Matty felt a warmth envelope her chest and spread outward to the tips of her fingers and toes. The battle around her faded into the recesses of her mind and was replaced by a sense of love that threatened to overpower her. She knew the energy that her body was taking in was coming from Olli because, if she focused, she could almost hear the Halfling’s thoughts. The light from the energy encompassed her whole body. It slowly began to turn white and Matty felt a completely new breed of information flooding her mind. She received flashes of battles past, angel and demon locked in combat, sacrifice, grief, love. The images came in a jumble but somehow her mind was able to make sense of it all.
Suddenly the light around her disappeared and she caught herself before she fell to her knees. Her body was surging with power and her mind was clearer than she could ever remember it being. On thing kept ringing in her head, I’m the weapon. The weapon that the prophecy talked about. All along I thought it was Ilona. She slowly turned and fixed Judas with a stare. To the demon’s credit, she saw a flash of fear trace over his face before he was able to control it. He knew something had changed, and he saw it in her.
“You would be smart to stop before you begin this,” said Judas with mock bravado.
Matty smiled, “You don’t want to play anymore?” She reached her hand out toward him and concentrated; a bolt of energy erupted from her palm and hit him square in the chest. The blast threw him backward into a stone pillar and he slid to the floor momentarily stunned. Matty turned back around to Olli and found the Halfling lying in Lillith’s lap.
“You have a job to do Chosen. I will watch her,” said Lillith with a nod.
Matty nodded back and then turned her attention to a rapidly recovering Judas. She walked a few steps toward him as he fired an energy bolt of his own. It hit Matty in the shoulder causing her to fall onto to her back. As she righted herself, a group of demons surrounded Judas and prepared to protect their master.
Clark dispatched the demon he was fighting and took a moment to look around. He noticed that many of the demons who were left seemed to be regrouping. He watched them as they formed up behind Judas and then terror gripped his heart when he noticed whom they were facing. He frantically looked to see who was closest to Matty, hoping that they could get to her in time. He spotted Mother Elizabeth helping one of his people a few feet away and yelled to her. She turned quickly and followed to where he was pointing.
“Get Matty!” he yelled.
The Mother drew her weapon from its holster, hoping that she could get a few rounds into Judas so Matty could get away. Ten she noticed the young woman seemed to be stealing herself for something and soon after, the Mother could see the energy building within the small woman’s body. “Dear God.”
To Clark’s shock, the Mother turned and started running towards him. “Get everyone back! Tell them to fall back!” she yelled.
“You’re crazy,” he said pointing his own weapon towards the group of demons. He would shoot his way through to Matty if he had to.
“Pull our people back, that’s an order!” said Lillith over the comm.
Olli looked up at the Queen wearily as she barked orders into her microphone. She was tired, more tired that she could ever remember being. She’d known that the process of activating the weapon was going to take all the strength she had left, but she hadn’t considered the amount of pain that the process would cause.
“We need to remove this,” said Lillith, shifting Olli so she could take hold of the Spear. Olli nodded and with one great pull, the vampire wrenched the spearhead free of Olli’s body. The Halfling let out a scream that almost broke Lillith’s resolve. The Queen looked back to make sure that Ilona was still safe with Augustus, hoping to compose herself before she had to look at the poor soul in her arms again.
Ilona was still in the arms of her playmate. Thankfully, Gus had turned so that she was facing away from the destruction of the cavern. Lillith brought her attention back to Olli, “Your change is not complete. You must feed or you will die.”
“No, not yet…”
Lillith felt it before she saw it coming. She hunched over Olli trying to protect the Halfling as much as she could.
Mother Elizabeth was awed as she watched the energy build within Matty’s small body. At one point, even the demons began to shy away, unsure of exactly what was going to happen. The Mother managed to get all of their people behind a crumbling wall. It wasn’t the best protection, but it was the only thing they had. From behind the wall, she watched as Judas fired a few bolts into Matty, the small woman absorbing them easily.
Matty raised both of her hands and brought them within a few inches of each other, holding them in front of her body. A bright blue light began to form in the space between the woman’s hands, growing slowly until it was about the size of a softball.
“Return from whence you came and I shall not harm you,” said Matty in a voice that was not her own.
“She is mine! They are all mine,” yelled Judas.
“So be it.” Matty threw the ball of light forward and it widened to encompass all of the demons before her. The impact of the energy was felt throughout the cavern. The rock around them vibrated under the stress and the Mother prayed that the wall would hold. Everyone but Matty was thrown to the ground, including Judas, and it seemed as if all the air in the cavern had been sucked out.
Mother Elizabeth peered over the wall and immediately crossed herself. High in the top of the cavern there was a hole forming. A hole that seemed to emit light from directly within it. As it opened wider, Matty walked out into the group of demons that were still lying stunned on the cavern floor. The first demon she came to she fired a bolt of white light into its chest and it turned to ash. The ash was then sucked into the hole and Matty turned to the next demon.
As they began to realize what was happening they resisted her. Their greatest effort failed to slow even Matty down. She continued decimating them one by one and sending them into the white abyss. Unbeknownst to her though, Judas snuck away and headed for the front of the cavern where Lillith and Olli were.
“Gus okay?” asked Ilona.
“Yeah, fine,” coughed Augustus as he resituated himself. He had shielded Ilona from whatever was coming when he saw his mother do the same for Olli. He made sure the Queen was recovering as he picked the toddler back up and put her on his lap. Unfortunately, Ilona was able to get a look over his shoulder and saw Olli lying on the ground.
“Olli okay?” she asked pointing.
“Sure she is, you know Olli’s tough…” Augustus was interrupted when a hand shot out from behind the pillar he was leaning against and grabbed him around the throat.
“How sickeningly sweet,” purred Judas, squeezing the neck within his grasp.
Augustus barely had the presence of mind to put Ilona down before he was hauled up, dangling in front of Judas.
“Let him go Judas,” warned Lillith as she rose from Olli’s side and started toward the demon. Before she could get there, Ilona walked right up to him and smacked Judas in the back of his knee.
No hurt Gus. Bad man,” she said giving the demon as stern a look as a two year old could muster.
Judas stared at the child for a second and then a deep laugh erupted from his chest. It was loud enough to draw the attention of everyone in the cavern. He never stopped laughing as he lowered his hand and sent a short bolt of lightning into Ilona’s little body that sent her skidding backward. His laughter then turned into a roar as a sharp pain lanced through his back causing him to drop Augustus.
Judas whirled around to find both Lillith and Olli within a few feet of him. Olli jumped from where she ran and her demonic form took hold before she smacked directly into Judas. The impact drove him to the ground causing the spearhead that Olli threw into his back to bury itself deeper. He gasped for air as the Halfling pummeled him with her fists.
Judas found purchase and shoved against her sending Olli flying backwards into a half crumbled pillar. She flipped in mid air and as she came in contact will the pillar she pushed off with her feet and once again was launching herself in Judas’ direction.
As Matty dispatched the last of her group of demons, she heard that laugh again. She turned in time to see Judas attack her daughter but after that, she was unaware of what took place. All she knew was that her heart was seized with the most powerful feeling of fear she had ever experienced. Her feet moved of their own accord to bring her to her daughter’s side. Ilona’s little body lay there limp and unmoving as she smoothed the girl’s hair back from her face.
“Ilona honey, look at mama,” she pleaded. There was no answer from the small form. “Please honey, let me see those gorgeous eyes.” Matty looked up to Lillith needing to see reassurance in her eyes, but all she found was sorrow as the vampire knelt next to Ilona’s body.
“I am sorry Chosen…”
“No! No, Ilona wake up sweetie, wake up for mama.”
Olli recovered from another blow as Judas pulled the spearhead from his back. The Halfling ran at him again, fueled by rage and tackled him to the ground. Olli hit him repeatedly, loosing herself to the darkness within her. Judas tried to fend her off but failed, only receiving a couple of broken bones for his trouble. Finally, Olli slowed her assault until she came to a stop, her chest heaving with the effort to breathe. What lay before her was a bloody mess that was once the face of the man she called Master. The black tar that was his blood covered her from head to toe. She looked wildly around trying to remember what had happened. Now that her rage had subsided, she wasn’t sure what exactly was going on, but she new something bad had happened.
Olli searched for Matty and her gaze finally came to rest on the woman. Then her eyes slid to the still form in Matty’s arms and her breathing stopped all together. Just as Olli moved to go to her lover’s side, a hand shot out and levered a vise like grip on her arm. Then she saw a flash of rusted metal and a hot pain coursed its way up from her belly. She looked down to find that Judas had buried the Spear into her stomach. She coughed once and blood trickled from her mouth.
“You should never challenge your master,” gurgled Judas, and with one final movement, twisted the spear within Olli’s body. A single roar that would have rivaled a thousand lions bellowed forth from Olli’s chest.
Matty’s head shot up at the sound just in time to see Olli reach down and tear Judas’ head from his body. The Halfling then tossed his head aside and with great effort rose from atop his body. Matty’s relief at seeing Olli standing was short lived when she noticed the Spear. The Halfling was covered in so much blood that the spearhead was almost invisible in all the gore. Olli lurched toward her a couple of times, seemingly trying to get her feet to cooperate. She stopped again and looked down grabbing the spearhead and yanking it out of her own body.
Lillith drew even with Olli as she began to fall and caught her before she got too far. The vampire wouldn’t let a warrior as great as this Halfling crawl to her own death. She deserved honor, and that spurred the Queen on to come to the aid of Apollyon. Taking on as much of Olli’s weight as she could, she slowly made her way over to Matty and laid the Halfling next to her on the ground. The Queen ripped a sleeve from her shirt and wiped the blood away from Olli’s face. Olli reached out a bloody hand to Matty and the woman took it.
“Ilona?” rasped the Halfling.
Matty went to speak and her voice caught, “She’s…gone.”
“No…not final.” A wave of pain swept over Olli before she could finish.
“There is nothing we can do,” said Lillith while she tried to stop the Halfling’s bleeding.
Olli put her free hand on top of Lillith’s. There was no way she was going to stop the bleeding and her efforts were only causing more pain. The Queen’s hands stilled and came to rest as she wrapped them around Olli’s.
“Little One,” said the Halfling squeezing Matty’s hand. “He will give…choose…I understand…”
“What?” asked Matty with tears in her eyes as she looked to Lillith for clarification.
“She’s lost a lot of blood; she probably doesn’t know what she’s saying.” As Lillith spoke, Olli’s body lost it’s demon form, now what lay before them was a woman.
“I love you,” said Olli as her sight began to lose focus, “beyond death.”
The silence was deafening as everyone within the cavern listened to Olli take her last breath. As the hand within her own went limp, Matty closed in on herself and blocked out the rest of the world. She was numb down to her core, her soul filled with more sorrow than she knew what to do with. She couldn’t process anything. She wanted darkness, wanted to follow her daughter, follow her love. She had nothing left, metaphorical or otherwise, there was no sense in carrying on.
Then, a tiny part of her mind latched on to a fledgling idea, and before she could really think about it, she was calling for Remiel. When the angel appeared, she stood toe to toe with him, voicing her demand.
“Help them,” she said plainly.
Remiel nodded once and then spread his wings. A great light permeated the cavern, reaching every nook and corner. When it dissipated, every human in the room was injury free. Even those, like Rachel, Misha, and Rio, who had been on the brink of death, were returned to full health. Matty quickly looked down to Ilona but nothing had changed.
“What about my daughter, and Olli?”
“They are beyond death,” said Remiel kneeling beside Ilona’s little body.
“What do you mean?”
“I do not control the realm they are in, Rafael does.”
“Then tell him to get his feathery ass down here…”
“That would have to be a first,” said a booming voice from behind Matty. She swung around to see a very large angel standing behind her. “I don’t think I’ve ever been referred to as a ‘feathery ass’ before.”
Matty’s resolve broke, “Please, just bring them back to me.”
“It can not be done…”
“That’s bullshit! I know you can…”
“Not both, only one.” Rafael bowed his head as if he were listening to something. “Power such as you were given comes at a price.”
“Are you saying she has to choose between the two?” asked Mother Elizabeth. “Surely God is powerful enough to give both life.”
Rafael turned to the Mother, “Great power requires great sacrifice, it is the way of the martyr, it is His Will.”
Matty flashed back to Olli’s last words and realized what she had been trying to tell her. Olli knew that she would have to choose and the warrior gave her blessing to make that choice her daughter. Matty sat down between the bodies of her daughter and lover. She gently picked up Ilona’s body and cradled it in her lap. She then leaned over and kissed Olli lightly, “I love you, beyond death.”
“You have made your choice,” said Rafael kindly. It was not a question.
“Ilona,” was the only thing that Matty could manage to get passed her lips before her voice was caught in her throat.
Rafael lowered himself and placed a hand on Ilona’s chest. His hand began to glow and after a few seconds he spoke, “His Will be done.”
It took a moment for Matty to realize that the body in her arms was breathing again. She registered the slow movement of Ilona’s chest and shifted the girl so she could see her face. “Ilona honey, wake up.” As the girl’s eyes fluttered open, both of the angels disappeared.
A collective sigh of relief washed over the group, most heavily from Gus who had joined them at his mother’s side. They watched as Ilona sat up a looked around. “Mama okay? She asked laying a hand on Matty’s cheek.
“Yes honey, I am now.”
The little girl’s eyes then fell on Olli, “Olli owie?”
“Yes hon…a very bad owie.”
“No. Olli no owie. Olli have teef.”
The statement hit Lillith smack in the head and she reached over pulling back Olli’s upper lip to expose a perfect set of incisors. She turned to her son, “How many times did she feed?”
“When you turned her, how many times did she feed?”
“What’s going on?” asked Matty.
“He turned her, made her a vampire. If it was complete, we may be able to bring her back.”
“Made her a what?” exclaimed Mother Elizabeth.
Lillith didn’t waist anymore time trying to explain. She reached over and pulled a knife from someone’s boot that was standing close by and unbuttoned the sleeve on her shirt. One swipe from the blade and the Queen was able to open a gash that would have bled a mortal person dry. She lowered her forearm to rest within inches of Olli’s lips and clenched her fist a couple of times to increase the flow of blood.
The crimson liquid coated Olli’s lips and tongue and began to move down her throat. Lillith bled herself for as long as she could and before she passed out, Gus guided her lye against him, bandaging her arm with a strip of his shirt.
“Now what?” asked Matty.
“Now, we wait,” said Gus wrapping his arms around his mother.
As Matty sat, she gently caressed Olli’s forehead and face while she hummed to her daughter. No one really bothered to keep track of how much time passed. No one wanted to be the person to try to convince Matty to give up.
Suddenly Olli’s body lurched and she took a huge gasp. A few agonizing seconds later she took another, and then another until she was almost breathing normally. Tears sprang to Matty’s eyes.
“Little One,” said Olli focusing on Matty, “and Little Too,” she said when she noticed Ilona.
Matty laughed, “Little Too?”
Olli just smiled and then turned to Lillith. “It took you long enough,” said the Queen.
“After all that, I needed a rest,” said Olli trying to sit up.
“I wouldn’t do that just yet. You will need more blood than I can supply to heal all of your wounds.”
Matty leaned over and kissed her warrior to stop the objection she knew was surfacing. Olli forgot all about arguing as her senses were surrounded by her lover.
“Ewww,” whispered Ilona, which garnered a snicker from more than one onlooker.
“You would think that becoming a vampire would have gotten rid of this,” said Olli pointing at the scar on her face as she looked in the mirror.
“I don’t know,” purred Matty in her ear as she fixed her collar, “I think it’s sexy.”
“Really,” said Olli turning around to capture the body behind her. “If you keep teasing me like that we’re going to be late for her majesty’s party. I don’t think that will sit too well with Lillith do you?”
“She has Ilona to keep her busy, I sent her ahead of us,” whispered Matty as she kissed her way down Olli’s neck. The new vampire gave a growl and pressed Matty against a nearby wall eliciting a gasp from the smaller woman.
“You think of everything.”
“My magnificence knows no bounds,” smiled Matty.
“No,” breathed Olli as she allowed her fangs to grow and graze the skin of Matty’s neck, “that they don’t.”
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