Inferno: The Complete Story
The icy wind bit into my cold, bone white skin with unrelenting determination. The snow fell thick and fast before my scarlet eyes, which although usually most powerful, they now fiercely struggled against this tide of white. I stilled my mind and I concentrated my thoughts on the focus of my expedition. I must not let my emotions cloud my sensibilities! I will not be beaten, I must not be beaten, and I will not be beaten by her!
She belongs in the dark, in the wastelands of nothingness. She is your deep dark fears come to life. She is the bringer of death and poison. She can love you, but only on her terms. She can destroy you with one look, one touch. She must be stopped!
I am the only one who can do it.
One Year Later……
Bright vivid colours of gold and purple blooms, intertwined with silver threads as delicate as the purest silk, wove through his aura as he stood before me smiling so widely.
“Victoria, it has happened! Bella told me she loves me, yes you heard right, she loves me!” Edward Cullen gushed, his crooked smile full of joyful infectious happiness.
I smiled back and nodded wisely, “Didn’t I tell you brother? I just knew you would find true love one day!”
His beautiful face grinned at me as the October sunshine poked through the clouds lighting up his beautiful face with rainbow sparkles. I had wished for this day, I had hoped for this day and I had prayed fervently that Edward would find someone to love. He deserved it.
I, on the other hand had been in love since 1349, the year Aro changed me into this wondrous and glorious creature. I fell in love instantly and powerfully with him. He was my maker, my lover, my everything, and for this past year he had also been my husband. We were married in my family’s garden as the sun rose into the dusky pink morning sky on October 13th 2012. Today is our wedding anniversary and we have returned to Forks, I will explain later, I promise. I hugged Edward to me happily. I was so pleased to see him! It had been almost a year since Aro and I departed the coven.
“When do I get to meet this special lady of yours?” I asked my brother.
“She is coming here later to meet you! I told her my lovely sister and her handsome husband was returning to Forks today. Has anybody told you anything about her?” he asked.
I smiled as I raised my eyebrows at him, “Just that she is human, but a very extraordinary human!” I replied.
Edward smiled crookedly, “She certainly is! You will find out for yourself later, but for now let us hunt!”
We grinned at each other as we held hands and ran speedily into the woods surrounding the Cullen house. I was a centuries old vampire, who had been a ‘vegetarian’ for a long while now. I no longer required human blood to survive, animal blood satisfied my thirst. Sometimes my acute senses were intrigued by a random human scent and I would turn to stare at them with interest. I never felt like drinking their blood, though. I was too old and wise for that now. Aro had changed to this new lifestyle also, although it had been much more difficult for him than I.
My husband was currently engrossed in a meeting with Carlisle. I guessed this was why he had decided to come back to Washington State, although he hadn’t imparted it to me yet! I was glad to return to my family, even though I now had my own, it was still fantastic to be back with the Cullen’s. Aro and I had ‘adopted’ Noah, the Immortal Child as our own son. He was a quiet, introspective child, which was not that surprising considering all he had been through. We were being as patient and considerate with him as we could, but at times he retreated into himself and did not speak for days on end. There was no way we could get him to feed on animals, he would not even try! We used Carlisle’s plan and fed Noah human blood from the little bags Aro had the Doctor ship to us. It was better than letting the child feed from innocent humans! My how I have changed!
Edward and I quickly dispatched a pair of mountain lions and we grinned our bloody smiles at each other as we drank our fill of the warm thick blood.
“Tell me about Bella,” I asked with genuine curiosity.
Edward grinned like a lovesick fool, his topaz eyes shining with adoration at the mention of her name.
“Ah Victoria, where do I begin? She has deep chocolate brown eyes which you could lose yourself in. She has the loveliest long auburn hair, which waves in the right places just perfectly. Her skin is flawless and her lips are so unbelievably sweet to kiss. Not only does she possess the beauty of a Goddess, she also has inner beauty and strength which make her glow. If she didn’t so obviously have a beating heart, you would think she was one of our kind! I am completely and irrevocably in love with her. Forever!” he finished with flourish.
I smiled back, but a little worry began to creep in upon my initial joy for my brother. This girl was not one of us. She was human, breakable, fragile and out of her depth surely?
“No, she is more than human, Victoria! “ Edward cried.
I had forgotten he was a mind reader! How could I? After all I was married to one although Aro’s power was through touch only. Edward was frowning at me.
“I hope so, brother. For her sake! You have probably seen this in my mind already, but I am going to ask you out loud! Please, Edward, do not frown at me so! I am allowed to be worried for my brother!” I exclaimed.
“Go ahead then, sister dearest, ask me!” he dared, a crooked smile beginning to play around his full lips.
“How on earth do you conduct your relationship? Surely Bella is too human to withstand any affectionate attention from your good self?” I queried with my usual raised eyebrow.
He laughed a hearty belly laugh which made me smile. “Oh Victoria, dearest sister, trust you to wonder about that! We are not all sex obsessed, my red haired friend!” he roared.
I punched him lightly on the arm with an indignant snort. “I am naturally curious!” I retorted cheekily.
Edward sighed, his perfect features suddenly clouded with anxiety.
“What is it Edward, what’s wrong?” I asked worriedly.
“She wants me to change her! She wants to become like us, Victoria!”
Like red silk running through my hands, her luxurious vibrant hair fell like fire onto the forest floor beneath her. Green and red, bold and beautiful. Like a Goddess of nature she enthralled me so. My lips grazed the pale skin of her exposed throat so gently. My sharp teeth lightly bit her smooth flesh, making her gasp so deliciously. Would my wife ever give up this human trait? I hoped not! It flamed my desire no end.
My lips sought hers frantically as I yearned for her. Our cool kisses of icy desire made me forget everything as I fell deeper into her. We gave our bodies to each other willingly beneath the Autumnal sky peeking through the cover of trees above us. Nature embraced us, we who were inhuman. Our sighs and moans reverberated through the woods and caught the breeze which soothed our bare skin with its feathery touch. I could never tire of Victoria and the deep passionate connection we shared. Much later, as twilight fell like a soft blanket over the trees, we lay in brown and gold leaves together, silent and sated.
Silence was never uncomfortable between me and my dearest wife, but tonight I knew she was impatient to ask me something. I knew her question before she spoke it. I can read her wonderful mind when we are touching.
“Aro, what did you discuss with Carlisle earlier?” she queried.
I smiled as I kissed the top of her head, “I wondered when you would ask me that, my darling,” I laughed. “I needed to discuss Noah with the Doctor. As you know his behaviour has been worrying to say the least. A week or so ago he told me that Athenodora was planning to raise Sulpicia from the ashes! “
Victoria gasped with horror and pulled herself up to gaze into my amber eyes. Yes, I succumbed to my wife’s wishes and I am now a proud ‘vegetarian’! Her eyes were beautifully topaz due to her hunt with Edward earlier, but they were filled with sorrow and fear.
“No! Why would he say such a thing? How? Aro, has our son developed his own power? Is it like Alice's power? Is he seeing the future?! she exclaimed with horror.
“I would have attributed it to his long term physiological and psychological damage, but he was insistent that Sulpicia would rise! So insistent that I could not ignore it any longer! My darling, I apologise for not confiding in you sooner, but I did not want to cause you anguish!” I exclaimed.
Victoria shook her red curls defiantly, “I thought we were just visiting my family! I knew you were up to something! Aro, you should have told me this!” she said, her eyes blazing fury at me.
Oh, she was delicious when angry!
“Forgive me, my angel. I did not want to worry you. I believe Noah has always had this power, but it has only surfaced now. It was most likely suppressed whilst he was in stasis. I did that to him, I incarcerated him in that tomb!” I cried with sorrow. I had not yet got over the guilt of my previous actions.
Victoria sighed as she softly kissed my cold cheek, “I wish you would have told me. I only want Noah to be happy and settled with us. I thought we had left the past behind us when we made our new life together. Now, her name has entered our lives again, “she said sadly.
I hated to see my Little Flame sad, so I held her to my cold skin and brought my lips to hers in an electrifying thrilling kiss to make her forget. Her passion rose to meet mine quickly, as always. Our limbs entwined together perfectly as we joined in utmost love once more. I could never tire of our intense love making. Her warm amber eyes were full of love and desire for me as I gazed deeply into them. Our hips moved in a slow dance towards mutual ecstasy. At moments like these I felt like we were the only two creatures inhabiting this world. I cried out against her scarlet hair as she buried her teeth in the hard marble flesh of my shoulder. The pain was laced with exquisite pleasure.
“Oh Aro, I love you!” she exclaimed at the height of her passion.
“I adore you, Victoria!” I breathed huskily against her soft cold cheek.
We smiled at each other, content in the knowledge we were together forever. I caught a fleeting thought from my beloved’s mind. She was scared and uncertain. She had believed we had found true happiness, now she feared it could be snatched away in the blink of an eye.
“Do not despair, my love. Nothing can come between us. I promise you!” I swore.
Right at that moment I believed it to be true, just let anyone try to ruin our happiness, just let them try!
It was good to see Victoria again. I had missed my flame haired sister very much. We fell back into our loving comfortable relationship with ease. I was eager to tell her more about my beloved Bella. It had been nearly a year since I had first gazed into my girl’s beautiful chocolate brown eyes and fell irrevocably in love with her. Amazing to think the one for me had been a human girl! My family did not take to the news gladly at first. They were worried for me. Bella spelled trouble. Humans were not meant to know of our existence!
I managed to convince them that Bella was good for me and they slowly came around to the idea. Once they met Bella they could see the depth of the love we shared and they saw how happy I was. My ‘parents’ were overjoyed to see me finally become part of a couple. I knew they had worried for years how I would ever manage to meet someone. It wasn’t easy being a seventeen year old immortal teenage boy who lived in a house surrounded by loving couples.
I had crushed on Victoria when we first met, but I soon realised her heart was completely devoted to Aro. She was not meant for me. Bella was, it was simple and true. Of course, it was not easy being so close to such a delectable human. Bella’s blood sang out to me with the sweetest song imaginable. I had to restrain myself when we were alone; the softness of her honey lips was enough to drive me to distraction. I wanted to taste her blood but I would never hurt her, it was a vicious circle, a complicated dance we shared. My hands would glide over the smooth skin of her stomach and I would have such intense feelings of longing and the excitement would build up inside me. I needed to vent those feelings somehow. On those days when our kisses and touches reached fever pitch, I had to tear myself away from her reluctantly. I would hunt with relentless hunger, as I tried to still the other desires which lay deep inside me.
Bella desperately wanted me to make love to her. Those moments when her mouth was on my neck, her teeth grazing me as she begged for me to take her passionately I found the most testing of my self control. I had never experienced the sexual act when I was human. I had wanted to wait until I had found the one, the girl I would marry. Spanish flu put paid to my future plans and I became this hard marble creature made by Carlisle. But I still wanted to love and be loved. When I met Bella I knew she was my destiny, it was unfortunate that we were different species. Still, I had told her many times that I wished to marry her. I had even proposed to her on her birthday last year .She had retorted with a request of her own. She would become my wife but only if I changed her into a vampire!
So, here we were. She lay in my arms, in her bed, a big fleecy blanket wrapped around her body to keep the coldness of mine freezing her to death. I spent every night in her bedroom whilst Charlie slept blissfully down the corridor, unaware that Bella had a visitor. My love had finally fallen asleep, her human eyes no longer able to stay open. It was 3am and I, of course, was wide awake. I was considering my dilemma. Keep Bella soft, warm and deliciously mortal or change her into a cold, hard immortal being. She would belong to me forever as a vampire. As a human I would watch her age, wither and die. I sighed in frustration as I gently stroked her hair whilst she slept.
Bella was extraordinary as a human; did I want to lose her uniqueness? I wanted to be with her always, nothing would make me happier than marrying her. Could we make it work a vampire and a human? Or was I deluding myself? Bella was not going to give up on her quest to become immortal. She had already threatened to ask a member of my family to change her if I didn’t agree to it! She was stubborn and impossible but I loved her completely. I hoped when I snuck out of Bella’s room in the approaching dawn, that the answers to my questions would be magically revealed to my confused mind. I would go out into the meadow for a day or so, hunt, be alone and let my subconscious dwell on the matter. Something would come to me, in due course.
Time was something I had in abundance but unfortunately my darling Isabella did not.
Far far away from Forks, deep in the Italian countryside, outside the great city of Rome, two ancient vampires huddled together in the dark corners of this old castle where they dwell. They used to be powerful and strong, but now centuries old they were both quite insane. Insanity was dangerous though and this alliance was determined to return to their former glories. Athenodora stroked Desiderius’s hair absentmindedly as they discussed leaving this castle which had been their home for some years now.
It was a miracle that the male vampire had deigned to leave his coffin, but sure enough, the female vampire had persuaded him a few months ago to feed on human blood again. He became stronger, some of his faculties returned, but he was completely insane as he believed it still to be 875 Ad; the year he was changed into this marble immortal creature. Athenodora took him from priesthood into the madness of eternal life and bloodlust. He had loved her intensely at first. He had obeyed her orders to bring together the most powerful coven in the world. He had succeeded! But the endless passage of time had eventually sent him spiralling into a sort of madness which held him tight in its vice like grip. Athenodora gave him sanctuary in this castle; she let the coven continue to believe that he was the original vampire! Oh so many centuries had passed!
Athenodora continued to live with the Volturi after she had hidden Desiderius in this place. She met another vampire Caius, they fell in love and he became her mate, although they never married. Athenodora let Aro and Sulpicia rule the coven as they were very powerful, especially the female. Aro’s wife was unpredictable and extremely evil but she was a great and powerful leader. Her talent was much revered within the coven, as was her husbands. The arrival of Aro’s fledgling Victoria had thrown the Volturi into disarray and eventually led to the death of Sulpicia at the hands of the Immortal Child she created!
Athenodora had no appetite for the fight anymore, she came to this old place to be with her former mate, to care for him and to protect him, but her old life would not stay silent. Caius had begged her to return, to reclaim the position of leader of the Volturi with Desiderius by her side! It was a hard offer to refuse! She wanted to be all powerful again, she wanted to avenge Sulpicia’s death and Aro’s complete hideous betrayal, but first she must plan and gain strength. Desiderius needed her!
As the original vampire she had responsibilities to her blood line, especially the ones closest to her. The creature who had lunged at her in the dark tunnels beneath the Roman Emperor’s villa, with its stinging burning bite of death, had unwittingly changed the course of history forever and introduced immortal to mortals. Athenodora was the first of her kind, she never met the creature again and did not go back to the villa where she had been beaten and raped repeatedly as a slave girl ever ever again!
Her theory was simple, the thing that had changed her was not real, but an entity sent from Hell to wreak havoc on the Romans who had tried to take over the Earth. God didn’t approve, so he sent the Devil in to do his dirty work. Athenodora saw the fall of the Roman Empire straight after she had dispatched of her evil captor Romulus Augustulus, the current emperor of Rome. She enjoyed tearing his throat out, and loved ripping his evil heart from his body, it was sweet revenge and she loved the blood so much!
So here they sat, Athenodora and Desiderius, in the year 2013; eons of time and space between now and their first encounter. Athenodora was speaking quietly to Desiderius as she continued to stroke his hair.
“Desiderius, we have lived a very long time now. We have seen centuries come and go, but never did I think we would see the fall of the Volturi! Caius and Marcus cannot rule the coven! They are weak without Aro and Sulpicia. We cannot let the red-haired whore win! She laughs at us now as she lives it up all over Europe with her new husband! How dare she!”
Desiderius nodded in agreement as he let his mistress vent her anger. She gripped his hair roughly suddenly, causing him to cry out a little. She still excited him, even if he was past all that nonsense now. She continued her tirade as she went back to gently stroking his head.
“Caius did impart something interesting to me in his last letter, my dearest. News has come from our spies around the globe. You remember I told you? There is a specially selected Volturi member in each continent, keeping watch over the other vampires which populate this planet. Word is spreading quickly amongst us! A human girl has come to our attention. She is not an ordinary human, she knows of vampires! She is close to the Olympic coven in Washington State on the North West coast of America. My trusted spies tell me she is a most desirable asset for the Volturi to possess!” Athenodora claimed excitedly.
Desiderius just nodded and stared at her in awe.
“Don’t you see, my dearest friend? We must capture this rare flower at once! We must stop such silliness! Humans do not consort with vampires, it is unheard of! They say the youngest Cullen boy is in complete enamour of her! It can only lead to terrible repercussions. You and I must rise from our apathy Desiderius! We must go back to Volterra and take immediate control, before those idiots let not only the whole coven fall apart, but the whole of our world come tumbling down around our immortal heads!”
Desiderius nodded once more, but this time he was rapt with wonder at the passion and strength of will which Athenodora awakened deep within him. Her sweet girlish voice commanded his attention and he was drawn to the power resonating from her as she confessed her plan to him.
“We must have this human! We must stop the Cullen’s from committing any more heinous crimes against the Volturi! It is our responsibility, it is our duty!”
I tugged the brush through my hair roughly as I scowled at my reflection in the bathroom mirror. I stuck my tongue out at the stupid girl looking back. Weak, human fool! I was heading out to the Cullen’s place to meet Edward’s ‘sister’ Victoria and her husband Aro. I was slightly nervous because Edward had already told me that the couple were centuries old ancient vampires. My head spun when I tried to work out exactly how old they were! Not only that, Aro was once head of the Volturi who were rulers of the vampire world. Sulpicia’s death and Aro’s wedding had thrown the coven into current disarray.
I sighed again as tied my long hair back in a loose ponytail. I was grouchy because Edward had refused once more to indulge my desire to lose my virginity. He said he could hurt me or kill me because of his strength. I think he is just scared because he really does not know what will happen if we take our relationship up to the next level. No one knows what would happen because this situation has never arisen before. Vampires tried to keep their distance from humans, it was safer this way. Yes, they tried to blend in with society but they didn’t get close to humans. Edward tried to resist me when we first met but for both of us it was love at first sight, inevitable and irrevocable. The scent of my blood thrilled him so, but he would never hurt me. I truly believed he would not. The Cullen’s did not drink human blood. Not anymore.
I had never been scared of Edward, how could I? The first look, the first searing touch, and the first sweetest thrilling kiss had all bound me to his heart for eternity. His family didn’t scare me either, even though I knew they were worried about our relationship. They loved Edward and only wanted to him to be happy, just like any normal loving parents. Like Charlie. He didn’t know what Edward was, he just saw him as a teenage boy who was getting way too close to his precious only child! Charlie eyed us suspiciously and he rarely left us alone together. Little did he know Edward flew into my bedroom window each night to be with me! My sighs of longing and desire had to be subdued when Charlie was in the next room! How I wished Edward and I could spend the night alone together, with no one else around. Bliss! If only I could persuade him to give into our passions.
I decided a few months ago that I wanted to be more than human. I wanted to be with Edward forever. I didn’t want to be old whilst he remained always eighteen. He had to change me, he just had to. Edward had proposed to me exactly one month ago on my eighteenth birthday. It was very romantic and sweet. We had been in one of our favourite places. It’s our special meadow, the one he took me to on our first proper date. I was completely surprised; I truly was not expecting him to ask me! I’m not against marriage, despite my parent’s divorce, but I didn’t expect to get married so young. But then again, I never expected to meet someone like Edward. I had been stunned into silence for a little while whilst he waited patiently for my answer. My mind began to conjure up the seed of an idea, which bloomed and grew as I gazed into his beautiful topaz eyes. I had accepted his proposal on one condition. He must change me!
Could I give up my family, everything I had known, and my very humanity for the man I loved?
I gazed out into the Cullen’s garden as Twilight approached. Edward would be here soon with his beloved Bella. I was looking forward to meeting her. I caught Aro’s scent and felt his strong arms encircle me as his long pale fingers spanned my slender waist.
“Hello my desirable one,” he breathed in my ear.
I shivered as he moved his hands to lift my red curls away from the nape of my neck and he brought his cool lips down onto my skin, feather-light and teasingly seductive.
“Aro! Behave my dear husband! My ‘brother’ will be here soon with his sweetheart!” I exclaimed as I pretended to swat him away with annoyance.
I turned around to embrace him, my lips eagerly meeting his in a sweet kiss. He had been gone for a few hours, hunting with Noah in the mountains. Of course our ‘son’ would not try animal blood, but he loved to go with his ‘father’. Aro had taken some blood bags for Noah. We still didn’t like my family to see Noah drinking human blood. They were so refined! Plus, it was sensible for us vegetarians to stay away from human blood. Aro and I had become de-sensitised over the past year. However, Noah was Noah and we loved him exactly the way he was.
I had stayed behind to talk with Alice, Esme and Carlisle. I pulled away, not because his mouth failed to entice me, but because I had so much I wanted to tell him before Edward’s imminent arrival. I gazed into his golden eyes, now glowing lighter after his hunting trip. No doubt a few mountain lions had succumbed to my graceful husband.
“Oh Aro! I was afraid that trouble had found us again when you told me of Noah’s visions, but now I fear that was only the tip of the iceberg, compared to what Alice has divulged to me today!” I exclaimed, worry lacing my voice.
Why could Aro and I not have the happy peaceful life we craved? It seemed it wasn’t to be! Not until all our enemies were thwarted anyways. Aro raised his perfectly formed black eyebrows at me and sighed.
“Come, little flame, walk with me in the garden. You must tell me what dear Alice has ‘seen’ now,” he said as he held out a pale hand to me.
The breeze gusted through the garden, catching his silky raven black hair. As ever I was in awe of his sheer perfection and beauty. His dark long hair which flowed over his strong muscular shoulders and chest. His ruby red full lips set in that pale face, with the recent addition of those beautiful warm amber eyes. He was a wondrous sight indeed!
Pay attention Victoria! Aro must be told of recent events. Stop being dazzled by him! I chided myself silently.
I took his hand and we walked into the garden together as the sky began to turn bruised and purple above us as day gave way to night.
“I am afraid that Alice has had new visions of the Volturi, mainly Athenodora and Caius. They plot against us, my love! Athenodora plans to leave the desolate castle in Rome where she and Desiderius dwell. She wants to reclaim the position of Volturi leader with her old mate at her side. Caius seemingly welcomes this, rather than feeling any abhorrence to his partner deciding to be with her old flame! “I stated to my husband who was listening intently to me.
“Ah, Athenodora wants her power back! This does not surprise me, Victoria. Not in the slightest. I always knew she would come back to take control. She wanted Desiderius back where she could become his puppet master once more! I detest what the entire Volturi stand for now, I hate what they made me become. They kept me from you all these years with false power and promises. I do not wish to have anything to do with them, my love,” he exclaimed with passion.
I squeezed his cool hand with a sigh. He was not going to like what I was about to tell him next.
“Apparently Athenodora has decided Noah must be destroyed for murdering Sulpicia. She has also declared that you and I must be punished for disrespecting the Volturi and your marriage. Oh Aro, she wants revenge and I am afraid, so very afraid! The woman is insane; she is dangerous, just like your dead wife!” I wailed, fear rising in me quickly.
Aro frowned at me, his smooth brow creased with worry.
“This is worrying news indeed. Alice is rarely wrong in her visions, although the future is constantly changing like quicksilver. Maybe she is seeing Athenodora’s thoughts, which can flicker and switch in an instant, given that her mind is indeed unstable! What else did Alice see, my dearest?” he asked as he stroked my face, his amber eyes full of concern for my emotional state.
“Alice said that Athenodora planned to raise Sulpicia, just like Noah said! Though how she can manage to put together the particles of dust which remained of the evil monster I do not know! And……., oh Aro, wait until you hear this last part! Athenodora wants to seek out the creature that made her. Really it is the original vampire, not she. That’s if it was a vampire? She wants to bring this thing to life, to help her rule over the vampire world with pure evil and absolute horror, so no-one will dare step out of line again! Alice was actually shaking when she related this part. This creature, whatever it is, is to vampires like the Devil is to humans! “I wailed with sorrow.
Aro looked really shaken now. We stared at each other in disbelief as we digested all Alice had told me. Carlisle and Esme had asked us not to say anything to the others just yet, but had said I could share the visions with my husband. Would we ever have a peaceful existence together? What if all Alice said was true? It didn’t bear thinking about!
Aro held me close to him, his hands stroking my back soothingly. “Try not to worry so, my love. We will talk more with Carlisle and Esme later once we meet Bella. Athenodora does not know where we are does she? We have time to plan. Time to process all this information. We need to stay strong, Victoria. We are strong! Please don’t forget it!” my husband exclaimed passionately.
I didn’t reply, I just squeezed him tighter, revelling in his presence and strength.
Suddenly our embrace was interrupted by my ‘brother’ Edward’s appearance. Slightly behind him stood a girl, shyly peering at us through large chocolate brown eyes. She was small and pale and awkward looking, but I had never seen a more powerful and bright aura surrounding a human than the one which enveloped her now. It was dazzling, as if she was supernatural herself. I stood gazing at her as she looked back shyly at Aro and I. This was no ordinary girl, Edward was right.
Edward’s smile was as wide as the ocean and just as sparkling as he introduced the girl to us, “Bella, this is Victoria and Aro,” he announced proudly.
“Hi,” she smiled tentatively as she came slowly towards us.
Her aura enveloped her like a bubble of light, silver and violet, sapphire and gold. It was almost blinding me and it took all the strength of my eyes and mind not to look away. I was intrigued by this mysterious human.
Or was I using the wrong word to describe Bella Swan? Was she even human?
I paced the floor in my dimly lit chambers trying to gather my thoughts. It felt good to be back in Volterra again. I needed to take control of this coven once again before it fell into total ruin. Desiderius had travelled back here with me, but although there was much improvement, he still did not share my passion for the Volturi. I shrugged my shoulders, I could deal with that, as long as I managed to gain back control and gather the coven back to its former glory.
There was one special ingredient that I needed to carry out my plan. I wanted to track down the creature that had made me this way. I had spent my Immortal existence fearing the thing that took my human life, when really I should be praising it for giving me this omnipotent power. I would be an equal match for it now! Imagine the power I could command if I could control the thing? No one would ever dare to question my authority again! I would be the greatest ever vampire in the history of the world. I just had to work out a way to find my Maker.
I also had another pressing concern: Isabella Swan. This human girl knew too much, she must be taken care of. I would dispatch someone to deal with it. The Cullen's disloyal behaviour must not go unpunished. Who did they think they were? I sensed a presence behind me, marble arms lightly resting on my waist, and cool breath tickling my ear.
"Athenodora, my love. Will you not dine with me tonight? We have some lovely specimens brought in from the city especially tonight", Caius whispered.
I smiled as I leaned back against his embrace. Caius was very dear to me, he could never be as Desiderius was in his prime but he was a very satisfying second best. I had adored taking the priest and turning him into a vampire. It was one of my proudest moments. Caius was already an immortal when we met, he had neither special power nor talent, but he was exceptionally cruel and ruthless, both qualities which I admired. We had never married as I did not believe I should be tied to one man, although we had been partners and lovers for many many years most successfully.
His long fingers moved my long hair away from the nape of my neck as he brought his cold lips to my icy skin. I smiled a knowing little smile to myself. Caius was jealous! He was insecure with Desiderius here, he longed for the time when it was exclusively he and I. How powerful it made me feel to have these beautiful vampire men fall at my feet. I was the vampire queen bee and no one could take my place. Sulpicia had been a most worthwhile adversary until Noah had ended her existence. He would not get away with such a crime! Aro and his whore Victoria would not get away with their heinous behaviour against me, against the Volturi!
My rage rose mercurial in my still heart as I clutched the passionate Caius to me. Our lips burned fiery against the others as we fell into a lustful abandoned embrace. I would indulge him; he would make me feel loved and desired for a little while, enough time to chase away the fear of failure. I would not fail. I could not fail.
Control would be mine once more; no one will stand in my way!
Chapter EightLiltih's POV:
I let the cool breeze of the coming day wash over me as I stood on the high mountain top. This place was close to where she dwelled. The destroyer of evil, the saviour of heaven and earth, the last witch to walk this world. Did she sense my presence? I could feel her, every day she became stronger. She blossomed and bloomed like a rare flower in a garden full of weeds. I admired her and I loathed her. I wanted to help her and I wanted to stop her. But, my desires were not my own. I was powered by a higher force. Most humans and even vampires called this entity God. I had looked on the face of the most powerful being in history and I had been sent to this plane of existence to give people something to fear. Yes, despite what some humans believed, “God” was actually a cruel being, but “he” was fair in “his” own way.
I was not ever originally nor completely human. I was created in another realm and sent through the veil to choose someone to spread evil throughout the world. In 475 AD when Athenodora stumbled across me in the dark tunnel underneath the Roman villa I was still unfinished and uncouth. I was a ball of conscious energy with devastating strength and sharp long teeth. Her scent called to me and I knew she was the one I would change first. I dispatched her companion in one fatal move, and then she was mine to claim.
Even though eons had passed I still remembered the sweet peachy soft skin of her smooth neck. Her honey blood like nectar to my parched and lonely being. I drank greedily, and then I forced her to drink from a self-inflicted wound somewhere in the black mass which was me. I did not conceive that I had an actual body then, it was very insubstantial, but Athenodora’s blood gave me shape and definition.
I felt myself become whole and real as I fled the dark tunnel outwards and upwards towards the twilight sky. I looked down on the scene below me and I felt invigoration flood through my whole being. I was free! I let that thought fill me with joy but it was short-lived as I felt the pull of the higher plane tug at me relentlessly. I swirled through the purple bruised sky, my body obeying with no will of its own. I found myself back in the place where I had been created. It is hard to describe to a human as it is like no place on the earthly plane. This is the spiritual plane and it is where consciousness begins, “God’s” house as you people may say.
The vista was like sapphire wispy clouds with extremely tall structures, shaped like trees which you find on Earth, but these were not organic in nature, they were ever shifting ever changing obelisks in the bright blue expanse. On each structure thoughts and ideas were exchanged on the Universe by creatures which far surpassed even the greatest human imagination. In the middle of all these “trees” (I will call them trees because no human mind can comprehend their true appearance and nature!) there was a lush green island which housed a dome. In this habitat was the entity which made and controlled what you all know as the Universe. We call the different planes of existence “The Universal”. Earth is but one existence in a thousand million trillion different places. A human mind could not comprehend this. You live such small lives, with small narrow minds! If only you could see the bigger picture.
I found myself transported to this dome. I cannot even begin to find the human words to describe the entity that you all name “God”. I will leave “Him” to your limited imagination. I was enveloped in love as my creator spoke softly to me. In this realm and others we call the entity Yahweh. You now know the name of the deity you call “God”. Yahweh was all seeing, all knowing, all creating. To be here in Yahweh’s house was to be very privileged indeed. I was one of his most devastating creations and also one of his most prized.
“Lilith, I summoned you here to give you praise for completing the task I bestowed upon you on completion of your creation. You have unleashed evil onto the Earthly plane. This is necessary for humans. I do not wish you to create any more demons. Athenodora will see to that. Now, I have a different path for you to follow, my child. You must blend in; you must become an inhabitant of the earthly plane. You must not reveal your true nature to anyone. I will transform you into a human. Your body will not wither and die like ordinary people; you will find another host once the body you occupy has expired. You will be forever changing and forever someone different. No one will ever suspect you are an envoy of Yahweh! “
The voice did not speak to me conventionally; the words flowed through me and into my mind with ease. I nodded in compliance, my whole being only wishing to make my creator happy.
“Lilith, you will visit other realms when I deem it necessary but you will be tied to the earthly plane until I decide when it’s time to bring you home. You will be told what to do when I need you to do it. My child, my vampire, I love you, now go onto the Earth and be human. Do this for Yahweh! I command you!”
I felt myself being pulled by the magnetic force of the earthly plane, back towards Earth, back towards humanity. I whizzed through the air, my body ethereal but most definitely human form. I marvelled at the beauty of my translucent skin woven with rainbow colours of light as I moved through the realms. Then I was on the heavy mortal plane of existence. I saw the world through new eyes and I felt all of the human emotions rush through me like a thunderbolt as I fell to the dewy grass in wonder. I am Lilith; I am the bringer of bloodlust and the instigator of evil. All things must have an opposite, a ying to the yang, a good to the bad and a light to the dark. Mine was waiting for me, somewhere out here on this plane of existence. I must find my nemesis.
This was my new purpose.
Her warm lips sent delicious shivers against my cool mouth as I kissed her attentively but as always, ever so softly and gently as I tried to rein in my passionate desire for her. She assures me she is strong but look at her! She is a fragile ethereal beauty with her long dark auburn tinged hair and mysterious chocolate brown eyes. I am completely besotted with her. She is my world now. I let my fingers glide slowly under the soft material of her checked shirt. I stroke her warm skin and sigh against her mouth with pleasure. She echoes my moans and sighs and my senses overload on her taste and scent. Oh my.
“Isabella Swan, you drive me crazy!” I whisper against her smooth flushed cheek. How delicious and warm she is, how tempting and beguiling. She laughs hoarsely and her warm breath tickles my ear.
“Ditto, my love,” she purrs seductively.
We are laying in the meadow; the autumnal weather is surprisingly mild for Forks. Bella pulls away from me and sits up hugging her knees and peering at me through her veil of thick hair.
“What’s wrong Bella, love? I wish I could read your mind!” I state wistfully.
She smiles at me, that lovely smile which lights up her eyes.
“I was just wondering what your “sister” Victoria had to say about our first meeting?” she asked shyly.
I laughed, trust Bella to worry and wonder what vampires thought of her!
“She adored you, as did Aro, but she did say that she thought you were no ordinary human,” I stated.
Bella raised her eyebrows at me wonderingly, “Why would she say that?” she asked.
I smiled, “Bella my love, you are far from ordinary! You are the most extra ordinary human I have come across in my long life!”
She whacked my arm playfully with a snort of disdain.
“You only say that because you have to! You are my boyfriend, you have to be nice!” she stated self deprecatorily with a shy smile.
I shook my head in exasperation, “When will you see yourselves as others do? As I do?”
She only smiled again and I couldn’t resist pulling her down towards me so our lips could join together once more in a longing kiss. Ice and fire. Could the two exist together? I only knew I never wanted to be without her, but I did not want to change her into a cold marble being. I loved everything about her humanity, especially hearing her fragile little heart beat so fast when we kissed. It stuttered wildly in her chest and it made me desire her even more. I did not want us to be the same. I loved our immense differences.
Victoria disagreed; she said I should change Bella as soon as possible. She warned me how terrible it was to be without your love. She had endured centuries apart from Aro, but eventually they had overcome all obstacles and could now be together always. Of course I didn’t want to lose Bella ever, but if she stayed human I knew it would happen one day. If she became a vampire would the Volturi hunt us down? If Alice’s visions were correct then the ancient coven were coming for us anyways. Athenodora was livid that Bella knew all about vampires and not only that but she was having a relationship with one! I hadn’t shared this snippet of information with Bella yet. It would keep for now. I had proposed to her, she said she would accept if I changed her. So that was that, we were stuck with no solution to our problem.
I suddenly felt overcome with worry for my beautiful Bella. There was possibly a very real and dangerous threat coming our way very soon. I must speak more with my sisters, Alice and Victoria. We would think of something. Even though I was cold already, despite the mild day, I was suddenly overcome by icy fingers of fear creeping up my spine. I stood up, pulling Bella to her feet in one swift move. Something was wrong. Something was coming. I looked around the meadow searching for the source of my bad feeling. Bella was looking at me quizzically. I instinctively shielded her body with mine.
A striking young woman walked out of nowhere into the clearing and gazed directly at Bella and I with violet shimmering eyes and cropped blacker than black hair. She was petite and unassuming but I just knew she was something more than human. Surprisingly I could not read her thoughts! Just like Bella! Who was this strange intruder? She addressed us in a surprisingly sweet yet powerful voice which was tinged with an unrecognisable accent.
I am Lilith, you are Circe, and we have met many times before in many guises. I will reveal all to you and your vampire now.
My family were gathered around the large table in Esme’s tastefully decorated dining room. Yes, I did find it strange that vampires should need a dining table, but we used it for meetings such as this one today. Everyone was here, except Edward. He was out somewhere with Bella, who seemed to be by his side constantly nowadays. I didn’t blame them, they were in love and I knew more than most how it felt when you craved that one person so much that you could not bear to spend a second apart.
The love of my life, my maker, my husband, my everything was sat by my side now; his cool delicate fingers playing with a curl of my red hair absentmindedly as he listened to Carlisle speak. As always, I found it hard to concentrate when Aro was touching me, even this small unconscious act of his was sending shivers running through my ice cold veins. It had been this way for centuries, ever since his deadly bite had transformed me from a dying human girl into a magnificent vampire. I gave myself an inward shake, I must concentrate, this was important!
Carlisle was addressing us all, his voice serious but calm, “So, according to Alice’s visions, Athenodora will be arriving in Forks very soon. Exactly who she will be travelling with is unclear, but most likely Caius and Marcus will accompany her. Desiderius is far too old and quite frankly far too insane to bother with this trip. Athenodora is actually, as Rose so aptly described, ‘madder than a mad hatter’! But we know although she may be much crazier than her old mate, she is actually very dangerous and single-minded. “
We all nodded sagely in agreement, as Carlisle continued with his speech, “Alice’s visions are not crystal clear but it is becoming apparent that Athenodora wishes to harm Bella. She believes Bella knows too much and humans must never know of our kind’s existence. Ever. “
Once again we all nodded as Carlisle paced the room. I knew he already thought of this strange human girl as one of the Cullen’s. He was overjoyed that Edward had found love and his family meant everything to him, he would not stand by and let Athenodora harm Bella! None of us would if it came down to a fight. I still hadn’t worked out what was so different about her, but it was undeniable that she was much more than ordinary.
Carlisle began to speak about Alice’s other fears, mainly Athenodora’s evil intentions towards our “son” Noah. The evil vampire queen wanted him destroyed because he killed Sulpicia. An act which made me adore him even more! She also wanted to make Aro and I pay for our betrayal. She loathed me and would love nothing more than to rip off my head. She frightened me intensely, I admit it. She was evil through and through, and yes I know none of us Immortals are perfect, we have all committed crimes against humanity as well as our own kind.
Aro moved his fingers from my hair to my leg where he gently stroked my thigh. I knew he was reading my thoughts and wished to calm me. Instead he was distracting me as I imagined his long cool fingers on other parts of my body. Danger and instability made me long for his soothing touch, his fiery kisses and the intensity of our passionate encounters. He could ease my fears if we were alone together, how I wished this meeting were over! A small knowing smile played over my husband’s lips as he caught my less than innocent thoughts.
“Soon my love,” he whispered softly in my ear, his cool breath making my skin tingle with longing.
I smiled contentedly, eager to be in his strong embrace. Carlisle was asking us all to be extra vigilant and to be on guard at all times. He asked us all to take turns to look out for Bella and he asked us to make sure we hunted frequently so we were strong and ready for anything. He also asked us to be patient with Edward, who was having a hard time adjusting to this looming threat hanging over our coven. I would do anything to protect my beloved brother. Athenodora had caused me and Aro countless agonies; I would now happily tear her to shreds if it came down to it.
Thankfully the family meeting was now over. Alice still looked troubled and as we left she told us to beware of a stranger in our midst: that was all she could offer just now. Jasper hugged her and whispered soothing words in her ear, but she looked paler than ever and quite beside herself with worry. Poor Alice, I would hate to have her special power. My own talent for evasion was much more practical. I couldn’t wait to be alone with my dearest husband. We flew through the trees at high speed, our bodies a blur in the night.
The full moon shone down on Aro and I as we gave ourselves fully to each other over and over again. I clung to him as we reached the heights of passion together. I was determined that nothing and no one would come between us ever again. I had let my fears take hold for a while on our return to Forks, now I was feeling stronger and more able to face another fight head on. We had Noah to think of now too. He did not ask for this life, he was only a child; he did not deserve punishment or revenge meted out to him. Really it was Aro that Athenodora despised the most for he was the one who had betrayed her. The rest of us were pawns in her game. How would this particular one play out? Would we win or lose? I felt the icy fingers of fear dance up my spine once more, so I clung to my lover even more fiercely as he melted away my worries with his loving kiss and touch.
We were as one now, no one, not even the most evil vampire on this Earth could tear us apart.
I had made my way down the mountain, letting the weak October sun gradually warm my cold skin as I followed the feeling which led me to the meadow. I knew Circe was here, I knew she was with a vampire and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the body she dwelled in currently was extra ordinary indeed. For centuries I had met my nemesis in various different human bodies. She was the light to my dark. We had both been created for a purpose. I was the harbinger of destruction; she was the antithesis of all that was evil. For thousands of centuries we had met in our human disguise to fight against human destruction and complete evil. Until now, Circe had been vilified and hunted down because she was the most powerful witch ever known.
My purpose had been to follow her on the earthly plane and protect her from those who would harm her. Unfortunately I had never managed to carry out my task, for centuries I tried to keep her from harm, but our enemies always thwarted me. In this human guise I was not as powerful and strong as I had been when I was first created. Such was the way of my creator Yahweh; he did not make it easy for you, especially if you were one of his envoys.
So, here we were face to face in this meadow once again. The witch and the changeling. I was aware of every single body I had passed through since the beginning of my creation. Circe was different, she did not remember each incarnation, and I had to go through this first meeting every time her soul occupied a new host. It was not tiresome though, as you might imagine; it was rather satisfying to be honest. To see the host’s face as I explained what dwelled within them was priceless. Circe and her host shared thoughts and feelings. I on the other hand completely took over a body, erasing memories and emotions as I went. It was my nature; to destroy and possess.
This version of Circe however seemed much more different than before. I did not sense much of her but I sensed a lot of the host human. I was overwhelmed by the host’s presence, her face and those haunting eyes. The vampire stood protectively in front of her was handsome, beautiful even with his bronzed hair and piercing deep topaz eyes. Yes, vampires were fascinating to me. I had begun my existence as one, although it had been centuries ago, still they beguiled me. I was a body snatcher, a soul invader, as inhuman as a human could be. I looked mortal but inside I possessed strange talents and weird powers. Circe in her human guise peeked around the vampire with wide curious eyes. No, this incarnation was completely different to her other ones!
I remained calm and serene as I addressed the obvious besotted couple, “I am Lilith, you are Circe, and we have met many times before in many guises. I will reveal all to you and your vampire now.”
His topaz eyes narrowed suspiciously and her brown eyes widened excitedly. Yes, she was extra ordinary indeed! How would I begin the conversation this time, how would I proceed? Especially with a vampire present. Ah, I loved the challenge! I smiled with what I hoped was sincerity and openness. I had been blessed with an unassuming host this life-time. Of that, I was grateful. In a way I was like a vampire, Yahweh never let me stay in a body until it became old. All of my hosts were young. They either died young or I was transported into their bodies whilst the other soul was shipped elsewhere. It was complicated to explain, especially to ordinary humans.
The vampire spoke to me, his voice quiet but confident.
“I am Edward Cullen and this is Bella Swan. To be perfectly honest we have no idea who you are or what you are talking about,” he announced with a crooked smile.
“Hello Edward, hello Bella. I will try to explain, but it is hard for me,” I said truthfully.
The striking couple stared at me curiously but didn’t reply.
“Bella, you are Circe the original white witch, created by Yahweh, who you perhaps call God, to counter evil and darkness. I am Lilith, created to cause havoc and chaos by creating a vampire, whose bloodline runs through all Immortals. Yahweh in his infinite wisdom has decided that this particular decision of his was wrong and humanity has suffered enough evil now. It was necessary but now the earthly realm of the Universal must be cleansed. You and I together as opposites can conquer the vampires. We must destroy her. The original vampire, created by me, Athenodora: Queen of the Volturi and all Immortals. Will you help me Circe? We have failed in the past to carry out Yahweh’s orders, mainly because as a white witch you have been vilified and chased from each place you called home. You have been tortured and burned by mortals who didn’t understand you. Now is your time to shine, sister,” I stated with a small smile and a confident nod to the pair.
“Dear girl you are completely insane! Please, let us call someone for you? You cannot wander around making absurd exclamations to complete strangers!” Edward spluttered with disbelief.
I could sense that he was infuriated because not only did I know about vampires but he couldn’t read my mind and I knew that was his special talent. How did I know? Oh please! I may inhabit human forms but I am a much elevated being than my form belies. Bella/Circe stood at his side silently, her eyes never leaving mine. She nodded and smiled knowingly. Finally she spoke.
“I believe you, Lilith,” she stated quietly with a defiant smile.
The vampire and I both stared at her incredulously, for different reasons, but our expressions were the same.
“What?” she demanded as we stood dumbstruck.
“Bella! No! She could be a Volturi member, sent by Athenodora to cause trouble for us!” Edward exclaimed as he pulled her closer to him, his arm protective around her slim shoulders.
Bella smiled serenely, “No Edward, she is on our side. I know her! Please don’t ask me to explain, but I know what she says is the truth! I have always known I wasn’t like everyone else.”
She shrugged and smiled at me with a knowing grin. Edward looked at as both with disbelief. I held out my hands and beckoned the couple to come to me. Bella/Circe walked towards me, pulling Edward’s hand as he stared at me with suspicion.
“Bella!” he exclaimed, but it was to no avail, she was slighter than he and she was in human form, but still she was the strong one! He followed her and they both took my hands with a gasp as electric currents passed between our hands and little blue sparks jumped into the twilight sky. I smiled as I led them out of the meadow and into the darkening trees.
“Come, I will tell you more, but you must trust me, I swear I will not hurt you.”
My dearest darling wife was out hunting with the Cullen ladies, so I took the opportunity to spend some time with our son, Noah. He was a delightfully intelligent and inquisitive boy, despite his terrible past. Victoria and I adored him! Today, I had taken him into Carlisle’s library because he loved reading and books passionately. He silently studied the books with a serious air about him as I studied him. He looked up at me suddenly, his red eyes sombre and sad.
“Father, please will you take my hand? I need you to see all I have seen in the past few days. I am tortured by the images!” he exclaimed with sorrow.
I jumped up instantly to his side, “Of course, son. I did not want to be presumptive. I am glad you have finally invited me to see your visions.”
I grasped his cold small hand in mine and let the pictures in his mind wash over me.
Oh such pictures!
I saw Victoria and I through his eyes, our loving gaze and our tender touch. Then I saw Athenodora making her way across the sea to Forks, determination and mad hate in her red eyes. I saw a small unassuming dark haired girl, but there was something familiar in her eyes. I saw chaos and death and jumbled wild images which terrified me. In all of this craziness I could hear a sound reverberating; piercing the vision with its insistent pounding.
I let go of Noah’s hand gladly with a shocked utterance of surprise, “Oh son! How do you suffer being plagued so? Does Alice “see” the very same as you? Athenodora means to destroy us all of that I am sure!”
Noah grimaced as he nodded his head, “Alice sees it, but not in as much depth as I do Father,” he softly spoke, his red eyes deeply sorrowful.
I tried to give him a reassuring smile, but he was lost in thought once more. The books lay open in front of him, discarded now for the images in his mind. I wished I could take away these pictures of doom! I longed for Victoria’s pale slender arms to envelop me and chase away the darkness. My ‘little flame’ could bring light and love to my old bones when I was feeling this way. I needed her. I hoped the hunting ladies would return to the house soon. I tried to take my mind of things by reading one of my favourite books, “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. I loved the tale of Phillip Pirrip commonly known as Pip the orphan and his encounters. I soon got caught up in the tale once again as I kept one eye on the book and one on my little orphan. He had stopped staring into space and was now poring over an Encyclopaedia.
I caught Victoria’s scent on the breeze from the open window. I smiled happily to myself as her arms encircled me from behind and her cool lips brushed my neck enticingly. She waved at Noah as she took hold of my hand and led me out into the garden. We embraced, and we kissed softly at first, then with rising passion. She broke away with a frustrated sigh, her hands running through her wild red hair worriedly. A trait I had come to know well over the centuries.
“Oh Aro! Alice has “seen” such awful things, my love. I do not know where to begin, but I must tell you!” she wailed.
“I have seen these events for myself Victoria. Noah showed them to me in the library whilst you were gone. Most disturbing indeed!” I said with a sombre tone.
Victoria’s hair stood out like a red halo as she worried with her luxurious curls some more.
“Who is this dark haired stranger Aro? She seemed to terrify Alice to her very core! What did you make of her?” she questioned me, her sharp white teeth biting nervously on her bottom lip.
Little pinpricks of venom blood appeared on her mouth tantalizing my eyes as she unconsciously excited me. I wanted to forget our imminent problems and take her in my arms again for a passionate kiss. There was no way my darling wife was going to drop this subject any time soon. I shrugged nonchalantly, not wanting to worry or frighten her even further.
“She gave me a sense of deja vu my sweet and perhaps something else I couldn’t put my finger on,” I said with what I hoped was a reassuring smile.
Her topaz eyes gazed into mine searching for the truth in my words, she frowned slightly as I continued to smile. How I hated to lie to her! On the other hand how could I tell her that Noah’s visions had shaken me to my vampire soul. Now I knew for certain that even Immortals lived on after their existence ended. How did I know this? I knew this because I saw my dear departed ex-wife staring out from that dark haired girl’s striking violet eyes. This unassuming body of a young girl was host to two old souls, one was Sulpicia and one was an unknown entity, but I knew it was ancient and destructive and utterly without a conscience! Just how do I tell Victoria her old enemy was back and she was perhaps only a mile or two away from here right now?
No, I do not know how I am going to impart that piece of devastating news either!
Lilith led Edward and I from the meadow silently and purposefully. I was in awe of her, she was a complete enigma. It was completely incredulous what she had told us, but strangely it made sense to me. Why shouldn’t it? Were vampires not unbelievable to most of the human race? To me, one of them was my earth sun and moon. Lilith let go of our hands and turned to us both with a small smile playing over her lips. “We are here,” she announced.
Here appeared to be a small hidden away cabin deep in the woods. Lilith opened the creaky door to this secret place and the three of us entered silently. She indicated we sit at the square wooden table in the middle of the dusky room. There was not much natural light coming through the dirty windows of the cabin. Edward’s face was stern as we sat around the table. I knew he was absolutely out of his comfort zone with this new situation we found ourselves in.
Lilith’s violet eyes shone like twinkling stars in the gloom of the cabin. She began to speak again and her voice was magically alluring, “Circe, in simple terms you and I have a very important task to do. We must kill Athenodora and make sure she may never return. Vampires have souls and they do not die when their physical bodies do. The ethereal body lives on. Usually they move onto a higher realm, but in some cases these vampire souls linger especially if they have unfinished business on the earthly plane. It is the same for human souls.”
Edward raised an eyebrow at me and gave one of my favourite crooked smiles. I reached over to squeeze his cold hand, “I told you! Vampires do have souls!” I crowed triumphantly. Lilith nodded succinctly, her eyes bright against the pale skin of her face. I shivered slightly in the cool air, something was about to happen, I could feel the electricity in the air again.
“Edward, someone you knew of has returned to this plane. Aro’s wife Sulpicia, she still lingers on this realm. She seeks revenge against those who have wronged her. In her eyes the main culprits are Victoria and Noah. Victoria stole her husband from her, Noah ended her vampire existence. They must be punished before she can let go and move on. I do not decide if actions are right or wrong, I merely state the facts. Sulpicia means to extract her revenge by any means possible,” Lilith stated honestly.
Edward and I looked at each other in horror, I had never known this ancient evil vampire but Edward had told me all about her. “How do you suppose she means to return Lilith? I saw her perish and burn with my own eyes!” my love exclaimed.
Lilith smiled her small smile, “I already know she has returned. I know this because I felt her soul enter this body at the exact moment I addressed you both in the meadow,” she shrugged nonchalantly.
Edward and I looked at each other in horror again. “No! This cannot be!” my darling said with disbelief.
Lilith merely nodded. I tried to take it all in. I felt strange inside, like a prophecy was unfolding in front of my eyes. What did it all mean?
“Sulpicia’s soul dwells with me inside this host. Believe it my friends. She is not as strong as I though. She cannot overcome me and take control,” Lilith stated confidently.
“You know this for sure? I don’t understand, what part do I play in all of this?” I questioned her as Edward stroked my hand.
Lilith smiled her small smile, “I do not know anything for sure, Bella. I can only say what I feel right now in this moment in time. You are Circe; you are the light to my dark. You will know what to do,” she said.
How confusing she was! She spoke in riddles! I would do anything to protect the ones I loved. If she meant that then yes I was ready and willing to take on this challenge. Edward’s deep topaz eyes were full of concern for me. He did not want me to be in any danger. I could see he was very upset by the events which had unfolded here. He grasped my hand worriedly, his perfect face full of concern.
“I do not wish Bella to be placed in a situation that she cannot handle. I hate to believe your story of Sulpicia is true! She brought nothing but pain to my dearest sister Victoria! I wish to be left alone with Bella for a while please,” Edward stated with a determined glare in Lilith’s direction.
Lilith stood up, “Of course. I realise it is a lot to process. Believe me though Edward, she is here. She wants revenge and I am the perfect instrument. I am the bringer of chaos, madness and death. She has made a wise choice joining me in this body! I do not have emotions and feelings as you do. I was not created for such things, but I do not wish Circe to come to any harm. I need her help. We must destroy Athenodora! We must! Sulpicia knows this to be true, she will try to fight this truth but she is weak, for now at least,” she announced as she turned and left us alone in the cabin.
Edward immediately swept me into his arms, his cold cheek pressed against my hair. “Oh Bella! I cannot let any harm come to you, my only love!” he wailed. “I despise this! All I want is to be left alone in peace to build a life with you! Whether that is with you as a human or a vampire, I do not care, I just want you safe!” he added passionately.
I brought my warm lips to his cold ones in a sweet kiss. “I love you Edward Cullen. Change me, so I can become stronger! I can help defeat our enemies if I am a vampire, especially a new-born!” I exclaimed, my eyes bright with excitement.
He shook his head defiantly, “I will not! I cannot! Oh Bella, I do not want you to become cold and hard. I think we should leave here! I can take you far away; we can stay with the Denali coven. Let this entire thing blow over! Say you will come with me Bella. Forget Lilith and this nonsense!” he pleaded.
I gazed into his loving eyes, which were full of concern and adoration for me. I sighed. Lilith’s words had struck a chord in me. I believed her. Circe was in me, somewhere, somehow. I couldn’t ignore the pull of my destiny. Meeting Edward was the best thing that had happened to Bella Swan. Circe did not care about such mundane concerns. I crossed my arms and chewed my bottom lip nervously.
“Sorry Edward, I can’t come with you. I must stay here by Lilith’s side. We must destroy evil for once and all!”
This place called Forks, where Bella Swan dwelled was conveniently located close to the Cascade mountain range. The highest of the peaks was called Mount Rainier. Mt. Rainier is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, and it is on the Decade Volcano list. Because of its large amount of glacial ice, Mt. Rainier could potentially produce massive lahars that would threaten the whole Puyallup River valley. Mount Rainier was first known by the Native Americans as Talol, or Tacoma or Tahoma, from the Lushootseed word [təqʷúʔbəʔ] ("mother of waters") spoken by the Puyallup.
This imposing mountain was covered in perpetual snowfields and permanent glaciers. Really it was the most ideal hiding place I could have dreamt of. I had come here to this icy high wasteland alone. I decided Caius should remain in Volterra with Marcus and Desiderius. This was a task I could easily perform on my own, and indeed I would carry it out with relish. I would dispatch of this nuisance of a human girl and the Immortal Child as quickly and quietly as possible, then return to the Volturi ready for the next phase of my plan. I would find the one who made me!
This landscape provided cold tunnels of ice and snow in which I could easily hide; I would stay here for a few days in a state of meditation whilst I carefully planned my next move. I must deal with these two minor problems effectively. I did not need to feed whilst I was in this state. I had stocked up on auras and blood whilst I travelled the long journey across the continents to reach the Olympic Peninsula. Revenge and loathing kept my mind sharp and my body keen and dangerous. Soon I would enjoy killing Bella Swan and Noah immensely.
I rubbed my pale thin bony ancient hands together with glee and anticipation as I settled into my temporary home of ice and pure white snow.
Once again we were gathered all together in the clearing where Sulpicia had been murdered by Noah. I had avoided this place like the plague I once lived alongside way back in the Dark Ages. This place resonated with evil and death. I felt a small stab of sadness, regret and guilt when I thought of James. Aro’s evil ex-wife had killed him in front of our eyes that day. Thankfully our beautiful boy Noah had risen up from his apathy and drove a makeshift stake through his creator’s black heart before we burnt her body and threw the ashes to the wind.
Now I stood here rooted to the spot with absolute horror as Alice Cullen and our son explained to everyone how Sulpicia did not really die that day. Vampires have souls too and will move onto a higher plane of existence unless something holds them to this plane, like utmost hate and revenge. Would I ever be free of this evil murderess? It seemed not, as she had propelled her loathsome soul into an unassuming host.
Alice began to shake with fright as she explained it all to us. Noah looked fearful too, his red eyes deep pools of mystery. “This host which Sulpicia dwells in is no ordinary human!” Alice warned us.
Noah nodded and confirmed her words, “Alice is correct, this host is an ancient and most possibly extremely evil entity which was never human, we have assumed,” he said sagely.
Aro squeezed my hand, “I saw this in Noah’s mind when he shared the visions with me, my sweet,” he whispered in my ear.
I growled low in my throat, “You knew how distraught I was about all this husband dearest! Why did you keep this from me?” I hissed with anger.
Aro smiled wanly at me, but his beautiful amber eyes glowed with truth and light, “Simply because you are my complete everything and I love you, little flame,” he whispered against my hair.
I melted inside instantly as his words drove straight into my still silent heart. I smiled as we locked intense gazes. He could always make me feel better despite the dark clouds of doom looming above us. I dragged my eyes from his to concentrate on what Alice and Noah were saying although I hated to hear even the mention of her name. Now they were speaking of Athenodora and her close proximity to the Olympic coven. Alice saw her in the Cascades, hiding in snow and ice, just waiting to pounce. We were under threat from every side it seemed. I squeezed Aro’s hand this time as little sparks of fear ignited deep in my stomach.
Suddenly Edward flew into the clearing, his eyes wild with worry. I felt the little sparks grow inside me and the fear threatened to turn into a fiery inferno. My brother spluttered out words spiced heavily with his own deep fear, “Bella has gone with the violet eyed stranger by the name of Lilith. They are seeking Athenodora in the Cascades, they mean to kill her. Please guys, help me! Bella is no killer! Lilith insists she is Circe, some sort of white witch or whatever! I am so afraid for Bella, but I could not talk her out of it!” he wailed forlornly.
Alice and Noah exchanged worried looks, as they shared some secret vision.
“What is it Alice? Noah?” I asked impatiently.
Edward read their minds quickly, “They have seen that there is no other way, we must gather forces and help Bella and Lilith in their quest. We must hurry though!” he added.
Noah and Alice held hands as Carlisle took over as he, Jasper and Emmett began to plan our attack whilst the fragile Esme put an arm around Rosalie. Aro held me to him, his loving lips in my hair, as his long fingers rubbed my back soothingly. Only Edward stood alone and lost in the middle of the clearing. He caught my gaze and shook his head worriedly. He sighed and tugged his fingers through his bronzed hair as he spoke to me with careful restraint, trying to hide his feelings of fear for the love of his life.
“Oh Victoria! Lilith may claim to be on Bella’s side, but she has Sulpicia’s black pit of a soul deep within her! How will this all end? I cannot and I will not lose Bella Swan!”
The icy wind bit into my cold, bone white skin with unrelenting determination. The snow fell thick and fast before my scarlet eyes, which although usually most powerful, they now fiercely struggled against this tide of white. I stilled my mind and I concentrated my thoughts on the focus of my expedition. I must not let my emotions cloud my sensibilities! I will not be beaten, I must not be beaten, and I will not be beaten by her!
She belongs in the dark, in the wastelands of nothingness. She is your deep dark fears come to life. She is the bringer of death and poison. She can love you, but only on her terms. She can destroy you with one look, one touch. She must be stopped!
I am the only one who can do it. The vampire queen who cheated the true death! I came back, even though I now dwell in this strange body. This unassuming girlish shell which houses the swirling mass of black darkness known as Lilith. Yes, I knew who and what she was. I knew it the moment my wandering soul found itself drawn to this body. This was the entity which all vampires came from. This was Athenodora’s worst nightmare, but also her ultimate dream. She craved and desired the power Lilith had. She wanted to harness the power Lilith owned. She truly believed she could control her! What an egomaniacal fanatic she was! I laughed as I imagined driving my body onwards through the snow.
Of course it wasn’t my body and I didn’t have much control. Not yet. Beside Lilith’s host ran this strange human girl who was really just a receptacle too, as her body contained an old spirit of a white witch called Circe. She was wrapped up warm against the cold, unlike Lilith who sprinted through the icy snow covered mountainside in just a thin luminous pearl satin dress. Like a snow angel, her shimmering violet eyes shone and glimmered in the bright icy whiteness. The duo was searching for Athenodora who had hidden her mad self somewhere in this icy wasteland of Mt. Rainier. The crazy old witch had travelled from Volterra to destroy Bella Swan and my precious son, Noah. My Immortal angel, my boy, my killer.
I could never feel anything but pure love for him though. He was the only thing I had truly loved. Aro was a possession, a means of obtaining power and riches. I had never loved anyone the way he and his new wife loved each other. I wasn’t jealous though, no, I wanted something better than their fawning adoration for each other. I wanted to be omnipotent, bursting with power and authority but not in an insane way like my old mistress, Athenodora.
I felt the body Lilith and I dwelled in buzz with excited electricity. We ran faster and faster through the snow, Bella Swan right behind us, her brown eyes shining with determination. The spirit within her was strong, but benign. I got a shock when Lilith suddenly spoke to me from within this host. “I know your intentions Sulpicia and I will not allow it!” the voice announced with quiet strength. I protested that it could not know my innermost thoughts.
Lilith laughed, “You do not know me, child, so do not presume anything. I see you want to take over the highest position in the vampire world. You desire and covet this completely. You plan to enter Athenodora and use her body to your own advantage. I want to destroy Athenodora for she is the seed which planted the tree of evil in this world. It is time for this cancer to be removed. I will destroy her Sulpicia; do not think for one second that you can stop me!”
I fumed to myself inside this host I shared with the demon bitch Lilith. I needed her strength to take me to my old mistress but I planned to ditch this body and her as soon as we found Athenodora. I could flee this place, taking Noah with me, (I could not leave him with those people!) and go back to Volterra where no one would suspect a thing. I was confident that using Athenodora’s power would mean an easy escape for me. I would be back where I should be, leading the Volturi forward into the 21st century, with my precious boy by my side. My forgiveness and adoration would shine through and he would be mine once more. Power would be mine again! Athenodora had had her chance! I felt Lilith’s pure white fury sear through me.
“You will not escape from Circe and me! As soon as you flee this body I will snap you like a twig! I could destroy you now if I wished, but you are a minor annoyance, nothing important enough to stop our mission for!
I thought I detected a hint of vulnerability, a chink in the confident aura of Lilith as she spoke to me. I was not afraid. I had faced death and survived! Lilith came to a sudden halt as Circe grabbed her arm forcefully. “Athenodora is close!” she announced through the whirling icy snow and howling cold wind. I smiled inside whilst Lilith growled at me. I grinned even more, she was losing her grip, and I was becoming stronger and stronger!
Then Athenodora appeared in front of us, her scarlet eyes piercing us maliciously through the snowstorm. “Isabella Swan, at last we meet. But pray tell who your companion is? “She asked with a nod at mine and Lilith’s host. Bella/Circe had become rooted to the spot with a horrified look on her face. I felt Lilith grow taller in body and spirit as the host’s strange violet eyes stared straight into those red depths of insanity.
Three things happened at once: Firstly, Lilith spoke quietly to Athenodora with sharp coldness, “I am the one who made you and I am the one who will destroy you.” Secondly, Edward Cullen appeared as if from nowhere, grabbed Bella and flew off into the vast whiteness with her clutched to his chest. Thirdly, I imagined myself jumping out of this body and into Athenodora swiftly with grace and agility.
Then I was there.
I was his favourite sister but Edward would certainly not listen to me! I begged him to wait and I pleaded with him not to run headlong into the danger ahead of us. He took off into the snow and ice like a whirlwind, his mind concentrating only on Bella's safety. Aro gently held my arm as he shook his head when I made to go after my dearest brother. "Stay beside me, my love", he spoke softly to me.
My husband was afraid! If Aro was scared, what chance did the rest of us have? Oh this was foolish to chase Athenodora and the host which contained two evil souls; Lilith and Sulpicia into this vast icy territory. My still silent heart felt real terror at the thought of confronting our ancient enemies. I loved my dear family so much and I adored my husband with unrivalled passion. I had grown to love being a Mother to Noah. I wanted our idyllic life to continue as it was. Why was there always something waiting, watching in the shadows to destroy our happiness?
Noah was holding my hand as we swiftly made our way up the mountain together, leading the rest of the Cullen's to battle. He stiffened beside me, his face a picture of shocked bewilderment. I also heard Alice gasp behind us, so I guessed they were "seeing" something that was perhaps about to occur. I squeezed my son's small cold hand, "Don't worry my darling, this will soon be over", I said with as much bravado as I could muster. There was no point trying to fool Noah, he and I were in direct contact, he could sense and feel every emotion I was having. Just like Aro on my other side, who had taken my pale hand in his. We were a family; united, unbreakable and unbeatable. At least that's what I told my scattered mind.
We arrived upon the scene between Lilith and Athenodora, just as Edward flew off into the white snowy landscape with Bella clutched protectively to his chest. Thank goodness she was safe! This was no place for a human girl despite what Edward had told us about her being possessed by a witch called Circe. No one would blame Edward for leaving the scene, he had to protect the one he loved. Athenodora looked crazier than ever, her red eyes boring hatefully into mine, a sneer on her ancient face.
"So we meet again Little Flame! Ah how I have waited for this moment. And what have we here? Aro and Noah! The family you stole from me, you evil whore!" she shrieked manically at me, her words lanced with poisonous venom. That was when I realised; Sulpicia's dark soul did not reside in the small crop haired violet eyed girl who stood confidently in front of us. No, the evil witch's soul now lay within Athenodora, and it appeared that she had taken over her host completely! I felt a thunderbolt of fear hit me and I had to resist my natural urge to flee. Aro held onto me tightly, whilst Noah stared hatefully at both the figures before us.
Lilith suddenly spoke, her voice surprisingly quiet and soft, "Sulpicia, you cannot stop me. You have made my task easier. I can now rid the world of both you and Athenodora in one fell swoop!" she announced with a small smile. The two ancient entities flew at each other, snarling and swirling together in a violent clash. I held an arm protectively and instinctively in front of Noah as we watched the pair fight.
My sharp vision picked up movement to my right so I tore my eyes away from the bloody battle. I didn't expect to see Edward and Bella return to the scene! Edward looked annoyed, I guessed Bella had forced him to bring her back. "Stop!" shrieked Bella in a commanding voice. I had known she wasn't a mere mortal the first time I had set eyes on her. Now, she was proving it to be so. The two figures appeared to obey her command as the fight ended and they both crashed to the ground. Athenodora's head had been severed and there was pain and shock shining through her scarlet eyes.
Lilith, the conqueror, the dark one showed no remorse nor emotion as she clapped her hands together creating a blue flame which shone brightly against the white snow. She flung the flame down onto Athenodora's ruined body which instantly caught fire. I thought I heard a scream ripple through the canyon. Sulpicia. Could it be? Had the evil witch gone for good? I prayed it was true! Lilith turned her luminous eyes towards Bella, her smile benign and serene. "Circe, you know what you must do".
Bella nodded and smiled back, as if they shared a secret together.
Aro held Noah and I tightly, his relief that his family were safe evident in his beautiful marble face. The Cullen’s were also rejoicing behind us. Edward suddenly stiffened in shock beside Bella and I heard Alice gasp again. What was going on now? My question was swiftly answered as Bella Swan drove a sharp wooden stake straight through Lilith's chest. The maker of vampires, the bringer of death and chaos looked nothing more than a fragile girl as she fell to the snowy ground. Red thick blood flowed from her like a river. Surely only the host would die? Why would Bella kill her? I was confused, as the rest of my family were judging by the shocked looks and complete silence.
"As you requested my dearest Lilith, a stake fashioned from white oak, the only weapon which could destroy you. I take no pleasure from your death, you were the dark to my light, the night to my day. We needed each other. But that time is at an end; for the beginning of evil, the seed of human destruction has been destroyed. You know this, you desired this, and you knew it was finally time for you to be at peace. Yahweh wants you to return home, fly away little bird, fly away!" Circe spoke eloquently through Bella as she flung her arms towards the ice blue sky. Snowflakes fell onto her upturned beatific face, she was elevated from extra ordinary to supreme in that moment.
We all stared at her in complete wonderment. We marveled as she sent the pure spirit flying upwards through the snow; the rainbow colours bright and true as Lilith slowly disappeared from view. The unassuming body which she had taken over now lay lifeless upon the ground. I wondered who she had really been. Aro and I smiled wide beaming smiles at each other; how I loved him! Edward scooped a now bewildered looking Bella up into his arms. The Cullen’s embraced each other tightly. We swiftly made our way off the Cascades and back down into familiar territory. Home had never looked so good! We were safe!
Or so we thought.......
The darkness fell quickly over my eyes and I fell into a black pit of utter emptiness, spiraling, spinning into complete nothingness.
All the vampires fell to the ground around me as I stood in the Cullen's lush garden. They dropped like stones, their strong bodies becoming weak and fragile, and their alluring amber eyes closing against the twilight sky. Well, red eyes in Noah's case. I howled in anguish as Edward's hand slipped from mine and he fell onto the green soft carpet of grass. What was happening? We had escaped the mountains, secure in our victory, now this? I tore at my hair as I looked around in panic at the fallen vampires around me.
A voice seemed to talk to me from deep within my brain. "Do not be afraid. Go to Edward, touch his skin, stroke his hair", it whispered insistently. I dropped down onto my knees beside my true love. I brought my hands to his bronzed hair and stroked his head gently. I let my fingers glide over the smooth skin of his perfectly sculptured cheek. To my astonishment his pale skin was slightly warm. His face appeared not white but peachy and alive. With pure instinct driving me (Or was it Circe again?) I reached out my index and forefinger to feel his neck. There was a definite faint throbbing there, a bluish vein pulsing against my skin. A pulse..........
How could this be? I gazed around at the others in disbelief. Some of the Cullen's were beginning to stir from their forced slumber. I gasped at the rose blush of their skin, the slowness of their limbs, and the fragility of their being. My attention came back to Edward, he had opened his eyes and was staring directly into mine. Eyes which had once been a beautiful amber were now emerald green against the pinkness of his skin. He inhaled air into his lungs and I swear I heard his heart beating through the black leather jacket he wore so well.
I felt tears pour from me relentlessly, like a river they flowed as I gazed at the perfect smile of my one true love. My Edward, my vampire was no more. My love for him was stronger than ever as I gazed into his smiling face with pure love. "Hey Bella,” he whispered.
Against all odds, without rhyme nor reason, my Edward was human once more.
Isabella Swan gazes lovingly at Edward Cullen as they take their vows of marriage. Now they were the same, now "til death do us part" had meaning and depth. They would grow old together, they would leave this human realm one day and be reunited in the heavenly plane. Now they were the same species. Edward couldn't have wished for more, he never ever wanted his beloved Bella to become Immortal like he was.
Amazingly the death of Lilith, the ultimate Mother of the undead had caused the end of vampires. They didn't succumb to the true death though, instead they became flesh and bone once more, and they became human. It was unbelievable but so very true. Bella and Edward had a long happy mortal life ahead of them which would include offspring and the complete joy of togetherness. It would end in death, as all humans faced, but they would meet again. Of this they were sure, they would see each other again on the other side. Love would never die.
Victoria and Aro with their son Noah stand together in the church, happy smiles on their faces. Aro bends to kiss Victoria sweetly on her ruby lips. They had lived and loved for centuries together, now they finally got to live out the rest of their existence as human. Noah would grow and thrive as he was meant to do. They would grow old together and their bodies would perish as it was meant to be. Then they would meet again as pure souls. It was their happy ending.
The Cullen's are all ecstatic that their youngest has found true love in his beautiful new bride. They have their own special mates to help them through the transition. So strange to once be hard and immortal, now they were fragile and human. But how much had they gained? Time would tell. They had a lifetime to adjust to this wonderful precious new world. Love embraced this small church and bathed it in a golden glow as the family celebrated the marriage.
Out into the morning sunshine, rainbows glittering in the puddles of rain last night's storm left behind. No diamond sparkling cold white skin now but rosy glows and warm smiling embraces. No one questioned it too closely. Lilith was right, Yahweh decided these things and sometimes it was best to just accept the changes with open arms. Embrace the future which lay in front of them.
Life was an inferno burning brightly in us all, raging through us with an eternal flame. Even when our bodies wither and die, our souls remain and live on. Little flame's burn the longest and brightest of all.
Across the continents far away from the American changelings, the scene was very much different in Italy. The Volturi fought each other as they struggled to come to terms with their new found humanity. Someone, perhaps it was the mad old ex priest whom Athenodora once adored, that took a match and struck it with evil intent to destroy himself and the whole coven with fire. The raging inferno had burned for days and when it was finally done, no trace could be found of the ones who once dwelled below the ancient city of Volterra.There was peace, finally.