Writer Notes: It’s been since January! And I’ve been sitting on this chapter because I wasn’t particularly happy with it. It felt like too much of a filler, but it’s out now. Hope you enjoy 😉
Warnings: insight, switch in scenes, threats, pixelated blood and tears, and mostly dialogue
“Behold you fall into the realm of banishment and death. Where we sit and wait to fade away. Almost one hundred years have I stood plotting my revenge. I gave you everything you needed.”
“And you failed me, child.” Queen Julia frowned. “I believed in you. I gave you all my power. You utterly disappoint me.”
“How did Tatiana do this? She should have been too weak.” Julianna said.
“It matters not.” Julia replied. “You failed. I am not avenged.”
“But I had him! I stabbed Latimere Greenbrooke through the heart. He should be dead in a matter of moments.”
“No, no, no!” Coastal gasped. “Latimere!”
“Is he…” Zarah began. “Is he gone?”
“No.” Coastal shook her head. “I can still feel his life force.”
“That’s impossible.” Zarah shook her head. “He should be dead.”
Gregoral Zarren stood shaken. He was alone among enemies, yet they left him alone.
Personal crisis stole their attention. He could slip away without them knowing. They had let Honey escape. But Gregory felt obligated to stay. Seamus would be imprisoned. He couldn’t leave Julianna’s son to the wrath of Vaiden.
“Latimere’s power is keeping him alive…for now.” Gregory answered. “Best say your good-byes, Coastal. He won’t last much longer.”
“How can you be so heartless? You have necromancy. Help him!”
“No, I want him to die.” Usually he wouldn’t have spoken to a high priestess like Coastal Coster so bluntly, especially since her–their–son was not fond of people being rude to his mother, with the exception of himself of course.
But Vaiden was distracted. Gregoral couldn’t understand why the Shade would care for the blonde woman. Shades were incapable of feeling attached or empathetic.
But Vaiden cradled her tenderly, gently, like he was afraid of hurting her.
“I’m OK.” Why was she important to him?
“Thank the goddesses.” Vaiden sighed.
What was Gregoral missing? It was another reason he stayed. Latimere said Julianna had lied to him. What did he mean?
“What did you do!” Lacarra cried.
Gregory hated this. They wouldn’t let go. They wouldn’t say good-bye. If they did, that meant the end. They were too stubborn, too stupid to let Latimere go. Hadn’t he lived long enough?
For Lacarra it made sense. She’d been with him so long. She was dependent. He was the master vampire of the court. Without him, it would all fall apart.
Gregory would feel empathetic towards the vampires whose homes, jobs, and lives would be at jeopardy because of Latimere’s death. But they would move on. Lacarra wasn’t a master, but she was old enough and strong enough to rival most young masters. Perhaps she could marry into a powerful court.
“Lacarra, I…” Gabriel Steel seemed at a loss for words. Odd for him.
“Like I told Coastal, say your good-byes.” Gregoral huffed. “He won’t last much longer. I can feel his aura dimming as we speak.”
Vaiden finally flashed him a look that made him shiver. The Shade blamed, at least partially, of what Julianna had done on Gregory.
“I will kill you necromancer!”
Finally someone did something that made sense.
But Gregory was hardly amused by her threat. She wouldn’t hurt him. She knew he was the only one that could potentially help her brother. Although his necromancy never seemed to affect Latimere, he did know most of Julianna’s spells and enchantments. She had given him one that seemed to distract the master vampire just long enough for her to strike.
He should have been watching the Shade.
“Stop!” Gregory begged.
“Why?” Vaiden asked. “You already said you wouldn’t help. That means you are useless to me.”
Damn it. Vaiden hadn’t been as distracted as he thought. “I will…reconsider, but only on one condition!”
“Let me guess, your life.”
“My life for Latimere’s, is that not fair?”
“Here’s the deal.” Vaiden began. “You help save Latimere and I’ll think about sparing your pathetic life. You even so much think about sabotaging this operation, I will personally skin you alive.”
Gregory had no doubt in his threats.
“I don’t know what really happened.” Gabriel confessed. “Whatever Victoria did knocked me straight out.”
“So Lacarra managed to subdue her? A high elf?” Zarah shook her head.
“Shut up.” Victoria groaned.
“Penelope is out there.” Zarah said. “What she did to Yolanda…maybe she was under a spell or something.”
“Gregory has agreed to take me to her.” Gabriel uneasily smiled. “We’ll get to the bottom of it sooner or later. Right now, our main goal is doing whatever we can for Latimere.”
“It was a stupid plan.” Gregory said. “But that’s what Julianna wanted to accomplish.”
“I never really agreed with it.” he confessed. “I didn’t want all magical people to rule the world. It was her dream though.”
“You married an idiot.” Vaiden rolled his eyes. “You don’t go after the lion first in the pride lands. You take out the antelope first and make your way up the food chain.”
“Well, the lion is on his death bed.” Gregory pointed out.
“No, he’s not.” Vaiden grumbled. “I’m standing right here.”
“Can we stop.” Coastal sniffled. “We need to focus our attention on the task at hand.”
“We can’t remove the knife just yet.” Gregory said. “If we do, it’ll just kill him. We need a healing spell or a protection spell so we can remove it and it can heal with his vampiric powers quickly.”
“And what the hell kind of spell is that?” Vaiden asked.
“Not one I know I’m afraid.” Coastal sighed and prayed softly to the goddes Alumpius for guidance.
“Julianna might have so back at her compound.” Gregory said.
“No way are you going there alone.” Vaiden replied.
“I already agreed to take Gabriel there to fetch Penelope.” the necromancer countered.
“Does Julianna have that kind of spell?” Coastal asked.
“You–we–better hope so.” Gregory replied. “He’s fading fast.”
“I’m sorry.” Penelope managed through the tears. “Yolanda…”
“We’ll…deal with that later.” Gabriel said. “Gregory break the spell.”
“First,” Gregory looked at the young elf. “Where is your loyalty?”
“What?” Penelope shook her head. “I…don’t want to do this anymore. It was all Victoria’s idea.”
By Gabriel’s face, Gregory knew was true. Victoria had such influence on her younger sibling.
“Let her out.” Gabriel said.
“Fine.” He would be able to depend on Penelope. Victoria was in lock up with Seamus. He doubted Vaiden would allow him to talk to them.
“Let’s be quick.” Gregory said. “Vaiden wants us back in due time.”
“Scared he’ll come for you?” Gabriel chuckled. “Let’s find those spellbooks then.”
“Elan, what’s happening to me?”