Deglon Blood (Vilmo's Wrath ) Chapter 2

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Nora shivers as she sits on the balcony outside her bedroom, listening to the music the sea creates while crashing against the rocks.

"Twenty-one years of existence tomorrow," she says, thinking of her birthday.

Nora flinches as the mist from the waves below tickles her nose as she breathes in the fresh spring air. Every morning, the ocean greets her with a kiss that always surprises her.

Nora's father has inflated her 21st birthday. Unintentionally persuading her that this birthday will be different from previous ones. Nora sees an unexplained change stirring in her father, even though he said nothing to make her assume that something special will happen this year.

Although she is overjoyed, she may not have to spend another birthday cooped up in her house with her father and Uncle Rod, pretending to have the time of their life. Her father's abrupt change of mood scared her. Sorrow hides behind his smiles, and pain rests in his eyes. This birthday frightens her. She tries to prepare for the darkness she believes will soon invade her family's life.

Noah spent more time at home this month than he had in four years. Nora didn't dislike the attention, but it made her wonder why.

She didn't dare to ask because she knew he wouldn't give her a straight answer. For him, revealing even the most basic details of his job is too risky. He informed her repeatedly that it was for her protection that she didn't know. However, his recent behavior leads her to believe that he will soon expose everything.

She imagined he was a covert spy under strict orders not to discuss his job for years. She even went so far as to act out situations in which he and she were partners as a child. Her toys and stuffed animals frequently acted as shapeshifters, vampires, and gangsters for her to roughhouse with. She would spend hours pretending to save the lives of everyone she cared about. She aspired to be someone her father was proud of. She wished she could be like him. The belief that being similar to her might keep him close to her. At the very least, close enough that he would stay at home more often. As she grew older, she questioned his job. "It's not the right time, Nora," he'd say.

Nora despised the way those words slid off his tongue. She loathed them so much that she attempted to avoid using them in her sentences for a whole year.

Noah Langly is a serious man. His brown eyes appear to see through people's darkest secrets, which is always enough to keep Nora honest. She's terrified of being caught telling even tiny lies.

Although she has no memory of her mother, she has always assumed that her great looks were inherited from her father. She found it endearing that they were so similar, except for Noah's immaculate features, which Nora was jealous of. She often admires his flawless skin, naturally tanned and free of blemishes. Her father is perfect in every aspect. Nora has never seen him work out, despite his 6'3" frame and appearance, which suggests he's a gym nut.

Occasionally, Nora would sit and watch him read the paper, awed by how young he appeared at 51. She'd never figured out why he never aged. Those are the times when her imagination ran wild with what-ifs.

She used to think he was a vampire. As a child, she crept into his room while he slept, sure she'd discover a hidden room with a coffin inside. However, her quest for answers was usually unsuccessful. Nora's interest has never been hidden while she sought answers, but Noah never questioned why she did it; he pretended not to notice.

Noah stands in a room full of exquisite golden statues after being brought in without warning. In the brilliant chamber, three hazy figures are seated on enormous golden chairs. Noah crouched and bowed his head.

"Rise, Noah," a soft voice echoes.

"Your child is in danger. The world is in danger," another voice says.

"I am aware of the danger that follows my daughter," Noah replies.

"No, I don't think you are. As you know, our lead soldier has rebelled against us. Evil beings will find you soon," Losrath declared.

"My lords, I have known Dumont's intentions for a long time now. But... No Szion is as strong as Dumont. We are just trying to survive. Thank you for the warning, but I'm afraid I don't understand the point of this meeting," Noah says.

Rod Langley and Robert Crew walk out from behind a curtain with sadness on their faces.

"Have you brought us here to ask us to stop him?" Robert asks.

"No. We are not the ones that will stop him," Rod answers.

"It's Nora and Robbie. Isn't it?" Robert lets out a deep sigh.

"They are the only ones that can," Desmond responds.

"What is it you want? What can two children do against Dumont?" Noah snaps.

Losrath stands swiftly, facing Noah.

"You will contain your frustration!"

"Please forgive me." Noah lowers his eyes and again kneels.

"Your daughter has something Dumont wants. She can be valuable to that world. When she and young Robbie bond, it will be powerful. Their love is—like none we have ever seen. So—pure. Even after all these years, they still long for one another," Losrath says.

"No! She is just... You will not put Nora and Robbie in danger," Noah says, trying to control his tone.

"Noah. Nora is no longer a child. That world needs her," Desmond says.

"I will take care of Dumont!"

"Noah, No. The demons from the Dark World will overpower you. Dumont has also recruited half of the Boligon army to do what he commands. His army is too strong in numbers for any Szion. But soon—Nora and Robbie will be stronger than any being we have ever seen. If their love is as strong as we hope it is, they can get rid of Dumont together. Nora alone is more powerful than any three Szion. Dumont is after that, and he will not stop until she is dead. But—if they cannot stop him...."

"I will kill him," Noah says.

"I think you forget one important thing, Noah," Losrath says.

"What's that?"

"Dumont knows your weakness. Every day he uses your daughter against you. You can never do what we need."

Noah sighs.

"I will take care of it," he insists.

"As you wish, Noah. But if no one stops Dumont, we will send for any Szion that wishes to return and then destroy that world," Tromtorrio says.

"No! What about the lives of our children and families?" Noah asks.

"We have made our decision. Now, you make yours. Do not allow Dumont to kill Nora. If you do, all is lost in that world," Desmond says.

"I heard you the first time," Noah whispers. "There will be no need to destroy our home. Nora will be ready."

In a heartbeat, Noah stands heavy-hearted at his back door.

Two teenage boys who have been buddies since second grade spend three days preparing for their transition. Both are certain that they have evolved into beings capable of displaying exceptional talents. They are eager to show that they are transforming from humans to vampires.

They'd been discussing it for months. No matter how certain they are in their invincibility, they have yet to put their faith in a gunshot to the heart. Tonight, they will prove that they are capable of defeating death.

Dumont kept tabs on them for the past two days and observed their desperate attempts to get noticed. The boys drank and danced around a bonfire outside the schoolyard for several hours before Dumont approached them.

"So, you boys got big plans tonight, do you?" he asks, snatching a bottle of whiskey from the taller of the two.

Dumont sips from the bottle while sitting on a tree log opposite the boys. They look up at him, surprised, and then laugh—Dumont smiles and nods before taking another gulp from the bottle.

"What's it to you, Prince Silas?"

Dumont locks his gaze on them for a long minute. One is tall, skinny, and clumsy, with black hair and freckles. The other is medium height, with blond hair, glasses, and a significant stutter. Dumont smiles.

"Do you not respect your King? What are your names?"

The boys again laugh.

"King! You are no King."

A wide smirk spreads across the Prince's face.

"Why suicide? There is no honor in such a death?"

After twisting the cap onto the whiskey bottle Dumont tosses it to the blond.

"Oh, we don't want to die. We won't die," the dark-haired boy says.

"You will die. You are neither a vampire nor are you a gifted as you believe. Have you ever seen a gifted person?"

They both frown and shake their heads.

"A demon or vampire?"

The boys again shake their heads. Dumont sighs.

"We will show you and everyone that calls us liars," the taller boy barks.

"No, you are not liars, just confused. You've claimed a world that doesn't belong to you."

"You kn—know, know—nothing about us."

Dumont laughs.

"I am more knowledgeable than you believe. I asked your names for the sake of conversation, you see. I know you. Scott and Cranston. I know you two despise your worthless existence so much that you intend to prove to everyone who has mocked you and called you names that you are just as good as them. So you will die, proving to them that you are as insane as they claim, " Dumont says.

In a state of confusion, the boys' wide-eyed gazes shift between each other and back at Dumont many times.

"What if I told you I can make you what you desire to be? Not only will you no longer be human, but you will serve your King as soldiers."

"What are you talking about?" Cranston asks.

Dumont smiles; he looks to the ground and then back up. The boys jump from their seats.

"W—what are y—you?"

"I am your king, and I require an army."

Dumont's red eyes glow brighter than the fire.

"I can change your life. "You will never have to return home. And—that stutter of yours, gone. Isn't this what you are looking for?"

The boys nod.

"Will it hurt?" Cranston asks.

"Yes."

Dumont charges the boys. Each of their lives is slowly and thoroughly drained until a demon's soul has been substituted for their own. In a mummified state, they sway from side to side. Finally, Dumont snaps his fingers and locks their gaze on him with fierce red eyes.

"As promised, you have a life here. Now I expect you to keep your word. Find me Nora and Robbie. Kill them and bring me their bodies. If you stray, I will kill you. Freedom will be yours when Nora and Robbie are mine," Dumont says.

"Are the portals open?"

"The portals will open when I have those souls!" Dumont snaps.

"How do you expect just the two of us to defeat a Szion and a Vilmo?"

"I am not a fool! There will be more humans willing to die tonight. You will not be alone," Dumont says, vanishing.

For much of the day, Noah and Nora are solitary companions. Noah tries to get as much done as possible with his daughter in a single afternoon. Leisurely strolling across the city while they chat, shop, and eat. They stay up till the sun sets playing card games at home. Nora leans in to give her father a comforting kiss as she gives in to her exhaustion.

"Going to bed, Daddy."

Noah nods.

"We are leaving for Uncle Rod's in the morning."

Nora gives him a questioning stare. For years Rod always came to them.

"He wants to see you tomorrow," he says.

Nora nods.

"Nora!"

"Yes, Dad."

"Uh...nothing. I just wanted to say I love you. Sweet dreams."

His troubled tone and deep sorrow evident in his eyes make Nora nervous.

"Dad, what's wrong?"

"Nothing. Everything is fine. It's nothing for you to worry about."

In an air of dismissal, Noah waves his hand.

Nora had noticed her father's unhappiness a long time ago. This time, however, it has an increased sense of urgency. As she looks into her father's eyes, she can tell he's inconsolable. When an unknown disease struck the entire earth, she remembers him staring at her in the same way.

Mysterious causes of death claimed the lives of countless numbers of people. Nora and her father had just moved from Panama, Florida to Caladesi Island, Florida. That night, everything in Nora's life changed. That night, no one's life was ever the same.

Nora was sixteen then. She and her father drove for hours into the night. Noah never told her why they had to leave behind their family. Even though Nora knew there was a good reason. It upset her for a long time. He didn't answer any of her questions and never planned to.

Months spent apart from their family turned into years. People throughout the world soon found life painfully challenging. Newspapers across the globe reported on horrible, unexplained deaths. To be safe, Noah never let his daughter leave the house. So instead, she occupied herself with the newspapers he would bring home. With all the horror she read in those, she eventually stopped wanting to go out. People became hostile out of nowhere. At times, it appeared as though all human kindness had vanished.

One afternoon, they drove an hour from their home. The terror was indescribable. Like in a horror story, the city was destroyed, deserted, and bodies covered the ground. Astonished, Nora stared in horror at what she saw. How could they leave these people's bodies to rot like this? Nora thought. People salvaged what they could to survive. Hoping that life would return to what it once was.

"What happened? Is everyone dead, Dad?"

"No, not everyone. This happens when the earth changes. There are things in this world, not even I understand now. The ones that survived went to find a place where life still exists".

"Will they find it?" Nora asked.

"Yes. Things are getting better. They will learn how to live again, but things in this world will never be the same. In a few months, this will be better. All this will be cleaned up, and life will go on as if this never happened. Nora, being eighteen and confused is hard, I know, but this is the reason I am so protective. We must stay strong. If we don't, this world will not survive."

Every action her father took, Nora knew, was done to keep her safe.

Rattled by her father's worried expressions, Nora is no longer tired when she returns to her room. She sits on her balcony, staring down at the phosphorous made by the waves crashing on the coast until she can no longer stand the tension. She dashes to her father's room, only to find that he is not there. To make matters worse, it is strangely silent. For a while, it's hard to tell that the generator has stopped buzzing.

Moonlight streams through the blinds, revealing that his bed is still nicely made, and his night clothes are draped from the closet door hook. Nora hears movement from the kitchen as she heads for the back door to see if Noah is working on the generator. The presence of evil chills the air. Ignoring her feelings, she tells herself it is all in her head for a brief period until the uncomfortable sensation becomes too intense for her to overlook. Finally, in her terror, she convinces herself that her father is fumbling around in the dark blindly.

Before making her way to the kitchen, she hurries to her room to get her shoes and get dressed. Her palms are sweating uncontrollably, and her heart is hammering furiously in her ears. She takes her time and looks for her father in the dim moonlight through each room.

"Dad? Is that you?" she whispers, just before tripping and falling to the floor next to the front door.

She lingers on the carpet for a few seconds longer than necessary, even though she isn't hurt. Another wave of that dreadful, ominous feeling sweeps her up. Before her legs quit working, she manages to stand up and take one step. She only sees it as a sliver of darkness out the corner of her eye. A shadow is creeping up on her. She makes a run for the door.

"Nora, wait!"

She collapses into his arms, unable to continue her sentence.

"Shh—we have to leave! The car is out back. I don't have time to explain now," Noah says, wiping her face with the back of his hand.

While gripping the bac