New Kingdom: European Court Ch. 10byMicKay©
Thanks to WorldHistoryBuff for editing this chapter. For those who have noticed the hard changes in the POV, the editor does catch, correct and suggests improvements. Unfortunately, the copy and paste function eliminates the *** used in the transition. I hope the following chapter is better.
Alena paced in front of the library doors. After checking on the children, she had returned to the rooms she shared with Gabriel but found the apartment empty. Reaching through her mind to find his thoughts and eventually his location, she had been slightly startled to discover a barrier that she could not breach. She had felt the tension increase throughout the house while she was tending to Abigail but had not yet discovered the cause.
Now, having tracked Gabriel's location in the library with his three brothers, Alena anxiously paced in the foyer. She stopped by the door hoping to hear some of the conversation that would explain the current rise of emotions but she quickly discovered that the brothers were using their natural, telepathic skills to communicate to each other. The only sounds were occasional explicative outbursts from Tecumseh or quiet groans from Antony. She knew that her eavesdropping was inexcusable but the separation from Gabriel's mind was pushing her to the brink of panic.
As the hours passed, Alena finally sat in one of the ornate chairs that graced the foyer of Antony's home. She sat not because she was tired but for the fact that she could see the effects of her pacing on the worn fibers of the carpet. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and rested her head against the cushioned back of the chair. Thinking of her children, she felt a vision form behind her eyelids and suddenly she was watching them as they sat together watching television.
"I need to get them out of this house," she murmured quietly.
"Get who out of the house?" Iona asked.
Snapping her eyes open, Alena looked around and was surprised to find that she remained alone in the room. Her heartbeat increased from its preternatural speed as she wondered if she was possibly having a breakdown.
"Alena!" her sister's voice snapped.
"What?" she whispered.
"How are you doing this?" Iona asked. "I can hear you as though you were standing in the same room with me."
"So I'm not crazy," Alena said with a sigh.
"The jury is still out on that. You're definitely compulsive obsessive something."
"Can you imagine what Edward or Gabriel would think if they saw either of us right now?" Iona asked.
"Gabe's already worried about me," Alena answered. "But maybe we've developed a new skill and he would be happy that I'm finally becoming more vampire than human."
"So do you think we can communicate silently?" Iona asked suddenly standing next to Alena. When her sister gasped in surprise, she then asked, "Get spooked much?"
"How did you do that?"
"Move here so quickly."
"You really need to work on your skills," Iona answered with a laugh. "So do you think we can communicate telepathically?"
"I don't know. Think of something and I'll try to hear."
After a few seconds, Alena said, "I can see your bed. Quit picturing the object and get your mind out of the gutter."
"I can't think of anything to say without picturing it," Iona replied but sobered when she saw her sister's wistful gaze towards the library.
"They've been in there for hours," Alena whispered. "What's going on?"
"Edward blocked me out several hours ago so I asked him the same thing," Iona responded. "Apparently, they are going into battle soon and Gabriel has an ingenious plan that requires some assistance from .... others."
"An innocent peace offering that could be dangerous for the messenger. This is not a war for the Third Creation alone. Others are being required to ... participate."
"The children?" Alena asked but was relieved when Iona shook her head.
"No, Gabriel is probably incapable of forming any plan that could harm you or those kids," Iona answered. "Don't worry. He's not sacrificing any innocents. Just asking for a volunteer to be the Trojan Horse."
Before Alena could ask for an explanation, the library door opened and Edward walked out. Iona immediately leaped to her mate. With a brief glance of acknowledgment to Alena, Edward led his mate up the stairs. Tec and Antony soon followed Edward's exit but neither paused to look at Alena. She remained motionless in her seat waiting for Gabriel.
Alena was staring at the door when his large frame filled her vision. In that brief moment, she finally saw the warrior that others feared. His massive stature appeared indestructible. His head was bent down but she could see his anger from his rigid posture and clenched jaws. When he looked up, the icy glare from his dark eyes told her that he was capable of immeasurable wrath. Although his appearance frightened her, it was the loss of contact with her mate that kept Alena paralyzed in the chair. When he heard her gasp, Gabriel turned away and took a deep breath.
"Alena. I'm sorry. Just give me a minute."
The sound of his voice in her head broke the spell and she quickly moved from the chair to his side. The connection with her mate had always been strong even before she had changed. But now, feeling him in her mind and standing so close to his body sent a jolt of arousal through her body. When Gabriel looked at her, his eyes sparkled with mischief and his wicked grin let her know that his male ego had correctly interpreted her reaction.
"Soon," he said reaching for her hand. "But first, I need to speak with our children."
Gabriel led Alena up the stairs and toward their apartments in silence. Before he opened the door to the children's suite, he paused in the corridor and frowned. Shrugging his shoulders, he opened the door and ushered Alena into the room where Abigail sat watching the television.
The father and daughter looked at each other and then quickly glanced away. Alena smiled as the awkward moment passed between the growing child and uncomfortable parent.
"You find this humorous?"
"Not at all," she replied. "I just realized that misery loves company. I've been uncomfortable with them all day."
"Abigail," Gabriel finally said. "Are you ok ... I mean, how are you?"
"Ok," she barely whispered.
"Good. Where's your brother?"
"Uh...he went to get us some sodas," she answering nervously looking at the door.
Gabriel cast a questioning glance at his mate who merely shrugged her shoulders.
"I'll find him later," he said turning his attention back to his daughter. "I need to discuss some things with you."
"I will be leaving the house in a few hours and I need you to stay near your mother. Please try to tolerate your brother the best you can," he added with a small grin but avoided looking directly at Abigail.
"Josh and I can hear what's going on," the child said walking slowly to her dad. "I know we're too young to help but we know what you have to do."
Gabriel slowly moved his gaze across the room resting on Alena momentarily before looking his daughter in the eye. "I'm sorry, Abigail," he finally said.
"Our failures. Mine and my brothers'. If we hadn't loss control then you wouldn't have to experience any of this conflict."
"Yeah but Josh and I wouldn't even be here if there hadn't been, well, a few indiscretions."
" What have you told her?" Gabriel silently asked Alena.
"Uh, Abigail," Alena started hesitantly, "what are you... what do you know about ...?"
"Only that we are the results of an experiment that incorporated six of Dad's brothers and eventually the two of you when you fed us," she answered simply. "I don't understand the mechanics but we can sense the tension. Especially from Antony."
"God you've grown so much," Gabriel groaned and turned to leave.
"Dad? Wait," Abigail said moving in front of her father. "Was that all you wanted to say?"
Pulling the girl into his arms, Gabriel planted a kiss to the top of her head and said, "You deserve better than you've received."
"I live like a princess," her muffled voice said against his chest.
"I promise that I will not rest until I have put everything back to the way it was. The way it should be," Gabriel vowed and pulled away to leave.
"No," she said tugging at his sleeve. "I'm sorry but I really need to say something."
Alena moved closer and watched silently as her daughter took several deep breaths trying to build her courage. With a quick look to Gabriel, she silently asked him to allow the child the courtesy to speak.
"Sorry," Abigail finally started. "I wanted to tell you, no, I didn't mean tell you, I really meant I wanted to say.... Ok, I need a 'do-over'."
"What?!" Gabriel demanded while Alena laughed.
"Maybe it's time for change," Abigail finally said. "Maybe the old ways have run their course and we need to accept that changes are inevitable."
"You would have these monsters in our world?"
"No. Not the Panthralges, anyway. They have abused the humans and our people but not everyone is guilty. Not everyone had a choice. Josh and I didn't have a choice."
"That's different," Gabriel stated.
"How?" she asked seriously. "How is it different from a human grabbed from the street and changed without any knowledge of what they would become? Or one of your people that were contaminated like Iona or Elise?"
"One rouge newborn can destroy a city within days."
"I'm not saying that we allow them to run wild," she added with a defensive tone. "We could offer rehabilitation for those who can be helped."
"You saved Iona."
"But I couldn't save Elise."
"Well, not everybody can be saved. And everybody won't want to agree to our laws but we could create a system that uses our laws mixed with the human judicial system and incorporate it into something like Edward started with the Council."
"You given this quite a bit of thought," Alena commented.
"Only a few years ago, the New Creation consisted of the original seven and those they had sired," Abigail continued. "Now, Iona has been changed twice, Mom had an interrupted, slow change and Josh and I are, well, the new improved versions," she finished with a grin.
"Abigail," Gabriel finally said. "I'm leaving in a few hours with my brothers to destroy everything that is considered our enemy. Now you want me to consider a white flag."
"I'm not asking you to wave it. Just accept it from those that are slaves to those beasts," she explained.
Alena watched as a silent standoff ensued between father and daughter. While she was positive Gabriel was not angry, she could still see evidence of his frustration in his expression. As the staring continued, Alena realized that her mate was seriously considering the child's suggestion.
"What will you do?" she asked quietly.
"Change plans. Piss off of my brothers, especially Edward."
"Use Abigail's reasoning. He should appreciate it."
"Do you think Anthony will donate his home as a rehab center for vampires?" he asked his daughter.
"Just don't admit anyone named Lindsey, Paris or Charlie and everything should be fine," Abigail said with a laugh.
"I don't even want to know what that means," he said placing a quick kiss on her cheek and moving to the door. "I need to pull them away from their mates and try to sell a plan that I'm not sure about myself."
When Gabriel opened the door, he spotted Joshua in the hall closing the door to his parents' room. In the boy's hands were two opened cans of soda. Taking a quick breath, Gabriel turned to Alena.
"I need to speak to Joshua alone. I'll send him to you in a minute."
"Gabe," she said stopping his exit. "Will I see you before you leave?"
"See, feel and taste," he responded to her quietly but allowed his gaze to roam her body and finally winked at her blush.
Watching her parents' quiet exchange, Abigail turned away with a dramatic gagging sound and returned to her former seat on the couch. Gabriel turned and exited the apartment. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at his son.
"What?" Joshua asked looking everywhere except at his father.
"Uh...yeah," he answered moving the cans behind his back.
"For your sister?" Gabriel asked holding out his hand. "When did this start?"
"She took a drink of mine last week," he answered passing one can to his father's waiting grasp. "I didn't think it would be a big deal."
"Then why are you sneaking?" Gabriel said sampling a taste of the drink and then grimacing.
"Good point. Straight is kind of tough but mixed with cola kind of makes it smooth."
"My son, the vampire bartender," Gabriel murmured crossing the hall and opening the door to his rooms. "It definitely explains the growth spurt," he added motioning Joshua to follow him inside.
"Are you going to tell?"
"Hell no," Gabriel replied with a laugh. "I'll give you credit though. You were stupid to start this but smart enough to realize who you should fear."
"The mama grizzly."
"Seriously. Stop it. Now," Gabriel said growing serious. "You're too young for the whiskey."
"It's helping us to grow," Joshua said in defense.
"Yeah and neither your mother nor I like that. I still can't believe the conversation I just had with your sister."
"Weirded you out, huh?" Joshua asked lifting the soda can to his lips but stopping when he caught his father's glare.
"You have no idea," Gabriel answered taking another drink.
"So," Joshua started. "Was there anything you wanted to discuss with me? Cause I gotta tell ya, Abby is the diplomat. I really don't give a shit if we drop a bomb and start over."
"Tough guy," Gabriel replied with a grin. "Actually that was the plan until our little diplomat stated her case. Have a seat."
The boy sat on one of the couches and watched his father move to the bedroom returning quickly with a wooden box in his hands. When Gabriel finally looked at him, Joshua gasped at the look of anguish in his father's expression.
"You know what we plan for tonight," Gabriel stated. "In all of the years of my existence, I have never been concerned about my welfare. But then I never had ... others ....that depended on my survival."
"Dad, you're not going to lose."
"Most likely, you are correct. But then we now have a drastic change in plans. And there is always a chance," Gabriel said pausing as he traced his fingers over the delicate carvings in the wood. "Joshua, I told your sister that I'm fighting the battle to correct the errors of our people's ways."
"Do you always take the blame for others' failures?"
"You don't understand," his father said leaning forward. "I was the central point. Each of my brothers' was given a kingdom but I was given the task of keeping order in every land."
"You can't control that many people."
"Apparently, I can't keep my son out of the liquor cabinet," Gabriel said with a laugh. "Josh, there is a world that is waiting for you. You and your sister. But I need to fix it before we lose like the first and second creations."
"What does that mean?"
"I have to remove the Panthralges. I'm willing to give the innocents a chance but the Panthralges will never surrender."
"I understand," Joshua murmured. "I see your point."
"While I'm ... away, I will need to break connection with your mother. Because I will not feel her, I need your promise to protect her and your sister."
"You haven't heard everything."
"I promise to keep the peace and not fight with Abs," Joshua added. "We'll be here when you return."
"Josh," Gabriel started staring at his son. "I need you to make me a promise."
"You're starting to scare ... what is it? What do I need to do?"
Gabriel handed the wooden box to his son and waited until he lifted the lid revealing the contents. With a frown, Joshua shut the lid and looked at his father.
"It's not an ordinary blade," Gabriel explained. "It was created to form a covenant. Look at it again."
Complying with his father's request, Joshua lifted the lid and said, "It's fancy but looks dangerous."
"Very perceptive," Gabriel said nodding his head in agreement. "It was used once to kill a powerful ... person. It should now only be used as a ceremonial artifact but I have, unfortunately, have had need to use it several times."
"With a simple flick of the blade, a vampire will instantly cease to exist," Gabriel explained. "No pain. No knowledge of what has occurred."
"A humanitarian disposal of vampires? Interesting."
"With the exception of my brothers, you are the only other person to know of the blade's existence. I'm asking for your word to keep it that way."
"That's the promise?" Joshua asked with a smile. "No problem. God, I thought it was going to be something tragic."
As his father continued staring at him, he whispered, "It is something tragic."
"A blind man can see that my values have changed. The only thing important to me now is my family. If the Panthralges could touch you and your sister...."
"They would consider it taking back what already belongs to them."
"And touching your mother ... if they could take my mate .... It would be worth all of their losses."
Smiling at his father, Joshua nodded and said, "No worries. If one gets within a hundred feet of us, I'll slice and dice him."
"If they get within a hundred feet of you, then they have gone through me. They can't breach this house unless they have destroyed me," he said and then paused before he continued. "If I'm gone, you cannot hide from them nor defeat them."
"What are you asking me to do?" Joshua asked and then stopped as the impact of understanding slammed into him.
His hands trembled as he dropped his gaze to the box in his lap. When he looked back to his father, he forgot to hide the tears that glistened in his eyes. Shaking his head, he allowed the tears to flow down his cheeks.
Gabriel moved barely missing contact with box as it flew passed his head. Joshua stood clinching his fists as the variety of emotions soared through his young mind.
"Fuck you!" the boy finally screamed. "You mother fucking son of a bitch!"
Joshua advanced one stepped toward his father and then hesitated. He started pacing a short path repeating the curses to his father while he continued to cry.
"Joshua," Gabriel said quietly.
"No!" the boy screamed. "How could you ask me to do that? She's the only reason I'm alive!"
"Do you have any idea how difficult this request is for me?"
"Oh, let me think," Joshua snapped, "You ask me to kill her but I'm the one who does the deed. And to clarify, you'll already be dead. The last thing I would see is her...."
Joshua stopped talking when he finally lost all control. He felt his body shaking and swaying until his legs could no longer hold him upright. As he sank to the floor, he felt a swift movement lifting him in the air. When he was able to focus, he saw that he was sitting on the sofa beside his father.
"Joshua," Gabriel said quietly, "Someone has to be prepared to do this. If you refuse, then I will leave a soldier here. Your mother would be afraid and fight him. But with you... she would understand."
"Dad," the boy answered a few moments later. "I'll take the box but I won't need it. You won't let anybody harm her. Not even me."
"Maybe someday I'll understand but right now I feel like someone punched me in the gut and I can't get my breath," Joshua responded.
"Someday, son, you will understand. And when you need me, I'll be there for you."