From afar she notices the beautiful creature. As she gently approaches, she recalls the stories from her childhood. About the evasive creature prone to trick humans. Unable to remember the rest, she remembers the isolation she felt amongst her own kin, instantly she reaches for the creature.
A creature who does not share the same enthusiasm to connect…
Ara gently pulls away, realizing she would react no differently if she were in its place.
It wishes not to connect, still it follows.
Still, he follows.
A few days had gone by and for the first time the Fox steps into Ara’s place. Displaying a slight interest in sniffing around her.
The Fox is not ready to be touched. Afraid of him running away and sleeping at her doorstep, in the cold, she steps back.
The Fox becomes more comfortable so long as she does not approach. Ara recalls stories about the last surviving Red Fox and decides it is time she learns more about this beautiful leery creature.
The Red Fox reached the height of fame in the 1800’s. It became a notable species for one reason and one reason only…
it was wanted for its fur. Although reports indicate first sightings occurred in Midnight Hollow in the 20th century, early photographs indicate a strong presence of the creature dating back to 1802. Reports suggest the Red Fox became extinct in 2000, rendering the Fur trade nonexistent in Midnight Hollow. Though there are various myths about one survivor.
One popular myth: involving a coven of witches who cast a spell on one of the oldest female foxes who would give birth to the last of its kind. The spell was for a singular fox to hold the power of its entire species and the power to manipulate nature and the four elements. The mother who was driven mad from rough handling and intense confinement, gave birth and died instantly. The coven secured the Young Fox, only to realize four months later, the spell had not worked as planned. Though the Young Fox had the power of its kin and the ability to control nature and its elements, the Young Fox was stunted. At four months it had not aged, it stopped growing. The community of Midnight Hollow learned about the coven’s misdeeds and destroyed all of them, leaving a Young Fox to fend for itself.
It is believed the Young Fox is able to transform into human form making it all the more difficult for it to be recognized. The Young Fox has not been spotted in Midnight Hollow since the species went extinct. Though the recent weather conditions may be proof of its singular existence.
And so the Young Fox has become less guarded. And with a heavy heart Ara slips into stupor.
No path, abysses, death is not so still!”—
You wished it, left the path by your own will.
Now remain cool and clear, O stranger;
For you are lost if you believe in danger.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer
Fox or Human form he remains a stranger to himself.
He guards all that requires no protection…extinguished a fire, he created.
Insensible Fox, he is.
You are still here, and back to human form.
Yes. This place. It has a force drawing me to it.
Last night, I read about your kin, you are the last of them.
Yes, but that is not why I am drawn to this place. And you, I knew there was something about you. Your eyes, they are not of the human kind, they glow too brightly.
I know very well who I am. Do you know who you are?
I have always felt familiar yet strange in human or fox form. This force bears the same feeling. Something tells me you might know why.
Last night it dawned on me why I have been unable to leave Midnight Hollow, in spite of my numerous attempts. I suspect it is the same force you speak of. I have read it many times in these books. The coven who cast the spell on the fox, was the Bishop Coven. The spell contained two very important ingredients, one the blood of the eldest Bishop witch and the other blood of an unborn Bishop witch. The young fox and the unborn Bishop would be connected by this spell.
You said your given name was Frost.
Yes, it is my given human name. The Bishops were the strongest witches to have existed. They were able to travel between time and space. The true identity of this unborn witch was to remain concealed until the day she would encounter the young fox. You see, when you cast the blizzards causing all humans to leave, I was finally free to explore the Bishop side of me.
Have you never wondered why you have been unable to leave this forsaken place?
It never crossed my mind.
In all the centuries you have been alive, it never crossed your mind to leave? Do you not find that strange?
I suppose that was part of the spell.
Yes, allowing you to be free in the world would be dangerous. A creature with that much power, who centuries later still does not know who he is, was indeed a dangerous risk to take. Might as well confine you to this place.
What if I told you, the spell was reversible, would you want it?
The original spell is in here somewhere, and if it exists I will find a way to undo.
And reverse everything I have been for the last centuries.
But we would both be free, unbound from the force keeping us in this prison. Now that you know you are confined do you not yearn to be free?
Yes, but not at the cost of erasing everything I have been.
You are a stranger to yourself. Reversing the spell why should it matter?
It matters to me. And if you think I will let you take it from me you are mistaken.
There has to be a way. If you think given a choice that I would wish to be connected to you for an eternity you are mistaken.
Ara, stop this. Turn around and look at me.
All that power you possess, is but a privilege from my kind. You are not fond of me or my human side and it is not as if I am eager to spend a caged life with a creature who despises me. What I want is for this force to disappear and to be free.
I will not allow you to do it.
When freezing rain turns into flame. What becomes of a Frost in the burning cage that is Midnight Hollow?
And so this world goes from a cold darkness to an instant sweltering brightness.
A Fox, a Bishop Frost, who is clever enough to win this first argument?
A Fox centuries her age, a Frost with Bishop blood.
He may be immortal but it was a Bishop who saved him and then caged him.
And before he was able to make a singular move, she bound him with a chilling white ring then swiftly cast the one spell she knew well.
I find you more amenable in this form.
The consequence to a transforming spell:
Blizzards dissolved and cold replaced by a scorching heat.
A Fox lost in stupor, a Frost singed.
Ara knew several days had passed, though it was impossible to tell how many. Midnight Hollow was consumed with light, even at night. She was unable to tell the difference. Scorching heat becoming unbearable. The sun beaming from the outside as if it was aiming right at her. She was lightheaded, her throat dry, her voice coarse. Then she remembered Jayden did this. He must have known heat would weaken her just as she knew in Fox form he was vulnerable.
It. was. my. only. choice. at. least. until. you. learn.
I am. not. your. threat. but. a. Bishop. meant. to. protect.
Your. human. temper. you. must. learn. to. control. or. we. will. never. find. a. way. to. be. free.
What if I showed you, why a Bishop would never harm a fox?
A Frost with an aversion to human touch, a Bishop bound to fate.
Reveal a clandestine truth, for a Fox remembers not, in Human form.
Waiting. For the Fox to follow into the endless sunlight cast upon Midnight Hollow.
Centuries have passed since the Fox roamed in daylight.
There is no one left in this forsaken world but us.
Let me hear your long lost voice.
once those ones whom we hammered and tore
apart at length are scattered in fear,
lost in peril and gone from the earth:
because then among the ruins I would hear,
at long last, my own voice once more,
which has been a howling since my birth.
—Rainer Maria Rilke (from New Poems, trans. by Joseph Cadora)
This side does not despise.
Can she persuade his Human side?
Still, he follows.
Welcome back, Jayden.
How long has it been?
Long enough. Tell me, has there been any change to your hatred?
A part of me despises you less, one may even say it favors you.
And the other part?
It wants to wipe you off the face of this forsaken world.
Have you not learned from history? Your kind, gone. My kind, gone. Wiped out. We are what is left. You can burn this place down but your destruction will not bring them back. You are immortal, a perpetual child unable to control anger. The Bishops knew this about you. Ending my life, the only connection you have to this human world will leave you powerless. What becomes of you then?
Remember she disclosed a clandestine truth to the young Fox…
In flames, she is. In pain, she is not.
Up in flames a Bishop house goes.
In flames she was, still, not a single burn on her flesh.
In silence, side-by-side they stand as they watch it all burn down.
You burned it all down. Why reach for me when it was you who sent flames, have you come to your senses?
Tell me the truth Bishop witch. What is it you hide?
You do not trust me nor do I you. There is no reason to share my best kept truth, to this side of you.
You were in flames, how is it your flesh is unburnt?
All part of the Bishop curse…
you can destroy me about as much as I can destroy you.
Now we can continue on and find a way out of this place.
Are you in the least upset by your house going up in flames?
You think I would bring you back to this form, without preparations? If anything, you placing your hand on me was the most unsettling.
It was to get you away from the flames.
From a fire you started. Besides, I do not need saving but your temperament you need to control.
And your witchery, you must control.
So long as you do not give me reason to use it.
Do we have an agreement?
You will direct your acts of witchery at something other than me so long as I control my anger towards you.
Yes, that is what I said.
Fine. Bishop witch, you have an agreement. At least until we are both free.
It was by design we are in this place. It was by design we cannot leave. I want to know the purpose but mostly I want to be free.
You knew about me from the start.
I had an idea, it was not until I found you in your cage that my suspicions were confirmed.
Now we are both in a much larger cage.
We have always been confined, only now we are both aware.
Now on to figuring a way out of this cage.
Your agreement, you are not to cast more spells on me, how do you suggest we go about finding the way out?
We will read through all of the Bishop magic books.
Did they not get destroyed in the flames?
You still think I would return you to this form unprepared.
On the subject of flames, your invulnerability, how is it the fire did not leave a single mark yet a lowly human left those marks on your flesh?
I was much younger then, and the opposite of invulnerable.
Everything that once belonged to the Bishops is in this room.
There is nothing here.
It is all concealed from human eyes. Only those with Bishop blood would be able to see everything that surrounds. The spell which made you what you are, contained the blood of the eldest witch and my blood. You should be able to see beyond this protection spell.
Your mind is occupied with distrust. It will not allow you to see what surrounds. This place was meant to protect witch and fox alike. Protection from the outside world who despises what they cannot comprehend. Close your eyes and open them once you are ready to see what is in front of you.
Now that the blizzards have ended, it is only a matter of time before Midnight Hollow is once again populated by the kind you despise most.
Do you want me to bring them back, the blizzards?
It would be a waste of your powers. We need to focus on finding a way out. This place has the answer, we just have to search for it. This den was designed to protect witches and foxes alike. Should humans return to Midnight Hollow, they cannot see us or find us so long as we are in here. But we must protect this location and its contents from humankind.
Can you be relied on to keep this place safe?
Is that what you think? I would run off and share this place with the humans, after what they have done.
What will it take to end your contempt for an entire race, at what point will you let go of the poor actions of a small group of intolerant humans?
There is no point.
Despising the entire human race on the actions of a few, that is acceptable to you?
I have been alive centuries over you and it is with certainty I say humans of Midnight Hollow have learned nothing from history. At what point did you let go of the humans responsible for the marks on your face? It is curious that a witch with powers to heal allows for those marks to remain. And spare me the “vulnerable” discussion. Defenseless is the one thing you are not.
I told you once before, we would not be discussing me anymore.
But it is acceptable for you to question me? The model for hypocrisy, you are.
And you have been open and honest with me?
I was given the largest of pretenses: to be able to transform between human and fox for my own survival. But now you know what I am, there is no reason to pretend. Ask me anything and I will answer because unlike you, I have nothing to hide.
Go on ask me.
Why do you despise, me?
Because you hold the power to control man and fox alike.
I answered your question, now answer at least one of the two I asked you before.
Jayden could feel the anger growing again…at the same time an opposite sensation filled the room as if the air was becoming more frigid.
The faster his heartbeat, the colder the room went. Then as if in mid-sentence without acknowledging his obvious outrage Ara continues:
besides, we have a lot of reading to do.
Who is clever enough to win this argument, in complete silence?
Ill-tempered little Fox, remember your agreement.
Reticent, they are.
And so begins the year of silence.
In the search to be free, they are once again bound. It is what the Bishops designed.
Several weeks have gone by, several silent weeks. And then, he finds the answer to a question he did not know to ask, because he has no memory of this period in time.
He looks up at her. She reacts, not.
Remember the ‘agreement‘, numerous times, in mind he repeats.
As time passes, he reads on, pages and pages of a time he does not remember: the time she transformed him to Fox form. It must be a Bishop writing their history.
He remembers the agreement, and knowing what he would do if he stays, he disappears.
Ara notices, not.
Then there was the time, the book gave way to the secret she conceals from his human form. He glowered at her for hours.
Ara feeling his glares, responds, not.
And for the first time in one year, Ara turns to Jayden, though, still she does not speak.
You find this entertaining, me not knowing or remembering what you did to the Fox side of me?
Why will you not speak?
This is far from amusing. I expected them to wait for me, to show you the time spent with the Fox in you.
The Bishops. They have found a way to communicate, using these books.
Where do you go, when you disappear?
A place where I seethe less. Why does it matter to you?
The Fox, I believe he led me there once. Do you know what that place is?
No. But it feels familiar.
It is the house, the church, where they were all burned.
And the Foxes before you. Will you take me there, in your current form?
Into the church a Fox and Witch go.
Do you feel that?
Yes, it has always felt this way for me. You feel it too.
The books, they told me about this place, they said it holds the remains of
our history, of our kind.
I thought the Fox guided you here once before?
He did, but would not come in, he waited outside and I was unable to enter. I think it had to be you, in human form, to guide me through.
For the first time since meeting Ara, Jayden has something she does not. This place, he has known about it for centuries. And she has not been able to enter, without him. She needs him, the human side of him. He looks over to her, she looks, not. He recognizes the expression on her face, as he has felt the same way each time he visits. He has been wrong. Ara, she feels.
Through the church door they go…
I know what is in your mind.
You have been unable to enter without me. What does that do to you, knowing you must rely on me?
I do not need anyone.
I can visit this place freely, you cannot. You need me. You are determined to hold on to control you clearly do not have inside these walls.
Do you need me?
You are least pleasant, but I need you to find answers and to be free. So, yes, I need you for that purpose. I dislike it but I am willing to admit to it.
Inside these walls, it is as if something is pulling me in different directions.
There are many rooms in this place, and in each one I have felt something different.
There is something drawing me towards that table, do you know why?
Nothing has ever rested on that table in all the times I have visited. It must have been placed there for you.
It is all here. How the Bishops were set in flames. Every human of Midnight Hollow watched as the flesh burned off their bones. I can hear the last of my kin, their voices screaming in pain and not one person came to their defense. Not one human did a thing to help them, they just stood there.
Is this what you have witnessed of humankind in all the time you have been alive?
Yes, at least from those of Midnight Hollow. They despise what is different, what they do not understand, they despise witch and fox alike.
How does this place make you any less angry?
It is the only place I know holds any of my history. I do not remember anything when I transform and I believe this place has something to do with it. I might find a way to remember it all, I think I was there when they burned the last of your kind.
Humans, they despised my kind for protecting you and my kind all died so that you could survive.
I do not understand why they would go through such lengths to protect a person not of their kin.
As I said each room is different.
This painting is about you.
It is about the human perception of you.
The deceitful Fox veiled in a human face.
The painting is accurate: deception, I know well.
As the sun sets, Ara, having gone through only two rooms begins to feel tired and overwhelmed. She walks across the main room and finds a door leading to the outside. Jayden follows closely behind, he has been in her place, many times before.
And outdoors was as harrowing as indoors…
And then, surrounded by their dead, the leaves begin to hymn.
You were correct, Ara. We have more than hate in common.
Jayden leads Ara into one more room. As she walks through the door she feels a sensation radiating through her flesh. The same inexplicable awareness she felt when she first found Jayden in his cage…it was no different for him… the fox side of him.
Not one word, they both know its significance…
What is this room?
There are many just like this one. The books, they had images of how they imprisoned them. Your kind, and mine.
And what is behind this door?
I have never been able to get in, whatever it is, it is not letting us in.
It appears more as though whatever the humans locked away, they did not want it to get out. But you have the power to transport between places have you—
Yes, many times. It will not let me through.
And what about this one?
I have been able to determine it is connected to the door with the bolts. Though it bears no locks it will not open. And before you ask, I have tried to transport through this one as well.
Ara that door has never opened for me. You should wait to go in, until we know what this room holds.
And as soon as the door shut behind Ara, he could no longer sense her…he feels a sudden uncontrollable anxiety.
It is about time that mutt lead you here.
I was beginning to think he was useless but
Bishop witches have yet to disappoint.
You are indeed the last of them.
For centuries, I have been locked in here with nothing but these wretched rats to feed on. And that imbecile of a mutt and his vain attempts to enter. I should have shred him to pieces…but it was part of the bargain with your coven.
I had forgotten…
the scent of your kind.
I would drain you and then shred you to pieces if it were not for that barrier between us.
The Bishops did always know to prepare.
You smell as sweet as the last person who dared step in this room. It was the last drop of non-vermin blood I had. It was a very long time ago…come to think of it, it was a Bishop witch.
You will not be drinking from a Bishop any time soon, considering the barrier. What was it you bargained for?
It was not I who bargained, my dear little witch, it was your coven who came to me. Does the hound understand why he follows you around like a pining puppy?
His name is Jayden.
Is that what he calls himself? A rather grandiose name, for a mutt. Do you favor him as much as they expected you would?
That is not your concern. What did you possibly have to offer the Bishops?
Have you told him?
It is not your concern.
You get one more chance, to answer, willingly.
It is still none of your business.
But what about the barrier…
It was meant to protect you only from being drained not to keep me away.
I have other ways of finding answers.
Ah, right. The mutt hasn’t a clue.
Well, now there’s something the Bishops miscalculated: you think his human side dislikes you.
Stay out of my mind.
If you had answered the questions in the first, I wouldn’t be in your mind. I gave you a choice, and you chose.
Is this what you do, manipulate to get your way?
I gave you a choice. But in this room, in this same spot, just as you are standing here now, a young Bishop witch stood before me and begged me to drink from her.
I do not plead, for anything, even under your enchantment.
You are strong but inexperienced compared to the Bishop who came to me, she was about your age then. If I had valuable information to give you, would you not plead me to drink from you in exchange for said information?
No. I do not plead. For anything.
One drink, and I’ll share information.
I will not bargain.
You are strong-willed but I will not back away until you bargain…for something…what else is in your mind…you know, if you tell the mutt the truth he might start trusting you. He may even begin to favor you.
Because you are the expert at building trust, clearly.
I’m very skilled at building trust. I just see no need to be trustworthy. Ah…I see..the origins of your scars…how amusing.
Under the enchantment of the beast, she does not think she can continue to resist…
Ara, I can release his hold on you but only for a few moments and as soon I do, you must bind him. Repeat after me.
Separate the darkness and its influence on the last of the magical living
It is with a jolt, the darkness is hurled.
Should the beast undertake to influence once again let light be cast upon darkness fastening him to his own shadow.
Bishops, always well prepared. What now?
The next time you attempt to manipulate, you will be scorched by sunlight and at the same time bound to the shadow you cast.
I ‘ve learned more about you than you’d ever let on. It will suffice, for now. For someone who is in such control, it was entertaining.
Enough of your games. The Bishop who came to you, what was her name?
Must be the same one who moments ago came to your aid. The one with a relevant name.
The name, what was it.
She’s dead like all the rest. Prudence. Prudence Bishop.
Why would she offer her blood to you?
Well, that part was all my doing. If the offer is there, I’d never pass on feeding on a Bishop.
In exchange for what?
Think about it. A coven of witches creates a spell to bind, you, an unborn witch to that mutt. A spell affording him power to manipulate nature, to deceive between human and hound form. And they wanted the spell to provide eternal life. The Bishops were a powerful bunch but mortal, they all were.
They needed the blood of an immortal beast, like you. Your blood, it runs in Jayden’s veins.
And in yours, my dear. Clearly you have the power to heal and though you’re not immortal, my blood is also the reason you glow brightly.
Incidentally, your motive for leaving those scars on your face does amuse.
I have little interest in what you find amusing.
You labeled me manipulative but tell me, how much pleasure did you derive from it every time?
Every time you forced those who gave you the marks to look at you? To see you bear the scars they caused to that innocent little girl. Day after day, year after year, they turned away in shame until it was too late for them to apologize. If only they had known, you feel no pain and you hold the power to heal. What’s it like to be filled with such hate?
You should know. It is not as if you are filled with affection.
You are half correct. One would need to be alive and filled with warm blood for any type of emotion. I am undead and incapable of love, or hate. Though sometimes I am slightly amused.
I need to get out of this place.
It’s not time yet. Your mutt is still pacing back and forth outside my door.
You will not find a way out, until he does what he needs to do. I expected a Fox to be more clever but look at how long it took for him to bring you to me. Get comfortable, for I am bound and it is just you and me here now.
And then came the year of waiting…Jayden tried everything to get through that door. He knew, not, why he lingered, for her.
It is pathetic, really. His attempts to come in here, for you. A singular vision he has, and hasn’t a clue. Why have you not told him?
Because it is not what I want.
Your coven believed otherwise. I’ve seen what you want, that mutt will not let this go.
Your secret will not be kept for much longer. Do you find it curious that though Prudence was quick to come to your aid, she left you locked in here with me?
Why would she want to separate you, from him?
He hasn’t the control you do, at first sight of her, he transforms. You realize she will force him to remember what you really are and why you both survived.
I will bring back what you have forgotten but first you must trust.
Remembrance passes between them.
Then came dawn.
Everything will return to you. You will remember…
Jayden, turn back to your other form.
Has your memory of Fox and Man returned?
Yes. I remember. Everything.
I am just like you.
No, Jayden, it is I who was just like you.
But we are of the same kind.
Yes, but the Bishops, they took after your kind.
And Ara she is…
I remember…she transformed for me once…she is different.
And she has always been, but she is very much of our kind.
Ah, Prudence, she did it, she gave the mutt back what he lost. It’s all coming back to him. He remembers you now.
I doubt any Bishop would have confided in you, how do you know this much about us? Did you trick Prudence the same way you tricked me?
You’re partially correct. She was an experienced witch but her mind was weak. When they locked me away in here, the humans and Bishops never considered that I don’t need to be in the same room to see what’s in their mind.
If that is true, then why do your little display with me?
That, well, that was pure entertainment. And hardly a trick. For someone who despises being handled, you didn’t put up much of a fight. Is your aversion only with humans?
How about the mutt, you have it with him?
He has a name use it.
Fine. I’ll call him as such, if you continue to answer my questions.
And you mine.
Very well. Your aversion, it’s not limited to humans, but with “Jayden” as well?
Is this the first time you’ve encountered someone like me?
You do not seem surprised by what I am.
I read all about you.
Right, the Bishops would have prepared you. Your aversion prevents you from wanting what your coven had planned for you. He will never let this go.
How did the Bishops completely miscalculate this one thing. Is it difficult for you to fight against the inclination to transform around him?
It is difficult and painful to control it.
But you transformed while he was in fox form?
Did it cause you pain?
Have you transformed around anyone else?
And around me, what do you feel?
I feel nothing.
Then it should cause you no pain to transform now. Show me.
Ara, don’t. It is a ruse.
Do you not want to know what it is like to transform free of pain? In this room, at this moment, you can transform and you will feel, as you said “nothing”. That is something you want?
Go on then. Show me.
Ara’s distrust lessened, though it was unclear if she was even aware. The beast on the other hand, was very alert.
There you are. As a witch you are strong, but in this form, you’re far more susceptible to my control.
You are a striking creature.
That mutt hasn’t a clue what was right in front of him all this time.
And though Ara felt no pain once she transformed, she realized it was too late to turn back. Something was preventing her from transforming back to human form. Something had gone terribly wrong.
I don’t share your aversion for what comes inherent…I’d never pass on the opportunity to drink from a Bishop…let alone a magnificent one.
He is draining her. You have to bring down the barrier so that I can get in there.
The barrier went down the moment he convinced Ara to transform. We do not have a lot of time. I will hold him back, you grab what is left of Ara.
Ah, the mutt finally makes it through. She was by far the sweetest of the Bishops.
What have you done! I will destroy you.
You are but a young mutt. Do you think you can defeat me by yourself?
I am not alone.
Jayden, take her and run we do not have much time.
Good of you to show yourself this time, Prue. The barrier is down you hardly possess that kind of power in your afterlife to restore it.
There is enough to bind you to this room.
She doesn’t want what you have planned for her.
She is meant to be with her kind.
She will find herself in the last place you want her.
What, here with you? All this time in here has made you mad.
He’s not what she wants.
The last of their kind.
Then came the year of healing.
The Beast knew not what he would set in motion as he drained the blood from Ara in Fox form.
As Ara heals, the Beast finds himself in a trance-like state.
What have you done little witch?
Part 2 Summary Video