, soon you might be cracking jokes.”

“Hell forbid.” He smiled morbidly. “Make haste Fallon.”


“You have got to be kidding me!” Tigress exclaimed, preparing herself to stalk out of the kitchen and give the Undertaker a piece of her mind, her sister’s hand on her arm stayed her.

“I’m not Tig. He’s right, we need to split for now, and it makes things harder for them. If we’re together, we’re one big target, if we’re separated they’ll have to work twice as hard.” She looked at her sister pleadingly.

“It’ll also make them doubly cautious.” Tigress allowed slowly.

“Yes, that as well. So?”

“I guess I’ll do it.” Tigress reached out and hugged Fallon. “This will be so weird, we’ve never been apart.”

“I know, but it might do us some good.” Fallon tried to joke. “You know, keep us from driving each other batty.”

“True.” Tigress managed a smile. “Well then, let’s go pack.”

An hour later the two said goodbye, giving each other long hugs and trying not to get teary as they parted, each being ushered into a different car.

Fallon watched out the tinted windows of the black Porsche as Tigress was driven away in a black SUV, gradually disappearing down a side street. “Where are they going?” She asked, turning to look at the Undertaker.

He glanced at her, seeming to take pity because his features softened momentarily. “She’ll be all right, Kane will take care of her.”

Fallon nodded, not trusting herself to speak. She swallowed her misgivings as her home faded from view.

Tigress woke with a start when the SUV came to a sudden halt. Straightening herself in her seat, she looked out the window. To her surprise there were cypress trees on either side of them, an iron gate behind her and an old plantation house looming ahead. “Where are we?” She whispered.

“Old property that ‘Taker owns.” Kane said, tuning to look at her. “He keeps it under a false name so that no ones knows about it.”

Viscera grunted, surveying the surrounding land. “The security has been updated but you’re too add some additional protection Mistress.”

Tigress’ expression must have shown her bewilderment because Kane gently patted her shoulder.

“It’s just a title.” He said soothingly. “Come on, the men will care for our things while we secure the premises.”

Tigress sighed, wishing she was just a normal person.

Fallon was silent throughout the entire journey to destination unknown, occupying herself by reading from the Book, grateful that Tigress had insisted she take it. Tigress had it memorized though.

“How much longer?” She asked after several hours, finally emerging from the pages.

“Not too much. Another hour if traffic remains the same.” He glanced over at her. “Tired?”

“No.” She answered honestly. “Just beginning to weary of being in this car.”

“It’s not much farther.” He promised, his green eyes back on the road. “Just hold tight.”

“Hmm…. Nobody home.” Freye commented, looking at the house before them.

Ember frowned, a hand at her temple, the beginning of a migraine starting. “It seems they’ve gotten word of our knowledge.”

“How though?”

“We’ll have to find out.” Ember cautiously approached the house, sticking her hand out experimentally. “Come feel this.”

Freye did, a frown marring her own features when she met what felt like a solid wall. “Apparently they don’t believe in taking chances.”

“If they had this here, why leave? If they knew we couldn’t get past their defenses, why not remain?”

Freye was silent before muttering a quick spell. She smiled grimly when the force field began to weaken. “Because it would only serve as a delay.”

Ember nodded, joining in destroying the wall. “Let’s see the place our enemies call home shall we?”



Fallon woke up in a bed. Slowly she sat up, observing her surroundings, quickly recalling the recent events before dropping back down into the fluffy pillows. Her eyes strayed to the ceiling, studying the mural above her. It was a large picture of the valley Stephen had led her too. Surprisingly, it comforted her, the familiar yet alien sight.

She reluctantly tore her gaze from the mural, looking around the room. It was comfortable enough, larger than her bedroom and furnished sparsely.

An oak chest of drawers stood opposite the cannonball bed and at the far end a roaring fire burned in the fireplace. Her duffel bag was setting on top of the dresser.

Slowly she sat up, realizing she was still clutching the Book, glad that ‘Taker hadn’t tried to remove it from her grasp. She gently laid it down where her head had just previously rested, standing up. She approached the fire, hands out, letting the warmth envelope her soothingly.

Fallon didn’t have to turn around when ‘Taker entered the room, she just knew he was there, his presence almost overwhelming her. “How long have I been asleep?”

“Almost a full day. It’s night now.”

“I’m sorry for falling asleep on you.”

“No apologies needed.” He came to stand besides her, hands clasped behind his back, looking imposing as always in his all black clothing. “You’ve been through an exhausting ordeal.”

She knew he meant the Bradshaw/Farooq thing and didn’t say anything, not ready to speak of it and knowing he wasn’t either.

They stood there in amicable silence until finally he turned to face her, waiting until she had gave him her full attention. Silence reigned once more as they stared at each other.

Finally ‘Taker spoke, “I have yet to add the remaining security measures because it would attract their attention, being a force of Darkness unlike their own. They will not notice White Magick as they abhor it and subconsciously seek to avoid it.”

“I’ll see to it.”

“I will walk you around the grounds, not many people come out this way but I’ll not chance it.”

“Thank you.”

They worked quickly, Fallon casting every protection and anti-detection spell she knew. ‘Taker held a torch, standing off from her, uncomfortable in the white light that surrounded her as she worked.

Finally they headed back to the house, Fallon’s thoughts straying to her sister, wondering what she was doing, if she was all right.

Sensing her thoughts, ‘Taker offered the only reassurance he could, “Kane will protect her.”

Fallon smiled gratefully at him.

“Somehow, they knew we were coming.” Freye told her Uncle when the two had finally made it home.

Paul rubbed his many chins, frowning. “That’s impossible, we were alone when I told you two.”

Ember sighed impatiently. “How did you find out?” She demanded.

“I…” Paul stopped, comprehension dawning. “That sly fox.”


“The Undertaker has many resources at his disposal. It would appear that he was watching anyone online who accessed information concerning those witches.”

Ember and Freye exchanged looks, they had no patience for the Internet, or fools.

Paul had the sense to look apologetic and humble as he stood under his niece’s rueful stares.

Tigress sat on the front porch, watching as Kane sketched the yard before them. She knew not far off Mideon and Viscera were posted, seemingly at ease though they were on guard, determined not to end up the same way their compatriots had.

Kane glanced over his shoulder, blushing slightly under his long hair, having discarded the mask because the heat made it unbearable. “Why are you watching me?” He asked softly.

Tigress smiled at him, curling her legs underneath herself. “Because I think you’re a good artist.” She answered honestly.

“Oh.” Kane turned back to his work, raising his muscular arm but halting. “You know Tigress, I could draw you if you like.”

Tigress’ eyebrows shot up. “I don’t know, I don’t think I’d be good subject material.”

“I do.” Kane quickly placed a fresh sheet of paper on his drawing board, turning it so he faced her. “Just sit still.”

“I don’t know Kane…” Tigress laughed, tossing her head back.

“Please, just sit still and look out at the trees.” He gestured.

Tigress nodded, arranging her features into a calm expression before staring at the cypresses, never failing to marvel at their graceful beauty. She lapsed into complete relaxation, allowing her mind to wander freely, remembering the illusion they had all been trapped in, a dreamy expression on her face.

Kane noticed this and took advantage, quickly sketching out a basic line of her face, hurrying to fill it in with the look she now wore. He finally slowed down, taking his time to add the detail, trying his hardest to catch the tranquility and dreaminess that surrounded her. Even though she didn’t wear them, he added her half-moon earrings, the ones he had first seen her in.

Tigress snapped out of her reverie when she heard Kane softly calling her name. She smiled apologetically, turning to face him and ending up with a crick in her neck. She rubbed her neck, wincing. “Sorry, I spaced out.”

He didn’t reply, just held up his finished drawing.

Tigress was left breathless at the penciled sketch before her. She studied it in awe, taking in the way he had portrayed her, wondering if this woman really was her. “Kane…” She whispered, trailing off for a moment. “It’s wonderful.”

Kane fumbled for a reply but couldn’t manage to get one out, just bowed his head in humble acknowledgment.

The days seemed to creep by one minute then start flying the next to Fallon. She applied herself to learning the Book by heart, surprising herself with the spells she easily mastered, marveling at the depths of her powers. She had been hidden away for two weeks with no word from Tigress and no sign of the witches.

‘Taker would disappear for hours on end, only to come back with reports of what the witches were up too. He explained his system and methods, combining both magick and technology to his advantage. He informed her that his surveillance via the internet was shot, that Paul Bearer had uncovered it and in fact was now using it to try to locate them once more though ‘Taker was fairly sure he was untraceable.

Fallon resigned herself to unending exile, feeling despite ‘Taker’s reassurances, that they were merely waiting things out, waiting for the final confrontation.

Finally she could contain herself no longer, not one to sit and wait, she exploded on ‘Taker.

“What are we doing here anyway?” She demanded one night after a silent, strained dinner. They had just cleared the table and were standing in the kitchen, him at the sink, her in the doorway. “All we’re doing is prolonging what needs to be done, you know this! Why aren’t we out there fighting?”

He remained calm, though his eyes sparked with irritation. “Fallon, calm yourself.” He said coldly. “Think on it, will you? You’re sister would not last in a full out war against Paul’s nieces. Kane wouldn’t either. If you haven’t noticed, you and I are the strong ones when it comes to our siblings. We are buying them time. I search endlessly for a way to win this battle without risking their lives, I ask that you only extend your patience a while longer.”

Fallon’s anger was deflated instantly, the reminder of how weak magically her sister was, the though sobering her. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, it’s not in your nature to run in hide.” ‘Taker said dismissively. “Keep applying yourself to your studies, it’s good that you learn everything your book can teach you.”

“I suppose you think it’s a waste of time.” She ventured.

“No Fallon, I do not. I think you should broaden your horizons though, you’d understand your enemies better if you did.”

“Then maybe you consider the same.”

He actually smiled, sort of.

Fallon stepped out of the house, instantly being assaulted by the sweltering heat, the tank top and short she wore offering no protection from the heat. She stared around, looking for ‘Taker, frowning when she spotted him standing underneath an oak tree, bare from the waist up, concentrating on a green ball cupped in his hands.

She stood a few yards off from him, watching curiously as the ball shifted into a dagger that resembled her own athame, worn securely at her hip, though it was infinitely darker.

He noticed her, turning to watch her. “Is something wrong?”

“Oh no, I was… just bored.” She said lamely. “If I’m disturbing you I’ll go.”

“You’re fine. I was just converting my own energy into matter.”

“I see that. How did you learn to do that? I thought it was impossible to convert pure energy into actual matter like that.”

“No, not impossible.” ’Taker shook his head, his black hair swinging off his shoulders. “It’s hard, but not impossible, technology has yet to catch up with magick, magick is natural, technology isn’t, therefore it is in superior.”

“Well I knew that part.”

“Focus your own energy into your hands, imagine yourself cupping energy in your hands like it was a small pool of water.” He instructed, stepping closer.

Fallon took a deep breath, doing as he said, frowning when she couldn’t do it.

“Keep trying.” He said, his voice a mere whisper. “Focus Fallon, focus.”

Fallon doubled her efforts, finally being rewarded several long minutes later with a miniscule golden ball, radiating warmth. “Wow.” She breathed.

‘Taker was smiling slightly, staring at her. “Now shape it with your will, into anything you want, but remember, you must take into consideration size and weight.”

Fallon nodded, focusing once more. For a brief second, a tiny seashell appeared in her cupped hands before vanishing. She started laughing happily.

“Very good.” ‘Taker said, nodding his approval. “You catch on quick.”

“Thank you.” Fallon wasn’t quite sure how to respond to a compliment from him, knowing a month ago he was more likely to spit insults at her.

The only sound to be heard was a few birds twittering as they stood there quietly, just enjoying each other’s company.

Fallon started when ‘Taker quickly filled in the gap between them so they were pressing against each other. “What are you doing?” She gasped, the air almost squeezed out of her when he wrapped his arms around her waist, lifting her so she was eye level with him.

His response was to soundly kiss her.

Fallon was breathless when he set her down, her head reeling, a hand moving to feel her swollen fingers. “What was that for?” She demanded breathlessly.

“A reminder that I’ve not forgotten anything.”

Fallon couldn’t stop herself from blushing.


“Any word?”

Kane glanced up when Tigress appeared in the doorway to his room, setting aside the scroll he had just received. “No, my brother says we must be patient. He is just as anxious as we are, but he suggests we exercise caution.”

“How much more cautious can we be?” Tigress wondered.

Kane, as if reading her thoughts, offered a small smile. “Soon there will be one more confrontation, then, everything will be decided.”

Tigress nodded, hoping it would be decided in their favor.

“This is getting monotonous, how many places could they be?”

Ember spared a glance at her sister, her own face echoing the impatience. “Apparently, many. Paul should have been a bit more specific.”

Freye nodded, spitting venomously on a rose bush, feeling a touch of satisfaction as it withered.

Every place linked with either ‘Taker, Kane or the two white witches turned nothing up. Everything was abandoned or didn’t exist. Paul had been trying to locate ‘Taker under one of his many false names, only to meet dead ends every which way.

“Well,” Freye consulted the list in her hand, toying with her black clover idly. “There’s a couple more places left, let’s check them out before heading home.”

“All right. We leave as soon as the sun sets.”

‘Taker was aware that Fallon was avoiding him. He wasn’t all that surprised by it, though it did irritate him somewhat. He knew she was having trouble accepting the fact that she had feelings for him that extended beyond their current situation. He also knew he had to banish his annoyance due to the fact that she had been confused since coming back from their trip in the illusion, unsure if she loved him or Stephen.

He had no confusion himself, he knew exactly who she was. Fallon was everything he had wanted in a woman, though there was the good versus evil thing between them. He knew in time it would eventually work itself out, providing Fallon didn’t prove him wrong and go flighty.

‘Taker was walking back towards the house, coming off his evening security stroll when he heard Fallon cursing. He looked at the house, his breath catching when he seen Fallon had activated one of her defense mechanisms, a golden orb surrounded the house, preventing unwanted dark entities from entering, including him.

Next he saw the reason behind Fallon’s actions. Freye and Ember were hovering just beyond the globe, hurling columns of dark energy at the house, intent on destroying it and Fallon as well.

He instantly took to the air, not needing their brand of magick to fly, conjuring his own green energy in his palms, throwing it at the invaders with all his might.

Ember turned in time to see it coming and managed to toss up a shield, barely maintaining it under the assault of continuous rage that fueled the Undertaker’s attack.

He glimpsed Fallon in a window, her mouth moving frantically, apparently trying to stabilize the protective orb before going on the offensive. She had yet to see him.

“Distract him.” Ember commanded her sister, using his own energy as a shield for her movements.

Freye nodded, casting a small illusion spell that replicated a smoky image of her, looking Ember from a distance.

Ember bared her teeth, dodging behind the house, soaring soundlessly until she had circled behind the Undertaker, her eyes glinting viciously as she aimed her fatal attack.

Fallon felt as if she hadn’t one ounce of magick left in her after securing the orb, wondering for the umpteenth time where ‘Taker was off too. She smoothed back her curls, preparing to leave the house and do battle. On the front porch, at the edge of leaving the orb, she halted, spotting Ember standing behind ‘Taker, conjuring a mass of crackling purple and black energy.

“’Taker!” She shouted, diving from the safety of the globe.

He halted in his attack on Freye, his eyes turning onto her, relief flaring throughout his body only to be replaced with an expression of surprise and pain, frozen there as he toppled to the grass.

Ember started cackling, joined by her sister, both howling in triumph, paying no mind to the grief stricken woman before them.

Fallon kneeled besides ‘Taker lifeless body, somehow managing to roll the dead weight over, shaking his shoulders. “Wake up.” She whispered urgently. “Please, wake up.”

No sign of life flickered, nothing to give her hope.

“Oh no,” Fallon cradled his head against her chest, rocking back and forth. “No.” She tossed her head back, high pitched keening emerging from her slight frame.

“She’s powerless.” Ember stated, her face a mask of cold satisfaction. “Without him or her sister, she’s got no power.”


Fallon managed to stare at the black clad demon calling her name, her tears blurring her vision.

Freye smiled wickedly, enjoying this. “We’ll be back to finish you off presently, first we’re going to deal with your pathetic sister.”

Fallon barely heard a word they said, comprehending that they were now after Tigress. She didn’t know where Tigress and Kane were though ‘Taker did. ‘Taker…

“Please, don’t leave me.” She whispered, gently pushing his black hair from his face. “Wake up, you’re not dead, not yet.” Fallon whimpered, beginning to rock back and forth again, fighting the urge to wail. “Some of my life resides in you now, I live yet, so you must too.” She said softly, lowering her head to kiss his still pliant lips.

Freye and Ember were too far away to see the white light that lit up the sky, bathing everything in it’s brilliance and causing several people to fall to their knees, certain a miracle had just happened.

At the center of the sphere were two people locked in a lover’s embrace, their arms wound tightly around each other, the white light emanating from them, though they were oblivious to it.

They parted as the light started to fade, quickly dimming until it was gone.

‘Taker stared down at Fallon, tenderness etched clearly over his face. His brilliant green eyes shining fiercely with new life and resolve.

Fallon sobbed openly on his chest for a moment before straightening up and staring at him, her mouth a grim line. “They’ve gone for Kane and Tigress.”

“Then we should leave.”

“Kane, do you feel that?”

Kane looked down at Tigress, a frown visible under his hair. “The wind has died.”

“Not that, it feels like… everything is dead.” Tigress said, that being the best way she could describe what she was feeling. “Like nothing breathes anymore.”

Mideon came running, out of breath from the gate. “They’re coming!” He panted. “Two black figures from the east!”

Kane and Tigress ran out into the yard, staring up into the sky.

Sure enough Freye and Ember, hardly more than two dots, yet growing larger with each passing second, were on their way. Their cackling could be heard loud and clear though.

“Kane, we’re coming for you!”

“Damn!” Tigress cursed, quickly calling the four corners to her aid, begging in both English and the Old Tongue for their assistance.

Kane could only stand ready, hulking down in a pose that showed he clearly expected to be attacked from above. He barely noticed when Mideon and Viscera crossed into the protection circle that Tigress was casting, shiver as they stepped over the fine gold line.

Tigress slumped to the ground, her strength spent, now exhausted though the circle was complete. It would hold. For now.

“Kill them!” Freye screamed, swooping from the sky, concentrating all her hatred into jets of purple blasts, aiming at the four huddled in a pathetic little protection sphere.

Ember joined her sister eagerly, looking like an oversized bird of prey as she attacked.

“Tigress, unless you get up, we’re very likely to die.” Mideon urged, shaking her shoulders urgently.

Kane snarled, pushing the smaller man aside. “Leave her! She’s not the strength!”

Tigress raised her head weakly. “Fallon.” She whispered.

“What?” Kane lowered his head.

“Fallon. She comes.”

Kane looked around wildly, not seeing anyone besides their attackers. Groaning, he glanced back down at Tigress, half worried half relieved that she had passed out.

“Come out Kane, come out and play with your cousins!” Ember taunted, hovering just out of reach. “That weakling can’t protect you for much longer! You might as well face your destiny.”

Freye alighted on the other side of the orb, opposite her sister. “With every second that passes, she loses life, it’s her own life force sustaining that pathetic little shield you’re all hiding under. It’s draining her, you’re costing her life Kane.”

Startled, Kane took a second to study Tigress, noting how her skin was slowly growing white, her expression becoming tranquil, one he had seen before on those on the brink of crossing over.

“No!” He shouted, rage coursing through him in fiery hot bursts. “Not like this!”

Ember and Freye cackled gleefully when Kane stepped from the sphere, almost doubling over with laughter.

“Fool! You’ve sealed your doom as well as hers!” Freye pointed a long finger at him, condemning him.

The rage bubbled over, physical paining him as if someone had doused him in molten lava, finally venting through his palms, flames shooting from them uncontrollably.

Fire, Kane’s worst enemy and biggest fear. He cried out, panicking and stumbling over his own feet.

With this accident came a surprise victory. Ember was caught right in the middle of a torrent of flames.

A mixture of fear and surprise was the last thing anyone saw on her face before the walls of fire engulfed her, only her shrieks of agony could be heard.

Freye stared incredulously, finally turning her confused gaze onto Kane when he stood up, understanding that he was in no danger. “You…” Her words died off as she physically lunged at him, attempting to wrap her hands around his throat.

Surprised, Kane toppled backwards once more, fending off the attack.


Fallon surveyed the scene she and the Undertaker were rapidly approaching, her mouth forming an O of disbelief. “We’re too late.” She whispered, spotting her sister huddled on the ground, her only defense Viscera and Mideon.

“No, we can’t be.” ‘Taker said with none of his usual confidence. “We must be in time.”

They fell silent, landing not a yard away from Kane and Freye, Kane fending off Freye’s wild attacks.

“Tig!” Fallon cried, darting to her sister.

Freye glanced up, looking almost bestial in her rage, slobbering madly, her long fingernails buried deeply in Kane’s throat, blood welling up underneath them. “You!” She raged, eyes fastened on the Undertaker. “If not for your damn premonition, my sister would live yet!”

Fallon halted, frozen halfway between her sister and ‘Taker.

“Premonition?” Kane echoed weakly, staring at his brother, his head cocked at an odd angle.

‘Taker stared at Freye. “Yes, my vision. It’s Paul Bearer’s own fault that your sister lies dead, he knew anyone he brought into his war would die. Or did he not tell you that?”

Freye pushed herself off of Kane, stumbling back, her eyes darting wildly between ‘Taker, Kane and Fallon. “You lie.” She said calmly, her voice belying what her body was so clearly saying.

“Do I?”

“I must… see… Paul.” Freye murmured, turning her back on her enemies. She didn’t spare them a second glance before scooping her sister in her arms and taking flight, seeming unburdened with the dead weight.

Fallon darted to her own sister, crouching down. “Tig?”

Tigress’ eyes slowly opened. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Fallon smiled lovingly. “How are you feeling?”


“I don’t doubt it. Here…” Fallon gently rested her palm over Tigress’ heart, willing her own energy into her sister’s body. “How’s that?”

“A little better.” Tigress’ own natural color was slowing returning, a good sign. “Though I feel like I could sleep for days.”

“You probably will.” Fallon gestured for Viscera to come pick Tigress up. “Take her to her room.” She instructed, assuming authority since everyone else still seemed shock. “I’ll be up presently.”

Viscera nodded, gently scooping the already sleeping Tigress into his arms, cradling her gently.

Fallon surveyed the battle zone, taking in the scorched grass that was the only remnant of the spell Tigress had cast, a spell that damn near cost her life. She tugged on a curl, unsure what to do next. She didn’t want to interrupt the stare down between Kane and ‘Taker but at the same time, she didn’t trust them alone lest a fight break out.

“What was she talking about brother?” Kane demanded, his voice ragged.

‘Taker sighed, glancing away, staring off into the rapidly approaching dusk before saying in a monotone voice. “I had a vision that you would lead to Paul’s demise. Paul hastened it by thinking if he struck you first, before your own power manifested, he would have defeated my prophecy. He also involved your cousins, knowing they would fall, as I predicted.”

“This is all over a dream you had?”

“No dream Kane.” ‘Taker smiled sardonically. “This was a vision.”

“How did Tigress and I become a part of all this then?” Fallon asked quietly.

He now faced her. “That was Kane entirely. He had his own vision once this all started, regarding you both as his ‘angels’, women who would aid him with their kindness.” Now he regarded his brother thoughtfully. “It seems that Tigress was instrumental in Kane discovering his powers, am I right brother?”

Kane breathed heavily, replaying what had happened in his mind before nodding.

“Love.” Fallon mused aloud, oblivious to the stares now directed at her. “The most powerful magick of them all.”

Paul Bearer was waiting anxiously in the hallway when the door was thrown open. He barely had time to jump back as Ember’s body was hurled at him, his mouth falling open.

“Is this your doing Uncle?” Freye asked in a deadly voice, stepping over the threshold.

“What do you mean?” He asked calmly, mind racing to comprehend what had happened.

“My sister lies before you dead, killed by your own son. Your protégé, the Undertaker, claims you knew we would all fall. Is that true?”

Everything fell into place then.

“Of course not Freye!” Paul exclaimed, looking aghast. Somehow he managed to drop to one knee, gently brushing Ember’s hair out of her face, reviled by the coldness of her flesh. “If I’d of known this would happen…” He buried his face in his hands, the perfect picture of grief.

Somewhere, deep inside, where the last vestiges of sanity still resided, Freye knew he was lying. But her pain and loss were so great that she didn’t care. In her shattered mind, Kane had murdered her sister. She didn’t see it as causalities of war but cold-blooded murder.

They would all pay.

“What next?” Fallon asked, later that night as the trio sat around the kitchen table, strong drinks in front of them.

‘Taker studied her, marveling at how gracefully she had accepted that she and her sister had been drawn into this war merely on chance, on a whim. “It is my opinion that we attack now, while Paul and Freye are relatively weak. You both seen the woman, she’s mad. She’ll want revenge for this, Paul will use it to his advantage, goading her madness. If it were to go unchecked, who knows what damage she could unleash.”

Kane refilled his glass with brandy, pushing away from the table. “I’m checking on Tigress then going to bed.” He announced tiredly. “You two decide.”

Fallon turned puzzled eyes onto ‘Taker. “He doesn’t care?”

“He knows nothing of warfare.” ‘Taker corrected gently, refilling their own glasses. “Kane trusts us with his life, he doesn’t feel he can save himself.”

“You don’t agree.” She tilted her head, making it more a statement than a question.

“Kane will kill both Paul and his niece, it is his destiny.”

“It’s his destiny to kill his father and cousin?”

“If he doesn’t want to be killed himself it is.”

Tigress surveyed the grim faces before her, feeling weak and useless. “I wish I could go with you.” She offered apologetically.

Fallon hugged her sister. “The best thing for you to do is wait here for us and regain your strength.”

“I know, I just wish I could do more.”

“You’ve done plenty.”

‘Taker eyed the coming sun. “We should go. They’ll be at their weakest during the day, we’d do well to avoid a conflict after sunset.”

Kane eased his mask into place, surprised that instead of feeling safe behind it, he felt suffocated.

Tigress stood on her tiptoes, reaching up to remove it. “You don’t need this any longer Kane.” She whispered, her white shawl falling off her shoulders.

He nodded, staring down at her, a feeling he had come to associate with her flowing through him, filling him with strength.

Fallon turned from her sister, unable to see the pain in Tigress’ eyes. She almost sighed with relief when ‘Taker announced it was time to leave.

“Fly swift, fight strong and fie home.” Tigress whispered.

“Keep her safe.” ‘Taker instructed his minions gravely.

Mideon and Viscera nodded, shamed by their performance yesterday.

Kane gasped as he was raised into the air.

Fallon noted the strained look on ‘Taker’s face and concentrated her own energy to meld with his, hoping he didn’t notice, knowing he was a proud man.

‘Taker frowned before sparing a glance at her, his eyes knowing before raising them off the porch.

Fallon glanced back at her sister, feeling a twinge of pain when she seen Tigress’ shoulders shaking violently.

Paul studied Freye, observing the rigid way she held herself as she prepared her sister’s body for burial. Though he made great pretense, it didn’t phase him to see his niece dead. He glanced towards the stairs when he heard a chime ringing throughout the house, intruder alarms. “They’re here.”

Freye reached for her scythe, her lips peeled back over her teeth, giving her an inhuman look. “Good.”


“This is it.”

Fallon and Kane stared at the giant, desolate looking house that crowned the end of a narrow street. There were no houses around it, just barren looking plots.

“How could anyone live here?” Fallon muttered, pulling her silk shawl around herself tighter. “This place is so… dead.”

Kane shuddered violently, tearing his eyes from the house, focusing on the small woman beside him. He awkwardly placed a clumsy hand on her shoulder, unsure how to reassure her. How different she was from her sister. Tigress made him feel at ease though she was the seemingly reserved one. Fallon reminded him of the Undertaker though he knew that was the power that emanated from her and the knowledge that she was more than capable of handling her power.

Fallon managed a semblance of a smile for him. “Don’t worry Kane, this will all be over soon.”

“Let’s go.” ‘Taker said finally, leading the way through the debris that littered the street, carefully picking his way towards the house, always alert for traps.

They had just stepped onto the porch steps when the door swung open, revealing a dim hallway, lit only by a few candles that sputtered in the breeze, struggling to maintain their life.

Fallon had paled immensely, feeling severely nauseated by the dark magick that this house seemed to define and then amplify tenfold. “I don’t know if I can be of help here.” She whispered.

“There must always be a light in the dark, no matter what.” ‘Taker replied calmly.

“That’s not very helpful.”

“Where are we going?” Kane finally asked, in a hushed voice.

‘Taker held up a finger, gesturing for silence. He tilted his head, stepping into the foyer, staring at a door. “There.”

“What’s that?”

“The basement.”

That simple sentence somehow seemed dark and menacing, sending tingles down both Kane and Fallon’s spines.

The second ‘Taker’s gloved hand had touched the doorknob, a green light surrounded them, wind blowing from the floor, and a shrill wail through their ears. “Yes, down here!” He shouted over the gale.

Fallon had to cling to Kane just so she wouldn’t be blown to the ceiling, allowing him to carry her through the door, only setting her down on the steps once he was sure they were out of harms way.

“Well Ember, look who has come to pay their respects.”

Freye’s voice wafted to them, along with vile fumes and wisps of purple smoke.

Once on the floor, the three could see Freye and Paul standing behind a table, laid out on it was Ember body, dressed in what appeared to be her best clothes. Paul was clothed in his normal black and held a book in one hand. Freye was in the same clothes they had seen her in last with one new accessory, a scythe.

“Dear cousin, come to say goodbye to our Ember?” Freye asked, her tone suggesting they were intimate friends. “And how delightful of you to bring your brother and his harlot.”

Fallon didn’t take offense, more interested in the madness shining from Freye’s eyes.

“It’s over Paul.” ‘Taker said firmly. “My vision has come to pass and you shall die this day.”

“Not yet ‘Taker!” Paul wagged a fat finger infuriatingly. “The dice have yet to be tossed my boy!” His many chins wobbled as he turned his head to Kane. “To think, this could have been prevented long ago if only I’d of known. I’d have made sure you were in that house with your mother.”

Kane balled his hands into fists.

“Oh but you still don’t know about that do you?” Paul tittered, raising a hand to his mouth. “All these years Kane, you thought you then ’Taker were the one to kill your mother. I was. I was the one who set fire to that whorehouse. You and ‘Taker should be thanking me for the service I did you when I murdered that slut!”

‘Taker’s own eyes now gleamed with cold satisfaction. “With that information revealed Paul, you have set my prophecy into motion.”

Paul’s mouth went slack, eyes bulged as if in slow motion Kane charged him, murderous intent all over his face.

‘Taker and Fallon sprung into action as Freye swung the scythe back, prepared to strike Kane. They didn’t bother with magick, instead going straight for physical damage.

Fallon barely ducked a blow that would remove her head, thrusting her shoulder into Freye’s abdomen full force.

Freye grunted, falling back but not losing her grip on her weapon of choice.

‘Taker jerked Fallon away as Freye tried to dismember her again. He shoved her behind him, jumping back but not managing to avoid the sickle, a slice appearing on his chest, bleeding through his black shirt.

“The Undertaker bleeds red like all the rest of us!” Freye crowed triumphantly, running the blade over her tongue, lapping his blood like a cat.

‘Taker ignored the wound, pressing on and taking advantage of Freye’s lapse to push her back into a wall.

Freye shrieked as the scythe bit into her own neck, reaching up to feel the blood trickling now from her own flesh. “You’ll pay for that.” She promised darkly.

Fallon glanced around the basement, quickly gathering that this was a torture chamber. She nearly backed into a pool of black tar, carefully stepping away from it, making a mental note to its location.

Kane wasn’t faring much better with Paul Bearer. Each time he got close to his father, Paul would use magick to escape, disappearing in a flash only to appear behind Kane, taunting him.

Finally the rage started building up in Kane once more. He could feel his palms warming up and wasn’t surprised to find smoke rising from them.

Paul apparently noticed the change in his son and backed away, raising his hands in a protective gesture as if it would save him. “Now Kane,” He began. “Please, let’s talk about this huh?”

Kane concentrated, watching as flames slowly started to shoot up, growing higher and higher until they licked the ceiling.

Action ceased throughout the basement, all eyes on him.

“K-Kane?” Paul whimpered, now pressed against a wall, all thoughts of magick fleeing his mind as the realization that he was about to die set in.

“Goodbye father.” Kane said bitterly, unleashing a torrent of flames upon the blubbering man.

Freye stood wide-eyed and watched as Paul writhed underneath the fire, screaming in agony as he was burnt alive. Finally she raised the scythe and rushed towards the Kane. “Murderer!” She howled.

Fallon and ‘Taker moved to protect Kane.

Needlessly as it happened. Freye stumbled in her haste, pitching herself head over heels into her own tar pit, knocking the table that held Ember’s corpse on it down in the process. Freye sputtered above the tar, spitting it out of her mouth, managing to open her eyes through sheer force of will, only to see her sister sinking into the black mire. “Ember!” She howled, grabbing the cadaver and sinking with it, sobbing loudly.

Kane, taking pity on his mad cousin, did the only thing he could for her. He directed one hand at the pit, casting fire onto the tar, watching as it burned brightly.

“All right, they’re all dead Kane, we need to leave before we join them.” Fallon said, trying not to throw up, the scent of burning bodies and death was so strong.

Kane nodded, dousing the fire, suddenly feeling drained. He didn’t spare a second glance as he followed his brother and Fallon up the stairs. The fire spread quickly, barely giving them time to exit the house before it collapsed.

‘Taker pulled Fallon into his arms, soothing her trembling body. “It’s over.” He whispered into her ear.

“Three people died…”

“By Paul’s own hand. He knew what would come to pass.”

Kane felt no regrets, only sadness. “Let’s go home.” He said quietly, filled with a sudden yearning to see Tigress.

‘Taker nodded, sharing a look with his brother that said, ‘I understand.’


“Thank the stars you’re all safe!” Tigress cried, running from the house when she seen the three walking up the drive. “I’ve been so worried!”

Viscera and Mideon weren’t far behind, relief that their master had returned etched on both their faces.

He nodded to them. “You’re both free to go wherever you wish.”

“Boss?” Viscera raised a blond eyebrow.

“Go home, go somewhere, surely you’ve got places you’d rather be than here?”

Mideon scratched his chin thoughtfully. “Well… I’ve been wanting to go see the old farm…”

Viscera nodded slowly. “I haven’t seen my brother in a few years.” He said slowly.

“Then it’s settled, you’re both discharged, and my Ministry is officially disbanded.”

Mideon and Viscera both seemed surprised but didn’t question it. Instead Viscera turned and plodded back to the house to get his things. Mideon stood there, staring at ‘Taker wonderingly.

Finally he said, “You know something, I’ve known you a lot of years and during all that time, you’ve never seemed at rest. You do now.” He held out his hand. “It’s been an honor serving you.”

‘Taker accepted the other man’s hand, for the first time treating him as an equal.

Mideon inclined his head to the others before joining Viscera.

Kane and Tigress watched, slightly amused, as Fallon and ‘Taker drifted away also, seemingly lost in their own world.

Tigress cleared her throat, drawing Kane’s attention back to her. “How are you?” She asked softly.

He shrugged. “Fine I suppose.”

She smiled, shaking her head. “You suppose?”

“It didn’t have to end this way. For Paul.”

“One thing I’ve learned, is that we make our own destiny to a certain extent. Paul’s was already laid down for him, how he went about getting there was his own choice. He couldn’t escape his fate Kane, and neither could you.”

Kane sighed, turning his head away. “He was my father.”

Tigress gently laid her hands on his chest. “He relinquished those rights when he attacked you Kane. No father sets out to destroy his son, it’s not natural.”

“None of this is natural.”

“What do you mean?’

“This.” Kane gestured around them. “All this magick stuff and…”

Tigress placed a finger against his lips. “Kane, magick is one of the most natural things you will ever find.”

“What else?” He whispered, staring down at her.

“This.” Tigress gently grabbed his head and pulled him down so his lips met hers.

“What now?” Fallon asked after she and ‘Taker had walked around the grounds for the better part of an hour. “Tig and I go home, you and Kane return you whatever it is you do?”

“We’re wrestlers.” He replied absentmindedly.

“Yes, well, whatever.” Fallon said impatiently.

“We need to talk.”

“I know. ‘Taker…”

He held up a hand to stop her. “First off, call me by my given name. Mark.”

“Mark?” Fallon actually giggled. “That might take some getting used too.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Well Mark, what are we going to do?”

“About what?” His tone was serious though the twinkle in his eyes said otherwise.

“About us and our… side issue.”

“I’m thinking that there is a shade of gray.”

“Oh?” Fallon smiled coyly as he enfolded her in his arms. “No white or black? Just gray?”

“Possibly as a go between.” He grew serious. “Understand, I’ll never ever completely walk the Light, I’ll always be between the two.”

“I know.” Fallon replied, looking serious. “But as long as we don’t do anything to harm the other by way of our beliefs…”

“We’ll be fine.”

“Think Kane and Tigress will be all right?”

Mark glanced over at the pair. “I have a feeling they will be.”


Kane looked up from his sketch, smiling when Tigress set a mug down beside him. “Thank you.”

“What’re you drawing?” Tigress perched herself nearby on the couch arm.

He turned the easel towards her.

In pencil he was drawing a picture of Fallon and Mark only they appeared as Shemaine and Stephen, standing on a cliff, staring down into a valley.

“Miss them?”

“Yes, think they’re doing okay?”

“Of course, they’re happy.” Tigress smiled, ruffling his hair fondly. “Don’t worry so much Kane, we’ll see them again.”

Kane watched as she disappeared into the kitchen, humming as she cleared the dinner table. Smiling to himself, he returned to his drawing.

“Mmm…” Fallon rolled onto her back, folding her arms behind her head, watching as a pair of swans took flight. “Smell that?”

“Lilacs.” Mark propped himself up on an elbow. “So what shall we do today?”

She smiled, reaching out to toy with a lock of his unruly hair. “Laze about sounds good.”

He leaned down, kissing her lightly. “Wonderful.”

“Can I ask you a question?”

“You know you can.”

“Remember the last time we were here?”

“Yes.” He smiled at the memory.

“No, I don’t mean here, I meant in this reality.”


“When we left it,” Fallon hesitated, raising a hand to stroke his bare chest. “You had to… well you know, go through Heaven. Why were you so afraid of it?”

Mark was silent for a few moments.

“Never mind.”

“It’s not that I’m afraid of Heaven, Fallon.” He said quietly, staring off into nothing. “I was afraid of where my soul would end up, that no matter what, I would never be good enough for Zion.”


“My soul will follow yours wherever you wind up, be it Heaven or Hell or something else.”

She smiled up at him, content to bask in the love that radiated from his eyes.

They sat up, snuggling together, looking down into their valley, at their cottage and the freshly planted garden. Life was good.