“You remember how the stars have aligned themselves for you and the Sun gentry, right Ravyn?" Mam glanced at me from the mirror as she combed through my tangled black hair. I couldn't meet her eyes; the hollowness in them would surely falter the energetic smile etched onto her face. Instead, I simply nodded, my head bowed down. It was better to say nothing; it's not like my arguments and protests altered their views even slightly. 

Mam put down the jeweled hand brush onto the vanity table, and stroked my hair gently. A sigh escaped her lips as she reminisced, "Oh, Ravyn, you were only twelve when they assigned you your match. You've grown up so much since then." She spun me around and cupped my cheek. "Would you just look at me, darling?" 

I dug my nails into the skin of my palm, feeling drops of silver blood spurting out from it. Can't she tell I don't want this marriage? This alliance? Why is marrying off your daughters to the other world the only way to secure peace between the Suns and the Moons? I shivered silently, but slowly lifted my head to see her unearthly pink irises. I bit my lip, holding back the flood flow of retorts; my impulsiveness never got me anywhere good, anyway. Mam's face was tender as she whispered, "I know this is all so scary, honey, but Dominic is a really good match for you. After all, the stars are never wrong. The Celestial world is going to be a whole lot different from the Lunar world, of course, but I can promise you, Ravyn, you are going to love it." 

I nodded, my face a still mask. I have never seen the so-called Sun gentry Dominic, but I will today at the Borders. The thought of going to the borders sent tingles of soft hums down my spine. The Borders aren't just an ordinary division between the Suns and the Moons, but, instead, it also held the darkest secret both worlds tried to hide: Red bloods, descendants of Humans. They lived on the strip of land, trapped between day and night, where the sun is just below the horizon and the moon just above. It was The Twilight. Like everything else in our worlds, they're still a mystery no one dares to solve. 

The rest of Mam's words were drowned out by the white noise pounding inside my head. I was dimly aware of Mam striding off to the closet. Flashes of images flooded my vision, and I jerked out of my chair, staggering to the wall beside my bed. Hastily I placed my fingertips onto the jagged moon crystals of the wall, and a tiny slit divided it. I peered into it, and a rush of relief spread through me when I saw that it was still there, safe and sound. 

"Ravyn!" Mam yelled through the closet. I quickly concealed the wall, and yelled back, "Coming!" I stumbled, but Mam's hands held me in place before I tripped clumsily over all the clothes that laid before us.

I sucked in a breath as Mam clapped her hands together excitedly. "Wonderful, isn't it!" She exclaimed. "You can choose whichever you like for your engagement." 

I took a shaky breath and let out a nervous laugh. "Oh, Mam, you didn't have to-" 

"Nonsense," she quipped in, shaking her head. 

"You've got to make a good impression on Dominic-" 

"Does it even matter? He's stuck with me either way," The words tumbled out my mouth before I could stop them, and I winced internally. Any back talk against the Alliance was a sore topic for my parents, but it was a topic that tempts me way too much to not argue against it. Don't trouble them now! Not after what you're going to do

I expected her to go still the way she usually does when I retort about the Alliance, but to my surprise, she laughed. "As true as that is, darling, you still have a tendency to intimidate others. You always keep to yourself, and only talk when you disagree with something. I'm afraid that when you really start talking, you're just going to end up leaving the place behind in tatters and shreds. The trouble with you, Ravyn, is you make enemies, not friends." 

It was me who went still this time, my body tense and fingers frozen above the silk material of a yellow gown. Normally I wouldn't have cared about what she said about me, but for some reason, her words ripped right through me and cut my skin open like a million little paper cuts. You're just going to end up leaving the place behind in tatters and shreds. Bile rose up in my throat. Mam started speaking again, her voice quivering slightly. 

"Dominic will be part of your life forever, and I just don't want him to get the wrong impression of you, honey," she glanced up at me, and I noticed how her stiff demeanor changed quickly. Her body was no longer taught with still muscles, but rather held a terrifying intensity within it. She bore her eyes at me. "Ravyn, you can not- you must not- mention anything about The Twilight to him." 

I scrunched my eyebrows together. "But, why not?" 

Mam sighed with a hint of frustration.

"Because Ravyn, you have an...odd interest in those creatures, and it will not be tolerated by outsiders," 

"If I have to be with him for the rest of my life, then he'll have to tolerate-" 

"Ravyn!" Mam closed the space between us, and took my hands in hers. "Honey, I don't want us to argue, especially not now, but a lot of the Lunars know about your...curiosity in the history-" 

"What's so bad about that?" 

Her eyes darkened. "There's much you shouldn't-wouldn't want to- know about our history, Ravyn," 


The crimson-red gown fit perfectly, and in spite of myself, a smile tugged at my lips. I was finally alone in this long, exhausting day. Mam was in her own bedroom, probably chatting away with Pap, and I was here, in my ravenous purple bedroom, watching myself from the tall mirror. The crimson gown was laced with golden lining, and the sleeves fell below my golden-bronze shoulders, leaving them bare. My hair cascaded down like spilled ink, and after a few careful braids, I pinned the top of my hair up into a crown. There, I thought to myself, that's better. I dabbed a bit of moon dust onto the corners of my amethyst eyes and started forward to the crystal wall. 

The wall opened with a touch of my fingers, and I slipped the artifact into my purse. It was not my intention at all to enter the other world with a smile, a nice gown, and welcoming hands. Those just simply happened to be the side effects. 


"On what occasion are you crossing?" Knox, the overly obnoxious vampire, drawled at us. Mam, Pap, and I were standing at the outskirts of the Borders with our passports at hand, waiting to get into the tower. The tower is a building that leads the way into the entrance for the other world. The East Wing leads to the Celestial world, the South Wing leads to the Lunar World, and the West Wing, which is also the forbidden Wing, leads to The Twilight. The North Wing is for all the staff members working at the tower. Crossing borders is a tedious thing: there's so much waiting, so many questions, and just entering the tower is a tiresome bustle. I would have been exhausted to the bone by now, but surprisingly, I'm bouncing on my toes and my whole was body tingling with excitement. In fact, I almost forgot that I was crossing borders for the Alliance until Knox so kindly decided to snoop. "Meeting relatives, perhaps?" 

I rolled my eyes, and threw him a pointed look. "No, Knox. I'm crossing the borders to secretly kidnap a wandering kelpie, stuff them in a satchel, and then sneak it across to the Lunar, and I'm going to be doing all this while wearing a glamorous, eye-catching red gown. So, what do you say, Knox? Do you want in on the scandal?" 

Knox ignored me. "An Engagement for your Alliance, Lady Ravyn? This soon?" 

Before I could snap back at him, Pap stepped in between us. He was a head taller than Knox, who was already squirming under the hard glare of my father. "I think we'll take these back," he snarled, and snatched the passports back from his hands and stormed into the tower. 

The atmosphere inside the tower was a great deal different than that of the Lunar world. In the Lunar world, it's always night and starry with the moon perched up high. Windows were all around the tower, and if you even as slightly as peeked into the East Wing, rays of the golden sun will glint off the marbled floor. We were standing in the main hall surrounded by Lunars, Celestials, werewolves, thieving little goblins, and drunken faeries. In the center was a pool with dancing mermaids who were entertaining on-goers. The food stalls were packed, but only one with a wicked sense would dare go to the stall of a Faerie's: They are a deceiving lot. 

Currently, the East Wing was packed and a pretty changeling was ushering people away and yelling for them to wait in the main hall. Mam sighed, and muttered to Pap, "Do you think they'll let us in? We are Gentries after all." 

Pap shook his head. "They're sending the other Gentries away too, Blaise. Let's go find a seat," 

Pap and Mam walked away briskly to the lounge area, and I followed them hastily. It's no surprise that I stuck out like a sore thumb. It's not like I was the only one wearing a gown, getting ready for the Alliance, but I was the only girl who was significantly younger than the rest. Typically, one gets engaged after they get their occupation and turn twenty two, but the rumors have escalated quite quickly, and Mam and Pap thought it would be best to get me engaged as quickly as possible. There was an underlying reason they refuse to admit, but that is not my concern at the moment. 

"Pap," I stood near my parents as they treated themselves to a Jaw Drop. "May I head to the restroom?"

Pap nodded absently, and I weaved through the crowd, my eyes transfixed on the West Wing, the entrance to The Twilight. My heart beat sped up, and I clutched my purse tighter, feeling the familiar weight of the artifact. As I got closer to the flight of stairs that led to the West Wing, a whirlwind of thoughts crashed into my mind. What am I thinking? I can't go in there now! But I need to know...I need to know. I need to see him one last time. 


I ran into the restroom of the West Wing, ignoring the stares coming from the security. They are wasting their time guarding that entrance. The real entrance was in this very restroom, located behind the walls of the showers. I stumbled my way to it, my heart lodged in my throat, and pressed my hand against the wall and it opened soundlessly. 

A tunnel lay in front of me, and I stepped into it. I knew the way around the place like the back of my hand, and I started running through it. A shadow, as familiar as my own, was standing at the exit of the tunnel, and I raced towards it, throwing my arms around its neck. My face broke into a smile. 

"Darien," I breathed out. His arms went around me, instantly, and his lips brushed against my neck. My breath caught in my throat. 

"What are you doing here, Ravyn?" I pulled away from him, an inch of space dividing us. His amber eyes gazed down the length of my body, and they widened at the sight of my gown. "And why are you wearing-" 

Suddenly, he let go of me taking the warmth with him. I knew it was dawning on him, the reality of it all. I bit my lip, drawing blood. He knows that I don't want the Alliance, right?

"Oh," was all he said as he backed away from me further. I inched closer to him, worry gnawing at my veins. "The Alliance- right, I should've known. Wh-who is it?" 

I shook my head. "It doesn't matter. I got the artifact,"

"The book?" His voice was crisp as the air. "The Dark Volume?" 

I nodded eagerly, my eyes lighting up. Darien, as always, was running a long list of things that could go wrong, and I smiled endearingly at the familiarity of it. He gazed at me warily, and I felt my smile falter. He brought me in closer and I wondered if he could smell the moon dust on me. "I told you, you didn't have to, Ravyn," 

"But I wanted to," I protested. It was an old argument we had a long time ago, and though Darien was wary about the idea, it was our only hope. 

"I know, I know, Vyn," his eyes looked tired, and I noticed, for the first time, the dark shadows beneath his eyes. I gripped the soft fabric of his shirt tighter, worried and dazed. "It's forbidden-" 

"We're forbidden, Darien." 

It was almost like it hurt him to look at me, and he turned away, his eyes shut, his breath ragged. "Darien?" I touched his face gingerly. He was so ethereal looking that sometimes, I forget how fragile he can be. He turned his face into my palm, and my heart quenched.

"The Dark Volume is the only way we can communicate-" 

"And we did, didn't we? And though we could write to each other all the time, it was...it was dangerous, Ravyn. There's a reason it's forbidden. I told you to put it back. We are not using it again." 

I gazed at him sadly. Didn't he feel the way I did? Didn't not writing to each other almost every day rip him apart like it did to me?  I swallowed, hard and pulled my hand away from him. "I can't go a minute without think about you, Darien. It feels like I'm breathing in a vacuum, deprived of air, every single moment I'm without you. If I can't be with you, then at least, I want to be able to write to you." 

Darien pulled away from me quickly, and the absence of him felt like cold wind rushing at me right after I step out from the warm water. His chest was heaving, and he wouldn't meet my eyes. His hands were curling and uncurling, every part of his body rigid and stiff. I wanted to hold him, tell him it's going to be okay, but I can see from the way he held himself, cautious and distant from me, that he didn't want me near him. I flinched at the thought. His voice was choked and feverish as he said, "The feelings- they are not- it's not-" he was stumbling away from me and I called out to him, afraid. He leaned his head against the wall of the tunnel opposite of me, and every part of my body was screaming at me to lean against him, to hold him until his breathing became even, but I held myself back, clutching at my arms. He didn't want me near him.

Finally, after what felt like forever, he whispered hoarsely, "They are not real. The feelings. The wanting, the longing...it's because of what I am. It's because- because I'm Impure."

"Darien!" He still wouldn't look at me, and I could feel my anger rising to the surface. "Don't say that. You are not Impure. What flows in your blood doesn't define who you are! I know you, Darien, and you are anything but them." 

His eyes fluttered open, but he still looked pained, the colors of his eyes fading and glitching. We looked at each other for a long moment with unspoken words suspended in the air between us. I could hear my blood pounding in my ears and every breath inhaled burnt like acid. Darien is usually closed off and reserved, but with me, he always seemed to smile more, laugh more, and talk more. Why is he making this so hard for us now? 

I waited for him to say something, anything, but all he did was look as if he wasn't sure whether to punch the wall or himself. When I realized he wasn't going to say anything anymore, I turned around slowly, tired to the bone. 

His eyes followed me as I staggered away. Tell me to stop. You know I'll stop right now if you ask me to. I want to stop walking away from you. 

"I'm sorry, Ravyn," his voice was small next to the roar inside my head. I paused in my tracks, my heart thumping wildly in my chest. "That guy- he's really lucky. It's...better for you to be with him, Vyn." 

My nails dug into my skin, imprinting deep, silver crescents. I hated that I was crying, and I hated even more that he was right. It would be a million times better and safer to be with Dominic, and yet I doubt the sound of his voice or the touch of his skin would set my veins with crackling energy. My words were lodged into my throat, unable to come out, and without another glance I stumbled away from him. 



Twilighters ensnare beings like us, and I fell into Darien’s trap.

It's better for you to be with him, Vyn.

Pap knocked at the sun bathed door of Dominic's house. 

May 22, 2020 23:05

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