kalona lifted his hands. he didnt hesitate. there was no doubt whatsoever in his mind about what he had to do. he would not allow anything or anyone to get in his way, and this human boy was standing between him and what he desired. he didnt particularly wantto kill the boy; he didnt particularly want the boy alive either. it was a simple necessity. he didnt feel remorse or regret. as had been the norm during the centuries since hed fallen, kalona felt very little. so, indifferently, the winged immortal twisted the boy's neck and put an end to his life.
the anguish of that one word froze kalonas heart. he dropped the boys lifeless body and whirled around in time to see zoey racing toward him. their eyes met. in hers were despair and hatred. in his was an impossible denial. he tried to formulate the words that might make her understand-might make ger forgive him. but there was nothing he could say to change what she had seen, and even if he could work the impossible, there was no time.
zoey threw the full power of the element at him.
it hit the immortal, striking him with the force that was beyond phsical. spirit was his essence- his core- the element that had sustained him for centuries and with which he had been most comfortable, as well as most powerful. zoeys attack seared him. it lifted him with such force that he was hurled over the huge stone wall that separated the vampyres island and the gulf of venice. the icy water engulfed hm, smothering him. for an instant the pain within kalona was so deadening that he didnt fight it. perhaps he should let this terrible struggle for life and its trappings end. perhaps, once again, he should allow himself to be vanquished by her.but less than a heart-beat after he had the thought, he felt it. zoeys soul shattered and, as truly as his fall had carried him from one realm to another, her spirit departed this world.
the knowledge wounded him worse than had her blow against him.
not zoey! hed never meant to cause her harm. even through all of neferets machinations, through all of the tsi sgilis manipulations and plans, hed held tight to the knowledge that, in spite of everything, he would use his wast immortal powers to keep zoey safe bcause ultimately she was the closest he could come to nyx in this realm- and this was the only realm left to him.
fighting ti recover from zoeys attack, kalona lifted his massive body from the clutching waves and realized the truth. because of him, zoeys spirit was gone, which meant she would die. with his first breath of air, he released a wrenching cry of despair, echoing her last word, "no!"
had he really believed since his fall that he didnt truly have feelings? hed been a fool and wrong, so very wrong. emotions battered him as he flew raggedly just above the waterline, chipping away at his already wounded spirit, raging against him, weakening him, bleeding his soul. with blurred, blackened vision, he stared across the lagoon, squinting to see the lights that heralded the land. hed never make it there. it would have to be the palace. he had no choice. using the last reserves of his strength, kalonas wings beat against the frigid air, lifting him over the wall, where he crumpled to the frozen earth.
he didnt know how long he lay there in the cold darkness of the shattered night as emotions overwhelmed his shaken soul. somewhere in the far reaches of his mind, he understood the faniliarity of what had happened to him. hed fallen again, only this time it was more in spirit than in body- though his body didnt seem his to command aqny longer either.
he felt her presence before she spoke. it had been like that between them from the first, whether he truly wished it or not- they simply sensed one another.
"you allowed stark to bear witness to your killing of the boy!" neferets voice was more frigid than the winter sea.
kalona turned his head so that he could see more than the toe of her stiletto shoe. he looked up at her, blinking to try to clear his vision.
"accident." finding his voice again he managed a rasping whisper.
"zoey should not have been there."
"accidents are unacceptable, and i care not one bit that she was there. actually, the result of what she saw is rather convenient."
"you know that her soul shattered?" kalona hated the unnatural weakness in his voice and the strange lethargy in his body almost as much as he hated the effect neferets icy beauty hyad on him.
" i imagine most of the vampyres on the island know it. typically for her, zoeys spirit wasnt exactly quiet in its leave-taking. i wonder though, how many of the vampyres also felt the blow the chit you just before she departed." neferet tapped her chin contemplatively with one long, sharp fingernail.