Master

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Chapter 49

Lincoln’s P.O.V

“Ka-”
Kalem disappears before I can finish.

I blink.

Frozen in this room that had suddenly gone quiet, too quiet with Kalem’s absence, but all I can do is stare blankly at the spot he’d held just a second ago.

My body drags itself forward, as if to chance after him but he was already gone.

Gone but somehow, the hurt that had flooded his gaze in that last moment was still here, and so was the raw pain that rode his every word.

“Go, you’re always busy...”

I lock my jaws tight to keep my warring emotions inside, but it’s useless. In the deafening quiet, all I can feel is the way my guilt battles with my residing anger.

“It’s not far that I’m always alone!”

I curse the Gods and myself as Kalem’s words loop in my mind, adding to the chaos already living there.

I’d never been one to lose control of my mind, my emotions or my actions, but now, I felt like I was fraying at the seams.

Pacing, I clutch at my hair, then my fingers, then anything at all to put this frantic anxiety to rest.

Things had been a lot before, but now...

What did I deal with first?

Kalem, the clan’s defences, the ongoing war efforts, the Nyphilim-

“Dear Gods!” I curse again, the bellow that escapes me painfully broken to my own ears.

Anger, I knew.
Regret, guilt and pain, I knew them all. I’d experienced them before.

But fear...this raw, true fear that was building inside of me was something I’d never experienced before.

I dealt with a vast variety of monstrosities in my life, but I’d never faced a Nyphilim.

A creature that had made the elf, who never dared to show emotions that wavered from confidence, pale when he’d first told us about the Nyphilims and the power they’d once held.

Fear was all I saw then and it was all I felt now.

He’d made it clear that if Kalem was ever to lose his way, we wouldn’t survive and neither would he. Despite our greatest efforts, the end result would be unassailable death.

Now, a Nyphilim that wasn’t my own was coming here...

It’s only when I rest a hand on my chest do I realize how staggered my breaths are now.
My chest heaves, my vision frays while I try to get a logical thought through the chaotic maze my mind was becoming.

There was always a solution, always a way.

We just had to gather our forces, strengthen our borders and be ready to give it our all, even if it wouldn’t be enough.

But that was just the thing, it wouldn’t be enough.

It would tear through us all, decimate our souls, putting a swift end to all the people I grew to care about, the ones who trusted me with their lives, to my closest friends and... Kalem.

Kalem. Kalem who looked at me like I’d torn his heart apart before he’d run away from me.

I’d hurt him.
That look, those wet, hazel eyes, they’d said it all.

I’d hurt my love.

“Pylen,”

I twist to face the sound that had startled me out of my lawless thoughts.

The desperate rapping against the door comes again when I don’t respond, “I’m truly sorry to push Pylen, but the Amaris liaison...”

Right.

I was supposed to be meeting with this liaison, this critical link to building our forces, though that hardly seemed important in the face of Kalem’s actions.

Gods, how could Kalem have done this?!

“You don’t even care.”

“No..no,” I argue to no one.

I did. I cared for nothing more than Kalem’s future happiness. It was why I’d worked so hard for him. I’d missed him just as much, missed his warmth, his company, his joy.

I’d missed it all but I knew that I couldn’t have it now, for this short vital time until-

"You forgot about me.”

“I...”

The seams of my mind undo themselves faster, my barely tamed anger rising once more as sheer panic, exhaustion and stress try to light a match inside of me.

Closing my eyes tight, I spread my curled fingers and force myself to take a deep breath.

With all that plagues my mind, it almost chokes me, but I manage.

I’d deal with this liaison - if we were truly under threat, we’d need all the support we could get.
Then I’d ensure the clan was safe, and ready as we could be.
Once that was done, I’d go to Kalem and...

“You forgot about me,”

The peace I barely grasp almost fumbles as those words weigh me down.

Kalem and I didn’t fight.

We talked when things were upsetting either of us, we might even argue if we didn’t see eye to eye, and then Kalem might give me the silent treatment as punishment, but we didn’t fight.

It wasn’t...us.
All the pain and anger lingering between us wasn’t something I was used to and it hurt.

Hurt almost as much as the way he looked at me did.

“Pylen?”

I force my anguish down, shoving it deep into that dark quiet spot of my soul that I’d lived in before Kalem so that I could think.

I had a duty to this clan and everyone in it.

We’d need strength more than ever now, and this would achieve that.

With another deep breath, I take hold of what was left of my strength and head for the door.

When I show myself to the world, it’s without a sliver of my internal restlessness on display.

The guards at my door, three of my order, fall into step behind me, keeping up with my rushed steps as I head straight for the throne room.

Wequie had insisted on us meeting formally in the throne room, saying that it would reflect our power and strength. He’d claimed that tailored suits that reflected the clan’s image would do the same.

I’d agreed, reluctantly, but I refused to sit on the throne, that was highly unnecessary.

At my approach, the pair posted outside the throne room’s door pull them open for me to move inside.

I quickly sweep my gaze over the intimidating space that was nothing like the old, abandoned one I never paid any attention to. It was clean now, more modern with the clan’s sigil hanging from strategically placed banners, but it was also sparkling in a way that all the places Kalem touched did.

Rubbing my hands over my chest, I try to ease the ache there as I head for the two bodies conversing in the centre of the space.

Glimpsing me approaching over the shoulder of the large man facing him, Wequie smiles widely and gestures my way, “Here he is now.”

When the man turns, my eyes immediately zone into on the stroke of bright, gold paint that runs down the length of his face, from his right temple down to his chin, it only breaks at the opening of his amber eye.

Similarly, golden bands coiled around his thick locs, holding them taut and away from his face in a carefully styled manner that silently proclaimed something close to royalty.

When Wequie had referenced a liaison, I’d expected someone smaller who’d be clutching books to keep a meticulous record of the dealings we’d make, not the six five-man who I stopped in front of now.

“Lincoln, please meet Luciel, the Amaris liaison,” Wequie introduces with all the flare his body could produce.

Amber eyes hold mine for only a moment before their owner dips respectfully.

“Pylen Lincoln, it is an honour to meet you,” the man, Luciel, says before he slowly rises, “we’ve heard nothing but great things about your growing clan and your leadership.”

My leadership, it felt like a personal attack given what was currently happening.

I don’t show the unease that causes me though as I try to work out an appropriate response.

While worded pleasantries were something I had to navigate on the best of days, today, my mind could barely focus on what was happening without circling back to Kalem’s news and his tears.

“I only wanted to help,”

I inhale deeply and force a tight smile, “That is pleasing to hear, thank you. But the honour is all ours to host a member of such a powerful clan, especially when it’s one known for its strength and resilience.”

When I glance at Wequie, I see the way he was practically glowing with pride from my delivery.

Luciel allows a small smile of his own as he folds his hands behind his back, “Thank you, your praise is illuminating.”

“It is only the truth,” I reply as I hold the sharp amber gaze before me closely.

Once again, I couldn’t help but note how this man didn’t carry any of the traits one would expect of an acting intermediary.

While he was perfectly respectful, his stance was oddly bold.

Legs spread, spine straight, gaze unflinching. It wasn’t the character of someone who favoured political warfare, this was the stance of a man who understood power, real power.

Perhaps he’d grasped it at some point of this eternal life and still held on to the taste of it.

“You flatter,” Luciel says, dipping his head slightly again but I can’t quite manage the respectful smile Wequie slips on with ease.

Maybe I was just too wound up, but something scratched at the back of my mind that I was missing something here.

It wasn’t a hushed threat of danger, and I didn’t think this was a trap of some sort, but it felt like I was blindly overlooking a piece to the man standing before me.

When neither Luciel nor myself say another word, Wequie speedily slides in.

“You have travelled very far, while we’re happy to start negotiations now, if you’re tired and require rest-”

“Thank you, but I am perfectly fine,” Luciel interrupts, “My clan would prefer that I find myself back on route before nightfall, postponing this will only delay that.”

Wequie frowns and so do I, but he still nods respectfully, “Of course, if you’d follow me.”

When Wequie turns, his eyes peer at mine before he starts walking.

Luciel and I fall into step next to one another and my mind also marks that as unusual.

While I wasn’t the type of Pylen who required people to walk behind me, from all we knew about the Amaris Clan, they were the type that would. They were painstakingly respectful and structured.

That image and this man’s actions didn’t align.

“I must admit, we were all very surprised to hear of your clan’s willingness to fall under our rule,” I say as we leave the throne room.

Luciel’s eyes draw away from the innerworkings of the hall we enter to glance at me, “Forgive me for asking, but how so?”

“Well, as far as I can see, it’s hard to understand why a clan of your stature would come here to seek an agreement when it doesn’t favour you in any fashion.” I ignore the way Wequie throws daggers at me with his eyes and continue, “Your clan is joining a war effort when they do not have to. It is illogical.”

“It is not illogical, it is very sensible,” Wequie forces out through gritted teeth as he stops in front of the doors to some room I didn’t recognise, “they’re aware that things are changing for the vampire species, and they wish to find the most favourable route for their clan in this new system.”

Again, Luciel allows for one of those easy smiles as he dips his head in agreement.

I don’t say anything else, content with fishing out more information while we negotiated which I hoped would run along very speedily.

Before what had just happened with Kalem, I’d been prepared to play in negotiations for as long as necessary until I left with my desired outcome. Now? I needed this to be over as quickly as physically possible.

With a few murmured words to the guards to let no one in, Wequie leads us into a small but quaint room with three chairs circling a table. Luciel and I take the chairs opposite one another while Wequie seats himself in the remaining one that had a large book and ink waiting for him.

As the record-keeper for this meeting, Wequie would thankfully be focused on writing rather than talking, which left me to carry this out on my own.

“Shall we start with what is the most favourable outcome for your Pylen?” I ask as I clasp my hands together.

Luciel nods, seeming just as happy to get on with it, “We’d like to carry a status similar to those you’ve awarded to other clans under your rule. One that would allow us to retain our traditions, rulings and practices internally and follow our Pylen’s rule, while we would ultimately fall under your command when called upon.”

It was the same agreement we’d come to with Karios’ Clan and many others as Luciel had stated, however, those clans had never been anywhere as influential or strong as the Amaris’ Clan.

“A similar status,” I repeat, picking those words out from the rest, “how would they differ for your clan?”

“Our Pylen would like to have a seat at your table, figuratively speaking,” Luciel continues without hesitation, “the right to speak freely in situations that concern the clan and the species, to be a part of negotiations with other species as you expand.”

I watch Luciel while I turn his words over.

While I had plans to completely revamp the image and reputation of our species once I gained full control, it wasn’t an idea I’d yet presented to many. Our focus was the war at hand, and yet, the Amaris Clan appeared to be thinking ahead, as if they knew we’d come out on top and were preparing for a secured position for the future.

“But my decision would ultimately be final,” I remind and Luciel nods, “then agreed,” I say with a glance at Wequie who quickly writes that down.

This was a promising start.

“As a clan under my rule, you’d need to abhor to the rules of our species as well,” I state firmly, “no acts of slavery of any form or matter, any conflicts between former clans should be reported to me through the right channels. Similarly, any conflicts with other species must be reported to me. You will no longer represent your clan alone, but the species as a whole.”

“Agreed,” Luciel nods with a gesture to Wequie.

We continue like that, outlining what would be expected of the Amaris Clan once it became a subset of my own.

Issues like answering when called upon on any matter wasn’t an issue, the Amaris Clan seemed all too happy to send their warriors to fight, however not being able to turn any more vampires without my permission was an area that took far too long to iron out.

But we manage it, gingerly working out the finer details to the whole thing while I mentally tried not to lose my mind.

The longer I sat here, the longer I wanted to leave and go to Kalem.

Gone were the thoughts of securing the clan, I needed to find Kalem and fix what I’d broken. My skin itched to be close to him, my blood pumping faster with a hunger to make sure that I brought back nothing but happiness in the form of wide smiles to my angel.

That growing need for my love is kept company by my mind’s ticking need to figure out Luciel.

It might just be paranoia but my mind couldn’t compute what was so strange about the man.

Many creatures were confident, even with lower ranks, but there was something about the way Luciel’s radiated off of him so strongly. The way he sat, the way he spoke, like he wasn’t afraid of a thing in this world.

It was all power, the type that came from p-

Something clicks upstairs as the answer finally revealed itself to me.

The confidence, the silent power, it wasn’t some power hidden with age or a trick, it was actually so obvious I felt a little stupid for not figuring it out sooner.

“Is that all?” Luciel asks when nothing else rises.

Wequie grins, “Yes, we j-”

“Wait,” I say interrupting him while my gaze lingers on Luciel, “there’s just one more matter I’d like to discuss.”

Wequie slouches with obvious disappointment and picks his pen up again, but he wouldn’t be needing it.

“By all means,” Luciel offers with an open palm, and there it was again.

“I would just like to know, does your clan customarily make a habit of lying with your allies?”

Luciel’s amber eyes widen before they narrow for the first time, something near offence filling his gaze while Wequie tries to babble something to make up for my ′rude and uncharacteristic moment of insanity’.

“Do not apologise,” I instruct, eyes still on Luciel, “the Pylen of the Amaris Clan should be the one apologising.”

Wequie quiets just as Luciel’s demeanour shifts, turning cautious as if he were preparing for a fight.

“Huh?” Wequie breathes out as his head snaps between us.

“It might’ve seemed smart to you to come here with lies,” my voice grows deeper as my fingers tighten over themselves, “but I assure you, it was the furthest thing from it.”

For a second, Luciel just stares at me and I watch the way endless decisions flicker through his gaze.

Run. Fight. Lie some more.

To my surprise, he only relaxes in his seat as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. When he smiles it’s not that pleasant smile he’d been sporting all day, but a wide, proud, slightly amused one.

Like a skin shedding its skin, Luciel sheds his pretences as he spreads himself to fill his seat with all the confidence he’d been trying to simmer down.

“How did you know?” He asks with a voice that comes surprisingly deeper this time around.

“You were far too confident for a ‘liaison’,” I state, “theirs confidence like Wequie’s, loud and proud,”

“Hey-”

“And then there’s confidence in a leader that can’t be quieted easily.”

Luciel nods a little, thinking on those words before he straightens, “To clarify, I never lied. As my clan’s leader, I will always be a liaison in some form. It was not my intention to deceive, I simply wanted to observe how your clan, and you, in particular, would receive someone of a lower station.”

“Deception, even with good intent, is still deception.”

Luciel bows his head apologetically, his eyes downcast, “I apologize for my deception.”

It was annoyingly... not placating, rather just easy, honest. I was used to the elf’s smart jabbing but this wasn’t that.

This was odd, and honest, like this man.

“While I mean no disrespect, I do not know you Pylen Lincoln. I’ve heard much about you, but I do not know you. To send one of my own to face someone who could’ve harmed them was unacceptable, similarly, to come announced as the leader of my people was equally dangerous.”

“I respect my guest,” I state, trying not to take offence.

I didn’t have the patience or energy for mastermind plans.

“I see that now,” Luciel replies calmly, his head still bent, “while caution was necessary. I again sincerely apologise for my deception.”

I look to Wequie, wanting to gauge his reaction but give up the moment I spot the way his gold eyes were bright in that telltale sign that he wanted to mount someone.

In other words, Wequie wasn’t offended by Luciel’s actions in the slightest.

“When did you plan to tell the truth?” I ask, calming in the face of his honesty. Luciel hears it and raises his head, easing himself back into his chair without any lingering hesitancy.

“Right before you did, actually,” he says though I’m not sure I believed him, “I’d hoped that when I revealed my true position, I’d abate any anger with my intel.”

“Intel?” I question with a raised brow.

Luciel looks at me, and then Wequie, and then every inch of the room as if he expected a legion of warriors to appear at any given moment.

When his eyes find mine again, they’re guarded, “Can I request amnesty for what I say next?”

“No,” I say plainly, “If it’s something treacherous to me and mine, I will kill you.”

“You don’t strike me as the type to kill on impulse,” Luciel says bravely and despite myself, I find myself smiling a little.

“Then speak and you’ll see for yourself what type of person I am.”

Luciel’s smile grows just a little before it vanishes as a serious tension swells his shoulders, “You were right earlier, to wonder why we reached out to your clan when we didn’t have to.” He admits thoughtfully, “While I knew our paths would cross at some point, I was in no hurry to speed up that meeting date until last week.”

“What happened last week?” Wequie asks as he leans over the table with wide eyes searching for drama more than information.

Luciel doesn’t seem bothered by it as he keeps his gaze on me, “Last week, Diablos appeared in my court in a sort of projection by himself.”

While Luciel tries to explain how it was that Diablos was not physically in his castle, Wequie and I share a knowing glance.

“He came to demand our forces join his side in this affair,” Luciel explains with the first hint of annoyance I’d seen in him, “he promised that if we didn’t, that when he won, the first thing he’d do is come and enslave our people as an example for the future.”

“And you do not take kindly to threats?” I ask which makes Luciel chuckle as he shakes his head.

“No, I do not take kindly to threats. But it’s more than that,” my ears twitch slightly as Luciel’s voice turns cold, harsh in a way that didn’t suit the near sunny persona he’d shown thus far, “the practice of slavery hits a little closer to our people’s hearts when many of us faced a similar type on our own.”

Luciel doesn’t have to say anything else for me to understand.

“So when someone comes to my home, my land, threatening to put us back in shackles,” Luciel shakes his head, eyes turning red with bloodlust, “it can not stand.”

I nod, understanding his rage and seeing Luciel now for all of who he was.

He was the type of Pylen I was learning to be, the kind who would do anything to protect those under him... even if that meant bowing to another.

“Your clan offers a better future for our species as a whole,” he continues unsparingly, “in the span of a year, you’ve taken control of nearly sixty per cent of our kind, and have begun culling the poison that had been without our species veins for far too long.

“I’m here because not only because I want to put an end to slavery once and for all, but also because I know you can take us further.”

Honesty is all I see in his gaze and Luciel nods his head a little as if to confirm his own words.

“With complete control, I’d like to see what you can do for all of us in the coming years.”

Looking down at my own hands, I nod, trying to comprehend the real trust he was placing in my hands, a man he didn’t know or owe anything.

But even with the added pressure, somehow, I feel myself relaxing just a little bit as Luciel’s resolution and support soaks in. It was the type that would go a long way.

Not just with this war, or with the problems we might have to face with the elven, but with our course for decades to come.

“That’s like really awesome, and I don’t want to diminish that in any way,” Wequie hurries to say all at once as he looks between us, “but, what about that intel you promised at the start?”

“Ah yes,” Luciel says with a laugh, “our clan’s witches were able to lock onto the area Diablos’ projection was coming from. My scouts went to the location. None saw him, but the sheer numbers reported back suggest that that is where he is.”

I straighten, “What were the numbers?”

“Tens of thousands last I heard, and rising, they’re all flocking to him because of what I guessed were your attacks?” I nod, “Yes, then they’re probably more now.”

“When were you given your last report?”

“Two days before I came here,” Luciel replies before wrinkling his nose a little, “they’re in the Atacama Desert.”

“The Atacama Desert? In Chile?” I repeat, unable to hide my shock.

That was the last place I’d expected Dialos to be. While I knew one of Diablos’ landmarks was there, it wasn’t a big one from what we knew.

“From what I understand, they’re grovelling for numbers, they take locals for blood and when they’re on the verge of death, they turn them to bolster their numbers,” Luciel spits those last words. “My scouts also say they’re building barricades and preparing the battleground for what must be their last stance against you.”

Their last stance, that seemed too good to be true.

If they were turning humans in their area, then that meant their numbers were growing by the day, and if they kept up that cycle to feed the hungry newborns, then soon, they’d be doubled.

We’d have to move sooner rather than later, that was once we figured out something to protect us all from the Nyphilim.

But before any of that, I needed to find Kalem. I’d been away from him for long enough and couldn’t manage a minute more of it.

Before I can voice a carefully crafted exit, the doors fly open and the room quickly fills with vampires who stumble in.

I recognised them immediately as all Kalem’s closest friends. The twins were at the head of it, Gazium and Sin fighting the guards with bared fangs, followed by Raven and Ophelia who were equally just as ruthless.

They all looked unusually panicked now as they forced their way further into the room, attention solely on me and no one else.

“Our deepest apologies Pylen, we tried to keep them ba-”

One of the twins, Gazium or Sin, I always confused them, shuts the guard up with an elbow to the jaw. The woman curses as the twin rushes forward, his dark, manic eyes immediately finding mine, “Kalem’s gone!”

My heart drops in my chest.

Physically, the old, forgotten webbed thing falls within me like a heavy stone that crushes my lungs on the way down.

I force myself not to panic, gone could mean a great many deal of things.

“What do you mean he’s gone?” I ask, my voice barely stable as I find myself on my feet, all else forgotten but the vampire in front of me.

The youngling barely manages a breath in, “Thén and I found him crying in the gardens, I told him I’d get you to help and left him with Thén but the guards wouldn’t let me through.”

He takes a moment to glare at the guards who’d stopped trying to hold the others back while my insides try to fight against the splinters suddenly lodged there.

The reminder that I’d made Kalem cry, my sweet Kalem, was agonizing.

“I wasn’t getting through so I went back to check on Kalem and he was gone, and so was Thén!” Gazium breaths out, breath hitching on the word the same way fear begins to coil inside of me, “I tried to find a scent to follow or a trail, but there was nothing, it was like they just disappeared from the gardens, o-or maybe someone took them...

“I thought maybe Thén took him inside to help him calm down, but they weren’t anywhere I could find them. I got the others, we’ve searched the entire castle and as far as borders allow but h-he’s gone.”

I’m out of the room before he could say the word again.

No.

No. No. No. No.

Kalem wasn’t gone. Nobody took him.

Kalem must’ve popped away, trying to find a moment to himself in a still world we couldn’t recognise that only he could access.

He was not gone.

The second I make it to the gardens, I begin searching for the small tells Kalem left whenever he was practising his magic, the signs we agreed on so that I didn’t worry when I couldn’t find him.

A sunflower resting on its own on a rock, an orchid standing tall while the others rest, a trail of petals. Something.

I search for a sign, any sign, but find none.

“No,” I bite out when real dread tries to set in.

Kalem had been angry with me, hurt because of my actions, and perhaps in the midst of that, he’d forgotten to leave one of those signs or simply didn’t want to.

It didn’t mean that he... it did not mean that someone...

I follow the trace of him, his sweet scent that always lingered wherever he went like a trail to his light.

I find it gathered in the hidden corner of Kalem’s garden, a portion where the orchids I usually tended to rested, painfully withered with negligence.

Guiltily, I couldn’t remember the last time we’d simply gardened together.

Pain slices through me but I try to circle it, try to focus it and this rising tide of panic inside of me on finding Kalem.

I just had to find Kalem and make this better.

I could identify three scents in the spot; Kalem’s, one of the twins and another that I guessed was Thén. But I could also pick up on something else, something small that was spattered around but made my veins thrumb with caution.

Magic. Witch magic.

My fallen heart cracks a little as my fingers begin to tremble at my sides while my mind bombards me with images of witches doing to kalem what they’d done to me.

Kalem wouldn’t survive it. He’d never be the same if they got him, and if that happened, I’d never forgive myself for it.

“Lincoln,”

My head shoots up and my frantic eyes struggle to focus on the elf who was now looking at me with a terrified gaze that made me feel sick.

“I just heard,” he stammers out, his golden eyes flickering to silver. “Lincoln, I can’t feel his magic.”

I shake my head, rejecting the words and the implication of them as I try to follow the scents, try to find a trail, but as the vampire had said, there was none.

Like he’d just disappeared.

“No, he’s just hurt,” I argue as I look up at the castle, “he’s hurt and he’s waiting for me to make it better.”

“Li-”

I’m off before Aias can say another word.

In the castle, I head for our room first. Crashing inside, I falter for a moment at how still the room was, the bed perfectly made, the air strangely stale and heartbreakingly quiet.

“Kalem!” I call into it, as I search every inch of it. “Kalem! Please come out love!”

Not in the bathroom, not in the closet, under the bed or wedged in any little space, there’s not a touch of Kalem, and from the way specs of dust stuck to my finger, there hadn’t been any trace of him here for a while.

I go to his old room next, and stumble when I find the living chaos waiting there.

Books, papers and texts of all kinds, covered the entire bed, only broken up by pillows and stationery that were Kalem’s favourite. His scent was stronger here, his presence so lively it felt like he’d been here only moments ago.

“Kalem!” I shout as I begin my search here, “Kalem, please! I’m sorry love, please come out!”

Kalem wasn’t the type to run away.

Hurt as he’d been, he knew the real dangers of this world, he was smart and would’ve never risked worrying a soul, he wouldn’t just run away. Which meant that-

“No!” I shout as I clench my fist but that couldn’t stop the way my lips were trembling.

I sense Malcolm nearing before I see him, but ignore him completely as I continue to look.

His sad eyes weren’t helping now, nor was that sad pitiful way he was looking at me as if I was an animal he was preparing to be put down.

“Lincoln, he’s not-”

“Shut up!” I roar as I whirl on him with a sneer, “Shut up! He’s not fucking gone!”

Kalem was here, somewhere and I’d find him.

“We think someone took him and that vampire he was with, Thén,” Malcolm whispers carefully, quietly. “If they did, we need to put together a plan to find them. You need to calm dow-”

“Nobody took him,” I shake my head resolutely, unable to face a reality where Kalem, my Kalem, was in danger because I hadn’t been there for him.

No.

It wasn’t...

I

No!

“He’s here, I-I... I just need to find him,” I mumble as I stretch my power out through the clan, “We need to find him.”

I grab hold of every vampire I can through Lyrra and send them out without hesitation, to track every inch of this castle that I’d be sure to cover myself.

I’d find him. I’d find my boy.

From his favourite corner of the library, to the kitchen I’d made his very first meals in, to the unused dungeons and cells, to the dining halls, sleeping quarters, throne room and every single corner of this castle, I search them all.

And still no Kalem.

No sign of him anywhere, nothing to hint at what had happened or where he’d gone.

There’s no sign of him, even beyond the clan’s borders which I search for as long and as far as my legs could take me, nothing holds a lingering mark of my love.

Nothing but the lingering scent of his presence that I stumble back to now, desperate to cling to any part of him.

There were voices around me, talking, closing in on me but I couldn’t hear them beyond the live static building in my mind as I try to think of where Kalem could be.

I just had to look a little harder. Maybe if I were a little patient, Kalem would come back and I could make sure to fix all I’d broken so he’d never do this again.

I could tell him how sorry I was, how I’d never make him feel lonely again, promise to stay by his side forever.

Because he wasn’t gone, he wasn’t taken.

Kalem was not-

My legs finally give out beneath me, my body unable to hold me up any longer or my crumbling denial as tears fill my eyes.

“You’re always busy,”

Large arms wrap around me just as smaller ones do the same on my left, both holding me close and tight as if they were trying to comfort me and hold me down all at once.

But despite their greatest efforts, nothing can keep in the raw, agonized roar that scratches at my throat to get out and fill the lands all around for miles as my tears finally fall.

Kalem was gone.

Someone had taken him, my Kalem, and I’d been too busy to notice.

----------------------

I hate myself.

Never thought a sad, scared Lincoln could fuck me up this bad but oh lawdddddddddddddddddddd.

Thoughts???

What did we think of Luciel though?
And isn’t Gazium just the best friend ever for actually pushing his way in ugh!

I enjoyed the first half of the chapter, knowing you guys would lose your shit at Luciel’s first appearance, but that last bit.

Damn, that shit is fucking with me

I’m editing and I just had the realisation of why I understood everyone’s reactions to Kalem’s news without understanding why he did what he did.

They’re all like really fucking old. They’ve all been through things in life that make it easy for them to put aside feeling when it comes to serious amnners. And I think they forgot that Kalem is practically a growing teen - in the way that he’s now figuring out how to walk on his own now that they’ve helped him understand the concept of freedom.

Ain't that some shit...

Anyway, I’m not sure when I’ll update next, hopefully soon. But they keep giving me more responsibility in this internship which is a good thing, but a bad thing for writing time.

But I’ll figure it out.

You guys vote and comment if you enjoyed this chapter!!!!

Until next time,
Byeeeeeeeeee Humansssssssssssss

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