So as we packed up our old place, the girls and I lovingly wrapped all our nick knacks and furnishings. Room by room my daughters and I got most of our items all boxed up. Finally Merida came home and joined in helping us, her rooftop garden being one of the more difficult things to pack. We had to ensure her “babies” wouldn’t get squashed or tumble out of the soil they were packed into. It was a lot of work, but we finally got the majority of it done. Except of course, I wouldn’t let my girls into our master bedroom to pack anything. I mean heaven forbid they find mommy and daddy’s … “toy chest”. No, Merida and I would come back for our bedroom later.
I sat there in my seat with my elbows on my knees after hearing the verdict and sentence. The guards came to read my sire, my father his reprimands and statues before cuffing him. I heard Pandora, my sire-mother, yelling and screaming and Marius yelling back to her. Lestat stood there and when they turned Marius around he wrapped him a hug. I couldn’t even look at him. If I had I would have broken down.
Marius turned to Lestat and I and said, “They are putting Va’lis on the stand.” Lestat immediately winced, “They not only forced him to make Carrie, they then abducted, tortured, and beat her. You really think he’ll be able to keep his cool? I know I wouldn’t.” I sat there thinking before I spoke, “I have some faith in him. I mean those are the biggest reasons we are here to begin with. Them taking Va’lis and holding him hostage for a week then forcing him to create a progeny. That’s a huge break in the laws. Even for rogues, you’re not allowed to force the creation of progeny on anyone.”
Marius looked at both of us, but said nothing. David came back and Carrie soon followed. She looked resolute, but I wondered for how long. She looked at me and smiled trying not to look at the Draco’s. Natasha apparently stayed up preparing Va’lis.
Carrie was sworn in without any dramatics and her questioning began. Counselor Windsor always going first.
I watched my wife walk in, fully dressed in a slate Prada skirt suit that hemmed well above the knee, Dolce ruffle shirt that showed off her amazing rack, and Louboutin maroon heels that accentuated her toned legs. I couldn’t help but smirk. Long gone was the little girl I had met at the Brew… Baroness Merida de Romanus stood firmly before us rolling her eyes at the guards escorting her. Even Lestat looked at me and winked in full approval of her attire. She turned to look at me and I mouthed to her, “I fucking love you.” She smiled then looked at Marius who gave her a nod and a wink. The old man was proud of her. Not just for this but of how she had stepped up to help Cherry care for Carrie in the aftermath of her rape and torture. She was now a full grown woman. When we got home I was going to spend hours making love to my woman. Mine. All mine.
I stood in shock, frozen in time. All I managed to be able to do was push Merida behind me. Va’lis sprung in to action faster than I could blink. My guess is his own rage against Zeeke propelled him forward. Merida had told me of the fights, not in too much detail however, she’s had with Va’lis on this very topic. It was something to see him be at the forefront of a fight he was so keen to be against. But maybe… just maybe… it has to do with having his daughter in the front lines. Could he really have the heart to think in such terms?!? My entire perspective of the man would change if that was the case. Then again it could have just been he saw an opportunity to end this bitch once for all. He does despise her! Or maybe he really does love Marius? Who really knows!
Once the dust settled, we all entered the tribunal room and there they were, the High Council of the Order of the Talamasca. Our own supernatural version of the Supreme Court. Seven Chancellors sit in front of us always facing south and two or more opposing sides face north towards the High Council. Only appointed representatives can sit in the forum and all others must sit in their assigned seats. Each council seat is physically one seat with two sub seats behind it.
Ahhh a familiar face, “Hello my darling,” I said as I kissed Bianca’s cheek. She smiled and kissed my cheek right back m, then ran to Merida and enveloped her in her arms. Merida and Bianca were still very close. Matter of fact it was Merida that refused to sign the divorce papers back in Sosaria where plural marriages were allowed. I assume if Bianca wanted to marry again or found love of her own, Merida would reconsider. The toddlers of course immediately recognized their Auntie Bianca and embraced her. Bianca was a natural with children and had trained as a midwife many centuries ago.
Marius looked at her, and Bianca felt his stare upon her so she stood up and faced her sire. “Bianca,” he said. “Don’t ruin the moment by speaking Marius,” she said as she went to hug him. She lingered a bit fighting back tears. Her love for him had never faltered, it had never subsided, not even for me. Marius held her softly and didn’t let her go.
I stared into Marius’ eyes. I could see his worry that Lestat and I would be overwhelmed with having to step into his shoes as head of this family. I shot Lestat a quick glance and nodded in understanding. Lestat was amazing this way, when he HAD TO step up he stepped up in a big way. He was clutch like that. I knew he would do his very best and he would be the one to hold Pandora together.
I could see how much Marius loved Mary, my sister, and how he worried that with the threats made against her, she would be harmed or killed. He could not bare that thought. It hurt him to have to tell her to stay and he was thankful that Flavius was home and that he would take care of Mary.
I could also see how he longed for Va’lis who had become like a brother to me, much more so than my wife’s sire. He had grown to love him and everything we’re going through now was really because he loved him so much that the harm that came to Carrie at the hands of The Draconians so vexed him that he could not contain his rage. I know my sire. I know his brutality and for him to have lost all control like that takes a lot. It is not something anyone would want to witness.
There is a certain feeling that I get when my wife looks at me, when I feel her mouth on mine, when she bites my lower lip. I cannot put my finger on it, but its not one I feel with any other. My devotion to her is eternal. I’ve never had a love like this; ever. And I’ve searched for it for my entire life — both my mortal one and my immortal one. I can only hope that my daughters grow up to desire the love their parents’ share and do not settle for anything mediocre, as I had for so long in the past. I can only hope that my son grows up with a clear picture of what a real man should be, a partner to his lady. One that is in it with her, rather than a bystander. But let’s not talk about my kids dating… no. Not right now.
*at Marius’ office in Romanus Manor*
I called Armand to talk about the events that occurred in Paris that had Armand so fumed with anger. Locking him and Va’lis in the gun cellar when Maharet announced they had taken his wife in addition to Carrie had been a wise move on my part, but perhaps my execution of it all was not. There is too much history between Armand and I that lingers and interjects in our relationship. Where as with Va’lis, we have more of a clean slate. I knew this conversation was not going to go well when he walked in and immediately said, “I can’t expect an apology from you now can I?” To which I replied, “I had to keep you from going after them on your own.”
I loaded our car up; Merida changed to the back seat, she was holding Astoria’s head in her lap trying to soothe her. Astoria had been beaten and then nearly drained. We had our medic trying to infuse her with transfusions of human blood but nothing was working. Her mortal body was just too weak. She was hemorrhaging internally from her injuries. Merida was now caressing her face and hair while she let out a tear or two. She loved Astoria for her kids loved her just the same.
I got into the car on the other side in the back and closed the door. The car was now moving. “We can’t let her die, not like this. this is our fault. Mine really, they took her to get me to talk. Had I not been so stubborn—” Merida broke down. Watching my wife’s sad heart was too much for me, I pulled Astoria to me without a word, carefully holding her on my lap. “This is not your fault, let it be me she hates for condemning her to this life,” I told my wife before I bit into Astoria’s neck and drained what little she still had. I ripped into my wrist and pulled it up to Astoria’s lips, letting my blood spill into her mouth. Astoria roused a bit, just enough to latch on and drink fully from me. Merida watched, crying still feeling so guilty for it all.