A\N: At this time this is a one shot story that my muse occupied my mind with for the last couple of days. I may in the future decide to expand on this story, but as it stands it can be considered complete.
Because this is a one shot there are some things that need to be explained:
This story takes place during the mid to late 1700; shortly before the United States is set to declare its independence.
Jasper, and Edward are both born much earlier then they are in the Twilight Saga. Jasper is about the same age as Carlisle. Edward is younger then the two of them.
Lastly, Jasper is a rare type of vampire that is capable of having multiple gifts. Some of his gifts will be explained within the story. He has other gifts that are not discussed in this story. I have planned out what those might be if I were to continue the story.
Also Alice is a human-vampire hybrid, but she is only reference in this story. She does not make an appearance in it; nor does Esme. (Note they will make an appearance in the Epilogue).
In-Regards to Lemons/Sexual Content: All Lemons/Graphic Sexual Content in the story have been removed. If you want to read them you will need to go to TWCS. There is a link in my Author's Profile to the listing of all my stories on that site. You will also find all current Outtakes on TWCS.
Story Details: This story is slash, M/M relationship between Jasper & Edward.
Expanded Summary: Major Jasper Whitlock is one of the most feared and respected vampires of his time. Only the truly foolish would challenge him, and those foolish enough have met with an untimely end.
Jasper sets out on a mission to protect the supernatural and human world after visions from his sister Alice. Under the pretense of exposing a secret alliance between his former Master and leaders of the Romanian coven he sets out to Volterra to inform Aro Volturi of their intentions. Does Jasper have ulterior motives for informing the leader of the vampire world, or does it do it out of respect for authority.
Chapter 1: The Reward
The village of Volterra is nestled on a small hill over looking the Tuscan country side. Its walls are said to secure the safest village in all of Italy, but that security comes at a price that its residents do not question. Volterra is home to the Volturi family; a powerful coven of vampires who rule over the supernatural world with force and intimidation.
I could feel their eyes upon me the moment I began to walk upon the hillside road that led the village gates. Most people will have been unnerved by the constant pressure of eyes watching your every stepped, but not me. Their attention caused me no concern as I approached their village.
Lightning flashed across the dark night sky before the deluge of rain was unleashed upon the Earth. I pulled the hood of my dark green cloak over my head so that it would shield the rain, but also so that it would hide my face and eyes from the guards. I also pulled my cloak closed around me hiding my sword in its sheath.
The human guards watched me as I approached the village gate. It was the first time they had seen me, but they were of little concern to me. Neither guard moved toward me as I approached the opened gate. They waited for another cloaked figure to step out of the shadows as I reached the entrance.
"State your business," the cloaked figure said in perfect Latin.
"I seek an audience with your Master, Aro Volturi," I replied, also in perfect Latin.
The cloaked figure stepped closer to me and I could see his face beneath the hood of his dark colored cloak. His face was pale white, but his eyes were bright red.
"Proceed along the path to the village square. Approach the doors of the clock tower and one of the watchers will grant you access to seek your audience with Master Aro," instructed the cloaked figure.
"Aliquam," I replied, acknowledging my thanks in Latin. The figure stepped back into the shadows and I proceed into the village unhindered, but still closely watched by the sentries.
The path wound and weaved its way through the village until it reached the village square. A large fountain was centered within the square directly in front of the ancient clock tower. In the shadows on either side of the tower stood two cloaked figures; their red eyes watched my every move as I approached the door way of the tower.
"I seek an audience with your Master," I said as they approached me.
"Follow us," said the one to my right.
We entered the tower and preceded down a long hall way that lead deep into the fortress, until we came to a stairway. Ascending to the second level we immediately turned left and proceed down another corridor until we came to a set of large metal doors. When the doors open we were in the audience chamber.
I mentally prepared myself for the encounter before entering the room. Aro Volturi was not a person to be made light of. The leader of the supernatural world was deceitful, manipulative and dangerous.
One of the watchers proceeded ahead of me and approached Aro's seat in the center of the room. Aro was flanked by his brothers; Marcus to his right and Caius to his left. I observed as Aro grasped the watcher's hand before he leaned in to whisper into Aro's ear. It was a ruse; the watcher had no need to whisper anything to Aro. With but a simple touch Aro was able to gather all the watcher's thoughts.
"Afton tells me that you seek an audience with me, stranger," Aro spoke for the first time.
I reached up and pushed the hood of my cloak off my head and revealed my face to Aro and his court. "Greetings, Master Aro. I am Major Jasper Whitlock," I said.
Aro smiled and his emotions pique with much curiosity. I could also imagine the wheels in his mind working furiously to decipher the reason for my presence. I knew that from his expression that my reputation preceded me.
"Afton and Demetri, you may return to your posts," Aro instructed. The two watchers who had led me here left the room, and closed the doors behind them.
"To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, Major," Aro queried.
I reached within my coat and removed a letter and map. I held the items out toward Aro, and immediately a human female approached me and took the items from my hand. She brought them over to Aro then returned to her post by the door.
I took the time to look around the room while Aro read the contents of the letter and looked over the map. The room was sparsely decorated, and there were only two ways into the room. The door I had entered through and a second door off to the side that likely led deeper into the keep.
Standing by the second door way was a human boy. He was in his late teens, possibly early twenties. It was difficult to discern his age because he was in poor health. His hair was the most unusual color that I had ever seen. It was bronze, a near perfect mix of brown and red. His face was pale, and his green eyes held fear, sadness and despair. This boy was totally broken. It made my cold dead heart break.
I knew this was the boy that Alice had sent me to retrieve. I was to do everything within my power to make sure that Aro gifted him to me before leaving this chamber. Those had been Alice's specific instructions. Those instructions could be easily followed. Throughout history there had been only a handful of vampires that possessed more then one gift, or ability above the norm. Even fewer that possessed as many as me.
"Is this information accurate?" questioned Aro.
I nodded, "Yes my lord".
"What is it?" asked Caius.
"It seems dear brother that our long time rivals, the Romanians have allied themselves with a vampire named Maria," Aro began.
"That is not a name I have heard before. She is obviously no threat to us," Caius said dismissing the potential threat.
"Do not dismiss this threat out of hand, dear brother. This Maria may not be well known, but I feel there is more to this vampire then meets the eye," Aro said and then looked at me.
"Is there anything else you wish to add?" Aro asked.
I extended my hand toward Aro and his eyes lit up with the anticipation of a new mind to probe. Without hesitation he waved me forward, and immediately took my hand. I flooded Aro's mind with all the information I possess with regards to the alliance between the Romanians and Maria. I also showed Aro Maria's plan for after the war.
Aro's facial expression were closely guarded as he read the information from my mind, but to the trained eye one could see the look of concern cross his eyes as he processed all the information. But Aro wasn't done; he wanted to know more about me. I could feel his mind press against mine as it looked for information about me.
He wouldn't get everything he wanted, but I would give him enough to trust me. I had setup mental blocks within my mind to prevent him from seeing anything that I wanted to keep to myself. I allowed Aro to see some of my past. My abilities on the battlefield and my tactical mind at work as I planned battles and order my troops.
As Aro absorbed all this information I was planting seeds within his mind. Alice's plan to save this boy required me to follow a very specific path. First was to plant a seed in Aro's mind that he needed me to lead the protection of Volterra while the main force of the guard was dealing with Maria. The second was for him to provide me with a gift for bring this information to him. This second plant also included the boy as being the best gift.
Aro relished every second of the connection between us as my mind provided him with much information to quell his curiosity. Finally I showed him one of my gifts, and my choice in diet.
Unlike others of my kind I did not feed from humans. My empathic abilities made it much too difficult emotionally for me to feed from humans. Instead I feed from wild animals. Their blood did not quench my thirst, but it kept it at bay.
Aro looked into my face as the thoughts of my diet entered his mind. It was then that he noticed my gold colored eyes for the first time. Despite my choice in diet I felt the lust for having my power and abilities under his control surface within him. The first plant had succeeded.
"You have convinced me of this threat, Major," Aro said as he released my hand.
I stepped back away from Aro and waited as he gathered his thoughts. "I wonder," Aro began, "Why is it that you have come to me with this information?"
"I care not for the conflict between the Romanians and the Volturi, but Maria is dangerous. If her plans for our world and the human world are allowed to continue she will not only expose us, but also unleash a much larger war for territory," I answered.
"Yes, her plans for after this war are most alarming. I dispatched Demetri and several of my best guards to investigate the rumors that have been coming out of Mexico. The news from there has been about a new plague that has wiped out many humans," Aro said.
"It is no plague, Master Aro. Maria has set her sights on Mexico City and she will not stop until it is within her possession."
"Demetri reported as much when he returned this morning," Aro said and then slipped into deep thought. "I will dispatch a team immediately to deal with Maria, but I could have use for someone with your talents."
"I have no interest in returning to Mexico, Master Aro."
"I could use your talents here, within the village. I will need to send some of my best fighters to deal with the situation in Mexico. Having your talents available here within the village would be a major asset," Aro said.
"I do not fit in well in the position of soldier, Master Aro. I have lead men and vampires in wars for many years."
Aro smiled, "I have been in search of a commander for my guard for sometime. Would such a position be to your liking?"
Every vampire in the room was suddenly very interested in our conversation. "Aro, you cannot be serious," Caius said.
"I am very serious, dear brother. Major Jasper, here is a skilled tactician and has lead the army of the largest coven in Mexico," Aro replied.
I knew it mattered not what Caius said. Aro was the decision maker of the Volturi. Marcus and Caius were only there for show. It allowed Aro to play decision maker and make himself look like the perfect little saint when he spared someone, or the honest leader serving justice when he punished the guilty.
"What say you, Major?"
I paused for a moment, giving the impression that I was internally debating the opportunity. However, I knew that this was all part of the plan. "I accept your offer, Master Aro."
"Excellent!" Aro exclaimed. "Edward, come here."
Off to my left I could see movement. The human boy slowly walked forward to stand beside me.
"Edward, you are to see to Major Jasper's needs," I didn't miss the inflection that Aro's words held. "I want you to take him to find proper clothing in the store room. Provide him with a black cloak, and also see Chelsea about getting him a crest. There are quarters available on the third floor of the north tower across from Carlisle. I believe that you and Carlisle will get along wonderfully. His diet is similar to yours." Aro said.
"Yes, Master Aro," Edward replied.
"Please follow me," Edward said without looking up at me.
Before we could leave Aro spoke again, "Major".
"Yes, Master Aro?"
"The boy is yours to do with as you please," Aro said, and then added as an afterthought. "Consider him a reward."
I felt Edward's emotions spike feeling both terror and then resignation spread over him.
"Thank you, Master Aro," I replied.
I followed after Edward as he led us through the other door in the room. We proceeded down the corridor a ways then stopped at a wooden door. Edward opened it and we were in a small store room.
The room was filled with numerous crates, and clothing hanging on racks, and in wardrobes. "You may take anything from here you wish, Master," Edward said, his voice was soft and defeated.
Edward still had not looked at me when he spoke. I had noticed that he kept his head held down whenever he addressed anyone. I watched him for a moment as he stood still in the center of the room. I then took in the contents of the room and made my selection. Edward took a long black cloak from one of the wardrobes before we left the room.
Our next stop was to see Chelsea about a crest. She handed me a pendant with the Volturi crest stamped deeply into the face.
Edward finally led me to my new quarters on the third floor of the north tower. We entered the suite, which was very spacious. In the center of the large room was an equally large bed, which I had no need. The room was lavishly decorated with rugs, paintings and ornate furniture. In the far wall was a large fireplace that was lit and provided warmth for the room.
My eyes roamed over the room as I took in its extravagance. Finally my eyes fell on Edward who stood at the foot of the bed with his head held down. For the first time he lifted his head and looked at me. I shouldn't have been shocked to see the tears flowing down his face.
"Will it hurt?" Edward asked.
"Will what hurt?" I asked. I should have known what he was asking, but my mind was still processing the image of him crying.
"When… when you drink my blood. Will it hurt?" Edward asked.
"What makes you think that I will drink your blood?" I asked.
"Master Aro gave me to you as a reward. The ones he gives away as a reward never return. I know the others drink their blood," Edward said.
"I am well aware of what Master Aro was implying when he gave you to me as a reward. However, I have no intentions of feeding from you," I said.
"I do not feed on humans," I added as an afterthought.
Relief quickly spread over Edward, and I sighed. "How did you end up here, Edward?"
Edward dropped his head again, and a mixture of emotions washed over him. "My father owed Master Aro money, but he was unable to pay. He gave me to Master Aro as payment."
Anger flashed across my eyes at his words. "Does your father know that Master Aro is vampire?"
"Yes," Edward responded.
"Your father is a loathsome man to condemn his own son to death. May God have mercy on his soul for I have none," I said angrily. I didn't understand why I was so angry. He was human, and I was a vampire. I had been conditioned to believe that humans were nothing more then cattle. Yet, I knew that not to be true. At one time I would have believed those teachings, but after meeting Alice and how she saved me I thought otherwise.
Edward remained quiet, and did not defend his father's actions. "I will not harm you, Edward. I am in need of a personal servant, and you shall fill this role. Do as I say and I shall treat you fairly and reward you."
Edward looked up at me in surprise. Only moments ago he assumed his life was over, but now was shocked to learn he would live, and serve me.
"Where do you sleep?"
"The servants' quarters," Edward answered.
"Do you have any personal effects that you would like to retrieve?" I asked.
"No," Edward replied, but confusion washed over him.
"You will move into these quarters with me," I began. Fear, and a tinge of lust washed over Edward again and I saw his eyes dart over to the bed for a moment.
"The bed is yours to use, as I have no need of it. You also have little to fear from me, Edward. I will not use you for my own pleasure. I'm certain the thought crossed your mind when I said you would move in here," I continued.
"I apologize, Master Jasper," Edward said.
"You have nothing to apologize for, Edward. You are a handsome young man, and while I do enjoy the company of handsome young men I will not force myself upon you," I added.
Edward's gaze returned to looking at the ground. "As my personal servant you are a reflection of me. Your current attire is unacceptable, and it appears that you have not eaten properly for some time."
"This is all the clothes I have," Edward replied in a weak voice.
"We will go out into the village in the morning and I will purchase appropriate clothing for you. We will also see about providing you with proper meals. I will expect you to work hard as my servant, but I will not ask you to do something that I myself am not prepared to do," I explained.
Surprise spread over Edward when I said I would purchase clothing and food for him. The boy was very thin, and looked unhealthy.
"How long have you been here, Edward?" I asked.
"I cannot recall. I know that mama had recently finished planting her vegetable garden," Edward answered.
"Spring was more than six months ago," I replied. Edward didn't speak. He just stood in the middle of the suite staring at the ground. Why had he been kept alive so long? Alice's visions had suggested the boy had only recently been brought to Aro.
I sighed. This boy's spirit had been broken, and he'd already resigned himself to a fate in which he would die at the hands of monsters.
Chapter 2: Charity
After I had Edward bathe we headed out to the village market. I wore the black cloak and pendant that I had received yesterday from Aro, which denoted my position within the guard. Before we exited the keep I pull the hood of my cloak over my head.
"Choose the café where you'd like to have breakfast," I said to Edward as we entered the market. I saw him looked toward one of the nicer looking café, but then he turned toward one that served peasants. I placed a hand on his shoulder and directed him toward the café he had looked at first.
Edward looked up at me with a questioning expression. "I said to choose the place you wanted, not the place that is expected."
"They will not serve me at that café. I am a servant," Edward replied.
"They will serve you," I countered.
Edward did not protest and walked in the direction of the café. I trailed behind him a few paces.
"We do not serve your kind here," sneered the young lady at the entrance to the café. She had pale green eyes, and blond hair. Her voice was nasal sounding and rather unpleasant. Edward was about to turn and leave when I placed a hand on his shoulder stopping him. "You do today," I said to the young lady.
She looked up at me about to protest again, but quickly stopped when she saw how I was dressed. She gave Edward an angry look before she let us past.
"Sit there," I said indicating a table that was in the outside sitting area and partially shaded.
After we were seated a young man approached us, "What can I get you my lord?"
I gestured toward Edward. He ordered brioche, which is an Italian pastry. A few minutes later the young boy returned with Edward's meal. Edward ate silently and kept his head down. Several of the guest gave Edward disgusted looks, but none said anything with me sitting with him.
The people of Volterra did not question their Lord or his personal guard. Only the Volturi guard wore black and gray cloaks. Black signified the highest ranks within the guard. Edward had told me overnight that only three vampires other then Aro, Marcus and Caius wore black; those vampires were Chelsea, Carlisle and now me. I knew that Chelsea maintained the loyalty of the guard. Carlisle was Aro's chief envoy, and now I was commander of his guard.
"They are upset that I am eating here," Edward whispered.
"They are not speaking about you, Edward," I replied.
Edward shook his head. "Their thoughts are about me. They are upset that a lowly servant is allowed to eat here."
I quirked an eyebrow as I looked at Edward. "How would you know what they are thinking?"
"I can hear their thoughts," Edward whispered.
"You can hear the thoughts of the humans?" I asked.
"Can you hear my thoughts?"
"Not clearly," Edward replied. "I can occasionally hear a word or two, but it feels like your mind works too quickly for mine to understand. There are also obstructions that prevent me from hearing clearly."
"Does Master Aro know of your gift?"
"No." Edward looked up at me with pleading eyes. "Please do not tell him."
"Very well, as you wish," I answered. "Does anyone else know of this gift?"
"Master Carlisle, but he has told me not to speak of it to anyone."
"I agree with Carlisle, you must not speak to anyone of this gift again. Do you understand?"
After Edward finished eating I settled the bill with the waiter, and I then instructed Edward to lead us to the tailor's shop.
The tailor's shop was nestled in a quiet corner of the village market. Edward followed me in doors and an older human male greeted us.
"May I help you?" The tailor asked.
I throw off my hood before speaking, "I am the new Knight-Commander of the Lord's guard. I require new clothing to be tailored for myself and my squire."
The tailor looked over at Edward, then back to me. "Is there anything in particular you would like me to create for you?"
I described in detail what I wanted, and the tailor wrote down all the instructions I had given him. Alice had given me specific instructions on what clothing I was to purchase. I knew she'd find out if I changed anything, and it would not be a pretty reunion. He then proceeded to take measurements from Edward and me.
"Should I bill this to the Lord's account?" The tailor asked.
"No, I will pay for it personally," I replied and then handed him five gold coins. "You will receive the reminder of the payment when the work is complete."
Some of the items would be ready this evening, but most of the items would take a few days to complete. The last stop for Edward and I was the farmer's market where I instructed him to buy items that I knew would help him regain his strength.
As we shopped I had the feeling of being watched. I knew that none of the Guard was watching me; in fact most of them were in the keep. I repeatedly caught an older man, who was well dressed watching us from the Merchant's Trade office.
"The man watching us is my father," Edward whispered.
"You look nothing like him," I commented.
"I look more like my mother. I have her unusual auburn colored hair and her green eyes," Edward replied. There was much sadness in his voice.
I gave the man one last look before paying for the items that Edward has selected. We then returned to my suite. I had Edward put away the items, and I went across the hall to speak to Carlisle. When I returned I stood by the window overlooking the village square. Edward finally finished, and I called him.
"There is something that I must do, Edward," I began. I turned to face him as he stood waiting for me to continue. "I must mark you to show that you belong to me, and this will prevent the others from causing you harm."
"Mark… me?" Edward asked in an unsteady voice.
I stepped toward him, but Edward did not step away from me. "A vampire who claims a human as his property will mark the human to prevent other vampires from claiming or feeding from that human," I answered.
"I am no one's property," Edward said, but there was no anger in his voice. It sounded defeated. He knew that he could not escape me, but that didn't change my reaction.
Anger flashed in my eyes, but I pushed the emotion aside. "I have not treated you as my property, however, that can be changed," My tone was harsher then I intended; and Edward flinched away from me.
I sigh, "I apologize. I did not mean for that to sound as harsh as it did. You must understand that you are now part of my world, Edward. In my world humans are property or cattle, food for the taking."
"I do not want to be a part of this world," Edward said.
"There is no escape from this world, Edward. You are now a part of this world, even if it is against your will. You must learn to live within the rules of this world or you will die. Humans are forbidden to know about the supernatural world."
"Will it hurt?" Edward asked; now resigned to his fate.
"I am sorry, but yes it will hurt. I will be swift, but there is little I can do to prevent the pain. I have spoken to Carlisle, and he will give you something for the pain after I have marked you," I paused. "Is there a reason you always ask if something will hurt?"
"Stop," I interrupted! "It would be best if you don't continue that thought where I believe it is headed. I might be forced to make an example of that pitiful excuse for a man."
Edward stayed silent.
"Expose your neck and face away from me," I instructed. I stepped up behind Edward and wrapped an arm around his chest and pulled him tight against me.
"Relax, it will be more painful if you are tense," I said as I felt him tense at my touch. Edward did his best to relax and I used my empathic abilities to ease his distress. When I felt him relax I bit into his neck and covered his mouth with my right hand in the same motion. My hand muffled his scream of pain. I quickly sealed the wound, and pulled my mouth away from his neck.
"It is over," I said. I could feel his tears sliding down his face and covering my hand. "I am sorry."
I turned Edward to face me and wiped the tears from his eyes. "I will go and get Carlisle. He will give you medication to help with the pain."
Edward nodded, and I left to fetch Carlisle. He administered a mild pain reliever, which dulled the pain in Edward's neck.
"I know it is painful, and that you must be upset with Jasper, but this will keep you safe from the others," Carlisle said.
Edward looked away from Carlisle, but said nothing. I could feel his anger, embarrassment and fear. I attempted to ease his emotions, but Edward glared at me with angry eyes. I relented and left him to his emotions.
Carlisle had been with the Volturi since the end of the previous winter. Alice had sent him to join them so that I would have assistance if I needed it. Now I think she sent him because she knew more of what was happening then I did.
Carlisle sighed as he witness our exchange. "Are you feeling well enough for your afternoon lesson?"
"What lesson?" I asked.
"I have been teaching Edward language skills. He knew how to read and writing when he came here, but I have refined his skills in the English language. I have also been teaching him French, Italian and Latin. I had hoped that these skills would prove useful to Aro and that he might spare Edward," Carlisle said. That one sentence had told me that I had arrived just in time to prevent Edward's death.
"Edward's fate is now my concern. However, I think we both know that Aro would have found Edward useful if he knew about Edward's ability," I replied.
"I see that Edward told you about his gift," Carlisle said while giving Edward a strained expression.
"Yes, I have also setup blocks in Edward's mind that will prevent Aro from learning of it. This gift is not to be discussed outside of the three of us," I said with a tone of finality.
"Am I allowed to continue the lessons?" Edward asked.
"I care not what you do with your free time. However, you are not to leave this room without my consent, nor are you to go anywhere with anyone other then myself," I replied.
Anger flashed in Edward's eyes, but before he could replied Carlisle spoke, "Jasper is only looking after your well being. You are no longer under Aro's protection. Edward, you and I both know that your safety here was a condition of your mother paying Aro the money your father owed. The time for her to pay has come and gone, and we have not seen her. We should be thankful that Aro gave you to Jasper."
"Thankful?" Edward snorted. "I'm a prisoner; a piece of property." Anger filled his voice.
I flitted to stand only inches from Edward's face. When I materialized he stepped back from me. "If you want me to treat you as a piece of property that can be arranged," I sneered.
Carlisle placed a hand on my arm, but I shrugged it off. "I have no need of your blood, but your body that I could use for my pleasure," I stepped closer to Edward and he back up again, but his legs touched the back of the bed. He had no where to go.
"You would be powerless to stop me if I took you," I said as he stared back at me defiantly.
"Jasper…" Carlisle began, but I held a hand stopping him from speaking.
"Do you want me to treat you as a piece of property? Do you want me to use you for my needs?" I asked.
Edward shook his head negatively, "No." His voice was weak and filled with fear but despite the fact he would not look away from me. I stepped away from him.
"Then do not claim that you are a piece of property, or I will use you as such. You have more freedom then any servant here, and you are alive. I will protect you, but you will do as I say and treat me with respect," I said.
I retrieved a book from my belongings and then took a seat by the window. I ignored both Edward and Carlisle. Neither said anything as I settled myself comfortably. I enjoyed the feel of the Sun on my skin; it just the right time of day for it to shine through the windows. I was unconcerned with anyone seeing me this high up in the tower.
"I will collect the materials for your lesson and return shortly," Carlisle said. I heard Carlisle leave, but Edward had not moved from his spot. I opened my book to the page I had last read and continued on with the story.
Edward walked over to where I sat, "I am sorry."
I turned to look at him. "Apology accepted," I replied.
Edward shook his head, "I was angry and I took that out on you. I knew it was unwise to upset you, but I was unable to stop myself."
He took a deep breath and continued, "I do not want to be here, but I know that I will never be free again. I know that I should not have lashed out at you, but I did anyway. You have been nothing but kind to me."
I could see tears in his eyes, but he was fighting to keep them from spilling over. "Nothing but kind?" I asked while nodding toward the mark on his neck.
"Other then that, you have been nothing but kind to me," Edward replied with a slight smile.
Carlisle returned with the materials for Edward's lesson. I turned my attention back to my book while they studied. After finishing the lesson Carlisle offered to pick up the items I had purchased from the tailor's shop, which I accepted.
Nothing was said between Edward and me for the remainder of the day that is until after his dinner. Edward ate in silence, and when he was finished I instructed him to bath before turning in for the night.
"Is there a reason you wanted me to bath?" Edward asked before he slipped into the bed. I was seated by the fire place with my book, and was settling in for a night of silent reading. Edward's emotions were both fearful and tinged with lust again.
"I prefer that you bath regularly, and my sense of smell is enhanced above that of a human," I replied, and then added, "You did not have an unpleasant odor, but I want you presentable at all times."
Edward was quiet and turned away from me; he pulled the blankets up over his shoulder. "What was the reason that prompted you to ask your question?" I queried.
"No reason," Edward replied.
I knew he was lying, and instead of getting angry I sighed. I decided that I needed to find out why Edward has such a lowly opinion of himself, and what had brought about all this fear.
I placed my book on the side table and walked over to the bed. I sat down on the side of the bed and placed a hand on Edward's arm that was covered by the blankets. Edward immediately turned to face me. The expression on his face was of both fear and resignation.
"I gather from your expression you thought I wanted to use you for my personal pleasure?" I asked, but it came out as more of a statement.
Edward nodded, but did not speak. He probably didn't trust his voice.
"We have been over this, Edward. I have no intention of taking you against your will. Not all of my kind are completely heartless. You have seen that my eyes are gold like Carlisle's eyes; and you know that means we feed from animals. Do you know why I feed from animals and not humans?"
Edward shook his head negatively.
"Some vampires develop gifts after their transformation. Your ability to read minds would be considered such a gift. I have my own gifts, or abilities. Normally a vampire will have one ability but there are a few of us who possess more than one."
"You have multiple abilities?" Edward asked.
"Yes. One of those abilities you have experienced, which is my empathic abilities. I can feel what you feel, but I can also manipulate your emotions. I have other abilities, but they are not related to why I feed on animals," I replied.
"You could feel the emotions of the people you feed on," Edward said. It was a statement of fact, not a question.
"At first I did not notice their emotions, but eventually the bloodlust passes. I began to fall into deep depressions, but I did not know why. A friend of mine, Peter, recognized that I only fell into these depressions after I fed. Animals do not have emotions like humans do, and I am able to take care of my needs without killing or becoming depressed."
"You are being nice to me because of your empathic abilities?" Edward asked.
"That is only part of the reason. I could make you feel whatever I wanted you to feel, but even my abilities have their limits. Feeding on a human prevents me from changing their strong emotions. The main reason, however, has to do more with feeding from animals then with my abilities," I paused.
"I have no need to worry about where my next meal will come from. Unlike vampires who feed traditionally I do not have to concern myself with feeding as often as I want, or where I want. There are many animals in the forest, and I have my pick of the wildlife. Vampires who feed traditionally must also keep our kind a secret. They must be careful of when and where they feed," I continued.
Edward continued to pay close attention to what I was saying. "Since there is no competition for food my mind is able to focus on other concerns. I can focus more on my humanity. Animal blood also seems to calm a vampire, and make them less irritable; although you seem to have found a way to annoy me at times," I said with a smirk.
Edward tried not to smile, but I could feel from his emotions that he enjoy the playful teasing. "My father always taught me to treat a person with respect and dignity, regardless of their status. Compassion, respect, and doing good were all things that he not only taught, but lead by example. I am able to connect with that part of me more easily because of how I feed."
"Now I have a question for you," I said. "Why do you hold such a low opinion of yourself?"
Edward looked away from me and I could see tears forming in his eyes. "My father was not a very tolerant man. My mother protected me most of the time, but there were times when my father would beat me if I did not do as he commanded."
My distaste for Edward's father was growing by the second. I was suddenly reconsidering my feeding habits for one night.
"He waited until my mother had left to visit the market before he gave me the letter to deliver to Master Aro. I did not know what was in the letter. He instructed me to deliver it immediately before my mother returned, but as I was heading to the keep she was returning. She asked where I was going and I told her to deliver a letter from my Father to Master Aro," Edward began.
"My mother headed home and I continued on to the keep. I was granted admittance to deliver the letter. Master Aro read the letter in silence, and then called our Felix's name. Before Felix could move toward me my mother rushed into the room and over to Master Aro," Edward continued.
"She offered herself in my place, but that did not sway Master Aro. She finally grabbed his hand and they had a silent exchange. I only know what he said after finally agreeing to whatever she had offered. She had six months to collect the coin owed and fulfill their new agreement. Master Aro said he would only see to my safety for those six months, and not a moment longer," Edward paused.
Tears flowed freely down Edward's face, and I wiped them away. "I never saw her again after that day. Master Aro ordered Carlisle to look after me, and that I was off limits to the others; but that did not stop them from taunting me."
"They will not be bothering you anymore. I do not know why your mother did not return, but I will attempt to find out. However, you are now a part of my world and you will not be able to leave. The sooner you accept this, the easier it will be for you to move forward," I said.
"Now get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a buys day. Most of the Guard will be leaving for Mexico and I have many things to do to protect the village. You will accompany me," I said.
Chapter 3: Mercy
A month had passed since Caius had left with the majority of the guard to deal with Maria and the southern covens. The Romanians had gone into hiding after hearing that the Volturi were purging Mexico.
Only a few of us remained behind to secure Volterra: Alec, Carlisle, Carmen, Corin, Eleazar, Heidi, Renata, Santiago, a dozen other lesser known members of the guard and me. Santiago and Adam rotated duty at the main gate, and the rest of us would watch the village.
During the pass month Edward had also regain his health. Carlisle had instructed him on a proper diet and daily exercise. The exercising had annoyed me at first. It made Edward smell of sweat and other unpleasant orders, but after seeing the results I learned to deal with the smell of a sweaty Edward. It also didn't help my lust for the boy. I had to admit to myself after the first few days that he was handsome and I was attracted to him physically.
"Edward lets go we have to meet with the Captain of the City Guard," I said as I fastened my cloak. Edward emerged from the wardrobe full dressed and ready to go.
"I am sorry, but I have been having a problem with fastening my cloak," Edward said as he was trying to adjust the clasp.
"These seem to be made for vampires and not humans," I said as I reached out and adjust the clasp for him. Edward had been issued a dark grey cloak by Aro.
After Edward had returned to full health I began training him as a proper squire. Aro had issued the cloak when Edward had returned covered in horse manure after delivering a message to the former Captain of the City guard. The former captain found that I did not take kindly to my personal servant being disrespected. Aro has ordered Santiago to deal with him after I had humiliated him in front of his men by making him wet himself. Aro had felt that the disrespect also fell on him since Edward was my squire.
"Thank you," Edward said.
The new Captain of the City Guard was a young man named Luca. His first task had been to teach discipline to the lazy bastards that called themselves guards. Under the previous leadership the guard had become lacks and depended on the Volturi to deal with issues within the city. Addressing this issue had been the purpose of the letter I had sent to the former Captain. His response had been throwing Edward into a pile of horse shit.
~ Flashback ~
"Who throw my squire into a pile of horse manure?" I demand upon entering the barracks to the city guard.
I had entered the building without wearing the hood of my cloak. I had been too angry to think of wearing it when I left the Citadel. I could feel the sun's rays on my face as I looked at the two guardsmen standing by the doorway leading into the barracks with fury in my eyes.
The sound of laughter brought my attention to the Captain of the Guard and one of his lieutenants. I could easily make out that they were insulting Edward in Italian. I moved toward them and grabbed a chair that blocked the way. I throw the chair into the wall behind me with enough force that it shattered into hundreds of pieces. The noise brought complete silence to the barracks.
"Who throw my squire into a pile of shit?" I asked, my tone was icy cold and severe.
"Who the hell are you?" ask the Captain of the Guard.
"He is the Knight-Commander of the Lord's Personal Guard. He's also the last person you want to upset," Said Santiago as he entered the building. He pushed back his hood as he came to stand near me. His red eyes glowing brightly for all to see.
The Captain of the Guard smirked at me. "Your squire had an accident and tripped."
I smiled at him, and then slammed a wave of fear into him. Try as he might to keep the smirk on his face it faded and a pungent smell soon filled the room.
"It would seem that you also had an accident," I said while nodding toward his wet trousers.
~ End Flashback ~
I pulled my hood over my head so that it covered my face. Edward also pulled his hood on, but adjusted it so that it did not cover his face completely. We headed toward the city barracks to meet with Captain Luca.
The villagers made way for us as we walked throw the streets of the village. It had become common over the past week to see Edward and I out together. Each time we passed a guardsman he would stand at attention until we passed.
"Greetings Knight-Commander, and Master Edward," Captain Luca said as we arrived.
"Your message said you had information on Edward's mother," I queried. I could feel the shock in Edward's emotions. We had not discussed his mother since he had shared the details of the last time he had seen her.
"Yes, my Lord. It took some work to learn all the details, but I have been able to piece together what happened," Captain Luca answered.
"I am sorry, Master Edward, but your mother was very ill and died almost two months ago," Captain Luca said.
I reached under Edward's cloak and around his back to grasp his hip and keep him standing. I felt his emotions drop as if he had been pushed off a cliff. Edward slumped toward me and I did not need to look to know that tears were filing his eyes.
"Is there anything else, Captain?" I asked.
"I believe that she had acquired the coin necessary to pay Master Aro before she had fallen ill, but she was unable to deliver it because of the illness that suddenly beset her."
"Do you know what has happened to the coin?" I asked.
"Lieutenant Valentino believes that Edward's father has been spending it. He has made several large purchases," Captain Luca answered.
"Thank you, Captain," I replied and began to usher Edward toward the door.
"Wait," Edward said. "Where was she buried?"
"Services were held at the Cathedral. I am sure that if you speak with Bishop Romano he would know where in the cemetery she was buried," Captain Luca replied.
"Thank you," Edward said and turned toward the exit.
I quickly followed after Edward who was headed toward the Cathedral. I had a feeling that this meeting would not go so well. One of the few organizations in the world that knew of the existence of vampires was the Church. No matter how hard the Volturi had tried to hide the truth, the church was never swayed.
"I am looking for the Bishop," Edward said to one of the attendants upon entering the Cathedral. The Attendant pointed toward the front of the church where I could see the Bishop kneeling in prayer.
Edward headed toward the front of the church and I followed behind him again. I threw my hood back off my head. Edward approached the bishop, but waited to be recognized before he spoke.
"I apologize for interrupting Your Excellency," Edward said.
"Edward?" Bishop Romano said.
"You know who I am?" Edward asked. I finally reached Edward as he replied.
"Of course I know who you are, Edward. I was a priest here when your parents had you baptized. You have grown much since the last time I saw you eight years ago. I returned about six months ago. I am sorry about your mother. I feared the worse after she told me what your father did," Bishop Romano replied as he eyed me with caution.
"I was hoping you could tell me where she was buried?" Edward asked.
"I can, but she is gone Edward. There is nothing you can do for her," Bishop Romano replied. "But it is not too late for you, Edward; the church can provide you with shelter."
Edward gave the Bishop a confused expression. "He means to say that they could try to hide you from Aro, but he should know as well as I do that there is no hiding from Aro," I said.
"Better for a chance at life then to wait for certain death," Bishop Romano replied.
"Edward does not face certain death," I said.
"You know?" Edward said.
"Of course he knows. The Church has been aware of my kind for centuries, but there is a standing agreement that they will not expose us and we will not harm their leaders," I said.
"I am not in any danger, Bishop. Jasper see to my safety, and well being," Edward said, and then as an afterthought added, "Jasper does not feed like the others."
The bishop sighed, "I will show you where your mother is buried. If you change your mind you know where to find me."
The bishop showed us to the grave of Edward's mother in the Cemetery just outside the city walls. I stayed in the shadows and gave Edward time to be alone with his mother's grave. The bishop had not left us entirely. He stayed by the entrance to the cemetery and watched me closely.
After a while I walked over to Edward and placed a hand on his back. "We need to return to the citadel," I said.
I was slightly shocked when Edward turned to face me and hugged me. It took me a moment to realize I should return the hug and comfort him. "Make it go away," Edward whimpered.
I gentle eased the pain, and numbed his emotions. I did not believe replacing them with happy emotions would be appropriate. I released Edward from the hug and pulled his hood over his head to hide his face. "No one will trouble you or ask questions if they cannot see that you have been crying," I said.
I returned Edward to my suite in the citadel. Though Edward only felt numb to the emotional pain of losing his mother I still had the residual feel of those emotions. The walk to the citadel had been subdued, but it only meant that Edward's thoughts were focus squarely on his mother's death.
Changing Edward's emotions would not change his mental state of being. His eyes were hollow as I watched him remove his cloak. He sat on the side of the bed and dropped his head, but I could see the tears threatening to spill over.
Edward lay on his side and curled up like a baby, and that was when the tears began to fall. For the first time since I had become a vampire I felt my cold dead heart shatter. I threw off my cloak and climbed on to the bed behind Edward. I placed a hand on Edward's shoulder. He reached back and grasped my hand, and I allowed him to lead me toward him.
I settled behind Edward and wrapped my arm around him and he pressed his body back against me and I could hear him sobbing. Comforting Edward was so alien to me that I could not be sure I was helping him. My human experiences were so limited since becoming a vampire that everything that brought me in touch with my human side felt alien.
Time seemed to stand still as I lay there listening to the quiet sobs coming from Edward. Eventually the sobbing morphed into whimpering and then silence. I felt Edward's grip on my hand less and I gentle slipped away from him. He had fallen asleep.
I locked the door to the room as I left, then pulled my cloak on as I headed for the exit. I knew where I was headed and I was going to find out the truth of what had happened to Edward's mother. Part of me knew that there was more to her death then it appeared on the surface.
The villagers moved out of my way as I walked with purpose toward the Merchant's Trade Office.
"Everyone out!" I said with a deadly tone to my voice upon entering the building.
"Not you," I said when Edward's father tried to leave. Everyone else scrambled out of the building. I threw off my hood and looked at Edward's father with a deadly stare.
"I am under Aro's protection," Edward's father said.
"I suppose that is was meant to frighten me. Too bad for you that Aro does not frighten me," I replied.
"We have an agreement and I was told I'd be left alone," Edward's father said.
"Your agreement with Aro does not concern me," I began. "What kind of man sends his son to near certain death to pay off a debt?"
Edward's father didn't say anything, which was a wise move on his part.
"In exchange for your son, Aro would agree to forgive your debt; and you would go on living. Is that correct?" I said.
Edward's father remained silent. "I said is that correct?" my tone was forceful.
"Yes," Edward's father replied.
"Edward's mother nearly voided your agreement, did she not?" I said.
"If she had been able to produce the coin for the debt she would have guaranteed Edward's freedom, and your life would be forfeit," I said.
Edward's father was silent. "Your silence speaks volumes," I sneered.
"You poisoned your wife to prevent her from paying off the debt," I continued.
"Yes, that whore would have ruined everything!" Edward's father replied.
"You will hand over every last coin that she earned to pay off the debt that was owed; that coin now belongs to Edward," I demanded.
"Now!" I yelled when his father hesitated. He removed a coin purse from a drawer in his desk and handed it over to me.
"Is this all of it?" I demanded.
"Yes." Edward's father said defeated.
I slipped the coin purse into one of my coat pockets, and then grabbed Edward's father by his left arm. "As for you, you are going to the stocks until I decided what to do with you."
"You cannot do that," Edward's father challenged.
I laughed as I dragged him out of the building. I pulled my hood over my head and took him to the village square. When I reached the village square I tossed him to the ground. "Lock that piece of shit up. He is not to be release until I personally have order his release," I said to the guardsmen at the stocks.
"Yes, my Lord," replied one of the guardsmen.
I returned to the citadel where I found Aro in the Audience chamber. "Ah, Jasper. What can I do for you?" Aro asked.
"Your agreement with Edward's father, would that now be my responsibility to maintain?" I asked.
Aro was silent for a moment as he processed all the possibilities of what I was asking. "So long as your intentions are not to free young Edward," Aro replied.
"We both know that his freedom is impossible, but that is not my intention. Edward is my property and I intend to keep him," I answered.
"Very good, then you are free to amend the agreement as you wish," Aro replied.
"Thank you," I said; and turned to leave.
"How is young Edward? I have not seen him today," Aro said.
"Distraught, he learned that his mother is died. He has not taken the news well," I replied and then added, "She was poisoned."
"Deal with it as you think best," Aro replied. I nodded and left the Audience chamber.
For all of Aro's deception, scheming and tyrannical rule there were some among the guard that managed to pierce his armored shell. Some how Edward had managed that in the last month.
On my walk back to the village square I was stopped by Bishop Romano. "Knight-Commander, may I have a word with you?"
I stopped and turned toward him to give him my full attention. "How is Edward?"
I sighed, "Resting. The lost of his mother was a complete shock to him."
"Please tell him that his mother loved him dearly, and that she spoke often of him during the last few months of her life," Bishop Romano requested.
"She was preparing for the last days of her life at the end," The bishop whispered.
"She was going to trade her life for Edward's life." I replied as I realized the full extend of her agreement with Aro.
"Yes. She was preparing her soul for the end. She had asked me if God would forgive her for trading her life to save Edward," The bishop added.
"I am not a religious person, but I do not believe it is a sin to give up one's life for someone that you love. It would be a noble act."
The bishop gave me a thoughtful expression; it was as if he was surprised by what I said.
"Even evil men are capable of performing acts of mercy. If you will excuse me I have another matter to attend to," I said.
"I saw that Mr. Masen was in the stocks. What will you do with him?" The bishop asked.
"I have not decided," I replied.
"Even those who are good are capable of falling astray of the path that God wishes us to follow. Those same people can redeem themselves and gain forgiveness in the eyes of God," Bishop Romano replied, and added, "He was not always an evil man. There was a time when he loved his family,"
"Go in peace," The bishop said as he touched my arm then walked back toward the Cathedral.
There were two messages in what he had said. I smiled to myself when I realized he had in a way used my own words against me. His message was clear, a good man can fall from grace and become an evil man just as easily as an evil man can find grace and redeem himself. There was also the literal mean that a man fallen from grace can find his way back as well.
"I will consider what you said," I called after him. He stopped, turned and nodded his head in my direction. When the bishop finally turned to head back toward the Cathedral I turned and headed for the stocks.
I had not decided how I would handle Edward's father. I knew that at one time Aro found Mr. Masen useful, but it was obvious that he no longer believed that to be true. I also assumed that Aro expected me to dispose of him in my changes to the agreement.
"What should I do with you?" I asked when I reached the stocks. Mr. Masen was silent, but spoke just as I as about to ask him again.
"The law is clear. I poisoned my wife, and there can only be one punishment for such a crime," He said with a resigned voice.
"I expected that you would plead for me to grant you mercy," I replied.
"A man does not plead for mercy from the devil," Mr. Masen said.
"I am not the devil, Mr. Masen; but I assure you that you will meet him very soon," I said.
"Take Mr. Masen to the jail and call the bishop to perform last rites. Tell the executioner to be prepared to hang Mr. Masen tomorrow at midday," I ordered the nearest Guardsman.
"Wait, please," Mr. Masen said as the Guardsmen were about to take him away. I signal for them to hold.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Please, I would like to see my son one last time. I need to apologize for what I did to him," Mr. Masen pleaded.
"I will consider your request," I replied. "If I do bring your request to your son, it will be his decision if he wishes to see you. Take him away."
Part of me did not want to bring his request to Edward. I felt that Edward has suffered enough at the hands of this man. However, I did bring Mr. Masen request to Edward, but he refused to see the man who had murdered his mother. Carlisle had said I was making a mistake by ordering the execution of Edward's father. He said that Edward may not be upset about it today, but that in the future he would likely hate me for preventing him from ever making amends with his father.
For the second time since Edward had come into my life I was holding him, and comforting him. When he finally drifted off to sleep my mind was consumed by Carlisle's words.
'He will never forgive you for taking away any chance of ever making amends with his father. He may even hate you for taking that away from him.'
Edward did not speak during the morning hours after he had awoken. He ate his breakfast in silence and then bath and dressed for the day.
I fastened my cloak and was preparing to leave when Edward emerged from the wardrobe wearing his cloak and walked toward me.
"Where do you think you are going?" I asked.
"I am going with you," Edward replied.
I sighed, "I do not believe that would be a wise decision, but so be it."
It was a short walk to the village square, but I was again stopped by Bishop Romano. He grabbed my arm and stared at me with hard eyes when I looked back at him.
"I believed you were different, but I see that I am mistaken in that belief." His voice was equally hard in tone as the penetrating glare he gave me. Most humans are too fearful of my kind to this, but he had no fear of me. He released my arm and walked away without another word. Edward made no comment on what the bishop had said.
Edward's father was waiting on the platform when we approached. Most of the villagers had turned up to bare witness. I signaled for the town crier to read the judgment proclamation.
"Edward, I am sorry. I love you son," Mr. Masen said after the crier finished reading the proclamation. Edward looked at his father for the first time.
I signaled for the executioner to prepare Mr. Masen. Edward watched as his father was moved into position. He then began look back and forth between me and his father. Edward's gaze final settled on me as the hood was placed on his father's head.
"Please, stop this," Edward said urgently.
"Why?" I asked. "He poisoned your mother and sent you to what could have been your death. Why should he be granted mercy?"
"He is my father," Edward replied. His voice took on a frantic tone as he saw the executioner place the noose around his father's neck.
"A father does not send his son to die for him, or murder his wife to protect an agreement with the devil," I replied.
"Please, I am begging you. Do not do this," Edward pleaded with tears beginning to form in his eyes. "He was a good father once. Please."
I stare into Edward's grief stricken face. "Please, I have never asked you for anything. Please do not do this to me."
'He will never forgive you for taking away any chance of ever making amends with his father. He may even hate you for taking that away from him.'
"Please." I sighed internally. I didn't want Edward to hate me, but letting his father go seemed wrong.
"Release him," I ordered. I turned away from Edward and toward the gallows. The executioner removed the noose and hood from Mr. Masen.
"I grant you mercy. You owe your life to your son," I said to Edward's father.
I walked away from the gallows and toward Carlisle who was leaning against the wall of one of the shops.
"Nothing can make injustice just, but mercy," Carlisle said. (A quote by Robert Frost)
Chapter 4: Redemption
I granted Edward additional freedom to come and go as he pleased. The others did not trouble him and respected fully my claim to Edward. I was aware that Edward had made an effort to re-establish a relationship with his father, but that it had been a difficult endeavor.
Edward had relied on me to help him sleep at night after the death of his mother, and for weeks I laid with him until he had drift into sleep, but that time had come and gone. Yet I still persisted at lying with him until sleep took him. I knew that the relationship between Edward and I changed forever after his mother's death.
Edward looked to me for strength and within him I found what I had been looking for since I had left Maria. I had fallen in love with the boy. My intentions for coming here had never been to find love, but fate has a way of showing up when least expected. Alice had said that this boy would play an important role in the future of our world.
"It is time for our morning rounds, Edward," I called to him in the wardrobe.
"I am ready to go," Edward said as he joined me in the main room. I pulled my hood over my head and we headed out.
Over the months since Edward had become my squire he had earned a respected reputation within the community. Many villagers knew who he was, and would often greet him as we walked along the streets.
A commotion at the main gate caught my attention as we turned the corner. Santiago and Alec were talking very quickly, even for vampires and their emotions express much anxiety. I also noticed there were numerous city guards gathered as well, it was then that I heard the quick foot steps of someone running behind me and turned to see Captain Luca running toward the gate with one of the Lieutenants.
"Santiago, Alec is there a problem?" I asked as I neared them. Santiago turned his attention to me and walked over quickly.
"Yesterday's patrol did not return. A search party was sent at first light and has just returned with two survivors," Santiago replied.
"What attacked them?"
"We are having difficulty understanding their responses to our questions. We have tried to decipher what happened from their injuries. I am concerned by what I have seen."
"Show me," I said.
Santiago led us over to the men where Captain Luca was questioning the search party. The two survivors were in a great deal of pain and were badly injured. At first glance it appeared that they had been attacked by wild animals, but as I looked closer at the wounds I became concerned.
"What wild animal would cause bites like that?" Edward asked.
"None that I know," Santiago replied.
"No animal bit these men," I said as I crouched down and examined the bit more closely.
"Was the moon full last night?" I asked.
"Yes, yesterday was the first day of the full moon," Edward replied.
"Should I…" Santiago began, but I interrupted him.
"Report back to Aro at once and assemble everyone in the Audience chamber. I will be there shortly," I replied.
Captain Luca was in conversation with his Lieutenants while I finished examining the bodies. "We need to prepare a party to search for these beasts," the captain said to his men.
"No," I said as I stood and turned to face him. "This is beyond your ability."
"Edward, go get the bishop. These men are not long for this world," I said.
Edward nodded and ran off toward the Cathedral. I turned to Alec, "We need to burn the bodies."
"Knight-Commander, what is going on?" asked Captain Luca.
"The moon is full, Captain." I replied. "Order your men to spread the word. There will be a curfew that begins one hour before sun down."
"You heard him men," Captain Luca said.
Edward returned with the Bishop as Alec returned with wood to build a fire. "These men need last rites," I said to the Bishop.
He gave me a concerned look as he walked over to the men. "Are their injuries that grave?"
"It is not their injuries that will end their life. They were bitten last night and are afflicted with lycanthrope," I replied.
The bishop immediately set about performing the rite as I prepared. "Edward, returned to the citadel and write out the curfew proclamation, and then post it in the village square."
I mercifully ending the lives of the two men, and then helped Alec toss their bodies on to the burning wood pile.
I turned to the Captain and Bishop. "No one is to be on the streets tonight, and no one enters the village from this point forward unless they are known subjects of the land."
Alec and I returned to the citadel where everyone was gathered in the Audience chamber. Edward was finishing up the proclamations.
"It is true, then?" Aro said as we entered.
"Yes. Both men were bitten. We must prepare for an attack on the village," I said.
"I suggest that you and Marcus retreat to the security of the upper levels. I will station Adam and Corin at the only entrance to those levels," I added.
"Yes. We should also seal all entrances into the keep with the exception of the main entrance," Marcus suggested.
"I agree. I will need everyone else out in the village to deal with whatever comes our way. We do not know their numbers, but there are at least two of them. The bit marks were different on both men."
"Santiago and Alec take the main gate. If you suspect anyone is not what or who they claim to be detaining them and send for me. Eleazar and Carmen I want the two of you to over see the main square. Carlisle, see to the clinics, the Cathedral and the market. The rest of you patrol the streets, walls and the passages. Be sure that all entrances to the city have been sealed," I ordered.
"Edward, come with me," I said.
We headed to my suite and I closed and locked the door after we were both inside. I then headed over to a locked chest. Unlocking the chest I removed the clothing and other items on top to reveal my sword and two daggers.
I retrieved all three of the weapons and returned the other items to the chest. I selected the dagger that contained the symbol of Apollo upon the hilt. I walked over to Edward and moved his cloak aside and strapped the dagger securely to his leg.
"I have never used a weapon," Edward said.
"Firmly grasp the dagger by the hilt, and thrust it into your intended victim. It will injure or kill anything that it comes in contact with. Aim for the center of the chest or the stomach. It may require more then one blow to end the creature's life," I replied.
"You told Captain Luca that this was beyond his ability. He is a trained warrior, how is it that you expect me to do any better?" Edward asked.
"I do not expect you to fight. This is only for your protection, but unlike Captain Luca you now possess a weapon of the Gods. This is a blade of Apollo, and it can kill any creature it is used against that includes werewolves, and vampires." I answered, and unsheathe the blade. "The blade was crafted by Hephaestus of the purest silver and inlaid with intricate symbols."
"You may only get one chance. I would advise that you do not let down your guard and stay close to me at all times," I added, and then placed be blade back in the sheathe.
Edward nodded. I strapped my sword to my waist and the dagger to my leg. "Are those also blades of Apollo?"
"No. The sword is of Ares, the God of War and the dagger is of Athena the Goddess of Warfare. Ares mostly used a spear in battle, but Hephaestus crafted for him a sword of unparalleled strength and beauty," I said as I unsheathe the sword.
I sheathe my sword and looked at Edward. "You are not to display that weapon to anyone, especially not any of the other guards. Only use it if you must. No one must know you have that weapon," I said sternly.
Edward nodded, "Can I ask why?"
"If certain people knew that I possessed these items it would complicate things for us. These weapons were given by Ares to one of his offspring long ago. They have been passed down from father to son for generations, but it is believed that Adrestia was the child who received the weapons and guarded them for many centuries. They have been in my family for more generations then I can count," I said.
"You do not want Aro to know you have these," Edward said.
"They have to do with Apollo's prophecy," Edward whispered. It was so low that I almost did not hear it.
"What do you know of Apollo's prophecy?" I asked sternly.
"Nothing," Edward replied quickly. He was lying.
"Do not lie to me. What do you know," I demanded.
"I do not know much. Only what my mother told me," Edward replied with hesitation. I waited patiently for him to continue.
"She told me that it's a prophecy that speaks of returning balance to the world. She said the world would live in darkness for many years, and that the evil would hide in the shadows. When the time had come a child of Apollo and a child of Ares would bring light to the world and force the evil from the shadows," Edward said.
I cursed in multiple languages. "I am sorry. I did not mean to upset you," Edward quickly added.
"I am not upset with you. I should have known this is why she sent me here from the beginning," I replied.
"Who sent you?" Edward asked.
"Alice, my sister. Well she is not my true sister, but we are family. Alice is special and can see things. I should have known that she was holding back," I said and cursed again.
"Who have you told that you know the prophecy to?" I asked.
"No one, I swear," Edward replied quickly. He was being honest. "My mother said it was not safe to tell anyone, but that a time may come when it would be safe to share what I know."
"The dagger," I said.
Edward nodded. "I did not mean to say what I did out loud. I was shocked that you had the weapons."
"We will discuss this further when we do not have werewolves to worry about."
"Make sure that dagger stays hidden. As long as it stays in the sheath no one will pay close attention to it, but use it if you are in danger," I added. "Now come we must spread the word of the curfew and prepare the village."
Spreading the word was rather easy. The city guard had done most of the work, and Bishop Romano had announced it during midday service. I had the guard out during the day staying very visible as well as having the city guards out patrolling. This seemed to ease the anxiety that many residents were feeling.
I accompanied Edward for lunch at his favorite café. The girl who had been so rude to him the first time he ate here with me was now constantly flirting with him. Edward did not appear pleased with her constant flirting.
"She only pays attention to me because she believes that I am wealthy, and important," Edward bemoaned. "I swear she doesn't remember that I was the servant she was so rude too a few months ago.
I could not help but smirk at his annoyance. "It is not funny. You should hear some of the fantasy she has of me," Edward added looking like he might be sick.
I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. Edward was not amused.
"Excuse me, Knight-Commander," Captain Luca said as he approached our table. I turned my attention away from Edward and to the Captain.
"Master Adamo and My men have returned and reported that they have destroyed what was left of the patrol and burned everything," Captain Luca said.
"Thank you, Captain."
Captain Luca nodded and departed.
After lunch Edward and I walked around the village. As with the morning walk, Edward was again stopped by numerous residents. However, this time they were asking about why the curfew had been issued and about the dead men from the patrol.
I instructed Edward to answer that the men had been attacked by wild beast, and that these beast may have been mad. The lesser educated members of the village accepted this answer, but those who were more educated expressed skepticism in their emotions.
The Cathedral began to fill with people from the outlying areas around the city. These people were within the bounds of Volterra's sovereignty, and thus part of the City Guard's duty to protect. Many were farmers who provided a great deal of Volterra's food supply.
"Knight-Commander!" I turned to see a guardsman running toward me. "You are need at the main gate, urgently."
I immediate headed for the main gate. It took several minutes to reach the gate were several guardsmen were arguing with a man who appeared to be a beggar. Alec and Santiago were standing only a short distance away.
"I was summoned," I said upon approaching.
"This man wants access to the city, but he is not a subject of the land. The City Guards told him he would need permission from the Knight-Commander to enter. He has become angry, and almost mad at being detained," Alec said.
"He has also avoided looking at Alec and I, but so do most humans," Santiago added.
"Edward, stay with Alec and Santiago," I instructed.
"I am the Knight-Commander, what is your name stranger," I said upon approaching. The man stopped arguing with guardsmen.
"I am called Valko," The man replied.
"What is your purpose in Volterra?"
"I seek refuge for the evening, Sir Knight." Valko answered.
"Something is not right," I heard Edward say.
I ignored Edward, and kept my attention focused on Valko. He had yet to look me in the face. Humans were curious; they would glance at us and then look away. This man had not done so and this was suspicous. I had the impression that this man was hiding something.
I reached out and tested his emotions. Anxiety, annoyance, hate, vengeance, and anger were the most prominent emotions. Edward was right, there was something wrong here.
"I do not believe you seek refuge. State your true intentions," I demanded.
"I assure you, Sir Knight, I only see refuge," Valko insisted.
I reached out to grab the man's face and lift his head so I could see his eyes, but he stepped back away from me and turned his head away.
"His eyes!" Alec called out. I felt fear and anxiety rolling off of Alec. From the corner of my eye I saw a white misty envelope the guardsmen. Blinded by Alec's gift they would not see, hear or otherwise know of the events that were to soon follow.
My mouth filled with venom as I leapt behind the human-form werewolf. I kick his legs out from beneath him. He tipped forward and began to fall to his knees. I reached out and grabbed his hair twist his head to expose his neck. I closed the distance between us before I bit his neck and flooded his body with my venom.
Vampire venom is poisonous to werewolf. It also acts as an effective paralyzing agent. My mouth now empty of venom allowed his blood to flow in. His blood had the most disgusting flavor that I had ever tasted. I pushed him to his knees and spit the foul liquid on the ground.
"How many of you are there?" I demanded.
"I will tell you nothing," Valko growled. "You might as well just kill me."
"Oh you have no need to worry; I fully intend to kill you. Vampire venom is deadly to your kind, but it can take time to kill the victim. Until it kills you, you will be in the worse pain that you have ever felt," I sneered.
The venom began to spread through Valko's body as he curled in on himself trying to fight back against the pain. I crouched down over him and grabbed his hair pulling his head backward so he would be forced to look at me.
"Tell me what I want to know and I end your pain," I demanded.
Valko tried to spit at me, but I turned his head and moved back. I slammed his face into the ground breaking his nose and scratching his face. I turned him back toward me and returned the favor.
"My face!" screamed Valko as my venom spread over the scratches.
"Tell me what I want to know!" I growled.
"Go to hell!" Valko yelled.
I was done playing with this mutt. I kept a small knife that had been crafted for Athena. I pulled the knife from its sheath that was strapped to my right arm. I used the knife to cut several slashes on each arm.
Valko screamed out in pain. "Tell me what I want to know, or it will only get worse from here," I said as I used the knife to cut away his shirt.
"Five," Valko cried out.
"Why are you here?" I demanded.
Valko was silent and I slashed the knife across his back. I was about to spit a glob of venom on the fresh cut as he spoke.
"Athenodora. We are here for Athenodora," Valko cried out.
"Vengeance. Caius took my mate, and I will take his," Valko growled.
I stood and walked toward Santiago, Alec and Edward. I sheathe my knife and pulled out my dagger. I spit into my hand and rubbed the venom on to the end of the blade. Both Alec and Santiago gave me confused expressions.
"Alec, report to Aro that Athenodora is the target. I will find Captain Luca and find out if anyone has entered the Village before the order was given to secure the main gate," I ordered.
As I was speaking I heard Valko get to his feet. I shifted the dagger to my left hand as I finished giving my orders to Alec. I heard the ground clearly crunch beside me and I thrust the dagger backwards without looking and it drove it into Valko's chest. The dagger hit its target piercing Valko's heart.
Valko gasped, and I turned to see his shocked face as I pulled the dagger from his chest. I wiped the blade on his pants. I sheathe my dagger and then turned to Santiago as Valko feel to his knees.
"Take care of that, Santiago," I said.
I headed back into the village and marked the position of the sun as we headed toward the main square. The sun was low in the afternoon sky. Night would soon be upon us and then the Children of the Moon would be at their strongest. While in human form they were vulnerable, but that vulnerability would decrease when they shifted forms.
"I thought you didn't want anyone to know about the weapons?" Edward said to me when we were alone.
"Alec and Santiago didn't see the markings." I replied.
"I know, they both thought it was weird you were using a dagger. But they assumed you were just using it to deliver your venom to the Valko's heart after you stabbed him," Edward said.
I smiled, "That is why I covered it in venom. The blade can kill without it, but the venom was a distraction."
Edward followed after me and I had him wait outside the barracks as I spoke with Captain Luca.
"Captain, I want you to take a dozen men and seek out any person who entered this morning," I ordered.
"Yes, my Lord."
I pulled out a token from my pocket and handed it to the Captain. "Give this to Eleazar or Carmen in the Village Market. Request their assistance with the orders I have given you."
Captain Luca nodded, and I could hear someone calling Edward's name. I immediately headed out to join him. I found him a short distance from the barracks speaking with an attendant from the Cathedral. From the conversation I gathered that there was someone causing an issue within the Cathedral. I had been about to call over one of the Lieutenants to deal with it, but then the attendant said the man wouldn't look at anyone and most villagers were uncomfortable near him.
"Lead the way," I said.
The attendant immediately rushed toward the Cathedral with Edward and me following after him. I ordered Edward to stay near the entrance. He stood inside the Cathedral entrance, but before I could proceed further the Bishop appeared.
"I have asked him to leave, but he refuses," said Bishop Romano.
"Have you seen his eyes?" I asked.
"No, he keeps his head down and averts any attempt to see his face."
"Wait here," I said and proceed further into the Cathedral.
I threw back my hood to remove any obstruction to my field of vision. I also pulled my sword from it sheath. I sent a wave of calm to the people who saw me approaching. Most stayed in their pews, but some left.
"Your name stranger," I demanded as I reached him. His scent was similar to Valko, and I was nearly certain this was another member of his pack.
When he did not respond to my question I placed the tip of my sword beneath his chin and lifted his face toward me. His eyes matched Valko's perfectly. His eyes were compelling, but held no sway over me.
"Stand up, now," I ordered. I sheathe my sword as I waited for him to stand, but he did not move.
I reached out and grabbed his left arm and pulled him from the pew and then tossed him down the aisle. "Move," I commanded.
I shoved him down the aisle when he refused to move. The villagers within the Cathedral watched the commotion as I forced the human form werewolf toward the exit.
"Do these villagers know what you are?" yelled the werewolf.
I ignored his taunts. The villagers did not pay close attention to us, and those that suspected or knew of us kept that information to themselves and would make believe they didn't know. Ignorance is bliss.
When we reached the entrance of the Cathedral I reached out and with a quick motion I snapped his neck. His body tumbled down the steps of the Cathedral when I released it and came to a stop at the feed of Eleazar and Adam.
"Burn that," I ordered.
I turned to the Bishop, "Nightfall is nearly upon us. Be sure that these doors are secured before the moon is full."
Carlisle and Edward were waiting for me a short distance from the Cathedral. "Carmen and Heidi tracked down another of Valko's pack. Alec also found one in the sewer trying to get access to the citadel." Edward reported.
"Have they both been dealt with?" I asked.
"Yes. Santiago closed the main gate and then set off to prepare a fire in the Village Market," Edward replied. "May I be excused to check on my father, and be sure he has retreated indoors?"
"Be quick. I will find you in the village market shortly and escort you to the citadel," I responded.
Edward ran off to check on his father and I turned to Carlisle. "I would appreciate it if you look after Edward when I return him to the Citadel."
"Of Course," Carlisle replied. "Do you think we have found all the werewolves?"
"No. I believe we have located all the ones who were already within the village, but when night falls those still waiting outside the village will attack," I said.
I made another quick patrol round of the village before heading to the Markets. The sun was just about to slip below the horizon, and the moon was high in the sky and nearly full.
When I entered the Market I saw Edward and his father helping old Ms. Gianna into her home across from the Merchant Trader's Office. "Edward, hurry up. The sun is nearly set," I called out.
Edward acknowledged me and then turned to his father as he closed the door to Ms. Gianna's home. "You need to get indoors, I am returning to the citadel."
Edward and his father walked across the square to the Merchant Trader's Office. Edward's father lived in an apartment on the second floor of the building. The sun finally set behind the horizon and a loud howl echoed across the area.
I started walked toward Edward when out of the corner of my eye I saw it. A werewolf had managed to jump the wall and landed within the square. "Edward!" I yelled as I saw the werewolf heading for him and his father.
I started running toward them but the werewolf was closer to them than me. Edward's father pushed Edward out of the way and put himself between Edward and the werewolf. Edward pulled his dagger from its sheath just as the werewolf reached them.
Edward's father screamed in pain as the werewolf's claws dug into his back and then bit his shoulder. Edward only looked at his father once before thrusting the dagger into the belly of the beast. The werewolf cried out, but before it could react Edward pulled the dagger out and then thrust it into its chest. I reached them less then a second later. I grabbed Edward and twisted us around using my body to shield him from the Werewolf's counterattack. In the same motion I kicked out with my left foot and sent the werewolf flying across the square.
"Are you hurt?" I asked Edward. He shook his head negatively, and I turned my attention back to the werewolf. I leapt the distance between me and the beast. I pulled the dagger from its chest and thrust it into the creature's heart. I grabbed a nearby torch and tossed it onto the werewolf. The fire immediately spread across the beast.
I wiped the blade on my cloak and returned to Edward.
"Are you sure you are unhurt?" I demanded as I sheathe his dagger.
"It did not touch me," Edward replied with confidence.
I nodded just as Edward's father groaned in pain. I immediately turned my attention to Mr. Masen. I also heard Carlisle enter the Market.
He has been bitten and the creature's saliva was present in the wound.
"Edward, I'm sorry," Mr. Masen said.
"I forgive you dad," Edward immediately replied.
Mr. Masen turned to me, "Take care of my son," – He gasp and clutch the wound with his right hand, - "Grant him the ultimate reward, he does not deserve the death I condemned him too, please."
I knew what Mr. Masen was asking of me and the thought had already crossed my mind more then once. I nodded, "It will be his when he asks for it."
"Goodbye, Edward." Mr. Masen said then turned back to me. "End me before the change begins."
"Goodbye, dad," Edward said with tears streaming down his face.
"Go stand by Carlisle," I said. Edward moved to stand by Carlisle who was a few feet behind me. Carlisle placed himself so he was face Edward, but also standing slightly between us.
"I will make it quick," I said and then filled my mouth with venom. I turned Mr. Mazen's head so that the side of his neck closest to the wound was visible. With a quick motion I bit into his neck and flooded his body with my venom. His right arm grasp at me and tighten on my left arm as his blood began to flow into my mouth. I could tell that he was infected from the taste of his blood.
I ended his life with a quick motion of my hands. My venom would keep the infection from healing him and transforming him into a werewolf. I pulled back and wiped my mouth before turning to face Edward.
"We need to burn his corpse, but first we must get you to safety," I said.
Carlisle and I quickly escorted Edward to the Citadel. When we reached it most of the guard was gathered there. There was a large fire going that appeared stacked with a half dozen bodies.
"Is that all of them?" I asked.
"We believe so. We've searched the village completely. None of them made it into the citadel. Adam and Santiago are gathering up the other corpses from around the village," Alec said.
"Be sure that they collect the one in the market, and the body of a human that was bitten," I replied.
"That makes a total of twenty-two," Eleazar said.
When all the bodies had been gathered I had them set aside the body of Edward's father. Carlisle went to retrieve the Bishop, who said a few words and absolved Edward's father before we placed the body on the bonfire.
The lost was not contained just to Edward's father. I learned hours later that Captain Luca and a half dozen other guards had been killed defending the barracks.
That night I held Edward as he cried himself to sleep over the death of his father. The man who had once sent him to near certain death had redeemed himself by sacrificing his own life to protect his son.
Chapter 5: Claiming
The weeks that preceded the death of Edward's father found me comforting Edward each night. The first few weeks had been plagued by nightmares that would wake Edward at all hours of the night. As the weeks passed so did the nightmares, but I continued to hold Edward as he slept through the night.
The night that everything changed, between Edward and I, was cold; but our suite was warm and the fire placed blazed brightly as it heated the room. Edward immerged from the wardrobe with a towel wrapped around his waist. I kept my gaze firmly fixed on the page before me of the book I was reading.
Edward was projecting unusual emotions for him. He was nervous, slightly embarrassed, but also determined. This was an odd combination of emotions from him. I had not felt nervousness from him in months. When Edward and I first met he was nervous and scared, terrified would be a better word to describe that first day. Since then Edward settled into his role as my squire and became more confident.
I heard the towel fall to the floor and a moment later I heard Edward slip into the bed. This caught my attention because Edward never slept in the nude.
"Will you hold me?" Edward asked
I closed my book and placed it on the table beside my chair. I made my way over to the bed and lay down on top of the blankets beside Edward. The blankets came to rest about mid-way up Edward's chest.
Edward took a deep breath and then began to speak, "Jasper, I have been listening to your thoughts as of late."
"I thought you could not understand my thoughts?" I replied.
Edward shook his head, "The more time I have spent with you the easier it has become to understand some of them. It is still difficult to understand some things."
"Is there something in particular that you heard?" I asked. I was slightly nervous, but did not understand why I should feel nervous.
"I heard some of the thoughts about how you feel about me," Edward said.
"I am sorry, Edward. I hope I have not made you feel uncomfortable," I replied. I knew that Edward had heard my thoughts about how I had fallen in love with him over the many months we had been together.
Edward shook his head, "I'm not uncomfortable. I feel the same about you."
I began to protest, but Edward silenced me by placing a finger over my lips. "I know what I am feeling, Jasper. You have not influenced my emotions. I too have fallen in love with you."
Edward took a deep breath and continued, "I was both thankful and angry with you at first. I was thankful that you did not take my life, and that you seemed to want to help me. I was angry because you claimed me like a piece of property, or at least that is how I first viewed it. You proved me wrong there. You treated me as a near equal, but I know my place and not to overstep."
"I never viewed you as a piece of property, Edward."
"I understand that now."
"What do you feel about me now?" I asked. I knew I could just reach out and check his emotions, but that would not explain what they meant.
"I am in love with you. You have been there to comfort me when my mother died, and again when my father gave his life to save me. You held me through my nightmares and you cared for me each day we have been together. My heart aches at the though of being without you," Edward professed.
I could feel his love and it was genuine. "I will always be with you." I stated.
"I want more then just you being with me. I want you to claim me as your lover and mate," Edward said.
"Please, I know you want it too. I have heard your thoughts about my body. I know you have wanted to touch me, but you hold back. I want this too, Jasper," Edward said interrupting me.
"Edward… Are you sure? Do you understand what you are asking?"
"Yes. I want this Jasper. I want you, and I know what I'm asking."
"If you are sure this is what you want," – Edward nodded, - "then I will take you as my mate. I have thought of this day for a while. I will try to be as gentle as I can be, but you must tell me immediately if I do something to hurt."
"I trust you, Jasper. I know you will not hurt me," Edward said.
"There will be pain, Edward. When I bit you and as my venom spread through your body it will burn. There is little I can do to alleviate the pain," I stated.
"I spoke to Carlisle about this and he said that if you were to bite me in multiple places it is possible that the venom would spread more quickly and speed the change. I know I'll be in pain, but you'll be here with me. The reward is worth the pain," Edward replied.
"Carlisle is correct, more venom will speed the process some, but it will still be at least two days," I said.
"I'm not changing my mind, Jasper. I want this and I want you. We both know that even if I wanted to stay human that would not be possible long term. I'm asking for this because I love you. I know you love me and what it would do to you if I died. Now please stop delaying and make love to me," Edward said.
I smiled, "As you wish, my love."
I placed a chaste kiss upon Edward's lips and then slid off the bed. "Where are you going?" Edward asked.
"My body is freezing, Edward. It will be too cold for us to do this in the bed." I said as I took the cushion off the bench and laid it on the floor in front of the fire place. I then grabbed several fur blankets that were lying at the foot of the bed. I laid the blankets out so that they covered the cushion and the floor in front of the fire place. I then moved the furniture out of the way.
I stoked the fire and added another log. I then began to remove my clothes as Edward slipped out of the bed. I finished pulling off my pants as Edward joined me by the fire place. He placed a small glass bottle on the near by end table.
"What is that?" I asked.
"Um… Olive oil, Carlisle said it would help," Edward answered.
"I see that you really thought this out," I replied.
Edward blushed, "I did not want to give you any reason to say no."
I placed my left hand on Edward's face and gentle glided my thumb over his cheek bone. "Promise me that you will tell me if I do something to hurt you."
"I trust you, Jasper." Edward replied.
(...) A/N: Due to FFn's Ratings policy this section of the story can be read at TWCS. A link is available in my Author's Profile. (...)
"It's starting to burn," Edward gasped.
"Lets get you cleaned up and I'll try to help you with the pain," I said.
"Thank you," Edward said.
"No, Thank you. Thank you for giving me you, Edward. I promise to love you for as long as we both shall live," I said and kissed him again.
I pulled out of Edward as I released his lips. I then immediately retrieved a towel and wet it with warm water before returning to Edward and cleaning him up. I moved Edward to the bed and slid in beside him and held him.
I spent the next two days holding Edward and ease his pain as much as I could with my empathic abilities.
We left Volterra and returned to America.
We had barely been home a few decades before Alice uprooted the family for another adventure. This time we were going to find Alice's mate. She said he would be important to our future and to helping us with the prophecy.
Alice said little about who her mate was. All that she would say is that it was a story for another time…