The open land of early civilisation, with nature covering the Earth; bright flowers and trees reaching towards the sky. The grass stood tall, hiding the creatures of the Earth. Standing next to a river was a beautiful young woman with raven hair and bright green eyes that were focussed on the river. She was holding a sharp blade and carved into the wood was runes. She took the knife, slashed open her hands and let blood fall into the water. The blood-tinged the water red.
‘By the blood of my body, I call upon the realm of Hades, I summon his body to the Earth. The price of blood paid to the Lord of the Underworld.’ She said.
Her gaze focussed on the water. Not seeing any change she turned to leave. Suddenly, she felt the ground shake beneath her feet and her eyes focussed back on the river. In the centre of the river, a grand whirlpool appeared, the water twisting rapidly. The animals in the river, disturbed, swarm away in fear. An ancient masthead began to rise from the water. A golden ornament of a three-headed dog, with rubies for eyes, was on the top. The boat continued to rise from the depths. A hooded figure stood in the centre of the boat, the long black clock hiding the stranger’s face, his pale body revealed. When the woman saw him she dropped to her knees and bent her head to him. When the boat reached the edge of the river, he slowly stepped out and outstretched his hand toward her head; she took his hand and kissed it.
‘Hearth-woman, Nyx, why have you summoned me from the Underworld?’ said a cold voice.
‘My Lord Hades I wish to make a deal with you, I’ve spent years looking for what I desire, every tribe I’ve been to cannot help me, my own sister is powerless. I need your help,’ she said.
Hades pulled back his hood, revealing his own dark hair and violet eyes. He bent down, his face in hers, and grinned. ‘I think my sweet Nyx, we can make a deal.’ He grabbed her by the hand, bringing her to her feet and pulled her into the boat. She looked at him as he held her body close to him and signalled the boat to go down.
A few miles away from Nyx and Hades, was Nyx’s home tribe. The huts made from the earth and animal skins, and great blazing fire in the centre of the tribe. Standing next to the fire was Hecate, Nyx’s younger sister, with long white-blonde hair and the roundest blue eyes. Her skin decorated in the bright orange tribal paint. She was holding the hand of her young daughter Aeronwen, the mirror of her mother. Hecate pointed to the fire, she was teaching her about fire and the magical purposes it serves when a disturbance came to the tribe. A tribesman Galen was bringing a wailing woman with a bundle in her arm towards Hecate.
‘Another one Hecate, again further down the river. Can you help her?’ He said. Hecate let go of her daughter’s hand and took the bundle from the woman, and went to the biggest hut. The bundle was laid gently on the floor, she slowly unwrapped to reveal a baby. Hecate wiped away a tear and saw Aeronwen in the doorway.
‘Aeronwen, gather for me the crystals and the pots.’ Said Hecate. Ignoring the mother’s continuous cries she bent down over the child examining the body. She found two small pinpricks on the neck of the child. She closed her eyes. ‘Not again, I do not know what to do. This is dark magic,’ she thought. Her concentration broken by Aeronwen putting the items down beside Hecate. She looked up at her young daughter and kissed her hand. She dipped her fingers into one of the jars and drew symbols onto the baby’s body. She placed the crystals around the body and whispered ‘O mother Hera, reveal to me the cause of this grief. A young gift is taken by dark magic.’ The crystals united and cast an orb above the body, the orb revealed golden eyes and sharp white canines. Hecate jumped back from the image in fear. Her body trembling, a creature unknown to light magic. She grabbed the body and removed it from the hut. She took the body of the young child to its mother.
‘Burn the body, dark magic has taken her,’ she said.
The mother took the child, tears now silent and turned to leave the tribe’s camp. She hurried over to Aeronwen, held her body close to hers and kissed her head. ‘Galen, we need to protect all the young children, a monster is coming, I don’t know how to save us. All I know when the sun goes down we are in danger.’ Hecate said to him while clutching her daughter closer to her.
‘Has Hades finally revealed what it is this creature, he must know death is his domain?’ Said Galen.
Hecate shook her head, ‘I asked Hera, she just showed me eyes and fangs. The last time I called Hades he just said the answer is coming to me. He is happy for as long as he receives souls. He will not help us. Tell Alec to be on watch, this monster cannot end us all.’ She said as she walked away, holding Aeronwren’s hand. They walked to the river together.
At nightfall when Hecate was watching the fire, a figure came through the tribe. Hecate looked up to see her older sister, who hadn’t aged in the ten years she had been gone. Nyx with all the grace of a cat walked towards Hecate her arms outstretched, her skin pale in the moonlight. Hecate rushed towards her sister. When they embraced, Hecate recoiled; Nyx’s skin was as cold as ice.
‘Sister you’re so cold, please come warm yourself by the fire!’ Said Hecate, dragging Nyx to the flames.
Nyx stared into the crackling fire, Nyx’s eyes flashed amber, red, yellow. She was still, her behaviour was puzzling to Hecate, her sister unchanged.
‘Nyx you look the same as when you left us what did you do?’ Said Hecate, tilting her head.
Nyx rolled her eyes before taking hold of her sister’s hand, still cold to the touch even after standing next to the fire. ‘My sister I did what I set out to do, my journey was, of course, difficult,’ said Nyx as she turned away from Hecate ‘I was alone especially considering Alec refused to join me. I ended up making a deal with Hades.’ Nyx glanced her eyes around the camp, spotting Alec standing at his post, he had grown up. His face had a few lines etched on his face. Nyx brought her hands up to her smooth face. She turned back to her sister, her already pale face losing all the colour she possessed, the fire making her look ashen.
‘What have you done sister?’ said Hecate, her hands wrapped in her hair. ‘How could you trust Hades?’
Nyx smiled expecting the response ‘I got what I want, at first it was every soul I took for Hades he would extend my youth by a year,’ she replied, her smile turned into a frown ‘I soon got bored of that, but an old woman soon approached me and told me I could become immortal with an old spell, to drain the blood of seven babies and drink their blood, I could be young forever.’
Hecate retched and fell to her knees after hearing what her sister had done to claim her youth. She looked at her sister and thought she would never take the life of another for youth. Nyx bent down towards her sister, taking her face in her hands. ‘I’m afraid it gets worse, little sister, Hades found out I betrayed him, so he cursed me, not only did I have to drink blood to get my youth. I now have to drink blood to stay alive,’ she said before laughing.
The images of all the bodies drained of blood came before Hecate’s eyes, she recoiled in horror. ‘It was you! You are the monster!’ said Hecate, looking around for a weapon. Nyx pounced on her sister like a jungle cat pinning her further to the floor.
‘No little sister you are not going to kill me. The great witch of the river.’ Nyx took her sister’s throat into her hands and opened her mouth wide to reveal two large fangs. She sank them into Hecate’s neck and began to drink her blood. As she felt her sister weaken she stood up, crimson smearing her sister’s neck and her mouth. She walked away from Hecate and went towards the tent of Alec’s family. There before her sleeping was his younger brother, Nyx loved his youth, she bent over his sleeping body and began to drink his blood, when his heart was close to stopping, she bit into her wrist and let her blood fall into his mouth. When she was sure what she had done, she left the tent, knowing that when he awoke he would be filled with hunger and the tribe that abandoned her would pay.