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Gone By Sunrise: Chapter 8
Chapter 8: Embers of Change

It had been weeks since the sightings of the rebellion, and the castle was a hive of activity as preparations for the impending attacks continued. The council, alongside all the other powerful vampire families, had been tirelessly working to fortify their defenses.

Damian had recently learned that his mother, Seraphina, had also once been a High Lady of the Council. She had surrendered her role to focus on nurturing her children after becoming pregnant with the youngest of the Draakul kin.

Before the council chamber meeting, Damian found himself alone with Lady Al'ovi, the successor of the Morovan Clan—his supposed betrothed, fidgeting nervously beside him.

"Hello, Damian," Al'ovi said softly, her voice barely audible.

"Al'ovi," Damian replied, nodding curtly. "It's been a while."

"Yes, it has. How... how have you been?" she asked, her cheeks flushing slightly.

"Busy, as you can imagine," Damian said, glancing at the preparations around them. "A lot has happened."

"Of course," Al'ovi murmured. "I've heard about your... confinement. It must have been difficult."

Damian shrugged. "It was necessary, I suppose. Though I didn't expect to be confined for wanting to understand more about humans."

Al'ovi looked surprised. "Humans? But, Damian, you've always been so... rule-abiding. Why would you risk so much?"

Before Damian could respond, one of the elder council members approached them. "Damian," the elder said, "we need to temporarily remove your anklet so you can assist in the preparations. But remember, no mingling with humans. The council is watching."

Damian nodded, and the elder removed the anklet, leaving a faint burn mark around his ankle. Al'ovi watched, her eyes wide with curiosity and concern.

"Humans, Damian?" she repeated after the elder left. "Is that true?"

Damian sighed, rubbing his ankle. "Yes, Al'ovi. I... I wanted to understand them better. I don't believe they are as evil as the council portrays them to be."

Al'ovi looked at him, her eyes filled with a mix of admiration and fear. "You're brave, Damian. But also... reckless. The council won't tolerate this."

"I know," Damian replied. "But I believe we can coexist with humans. There must be a way."

Al'ovi hesitated, then stepped closer. "I admire your courage, Damian. I always have. But please, be careful. I don't want to see you get hurt."

Damian looked into her eyes, seeing the sincerity in her gaze. "Thank you, Al'ovi. I appreciate your concern. I promise I'll be careful."

Just then, a guard entered the hall, calling for Damian. "Master Damian, your presence is required in the council chamber."

Damian nodded to the guard and turned back to Al'ovi. "I have to go. Duty calls."

Al'ovi smiled softly. "I'll see you at the meeting, then."

As Damian walked towards the council chamber, his mind was filled with thoughts of the impending rebellion and his newfound perspective on humans. The path ahead was fraught with danger, but Damian was determined to seek a better future for both vampires and humans.


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