So, it's been a while...well, a month and a half.
I stopped writing at such a crucial moment in the story because of writer's block.
And then I begun my first Twilight fanfic; Clair de Lune. I completed it last September and I've just begun a sequel.
Anyways, today I picked up Strife whilst making a pot of tea (hehe) and then I just decided to finish this thing!
And so I got up the chapter I'd written under writer's block, tweaked it and finished it and voilà!
Of course, this isn't the end. There are a few more things to be tied up. Hopefully I can post the final chapter tomorrow.
Thank you to all who reviewed! Wouldn't have come back to this without you!
So, here it is...
My breath caught, wanting to say that name out loud, but too afraid...for there he stood. Hunter. With the familiar corn silk hair, and strong jaw, and tall stature and green eyes...those green eyes which now bore into my own.
And then he was running toward me, kneeling down by my side.
"Morgan," he whispered, stroking my bloodied, scratched face. His voice...his voice!
Tears welled in my eyes. No...this couldn't possibly be...this wasn't real...
My hand, shaking, reached up, touching his stubbled cheek. "Are you..." I breathed, "You're real...you're here..." I smiled, here in the middle of hell.
And he smiled back, his callused fingers covering my own.
My lips trembled, feeling the heat of his touch. We stared into each other's eyes, revelling in the connection which I had not felt for so long...
"So the great hero returns," a voice growled. Suddenly, Hunter snapped out of my gaze and stood again. His eyes were on Isaac's...and they were burning with fierce anger. Isaac stood at the other end of the room. His black eyes cold and dark. Quickly I scrambled up, every movement sending pain through me. But I would not be seen as weak, not by either of these men.
"Hadrian," Hunter acknowledged darkly, "it's nice to see you in person."
Isaac - or Hadrian, I remembered – smirked briefly, "Last time I saw you, you were fleeing from me in fear."
Hunter's gaze narrowed, "and the last I saw of you there was a gaping slash in the side of your face."
Wait...wasn't that... "My scar, Morgan?" Isaac's voice suddenly jumped in, seeing the thought on my face. He turned his smirk to me, "yes, the only hit Hunter has ever made against me."
"You wish," said Hunter through gritted teeth.
"What is going on?" I demanded. "How do you know each other?"
Isaac glared at me, as if blaming me for my lack of understanding, "two years ago, your pathetic Hunter Niall acquired something which I had wanted," his eyes flashed to a point on Hunter's chest, he stared at it almost feverishly, and whispered, "something which I still want..." he continued to stare. I glanced at Hunter. He looked back grimly at me. Then Isaac's eyes were back on me, "I came, and he ran, thinking he could evade me."
"That's not the truth," Hunter snapped. Isaac turned to him.
"Hurrying to your car in the middle of the night with your belongings and driving far away without an explanation is running, Niall," he said blankly, then continued. "I stayed in Widow's Vale, searching for something that I may use to bargain with. I listened to your small town American gossip and, of course, that was when I found you, Morgan Rowlands."
"But you didn't use her for bait," said Hunter, staring at Hadrian, trying to decipher his tale. The talk of using me as bait sent a chill up my spine. I had never known, never even guessed. All I had known was that Hunter was gone.
Isaac didn't acknowledge his input, just carried on staring at me, "initially you were the perfect tool...but then I discovered the amount of power you had, and I saw you in another one of my..." he searched for the right word "...projects. I knew that what I wanted to achieve would take time, and temporary trust from you, so I wove myself into your life. Made up Isaac Cheldon, built him into the Afton's enterprise, bought this house," A deadly smile snaked across his face. "Killed your father."
My magick reared, "YOU BASTARD!" I yelled, hurling potent, strong magick at him. He flicked it off with his hand, deflecting it to the ground. ""You sick, horrible – "
I felt Hunter's hand on my arm, "Not yet, Morgan," he spoke softly, "the time will come."
Isaac smirked, "if you are foolish enough to try."
"I will," I spat, "you fucking monster." Hunter's grip tightened. I shook it off, but stayed silent.
"I killed your father," Isaac continued, smiling as I stared at him in deranged anger, "and then I spelled Afton into marrying your mother. It's easy when you've been exposed to as much magick as I have. Minds are relatively simple," he muttered, "and then I met you. Boring, plain Morgan Rowlands. Supposedly the sguirs dan of the Woodbanes, but totally ignorant and rather pathetic. Although, it was more useful when you were as sedate as you were. The use of your magick was something I was prepared for, but for you not to use it made it easier...magick as strong as yours just calls for me to take it..." he studied me up and down, "the time will come," he said softly, "but not yet."
"It never will come," growled Hunter beside me. Instinctively, my chest warmed. He was here...he was here.
"Then I married you," Isaac continued, ignoring Hunter, "acting as the faithful Catholic, because I at least expected you to have suspicions about other witches. You warmed to me quickly, and then," another smirk spread across his face, "you gave yourself to me." I felt Hunter stiffen. Isaac glanced at him, "oh yes, Niall, does that hurt?"
"Go to Hell," Hunter snarled. I felt a tear rise to my eye. I had given myself to this horrible man...the same man that had killed my father, I had trusted him...sweet Goddess! How could I have been so thick? So stupid? I cringed with the sickness of it all.
Isaac was looking at me again. I could hardly look back, the anger and shame and horror I felt toward him. But he began walking slowly towards me. "And you kept coming to my bed for over a month. You believed my scam. You even thought you loved me." He laughed at the last two words.
"I did not!" I shouted, horrified now at the thought. "I could never delude myself so much!"
"Ah but you did," he said quietly, stopping but a few feet away from me. "You thought me, you and your sister to be a perfect family."
"Mary K.?" Hunter asked.
"She was sent to St. Mary's after he," I glared in disgust at Isaac, "killed my father. She came here last month. And then last night she ran away after seeing that." Gestured to the dead eagle at the other end of the room.
"Where is she?" Hunter asked in concern.
"I ensured she wouldn't tell anyone," said Isaac.
"Where is she?" Hunter demanded.
Isaac simply smirked, "somewhere off the road. She has a binding spell on her, no one will find her."'
"We'll save her," Hunter said stiffly
Isaac barked a laugh, "I doubt it. You certainly didn't save that girl."
"Girl?" I demanded, looking to Hunter.
He turned around, pain in his eyes, "Alisa. Her powers were stripped."
"What?" I gasped. How fucking dare...Goddess, what the hell was going on? I turned back to Isaac, "by you?"
"Of course," he said blankly.
Anger alighted. "You fucking bastard!" Suddenly, my fire was tearing through the air at him.
His hand shot out, "Stad!" He cried. My fire dissolved, as it had before. His dark eyes now blazed. "Learn my lesson, you ignorant girl!" He growled. "You have no idea of what I am capable of."
Inside, the last of my resolve crumbled, but I muttered out, "That's a bit rich." Isaac took a step towards me.
"Morgan," Hunter's voice came in a warning. Isaac just smiled slyly.
"Yes, Niall," Isaac drawled, "tell her, tell her what I do."
I huffed impatiently, "I know what you do, you bastard, you strip witch's powers!"
Isaac raised an eyebrow. Hunter glanced at me, his face worried. He spoke softly, "he does...and then he uses them as his own."
"What?" I exclaimed. "That's not possible."
"That's why he's so powerful," Hunter continued, "he has over fifty separate powers in him."
"About eighty, Niall," Isaac muttered, "your council only gets the table scraps of what I do. Particularly over the past two years." He licked his lips quickly, "You could almost hold yourself responsible for the extra thirty."
"Those you took out of fear of me," Hunter sneered.
Isaac shrugged, "it would have added up over time anyway. I must say, having the two second most powerful witches alive is very tempting to me."
"And you wanted to strip my powers?" I inquired, my bones quaking.
Isaac looked me directly in the eyes. "No," he said, taking a step toward me. Hunter instinctively stepped closer to me. "I need you for another purpose."
"What is it?" I whispered. Suddenly, black magick snaked around my body like rope, and pulled right to Isaac. His arms clamped around me from behind.
"Morgan!" Hunter cried desperately.
"She wanted to know," Isaac's breath was warm in my ear. I shivered. His rough hand was over my hand. Every inch of me screamed in warning. He moved it slowly up my leg, round my waist. My heart thudded frantically. Finally, it came to rest on my belly. I froze. Isaac's voice whispered hoarsely in my ear, "Sweet Morgan, you're carrying my child."
The thudding ceased...what? What had he said? Oh Goddess...oh Goddess it couldn't be possible...he "No!" I choked out.
He chuckled darkly in my ear, "Oh yes, Morgan, it's true."
"It can't be..."
His hand gripped my stomach tighter, "you can sense it, Morgan."
Suddenly my magick was reaching out, scanning my body in desperation. Nothing...nothing...but then I hit something...another power...something within me, but something which wasn't me...my eyes locked on Hunter's. He stood frozen in an aggressive stance...but his eyes were full of anguish. Goddess, I felt sick to the bones. "You sick, horrible man!" I cried out, shoving out of Isaac's arms.
He just laughed, "Life would have been much easier for you if you had stayed in your dumb, ignorant state," his voice made me quiver with anger and hate and fear. "Giving Isaac Cheldon a child. As opposed to giving Hadrian, the most powerful witch alive, a child to continue on the line of destruction."
I glared at him. Somehow, my mind knew I could not be in shock right now. That would come later...wherever later was. Now, I had to fight back. "Its life is in my hands," I said through gritted teeth, "not yours."
"Your own life is in my hands, girl," he said, his voice turned low and threatening; "If the child doesn't live, then you won't be any use to me, and I will strip your powers and then kill you."
A shiver ran up my spine. "You will never get that far, Hadrian." Hunter stepped in beside me. I felt his warmth by me...still familiar, still so, so right.
"She will have the child, Niall, and you won't be around to irritate me again,"
"Wrong," Hunter said quietly. The next instant a ball of cracking green was flying from his hands. Isaac stumbled back on the impact, but quickly righted himself.
"You're learning," he said, breathing hard. Amusement glinted in his eye.
Hunter smiled back, "You're losing." Black magick was suddenly at Hunter's chest, throwing him backwards to the floor.
"How dare you!" I seethed. My magick roared in me. Flames flew from my hands at Isaac, a huge column of them.
"Sraonaim!" He ordered. Suddenly, my flames were coming back at me, a great fist of them. I screamed and ducked. They flew over me. Isaac ran at me, grabbing my wrist as I tried to stand up again.
"Get off me!" I yelled, wrangling.
"Fágfaidh sé!" Hunter shouted. Green and gold wrapped around Isaac's hand, ripping it off my arm. I scampered back and stood. Hunter and Isaac were now facing each other close. I saw the athame in Hunter's hand. "Don't touch her!" Hunter growled, and lunged at him with the knife. Isaac blocked it with a wall of black power.
"Don't test me, Niall!" His hand twisted, Hunter was thrown back. He leapt up quickly, savagely ignoring the pain, I could see.
"Maraím!" He cried. That was the word for kill. Isaac furiously deflected it, and advanced toward Hunter again. Black and green hurtled back and forth. Hunter wasn't losing. He wasn't winning, though. Isaac began to get the better.
"Ag múchadh, ag plúchadh!" He began to chant.
"Ciúnaigh! Ciúnaigh!" Thick tentacles black magick began creeping up on Hunter.
He staved them off one by one, but more were coming.
"Tá sé nimhneach!" Sweat glistened on his forehead. My heart fastened. They were getting closer and closer. What could I do? What did I know? Panic was overtaking me.
"Gabhaim," He coaxed the blackness, "Gabhaim!"
The tentacles began climbing up Hunter's legs. Oh Goddess, what do I do? Hunter couldn't fight them back anymore, there were too many. Wait...a freezing spell, I could freeze Isaac...would it stop him? I hurriedly thought back, trying to call up a memory of how to freeze someone...what could I...oighreoidh, my mind told me.
Summoning up my strength, I shouted, "oighreoidh mé!" I felt my power surge out. It wouldn't be enough though, he kept going. "I reoite tú!" I cried desperately. I knew it would have worked, if he hadn't been so powerful. Isaac snapped one hand away from Hunter and focussed it at me. The pain came again, wrangling me down to my knees. I shrieked.
"Morgan!" Hunter yelled out, entirely bound by black magick. He tried to break it, furiously spitting spells out.
Tears came to my eyes again. He was going to die. I'd only just got him back...I hadn't even been able to speak to him...my muirn beatha dan.
Morgan! I heard his voice sharp in my head. Oh sweet goddess... Morgan, we can't defeat him alone. We need to... Hadrian sent another charge up his bindings. Hunter grunted in pain, Join powers, join powers once more...
Blood began to come out of my nose as Hadrian forced more magick at me. Join...but we were both trapped...I looked around me. There, glinting on the ground, Hunter's athame. I lunged for it, the pain horrible in me. "Hadrian!" I yelled, holding the athame to my belly. I called upon my last reserves of power to protect it, so that he would not be able to take it from me with magick. He snapped around, staring at what I was about to do.
"Morgan, no!" Hunter cried out.
I stared at the dagger fearfully, praying it would work.
"No!" Shouted Hadrian, letting go of his power, he leapt at me, yanking the athame from my hands. He slammed me into the floor. "You stupid bitch!" He gripped my shoulders and smashed my body into the stone, straddling me. "You dare steal my child!" His quivering hand raised above my forehead. My mind felt as though it was being crushed, killed. I screamed out.
"Hadrian!" Hunter yelled. Isaac was once again flying away from me. Hunter had broken the bonds. I stood up as fast as I could. He ran to me, gripping my bloodied hands in his. One look in those eyes and I felt the connection. We began to chant.
"An di allaigh an di aigh
An di allaigh an di ne ullah"
"Gawain I call upon you now!"
"An di ullah be nith rah
Cair di na ulla nith rah!"
"I call upon the power of the ancient world!"
"Cair feal ti theo nith rah!"
"Come to us now!"
Gold and purple magick exploded from the ground and up into the circle of our arms. It arranged in an orb, concentrated with such powerful magick...I looked to Hadrian, who stood in front of the fireplace. I sensed the walls he'd put up around him. But I also sensed, for the first time, fear.
Can you do this, my love? Hunter's voice came to me.
I steeled myself, the weight of the orb a strain on my magick, "Yes," I said aloud.
We dropped hands and directed the power at Hadrian. He cried out as it streamed through his blocks, and crashed into him, knocking him to the ground. Unconscious or dead, I didn't know.
The elation of magick left me, and I crumpled down to the stone, hurt, tired, bloodied. "Morgan," said Hunter, kneeling down at my side. He gently stroked the hair from my face. My whole body hurt. He hovered his hand above me, murmuring spells of healing. They didn't do a lot, but they relieved me a little. I stared at him, tears almost blinding me. Hunter. My Hunter.
"You're hurt," I croaked out, looking at his singed and ripped t-shirt. His right shoulder was slashed and bloody.
He shook his head, staring back at me. "I'll be fine."
"Is he...is he dead?" I whispered.
"No," he said, rubbing his thumb against my hand, "just unconscious. We need to get out of here, love, before he wakes up. That spell...it drained us both."
I nodded and tried to sit up. The pain shot at me and I let out a moan. Hunter reached to help me. "No," I said, "I'm fine." The pain was overbearing, but I managed to haul myself up. "I have to do something," I said.
Staring around the horrible circle room, I let my anger and pain fuel me.
"An di allaigh an di aigh" I began once more.
"Morgan..." Hunter said worriedly. I ignored him.
An di allaigh an di ne ullah"
"An di ullah be nith rah" Small flames lit around Hadrian's body. All the lies he had told me...
Cair di na ulla nith rah!" The hurt...
"Cair feal ti theo nith rah" The child...
AN DI ALLAIGH AN DI AI!" The whole room burst into flames, and I let go of the magick, collapsing. Hunter caught me this time, and quickly lifted me to cradle in his arms. "No!" I exclaimed, "I have to make sure..."
"Morgan," he said softly, "you have done all you can. We need to leave."
"I..." But maybe he was right – the flames leapt higher and higher. I could feel their heat.
Hunter gently carried me up the steps of the cellar.
"Giomanach!" Came a female voice. I heard hurried footsteps.
Sky, Hunter's cousin, came into view above me. She looked exactly as I remembered her – the blonde hair and dark blue eyes. "Morgan," she whispered. "Oh Goddess..." she looked to Hunter. "What happened? Is Hadrian..."'
"No," said Hunter. "You couldn't get in?"
"No," said Sky, "He blocked it. Looks like he only wanted you..."
"Mary K.!" I suddenly remembered. I wriggled in Hunter's arms as he carried me through the entrance hall. I could hear the flames crackling in the kitchen now. Magick spread fast. I could feel the smoke in my lungs. "We have to find her!" I tried moving, but Hunter held me tight.
"No, Morgan. Sky and Bree will find her. We need to get you home."
"Don't worry, Morgan," Sky said from somewhere close. "We'll make sure she's safe."
We burst through the massive doors and out into the cool night air. Everything in me hurt so terribly...I knew Hunter was trying to be gentle, but behind us, I could feel that the entire house was now engulfed in my flames. So I gritted my teeth against the pain and let the tiredness take me.
The next hour was a blur. We reached Hunter's car. Sky got in the front, and Hunter slid into the back with me. My burns and broken bones were too painful with a seatbelt on, so he just cradled me, my good arm around his neck. So he won't leave...so he won't go.
I must have faded in and out of consciousness, because I could not understand it when we pulled into Bree's driveway – weren't we still outside Hadrian's estate? Quickly, I was being carried out of the car and into the bright lights of Bree's hallway.
"Alyce!" I heard Hunter shout. I heard the exclamations of several different voices, but my mind could not tell me whose was whose. Everything was fading into darkness.
All I knew was that Hunter was there, and he was taking care of me...
Tell me your thoughts! :D