The Dawn of Wynter Ch. 04byelle137©
Hello my lovely (and loyal) readers! First, Happy New Year! I just want to thank you for being so patient as I write this story. Sometimes it comes easy, writing twenty pages is nothing; other days one page is like trying to climb Everest. So thanks for hanging in there. This chapter is longer than the ones I've posted previously and its actually the first time I've ever written a sex scene. So with that said I hope it's fun, steamy and fulfilling! I hope you enjoy it! Can't wait to write the next installment!
Oh, also, I don't have an editor, so any mistakes in here are completely my own doing! I apologize in advance if anything has managed to slip past my eyes.
Chapter 4: The Council
Xander Mavros strode into the vast chambers of the Vyrkaryan congress, his expression completely masking any emotions. He took his seat amongst his companions and waited for the meeting to begin. His eyes swept around the room taking in every person present. There were still a few who had not arrived yet. The room was the largest on the grounds and it was conveniently set in the center of the building. It was an open chamber, everything visible from the center where they all sat in large dark oak chairs, covered in mother of pearl in the most intricate designs. The ceilings were high as a cathedral and there were beautiful hand painted glass windows in every direction. The floor was covered in the best materials money could buy.
At the center of the room was the symbol of their assembly set in dark marble and gold relief. It depicted an intricate sun and moon, opposite each other transforming over time. The transformation of the full moon to a crescent moon and the glowing sun to a setting one made a circle around the marble, which was dark as the midnight sky. It was like a black abyss, in the center of it two mirrored Vs created a diamond in strips of gold. A real diamond, the size of a baseball, sat at the center of that, the open dome above it allowing the sun to strike it, the rays playing off the diamonds many facets, throwing light in every direction.
The meeting had been called the night before by the vampire Dymas Aotolycus. Xander gave a snort, thinking what a coincidence his name reflected his true nature. He was a thieving sneaky bastard. Xander knew his day was not going to be a good one and had prepared himself for the worst kind. He saw the object of his thoughts standing across from him, speaking to his closest friend, Iffret, she was yet another member Xander considered to be filth. She was a Vānara, a type of shifter with roots in India, and one of the few cross-species that existed. It was said Brahma created the Vānara to have the semblance of monkeys. He had yet to see her in her true form, but he knew from experience she could take on any shape she willed. Being a vampire as well, she was quite the lethal combination.
They wore such smug expressions on their faces. He looked away for fear his hate would cause him to throttle them both before the meeting had even begun. To his right were the twins Drina and Kalevi, considered his most trustworthy friends. They were pale as snow, long blonde hair straight as a board ran the length of their backs. The sisters were identical in every way, sharing all the hard angles, the high cheekbones, large full lips, but the only difference was their eyes. Drina's were blue as the sea and Kalevi as black as the night sky. Next to them sat Payton, a southern gentleman from Louisiana. Shen, one of the original samurai warriors to ever exist was in the seat next to him; both men he liked. To his left were Merrick, Lexine, Carmena, and Ariana.
They were 'unknowns', as he deemed them. When it came to making decisions, he wasn't sure which side they would take if a vote was needed. They were easily swayed either way, a trait he did not like at all. If votes needed to be bought then he would have to resort to it, because he knew that eventually there would be a vote and it would dictate the future of those he had spent millennia caring for. He had been told by one of his sources in the States that there had been a tracker following Philippe and Kailan, which was standard procedure when a new member came into their ranks. What was not standard however was in the process he had seen Zara and her unusual traits at some nightclub.
The tracker had immediately informed Dymas, his master. Xander had been furious. If Philippe hadn't been able to discern he was being followed then they were all in deep trouble. He'd been working for over a millennia to ensure the people in this room didn't find out about Zara, especially Dymas and Iffret. He quickly went to work the night before, calling in all his favours and attempting to salvage the situation before any rash decisions were made, by either party.
This meeting was very last minute Xander, cutting it very close Philippe's voice filled his head.
Xander looked around before spotting Philippe entering from the opposite hall. He stood up and embraced his old friend clapping him on the back, a tight smile crossing his face.
Yes, I assume it was to throw us all off course and to try and make sure you stayed in the States.
Interesting. I'd like to know how the hell they had me followed without my being aware of it. It's quite troubling Xander. There have been developments since we last spoke. You should know before this little meeting proceeds.
What kind of developments? His tone was uneasy.
Look, don't have a fit, okay? I know you said not to mention anything to Zara, but I told her about myself.
You did what?! Xander's voice bellowed in Philippe's head.
Well, more showed her than told her but she knows we are similar in certain ways, obviously I left some things out but she took it quite well. That is before she yelled at me for half an hour about hiding it from her. I'm pretty sure I'd still have bruises on my body if I was not a vampire. You are in for some pain my friend, when she finds out about --
Philippe...you're rambling. I wish for once you could just do things my way and not improvise! He sighed heavily, his body slumping slightly. This day is getting worse by the minute. He leaned his head forward, pinching the bridge of his nose, his head too full of thoughts, plans and worry.
Philippe was beginning to become irritated with his friend. Yes, he had swayed slightly from his request but he felt it was the best choice at the time.
Xander, you were not there, you can't possibly know how she has dealt with everything --
Xander's head snapped up. Ofcourse I know! He yelled, the sound filling both their heads. Philippe flinched a bit at the force of his statement.
I've made it my business to know since she was born into this life! I feel it through our bond, however hard I try to block, it seeps through. Her emotions are more potent than you realize. His mouth was pressed into a hard line, his body tense once more. There was no use arguing now, what was done was done. They would have to move forward carefully from here.
We will discuss this later Philippe. I want to know exactly what happened. For now, however, let's try and get through this damned mockery of a meeting.
I see Dymas and Iffret are at the center of this...what else is new? Shit disturbing prick.
Xander chuckled lightly. You're speaking like an American.
Yes, well, Zara has quite a mouth on her. In all dialects...I have been taught well. Do you know how many languages that woman can speak? I never thought I would hear the words "arrogant cocksucker" in Ancient Egyptian!
Just then, the call to begin the meeting was made, and everyone was seated in their designated seat. A few wore curious expressions, unsure why they were here.
"Greetings my friends!" Dymas called out grandly, his arms held open in front of him.
"I thank you for making it here in such short notice," his eyes lingered on Philippe with distaste. He definitely was not happy that Philippe was there. The Frenchman merely smiled and nodded his head to him in return.
"Why have you called us here Dymas? Surely it can't be so serious that The Senate could not handle it, without our interference?" Kalevi asked.
"Oh I think you will find this is quite serious Kalevi. As you know, we have delayed the introduction of a new member to our ranks, Kailan Wynters. His induction to our council was meant to take place last month, however we have stumbled upon some information that causes hesitation. We have a liar and conspirator in our midst, maybe more than one," he drawled, his eyes lingering on Xander and Philippe longer than necessary.
Xander let out a booming laugh, everyone turned to him, some wearing expressions of surprise, others curiosity and worry.
"And who pray tell has been deceiving us these past few millennia may I ask?"
Dymas stared at Xander for a moment, his lips pressed together, before he sneered, "You," a look of complete satisfaction crossing his face, that of a cat, catching a mouse.
The room had gone considerably quiet, the only sound was coming from an open window, a bird flapping its wings and calling out to its youngling.
Xander merely snorted, "Please continue Dymas, I do so enjoy hearing your theories on all subjects, especially my, oh what was it? Lying and conspiring?"
"You deny it?" he asked, astounded.
"Of course I deny it," he replied, his tone bored, "I deny any such claim against me! I live to provide justice to all our kind, or have you forgotten I was the one who was charged with creating this system? Perhaps we should be looking elsewhere for deceivers and liars Dymas," he looked at him pointedly.
"I have proof that your dear friend Philippe has been hiding an anomaly in our kind!" he snapped, turning his back to him to face the other members, his long robes, which were customary to wear in the council chambers, went swishing behind him. This was obviously not going the way he planned. He thought both Philippe and Xander would protest profusely, causing a scene, possibly even challenging him.
"A young woman by the name of...Zara Wynters has come to our attention," he continued with a wide grin on his face, "If I'm correct, and I'm sure I am as I had Merrick check the records, you sired her almost two millennia ago, did you not Mavros?"
"Yes, what of it?" he asked, exasperated, his voice still held an air of boredom. It would be no use to yell and create a scene. He had to play this cool and calm. Getting riled up would be playing right into Dymas' hands. Philippe however was grasping the arm rests of his chair so tightly; Xander heard the wood protesting against his clenched fists. What had him so angry all of a sudden? The mere mention of Zara's name had Philippe glaring at Dymas.
"She is the anomaly I speak of, Kailan Wynters' own sister. I am told she has unique traits, specifically a set of big bright silver eyes. It should have been reported immediately, especially since we have asked her brother to join our council. As a council meant to rule our kind, we must explore all anomalies that present themselves. Iffret here was kind enough to volunteer to track our newest member, Kailan, to gather information. What she found was Philippe here and the lovely Zara. It seems she has some other unusual...characteristics, Xander. I'm astonished you did not notice them the moment you sired her. Never before has a vampire held more than one ability, at least not without using our ritual. Being born that way is unheard of, so you see why I am intrigued.
So that explained how Philippe was followed without his knowledge. Iffret was a superior tracker, it was her gift. She could be as invisible as the wind. He had an uneasy feeling as to why exactly she was the one performing the inquiry into Kailan, when he had already assigned Philippe to that task.
"You dare follow me, Iffret? This is an insult, unheard of; I refuse to be treated as such," Philippe said in a quiet, deadly tone. His eyes locked on the small woman. She was beautiful, with sharp features and large hazel eyes, characteristic of her kind. He knew however that was merely an image she conjured; her true appearance would definitely cause one to lose that morning's breakfast.
"Philippe you flatter yourself. I was gathering information on Kailan Wynters. You just happened to be there," she smiled, her eyes so cold it contrasted horribly with the expression.
"You should have left the moment you saw me Iffret. You forget I am Vyrkaryan too, and as such I'm more than qualified to gather information on the man! As I recall it was my task, or are we now casting doubts on my capabilities?" he spat.
"I agree, if we cannot trust those within our circle, then who we can trust," Kalevi and Drina said in unison.
"Yes, it is troubling. How are we to set an example for the rest if we are having each other followed?" Shen asked quietly.
Xander smiled. This was what he wanted, everyone to question why Iffret was following one of their own rather than focusing on what she had found, if anything.
"I'm sure Iffret and Dymas had our best interest at heart," Xander said, the corners of his mouth twitching, the sarcasm dripping from his tone, "However, it is unacceptable. There is a reason we choose tasks at random, and you negate the method we have used for countless years Dymas. Allow me to save us all some time by saying this. Zara has never been and never will be a threat to our kind, as I'm so sure you believe she is. In her two thousand years of existence she has never once given cause to believe she is a threat! Therefore, if you're done Dymas, I really would like to get back home; I think we've wasted enough time on this meeting. And call off your dogs," he said looking straight at Iffret, "no one is to be followed anymore. Philippe will continue his task; gather intel on both Zara and Kailan, without anymore interruptions."
"Regardless," his wheezy voice persisted, echoing in the vast room, "we are meant to explore all types of traits; you know this my dear Xander. One of our many responsibilities is to test exemplary traits in order to determine if they can be of any use to our cause. For thousands of years we have molded ourselves quite strategically by taking the powers that are of utmost use to us. If this Zara woman," he said his hand giving a dismissive wave in the air at her name, "can provide us with yet another useful trait, then she must be brought in and examined. As much as that may displease you my dear Xander, it is the law. Our law. Your being her sire cannot change that," he finished in a saddened tone, so artificial it made Xander cringe.
"We shall find out whether or not she is deemed a threat Xander, when we initiate Kailan Wynters. Surely you haven't forgotten that we must meet any living member of a candidate's family, including those who sired and were sired by said candidate," Iffret spoke up, standing next to Dymas.
"Yes, and it is then that we shall finally put this matter to rest. You can see for yourself Zara is not a concern, nor does she carry any power useful to us. Merely an unusual set of eyes."
He stood and took one last glance around the room, making eye contact with everyone present; ensuring it clear his word was final, before he turned his back on them and strode out. He was cursing the day Dymas was ever granted an immortal life. If he truly wanted to know what Zara was, he would inevitably end up regret asking the question; however, Xander feared whether Zara could handle the truth or whether it would destroy her.
"That went well didn't it?" Philippe said a wide grin on his face as he taunted Dymas. Before he could answer he too turned and followed Xander out to the main hall. A quick glance back at the group and he saw all of the members making their way out of the assembly room, some whispering among each other, except for Dymas and Iffret who remained in the hall their heads together as they discussed something heatedly. No surprise there, he thought.
He knew they had only momentarily delayed any action from the council. Dymas was not one to give up so easily, and the silence of the other members was not comforting. There were too many variables in this equation and it left him with a sour taste in his mouth. He knew everything rested on the very edge of the scale, and it was only a matter of time before it tipped either way. They had two weeks before the meeting with Kai took place. He hoped that was enough time to ensure everything went smoothly.
He made his way out of the council hall to the main entry and jumped into his Bugatti Veyron with Xander in the car in front of him. He drove, winding through a crowded city, following the road leading away from all the chaos to the outskirts of the metropolis. He followed Xander for about thirty minutes before they pulled into the driveway of a large house. More like a mansion, thought Philippe, looking up at the four storey building and the twenty or so labyrinths cut from hedges that spread out on either side of him.
At the center was a grand fountain, with life-sized stone sculptures of women and men holding up a large stone disc covered in relief from where water was spilling over the edges. At the base, where the water collected were other statues of women and cherub-like children frozen forever in time in the action of running or splashing about in the water. Water lilies were scattered about, their large blooming flowers only adding to the spectacular sight. It was, and there was no other word for it, stunning.
They were in the council's home city, where it was founded by Xander himself eons ago. Xander's residence, one of many in the world, was located on the outskirts of Rome. Sighing heavily, Philippe watched as his friend exited his car and with a nod of his head, gestured for Philippe to follow. Reluctantly he got out of the car and walked along the stone pathway, through the large double doors made from dark oak and into the main hall of the home.
It never ceased to amaze him how beautiful this old mansion was. It was a seventeenth century building, once belonging to a wealthy papal family here in Rome, before the line died out. The previous owners had spared no expense, large marble statues were situated in alcoves in the circular entry way. The stairway was large with gilded railings that twisted and turned to the upper floors. The furniture and drapes were made of the best fabrics, and while the building itself was from the seventeenth century, the furnishings were modern, the result surprisingly quite beautiful.
"In here, Philippe," a voice called out from an open door to his right. He made his way into Xander's study, stopping in front of the overwhelmingly large desk, his hands in his pockets, the image of calm.
"So, she knows." He was standing facing away from Philippe, gazing out the window that faced the rear gardens.
"Yes, and I don't regret telling her, so spare me whatever lecture you were going to give me about plans being ruined."
"And you have no doubt been teaching her to use her abilities?"
"Yes, and as a result she is surer of herself and her abilities than she has been before. There is still much to teach her, but I sense she is more confident. She doesn't shy away from what she is as much. Her acceptance has begun."
Xander sighed before turning around, "Philippe, it was in her best interest not to explore her abilities at this moment," he held up his hands stopping Philippe from interrupting him, "I'm not saying you shouldn't have told her just that it wasn't the best timing, my friend."
"Yes, perhaps, but it was in the heat of the moment, she poured her heart out to me and I couldn't let her suffer the way she was anymore...alone. It seemed the proper course of action at the time."