Chapter 24 – Part 1

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Chapter 24 – Part 1


Chapter 24



– The Path of Daleth. The Black Brothers.1


“If I could be the light that lights your way, I wouldn’t wish for anything more of this finite passage over this lost world. And not even all the shadows I carry, nor all the thorns that torture me,
would be strong enough to pull me away from my destiny.”







Part 1

I remember coming back to life in a warm wave of pain. My whole body hurt as if I’d been a victim of some serious spanking. I groaned as I took a deep breath, and then groaned again just to make sure I’d recovered my voice.

The weight of the air around me left me immediately alert and, with some more groaning through clenched teeth and a lot of cringing, I finally managed to turn to the other side. My eyes were immediately on him, on his perfect figure, and my heart sped up in a conditioned response.

Gabriel was sitting on the floor, his back against the wall opposite to my bed, keeping enough distance to spare me from all the annoying shaking and trembling. He had his knees bent, his long arms resting on them, and was staring inexpressibly at me, completely motionless and quiet.

I thought that, once more, I could’ve easily mistaken him for a white statue, if not for the red gleam that crossed his violet eyes, which made me considerably nervous and apprehensive. Contrary to how it might look, he was very much alive and it was with a huge amount of effort that he kept the wrath boiling inside him under control.

I smiled weakly, since even the smallest movement sent shards of pain through my body, and breathed in making sure my voice wouldn’t fail me.

“Hey,” I whispered, although that hadn’t been my intention at all. “What are you doing there, sitting on the floor?” I asked as lightly as I could, but he didn’t move an inch, nor did he reply, making me sigh in frustration.

Clenching my teeth hard so that my face wouldn’t show another single painful expression, I pulled my quilt back and tried to sit up, angry at my shaky arms that just wouldn’t obey me. I could feel his gaze on me, following my every move, and so I focused my mind on trying to minimize the situation. Even so, I was all too aware of my weakened state to even consider the possibility of being able to stand up, and so I let myself slide to the ground and looked at him with a defiant smile.

“You’re quite right. This isn’t half as bad,” I joked, even though I was trembling inside. Somehow I had the distinct feeling that this absence of reaction was a hundred times more dangerous than his explosive furies. Besides, that red gleam in his eyes made me unsure of even my own safety.

I took a deep breath, contracting the muscles in my arms to make sure that they’d obey me, and crawled on my hands and knees towards him.

“What are you doing?”

His soft but cold voice made me stop for a moment and I took the chance to recover from what felt like an immeasurable effort.

“What does it look like I'm doing?” I asked and, as he didn’t answer, decided to crawl some more.

The tremors came back ruthlessly, making my whole body hurt even more than it already did. But, even so, I only stopped right in front of him, sitting on my heels.

“Those eyes ... are terrible,” I noted between forced inspirations. His presence, even contained, was too intense and palpably threatening. “Is that anger? Desire to kill someone?” I asked and his lips moved all so slightly, just enough to let a few words escape.

“To shred to pieces.”

His voice sounded like an icy thin blade cutting through the air, making me sick. Because that was the true voice of his Soul.

“Me? Or her?” He was silent again, but I couldn’t help noticing how hard he was clenching his hands. “This was my choice,” I reminded him and the air around me became even heavier, making it even harder to breathe.

“Get away from me, Mari.” His dark whisper brought back all the irritation I’d carefully been ignoring those last few days. There he was again! Trying to avoid me!

“Why? Are you going to tell me it’s not safe?” I provoked him and saw him slightly frown.

“I’m trying ... really hard ... to keep myself under control.”

“Isn’t that why you’re here?” I asked. I knew all too well that I should have woken up in an empty room with the certainty that he was somewhere out there, looking for my attacker.

“It’s easier to keep myself under control when I’m near you,” he said and I smiled ironically.

“Are you using me as if I were one of your Seals?” I asked, knowing he wouldn’t answer. “All right then,” I agreed and crawled to his side, lying on the floor beside him. Everything remotely similar to a standing position was just too painful to keep up for long and I sighed in relief when I no longer had to try and keep my body up straight. I took a peek at him, noticing that he’d followed me with his gaze, and smiled. “If that’s how it is, I may as well stay close by, right? So that we can be sure that you won’t simply explode with half the city,” I added jokingly, although I was quite aware of just how serious the situation really was, and he took a deep breath of defeat.

I saw him release the strength with which he squeezed his hands and, with a slow movement that seemed to take an eternity, he placed a hand over my head. The coolness of his skin reminded me of the relief I’d felt when he’d touched me before, when he'd made me sleep. And I noticed that his hand was slightly shaking, recalling what he’d told me about always being afraid to hurt me with his inhuman strength.

“I wish ... you would stop trembling,” he told me and, somehow, it sounded as if his tone had changed, and I immediately recognized that dark pain that always made me suffer as well. I placed my hand over his, his soft cold skin sending an electrical tingling sensation up my arm, and firmly kept it trapped between my head and my hand.

Like always his touch sent my heart into a crazed race and my timpani vibrated, leaving me deaf. But still I decided I wouldn’t let go of that hand, squeezing his long fingers as if that could stop him from noticing just how much I was shaking.

“I’m sorry.”

“When it’s my fault?” he asked and I smiled, more at ease as that crimson glow slowly faded away. “Tell me what happened.”

My smile disappeared immediately. As softly as his voice had sounded, that hadn’t been a request, and I rapidly calculated all the possible consequences of telling him exactly what had happened that afternoon.

“I ... don’t really know for sure,” I answered, trying to gain some time, but, before his grave expression, I knew I had no other choice. “I got out from class earlier. She was sitting on this branch.” As I described it, I recalled that he too, had been sitting like that the first time I’d seen him after the evocation. I watched him for a split second, trying to read his expression, but he seemed as indifferent as always, and so I went on. “I knew she was there even before I could see her. And when I did see her, I guess I’ve never seen anyone as beautiful as her. And yet, I felt exactly what I used to feel near you, with the difference I was sure she wanted me dead. Contrary to what I first thought, she didn’t find me by mistake. She was looking for me. Because, somehow, I’m on her way. I think she knows that you’re staying here because of me and she wanted to set you free.”

His hand trembled and I noticed he was struggling to keep it carefully motionless. The muscles of his jaw tensed with the effort of containing his rage.

“Her name is Telane,” he said firmly and I found myself kind of shocked as I understood he knew her personally. “It was after her and one of my Brothers that we left the last time.”

“She’s like you … a Shedim,” I pointed out and he nodded almost imperceptibly.

“Yes. She’s the strongest living female of our entire caste. And she is the prize that will belong to whomever wins this war. That’s why she was given the right to take part in it. As I heard it, Telane refuses to belong to a male weaker than her.”

“Then ... she wants to win?” I asked, trying to make my voice sound stronger.

“She may even want, but she certainly knows that that’s impossible. And attacking you was a fatal mistake!” With his last statement the crimson glow returned to his eyes. I sat up all too quickly, which sent waves of pain through my entire body; my heart hammering against my chest, the air around me charged and crackling.

“I’m just a Human Being!” I reminded him, squeezing his hand with all my strength. “My life is frail and short. Dying now or in forty years doesn’t make all that much difference. Why must you deviate from your path because of a stupid vengeance on something that didn’t even happen?” I asked, apprehensively, and his hand escaped from mine, leaving me with a terrible sensation of emptiness. “If you must kill her, then kill her. But only because there was no other way. Because you’re at war. I don’t want you to do it because of me!” He looked away and his expression seemed even more serious.

“I can’t do what you ask,” he replied coldly and I felt despair creep up on me. My presence, my existence, had triggered something uncontrollable and it was as if I was already losing him, as if he might disappear just like that, to never return.

“Nyx!” I called out to him, as if that single word had enough power to make him my prisoner and, without thinking, held his arm. My nails slid over his silky shirt, scratching him, and I looked for his eyes, too insecure to stay still. I watched as a small frown marked his forehead and, in the next instant, at a speed I couldn’t follow with my eyes, cold hands grabbed my shoulders, pushing me hard against the wall.

All I felt was the shock of my back against the hard cold surface, and the waves of pain that the movement sent throughout my entire body. I immediately forced myself to breathe, trying to keep his face in focus, feeling dizzy and queasy. I ignored the claws that were his fingers, completely covering my shoulders, and pressed my lips together to silence a painful groan.

“What the hell do you want from me!” he shouted at me, making me cringe before his fury. “And what difference does it make how or why I kill her? Can’t you see that there’s nothing else I can do? Because this should have never happened! Because I told you that you’d be safe!” His anger and frustration made me shake. Refusing to admit that I couldn’t do it, I raised a hand and placed it aganist his face. The electric charge that crossed my palm made me sick to the stomach, but still I refused to move it. I responded to his sudden expression of disbelief with a smile, and parted my lips to give way to my thoughts.

“I just want you to act according to your own nature,” I murmured, “and small, insignificant feelings as revenge are way below you.” His hands lost their strength, ending up releasing me. My arm too lost the necessary strength to keep that contact, and I took a deep breath. “Nyx. I’m here, aren’t I? The past is in the past, even it’s five minutes ago.” He lowered his head, looking suddenly too tired and I went on, not wanting to lose the small control I had gained over him. “If you go into battle the way you are now, because all you want is revenge, how will you be able to control yourself? You’ll end up hurting those you do not wish to hurt. Think about Lea.” I thought I saw him shudder. Just as I’d thought Lea’s life was too precious for him to even admit the possibility of putting him in danger like that.

“I know that ... very well.”

“And that’s why you’re still here,” I added and he took a deep breath, seeming calmer again.

“You need to rest,” he told me and I watched as he stood up, his movements ever so graceful, towering over me like a lean, imposing dark shadow.

“What about you?” I asked, knowing he was about to leave, and his gaze fell on mine, leaving me more reassured since that red glow was completely gone.

“You don’t need to worry. I’m not going anywhere,” he told me, walking to the door.

“Nyx! Swear!” I demanded, unable to feel at ease, and he stopped for a moment.

“What for? It’s not like my word is worth anything.”

“But it does! It does to me!” I insisted and I watched as his hand went to the door handle.

“I swear,” he simply told me and left without turning back one single time.




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