Raven opened the car door for Elian, leaning over in her car to open it. He was dressed exactly as she had asked him to. Charity and James were already in Marietta preparing for the day. Elian was worried about the court day; Raven was worried about the Matians all in one place. It wasn’t going to be good for Elian no matter which way the Court ended up going. The party that she had held for the girls.
Jasmyn was a powerhouse as a Witch but there were not many who would know her on sight. Her girlfriend, Aurora is a loose cannon that could be turned on the Matians if it came down to them betraying what the Court stands for. The Matians were used to getting what they wanted but had been able to stay out of the courts over the past over two hundred years. Would they stick to the Courts ruling or take their brand of justice into their own hands? Jasmyn was on the Court now and that was the main reason that Aurora was even in town. Aurora didn’t trust the Matians.
Rose Helian was not going to be at the Court that day. She was back at the hill protecting it and running its boundaries as well as finishing up things on the hill. Her father would never allow her into the Court with him. He knew exactly how strong her power of telepathy was and what she could do with it. It was best that Rose stay behind. Ralph would be the one to rely on for keeping track of the people who had come to watch.
“Is everyone there?”
“Yes. The Court wants you to be the last to arrive.” Raven looked at the house before she pulled out of his driveway. “The location has moved to a new location. It seemed that with Lake’s betrayal of the Court, they feared anything she had a hand in. The new location was kept a secret from even the Matians until today.”
“Where is the new location?” Elian asked as he pulled a bottle from his pocket and took a drink. The smell of water wafted out of the bottle and Raven relaxed. He didn’t need to drink alcohol and she had warned him of that but it didn’t mean he was going to do what she asked. Elian had changed some since he had barged in on the girl party a few weeks before. She couldn’t put her finger on what had changed. Sex with Rose was good, she knew that from other guys but it wasn’t that life changing. There had to have been something else that had changed and she wasn’t sure what.
“The Marietta College. I guess that there is a set of rooms under a section of it that Mystics have used since the college was founded to be what they are while going there. I guess there is a large meeting room of sorts. As far as I know, the Matians were unaware of the rooms.”
Elian didn’t answer verbally; instead he just nodded his agreement and turned to look out the window. Raven could feel her own nerves jumping; she wasn’t even sure what he was going through. If he wanted silence, she would be silent. If he wanted to talk, she would talk.
The silence of the trip was pregnant but it wasn’t strained. When Raven turned in where she had been told to by James, she saw his car instantly. There was a space left for her right next to it so she parked. When she got out, James was standing by a door only twenty feet away. Elian got out of the car nearly a minute after her and when he shut the door, he looked right at her.
Raven felt her heart melt at the sight of the fear on his face. If it would have been better for her to take him and run and they live on the run for the rest of his life, she would do that but he would never survive it. He needed a city and a life while she was content to live in the woods. He was human more than wolf at this point and he would come to resent her for his life after a while.
“James is over there.” Raven pointed and his eyes followed her arm. Elian took a step over and then looked back at her.
“You are coming right?” The fear in his eyes almost made her give in but James needed the papers in her trunk. It was safer that way. The files on Elian’s case had been split up between the two of them. That way if either had been taken, some of the case would be left.
“Yes. I just have to get some paperwork from the trunk.” Raven popped the trunk with her fob and grabbed the portfolio out of the trunk. James waved Elian into the building and hopefully into the hands of the Court guards. He was staying where he was watching Raven as she made her way. As she got three steps from her car, Helena Matian peeled off a car and started to step towards her. As soon as the other woman looked at her she stopped. Helena was a hundred years younger than her husband. At least Raven knew how they were going to try and play this.
Steps from her left had Raven turning and looking. Zain Matian was there. He stopped as soon as he got a good look at her. She was entering the Court as Raven Shadow and not Rae Smith. That would be dealt with as soon as the Court brought her up. She used this distraction to rush her steps and enter the building with James.
“The Matians are in right form. We need to win this as soon as possible. A long Court will not serve him or you.”
“I agree. Zain knows that I am alive. He knows it’s me and he is going to try and use that.”
“I’ve already given all of the Court the paperwork on you and the Matian’s lawyer has it as well.” There was something in his voice that Raven wasn’t sure she wanted to know what it was. “Savay Atrian is the presiding lawyer for them.”
“What?” Raven had heard James talk of her before but that she was a lawyer was not brought up.
“She likes to poke at me. She’s a high-powered human lawyer but she does do sensational cases for Mystics. This is sensational even if Elian wasn’t a Darkan.” Elian opened a door and the both of them emerged beside a table where Elian was seated. Raven set her portfolio on the table and leaned over, kissing Elian on the cheek. Zain and Helena were already at the other table. She knew that they had walked slowly but she hadn’t been aware it was that slow.
“Miss Shadow, the Courts would like you to sit at the table provided,” Bryar said as he pointed at a table that was between the Matians and Elian. Raven looked at him and Alexis but neither were looking right at her. The whispers of the people in the rows behind were getting louder. The doors at the back of the room opened and Charity entered with a briefcase. She wasn’t dressed in the same outfit she had been in earlier. This was her ‘I mean business’ business suit. Something had happened. She sat down at the table and motioned for Raven to sit beside her.
“Welcome all to Matian vs. Darkan. We respectfully ask that all communication devices be silenced and that all mouths be silenced as well. We will throw you from the Court if any of us hear you talk.”
Silence was immediate in the room. Raven sat down and Charity handed over a paper.
Wrenwood thinks it better if you are up front like this. Less whispers and such.
Alexis cleared his throat and stood up from his seat.
“One point of business before we begin. In the packets given out, we stated that witness Rae Smith would be giving testament for Elian Darkan, that is still true but we have since been made aware that Rae Smith is an alias for Raven Shadow.” Alexis sat back down and waved at Savay to start.
“Thank you, Lords for giving us this opportunity to straighten a matter that was maliciously taken from the hands of the rightful courts by Elian Coats.”
“Miss Atrian,” Jasmyn interrupted and she fixed a glare at the woman. “We have stated this before. Elian changed his name legally and in the correct manner. Referring to his as a name that no longer is his is disrespectful and below a woman of your stature.”
“I’m sorry.” Savay gave a small bow. “We state that the matter of the estate of Gail Coats should have reverted to her father as was stated by her will. Each of you have documents that show where Darkan…”
“Lord,” Madeleine stated, interrupting Savay.
“Lord?” Savay asked.
“Yes, he is a Lord. Lord Darkan. You are allowed to call him by Elian but to call him by his last name and not title is disrespectful and we won’t have it in our Court.”
“Lord Darkan chose to not follow the will of his mother and instead seized her assets and use them as he willed without care for the law.”
“All of your evidence is here?” Ralph asked as he help up a small packet of information. Savay nodded. “ You have chosen this route and you know that Lord Darkan has chosen to give testimony and to verbally present his evidence?”
“We understand. We feel that it’s not worth dragging names through the mud but you will have to forgive the names in the document.”
“We understand. We just got the two names matched up.” Madeleine leaned forward as she spoke.
“One has to ask whether it was hidden for a reason.”
Charity placed her hand face down on the table and after two seconds Madeleine nodded at her.
“I think it’s best if I get this over with. My name is Charity Shadow. I was the one who took care of the paper work that gave my sister her alias. I used all legal means to do it. I am sorry that the Courts took so long to do it. When asked if she would rather be Rae or Raven, my sister chose Raven. She could have not even told you that she wasn’t Rae Smith by birth. If you wish to start a smear campaign, remember this. I’ve won several.”
Savay sat down and looked away from Charity. Raven knew that Charity had won the round so far. The decision of who won the Matian vs. Darkan case was up to the Court but public opinion was a great sway in it. Madeleine nodded at Jams and he stood.
“I know that I have the Court a great deal of information before the start of the this case and I make no comments on those who are on the Court but I want to make sure it was read and that it was understood.”
Ralph laughed a little and he sat forward. “All five members read and understood the information given to us. We thank you for getting it as this is a small town and it’s hard to get information from the authorities and stay under the radar. We were able to verify the information you gave us with the help of an officer.”
Raven held in a snort. This court was not going in the Matian’s favor at all. Raven had only ever seen human court on TV but she was sure that Elian’s head was spinning about the way it was done with Mystics.
“If I may?” James asked as he moved from behind the table. He had in his hand the information that Raven had been able to find. “We have documentation from the human cops that in fact Gail Coats was killed before Edward. The shot that killed her was a clean shot through the head and she fell to the ground. Edward was then shot in the side and he slumped over his wife and was shot again. This shot went through both him and her. Since he was found with his head near hers and he had no blood on her, there was no way that she was shot second.”
Savay leaned over and spoke with Zain Matian and he whispered something back. James sat down and she stood up.
“This would normally be the deciding factor but it’s still a matter that Gail’s will states all is to go to her family upon her death.”
“Except in the case of her death happening before her husband. I have a record of their marriage. I have footage of the ceremony. Gail pricked her to be husband’s finger and then sucked it clean. She took his blood in her and that makes the ceremony a Mystic one. She invoked the old marriage rights and with that all the marriage rights are invoked. It’s always been upheld over the human rights of a will.”
All five Court members looked at Savay and she looked at Zain. The man waved dismissively and Savay shook her head. She had no rebuttal. On a legal standpoint the Matian’s had no leg to stand on but it wasn’t just legal. If they could prove Elian a bad person, then the Matian’s would get the money and that would be it. Elian would be dead.
“I am asking to call my first witness,” James said as he sat back down and looked through his papers. After a few seconds of silence he looked up. All the Court members nodded at him. “Thank you. I call a Witch by the name of Gabrielle Morris.”
Raven was looking at Elian so she saw the look of shock on his face. Gabrielle had been a friend of his as a young child that James had found. Raven had known about her but she had figured that he would have told Elian but I guess the shock was good for the Court.
Gabrielle made her way through the crowd and up to the chair that was in front of the Court members. She sat down and immediately crossed her legs, staring at James.
“May I inquire where you live?”
“I live in Columbus, Ohio where I have lived since I was born.”
“How do you know Elian Darkan.”
“He was Elian Coats when I knew him and I lived on the same street as him as a child. Actually I lived across the street from him.” Gabrielle seemed to hesitate and James just nodded at her and she looked at Elian before she continued. “He was wracked with nightmares as a child and up to when he and his parents left town. He hit an age where he stopped going to them about them. He played with me on the sly. His mother never wanted me to play with him and it wasn’t until I was around nine that she really confronted me about it.”
“What did she tell you?”
“I could tell that he was an unchanged wolf and that his parents were as well which I thought was odd but I wasn’t going to interfere, it was their choice. Then one day, Elian had fallen asleep under the tree in his backyard and had screamed out. I ran to check on him and got there just after his mother. She was yelling at him for showing his freakiness to the whole neighborhood and that if he couldn’t stay awake during the day then he needed to stay inside and not be like he was. When she turned to leave, she saw me. She marched up and grabbed my arm pulling me into the front yard. When I was in the street, she let go of me. Calling me a filthy witch and that if I came back, ever she would kill me. I never set foot on her property again but Elian and I played.”
“Why did she hate you so much?”
“I don’t know. I mean she was a Mystic, why would she hate other Mystics.”
Savay placed her hand on the table and Madeleine nodded at her.
“Why didn’t you go to your parents?”
“My mother and father were killed in a car accident when I was seven. I was raised by my maternal aunt and her husband. My father had no family; I guess his mother had him late in life. My father was the Mystic while my mother was human. My aunt knew what I was but I wasn’t going to push her through the process of trying to get the Court involved in this matter. I was a coward but Elian was also showing that he could take care of himself, even from a young age. I just made sure that he came to my house a lot. When we reached high school, we got distant but I never stopped looking after him. When his lawyer, James, came to me I told him that I would tell all of his childhood if it was needed. I knew that Elian probably wouldn’t like it but he deserves something from this after the hell he went through.”
“Thank you.” James motioned that she could stand up and she did, going back to her seat in the crowd. “A Mystic that hates another Mystic, a child at that. In the essence of Elian’s privacy, I gave the records of Elian’s times with human therapists to the Court. What was found need not be read out loud. One wonders how the child of a well-respected family of Werewolves comes to hate a child Witch so much and despised her child and his gifts.”
Raven then figured out part of James’s strategy. He was trying to show that Zain Matian’s daughter was so hateful of the Darkan’s that she couldn’t even love her own child because of it. Hatred was something that was tolerated in the Mystics circles. Not hatred like that.
“You are trying to say that Zain Matian turned his daughter against the Darkan’s on the chance that that line wasn’t wiped out?” Savay asked as she stood up.
Raven turned and looked at Zain. He was looking worried. He was leaning over and talking to Helena. She didn’t look worried but Raven had never seen her look nervous. A knock on the outer door had all talking cease and a guard brought in five files, handing one each to the Court members. Raven couldn’t hear what was being said but it didn’t look good. She just wasn’t sure who it wasn’t looking good for. Madeleine waved the guard away and put the files at the bottom of their stacks.
“No. I am saying that he hated the Darkan’s so much that it passed to his daughter.”
“What reason would the Matian’s have for hating the Darkan’s?” Savay asked.
“The rows between Zain Matian and Dmitry Darkan were legendary,” Charity said as she stood up. She set down her notebook and pen and straightened her suit. “I remember them as a child. Zain would wake Raven and I with his screaming. Raven had nightmares.”
“What did they argue about?” Madeleine asked as she leaned forward.
“That the Matians wanted more of the share of things that the Darkans had. Zain wanted something that Dmitry was unwilling to give up. Father, Victor would be the mediator.”
“No one likes to be told they can’t do what they want. I want peace for the wolves and all that happens when we get out this mockery of a joint race,” Zain said as he stood up. Savay grabbed him and made him sit down. She leaned over and whispered something in to his ear.
“Excuse my client please.”
“Yes. Yes.” Bryar waved his hand and looked at James. “The money from the coffee shop of Gail Coats?”
“It’s all in the bank for the place. If Elian is given the rights to the place again, then he wants to keep it open, maybe sell the location, there is a lot of things he could do with it. Of course, if the Court sees to uphold the Matian’s claim, Elian will not have taken a cent from the money.”
“What about the house and all the things inside of it?” Savay asked.
James sighed but Raven saw the small smile on his face. Charity was nervous. This was way Raven hated lawyers. She had no clue what was going on. The two of them had met a lot more than they had let on. Raven looked down at her notes. Hateful was written down and then crossed out. Greedy was wrote and circled but not crossed out.
The crowd behind her was invisible. It had been rather quiet but she knew that the Court members were keeping an eye on them and their reactions. The crowd other than witnesses was spilt on all things.
“That is simple. When the house was bought here, it was bought by the company that Edward worked for. The money that Gail made always went to things that Gail wanted. Edward was happy with that. She worked for her money. She did contribute to things like new cars when they wanted.”
“What happened to all of her things?”
“All the clothes and jewelry and things like that Elian had no need for, he took those things and donated them to a charity for the victims of violence.”
Greedy. A son took his parents things and gave them to those in need. Who would attack a child like that?
“Edward’s money was absorbed back into the Darkan money that Elian gained on his twenty first birthday and then gained the majority of it when he was changed into a werewolf. I have all of it accounted for and Elian is more than willing to give it over if the Court doesn’t go in his favor.”
Raven heard whispering and she turned to look and see that Helena was talking to someone behind her. Raven had seen his type before. He was a mercenary for hire wolf. Raven turned around herself and found Aurora who had moved up behind Elian. If anything was going to happen, he should be safe.
“We have heard all that we would like on this matter. Does either counsel have an issue with that?” Madeleine asked.
James and Savay shook their heads. The vampire’s gaze next fell on Charity who also shook her head.
“Then we will make all parties aware once we have made our judgment.” The Court members stood and left without a word. The guards pushed Savay and her clients out one of the side doors while setting up a protective barrier around Elian and Raven and their lawyers.
“That did not go the way I thought it would,” James said as the watchers all left out the back. It was just then and the guards within a few seconds. The chirp of a radio had Raven jumping but the lead guard was listening to something over an ear piece radio.
“Miss Shadow?” he asked as he stepped up to her. “The Court would like to speak to you alone.”
“I see.” Raven nodded at her sister and turned to Elian and James. “I’ll be fine.”
“I don’t know. Elian do what James, Charity, and Aurora ask.”
“That worried?” Elian asked as he leaned forward for a hug. Raven gave it to him but was unsure of the cause of him needing a hug. She locked eyes with James as she pulled back but all he did was shrug. Raven pushed it from her mind and turned to go with the guard. He escorted her to a small room where there the Court was already seated. Jasmyn waved her into a chair and then pressed a cup of Earl Grey into her hand. Raven sniffed it before drinking making Alexis laugh.
“We aren’t trying to poison you Raven.” He shifted in his seat and Raven’s eyes tracked him. He was nervous. In fact, all of them were nervous. She had never seen a group of people look that nervous before. “We just have a few questions.”
Raven looked at Jasmyn who held up a hand to tell Raven that she had nothing to do with it.
“Don’t worry, your pet witch has revealed nothing but you don’t think we missed the area in Athens do you? You bought up nearly ten miles worth of land. The Federal, Ohio, and local governments really don’t care. You have it marked as Private Property and have signs everywhere and…” Alexis trailed off and turned to look at Ralph.
“She is good at hiding but I know the scent of my daughter. You owe me no allegiance but why is my daughter here?”
“I don’t have to tell you a thing.”
“Let’s just table that,” Madeleine said with a sigh. “I have a feeling I know what you are doing and is it worth it?”
“I’ll see it come true or I will die trying.”
“See it’s that we are so afraid of,” Bryar said as he tried to grab her hand. Raven pushed herself back in the seat, draining her tea and standing.
“Is that all?” Raven wasn’t going to tell them anything. She didn’t have to tell them a thing yet. That would come later when…Raven stopped and looked at Ralph with a smile.
“Can’t hurt me for trying. I forgot how strong some Vampire minds are.”
“Good day,” Raven said as she left. She let the door slam and she looked around to find the way out. A guard waved his hand and she started off towards him. No word would be breathed with the Matians in the area. It was safer that way.
Werewolves let their emotions rule them. It’s a part of their nature that they cannot fight. That is the reason that the full moon dictates when a bitten werewolf changes. There is power in the moon and the wolves know it. It’s the reason that many wolf cubs are conceived on the full moon. The moon controls the blood and it’s said that the blood arts was lost when Werewolves let the other Mystics tame them. Little is known on the blood arts by the other Mystic races. Those races aren’t sure they want to know.