5 minutes

I left Alex with a long drawn out kiss. Vin, Jae and Seraph followed me through the halls. “Only three body guards?”

Vin laughed, “Ryan and Ant are coming with. Francesco and Tony are leading the vampires through the tunnels with Bernstein. Dom and Adrian are working together to coordinate the top side.”

“Where exactly are we going?” I asked.

Jae frowned, “Saint Andrews.”

“What is a vampire doing in a catholic church?” I asked.

“Not in it per-say – under it.” Seraph said, “It wasn’t even one of the hackers who saw it. Was one of the wicca’s who had visited the crypts below decades ago.”

“It’s a place of magic?” I asked.

Ryan laughed, “You know it. You and Alex alright?”


Ryan smiled but the other three bodyguards were looking a little lost.

Ant chimed in, “Always is their way of saying I love you. His and Alex’s.”

“So what’s the plan?” I asked.

“Well I spoke to Rosana, who saw the location about what you did earlier. She said that there are areas in the city that have more energy pockets. The AU building is built on one. There is one closer to Central Park, one in Harlem where Armande is actually, though she didn’t know it was a safe harbor. The church is another. So you’ll be at peak strength.”

“If I draw on the city magic again.”

Ryan nodded. “But we do that only if we have to. We don’t know what it’ll do.”

“How is it now I can do this?”

Ant laughed, “I don’t think it’s you. I think it’s the three of us. Both Alex and I felt that power surge. And not like you were draining us, like it was fueling us. We felt the pull to go home back to the City the moment we left.”

Rosana came into the hall way with a smile, “You are guardians of the ley now as the triumvirate. So of course you can pull on it. But it’s more than that. We’ll talk later.”

And as quickly as Rosana came she was gone – down the hall and through another bend in the path. “She’s creepy.” Jae said.

“That’s who knew.”

“That’s Rosana, Isabelle’s mother.” I said.

So Ant laid out the plan while we walked the darkening streets of my city. I let myself feel it. If it were truly mine to protect and the ley was connected then I wouldn’t hurt them. I let my senses go like I did when hunting. I wasn’t searching for anything, but I felt more than just magic around me. I felt life. The trees of central park filled my nose with their lushness. I felt the pain of the kid who wiped out on his skateboard a few blocks down. I felt the people eating dinner, and the dog barking at the cat in the alley way. I could feel the people from the edge of one shore to the end of the other. But beyond was empty.

Lost in the lives of others I hadn’t noticed when we’d gotten to our destination. The cathedral was beautiful and was a place I never went I wasn’t religious – no Venatori truly was.

“We can’t go in guns blazing.”

“Some of us can’t go in at all.”

I looked at Vin and frowned, “You were a good catholic boy growing up?”

He nodded. “Then let me be the first one to tell you, it’s is your human beliefs that burn you from the inside out. God, as you know him, doesn’t care if you are vampire – undead. Your soul stayed with you. You are not a mindless killing machine. He created vampire with man and demon and angel. He created dragon and aeternus. He created all life on the planet and you think he cares if you step foot in his place of worship. Humans tell you lies in the guise of religion.”

“But it is still my belief.”

I nodded. “You can wait outside.”

Vin growled. “If I burn to death it’s your fucking fault.”

I turned to the vampire body guard. He’d been with me since I woke now. “Do you trust me?”

He blinked at me as if he couldn’t believe I was asking him. I stepped on to the sacred ground crossed the threshold that kept vampire at bay. That invisible line from scared to unholy and held out my hand. “Trust me Vincent.”

Everyone else stepped across, though Ant hesitated a moment.

Vin laughed, “See even the big bad son of Il Cane is afraid of scared ground.”

“Afraid, but I believe.”

“In what?” Vin asked Ant.

“In Nox. I know it’s a truth but like you was raised with the belief. The fear was there – my mother believed but she walks the line all the time too. But there is always fear. What if I don’t believe enough this time. So this time I place my faith in Nox’s hands. He is not my god. He is not my king. He is my friend. And I know as long as I don’t violate his trust he will always find me – save me. Ryan’s believed for so long, I finally understand.”

Vin laughed. “Trust in the boy.” He took my hand. “They said.” He took a step across the line tentatively like he’d burst into flames at the thought of it. And then another. “You won’t burn they said.”

“You aren’t.”

Vin only nodded. “Nox.”

“Yeah Vin?”

“I swore this oath to an unworthy man once upon a time. I swear it to you know. I swear that I shall faithfully execute all that you command, that I shall never desert the service, and that I shall not seek to avoid death.”

And in that moment I knew Vin’s past – he’d been a Knight of some King in some age long forgotten before he’d been embraced. I nodded, “Formality wasn’t necessary Vin.”

He smiled, “I know.”

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