Trials and Infatuations 6

"Then, we both owe Elena our lives," said Michael. "All the more reason to remove the spells upon her that make her what Xavier created." He paced the room. "I think it is time to search her memories. You have a blood bond with her. Until we can break it, we can use it. You can get past her barriers better than I can. Even as her lifemate, there are sections withheld from m, and I know that is Xavier's doing. You can find them."

"I searched when I was with her, I think he used actual training this time. I think he feared spells can be broken and she was to important to risk. but I will try again" he said in a tired tone

"You can do that as I go out looking for the journals," said Michael. "For now, feed from me and then I will go out to feed again. This night has been one big dragon ride."

His head snapped up with shock “what did you say?”

"That tonight has been a big dragon ride," said Michael. "Modern people say a roller coaster ride, but I think dragon ride fits tonight better. Much faster, and more dangerous." Michael chuckled. "I've never flown on a dragon. Why do you look so shocked?"

He stood up and started pacing, he was quiet and had a looking on his face that let him know he was in deep thought “when you were at the monastery was there anyone of the dragonseeker bloodline there?” He asked after a moment

"Of course," said Michael. "There are many from all over the world. Dominic Dragonseeker and I often talked about there being places such as the monastery one every continent we live on. I have not had time to visit with the prince and talk about it, but it would mean so much more to the couples who wish to rest if they can go to rest in a place familiar to them, that they call home, and not just the Carpathian Mountains."

“We need to find one, Xavier said something about how to keep Elena away from dragon seekers but I don’t know why”

"It is widely known that Xavier desired Dragonseeker blood," said Michael. "He kidnapped Rhiannon after killing her lifemate, then forced her to live on and bare his children. After his two daughters and son were born, he trapped his daughters, forced his son and his children to work for him, and then killed Rhiannon. It was a sad day for all of us to learn of Rhiannon's passing centuries after it had happened. But I'm sure that the prince and his sister would not mind too much. They are of Dragonseeker descent, though only Suzianna bears the dragonseeker symbol as Antony was marked to become the next prince and so he was kept pure Dubrinsky."

“We should see them as soon as possible, I will take Elena to them while you search for the books” he said and before Micheal could say anything Elena’s scream echoed the cave

Michael was by her side in a flash, holding he hand, saying, "What is the matter, milady? You were sleeping peacefully before."

She sat up and suddenly hugged him, Marcus left at that giving them privacy “I had a very bad dream...there was this...thing...he looked like a made but his nails were like talons and....and his teeth were stained with blood yet he was beautiful....but he was ripping into me...tearing my flesh!” She cried

"That was the image of a vampire," said Michael. "How do you have such vivid dreams when you do not have physical sight?" He sighed. "It was just a dream. I would never let such a monster touch you. Lay back down and sleep."

“No please!” She said hugging him tighter “hold me lease I’m scared” she said and he could feel fear coming from her, he could also feel pain from her, she was in a large amount of physical pain

"Promise to not try and kill me again?" he asked. "Before, you tried to kill me, though I felt nothing. I want a life with you, Elena. A real life." He looked at Marcus. "We cannot wait for tomorrow. A vampire invaded her dreams and I fear what would happen if a master got his hands on her. Let us go talk to the prince tonight."

Marcus came over “Elena are you scared?” He asked and she nodded with a whimper “are you hurting anywhere?” He asked and she nodded again “where where you Elena in your dream tell me” he said with urgency “I was in a house.....I could smell lavender....” she said “what else think Elena “ he said “um..smoke, I smelled fire wood....I could see the moon outside of the window to the right” she said and Marcus stood up “Elena does not feel emotions, she was not dreaming she was in someone’s mind, stay here with her” he said and disappeared

When he was gone she still shook in his arms “I didn’t want to kill you....I wanted to start the conversation...you were disappointed in me and wanted me to be like you...I’ve heard you talk about it...but please don’t make me have emotions...I never want to feel this way”

"But when you hold our first child, would you not want to feel joy?" he asked. "When they learn to fly or shift for the first time, would you not want to feel pride? Elena, you cannot live without emotion. I know, because I spent over 4000 years of my existence without them, and I have not truly lived until the day you came into my life. I want to do the conversion after the spells put upon you have been broken. I do not know if they will cause you to go through the conversion easily or kill you. I am ensuring your safety first before we even talk about it."

She pulled back slightly “but you don’t talk to me...not like you do with others...” she said with tears falling down her face. She softly reached up and touched the side of his face, she didn’t know he was in her mind when a memory came to her, it was him standing next to Xavier back when he was a student. She watched him through a hole in a secret passage she hid in, he remembered this day too it was a week before he started to hunt his experiments. He had planned to kill Xavier that day and hid a knife in his book but when he went to reach for it, it was not there, from her memory he now knew why. She saw him reaching for the knife, but she also saw something he didn’t, behind him was a sentry ward, a magical golem that would act if it’s master was being attacked, they are made of stone and very hard to kill, it took a powerful spell to take them down and only the one who made it could use do so. If he would have attacked Xavier that night the golem would not have stopped until he was dead. He saw as he reached for the knife she turned it to mist so his hand went right through it.

"Elena, you did not need to protect me," he said. "I believe that there are some things not meant for women to do or hear. I do not wish to distress you with such talk. Once you are stronger with your natural abilities and have learned more of the world, then we can talk of darker things, but I will not have you upset because of things I must do as a hunter, alright?" Then, something hit him. "Elena... this memory... how did you know I had a knife when you are only supposed to see souls? My knife did not have a soul and you saw me clearly."

She moved away from him them and he felt her mind close to him and her go numb once more “I was born blind” she said looking down at her hands “I don’t count my birth as the day I was born.....because the first time I saw you was the first time I actually felt alive” she said in a soft tone

He went to her and kissed her deeply. He had to. He did not know what she meant, that she went blind after seeing him, but in that moment, he did not care. He had to kiss her, make love to her all over again.

-------

"We can still force the information from you," Gregori said with a growl.

"That will not be necessary," said Mikhail. "What the information is, she will only tell those she deems above her in social rank. She is a Guardian of all, and they often live by Lycan hierarchy, but by Carpathian law. Anastasia, who do you see as your alpha."

Antony's heart began to pound. He was too weak to be on the pedestal next to her as Caldwell was for Xaviera, and he was the prince. The Carpathian people would not risk him. But that didn't stop him from trying to get to her once the question was asked. The hunter holding him was just stronger than him at the moment.

She was silent for a moment "I will not answer that" she said in a weak tone "I am not trying to be difficult, but I am on trial here, no one else. all I can ask is you look at my memories more closely when I was with him" they noticed her tone changed. She seemed more respectful which meant she really was hiding something

"To protect them," said Mikhail. "It seems that what we took from Xaviera's mind is once again true. Anastasia has been labeled the Carpathian's Guardian Angel, and it appears she is that for at least one Carpathian." He stole a quick glance at a blushing Antony. "That being said, you did willingly side with the enemy. Tell us about River. What family does she and her lifemate hail from?"

“Why does that matter they are no longer here” she said in a low tone trying to sit up but failed to do so “and I am no angel, if you were alive I’m sure you all would have took your turns yelling at me, that being said the reason I asked you too look closer is because”

“Because you had no emotions” savannah said looking at the others “it’s hard to see but I think I am right, gregori, mother, father am I seeing this right?” She said replaying the memories with them again

"I believe you are, ma petite," said Gregori. "But how did she do it?"

"It does not matter," said Mikhail. "All that matters is that we learn about River to conduct her trial, and then pass judgement upon her when she is brought before us. From what I have found in the memories, River is also a victim of this Ragnar, but that does not mean she is a friend to the Carpathian people. Which is shocking, considering she is a Dragonseeker and their loyalty has never been questioned."

"That makes her actions even more disturbing," said Gregori. "However, even looking into Anastasia's memories, we have learned enough to judge her. I would like to see her for myself."

"You have passed the time of needing to gain knowledge, Gregori," said Mikhail with a chuckle. "You should not be looking for more."

"The pursuit of knowledge never..." he looked at Savannah who cleared her throat. "Okay, knowledge has hurt some people, but only because they didn't use it right."

"Thank you, Anastasia," said Mikhail. "It is good to have you back with us. Right quick, are these recent memories true? Of you having Antony..."

"What happened there is not part of the trial!" Antony said. "I brought her back, that is all that counts."

"True," said Mikhail. "Now for Alexandru and Liliana, and Anya and Dracul. I need the former prince and his second on the pedestal."

Erik removed Anastasia and sat her down next to Antony, who instantly knelt down and placed his body between her and everyone else protectively, while only appearing to help her sit up to see what was happening.

"Why have you decided that now, in the midst of this new enemy, to take your rest?" asked Mikhail.

“This is not our enemy to fight and our time has long past, we feel the call of the earth beckoning us home, the magic has returned to the earth, we feel it getting healthier and we took it as a sign for us to join it” Alex said

“He is right...though “ she said hesitantly “I feel I should warn it was very recently that it had, the prince should look into that at some point, but none the less I feel the call to rest as well, the magic weighs heavy on my soul and with as much blood as there is on my hands I fear it will take me and my lifemate a long time to come to be with you “ she said to her father “it’s been a long road papa and I have missed you terribly “ she said and gregori could see how tired she really was, and a image of her as a child running into his arms flashed before his eyes

"The same for us as well," said Gregori, choking up.

"This brings us joy and sadness at the same time," said Mikhail. "Joy to be with our beloved children again, but sadness that you will be leaving your own children behind. Bring in Xaviera. I think it is time to deliver our decisions."

Once Xaviera and Caldwell were in the chamber, everyone waited with baited breath. Mikhail and Gregori, two legends among their people, waited for there to be silence before speaking.

"First, the decision on Anya and Alexandru, along with their lifemates, being granted rest," said Mikhail. "Personally, we feel it is their decision when they wish to rest, however, we grant them one year to say their goodbyes to family and friends, and to prepare their sons for their departure." Many women wept upon hearing the news, and the few slayers within the crowd gave their salute to Anya, showing that she did not have to bid them farewell, that they would continue their duty with honor, just as she had taught them, and to promise they would meet her in the next world. "For Anastasia Drubrinsky, I saw no evidence that showed she was loyal to the enemy when she worked with them, nor was it a happy time for her. She had a job and conducted herself with grace and poise. She needs healing, blood, rest, and time with her family. I place her in Antony's care for the time being, but with Suzianna's supervision. Some things in her memories warrant it." Antony did not look away when Mikhail glared at him, for which Mikhail was proud of knowing Antony had come to terms with his failure and would make it right. "This is also to ensure that no repeats of such heroics are repeated Anastasia. Lastly, Xaviera of the Mages. We saw much in your past that you did not even realize at the time. You did not wake up naturally, but the spell broken by an evil hand. The same evil hand that Anastasia plotted against, though she played the loyal concubine and general. Though you saw an illusion, Gregori was able to see past it. Ragnar manipulated your mind at first, but you were telling the truth when you said you made conscious decisions to be evil later. We feel that, should you not have had your powers, the outcome would have been different. Therefore, we give you a choice. Erik, place her back on the pedestal."

When Xaviera was sitting there, she weakly looked up. She saw Caldwell go to be with her, but she shook her head. This was her punishment, not his. She would take it with dignity.

"You can either keep your magic and sentence your lifemate to death with you," said Gregori. "Or you can live as a natural born Carpathian and keep your knowledge of magic as it could be of use to our people, but your magical abilities will be stripped from you. What is your choice."

Without hesitation, she said, "I do not care if I have magic or not, so long as I can be with Caldwell and have a life with him. I gladly give up all my magic for him and our future together."

"So be it," said Mikhail with approval.

A blue light seemed to rise up and engulf Xaviera. They looked like small dragons to her, but to others, they resembled wil-o'-the-wisp. She felt the magic drain from her, but it wasn't as bad as she though. No part of her felt missing, nothing seemed too difficult to do. One moment, there was a small tingle and then it was gone, like when a finger goes numb for a brief time and then suddenly returns to normal. She still felt like herself, and what energy she had still remained.

The light had changed from blue to red, indicating darkness. Xaviera gasped at that, seeing how she had perverted her own magic. She was glad to see it go.

"It is done," said Gregori. "Now then, you will learn about your abilities, and your lifemate will aid you. Every year for the next century, you will check in with the prince, his second, and Suzianna, where they will check your memories freely to see if you have conspired against the Carpathian people. After that, you will check in every decade for a century, and lastly, every century for one millennia. Once that is done, you will be free to seek rest when you and your lifemate decide. Your lifemate and any children you bare during this time of probation, shall we call it, will be considered innocent bystanders that must deal with your failings with you for the next 1200 years."

"Thank you for your kindness," said Xaviera. "I know it was a difficult decision to come to, and allowing me the choice was more for Caldwell than myself, but allowing me to decide if he lives or dies with me... there was no question on what I would choose. I will dedicate my life to aiding the Carpathian people. If I may ask, I would like to help the young ones study true magic again. May I do so when my probation is over?"

"That will be up to the prince," said Mikhail. "For now, we are tired. Call upon us again when River has been brought for her trial."

"See you soon, Anya," said Gregori before they left. "I cannot wait to hug my wild girl again."

“Papa I...” Anya began but was cut off when Anastasia suddenly spoke “river is dead, I killed her” she said sternly

"I saw the illusion in your mind," said Gregori. "She is a powerful soul manipulator, and I would very much like to talk to her. When she comes out of hiding, please escort her here."

"Wait until they hear about Elena," said one hunter.

"Who is this now?" asked Mikhail, halting his exit.

"Um... she is a human with Carpathian abilities," said Erik, looking down and kicking a pebble like a guilty child.

"I don't understand," said Gregori.

"She is human with Carpathian abilities," restated Erik. "The most shocking is that she is connected to all Carpathians as if she were the prince, but the need to protect that she instills in everyone near her is dangerous. We don't know the full extent of her abilities."

"Where is she?" asked Gregori, a growl to his voice.

"Um... we don't actually know," said Erik.

"You mean to say that there are two possible enemies out there running free because neither the prince or his second could keep tabs on them?" asked Mikhail. "Boys, it appears you have much growing to do in the time you have left with your parents. I suggest you start learning what it means to be the prince of the Carpathians..."

"And his second, as well as the true meaning behind the title of the Dark One," said Gregori.

"Find both women and bring them here for their trials," Mikhail ordered. "I will not have them possibly aiding Ragnar in escaping his prison and destroying our people."

“You ask a lot, River will not come without a fight and even I can say it will take many people to bring her down and as for this Elena woman even I feel the need to protect her, she is inhumanly beautiful and her soul is the purest I have ever seen, Anastasia and Megan were poisoned by silver bane and she comes in out of nowhere and removes it, even though it had already gone to their bones” Suzi said in a upset tone “River is temperamental but can be reasonable but this Elena woman.....I have a bad feeling about her, more so then river, though for a while we thought river was controlling Anthony and Erik because they were always defending her, even when she hurt Anastasia “ she said with a growl “but go ahead and tell them who you think this Elena girl is to you erik”

"To be honest, when I am near her, I feel the need to protect her like she is my own daughter," said Erik.

"She gives off an air of someone far older than us," pointed out Antony. "She is innocent, but ancient."

"Away from her, I don't feel near as strong of a desire, but I still feel the need to protect her," said Erik.

"We will have to determine much about her," said Mikhail. "For now, we go to rest. Good night."

With that, they were gone.

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