As a child, Cinder was unknowingly chosen by Zachariah, an arrogant fallen God who was simply seeking a new plaything. Augustus, a charming yet mysterious Human follower of the Fallen God, was ordered to oversee her progress towards becoming a Fiend, otherwise known as a God's obedient servant. Crushed and heartbroken from her latest losses, Cinder realizes her entire existence has been laid out in front of her, and she's doomed to live as a slave under an unruly God's thumb. Having Cinder as his Fiend, Zachariah believes it will undoubtedly secure his place back on his besieged throne. While Unnaturals and Humans continue to tear each other apart, Augustus realizes that Cinder isn't who they thought she was. Born with terrible genetics and broken by traumatic memories, Cinder can only take so much before she shatters completely. Can she handle the cruelty of love and Gods? And will she ever be free again?
Throughout human history, supernatural beings have existed. Technically only mutant humans, they were once revered and considered god-like. But now, they have been renamed as Unnaturals, and are hunted by radical humans as prey for medical and military experimentation and advancement. Placed in Institutions all over the world, many never make it out alive.
Having enough of the inhumanity and abuse, Rebels have created safe Sanctuaries for the Unnaturals, freeing them from cruel lives in Institutions and helping them carefully re-enter society filled with humans who fear and despise them. However, when one Rebel frees a unique breed of Unnatural that's rarely been seen in the past hundred years, they have no idea what they are getting themselves into...
As with many people who suffer from a haunting past, it is not that uncommon for their mind to wrap all of their pain and anguish in a certain object, in a certain phrase, or in Cinder's case in a certain person. So whenever she is suffering, her mind subconsciously drags up the man who caused her so much pain in order to distract itself, to protect itself. And although she knows it's not real, her rational thinking cannot move past the 'reality' of his presence. Sure there are several other times throughout the book where Cinder is fighting other versions of her dark demons, but I wrote this part specifically to show how deep she is, how far her conscious has drowned in its sorrows. I also wrote in scenes like this to remind everyone that even though Unnaturals are supernatural beings, that Cinder may be a Hellhound, that she may have down some wrong things, she is still 'Human'. She still has her 'Humanity' and is desperately clinging to what remains.
No matter how hard an Unnatural tries to act 'Human', they are still Unnatural, still wolves in sheep's clothing. And as such they must always keep their eyes out for Hunters; Humans paid to catch and kill Unnaturals. These guys can generally be spotted from a distance away as they not only dress like they are prepared to go to war, but often cannot keep their eyes off of their 'shady' targets. Now just because they carry who knows what and are not afraid to terminate their targets doesn't mean that Unnaturals are free to protect themselves after all it is a Human-ran world. No matter the situation it would be the Unnatural who goes down and because of that common knowledge Yalu is already a step ahead in how to approach this type of scenario. However, Cinder deeply afraid of returning to being a test subject is ready to pull the trigger consequences be damned.
Just as with all good things comes with some bad. Hence, Yalu and her sister's backstory. The Vixen sisters are among the hundreds of innocents often dropped off Syndicates in hope of the organization offering sanction from the cruel truth about the world. Naturally it can be seen as a good thing considering Unnaturals are routinely hunted down, however it too can be seen as cold and heartless choice giving up one's child. Yalu who was a teenager at the time already knew why her parent's had made their choice, however Valyerie who was much younger couldn't understand its reasoning and as such has had a hard time figuring out her species and it's abilities despite her elder sisters help. Some things you still need your parents around for. And Cinder who was given over to an Institute as a child can relate, just as the hundreds of other children dropped off at either places in hopes of procuring a better life. In some cases it may seem like the better choice while in others it feels like nothing more than abandonment.
"No two zebras are alike" is often said, and in this world the saying couldn't be more true. As with the Vampiric Syndicate there are many Vampires running around, but no two Vampires have the same abilities. They may all be blood-drinkers with absurd strength and speed who are weak to the sun but each individual is skilled in one ability over the other. Jakob for instance has a strong compulsion, and even the ability to mess with someone's memories regardless of their species. While Viktor also a Vampiric however has the ability to alter time, something 'a bit broader than the traditional abilities'. While Mhykal is just a fluent quick tongued Vampire with average abilities.
In a world where Humans are taking advantage of their Supernatural kin with all of their political, scientific, and military powers, there has to be someone who can stand up to them. In comes the Syndicates, or groups of Unnaturals and even Human Sympathizers who are working to rebel against everything wrong with the world. Syndicates consist of Unnaturals while Sympathizers create Sanctuaries for those who no longer have any humanity left. These organizations are all over the world and they routinely break out Unnaturals from Institutions, as well as help Unnaturals not only adapt but thrive in their cousins' world as their leaders work to change the terrible laws in place. Just like any real protesting group, the work is hard and long but its worth it if it means a better life.
When I first thought of the main character, I wanted to push away from the regular werewolf, vampire species, after all there are hundreds of myths and legends on supernatural creatures so why not think of something else. Hence forth 0497 is a Hellhound. Normally referred to as a Black Dog, or a fire-breathing demon, these beasts represent differing images of dogs in different legends, including some even being capable of shape-changing. So I decided to take bits and pieces from each legend and combine them together, as I do with numerous other species throughout the series. More information regarding her species and purpose will come out as the series unwinds.
For as long as Humans and Unnaturals have lived side by side, Mankind has always found some way to hate their fellow cousins. Sure not everyone despises the supernatural, some are curious and some are even willing to become one, and some aren't. Extremist groups exist as in every era and in this society there are plenty. 0497's parents are no different, raised to believe that Unnaturals are nothing more than Demons and must be expelled. However as with any parent, they aren't willing to put their child through such pain and torture so they instead allow the Doctors to do all of their testing while they commit to smaller prayers and blessings. With fear guiding their rational thinking, it too terrify's 0497, who just as any child is extremely observant to their parents' actions.
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