Ebony stood in front of me with her grey eyes fixed on me as if she was a living sculpture. I felt the sweat trickle down my back as my eyes transfixed with hers. They were like entering a grey, depthless sky of winter. Cold and calm with the tiny sparks of ice pricked at my skin. I was slowly being drawn into Ebony—she was forcing me to do a Taking. I tried to resist as she pushed her way in like a large foot being crammed into a shoe that was way too small.
“Stop!” Malachi’s voice broke through. “You’re killing her!”
I felt something hit the side of my body hard like a car had smacked into me. I gasped for air as I pushed myself up to see Malachi standing in front of me with Ebony glaring at him.
“You are an ignorant little monster that doesn’t understand the way things are. You like April and will protect her, but you can’t protect her from everything.” Ebony’s voice was calm as she stood gazing at Malachi with her head tilted to the side. “How are you going to fend off the demons, angels, and other countless beings that would love to have a slice of her and watch for them every hour, minute and second of time?” She began to pace the floor as Malachi stood over me with knees bent, and arms in front of him ready to fight.
Ebony’s footsteps clicked on the floor as her grey skin sparkled with flecks of gold.
“The answer to my question is one that I know you know without it even being brought up—you can’t.” She stopped and stood with her arms at her side and eyes fixed on Malachi. “She doesn’t need your protection, Malachi Stelhollow.” Her lips curled into a smile. “You will die, she will die, and countless other will die,” she said with a slight raise of her voice. “Malachi, I know she has two others energies in her, and I can’t destroy Eos by myself and April can’t destroy Eos by herself.” Her voice was filled with compassionate understanding. “But we can as one.”
“You’re a demon—you trick whoever you want into doing whatever you want!” Like lightning, Malachi snatched a silver disk from his belt and threw in towards Ebony.
It hissed through the air towards Ebony who raised her hands expelling a ball of light that shattered the disk into fragments that fell to the floor like marbles.
Ebony knelt to the ground with her arm outstretched towards the pieces of shattered disk, and twisted and turned her hand as if tuning an invisible knob. Slowly, the fragments rolled towards her and one by one, joined and melted until the disk was whole again.
Ebony picked it up as Malachi took a step back. She held it between her pinched fingers and slowly stood up.
“I could kill you if I wanted, you know that, but I don’t wish to kill you. Killing is reserved for other purposes and as a last resort. I want things different for demons and monsters and even angels. There is no need to fight and pull each other’s hair all the time. I’ve been around for a long time, and from the shadows, I’ve witnessed many things.” Her words were soft and she slightly smiled at Malachi as she dropped the disk to the floor.
It made a clanking sound that reverberated through the air, and then skidded towards Malachi, stopping at his feet.
“I don’t trick monsters or anyone. I desire trust and respect and I intend to give respect and trust to those who wish to join me.”
Malachi looked down at the disk as Ebony followed his gaze.
“I don’t trust demons—any of them,” he replied sternly.
She nodded her head. “I understand, but if I wasn’t true to my word and did present my intentions clearly, I wouldn’t take the time to tell you them, and kill you rather than explain myself.”
Malachi snatched the disk and held it in his hand. Ebony’s eyes flickered to me for just a moment.
“You have a sister that lived with you in the Borderlands of Iethia,” Ebony tilted her chin upward as her grey eyes glistened in the dim light of the orillions.
“Had a sister—demons destroyed the Borderlands—you know that.” He twirled the disk between his fingers as if he was contemplating about throwing it again.
“No, you have a sister, and she’s with Seth as we speak,” Ebony smiled. “I’m telling you this because I want to see them make it here, but they won’t. Eos will stop them and kill her along with Seth, Nessa and the archangel, Edan. Even with the abilities of an archangel, Seth is not strong enough, and neither is Edan.”
Listen to the demon. Her words are not tainted, but ring with purity.
Ezra spoke to me, but I think Ebony could sense it as her eyes flicked to me then back to Malachi.
I stood up and walked towards Malachi.
“Listen to her Malachi,” I said looking up at him as he looked at me with horrified confusion. “Remember when I told you that I could see two Stelhollow hearts beating instead of one. Myra is alive.”
“Your eyes…Ezra,” he said switching between Ebony and me. “Back off demon!”
Malachi threw the disk as Ebony twisted out of the way like a quickly moving storm cloud. Mist surrounded her and slowly dissolved as she crouched on the floor.
“Malachi!” She yelled but was too late as a light exploded beside him hurling him through the air and smacking into the wall. He slumped to the floor as shattered orillions covered him. I pressed my hands to my ringing ears and tried to focus on everything as I stood up trying to reach Malachi.
“Sister,” Eos said standing and gazing at Ebony. “What is this we are doing? A little venture of our own?” she asked.
Do it now! Take the demon—take her energy!
“Malachi,” I said falling to my knees as my wobbly legs gave out.
Malachi will live only if you take Ebony’s energy!
I didn’t listen to Ezra’s voice and continued to crawl towards his lifeless body. I had to make sure he was alright and fighting off the effects from the blast, I focused solely on him.
Ezra’s voice echoed in my head, and suddenly, my limbs were not my own. I stood up and turned towards the two demon-sisters. Ebony and Eos both looked at me.
“They both escaped your little cage, and I caught them.” Ebony gazed at me with her steady grey eyes.
“Really?” Eos laughed. “I don’t believe you, and don’t have time to discuss this.” Eos snatched my wrist, but quickly let go as her parchment-like skin singed from her barely touching me.
A look of awe filled her eyes as her mouth curled into a growl.
“What have you done to her?” Eos demanded from her sister.
“I’ve done nothing.” Ebony replied glancing between me and Eos. “The monster has more power in her than you realize, and she isn’t going down without a battle.”
Ebony raised her arms releasing two balls of light towards her sister. Eos was thrown backwards through the air landing with a thud to the ground.
As old and fragile as Eos looked, she was as strong as iron. She bounced up and glared at her sister. Ebony’s hands and feet swirled with a fine grey mist that curled around her arms and legs. She stared at Eos, waiting for her sister to make a move. But Eos didn’t move, and simply stood gazing at Ebony.
“Have you forgotten what it was like in the shadows?” Eos asked rhetorically. “Has the light blinded you to what the angels have done to us?”
“Nothing has blinded me, sister, but it is you who have been blinded for many years. You couldn’t see past the hate and evil you held in your heart. Demons have been deemed to have nothing but these qualities; I intend to prove them different.”
Eos let out a laugh. “You have been blinded, and I feel no pity to destroy you, my sister.” She released two balls of light towards Ebony, who in her quick movements twisted with a swirl of grey mist out of the way.
The two balls of light exploded on the ceiling as they skidded up the wall, bouncing as they did. Sparks cascaded down on us as I tried to reach Malachi. But Ezra wouldn’t let me. Instead, I moved closer to Ebony. She looked at me with her grey eyes and reached out her hand.
Eos let out a grunt as another ball of light exploded from her hand. It hissed through the air like a bottle rocket, and hit Ebony on her arm. She was tossed through the air and skidded across the floor with a trail of mist in her path.
“Where are your angels and demon friends—the ones you wish to make alliances with, huh sister? Where?!” She barked at Ebony as Eos charged towards me and grabbed me by the hair.
“Let her go!” A demanding voice echoed through the room. Eos let go of my hair. “I said let her go, demon.”
Seth stood just under the arched passageway. It framed like he was standing in a painting with tense muscles, glaring eyes, and hand clenching the lightstone that glowed illuminating the flesh of his hand with curling tendrils of light. He looked like a masterpiece—a portrait of a bygone hero to me with his blonde hair sticking to his forehead with sweat, the way he set his jaw and his eyes so powerful…
She was close to me, and no longer sitting on the shelf inside of me. She loved Seth, no doubt, and her feelings were blending with mine. I had to push her emotions down and internally, I felt a quick apology from her.
Take Ebony’s energy…you are the final piece to win this battle.
I looked at her and she flicked her eyes at me as if she had heard Ezra’s words as well.
“The mutant monster,” Eos said with glee. “My, my, my you are a specimen…one-of-a-kind.” She gazed at Seth and then turned her attention to the lightstone. “And bearing gifts—nice,” she flicked a ball of light at him with one outstretched hand and a ball of light towards Ebony with the other.
“Seth!” I yelled, but it was Ezra forcing his name out of me.
Seth held up the stone and before it could hit him, a slender blade cut in front of him blocking the ball of light that exploded into a blast of sparks. Ebony twirled out of the way in one quick motion with a fluid cape of grey rolling off her body. Both escaped the blow from Eos.
Once the sparks faded, I could see Edan standing beside Seth with a broad blade held protectively in front of Seth shielding him from Eos. They both looked like two warriors caught in moment of battle on canvas.
“Ah, another archangel, or what I like to call an appetizer.” Eos chuckled as she expelled a slender thread from her hand that wrapped around Edan’s blade rendering it to dust that sifted through his hands like sand.
Edan quickly rolled to the floor as more of the black threads came out of Eos’s hand towards him. She laughed as Seth kept the curling tentacles away by touching the ends with the lightstone. They spewed out tiny sparks that didn’t seem to hurt Eos’s as she laughed like someone was tickling her.
“You have to take my energy and Eos’s energy at one time.” Ebony swooped beside me and took me by the wrist.
“She’ll kill us before we can.”
Ebony shook her head. “She won’t kill you, but she will kill me.”
Ebony pushed me in front of her and pressed as close to me as possible as she held my arms up and laced her fingers through mine. Just like the cool color of her skin, so was her body. I felt like I was pressed against a stone sculpture.
“They can’t fight her much longer—take our energy now!”
My feet left the floor like a giant bird had latched onto me and lifted me into the air in one quick motion. I didn’t have time to think and I could hear Ezra’s voice inside of me, calming me and telling me to take the demon’s energy.
We levitated into the air and hovered behind Eos just as Seth let a blast of light from the lightstone. Knocked off her feet, Eos never seen her demise coming.
I was ready to take her energy as I closed my eyes and let the sparks fly around me. Everything was in a mixture of colors. Greys, silver, white…I controlled it all. The demon’s energy was just that—energy…life…magic that ran through me.
I felt myself floating on a river of light that was mine. Everything was serene as I thought I heard the distant sound of voices calling, but I didn’t listen—I didn’t want to—didn’t have to. I was in my own world of starry skies that melted with colors, and for the first time, I felt strong and alive with unlimited strength and time.
The voices called again, but I pushed them away. I didn’t want to go back to where I was…wherever that was, I couldn’t remember, and didn’t care to.
“April,” said a voice that rippled the golden light that surrounded me.
“No,” I said to it.
Suddenly two hands twirled me around and made me stare into their grey eyes. “You can’t stay here. The power is yours, but you cannot stay locked in it forever.”
I looked at the woman with grey skin, grey eyes, and hair piled high on her head with golden ribbons curling through her grey strands. She looked like a marbled statue.
She nodded her head. “Go back to the realm of the living. You are needed there…Malachi needs you, April,” Ebony’s image faded into that of a girl with long, dark hair and eyes to match.
She smiled as a ghost-like image of Ebony formed behind Ezra and both smiled at me.
“We are with you…always guiding…protecting…” I could hear the mingling of both of their voice just as a faint image of Eos curled up behind them.
Ebony turned and with her hand, pushed her sister away as the swirling grey mist engulfed her.
“You should have never done what you did,” Uncle Hes paced in front of me as I sat on a bench surrounded by tall shrubs. The sky overhead was rumbling with storm clouds and looked as angry as Uncle Hes. “You not only risked everything, and I mean everything,” he waved his hands through the air. “I mean countless worlds, races, realms…and I don’t know what I would do if something would have happened to you.” He looked away and continued to pace like a guard dog.
“Yeah, but we didn’t lose everything. And the realms are none the wiser of what happened.” I stood up and placed my hand on Uncle Hes’s shoulder. “What has happened has happened.”
He looked up at me with a look of uneasiness. “You are young, and very lucky to have things come out this way. I’ll give you that. But,” he raised his finger in a way a person does to make a point. “There will come a time and place that things will not work out in your favor. You’ve never experienced that, and I hope you never do. But you mustn’t get too comfortable with happy endings, because sometimes you never reach the happiness in the end of things.”
Uncle Hess tapped me on the shoulder as drops of rain began to fall from the sky.
“It’s going to rain. Imagine us being here just in time of Shangri-La’s rainy season.” He laughed as the rain came down harder.
“The demon must be destroyed.” Rusul stated as he looked at April. “She is a threat as long as she is out of the shadows. You must understand this, April.”
“Even though Eveie has been nothing but cooperative since we left the Shadowlands, doesn’t make her trustworthy.” Yolanda sat next to Rusul and both looked at April across the table.
“But she isn’t like them, I know,” April said standing up with her fingers resting on the wood table.
We were in one of the smaller council rooms. Everyone, except Malachi and Nessa were there sitting at the long, rectangular table as the rain pounded outside and against the slender glass windows. Only one side of the room had windows that overlooked the Sapphire Sea that was now a duller shade of blue. The rest of the walls were covered in shelves with books that held many law and regulation books of current and past civilizations of this and many realms. Shangri-La was really a common ground or meeting place for all problems or issues to be solved. Unfortunately, our demon dilemma wasn’t going very well.
“I have not only Ezra’s energies; I have Ebony’s and Eos’s as well. I feel that this is my destiny, and we can learn a lot from the demons. Ebony wanted to work with the angels, and still does. It was Eos that wanted the demons to take over the realms.” I looked at April. She was still the same in appearance, but I could see and hear Ezra speaking through her. “She was the one that was bitter. Eos threatened that monster into giving her a portion of that serum.” Suddenly April’s hand began to shift with grey tones. It was Ebony surfacing. “But the serum didn’t work on humans because,” she looked at everyone with grey eyes. “Because Ebony made it that way—she sabotaged the potion, tried to get her sister to reason another way, but Eos was never the diplomatic type. She preferred battle. She consumed the serum as a last resort and forced her sisters as well. But what Ebony thought to be terrible, was her chance to make truces with the angels. Eveie is innocent, and above all, she wanted to be a mother. Her intentions were never evil—she’s a victim of her sister’s doings. ”
“Eveie is a demon, and a demon must be destroyed. April has not only another monster’s energy, but two demons as well.” Isaiah gazed steadily at April. “I don’t even know how it came to this being an issue. Anything demon or demon related is governed under archangel laws—simple as that.” He pounded his fist on the table. “Now, I’m taking action and calling this to an end. The demon will be transported to Avalon where the Faes have a facility to handle this delicate situation. April will stay here protected by the laws of Shangri-La until we decide what needs to be done with her.”
“I think we are acting too quickly here,” Ayil, in all of her whiteness, said gazing at each of us. “This demon, we can learn from. I think as long as we keep her contained, she will not resist. And I know she wasn’t the mastermind of trying to create a serum to strengthen demons. Her mind is too simple and was manipulated by Eos.” She stood up and looked at Isaiah. “She wanted to just be a mother.”
“Demons have shown in the past honesty and allegiance in the past, especially in the angel-demon wars. We shouldn’t judge the acts of one demon and consider all demons are that way.” Uncle Hes gave Isaiah a steady look with his dark eyes.
Isaiah let out a long, tiresome sigh, and sighed.
“It’s true,” said Ella.
Everyone turned towards the dark-haired girl.
“How did this child get in here?” Isaiah asked with livid eyes. “What sort of establishment do you run here where a little girl can just wander in on an important meeting that shouldn’t be even happening?” Isaiah shook his head at Rusul and Yolanda before sitting back down and resting his head in his hands. He let out another sigh in defeat.
“Eveie isn’t a mean demon. She saved me when my village was attacked by demons, by Eos. If it wasn’t for her protecting me, Eos would have killed me a long time ago. If you want to understand demons and what their true intentions are, you shouldn’t condemn them all.” Ella stood with her black hair cascading down her shoulders.
I knew she was Malachi’s sister, but Malachi hasn’t woken up from his injuries yet. Uncle Hes reassured me he’d be fine, but I couldn’t help but worry and only left his side when Uncle Hes asked me to.
Yolanda stood and rested her hand on Rusul’s shoulder. “We are all tired and need to rest to make better judgements concerning this matter. We, as host of Shangri-La, will conclude this meeting for now. We will assemble tomorrow and make a decision at that time.”
“We will not wait until tomorrow!” Isaiah pounded his fist on the table as Yolanda glared at him.
“You archangel, are a lot more threatening than that demon we have safely contained. And by the laws that override your laws here, we can have you thrown in a cell as well.”
Isaiah glared at her as Edan leaned over and said something to his father. Isaiah put his hand up to stop him as his eyes were fixed on Yolanda.
“Earth angels are in no position to threaten me. I will contact my superior about this and resolve this thing by force if I have to. Demons can’t be trusted no matter what form they are in.” His eyes shifted to April. She stiffened upon his glance.
“There will be no contacting your superiors because of the rainy season. It’s impossible to even use the portals until the weather is a little more agreeable.” Yolanda kept her eyes on Isaiah.
“Please, everyone,” Rusul said standing up. “We shouldn’t be threatening anyone and fighting among ourselves. That tactic has always been proven fatal. What we must do is wait for the weather to clear, which will be in a couple of days, and keep the demon secure and allow others to heal,” he motioned towards April. “And talk among ourselves, not threaten with laws and argue. We are no better than the way of demons by doing so.”
I went back to Malachi’s room that had blue tinted windows and three puffy beds sitting in row. Nessa was sitting in the bed across from him and looked down at her fingers when I walked in.
“Seth,” she jumped down wincing a little from her twisted ankle.
“Sit, Nessa.” Edan who was sitting beside her, guided her back down. “It will never heal if you don’t stop getting up and standing on it every time someone comes in.”
Since I left Edan and Nessa at the portal that led to the Shadowlands, they have turned into almost a couple. I wasn’t sure how that happened, especially since I left Nessa with a dagger to use if Edan became troublesome. I certainly didn’t expect her to use it, but I certainly didn’t expect to see them slightly doting on one another. I wanted to ask Nessa how she and Edan became companions, but I would worry about that later.
I looked at Malachi who seemed to have paled sine I left him for the meeting with the angels to decide what to do with the demon which proved to be useless. He looked worse, and I should have been here.
“What’s—what’s happening? Malachi looks worse than when I left. I thought Uncle Hes had given him something to make him heal.” I asked getting two grim looks.
Edan cleared his throat. “I think your uncle failed to diagnose Malachi correctly.” He looked at me with his sympathetic eyes. “I’ve seen it before when angels patrolling the borders of the Lands of Shadow—where the demons exist.” He let his eyes fall on Malachi. “He’s been stung by a demon thorn, and it’s slowly poisoning him. I found it behind his ear, a popular place that demons like to strike.”
“Demon thorn?” I’ve never heard of anything like it.
Edan turned Malachi’s head revealing the small black dot behind his ear that had faint veins of black vining out from it.
“Demons usually don’t strike since they can hardly materialize outside the shadows. And since archangels patrol their borders, a few have been strung from time to time, but,” Edan lifted his eyes to me. “The demon thorns we usually deal with are not as potent. Eos had almost full power making the venom much stronger.”
“What do we do for him then?” I asked feeling bile rise in my throat. The thought of losing Malachi to poison…
“I’ve done what I could at slowing it, but only a demon’s venom can counteract the poison in him.” Edan sat back as Nessa reached for his hand.
I looked at Malachi and then back at Edan. “We have a demon. Now we just have to get her out and have her help us.”
Edan shook his head. “Good luck with that. Eveie is not only a demon, but she’s a little unbalanced in the head, if you know what I mean.”
“She wanted children, and we’ll use that reason to get her to help us.”
“You’ll never get past my father or the earth angels guarding her,” Edan said in a matter-of-fact-tone.
It would be dangerous and if the demon got loose without helping us, a lot more would be destroyed than just Malachi dying.
I wanted to see Malachi, but wasn’t allowed to. I paced the floor of my gazebo-like bedroom as the rain tapped on the glass overhead. I felt I had to do something because all of this waiting and being told what to do was irritating.
I walked over to the door and placed my hand on the silver knob. The door was made of wood with seashells embedded into it and painted white. It was a beautiful door, I thought to myself as I contemplated opening it.
I closed my eyes and pictured Malachi in my head. I’ve never had much boy-girl relationships before, and now I’ve experienced two. Ben was nothing but spell induced, and Malachi was woven into my destiny, but was someone who was woven into your destiny supposed to give you butterflies and goose bumps in their presence? I had to know if Malachi was alright.
I pushed the door open to find Hesediel, Seth’s uncle, standing in front of me. He was a broad-shoulder man with dark eyes and greying brown hair. He was a weather looking man, the kind that appeared bitter, but then he smiled at me. Wrinkles formed around his eyes as he gazed down at me.
“May I come in, April?” he asked as I stepped aside and closed the door with a cold look of the pale guard standing outside my door. His eyes were neon blue, and his white skin was covered with swirling marks. In his hand was a silver staff with a very pointed end. I shut the door as Hesediel stood with clasped hands in the middle of the room. Rain pattered on the ceiling and shadows flickered throughout the room.
“May I turn on an orillion?” He pointed to the globe that sat on a small table between two chairs. He brushed his hand across the bottom as it slowly began to glow.
Warm light began to fill the room as he turned on more orillions.
“I haven’t talked to you very much, and thought I would come by to engage in conversation with you.” He sat down and motioned for me to sit as well. “That is, if you weren’t going anywhere, but I don’t think you’d get past the guards.” He glanced over at the door.
“No, I wouldn’t, and,” I shifted my eyes from him t the door. “I wanted to know if Malachi was alright.”
“He is fine—tended to him myself, and he will make a full recovery.” He leaned forward resting his elbows to his knees that were covered in thick robes of dark green. “I know you had no idea any of this existed just a few weeks ago, but it is something that was planned a long time ago by your mother.”
I felt like the air had been knocked out of my lungs and I questioned even my hearing.
“You said my mother, not Eveie who wants to be my mother?”
“No, the one that took you to the market in Nethopania to have your hexmark uncovered, and the one that nearly died after giving you away.”
My knees began to shake as I stood hanging onto the chair and digging my fingers into the plush cushioned back.
“You…you knew her?” I breathed.
Hesedial looked at me with concern. “April, do sit before you fall down. I know a lot has happened to you, and I hate to bring everything down on you, but time is not on our side.”
He got up and walked towards me.
“Please sit and I’ll tell you what should have been told to you a long time ago.”
Hesedial took my hand and in the soft light of the orillions with the rain pouring down outside beating like drums on the ceiling, he began to tell me something that I craved no matter how much I tried to bury it—he told me about my mother.
Her name was Aleena Snowbird, and she was twenty when she had me. Her family lived in the northern part of Iethia called the Crosslands, but they disowned her when she met a monster from the Borderlands. She was young and naïve, and quickly found out that her monster lover was no monster, but a demon disguised as one. Aleena had been used and fled to Duneloc where she went to the guardians for help and Hesedial became her counselor.
“I was with the guardians and serving my time in the office section before I could work out in the field where I wanted to be. I thought your mother was just another stupid girl from the Crosslands who spread her legs to the first monster who promised a way out of there, but she wasn’t. She told me about the demon that had tricked her and the child she carried was a mixture of monster and demon with rights placed on her unborn child. Even in our world, the idea of a demon even making it out of the shadows was farfetched. But Aleena was very convincing and accurate with the activity near the Crosslands at that time. I believed her and secretly housed her. Ayil helped deliver you when the time came, and then your mother disappeared along with you.”
I felt a mixture of emotions swirl inside of me as I looked down at the floor and the flickering shadows. “But Eveie bit me—turned me into a monster that way.”
“She bit you, but she didn’t turn you into a monster, you were already one, and one that was to be used for a purpose. You were the one to free the demons from the shadows and destroy all the angels, monsters or anyone that got in the way. That was the demon’s plan with you. You were to be their legs and arms in the worlds of light for them. They wanted you to be their key to unlock the door that has been shut on them for too long. And then, unexpectedly, an ignorant monster got the idea of making a serum to strengthen the race of monsters. When I heard that demons consumed it, I thought all was lost.” Hesedial leaned closer to me with his dark, unblinking eyes focused on me. “Seth has proven he is strong with archangel abilities, but you are the key to our plan and a place for monsters in this world.”
“But I don’t know anything about this world and just learned that the darkness that has followed me was Eveie and that different realms exist. How could I be the key to your plan?”
“It isn’t your knowledge, but the power inside of you. You have the power of two demons, an unfortunate human, and a monster in you.” He got up and poured two glasses of water. “Here, you look thirsty.” He handed me one with a smile, and I took a small sip as he watched me with eager eyes.
“You bear the royal hexmark, and I believe that your father was no ordinary demon, but that of royalty and power.”
I stood up and walked over to the window. Darkness was taking over the wet landscape and the rain gently came down pitter-pattering on the ceiling. I closed my eyes wishing Ezra or even Ebony would speak to me, but their thoughts were silent.
“So, what are you going to do with me?” I asked as Hesedial stood and joined me by the window.
“For starters, I need you to kill Isaiah,” he said as I looked at his stone-like expression staring into the blackened distance that was being reflected in the widow in front of me.