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  2. Defiance19

    Daniel

    Well done chapter, Thorn. Everything in me wants to protect Daniel from himself. He does not belong with those grandparents even though they have legal claim. Unfortunately, this happens too often, where kids get sent to relatives and not to whom is in their best interests. That’s across the board too. I hope Daniel and his dads stay together..
  3. Bft

    January 20, 2041

    This story was way too short, I am sorry to see this series of CJ and co finishing up I have followed it avidly, I will miss these guys and their adventures. my one criticism of this chapter why did you call CJ and Owens kids Jefferson & Roosevelt? Why do Yanks give their kids Surnames as. First names? It’s just odd. Muchax Gracias Carlos 😘
  4. mfa607

    Chapter 49

    Great chapter! Drew is done for. The two have him wrapped around their fingers! Thank you!
  5. Katya Dee

    Prologue

    Razor blade? Check. Warm bath? Check. Hard liquor? Check. Excellent. I glanced in the mirror and nodded with satisfaction. Yup, the halo is blacker than black. Okay, did I forget anything? I thought for a minute. Goodbye note? Eh, who cares. Wouldn't be too hard to figure out why the hell I did this. I mean, my parents knew that I was… 'disturbed.' Come on, seeing halos, predicting deaths? Pffft! They took me to a shrink twice a week, since I could never keep my mouth shut about the whole thing. Well, bite me. I thought I could make a difference, okay? And then the whole Josh thing… I believed that son of a bitch! I told him everything about me. And what did he do? Ugh, don’t ask. Just check his Facebook page and you’ll see. There is an entire freaking page dedicated to yours truly. So yeah, screw the goodbye note. I hemmed “Goodbye, Cruel World” under my breath and turned off the faucets. Should I get completely naked before getting into the bathtub? I imagined my parents (or my brother) finding my naked corpse and shuddered. No way! I am going to keep as much dignity as possible in this situation. I took a huge gulp out of the liquor bottle and coughed when it burned my throat. Ugh, if this crap makes me throw up, I’ll be livid. I carefully set the bottle on the sink and shook my head. Even one gulp of this stuff was enough to make me feel funny. Good God… I guess the fact that I barely drink, and that I haven’t had any food since last night… Oh, well. Who cares. I picked up the razor blade and looked at it critically. Okay, looks sharp enough. Good deal. I started taking off my socks, getting ready to get into the bathtub with my T-shirt and shorts on, when I heard someone sigh deeply right behind me. I froze. Are you kidding me?! Did my parents decide to come back early? I whirled around, and when I saw whoever was standing behind me, I lost my balance and plopped on the cold bathroom floor. “What…” I muttered, blinking rapidly. “Who the hell are you?!” There was a guy in my bathroom. I have never seen him before. He was tall, blond, and he was wearing a long black jacket. He was also wearing black sunglasses. Oh, boy… A robber? Great, just great! Just my luck. The guy sighed again. “You know,” he said quietly and sat next to me. “I am breaking a rule right now. In fact, I am breaking rule number one.” “Look…” I took a deep breath. “Take whatever you want… Just please, go away, okay?” “Take whatever I want?” he frowned. “What are you talking about?” “You came to rob my house, right?” I asked weakly. “Rob your…” he shook his head. “ No! Rayne, you seriously don’t remember me?” “No,” I whispered. Oh, God, please don’t tell me that he came here to rape me… Oh, hey, maybe he’ll just kill me instead? “Ugh,” he sighed again. “Okay, I am Seth.” “Seth what?” I asked automatically, and he shrugged. “Just Seth. Listen, you know me, all right? You used to talk to me every day until your parents started telling you that you were delusional…” I glanced at the liquor bottle. Is that to blame? Probably. The guy sighed again, this time even deeper -- a thing I didn’t think was possible -- and took off his sunglasses. I guess I almost screamed when I saw his eyes, but my breath got caught somewhere between my throat and my teeth, and the only sound that came out, sounded something like, 'Grmphss…' His eyes were bright-yellow, and he didn’t have any pupils. “Remember now?” he asked gently. I stared at him silently, and all of a sudden, I had some really weird flashbacks. Old dreams, conversations, and images flooded me with nauseating speed. …“Hey, Rayne.” “Hey, Seth…” “Honey, who are you talking to?” “It’s my friend, Mom! His eyes are really funny!” “Oh honey, I see… How old is your…'friend' with funny eyes? Is he also five? Ask him if he wants some cake?” “No, Mom! He is old! He is, like, thirty!” …Next picture. “Seth, that one is black…” “I know.” “I need to tell them!” “No. They won’t listen to you. Believe me on that.” “Rayne, kiddo, who are you talking to?” “Seth, Dad…” “Rayne… Look at me please… It was okay to talk to your imaginary friend when you were a little kid. You are older now. I need to tell you that…” I shook my head and closed my eyes. “What the hell is going on…?” I muttered. “Remembering, eh?” he asked with a grin. “Good. Listen, I have an offer for you.” “Who are you?” I didn’t open my eyes. I didn’t dare looking at him. I guess my parents were right all along -- I amdelusional. “An Observer,” he sighed. “As I said, I have an offer for you.” “Uh huh…” I muttered, eyes still closed. “Look,” he said patiently. “It is obvious to me that you don’t want to be a part of this world anymore, so…” I forgot that I didn’t dare looking at him and opened my eyes. Weird, but his yellow eyes didn’t scare me anymore. “What are you?” I demanded. I’ll just play along, what the hell. “Guardian angel or something?” He snorted at that. “Angel? No, actually I am quite the opposite. However, back to my offer… Rayne, I’ve known you all your life. Call me sentimental, but I’ve grown to like you. Plus,” he shrugged. “You are special as you are aware.” “Delusional,” I corrected him. “No,” he said simply. “You have a gift, and it might actually come in handy if you accept my offer.” “What offer?” The entire scene seemed beyond surreal. I wondered if I actually managed to slit my wrists, and was now just hallucinating because of blood loss or something. He leaned closer to me. “How would you like to become a Tribuo?” “A what?” I frowned. “Roughly translated, it’s a chance giver. Look,” he fiddled with his sunglasses. “You can see when someone is about to die. You also want to make a difference, right?” “Wrong,” I answered sharply. “Look, I don’t know who the hell you are, but…” “What if I told you,” he didn’t even blink at my outrage. “That you could be able to give someone the last chance? For survival?” I stared at him. If this is some sort of a stupid joke… “It’s not a joke,” he grimaced. “Rayne, as an Observer, I am breaking rule number one right now, which means that I will have to…” he shook his head. “Never mind.” “What’s rule number one?” I asked numbly. “Do not get involved,” he sighed. “But it doesn’t matter. If I make you a Tribuo, it’ll be worth it. Plus,” he grinned. “I always wanted to have a Tribuo on my side.” “A chance giver…” I muttered. “What does it mean?” I couldn’t believe myself. I was actually taking this seriously?! What's wrong with me? But then again… I remembered this guy. It was like remembering something that was long forgotten, but it was real, you know? Plus, he knew about halos, it seemed. “Well,” he kept fiddling with his sunglasses. “You can try and change a chain of events for… Certain people,” he glanced at me. “Not the ones that face death because of an illness, but the ones that face it because of the choices they’ve made. Or about to make. As a Tribuo, you can give them one last chance.” “Wouldn’t that be getting involved?” I asked without even thinking that I was talking to my own hallucination. This was interesting. “No,” he shook his head. “You will be giving them another chance -- you won’t be making it for them. If they take it, then something will change. If not…” he shrugged. “You will only get one try, but you just might succeed, right?” He smiled, and I was almost mesmerized by that point. “I mean, you want to end it all right here and now, but… Becoming a Tribuo is a much better thing than dealing with the consequences of suicide…” “What consequences?” I whispered and he shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. Just believe me on that, okay? Look,” he took another deep breath. “If you say no, that’s fine. I’ll still end up in deep shit for intervening, but…” he shrugged. “I am not going to…” I bit my lip and looked into his yellow eyes. “I am not going to say no,” I finished, and smirked bitterly. “If this is but a hallucination, then I guess I’ll play along until I bleed to death. And if it’s not a hallucination…” I hemmed at the very thought. “I’ll take your offer, Seth.” He got up so quickly that my head spun. He stretched his arm and I took his hand. His skin felt smooth and cool. Almost too cool. It wasn’t unpleasant; it was just odd. Like he just took a very cold shower. He pulled me up on my feet, and suddenly, his face was really close to mine. “What, now I have to kiss you or something?” I asked with a nervous giggle, and he smiled. “No,” he said. “Nothing like that.” He leaned even closer, and suddenly, I pulled away. “Wait!” I exclaimed and he frowned. “What about my parents? I mean…” I stuttered. “Will I just disappear or something? They will go crazy…!” Seth glanced at the bathtub full of water, an open bottle of liquor, and a razor blade that I set on the side of the tub. “Does it really matter?” he asked solemnly and I bit my lip. Does it, really? I was about to let my parents find my dead body. Disappearance would actually be better. “No,” I said finally. “It doesn’t matter.” He nodded without saying anything, and then his yellow eyes were so close to my face that for a second, I felt like I was drowning in them. “Breathe, Rayne…” he muttered, and I did just that.
  6. Katya Dee

    The Tribuo

    Freedom of choice... What if you were given a choice right before you were about to do something irreversible? Would you recognize it? Would you take it? Or would you ignore it?
  7. Defiance19

    Julie

    Go Julie! And her mom was just great Jason’s dad...”Son, there’s something I have to tell you....” lol I wonder how deep down Jason’s bigotry really is. He was loud and offensive, clearly thinking that his dad and maybe the rest of the family was on his side. Maybe he was testing the waters by being the aggressor? Hmm Awesome chapter!
  8. croyde

    Chapter 16

    Realistic given one is emotionally screwed up and the other has socialisation issues. Just how they might have gone on is hard to say, but........... Ripe case for a sequel if TZ was ever a mind to do so. Held my attention as read the whole book in two days of commuting so thanks for making that bearable.
  9. Chills? Wow. Thanks for keeping me company while I pay homage to her. She is magic, and her physical pull is very real. I am lucky to live where I do. So many times I considered letting the farm go, but I just couldn't, and now I can enjoy what it has to offer. Thanks for your unwavering support, buddy. XOXOXOXO
  10. Everyone saw my even more stupid/banal/excruciating than usual Comments that they were frightened away from responding? ;–)
  11. droughtquake

    #765 The Mackerel

    I could ask the one question that frustrates both you and @Timothy M.… ;–)
  12. Timothy M.

    #765 The Mackerel

    LOL, of course - I forgot about that.
  13. REPLY Really, everyone prefers live yoghurt TASTE
  14. I think I wanted to come back and make a comment after I thought it over and I just forgot. I'll get there eventually.
  15. Today
  16. chris191070

    Chapter 33

    Awesome chapter.
  17. What is it about the Moon that defies all our knowledge? Despite having walked on her dusty surface, a mere mention conjures up ancient magic and millenia of dreams....chills enveloped me as your words wove their spell. Lucky you, with all of outdoors to waft in on that breeze--I get occasional flowers, mown lawns and the tinge of exhaust from passing cars outside my door...or the wail of sirens or yells of students on a game day....
  18. You could always get mini potted roses. They will give you blooms all summer long as long as you fertilize. I use Miracle Gro. Same with love, if you look after it... feed it... and appreciate it while you have it.
  19. Superpride

    Chapter Eleven

    Hopefully, Damien will be able to learn more about Annabella’s past since it is very apparent she has been very secretive about her family for example. And maybe get some kind of closure as well. Also, thank you for liking the origin of Odin who also only has one eye in the original mythology. 😉
  20. Forget his regards i want another chapter!
  21. Today's question - Why does Chapter 14 'Wiped out' have a measly total of 3 comments? Was it so stupendous / banal / excruciating that nobody apart from @droughtquake put digital pen to paper? Just curious.
  22. I like it--especially since it joins two of my favorite things, writing and roses. I've tried growing these before, and failed every time, but at least I had a few successful loves bloom for a time. Still, the beauty of a rose is eternal, as is the memory of Love.
  23. Awesome chapter. Can’t wait to see what Xaviel has shifted into.
  24. Puppilull

    Chapter 48

    Well now... That was satisfying. ☺
  25. Butcher56

    ADC Chapter 13

    Awesome chapter, Devon shouldn’t be too mad at Edgar for streaking from the bathroom to his room right across the hall. Now that he knows for sure that Edgar is gay he should understand the streaking behavior. I hope that Devon calms down quite a bit before he says something that he’ll regret later, especially since he needs Edgar’s help as he gets his strength and mobility back.
  26. chris191070

    ADC Chapter 13

    Awesome chapter. Great to see the guests from Australia. I’m not surprised about Edgar, he just needs to stop streaking in front of people.
  27. “Umnios, God of Wisdom and God of Shifters, I call upon you in this hour of the night. Hear my call and hear my prayer. With the life energy of a shifter, my body has been imbued. Allow my spirit - my other form - to come forth, for I am ready to serve you.” -- The sorcerer laid on the floor, clutching the wound on his stomach as the blood spilled out and stained the thick, ivory-colored carpet. Above him, Xaviel stood, holding the bloody dagger in his hand and looking at him with a strange mixture of fear and relief on his face. Fear - because he had now crossed the point of no return, and relief - because he would finally be free and on the cusp of tasting true power. “Why?!” the boy repeated after his father, as if shocked that such a question even had to be asked. “Because now I can finally be free! No longer imprisoned in this forsaken desert, and by my own father!” Macarius coughed as he looked at his son with sadness and horror. Even though the physical wound hurt like hell, the pain of Xaviel’s betrayal was infinitely bigger. How could his own son do this to him? They fought, that was true, but surely things weren’t so dire that he deserved to die at the hands of his child? All he ever wanted was to keep Xaviel safe. And now, after everything he did to save him, thinking he had lost him for good, it turns out he had already lost him a long time ago. The guilt he felt at that moment was overwhelming; it came over him like a massive tidal wave and he was unable to escape it. “You… you planned this?” Macarius struggled to utter. “The bite…” “Of course I planned it,” the boy replied. “You may be smart, father, but so am I. After all, I learned from the best. You see, there was no spider bite. Just a dose of Fiend Bat venom, enough to put me in a coma.” The old man’s eyes welled up as he realized the lengths to which his son had gone to get rid of him. But something still wasn’t clear to him - if Xaviel had wanted to kill him, he could have done it anytime. He could have entered Macarius’ chambers and kill him in his sleep. Why go to the trouble of pretending to be at the brink of death just so Macarius would try and save him? “I don’t… understand. Why all this?” Xaviel kept his distance. The pained look on his father’s face was making him start feeling remorse, which was something he could not afford at that moment. He had come too far to let himself get emotional; he had to see things through. “Because I needed you to do the hard work for me. I knew you would do anything to make the antidote to save me.” As the realization hit Macarius, his son snickered with pleasure. “Did you think you were the only one reading the Book of Venoms? I know all about the universal antidote and the ritual to become a shifter. I am now immune to everything! And since I have shifter blood within me, I shall finally complete the ritual!” Macarius shook his head in despair, realizing what Xaviel was about to do. The ritual for becoming a shifter was never perfected, it went against Gods and the very laws of nature. Only people blessed by Umnios could become shifters - he was the only one who could bestow such a gift upon anyone. It was not something meant to be artificially created or played with by anyone. Count Divinus was the prime example of what could happen when a man took it upon himself to play a God. “No… don’t,” he tried to warn Xaviel, but the boy merely smirked and shook his head, rejecting his father’s cautioning. “I have everything I need, thanks to you. But unlike Divinus and all the others, I shall not fail.” Realizing he could do nothing to stop or discourage his son from the perilous experiment he was about to perform, Macarius felt more powerless than ever. He could only pray that Xaviel would be alright. Even though the sting of betrayal hurt, father’s love was far stronger than that. “I… love you,” Macarius whispered. Despite everything, he needed Xaviel to know that. He needed those to be his final words to his son. As he uttered them, the sorcerer closed his eyes and his head gently touched the floor, his whole body motionless. Xaviel briefly took in the scene before him, but found himself unable to look anymore. He quickly turned around, his heart pounding harder than ever. He could feel it in his chest, in his head and ears. It sounded like a bell, strong and ominous, signaling the end of a chapter in his life. That was the turning point and there was no going back. He was finally free, that much he realized, but he didn’t quite feel it. He mostly felt scared, anxious for what was to come. Deep down, though, there was something else - a feeling that disturbed him the most, but he was in no mind to analyse it just then. Hiding the blade under the couch, he rushed out of the room. He hated his feelings, they were just getting in the way. He just wanted to go on with his plan and leave as soon as possible. Cassandra stood at the other end of the hall, observing him. As soon as he laid his eyes on her, Xaviel felt better. His heart felt lighter and he could feel his lips drawing into a big smile. Somehow, things didn’t seem that scary and bleak anymore. He rushed to her and wrapped his arms around her, holding her tight. The girl mirrored his movements, hugging the boy as tears trickled down her pale cheeks. “You… you’re back.” “Yes, my love,” Xaviel whispered. He couldn’t hold back the tears either. “I told you I’d come back to you.” “You did… Praise the Gods,” Cassandra spoke, leaning away and looking at her beloved in the eyes. Even though she had faith in him, seeing him lay unmoving in that glass casket for weeks was incredibly difficult. Every day, she would visit his room just to make sure he was still there, wishing he would wake up. Now that she had him back with her, Cassandra’s relief was immeasurable. “You look… beautiful! I feel like I haven’t seen you in years,” Xaviel gushed as he caressed the girl’s face. “I visited you every day, spoke to you, read you from your books. How I yearned to hear your voice again, see you paint, hear you laugh.” “I’m here now,” he assured her, smiling. It felt good to hear that he was missed, that someone was concerned about him, eagerly awaiting him. Their heartfelt reunion was interrupted when Xaviel noticed five strangers emerging from behind the corner and walking toward them. He looked at Cassandra questioningly and whispered: “Who are they?” “Three of them are shifters the master brought for the antidote. The other two are their friends, I believe,” the girl explained in an equally quiet voice. As the group approached the reunited couple, Xaviel separated from Cassandra and faked a big smile, observing the five strange faces. “Xaviel?” Cyr stepped forward cautiously, a frown on his young face. “I saw you in that casket. So it worked.” “Yes, it worked,” the boy exclaimed, nodding energetically. “And it’s all thanks to you, you saved my life! Thank you so much for helping my father with the antidote,” he added, looking at each of the five people in front of him. Only then did he notice the two dark-skinned boys looked identical. “Ahh, you’re twins!” “Yeah, I’m Castor. This is my brother Cyr,” Castor giggled and introduced the two of them. The rest of the group introduced themselves as well, all shaking hands with Xaviel. Now that they saw the boy was alive and well, they felt slightly relieved after the ordeal they were put through. They helped a man save his son’s life, and not a lot of people can say they did something as noble as that. They served a good cause. Castor was especially glad his venom was used to save someone’s life. “Where is Macarius?” Jarin asked, wondering why the man himself was not appearing. He should be there with them, celebrating that he finally got his son back. Cassandra, who up to that point had been completely focused on having her lover back, also realized she hadn’t seen her master. Like everyone else, she turned to Xaviel, awaiting his reply. Killing his father was the one step of his plan Xaviel didn’t share even with her. “Father is too exhausted after the spell he had to perform to awaken me, I’m sure you understand. He just wants to rest for a while and regain his strength. All of this has been very difficult for him, both physically and emotionally” Xaviel explained, doing his best to look sad and sympathetic. “Right,” Dymia muttered and nodded, though not completely sure if she believed him. There was something about the boy she couldn’t quite put her finger on. “Father will be with us shortly, once he has calmed down a little. He suggested we wait for him in the dining room, said he had an important announcement to make,” Xaviel said, leading everyone upstairs and away from the crime scene. “And besides, I’m starving. I feel like I haven’t eaten in weeks!” As they all filed into the large dining area, Xaviel remained at the entrance, with Cassandra close by. “Please excuse me now, I should really go wash myself and get a change of clothing before we eat,” he said politely and left the room. As soon as Xaviel was out of sight, his smile turned to a serious frown and he rushed up the stairs to get the Book of Venoms from the laboratory. He had already wasted too much precious time on pleasantries with those people. When did his father suddenly become so welcoming and start receiving guests? For as long as Xaviel knew him, Macarius never had any friends. No one ever came to visit them in their remote fortress other than healers that his father would teleport whenever Xaviel or him would fall ill or get injured. Perhaps these strangers were instrumental in saving his life, but at that moment, Xaviel didn’t want to waste any more time on them. He had to perform his ritual while it was still dark or he would have to wait for tomorrow. And that was something he would not do! He had waited too long for that moment to come, and now that he was so close, no one would stop him. After retrieving the book from Macarius’ laboratory, Xaviel went to his astronomy tower, locking the door behind him. Cassandra was the only one with a key, but she knew not to disturb him until the ritual was complete. The boy took seventeen candles from a shelf, one for each zodiac sign, and placed them on the floor in a circle. One by one, he lit them all and then took a large Void Crystal in one hand, and the Book of Venoms in the other. As he sat in the middle of the circle, Xaviel placed the book in front of him, opening it on the desired page. He then took the crystal and placed one end of it in the flame of each candle. When he finished, he pressed the hot end of the crystal in the palm of his other hand, feeling the burn on his skin. It hurt more than he thought it would, but he knew he couldn’t stop. Thanks to his father, he already had shifter blood coursing through his veins. All that was left to do was to read the lines from the book. Once he saw his blood flowing from the wound on his palm, Xaviel read the incantation, calling upon Umnios, the God of Shifters, with every fiber of his being. Finally, he set the crystal down and closed his eyes. The ritual was complete. His heart was racing as he waited for a sign. Something, anything to let him know if it worked. He had waited for so long and went so far to get what he wanted. He couldn’t fail now. It was the moment of truth. Suddenly, the boy felt a strong chill in the room and began to shiver. It lasted merely for a moment, though, and when he opened his eyes, he found that all of the candles had been extinguished. He slowly stood up and looked at himself to see if anything had changed. As he inspected his arms and legs, he felt a searing pain coursing through his body and fell down on the floor. Doubling over in agony, he screamed as his chest heaved rapidly. Xaviel realized his body was changing, as fear and excitement battled within him. It was working. ~~ Sawyer was sitting at the table next to his beloved Castor, eating fresh bananas and mangoes served by Cassandra. Even though they had had a proper feast when they arrived to the Citadel earlier that evening, he was always hungry. Ever since people learned he was a sorcerer, they believed he must be using magic to keep himself thin, since he had such a healthy appetite. Of course, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Even if he knew such magic, Sawyer would never use it. Cyr sat on the other side of Castor, catching up with his brother and Sawyer, while Dymia and Jarin were seated across the table. Everyone was quickly getting restless as there was no sign of either Macarius or Xaviel. “Where could they be?” Dymia asked. She knew she wasn’t the only one to find the whole thing odd, but she didn’t want to mention anything, not in front of Cassandra anyway. The servant girl was a mystery to her, with the strange way she treated them since they were brought to the Citadel. “Maybe they wanted some time alone together,” Castor suggested. “They hadn’t talked in weeks, right?” “Yeah, but still…” All of a sudden, horrifying screams coming from somewhere nearby startled them. Everyone looked at each other in shock and confusion, but Cassandra was scared the most, her face turning pale as if she had seen a ghost. She knew something horrible must be happening to her lover. “What the hell was that?” Jarin asked, jumping up from his chair. Dymia and Cyr were quick to follow. “I’ll look into it, you stay here,” Cassandra ordered, immediately leaving the room and sealing the door behind her. She couldn’t afford to have those nosy kids meddling in Xaviel’s affairs now. They could ruin everything. The servant girl rushed up the stairs to the astronomy tower, fearing the worst. However, Jarin paid no attention to Cassandra’s orders. He went for the door, but couldn’t open it. No matter how hard he pushed, the heavy wooden door wouldn’t budge. “That bitch locked us in again!” he grunted, banging on the door. “Open up!” ~~ Xaviel writhed on the ground from the excruciating pain that seemed to set his every nerve ending on fire. He screamed and kicked the candles around, not caring about anything anymore. The physical torture his body was going through was too much, he could barely withstand it. He just hoped it would be worth it in the end. Every part of his body was shifting, until the transformation was complete. The pain finally began to subside and Xaviel knew he had successfully shifted for the very first time in his life. Picking himself off the ground, the boy approached the large oval mirror on the wall and beheld his animal form in the light of the moon and the few torches burning on the wall. His eyes gleamed yellow in excitement. He was magnificent!
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