Part 4 – A restless Beast roams about as destruction begins in Midnight Hollow

Once the witch lifted her hold, Mazen exited the library.  He had to get away and although the pain and blindness immediately subsided, he was caught off guard.  The last time this happened, it took an entire coven of the most powerful witches yet this time it was just one.  Stepping into the main area of the church he realizes the sun has not set.

He would need to wait a little longer until he would walk out of the place which imprisoned him for three hundred years.   

An unrelenting familiarity swept over Mazen as the witch held him down.  He felt something beyond the pain and blindness.  But he is unable to remember when he had experienced that kind of power.  And so he begins to suspect, the Bishops took more than freedom when they imprisoned him. 

Through the church door a Beast goes.

As Mazen makes it out the main entrance of the church he senses different types of warm blood throughout.  It has been a long time since he’s hunted.  Freedom.  It is what the witch gave him.  The freedom to hunt anyone he chooses.  

To hunt without forcing himself to stop. The farther he moves from the church, the more faint the witch scent becomes.  He pauses for a moment.  But, oh, the sweet scent of humanity, what an overwhelming urge. It is why he is free.

Well, hunting the residents of Midnight Hollow, was not exactly the only reason the witch set him free.  One year to search for Madeleine.

Ara, what is happening to you?  You are growing stronger.

I meant it, when I said I was sorry my actions went against what we agreed on.

I know that now and I want to understand you.  We cannot defeat the Bishops if we are out of sorts with each other.

You are correct, we should work together.  You were correct from the beginning, this curse impacts you too.

You were not protecting him, I get that now.  But how is it that you gained this power?

There are many things I learned during my time with Mazen.  One of them was that I had to almost die to unlock everything that was inside.  Power.  Memories.  It all returned to me.  The Bishops wanted all of it to remain locked away.  Now, I am ready to answer whatever questions you have.

Who is the woman Mazen is out trying to locate for you?

It is not a woman. It is a child, who should be about 10 years old now.  Her name used to be Madeleine. 

Madeleine Frost. Alive, she wants her alive.

Now, what could that witch possibly gain, from a child?

You will actually answer all questions I ask?

Yes, you said we should work together.  How about we start with the questions I left unanswered about my time with Mazen?

All of them, you will answer?

Yes. 

What was your agreement with him?

First, I would free him if he tracked Madeleine.  Then he returns to help us defeat the Bishops in exchange for the ability to walk in sunlight.  Lastly, I spend the rest of my days with him to ensure you and I do not carry on the Bishop bloodline and— 

Wait, what?  You agreed to spend your life with him?

Yes, it is what Mazen asked for, in exchange for helping us find the rest of the fox kind.  There are others who fled Midnight Hollow.  The three of us will find them, so that you can have a place where you belong.  It is what you want, to find the others?

Yes. It was but then I learned you are just like me and it changed everything. You agreed to spend your life with him…why?

Because it is what I must do, I will explain, I promise. 

You released him, he will hunt and destroy the people of Midnight Hollow, why would you spend your life with someone like him?

No one will die by the hand of Mazen.  I made sure of it.  I need his ability to hunt to locate Madeleine but he will not be able to bring anyone to their death.

You cast a spell on him.  But you know what he is and what he is capable of, why would you promise the rest of your days to him?

The Bishops were right about you, you are what is good in this world.  It is why they gave you the power you have.  I understand that now.  But they miscalculated what I would do.  Let me ask you this, in all the time you have been alive, have you ever brought anyone to their death?

No, of course not.

Why?

Because, it is not who I am.  Have you?

No.  It is not who I am either.  This is the first time since I met you that you have said anything about who you are.

I told you, everything changed when I learned we are alike.  It is not just the Bishop spell, it is more than that, Ara.  I do not understand why you would stand by him, am I so impossible you would rather run off with him than to exist by my side?  And I am not talking about tradition, I would never ask or expect what you cannot give.  I would like to continue existing just as we have for the past few years.  Is the idea of that so terrible you would run to him, who has no humanity left?

You are not impossible.  What would you do, if you learned you had a family that was taken from you?

I would fight to get them back.

Then you will understand what I am about to tell you.

What did you do to Mazen, to prevent him from hurting people?

It is a spell. He is able to hunt and drink, just not bring anyone to their death. 

And once he figures out what you have taken from him?

My agreement with Mazen does not involve him destroying anymore people.  He can still feed and hunt, he just cannot finish what he starts. 

Is that what you were doing, casting a spell on him, when you were silent?

Yes there was that and also trying to figure a way out of this.  And that involves telling you everything you want to know.  What other questions do you have?

Who is Madeleine and why involve a child in all this?

Her full name was Madeleine Frost.  She was my daughter.

You have a daughter?

I did, yes.

But how?  And why are you willing to tell me everything now, what changed?

Madeleine is one of many memories unlocked when I almost died…and I cannot do this without you…I need you…your help.

Not a word.  You should know better than to have a run in the dark.

Let’s see, there was something I was going to ask…

What…do you want from me?

I said, not a word. Be silent.  I am thinking.

How did you have a daughter, I thought you–

Madeleine happened before that. The aversion it was a choice I made, a long time ago.  There is this memory I have of creating the potion to repel me from any human connection.  There was a reason for it. Then there are so many other memories.  All out of order.  I remember Madeleine being born and her father. Then my mind becomes confused and other images come to me.  Everything I know about growing up in this life was fabricated by the Bishops.  All memories of Madeleine and her father were wiped clean, until Mazen almost sent me to my death, then they all came back at once.  These memories of her…they tell me of a time when the Bishops were still around.  I think I was one of the original Bishops.

They have been gone for over three centuries, how could you have been one of them?

Ah, right…now I remember my question.  Do you know of a child by the name of Madeleine Frost?

You may speak now.

I…no…I don’t know anyone by that name.

There was one Bishop witch, with a unique ability to travel between the past and future.  You already met her, Prudence Bishop.  I think it was she who had me removed from the past and sent here. Everything about Madeleine feels real.  If Mazen finds her, it means it is true.  

It is a rather cruel punishment to separate you from your daughter. Why would the Bishops do that to one of their own?

I suppose there was more at stake for the coven than there was for just me. They had another mate in mind, one better suited for the coven’s needs, one better than Madeleine’s father.

Who is the father?  Is he still alive?

You don’t know of anyone by that name.  Well…how unfortunate for you.  It’s the only reason I would see for sparing your life.

In these memories, he was a good man but it still seems very strange. I do not know how to feel for someone I have not experienced yet all these visions tell me something different. I am strange to myself in these memories. It is not who I am, or who I know to be. The Bishops had other plans and it did not involve me marrying an ordinary human.  With complete disregard to the coven’s objections, I married him and Madeleine was born.  It was in her sixth year, when they stripped me of all memory, gave me fabricated ones, and then sent me here.  They knew the strength of my powers and to ensure I would carry on the Bishop bloodline it was here in this time I was to meet you.  I knew what they had planned and before they sent me away, I cast the spell so that I would never yearn to touch or feel until I found my family again.  At that time I thought I would never see them again, and I was fine living the rest of my life that way. I am uncertain how things played out once I was gone, but what happened to Madeleine’s father, I can tell you it was not good, for anyone.

You know where he is?

You are the second person tonight I’ve been unable to fully drain. That Bishop witch must be behind this.

Yes, I do know where he is.  He has been here all along.  But he is not the same man from my memories, he is something completely different now.  That man died 300 years ago.  His name was Mazen Frost.

How is that even possible! That brute is Madeleine’s father and your husband?

He was different then. Please use his name from this point forward.  They are both my family, I think you can understand that.

I…am…sorry.  I know the Bishop’s plan was never what you wanted and a part of me believed I had time with you. I thought after defeating them, one day you would come to feel, something, anything. I thought it was impossible to lose you to anyone else because of your aversion.

That spell would have never been undone without regaining my memory to reverse it.  The agreement with Mazen was to find the rest of the fox kind, a place for you to belong and have a family of your own, if that is still what you want.

It was, until we met.  When will you undo the aversion?

I already reversed it, six months ago.  And, just so you know, I do feel and it matters to me what happens to you.

But, it is your family you will choose.

It is.

How was Mazen turned into what he is now, was it the Bishops?

It was not within their abilities to do such a thing.  I believe, it was a choice he made.

Is he aware of the past you share?

When I pulled him into the other realm, I was able to see inside his mind.  He has memories of a wife and daughter, very faint memories, he has not made the connection. The Bishops must have done something to his memory as well. Being in his mind I learned that although he is incapable of feeling, he has one regret.

A regret?

A dead man can never produce offspring.

You think he will react when he remembers he has a daughter.  Will you tell him once he returns?

Telling him, would do no good.  I would need to reverse whatever the Bishops did. He will have to experience it for himself, just as I did.  But first, I need to know if Madeleine is alive before restoring his memory.

As dawn approaches, an agitated Mazen seeks a place to hide away from the sunlight.  For the first time he’s made a bargain of equal weight with an extremely powerful Bishop witch. As much as his inclination is to return to the church and confront her, he understands she’s seen her end of things so far, it’s his turn.  Because when he does his part, she’ll have to give him the ability to walk in sunlight.  Then he would settle what she’s done.

His gaze has been so worn by the procession
of bars, that there is nothing it can hold.
A thousand bars comprise his sole impression,
a thousand bars, and the world beyond’s a void.

The supple gait that yields the forceful strides
which draws him into ever smaller circles and
like a dance of power about the center glides
in which a mighty will stands, impotent.

Only sometimes do the pupils’ curtains
draw silently apart —. An image then gains entry
and, passing along the limbs’ certain
stillness, stops in the heart and ceases to be.

Rainer Maria Rilke, The Panther

I do not know how to feel for someone I have not experienced yet all these visions tell me something different. I am strange to myself in these memories. It is not who I am, or who I know to be.

—Ara Frost

Her name is Holly.  She awakens on the cold pavement.  The last thing she recalls is going for a run.  Her neck aches and as she reaches to rub it, she feels the soreness of the abrasions on her skin.  She has no idea what happened to her.  She looks around and there is no one in sight.  Confused, she looks down at her watch and realizes it is 4pm.  She had gone out for her usual jog at 3am, how did she lose more than half a day? 

Then she remembers in one hour’s time she has to report for her shift at the tavern.  She rushes off home to get ready for her shift.

For the past week, Mazen lurked in the shadows until nightfall.  Midnight Hollow has a lot less residents from what he remembers.  Still, there are enough of them to try and locate Madeleine’s whereabouts.  He followed Holly for a few days after his failed attempt to drain her.  He learned she lived alone.  He also learned she works at the local tavern.  It is an ideal place to start, or to spend daytime hours, besides what few residents live here seem to all end up at the tavern at some point throughout the day.  He is delaying looking into Madeleine because on top of being unable to truly hunt, there is something else that was taken from him and it is leaving him restless.

Mazen Makeover 1

He no longer has a place in the mind of the Bishop witch.  He tried to reach her for a few days after she set him free, but every single attempt she blocked.  In one year, he had grown accustomed to being inside her mind. Perhaps it is because she is strong, in many ways, and he finds it amusing.

Her mind is a familiar, comfortable place.  The witch is different from the rest of the Bishops.  Different and strong.  He would have to rely on her to see her end of things and not allow the Bishop plan to go through in his absence.  After all, they have an agreement.  He would have to find other ways to amuse himself because her mind is a place where he is no longer welcome.

Mazen continued his attempts in reaching the witch.  Then he remembered how that mutt paced outside his door trying to reach her. It irritated him. After each failed attempt he would go and find Holly. He would feed on her, make her forget and then persuade her into believing they were long lost friends. Most of his day time hours were spent at Holly’s apartment. Still, delaying his search for Madeleine. 

Then he tried accessing the mutt and he was unable to.  The witch is protecting the two of them.  She trusts that mutt. What is she concealing? 

He could return to the church or he could start his search for Madeleine.  After all, he had yet to visit the local tavern and Holly had been asking him to visit her during a shift.

It’s been centuries since he tasted liqueur.

Now, you said you needed me. As much as I want for you to actually need me, it is my help…not me, you need?

You are not making this any less difficult…we should talk about confronting the Bishops. I will bring them all back from their graves and return them to their corporeal form. I will ask them to reverse the spell they cast on you and me.  

If the Bishop’s refuse?

They have been waiting several centuries for you and I to meet, they are likely to refuse my request. We need to be ready to destroy each one of them.  All five of them. Mazen, he has a grudge against the Bishops for his imprisonment, he will not hesitate.

Of course he will not hesitate.  What are you asking of me?

You have the ability to set things in flames, are you willing to do that to the coven which saved you?

Tell me why we are doing this?

I want to be free of the Bishops. Free to find Madeleine.

And once it is done, you spend the rest of your days with Mazen.  You forgot to mention him.

Into the Rose & Hemlock a Beast goes.

I want to restore his memory because he deserves to remember.  But what I want most is to find my daughter.

I will do whatever you want, to help you be with your daughter and not because of Mazen.

I told you my focus is my daughter. Mazen is not the same man and I am not the same woman from the past…there is one other thing.

What is that?

Once the Bishops are destroyed, their collective power, will need to be taken by someone strong enough to contain it.

Well you certainly are strong enough, I cannot imagine you becoming even more powerful.

I want nothing to do with it.  It is best if given to someone to protect and pass on to future generations.  Their powers should all go to you.

You once said I should not have the power granted by the Bishops, now you will pass their collective power to me?

You have changed and I trust you, which is more than I could ever say about Mazen.

Ara, I want to hear you say it again.

Say what?

That you care about me.

Why do you want to hear it again?

Because I can not unlearn it and now that your aversion is gone, I am not alone.  You feel too.

We need to focus on preparing this room for our fight against the Bishops.

We are facing the biggest battle either of us has ever known. You are asking me to destroy those who saved me…I held you once, when he almost killed you…and…I want to hold you again, so I do not feel so alone.  I understand what will happen once we defeat the Bishops, you will disappear.

I will do whatever you ask of me.  Because it is what you do for your kind.

The last of their kind.

Mazen, finally, you made it!

Hello, little one.  This place is popular for the time of day.  Are you even of age to work here?

Yes.  I am 22.  How old are you anyway?

Old.

 I’d wondered if you’d ever come by…which by the way where do you run off to at night?

Out.

This place never closes, the owner wants it open to cater to everyone in town, human or not. I’m happy you’re here.

As Holly goes on and on in excitement, Mazen scans the tavern and detects a recognizable scent but is unable to tell where it is coming from. There are several humans in the room and the scent of warm blood is distracting.  How he would enjoy draining them all, but that witch took that from him. He might as well control the urge.  It would take far too much effort and energy to persuade each one as he does Holly. He spends the majority of time with her. She is innocent and genuinely sweet. Though she talks a lot and asks a lot of questions.  She constantly needs attention, which is not something Mazen provides, to anyone. At first when he invited himself into her apartment she was attracted to him.  Mazen immediately erased that from her memory. Allowing her to feel any romantic affection is a waste of his time.

Did you sleep well?

I told you, I don’t sleep.

I figured you were asleep each time you lay with your eyes closed.

I have no need for sleep. I was thinking.

Thinking about what?

I told you.  I need to find someone.

Oh, right the little girl. Okay, so you don’t sleep, and every time I offer you food you don’t eat, do you drink?

Yes.

What do you want?

Whatever you would like to serve me.

You seem like a strong liqueur kind of man.

Holly serves Mazen a glass of whiskey.  He takes a sip.  The hot taste of it in his mouth, it was as if it had been warmed before pouring it into the glass.  It reminds Mazen of the taste of the witch’s blood.  Very rich, with several complex layers, it leaves a sweet feeling on his tongue and mouth.  After several glasses, he experiences euphoria just as he does after each time he feeds. He tries to forget about the witch and focus on what he needs to do next.  

Locating Madeleine in exchange to roam in sunlight.  He looks around the room, continues to drink.  He persuades Holly into believing he is paid in full and continues drinking. That witch has much control over him. He needs to prepare an alternate plan because what happened with the Bishops three hundred years ago will not happen to him again. He will not be imprisoned.  He has to find a backup plan, in case the witch does not see her end of things. He has to figure out a way to escape. Is the ability to roam in sunlight worth returning to the church, or is there more in it for him? There are many unanswered questions.  The witch is familiar, her powers are ancient. It is impossible for her to be a new witch. She conceals a lot and it bothers him that he is unable to read her.  The whiskey takes a deeper effect. Mazen admits to himself the witch brings out something in him, it is why he let her live. She is familiar to him.

Frustrated by the incessant thoughts of her, he returns his focus to the tavern and realizes most of the patrons have left.  Now he is able to determine the location of the scent from earlier

Mazen realizes the distinct scent was coming from behind him the entire time.  He knows exactly what she is. He turns the bar stool to face her direction.

She is a perfect back up plan. A bargaining chip.

Little one, who is that?

That is Rose.  Her name is Rosemary Chambers.

Ah, I will introduce myself.  Do me a favor and bring me a glass of whatever it is she is drinking.  

Midnight Hollow has certainly changed.  Humans and supernaturals coexisting.  In fact, it seems more and more supernaturals control the town now. It is indeed a new world.

Rose, she is perfect.

This is where you will do it, resurrect the Bishops?

It needs to be cleared but it is the best place for it. 

Do you remember this was the first room you entered when we arrived here?

Yes. I have not forgotten.

Do you remember what you felt then?

Yes, I felt their pain from being burned alive.

And if Mazen returns with Madeleine, you will still go through with this?

Yes.

But if you have your daughter, you do not have to do this. The pain the Bishops suffered 300 years ago, what will it do to you knowing you have added to their pain?

Are you having second thoughts?

I want to be free as much as you do.  Free to make our own choice and not something done at the hands of the Bishops.  But a resurrection of five of the most powerful witches, comes at a price. What will it cost you, me or your family?

If he returns with your daughter, you have what you want, can you not let the Bishops be?

You are forgetting, we cannot leave this place without permanently destroying the Bishops.

But what price will you pay?  There has to be another way.

I have gone through this and I cannot find an alternative.

Prudence.  What about Prudence?

What do you mean?

She has already shown herself to us, perhaps you can summon her, find out more information, to see if there is another way.

Prudence, she was the one who sent me here.  She was the one with the ability to move through time.

She helped us once.  There has to be a reason for her showing herself to us.  I felt different around her, I trusted her.  That must mean something. I will do whatever you ask of me, please just summon her.

What are you afraid of?

I was correct, when I said you would disappear once this was over? That is your plan, is it not?

It is.

I would rather know that you willingly disappeared than for you not to have survived the confrontation with the Bishops.

You are not wrong, the amount of power needed to resurrect all of them, there will be a sacrifice to restore balance. If something should happen to me, will you look after her?

Who?

Madeleine.

You are not going anywhere else, unwillingly.

I was never meant to be here, in this time. This was never the place for me. It is why I always felt strange here.

But you are here now. Summon Prudence, find out from her, she must know something.

We are done being forced into things.  You have to find out if there is anything else that can be done.  Prudence is the only person who might know another way.

She will not help.

You do not know that for certain. Haven’t you sacrificed enough?

I —

I would rather lose you to him because at least it would mean you would be alive to chose. But if you do not make it —

Mazen returns in 11 months. I will summon Prudence.

Side-by-side, into the unknown they go.

A summoning.

Ara, you’ve more than recovered, you’ve become stronger. And I see the two of you are now, closer.

Not in the way you designed it. But it is not why I summoned you.

Then, why call for me?

You are here to answer questions.

About?

I will not play your games and I will not hesitate to hold you here until you answer or I will permanently remove you from all realms.

You…regained…all your powers—

And all the memories the Bishops tried to erase.

You remember, how?

I did not summon you so that you could question me.

It was not I who took them from you, Ara.  We are family.

You took them from me!  You ripped me out of their lives and sent me here. You had a part in it, not entirely your plan, but you played your part.  Do not think for a second I will hesitate to show you the same family loyalty you showed me 300 years ago.

Mazen, has he regained his memory as well?

I am not answering any more of your questions, tell me what we can do to end this curse to set Jayden and I free.  How do we end it?

You can’t, we can’t reverse it from our graves. There is little power we can use in our afterlife.  It is done, Ara.

You are not being completely truthful.  What about bringing each one of you back and destroying you one by one, it would end the spell?

Well, yes…but you don’t understand.  Ara, I’m sorry, for what I did. We are still family.

My loyalty to you and the Bishops ended the second you made your choice and used your powers to send me here. You were my cousin and I trusted you. He trusted you.

Who?

Mazen.  It was you who lured him here and then had him imprisoned.  

You don’t understand, it had to be done, he’d changed.

As have I.  I am not the same woman you knew then. Why do this to me and my family?

To ensure your survival and Jayden’s.

We are still alive, you succeeded. Now, tell me what you know about the resurrection spell.  

It is the only way, to break the spell we cast on you and Jayden. You will have to permanently end, each one of us.  Resurrection comes at a price for the one who casts it.  Whether you cast a single spell or bring each one back one by one you will sacrifice something in exchange for using that kind of magic.

What will I sacrifice?

I don’t know exactly but others who’ve used such magic haven’t survived.

But it will end the curse, and Jayden will be free?

Yes, but Ara, giving your life —

Then it is what I will do.

Prudence, Ara does not know this about you, but you were concerned about her when Mazen almost took her life.  If you care about her surviving this and if you are truly remorseful for what you did you must know of a way to lessen the risk. Ara will not stop, and I do not blame her for going through with this, after what you did. She has grown strong but is it enough? What can you do from your grave to help in all this?

Jayden is right, you are much stronger than those who came before you and you have the power to heal.

I can heal because of Mazen’s blood.

Yes, his blood was used in the spell. Where is he now?

He is out searching for Madeleine, he was set free.

Mazen is loose in Midnight Hollow! Ara you set him free?

Answer Jayden’s question, what can you do to help?

I…can give you one less Bishop to resurrect, and go voluntarily.  My powers, I can transfer them to you, it will help you be stronger.

I do not want your power.

You will need it all the power you can get your hands on. Mazen has waited centuries to destroy the Bishops, it includes you, Ara.  He is not the same man you once knew.

Nor am I the same woman from 300 years ago. The scar on my face, how did it come about?

You don’t remember?

I want to hear it from you. Have you already forgotten how you fabricated my memories here in this time?

You overheard what Candice had planned for you and your family. You became unstable once you realized Madeleine was sent away. You came to me and asked me to bring her back. You said if I didn’t bring her back you would end your own life, thus ending the Bishop’s plan.  You had a boucan knife in your hand and tried to slash your own throat, Candice with her power to move objects, immediately forced the knife out of your hand; wounding the side of your face instead of your throat. Candice said we would need to find a way to give you the power to heal, if this plan was to work. It was the reason for Mazen’s blood used in the spell.

How did Mazen become what he is?

Candice told him you and Madeleine were sent 300 years in the future and that he might as well forget you.  He, of course, found a way to survive to see you and Madeleine again.  He made a deal with one of the original bloodsuckers of Midnight Hollow for immortality.

What deal did he make?

He promised to find a way to destroy every last one of the Bishops in exchange for immortality.

Ara, who is Candice?

The woman who gave birth to me.

Ara & Mazen Frost and the images, which, find a place in Ara’s mind.

That which belonged, you and I
ripped apart, lost
through space and time.

We have changed, you and I
for you are not her
nor destined to be mine.

I am not him, who chose to wait
three hundred years, in a cage
just to meet you once again.

But a Beast, incapable
even if he remembered,
was it a worthy imprisonment?

Mazen & Ara Frost Through Time

May I?

If I say no, will you go away and let me be?

Ah, well, not exactly.

You have your answer then. Have a seat.

So, Rosemary, of Rose & Hemlock —

Why can’t you drinkers leave my kind alone?  Every single time.

“Drinkers”, come on little Hemlock, is this a way to treat someone you’ve only just met?

I’ve learned enough about your kind to know better.  What is it that you want?

I want to have a chat. Now, how many of my kind have you encountered?

Enough to know better. How many of my kind have you encountered?

Enough to recognize your distinct scent.

Now that we got that out of the way, what is it you want?

I told you, to have a chat.

You’ve been in here all day, how is it you’ve managed to control yourself, your kind have always shown little regard for others.

As I said, you only just met me, you haven’t a clue about me.

Let’s just pretend that were true for a second. How is it that you managed to get away without paying your tab?

You tell me, since you know me so well.

You are that “friend” Holly has been speaking of, which means you’re responsible for the marks on her neck

and you are the reason she can’t remember you’ve been drinking from her for several weeks now.  But what I don’t understand is why you’ve kept her alive, when your kind has little respect for human life.

As I said, you don’t know me. But since you brought up the topic, why have you got such respect for human life, considering what they have done?

It is in the past, Midnight Hollow is different now.  At least since I returned two years ago. Besides there are much greater threats than humans now.

Where did you live before?

Why are you interested, what’s with all the questions?

You are an unreasonably mistrustful one.

I have my reasons. Besides why are you wasting your time asking, I know full well what you’re capable of, it’s not as if you denied your influence over Holly.

Yes, well, I am practicing being, what did you call it, “respectful.”

I would imagine you are very comfortable imposing yourself on others to get what you want, why change tactics now?

I have my reasons. 

It is dark out. I will see you soon, for another chat. Until then, little Hemlock.

And with that, Mazen leaves the tavern and wanders off into the night. He thinks of all the reasons for his recent actions and just as he has every night since being set free, he reaches the same conclusion: whatever he does it circles back to the witch.

Your own mother is responsible for all of it. She is the one who tore you apart from your daughter and Mazen. You have been carrying this burden for an entire year since your memory returned and I have gone about this all wrong.

I can see that now Ara.

All of us, you, Madeleine, me and Mazen, we have been manipulated by the Bishops.  Your own mother orchestrating this entire thing, means it is much bigger than the two of us.  We need Mazen.  And, Prudence, you are not being completely honest about things.  You say your powers are limited, yet you appeared to me in full form, that takes a lot more power than you want us to believe you hold. Ara, do you still believe you have only one option?

Yes.

Then I suggest you do it and we try to get all that we can out of Prudence tonight.

I will give you one opportunity to do it yourself.

Ara, you have to let me go.

You will not be returning anywhere but to your actual grave tonight, permanently this time.  You will not get the opportunity to return and warn the Bishops. Now return to your bodily form as you did before, or I will do it for you and show you just how unstable I have become.

So that was your friend.

Yeah, Mazen, that’s him. He’s nice, isn’t he?

Yeah. Nice. Does he usually run off in a hurry once the sun sets?

Yeah, he does that.

Where does he go?

I don’t know, he just says “out”.

And he’s staying with you?

Yeah, he needed a place.

He asked you for a place to stay?

Hmmm…well…I guess….I mean he’s my friend.

But you don’t recall him asking you?

I mean, I guess he asked.

Does he stay with you every day?

Yeah, he usually returns at dawn, which is part of the reason I wanted to switch my shift from swing to daytime because I could spend time with him.

Do you know what he wants from you?

I guess a place to stay.

That’s right, why would he tell you.

I’m sorry what?

Nevermind.

Do you remember ringing up his drinks and him paying his bill?

I…he must’ve paid…I’d never let anyone get away without paying.  Even if they’re a friend.

I know, Holly. But do you remember?

I don’t, jeez. It must be in there, his paid bill.

Just as I figured, it’s not here.

I’m so sorry, Rose.  I thought he paid.

I know you did.  It’s not your fault, I just wanted to confirm for myself.

It’s just, lately there are things I forget or don’t remember doing.

You probably won’t remember this later, but it’s worth a shot, at least until I know more about what he wants. Has Mazen told you anything about himself?

I would know if he wanted something, he’s a friend.

Okay. Has he told you where he’s from?

I don’t know. I think he’s from here. Sometimes he makes comments about being free, I’m not sure what that means.

Does he have a last name?

I don’t know…that’s something I should know…about a friend…

Has he told you anything else?

I mean he spends daytime hours at the apartment but doesn’t really say much.  He’s not really a talker, you know. Which is why I was surprised by him actually having a conversation with you today. But, wait, come to think of it, he’s been looking for a little girl…what was her name…oh yeah Madeleine…Frost…I think.

It had become a regular thing by now, at night Mazen makes his way toward the church. From a distance he tries to reach the witch. The previous night he had decided it would be his final attempt and then he would start actively searching for Madeleine, but something happened.  Whatever the witch had done to prevent him from reading her mind was weakened somehow. Of course, he was interrupted by the sun and had to stop. But tonight he could continue his attempt to be back in her mind. Though he was still unable to read her, he could sense a change within her. This was as far as he could go. It can’t be the mutt, the Bishop’s plan, she would never see that through. Her aversion prevents her. The year he spent in her mind, Mazen had seen how she cared about the mutt but at the same time could not stand being handled by him.

It made little sense for her not to want a life with that mutt, he is warm-blooded, alive, mildly attractive, but most of all he would do anything for her. Still, her aversion, it pleased Mazen, though he was uncertain what pleased him more: ending the Bishop bloodline or finding a Bishop who chose not to continue the bloodline. Her aversion for that mutt was the reason he agreed to leave the church and search for Madeleine, knowing the witch would not allow him to touch her.

Mazen often thinks of the time she pulled him into the other realm, how she looked at him. She was not afraid and seemed almost delighted to see him again. He liked being around her then. He enjoyed her, not just nearly draining her, but having a place in her mind and she having a place in his.

Prue is given until dawn to return to her physical form. Confined to the area created by the candles, she is left to contemplate her decision. Jayden clearly seeing the discomfort in Ara, signals her to step away for a moment to talk. They both walk to the balcony overseeing the main room, far away from Prue’s earshot but still close enough to monitor her. They spend what remains of the night talking.

Ara, are you all right?

I do not know that I can do this.

What choice have you got?

Not to destroy the Bishops.

That is not really a choice, is it? I cannot imagine how difficult this is for you. I never knew any of my kin, my mother, my father. But you knew yours, and to think you are cornered into destroying them…and your own mother…I cannot begin to understand what it is like for you.

Candice, she was always behind all this but how do we justify what we are about to do?

Remember when I asked you why we are doing this?

Of course.

Why?

So that I can find my daughter, to see her again. So that she knows she is not alone.

If you decide not to do this, what then?

I never see her.

You are as much a social creature as I am but everything you did, the aversion spell, choosing never to feel for anyone and to be alone for the rest of your life. Why make that choice?

Because at the time I thought I would find my family again and if I did not find them there was no reason to feel.

That was your choice 300 years ago and I can see that what you wanted then has not changed. You risked everything for them and somehow, in spite of all the obstacles the Bishops placed in your way, you found Mazen. Even if he is different, you found him. You will find Madeleine just the same.

Why are you doing this?

Because your daughter is out there, alone, probably with no memory of you. It reminds me of how I was before the Bishops cast their spell to make me into what I am now. I would do anything to help you find her. And of course we both get to be free.

Something neither of us has ever been.

I think it would be wise for us to collectively plan for the confrontation with the remaining Bishops. Once Mazen returns, and you restore his memory, he should be involved in the planning of this. I still do not trust him, but I understand now why you said we need him, he will not hesitate and it is what is needed here.

As you said before, we should try to get as much information from Prue about Madeleine and about how to take the powers of the others before she is destroyed. Are you prepared to do your part?

Yes, because this is my choice.

And then came dawn.

For the first time since they met, Ara placed her trust in Jayden. There were several things she said to him during the night and there were many things she did not have to say but he understood.  There were moments as they talked about their next steps when Ara had become visibly overwhelmed. It was a side unfamiliar to him, he had always known her to be in control of her surroundings and emotions. But this time there was a different side to her, a frightened one. Instinctively he reached over, placed one hand on hers and the other hand over her shoulder. Although, he expected a refusal she did not pull away. The only other time she agreed to an embrace was strictly because it was what he needed. This time she needed this from him.

Jayden understood his role in this situation.  What he felt for her, and what she might feel for him, it had no place in helping Ara’s search for her daughter. He understood it would be far too easy for Mazen to return with Madeleine. The Bishop’s plan for Madeleine more than likely involved a slim chance of her ever being found. And this meant Ara would not rest until she found her. Jayden knew that helping Ara survive the confrontation with the Bishops meant losing her. Once she is free she would spend the rest of her days searching for her daughter.  For now, and until Mazen’s return, he had time with her and he would do everything to be there for her.

Mazen delayed returning to Holly’s place. The sunlight begins to weaken his body and at the same time impairing his vision.

His options in daylight and at this moment are limited: either return to the church or retreat into the shadows.

She did it, in order to prevent you from taking any more risk in resurrecting her, she returned on her own. It may also mean a willingness to share what she knows.

Are you ready to do this?

Yes.

So you do possess enough power to return from your grave yet you wanted us to believe you were powerless in your afterlife.

I am here, why not just do what you wanted to do since you regained your memory?

This, this is what you think I want?

There is nothing that can be done about the situation you are in or about your family at this point. What else do you want from me?

Your power, how will you transfer it to me?

I see you are prepared to seal my remains. Once you do that my powers, will be transferred on to you.

And the others, have they the ability to use their powers from their graves as well?

They have.

Are you the only one who can return?

Yes. You have already figured they will not go willingly and you will have to bring them all back. All this for your daughter…and Mazen?

It is not your concern.

If you make it out of this alive, you will never find her. Mazen trying to track her is pointless.

What did you do with her?

It is what the coven did, not just me, Ara. Madeleine was sent to the same time period as you but she was not sent here, to Midnight Hollow.

Where was she sent?

Some place in the city where you or Mazen would be unable to track her.

You had my six-year-old daughter pushed into a city by herself!

She was not alone.

Who was with her?

Candice made sure never to tell any of us.

How is that even possible, Candice needed your power to send Madeleine wherever you sent her.

What I do know is that she was not alone and I sent her to the city not Midnight Hollow.

And her memory?

Fiona never had the chance to alter it.

This entire time, Madeleine remembers us! You could not even take the time to spare her the pain of ripping her away from her parents!

It had to be done.

You never did understand your responsibility to the Bishops.

Tearing a child from her parents and sending her to a strange place in time, how is that something that had to be done or even part of any responsiblity!

It was a sacrifice worth taking and I would do it all over again if given another chance. There is nothing else I have to say to you, now do what you feel necessary.

Mazen is dead, do you hear me? His humanity died with him 300 years ago and he could care less about you or Madeleine. You will never find her.

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I will spend the rest of my days searching until I find her and you and the rest of them will spend an afterlife stripped of all power confined to the four walls of your coffins.

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Jayden, now

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cast the flames on her now.

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Do you want me to do it for you?

No, just do as we discussed, start the flames, I will take care of the rest.

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It is done. She is gone.

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Somehow, I thought once it was over…I would feel…something…remorse…anything…but I feel…nothing for what I just did.

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I am no different than Mazen.

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Listen to me, this is not the time to become lost. I believe Prue was deliberately hurtful so that it would make things easier for you to do this. If you despised her, you would summon enough hatred to go through with it. You are nothing like Mazen. You feel, because Madeleine is still out there and she remembers you. Are you listening?

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Everything you have done has been for Madeleine,

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you cannot become lost now.

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You feel, I know you do.

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Part 4 Summary Video

 

Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

5 thoughts on “Part 4 – A restless Beast roams about as destruction begins in Midnight Hollow

  1. I was so wrong! Mazen is not a beast and Ara protected the humankind from ihm. I hope he recovers his memories and lean to feel again. This was so beautiful. Great plot, pictures and dialogs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mazen is most certainly a Beast, there is no denying that fact. The problem and the challenge will be once he regains memory and what he will do with that information since he is governed by the Beast he has been for the past 3 centuries. Thank you so much for reading, it makes me very glad to know I have maintained your interest. Part 5 is in the works and most is posted on tumblr, if you are interested in reading it there here is the link http://jepensedoncjesims.tumblr.com/post/144482796714/several-days-have-passed-since-prues-destruction (you can click next to go through each update). I am in the process of finishing it up and once it is completed it will be posted here in its entirety. I normally post updates on tumblr and then transfer full parts here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the info! I’m going to look for it right the way. Nevertheless … I rather think Mazen has still a chance to be saved… it is more exciting … even when the end shows he can`t … he remains a damned good vilain,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, that is obvious… Ara is for Mazen something different but Jayden is also different for Ara now… this triangle remembers me on “Vampires Diary” but Ara has a far better rolle. A like it very much tht she´s very powerful!

    Like

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