Ayden was born first, and her father left soon after that. Her mother, Maria, knew why. He had a dark past and was worried that it would find him and put his family in danger…at least that was what he said. He had been laying low for several years, but with a new child in such a small village, it would have been hard for him to avoid the celebrations that would take place. Maria understood, and yet she didn’t. She still felt that they would be able to handle it all, but she didn’t have a chance to tell him because he left so suddenly. From that day on she never mentioned him. Around a year later she met Rurik, who would be the father of Sofia. Sofia and Ayden are about a year apart. Everything from that point on was good. Rurik was the head of a big business chain which brought in a steady income. That meant Maria could now say home and play her beloved piano for her children and take care of them. Ayden and Sofia got along very well, neither of them knew that they were only half sisters, and Rurik treated them both equally. They went to school like normal, and all was well. Then when they were 13 and 14 respectively, a mysterious gift arrived for each of them from Ayden’s father. Maria got a hold of it before either of the girls knew about it. She was sure that he meant well, but she wasn’t ready to explain anything about Ayden’s father. She put the box up in her closet. Ayden saw her, though, as she was watching from the stairs. She and Sofia snuck into Maria’s room and took the box. Ayden still had some hope that her father was trying to reach out to them. Though Maria never said a word, Ayden knew that Rurik was not her father. They looked nothing alike; at least, she didn’t see the same resemblances as she did between him and Sofia. There was no evidence in the house that would give her any clue as to who her father was. Maria never mentioned him, so Ayden was afraid to say anything. She only hoped that she could learn just a little something about him from the gift. She unwrapped the package, noticing that there was no return address. Ayden wondered how he knew about Sofia, given that he left before she was even born. She decided to think about it later though because she couldn’t wait to see what was in the box. She opened the box and found two smaller boxes. They were made of deeply stained wood and adorned with intricately crafted designs. She opened the two boxes. Each one contained a beautifully cut stone. There was a yellow one on a necklace, and an emerald green one on a bracelet. Ayden was immediately drawn to the yellow one, and Sofia had already picked up the green one. Ayden placed the stone in her left palm and gazed at it lovingly, amazed by its beauty. Sofia gently put on the bracelet and let the sunlight reflect throughout the faceted gem. There was also a note inside the box, but the two girls did not see it, as they were distracted by the two magnificent stones.
Then, something strange began to happen. Ayden’s stone began to glow mysteriously; she could only stare as she watched it embedded itself into her palm. She began to panic. She touched the stone and it shot out a massive burst of light. Maria ran into the room, finding Ayden lying on the floor in pain. The little bit of paper in the box disintegrated, as if it was never there at all. It had read “Ayden and Sofia, to each of you I have sent a small souvenir for you from where I am. Please take great care, and do not hold them for too long, they are…’enchanted’ so to say. Ayden, there is much that your mother has withheld from you. With time you will understand.” When Ayden woke up, she looked at her palm; the jewel had fused to her hand. Her eyes had turned a demonic yellow, her fingers were now claws, and demon wings sprawled beneath her. Sofia was so frightened that she could only stand there, one hand over her right wrist, covering the bracelet. A neighbor heard the noise and rushed in to see if something was wrong. Seeing the supposed demon sprawled on the floor, Sofia standing with a hand on her arm as if wounded, and Maria standing with tears streaming down her face, he feared the worst.
The neighbor called the village elder, Orfeo. The people here lived in a semi-modern city built upon ancient ideas, traditions, and the ruins of their ancestor’s civilization. The source of the city’s power came from an ancient tree which was hundreds of years old. Its twisted branches climbed skyward hundreds of feet, and its trunk was the width of a house. Vines intertwined with the branches and leaves, its roots surfaced in places and then dove back down hundreds of feet. It was located in the center of the city, surrounded by a lush garden and the elder’s estate, which was an ancient palace-like building as old as the tree. The elder held with him a staff made of a root of the ancient tree. A swirling red and orange orb was at the top, and strings of old beads hung from the staff. He came into the room, and after seeing the “demon” he raised the staff and a beam of red engulfed Ayden. The next moment she was gone, banished to another realm. The elder announced later that day that there would be a celebration tomorrow to commemorate and “inform” that a demon had been banished, and that a proper ceremony was in order. The days after the celebration, all the “portals to the other worlds” were to be found, the seal checked, and in some cases, re-sealed. Maria was still in shock about what happened and Sofia seemed frozen in her spot. She casually glanced down at her wrist; her jewel as well was now a part of her. She didn’t look or feel any different, or at least she didn’t show any immediate signs. Maria gathered herself and looked Sofia over. Her long sleeves hid her wrist.