Book 4, Chapter 55

Archarel’s laughter blasted my ears, but since my aura was full — literally — to bursting I had perfect control over my supernatural senses. So I ignored Archarel and focused on what mattered: Megan. How had I missed that? I hadn’t considered pushing aura to Megan because her aura had felt full and vibrant when she’d tried to push aura to me. But I’d been basing that on how the other auras I’d pushed to had felt: Emma’s and Dad’s and even Thomas’ and Benjamin’s. Fundamentally mortal auras. But Megan wasn’t mortal, and it had taken seeing her and Bonbon side by side for me to realize that I was still thinking of her like I always had: as my perfectly normal friend.

What did they think they could do? They were just faeries.

And Megan wasn’t just a faerie. She was a faerie noble, like Archarel.

I pushed his aura to her. My connection to her was stronger than my connection to anyone else. Maybe it was our proximity. Maybe it was the fact that we shared a soul. Probably it was both. Whatever it was, I started with just a trickle of what was possible – and when I didn’t hear her scream I threw the gate open. I turned myself into a conduit and let power flood into Megan.

I heard her breath catch mid-word. I heard her heart start to race. But I didn’t hear her scream, or sob, or anything else to indicate that she was in pain. She didn’t try to push the aura back to me. And although her aura continued to feel full and robust and vibrant, it didn’t start to feel more full, even with me dumping energy into it.

Yes! I exulted. This was going to work! I didn’t know how Megan’s aura could contain that much essence, but it could!

And then Archarel ripped my head back. My fangs tore free of his shoulder. His blood spilled into the air for a second before his wound closed and his doublet mended itself over it. Then he wrenched with his hand on my waist while his other lifted me off my feet by the hair.

With a deafening snap my vertebrae gave way and my body twisted around one hundred and eighty degrees while Archarel held my head in place. Abruptly the flow of power from Archarel cut off. He cast my corpse angrily to the ground. It landed in a boneless heap; my head lolling to the side at an impossible angle.

The only reason that I knew what I looked like, lying there, was that my consciousness had already flooded out of my body: trading my physical senses for the partial omniscience of dormancy. And for a moment I rode the swell of tranquility that came with dormancy like it was a comforting wave.

I knew it was only a moment because Archarel was still moving and acting within the sphere of my omnidirectional awareness, giving me something to judge the passage of time by. He turned angrily toward Megan, who I could no longer see.

“I told you not to interfere,” Archarel snarled.

I felt Megan’s answering surge of denial, even though her words were lost somewhere beyond the radius of my awareness. But I did see Archarel scoff in response.

“Did you think I wouldn’t notice you trying to pull from Abigail’s aura?” Archarel sneered. “You weren’t subtle enough to hide when you pushed aura to her, and you aren’t subtle enough to hide that you pulled essence from her! I am prepared to tolerate quite a bit from you, Lady Megan, in deference to your youth, ignorance, and the usefulness of your presence to my plans. But if you attempt to steal from me like that again then I won’t stop at killing these two of your friends. I will feed the captive third to my goblins in slivers, taken from her still living flesh. I will take you to see your coworkers slaughtered after we attend to my daughter tomorrow. Anyone that you know in the mortal realm whom I can reach before I am honor bound to return you to your father will die, and I will personally break your soul, reclaiming what you have taken.”

He turned slightly toward someone else, who I also couldn’t see or hear.

“Oh, I’ll keep my word,” he assured whomever had spoken. “She will be returned to your father. But if she forces my hand, I will return her with a soul so broken that it will be centuries before she experiences a rational thought again.” He turned again in the direction of Megan. “I would prefer not to antagonize your father, but I know him well enough to know he will still be able to get adequate use out of you, even in that state.” Archarel smiled. “In fact, he will most likely be furious enough with you for antagonizing me that I will be able to settle any animosity between us by buying you from him when your usefulness as a changeling has passed. And I can assure you that I am a patient enough being to enjoy the cycle of mending and breaking someone who has earned my ire until I have had it satisfied in full.”

I missed the others’ responses, of course, but this time it was because my curse had mended my body. With a sudden pop my head snapped back to a proper angle and my awareness was suddenly dragged back into my newly breathing corpse. I sat up. Between the rents in my soul and the drain of my resurrection, I was starving again. Something tickled at the edge of my awareness. I was on my feet and leaping at Archarel before those thoughts settled back in: Save Fumiko. Save Emma. Save Megan.

Archarel pivoted and caught me by the neck mid-leap. My hands latched around his wrist. My fangs couldn’t reach him. He scowled at me with distaste. I clawed at his face with my fingers, but he held me in the air at arm’s length, and I couldn’t reach further than his shoulders.

“It’s so much more satisfying to break your kind with their own hubris,” Archarel told me. “But dismembering you until you no longer come back, then letting the sun incinerate your remains and scattering the ash will work just as well.”

I started to snarl a response, but Archarel’s sword appeared in his free hand and slammed into my gut again. He twisted the blade and slashed up, into my ribs. Old, dead blood burbled in my lungs. I spat a mouthful of it in Archarel’s face. “Last chance to surrender,” I hissed. It was a lie. In my hunger I had reevaluated my living self’s objectives and reformed them into a single, unified objective: Destroy. Lord. Archarel.

Archarel laughed despite the blood — my blood — that dripped down his face. “Well,” he said, “that’s not quite what I meant, but I’ll appreciate the hubris while I carve you to pieces nonetheless.” Then he wrenched his sword out through my side, leaving my nearly dismembered torso and legs dangling by the remaining un-severed flesh. Cut arteries oozed blood, but even though he’d hewn through ribs and at least one lung he’d also carved around my heart, and I didn’t go dormant from the wound.

My curse freaked out. I was obsessed with survival on an instinctual level and the curse goaded me to fight back. It clawed at my purpose, trying to pull that essence apart for the power to mend my body. I refused to let it, using everything I had learned about manipulating my own aura to keep that last bit intact. My instincts might have been screaming at me to let my curse heal me, but I knew there was more to survival than living.

I stopped clawing at Archarel and pressed my hands to my chest. He lopped one of my arms off just above the elbow; his blade slicing through flesh and bone with the same ease that Melvin’s had punched into my countertop on that first night I turned, when I had killed Melvin to keep him from being drained by Mr. Salvatore.

“Now now,” Archarel chuckled. “There’s no point in trying to hold yourself together, Abigail.”

I smiled back at him: my best feral grin. He had no idea what I was actually doing, and he’d left me one hand to finish the job. “Not trying to,” I hissed back to distract him. My fingers groped at my wound; pain flared as I forced them into the parted flesh. “And you should have listened to Megan. She didn’t pull aura from me.” My fingers found what they sought. While they closed around it I isolated the leyline between Archarel and myself. I couldn’t resist taking one more dig at Archarel’s confidence. “And you may have destroyed vampires before, but there is no way you have ever faced one like me.”

I saw an instant of uncertainty flicker across the other end of the leyline Archarel and I shared. It was all I needed. Uncertainty and ignorance were the cornerstone of fear. Fear was the gateway to feeding on a soul. And I had been thinking about myself through the same obliviously ignorant lens I had been thinking about Megan. Archarel had probably been preparing to fight vampires for decades, if not centuries: at least since Salvatore had made his home in the city. Probably from before he’d sired a changeling of his own.

But I was no more just a vampire than Megan was the human she seemed to be.

I grit my teeth and forced my fingers to act in defiance of my undead survival instincts. I spasmed my hand into a fist, pulping my own heart in the process.

This time I expected the transition from un-life to dormancy and there wasn’t even an instant’s disorientation. My leylines seemed to widen as the faerie portion of my soul took over my thinking and feeling, but I maintained my grip on my purpose. I’d learned how to do that after being shot in the head. Destroy. Lord. Archarel.

He let my corpse fall again. Archarel spun toward Megan, who was once more beyond my awareness. “What…” He started to demand of her, but arrested the question before it could be completed. “Why did she..?”

I gave him a hint and directed a surge of aura — a portion of what I had held in reserve — out to Megan and every faerie who owed me. Split like that it was almost an infinitesimal amount. But it was aura that Archarel had pushed into me, aura that I had not subsumed. Aura that was still fundamentally his, and he felt it move, just like he had realized it when I had pushed aura to Megan. And just like then, he made the wrong assumption about what was happening.

Archarel recoiled. “Traitors!” He roared. “Even together you can’t draw enough to break your bonds to me! I’ll…”

I didn’t let him finish. In the midst of his protest I found what I needed: his bubble of uncertainty had burst under the weight of the reality he assumed was taking place. No, Reid and the rest couldn’t overwhelm him, even working together. But if they had all pulled from me together while he was pushing essence into me still — a tactic he had claimed to use against vampires before, and thus one they could have anticipated — they might have been able to steal enough to free themselves. It was only dumb luck that they had struck too late, after he had changed his strategy.

He’d had a fright. And it was that fright I struck. I had been thinking of myself as a vampire, and so had Archarel. He was completely unprepared for me to strike at the weakness of his fear and pull. And I didn’t give him time to recover from his ignorance.

Instead, I froze time. Of course I was able to: I’d used fae powers while ‘alive’ often enough, what with all the watching leylines and controlling my aura, that I didn’t know why I hadn’t tried to do the reverse: using my vampire powers while dormant. My grip on time wasn’t as secure as it was when I was ‘alive,’ but it was enough. Everything stopped.

Everything, that is, except the trickle of power I was pulling in from Archarel — and the far thinner flows I’d extended to Megan and the rest. As with all the other flows I’d experienced in frozen time they remained open, and I continued to direct what I gathered from Archarel down the other lines. After a moment — or an hour or a month or a year — I cut off the flows to everyone except Megan. I had only opened those channels to alleviate the flow from Archarel before his overwhelming aura could tear me apart, but what I was able to pull was nothing like what he had been pushing into me through my fangs.

I poured all of it into Megan. I had to keep fending off the grasp of my curse to prevent it from latching onto Archarel’s aura and restoring me to ‘un-life.’ If I were to leave my dormant state I would lose the ability to pull from anyone I didn’t already have a strong connection to. I might even lose my ability to keep time frozen as my buffer of aura was consumed without a link to Archarel to restore it. I struggled desperately to balance my hold on time and on the curse and on Archarel’s aura.

Gradually, it became easier to handle. I don’t know how long I was struggling before it became second nature, but I didn’t care. In the tranquility of dormancy, the passage of time was meaningless. The only point at which I was aware that time had passed at all was when Archarel abruptly vanished from physical existence. His physical glamour collapsed as the aura sustaining it was consumed. I cut off the flow to Megan and drew those last threads of Archarel’s soul into myself, feeding them to my curse as I did.

The vampirism tore Archarel’s essence apart and streamed it through my soul. I watched, fascinated, as my heart rebuilt itself, breaking my fingers’ deathgrip — breaking my fingers themselves — in the process. My fingers healed. The mending of my flesh forced them out of my chest cavity, and then my awareness swam. My heart beat once. I let go of my hold on time and I sat up once more.

Absolute silence greeted me. I stood and hissed. The sun scorched my face.

Archarel was gone.

I strode across the cleared space toward Fumiko, Bonbon, and Megan. “I’ll fix Fumiko,” I snapped at Megan. “You do something about that damn sun.”

I knelt. “If I start to over-imbibe,” I growled at Bonbon, “push essence to replace what I take.”

Bonbon nodded and steeled herself. I sank my fangs into Fumiko’s arm. Bonbon began to push aura into Fumiko almost immediately, and my sympathetic healing began to take hold. Fumiko took a steadier breath.

And then the sun went out, and a crescent moon blossomed in its place. Stars lit up across the sky. And then the gathered faeries finally realized what had happened.

Archarel was gone.

Completely.

I had eaten their lord, and done so essentially instantly. I hadn’t even given them a chance to try to break their bonds to the land and Archarel before I’d destroyed him and given control of his realm to Megan.

His realm, which they were all bound to.

Megan, who had followed my commands and extinguished the sun.

Some trembled. Some shrieked, or collapsed, or burst into tears. Some tried to flee, though I couldn’t imagine where they thought they would go.

They were Megan’s, and through her they were fucking mine.

Midnight Moonlight, Book 4

32 responses to Book 4, Chapter 55


  1. Eren Reverie

    Ha! Made it! I was on the road for over eight hours yesterday and running around town most of today. I wrote most of this in the backseat of a moving car or ignoring people at social gatherings. (Sime friends of Arr’s ar getting married tomorrow and we went out of state for the wedding.) It’s been hectic, but it’s done and I hope you enjoy!

    • Astrum

      Thank you for your dedication to writing for us…reading in a car is hard enough I can’t imagine trying to write in one.
      Exams are finally over and I can get back to enjoying things. Two weeks of not reading was tough – but the buffer was immensely satisfying to sit down and read through.

      Also – thanks for being awesome. 🙂

  2. naturalnuke

    Whoooo! (And Yay) that was great, and an almost bearable end too! Can’t wait for next chapter.

  3. EmbarrassedReader

    So, I can imagine that when the other faerie lords hear about this, they’ll think: “Well f***.” And then proceed to evacuate reality. xD
    Awesome ending, can’t wait for more. 😀

    • docteurns

      And the Center. Do not forget the Center . “So… Yes… Baby vampire, with 5-6 days of existence… took down 2 directors and one fairy lord… Mmmmh… Someone care to explain why THE FUCK we tried to mess with her?!”

    • docteurns

      OOOOH!!! And not to mention that Megan is now both fairy lord AND changeling! How freaked out will be the Center if/when they learn that there’s a fairy lord who can come to the mortal realm as she pleases.

      And of course, there’s the matter of a city where fae and humans may cohabit (in exchange of a sip every so often) under the twin leadership of our BFF+ duo. I know at least one dryad (was it “dryad”? the began fae… anyway)… there’s this nice little park a few blocks from Abby’s home.

      Aaaaaaah~ No matter how much I enjoy a big epic fight, the aftermath of a victory will always be my guilty pleasure.

  4. docteurns

    Eeeeh… If Megan inherited all of Archarel’s power and oaths, does that means she must marry her “sister” now? XD

    • thorbjorn42gbf

      Well everything to make the serials relationshp tree even more messed up than it already is ^.^

      • EmbarrassedReader

        “Relationship Tree”? What tree? OH, you mean that underwater forest. That’s upside down. And on fire. The “Relationship Upsidewater Fireforest” if you will. Or RUP for short.

        And yes, I totally agree that the RUP is going to get even more messed up. Don’t forget the faerie who can now appear as her “worst fear”. Or that some of her fears are actually her fantasies. So… Yeah.

      • Are you implying that Pips will become female? Somehow, THAT’s f**king disturbing.

  5. Syndic

    Well, since I can’t think of anything more coherent right now I’ll just leave an

    AW YESSSSS!

    here with all the other praise ^_^

  6. seronx

    Intermission Arc, incoming?!

    – Back to work?
    – Romance?!
    – Marriage?!!?!?

  7. The second time I attempt to post this wall of text comes, this time I’m keeping a word backup.

    This does leave some loose threads, mostly centered around how Abigail won, you see, she ultimately defeated Archarel WITHOUT physical force, thus cheating at the duel.
    On the other hand at the start of the duel she was full of essence she’d gained by biting and as such there was no description of the weave latching onto her at the beginning to pull any of her aura away if she violated the terms of the duel.
    Did she get to keep his essence because she wasn’t bound by the weave to follow the terms of the duel at the beginning?
    Did she get to keep it because it was immediately passed to a non-signatory of the terms of the duel?
    Did she get to keep it because the victory terms of the duel involved taking all the loser’s stuff, thus preventing the weave from claiming it, and allowing the winner to claim it from the loser, however Archarel was too insta-killed to do so despite winning by default?

    In any case Megan now has indirect claim over those of Archarel’s subjects bound to his realm by controlling his realm-a glamour make from his essence, all of which she now possesses. However because of the way the duel was won neither Abigail nor Megan have claim to Archarel’s physical possessions, title’s, or personal bonds. It’s safe to assume that all fey present who were not guests from another realm were bonded both to Archarel personally, and to his land, but he must have had numerous contacts, spies, acquaintances, allies, debitors, and creditors who were in some way bonded to him personally, outside his realm that Megan now has no claim over(except possibly spies, it’s logical to control your field agents by holding their loved ones in your court), we have no idea how necessary these individuals were to the maintenance of his realm as an independent entity, whether the realm is now vulnerable to conquest or usurpation, or really anything about interactions between fey realms in general, though you’d think that having a fairy lord-killing vampire on your side would help with that.

    The only things preventing someone from calling them on the way the duel was won and attempting to form a more legitimate claim to Archarel’s stuff are a mixture of ignorance, confusion, intimidation, and the fact that someone in Archarel’s immortal position would never let a successor with any degree of legitimacy maintain that legitimacy.

    Moreover there is the issue that the fey, lacking personal bonds, are now less strongly bonded to Megan than they were to Archarel, and any who realize what has happened and have some aura to spare, such as Archarel’s lieutenants, or those described as crazy enough to volunteer to hunt in a city with a vampire in it, might be able to break their bonds to the land and at least flee.

    And we still don’t know what the guests think of all of this.

    I still feel like I’m missing something but this is what I’ve got in my head right this second.
    I might add more later.
    I really like your story and enjoyed reading this chapter.

    • Well… It’s debatable.

      She said “physical force, no spell, no geas.” but fae are technically entirely made of aura and not physical beings (though, there’s also the point of their “physicality” within the fae realm) so Abby using her “dormant-fae form” to drain Archarel to death might not be against the rules.

      Also, a spell is when the ambiant web/aura is used to do magic. I’m not sure whether or not vampires’ time thing really is a spell.

      And draining isn’t really a geas, because a geas is a binding…

      It’s logical that Megan might have a weaker hold than Archarel, but on the other hand, since all of A-chan’s forces had been recalled within his realm, so if some decide to defect, they can either:
      – Pass through the main gate: face a vampire and a group of solocks
      – Pass though the secret gate: face SEVERAL vampires and ghouls and solocks
      – Pass through the guest portal and swear fealty to Megan’s parents

      Then again, there is “crazy” fae and “crazy power hungry” fae… I’m sure everyone (even those who desire nothing but power) can see the benefits of following the one fae lord who is BFF with possibly the (future) most powerful vampire in existence. In fact, they probably would, except for the probable pro-war factions, who wish to anihilate vampires, take over the world and go back to the good ol’ Dark Ages where all humans feared fae, etc.

      After all, there are various reasons:
      1. Protection by Super-Vamp. Abby will protect whatever is hers, be it human, werewolf, fae or chupacabracorn.
      2. Protection by Megan. She’s a living anti-disbielive field, right? Plus she’s Abby’s buddy.
      3. Just wanting peace. Abby+Megan is quite a step against the eternal war between fae and… well… most of everybody else.
      4. Being lazy. Hey… I personnaly hate moving. Fae might just enjoy the neighbourhood, no matter who the landlord is.

      Though, yeah, the guests are an unknown. They do have so claim over Megan… or do they? They sort of abandonned her. Plus if Melvin can chose to swear fealty to her INSTEAD of her parents, she can be considered an independant entity…

    • Micha

      308, you seem pretty sure that Abby “cheated”. Here is the thing – by fae tradition, she didn’t. This duel was all about out thinking the other party in a duel of wits, not actually physical force. Both parties used aura manipulation early on, so its clear that it was an acceptable part of the duel.

      Fae powers seem to run on belief, so if neither believe the other to be cheating, then they are not.

      The weave of magic has responded to words, but never have we seen it make independant judgement calls. It might need an accusation of cheating to work. And the duel is over, so any cries of cheating are too late.

      The fae are like magical lawyers – they care about the word of the law, not the spirit. Hans promised to never threaten Tophat with a vampire again; then flat out said he would use a vampire again. Technically, it wasn’t a threat. Realistically, it absolutely was – “Make a claim for Abby again, and I will feed you to a vampire.” However, fae magic favors the technical. Abby used a loophole, and fae magic allows loopholes.

      As for Megan being the new ruler – that could be a side effect of having archeral’s energy, and the magic confusing her for him. The rulership may end up being temporary and fade as Archeral’s power settles and converts. Or it could be a matter of displaying ownership through brute force – Megan basically screamed “My Land!” by changing the sky. By fae tradition, you own the land, you own whomever lives on it.

      Its really too early to tell, though. We don’t even know if Megan is going to stay in faerieland, or head into reality with Abby. With her power, we are looking at another huge gate opening, or breaking through the existing one. Will she go dryad?

  8. Typo:

    But it was aura that Archarel had pushed into me; aura that I haf not subsumed.
    _______________________

    [had]

  9. John

    we did forget someone a female witch that is in the dungeon turning into not sure what

  10. Steve

    Oh good point. I do not think she was turning into anything though just put into an enchanted sleep by Archarel. An Enchantment that should have broken when he died. Bet she wakes up pissed, wonder if she still wants to be a vampire.

    • docteurns

      Well THAT reunion will be awkward…

      “Freaking Archarel!! I’m going to murder this bast- Oh… Hey… Megan… Abigail… Oh! Fumiko? You too? And Emma’s also there… How… err… unexpected. Eeeeh… Please don’t fire me? I really need that job.”

  11. lazrix

    One thing that confused me about this chapter, she pushes the energy to Megan because she’s a faerie noble and can handle it… buuuut isn’t the fae portion of Abby’s soul made from Megan? Ergo, she should be able to handle a substantial amount of the energy herself, granted not as much as Megan but she should’ve been fine for a bit there because of it. You’ve already written that magic doesn’t know the difference between Megan and Abby due to the shared soul, so I’d think it would’ve worked just fine with the energy right? o.0

    That would also make the earlier situation with Lewellan have a different outcome, and I know you can’t change things now but I was just confused on why you did things this way since they share the same noble fae soul even if Abby only has a portion ^.^

    • Eren Reverie

      The problem there is that the fae portion of Abby’s soul is wrapped up in her curse, which tends to tear up any essence fed to it and then push it back outward, into the ‘regular’ confines of Abby’s soul.

      Also… supposedly, yes, that fae noble part of Abby’s soul could handle the energy fed to it — except that if it grew too large in the porocess, *it* would rupture and overflow Abby’s mortal soul. And her mortal soul does still define the majority of who Abby *is.* Perhaps if the fae shard developed into more than a mere shard she would be able to survive the loss of her human soul and ‘live’ on the identity, instincts, aand emotions imbued into the expanded shard of Megan’s…. but for now? Abby has access to a lot of abilities through Megan’s soul — but her own is still also affwected by mortal/undead limitations. One of which is that ‘mortal’ souls have a boundary, beyond which they cannot expand. (Which is why living mortals have auras — it is the excess bleeding off of them as they generate new liffe force. But undead dont generatw new life force, and so their souls are altered by their curse to not let aura escape — which is why they tear and break when ‘overfilled.’)

  12. star34

    Mwa ha ha ha.

    Ok and now Abigail is by proxy lord of a whole fae kingdom, and they all now know this. Yeah I can see how that would cause a panic.

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