John paces the tent, Caroline sitting in his chair as one of the council messenger’s handed them each a letter. John leaves the tent, radiating heat and goes to the rubble of his once glorious castle, leaving Caroline to deal with the messenger “Thank you… You’re dismissed…”
A blaze pops up and dissipates, leaving a letter addressed to John, he picks it up and returns to Caroline, offering it for her to read.
Recognizing the handwriting on the front, she opens it. It reads: ‘Dear John and Caroline; I am sorry that your castle was destroyed via my attack, as you know I have Anisa and am taking care of her, I believe someone is setting us all up, my attack on your castle was orchestrated, my orders were to leak the meeting and to attack the first castle set to mobilize. I would like your reply post haste as to any enemies that you both share.’
“John… We have a problem bigger than you being kicked out of the council… Darling we’ve been played, someone wanted to get you out of a seat of power, and separate us from our daughter… I’m afraid…”
“What do you mean?” He comes over and reads the letter, his face paling.
“The one enemy… we both share… is trying to kill our daughter… she made it so you weren’t on the council anymore, so if she does murder our daughter, you are no longer in a position to vote to kill her if she succeeds… I think you know who I’m talking of…”
“What exactly did she say her name was? What did the woman look like in the picture? And what on earth was in the tea she served you???” John grilled Kail for several minutes, but the investigation got nowhere, all Kail would say was ‘pretty colors’. Kail’s eyes were glazed over, and his mouth hung half open, like he’d been drugged. John stormed out of the medical tent and paced outside “He’s completely incoherent Caroline! Completely! We can’t get a straight answer out of him! He acts like he doesn’t even know his own name!!”
The winged medic stepped out of the tent “He needs a few days rest then he should be well enough for you to question. I’m sorry about calling you here for nothing liege.”
John puts his hand to his forehead in frustration, sighing he says “It’s not your fault… You tried to tell me that he wasn’t up for questioning and I should’ve listened… I know that when it comes to things like this it takes time and patience, both of which I lack right now… Please take care of him and let me know if anything changes…” John takes Caroline’s hand and they go back to their tent. The ‘Queen’s’ tent stands out from the other tents around it, it’s color a deep burgundy red, with gold trim and a beautifully woven golden blue chord that hangs in front, acting as a door handle that pulls the mouth of the tent up and open, allowing one to see the inside. The inside of the tent is pure satin, purple in color, with a black carpet-style floor.
“That sure took a while.” The fire jumps and crackles, the full form of a man standing in it.
“I’m sorry it took as long as it did, he still wasn’t able to answer questions.” Caroline sits in the chair by the fire while John slowly comes and sits beside her, still unused to these meetings.
John clears his throat softly “At first he tried to tell us everything, we know he was in a castle, we know a woman gave him a glass of tea, we know there was a picture of another woman on the wall in the room he was in. What we don’t know are the specific details we need.”
“And how do we know as much as we do?”
“The woman who held him gave him a sheet of paper and a bottle of ink and a fountain pen. She told him to write down everything he’d seen so that he could reference it when he got back to talk to me. After those little blurbs of information, he started writing about his past life, his mother’s death, Anne’s disappearance, and a man… A man who fits your description, Shan.”
“It probably was me, I fought him at our last location when he just randomly appeared, I think someone lent him tracking Magyks and followed him. And I’m sorry Caroline, but the only species with that kind of tracking power are your people…” Shan ruffles his hair, the movement sending up sparks from the fire.
“None of my people would dare-“ she stopped midsentence, suddenly remembering that fateful night, many years ago. A knock on the door, Kate was expecting a date, a future fiancée of hers, Caroline answered the door because Kate was still getting ready. The man that had stood in front of her that night had the most beautiful lipid pools of green eyes she’d ever seen, and from that first hello, they were always together.
“Kate wouldn’t dare… she doesn’t hate us that much… Does she…?” Caroline just shook her head, a tear slowly tracing its way down her face. Her daughter’s life was in danger, her husband had lost his seat on the council, and the people had lost a potential marital alliance, all because of that night… A flamed hand reached towards her and wiped the tear away, being careful not to burn her.
“Sweetheart it’s not your fault… I know what you’re thinking of right now, and it’s not your fault. That woman is missing some serious marbles from her basket, she may blame you, but it’s not your fault that you are by far prettier than she is”
Caroline smiles softly as John humphs, obviously not moved by Shan’s show of affection “How’s Anisa doing..?”
"She's asleep currently, but she's doing well. She's a fast learner."
John looks a little suspicious “How many rooms are in this ‘house’ of yours?”
"One study, one bath, one kitchen, one dining or entertaining area and one bed, why?"
John’s eyes narrow “Be honest. Did you sleep with our daughter?”
"Don't ask questions you don't want the answer to John." Shan's eyes narrow in return, the fire growing until it almost licks the roof of the tent.
Caroline places her hand on John’s shoulder “Darling, please… don’t fight with the man who’s protecting our daughter… Shan, maybe it’s time you go…”
John shakes her off “Tell me. Now.”
"DO YOU FORGET WHO I AM?!?!?!" The fire blazes bright sky blue, the tendrils reaching out like feelers.
Caroline drags John to the doorway of the tent and forces him outside, leaving him there to fume, she goes back to Shan “Shan please don’t get angry like that… He’s only trying to protect her; you know how men get when they think they’re daughter is in danger… Well... I get the feeling you’ll know soon enough, and before you ask it’s a mother’s intuition.”
"I knew you'd know, you should try to break it to him easily, and I'm sorry I snapped, the cycle's almost begun and I still haven't gotten her a weapon..."
She smiles understandingly “Anisa may learn fast, but she’s the world’s worst procrastinator. You should present her with a challenge, and a choice. She may just surprise you. What’s her element?”
"She's water, and I will, we have to get her the robes for presentation before too long, and she keeps trying to distract me." He smiles softly, the fire returning too normal.
Caroline giggles softly “Shan I do not want to imagine my daughter doing things that you wanted me to be doing once upon a time, so please no details… offer her a compliment, a rose, a box of chocolates, anything to get her out of the bed, then spring the robe on her,” winking softly she continues “Something like that will definitely get her attention.”
"Yes Ma'am, question before I go...” He smiles broadly.
Curiosity dances in Caroline’s eyes as she smiles “Yes…?”
"Does this mean I have to call you mother from now on?" He grins sheepishly, trying not to laugh.
She laughs in return “Shan darling, you can call me mom when you go through the marital ceremony or when my grandchild is born, not before.”
"Ok." He smiles "Sadly the latter is more likely at this point."
She shakes her head softly “As long as you take care of her, everything will be fine. Just promise me that you won’t get the idea that dying in battle is a glorious end and desert your family for a fight you know you can’t win, alright?”
"You know I'll never lose. But I promise any." He smiles at her "It's time for me to go."
“Be good and take care of her. I don’t want to have to kill you later on down the road,” Caroline’s smile turns serious “I’m sure she warned you, the drug’s been perfected and if you dishonor her by laying with another, you kill her. Literally.” She smiles softly, her eyes still filled with worry and doubt “But I know you… you wouldn’t do that if you had a child and her life was on the line; good bye now Shan, and good luck.”
Anisa yawns softly, running her hand through her rumpled hair. She looks around the room, expecting to see Shan, instead her eyes fall on the half-open door. Curiously she grabbed a t-shirt and slipped it on, it came to her knees, and went through the open door “Shan…? Love, where are you…?” She looks down at her toes as she steps on something satin soft, rose petals, light blue rose petals that led from the bedroom door down the hallway. Curiously she followed the rose petals to his office and poked her head through the door, letting her eyes adjust before she enters the mostly dark room, lit only by one flickering candle on his desk “Shan…?”
"Morning." His voice behind her makes her jump.
She places her hand on her unusually queasy stomach “Shan please don’t scare me like that…” she gestures to the rose petals “Are you planning something…?”
"Yes actually." He smiles softly, laying a hand in the small of her back.
She smiles back, wrapping her arms around his shoulders “Care to elaborate on that my darling?”
"I'm planning a bribe, for you." He winks and kisses her softly.
“A bribe?” She softly kisses his neck “What kind of a bribe my love?”
"We need to go to the city for supplies, in exchange for coming with me you'll get to pick out some new clothes and we'll get closer tonight." He winks at her, kissing her lips gently.
She kisses back, slyly she says “Alright… Want me to get dressed or go out in your oversized t-shirt?” She winks at him.
"You should get dressed." He smiles beck.
“Awww… No fun…” she grins, taking his hand and dragging him back into the bedroom “So… should I ruin your jeans again or wear my mom’s?”
"Your mothers today, and grab a cloak too." He follows, grabbing his cloak.
She pouts softly, putting on a pair of her mom’s jeans and grabbing one of his button up short sleeve shirts. She ties it between her boobs, leaving it open enough to show off her boobs without actually flaunting them. Grabbing a dark blue cloak out of the bottom of her mom’s box she wraps it around her shoulders “I hope this is ok…”
"Just so long as you can put the hood up to hide your face." He smiles then leads her outside.
She grumbles softly at his apparent lack of interest and pulls the hood around her face, wrapping her arms tightly around her queasy stomach she follows him.
"You feeling alright?" He holds her, worry written in every inch of his face
“Yes my darling… I’m just feeling… a little queasy…” she leans against him gently “It’s just my stomach…”
His worry seems to worsen a little "Are you protected?"
She looks a little confused “From the sun? We’ve had this conversation… As long as you love me, I’m protected; for the sun is the only thing that can hurt me. The stake thing is a total myth.”
"Against birth..." He whistles slightly, still leading her out into the yard.
She stumbles slightly “Uh… I…” she blushes “No… The medicine always made me so sick… and before I met you there was no real reason to protect against birth so… I opted not to take the medicine… Do you… do you think I could be… pregnant???”
"It's possible..." He smiles at her "You should look into it."
She gnaws at her lip softly, her fingers intertwined with his.
"Another reason to go to town, marriage." He winks at her.
Her jaw practically hits the ground as she stops dead in her tracks “what did you just say???”
"You heard me. Since we're to be mated for life we might as well make it official, even more so if we've conceived." He smiles broadly, every word floating in the air as it waits to sink in.
She looks down, blushing softly “You know, if mom knew you were going to marry me without her there she’d kill you…” she looks up at him, smiling softly.
“You gonna do it anyways..?” Her eyes sparkle with curiosity and love.
"Of course." He winks at her and guides her to the portal.
She giggles as they go through, leaning her head against his chest smiling with content.
As they stopped at the first shop in town Anisa was shocked to find that it was a clothing store “I knew you said I maybe could get some clothes of my own, but this wasn’t the first stop I imagined we would be making.”
“It’s a dress store.” He winks at her and opens the door guiding her in.
She softly runs her finger along the skirts of several beautiful long flowy ball gowns “Why a dress store love?”
He winks as her mother tackles her through the dresses “Do you really think I’d miss my baby girls’ big day???”
“Mom??” Anisa hugs her mother as the hood of her cape falls off her head and onto her shoulders.
“Hey baby girl! So what style have you been thinking of? What color do you want to use? Who do you want to be your maid of honor?” Caroline keeps going, asking several more wedding related questions. She stops suddenly, and looks Anisa in the eyes, then watches the way Anisa’s chest rose and fell with each breath. Caroline tightly hugs her daughter “And when is my grandbaby due????”
“Mom I don’t even know if I am pregnant or not yet, it’s too soon to tell”
“Not for me,” her mom winks softly, “I got skill.”
“Bloody pure vamps…” Shan sighs softly “You know, I wanted that part to be a surprise.”
“Shan, you should know better than to try and hide that sort of thing.” Caroline playfully punches Shan’s arm.
Anisa looks back and forth between the two of them, she puts her hand to her head as the realization hits and falls to the floor; her pupils as wide as saucers, her face flushed.
“What is it dear?” Shan lays his hand on her shoulder.
"I'm pregnant..." She smiles softly “You got me pregnant…”
Caroline offers down her hand “Come on sweetheart, let’s find you a dress.”
Taking it, Anisa slowly stands up. Caroline leads her back to a dressing room with four dresses there waiting for them, leaving Shan to wait outside in the lobby. As he attempts to follow the owner of the shop, a short stocky woman with silvery hair, blocks him. “Groom cannot see bride before wedding, big no-no, bad ju-ju”
He chuckles “Yes ma’am. I’ll meet you two at the church, I’ve other shopping to do, the wedding is scheduled for five, it’s three forty now so take your time.”
Caroline waits ‘til Shan leaves then turns to her daughter “How do you feel to be getting married and pregnant no less.” She winks softly and guides her to a changing stall.
“Shocked actually… I always thought it’d be years longer before I got married… And a vampyre getting pregnant… well that’s supposed to be difficult… But with him… We have only been together three times! It took you and dad six eons before I was conceived!” She shakes her head slowly “I honestly never thought it would be this fast…”
“He’s a special case, there’s some genetic link within him that reawakens every facet of your body when you’re with him, and it would be very easy to get pregnant with energy like that around.” She smiles wistfully as she looks at the under garnets for one of the bigger dresses “Honestly if your father hadn’t of shown up when he did I might have run back to Shan…”
Anisa’s curiosity peaked as she asked two simple questions that she knew would receive very complicated answers “Now what’s that supposed to mean? What happened between you two…?”
“He hit on me, I said I was waiting for the right man to come along, he showed me the game that we play… He’s owned part of my soul since that day.” She looks up and smiles at her daughter “You know how I said that I’d always protect you? Always know when you were in trouble?”
Questioningly she looks up from the veil that was in her hands “Yes…? You said you’d be there for me, no matter where I was… no matter what had happened or how far apart we were, you’d be there in an instant.”
“There are two reasons, one is Shan, and the other are my premonitions.”
“I know somewhat of your premonitions, but how is Shan a reason?”
“He can read fires, including the ones within your soul.”
“Really…? I knew his element was fire, but I didn’t know he could do that… So how does that tie in with your premonitions???”
“Using both I can get a near perfect picture of what could be happening to you.”
“Really? Wow… So how did you know I was pregnant? I mean I’m pretty sure that your premonitions would tell you that, but you looked like you were studying something.”
Caroline smiles at her “Dear I’m a vampyre, I can smell it in your blood. My premonitions told me you might be, but I had to be sure for myself.” She pauses there and does an excited squeal “I’m gonna be a grandmother!!”
Shan explored the streets ‘til he found the shop he was looking for. He went in and was greeted cheerily “Welcome, so nice of you to drop by, you’re our only costumer right now… Tell me if you need any help.”
“Thank you, I don’t think I’ll need it though.” Shan went up to the second floor landing and walked back among the cloaks ‘til he found the one he was looking for, it was a dark grey color with hints of reds and blues in it. He went back down to the counter and handed it to the clerk.
“Very nice choice sir, would you like it wrapped?”
“Yes please.” Shan paid the man once he finished wrapping the cloak and walked outside. He nearly bumped into the crowd that had gathered while he was inside. The crowd surrounded a Skyknight warrior and a small man in a dark cloak. Shan strained to hear what they were saying.
“You swine, you are to bump into me while I’m walking?” The Skyknight yelled at the poor man before him.
“But sir, I did not…” The man stammered shrinking slightly as he took the yelling
“Are you talking back to me now?” The Knight put his hand on his sword, the threat sending ripples through the crowd “I could kill you for your insolence.”
The man stammered, trying to speak without speaking, and fell to his knees.
“I’ve had enough of your pathetic being, I shall now rid the galaxy of you so that it shall be purer.” The Skyknight drew his sword and raised it, the man before him squealed slightly as he tried to back up while still on his knees the crowd backing up. Shan had had enough of the show and stepped forward, grabbing the Skyknight’s wrist before he could swing.
“Personally I’ve had enough of your righteous attitude, you should know better than to torment some poor man when your strength should be out on the battlefield.” The crowd gasps, several of them running down the side streets to get away, the Skyknight’s face reddens with deep anger.
“Who are you to tell me what I should be doing, you are naught but a nave and should know your place.” He jerks his arm from Shan’s grip and sheathes his sword.
Shan turns from him and to the man on the ground whispering “You should run now.”
The Skyknight yells at Shan “You dare turn your back to me?! I will have to show you how to properly respect a Skyknight such as myself!”
Shan turns back to the Skyknight as the man runs away “The only respect I have for a Skyknight is in his skill as a fighter. You sir will have to prove yourself before I even consider you worthy of my blade.” Shan turns the leave, the Skyknight in an enraged fury summons the trademark attack of his people, a bright sky blue flame known as SkyFyre. The remainder of the crowd runs at this point leaving Shan and the Skyknight to themselves “So be it, I shall send your body back to your people for burial.”
Anisa twirled for her mother, dressed in an A-line white wedding dress, the hem of the skirt going in an up and down wavy pattern, with a purple flower design on the bodice “I love it darling!” Caroline says, a Kleenex in her hand as her eyes tear up again.
“I don’t know… I like the style, but I feel… fat.”
“Sweetheart I totally understand. Why don’t you try the trumpet style dress again? That one looked nice. It conformed beautifully to your figure and it flared out at the bottom the way you like…”
“Alright momma…” she goes back into the changing room and slips the A-line back on its hanger, handing it to the attendant “The trumpet please…” the attendant nods and leaves them for a few minutes.
An explosion resounds from the center of town, rocking the building with the pressure of it.
“Mom…?” Leaning out of the changing room Anisa looks for her mother “Mom where’d you go?” She grabs the robe and goes out among the piles of dresses that were knocked over during the explosion. Seeing her mom’s foot under one of the piles she quickly pulls the dresses off her “Mom??”
“I’m fine honey, just help me up…” Caroline takes Anisa’s offered hand and, standing up, wipes the dust off her dress “You stay here darling, see about finding that trumpet dress, I’m going to go find your betrothed.” Caroline walks out the door, not giving Anisa the chance to object. The attendant taps Anisa on the shoulder and presents her with the dress in question, ushering her back into the changing room.
“Hi.” Shan walks up, covered in sparkling soot “Odd day huh?”
Before Anisa can lean out and reply the attendant ushers him back out the door, points down the street and says “Mom went that way. Shoo now, go.”
“Yes ma’am.” Shan leaves after Caroline.
Anisa walks out of the room in a flowy white dress, the dress decorated in blue roses along the bodice, diamonds glittering around the hem of the skirt. She sighs as she looks in the mirror “This is way to gaudy for me…” looking around the dusty room she sees a simple white gown, the only one still on its dummy, and goes over to it. When she touches the gown a small pattern appears on the hem of the skirt, a line of light blue rose buds “This is perfect!”
“Uh… When’d we get that???” The attendant looks at the dress a little shocked
Not listening Anisa pulls the dress off the dummy and goes into the changing room, quickly donning the dress. She then grabs a long veil that sits atop her head, held there by a crown of roses, and flows down about her, past her feet. Then she swirls and twirls, admiring the way the dress clings to her.
“Um, ma’am…?” The attendant bows at the entry way.
“Yes…? What is it?”
“Firstly, some men came by asking about a woman matching your description, second, your mother has yet to return and it’s almost time for your ceremony, and third, I could not find that dress on our roster.”
“The dress isn’t on the roster?? Why not??” Anisa’s face falls, she looks heartbroken at the thought of not being able to wear her perfect wedding dress.
“Worry not ma’am I simply cannot find it on the roster, which means, I cannot in good faith sell it to you.” The door opens and Caroline enters
“Come along dear, your chariot awaits.” Caroline holds open the door, showing Anisa find a chariot awaiting her outside.
Anisa’s face flushes a light pink “Mom is this really happening…?”
"Yes, now get in, you've more surprises still to come." She winks at Anisa.
Anisa follows her mother’s directions and climbs in to the chariot.
Caroline gets in with her and it takes off toward the church.
Nervously Anisa threads her fingers through her mother’s “I’m so nervous momma…”
"He'd better show." Caroline grips her hand as she drums her fingers "The stubborn man..."
“Who are you talking about momma?”
"You'll see." Caroline winks at her daughter as they pull up to the church.
Anisa gulps softly, nervously gnawing on her lip “I’m not sure if I can do this momma… I’m scared…”
"Don't be baby, you'll do fine, just be happy that you found a man who'll out live you." Caroline winks playfully, stepping out of the chariot.
Anisa smiles in return, following her mom out of the chariot “If he doesn’t get himself killed… I mean you do remember who my father is right??”
"Just who exactly am I?" John stands at the top steps of the church, smiling softly at Anisa as she walks up them.
"Other than my daddy, you’re my future husband's worst enemy..." she smiles slyly.
"Not anymore, my clan has been disbanded from the main body, as of today I hold no power what so ever." He kisses her cheek "You look absolutely beautiful my child."
"No power? But daddy... What happened?? Why has the clan been-" Caroline cuts her off.
"Darling... We'll answer those questions later, but today it is your wedding day. A day to look forward, to the future, with love in our eyes and hope in our hearts"
"Now come along, we shouldn't keep Shan from his bride." John winks at her softly
"After you daddy..." Anisa wraps her arm around his as a soft wind blows her veil back behind her.
John guides her into the church, and to the isle. She gulps softly, her grip tightening on his arm. Shan smiles back at her from the end of the aisle, John slowly takes a step forward. She blushes softly, smiling back at him, following her father's pace as they walk the length of the aisle. They reach the end of the aisle, and John hands her off to Shan. Still blushing Anisa stands with Shan, marveling to herself about how perfect this day was. John steps up to the altar and starts off the ceremony.
"Do you Shan take Anisa to be your wife?"
"And do you Anisa take Shan to be your husband?"
Her blush spreads across her cheeks as a lone tear of joy slides down her cheek, softly she whispers "I do."
"Then I now pronounce you betrothed." John looks at Shan "You may kiss the bride."
Shan smiles, lifts the veil to kiss Anisa, just as their lips touch the door is busted in, Anisa jumps, her hand tightening on Shan's.
Armed guards in Skyknight blue storm in and line either side of the aisle, two fully armed Knights walk between them and up to us "Hello John, Caroline, may we ask what's going on here?"
Anisa stands in front of Shan, strategically placing his hands over her stomach "It's obviously a wedding. And I don't remember inviting you two. So get lost."
"Ah, a young vamp, I hope she's ready for what's to come" The first one says rather tauntingly.
"Yes, or else she might not live to bear." The second snickers.
"Cain and Able, might I ask what you're doing here?" John steps forward.
Caroline stands in front of Anisa, her arms crossed over her chest "Yes... Do tell why you want to ruin our lovely daughter's wedding day..."
"I had heard your daughter had died." The first, Cain.
"Besides, we’re only looking into the destruction of one of our officers." The second, Able.
Anisa grins "Really? The council bought that? What'd she tell you? I was crushed to death? Honestly I thought someone other than Kail would've figured it out... Vampyre's don't die being crushed. And no one here would mess with anyone who's low enough to crash a wedding."
"Only stop said person officer from doing his job of punishing those who need punished." Cain smirks wickedly
"Like the old man who ran into and bad mouthed said officer." Able shares the grin.
"Anisa, stop trying to talk to them, they and the council will believe whatever they want." Shan speaks up, softly pulling her behind him as he starts to leave "I shall see you both later John, Caroline."
Anisa glares, her eyes turning a light blue "Shan... I do not appreciate them threatening you..."
Caroline shoves Anisa toward the back door "Fight it out later. We'll see you soon darling, now go."
"Did she just say Shan?"
"I do believe she did." They both grin wickedly as the guards shut, bar and block the door
"Shit..." Shan puts his head in his hand.
Anisa's eyes continue to get darker, still shaded blue, as the temperature in the room drops, ten degrees every second "I really don't appreciate this..."
"I'm sorry Anisa." Shan softly knocks her out.
She hits the floor with a soft thud, the temperature in the room returning to normal.
"Now why would he do that?" Cain asks.
"Is he hoping we'll spare her once he's dead?" Able jokingly replies.
"I think I might, just to taste that flesh of hers." Cain licks his lips.
"He's thinking it'll be so much easier to kill you both without her." Shan slowly pulls out a mask.
"Shan! NO!!" Caroline jumps and reaches to stop him.
"What's going on here?" John seems at a loss.
"Shan if she wakes she won't understand! Please don't do this!"
"I have to..." He puts on the mask and barks a howl, a tear falling as he snaps, drawing a huge sword from nowhere and cutting the guards in half, grabbing Anisa and running through the now open door, spreading his wings to full force as he transforms into a giant dragon.
"Wow..." John falls into a pew and stares after them "I had no idea..."
"Oh John..." Caroline sits beside him, crying deeply.