This story is a work of fiction its characters do not exist outside the story. Any resemblance to living people or places is strictly coincidence. This story is ©2015 Julien Gregg. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This story contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.

Final Chapter

I opened my eyes and I had been transported. I was standing in a garden. There were roses the color of blood on vines and in bushes mixed with every other kind of flower I'd ever heard of and even some I'd never heard of. I could feel the bare dirt beneath my feet and I looked down and saw that I was dressed in a white linen robe. It was tied at my waist with a golden cord. Everywhere I could see was flowers and vines, leaves and little drops of dew. I was standing in a sunlight garden and I wasn't burning. That wasn't all that was changed though.

I could vaguely remember, as if remembering a long ago dream what my vision was like when I was human. It was dull and flat compared to the three dimensional sight I developed with vampire blood. With vampire blood I could see every color in the spectrum and even another that was not in the known spectrum. It was like all of the colors together and instead of black it was so many shades all at once. There was no name for the hue. This, however was like seeing with crystal clarity. I could see everything!

I looked at a rose petal and I could see the tiny veins and even the nourishment they carried throughout the plant that gave it life and color. I could see the tiny cells in those veins and it was dazzling. I reached out and touched the petal, and the dew drop on the petal struck my skin and I was stunned to find that I could feel it soaking into the ridges of my fingerprints and soaking into my skin to become part of me. I could feel how connected I was to everything, the flower I was touching, the dew that was seeping into my skin and even the dirt under my feet. It was all connected to me and I to all of it, like every living thing is connected to every other living thing on the planet.

There was a definite taste to the air as I breathed it in. As I pulled it across my palette I could taste it in ways that I'd never tasted it before. It was bitter and sweet at the same time. It was life and it was nutrition, it was like life itself being taken in and tasted better than blood. I could feel it and see it all at the same time, and I could feel everything all at once. I could feel the vitamin D soaking into my skin from the sun as if it were human skin and not the shell of the vampire that I am. I was connected to the sun just as much as I was connected to the earth, and I had never felt more at peace in all of my seven hundred plus years of life. How could I ever be the same after this?

I could feel the air moving into my dead lungs and all of the long dead tissues of my lungs waking up and taking it in. I could feel the blood running through my veins, carrying the oxygen and nutrients to every part of my body. My dead heart was beating again, and I could hear it and feel it at the same time. How was this possible? I was a dead vampire. I wasn't human. This wasn't human. This was so much more than humanity and vampirism. This was something else entirely.

"Yes, it is," said the voice of an angel. There was nothing else it could have been. I knew in that moment that I had died while I drank Darian's blood. It had killed me, and I was in some sort of after life, though I have to say I was surprised that I would find myself in a garden instead of a fiery pit.

I turned to face the being that had spoken and I was looking at the most beautiful specimen of manhood I have ever seen. He was easily six feet tall with long ebony hair. His onyx eyes shined in the sunlight. His ruby lips were full and fit his chiseled face and jaw perfectly. He was muscular from his neck to his ankles though most of his body was covered by the same white linen robe tied with a golden cord like my own. He smiled and I saw his fang teeth. So this was another vampire?

"Not just any other vampire, Jessup," he said. "I'm the vampire. I'm the first of the vampires, the God of Blood. My name is Darias."

With just those twenty-three words I knew everything. This was Darias, Darian's God of Knowledge, but he was actually the God of Blood. He was a vampire, but he was so much more than that. He'd said he was the first, and I believed that he was our beginning and our end, our Alpha and Omega. I could feel power emanating from him. It pulsed in his blood and through his limbs. He was power. That he was a God was so much more than true. That he was a vampire God was true, but that's not all he was.

"You're right about all of that and wrong at the same time," he said, his voice like musical bells. "I was cursed by the God Apollo for trying to kill Zeus on Mount Olympus. That curse made it so that I couldn't walk in the sun and I thirsted for human blood. I shared that curse with four men who shared it with others and so on. The vampires were created. My brother, Ren was cursed by Artemis for trying to kill Zeus. He was forced by that curse to change into an animal and to hunt humanity for it's flesh at every full moon. He shared that curse with others who in turn shared it with even more. The Forsaken were created."

"But we're in the sunlight here," I said, stunned by the musical bell sound of my own voice.

"I had but to remember that I am a God," he said. "Ren had but to remember that about himself as well. We can do nothing for those who came after us, but we are Gods. We are the sons of the Goddess Isis and the God Poseidon. No curse from a lesser God could really trap us into what we thought we'd become. So we reside here on Mount Atlantis with our wives and the fruits of our curse."

"Why am I here?" I asked, fully accepting everything else he'd said. Who was I to argue with a God?

"You're here because you drank the blood of my son," he said simply.

"Darian is your son?" I asked. I was prepared to believe anything now.

"Darian Lane is a a direct descendant of my only son," he said. "He is my living family. You drank from him, so I brought you here."

"Am I dead?" I asked.

"Dead?" he replied, laughing. It was a full belly laugh. He threw his head back and his body shook with the peals of his laughter. "No, Jessup. You are not dead. Why would I kill one that I love so much? Oh how you've suffered."

"You don't know anything about me," I said, angry. If he was my God then why did he let it all happen? No, he couldn't have known me.

"I was with you, Jessup," said Darias, the force of his words weighing down so heavily on me that my head was bowed. "I was there when you were ripped from the safe and warm arms of your family and taken to a ship and placed in a cell with your brother. I was there with you while you starved, Jessup. I saw it all. I know about the rape and the turning, how cruel Alexander was to you. I know what he did to your brother and made you do. You live with the guilt of your brother's death, but you were not responsible."

"Stop," I moaned, on my knees now. "Please."

"I was there with you through the whippings, the starvation and your hatred and desire for revenge," he continued. "I saw your love for Matthias and then your love for Tyron. I was there with the two of you as you followed him through the forest. I was there with you when you seduced him and bit him, learning that his blood would allow you to walk in the sunlight. I was there when you turned him and set the course for the war between immortals. I was there with you through it all, Jessup. I was there for every moment of that mind trap. Yes, Jessup, I know all about you."

"Forgive me," I whispered. I had been pressed down so hard that I was now lying flat on the ground at his feet with my arms stretched wide. "I love you, Darias, please forgive me."

"I forgive you, Jessup," he said, reaching down to grab my shoulder. He pulled and instantly I was on my feet before him once again. "I didn't bring you here to hurt you, Jessup. I brought you here to talk. A very bad vampire is hunting you, and through you he will find what is mine."

"Silas," I breathed. "He's after Noah."

"He's after you and Perrin as well as Noah," he affirmed. "As I said through you he will come into contact with my own. I charge you to protect Darian. It is already too late for his mother. Silas has already drank her dry. Darian can be saved, Jessup. It's happening now and I must send you back to them."

"What do you mean it's happening now?" I demanded.

He tilted his head and a wound appeared in his throat, just over the artery. As I watched blood began to spill from that wound. His eyes beseeched me, but I couldn't believe that what I thought he wanted was what he actually wanted. The smell hit me like a tidal wave. Suddenly I was all vampire again. My stomach even pulled like a vampire who is thirsting so badly. I could smell it and it smelled better than Darian's blood. It smelled better than anything I'd ever smelled before.

"Drink," he said, confirming for me that what he wanted was exactly what I'd thought he wanted. I stepped forward and put my mouth to the wound. There was no need to puncture his skin. He'd done it for me.

Liquid fire coursed over my palette, blinding me and dazzling me at the same time. Suddenly I could see everything about him. I saw him as boy in Atlantis. I saw the beatings and the rapes, heard his cries to his father who couldn't answer him. I felt his hatred for his for all of the Gods because they didn't answer his cries. I saw him at war, how bloody his trident and swords were. I saw men fall dead at his feet. Then I saw him cursed by Apollo! I saw him as if dead upon a stone slab. Then I felt his thirst upon waking as a vampire for the first time. I saw it all. The victims, the turnings. I saw his newborn son and the son of Count Duku. I saw all of it, and I loved him so much.

"Enough," he said, pushing me away. I fell to my knees, letting the most powerful blood in existence course through my body and change me from the vampire that I'd been into the vampire it would force me to become.

"Silas," I said, and my voice was deeper, guttural and terrifying to my own ears.

"Just look, Jessup," he said, pointing to the ground. "Look with the eyes I have given you and you will see that what I say is true."

Suddenly there was another man in the garden. He looked so much like Darian that my dead heart nearly imploded with grief. There were subtle differences to his features however. This man was not Darian Lang, but he was some how related to him. He had the same eyes and lips, but his face was slightly less sculpted. He was taller than Darian and more muscular. This man was a Lang all right, but not the man I loved. He was dressed the way we were with the white robe and golden cord. I looked to Darias as the man spoke.

"Is it time, my God?" he asked.

"Yes, Davrin," Darias said sadly. "She will be with us soon."

I looked at the ground and gasped. It wasn't the ground anymore. I was looking down into a living room. I knew it was Darian's. The dark haired woman was standing before a vampire. This was Darian's mother! The vampire had been turned at a much older age than any of us. He was beautiful and horrifying at the same time. His skin was pale like death. His fingers ended with long glass like fingernails, and he hissed at Darian's mother just before he attacked her. She cried out as Silas wrapped his arms around her. I cringed when his fangs found her vein.

"Can we not stop this?" I asked, turning to Darias again.

"No, Jessup," he said. "For this is her destiny."

Then she was with us in the garden! She was unhurt and beautiful once again. Now she was dressed the white robe, tied with a golden cord. She looked radiant. Her eyes were full of love, and they were so like Darian's eyes. The man ran to her and took her in his arms. They spoke softly to each other as he led her away. I was moved to tears as I watched them go. Then I turned to Darias again. I knew what was coming, and I wanted to stop it this time.

"He's going for Noah," I said.

"Yes," Darias said. "I will send you back momentarily, Jessup. You must save Noah and Darian."

"You will not help him destroy what is mine, Darias!" cried a man from behind me. I spun around to behold one of the most beautiful men I'd ever seen. He was a vampire like Silas with his deathly pale skin and glass like fingernails. His eyes were what kept me silent. They were electric blue!

"You dare to come to my realm, Apollo?" Darias spat in anger like I'd never seen in anyone before. "I should kill you where you stand."

"I will kill him if he goes for my vampire," Apollo said, glaring at me with such venom in his eyes that I flinched.

Then there were others in the garden, but it was changing as I watched. The sun was covered by storm clouds. The flowers wilted and the vines fell to the ground. They sank into the dirt until they were gone. The garden was now a barren field. A woman, more beautiful than any I'd ever seen was standing beside Darias with her right arm extended, pointing at Apollo. Darias's twin was standing on his other side. I could suddenly smell Forsaken and I knew instantly that it was coming from Ren, The God of the Moon and the Hunt. The woman was Isis, Goddess of Creation! How I knew this I wasn't sure, but I knew it with every fiber of my being.

"You will do nothing to interfere, Apollo," she said. "You know it is forbidden."

"I will not stand by and let this creature destroy Silas," he replied.

"I will smite you if you interfere, Apollo," she said hatefully. "Please just give me a reason."

"Mother, what are you doing here?" Darias asked. I was forgotten for the moment as I watched the Gods in all their brilliance.

"I'm here because one of mine is in league with Apollo's minion," she snapped. "A witch is helping Silas."

"I'm here because in order to get what he's after, Silas must kill what is mine," said Ren.

"You came to interfere," laughed Apollo. "What hypocrites you are."

"I will not interfere," Ren said. "I will be here when his soul reaches this realm."

"If my witch uses the powers I so lovingly gave her against what is mine I will take back what I gave her," Isis vowed.

"So you will interfere!" Apollo yelled, pointing at Isis.

"You will watch your tone with me, Apollo," she said icily. "This is not interference. It is consequence."

I looked down again and suddenly the fight was in my house! I saw them all standing to protect Noah and Darian. I could hear them screaming to each other to stand. They began to morph! I watched it all in its gory detail. Then Blaze surged forward as half wolf and half man. Silas grabbed him and sank his fangs into Blaze's neck. My drone screamed in agony as Silas threw him to the floor. Suddenly Blaze was standing beside me! He was dead! My drone was dead!

"Jessup," he said and smiled. "You're alive."

"I'm so sorry, Blaze," I said, wrapping my arms around his hulk like frame. "I love you so much."

"I love you, too," he said and then looked confused. "Where is Noah? He's after Noah!"

"You don't have to worry about that anymore, Blaze," I said. My heart was broken. My drone! He'd killed my drone!

"I don't understand," he said, but then he looked around and his shoulders slumped. "I'm dead aren't I?"

"You're home, child," said Ren as he reach out a hand to him.

"Jessup, you must go now," Darias said. "It is time."

He pointed at me and then suddenly I was in my body. I wanted to weep and scream for the loss of Blaze. What about Beth and her child? What would they do now? Oh the hell of it all! Then I remembered what I was there to do. My Noah! I got up, not bothering with clothing. I raced up the stairs into the sunlight. I silently thanked Darias for letting me walk in the sun to do this. I found them in the living room. The Forsaken were all howling so loud that the windows rattled. Silas had Darian! He was draining him dry! I stepped forward and then a woman I didn't know came from behind Silas and put her hands out in front of her. Suddenly it was like I was standing in front of a wall, pushing against it's unyielding surface.

Then it was gone, and she grabbed her head. She screamed and fell to her knees. One of Forsaken took her then, but I knew what had happened to her. Isis had taken her power! With the invisible wall gone I surged forward. I grabbed Darian and pulled him away from Silas. The vampire was a sight to behold. I'd interrupted him mid feeding! He hissed at me and snapped those fangs in the air just inches in front of my face. I lunged for him and he wrapped those arms around me. I sank my fangs into his neck and pulled with all of my strength. I bit hard and pulled until his head was off his shoulders. His vice like arms spasmed and released me. Then he was groping for his head that was no longer there. I'd done it! I'd killed Silas. I used my power to burn him until he was ash.

Then I spun around and moaned. Darian was dying. I could hear Darias speaking in my head. He was telling me to turn him! Oh Gods I didn't want him to be a vampire! But I knew that if I didn't turn him he would die. Then I remembered how it had to happen. There wasn't time for sex! Would it work without the sex? I had to try. I knelt beside him and took him into my arms. I held him in my arms and sobbed for a moment before the urgency of what I must do swept over me so powerfully that I was almost once again laid out on the floor as I was on the ground in front of Darias. I bit into the wrist of my right hand and put it to Darian's lips.

"Drink," I implored him, but those words echoed in my head from an earlier time when I'd not been a vampire for even ten years. I was instantly transported back to those cells under Alexander's house. In my arms was not the living body of Darian but the dead body of my brother, Luca.

I'd been thrown into the cell for disobeying Alexander. I'd taken the native boy for a playmate and been forced to kill him though I had started to believe that I loved him. I could still see Nakoma's face in my mind and taste his sweet blood in my mouth when they threw me in the cell. It was so dark that not even my vampire eyes could see any light. They starved me for weeks, and then there was a living human in the cell with me. He was unconscious but I had to feed. I drained him dry in my delirium. When they came with torches I discovered that I had fed on my brother. I had drained his blood and taken his life. In a panic I bit into my wrist and held him in my arms, begging him to drink from my wrist and live, though I knew that it was forbidden. Luca wasn't just near death, he was dead. I had wailed for weeks after they'd taken his body from me and closed the cell again.

This was not Luca. This was Darian Lang, distant son of Darias, The God of Blood. I silently begged Darias to help me save his distant son, "Drink!" I called out to Darian. Then I wept as I felt him pulling the blood from the wound in my wrist. He drank as I'd begged him to, but I still wasn't sure that this would work. Would it change him? I didn't know. I silently prayed to Darias to make this work. I couldn't live without Darian, not after losing Blaze.

Then I felt it. He slipped from my arms the way all of the other fledglings had when it was over. He fell to the floor and I could smell the change beginning. I cried my bloody tears as I looked at him and silently thanked Darias and professed my love for helping me save him. Then Noah was in my arms. He held on to me so tightly. I kissed his cheeks and told him that everything was going to be all right. The vampire was dead. He was safe and in seven nights Darian would be one of us.

I flashed us to my bathroom like a God. I was a little scared of these new powers, but I had Darian to think of. I was thankful for any distraction from what had happened to Blaze. I'd never lost a drone before. I knew from others what happened to the vampire who lost a drone, but I wasn't prepared for the emotional turmoil would be so great. I needed things to keep me busy so I could keep the mourning at bay a little longer. I didn't have time for the catatonia that I was told would come when my mind finally centered on the loss of my drone.

I washed Darian in my shower and then put him in the coffin I'd arrived in. I knew we could no longer stay in Kale. He would be too easily recognized. Perrin was likely already putting the information in all of the appropriate databases, creating records, a death certificate and falsifying news reports to add to the media and newspaper circulations for the greater Chicago area. No, we had to return to San Juan. Once he was in the coffin and ready to go I made the necessary arrangements to get us from Chicago to San Juan. I ordered the coffins and sent Seamus and Jax to go and get them. The tears in Jax's eyes nearly undid me, but I had to focus. I had to get Noah and Darian back to San Juan.

There was Blaze's body to deal with as well. Seamus and Jax had already put him in an air tight coffin that was ready for transport when I finally got around to seeing to him. It was done and I was thankful. I stayed away from Beth and Noah. Both of them were mourning already and I couldn't afford to join them. I lasted until they got me into the coffin and then I broke. I could feel the catatonia seeping over me like a heavy blanket. I had to fight it for as long as we were in the air.

Then we were in San Juan and Brendan was waiting for us. As soon as I was out of the coffin and safe inside House Maxwell his eyes were on me. I ignored him. I needed to be awake long enough to get everyone settled. I wanted to be awake for Darian's awakening, but I knew better than to think I could last three whole nights. Brendan seemed to understand. He got Noah settled and saw to Beth. He found her a Forsaken doctor to help her with her pregnancy. He even contacted two of my fledglings and asked them to come back to San Juan. I could hear him on his tiny cell phone.

"They're coming, Jessup," he said from the doorway of the room I had put Darian in. I was washing the human waste from his body. He was lying on a rubber sheet. I'd already cleaned that.

"Which ones?" I asked without looking at him. I could hear the empty, dead tone in my own voice.

"Jason and Mikey ," he replied and I smiled. Jason was the bull headed one. He'd be the one who tried his best to get me to come out of the catatonia I knew was coming. Mikey was the soft hearted one. He'd take care of Noah and be there for Beth's baby. He was the one I knew would become my surrogate while I was out of commission.

"Good choices," I said before I kissed Darian on his lips and stood up. "What has Noah been told?"

"He's been told that you're grieving," Brendan replied. "We're trying to explain to him what happens when a vampire loses a drone but he's a child, Jessup."

"I know that," I snapped and then sighed. "I'm sorry."

"You don't have to apologize to me," he said. "I know how you feel."

That was impossible. He'd never had a drone that died on him. He'd only lost a fledgling. Well I'd lost a few of those. This was nothing like that feeling. You felt sorrow for them when they died, but the bond between a vampire and his fledgling is nowhere near as strong as the bond between a vampire and his drone. That bond was far more intimate. It molded the mind of both the vampire and the drone until they were almost like one. The vampire knew his drone like no one has ever known anyone in existence.

I went to my room after that. I showered in my bathroom and then dressed in fine silks and satins. Then I crawled onto the bed and arranged my limbs. The time had come to stop ignoring the sorrow. I lay there for a few moments before I felt it creeping over me once again. When I knew I was in its grip I heard myself sigh. I was very shocked that I could still think. I couldn't move, but I could think and I could hear everything that was going on around me. The grief was overpowering. All I could think of was Blaze. I could also feel the power from the blood of Darias leaving me. That was a blessing actually. I had already been a changed vampire once. I wasn't happy about being changed again.

Then Noah was crying as he sat on the edge of my bed. I longed to reach out and comfort him, but my limbs would not move. I wanted to tell him that everything was all right. I wanted to be there for him. I couldn't move and I couldn't talk. There was no way for me to climb out of the crushing grief that was consuming me. It would not last forever, but it would take time. It would take a lot of time before I was myself again. In this shape all I could do was use my mental abilities.

I learned that when Jason arrived and started to try to drag me out of the bed. I used my mind to propel him away from me. I head him hit the wall and then a loud crack. He was cursing and yelling for Mikey when he stood up. Mikey rushed into the room, looking so beautiful. He was the most beautiful of my fledglings having been a teen model before they'd learned what his father and agent were doing to him. He was muscular and sexy because he was a Maxwell, but he'd had a beautiful face, perfect bone structure, eyes the color of the clear sky on a summer day and full, kissable lips. All of that was enhanced by the vampire blood in his veins. Now his eyes were the same color but with dark auburn rings around his irises. This was proof that had the power of combustion, but like me and every other Maxwell vampire that possessed that gift, save Holden he could only burn necrotic tissue.

"Oh, Father," he sighed as he helped me back to my proper position in the bed. "I know you're hurting, but I wish you would just come back to us. Noah asks about you every day. We don't let him come in here now. Darian woke up in a rage because he can feel you but not reach you. Father, he's a beautiful vampire. He's everything you'd admire. We love him already."

"There's no point to this, Mikey," Jason snapped. "He isn't listening to anything we say."

"Guy said he could hear everything around him when Jar died and he was in this state," Mikey replied patiently. He was always so patient with Javier.

I could go deeper into my catatonia. I'd be able to come back from time to time just to the brink. I'd come back fully when the grieving stopped and I accepted Blaze's death. I didn't want to see them all worried about me. So I let it happen. I went deeper, and this is where this part of my story ends.

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