The Book of Sky and Stars

by Quinn D.K.

Chapter 4: Disenchanted

Ellis snapped into a knight's salute as Commander Admon Cansu stepped into the terrace. He scanned the situation before him and grimaced with disapproval. He was as tall and imposing as I remembered, decked out in his formal commander uniform that gleamed with golden medals in recognition of his storied career.

"Vanguard Pyre," he said. "Thank you for what I imagine was a very difficult and arduous search for my son. Perhaps you could join your fellow servicemen in the exhibition hall?" His eyes, the same icy blue as mine, flicked briefly in my direction. "Or return to the military campus for a cold shower?" Ellis hesitated for a moment which only annoyed my dad further. "If your service is requested, knight, you will be the first to know."

"Yes, Commander." Ellis bowed deeply and returned to the mansion.

My father turned to me next. "Let me see you, son. Come here."

I moved closer at his request. He gently took my chin and raised it. "You're getting too thin."

"It's nice to see you too, dad."

"Are you eating? I can send you groceries."

"My bins are full of empty takeaway containers. You're free to inspect them."

"Have your anxiety attacks returned?"

I nudged his hand away. "Dad, enough. I'm not going to stand here and pretend I'm happy with the way you've forced me to come here tonight."

He turned, slow, toward a pocket of moonlight. Lines of silver streaked his black hair. I hadn't noticed them the last time we spoke. Although he still had the barrel-chested physique of a knight, everything about him seemed a little older and creakier.

"I'm only here for Mrs. Zheng's letter. You know that."

"Son, you have no right to be annoyed with me. I wouldn't have to cram in a year's worth of parental questioning if you'd bother to take me up on any of the lunches and dinners I've been inviting you to."

"Military lunches and dinners," I corrected him. "It's never with you, it's your circle of officers and knights I don't even know."

"Yet you seemed very familiar with Vanguard Pyre."

I felt a desperate urge to storm off into my childhood bedroom and slam the door. How was it so easy for us to fall into our old roles when we were around each other? I was 24 years old. Was he really still concerning himself with the company I kept?

"And why aren't you wearing a jacket? Did you come to the Ball with only half an outfit?"

"It fell."

"It fell?"

"Off the balcony."

"It fell off the balcony?"

"It's caught in a tree now." I pointed. The jacket was still there, fluttering pathetically in the wind.

My father's mouth opened slightly. Did half of your genes really come from me? his expression asked.

"Commander," a knight stepped into the terrace. Unlike his tuxedo-clad brethren he was in standard duty armor. A bear of a man with deeply set features, reddish-brown hair and stubble, I took an immediate liking to him. "Someone from the Duken family would like to speak with you."

I blinked at my dad. "The who?"

"The Dukens own this mansion," he explained. "They were kind enough to host the Ball tonight."

"That New Avalon crowd must be getting pretty desperate for a party if this is the occasion they're throwing their money behind." Behind me, the knight stifled a snicker.

I expected another tirade from my father but instead he frowned and shook his head. "Be polite, son."

Be polite? If I had spoken of any New Avalon family that way when I was younger I'd have never heard the end of it. Either my dad was softening with age or there was something about tonight's arrangement he was keeping from me.

We returned inside. I was careful to remember my bookbag. The knight gestured to a set of dark oak doors further down the corridor. "Niklas Duken waits for you in the parlor."

"Vanguard Kronwall," my dad addressed the knight, "Will you please watch after my son? I don't suspect we'll be long."

"Dad, you might be surprised to learn that I'm a functioning adult who doesn't need supervision."

"Debatable," he said. "You will stay put if you'd like me to honor my end of our deal."

I grumbled under my breath. The letter. He held the checkmate tonight and he knew it.

As soon as my father disappeared, the knight Kronwall collapsed against the wall. "I thought Commander Blowhard would never leave." He retrieved a flask from a side compartment in his armor where most knights held spare bullets. "You drink, lad?"

I stared at him.

"Eh? More for me, then." He took a hearty swig. If the bite of alcohol bothered him, he certainly didn't show it. "I feel like I'm the only knight in the battalion who was actually looking forward to tonight. Everyone's so gloomy and serious all the damn time. And then out of the blue? I'm the one assigned guard duty. I just wanted to drink and dance, for fuck sake!" Another drink followed by a burp. "So, you're that boy."

I shook his hand. "Chase Cansu. The Commander's son."

"Aye, but that's not how I know you. The librarian, right? I helped deliver that crate of books to you last week. Damn near broke my ass doing it."

He must have been one of those two knights that accompanied Ellis. I didn't recognize him at all. "Right. Of course! It's... nice to see you again."

"You had no goddamn idea that I was there, did you?" Kronwall smirked. He caught me. "Just pulling your leg, lad. I could tell there was a certain... distraction in the room. You know our old boy Ellis actually said more than four words that day? His personal best record. Wonder what must have inspired him."

My face heated. "Sir Ellis is a friend of yours?"

"Aye, The Centurion? He and I are best mates. Graduated the academy together. Survived two tours of duty in the war." He absently scratched his neck. My attention drew to his long scars, like claw marks, jagging the right side of his throat and ending somewhere below the collar. They were the color of frost against his ruddy skin.

At this I bowed, as was customary for anyone before a veteran knight. I wanted to kick myself for not doing the same in Ellis' presence. I should have known he'd served in the war even if he said nothing about it. "I thank you for your service and sacrifice, Sir."

Kronwall waved his hand dismissively. "No need for that, lad."

"You're very modest, Sir. Sir...?" I struggled for a first name. My father didn't mention one.

"Just Kronwall ought to do. Never cared for the name on my neuralnet record. Some men just call me The Wall."

I could definitely see why.

"And war is nothing to venerate," he continued, "You'll learn when you grow as old and weary as I."

The remark struck me as funny, he didn't seem any older than Ellis. Combat does that to a man, my dad said once, It saps them to a husk.

"Men like you and Sir Ellis are the reason I can live freely and serve the public today."

He paused the flask before his lips. A darkness clouded his otherwise jovial face. "You are lucky, Commander-son. There are many who don't enjoy the same comforts."

"I understand. Believe me, Sir." And that was the truth. Although I worked hard for my independence I was still in a position of privilege. The same was true of anyone within the safety of a city's borders. Those who dwell outside in the outposts and slums - we call them outliers - survive a much harsher existence every day of their lives.

The doors to the parlor re-opened. My father leaned out and jerked his head, signaling for me to join him. Kronwall's voice went low as he pressed his flask to my heart. "You're sure you don't need this?"

Grinning, I pushed it away. "Thank you for all your kindness tonight, Sir Kronwall. It was an honor to meet you."

"You are far kinder than this grizzled soldier could ever be, Commander-son."

That remains to be seen, I thought as I turned to face my frowning father.

The parlor was set up as more of a piano bar, with a baby grand as the centerpiece across from an elegant marble counter. Shelves of books that looked like they'd never been touched lined the room. The echoing tick of a grandfather clock projected an eerie stillness. I didn't like this place. It reeked of ghosts.

My father shut the doors behind me. We were alone except for a man with his back to us, staring intently out of a window. He was tall and well-dressed, broad of shoulder, with sandy blond hair and matching five-o-clock shadow from what I could see of his square jaw.

"Niklas," my dad said, "This is the young man I've been telling you so much about."

The man turned to greet us. He had the face of an aristocrat, by which I mean he was classically handsome. The sort of man you'd see on the cover of a romance novel about lords and ladies. The sort of man who'd wear a pocket watch for no reason.

We locked eyes as he approached. His smile was kind, perfect for his symmetrical face.

"It's rare I meet a gentleman of your beauty. I'm Niklas Duken." His accent had a strong touch of German.  He offered his hand. It was the wrong position for a handshake, more like he was gesturing for me to give him something. Confused, I hovered my palm until his fingers trapped mine like a vice. He then kissed my knuckles.

"Chase," I replied tersely. I drew my hand back with such force I accidentally smacked the Commander behind me. "Dad, who is this?"

"He just told you, son. Niklas is the heir of the Dukens, one of the first families of New Avalon. Niklas is an accomplished translator for the neuralnet databases. Oh, and he's unmarried."

"Uh, well, I assume one has nothing to do with the other."

"I didn't mean to startle you," Niklas lowered his head apologetically. "I was merely welcoming you to my home."

I arched an eyebrow. "Did you welcome my father by kissing his hand as well?"

He chuckled. "You were right about him, Admon." His eyes scoured me, grey and mysterious as smoke. "Your boy is certainly spirited."

"Niklas, is it?" My hand found my father's arm and I squeezed him. Hard. "Could I have a word with my father?"

The Commander chuffed. "That's hardly necess-"

"I think it is," I rebutted quickly.

"Of course. I will be joining the party in the exhibition hall." Niklas leaned into me as he headed out. "Please do grace me with your presence before you leave."

I barely waited for the door to close. "Please tell me that you're not actually doing what I think you're doing, and if so, don't stop me from jumping out of that window to my death."

"Chase," my father warned. "You are nearly 25. You've never taken a boyfriend."

"Thank you for the reminder! Men do not interest me."

"That's not what you told me when you were 12 and I found your vidscreen history."

"Well they do not interest me now!"

The Commander looked at me with great disappointment. "Do you know how many your age have already taken a husband or wife?"

My mouth fell open. "That's why you bribed me into coming tonight. So you could have me married off?"

"Please. Why must you be such a dramatic boy?"

"Before you fling me over the back of his horse, shouldn't we decide how many goats I'm worth?"


"I've already been mistaken for a tricker once this evening and now my own father is, what, whoring me out to the highest bidder?"

"First of all," a hardness settled into his face, "Do not say 'whoring' to me. Niklas is a great man and a useful contact. I'm helping you network. Do you not understand the difference? If you won't take the initiative to socialize how will you ever meet a respectable man?" He must have seen the same glint in my eye that always introduced a rebellious comment, for he interrupted before I could even speak. "A Vanguard-class knight does not count as respectable."

"I wasn't even going to mention Sir Ellis."

"Nor should you ever."

"Dad, you realize you're insulting your own men?"

"The Vanguards are warriors. They were bred for terrestrial battle, not courtship. They're not appropriate social company for a young man. And if Vanguard Pyre ever so much as leers at you in my presence, I will remove his eyes and tongue myself. Am I making myself clear?"

"And I'm being dramatic?"

"You will make an effort with Niklas Duken, boy. If a New Avalonian decides to court you, that will only be to your benefit."

"How's that?"

"The Dukens are... very good friends to have."

"I have enough friends."

His voice dulled. "Thinking of your books, are you?"

"As a matter of fact I am." My life was sufficiently full of the greatest friends I could ever imagine: Jane Eyre, Guy Montag, Randall Flagg, Hermione Granger, and Odysseus, just to name a few. I couldn't think of better dinner party guests.

My father shook his head and removed a slip of paper from his formal coat. With a dash of hope I thought it was Mrs. Zheng's letter, but then I saw the letterhead and the iconic blue of a United Galactic Worlds hardlight seal. My stomach dropped. A letter from the UGW never bore good news.

"I never meant to show you this. It's not my intention to worry you, son, but perhaps you'll understand the gravity of your situation a little more clearly."

"The gravity of my...?" He handed me the slip and my sentence went unfinished. As I read the cold, unfeeling words my stomach twisted. It was everything I feared staring back at me in ugly black lettering.

My father confirmed it. "Public service funding is being slashed another 35 percent in the coming year. The libraries are first on the hit list. Their plan is to shuttle the collections into storage for a year before disposing them entirely. UGW needs that building space and the libraries are not... well, they are not revenue streams. They're putting all their resources into the Restorations now. I'm sorry, son."

The alcove. The cozy space for my tea and my novels. The countless multi-part monographs I painstakingly cataloged and processed. Periodicals I've organized, spine labels I've applied and reapplied, textbook covers I've carefully repaired, the waterlogged paperbacks I insisted on displaying despite their low circulation numbers. My library. With just one letter, all that had been callously stripped of meaning.

Rarely an emotional man, my father allowed me a moment to mourn. I feared looking at him. What if I saw my own pain reflected in those old eyes?

"How long?" I could barely register anything above a strangled whisper.

"The Archives department has until the end of the year. You'll be contacted about your severance credits in a few months, I should think."

A lump in my throat rose. I swallowed it. "Is there nothing I can do?"

"Not by you or me, I'm afraid. I don't enjoy giving you this news, son."

"I know."

"And I am not asking you to marry Niklas Duken. But it would be in your best interest to spend time in his company. Allow yourself to know him, you'll find he is quite generous. The political and financial influence of New Avalon would be in your favor. Their families speak with the high council frequently and they can be quite, shall we say, convincing of certain matters. Do with that what you will."

He began to leave. In my stupor I was barely aware that he slipped another piece of paper in my hands. Mrs. Zheng's letter.

"For your time." He went for the door but hesitated. He straightened the medals of his coat, distracting himself from what he was about to say. "Your mother's last wishes were for you to be happy and safe and I will take those words with me to the grave. I don't enjoy worry, I find it useless. But I'm a father. And I worry about you, Chase."


My hand went to my bag. Inside it I sensed the book, hot as an oven, radiating distress. I could walk freely now that I had Mrs. Zheng's letter but I still needed the Commander's permission to visit her, for the truth of this sinister book. And yet... when I saw the care and disquiet stretched across my father's weathered face, like a mask had finally been lifted, I could barely move.

"You don't need to worry about me." The lie made my lower lip sting.

"But are you happy?"

"I enjoy my work."

"That's not the same thing."

"It is for me. Can't I determine my own happiness?"

"Well, are you ever lonely?"

I shuffled, sighing. "Dad, please."

"You are lucky to have inherited your mother's looks and grace. I know Niklas is not the first man to express his interest in you. There's no reason for you to dance alone tonight. Or any night."

My father had never spoken to me this way before. Did I really appear so dire to him?

The book thrummed again beneath the leather of my satchel. Shut up, I told it. I pressed my eyes together and forced my anxiety into steel. "Dad, I..."


"Perhaps you are right. There is certain company I could use."

"Really? That's wonderful to hear."

"So I would like your permission to visit Lunella Zheng on Quadras Island."

My father deflated. "You are not serious. Quadras Island is for protected citizens only."

"Which is why I'm asking you. It would only be for one afternoon. I haven't seen her in so long. With her condition I fear I might not have another chance."

"Son, there are people under this very roof who could fulfill a conversation with much less effort than her."

"But if I'm able to reconnect with her, perhaps that would make me more open to beginning... new friendships." I widened my eyes to play innocent. No, I wasn't above emotional manipulation. At the start of the evening I was so determined to come clean with the Commander about the book and the terror it had brought me, but that seemed the wrong tactic now. I had to adapt.

The Commander sighed. "There is much red tape around the Plague Act. Not to mention the dangers of crossing the sea. I'd need to arrange a ferry, a knight to escort you."

"Dad, if I..." The next few words were a struggle. "If I spoke more with Niklas tonight, and even made an effort to enjoy his company, would you let me go?"

A knowing look crossed him. "I did teach you to always negotiate, didn't I?" He opened the door back into the mezzanine. "I will be taking an early leave. When I speak with Niklas tomorrow, I expect to hear a favorable impression of my son."

"You will."

"I better. My permission for your trip depends on it."

One waltz with a man for the chance to rid myself of the book. It was an odd arrangement but certainly not impossible. Before I could thank him, my dad shook his head.

"Say nothing more, Chase. I prefer your silence. Goodnight."

As he walked away I slipped Mrs. Zheng's letter into the safety of my bookbag. Reading her correspondence was deeply private to me, like enjoying a bath almost, and I wanted to do it in the privacy of my own home. Then the book caught my eye. It was dead quiet, and in my recollection it almost seemed... smug... somehow.

A sudden thought troubled me. Was it truly my decision not to show my father the book? Or was that the thing's insidious influence, creeping into my mind and steering my actions with its skeletal hand?

Perhaps I was not the only one trying to protect myself that night.

Kronwall escorted me back to the main exhibition hall. I was ready to thank him when he nearly knocked me sideways getting to the open bar.

I scanned the crowds for Niklas but I, not so secretly, hoped to find Ellis instead. The knight may have appeared unfriendly to some but I enjoyed his honesty, and those rare moments I could soften his jagged edges. I only hoped my father hadn't put him off speaking to me.

"Hübscher Junge."

I spun around to find Niklas' smiling face. He offered one of his two flutes of champagne.


"Pardon me. That's how we say 'handsome boy' in my family. No doubt you've heard countless variations of that phrase in your life."

"You're very kind." I sipped the champagne and tried not to make a face. Never appealed to me.

Niklas brought me to an empty table away from the dance floor. His tuxedo was fine silk, the color of merlot. "I just saw your father leave, I hope everything's alright between you two?"

Loaded question, I wanted to say. "He needs his rest. He has a long day tomorrow of screaming, screaming, lunch, and then screaming."

He laughed a little longer than he needed to. "I can't imagine what growing up with a Knight Commander for a father must have been like."

"I became very talented at keeping to myself."

I thought maybe my honesty would embarrass him but instead Niklas leaned forward. I fought every instinct to pull away. He plucked a pink rose petal from my hair and flicked it away. "My decorators perhaps went a little overboard on the flowers. Apologies."

"You have a very beautiful home. Is it just you living here?"

"Not if you count my servants and staff, but yes. A bachelor through-and-through, as my mother says."

"Your mother?"

"Oh, my parents serve as dignitaries off-world. Last I heard they were touring the Perseus Arm. Being in another part of the galaxy keeps them off my back."

His square jaw flexed as he sipped his glass. Under the light his hair was a warm shade of gold. Visually, he was perfect, and I tried not to let that annoy me.

Ellis appeared out of the corner of my eye. He stood by the far corner of the room, tall and glowery in deep conversation with Kronwall. The longing to see him echoed again.

"I understand this must be very awkward," Niklas said, drawing my attention back. "Having your father introduce you to a man. It must put an odd pressure on you."

"He wants me to socialize more."

"Fair enough." Niklas grinned and for the first time, he seemed honest. "I realize I'm not the only man competing for your attention."

"Oh." The grip on my champagne flute tightened. Had he seen the way Ellis caught my eye? "Mr. Duken, that's not really-"

"Please, call me Niklas."

His dress shoe rubbed seductively against my ankle. The sensation startled me so bad my knee punched the underside of the table and knocked over my glass. Champagne dashed across the diamond-woven spread. Several heads turned in our direction followed by hushed snickering. Niklas patted the liquid down with his handkerchief.

"Are you alright?"

"I'm sorry." I got to my feet, unable to meet his gaze. I couldn't ignore my own discomfort any longer. "I could use some air. Please excuse me."

My walk accelerated to a spring as I weaved through the crowd of dancers. If the aim was to make a good impression I had failed miserably. My trip to Quadras Island was riding on this, how did I fuck it up so quickly? As I entered a quiet corridor outside the exhibition hall, a hand reached for my arm. I nearly leapt out of my skin.

"What's wrong?" It was Ellis, his bow tie and top button undone, teasing a hint of dark chest hair. "You ran like you were on fire."

I hugged my arms against my chest. I missed my jacket. "It's a little crowded in there."

"Aye. I've never done well with crowds either." He watched me for a moment. "Does my presence trouble you?"

"No, Sir, not at all."

"Did you get what you came for? Your letter."

"Yes, my father kept his word. Surprisingly."

"He's a good man, Chase. The greatest Commander I've had. Though I suspect he doesn't think much of me."

"He... he speaks highly of all his Vanguards."

"He's protective. Fiercely so. Wouldn't approve of me speaking to you like this."

"Then why are you?"

Ellis looked at the floor. "Well, librarian, the Commander is not the only protective knight in the battalion."

My face colored.

Another man spoke from behind me. "Pyre? You war dog, I barely recognized you!"

Ellis stiffened as Niklas approached us. "Duken. Nice suit."

"Yours as well. Distracts from that face of yours." Niklas cracked up at his own joke, ignoring Ellis' razor-sharp glare. "Still so deathly serious, Pyre? All you knights need to do yourselves a favor and lighten up."

"Thanks. Next time I'm defending an outlier settlement of women and children from a hundred-strong wave of proxies, I'll remember you in your silk suit, standing in your 32-million-credit mansion... telling me to 'lighten up'."

Niklas caught my eye. "I wanted to make sure Chase here was alright. Have you two met?"

"Yes," the knight answered for me.

"Chase here is Admon's-"

"Yes, Duken, I know. The Commander-son and I are acquainted."

"Are you, now? I can only imagine how thrilled Admon must be with this so-called acquaintance."

My eyes ping-ponged between the two men. I don't consider myself the most perceptive sort, but I could have choked on the tension.

"Pyre and I were classmates in the academy," Niklas explained. "He was a real devil in the training arena, from what I remember. Highest marks in all his combat courses. Hospitalized more students than I could count."

"And Duken was thrown out two years in."

"I withdrew voluntarily, I'll have you know."

As impolite as it was, I couldn't hide my surprise. "You trained to be a knight? Really?"

"A certain family duty forced my loyalties elsewhere, but yes. I hope that doesn't sound too absurd."

"It does," Ellis answered flatly.

Niklas' silver eyes narrowed momentarily and then he smiled at me. "Chase, allow me to escort you to the kitchen. If you're feeling ill my chefs can prepare something for you."

Ellis halved the distance between him and Niklas. "How about you allow Chase the autonomy you do not allow your servants."

Niklas cracked up again. "You? Going on about autonomy? You serve the military."

"I serve the people to protect their autonomy. Something you could never do."

"And how do you figure?"

"Because duty and honor cannot be bought."

Chest puffed and perfect hair gleaming, Niklas started to respond when the lights cut out and the corridor was flooded in darkness. A chorus of confused and disappointed voices rose from the exhibition hall.

"Sohn einer Hündin!" Niklas spat behind me. "I specifically told the lighting technicians to use the damn generators outside."

Emergency floodlights sputtered to life and cast an eerie red glow across the faces of my two warring suitors. Ellis said something to me but I couldn't hear a word.  Instead, I heard whispers. The book's whispers. Pressing into my ears again.

Guided by an instinct I couldn't put a name to, I turned to the end of the corridor where a child stood. A girl, no more than 7 or 8, wearing a gingham dress and a matching bow fixed to her long hair.

"Hello?" I called.

The crimson light blinked its staccato beat. A familiarity struck me as I scanned her features, somehow both blank and alert at once. Where had I seen her before?

"Are you lost?" I moved hesitantly. The whispers grew in intensity, buzzing and droning. A whole hive in my skull. "Are you one of the Generals' children?"

She spoke with a sing-song levity but did not smile. "Are you ready?"

Every syllable of her voice thrummed in rhythm with the whispers. Even beneath my leather satchel I felt the book vibrating with urgency. My palms beaded with moisture.

"Ready?" I repeated, confused.

She looked off the corridor to the exhibition hall. The air flattened. An unknown pressure bore down on my senses and everything that followed happened so quickly - too quickly.

"To find us," she answered.

An explosion rocked the exhibition hall and the mansion filled with a thunderous roar. A displacement of fiery air shoved in my direction and Ellis' arms wrapped around my stomach to yank me to the floor. Everything moved too fast for me to separate, my body throbbing with hurt, the corridor wall dissolving into chunks of blasted debris, the world blotting out in strobing flashes of white and blue. Ellis shielded me as broken jags of plaster and wood showered us. His body pressed into mine, his frame wide and brawny, his hot breath against my tingling ear.

I blinked my watering eyes, widening them, trying to see past the smoke and swimming bursts of bright light. Niklas had been knocked unconscious several feet away.

The little girl was gone.

Behind the dull ringing in my ears, heavy footsteps clanked into the corridor. I peered over Ellis' shoulder and saw five huge men in grey battle fatigues and chainmail masks. The symbol of a Christian cross was painted to each of their chestplates in bright red. Knights? Valkyries? No... their uniforms were something else entirely.

Ellis helped me to my feet. "Who are you?" he barked at the approaching men.

One of them spoke but it was difficult to tell which. Their voice was disguised, inhuman and strange through a digital filter.

"We are the Grey Templars. We have come to take that which is not meant for our world. And to punish those harboring it."

Ellis reached for something by his side and immediately cursed. In his tuxedo he had no weapons. "Stay behind me," he growled as he pressed us back.

"What are you talking about?" I shouted to the men over Ellis' outstretched arm. "Punish those harboring what?"

"The chronicle," one of them cried as he raised a blood-soaked sword. "That which does not belong!"

I looked down at my hands and gasped. I was holding the book. I didn't remember opening my satchel for it. They're calling this 'the chronicle'?

The other Grey Templars unshielded their weapons. They had guns, lances, daggers. Ellis stepped backward, pushing into me as he did.

"Who are they?"

"Terrorists," Ellis said. His eyes never left them. "Thought they were a myth until now."

The Grey Templar with the sword shook his head. "We are no myth, knight."

"Then what is this thing?" I pleaded at them, shaking the book. "Tell me!"

"The chronicle is blasphemy," one of them replied. "It was born from the black, from the airless tomb of unlife. Our duty says we must cast it back into oblivion's river. And you, poor boy, who the chronicle has imprinted..."

Guns and blades raised in my direction.

"...we must dash you against the stones."

End of Chapter 4
To Be Continued

A potential new suitor and a mysterious set of enemies... what do you think of Chase's evening so far? Team Ellis or Team Niklas?

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