Monolo was furious. He slammed his hand into the wall again, this time leaving a larger hole than the last. How could this have happened? He thought to himself. He could not believe this. He’d protected the women and insured their location was known only to a few among his men. He had a spy and when he found out who it was, he would surely deal viciously with him. Just then there was a knock at the door.
“Enter.” He barked at the closed door. The door opened and Markus, his second walked in. Marilyn was with him. Monolo raised an eyebrow.
“I found her hiding at the camp.” My lord, “She was the only one that did not escape.” Markus said.
“Sit” Monolo growled at her. She obeyed. He looked at Marcus.
“Leave us.” Marcus inclined his head and headed for the door.
After he Marcus left, Monolo turned his attention to Marilyn.
“Why is it,” He started. “You are the only one that did not escape?” He asked her.
“I hid my lord.” She said with her eyes to the floor. He walked over to the couch and sat beside her.
“Why did you not leave when you had the chance?” He asked.
She shifted in her seat. “I don’t know my lord.” She answered. “The others showed up and there was screaming and fighting everywhere. I was frightened. I did not know what they wanted. I figured the devils that you know were better that the ones you don’t.”
Monolo placed his forefinger under her chin and raised her face up so that he could see her eyes. He searched them for a long moment. He could not see a lie in them.
“You see me as the Devil?” He asked surprised that her opinion mattered.
Her eyes widened. “No, Not exactly my lord” She answered. “I don’t know what you wanted us for but I know that you never hurt me personally. I did hear what was done to some of the other women and yes on that account you are as evil as the devil himself.
“Maybe if you had come and explained to us what you wanted,” She started. “It would not have had to be this way.”
Monolo was shocked. He did not expect such a small person to speak to him in this manner. He also did not expect to feel any remorse for what he had been forced to do over the centuries. He quickly hardened himself.
It is not up to you to tell me what is right and what is wrong.” He snapped at her. He stood and called to Marcus into the room. “Take Marilyn to a room and then come back down here.”
Marcus inclined his head and left the room. A few minutes later he returned.
“What shall we do with the girl?” He asked.
“Nothing at the moment,” Monolo said “Just leave her there. Right now I want you to get every contact that we have. Every witch we can get on our side, every vampire, person or thing. I want that son of a bitch dead and I want that fucking witch. Alive.” He ended.
“Yes my lord.” Marcus answered as he hurried out.
Ailis awoke with a jerk. She had tears in her eyes.
“What is it,” Kenneth asked? sitting up beside her. “Is it the baby?”
“No.” Ailis said. “It is Abuela.”
“What?” Kenneth asked. “What is the matter?”
Ailis jumped from the bed and ran to her Grandmothers room. At first glance she looked as if she was sleeping. But Ailis knew better. Kenneth came in behind her.
He took her into his arms. “I am so sorry.”He said
She could tell by the thickness in his voice that he was holding back tears as well.
“How did you know?” He asked her.
“She came to my dream to tell me goodbye. I saw her standing with Morgaine and Arthur. But not the Arthur I usually dream about. It was The King Arthur, as he must have looked when he died. She told me that she would be watching me until she could be with me again. She also said that it was Arthur that I needed to pay attention to, but not the one I am thinking of.”
“What does that mean?” Kenneth asked.
“I have no idea.” Ailis answered. “I think she is telling me that there is another Arthur.”
“Weird.” Kenneth answered.
They buried Carmelita on the grounds of the compound. It was a lovely ceremony. One she would have been proud of. Kenneth tried his best to be strong for Ailis but after all he had known Carmelita when they were both still human. It was a sad day for all. Kiera said a few words to honor her.
Later the next afternoon, Kenneth awoke to find Ailis crying in the shower. He got in with her clothes and all. “I don’t know how I can do this without her. What if I need her?” Ailis cried into Kenneth’s shoulder.
“It’s OK baby.” He consoled her. “I am sure that if you need her, she will be there” and that was the end of that. Things would have to go back to normal and the war would need to continue as much as Ailis just wanted to have her time to grieve.
Two weeks later Kiera and William sat with Kenneth and Ailis in the library talking strategy. They had maps on the floor as well as old books on folklore. They were trying anything to find clues. There just weren’t any. How did vampires fit into this? How would Monolo know about Camelot? Ailis was going to ask Kiera what she thought as she was raised in this world. When she looked up she saw Kiera and William had their gazes locked. They looked as if they couldn’t look away if they tried. Ailis looked at Kenneth and he smiled at her.
“They seem to be hitting it off.” He spoke only to her.
“Yes”. She answered smiling. “I can see that.”
“They are determined to hate each other and I can’t figure out why, but it will be interesting to watch what happens between them.” He said smiling at her.
“Well” Ailis said out loud effectively breaking their gaze. “I am feeling tired and we are getting nowhere, so I think I will turn in for the night.”
Kiera stood. “I think it is time I turn in as well” she said. She said her goodnight to Kenneth and Ailis. Her gaze retested on William for a moment before she murmured goodnight and all but ran up the stairs. Ailis bid her goodnight to William and bent to give Kenneth a kiss. He returned her kiss and then promised to be up shortly.
After Ailis left and Kenneth was sure she was out of earshot. He tuned to William. “What was that all about?” He asked.
“Nothing” William replied.
“That didn’t look like nothing to me. Sleeping with the enemy?” He teased.
“Oh go on.” William replied. “I never said that they were the enemy.”
“I know.” Kenneth answered. “I was only teasing. Really, what’s going on with the two of you?” He asked.
William let out a heavy breath. “Nothing, that’s the problem,” He answered. “I have the feeling I have fallen so hard for her, I have no idea if I am coming or going.”
“Ah.” Kenneth answered. “I know how you feel. Ailis is my lifeline. If anything happened to her or the baby, I would follow straight after. After all of this is over I will marry her.” He continued. “I don’t want to ever be without her.”
“Have you talked to her about this?” William asked.
“Not yet.” He answered. “Why? Do you think she would have a problem with it?” He asked. “I assumed she would want that.” He said getting a little worried.
“No.” William answered “Don’t freak out on me I was just asking. Anyone with eyes can see that she would gladly take on all of Monolo’s, minions at once if they dared to touch you. I was just saying if you plan to get married, you might want to propose. In my experience, girls kind of like that.” He said winking.
“Look whose talking.” Kenneth retorted. “You have all of these feelings for Kiera and you wont even tell her, you barley talk to her.”
“Yeah, well.” William started. “She doesn’t seem to feel the same way about me.”
“What do you mean?” Kenneth asked.
“She doesn’t want to have anything to do with me if it doesn’t involve the force and our cause.” He answered.
Kenneth sat for a few moments thinking. “I think you need to give her more time.” He said. “Have you stopped to think that she just lost everything that was dear to her not long ago?” He finished.
“I know.” William answered. “She is so closed off. She won’t tell me anything.”
“No one else knows what exactly happened to her either. If you truly care for her, you need to let her have time to come to term with all that has happened. She’ll come around when she’s ready.” Kenneth told William.
“I need some fresh air.” William said standing. “I think I’ll go for a walk while it’s still dark out. I’ll see you tonight.” He said.
“All right.” Kenneth answered and headed up to bed.
William had to clear his head before he went to bed. He walked around the garden and through the backfields, trying to calm him-self down. He had never been a patient person but he knew that if he was ever going to have a chance with Kiera he was going to have to learn patience. Until recently, vampires and witches had always been at war. Neither race knew the reasons anymore. They only knew they were enemies.
They now knew it started when the veil closed and the race was split into two halves. He really felt for Ailis and Kiera as it was basically their job to end this nearly sixteen hundred year old stupid war. William could see Kiera was realizing, not all vampires were the enemy. He just hoped one day she could see them as friends and in William’s case, so much more. He was just about to go back to the compound when he heard a noise that he couldn’t identify. He stood still using his advanced hearing.
There it was again. He knew then someone was crying. It sounded so mournful and sad; he had no choice but to follow the sound. He rounded the corner into the rose garden and pulled up short as he saw Kiera by the pond. She was crying. He was in front of her kneeling down in a flash. She looked up and he saw a moment of devastation in her eyes before she masked it with anger.
“What are you doing here?” She asked defensively.
“Shh.” He said reaching to wipe the tears from her eyes with his thumb. “Relax Kiera. I know you are hurting. Just try and calm down and breathe. All of this is not good for the baby.” She shook her head. He could tell that she was struggling to keep her composure. He just wanted to know what to do to help her. He wrapped his arms around her. When she would have pulled away he held on tight. “Just relax.” He told her stroking her hair. “Just let it out. It doesn’t help to hold it in.” She relaxed in his arms and just cried
Kiera was mortified William saw her crying. She’d spent the last six months holding it all in. After she left the library she couldn’t sleep. She knew she was losing it and didn’t want any of the girls to see her cry. She had no idea anyone would be out walking this late. Right now though she just needed to let it out and it was so comforting to be in William’s arms. She suddenly caught a glimpse of her husbands face in her minds eye. Markus was wonderful in his own way. He expected a lot of her but as long as she gave him what he wanted he doted upon her with his every waking breath. She suddenly felt worse and cried even harder. She couldn’t stop the flow now that it started. She just needed to let it out.
“Oh to hell with it.” William said. In that moment they were back in his room. Kiera stiffened as she realized where they were. “Don’t worry” he said. “I just brought you here so that you can finish without worrying about anyone seeing or hearing. I could not stay out any longer.”
Kiera was starting to feel better and her breathing was getting back to normal. She looked up at William who sat next to her on the bed with her hands in his. “Feel better?” He asked her.
“Yes.” She answered. “I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to share my burdens with anyone else.” He quieted her by placing a finger over her mouth.
“Don’t be.” He said. “It makes it better to share it with someone. I don’t mind. I could tell that you were struggling. He started. “Sometimes it helps to talk to someone about it. I am here if you need me. You may not believe this but I am a good listener.” He finished.
Kiera breathed a deep sigh. She did want to be able to let all of this go. But she didn’t want to have anyone’s pity. “Well.” She started. “I guess it’s pretty easy to guess by my condition that I had a husband.” She said placing her hand on her protruding belly. William sat and just listened. Of course he knew that she had a husband but it was still hard hearing about it. For some strange reason he felt he should be the only one to have the privilege of touching her, the gift of an everlasting eternity with her. “His name was Markus.” She continued. “We’d known each other since we were children. We had three children.”
William’s head shot up. They had other children. He felt like a piece of him had been ripped away at that moment. “Go on” He told her, proud that his feelings didn’t show in his voice.
“Monolo and his men came for me late one night. Markus tried to stop them. They held him down. Monolo gave me a choice. Come willingly or he would kill them.” Tears started to gather in her eyes. William reached out and grabbed her hand. She held tight and continued. “I did not know who he was. I have never met another that was so strong. I thought I was strong enough. I was not” she stated and lowered her head just as the tears ran down her cheek. “Monolo seized my power and used it against my family while I was paralyzed and forced to sit and watch. I could not even close my eyes to it. He killed the children first.” She said her voice shaking uncontrollably.
William nodded for her to continue. He couldn’t speak even if he wanted to for anger hotter and and more violent than he’d ever felt was coursing through his entire body. “One by one, he walked up to them and told them, “Do you see what your mother has brought upon you?” And then he would strike them down. I tried to scream to tell him that I would go with him, just leave them alone. But I was unable to speak. I saw each of my children fall to this man and then he walked over to Markus. He was so grief stricken that he looked more like a shell than a man. Do you see what your wife has done with her belligerence? Monolo asked him. He released some of the paralysis at that time. And Markus was able to speak. The last words from his mouth were I love you.” Kiera began to sob uncontrollably. “My family is dead because I thought I was doing my duty. It is my job as the Swan. Our Queen had not yet revealed herself. I had no choice. I had to protect the secrets. I could not fall. But in the end I lost everything to protect something that was not mine.”
“William took her in his arms. “Don’t do this to yourself. You had no way to know all that was going on. You did what you had to do. How were you to know weather or not he would kill them anyway?” He finished.
“Thank you for listening.” She said still sobbing.
“Don’t worry about it.” He told her lying her down in his arms and pulling the coverlet over them. “You just let it out.” And she did. She cried and he stroked her hair until she fell asleep. He lay there awake for as long as he could. It was well past daylight and he needed to sleep. He did not want to frighten her if she woke up and he was sleeping the sleep of the dead. In the end he decided to sleep the normal sleep of a human. He went to sleep with the sound of her breathing in his ear.
Kenneth was just waking from his sleep. He knew it would still be a little while until Ailis was up as she was still young and could not rise before sunset. There was still twenty or so minutes until the sun set. Kenneth lay with Ailis sleeping in his arms. He couldn’t believe how happy he was. Just then Ailis took a deep breath and opened her eyes really wide. Kenneth knew immediately something was wrong.
“What is it Love?” He asked. Ailis sat up placed her hand over Kenneth’s which still lay on her stomach.
“It’s time.” She said. Kenneth flew from the bed and started running in circles trying to find his pants. He was totally lost. He had no idea what to do. “Kenneth!” Ailis called and he stopped in his tracks. “Relax.” She said. “Go get Kiera.” Kenneth pulled on some pants and went down the hall to get Kiera but she was already on her way out of William’s room at a full bustle.
“I know she said. I’m on my way.” Kenneth looked over her head to see William coming from his room at the same pace. Kenneth raised an eyebrow and smirked. William shook his head and mouthed not now.
He reached Kenneth. “So, Kiera tells me that you’re fixing to be a father, Congrats man.”
“Thanks” Kenneth said as he turned on his heels to follow Kiera back into the room with Ailis. She was on the bed breathing fast. Kenneth was hysterical. He’d thought he’d been prepared for this but as he saw Ailis obviously in vast amounts of pain all rational thought went out the window.
Ailis had never felt so much pain. She’d heard giving birth was painful but this was ridiculous. She could tell Kenneth was worried. As soon as the pain subsided a little, a sudden feeling of danger hit her. She reached over and grabbed Kenneth’s arm.
“What is it?” He said.
“He’s coming.” She told him.
“Now” He asked, worry evident in his tone. “Are you sure?” She nodded. Kenneth looked over at William. “Get the men together.” He ordered. “Guard the walls.” Kenneth gave Ailis a quick kiss and hurried out just as Marion was coming in with hot water and towels. William and Kiera locked gazes briefly before he ran out as well.
“Good” Kiera said all business now as she took the supplies from Marion. “Go get the women. We are to be attacked. The men are guarding the walls if they should be breached do not let anyone near the second floor. I am going to deliver an heir to the throne of Avalon tonight.” She continued as she looked over at Ailis. “I’m sure the Goddess, not to mention the current Queen of Avalon would be very angry if something happened to said child.” She concluded as Marion ran from the room to follow her orders.
Ailis could barley think through the pain, she felt as if she were being torn in two. Suddenly there was an enormous explosion and the whole compound began to shake. Ailis breathed when she was instructed to, pushed when Kiera told her to but all she could think about was the nerve of Monolo. How dare he attack them in the middle of the night like a coward.
Kenneth and the men were setting up around the parameter of the building. He could sense something but couldn’t tell where it was coming from. This worried him. There was nothing worse than an enemy you couldn’t see. Just then there was an explosion on the eastern side of the wall. Suddenly, there were at least two hundred vampires streaming through the hole in the wall. Kenneth unsheathed his sword and ran into action.
The battle that ensued was worst than any Kenneth had ever seen. There were men flashing in and out of focus and ashes falling to the ground everywhere. Kenneth’s only thoughts were of the safety of Ailis and their daughter. He could not even be there for the birth of their first child. Instead he was outside fighting the battle of his life.
He turned into an automated killing machine. He stalked the ground sword in hand, slicing off heads one after the other. His only coherent thought was to kill all who dare endanger his family.
Ailis was pissed. She was in the middle of bringing a new life into the world and someone dared to attack their compound. She knew it wouldn’t be long now, this child was eager to join her parents. She could feel the child vibrate with power as another soul ripping contraction tore through her.
“All right,” Kiera instructed. Take a deep breath and one final push. Ailis obeyed and was relieved to hear her daughter’s first angry cry. Ailis heard Kiera’s intake of breath causing her to look down quickly at her daughter. The child was screaming her head off as blue light ebbed and flowed all over her skin. Kiera quickly cleaned her up and handed her to Ailis. She knew as soon as her daughter was placed in her hands, she was angry about the attack and worried about her father as well. Ailis nuzzled her blue glowing cheek. “Have no fear child.” She told her. “Mamma’s fixing to go down and take care of the bad men.” Their daughter calmed down immediately as if she understood. Her blue glow dimmed and disappeared completely, giving her the appearance of a human child. She’s brilliant as well. Ailis thought pleased. She was so beautiful. Ailis could not believe this. She just wished Kenneth could be here right now to see their daughter.
Just then there was another explosion and Ailis knew Monolo had broken through the protection and was entering the house. She handed the baby to Kiera. “Guard her with your life.” She said. Kiera looked hesitant and Ailis knew why. “Don’t worry.” She told Kiera. “You can do this.” Kiera nodded her head and took the baby out of the room heading for the attic. Ailis headed down the stairs ready for some payback.
Hours had past, or maybe it had only been minutes. Kenneth couldn’t tell. He felt like he would fall at any moment. The only thing that kept him going was the thought of what would happen to Ailis if he should fail. Just then Monolo came into the room. “How dare you take My Women!” He shouted. “For that you shall die.” He announced as they rushed toward each other. Their swords moved through the air, clanging together and throwing out sparks every time one blade met the other. They went at each other for what seemed like eternity. Kenneth got in a good blow to the left side of Monolo’s body, Blood spraying everywhere. Monolo returned with a swipe to Kenneth’s leg. “Damn.” He thought to himself. “Is that all these guys do is try to take the legs out from under you?” Kenneth could not believe how strong Monolo was. He knew that no matter how strong his will to live, he would not last much longer.