It had been a week before James let Elian go to Raven’s house. He said it was for his own good but Elian just wanted to see if she was fine. The last time that he had seen her, she had passed out after killing Zain and Helena Matian. Madeleine’s blood had healed the wounds caused by the fights. Elian had been trapped by magic. He was still pissed at Jasmyn about that.
Elian had tried to sneak off one day but as soon as he got onto Raven’s property, Charity exited the house and just stared at him. He was afraid that Raven didn’t want to see him. He had admitted something in the heat of the moment that he wasn’t sure but he think that she heard it.
Zain Matian had been a curse upon the land but he hadn’t wished the whole line dead like that. To watch the Matian in the back of the room die like that, Elian had stood transfixed as the magic killed him with what looked a lightning bolt through the heart. It was a nightmare for him now. It would wake him in the night like the one of Raven used to. Only in the nightmare it was him dying. He would be staring at Raven as the bolt strikes him through the heart. She would barely flinch and then would leave with Alexis. Elian knew that Raven wouldn’t do that but she would move on from him. It would be stupid not to. Neither of them had told each other how they felt and it’s crazy to think that after a year of knowing each other they would be so attached that they could never move on.
“Elian,” James said coming up behind him. He had stopped at the edge of Raven’s property.
“I’m just a little worried that she will yell at me.”
“Just go.” James shoved at him and Elian moved across the property line. He kept the flow up and moved up to the door and entered the house. The door was unlocked and the alarm not even set. The smell of her was faint. He moved to the sunroom and found only the roses and plants. He moved to the upstairs and found nothing. He followed her scent and found that she had slipped out over the balcony. He looked at the distance and decided to make the jump. He landed on his feet in a soft part of the grass and then set about following her scent. His tracking skills were better as a wolf but it was too light outside and since the area weather had been warming up, there were a lot of people outside. There was still the scare of the panther in their minds, he would rather they didn’t shoot first and ask questions later.
Raven hadn’t shifted to her panther form at all for the trek. She had stayed human and seemed to be carrying some kind of leather bag with her. He wasn’t sure what was in the bag because the smell of leather covers nearly everything that it put into it. He’d found that out by accident with Caleb’s pack. The oil from guns would come through the pack. There was little that could hide that scent from Werewolves and Vampires. Still he knew that Raven wasn’t going to anywhere normal in town. She hadn’t just decided to go for a walk; she was taking the back areas of the town. She didn’t want to be seen.
“Elian?” Charity asked as she looked at him.
“What?” Charity looked up and a saw the curtains to the balcony blowing in the breeze. “JAMES!”
James came running around the side of the house and took in Charity standing there with Elian. “ Fuck. Where did she go?”
“That way.” Elian pointed off towards the Kraton edge of town.
“Charity?” James turned and looked at her.
“I have no clue. She was fine, said that she was good enough to meet with Elian today. The poison finally fully left her system. It was a horrible poison. While the wounds were slow to heal but the real effect was noticed a day later. It ravaged her body and she was not in a good way until yesterday afternoon. She woke today feeling fine.” Charity moved to the back door and opened it up. James moved inside and Elian followed with Charity shutting the door as she came in.
“Where could she have gone?” Elian asked.
“I don’t know. There is nothing out there at that end of town. Nothing that would interest her.”
Elian listened as the two of them talked about what she could be doing. Charity went through her room and only a little bit of clothes were missing as well as her identification. The most interesting was that all her notebooks she had been writing in lately were gone. He left them in the kitchen, talking and moved to the room where Raven had been teaching him about Mystic life. He looked at the shelves that had been empty before and found them full of books. He had always been wary of the fact that the shelves were empty. He grabbed one of the books and opened it.
History starts when someone decides to start writing it down or learning it to retell in verbal form. Before the year 200BC, the Mystics were a group of four races who decided to join together when they needed to. Called Mystics for a quick way of describing themselves. The Mystics had a no quarrel with humans. The humans were barely aware of the Mystics.
It came to a head when a fringe group of Werewolves took in newly created Vampires and forced them to drink the blood of humans. It was a horde of blood thirsty Vampires with no care for the lives of the humans around them. Unleashed in the wilds of what was to become France, the Vampires and Werewolves killed all the humans around them. Before the Mystics were aware of what was happening, a human army was amassed to deal with the supernatural threat.
The Vampires and Werewolves were halted outside of a city that at the time was called Mystic City for the beautiful land around it. The city was ruled by a Council of five indiviuals. Alexis Wrenwood, Albin Birdwood, and Gregory Elkwood cared for the city in the capacity of making sure the city was defended and that the laws were upheld. Alesha Rosewood and Samantha Ironwood took care of the softer but no less important things in the city like food, medicine, and caring for the people. When the Vampires started to siege the city, it was those five who rallied the fighters of the city to turn them back. The Vampires attacked during the night and the Werewolves at night. It was a three day siege before the Mystics arrived to take care of their own.
The Mystic army was led by a Werewolf, a Vampire, a Fae, and a Witch. Just hours after arriving at the city, the Werewolves led a sneak attack on the leaders who were inside of the city. The five leaders of the humans were able to repel the attack and saved the lives of some of the oldest of the Vampires and Werewolves and the most powerful of the Witches and the leader of the Fae. When the battle was done a day later and the Werewolves were destroyed along with their bloodthirsty Vampires, the five human leaders still stood as did Mystic City.
The humans of Mystic City welcomed the Mystic army into their homes and fed and cared for them while they healed from the wounds of the fight. The leaders of the Mystics decided that a court needed to be formed to catch these things before they were to happen. It was also decided by the Witches that the five leaders of the humans were to be rewarded and the city rewarded as well.
On the next full moon, in the center of the city, the Witches prepared a spell that would grant the town protections and the leaders would be rewarded with a boon from magic herself.
It took years for the repercussions of that night to be seen. The human leaders were not aging and the city was a haven for Mystics. Magic had granted the city all the protections it could muster as well as leaders that would never forget that the Mystics were around.
In the year 0, Mystic City became the capital city of the Mystic races, now numbering five. Instead of the five Immortal leaders, the city had one leader from each of the five races. It was a haven for those who had nowhere else to turn to.
For eight hundred years, Mystic City stood a beacon to Mystics who needed help or just to feel connected to other of their races. Then the humans came.
Worried about the city, humans amassed a great army and attacked in the dead of night. The Mystics were not prepared and the humans set fire to the city. Over half of the city was on fire before the evacuation began and the humans were waiting. The Court was taken out though tunnels that the humans didn’t know about and were gotten to safety along with the older and the younger of the city. Nearly all the fighting forces were destroyed but the heart of the races, the Court and the younger survived.
The Court rules that until the year 2000, there would be no talk of a new capital city. Humans were spreading across the planet and it would better not to pull in like that anymore. The Court would travel from place to place and never set down roots, fully. It has been the way of life for a thousand years for the Mystics but one must ask if it’s the right way of life.
Elian turned the page and found that the book went on to the history of the races before and after each race joined into the group. Elian found out that it was the Werewolves and the Vampires who founded the Mystic race and then the Fae and finally the Witches. As he flipped through the book, a piece of paper fell out.
It was a piece of older paper. It was full of Raven’s writing. The Matians were the ones to create the pack of wolves and Vampires who attacked Mystic City the first time. It’s also been alluded to that they set the humans up to attack Mystic City in the year 800. I’ve found many connections that prove both of these things. I’ve given copies of what I have to Atrian and we have split the majority of it so that if either one of us is taken out, the Court will get some of it.
What I have not found out is why the Matians went after my family. Why go after two of the five races and not the other three? I have nothing that links the two families outside of the friendship that is shared between the two. There is no whisper in the fringes. Torture has given me nothing either.
Torture? Elian grabbed another of the books and found that it was full of the history of the wolves. It had nothing new inside of it in the actual text of the book but there were notes scribbled in the margins of the book as well as pieces of paper. On the back inside cover of the book he found a list of names. There were twenty names and each one of them was marked out with a single solid black line. There were many with the last name of Matian but there were just as many without. Those without it had lines drawn to someone with that name. There was only a single name and it was at the bottom of the page that hadn’t been crossed out. Thomas Matian.
There was nothing else on this Matian. Elian closed the book and looked up to see Charity standing there. Behind her, halfway down the stairs, was James.
“How many did she kill over the years?”
“Around fifty. Many were killed because they attacked her. Those names on the list are the only ones that she went after.” Charity sat down and pulled the book from his hands. She set it down on the table. “She pulled these books out for you. I know that she planned on letting you read all of them. The uncensored history of the Mystic races. There is more in this room than I think many would even want to know about the Mystics. Raven has seen the worst of the Mystics and still she wants to save them.”
“This is the darkness that was mentioned that day isn’t it?” Elian remembered what he had over heard about Raven not surviving a spell like that.
“Yes. The Shadow line of Vampires is a strong family line but there are few of us. I am sure that there are ones out there that wish to remain unknown, turned Vampires who find life out of the spotlight a better life. As far as we know though, only Raven and I exist. It would be easier to kill us in cold blood because for the spell to work, someone would have to kill Raven and drain a good bit of her blood out to cast the spell. If Raven were to kill herself instead, the spell wouldn’t work.”
“But it would work on her?” Elian knew what that meant. He knew that Raven had a darkness in her. No one could survive what she did without a darkness in them. He hoped the darkness disappeared now that she had justice for her family and his.
“It probably would. There might be enough darkness in her. She’s never went to a witch and found out. She said it was better for her to never know.”
“Elian?” a voice called out from upstairs. It was Alexis. Elian stood up but James motioned for him to stay. Alexis’s steps sounded on the stairs. “There you are.”
“We’ll leave you alone,” Charity said as she pulled James out of the room.
Elian looked at Alexis.
“I know that you were there that night that you ended up in the woods with Rose. I went home that night and I thought about a lot of things. Amelia Cork loved like to the point of laughing for no reason. I fell in love with that girl and I would have married her and probably lived out my life with her. Immortals can only have children with Fae, Witches, Immortals, and humans. I can never have a child with a Werewolf or a Vampire and I was okay with that. I would have lived with Amelia for the rest of our lives. I watched her get killed in front of me and I couldn’t even hold her while she died. She was dead when I touched her.
“Amelia is not the same as Raven and I have tried to reconcile the two of them but that I loved in Amelia is not in Raven.” Alexis sighed and sat down in a chair that faced Elian. Elian sat down as well. “Don’t get me wrong, she and I are good in…bed but it’s not enough.”
Elian couldn’t figure out why Alexis was telling him all of this. None of this he needed to know. He knew of Amelia Cork and a few of the other names that Raven had used over the years but he cared not for hearing about them bouncing around in the bedroom together.
“After I talked to you and saw her with Bryar, I saw what I needed. I was correct her heart is burned. She cares for some and wants to help them but love…that emotion is only for Charity and a few others she knew from before her family was killed. There is something about you though. She moved up her timetable to take them out for you. She revealed herself to the Court as all that she is.”
Alexis leaned forward on the table and clasped Elian’s hands in his own.
“You saw her book with the name Thomas Matian inside of it, correct?”
Elian only nodded for an answer. He didn’t know if his voice would work.
“Thomas Matian was the father of Zain Matian. He was killed in the year 1600 by Zain. He’s the lynchpin in all of this. When the spell cast by Jasmyn swept through the world, there were two who escaped the spell. Zain Matian’s youngest child, a little girl. Zain had little use for girls. You saw what he did with your mother. Girls are only good as breeding stock. He pushed her off on another daughter of his who had recently birthed a child. When the spell took the life of all the Matian’s, the child was left alone.”
Elian nodded not sure why Alexis was telling him this. He didn’t need to know about a baby who died because of the spell that had taken out the rest of the Matians.
“The child was in the London area and when the Mystic guards arrived at the house to take care of the body of the daughter, they didn’t find the baby. Raven received a call three days ago. I was in the room.”
“Who was the second Matian?” Elian asked. Alexis hadn’t said a word about that Matian.
“Raven said you were too smart for your own good. Thomas Matian arrived with child in hand in Columbus three days ago. He entered Charity’s firm up there and was forwarded to Raven from there. It seems that Gwen Shadow hid him. He said he feared for his life and he wasn’t sure who was after him. He gave testimony to the Court the following day in Marietta of what he knew his son had planned. He’s taken over as leader of the Matian’s and would love to meet with you and introduce you to your little Aunt.”
“How are you not sure this is a way to kill me?”
“Jasmyn ripped his mind apart and found no deceit in him.”
“Did Raven go to meet him?”
“You mean she isn’t here?” Alexis looked alarmed. He stood up and took the stairs two at a time to get into the ground floor. Elian ran after him. He caught up with him in the sunroom. “Where did she go?”
“We don’t know. I’ve called her cell and it’s turned off. I left a message but I don’t want to freak out.”
“The poison?” Alexis sounded worried and for the first time Elian started to get worried as well. If the poison had caused her to do this, what else could it cause her to do? He took off at a run out the back door. James yelled at him but he kept going. He picked up her scent easy and traced it to the edge of town and beyond. It stopped at the Athens county line. He didn’t know what she was doing in Athena County but he was worried about it. Without a scent to trace, he could look for years for her and never find her in the backwoods of county in the two counties.
It’s there that Alexis finds him an hour later.
“The court will look for her but we can’t make it a priority. The effects of what we did with the Matians is echoing back to us. If we get any word of her, we will get you word.”
“I’m sure that the Court will see you soon, Elian Darkan.”
Alexis walked back to the car he had drove in. Elian watched him go, driving towards Columbus. He knew that the Court have moved to Columbus to work on things. Still Alexis’s parting words stung a little. He took it to mean that Alexis thought that he was going to get into massive enough trouble that it would require the Court to rule on it. He turned back to look where Alexis had come from and saw James there, waiting in his car.
“Let’s go home and talk, we have a lot to talk about.” James nodded his head back towards Belpre and Elian nodded and started to walk towards the car. He had learned so much over the past few hours. He needed time to process it all.
Days turned into three weeks and Elian read all the books inside of the room at Raven’s. The coffee shop was set to open up on May 1st and Elian was nervous about that. The kitchen was ready and so were the cooks he had hired but he was worried about people coming in until the college opened up. He would be able to take the hit, financially, he knew that but he didn’t want it to bomb.
The word from James was that Charity had taken over taking care of the school while Raven was gone. Charity knew what Raven wanted and knew the ins and outs of the whole thing so it was easy for her to do it. Elian still ran pasted Raven’s house every single morning. He had started to run again. Finding it good for him and wonderful for his mind, he started the run when he woke up in the morning and started at his house and ran towards downtown. Once he reached the bridge, he would turn and head towards the second bridge and then came back up town along the highway. He would cross over at Drag Strip Road and head back to his house along 618. He always checked over her house. Charity stayed there but the smell of Raven never popped up at all.
Elian wanted the day where her smell would come back to the house.
The run started off his day and then he would go home and look over any books he had pulled from Raven’s or ones that James would bring to him. Around noon he would head to the coffee shop and figure out what needed done to prepare for the opening and then would head to the shop in Parkersburg and handle whatever he needed to. He had the shop up for sale and had three interested people but the finances had yet to come back on them. James said they could start the paperwork at any time, once those were received. Elian had no clue what the bids were they had put on it.
A retailer had come into the shop and had told Elian what it was worth and then when Elian had finished with him, another had come in. Both had given him right around the same price so Elian had added ten percent to make a little money off of it and then had put it up for sale. It had only taken a week for the first offer to come in and it was just a week after that the other two had made offers. Elian had stepped back from it after that and had let James handle it.
There was still so much anger in Elian about his family. About what his father allowed to happen to him. What his mother had done to him. What Zain Matian had done to his daughter and all of the family. Thomas Matian wanted to meet Elian when Elian wanted but he was unsure if he would ever want to meet his great-grandfather or even his uncle. The Matian name was something that Elian had come to hate. It was a name that meant fear and death. It was a horrible name and he wanted to never hear it again but he knew that he was going to.
“Boss,” Jacob said as he moved in front of Elian. Forcing Elian to look up at him. He was a human but knew of the Mystics through a friend. He was currently the manager for the coffee shop. “Go home. You are making that face again.”
“I know. I keep thinking about things and it makes me mad.” Elian gathered his things and moved to the door. Jacob would lock up and make sure that everything was good for the staff tomorrow. The stress of Raven not being there along with the stress of opening the coffee shop was getting to him and he knew it. The runs in the morning weren’t helping. He needed to relieve stress and he needed to do it soon.
Raven’s hidden room of knowledge, as Elian had been taking to call it had nothing on the laws of the Mystics. Even James seemed surprised on that. Raven used to many laws to kill so many of the Matians over the years. He knew that she had to have books on the law. The lack of those books was making it hard for Elian to learn anything more about his place in the world. James was walking him through everything but it was hard to learn anything for himself. He hated being reliant on James even though the man didn’t care. Elian paid him well enough but he also knew that James helped like he did because he was friends with Elian.
“Lock up when you…”
Jacob waved his hand and turned to head back into the kitchen. It was getting a scrub down before opening day so that the cooks would be able to start cooking right away at four a.m. that morning. Elian knew the shop was in good hands. Jacob was trustworthy.
Getting home meant having little to do so Elian decided to go for a run. Working in the garden would just remind him of Raven and he had done that the night before. There was little he could do in the garden. He hoped he could run his nerves off. It would be better than staring at the walls in his bedroom all night like he did last week.
Elian wanted Raven to come back more than anything.
The Shadow Vampire line is that of power. The Shadow’s have been the epitome of power since the beginning times of the Vampires. There is nothing scarier than a Shadow who has set his or her eyes on killing you. To escape a Shadow when they have set their heart on killing you means they are playing with you. Sadistic doesn’t begin to cover what they will do to you. If you come on the bad side of a Shadow, start to beg for your life the second you figure it out. If you don’t you may not live another second.