Still here? Well, I hope you've read the book, if not, you are in for a terrible shock! Okay, without further ado.... I really wanted to write this part of the book from Kennan's POV as well. I felt like it was really important to A) give you a look at his POV and how he felt through all of this and B) Twist the knife a little deeper (mwahahahaha)! So, here it is, Kennan's POV from the scene where Izzy tried to eavesdrop upon his conversation with Aberto!
Aberto had a secret, and I knew that whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good. I’d been dreading the truth since the helicopter, yet I followed him all the same. I needed to know. If it could help Izzy, if I could in some way keep her safe, how could I not follow him?
We walked out into the murky swamp air, the chorus of frogs and cicadas threatening to burst my eardrums. I stopped next to Aberto, whose gaze was transfixed by the swamp. He looked as though the weight of the world rested upon his shoulders.
“Out with it.” I muttered, barely above a whisper. I knew Izzy’s tendency to eavesdrop, I wasn’t going to take any chances.
“I fear the news I am bound to deliver is not pleasant.” Aberto never broke his concentration on the murky water.
“Is this about how you feel for Izzy? If it is, I have no desire to continue this conversation. It isn’t as if you have hidden your interest in her.” Anger bubbled inside of me, and an emotion I wasn’t proud of lurked just below the surface. Jealousy. I knew undoubtedly that Izzy was mine. Regardless of their connection, I knew what we had would always win if there had to be a choice. We were two halves of a whole, and the universe was threatening to tear half of me away. I had to remember that this wasn’t about our loving the same woman. This was about us protecting her.
“I have made no secret of my affections for her that is true. Despite those feelings, she has chosen you, Guardian. Do not forget that there is more at stake here than her love. Her life is on the line. The prophecy has spoken, she will fall.
“What is this about then? What do you know?” I all but growled.
“You will die.” Aberto’s voice was stiff, void of any emotion.
“What?” I turned to stare at him, grabbing his arm in the process. “What do you mean? When? How?” I couldn’t protect her if I was dead. This couldn’t be right!
“On the day of the reckoning, when the beast emerges, you will die. Your death will trigger something in Izzy, something that must happen in order for her to do what must be done. I know not why or how, I just know that this must be.”
“Are you certain? What of her, will she perish?” Kennan’s strained voice asked.
“I am unable to see Izzy’s fate. Once I interceded, her future shifted. Into what, I know not. As for you, I’ve known my entire life. I saw it the day I was brought into existence, and I’ve seen it every day since.” Aberto looked back to the swamp, doing his best to mask the sadness in his eyes. I knew that his sadness wasn’t for me, but for Izzy. He knew what my death could do to her. My death. I would die. Izzy would be alone.
“Swear to me that you will protect her, that you will not leave her side.” I grabbed Aberto by the shoulders, forcing him to face me. “Swear it to me," I choked out.
“You need not even ask it, but I shall swear it all the same.” Aberto reached for my elbow to swear an oath. An unbreakable bond that could never be revoked. “I swear I will guard and protect her all of my days, no matter how many they may be. She will never be alone from this day onward.”
“See that she is not. If you don’t mind, I’d like to be alone for a while.” I stared back out into the swamp, pushing Aberto from my mind. Izzy was all I could think of. How would she survive? I’d prepared myself to follow her into the void after she’d gone. I knew that she was leaving, the prophecy had said it must be so. But now, now I knew that her fall could mean so much more.
The world would be nothing without the light of Izzy shining upon it. She needed to live, she had to live. Even if that life was one without me. How could I convince her to go on when I was all but ready to leave this world behind when she was gone? Izzy. How could I warn her? I couldn’t. This secret, this burden that burrowed its way into my heart, was mine to carry. My demise could not be made common knowledge. If Aberto was right, my death meant the salvation of so many others. Even with every selfish bone in my body crying out that they didn’t deserve my sacrifice, I knew that one person undoubtedly did. Izzy. My world. How could I face her?
Swallowing down the lump in my throat, I headed back in to grab some food for Izzy. I needed to act as though nothing had changed. She needed my strength now more than ever, and I’d be damned if I wasted my last moments with her wallowing in misery. I’d lived a good life, a life filled with thousands of memories. I was given something so many others would never experience, unbreakable love. That was enough. I’d had enough, but I’d always want more. No matter how many days I’d been given with her, I would always want more.
I hurriedly grabbed up food and headed up to our room where I found Izzy waiting, a look of fear etched upon her face.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” I did my best to smile as though nothing were wrong.
“Nothing, it’s just,” she paused, biting her lip, “nothing.” Although something danced behind her eyes. It was possible she’d overheard everything we’d said. I had to know for sure.
“Are you sure? You look like you’ve just seen a ghost. What’s going on, Izzy?” I placed the food on the dresser and made my way towards her.
“I think my mind is playing tricks on me. Maybe the exhaustion is just getting to me. I’m okay, really," she lied. I knew she’d heard something, but not everything. Perhaps I could play this off. Perhaps I could get away with telling her half-truths.
“Promise?” I asked, tilting her face toward mine.
“Promise, promise.” She lied once more, and I let it go.
“Well, in that case, it’s food time. No arguing.” I reached for the food, handing it to her. How would she ever remember to eat once I was gone? Who would remind her?
“What did Aberto have to say?” Izzy was testing me, I knew she was. She loved to ask circular questions instead of getting to the heart of what was really going on. So I did what I must, I continued to lie.
“He wanted to talk strategy. Nothing serious. Honestly, I don’t know why you couldn’t have been there for the discussion. Sometimes, Aberto’s reasoning makes no sense.” I put the plate upon her lap, trying my best to give her a stern stare. “No more stalling, eat. I’ve got to go check in with Conall, but when I get back that food better be gone.” Raising a brow at her, I pulled her close to place a kiss upon her head. Soon I would no longer be able to kiss her. Soon she would be all but gone from me and I from her.
“Aye, Aye!” she mock saluted, inhaling her food like she always did.
That night as she drifted to sleep, falling into the dreaming, I stared. I looked upon her until it felt as though my heart might explode. I loved this woman with every fiber of my being. She was my sun, my brightness, my balance. I would walk through the gates of hell itself if it meant it gave her a fighting chance. She was my home, a home that I would soon have to leave behind.
“I pray to the gods that she will be strong enough to survive this. Please, if you are listening, give her what you must. Let her prevail. Do not let her perish alongside me. This world needs her far more than I. Guard her and keep her, this precious gift. I am not so selfish that I would ask to take her with me into the afterlife. All I ask is that you, the ones that have ordained her destiny, allow it to shift. Let her live. Let her thrive. Let her love once more. Do not let me be the end of her.”
I stared down upon the woman that had turned my world inside out and I knew that no matter what had happened, she’d been worth it. Every second I’d spent with her had been worth every bit of pain, every sacrifice I’d made along the way. She would always be worth it.
My death was coming for me and I would gladly face it, knowing that it might just give her a fighting chance.
So, I hope you enjoyed/cried/hated this excerpt. I had a really hard time writing this bit. Let's be honest, the whole third book was hard for me to write! But here it is nonetheless!