Hello again. I wasn't planning on posting anything so soon, but after writing a part of HNL I was moved to write the following. I had not planned on writing another one-shot, but writing the sequel, watching the last three episodes of TB and listening to the song 'Angels Cry' by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. I had to write it.
This takes place one month after the end of Trinity Blood: Star of the Night Lords and is probably what would have happen if I had never written it at all. I never planned for it to be so long.
I will warn you, it is rather sad, I'm not used to writing such long and overly sad stories, but it sort of fits with the Trinity Blood world, with the death and destruction.
*Trinity Blood: Heir to the Night Lords" will probably be up in a few weeks. I've just gotten over a problem of a bad case of writer's block (As you can soon read) and I'm having to go over the chapter I've already written.
I'd like to thank all my reader's for their wonderful support. I hope to get a few reviews from some them on how they thought this went. (I'm very unsure about myself. This is the first time I proof read my own story. My usual proof reader has been busy)
This is also dedicated to my good friend Woolfred, who has become an amazing penpal and encouraged me to get out of my writer's block. (I promise you a happy ending one day.)
It was a quiet day in Londinium, no one was bustling up and down side walks, children were not playing in parks, it seemed that even the animals knew that today was a day to mourn. The main street in front of the Albion palace was lined with bouquets of flowers. The people stood outside the palace gates looking in with down trodden faces. The church bells rang out, as if crying for the lost of a great leader.
Catherina sat in her room. Her eyes were still red from the last few hours, when she attended the mass viewing of the Queen of Albion, Esther Blanchett. The cardinal could not believe that in such a short time how the former nun had touched so many lives. People from as far as Istavan came to bid their farewell. Truly Esther had been loved in her life, even throughout the time spent in the hands of the Contra Mundi. She would be sorely missed by the world.
Catherina sat on her bed in her hotel room, a half empty glass of wine in her hand. Her body was tired, but her mind refused to sleep. She had pulled off her robes and was adorned in her black silk nightgown. She took another sip of her wine and sighed. Tomorrow was going to be even worse; tomorrow was the queen's funeral. She knew she would be up early trying to comfort Alec before he led the services. Esther had been the pope's friend, and as from many battles and near-death experiences seen with their eyes, the two had remained good friends. It was Esther herself who had believed in Alec when he himself did not. Then again, that was just how Esther was. You could never find a brown spot on her bright smile. Caterina thought back to when Esther had first been brought on to the AX team, she was so determined to be the best; she was so loyal to her comrades, she made a change in everyone, whether they noticed it or not, namely one of the priest under Catherina's watch, a man by the name of Abel Nightroad.
Abel was mostly a complete mystery to everyone in the Vatican, a man that had appeared out of nowhere and saved a young duchess of Milan then swore a promise to the young girl to protect the lives of humans. That had been over ten years ago, and Abel always keeps his promises. She knew of his dark past and the reasons why he usually acted like a clown, but when Esther joined, Catherina noticed a slight change in Abel's antics. Spilling his tea on his lap whenever she entered the room, tripping over his feet when she called out for him, doing something extremely stupid to get her attention, and putting his health at risk just to know that she still cared from him. Catherina had to admit that she had felt a slight prick of jealously towards the redhead, the cardinal did care for Abel, but all hopes to ever catch his attention had been lost long ago. She had even gone as far as to thinking about dying her hair red, in hopes of grasping his affections, but alas. Whatever spell Esther had casted on Abel when they first met, had kept him tightly bound to her, even after death. Catherina shook her head, sighed, and quickly downed the rest of her drink.
Abel was probably in pieces, though his spirits had been raised for a few days after she had intervened, she knew it wouldn't last. Abel slowly reverted back to being locked up in his quarters, and ignoring everyone's pleas to come out. Two days ago when she herself had gone to his room to ask if he had wished to attend Esther's funeral, she had unlocked his door and found that he wasn't there. A quick search of the room revealed that Abel had probably slipped out an opened window. Though most of his belongs were still cast across the room, she noticed that a few robes were missing, along with his usual traveling components. Catherina had dreaded that Abel had locked himself up in the Black Saints tomb, but Leon and William searched the catacombs and double-checked every nook and cranny, Abel was nowhere to be found. She hated worrying about him. Maybe it was because of his promise to always protect her, or maybe something else that the cardinal refused to admit.
She wondered how fate seemed to be cruel to the silver haired priest. To lose your first love to your brother and then lose the second one as well, Abel had a strong will, but she wondered how much more he could take. She sighed and poured herself another glass of wine and thought about how much she would be feeling it tomorrow. Though the hangover would be much appreciated, as it would keep her attention off the mourning patrons at the funeral. Catherina couldn't remember another time where she ran out of tissues. During the viewing, she had noticed the Earl of Memphis walk up to the casket that would have held the Queen's body. His lips quivered as his eyes began to water. He had placed his left hand on the casket and silently he said a prayer. Catherina knew not much of the boy, only that he had certain affection for the queen. It was unknown to her if his affections where ever returned, but after Esther and Abel declared their loved for one another, she highly doubted that the Queen only held the earl as one of her closest friends. With his other hand the earl left a single lavender rose on top of the casket before walking off. She felt for him, she knew how it felt to give love but not have it returned. He stopped momentarily to shake the hand of Colonel Mary Spencer. Mary had tear-stained cheeks.
It had been decided only hours before that she would be crowned the new queen, although she had refused at first. She was still loyal to Esther, she had wished to remain just as steward, but fear of in upraising had been rumored throughout the noble houses of Albion, and the colonel finally accepted the post, but only because Queen Esther had chosen her as her steward. She would never claim herself as the true ruler. Catherina had given the woman credit, for holding the kingdom together in this terrible time. She would be a good ruler; the cardinal had no doubt to that. Catherina wiped her eyes and drank her wine in one gulp.
Her thoughts then shifted to the sight of Father Nightroad's sister. The girl leaned against a vacant wall; tears could be seen streaming down her face. The girl, Seth, had had high hopes for Esther and was one of the first to jump at Abel to make a move on her. The Empress of the true human race kept her distance from everyone else, and at that moment Catherina saw a bit of the girl's older brother in her sad eyes. The siblings should be together mourning; Abel needs her more than anyone else.
Catherina placed her glass on the side table and slipped in between the sheets. Her eyes were tired, but her mind didn't want to rest. She thought of Abel, Seth and the Earl of Memphis, she thought of the people of Albion, but most of all she thought of Esther and how much she will be missed.
She wakes up to pounding on her hotel door, probably Alec, nervous about leading the funeral service. She groaned before pulling herself out of bed and putting on a housecoat. She opened the door to find her little brother standing there. He looked tired; he probably hadn't slept a wink all night. She welcomed him in and gave Alec a much needed hug. He yawned and sat in a vacant chair, while she sat back down on her bed. She smiled at him and wondered what is going on in his mind. Catherina gave him a worried look. The pope raised his head and smiled.
"I'm fine. I just couldn't sleep."
"Too much on your mind?" The pope nodded. "It's understandable."
"I don't want to mess it up. She deserves the best." he spoke.
"Coming from you, Alec, will mean much to her." Catherina was very proud of her brother. He had matured over the whole dilemma. "Though you should get some sleep. Tomorrow is a big day."
"The pounding in my chest won't let me." he sighed. "I keep thinking about Esther. She was pregnant wasn't she?" Catherina nodded. "I just can't think how..." he paused and never finished. Catherina was grateful he didn't. She wasn't up to speaking about the unborn child of Abel Nightroad and Esther Blanchett. Though not many knew Abel was the father. A sharp pain spread through her heart. She wondered what the infant would have looked like, or would it have been just like its father, stubborn, clumsy, and a sugar addict. She had heard Abel once mention that their child would have been the heir to the Empire throne. The Cardinal had hoped that the child's birth would have ceased any other rough edges on the road to truly making peace between the Methuselah and Terrans. Catherina felt another tear roll down her cold cheek. Alec noticed, he walked over and sat next to his sister.
"I didn't mean to make you cry." She smiled at him and wiped her tear away.
"It's not your fault. Funerals always make me cry, especially one of a close friend." Alec looked down. Catherina hugged him. "But thank you none the less, your holiness." Alec nodded. She did have too much on her mind. Worrying over a funeral for the late queen, dreading the piles of paperwork back in her office in Rome and wondering where a certain crusnik had wandered off too. She shook her head and kissed Alec's forehead. "You should try and get some sleep. We don't need you falling asleep during your sermon." The pope nodded and stood up.
"Thank you for talking to me."
"I'm always here for you." She watched the pope exit her room before grabbing for the bottle of warm wine and taking a sip. She was going to need the rest of it to help her get back to sleep. Her mind wandered back to the paperwork on her desk back in Rome. She dreading going home and writing reports, reports that shouldn't be filed. Though Cardinal Francesco thought otherwise.
It was after the cave-in accident that Francesco announced that the death of the Queen of Albion rested in the hands of Abel himself. Thankfully Abel had not been in the room when it was spoken, or Catherina would probably have to write reports on why a subordinate attacked Cardinal Francesco. Although her and her brother had been at odd for sometime, she believed the accusations against Abel were outlandish at the least. Francesco had never singled out one of her AX member like this before. She made a mental note to do further investigation when she returned home. She took another sip of wine before placing it back on her nightstand and getting back into bed. She rolled on her side and gazed at her alarm clock. It was four in the morning. She groaned before turning over and trying to get some much needed sleep before the funeral later that morning.
Her dreams, while she slept, were always the same; nightmares of being chased by vampires or worse, being stuck in a room with mounds of paperwork to do. She heard the curtains ruffle and opened her left eye. She looked around and noticed no one else in the room. She turned around and looked at the clock, it was eight. She sighed and figured that she should get ready. Catherina pushed back the covers and sat up. She let out a yawn and rubbed her eyes. That's when she noticed the vase of yellow roses sitting on the chair her brother sat in earlier. She stood up and made her way over to the flowers and looked them over. Catherina looked at the door and noticed it was still locked with the dead bolt, whomever had left these had to have climbed through her hotel window. She picked up the vase, the smelled the roses lovely fragrant. She looked back down and noticed a tiny note. Putting down the roses, she grabbed the note and unfolded it.
'I never properly thanked you for your generosity.'
She smiled; she knew automatically from the chicken scratch that Abel had written the note quickly. At least now the cardinal knew that Nightroad was okay, and in Londinium, most diffidently to say goodbye to his beloved Esther. Today was going to be rather interesting. She wondered where Abel sit; more or less he would be in the shadows, keeping to himself. She made a mental note to tell Seth that Abel was here.
Catherina made her way to the bathroom and prepared for the day. Her best robes had been laid out from the day before. She turned on the shower and locked herself in. Catherina trusted she was alone, but you never could be too careful. She slipped off her nightgown and stepped under the hot water. She let out a slight moan; she loved taking showers first thing in the morning. The way the water trickled down her back. She wished she a brought her own shampoos and simply stay in the shower all day. She promised herself that once she returned to Rome she would take one day off to indulge in herself, maybe go shopping and dine out. She washed her hair faster than she had wished to and turned off the hot water. Getting back out, Catherina grabbed a towel and dried herself off, before dressing. She quickly dried her hair before making a beeline for the hotel door.
She exited the hotel, accompanied by Father Tres and Father Wordsworth. Both were dressed in their best priest robes. She smiled and looks over at William.
"Did Abel come and visit you?" She asked out of the blue. The priest shook his head no. "You sure?"
"Of course. You know to well, I'd report to you if Abel would show up. Why do you ask?"
"I think he came into my room while I was sleeping." Father Wordsworth raises an eyebrow at the statement. "He left me roses."
"As a thank you gift. I think he's going to show up. I want you to keep your eyes out for him. I'd like to speak to Abel before he gets a chance to wander off, again."
"Affirmative." Tres spoke blandly. Catherina smiled as the church came into view. She thought it was ironic that the Queen's funeral was to be held at this certain church, where Abel's funeral would have been. She only wished that Esther could come back, like he did. Though without a body, there appeared to be no hope of that.
People are gathered outside of the church, most of them holding signs of support, expressing their love and sorrow. It is just another sign of how precious Esther was to this kingdom. She saw Father Leon, Sister Kate, Father Havel and Hugue. The priests are all carrying pink and white roses as a sign of their love for their fallen comrade.
"Good Morning." Leon spoke up. He also wearing he best robes, along with the others. He handed Catherina a white rose.
"I trust that you all slept well." she smiled at her AX members. They all nod and smile back. "It's going to be a tough day." The Cardinal turned and headed into the church followed by her members. They took to their seats, Catherina watched as others started to make their way in. She saw Colonel Mary and Virgil make their way to the front where the empty coffin sat, adorned with beautiful red roses. It is a beautiful display; it looks very much like the one Abel had had. Mary placed a white rose on top the coffin, before wiping another tear away and taking her seat. Virgil sat next to her and kept his head down; he looked as if he was trying to control his emotions.
Catherina turned her head in time to see Seth walk in wearing green robes, followed by a tall blond in a purple dress. The cardinal assumed this to be Mirka Fortuna the Earl of Memphis's grandmother. Esther had once described the woman. The earl looked very much like her, indeed. Behind them were the duchess of Keiv and the earl himself. The earl appeared as sad as yesterday. He looked as if he had not gotten much sleep, either. The duchess of Kiev gave him a pat on the back, and whispered a few words of encouragement him. He sat next to his grandmother and rested his head on her shoulder. Catherina turned her attention back to Seth. She wondered if Abel had visited her in the night too. A loud bang made Catherina turn her attention towards the door.
Brother Pedro had apparently banged his screamer on the floor as a way to get everyone's attention. Sister Paula was at his right side and right behind the, was Pope Alessandro the 399th pope of Rome, though he would rather be called Alec and probably be at home. He kept his head high and followed his two guards towards the front. She can tell he's nervous, but Alec seemed to be able to handle it. He walked up the podium on the left side of the queen's casket and sighed silently.
As the pope began a prayer, Catherina turned her attention to the back. She was looking for a certain man with long beautiful silver hair. She figured he'd be in the back or up where the choir sat. She assumed that he'd be wearing his priest robes, but no luck. Either Abel decided not to come, or he's hidden himself very well. She wanted to see him, just to know that he was okay.
Father Wordsworth nudged the Cardinal in the side. She turned to glared at him. William pointed forward, and mouthed the words 'pay attention' to her. Catherina nodded and looked back to her little brother. He was finishing his prayer.
"We struggle against death with all our force, for it is our fundamental duty as living creatures to do so. But when, by virtue of the state of things, death comes, we experience that paradox of faith that causes us to abandon the struggle and affirm death as part of a greater plan for the universe as a whole. To love life so much, and to trust it so completely that we can affirm it even in its final act.... this is an attitude that can calm and fortify us. The end is to love extravagantly the life that is greater than any one of us, seeing our own death as a physically necessary passage toward union with a greater wholeness." The pope raised his head at the end of the prayer and looked at the many people who have come to give their last respects. He bit his lip and looked down at the notes that had been shoved into his hands only moments ago. Finally he dropped them and looked back up at the crowd.
"I was supposed to give a sermon to you all about Queen Esther, but..." Catherina saw tears in his eyes. "I'd rather give you a sermon on Esther Blanchett, a great friend, a loyal comrade and an inspiration to us all. I knew her even before she was crowned queen. She'd drag me down the halls of the Vatican, because she had somehow lost her way. She believed in me, when I didn't. She believed in everyone she came across. She would be at your side in a second to support you, or to fight with you. She was the star that saved this kingdom. She will be sorely missed by the people of Albion, by her fellow Ax members, everyone at the Vatican, and the ones she loved dearly." Catherina heard a few people cry. She quickly scanned the church again for Abel, before looking at Alec.
"I sat up all night trying to think of the best words to portray what Esther would say to us all. How she would want to be remembered." She watched as Alec pulled a piece of notebook paper out of his pocket. His hands were trembling, now. With a shaky voice he recited a poem.
"To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea - remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty - remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity - remember me.
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts, and your memories of the times we loved, the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will have never gone."
The cardinal could feel hot tears starting to swell. She did her best to drown out the choir as they sing "Amazing Grace". She shook her head and rested it on William's shoulder. She hates this song, not just because of it being played at a funeral, but because of how moving the words are to her. Father Wordsworth patted her on the leg to give her reassurance. Catherina wiped her eyes and listened to the choir. Around her, she can hear people cry, she dared to glance over to see the earl of Memphis hugging his grandmother tightly, his face buried in her shoulder. Past them she saw Seth. The Empress had a rose in her hand, a pink one. She wiped her tears away and continued to stare at it. Catherina wondered if it's a gift from Abel. She watched as Seth quickly turned around and smiled, before leaving her seat and heading back a row. The cardinal could not see where she went and only wonderes what it could have been. William nudged her again. Catherina sighed and looked forward and listened to the choir finish.
She turned her head to where Seth had disappeared. She let out gasp; between the seas of people she can see Seth hugging Abel. Catherina looks on the two, Abel has his back her. Though she could tell he wasn't wearing in normal priest attire. It appeared that he was wearing a black suit of some sort. His hair isn't pulled up tightly in his ribbon, but is tied loosely near his neck. She wished she could be hugging him. She worried, after all. After a few moments, Abel looked forward; he was still wearing his glasses, though she could tell he had been crying. He looks handsome; like prince charming out of those fairy tale books. The only difference is that his princess isn't coming back. There would be no happily ever after for this man. Catherina wondered what was going through his mind, how he felt, what was he thinking. Even after ten years he is still a complete mystery to her, and probably will be for the rest of her life.
As the funeral finally comes to an end, Catherina would bet a thousand dinars that there wasn't a single dry eye in the room. Abel has set still with Seth next to him, holding his hand the entire time. The pope turned from his podium and walked over to the queen's casket. He placed a yellow rose on of the casket and turned and left. Brother Pedro and Sister Paula follow, neither turn back nor say goodbye to the queen, but it can be seen in their eyes. Once Alessandro, and his bodyguards have left the church, people start to head up to the front and pay their last respect one row at a time. Many leave white roses, while others say a small prayer on her behalf. The Duchess of Kiev leaves a single white rose, bows slightly out of respect and waits for the others. Mirka walks up with her grandson, she has her left arm over his shoulders, he places a bouquet of lavender roses on the casket. The earl leans his head on his grandmother's shoulder and cries. Mirka kisses the top of his head and moves him next to Asthe. Seth is next; she looked back at Abel and tried to smile for him. She gathered whatever strength she had left and walked up to the front. She placed a large bouquet of pink and yellow roses next to the Earl's and leaves.
Cardinal Catherina watched the four leave the church, Seth looked back once at Abel, who was still sitting on the bench. His head lowered and shoulders shaking. He looked broken, worse than he did a week after her death. Catherina wanted to go over and say something, anything, she wanted to tell him everything would be okay, yet, she didn't think it would cahnge anything. She bit her lip and used every ounce of nerve she had to command her legs to get up. The Cardinal walked down the isle towards the queen's coffin, her AX members right behind her. Her heart was pounding the entire time. She quickly placed the white rose on the casket and said a small prayer for Esther and Abel's little one, before turning to face Abel. She walked towards him and sat next to him in the pew. Catherina watched her other members pay their last respects and leave. Abel doesn't acknowledge her attention, but she has a feeling he knows. Instead, Catherina focused on all the people as they made their way out of the church. Abel kept his head down and didn't move.
"I knew that this day would come." He finally spoke, his voice heavy with sadness. Abel raised his head and looked at the cardinal. "My only wish was that I could have spent more time with her." She knew what he meant. He was a crusnik, one of the oldest beings alive, to him; the life of a terran was over in a blink of an eye. Though Catherina had thought since Esther had been injected with the crusnik nanomachines that her life span would slow down as well. Whether or not her theory was correct would never be proven. He sighed and wiped another tear from his cheek. The two looked around, the last of the patrons had left, and it was only the two friends. Abel looked back at the Cardinal, before getting to his feet and heading towards the front. Catherina watched him close , as he made his way. He stops in front of her casket and places a hand on the lid. She heard him whisper something, though wasn't able to make out what it was. Abel stuck his right hand into his jacket and pulled out two red roses, tied together by a black ribbon. He tried to smile, but failed, instead he kisses each rose lightly before placing them on the casket. Abel stuffed his hands back in his pant pockets and mumbles again. Catherina knows better that to interfere with the upset man.
Abel stands there for a moment longer, before disappearing out a side hallway, obviously trying to ignore the hordes of people out front. Catherina sits in the church all alone. Her heart goes out to Abel and prays for him to have a safe journey back to Rome, when and if he ever makes it back. Finally feeling that it was time to leave the cardinal, once again, heads to the coffin. She places her hand over her heart and looks at all the beautiful roses, each color expressing a different meaning. Catherina catches a glimpse of the two red roses Abel had placed only moments ago. Something tied on the ribbon catches her attention. Catherina picks up the roses and realizes there's a beautiful gold and diamond ring with a tag tied to the flowers. She wonders where in the world Abel got the money to afford such a gorgeous ring. She curiosity gets the best of her as she looks at the tag to read what it says. Her hands tremble, as the tears start to flow. She falls to her knees and cries, her heart is going out to her dear friend. She looks back down at the ring and looks careful at the tag once more. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she rereads the two simple words again and again in her head. Two words written in black ink, that expressed so much meaning, those two simple words, that brought the woman of steel to her knees.
I know, I know, Bad Lil-Rahl Bad! No happy ending.
Like I already said I had no plans on ever writing this, it sort of popped into my head last night and before I knew it, it was finished. Thell me what you think anyways. I'd like to hear if I've messed this up or something.
Until Next Time