XII - They've Had Their Chance

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Living in exile, and losing contact with his own family, meant Joseph became lonely and lost without her company. Thus, he'd would summon her to his chambers every night. After their last encounter he wasn't sure she'd accept the summons, but in a way, he was glad she did as it helped him clear his head for what was going to happen now.

"Leah, I need you to leave the room for a minute," he said quietly, rubbing her back. He said every word slowly as if she were a child, "I'll send for you again."

The meek Priestess nodded her head in fear, before getting out of the bed and quickly putting on the clothes she had strewn about on the floor.

Joseph didn't even look at her. He couldn't right now. When he was certain she exited the room, he leaned over and lifted the phone off the hook. His heart sank when he heard his brother John's voice on the other end, speaking frantically as if he was in danger.

"I'm at a loss now, brother. W-we found the militia, but... Eli let Diana leave the Wolves' Den—alone, but he wouldn't let her unless she left me behind. Joshua and Daniel too. She said it was the only way—but—but I tried to stop her, I swear to you—" John's words spilled out of his mouth without control in a panic.

"John! Slow down! She's gone? What do you mean she's all alone? You shouldn't have—" Joseph caught himself before laying into John with a stern scolding. "How long? What about Morris?"

John breathed a sigh thick with worry before continuing his word vomit.

"A day or two at least. Fuck! Morris is gone too, and no one will fucking tell me what the hell is going on! If she dies out there, Joseph... If Pratt... I... I failed you brother. You and Jacob both. I'm sorry. I'm sorry..."

"John! Stay with me! Why are you—" he said before hearing the harsh droning tone of the phone indicating the call had been ended.

Joseph growled as he angrily slammed down the phone, cursing to himself silently as he clenched his jaw. His heart was racing, as frantic as John had spit out those words to him just moments ago. He wanted to rip his hair out as he thought of Diana alone in the Whitetails.

Before he could get out of bed to start putting clothes on, Joseph stopped. A red light blinked on the base of his phone, how had he not noticed that before? An unsettling feeling twisted, low in in his stomach, as his gut told him that it had not been John who had called him twice. There was a message waiting for him.

He bit down on his lip, hesitating again as his hand hovered over the play button, feeling a sense of déjà vu.

Joseph pressed the button down harshly, wanting to get it over with like ripping off a bandage. He braced for whatever message she had left for him and when he heard that familiar voice, he crumbled.

In the meantime, instead of strolling down the hallway to her room, Leah remained close. She slipped back into her nightgown, with her feet bare on the wooden floor. Hot tears of her distress and shame rolled down her cheeks. With her hand was firmly pressed over her chest, she tried to control the pounding of her heart. She worried for Joseph. She was concerned with how he'd shifted from a loving and compassionate shepherd—into something more hostile. He'd become more cryptic, a lot ...darker than the man she'd taken to as her keeper, as her loving guardian before, the leader of their faith.

The pale, young nymph of a girl sniffled a few times before she was prepared to step back into Joseph's bedroom. No, he hadn't called, but the draw, the need to be beside him after hearing him shout in frustration forced her to return. However, she paused when she heard a familiar voice ring through the room.

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