Running my fingers over their spines, I felt as if I were back in the bookshop where I had first encountered MC. There were rare and antique book on various subjects that I couldn’t name them all but there were books on science, mythology, history, languages and others.
“Can I ask you something?” I returned to my seat.
“Depends.” he replied, “I’m sure you have many questions.”
“Why am I here because we both know it’s not to look at your book collection, or for me to answer grueling questions.”
“Very attentive.” he nodded vaguely.
“See…right there! Why do you do that!? You’re vague and never give clear answers.”
“Alright. I do think it’s time for the nonsense between us to end.” he leaned forward beginning to explain, “For starters, my name isn’t MC as you think it is. They’re just my initials. Well, technically…my initials are M.A.C but you can see why I go by MC. I won’t have people calling me MAC.”
“I kind of figured that out already.” I replied humorously with a hint of sarcasm.
“My full name, is Marxus Alejandro Castillion. I’ve been around for quite a long time. As I may have mentioned a bit ago, I’ve been collecting books and artifacts from all around the world and have been doing this…for centuries. I’m an Immortal, but not of the paranormal and supernatural variety.” he rested his elbows on his knees.
“That’s the second time you’ve said that so what other variety could there be!?” I objected, “And nice name, by the way. Rolls off the tongue. Marxus Alejandro Castillion.”
“Thank you, but tell me. How old do you think I am?” he asked, leaning back.
“Um…I don’t know. Early-to-late fifties maybe?” I answered reaching for my tea.
“Flattering but no. I’m five hundred twenty-five years old.” he revealed proudly.
I almost spat out my tea as I rested the plate back on the table. Swallowing the tea almost coughing, I rasped my words attempting to clear my throat,
“I’m sorry. Did you just say…five hundred twenty-five years!? Wow, you don’t look it! So, what are you then? A vampire? Because that’s the only Immortal species I know that live that long. Okay…this is starting to freak me out. Why did Bobby bring us here?”
“Please, relax. You’re not at Dracula’s castle and I’m not Dracula.”
“Yeah, that’s not…comforting at all, Marxus.” I leaned back, scratching my chin.
“You were brought here because it’s the safest place for your family. Neither I nor anyone plan on doing you or your mother any harm. That’s a promise. I created this place because I wanted it to feel like a sanctuary; a safe place for those needing it and I don’t like using the word sanctuary per say, but for now, we’ll go with that word. Now, if that answered your question…I have something for you that you’ll require. It will also validate and confirm something for me as well.” then he stood, casually walking toward his desk, retrieving a medium squared wooden box. Returning to his seat he continued as he laid the box on the table before me, “This now belongs to you.”
Reaching out I gently picked it up, looking it over in my hands. There were no carvings, symbols or jewels set upon it. Just its ornamental iron hinges and latch.
“Thank you. It’s beautiful, but it’s a box. Just what I need.” I stated, “A box.”
“It’s not just a BOX. Open it.” he urged firmly and after taking a deep breath, he felt his patience wearing thin.
Hesitant, I gently unlatched the fastening. Tucked inside, was a Sapphire orb-stone. All I could do was stare at it because I was afraid of touching something possibly antique or valuable. Continuing my mesmerizing gaze I asked softly,
“It’s beautiful. What is it? A crystal ball? If so, I don’t practice magic. That’s my moms field. This is more her taste than mine.”
“It’s not a crystal ball, Little One. But once you hold it, perhaps you can tell what you think it truly is. Go ahead…it’s safe. It won’t break, believe me. I know. I’ve tried, on many of my, um…flustered moments.”
I glanced up at him hesitant once more, but he nodded in approval.
With my right hand, I gently tucked my fingers around the corners of the stone, withdrawing it cautiously. Completely removing it from the box, the orb was cool to the touch and extremely high polished. Its weight was as if I held a feather. It was absolutely gorgeous and perfectly cut, shaped the size of a baseball. However, holding it in my hands, it wasn’t crystal and it wasn’t glass. It felt almost like a solid mass of energy swirling around within its rounded shape. I could feel it pulsating in my palms. Studying its existence I asked softly staring into the stones core,
“This is mine? But where did it come from and what is it?”
“Yes it’s yours, or will be, and that’s an orb-stone. Or as I call it, a searching stone.” Marxus explained, “First, it searched for the one I sought after then IT, chose the one with the proper qualifications suited for the task and destiny given. And that person, Yzavela…is you. The stone has been around for centuries as well, for it’s mine and was given to me by a very special friend. You’ll have the honor of meeting him later on when I see fit. And as far as what it is? What you’re holding in your hands, Little One…is pure magic given from a powerful creature.”
“A searching stone that chose me. Right. For what and why? I know you just said it chose me because of qualities it searched for, but that’s not enough for me to go by. And my mom should be here holding onto this. Not me.”
“Exactly and why not you? There are many hidden items here that will belong to you someday if you choose to accept the position. That stone is just one of the items.” and before he could say anything more, the stone suddenly began glowing in my hands.
The color was bright blue which at first, caused me to close my eyes but then, it subsided completely before a flash of red flames appeared in its core. Unaware of the flames Marxus stood, relieved that a great weight has been lifted off his shoulders.
“What happened!?” I asked excitedly, looking up at Marxus who stared with a smile.
“He knew it. Somehow he knew, but the stone just validated that for me.”
“And the flame?”
“Flame? What flame?” Marxus grew curious.
“What flame!? You didn’t see it!? I thought it’s your stone!?” I shifted in my seat, “Marxus, you’re freaking me out so please tell me what’s going on! I’m not going to be sacrificed to some…fire god or anything, am I!?”
“No, you’re not. Now please calm down. I’ll explain later.” Marxus worried, “And what fire!?”
Frowning, I placed the orb back in its box then stood, facing him.
“No, everything isn’t alright and I’m not calming down. I’m not going anywhere until you tell me…now! You asked me to come here to talk with you and why, I still don’t know and now you’re telling me all these things. Then, you give me a glowing orb that chose me and now I’m all of a sudden, the it girl. What IT!? Who the hell are you, Marxus Alejandro Castillion…really!?” I commanded firmly almost yelling and what I didn’t realize, was that I was beginning to steam, “I arrived here like…five minutes ago, figuratively speaking, and now you’re springing all of this on me!? Couldn’t you have waited a few days for me to settle in first!? What’s the hurry!?”
Marxus grew impatient as he blurted his words angrily,
“You want to know!? Very well. I’m the Keeper of Secrets and Keys and the owner of this entire island. I’m over five hundred twenty-five years old as you already know and I’m an Immortal…as you already know! My reign here, is coming to an end soon and you’re the one the stone has searched for and God only knows why, to take my place here as the next Keeper. Is that what you wanted to hear!?” then he waved his hand in the air as if slapping someone in a strong gesture. As he did, the door to his study slammed shut, startling me as I jumped in place. Glaring at me he continued, “But before anything else is said or done…you need to be honest with me! What are you!?”
“You want to know!? I’m a demon!” I raged, “I’m the…devil’s spawn!”
He stood speechless and as I stood there before him, I felt anxious and put under the spotlight, listening to his constant barking questions echo over my thoughts. He broke our gaze, beginning to pace as he couldn’t absorb the revelation that had presented itself.
“A demon?” he whispered, “But that can’t be. Demons are tricksters and evil things.”
“Um, excuse me…you do realize I can hear you, right!?” I snapped, “And I’m not an evil thing, Marxus…or the devil’s spawn. I’m still a young woman with half demon DNA, but that doesn’t make me like all the others you think I am! Is that clear!? Now, if this is too much for you to handle that’s fine. If you’re worried about a…DEMON becoming Keeper, that’s fine too because if this is the kind of treatment I’m going to receive, then I’m out! I won’t accept. But you need to understand one thing, Marxus. All my life, I’ve had to hide my demonic nature from everyone and since I’ve been here for…a few hours now, I’ve felt pushed into corners and felt threatened. And unfortunately, when that happens…bad things DO tend to happen and I can’t control it. My file says it all! And that trash can is looking pretty good right now!” as I pointed toward one that sat alongside his desk.
Marxus turned, studying me and not liking the tone in my voice, he too felt threatened as he watched my form and appearance taking on a steaming aura. Quickly raising his left hand out toward the desk, a letter opener flew from its place into his hand. He pointed the blade toward me; fierceness in his eyes.
“I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but I’ll not allow this!” he warned.
Holding my hands up, I stepped back.
“Marxus…put that down. Put it down!” I warned, “I don’t want to hurt you but if you don’t…put that down…things will happen and it won’t be pleasant.” but he didn’t listen as he took a step forward, “Alright! I warned you!” and feeling a sense of rage flowing through me, I focused on the letter opener he held for defense.
Marxus stared into my eyes seeing a dancing flame then suddenly felt a burst of heat in the palm of his hand holding the weapon. Dropping it, the letter opener hovered inches from the ground then flew across the room into the fireplace. He stood in awe, watching as the blade caught fire, igniting the fireplace in the process. He rubbed his hand, seeing a blistered palm and wondered how that could have been possible, for he’s not human or of this world, as we know it. Observing as the blade completely melted away, he muttered,
“How did you…how can you…impossible.”
“I told you!” I snapped, “When I’m pushed into a corner, or threatened, bad things happen. Now, I don’t know if you’re asking for a death wish but don’t ever…EVER do that again. I don’t want to hurt you or anyone. So, if this meeting is over…I’m going to go.”
Turning my back, Marxus called out in a pleading voice,
“Yzavela, please…stay. Let’s come to a mutual understanding and agreement. If we sit down and talk things out calmly, perhaps we can start over. Please. I’ve never encountered one such as you before and I’ve met many different beings. Perhaps, you begin with what you know of your origins, yes?”
Glancing over my shoulder in his direction, I nodded.
“Fine, but no daggers.” I pointed at him, “Or any other weapon for that matter.”
“Agreed.” Marxus nodded.
After calming myself down, I sat. I began explaining what I knew about myself.
“None of the information I’m about to tell you, is in that file.” I informed, “So, work with what I’m about to give you, aright?” I watched as he nodded in fair agreement, “Okay. I guess it started with my birth...” I relayed the circumstances of the day, according to my mom’s retelling of the event when asked; the nurses told her I died for two-maybe three seconds before reviving me and when holding me in her arms afterwards, there was a spark of flame in my dark baby eyes, “Over the years, wondering and worrying what might become of my nature, my mom did a magical ancestry background search and the findings were...” I revealed my demonic ancestry ran back quite a long line, beginning during the biblical ages, “And before you ask, that was the hardest part to find. Especially once we discovered where it originally came from.”
“And where did it originate from?” Marxus pondered, “Continue, please...” he gestured for me to do so.
“You know the history and legend of Lilith, right? Adam’s first wife. First woman on Earth. First demon and all of that!?”
“Lil...Lilith?” Marxus grew alarmed; eyebrows raising in surprise.
“Yes.” I nodded, “And after that, blah-blah-blah...the search continued and it turns out that only the first born, if among a group of siblings, carried the dominant demonic gene. Apparently, though...” I continued with a sigh, “my father was the second born with the gene being dormant, so once he planted the..well, you know how that goes, I came to being. And, being the first born in my generation, I carry the gene on the more dominant side. It comes and goes. Plus, I have my mom’s wiccan ancestry running through my veins so that plus demon, is practically a ticking time bomb.” I smiled.
Marxus sat across from me; deep in thought over my story and wondered how he could possibly help. Shifting in his seat leaning forward, he inquired,
“That’s all very interesting, indeed but may I ask, Yzavela...what is the extent of your abilities? Since you’ve demonstrated Telekinesis moments ago, I’d like to know more about them.”
“Honestly Marxus, Sir...” I sighed glancing at my feet, “I don’t know. I’m afraid to fully explore what it is I can do because I might hurt someone...I might hurt my mom and that, I couldn’t live with. Yeah, sure...burning a bully in school is one thing but on a larger scale, I don’t know. I’m immune to fire, if that helps.”
“Mm-hmm. When I was, maybe...ten years old, I sat in with my mom during one of her rituals and as she sat there meditating for it, I stupidly, very stupidly, put my hand over the candles she had burning.” I relayed, telling him that when my mom opened her eyes seeing this occurence, my hand revealed no burns or blistered skin, “All I felt, really...was just a warm tingle against my palm. And yes, I do have Telekinesis and Pyrokinesis, hence the ability to set things aflame and throw things. Speaking of which...” I turned in my seat glancing toward the fireplace, “I hope that dagger didn’t hold any sentimental value because it’s totally gone.” I caught a glimpse of melted metal.
“No. It was actually given to me by...never mind.” Marxus shook the sentence from his train of thoughts, “This, Little One...is a lot of information for me to take in all at once.” he paused; thoughts running in his mind, if maybe my special abilities would aid me in my endeavor as Keeper or pose a threat to the secrets hidden. He just sat there; intense hazel-brown eyes leering at me in a contemplating manner.
“Marxus, please stop looking at me like that!” I argued, “All my life, I’ve been called a freak and even though I’m a demon, that’s doesn’t mean I can’t read minds so you have to tell me what you’re thinking because right now…I don’t like what it is you’re thinking. I see it in your eyes.”
Marxus blinked as he glanced away. He cleared his throat as he returned his gaze,
“Apologies, but I’m just…thinking of a way to make this situation work out for you and everyone here. Bare with me, please. You are the first of your…KIND, I’ve met.”
“So you’ve said and it’s good to know I have a KIND!” I joked, trying to lighten the mood but Marxus didn’t budge. I could tell he was trying to figure out ways to help so I apologized for my defensive behavior.
Marxus understood as he flashed a friendly grin. After the moment was resolved between us and things were revealed, Marxus stood walking toward the bookshelf behind the sofa. Pulling down on a green book, activating loud mechanisms, I suddenly heard gears turning behind the wall. The bookshelf pushed outward, sliding to the right over the shelf next to it. I was surprised. Completely moved aside, partial puffs of dust flew across Marxus’ path. Quickly standing to my feet, we waved the dust away from our faces.
“Doesn’t anyone around here have rooms that aren’t covered in dust?” I asked.
Marxus smiled once more as he remained silent, walking into a hidden chamber. Standing in the doorway, his presence ignited torches inside. He turned to me, speaking softly as he gestured for me to enter,
“It’s alright…you can come in, but watch your step.”
Peeking my head inside the doorway, the chamber was more of a narrow passageway; eight feet in depth, leading to a large door toward the back. Six torches each along the walls, provided adequate lighting. Not knowing where I was supposed to go, I began walking toward the door.
“Ah-ah. Not that way, Little One.” Marxus whispered, “This way. What’s hidden behind that door, is for another day.” he gestured toward a smaller passage to the right, leading to a metal spiraling staircase curving around twice upward.
I was reluctant, unknowing of where they led but I had to stop being afraid.
The steps creaked beneath our feet as we ascended, coming to a small door. The torches from below provided a faint glow, allowing us to see our path. Once reaching the top we paused, standing before an old wooden door with no locks or handles. Glancing down at me Marxus asked,
“Now, what I’m about to show you behind this door must stay between us, yes? Not even your mother can know.”
I said nothing, nodding in response.
He placed his hands on the doors’ surface connecting with an energy. Soon after, the door unlocked revealing a dark entrance where pitch blackness greeted you.
“I don’t think I want to go in there.” I mumbled, staring into the ominous blackness, “I don’t like pitch black places.”
“Nothing’s going to harm you, I give you my word.” Marxus assured as he entered, “Fear not. I’m not some creepy, dirty old man.” he smiled.
“Oh, that’s comforting Marxus. Thank you…thank you, very much.”
“Come now, Little One.” Marxus’s voice echoed from inside.
Hesitant, I entered feeling a strange sensation; tightness engulfing me. It wasn’t painful, but felt like pins and needles once again running through my entire body. Marxus turned noticing my uneasiness, explaining that because of my demonic nature, the energies within needed to accept it and bond with me. That made sense so I had no argument.
“Think of it as a…magical imprint.” Marxus encouraged, flipping a switch on the wall, turning on a generator that powered a row of low wattage bulbs. Running in straight angles along the arched ceiling, they illuminated the space. Marxus continued as he stepped forward, “Are you alright though?”
“Not really. Is there iron in this room?” I feared.
“Some, but very little.” he revealed, “We won’t be here long enough for it to take full effect.”
“Don’t have to be. Just a few minutes does the trick, so let’s make this journey up here, quick please.” I urged.
“Ah. So iron does effect you? Interesting.” Marxus observed closely.
“Don’t get any funny ideas.”
“I would never.” he smiled, holding his hands up. “And besides, I know you can protect yourself just fine.”
“Mm-hmm.” I glanced around.
This was the attic I spotted upon our arrival, but holy crap…it’s far more vast than I expected. Apart from the arched ceiling, there were four wooden pillars supporting their weight. Two large windows with colored glass panels, added daylights’ glow to the illumination. Large cabinets and shelves lined the walls across from the windows displaying vases and statues, trinkets and boxes. Others hidden in the shadows away from all chances of light, revealed hundreds of various sized glass jars, pouches and gadgets. Books older than those in the study, were neatly piled on empty spaces of the shelves. Between the two windows, stood a podium supporting a massive book.
Small arched niches within the walls, held ancient candles that hadn’t appeared to have been used for ages. Trunks and chests were stacked along the wall toward the rear of the room where tapestries hung, displaying various events in history. Tables scattered around the room, presented several other books, jars, ornate boxes and chests, while others were stacked with rolled parchments.
On the walls hanging alongside several other smaller paintings, were maps of England from over the centuries. Ravenstone’s architecture among them. The stone floor covered with animal skins of various species, revealed symbols painted onto the stone. In the center of the room uncovered by skins, was a wizard’s circular pattern of magical runes.
“This...is the Room of Secrets.” Marxus proudly revealed waving his hands outward, “No one knows about its location or contents, except for myself and two trusted friends. And now, you of course. As I said, you must not tell anyone for everything contained within this room, will soon be in your guardianship and part of your responsibility as Keeper. And considering your nature, you are now part of the secrets here as I’m sure no one but your mother knows of your true secret.”
I nodded, remaining silent for I was too astonished to speak at that moment. I made my way around the room examining everything I could before the iron fully took its effect. All the jars contained herbs and other things; labeled with names I didn’t know existed. Others were stuffed with fairy wings, petrified something or other and potion bottles were filled with liquids and powders of different colors. I couldn’t even tell you what they were but if it’s petrified...I really don’t want to know.
The books on the shelves, were of spells pertaining to black magic and Necromancy, while others listed names of every magical being both in his dimension or the next. Books containing all known symbols were tucked among them. I could spend minutes at a time in this room (perhaps hours, if it weren’t for the iron), discovering everything within.
“What is all of this?” I asked, leaning against a nearby table for I began to feel light headed.
“Magical items that no longer exist or are harmful to others and could be utilized for dark magic.” Marxus replied, “I took it upon myself to be a guardian of these items, protecting them from all who wish to use them for evil purposes. Take for instance, dragon’s blood. It could be very dangerous in the wrong hands.”
“So, you’re a Templar? Because if my history is right, that’s pretty much what they did.” I stated as I faced him, “Hiding and protecting artifacts and all that?”
“You can say that, yes. My family is one of the founders of the order. I was once offered to be sworn in as one many centuries ago, but I didn’t choose to make it my path. At least not the path they wanted.” he replied vaguely, “You know…you’re taking all of this information rather well. A little too well, I must admit.”
“Marxus…I’m a demon. My mom’s a witch and I have a pet Wolf. Nothing surprises me.” I added then stepped toward one of the shelves with at least fifty or more books; titles pertaining to vampires, lycanthropes, dragons, ancient witches, warlocks and other magical beings, “What? No books on demons?” I continued skimming their titles.
“Those books remain here because they’re grimoires explaining weaknesses and evolution. If in the wrong hands, anyone could destroy our community which I have spent five centuries developing and protecting. I had the Satanic Bible here once but it was later reclaimed. By who or what, I’ll not say for I don’t know.” he replied firmly, “And there are books on demons but they’re…locked away for many reasons and I’m sure they wouldn’t be of help to you.”
“How do you know?” I turned to him.
“Because they wouldn’t.” he answered.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes!” he paused realizing I was beginning to speak in riddles, “Yes, Little One. I am sure. Besides, they pertain to demons of the darkest levels of hell and I don’t think you’re one of those.”
“Good to know and I hope not.” I teased then glanced around hoping that wasn’t true but then I realized, “Wait, why DO you have books on vampires and lycanthropes?”
He remained silent, pacing in deep thought.
“Marxus!?” I inquired.
Turning to me abruptly he answered,
“I have books on their species because there are vampires and lycanthropes that live here on the island. You can’t really tell them apart except for the faint wet dog scent the lycans emit on occasion. Plus, the vampires are paler skinned. That’s what the three dwellings are for, if you hadn’t wondered that already. Two out back behind the manor are for the vampires and humans, and the quarters near the garage are designated for the lycans. I prefer to keep the vampires and lycans separated for territory reasons. You’ve actually encountered a vampire and three lycans.”
“What!? Who!?” I asked, growing curious.
“Nathan, Anthony and that red haired bulk of a man of whom you’ve met, Leonus Lancaster are lycans and Jonathan is the vampire. In case you haven’t noticed his pale complexion.” Marxus revealed.
“Wow…” I smiled, “but when you say HUMANS…shouldn’t that include you?”
“Well, there are many things to learn and too little time to do so in one day. I know this is a lot for you to handle all at once but in time, you’ll come to understand the importance of your new destiny. And I’m not entirely human. Remember, I’m an Immortal.” he answered calmly as he walked over placing his left hand on my shoulder. With his right hand he reached toward the bookshelf behind me, removing two large books. Both were fourteen-by-ten and eight inches thick; leather bound. Handing them to me, he softly continued, “I’d like you to read these so you can grasp the history of those who live here. Take your time reading them too. There’s no rush. At least…not yet. They’re a bit heavy, I know so would you like help carrying them?”
“No kidding but I’m fine, thank you.” I shifted their weight holding them tightly, “So, you’re telling me that I’ll soon inherit Ravenstone Manor, the village square and everything contained within it? And I was chosen by the orb-stone? Shouldn’t a next-of-kin be chosen?”
“Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying and I don’t have a next-of-kin. The stone is the one that made the final decision based on certain qualities you obviously have. I set things in motion and it did the rest, bringing you here. Ravenstone needs someone who will truly protect the secrets here and accept its residents without judgement. An individual who can keep the balance between them which has taken me centuries to do and I feel that since you have a secret of your own, you’ll adapt perfectly. Although I must admit, I still have my doubts. Consider it, a right of passage so to speak.”
“Okay, no pressure then.” I said I turned, gently laying the books down on the nearest table, “Vampires, lycans and a demon girl. Right. And what if…let’s just say…” I looked at Marxus, “I choose not to accept this so-called destiny and just say no?” I waved my hands around, “Then what?”
“If you decline, then I’d probably spend another five centuries searching for another destined. If I’m lucky. Once the stone chooses, there’s no changing its…its…” Marxus paused, trying to think of the proper word, “mind, I guess.” he smiled.
“Whoa…five centuries!? Holy shi*t!” I exaggerated slightly then covered my mouth with my hands, “Sorry.” I mumbled as I lowered my hands.
“Yzavela…this will be the last time I’ll say this, but I do apologize for unloading all this upon you at once. But you asked and I’m telling you.” Marxus replied, “And apology accepted. I’ve heard far worse.”
“Thank you. All of this is mind-blowing really, so for me to be a part of it is magical. I’ve always believed creatures of legend existed and knowing I’m actually living among them, is really cool. But I do have another question and then I need to get out of here.”
“And what would that be?”
“The vampires and lycans don’t kill people, do they?”
“No. Unfortunately, they used to but I enforced the rules pertaining to a no-kill policy that includes the vampires urge to feed. Some have human partners and what they do behind closed doors, is completely their business. There are vampires and lycans outside of Ravenstone still at war with one another but here, they’ve learned to somewhat co-exist. They keep their distance from each other. Skirmishes have occurred but that’s expected. The humans sadly, are caught in the middle of the feud.”
“That’s a relief then.” I pondered then closed my eyes feeling the effects slowly taking hold. Slightly shaking my head I continued, “While I’m here, let me make a promise to you and Ravenstone to accept my destiny as Keeper and to do whatever I can to protect it. I know I have a lot to learn…oh boy do I ever, but I’ll try. I promise. Because after all, I’m one of its secrets now. And I also promise not to set things on fire.” I smiled.
Before Marxus could speak, an overwhelming energy filled the room. Abruptly and without warning, appearing through the floor beneath our feet, was the orb-stone. Glowing brightly, it changed its color from its original blue, to red. It hovered in midair, before landing in the palm of my hands as I reached for it. I felt the energy pulsating which became a faint heat.
“I’ll take that as a sign the stone accepted your oath.” Marxus whispered, “I’m proud.” then he stood there staring in amazement at the stone, taking on its newer color. At that moment, Marxus made a possible conclusion, “I’m guessing the stone has adapted to your demonic origins, hence the red color.”
“I’m going to ignore that.” I sneered.
“Alright, I think we’ve spent enough time in here. Your mother is probably wondering where you are and I can see the iron is taking its effect on you. I’ll carry the books since the stone obviously doesn’t want to leave your hands.” he walked over, picking up the books off the table.
I glanced around once more, noticing everything neatly categorized. Gesturing toward the podium between the windows displaying the large book, I asked,
“The registry of archives, documenting this rooms inventory and their properties.” he revealed, “You can look through its pages but it never leaves this room.”
“As tempted as I am, I think I’ll pass. Maybe after I’ve processed everything I learned tonight.”
“Your choice. There’s plenty of time.” Marxus assured.
We walked out, closing the door behind us. We carefully descended the metal steps, returning to Marxus’ study. I turned watching the bookshelf sealing the hidden door. I placed the orb-stone back in its box, leaving it on the table while I turned to Marxus, who handed me the books.
“One more thing.” I inquired.
“Yes?” he sighed, returning to his desk.
“That door toward the back of that narrow chamber…where does it go?”
“It leads to an underground cavern, where my magical friend dwells. I’ll show you that another time. I think enough has been revealed for one day.”
“Alright. Another time, definitely. Thank you for the books and again, I want to apologize for my earlier attitude.”
“No worries. Now goodnight and please remember…don’t tell anyone about what I’ve shown you, or the books you possess. They’re meant for your eyes and yours only. Although, your mother can be trusted with the books and can be told later on, about your future as Keeper. And as far as the STUFF? That’s our secret.” he added humorously, putting his index finger to his lips.
I nodded then muttered one last sentence,
“Can you please stop referring to my nature as DEMONIC ORIGINS. Yes, that’s what I am but it’s not all of who I am. I’m also half human dealing with everyday issues so I don’t need judgement from you, alright?”
“Apologies. I meant no offense.”
I nodded once more then left; door closing behind me by itself. Standing at the top of the stairs holding onto the books, I sighed deeply. Once I carefully reached the bottom of the staircase shifting the heavy books in my arms, everyone began returning to their rooms. I caught a glimpse of my mom holding a small platter of snacks in her hand, while standing near the front doors.
She shared smiles with friendly folks while others flashed frowns, which she returned.
“You don’t like me, don’t look at me.” she muttered sarcastically then heard my voice calling out for her. Turning her head, she watched as I laid books on the entrance hall table. Giving a warm smile, she approached with a hug which I returned. Glancing up the stairs she commented, “I was wondering what was taking so long up there.” then she immediately noticed the books admiring their antiquity, “My god…these books are beautiful. What are they about?” she examined their titles.
I watched as she raised her eyebrows in surprise.
“Mommy, before you say anything…yes, you’re reading the titles correctly. Marxus said I could tell you but not here. All I will say, is that it’s mostly about this place and you won’t believe it. Well, maybe you will.”
“Good, because I do have questions. When we spoke, he mentioned bits and pieces of what he’d like to discuss with you, so is that what you mean? And was he a gentleman with you? I was worried for you were up there for a while and you know me. If it weren’t for the stairs, I would’ve stormed in there showing a mothers rage if needed.” my mom answered softly.
“I know you would have and yes, he was very much a gentleman. Very fatherly, actually. Things got off on a rough start but then, we got along. We had to close the door because what we talked about was for my ears only. But…”
“But what? I don’t like the sound of that.” she worried.
I glanced around, watching residents coming and going through the entrance hall, waiting for them to pass. However, knowing there were vampires and lycans, my eyes scanned them, wondering which was which. Once they passed, I continued,
“He knows about my, well…you know…SECRET.”
“What!? How!? You didn’t set anything on fire, did you?” she quietly argued.
“Not intentionally and I may have…also steamed.” I answered shyly.
“Things were said that agitated me and he raised a weapon toward me and I got a little defensive so I steamed and melted the letter opener that I threw into the fireplace.”
“Yzavela!” my mom snapped, “You didn’t! And he did what!?”
“I couldn’t help it!” I blurted quietly.
“Perfect. Now he’s going to throw us out and then where will we go, because I’m not traveling on that god awful boat again! I’d rather swim next time.”
“No…that won’t happen.” I reassured.
“And how do you know that for sure!?”
“I just do, trust me. He won’t and it was something he needed to know, but I can tell you that I’m not the only abnormal one here. There are vampires and lycans living here.” I grew excited, “You know that red haired…” I paused, for a woman stood nearby listening and looking in our direction, “Can we help you!?” I snapped.
“Private conversation here.” my mom barked, “Move along.”
The woman stared as she entered the dining hall.
Glancing around noticing people still came and went, my mom agreed that we should take the conversation to her room.
“I’ve had enough for one day. The long travel and the walk around this place, is tiring. You’d think though, they’d build elevators for those who wish to visit the upper levels around here.” my mom commented, “What’s it like up there?”
“Well, I didn’t really pay much attention because I went straight to his study but there was a nice waiting area or small lounge. A grand hallway led to the left and where that goes, I don’t know. But his study is gorgeous! All decorated in Spanish-style furnishings.”
“Wow...would love to see it sometime. Anyway, I have snacks for you.”
“I can see that.” I answered picking out one that interested me more than the others, “Tell you what…since your knees are bothering you and it’s a long walk back, let me ask Marxus if he could call for the shuttle van. That ride is really cool.”
“Okay, sweetheart. It’s raining again anyway. Do you think it’ll be that handsome Anthony?”
“When doesn’t it?” I called out over my shoulder. ” And I’m sure it will be Anthony, but who knows!”
I returned to Marxus’ study asking if he wouldn’t mind calling for the shuttle. After ending the call, he stated they’d be waiting out front. I thanked him once more then headed back downstairs where my mom stood with Anthony; dark splotches on his shoulders from the heavy rain. My-my, he’s a flirt. Even toward my mom, who felt extremely flattered but she wasn’t and isn’t the cougar-type.
“Ah, hello Yzavela. Such a beautiful name, I have to say.” he whispered, “I was just talking with your Ma-ma here.”
“I can see that.” I teased seeing her blushed face, “Talking about good things, I hope.”
“Si, of course. Now, let’s get you lovely ladies back to your rooms.”
He politely helped my mom outside and into the shuttle. As I situated myself in my seat, he continued laying on all the charm possible. Oh, he was gorgeous yes, but too much is too much. Anthony, oh Anthony, was your typical well groomed, charming Latin lover and his cologne smelled fantastic. Once arriving at our dwelling watching him drive off, my mom and I shook our heads smiling, releasing deep sighs.
“OH, IF ONLY I WERE THIRTY AGAIN.” my mom thought.
“IF ONLY HE WEREN’T SUCH A FLIRT.” I thought, “WHAT’S IN THE WATER?”
Entering through the doors, I walked with my mom to her room and we indeed, spoke a lot about what Marxus and I shared. My mom was surprised to hear about the vampires and lycans living here but yet, she anticipated something strange was going to happen anyway. After telling her that Marxus revealed Anthony was a lycan, she stated that she’d have to take close notice of that fact. He was flirtatious yes, but was he dangerous. And when I told her that Jonathan was a vampire, she too, was blind sided. After talking about it, we agreed that we would have to be vigilant about our neighbors. Among this conversation, I revealed the task Marxus had asked of me pertaining to becoming the new Keeper.
Curious and worried, my mom had no inhibitions as to me handling myself and new responsibilities; offering her support all the way. After saying my goodnight’s as my mom laid the plate of snacks on the books, I made sure she settled into her room before heading up to mine. I kissed Freya then left.
After showering and feeling relaxed, I began reading (or tried to) the books starting with the vampires. Zanz jumped up on my bed, sniffing the books then laid across my legs with his large bulk of cuteness. Despite of his breed and size. I leaned over scratching his belly and kissed his snout then sat back, continuing to read but I didn’t get very far for I fell asleep. The day had finally caught up to me.
Marxus shifted through our paperwork and became distracted, due to soft whispers coming from the orb-stone. He looked over at it, sitting in its wooden box on the table with the lid open. He stood and walked toward it, picking it up from the table. When he laid it in his hands, instead of having that bright glow, it presented a pulsating effect which Marxus had never seen before. He understood what it had whispered to him in a males’ voice,
“She’s the one, Marxus…she’s the one chosen. There’s no one else capable.”
Continuing to hold the stone in his hands, it suddenly took on the red glow, burning his palms. Releasing it, the stone hovered before returning to its box as the glow diminished. In a worried tone with his eyes wide, Marxus muttered,
“What’s going on here!?”
Rubbing his palms, he stepped into the study’s bathroom. Running cold water on the blistered skin, he flinched. He couldn’t understand why his hands were burnt for he wasn’t corporeal. He stared at his reflection then turned the light out, exiting the bathroom with thoughts consuming his mind. He knew he had to take time away from Ravenstone to replenish his essence.
Later that night, a young vampire shouted as he paced around the railed walkway below the light of the lighthouse,
“Why do I have to pretend to be something I’m not!? I feel so…repressed! I hate this bloody island! Nothing here for me but bloody f***ing lycanthropes and women who want only one thing!” he slammed his hands on the railing; rain pouring down on his head then glanced up at the full moon high in the sky, shining its glow over Ravenstone, “I just want to kill them all!”
In the distance, he heard the sounds of the lycans howling during their monthly transformation with his heightened vampire hearing, mixed with the distinct sounds of loud squeals and growls from the island’s dangerous menace running the landscaping in free evening reign. Suddenly sensing someone standing behind him, he turned focusing on the hatchway leading to the lantern. Thinking it could have been Marxus he blurted,
“Marxus, please go away! This is my quiet place so leave me be!” but watched as something else appeared, taking on a heatwave-like figure; unclear but enough to see, “What are you!? An angel?”
The figure stood motionless, then replied in a smooth deep, charismatic males’ voice,
“You called for someone to assist you. Indeed, I am that.”
“I didn’t call for anyone!” the young vampire added.
“Didn’t you? Are you sure?” the voice questioned cunningly taking one step forward causing the vampire to step aside, “I know what you are and how you came to be, vampire. Believe me when I say that turning to the Heavens will not help you.”
“I’m not praying to the Heavens! They don’t listen anyway!” he snapped, “Now, what are you!? A demon!? Because your kind isn’t allowed here!”
“Who says!? You!?”
The figure released a deep low laugh then mocked,
“Oh, please. That old man can’t keep my kind out even if he really wanted to. But moving on. Only when called by my own, I appear. But in answer to your inquiry, the woman who’ll accept you fully, has arrived here. Not of fate or destiny, but of my own doing. Things have been set in motion. I’ve seen and know, how lonely you really are, my lovely young vampire.”
“Who are you!?” the vampire snapped, “And call me lovely one more time!” then watched as the figure turned away, ready to disappear, “I’ll ask you again! Who are you!? An angel!?”
“No, I am not but something more, young vampire.” the figure answered, then faded out completely leaving him standing there perplexed as to what he spoke to, “Goodnight, Erik Sheng-su.” the voice lingered.
The vampire jumped in place looking around but saw nothing. Staring down at his feet, he mumbled,
“What the bloody hell was that!? I know I’m not mad.” and shaking off the experience, he returned to his room but found he couldn’t sleep.