Renee was bold. Not just for a human, not just for a human speaking to a four thousand year old vampire, but for a human speaking to a thousand year old, royal vampire. For that, Cain had respect for her boldness. Most would never even think to be so daring to him, yet, Renee barely blinked an eye.
He knew it wasn’t the right time yet, they were not to know of the tension between Voirol and Drale that was near to breaking their bond. Should they find out the truth, then all hope would be lost. Scarlet was as delicate as a jasmine flower and thus needed to be treated as such. Perhaps her best friend did not see it as clearly, for she spoke boldly with little fear to show. But he was still the King and she a mere human.
“I find myself somewhat enlightened by the thought that should there ever be a war, you believe me to be one to send two helpless humans out into it. No, Renee, I am not preparing you for war but rather life. You serve under my laws, your daily work is commanded by me, and you live in my home. I am without a fault one of the highest power heads in our known world; just living in my country automatically puts one at risk for the loss of life. I prefer that all those who live under my name to know at least some sort of basic self-defense, even my mill farmers to the Far East, who know nothing other than caring for the land and themselves, are knowledgeable in this life saving skill.” He realized at that moment the harsh tone his voice carried, and the two very different looks on each girl. Scarlet’s pale skin had gone just a shade lighter as her cheeks flared with colors, while Renee’s face was deadly neutral, giving away no clues. With a small sigh his eyes casted down before returning to their faces. “I understand, with your background coming from Tobus, why you would see my actions as hostile.” His tone was much smoother, and should it work as it almost always did then the two girls would soon sense a soothing calming affect claim them.
“I understand the power of status and how that destined your fate, and because that was so you were treated as such. You see fights- self-defense or otherwise- as something for only one who wishes to spill the blood of many.” Of course, without one of the three speaking, they all knew this to be true for most soldiers. “It’s a horrible way of thinking and reflects poorly on not just Lord Rolle but all of the men of his family prior to him. A good citizen is a well-rounded citizen, and the same goes for a leader- which is one of the reasons why we are here today. Now, are there any more questions?” Cain watched Renee lean back slightly in her chair, unofficially stepping down from the battle. Beside her, and from the corner of his eye Cain saw, Scarlet roll her lips once as the color that had slowly returned to her face left it once more. When she nodded her head, he looked at her with a risen eyebrow. Taking a small inhale, she looked to her friend, before looking at Cain. Her hands begun to fly around in the air, so quickly that they stopped moving only mere seconds after starting and fell back into her lap.
“She ask for a bell and a notebook.” Cain found his head tipping slightly, he could understand the meaning for the notebook- but why the bell? Keeping his eyes on her, he addressed her rather than Renee. “Why do you need a bell?”
Seeing that Cain had spoken to her rather than her friend sparked something in her eyes. Cain couldn’t name what it was quite yet, he didn’t know her well enough yet to understand the language of her eyes, something told him it was a feeling that was rarely ever shown. She brought her hands back up, moving them slower than the first, and though he didn’t understand one thing spoken through her hands her eyes never left his.
“The bell would be for when she is alone in her room or bathroom. It would be a signal to outsiders on whether or not they will be allowed to enter into her bedroom. It would make communication easier, sire.” Cain fought a smirk that dared- sought to, fought to surface. Renee had found her manners once more, for her voice spoke with the sticky texture of honey.
When Cain had first met Renee, he fell under the impression that she was simple girl with a simple mind that would not be hard to mold. It was only just now, a few days later that the truth was slowly seeping through to him. Renee was a predator. With that thought blistering his brain, he wondered how far she would go, to what extent could he push this human? Despite her lowly upbringing, she would make a great ally, but also a deadly enemy. He was glad to have her as the former rather than the latter.
“I shall see to this, and you shall have a hand bell delivered to your room this by afternoon. Are there any more questions, or request, before we start the lesson?” When he got nothing from either girl, he clasped his hands together, “Very well, allow us to begin.”
“I have never been a teacher before, my lord… but I shall do my best to teach you… My language, though it looks complicated… is not as evil as it looks at first glance… Many of the words Renee is saying… I do not even speak…There is just not a need.” Both Scarlet and Renee spoke in a slow pace- Scarlet’s hands tried to take care to make each word obvious for Cain while Renee processed what she was saying into words. Cain watched them both, his eyes sliding from Scarlet to Renee every few seconds in a sense of checking. “I would first like to teach you the alphabet… because if you know how to spell words, though it is harder than the actual signs… then you can speak my language.” Picking up his stylus, Cain dipped it into the ink and begun to take notes. He intended to learn this language and when old age was to succumb him in an eon or so and should his memory fail, he would be able to look back on these notes, and remember.
The letters started off easy enough, ‘A’ was the four fingers folded over the palm while the thumb rested to the side, ‘B’ had the four fingers risen straight while the thumb rested on the palm. It was around ‘Q’ where he found himself beginning to lose his sense. The lettering became not only more elaborate but much more difficult to sketch out. He suddenly felt like he was a young child once again, sitting in the same library only he once sat at the tables learning from a tutor rather than a small woman. He could fondly remember then, to his school year struggles and how he would sit for hours hunched over his work. He wanted to be prefect, to be the best, to be nothing less than what was expected of him.
“No, you crossed your pointer and middle finger, and rest your thumb on your ring finger not your palm. If you just put your two fingers next to each other while resting your thumb on your ring finger you’re actually signing U rather than R.” As Renee translated, Cain watched Scarlet with careful eyes. He had since moved on from his notes to actually trying out the letters and while he sought no issues with creating the letters- remembering which letter was which was what truly causing him ill will towards the language. He was in the middle of attempting to sign R once more, when a solid knock sent the library doors swinging open. Being pushed from behind, a rather large food cart entered into the room, stopping a few feet in. Stepping out from behind the cart, a petite silver haired woman dressed in white bowed to Cain.
“Good after my lord, I come with lunch.” Rising back up, Ariana gave a small smile. “To start you off there is a morning-picked leafy green salad with the dressing on the side, the main course is an arrange of light tea sandwiches on fresh bread and to finish off- the drink of your choice.” She stood, despite her small human frame, tall with her head proud. She took the deepest pride in even the most simple of meals or drinks. Not that she had no reason not to. Her family had been serving under Cain for nearly a millennium as their chiefs and were one of the very few, extremely trusted humans serving under him. They had proven themselves and earned the trust and title bestowed upon them. “Shall I serve it to you now or do you wish to wait?”
“Thank you Ariana, I think that choice is up to the teacher- Scarlet?” Cain looked to Scarlet and her eyes grew wide once more- something he was starting to realize she did without full thought. He could see the question in her eyes, and the nerves as she glanced over to Renee. Closing her hand in a fashion that set her fingers over her thumb, looking like she was attempting a poor shadow puppet, she brought that to mouth. With a nod, Renee turned her gaze from her friend back to Cain. “A break would be good, let us enjoy lunch.” Cain had to wonder how Renee was able to get a full sentence from just one simple motion, but then he remembered one of the first things Scarlet had taught him- her sign language was blunt, and thus Renee had to interpret the Morse code like language into their complex words.
As Cain focused on his inward thoughts, Ariana set forth quickly, uncovering all her food and making a plate for each of the three at the table. While the old chief needed not to ask the King what he preferred, she did not know what to get the two girls. That was when Cain learned that while Scarlet loved a nice slice of ham, Renee refused to eat any meat that wasn’t white and so she had turkey. As she made up the plate for Renee, Scarlet tapped her friend’s shoulder to get her attention. Her hands fluttered around, and the one thing Cain was able to understand was when Scarlet pointed to Ariana. Renee nodded her head once more, and looked away from her friend. “Excuse me, um…Chief?” Ariana turned at the sound of her title, her wrinkled face folding as she smiled. “Oh do forgive me, I am Ariana. I’m sorry for not introducing myself sooner. I should have when you were both in the kitchen this morning but one of my under chiefs nearly burned my bread, and, and I’m getting off topic. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, I’m Renee.” Renee and Scarlet both smiled at the chief as she placed Renee’s plate on the table. “Thank you, I was just, well Scarlet here wondering if you were perhaps the chief who made our previous meals?” Ariana gave a small smile at the mention of her art and lifted her chest just slightly. “I am- I’m both the head chief to the kitchen and the personal chief to our good King. Have been since the day I turned 17, and I’ll be going on 40 years next year.”
“Wow, well, Scarlet wanted to thank you, and that your food is wonderful. It’s some of the best she’s ever had and I have to agree with her.” Ariana’s chest fell slightly, as a wave of humility rushed over her at the kind words of the two girls. “Thank you for that, you are both mighty welcome.” Ariana then went back to putting Scarlet’s plate together, putting just a bit more care as she did. Once everyone was served, drinks and all, Ariana gave another bow and left the room; the small group starting to eat their meal.
The room was silent for a few minutes, the sound of chewing and silverware hitting the plates being the only sounds echoing in the air. The two humans were tense, Cain could tell. They attempted to give the appearance that they were relaxed, but he could tell. It was something that neither empowered him nor offended him. While some beings fed off of others fearing them, and others sought anger that they might be seen higher, he did neither. He had found in over the past four thousand and five hundred years- give or take a few decades- that beings would never be fully relaxed around him. He was a vampire, he was a king, and he had wisdom. The three, when put together in a cocktail, demanded that one never fully put their guard down. But he wanted them to at least trust with him enough to not look as if someone had pulled their muscle to their capacity.
“I am curious,” As Cain sat his glass down, the two girls looked to him, “being I myself never spent more than a week there, what was it like to live in Tobus. What was the daily life of an average citizen like?” he took a bite of his sandwich, leaning back in his chair. It was an honest question. It was easy for him to travel, and when doing so to not just receive the best of the best but be kept from the worst of the worst. In doing so, he was accepting that he was somewhat deceived into- or they tried to get one to- believe that indeed the land was great in beauty, well-behaved citizens and prosper. Cain never understood how one would be willing to allow themselves to be so blinded- unless they were extremely lacking any brain.
“I… I don’t speak for Scarlet when I say this, but I liked my old life. It was plain and simple, and I know many people outside of Tobus view that as boring I can’t. I rarely saw my father, who is a miner; his work forced him to leave my mother, myself and my three younger siblings for most of the year. I missed him and what he made might not have given us much but it gave us enough. We were out on the streets, living in alleyways with nothing to eat. My family was, and is, getting by- which is the goal in life.” Cain nodded his head, once more impressed with Renee. “What about you Scarlet, do you agree with Renee?” Scarlet looked from Cain, to Renee and then back to Cain slowly nodding her head as she did. Cain dropped his eyes down as he played with the corner of his napkin for a second before looking back up. There was something about Renee’s answer that did not settle right with him. Her voice was much too monotone at the answer, and despite only knowing her for a week and half’s time, he knew her voice to never be that flat.
“Hm, interesting, I cannot say I agree with you both. I do not believe that the goal of life is to just ‘get by’. One should seek out a goal, and with that goal in mind work hard to get to it. Life is meant to be enjoyed; it should be a tangy mixture of hard work and pleasure. To just make it enough to get by is not just wasting away life but slapping it in the face. Do neither of you face anger towards your High Lord? Surely you both know that the coal that comes from Tobus fuels areas throughout the whole world- and the jewels are some of the finest and most sought after. How do you hold no anger, even now?”
“My lord,” Renee’s voice held an edge to it that encouraged Cain to sit up, “should the words you just be spoken have come from my mouth when I lived under the High Lord Rolle I would be viewed as an enemy of the Court. I would be arrested, put in jail and then on trial where I would most likely be found guilty. Surely you know that any enemy of the Courts of Tobus, once found guilty of their crimes, is put to death. So no, it is not hard to reset the harbor of hate against the selfish pompous rulers when even the thought of it could get you killed.” Cain grabbed his wine glass, swirling the red liquid as he brought it closer to his lips. “Then aren’t you glad you’re not in Tobus?” Renee’s jaw set before she took a slightly forceful bite of salad. He had gotten under her shell, and seen a real piece of her. “I must agree with your real thoughts, though. The Court of Tobus is set up like a triangle and it’s a sobering thought to see so many so poorly off. I could never be one to allow my people to suffer so, but, as a wise man once told me, not every ruler shall be a great one-” Cain cut himself off midsentence as he watched Scarlet’s hands fly around in a furry- the slight flush of her face giving off her emotion. Instead of relaying her message, Renee gasped and soon her own hands were signing. Cain could only guess a few words here and there, but whatever it was the two were clearly upset with each other. “May I ask what you two are discussing?” The two girls froze at the sound of his voice, and both turn to look at him; dropping their hands to their laps as they did. Neither spoke, but when Scarlet elbowed her Renee glared at her, before letting out a sigh.
“Scarlet wishes to know why, because you claim to be such a loving ruler, you would be willing to kill a teenage girl just because she misplaced two slaves.”
“Though it is not a law put in place by myself, it is law that if a direct order by the ruling hand is disobeyed that the offender or offenders be put to death- as payment for breaking the law and for dishonoring themselves. The woman who put you in the cells rather than have you taken to Dr. Cartson was already on a watch from prior events and being you nearly died from your injuries, I believe death to have been the right punishment even without the law. Now, I know in your eyes I am most likely a monster- a murder of an innocent human. That is part of your hypocritical brain-washing education from Tobus. Don’t kill, love all, be good but if you even think an ill thought against us we’ll see to your death through a rigged trial. I, unlike the ruler of Tobus, live to my teachings and laws of my land. The law of the land is, if you outwardly disobey the ruling hand, then you are to be put to death; so how could I allow her to live? In doing so would make me a hypocrite to my own law and untrustworthy in the eyes of my people. I do what is best for everyone. I always have and I always will.” Throughout his whole speech, the flush in Scarlet’s cheeks died away as his calm voice spoke only reasons of truth. Tobus, as many countries and lands, was a deeply unbalanced kingdom. In a somewhat retrospect of the moment, Cain should have realized that, even with their most recent agreements, should war strike and should Tobus choice to join- it would not be on his favor. Voirol and Tobus were neither allies nor enemies, but when the time came for battles he doubted they would chose to come together.
“Vern, have my car readied. I want to leave in ten- and please tell me someone has made it to the market to get that bell. It’s almost three.” Vern nodded once at Cain, before leaving Klaus’s office. Cain, having just entered the office was greeted by the back of his cousin’s strawberry blond hair. Hunched over at one of his book cases, he pulled a book out before standing. “Hello cousin, where are you off to? Tell me, how was your first lesson?” Klaus made a motion for Cain to take a seat by the window, to which he did. Taking the seat opposite of him, Klaus rested his book on the arm of the chair.
“If you must know my every where about, I’m going to make a quick trip over to Theo’s. She sent me a message while I was in my lesson.”
“And how was that lesson?”
“It was fascinating. It looks complicated, and in Scarlet’s words ‘blunt’ but it’s so simple it’s almost hard to comprehend. I took notes, and I plan to keep taking them because this language requires real work.” At that Klaus let out a hearty laugh, tipping his head back from Cain. “Oh my- may the world forbid that the great and powerful King Cainwen actually have to put work in learning something!” Cain waited for his cousin to finish his laughing fit, his face showing no emotion minus a raised eyebrow. “Okay-okay, I’m done.”
“Are you sure?”
“Good, I was afraid I would have to kill you before getting you opinion.” At the last half of Cain’s small statement, Klaus tipped his head. “Opinion, on what matter my dear cousin?”
“I’m not quite sure; I question why Theo summons me. She is not one to just-” Cain stopped talking at the request of Klaus’s risen palm. “Dear cousin, Theo is absolutely one to invite you to her shop for tea. Now if it was coming from Pals, yes I would question it. Perhaps our friend just misses you?”
Cain scratched his chin, glancing out of the window as he spoke, “Do you think it has to do with Scarlet?” The smile on Klaus’s face dropped. It had been over a week since the paper with the fake story had been released to the public, which led Klaus to bring up a very valid point, “If it did, why would she wait over a week from the public release of Scarlet’s death to invite over to talk about it?” Cain shook his head at his cousin.
“I don’t know, that is why I came to see you first. Knowing Theo, she doesn’t do anything in life without reason. She probably doesn’t believe the story- hell I wouldn’t be surprised if she smelt the lie from five miles.”
“So if that is the case, what will you do?”
“I don’t know, I could continue to lie to her and deny that Scarlet lives, or I could confess the truth to her.” Klaus leaned his elbows on his knees, bringing himself to Cain as he fell back in his chair. “The question, the real question dear cousin, is not what you should do, but whether you trust her enough-.” Klaus was cut off by Cain’s absent mindlessly out-loud thinking, “We’ve known the Deaeque sisters for over two hundred years…”
“What do you think Theo would do with Scarlet? What would she want with her?”
“To poke and prod her like a test subject, try to study her like one her microorganisms she looks at under a microscope. She’d want to try to understand her, why is she- what inside her makes her different, what makes her Blessed?”
“I could see Theo saying those things, but Cain; she’s a scientist- one of our best. She questions everything in the world and seeks to answer every question.”
“Are you telling me that I should trust Theo and Pals?”
“Why mention Pals?” Cain looked at Klaus, waiting for him to answer his own question. The two sisters were closer than Cain was with his own wife, so until sworn to secrecy- which they both would be- it would only be assumed that Theo would tell Pals. “Wait, never mind. Forget I asked. But to answer your question, no, I’m not telling to do or do not trust them. You said it; we’ve known them for over two hundred years, you trust them… but do you trust them enough to have the truth?”