As Eldar was speaking to Marcus, Archimedes and Azra had found Crystal’s location using a locating spell which now worked as she was no longer in hiding, and they had her in their custody now back at her father’s home and they had already filled her in on what they knew. They knew that Jarrel had wanted to be there but they also knew that he was likely involved in questioning Marcus by this time, so they proceeded without him.
Crystal couldn’t meet her father’s eye. “I never wanted you to see me like this. Ezra tried to turn me but I was somehow able to ward off his attempt. But when Marcus bit me, it broke through whatever barrier had been put up and I turned. I panicked and pulled his baby canines with the strength of my fingers alone so that he couldn’t harm anyone else. Though it wasn’t my intent to hurt him. I broke a hole through the wall to the room where I was being held captive. I assumed that Marcus would follow me out and that the authorities would find him and place him in foster care. I didn’t know how to care for him as I was. I put a glamour on myself so that you wouldn’t see me this way and I came home so that you would at least know I was alive and what had happened to me, but I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t maintain that glamour forever, and I had the thirst to address. That’s why I left. I’m sorry if I hurt you. I never meant to. I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Archimedes went over and took his daughter in his arms and was silent for a time as she broke down into tears. “I wish you would have trusted me, Daughter. I could have helped with your thirst. I could have made you a bloodstone which is a magical stone that appeases the vampiric thirst. Azra has one and I had offered one to Ezra long ago as well but he refused it. He preferred to quench his thirst by terrorizing and draining humans, and for that the Knight Templars imprisoned him. But somehow he escaped.”
Crystal pulled away and responded, “I didn’t know who he was or what he was until he bit me as he was raping me and then he forced me to drink his own blood. But he was too strong and my magic too weak. I had just opened to it and didn’t know how to stop him, and I was on the verge of death.”
“Of course. You were, but a child,” Archimedes said.
Crystal finally met her father’s eye. “Yes, but I am no longer a child. I’ve done things that abhor me but I also put my time and attention into mastering my magic while remaining hidden from Ezra. And when I knew I was strong enough I sought him out. The Templars had reacquired him but I found a way to pass through their holy seals and I killed him for what he had done to me.”
Crystal then met Azra’s eye. “I am sorry for your loss but I am not sorry for killing that monster.”
Azra furrowed his brow. “But I still feel my bond to him. I assumed him still alive. I thought I would have felt him die.” Crystal shrugged. “Perhaps the holy seals were blocking his death from you, or perhaps you are connected on a soul level, not physical as you had believed.”
Azra considered that and nodded. “You may be correct. I grieve the loss of my brother but it aggrieves me more the dark path he chose to take in life. You did what needed to be done. Something that I’m not sure could have been done by my hand. It is why I pled for imprisonment as opposed to execution. But I see now that was a mistake. I am sorry for the suffering he has caused you. I would not wish my curse on another. Though the bloodstone does give an alternative to draining humans, it will not provide the death chemical high that is gained in killing a human. I was fortunate to have resisted from the beginning and to accept your father’s gift to appease my thirst but if you have killed… That will be an addiction that you will have to overcome but I suspect you to be of strong will.”
Crystal turned her head away in shame. “In the beginning, I did take their lives. I didn’t know how to control myself but then I learned to only take a little and persuade them to forget the encounter and I discovered that a bit of my blood would heal the bite wounds.” She then pulled back her collar to reveal a tiny set of bite marks on her neck from Marcus. “When I turned, the scars from Marcus’s bite didn’t heal, nor did the bites that Ezra inflicted upon me.” Crystal’s expression went dark at the memory of those bites that were on various intimate areas of her body. “I am regenerative now except for the bites, I wish that at least the turning would have erased the visual memories that your brother’s abuse left on my body.”
Archimedes spoke. “You apparently are a very strong-willed woman if you were able to resist killing any humans after you learned another way. I can’t be prouder of you, for how you handled this situation. I only wish you would have trusted me to help you. But though the past cannot be changed, I can help you now, and I will create a bloodstone for both you and Marcus. An elf by the name of Eldar currently has him in a safe haven at his children’s wellness center. He has suffered from his time alone on the streets.”
Crystal sighed. “I am sorry for that. I honestly thought someone would have rescued him. When I heard of a drained body, I realized that it had to be him. Ezra was already dead, and I was careful not to leave evidence behind whenever I drained a human at first, and I was sure to burn the bodies. So, I took care of that body as well and I was going to take Marcus back into my care but by the time I had cleaned up the evidence he had already tried to commit suicide and was in human custody. I didn’t know what they would do to him but it seemed that they simply believed him to be psychotic and hysterical, so I thought him better off with that diagnosis, rather than the truth of what he is.”
“We can’t hide from ourselves, Daughter. Marcus is being told what he is as we speak but he is among friends, and safe now.”