I don't really know why I'm bothering. But this was an idea I just couldn't get out of my head. I'm going to see where this goes. *** Prologue Running. That's all she could think about, was running. All she wanted, needed to do, was run. She zigzagged across the ground beneath her feet, never tripping, stumbling, or looking back for a moment. She needed to survive, to hide from the people that were chasing her. Black hair flowed out behind her as she ran, the air passing through it like it was fluid, or even air itself. She seemed to glide gracefully as she ran, like an animal trying to avoid its predator. That's what she felt like; like the prey of these people, who only wanted her because of what she could do, the powers that she possessed. The sun beat down on her ghostly pale skin, as if this was the first time that she had gone out into the open, and still she ran, never breaking a sweat. This seemed strange for someone who looked like her, and the fact that she was wearing all black didn't help this fact. Her clothes were tattered and worn with age, dirty with all the years that they had been on her skin, and yet she was exceedingly clean otherwise, like her skin was made of water or air itself, except that it was solid, and very real. At last it seemed as if she had found salvation. In front of her seemed to be a large rock face, the bottom of a cliff. Her cold, ice-blue eyes saw something else, a large cave, as if the whole thing was an illusion to keep out intruders. She glanced back, to see the small shadows of the people chasing her trying desperately to catch up, and she ran forward again, closing her eyes as if expecting the impact, think that it might be a hallucination. Yet nothing happened. She phased right through, into the cave that had appeared before her very eyes, and her curious nature got the best of her. She looked back, seeing that the shadows had caught up, that they were looking in bewildered and confused, or rather at the rock face with the same emotions. They could not see what she saw, and they could not come in like she could. She was safe from them, at least for now. She turned away and stepped further into the cave, walking slowly and cautiously, as if she was expecting something to just jump out at her, remembering that this cave had been hidden by something in the first place. She followed the twists and turns of the cave, trusting her instincts, feeling her way throughout the darkness until at the end of one tunnel, she could see a faint light, seemingly made of different colors of light in different places. She walked down towards the light, and her cold eyes gazed on in wonder and amazement, even though any emotion at all didn't seem to fit her face quite right. There were several pieces of small bones strewn across the cave floor, as if small animals had died here, but that wasn't the main attraction. A large nest of small branches laid in front of her with several different coloured eggs, each a different size than the other, each giving off its own color of glow, and some of which had swirling, dancing patterns, as if the shells themselves were alive. She felt drawn to them, and started to move closer, but then she heard a monstrous growl coming from the darkness that loomed behind the eggs. She stopped to look up, and out from the darkness came a dark green, beastly, scaly face, glowering at her with red orbs for eyes and slits for pupils. Deadly looking horns grew from its face, one from its nose, and several more atop its head; and the rest of the face looked jagged, almost poisonous in quality, like some of the sharp teeth that slipped out of its mouth as it continued to snarl at her. She felt a sudden pressure on her mind, as if there was something else in there, searching for something. She soon realised it was the creature before her, searching for answers as to who she was, why she had come here, and how she had seen the cave beneath the glamour so keenly set. The beast seemed to get its answers, it calmed significantly, but still looked on warily, and when a deep, male voice came into her head, she knew it could only be the beast. "So you are running from them because they know you are a being somewhat like me. One that should only be made of myth according to the way that they see things. They want to test you, to see what sorts of things you can do. You want no part of it." The beast thought this all out matter-of-factly towards her, and she nodded, confirming his statements, and soon finding the courage to speak herself, her voice smooth and dark, like liquid velvet rolling off her tongue. "What are you? What are they? Will you let me stay?" She said all of this with hope and need in her voice. She would do anything to escape her captors, anything to be safe. If this beast agreed to her request then he would be her saviour, and she would owe him everything. It seemed to understand all of this, as he was still reading into her mind at the time, and replied in kind. "I am a dragon, perhaps the last of my kind. These are the remaining eggs of my sisters and friends, and they will soon die if they do not gain the love of the mother they were meant for. As for if I will let you stay..." The dragon mulled it over in his head; she could feel it, "... I will grant your wish." She was overjoyed, and wished for nothing but to throw her arms around the dragons neck, if it hadn't been for the â€˜but' that lingered in the air, in her mind, and her attention turned back towards the dragon, asking what he wanted from her. He gave a great heave and spread his wings in a welcoming manner towards the nest at his feet, revealing the eggs at his feet. "Time is short for me and for you as well. I will die soon, but I do not want to do it without knowing that there will be a chance that they will live. I am aware of what you can do, so I ask you this." It looked very pained, and she could feel the distress as the pride within the beast withered at having to ask this of something that was not of his kind. It heaved once more, as if sighing, and then spoke again. "For every life that you have to take from someone, that you give to one of these children, will be a year that you will be safe. There is only enough time for you to give life to ten of them as you can only use that power once a week. Some of these eggs will die, so I ask that you choose wisely." *** It had already been ten years, and she was mourning her loss as the day came that she knew she was finally going to die. Her children would live on, probably miserably as they would be brought into captivity by the monsters that were still looking for her. But she also knew that they would keep them alive as long as possible, and that was the only wish that the dragon had imparted upon her. To keep the children alive. She had chosen ten eggs, and ten remained, some already having cracks in them. At the center of each egg now seemed to be a gem, each one of different shape and different color. The woman, now barely covered by her rags, finally revealed her neck to the world, showing that at the core of her being, there laid a gem too. It was the cold blue color of her eyes, and it shone faintly, as if it knew what was coming as well as she did. They were coming, and she had to act fast. She went to the bones of the long dead dragon behind her, shedding tears for the loss of her saviour one last time, as he would be saving her life again within this moment, and soon he would know it. Soon she would be joining him, wherever he was in the afterlife, and this is what she thought about as she tore a claw bone from the remnants of his hand and stabbed it into the gem, into the core of her being. When they came for her, they took nothing but the eggs, seeing how she had kept them alive with what they liked to call her Soul Gems. The only things left in the cave were the bones of the dragons, the broken rotted shells of the eggs that had not hatched. But most importantly, they left behind the shattered gem on the ground, of which the shards spelled a name that the children would never forget. Nerezza.