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Shattered Souls: Part 3 – Chapter 105


Every part of Dyna was aware of him before she opened her eyes. Her body ached but she wasn’t wounded. Even her leg was healed. How long had she been asleep? Perhaps a day. The sky past the heavy curtains was a burnt orange with the setting of the sun.

Turning her head, she found Cassiel asleep in a wooden chair next to her. He leaned over the bed with his head resting over his crossed arms, one of his hands resting over hers. Fading sunlight gilded the room in a auburn hue, gracing the edges of his black hair and his wings, bringing out the iridescent blues of the feathers. Her eyes welled at the sight of him keeping guard at her bedside all night.

She memorized all the angles of his face, the locks falling over his furrowed brow, as if he worried for her even in his dreams. Her throat tightened remembering what happened last night, her eyes stinging at the echo of Cassiel’s screams for her to come back. But it was as if her heart woke him, as if he could feel the ache in it. His lashes fluttered and his silver eyes found hers. They were fractured silvers of stars that flamed with nothing but pain.

Something happened.

His well of grief so heavy fell over her that she could no longer stop herself from crying.

And she knew before he spoke.

“My father is dead.” The soft croak of his voice fell like dry leaves.

“Oh, Cassiel. I’m so sorry.” She tugged at his shirt gently. He sat on the bed at her silent request.

She wrapped her legs and arms around him, burying her face in his neck as she held him tightly to comfort him. He was stiff, and the bond silent. Instead of the usual warmth always hovering off of him, his body felt cold. The scent of ash and smoke lingered on his skin. “What happened…after. The battle, everyone else—” She gasped and leaned back. “Zekiel.”

He served Lord Raziel. She was sure of it.

“There’s nothing left of him.” The quiet wrath lacing each word sent a shiver down Dyna’s back. The edges of Cassiel’s face hardened into sharp stone. It told her whatever had happened to the guard, he had experienced the full force of her mate’s rage.

“I need to tell you something,” she said faintly.

But it was like Cassiel hadn’t heard her. He stood, effectively placing her on the edge of the bed. “He and Amriel had served the royal family since before I was born, and it was not until now that I realized they had been planted there for a reason. The last day has proven to me what I have known from the beginning.” His eyes rose to hers, and the air caught in her throat when she saw the starlight in them was gone. As if they had been blown out and left behind nothing but emptiness. “I should never have entered your life, Dynalya.”

“What do you mean?” She scrambled to her feet. “Do you say this because of the attempt on my life?”

He backed away when she tried to approach him, and she felt the divider he was building between them.

Dyna shook her head, grabbing his arm at the sudden distress entering her. “I don’t fear them! Whatever comes, whatever we face, we will survive together. I already told you, no matter the cost, I want to be with you.”

“Your life is a cost I cannot pay.” He removed her hold. “I’m sorry.”

Dyna’s chest heaved with gasping breaths when she understood what he was telling her. Her mouth trembled, disbelief wrenching through her heart. But she felt his decision, and her reality was crumbling around her as the bond shook. It’s light in her chest dimmed. The floor, the room, her vision was skewing as pain flooded through her very being.

The bond trembled again when she felt something snap, like a thread splitting.

“No,” she said. “You’re not doing this.”

Cassiel’s face had become an unrecognizable mask. There was no feeling there. No more warmth. As he looked at her, she found only endless desolation. “We don’t belong together.”

Pain followed, a swift, cutting line across her heart. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Each one condemning them. “I don’t believe you.”

“You deserve everything your heart desires. I cannot be the one to give it to you.” He turned away.

Dyna threw her arms around him from behind, weeping into his back. “Stop saying those things to me. You don’t mean them.”

“It was a dream,” he whispered. “Now we have to wake up.”

Those words were a punch in her stomach. She felt it unraveling, the threads of their future, pooling at her feet. “If your fear outweighs any affections you may have for me, then yes, all is lost,” she said. “If you want to leave, then say you don’t love me. I want you to say it plainly.” She choked on a sob. “Speak the words that will completely break me, for that is the only way I will accept this.”

Cassiel didn’t answer. He couldn’t.

Dyna circled to face him, clinging to his coat. “You said you would never leave me. You said it was the one thing you would never do. What happened to everything you ever promised me? It cannot mean nothing. It can’t. You promised always!”

His gazed stayed on the wall behind her, and took each of her wrists, removing her with a gentleness that didn’t match the indifference on his face.

“Cassiel,” Dyna wept. “Please look at me.” She leaned against him, needing something solid to keep herself from crumbling to pieces. Anguish pulsed around her in waves. Her pain was so raw and potent that it flooded the bond and his jaw clenched. “Let me in, hakohav.”

His eyes briefly fixed on hers, grey and dark, storming and turbulent, and for a fleeting moment he his mask wavered. She felt him quiver, only enough to hint at indecision. All of her clung to that ounce of hope that she could still reach him.

Stay with me, her soul cried through the brittle bond. Stay. Stay. Stay.

Cassiel looked away and he slammed his stone wall between them, severing the link they both depended on. Dyna flinched against him. He stepped back several feet. When she tried to follow he swept his hand sharply and a wall of Seraph fire cut between them.

Scoffing, Dyna stepped through. She had never been afraid of his flame. “We are bonded for life, Cassiel. My every vow is painted on your skin as yours are on mine. We are bound to each other and nothing you do will change that.”

His eyes widened for a second as the flames died away, before his expression fell to a cold resignation. “Then you leave me no choice.”

She didn’t understand—until a violent tremor shook the bond.

“You don’t belong in my world,” he said.

The blow landed, and she cried out at the first crack revibrating in her chest. Dyna recoiled away from him with a gasp.

“I don’t want you in it.”

She whimpered and stumbled away from the heartless attack of his words. His rejection frayed the edges of the bond, forming excruciating cracks through her heart. When she realized what he was doing, an awful sob wrenched from her throat.

“Don’t say it,” she begged. “Please.”

Cassiel closed his eyes, as if he didn’t have the gall to see her face. Her torn heart bled as he said the frosted words that tore her from him forever. “I don’t accept the bond.”

Dyna collapsed with a scream. She had never heard a heart break, but it sounded like a rupture of glass. The rejection drowned her in a pain as it fractured her very being into a thousand shards.

Cassiel let out a painful groan, and he pressed on his chest. The bond drowned in a heartbreak so strong, so painful, and so intimate, it crashed over her.

It was his pain.

“I know…” Dyna cried. Her shaking hands curled into fists over her heart. “I know you’re lying. The truth is you don’t have the courage to be with me. And that hurts far more than this.”

Cassiel looked past her, his clenched jaw turning white. “This is where we say good bye. You must forget this, and go on to live a long, glorious life.”

Her eyes lifted to him, the first root of bitter betrayal weaving through her. “I won’t forget.” She curled a fist over her chest. “I will never forget. You have broken my heart, Cassiel. Why are you doing this?”

He swallowed and his quivering wings fell still when his expression was wiped of all emotion. He stepped back. “You are strong enough to withstand this pain.”

“Please,” She begged again, her voice a brittle sound. “Don’t go. Please don’t leave me.”

Dyna sobbed as he walked away from her. Desperate, afraid, she reached for him but her fingers missed, forcing her to let go. That splintered the last of her hope.

The door closed behind him with a heavy sound echoing in her room, his decision slicing her heart open and leaving it there to bleed on the floor. The act held a finality she felt to her bones. The brutal permanence of the end.

Pain lodged in her throat. Followed by disbelief and shock at what he had done.

“Cassiel!” Her scream as the last part of her broke rang through the manor. Dyna fell to the cold ground, shuttering from the torment of the rejected bond. It pulsed weakly inside of her like a dying worm.

The door burst open and Cassiel stumbled in. “I can’t leave you like this,” he gasped. “I can’t. I can’t.”

Dyna sobbed with utter relief.

He came back.

Cassiel fell to his knees before her and pulled her limp body in his arms. Zev and the others paused at the doorway, their faces distraught and confused.

She laid on his chest, and listened to his erratic heartbeat as her vision blurred. “I know you Cassiel Soaraway. From the moment we met, I felt your heart, and I knew I found my home. So please,” she said faintly. “Please stay with me.”

He brushed his hand along her cheek, the caress soft and warm as hearth smoke. “That is all I ever wanted.” More tears spilled and he wiped them away. He gently took her hand and slipped her Hyalus ring off her finger. “But I cannot let you relive the same fate.”

She stared down at her empty hand and saw his ring was also missing. “Cassiel?”

Misery crept into his eyes as they met hers and the connection between them opened, his words a soft stroke across her mind. I need you to know that my life was better because I met you. Thank you for being mine. For however brief it was.

He cupped her face and pulled her into an aching kiss. Bright white light flared. The explosion of his power rushed through her body—and through her mind. It invaded every corner of her being. This was wrong. Something about this felt wrong.

The first thing he did was to put her barrier back into place. The bricks were rapidly built one by one, locking away her Essence once more. The skin over her stomach pulsed and burned. Her internal scream burst through their connection.

I’m sorry.

She wrenched her mouth away from his. “No!” The strangle cry broke in a sob.

“What are you doing to her?” Zev shouted. He ran into the room with the others, but they halted mid-step, their bodies frozen in place. “Let us go, Cassiel!”

Dyna struggled as if her life depended on it, because it did. He was going to end it and leave nothing behind. If she lost him, she lost everything good she ever found. Her life would end with his.

“Cassiel, please stop.” She tried to shove and kick against his hold, but he had her contained. His power wove through her, and she could hardly think. “If you do this, I will hate you! I will regret ever knowing you!”

He shuddered. You will not remember me. It will be like none of this ever happened. It will be all right, lev sheli. I promise.

She no longer had the ability to speak, or she would have told him his promises lost all value.

He gently held her to him and the bright light grew blinding. She closed her eyes as darkness clouded her memories. He was taking from her, and it was splintering an integral part of her soul. And of his.

Her mind reeled as she clung on anything to keep her tethered to him. But he was the one removing her grip, one finger at a time.

He erased the memory of when they first met by the Hyalus tree, then the time when he caught her out of the sky, the nights she slept in his arms, their kiss beneath the willow. The night he made love to her. Every single moment they ever had together faded. His face began to blur, the sound of his voice, the color of his eyes, the feel of his touch. However much Dyna pleaded, she couldn’t hold onto them.

Each memory was a candle blown away, wisps of smoke slipping through her fingers.

Cassiel’s lips found hers for the last time.

It tasted of tears and farewell.

I love you, Dynalya Astron. Forgive me for ever letting you think for one moment I didn’t.

And she felt it the moment her soul shattered from his cruelty.

Then everything they ever had faded and he vanished with it.


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