Chapter Thirty-Nine

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Erg of Bilma

Ténéré Desert

Elijah

Much of the Sahara is a flatland.

Not Erg of Bilma. At the central most part of the Ténéré Desert, the dune sea spreads from Niger to Chad, dominating the land with yellow-orange sand. The desert, being only months after the beginning of a new year, isn't a burning oasis, although there is no real sign of life in sight.

Only rare creatures can inhabit these parts, few mortals could survive it. We've long since traveled beyond the last village. On foot for a human, there would be no end to this landmark. For vampires, who have been called together, finding the sight is easy.

An army of thousands cannot be missed.

"We should be coming upon them soon," I utter, signaling my progenies to slow down. There is nothing but remoteness as far as the eye can see, but we can sense their nearness, a signal transmitted, leading us to the pathway of death. Grains of sand float around our faces as we move towards each other.

Travels have been quiet, occupied with our own contemplation and unease. Even now, it's difficult to find words, to address them without ordering them away from these frontlines. My demands wouldn't be heeded, nor would they guide them to success. I cannot spare them. Not from this.

And they know it.

"Shall we go ahead?" Damien asks, well adjusted in the workings of his creator's mind.

"Gather the country leaders. I will address with them first."

Paris rests a hand on my shoulder. "Do you think he'll come...? Jehovah?"

"He's waited millenniums for this day," I voice to the mysterious sky. "He'll be here."

"Once we gather the leaders, unrest will quickly follow," Damien states. "Be quick."

Nodding, I send them both off, watching them disappear from my sight, already aware of the penetrating gaze in my back. His words sift with the powder in the wind, echoing in the vastness.

"Your faith. It wavers."

Damien and Paris are naught but specks in the terrain. "You let him... kill her."

"Elijah—"

"You never came!"

"I was there."

I whirl around, laying eyes on light itself. A god cultivated of it. "How does one keep faith when faith takes all? You wish to strip me to the bone!"

"Only you could handle this burden. You have been primed for it from the moment you were created. You and Cassandra were made unlike others. Your strength is unmatched. Do not tell me, this close to victory, you cannot see!"

"She was my sight!" I roar, utterly distraught. "She was my mind, and my heart, and my reason! You have blinded me. He has blinded me. I am walking into a fight without protection!"

"Do you think anyone who has purpose to instill change, a purpose so far beyond them, hasn't felt this agony? Hasn't faced this magnitude of defeat?" His features harden. He manifests in front of me, grasping onto the back of my throat. "You are my warrior, Elijah. You are all of my hopes, and the symbol of God's own faith!"

"Tell me she is with you," I whisper, unmoved.

He blinks, amazed. "Elijah."

"Is she safe? Is she with you?"

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