Writer Notes: This contains one bitch of a scene to prepare.
Warnings: backflash! arguing, inner thoughts, discussions of past events, and plots of future ones.
Immortality. So many wanted it. They thought it a gift, an advantage, and they would kill for it if it was so easily obtained. Latimere knew different. He had watched the ages wash away, build anew, and then wash away again. With every age, millions lost, but some of those precious to him.
But he still had Lacarra, his little faithful sister. If she had washed away from the start, would he still be here?
Perhaps, but his mind would be long gone.
Or was his mind already gone and he was just holding on for Lacarra’s sake?
Even at this low, she was still there, calling to him, assuring him that all would be fine. Latimere was not as sure. He never was. In his heart, he knew the truth of it all.
“Latimere, come down!” Lacarra shouted. “Please, brother, let me help you!”
“It was not your fault! Come down now and let us be gone before the night!”
Lacarra was the strong one. She always was. The things he put her through, how would he ever forgive himself?
And if she walked away?
Where did that leave Latimere?
Did he fall apart now? Let his lost love destroy everything they had worked so hard for?
That would make him a fool, but wasn’t he? He had believed he could change his very nature and live peacefully. The exact opposite had happened and a young girl was dead.
Lacarra said it wasn’t his fault, but Latimere? Here he would sit and think about it. Could this all have been avoided? And since it wasn’t, what would he do?
“Did you check the perimeter?”
“Yes, a thousand times, yes! Of course, no one can see us. No one is here.”
“If they found out about us…” The Elf shifted on his feet nervously. “…that would be very bad for you.”
“No one is here, Vaiden.”
“You worry too much, my love.” Zarah took his hands.
“And you should worry more. If the council found out…”
“They will never know, never suspect me.”
“They trust me more than anyone else to do what is necessary for the Vampire Empire. The royals haven’t a clue I have left the castle.”
“And you’re being overconfident. That’s when you get caught.”
“Vaiden…everything’s fine. Between my intellect and your amazing skills, who could find us?”
“The one you least expect.”
“And who is that?” she smiled before leaning in for a kiss.
The one out for revenge.
“You? You all along?”
“You seemed surprised, Ms. Dellawood. Did it never occur to you a Vampire would want other Vampires dead?”
“These weren’t just other Vampires! They were our royals! Children, Latimere, you had Vaiden kill children!”
“Oh please, he’s done a lot worse before and would have if I instructed him to.”
“Does he know…?”
“That I’m the one who hired him? No, I had a messenger make the deals. Sadly, he died shortly after Vaiden agreed. As I said before, no one else alive knows that you and Vaiden were involved in the assassination of the Vampire royalty.”
“But I suspect, if the enemies of the Vampires at that time had known, they would praise you, Vaiden, and me for our good graces in stopping the war.”
“Stopping the war?” Zarah shook her head. “That was Gabriel and his ambassadors. They stopped the war!”
“You honestly believe that?” Latimere raised an eyebrow. “The Elves, Serpents, Felines, even the Trolls? No one would have even considered peace if the Vampires still ruled.”
“And you expect me to believe you had them killed for peace?”
“No, I don’t care what you think.”
“You SHOULD! Because now I know the truth and don’t you think for a second that I’ll keep this from Vaiden or the rest of us!”
“Do what you want Ms. Dellawood. What is the worst that can happen?”
“To me? Mostly nothing. I’m already under enough scrutiny from the Vampire community for not wanting to follow along in the Coristors’ reform. What is a little assassination plot? I would be more worried what the Vampires might do to you and your former Elvin lover.”
“No, you should be afraid! When Vaiden finds out…”
“He’ll what?!” Latimere snapped. “Do you not remember, Ms. Dellawood, who has his daughters?”
“Leave them out of this!”
“I attend to for as long as I can, but if you threaten me or my estates, I will fight back and unlike any other foe you have ever faced, Ms. Dellawood, I do not lose.”
“What do you plan to do to us?” Zarah then asked.
“Do to you?” It made him chuckle. “Nothing, my dear. I have no reason to do anything to you.”
“Nothing? Not even after all this?”
“You’ll find I’m resourceful as well as forgiving, but cross me and you won’t live long enough to feel regret.”
“I know you’re there. Why not come in?”
“Your powers are growing.” Gregory began. “You will be strong enough to take down Latimere Greenbrooke soon.”
“Yes, but not soon enough.” Julianna chuckled.
“But that’s not all, what is on your mind? Surely there’s more?”
“Why are you making deals with Harry Coristor?”
“Is that it?” she laughed. “Oh, my poor Elf, you misunderstand. We’re not making deals with him. We’re just using him. He’ll give us everything we need to take down our enemies and then we’ll just toss him aside.”
“What if he doesn’t go down so easily?” Gregory asked.
“You just said I’m almost powerful enough to take down Latimere Greenbrooke. What is Harry Coristor to him?”
“And what about the rest of the Vampires? Harry Coristor isn’t just any Vampire. He’s the head of reform. They’re all counting on him to end their crisis.”
“Yes, you’re right. We’ll have to gain their trust over his and then be done with him.”
“Or we could use the Marshals.” Gregory added.
“The Marshals? The supernatural killing squad, I hadn’t even thought of them.”
“I suppose killing them all would be better then sitting and wondering if the Vampires would stay under our control.” Julianna smiled at herself in the mirror. “Yes, we’ll have to bring in the Marshals and blood bind them to my will.”
“That is…risky, my dear.”
“Isn’t this all risky? And so exciting! Soon everything we have worked so hard for will be ours, Gregory!”
“No longer will we hide in the shadows and let those Humans rule everything. It is ours for the taking.”
“Then shouldn’t we take it all?” Gregory smiled.