Home > Court of Nightfall (The Nightfall Chronicles #1)(11)

Court of Nightfall (The Nightfall Chronicles #1)(11)
Author: Karpov Kinrade

As if cued by his words, lights once again appeared in the sky. And I knew I couldn't be responsible for another death. For another life.

We ran toward my father's Cessna, and I tried not to spare a glance at my parents' fallen forms, but I couldn't stop myself.

As Jax prepped the plane, I looked at them one last time, lying together on the cold earth, their hearts forever stopped.

I'd never seen them in color while they were alive. They'd always been shades of grey to me. Now, in their death, I saw the rich oak of my father's hair. The golden beauty of my mother's long braid. I just wished I could see their eyes. Just one last time, I wished I could look them in the eyes and tell them how much I loved them.

Jax nudged me toward the plane, and I clutched the Token of Strife in my hand, relishing the pain it caused.

Their death would not be in vain.

Chapter 6

Midnight Throne

The inside of the Cessna smelled like my dad. His cologne. A musky, minty scent that made my eyes burn with unshed tears. I ran my hand over the control panels. I knew this plane better than I knew my own bedroom. I'd spent countless hours flying in it with my dad, learning what every light and button meant.

I could fly it myself, but everything inside me had gone numb, so I let Jax take the controls. I still had so many questions, so many things that didn't make sense about this night, but I only had the voice for one in that moment.

"Where are we going?"

He didn't take his eyes off the controls as we taxied down the short runway my dad had built. "Castle Vianney. In New York."

I knew where Castle Vianney was. Everyone did, even though no one had ever been there except those chosen for Vianney Academy or the Four Orders. It was on Vianney Island, what was once Wards Island, and was kept under lock and key by strict orders of the Pope. "Why are we going there?"

Nothing made sense anymore. The world had turned inside out and had taken everything I'd loved and destroyed it.

My stomach dropped as the plane left the ground and became airborne. I'd always loved this feeling. Relished it. But tonight, there was no joy, not even in flight.

"Everything will be explained when we get there. I…" he finally looked at me, his eyes softening. "I'm sorry, Scarlett. I'm so sorry. I can't tell you anything more. I'm not allowed. But, I promise, you'll understand soon. Can you trust me? Just for a little while longer?"

His dark eyes pleaded with me, but my heart remained unmoved. I trusted no one, I realized. Even my parents had betrayed me. Lied to me. I couldn't give him my trust, not anymore, but I could give him some time. How else would I get my questions answered? He was my only link to discovering the truth.

I reached down and felt the bulge in my shoe, making sure the chip was still there. Not the only link, then. I had one other place to look for answers.

I closed my eyes and the weight of the day smothered me in darkness.


His back is to me, the tall man with broad shoulders, a black cloak billowing around him.  Woods surround us, dark, foreboding, the trees towering over us with long shadows born of the night. He walks forward, and I run to him, but the woods stretch before me, putting him forever out of reach.

The air around me is thick, heavy, coating my lungs, making it hard to breathe. Dead leaves fall from the trees as I run past them, catching the moonlight on their frail brown skin.

The man before me stops. I run faster, knowing I must reach him, knowing he is important, but again the woods trick me.

I trip and look down, expecting to find a root has caught my foot.

It is not a root, but a hand. A skeletal hand attached to a decaying body. I scream, stumble forward, only to land on more dead things. I realize that what I thought was ground piled in leaves is really piles of corpses, eyes forever open, staring at me with accusations unspoken but heard nonetheless.

I keep running, trying to escape the death around me. I arrive in a clearing where the corpses form a hill of dead bodies. The man in black stands at the base. On top is a throne, a giant gleaming thing made of midnight, with a blood red banner over it.

Sitting on the throne is a little girl in a white lace dress, her long blond hair parted into braids with white ribbon. She's playing with a giant glowing ball. Our eyes meet. She smiles, but something isn't right with that smile. Her teeth. Two of them protrude, too long, too sharp. She holds the white glowing ball out to me.

The man, his back still turned to me, speaks, his voice filling the clearing. "Choose!"

The girl's voice repeats. "Choose."

Together, they chant, "Choose."

I don't understand. "Who are you?" I ask, but my voice is carried on the wind and dies before it reaches him.

I run to the man, grip his shoulders, turn him to me…


I woke with a start, my head still filled with the voices of that man and that girl. The plane hit the pavement of a runway. That was what woke me. We landed.

I looked out the window at my first glimpse of Castle Vianney.

Chapter 7

Castle Vianney

I climbed out of the Cessna—out of my father's plane, out of the last familiar piece of my life—and walked into a world that blended the past and the future into something new. The grounds, the landscape, the castle that towered over the small city of Vianney, looked like a piece of history transplanted into the modern age.

Jax saw me staring as we walked through the airstrip toward a parking garage. "The castle itself was rebuilt from the remains of a castle in France. After the Attack on Diamond Head and before the Nephilim War it was transported here piece by piece."

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