Chapter Four of Endgame
The revelation drove away her reactions, and it cost her a sliced abdomen. She fell and, with what strength she had, retreated. She floated above her daughter and the girl stayed on the ground, unable to attack. This gave Allison a moment to fully understand the situation. Mathew took Allison’s daughter and raised her as his own. And now he made her attack her own mother. Despite the horrors Anna committed, Allison found herself unable to fight back. She stayed in the air and attempted to talk. ‘Anna, stop,’ she said. ‘I’m your mother.’ The girl gave no sign of surprise. Allison delved into her mind and found she already knew it. ‘I don’t know exactly what Mathew’s told you, but none of it can be good.’ Anna stood there, waiting for Allison to come down. She needed a way to convince her Mathew should not be followed. She came upon a specific memory which happened about eight years ago when Mathew told Anna where she came from. ‘I can see he said many things, but he withheld others, and he deliberately misled you. I know you believe it and he never denied it, but he is not your father. You have none. Please, listen to me. This man has used you and deceived you, just to get to me. He may say he loves you, but this monster is incapable of that.’ ‘No!’ Anna shouted. ‘Yes.’ Allison floated down and Anna swung her sword as soon as she came within range. Allison dodged and grabbed hold of her sword hilt; Anna’s vehement denial slowed her down. Allison moved the sword into position with both hands and levelled it at her daughter’s neck. ‘You are my flesh and blood, you are Kate’s also. Not a drop of Mathew runs in your veins. For that, I will not harm you.’ Anna moved forwards to try to strike Allison with her fists. Allison knocked the arm away. ‘However, I will defend myself, and you will not win. If you have an ounce of the same abilities I do, look inside and know that I tell the truth.’ Anna tried to hit Allison again as a tear ran down her cheek. Allison let her blow succeed. Anna hit her arm, but she barely felt it. The girl did it again and again, like a child in a tantrum, crying and screaming. Allison dropped the sword with a clang on the concrete ground and put her arms around Anna. ‘Shhh, it’s going to be okay.’ They stayed there for a few minutes, before Anna raised her head. Allison looked into eyes so like her own and smiled. ‘Do you know a way out of here?’ Anna nodded. She let go of Allison, wiped her eyes and slowly walked to the barrier. She felt along it and, after a few seconds, found what she seemed to be searching for. Her hand went through the barrier and she made a fist, muttering a single word. ‘Amberai-al.’ She stepped forwards and through the invisible wall, motioning for Allison to follow. Allison stepped up to the dome and walked forwards, as Anna did. The wall felt like a viscous liquid, and for a second she couldn’t breathe. The dome, Allison guessed, was about two feet thick, and she took about the same amount of steps before taking a deep breath from the thinner air on the other side. Allison looked at Anna. The girl turned the corner of her lips up in a slight smile which Allison returned. After their moment, Allison called for Cat again. Light heralded her arrival and lit the street like the sun it had probably not seen in weeks. ‘I knew you needed help.’ Cat looked to Anna. ‘Who’s this?’ Allison smiled; a foreign gesture. ‘She’s Anna … my daughter.’ Cat raised her eyebrows in surprise. ‘Well, hopefully we can reunite the entire f—’ She stopped at the sight coming in around them. Everywhere, black clad figures smoked into existence. One after another, until they surrounded the three of them and formed a solid wall eight deep. And yet still more appeared. ‘Let’s get out of here,’ Cat grabbed hold of Allison and Anna, and teleported them back to Allison’s house, where Atharron, Rob, and Holly waited. ‘It’s Mathew!’ Allison screamed when Cat let go of her. ‘The Emissary is fucking Mathew!’ Allison looked around at the others. Rob wore a confused look, as if Allison had said the Emissary was a potato. Holly’s mouth was a wide O of surprise. But Cat and Atharron shared a look between them. All thoughts of Mathew vanished from her mind. ‘You knew?’ Atharron shrugged. ‘We’ve suspected for a long while. His mother hid his nature from us for some time so we stopped investigating him, thinking she had been duped into believing she had given birth to the Emissary. But we received information that we may have been wrong. However, the information had come too late, and we could no longer find him.’ Allison looked at Atharron with dangerous eyes. ‘And when the fuck were you going to tell me?’ ‘We didn’t think it was relevant.’ Allison stood in silence, staring at Atharron. The nerve of the man would never stop surprising her. The next thing she saw was Atharron lying on her carpet, and her balled fist screaming pain at her. ‘Not relevant! It’s Mathew. The bastard who made my life hell throughout school. I thought I was rid of him. I think it’s very relevant.’ Atharron got to his feet, groaning. ‘Oh, Allison. You nearly got Kate killed by going after him. I dread to think what you’d do if you had known who he was then.’ Allison scoffed. ‘Fuck you. I’ll need you to defeat him. But after this, I don’t want to see you again.’ Atharron rolled his eyes. Allison took a deep breath. ‘Anyway, he’s got an army. I can’t fight an army. I thought it was going to be a duel.’ ‘And it is,’ Cat said. ‘I have a plan.’ ‘Wait,’ Atharron said, pointing at Anna, a dangerous look in his eyes, ‘isn’t that the girl from the telly? The one who was with the Emissary?’ Allison sighed. ‘Yes. But she’s Anna.’ ‘Anna?’ Allison nodded. ‘And she just decided to jump ship and come to us?’ ‘Yes, I told her that the Emissary had lied to her, and that I loved her still, as a mother should.’ Atharron stepped away from Anna. ‘Oh, you really are stupid aren’t you? Don’t you think it’s a little convenient?’ ‘Hey!’ Allison shouted. ‘I’m psychic remember?’ She tapped her head for emphasis. ‘I know what she’s thinking. She also looked inside me. She hasn’t inherited just my hair, you know.’ Atharron closed his eyes and rubbed his face. ‘Oh, I can’t believe our future is in the hands of someone this thick witted.’ He opened his eyes again. ‘You may be psychic, but so is she. She’s probably been trained to confuse her thoughts.’ ‘I’m her mother, I know when she’s lying, and I don’t need any telepathy to tell me that.’ Atharron shook his head, and pointed his finger at Allison. ‘You better be right about this.’ ‘I am.’ During the following pause, Dawn came down the stairs, still in her nightie and dressing gown. ‘Mummy K?’ Allison shook her head. ‘Not yet, honey. But we’re working on it.’ Atharron huffed and walked to the other side of the room. Allison smiled at her younger daughter. ‘Dawn, come here and meet your big sister.’ Dawn took a few tentative steps and looked at Anna. Neither girl said anything for a few moments, until Dawn broke the silence. ‘Sister?’ Anna nodded, and Dawn smiled. ‘Okay,’ Cat said, interrupting the family reunion, ‘the first attack on the Emissary has failed. We tried to fight on his terms, but he seems to have disappeared. Or he does not want to show his face. Anna,’ Cat turned to the girl, ‘do you know anything?’ She looked around, nervous, for a second before stammering, ’N-Naomi. Something’s happened to her.’ Cat raised her eyebrows at this. ‘That could be beneficial for us. If she is incapacitated, then he will be seriously weakened, even with an army of vampires. Which reminds me. Who created them, do you know?’ She gave another nervous look around. ‘L … Linda.’ Cat nodded. ‘I thought so. Holly, you stay behind and guard home base. And continue babysitting. Atharron and I will take on the vampires as a distraction. Rob, you will look for Kate. Allison searched the main building, so it would be a good idea to start with the other blocks first. Anna, you work from the inside. When the Emissary reappears, tell him nothing. Try to get him to lower the shield, I do not think he will be able to do it without Naomi, but see if he can. I assume it was you who took Cylnaunteb, in which case, get it back to Allison, who will use it to fulfil her destiny. And one final thing, if anyone sees Linda, make her your priority. Killing her will wipe out the entire army.’ Cat fitted everyone out with a weapon. Atharron had his sword, used by the sovereigns of Calnis and given to him to keep on the day of his abdication. Cat chose her weapon, forged before the lost realm existed. To Rob, she gave a sword she had kept in her possession since the end of the War; she also gave him another which he could give to Kate when he found her. Anna took her own. And Allison carried the best sword Cat could find, lest she could not retrieve Cylnaunteb. To each, she also gave a gun and a short knife, even to Holly in case the Emissary decided to attack her, unlikely as it was. Cat uttered a short prayer before teleporting everyone back to the college. She could not penetrate the dome, so she landed Atharron and Allison just outside the grounds. Then back she went to bring Rob and Anna. They stood in a line facing the complex. Anna stepped forward and grabbed the shield, saying the password. As she attempted to walk through, however, the wall remained solid and refused to give. ‘You know,’ said Rob, ‘I don’t know much about these magicy stuffs, but I don’t think that’s supposed to happen.’ Anna stared up at the dome, looking confused. She shook her head. ‘So how are we going to get in?’ Allison stepped up to the wall, almost in a trance and put her hand on it. She caressed it slightly then pulled her hand slowly back and thrust her fist through the barrier. A loud crash, as of broken glass, rang through the air. The dome lost its transparency and became cloudy, before cracking and steadily dissipating. ‘Good answer,’ Rob said, while Allison stared at her still clenched fist. Anna looked at her through wide eyes, which gave her an expression, not so much of surprise, as of fear. Atharron and Cat shared an understanding look. Explanations waited, however, as the Emissary’s army charged out. ‘Rob,’ Allison said, raising her sword, ‘find Kate, now.’ Rob left the four of them to find an alternative route into the college. Atharron, Anna and Allison stalked up to the vampires, swords in position while Cat stayed in the air. The army quickly closed the gap and the two sides met with a clash of metal on metal. Cat swooped down, sword in hand and clove through the army taking out four vampires. She landed behind the army, her sword finding its mark every time. Anna retreated quickly, killing about three or four. She circled around the army before it blocked the main pathway to the campus. Allison fought through until vampires surrounded her. Swinging her sword, she decapitated one, then another, but felt a blade cut her thigh. She turned and killed the first she saw. Responsible for the wound or not. She returned to pushing her way through the battle and after a few more kills and wounds, she reached the edge and ran towards the college. Two guards stood before the doorway. She swiftly dispatched them and moved inside the building. Unlike last time, she could use her powers. With her remote vision, she built up a map of the vicinity. No one seemed to be near her, but something else almost made her lose concentration. She walked towards the main hall to make sure it was real. And when she opened the double doors into a cavernous arena, she saw it. Cylnaunteb. Her sword stuck point down into the floor. Blackness surrounding it as it bathed in a pool of light.
Rob crept around the back entrance into a restaurant. He held his sword with both hands, tip straight out in front of him. ‘Why did you agree to this?’ he whispered to himself. ‘It’s dark, you’re alone, and to be frank, you’re not too brilliant with swor— Shut up Robert. You’re giving your position away.’ He moved through to the kitchens and wiped a layer of sweat from his forehead with his sleeve. Placing his hand back on his hilt, he walked up to the hot-cupboard and there he saw Kate. He raised his eyebrows. ‘That was easy.’ She sat, bound and gagged, in a chair. He rushed over to her and began to remove the bindings, but her eyes suddenly widened in fear staring behind him. He turned, ready to face whatever it was. Before he lost consciousness, he caught a flicker of red hair.
Allison took the first step towards her weapon. She didn’t see anyone else and thought it seemed too easy. She came to her sword. Its point stuck about half a foot into the floor, splitting the wood. The cracks spread out like lightning. She grabbed the hilt, and closing her eyes, she pulled. The blade came free. Candles suddenly lit the room and in their faint glow, Allison saw Mathew waiting at the back of the hall, sword resting by his feet. She raised her sword and he did the same. They remained there for a moment. The calm before the storm. And they ran. Closer they came. Their swords met. She pushed him back. He pushed her. Mathew feigned an attack and drew first blood. As they fought, one gained the upper hand, then the other. A fight either could win.
Cat finished off the last vampire and left the battlefield of ashes, running to help Allison. Atharron followed. They ran to the entrance and met the red headed vampire. Her sword swung at them without hesitation, and Cat parried it, forcing her into the lobby where another two vampires waited. Atharron took them on. Cat found an opening in Linda’s attacks and pushed her towards the hall. The doors splintered as she fell through, sliding on the polished floor. Allison and the Emissary barely looked up. Cat came in after her and stabbed through her chest, the wooden beam running the length of Cat’s sword connected with her heart. Nothing happened. She kicked Cat and her hand left the hilt. Standing up, she grabbed the sword and pulled it out of her. ‘Sorry,’ she said, walking over to Cat, ‘but my heart belongs to another.’ Cat did not have time to react before she swung the sword at her neck slicing through.
‘Nooo!’ Allison screamed. Her shout cut short when Mathew sliced her abdomen. She fell to the floor and watched as Cat’s body dissolved into a cloud of light, spilling out over the floor and slowly disappearing. Allison regained her wits fast enough to roll out the way as Mathew’s sword stabbed downward. She jumped up and faced Linda, ready to kill her, but she saw only Atharron through the doorway killing a vampire. With no immediate way to avenge Cat’s death she returned to Mathew. ‘You bastard!’ He put on an innocent face as they circled each other. ‘What did I do? It was your ginger girlfriend who did that. Anyway, I don’t see what you have against killing.’ Allison, outraged, screamed, ‘It’s wrong! That’s what I have against it!’ ‘And yet, you and I both know that death is not the end.’ ‘You do not have the right to choose that for them.’ ‘Don’t I?’ Allison saw an image behind him, but she may have imagined it. It appeared to be a woman with long dark hair highlighted in red and gold that gave the appearance of fire. Her long red dress flickered with fiery colours also, and her bare golden arms wrapped around his shoulders in a loving embrace of ownership. Then as quickly as it had appeared, the image was gone. ‘You know,’ Mathew said while Allison recovered from the image, ‘I work better with an audience.’ Black smoke filled the end of the hall and two seated figures appeared. Rob and Kate. Neither able to move. Allison looked at Mathew with fire filled eyes, and she attacked.
Atharron killed the second vampire and did not wait until he fell to the floor before running to the hall. He ran around the duel to the prisoners at the end. Taking out his small knife, he cut their bonds. ‘Right, Cat will be back in a sec, but I gotta get you outta here.’ ‘Cat?’ Rob said. ‘But she died!’ Atharron looked back at him. ‘Yeah, she does that a lot, now come on.’ They crept around the fight and reentered the hallway, running into a crowd of black figures.
Allison needed to end this. There was only one thing she could do, but would she be able to stop herself? Allison banished the thought. It didn’t matter. Ending the fight was more important. When she had an opening she jumped back and threw her sword to the ground. She hurled her hands out and let the current run through her body. Mathew flew to the wall behind him and clenched. The lightning consumed the entire wall with pure hate. Allison screamed. Mathew’s skin burned. The heat melted the hilt of his sword and his clothes smoked. More and more. Allison did not stop. She concentrated on killing him. A wisp of black smoke revealed Anna next to her, but Allison took no notice. Her fury at Mathew was concentrated in the lightning. Fury for what he had done to her, for what he had done to the country, for what he had done to her daughter. Mathew remained paralysed against the wall, but his eyes flickered towards Anna. The girl glanced at Allison, then back at Mathew. Tears fell down Anna’s cheeks as she picked up Allison’s sword and ran her through.
Atharron used his sword, protecting not just himself, but the other two as well. Two vampires fell. Another pierced his side. He fought on. Rob dodged past. Kate fought hand to hand with an unarmed vampire in a losing battle. Atharron moved onto another who forced him out of the crowd and allowed the others to crowd in around Rob. Atharron fought past his opponent, but they already held Rob, pointed teeth ripping his flesh and pouring crimson to the floor. Atharron found his way to Rob’s body as the vampires dropped him losing interest. They rounded on Atharron. He got ready to battle again when a white light filled the lobby, emanating from the open entrance. All the vampires burnt from the inside and within seconds ashes littered the floor. Atharron and Kate looked through the doorway and saw the light recede into the shape of an angel. Cat appeared in the doorway, and walked to Atharron. He motioned to Rob’s corpse. ‘It’s a shame you couldn’t have done that sooner.’ Cat sighed. ‘You know that’s not how it works.’ ‘Yeah,’ Atharron took one last look at Rob, then turned towards the hall. ‘Come on. Let’s help Allison.’
Mathew rose while Allison reeled on the floor. Allison saw him move towards her and put his left hand lovingly on Anna’s shoulder who returned the smile. He lifted his right hand, and raised his eyebrows when he saw it. The hilt had moulded itself to his fist to become a permanent weapon. He looked down at Allison and pointed the sword at her. She looked into his eyes, determined to master her fear when he killed her, but instead of thrusting the sword, lightning ran the length of it and hit Allison. Her muscles tightened and she felt her skin peeling as it burned. It felt like hours, and she prayed for her soul. Suddenly the pain stopped and she regained control over her muscles. Looking around, she saw Mathew and Cat on the floor. He pushed the angel off him and she flew into the air. Allison reached for Cylnaunteb, and turned to face Mathew, but Anna stood between them. ‘Get out of the way!’ Allison shouted at her daughter. Anna just stood and stared at her. ‘Anna, please. I don’t want to hurt you.’ Anna held one hand out to her side, and a sword flew into her grasp. She held it up, ready. Allison shook her head, and her grip on Cylnaunteb faltered, as she felt tears well up in her eyes. ‘I’m your mother!’ Anna offered no explanation and swung her sword at Allison. She dodged the blow, but did not fight back. Anna tried again, but Atharron ran for her and knocked her over. Allison jumped to face Mathew and swung her sword. She cut through his neck as his mouth opened in surprise. He swayed for a few seconds, then fell to his knees. Finally, his head rolled off and landed on the floor with a dull thud. Allison dimly heard Anna scream, but she ignored it as she felt power fill her. It was like being electrocuted again, but she liked it. Her feet left the floor and light shone on her. More and more came until it saturated her and she fell. She crouched down, her hair covering her face, and looked at Mathew’s severed head. His shocked face slowly changed as his mouth closed and widened into a smile of triumph and glee.
Allison looked from Mathew’s head to Anna as she stared down at the decapitated body. ‘Anna,’ Allison said, reaching out to her. Anna shrugged off Allison’s hand and looked at her, seething. She raised her sword and swung. Allison parried the weapon but hit only black smoke as Anna and her sword disappeared. Allison threw Cylnaunteb to the floor with a clash and screamed. The noise cut through the air as shards of glass, and the building trembled. The ceiling cracked loosing dust and chunks of wood and plaster onto them. The rumbling became louder and the cracks wider, until the roof exploded up and out. The entire building blew outwards, toppling to the campus grounds, and visible above were dark clouds. The rumbling continued, and the entire group flew into the sky, compelled solely by the will of Allison Sands. Below, the ground crumbled into a hole; debris flew everywhere; and the quake extended beyond the college boundaries. Roads cracked and fell into nothingness, and houses demolished to dust. Trees, gardens, cars, rivers, and everything natural or artificial fell to the increasing power of the Rebáel. Lightning shot from her hands and struck the abyss, obliterating the damage even further. Winds rose and swirled the debris into utter chaos. And all the time, that horrifying primal scream punctuated the turmoil until finally she left nothing of the city but a massive pit of destruction. Cat witnessed this display of power, unable to stop it, and although she had lived for a long time, and had died and resurrected more times than she could count, for the first time, she was scared for her very existence. Cat closed her eyes and tried to communicate to Allison. Please, stop this. Allison let the scream die and looked in Cat’s direction. Her wide eyes screamed at the angel and glowed white with ancient power. A power that should never be left in the hands of a mortal. A power not even Cat herself would be willing to wield. Calm down, Cat projected, Look at your friends, they are scared. Allison turned around and looked at Atharron, his eyes showing fear in one of the few times he was unable to hold it in; and Kate, whose eyes betrayed her feeling of horror at what her wife was now capable of. Cat flew closer to the others and held out her hands. Kate and Atharron took hold of both, but Allison hesitated. She heard Cat’s voice in her head; It’s okay, I will watch over you. Allison closed her eyes and breathed in. She took hold of Cat’s arm as she teleported everyone back to Allison’s house.