Ravyn's Nights - Book 1

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Chapter 56

“Claire, if you’ll excuse us” Griffyn stated in that same cool, emotion free tone as his dark eyes held Sean and Awsha tightly in his gaze.

“But…” Claire began her protest, but the dark look Griffyn flashed her was enough of a warning to force her to grudgingly take her leave and exit stage right.

Claire huffily made her way up the stairs to their living quarters muttering many colorful curses to herself along the way. When she finally reached the top of the stairs, she took out her anger the best way she could think to at that moment as she slammed the door to their quarters open with such force that the wood cracked upon the impact with the wall behind it. As she heard the sound of the crack, she glared at the door and slammed it shut once again behind her, causing the wood to splinter even further, which did nothing to improve her mood.

“I’m amazed this home has managed to hold together for sixty years, at this rate” a male voice greeted her from a seat at the corner of the darkened room before leaning forward into the candle light to make its owner’s identity known.

Claire immediately spun around to face the sound of Haven’s voice “I’m glad someone found something amusing about this night” she spat the response before angrily moving to take her own seat, not managing to hold his gaze for much longer, considering her mood.

“It was quite the performance” Haven stated, trying to remain flippant, though there was discontent in his tone as well.

“Griffyn’s down there” she finally managed after several more moments to allow her anger to attempt to cool, as futile as that was.

“I’m aware” Haven allowed with his own sigh as he moved to pour himself some of the red liquid that sat in a bottle atop the stand between his chair and the sofa Claire was attempting to shrink into.

Claire just shook her head, “he definitely does not seem happy” she added, her voice finally managing to even out somewhat, though her upset was still easily apparent.

“I’m aware” Haven repeated with yet another sigh and yet another sip.

Claire was silent again, for several more moments before her worry started to outweigh her anger ever so slightly, “how bad do you think this is going to be?”

Haven allowed a slight scoff before finding an answer, “You are giving my psychic abilities a lot of credit here.”

“Haven” she scolded him mildly for attempting to make light of the situation.

Haven finally allowed a more serious tone, “well, for you Claire, I doubt there will be any consequences other than the indirect sort” he paused as she narrowed her eyes at the statement, “for the rest of us though…. That may be a different story” he admitted quietly.

Claire swallowed another lump in her throat before responding, “who do you mean by ‘the rest of us?’”

“Sean and Awsha of course, and myself as well, I’m sure” he stated in the same quiet tone as he took yet another sip.

“Why you?” she asked, trying to push down the worry for her husband for one little moment.

“Well, I made her, and I’m sure you all thought that that was a rash decision on my part, considering she’s not been in my life for even a full year yet.”

“It was somewhat abrupt” she admitted, then added “but still, you are not honestly to blame for what they did out there tonight.”

“Well, hopefully Griffyn shares your opinion, though, that does have yet to be seen” he added with a bit more of that quiet guilt that was usually Claire’s forté.

“It’s not like they actually broke the Masquerade” Claire attempted to calm her own worry after several more moments of quiet contemplation.

“Not yet” was Haven’s odd response, which did cause her to look back his way.

“What do you mean?” she asked with her worry rising once again.

“Like you told them down there, they’ve drawn a lot of attention; The kind of attention that will make everyone who was in the theatre tonight remember their very youthful faces for many, many years to come” he explained in the same tone, as he also seemed to have trouble with holding her gaze for long. He then couldn’t stop himself from adding “this is yet another curse of our existence. We spend so much time in this world that we can’t help our desire to want to leave our mark on it. But if we ever actually did, it would be our undoing” he confessed as his voice trailed off.

Claire’s eyes then dropped sadly to the floor as the truth of his statement hit her. After another long moment, she had to say something just to keep from getting buried by her own increasing anxiety, “do you think that’s why they really did it, to ‘make their mark?’” she asked him softly.

“I honestly don’t know what possessed them to do it” he stated, though he sounded as though he was simply not permitting himself to say any more on the matter.

But Claire did say more, “Do you think it was honestly just wanting each other that made them do it?” she asked, though her voice came out in a broken whisper as she forced the words through her trembling lips.

“That would be the easiest conclusion to come to” Haven stated, though sadly.

“But not the only conclusion” Claire denied, causing Haven to turn his eyes back to her as she pressed on, “she’s one of us now, isn’t she?”

“Your meaning?” Haven stated, allowing her to express it before he dared to.

“The things we can do, the ways we can change others’ actions and feelings… The way we can force our desires on others… Do you think that she even could do that to Sean?” she stated aloud the one suspicion that was as equally terrifying as it was comforting, somehow.

Haven swallowed a bit too, keeping his eyes downwards as he thought on the possibility, “She is almost a century younger than Sean…”

“But?” Claire added the next word for him.

Haven swallowed again, “But she is also my childe, meaning the blood that brought her back from death was just as strong as the blood which brought Sean back seventy-four years ago” he admitted softly.

“And stronger than mine” Claire couldn’t help adding in a whisper as she too looked down to hide the drops of red that were burning to be free then.

After another long pause, Haven spoke again, “at most, Awsha’s abilities could only match Sean’s, not overtake his own, at least not if he actually had his guard up against them” he attempted some form of reassurance, though it was hard to tell how much reassurance there actually could be for that particular situation. Either Sean honestly wanted her, which would not be anything Claire would want to hear; Or else, he let himself be completely caught off guard by the powers of another of his kind, which was also not an especially comforting thought.

“I don’t think it was his guard that was up” Claire muttered.

“Honestly, which would be the better explanation? Sean being filled with desire for her or just allowing himself to be caught so completely unprepared for her true abilities?” Haven couldn’t help stating aloud his earlier thoughts. Though, the way Claire turned her eyes downwards again, Haven knew which would be more hurtful to her, in all honesty.

“Is there a third choice?” she asked, though more to herself as she continued to look away.

There was another long moment of silence there between sire and grandchilde before Haven finally spoke once more, “Assuming Griffyn doesn’t have something… else” he settled on “in mind, I’ll take her back to America with me as soon as we can procure a ship” Haven offered the only comfort he could right then.

Claire then looked back at him quickly, “I thought you brought her here so we could make her dreams of stardom come true?”

“I think she’s done well to thoroughly sabotage those dreams tonight, herself, hasn’t she?” he replied plainly.

“But why would she?” Claire shook her head, “she honestly couldn’t have thought this was a good career move.”

“Apparently her wants have changed since I first brought her here” was the only explanation he could offer.

“And now it’s my husband she wants” Claire looked down once again, “and she’s already proven that she’s strong enough to take him from me, hasn’t she?” Claire added as she tried to stifle a sob.

“Sean is as strong, if not stronger than her” Haven assured again, “he most likely just wasn’t aware that he had to be, in this way” Haven attempted to assure once more.

“Or the other option: He just didn’t wanna be” Claire whispered, sniffling as she left the painful conversation and disappeared to her bedroom instead, her own strength severely lacking right about then.

By the end of the evening, Griffyn made his judgments known: He decided that Awsha was to leave for America of her own accord, or else there would be a much more severe punishment if she chose to stay. After all, her recklessness was more than a danger to all of their kind in his city now. And though Sean would also be well remembered for their exhibitionism that night, Awsha’s face was already much more familiar to the mortal masses after her eight months spent on that stage already.

Haven himself was not banished from English soil, though he was told that he would not be making any other childe in London or any other territory he might find himself in, at least not until Griffyn’s temper cooled. Of course, Griffyn’s temper had been famous for lasting for centuries.

Sean too was given a choice between leaving for America with Awsha and apparently Haven as well. Or else he would be allowed to stay in London, if and only if he agreed to have no contact with anyone outside of his own household for a time period ‘as yet to be determined’ by their Prince. And again, the choice was Sean’s, and it was clear: Either leave the country at once, or stay, but agree to cut off all contact with the mortal world until Griffyn felt that he had learned his lesson, and that his face had sufficiently been forgotten.

“So choose” Griffyn stated plainly after Haven had led a seething Awsha from the theatre and Griffyn had laid out Sean’s only two options before him while Claire stood silently nearby, and still quite understandably distraught.

“But how could I continue to run the theatre with no mortal contact?” he had to ask.

Griffyn scoffed, “Do you honestly think you’ll be permitted to ever step foot in this theatre ever again, let alone continue to run it? Now choose!” he repeated angrily.

Sean flinched a bit at that revelation, but his mind had more important matters to process right then. He then turned to Claire “well, which wo---“

“Don’t speak to her. Speak to me” Griffyn immediately cut him off.

“But...” Sean began again, only to be cut short by his Prince even more loudly.

“It’s not too late for me to give you a third, much less pleasant option” Griffyn nearly growled the warning.

Sean forced his tongue to still itself as he cast Claire the slightest glance, which she could not make herself return just yet. He thought for another long moment, trying to determine which choice he honestly wanted to make, and wishing upon wish that he had been permitted to allow Claire to make the choice for him. However, his desire to allow the choice to be hers was probably the most likely reason Griffyn would not allow it to be.

After another long moment’s thought, he finally spoke, “I want to stay with Claire. I’ll go wherever she goes. That’s my choice.”

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