Asunder

Disclaimer: Legacy of Kain belongs to Edios and Crystal Dynamics, not me. I am making £0.00 out of this fic, it is written purely because I have a burning need to create. Although I would like to own Vorador . . . then he'd be mine.

Warning: this fic contains YAOI (GuyXGuy), blood play and a lemon if this offends or upsets you do not read. SPOILER WARNINGS FOR DEFIANCE.

Rating: M

Pairing: Kain/Raziel

Setting: Post Defiance

Italics mean flashback.

Authoress note: Kain Refuses the Sacrifice.

Enjoy.

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Asunder

Now, at last, the masks had fallen away. The strings of the puppets had become visible, and the hands of the prime mover exposed. Most ironic of all was the last gift that Raziel had given me. More powerful than the sword that now held his soul, more acute even than the vision his sacrifice had accorded me. The first, bitter taste of that terrible illusion.

Hope.

Kain: Defiance

{Kain}

I was trying to decide if it was safe to be angry or not.

It was a curious situation for me, normally I do not find it difficult to decide whether I am angry or not. Being angry is usually one of the simplest things I do. I resort to it often. My anger is where I draw a great deal of my strength. It is a fuel that I have relied upon many a time to keep myself moving when I would rather lie down and let fate happen. Anger has motivated me many times when I am on the edge of surrender. It is a power I would not have survived without. But anger can also cause mistakes to happen. Unfortunately, it has done this for me also. Many times I have acted rashly because I let my anger take control of me. More than once I have regretted my anger, but even with that regret I will not give my anger up.

The anger I can feel hovering on the edge of my perception is the kind that causes mistakes. The kind of anger that is uncontrollable and storming. It is not the kind that would aid me, for I had no direction as of yet. I want to scream in a rage, yell at the indignity of it all. But I am well aware that throwing a tantrum will do no good to anyone and would only make me appear foolish. The Scion of Balance throwing a temper tantrum in the Forgotten Citadel of the vampires would not be an inspiring sight for anyone to witness. So I swallow my anger, force it down and think on what has caused me to become so angry. Raziel is gone. But not gone in the true sense. He is still here. I could feel him, in the same way, people sense it when someone is standing behind them. It is an effort not to turn and expect to see him standing there, no doubt being verbally abusive. I smile a little to myself and the fact that I am missing the verbal abuse he would throw at me. I am becoming a sentimental. Although I will never admit it out loud to anyone. But I try not to delude myself, so it is safe for me to recognise that I miss him in the privacy of my own mind.

Holding the sword now, I can feel his energy. It is twinned with my own, moving against it in a pleasant fashion. The light from the Reaver is curling up my arm in a similar fashion to how it once curled around Raziel's. It is warm and comforting and feels apologetic. But that could be my imagination. I am not famous for my imaginative tendencies. In fact, I lack them quite significantly and so I conclude that it is not my imagination but rather a true emotion emanating from the soul within the sword. Raziel had never enjoyed making me truly angry, he often took pleasure in being irritating but never in making me want to throttle him. Raziel is not gone he merely lacks a physical form. He is imprisoned in a blade, giving me the power that I will need to defeat the creature beneath the ground. It had not been the fate I had intended for him, although he never believed that. I was working to prevent this. All my efforts were to break the endless cycle and prevent his captivity in this prison. Keeping him out of the blade would have broken the cycle eventually. It would have allowed him to keep his free will and his body. I had told him time and time again that he would be free if only he would shut up and listen to me. But he had -as always- disobeyed me and had given himself to the blade. In the end, it had been almost peaceful. He had kept his free will and he had used it. He had been willing and happy to go to the blade. So much so that for a moment I almost believed him that this was how it should be.

But after he was gone I reminded myself easily that Raziel was, in fact, a moron and wouldn't know what was good for him if I wrapped it in bows and bells and gave it to him all the while shouting that this was what he needed. The thought brings an odd expression to my face and reminds me of a time when he was only days old and I had told him uncountable times not to go near the water. I then left him for a short while to go on a hunt to bring us both back what we needed. Lo and behold when I returned he was burned, all up his arms and in a splattering across his chest. It did not take a genius to guess where he had been. Yes, Raziel was a moron. Now he had done something else moronic to add to his rather large list. It was not unusual. It was the river all over again. Just because it had felt right, felt calm and accepting, did not change anything. After the river, I had healed him, giving him blood from my own veins and as our lives went on I had fixed all of the other moronic escapades that he had launched himself into. So what should be different about this time? I believe I was put on this world to clean up after him, why should now be any different.

But it was different. This sacrifice was something he thought was necessary. Perhaps he was right. I had searched for an alternative for centuries and had not been able to come up with one other than to keep him from the blade by force and luck. Maybe he was right, maybe it was necessary. I pride myself on my ability to act with forethought and that was what I was trying to do now. I wasn't always as contemplative, for a long time I was quite like Raziel. Blundering head first into action, charging in with little if any thought on what it was I was charging into. Fortunately for myself I was tenacious enough to survive my own foolishness. But those around me were not always so fortunate. I did not want to let my anger force me into making a rash decision. This disserved thought. This deserved a lot of thought.

I understood that I should be focusing on that creature beneath me. Raziel's sacrifice had given me the power to destroy it. Conscience and common sense said I should be focusing on that. At least then his sacrifice would not have been in vain. I thought of the wheel, the endless cycle. The cycle demanded that Raziel enters the sword, if Raziel wasn't in the sword then the cycle couldn't continue. But then if I killed the creature under the citadel then the cycle would be broken completely not just paused. But Raziel would be lost to me. I sighed in frustration and tried to think what would benefit the land and not just myself. But my mind kept focusing on my eldest. When Raziel had first opened his eyes when I had raised him it had taken my breath away to see this creature that looked at me with such sentiment. I admit it touched me and in my haste I gave too much of my blood to him. He almost bled me dry. When I recovered he had been waiting, and when he smiled at me I knew I would always be foolish when it came to him.

Raziel was mine. He did not belong to the sword or the cycle. He belonged to me and I would have him back. I turned my mind to what I knew of the sword. I knew it had been forged by Vorador but that he knew little of the magic's placed upon it. There were many depictions of it in the ancient vampire's memorials, one of which came to mind now. It was an ancient painting half destroyed but still visible and understandable. It depicted the pillars and the guardians but in the centre of the ring of guardians stood two individuals, one was the guardian of balance, the other held the Reaver. But it was not the chosen champion it was one dressed as a guardian. The Reaver had a guardian just as the pillars did.

I looked down at the sword and it looked back at me. I could almost imagine Raziel growling at me to get a move on and do something. I sighed and lowered my eyes, unable to bear the endless stare of my first born now trapped. I would move, but I would go where I wanted to go, not where I felt my duty lay. The ancient vampires had placed a great deal of magic into this blade, first for it to take blood and then for it to hold my child. I would find a way to break these enchantments. We would simply have to find another way to destroy the beast under the citadel, for surely there was another way. Everything that lives can die.

I turned and looked to the south, Meridian lay to the south and I knew someone in Meridian who knew of this blade. Janos Audron, the Reaver Guardian. With a thought, I concentrate on my memory of the city. It's dank streets, its hopeless mortals and its many winding streets. I focused on a place I knew reasonably well, the Slums. I held the location in my mind and pictured myself there. The magic triggered around me and I was swallowed by it. It spat me out in the slums and I smiled to myself. I would find Janos Audron. The vampire of legend was the last of the ancients and thanks to Raziel and his moronic ideas Janos now lived in this era. He lived because Raziel had fought me and won, tearing my heart from my chest in victory. My heart now beat in Janos' chest. Although that may be a wrong way of putting it. It had always been Janos' heart that beat in my chest. So now Janos had reclaimed what was rightfully his. The quiet in my chest was unnerving. Raziel's magic had healed the wound that I would have healed myself over time, but it had not replaced my heart. Thinking about my new shortcoming made me slightly nauseous and so I pushed it from my mind and focused instead on the city around me.

Meridian is as I remember it, it is cold and damp, with semi-lifeless mortals scurrying to and fro amongst the buildings along with the rats, cats and stray dogs. The smell is also the same. It is a damp smell and one that offends my senses. My eyes water when I wander too close to a drain. The city reeks of decay, hopelessness and sickness. Men lie dying in the gutters. Some lie already dead and decomposing in the waste from the city. They are a part of that waste now. The vermin scurry between the sick and the dying while the living try not to notice. The whole place is a cesspool and one I cannot believe I almost enjoyed at one point. My tastes when young were base and I enjoyed the easy pickings of the city. I even brought Raziel here when he had been only a few days old. It was easy to hunt and easy to hide despite the lingering Serefan presence. The current people look past me as I walk among them. Beguile is a useful tool and one I am glad I kept in my arsenal. To the mortals on the streets, I seem as one of them. Clothed darkly, wealthy perhaps but not too wealthy so as to draw attention. It is almost as if the spell not only casts away the look of death and vampiric evolution but also weaves a compulsion for people to look away, to cast their gaze on something else, to find me uninteresting. It works on almost everyone but there are those who have a minor magic talent and can see through the disguise, and there are those who without realising it are looking for a vampire. The spell seems not to work when people are focusing. It is a weak guise but still incredibly useful. Those who see through it are either too surprised or too afraid to challenge me and I pass through the streets without interruption.

I walk through the lower city without much thought as to where I am going or what I am doing. My mind is restless, I should be focusing, but I find it difficult to do so. It is easier to let my mind wander onto other topics. The Hylden are not here now, the Serefan Lord has not risen to power yet, having only just arrived. He is alone and probably weak. I could hunt him down, save my younger self a great deal of hardship. I entertain the thought for a while, but I know it is only a fantasy. It is dangerous and foolish to toy with the timeline, but that does not mean I am not tempted. I wonder if Sebastian would still betray me if the Serefan Lord is not there? My relationship with Sebastian had been a volatile one. He was easily upset and his capricious nature had once enticed me. So I had given in to him when he asked me to his bed. However, I had not been monogamous and he had the most unfortunate timing. Sebastian had left in a fit of pique that had almost destroyed me. I do not doubt that he would have left anyway regardless of the Serefan lord. We were too alike and clashed far too often. Also, I know my younger self and he would not be capable of monogamy for some time yet. It would have happened eventually. But I know that if the Serefan lord were to meet his end now then I would have been able to keep Magnus. For Magnus had not left to betray me. He had left in a foolish attempt to aid me. I was curious about what life could have been like if Magnus had stayed. If Magnus had stayed would I have raised Raziel? Magnus and I were a formidable team. Would I have felt the need to raise fledglings if I had been able to keep him? It is foolish to think of such things I know, but I cannot help myself. If I had kept Magnus and raised fledglings of my own I wonder if Raziel and I would be where we are now. I doubt it. I doubt if Raziel and I would have been able to develop our relationship if Magnus had also been present. These are foolish questions to think on. I may as well wonder if life would be the same should the moon fall on me. I shake myself from the thoughts and try to concentrate on what I am doing.

I need to find Janos and I know the Hylden Lord will bring him to Meridian. But I do not know when. I do not know if Janos will be brought here now or in two hundred years from now. It would be two hundred years until the battle at Meridian took place and a further two hundred years after that before I would awaken in this place. So that meant it was over four hundred years before Janos would defiantly be in the device. It is frustrating to think that I might actually have to wait that long. But perhaps not, when I first met Janos he was badly devolved. The way my own children had become. That kind of damage takes a great deal of time. So Janos had to be in the device for a considerable time, centuries even. It would do no harm for me to go and look now for him. Besides there are few other places that I know Janos once or will inhabit so I may as well begin here. If I am unsuccessful perhaps I will find something that will aid me in my thoughts. I turn from the lower city and walk to the upper. I have never been to the device by foot before. Upon entering it the first time, I was teleported by the witch in the canyons. When leaving Janos teleported us out, finding the location of sanctuary from my own head. I have never been a fan of teleporting. I will do it when I feel I must, but that does not mean I enjoy doing so. It leaves me feeling slight out of sorts and I much prefer walking. I think better when I am walking or flying.

I am not certain of the exact location of the device, but I do remember the Seers words to me. "The entrance to the Device lies in the heart of the city itself, under the very noses of the aristocracy." So the entrance to the device was most likely in the upper city. I wonder the city streets aimlessly for a time. Absently hoping to stumble upon the entrance but not really expecting to. Nothing is ever that simple. I can feel the blade on my back restless and frustrated.

"Hush child," I mutter and then realising I am talking to a sword stop myself.

But it is not a sword. It is Raziel and he is anxious. I stop and pull the blade from my shoulder to look at it. The energy warping around the blade climbs up my arm once again and rests easily there. It seems to calm as I hold it and I find myself taking comfort from it as well. I continue on holding the blade. Those on the streets give me a very wide birth now. I sniff the air, and it is as it always is, damp and unpleasant although less so in this area of the city. Apparently the wealthy do not enjoy the smell of sewage. However, there is something else in the air a sharp smell that I quickly recognise although I have not smelt it for a very long time. It is Glyph energy. The smell is faint and almost undetectable but my nose is good and I can follow the faint scent. It is not easy however and I end up doubling back a few times. It is frustrating, but I make slow progress. The Reaver is a comforting weight in my hand as I move closer to what I think is the device. I feel guilt at the thought that half forms in my mind that I am pleased to have such a weapon as the Reaver. I cannot seem to fight my attraction to it. It is almost magnetic, I cannot move away from it without it following me or I perusing it, peculiar.

The scent is stronger the further south I head and I am tempted to take to the sky's to see if I can spot the building. I have a memory of what the device appeared like outside but taking to the skies would be foolish. I would lose the scent and I would become preoccupied and never find it again. I growl at my own note of pessimism and keep heading south. It is hidden away from men, behind a veil, but veils cannot hide things from me. It is disguised as some sort of factory, large and distinguished. A far cry from the industrial quarter. A rich man's factory, how ridiculous. I smile to myself when I find the entrance, a small door, completely permissible in such a place, so much so to be almost unnoticeable. It is a good veil. The device smells the same as when I was younger, a sharp metallic scent that stings the nose. Apparently the Hylden do not possess such sensitive noses as the vampires, for none that I encountered when younger seemed overly concerned with the stench of the place. Briefly I wonder if Raziel can smell anything if he is even aware of where we are or what I am planning to do. I wonder if he is even aware of himself. I make my way inside the deserted building through the same entrance I used previously. The lift does not work but it is not an issue and I jump. The chamber which once housed Janos is empty and I am not truly surprised although I am a little disappointed. It would have been pleasant if it had been that easy. It would make a nice change for something to be easy. Instead, I put the blade back upon my back and walk deeper into the device, although I am not really sure why.

I almost expect to find Hylden here and find myself preceding carefully before I stop and relax. I truly am foolish sometimes. In this instance, it is my foolishness that leads me to an epiphany. The Hylden Lord has only just emerged he will be wanting company. I look around at the ancient machinery still dead and begin to laugh. I laugh at my own stupidity. I truly am a fool, perhaps the worst kind of fool. For if the Hylden Lord wants power, then he will need those who serve him and he will need to bring them across from their prison. To do so he will need a gate. Janos and the Hylden Lord are in the Hylden City. I leave the device and once outside walk towards the Docks. I doubt there will be a boat to the Hylden city for many years. The Hylden will not be walking Nosgoth for a great long time. It will take years from them to establish themselves in Meridian, despite the glyph network waiting for them. But boat or no boat, I am not stranded here. I am more than capable of flight and I know the approximate location of the ruined city. It will be interesting to see it before the Hylden truly inhabits it. It will be quieter at least. But despite my new destination my mind is not truly on the Hylden city. Instead as I walk I think on the doubts and questions that arose when Raziel entered the blade. There are hundreds of questions but in their rawest form they all boil down to the same few questions. Am I doing the right thing by trying to free Raziel? Or am I being selfish once again? Why can I not just accept his sacrifice the way I have accepted so many others? Why am I determined to free him when I have no idea how else I can fight that creature beneath the citadel? Why did he finally give himself over? Was it truly his choice or was he influenced by something else? One does not go from ripping someone's heart out to sacrificing oneself for them without something significant happening along the way. Why did he do it? Can I undo it? Should I undo it?

I take the blade from my back and leap upwards to perch myself on a rooftop. I move to a chimney and settle myself until I am obscured by shadows. I rest the blade across my legs and look down at the city. It is dull, cramped, smelly and offensive to my senses, but Meridian is still part of Nosgoth, it is still life. This is what I am supposed to be fighting for. I snort and laugh to myself. I have never been fighting for the life in Nosgoth, at least not the kind of life most people would be fighting to protect. I am a selfish, wicked creature. I am fighting to change my own destiny, my own fate if the fate of the world changes with it then so be it. I lean back against the dilapidated chimney. Raziel would argue with me no doubt. He has often tried to make out that he is fighting to 'save the world', but I know the truth. He was never fighting for the land. That was his moral posturing. He was fighting because he was angry and when that anger seemed to fade he was fighting because he didn't know what else to do. The blade stirs on my lap, almost as if it knows my thoughts.

"Hush you know I'm right," I mutter, briefly wondering if Raziel can hear me. Is he even aware of me? Is he still angry at me? I smile to myself again remembering the day he finally admitted that he was no longer fighting to kill me.

"My heart doesn't need hardening, Kain. If I even suspected that destroying you would make any difference, I would do it this instant."

He made killing me sound so simple, but it was simple in the end. It had taken me by surprise when I had confronted him in the cathedral. The creature in the citadel had warned me that Raziel still thought of me as an enemy but still I was surprised by the reaction I got when I 'bumped' into him in Avernus. His anger had been almost solid as if it were a living creature. I cannot deny how much it hurt, after all this time to see that rage once again directed at me. It had been wrong. The anger was his and yet it was not. It was almost like something had made his irritation with me blow out of proportion into something unimaginably huge. For him to be angry enough to strike such a blow as he eventually did, it must have been true rage. For him to finally 'kill' me when he had stopped trying for so long. I shake myself and rise to my feet. Sitting here moping will not do anyone any good. But still I am unsure, filled with doubt as to what I am planning to do. Raziel truly believed that entering the sword was the right thing, was it wrong to try and remove him?

"I am not your enemy, not your destroyer. I am, as before, your right hand. Your sword."

Bloody fool. If it had been the right thing to do I would have put him in the damned blade at the first available opportunity. I would not have gone through hell and back to try and prevent it. Bloody, hopeless, idiotic fool.

"You are a moron," I say calmly looking at the blade "and I am not amused."

Anyone listening would have thought me mad, talking to the blade. If they had seen me only a few days ago they would have been correct for the corruption poisoning my mind was still in full force. But not any longer. The madness placed there by Nupraptor was gone. Raziel had healed it. Along with the gaping hole, he left in my chest (bastard). That he had healed me was one of the reasons I had not left meridian yet. For if Raziel going into the blade was only to keep the wheel turning, why then did it heal me? I curse at nothing in particular and kicked at the rooftop, dislodging a few slates. They tumble to the ground and I slump back against the chimney, sitting down again. A startled cry from the street lets me know my irritation has been observed, but I don't care.

It will be five hundred years from now before I raise Raziel. I was incredibly foolish when I raised them. Thinking they would be like me when I first arrived in this life. Suffice to say they lacked my independence. Raziel, in particular, seemed more than content to stay close to me even after he was capable of hunting his own food, finding his own shelter and keeping himself comfortable. He never developed an independent nature. I always found it odd. All my children were timid when young and it confused me. For when I was a fledgling I was able to hunt from my first night. I easily lifted a sword and made my advance across the land. Within my first week, I had destroyed one of the most powerful mages in Nosgoth. Admittedly Nupraptor had been rather insane when I had decapitated him but still my point remains. My children acted like true children, frightened and curious of everything. Unable to survive without my help. I hunted for them, found them safe places to remain until I had managed to teach them how to survive. It was not what I had expected but it was interesting to say the least and it could even be amusing at times. Raziel was amusing, innocently wandering into areas filled with peril and having to be pulled out of trouble more than once. I lost count of a number of times I had to pull him from fights with what was left of the Serefan. I do not believe he intentionally went looking for the Serefan, but rather just didn't make a conscious effort to avoid them. Like I said before, many times, he was a moron. But despite that I found myself wanting to help him, wanting to teach him and protect him. It was an unsettling feeling, but one I quite quickly became used to.

Strange that the strongest of my children would be the most dependent. Although his child-like dependence ended years ago and a new dependence had taken its place. He seemed like Magnus, desperate for my approval for my affection but unlike Magnus Raziel was successful. Raziel won my affection easily, or at least he made it look easy. With simple gestures' and quiet words, he could command my attention. With simple requests and small acts, he could have me drop everything simply to go to him. Hells sake I nearly broke the time-stream in my efforts for him to keep his freedom. I travelled across time orchestrating events so that he would not suffer the fate that had been written for him. I endured his anger and his hatred simply to prevent his imprisonment. I will not leave him in the blade now. The Hylden city is not too far from Meridian and I can make the flight easily. But my reserves are becoming low, I will hunt then I will leave these shores for the land of the Hylden and we will see what can be done now that my resolve has returned.

The following evening I set out. The city is not far from Meridian's shores. It took less than a day to sail there and it is fast by flight. The Hylden city is not as I remember it. It had always been quiet and derelict and it still was now. But something was different. There was no energy. When I came here in my youth this place was crawling with the magic of the Hylden. It hung in the air, thick enough to taste. But I am not overly surprised at this. There was only one Hylden here now and the gate is not open yet. I move easily to where the first elevator would be, but the elevator was not present at this time. Its absence is no obstacle to me. I simply walked off the edge and let myself drop down to the floor bellow, landing silently, just in case. On the floor of the shaft, I find the proof I need to know I have come to the right place. Feathers tipped with gold lie on the floor. The Hylden Lord is here, or at the least had been here. The blade thrummed against my back and I reach back to touch it. Brushing it with the tips of my talons. It is a motion I am used to although one I have not done in a long time. Touching the blade now gives me a sense of worry. Raziel's spirit inside the blade is anxious. Perhaps he too could sense the presence of the Serefan Lord? I wonder for a moment about Raziel and how he had come into contact with that creature but shake it off quickly. Raziel had been with Janos and Janos was with the Hylden.

Concentrating on the problem at hand I look around and move forward. The Hylden city is slightly less dilapidated than it would be when I arrived in the future. The walkway that leads to the gateway was still in place. I smile pleased that for once something seemed on the surface to be simple. I look around at the ruin as I walk forward. This is a dreadful place. It is cold and wet. The water condensing on the walls encouraged the growth of mildew and other fungi plants and moulds. The place smelt damp, old and rotten. But there was another scent gently sitting atop the others. It was a scent I recognised from my youth. The same smell came to me when I was in Meridian. Killing the mass had been deeply offensive to the senses. The creature basically burst under its own putrescence. It was revolting and the smell almost knocked me down. But I fled to the elevator, randomly pushing commands into a keypad I was fortunate enough to get myself taken to the entrance of the device. This scent was there waiting for me. The scent of old feathers, dry and crumbling filled the chamber pungent but not overwhelming. I found it rather pleasant. That smell was here as well, lying atop the scent of mildew and stagnant water. Janos was here or had been through here very recently. It was difficult to follow the smell of feathers as the scent of rot was far stronger but as usual I managed. Leaping across the areas of the walkway which were cracked to the point of crumbling. The scent leads me to a small enclave and in which crouched the ancient vampire.

He was not as I remembered him. He looked even more broken now than he would years in the future. Crouched and bleeding from an apparent battle. He was bruised and parts of him looked broken. But worse were his eyes. They were dull and lifeless. He looked up at me and I had to hold in a tight breath, there was a fragment of green in them. I took an unconscious step back.

"Fear not," Janos said quietly his voice rough "he sleeps now." Janos looked me over, his eyes eventually resting on my face before moving to the reaver. His expression strained but hopeful. "I know you."

"Not yet you do not," I answer. Janos shudders as if sobbing and looks away.

"Scion," The word was so quiet I almost didn't hear him. I nodded and frowned when he started to cry. "You've come."

"How do you know me?" I ask, confused and more than a little uncomfortable.

"Your likeness is on many of the temples," I frowned harder, I had never seen my likeness only Raziel's. But I let it go. It didn't matter much after all. He reached out, talons cracked and shaking and I move forward. Kneeling next to him, I let him touch me. The action costs me nothing and seemed to give him a great deal.

"I have come to ask something of you," I say slowly, he swallows, his hand coming still on my face.

"I could not say no to you," he says and it takes me a minute or so to wonder if that's a good thing or not.

"The Reaver," I begin and he nods "it holds my child. I want to release him." Janos looks shocked despite the swelling to his face and shakes his head.

"Raziel?" he breathed and I nodded, "Raziel was yours?" I snort despite myself

"Believe it or not. He was one of the mistakes I made that turned out to be a blessing, in an odd, annoying way," I try for humour and fail, Janos keeps shaking and looks lost. He does not answer me for a long time and when he does his answer is cryptic.

"You are the scion if you want something to be, to be balanced then it will happen simply because you will it," I laugh at his words. How simple would things have been if they just happened because of my will? I could have done all this from a secluded building. I would not have had to wander the land looking for emblems and paintings to point me in the right direction.

"Raziel already fixed the Reaver," I say after a while "I do not want it fixed. I do not want it balanced. I want him out. I want to break it."

"You want an imbalance," Janos looks appalled

"I want him back," I growl "how can you sound so? If he is your redeemer. You are content for him to be imprisoned! To go mad!" I stand and jerk away from his touch. His tears start harder. He is looking at me as if I had forsaken him. I almost go back to him, but my anger prevents me. It is cruel of me I know, but for a split second I want to blame him for everything that has gone wrong.

"I would not harm Raziel," Janos breaths "please," his voice breaks and I kneel putting myself back within his reach. His hand settled on my leg this time as if simply touching me could ease his pain.

"Then tell me how to separate him from the blade," I say softly, Janos' body shakes harder but nods.

"Your power is to bring balance. Simply create a counterweight to his soul and he will be ripped from the blade," Janos' words are strange to me but I think I understand. I stand again. Janos' grip tightens as if he knows I am going to leave him here. I shake my head. I cannot take him with me.

"I will come back for you," I say, he looks at me and I cannot meet his gaze. "I give you my word, I will not forsake you." I do not tell him that he will have to wait four hundred years. And with those cold words to the last of the ancient vampires I take to the sky's my mind focusing on counterweights and what I will say to my first born when I pull him from the blade.

As I fly I think on what has happened in the last week. It has been an eventful few days and I am tired. Not just simple physical exhaustion although that is present as well. More so I am mentally drained and would like nothing more than some time to rest and think. My body aches and my mind races in circles never finding a clear direction. It constantly whirls around with thoughts of my eldest and the ancient vampire he was once so fond of. I try to focus on my problem at hand and the puzzle piece Janos has presented me with. He identified me as Scion and told me my power lies with balance. I already knew this but his saying it to me has gotten me thinking. I am balance. My power lies in controlling the other powers around me. I cannot create, not truly. I am not nature. Nature can create life. Make it grow from seed or egg. Since becoming a vampire, I have never been able to create new life, only prolong it or change it into unlife. But nor can I destroy, I can kill, but I cannot truly destroy something, believe me, I have tried. But what I can do is change. I can see what is around me and I can move it. I can change it. I can tip the scales. For this, I do not need to be able to create life, all I need to be able to do is move it. Raziel lives inside the blade and I need to move him from the blade to be out of it. It sounds easy, but I doubt it will be. I know what I must do yet I am a little unsure as to how to accomplish it.

In order to tip the scales, a weight must be added. I must place something on the scales to counter Raziel in order to pull him across. Then I will need to replace him with something so that the scales balance again. It is a poor metaphor, but it helps me visualise what I think I need to do in order to make this work. Although I am still clueless I feel a little further along the way to enlightenment. I am surprised at myself for not thinking like this earlier. Why did I not think of the possibility of something replacing Raziel in the blade? If I could have found something powerful enough with similar properties to take his place then he would never have had to enter the blade and this entire rigmarole could have been avoided. The blade vibrates against my back. For a moment, I can believe he knows what I am planning. I wonder how he will react. Will he be happy to be free of his prison, or will he be angry that I have renounced his sacrifice? Kain refused the sacrifice. It is becoming a habit of mine. Nothing will be a perfect replacement that much is obvious. But there can be adequate replacements for this I am sure. A substitute of magic should work. It is pure energy and all magic comes from life and death. The Reaver is forged from cold metal, but it is held together by magic, by bindings. The same bindings that hold the pillars together. The epiphany nearly causes me to fall from my flight. Could it really be that simple?

Could I pull energy from the pillars and use it to replace my child's soul in the blade. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it seems viable. I spend the rest of my flight thinking of ways this could work. I find a few problems. What will happen to Raziel's soul when I pull it free? I can hardly carry it about in my pocket. Although the idea holds a momentary romantic appeal. But I rationalise that he could make himself another form. I have witnessed once his ability to make his own matter out of that of another. So surely a simple corpse would suffice. I make a mental note to collect one and turn my many forms towards the pillars. It takes the best part of the night to reach them after the detour to a small farm in order to collect a newly made corpse. The pillars are ruined, but they are more alive than I have ever seen them. They glow with a strange energy. The energy I had always been aware of but had never able to see. The blade on my back is writhing now. It does not literally move, but I can feel the soul within lashing against his bonds. It does not feel good. Raziel is furious, protesting my presence here. As I said before it is as if he knows what I am to do and is clearly voicing his objection. But as I have said many times Raziel is a tit who would not know what was good for him if it bounced on his head until his skull caved in with the weight of it. He has always been this way, but regardless of his foolish nature he does not deserve his imprisonment and I miss him, more than I ever thought I would.

"Be still," I smirk, "all too soon you will have your voice back again." With that said I turn my gaze from him and look to the pillars. My silent and much-abused allies in this quest.

The energy of each pillar is different, hot, cold, sharp, smooth, rough, and pungent. Each is different, each is an individual. Reaching out I touch each in turn, giving them a little of my own power in exchange for theirs. Touching the balance pillar at the centre of the circle firms my resolve. It speaks louder than the others. The pillars may look dead and broken to mortal eyes, but each is willing to give a little of their remaining power to aid me in freeing my eldest. This is the right thing to do. Their support confirms this to me, although it may be my almost nonexistent imagination finally sprouting. I hold each of the powers separate for a few moments longer than with a mental effort crush them together, creating a writhing mess. Each equal power pushes against the others for superiority before subsiding and balancing in my hands. They harmonize with each other. Strengthen each other, each one compensating for another's weakness. They are complementary to the powers of Raziel's wraith blade. I am aware of Raziel's discovery of the shrines and have experienced firsthand what the powers he unearthed and imbued into his blade can do. So the pillars energy will compensate for the powers he brought into my blade. For a moment, I am appreciative of the fact I can draw these powers direct from the pillars themselves and needn't wander the land trawling through shrines. Holding the pillars power is tiring and I can feel myself wane under the pressure. So I hurry forward. The pillar energy alone is not enough. This needs something to bind it and connect it to the blade. So I reach into myself as I have done six times previous and touch against my own soul. Despite the fact that it has been over the millennia since I last did this I remember it. I use my own life energy to glue the pillar energies together. Then with a large exertion I press down hard into the sword and force the combined energy of the pillars and part of my own soul down inside. I feel it press against Raziel in the blade and for a split second I fear he will simply swallow the energy as he has so many souls before. But it resists against him, pushes down, forcing him up and I feel an instant of fierce joy.

It really will be this simple. I push more in wanting to fill the blade and hoping he will be forced free. Then out of that fierce joy there is a pain, sharp, unexpected and horrific. I knew then that this has gone wrong. Potentially horribly wrong. There was a silently deafening implosion of energy from the blade. The energy is pushed out and runs up my skin like fire. I think I cried out but did not let go. Then there was darkness. The darkness held for what seemed an eternity and silence quickly followed behind it.

"...in ...Kai... Kain!" the voice was known to me and it was irritating. I rolled over and away from the sound. "I swear if you do not get off your sorry backside right now you bastard I'm going to ..."

"Going to what?" I muttered, although my words did not come out anywhere near as eloquently as I had hoped. What I actually said was closer to the sound a cow makes when surprised. But the meaning was clear. I coughed loudly and tried again "Sod off Raziel." Damned Raziel always woke me when I would rather sleep, he could never just let me be. Just because he was content to be awake at stupidly-early-o-clock did not mean we all were. Bastard. Wait. Raziel? The shock of the realisation made my head spin. Or it could have been my jolt into being suddenly upright. I looked around my vision slowly clearing.

"Raziel?" the clearing was empty, the ground smoked gently. Apparently I had almost blown us up. That was embarrassing. I briefly made sure no one had seen and was relieved to see only one broken corpse which was the one I had brought. I looked to the body I had dragged to the pillars with the intention of giving to my child. It was still and silent. I poked it. "Raziel?" I whispered feeling foolish.

"It's not going to move," Raziel snapped behind me. I turned to see nothing "You are a moron!" The voice was behind me once again. This game was instantly the most irritating thing he had ever done.

"I am in no mood for this child," I snarled, "I have a headache."

"After that display I'm surprised that's all you've got," Raziel's voice softened "Did you honestly think that would work? You really are a complete arse sometimes. Arrogant. Foolish. Arse." He paused in his rant for a few moments and seemed to calm. I let my eyes scan the clearing for him hoping he would not notice. "I know you meant well, but I wish you had just left well enough alone."

"Since when do I ever consider your wishes?" I muttered still looking around for my absent child. He sighed loudly still behind me. I resisted turning around.

"Oh for the love of God. I'm still here you idiotic fool," He snapped. My blood ran cold and I reached back to touch the blade. Pulling it in front of me the eyes glowed brighter than before. The damn thing winked at me. What had I done? "Stop staring at me," the voice was my child's, but the form in my hands was that of the reaver blade. I blinked several times and let my gaze drop. I swallowed hard hating the ridiculous sound it made "I hate you." Raziel reminded me. I did not correct him.

Raziel was still in the blade. Despite my admittedly poorly thought out efforts. His soul was still trapped, but now it was also aware and able to voice it's irritation with me. This was not what I had been aiming for. But I still felt a small amount of relief at hearing him again despite his tone. But the relief was being quickly buried by guilt. It is one thing to know he was trapped and probably angry. It is another to hear him profess hatred after so recently hearing forgiveness. To distract myself from the emotional mess I was threatening to become I thought on the blade itself and not the soul inside. The blade felt no different in my hands. I felt it should be warmer or perhaps its usual gentle hum should be stronger. But nothing was any different. The blade was completely unharmed from its ordeal. The same could not be said for Raziel.

"You're staring again!" Raziel's voice was irritated and sharp. I swung the blade up onto my back purely so I could no longer see it. Raziel fell silent. I began to walk, directionless away from the pillars and my latest failure. I walked hoping the motion would once again aid my thoughts. But the blade was a distraction. It felt no different and it was the indifference that was suddenly so distracting. Its weight was solid and known to me, yet I was more aware of it now than I ever had been before.

"Raziel?" I said softly

"What," his voice was still sharp "Actually before you say anything, know that the only reason I deign to even listen or talk to you is simply because there is no one else and talking to oneself leads to madness, which I would rather avoid."

"Marvellous," I muttered, "Would you deign to answer a question?" I took his silence as acquiescence "you can speak now where you seemed unable before. So tell me was your previous silence voluntary or imposed." He was silent for a few moments before answering.

"If you must know it was imposed but not in the way you mean," the response confused me and I was about to question it when he answered my unspoken question. "Before your little firework display being in the blade was like dreaming."

"Some dream," I muttered without thinking

"You asked and I am answering," Raziel grumbled and for a moment I could almost imagine him smirking the way he used to when he was feeling superior. "What I mean is that I was aware of what was happening, but it was distant and unimportant. I would have moments of clarity, but usually those were quiet moments. You were the only thing I could sense when those moments struck."

"Sounds tedious," I conceded.

"I saw you in Meridian, then somewhere else, for a moment I saw Janos then there was flight." His voice faded and he fell silent. So I had been partially right when I had deduced that he was aware. He had been but only for moments, every other day or so. "Just my luck that the only thing that came clear in my moments of clarity was you." Raziel's voice was less melancholy now as he seemed to have gone back to irritation. "I hate you."

"You did not hate me when you went into the blade," I prodded unable to prevent myself.

"No, I did not," he agreed "I pitied you."

"I do not need pity child," I growled.

"No, you do not. You do not deserve it either," he stopped as if decided how best to word his thoughts, I gave him a moment. "I gave up everything for you and you've managed to throw it all away exceedingly quickly."

"Just wait a moment!" there were certain things I would take from Raziel. He deserved patience and some level of tolerance from me, considering what I had authored for him. But my patience is finite, very finite and there is only a small level of verbal abuse I can take with good grace.

"No you wait!" his anger was almost a physical force. The blade on my back burned for a split second and I flinched. "I went into this cursed blade willingly and I was granted sleep. Asleep I was safe, one cannot go mad asleep. But you, YOU took it upon yourself to undo that gift. Now I am awake, awake and aware. How long will it be before I lose what little of my sanity you have not already managed to destroy?" I could feel his panic under the anger. He was terrified that he would go mad. Trapped as he was only able to see what was happening, never able to affect events, I cannot say I would be calm in his situation.

"Child," I sighed wanting to offer condolence, but I got no response.

He wasn't talking to me. I didn't blame him.

To distract myself from my furious and terrified child I tried to consider what had gone wrong. Why had Raziel not been pulled from the blade? The more I thought about it the less sense it made to me. There was little reason it should not have worked. I had all the aspects there. I had all the strengths of the embed reaver, I had enough raw power to hold the magic's in place. I had somewhere for Raziel's soul to go. So why had it blown up in my face? Absently I ran claws over my hair wondering what the texture would be like now. I had long ago lost the ability to feel small sensations with my talons. I have never mourned this, but it was irritating sometimes. I hoped for a moment that my hair wasn't too badly singed. It was a vanity and a trivial thing and I soon forgot it. Again my mind turned to what had gone wrong. It was not the lack of power, it was not the lacking variety of power, so what on Nosgoth was it. Then it hit me. Like walking into a brick. It was the consciousness, but not the conscious alone it was the quality of the consciousness. A mortal mind and a vampire mind are very different things. I was trying to replace an immortal thinking life with mere energy, bound together with a fragment of soul energy. I was a fool. I needed an immortal soul. I needed something that could think. Something that was not quite alive but would live forever if untouched.

"Don't you even bloody think about it?" Raziel broke his silence to snarl at me.

"Excuse me?" I ask, polite despite it all.

"You think I can be replaced by a fledgling soul rather than a mortal soul?" I said nothing. When he said it like that it did sound foolish, no mortal could replace Raziel, no vampire could either.

"It was just a thought child, hush," Then it struck me, another brick "Raziel?"

"What now?" he grunted, I concealed my delight that he was actually speaking to me again. Good Lord, I was pathetic.

"Just now you knew what I was thinking," I said softly. I felt a jolt of surprise shiver through the sword. He was panicking. He didn't understand, didn't even realise that he had picked up on what I was thinking. "I did not speak the words," I smirked, enjoying the advantage for a moment. This may have been a surprise to him, but I had suspected such for a time now.

"No, I didn't," he denied, sounding infantile "I didn't hear you, I just. I don't know."

"But you did know," I pressed,

"Well, it matters little. Your head is empty anyway," Raziel grumbled

"I know," I smirked.

Once again he fell silent and my mind turned back to my dilemma. An immortal soul would work. If it was twined with the energy from the pillars. It was the un-life energy I had been missing. But before I touched my Childs soul again I wanted to test my theory. I headed into a village. I felt Raziel's irritation on my back, but he held his tongue. It was the first wise thing he had done in a long time. I stole into the first village I came to. Nachtlom I think although I did not pause to check. Places changed so quickly to me that I had stopped paying attention many years ago. There were few people about, my little accident at the pillars seemed to have been heard. I snorted at my own definition of what had happened, 'little accident' made it sound like a child too young to control his own bowels. I rolled my eyes and felt the reaver behind me lighten a little. At least he approved of something. I slipped into one of the larger homes as easily as if it were my own. There were mortals sleeping in the rooms above but for once I was not here for mortals. I was after what would be in the tunnels beneath the village. In this era, Vampires were hunted mercilessly and had devised clever ways to avoid detection while still being able to hunt for their food. They tunnelled into mortal basements and concealed the entrances. My eyes are sharper than a mortal's and it did not take me long to find a vampires tunnel. The tunnel was narrow and stank of vampire. It was odd to me that I would find this stench so offensive considering that these were my own ilk.

"You hypocrite," Raziel smirked. Not physically of course but his tone had enough of a smirk in it for me to know.

"Is this how it is to be for the time being child?" I asked, "your constant criticism will wear thin quickly."

"You're an arse," Raziel spoke his smirk changing to a grin and I found myself grinning along with him. "arse, arse, arse."

"I can find a way to gag you," I interrupted. But my threat was weak, the smile ruined it. So distracted by our brief moment of banter I almost walked into a fledgling. I struck quickly; the blow caved the young ones skull. It was enough to knock him down for a time.

"The great Kain bully of fledglings," Raziel said, no doubt feeling my small moment of joy. I ignored him completely and moved on, abandoning my catch. I knew that where there was one young one there would be another. Vampires bred like rabbits in this time. It was the only way they survived. My deduction was right and it was mere moments before I struck again and another fledgling lay broken but alive before me.

"You realise how cruel this is," Raziel spoke when I went to drag the injured ones out of the tunnel. I was not gentle, but then I saw no real need to be. These would only live for a few more hours at best.

"It is for the greater good," I argued

"You cannot keep using that argument," he pressed "just because it is good for you does not mean that it is for the greater good."

"Quiet child," I murmured.

"I have been awake less than a day and already you bid me silent, you are an arrogant ..."

"I am going to attempt something similar to what I did earlier. Only we are in a basement this time," I interrupted

"So you want to bury us alive?"

"No, I want quiet," I muttered, becoming irritated. I stopped myself from snapping. Raziel was right, he had been awake less than a day and already I was being short with him. Fortunately, the first fledgling was now whimpering in my arms, a perfect distraction. I dropped him unceremoniously onto the ruin of the basement floor and watched as he curled in on himself. I sneered at him, it was pathetic. This snivelling creature could never replace Raziel who was growling quietly behind me. He disliked my idea of practicing on some hapless fledgling. Feeling his disapproval was irritating but it was worth it. Because under that irritation was a sliver of hope. He wanted to be free of the blade and he believed I could do it. He believed in me, or rather in my tenacious determination. My ability to not let go until I have the result I want. The fledgling was attempting to crawl away which was good. It showed some spirit. A strength which would be useful. I would need strength for this to work. Absently I nudged the unconscious fledgling who stirred.

"What is your name?" I said to the fledgling as he woke. He looked at me his eyes unfocused. "Your name?" I snapped

"Theodor Sire," The fledgling whispered.

"I am not your sire whelp," I grunted "And you? What do they call you?" I turned to the coward trying to flee.

"Richmond," He breathed almost too quietly for me to hear. I had the information I needed.

I walked to the fleeing Richmond. I lifted him by his collar and walked to his semi-conscious companion, Theodor. I dropped Richmond and stepped on his head. The minute I felt his skull crack under my talons I reached into myself and touched on an old forgotten magic, a spell that removed a man's soul. It was an old magic of mine that I had used when I was a fledgling in pursuit of the circle. I used it now to force Theodor's soul from his body without damaging him. Once I had killed both of the fledglings I closed my eyes a reached out with my mind. I could feel the heat coming from Richmond whose skull I had crushed and the un-life energy which was what I was interested in. I reached out and snagged his soul before it could escape being devoured by the creature beneath the ground. For a split second, I was reminded of the time I raised Raziel and his brothers. The blade behind me writhed quietly. The soul in my grasp mirrored the motion and I grinned before pulling it down and forcing it into Theodor's body. For half an hour nothing happened.

"Well that went stupendously well," Raziel muttered. "At least there was no explosion this time."

"Give it time, it took you almost half a night to stir," I answered, hoping I sounded more confident than I felt. Almost as if on cue the fledgling at my feet stirred.

"Your name?" I snapped. The fledgling looked at me for a few silent seconds "Your name!" I growled

"Theodor Sire," it answered. I stepped on his head. Bugger.

I stormed out of the basement leaving the ruined bodies behind to turn to dust. The land outside seemed more unforgiving of my presence now, the rain was starting to fall. I had no idea where to go. No idea what I was doing beyond feeling infinitely frustrated and rather sorry for myself. I had moved life energy, I knew this, but I had only succeeded in raising the wrong fledgling. I pushed Richmond's soul into Theodor's body and it was Theodor who had woken to me. It made no sense, the body was a shell, an empty shell. It was the soul that made us who we are, so why did that not work.

"Nothing ever works," I whispered,

"Feeling sorry for yourself doesn't," Raziel prodded gently. I was surprised as his gentility. I had expected him to unceremoniously rub my face in my failure. Even when he had been a vampire he always seemed to take pleasure in my mistakes. He had claimed he delighted in the fact that I was fallible. It made me touchable. I did not believe him, he simply liked watching me fail. I still did not know where to go. So I went to the only place I felt safe in this timeline. I went to the mansion in the swamps. Raziel spoke to me a few times in my short journey, but I did not answer. I felt no real desire to talk now. Even to one such as he. It wasn't until I was deep in the swamp that he asked a question I was happy enough to answer.

"Was it like that when you raised us?" Raziel asked out of the blue as I leapt up a small ledge and walked into the swamp.

"Without the head crushing?" I smirked

"Smart arse," Raziel grumbled, "you know what I mean."

"It took longer," I explained leaping over a pool of lichen filled water "your souls were deep in the either and I didn't truly know what I was looking for."

"But you found us, you knew you were looking for something, something in particular?" I did not answer and we fell into silence again. "So are you going to tell me what happened?" Raziel asked as I walked towards the mansion. I made a wordless murmur in response. "You've been quiet since you stepped on that man," Raziel said softly.

"Theodor answered me," I sighed "I moved Richmond's soul into Theodor's body and it was Theodor who woke up." Raziel was silent for a few moments. I could feel the confusion warring in him, "I only moved the life energy."

"But when you raised us we woke up," Raziel pressed

"Yes but I put you into your own bodies, perhaps if I had put you in someone else's then it would be that person who woke," I reasoned

"But that sounds ridiculous," Raziel grumbled, "the body is an empty shell. I move into one when I moved into the material realm and I always came back as me."

"You are abnormal Raziel I have told you this many times."

"That's your answer to everything," Raziel said softly. I could almost hear him smile as I kicked down the door to Vorador's home.

The mansion was a wreck. It was odd that this surprised me. Considering that the building had recently come under two attacks. The first attack coming from my younger self and the second from Moebius' little rag-tag army. It should not be surprising that it was half destroyed. Although my attack did not do a great deal of structural damage. I managed to half the vampire population. The structural damage I deduced must then have come from Moebius' efforts. Although I believe that it was my attack that did the greater damage. In my later years, I often thought back and found it odd that Vorador had not simply crushed my skull after I had done such a high level of damage to his home. I had decimated his ranks, killing everything I found in my way. But instead of screaming for my blood he had sat me at his table, bored me senseless with stories and then offered an alliance. Perhaps I should take this as proof that he was mad? Bits of rubble littered the ground from where some of the walls had collapsed and the stone pillars in the courtyard had fallen. I gingerly made my way towards the building. Sidestepping the worst of the damage. It struck me then just how much work Vorador must have done to resurrect this mansion. I had never witnessed it in this state of ruin previously. He had managed the repairs before I returned, so he must have done it fast. It was a simple curiosity, but I wondered how he had managed such a feat, the destruction here seemed almost endless. But despite all the destruction and the rank stink of death, there was still un-life here. This surprised me even more than the level of destruction had. For after my own attack the mansion was short many a fledgling, it would not have been too hard for Moebius and his followers to simply mop up the stragglers I had missed. Clearly they had not killed every last one, for walking into the mansion I could hear voices and more than once spotted a fleeing fledgling. I walked through the mansion smirking when fledglings ran from me, but they did not go far.

"You know we are being followed?" Raziel's voice echoed from the Reaver.

"I was aware yes. I am not quite so old as to be deaf child," the fledglings were keeping their distance, but either they were morbidly curious or simply surprised to see another of their kind so old. I walked through the mansion not really knowing where I was going. Not really caring. Raziel behind me grumbled, complaining about the various points that had given him trouble when he had come through here days ago. I offered a small shrug in recognition to his previous presence here. It did not surprise me that Raziel had come through the mansion. All unlife seems to end up here at some point.

"I swear if you're going to the sewers then just leave me here for the damned fledglings to find," he continued his triad "Those blasted stinking tunnels are the last place I want to return to." He fell silent for a few moments before asking "Why are we even here?"

I did not answer. We had ended up in the garden. In my youth in the mansion I had spent a lot of time in the garden. It had been a safe space that had still felt free. The notion of safety was an illusion of course and the damage all around me only reinforced this. I walked through the destroyed garden letting my mind wonder. Remembering back to a time long ago for me but that had not occurred in this timeline yet. I had spent time out here alone, but Sebastian had joined me more than once as had Magnus. The pair had squabbled for my attention like children. It had been amusing and had stroked my young ego nicely so I had often encouraged them in their bickering. I had enjoyed playing one against the other. Offering a simple reward to the one who pleased me most on any given whim. It was cruel, but I had thought it nothing more than a distraction. I had had no idea that their jealousy would be what sparked Sebastian's eventual betrayal. I stopped outside the small stone building that crouched at the bottom of the garden. Raziel behind me was silent, but I could feel his tension. He knew of this building it seemed. I had seen it previously, but it had always been locked, now it was not and I had little better to do.

"Janos was here," Raziel explained. I shrugged indifferently. Janos was Raziel's obsession, not mine. Although I did spare a moment to think of the broken creature now held in the Hylden city. I went to walk inside the small building but was stopped by a shout.

"Trespasser!" the cry came from a fledgling only a little way away. I looked to him and let lightning dance over my claws. I felt the Raziel stir behind me; his soul wrapped around the blade glowed brightly. The fledgling backed down but still spoke. "Stay away from there!" I ignored him and walked in anyway, he was too afraid to follow.

But again my curiosity was piqued. What had this one been protecting? Something he cared about enough so as to semi approach an ancient monster. Deep in the tomb I found what that was. A chamber filled with candles, many of them had gone out, but some remained. On the stone bed lay Vorador. A very deceased Vorador if the lack of connection between head and shoulders was any inclination. Despite his death, however, the body was still formed. I had assumed when a vampire was killed we became dust. I have witnessed this happen to many a fledgling. Perhaps dusting upon death is a fledgling trait. Perhaps it is something to do simply with Vorador and his status as first made of our kind. I was not overly interested. What did interest me, however, was that in my history Vorador was not dead. Yet I had been present at the scene of his unhappy accident. It had puzzled me as a fledgling how he managed to survive decapitation. But I had simply assumed his age was a factor along with the fact his heart had been unharmed. Now thinking on it, that seemed foolish.

"What's happening?" Raziel snapped "It's extremely irritating only being able to see where you have been!"

"Vorador is here," I answered a smile spreading as an idea struck me. Vorador was almost as unique as Raziel in his own way.

"Vorador? But Vorador is ..."

"Dead, yes he is," I smirked and turned to walk out from the chamber.

I snarled at the fledgling that had moved closer to the door. He leapt back afraid I chuckled, unable to stop myself. I was feeling lighter once again, now that an idea was forming. I always find my mood improving when I have a rough estimate of what I am to do. But I was not willing to rush into it this time. This time, I would give my future actions thought. Another practice was in order and I felt confident of this idea to use Vorador. After all he was already dead. He could hardly suffer much worse for my blundering about. But besides that I was thinking of rest. Back in the mansion I found a room that had somehow managed to survive and closed the door. A simple door would not keep fledglings away. No doubt their curiosity would overcome their fear sooner rather than later. But I was tired and I needed time to think. This space offered an opportunity for both so I walked to the bed and after staring at it for a moment I collapsed. It was not particularly dignified. The sounds the bed made in protest to my heavy frame suddenly falling on it were horrendous, but I could not bring myself to care. In the last few days, I had done and witnessed things that would drive a normal man mad. On top of this I could not remember the last time I had slept in a bed.

"You can't seriously be thinking of sleeping here," Raziel snapped

"Yes, I am," I answered "quite enjoying the idea actually"

"But the fledglings, you can't believe they won't come here." Raziel pressed "they will attack if they think you are a threat."

"I'm a light sleeper," I muttered. Exhaustion taking hold tightly. It must have been months since I had slept in a bed and although this one was not the best I had ever found it was better than anything I had slept in recently.

"I'm not staying awake for you," Raziel said firmly "if they come in here I'm not doing anything." I think he continued, but I cannot be sure I lost focus pretty quickly. I did not dream and was glad for this. I came to a few hours later. The sky was a different colour and the room was colder. I could hear movement close by but was not worried. Half asleep I listened to the few surviving fledglings mutter and creep around on the floor above me.

"Bout time you woke up," Raziel snorted feeling me come awake. I stretched slowly listening was satisfaction at the creaks and pops my abused joints made. I never needed much sleep and the older I became the less sleep I have needed. But I had to admit I had needed this rest and felt better for doing so.

"Good morning to you too," I muttered. My voice obscured by the feather down pillow my face was still half buried in.

"It's not morning," Raziel snarled "and what happened to I'm a light sleeper? Those blasted fledglings came to your door fourteen times!" he ranted "Your bloody fortunate to have me. No one else would protect your sorry hide. Although God knows why I bloody bothered you're so damned coarse they could take a damned sword to you and not cut you!"

"That's a little harsh child," I smirked,

"You're just damned lucky they scare easily. If I'd have been expected to do more than make a lot of noise then God knows where you would be now. Light sleeper my arse!" he continued, finally running out of breath.

"You stayed awake," I smirked wider, stretching yet again and feeling better than I had in a long time. Even Raziel's sour mood could not remove my contented feeling. It was not just the rest or even the fact that I now had an idea what to do. I think perhaps I am becoming sentimental. Waking up alone for over one thousand years is terribly depressing. To wake up with someone there, to know that they have kept vigil over you while you slept and perhaps more knowing that person was Raziel. Raziel who I never thought I would wake next to ever again. Well, even I struggle to be foul tempered when given such a gift.

"Not on purpose," Raziel said quietly

"Whatever you say. Now breakfast sounds like a plan," I stood, wishing to remain and walked to the door. "Thank you, child."

"Just be quiet," His voice held no anger. I rose and after a few moments of wandering the halls found a fledgling. Vampire blood was not as nourishing as mortals, but it was still good. I let go before the creature perished and drove the blade into its chest. The Reaver pulled the soul down instantly. Apparently I was not the only one who was hungry.

"Don't say I never give you anything," I said quietly. The reaver hummed its approval, but Raziel said nothing. I could feel a lot from him, but it was jumbled and difficult to understand. He was in turmoil, but it wasn't overly upsetting, just confusing. I felt my smirk widen when I picked up that he was exaggerating his anger. He was actually rather pleased that I was happy that he had remained awake. The moment I felt that sliver of pride at my approval he closed it off from me and the shield of anger and irritation was back in full force. I shrugged, letting him have his privacy and turned to walk back into the garden.

There was no fledgling guarding this time. Apparently my murder of one of their own had sent them fleeing again. No doubt they would be back soon, though. Entering the tomb without incident, I found myself looking down at the body of Vorador. The lack of decay was a hopeful sign. Hopefully, I would not have to bleed myself almost dry as I had with my own children. It is a monumental task and like all monumental tasks it seems much larger when one is standing on the edge, about to undertake.

"Having second thoughts?" Raziel asked. I shook my head then remembering he couldn't actually see me I answered verbally.

"No child," I felt the blade vibrate against my spine.

"You're lying," he said and I snorted remembering his sudden affinity to my thoughts and moods. It was irritating having someone able to look inside you and see all your little worries and self-doubt. I had always been able to give off the impression of knowing exactly what I was doing as well as the impression that everything was going to plan even when things were so twisted and horrendously wrong that I thought my mind would collapse just from thinking too long on it.

"Shut up," I muttered. His amusement at my concern was not helping the situation. I had half a mind to remove the blade and leave it outside. He picked up on this thought as well and he stilled. For a moment, I pondered his reaction to my threat of momentary abandonment, anything to distract from the task at hand.

"Don't let it go to your head," he muttered, "I merely dislike the idea of being picked up and manhandled by some ignorant fledgling."

"Oh yes," I smirked, the gentle teasing lightening the mood somewhat. "Never fear child I would rescue you."

"Oh wonderful then,"

"Quiet now, I would like to concentrate," he sounded for a moment like he would say something unpleasant but held his tongue.

I closed my eyes despite not really needing to. It makes it easier to concentrate when blind, however. I often undertake my larger feats with my eyes closed. I spent a few moments simply breathing. It is amazing how suddenly sensitive you become when you simply shut up and listen to what's around you. I could hear the fledglings outside but was not worried. They would not disturb me now. I could feel the heat from the few remaining candles and I could smell the decaying form in front of me. I felt myself becoming calm. I knew what I wanted to do and it was pointless delaying. I reached out into the ether. It was as always, dark and somewhat cold. There were a few flickers of life energy, but they were dull. I am unsure how long I searched amongst them. They fled from my touch and it did not take me long to become tired and impatient. The spectral realm is not my expertise. I will reach into it when I have a need to, but there is little else I can do.

"Come to the left," Raziel's voice made me jump and I almost lost my focus. But upon regaining it I followed him he was after all far more experience than I in navigating this realm. "There's something just outside. It's panicked." It took me a moment to even notice what it was he was talking about. This is why I hate this realm, I feel blind. He was right, what I was looking for was out here, it was huge and powerful. Different to Raziel's soul and I think different to my own, but that meant little. It was imposing and when I first brushed it I was worried about causing injury to either it or myself. But after that simple touch I felt it's fear and it's panic. I stopped worrying. It froze after I touched it and tentatively touched me back. It was looking for someone, it was testing to see if I was that someone.

"Hello Vorador," I breathed and heard my voice echo in the tomb. I took a tight grip and pulled, drawing him back to the tomb. He came almost willingly. He struggled a little as he knew I was not the one he was looking for, but I was the only creature in this awful place that had shown any kind of direction, any motivation. So it did not take me long. I drew him down and pushed him inside. The moment I felt his soul take I brought my claws across my wrist and forced his body back together again. It was hard and took a lot of blood, but I am nothing if not tenacious. Eventually, he began breathing on his own. He was alive, half starved and clinging to unlife by a very slight grip. But he was alive. I had done it.

"What did that prove?" Raziel asked quietly, as if afraid to either anger me or prove himself stupid.

"It has proved that I can put the soul back into the body," I answered "hopefully the correct one, we will know for sure when he wakes."

"But we knew that already," Raziel almost wined

"Yes, we knew I had managed it once on a fluke, now I will know for sure if I can do this," I grinned "And we will know that the soul will remain close beside the body, at least for a time."

"You've got an idea then?" he asked, I nodded.

"Yes child, I have a very good idea," I looked to the body bellow me "but for now we have a 'fledgling' to help." I felt foolish carrying Vorador. He was enormous and I although I am not small, I felt it lifting him. He was not heavy but was bulky in a way I did not remember him being. The fledglings around the tomb converged on me when they saw me with their sire, it was not entirely unexpected, but even so it was amusing.

"Vorador?" one said touching his arm

"He needs rest and nourishment," I said as softly as I could manage, the damned creatures were like frightened horses, ready to bolt at any moment. "Go," I gestured over the wall to the swamps, "hunt for him, bring him back live as many as you can manage, we will need them." They were keen to follow orders. They seemed to need a leader. I have never understood those who cannot lead, those who can only follow. But I can understand their usefulness.

It did not take long for the first to return. I sent him with his prize to the cellar and sent him out again. Maybe after they had brought back enough to stock the cellars I would set them to some of the smaller repairs. Overall bringing Vorador back from the dead was not that difficult. Blood took care of the rather dramatic wound and a few days sleep seemed to do the rest. He woke after two days. He said nothing and only remained awake for a few moments before losing consciousness again. Over the next three weeks he healed. He woke for longer periods. He started talking and he began moving after a week. By the end of the month, I was ready to leave him. Raziel, however, was not so confident. I had a plan and was feeling rather pleased with myself. Raziel was not. I could feel the worry coming from the Reaver blade in waves and it was unsettling. I disliked that he had so little confidence in me despite knowing me intimately and knowing I was taking a great deal of care with this.

"I don't doubt your care," Raziel's voice was weary, "it's just that you're too confident, you think you've found the solution so you've stopped considering alternatives."

"What alternatives?" I grumbled irritated. It was the first word I had spoken to him in three days and it would be the same old argument.

"You could just leave me here," he said very quietly.

"That is not an alternative Raziel," I snarled "that is giving up."

"It's not giving up you fool. This was my choice," he sounded slightly more confident now. But it was anger and frustration that was making him so. He did not want to remain in the blade any more than I wanted him to remain in the blade. He was being stubborn and downright foolish.

"The hell it is," I snapped,

"It was my choice. I did not have to go in. I could have kept running. But I chose to sacrifice myself so that you could heal Nosgoth and so far all you've bloody done since then is rampage around the land trying to force my choice away from me." That struck a nerve. "You talk of free will, but you allow it only when it suits you. You diminish me."

"I am not trying to diminish you or your choice child. But I know there is another way," Raziel laughed at my words.

"How else would you have seen that creature? How else would you have the power to hurt it in a physical and spectral sense? You need me in this damned blade!"

"No I do not and I'm exhausted arguing with you." And with that I took the foolish yammering thing from my back, put it down on the bed and walked from the room.

It was a childish display of temper and terribly cruel considering he could hardly prevent my action. But if I had to sit and listen to him for a moment longer I would have run myself through. I was tired and unbelievably fed up of having to fight with him every step of the way. Even when I worked for his benefit he fought me. It was exhausting. I needed to breathe, I needed some space and some quiet. I shut the door, locking it to prevent curious fledglings from wandering in. I walked sharp-paced down the hall. The mansion was coming along. The repairs moving along remarkably fast. But the workers were vampires and had little need for human tools. They were small in number, but they worked tirelessly. It was gratifying to watch the mansion reform. It was not my home, but for a time it had been.

"Are you talking to your sword again?" Vorador asked. His sudden appearance startled me. Fortunately, I am old enough to mask my surprise reasonably well. Although his smug expression told me he had noticed my distraction.

"Never employ a weapon that can talk back to you," I muttered, Vorador laughed.

We had made a discovery upon Vorador's proper waking. His return to consciousness had taught both Raziel and myself that none other could hear the Reaver. At least not clearly. They could hear the sword making a sound but to them it sounded like a quieter version of its usual scream. Only I could actually hear the words Raziel spoke. Raziel had pinned at that. I think he fancied having someone other than I to converse with. The disappointment was a bitter pill for him to swallow. But once I got him out of the blade he would have all the people he wished to converse with. I had told him he needn't stay only with me if he wished otherwise. It was an offer that had been hard to make. Having him wander off again would be unsettling after having him back for such a short time. Having him wander before had not been an issue. Having someone who claims to hate you leave is not a terrible burden but having them forgive you and still want to go, that would be a bit more difficult. But I had resolved to do it. He would not be my prisoner, not in the blade and not out of it. But to my surprise he had ignored the offer and had begun the argument for him staying in the blade once more. It was like I had said nothing.

"I think you are mad Kain," Vorador spoke softly getting my attention once again.

"I know," I nodded. We walked together for a few moments in silence, and it was refreshing to have one to talk with who had least a moderate understanding of the situation and who wasn't shouting at me every five minutes. Despite that, I knew that I would return to the bedroom in a few moments after my temper cooled enough. It was cruel to leave him there.

"How are you feeling today?" I asked Vorador, not overly interested in the answer but desperate for something to distract my attention.

"The usual, I am a little better. Still somewhat weaker than I would like but there is an improvement," Vorador shrugged. It was a variation of the same answer he gave me almost every day for the last three weeks. Vorador's progression had been faster than I had expected. He spent a week bedridden, dependent on me and his remaining few children for food and company. But after the seventh day I found him somewhat shakily wandering the halls, claiming he would go mad if forced to remain in bed one moment longer. Considering his ailment had been decapitation he wasn't doing too badly. His reaction to my presence had been a little more expected. He had been confused, but he was aware of Moebius' little contraptions and had apparently met Raziel at least twice previously. He had only met me once before now and I had been very young, but he claimed he had known there was something 'off' about me. I was unsure whether or not to take offence to that comment, but in the end decided that being offended was too much effort. Vorador was old and had been around when the pillars were new, so it was not surprising he would recognize a guardian. Even one as young and foolish as I had been.

"Do you fancy going outside today?" I asked already directing us towards the garden. Vorador said nothing and followed. The garden was damp, the rainy season was coming on fast and while the garden was sheltered from the weather it was not completely covered. I liked it this way. It meant it was quiet. All fledgling children were inside away from the damp. This was part of their rush to repair at least the external damage on the mansion. The rains would be dangerous for some and property damage would distress Vorador a ridiculous amount. The old degenerate was appallingly house-proud.

"You're leaving soon are you not?" Vorador's question surprised me somewhat, I raised an eyebrow.

"Is that a subtle nudge I wonder?" I smirked, Vorador looked away. He was uncomfortable around me, especially in his weakened state. This was his home, his territory and I was technically able to take it from him. Although his logical mind knew I was helping him, his instincts were screaming at him to fight me. It was a fight we both knew he would lose and neither of us wanted that. I had no real issue with putting Vorador in his place should the need arise. But if I did then I would become lord of the manor. I couldn't help but smirk at that idea. That meant I would be responsible for the remaining fledglings. I already had a child of my own to worry about. I did not need Vorador's as well.

"It wasn't subtle," Vorador said, I laughed and nodded my agreement.

"You needn't worry, we will be leaving presently. You seem well able to take care of yourself now," I stood as if to leave "besides I have others to worry about," Raziel would be screaming the walls down by now if I left him much longer.

"Why did you help me?" Vorador asked as I walked away. I stopped and turned. He was full of unexpected questions today. Fortunately, I had expected this one at some point and had a suitable answer prepared.

"It was for completely selfish reasons," I explained, "you are still needed."

"That doesn't explain anything," Vorador grumbled at my lack of explanation. I shrugged and walked away. I lifted Raziel from the bed as I passed and continued on my way out of the mansion. Raziel said nothing. I suspected he was in a huff which was typical. I am more than able to deal with his little tantrums having done so for over millennia. I let him keep his silence and took to bat form the moment I left the grounds. The tomb of the Sarafan was slightly less of a ruin than I remembered. Admittedly I was not supposed to be seeing it for another several hundred years. It was easy enough to enter through mist form and entering caused Raziel to break his silence.

"I hate it when you do that," He grumbled "losing my form makes my stomach turn."

"You hate it when I do anything," I agreed "sometimes I fear my breathing with arouse your anger."

"It would be considerate for you to stop. You do do it very loudly," he muttered,

"I will endeavor to try but I make no promises as to my success," it felt good to banter with him again. I must admit I had missed it greatly since his fall. He was the only one brave enough to ever be 'cheeky' to me and it had always been appreciated, despite my adamant complaints to the contrary.

"See that you do," He muttered then his tone changed as I approached the tomb "This is such a dumb idea." He pressed "You're going to destroy everything. Especially us. Especially me."

"Your confidence is astounding. After all this time, you would think you would realize that I know what I'm doing."

"I was there when you nearly blew us up remember," he was being snarky again.

"Shut up," my words were sharp but without heat.

"Hardly. You need to stop Kain. You're destroying the pillars all over again."

"This has nothing to do with them,"

"It was a figure of speech you, idiot. You're being foolish and selfish, risking everything for your own damned wants and it's going to blow up in your face AGAIN" he continued as I laid hands on the stone blocking the entrance.

"You want to remain in the blade then?" I pulled the stone free and entered the chamber. It was foul, the smell had built up since the bodies had been placed here in the airtight chamber and it was unpleasant to put it mildly.

"You know I don't but unlike you I am willing to make sacrifices, what you are planning is going to destroy everything!" he was panicking again.

"You have no idea what I'm planning," I smirked looking around this place held a strong memory for me.

"You're going to do something to me. You're going to put a different me in the blade!" he snapped. "This is the most stupid idea you ever had, and that is a lot of stupid to choose from. What do you think will happen when you come looking here in 200 years time?"

"I will be disappointed," I smirked.

"I will never be born!" He was almost screaming.

"Yes you will, just a little earlier than planned," I shrugged, doing my utmost to stop his panic infecting me.

"You're insane Kain," he growled.

"Not any more thanks to you."

"This is such a bloody insane idea. I'm not going to let you do this!" Raziel was frightened. The blade hummed between my shoulder blades, the soul within writhing.

"I honestly don't think you can stop me," I grinned taking the blade from my back and placing it against the sarcophagus. I removed the lid and the blade screamed. The sudden deafening sound made me jump, but that was all it did. How frustrating it must be to be so powerless. I took no time to concentrate this time. I claim it was due to eagerness but in truth it was doubt. I did not doubt myself, but I also did not doubt that Raziel in the blade would find a way to prevent me from accomplishing my goal. Besides I had done this particular little job before and I had been only a child myself. I would not struggle now. I reached into the ether and waited but a moment. He would come to me as he had the first time. As he had every time since. Raziel always came back to me. I recognized him immediately when he touched me and latched onto him hard. For a moment, I revelled in the feeling of Raziel willingly coming close to me, willing curling around me. It was a feeling I had almost forgotten and one I loved.

"Kain," The voice was not Raziel's. It was the creature beneath the pillars. The sound of it brought the hairs on my arms to rise and I suppressed a shudder. I had not expected the old monster to try and interfere. "This is a dangerous game you are playing," I felt something pull on the soul in my grasp and I snarled.

The creature was actually trying to stop me, foolish wretch. Raziel was mine, of all the people he should know that best. The creatures grip was tenuous at best and I was able to pull the soul away from it. I make no claim that it was my strength alone that did this for the soul in my grasp clearly aided me. It coiled tightly around my grip and shook hard to be free from the creature. We warred for only a few moments before my victory, the soul was mine. Then things became slightly more difficult. Raziel in the blade was not interested in being in any way helpful. I kept my eyes closed as it was easier to focus. I sent my energy out to touch the reaver blade. It was odd, I felt 'my' Raziel in a way I had not in a long time. He was so very different to the soul that had just curled around me. Yet he behaved in a similar fashion. His soul withdrew at first but after one or two tentative touches he curled around me as if powerless to do anything else. I felt his anger and his fear and it was wondrous. Then I felt the temporal distortion. I held two Raziel's in my grasp and the timeline strained against me. But this was part of what I am as balance guardian, I am meant to stand in the centre and hold the balance. I pulled hard, the blade held on tight, but I wanted him more. I had pulled him free of that creature, this blade would not best me. I felt him scream, not a sound but rather a strong feeling. I was hurting him. It was not the first, time, but this would end that. He would be mine again and happy to be so. With a last herculean effort, I pulled him free. The blade fell away dead and cold. I held his soul to me, all the while holding the 'other' Raziel in my grasp as well. I used the distortion and the weight of the 'other' Raziel to tip the scales. I forced 'MY' Raziel down into the ruined corpse and the 'other' Raziel into the blade.

The force was blinding and for a moment I thought I would pass out, but I managed to hold on. I opened my eyes and became suddenly aware that the blade was screaming in my grip. I let go and it fell silent, it worried me but only for a moment. The eyes glowed brightly and my worry that he was not present diminished. I turned to the ruined corpse in the sarcophagus and smiled. It would not hold it's prize long, not without help. With a simple motion, I dug my talons into my arm and drew them down deeply. I poured blood into the body beneath me and felt déjà vu. It was just as it had been then. Only the soul I was reviving was not so young not so naive and I was world-weary and cragged. My blood flowed slowly, thick with age and power. I opened the self-inflicted wounds several times before I began to feel the effect of blood loss.

"You know this won't work," The voice was deafening and it was not Raziel. The creature had moved its consciousness into the physical realm "that Raziel is not strong enough."

"But he is in the blade. The reaver has its soul and Raziel is still free," I smirked feeling really rather pleased with myself. My smirk turned into a grin when the ruined form in the sarcophagus began to tremble with jerky uneven movements. It was living. I kept the wounds open.

"But it is not enough," the creature taunted, "he has no understanding and no wraith blade, no purification." It laughed and I reached down bloody arms to lift the blind trembling body from the sarcophagus.

"The blade was purified it did not need to be purified again," I argued sitting down and guiding blind broken teeth to my throat. For a moment, I regretted not bring a mortal to replenish myself with.

"But it still lacks the elemental power it once held. You fool Kain. You've doomed yourself with this impetuous act." I could not answer, the teeth in my throat were hard and their grip strong enough to block my windpipe. "You're done Kain." And with that final remark his presence faded and I continued to smile.

Eventually the teeth in my throat loosened, fortunately before I bled out and Raziel withdrew. We sat together silently for hours while his ruined body pulled itself back together. He stopped shaking after an hour and fell into sleep. It was not surprising, I nudged him and he did not wake so I settled myself more comfortably. No one would disturb us here so it was as good as anywhere for him to sleep. Besides moving him from my lap and putting him down wasn't really an option. Not just for sentimentality's sake but also because of the grip he had on my arm. I dozed myself which considering the blood loss I endured was not a surprise. I woke to soft human fingers running over the ridges in my forehead and bright eyes watching me. I blinked at him suddenly at a complete loss for what to say.

"You bastard," he breathed I flinched. That was typical, but it stung none the less. "You amazing wondrous absolute bastard," and he threw himself at me. Or rather tried to but considering he was already in my lap and he was barely strong enough to sit up himself it was more of a flop. But the intention was clear. One hand gripped my hair and pulled hard. Hopefully unintentionally but with Raziel it was hard to tell, at least until he started sobbing. That was awkward. Really, really awkward. Not knowing what to say I stayed silent and very still. He calmed after a few moments. Not having the strength to continue with the emotion. He stayed where he was however and did not withdraw. The silence stretched and my left side went numb. Eventually, I had to move. I shifted my weight and felt what little blood I had left return to my left side. He shifted and drew back to look at me. He stared for a few moments until I broke.

"Your ancient captor spoke with me," I said softly Raziel blinked at me and I found myself watching him closely. It had been so many lifetimes since I had seen him thus. So young and so very human in appearance. I had forgotten how short his hair was. Absently I trailed claws through it. He shivered but did not object. "It claimed that there was no wraith blade within the reaver," I sighed "you were right the reaver has been diminished," he looked worried for a moment as if fearful I would push him back into the blade. So I spoke slowly and firmly "I. Do. Not. Care."

"But I do not have it either," Raziel spoke up, his voice was rough and new. It clearly pained him to talk, so I shushed him. He glared at me, but it was far less impressive than his glare had been when his eyes had been white fire. So I simply smirked at him. "Don't shush me," he grumbled, "as for the wraith blade, I don't have it," He repeated "I left it behind, for him," I let those words sink in for a few minutes.

"Then the reaver is not diminished," I said quietly after a moment.

"No, you both just have to learn how to use it," he smiled a little "be kind to him he is only young." He yawned and leaned against me again.

"We cannot stay here much longer," I said softly not really wanting to move, unsure if he would ever let me be this close to him again after this moment, "we need to feed you."

"Just a few more minutes," he mumbled against me. I had thought he would sleep again, but he did not he simply sat on me breathing quietly. I remained still until I heard his stomach voice its disapproval. I stood shakily lifting him with me and was pathetically pleased that I had managed so. The Reaver clattered against the floor. I glanced at it and sighed. It took some maneuvering, but I managed to get Raziel's feet on the ground, with my arm still supporting his weight. My free hand extended and a small telekinetic effort called the blade to me. I lifted the blade. It no longer felt the same, but there was still phenomenal power coiled in it.

"He is in there," Raziel said still leaning on me "I can feel him."

"Does he sleep?" I asked. Raziel frowned and reached out to touch the blade. I nearly snapped his wrist in a sudden effort to prevent him touching the blade. He just tutted at me and touched the blade anyway. There was a little distortion at the contact, but nothing compared to what occurred previously when he had touched the blade.

"He sleeps, for now," Raziel confirmed and I found myself surprisingly relieved. I would not hurt Raziel willingly again, not any Raziel. A little more manoeuvring saw the blade back on my back where it would remain. Raziel was shaking again. I sighed and made to lift him again. The armour he had been buried in made things awkward. Overall the situation was fantastic, a little less smooth than I would like, it had been centuries since I had been this awkward. But still it was wondrous. I looked at the pair of us and couldn't stop myself from chuckling. He blinked at me and glared. he had always been less than amused when he was the butt of my amusement.

"I can't believe I have to do this all again," Raziel snarled at me "you did this on purpose didn't you, deliberately made me a fledgling again! You realise I'm going to make your life a living hell."

"I expected little else child," and with that I took us outside to find him, someone, to eat.

The next few years would be interesting at least.

End Fic

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GREY WINGS

Jason is stranded in a dark city, and is in desperate need of help when he has no idea how he will get home.

So, when he collides with Aurelius, an Angel only in the mildest sense of the word – who has committed a crime worthy of great punishment, but has been handed a rare chance at redemption – Jason can see a way home.

However, their journey will be hampered by Fallen Angels, Earth Spirits, and Griffons – and none can say if everyone will make it home.