The Secret Life of Dionne P Nash: Part 7

Drawing by Caio Vincent Corsini.

Dionne’s old archenemy had somehow survived his death, but much to his chagrin, Dionne was more angered that she had failed to avenge Trian than scared of what Jakarian might do.

She hadn’t failed quite as badly as she had thought however. Dionne had completely destroyed Jakarian’s body all those centuries ago (thanks to her magics, she also ensured that Jakarian actually felt every cell in his body exploding.)

However as a result of all the magics Jakarian had sampled over not just his time as king, but his journey’s with the Hylexans, the vampire’s spirit had become stronger and more durable to the point where his ghost wasn’t instantly sucked into the afterlife for vampires.

Just after he created the book from which all vampires would originate. Khastran created the beginnings of a pocket dimension that was linked to it, which would eventually form over several hundred years. (A relatively insignificant task for the former master of the hellish realm.)

The souls of all vampires, as well as Khastrans other creations and even the creations of those loyal to him, such as the Turok Han and werewolves (who were created by his loyal pets the Lycans) would be sent to this pocket dimension after their deaths. In some rare cases, certain vampires were powerful enough to send the souls of their victims to this dimension too. The dimension itself resembled the earth when Khastran last walked it, a mostly desolate wasteland (as a result of his visit.) All of the vampires and creatures within this dimension could still be killed, but they would return to life the following day, meaning that they were forced to hunt each other for all eternity.

Carlene and Amy had both made their peace with the fact that they were going there in spite of how many good deeds they did. No magic on earth could save a soul permanently from this dimension. It was possible for some vampires to be resurrected, and Khastran himself could bring any soul he wanted out from it. (Which is what he did when creating the vampire horde, though even then his power was so depleted he needed to use his book and the restorative power of Tairos itself.) It was the same way that no magic on earth could cure the curse of vampirism. Khastran was very careful in making sure that his curse, his only lifeline could never be undone. Even after the victims died.

Carlene however did admit to Dionne that when she first found out that she was destined for his dimension, she had a mental breakdown and very nearly gave into her demonic nature, believing that it didn’t matter since she was doomed anyway.

Still Carlene eventually found peace in the fact that whilst she might not be able to fight Khastran’s curse, she could at least get back at him by using it to do good throughout the universe, and stop his curse from growing, wherever she could.

Jakarian however was seemingly the one exception, though even then, his spirit was only able to barely cling onto this world and was so faint that it couldn’t influence it at all, not even to the tiny extent that other ghosts could. It was a living hell for Jakarian, who would be forced to endure this for 100s of years. At any point he could have let go and fallen into Khastran’s afterlife, but he refused because he knew that there were plenty of vampires waiting on the other side to make him suffer. Those who viewed him as a traitor, for renouncing his kind when he came to help humanity in the war, those who hated him for betraying the earth, and finally even those who had served under him. They’d all be wanting for a chance at revenge.

Still the powerless state the former vampire king found himself in, as well as seeing how the world eventually came to forget him, would drive Jakarian even further down the path into madness.

The horrors he had committed, though still having an effect centuries on. Would ultimately be eclipsed by the final years of the vampire war, with both the Queen of the vampires and obviously the Emperor carrying out even greater atrocities in their desperation. Jakarian soon faded from memory as the irrelevant ruler who had been killed in the earlier years of the war, before the important battles.

Even his role in betraying humanity to the Hylexans had been somewhat forgotten, with most simply referring to it as the Hylexan invasion of earth.

In his later years Jakarian clung on, not just out of fear, but a desperation to remind the people of Tairos who he was. He hoped for centuries that someone or something would sense his presence and find a way to bring him back to the world of the living.

That chance would come from the most unlikely of places. The father of all vampires. Khastran himself. Just as before this vile monstrosity was able to cheat death to an extent. The magics that the allies used to destroy him were not as powerful as those of the Angels and the gods, and his weakened spirit was able to cling on for a short while after. Much like Jakarian however his spirit was so weak the demon god was unable to influence the world around him, and drifted harmlessly throughout the world he had devastated.

After centuries however eventually his spirit would sense the presence of Jakarian’s, who he instantly contacted.

Khastran did not have the power to possess one of his children like before, and even if he could, none of them would have let him after his betrayal. Jakarian however, Khastran knew had no loyalty or beliefs and would happily side with anyone who could help him, or indeed grant him power. Even Jakarian however was skeptical of helping Khastran at first, but soon realised this might be his only chance, and that Khastran could help him avoid ever going to his afterlife.

The two spirits then merged into one hideous creature, though both’s consciousness survived and would take it in turns to control the new demonic spirit.

Both meanwhile had set their sights on Dionne for a reason beyond simply revenge. Even this spiritual form couldn’t hold together indefinitely. They needed a new body that would be strong enough to contain them, which no even vampire, demon or warlock was capable of being. Their spirits were simply too unstable and would rip the bodies of the creatures they tried to possess apart. The unique magical structure of Dionne however would be more than capable of holding their essence, as buried deep in Dionne’s body were magics from when Khastran had last walked the earth, that had long since vanished. Jakarian had seen Dionne being transferred into the past, and had monitored Friaj, knowing full well when Dionne was to return. Jakarian had only spied on Dionne at first in the hopes that he could use whatever spiritual power he may have had left to influence the world in some way to destroy Dionne, but thankfully he didn’t have any.

Now however Jakarian’s knowledge would come in useful for Khastran, and the two monsters buried themselves deep in this church for over 100 years until they knew Dionne would arrive.

The church was the perfect place to hide, as little did the villagers know, it had been desanctified. A powerful demon who had been an ally of the humans against the vampires, and had even helped set up the church, had also devised a spell that would allow him to enter the church whenever he wanted. After the war was done, he would use it for human sacrifices, which eventually desanctified its holy power. A desanctified area contained a darkness that was more potent and powerful for demons and warlocks to utilise, as it represented evil triumphing over good.

Thankfully the demon was slain before he could put his plan into action, and the church afterwards was abandoned out of fear by the locals, though over time propaganda would cause this tragedy to be forgotten about. Ironically the demon responsible had been a great hero during the war (though only because of the mutual threat of the vampires.) Many did not want to admit that they had been duped by him, particularly the founders of the settlement nearby. As horrifying as it was for the victims, he was rewritten into being a hero who had died slaying the “real” killer of his victims.

Sadly however Khastran/Jakarian could sense the darkness in the church and it became the perfect place to keep their spirit stable for the century until Dionne arrived. However even then the church was not enough on its own, and both demons would frequently make a trip to the black woods, to absorb a little of the Terrible One’s magics. Even they were mindful not take too much as in their weakened state it could consume even them. Still these magics along with the church helped keep their spirits alive, and even now and again allowed the demons to satisfy their sadistic urges and inflict pain on the unsuspecting citizens of Tairos. In fact Dionne speculated that they were behind many of the more recent natural disasters that according to the Karsen library, had become more common in the last century or so. Many assumed that it was down to the magical upheaval of the land, but it certainly wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility that both of these demons were responsible for at least some of the disasters.

Dionne laughed at the two demons, telling them that most of her magics had depleted anyway, and that she only had a tiny fraction left. Jakarian however told her that actually, deep down, she was as powerful as she ever was. The later incarnation of the Circus Family had placed barriers around the magics in her body when she was sent backwards in time. Jakarian didn’t tell her why of course, not that it would have mattered anyway.

The two great demonic spirits attempted to fuse themselves to Dionne’s body, but using what little power she had, even with the barriers placed around her powers, she fought them off. It was more her will and hatred for Jakarian that drove her however. In spite of the desanctified church preserving them, both Jakarian and Khastran were weak as they had used up a lot of the power from the black woods when torturing the inhabitants of the nearby settlement. Even now both monsters couldn’t help themselves when given an opportunity to hurt people. Sadly however just as Dionne was about to push them back and flee outside to warn the Circus Family. Jakarian conjured up an image in her head, for just a brief moment.

The image revealed that Trian’s spirit was trapped in a special holding dimension of Jakarian’s, where he would send the souls of his worst enemies to suffer unimaginable pain and agony. The only way Dionne could find out where it was, would be to let Jakarian possess her, otherwise Trian would suffer for all eternity. Dionne knew that it had to be a trick. Jakarian never had that kind of power, and even if he did, why not advertise it to further strike terror into his enemies hearts

Still the possibility that her love might be suffering like that, for all this time, whilst she was unaware was enough to make Dionne let her guard down. She swore to me that it was not intentional. After all she knew that Jakarian would never keep his word, even if it was true, but sadly the anger and sorrow it provoked, caused Dionne to become more reckless in her attempts to destroy the spirits. She didn’t have anywhere near enough power to destroy them as it takes quite a lot of power to destroy a spirit, even a weak one completely. She should have fled outside. Maybe the Circus Family working together could have brought them both down, but sadly Dionne’s recklessness, allowed both spirits to by pass her more easily and enter her mind.

Once that happened Dionne had no chance of expelling Khastran. The demon god instantly destroyed the barriers around her powers from within and then merged itself to her ancient magics, increasing its power and making its hold over her seemingly iron clad.

Now in complete control of Dionne’s body, Khastran/Jakarian went outside to face the Circus Family.

The two demons instantly took control of Carlene before the others could even see anything was wrong with Dionne, and forced her to attack Samuel. The rest of the Circus Family naturally focused their attention on Carlene, whilst Dionne/Jakarian/Khastran prepared another attack. Friaj meanwhile along with the Gorgonopsid fled the area, though again none of the others really had time to notice. Saumel was barely able to evade the vampires attempts on his life, and was only saved by the intervention of Amy. Whilst the werewolf and the vampire were battling, Samuel used one of his gadgets designed to hold vampires, to restrain Carlene. He was extremely reluctant to use it on one of his best friends, but obviously he had no choice. Anck Su Namun and Tarkan meanwhile were busy still trying to hold off the Gargoyles who had instantly attacked again when the Circus Family’s attention was drawn to Carlene.

Tanith on the other hand soon turned her attention back on Dionne. She knew the the tell tale signs of possession (being something of an expert herself) and attempted to expel the unnatural power she could sense controlling Dionne. Unfortunately however, now aided by the magics in Dionne’s body. The demons instead were able to reverse Tanith’s spell, and used it to very nearly rip her spirit out of the body she was possessing.

The thought of going back to the nightmarish in between state she had been trapped in for centuries was enough to genuinely terrify Tanith, to the point where she screamed “No! Please!” At the monster inhabiting Dionne. Normally she was too proud to show any fear towards her enemies, and after what she had been through Tanith did not fear actual death. She knew however that whatever was possessing Dionne would quite happily condemn her to that fate again, when a cruel smile appeared on Dionne’s face. Somehow whilst it wasn’t telepathic, it could sense people’s worst fears. (This was also why it had set Carlene on Samuel, as her worst fear was giving into the demon inside and letting Alex turn her into a monster like him.)

Fortunately Amy was able to tackle Dionne before it could tear Tanith’s soul from her body, though Amy’s strength was still dwarfed by the beast that subsequently threw her over 40 feet through the air.

Tarkan meanwhile wisely tried a softer approach and tried getting through to Dionne, reminding her of how her hatred of Jakarian had almost convinced her to change history before, and how she had the strength to overcome that and become a better person.

Ironically Tarkan had no idea that it was Jakarian possessing her, but his words nevertheless gave Dionne just a seconds strength to overcome the two great evils inside her to the point where she retreated from the area and flew into the forest ahead. Sadly however her control only lasted for a few seconds, and once again both demons overpowered her, vowing to make Dionne suffer, so she would know her place.

The two demons instantly headed for the nearby settlement, where Jakarian/Khastran singled out Ajian, who they knew from Dionne’s own memories and transformed him into a hideous, vampiric demon. Dionne fought as hard as she could to try and regain control, but it was hopeless and she had to watch every second of it, as Ajian’s daughter begged and pleaded with her to stop, whilst her fathers body became twisted and mangled into a disgusting abomination.

Khastran was attempting to create a new race of children who would replace the vampires. He didn’t want monsters that would infiltrate humanity and understand them like the vampires were. In his mind that had made the vampires too human and weak. Now he wanted a race of demonic warriors who would claim this earth as their own in no time.

Again however trying to create these new and perfect warriors was a difficult task with his somewhat unpredictable new powers, but he certainly wasn’t going to have any problems trying.

Khastran/Jakarian would turn another 9 people in the settlement into similar monsters before flying through the air over the forest. Below they would transform hundreds more Dinosaurs, passing traders and even some bandits into twisted abominations.

Again Dionne was powerless to do anything, and Khastran taunted her saying.

“You’re a shallow, pathetic creature. Always so desperate for people to accept you. Both in your own time with that awful noise you made, and in Tairos with your cheap heroics. Now your face will be the one that slaughters countless innocents, that destroys worlds, that will be hated by all sentient creatures in the cosmos.”

Dionne could hear Jakarian laughing in the background of her mind. He soon piped up.

“You will repay tenfold for what I have suffered.” The former vampire king said through his twisted cackling.

“The centuries I spent unable to feel, unable to touch, to influence the world around me, drifting helplessly, whilst watching my legacy be forgotten. You’ll endure that. Unable to move in your own body as we tear everything you tried to save down.”

Worse than their petty taunts however, was the fact that Dionne could see both Khastran and Jakarian’s lives. Thankfully she could only see flashes of the atrocities they had carried out, but that was enough. Entire worlds burned by Khastran’s cruelty, whole species wiped out in an instant. She also saw and felt Jakarian’s joy when the Hylexans burned his own world. Billions of lives wiped out in an instant, and all Jakarian could feel was the satisfaction of his own petty little revenge.

The two demons soon took Dionne to Karsen. As possibly the largest settlement in the area it would make a perfect demonstration of Khastran’s power.

Flying in front of the wall, Khastran through Dionne spoke to the guards.

“You thought you had seen the last of me, Khastran, father of the vampires? You thought you were free? Unfortunately you didn’t even win this miserable excuse for a world. I will crush what’s left of humanity, finish what I started and burn this already dying planet to nothing but cinders and then with my new children, nothing in all the realms will stand against us. Be grateful though, at least some of you will be given the honour of following me.” Khastran said as he turned all of the guards on the wall into hideous, vampiric demons who descended upon the city below, whilst Khastran/Jakarian flew over the city, burning some people to a crisp, (destroying not just their bodies but their souls too.) As well as transforming others into abominations. Eventually Dionne/Khastran/Jakarian reached its target however. The force field that it destroyed with Dionne’s own sword.

The cities forces were completely overwhelmed. Karsen’s forces had become somewhat idle, having not faced a real threat for some time, but even the best army would have been overwhelmed by not only the power, but the cruelty and relentlessness that Khastran attacked with.

Meanwhile Jakarian was arguably in just as much pain as Dionne. He wanted to shout to the people of Karsen that he was back, that they would remember him for all time now, but Khastran deliberately did not let him speak. Whilst the demon god still needed Jakarian for stability, he was nevertheless naturally the more dominant of the two and was at least able to keep the former vampire king in check. Khastran had absolutely no reason to stop Jakarian from getting what he always wanted, other than just because the thought it was funny. Trust me, he and indeed most of his vampiric children didn’t need any more reason than that to completely crush a man’s dreams. Jakarian would most certainly have done the same thing in his place.

Dionne herself couldn’t help but muster up a brief chuckle, despite her plight at Jakarian being deprived of everything he wanted. “Even when you win you still lose.” Dionne said to him.

In the middle of the slaughter however, Friaj suddenly emerged from the crowd, not phased on the back of the Gorgonopsid, which roared to get the demon god above’s attention.

Khastran flew down to confront her directly.

“I thought you’d been wise enough to flee, mind you, where could you run too. I suppose it makes sense you just want to cut to the chase and get it over with.” Khastran speaking through Dionne taunted.

Friaj however just laughed. Both Dionne and Jakarian were unnerved, having never seen her show that much emotion before.

“You expect me to bow before you? Jakarian? You’ve failed at every single thing you ever tried. You failed to be a hero, failed to be a villain, failed to earn your place in history, no matter how low you tried to go to stand out from the rest of those animals.” Friaj said.

“I am in control.” Khastran shouted, as he lifted Friaj into the air, but she didn’t even acknowledge his presence and continued to taunt Jakarian.

“She beat you before, she’ll beat you again.”

It was at that point that Dionne realised why she had been able to take control before. Jakarian as always, was the weak link. Even though he wouldn’t admit it, he was scared of Dionne. She had after all killed him the most horrible way and condemned his soul to wander the earth for centuries. Even if it was an unconscious feeling, buried deep down, the terror of going back to that state, much like with Tanith was enough to make Jakarian briefly lose his grip. It hadn’t been Tarkan’s belief in Dionne that had given her the strength in herself back at the church, rather it had been Jakarian being reminded of how much stronger his archfoe was than he that terrified him. Sadly for Khastran as they were linked, then that also affected his control over Dionne.

Friaj continued to taunt Jakarian with the memories of being trapped in that nightmarish state as a ghost, telling him she knew he was watching her and she was laughing deep down at him, being so powerless he couldn’t even kill his arch foe when she was in a coma, helpless. Eventually it became too much for Jakarian who in a moment paniced, giving Dionne her chance to wrestle back control of her body and fly it away from Karsen and straight into the desert of Dynamos, where they crashed.

Sadly just as before Khastran soon took control again, though this time it wasn’t quite as ironclad as he had hoped. The demon god screamed at Jakarian to help him, but this time Jakarian refused.

“I’m not going to trade one prison for another.” Jakarian said.

“It seems you need me more than you thought. Unless you allow me control I will see all three of us burn.” Jakarian said.

Whilst it would have been sensible for Khastran to try and at least reason with Jakarian, the demon god was of course too proud to even consider indulging one of his own measly creations and the two fought with one another.

Little did they know however, Dionne hadn’t just brought them here by chance. She had flown specifically into the mountain she had first encountered the Drasker. Hoping that it would possibly be drawn by the magics that were eminating from her body and that whilst they were distracted holding it off, she could attack them. Either that or it would kill all three of them, which would still be preferable.

Several other creatures were drawn here, namely zombies which Khastran dispatched, as well as a few Vitox. Fortunately however Dionne was able to briefly control herself and warn them to flee, which they only did when she fired a beam of magic at the ruins of the mountain, vaporizing them in a display of her power.

The more that Khastran had to fight off the easier it became for Dionne to regain control, with Jakarian even in these circumstances still not wanting to give the vampire god control over Dionne’s body. As he said, Khastran would simply imprison him within their shared body and prevent him from being able to interact with the world, just like when he was a spirit. At least this way it would be over.

However Dionne’s plan backfired somewhat ironically when the Drasker came into view. The terror this beast invoked in Jakarian, caused him to temporarily forget his differences with Khastran and allow him control.

Khastran used Dionne’s powers to hold the giant Dinosaur mutation off and weaken it. Dionne however, still didn’t give up and spoke with Jakarian, or rather contacted him telepathically.

She played on his insecurities. Having seen him, when he was the great hero against the Hylexans, she now knew how much he loved being seen as a hero, how people believing in him, had driven the vampire to do those uncharacteristically heroic things. She taunted the vampire king that deep down that is what he still wanted, and that even if Khastran restored his place as the evil vampire king in the history books he would still lose, as that wasn’t what he really wanted either. Even the mightiest god after what he had done, could restore him to ever being the hero again. Of course Jakarian’s desire to be seen as a hero was not out of genuine altruism or guilt for his actions. It was entirely down to his own ego, though admittedly Dionne did admit to me, that she thinks that perhaps during his time helping humanity, he may have for a short while experienced something approaching a genuine desire to do good. Still now certainly, all he was motivated by was his hatred and desire to make the world be sorry for rejecting him. Dionne however, who in some ways knew him better than anyone else ever had, for just a second gave Jakarian a moment of hopelessness, which allowed her a chance to attack Khastran, whilst the latter was using all his power to try and finish the Drasker.

With all of her strength, Dionne took control of the magic inside her from Khastran, and used it to push both demons from her body, regaining control again, with the strain almost killing her.

The two demonic spirits tried to possess her again, but this time Dionne, now able to harness her magics, wielded her sword against them. Still not giving up however, Jakarian and Khastran flew into the now dying body of the Drasker. Even when it was healthy, they would have worn it out eventually, but for now they had no choice.

Khastran and Jakarian (who again were now working together out of necessity) whilst possessing the body of the Drasker picked Dionne up in one hand and prepared to devour her. It seems that they both hoped they could consume the magics in her body as well and mixed in with the Draskers strength, become virtually unstoppable.

Dionne however, used her magics to literally blow apart the Draskers hand. It took a large section of her power to do so, as even dying the beasts body was still ferociously powerful, and was now mixed in with Khastran and Jakarian.

Then, flying through the air, Dionne used her sword to slice the monsters throat, before taking its head clean off. She made it clear to me how much she regretted what she had to do to the Drasker that was still just trying to survive, but obviously she had no choice and it was dying anyway.

Sadly however the spirits of Jakarian and Khastran were still not dead, and both would attempt to possess Dionne once more, taking her by surprise when she believed they had gone down with the monster. Whilst it took an even greater strain than slaying the Drasker, Dionne managed to not only fight them off, but hold their spirits in place long enough to then strike them both with her sword. She channelled all of the magics in her body through her sword for that final strike.

Jakarian’s last words were a wretched “Khastran, Khastran, protect me!” Ultimately however the combination of all of Dionne’s magics channelled through her sword was now enough to completely destroy Jakarian’s soul for good. Just like on the sky city against Jakarian’s minions, Dionne could feel his spirit literally break apart. Ironically however Jakarian in a way ended up winning as now his spirit would finally be at peace, and be spared Khastran’s cruel afterlife. As for Khastran, well Dionne felt the same thing for the destruction of his spirit, but who knows if a small part of him still managed to survive. It would hardly be the first time that wretched creature had escaped death.

Channelling her power proved to be such a strain, that just like before Dionne was left completely drained and collapsed to the desert floor. She didn’t fall into a coma this time, but she could still barely muster enough strength to move her arms. Fortunately the presence of the Dresker had scared off most other creatures of the desert at first, but after an hour or so, several vultures would be drawn to its carcass.

Several of them descended around Dionne, but whenever they got too close, a quick jerk from her hand, head or leg would usually be enough to send them away.

A Pterosaur, similar to a Pteranodon soon arrived, and Dionne knew she was in trouble. Unlike the vultures it wasn’t here to scavenge. Rather it knew she was alive, having been drawn by the smell of fresh meat. As the giant reptile prepared to take a chunk out of her leg however, a deep, more mammalian roar suddenly drew its attention.

It was the Gorgonopsid, with Friaj riding on its back. The Pteranodon tried to stand its ground and opened up its wings, but the Gorgonopsid was having none of it. It’s safe to say it had seen far worse, and as soon as the reptile like mammal charged at it, the Pteranodon took to the skies.

Friaj helped get Dionne onto the back of the Gorgonopsid, who then took them through the desert and back to the Tent, which had been protected by a special magical shield, that even rendered the Tent invisible. Friaj however, somehow had a device to override its defences (which had been given to her by the future Circus Family) and used it to enter the Tent, where she placed Dionne down upon her bed.

Friaj then explained everything to Dionne. She was there when the later incarnation of the Circus Family, who were led by Anck Su Namun herself, limited Dionne’s power and even took part in it. She was also given instructions by them on how to guide Dionne when she next arrived in Tairos. They did so not only to preserve the timeline, but also to ensure that Dionne did not use up the limited power she had left in her body before she could face Khastran. After she had destroyed Jakarian’s weapons the first time, there were still tiny traces of the magic in her body. Enough to slowly regrow over the decades she was asleep for. Now however, she had used the last of it up to destroy Khastran’s spirit, for good.

Of course Dionne still didn’t entirely trust Friaj, though it’s worth mentioning that she never used any magics afterwards. Dionne later told me that if she had had the strength, she would have strangled Trian’s own sister, for helping to steal her power, manipulating her, letting her be possessed to the point where she would be made to kill innocent people etc. Ultimately Dionne knew that Friaj had no choice and that the timeline needed to be preserved, and that Khastran needed to die, but she would still harbour a hatred for the man she loved’s sister for the rest of her days, as well see the images of the people she killed whilst under Khastran’s control alongside others she had failed, for the rest of her life too.

Nevertheless before Friaj departed with the Gorgonopsid, Dionne told her that there was a possibility that Trian’s soul was trapped in a holding dimension of Jakarian’s invention. She still didn’t think it was true, but if there was even a hairs breath it was true, then she had to let Friaj know about it. Friaj told Dionne that she would search Jakarian’s island and do all she could before leaving with the Gorgonopsid back through the desert. At the very least, Dionne got to say goodbye to her beloved pet this time.

The rest of the Circus Family meanwhile were busy cleaning up Jakarian/Khastran’s mess. First they dealt with the monsters he had created at the settlement. Amy much to her regret was forced to kill Ajian in front of his daughter, who he was about to devour.

The Family then headed to Karsen, which was being torn apart by Khastran’s new, twisted children. The Circus Family, including even Carlene who had regained her senses (though she would be left shaken by what had happened for a long while afterwards) managed to save the city and slaughter most of the infected. Unfortunately however just two of Khastran’s new children would escape into the woods outside and continue to infect others, leading to the creation of a new race of demons who would plague Tairos for many centuries to come, the Khastriaks. Fortunately these monsters without their father to guide them would never be able to become the threat that the vampire horde were. Many demons would attempt to lead them however by claiming to be Khastran (whose apparent final death at Dionne’s hands was never known.) These frauds however would always be found out eventually.

After the city of Karsen was saved however, the Circus Family were not celebrated as heroes, but rather ran out as traitors who had helped to revive Khastran. It was easier to think that, than to believe that they had simply let Khastran slowly grow in power again.

The Family were forced to go on the run in the woods of Tairos whilst searching for Dionne/Khastran, until eventually Dionne, after she had recovered, was strong enough to pilot the Tent to the others. (With the Tent being linked to Tarkan, making it easier to find him. Whilst only Tarkan could pilot it through time and space, others could still make it travel across short physical distances.)

Sadly even the Circus Family at first took some time to be convinced that Dionne wasn’t still possessed, but after they accepted her, the Family took off from Tairos. Dionne would never return again.

Dionne would also only travel with the Circus Family for another few months. Things between her and the rest of the group were hard for a short while. She found it hard to forgive Anck Su Namun for limiting her powers, but soon understood that ironically Anck Su Namun (who was the only member of this Circus Family who would be part of the future one. Even Carlene had left them by that point) was ironically only working on her orders to limit her powers. In fact when hearing about it at first, Anck Su Namun refused to believe it. Still it obviously created quite a large rift between them for most of Dionne’s subsequent time in the Family.

Tanith and Carlene meanwhile felt uneasy around her. It wasn’t anger, it was more just that seeing Dionne reminded them of of what Khastran had done to them. How he had reduced Tanith to begging, something she always believed she would be too proud to do. Carlene meanwhile had been long believed she had conquered the demon within, but to be reduced to a savage animal, attacking the people she loved again reminded her that no matter what, the potential for it to take over was always there. She almost had another breakdown, but ironically the fact that Dionne had ultimately triumphed over the father of the vampires, Khastran, gave Carlene hope that despite their supernatural power. The vampires could always be overcome.

Ironically just before the end, she and Dionne’s bond would become closer than ever as a result of this.

The only three members that Dionne had no problems with where Amy, Samuel and ironically Tarkan who she was able to make some peace with. After she explained everything that had happened in order for the information to be passed onto the next Circus Family to complete the stable time loop. Tarkan admitted that he had misjudged Dionne somewhat, as he was amazed that she was willing to set up a timeline where she would suffer to such an extent. Having seen first hand the extent at which Ajian’s death had affected her. Dionne had demanded to know what had happened to the settlement and Karsen from the others. They all didn’t want to, to spare her feelings, but eventually she forced it out of Amy, who was forced to share every detail, and how Aijan’s daughter swore to make both Dionne and Amy suffer.

Still in spite of that, for the greater good of the timeline Dionne wasn’t going to change history, and Tarkan later told her that he wasn’t even sure if he would be willing to make that sacrifice.

Sadly however like many of the Circus Family members before her, Dionne’s time with them would come to an end, as she was needed to stay behind in her own time. To be fair those are the lucky members of the Circus Family. Many don’t have the luxury of leaving alive, never mind going back to their home time.
Still the time had come, and just before she left, Tarkan was forced to de-age her in the same way as before.

It was one of the hardest days of Dionne’s life, saying goodbye to the Circus Family. Even the normally stoic Tanith struggled to contain her sadness, whilst she and Anck Su Namun in some ways made peace with each other too. Still again at least unlike the first time, she was able to properly say goodbye to her old life.

From the world’s perspective, Dionne had only been gone for a few minutes from our time.

Just as before it took her a while to adjust, but thankfully she was able to keep out of the public eye. Her own record label dropped her (by text) due to her previous erratic behaviour and her own failure to produce anything else a few months after arriving in our time. Not that she was complaining. Whilst the way they dropped her was low, cowardly and unprofessional, if she had wanted, she could have easily released her own music independently. Ultimately however she sadly just wasn’t interested anymore. What Jakarian had put her through in the camps all those years ago had made it impossible for her to enjoy the very thing that had once been her greatest passion. Even killing that wretched monster twice failed to take away that pain. It was more than that however. The fact that her music had gone from being something that she was passionate about to, something that people exploited her with or because, whether that was the gutter press peering into her life, or Jakarian using it to torment her, or even the people of Mosterik who had plucked her from her own time, caused Dionne to now see it as something that she wanted to hide from the rest of the world.

It was tragic that she would never release anything else, though towards the end a part of me did think that she was maybe beginning to rediscover her passion. She would often play for friends and family. Like I said before, she even played a few pieces she had written in Tairos for me. There were even rumors that she was planning another album just before her death. I’m afraid I can’t tell you if there was any truth in those rumors as she was always very guarded about her music. I hope they are true, as not only does it mean we may get more great music from her one day, but it would also be lovely to think that she had finally overcome the last of her issues with Tairos.

It’s also worth nothing that whilst Dionne never made any music of her own during this time, she would still set up her own label that would launch the careers of many other artists. In fact some of the most popular and acclaimed songwriters of the past 30 years would emerge thanks to Dionne. Really in her later years, her passion for music was channelled almost exclusively into finding others and making sure that they didn’t go through the same experiences that she did. Some of her most die hard fans argued that she changed music just as much by giving indie artists more of a chance in the limelight. Personally I think that’s a huge exaggeration. Sadly she may have helped a few who otherwise wouldn’t have been noticed, but ultimately in the grand scheme of things I don’t think one person could ever really change the industry that much. Killing vampire gods yes, making record execs treat their artists better? Now you’re stretching things.

Whether she did change the industry or not however, Dionne, through taking a more background role, and cut off from the cruel media was eventually able to move on with her life. She met and married a good man named James Harbour Sande who she would eventually have a child with, Shingai.

Whilst the media after her death would try and paint these years as sad and lonely, I know from experience that they were anything but. Dionne had a truly wonderful life with her friends and family for over 40 years.

Still it must be said that even after she was able to share her secrets with me, the weight of Tairos still preyed on her mind. How could it not? Some people think that getting over something means you never think about it again, but honestly unless you’re a robot. Your past will always stay with you to some extent. It’s just the extent at which it does that matters, and ultimately given how well things ended for Dionne, and what a wonderful person her daughter ended up being. I’d say she was able to overcome her troubled past as well as anyone could.

Dionne passed away at the age of 78. Her death was sudden and unexpected. I’ve always suspected that it was the magic that de-aged her that may have worn Dionne down to some extent. Despite the suddenness of her death, she had begun to rapidly age in her last few years. She had lived a healthy lifestyle, and didn’t have anything wrong with her according to her doctors. To be fair maybe it was just the life she had led in Tairos and with the Circus Family catching up to her after all that time?

Whatever the reason, a few days after her funeral I would finally get the conclusive proof of her exploits in Tairos that had eluded me for so long, when the Circus Family arrived to pay their respects. For the most part I had always believed Dionne. My own experiences with the supernatural, mixed in with the trust I had in her, allowed me to have confidence in even some of her wildest claims most of the time.

Still I guess deep down maybe even I had some trouble in believing all of it. I never thought she was lying, but perhaps I may have felt that some of her wildest claims were the result of some demon or sorcery tricking her. When I actually saw all of those strange characters Dionne had told me about around her grave, it was terrifying. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh.

The only reason I had arrived there was Tanith, who had summoned me with her magics.

As Tarkan would reveal to me, after Dionne left, this incarnation of the Circus Family would visit Tairos a few times more. Whilst thankfully they told me that Khastran’s death seemed to be final. Sadly Dionne was now remembered as a monster in the age of Tairos who had sided with Khastran and created a new race of monsters to terrorise the world.

The Circus Family told me that I was to write a memoir using the knowledge I gained from Dionne, (with knowledge that she had never even been able to share with them) that they would pick up from me on the 7th of November in the year 2109.

Whether or not it was to preserve the timeline I am unsure. They simply said that this would be help restore Dionne’s reputation in a time far beyond the age of Tairos. Whilst Dionne having seen what had become of Jakarian no longer cared about being remembered or her legacy, at the same time the Circus Family understandably did not want her to be remembered as a monster, and told me that when the time was right, this would help restore things.

This is the real reason I have chosen to write this memoir. In one weeks time it will be delivered to the Circus Family who will meet me by Dionne’s grave.

I have decided to keep one copy for myself, if I’m allowed to that is. Whilst I obviously won’t be publishing it in my lifetime, at the very least it will help me to make more sense of everything that has happened.

In some ways I knew Dionne better than anyone else. She certainly had as big an impact on me as any other major person in my life, perhaps more. Not all of it has been positive mind you. There are times where like I said I’ve been terrified at the prospect of coming back as a Vasta. Where any positive development or step forward in society has left me feeling cold, as I know that in just a few centuries it will all be reset. Writing this memoir wasn’t easy either, as I was terrified if I got anything wrong and history didn’t go the way it ought to then I’d have been sent to the Abyss.

Still overall I feel privileged to have been among the only people to know the true life story of a great woman, who was sadly so often misunderstood in both her own time and in the age of Tairos. A woman with a truly special talent and a big heart, who was forced to deal with the most crushing tragedies and responsibilities, yet rose above them all in the end.

I only hope that in the future, she is finally understood for who she really was.

The End

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