Everyone's jaws dropped and Ian began to sputter
Connor stood glued to his spot. At that moment he was surprised not only to feel shock but protective anger. He turned as he heard Roman clear his throat.
"Maybe we should take this to the meeting room, hm?"
Everyone nodded and began to move to the hall. The wedding reception was still going strong but at this point no one cared.
"S what are you saying? How did you even meet Casimir?"
Roman was obviously sympathetic towards Michelle. He himself had been turned and had to endure life with Casimir. Seated around the long oblong table, all eyes were riveted to Michelle. She took a deep breath and sighed.
"You all know Ian's story correct?"
"Well when Ian came home after being turned he got in a huge fight with our mother. She said he would kill all of us. I don't think either you or our mum realized, Ian but I was hiding in the loft the entire time."
Connor looked and saw Ian's face was shocked and slightly saddened. He saw Toni squeeze Ian's hand and felt a small tug of jealousy.
"When our mother kicked Ian out I was furious. I was only 14 at the time but my temper was horrible." she smiled softly. "I screamed and ranted at mum for days because I knew that Ian would never hurt us."
She looked and Ian and he smiled hugely at her.
" So I decided to follow you. I gathered my things and left nary a week after you."
"What! You left!"
Ian looked shocked. Connor rolled his eyes. It wasn't really all that surprising. Michelle was the type of woman that would do things her way and listen to no one. But then again maybe she was different when Ian had known her. But Connor highly doubted it. Michelle carried on as if Ian had said nothing.
" I walked quite far following word of you traveling with four other men. Finally I saw you. The lot off you were sleeping off the coast of England. But just as I was going to join you I was grabbed by a man. Casimir I later found out. He tried to bite me but I broke his nose."
Connor felt his eyes widen.
"Ye broke Casimir's nose?"
She popped the 'P' and shrugged indifferent. Like this was something that happened on a daily basis. He snorted , he wouldn't put it past her. Angus turned to Ian.
"Ye sister is bloody amazing!"
Everyone laughed and Michelle continued with her story.
" He smiled at that for some reason and next thing I knew I was in a castle in the middle of who-knows-where. He told me I was special and asked if I wanted something to drink. I told him I'd rather run butt naked through the halls of the kings palace and that if he didn't let me go I would make sure he was no longer legally a man. Then, surprise, surprise, he locked me up in a dungeon. I was there for a few weeks."
There was a loud crash and Connor looked over to see that Ian had broken the arm off his chair.
"I thought I'd be there for the rest of my life when It happened."
Connor stiffened as a single tear flowed down her cheek. He had a feeling he wouldn't want to hear this. To see this strong beautiful women shed even a single tear meant that what happened would be truly horrifying.
"Casimir came in followed by four other men. Well I thought they were men. Their bodies weren't covered in skin but fur, and, in one man's case, feathers. Casimir sat by my side and drained me dry. Just as I felt the blood drip into my mouth I felt searing pain in my ankles and wrists. The next thing I remember is waking up in a tree covered in blood. At some point during the transformation something happened and I tried to kill everyone in the room. I escaped as did Casimir. I still don't know why I did kill those men though. Don't get me wrong they deserved to die but not the way I did it."
She looked down ashamed, her brow furrowed. Phil cleared his throat.
" I know why. At this point you're saying the men that attacked you were shape shifters, right?"
"Have you studied them at all?"
" Well turning for the first time without help from a alpha can be…traumatic to say the least. If you woke up with this ability and you saw these men your more animalistic instincts would take total control. If you were fearful of your life then your animal would have done anything to get you out."
Michelle looked down ashamed.
"I swear I didn't mean to! I don't even remember anything except running away."
Connor was shocked. This girl felt so guilty about killing the men that that had ruined her life? She had stricken him as the 'kill and chill' type. To know that even this stubborn, headstrong, flippant girl had so much compassion, rocked him to his core. He suddenly felt ashamed of his own 'kill now ask questions later' attitude.
"Anyway I was so scared that I didn't even notice Casimir coming towards me. He captured me abut this time I wasn't thrown into a dungeon but a tower room. I had a bed and a window. I- I tried to escape every minute of every day. Finally Casimir had had enough. He came to my room with another man and told me I had to join him and his army. When I refused he said it was time to break me." she whispered the last words. "He said that Jedrek was going to help him. He locked the door and stood in the corner. Then the man he…he…"
She burst into tears and started whimpering , reliving her nightmare. Ian ran over and held her as she sobbed.
"It hurt so bad."
At this last whispered statement, everyone in the room was shaking with pain and anger at her broken state, especially since they knew who caused it. Personally, Connor wanted to kill Jedrek Janow all over again. With poisoned blades. And silver nitrate. And maybe some acid. He heard another gut wrenching sob from Michelle. He winced. Actually he'd definitely use acid, lots of acid.
"Michelle, shh, you don't have to say anymore its ok."
Ian didn't finish speaking before Michelle started slowly shaking her head.
"I need to finish this. But if it okay with you I'm just going to give you the short version. For the next four hundred years I was tortured and whored out to Casimir's worthy followers."
She scowled at the word worthy.
" Eventually I found out about synthetic blood and Romatech when Casimir came storming through the castle cursing Roman Dragenesti at the top of his lungs."
She smiled slightly and continued.
" I found a picture of you and realized you were one of the men I had seen with Ian. I knew I had to find all of you so for the next twenty years I pretended to be utterly devoted to Casimir until he trusted me enough to leave the fortress on my own to hunt. One day I just teleported away and to the states. I had been there once before and I knew where to go. I tried to make Casimir think it was a spur of the moment trip by going to places all over the country. I knew he was tracking me so I come here right away. But I have recently learned Casimir has put a price on my head. So I came here for help."
She ended her story by looking around the room and landing her gaze on Connor. He asked a question he hadn't meant to voice at least not yet.
"So what exactly is the extent of your abilities?"
He saw a fearful, cold smile cross her features before she shook her head and sarcasm replaced the smile. She rolled her eyes.
"I'm sooooo glad you asked….."