Vernon opens his eyes. He rolls to his side and gives Ki a light shake. She awakens. He waves his finger to hush her.
"Don’t make a sound…."
Ki has heard his thoughts.
"It’s time to go, kid."
He takes her by the hand.
"Are you ready?"
There is something in Vernon’s calm demeanor preventing Ki from feeling fear, yet her thoughtful curiosity for Venon’s unexpected behavior can be heard.
"My time has come," He answers her, "it’s time to step from the shadows."
Deciding to trust Vernon, Ki provides a slight nod in answer to his question. She is ready.
"Don’t be afraid. I am in control." As Ki hears these words move through her mind, her vision fades to black…
Ki’s vision returns as the black scrolls away. She has appeared hand in hand with Vernon, by the side entrance to the mansion. Vernon gives her a wink and, casually using his free hand as though pulling aside a curtain, removes the pink force field from the door.
"Did I ever tell you I have a daughter?"
Slightly skeptical to the prospect of what Vernon is telling her, Ki narrows one eye.
"She’s nothing like you."
"It would seem she needs my help. But hey… what else are dead fathers for?"
Ezra has changed. He seems… amused by the efforts of the other presence in the attic.
“Take not a dog by the ears, lest you be bit.” His words are steady, no trace of the fear he previously portrayed. “You’re interfering with family affairs. Be gone.”
With a shot of breath from one of Ezra's nostrils, the runes on the floor shatter like thin ice and sweep across the attic in many pieces to the skirting of a wall, where they melt, soaking quickly into the dry timber of the floor.
As Ezra is freed from his bondage, his appearance begins to change….
"Dead?" Ki asks, her grip on Vernon’s hand tightening as they make way through the dark hallways of the mansion.
Vernon rubs her knuckles with his thumb to help relieve any onset of fear, replying with a jovial connotation; "I’m not really dead"
"She thinks you are?"
"That’s right, kid. She had no reason to disbelieve her mother’s lies. All those times she’d seen me in town while begging for coin from strangers…," Vernon explains, as they begin their climb to the second floor, "…how it pained me not to let her know who I was…. I was nothing more than another face in the crowd."
Ki seems confused as they make way along the upstairs hallway toward the stairwell to the attic. "Who is she?"
“You’ll be meeting her soon, Ki…. You may have seen her around from time to time. They call her Annie…."
"But why keep it a secret?" Ki inquires. They begin their climb to the attic. "Why not tell her you were her father?"
“Because…” Vernon breaks the silence to speak as they come to a halt in the threshold to the attic, facing the monstrosity that looms over the bed of Annie’s chamber; “That’s one trait she has in common with me.”
Vernon now turns a severe glare to Ki, instructing her to stand behind him. She does not hesitate to do so. What she’s seen standing in the attic has filled her with fear, her hands trembling as she grips to Vernon’s belt.
"Relax, I’ve got this," he tells her, turning his focus to the monstrosity, saying;
“I see the Order deploy assassins to handle the dirty jobs these days. Must be tough managing a wee girl…. Little overkill, though, don’t you think?”
Ezra, no longer the depiction of a tortured soul dragged forth from the fires of hell, turns his intense crimson eyes at Vernon – Though his facial features are similar to that of a gargoyle, his head and tall, sleek body appears to have no epidermal layer; the midnight-green veins and the well-toned muscle fibres of his umber flesh are clearly visible. Though he stands erect on two legs, he has four arms, hands and feet shaped alike primates while each digits, his opposable toes included, are embellished with razor sharp, hooked back nails. He has no visible genitalia – Despite his less than common air, his look of conjecture for Vernon was unmistakable.
“Can’t quite pick my face?” Vernon asked, taking a step into the room. “I must admit, it was quite some time ago. Still, I remember you well, Ezra. But then… who could forget an ugly head like yours?”
Ezra appears… spooked, as he replies in a wisp and gravelled voice, “State your name….”
“I’m hurt, really…” Vernon discernibly lies. “You don’t remember me. Then, I guess I did something right… So how about…” He looks off to the side with pretentious thoughtfulness; “How about you just call me… The Gallant Knight.”
Ezra now turns his entire body at Vernon, tilting his stare with further curiosity, no doubt endeavouring to place a memory to Vernon’s face. Within moments his recollection for Vernon is seen in a short, uneasy quiver of his flesh, while his intensely narrow stare widens with consternation.
“Yes…” Vernon smiles complacently; “It is I.”
In the foyer…
…Annie is regarding Ei’s question with disappointment, which, in light of the events about to take place, is no doubt a ruse to further deceive her –
A horrendously loud noise is heard throughout the mansion, that of inhuman yelling and heavy crashing, as though a fight between monsters has suddenly erupted from direction of the attic.
Ki then appears beside Annie, instantly speaking to Ei with the words: “You left your post.”
Annie finds Ki’s sudden appearance and the sound of the upstairs battle infuriating, as she yells out ‘no’ in frustration and grabs Ki by the neck with intent to strangle her. As she takes Ki to the floor, Annie’s form changes to that of a shadow, while Ki, being choked by this ghostly form, looks to Maras for help.
In the Attic, Vernon now looks much alike a man made of granite, while he and Ezra are locked in battle. The two embroiled bodies crash through a wall then down through the floor as their battle spills out into the hallway of the second floor.
As their battle progresses through the mansion, four dark figures appear surrounding Annie’s chamber.
Each of the four figures waste no time raising their hands high to strike the chamber with a sharp blast of crimson light!
In the kitchen...
...In the wake of the massive noise that can clearly be heard taking place upstairs, Fin jumps to his feet and flees the room. As this happens, Ariel no longer sees Fin as Betty, Renard once again sees Ariel as the Angel he knows, and they both can hear the words each other speak as normal.
…it would seem that the illusion taking place has now been interrupted by the event taking place upstairs.