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Shattered Souls: Part 3 – Epilogue


The air smelled of rot and rain. Dyna walked bare foot through the dark foyer to the front door of the manor as she followed the patter on the roof and the screams in the night. Moonlight spilled across the sodden ground ahead. The cries grew louder, and the name it called rang clear. She stepped outside where a lad sobbed on his knees in the mud. He was young, still a boy. The rain beat down on him, his blond hair sticking to his face. Bloody bandages wrapped around his arms.

“Come back,” he wept. “Please don’t leave me behind.”

He’s not coming back, Dyna said impassively, though he couldn’t hear her. That’s what happens when people leave.

Black smoke swirled around them and she left the dream. Blinking her eyes open, Dyna let her hand fall away from the one sleeping in the chaise, and went to sit by the fireplace. The logs crackled softly, sparking with embers.

It wasn’t long before she heard the shift of weight and a soft groan. Klyde stretched, making his tendons pop. He winced and rubbed the kink in his neck.

“Sleep well?” she asked.

Klyde jolted at the sound of her voice and he whipped around. “Dyna, you startled me.” He chuckled uneasily as he drew up a blanket to cover his bare chest. “What are you doing up before dawn…in my room?”

Dyna only watched the flames swivel and burn.

“It’s rather early. Even the sun still slumbers.” At her silence, Klyde slowly approached. “Lass?” He sounded worried, hesitant. Sitting with her by the fire, his blue eyes flickered to the small sachet in her hand. She absentmindedly traced the embroidered runes among the flowered patterns.

“I came to speak with you,” Dyna finally said. “We have much to discuss, you and I.”

“Aye? What about? Must be important if it couldn’t wait until later when I’m better dressed.”

“You were having a nightmare. What were you dreaming about?”

Klyde answered with another uncertain chuckle. “A man’s dreams are too inappropriate to share with young ladies such as yourself.” After a pause, he asked, “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine.”

“I…don’t know if you are.”

She looked at him then, the quiet carrying the spark of embers and crackle of wood.

His brow furrowed at her blank expression. “Are you feeling unwell?”

“Should I be?”

To his credit, Klyde maintained his puzzled expression, but he couldn’t quite hide the tension in his shoulders.

“This scar.” Dyna traced the large, jagged curve running from his bicep to his forearm. “It must have hurt when the troll bit you and crushed through the bone, but it didn’t compare to the pain you felt when he abandoned you in the rain.”

He froze.

“How long did you kneel in the mud, screaming for him to come back?”

Klyde smiled, the edge of it a little tight, and he stood. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about, lass. I think you may not be feeling well. Wait here. I will go find your prince—” He winced. “Pardon, I meant your cousin.”

“No, you didn’t.” Rising to her feet, Dyna wandered about the bedroom.

The walls were blank and the bed unused. His boots were by the door, weapons left on the desk. Otherwise, the space held no character, or traces of the one who slept in it. She stopped by the chaise where his mercenary coat was draped on the armrest. She ran her fingers over the emblem of a bird’s skull. Worn, folded pages peeked out from the pocket. Dyna plucked them out and glanced blandly at the wanted ads with their faces, letting each one float to the ground. When she got to the one with his face, a trickle of weak magic sparked at her fingertips. It caught the page on fire.

Klyde stood quiet behind her as it burned to nothing.

“A mage broke my mind once,” Dyna told him. “I created a warding spell to protect it, so no such thing would ever happen to me again. I’m a slow learner, but I do learn.” She tossed the sachet up and caught it, releasing the scent of sage through the air. As her fingers continued tracing the hindrance rune embroidered on it, the spell pulsed in her mind, clarifying every memory of the one who betrayed her. “And yet, I regret to find my mind wasn’t the only thing I should have been protecting.”

The bond was still there, left weak and fragmented. It could only be broken by death, but other things had been broken. An unspoken feeling thrummed in her battered chest, filling the spot where her heart had been completely destroyed.

Dyna pulled the handfast sash from her pocket as she returned to Klyde’s side. The wrinkled silk ribbons had lost their sheen, no longer white, but decaying brown. She tossed it to the fire, too. The edges curled, turning completely black as it was consumed.

She was so sick and tired of being taken advantage of. Sick of her naivety leaving her defeated. Of trusting the wrong people. Essence seared in her veins, but it beat against a thick barrier like waves on a dam. The little that slipped through crackled on her skin and the flames flared at her fury. Klyde flinched back.

“You knew who we were from the beginning,” she said. “I suspect you still do. I was once told your coat is enchanted against spells, if I recall. And I do recall a lot.” Her hands sparked again at the emotions she couldn’t quite hide yet.

But her shield on the bond, that was solid steel.

“Nonetheless, you didn’t have all the details. You couldn’t help but wonder who I am, why my friends, who couldn’t be more different, follow me. They are my Guardians,” Dyna confessed. “Prophesied to come to me by the fates, if you can believe that.”

Klyde listened intently, completely still.

“One of…divine blood, a Lycan, a sorceress, a warrior, a fairy, and finally someone with a familiar face searching for revenge.” She turned to him, reading the tension gripping his body. “I found five, but the last one…”

He went absolutely still.

When Gale showed her the portrait, she had considered Klyde to be her missing Guardian, but she felt no connection to him. There was only one other she felt that with, and he had been there since the beginning of her journey. Even though Von had saved her life several times, she hadn’t let herself consider who he truly was because he served her enemy, and because she didn’t want to think about what the divination could mean for him.

“Do you mean to imply I am the sixth?” Klyde asked.

Dyna laughed, and it sounded empty to her own ears. Cruel. The flames dimmed, darkening the room. “To be my Guardian I would have to trust you. Completely.” Her voice sharpened. “Which I don’t.”

His eyes widened when three forms materialized from the shadows behind her.

“No, unfortunately it’s not you,” she said. “I know who the sixth one is, as I know who my husband was, Captain. And I know exactly who you are. Even though you were once known by another name, given to you long ago…by your brother.”

Klyde bolted for his coat.

Purple mist whipped past Dyna and snatched him off his feet. Lucenna’s magic constricted around him so tight, he jerked, gasping for air. Fury glowed in her lilac eyes. She jerked her fist, hauling him back to them.

“Lucenna—” His beg cut off at the snap of her fingers, a strip of purple mist covering his mouth.

Dyna had to admit, she’d briefly forgotten the reason why she left North Star in the first place. While letting herself be distracted by wasting time on sordid things like falling in love. But that was finished now. Completing her mission would be her goal, and no one would stand in her way anymore.

Because she would be the beast.

The blade.

The one who drew blood first.

Dyna looked up at the helpless man with her Guardians coming to stand beside her. “I didn’t see it at first, but you really do look like him.” She brushed the Captain’s jaw layered in a thick beard that he had been using to hide that fact, and a cold smile rose to her lips. “It’s a pleasure to meet you—Klydesdale Morken.”


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