On the Evil Scale: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book Two

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𝒞𝒽𝒶𝓅𝓉𝑒𝓇 𝟨𝟧

Morning came quickly; time just ticked ahead as if pushing Penrith’s residents to their goal. Steven, Roberto, Nikolaas, Nick and Caleb, Erik (who had heard the news from Jon) and I stood on RP&V’s (Ravenstone’s Port and Village) harbor and dock overlookingthe open sea. Focusing our eyes toward the mainland, we could see its long line stretching in both directions as if looking through binoculars. My new enhanced vision is incredible!

“Are you sure you want to do this!?” Caleb asked, “After everything we’ve been through, particularly you?” he glanced down at me alongside him.

“Yes, Caleb...I’m sure. Thank you for your concern.” I muttered.

Erik standing toward the end of our crowd, frowned as Caleb and I innocently shared friendly smiles and nudges. He looked away, focusing on remaining Ravens that soared and squawked above our heads and near the islands’ Raven statue-idol on the shoreline. He didn’t understand what was taking place between Caleb and I but that’s the issue; there wasn’t anything between Caleb and I. He had been among a few Wraiths to help me cope with my vampiric side when Erik was absent.

“I wonder if the mainland knows that the war is over?” Nick pondered.

“It’s been weeks now, so who knows but look at everything they’ve done. We defeated Drakuul and his entire army, so what’s a few more scumbags to kill, hmm!?” I argued anxiously, tapping my hands on my thighs.

“Easy…” Steven urged, “you don’t want to become a Ripper like...” he glanced at Roberto and the other Wraiths around him, “all of us at one point. It’s not a pleasant sight.”

“Can we do this, or are we going to talk all day!?” Nikolaas anxiously urged then disappeared through a portal;the rest of us nodded then followed, teleporting across the Irish Sea and appeared on Heysham’s Harbor.

Standing there examining the area, Marxus’ warehouse was destroyed. I strolled through examining all the rubble and destruction. I grew saddened for all Marxus’ beautiful vehicles, extravagant seaplanes and helicopters were broken apart; their parts and gears laying scattered across the warehouse. Even the harbor office was torn apart with papers and computers scattered on the ground; desks overturned with their drawers and chairs among the rubble.

“Destroy and move on, was their motto so it seemed.” Nick muttered, “It’s pathetic.”

“You should see the Great City.” I frowned; the Wraiths sensed my vampiric rage while Erik and Jon felt a tingle up their spine as my arcane magic gave off its strong heightened energy.

“Aye...let’s do this, Si!?” Roberto proposed.

We nodded in agreement then Nikolaas teleported us all in one massive swirling green fire; we appeared on the outskirts of Penrith’s small town. Walking through the streets, we examined the destruction and empty parked vehicles. Our feet crunched against broken glass and clanked through bullet casings and debris. Nikolaas lagged behind; tears stinging his eyes for this was his home he had built for he and his wife but now...it’s gone with no hope of rebuilding. At least not for now. I walked toward him, gently placing my left hand on his back, offering a comforting touch. He glanced down at me, grinning briefly then looked ahead watching as Caleb and Roberto sped around ripping the engines from beneath hoods; throwing them under the tires. They dusted their hands off then approached the pub and growing closer to the establishment, we peeked through holes in the glass windows that were boarded up. Drunk men sat around drinking the expensive liquor, smoking and breaking out in boisterous laughter. There must have been fifty men left behind; Night-Walkers and Lycynians were among humans. They were too intoxicated to sense our presence except for the Night-Walkers who stood near the bar, glancing around unaware of figures standing outside. These men were armed; their guns laid on the tables, their laps or leaning against their chairs.

The seven of us stood outside the pub; Nikolaas being the first to menacingly enter through its broken doors. We followed closely behind. The invaders inside made far too much noise that they didn’t hear or sense anyone standing near the doors; the Jukebox music loudly blaring from near the door before the Hungarian Demon drained its electrical power by placing his hand on the machine. The disturbance of the lack of the music attracted the attention of the invaders; they turned in their seats, catching the glimpse of our eyes reflecting the light. This occurrence gave off an eerie nocturnal glow and that of the faint outline of our figures. They listened in the silence of the moment; low hisses and growls. Others sitting at the tables and bar, grew curious as to what their comrades found so important so they too, raised their gaze observing as our figures stepped out of the shadows and into the blinking lights shining from above our heads.

One of the large men stood from the bar, ordered in a lethargic tone; drink spilling from his cup he carelessly waved around,

“Who are you...and what the hell are you doing here!? In our town!?”

“Your town!?” Nikolaas taunted.

“Yes, our town! General Matrx let us claim it as part of our share of anything we conquered! And why am I telling you…” he burped disgustingly, “anything of this!?”

“Well, this isn’t your town to claim! It’s mine and you’ve defiled it with your filth but my comrades here…” Nikolaas proclaimed in a calm but sinister tone as he gestured his hands out both left and right, “are the ones you should worry about. Especially the newborn.” he watched as I stepped forward, “She has an insatiable appetite.”

The men standing or sitting across the room, took in my petite form stepping forward then broke out in a moment of laughter, mocking my presentation.

“Her!?” another large man; more sober than the rest stepped forward, “She’s a little girl, how nasty can she be?”

“Filthy…” I taunted with a flirtatious but sinister smile.

“Mm, is that so?”

“Enough!” another man demanded as he too, stood from the table, “You’re out numbered by Lycynians, Shayds and Night-Walkers, so turn around...and walk the other way before a blood bath takes place, pretty man!”

“No.” Nikolaas stepped forward rolling up his sleeves, “I’ve come to take back what’s mine!” he grunted, as his hands began glowing with electrical sparks andeyes turned Demon red, “So tell me...how would you like to die!?” he tilted his head.

I glanced up at the Hungarian Demon, admiring his taunting and hunting demeanor.

“Lord Drakuul will be pleased.” a coherent soldier grabbed his large rifle from the tables’ surface, “Lucky us, mates!”

“Oh...you don’t know!?” Caleb spoke up as he stepped forward, standing alongside me.

“Know what!?” the man aimed his rifle toward the cocky English Wraith.

“Lord Drakuul and his entire army...have been defeated.” I mocked, “Even his precious Red Death is gone, leaving you and what’s left here or in the Great City, defenseless with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. It’s so sad, I think I might cry.”

“You lie!” another soldier aimed his rifle.

“A Wraith never lies.” Steven added, “For we have nothing to hide!”

The other soldiers stood from the table and bar stools, pushing them aside or knocking them over. One soldier reached for his radio attempting to make contact with the rest of their units spread throughout the Great City or even their General’s radio but no one answered; only static transmitted.

“Don’t waste your breath or time, mate…” Caleb nudged his head toward the man, “General Matrx is gone too.”

“So just give it up, hijo de puta…” Roberto advised, “there’s no one to call.” he shrugged.

The men didn’t listen as their attempts continued, but the results were the same; no reply. They threw the radios aside, then grabbed and aimed their rifles.

“If what you say is true, then we have nothing to lose…” one of the Lycynians declared, “which is why we’ll kill you before we leave, just to add seven more bloodsuckers to our list of kills and take your fangs as trophies!” and before he or any of his men could fire their guns, a swift breeze swept by the Lycynian; hands twisting backwards from the wrists. The sound of his gun clanked loudly as it slammed against the wooden floor, before it was quickly kicked away.

The soldier screamed then those standing behind him stepped forward; the Shayds releasing their magics and although I felt the sting, their magic went right through my form as if I absorbed it. They stood in disbelief for it should have thrown me back across the room. The man continued his screams and glancing down his arms following their length, he grew surprised seeing my petite hands releasing my grip. He went to cry out but before he could, my clawed right hand dug deep and around his lower jaw bone; yanking it from its attached bone structure. Continuing to pull forward, I removed his entire throat and larynx in the process. Blood splattered outward onto my face and clothing before he fell to the ground at my feet in a loud thud; I threw his jaw and attached flesh toward his comrades.

“Oops.” I mumbled sarcastically, “Anyone else!?” my fingers twitched toward the remaining men as if waving a hello.

The others raised their rifles, presenting the perfect moment to go in for the kill. Not even the Night-Walkers who lived on their blood lust, could stand a chance against the raging Wraiths, Demon and Hybrid before them, but put up a fight nonetheless. The chorus of screams, clashing around, shattering glass bottles, magic popping against one another as shields shattered and the ripping or tearing of flesh (whatever the hell that could possibly sound like; use your imagination) echoed throughout the pub. The underlying mix of hisses and growls of aggression were music to an invisible force; Molock sitting in one of the booths watching as the massacre took place.

“Now THAT’S music!” he mutteredwith a pleased grin and snapping his fingers, a bottle of Hell’s scotch and a single glass appeared on the table before him. Pouring himself a glass to the very top without spilling over the ledge, he sipped it slowly enjoying the scene taking place; swift blursripping through the fifty men. Watching and listening as bodies fell or ashes thickly kicked into the pools of blood, his grin widened for they were fifty more souls for Lucifer’s legion.

Standing there covered in blood that dripped from my clawed fingertips and smeared around my mouth, I slowly turned my head toward the booths; sensing and hearing something or someone there. Growling, I sped toward a particular booth catching a familiar scent, mixed with a strong pungent alcohol fragrance.

Molock remained perfectly still and silent, watching as my black demonic Hybrid eyes scanned the space while I leaned in slightly.

“I know you’re there…” my voice reached out telepathically, “Molock.”

His eyes glistened in astonishment; head tilted as he studied my face. How could I have known he was there?

“Yza…” Caleb’s voice interrupted my inspection.

I released a guttural growl then stood straight, slowly turning to approach the others.

“You alright!?” Erik asked in a huff.

“I’m fine.” I snapped, walking past him.

Erik frowned then glanced toward the booths; his Demon eyes seeing nothing worthy of my curiosity.

Standing among the muck and studying the gruesome massacre we created; blood smeared around our mouths, dripping from our hands and soaked into the fabric of our clothes. We all glanced at each other when they all laid their eyes on me; I stood away from them licking the blood from my fingers (I know that sounds gross). Things were quiet between the six of them as Steven cautiously approached asking softly,

“Yzavela...it’s done.” he watched as I raised my gaze toward him, “Are you...alright?”.

Realizing what my actions were and how it must have looked, licking blood from my fingers I lowered my hands. Taking the back of my hands, I tried wiping away the blood smeared around my mouth. I flashed glances toward Steven and the others.

“Sorry...I got, uh...a bit carried away, didn’t I!?” I groaned.

“Carried away!?” Nikolaas interrupted, “Far from it! You’re out of control!”

“Leave her be!” Steven commanded firmly, “She’s still learning to control her blood lust.You didn’t hold back here either…” he gestured about then leered at Nikolaas, making direct eye contact.

Nikolaas huffed, breaking his gaze.

“I’m going to take a look around and see if there’s anything important to save.” he muttered, “There’s a clothing shop down the street so if you’re lucky, there’ll still be clothes left to change into.” he walked away, ascending the stairs to his room and office upstairs.

Steven and the rest of us remained when suddenly a low moan broke that silence. All turning our heads toward the door, a lonely surviving human soldier attempted to drag himself outside; his right leg completely severed from the knee down and left arm torn from the shoulder. A thick blood trail was left behind as he continued slowly across the wooden floor. Caleb and Nick sped toward him, grabbing him by the back of his neck, roughly turning him over onto his back.

“Hey...we left one.” Caleb mocked, “Who wants to finish him!?” he knelt alongside the soldier.

Steven sped forward, kneeling on the right, studying the soldier’s face; he was nothing more than a young man. Staring into his green eyes that were half closed from pain and severe loss of blood, his skin grew pale and clammy from a heavy sweat. Reaching out his right hand, heplunged it through the mans’ chest grabbing onto his heart and feeling it beat slowly in hand, he removed the vital organ in one strong pull outward with such precision. He held it momentarily watching it cease beating then dropped it between the young man’s lower limbs. Its squishy sound was a little unsettling. He casually stood then turned away, nonchalantly approaching the bar searching for glasses that survived the ransacked debris; he found four intact and two with chipped rims. Laying them on the counter, we approached staring at the glasses smeared with Steven’s fingerprints and stood in wait for a beverage to fill them.Steven turned to the wall along the shelf where bottles once displayed their vintage brands; removing a painting that surprisingly wasn’t destroyed or removed from its place. But it wasn’t just a painting, it was a hidden stash of the best liquor that Steven kept for himself and comrades. Removing one of the bottles of whiskey he turned slamming it on the counter; Roberto grinned. He unscrewed the cap, taking in its fresh brewed content then poured it down the line of glasses. Not that liquor solves any sorts of problems but in this moment, it may help in settling our nerves from the passing frenzy. Each picking up a glass we glanced at each other, then clanked the glasses gulping down the liquor. Erik and I coughed for we’ve never tasted anything so repulsive but after making faces of distaste, we asked for more.

Once the bottle was emptied, we all leaned against the counter taking one more look at the carnage of blood and death, that was once Nikolaas’ fine establishment. I remembered when my mom and I passed through; how welcoming and inviting the place and environment felt but now, that feeling is gone.

“There’s a private shower upstairs I’m sure Nik wouldn’t mind you using.” Roberto added then glanced down at himself, “But first, let’s get those clothes, hmm?”

We scattered; some cleaning themselves off first while others scampered through the streets, searching for clothing and shoes and coming upon the clothing store, it too had been ransacked; containing enough clothing needed though. I despised what was left; patterns of plaid or polka-dots but settled. I guess the looters had the same idea.

Erik strolled down the streets toward the homes and coming upon a structure that was once his childhood home, he grew saddened for it was destroyed, even the garden out back was burned and torn apart. The flowers were pulled from their roots or pots, laying scattered among the shards of pottery. He frowned feeling tears sting his eyes then turned away. Hiromi had worked so hard to plant and upkeep his garden. It was once so beautiful and graced with Chinese orchids.

After finding what we needed, everyone returned to the pub; Ravenstone’s Wraiths deciding to spend the next few days here. I told Nikolaas that he and his people were more than welcome to stay on the Isle for as long as they needed. He appreciated the offer but stated he’d think about it.

“No pressure.” I informed, “Can I use your phone?”

“Of course. It’s in the study; first door on the left upstairs.” Nikolaas grinned.

“Thank you.” I sped upstairs then dialed my mom’s number; I waited before she answered.

“Hi, sweetheart...are you alright!? Are the others alright!?” my mom inquired worriedly.

“I’m fine...we’re all fine. How’s everything there?” I sat in the chair behind the desk.

“Relatively quiet and that says a lot considering the reputation of this place when you leave.” my mom joked.

“Mm, that’s what I’m worried about.” I smiled, “And Leonus!?”

My mom relayed the news of a massive fight between Leonus and Heather; I felt sorry for her having to deal with that man for thirty years.

“Well, be careful.” I warned, “Please…”

“I will.” my mom nodded.

“Um, the reason I called was because I wanted to let you know that we’ll be here for a few more days helping Nikolaas sort things out. God mommy, you should see this town. It’s not the same.”

“Oh, alright. No worries. Tell Nikolaas that I’m sorry to hear the news.”

Before I could speak, a figure stood in the doorway and raising my gaze, Erik stood there.

“Mommy, hold on a second…” I looked at her face on the screen.

“Alright.” she answered before I placed the call on mute.

“Yes?” I leaned on the desk.

“I need to use the phone when you’re done.” Erik gestured toward the gadget.

I nodded then unmuted the call, informing my mom that Erik needed to use it but he stepped forward interrupting,

“You don’t have to end the call, but Mrs D...do me a favor will you?”


“If you see my father, tell him I saw the house here and that it’s sadly gone. He talks about it from time-to-time. Also, let him know I love him too, huh!?” Erik added.

“Will do.” my mom smiled, “Anything else? From either of you, because I don’t want to keep you.”

“No, that’s it on my end.” Erik then backed away.

“Likewise.” I slurred, “I’ll let you go too. Love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, sweetheart. Take care of yourself.” she nodded then ended the call.

“Thanks for sharing the call.” Erik muttered as he approached the door.

“No need to thank me, but it’s yours if you still want it.” I answered.

“I’m good, but are you alright? Really?”

“Are we really doing this?” I gestured between us.

“Doing what!?” Erik shrugged.

“Small talk!? You know I hate small talk.”

“Noted.” he exited the study in fast strides.

“Sh*t.” I cursed then I too, exited the study closing the door behind me.

Nathan strolled down the road leading to the manor on foot, continuing to feel the stabbing stings across his face. He covered his eyes from the sun peeking through the clouds then stumbled forward. Approaching the end of the housing line, loud shouts erupted from Leonus’ house. He didn’t pay attention to the topic of the arguments taking place.

“What’s wrong with you!?” Heather shouted as she stood in the dining area with Derek and Liam, “How could you ever think I would cheat on you after thirty years!? Leonus, you’re my husband and those are vows I take seriously AND...you’re the father of our three beautiful sons!”

“And you’re supposed to be my wife! Not some common whore who goes behind my back, sleeping with another!” Leonus roared loudly in a boisterous voice while pointing in Derek’s direction, “And how do I know if those boys are even mine and not his or someone elses!?”

“Leave me out of this, Lancaster! I didn’t even know Heather before coming here and you know that!” Derek argued powerfully, “You’re seeing things you want to see and are completely overreacting because Heather and I were just sitting here with your eldest, Liam, enjoying each other’s company yes, but all the while waiting for you! She said I could wait until you came home and honestly...I’m glad I did because I wouldn’t want her being here alone with you!”

“Oh, don’t deny it! I saw it when that demon b*tch was in the hospital; you placed your hands on my wife and not to mention I heard the whispers between you! You flirt over and over, planning your f***ing liaisons and you…” Leonus pointed toward Liam, “are no son of mine if you’re sticking up with them!” he gestured toward Derk and Heather.

“Don’t you dare blame any of this on me, father!” Liam commanded as he stepped in front of his mother and house guest, “And it’s ironic how...here you’re standing there calling my mother a whore when you…” he pushed his father back, “fling around with the lycan women in the compound and don’t you dare deny it, for I’ve it seen it with my own eyes! You…” he flung his arms in expression, “run off into the forest chasing after the female lycans in human form and while you’re f*cking them behind mum’s back, she sits here and waits for you to come home to her and my brothers!” then he turned to Heather hating being the one to release this revelation, “I’m sorry, mum...but it’s time you knew about what FATHER does away from home.”

Heather remained silent, shocked over Liam’s words. She glanced between Liam and Derek then cracked her voice in a quivering whisper feeling tears sting her blue eyes,

“Here you are...calling me names, seeing and hearing things that aren’t there, when you...you’re the one who’s messing around with all the b*tches in heat! Oh, you bastard…” she breathed heavily, “you’re nothing to me...not anymore! Do you hear me...you’re nothing to me and I want you gone!”

“Gone!? You’re forgetting who had nothing before all of this!?” Leonus raged gesturing around at their present environment, “You were nothing but a tavern whore who probably slept around with half the men in Ireland! After all, your parents were too eager to throw you to the first man that showed real interest!”

Derek groaned, clenching his fists tight before stepping forward, swiftly swinging his right hand; making impact against Leonus’ clenched jaw. The Lancaster patriarch stumbled backwards falling to the ground. Derek leapt forward pulling him to his feet and pushing the Samoan away, they engaged in a violent squabble that lured Liam in.

“Stop it...stop it!” Liam pleaded, “Seth and Daniel are outside! Stop it!”

Leonus pulled away from Derek’s firm and angry grasp mocking in anger as he adjusted his polo shirt and leather vest,

“Daniel!? That abomination!? He’s no son of mine! My children would never turn out looking like monsters or experiments!” he spat from his mouth toward Derek’s feet.

“Liam...take your mother out back to be with your brothers. I’ll handle this!” Derek informed, stepping between father and son.

“No!” Heather commanded, “No more! Derek…” she pushed him and Liam back, “I want you to take Liam outside, and get my sons away from this house! I’ll handle Leonus for he and I…” she turned to him with fierce blue eyes, “need to hash this out personally and privately and I most certainly don’t want my sons here to witness it.”

“Mother…” Liam complained.

“William, please…” she pleaded, “do as I ask, please…” she begged over her shoulder.

Derek nodded hesitatingly then gently but firmly turned Liam away, strolling through the patio doors; their figures disappearing behind the curtains that blocked views of the backyard. Heather could hear Seth and Daniel crying for their parents; Liam’s voice comforting them in a blunt affirmative tone.

In a low tone that sent shivers down Leonus’ spine Heather muttered; her blue eyes squinting toward her disrespectful male partner that she once loved unconditionally,

“How dare you insult...and belittle me, in front of my son! I’ve put up with a lot over these thirty years, Leonus but no more! No more…”

“And what are you going to do!?” Leonus mocked taking a step toward her, “Hmm!? File for a divorce!? Take my sons away from me!? Take this home that I helped build, away from me!? Only when I take my last breath, will you be rid of me, woman!”

“Divorce!? No. Our marriage wasn’t acknowledged by the church in case you’ve forgotten, because of your lycanthropy! I don’t have to take your sons from you, because you’re never around to see them anymore and as far as this home!?” she turned slamming her hands on the kitchen table, “This hasn’t been our home in years; just a roof over our heads!” she huffed, “And I don’t have to wait until the day you give your last breath, to rid us of you...you’re doing that all by yourself but I will say this, Leonus...your days are numbered and your end is coming soon...very soon!”

“Are you threatening me, woman!?” Leonus raged taking a step toward her.

“Oh, no...what I say isn’t a threat. It’s fact and it’s coming, but first...let me rid this house of you and your karmic trace…man!” and before he could reply with rants or physical actions, Heather began mumbling under her breath in her Celtic tongue; a strong breeze blowing through the house and her hair brushed back off her shoulders. Items scattered around their home, rattled in their place. Heather practiced ancient druid’s magic; hiding it from Leonus all these years and performed her spells and offerings during the full moon phases and when her children slept. She continued speaking in the tongue Leonus had never heard spill from her lips and making eye contact without breaking it, not once, she threatened in a low tone speaking English with her classic Irish accent rolling the syllables off her tongue, “You dare come home, night after night, expecting this or that from me and our sons, then think you can insult me with claims that I’ve been with other men when you’re the ONLY man I’ve ever been with! I declare you’re not welcome here...this home is no longer yours...these are no longer your children and I’m no longer your wife! I banish you…” she made the gesture of PUSHING SOMEONE OUT and Leonus could feel an energy pushing him backwards toward the door in stumbling steps, “be gone!” and needing more energy to cast him out she continued, “I banish all you are...all you were and all you’ve been!” then swirling her hands in circular motions, clockwise and counter clockwise in front of her, she gathered enough strength and power that would complete her task.

Leonus groaned feeling the breeze grow more intense and grabbing onto the counter, he focused upon Heather; the energy being drawn within her hand movements and watching her, she leered at him as she muttered,

“Goodbye, Leonus!” then throwing her arms forward and outward, Leonus’ grasp on the counter loosened as he was released from his place; his 6’6 bulk being thrown through the front door shattering it from the hinges. He flew across the front lawn slamming into the fence, denting the iron gate.

Derek and Liam heard the loud ruckus erupt from inside; they rushed through the home taking notice of knickknacks scattered and broken from their places and the front door shattered. Seth and Daniel followed suit as Derek and Liam cautiously exited the home standing out front where Heather stood. The two youngest boys held onto Derek and Liam’s leg watching as their mother approached their unconscious father.

Heather’s hands swirled with Celtic energy that began fading upon breaths of strong concentration. Her hair stopped flowing, limply falling onto her shoulders and once feeling the energy had left her, she felt weakened; her knees collapsing and unable to hold her weight. Derek ran toward her catching her in his arms before she fell to the ground; her sons gathering around crying and calling out for their mother. Derek urged the youngest boys inside as he entered their home, laying Heather on the couch; covering her with a blanket and placing extra pillows beneath her head. Liam remained outside as he approached his father’s bulk, staring at him with such distaste and feeling ashamed to call him father. He spat at his feet then raised his gaze, taking notice of curious neighbors peeking their heads through their front doors or windows. He shouted at them to mind their own business; they retreated inside by closing their doors and curtains.

Wraith and Demon guards appeared after receiving calls from worried neighbors and upon explaining the situation taking place in an erratic tone with shakened nerves, the Wraiths took Leonus away as Liam turned his back; entering the home where it felt calm and relieved of all the built up negative energy. He quickly approached the couch, sitting on the table across from her; Seth and Daniel sitting on his lap.

“Liam, what’s wrong with Mama?” Seth cried, “Is she alright!?”

“Mama…” Daniel reached out grabbing her hand, “Mama…”

“She’ll be fine...it’s alright…” Liam comforted.

Derek sat in the lounge chair alongside the couch, watching as Heather laid unconscious; he couldn’t imagine how this poor woman had dealt with a man like Leonus for thirty years. He couldn’t help but think of how beautiful she was, not just physically but admired her as a person. He and her sons sat in silence for the longest time hoping she’d wake and Liam’s prayers were answered for she began stirring. Blinking her eyes open, Derek gently sat her up propping more pillows behind her back. She glanced around the house then turned her focus onto her sons who sat on the table with wide curious eyes. She cried as she held out her arms, embracing them tightly and together as a family, they shed rounds of tears. Derek stood beside the couch then attempted to turn away allowing them privacy but Heather glanced over their shoulders, pleading for him to stay.

Even Liam, who knelt in front of his mother, begged for the same request. He looked up to Derek and admired him as a warrior, all while wishing he were their father.

Derek nodded then walked over sitting on the far end of the couch; Seth and Daniel huddling around their mother. Heather leaned her head against Daniel’s and shared a moment of eye contact with Derek; she shared an expression of gratitude.

“Where’s father!?” Seth questioned innocently.

Liam and Heather grew tired of making excuses and attempting to reveal the truth, Derek respectfully leaned forward and answered the boys’ question in ways he could understand; words that wouldn’t confuse the child,

“Seth...you’re father’s at the point in his life, where the littlest thing can make him mad.”

“Did we do something?” Seth pondered.

“Come here, kid…” he tapped his knee; the boy scooted toward him and was raised into the air as if he weighed nothing and placed on Derek’s knee, “you and your brothers have done nothing wrong, alright? Don’t blame yourself for any of it. Your mother has given him chance after chance to work it out, but...like some men...other things are more important, but this time, when your mother gave him the choice to stick around to try and work it out...he didn’t want to do that.”

“He’s gone!? Forever!?”

“No, sweetheart...not forever.” Heather beckoned him toward her; he crawled from Derek’s knee into her lap and cradling him and Daniel she continued, “Just until he wants to make things right in his life. And no one, not even I, can determine how long that will be. Now, you know I’d never keep you from your father, never, so the choice is yours Seth and yours alone, if whether or not you still want to see him.”

Seth scratched his nose, studying all the faces staring at him. He was just a child but he wasn’t stupid and knew there were issues between his parents but never questioned it. He thought about his mother’s words and cuddling closer to her, that was his answer.

“My dear, boy...I’m sorry this has happened.” Heather cried, “You’re too young to be thrown in the middle of any of this.”

“It’s okay, Mama...I’ll take care of you. Daniel and Liam will help.” then he turned his head toward Derek, “And you? Will you...still be here!?”

Derek stuttered, unsure of how to answer that question, not wanting to step in too soon or put himself into their lives in an unwanted manner.

“Of course he will.” Heather declared, “He’s not going anywhere.” she smiled. “He’s our good friend.”

“Yeah, that’s right. I’m not.” Derek returned the smile, “I promise and when I make a promise, I keep it.”

“Derek…” Daniel stuttered, sitting at his mother’s feet rocking in place slightly, “daddy…” he admired Derek.

Derek glanced at the boys’ sweet face, ignoring his physical abnormalities. He reached out his left hand gently brushing his red hair from his eyes in an affectionate manner then glanced up at Heather who bit her lower lip, trying to hold back tears. Liam expressed concern in his eyes that immediately softened, watching as his mother and brothers enjoyed and needed Derek’s company. They shared a moment of laughter, making him appreciate Derek’s help in more ways than he could express.

“Thank you, Derek.” Liam sighed as he sat on the table across from the couch, “For everything and I’m sorry that…”

“No problem.” Derek nodded, letting Liam know there was no need to apologize.

Liam smiled then glanced over his shoulder, knowing this was far from over.

Lady D, after ending our call, found Hiromi in the laundry room that day and explained that she had just finished speaking to their children. He grew pleased to hear we were safe. Hiromi then left the laundry room waiting for his loads to complete their cycle, then strolled toward the kitchen sitting at the table enjoying some of his Asian tea.

During the days of my absence, something that would change lives forever, occurred.

Nathan and Sarah had engaged themselves in a boisterous argument about her relationship with Jon. Nathan gave her an ultimatum, making her choose between him or the Australian. She felt pulled in both directions because before meeting Jon, Nathan had been the only man she was ever sexually involved with but then once developing feelings for Jon, she branched away from her sibling and expressing her hesitancy and stuttering words that answered his demands.

“Fine! You want Saxon? You can have him!” he raged, “But don’t you dare...don’t you dare…” he leaned in close grabbing her cheeks giving them a rough squeeze, “come back to me when you realize your mistake because I don’t take back a tainted, Demon-loving whore!” then he released his grasp in a disgusted push.

“Nathan, please…” Sarah pleaded as she stood in his room, wanting to reach out to him.

“GET OUT!” he rushed her out the door, slamming it behind her.

She stood in the hall, wiping tears away and trying to avoid curious faces of residents peeking their heads out into the hall after hearing their loud ranting. Scampering down the stairs knowing how things would turn out between them, she never could have imagined how she’d handle or sort through the emotions caused from it.

Nathan sat on his bed drinking from his flask, staring at his door; tears stinging his eyes for the only one he ever cared about, truly and sincerely, had just been thrown out and discarded. The scratches left on his face still hadn’t healed but he had grown accustomed to the pain they inflicted. He blinked his tears away as he sipped from the flask once more and within an hour of continuously sipping its contents, he had become intoxicated. Muttering unclear words under his breath as he stumbled toward his door and down the hall, he hoped to reconnect with his ex-lover Amy but she turned him down; her door slamming loudly in his face. Kicking her door he growled, needing a release of his sexual frustration. None of the other women he had in the past, wanted anything to do with him and unfortunately the only woman there that was eagerly looking to be laid, was Betsy; the Isle’s repulsive foul mouthed Lycynian. He stumbled down the hall tripping on things that weren’t there until he arrived at her door on the first level near the stairs leading downstairs to the lounge. He knocked in slow thuds before the door swung open; Betsy standing there in a robe that was far too short to hide her obese short legs.

“What’s the hell happened to your face?” she gasped.

“You, uh…” Nathan slurred in a drunken stupor ignoring her comment as he scratched his head, “you’ve been chasing after me, so...you wanna f*ck or...whatever!?”

She bit her lower lip, eyeing him up and down. She grabbed hold of his wrinkled shirt, pulling him into her room and slamming her door, she threw him onto her bed and in that moment, Nathan had his release over and over in positions he had never thought Betsy could have performed. Afterwards, he laid there beginning to sober up and turning his head to the left, Betsy laid there on her stomach; head facing away from him, displaying her obesity as her back was uncovered. He practically fell out of the bed, realizing what he had done then immediately ran into the bathroom, taking a shower so hot, the temperature felt like my Aura burning his skin all over again. He scrubbed and scrubbed...and scrubbed until he felt he washed away this moment from memory. Wet hair hung in his face as he scampered around Betsy’s room, retrieving his clothes quickly and dressing in stumbling steps, he swiftly left her room, slowly closing the door behind him. He huffed combing his wet blonde hair back off his face then placed on his half laced boots before strolling down the stairs; luckily no one ventured up or down the staircase or corridor to see his walk-of-shame.

“Bloody hell, Nathan... he cursed himself then ventured outside standing in front of the closing door, “f*ck me…” he continued then taking in deep breaths, he strolled toward the manor.

Entering through the manor’s lounge disgruntled, he observed Lady D walking ahead in the direction of the dining hall. She was still a beautiful and attractive woman, so Nathan thought he’d charm her. Though he favored the younger girls and women, he would still try on occasion with older ones as well. He looked around the foyer taking notice no one around then followed her, standing in the dining hall’s doorway. Watching her he thought as he leaned against the door frame, “A LITTLE OLDER THAN WHAT I’M USED TO, BUT SHE’LL DO then observed as she picked through apples laying in a bowl on the table; he liked the way she caressed the fruit. After picking the right one that pleased her interest, she exited through the side door of the dining hall leading outside, carrying a small basket filled with fragile empty jars. He ran toward the window alongside the door, watching as she walked across the green estate toward the greenhouse; her cane helping balance along the gravel pathways. He peeked his head through the door with intent on following but ceased his advance for exiting the training yard was Hiromi, calling out her name as he wrapped a towel around his neck and shoulders.

He sprinted toward her and together, they continued her stroll, exchanging moments of laughter. Nathan slowly followed, listening with his enhanced hearing but didn’t care about the topic of their conversations. He decided to wait until Hiromi left her side, knowing he couldn’t take the chance having the warrior by her side. He gulped trying to hold back his nauseous upheaval; rolling his eyes as they nonstop talked about their children in proud proclamation. He hid behind one of the nearby massive Oak trees that were scattered around the estate, igniting then smoking a cigarette. He leaned against the trunk for the longest time continuing to overhear their words then straightened his posture hearing Hiromi excuse himself, wanting to shower but would return once he felt fresh and relaxed and place a load of laundry in the dryer.

“About f*cking time, old man…” Nathan blew the cigarette’s smoke aside.

“I don’t plan on going anywhere, so I’ll be here for a while.” Lady D’s words echoed according to Nathan’s hearing.

“Aye, good...good…” Hiromi nodded, “I’ll be back. Then we can take that walk, yes?”

“Alright.” the Keeper’s mother chuckled.

Nathan scoffed, releasing a TSK; head shaking back and forth. He puffed on his cigarette in one long inhale then extinguished the nicotine stick against the tree’s rough bark, watching as Hiromi exited the greenhouse, following the pathway around the manor toward the human dwelling to shower after his heavy workout, humming a Chinese song. Nathan inconspicuously followed the Asian man who nodded at scattering residents who strolled by. He hid behind trees along the way to avoid being detected by any prying or curious eyes. Especially from the Wraith guards patrolling along the wall. He stood and waited from behind the nearest tree, watching as Hiromi slowly entered the dwelling without a care in the world. Nathan frowned thinking of what his next actions were, but he was deciding from minute to minute. He frowned, releasing a heavy sigh then punched the tree’s massive trunk; sharp cramps running through his hand. Biting his lower lip, he restrained himself from cursing aloud as he held his hand close to his chest. Leaning his head against the tree trunk, he glanced at his watch on his uninjured wrist noticing the time; Hiromi had been inside for twenty minutes.

He glanced at his feet, with insane and confused thoughts running through his mind, “NATHAN...WHATEVER YOU’RE GOING TO DO, DO IT NOW!” he grew a brief grin; stepping out from around the trees’ concealment. Lowering his injured fist, clenching it tightly to release the cramps, he shook it out. He glanced around suspiciously before entering the dwelling’s lounge; his blue eyes searching for Hiromi. There were scattered residents exiting the kitchen when they spotted Nathan’s form standing near the door.

“Can we help you find something, Nathan!?” one of them inquired.

“Neh. I’m, uh...just looking for my sister.” he answered casually, “Have any of you seen her?” he covered his true intentions.

“No. Can’t say we have. Sorry.”

“Yeah, whatever.” Nathan shrugged it off and turning in place facing the door, he heard Hiromi’s humming coming from his left and turning his head, there he was in the laundry room; placing a load into one-of-five washers and dryers, “Actually, you know...I think I’ll check her room.” he approached the stairs.

“Alright…” they strolled from the kitchen table and up the stairs after him.

He stepped aside allowing them to pass and nonchalantly walked down the hall and when it was empty, he backed away scampering down the steps. He examined the lounge and kitchen; no one was around. The dwelling was half empty as were the others, due to continuous clean up in the village square after the war. Although Azir and Molock had renewed all the structures, there were minor touches the residents wanted to handle themselves. So, whatever Nathan had planned, now was the perfect moment to do it. He quietly stepped toward the laundry area; the loud sound of washers and dryers running their cycles in the enclosed room. The door was left open ajar and glancing around once more, Nathan slipped inside quietly closing the door behind him and then focusing his attention forward, Hiromi had his back turned.

The Asian warrior, with such acute senses, was oblivious to the presence approaching; a large laundry basket tucked under his left arm while he struggled to reach for the clean clothes in the dryer to his right. He frowned as he bounced the basket on his knee (he didn’t feel the need to lay the basket on the counter behind him) and leaning forward, he almost reached the clothes inside when in that moment, his senses didn’t fail him. A shadow appeared behind him; a hand rising in a position to strike and within the small width of the room, Hiromi awkwardly turned throwing his laundry basket toward the figure behind him. Nathan stumbled backwards thrashing at the fabric and towels thrown in his face. He bumped against the counter with a grunt as the ledge hit his lower back. Hiromi blinked wiping away sweat that dripped down his brow; the laundry room door was closed creating a thick steamy atmosphere.

“Nathan!?” Hiromi questioned in disbelief, “What are you doing, boy!?”

Nathan growled, flashing his yellow eyes, fangs; his clawed hands held down at his side. The moment occurred too quickly that not even Hiromi could predict the outcome. Hiromi stood in a defensive stance as Nathan lunged forward, scratching his arm and punching his ribs; Hiromi yelping a shout. Hiromi managed to press his back against the machines behind, providing enough room between himself and the Lycynian; he swung a powerful kick toward Nathan’s jaw. He stumbled backwards and to the side, holding his jaw flexing it about then leered in Hiromi’s direction.

“That was lucky...but it won’t happen again!” Nathan warned.

“Why, Nathan...why are you doing this!?” Hiromi breathed heavily, feeling his age creep up on him in this moment; the war had really taken its toll on his physical shape.

“Eh...I want to send your bloodsucking pretty boy a message that Wraiths and their loved ones aren’t safe. From anyone.” Nathan answered then lunged forward once more, pushing Hiromi against the machines; they stood face-to-face before Nathan lowered his hands, slashing Hiromi across the lower torso and as Hiromi lowered his arms to hold the wound, Nathan reached his clawed hands forward, tearing out Hiromi’s throat with one clawed swipe. Blood splattered onto Nathan’s face and arms then he watched as Hiromi turned to the machines behind him; blood continuing to splatter and spray on the machines surface and into the dryer on the clean clothes. Hiromi fell forward roughly; his hands leaving bloody streaks on the dryer then landing on the ground, he held his hands to his throat as he attempted to cry out.

He laid there; his eyes growing wide thinking that he couldn’t die this way, lacking all honor a warrior should receive upon their death. He’s been through many battles, especially this last one, and always survived. He couldn’t speak in words but released moans in between coughing mouthfuls of blood that splattered from his mouth and poured from his throat between his fingers. Nathan knelt down to examine his work but grew too close as Hiromi reached out, grabbing onto his shirt leaving a fresh bloody handprint on its surface. Nathan roughly pulled Hiromi’s hand away, twisting the wrist in the process; Hiromi’s muffled groans were unheard.

“Let go...let go…” Nathan raged pushing Hiromi’s hands away.

Hiromi coughed once more before his hands fell limp on his chest; blood soaking the clean laundry and towels on the floor and beginning to pool beneath him. Nathan breathed heavily, then began fearing the outcome of this uncertain and unplanned moment of rage but at the same time, enjoyed the thrill of the kill. He smiled before reaching his right hand toward Hiromi’s chest plunging it deep; hand grasping onto the Asian man’s heart.

Hiromi released a muffled gurgling sound before the severed nerves died off. Nathan paused a moment, studying his kill and then it hit him; what has he done!? He gulped as he released the heart that fell alongside Hiromi’s pooling blood; Nathan falling backwards against the counter opposite the machines. He stared at Hiromi’s body then down at his blood covered hands, listening to the dryers loudly bounce around their contents, “WHAT THE F*CK...” he thought, snuffling hard, “I GOTTAGET OUT, I CAN’T STAY HERE. SOMEONE WILL SEE...BUT I WANT THEM TO SEE AND PERHAPS THEY’LL FEAR US EVENLY...” he flashed an evil cold grin, then pushed himself to his feet leaving handprints on the wall behind him. He stepped toward the door, wiping the glass with his forearm due to the steam from the dryers taking notice no one was present in the lounge. Searching for the closed sign that was tucked away in a folder by the door, he hung it on the glass; a sign that read “CLOSED FOR REPAIR!” but left behind blood smeared prints. He huffed heavily as he began to sweat. He wiped his forehead, then laid his bloody hands on the doorframe staring at the glass door; breathing heavily. Glancing over his right shoulder, he stared upon Hiromi’s body laying motionless. He turned, staring at the ground taking notice he also left bloody boot prints, “F*ck...” he cursed then knelt down, quickly unlacing the laces and once removing them, he reached for an empty laundry bag on the shelf near the door, quickly throwing them inside with the blood stained shirt he quickly removed; his under tank was left unmarked. He also reached for a clean towel, attempting to wipe away the foot and handprints but he only left smears behind, making the scene look worse.

Before tying the bag, he withdrew his claws then wiped his hands as clean as they could get then threw it into the bag of which he quickly tied. Taking deep breaths he then stood, quietly leaving the laundry room. Standing outside the door, he glanced at the sign hoping that would buy him enough time to decide what his next move would be. He carried a clean towel, placing it along the gap beneath the door; the steam growing thicker on the glass masking views inside. He swiftly paced across the lounge exiting outside; his eyes fearfully examining the grounds and wall, making sure his presence wasn’t noticed. He casually walked across the grounds around the manor, toward the greenhouse for his killing wasn’t over yet. His yellow eyes had remained present as did his fangs; his blood stained claws had withdrawn. The trees scattered across the property were unfortunate covers, hiding his presence from sight of the Wraiths patrolling the wall and he knew that, taking advantage of their blindspots.

Making sure the guards focused their supernatural eyes elsewhere, he sprinted through the maze, rustling against the tall hedge walls, following the arrows leading out to the other side, in the direction of the greenhouse. His eyes searched the grounds as he sprinted toward the glass structure, sneaking inside; soft 70′s or 80′s music playing on a radio near the door. Nathan quietly breathed heavily through his nose so he wouldn’t be heard. He stood there catching his breath, laying the laundry bag on the table then reached over, slowly turning up the volume on the radio; his eyes fixed on a woman’s figure who stood with her back toward the Lycynian. Lady D stood humming to the tunes, knowing them from beginning to end; gathering herbs for a spell she wanted to perform. Her small basket sat next to her as she placed small jars inside filled with herbs. Nathan tiptoed across the stone ground; his footsteps unheard due to his lack of wearing boots but as he continued his steps forward, he accidentally crushed dried leaves that laid scattered among the stone ground.

“Did you forget something!?” Lady D turned thinking it was Hiromi, “Oh, it’s you.” there stood Nathan instead, “They don’t grow Marijuana, if that’s what you’re looking for.” she turned her back to him, gathering her supplies, “And if you’re looking for someone for the pain from those scratches, I’m sure Beth can help you.”

“Oh, please...don’t leave on my account, Lady D.” Nathan stepped toward her, “And I know where to get the herb, thanks for asking and thinking of me.”

“I didn’t and I don’t.” she mocked.

Nathan leered, staring at her turned back. His eyes scanned her full figured frame from behind then taunted in a low tone,

“You know something...that color really compliments your beautiful dark hair.” he gestured at her plum colored velvet dress that I had purchased for her birthday, “I see where Yzavela gets her lovely raven hair from…” he stood inches away, catching the scent of her perfume; intoxicating to the young man.

She watched as his shadow grew closer behind her; she laid the basket on the counter then swiftly turned facing Nathan. Raising her right hand searching for the pendant she had been given to protect her, she remembered she had left it on her table alongside her jewelry box. Why this particular day she chose not to wear it, was unplanned and in this moment, she realized what a mistake that was! She studied his appearance quickly; tank snug against his medium muscular build, bootless and hands tainted pink.

“What do you want, Nathan!?” Lady D commanded as she straightened her posture.

“A little of what your daughter won’t share…” Nathan’s yellow eyes squinted as he took a step closer.

“And that is!?” the mother argued.

“You’re a smart woman, Lady D...use your imagination.” Nathan taunted, unbuckling his belt.

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