I did the only thing I knew would temporarily free me of this world and sever the link to Jayden. It is clear the Bishop Coven had only their interests and preservation in mind.
But why drag me into this place?
Because, there is something else you have that I want.
I told Prue you would find a way to come back. But this, I did not expect.
By dragging you into this realm, I can see what is in your mind, just as you read what was in mine.
Interesting. I thought you were incapable of yearning?
I am incapable of love or hate. Wishing for impossible things is different.
I can bring you the sun without pain.
You have never felt the warmth of the sun, without it rendering you blind and scorching your flesh.
It is what they promised you in exchange for your blood. The Bishops, they deceived you, they never intended to set you free. You knew this, and still you gave them your blood. Why?
Because if it was used in their spell, it would bind me to the last of the Bishops. The last one for me to destroy.
Only you did not destroy me, you left enough blood for me to survive.
You’re a fool. Had that mutt and Prue not appeared I would’ve shred you to pieces. What is it you want from me?
You know what I want, the same thing that makes you a beast.
It’s not that easy. The Bishops will all rise from their graves to see their plan through. Your mutt, you’ll have to fend off, now that he knows what you are. And if given another opportunity, I wouldn’t hesitate to drain you again.
a vacant vessel.
alluring it might seem,
once a witch helps it feel
the warmth of the sun
and visions of life.
it is but a foil
for in that vessel, still lies a
You should be fully healed by now. How much longer are you planning on keeping me in this realm?
As long as it takes. To find the answer I seek.
The bargain with the Bishops, you made it so that one day you would have the opportunity to destroy the last of them. Destroying me would end the Bishop bloodline and your vengeance served.
Now that you are in my thoughts, tell me why would I do this one thing, instead of seeing my retribution through?
My intention was never to carry on the bloodline. You said it yourself, it was something the Bishops miscalculated and once they learn of it, they will turn their graves upside down to see their plan through. There is nothing they will not do to force the bloodline between Jayden and I.
You are telling me everything I already know. If you think I would give you this one thing for nothing in return, you are far more foolish than I believed.
There it is. You told me you were unable to love or hate. You feel nothing because it is what you are. You have no bloodline, no ties to the past, present or future because you are unable to carry on any bloodline.
Good on you, you discovered the truth. Still you have offered me nothing in exchange.
What makes you a Beast is also what makes you strong. Emotions, they get in the way. Someone like you can help me break free of the Bishops. You have been bound for centuries to that room, waiting for your moment of retribution. I can set you free, if you help end their hold on Jayden and me. You will have your vengeance.
Emotional cognizance or a Bishop hex?
Setting me free is hardly an equal bargain for helping you end your destiny. Being locked up in that room was easy. How about you offer me something of value?
You will get your vengeance against the Bishops what else is there?
Destroying you would have the same result, how is helping you and your mutt sever ties to the Bishops of any use to me?
I will not plead for you to drink from me.
Oh, little witch, we are past that. Have you already forgotten what happened in that room? Prue wasn’t the last Bishop I had. Clearly, you are stubborn and you will not plead for anything.
I will set you free and give you the ability to roam in daylight, how is it not enough?
I will admit this moment as warm as the sun feels on my flesh without the scorching pain and blindness, it is tempting but hardly something I’d miss. In this realm, you can read my mind, go on get to it, see what it is that would be considered an equal exchange
I told you, I have no intention of carrying on the Bishop bloodline. It is not who I am. It is not what I want.
If you are to live I would want assurance. Assurance the Bishop line ends with you. I would call that an equal exchange. How do I know this isn’t a Bishop ploy and you will not see your end of the bargain as your kind have done before?
You don’t know. What you are asking, it will come at a price.
Of course, it will. I remember what was in your mind. Your mutt, you favor him and you want to help him.
Outside of Midnight Hollow, there are others like him. We can find them, and find a place where he belongs. A place for him to carry on his bloodline.
Let me see if I have this straight, I help you sever ties to the Bishops, ending the spell between you and the mutt. I help you find him a new home. In exchange I am free of that room, I can walk in daylight, and most of all we spend the rest of your days in the same place, as an assurance you will not carry on the Bishop bloodline?
Yes, all three of us, free.
If you cross me just as your coven did before, next time I will not hesitate to shred you to pieces. Then, you will be the last Bishop ever to be drained by me.
So, you hesitated the first time around.
You knew that even before you stepped into my room. You are far more skilled at engineering this entire thing than I gave you credit for. Does your mutt know the extent of your manipulation?
If this is to work, you must refer to him by his name.
Ah, right, that, again.
I do not need you unnecessarily pushing Jayden by insulting him.
Do you have a name?
Unlike “Jayden” I am old enough to not be easily insulted. Beast, is that what you called me before?
Do you have a proper name you use?
I used to go by Mazen.
My name is Ara.
tear you from the Bishop fate.
break you from the Bishop cage.
locate the remaining Fox kind.
find the gift of sunlight.
end the Bishop bloodline.
live the rest of my human life
guarded by a Beast,
who cannot breed.
A Bargain Without Plead
Or guarding his destiny?
You are back.
How long have you been sitting there?
Everyday, since it happened. How are you feeling?
I will be fine. The air is frigid, did you—
Yes, you needed an environment matching your natural one to help you heal.
You should save the use of your powers, we will need all the help we can get.
I did, yes. After a few months went by I figured you would not want to be stewing in your own blood and my shirt seemed drenched in what little blood you had left. These were the only clothes I could find in this place. Your hair, does it mean—
Yes, it does. We would both return to our primary form, upon death. It is a good thing I am still alive and the hair, will return to its previous state.
You mean primal, animal, fox? You and I are of the same, animal kind.
And Prudence where is she?
Gone. Once she bound that degenerate brute to his room she disappeared. I have not seen her since.
That degenerate brute may be the only chance we have against the Bishops.
“Chance” he tried to have you for dinner! He nearly killed you.
But he did not. It was not long ago, you tried to do the same, to destroy me, I mean.
I stopped and there was no one there to try and stop me…I have more self control than that brute will ever have. In the Bishop writings…I read…did you know what they planned?
Is that why you would not tell me what you are.
Were you afraid of what I would do?
My fear is not of you, I am afraid of them. They will all return to see their plan through.
I did not know what he was referring to but now it makes sense.
That day, that brute said to Prue I was not what you wanted, it did not make sense then. Did you tell him?
Not directly. He has certain abilities. Abilities I would not put past him using at this moment.
Did you know he was behind that door?
And you went in there knowing what he would do to you?
Yes. It was the only way to get him away from this place, to speak with him. That is where I have been this entire time, speaking with him.
To convince him to help us.
How can you trust him, after what he did?
I do not trust him. But he will help, because he has something to gain. His help is needed. I learned his name, it is Mazen. You will want to use it from now on.
You seem different…
What you are, it changes everything.
I asked you to save your powers.
Yeah, well, I asked you not to go in that room. Neither one of us is in a position to make demands. Now that you have little to hide, why is Mazen relevant?
Here is the thing, you and me we cannot leave this place, until it happens.
What, the Bishops plan?
What does Mazen have to do with their plan?
When you first met Prudence, in her animal form, what did you do?
I automatically transformed.
And when you found me, in his room, in fox form, what did you want to do?
But you did not.
I overcame the urge to do so, to get you out of there.
Transforming is part of their spell. If we are both in animal form, their plan works.
I felt you holding on, I had to fight the urge to transform. The pain it took to overcome it was bordering on unbearable. You went through the same thing, last year, when you cast your spell, causing me to transform. You lived in pain that entire year. Why would you deliberately put yourself through that?
I wanted to be sure I would be able to fight the urge, for a prolonged period of time and away from the Bishops. To prepare for our time here.
Is it so wrong, what the Bishops want, that you would go to any length to stop them?
It is not about right or wrong. It is not what I want. It never was.
What about what I want? Or is that irrelevant to you, this whole thing, is not just about you! We are confined to this place because of you! You deliberately asked me to bring you here knowing what would happen. How do you expect me to just give in and help you prevent a chance at restoring what was taken from me many centuries over! And Mazen, you still have not answered his involvement with any of it?
He is not under the same spell as you and I. I can free him.
You would unleash that brute out into the world of Midnight Hollow?
For what purpose?
He has grown weak in the time he has been imprisoned and he needs to hunt and feed. By now, humans would have returned and he can hunt just as he did many centuries ago. Keeping him satiated will make him less likely to feed on one of us.
Setting him free for the first time in centuries, in a world where he can endlessly feed, what makes you think he will return to help you rather than spend his time hunting?
Because he will. You see, what is more important to him, aside from feeding, is to see the Bishops destroyed. If either you or I are unable to fight the urge, he will be here to prevent the continuation of the Bishop bloodline.
Until I regain my strength, I will not be able to cast the spell to set Mazen free. And since you have finally calmed down, you can tell me what it is that you want from all this.
Does it even matter to you? All the decisions you have made so far, have been for your own self interest. You have proven to be no different from your Bishop coven.
Do you even know what you want?
To begin with, I want what we agreed on, to be free. Instead we are confined to this place for an undetermined period of time. All because you made the decision that this was best. It was what was best for you. You knew all along what would happen here but never gave me a choice.
You said this place was the only place where you “seethe less”, I figured you would be comfortable if we had to spend time here.
It was not your decision to make. Clearly you are missing my point. Are you even capable of seeing beyond this ridiculous plan that you and I would ever carry on a bloodline?
Finding out that I am not the last of our kind was perhaps the best news in centuries. There was a part of me hoping you would survive the attack of that brute.
I knew he would not finish what he started.
Of course you did! That temporary feeling might just have been the spell that manipulative coven of yours cast. Because you are the last person in this universe who would be ideal to carry on any bloodline.
At least we agree on two things then.
Even so, what I want is for you to tell me everything you know about this curse. And about your time with that brute. Because I will never agree to setting him free, unless you tell me what it is that you have planned and if I agree it is in everyone’s best interest.
Is that what you demand? I thought neither of us was in a position to make demands.
You are not wrong, it was intended as such. Which I have no right to do, just as you have no right to make decisions about what is best when your decisions affect me.
What you felt towards me while I was recovering, it is part of the spell. They are not true emotions but part of the curse to make it easier for us to carry on this bloodline. Except, the Bishops miscalculated a couple things.
What things would that be?
For one, and as you pointed out earlier, I am far from an ideal candidate to create future generations when I have no intention of correcting the aversion of being touched. It is part of who I am. You were correct, I am not ideal, nor do I wish to be. Then of course, there is your apparent dislike. Both these things combined work against the Bishop plan.
Then why go through the trouble of coming here, and involving that brute?
He has a name, it is Mazen, use it.
Are you serious?
I will not ask again. Whether you like it or not, at this point we are here and he is the only one who can help us now. Perhaps it would have been best to involve you earlier on, but I chose not to, and nothing can be done about that now.
And when the time comes,
I will cast the spell to set Mazen free, whether you agree with it or not.
Good little witch.
So far everything you have said does not involve your visit with Mazen and I suspect you have not told me everything there is to know about this curse either.
And if you attempt to set him free before we reach an agreement I will burn down that room with him in it and I will make sure that whatever is left of him is exposed to sunlight for an eternity.
You may be a powerful Bishop witch but about the only control you have over me is in Fox form and we both know that forcing me to transform in this place would play right into your coven’s plan. Now, I can plainly see you are close to a full recovery, it is only a matter of time before you try casting the spell to set Mazen free. So you choose whether you fill me in now or whether I set him on fire the instant you cast that spell.
Mazen is not pleased with Jayden’s threats and he may have just realized Jayden is far from useless.
Ara finally speaks, Jayden listens. Neither is aware of the mirroring in body language that instinctively took place when this conversation started nor are they aware of its significance.
You ask me to tell you everything about the curse and about my time with Mazen.
You said I was no different from the Bishops, and yes I manipulated this entire thing from the start. Every step taken was so that it would bring me to where we stand at this very moment.
I knew who you were when I first came to you and I knew you were not confined to that cell. I have been reading about you and the Bishops my entire life. I have spent my life preparing for this moment. You are not the only one subjected to this curse, I am the other half to it.
Would you have believed me from the beginning if I told you we were both of the same kind, caged in this world by a spell cast by a coven which happens to be mine? And that we were cursed so you and I would continue on the Bishop bloodline? Telling you all of this from the start would hardly make for a good opening line as you are one to easily become enraged, having learned this firsthand when you tried to set me in flames.
You are not the only one deeply affected by the Bishops, as they imprisoned me since my birth, leaving me among the same humans who despised witches and hunted foxes. I was forced to remain hidden until the day I would meet the other half of this curse. They falsely believed the two of us would be a savior to our kind. A union between the two remaining foxes of Midnight Hollow would give life to new generations of witches and foxes alike. To take back this world that was taken from both sides of our kin.
So as far as the curse goes: I am a Bishop witch, a Fox and a Human. But mostly, I am me and I am not free. I want to leave this forsaken world and live the rest of my mortal days free to feel, nothing. I have no desire to build a connection or bond to anyone in Midnight Hollow or in any other world. It is not who I am, it is not who I want to be. I will go to any length to see my freedom through. I would not change any of my actions because they lead me to where I stand today and it means I am one step closer to being free.
I have about as much loyalty to the Bishops as I do to the adoptive humans they left me with. How could I have told you, the one being who has been alone for many centuries over since his birth, that the only other surviving fox in this world never wanted to be found but was forced to be seen in an attempt to be free.
I could say I am grateful you are telling more than you have in the entire time since we met, but what good will that do when you had to be coerced into it. What is it that Mazen has over you?
He has nothing “over” me, it was an agreement.
He must have some hold over you. You have defended and protected him. There has to be more to it than an agreement. You see, the thing I learned while you were in the other realm, is that as long as this curse has its hold, it will influence my reaction to things. Things as they relate to you. During this past year, physically all I could do was stand by and wait for you to return. All I could think about was how I wanted to burn Mazen’s room down for what he did to you.
But you didn’t set Mazen in flames.
No, of course not. I had no idea what would happen and I thought you might have answers. As it turns out, you do have answers which you were unwilling to share until I threatened him. This absurd curse and its influence over me—
It does not have to influence you. You can control it.
Is that what you do, control it, as you do everything else?
That is not what I meant.
Then, tell me what it is that you mean. How do you control it? How do you go about not feeling?
What you feel, is no different from what I feel but this curse you should not let it matter to you.
We are the last of our kind and you are mad if you think it is not important. As much as I dislike your actions and your behavior, we are alike and I am not going to pretend that has no significance. And I will see to it that Mazen never has another opportunity to do what he did.
I told you before, I do not need your protection.
It does not matter if you “need” my protection or not. It is what I will do with or without the curse. Because I will protect my kind.
Now tell me all about your visit with him and why you feel the need to protect him?
I am not protecting him.
What was your immediate response when I labeled him a “brute”, you asked me to refer to him by his proper name. What would you call that, if not jumping to his defense?
The longer you stand here questioning me, the less time we have to defend ourselves against the Bishops.
I will stop questioning you when I believe you have nothing to hide. And I believe you are concealing a lot more than you have let on.
Why must you know about my time with Mazen?
You want to set him loose in this world because you believe he will help put an end to this curse. You made an agreement with him but you refuse to tell me the extent of that agreement. If you want me to agree to setting him free, then you have to stop concealing things. You stand here denying you are protecting him yet it is obvious. What hold does he have over you?
There is no hold.
You are oblivious. Nevertheless, what I take issue with is you reaching an agreement with him, one that has to do with this curse, which I am a part of. This curse and how we go about breaking it is not solely your decision to make.
You are wasting time, are you going to tell me what Mazen has to gain in all this and what you offered in return for his help?
I am sorry Jayden.
I must do this. It is the only way.
What are you doing? We agreed you would not use anymore of your magic on me!
You took away one of the defenses I have against him yet you carried on and on about how you are not protecting him!
It should be no surprise that our understanding, it meant nothing to you.
Jayden knew this was the first step of Ara’s plan, he understood what she was about to do.
The only existing truce you and I had, not forced by this curse, you just destroyed.
Remember this is the choice you made, the path you have chosen to tread.
Defenseless, he is not.
You may have temporarily prevented me from setting him in flames.
Let us see how well he does in a world of unending sunlight.
A run down of what just happened in the world of Midnight Hollow where one disgruntled little fox finds himself imprisoned and betrayed.
Over three hundred years bound between four walls. And now the door opens. Mazen places one foot over the other side of the doorway as thoughts of the reason for his lengthy imprisonment return.
Binding him to that room was the only way to ensure survival of the last Bishop witch. Prue knew what he would do if they had set him free then. The entire coven would have paid for what they did. They were right to fear for the entire Bishop line. All the Bishops he had known were cunning. A skill he found amusing, until he was outsmarted and locked away.
Of course it took an entire coven, but outfoxed, he was.
But now, he is free and only one Bishop witch remains alive.
For a beast who feels nothing, there is something growing, a sensation. Perhaps it is his highly developed sense of smell, now that he is no longer hidden from this world he is able to pick up everything around the entire church compound. Not to say the odor of a 400 year old semi-burnt down church is pleasant.
The deciduous tree in the courtyard reminiscent of rotting fish and the pungent smell of the garden spiders throughout the church are also far from pleasing. Among all the unpleasant odors, he locates the sweet scent of the last living Bishop.
As he steps outside the room staying beneath the courtyard covering, he thinks about how different this witch seems from the lot of them. Hardly is this an advantage for him. He does not know her because he has been unable to read her all that well. But has anyone ever known her? Her mind is strong. She is focused and manipulation is a craft she has mastered. All skills not in his favor.
Yet for the last year he was in control of her. It was one of the things she asked him to do in return for his freedom. If he controls her mind, she does not feel and the Bishop plan does not work. Except he knew he was not in full control of her. Several times during the past year he detected her suddenly veering thoughts and actions into whichever direction she willed. Afterwards he would end up temporarily thinking it was his own doing. Still, he went along with it. Why pass on an opportunity to have some control over a witch, to a greater extent, a Bishop witch?
He had been listening to conversations between her and that mutt. Mostly listening to the mutt’s thoughts. There was little he did not voice. And Mazen had been correct about one thing, that mutt would never let her go. Most importantly, Mazen had been wrong about his powers, he is much more dangerous than he appears.
The witch set him free, she has seen this part of their agreement through. She will not give him the ability to walk in daylight, not yet at least. But living in unending daylight was not part of the agreement. The mutt is indeed an unpredictable hazard.
Mazen walks on. It was time he and the mutt had a slightly more proper introduction.
Four hundred years in the past this place held such high importance to humans and witches alike. Now abandoned with only one Bishop witch left alive it holds little value. Tracking the Bishop witch’s scent Mazen walks through the corridor of the main hall of the church. Where he begins to remember a past life. This too was once a place of worship to the human, to the man side of him.
Mazen pauses as he hears distant voices of the wife and daughter of a dead man. He shares the memories of a man who died centuries ago. It was a different life and that man was not Mazen. That man no longer exists. That man’s wife and daughter are gone. Even if his family were alive, Mazen would feel nothing for them. Nor would he hesitate to drain both to satiate his thirst. Sharing the mind of a dead man does not mean he feels sorrow or remorse. The memories of a dead man are like the sentences of a story Mazen once read, he remembers the characters in the story but there is no meaning to the words used to tell their story.
His thoughts are interrupted as the sunlight beams down his legs.
The endless sunlight cast by that mutt.
Mazen must stay in the shadows or be weakened and blinded by sunlight.
The endless sunlight cast by that mutt.
He senses the Bishop witch, her scent becoming stronger and stronger with each step he takes. His hunger increasing. He senses the mutt’s warm blood. He has not hunted in centuries, but now, he is out. He can hunt. Instantly he remembers what it means to hunt. The thrill of hiding in the shadows and stalking his prey. If pleasure was something he felt, hunting embodied it.
He pauses. He can feel her. The Bishop witch is weak. He could drain her or that mutt. Neither could stop him. The curse would end with that mutt. Or he could drain them both.
He let the witch live for a reason. It is for that reason he will try to see their agreement through.
With slow movements Mazen turns towards the entryway to the library. The scents of the Bishop witch and the mutt are overwhelming. For centuries he fed on vermin but now being this close to the witch and the mutt the urge to drain them consumes him. Exercising control over compulsions was never a concern. Until now.
He takes a few steps towards the entryway and catches a glimpse of the Bishop witch. Sunlight shinning through the window and onto her flesh and through her hair. She stands silent, still and fixed on Mazen. He pauses, recalling when she pulled him into the other realm, giving him the ability to stand in sunlight without the scorching pain and blindness.
This witch is very different. For a person who is alive and filled with warm blood she is far more detached than any other human and witch combined. She is apathetic and calculating. In a way she is very much like Mazen, except she is alive.
He will try to see their agreement through because it is not as if he yearns to roam in sunlight, it is about what the witch can do for him. To exist without limits and to destroy the Bishop bloodline are reason enough to allow for her to remain alive.
Through the entryway and into the library a Beast goes.
Ah, my little Bishop witch, you’re looking well.
All healed I see.
You did it, you managed to keep your end of our agreement so far…
Ara, this is what you have chosen to set loose? A brute who refers to you as his and does not even call you by name. What else did you promise him?
Right. “Jayden” was it? There’s no need to get your tail entangled in excitement. As “your“ little witch told you, I’m here to help.
Because your track record of being helpful is stellar.
That incident is behind us now.
You tried to have Ara for dinner! You mean to tell me now that you are out of that rat-hole your thirst for blood has suddenly disappeared?
You should really try barking less and listening more pup. What I stated is indeed a fact, that incident from last year is behind us. The witch is healed and alive. It’s an accurate statement.
Though she does smell just as sweet as she did a year ago…and your blood is slightly above the vermin I fed on for centuries…so to answer your question my thirst for blood is ever present. It never disappears.
It would be rather easy to drain you both at this moment…but it’s not why I’m finally out of that hole.
It would take seconds for me to rip this place apart and give you the gift of sunlight. How much enjoyment can a brute feel in the sun? You may be ancient but without limits, you are not.
The room begins to reflect a natural instinct to protect the closest thing to a kin the Fox has ever known…a scorching heat returns filling the room…though in Jayden form, he was without clue, maintaining focus on the Beast threatening his destiny as his intensity grows.
Oh, how I would enjoy shredding you to pieces and drinking every last drop…if it were not for my agreement with your witch.
You insolent brute, go on try laying a hand on me and we will see how you satisfy that thirst weakened and blind.
Why don’t you let me worry about my urges and you focus on what you really should be doing?
And what is it exactly I should be doing?
How about you begin by reversing whatever it is you did to cause this unending sunlight?
And allow you to run about hunting what is left of Midnight Hollow? I will do no such thing. Not until I know the terms of your agreement with Ara will I even consider taking any steps remotely in your favor.
Little witch, have you nothing to say to your stubborn mutt?
Now if she is unwilling to share details with you, it is not my place to tell.
As if you have standards. I suspect you have done something to Ara to make her behave in this manner, forcing her to free you and side with you on everything. She has not been herself since you almost killed her.
Poor little jealous mutt, afraid of losing your mate to a brute?
I am not afraid and I will see to it that whatever hold you have over her comes to an end.
Do you even know what the witch wants?
She wants to be free, just like me.
Still believing the tales she tells, I see. You haven’t a clue.
How are you suddenly the expert on all things Ara?
Let’s just say, I have access to her like no one else, not even you, who the Bishop’s destined for her.
That is between me and Ara you have nothing to do with the Bishops. I will figure out what you have done and have it reversed. I will not leave her side so long as she is alive nor will I leave her with you!
Foolish mutt you haven’t the slightest about the plight you are in. Your dogged determination will leave you without a defense against the Bishops.
Unless…of course…the Bishop’s plan…it is what you want.
As soon as Mazen made that statement, Jayden wanted to rip open the roof of this place and allow the sun to weaken the beast…then he remembered: this was not the first time Ara had been silent. Her silence, it meant something. Suddenly he begins to feel disoriented. Ara had told him about Mazen’s specific abilities…it was meant to warn…her words are rarely without meaning…he knew exactly where Mazen was now focusing his attention.
Ah, right. The Bishop’s plan, it is what the mutt wants.
That is right, you have a certain ability, of interjecting yourself into thoughts. Is that what you meant by having access to Ara like no one else? You invited yourself into her mind, a place where you are unwelcome. Something you clearly do well.
If you think this place, made to appear as a shrine of the two of you, is what the witch wants you have no idea who she is. That witch came to me to ensure the Bishops do not see their plan through. She doesn’t want you.
And you think, you know Ara? She who stands here without a word. I have spent more time with her than you, and what I know is that in the time you stand here reading my mind, she is devising the best way to get you out of this place to do as you are told. I doubt you are capable of reading two minds at once.
You know, if you are destroyed, the Bishop spell ends with you.
Only the Bishops made it so that I could not die, or is that something you missed in your reading of minds?
Trust me mutt, I know exactly where you came from. I will enjoy draining you of the blood taken from me and given to you.
What are you talking about?
Ah, in all the time you spent with your little witch she still tells you nothing. You are immortal because of me. It was my blood the Bishops took to use in their spell, rendering you immortal and giving the witch power to heal.
If you are unable to destroy me, why not destroy Ara, why keep her alive then?
Because the witch is worth more alive than she is dead.
That is it, you need something only she can offer you. And I stand in your way. Ara meant to set you free to hunt, in preparation for us to confront the Bishops. But what could she have to offer you that you would do all of this for us.
It is not for you, you stupid mutt.
Does it make you angry brute, to think you are doing something to help me? Or does it make you angry the Bishops destined her to be with me and not with a brute like you.
I’m going to enjoy draining every last drop out of you.
A particular emotion in the room (warning link to a heavy industrial possessive song).
A particular Bishop witch stands silent.
A salient thing.
A message to Ara: Jayden’s core never changes direction even as he faces the beast. The same cannot be said about Mazen.
And so, the brute charges at Jayden. Jayden feels his temperature rising, which usually happens whenever he is in a fit of rage, except this time something is not quite the same. Something is preventing him from destroying the roof and giving the brute the gift of sunlight. His powers seem frozen. The brute keeps moving towards him. There is only one answer, Ara. She must be protecting him making it easier for that brute to tear into him. Has he misinterpreted everything she ever told him? He wanted so much to be right about her but something is preventing him from harming that brute.
Mazen is uncommonly hot, as if he has been exposed to sunlight but the mutt hasn’t moved. Realizing he is experiencing a new sensation, and though he is about to drain that mutt, this inexplicable thing is unlike hunting. He is bothered by it but it’s more important to drain that stupid mutt. Why has the witch been so silent, he stopped reading her mind the moment she set him free. Was that mutt correct, is she devising her next plan against him?
The energy of the endless sunlight Jayden had cast made its way inside the library, and onto Ara. He had been incorrect; the sun does not weaken her. In fact, everything he had ever tried always ended in her favor. Of course, it would work that way, the Bishops designed it so. But was everything she did in his favor as well?
That is close enough, Mazen.
This was not part of our agreement and you have wasted enough time.
Your mutt had it coming.
If you do not stop, I will make you.
If I end him, your curse is lifted. It is what you want.
I will not ask again.
You are weak and hardly possess that kind of power.
Mazen does not heed Ara’s warning. Instantly he is brought to his knees from a scorching pain and blindness. Jayden is pushed against the wall, unable to move.
What are you doing witch! This is not what we agreed on.
You have yet to meet your end of the agreement. Instead all you have done since I set you free is aggravate things, as I asked you not to. Since you are unable to control yourself, I will do it for you.
How are you doing this witch?
This kind of power, it is ancient. I have seen it once before but where and how did you manage to possess it in the absence of the Bishop coven?
We agreed, you were to leave Jayden unharmed.
Eternal sunlight was not part of the agreement either, yet here we are. Now have your mutt reverse it or give me the ability to walk in sunlight as you promised.
Ara, what are you doing? Was that your agreement to allow him to walk in sunlight? And why can I not move?
Are you going back on your promises witch, just as you did with your mutt?
I asked you to use his name and what is the first thing you did?
Enough already with his proper name, what does it matter! Release me.
Until you see your end of the agreement I will not cast another spell to help you and I will do everything in my power to stop you if you continue to go against what we agreed upon.
Release me witch!
Not until you take steps toward doing your part.
The sunlight, I cannot hunt in daylight.
Jayden, please reverse what you did.
I am asking you to trust me, just as you believed in what I have told you so far. Please, reverse it.
He cannot be trusted.
You are right, he is not to be trusted, but he will see his end of things. Right, Mazen?
Have him reverse it and I will do what you asked and return once you are ready to defeat the Bishops. But you will see every single part of our bargain through.
Your freedom was the first part, then you were to hunt and help defeat the Bishops. Until we get through that, nothing else will be done for you. Now it is your turn, go and hunt as much as you want, but remember you are out for one purpose. You have one year.
I will see it through, witch. And if she is still in Midnight Hollow, I will find her and bring her to you.
I want her alive, Mazen. She is to be alive and unharmed.
Right. Now release me.
Jayden, are you ready?
And with a single motion, Jayden returns the world of Midnight Hollow to its normal state. Mazen is set free to roam the world as Ara and Jayden prepare for what is to come.
Part 3 Summary Video