Azlu Aftermath

Timeline: October 15, 2007

Ramiel, Michael, John, and Lyla had gone to take care of a problem that arose in Saratoga Springs, New York. There they had found a new enemy, an Azlu infestation. The situation was dire; many Azarath Azlu had infected humans and had stolen their forms to hide. Worse, they had slaughtered a small werewolf pack who’d made their home in that city. Two other werewolves, Selene and Bjorn, had been sent to aid them in their task by James Ironclaw, alpha of the Young Father Bear pack in Eldon Well.

The party of six were able to track down the next intended victim, a nurse named Charlese Wellington, and root out the Azlu spider that was waiting for her in her apartment. There, according to Ironclaw’s prophetic dream, it had intended to wait for her to go to sleep, then bite her, crawl into her mouth and then take her over by hollowing out the poor unfortunate’s brain. It was truly a gruesome fate, but it was averted by Ramiel’s determination to save her from the spiders, and Lyla and Michael’s fortitude in handling the situation at her apartment.

Of course, that determination did not prevent Michael from being bitten and poisoned. It did horrific damage to him before Lyla managed to kick it off him and stomp it into a squishy mess on the floor of Charlese’s apartment.

But by and large, the team was successful. Michael was able to recover enough to get around thanks to his friends’ help, and the group was able to track the spiders to their hunting grounds in the hospital. There they engaged six man-spider things that Lyla later learned were called Azarath Azlu and were the result of a permanent spiritual absorption of a human body and soul by an Azlu spirit. These were defeated, then the three werewolves tracked them back to their Mother in her den.

This was a Quonset at the edge of town, a huge domed metal building designed to house large machinery, such as farm equipment. There, Michael and Ramiel tag-teamed the entire place by making the concrete foundation and cement slab conductive and then electrifying it. Thousands of tiny Azlu spiders were destroyed, as well as some egg sacks before they ever saw their enemy. But the remaining Azarath rushed the group from their lair at this point, only to be intercepted and cut down by the werewolves.

The Uratha — Lyla, Selene, and Bjorn — pressed their advantage and rushed the nest, but had trouble locating the Azlu mother. It struck from stealth and darkness with a sticky blob of boiling spit that immediately blinded Lyla. She had screamed as her eyes melted out of her skull, but to her credit she did not give in to panic, but instead relied on her other senses to help her.

The rest of the group managed then to engage her and tear her down. As these Azarath Azlu tended to dissipate into a small horde of spiders that inevitably escaped, Ramiel decided to torch the entire place in hopes of preventing the Mother’s escape. Too many of her children had already escaped that way. Lyla was nearly trapped and burned to death because she could not find a way out, but the group was able to save her by calling to her and letting her home in on a voice.

For two days, while John looked to Michael’s healing, Lyla’s eyes began to regenerate on their own. To shelter new rod and cone cells that had never before seen light, John administered gauze coverings for her eyes and warned her not to remove them until her body finished repairing itself, and even then to be sure to do so only in darkened conditions. Of course, being unfamiliar with Uratha physiology, John couldn’t predict how long the healing might take.

The evening of the second day, at Selene’s suggestion that if her eyes were going to heal, they would have by now, Lyla decided to remove the bandages. The room was darkened, and she didn’t want anyone with her save for Ramiel. She didn’t know what would happen when she removed the bandages. She didn’t know if something in the Azlu spit would have prevented her from healing completely. She didn’t know if her eyes would look scarred and barely functional. But she did know that if she was to see anything, she wanted the first thing she saw to be Ramiel’s face.

Ramiel had guided her to sit in a chair near the hotel room dresser, and he sat down across from her.

“Hurry!” Lyla said urgently. “My eyes have been something terrible.” John had told her that, as her doctor, he strongly recommended against touching her eyes in any way while they healed. He couldn’t predict how irritating them might affect the healing process, he’d warned her. “I want to get some Visine in them.”

Ramiel carfully removed the gauze, slowly, one piece at a time. Once it was finally removed he looked at her and grimaced, choking back repulsion. “Lyla — I’m,” he choked in his throat, ” sorry.” He turned away from her unable to look anymore.
“Ha-ha, Ramiel,” Lyla said, having detected the teasing note in his voice and mock drama. “I haven’t even opened them yet.”

Lyla opened her bit by bit. The room was darkened, but even so Lyla still couldn’t help blinking rapidly by perceived brightness. A wash of tears tumbled out as if she was staring into headlights on a cold, windy day. She put the heels of her hands to her eyes and waited for the moment of irritation in her eyes to pass. Finally, she took her hands away and opened her new eyes fully.

The eyes that stared back at him, were not the eyes he was so familiar with. They were not the eyes Lyla was born with. These were startlingly silver and seemed to reflect what little light there was in the room. As entrancing as they were, they were even more shocking. Her dark, near-black brown eyes were gone forever. In their stead were these brilliant silvery orbs that even now looked up at Ramiel’s surprised faced.

“… bright in here!” Lyla was saying. Ramiel had missed whatever the first part was. “Ramiel? Is it okay? Do they look… normal?”

His expression faded for the briefest of seconds. He knew she would not see it, but on the same note figured she would be able to smell the difference in him. “Thay are fine love.” Was the words hat came from his mouth, the words that did not match his thoughts. My Lyla is fading more and more from her. Soon there will be only…

“Fine?” Lyla turned toward the dresser and looked into the mirror above it. She looked for a long time without saying a word. The truth was, the person looking back at her was as unfamiliar to her as it was to Ramiel. She was looking through those eyes, but they weren’t her eyes. At least, not the ones she was used to seeing in the mirror every day.

It was a long time before she spoke again. “Damn,” she said quietly. At least I can see, she thought. It was a small comfort. It wasn’t that they were ugly or scarred or anything like that. It was just… it wasn’t her.

“You hate them don’t you? I think I hate them,” she said.

If it were only eyes that had changed Ramiel would not have cared, but it wasn’t. It was her personality, her inner self that had changed the most. He could let his worries drift to the back of his mind most of the time, but the truth was his feelings were being pushed back with fear and uncertainty.

“They are fine, and the color is ironic.”

She turned to look at him. In a moment, she realized he was probably referring to his hair. Her eye color was now more similar to his hair color. She slid from her chair and onto his lap in one fluid motion that left her straddling him and staring into his eyes. She wrapped her arms around his neck in a sensual gesture.

“Liar,” she stated. Lyla then brushed his lips with hers once, then came back for a more aggressive kiss.

Laughing faintly Ramiel pulled back a little from the kiss. “Well I suppose but what I was referring to was they look more silver than anything, and you have a rather adverse reaction to silver.”

She smiled. It was a little bit funny, after all. “And did you notice? Your eyes match my hair, mine match your hair.” She wiggled up his lap a little further. “But seriously, I can’t tell you how much it meant to me you were the one to help me the past couple days. Being blind totally sucks. Selene said my eyes would grow back, but it’s hard to really believe until it happens, you know?”

“No, guess I don’t know what that would be like. Waiting for a part of me to regrow. I will never know, or be able to relate to that. If it had been anyone else…” His words trailed off with his thoughts.

“Lucky for me you were there to lead me out of the fire, or I would never have lived long enough to re-grow my eyes,” Lyla said with a grateful smile.

“Ramiel love, would you mind if we stayed in town a little longer? I’d like to gather Selene and Bjorn and repair what those spiders did to the spirit realm here. Also, I think we might be able to contact the totem of the dead pack and perhaps make peace with it, allow it to move on. And…” she hesitated a little, wondering how he might react then that mischievous glint overtook her eyes. It was look Ramiel was familiar with and very reminiscent of the Lyla he always knew and loved since they were children. “I could take you with us. I can find a path for you through the Gauntlet to the spirit world, and I can bring you back. It’s an opportunity for you here, something James wouldn’t allow in our home territory, and also your ability to call fire would help us immensely when we go to destroy the webbing. This also would give me the chance to show you what I’ve spent so much time doing this summer.”

“Yeah I could do that, but before I have to take care of something, would you like to help?”

Lyla nodded. “Absolutely.”

“Good. Let’s go get a puppy, or kitten for Charlene.”

She looked surprised, then delighted. “How nice of you to think of that! It’s a plan. Can we go now? I think I’m going to need some sunglasses, too.”

In no time at all, the two had picked out a kitten for Charlene and sunglasses for Lyla. Charlene had been touched and grateful, and the new kitten helped the healing process.

Ramiel had been quiet through most of the trip, not speaking until they were back to the hotel. “Can I guess that you wish to know more about my studies? My workings with Ariyah? More about my abilities?”

Lyla gave him her fullest attention. “Yes! I mean, I’m really interested. The things you did recently when we fought Cay, and then the other day when we defeated the Azlu — that’s impressive as hell! It’s like over summer you went through something and came out all Gandalf the White. Very cool! But… how do you do it?”

She reconsidered the question as soon as she’d asked it. “Bad question. I probably wouldn’t understand it if you did explain it to me. How about, what’s it like? How does it feel? And, is this what you’ve been learning at Ariyah’s place? Or is it something that has come to you naturally?”

He thought about his answer for a while,weighing the concequences of what he might tell her. “Words carry more wieght than you know Lyla.”

Again he paused before continuing. “Gandalf’s journey is very accurate. In truth I am both Ramiel of old and new. I had forgotten who and what I was, but once I remembered, well, same old me. Nothing about me has changed really, I was always this way. I just could not grasp it. But now I do. So does Michael.

“I spend a lot of time studying and learning possibilities, what to say and how to say it. In truth though, it is just a starters manual. I am limited by imagination and strength. But most of all, what limits me are the risks.

“Do you remember in the battle with Cay, how you moved, and the very air seemed thick to move through, and it hurt you?”

She paused a moment in thought, then nodded. “Yes, I’d almost forgotten. It was very strange. It was like I could move if I wanted to, but it sliced me up like knives. But it went away after a moment.”

Ramiel grimaced. “Yeah, that is it. It was me. Cay was the intended target, but it went astray. That is a danger of my gifts.”

“Where does the magic come from? It doesn’t seem to come from spirit, like mine. Does it come from your soul? Or somewhere else?”

“All and none. It is difficult to explain.”

“Hm,” Lyla replied. Then she smiled. “Why is it difficult to explain? I bet you could dumb it down for me.”

“Yes, I could in fact. My power comes from a higher plane, a realm beyond the beyond, the Supernal. I am what allows me to use that power. Why are you so curious? Why are you so willing to share with me all that is sacred to your pack?”

“Because not sharing will keep us apart,” she said somberly.

“You think the others would be so willing to let that stand?” he sighed. ” I know, you don’t care, and I shouldn’t. But some things that did not bother me in the past do now. I saw it is difficult to explain because I can not find the words to make it audible. I know we have been and continue to drift apart, and it is not good, I know.”

He shook his head and laughed lightly, “Never mind, I am rambling again.”
She walked up to him and put her arms around him. “You worry so much love. Maybe it’s my fault; I haven’t always been able to explain as much as I wanted to.” She kissed him before continuing. “You’re the one person in the world I’ve ever loved. You’re my mate, the one I can’t live without. Other Uratha do trust certain people outside the pack with information like this. It’s a judgment call on the part of the werewolf. And in your case, it does not test my Oath of the Moon because you are not human — like us, your power must shine in the night, away from the disbelieving eyes of the Sleeping Herd. The only question others might have is that they don’t know you as well as I do, so maybe they don’t trust you as much as I do. But they will. Just give them time.”

“It is not like that for me, the shine by night part. I can wield my power in front of the sleepers, but it becomes more difficult. Though if sleepers do see, they rationalize it some way, they tend to do that. It would be more difficult for you and other werewolves. I am sorry my love, but I am human, not a mere human, I am awakened.”
Her smile grew only wider. “I know that. But are you not also supposed to keep the mysteries Secret? To keep them from the mortal world so it doesn’t all vanish in a poof of disbelief or something like that?”

Clearly, Lyla had been getting information about Mages from somewhere — and it hadn’t been Ramiel. However it wasn’t a stretch of the imagination to figure she’d been in contact with someone, perhaps someone who had given Ramiel his very first magic tome of Atlantean mysteries.

“You’ve been checking up on me, and what I am, interesting.”
Lyla blushed. “Oh no, not checking up on you. I spoke with Erin a few times this summer. She wanted to know how I was doing, yadda yadda. I asked her about the magic stuff she did and she told me a little. I just sort of extrapolated. I really don’t know much else.”

“So Erin is a mage as well then?”
Lyla nodded. “Yep.”

“Then you have all the answers to the questions you have been asking me then. So why ask? Are you testing me?”
“No, I’m not testing you. I already told you, she only told me a little.”

“I see. So when are we going into shadow?”
She looked at him, trying to read his expression. He seemed a little put off at the moment. “Any time after sundown.”

“Good, is there anything I need to do to prepare.” He was a little distant, but is eyes held a world of loss in them. Many unspoken words filled them.
She shook her head. She knew him almost better than she knew herself. Or, at least she used to. “Just… talk to me. Tell me what is troubling you.”

He was quite for some time, pacing about the room, his eyes full of sorrow, all in all not like himself. After some time he leaned against the wall, looking at the ground. Best get this over with now, rather than let it build and distract me.

“My feelings for you.” His voice was soft and filled with the hollow quality people have when they are sad, and trying to speak with too much emotion flooding out.
She looked at him with a mixture of concern, fear, and affection. “Yes?”

“Okay, let me say this before I can’t.” He remained looking at the floor. “That is what is troubling me; my feelings. I don’t like them most of the time anymore and I am trying. I never came to terms with you shutting me out of your life, for my own good or not, I would have rather died trying to help you, being with you, than have you push me out because I am to weak, too different, too much a risk. But you did, for your own sound reasons, and I can’t get past that.
“There is so much now that I don’t know about you. You try to tell me and the more I learn the more difficult it is to adjust.

“You are not you anymore. Change is one thing but you don’t act the same, don’t feel the same, and now you look even less like my Lyla. Though looks are really the least of it.

“You know how hard it is for me telling you that I am okay with things that have happened when I am not. Oh, I can understand it, comprehend what has happened, and in time be okay, but so much has happened so fast. Seeing you shift while I am fucking you, no I am not okay with that.

“The worst thing of all is because I don’t care that you are a werewolf, it doesn’t change my feelings for you It is that you are becoming, acting like somone else. That is what I can not handle right now, that is what I am worried about. I have low morals, but there are some things that are just too far, and you, I don’t think you have human morals anymore.

“I don’t want to be Anita here, but I am feeling a lot like her.”

The faintest glistening drop fell to the floor, a silent tear fell from his hidden eyes.

“I love you, always will, but right now I find myself uncertain and scared of you half the time. Wondering what will happen, what I will have to do, that is what is troubling me. I find myself wanting to hide things from you so I don’t have to worry about how you will react, like Ariyah, wondering if you would kill her or the child because you feel threatened. Hate me if you want, but you asked and I told you the truth.

“I know I am different and I have always been dangerous, but I am still the same me, have the same beliefs. I still act the same way. But now I am Awakened, I have more power and I can see the grand scheme of things. I have seen the way things could be, how they perhaps should be. I know that everything in theis world is woven together and as such I may think a little differently, or speak differently, but I am still me.” He sunk to the ground as he finished speaking, knowing that he had said too much, that his words would cut her deeply and perhaps tear a whole that could not be repaired. Myabe she would return to the pack, saying you are right he does not understand, he can’t. Maybe she would leave him and never return now, yeah he had said too much.
By this time, Lyla was crying, too. Silent tears poured down her cheeks and she was on her knees next to him where he was. She reached for him and pulled him close to her breast, holding him tight as if afraid he might vanish or slip away. “I want to be your everything, my love. You are the one I can’t live without. I know I’m not human anymore. I know it scares you.

“But I’m yours, my love. I just ask that you not hide your feelings from me. Really be with me and know me and I promise we can both find peace. I’m not a monster, at least not a mindless one. I’m not unpredictable, nor am I bloodthirsty. Yes, I am a wolf. But I was born a human, a woman. I have an internal need to follow my instincts, but I also need to be the woman you see right here with you, too.”

She smiled sadly and wiped away one of his tears with a gentle finger. “You made me question what I was, made me question what I was; a monster without a soul, or a thing of spirit. I spoke with Grey after that, and he made me realize that the truth is neither of those things. He says that werewolves all have souls; it’s just that we were born with werewolf souls instead of human souls. Yes, I have a soul, but he says that it was never a human soul. It’s what drove me to be the thief and the sexual predator I became. It was my true self urging me to expression. He told me that the Change was a purely physical thing, and a spiritual relief valve. That’s why it’s always so out of control. I, like all of them, reached my breaking point and at last my soul was allowed to bloom into the full spirit it was meant to be. My body merely followed the transformation on instinct.”

She looked into his eyes with hope. “Maybe… maybe that’s what it is like for you and I? Maybe we were together because we were meant to be. And then we both went through changes. Now what we have between us can finally bloom, become what it was always meant to be?”

“You are my prince in shining armor. I know that when I was hurting I lashed out at you like an animal and that there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had no idea that could even happen. We’re both learning as we go with all this, but now we know; silver really is very bad for me. No silver.” She a smile appeared for a moment. “But you marked me and I’m yours now, my prince. Treat me good, treat me bad, I’ll still be yours for as long as you still want me. I will always want you. “

“I could care less that you are a wolf, I told you that is what you always were, that no one forced this upon you. What I care about are your actions, what you say and do, that is what I can not trust here princess.

“I have had to think of, how do I kill her if she looses control? How can I save the others if I can not save myself? I see things in your eyes that you never would have thought before. I know your mourned your humanity, your old life. But I see you living it no differently, other than being filthy half the time.

“I was terrified when you realized Ariyah was pregnant, not because it would hurt you, I knew that. But becasue I knew deep down that if you chose to, nothing would stop you from killing her, and in your mind it would be justified. It is actions that make monsters.

“I have killed, and tortured people, but never the innocent, never those who didn’t deserve it, and never for fun.”

He looked into her eyes. “You have to know why we are together, why we have always been together. We are more than just friends, and more than a DNA test can show. What we are goes back farther than us, and perhaps if we ever look for it we wil find the answer. But i can’t think about that right now.

“I have been thinking things I don’t want to, feeling things I don’t want. I am slipping farther from you. Do you understand what I am saying?”
Lyla recoiled and looked at him as if he’d been beating her. She had thought she understood, but clearly was wrong. “I am not filthy,” she said in a strained whisper. “I have not and would never torture anyone, and I’ve never hurt anyone that didn’t hurt me or those I love first. It makes me sick that you think this of me. I am not a fucking rabid animal, Ramiel. But you’re treating me like one.”

“No Lyla, I am trying not to. I am trying to see past everything I have noticed. I did not say you have done such things. I am saying that once I knew you wouldn’t, and now I don’t know that it would even bother you to. I am saying I don’t know how much of the Lyla I have always known is left in your true form. I am saying that each day it seems that more of you changes, even your appearence.” He looked at her newly formed eyes.

“I am also saying that it is tearing me apart inside to think these things. I see your reactions and it makes me want to keep things from you. I am scared I am loosing you, not just to the pack, but to what you are becoming. Or rather what you are.”
She stood and planted her feet firmly, as if reading to withstand a wind storm. Perhaps in her mind, she already was. “Take a good look at me, Ramiel. I’m not hard to figure out. How I feel is right here on my face. Have I ever reacted with anger without good reason? Have I ever reacted in pain without being injured first? Do I ever hurt anybody, mentally or physically, without good reason? No I do not. You say you you’re afraid of what I might do. Well, if you would pay attention to me you’d know what I would do!”

He stood to meet her, the tears in his eyes were replaced with an edge of anger. “What do you mean pay attention, you think I have been ignoring you? “

“I’m not questioning how you feel Lyla, or why you would react. I am questioning the definitions of such things. You call me your mate, right, yours. So is it so far to question whether or not another woman having my child would be good reason to kill her or the child?

“Fine, tell me, what did you think when you found out, other than hurt that it was not you. Because you made me prove to you that I still cared for you above all else, and I nearly died for it. So tell me that the thought of getting rid of the cub, so to put it never crossed you mind, tell me I am wrong and something like that would never be justified by you as good cause.”
Lyla stood her ground and retorted, “No, it’s not good cause. That child is part yours Ramiel! I told you what hurt me about that! It’s your choice whether to believe me or not. And you had better not throw that last in my face again! I didn’t make you do anything! I’m not your jailer or your master. It was your choice to mark me. I never asked for it. It was your idea and I went along with it because I thought it was kind of kinky. I didn’t know what would happen when you used silver to scar me. I knew it would hurt but not how much it would hurt, so I didn’t care. We were having sex. And if you want to compare injuries, buster, you’d better wise up! That little scratch was nothing compared to burning pain you did to me. If I can take the pain of from being tattooed with something meant to destroy me, then you had better be a man and stop crying over scratch.”

“You thought I did that to be kinky? You asked me to prove to you that I cared about you above all else. Those were your words Lyla, I did what I knew from the books, showing a mark means something, so I branded you thinking that was what you wanted, something that would prove to everyone how I felt.

“And let’s not joke about what would have happened if I hadn’t been able to get away, it would not have been what you call a scratch, you would have killed me. I happen to think there is a lot of difference between the two love.”

Ramiel put some distance between them, he was getting upset. She had wanted to know what was on his mind, and he had foolishly told her.
Lyla rolled her eyes in frustration. “The proof I was asking for was for you to make love to me. I wanted to feel that connection we have between us. I didn’t care about marking, but I don’t regret that you did.”

She shook her head at him. “You are selling yourself so short, and you don’t even see it. My mate is the strongest man in the whole pack! You are that mate. I may be different, but I can still read people. I know what makes people weak and what makes them strong. Everyone. I can tell with a single look, and I swear that’s the truth. That is my greatest Gift.

“And do you know something? You are the only man I know that has no real weaknesses, save that which you imagine in yourself. You are probably the only man in this world that really could handle me, and you don’t because you think way too much of my own power and way too little of your own ability to accept what I am and handle it if you have to.”

“Well how the hell am I supposed to know what you want! My word wasn’t good enough, hasn’t been in a long time. So I did what I could think of that would be good enough to show you. And don’t tell me that I don’t accept what you are, I accepted it long before you did.”
“To accept it, you need to understand it. If you understood it, then you wouldn’t have the fears you do.” she said. “And if that’s not the problem either, then the problem is not about me being different or whatever faults you think you see in me — you accepted that. It’s not about me at all. It’s about you no longer being sure of your feelings for me.”

“Bullshit! I can and have accepted that this is part of you, however accepting that you are a wolf does not mean that I am not afraid one day you are going to loose it and I will have to kill you! You have no fucking idea what it is like do you, seeing you change like that knowing that what you are in one form does not necessarily translate to the next.

“The problem is both, you, me , this. The fact that if I had to stand against you or any of the others I probably couldn’t. All the shit I have gone through over this because you shut me out from the get go and I have had to play fucking catch up, and now I don’t have the full fucking picture, and I am left with my assumptions.

“So from my perspective you being a wolf is not a problem, it is all the changes in personalty and attitude and now physical. You are aggressive, territorial, and other stuff you were not before. The moral stuff, yeah I bet it has changed for you if you really think about it. I bet there is stuff that you would have never done before that you wouldn’t bat an eye at now. So if that is what it means to be a were wolf, then maybe I DO HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM WITH IT!”

“Now that is really bullshit. I can’t think of a damn thing I wasn’t willing to do before the change.” She moved right up to him and got right in his face, and then she laughed. “I murdered people, asshole. I seduced them and then I stole everything from them I could get my hands on. I pawned their stuff on the black market, Ramiel. Where do you think all that money came from? Your so-called reasons are bullshit.”

“I know what you did before all this shit, but you were still different.” He grabbed her by the arms, firmly, squeezing as he moved her back. ” I am beginning to think we will not see eye to eye on this. So why don’t we just leave at this, you’re right I am petty and all that I have said is bullshit, you are still the perfect princess and the only thing that has changed around here is me. Now get out of my face.” With that he pushed her onto to the bed.

He’d grabbed hard enough to hurt, but the bruises were already fading. She stood up from the bed and faced him again. “No.” She was practically nose to nose with him now.

“Move, or regret it.” He tried to step around her.

“You pushed me down. No.” She stared at him with those new, silver eyes. Then she pushed him back.

“Fine.” His eyes had flooded with anger, as he concentrated for a brief moment. He pulled the air around him, calling power down from the Supernal, forming a shield around himself. Then he took that power and pushed it around his hands as he hit her open palmed across the chest with both hands, sending her backward onto the bed.

There was a sickening crunch as ribs shattered and she wheezed as her lungs took damage as well. She coughed and spat blood onto the back of her hand. She stared it for just half a second before her shock was replaced with rage. Suddenly, she was huge, still human-like but with elongated ears and shaggier hair. She was more muscular and her fingernails were thicker and longer. She drew her fist back, and let him have all she had, right in the face.

Her blow clipped his jaw, but he grabbed her arm and guided her, using her momentum against her, to draw her past him and open her to a vicious, surgical jab to her kidney. Lyla hissed in pain and arched her back as she felt her organ bruise and burst under the preternatural force of his magically enhanced blow.

Ramiel started to say, “I will give you one more–“, but Lyla instantly changed again to her most deadly and threatening form and attempted to bite him in the face. However he was moving too quickly; she got nothing but air.

Rage overcame Ramiel. He called down his mightiest power from the Supernal Realms, focused it into a telekinetic strike of tremendous power and leveled it point blank at Lyla. He focused all his anger and frustration into that one spell and it unleashed horrible fury upon her fleshly form. The force of the invisible blast lifted her into the air, threw her across the room and shattered her body, while simultaneously shredding her flesh.

Lyla slumped to the floor, unmoving without even a chance to scream. Her now-naked body was broken, bloody and motionless.

A gasp from the doorway brought Ramiel’s attention to Lyla’s packmates who were standing there staring wide-eyed and horrified. He realized now, too late, he had no idea how long they’d been there, watching.

“Oh my God,” said Selene. “You… you’ve killed her!” She stood transfixed.

Bjorn, however, was more level-headed. “Don’t just stand there, idiot,” he told Selene. “Go get the Doctor!”

Selene blinked at him and then disappeared, running down the hall and shouting for the doctor.

Then he paced over to where Lyla lay. “She isn’t breathing.”

Bjorns’ words were not enough to pull Ramiel out of it. He blinked and started at Lyla’s broken form for a moment as he recovered himself, then he moved quickly to her side and began CPR. He kept going until John was able to get there and help out.

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