《Ramblings of the Mad Woman - Book One》Act One Damned to Darkness ~N~ Chapter One Kolo Skotadi


Chapter One

Kolo Skotadi


Blackstone Castle, Night of 673, 24th, October.

The heavy muscled tall blond male looked over and down at her, as she took his arm. His grin was a bit wicked as he escorted her through the quiet darkening streets. Sidonia pointed, “Wrath, this is the cottage I saw in my vision.” He asked, “My Queen is it safe for you to enter?” She smiled, “I fear we shall only find his victim, he killed him during the day.”

As he opened the door she said, “My luck at getting a vision to see where he is, will be better once we are inside.” He entered the dark home first, and Sidonia silently came in on his left. Getting a vision she warned him, “Dagger on your right!” The killer threw his dagger at Wrath; yet Blood Wrath dodged it, and swung his sword, removing the man’s head.

Wrath had moved faster than his queen could anticipate, as the knife flew passed Blood Wrath, now it impaled Queen Sidonia. Wrath turned watching the killer’s head as it rolled towards his queen, just as her involuntary scream from the sharp pain hit. Sidonia looked down with surprise, to see the dagger in her abdomen, and slumped to the floor.

Blood poured from her as the dead man’s head came to a rest against her leg. It had all happened fast and simultaneously, as Wrath’s eyes went wide with horror for he knew his queen was dying.


Nine year old Prince Viktor Vlasac shook his sister, “Sidonia wake up!” The Princess jerked up in bed breathing heavily with her green eyes looking wild, she moved the covers finding no dagger, nor blood, for it was only residual pain from her vision. Her brother set the book on her lap as he laughed, “You were about to scream.” Shaking Sidonia retied her black hair replying, “Thanks you brought me out of a Death Premonition.”

The prince asked, “Whose death was it?” Sidonia did not want to say, taking his hand she helped him onto her bed. Viktor wickedly added, “I hope it is Captain Tik or Nusia, my nanny.” Fifteen year old Sidonia lightly scolded, “Tsk. that was unkind.” Viktor countered, “So are they.” She sighed, “True, they are not nice. No, it was my death.” He pouted, “Are you certain?”

She assured Viktor, “I will try to prevent it. Anyway it is no time soon, I do not know the man I was with, nor the village we were in, and he called me his Queen.” Her brother’s green eyes twinkled as he snorted, “You a queen! That was a dream, not a premonition.” She ruffled his dark curls and read to him, “There once was a man forced by the Warring Angels into a battle, against a Fallen Angel and his army of Demons.”

Viktor pointed saying, “The man you painted looks like father, except the long hair and eye patch.” Sidonia grinned, “When the Fallen Angel saw he was losing to our hero, he convinced an evil Witch to bring her army. The Witch’s army was extraordinary because she used the darkest magic to craft men with creatures, turning them into monsters.”

“The man saw a red beast about to kill a Warring Angel. Our hero quickly killed the monster saving the good Angel. The evil Witch vowed to the king, ‘I shall have revenge, for you killing the red beast whom I loved.’ The man won the war saving all from becoming slaves, and they sealed the Demon army back in their prison. The hero was crowned king.”


“The king married and they had a son. All loved the prince even if he was a bit wicked, often playing tricks.” Viktor laughed, “You put that in because I like playing pranks.” She wiggled her eyebrows, and read on, “As he grew, he became a wise, kind, and handsome prince-.” A knock on Sidonia’s door cut in. Viktor huffed in a whisper, “It is my nanny. Nusia will nag Father if she finds me here.” They both got off the bed.

The sour woman knocked louder as Viktor opened the secret panel rushing in and the nanny tried the princess’s door. Waiting until Viktor closed the hidden passage behind him, Sidonia unlocked her door. The cranky woman pushed past her, as she demanded, “Who is in here? I heard you talking.” Sidonia stated, “You are not my nanny. I was reading aloud.”

The old woman scoffed, “Working on another dark tale for Viktor? You are a fool to fill his head with awful lies! Now where is he?” Sidonia sighed, “What I do for my brother is not up to you. I am certain you shall find him in his bed.” The nanny stomped out passed her with irritation as Sidonia closed and bolted her door; grinning she went back to sleep.


Black Forest Village, sunset of 673, 25th, October.

The next evening, Princess Sidonia and her father’s clerk Grekan were approaching the Black Stone Castle gate, as Tik the Night Captain of the Guards, gave her a vague warning before unlocking the gate, “Be back from the bookshop, before the Witching Hour. Nothing good comes after Midnight!” Nodding his guards chuckled at his taunt.

Sidonia’s ethereal green eyes held a wicked glint as she scoffed, “Midnight is a perfect time for a Witch to be flying.” Tik cringed and backed away as she passed, yet he hissed cruelly, “Then why are you walking, Half Blood.” Grekan huffed, fluttering the bangs of his short light brown hair, as he asked, “Are you expecting me to lie to the King?” Tik frowned, “I said nothing of High Lord Anthony.”

Grekan tried to stand taller and wider as he glared up at the captain, “I work long hours with King Anthony and often he asks how others treat his daughter. I will not lie for anyone. And you never know when he might ask me about you.” Princess Sidonia muffled her snicker, as they quickly walked down the tree lined path to the quaint village. Tik said to the others, “She is worse than her deranged mother.” They nodded.

The two headed towards the Black Forest Village market, a quaint settlement of stone buildings, most a couple levels high, as the shopkeepers lived above their stores. Back from the main street there were rows of small cottages, with a river and forest behind the community and a creek before the entrance to the town.

Once over the bridge and six hundred feet away Grekan felt he was out of earshot, so he teased, “Now you refer to yourself as a Witch?” Sidonia laughed, “Since I am only an Oracle, I do not deserve their title. If I had their skill to fly and hex, I might do more than taunt Tik.” Grekan pointed at a few mocking crows, “Are they warning you of something?”

Sidonia quoted, “One is a spy, two a plan, three a warning; soon to be out of hand.” Grekan cringed then asked, “You said an Oracle is the highest level of achievement for Witches.” Sidonia admitted, “Yes one of the highest. The school only taught it to those who passed the previous levels, which I did not.” Her dark long hair did a strange hypnotic sway making it hard to look away, as he asked, “Yet they trained you?”


Her voice held disappointment, “Yes due to having the gift. I felt I was teaching the class. I had hoped the instructor was a skilled Oracle, who could show-. It does not matter, Father came for me, and it is more important that I be here for Viktor.” Grekan stated, “And it worked, you brought Viktor out of his dark silence, he speaks; as well as assisting your father with his meetings. It must be nice to have any power.”

Black birds flew low stopping them, and he gasped, “What is four?” She tried to sound unworried, “Four is a menace.” It reminded Sidonia of her dream, “I had a premonition of my death last night.” Grekan gasped, “Then why would you leave the castle let alone go to him?” Princess Sidonia said, “It is not happening tonight.”

Their feet echoed on the cobblestones as the streets were empty. Dark shadows grew about them and most shops were closing for the night.

She walked on, as he choked, “Are you sure?” Hurrying to catch up he asked, “How are you so calm?” Sidonia shrugged, “I choose to believe it is a warning, not fate.” The dark princess had a look in her eyes, that he did not like and he scoffed, “You risk too much.”

Grekan insisted, “What if the vision and crows are harbingers?” She teased, “Until I am at that new place and with the blond man; there is nothing to do and no reason to hide under my bed.” Grekan insisted, “You are the one who taught me of the signs, I feel going to Kolo’s is potentially deadly!” They stopped speaking as an older woman, came out of a store.

The two waited for her to move from the entrance of the Black Forest Bookshop, as she expressed to herself in dismay, “Oh, no. It is already sun down! Tis a cursed Dark Moon too, making it harder to see my way, and the wolves will be hunting tonight.” As they heard a distant howl, Grekan offered, “I can walk you home, if you want company.”

The woman looked at him with distrust, as he added, “And I am certain the Dark Moon was weeks ago, we will have light once the moon rises above the mountain’s peak.” Lifting her cane she scoffed, “This stick shall keep me safer, than you can!” Sidonia mumbled, “No need to be rude Jillian.” She was frightened to hear the strange princess say her name causing an ill advised reaction, as Jillian turned around.

The woman made a fist with her left hand; she created horns by lifting her pointer and pinky finger up. Spitting between her horned fingers, she thrust her gesture at them with a growling hiss. It was a ward against evil sendings. Then Jillian cursed, “Devil take any who wish me ill. I know what bloody creatures lurk in that castle, come any closer and I will hex you both, making you wish you were never born!”

Grekan scoffed, “Superstitious crone.” Sidonia sighed, “It is fear more than anger. I frightened her using her name. And she does have a right to be afraid of us.” Yet the tips of her hair formed dagger shapes, revealing her feelings. Entering the bookshop, the owner greeted her as she put a coin on his counter; he took it and nodded to the princess.

They walked through the store going out the back door quickly exiting into the alleyway. Grekan asked, “Why pay him?” Sidonia admitted, “He has agreed to tell anyone ‘I just left’, if asked.” They glanced about at each turn and shadow, taking the side streets going towards the forest. Grekan assured himself, “No one is following us.”

Prior to this Grekan stayed in the bookshop until she returned, so these dark streets were unfamiliar and had him jumping at every odd shape. Her father’s clerk also noticed the looming trees of the forest were getting too near for his comfort, and he sought a distraction from fears of hungry wolves, “Since you are leaving him, why bring Kolo that book?”

Sidonia responded, “I do not trust that he will agree to end this, unless he gets what he wants; he has not in the past.” Grekan scoffed, “Soften the blow with another book, preferably one that we have duplicates of. Wiser yet you could send him a letter, then no gift is necessary.” He looked slightly down at the five foot two princess.

Grekan stated, “I would be less interested in books if I was with anyone like you.” As Sidonia looked over at him, her intense green eyes penetrated his, and she replied, “You will find someone, when you leave here.” Discounting it as encouragement, he asked, “If you cannot read his mind, which is suspicious; how do you know any gift is enough.”

Sidonia bit her red lip that stood out against her pale skin then said, “It is just one of those feelings.” Grekan felt she meant between lovers and stated, “Since I know nothing about that do tell me.” She sighed, “When I had the desire for him to say something meaningful, and even when I thought he would-.” She gasped. Grekan jumped, “Tis another warning!”

A black cat ran in front of them, seeing that was all it was, she chuckled with relief and at him. Then Sidonia tossed her long raven black hair back from her pretty oval face, going on she said, “Instead of Kolo saying something nice, he asks, ‘have you found the book yet’ and ‘where else could it be?’ Trust me; he wants the book more than me.”

Grekan heard the sadness in her voice as she added, “I broke it off six months ago. Days later he threatened to kill himself, if I left-.” Grekan cut in, “Let him, good riddance I say.” Sidonia gave a slight laugh, “You are wicked. I wish I were braver. Each time since then, when I try to leave him, he manages to cause me enough guilt that I cannot end it with him.”

Sidonia sighed, “Still, I suspect he will accept the book and let me go this time.” Grekan hissed, “That kind of control sounds too much like he is compelling you.” She shuddered, “Only Blood Magic, could over power my Oracle and Dhampir bloodlines. Besides, he has been sadly fated to have no powers, so at least I need not fear that. This time I hope I will fear nothing. My starry-eyed need for his love and his help is gone.”

The fiend’s claim of being a thousand years old with no power had Grekan suspicious. It was unimaginable to him, that an old one could tolerate the immaturity, let alone desire to court one so young. Knowing how she might take that, he only pointed out, as he scoffed, “You know damn well he needs you to translate the bloody book.”

Sidonia insisted, “Then I might have to lie, telling him I do not know how. Trust me, even if I am gut sick with fear, and have icy prickles up my spine, nothing will keep me from ending it this time.” The dark princess countered her brave remarks by whispering, “If he has no powers, why do I fear him?” The scribe shuttered at the eerie tone of her voice, as well as her hair making wild snake like motions behind her back.

Grekan had gotten used to her tendency of speaking her private thoughts in a hushed voice. Yet here on the dark roads, it was too frightening and caused Grekan to make a poor joke, “Careful others might hear you talking to yourself and claim, ‘It is ramblings of the mad woman,’ and then they will try to have you committed.”

She turned on him, “How could you?” Grekan slapped his own forehead apologizing, “I-I forgot for a moment that your mother was committed.” He rubbed his sore hand as Sidonia hissed, “Then she was kidnapped, do make a joke about that as well. And I asked you not to refer to Samala as my mother.” He rubbed his forehead mumbling, “That actually hurt.” Then stated, “You never told me why it makes you angry.”

She scolded, “My only friend forgets. Visions of being captured drove Samala crazy; she attempted to kill me more than once.” Grekan admitted, “I never understood why she hurt you?” She replied, “Samala claimed I betray her helping the January Man take her. Supposedly I also cause Rorik’s death.” Grekan gasped, “Oh, yes I recall hearing that now.”

Sidonia added, “Then Father sent me to live with my Great Grandmother Romina on Witch Island, I was only seven.” He offered, “I meant no harm.” Bitterly she finished, “For a long time I thought Father left me because he believed her, rather than to keep me safe from her.” Grekan solemnly said, “I can see why you feel Samala has forfeited the right to be known as your mother.” Sidonia walked on deep in thought.

Yet whispered again to herself, “It is not my fault, let the anger go.” He hated how creepy this road was, and the dark princess talking to herself was making it worse. Grekan caught up smirking, “You do sound crazy, Dark Princess.” Sidonia only lightly scolded him, “Do not call me that. Can you understand that talking to myself is the only way I can think? Otherwise, I have yours and everyone else’s thoughts interrupting mine!”

He admitted, “I should have realized.” She proved it by tauntingly adding, “Oh, and Kolo says being with someone my age helps him to feel younger, more alive and understand this time.” He groaned, “Of course.” She had no desire to be angry with Grekan, as they were making the final turn. He noticed they came to the end of the cobblestone roads. Sidonia stood at the edge and pointed across the dirt road, as she warned him in a lowered voice, “This is his street.”

Kolo’s small home was a stone one level cottage, with two bedrooms, a sitting room, and kitchen Similar to most of the homes within Black Forest Village, with the exception that his appeared to have been neglected for the last two decades. The porch’s wood structure leaned a little to the north, and looked a bit old. It was at the end of a dirt road, which led out of town. It was easy to overlook as it stood back from the bend in the road with the forest around it.

A sense of dread came over Grekan as he wondered again, why he had insisted on coming with her. Wickedly Sidonia came up behind Grekan, making her voice a dark whisper, “You came because you want the book for yourself.” Grekan jumped, “You just took ten years from my life. I admit I wish to read Anthony’s war journal, not keep or use it like Kolo. Being about battles I might not be interested enough to finish it.”

Then he grumbled, “And you know I dislike it when you read my mind.” Sidonia quipped, “And you know it is not always in my control.” While others thought Grekan was snippy, she admired that he only spoke what he believed. Tripping, he covered his humiliation, “Where did this bloody fog come from?” Sidonia shrugged, “It is always on his street.” He cringed, “Oh and that is not creepy either. Why did you fall for him?”

Princess Sidonia Vlasac lowered her voice, “I am more interested in why I feel he lied about his reasons for desiring Father’s book.” Grekan repeated, “Even more reason for us to go home write him a letter, and then I will wrap it with an insignificant bible; not a unique book, which is over six hundred years old. We can return in daylight and toss it at his home.”

She mocked, “Shall we then run away and hide in the bushes, to see if he approves? And of all books, you think he wants a bible?” Grekan taunted back, “No, I think it will improve his morals, as long as it fails to burst into flames at his touch.” Sidonia laughed, “He is not evil. Yet he did say that his name Kolo Skotadi means damned to darkness.”

He pled with horror, “Tell me you made that up.” She shook her head, “No, he did tell me that, should I blame him for a family sir name or a first that his parents gave him?” Grekan gulped, “I wish you had kept that to yourself.” She laughed wickedly, “I know.” It caused Grekan to plead in fear, “Stop, please!” She sighed, “You deserved it.” She enjoyed getting even with him, after his blunder. Grekan gasped, pointing.

Sidonia saw the lifeless birds on the path quoting, “Five dead crows is a threat.” Grekan pled, “See it is unwise to go to him!” She smiled softly liking that he cared, “It seems more like a Witch trying to frighten us, than Kolo causing it, since he wants me to come to him.” Then she admitted, “I really would love to throw the bloody Warrior book at him, for using me to find it.” He offered, “Throwing it will anger him.”

She mocked, “I think harming a book angers you, not him. Trust me; I need to face him, to know it is over. I left Kolo a letter once. He must attend the quarterly meetings of Territory Leaders at the castle, since he confronted me in our garden during one.” Grekan’s eyes widened, “I had not considered you will see Kolo there.” She nodded, “Father depends on me. I cannot refuse to be his Oracle, just to avoid Kolo.”

Sidonia rehearsed, “I need to be defiant, strong in my convictions, and a bit irritating; so he will not want me back.” Grekan asked, “Are you giving him your family jewelry so he can open the three lockbox?” She admitted, “No, I just brought the book-.” Grekan cut in, “Did you forget? When I touched the Blood Warrior book it locked itself and flew to you!” She worried, yet stubbornly said, “That is his problem to figure out.”

He insisted, “Just trust me he will realize he needs you to open it. That is the opposite of giving him a reason to let you go! I might add that you only translated a healing potion and boundary spell. We have no idea what else it holds. Anthony hid it for a reason.” She scoffed, “You do not know that and I do not seem to be able to explain why; I just cannot put Kolo off any longer. I will not change my mind.”

Princess Sidonia pointed, “This is his house.” She walked away towards the dark cottage, Grekan caught up grabbing her arm as he hissed, “Your father put it in five layers of security each different. A forbidden island, in a secret room, two layers of hidden three lockboxes, and last it required your blood to open it! No matter what is in that book, your father never meant for anyone to find it nor Kolo to have it.” She glared at him.

Yet Grekan insisted, “You will regret this!” She knew he was right, yet did not reply. Grekan had laughed off her strange hair movement as a breeze but now it was as angry as she was and it looked like fanged snakes that seemed ready to bite him. He blamed it on the dark yet stepped back, not caring for it. He wondered if she noticed, as the dark princess grabbed up her locks and twisted it bringing all of the strands of hair under control.

Sidonia offered, “You can go back to the bookshop and I will meet you there.” Reluctantly, Grekan shook his head, “No. I am waiting here for you.” As soon as she left, he wished he had agreed, looking down at his frail thin body with disappointment. She was right, he only came with to talk her out of giving Kolo the book; clearly, he had failed.

He saw she wavered and knew it was as she once described. The iron spindles of his fence were draining her powers. Grekan felt it was suspicious that Kolo put it there; the only reason would be to keep those with mystical powers from spying on him. She covered her hand with her cloak to open his gate, keeping it from burning her fingers. As she neared his porch getting far enough from the fence, she got the flash of a vision.

Sidonia lay in a tomb as the lid slid closed above her, leaving her in darkness. Coming out of the vision, the princess was ill and shaken to her core. Still sensing the stone about her, she felt helpless and alone. Worse, her mother had spoken of having the same vision. Sidonia worried this vision was the first sign of becoming a madwoman like Samala.

Seeing her stop, Grekan hoped she decided to leave. Bravely she walked up the path and onto the porch. Using her key to unlock his door, Sidonia repeated her plan, ‘Give him the book. Call him a few choice words, and tell him never to contact me again. Leave before he talks me out of it!’ She entered his home closing the door.

Normally there was a lamp on or a fire going. She huffed with disbelief, “He is not even here?” Taking the book out of her bag, she set it on the entry table, ‘I cannot go until I break up with him and warn him of the book’s lock.’ She put it back in her bag going down the hall. Its darkness reminded her of the vision, as she had the sensation of being in the crypt.

Looking back at the door, Sidonia breathed deep. The dim light coming through the glass aside the front door, allowed her to see that the fog outside was increasing as it crept above the porch making it gloomier. Insistent, she walked down the dark hallway whispering, “He asked me here; maybe I am early. Hopefully I will not have to wait too long.”

Touching the wall as she went, to find the parlor’s entryway, a few steps more and moonlight came through clouds to shine through the parlor window revealing its doorway ahead. She continued bravely, until the scent of Kolo’s opium pipe hit her. It brought memories of his fits of anger and then crying when smoking, worse he only remembered bits of it later.

Thinking it was only dark due to him sleeping it off; it brought hope that he was nearly sober by now. Starting to turn the knob to what she thought was his bedroom; she felt that gave the wrong message. She crossed the hall going to the parlor doorway, and could not tell if he was in there, as the clouds and again concealed the moon’s light. She got as far as the center of the room when her foot bumped an empty bottle.

Sidonia huffed, “Clearly he was drinking too.” To her right she saw shadows of the two chairs on either side of the darkened fireplace and she thought of sitting in the nearest one. First, she looked to her left, at the dark outlines of the two side tables, which were on both ends of the couch; it seemed empty, until he moved. Startled she made out a prone body on it.

The moon broke through the clouds slightly, as she came closer; the form was smaller, a bit plump, with long strands of thin brown hair. She questioned, ‘Kolo is tall, lean, with short red hair; who is this?’ The moonlight left. Not wanting to wait nor leave Grekan outside, she hesitated to wake whomever it was, Kolo had a fit once when she woke him. She got an angry grin thinking it was a perfect start to a break up.

As she neared, he rolled to face her it appeared he had a large pointed nose and his odd voice startled her; as he groaned with desire, “Why do you stay so far away, instead of laying with me?” His request made Sidonia furious. Even if it was Kolo, they had only sort of kissed once, as he had startled her with his advances, she turned away, causing him to kiss her cheek. She had to trust him before kissing and love him before she laid with him. He bitterly added, “You just love to torment me.”

Sidonia was further confused, as he was the one tormenting her with his possessiveness and demands, never desire. She was too dazed to reply, then his next words hit her in the gut, as he hissed, “Oh dearest dark one, I love you so deeply that I am certain I will like… killing you again.”


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