Carpe Noctem

Chapter Eight: Petrova

In the cold light of day, my flirting with an angel made me feel, sickly, it wasn’t cute or funny or romantic, it felt wrong. Sure it was right at the time. But there is nothing like getting back to reality with too many texts to read and just knowing something bad has happened. That pit in the bottom of my stomach had me running to the warehouse, almost. There was something bad. Someone had to take Leianna’s place in order to get her back. Someone that was willing, that someone, as it turns out was the warlock in chief’s little brother, Henry.

Getting Leianna back is important, but this was a hell of a cost, Henry didn’t even think about it, he went through and lead the way to get her. I daren’t think about what his fate will be.

Leianna came through unconscious. Chief warlock Prior began his work, undoing the magic that had her asleep and un-wake-able. It must have been an hour or so but when she woke, she was pale, her first word was my name, but her voice sounded, wrong. Panicked. I couldn’t help it, thinking what might have happened to her, how pale she was, what horror had she seen? I pushed past my cringy night of over stepping boundaries with rose tinted glasses and I just felt so guilty. I had had such a beautiful time, such a romantic moment getting intoxicated by something completely new and Lei was in some kind of horror.

She might have called for me first but she was quick enough to go with Prior, she barely knew him, it was the boy, Henry she knew, that’s why she trusted him enough, she even called him Orion. When she walked through the portal the room stayed quiet, a whole damn minute no one spoke. It was Orla who issued the orders to clean up and seal the area off. Bleddyn and Orla walked away, in conversation. We knew what we had to do.


“What happened? I tried to call and message and you didn’t answer” Ward handed me the paper cup filled with hot chocolate and whipped cream.

“I didn’t have my phone. What was so urgent?”

“I was worried; I didn’t hear from you.” he seemed sincere.

“That’s what we expect in this life though. Ward, what are we doing?” I ask, what Ymirxi had said had been playing on my mind. Ward, he looked like he was more than on the spot, I know he knew what I meant, he couldn’t get away with acting like he didn’t understand the question.

“Do you want to stop?” I couldn’t read him, I couldn’t help picture kissing him pressed against the trees in the wood, I couldn’t push the image of Ymirxi kissing me from my mind either. Kissing an angel was one thing, but the likelihood he would come here, stay here, be what he thought I needed, that was slim, it was impossible. Ward, he wasn’t impossible, I could lose so much that I don’t even have right now. But that is the thing, I don’t even have it.

“I want to go on a date.” I say surprising myself. I’m not sure I really want to, but how else am I going to learn. I expected him to stumble, to back out of it, to walk away or laugh.

“A date?” he asked.

“Yes, a date.” I take a sip of hot chocolate to try to do anything other than stand here waiting for some kind of rejection.

“Sure. A date sounds like fun.” He wasn’t joking. “When do you want to-?”

“Now” I say, surprising myself. We were off the clock. I take another sip as he nods and takes it in his stride.

We wind up walking around trying to find somewhere to eat, somewhere that tickles our fancy, we end up in a Burger King. The height of romance, he had the onions left out of his order. We can’t help ourselves, we ended up speculating a little about Leianna. How could we not. He was funny and witty and the person I have spent so long ignoring all the things I liked about him. It felt strange, I’ve known him for years, it’s not like he is someone completely new and yet, I felt nervous. I couldn’t help it. He smiled at me, so warm and welcoming I couldn’t help but wonder if I had made a mistake all this time.

“I’ve had fun tonight” I surprised myself. I don’t know if it was feeling powerless to change the world we live in for so long, maybe I finally cracked. All things keep pointing to disaster, we work together, we fight demons far too regularly, we get hurt all the damn time and risk our lives all the time and I am still standing here. I am still waiting for some horror to drop in and destroy everything.

“It’s not over yet,” he took my hand and we walked out the door and up the street. “I know it’s my fault, we haven’t done this sooner, but I am glad we are doing it now.” He might be leading the way but I can still sense his hesitancy.

“Me too. I have to ask, why say yes now?”

“I realised, when Leianna was taken, if it was you, I wouldn’t have cared what the price was, I wouldn’t have cared what I had to sacrifice, what anyone else would have had to sacrifice, I would have done it to get you back and out of there in a heartbeat.”

I let his words sink in, it doesn’t feel real, being here, with him, its strange. “But we are in life, death and disaster situations, like, every day. You’ve had years to say and realise any of this stuff.”

“I know. I wasn’t ready.”

“I remember.” There’s a lot that I remember, like watching him man whore it up over the years, like me ignoring the spark we had but never acting on it, the jealousy. This should feel amazing, and in some ways it does, it has been years of wanting this, wanting to hear him say he wanted to be with me, wanting him to say he had feelings for me. Years of not feeling good enough, feeling angry and hurt and putting up with scraps. It felt wonderful to hear, this date felt wonderful, but it didn’t erase that. It hasn’t erased the negligence and the hurt and feeling used. Even when it was me initiating something that seemed so meaningless and physical to him. I hadn’t realised I had let go of his hand it was his expression that caught me off guard. “I’m sorry” I said but it felt false.

“Don’t be. I was a jerk; I am a jerk. I get it.”

It might have been hurt or anger bubbling in me, but I couldn’t help but say the first thing that popped into my head, “yeah, you are.” I took a breath but it didn’t clear this new nagging insecurity creeping in. “Is this really because of what happened to Leianna?”

“I care about you”

“As a friend” I retorted, all those times he said something like that to me.

“No, not as a friend, you’re my best friend, you are more than just my friend and I fucked you about and hurt you and took you for granted and I saw how Henry was about her and I realised, I would be the same, I would do the same and sacrifice everything to keep you safe. I would go against everything we believe in, everything we are taught. Don’t get me wrong, I know you wouldn’t want me to, I know you can more than handle yourself, but I would do it anyway.”

This is what I wanted for so long, maybe not exactly, but still. I don’t know what to say, the thought of that kiss with Ymirxi, the guilt of not telling Ward, of not telling Ward anything about Ymirxi or being able to.

“Ward, you can’t say that. You have no idea how much I wanted to hear you say that for so long, but right now, I need time. I know it sounds like I am fobbing you off or backing out or whatever you call it but as much as I have wanted this for so long, there is just as much hurt that has built up and that is hard to just wash away with sweet words.”

“I get it”

“We treated each other badly and expected too much and the wrong things from each other for too long. If anything, one step at a time, slow little gentle steps. Allowing feelings is new, especially after fighting them for so long.”

“Ok, if that is what you want, if it is what you need.”

“I think so, I’m sorry. But it might be what we need right now.”

Carpe Noctem

Chapter Eight: Leianna

“The truth is a very dangerous thing.” That is something I barely even remember hearing.

I don’t feel like the dangerous thing that I thought I was meant to be. The thing that bent or broke all rules that existed in this strange world. I failed breaking her sway, he was angry, I could tell. Petrova somehow missed her ambush. The problem is, that in even trying to break her sway, even unsuccessfully, I just secured mine. Just as hers is secure. I failed and now we are both trapped. I just get the feeling I am the only one who knows that I am pretty much a pawn. The brothers will get their way. So much for making my parents proud. If they even knew what I was thinking now. If they knew the truth. What if they do know the truth?

Bound by magic unable to move, but I can feel the movement of air around me, I know I am being moved, but somehow my body is asleep, barely but just enough and my mind is so completely awake, it is a torture of its own. There is an angel trapped in the underworld. Maybe not trapped, but tethered to at the very least. Whether what he said about the devil himself is true or not. It won’t make a difference. If I do it, if I follow Rax’s plan… When did I start calling him that? Doesn’t matter. If I follow his plan, hell on earth is a literal translation. If I don’t, the secret I carry, if I do nothing, what devil am I?

Going through the gates feels different now, the weight on my shoulders, the pressure. I can hear the people around me. It takes a moment. I can hear Monty, at least I think it is Monty. There is a warlock here, I can feel the magic, but it’s not the familiar feel of Henry’s magic, but it doesn’t feel completely different.

I have to protect Petrova, I realise it now, if I taint her, this mortal world is doomed, hell will rage. I can’t do it; I can’t follow Rax’s plan. If I do, there is no going back. But I can’t leave him there either. I have to make sure she keeps her sway completely intact. I have to let war wage on the mortal world, to protect the mortal world. It makes so little sense, but I have to go against what I have been told. I have to change the path. I have to do something. So if I change just this one important thing, if I can perform the ritual and keep Petrova’s bond, then I can bring a heavenly war to rid hell from earth, once I brought it to earth. God it sounds ridiculous. It could be the only way to pull Rax away. Even if he has lied to me. He managed to walk through the realm with me beside him, a defenceless floating body unconscious, one that destroyed demons not long before. I could feel them turning their backs, refusing to look, refusing to stare, I could feel them doing everything to not look at us. There is power, then there is that. Creatures that should have been desperate to destroy me in return, refusing to even see my existence.

That feeling you’ve been lied to. That. Right now. My whole fucking life. My mother, my father, my blood bearer. The lot of them. Henry was right.

When Henry said this might be my undoing. Unleashing those demons created a doorway. That is after all how I ended up down there, handed my own personal to do list by my blood bearer. Without Henry, I would never have ended up here, I would never know that the underworld had the softest satin sheets in the most gorgeous shade of emerald that I have ever seen. I would never have felt so alone in all my life. I would never have found this secret. This thing that I shouldn’t know.

I can feel the magic lift and my eyes shot open and it feels like coming out of water after holding your breath. I am gasping for air. My hand reaches out and I grab the shirt of the nearest person. The first word out of my mouth, the person I have to protect now, “Petrova”.

A face appears next to me, my face, her face, It’s her, she helps me sit up slowly. She is safe. I can feel regret twisting my stomach, I made us both generals in a war that is not ours.

“Petrova, what was the cost?” I ask, knowing the writing on the wall was a message.

“My brother” the words came from a handsome middle aged man beginning to stand.

“You’re Orion.” The words left my lips. Life is complicated but so are families. “You are Orion aren’t you?”

“Yes.” He looked uncomfortable, the way his eyes left mine.

“He took Henry in my place?” I try to swallow a lump in my throat. I can feel eyes on me, I bet there are questions about how I know the warlock who went in my place.

“Yes, he refused to listen to reason. I have tried to keep him from going to that place his whole life, and thanks to you, he walked straight through.” I can see a familiar look in his eyes, I’ve seen it on Henry, concern.

“You know who is waiting for him? What is waiting for him?” I ask wondering how much I can trust him and how much I can say.


“We need to talk. Alone.” I say bluntly. Orion nods. I am breaking rules. Too many. Orion helps me to stand and Orla is leading the protests, saying that I need to be checked.

“She is fine, and as far as I am concerned she owes me to know what happened there, it is my brother that took her place. I get dibs on hearing all about it first.” With that he shot them a warning look before he opened a portal right in front of everyone.

Stepping onto the ground on the other side I discovered he had transported us right into the heart of London. Somewhere I was familiar with. I still couldn’t help but ask where we were.

“Her Majesty’s” he answered. I looked out there was an empty unlit theatre, I couldn’t help but take a steadying breath, I needed it. We were after all on the top walk way. Where the angel descends from on the rooftops scene.

“Why here?” I ask not that he is looking at me now.

“This is where you should be, playing them all. I know who you are.”

“You made me who I am, you made Petrova.” He looked surprised, but I continued, “I know who you are, and if Henry is your brother that means that Raxaorie is his father too.” I hated the words coming out of my mouth. They didn’t feel like mine. At least I didn’t want them to be real. I don’t even want to think about what it means.

“Yes.” Now he is watching me. Closely.

“Is that why you did it, Petrova and me?”

“Partly. Do you know what he is?” I shake my head no. There are some things that I won’t discuss. “That is sweet of you to lie, but it is written all over your face.”

“Are you trying to make it hell on earth?”

“It is already hell on earth. Look at those in power. Hell has already arrived, but the gates are locked. We need to un lock them to stand any chance.”

“Chance of what?”


“Surviving what?”

“There is something coming, and you and Petrova, you’re the key. You change it, you can do what Henry and I can’t. We’ve tried. But it didn’t work. It has to be you.”

“You’re telling me to follow Raxaorie’s plan and open the gates to hell?”

“Yes, and then stop following his plan. Don’t do what he tells you to do, don’t let him change your destiny like that, you may be his blood bearer but you don’t need to be a complete extension of him. You are your own person and we are running out of time.”

“We need to get Henry back.” I sound so certain, but he might hate me when he comes back. Him sacrificing himself, heaven knows what he will be like coming back. I sure as hell don’t feel like the person I was following that shadowy figure. I know too much and I want to run away. I don’t want to be responsible I don’t want to have to do all of this. It’s too much. I can feel the panic beginning to rise. It must have been written on my face, it’s the first time I’d seen Orion soften even slightly. His expression wasn’t harsh or steely, it was softer.

“You can’t tell them what happened, not a word. Do you understand?”

Carpe Noctem

Chapter Seven: Petrova

Getting attached is risky I reminded myself. So many times we all learned the hard way. I couldn’t help but feel a jolt of guilt thinking about Ward, how he changed when Kody was “culled”. The system we work in, it’s horrific. Sometimes I wonder if those that make the rules, those that enforce them ever feel guilty. The rules are old world, and this is a new world, ever changing but the traditions of the Touched remain untouched and inherently wrong. Or at least that is my opinion.

I flirted with a fine line that I didn’t know the boundaries of so often that it was a wonder that I hadn’t landed in trouble much sooner. Ward and I weren’t strangers in any way, but emotionally, we kept so distant that there often felt like a gulf, a canyon could be between us no matter how physically close we were at the time. I suppose that is why it felt so different.

It was nice to feel closer to someone, to not have that feeling filter up. Not ignoring how truly intimate we were being. Ymirxi was different, I reminded myself, not that, that wasn’t blindingly obvious. He was flirty and cheeky and so optimistic. Like brightness and light bouncing off of ripples of water cascading through the air.

“Just most things,” I smiled. He returned my smile moving closer, just a fraction. I looked into those brown eyes and just let myself stop thinking for a moment. Just a moment I promised myself. He leaned closer, his face so close to mine, his breath was warm on my cheeks, his hand slipped around my waist. When I kissed him I did something stupid. I let go of being in control of myself, I let go of controlling the feelings filter and how I needed to keep my distance. I let go of being cold. I embraced the warmth of a passionate kiss. Pulling apart for a moment of breath I could feel every inch of my skin burning. It was that burning that woke my muddled brain from its less logical thoughts.

“I, I can’t” I stuttered out the words barely hearing my own voice. The look on Ymirxi’s face, confusion was as clear as day.

“Can’t what?” he asked. Trying to coax me to look at him, it was the first time I was afraid around him, afraid I would lose control.

“I can’t get feelings involved. It would be stupid, you’re an angel for heavens sakes.” I could see him break into a smile from the corner of vision.

“No one said we had to get feelings involved, well, the emotional kind, not if you don’t want to.” His voice was calm and tender.

“I am a deeply flawed human being.” I thought out loud.

“Yeah, well, you’re more than just that you know… You are fun and kind and sweet and so sexy.” He had been stroking the back of my neck with his thumb, so gently it tickled.

“I didn’t know that angels ever thought…” for a moment my mind fogged again thinking about what it might be like to be with him. Continue reading

Carpe Noctem

Chapter Seven: Leianna

I never felt so bold. So safe to be open. Like I was with someone who would understand and he did. His words still rang true with me, still rang out like something I remembered soul deep, “the truth is a very dangerous thing” that had been my whole life. My truth, what had been done to me at birth, my pre-paved life, my pre-paved future, the destiny I was thrust toward. Make the best out of it, that is what I had always told myself. Making the best of it had nothing to do with me kissing him, or him kissing me back. That was something else entirely. It made me feel something that I believed impossible. Something that swept away the coolness and how I could reach out and touch the world. Something beyond the water, the fine mist of the air surrounding me, something that seemed a different kind of pure. In that moment I got a glimpse of a fire within, that could burn through me radiating something entirely new. Something very unlike all that I could understand. A kiss dissolved the world, this one and mine. Ending it, had me breathless against my own desire, wanting to kiss his lips again.

The way that Raxaorie looked at me, though he was concerned he had over stepped. I realised that we both had. When he asked how that kiss made me feel, it was a scramble for words, when I found them I wasn’t entirely sure where it was leading, or what I was saying one word to the next. It took following through with each word to realise exactly what it was that I was on the verge of discovery of.  “It felt like nothing I ever felt before, I felt something different, the way the air felt in my lungs… it was different. It was like there was some kind of spark in my chest, a flicker, a flame I don’t know but it didn’t feel, I didn’t feel normal. It didn’t feel like the water in my blood, it felt like for a moment there wasn’t a single drop of water in the air. It didn’t feel like me. It felt… It felt like you” Continue reading

Carpe Noctem

Chapter Six: Petrova

“You brought me here… Another risk… What if someone finds out?”  I thought of when he started talking to me.

I replayed it like a movie reel in my head for the briefest time, how he spoke. The warmth in his voice that somehow made me feel safe even though it could have been the most dangerous thing in the world. “Do you know who I am?” Such a softness, such a safeness in that smile that made me forget about stranger danger, because he wasn’t one, I knew him in a way, even though it could have been a trap and I could be very dead right now. But when he asked me to really think about how I knew him even though I had denied it. I remember looking around and not really seeing anything even though there was something I was missing.

I remembered how I had seen his presence in the final ritual of the sway before I completed the ascension. I remembered the energy but there was something I was still missing. Even when he said “I am your angel. I have broken so very many rules for you.” Even though his smile was calming and nonchalant. Then I saw it.

“There was someone else there.” I said to him out loud. Finally seeing the dark jacket and jeans, the cap that made it hard to see his face.

“Yes.” He answered, a panic rose in my chest. What had he done? He was risking everything. If that man saw Arielriele then he was exposed.

“You brought me here anyway?” I felt my breath quicken. I struggled to find the words.

“Yes I did. Do you remember the man following you?” Sort of yes but not in a way that seemed to mean much. The harder I tried the cloudier the picture.

“Not really…” I swallow but that doesn’t make me feel better, the panic is rising too high. It was clouding my thoughts.

“There was a man-” I remembered. Continue reading