Chapter 5: Secrets RevealedA Chapter by ghost_skittles
The future starts now Kayla fairy tale is crumbling down where as Valmir is stuck between two life's a dream and reality.
Chapter 5: Secrets Revealed
Valmir's story continues...
I lay on the silk sheets of my chamber's bed, tortured by visions of the Cult and weir wolve's attack on the manor, threatening my beloved Kayla and my friend, Spider. And now, here I am, far below Timisoara in the underground city of Vampires, a place I only lived in as a boy. I was always above ground, robbing blood, fighting in human wars, and establishing some credibility. That last effort was my undoing. It shoved me headlong into a new destiny. One with Kayla, whom I was determined to make my bride. "Kayla!" I call out in my dream. But then, I feel her arms around me, caressing my hot skin with a relieving coolness. I force myself to come out of the dream. I try to open my eyes as I continue to whisper, "Kayla, Kayla."
"Valmir, it is I, your queen." She answers back. Happily I realize I'm not dreaming. I'm with my beloved Kayla. I embrace her and finally come out of my groggy sleep. There beside me is my queen alright. My queen, Alora! And it all comes back to me in a flash. I am not in some new destiny with my beloved Kayla, I am in the destiny I've always known would come to me... the throne of Draco, with Alora reigning beside me. Alora I have always known and loved. So why is Kayla's pull so strong on me?
My mind goes back to that day, many years ago when I climbed up the stairs from the underworld that tunnels up into the church. A church whose elders are all Cult members hiding in plain sight of the citizens of Timisoara. I enter the door that leads to the spiral staircase of the bell tower. I continue climbing up the spiral staircase of the church tower that houses the huge bell, calling us all to festival. Cult and human alike. Only the humans are put into a trance by the vibrations of the bell. A trance that makes them forget they are afraid of us, their mortal enemy. That is how my father is able to claim his human brides. They are in a trance of forgetfulness, and when they come out of that trance they don't realize how they've been captured by a vampire, but still remain mortal. They have always heard that Vampires bite the brides they claim, turning them Vampire, yet they have not been turned Vampire. They don't realize that this is just a myth to keep the humans from guessing the real truth, that they and their entire city are run by the Cult, while they remain mortal, yet unwitting slaves to the citizens that dwell far below Timisoara.
That day so long ago would be my last day to descend into the underworld. It was time for me to enter the mortal world above and find my own way to hide among the citizenry. Now I am back in the underworld and tortured by the truth that I am the new Cult leader. I knew I would have to ascend those stairs again with my father's dead body and spirit him back to his mansion above ground in the dead of night. Do I remain Valmir, the returned war hero who disappeared into the enchanted forest, never to be heard of again? Or would it be wiser to take on a new identity? I realize that I can pull it off, remaining Valmir, youngest son of Draco, returned from the war. I can spin a tale of how I was lost in the forest for all this time, but never found Kayla to give her Camino's gift, and then the forest finally spit me out, just in time to arrive home at my father's death. "The forest must have known somehow that my father was dying and took pity on me." I would claim. I smiled to myself at my clever genius, even though my heart is heavy, knowing I will never see Kayla again. I will remain a grieving bachelor by day and return to my queen by night. I don't stop to think that destiny might unravel my tale of deception.
Kayla's Story Continues...
After a long, soothing soak in a bubble bath, I finally drift off to sleep in my bed chamber. But not for long. Opening my eyes, I hear someone knocking. Rousing myself from a deep sleep, engulfed by dreams of Valmir, I hope it is him at my door, having returned. Then I realize it couldn't be Valmir. The knocking lacks the gentleness of Valmir's touch. I grip my pillow tightly and squeeze my eyes shut to fight back tears of longing for Valmir. Why did Valmir change to that hairy beast? Is he not Cult? All my questions start with Valmir and end with Cult.
The knocking continues incessantly until I drag myself fully awake from my thoughts of Valmir and sit up in bed. But I don't have time to respond to the knocking before I see a tiny light slip through the keyhole of my bedroom door and get bigger and brighter until Sarahia is floating in the air before me, a winged fairy. Then she gets larger, her wings fold behind her and she floats softly to the floor.
Salveri phases through the wall shortly after that like my locked door is of no restriction, and I realize it must have been him who had been pounding on my door, wakening me. I see the worried look on Sarahia's face and I look expectantly at her to explain.
“Kayla, it’s Emerson and Spider. They’re leaving for Timisoara to catch a plane for America. They say they have business there. They've asked me to tell you that you must watch over the manor in their absence.”
"Have they left yet? Why haven't they come to me themselves to bid me goodbye? What is their hurry?" I fire one question after another as I get out of bed and throw on a robe to hurry down the stairs. I'm not prepared for the horrible sight that meets my eyes upon opening my bedroom door.
The house is dark and eerily quiet. It looks as though the entire house is falling apart at the seams. I realize the house must be empty, except for the three of us.
“What about the gypsies or are they all gone too?" I ask in disbelief of what I already know.
"Some that were injured didn’t make it. Even Sarahia's healing abilities weren’t capable of resurrection. At least not yet." Salveri has shifted to human and is explaining to me. The rest have migrated to the other Gypsy safe houses in the area.” The moon light broke in from a hole in the ceiling directly above us. As it shines on us I turn to look searchingly into Sarahia's eyes.
“They’re not on business.” Sarahia admits. She knew I would detect the deception in her eyes and want to know the truth. "They’ve permanently gone. She continues. "The situation that happened here even Spider couldn't handle. Their whereabouts are unknown and it’s time we disappear too." There is a sense of urgency in her words. "There's nothing left for them to teach us now anyway. I sense she is trying to convince herself of that truth. "We must craft our own future from here." As I look into Sarahia's eyes I know she fears these last words the most. She came here for her training. She wasn't sure if she was ready to return to the enchanted forest and her family. The Gypsies had protected her and she them. Now they were gone and Sarahia felt abandoned. I felt abandoned too, left in a house once filled with laughter and love. Now all the magic seemed sucked out of it. There is nothing here for me to stay for. It feels as cold here as the winter that was supposed to kill me four years ago. Four years? It feels like a life time ago.
As we walk solemnly down the stairs, it feels like I'm walking into the unknown. I can’t shake off Valmir being gone and now everything else in the life I have known these past four years is disappearing slowly as well. My future was supposed to be so bright but It doesn't feel like it now or maybe even tomorrow. All I can think of numbly now is that I wanted the comfort of Valmir's arms around me. "Where is he?" I'm crying out in my mind. "Why did he leave like that?" Tears are streaming unchecked down my cheeks as the three of us, hand in hand, descend the creaking stairs of a house we once called home.
Technically this house is Dante's and his guardian sons and daughters, Salveri, my personal guardian being one of them. "Where is Dante?" I wonder, but then assume he's probably in the walls of the house. Or is that where his sons and daughters who protect the house dwell? I know there is a room that all who come here are forbidden to enter. The Gypsies have explained it is too dangerous because only the pure of heart can enter there.
My thoughts flit back to Valmir again. I wonder if Draco is proud that his son is a shifter or whatever he was? Or does he even know? To the gypsies that saw him he must have been the hottest thing on earth. A virile, obscenely handsome man all wrapped around a hairy beast inside. All I wanted was Valmir I didn’t care what manner of beast he could become. It seems he only shifted to protect me and the safe house and everyone in it. He was only monstrous to the enemy, not to me or anyone else who loved him.
I turned to Sarahia. "Do we have enough time for me to look into my vision tool one more time? It's in my private nook in the garden." Sarahia nods and I release both her hand and Salveri's and run to the garden. I snatch the cloth from the mirror. Secretly I'm hoping to find Valmir, and true to my desire, there he is, then I gasp. He is not alone. He is with a beautiful woman that he is calling his queen. "What does this mean?" But before I can pursue the thought any longer the vision changes and I see myself. I appear to be a sad and broken woman. Then the mirror seems to splinter and crack and in each crack I see different aspects of my life... me as a nurturing mother, loving my daughter and my son... and then my own death at the hands of my Vampire son, Sam Taylor. Yet somehow I know that my daughter is not Vampire, like her brother. She must be a half sister. I must have a human husband somewhere in my future that produces a human daughter. But how do I end up with a Vampire son? I know I have been healed of being Vampire. Both my parents are human, so I don't know how it is that I have started to turn in the first place. And then the whole truth begins to unveil itself to me. A bell is ringing. Instinctively I put my hands to my ears. "No! don't listen to it!" I'm shouting inside my head. What is it that I know?
I'm sitting there in the grass, trying to understand. Trying to grasp all that I have seen in the splintering fragments. Maybe the mirror is wrong. Maybe the fact that it's shattering means it is losing its magic and is giving me garbled information that may not really be about me. The cracking has gotten worse as if some magical pressure is overwhelming it. But I can't shake the unshakable truth. It is my life I saw. My death I saw. I can feel the unforgiving emotions I have about my son. Tears begin to fall as I look into the mirror at me for what I truly am. An exiled princess that is doomed to misfortune. But why? Glass begins to break and fall into the soft grass. My vision tool is just a normal mirror now, with no power to answer the questions swirling in my head. I become aware that Sarahia is at my side. "How long has she been there?" I wonder, but my question is answered when she says,
“Kayla you can change your future. It's not written in stone.” Wiping away my tears I rise to my feet and watch as the garden around me begins to change, crumbling and succumbing to death. The green garden has turned into a gray and black mass of withering vegetation. Magic is leaving this place as if the fairytale is over. The lovely decorations that surrounded me for years are all gone. The only thing that seems to have color is the bathrobe I threw on my body when Sarahia and Salveri awakened me earlier. The sky is getting light now and I can see the state of destruction that the house and garden are in. I reach down into the grass and pick up a shard of the mirror as my souvenir of this dying fairytale world. Perhaps now I can return to my village and find answers to the questions still swirling in my head. I know some of it has something to do with festival time and a bell ringing in the church tower. And then I remember that it is festival time again. Perhaps the bell I heard in my vision was actually the bell that signals the beginning of festival time now.
Salveri has shifted back into a gigantic cat purring at my leg. I prefer his cat self any day. At least then there is no temptation to throw myself into his arms. If I didn’t have these two special friends and protectors by my side I wouldn't be sane right now. I would have cracked like the glass of my magical mirror. As I walk through the dying garden I gaze into its fountain and see my reflection there. I'm exactly who I want to be today. A freak. An outcast. I know I wouldn't exchange this truth for anything else. The Cult may have ruined my life, but it happened, and I remember the wise words of Emerson... “If you don’t let go of what you hate the most you’ll become it.” I guess I didn’t let go of it because my face in the reflection of the fountain isn’t that of the loving mother I saw in the vision of myself, It is the face of a woman with eyes that would define her as Cult blood. My pointy teeth that just make me look guiltier are back now too. “What did Valmir see in me that no one else could.” I think, as I aimlessly ripple the fountain waters with my hand. When the water stills I see my human face again. I'm taken aback. Perhaps it is just my grief that makes me see myself as Cult.
I lift my head high and look into Sarahia's eyes and then into Salveri's, who has shifted to human again, and take comfort that they still believe in me, even if I don't believe in myself. Salveri looks back at me a little puzzled. "Kayla you look beautiful but you seem to have something on your mind. Maybe you should let us in on it." I never can hide my feelings completely from my guardian or any other magical creature in this place.
"Before we leave like everyone else has, we need to get some answers and I have a feeling the answers lie in festival time. Did you hear the bell?” Looking back at the glass that is in my hand I am determined to remember what has happened here. I turn my attention back to my friends. I need to dress for the journey to Timisoara, and Salveri..." I turn to him and smile, "You either need to dress yourself and remain in human form, or you need to stay my guardian cat. It wouldn't do to have people seeing a woman and a young girl wandering the streets of Timisoara with a naked man." Sarahia and I begin to giggle as Salveri sheepishly turns himself back into a wooden cat.
"I must devise a suitable disguise if I am to return to a place I've been banished from," I tell my friends. "I don't know if the years have been enough for me to be unrecognizable to them. I wish the Gypsies, with their little known powers of disguising people were still here to help."
Suddenly my guardian is on alert when we pass the door that leads to Dante's chamber. Sarahia turns toward Salveri and seems to be having a telepathic communication with my guardian. Then she turns back to me.
"It's Dante, she exclaims. Something is wrong. We must enter his chamber." Sarahia has slept in Dante's chamber without being killed by the mammoth Guardian, and Salveri is Dante's son. I am the only one that might not be pure enough of heart to survive going into Dante's chamber. But I know I must brave it. We push against the door and if falls in. The wood is weakening quicker now. It is as if invisible termites are destroying the house. We peer into the darkness, hesitant to enter into it's eerie silence. But Salveri hesitates only momentarily before he bounds into the darkness and then we hear him call out in anguish, "Father!" And we both rush in after him.
We can hear heavy breathing, so Sarahia begins to glow, giving light to the room and revealing Dante in a crumple on the floor, his son, now in human form, kneeling and bending over him to determine what is wrong. I can see blood seeping out from under Dante's massive form as he seems to lay dying on the floor. Salveri gently turns his father from face down on the floor to his side so that he might examine what wounds the blood is coming from and their severity. Then we hear Dante's booming voice.
"Don't blame yourselves for this. Emerson and Spider have done this. They broke the rule of secrecy to protect the manor from the Cult by bringing Valmir here. Only Vampires that are in danger and not protected by the Cult are ever brought here, like you, Kayla, and because of what they did your own healing hasn't held. Have you noticed you are turning Vampire again?" He pauses to inhale but it is too painful and he begins to cough up blood.
Even though we know there is nothing we can do to save him we still instinctively try to approach closer to help, but he waves us away and continues, his breathing and speaking labored. “Kayla, I know you have a lot of questions and have received few answers. But there are answers for you. A time will come when you will rise to greatness, but I cannot say more to you about that now." Dante then turns his attention to Sarahia. "Sweet Fairy Child," He addresses her. I've enjoyed so much time spent with you. Your training has gone well." He rasps for another breath only to find himself coughing up blood again, but he continues to motion us to stay our ground as he begins to speak again. “You remind me of my only daughter I lost because I wasn’t strong enough to protect her. I thought that I might lose you as well when weir wolves attacked the manor, but Kayla rushed in blindly to save you at her own peril. That is what you call courage." Then turning back to me, continues, "Kayla, your heart beats like ours. You may be part Cult, whether by blood or by some other means, but there is no doubt that you’ll do the right thing." His eyes turned then to look at Salveri. "My child you no longer have restraints because of this house. You’re free. Being mortal is difficult but it pays off. Yeah, you die one day but don’t fear it. You will still have the magical ability to shape shift from cat to man. This can shelter you, but remember not to get lost in the beast within you."
Then Dante falls from his side to his back, eyes glazed over in a stare. In grief and concern Sarahia begins to glow brightly, revealing that Dante's chamber is not just a room for Dante, but the control room of the house. A heart, like that of a human heart, only larger, is actually suspended above us, beating very slowly. Then suddenly it is beating faster, as if it is Dante's own heart, trying to hold him here from dying, and we see that Dante is not dead as we have feared he might be, but in the brightness of Sarahia's glow we see his wounds are very grave. He's missing chunks of his body and protruding through these gaping wounds are broken bones
"Sarahia!" I shriek, half out of my head. "Can't you heal him the way you healed me?" I'm sobbing and Salveri is holding me back from throwing myself onto Dante.
"Kayla, I wish I could but certain injuries are too great even for me to heal.” I can see she is just as distressed as I, and feeling helpless.
Then we see Dante rise up and grasp the heart in his hands. Then his massive body falls back down with a huge thud, still grasping the heart and he begins to caress it, as if it somehow smooths his pain to do so.
Our attention is suddenly jerked away from the dying mammoth as we hear a deadly howling. Our minds are trying to make sense of this new sound, then realize in horror that it is the weir wolves returning for yet another vile and malicious attack wave against the manor. The house has been at overtime for hours, protecting itself, and when the Gypsies left it seemed to drain the house completely of magic. Now the weir wolves are back to ravage the house again with no mercy. Somehow I know deep within me they aren’t going to stop until we are dead or they are. I know too that the house isn’t going to withstand their onslaught this time.
Dante speaks once more and for the last time. We gave it our all, dear ones. The cost this time may have been too high. You have stayed while others have deserted, but it is time now for even you to go. Wherever you end up, don't forget who you are. Being who you are might drive you crazy, but never deny your own magic. I will see you all in the afterlife, and don't be surprised to learn you can feel me always watching over you until we meet again." His body began to glow and then in a huge blinding flash, vanished from our view.
The house started twitching then, as if convulsing over the loss of its one true Guardian... Dante. We stand numbly, then we can feel the horrific vibration of the furniture flinging itself about in every room, bouncing off the walls as if trying to escape what's coming. The roof shingles set up a continual clattering and rattling. Not in drum roll like the first day I arrived. It felt more like a count down to some dreadful end, or beginning. I wasn't sure which. I had never heard it before.
Salveri said in calm, even tones, "We have to go now. This is the manor's last hurrah. It is going to kill everything here. Even us, if we remain." At that, we all ran out of Dante's chamber, trying to clear the house and get as far as we can from it. As we run full speed, Salveri shifts back to a gigantic cat and before I know it he has scooped me up, along with Sarahia. Salveri continues to grow bigger and wider beneath us. He is no longer the guardian that listened to me pour my heart to him or cry bitter tears or laugh myself senseless, over the years he has been my protector and confident. He has turned into a gigantic lion. Trees that stand in his way are no obstacle to him. The entire enchanted forest gives way to him as he approaches.
He has placed us on his back so that we can see what we are leaving behind. The garden, the balcony, all crumbling and burying anything unlucky enough to be in the way of their fall. Guardians are shooting out of the rattling walls of the house, as it too crumbles to the ground, the enemy too close being buried under its rubble. Our home is a war zone once more, for the last time. Weir wolves try growing themselves larger by magic to overpower the Guardians now that the manor is a pile of rubble. Screaming and agonizing sounds are emitting and echoing so much we can't tell for sure whether the sounds originate from the house rubble, guardians, or from the weir wolves.
Now the very grounds take up the fight, opening where weir wolves stand on them to swallow them up and bury them for eternity. Wolves and guardians are slinging through the air all around us, never to rise again from where they land. Those weir wolves who dared to abandon the fight to follow us, or run away, I'm not sure which, are being burned by the white hot flames of Sarahia's hands, eyes, and mouth, as she stands perched on Salveri's rump, his tail wrapped firmly around her to keep her from flinging off his back at his speed; her wings, like flattened white diamonds holding rigidly out to serve as a balancing rudder. When there are no more wolves following after us Sarahia calls to me and says, "I can see my people. They have been keeping up with us and are calling me home to them. Good luck, my dear friend. You know where I live. Don't be a stranger." With that she suddenly shrank to a small bright light, like a firefly and zips out of my view. Tears are coursing down my cheeks, so many emotions flow through me all at once for all I've been through these past hours, as I hang on to Salveri for dear life. Then I turn myself around and lay down, burying my face in his thick, comforting fur as I let the torrent of tears rush forth while my body heaves with great sobs.
As the enchanted forest continues to give way to Salveri's rushing body through it we finally arrive at the road leading to the glowing city lights of Timisoara. Salveri has slowed to a swift walk now and my body is lulled to sleep under the sway of his body. My last thoughts before all goes black to slumber is, "Where will I go now?" I have forgotten all about Festival and finding the truths that have eluded me or even that there is a warrant over my head, "Dead or Alive".
© 2012 ghost_skittles
A Bullet Shot In The Winter
New Britain, CT
Aboutwell i been writting seen i was little and i though hey maybe i should write a story and i am working on now... hopefully people can tell me what the think and please be brutally honest. thank you fo.. more..
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