New Kingdom: American Court Ch. 12byMicKay©
The night progressed quickly as the children responded to Alena's blood or, as Gabriel proudly reminded her, their combined blood. No matter how gentle and understanding he had been with her, Alena would never have guessed how easily he assumed the role of a parent. She smiled as he carried both children, one cradled in each arm, to their apartment.
"You look like a natural," she said.
"Since I was never a child, nor have I ever been around children, I have no idea what that means," he replied.
"I mean that, at the hospital, most new fathers need a nurse to educate them on holding a baby. Usually they're sitting with a pillow in the crook of their arm. But you...," she paused motioning to him, "have it under control."
"They tell me what they want," he stated casually.
"Oh," Alena said with a sad smile at yet another reminder that she was once again the odd person in this little group.
"Baby," Gabriel said stopping at the door to their apartment, "If you had not been human, then these two would not have survived."
"Yeah," she said with a smile and opened the door to the apartment that was quickly getting overcrowded. "I've ordered cribs for them but have no idea where we'll put them."
"In our room for now," he said carrying his precious cargo to the living room. "Here, take Josh."
"So," Alena said and then hesitated as she cradled the baby boy in her arms. "What's with you and the girl? Should I be jealous?"
Sitting beside Alena on the couch, Gabriel stared and the small girl in his hands. With a sigh, he closed his eyes.
"Alena, I've never kept anything from you intentionally."
With her interest piqued, she twisted her position on the couch for a better look at Gabriel.
"Your sister showed you our book of prophecy?"
"It was more like the book of riddles. It wouldn't have passed in any of my English Comp classes."
"My arrogant little American," he said with a laugh.
"You believe the text was composed in poorly written English, as though it's the only language in existence."
"I never said that."
"It's not written in English at all but in the language of the Third Creation. By some magic, the text can change for the reader to comprehend. If you spoke French, then you would see French composition. It's the same with any language known to man. We've had Latin, Hebrew and Greek scholars read it."
"So what does the book have to do with the Abigail?"
"Each member of the Third Creation has a chapter describing his kingdom. The book contains seven of these chapters," he slowly explained and smiled as her eyes grew wider. "But there are only six kingdoms which are thoroughly described as belonging to each of my brothers."
"Is this what you and Iona were arguing about earlier? Before we met with the Council?"
"And Abigail plays into this somehow?"
"Abigail and Joshua both do," he said and then paused to shift the child into one arm and wrap his other around Alena, now encompassing all three within his embrace. "The description of my kingdom reads something like, 'His kingdom will lead all as a great army' but there was no mention of land or particular people so we assumed that it meant that I would lead the army."
"I'm still confused about the children."
"And the seventh son of the seven sons shall rule all, as a great army to defend and protect the truth. His people shall increase beyond measure and never be outside pure light. His numbers will be wise by council of the son to the east and the daughter to the west."
"A daughter," Alena repeated.
"We are not men. We cannot produce children and certainly not daughters. Our kind increases by changing humans. And before you say anything, let me finish."
"These shall be the two that are but should not have been who will be to destroy all. And this abomination must be saved by her blood which shall be in the increase. And the New Kingdom shall remain under the care of these."
After a few moments of silence, Gabriel tightened his arms around his family and pulled Alena's head under his chin so she was resting against the fast pace of his heartbeat inside his chest.
"Somehow," he continued, "they had to be created by this rebellion, you had to remain human so they could be saved and our future is not going to be secluded on a private island."
Placing a kiss to his chest, Alena sat up so she could look him in the eye.
"Well this makes perfect sense," she said with a smile. "There was absolutely no way anyone could expect me to serve beneath my sister."
Before the conversation could continue, they were interrupted by the sound of a knock at the door. And once again, as though summoned, Iona was interrupting. Unlike she had in the past, she actually waited until Gabriel quietly said, "Enter."
"So, I'm an aunt now?" Iona asked acknowledging the babies.
"Apparently," Gabriel answered standing and passing Abigail carefully into Iona's arms. "You have her?" he asked before relinquishing all hold of the infant.
"Yep," Iona responded. "Don't remember why, but this seems sort of natural," she finished as she took his abandoned seat next to her sister. "By the way, Edward is getting nervous. The Council is in recess but will reconvene to hear the claim against the American Court next."
"That means I'm off to work," he said leaning down to kiss Alena. "Duty calls."
"The last time your loyalty separated us we thought it would be forever. I can bear a few hours," she said with a smile.
"And I thank you for the diplomatic wisdom you used in saving us," he said as he moved close to Iona. With a kiss to her check, he stroked the fine hair covering Abigail's head and turned to leave.
"Oh," he said pausing in his exit, "I will need to determine some form of punishment for Helen. Any suggestions ladies?"
"Can you drop her from the top of the building?" Alena asked. "A very tall building."
"Unfortunately, she would be herself after one feeding and a day of rest. Bodily harm causes pain but very little injury."
At the raised brow Alena directed at her, Iona said, "Absolutely not! Well just take his word for it."
As the sister's laughed, Gabriel silently watched them.
"What did you just do?" he asked Iona.
"Alena asked if I would try to jump to prove that the fall wouldn't kill me and I said no."
"She was a tomboy as a kid who would do anything that someone declared as dangerous," Alena explained.
"Wait," Gabriel said, "you said Alena asked you to jump?"
"Yeah but she was joking."
"Gabe, did you think I was serious?"
"No," he answered seriously. "You didn't ask her anything. At least you didn't say anything out loud."
"Yes I did and you heard her answer."
"I heard the answer but not the question. Has this ever happened before today?"
"No," Iona said.
"Yes," Alena contradicted. "Remember when I first arrived at the mansion? No, wait, you wouldn't remember that. Anyway, we did something like that when we walked through the foyer."
"When we were kids, or rather when I was human, we could finish each other sentences but we never heard the voices," Iona explained. "Just now, I heard her voice in my head."
"And I was expecting her to answer me," Alena added.
"Interesting," Gabriel murmured. "I have to go but you girls may want work on this."
Staring at the spot vacated by Gabriel, the girls remained silent for a few minutes.
"To tell the truth, when he leaned down to me, I thought he was going to bite me," Iona whispered.
"I did too," Alena quietly replied. After a few seconds she added, "But he's right. You did save us. How did you know it would work?"
"I wasn't sure and it now seems lame but basically I used the same technique Heron used. Because of Cassian's knowledge of the Asian Court, he was protected until he could be returned to Heron. We figured Gabriel had some secrets of the American Court and Edward could not take a chance on letting those out to the public."
"But everyone knows Gabriel wouldn't have shared confidential information."
"And everyone knows that Helen and this master she keeps referring to were not after information," Iona added. "Look, if Gabriel would have been given to them, then they would have the last ingredient to their little cocktail and the world of vampires would be changed or ended."
"Gabriel, Edward and probably the other members of the Third Creation would have stopped that."
"That's the problem and the issue that Edward is facing now. When their blood was taken, it was not only used to make this," she said nodding her head toward Abigail, "but it was used to have a limited control over the donor."
"What?" Alena asked in shock, "You mean like a voodoo doll?"
"Exactly. When Edward and I were imprisoned, he was mentally distraught. Until recently, I thought it was an effect of starving and that may have intensified the problem. But he had been in that cell with no communication from Gabriel and with the guards telling him that Gabriel was happily ruling the American Court."
"Oh fu..."Alena started and paused and she looked down to Joshua lying in her arms.
"Good catch," Iona said with a laugh. "Even though the blood these kids carry belongs to at least one man who could cuss fluently so they shouldn't be shocked."
"Nice. So when Gabriel finally found Edward, what happened?"
"They discovered quickly that someone had been running interference with Edward's communication. Unfortunately, what they did not consider was that I had been planted in Edward's life to be a substitute for food or a substitute for Gabriel, to be Edward's confidant."
"Are you saying that Edward could no longer communicate telepathically?"
"No, he could but his messages were intercepted and changed."
"How did they fix that?"
"They haven't. Gabriel has been fighting the rebellion by himself for quite some time because he doesn't know who has been compromised. Of course Edward wants to lead this battle but his mind is an open book to the enemy, except," she paused, "when he's silently speaking to me. At least now. Since my change. We think Cassian was reading me until Edward sired me."
"Can we assume that the remaining brothers have been compromised the same way?"
"Yes but only Heron seems to have submitted to the enemy. I'm sure they are now aware of everything."
"Iona," Alena started quietly, "it wasn't just by chance that my sister was kidnapped and thrown into a prison with Gabriel's brother, was it?"
"No. And this is where my shame gets exposed," she paused looking at the child sleeping in her arms. "Heron has been sharing quite a bit of information with Edward. Apparently, my man has the best temper of all the Third Creation and I bet it's been pushed to the limit today."
After a few moments, Iona continued, "The experiments were funded by the reimbursement fraud at the hospital. Overpayments from insurance companies and patients were used to pay fake invoices to a company that was a front for the rebellion. Everything was playing well in the enemies' hands until you started getting suspicious and investigating the crap but you appeared to be such a little mouse that they saw no threat and hardly gave a second thought about you. They had no idea what a nightmare you are when your panties get twisted. Then Gabriel walks into the picture and suddenly the giant and the mouse have become a formidable opponent so they have to separate you."
"What?" Alena said loudly causing little Joshua to stir from his sleep.
"Yes. They increased their visibility in the vampire world causing Edward to create the Council which is almost the same as our legislative, law enforcement and judicial systems rolled into one system. Each Council member is assigned a specific district of the American Court. The powerful general was needed to ensure that the system was implemented correctly and no future coups would rise from within against Edward."
"Uh," Alena started. "This is difficult to rehash but I would have left with Gabe anyway. He had even made plans to accommodate you and Tony."
"That's where I come in. It didn't take the enemy long to find your Achilles heel. With my juvenile record and attraction to the A-list degenerates, they set up a series of traps that I happily walked in to always knowing that you'd save me in the end."
"I was the one who decided to not go with Gabriel so I could stay with you."
"Yeah but he was coming to tell you the same thing. He could not let me in the mansion, let alone taking a chance of my exposing the existence of vampires to the world."
"Wow," Alena whispered.
"It's the reason he hated me in the beginning. Anyway, with Edward's blood, the enemy knew that he was getting closer to the truth. Establishing the Council had worked in the American Court 's favor and they were destroying spies daily. So his plane was hijacked and they needed a wild, human female. Enter yours truly."
"After eight years?"
"Eight years is nothing when you can live forever. Anyway, I had developed from a rebellious teenager into a danger driven whore." At the look on Alena's face she added, "Admit it. You believed that I disappeared with some random guy that I barely knew and the cops couldn't fake an interest in finding me."
"They had so many people telling them bad things about your character. Even I was starting to believe it."
"When I was first taken, I knew that you would turn over mountains to find me. I just didn't know that you had to do it alone. I'm sorry."
"So Edward was alone and you were alone."
"And we found each other. You can't imagine how it makes me feel to know that I was provided to him for his destruction. And I almost did that."
"But you didn't."
"No. But you can understand Gabriel's earlier mistrust of me. Can you imagine what he thought when he saw the girl who had destroyed his life was now his brother's mate?"
"No," Alena answered quietly. "The eight years that we were separated were so painful that it hurt to breathe. I hated the thought of living but couldn't do anything except continue."
"Did you know that you'd be together again?"
"No. He left and while I knew he was close, he never came to me. God, it's painful to remember now."
"Does it help to know that you needed to wait? You had to wait to save these children and the New Kingdom."
"No. But it's bearable to know that it was in the past and it's ended."
As the sisters continued to talk and cuddle the children, Gabriel descended the floors of the mansion until he reached the bottom level which contained the holding cells. As he approached the room where Helen was imprisoned, he slowed his progress and listened for any communication that he could interpret. The only sounds were the frantic whispers from the female inside the cell.
As he stood by the door listening, Gabriel heard the one sided conversation reminding him of Iona's reaction during her interrogation. He remained quiet not interrupting the pathetic cries for mercy, reminders of her loyalty and promises to accomplish any task requested, no matter the cost.
No matter the cost. Gabriel closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. Vows of loyalty would cost Helen her worthless existence just as it had cost him eight years and almost eternity with Alena. Even with the strength of their relationship today and the understanding of their roles in this saga, Gabriel refused to be forgiving of the time they had lost. And if he could not change her, he would still lose eternity with her.
When Helen pleas for mercy grew silent, Gabriel decided to ascend to his office but stopped when her voice returned strong and happy.
"Yes, Master," Gabriel heard her say in her solitude. "Of course I still believe. You are one of the first loved. Give me my task and I will serve you faithfully. We will see the victory!"
After a few moments of silence, she continued saying, "Oh yes, Master. What a wonderful plan but that's hardly a task that you have requested of me. Letting me kill her is more like a gift to me. Thank you, Master."
As Gabriel penetrated her mind searching for the unknown meanings of her words, he stumbled across her dreams of the future.
"The weak, little human will never be a queen. I will drink feed from her children and grow strong from the blood of the Third Creation. I may drink their blood from a crystal goblet while I bathe in the bitch's blood and if the general wants to be king, I may let him rule by my side and sleep in my bed," Helen thought with joy.
Understanding Helen's murderous plot against Alena, Gabriel threw open the door, startling Helen in her reverie. In less than a moment's pause, Helen smiled at him with her seductive charm.
"So," she purred, "you've come to taste what other kings have savored."
"I've come to begin your destruction. You will never harm her."
"My dear Gabriel," she said shaking her head with a look of pity, "you have no idea how much progress we have made against your pathetic New Kingdom. The Master has shown me what I will do and what I will become. "
"Tell me who you call master."
"You will have no blood until you cooperate."
With a laugh, Helen leaned against a wall and smiled at Gabriel. "Oh, you've started interrogating me. How exciting!"
And with her vampire speed and strength, she leaped across the room, slamming into Gabriel. Before he could dislodge her, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her lips against his.
"Do not confuse me with some weak, newborn," she finally said.
"The last weak newborn that I interrogated happened to be my brother's mate, the king of the American Court. You have no connections that protect you from me," he said flatly and threw her body across the room.
Landing in a crouch before hitting the wall, Helen bounced to her fee and laughed with the delight.
"Gabriel," she said with a smile, "I am more than five centuries old. I will not break over the threat of starving. My reward will be worth the small inconvenience."
Once again, she leaped across the room with fangs bared but before she could strike he kicked her back. This time, her body flew high into the wall before she could catch herself. When she tried to stand, Gabriel grabbed her by the neck and twisted her around so she was pressing against the wall with her face scraping against the rough texture.
"And I am over four thousand years old with more knowledge of how to make you suffer than you can imagine," he growled against her ear. "Do not confuse the generosity that I shared with the king's mate with the retribution that I will serve to you."
With a quick snap of his wrist, he sliced his fingernails across the pale skin on her neck. A small drop of blood appeared at the wound and then trickled down her neck. With a cruel shove, he tossed her across the room watching her fall to the floor.
"Are you serious?" she asked with a laugh. "Is this really some form of torture? It barely broke my skin."
"True," he agreed, "but you can't reach it with your mouth to seal it shut. So now you starve and bleed at the same time. Is the reward still worth it?"
He smiled when he saw her confidence falter. Watching her struggle to press her fingers to the wound in hopes to staunch the bleeding, Gabriel leaned against the wall folding his arms across his chest. He watched her panic as she realized that her injury was continuing to bleed.
"Who do you call master?" he repeated.
"Go to hell," she responded in a ragged voice.
"Who do you call master?"
"Join me Gabriel," she said with a voice that had seduced all of his brothers. "It's the only way you can survive. The Master admires your strength and will reward you."