Carelessly nursing her coffee, Marissa Hammond watched helplessly as all her dreams died.

It had all sounded so beautiful. Marc would meet her at the coffee shop on the Rue d'amoure where they had first met, and he would take her away with him. They had stayed up all night that night talking about what they would do together.

She should have known better than to trust that scoundrel. But he had been so charming, so gentle. She shook her head. But he had also walked out on her, leaving her stranded in the Ville D'amour. City of Love, bah! To her, Paris was a city of lost dreams and dying wishes.

She looked at the clock on the wall one last time and then drained the last of her cold latte. After leaving some money to pay for the coffee, she buttoned up her jacket and walked out into the rain. As she walked slowly down the sidewalk, all her loving memories of time spent with Marc flooded into her, and she had to stop, her grief welling up inside like a flood.

"Why?" she whispered horsely into the falling rain. "Why must everything I want always hurt so bad?" Wiping away her tears, she continued on through the deepening night.

Upon arrival at her flat, Juliette, her roommate, greeted her with a hug. "He stood you up again, didn't he?" she asked softly. "Yes...he did..." Merissa replied, wiping at her face. "I should have thought so..."

Marissa just stood there, in Juliette's arms, silently crying out her pain.

"It all seemed so perfect. Marc and I were made for each other!"

Then, Marissa broke away from Juliette's grasp, and ran to her room, and slammed the door behind her. With a sob, she fell onto her bed and began to weep uncontrollably. All the pain and rejection had come to the front now, and there was no holding back the tears.

She cried for hours, until she could cry no longer. Sniffling, she slipped into an uneasy sleep, filled with dreams of places long ago, and people no longer remembered through the ages.

In her dream, Marissa found herself riding in a carriage through a dim and dark forest. She could hear through the drawn curtains the clink of mail- covered knights, and the leathery squeak of the saddles.

Trough the darkness a voice broke out, "Steady all! We've yet to cross through the worst part of this damnable forest!"

Ah, that was Sir William Scott, her Knight Guardian. He was in command of a small battalion of troops, taking her to the far-off Castle of Worchester, where her husband-to-be awaited her.

Oh how she wished that Sir William wasn't so full of Knightly honor! For she loved him so, and not the awful Baron Worchester. That evil man held no love for her either, but instead lusted after the vast profit he would make when her ailing father would pass away.

Suddenly a shout, and the gory THUNK of arrows into soft skin. The cries of a large number of men came pouring through the windows of the carriage, and then it lurched forward.

The clash of steel on steel rang through the dank forest, and the death cries of the wounded filled Marissa with terror.

"Faster, driver, faster!" she screamed at a man that could no longer hear her screams. In horror she watched as deep red blood seeped down from the driver's seat, and down the forward wall of the carriage.

Marissa had time only for a short scream, then the carriage pitched on it's side, and she was falling, falling,further back in time.

She soon found herself lying on a cold stone slab, naked, and staring up and unfamiliar stars. Dimly through the fog of the dream she could hear chanting of men as they drew closer to her. With a start, she realized that she was not alone upon the altar. A man also lay beside her in the shivering coldness of his nakedness. He, too, was tied down with leather thongs, but he struggled helplessly against his bonds.

Marissa stared dumbly at him, and tried to clear her head of the fog that seemed to close in about her. She heard shouts in an unknown tongue, and a scream cut through the sudden silence.

Opening her eyes, she looked to her right to see the man no longer struggling to free himself, for a wicked-looking dagger protruded from a steadily bleeding chest wound.

Marissa cried out then, in fear and anger. She began desperately to free herself from her constricting bonds.

Suddenly, she was free, and she jumped off the table into the arms of a black-robed acolyte.

Down they both went, but Marissa came up with the acolyte's dagger, and she sank it into his forearm.

He screamed in pain, and Marissa dashed off into the fog. She ran and ran, never stopping or looking back, tears streaming down her face, and the bloody dagger clutched in her right hand.

Finally, she stopped, and gasping for breath, looked warily around at the odd landscape.

Surrounding her in all directions was a vast grey plane, with no grass or trees for miles and miles. No sign of the cultic pursuers could be seen behind her, and she heaved a sigh of relief.

Suddenly, she dropped the dagger in astonishment, as the ground before her began to heave and lurch, and two obsidian pillars broke away from the crusty earth. Etched into them were odd-looking runes that seemed to glow with an ether worldly light.

Between the two pillars, the air began to crackle with powerful discharges of dimensional power, and a black Gate opened up before her.

Curious, but not in the least bit frightened, Marissa walked around the pillars. On the other side, she could see nothing. No odd bursts of electricity, no gate, nothing.

She steped forward and walked between the pillars, and nothing happened. When she passed outside thee pillars, however, the crash and boom of the powerful discharges startled her, and she tripped and fell.

Slowly, she stood, and turned to look at the apparition that suddenly appeared before her. The ether worldly being is swathed in dark crimson robes, and the same odd-looking runes that cover the pillars behind her, stand out on the cuffs and cowl of his robes.

The being moved slowly towards her, and she began to back up. Stepping cautiously behind her, she took one step, then two steps, then suddenly, her third step lands on nothing, and with a yelp, she fell backwards into the Gateway.

She fell and fell, and she could sense the ground rushing up fast to meet her. With a shake and gasp, she once again found herself in her bed back in Paris.

She breathed a sigh of relief, then she noticed a suit of black armour leaning against the wall. Her eyes grew wide in horror as she recognized the black dragonscale armour of Baron Worchester.

With a scream, she jumped out of bed and ran to the window to look out across a barren grey landscape, the two black towers standing far taller now then they did only a few short minutes ago. Far into the sky they reach, seemingly to scrape the very dome of heaven.

What is this? Are those men fighting down there? It is! Sir William can be seen fighting the black-robed acolytes from the realm of the Fog! Oh no! They are joined by the crimson apparition, and it is killing Sir William's men with deadly speed. Wait, there is Baron Worchester dressed in the black dragonscale armour. He is swinging a huge sword that seems to shine with dark power. He is cutting into the ranks of the evil priests faster than the apparition can heal them.

Wait, they are coming together now, and a flaming sword appears in the hands of the apparition. They are fighting now, great waves of power rippling across the landscape at each blocked slash and parry.

One moment it seems the apparition is winning, then Worchester gains strength from somewhere, and he is again winning. The fight rages across the plane, and it seems to last for hours.

Suddenly, the Baron's hands came down, and the apparition took advantage of it, and the flaming sword drove in through the Baron's chest.

The acolytes of Hate screamed in victory as their God cut through the Baron. Suddenly, Marissa was there, and she cradled the head of the Baron in her lap. Gently, she removed the helmet, and a face so familiar peered up at her, twisted in pain.

"Oh Marc! Why have you done this?" she wailed and she began to cry. She looks up at the gleeful apparition, and gasps, as she recognized her own face leering down at her.

She sneered at Marissa and spoke in an hate-filled voice and pointed at Marc.

"You have caused this! Even now, he lays upon the asphalt, his blood draining from his body, because your Hate has killed him..."

Marissa screamed once in absolute fear, and collapsed in a dead faint.

Slowly awakening, she finds Juliette looking anxiously down at her, urgently calling her name from far away.

"Marissa, there's been an accident..."