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mandyloves2read · a month ago
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✰✰✰𝔹𝕠𝕠𝕜 ℝ𝕖𝕧𝕚𝕖𝕨✰✰✰
Fractured Reign by Caitlyn Dare
Gravestone Elite #3
5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Wow what a fantastic ending to this trilogy! I’ve been rooting for Bexley and Mia since the beginning these two have been through it and after the ending of Tarnished Crown I honestly didn’t see how they could overcome the major obstacles in their way but I was pleasantly surprised when I started this book picking up almost immediately where the last left off it was fast paced and consuming just as all books I’ve read by this author! The twists and turns the secrets the lies the betrayals this story had it all and we finally get all the answers we’ve been waiting for some revelations come to light some shocking truths this story was emotionally intense heartbreaking fast paced and all consuming I could go on and on about why you should read this story but I’m going to stop here and just say if you haven’t started this series yet what are you waiting for do it ! This is a must read from this author and I can’t stress it enough READ THIS STORY!!! Amazing! Brilliantly written addictive storyline fantastic plot twists phenomenal characters this story had it all !
* I voluntarily reviewed an advanced complimentary copy of this book *
Blurb:
When Mia wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how she got there, she braces herself for bad news.
But nothing can ever prepare her for the truth.
Betrayed by the very people who were supposed to protect her, Mia no longer knows who to trust.
All Bexley wants is to fix things for the girl he loves, and keep those around him safe.
Even if it means embracing his legacy.
Can Bexley and Mia fight their own demons while fighting the enemies closing in around them...
Or will it be too late to save each other?
Fractured Reign is the conclusion to Mia and Bexley's dark and twisted story.
Fractured Reign in the final book in the Gravestone Elite trilogy. It is a DARK BULLY ROMANCE and contains mature content that some readers may find disturbing. You have been warned.
The Gravestone Elite Trilogy is now complete and is FREE in KU!!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3ehX7qj
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3ulzUur
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3aZkuo4
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/33fZsx6
Start the Series NOW!!!
Shattered Legacy (Gravestone Elite #1)
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhj
TARNISHED CROWN (Gravestone Elite #2)
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kL8zh5
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anaboleyn-bookjunkie · 3 months ago
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Teaser Reveal! Shattered Legacy (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #1) by Caitlyn Dare
Teaser Reveal! Shattered Legacy (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #1) by Caitlyn Dare
SHATTERED LEGACY (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #1) by Caitlyn DareRelease Date: March 4thAdd to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR1PREORDER TODAY!!Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhjAmazon UK: https://amzn.to/3p19b3AAmazon CA: https://amzn.to/39IVIHcAmazon AU: https://amzn.to/3p770vy Blurb: Mia Thompson wants only one thing: to survive Gravestone University, graduate, and get far far away from…
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anaboleyn-bookjunkie · 4 months ago
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Teaser Reveal! Shattered Legacy (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #1) by Caitlyn Dare
Teaser Reveal! Shattered Legacy (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #1) by Caitlyn Dare
SHATTERED LEGACY (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #1) by Caitlyn DareRelease Date: March 4thAdd to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR1PREORDER TODAY!!Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhjAmazon UK: https://amzn.to/3p19b3AAmazon CA: https://amzn.to/39IVIHcAmazon AU: https://amzn.to/3p770vy Blurb: Welcome to Gravestone… Where everyone has secrets and only the strongest will survive. A brand new dark…
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rye-views · 4 years ago
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Schindler’s List (1993) dir. Steven Spielberg. 7.6/10 Updated 3 years later (8.8.20) 7.7/10
I like the close up and handheld-like nature of the camera movements when they are all crowded up. Really depicts the chaos.
The background music matches the scenes well. eg. when the red-coat girl is first introduced. Also, the Jewish people walking at the end.  The walk is truly so beautiful along with the stone setting.
The gravestone walkway is very well made, but so disrespectful.
I love how Schindler is so respectful by the end. I love it. I love how selfless he had become.
I’m pretty into war films. This is really inspiring in some ways and really devastating in others.
Updated Commentary:
I just love Stern.
Danka is also a cute addition.
Spoiler: [About Oskar Schindler coming to Kraków during WWII. He buys drinks for and gets along well with the German elite. The Jewish people are being forced to wear the Star of David on their arms after registering as Jews. Schindler talks to Itzhak Stern and has him run everything that involves him starting and maintaining an enamelware factory. He wants the Jewish people’s money since they can’t have their own businesses and they can get paid for with actual products. Schindler goes to a church to talk to the Jewish smugglers. They walk out one by one, but Poldek Pfefferberg gets stuck talking to Schindler about providing good products. The Jewish people are forced into the ghetto while Schindler has a nice apartment. Stern eventually gets people to invest and he works for Schindler. The factory is set up and Stern gathers Jewish people after forging documents that deem them as essential workers. They get removed from being sent to camps. Schindler works to find a secretary. Schindler’s wife, Emilie, comes to visit and doesn’t care for his new secretary, Wiktoria Klonowska. Schindler makes the doorman know who his wife is and he goes out to dinner with her. They catch up and he talks of wanting to be extraordinary. She heads home later. Stern has one of Schindler’s workers, Mr. Lowenstein, talk to him to thank him for saving him. Schindler reprimands Stern later since the man has one arm and he doesn’t want to be in this position. Rolf Czurda talks with Schindler about the insignificance of Jews as Schindler wants to be compensated for losing a worker. Lowenstein was shot and killed as the Jewish people were shoveling snow. Schindler learns from Poldek that Stern was put on the list to be on a train. He heads to the station and the clerks don’t help him since his name is on the list and the list isn’t wrong. Schindler gets the names of both men who don’t help him and says they’ll be reinstated to Southern Russia. They start helping him find Stern and they do so as the train leaves. Stern explains to Schindler that he didn’t have his documents on him. The rest of the Jewish people depart as their belongings are sorted into categories. The Jewish people in the ghetto talks about their lives. Amon Göth is driven through the ghetto as he arrives for the start of the Plaszów labor camp construction. He picks out his new helper, Helen Hirsch, from a line of girls. A Jewish engineer, Diana Reiter, reports that the foundation must be torn down and redone or the building will collapse. Göth has his men shoot her and has the foundation redone. Göth addresses his men about the success of the Jewish people and how it will come to an end. They rally the Jewish people to be put on trains as Schindler and his wife watch from afar as they ride horses. The Jewish people hide important belongings, hide themselves in specific hiding spots, and some are killed on the spot. A little girl, Danka, and her mother are helped by Danka’s friend, Adam. Schindler notices a little girl wearing a red coat in the turmoil. Göth occasionally shoots people at random in front of his villa. Schindler joins to eat with the other German elites and meets Göth. He talks to Göth about his empty factory and how he needs workers. Göth discusses with him and allows him to create his own subcamp for his workers. Göth would be getting money in return and has Stern handle everything. Stern works for Göth now and he tells Schindler of important things to know. Göth and his men test the abilities of the workers to see that they are capable. One worker is put to get shot and killed for not making enough products even though he had a reasonable excuse. The guns fail to shoot and he is saved. A man is killed as they try to figure out who stole a chicken. A little boy says the thief was the man who was killed. The boy is hired by Schindler later. A Jewish girl named Regina Perlman goes to visit Schindler and he refuses to meet her after seeing her. She comes back dressing better off and he meets with her. She wants him to hire her parents and that his place is like a
haven. He yells at her until she runs away. He goes to yell at Stern since he’s not here to help people. They also talk about Göth and Stern talks of Göth’s ruthless nature in killing. Schindler has Stern bring over Regina’s parents and Regina is happy when she sees them being transferred. During Göth’s party, Lisiek gets materials from Helen to clean Göth’s bathtub. Schindler appears during this and talks with Helen. She eventually starts talking about her abuse from Göth. Schindler explains to her that Göth is ruthless to those he doesn’t know, but she pleases him. Schindler talks with a drunk Göth about having power by not killing others even if it’s justified. Göth talks to Stern since auditors are looking through his books. He gets upset at his stable boy for not handling his saddle well, but he doesn’t get upset further. Lisiek fails to remove the stains from Göth’s bathtub and he’s allowed to go with no punishment. In a bit, Göth starts shooting at the boy from afar until he’s killed. Helen does his nails as he stares at her. Göth talks to Helen later and praises her and talks to her about her loneliness. He wants to kiss her, but decides not to since she’s Jewish and he beats her. Schindler celebrates his birthday until a Jewish mother and daughter gift him a cake in front of the Germans. Schindler kisses them. The Jewish people talk of a story of being gassed in the showers. Many don’t believe it. The Germans have the Jewish men and women run naked to separate them into the healthy and the unhealthy. During this time, the children are sent away. Some children manage to stay behind by hiding. The parents try to stop their children from being taken away, but are blocked. Schindler convinces the men to hose down the trains to give them water. Göth believes it is evil since it gives them a taste of hope. Schindler is later arrested for having kissed a Jewish woman. Göth convinces the officer that Schindler couldn’t have helped kissing the girl since she was good looking, He offers a bribe to get Schindler released. Göth is to send the Jewish people in Płaszów to Auschwitz. Piles of bodies are burned and the camp is closing. Schindler sees the body of the girl in the red coat. He starts creating a list of his workers to have them released and given to work for his new munitions factory in Brinnlitz. Göth agrees for a bribe, but doesn’t understand as Schindler pays for each individual. Stern helps with the list and says it’s an absolute good. Schindler wants the last name on the list to be Helen and Göth refuses. Göth wants to take her with him, but knows he can’t. The woman and men on the list, including Helen, are put on trains to be transported. The men arrive, but the women are accidentally sent to Auschwitz, because of a paperwork problem. The women realize that they aren’t in the right place as they are forced to have their heads shaved, be stripped, and put into the showers. They are relieved once the showers expel regular water. Schindler arrives to take them after paying Rudolf Höss in diamonds. When Danka is separated from her mother, Schindler confronts the guard and tells him that her small fingers polish the inside of small, metal casings. She is returned to her family. Schindler talks to his SS guards about not hurting his workers. They aren’t allowed in the factory without authorization. Emilie comes to volunteer at the clinic and Schindler promises her that she will always be recognized as his wife now. Stern reports that their products aren’t passing the tests and talks of the rumor that Schindler is re-calibrating the machines. Schindler wants them to not produce real shells and tries to buy other shells to pass as their own. Schindler has his workers observe the Sabbath. Stern reports that Schindler is broke. The news reveal that the war has ended. Schindler addresses all his workers about it and how they’ll begin the process of finding their families tomorrow. He thanks Stern and everyone and talks of how he has to go into hiding now since he’s a member of the Nazi Party and had profited from the
war. He has the guards come in and allows them to either kill the Jewish people or leave as men instead of murderers. They leave. Schindler has them observe three minutes of silence. The Jewish people create a ring for Schindler with an engraving of a Talmudic quote. They also provide him a letter with everyone’s signatures explaining his role in case he is captured. Schindler breaks down to Stern about how he could’ve saved more people. He leaves with his wife. In the morning, a messenger tells them that they are liberated and can go to a friendly town nearby. Göth is hung. The actors and actresses, along with the real survivors, place stones on Oskar Schindler’s gravestone. Liam Neeson puts roses on.]
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rosietae · a month ago
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A Dawn of Bones & Thorns 1
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—summary: Namjoon lived with the burden of losing his best friends for eight years. But then, one fine fall morning, strange things started happening to him. First came the letter, then came the bouquet. After that, all hell broke loose and poor Namjoon was screwed.
—pairing: namjoon x bts
—word count: 3.9K
—genre: angst, fluff, fantasy, slow burn
—au: rebirth / plants / friends-to-enemies-to-lovers / polyamory
—rating: pg-13
—warnings: profanity; stalker-ish behaviour; disease; heavy emotions like guilt and grief
—masterlist | previous / next
—a/n: taehyung uses ve/vem/vir for pronouns. if you're unfamiliar with them, you can just say he/them/their, since those are the closest in pronunciation :)
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『chapter one: corsets, tutus, & stalkers』
We pay Life our debts in the form of all the things we’ve lost and valued most.
It was hard to breathe. It wasn’t often Kim Namjoon chose such eccentric clothing choices—in fact, he dared to say never— like these. He preferred more relaxed styles, with more loose-fitting attire.
Unfortunately for him, this particular day he was feeling quite adventurous. This was because he had his friend, Kim Taehyung there to save him from a rather unpleasant situation. Ve was an expert in fashion, and Namjoon's on-call fashionista.
“So, you’re telling me you had no idea?” Taehyung asked with a raised eyebrow. “Like, none? Nothing at all?”
Namjoon offered vem a tight-lipped smile. He looked downwards in embarrassment, “No, I don’t believe so.”
“‘I don’t believe so’” Taehyung quoted, using vir fingers to make a sarcastic gesture. “And you tell me you take pride in fashion. You don’t even understand what the High Cut dinner is even about ”
Namjoon frowned, “I know my fashion, not fashion as a whole.”
Taehyung sighed, “Well, at least now you look presentable.”
Namjoon snorted, “Are you sure about that?”
Taehyung smiled, “Come on dude, have faith in me.”
Namjoon tilted his head, “I do have faith, Taehyung. But I also don’t want to mess this up.”
Taehyung understood, nodding vir head, “I get that, I do, Namjoon. But this was gonna happen regardless of whether you said yes or no, so might as well try to be positive.”
“How can I be positive when I look like a ballerina puked on me?” Namjoon deadpanned.
Taehyung tapped vir chin. “You’re talking to someone who knows fashion super well, and while I agree with your analysis, you rock that skirt.”
Namjoon rolled his eyes, “But will it win hearts?”
Taehyung wrinkled vir nose, that was all Namjoon needed.
Namjoon groaned, “This is terrible.”
“Now, now, don’t fret, I got this covered,” Taehyung said quickly. “Here, I’ll take the corset off, you take the tutu off, I have a new idea.”
“Hurry up, I’m supposed to be at the restaurant in an hour.” Namjoon sighed, rubbing circles on his forehead in frustration.
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” Taehyung replied, before Namjoon felt like he could breathe again. He was a lot more sympathetic to the women who used to wear them.
Slipping out of the tutu, Namjoon admired the plants that rested on every clear surface of his home. It was quite nice to live with life always surrounding him; their lives made him feel more alive.
Roughly about fifteen minutes later, Taehyung returned with much simpler clothes in tow. Ve had a simple white hoodie and ripped black jeans in vir hands. Namjoon only liked them because they accentuated his thighs.
It was quite the look, but Namjoon definitely felt more comfortable with it. He didn’t even know where Taehyung got the corset, let alone the whole ballerina idea from. This was much more his taste.
Namjoon hurriedly put them on, before he looked over himself. “What jacket and shoes should I wear?”
“Wear that beige trenchcoat you bought recently and those brown boots,” Taehyung said. Ve pointed at the ones that sat at the bottom of the shoe rack. Namjoon nodded. “It’s super important that you don’t wear another jacket, it completes the look.”
Namjoon was smiling contentedly. He always counted on Taehyung for fashion advice, so he wasn't going to jeopardize any opportunity for more help. Despite it not being exactly his style, he looked good, and that was all that mattered.
After getting approved by Taehyung, Namjoon set off. There was a cute restaurant he liked that overlooked the city. The view was stunning when paired with the sunset. That was where he was planning on taking her...
He didn’t plan to go out on this… date. Yet there he was, left to spend his Friday evening speaking to a woman he had yet to know about. This was all due to his friends' mishap on dating sites, using his profile. This was supposedly a ‘90-percent’ match, but Namjoon had no faith in the app, and couldn’t have cared less.
He had plans to attend an important dinner, with some of the elites in the fashion industry, thanks to Taehyung's connections. This dinner was a big deal. A fashion magazine was hosting it, with attendees being celebrities and other random fashion gurus. Namjoon was interested, not because of the fashion magazine, but because he would have seen his favourite rapper (who was an ambassador), and gotten free food.
Unfortunately, Namjoon had to pass, thanks to Hyeon’s interference. It was annoying for sure, but alas, he knew his friends were coming from a good place. It still didn’t erase the fact that Taehyung was going with his Wooga brothers instead.
He had a special ticket reserved for him and Wooga. Now it’s only Wooga who'd be in attendance. He couldn’t help but feel betrayed.
Namjoon tried not to let his emotions get the best of him on his date. Her smooth hair fell to her shoulders, long bangs tucked behind her ear. She tastefully sipped her wine while he spoke. But despite their 90% compatibility, Namjoon felt nothing at all. In fact, he felt like he was wasting his time. Not only that, but she hated plants and didn't understand the pleasure of reading, which only proved to him that anything between them wouldn't work.
They ordered appetizers, before splitting the bill and parting ways. Namjoon felt liberated, and no longer under scrutiny.
He had a whole evening to do nothing, so Namjoon decided to enjoy his time alone. He wasn't happy about his friends meddling with his life, nor was he okay with giving up plans for a date they accidentally set him up on. It was ridiculous. But at least he had that time to self-reflect and enjoy his time, alone.
He wandered towards the park, foliage saturated with autumn hues. He was rather enticed with the world, or rather, the natural world. He had a very eccentric take on nature and life in itself, as his mind produced ideas that enamoured even him.
It almost brought tears to his eyes, remembering the words a dear friend of his once told him. But he swore it wouldn’t affect him, he was still doing okay. At least, that was what Namjoon hoped for anyway. It had been a long time since they had last seen each other over coffee. A very long time.
Swinging his feet on one of the benches surrounded by trees, Namjoon thought about his time back in Ilsan. Those were the days when he had stumbled upon a familiar graveyard, where he felt the dead sinking beneath the soil.
He remembered that day so vividly. It was the day when he was looking at all the messages carved on gravestones, meant to last for eternity.
It was funny, really. Something that was supposed to last eternity only lasted as long as the stone continued to stand. Stones were fragile, too. The human world would forget them, and the stone would one day too. Once it turned to fine dust and littered the bottomless pits of the sea, then it would forget. The memories would be lost to sea and there'd be nothing left of humanity.
Whenever he needed inspiration, Namjoon often sat on that bench. He allowed his emotions to consume him. His emotions usually consisted of memories, but he wasn’t afraid of them. No, he was hurt by them, and that hurt was the push he needed to allow himself to write so beautifully.
He looked at the world around him. Autumn leaves. The most beautiful part of the life cycle of trees, and yet, also the most tragic. People like him only saw the beauty of nature when nature itself started to die. When the leaves were healthy, humans saw a single leaf’s value as nothing, only the shade the tree provided them.
But in autumn, when every leaf began it’s death cycle, people enjoyed the colours. They took pictures and jumped in piles of them. How devastating.
What was so bad about appreciating the beauty of life? Why did humanity only see the worth of things when they were already lost? When they were already dead, when they were already gone?
Namjoon felt particularly emotional that day. He wrote down his thoughts before he left, returning home where he’d try to sleep off his emotions. Hopefully sleep would help him let go of the memories, too.
But the next morning, they were still there, and they never left. That was the reason why they were called ‘memories’ instead of ‘nightmares’. Because at least with nightmares, once you woke up, they were gone.
Namjoon was situated at his kitchen table, drinking up his coffee when he heard three raps on his door. He wondered why someone would come that early in the day. He checked his phone and noticed no new messages.
Looking through the peephole, he saw the delivery man holding out some flowers. He let out a quiet gasp, before wrenching the door open. This wasn’t a mistake. This was his (almost) daily delivery.
“Mr. Kim Namjoon?” The delivery man asked, holding out the flowers.
“That’s me,” Namjoon answered, grabbing the flowers with care.
The delivery man thanked him, before he bowed and left. Namjoon stood there a few moments longer, holding the bouquet and trying not to let his tears betray him.
He went back inside and locked his door. He then grabbed a vase and put this new bouquet next to the other 18 he had on the kitchen table. He was running out of vases, the flowers weren’t dying fast enough for him to keep reusing them. In fact, they never died at all. He’d been resorting to glassware, and was beginning to decimate his plastic cup collection.
Namjoon found it weird how many flowers he got. Most of them were potted, but he still had quite a few bouquets. His friends used to think he had a secret lover, until they saw his love for nature. Then they assumed he bought them all for himself. In truth, he had no idea who was sending them. Yes, his apartment was filled with flowers, but most of them were from his unknown sender. That said, he did get a couple succulents here and there from the farmer's market.
It was certainly a mystery, but he wasn’t too worried about it. If anything, he was flattered. He looked forward to it every day.
This time, it was a little strange. The bouquet was entirely composed of clematises, his birth flower. Usually a spring flower, he was surprised to see ‘ The President’ clematis in his hands. Mixed in were some white, sweet, autumn ones that were in season.
It was weird how well this person knew him. Even more so when he found the note.
Dearest Namjoon,
The fall is such a beautiful season, isn’t it? It's beautiful, despite the death that sings in the air. If anything, the memories that consume us may be the most beautiful of all. They are the poison that decimates us. But they also heal us with the hope of yesterday and the clean-slate of tomorrow.
I know it’s hard to live a life where you feel like the reigns aren’t yours to pull. You want guidance from others, not to be controlled by them, and that’s okay.
But when you decide you want to save yourself, I will hold your hand and guide you along the journey. I will love you and give you the care you need.
Because that is what you did for me. You watered me, a lonely flower. You nurtured and fostered the life in me. I am but an autumn leaf, and despite your admiration of my death, you still wished to revive me.
Kim Namjoon,
One day, this place will be yours. You will find your flock, and you will come forth to the kingdom you rule, to the world in which you belong. Your crown will rest atop the hair that litters your face, and you will see.
My dear you will see.
The dawn at last.
Sincerely my love,
Sidus
Namjoon took a deep breath to steady his breathing. Those letters were always extremely creepy and surprisingly close to how he felt. They understood the most intimate of his thoughts. They knew things he had never told another soul. But most importantly, they were comforting and exactly what he needed.
He found himself wondering about Sidus. He never knew anybody of the name, nor had he ever understood what the word itself meant. It was bizarre that someone addressed him so affectionately when he didn’t know them.
But he felt love. He felt a strange emotion akin to love for them. He wanted them to speak about themselves in their letters, not only about him. He wanted to know who they were, too.
There were many things that weren’t right since the day he went to that graveyard. This was one of them. The flowers, the notes, the person who seemed to understand him better than himself. There was somebody around him, a spirit if he dared to admit it, that wanted something from him.
As to what that was, he had yet to know.
He noticed another piece of paper inside as he tried to stuff the letter back inside the envelope. Curious, he unfolded it, only to find it empty save for a dried, long leaf pressed onto it.
He looked for anything else, but there was nothing. He peeled the leaf off with great effort before turning it around.
He noticed a small sentence written on the back, right along a vein, asiatic lilium.
Unsure of what it meant, Namjoon searched it up on Naver. He was pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful flower. The leaf came from the flower, that was for sure. But why would Sidus include it? And why were they writing in Latin?
Namjoon tried to search up the name Sidus in Latin, and all he found was ‘Constellation’. That didn’t help at all.
Eager to let it go, despite feeling intrigued, Namjoon tried his best to carry on with his coffee and his book. He tried to ignore the unease he was beginning to feel.
Little did he know that the more he suppressed it, the worse it grew inside him.
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“Yeah, it’s too bad you couldn’t join us,” Taehyung sighed, resting vir head on vir hand. “It was great.”
“And my date was terrible.” Namjoon groaned. “She even said it straight to my face that she wasn’t interested.”
Taehyung sucked in a breath, “Damn. Looks like Hyeon was wrong again.”
“It’s always wrong, what are you talking about?” Namjoon said with an edge of frustration evident in his voice. “I don’t get why it cares so fucking much.”
Taehyung softened, “Hyung, you know it cares about you, it doesn’t want you to be lonely anymore, that’s all.”
Namjoon gritted his teeth together. He wished he didn’t tell his other friends about Seokjin, he wished he kept it to himself so they would stop trying to help him. They only ever made things worse. Only Taehyung understood, and that was because ve was there when it happened.
“I appreciate it, but I don’t want its help, I don’t understand why it won’t respect that.”
Taehyung shrugged, “You know how it is. You need to learn to accept help sometimes.”
“I do!” Namjoon exclaimed, outraged. “But when things don’t work out, sometimes it’s better to give up.”
Taehyung let out a low sigh, “Come on, try not to let it get to you. It’s okay to be angry, but it’s also important to understand where it’s coming from.”
Namjoon shook his head in despair, “Why did I tell people? You all just love reminding me about it.”
Taehyung’s jaw clenched, “No we don’t, and you know that. We understand how hard it is, honestly. All we want is for you to get your head out of your ass. We want you to realize that the world doesn’t have to end because he’s… not here. He’s happy in heaven I bet. Now you deserve to be happy, too.”
Namjoon growled. “You don’t understand, you never will unless it happens to you. You weren’t there, you don't know what he did for me. You might know the pain but you don’t know the agony of the memory. He was more to me than anything or anyone, Taehyung. You don’t seem to understand the weight I carry. Every day I remember him and wonder where I went wrong.”
“I miss him too, Namjoon,” Taehyung soothed. “I miss Seokjin more than anything, and I want him back as much as you do. But crying over it doesn’t fix anything.”
Namjoon stayed silent. He didn’t want to say something he would regret. He was emotional. First Sidus, now Seokjin. He couldn’t deal with it. He didn’t want to feel the grief again.
Taehyung decided to change the subject. “Oh wow! More flowers?”
“Yeah,” Namjoon said, not feeling very good. “They’re my birth flower, and they aren’t in season now, so I wanted to get them.”
“Ooh, your birth flower? That’s so cool,” Taehyung said with wide eyes. “I love them.”
“Thanks,” Namjoon replied, before looking away.
After an awkward silence, Taehyung got up and left once ve retrieved vir things from last night. Since Namjoon’s apartment was in the city, Taehyung stayed with him instead of a hotel while ve was in Seoul.
Despite having a great time while Taehyung was staying with him, Namjoon was happy when ve left. He felt uncomfortable now, and wanted nothing more than to be alone.
Even so, he gave Taehyung a big hug and sent vem off on the train back to Daegu. He was happy to have vem, but he was also incredibly glad to be home by himself.
However, instead of returning home immediately, Namjoon bought a rumex at the station. He hopped onto a train towards Ilsan, his hometown. He was joining his family for dinner and games later that evening. But before he went there, there was somewhere else he needed to be.
He speed walked through the familiar parking lot and through the church towards the back exit, the exit that led to the graveyard. He never considered himself particularly religious, but Seokjin was. That was the only reason why he dealt with the Church, so he could honour him and keep him in a nice resting place.
He originally thought about burying him in Anyang where he was born, or Gwacheon where he had lived most of his life. But in his will, Seokjin specifically said in Ilsan, so that’s where they buried him.
Namjoon found his grave easily, since he knew the familiar trek over the graves. He knew the order by heart.
Jungkook, Jimin, Hoseok, Yoongi, and at last, Kim Seokjin.
Namjoon had waited all month for an opportunity to arise to finally see him again.
KIM SEOKJIN
BORN DECEMBER 4TH, 1992
Anyang, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
DIED JUNE 13TH, 2013
Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Last words: “I’m so handsome, how can someone not fall for me?”
Laying the rumex down onto the stone was hard for him. His fingers shook while he did so, trying not to cry. He looked back at the name, and the date of that cursed day, and he couldn't stop his tears.
He saw the signs, he knew the signs, but he did nothing to stop them. He did nothing, and he let him die. He was the reason why he died. He was a coward, he didn’t stop it. It consumed both of them.
They all died that day. It was only him and Taehyung now. They were the only ones who remembered, they were the only ones who were there when it happened. Yet, even with all the investigations, there was nothing they could say.
They didn’t know what happened, either. They knew about the disease, a disease they heard about in children’s books, they knew that they didn’t imagine it. They knew something was wrong, but they didn't know what it was. Until one day, they finally did.
“I wish you told me,” Namjoon said slowly, sitting down in front of the grave. He almost felt their presence. “I wish you didn't tell me you loved me. I wish you lied to me. I wish you lied to yourself. Maybe you’d still be here if you did.”
He looked over to Yoongi’s grave, which had a fresh bouquet of larches sitting on the stone. They were most likely from his parents who came every week from Daegu. Every single one of them had flowers in various states of decay.
Namjoon could only muster a halfhearted smile, “Yoongi, you knew. You were my best friend, and you never told me. You too, Hoseok. You all lied to me, you all held it from me. Do you know how broken Taehyung was? Do you know how much it affected vem?”
“You fucking left us because you of your feelings.” Namjoon cried angrily. “Fuck, I miss you so much.”
The stillness of the world mocked him. He lost them, he lost his best friends, he lost his closest confidant, he lost them all. He only had Taehyung left, and even then…
He was numb to the pain, and yet, he was still so afraid for Taehyung. He wanted to spend all his time with vem, to cherish vem and love vem before ve left with them. He didn’t want to lose vem too.
But it was already starting. The nightmare was already beginning.
It first started with Taehyung’s sallow complexion when Namjoon saw vem last. Then the hacking and the coughing and the bleeding and the weakness that had begun to show itself. Taehyung thought nothing of it, despite knowing its origins. Ve still helped Namjoon with fashion advice and made sure the two of them had a great time.
But they both knew. Taehyung would leave him soon, too. And no matter how much Namjoon tried to stop vem, ve wouldn't get better. Namjoon didn't understand what it was, or why they'd make him a monster like that. He didn't understand, why did it have to be him?
Namjoon wondered when the disease would take him, too. It was already happening to him. It was already showing itself. He saw the pale green glow under his skin. He saw the pores on his skin widening. But he knew it was there because he felt them beneath his skin, sprouting from his veins.
He was waiting for it at this point. Craving it, if he was honest.
“One day, I’ll be with you again,” Namjoon said, voice thick with emotion, the most prominent was guilt. He felt it pulsate on his wrist. It was growing. “And I’ll hug you. I’ll treat you better than I did before.”
There it was. A clematis bloom sprouting from his wrist. He picked it off, heart burdened with emotion, flinching when it came out, the feeling was much alike to pulling a hair. He studied it with interest. It had drops of crimson painting its purple petals, but it looked healthy otherwise.
Getting up, he placed the flower next to the rumex, before he began to leave the graveyard. He felt betrayed, but also at peace. Because one day, he’d join them too.
It was agonizing to wait, but sad satisfaction made its way into his heart. They'd be okay, and all of this would be behind them.
He felt another blooming in the exact same spot.
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ginreads · a month ago
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Blog Tour for FRACTURED REIGN by Caitlyn Dare!!!
Blog Tour for FRACTURED REIGN by Caitlyn Dare!!!
    FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) by Caitlyn Dare Release Date: May 6th   Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR3   FRACTURED REIGN by Caitlyn Dare is NOW AVAILABLE!! The Gravestone Elite Trilogy is now COMPLETE and ready to binge read!! Also available in Kindle Unlimited!   FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) AVAILABLE NOW! FREE in KU! Amazon US: https://amzn.to/31ClsBi Amazon…
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Ruined Spirit (1/2)
Rune has been alone for 5 years now after the facility's destruction. Jael is leader of the Elite Forces, and is responsible for setting up camp in the Weltschmerz Ruins. Looks like the ruins weren't as empty as they first thought...
TW: Rune gets shot, minor gore, threat of torture, mentions of war, fear
Part 2 is here!
(This story goes along with this doodle!)
———
It had been 5 years since the facility was destroyed and Go lost his entire family to a fire that consumed the whole building. 3 of those years were spent recovering bodies and burying them. The ruins of Lou's facility had been named the Weltschmerz Ruins; a place of death and despair. It's a restricted area out of respect for the children that died, so no one knew that he was here, or that he was still alive.
Demons that did catch a glimpse of the massive graveyard and his figure started to creatively call him the 'Ruin Spirit' as Kriegerin children were not believed to have survived the blaze. Go changed his name to Rune; he didn't want a name that was given to him as a reward for killing his siblings.
Two others had survived the fire- the only two close enough to Kalem to be protected by his shield as the debris came falling down. Rune kept them close at all times… they were still very young- Jorel wasn't even at the maturity level of 6 yet, and Demetrius had only just reached it. At the beginning of the second year after the destruction, Rune sealed his younger brothers into a chronostatic slumber to keep them safe until he could find a place for them to live and grow up properly. He didn't want them being raised around death and despair. He didn't want them to be alone.
With a soft sigh, he lay a yellow rose on top of his brother's grave. No trace of Jamai's body had been found- which wasn't odd considering most bodies were burnt to ashes anyway. He lay down beside the dirt mound, holding his own flower to his chest as he sang a gentle tune to the empty graveyard. Even though he knew they were gone, he still liked to think that they listened. Maybe they felt a bit less lonely in the afterlife if he spoke to them…
The sound of wings beating in the distance caught his attention though. He sat up slowly, looking to see who it was. His face lit up. Angels.
Angels would surely help him.
---
"Fuck this…" Jael muttered to himself as he flew ahead of the non-elites, gun held close to his chest. They had been planning an attack on another demon village, this time by using the abandoned ruins as a base. He was opposed to it… The Weltschmerz Ruins was a place that was meant to be left alone out of respect for the dead children- but of course the higher ups didn't see it like that..
To them, this section of Gantros was a miracle; a place completely untouched and unventured by the demons, and therefore the perfect place to attack from. He tried and tried to convince them to stop the attack, or at least not use the ruins as a base, but no one would listen.
He had signed a contract that forced him to do as the higher-ups said in exchange for his younger brother becoming a guardian angel instead of a soldier- and as much as he hated war and killing, especially for made up reasons, he couldn't let his brother be forced to experience war for himself too. He had to keep doing as he was told until Nakir officially became a guardian angel.
Taking another cigarette and putting it between his lips, he puffed out some smoke before saying a couple of prayers under his breath; apologies to the Kriegerin children and their grave that was about to be trampled on. Apologies to the demons and the incoming fight. He put the cigarette back in, scanning the ground with his golden eyes.
That's when he saw him.
Eyes widening, Jael suddenly spotted a figure down below, within a field of rocks that resembled gravestones. They were waving up at him, trying to get his attention. "I thought that-" He cut himself off as he registered the sound of a gun cocking, only able to make a short sound of protest before the soldier beside him fired off a scatter shot, aiming directly for the person. It hit.
Jael came to a stop, horror on his expression. He turned to the soldier responsible, who practically sneered at the now collapsed body that was riddled with holes. "That wasn't a demon, you dumbass!" He yelled, fists clenching and cigarette falling from his mouth as he tried his best not to lash out. "That could've been a survivor of the fire!"
"Doesn't matter." They scanned Jael over for a moment. He and the elite had never got along.. "If it was a Kriegerin then it should've been exterminated anyway. Those things are dangerous.." Just as he finished speaking, Jael noticed movement from down below again. The corpse was… moving?
Now that they were a little closer he could see that the bullet holes were glowing and leaking white light. But they were definitely moving now… He winced, mistaking the movements as the struggles of a dying child. Taking out his hand gun, Jael flew down closer before sending off three shots to their head and two to the heart. They couldn't survive that scatter shot, and he was not going to make a living being suffer for longer than they had to.
"You shot him too!" The angel beside him pointed out snarkily. Jael sent him a venomous glare.
"Shut up." He spoke through gritted teeth, flying down all the way to the corpse to go examine it. From what he could see, they were carrying a flower that was almost exactly the same as the ones that were placed beside each and every grave. No one else was around… He must have made the entire graveyard himself.
Wincing once again as he took in the appearance of the young, and now presumably dead, teenager, he started to gently change their position into one that resembled rest, taking the flower and putting it on their chest. Even as a few of the other soldiers berated him for sympathizing with the enemy, he didn't care. So long as he did as he was told, it didn't matter how he treated them.
That's when the body started to move again, a pained groan escaping the boy's mouth. Jael watched, feeling almost sick as the Kriegerin that was missing part of their head and torso as a result of the powerful shots that had been used on him, opened their one remaining eye. They were moving. Twitching. They were alive.
Jael fought back the urge to vomit and instead opted to prop them up ever so slightly to help ease a bit of the pain. His hands were shaking, but even so he pressed a hand over the bleeding wounds. The Kriegerin's blood was pure black, and a little thicker than blood usually was. It stained his jacket and shirt, but he didn't care.
"Fuckin freaky…"
As the same soldier that had shot in the first place once again raised their gun, Jael held up a hand, commanding them to stop. He glared at them from over his shoulder. "Clearly they can't die, so shooting is pointless." He pointed out, voice cracking slightly. The Kriegerin child was crying in pain, their voice warbled and distraught. Jael used one shaking hand to offer comfort as best as he could, patting their head softly.
"It's funny though. Just one more shot?" The angel asked, knowing that they were upsetting Jael just by even mentioning it. They didn't really care if they could or not, but seeing Jael- the elite that was considered above everyone else- getting this worked up over something was hilarious to him. Jael growled slightly beneath his breath.
"Piss off, Malakh.." He warned. The angel smirked but raised their hands in surrender and backed off. Jael looked at the rest of the group. "Go start setting up the base. Don't damage any of the graves and make it as far away from this graveyard as you safely can. Malakh? You're on cooking duty."
Malakh's face fell into one of annoyance when he said that, but he saluted anyway and left to go help set it up. Jael looked back down at the boy who he was holding, shushing them slightly.
"It's alright... it's okay. I'm sorry.. I know it hurts.." What could he even say..? He had never heard of a species that couldn't be killed, but this definitely explained why he had survived the fire. Clearly they were still in a lot of pain though, and Jael had no idea of how to help stop it.
"W̴͎̘̉͐h̷͖̫̱͛̈́ý̵̹̠̔͝ ̴̧̢̺̿͗ḑ̴̊͝ī̵̫͖̮͕̏̄̈͝d̴̖̑͑͒ ̶̨͓̲̭̉͐͌y̵̡͔̤̟̦̋͝o̶̪̜̟̠̍̎̇u̴̹̠͎̼͛̂̍̎ ̵̧͔̩̥͕̒̈́s̴͓̎̿h̵̜͓̦̄̌ō̸̰̘o̸̳̥̙͐̄ẗ̶̘̝͓̞́́͝ ̵̖̘͋͛̌̃m̵͚̟͛̀͋́́e̷̢͙̭͇͉̎́͋̒?̴̛̥̜̓̃͐" Came their garbled voice, shaky and terrified. Their toxic green eyes stared right into Jael's and he could see how absolutely mortified they were.
"Were you trying to get our attention?" Jael asked, not knowing how to answer their question. He knew the answer but his mouth dried up whenever he tried to say it. They nodded, black blood dripping from their mouth as they choked again. Fuck… Jael didn't want to make them talk for now. He couldn't watch them suffer any more than they already were.
"Bad idea. Weren't Kriegerin Children taught about the Celestial War?" He got a shake of the head as a response. Jael frowned. "Angels and demons have been fighting for centuries.. You were made to be a weapon against us. We didn't know that anyone was here…" That was an awful excuse and he knew it. He knew that what they were doing was terrible, but Jael was stuck.
With another sob, the Kriegerin shifted, pushing themselves up to a sitting position. Jael helped them the whole way, watching with mild amazement as their glowing white wounds started to seal. "I didn't want to shoot you." He continued, voice lowered. "Another soldier shot first and when I saw you moving I just didn't want for you to be writhing in pain, you know? Figured it would be best if I ended it quickly.."
"L-let me go…" Their voice was a lot less distorted now, and they had regrown their other eye. Jael did as he was told, but kept his hands close by. "I didn't do anything… I-I just thought maybe you would take me away from this place with my-" Eyes widening, they stopped what they were saying immediately.
"There are more of you?" Jael spoke, being careful not to say it too loud. He glanced around for a moment before looking back at the Kriegerin. "I won't tell the others, don't worry… but they aren't here are they? Or in the villages nearby?" They shook their head. Jael sighed with relief.
"They should be safe for now then. I'm afraid I can't let you go though.. They have my brother. I have to bring you in since the others know that you're here. I'm sorry…" He spoke in a whisper, lowering his head. The being startled for a moment, then tilted their head and leaned closer to him slightly.
"Your brother?" A speck of curiosity appeared where there used to be only fear. There was a moment of silence… "I understand… it's okay." They were hesitant, Jael could tell, but at the same time he could sense their resolve. Curious.. He looked back at them in surprise. They agreed very quickly, but I don't sense anything but genuinity.
".. do you have a name?" Jael asked, glancing down at the large wound on their chest that was now beginning to seal closed. It still seemed painful, but he could at least hope that they'd forget the pain after they recovered.
"Rune." They responded. Jael was almost surprised. They're a Champion… but I guess that makes sense. Rune wiped the blood from their mouth, wincing as their body continued to sting and bleed. The angel offered his hand.
"I'm Jael." He took notice of their flinch but ignoring it as he waited for them to accept his hand. Hesitantly, they took it. "I'll try to make them be less harsh on you. If you cooperate then I'm sure they won't do anything too bad. I'll be there too since they want to make sure we aren't in cahoots.." Rune nodded in understanding.
Helping the Kriegerin to their feet, Jael winced once again as he looked over at the thousands of graves. So many children had perished… The Kriegerin were an example that the queen often used as proof that the demons were a horrifying and corrupt race, but Jael knew better. If she could, she would do the same- not to mention that the majority of demons, including Lucifer himself, were against the whole project.
"I'm sorry. I feel awful about this, but I have to." He said once again. Rune had already undoubtedly suffered, and now he was going to be taken back into the hands of corrupt people. The Kriegerin shook his head once again, smiling sadly.
"I understand. They have your brother… you're not a bad person and I know you're an unwilling participant." He assured, more blood dripping from his mouth, but it was quickly wiped away. He had a hand over his chest, right where the heart was, keeping the blood from leaking out more than it already was. Jael looked away. "I don't know what I'd do in your situation…"
"It doesn't make it right." Jael grit his teeth. "I'm fucking tired of this shit. The higher ups are a bunch of psychos that don't care about anyone else… I don't want to be a soldier. I don't want to take any more innocent lives. I don't want to cause any more suffering. But I just can't let my brother do the same thing!" A crack appeared in his halo, so small that he almost missed it.
For years now, black feathers had started to appear on his wings- but he had always just picked them off. His halo was dim and slowly breaking, but he had to hold on.. the second he fell, the deal would be off. Rune placed a hand on his shoulder, causing him to inhale sharply in surprise.
"We're really similar. I...I understand. I've done some bad things to try and keep my siblings from the same fate…" He frowned, tilting his head. "I'm fine with going. As long as you leave the graves alone, I don't mind. I don't want to put your brother in danger.."
"..." Jael raised an eyebrow then let out a long sigh. "You're making it worse ya know. How could I take such a sweet kid?" He shook his head again. Rune's frown deepened, the Kriegerin child shifting uncomfortably.
"I'm older than you.." He mumbled. Jael scratched at his stubble, standing up straight and spreading out his wings.
"Even if you are, you look like you're 16. Not to mention you have basically no knowledge of the outside world." He patted their head again. "You're a kid in my eyes. Now… come on." He began to carefully maneuver them so he could carry them in his arms. Rune let out a small hiss of pain, but otherwise didn't protest.
Jael lifted off from the ground, trying his best not to aggravate any of the injuries on the Kriegerin's body. He flew up above the surrounding trees and debris, high into the clouds before pressing a button on the band around his wrist. A portal opened just ahead, directly to the headquarters. The elite shifted his passenger slightly, tilting in order to fit more easily through the gateway.
After entering, he looked around, soon enough spotting his superior. Raphael was an intimidating archangel that worked directly under and sometimes even beside the queen. He was the one that ordered all of the attacks… he was also the one who kept Jael on his leash. Jael bowed his head, though his eyes shone with animosity for the being.
"Jael. What is this?" Raphael asked, something similar to disgust seeping through into his own expression. Jael could feel Rune was shaking, and he couldn't imagine what he was thinking of. Back in a facility. I'm an awful person…
"We found the last remaining Kriegerin child on site. They can't die. Malakh shot them perfectly with a scatter shot and I shot multiple bullets into both their head and heart, but they started regenerating.." He responded, looking down at Rune for a moment and wincing. Raphael narrowed his eyes.
"Hello Raphael…." Rune spoke as Jael let him stand by himself. He still chose to stay very close to the angel though, seeing as Raphael was a lot less caring. The archangel startled, then glared.
"You told it my name?" He demanded, giving Jael a scathing look. The Elite quickly shook his head, stumbling back at the accusing tone. Just as he was about to deny it, Rune spoke again.
"I know everyone's names when I see them. I can also see your age and u-um.. it's just part of my ability. Sorry for being informal, sir…" He bowed his head. Raphael stared him down, no perception of Rune being a person showing in his eyes. He looked disgusted by being in an impure's presence.
"Throw it in an acid pit or something. If there's nothing left, it'll eventually die." The commander decided with a hum. Jael's eyes widened. From the corner of his eye he could see the tears appearing in Rune's eyes. Shit…
"With all-due-respect sir… I think he would be a valuable source of information. No one knows what happened in that facility- no one besides him." Jael tried, not able to keep the panic from his expression. He wasn't going to let this kid that he brought in get killed- but he also couldn't go against their orders. Not directly at least..
"An acid pit wouldn't work anyway…" Rune spoke softly, looking down. "Even if there's nothing left, my body regenerates eventually- just in a different place. It also runs the risk of me losing control… Too much stress and I might accidentally kill everyone here.."
Raphael narrowed his eyes. "Is that a threat?" He grabbed onto the Kriegerin's shoulder harshly, shoving him against the wall and causing him to whine in pain. Rune shook his head quickly.
"N-no..! I just can't control myself properly!" He explained frantically, more blood spurting from his injuries the harder Raphael pressed. He coughed, blood dripping from his mouth as he choked, vision blurred with tears and body beginning to glitch. "I'll tell you everything you want-- please don't torture me..!"
After a few moments of silence, Raphael sighed, releasing the Kriegerin. Jael let out a breath of relief, walking over to Rune and helping him stand again. Raphael shot him a suspicious look, but he ignored it. Rune was bleeding again, but the wounds were already beginning to glow.
"Take him to the white room. We'll question him once he's properly contained.."
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ginreads · a month ago
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NEW RELEASE!!! FRACTURED REIGN by Caitlyn Dare!
NEW RELEASE!!! FRACTURED REIGN by Caitlyn Dare!
    FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) by Caitlyn Dare Release Date: May 6th   Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR3   FRACTURED REIGN by Caitlyn Dare is NOW AVAILABLE!! The Gravestone Elite Trilogy is now COMPLETE and ready to binge read!! Also available in Kindle Unlimited!   FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) AVAILABLE NOW! FREE in KU! Amazon US: https://amzn.to/31ClsBi Amazon…
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lindasbookstoreadblog · a month ago
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FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) by Caitlyn Dare Release Date: May 6th
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FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) by Caitlyn Dare
Release Date: May 6th
    Add to Goodreads:
https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR3
 Preorder FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3)
https://amzn.to/31ClsBi
       Start the Series NOW!!!
SHATTERED LEGACY (Gravestone Elite #1)
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhj
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3p19b3A
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/39IVIHc
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3p770vy
   TARNISHED CROWN (Gravestone Elite #2)
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kL8zh5
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3m6mTBq
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3m5hYRs
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/39uTEU0
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    Excerpt:
Watching them makes my chest ache.
I miss that. I miss being close to Bexley.
“I think I’m going to—”
“Come here,” Bexley says, his voice a low growl that reverberates deep inside me.
“I don’t—”
His hand snags mine, tugging me toward him. A shiver runs through me as he pulls me down on his lap and wraps his arms around my waist. “Just sit with me, please.” He nuzzles my neck, and I smother a whimper, overwhelmed at the confusing emotions running through my mind.
On the one hand, I want to tell him I’m not ready. That I can’t sit here like this and pretend everything is okay. But the other part of me wants to soak up his attention and bathe in his light.
“Fuck, Mia.” His warm breath fans my skin, sending more shivers through me. My eyes flutter as I settle back against him.
The sun is sinking into the horizon, casting a dark pinkish hue across the sky. It’s beautiful, and, under different circumstances, romantic.
But there’s an ugly dark cloud hanging over us.
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      Blurb:
When Mia wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how she got there, she braces herself for bad news.
 But nothing can ever prepare her for the truth.
 Betrayed by the very people who were supposed to protect her, Mia no longer  knows who to trust.
 All Bexley wants is to fix things for the girl he loves, and keep those around him safe.
 Even if it means embracing his legacy.
 Can Bexley and Mia fight their own demons while fighting the enemies closing in around them...
 Or will it be too late to save each other?
 Fractured Reign is the conclusion to Mia and Bexley's dark and twisted story.
 Fractured Reign in the final book in the Gravestone Elite trilogy. It is a DARK BULLY ROMANCE and contains mature content that some readers may find disturbing. You have been warned.
     About the Author:
Two angsty romance lovers writing dark heroes and the feisty girls who bring them to their knees.
  Connect w/Caitlyn:
Website: https://www.caitlyndarebooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caitlyndarebooks
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CaitlynsDaredevils
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20272477.Caitlyn_Dare
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcaitlyndare
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tysondabs · a month ago
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Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
trigger warnings and contents: death/parental death, a cemetery visit, L.A. traffic, expensive whiskey. 
************
If he was a smart person, Tyson would have known he could just google his father’s details and find out where he was interred from there. One simple google would have done it, but not being an internet-first person, he resorted to texting Angela instead. She was more than happy to give him the details, and mention in so many follow-up texts how happy she was he had decided to go see him. The knots in his stomach started then, something inside twisting at the way she said she was happy, proud, and that Johnny would be happy to have him visit, he was sure. There was a succession of emojis, hearts, flowers. The sailor knots twisted themselves tighter.
He set off the next day, somewhere between 2 and 3 on the drive. Had taken another day off at work, more sour faces from Lisa and threatening that he’d all but used up all his vacation days this year, but fuck her; he let any thought of her pass not to ruin the day, started his beat up, paint-chipped Honda civic and hit the road. Stone cold sober, nothing in his system but the black coffee he’d slammed back minutes earlier.
Cruising down Silverlake Boulevard, some familiar scenes until he left the familiar scenes for unfamiliar road, then merged onto the freeway. It was fine until he hit bumper to bumper traffic. Now? Midday? Fucking hell.
He hated driving in L.A. on the best of days, but now, without music, and the heat, and stopping every two minutes as the cars crawled up the drive, he was starting to get stir crazy minutes into the journey. At the next stop he pulled out his phone, checking notifications; a thought occurred to him, or rather, a desire. Maybe he could text Sasha. But he couldn’t picture a way to word ‘going to see my dad’ to her without it sounding fucking weird or stupid, so he tossed his phone to the passenger seat and continued driving (only to pull it back up again a moment later because he forgot he had the GPS going).
At some point, he got too engrossed in his thoughts, and missed the turn into Cahuenga Boulevard. Fucking hell, part two. Maps rerouted though, and after a very long roundabout, he was finally at a stoplight, opposite some weird building-slash-cottage. ‘Valhalla Entertainment’, the banner said, and that rang a bell (wasn’t that Jude’s kid’s name?). 14 years in this city, and he had absolutely no clue which part this was. Somewhere between the Hills, before or past the Hollywood Bowl, he rarely came here unless it was a party. The distractions had him nearly missing his turn into Barham, but he pulled it just as the light turned green, the odyssey getting longer by the minute and it would be a miracle, he felt, if he made it at all. At this point, there was an itch to just Fucking Get There, wherever ‘there’ was. He drove past a flower shop, contemplated stopping but decided against it. What good were flowers anyway, he had something better with him — a bottle of Four Roses bourbon, sitting passenger seat beside him. Johnny liked that one. Or so he thought. At any rate, there was a photo of him holding a bottle of it somewhere on the internet, one he looked psychotically happy in, that was burned into Tyson’s retinas. 
He drove past a sign for Universal City, and then a building loomed large, the New York Film Academy building (that made no sense to Tyson, why would the New York film academy be here? In L.A.? It made no damn sense). This entire city was Hollywood, it ate the city up and swallowed it whole, chewed and then spit it back out. That’s what it did to people, at least the ones who came seeking something in the realm of fame, anyway. Everyone else in the city was stuck under its heel, suffering and poor. The rich elite and the hoods; night and day contrasts. He knew which part he belonged to, and would prefer it over anything fancy that this town had to offer because it was all a farce, all an illusion. Though he wouldn’t begrudge any of his friends chasing fame money and success. He had plenty of those, and he hoped they could navigate the labyrinths in this concrete maze better than many did. Better than his dad sure had.  
Forest Lawn Drive creeped up on him as buildings thinned out and disappeared, he was close now, he could feel it. Before long, there was a large white building beside a brick church, and he was here. He stopped at Information, gave the coordinates he was looking for and they directed him. Straight up that road and it was somewhere in the middle, coordinates marked. The knots got tighter now as the boom barrier lifted and he drove into the cemetery. Thoughts narrow, throat dry. He pulled up to the right space, or what he thought was the right space. A piece of trivia fell into his head, remembering that Lemmy was buried here too. Maybe he’d snap a photo for Emma, if he could find it, if he could even remember. He followed the numbers as he slowed his car, looking out at names, gravestones marked in the ground in even rows. He stopped the car at the assumed right spot, parked it by the curb and killed the engine.
Now the hard part. In his stomach sat a lead pretzel. His breaths dug deeper and he thought of a girl with fair hair to try and bring himself out of it. It sure would’ve been nice if she was here, maybe he’d even be cracking jokes right now. He tended to do that in her presence, even when he was peak anxious and scared; like when they were boarding that plane. But there’s no one here, just him and his multiple personalities, the angry ones and the sad ones this time mostly. It was quiet up here, and he saw someone walking amongst the graves, and a caretaker not too far from that person. The church stood behind him down the slight incline of the hill, and everything else fell flat, in neat green rows. He thought of another girl, one from many years ago. She knew his deal, knew how he would get on this day, he’d told her as much. And when that day came around one time, she surprised him with a trip. They drove out of town to some peak overlooking the city, she’d packed a picnic, and made sure they had a day of it. That had been real nice of her to do.
He couldn’t sit here and rehash memories endlessly to avoid what he came for though, and Tyson got out the car, grabbing his trusty tin and the bottle of whiskey he’d brought with. The lead pretzel undid itself and became a slithering snake. Walking amongst the rows, he looked at names, family lots. Looking out for the right one. None of them were the right one. Angela had sent directions, but they were haphazard and not exact. Some five minutes passed this way, Tyson beginning to wonder whether he was in the right section at all, passing name after name, some sounding famous, some not. Some with fancy words the grave, or markings, and flowers left by them. He passed one with a shitton of flowers; either a recent or old Hollywood star. He came down one side and down the next row, starting to wonder if he should give up here and move on to the section directly below this one, maybe it was there she’d meant — when it caught his eye, the gravestone in the corner of an enclave, sitting flush with the earth.
John Robert ‘Johnny’ Dobbs. Beloved husband and father.   8/15/1964 - 4/27/2001 And when the winds carry you home, Remember who it was that sang your song.
There were bunches of flowers shrivelled up beside the grave, two sets of them. His throat felt heavy, scratchy as he stopped and kneeled before it, wondering who’d left them. It was hard to swallow now, impossible.
There was nobody around, but even had there been, Tyson didn’t think he’d let that stop him from doing what he did. He tried talking quiet at first, but maybe Johnny couldn’t hear him that way. Who knows how this thing worked. He took a tentative seat on the ground and crossed his legs, sighing. Looking up and squinting to the sky that still had a sun up high in it, still far from sunset, nowhere near it. A sheen of sweat showed on his brow between the parts obscured by his backwards cap. He frowned, and spoke to some space between the grass and the corner of the memorial stone.
“Well… I made it. I’m here.” Now that he thought about it, he probably should have come on his birthday instead. Because this…this was fucking depressing. The 20th anniversary. Twenty years it had been since he died in that hotel room all alone, and not since the actual funeral had he ever thought to come here. “I know I don’t…come here at all…ever…but I just wanted you to know I think about you…think of how you are…don’t even know if I believe in that heaven or hell shit, who knows…”
He tore out strips of grass that were beside him, and arranged them in a little, methodical pile. “Maybe this reincarnation shit is real and you’re out there somewhere…maybe on another planet. That would be cool. You were too good for this one anyway.” Rip, rip, more pieces of green to join the little pile he was making. “I wanted to…wanted to, uh, say something, actually.” He sniffled, not sure when his nose had started running, but it had now.
“I’m sorry.” He couldn’t finish the rest out loud but he thought it. I’m sorry for ever being mad at you, for throwing tantrums, for being a shit son. I’m sorry for pushing you away when you would come back because I thought you had left us. I know it wasn’t like that now. It wasn’t like that at all.
The tears rolled freely now, another unexpected surprise from the day. “Wish I could…I wish I could find the…” he shook his head, over and over, anger mixing into the rest of the feelings churning inside him, so much frustration, rage. That things even turned out this way. Had it not been for that, his dad could have been here, alive. Disappointing Tyson in the flesh and Tyson in turn disappointing him, but alive at least. “Fuckin’... kill them all…every last one…” He’d do it, too, no one could stop him. Not even the thought of a life in prison. “I know why you were the way you were, is all I wanted to say. Shit, I’m like that too. Maybe it runs in our genes.” He looked up like he was talking to someone, like there was a physical body here receiving his words, looking back at him. “Wish I could listen to your stuff too, because it’s good stuff. But I can’t…sorry.” There were people out there though, who listened, and still loved him, and had not forgotten him. He remembered the messages from fans he would get. That counted for something, at least. Maybe they could all listen in his place, since he could not. He knew Angela didn’t listen to his stuff either, and there was something to be said about that. At least he wasn’t alone feeling like this. 
He picked up the bottle of bourbon he’d brought with him and twisted open the cap. Tipping it back, he took a big drink, quenching his thirst, feeling the burn as the liquor travelled down his system. Gasping for breath as he pulled back, he poured the rest over all the grass. Here, all for you, he thought, some dark amusement to that. Probably haven’t had a drink in a long ass time, huh? He stopped when he’d all but created a puddle of whiskey before him that was getting too large. One more sip stolen of his own, and he placed the bottle right side up next to his gravestone. “That’s for you.” Surprisingly, the knot was easing up, or maybe it was put on hold. Maybe this wasn’t too bad. Maybe he could do it again next year, or in the summer when it came time for Johnny’s birthday. Twice a year.
Tyson let out a long breath he had been seemingly holding in, cheeks puffing out, chest heaving. He started to feel sickish now, queasy. Maybe he needed a smoke. Yeah. His tin came out, the usual stash of two prerolls in it. He hesitated, then pulled the spare one out, placing it next to the whiskey bottle. “I know you never liked this shit dad, but give it a try yeah?” he said, like he was persuading Johnny to change his mind on Tyson’s drug of choice. At the same time, lighting the other one he’d brought with him.  “Don’t know what kinda shit you had back in the eighties, but this is good stuff. Promise.” God, he was going crazy, fully lost it out here, smoking a joint and talking to a gravestone. A fucking joke. But nah, it wasn’t him, it was the world that was a joke, and he was just fine.
He stayed some time longer, until he’d smoke down the joint to the end, the buzz it offered providing some sort of calm to his frayed nerves, definitely making everything better. In a weird twist of events he felt hesitant to leave now, but eventually he did, getting up, dusting himself off. Crossing eyes with a woman across the lot as he did, somewhere in a not-so-far off distance. He wondered if she was visiting someone, but her husband joined her, photo camera in hand and it became quickly apparent they were tourists. He felt some kind of bile about that, the temptation to cuss them out as he walked past high, but he resisted. 
Fucking tourists.
Back in his now-overheated sat-in-the-sun-too-long car, he rolled the window down all the way, and breathed a long, relieved exhale again. His head went to the steering wheel as he tried to collect himself, pick himself up from what just happened. He was in a state but coming out of it, slowly, gradually. That hadn’t been too bad. He forgot half the things he’d wanted to say, but maybe he would think of them again on the drive back, write them down somewhere and then say them when he was back here again. If there was anything he wished for after all, it would be more time with Johnny. And Angela. He’d make a point to go back to Texas if it meant driving for two days. Alone. It was the tradeoff for spending time with his family, what he had left of it anyway, because in the end, that’s all you had, wasn’t it? 
Talking himself through and down some weird freakout episode wasn’t easy, but gradually, in this hot ass car that wasn’t getting any cooler, he somehow cooled down himself. Then he pulled out his phone and dialled a number. 
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ginreads · a month ago
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Teaser Reveal for FRACTURED REIGN by Caitlyn Dare!!
Teaser Reveal for FRACTURED REIGN by Caitlyn Dare!!
  FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) by Caitlyn Dare Release Date: May 6th   Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR3   Preorder FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) https://amzn.to/31ClsBi Start the Series NOW!!! SHATTERED LEGACY (Gravestone Elite #1) Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhj Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3p19b3A Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/39IVIHc Amazon AU:…
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anaboleyn-bookjunkie · a month ago
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Teaser! Fractured Reign (Gravestone Elite #3) by Caitlyn Dare
Teaser! Fractured Reign (Gravestone Elite #3) by Caitlyn Dare
FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3) by Caitlyn Dare Release Date: May 6thAdd to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR3Preorder FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3)https://amzn.to/31ClsBi Start the Series NOW!!!SHATTERED LEGACY (Gravestone Elite #1)Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhjAmazon UK: https://amzn.to/3p19b3AAmazon CA: https://amzn.to/39IVIHcAmazon AU: https://amzn.to/3p770vyTARNISHED…
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lindasbookstoreadblog · a month ago
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RACTURED REIGN, the third book in the Gravestone Elite Trilogy by @caitlyndarebooks is coming May 6th!!
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FRACTURED REIGN, the third book in the Gravestone Elite Trilogy by @caitlyndarebooks is coming May 6th!! Preorder Fractured Reign https://amzn.to/3ehX7qj Start the Series NOW!!!Shattered Legacy (Gravestone Elite #1)Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhj TARNISHED CROWN  (Gravestone Elite #2)Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kL8zh5Blurb:
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When Mia wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how she got there, she braces herself for bad news. But nothing can ever prepare her for the truth. Betrayed by the very people who were supposed to protect her, Mia no longer  knows who to trust. All Bexley wants is to fix things for the girl he loves, and keep those around him safe. Even if it means embracing his legacy. Can Bexley and Mia fight their own demons while fighting the enemies closing in around them... Or will it be too late to save each other?
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lindasbookstoreadblog · 2 months ago
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TARNISHED CROWN (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #2) by Caitlyn Dare Release Date: April 1st
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TARNISHED CROWN (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #2) by Caitlyn Dare
Release Date: April 1st
Add to Goodreads:
https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR2
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   AVAILABLE NOW! FREE IN KU!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kL8zh5
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3m6mTBq
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3m5hYRs
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/39uTEU0
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  Start the Series NOW!!!
SHATTERED LEGACY (Gravestone Elite #1)
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhj
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3p19b3A
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/39IVIHc
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3p770vy
 Preorder FRACTURED REIGN (Gravestone Elite #3)
https://amzn.to/31ClsBi
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  Blurb:
 Waking up the morning after the night before, Bexley soon realizes his life will never be the same.
 He’s Electi now.
 One of them.
 Everything that Mia despises.
 She says she’s done, that his betrayal is too much of a burden to bear, but Bexley refuses to let her go.
 When Mia wakes up the morning after the night before, she realizes she has two choices: accept her fate or fight.
 She’s stronger now.
 Unwilling to submit.
 Determined to uncover the truth.
 But to defeat the devil sometimes you have to walk through hell. Even if you risk losing the one person you really care about.
 As the lies and secrets pile up around them, will Bexley be able to protect the girl he’s falling for...
 Or will he lose himself and Mia to Gravestone’s dark history for good?
 Tarnished Crown is the second book in the Gravestone Elite trilogy. It contains mature content that some readers may find disturbing. You have been warned.
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   About the Author:
Two angsty romance lovers writing dark heroes and the feisty girls who bring them to their knees.
  Connect w/Caitlyn:
Website: https://www.caitlyndarebooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caitlyndarebooks
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CaitlynsDaredevils
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20272477.Caitlyn_Dare
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcaitlyndare
We have miles to go to finally discover all the secrets!  Yeah!  The wait will be excruciating!
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3873789213
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ginreads · 2 months ago
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Blog Tour for TARNISHED CROWN by Caitlyn Dare!!!
Blog Tour for TARNISHED CROWN by Caitlyn Dare!!!
    TARNISHED CROWN (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #2) by Caitlyn Dare Release Date: April 1st   Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR2     AVAILABLE NOW! FREE IN KU! Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kL8zh5 Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3m6mTBq Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3m5hYRs Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/39uTEU0     Start the Series NOW!!! SHATTERED LEGACY (Gravestone Elite #1) Amazon US:…
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ginreads · 2 months ago
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Excerpt Reveal for TARNISHED CROWN by Caitlyn Dare!!
Excerpt Reveal for TARNISHED CROWN by Caitlyn Dare!!
  TARNISHED CROWN (Gravestone Elite Trilogy #2) by Caitlyn Dare Release Date: April 1st   Add to Goodreads: https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR2     Excerpt: He doesn’t want me here, that much is obvious, but he’s going to need to try harder if he wants to get rid of me. The gauntlet has been laid down. I’ll remain right here, under his feet, reminding him at every possible moment that I hold more power…
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bookgirl1509 · 2 months ago
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#TeaserTuesday Tarnished Crown, book 2 in the Gravestone Elite series by Caitlyn Dare, will be here in just 9 more days! Pre order your copy now - https://amzn.to/3kL8zh5 Not started the series yet? Buy Book 1 here - Shattered Legacy (Book 1) Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3qBFEhj Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3p19b3A Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/39IVIHc Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3p770vy Add FRACTURED CROWN, Book #3 to Goodreads: Coming April 22nd - https://bit.ly/GravestoneGR3 Waking up the morning after the night before, Bexley soon realizes his life will never be the same. He’s Electi now. One of them. Everything that Mia despises. She says she’s done, that his betrayal is too much of a burden to bear, but Bexley refuses to let her go. When Mia wakes up the morning after the night before, she realizes she has two choices: accept her fate or fight. She’s stronger now. Unwilling to submit. Determined to uncover the truth. But to defeat the devil sometimes you have to walk through hell. Even if you risk losing the one person you really care about. As the lies and secrets pile up around them, will Bexley be able to protect the girl he’s falling for... Or will he lose himself and Mia to Gravestone’s dark history for good? Tarnished Crown is the second book in the Gravestone Elite trilogy. It contains mature content that some readers may find disturbing. You have been warned. #newrelease #caitlyndarebooks #grabitnow #ku #kindleunlimited #nowlive #outnow #darkromance #darkcollegeromance https://www.instagram.com/p/CMxd86Qnn1U/?igshid=r9us2mwr72u
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estatti · 2 months ago
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Character descriptions:
Bruce Wayne: Italian-American 30 years old. 6’3, slick black hair, darker blue eyes, usual darkened lining around eyelids, fit build. Not as stocky, more slender psychic, but still muscular. Five o’clock shadow, always.
The Batman: Dark blue shading to his costume, stitched leather cape, shorter ears on the cowl, cowl a darker blue than the cape. Doesn’t look like armor, more fabric, woven with kevlar. Lenses are white as snow, reflect light and shine in the dark, not animatic however, still and shaped.
Alfred Pennyworth: 63 years old, balding head, full beard of grey and white, 5’9. Stocky build, English, war veteran.
Detective James Gordon: 40 years old. African American, 6’2. Firm build, rougher mustache, balding hair, new hire at GCPD, transfer from Metropolis.
Detective Harvey Bullock: 37 years old. Caucasian, 5’9, heavy set, longer orange tinted beard, always wearing a classic hat. Thinks of himself as a real hot shot.
J𝗨𝗦𝗧𝖨𝗖𝗘 𝗟𝗘𝗔𝗚𝗨𝗘.
𝗘𝗔𝗥𝗧𝗛 - 60.
Chapter One.
The Night Cometh.
Gotham City, August, 1962.
Rain is the constant in Gotham. Pelting rays of ice cold water that hit window shields at a rapid pace. Across the open yard of Wayne Manor, through long strands of untamed grass, and leafless trees, sit two grave stones. Each of them a mark of the past that holds him. Each of them carved with the singular word.
𝗪𝗮𝘆𝗻𝗲.
“Master Bruce?” The butlers tinted voice breaks his train of thought, standing at the window, with hands clasped behind his back — is Bruce Wayne. The last heir of the Wayne fortune, and The Prince of Gotham, “Alfred, in here.” His voice is lower, rougher than that of the past. A child, who was once full of life and optimism, was now a man heavy with dread.
“Sir.” Alfred stands in the doorway of the room they both share, the old master bed room of Martha and Thomas Wayne. He holds in his hands, a silver tray, accompanied with a small cup of coffee, fresh with the trail of heated steam — and next to it, a blueberry muffin, “You don’t usually come in here, I wasn’t sure where you were. Large house and all.” Alfred moves across the open space, placing said tray of assorted goods on the edge of the bed, “I thought it was time.” Wayne responds, however, his eyes keep outward, looking towards the gravestones that stare right back at him, “I owe them that much.” Pennyworth let’s out a sigh, his white gloved hands find themselves intertwining. He rocks on the back of his heals, with a small clearing of his throat.
“Master Bruce, I think it’s time you let go of the ghost in the backyard, and comeback to the land of the living.” Bruce doesn’t answer. “You’ve been back in Gotham for a whole year now, and you’ve barley seen the city for what it is now.” “I have.” Wayne turns finally, his eyes rage with pain, with lack of sleep — and vengeance. “Running around at night does 𝗻𝗼𝘁 count. Allowing yourself to feel the pain, to move on, and to run your fathers company 𝗱𝗼𝗲𝘀.”
Bruce takes small steps toward Alfred, the space between the two closes, “Alfred.” He starts, “We’ve seen this city for what it truly is, it showed us long ago the violence it can produce. The only way to fix that, is to bring it down, from its core. Gotham can’t rebuild, until the infestation — the 𝘃𝗶𝗿𝘂𝘀 — that crime is, is ridden of.” The two lock eyes now, a father made of grief, an arrogant son full of pain, their words aren’t spoken here — how much they truly need one another. Instead, it is met with another sigh, as Alfred takes the tray from the bed, turning and heading for the door, “We’ll then, a late dinner it is.”
GCPD Precinct, August, 1962.
The precinct buzzes with the usual morning crew of Gotham’s finest. Each of them in their own world of steady cases and rising efforts for the fight against crime. Or so, this is what James Gordon would’ve like to think they were doing. In reality it was 15% working against crime, and 85% working 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 crime. But he knew this before he even moved his family here, before he and his pregnant wife Barbara, took the plunge into the crime capital of the world. He, saw it as a way to do right by his father. Metropolis was dangerous, sure, but compared to Gotham, it was a shiny utopia. His father, then officer Gordon, always told him one thing — you do right not by the actions you 𝗱𝗼, but by the people you 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽.
And those words stuck with him ever since, which is what brought him here. The GCPD was failing, the criminal underground was boiling over into the ordinary world, dirty cops helped push that quota into reality, hate crimes continued to soar, even within the GCPD — and yet he still felt like there was good in this city. An ability, if it were to try, if it were to be given even an ounce of a chance, to shine — if not 𝗯𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝗲𝗿 — than Metropolis. Barbara didn’t think so, she didn’t like the move, but how could she. The only silver lining she saw in this city was the chance of real and meaningful social work. Something that Metropolis barely offered. Again, a utopia to Gotham.
“Gordon!” Bullocks voice comes across the room, a gentle motion for Gordon to come closer, a waiting look on Harvey’s face, behind him in the meeting office was current Commissioner Harlen. James fixed his tie as he walked forth, bumping shoulders with busy bodies, and gaining 𝗴𝗹𝗮𝗿𝗲𝘀 from those who’d wish for his downfall. Since his arrival, Gordon had done nothing but make enemies, other then Harvey — most of The GCPD had already told their assorted crime bosses about Gotham’s new hotshot. And how he was 𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 to save the city from its internal bleeding.
“You’re late.” Bullock snorts, he combs out the side collar of Gordon’s coat, “I had —“ marriage troubles, “—to take the trash out. Got in a fight with a raccoon before I could claim my territory.” Both men let out a gentle laugh, before Harvey motions inside with his head, “C’mon.”
The room sits idle with one singular table, three chairs — two on one side, one lone on the other. The white board behind the single chair is covered with photo evidence, four separate crime scenes, each of them murders of four wealthy Gotham elites. All of them, with two common factors, the fact that each man used his wealth — his power — to influence The GCPD, the political world of Gotham, and to fund The Falcone mob family. The second thing they had in common; the large lipstick like star marked across the face. And the burning white eyes, void of emotion.
“Gordon..” Harlen begins, “Sorry.” James responds, he takes a seat, as does Harvey. “Four new cases boys, each of them on the same path you’ve been following —“ “Christ.” Harvey lets out under his breath, “—each of them as proper as the first three. Our perp, whoever it is, is one for the thematic and the dramatic.” Gordon digs into his coat pocket, pulling out a small notepad, “I was able to get in touch with forensics on the last hit, sent them a sample of whatever that green shit was — turns out it’s the same chemicals produced at ACE.” Harvey learns forward, “As in ACE chemicals?” James nods. “You too go there yet?” The commissioner leans forward, hands placing on the top of the table, a shift in the weight he holds, “No. No not yet.” Harvey responds, he takes his hat off for a second, running his hands through curly uncut hair.
“Then you go there next.” Harlen sits up now, hands resting on his belt buckle, “We’re on it.” Gordon responds, Harvey shoots him a look. They were friends, yes, too an extent. Gordon knew of Harvey’s deals, the backwater jobs he took in his earlier days of GCPD, he knew he was out — but he knew he still had ties. It was the only reason he never turned Harvey in, he was out, and trying to stay out. Trying to be clean, trying to be a better cop. That’s all any of them could do, try.
ACE Chemicals, August, 1962.
The old squad car rolls alongside echoing gravel, Gotham had just been covered in rain, verified by the shine left on the rocks and stone buildings that await them. A warrant for a search hides away in the glovebox, the car itself comes to a stop, just outside the gates — the lights turn off — as well as the engine. Out steps the two detectives, each of them in long coats. One, Gordon, with a freshly lit cigarette hanging from his lips, the other — Harvey — with a small flask held in his hands.
“Hate this place.” Bullock states, closing the squad car door behind him, “Scared?” Gordon muses, mouth slightly muffled by the stick, “Of radiation? Yea, sure. Also — the fact that only low life pieces of garbage hang at these parts. Talkin the worst of the worst out here Jim.” “James.” “What?” “Don’t call me Jim, man. That’s my dads name. I’m James Gordon, he’s Jim.” Harvey waves him off, taking one last swig, “When you pay my bills, I’ll call you whatever you want me to. Hell, maybe even president Gordon someday.” James shakes his head, placing the remaining cigarette on the ground, and stomping it out, it sizzles as it’s smushed between heel and wet gravel. The two set forth, walking through the now opened metal gate, the chain links rattle and ache as they push past. Each of them holding a flashlight in hand, “What did forensics say exactly?”
“They told me —“ Gordon takes out another cigarette, lighting it, the red end illuminates the inner palms of his hands. And then, a gentle puff of smoke. “That this chemical was created here, it was initially a military grade weapon — meant to be used in Germany. But, it was deemed too violent — er — powerful as they put it. Was scrapped, at least it was suppose to be.” “So how the hell is it on Gotham streets?” “That’s why we’re here. Aren’t we?” ACE chemicals spirals into a kingdom of cone like buildings, each of them painted with the same three letter word — ACE, ACE, ACE. And each cone, a spewing mountain of smoke. As each man continues their walk, they stride in silence, each of them in their own thought — focused on the task at hand. Gordon, thought back to Barbara, the conversation they had before he left this morning. It wasn’t pretty.
In the first year, they were better — they were still whole. That was until 𝗵𝗲 came along. A figure of the night, a myth that soon became reality — a man built of darkness and mystery. The Batman. He came to Gordon, he didn’t know why then, or at least he thought he didn’t. But he understood now, a year later, why Batman came to him. They were honest, mask and all, they knew one another — what this city meant, and how to save it. But this, this devotion that came with this relationship — ruined his real one. Days, weeks, months, spending late nights at GCPD. Working alongside The Batman, taking down the man they now call The Riddler. He laughs, an audible one, one that catches Harvey’s attention.
The Riddler. How funny it was, it use to be gangsters, both street and professional level men. Then, it became all about costumes. The red blur in Central City, who took down the man who called himself Captain Cold. The Amazon in Washington, fought a living tiger like woman. It was all, truly? Insane. And somehow, someway, they — these normal men — were soon intertwined in it all. 𝗔𝗔𝗔𝗔𝗔𝗔𝗛! A scream breaks him, cigarette dropping from parted lips. “Shit — was that?” “Go!” Their guns are removed from their holsters, their feet dig into the ground, pushing them into a run, “Go! Go! Go!” James repeats — one step ahead of the larger Bullock.
They almost slide taking a corner, the damp gravel giving way to their fastening pace. Until, they come into clear view of the scene ahead, hanging from the roof of a taller, shackle like building, is a lone man. His foot, wrapped in a thin line of wiring — one that can only be seen when it catches the small light of the moon, “Awe hell.” Harvey lets out, his gun lowering, his feet stopping. Out of the corner of his eye, Gordon sees it. The small shimmer of white, that pierces through the dark of Gotham — that lets him know their not alone here. The Batman, “Harvey, go get him down, cuff him. I think I see something...” Detective Gordon moves off to the side, as Detective Bullock goes forward.
Gordon shuts off his flashlight, waiting for a minute, as the space between him and Harvey is at a good distance.
“Jim.” The Batman begins, voice at almost a whisper, “Batman.” Gordon responds, his gun now being placed back in its holster, “What happened here.” The Batman sits on a rail, a few feet off the ground, not even James athletic background could get him up there. The wind pulls gently at the edge of his cape, it flutters in noticeable flaps, his short ears make out the remainder of his cowl — the white eyes peer back down on Gordon. Never looking away, “Those cases you’re on now — I’ve already been working them.” “Of course.” “I tracked the chemical to here, as did you. They call it chemical - x. That man —“ The head of the bat shifts, in a pointing direction, “Was here to get more.” “Why?” “You know why.” “To do more.” “Yes.”
Gordon rubs at his neck, “I don’t know, this is all, well this feels like Riddler — again. This feels like someone is playing games, trying to stir up Gotham.” “Not someone, Jim. Something.” “What?” “The man, his tattoos tell a story. On the back of his neck, look there. His friends will have the same signal — this is something, Jim. Bigger than Riddler.” Gordon looks back to Harvey, who had just gotten the man down, his eyes look back to — nothing. The Bat was gone, leaving nothing but the gust of wind.
The two men walk silently back, guiding the arrested man to the back of the squad car. Gordon opens the back door, almost stuffing the suspect in the back, as he does, he reaches forward, pulling back the hoodie over his head — moving long locks of hair from his neck. What he sees is a symbol, or rather a character — a creature. Shaped like a starfish, with a human eye at its middle, colored purple — the eye red as fire. As violence.
Bigger than Riddler. He thought. Sitting back into the driver seat.
What the hell did that mean?
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