I allowed him to hold me still, closing my eyes and waiting for him to make his move.
"They need to see their loved ones before they are burned. Many of them are relatives, new guardians that took them in after they were sentenced to die.
"They were like parents or aunts and uncles to them. Some of them still had siblings in there, older and younger."
He didn't want to kill me. Even realizing this, I didn't feel a sense of relief, I just nodded in acknowledgement.
After a moment, when he realized I wasn't going to stop them, he slowly released my shoulders, and we walked towards to massacre field.
As we entered into the clearing of ruins, the massacre field, I saw the children.
They cried, and cried, and cried. I stood off to the side and watched the progression of the vampires weep over the lost. The Elders believed they were all dead, but only a handful still lived.
I felt a burning in the back of my throat watching the scene unfold. Children with touch limbs that were scattered around, seeing if they recognized them. Others were crying over bodies becoming drenched in blood.
Some children were tugging and crying on Elizabeth's and Dianna's clothes to see their loved ones that she was carrying to some wagons and trailers to be carried off and burned. They were begging with tears falling like waterfalls down their small faces.
There small plea's echoed across the lifeless field.
"Please!! Let me see them one more time!!"
"I don't want them to go away!"
"Where are you taking mommy?'
"Why won't daddy answer me?!"
"Is my sister going to be okay?"
"When can she come back and play?"
I felt... helpless in this situation. It didn't sit well with me. My whole life, I had always felt in control of the outcomes.
Even when I was picked for assassin training without knowing what was going on for a month in the beginning... I didn't feel helpless.
How did the Elders know where they were? I couldn't distinguish how they obtained the information.
The Elders didn't even knew that the Nephilese existed before, they only thought there were a few radicals beginning to stir up trouble.
But now---now they knew.
I received orders not long enough for me to even warn Tankrell or Nephilim and I had no idea whether if I had told them if it would make a difference. Somehow, Nephilim could hear what was going on, whether it was my thoughts or just the combination of thoughts, I wasn't sure. But at the time she knew, wasn't very long after me...
Regardless, it was a hundred Punishers, and I was the only one who was in the group sent that was in the rebellion.
Had the vampires been gone, the Elders would know that one of the Punishers was with the rebellion. Had I not have shown up, they would kill me and find out everything about the rebellion through my memories. Had I fought against the other Punishers it would all lead to the same outcome.
I turned and walked away from the scene. I myself wanted to crawl next to those I had saved and killed to tell them how sorry I was and to tell them I wish I hadn't needed to kill them. That I hadn't wanted to kill them. That I didn't have a choice...
Their faces will haunt my memory, the faces of fear and terror. More than anything, it was the betrayal which stabbed at me.
I had been betrayed before. I have even betrayed others before, it was a part of my job. Gain trust, use it, and then kill them... yet somehow this was different. I didn't even understand why.
Tankrell noticed I had walked away and followed me back towards the edge of the woods. His face was still somber, with sympathy radiating from him.
"There was nothing you could have done. No one is mad at you," he told me gently. He gingerly lifted his hand and placed it on my shoulder.
I turned and gazed at him. I kept my face impassive. I couldn't handle these emotions anymore, I just decided to shut it down.
"Can you tell the people who are dead that there was nothing I could do? Will they understand that their lives were disposable? Or, that at the time in their eyes I betrayed them?" I asked him.
His face looked stricken.
No one had to think these things. They may have saved them and felt a great loss at their deaths, but they didn't save them and then turn around and see their fear and brutal humiliating deaths.
They, like myself saw their fear when we were supposed to kill them, and then their undying gratitude at a second chance and freedom with it. We were all supposed to live off all of their lives; to use them as a food supply, but instead we risked our own lives to save them.
Unlike the others, I hadn't saved them. I ended up killing them anyways.
"You cannot think that they wouldn't understand. More importantly, they will forgive you one day, you have to know this," Tankrell pressed, his hand squeezing my shoulder gently.
His gaze was intense. It felt smoldering, like he was trying to pry into my soul.
I turned away from his gaze. He did not understand. There was no way he could understand.
I could feel the electric numbness of dead. I could feel the radiant feeling of sorrow, hatred, and pain in the air. It made my skin tingle, it spiked with pain, actual physical pain right now.
Thousands dead. Hundreds caring for them. For so long the Nephilese had kept this secret, they had been working to save lives.
Now, more than before, the Nephilese had to act against them... the powerful and controlling Elders. The Elders could easily wipe them out, and somehow the Elders were currently retaining top secret information. The Nephilese could easily die at any second.
There were no warnings. This was not a game, or even a mission. There were no rules, and the Elders would hold no remorse.
They had no upper-hand. They had morals.
They were weak.
I turned my face back to Tankrell, shrugging his hand off my shoulder.
"We cannot beat or win against the city or the Elders on our own," I told Tankrell.
He nodded, saying nothing. He looked down, pulling his hand back to his side.
I turned away again. He felt anxious, and uncertain.
But, now was not the time to discuss battle plans or tactics as dire as the situation stood.
What the rebellion needed was to burn their dead, and recollect. Otherwise they stood at a further disadvantage.
'Never again will I attach myself to anyone or anything. I will not become weak.' I adamantly thought to myself with solid resolve.
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