I am a horrible person for making you all wait this long for the next chapter. Feel free to shoot me :L


Chapter Five - L

Sophie, Grace and Archer left straight away. As Izzy slipped back into the house, she felt the atmosphere of tension. She wondered if Sophie and Grace would ever actually be welcome here again - but of course they would. When Grace had run off with James, Aislinn had been the only one who stood by her. For Aislinn, family was everything. In a way that made it almost worse.

"Isolde?" Aislinn called from the war room.

"Crap," Izzy said under her breath. She pivoted on her heel and strode into the doorway wearing an act of nonchalance. "Yes?"

"Sit," Aislinn's eyes were narrowed, her lips thinner than usual.

"I'd rather stand," Izzy said, cocking her head to the right. Her mouth felt very dry.

"Oh for God's sake Isolde you're becoming even pricklier than Finley. Just sit down!" Aislinn snapped, her voice turning to yell. Izzy was somewhat alarmed. Feeling behind her for a chair, she sat.

"Oh hey mum, I don't appreciate you calling me prickly," Finley growled from her seat across the room. She was sitting with her legs crossed one over the other and her arms folder tightly. Her hair was in the usual tight pony-tail.

"Deal with it, Finley. We have some important things to discuss," Izzy and Finley glanced at each other - united for once- and stayed silent. Aislinn started to pace, her heavy combat boots thumping quietly against the threadbare carpet.

"You were all here before. You heard what...Sophie," the name came unwillingly to Aislinn's lips. "said earlier. She wants us to join with the council. I'e been thinking recently and I've finally come to a conclusion."

Izzy waited. Ideas were chasing themselves around in her head as to Aislinn'a 'idea', and none of them were very good. She sat very still, making a mental inventory of herself. Faded camo pants, clingy black tank top, worn grey cardigan. Tightly laced combat boots over thick woolen socks. If she were to shift slightly, she would feel the faded strands of a leather bracelet rub against her left ankle.

"We need to get back into action," Izzy blanched, Finley grinned.

"We've become too soft. I've let family loyalty despite transgressions go on for too long. We need to re-create a name for ourselves."

"But, Mum..." Izzy couldn't hold back the protests. Aislinn rounded on her, eyes blazing.

"You count in that too, Isolde. We've put up with your soft soul for too long. You're going to do as I say, or I'll smash Torin and his mirror and you'll never see him again,"

Izzy reeled backwards in her seat.


"Save it," Aislinn held up a lined hand. "I don't care about your protests. Man up." Turning on her heel, Aislinn marched to the head of the table. "Whether it re-starts the war or otherwise, I have a plan." She drew from underneath a tattered map of downtown Manhattan a selection of smaller maps.

"What are we doing? What's the plan?" Finley bounded to her feet. There was a fire in her eyes now, a spark. Aislinn allowed a small smile for her eldest daughter.

"I've devised a nest raid. I re-read all the notes from that Nest raid that went so badly wrong. We'll start small, blitz them..."

Izzy zoned out, somewhat. It was funny to think that she used to be into this kind of thing. She was weighing everything up in her mind, but she also felt like being sick. If she didn't go along with it, she had no doubt that Torin's mirror would be smashed. If she just waited it out, maybe Sophie would be able to find a way to break Torin out?

"Izzy!" Aislinn yelled. Izzy looked up, startled.

"What do you want?"

"Do you ever listen to a word I say?" Aislinn sneered.

"I do -"

"Good. Then take off that blanket. I need to talk to Torin." Izzy leapt to her feet. Pivoting was a skill of hers it seemed - she turned sharply on her toe and drew away the sheet covering Torin in one smooth flourish. He was sitting on the table, glaring out directly at Aislinn.

"Well, Torin?" Aislinn cocked her head to one side. "Will we succeed?" Torin shook his head stubbornly.

"I refuse to help you any longer," he scowled. "You cannot leave peace alone,"

"No?" Aislinn pouted. In a movement quicker than a viper, she darted sideways and grabbed Izzy's arm, yanking her backward. Her hip hit against the table hard as she flipped backwards. In moments she was pressed hard against her mothers unforgiving form with a shiny silver blade at her throat. Everything slowed down to a heartbeat.

Aislinn was glaring at Torin.

"I will kill her, Torin," Izzy didn't dare turn her head.

"I know you will," Torin sounded calmer than expected. "You will murder her and then destroy me if I refuse to do as you order,"

"Too right I will,"

"Just participate, Torin," It was Finley who spoke this time. Izzy couldn't see her either. All she could see was the fly-spotted ceiling.

"I intend to. Let her go,"

"Not until you give me the answers I want, Torin,"

His sigh was audible even to Izzy.

"Yes, your plan will succeed. You will slaughter five vampires, and return home drunk on your success and filled with childish plans to kill again,"

"Thank you, Torin,"

The blade was removed from her throat. Having been in many a situation before when she was in imminent danger of death, Izzy straightened at once. She allowed herself to press a hand to her throat as she gazed at Torin. He was avoiding her eye.

"You can talk to him as much as you want, Izzy. For now. Analyse our plans. We leave at daybreak," Aislinn swept from the room, following by a slightly more hesitant Finley.

Only once they had gone did Torin look up.

"Torin, are you sure you'll escape?" Izzy blurted. He nodded darkly.

"Oh yes. You will see Sophie again very soon. It will not be long now - but Izzy?"

"Yeah?" Izzy spat bitterly.

"As of now, the estrangement has essentially begun,"

As the faint tendrils of pink tickled the dark blue underbelly of the night sky, the trio set off. All were dressed in unassuming navy's and dark green's. Izzy's hair was tied in a tight bun, pinned into place underneath a fedora.

Finley was wearing a jaunty bowler. The hat was something they had established a while back. They kept the hair out of the face but could be unpinned in an instant to temporarily blind an attacker. The familiar cold resolve of battle had already set in for Izzy. To her distress, it wasn't as difficult to bring back the detachment as she had hoped.

They walked to the nearest train station and hopped aboard the train headed for Los Angeles. They wouldn't ride it that far, of course.

They'd be stopping in Oklahoma, in a town called Savoy. They would stay there a night, to scout out the nest. The next day at high noon, the attack would begin. Aislinn would take the upstairs, Izzy and Finley the downstairs. Hopefully, it would be clean and quick. Izzy was silent on the train. She'd brought a cheap paper back that she could throw out on arrival. It took her all the way there to read. Once the train had stopped and the three of them had stepped onto the platform of a bleak concrete station, Izzy tossed the book onto the tracks. Within seconds it was gone. Behind the train trailed a feeble selection of squashed white pages. It entrances Izzy, in a way. That was a world, down there. A world of words. A world of history, of feeling hopes and dreams. All was scattered to the wind beneath a train. How unforgiving.

"Hurry up, Izzy!" Finley called over her shoulder. Izzy turned and followed.

Night fell quickly. Before dusk coloured the sky, the three of them were already positioned in various locations around the nest. Izzy was up a tree down the street. Bent so that she was almost doing the splits up amongst the thin branches at the top, she had a good view across to the nest. Hours ticked by with no occurrence, until at last someone moved. The door opened. A tall woman who looked to be in her mid forties exited and shut the door carefully behind her. Izzy gripped her stake tighter. It was metal tipped and a deadly weapon. She was under strict instruction to attack if the vampire attempted to drink from a human. The vampire walked very slowly. Suddenly an engine backfired one street over. In a simultaneous reaction the vampire down behind a trash can, and Izzy slid down a few branches so that she was hidden deep in the foliage. After a few moments Izzy heaved herself upright again. The vampire was exactly parallel with Izzy''s tree now, and she was walking on.

Izzy was thankful for the densely tree'd street. She climbed down a few boughs and then jumped, tensing her muscles and relaxing them as she landed to roll across the branch almost silently. She climbed quickly to the top again. The vampire was loitering at the street corner, carefully positioned behind a tree. Izzy stayed still and silent, watching. She was beginning to get a shrewd idea as to what was going. In the distance, a car engine could be heard. The lights appeared as thin pinpricks. The vampire readied herself.

Izzy knew what she had to do. She leapt out wide, into the street. As she landed she rolled, reaching under to land at her feet. The vampire hadn't noticed, primed as she was at the car. She began to move, stepping and away and back. Izzy guessed that she planned to throw herself at the car and then when the human emerges, shell-shocked, to make sure she was alright, she would attack. Still kneeling, Izzy drew her arm back. In a rush of adrenalin, she threw the stake.

It was over in moments. The car whizzed past, the vampire collapsed. Izzy sprinted over and kicked her hard. She didn't move. Knowing that their plan was now seriously compromised, Izzy withdrew the stake and then shoved it down again hard. Once satisfied that she was dead, Izzy tucked her stake back into her back pocket and picked up the feet of the vampire. A few hundred metres away was a small lake. It was hard work, dragging the body that far, but it didn't take very long. Izzy rolled the body in, and then ran.

Almost as soon ad she returned to her tree, the door to the nest opened. Three more vampires emerged, one by one. They stood, talking. Bending almost double, Izzy peered closer. Two of them were men, the other a very young woman. She looked to be in her early twenties but she couldn have been even younger. As Izzy watched, she saw a faint movement to the left on the house. Aislinn was hidden behind the curve of the stairs. Holding her breath, Izzy watched. Within the space of roughly three seconds, the youngest vampire had a stake in her chest, and Aislinn was atop another brandishing the same stake. For the second time the evening, Izzy rolled out of her tree and took aim with her stake. Unfortunately, however, this time she missed. Filled with a rush of adrenalin, she leapt to her feet as the other vampire, who, momentarily had been focused on Aislinn. He snatched the stake that had bounced off the wall and took off at a run towards Izzy. Turning tail, Izzy ran. She didn't have to run far, however. Finley reared up ahead of her and threw. Izzy turned in time to see the third vampire collapse dead.

"We have to burn the house now," Finley said darkly. Izzy didn't even need to speak to agree. Silently, the sisters lifted the body of the third vampire and dragged it into the house.

"The fifth?" Aislinn asked as they made it inside.

"Done," said Finley, and Aislinn nodded.

"Move them into the respective bedrooms. We're building a pyre tonight,"

Izzy moved as if in a dream through her steps. They shifted the bodies, soaked them in petrol, turned all the gas on. As they ran, Aislinn tossed in a match. The bodies exploded in flame.

Izzy dove out of the window. This time she wasn't so lucky in her landing. Her shoulder crunched against the concrete with jarring force and she yelped.

"Shut up!" Finley hissed, pulling her to her feet. They took off running, Izzy gasping because of the pain as the house exploded behind them.

So we got back safe. We pretty much ran all the way back to Tennessee. It's lucky we're off the grid, and also that we have enough simple magic to keep it that way. As soon as we got home ans showered, Mum went out on patrol and Finley and I crashed into bed. I wanted to just sleep forever. I felt kind of guilty, I guess, although I don't know why. I guess I just really want to take Sophie up on her offer?

I haven't spoken to Torin in awhile. I feel guilty about killing that vampire. I am such a pathetic excuse for a Brannick, I really am.