Somnus woke up, dazed. He lay on his back, gazing up at the darkness as snow fell around him. The boy realized he was cold when his body shivered. Soft white flakes settled over him for a while longer as he tried to remember what happened. The young Izunia found it rather hard to concentrate, however. There was a dull pain in the back of his head that distracted him.

More time passed until the boy finally regained his senses enough to know something was very wrong. He scrambled into a sitting position and cried out as his movements caused a wave of dizziness and several parts of his body to throb in pain. Somnus clenched his eyes shut in response to the sensations. He had injured himself somehow.

The dark-haired youth rubbed his aching head and was startled when he felt something dry flake off and then a warm wetness spread over his fingers. He moved his hand close to his face and saw that there was blood coating it.

Somnus looked around him and realized he did not know where he was. He was alone at the base of a high cliff. A light dusting of snow covered the area as far as he could see, which wasn't much in the depths of the night. Thankfully the moon was full so the boy was not completely at the mercy of the darkness.

The young Izunia was not sure why he was here. Or how he came to be here all alone. Panic rose within him. He closed his eyes briefly, once again trying to recall anything that would help him understand what happened. Somnus began to breathe slowly, trying to calm himself as he concentrated.

Finally, there were flashes of memories.

Laughter around him as people reveled in food and drink.

His older brother dancing with the daughter of a neighboring Lord.

Both brothers about to leave in their carriage the next afternoon. Ardyn telling him to go ahead as he was surrounded by a group of men and women pleading for help. His abilities as a healer were required. He would come later.

Somnus nodding and following the guards to the carriage. If they wanted to return to the castle and their parents before nightfall they would need to leave immediately.

They had been on a winding mountain road when Somnus heard the sound of something embedding itself into the wooden frame of the carriage.

Somnus remembered now. He and his guards had been attacked. The carriage had been set on fire by flaming arrows. Somnus had fled the burning carriage, grabbing his sword and following one of his personal guards. Outside, they had been met with the sight of most of his men already downed. The young Izunia and his remaining guard had been attacked and Somnus had slipped off the edge of the cliff in the struggle.

With a feeling of dread, Somnus realized he was in a very dire situation. He pushed himself off the ground and stood. He then took several tentative steps. The boy grimaced at the pain and unsteadiness of his body. He would not be able to go far. His left leg was especially painful to stand and walk upon.

The panic from earlier rose once again. Somnus attempted to keep it down but hard not to let it overtake him know that he knew the full extent of his situation. He was injured and alone in the middle of the night. His guards may be dead. His brother was likely still at Lord Sabin's manor. His parents were in their own castle, possibly still waiting for him to arrive. His attackers too, could be nearby and searching for him still… And if they didn't get him the Daemons certainly would.

Breathing heavily in his fear, the boy limped around his surroundings. He remembered the sword. He was sure it had fallen with him. Somnus searched carefully, praying his weapon had fallen nearby. After too long, Somnus finally glimpsed something shiny on the ground. He limped towards it, his leg trembling. It could barely hold him now.

Somnus collapsed with a grunt of pain in front of his weapon. His leg had finally given out. The boy snatched the sword off the ground and clutched it to him. There was a small bit of relief now that it was in his hands.

But now even with his weapon, Somnus felt at a loss. He was not sure what to do now. He was already exhausted from searching and did believe he could walk anymore. He was unsure how he would climb back up to his carriage, even if his leg was not hurt. He did not know where to go from here.

And since it was dark, it meant Daemons would be roaming about. Somnus wished Ardyn was here. Or his parents. Or anyone he knew so he was not alone.

As if summoned by his thoughts, Somnus noticed an eerie purple glow in the distance. The unnatural light began to move towards him. Around it, several more lights slowly became visible.

The boy shuddered in fear. Daemons. And they seemed to be coming in his direction. Somnus felt his eyes water. He was terrified.

With another grunt of pain, Somnus forced himself into a standing position. His injured leg trembled as stood. The boy raised his sword and he watched the lights near. He couldn't run so he would just have to try and fight.

Somnus was still a novice when it came to fighting and battles. He'd only begun to learn using a real blade two summers ago. His magic too, had manifested rather late. He had not even learned to use the Armiger as of yet. Though he may have been able to defeat one of his soldiers on occasion, he knew he was no match for any sort of Daemon.

And there were several coming for him now.

Anxiety and fear building up in him, Somnus could only wait for their approach.

But then there was a sound. It was faint. Was it the voices of the Daemons?

A short time passed and the sound came again, this time much clearer.

"Somnus!" The desperate cry of his name from a familiar voice rang out across the night. The boy's heart soared at the sound.

"Ardyn!" Somnus shouted as loud as he could, heedless of the danger. The Daemons must have heard him as the lights began to rush towards him. The boy could see the monsters clearly now, their empty eyes and sharp grins fixed on him.

Two chocobos and their riders then came into view, charging at the Daemons. The young Izunia saw a flash of magic and the Daemons screeched out in the darkness. Their cries were inhuman and chilling. Defeated, they dissolved into a black mist.

"Brother, over here!" Somnus cried out and attempted to step towards him. But once again, his leg could not hold his weight and he fell onto the snowy ground. The sword fell from his hand and he grit his teeth from the pain. He stayed there as the riders approached.

"Somnus!" The voice of his brother was welcome. But it was filled with sorrow. Ardyn leapt off of his black chocobo and hurried towards him. He dropped to his knees and grabbed hold of Somnus to pull him into a tight hug.

"I am sorry. I should not have let you go by yourself," Ardyn apologized, "I should have been there with you."

"Not your fault," Somnus responded and hugged him back. Gods, he was so happy. He was safe. His brother always came when he needed him most.

Ardyn pulled back and then offered him something in a flask.

"Here. Quickly now," Ardyn urged. The younger Izunia took the flask and began to sip the healing concoction. The magic imbued in the liquid began to heal the wounds Somnus bore. He sighed in relief as the pain began to abate.

"My Lords, we must leave now. More Daemons have arisen," the other chocobo rider warned. He carried a torch that gave off a welcoming light in the darkness around them. But that same light would attract the Daemons. Looking around, Somnus saw more glowing purple lights erupting from the ground.

"Yes. Of course," Ardyn agreed. He helped Somnus stand and then led him onto his own chocobo. Once mounted, they were off as more Daemons began to hurry towards them.

As they fled, Somnus looked back at the monsters. He shuddered as he heard their wailing and screeching. It was hard to believe they had been human once. Had Ardyn not arrived, Somnus may have ended up like that.

The boy knew he was very lucky to have a brother like Ardyn. Once who would face the darkness to find him.

Another short little fic! Thanks for reading!