Prologue – 1989
Screams of agony shattered the stillness of the night air. There was nothing I could do for the victims, as I sat on the front porch of the mansion. Nor anything I would do to block the sound out. I listened, refusing to let them suffer alone; bearing the brunt of the evil’s wrath. I would suffer with them as I suffered with so many others before, bearing witness to their destruction. While I wasn’t the reason these people were meeting their deaths, I was certainly the reason they wouldn’t live through the night.
This family didn’t deserve this any more than any of the other victims. My power could have saved them. Furthermore, I was sorely tempted to shield them from this fate. But I couldn’t. Someone had to die. Someone must distract the evil one from the three beings escaping out the back door of the mansion. No, it was far too important that the others live; that she, the herald Väktare, survive.
Then all was still.
The front door opened slowly as the other male stepped out. Hatred flared through me, but I hid it well. I would wait until the time was right for my revenge. For now I would play the loyal servant, even as I longed to rip his entrails out for all the darkness he spread across the planet.
“The girl is missing,” the figure in the doorway hissed, blood from the victims inside still dripping off of his fingers. “Her cradle was empty.”
“Oh?” I asked, feigning surprise. “The Hart child?”
“Yes, that child!” the dark figure snapped furiously. “Find her. Bring her to me!”
“Of course. Anything else I need accomplish?”
“Just get her!” he thundered, setting the mansion on fire with a spell. “The family is dealt with. The Fidem must have taken her! They have her. I know it!“
“I understand your consternation, Master, but I find it very unlikely that the Fidem would leave the family here and take the child instead. It’s highly illogical for the family to hide the child but not themselves-”
“Families are illogical. The attachment to each other impairs their judgment to the point of stupidity,” the dark figure in the cloak replied coldly. “Hence the ease of their murders! I didn’t even exert myself to drain them of their life forces! Just bring the child to-“
“You. I heard you the first time, Master,” I added hastily, rising from the stoop.
“She is mine,” the other said, eyes gleaming like the demon he was. “Her power will be mine! Do not fail this time. This is the Väktare I have waited for. Even now, she still will not escape.”
A thrill of foreboding ran through me upon hearing his glee. “What have you done?”
“She will be cursed,” he crowed over my quiet question, flames spiraling higher around him. “All of her power will bend to my will and anyone who helps her remain free shall be routed where they stand! Death and pain will follow her every step until she is mine!”
No more was said as the figure in the dark cloak vanished. The only signs that he had even been here were the bloody footprints leading back into the house. Those prints told me not to bother to check inside for survivors. The cloying feel of death was still floating around in the air.
But even with that in mind, I couldn’t help but grimly smile. This made worthwhile the sacrifice of all the countless beings before that had been murdered. The Väktare’s family would rest well in their graves if they knew how much rested on her life. As for my beloved… well, I couldn’t think about her now.
I had succeeded. The dark one failed, even with his cursing her life. The girl had survived.
Cursed Hart copyright © Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel