Authors: Michael Dean
“Nothing is guaranteed. All I can do is try.”
at the fountain, deep in thought. Her face was distressed, but then her eyes turned back to me. “I swear to you, Leo, if I find out that you are responsible in any way for this happening to my daughter…or to any of the youth of this town, I swear…you will pay dearly.” She spoke with a stern, yet trembling voice.
I didn’t say anything
the reason for this happening, for the most part. The only thing I could do was flash an insincere smile at her.
gathered her purse and slid the straps over her shoulders. “Well, I guess I should get back. Richard is on edge anytime I go anywhere with all that’s happened around here.”
She stood up and smiled and walked a few paces before turning back around.
“You know, as I’ve told you before, I sense something within you Leo, something unlike any other human being I’ve ever met. I’m not sure what it is. I know it’s both very dark, and then somehow, very bright.
It’s because of that light within you that I keep giving you the benefit of the doubt. Remember that, because my patience is running out. I’ll give you the time you need. Bring back my daughter, Leo.”
I nodded in agreement. Anne turned around and walked a little further, only to look back at me once more
. “Leo…someday…explain all this to me.”
I smiled at her again
. “Anne…it seems like all I do anymore is explain…but I promise someday, if I can, I will.”
With a half smirk she walked out of the Gardens and out of sight. I sat there the entire rest of the day. I never left until very late when one of the park rangers asked me to go. Tonight was a great night for a flight and that’s what I did. Except this excursion was different, I flew to the moon above the earth. I sat there
in the extreme silence that being in space brings and stared down at the planet, watching the sun lighting up half of it. It was flabbergasting to think that here I was, able to do so many things that no human could, but the one thing they all had that I never could have was life. Even if I did beat Shimmer and Christian, sure I’d be free from Hell, but I’d still be a demon. Nothing could ever change that. What was I really gaining from doing this? Well, at least Shade would be safe, but still, all this quest had brought me was pain and hardship.
I stayed on the moon through two more sun rotations around the earth. I knew I was a day away from All Hallows Eve. I figured I would stay here until it was time to head to Shimmer
’s coliseum, known as the Cavity at the top of Devil’s Tooth Mountain in Romania. I didn’t have a reason to go back home anymore.
While sitting in the dead silence, wallowing in self pity as only
a demon can, I was surprised when I saw a figure of light walking out from the dark side of the moon. Again, the light that preceeded this being was so abundant that I had to put my arm over my face in order to shield my sight. Just like before, the closer the being got, the dimmer the light went before finally going out. I knew it was another angel, and when the figure closed in on me, I saw it was Argento’s hand Elysia; the beautiful angel that had yet to speak.
I stood up from my crouch and waited to see what she wanted. When she got within a foot or two
of me, she raised her gaze and pulled back her hood. She was smiling. It made me feel instantly comfortable. A gift an angel possesses that can even appease demons, apparently. Argento was nowhere in sight.
, Leo.” She nodded. Not only was Elysia’s face familiar to me, but so was her soft voice, at least to some degree. I still couldn’t place where I knew her from. One thing was for certain, my familiarity with her was unmistakable.
, Elysia. Argento didn’t accompany you?”
“No, but he sent me to you with
Something else about her voice that I must point out is the fact that it is mesmerizing, hypnotic
, if you will. Every time she opened her mouth, each word was spoken with such grace that it drew me in, soothing me. She had my full attention. I don’t think I could have turned away from her words if I tried, it was so alluring.
“What’s going on?”
“It’s about your oncoming fight with Shimmer.”
“What about it?”
“A distinct advantage…also an unknown advantage that he may have over you.”
“I don’t follow.”
“When you scuffled with Sierra and Molina, you discovered something…didn’t you?”
I thought back to the battle in the ballroom with his twin brides and remembered that when I attempted to
kill Molina, something stopped me from punching through to her heart. I had forgotten all about that.
“Yes, something blocked my punch, something hard…on her body. I couldn’t penetrate it, at least, not with a s
ingle blow, anyway.”
“That’s right, and unless you know what it is and find a quicker way
to penetrate it, it may be the perfect circumstance that Shimmer needs in order to kill you.”
“What is it?”
Elysia walked a few paces away from me and stared at earth off in the distance. I walked beside her and gazed with her.
“Before I explain that part, there’s something you need to hear first.”
“In the fifteenth
earth century, just before Shimmer took the twins Sierra and Molina as his brides, although he was already a vampire, he was in love with a human girl. Oddly enough for Shimmer, she was the only one that had his heart and he wanted her for his own. He wanted her to remain human, not a vampire…her name was Temperance. She was daughter to one of the richest, most powerful families in all of Europe…the Greylock family. Her beauty exceeded any wealth her family possessed. Every man for miles around did their best to court her. Shimmer was no different. He even took great care to appear as human as possible in order to win her…”
“I mean, Shimmer’s love life is great and all, but what does this have to do with me
, Leo, the answers are coming. Knowing the history of your enemies leads to knowledge; and knowledge leads to power. Having power over Shimmer will give you advantage.”
“Whatever it takes, I guess
“Shimmer tried every
ounce of persuasion he had to earn her love, and as we all know, vampires are the most seductive of all beings, but it was to no avail. Temperance had fallen in love with a young, handsome, very wealthy man by the name of Geoffrey Lonecrow, whose family tree branched from royalty. Shimmer was crushed. One rainy evening she officially rejected his advances in front of her family home by telling him she was to be wed to Geoffrey and that she never wanted to see him again. This sent Shimmer into personal turmoil, and as we all know, Shimmer doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants.”
“Tell me about it
,” I added.
“So, when the day of the
lavish wedding arrived between the two powerful families, humans had come from all over the world to witness it. It was the largest wedding of its kind at that time. Shimmer was there, hiding, waiting, picking his moment to take what he deemed was his. With jealous eyes he watched the wedding from afar, staying out of sight of the girl he loved. When all the festivities ended and all the wine had been drank, Shimmer stalked the new couple by following them in their fancy carriage. When they arrived at their destination, just before Geoffrey took Temperance into his bed, Shimmer struck. He attacked his love as she prepared for her husband in her boudoir, sinking his teeth into her neck, rendering her unconscious, leaving her teetering between life and death. When Geoffrey’s beloved never came out of the boudoir, he went to find out what was delaying her. When she didn’t answer his calls from the other side of the door, he went in the room and found her lying on the floor, bleeding from the neck. It was here that the showman in Shimmer came into play.”
My eyes veered from Elysia and stared at the earth
in front of us.
“He introduced himself to
Geoffrey, told him what he was, and took glee in watching him plead for their lives. Of course, Shimmer would show him no mercy. It was rumored that when they found Geoffrey Lonecrow, it was so gruesome, not a soul that witnessed the massacre could hold their stomachs. Shimmer had ripped him apart, inside and out, piece by piece. Body parts were strewn around the bedroom, arms and legs were apparently slung in every direction, even his eyeball-less head, completely decapitated, was found somewhere in the boudoir. They say the blood was ankle deep in parts of the room, as well as splattered all over the walls.”
“Has he no
“Of course not…he’s of the underworld.
That’s not the worst part.”
“Geez, there’s more?”
“Shimmer, so self-absorbed was he in his jealousy, took out Geoffrey’s heart, placed it in the middle of the blood soaked bed, and stabbed it through the middle, pinning it to the center of the bed with this letter opener.”
Elysia reached into her robe and pulled out a sharp silver letter opener.
“How did the angels get in possession of that?” I looked it over as she held it up.
“We have our ways
; that is all you need to know.”
“I’ve always known he was vicious, but I had no idea…”
“This is why I tell you this horrendous story, Leo, what he will do to you, maybe even to Shade, will be done without leniency. You must know, truly, what kind of monster you’re going up against and be prepared accordingly.”
“Monster…indeed, at least that much I’ve always known.
What happened to the girl?”
“Shimmer took her and gave her his eternal bite, forever making her part of the undead, forever his own. He transformed her into
a vampire and took her as his bride. He knew it was the only way he could have her. It was the only way. She’d never give herself over to him now…not after what he’d done.”
“If he loved her so much, why has he taken the twins? How come I’ve never seen, nor heard of Temperance?”
“Because she’s dead.”
“Because Temperance, her family, her husband’s family, and the story of his gruesome death was so widely known, it didn’t take long for her to be recognized by some of the common folk in Romania at that time. Shimmer couldn’t hide her completely. Rumors were rampant that Temperance was a vampire all along and that
was responsible for killing her husband. It was thought that she did it purely to take the Lonecrow name, steal their riches for her side of the family, and become the most powerful family in the world. This caused a feud between the Lonecrows and the Greylocks. A feud that cost many lives, committed many evils, and turned the world on its head in that age. It was a breeding ground for souls during that time…for both Heaven and Hell.”
“So Shimmer stashed her away? How could she have been killed then?
“He tried, but it didn’t work. Acting on the rumors of her whereabouts
, one night an army of thousands of humans showed up outside of Bran Castle. It was composed of soldiers from the Lonecrows, as well as other prominent families of the day. The Greylocks, what was left of them after all had united against them, had been exiled to some remote island off the mainland after it was rumored that the entire family may be some sort of witches, conjurors of black magic, which of course, they weren’t. Guilt by association. So, they were no longer the last defense against the good name of Temperance Greylock.”
“A battle broke out…a war between the humans and Shimmer
’s vampire clan, which was a lot smaller back then. The humans were losing until a soldier accidently discovered that the way to kill a vampire is by taking the heart. Although still getting defeated, they fought admirably. Temperance, going against Shimmer’s orders, and without his knowledge, came out of hiding and sought to end the bloodshed. She exposed herself to the dwindling human army, she placed herself among them, in the middle of the fighting, tried to call for peace, but when a soldier’s sword cut through her back, piercing her heart before pulling it out of her, the call for peace was over. Shimmer witnessed his beloved being killed and spared no mercy on the army. He killed every last human there, then ransacked the town of Transylvania, killing every human being around, only leaving human children, accidently, alive. Luckily, those that survived were too young to comprehend what was going on. His thirst for revenge didn’t stop there, it had to be quenched. Any human that he deemed responsible for her death, which was pretty much every human, he killed without mercy. He wiped out the entire bloodline of the Greylocks and the Lonecrows, killing anyone that had aligned with them in the process. He even sent out orders for humans rumored to be associated with those families to be killed. It was a horrible time. Shimmer had forsaken spiritual law and was making rules of his own.”
“Where were you guys…the angels, to help the innocent? Where were you?”
“We were there…doing everything we could to stop him. We protected who we could, the best we could, even taking many vampires’ lives on our end as well. In the end, we restored balance; that is all we could do. We are not killers.”
“Maybe you should have been. Y
ou allowed him to run free. To destroy humans at will. Why didn’t you stop him?”
“We tried…to stop him. Humans chose to pursue him. They made the choice of their own free will. There was nothing we could
do for those that chose to fight him…nothing. Events had to play out. All we could do was stop his wrath upon the rest of the innocent humans that didn’t come after him.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t stop him. He wiped
out entire families.”
“We did stop him…”
“How?” I demanded.
“From eradicating the entire human race.”
Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. Although I didn’t fully understand all the details about why the angels didn’t stop him from killing so many people, I did see the big picture. The human is race is still around, and flourishing.
“Now that I can’t feel any worse about Shimmer, what does all of this have to do with me not being able to punch through to Molina’s heart?” I shook my head in annoyance.
“When Shimmer finally calmed, when he could no longer take out his fury upon the innocent because we had him in check, he transformed the best blacksmith and surgeon in all of the world into vampires.”
“So…Shimmer had the surgeon split him wide open, exposing his chest cavity and the bones, the dead blackened parts within, including the only thing still alive, beating within him…his black heart. The blacksmith poured hot melted steel over the entirety of his inner core, covering his bones and the body parts within in a sort of steel shell. Since the heart was not being removed from his body, it continued to beat. It is said though, that Shimmer’s screams could be heard for miles from the pain. When they were done with the front, they opened his backside and repeated the process. Since a vampire can heal quickly, it was the surgeon’s job to keep him open while the blacksmith poured in the molten steel. The operation was a success. Then the surface skin healed, as is usually the case with vampires, demons, and angels alike, for that matter, concealing what is beyond Shimmer’s skin, dense steel padding, stronger than a knight’s armor.”
“All to protect his heart
That’s right…ensuring that he could live for eternity, never to suffer the same fate as his love Temperance. So, when he took on his new brides, the vivacious French twins, he had the same procedure done to them, making it nearly impossible to kill all three of them.
is why you couldn’t punch through Molina. Shimmer, naturally not wanting to die himself, never wants to experience what he went through with Temperance…again.”