Chapter Nine

Oh ye, who lust after the Za'limah
and ye, who trust the I'kara
cast down your gaze!
Why do you offer your soul to those
who would cast it to damnation?
Who would consume you,
and rob you of your flesh.
Oh ye, who is lost,
The shadows are your protection
Take solace in their darkness,
Take comfort in their sight.
And protect yourself from those,
Of their, dark night.

Aurora felt like the blood had drained completely from her face.

Minutes ticked by until she did what she always did when she felt gobsmacked.

She pulled the blanket closer around herself, slipped off her bed and went downstairs to make a cup of coffee. It was time to not-think for a few minutes. Her subconscious needed to process this horrific, terrifying passage that she'd just read.

The house was quiet. It was Tuesday and everybody had gone to bed early. The kitchen was dirty, the sink filled dishes that had been piling up for two days now. The carpet needed vacuuming which was a problem because they didn't have a vacuum.

It took a good ten minutes for the pot to brew, and she simply stood in the kitchen and watched the dark drops of coffee fall into her "You are WONDERFUL" mug. Emma had given it to her for her birthday last year and it was a wonderful thing to look at in the morning.

When she went back, she felt a little better. Not a whole lot but maybe an incremental 1% better. She'd also stolen one of William's chocolate croissants and a left over Tim Horton's cherry cheese Danish.

She sat back on her bed, the mattress creaking under her weight. When she opened the book, she flipped back to the page with the passage. She took a sip of her coffee, enjoying the hot liquid burn on its way down. She was weird like that.

The passage was from a scanned photo of a manuscript, and the page next to it read:

This passage was one of the few discovered in the Civalli Ruins, on the northern island of Capri, Italy. The date of the passage was unidentifiable, thermoluminescence dating and dendrochronology tests proved to be inconclusive. This passage is one of few detailing references to the I'kara and Za'limah.

Aurora re-read the passage before turning the page and seeing the symbols again. It was another picture, this time solely of the symbols. Underneath the photo, it was captioned:

The symbols, recurring at the reference of the I'kara and the Za'limah, are not associated with any modern script or identifiable calligraphy. Greek undertones are seen in the , indicating a possible correlation to Greek mythology.

She flipped through the book and double-checked the index but that seemed to be it. A part of her was glad. After reading that, just how was she going to sleep tonight? She put the textbook down and rubbed her eyes, feeling highly strung and exhausted to the bone.

"Doing some bedtime reading?"

His voice slipped over her, like a smooth ribbon cooling her skin. It prickled at the nape of her neck, making the small of her hair rise. Apprehension rose within her and when she looked at him, it was with complete wariness.

Just what was she dealing with?

He stared back at her coolly, his arms languidly resting against the mirror frame. The only light on in her room was her lamp, and the darkness did nothing to help his features.

The shadows only sharpened his features, making him look more deadly. His face was composed like he always was and while his grey eyes were engaged, the rest of his face was detached, guarded and dispassionate. Someone who observed but didn't get involved. A hazardous combination.

Aurora put down her book, slipped off her bed and walked towards him, her own face serious. Whatever he was, she was safe while he was still in there. Was she wary of him?

Of course. Was she scared of him? Fat chance. Not yet at least. No I'kara or Za'limah was going to come into her life and ruin it.

She was surprised by her own courage. It was funny how a complete threat to your life had a way of making you completely protective over it.

He sensed the shift in her demeanor instantly and as if to compensate, took his arms off the sides of the mirror and straightened as she met him at the mirror. "Stayed up late just to meet me, Aurora?" He teased, as if enjoying that it only bothered her more.

She had to get through a throttle of questions and she wasn't going to let him sidetrack her this time. "That box, what were those numbers?"

"Are you always angry?" He asked, deflecting her questions like he always tried to do. As if he had all the time in the world.

"Ask me when I'm not dealing with a talking mirror," she drawled back, and then pointed at the empty box lying by the window. "What were they?"

He shrugged, "a message for me." He was humoring her, but with the way his jaw clenched, Aurora could tell that he wasn't someone that enjoyed answering to someone else.

"A hologram projected by a microchip that activates itself in sunlight and self-destructs after a certain time. Science, not magic."

"If it was a hologram, why couldn't Emma see it?"

"For the same reason she can't see me."

Aurora didn't want to get into that right now.

"Who's Axel?" she made sure to talk quietly, lest her cousins heard her.

"He's what you humans would call a friend," his tongue played with the word, as if it was an unfamiliar term.

"Not to be rude," she knew she was treading on thin water, but it was past midnight, she was tired and she'd had a not-so-pleasant shock a few minutes ago, "You with a friend?" she couldn't envision it. What did they do? Get together and play FIFA on Playstation? As if.

"Loyalty, minus the emotional attachment," he responded nonchalantly.

She ignored the shiver that tickled her arms. "He can't see you either," she was connecting the dots out loud, thinking quickly. "He's using me to communicate with you," she didn't want to imagine a Damon 2.0. One was enough.

"Good job, princess."

She gritted her teeth, "how does he know that I can see you?"

"My men know a lot of things."

His men?
There were more than few of his kind? The idea sat heavily in her stomach, making her feel a little sick. And nervous. Men like him, who were out in the open.

Her thoughts must have been running across her face a mile a minute, because his face finally cracked a small, condescending smile.

"If I wanted them to hurt you Aurora, you'd be dead by now. Unfortunately, you're my only way out of here."

"You know, the more you say stuff like this, the less likely I am to help you."

He didn't seem bothered, "you'll help me."

"I'kara or Za'limah? Which is it that you belong to?"

A long pause hung in the air.

She'd finally done it. She'd caught him off guard. The icy passiveness that kept his features in place evaporated, replaced instantly with anger. His nostrils flared, eyebrows narrowed and fists clenched. He was calm, collected and quite clearly, very pissed off.

"You're wading into dangerous waters, Aurora," his voice was low, and so quiet that she was surprised she heard him at all. "Don't do this to yourself."

"Are you really going to pretend to care about me?" she hissed,"This is all about you wanting me to help you escape and quite frankly, I have no interest in letting you out after what I've read."

"If I've not told you anything, it is because I've wanted to keep you separate from thisworld, one that you have no place in" his voice was almost a growl, his eyes ablaze. "Why are you meddling?"

"I'm not meddling, I'm protecting myself." She was right up at the mirror now, meeting him eye for eye – even though he was at least a foot taller. She was on her tippie toes to make a point.

"You're acting like a child." He spat back, "you have no idea what you're putting yourself up against."

"In case you've forgotten, your threats are meaningless from behind that glass."

"It's not me that you should be worried about."

They were glaring at each other so closely that had the glass not been dividing them, their noses would have touched.

"This nightfall of yours," he continued, his eyes unwavering. "It doesn't belong to you, nor any of you humans. It belongs to them; the ones with power. If you tempt the I'kara or Za'limah, you're playing with your life. You act like you have a right to walk on this Earth. They humor you by letting you live."

She felt the breath leave her chest and for a moment she didn't speak. Finally, "you said they."

He seemed to have calmed, just as she had. Calmed wasn't the proper word – they just weren't at each other's throats anymore. "I did," he confirmed in the annoyingly, curt way of his.

"You're not one of them?"

He sighed through his nose, running a hand through his hair. It was the first sign he'd shown of complete frustration. It was the most human thing she'd seen him do to date.

"There are four races," Damon started, looking royally pissed off that he'd been cornered into talking. "The human race, the I'kara, and the Za'limah."

She didn't want to point out the obvious.

"Then there are anomalies," he said, and the air in the room seemed to drop as he took a moment to look at her pointedly as if to make a statement. She understood what he was saying before he began.

"There are those who don't fit into the three races, who don't belong. No patterns, no predetermined design," he nudged at himself. "For example, me." And then, he nudged at her. "You."

She was an anomaly?

Hold the hell up.

Her mind was racing, trying to make sense of what he was saying. Just because she could see him made her an anomaly? What did that even mean? That there was some sort of kink in her genetic makeup, a flaw that her made her different from the rest of her human pack?

She felt human through and through.

"No princess, definitely not," Damon was doing that thing where he read her face. It was annoying as hell. "You're definitely not human. Not with your vision."

"What are you suggesting that I am?"

"Hell if I know, or care – no offense. But you saw through the cloaking spell that hides me, and that's a fact."

Aurora took a deep breath, feeling like this conversation had taken a turn for the worse. Every conversation with him seemed to take a turn for the worse. "Just because I can see you doesn't mean anything. I've always had 20/20 eyesight."


"Just because I'm different doesn't mean I'm," she struggled to remember what he had called it. "An anomaly or whatever," she spat out, "I could just be gifted." Yes, that was a better way of phrasing it.

She was adamant in believing that this changed absolutely nothing. So what? She could see something that other people couldn't. Her great grandmother always saw turtles in the curtains that nobody else could. Nobody told her that she was some sort of genetic anomaly. Crazy, perhaps but nothing else.

The migraine worsened then, without any warning and the pain sliced through her head like steel slipping through silk. She groaned, holding her temples and doubled over to a crouching position.

This was her body's way of telling her that enough was enough for one night. She needed rest.

"Why are you making that noise?" He asked, as if mildly surprised and annoyed by it.

"Headache," she grumbled and then stumbled over to her bed to lie down flat on her back, hoping that the position would help. "A bad one," she closed her eyes once the ceiling began to spin. This is why she had to be human – too much weird voodoo shit, and her head began to hurt.

A few moments passed before she muttered through gritted teeth, "my life was supposed to be like the tv show, Suits." Not like Harry Potter.

Actually, she would have preferred Harry Potter. She didn't have a Dumbledore. At least Harry had that. She had a Voldemort.

"Why is the headache debilitating you?"

She peeked at him from across the room and this time, she was surprised. Did he really not know what a migraine felt like? He was looking at her, completely befuddled as if she'd grown a pair of wings, "I just need to close my eyes. Just stay quiet and give me a few minutes," she said slowly. What was he.

Lying there, as minutes passed, she realized that she'd made no ground with him. She knew as little about him as she had at the beginning of their conversation. Finding out about the I'kara and Za'limah had proved fruitless. He was neither. He was his own species, one that didn't fit in with the rest. She didn't know if that was a good thing or bad

He didn't say anything and Aurora didn't open her eyes to see if he'd vanished or if he was allowing her to rest.

And in regards to herself – great.

It was all just so fucking great.

Icing on top of the great, white, fucking wedding cake.

She was some sort of walking cloaking-spell-detector.

She stayed like that for a good half an hour, maybe more until it felt like her head wasn't at the precipice of splitting open.

Instead, she was at the verge of falling asleep when the throbbing pain dimmed and with closed eyes, she asked for the second time, "Just be honest and tell me. Why did someone put you in that mirror?" She chose her words carefully, not wanting to say 'so why did someone lock you away from society, where no one would ever see or hear you.'

She was almost sure that he was going to let the question slide, just like he did with all the others and was surprised when she heard him reply.

"I tried to kill somebody."


Well, that would do it.

She would've replied if she wasn't half asleep and it was mere seconds before she passed out on her bed.

Hours passed before she felt a little breeze on the back of her neck, the silent indicator that Damon had left.

A/N: Hope you are enjoying this.. let me know :) 3