One Hundred and Thirty-Three…

One Hundred and Thirty-Three: Night of Reckoning

Brody Alexander had called an hour earlier with the news.

Reznik met Brody and the others in an underground cellar. The underlings had found and caught Esha’s familiar.

For some reason, the magical mutt had been wandering around Shadowvale.

They’d stuck the freakish animal in a make-shift cage, then waited for Reznik’s arrival.

Rez demanded the animal use telepathy and tell him everything, including Esha’s location.

If it refused to ‘talk’, Reznik threatened it with black magic.

Okay. I’ll talk, it communicated. Esha gave up the skull to another.

“Who did she give it to?” Reznik asked. “And why did she give it up?”

I cannot tell you who she gave it to. I will give you her location so you can ask her yourself. She’s in a town called Lunira, residing in a glowing skull mountain.

My master lost some of her powers when she gave up the skull, since the skull is both a blessing and curse. She got depressed and banished me from her presence. 

I do not know why she gave up the skull. I only know during the few weeks leading up to that Esha was worried you’d find her.

Reznik glared at the dog, hoping the beast was telling the truth.

He’d soon find out.

Lunira was several miles from Shadowvale’s deepest bayou. The quickest route was over a body of swampy water.

Fog smothered the dreary area like a sheer shawl.

“Is that it? Over there?” Cain asked.

“Looks like it,” Rez said.

A macabre figure emerged. Giant, enormous, a horrific face carved into a peak.

The scene evoked chills across Reznik’s flesh.

They paddled the small boat to shore, jumped out, pulled it half-way onto land and headed for the stone figure.

Once inside, the group stopped by a pit of lava before continuing.

Reznik had never seen anything quite like it.

Even though the whole place was fascinating, they’d only come for one thing…

They worked their way through various mountain corridors and chambers, only to surface outside several hundred feet up in the air.

“Where the hell is this bitch?” Cameron griped.

“You sure this is the right place?” Pascal asked Reznik.

Rez nodded, shrugged. “That’s what the dog said.” Suspicion clouded his mind as he wondered if the familiar had lied.

Reznik would obliterate the piece of shit mutt.

However, he and the underlings pressed onward.

Maybe they were getting close? A tiny voice inside Rez told him they were.

Perhaps the dog hadn’t lied after all.

They came upon a door at the end of the passage.

Bingo… there she was. Esha in all her witchy-bitchy glory.

“I knew eventually you’d find me.”

An odd quiet followed.

Reznik approached her, grabbed Esha by the hair and twirled her around.

He jabbed a knife to her throat. She sharply exhaled.

“Tell me where the skull is before I cut your fuckin’ throat.”

“Since I knew you’d find me, I made preparations. The skull is now in control of another.”

Who, goddammit?”

She didn’t answer.

“I said, WHO CONTROLS THE FUCKING SKULL?” Rez thrust the blade closer to her neck.

“His name’s Nicholas Ashworth.”

“Where does he live?”

“Up the road at 526 Arterbury Place. It’s very close.”

“Nicholas controls all the weres in Lunira, along with the cursed lycans in Shadowvale. However I must warn you… I’ve a distinct feeling he won’t give up that skull,” she added.

“Don’t worry. I’m sure I’ll find a way to make him give it up.” Rez grinned.

“Dude, we’ll stay here with Esha while you look for Ashworth,” Cameron offered.

Reznik nodded, released the witch.

“Asshole,” Esha muttered.

Rez motioned for Cain to go with him.

Just as the witch said, the house was within walking distance up the road.

It’s all too easy, that little intuitive voice said. I smell a set-up.

Reznik wasn’t sure which was creepier: this house or Skull Mountain.

Regardless, he wasn’t one to be easily frightened. At all.

A very handsome man with glowing eyes answered the door. He looked like a vampire, yet he was not a vampire.


“Who’s at the door, Nicholas?”

“Two strangers inquiring about the enchanted skull,” Nicholas answered with a thick British accent.

His fiery eyes dazzling, Nicholas took a second look at Reznik and Cain. Then he allowed them inside.

“You must be Reznik Haas of the Haas Clan,” Nicholas observed.

“Yeah.” Reznik stole a glance past the lady of the house.

There it is. The damned, ugly thing that started all this shit.

“Before we go any further, I want to know if this is all a set-up.” Of course he didn’t really expect an honest answer.


“Yes? Yes what?”

“Yes this is a set-up.”

Stunned, Reznik listened as Nicholas explained.

“Oh, but it’s not you who’s being set up per se… it is someone close to you. But you mustn’t worry. The skull will be yours before you leave Lunira.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Start making sense.”

“Trust me. It will start making sense very soon. And Shadowvale will be peaceful once again.”

“Now if you come with me,” Nicholas continued, “I will show you something that will help piece it all together.”

One hour earlier in Shadowvale…

“I’m glad you like the vampire bear,” Brent said as he planted kisses on Azura’s lips.

“But now there’s something else I want to show you.”

“There is?”

“Yep. Let’s go.” Brent grabbed her hand and led her outside to the car.

“Where are we going? You’re acting crazy.” Azura laughed, though the piercing cries of nearby wolves terrified her.

She wanted to rush to that car.

He said nothing.

A new funny feeling erupted in her heart, stomach. A feeling she couldn’t identify.

She only knew it was there.

And the farther he drove, the more those feelings grew.

They ended up in an unfamiliar town.

Brent parked next to an ominous-looking house.

“Now are you going to tell me what this is about?” she asked.

“Yeah. As soon as we go inside the house.”

She followed him to the door.

*Back to Reznik’s POV*

“Azura? What are you doing here?” he asked.

She shook her head. “Ask him,” she said in a trembling voice, jerking her thumb at Brent Novak. “He’s the one who brought me here.”

“Esha and I have been friends for a long time. A few months ago, we found something else we had in common. She wanted to get back at Cody Haas, and I wanted to get back at sweet precious Azura.”

“Huh? You mean you used me? You set me up to punish me?” she shouted.

“Very good, Azura. You’re learning.”


He started from the room, paused.

“But… why? I don’t get it! What did I do to you?”

“You don’t know what you did?” he said.

“You left me for months without an explanation. Then I found out you killed our child by makeshift abortion. Now you’ll get what you deserve.”

“If nothing else, Azura, maybe you’ll grow up a little bit. You need to learn that because someone does bad things, it doesn’t make them bad; nor does it mean their children will be evil.” He marched out of the room.

“Brent! You’re just going to leave me here?” Azura asked.

“That’s the idea, precious.”

“You see, this way everybody gets what they want,” Nicholas said. “Esha and Brent get their vengeance against Cody and Azura. I get what I want, and you get the skull back.”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Are you trying to tell me that you want my daughter in exchange for the skull?”

“Precisely. I want her to be my new bride.”

“Of course she had to be taken away from Ezra’s watchful eye first. Esha, Brent and I worked together to conjure a plan that would work out for all of us. And Shadowvale will finally be at peace. Isn’t peace a worthwhile objective? Furthermore, I promise I won’t harm Azura, and I will take care of her baby after it’s born.”

Reznik stared ahead, his mind a haze of disturbing thoughts.

“What do you say, Reznik? Is it a deal?” Nicholas prodded.


* * * *

The vampire who played Cameron is based on Josh Henderson. LOL. 😆 (I created him myself).

If y’all don’t know who Josh H. is, just google him… 😛

Okay, as for the ‘revenge’ thing in this chapter, I’ll elaborate on that a little more (and I know it was anti-climactic, so I’m not 100% satisfied with it; but this story can’t always be ‘perfect’ or satisfy some readers):

Esha gets revenge on Cody this way: Cody cares about his sister Azura, but now Azura has been taken away by Nicholas against her will. In a way, that punishes Cody too since he cares so much for his sister.

Brent gets revenge on Azura: self-explanatory

As for Reznik, in a way he got what was coming to him as well, since his daughter has been taken by Nicholas. In exchange is the potential for peace, because Rez gets back the skull and Shadowvale would return to normalcy.

Long story short: everyone gets their way except for poor Azura. Though maybe Brent’s right… maybe this WILL teach Azura to grow up some?

I hope this explanation will help clear up any confusion about this chapter.

One more thing: I forgot that the familiar (dog) is vaporous and could escape from that cage. My bad. 😆 Then again, it was all a set-up anyhow.

Now here’s a link to the thread where I got Nich’s house from: ‘Howling Hills’: