Ravyn's Nights - Book 2

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Chapter 7

~1701~

The following week brought with it the first council meeting of the new year. During this particular meeting, Sean had the unpleasant task of trying to convince his Kindred peers to place stock in the words of a five year-old human child. Erica had fearfully informed Claire and Sean that the other settlers often spoke of a man who they were all quite terrified of. They referred to him as a snake and he had been the apparent culprit behind several ongoing attacks on the settlers and their families since the settlement first sprung up there on the coast, which had been years before Haven had even arrived there and been given his Princedom.

Considering the source of the information, the other Kindred were not prone to taking the warnings of a child seriously, and left the meeting before any solid course of action could be set into place “well, that went well” Haven sighed as the others left he and Sean behind in their meeting room.

“I’m guessing you aren’t going to take this seriously either?” Sean returned with obvious annoyance at the stubbornness of his co-councilors.

“Considering other things we’ve heard about this so-called serpent, and the fact that these attacks have been going on for nearly a century now, I’m a bit more inclined to listen” Haven replied, though his worried look didn’t add much more to Sean’s confidence in the outcome of this entire situation.

“You still look quite wary though” Sean observed as his eyes moved over his sire “is this new plan of yours with Awsha not working out after all?”

“I don’t recall discussing any plan” Haven stated, though his voice lowered, as well as his gaze.

“Though I’m fairly sure that you’ve developed some sort of plan to attempt to dissuade her possible desire to see you dead” Sean told him knowingly “and replace it with some other desire” he added bluntly.

Eyes still down, Haven gave his only explanation “my only choices here are to trust this interpretation of Minna’s vision so completely that I murder my own childe before she can do the same to me” he shook his head “or else I do everything I can to make her love me too much to ever harm me” another sigh “I suppose it was a reasonably easy decision when put against our desire to retain our humanity. Even faking affection is not as painful to the soul as the other option would be.”

“So you’re just going to pretend to love her until when? Eternity?” Sean asked, though softly.

“I somehow doubt we’ll have that long” Haven stated, eyes still downwards.

“Meaning?” Sean asked worriedly.

“Meaning we now can be fairly certain that the serpent is real, and he is here, and he has been longer than we have” Haven replied with a sigh that carried more than a bit of defeat to it.

“Ok, so tell me, why is this so-called serpent so bad, and why is he even called that? And why do you actually seem scared? You’re over 250 years old. I doubt there are many other Kindred who could really pose that much of a threat to you, are there?”

“He’s at least a century old, but if he’s one of them…“ Haven just shook his head again rather than finishing that thought.

“Them who?” Sean pressed.

“The serpents… that’s a nickname for another clan of Kindred. And we have to assume he is indeed Kindred if these attacks have been going on for so long” Haven offered at least the beginning of an explanation.

“You’re going to have to give me more than that Haven” Sean continued trying desperately to understand this prophecy as much as he possibly could.

“If this is what we think it is, that makes him a Follower of Set, a Setite: the serpents” another sigh from Haven “they’re very rare outside of Egypt, but there’s been so many ships coming to this new world in the last two centuries, it would be foolish to write it off as impossible for one of their kind to have made it to these shores.”

“Ok, so still if he’s younger than you, than we’re still ok, right?”

“Sean, as powerful as we Toreadors are; our power lies in our ability to sway and mesmerize and enamor others to us. Yes we’re strong and we’re fast but…” he just shook his head “to put it mildly, we’re the seducers and beguilers of the Kindred race, not the warriors” he admitted quietly.

“What does that even mean?” Sean scoffed, though his worry was clear.

Haven took another moment before trying to explain further “all the clans are designed differently. That’s why there are clans at all. We all have different strengths. And some definitely serve different purposes. Toreadors’ purposes are to love and create art and beauty and stay as human as we possibly can and remember what it means to be human. And our abilities make that possible for us” Haven swallowed a moment “other clans have very, very different purposes and strengths indeed.”

“I’m guessing you’re talking about these Setites?”

“There are thirteen original clans of Kindred, and only seven are part of the Camarilla. Only seven care to stay hidden from and live in peace with humans” Haven told Sean the facts he was already aware of, “and as you may have noticed; there’s no Setite clan representative to be seen among us.”

“So he’s an asshole that preys on humans. I got that part, but all this talk of strengths. You make it sound like you don’t think we can stand against him” Sean continued, trying to keep his own voice even.

“You have to have already started to see the difference just among the seven peaceful clans” Haven stated as he finally looked back up at Sean “take Lissa for example.”

“What about her?” Sean narrowed his light blue eyes.

“She can stay awake during the day. She can meld with the earth to avoid the sun. She can take the form of any animal she pleases. She can turn her body into an invulnerable mist. She can even grow six inch claws while in human form” Haven rattled off her list of attributes “and yet she’s less than a century old. How do you think you’d fare in a fight with her Sean, honestly?”

Sean then looked away, his eyes briefly moving to the door Lissa had exited through minutes earlier “I guess it’s a good thing she’s on our side” he let himself admit.

“Exactly” Haven stated plainly “now imagine someone with even more powerful abilities, who’s even older than her, and who is decidedly not on our side” another sigh “think about that, and then remember the very first part of the prophecy” he watched as Sean looked downwards again “now, what plan do you think will stop all of this from happening? Please tell me, because I would love to know” Haven finished, his voice breaking slightly as he moved to leave Sean behind with his less than optimistic words.


After Luke and Isabelle retired to their own room for the evening, Claire put Erica to bed as well. As the little girl drifted off to sleep, Claire watched her for a few moments, a slight sigh passing her own lips. She had hoped that maybe Erica would bring new light and hope to their strange lives, but with these prophecies of doom hanging over them all now; it was a bit difficult to hold onto that idea either. Though Claire’s dark thoughts were interrupted as she caught the sound of the front door marking Sean’s return from that night’s meeting.

When she moved to the living room to greet him, she found him lying on the couch, ice blue eyes on some random portion of the ceiling, his hand moving through his hair once more as an immediate clue to his mood “Went that well, huh?” she asked him as she slowly moved toward the couch to look down at him.

“The Primogen barely believe the threat is real, except maybe Minna, and for once she’s not saying much” Sean scoffed, though he didn’t move his eyes to where Claire now leaned upon the back of the couch he lay upon.

“And what about Haven?” she asked.

Another scoff “and that’s the worst part. The others don’t believe me, but Haven definitely does.”

“How is that worse?” she asked with narrowed green eyes.

“He believes me, but…” Sean shook his head.

“But what?” Claire pressed.

“He’s acting like there’s nothing we can do to stop any of it. He thinks this serpent is too powerful for us to even try and beat him. It’s like he’s already given up” Sean added, anger covering his own worry.

“That sounds less than ideal” Claire offered, trying to keep her voice from shaking at the prospect that their ever powerful leader didn’t seem to think there was much hope either.

That’s when Sean finally looked up at her, desperation in his eyes “I don’t want to give up, Claire. I don’t want to just let him march off to meet this supposedly imminent death. And I sure as fuck don’t want to know what ‘snakes coming to devour love’ means!” he added angrily.

Hearing his very real upset at the prospect of such a dark sounding fate coming to her, Claire could no longer keep her own emotions in check either “neither do I. But I don’t know how to…” she simply sniffled as she moved her hand up to catch the tear before it fell.

“Come here” Sean said, the gentleness returning to his voice however momentarily as he reached a hand out to offer to her as he led her around the couch to pull her down into his arms, holding her tightly against him “we need to figure out the how” he agreed as he placed a few kisses over her long locks as he continued to hold her against him “and the best place to start would be at the beginning. We have to keep Awsha from ever going anywhere near this serpent, and therefore getting ‘corrupted.’ Which apparently has to happen before she actually would go through with…” he stopped his sentence there.

“So, you think Haven will be safe with Awsha, as long as she never meets the serpent?” Claire asked.

“Well, that’s what the prophecy would have us believe, and as of right now, I don’t think Awsha is entertaining thoughts of Haven’s death just yet, considering” Sean had to add.

“Are we sure about that?”

“Fairly sure” Sean returned, “from what I understand, Haven is going above and beyond to make her fall in love with him. But…” his voice then trailed off again.

“But what?” Claire asked, turning her eyes to his questioningly.

“But who knows if she actually will fall in love with him, considering” he added the last word in a whisper.

“Considering that she’s already in love with you” Claire finished his sentence for him, which did well to cause him to quickly look back down at her.

“Ok, you’re now the second person who has told me that” he admitted with a worried sigh.

“I think something like that tends to be obvious to everyone except the actual object of the emotion” she admitted as she pressed her cheek closer to the thin material of the shirt he wore that night.

Moving on from his own discomfort at the idea that Awsha was indeed in love with him, Sean continued “and how long do we think Haven can keep pretending to love the woman who may murder him someday? And what happens if she ever figures out that it’s all a lie? That could be the very thing that…” he figured he didn’t need to finish that sentence.

“So, all we have to do is keep her from suspecting, or caring, that Haven’s feelings aren’t real, and keep her from ever meeting this serpent” Claire allowed another sigh.

“Keep her from caring about his feelings being a lie? How would we ever do that? I have a suspicion that if she ever found out that someone was playing with her the way…” his voice trailed off “I doubt she’d take it well, at all.”

“The only way that she wouldn’t care about Haven leading her on is… if she had something she wanted more than him” Claire allowed, though she had to force the words through her lips.

“You can’t possibly mean…” Sean looked down at her, her expression enough to compel him to say something more “so now I’m supposed to pretend I love her, instead?” he scoffed in disbelief.

“I don’t know Sean. I just know that as long as she wants you… there’s the possibility of her finally getting fed up with just waiting for you to feel the same, watching Haven treat you like the prized childe, watching you love me instead of her… I mean how long do we think she’s really going to endure any of that?” Claire whispered worriedly.

“So, either we all have to placate her into believing we actually do love and care about her the way she wants us to, or we have to just kill her before she can kill him. Are those really the only choices?” Sean asked in disbelief.

“Those seem to be the same choices Haven has come to, but I don’t think any of us believe that she really will just settle for being Haven’s lover. Eventually, she’s going to want more. And we have an idea of what she may do to try and get it” Claire reminded.

“So, we’re right back to our original problem” Sean returned with another shake of his head.

“The only thing we can still do is try to prevent her ever coming into contact with this corruptor, and considering we have no clue where and how to locate him, or deal with him even if we did….” Claire just let her voice trail off hopelessly once again.

“Is it any wonder the Malkavians minds all break” Sean mumbled after another moment.

“Pardon?” Claire looked up at him.

“That’s what Haven said to me when I first was stupid enough to tell him about the prophecy. Malkavians all lose their minds because of their knowledge, and perhaps also because of their inability to stop any of their visions from coming to pass. We’re not meant to know the future…. Look how it tears us up just to hear some possible version of it, then try to interpret and change it” another soft sigh “at this rate we’ll all probably end up losing our minds.”

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