- Virginia Johnson
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
"It's a horrible day," said Will Stanton. "It's creepy somehow."
On the day before his eleventh birthday, Will and his brother escaped from their noisy, happy house into the quiet English countryside. A black wind was blowing just a bit of snow, but there was more to come, snow and blackness both, for the Dark was rising across the land.
They stopped to get some hay at Dawson's Farm. The farmer took Will aside.
"The Walker is abroad... and this night will be bad, and tomorrow will be beyond imagining."
He slipped him a strange ornament made of black metal, a flat circle quartered by two crossed lines.
"Keep it safe."
Mr. Dawson had always been a kind man, but had never taken any special notice of Will Stanton before.
Then he looked at him so intently the hairs stood up on the back of Will's neck.
Other strange things happened on Midwinter's Eve.
All the animals, from the rabbits to the farm dogs, seemed to be frightened of Will.
Later Will and James watched as a huge flock of rooks attacked an old tramp, their black wings swirling in a savage pattern as they dove down on him. Will had no idea what his circle was or whom Mr. Dawson meant when he spoke of the Walker, but he sensed the changes all around him and felt a dreadful uneasiness when he went to bed that night. The wind howled, and his fear grew to a crescendo. With a smashing sound, the window over his bed broke and fell, letting the Darkness gather into his room. The Darkness sought him to turn him or break him while he was still weak, before his powers could threaten them.
For Will Stanton, born on Midwinter's Day, the seventh son of a seventh son, is the last of the Old Ones. He is the Sign Seeker who must find all six signs to wield the magic that will vanquish the Dark.
Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara
The wars have gone on for centuries. Long ago the Goddess of Darkness fled from the God of Light, and they are enemies. Her many children are born to live a natural life and then die and be born again. Their opponents call them the Ground Spiders. The god's children became the immortal Prince and Princess of Light. They have ruled the kingdom for years, never aging, and continue their battles against their brothers and sisters. There are innocent casualties:
In her dream, Saya was always six years old. Long fingers of flame rose up against the darkness, lighting the sky above. Fire, once a secure and comforting part of her world, now blazed spiteful and triumphant above the safe, warm refuge of her home. The glowing hearth; her room, permeated with the smells of cooking and familiar people; her very own wooden bowl; her mother's lap, soft and round, covered in rough-woven cloth--all were consumed by the flames. The child Saya had somehow managed to find her way to the marsh at the edge of the village, but she could go no farther. Crouched in a clump of dying reeds, she trembled with terror, choking down the hard lump of fear in her throat, unable even to cry.
The dream comes again and again to Saya, ending each time with meeting the beautiful yet terrifying Water Maiden. Afterwards she wakes to find herself safe in the home of her adopted parents. Saya has become a part of the peaceful village of Hashiba and, like the other unmarried girls, will choose her future husband in the upcoming festival of Kagai.
She can think of no village boy she cares for and tells her friends that she is only interested in partnering with Prince Tsukishiro! Impossible, they all laugh, especially Saya, and perhaps for an ordinary girl that would be so. But in this time when gods walk the earth, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Prince of Light would seek out the Goddess' child, lost but not forgotten by her people.