Ravyn's Nights - Book 1

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Chapter 64


Sean and Claire enjoyed a very profitable, and stimulating, three years running their new haven for Kindred and those devoted to them. They put fail safes in place of course, like reading auras at the door and erasing the night’s memory from any non-bound visitors the club catered to. For the most part, though, they had very little difficulty with the human authorities, as King James II was indeed bound to each of them, and even enjoyed frequenting their little club himself. And any place that the king approved of was literally untouchable to any member of the human government, so it was indeed a peaceful moment in their long lives, despite the actual activities that did take place under their roof for those three years.

Then came the birth of a son to James with his now second wife. Prior to his son’s birth, his eldest daughter from his previous marriage had been the supposed heir to the throne. His daughter and now supplanted heir, Mary II and her husband William III were obviously upset by losing the throne to Mary’s new baby brother, and things came to a head that year.

To achieve their own ends, Mary and her husband took to overthrowing James. They cited the reasons as being that James was still a Catholic and his new heir had been baptized as such, meaning that England would continue to be ruled by a religion many of the prominent Protestant nobles were already none too happy with. So those other leaders easily lent their support to James’ Protestant daughter and her husband, which led to James having to flee the country, and leaving his throne to the very daughter who had taken up arms against him.

Needless to say, without James’ support any longer, things were very likely to change for Sean and Claire as well. Without any human king supporting them, it was a mere matter of time before they could very well lose everything themselves.

It was a few days before Christmas of 1688 when Mary II, had accomplished her goals of causing James to leave the country and his throne behind, and was once again set to take her absent father’s throne. As she prepared to take the throne, Mary also decided to wrap up some other loose ends pertaining to her father. That day she had called in each of the men who had been her father’s personal guards until she at last got the information she was searching for.

Her father’s ‘friendship’ with the elusive and rarely seen couple who had run a theatre in the city was a constant sore spot with James’ family members. Though, as long as he remained king, there was nothing that could be done to end that friendship. However, now James was no longer king and no longer even in England and Mary decided to strike one last blow at the one thing that seemed to make her father happiest in recent years: His two closest ‘friends.’

“So where was this club those two now run?” she asked the guard who had been called before her last that afternoon.

“Princess, as your father’s personal guard, we are expected to keep his dealings to ourselves” the guard told her apologetically.

“My father is no longer king, and I will be queen very soon, so would you like to rephrase your answer?” she told him pointedly.

“I could give you the location, but they’re really quite careful about who they even let past the doors” he made another attempt at holding onto his former king’s secrets, as not everyone was so quick to forget who their king had been only days ago.

“And I could let you live, or you could continue to not give me the information I’m asking you for” she told him with a clear warning in her tone.

“Princess,” he attempted again, “your father is gone. Why do you even care about who his close friends had been? The two you’re speaking of aren’t even nobles. They’re no threat to you.”

“So it’s death you prefer then?” she stated as she moved her eyes to her own nearby guards.

“Ok, it’s on Vere street” the guard spilled the secret at last, “the place is called the Midnight Club” he confessed at last when her own guards moved their hands to their swords.

“Was that so hard?” Mary told him as she feigned a smile before standing to move closer to him and speak more quietly then, “and did you also discover, during your duties, what it was that drew my father to these two so often over the last fifteen years?”

“Princess, I already gave you their address” he stated, though his voice seemed to shrink even more.

Mary then leaned closer to speak in his ear “Were the terrible rumors about how close my father really was with these people, actually true?”

“Princess…” he stammered “your father swore us to secrecy about everything. Please don’t make me break my oath” he begged her.

“So there is an unseemly secret indeed then?” she said with anger flaring in her eyes before she turned to the other guards “Kill him. And bring my carriage around.”

That evening, the world in which Sean and Claire woke up in was very different than it had been when they had settled down for their daily slumber that morning. When they awoke, they were immediately brought to alertness by the smell of thick smoke hanging heavy in the air around them. Also, their location had changed from their comfortable quarters at the back of their club, to the dirty, dark, dank basement below the establishment.

Both exhibiting more than a bit of shock, they took in their new surroundings immediately noting their servant, Isabelle, who was right next to where they had awoken on that dirty basement floor, rather than in the lush bed upstairs they had went to sleep in. The young girl was covered with soot, her clothes and skin dirty and torn, multiple tear streaks down her face as she still sobbed quietly from where she was hugging her knees to her chest against the basement wall.

“Isabelle, what on earth…” Sean began, not even sure how to finish that sentence as he and Claire took another dazed look around them.

“Jonathan tried to stop them” Isabelle began with another sob, “I wanted to help, but he told me that getting you to safety was more important. So that’s what I did” another sniffle.

“I don’t understand, was there a fire or something?” Claire asked, though the smell of the smoke made that much apparent.

“Stop who?” Sean asked the girl, choosing to focus on her first sentence.

“They came so quick, they set the place on fire before we even knew what was happening. Jonathan, he tried to stop them, but there were so many guards… I didn’t go back upstairs to see if he was ok…the door was so hot” she added as she turned her blue-gray eyes to the basement steps, “but if he was ok… he’d have come back, wouldn’t he have?” she asked with another sob, making it obvious how close she and her fellow servant had grown over the last decade and a half.

“Guards?” Claire returned after they took a long moment to take in her story.

“They wore the royal crest… why would James do this to us? He loves you doesn’t he?” she pled, trying to make sense of it herself.

“I don’t think James is in charge anymore” Claire stated worriedly, “his daughter was trying to overthrow him last I heard… and now this happens” she finished sadly.

“I think we just found out whether or not we still have any friends at English court” Sean added with his own sadness.

“What are we going to do?” Claire turned to Sean, “I mean, if this was his daughter, she literally just tried to murder us… and she’s going to be the new queen?”

“I think we may have finally overstayed our welcome in jolly old England” Sean conceded, venom dripping off the very name of the land that had previously been their salvation eighty-six years earlier.

The next few days were somber indeed. Sean and Claire had to decide whether or not their previous home, prior to the club, would still be safe to return to, especially while only having one servant remaining to protect them. They also had to have Isabelle go to the local money house to procure what wealth they had stored up from their three years of running the club. The two decided that the safest place for them after having been nearly murdered by their future queen was actually in the home of their current Prince.

Of course Hollister was none too happy with his new queen and this turn of events either and it didn’t make him pleasant company himself. Once Isabelle retrieved their savings, they didn’t waste very much time at all in procuring a ship back to America which was crewed by servants supplied by Hollister. He didn’t balk at helping them with that one last favor, as he had much maneuvering to do to cope with the new regime under Queen Mary II, and didn’t need to be harboring two members of his own line who the queen already seemed to have a personal vendetta against.

When they boarded the ship that evening, it was under a cloud of sadness and defeat. Some of their happiest times had been there in England after all. And neither of them was sure what life could possibly be waiting for them back in America, especially considering the triple threat of witch trials, war with the natives, and Sean once again being in proximity to the woman who nearly destroyed their now repaired marriage. Neither seemed to have very high hopes going into this trip at all, to say the least.

When Sean made his way down to what would be their quarters on the ship for the coming months as they crossed the Atlantic, Claire’s mood was still just as dark as it had been since waking up in that basement. Sean’s was equally dark, but he still always hated to see her sad.

“Where will we go?” she asked him sadly as he closed the cabin door behind him.

“I assume you want a more specific answer than ‘America?’” he attempted humor, though it was understandably difficult.

“I don’t want to go back to just hiding from the world night after night. I can’t go back to that” Claire voiced the worries he already knew were very real for her, “but what other choice is there when the only people for miles and miles all just wanna kill, burn and conquer each other? What kind of life could we possibly have in a place like that?” Claire pleaded with him for an answer she knew he didn’t have either.

“I don’t know, Claire” he admitted with a sad sigh, as he took a seat next to her on the bed, placing his arm around her shoulders.

“I mean the only people we even know there anymore are….” She just shook her head rather than speak that name.

“Well Haven’s supposedly going to be the Prince out on the west coast, not that I have any idea what, if anything is out there to be Prince of, anyway” he admitted.

“Haven’s not the one I’m worried about” Claire mumbled.

Sean cast his eyes downwards at the reminder of the one great hurt he had dealt her. Though, it was obvious that that hurt would be foremost in her mind now that it was very possible that they’d have to be confronted with that sin in the very flesh once they arrived in their home country once more.

“Well, she wanted Aidan when she thought he was important in the human world. She wanted me when she thought I could make her a star. Maybe she’ll only want Haven now that he’s been made a Prince” he hoped aloud.

Claire just shook her head, “If all she wanted from you was to be a star, you already gave her that. But she still felt the urge to throw away that entire dream just to feel you inside her” Claire stated with a bit of that long buried anger coming to the fore as she pulled away from him to then move to the other side of the cabin and busy herself with unpacking what few belongings they had managed to replace before boarding the ship.

“It’s been sixteen years” Sean started, only to receive a cool look in return, “what I mean,” he attempted clarification “is that since it’s been so long, she may not have any interest at all in me anymore.”

“Speaking as a woman who hasn’t lost interest in you in 100 years, pardon me if I have trouble believing that.”

“Amazing gift you have to give a compliment and make me feel guilty at the same time” Sean couldn’t help mumbling in return.

“Just want to make sure you remember the feel of that guilt the very first time she smiles at you again” Claire returned smartly.

“Thankfully,” Sean began as he moved across the room to kneel down next to her, “you’ll be there to remind me, often.”

“Oh I’ll remind you every fucking night” Claire returned, trying to sound angry through the smile that was threatening to escape.

“Remind me right now, please” he teased as he pulled her down to the floor with him, his mouth covering hers as a clear reminder to her of who he had chosen after all.

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