Me: Wow. I actually can't believe this is coming to an end now. It started off simply as a bunch of loopholes pulled together to try and make resurrection possible, in some world or another, and it's completely taken on a life of its own. I hope that, while I've entertained myself for hours writing this, that you guys have had fun reading it too.
I know it's not really about the main characters as much as most HON fics are, but when I read the books, I completely latched onto the only three professors that believe Zoey. There are so many unnecessary deaths, that I felt I had to shed some more light on them, to do those characters justice.
I'd like to thank everyone who has read this fic, for reviewing and supporting me, especially Tsuki-Himitsu, who has beta-ed for me, written for me and become a good friend along the way. Thank you.
So here I present you with the epilogue of Resurrected. The song is "Krieger des Lichts", which means "White Knights", by German band Silbermond. YouTube it, play it while you read this last chapter.
So after you've finished the story, here's some food for thought. Let me know your answers in reviews:
Who was it who was resurrected, and why?
What is the moral behind the story?
What does Lenobia mean when she refers to leaving the key in the lock?
Has Eliás actually imprinted with Lenobia?
Does Loren really love Laila, or is it the Imprint talking?
So read, laugh, enjoy, and remember, the farrier is always late.
Sei wie der Fluss der eisern ins Meer fließt
Der sich nicht abbringen lässt egal wie schwer's ist
Selbst den größten Stein fürchtet er nicht
Auch wenn es Jahre dauert bis er ihn bricht
Und wenn dein Wille schläft dann weck ihn wieder
Denn in jedem von uns steckt dieser Krieger
Dessen Mut ist wie ein Schwert
Doch die größte Waffe ist sein Herz
~ German "Krieger des Lichts" by Silbermond
Be like the river that unwaveringly flows into the sea,
That doesn't let itself be lead astray no matter how hard it gets,
It doesn't even fear the greatest stone,
Even if it takes years before it breaks through,
And if your will is sleeping then wake it again,
Because in every one of us there hides this fighter,
Whose courage is like a sword,
But the greatest weapon is his heart.
~ English "White Knights" by Silbermond
Ten years later...
Tiny little footsteps pitter-pattered over the soft fibres of a carpet, a cascade of loose honey-blonde curls following shortly on their tail. Two small palms pushed down on a heavy brass door handle, and a little face peered around the door.
"Mommy, they're here!"
So soon? The reunion wasn't due to start until seven. Anastasia Lankford looked over her shoulder. "Already?"
The little girl, aged exactly nine and three months, beamed from the doorway, already hyper at being allowed to wear her party dress. The tiny crescent moon on her forehead was the strangest thing about her, so quaint, but bolder than any statement or speech. She jumped up and down on the spot, excitement brimming like a simmering pot threatening to boil over. "It's a stretch limo and everything!!!" she said.
Anastasia fastened her favourite necklace around her neck. It was the same one that had been the cause of her rather close shave with death, now exactly ten years ago. It didn't change anything. The necklace was still dear to her, it was still her little sentiment trinket from her father. It was a little bit of magic. She ran a hand through her hair again, before getting up from her dressing table and taking her daughter's hand. "Okay sweetie, let's go. Have you seen Daddy?"
Evie Lankford shook her head, her long hair swishing around her shoulders. "He said he was just going to check the lounge was ready."
"You ready to meet them?" The little girl beamed and nodded. "Okay then, let's go meet them."
Anastasia closed the door to their quarters and slid the key into the lock, turning it quickly, her hand still in Evie's. Now that was another little bit of magic. For vampyres to bear children was biologically impossible, and yet here she was, with the child she had carried and raised. Just like it was the most normal thing in the world. Evie had her blue eyes, but was blonde like her father. She had realised what had happened, when Nyx had said Neferet's soul would be reborn... She just never thought in a million years it would be to her. To others it had been a little strange, but to them, it had never been more simple. As far as they were concerned, they weren't bringing up Neferet. They were bringing up Evie.
"Good timing, they're here!"
Evie grinned. "Auntie Lenobia, you're late!"
Auntie Lenobia certainly was. The farrier had been late – which is something that after all these years, she really should have foreseen – which had left her forty minutes behind schedule. She was even later than Erce, whose flight had even managed to arrive on time for once. Smelling of burning hoof-horn and topped off with pieces of hay in her hair, she sprinted down the hall in the professor's building for the world's fastest shower, before almost running full pelt into Evie.
"Yes Auntie Lenobia, you are." Said Anastasia.
"The farrier was late."
"And what else is new?"
"Don't you have guests to greet?" said Lenobia, jogging on the spot, "I will be down in ten minutes!"
"I'm timing." Anastasia watched as Lenobia legged it to her quarters, before continuing downstairs to the gates.
"It's true Mom, farriers are always late."
The House of Night was a place that never changed. Not one bit. A place where vampyres from all over had spent their best, and worst days, some had been saved by it, others not. Standing in front of it now, and it could easily have been ten years previously, when the limo was not a limo, but a yellow taxi, when the snow that fell around them was not snow, but driving rain. It was strange how those initial memories of the place were more powerful than the last ones, the tearful goodbyes, the hugs, the kisses, the world out there, waiting for them.
None of them had been back here since that day. Zoey Redbird's long dark hair was tucked into the back of her coat, her crown dotted with the snowflakes that stuck themselves to her. She missed Tulsa, and even the rest of America greatly. She had been in Venice for far too long.
Behind her stood the people that had stood behind her all along. Aphrodite LaFont and her mate Darius were the only two she had seen face to face regularly since leaving here. They had come to Venice with her, Aphrodite being Zoey's trusted advisor on the Council. The others, it had been too long. Contact through Facebook was just wasn't quite as good as the real thing. Yes, the High Priestess of all vampyres had Facebook. Damien had travelled the world, and was training to become a High Priest, with Jack at his side. Erin and Shaunee, were, as Zoey had always predicted they might, doing something that was completely unrelated to the vampyre world. Both had worked as models, before turning to designing, shoes, clothes, anything to do with fashion. And Stevie-Rae. Stevie-Rae, her best friend forever and for always, the High Priestess of the red vampyres. Zoey felt sorry that Stevie-Rae had not been with her for those fateful days ten years ago, but the red fledglings were proving to be more than a handful.
The sound of the porters unloading their luggage from the car woke her from her thoughts, as did the freezing cold wind eating at her legs through her tights. Entwining her fingers with Stark's, she began to wade through the thick carpet of snow towards the main building, memories leaping out at her from nooks and crannies of her mind she had never even known about.
The call was so familiar. Zoey gave a massive grin. "Anastasia!!!" she said, unlinking herself from Stark and launching herself into Anastasia's arms.
"How are you Zoey?" she asked as she gave her a monster hug.
"Glad to be back." She said, letting go so the others could hug her too. This was all an informal event. Zoey looked to Anastasia's side. "Hello..." she said, holding out her hand, "You must be Evie."
The little girl nodded and took Zoey's wrist. "Merry meet, High Priestess." She said.
"You can call me Zoey." She said, holding out her hand near her knee. "I haven't seen you since you were this big!"
"Alright everyone, let's go inside before we all catch hypothermia." Anastasia announced.
They followed Anastasia to the lounge, which was a large room used for functions, when the House of Night hosted events. The inside of it was decked out in festive decorations, millions of fairy-lights hung from everything in sight, tinsel hung abundantly from several evergreen trees. On the left hand side of the room, there was a huge table laid out with every kind of food they could imagine, the smell of wine and punch enriching the atmosphere of the room.
"Wow..." said Zoey as she went in. At the end of the table, she saw Dragon Lankford talking hurriedly with another vampyre, dressed smartly in a black waistcoat.
"Daddy!" Evie called, running over to him, "Daddy they're here!"
Dragon looked away from his conversation, nodded to the other vampyre and only just had time to move forward a few strides before he was pulled into a series of hugs. He was only released when Lucinda Gramy, Penthesilia, Patricia Nolan walked in, along with Erce, and two male vampyres and one female that Zoey didn't recognise.
"Zoey..." said Anastasia, "May I present Oliver Darkholme, Lin Tze Xing and Ava Austen, professors of Sociology, Tae Kwondo and Poetry respectively."
"Merry meet High Priestess." They all said, shaking her wrist in turn.
"Merry meet!" said Zoey, before realising that something was missing, "Wait... Where is Lenobia?"
Anastasia gave a knowing look. "The farrier was late."
Eliás Svboda had never been to Tulsa. Never even to America. He had flung his head back and laughed heartily when the security guard at customs asked him what part of Britain he came from, and then the expression on his face when he produced a Czech passport. Climbing out of the car, he wrapped his long coat around him. The snow was almost as bad here as it was in Prague.
He smiled as he saw Anastasia Lankford, now the High Priestess, standing outside the doors, waiting. "It's so good to see you again." He said, shaking her wrist.
"And you." She said, "Come on in, everyone else is already here."
"Am I late?"
"Of course not! I trust it was a good flight?"
"Now brace yourself, you may just be swept off your feet." She said, as she opened the doors. And sure enough, she was right. Hugs and greeting ensued, so much so, that by the end of it, Eliás thought his hand might fall off for all the shaking. Finally, he saw Dragon, and greeted him.
"It's been too long." He said.
Eliás too was immediately taken with the little girl with the crescent moon Mark at Dragon's side. "Is this...?"
He met Dragon eye to eye. Dragon nodded, before his face returned to that of a proud father. "This is my daughter Evie."
"Merry meet." He said, holding out his weary hand for the girl to shake. He remembered Dragon from that time in San Clemente, so broken that he could barely cling onto life, and now, as he held his arm around Evie's shoulder, he looked as if all the love was about to explode from inside him.
Eliás and Dragon continued to chat, their voices lost into the jumble of sounds that was the party. Neither of them heard the doors open again. Everyone became louder, and seemed to flock towards the door, the person's name on all of their tongues.
Dressed in a black dress to mid-thigh and, as always, in knee-high boots, although these had heels as opposed to zips up the sides. It was the first time anyone except occasionally the other staff members had seen her not in britches and Königs. She had no make-up on – she didn't need it, nor has she had time to put any on, and her hair was loose down her back.
Now Lenobia was not the sort of person you can walk up to and hug. She seemed to be making an exception for now, that was how moving this whole thing was. Eliás held his composure. He owed her his life. He had never forgotten the pleasure that had spread through him like wildfire when he drank her blood, how he had had to stop, otherwise he may very well have jumped on her. How she had laughed when he spilled hot coffee all over her. He wasn't sure why he kept wanting to sneak glances at her when she wasn't looking. She was beautiful, yes, but so was every other female vamp in the world, he never had trouble controlling himself, even his own thoughts could be purely platonic if he wanted them to be, it was like setting himself to automatic pilot. So why was she different? He didn't know her well at all, just that had found each other similar. His mind flashed back once more to the beautiful vampyre in a Nazi army uniform, lying on that hospital bed, barely alive. There was so much blood that it was dripping to the floor at the side of the bed. Thirty bullets. He heard the nurse say. Shot thirty times where it mattered most. She had never been expected to survive, let alone walk, or even ride. At the time, he had wondered what her story was. A female, in the army, even a vampyre, was unheard of. Human women weren't allowed full stop. Why was she in the army? What had happened to her? And how had an army vamp ended up teaching at a House of Night?
When she came to him, she gave his wrist a firm shake, probably rendering it useless for the rest of the evening. "Good to see you."
He looked to her feet for a moment. "No Königs?"
She sighed. "No Königs."
The rest of the party went by in a whir. Everyone talking, laughing, drinking, all be it to no effect. After a few hours, Dragon Lankford noticed Evie sitting by the window, where a few minutes before she had been watching the falling snowflakes outside enchantedly. Her head was resting against the window pane, her eyes peacefully closed. Dragon whispered into Anastasia's ear, to which she gave a nod. Dragon went and knelt by Evie's side.
"Evie?" he asked, rubbing her arm gently, "Are you awake?"
She stirred momentarily, before yawning. "I'm sleepy..."
"Okay." He said, gathering her into his arms, "Time for bed, I think."
"That reminds me..." said Lenobia, glancing down at her watch, "I'll be right back." She excused herself and left, her blonde hair licking the door as she went.
She sighed to herself and watched her breath condense in front of her as she marched out of the back door of the staff room and down the path to the stables. She unlocked the door to her office and went inside, kicking off her heeled boots and replacing them with green wellies. She pulled on a heavy coat and gloves, and opened the cupboard, pulling out an Animalintex poultice and a vetwrap bandage. Running the tap at the sink until it was hot, she filled a little tub with water and put the poultice in it. Stepping out into the snow again, she stopped.
"Sorry." He said, "Just wanted some peace and quiet for a few minutes."
It was Eliás. His reddish-brown hair like the only splodge of colour in the white night. As always, he was perfectly presented. It was like he thought that one false step, one hair out of place would depose him as a High Priest. One look at him and you could tell his IQ was off the charts. You could almost see the neurones in his brain flashing as he came to a conclusion at three times the speed of the next best person. Lenobia didn't blush. It wasn't something she wasted her time doing and even if she could, the cold had frozen her cheeks almost solid. She felt a butterfly in her stomach. Not butterflies plural, butterfly singular. A tiny, shrinking feeling, the kind she felt before riding in an important competition. She wasn't a nervous person, but she still felt that butterfly. It had always been a good thing, Lenobia had always taught her older students that if you're not a little bit nervous it means you don't care, you don't appreciate what could go wrong, no matter how accomplished a rider you are, a bird in a hedge, a spectator rattling a crisp-packet, a shadow, and your marks could plummet, your penalties soar sky-high. It meant you didn't feel the passion of the sport. She wasn't about to go in front of an international dressage judge, or tackle a four star cross-country course, but it felt like that. The similarities between them were so uncanny, she knew he had the potential to be a very good friend. The other potential, she had pushed to the back of her mind. Not everything revolved solely around romantic relationships. As soon as the possibility entered her mind, she dismissed it. They both had responsibilities which tied them down, on different continents with the Atlantic Ocean in between, no less. Feeling such a connection with someone that she was actually considering this possibility at all was such a rare occurrence that it bothered her. The strange curiosity that wondered, what it was like to touch him, to kiss him, even make love to him, was likewise banished.
"So you followed me?"
He shrugged. "Yes."
"Alright, well I just came out to change a poultice." She said, walking into the second block of stables, "All this snow means we can't turn them out, and some of them are going a bit loopy kept in." She stopped at a stable, picked up the headcollar and leadrope and undid the bolts on the door. "This one managed to stand on his own feet." She said, pointing to the stable bandages on its front legs. Tying the horse to the string on the tie-ring, she removed the right bandage, revealing beneath a vetwrap bandage, which she peeled off, and revealed a small cut. Not deep, but oozing pus. "It got a bit infected. The poultice draws out all the muck."
As she changed the poultice, he let the horse lick the palm of his glove. "I've missed you."
She looked up. "You have?"
"You're still the same person I met in San Clemente. You're the same person I saw in 1944. You haven't changed."
"You think so?" she said, getting up and untying the horse, "I don't know." She paused for a moment, "Eliás, when you were Marked, did you think that you had been saved?"
"Maybe." He said, "Maybe not. Why?"
"I hear stories of people like Zoey Redbird and Damien Maslin who agree that Nyx did save them from their human lives." She said, leaning against the stable door next to him, "I would love to be able to say that that was the case with me."
She shook her head. "At the time I rather felt my life had been destroyed. I wanted to ride for Germany, etc... All that went out the window. I went into the army, well, it meant I could stay closer to my father for one, we were pretty close. And, I think the other reason I did it, was because I wanted respect for what I was. From the best themselves. When you go into that atmosphere, suddenly it becomes a ladder for status. I injured several other men because they thought I was a joke, or a toy, or both. I used to have to listen to them at night after lights out talking about their sexual conquests. Boys will be boys, but there are some limits to common decency." She bit her lip, "Don't get me wrong. I got a lot out of being in the army, if I were to leave Tulsa now I'd think about going back. But, for that reason, I swore I'd never be like the wives or mistresses of those men. I wasn't going to be a tool for someone else's pleasure. The respect disintegrates. Being a vampyre has never been a plus as far as any of that is concerned."
"You hid in the world you wanted to be a part of." She was silent. "I know." He said, "I did too."
He nodded. "I wanted respect, for what I was. I didn't want it for my affinity, I wanted it for my mind. Which was, a long time ago, the only part of me I considered to have any worth. So when I Changed, I went to study Chemistry. I was hopeless at Drama, the Arts, I wanted to be a scientist. I didn't want to be someone's warrior. Not that I dislike the cause, but I wanted something more, I didn't want to stop there. I didn't integrate into the vampyre world, I went back to the human one like you. How I got where I am now is anyone's guess."
"And when you become set in your ways, that's it."
He smiled. "You're very inspirational, you know that?"
She smiled back. "So are you."
"Truth be told..." he said, "Back then, I was going to ask if you wanted to grab a coffee sometime, but I thought you might break my nose..."
She chuckled. "Depends if you were intending on spilling it on me again."
"Say I was." He said, "What would you say?"
She nodded comically. "I would break your nose." She laughed again, "But, I've often wondered what would have happened if you had."
"Spilled coffee on you?" she chuckled as he gave a small smirk. "Well..." he said, turning to face her. He tilted her chin up with a hand before leaning down and kissing her softly. Lenobia was sure that as they stood there, she was getting warmer, and that she could feel sparks whenever he touched her, even through clothes and gloves. Their kiss kept getting deeper, fiercer, her arms wrapped themselves around him, one around his waist, the other over his back so she could hold his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tight to him. She felt completely swamped by his embrace. He was the first person, ever, to make her feel delicate, small, that he might actually protect her instead of her having to protect herself. His lips wandered to her neck, where he nipped her sharply and sucked on the blood that trickled over them. Sighs and moans escaped from both of them freely. "Nmmm... Not out here..." she breathed, continuing in between to kiss him as hard as she could, "It's too cold..."
Ah, earlier she had been serious about the sparks, and her conviction was reassured when the sparks became an actual shock.
They broke apart, both breathless, but didn't let go of one another.
"Sorry..." he said, forcing his affinity back, "Sorry..."
"Is that going to be a problem?"
"I hope not..."
Lenobia heard a stamping in the otherwise quiet stable block. "Well, not as much of a problem as that."
It was Persephone. Kicking at her stable door, she was doing the phlegm-imposture stance, where the horse pokes its nose in the air and turns its top lip up.
Eliás tilted his head to the side. "Is that horse vetting me for suitability?"
He squinted. "It's mocking me."
"Does it approve?"
"No." She said, holding back more laughs, "She knows it's hopeless." Lenobia's laughing fades into the frozen air, and she held onto him tighter, leaning her head beneath his chin, "We live on opposite sides of the world, Eliás." She said, "If it ever came to that, both of us have to stay where we are. You can't leave Prague and I can't leave Tulsa. And even if I could I can't speak Czech."
"Dragon and Anastasia couldn't even understand each other at first."
"They didn't have to shout it over the Atlantic Ocean." She said, making him snort, "How long are you here for?"
He sounded sad. "Three days."
"Three days..." she trailed away into nothing. "Stay with me."
"Couldn't keep me away." He said pertly, "No matter what else I am, I'm still male." He held her tightly for a moment, "I might even be straight."
She burst out laughing. "We shall see. Life is what you make it."
"And love?" he asked with a grin on his face, "Is love what you make it?"
"Love, High Priest, is definitely what you make it."
Und er kennt seine Grenzen
Und geht trotzdem zu weit
Kein Glück in der Ferne
Nachdem er nicht greift
Seine Macht ist sein Glaube
Um nichts kämpft er mehr
Und das immer und immer wieder
Deswegen ist er ein Krieger
Das ist ein Aufruf
Das hier geht an alle Krieger
An alle Krieger
Das ist ein Aufruf
Und dieser Aufruf geht an alle Krieger des Lichts
An alle Krieger des Lichts
Das hier geht an alle Krieger des Lichts
~ German "Krieger des Lichts" by Silbermond
And he knows his boundaries,
And still goes too far anyway,
No happiness far away,
For which he won't reach,
His strength is his faith,
He fights for nothing more,
He will again and again,
That's why he's a fighter.
This is a calling.
And this is to all the fighters.
To all the fighters.
This is a calling,
And this calling goes,
To all the white knights
To all the white knights
This is to all the white knights.
~ English "White Knights" by Silbermond
R&R! Over and out.