Soul Of A Woman (The Dark Souls)

By: Jamie Begley

(The Dark Souls, #2)



Prologue



Fate stood in the doorway and watched her daughter lying on her bed, reading a book. Zerina’s gentle face never failed to bring a smile to her mother.

“It is time for bed, daughter.”

“Please, Mother, just a few more minutes? I really want to finish this story.”

What was it about children, both mortal and immortal, that fought sleep?

“What are you reading?” Fate came forward, sitting down beside her daughter before reaching out for the book. She lifted a brow at the title, “Elements by Euclid? That’s heavy reading for such a young girl.” Zerina curled against her mother. “Are you still upset about earlier today?”

“I did not want to give one of my souls to the life that waited for the child.” A tear slid down Zerina’s cheek. “It will become twisted and made ugly by those parents.”

“Zerina, listen to me well. No soul can be destroyed by the actions of others. It is within each of us to know right from wrong in the decisions we make. It is those choices that will define a soul. When you wanted to go down to Earth to help one of your souls, you knew it was wrong and the repercussions that would be the result. You made the wrong choice, and if not for my friendship with Mother and your young age, the punishment would have been the loss of your power. Being punished for a year by not being able to transport unless summoned is only a mild punishment compared to what Mother could have done. Those were your actions, Zerina, despite constant warnings from me.”

“That is different. You told me not to and why. Some parents do not teach their children those things. What if they have never been taught right from wrong?”

Fate sighed at her daughter’s reasoning.

“No, they don’t, but Mother does. She gives them the knowledge ingrained in their very soul.”

Zerina lowered her head. “I ignored her voice. I really wanted to help that little girl. Her soul is one of great beauty, but her mother will make it an ugly, violent storm. I just do not understand why. I am an immortal with great power, yet I am not allowed to save that which I have protected and entrusted to another. It’s not fair.”

“I know, Zerina. This time you were lucky; the next time you may not be. Mother is very dangerous when her work is interfered with. In time, you will have the ability to analyze her moods and be able to work within the guidelines to achieve your goals. Age and experience will enable you to help the souls you hold so close to your heart.”

“I am sorry, mother.” Zerina looked apologetically up at her.

“Zerina, I give you fair warning; Mother won’t always be so easy on you. The next time, the consequences will be severe.” Fate took her oldest daughter’s hand, trying to impress on her just how severe the consequences of her actions could have been.

“I promise I won’t do it again.” Fear glinted in the child’s eyes.

“Do not make a promise you cannot keep,” Fate warned. “I am saying, for now, learn until such a time as you are experienced enough to find different routes that can be taken to help those souls you want to help. Now, would you like me to tell you a story?”

Fate knew further recriminations wouldn’t be needed. Zerina was an obedient daughter. She had just let her emotions control her into making an unwise choice. She had to learn of the destructive power of emotions and learn to control them, not letting them control her.

“Yes, please.” Zerina smiled at her mother.

Fate gathered her daughter close and began her story. “There was once a young girl, born back when time had almost first begun, when man had first started living in clans. She was small and sickly when only the strong could survive such harsh conditions. Her parents thought her weak and useless, as did her clan. Yet, she not only survived, she worked hard, caring for her younger brothers and sisters. Food and water were scarce, and her parents couldn’t provide for all. Many times, she knew hunger and cold, growing sicker as her parents did not want to waste food on someone not strong enough to survive.“

“I do not like this story,” Zerina protested.

Fate continued, “The young girl didn’t die quickly, her strength of will kept her alive. She tried to help gather food and water. Then, the day came when she was searching for roots and vegetables that were nearby, and she heard screams and tried to hurry home as fast as her frail body could manage. Once there, the young girl found marauders killing her family. She rushed the men, and using a small stone hatchet, she killed one; the laughter still in his throat, unable to comprehend such a helpless child being able to defend her family. There were too many to fight off for long, and cruelly, they beat her to the ground then proceeded to torture her for hours for daring to defend her family. They took her innocence and life that day, Zerina, yet her beautiful soul was as pure then as when she had been born. She had great courage in life and death, facing both without fear.”

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