There was no time, no time to think about the consequences. Now a fallen Earned with no pack, no mortal friends, and unable to be loved, Kaleb scrambles to find his new place in existence—a place that was the result of a brave long shot when his Honored One, Alex, was dying from a curse.
Kaleb had felt alone as a half-breed among the Earned, and as a fallen Earned he is even less welcome. Still, he finds himself surrounded by new friends. Least of all did he expect an Angel to give him the time of day.
It is time to embrace his mother’s side—a side that makes him even more feared than he was as just a half-breed. This new knowledge makes him aware of a yet unknown threat to himself, his family, and the mortals he loves. But it also brings about a new understanding of what threat his powers pose for mortals.
Edward watched as Kaleb faded behind the veil—his features contorted with pain as he clawed at the metal collar around his neck. Edward’s insides burned from fear and sorrow. His youngest son had fallen, as everyone had expected, yet he’d fallen to save his Honored One’s life. He’d fallen in order to serve a mortal.
Alex screamed for Kaleb while Pritchard sat on the floor, clutching him close. The entire pack yelled, cursed the whole situation, or cried and tried to soothe each other.
The lump of fear and pain grew in Edward’s chest and finally surfaced as a scream that didn’t seem to end, and once his lungs were empty, a hollow feeling took over. Someone pulled at him, but he barely registered it.
He looked up and saw Phil crying. Edward hung onto him tightly. He needed to keep him safe, needed to be there for him, yet the feeling of having failed his youngest washed over him, filling the hollow inside of him with despair and bitterness of being a failure.
“That’s not fair!” Allen bellowed. “He shouldn’t fucking fall for that!” He ran from the dining hall, slamming the door to the hall.
“How could this happen?” Warwick asked, falling from his kneeling position close to Alex back to sit on the floor. He sobbed and covered his face. More people yelled for Edward and he looked up to find Gabor and several of his sons running to him.
“He fell, Kaleb fell,” Edward said as he tried to get up.
“How?” Gabor asked while the rest of his sons asked who Kaleb was. The reality of just how difficult the situation had become sank in, and Edward just wanted it to go away. For the first time in his life, the thought of ending himself crossed his mind. Not even when Kaleb’s mom, the woman he had loved more than any other, had left him without so much as a goodbye had he considered it. He pushed the thought aside as soon as it registered—what good would he be to Kaleb if he did? A new fear set in. What if Kaleb would end himself because he had fallen?
Gabor helped Phil drag Edward to his feet, and Gabor steered him toward a chair. Edward plopped down on it and looked at Alex, who was still holding on to Pritchard fiercely and crying uncontrollably. Dominic kept a distance, looking like he felt utterly useless, and then Mickey ran into the room.
“Oh, shit,” Edward said, covering his face.
“What’s wrong? What’s going on?” Mickey asked, taking in the chaotic scene of Earneds yelling, crying, and cursing up a storm. Edward got up, but he couldn’t find the words.
Dominic walked to Mickey, looking more grim than usual. “Kaleb fell.”
“As in he’s now a Demon.”
“What?” Mickey exclaimed and looked at Edward. The pain and confusion in the boy’s face ate away at the last hold Edward had on his feelings and broke a dam inside of him. Phil quickly put his arms around him and pulled him back to sit.
“Come on,” Dominic said, ignoring Mickey’s question and mutterings of denial as Dominic led him to a chair in the far end of the dining hall.
“We have a brother? A half-breed who just fell?”
“Yes, Jonas.” This wasn’t how they were supposed to be told.
“He didn’t deserve that!” Phil shouted. “He saved a life, he did good. He didn’t deserve that. He was good. He did good,” he said, continuing his rant and shaking his head, and Edward couldn’t let go of his hand. He clutched at it as if it was the only thing keeping him alive. His son—a son who needed him, even though he had just failed another.
Allen stormed into the room again. “Matheo, I need you with me!”
Matheo got up and ran to him. They left the dining hall together, and Edward hoped Allen knew what to do. In the meantime, he tried to block out his sons’ questions about a brother they never knew existed.
Pritchard pulled Alex to his feet and led him from the dining hall. As they passed Edward, Alex looked at him.
“I’m so sorry,” Alex said, and Edward felt even worse. But he didn’t have time to tell Alex that it wasn’t his fault. It would be another member of the pack’s job to work that out.
Edward looked at his sons sharing memories.
“You should have told us, despite what Gabor thought,” Jonas said.
“I didn’t know how, but I planned to.” Edward hid his face in his hands.
Allen came in, demanding everybody’s attention. “Sons of Edward. You need to go home now, and don’t tell anybody about the fall or about the half-breed. We have a leak, and this happened because someone tried to assassinate your younger brother’s Honored One by the means of magic. You don’t discuss this with anyone except for your pack leaders. Clear?”
“Yes, leader.” They left.
“In times of great distress the pack leaders are allowed to summon the House of Enki,” Allen continued loudly to be heard by everyone. “I have gathered pack leaders who are now trying to secure the amount of energy needed to summon them. I need seven Earned, with a lot of energy to give, to step forward. We’re gonna try to persuade them to lift this punishment.”
Edward got up and was happy to see most of the pack do the same. The two who didn’t get up didn’t have the energy Allen spoke of—he knew that, too.