They were met with the sight of a very vulnerable Dionysus. It was shocking to Astra to see him like that. “Is everything okay?” He looked up and she could see his eyes red from crying.
“He shouldn’t be here,” Dionysus said coldly. “Why would you bring that murderer here?”
“Now, Dionysus,” Audric began. “A simple hello would have sufficed.”
“Shut the hell up!” Dionysus demanded.
Alistair patted his best advisor on the back. He was torn. Dionysus was loyal to him, but Astra was his daughter. He wanted them both to be happy. When he saw Dionysus break down, he didn’t understand what he meant by Astra being in danger. He thought Dionysus was being dramatic over his daughter’s very open rejection. But now he understood. Dionysus cared immensely for his daughter and Audric was no regular being. The power levels on him were staggering. Alistair could feel how being in his presence would suffocate someone with no magical affinity. “Mr. Gray, you can’t let your daughter go back with him. He will keep her locked up there forever. What do you need her for now? The curse has been broken, someone finally loves you enough for you to leave your containment! Just leave her alone now.”
“I cannot do that,” Audric said. “I love her. I truly truly love her. I will not allow anything else to hamper that.”
“Astra…” Dionysus begged. “Open your eyes. He’s using you!”
“Stop it!” Audric’s voice was rarely ever that loud, in fact Astra had never even witnessed anger like that coming from him. “I know what I did in the past. But I am no longer that man. I love her.”
“Astra,” Alistair began. “You have some explaining to do. I presume this is the mage you studied under?”
“I thought you didn’t believe me,” She said.
“I didn’t want to believe that my daughter was in isolation for two years learning forbidden magic, but Charlotte showed a big concern, so as your father I looked into it. Rather, Dionysus did. I have to thank you for your concern for my daughter.”
“Of course sir,” He said. “I really do care for you Astra. My feelings are true. I don’t throw words around.”
“Neither do I,” Audric said, now calm. “No lies leave these lips.”
“Only half truths,” Dionysus sneered.
“We have to settle this,” Alistair said sharply. He turned to the man. “Who are you?”
“Audric Brainard. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, after all these centuries.” He held his hand out.
“Centuries?” Alistair asked. “I haven’t been around that long.”
“The book,” He stated calmly. “The book you and your nephew found. I read that book thousands of years ago. The original copy too, before the shoddy remake. I knew of you, and how your story ended, or rather, will end.”
“Sir, what book?”Dionysus asked. “You have one of the seer’s tales in your possession?”
“It’s no use to him, he found it when he had already lived through most of the tales in the book. I ripped out the ending pages, as is customary for seer’s tales.”
Dionysus glared at his cousin. “Astra,” He began again.
“I’m fine,” She said firmly. “I’ve made my choice accept it.”
“You can’t be serious right now.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “You think I’m just being jealous right now? My concerns are valid.”
“Wait.” Alistair held his hand up. “We have to get back to this book and I need to know who exactly you’re supposed to be Audric.”
“I’m afraid I cannot tell you who I am. No one in Moonlight Falls is ever supposed to hear of me again. The mere thought of me is forbidden. It’s an ancient Elven tale not dare spoken aloud but only read in scrolls by those deemed worthy.”
“Why?” Astra asked quietly.
“Its because what he did is that bad,” Dionysus said. “Not even I’m allowed to speak of it! It frustrates me so much!” He glared at Audric. “You have no right to return here.”
“I’m here for Astra, that is it,” He said. “I know I’m not to interfere directly with Moonlight Falls anymore. That’s why I taught Astra my magic. But it seems like you will win the war without her help.”
“You’re not taking her with you,” Alistair said sternly. “I don’t care how much you love him Astra.”
“It isn’t up to you daddy,” Astra said, holding on to his arm. “I will go with him. After the war is over.”
“No,” Audric said finally. “That won’t do. Ho can I protect you if you’re down here? I can’t interfere directly with this world, but with me I can watch you.”
“I’m sorry but I’m not a child, you should know that by now.”
Audric let out a low chuckle. “I remember when you were so dependent on me. Now look at you. I’m proud of you, you know that right?”
“I do now.” She smiled brightly. “I adore you, Audric. I really do, but you must help put my father at ease.”
“I will do anything to be with you.” He nodded towards Alistair. “Mr. Gray what I can tell you is that there are multiple forces that have taken an interest in you.”
“That much I know,” Alistair answered.
“It’d be wise to rid yourself of the tyrannical vampires first and then move on to bigger threats. Perhaps the guardians. be wary of them, they mean you no help.”
“I’m in a tough spot,” He admitted. “I either help them or Mason.”
“Mason will no longer be a problem, but that information does not leave this lair, understood?”
“What?” Alistair asked. “Mason…you’re saying he’s dead or something?”
“No, but I’ve got him under control for now. Don’t know how much longer it will last. What I’m saying is focus on what is in front of you. I cannot help you until the Grays are out of Moonlight Falls. Because of my seal, I am not able to help you with anything here. You must endure a little longer. But then, we can talk about other dimensions. It won’t be for a while. Your daughters are doing a fantastic job keeping Altiere at bay, as is Dionysus. But do not let your victories cloud your judgement. If things go bad, I have a safe haven for your family, but I hope you are never pushed that far into a corner.”
“I have so many more questions, as I’m sure Astra does as well,” Alistair said.
“I can stay to answer a few more, then I must take my leave. It’s for everyone’s safety that I remain out of Moonlight Falls.”
“But why?” Astra asked again.
“It is not safe to tell you yet,” Audric explained again. “Even Dionysus can agree on that yes? And you know for certain that you can trust him.”
“Yeah,” Dionysus agreed. “It’s not the right time for you to know the truth about what he did. But there are other things he doesn’t have to keep a secret. Like those seers tales.”
“I can tell you this much,” Audric began. “Adeline Gray, the purebred vampire, is very cunning. She and that fairy boy may already be close to finding the information they are looking for. I know vasts amount of information, but some things, it is not safe for people to know, supernatural or not. I am sorry but it is not a burden I wish to put on anyone.”
“You’re much more important than you’re letting on.” Alistair lowered his eyes at the male, trying to figure out what was happening. It wasn’t good news, that was for sure.
“Without me, the world as you know it will crumble. Irreparable damage has been done, but there are always workarounds. I will keep the dimension afloat but I cannot do it on my own. I will hold off to the best of my ability. You need not worry about anything else but destroying Altiere and making Moonlight Falls a place where supernaturals do not hide, and can interact with each other peacefully.
“So what do we do?” Astra asked.
“Leave the heavy planning to your sister, Charlotte. She may be pregnant, but that does not make her incapable. If anything, she’ll want more than anything to jump into the thick of it all to protect her children. With that human, she will be able to accomplish much.”
“She’s pregnant?” Astra gasped. “Again?”
He nodded. “A pretty little female vampire. This pregnancy should go smoothly, no health scare.”
Alistair let out a sigh of relief. “That’s good to know.” He didn’t know what Audric was saying was the truth, but he’d wait to see it and then decide how full of crap he was.
“Astra, you have a much more passive role. Help your sister research the seers tales. It isn’t directly involving me if you find out the information on your own. But, just in case…” He began to cast a spell. “This triple seals the lair so no outside interference could ever break into it. Not even me, I’ve locked everyone out. You are safe to plan here.”
“What will I find out?” She asked. “The way things are supposed to end?”
“No.” He shook his head. “Never look for an ending. Make your own. The way things are, they’re constantly changing. Don’t depend on a set outcome.But they’ll lead you to where you have to be. Where you can take the battle. But be sure there are reinforcements. It’d be wise to get the werewolves and fairies on your side, though I understand how hard it will be.”
“I’ll do my best.” Astra nodded quickly. “We have to discuss this with the girls.”
Alistair nodded. He turned to Audric one last time. “If you’re really here to help us, then I’ll think about letting my daughter run off with you.”
He chuckled. “Mr. Gray, you must let go eventually. If she does not ever want to come with me, I won’t stop her. I want her to be happy.”
Astra sighed. “It’s not fair. I want you to stay.”
He grabbed her by her waist and dipped her. “First kiss, my love?” She grabbed him tightly, putting as much of herself into the kiss as she could. “You’re beautiful.”
“You’re changing the subject,” She whispered.
He smiled and kissed her forehead. “We cannot have the conventional relationship like your sisters. Children is not an option for us.” He sighed, hoping she’d understand. If he told her now, she’d think about it and hopefully get used to the idea.
“What?” She asked.
“I’ve said too much yet again.” He laughed. “It’s been a while since I’ve felt so strongly. We can talk more about the future after the war. I will try to check in periodically, and when I do it will be here in this lair. Mr. Gray I am much obliged that you allowed me into your home. I will continue to do what I can. Astra, dear, I love you with all my heart.” HE kissed her one last time. “I will come back for you.” Before he turned to leave he called out to his cousin. “You better keep her safe, Dio.”
Dionysus rolled his eyes. “I will, but for me and her family. It has nothing to do with you.”
Audric let out a small laugh. “Learn to let go of the past Dionysus.” And just like that, he was gone.