The battle that began all battles had finally begun. I could smell the blood, the different and individual scents raining through the think Tulsa night air. I smelt roses, herbs, summer fruits and wine. It was beautiful but at the same time it disgusted me. And there, in the midst of war, stood Kalona. His raven children, deformed and twisted, took flight; arching their backs, they were invisible against the night sky. They were all fighting, all dying, but not Kalona. He stood still, halting the rest of time with him. He stood still, halting the rest of time with him. In all his glory and power, he was weak, he could not have moved even if he wanted to. He had seen Zoey. His eyes burned with desire, lust for her beautiful body. Even now, the way she moved – her quick strides and sharp actions, were compelling. And in that moment, in my heart, I believed I would lose her, for, I knew it was in her nature too, to love him. Suddenly she stopped. I screamed for her, but the noise of all the fighting and panicked people was too loud. Instead, she saw him. My heart shattered into a million pieces and in anger I tensed my hand around the hard wood. She looked at him, right in the eye, and I could almost see their souls connect. I raised my arm, my body shaking in fear. She reached out, lifted her hand toward him and took a step forward. She was hypnotized – she looked different, older, taken over completely by her inner desire. I screamed her name, and tried to run towards her but my feet were stuck to the ground by Neferet. There was something she wanted me to do, and I knew exactly what it was. All the colour in my vision drained when I saw him take a step toward her, breaking the silence of his stillness. Everything disappeared except the two of them, and the thin trace of a line that joined them together. I felt the string tighten as I stretched it out. I felt Neferet's cold gaze on me and I knew I had to act now, I had to. I had decided. I took my aim. And suddenly, without any warning, she looked at me. The world fell and all I could see was her. From across the courtyard I heard her sigh and I felt her body relax. She shuddered in the cold air, returning to her senses, and I could see her misty breath form. She was beautiful – everything about her, her hair, her eyes, her skin, and those beautiful swirls that covered her body. She smiled and I could hear birds break into song. The colours returned to me, and after a long time, I smiled too.

Why did she stop?

Her mouth dropped and her eyes opened wide.

Was she hurt?

She screamed.

"Stark!"

"No!"

I remembered I was holding my bow and arrow, and it was an accident, I promise you it was, but I let go. Everything went dark and I closed my eyes in concentration

The muscle

The muscle

The muscle

Stevie Rae fell, her face pale, her eyes wide open in shock. Neferet smiled. I smiled. Zoey gave me a look of pure horror and I had no choice but to turn my back and walk away.