I did not fight the guards when they came into the circular room, but I did fight when they forced me into the dress, before tying my wrists behind my back. They led me out of the tower and towards the throne room. My fighting was only an act, in reality, I was internally gleeful. Every so often, I would stop and have them force me forward. It was a long walk to the throne room and I made sure that we were later than the King wanted us there.
With one final push, the guards at the door opened it before I ran into it. I fell and hit the ground in the floor of the throne room. Another set of guards came over, picked me up, and then backed away. “You are late.” The King sounded more annoyed rather than angry.
“Sounds like a personal problem.” I looked up to see the Princes sitting at a large table behind the King. I could see their anxious faces and knew that none of them were the reason why my two Princes were said to have committed treason.
“You insolent little fool!” Catherine stood up.
The King looked over to her, “Sit down.” Appalled, she sat down back into the seat next to her King. He looked to me, “Walk to me.” He pressed his power into me and I fought it. Each agonizing betrayal of a step by step, I fought against him. I stopped just short of the steps of the throne. “Come closer.”
“No, you come… to me.” I spoke through gritted teeth.
The King just smiled, his overwhelming power pushing deeper into my body. I twisted my ankles together, meaning I would fall rather than take another step. He raised his hand to the guards behind me, “Bring him in.”
The guards dragged Steriling into the throne room. The Princes started shuffling uncomfortably around in their chairs. I untwisted my ankles, my sole focus on Steriling. I ran towards the guards but heard a resounding “Stop!” from the King. My feet planted onto the ground, causing me to fall to the ground, only a few steps from Steriling.
I looked to the King, “You do anything to Fidd and I swear on God that I will end you myself!”
The King walked down the steps towards us. He passed by me, his guards rushing to get away from Steriling. He looked directly at me, “You want to save this traitor’s life? Then do as I say. Stand up.”
I looked to Steriling then to the King. I rolled onto my back and sat up, before rocking myself to my feet. I stayed where I stood. “I’m standing, now let Fidd go.”
The King drew his sword and I rushed between the two of them. The sword pierced down into my shoulder and out my lower back. Blood sprayed both towards the King and Steriling. I hoped that Steriling was smart and kept his eyes and mouth closed. The King ripped the sword from me and walked away from the two of us. I looked back to see that Steriling was safe, my heart trying to leap from my chest. He sat back away from me, the look of horror on his face. “Fidd?”
He nodded to me that he was alright, “Just my life flashing before my eyes.”
“Toy!” The King called to me.
“Fidd, can you get away from here?” I whispered.
“I’ll try.” He whispered back.
I looked to the King. He did not use his power to bend me to his will. This was a test and for the sake of Steriling, I needed to pass it. I carefully took a step, then another and when he just stared at me, I walked towards him.
He sat back onto his throne, the Princes all giving a collective sigh of relief, “Enough with these games.” I walked back to being in front of him. He turned to Catherine, “How close are we to the time?”
She looked at the watch on her wrist, “Fifteen minutes, my King.”
He looked back to me. “Come up to the throne like a good little toy.”
I looked at the ground, but took the necessary steps forward to be up in front of the throne. “There. Happy now?”
“Kneel before me.” He commanded quietly, each word a test. I carefully knelt to one knee, awkwardly adjusting the binds around my wrists. He reached forward and I flinched away from him. He grabbed my hair and forced me closer to him. “Good Toy… Now turn around and sit at my feet like the dog you are.”
He let go of my hair and I did as he commanded. I sat between his feet, right where he wanted me to. “Bring the meat!” He commanded the servants around him. I watched them bring out various platters of raw meat, pitchers of blood and utensils for the entire group. When the servants left, he grabbed my hair and used it to pull me into his lap. Steriling sat on the floor, forgotten by the King.
“My King. It is time.” I heard Catherine’s voice softly tell him.
“Feast, my Princes!” I felt his hand on the side of my neck, pulling my closer to his chest. He wrapped his arms around my body to stop me from pulling away. He whispered into my ear, “I’ve been waiting for this moment… I bet the pain and fear from the last few days have added the delicate taste I will enjoy.” He bit down into my skin, the black blood filling his mouth.
I cringed in pain as he began to drain me. I pushed the poison effects down as much as I could, the Wise Woman teaching me in the weeks leading up to this moment. She taught me how to stop the effects of the poison until the very last seconds of strength, guaranteeing that the plan would work. With each pull of his lips and tongue, I felt my strength draining.
I started hallucinating after a few minutes, his teeth and salvia keeping the wound open for him to continuously drink. I saw my family, the one who died over 650 years ago, waving to me. The first priest and his cabal of vampire hunters in an uproarious applause. Darkness was closing in around me, and I felt my heart struggle to beat, my brain begging for the blood and oxygen it needed to survive.
He pulled away for a split second, “This is better than I thought it would be.” He mocked before resuming his feast of black blood.
My family and the priests vanished, but the other priest arrived. He walked up the steps of to the throne chair. He looked at me and shook his head. I saw the disappointment on his face. After everything we had been through, that I was committing a murder-suicide was more than he could handle. I watched him mouth ‘why’ to me over and over. I tried to answer, but I could not draw a breath to move the muscles.
Ten minutes passed, my body trying to repair the damage, which only forced more mouthfuls of blood into the King’s mouth. Darkness and light alternated around me, as if the angels were not sure if they should send me to Hell for the murders or to Heaven for the protecting I had come to favor.
I felt the King gag and knew that the last drops of blood were hitting his tongue. The last few drops where I concentrated the poison for his death. He pushed me away from him, frothing at the mouth. He fell next to me and I just smiled. I thought to myself, Told you I would end you, you son of a bitch… I watched him die first, before I closed my eyes and let myself go.
The priest pulled me away from my body, “Why did you do this?”
I answered plainly, “I have lived for so long. The ones we saved that were caused by my poison weren’t truly saved for my mission. This was the only way I could both end my life and save others.”
“You committed suicide, which is a grave sin! You’ll go to Hell!” He grabbed me and shook me.
I just smiled at him, “Father, you taught me mercy and kindness. Thank you for your lessons. This one was a hard one, but I would have given my life to save them no matter the circumstances.”
We watched from above our bodies as Cadeyrn ran into the throne room. He slid to where I was and we watched as he nicked his neck and pressed my mouth to the wound. I looked to the Father, “What is he doing?”
“Trying to save your life, I would hazard a guess.”
“But why?” Holly, Frost and Blaze ran in along with the doctor and nurse, carrying a cooler. The doctor and nurse opened the cooler and I saw the blood packs as they pulled them out. “Will it work?” They put needles into both side of my neck and each inner thigh. They connected the tubes to the needles and finally to the blood packs. Holly and Frost held the packs while Blaze stood guard, his orange eyes intense.
“I do not know. Your science has said that the brain take 7 minutes to die and I think that they believe they can save you within that timeframe.”
“So, this is all just my oxygen and blood deprived brain’s doing?”
“Mayhaps, but the lessons are still true.” We watched as Catherine tried to stop them from saving me, but Blaze took care of her. He pushed her away from the King and I and she retaliated with a knife. He took a knife that was previously in my purse, which still had my blood on it from the fight a few days ago. He stabbed her once in the stomach and the blood-poison entered into her. She doubled over, before violently convulsing and dying. The Father looked down to me, “Your blood cannot be trusted anywhere.”
Cadeyrn pulled me closer to his body, trying to get the blood to go down my throat. “Fidd had said that the only other way that this plan would have worked is if the King fell in love with me. He said it was the only way to keep me alive if I was drained. With the other King dead, doesn’t that make Cadeyrn the King? He liked me, but I wouldn’t call it love.”
“How can you say that? Look at how hard they all are with trying to save you. If that is not love, then you are blind to it.” Father spoke harshly.
The nurse and doctor moved to their seventh blood pack, the others trying to help where they could. Steriling was untied and was helping Cadeyrn. The two Princes refused to set me on the ground. I grabbed onto the Father’s sleeve, “I feel heavy…”
He helped to steady me. “Two things could be happening. Do you see darkness or light?”
I squinted to see, but I only saw the throne room, “Neither.”
The Father smiled as he gently pulled my hand from his sleeve. “Let the heaviness take you to where you belong.”
I took a breath and coughed up blood. I tried to open my eyes, but they were too heavy. “Can you hear me?” My eyelids were opened for me and a light shined into them. “Her eyes are responsive.” I tried to answer but my body did not want to cooperate with me. Blood kept coming into my mouth, but slower now. I was able to get a couple mouthfuls before I coughed again and felt myself fall.
I felt warm and safe, but I could not place where I was. I could feel the needles in my skin, and I could hear a beeping sound to the side of me. I tried to open my eyes, and this time, I was successful. I squinted them open, the only light coming from the beeping thing next to me. I saw the outline of someone sitting in the chair next to me, “Cadeyrn?” I managed to mumble, my voice cracking.
“No, it’s daytime, so he’s asleep.” Frost answered me.
“That would be the machine that’s telling us that you’re alive.”
“Why?” I wanted to ask why I was alive, but it seemed like too much trouble.
“You somehow shattered the stone heart of my Prince and he seems like he wants to keep you around for longer. Hope you don’t mind, because there’s no way out of this one.”
“Ah.” I closed my eyes and fell into a beautiful, wonderful, restful sleep.
I woke up later, a hand in mine and a body as close to me as possible on the bed with the beeping machine next to it. I opened my eyes slightly, trying to see who was lying next to me. When I tried to lift their arm off me, I felt the bed shuffle. “You’re awake…” Cadeyrn spoke softly.
“Too hot.” I tried to push the warm body away from me, but he refused to move.
“You tried to get away from me once, so I’m not letting you out of my sight, my Daimhin.”
That got my attention, “Daimhin?”
“It’s how you’re alive right now. We were able to get you to swallow enough blood and with the doctor’s and nurse’s help, we were able to replenish the blood you lost.” He sat up and stared at me from my side. “We almost didn’t make it there in time. Steriling was barely able to send the message to Holly before you were bitten. Blaze took your knives and used them like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I think you somehow grew on him, despite almost killing him.”
“I warned him not to drink.” I took a deep breath and felt a muscle pop in my chest. I was able to breathe easier and felt like I could talk longer than a few words at a time. “Why did you save me?”
“It was my plan all along, Flower.”
“Not anymore.” He leaned over me, “Since you’re my Daimhin, I get to rename you and you’re not getting that dreadful name back.”
“Then what’s my name?” I asked, looking into his hopeful green eyes.
“Well, since your last title was of a flower, I wanted to keep it that way. I’m thinking Lily would be a good one, especially since Holly has told me that it’s your favorite flower.”
“Lily…” I tested it out, “Hi, my name is Lily and I am the Daimhin of Prince Cadeyrn.”
He kissed me on the lips before I knew what was happening. His lips were gentle and soft, not demanding anything from me beyond what I wanted to give. He pulled away from me, “Sorry, just liked the way that sounds.”
“Holly said that you were saving you Daimhin for your true love. Are you sure you wanted to waste it on me?”
He whacked me in the arm with the back of his hand, not enough to hurt, but enough to startle. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep you since I set my eyes on you in the alleyway and you tried to walk away from us. Somehow, I felt it in my soul that I belonged by your side, even if it took a little bit on convincing you of that truth. It wasn’t until the Wise Woman told us that the King needed to fall in love with you to break your curse and set you free. And while you were in your dream world, I wanted nothing more than to help you take down the obelisk and tell you how I felt.”
I could not help but smile, “You were there.”
He nodded, “Of course I was. It was my idea for the Wise Woman to let me help you get rid of the guilt that haunted you.”
“When will I be able to leave this bed?” I changed the subject.
“When the doctor clears you.”
Holly walked in with an armful of Weiner Puppy as Frost came in with a pair of kittens. Scooter jumped out of Holly’s arms and onto the bed. His tail wagged faster than I have ever seen it as he licked my face, hands and arms. The kittens batted at his tail, before they walked up and laid in the curve of my side, trying to get my hand to scratch them.
Holly spoke first, “The doctor says that by tomorrow evening, you should be able to get up out of bed. Until then, he wants you to rest some more. I’m sure that centuries of restful sleep will catch up to you faster than you think it will.”
“I slept during my years!”
“How many of them were actually restful and not just closing your eyes and hoping for good dreams?” Frost asked knowingly.
“I thought Daimhin didn’t sleep.”
Holly and Frost looked to one another before they laughed, “We were just messing with you. We sleep in short snippets so that we are sharp and ready for our masters. The fact that you’ve just turned, means that you will crash out in about…” Frost looked at his watch, “Twelve seconds.”
I did not even count to twelve before I crashed. I woke up again, the puppy and kittens snoozing next to me, this time in a normal bed. I moved carefully, trying to not disturb them. I went to the bathroom and checked in the mirror. I looked like me, but I felt different, older than I have in a long time. I saw my purse hanging from the back of the bathroom door. I walked over to it and checked for my knives. They had both been cleaned of every speck of blood that was on them. I pressed the tip of one to my thumb, cutting it. The red blood bubbled at the tip, mesmerizing me with its brilliant color.
The door swung open and Cadeyrn stepped into the bathroom. He saw the blood and the knife and walked towards me. He took the knife from my hand and set it into the sink. He grabbed my thumb and placed it into his mouth. I could feel his tongue as he never took his eyes off mine. He pulled my thumb from his mouth and handed me a towel.
I did not know what to think. He grabbed me and pulled me close to him, “You’re no longer poisonous. But that means that you don’t heal like you did before and you can be killed. I’ve been looking for someone like you for as long as I can remember, so I’m begging you not to do anything stupid.”
I nodded into his shoulder, trying to hold back the tears from memories that flooded my mind. “He tortured me…”
Cadeyrn let go of me and pulled me into the bedroom and onto the bed. He laid me down and then laid next to me, holding me close to him. “I know he did.”
“I tried to be strong, but for days…”
He held me closer to his chest, “You are strong, stronger than you ever believed. I know what he did because I can feel your emotions, but more than that, I can feel your pain in the memories. But he’s gone, never to return and the woman who changed you died that same day. You don’t have anything to worry about. None of us will judge you for being stronger than any of us could hope to be.” He lifted my chin to meet his eyes, “We are all here for you and if you don’t feel like talking about it…” I felt him lift a sleepy puppy and settle him between us, “I know that this puppy will listen to you, even if you don’t have any words to say.”
A thought came into my mind, “Do you know where my book is?”
He looked at me oddly, but nodded. “It’s in the study.”
I moved the sleeping puppy and helped him curl up with the kittens. “Come with me.”
He moved off of the bed first, before helping me stand. We walked down stairs and went into the study. I found Steriling in the study already, reading from a kindle. He stood up when we entered and he rushed up to me, hugging me. He whispered, “Thank you… Thank you…” Then he looked to Cadeyrn, pushing him away from the two of us. “Just because she is your Daimhin, doesn’t mean that she is not my daughter. What are your intentions with her?”
Cadeyrn smiled, “Well, the plan is to get to know her more, give her a purpose, maybe convince her to marry me and have little Princes and Princesses as she chooses.”
The color drained from Steriling’s face as Cadeyrn grabbed me from him. I hit Cadeyrn in the chest, “Stop trying to break Fidd.”
He looked down at me with stars in his eyes, “So, why are we down here?” He grabbed the book and held it above my head. I tried to climb up him, as Frost and Holly entered the study.
“Again?” Frost snickered.
Cadeyrn handed me the book with a kiss to the forehead. I took the book and ripped the pages out of it, throwing them into the fire. The 3300 names becoming ashes in the fireplace. Holly’s eyes widened as she understood the significance of it more than the others did. “Are you sure?”
I nodded to her, “I can’t grow and become a better protector if I’m trapped in the past. Since I bleed red like a normal Daimhin, I want to start my new life free from my past as possible.” I watched the pages burn and the last thing I saw before the pages were destroyed were the useless tally marks.