Hattie took us on a little judgey mind-tour of the settlement, and told us what she really thought of most of her family…good chance she’s formulating certain ideas about how to handle the question of leadership for the future of the Tribe…
Later, Arsinoë found out how Simchu Pichu keeps usurpers at bay…no wonder we’ve never seen any of Kon’s brothers! And also, we met Princess Nenetl, who seems like she might be an okay kiddo despite her mom’s poisony ways (tbd tho).
Lastly we checked in with the demon-eyed Gaul (Arsinoë’s words, not mine); turns out she’s knocked up, but it’s probably not King Kon’s if you know what I’m sayin’ 😲
Girl been getting her freak on with one of those scary-helmeted guardsman I guess…
“May I present Oberon the Observant.”
When Belladonna had borrowed Calliope’s phone to say her cousin Jerry had contacted a friend of a friend’s ex-torturer’s uncle, and that he was making a special trip out to meet them, Cassie had jumped at the chance…even though they were all still in mourning.
“L’Osservatore! The Observer, if you please, Signora Blackthorne.”
“A pleasure to meet you, Mr. L’Osservatore,” Cassie reached out to shake his hand, but the man stepped away with a scowl.
“The pleasure is all yours, Signora…tell me about this monstro,” his accent was thick, and his voice uncommonly deep, making him all the more difficult to understand…but that boorish curl of his lip spoke volumes enough.
“Er…apologies, Cassandra, I’m afraid Ronny isn’t used to schmoozing with clients,” Bella glared meaningfully at the tall man; Cassie wondered if they’d already had a discussion about his bedside manner before arriving.
The heavily armed, Priestesque man returned the witch’s glare, “are we here to socialize, Signora? Or do you wish for me to kill this vampiro for you?”
“Yes!” The feverish need resurfaced quickly, “he’s a kidnapper, and a murderer! He needs to die…he need to suffer.”
More and more, Cassandra felt herself slipping away beneath the tide of her anger and regret…
The witch and the hunter stared at her, but she didn’t see their faces…all she could see was him….
“…stole my husband, my son…he’ll come to kill us all…”
Everyone was going to die if they didn’t stop him…
“Here we go, my dear,” Bella guided Cassie to sit, “nice and comfortable, yes? There’s a good girl…I’ll get you some tea.”
Belladonna couldn’t know if the woman even heard her, but at least the anger had passed.
“This woman…is she malata?”
“Nevermind that, come over here and help me make tea–”
“I do not make tea, Signora, I destroy unholy creatures of darkness, sì?”
“Yes of course, but as there are not any unholy creatures of darkness present to destroy, you will join me while I make tea, and we shall discuss this–”
“Un momento!” He hissed suddenly, “my talismano speaks! There is an evil presence nearby…”
Oh, right; Mosi was home…
“Yes, about that,” impressive that the man could sense the newly turned boy; perhaps he was worth taking seriously after all.
“You are harbouring a demone, Signora?!” The hunter’s hand strayed towards the sword at his hip, “what is this trick?”
Belladonna sighed and punched the button on the automatic tea brewer, “there is no trick, Ronny; Cassie’s boy, Mosi, was turned by the vampire we wish for you to dispose of.”
“Her boy?” He blinked, “I am to be killing two vampiros then…?”
“No!” Bella replied with force, “you will leave Mosi alone, is that quite understood?”
“These monsters cannot be allowed to live, Signora–”
“Mosi can be cured,” snapped the witch, “once the vampire who made him is dead, I will give him an antidote, and he will be a young man once more.”
Oberon pursed his lips as though she’d shoved a smelly finger under his nose.
“You are free to dispose of any monsters you find in this Anubis’s lair, but the boy is to be left alone,” Bella gave the man her most intimidating stare, “do I make myself clear?”
Once upon a time her stare had been known to make men soil themselves, Oberon only looked mildly discomfited…either he was made of sterner stuff than a Knight of the Crusades, or she was losing her touch…
“As cristallo, Signora,” he muttered, “I will bring you the heads of this Anubis, and any other creature he is consorting with, and you will cure this boy before my eyes, sì?”
“I’m afraid we had to dispose of the carpet, mother,” Aries admitted as Persephone scanned the kitchen, “it was…not redeemable, I’m afraid.”
“It was GROSS,” Orion interjected, “sticky, and smelly, AND it got on my favourite pair of shoes!”
“Yes, witch blood is rather troublesome when it comes to stains, I’m afraid,” she murmured, eyes still scrutinizing the room.
“Is something amiss, mother?” Aries asked, “you seem distracted.”
It was similar to the restlessness she’d felt the eve of the murders, but less urgent.
“I’m frustrated with this room, it is as though something very important is out of place.”
“Well we did the best we could!” Orion pouted, “I’m tired mother, can we not go home now? If they think we put something in the wrong spot, they can just move it later!”
“Does anything about this situation strike you as odd?” It was, perhaps, a redundant question, given that unexpected murders were odd, in and of themselves, “I feel as though I’m staring into a watery reflection, and I cannot be certain of the details I see…”
“I did wonder, why is it that a vampire needed to stab them?”
“Well clearly, Aries, it’s because he was trying to cover his tracks!” The fairer brother snorted, “sometimes I wonder if you’re even paying attention during CSI.”
Cover his tracks? The idea suggested that the murderer had intended for the blame to be placed on someone else, presumably out of fear of repercussion from the witches.
Selene had been quite insistent, according to her mother, that she had seen a tall, dark haired man hurrying from the kitchen entrance.
“I am not entirely convinced that we are blaming the right person,” saying it out loud filled Persephone with a warm rightness, “I cannot imagine why this Anubis would seek to murder witches in the first place, nor can I fathom why he might fear them either–”
“I’m sure he thought the witches would hex him or something, that is what witches do, is it not?” Orion’s tone bordered on insolent, but Persephone found herself too distracted to care in the moment.
“But they cannot hex him if they don’t know where he is, and even then, I understood vampires were quite resistant to hexing, begin as they are technically dead…”
“True, unless one is a necromancer, I suppose, but I must admit I know little of necromancy, and certainly none of The Woulding witches practices it.”
“Why would he even do all this anyhow?” Orion huffed as thought he very idea was beyond exhausting, “so much trouble, and for what?”
“I feel as though we are talking ourselves in circles,” she admitted, “it seems that the answer is standing like a shadow in the room, waiting to be seen…”
Without warning, the room filled with light, pulling them all away from their ruminations…
…and just as quickly as it had come, the light fled, leaving a man in it’s place.
No…not at man…a fairy, swept out of time.
All thoughts of murderers and vampires and mysterious not-rightness were swallowed by the singular realization that she was looking at her brother, at long last.
Without a shadow of a doubt in his mind, Mosi knew that this was the night the vampire would come to collect him…and that for the first time in his life, he was not going to confide in his mother.
Why? The truth of it was shameful…but exhilarating; he welcomed the coming of his Sire.
And he was concerned that his mother would try to interfere…or worse.
“She must not,” he muttered idly, eyes scanning for signs of the other’s coming.
The moon rose from the horizon, and despite the coolness of his undead flesh, he felt a certain warmth suffuse his blood…surely it would not be long now.
‘I do not even know his name,’ mother did, but he could not bring himself to ask her.
“It’s Anubis,” the voice caught him off guard.
“Anubis,” Mosi gasped, had he posed the question out loud? “…the Al Simharan god of death.”
“My uncle had a rather ironic sense of humour…my birth heralded the onset of an epidemic, you see.”
“I suppose it does,” the older vampire studied him briefly, “come, it is best not to linger.”
Not even Persephone’s heaving breasts could have prevented him from following.
We already knew Anubis was rocking superstar mojo, though, even enough to rip a needy boy away from his mummy, apparently.
Thank you to Maladi777 for creating the fierce Mr. L’Osservatore! He’s the overly-serious, dark and mysterious Vampire Hunter my story didn’t even know it needed! ❤
Too bad Khafre had to drop in during an impromptu murder investigation and derail the whole thing (they were kind of on a roll there too!)…but yay for family reunions!