Trouble Brews 5

He laid her in the ground. He played with his daughters, making sure that they felt his love. He did not want them to ever know a day of unhappiness with him. When they went to bed for the day, he watched the sun come up through thick sunglasses. Before he could fry in the sun, however, he went to sleep next to Meghan.

------

"Thank you," he said. "I still do not understand something. You said that because I am experiencing something unfamiliar, I feel weak. That should not have allowed those young ones to control me in any way."

“Oh? The mind is a powerful thing, if you think you are weak you will become weak” she said stitching the wound

"I see," he said. "When will Elena be arriving?"

“That I can not say but I will aid you until she comes, here drink this, it will help you heal even faster after you eat, while you do I’ll go bring in the food” she said patting his arm like a mother “don’t worry hunter in this long life of mine I have learned things have to balance out eventually “ she said in a caring tone

"In my many centuries on this earth," he said, "I have yet to see this balance. Evil still seems to out weigh the good. There are moments I fear Elena is too far into the darker end of things. I know she had to do things to survive, but some of her actions worry me." He looked at the woman. "How do I know she is of the light, sister? I know she is my light, but could I be blinded by my love for her or is she as good as all other women? One moment, she is as pure as snow, and then she is darker than coal. I don't even know where I stand with her and it frightens me."

“Well in my experience people can be both, all you have to decide is if you can truly love her as she is, I don’t know her well enough to tell you how she truly is but maybe you you find out” she said going to bring him his food

"That's just the thing," he said, sitting up gingerly, "just as I believe I know her, she does something to make me question my point of view. Talking to her has not helped, because I do not understand the way she speaks half of the time. I feel at a loss to handle this. Put me in a pit of vampires, and I will excel, but with my lifemate, I find myself lacking."

She brought him a veggie burger with all the fixings with French fries and a glass of Coca Cola “ for hunters as old as you trust is hard to gain maybe it’s the same for her, tell me about her, how you feel” she said placing the food in front of him

"She is so beautiful, it hurts to look at her," he said as he slowly ate. "Not just her features but her soul. Just seeing her smile, it made the hell I lived through worth it. The years of being unable to do the honorable thing and greet the dawn, or even turn vampire to feel. I was so far beyond the limit, that I shouldn't have been around, yet, one look at her and it all made sense: I was spared death to begin my path to become worthy of her. I have destroyed villages for slights against unmated women of my kind, and yet, I know that if anyone threatened her, I would tear the world asunder. When I bound us together, my trust and loyalty instantly went to her. I would never take that back or change it. I feel as if such a small word as love does not do my feelings justice, but it is the only word I have. She is my life, sister, and I cannot help to see honor in her actions. That is what scares me the most, that I might see honor in a place it might not exist, such as destroying villages for fun. There has to be a reason for it, I know it, but am I looking for something that does not exist?" He looked at the woman. "All I do know is that, even if there is no honor there, I would still stand by her. After all, I have done things where my own honor was compromised because of it, so I will not condemn her if that is the case. She is my woman, and no matter what, I will be by her side."

“Have you told her this?” She said as she started to go to work on his other wounds “unspoken words sometimes will make the biggest difference”

"I don't know when to tell her," he said. "There are times when I can but she is distant, so telling her would not be effective. But when she is close... telling her then would be almost as if I'm saying goodbye rather than professing my love. We do not have normal days like other Carpathians where we can simply sit and be together. We are always hunted."

“There is never a right time to say such words and there never is a wrong time, she will remember them when she needs too, but she will never know them if you don’t speak them” she said still bandaging his leg

"I also feel she is keeping far too much from me," he said. "I am not a lackey, sister, but her partner. I will stand next to her as my own people condemn her, and face whatever they throw at her. I am the Phoenix Slayer, the one who ends the never ending and destroyer of cities. Yet, I can't seem to protect my woman."

“If you are know pen to end things then why don’t you end the distance you feel between you two? Like I said I don’t know her well but from my short interactions with her I can tell she is a maze of a woman, but once you find the right path I think you will find the treasure hidden deep within such a maze”

He smiled. "She is more confusing than the Minotaur's labyrinth, with all the corridors changing and nothing is as it seems. Finding the right path is not easy. My string was cut long ago, and I am hopelessly lost in her. Part of me enjoys the changes after so long, but a very small part wishes to have things easy for me." he put his food down. "That part... that part is not satisfied that, even with what little trust she has shown me, she refuses to rely solely on me and refuses to share everything with me. The greatest portion simply enjoys she is mine, but that one part..."

“All I can say is talk to her dear, nothing will get fix if the problem is not presented “ she said finishing the bandage “What here a moment I’ll go fix you some tea, I know that might be weird for yo but trust me it will do a lot of good”

Michael laid his food on the table next to the bed and laid down. He felt... tired. He wanted sleep. He closed his eyes, but it was not long before the woman came back. He slowly sat up.

"How long was I like that?" he asked.

“You took a cat nap dear , don’t worry you were only asleep for about a half an hour” he said handing him a cup of tea, the aroma was soothing.

"I shouldn't need naps," he said with a yawn. "I should stay up all night, and sleep in the ground during the day."

“My dear boy did you ever ask her why she started this transition of yours?” She asked tucking the blankets around him

micheal.....I need you, but do not come as yourself, I need you to mask your appearance, look like Marcus. You are of the same height and body size, it will be easy. You wanted to know who has been touching me, who I have been fighting with as you slept, well come to me then, but do not speak and do not touch him
———————-

Antony nodded and went to the trial room. Gregori paced while Mikhail talked with his lifemate and daughter. Gregori looked at Antony as he stepped into the mostly empty room. Savannah went to Gregori, followed by Mikhail and Raven.

"You have news," Gregori asked, making it a statement.

"Yes," said Antony grimly. "Those here have heard the news but I am here to tell you in person." He looked Gregori in the eye, though his expression caused Savannah to hold her lifemate's hand in worry. "Anya Daratrazanoff-Dragonseeker and Dracul Dragonseeker have been murdered this night and their murderer, the Red Mage named Elena of the Mages, escaped."

"Antony, tell them everything," said Alexandru.

"Fearing the choice ahead of me," Antony said, clenching his fist but looking a distraught Gregori in the eye all the same, "I allowed her escape so that no other was murdered. However, I have requested a trial after her capture and They will be here to extract every memory from her. There will be no other option for it so that we can find her true innocence or guilt. I am sorry, but Anya and Dracul will not be able to join you as scheduled."

Antony had expected Savannah to collapse, but it was Gregori instead. He cried, as if he had lost his daughter for all time. He roared his denial as Savannah, also distraught over the news, hugged him tightly to help him get his emotions under control.

"Antony," Mikhail said, his throat tight, "why did you not..."

"I felt that Michael, her lifemate, is the only one that can stop her," said Antony. "I did not want to order more of our people to die by her hand just to capture her."

"While normally I would commend you for wanting to save our people," said Mikhail, "your lack of action will lead only to more blood being spilled. The hunt for the Red Mage will begin, but proceed with caution."

“What hunt? It’s very obvious we are not the ones hunting her. In less then a minute she killed not one but two of our oldest and most experienced warriors. Unless it’s full out war I don’t see us having a chance and even then I fear we will be the losing end” said a hunter. By the way everyone was silent and looking it was clear to Anthony and the ancestors that everyone felt the same way.

“Our home has never been safe and our lives have never been easy but this....maybe it’s time we leave the mountains...even our most sacred cave is not safe anymore. We are sitting ducks and she has made it very clear it’s duck season” said another

“I can’t rest well knowing she is out there, i fear for my family, my child has just began to walk yet he walks on blood stained ground” said another

“Maybe we should use river, she is just as guilty has her and has already been sentenced to death, if anyone has a chance of taking her down it’s her and if she dies doing it, so what? Her sentence would be carried out, two birds one stone” said another hunter

Just as that one hunter had said that Anthony noticed river in the door way. The look of pain on her face told him she just heard everything that hunter just said.

Antony said, "Due to the threat, I have stayed River's execution until the Red Mage is caught. River is our best bet on capturing the Red Mage. I want it noted that, in helping capture the Red Mage once she is healed that River has shown she is not as guilty as everyone suspects and deserves a second chance."

"Antony," Alexandru said in frustration.

"I will not budge on this," Antony said. "River has helped not only me but countless other Carpathians, only to be labeled a traitor. I am asking for another trial before an ultimate decision."

Mikhail though about for a moment and said, "I will not call off the execution. I will put it on hold only because your reasoning has merit in that she may be the only one to capture, if not kill, the Red Mage. Her power was evident when she stepped onto the platform. If she proves to us that she is our ally and not our enemy, I will then and only then grant the request for a second trial. However, if she runs after healed and/or after the capture of the Red Mage, it will be seen as an admission of guilt. Her lifemate is to remain in his cell until this is all determined."

Antony nodded and went to River to provide comfort and to escort her back to her room. When they were alone, he held out Elena's gift.

"I was told to give this to you," he said. "The person said you would have to have your mind healed to use it, but that you would know what to do."

She was silent and she was looking at the ground, he heard the sound of tears hitting the floor. Without looking at him she took the stick from his hand

"What's wrong?" Antony asked. "Is it... what was said?"

Without answering and before he could realize what was happen river shoved the sharp twig into her neck, her blood squirted onto him and she started to fall

He caught her and pulled the twig out. He called for a healer and tried his best to stem the blood flow. Why would you do this, River?

i won’t be used again...I was used my whole life and then Draiden.....he used me too....I can’t bare it any longer.... the twig started to grow until a full staff laid on the ground thats his staff.....you guys get what you want...my death and my help....two birds...one stone she said as the blood pooled around her and he felt her soul leave her body

Erik and I do not want your death, River, he said. I want to ask for your help, not demand it. Erik wants you to be a part of his family, to give you a support system. Your son wants to love you. We ask nothing of you than to be who you are, to help us when asked as we would do for you, and have done. Erik and I are fighting to keep you with us, River. You have a good heart, are courageous, and one hell of a fighter. You have more wisdom in you than most ancients.

River, Draiden said in her mind, that may have been my body, but not my heart or soul. If I had not been manipulated by that spirit, do you think I would have harmed you in such a way? Never! I will not ask for a second chance, I have not earned that trust. I am asking you to live for something and demand that you return to your body. It does not have to be me you live for, but it must be something because if you don't get back to your body, I will drag you back. And dragon lady, I and my dragon will not lose you to my weakness ever again.

She was silent for what seemed like forever, Anthony had managed to heal the wound himself. No healer had come and he would have a stern talking to whoever was keeping them from him. However, Draiden did come, which was something. Rivers voice was low but it reached both of their mindsyour voices hurts me, why...can’t I rest.....you people want me to die or use me but why won’t you let me rest she said in a heartbreaking tone as she was forced back into her body. With the blood loss she seems to pale, sudden Anthony saw all the blood that had pooled around them start to soak into the staff

Draiden put his arms around her and said, I know it looks that way, dragon lady. However, is that what is truly in Antony's mind? Is it how Erik's heart leads him? Or how my soul calls to you? No. They all speak of love, River. His soul brushed hers, and such intense emotion filled her, she was nearly overwhelmed. We are fighting for you, River. Fighting to keep you with us, not for what you can give us, but because you deserve happiness. Antony kicked the staff out of the blood, not liking the feel of it. Look at a person's soul, if nothing else. A soul cannot lie or be changed. You are strong enough, I know you will be able to read souls like one reads a book. What do you see in Antony's soul?

Her soul appeared before them, there was so many tears in it, it was barely holding together and her light was more then faded it was tainted i will not be deceived again...I thought I read your soul right too Draiden.....I was wrong, if my own abilities fail me then I will not survive in this cruel world. she said in a distant tone.

River, how can we prove we love you and want to only help? Antony asked, the honesty and goodness in his voice alone appealed to her. How can we get you to live? Your son calls for you, your brothers wish to be with you. You are needed, and not for your gifts or what you can do, but simply because you are alive.

lies! I heard you wanted to sacrifice me to the red mage! And.... she trailed off and looked at something behind them, when they looked they saw nothing, but by the look in her eyes she was definitely seeing something

River, what do you see? Antony asked. Let me try to aid you. I can protect you if you give me the chance.

After a moment she looked back at them anthony your mate is in trouble

Antony instantly disappeared. Draiden, however, did not leave her mind. I ask the same question, River, as well as another. How can we get you to fight to live? And... how can I get you to see that I'm not the tainted, manipulated man anymore?

She looked at him hold my body closer

He took her in his arms gently, cradling her. Protecting her. Loving her. River... I love you, dragon lady. I will make sure you never go a day without knowing that truth.

He suddenly felt her bite deeply into his neck.
———————

Elena was more then exhausted when she walked up to Marcus that stood to greet her covered in blood coming out of the study where her uncle was “is it done?” She asked “of course but with him who knows how long it will last” he said “as long as his minds broken for even a few hours it’s all I need” she said going to go in there but Marcus stopped her “you should rest, I can keep torturing him so his mind stays broken while you recover “ he said “we can’t risk that, I’ll be fine” she said “have you even eaten today?” He asked with concern “eating is not the problem, it took everything I had to hold those two minds before I killed them” she said “why didn’t you just kill them and save your energy?” He asked . She was silent for a moment “I don’t know...it does not matter. It’s done with, I’ll make you a deal, I’ll eat while I work” she said and he smirked “I’ll bring you something then” he said “no you rest I’ll have the butlers do it” she said “if your not going to rest neither am I” He said sternly “are you blackmailing me?” She said and he smiled “of course” he answered confidently. She sighed “at least eat then” she said holding up her wrist. Without hesitation he bit in deeply and began to feed

Xayvion giggled madly and mumbled something.

When he finished Elena went into the room and shut the door and sat a crossed from her uncle “how are you feeling uncle?”

"Like a jackalope in a licorice pond!" he said. "Flying through soup, is what I am!"

She chuckled “well that’s good to hear uncle, I’m glade you are enjoying your time here...are you hungry?”

"No!" he screamed. "Hurt! Go away!" The look in his eyes told her he may not be in his right mind but he still had some memories. "You go climb the cheese fort! I stay at the moon tomato!"

A butler came in and said, "If I may, my cousin was like this after electroshock therapy torture. He isn't hungry, he wants you to run back to your allies while he uses this as his HQ. Or he's hungry but memories from before he lost his mind makes him fearful to eat."

She got up and went over two him “my dear uncle how can you not be hungry you must keep up your strength, it’s been weeks since you have eaten and since I’m now pregnant with your children I think it’s best if you eat”

"Lumps in the chicken?" he asked.

"Babies?" the butler interpreted.

She looked at the butler “I can understand him you may go” she said and he left. She then looked back at her uncle “yes babies, you know my father made my body fertile” she said standing right in front of him “if you can agree to change out partner ship to one equality, meaning no colors no forced anything, I might be willing to tart over uncle”

He growled. "No one like Lord Potato! I special fruitcake!"

She shook her head like she was disappointed “that makes me sad to hear uncle I guess you leave me no choice” she said walking away from him “you see if you would have agreed I was going to give you what you always wanted, me” she said sitting down “but now I’ll have you watch as someone else has what you never will” she said

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