Ever since shortly after he had become human again, the former vampire Elexin had been crossing from portal to portal, rarely seen, hard to find. But today he had appeared in the tavern and the horror had begun.
Raelin sat in a chair in the tavern, her head in her hands. Blood seeped from a bullet wound in her foot: a wound that she thought had been inflicted on her by Gwendolyn Van Helsing.
Except Gwen claimed she hadn’t seen Rae all day long. She hadn’t even been to the tavern. Elexin's son Romausi confirmed that he and Gwen had been in Haven all morning.
What’s worse is that after being shot, Raelin had found a gun in her pocket, a warm gun, a gun with one shot fired. Romausi had taken it from her.
She sat there and held her head and tried to remember. She remembered Gwen appearing in the tavern. She knew it. She had been standing right over there. She remembered her pulling out her gun, laughing manically, pointing it at her foot, and firing.
Being shot, even if it is just in the foot, is not something you forget.
And then Gwen had put the gun to her own head. Raelin could see it so clearly in her memory. The way the barrel shone in the dim light of the tavern, the way her face had looked, half mad with rage, and then, she had pulled the trigger… and disappeared.
Blood poured from her foot still, dampening the makeshift bandage that she had wrapped around it. She sighed. This was turning out to be a terrible day.
Gwendolyn Van Helsing was aging, rapidly. Wrinkles were creeping into her flawless face. Her tight, lustrous skin was beginning to droop. Age marks were appearing across her body.
And it was happening faster… and faster.
Daloki leapt to her feet at the sight of her friend in such a state. Others came to help. Panic, fear, but worst of all, a feeling of helplessness pervaded the tavern.
Then, between weak panting breaths, Gwen was able to whisper “Vial…”
At this the warrior Darigaz’s ears picked up. “A vial? I have a vial… a vial Gwen gave me earlier.”
He produced the strange bottle and when Gwendolyn saw it, she pointed weakly. “That's it.”
Daloki quickly snatched the vial and administered its contents. There was an immediate effect. Gwen’s body stopped aging, her skin tightened, the luster returned to her eyes.
As Daloki led her to a couch where she could recover, Gwen explained that the potion would only stop the process for a while, “maybe a week… maybe less.”
Gwen then told a terrible story. After she came home from her morning in Haven, she was attacked by Elexin and Raelin. Rae had stolen Gwen's powerful weapons, the cursed pistol Lucy and the blessed sword Akuna. Then Elexin and Raelin, in her Phoenix form, began slaughtering the serving staff of Elexin's home, and Raelin set the building on fire.
“I am 150 years old. Without Akuna, time will catch up with me, and I’ll die.”
At that point Raelin appeared, her normal carefree self, flopping through the door with a whistle and a grin. At her appearance chaos broke out. Angry shouting, accusations; fingers were pointed, and she was accused of murder, no, worse than murder, mass murder.
Her friend Darigaz rushed her outside, and the two of them tried to sort out what was going on. Raelin had no memory of murder, no memory of attacking Gwen. All she knew was that she had been shot in the foot earlier that day, and that a gun had appeared in her pocket afterwards missing a bullet.
Meanwhile inside, Daloki used her mental abilities to put Gwendolyn into a light trance. With a heart beating in fear and worry, she asked her to see the truth, the real Truth, about Raelin and Elexin.
“It was them. They attacked me… stole my weapons… It was them - but not them. Dark Rae, Dark Elexin… He called her his Dark Childe.”
Troubled by these dark portents, Daloki strode outside to try and get the truth out of Raelin. Standing beneath a tamarisk tree, she placed her hands on the young girl's head and placed her into a trance, telling her, as she had told Gwen, to see the Truth.
Raelin spoke in weak, broken sentences. She remembered… seeing Elexin, and he was covered in blood, and surrounded by bits of scalp and organs. And then he had laughed like a mad man, kissed her, and disappeared.
She remembered Gwen shooting her foot. And then a headache, a terrible headache, and she had left, and slept. There were no dreams… but… maybe… a dream of blood, of violence…. maybe… but she couldn’t remember.
Daloki's heart was in her boots. It was apparent that Elexin's darkness had overcome him again, that he'd taken Rae under his control again - and that the two had, in fact, done what Gwen said.
Romausi appeared, carrying the horribly burned body of an Elven child, weeping. He said that 85 people had been killed at Elexin's home, 15 of them children. He said he had seen Gwen dead on the stairs as well. But Gwen was in the tavern, resting.
Daloki called a "meeting" of those who were present: herself, Gwen and Raelin, Romausi and Darigaz. She was pretty sure what was going on, but wanted to get some facts straight. Romausi and Gwen added some pieces to the puzzle when they said Elexin had been furious that his grimoire was missing, and with it, the last piece of his soul.
When Romausi denied having seen Raelin earlier and taken the pistol from her, Daloki somehow knew what to do next: she asked Raelin to check her pockets and pack. Rae seemed reluctant, but complied - then stared at her pack in horror. Lucy, the cursed pistol, was there.
Daloki took the pistol and put it in her fairy pocket, which sent it into another dimension. Raelin grew angry and demanded it back, the Darkness returning to her being. She attacked Gwen and fled. There was nothing the others could do then except contact the Elves whose kin had been killed so they could bury their dead.