Weeks turned into months, since Azir and I ventured out toward the Great City and officially knowing war was inevitable, an army was gathered. I contacted Steven and Nikolaas in Penrith, alerting them fully of the events and situation. They too worried but agreed to send an adequate amount of their Wraiths to the Isle, leaving a handful behind to protect Penrith in the meantime until things are sorted. I offered his people sanctuary and it was an offer eagerly accepted with gracious appreciation.
Azir too, sent word to his brother Azim; requesting aid from their kin. He received an answer with an arrival date two days from then. Azir and his small kin were fascinating among themselves but having an entire clan of them will be magnificent and powerful. Not just for my own experiences, but others as well. They’re such beautiful people. Sure enough within one day of each other; both Wraiths from Penrith and Azir’s kin had arrived. Azir’s kinship created an astounding reaction on a grander scale, as they appeared outside the gates, dressed in their Leopard skins and armor crafted from a metal alloy that none alive had ever seen. Azir’s older brother, Azim (that’s going to take some getting used to for their names sound alike) was also a beautiful and regal Nubian warrior of a lighter skin complexion. Tattoos down the right side of his face defined his being and status; shaved head, golden eyes and trimmed beard also flecked gray. There were women among them, each carrying their own weapon and watching as they strode in powerful feminine strides, beautiful and statuesque. It was a relief for Sarah and I for we were no longer the only female warriors among men. The Jinn women were equal to their male partners.
Derek too offered assistance, calling on other friends that lived in Scotland, giving the excuse he had arranged a job, which received excellent feedback for at least twenty men from his past military units, appeared days after the other arrivals, angering the Wraiths and Demons, for more Lycynians had arrived. As if those on the Isle weren’t enough; the air reeked with the scent of wet-mucky dog.
It was official...we had our army. Staring out the windows of the upstairs lounge outside the study, toward the gates; where all 2450 warriors, give or take, (380 Penrith vampires + 130 Jinn + Derek’s forty friends + 330 Ravenstone warriors) gathered, I couldn’t believe it’s actually come down to this. My mom and other Wiccans strolled through the small encampment both inside and outside the wall where tents pitched, offering food, water, blankets and even protection prayers for those who held onto their faith.
“Hi…” a voice whispered in my ear as arms gently wrapped around me from behind, “what’s on your mind?”
Turning around, I laid my hands on Anthony’s chest before wrapping them around his waist. I leaned my head against his chest, feeling the comfort he offered. That was another thing that had happened during the changes taking place; he and I were in a steady relationship with NO drama or difficulty. Although taking things slow, for he and I were both cautious of opening ourselves up, we had much in common. We haven’t been intimate yet and believe me, with Anthony, I really wanted to but he was the perfect gentleman and didn’t put that level of pressure on my shoulders.
“I was just…” I pulled away to look up into his warm face, “thinking.”
“About?” he moved my bangs aside.
“Everything.” I sighed then walked over sitting on the couch.
He walked over sitting alongside me, wrapping his left around my shoulders. We sat there talking about the army gathered outside then changed the topic, sharing moments in laughter before squeezing in a few warm kisses before we were accidentally interrupted.
“Bad time?” a voice appeared near the stairs.
Focusing our eyes in that direction, there stood Molock.
“Yes, it is. I thought you appear when your name is called out three times...Molock.” I uttered.
“Normally…yes, but I also appear to those who need me and that list, I must say, is very short.” he chuckled lightly as he approached sitting across from us, “But you’re in need at this moment for some advice, although you’re not expecting it. So how can I help you, other than being the perfection that sits before you.” he jokingly bowed.
“Vanity. Isn’t that a sin?” Anthony shifted in place.
“One of seven that I’ve easily committed, Anthony Giovanni.” Molock’s voice sounded blunt, “Now, may I give you some advice that perhaps your lover here…” he gestured at the Italian, “hasn’t.”
“Excuse me?” Anthony frowned as he leaned forward.
“Easy there…” I placed my right hand on Anthony’s back, “I don’t need this from you. Anthony, please…”
He frowned, breaking his eye contact from the Sumerian sitting across from him and once making eye contact with the young woman beside him, his frown faded and his eyes filled with warmth.
“Apologies, Little Yza…” he glanced at his feet, “I’ll leave if you’d like.”
“No, don’t.” I pleaded, “Please. I’m sure whatever Molock has to say, he can say it in front of present company.” I side-eyed Molock, “Right?”
“Sure.” Molock leaned back against the couch, then asked how the preparations were coming along.
“Smoothly, I suppose but I’ve never had to do this so I don’t know if I’m doing everything right.” I answered.
“There’s never a proper way to prepare for war, except to know who your enemy is and I’m sure you, demoness, that war comes in various forms. Either phys…”
“Demoness?” Anthony questioned, “Did you just call her demoness?”
“Yes.” Molock revealed, “And why wouldn’t I, Giovanni? She is part demon.”
“Yes, she is but that’s not all who she is!” Anthony complained.
I grinned, admiring Anthony’s chivalry then added, for I didn’t see anything wrong with the pet name,
“Anthony, I don’t mind. Really. It’s okay.”
Anthony sighed heavily, feeling protective then apologized for he had never acted out like this.
“It’s alright, Anthony. “ Molock admired the Italian’s honorable intentions, “I mean her no harm and I admire your protectiveness of her. She needs it. Now, may I continue?” he glanced between Anthony and I receiving nods ,”Good. As I was saying, war comes in many forms, whether it’s physical or verbal. No matter how a warrior lives their life, war always dwells in the shadows or around the corner ready to strike. Or worse.” he paused, expressing sadness in his dark eyes for a memory came back to him in that moment. He blinked his eyes, clearing his throat then continued, “All an individual can do, is fight-the-good-fight and hope they have what it takes to succeed and win. No one…and I mean NO ONE is immune to war. Believe me, I know that all too well.”
“You’ve seen many wars?” Anthony inquired.
“For 6300 years? Every...single...one in history. From the very beginning.”
“Sixty-three hundred years?” Anthony’s tone exaggerated more than he expected.
“Eternity is a gift, but it’s also such a bore.” he grinned, “But getting back to the topic at hand here. You, Yzavela...aren’t alone. You have your hound, dragon, mother and now it seems a dedicated lover that will protect you.”
“Alright, first off...stop right there.” I objected, “Would you please stop saying LOVER as if Anthony’s not sitting right next to me? And secondly, he has a name so have the courtesy of using it! As a man who gains such respect by just sitting there...” I gestured at Molock’s presence, “why don’t you show some!” I began steaming which began sparking my Aura.
Molock realized he was mocking the Italian’s presence and knew that the young woman cared for him deeply. Adjusting his gauntlets in a moment of being put in his place, he sincerely apologized; words Anthony accepted reluctantly.
“Thank you!” I affirmed as the steam evaporated, “Now, you’re making it sound like I’ll be fighting this war alone. What about all of them out there? And my friends?”
“The warriors out there? And friends that get in different moods from one moment to the next? You trust them?” Molock scoffed, “Yzavela, you’re not stupid. They’re individuals that are only fighting with you, in your time of war, so they have the excuse to kill each other or their enemy. I wouldn’t trust any of them with my life. Excluding present company, it seems. You know I’m right, because before you and your mother came to this island, the fight against your past was yours and yours alone. Just remember that when you speak with your army and…friends; not to mention when you’re out there on the field.”
Anthony and I sat there admiring Molock, for he was a being that possessed such knowledge and ancient history. His words held such truth, even though he represented and worked for Lucifer; the father of lies that are really the hidden truth no one wants to hear.
“He’s right, Little Yza…” Anthony’s voice broke the silence between the three of us, “I can’t argue with him in that opinion. I’m sure even Molock…” he leaned forward looking at the Sumerian, “trusted only himself during the wars of his past, si?”
“I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t.”
“Keeps!?” Erik’s voice suddenly abruptly interrupted as he appeared near the stairs, “Bloody hell, what the f*ck are they both doing here!?” he studied the closeness between Anthony and I, and Molock’s presence, “Secret meetings with your new lovers, huh?”
I closed my eyes, realizing what a mistake it was trying to get involved with Erik, while at the same time, patting myself on the back for getting out before things turned worse.
“This...is not what you think!” I snarled, opening my eyes, “Not at all.”
“You don’t know what I’m thinking.” Erik protested, not wanting to hear my words or excuses.
“You’re forgetting, boy...we both know what you’re thinking. At all times.” Molock taunted, referring to his and my telepathic ability, “Would you like to tell her or does she already know?” he glanced in my direction.
“He doesn’t have to.” I frowned, “What do you want?”
“Jonathan was looking for you.” Erik uttered, “Something about his father’s order that hasn’t come in.”
“And you’re here telling me that why?” I stood.
“He was busy.” Erik snapped.
Molock and Anthony sat quietly for the moment wasn’t theirs to interfere.
“No. That’s not it.” I approached, “You wanted to come here, like you’ve done these past few months, to try and patch things up between us. But I’ll tell you the same thing I told you all those other times! I’m done. Simple as that.”
“Of course you are. You’re shagging him now, aren’t you?” he gestured at Anthony who leaned forward, clenching his fists.
“If I were that’s none of your business.” I snapped then added telepathically, “You’re just jealous it couldn’t be you, so that way you can put me on your shelf of trophies after you’ve had your fun.” I frowned.
Erik nodded and for the first time, I really got a good look at him. Despite his handsome features and strong character, he lacked respect. He was a rich-boy yes, and he knew it. Whether or not he had intentions of putting me on that prized shelf, I didn’t know but I wasn’t going to hate him just because things didn’t work out between us and in no way, was he like Nathan using women for fun then tossing them aside. I don’t think Erik would be that cruel and staunch. But he is what he is; a temperamental pureblood Englishman five hundred dollar stuff-shirt.
“Erik, I think you should go.” Anthony stood and with two steps, he stood behind me.
“I wasn’t talking to you.” Erik ignored the Italian’s presence.
“I know you weren’t, but just the same...I think you should.” Anthony affirmed.
“I wasn’t...talking to you!” Erik leered toward Anthony.
“Be gone!” Molock waved his right hand and Erik disappeared from his place in front of Anthony and I; vanishing in a swirling green fire.
“What...what did you do!?” I turned to Molock.
“Relax, he’s still alive. I sent him outside.” Molock stood, “Now, is there anything else you’d like to talk about? I have time!” he hungered for time away from Hell.
“I have a question.” Anthony added.
“Are you going to fight with us? Because if you could make a pureblood vanish with the wave of your hand, then what else can you do out on the field?” Anthony finished.
“Sadly, no. Lucifer...doesn’t allow me to interfere in Earthly affairs. I have one position and one alone. Collecting souls and once I’ve collected my quota for the assignment, I’m given free time. Moments like this, for example. But…I do have my moments where I sneak away and he doesn’t even know so what Lucifer doesn’t know…” he glanced around, “won’t hurt him, right?”
“But what if he does find out that you’re here and not out there collecting souls?” I worried.
“How much trouble would you get into?” Anthony finished the other part of my concern.
I glanced up at him giving a smile which he returned then we waited for Molock’s answer.
“Trouble?” the DemonJinn cackled, “Oh, I’m in trouble all the time but without me he’d be lost. I guess, you can say, I’ve helped him organize things in Hell. I have my tricks to get out of things and situations, so don’t worry about me. I’ve been around for 6300 years and I’m still here.”
Anthony and I nodded, listening to how easy his words and answers came. Anthony, being Catholic, wanted to know what Lucifer was like so he asked the very question,
“What’s he like? Lucifer, I mean?”
Molock was left stumped. No one’s ever asked him that question, much less him having to explain the ArchJinn in words. He shifted his feet then paced, searching for the right words.
“Anthony, I think you stumped a God.” I smiled.
“I think so too.” he teased, then we sat waiting for Molock to find the words.
“Alright, I have it.” Molock turned to his audience of curious faces, “Lucifer is definitely not what man says he is, according to your Catholic faith…” he gestured at Anthony, “or any other.” he took his seat across from us once more, “He’s not a creature with the tail, hooves and bat-like wings, although he does have classic-elegant horns, I suppose. And his wings? He still possesses his glorious black warrior ArchJinn wings, but considering his circumstances and realm of which he resides, they’re slightly singed. It’s Hell after all. There’s nothing beautiful there. But most importantly, among many misconceptions, he DOES NOT believe in-or accept, mans same sex lifestyles of which I can agree to, is vile and goes against the natural-sexual biology. Man was made for woman and woman was made for man. Their bodies are puzzles made to fit and that’s that! There’s no variation!. Ugh...” he shivered at the thought.
“Agreed!” both Anthony and I muttered.
Suddenly, a powerful energy filled the lounge that sent an eerie chill down my spine.
“What’s wrong?” Anthony felt me trembling against him.
“I don’t know.” I answered.
“If it’s what I think it is, you’ve just sensed Lucifer’s summons which means he’ll…”and before he could finish, he heard the ArchJinn’s voice overpower his thoughts in a deep guttural voice, “MOLOCK!” and at the sound of his call, Molock flinched slightly feeling the unpleasantry, “I have to go.” he finished, “Before he sends the hounds after me.”
“Thank you, Molock.” I appreciated his advice as I stood politely.
“No worries, demoness...I mean, Yzavela.” he nodded, respecting Anthony’s boundaries, “It was my pleasure.” then he stood, “And Anthony?”
“Si?” the Italian stood alongside.
“You take great care of her and whatever you do, don’t break her heart or trust for if you do…” the Sumerian spoke telepathically directly to Anthony as he approached over-towering in his tall stature, “I’ll make sure I come for your soul while you’re living and believe me, that’s not pleasant. She’s a wonderful and special young woman.”
I wondered what was said for Molock had put a block on their conversation; I felt the barrier as I tried listening in but studying Anthony’s sudden nervous mannerisms, I’m guessing a warning was given. I shared a smile of which he returned then broke his gaze, replying softly telepathically in return,
“As a man who cares for her deeply, you have my word as a Giovanni. And yes, she is!”
“Alright then!” Molock grinned sarcastically then backed away, “I’ll be around.” he elegantly bowed then vanished in a swirling red flame.
Once his presence was gone, I stood in front of Anthony folding my arms.
“What was that about?” I pondered.
“What was what about?” he teased, taking his seat once more.
“Between you and Molock?” I sat sideways in his lap, “I know something that wasn’t for my ears was said, so what was it?”
“A promise.” he revealed honestly, “To protect you and that’s a promise I’ll keep until the day I die.”
“What is with you and death?” I worried, remembering his fears he shared with me about being marked for death.
“It doesn’t matter.” he gently stroked my cheek then leaned in, giving an Anthony sort-of kiss.
“Mm.” I squealed then laughed as he began tickling me.
It was perfect. I was happy. He was happy. I think the time may be right.
For Drakuul, the weeks turning into months, hadn’t been kind. Days after receiving the Keeper’s message, he ordered Matrx and all the guards patrolling Parliament that he wasn’t to be disturbed. For hours; days at times, he’d waste his breath, attempting to conjure larger numbers of the creatures he had called forth previously. Unaware of the reasons why his attempts failed, he saved his breath, reciting a duplication spell; creating larger numbers he had hoped to originally conjure.
Matrx, who had an extreme dislike for the practice of the magical arts itself, hated having full responsibility of being in charge of the creatures Drakuul conjured. Although knowing he could easily take out the man he hated, he’d be stuck with the creatures for they would no longer have a purpose. But deep in his core, Matrx knew Drakuul’s days were numbered; either by his hand, or another.
But good news out of all the bullsh*t taking place, was that the tunnels were finally cleared out and stabilized for their armies to march through. Matrx had them scanned using one of the Harpies that wore a GPS tracker, mapping the entire abandoned tunnel system that ran quite far beneath the Great City and further out. Receiving this news gave Drakuul more hope but he had even more when Matrx, taking a large handful of men he personally trained, drove out to the small town of Penrith because reports of cityfolk escaping there for safety attracted their attention.
“So what do you think we’ll find there, General?” one of the men questioned from the back of the truck.
“Don’t know but there has to be something.” Matrx frowned, “How much further?” he turned to the soldiers in the back that tracked and recorded their locations.
“We’re two towns out, General. I’d say maybe...three days out.” a soldier revealed.
“Three days?” Matrx complained, “Alright. Pull over. I need to take a leak.” he ordered gruffly without caring about his verbal manners.
The truck pulled over; several soldiers along with their General stepped aside off the road, relieving themselves. Once doing so, they paced stretching their legs, smoked, or shared drinks amongst each other. Staring at the night sky, taking notice they had been driving all day, Matrx took in a deep breath catching the freshness of the air that lacked smoke and burning flesh, unlike that of the Great City. He turned, glancing back seeing it nowhere in sight. Many times, he thought about just disbanding the army and leaving the Great City behind, starting over somewhere else, but that thought faded for what was he going to do? Become a fisherman with a dark past? No. He wasn’t the cliche type and knew that he made his bed and would lay in it until the moment he died in battle.
“Alright, let’s get going!” he ordered loudly then climbed back in the truck; he watched as the men in his side mirror huddled into their vehicles, “Go…” he instructed the driver.
“What do we know about this town, General? Penrith.” a soldier asked.
“If I knew, we wouldn’t be out here would we?” Matrx mocked, glancing over his shoulder, “But from what I know, it’s nothing more than a pass-through town but those that live there, might have the information we need. Good enough for you, soldier?”
“Yes, General.” the soldier sat back, chewing on his gum.
Another night on the Isle passed; warriors were tucked in their tents. It was 10:45pm as Caleb paced the wall watching a monitor screen he held in hand, receiving video feed from a military drone belonging to one of Derek’s friends who modified it, allowing the gadget to travel a further distance than programmed. Azir too, infused the gadget with a magical kick, allowing it to pass through the fog barrier without having its battery die. The drone hovered toward the mainland, scouting for signs of Drakuul’s advancement; nothing yet. However, listening to music on his I-pod with a rhythmic drum solo, footage revealed a unit of 13 vehicles (five massive tanks and six military trucks) venturing toward Penrith. Caleb removed his ear-buds tapping the screen, pulling up the map; their direction accurate as they approached the quiet town.
“Sh*t…” he mumbled then raised his gaze calling out, “Nick, Wyatt, Justin…” they stood nearby, “look at this, mates.” he showed them the screen; no logo or company name visible on the vehicles themselves.
“Where are they headed?” Nick questioned.
“According to the map, they’re heading toward Penrith.” Caleb revealed solemnly, worrying for the Wraiths, Demons and townsfolk.
“Contact Nikolaas up there and give them a heads up and time to prepare.” Justin informed, “I’ll track down Yza and let her know.” but before he disappeared, he turned back to his friends, “Any idea where she might be?”
“Either her dwelling or probably somewhere with Anthony.” Caleb added.
“Why do you make it sound like that’s a bad thing?” Nick slapped his arm, “He treats her the way she should be treated. Unlike Erik. She’s happy and for that, I’m happy for her.” he made his point, “Check the human lounge. I heard it’s movie night…”
“Right.” Justin nodded then teleported, appearing outside the dwelling where he could hear voices erupting from inside.