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The muffled sound of knuckles slamming against flesh sounded through training room, where in one of the netted pens two circled each other, a man and a woman, both with hair that looked nothing short of spun sunlight. Piercing blue eyes bore into…Continue
It was day in the city of Evermore, the spring sun shining down upon the lively town as winter waned away, more colors appearing against the monochrome landscape. Most of the residents of this “supernatural paradise” found themselves basking in the…Continue
The creature sashayed through the comforts of her baroque-inspired bedroom, a dusty mauve robe loosely cloaking her lithe frame, damp blonde locks cascading down her back, swaying as she moved to sit at her vanity table, ankles crossed beneath the…Continue
"...BUT HOPE SEDUCES LIKE A SILVER TONGUE, DOUBLE-EDGED LIKE A DAGGER THAT CUTS BOTH WAYS."
~ C H A R L I E F L E C T E R ~
"BEWARE OF THE HEARTLESS WHO MAKE YOUR HEART BEAT QUICKLY. THEY'RE JUST USING YOUR HEART BECAUSE THEIRS WON'T START."
~ R A C H E L W O L C H I N~
: virtues :
charming || insightful || observant || persuasive || intuitive || sensual || prim
: vices :
deceptive || devious || scheming || sly || suspicious || manipulative
: habits :
"THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO AVOID CRITICISM: DO NOTHING, SAY NOTHING, AND BE NOTHING."
~ A R I S T O T L E ~
There are two types of women in this world, those who are the candle and those who reflect the light. The candles boldly spread their bright flames, every curve every flickering of warmth and passion put out there for all to see and feel. The reflectors are more reserved in their demeanor, using any and all light to their best advantage, masters of subtlety they strengthen the flames in others while quietly feeding their own. Neither is more powerful than the other, both are supported on a firm foundation of confidence and strength cloaked in grace and beauty wielding their gifts with a sure and steady hand. Cecilia Laterza was firmly in the latter category, an enigmatic seductress with a silver tongue and enough allure to put even Aphrodite to shame.
The circumstances of her birth were unconventional, stemming from perhaps the biggest scandal to rock the Bastion and the Vampires as a whole since Valkyries had made the pact with the gods. Adamo Laterza II was a proud man, one of the head advisors to both King Valkyries and King Varian he took over as Bastion at a very young age after his father lost his mate in an accident that had him facing the dawn with a broken heart. When put kindly Adamo was a grave and solemn man, viewing everything with great gravity and suffered no fools; others would say he was dry and boring and took himself far too seriously.
It came as a huge surprise to everyone when he managed to snag a mate, even one as beautiful and socially graceful as Roza. They were a handsome couple, despite his lack of humor Adamo was tall and well built with all the grace of a fighter and Roza was a petite pixie with soft hands and an even softer smile. For many years following their mating they were the talk of the coven, the virtual poster couple that all others strove to live up to. As lead adviser for King Varian Adamo was often sent to small scatterings of covens, meeting with emissaries and dealing with issues abroad that couldn’t be attended to directly by the monarch. It was during his travels that Adamo met Flora.
Flora was everything Roza wasn’t, tall and willowy and not in the least bit demure. She was a woman who oozed allure and was completely at home in her skin, unashamed and undaunted by the affect she had on everyone that came within her sphere of influence. She wasn’t just sexy, she was whip smart with a sharp wit that entranced Adamo from their very first meeting; a meeting that lead to an infidelity that he hoped to simply sweep under the rug when he returned home. And for a time he did. The next time he visited the small town however, he discovered Flora was pregnant and while she was reluctant to admit it, they both knew it was his.
Ever the studious warrior Adamo brought Flora back with him, to the capital where he could care for both her and their unborn child. His mating became strained as word began to circulate about his indiscretion, but ever the dutiful mate Roza stuck with him spurning Flora in public. Thanks to her pull in the upper tiers of society Roza was able to twist things around, painting Flora as the golden haired vixen who had seduced her mate in order to try and advance her station. Even as she face this public humiliation Flora remained graceful and proud, unaffected by the prejudices set against her born of the lies Adamo’s mate had twisted.
King Varian could see the struggle of the valiant woman, and in holding to tradition would not be swayed from naming the child to his son’s Bastion. It was decreed by Valkyries himself that every first born of the Original Six lines would be named the successor, whether from a mating or not that tradition would stand. Roza was enraged by the decision insisting her mate do everything within his power to sway the King away from the decision which put Adamo in a struggle between his King and the woman he loved. Varian would not be swayed however, he respected and admired Flora for all her quiet dignity for she bore the stones of her enemies with a warrior's stalwart will. This caused some friction between the King and his first Advisor, but Varian was determined to at least give the child a decent future. Thus Cecilia was born, the bastard Laterza child and the fourth Bastion to be named in pledge to Prince Gideon.
Her birth was a somber affair, as Flora labored to bring her daughter into the world for far longer than was healthy and even with the King’s own physicians at her bedside Flora’s life ebbed as she brought her wailing babe into the world. Roza was furious when Adamo brought the newborn into their mated home absolutely refusing to so much as look at her. The male was torn, torn between allegiance to his mate and the great swelling of love he felt at the beautiful squirming baby in his arms. Against his mate’s wishes he decreed that Cecilia would be raised in their home but in deference to her he hired a wet nurse to attend to the girl, removing all parental influence that either he or Roza would have placed upon an offspring of their own.
Cecilia grew up knowing what she was, it was impossible not to when you had a vindictive step mother who took every opportunity to remind you that you were a mistake. Had that been the only influences in her life the young vampiress might have turned into another pathetic Cinderella story, walking around an abused shadow in a home where she was not wanted; but that was not her fate. Thanks to her King she was raised by a contingent of the finest tutors that the kingdom could offer, the very same people who had taught the Prince providing her with an education that couldn’t be matched. Her father was ever silent and cold towards her, though in rare moments she would catch him looking at her seeing that spark of love in the depths of his eyes that was undeniable. She lived for those moments, taking strength in his silent pride and ever striving to earn those looks.
Thankfully she hadn’t been completely cut off from her mother, a trunk of her journals had been the legacy she had left behind and in the lonely hours of the night she’d fill her time reading, following the words like a bright beacon into the depths of her mother’s soul. It was in those glances and the brittle pages that Cecilia found who she was, the gangly child with stringy orange hair blossomed into a tall and statuesque woman with thick, luscious locks of golden with streaks of mahogany. The only difference between herself and Flora was her eyes, for they were the same startling sky blue as her father’s.
As was required of all Bastion Cecilia was schooled in the deadly arts, her training beginning at the tender age of 20 she rotated through a dizzying array of instructors. As protocol required she was proficient and skilled with all manner of weapons honing her body and mind alongside the other Bastion in order to become the first, last, and only line of defence for their Prince and future King. During her training she gained great friendships that surprised her, Delilah so unlike herself was a steady female presence in the midst of their male dominated circle. Prince Gideon became someone she could readily vent to and as time went on she began to return the favour, the two of them exchanging advice and observations when needed. Piotr she didn’t much care for but when they did interact he was kind if not dismissive of her. Dastan always knew when and how to make her laugh and Idris though gruff never failed to remind her of just how strong she was. With the Bastion as her primary family they carried her through the tough times in her family home, clothing herself in the armour of their camaraderie in order to withstand her stepmother's hatred.
Roza became obsessed with producing offspring, from the moment Adamo had brought Flora into their circle it was uppermost in her thoughts and never far from conversation. Even after the woman’s death rumors circulated the more years that passed with no more children from the couple, many questioned the love that Adamo actually bore her and even more questioning her viability as a female. Finally her prayers were answered, she fell pregnant giving birth to two beautiful baby girls, identical twins that were unmistakably their father’s children. Much to her consternation however while they shared Adamo’s looks neither of them had the signature blue optics of the Laterza line, adding one more thing to the pile of hatred she sported in Cecilia’s name.
The young Bastion in training didn’t let it bother her however, she adored her twin stepsisters and showered them with affection whenever she was able. By the time she was nearly 200 years old Cecilia had decided that her stepmother’s opinions and through her the opinions of many of the upper class of vampire society didn’t matter to her. Thanks to the avenues into her mother’s mind and her own experiences Cecilia had a weapon just as potent and deadly as the ones she trained with on a daily basis. It was a natural weapon that she learned to brandish with scary skill and accuracy, the combination of her looks coupled with a sharp mind that slung out words like well aimed projectiles.
Subtlety became an art, graceful feminine airs a study in finesse that when applied to just about any person she encountered would bare fruit. With a well placed hand, the fluttering of an eyelash, and a half smile she could have a man spilling his secrets; and secrets were just as strong a tool as any weapon could be. It was Gideon who first gave her her nickname, her Silver Tongue cementing her role within their tight knit group giving her both a purpose and a solid foundation upon which she stood. Her sisters grew into beautiful young ladies, and thanks to the admonitions of her father she was allowed to have a relationship with them, the twins baring her no ill will despite the repeated attempted poisoning by Roza.
As her duties within the Bastion took up more of her time, her ever watchful and observant eyes didn’t fail to notice the romance blooming between Gideon and Delilah. With more amusement that she would ever own up to she watched the pair of them circle one another, denying their feelings under a visade of decorum and expectation. Cecilia helped out where she could, urging both parties toward one another and occasionally even delivering a word of censure toward Piotr. When the two finally gave into their attraction she nearly broke into song she was so happy, settling for a secret knowing smile that Gideon would frequently roll his eyes at.
She was extremely happy for the couple, their own happiness far eclipsing anything she could have ever have felt on their behalf of course. It became a very great pleasure to assist Gideon whenever his father would march out another possible mate, and from the shadows she would reassure Delilah as best she could. Piotr became ever more violent and unpredictable and it was only Idris who could keep him in line. Unfortunately as the species became ever more uncivil within the racial classes she noticed a slight deterioration that was right in line with the Vampire’s as a whole. They all felt the strain, as Gideon was called upon to help his father quell the unrest so the Bastion pledged to the Prince stood by his side in much the same capacity.
The day of the Great Betrayal began like any other, every vampire heading under cover as the sky began to lighten in the East. The first of the screams rang out across the quiet valley, sounding more like a haunting bird call than a sound of terror. Then another rang out, followed by another, a chorus panic and pain raising the hackles on the back of her neck as confusion reigned. It was at least 15 minutes before the sounds of battle and the reports coming in gave them a clear picture of what was truly going on and the true horror set in. People were being cut down and slaughtered without mercy, Vampires were being dragged out into the streets for the sun to burn them to ash, family’s torn apart and murdered right before each other’s eyes.
Things were utter chaos in the beginning, no one really knew where to turn or what to do until Gideon’s commanding voice broke through the confusion giving clear orders that shook everyone into motion. Idris went out as a scout as they worked to get as many people to safety as possible. When Idris returned, bloodspattered and hollow eyed he reported that they were coming for the royal family, coming to kill the King and the Prince of the race. Varian argued with his son, who wanted to remain at the front lines to protect his people but with a final order they were all forced to do something that didn’t sit well with any of them. Upon the command of the King, Idris and Dastan and Piotr manhandled a very enraged Gideon into a safe room with Delilah leading the way and Cecilia bringing up the rear, baby Iris in tow.
Once the door was locked things went from horrible to absolutely dreadful, Gideon went down to his knees and right before their eyes ascended to the Kingship. Cecilia’s heart went out to him as he prowled around the room like a wounded beast, feeling every single death as it happened. It was one of the longest days of their lives, by the time night fell and the moon rose releasing them every one of them save Iris was in a murderous state of mind. Following their King they burst forth and like a great flood poured out into the night, exacting vengeance upon those who had wronged them.
It took several weeks to finally ferret out all of the enemy and even more time tallying up the dead. By all accounts the death toll was catastrophic and no one was untouched by the loss, every surviving member of the race had lost someone. Cecilia lost her entire family that night, her father and twin sisters had been slaughtered their bodies dragged out for the sun to take. Roza however, somehow survived and it came as no surprise to the Bastion that the woman blamed her for the death of Adamo, Bianca, and Bettina. It took all of her considerable self control to keep from killing the woman herself as she spat out curses, claiming Cecilia was a coward for having hid while so many of their people had been butchered.
She had no time to dwell however, Gideon needed her information gathering and all her skills, setting her to the task of seeking out those who had any information concerning the attack. It proved a valuable distraction, her emotions all but shutting down as the temptress went to work bringing the guilty before her King in order for justice to be exacted. As the inquisitions came to an end the coven bid farewell to beloved Varian and Lady Talisa, welcoming to the throne a new king. Cecilia felt the weight of her birthright alongside her long time friends, all of them sinking to their knees and swearing the oath of allegiance that had been drilled into their minds since the moment their minds began retaining information.
The task was far from done however, Gideon was convinced that not all of the culprits for the Betrayal had been discovered so he sent Cecilia to work. Under the guise of helping in the recovery efforts, visiting survivors, dining with families to show her support she used her feminine wiles and silver tongue to gather information. A smile here, a well placed hand on an arm, a coy smile, a whispered conversation in a darkened corridor; nothing was off limits and no one was safe. Cecilia dug for any and all secrets with the single minded focus of a trained killer, leaving no stone unturned and no secret buried. It was a dirty job, one that frequently put her out of touch with the Bastion and her King and out of reach when they needed her help.
While she was out Gideon and Delilah’s relationship suffered, her observations poured elsewhere she could only guess at what had driven the pair apart and it broke her heart to see them in such a state. Just when she was through with the subterfuge Cecilia was on her way to speak with her very dear friend when the woman ran right into her, tears falling uncheck down her lovely face a sight that stunned Cecilia into silence. Such was her shock that before she knew it she had promised not to tell of what she had seen and Delilah had disappeared to nurse her wounds. Gideon of course looked equally as shattered withdrawing from everyone but a few.
Unsure of how to fix all that was broken Cecilia could to not but continue in her duties, and at long last her efforts bore fruit. During a stolen moment with a high ranking Lord, the wretch moonlighting with over a dozen different women since his mate had been torn apart, spilled a secret to the Bastion that signed his death warrant. Grigori Sokolov had engineered the Betrayal in order to usurp the Ashworth family and take the throne himself. No one could have guessed how deeply the betrayal went or how devastating it would be to both the King and his Bastion. Grigori, the coward fled rather than face fair justice, and with the rage of it all burning brightly in his heart Gideon, their King, went after him.
Unlike the rest of her comrades, Cecilia understood what was driving Gideon and knew without a doubt that this was something he had to do. In his absence however, the race suffered greatly. The Turned and the Blooded were at each other’s throats daily, martial law the only way to keep any semblance of order and even though it was a struggle to keep the bloodshed to a manageable level. As strong as they were the Bastion was fractured, the wounds of betrayal and abandonment all but splitting them apart. It was Delilah that pulled them all back together, made them a fighting force once more.
Iris was growing, training daily to take up her duties fully as the sixth and final member of the Bastion. Piotr seemed to have calmed considerably without Gideon around making it possible for Idris and Dastan to work with him. They made surprisingly good team, and much to everyone’s surprise they bowed to Delilah’s leadership without complaint. Every last one of them orphan they came back together through sheer desperation and duty, picking up the pieces as best they could and forging their path forward.
All the while Cecilia was always hunting for some tidbit of information or news of their King and she was sure the others were doing likewise though none had ever come out and admitted it. They all knew deep down in their bones that the Bastion could only do so much, it was the King they would need if they had any hope of rebuilding the race. When the news that Grigori had been slain finally filtered to them, Cecilia celebrated with the rest but knew full well that Gideon wasn’t going to return on his own, his heart was too battered and the solitude would have eased his suffering. She kept that knowledge to herself however, even her fellow Bastion grew tired of having her penetrate through their emotions to the root of things almost as if she could read their minds. It came as no surprise to her however, when Delilah came forth to them all and announced that she had also been keeping tabs on their wayward King.
In their turn each tried to persuade Gideon back to the throne, back to the role he was meant to play in the grand scheme of their race. All of them failed however, even her silver tongue proved impotent against the high walls the King had built around himself. Delilah, ever the blunt and decisive warrior, came forward with the solution delivering a challenge wrapped in an ultimatum.
At first the battle had been awe-inspiring, the two of them falling back into the graceful dance they had been partners in for so long. Cecilia had been unable to look away, their swords moving so quickly the steel was indiscernible from the whole of their bodies. She became distracted however, Piotr had been paying just as much attention but by small increments he was moving, shifting position to place himself behind Gideon. Unease shot through her, her instincts prompting her own change in position so that she came right up beside him linking her arm through his. With her wrapped so tightly around him he could do nothing but sit and watch, looking for all the world like two friend supporting one another through a tough time.
Delilah won. Gideon conceded as it became clear that the Bastion wouldn’t stop for anything less than her heart being ripped from her chest and Cecilia knew that he would never strike her down much less harm her. As they all took a collective breath the Irish Bastion turned and pinned Piotr with a stare, conveying that she knew what he was about and she was never letting him out of her sight again. While he hadn’t made a clear threat the thought had been there and that was all she needed, always present beside Gideon when Piotr was in the room, her forest green eyes ever watchful and ever vigilant.
The following years passed in a blur, dispatching rogues and reestablishing the monarchy and the old customs that surrounded their King. Gideon even moved them from their homeland, leaving the old country for a new place in a city called Evermore. Now, with the King back on the throne they will work to rebuild and replenish the Vampire race continuing the legacy that was entrusted to them by their parents and Valkyries himself.
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~thanks for stalking~