Coty walked through the ashes of Grenshaw, debris crunching under her black laced up boots. With each step she felt her soul ebbing away and she desperately tried to cling onto her sanity as the full scale of the destruction around her began to pierce her brain.
"An Diabhal é fhéin." she murmured to herself in Irish as she reached the highest point of the town and turned to look at it, the ruins still smouldering.
Gone were the whitewashed houses, the colourful stores, and the laughter of the children as they chased each other in and around the market stalls.
Her fists clenched involuntarily and she once again felt the dark shadow inside her struggling to be allowed out... the inhuman side of her...
Fighting against it she walked towards the market, looking for anything salvagable, and hoping to find someone saveable.
As she neared on of the burned stalls she heard a voice that shook her to her core.
She turned towards the voice and saw a man lying in the ashes, half on his side, struggling to sit up as he looked at her.
It took her several seconds before she recognized him and when she did a whimper escaped from her lips as she ran to his side and attempted to help him up.
"You died, she told me you were all dead." she whispered as she managed to get him into a sitting position and it was then that she saw the gaping wound in his stomach.
"Marco got me out." he grunted in pain, "We used the secret entrance we found as children. Remember we told you?"
Coty nodded and swallowed back tears. "It's ok, you'll be fine, we'll get you medical attention and..."
He cut her off with a shake of his head as he lifted his hand to caress her cheek, leaving a black smudge along her cheekbone. "This is the end for me Coty." he whispered her name. "I came to find you, but I found her instead, it was my mistake, but now I see that you are different, and I am glad that I sent word to my brother before they began this destruction."
"Marco is alive?" she pressed her hands against the wound in his stomach in a desperate attempt to staunch the flow.
"He is alive, and so is Eleanor. We have a niece my love." he smiled at her through the pain in his blue eyes. "They called her Katerina."
Coty's eyes filled with tears as she though of Eleanor, her little sister, the girl she had pulled from the ashes of their house and hidden so well that even Coty herself wasn't able to find her anymore.
"They named her after Mother...." her voice shook as she tried to gulp back her emotions.
"Hey..." his hand reached up and tugged the band from her hair and he watched with a sad smile as it tumbled across her shoulders, he had always loved her hair. "Don't cry." he whispered softly as he felt his strength begin to ebb.
"Leathcheann! Don't you tell me not to cry!" she sobbed as she looked desperately around for something to help her stop the bleeding. Her hands were covered in his blood and she knew in her heart it was too late, but she refused to give up. She couldn't lose him again.
"Cortana." he pulled her head down and kissed her gently. "I love you.... be.... happy." his eyes dimmed and she grabbed his jacket and shook him. "Don't you die, don't you dare!" But it was too late, he was gone.
She cradled his body against her, weeping. "Liam, please wake up! Please! I love you too. Come back to me. Please!"
A figure in the shadows made to move forwards but froze and retreated as Coty sat up straight and gently lifted Liam's hand to slide a thin gold band off his finger before reaching up and unclasping a chain from around her neck and sliding the ring onto it, where it gently clinked against another smaller one.
Putting it back around her neck, she tucked it out of sight into her shirt and then bending forwards she kissed him gently before closing his eyes and folding his arms across his chest.
The darkness inside her exploded and tilting her head back she let out a blood curdling scream of pain, anguish and anger that echoed all around the ruins of the town.
"I will kill you, if it's the last thing I do Sasha Lucenzo!" she screeched, her voice laced with an inhuman fury that would make any sane person turn and run.
The figure in the shadows hesitated for only a moment, wondering if they should go to her or leave her to grieve alone.
An Diabhal é fhéin = The Devil himself.
Leathcheann = Idiot