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View character profile for: Victoria St. George
View character profile for: Lord William Newman
View character profile for: Margaret
Reunion Part 2
She was unsure of the passage of time. It could have been minutes or hours, but when she awoke from her feeding, Margaret was still alive and seemingly none worse for the wear.
The vessel offered her a tissue and small mirror to clean herself up and then excused herself once that was done.
Lord William entered, smiling, and she suspected the offer of his vessel was not only an offer to feed her but also to see how her control had fared in her absence. This was not uncommon among her kind, an act serving several motives at once.
“Now then, care for some tea?” he asked.
“I would be delighted,” she said.
The dour butler appeared with a tray loaded not only with tea but also the proper accouterments. He set it on a table on a table and disappeared without a word, and Lord William began pouring.
“One lump or two?” he asked.
“One please,” she said.
Using a pair of tongs, he lifted a sugar cube out of a small bowl and gently dropped into her tea.
“Milk?” he asked.
“No thank you,” she said.
She waited until he had poured his tea and added milk and sugar before lifting the cup from her saucer and taking a delicate sip.
“So, where have you been these past 57 years?” he asked.
An uncommonly direct question from him, and it required an uncommonly direct answer.
“The Germans have acquired a device which can reach through time and space to bring people to this juncture,” she said. “It brought me here. It is currently located in a castle in Romania. The person overseeing it is a Frenchman named Jacques Grande. He attempted to woo me to side with the Germans. I refused, naturally, and shortly afterward made good my escape.”
“Yes, with a most unusual girl,” he said. “According to her medical reports, she somehow shares traits with members of the feline family.”
“Yes,” she said. “From what I gathered, she is from the future, though I am unsure if such mixing is commonplace or not.
“She was provided with some education, but little in the ways of functioning in society,” she said. “It is my impression the man she calls her father was more interested in creating such hybrids than actually raising them.”
“Hmm,” he said. “And then you two almost were thrown almost immediately into a mission of sabotage against the Germans.”
“Yes,” she said. “It was a rather…lively…affair, made especially so by the appearance of a necromancer.”
“Yes, Necrosis,” he said, and snorted with disdain.
“What do you know of him?” she asked.
His eyes narrowed in concentration, and she could tell his mind was reaching back through over five centuries’ worth of memories.
She knew this was the true challenge among her kind: possessing the strength of both mind and will to endure that amount of time. How many descendants did he have? Did he keep track of them, as she did with hers? Or had the effort become too much for him?
“There is very little I can tell you about him, given his kind and ours do not interact socially,” he said. “It is also impossible to put someone among his followers, but the same can be said for putting one of his among ours.
“I can tell you he is among the oldest and most powerful of his kind,” he said. “He has existed for at least three centuries, that I can say for certain. Beyond that, nothing, just suppositions.”
“He does know how to speak English, French, and German,” she said. “When he did speak, I noticed an accent which I believe was Scandinavian.”
“For one of his kind to have lived this long, they are usually driven by a loss, not by whim,” he said. “If we were able to examine his past, I would wager he lost someone very important to him: a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling. I suppose that is why his kind takes up new names, to hide that loss.”
“What of our kind in Germany?” she asked. “Do they support their country’s leader?”
He shook his head.
“A few of the younger ones, but they have little influence,” he said. “We only involve ourselves in human politics when they directly involve our interests.
“The elders of Germany believe this conflict will last another three years at most, so they have done their best to stay out of it,” he said. “However, they take no action against the failed painter either.”
She nodded. Among her kind, three years was nothing.
“Speaking of interests, what of mine?” she asked.
He nodded again as if he had been expecting her question.
“How we each conduct our personal interests is up to each individual,” he said. “If one excuses themselves without making contingencies, for whatever the reason, others are free to step in.”
She nodded. It would be as if she was starting over.
“However, I did take the liberty of securing your home,” he said, reaching into his waistcoat and removing a folded piece of paper, which he then slid across the table.
She took it and opened it. It was a deed to her estate, which had been held in his name, reverting back to her. She noted it had been dated this very day.
Equal parts of joy and gratitude swept through her, so much so they threatened to overwhelm her self-control. She took a moment to compose herself.
“Thank you, Lord William,” she said, the barest whisper of emotion making its way into her words.
“You are very welcome,” he said. “Every person should have a home.”
The rest of the night was spent talking about what had happened in her absence, and it was but a few minutes before sunrise when they finished.
She stood to leave, and he responded in kind.
“Two more things before you leave,” he said. “This James Michaelson that Necrosis spoke of, he is known to us. Our appearance does fool most humans, but not his kind. What do you intend to do about him?”
“That will largely depend on him,” she said. “If he is willing to work with me and this rather…motley…crew, all well and good. But if not…other arrangements will have to be made.”
“Finally, should you ever tire of the sustenance provided by your hosts, feel free to call upon Margaret,” he said. “I have put her at your disposal.”
She dipped her head in gratitude.
“Thank you, Lord William,” she said.
“Good day, Countess,” he said, taking her hand and kissing it. “I will count the seconds until we meet again.”
“Flatterer,” she said and took her leave.