Family Ties - (Book 3 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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31a. - Darkness Falls Pt. 1

York Minster, England…

Evangeline downed another glass of wine as she stared out of the window from the high balcony of the large gothic mansion. A mansion that William had hundreds of mortal men build from scratch.

For her. His love.

And their four children of course.

“Mine. Mine. You are mine.”

William must have thought the words to be romantic. But to Evangeline, those words imprisoned her in a relationship where William was free to take her whenever he wanted. Mind. Body. And soul. She had to constantly remind herself why she stayed. Why she didn’t try to flee again as she did so many times before.

Then she remembered the reason. All four reasons.

Elijah was the eldest of his brothers and the most favored by William. He was obedient. The peacekeeper. The buffer against William’s rage. Respectful of his maker, but still thoughtful of his family who he knew feared William more than anything.

Well... they all feared him. But Elijah was capable of spending the most time with William without falling completely apart. Evangeline admired Elijah’s ability to hide his emotions in the face of abuse and pure evil.

Much unlike Alexander.

A small smile came to Evangeline’s distressed face as she thought of her most empathetic son. The son with the soft heart. He who tried to hold onto his humanity the most. Alexander’s sensitivity was both his strength and his weakness. His strength in that mortals seemed to trust him the most. It was Alexander who would immediately feel when Evangeline was in distress. Who would feel her pain after William had just gotten through abusing her. Who would bring her comfort as she cried into her son’s arms.

His weakness... in that Alexander absolutely hated, and yet was completely terrified of William. William knew his son’s vulnerabilities. All it took was ripping one of Alexander’s mortal friends to shreds in front of his very eyes to break him. Perhaps that’s why Alexander distanced himself from mortals altogether.

And then there was Cole. The rebel.

Cole caused William the most opposition. Quick to fight. Quick to lash out. Quick to disobey. And his body often suffered from such insolence. Evangeline had spent many nights trying to calm her impetuous son. Convinced that he could take on William if he just ‘pushed his body beyond its means’. Only to end up broken and nearly dead at the feet of his mocking creator.

William had trained all of his sons to become ruthless killers since their rebirth until the Blackbourne family became a scourge on all of England. And Evangeline felt helpless watching her sons fail to retain the humanity they so desperately tried to cling to. The same humanity that William made sure to beat out of them.

It was with Peter that Evangeline had drawn the line. When William caught them on their 2nd escape, Peter was already suicidal and starting to lose his mind. She was certain that if William did to Peter what he did to the others, Peter would surely go mad. It didn’t matter to her how many times William took his frustration for her defiance out on her body. Peter was off-limits.

She ground her teeth in anger as she remembered how William pinned her to the wall with a dagger in each hand as he raped her from behind. All for sending Peter to his room before William could get a hold of him.

Evangeline often had to remind herself that her suffering was worth the safety of her sons. They weren’t even biologically related, but they were still connected. They were still hers. Her boys. She loved them with all her heart, and she knew they would lay their life down for her in kind.

They had tried to escape William several times before. But he would always find them.

And each time, it was worse. In their latest capture, he made them all watch as he brutally skinned Alexander alive with a dull blade, just enough to bring him close to death but not enough to kill him. Simply for trying to hide Peter from being found upon William’s arrival. Evangeline had cried more than Alexander did as he held her in his bleeding arms exposed at the muscle, trying to convince her that he was okay.

The scars that William left on his ‘family’ were never physical. Never visible. Never seen. For vampires physically healed. What didn’t heal were the emotional and psychological scars of William traumatizing them into submission.

Evangeline swallowed down her anger. She clutched the empty wine glass tightly until it shattered in her hands, cutting huge gashes into her palm. She tightened her grip as the broken glass pushed further until it stuck out through the other side of her hand. She gasped as she reveled in the pain. For it was better than the agonizing pain she felt in her heart.

A maid came running frantically into the bedroom. “Madam! Are you alright?!” she asked, rushing to Evangeline.

“I’m fine,” Evangeline said curtly. “Bring me more wine.”

The maid looked at Evangeline’s hand bleeding profusely. “But... Madam, your hand-” she started.

“I SAID BRING ME MORE FUCKING WINE!” Evangeline growled. She flashed in front of the maid grabbing her by her neck and pinned her to the wall. The maid looked on absolutely terrified at Evangeline’s blood-red eyes and sharp fangs. “Or else I’ll just drink you!” Evangeline threatened, tightening her grasp on the maid’s neck.

Elijah came rushing into the room to see the poor maid’s feet dangling as Evangeline pinned her to the wall. “Mother,” Elijah said, carefully grabbing Evangeline’s hand and pulling it off of the maid’s neck. The maid fell to the floor gasping for air. “Irene, would you be so kind as to bring Madam Evangeline more wine,” Elijah said politely to the woman still looking up in fear.

“Y-yes, Master Elijah,” Irene stammered before she scrambled to her feet. She ran out of the room nearly knocking into Alexander who was giving Peter a piggyback ride.

“Woah!” Alexander said. “Careful, Irene.”

“F-forgive me, Master Alexander. Master Peter,” she said, bowing her head frantically before she took off.

Elijah turned back to Evangeline who sat down on her bed, still heaving in anger. “Down, Alexander,” Peter said, tapping Alexander’s shoulder. Alexander let Peter go as Peter hopped off of his back and walked up to Evangeline. “Mother,” Peter said, taking Evangeline’s bleeding hand. “The audacity to lecture me for self-harm when you do the same.”

“It was an accident,” Evangeline sighed.

Peter held up her hand to show the glass sticking out through the other end. “This was purposeful. Do not lie to me,” Peter said, plucking the broken glass out of her palm.

“Honestly, Mother, Peter is right.” Elijah knelt down in front of her and wrapped her hand with a towel.

“It will heal, Elijah,” she said with exasperation.

“Stop fighting us already,” Peter snapped. He hopped on the bed and sat down next to her. He lay his head on her arm as Elijah wiped the blood from her hand.

Alexander leaned back against the dresser, staring at his mother as he analyzed her slightly torn dress. “He did it again... didn’t he,” Alexander said softly.

Evangeline looked up at Alexander startled before she shook her head. “Don’t, Alexander.”

“Did what?” Peter asked.

“Nothing,” Evangeline said quickly. “What are you all doing up here? Where is your brother?”

“We wanted to speak with you,” Elijah said, standing to his feet.

“Alright...? About what?” she asked. “And where is Cole?”

“We’re ending this, Mother,” Alexander said. “Tonight.”

Evangeline looked at them confused. “Ending what exactly?”

“William. We’re going to kill him,” Elijah said tightly.

Evangeline looked at them startled before she chuckled. “You boys have gone mad.”

Suddenly, Cole barged through the door carrying four wooden stakes. “Are you ready?” Cole asked, handing Alexander, Peter, and Elijah each a stake.

“You really have gone mad!” Evangeline shrieked.

“If securing our freedom is madness, then I’m perfectly content with being fucking insane,” Cole sneered.

“Boys...” Evangeline deeply exhaled as she put her head in her hands. “Your father has been preparing for this gathering for a week. Do not give him a reason to be angry.”

“You think we jest?” Elijah asked. “Mother, I assure you, we are very serious about this and have been planning for quite some time. It’s time to put an end to his tyranny.”

“Elijah,” Evangeline said, shaking her head. “You’re supposed to be the logical one, not encouraging your brothers on this ridiculous suicide mission.”

“There is nothing more logical than fighting for our survival,” Elijah insisted. “Enough is enough!”

“We’ll take the son of a bitch out tonight!” Cole growled. “We’ve already planned it out. We’ve practiced countless times.”

Evangeline shook her head. “And you’ve gotten my Peter involved! Heavens!”

“I can take care of myself, Mother,” Peter quipped. “I’m not a child.”

Evangeline sighed as she looked at her sons. “You cannot take on your father-”

“He’s not our father!” Cole snapped.

“Please try to see reason. I promised you boys that I would protect you,” Evangeline insisted.

“Well, now we’re protecting you,” Alexander said. “I can’t do it anymore, Mother. I won’t. I won’t let him rape you every single fucking nigh-”

“ALEXANDER!” Evangeline shouted, startling all four of them. She looked at Alexander in shock when she noticed the blood tears leaking from his frustrated, enraged eyes. She had made sure to cover her mouth to stifle her screams of agony and pain. It destroyed her to know that Alexander still heard her cries. “I’m... I’m sorry, Alexander, I...” she looked down as she put her head in her hands. “I can’t allow anything to happen to you.”

“It won’t,” Elijah said. He sat down next to her and gently grabbed her hand. “Just let us take care of this. We will be free of him once and for all.”

~

Evangeline took her time descending the stairs of the large estate. “Hurry now, darling. You know I don’t like to be kept waiting,” William’s voice rang from the large dining room. The large estate was bustling with elder vampires whom William had invited and the poor unfortunate mortal slaves who tended to them.

“I have to say, William, I am truly impressed. It’s remarkable the expansion and influence of your power here in England,” one of the older vampires acknowledged. They were seated at the dining room table scattered with wine glasses filled with thickened human blood.

“Thank you, Cedric. Of course, I didn’t do it alone. I have my wonderful family to thank for that,” William grinned proudly. He gestured to his sons gathered at the far end of the room, away from everyone else.

Peter sat on the couch next to Alexander who was perched on the arm of the old-English chair. Cole leaned against the wall trying to cover the deepening scowl on his face. And Elijah stood protectively in front of his brothers with his arms folded behind his back, keeping track of the conversation going on before them.

“Ah yes,” Cedric mused. “I heard about how easily they conquered Liverpool and Manchester. No easy feat. How do you do it?”

“Simple,” William smirked as he drank from the glass and licked the blood from his lips. “They play on each other’s strengths. Elijah is a genius who can outwit any vampire you put in front of him. You should see the schemes he comes up with in a matter of seconds. Oh, to see inside that brilliant mind of his. Alexander has the stealth of a cat. He’s practically invisible both in sight and in sound making him the perfect assassin. And Cole is one of the fastest vampires in existence. Has taken out a league of men within seconds. I am truly proud of my sons.”

It was moments like this that Elijah, Alexander, and Cole felt the brunt of William’s psychological abuse. The part that made them question everything. When William would shower them with adulation and recognition as if he truly did care about them.

“And the littlest one?” Cedric asked.

“Peter?” William scoffed. “I’m afraid the boy’s off-limits, according to their mother. A minor inconvenience to keep the cunt satisfied,” William chuckled. And just like that, the confusion disappeared. Cole growled angrily and tightened his fist as he stepped forward before Evangeline appeared at his side and gently touched his hand.

“My, don’t you boys look ever-so dashing,” Evangeline said. She wore a fake smile that they knew she gave regularly to placate them long enough not to do something stupid.

William looked up at her sharply. “There she is...” he grinned. “Come, darling. Sit.” Alexander’s jaw tensed as he watched his mother walk to the table with such regality in the face of evil. She calmly sat down next to the bane of her existence and slightly flinched when William touched her hand, holding it to his lips. “You look beautiful as ever, Evangeline,” he said, eyeing her.

She appeased him with a sweet smile and immediately grabbed the wine. Evangeline must have gone through 15 glasses by the time the gathering had concluded and still she found she wasn’t drunk enough.

“Mother,” Alexander said, coming to her side. “You should head to bed. We’ll... see our guests off.” Evangeline looked into Alexander’s bright blue eyes to see pure determination and a tinge of anger. She stood from her seat and slowly walked to the stairs, but she couldn’t ascend all the way when she saw her sons round on William.

William eyed the three of them standing in front of him, the same flicker of anger consistent in their glare. “Is there something you wish to discuss?” William asked, sipping from his glass of blood.

“Not quite,” Elijah quipped.

Just then, Peter snuck up behind him and quickly slashed the tendons and muscles at the back of William’s ankles and knees. Just as William fell to the ground, Cole appeared behind William, to grab his arm and ram him in the back with the stake. Alexander quickly flashed to the other side and jammed his stake into William’s side. Elijah knelt in front of William in seconds and nearly rammed the stake into his heart before Evangeline screamed.

“Mother?!” Elijah said, looking at her worriedly. Evangeline grasped at her back as she slid down the wall leaving a trail of blood on the white marble.

“What’s happening?!” Peter shouted as he ran towards her. “Mother!” But before he could make it to her, Peter fell to his knees panting. He clutched his side to see blood on his hands.

“Oh my children,” William chuckled as he bled from his wounds. “I must admit I’m quite impressed. This was... nearly well executed.”

“....Elijah...” Alexander said, gesturing to Elijah’s back. Elijah cringed as he stood up and looked to see a huge spot of blood on the back of his jacket. Cole and Alexander soon noted the same injuries forming on their own bodies and looked up to see Evangeline bleeding from her waist as she pulled Peter into her embrace. Both of them bleeding in the corner on the floor.

“Attempting to kill both your mother and your brother,” William tsked. “That’s quite naughty.”

“What did you do?!” Elijah snarled as he rounded on William.

William threw his head back in laughter. “Do you think I had you fools raiding Manchester purely for sport?” The brothers exchanged uncertain glances as William continued to laugh. “The witches of Manchester were more than generous with their witchcraft. I gave them samples of your blood, and now I see that their spell works,” William grinned. “I got tired of you lot trying to escape me. You seem to forget that I own you. In every way imaginable. You are all bound to me by blood. If I die... you all die.”

Everyone looked at William in pure, utter shock as Alexander and Cole dropped his arms in disbelief. William continued to laugh as if he had just made the funniest joke. He stood to his feet and readjusted his jacket. “My, this was fun,” William grinned. “Now I know what you four do when I’m not around. Perhaps I’ve been too soft.”

“You fucking monster!” Cole growled once he snapped out of his shock. He charged after William, but William grabbed him by the neck before he could attack.

“Have you forgotten so quickly?” William asked. “I am faster than you.” He violently slammed Cole’s face into the wall until a loud crack could be heard as he dropped him to the ground.

Alexander snarled and lunged for William, but William outmaneuvered him as he pivoted behind him and snapped his spine with a tight embrace. “Stronger than you,” William sneered as he dropped Alexander’s broken body to the floor.

Elijah’s nails elongated as he reached for William. But a quick swipe prevented his attack. Elijah’s eyes widened as blood poured from his split neck before he fell to the ground on his knees. “Smarter than you,” William said, looking down at Elijah who was choking on his own blood.

William looked up at Evangeline with fire in his eyes. “BETTER than you.”

Evangeline clutched Peter tightly to her chest as she watched William walk over to Cole. Bleeding from his head, Cole tried to get up. But, William grabbed Cole’s fractured head and dragged his face along the glass on the ground as Cole screamed out in pain.

“I know what you’ll do before you do it. I know how you think. I know all your weaknesses,” William seethed. Evangeline closed her eyes shut as she clutched Peter closer, trying not to fall apart from Cole’s heart-wrenching screams.

Alexander struggled to grab William’s foot and pull him away from Cole. But William knelt down and rammed his hand into Alexander’s already broken back. Peter screamed into Evangeline’s chest as their cries nearly drowned out Alexander’s own.

“I picked each of you as my own for a reason. I know everything there is to know about you. I made you into what you are. Do you really think you can kill me?” William said snidely as he stood to his feet.

Evangeline hid Peter behind her as William stalked up to her. Peter peeked from behind her in fear of William’s next move. “William, please,” she begged as she backed into the corner with Peter behind her.

William violently grabbed her by the throat and lifted her up in the air. “You will not BREATHE unless I will it,” William sneered. Evangeline struggled to breathe as Peter stuffed his face into the back of her dress, waiting for it all to stop. It always did. After they were all broken.

William dropped Evangeline to the floor as she gasped for air. Peter quickly fell to her side to check on her before William yanked him up. “NO! WILLIAM, PLEASE!” Evangeline cried as she scrambled after them.

“He is not a child. And he won’t be treated like one,” William said as he dragged Peter along.

Evangeline’s eyes went blood red and her fangs elongated. She let out a ferocious growl, as she leaped for William. But he grabbed her mid-air and snapped her neck with a flick of his wrist before tossing her body to the ground.

Peter looked at his unconscious mother in shock as blood tears spilled from his eyes. “Don’t worry. They will heal,” William said, picking Peter up again. “As for you...”

“No! Alexander! Cole! Elijah!! MOTHER!” Peter cried before the doors closed.

~

Elijah stared into the mocking eyes of the devil. The monster he couldn’t escape.

“Well?” William said, breaking Elijah out of his thoughts. “Aren’t you going to say you missed me too?” Elijah’s jaw tensed with deep-seated anger as no words escaped his lips. William chuckled, noting the bitter hatred in Elijah’s gaze. He walked over to Alice. “Stop for a moment, darling. I can’t hear myself think with all that screaming,” William said.

Alice swallowed hard and nodded to the other witches to stop the shock they had been dealing to Kiara. Kiara’s screams of agony ceased as she collapsed to the ground unconscious.

Alexander felt the lump in his throat harden as he looked at Kiara’s immobile body. “Kiara...” he choked out as blood tears escaped his eyes.

Nick’s wolf growled angrily, prepared to attack the witches before Marshala whistled at him. He looked in her direction to see her face was wet with tears as she quickly shook her head. “Don’t,” she whispered. “They’re not doing this of their own free will. Let me talk to them first.”

Nick’s wolf growled as he reluctantly stepped back. He felt angry and restricted. He wanted to attack William, but Elijah was already signaling with his hand behind his back to wait. “FOR WHAT?!” he thought angrily.

“Release my son as well,” William ordered. The barrier dome of energy surrounding Alexander slowly dissipated as Alexander stood to his feet. He immediately ran for Kiara before an energy barrier blocked his path. “Really now?” William smirked. “I travel the world for ages to find my family, and my son can’t even be bothered to acknowledge me. Instead, he prioritizes his pet. Come now, Alexander. Let your father get a look at his mighty creation.”

Alexander clenched his fists and grind his teeth as he slowly turned around, glaring at William. He felt his rage flare up for the man he had only dreamed of killing, standing in his line of sight. “There’s that look I know so well,” William grinned.

Marshala glanced at Alice who was watching William cautiously, her lip quivering with fear. “Alice,” Marshala whispered. “You have to let us go. Whatever deal you made with William, he’s only lying to you.”

“I didn’t make a deal, Marshala,” Alice said tightly. “He... he has Amy...” He had her 12-year old niece... This was way more personal for Alice. Marshala felt her throat dry up as she tried to reassess the situation.

“Okay, but... Alice, we can help you. We can help get Amy back. But you have to let us go,” Marshala insisted.

“We can’t,” Lillian snapped. “We can’t take that risk. We’ve already lost too much.”

Marshala looked at them confused before it clicked. “Roger? Lya?”

Alice choked down a sob as she shook her head. “I’m not losing anyone else, Marshala. I’m sorry...” Marshala looked helplessly at Kiara lying on the ground. She still hadn’t moved. Nick’s wolf stalked over to Leo who was also passed out on the ground. He nuzzled his naked human form with his furry nose as a whimper escaped his mouth.

“So, this is what you two have been doing all this time? Playing house with your pets?” William scoffed. “Did you really think I wouldn’t find you? I must admit, Elijah, having your witch do a cloaking spell over your estate was clever. And if not for Melissa’s spawn generating so much... excitement... I might never have found you.”

Elijah glanced at Marshala before looking back at William. “Just leave them alone,” Elijah said tightly. “We’ll leave with you. Alexander and I both. Just let the rest of these people be. They have no quarrel with you.”

William chuckled amused. “Oh, Elijah... An ant has no quarrel with a boot.”

Alexander noted Elijah’s subtle hand gesture behind his back and heard the low hum in the air. He used his keen sight and saw a horde of ferals approaching, led by vampires. “Shit...”

~

Kiara slowly opened her eyes. She could hear the low mumble of voices around her. The hum of the energy barrier still surrounded her. She blinked, trying to remember where she was as she stared at the base of a large tree. She glanced down at her hand that was severely scarred with what looked like electricity burns. And then she remembered.

“A...Alexander...” she coughed. “Leo...”

Alexander’s ear twitched when he heard Kiara’s faint voice. His heart was a mix of relief and fear. Happy that she was alive enough to speak but unsure of just how injured she was. His body still ached from the pain dealt to her by the Durand coven.

Kiara slowly turned on her side until she met Leo’s blue gaze as he lay still. “Angel...” he mouthed. “Are you okay?”

She slowly nodded before she looked up, trying to assess what was going on. Marshala was still locked within an energy barrier dome. Lillian and Alice seemed to be distraught as they still used their magic to keep them trapped. Several other witches surrounded them and from the sound of it, more trouble was on the way. Her eyes darted as she saw Alexander and Elijah facing...

Her eyes widened in shock. “William...” she whispered.

Kiara tried to remember what happened before she was attacked. Alice had brought her to the burial site of the LaFleurs. Everything else happened so quickly as she was soon surrounded by the coven she thought she would be able to call family. She was shocked to her core with a pain so intense she wasn’t sure how she survived it. She looked down at the dirt ground and saw the eroded headstone.

Melissa LaFleur

“This is it,” Kiara whispered to herself. “You can break the curse, Kiara. You can still put an end to this. You can save everyone. “

“Are you really asking me to bargain for what’s already mine?” William chuckled. “Elijah, you’re supposed to be the brilliant one.”

Marshala panicked as she heard the ferals approaching. “God, help us...” she breathed out as fear tightened her chest. Nick growled as he stood on all four paws and paced in front of her protectively, prepared to take on the massive impending threat. Kiara watched as Leo jumped up and quickly transformed back into his wolf, startling everyone.

“I nearly forgot your mutts were still here,” William said, looking at Nick and Leo. With William distracted, Elijah instinctively ducked as Alexander flew over his head and grabbed William by the neck. He ran as fast he could, shoving William through the thick forest and away from Kiara and Marshala until he smashed him into the base of a large tree. Elijah nodded at Nick before he quickly ran after Alexander and William.

~

“NO!” Alice shouted as she dropped her guard watching William get attacked. The energy barrier surrounding Marshala fell and Marshala immediately conjured a spell that threw Alice backward. Lillian turned towards Marshala prepared to fight.

“LILLIAN!” Marshala shouted. “There are hundreds of ferals headed our way! We cannot afford to turn on each other!”

Lillian panicked as her eyes darted between Alice on the ground and Marshala. “The girl stays,” Lillian said, keeping the energy barrier around Kiara. She quickly blew a few ferals away from Marshala before they could attack. Nick and Leo clashed with the first round of vampires that attacked as they tore them to pieces. Marshala backed away with the other witches as they used her magic to fight them off.

Kiara looked around at all the chaos. Her heart beat fast in her chest as she watched Leo maul down a vampire. “Come on, Kiara!” she said to herself as she closed her eyes shut. She raised her wrist to her mouth and cringed as she tore a chunk of her flesh from her wrist with her teeth until she bled. Holding her bleeding wrist above the headstone, she started to chant the incantation that Melissa had taught her as her blood coated the ground.

Marshala tripped backward, falling on her butt as the ground started to shake beneath her. The clouds above rumbled loudly and lightning decorated the sky as a hard rain started to fall. She glanced at a kneeling Kiara who was chanting in a different language as her hair floated around her as if there was no gravity surrounding her.

Blood droplets started to ooze from Kiara’s pores as a bright wispy fire emanated from her fingertips and danced around her hands. “I call on my ancestors!” Kiara cried out. “On every LaFleur before me, that was stolen from this world before your time. Hear me! Right what has been wronged! Lend me your power that I may bring peace to our people again!”

Elijah and Alexander persisted in their attack of William as they kept him pinned between them, smashing him into another boulder. Alexander snarled as he threw a fist, but William caught his hand. “You’ve improved greatly, Alexander,” William smirked. “I’m so proud.”

He yanked Alexander forward before kicking him hard in the chest, sending him flying backward. William quickly ducked a fist from Elijah but wasn’t fast enough to duck his second punch that landed square in his jaw. Elijah punched William in the face several times and elbowed him in the shoulder, sending him face-first into the ground. He looked past William to see a horde of vampires and ferals headed their way. “Alexander!” Elijah shouted.

“I’m on it!” Alexander snarled as he flew past William and Elijah, headed straight for the ferals.

William chuckled. “As if you can take me on your own.” He grabbed Elijah’s foot and yanked him down before grabbing his head and slamming it into the base of the tree.

Leo glanced at Kiara to see blood droplets forming on her face as a fire-like wind surrounded her. He snarled at a few ferals headed her direction and immediately ran them down before they could get to her. He growled ferociously as he stood protectively in front of her, keeping the ferals at bay.

Leo opened his large jaw, ready to tear the head off of a feral before the feral started to groan in pain. Leo’s paws moved backward as he analyzed the feral to see the face contort to that of a person. Or rather... a vampire.

Marshala looked on in shock as the ferals they were fighting started to turn back into their normal vampiric form. The rain slowly stopped as the light of the moon shined bright. “She... she did it,” Alice said in awe.

Elijah came flying backward from the forest as his body skidded on the ground. “Elijah!” Marshala shouted as she scrambled towards him.

She knelt down next to him and touched his bleeding face that was already healing. “I’m alright, mon coeur,” Elijah said, quickly sitting up. “Stay behind me.”

Elijah pushed Marshala behind him and got ready to attack William again when he noticed all the vampires that were once ferals. “She did it, Elijah!” Marshala said, grabbing the back of his jacket. “She broke the curse! Kiara broke the curse!”

The barrier surrounding Kiara disappeared as Alexander quickly arrived in front of her and Leo. “Leo?! Kiara!!” Alexander blurted.

Kiara had been immensely drained and nearly collapsed if Alexander had not grabbed her. She looked up at Alexander and smiled. “Hey, you. Long time no see,” she chuckled weakly.

Alexander breathed a sigh of relief as he wiped the blood from her face. “You did it, iubita mea. You saved everyone!” Alexander said.

“Everyone?” she smiled. Alexander smiled with relief as he firmly pressed his lips to hers.

“That’s all very sweet,” William said, walking out from the forests wiping his hands on his pants. “Welcome back from your deranged, maddened state,” he said to the vampires.

“We are free!” one of the vampires said in awe, still analyzing their bodies. “I can speak. I can think!”

“And I’m sure you’re famished,” William said, gesturing to the witches.

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Alexander growled, turning to William. “She just SAVED them! They owe her their lives!”

“Oh, Alexander,” William chuckled condescendingly. “Still so emotional. Still so naive. Who do you think brought these ferals here, to begin with? They already knew they would be freed because I told them so.” Alexander glanced at Elijah who shared the same look of confusion. “Am I not generous?” William said, turning to the vampires. “Am I not an immortal of my word?”

“Listen to me,” Elijah said, firmly to the vampires. “William is manipulating you. Whatever he promised you, it is a lie. It’s what he does. These witches saved you from an eternal life as a feral.”

“And yet, it is the fault of these same witches why you were a feral, to begin with,” William said to the vampires. “So, what is this really? Some sort of penitence for their own misjudgment?” William walked up to one of the vampires and laid a friendly hand on their shoulder. “I remember a time when witches revered vampires.”

“It wasn’t reverence, it was fear!” Elijah snapped.

William grinned at Elijah. “Same thing, son.” He turned back to the vampires. “This is why witches were meant to be kept in their place. Lest they forget and commit follies such as this. How long have you spent wandering this world as mindless animals with no control of your body or thought? Reduced to a dolt.”

“Marshala promised to fulfill this treaty for the sake of peace and the safety of all!” Elijah said angrily. “The witches have been sympathetic to your cause despite the genocide you committed against their kind! Marshala and all other witches have made good on their promises! As you should make good on yours!”

“I made no such promise...” one vampire spoke out. “For I was a feral... for forty... nine years...” he snarled. The hundreds of other vampires surrounding them hummed in agreement. William grinned.

Marshala swallowed hard with apprehension once she realized that Elijah’s words were not being received. She clutched his hand as he moved her further behind him. Nick looked back at Leo who was standing next to Alexander and in front of Kiara, communicating with their eyes that things were about to get way worse.

“Elijah has been the head vampire of his territory for years... sworn to protect his own,” William continued. Elijah’s jaw tensed as his angry blue eyes followed his father. “And yet, how many of your kind suffered at his hand... to protect... what? A witch? The bloody wolves?!” Snarling and hissing could be heard as all eyes turned on Elijah. “My dear, noble son,” William smiled mockingly at Elijah. “I don’t believe I ever taught you that.”

William finally glanced at Kiara, and a sinister, hungry grin decorated his face. Leo barked angrily as Alexander held Kiara behind him. “You stay the fuck away from her!” Alexander snapped.

William chuckled as he turned back to the vampires. “And there you have it,” he said. “A witch doesn’t even have to use her magic to manipulate our kind. Look what these two have done to my sons? They’re better off as ferals if you ask me.” Elijah and Alexander exchanged tense looks as William gave them a challenging glare. Alexander further blocked Kiara from the vampires’ view.

“Our biggest mistake was not taking care of the problem when it first occurred. Allowing these witches to think they have power over us,” William said, turning back to Elijah and Alexander. “It’s time for a new slate. We will not make the same mistake again.”

Elijah looked at his father, almost pleading, as he shook his head. “William... Don’t.”

William grinned menacingly. “Kill them all. Leave no witch alive. But don’t touch the girl. I will kill her myself.”

“LIKE HELL YOU WILL!” Alexander growled as he charged at his father with an intense rage.

“Alexander!” Elijah and Kiara shouted at the same time.

~*~

Kiara sneered as she used her magic to toss several vampires into the air before they could touch the other witches. “FORM A CIRCLE!” Marshala ordered loudly. “It’s the most effective way to defend ourselves!” The women quickly ran into a circle, using their magic to fight off the vampires. Meanwhile, Leo and Nick tore through groups of vampires at a time.

“It’s not like fighting ferals,” Marshala said to Kiara next to her. “Ferals had no control over their movements. They were just led by their hunger. Vampires are smart, calculated, and far more dangerous. Be careful.”

“I’m not worried,” Kiara said seriously. She maneuvered her hands, sending an entire wave of vampires flying backward. They all caught on fire mid-air and quickly disintegrated.

“What the-!” Alice said, looking on in shock. Kiara moved quickly, breaking out of the circle as she sent waves of fire into the crowd of vampires, burning them up where they stood. Marshala stared in shock as Kiara moved so effortlessly that she almost felt useless. “She’s... she’s incredible,” Alice said. “But there’s too many of them. We won’t survive the night.”

“Ugh! You mortal witches are SUCH Debbie Downers!”

Marshala jumped startled to see Makiko standing right next to her. “MAKIKO?!” Marshala gawked.

“Hi, Marshala!” Makiko waved. She spun speedily around her, making her dizzy. “Bye, Marshala!” she waved again before she ran through the herd of vampires, taking each one out.

“Hope we’re not too late.” Marshala looked up to see Gina in a bright red kimono jump from a tree and land on a vampire’s shoulder as she ripped his head off. “You know I don’t use mortal contraptions. But Makiko has this thing called a... tweeter?” Gina said confused as she ripped the arm off of another vampire.

“TWITTER!” Makiko shouted, laughing. She playfully flipped in the air, from vampire to vampire.

“Whatever,” Gina rolled her eyes. “I swear this is the most fun she’s had in decades. Little weirdo.”

“Wait, I’m confused,” Marshala said. “How did you know where we were?”

“I’m a vampire witch, Marshala. I know everything,” Gina smirked. Marshala gave her a sarcastic look before Gina broke into a grin. “Rhea told me you got yourselves into some deep shit. You should be happy to see me,” Gina said, nudging her in the shoulder.

“I am!” Marshala said quickly. “I’m just surprised.”

“As am I,” Ben said, pulling the heart out of a vampire’s chest before dropping it to the floor. Ben nodded to his companion Eddie to continue fighting as he strolled up to Marshala and Gina.

“Oh god,” Gina groaned. “If I knew you were going to show up, I would have stayed home.”

“You should have, for both our sake,” Ben quipped.

“Ben?” Marshala asked hesitantly as she ducked from an arm flying in the air. “What are you-”

Ben pointed. Marshala looked towards the forest and saw Rhea riding on Levi’s wolf and Ava riding on Akamu’s wolf with the entire pack trailing behind them. They immediately started attacking without saying a word as if the direction was already made clear.

“You lot are a strange group of contrabands,” Ben murmured before he disappeared.

“Marshala!” Rhea screamed as she immediately ran into her embrace.

“What are you guys doing here?!” Marshala asked, surprised.

“What do you think?!” Rhea said, hugging her tightly. Nick howled in celebration at Akamu’s presence as Leo and Levi ran, jumping into the large crowd of vampires together.

~

Kiara managed a small, relieved smile to see Rhea and Ava arrive with an entire wolf pack. Her eyes quickly darted to Alexander and Elijah both trying to take on their father. But it still looked as if they were losing. She started to run towards them before Ben quickly blocked her.

“This is not your fight, little witch,” Ben said to her. “...it’s theirs.”

“And who exactly are you?” Kiara asked with a quirked brow.

Ben glanced back at Elijah and sighed. He grabbed a vampire before it could attack Kiara and crushed its skull in his hand. “Someone who is... trying to be a better friend to a loyal one...” he said.

Kiara looked at him curiously before she heard Alice scream. She prepared to go help her but Ben was faster. Alice used her magic to fight two vampires off of her that had cornered her. She closed her eyes shut before she felt a sharp wind and fell to the ground. Trying to catch her breath she saw the two vampires on the ground, headless.

“Alice.”

Alice looked up to see Ben crouch down in front of her with his hand extended. She sucked her teeth and stood on her own. Ben retracted his hand with a regretful sigh. “You’re still beautiful, Alice...”

Alice rolled her eyes as she walked past him. “And you’re still a heartless asshole, Benjamin.”

Alexander and Elijah moved in sync with each other as they kept after William, dodging vampires as they went. But William’s laughter only mocked them. He backhanded Elijah in the face hard, sending him to the ground and shoved his nails into Alexander’s waist. Alexander growled, ignoring the pain as he continued to slash at William.

~

Kiara grasped anxiously at the sudden excruciating pain in her side. “Alexander!” She looked around her at all the fighting. Wolves against vampires against witches. It was chaotic. It looked like the war they had been trying to avoid. “LEO!” she shouted.

Leo snapped his head up from mauling a vampire and quickly ran towards Kiara. She knelt down next to him and stroked his thick blonde fur as he lovingly nuzzled her face. “We have to find Alexander, Leo,” she said, rubbing her nose against his. “We have to help him.”

Leo lowered his back legs, allowing Kiara to climb on top of him. He quickly stood up and took off into the densest part of the forests, towards Alexander’s scent.

~

“You fight with such hatred, Alexander,” William said as Alexander shoved him into the ground.

“Because I fucking hate you!” Alexander seethed as he jammed his claws into William’s chest.

“You do realize that if you kill me, you’ll die too,” William said.

“It’s been decades,” Alexander said as his eyes burned red. “That spell died with the witch you enslaved.”

“So you think,” William smirked.

“So I know!” Alexander growled, trying to shove his nails further into William’s chest. William grabbed Alexander and flipped him on his back before a bright flame pushed him off of Alexander. William looked up to see Kiara riding a large blonde wolf. She moved her hands, sending balls of fire at the vampires heading towards them.

Leo moved seamlessly between the trees, dodging vampires before they had a chance to reach them as Kiara sent them flying in the air in a ball of fire. Kiara saw William stalking towards Alexander. “LEO!” Kiara shouted. Leo barked in kind and picked up his pace, heading straight for William. Kiara raised her hands and sent another large flame after William.

“So she comes to me,” William grinned as he dodged Kiara’s attack. She had a determined look in her eye that excited him. “This should be fun. You can watch as I kill her. That will be your first lesson.”

“No!” Alexander screamed. He tried to reach for William, but he was too late. William appeared in front of Kiara, grabbing her by her blouse and smacked Leo so hard that he smashed him into a tree.

“Now, I can finally end this filthy bloodline,” William snarled as his fangs elongated.

Kiara’s eyes flickered green as she grabbed his face between her palms. “Try me, asshole,” she snarled as her hands started to burn his face. But Elijah quickly grabbed her out of William’s grasp as Alexander tackled William to the ground again.

“Stay here, Kiara!” Elijah ordered as he quickly left to help Alexander. She was amazed at the speed of Elijah and Alexander as they attacked William. She was even more amazed at how William was able to fend them both off.

“Enough games,” William said, grabbing them both by their throats. “Once I am done with the both of you, you will see-” But before William could finish, he dropped both Alexander and Elijah as he was pinned to a tree with a dagger in both hands. He struggled for air and looked into the familiar set of sharp red eyes, and distinctly long fangs he never thought he’d ever see again.

“You will never lay another hand on my sons. EVER AGAIN!” Evangeline snarled as she angrily tossed William to the ground.

Elijah and Alexander stared up from the ground in shock as they watched Evangeline stalk towards William. “M-...Mother?!” Alexander breathed out.

Elijah couldn’t believe his eyes till he felt someone grab his arm. “Get up, Elijah,” Cole said, helping him to his feet.

Elijah was speechless as he looked at Cole. “She... she’s-”

Cole grinned. “Yes. She’s awake.”

Peter ran towards Alexander and grabbed his hand as he tried to pull him to his feet. “Come on, Alexander! Don’t just sit there!” Peter said, tugging on Alexander’s sleeve.

Kiara tore her eyes away from Evangeline. She scrawled towards Leo who was slowly getting up. “Are you okay, Leo?” she asked. He nodded and gestured with his head for her to climb back on top of him. She quickly mounted him and watched Cole and Elijah hold William by his arms while Evangeline shoved something into William’s chest.

~

Nick snapped the neck of a vampire before Marshala came running toward him. She got down on her knees and tightly hugged his large furry head. “We did it, Nicholas!” Marshala cried into his black fur. Nick pawed backward and licked her face.

Kiara emerged from the forest riding Leo’s wolf and saw several vampires surrendering at Gina and Ben’s feet. Everyone looked up in shock to see Evangeline emerge with Cole and Elijah holding up an unconscious William while Alexander held Peter’s hand.

“... Evangeline...”

Her name floated through the air as everyone stared at her as if they had seen a ghost. Gina quickly walked up to Evangeline. “Did it work?”

“Like a charm,” Evangeline smiled.

Gina grinned as they both embraced. “I’ve missed you so much, Evangeline.”

“And I you, Gina,” Evangeline said warmly.

“What did you do to him?” Rhea asked, looking at William.

“Binding spell,” Gina said. “The Blackbournes are still linked to him through a blood bond from witches long ago, though it is faint. They cannot feel his pain, but they may still die if he does. It is unsure. The dagger is laced with a chloroformic substance to keep him disabled until we figure it out.”

“Think you have a spell that can rid us of this bond for good?” Evangeline smiled.

“I’m sure Marshala does,” Gina smirked.

~*~

“It is because of the kindness of Elijah Blackbourne that you are all being spared,” Ben announced to the remaining vampires that had surrendered. “If it were me, you’d all be killed. Do not take this reprieve lightly.”

“You came,” Elijah said, walking up to Ben.

“Eh...” Ben shrugged, glancing past Elijah. “I had my reasons...”

Elijah followed Ben’s gaze. He saw Alice hugging her niece Amy who Ben had found after William was subdued. “And all this time, I thought you came for me,” Elijah grinned. “What happened to all that bollocks about being in love with mortals?”

Ben looked at Elijah sharply. “The concept of love is foolish. Especially love for mortals. I stand by that.”

Elijah eyed Ben, still staring at Alice. “Thank you for your help anyway... my foolish friend,” Elijah smirked before he walked back to Evangeline and his brothers.

~

Nick handed Akamu and Leo some clothes to put on after transforming back into their human form. “I guess this makes us even?” Nick grinned at Akamu.

Akamu shook his head and held out his hand. “It makes us brothers, Nick.”

Evangeline sat on a large boulder, holding Peter in her arms as he nuzzled his small face into her chest. She looked up at Cole and Alexander. Their faces were still stained from their blood tears as they both sported huge smiles.

She felt Peter tighten his grasp on her as he whimpered. “Hush now, there will be no more of that,” she said, pulling Peter off. She licked her thumb and wiped the blood tears from his face. “How did you fare without me? Did Cole behave?” she asked.

“He never behaves,” Peter chuckled.

“Gee, thanks, Peter,” Cole smirked.

Evangeline stood to her feet. “Come here, both of you,” she said. Cole and Alexander walked into her embrace without hesitation. Alexander closed his eyes shut and breathed in her scent. The motherly scent that he had missed for so long. That he never thought he’d smell again. “I saw your paintings,” Evangeline said, pulling back to look at Alexander. “The ones you decorated my room with. They’re lovely, Alexander.”

“Well... you were the inspiration,” Alexander smiled warmly.

“And Peter tells me you wrote me a song?” Evangeline said, looking at Cole.

“Wow, Peter. You’ve got a big ass mouth,” Cole said, looking at Peter.

Evangeline chuckled as Elijah walked up to them. “Thank you, Elijah,” she said, gently grabbing his face between her hands and looking into his eyes. “For looking after me and your brothers.”

“Eh... He did alright..” Cole smirked as Alexander laughed.

“I still can’t believe you’re here,” Elijah said. “How?”

“When Kiara broke the curse,” Evangeline explained. “When the curse was first placed I... felt like I was stuck in some sort of... limbo. Not alive... but not quite dead either. I was already coming out of it thanks to Kiara’s presence. But after the curse was broken, I could finally move, speak, and think.”

“Do you think Melissa knew the curse would have affected you like this?” Alexander asked.

“Of course not,” Evangeline said. “She thought I was dead. She... she loved me...” Evangeline looked down before she glanced up to see Kiara leaning back against a tree, staring at her. Kiara quickly looked away in embarrassment. Evangeline walked up to Kiara as Kiara darted her eyes, not knowing where to look. “So... you’re the woman my Alexander is in love with,” Evangeline smiled.

Kiara looked at her embarrassed. “Well... he has great taste,” she smirked.

Kiara’s eyes widened as her cheeks flushed with warmth. “Are you hitting on me?”

Evangeline immediately burst into laughter. “God! No! There’s only one woman who has my heart.” Kiara’s face softened as she smiled back at her. Evangeline eyed Kiara’s features as she brought a finger to her chin. She softly caressed Kiara’s cheek as her eyes shined brightly. “You look so much like her...” Evangeline said. “... my Mellie...”

“I get that a lot,” Kiara chuckled nervously. Evangeline cocked her head to the side as she looked at Kiara more closely.

Makiko sighed next to Gina as they watched everyone getting their bearings together. “I’m BOOOOORED!” Makiko groaned.

“Goodness, Makiko. As if you would have had more fun back at home on your tweeter,” Gina said.

“Twitter,” Makiko corrected with a roll of her eyes. She caught movement at the corner of her eye to see a tied up William heaving purposefully as the dagger slowly inched out of his chest. “GINA!” Makiko blurted. She quickly reached for William to stop him. But he grabbed her by the neck, tossing her backward and ran full speed.

“Melissa?” Evangeline asked, looking at Kiara in wonderment. “Is that-” Kiara waited for Evangeline to finish her sentence until she saw Evangeline’s eyes widen and a bloody hand jut out through her chest.

“You will always... belong... to me...” William seethed in Evangeline’s ear. Kiara screamed as William ripped Evangeline’s heart out through her back.

Cole and Alexander looked in pure shock as Peter screamed. Elijah quickly tackled his father to the ground as Nick and Akamu jumped in as well. Alexander fell to his knees in shock as his mother’s lifeless body fell to the ground in front of a screaming Kiara.

“No! No, no, no!” Cole shouted as he ran to Evangeline. “WE JUST FUCKING GOT YOU BACK!!! EVANGELINE!!! NO!!!”

Marshala couldn’t believe what was happening as she saw Ben help Elijah subdue William. As Kiara screamed louder, the skies thundered loudly as a hard rain fell. Lightning hit several trees, catching them on fire. “Kiara! Kiara!” Marshala shouted. She ran towards Kiara but immediately went flying back as Kiara’s screams intensified. A huge blast of energy reverberated around her.

A few witches covered their ears from the loud screams before Kiara fell to her knees, clutching her heart in anguish. She stared up at the sky as she struggled to breathe. “N-noo,” she choked out as tears flooded her eyes. “E... Evangeline...

“Kiara!” Alexander shouted. Leo and Alexander both sprinted towards her before a large green energy barrier surrounded her, keeping them back.

“Angel!” Leo shouted as he clawed at the barrier. Kiara screamed out in agony, tears streaming down her face as she held her head in her hands. The wind around them violently picked up as trees became uprooted and split into several sharp pieces.

“What’s happening?!” Rhea panicked.

“The aether...” Lillian muttered, stepping back. “She’s... she’s losing control...”

“Kiara!” Elijah shouted. “You have to control it!”

“I can’t!” Kiara cried out as trees and boulders started flying in the air. “I-I-” She let out a scream as she threw her head back. Her eyes opened and a bright jade green shined bright.

“Angel?!” Leo growled as he kept slashing at the barrier. “Angel, answer me, baby! Come on! Let us in!”

Alexander froze and stared at Kiara, swallowing hard. “That’s... that’s not Kiara...”

Kiara’s nostrils angrily flared as she set her bright jade green eyes on William. The vampire was writhing on the ground with Elijah and Ben still pinning his arms while Akamu and Nick pinned his legs. She raised her hand and all four men went flying off of William as his body levitated from the ground. William groaned as he felt the bones in his legs start to crack. “Is this the best you can do?” William mocked.

Kiara smirked menacingly as his arm bent backward, eliciting a pained groan from him. “I want… you... to suffer... slowly... agonizingly... as I did...” Kiara spoke with a rasp in her voice as her fingers contorted. More disturbing cracking noises could be heard as William’s body continued to bend awkwardly.

A heavy sense of fear overwhelmed Alexander and Leo as they relentlessly attacked the barrier keeping them walled off. “I want you to feel loneliness,” Kiara said to William. “Pain. Suffering. Hopelessness. Fear... as I did...

Bouts of lightning continued to strike the ground around them. A leg was torn from William’s body followed by one of his arms as his blood leaked onto the ground.

“Melissa...” Lillian whispered. Kiara quickly looked at Lillian with a snarl on her face. “Please,” Lillian choked out fearfully. “Please stop this before you lose complete control.”

Control?!” Kiara snarled angrily. “Where were you all when my family was hunted down and murdered?! Hiding! Groveling like cowards as all of my kin were killed! WHERE WERE YOU?!

Lillian put her hand to her throat as she started to lose oxygen. “Meli-”

“No! Lillian!” Alice blurted. She ran towards her sister before she heard a loud crack and saw Lillian fall to the ground with a broken neck.

ALL OF YOU!” Kiara growled angrily as her eyes glowed fiercely. “ALL OF YOU ARE FUCKING COWARDS!

Alice started to feel her chest tighten as she grabbed at the air. Ben quickly ran to her side. “Alice!” he shouted as he held her in his arms. He looked up at Kiara. “STOP THIS MADNESS!” Ben ran towards Kiara before he went flying backward and was impaled on the high branch of a tree. His body fell limp. Alice looked up at Ben’s corpse in shock before she stopped breathing.

My kin was hunted down and murdered!” Kiara growled. “BURN! LET THE MOTHERFUCKERS BURN!” Multiple vampires lit on fire as they screamed in agony.

“She’s lost it!” Cole said in shock.

“It’s not Kiara!” Leo growled. “I can’t feel her. It’s not her!”

“Kiara, you have to fight this!” Marshala shouted. “This isn’t you!”

“We just need to knock her out of it,” Nick said, rolling up his sleeves. “Levi, catch her from behind, and I’ll take her head-on.” Levi nodded as he quickly ran around. Nick ran towards Kiara before he stopped suspended in the air. Kiara’s eyes slanted as she threw him into a tree, his head smashing backward. Levi ran up behind her to tackle her when two large boulders slammed him in-between them.

“LEVI!!!” Rhea screamed. Ava looked in shock as Rhea ran towards Levi’s mutilated body that fell to the ground in a bloody heap. “NO! LEVI!” Rhea screamed. “KIARA! HOW COULD YOU?!” she snarled. She got up before she was lifted into the air. Kiara’s jade green eyes followed her as her body lifted until her spine cracked in half.

“OH MY GOD!” Ava shouted. “RHEA, NO!!!”

“ANGEL, PLEASE!” Leo shouted desperately as full-blown tears fell down his face, seeing Rhea and Levi dead on the ground. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. What was happening? “PLEASE, BABY, FIGHT THIS! THIS ISN’T YOU!”

Kiara’s eyes flickered temporarily to brown as she looked at Leo with shock and confusion. “I... I- can’t... I’m-”

Marshala had seen enough. She quickly used her magic as Gina and Makiko came to her side and aimed at Kiara. “ALL OF US!” Marshala shouted. “We can stop her together!”

“She’s right! Come on,” Elijah said as he, Akamu, and Cole charged at Kiara. Leo looked at Alexander with terror in his eyes, feeling heartbroken, terrified, and conflicted for the woman they loved.

Kiara’s eyes immediately flickered back to jade green as everyone charged her at once. Marshala, Gina, and Makiko hit Kiara with everything they had, but it barely pierced the energy dome surrounding her. Kiara lifted her hands as Gina and Makiko levitated into the air and were slammed into each other before being thrown into two large trees. Nick rubbed the blood from his head and ran for Marshala, grabbing her just before Kiara could target her.

Elijah, Cole, and Akamu had barely made it a few feet before they went flying backward. Akamu’s body made impact with several of the splintered trees picked up in the wind around them before he was impaled.

“Kiara, please!” Ava cried. She ran towards Kiara when a huge boulder came flying her away. Cole immediately ran to block it, but he didn’t see the second boulder that pinned Ava to the ground. “C-Cole,” Ava stuttered with tears in her eyes as she coughed up blood.

“SHIT!” Cole shouted angrily in desperation.

Gina spit out blood as she looked down to see a large tree branch sticking out of her stomach. “Makiko!” she shouted, looking around frantically. She glanced to the side and saw Makiko’s head and upper body in the tree next to her. The rest of her body was on the ground.

Several more vampires lit up on fire as large rocks and trees split in half smashed and impaled those unfortunate to be in the path of destruction. Whimpers and howls from the wolves of Nick and Akamu’s pack could be heard permeating the air.

“Kiara,” Elijah said, struggling to his feet as blood poured from his head. “Please, Kiara. You are stronger than this.”

Tears streamed down Kiara’s face as her jade green eyes flickered to brown and fell in sorrow. “I can’t! I can’t stop it, Elijah! I’m trying! I’m s-s-” She quickly grabbed her head as another agonizing pain hit her and the energy around her rippled.

Elijah let out a bloodcurdling scream as he fell to the ground in anguish. He coughed up blood as Peter crawled next to him. “Elijah!” Peter cried as he held his bleeding head.

Kiara’s eyes quickly darted once she realized Leo and Alexander were missing. She suddenly felt herself get tackled to the ground as Leo pinned her down. Alexander tried to bind her feet as Cole held her head still. “Just calm down, Angel. We’re going to help you!” Leo said frantically. “Please, baby, you’re stronger than this! I know you are! You-”

She let out a bloodcurdling scream that shook the ground, and Leo went flying backward into Alexander. They both landed hard on the ground. She instinctively reached up and put her hand to Cole’s forehead until his entire body lit on fire and he started to disintegrate.

“NOOO!” William shouted with only an arm and leg still attached to him.

Kiara looked up at him with a sneer on her face. “Welcome to your HELL!” she snarled. She moved her hands and tore William apart before his body lit on fire as well. In an unprecedented ripple effect, Peter, Alexander, and Elijah started screaming in torment.

“Elijah!” Peter shouted.

Elijah crawled on the ground, struggling to find his brother. “Peter! Come to me, little one! I’m here! Peter!” His eyes were clotting with blood until he felt around and grabbed Peter’s small, cold hand.

“Elijah... I’m... I’m so scared,” Peter cried as blood trickled from his eyes, nose, and mouth. “Please make it stop, Elijah... p-please...”

“It’s okay, Peter. I’m here, just-” Elijah gripped his brother’s hand and felt his heart stop. He looked down to see that Peter had already lost the life in his eyes as his body started to disintegrate.

“SHAL!”

Marshala coughed up blood and heaved, trying to pull the large tree branch out of her side. “Nicholas...” she choked out as tears fell down her bruised face.

“Shal, look at me, baby! It’s gonna be okay,” Nick stammered as he cradled her in his arms. “ELIJAH!” he shouted desperately. Fear cracked his voice as tears streamed down his blood-stained cheeks. He searched the dead bodies to see Elijah’s was one of them as he lay dead and disintegrated next to Peter.

“No. No, no, no, no,” Nick cried as he clutched Marshala closer. “Shal, come on, baby. Stay with me, okay? We’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna be okay. Shal? SHAL! FUCKING STAY WITH ME!”

Marshala clutched Nick’s shirt as she swallowed down the blood pooling in her mouth. “Nich...”

Leo could barely see through the tears blurring his vision as he looked down at Alexander slowly disintegrating in his arms. He grabbed Alexander’s cold hand. His grip was weak as his life started to fade.

“Kiara...” Alexander said faintly as he looked up at Leo. “Is she...did... we… I...”

Kiara lifted her head as her jade green eyes that flickered between brown and green, looked around her. Her face was wet with tears as she looked at all the dead bodies surrounding her. There was little to no movement. “M-Marshala..?” she said, staring in shock at Marshala lying dead in Nick’s lifeless arms.

Her eyes darted to Levi and Rhea, a bloody mess on the ground. She barely recognized Cole’s burnt disintegrated form next to her. Her eyes landed on Leo holding Alexander, and she felt her heart stop in her chest.

“No...” she breathed out as she watched Alexander close his eyes. “No! No, please! No!”

Leo looked up at her with tears in his light blue eyes as his breathing became more haggard. “I... I love you, Angel...” Leo said before his head drooped forward and his body stopped moving.

Tears streamed down Kiara’s face as her mouth parted in shock. She could feel her heartbeat slowing down. “What... Leo... A… Alexander… no… I-”

She fell to the ground staring at the faces of her two dead lovers before she took her last breath.

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