Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language and violence.
A short time later, Gabrielle had set Skyler onto a bed in the castle’s infirmary. He hadn’t talked ever since Cara asked them to follow her there. Gabrielle was worried, he seemed shaken after he admitted to killing innocent people. “I’ve been meaning to ask you a few questions,” she said in a soft, hushed tone. She was sitting down in a chair next to the bed, worry filling her chest.
“I’m guessing you want to know all the horrible things I did,” he said gravely, looking away from her.
“That’s not what I was going to ask,” she retorted. She already felt the mood, and knew it wouldn’t be the right time. “I wanted to ask you how you turned your hand into a blade.”
“Oh, that,” he said, perking up and looking back at her. “It’s an inherited trait. No dark magic involved. I got the ability to do that from my new mother,” he said with a small smile.
“New mother? What do you mean?” she asked, her eyebrows twisting in confusion.
“Oh, I... “ Skyler whispered, his smile faded.
“This has to do with you not being human anymore, doesn’t it? You can tell me,” Gabrielle assured, her face softening into concern.
“It might be too heavy for you to handle though,” he warned, lowering his head.
“Too heavy? What do you mean?” Gabrielle said, leaning forward.
“It’d make you sad if I told you.” he clasped his hands together.
“You just mean that you were adopted right…?” she said, trying to find another explanation.
“No, my new biological mother,” Skyler said with sadness in his eyes.
“Don’t tell me, you…” she gasped and put an open hand to her mouth. The realization had hit her, his old human body was gone somehow, and her mind immediately jumped to him dying and getting a new body in some mysterious way. Sadness punched her in the gut, taking the wind out of her lungs and clouding her eyes with tears. She tried desperately to catch her breath past the newly formed lump in her throat. All of the good and bad times she had with him flashed in her mind. Something as horrible as dying happening to him was more than she could take. Pressure formed in her throat, chest and stomach as her feelings of sadness struggled to get out.
“Gabby please,” Skyler said, he then sat up and slid to the edge of the bed and embraced her, resting her head on his shoulder. “Don’t cry, I’m right here.”
He used it. The nickname that he gave her a long time ago. She remembered the countless times he said it, and another wave of crushing sadness hit her in the stomach. She put her hands on his chest. Her lips quivered as she tried to hold back from sobbing openly. All she could get out were gasps, sputters and silent cries as tears streamed down her face and onto Skyler’s shoulder.
“I’m still here, I haven’t gone anywhere,” he said, consoling her.
She felt the warmth of his body heat in her hands and from his left arm wrapped across her back. He always used to embrace her when she was sad, without fail. She remembered when the guy she asked out to prom in senior year rejected her, and the time she got the news of her dog being run over by a car. She even remembered him embracing her back in third grade when she started crying because her parents refused to let her go to a popular kid’s birthday party. “B-but…” she croaked, but found it hard to get words past the rock hard lump in her throat.
“It’s okay, I’m still here. Not even death could keep me from you, I’m still kicking,” he said, squeezing her tightly.
Those words were all it took. She planted her face into his shoulder and sobbed openly.
Skyler rested his head on her shoulder, and closed his eyes. “It’s okay, I swear. I’m fine now.”
She didn’t believe him, the fact that he went through dying crushed her, she felt so bad for him, not to mention that he was still bleeding from his stitches. “No, you aren’t,” she said defiantly, wrapping an arm over his shoulder and onto his back.
“Come on, Gabby, please don’t cry. It’ll be fine. There’s nothing either of us can do about it now,” he said, then pulled away while still holding onto her.
Covering her face with her hands, she started to sob more softly. “I… I’m sorry I ever left,” she said, shaking her head.
“That was something you couldn’t control, and my new family was partially to blame for you not being able to find me earlier,” he said with a serious look on his face.
“What do you mean?” Gabrielle said, looking up from her tear soaked hands.
Skyler sighed, and closed his eyes again. “My new father. He came up with a plan to make it impossible for me to see you, I was given fake papers and moved out after the government found out about the power he gave me,” he said as a look of disdain swept across his face.
“What power?” she said, then rested her hands on her lap.
“The power to see people die in real time, something that took me months to turn off by myself. The government used me to help solve a string of very sensitive crimes,” he said, his expression morphing into one of pain.
“That’s terrible, how did you stay sane?” she asked, a look of shock and concern on her wet face.
“I didn’t,” he mumbled, and let go of her. “Anyone would still have a few screws loose after seeing everything I have. And it got worse after getting my new body. Morphing powers in my arms wasn’t the only inherited trait I got,” he said, looking haunted.
“Death vision was also an inherited trait, he could give it to anybody, but his progeny all inherited a stronger version of it. That, and every kid Mother had with him inherited her cursed bloodline, which drives anyone with it insane eventually,” he said, and pointed to his head.
“My half-brother was fine up until Demon Hunters killed him, and when his father brought him back, it was with a different personality. My mother’s blood activated when he was brought back, causing him to have split personalities. It took him months to even regain control of his mind,” he said with a frown.
“My mother, him and me are the only ones of our kind left. My father had way more kids, but created an airborne disease that killed all of them but me. He was purposefully trying to get rid of me again, but I managed to fight it off after being as sick as a dog for months,” he said gravely, folding his arms.
“I thought that Cara person said you were a Darkling, like those little ones that attacked us,” Gabrielle said, a look of concern on her face.
“Darkling is the name given to every creature in the Dark Lands, not just those Mole Imps that you saw earlier,” he explained, tapping his fingers on his arm.
“By the way, why did those imps call you the Forsaken One?” she said as she scooched forward in her chair.
“I was wondering when you were going to ask me that. Forsaken is the name that my kind were given. I’m the only Darkling that is one is why. The scar on my eye is one way they can tell,” he said, scooched back and laid down on the bed.
“What’s another way they can tell?” she asked, wiping her face dry.
“Another way to tell is all Forsaken have a very distinct mouth, I’m not showing it right now because it’s scary looking,” he said, placing his hands behind his head and relaxing.
“Scary looking? It can’t be that bad,” she said, wiping her wet hands on her dress.
“Are you sure about that?” he asked, and turned his head towards her.
“Show me, I’m not scared,” she said defiantly, gripping the cloth on her knees.
He took his left hand from behind his head and brought it up to his face, he then touched his left cheek with his finger, and made sweeping motions across his skin, quickly drawing an invisible pentagram. His mouth stretched wide across his face and stopped almost at the edge of his face, leaving half an inch of cheek left on either side, the sounds of bones crunching rang out as his teeth sharpened and extended. His lips and nose disappeared, and the teeth on the right side of his mouth extended further. The right side of his mouth was stretched wide in a slight upward curve, the opening of his mouth at the top became slanted, revealing long, angler fish-like teeth, which petered out until it reached the left side, which were normal sized but sharp and pointed at the end. There were no rounded corners to his mouth, the edges of his mouth on the right side just ended in sharp corners that were almost symmetrical but not quite, and the left side didn’t have a rounded edge either.
“Oh, my god,” she said with a gasp, covering her hands with her mouth.
“I told you it was scary looking,” he said, his mouth unmoving as he spoke. He took his hand and pressed his thumb in the middle of his chin and his finger where his nose was. He pulled his fingers together, and more crunching noises resounded. He took his hand away to reveal that his mouth, lips and nose returned to normal. He put his hand back behind his head and turned toward the ceiling.
“I didn’t always have the ability to hide it. In fact, it took a few years for that kind of technology to be created. Some kind of morphing magic combined with synthetic material that imitates organic structures. Imagine having to walk around with that scary looking mouth for years! It made a lot of bad first impressions, at the very least,” Skyler said, then breathed deep and rested his eyes.
“So, what was that Cara girl talking about? The thing about a ritual, what did she mean?” Gabrielle asked, taking her hands off her mouth and leaning forward.
“Oh, that. It’s basically the same kind of thing I gave you, only much stronger, and done with light magic instead of Zoriyan,” he said, and brought his knees up, arching his legs.
“Where did you even learn that kind of magic? The Mystic said it was ancient,” she asked, scooching back in her chair and straightening herself.
“That ‘Cara’ person you keep talking about is actually my grandmother. The one who trained her for battle was Zoriyan as well, actually, her battle trainer is queen of the Zoriyans. I was introduced to her after I was reborn, she taught me many things about fighting, both magic and melee,” he said, then rolled onto his side towards her and rested his arms in front of himself.
“Your grandmother? She’s too young looking to be your grandmother,” she said, a confused look on her face.
He laughed in response. “She’s way older than she looks, that’s what happens when your body stops aging,” he said as he tucked his hands under his head.
She reached out and touched his elbow. “I’ll be here all night, so let me know if you need anything.”
His eyes opened, and he looked up at her with an expression of shock and worry. “I really don’t think you should do that. You need to get to your own bed.”
She shook her head. “No, I’m way too worried about you. I’m staying right here for the night, and there’s nothing you can say that will change my mind,” she said defiantly.
“Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” he said and closed his eyes again.