Evenings Light

Preface

Caius made his way quickly across the castle's main stone courtyard, distraught by the current information he carried. The light, cascading down from the night's full moon, cast a long shadow of the ghostly vampire and his cloak upon the ground as it followed swiftly behind him.

With a thunderous crash, the large wooden entry doors flew open as Caius pushed his way past, seething furiously through the dimly-lit, grand entrance room.

He made his way up the large, wooden staircase in front of him that circled up and to the right, then stopped to compose himself as he stared down the lengthy, candle-glowing hallway, strewn with red carpeting, topped by a slender rug decorated in an argyle pattern of browns, blues and yellows.

Warily now, he made his way down the long hall. The ancient collection of paintings that hung on the wooden-paneled walls, of old family rulers and members, were a constant reminder of his revered position there at Volterra.

Caius adjusted his shoulders and chin to a proud position with his first steps, only to lose a bit of fervor with each step that followed as he slowly closed in on his destination.

He stopped short at the large sturdy wooden door at the end of the second floor hall, sighed heavily, collected his recurring troubled thoughts and knocked twice.

There was a brief pause.

"Come in, Caius," Aro instructed in a tone like a master to a servant.

He entered the room hesitantly, void of all previous anger. With apprehension in his movements, he slowly closed the door behind him, having no desire to move any closer to the middle of the room than necessary—for his slight fear of the other vampire had slithered its way back in, possessing him once again.

Aro stood behind an outsized, rectangle, mahogany desk in the middle of his main business suite. On his desk were many books, a few lying open and a few in a pile as if to be opened shortly. Old fashioned charcoal pencils lay in sporadic formations upon a few half folded maps of Europe, Asia and North America.

Aro's favorite room, where he spent most of his time, was the Fortress's main library downstairs. It contained as much history as historically possible and nearly all information he'd demanded on past medicines, mythology and legends. After Gianna's fulfilled nourishment to the guard; current books, articles and newspapers were brought in daily by their recent human subjects, Leone and Sofia, to keep the Volturi in touch with new events and researches.

A low fire kindled, crackling some, on the left side of Aro's office, reflecting off the light grey hearth, causing shadows to dance in slow patterned rhythms along the interior stone walls. Of course, The Volturi were always very careful of what light they used. Volterra Fortress was supposed to be empty, after all, of residents—now deemed a museum of sorts for the 'tourists' of their choosing.

Renata and Felix stood in strict, solid guard on each side of Aro, slightly behind, and towards each corner of the room. Their bodies were completely motionless as they eyed Caius's entrance.

"What is it, my brother?" Aro said with wonder, eyeing Caius's plagued expression.

Caius moved a few reluctant steps closer. "I have a private matter to discuss with you, Aro," he said, before glancing at Felix, and then Renata.

"Of course." Aro nodded once, acknowledging their need for privacy. He motioned his hand toward the door for the two vampires on guard to leave. "Renata, Felix, would you give us a minute alone, please." It was an order.

They nodded their heads in obedience and left the room without a single glance towards Aro or Caius, closing the door behind them.

Once the two guards were given time to be far enough away, Aro reached his pale, thin, pasty hand directly out in front of him. "Tell me, Caius, what it that troubles you so?"

Caius walked up slowly, hesitantly reaching his hand out. He intended to touch Aro, but decided to speak first. There were some things he didn't want known yet.

"Calem has returned. He brings news of a recent discovery, Aro." His voice was uneasy. "It seems possible that another bloodline may exist; to the northeast, beyond the mountains."

Aro stared at him with a hint of confusion. "Another bloodline you say?"

"Yes." Caius took a large swallow. "His description of them is precise, but, their behavior is like none other we have ever seen before..." he trailed off, trembling, putting his hand back down at his side. It was the current terror running rampant through him he was not able to share.

Aro respected the decline of Caius's touch, and placed his hand back at his side, for he knew his brother well. The current distress frozen on the vampire's face was enough for Aro to know there was no need to pursue his thoughts any further.

Caius had hoped deeply that this acquired knowledge was not true. Not true in the least. But Calem was certain. And The Volturi had always wondered if another line could exist. But past and present legends made no mention of it.

Aro turned in thought as he made his way across the dimly lit room to the iron-rod protected window. Pausing only for a moment, he then pulled back one side of the dark, heavy maroon-colored curtain that remained closed at all times. In silence, he turned his face towards the night sky, looking.

When he didn't find what he was searching for, his eyes then searched out into the darkness, throughout the trees, over the rooftops, past the city and in far stretches along the distant countryside, looking for something…else.

"Could it be another family?" he pondered to himself as the faint, evenings light reflected off his cold, pale granite skin, "or—one in the same?"

Caius could only stand there, not moving, not breathing, frozen in terror at the thought. Another family? Another breed? It didn't matter. It was another threat.

Aro turned to him, flared his nostrils, pursed his lips and nodded in slight assurance.

"Get Marcus. And bring Calem to me." He scowled. "I want to know everything..."