Disclaimer: If Carlisle and all the Volturi were mine, Carlisle would have been Catholic. :-)
Summary: A growing darkness pulls over the civilized vampire world of Volterra in the 17th century. What does Carlisle Cullen discover in this age of awakening?
Author's Note: I really hope y'all liked this story. I promise, the sequel will be a slightly easier read. :-) I'm thinking of either having parts of it in Edward's or maybe even Jasper's pov. Any thoughts on that? It needs to be one of the "kids" because otherwise there will be a lot of stuff going on that simply won't make sense.
For the next ten years, I held myself to a familiar pattern that became almost instinctual to me for it rarely differed from it. In the afternoon would I go to the Gagliardo's, help with whatever patients there may be, stay the night there only to leave in the morning. Before the morning's light would I escape back to the castle and retreat to Aro's library in which I would borrow any new articles, pamphlets, or books he may have acquired within the small space of time or I had overlooked the day previous. These, I wouldst take to my own chambers to study only to return them prior to my journey back to the Gagliardo's house. Only a handful of times did I change from this.
Once was upon the day of Andrea's wedding and then again upon dear Bianca's entrance into the convent. Both were within the confines of the church which allowed me come out in the day so I could witness both blessed events to which I was grateful. Another time was upon the death of Dr. Gagliardo, who but two years prior to my leaving for the Americas went from this earth. A fourth time was the day I left Volterra and began my new life as I did promise my sister I would.
Upon that day, had I already begun my packing of but two wooden trucks in which I would place all my material goods, including that of my father's crucifix. As I rather hurriedly placed a bit of clothing, some bits of portraits and paintings I had collected and new were wound together into a protective case so I might frame them again when I reached my new home in the Americas, I heard a rap upon my chamber door. Quickly, I stopped my packing to open the door politely not knowing of who was on the other side for they were downwind currently.
My surprise was great when I saw Aro looking rather dismayed upon the threshold of my chambers for I had spoken of the finality of my plans with him but yesterday and had been speaking with him of my impending leaving for the past few months. I had planned to say goodbye to him after I had finished my packing and was curious to see what may hath brought him hither.
"Aro?" I asked of him as I blinked in curiosity for never had I heard of him coming to see one who is leaving upon his own volition. Most but gave a courtly goodbye to all the Volturi upon their leave durst the times of court, which was what I had planned to do as well.
"Carlisle! My dear friend," Aro replied with a sudden smile upon his paper thin lips. He glanced around my room to which I allowed as I stepped aside so that he might enter what would soon be another vampire's chambers. "I see that you are intent on leaving us, verily," Aro stated as he glided in, looking around thoughtfully, before his attentions again turned to me.
"I do hope this is not about your small difference of opinion on nature and bloodlust," Aro informed with a nearly sorrow-filled expression upon his face. If I was true, then I would admit that it, indeed, was a part of my long decision though my decision to leave had been long since standing; only the date to which such a trip would occur had been left to Chance and Fortune. Even then, Caterina had held her say upon such matters.
"There is more of the world I wish to see. It hath been more than a goodly two hundred years since the New World was discovered. I wish to see such with my own eyes and not rely on the accounts of others," I told him with conviction for it was truthful; simply not the entire truth. The entire truth was that I had grown tired of the near insults shouted at me when the subject of the bloodlust came into play for it had grown worse over the past decade. I had also learned all I could within this place for now I wished to go and study medicine on my own, to have my own practice, and to do so by my own means, for too long hath I been beneath the shadow of the Volturi. Over the oceans, their long arms couldst barely reach me unless I did something dreadful, which I would never consider. As much as I did still love my human family, and, indeed, enjoyed to company of the Volturi on most occasions, my curiosity at what lies over the oceans, at the freedom that existed only there, and my own need to once again see the one person I dared to call my sister overruled all sense and reason that compiled within my soul.
Aro chuckled at my revelation as to my reasons for my departure from Volterra. "I cannot stop an explorer from his discoveries," Aro told me whilst he shook his head in amusement. I watched him as he took but a step closer to me and gently placed a hand upon my shoulder, not to use his powers for he needed skin to skin contact for such measures, but in comfort for his next words. "always so curious. Your Caterina would have been quite amused by your accomplishments," he told me softly.
I took on my picture of grief for none yet knew that she was alive and I would not have either had I not gone to her chambers that dreadful night. Marguerite had been destroyed for her traitorous act of aiding Anna and the werewolves. I had come to find out how vile the act truly had been for Marguerite's lover was one of the werewolves that had attacked. I tried to think of her position for would any go against their mate in this place though their mate be wrong? I doubted such and could not find any way to be angry at Marguerite for her love of a child of a the moon –for I found it amusing in a way- but only anger that she would dare to follow the ways of Anna and the wolves that helped her. For those were the ones that committed vile acts and massacred entire populations for no more than sport. To that, my anger was directed. Others were more mortified that she would share her bed with a werewolf, or so it did seem over the years.
And what was but a few moments, Aro glided away from me to look out the window but not step into the sun. He clasped his hands together as he gazed, a smile upon his face. "I suppose that you will not come back here for a while," Aro stated. I turned to him and saw him smile as he looked upon my visage.
"I do…hope that you will find your life pleasant in this New World but I ask that you remember us," he continued on as Aro made his way for my chamber door. He stopped and turned to me, his voice once again going soft. "Also, remember, you are always welcome here despite your strange ways, strange one," he informed me. To this, I nodded and bowed as he left my chambers in peace.
Once he left me to go in peace as did the other two brothers that made up the Volturi Family; of this I was grateful. . The hardest goodbye was not to those that I might have chance to see again, as was the case with my vampire kindred, by to that of Andrea, Sabina, Lavinia, and my dear Bianca; for they I wouldst not lay eyes upon within this plane of existence lest they become like me to which I hoped such a thing would not occur.
Bianca cried and demanded that I get word to her no matter how for letters were not easily transported across the waters and to find a person that might bring such back to Italy would be nearly impossible to find. When I mentioned as such to her she shook her head and went to her pockets to pull out a worn letter of which I found curious.
"Nothing is impossible, Carlisle," Bianca whispered as she handed me the much folded piece of paper. I carefully opened it, surprised to see a familiar script that I had not seen in the past decade. "She told me not to show it to you whilst you were still here. But since you are to leave tonight," Bianca continued until her voice drifted off into the silence as I read over the finely scripted page.
Dearest Bianca, to you do I send greetings,
I wish that I could watch you upon this day but know that you are still well within my thoughts, piccolina. Many years ago, one of my brothers thought it amusing to cut my hair. I kept the cut locks as a reminder to myself of my vanity and that nothing is forever. To you, I give these precious locks so that you may have something of precious value to me but of no monetary value to anyone else. Watch over and pray for my brother, good sister, for he will need your help and God's.
PS: If you would please, do not inform any one else of this letter. Tell only Carlisle, if you must, when he has left Volterra.
My thoughts were many at once for was my sister still within Italy or had she gotten this letter, now five years old, to Bianca in some other manner of which I knew not? I looked at Bianca with such shock for I knew not how to respond to such a revelation. Bianca's eyes did not meet my own. Rather, she stuffed her hands into her pockets and kept her face hidden so I saw none but her habit about her head. "I keep the locks she gave me with my own that I managed to grab that day," she whispered, slowly gazing upon me.
I watched carefully as Bianca pulled another small object from her pocket and held out her fist for me to take what lay hidden in it. I lowered my hand to be beneath hers and grasp whatever object it may be that was too given. When Bianca opened her fist, I saw a hint of gold flash before it hit my palm. Cradling the object in the palm of my hand, I saw it to be a memory locket, inside of which were two locks of hair braided together; one of which was the color I remember clearly of Bianca's and the other a faded but still recognizable version of Caterina's. I looked back up at Bianca and caught her blush as did Sister Marie Philippa who looked at me angrily and came to break up our little conversation in the courtyard.
"Grazie," I whispered as I looked on to the object again in my hands. Bianca nodded once, her face still downcast as Sister Marie Philippa approached us.
"With this, you may have a piece of both your sisters with you at all times," Bianca whispered. At her words, I felt eternally grateful to her and cared not that the more authoritative nun stood so closely by as I closed the distance between us and hugged my Bianca fiercely. Sister Marie Philippa gasped but I also heard Sister Justina not to far from us.
"Oh tush, Sister Marie. Carlisle is her brother and saying goodbye to one's relations is hardly against God's laws," Sister Justina reprimanded her. I hid my smile, which was easy to do, given my knowledge that this would be the last time I would lay eyes upon Bianca's face in this existence. I broke from her and said my goodbyes once again before turning to the gate of the convent and leaving behind Volterra forevermore.
My life became one of adventure as I continued my quest to abstain from human blood yet allow myself to grow use to it's scent so I might help those that were in need of the healing arts. I came to the Americas, as it was still called back then, with only two trunks and the clothing on my back. I traveled the same way until I found it more comfortable to stay in one place for a year or two. This grew into three years or four.
After the revolution, in which I suddenly became an American, my control over the smell of human blood was gaining greatly. I think being near all those severed limbs in a field hospital helped but even then I still had times where I needed to hold my breath or worse, leave all together. I became known for having a weak stomach; if that was all it was, I would have been grateful!
I kept the locket that Bianca had given me and looked at it from time to time. The hair faded over the years but I could still make out which belonged to Bianca and which belonged to Caterina. It had been over a hundred years before I saw the latter again. It was still early in the 19th century, before the War of 1812 but after Louis and Clark's expedition, when I received a knock on my door. I was the town doctor in a small village known only as Mystic in Connecticut at that time and often had visitors with all nature of aliments and injures; so, given this, I grabbed my bag at it's ready and opened the door.
Upon opening the door, I stood in my own doorway in shock at the sight before me for the essence of strawberries wafted into my house and immediately my mind drew up images of my sister before I could even recognize her as such. The lady in my doorway did not look up at first so all I could see was a rather tattered straw bonnet with but a few silk ribbons to tie it to her chin. She wore a white gown in the current style with a pink sash about her as was all the rage at the time but upon her shoulders was something I knew quite well for she wore my justacorps, my coat if you will, that I had lost so many years ago in a poker game. It was looking quite well for it's age even if it was no longer the fashion and was now a prized antique given the copper still in it's embroidery. I had no need to see the face of the lady before me for I knew it to be Caterina.
I looked at her in shock. I was so happy to have her here, to see her again; I didn't know what to do. Slowly, she looked up at me, her face framed by a few strands of iron/copper hair and pretty golden eyes that held a large array of emotions. Once she meet my eyes she looked back down and I was about to beg of her to look at me again when I heard her voice. "I know this is…not as it should be but may I stay here for a while?" she asked of me, worry and sadness clouding her sweet voice. I wrapped her into a hug and held her tight, so joyous was I at having my sister back in my arms after a century had past without her; without anyone.
I had met many others but none that cared to share my diet. I had heard rumors of others that lived only off the blood of animals but I had yet to track them down. So I moved from area to area, practicing medicine, meeting all sorts of our kind along the way but still I did not have a coven or a family of my own. With Caterina in my arms, safe, I knew I was not alone.
Over the years, she would still come and go as she please but the times between these comings and goings was getting shorter each time. At first, she would be gone for thirty years and only stay around for maybe a year if she felt like it before leaving again to go off on another adventure. Once Edward, and then Esme came into the picture, Caterina would drop by every few years and even stay with us for a year or two every other decade. With the invention of the mail system and then the telephone, keeping in contact with her became an easy task.
During World War II, Caterina stayed with us for four years and it was not an easy four years. She was skittish the entire time and I slowly found out over those four years that she had been helping to free the Jews from the concentration camps and getting them to safety before nearly becoming victim to one of the blitzkrieg attacks. The bombs created fire; they could kill our kind. She had been ordered – by her husband according to Catty though I do doubt is existence despite the few humans over the years that claim they had met him- to go back to the United States and stay where she would be safe. Safe was with her family.
The last time she stayed with us was in the early 90's. Catty passed for a seventeen year old girl given that she didn't look to be any older than Emmett and playfully went to school with the children. I will not make that mistake again.
She as been out on her own again for the past few years, only dropping by a few times to tease me, help Esme, and give the children ideas that I would much rather she kept to herself. Daring Emmett or challenging Jasper was not a good idea to begin with and yet she did both with ease. At least she behaved herself admirably when I asked her to come by that fateful day when Edward and Bella came home from the island. She only stayed for a bit and emailed us or called with updates on any information she had found. Alice just informed us, while everyone was still seated downstairs, that it was to Catty that they had run off to and stayed with. I was glad that my children were safe with her even if I didn't know that at the time.
As I thought back on the events of my life, and how it had unfolded, I knew Catty had sent the Romanians. She would have come to help, but her help would have wiped out the entire Volturi clan which was not what was needed. I'm not entirely sure the way meeting went was for the best in the long run but it did serve it's purpose for now. The loss of life was minimal and the truth regarding many things was unveiled, which gave me some contentment.
I leaned back in my chair in my office, when I heard a soft growl –a werewolf- from outside. I also heard a few more muffled sounds to which drew my curiosity. Standing, I made my way downstairs to see what the issue my be this time.
"Leah, I don't think she meant it," I heard Seth say before I got fully down the stairs. The weather was still cool and currently it was only myself, Esme, Alice, and Jasper in the house. Our South American visitors had gone to hunt with Emmett and Rosalie while Edward, Bella, and Renesmee had returned to their own home after the events over the past few days. It was nice to return to our normal existence for the time being.
I heard the answering growl as my feet touched the wooden floor of the living room. I could make out Seth, my wife, and saw Alice quickly run over and around the wall which blocked my view of Leah. Jasper had a small smile upon his face as he causally walked toward the direction of the others. I followed in suite.
As I walked over, I saw what the commotion had been over. To one side was Leah, still in her wolf form, growling. To the other side was Seth, in his human form, clearly frustrated by his sister's attitude. And in the center stood my own sister, my Caterina. At that moment, all I could feel was joy for my entire family was near.
Author's Note: This was the hardest chapter to write. I still don't know if I like it or note. I might re-write it in the future. I'm putting an edited version of Aurora (changing some minor things, nothing plot changing) up over on Twilighted. Morning Star's first chapter should be ready in the next couple of weeks. Sorry it took so long, the internet went down at work and I had this on my work computer! I finally just printed it out and re-typed it here at home!