Writer Notes: This flashback at the beginning is more from Chapter 38.
Warnings: photos without captions, flashbacks, magic! events of Book 1, violence, and talk of regrets.
“Why do you do this to yourself?”
“What do you mean?”
“You told her to leave if that’s what she wanted.”
“If that’s what she wanted.” Latimere repeated. “And evidently Trudy wanted to leave.”
“She only left because she thought you didn’t want her.” Lacarra returned.
“Where is this coming from, dear sister?” he asked. “Do you want me to beg her to come back? Why? So we can end up in the same place? No, I will not do that. I will not give her false hope.”
“She’s going to marry Harry Coristor.” Lacarra squealed.
“So I’ve heard.”
“You won’t fight for her?”
“We’ve been over this, Lacarra.” he frowned. “As much as it pains me to let Trudy ruin her life by marrying Harry Coristor, I will not stand in their way. What she wanted from me was more than I’d ever want from her.”
“Brother,” Lacarra shook her head. “You will find yourself surrounded in darkness, alone and full of regrets.”
“This is not one of them.”
“Please help us.” Trudy begged. “La’Belle has plans to move on Misplaced Stream. She wants to take over this district. She’s going after everyone, even you, Latimere! You can’t stand there and act like this means nothing.”
“I will deal with Lizabeth when the time comes.” he replied. “But I will not help you Trudy. You made your decision long ago. You chose to take a risk and now you must deal with the consequences.”
“How can you be so cruel?” Trudy asked. “When you receive news of my death, will you feel anything? Pain? Regret? Please Latimere, don’t be cruel.”
“This is my fault.” Latimere sighed. “I let Lizabeth leave. I unleashed her onto the world. I should have killed her so many years ago before she bring such evil.”
“You cannot blame yourself.” Lacarra said. “Her decisions, not yours.”
“I knew what she was.” Latimere shook his head. “I kept her locked away so she couldn’t hurt anyone. Now she’s out. Now she’s hurting people, like Trudy and Vaiden, our family.”
“Coastal said he is safe. They got him out. I haven’t heard anything on Trudy yet. I’m sure she’s fine.”
“For now.” Latimere shook his head. “When you place yourself within reach of fire, you will always get burned.”
“What is going on out there?” Siren Coristor asked.
“Stay here, children.” her mother said. “I’ll be right back.”
“You’re losing.” Gregoral said. “I’m sure you can see that now.”
“Nothing is as it appears.” Latimere returned.
“You’ve said that before. How exactly are you planning to spring from this trap? There’s no magic mirror for you to escape through now.”
“But something is wrong.” Honey said. “How are you doing that! You can’t just reach into my power! That’s wrong! It’s wrong! Get out!”
“Please, Gregoral, don’t be stupid.”
“Now stay and be a good little boy until I return.”
“Julianna,” Latimere began. “I see there’s no one standing between us. If you’re looking for revenge, point that anger my way.”
“You dare command me?” Julianna growled.
“Merely suggested,” Latimere smirked. “We know where this is going. You will use my allies against me. At least you will try. But why? I am standing here. Fight me, Julianna. It’s what you want. It’s what all this is about.”
“You know nothing!” she hissed.
“I know this has nothing to do with Vaiden’s family.”
“You called him a distraction.” Latimere said. “Very good, but he’s also a weapon.”
“Even your own children, they’re just tools to you. Nothing more than pawns to your war. You know how to manipulate them and so you will. What will happen when you run out of pawns? You will have to fight me yourself, Julianna.”
“Not yet.” Honey smiled.
“Caught you monologuing, Latimere?” Julianna laughed. “You’ve distracted yourself just long enough that now we have you.”
“What is going on in here?”
“Trudy, run away!”