The Road to Skara Brae

Ever Building
Personal Journal of Elizabeth Bartlet-Brody

The town is springing up around us at a near alarming rate. Everyone has a job and there is little bickering or complaint among them. Even my myriad of children seem to be getting used to a more simple and relaxed way of doing things. The way things ever should have been.

I regret that they do not remember Abel, because I remember. I often remember and feel a well of pain buried beneath months now of peace and utter contentment. This is the life I yearned for, this is everything I always held in my heart, what I carried all those years in my search to redeem my Finn.

Finn and I have worked masterfully, he’s calm to my tension, order to my chaos, and sometimes chaos to my order. The perfect foil. Our pups grow daily, sometimes it even feels as though it’s hourly. They are lovely and wonderful and everything they should be. Though it’s fair to think that perhaps I look on this with rose tinged glasses.

The strange collection of supernatural creatures we’ve gathered never ceases to amaze. A gargoyle, a mummy, vampires, werewolves, mage, marauder, fae. We have nearly everything there is to have and yet, there is peace. It is proof that what we were attempting on Santa Catalina could have worked.

In spite of all the glorious progress we make, I still feel as though a cloud hangs over this place. As if immanent doom is waiting beyond every corner. Perhaps it is just the restlessness that has come from control. We have been prepared for everything that has come our way and the lack of fear on every dawn is… different.

Admittedly there are times that I’ll round a corner and see a shock of blond hair and broad shoulders and feel myself begin to shake with the idea that it could be him. I’ve never been entirely convinced that I myself went unscathed through all those many encounters when I was stupid enough to leave my guard down. The times when Abel and I went days without speaking. What if I simply don’t recall… what if the star didn’t work… what if he will find a way to me regardless.

Finn knows of my nightmares and does his best to sooth them, and I see the hardness in his eyes when I have spoken of the horrors that befell me, and my daughter. In that I feel that Aisling and I will have a bond that no other would understand. It pains me to consider the bond we share in this. I know that we would be defended in the future, should anything like this occur here, and now. That knowledge is only a paltry comfort to a lifetime of pain and strife, a lifetime of fear that I will have to learn to live without.

Perhaps in time I will stop seeing his face. Perhaps I will stop believing in monsters under the bed. Perhaps in time I will forget that living nightmare and what a real monster is capable of.

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Quiet before the storm
Personal Journal of Elizabeth Bartlet-Brody

I honestly don’t know where to begin. I usually recount the horrible things that have happened in the past days but in the end, anything negative has been washed away with the quiet and peace and dare I say happiness.

It began as all the rest, the teasing, joking, arguing… The way things have always been.

Viola managed to make friends with local druids, there is a tenuous peace between our caern and their grove, an understanding that we stand for the same things. The one problem is that the Countess of Orkney was once a member of their number and intends to twist their magic to nefarious means. In the end it is hardly world ending, but I am not disappointed in that. There is more to live for in this world than then next fight.

There are days that I consider all of my many years, the decisions that I’ve made. I find that the comfort to be found in family is enough to sustain, even those that are not my blood. Whether they know or not, I would live and die for each and every one. They are my life… they are their future siblings.

Things come in threes they tell me. So naturally Viola found a toy to play with, Joan found herself with child again… and Finn and I… Where to begin there, by now the pages of this journal speak for themselves on that subject.

I began to question the idea at all, one cannot force love on another, I more than anyone would know that. However, it seems it was matter of time and the intervention of The Stag. He appeared to me when I had thought all was lost, that I had chased Finn away and it was the end, but I was wrong.

He had found that Abel had come to the aid of the Pixie that had warned me off so many years ago. Locked in a battle he sought to set them free the only way he could. Death. Please do not take this to understand that I feel no loss for Abel’s departure, however he had said his goodbyes long before I left.

When we returned, I was caught up by Finn and carried into what would be the next course of my life. Literally, he picked me up and carried me over the threshold into his house. I won’t carry the details here, but you can assume what you like. It would likely be accurate.

What followed in the next days would be the conception of six pups and the planning of a rite of mating. In his words, it is the way things are done, and it isn’t as if either of us are going anywhere. Which is true, you don’t love someone with every fiber of your being and then suddenly change your mind after three hundred years.

Though, I would say that I am not exactly pleased with the way he found out… Fionn has taken a liking to him at least, which is good considering she was named for him. what followed may seem like a series of pranks is much more likely trials for who she see’s as the very first father figure in her life.

So here I stand, on the eve of taking a mate, my mate, the one I have pined over for three centuries… I scarcely believe it myself. Now we’ve the rest of our lives to live, to truly live.

I am left without want or desire for the first time in my past, and I am utterly prepared to accept that good does sometimes come even when the skies are the darkest. Perhaps this is not the quiet before the storm at all, perhaps, there is no storm.

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Home Again
Personal Journal of Elizabeth Bartlet

Nothing is ever as it seems.

After momentary peace, we were faced with Assamites at our door, or rather at the door of the caern where we had been staying. Their populous seemed very peace-loving and so, we opted to offer to protect them. We doubled their number of guards and when we were faced with the enemy, we defeated them easily. It didn’t hurt of course that Red Talons found them first, and managed to rip them to pieces. Nine vampires, and a stray. The stray we took in, she was newly turned and Viola has taken her under wing.

The next day nearly, after some interpersonal struggles, and the birth of triplets. With any luck and some convincing, we can improve chances of successful delivery with less woman dying on the table.

I had forgotten how messy childbirth is. And in my only dress… Finn was kind enough to offer a spare kilt and shirt until my clothes were cleaned, Viola also, as she was in a similar state. That’s what I get for ripping someone’s heart out.

The looks around the camp and the significant glances reminded me why I don’t wear other peoples clothes. Especially other people that I am harboring intense feelings for… I found myself fraught with the process of discussing business while fending off the laughter and teasing from around the warder’s fire. Needless to say conversation was awkward at best.

The following day, I had been intending on greeting the new pups and found myself face to face with ten white howlers, all adult and all immediately recognizable. My children, aged at least ten years in just a few short months, but still, they were before me and I felt myself utterly overcome. Fionn was collared with a note around her neck indicating that the fairy, FInn’s fairy, had found Abel and the children and sent them back to be, under the condition that she kept him. My heart broke for the thousandth time as we got my children to safety. They slept for four days.

My blood boils at the next, she broke the barrier between Arcadia and this world when she sent them, intent on robbing me of what joy that I did have. Finn took a group of us into Fairy and struck an accord, just a matter of moments inside had been two days outside. We found the Caern in chaos, as everyone lay sleeping and wrapped in wild vines. Finn took what we needed to stop the onslaught while Viola, Percy and I began the process of waking and moving people. The land would never be reclaimed, so we moved them.

The trip to Skara Brae took less time than the trip there, though it is likely due to our Marauder friend and his way with the weather. Aisling gave birth to her daughter on board, a healthy girl, as lovely as her mother and father combined.

I find myself leading a dual triumvirate with my daughters and the Fianna. It is a chance I never would have had in our old lives and now faced with it, I am full of fear. My heart is drawn toward the opportunity of a second change, but yet, there is never time. Never time. With my children returned, my attention has been on them, as it always should have been, and now on the Caern. None of this however stops the yearning, or my careless gaze across the open courtyard at where my heart belongs.

It takes everything that I am to remember my place in this story, and to give things time. To let him be the man he is, and not who he was, and care for and love him as he is… that is the most simply part of all. As they say, the heart wants what it wants, despite my years and all the pain, it has never truly changed it’s mind.

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The Peace I have Found
Able Flemming

I don’t know why she was so afraid of the wraith. I saw her hand coming down on a perfect shinny white orb. In that instance i realized it was Albrecht. She was going to write him out of history. All i could think of was how to save the children at that point. Fionn looked like a deer in a headlight. I know she was not going to make it to her mother in time. So I jumped away from the rest of the group so i could save them. I went into the Umbra. Burning all the rage my body could muster. First to Fionn, as i pulled her into the Umbra I explained to her that she needed to help me grab as many as her brothers and sister as we could. By some miracle we able to get all of them. I could only think of one place possible to go, Arcadia. For it was a den realm i could reach by activating the Silver Key. So i opened the Hedge and that is when everything changed.

We were safe. As i watched the hedge close behind us i could see the blinding light then everything faded to darkness as it closed. As i turned back around we were in a large field of white daises. I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. It was peaceful, the calmest i have felt in years. I looked around and the children were looking at me with wide eyes. Then i noticed there were 10 of them. It was easy to know which one was not mine. The one that had a grin from ear to ear. Wolves do not smile like that.
Before i could even say a word the wolf shifted into what i could only describe as an Elf. She introduced herself as Aneria. Warden of the Seelie. She had sensed our coming for the activation of the Sliver Key called to her. Aneria told me we must move now for it is not safe. For the Unseelie would sure to be here soon and they would not take as kindly for us being there. We were told we must talk to the King Oberon and Queen Titania . They would offer us safe haven here for the unselfish deed i did to bring us here.

It took several days for us to reach the Seelie court. We were greeted with open arms. The King and Queen were very easy to deal with. He offered us refuge here in his lands. That we could live our lives in peace and I could raise my children. But i know there was a catch. King Oberon then told me that i was not able to go back to the realm of mortal men. For my return would undo the fabric of time and possible destroy the worlds as we know it. It seemed like i really did not have a choice. So i agreed to his terms. But i had my children and that was all i needed.

We found a beautiful plot of land that we were able to build a house. I got to be the father i was not able to be to them. Watching them grew into teens and young adults. I started training them all in the ways of my people. Combat, lore, culture, etiquette and survival skills that they will need someday. The White Howlers will survive. Someday they will be called to the aid of the garou once more. My children will be ready. My bond grew stronger with my children stronger and stronger everyday. My mind, spirit, and body at peace. I could not tell you the last time i had my armor on or even picked up my klaive. if i could remove this crown i would. Life is so different and i am enjoying it.

Their are times my mind goes to Beth. I hope that she might be fine. I have no clue. The children have adapted well without her. Fionn has stepped into the roll of her mother well. She has become a beautiful woman. Strong hearted and a very good head on her shoulders. I wonder if things would have been different with Beth and myself if we did not have to deal with all the turmoil that consumed our lives. I never wanted to be a savior, a hero, i just wanted to live my life. Now i have that chance but there is something missing.
Everything was great then came the day a Pixie named Brianna came to visit. She was pleasant, upbeat. We talked and she asked if she could stay with us, for she had never seen our kind before. So we took her in. That night i tucked the children into bed even though some of the older ones hated me doing it. I did not care. I have done it since we arrived here. Then i went to bed myself and then………………………………

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Different book, same old story...perhaps.
Personal Journal of Elizabeth Bartlet

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Where to begin?

I suppose where it always begins and ends, Finn. I’ve been doing everything in my power to insulate him from everything we’ve experienced… but he asked and I won’t make the same mistakes twice. I won’t hide things from him and fear his response, I will try and trust, lest he become to me what Abel did… and forget how to trust my judgement.

In truth, I can see he is overwhelmed, wary, even fearful. We are unlike anything he has ever known, more to the point, I am not exactly the most simple thing to deal with. I have one thousand years and two lives in my head. It leaves me spinning in ways I cannot begin to explain. So I stick to the constant. My children, my friends, Finn.

There has been a newness in this world, a strangeness. I began to feel out of sync with my surroundings, the peace… I found my center in the fight. As odd as that sounds, I’ve always been my most focused in the heat of battle, and as always battle found us.

Our enemies in this word are former allies. The Assamite, the Red Talon, the Rokea. The Talon slaughtered what was left of the white howler in Scara Brae. For once I don’t blame myself. I am in a world that does not know me, it would have happened regardless, and without us, Finn would have found them and been unable to defend himself.

He didn’t attack… He stayed in the back and let us handle it. He seemed perplexed by the concept of war, of fighting, violence. He even objected to the killing of hunters. I dominated them, adding them to the crew of the pirate’s ship we’d been sailing on.

He’s a galliard. A GALLIARD. It makes sense, he was a shit Ahroun before. Aisling just looks at him like he’s damaged. I’ve had to explain to her countless times that he’s different, Angus just seems to think it’s funny.

Viola and Percival haven’t made my slow integration very easy. We reached the caern of Ireland several days ago and I found myself being offered a place in Finn’s home. Naturally an Assamite broke in while we slept. I should note that there was only one bed, so naturally we shared it. The jokes abounded once it was realized that We’d spent the night together. Naturally nothing happened… truth be told I’m trying very hard not to rush things. I haven’t the foggiest idea how he feels about my presence in his world, much less if he’s developed the same feelings that we shared before.

He slept homid… He never sleeps homid. Also, apparently in this world he sleeps in the buff, which was a shock. The Assamite… Right. He was looking for Assam Salim… the same vampire that hid Abel all those years in the old world. Naturally we hadn’t seen him, until of course they found him hiding in the Caern.

I’ve since spent the past few days building wards to cover the caern and keep the vampires, ghouls, wraiths, technology, humans and werewolves out. Their Theurge watched me, Percy stayed by my side, absorbing everything that he could about what I was doing. They were gifts, and not something he could learn, but it didn’t matter, doing them over such a large distance was more of a ritual than it was the way they were intended.

It hadn’t occurred to me that they would never had seen such magic before until after I had done it. Thirteen hundred years gives one a great amount of time invent and create I suppose.

The only true negative that this journey has wrought is the insistence on a path that I don’t wish to force on someone. My feelings are utterly unchanged towards Finn, even with the difference, the kinder gentler Finn is more like the man I met at first, before the trauma of knowing me changed him. I had almost forgotten how much more soft he had been. I had forgotten. Though in the end, I had to make peace with my memories. It wasn’t as if I would see that Finn again, was it?

Everything is upended. There is no america, there is no new world to speak of, and the Sabbat had utter control of it, it lays unchecked and likely there is war between they and the Garou nation that thrived because we did not kill them off. There is no Giovanni, and there was no destruction caused to the Salubri, the Capadocian and the Tremere did transform, but without stealing the power. Carthage never fell.

The world is utterly unfamiliar to me, and we all struggle to find a place. So we will make one here, protecting these people as if they were our own, and in another life some of them were.

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The Story that Writes Itself.

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My story has seemed to had made a drastic change! With the meeting of very diverse Pack. Still not sure which one is the Alpha. But the all seem to take a roll in leading. Their personalities are all very strong. Sometimes they may be to strong for someones liking. They say they know me, but part of me is still very skeptical. Why would they know of a simple storyteller. I do what Gaia has charged me to do. I travel the Isles and record what i find. If it is good or bad. Everything has a part in this story.

I suppose this is just the beginning of another chapter. I just have the feeling everything is about to go sideways. The Red Talons are on the move. They have attacked Skara Brae. Killing what White Howlers were there at the time. I have no trust for the Talons. Honestly i never really did. They are pure savages. The Howlers were avenged by the Pack i am traveling with. Their attack was just pure violence. I haven’t seen anything like it. I helped as much as i could. But combat is really not my thing. Besides i think i would just get in the way.
Returning home was nice. I have not been there in months. It is always nice to be around family and friends. Drinking and telling tales and just being able to sleep in ones own bed is truly comforting. Then getting to share it with someone is even better. Even though nothing happened I still very much enjoyed the company. Until the morning. Assamites in my home. That is not a way to wake up with. I have only heard stories of them. The way he moved was swift and powerful. He had no fear. I would never want to face one of them. I told him what he wanted and he left. So i am thinking he has some type of honor he must go by.

I know i am leaving out many details of the last couple of weeks. But when i have time i will fill in everything i have left out. Sometimes my head just gets filled with to many things and i need to sort them out before putting them to paper…..

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Fear and Loathing
Personal Journal of Elizabeth Bartlet-Fleming

It feels odd to write with quill and ink, though I cannot chance that my modern ball point pen would be seen by those that would label it witchcraft. The familiar feel of handmade paper warms and cools my soul simultaneously. We have started over, those of us that made it… we’ve lost so much.

I know that they will not hear it because they do not want me to dwell, my daughter and her mate know me so well. My heart is broken for our losses, and I never, never meant for it to happen that way. Fear is a powerful motivator, and once it’s icy grasp takes hold, there is little to do but react.

I had intended to hide the star. Somewhere safe, where no one could undo my world without time to prepare. Abel… didn’t know about the wraith, it was my fault. I was afraid of what he would say, and when I would have told him there simply wasn’t time. He broke the curse, the last thing that would twist my soul upon itself, and cause me to do the unthinkable. He also broke the bond between myself and Albricht, allowing the wraith, who knew full well what I intended, to attack. In that moment, I was faced with my worst, and most over whelming fear. He couldn’t touch me, not again.

I’m skipping too far ahead, forgive my wandering mind, but to understand the choices I’ve made, you have to understand what he did to me, to my daughter, and my mate. It was his action that led to every single painful moment in my existence. He had me made vampire, so that I would be unlovable. He made copies of me, and my Aisling and violated them to the fullest. The ritual that was used… could have been used on me and I may not ever remember horrors that were visited on my own body in secret.

When Abel was away, I never slept. It likely only strained our volatile relationship because he would never fully understand. My fear drove me to great lengths to protect my people and time and time again, I left myself vulnerable to attack because I simple did not know my attacker for what he was. Until I did, and then I did not rest while his spirit yet remained. Able to linger, to watch, to wait, to touch…

When I saw the wraith, it’s red eyes on me, in that moment I was so crippled by my worst nightmares, I did the only thing I could do… I crushed it, and I watched my family fade away before my eyes. They will haunt me for as long as I have life.

In truth everything is a blur, I saw them, they were right there, just a step out of reach. My children, my legacy. Abel. Gone because he fled from me and chose oblivion. My heart breaks for them, daily, even hourly as I think of every moment. Aisling grieves as I do, quietly, in secret. Angus will keep her, as he did me when I had lost everything before.

I sit here, at a desk I where I have sat before, and write with a sleeping wolf on my bed. Not any wolf, but my Finn. He found me, just as he did the first time, though not a vampire, but a werewolf instead. A grieving woman who had lost her family but gained a second chance to stop an evil so pervasive. My only hope is that we can make this world a place worthy of the sacrifices I’ve made.

Elizabeth Bartlet

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Stars
Personal Journal of Elizabeth Bartlet-Fleming

I held it in my hand. The future, the past, the end. Then I looked into the eyes of my mate, all of our various lives together looking out at me at once, pleading.

“You don’t know how much it will undo.”

No, in truth I do not, and right now, it is not worth the risk. I might speed the process and find myself utterly alone… or I could be at the beginning of this life again, with my Finn, with Viola, Angus, and I could set everything right.

Then I consider my children. They are what I gave to this world, and I think of their loss… they would have never existed, but what if they do, what if they are Finn’s children, like we always meant it to be, but what never could be, because I was dead; because my life was sold for the price of a few souls.

Angus and I spoke at length when we returned. I told him of the star gazer, the star, everything. He asked that I wait, that I not take away life from people who may never exist again. He asked that we take them with us, if we were to change things. I vowed not to unless it seemed that we would all die, if it seemed to be the utter end of it all, I would take matters into my own hands.

I hate myself for it but I lied. I will wait, but I will not take Angus with me when I go. I cannot curse him with these memories, and with another thirteen hundred years of following me and hoping that one day I will change. It’s selfish, I know, but I cannot ask them to remember this if we will even exist at all after it is done.

There is no way to know the effects. There is no way to know what the cost will be. The outcome of a world without that monster is a simple enough idea to grasp, our lives will have been utterly changed without Jonas Albricht. Abel will cease to be, our children will cease to be. I would never have been Giovanni, and never would have been cursed to forget my true nature.

The thought that everything I have ever wanted was in my hand is almost maddening. Then again, it could simply just be the death of what I have now… which is why I ultimately returned it to the sky. That is an action for a moment of utter desperation. When and if it seems that I will lose this life and everything that makes it worth living, then I will make the choice.

Angus asked me if I would truly give up my immortality for the sake of an unknown, and the answer is yes. For him, for Abel, for Viola and Percival, I would give up living entirely to ensure that they were still in this world. Living on while everything dies around you is not living, it is barely existence and not one that I plan on having. There is nothing I wouldn’t give to see those that I love thrive, so while they yet live I will wait. In the end death comes for all, except me… which is why I will ultimately risk the cost.

In time.

Elizabeth Bartlet

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The Carousel
Personal Journal of Elizabeth Bartlet-Fleming

Life is cyclical. My life is even more so than others, to the point that without fail I can tell you how something will fall apart; simply because it must to complete the cycle of silent torture that I exist within.

That is not to say that everything is wrong, but more is wrong than is right.

My anger has yet to fade; I’ve received my vengeance but am yet to be sated. Destroying the one that stalked me as prey is not enough. I will remove a cog from the wheel and perhaps, regain some modicum of control.

I’ve begun to fear that my never ending life will be far longer than anticipated. A cruel joke played on someone who dared be happy and find love again. I have not shared this fear with any, save one, and he would not tell a soul. He could not, because he still bares love for me.

My newest torture revolves around watching those that I cared for so deeply find happiness with someone else simply because I was too afraid to ask. Even more cruel when it is your own child. The pain is selfishness on my part, because after knowing someone for so long it’s hard not to love your constant companion. I miss the confidant that he was, the ever present friendship that has dwindled because of the pain that exists now between us. I know I’m being dramatic, but in the end that is who I am. A woman left wondering if time could be turned back, if things could be changed… but no. That would strip what simple pleasures we have now.

Perhaps it is for the best. I no longer mourn for my Finn, he is laid to rest and so are the pieces of my heart that he so fervently stole. I mourn for the feeling, the sensation of the deeply connected love that I felt then. I love, but not to the same degree, not with the same abandon of reason.

In truth, I never will again. It was too costly a thing to let my heart run free and unbridled. Now I must simply clean up the messes that I left in my wake, and hope that it will be enough to revoke whatever punishment I might have earned and free me from this purgatory. In truth… it is unfair to say that this life is purgatory, it is merely a half-life with pleasures equal to the pain.

It is unfair to wish for my own death, but in the end… after so much, I cannot help that in the end I will be able to be rest in peace, finally, after so many years. A rest that I am most assuredly unworthy of.

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Dark Side of the Moon
Behind closed doors

The flash of light that proceeded the arrival of the new king was unexpected. Marcus Fingerlakes, the philodox left in charge of the cairn, stood at the head of the pack that intended to greet their leader Jonas Albricht.

As this giant, white wolf stepped from their cairn stone a hush fell across the pack of wardens. Here stood Abel Fleming, wearing their king’s crown and wielding his klave. The challenge rang out almost immediately. “Where is Albricht?” Abel very simply turned and matter-of-factly announced, “He is dead.”

The silence was palpable as people began to give way. Marcus strode forward and blocked the giant’s path and narrowed his eyes. “How?” Rage ebbed from the new king as he stared down the philodox. “He was challenged successfully during a time of peace.” Marcus nodded and removed himself from Abel’s path. “Tell us how.” Abel seemed to set his shoulders and folded one arm over the other as the cairn watched. “He was killed for dishonoring a mated pair.”

Alarmed gasps pierced the silence that had gathered over the cairn as worried murmurs began to follow. “I think you should follow me.” Marcus said uneasily and began to press through the gathering crowd towards the largest of the few homes in the cairn. The inside of the home was clean, too clean in fact.

The counters were bare, the floors were devoid of even the slightest piece of errant dirt. Only a thin sheen of dust covered the surfaces, indicating no one had entered the home since it’s master had left. “We weren’t allowed to come here.” Marcus explained as the king glanced around with growing unease. “I asked you to follow me because I believe I understand what has happened here. You need to know, that we were not aware. If we had known…” Abel held up his hand. “If you find out otherwise…” Marcus nodded and started towards the rooms located in the rear of the home.

It was incredibly ordinary at first, the pair walked the halls and investigated the guest rooms they passed along the way, making their way to Albricht’s own space. The king pushed the door open to the large master suite and found it in much the same condition. A large four poster bed lay in the center of the room, impeccably made and kept. The dressers were devoid of decoration save a single painted portrait of an elegantly dressed victorian woman. She had bright blue eyes and blond hair, and was entirely unmistakable. Abel reached out and grabbed the picture, carefully pocketing it as if by reclaiming it, he was taking back what was done.

They continued silently into the rooms connected to the bed chamber, following a set of stairs into an office that lay under the main portion of the bedroom. As the lights began to flicker to life, a series of screens switched on displaying a number of what appeared to be security monitors. Marcus froze as realization began to dawn on him and the light began to reach all corners of the room, igniting the horror that had lay hidden for so long.

Along one wall was a shrine for lack of a better term, flooded with items that had belonged to Elizabeth in her many years. Trinkets, tokens, jewelry and belongings most ancient, but some, things that Abel seemed to recognize himself. As the large man moved toward the collection, he let out a low growl. Marcus stayed back, his eyes catching sight of a hundred items that he’d seen ferried into the cairn by many hands. A necklace that bore a small gold bell that was found in London, articles of clothing that were in various states of clean. Some of the items seemed centuries old and others, he’d seen Abel’s mate wear with his own eyes.

When they returned their attention to the monitors, the camera’s had been loaded to the screen. It was recognizable at once, they all depicted rooms that were contained within the mansion in New York. Most of them were angles of two rooms, the one that Abel himself had shared with Beth, and the one that had been his room, and later his daughter Aisling’s.

The stack of dated tapes beside the screen bore all manner of voyeuristic indulgence, and upon closer investigation the live footage of the rooms displayed on the screen looked well in order, except that both beds had been disturbed.

It was well known that this most grievous insult was more than enough to explain the death of the Cairn Leader, and when it was known outright, no one would protest it. “Were the rites performed?” Marcus asked finally. Abel only nodded as he continued to take in the violation that had occurred.

When it was all said and done, Marcus assured them that the items of value would be returned, and the rest destroyed. No one would speak against the new king, nor question his motivation. What had been done here broke every rule. For what appeared to be many lifetimes.

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