The wall around Mystic City was done. I stand on it as I survey the area of what will become the actual city. The town hall was hosting the Court members and various other Mystics that had arrived to help build the city. It was sleeping bags and air mattresses for the ones who were sleeping inside and tents or open air sleeping for the ones who were outside.
The Fae had come in droves. Forest Fae, Water, and Cave had already started to make homes in the forest around. Tree houses were now becoming a thing. It was weird to see so many Fae. Raven hadn’t seen that many Fae of the varying races together in a long time like that. There were several small caves and the tunnels that connected on the land and the Cave Fae had claimed those with little issue from the other races. Werewolves would live in the caves but would prefer to make their own dens in other areas.
The newest addition to the little family that was forming was a pack of ten Werewolves. I had been surprised at that for the first day after they arrived. Mostly it had been lone wolves or a pair that had left their original pack that had been arriving. One hundred beings were living in the woods of Athens County now and that doesn’t even include Charity, James, Elian or I.
“Caleb’s pack? It didn’t take long for Darkan to spread the word about the city here.” Ralph’s voice had started me.
“It was his first pack and while he would rank above them, he is sentimental and would not force it.”
“He doesn’t have the alpha mentality yet.”
I of course nodded. Elian was a strange one but I was strange as well. Ralph has been a friend when I needed one. He’s a good man and a wonderful pack leader. His daughter is a strong one and I know that she will be a powerful leader when the time comes.
The wind picks up and I shudder despite the fact that it doesn’t really chill me. Humans talk of wicked winds. I feel that while the Matians area no longer a threat, there is still a threat out there.
“Two months?” Ralph asked breaking me from reverie. He looked down at the journal in my hand. I write in it but it’s in the language of the Shadow Vampires. It was a language I learned at the feet of my mother and not even my father knew it. It’s what I have used for this volume of journals. I started it when I moved to Belpre and I used it since then. I have other notebooks that I have been writing in but those have other things in them. Wrote in the same language but for Charity if I die.
I know that Elian has found things in my library that he thinks I don’t know that he did. I know that he isn’t keeping them from me to lie to me. He just doesn’t know what to tell me. I’ve kept a lot from him but it was in his interest. He is a child in the terms of the Mystics. A little knowledge is dangerous but so is too much on certain subjects without the wisdom to know what to do with it.
“How long before Caleb steps down?”
Ralph turned to me and just stared. I’ve never cared much for the politics of pack mentality. I’ve not needed to know it but with Elian and I dating. I need to know.
“Do you ask as concerned patron for her fledgling city or as concerned girlfriend who would hate to patch up her boyfriend?” Ralph’s ability is a pain in the ass at the best of times but there are ways to block him. I’ve perfected blocking the abilities of the Helian clan over the years. It’s a good way to not end up dead.
“I ask as both. I know that they have to fight. Caleb stepping down doesn’t meant shit. Elian still has to beat him in wolf combat and Caleb has to submit. He’ll win, I know that but…”
“Yes, he will win. Caleb will decide when that time is. He needs to get his pack settled. His father is going to be an issue.”
“I’ll deal with that when it comes.” The sun starts to set and the chill in the air gets worse. I’ve spent too much time awake and my stomach is upset. It’s been hundreds of years since I have had an upset stomach. I used to get them as child when I tried the blood of a new animal. When it settled, I’d feel better and never get it again with that animal. I settle my hand on my stomach and Ralph sees the movement looking worried.
“It’s Raven, Ralph. It’s always been Raven. I just asked to be called Lady Shadow when people are pissing me off.” I wave him off and take my hand off of my stomach. It’s nothing he needs to worry about. Too much stress with so many Mystics in the same area, a weird feeding schedule of human food and animal blood, not enough sleep and a lot of sex would be enough to give any human an upset stomach.
“I have the Fae keeping everyone back. I have some things to confess to you, Lady Shadow.”
Ralph’s insistence on using my titled name even though I have asked him not to worries me. I sit down on the edge of a parapet and he sits down beside me. Much closer than he has ever been to me.
“As a child, I was close to one of Zain Matian’s boys. It changed as we grew older but I overheard things that I think Zain would have not wanted me to overhear.”
“As a child, I was impressionable and I would have gone over to the Matian’s with little issue. I heard Zain talk about a prophecy that was given by a Witch who had gone into a three day trance. The Witch spoke of a time when the Shadow’s and the Darkan’s were one family and that the home city would be founded and the Mystics would never fight amongst themselves again. I heard him talk for two hours to his children were old enough and his followers about how that would be a bad thing. He was charismatic and I would have gladly at the age of ten jumped up and stuck a knife in your heart for it.”
“What did he say?”
“He said that the individual races that make up the Mystics would be destroyed. Our cultures, our ways of life would be gone. It’s why they destroyed Mystic City all the years before. It’s why he had killed the blood Shadows and all the Darkans. He spoke of Raven Shadow as a thorn in his side but as nothing else. He said the real issue would be in Charity Shadow if she ever got her head out of her ass and went after them. I never knew what he meant then but I do now. You both played everyone over the years didn’t you?”
“We played the world like a violin. I was killing them left and right but I never went after the ones that Zain cared about because I didn’t need to. My mother taught me well.”
“Yes, she did.” Ralph smiled as he looked out over the woods. “We are five races. While the Immortal are only five, they have their own history their own everything. We won’t lose anything will we?”
“I hope not. I want our lives to be better for this. I want the Mystics to lose nothing. I don’t think we will. It will be hard to lose what each race holds so tight to.”
“Be careful, Raven. We killed the Matians but we don’t have all their followers.”
I nod my head. It’s the other reason I wanted the city. A house in the middle of the city was no place to live if you have a price on your head. A city that never sleeps, literally. Full of Werewolves, Witches, Immortals, Vampires, and Fae, no one who wasn’t allowed would be able to slip inside. It would be a place to raise a child and never worry. The humans would kill, literally, to have a city like this in their culture.
“Children are wonderful things.”
“I’ve heard the rumors. You had a lover?” Ralph’s voice was reluctant but the Court had heard whispers but never anything concrete. It was the only case I had ever went to the Court about after the trial on my parents. “A Vampire?”
“Yes.” I turn around to stare at him. He looks at me. “I’ll tell him.”
I jump from the wall and land on me feet outside the city. I hear Ralph call out but I don’t care. I don’t hear him follow. I make my way to my house, not the one inside the city limits but the one that I have built. Instead of the humanlike electronic system, this place is full of wards to keep people I don’t want out.
I move to the sunroom I had put in. I always have one. When I move out here full time, I’ll bring all my plants with me. I sit down to start writing about today in my journal but mainly about the dream I had the night before.
I woke in the dream in pain. Elian was in bed with me and I moved to the bathroom, my stomach was bloody. I was gushing blood from my privates.
“Get Jasmyn!” I yelled at Elian who had just arrived at the door. He took off, quick as rain to get the Witch. As I laid on the bathroom floor, Zain came into the room and crouch.
“Two, Lady Shadow. Two for the life of my wife and I.” He leaned forward and placed a hand on my stomach and pushed. “A Dark One for the deeds and one to descend from the Dark One.”
The pain grew so much in the dream that I knew that I started to pass out just as a scream sounded in the air. As my eyes opened in the morning, I heard another join.
Elian had already left for his morning run so I was able to shower and look fine by the time he got home. I need to sleep tonight. I have only ever had nightmares when I don’t get enough sleep. The smell of water and earth wafts on the air and I moved to the window. It’s closed. The smell must have come from me. Lingering scent of Elian since we spent most of the morning together.
Elian has seen me bared to the world. He’s seen me kill. He’s seen me undone by pleasure. He’s seen me weak.
Rhett was a Vampire who had been changed by an unknown Vampire in the year 1500. He was sixty years older than me and we met while I was vulnerable from the death of the Darkans. It was the year 1875 and it was going to prove to be the worst of my life.
I fell in love head over heels and moved in with him in a cabin in the woods of Scotland. I never told him about my castle, that should have been the first clue.
We were happy together until one day, I woke with a pain in my lower abdomen. I was naked and when I reached down to make sure I hadn’t hurt myself my hand came back not bloody but covered in something else. Rhett was standing over me with a small blade in his hand. The smell of formaldehyde and old blood was filling the room.
A male Witch was standing in the room.
“You’ll never have a child,” Rhett said as he dropped the knife to the floor and then he was gone. I moved but the pain so great that I collapsed back to the bed. The Witch was gone in seconds. I laid there for what felt like hours before I could move.
Later that day, I got back to my parents’ house to ask them about it. I found them dead.
How do I tell Elian that I can never have children?
To Be Continued in Darkan’s Legacy in November 2014.