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Summoning with magic was harder when you didn’t know exactly what you sought. After fifteen minutes I had alarmed a few wolf librarians, rifled the council stacks, but I had a book accounting Chenzhou.

After two hours I was horrified. Vampires were not quite the creatures legend had made them out to be. They were born that way, as long as both parents were vampire, and until puberty were fully human.

And wolves had slaughtered even those children. A force of three thousand wolves had come upon the last hold of vampires numbering barely one thousand. They crept in at the break of dawn and had begun cutting off heads, staking bodies, and burning everything in sight. Twelve hours later the vampires were gone.

A wolf named Gregori had recorded an account, and his guilt bled through the pages.

There was a family, two parents and two children. The children tried to protect their parents as I entered. The parents fought to remain awake, cowering in shadow as the children grabbed weapons.

The boy was likely twelve, on the cusp of transformation, tall and thin, as blonde as his mother. The girl was only nine, the same age as my oldest. Such ferocity and desperation lay on her face such as I had never seen, and I hesitated.

Her small knife pierced my thigh and I struck out. Before I knew what was happening my sword pierced her neck. The roar of anguish from her family was deafening. I was young then, and it was my first kill. I felt my heart shredding, but as my mind receded training took over. I withdrew my sword and knocked the boy from me with a kick. Cutting at the beams a wall crashed and sunlight raced in.

Someone outside saw and lit the fire. I could have left them to burn, but it seemed cruel. I killed the boy with a stab to his heart, and as his parents weakly fought me I cut their heads from their bodies.

Outside I fell to the ground and vomited. The rest of the day was a blur of the same, guilt and violence and hatred and vomit. Fire…dire cleaned it all.

-    Accounted 1342, Brother Gregori Haspitch, Romania

After I read that I nearly vomited myself. After some meditation I finally took in the final entry, written by Shin-Zan. More brief, it detailed the first time the witches and sorcerers had worked together. I found it surprisingly brief, merely notations of an accord where all worked together to capture the magic released at the death of an entire race of magical creatures. After they factions split, the witches grew more powerful, and the wolves belonged completely to them.

It sounded that the world could not exist with Chengzhou, not as it was. But without the death of the vampires, magic would be known to one and all. How would the world be different? Was it supposed to be different? Was this cabal carving a different history?

That would explain why the queens died. If I could sense the wrongness, perhaps they did as well. Perhaps I was just the first to share information with others.

Still, what bothered me the most was that familiar tang of magic. Who was it? We would soon find out, but something haunted me. If whoever had tried to kill me had magic like mine, they were related. This meant if it wasn’t Kenneth, and it wasn’t Alessandra, it left one possibility: the child I was supposed to conceive with Malachai.