Chapter – 75

A few days later….


Katherine’s passing was sudden, and though tragic, it was good to see the kingdom undoubtedly place their trust in Thatcher for guidance in this time of grief. With a bit of magic, I successfully became a Lanterian thanks to Charlotte and Lestat. My hunger for blood has decreased significantly, and I’m finally able to control it. In return for upholding the alliance with Blue Haven, Charlotte has agreed to send donations of blood so I won’t have to feed on others. Thatcher had gathered with his ally of Stone Ridge, informing King Rohan and Queen Isabelle of the chaos that has fallen on his kingdom. Rohan and his men naturally agreed to help the people of Blue Haven from the despicable terror that has been overtaking it. Charlotte has been staying in my chambers for assistance and moral support the past few days as the spell continued to work its magic. The following morning, a gentle knock on the door wakes us. “Come in,” I call out wiping the sleep from my eyes. “Good morning Majesty! The sun’s out, and the weather is nice. The children have been sleeping soundly, and the kingdom greets us with a new day! Come Milady, it’s time to get up! Thatcher has summoned for you,” Lady Molly says cheerfully. “Has there been any word of Juliana?” I ask as I get out of bed. “No, Milady. I haven’t heard anything. Perhaps Thatcher has some news for you,” Lady Molly replies as she dresses me.

Once I’m ready for the day, I head downstairs to find Thatcher waiting for me at the bottom of the stairwell. Turning towards me, a small grin forms on his face before saying, “Good morning my love. I hope you slept well.” I give a slight smile before replying, “Yes, actually I slept pretty soundly. I am curious to know why you have asked for me. Is there any word of our daughter?” Extending his elbow, I take his arm, and he leads me into the formal dining room before informing me there has been no change in Juliana’s condition. “I have requested the maids to set the table for just the two of us before everyone else to gets up to have breakfast. I thought this would be the perfect chance for us to get to know each other again and to catch up on things,” he replies. He pulls out the chair for me to take a seat, and then takes a seat across from me once I’m comfortable in my chair. The maids bring in platters filled with fried eggs, muffins, toast, bacon, fresh squeezed orange juice, cows milk,  and a pot of freshly brewed coffee. As they lay the delicious looking food on the table, the aroma fills the air, and I suddenly begin to feel sick. “Are you alright darling?” Thatcher asks worriedly as he grabs my hand. “I’m not sure. I just got dizzy all of a sudden. I’m not sure if I should be eating……you know, this kind of food,” I reply. Snapping his fingers, one of the maids rushes into the room and hands Thatcher a small plastic bag. “Here darling. Try drinking this first. Charlotte said you might feel sick at first and this should help, “He says as he hands me the small bag. 

“What is it?” I ask curiously. “It’s a blood bag from Charlotte’s personal stash. She said if you begin feeling sick when introducing you back to human food, you should try to drink that first. It will help you feel better,” Thatcher explains. I give a nod in agreement and drink from the bag. “How do you feel? Any better?” Thatcher asks as I drink the rest of the liquid. “I feel much better,” I reply as I sit the empty bag on the table. “Glad to hear it,” he replies and nods to the footman to pass along the delicious breakfast from the platters. “Charlotte says you’ve gained the rest of your memories back,” Thatcher says as he spoons a fork full of eggs into his mouth. “Well, most of them. They’re still coming back to me in pieces,” I reply smearing butter on my toast. “Have any of your feelings for me returned?” Thatcher asks before Rohan enters the room. “Sorry to interrupt Majesty, but I have some important news,” Rohan says. Thatcher nods towards an empty chair and asks him to sit with us. As Rohan takes a seat he says, “I’m afraid we’ve had an encounter with a witch.” “Has Morgana paid a visit to your kingdom as well?” Thatcher questions. “No Majesty. Mylene was a well-trusted enchantress of Stone Ridge. My grandfather trusted her, but I’m afraid he trusted her a little too much. We just found out she had slipped some dead man’s blood into his tea when the kitchen maids weren’t looking. When one of my royal guards approached Mylene about this matter, she burst out into a fit of laughter. She then told me how she poisoned him and slipped him a potion to make him age. We also found out that she was working for Carolin all of these years. When my men tried to arrest her, she disappeared into a cloud of smoke. We weren’t able to relocate her Majesty,” Rohan replies. 

“Silent tears stream down my cheeks before saying, “I’ve known Mylene since I was a little girl. I never thought she would do something like this.” Taking my hand in his Rohan says, “I’m so sorry Mother. I loved Grandfather too. My only wish is we could have known him the way you did and had more time with him. Now that we know what happened, and who poisoned him, we can begin the search for this witch.” “Do you have any idea where she would have gone other than Dragon Valley?” Thatcher questions. “We’re clueless. I don’t even know where to begin,” Rohan replies. “Have you sent word to Learia?” Thatcher asks. “Yes, and even my brother King Luke hasn’t heard anything. I’ve sent some of my men to begin searching in the surrounding villages, but so far we’ve come up empty-handed. I’m sure she’ll turn up somewhere. Unfortunately, it will be somewhere we least expect. Seems to always happen that way,” Rohan explains. “What about Charlotte? Do you think she would help?” Thatcher asks me. “Possibly. I mean this can affect her kingdom as well. If Carolin really wants to take out the whole realm, then I can see her sending Mylene to different kingdoms,” I reply.  

“Very well then. “I’ll send some of my men to search for this evil enchantress or yours. However, I won’t be sending them to Dragon Valley to be in the middle of a bloodbath. Perhaps we will find her in a different realm. Either way, she will be found and dealt with!” Thatcher replies. “Thank you, Majesty. I’ll send some of my men to join in on the search. I’m sure she will be found,” Rohan says before leaving the room. “Now as we were….” Thatcher begins but Archer interrupts. “Sorry for the intrusion Majesties,” Archer tells us. Thatcher sighs deeply and rolls his eyes frustratedly before asking, “What is it?” “It’s Lady Elizabeth Majesty. I’m afraid she’s fallen ill,” Archer explains. “Then get the doctor to look after her,” Thatcher scoffs. “I’m afraid it’s not that simple. The doctor has already taken a look at her and can’t figure out what’s wrong with her. I also bring news of your daughter,” Archer replies. “Juliana!? Is she alright!?” I ask worriedly. Archer shakes his head before replying, “I’m afraid not Milady. The fever has spiked again and it’s only a matter of time before the aging process begins again.” “Darling, you can check on Elizabeth while I tend to our daughter. We need to find out what’s going on with her, and we can’t be in both places,” I tell Thatcher. He gives a nod in agreement before Archer escorts me to Juliana’s room. 

Upon entering Juliana’s quarters, I give the nurse a break and hold the cool cloth to Juliana’s forehead. “Oh my darling, I wish I knew how to help you. It hurts to watch you suffer,” I tell Juliana. “Mommy?” Juliana calls out. “Yes darling, Mommy’s here,” I reply. “I have a message from Grandfather. He says you shouldn’t cry so much. He says you’re not a failure, and even he has made mistakes. He also says he’s very proud of the woman you have become,” she says. Smiling slightly I reply, “Sweetheart, you shouldn’t be talking. You need your rest.” “I’m sorry Mama. He asked me to tell you those things, “Juliana says. “You’re grandfather…. is he here right now?” I ask curiously. She places her hand on mine before saying, “He’s always here. I’ve been able to see him for as long as I can remember. He says you can talk to him anytime, he can hear you.” ‘This sounds crazy,’ I think to myself. “I miss you so much, daddy. Nothing has gone right, and now Juliana’s sick and I don’t know how I can help her,” I say out loud. “Grandfather says everything will fall into place, and you should ask Charlotte to help. He says she also has the power to speak to the other side,” Juliana explains. “How do you know Charlotte?” I question. “I don’t, but grandfather does,” she smiles. “Alright. I’ll summon for Charlotte. This better not be some kind of joke, “I tell her as I head for the door before opening it. Peering out into the hall, I notice two of Thatcher’s royal guards standing just outside of the doorway. “I need you to summon for Charlotte at once,” I tell one of the guards. He gives a little bow before leaving to find Charlotte. 

A few moments later the guard announces Charlotte into the room before leaving once again. Approaching me Charlotte says, “You summoned for me Majesty?” “Yes, I did. This is going to sound a little crazy, but Juliana has the ability to see and talk to the dead. She says my father is here and he suggested we ask for your help. Do you have the ability to speak to the other side?” I ask. “As a matter of fact, I do. Your daughter is right, your father is indeed here. I’ve been sensing a disturbance from the other side. It’s as if they’re trying to warn us about something,” Charlotte explains. “Warn us about what?” I question. “I’m not sure, but I have my ways to find out,” Charlotte explains. “You’re not exactly doing your best at explaining things. You said you have ways to find out what my father is trying to warn us about, but you didn’t exactly say just how you’re planning to do that,” I inquire. “I forgot that you don’t know how to use your powers just yet. Not to mention that you don’t know much about us Lanterians. Considering there are three of us who can perform spells it will make this a lot easier. All we need to do is form a circle and concentrate once we have all of the ingredients. Your father’s spirit will come back to earth so we can talk to him and find out just what’s going on. This is only a temporary. He can’t stay here,” Charlotte says. 

“What do you mean by temporary? How long will he be here?” I ask. “Just long enough for us to figure out what’s been going on with Juliana, and then I have to close the veil. Maybe he will have some information on where the former enchantress of Stone Ridge is,” Charlotte says. “You know about what happened in Stone Ridge?” I question. “Only because I was heading down for breakfast when I heard Thatcher speaking to someone about it,” she replies. I give a shrug before replying, “Alright then. Just long enough to figure out all of this madness.” “Then we need to begin gathering the ingredients I’ll need for the spell to work. I’ll need some Jade Vine, Ghost Orchid, Corpse Flower, Black Root, the staff of Sidhe to get the spell ready. We will then need one of your father’s hands to create the hand of glory. When we have all of those things, we can open the veil. ” Charlotte explains. the staff of Sidhe? But isn’t that…I begin but Charlotte interjects. “The staff of Merlin? Yes of course,” Charlotte says. “Just how are we going to get our hands on that? There’s no way Alderan will just hand that over,” I question. “Then I guess it’s a good thing that I already have it. Before you ask how I got it, Merlin gave it to me before he died. You see Merlin was my dearest friend and also taught me enchantments. After he passed and his son Alderan took over…..lets just say we didn’t see eye to eye on things. “Very well then. Follow me to the enchantment room. We might have the ingredients in one of the cabinets there,” I add. 

Charlotte agrees and follows me to the tower. As we enter the enchantment room Charlotte heads over to the cabinets and begins to look through the ingredients. “Ah, here we go. Just what we need,” she says as she grabs some of the jars. “Do we have everything you need here?” I ask. “Everything but Richards’ hand,” she replies. “I don’t have that here. Rohan’s men took my father’s body back to Stone Ridge for a proper burial. It’s a few days ride. Do you think I should send some of our men to gather the last required item?” I question. Smiling sweetly Charlotte says, “We don’t need to go all the way to Stone Ridge, and we certainly don’t need to send any men out to risk their lives,” she replies. “Then how on earth are we going to get my father’s hand?” I ask curiously. “By simply using magic my dear. I’ll teach you everything I know once everything in the realm has calmed down.” Within a snap of a finger, Charlotte holds out my father’s hand in her palm. “I can teach you how to do that little trick too. It beats having to risk your life looking for something. As long as it exists, you can get it without even having to leave the kingdom. Now, we really need to get the potions brewing. Can you be a dear and find Lestat for me? We’ll need him to perform the spell,” Charlotte asks. I tell her I’ll find him for her and quickly leave the room. 

As I pass the throne room, I can hear Thatcher and Rohan making plans on where to send their men. After looking all over the second floor, I decided to check the sitting room. ‘Maybe he decided to have a glass of bourbon,’ I think to myself. “Just what are you doing roaming these halls? Is there something I can help you with?” Ector asks as I enter the sitting room. “I’m just looking for Lestat. have you seen him?” I ask. Pouring himself a drink Ector replies, “Actually I haven’t seen him since earlier. I’m so glad I can talk to you alone Princess….or um, excuse me, my Queen. I tried to tell Thatcher he was too good for you and to move on. Would you believe the stubborn arse wouldn’t listen to me? He assured me the two of you were in love and you would make a great queen, but I was against it from the start.” Before I can even get a word in, Ector continues as he slowly approaches me, “Have you seen him lately? Do you know what it does to him when you’re out gallivanting around with your so-called ex-husband!? You’ve done nothing but break his heart. He and I may not agree on some things, but it doesn’t mean we’ve stopped being family.” 

Glancing at the floor and looking back up at Ector I reply, “I saw him this morning and he seemed fine. Are you sure you’re not just trying to pick a fight with me?” Grabbing me by the throat and leaning me against the wall by the door Ector says, “I don’t know what it is about you that makes two grown men want you so badly, other than you’re mouth-watering gorgeous. Even Austin wanted you back with him. Do you realize how hard it has been for me retain myself from ripping the gown from your body? Maybe if I had just a taste of you, I would understand why all these men want you so much.” “Look, you’re drunk. maybe you should go sleep it off.” I softly tell him trying to fight him off. As I look into his eyes, I can see the alcohol has completely taken over, but there’s also something else about his eyes. I just can’t put my finger on it, but the color of them seems so very familiar. “I can see why my cousin is so mad about you. Just look at you. Your soft olive skin would drive a man wild,” he says as he presses against me. “Please don’t do this,” I whimper. As he leans in to steal a kiss, Thatcher and Rohan enter the room. “Just what is the meaning of this!? Thatcher shouts. “Well, I was just….” Ector begins but Thatcher quickly interjects. “You were just trying to force yourself on my wife! What about Kristen? What will she think when she hears of this?” Thatcher scoffs. “Do you really think Kristen would care? After all, she did sleep with you and have your child! Besides, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I was just teaching your precious wife here a lesson!” Ector huffs.

“I don’t give a damn what you think you’re doing! Get your hands off of my mother you filthy dog!” Rohan shouts. “Filthy dog!? That’s why the color of his eyes look so familiar to me! He’s one of them. That’s why Kristen wants to be with him. He’s a lycan and together they can create their own hybrid army!” I shout. “Just shut up!” Ector yells as he begins choking me. “Let her go, Ector! Just because you’re family doesn’t mean I won’t kill you!” Thatcher scolds. “Sorry cousin. I told you to leave this one alone. Don’t you see what she’s doing to you? She’s done nothing but break your heart. Gallivanting around that filth of an ex-husband of hers, while you patiently wait for her memories and feelings for you to return. Do you realize how pathetic you look in your own kingdom? When we were kids, you always said how you couldn’t wait to be king, and how much better things would be than it was when your father was on the throne. Just look at yourself Cousin! You’re letting all of these vile creatures run your own kingdom! Your father thought he could be friends with these….these things too and just look where it got him! It got the rest of the family killed!” Ector scoffs. “This is your last warning Ector, let Shelly go!” Thatcher demands. A sickening grin forms on Ector’s face before replying, “Sorry Cousin. I just can’t do that. I would rather see the life drain from her body than to see her parading around that so-called ex of hers!” 

Rohan draws his sword from the sheath, before Lestat punches a hole in the wall from the other side, grabbing Ector’s hand and twisting his wrist in one fast motion, snapping it like a twig. As I wiggle one of my legs free, I kick Ector in the groin until he loosens his grip on my neck. Growling in pain, Ector falls to the floor before Thatcher orders his men to lock him up in the dungeon. “Mother, are you alright? Are you hurt?” Rohan asks as he embraces me. Before I’m able to answer Lestat enters the room. “Darling, are you alright? Why didn’t you defend yourself?” Lestat asks approaching us. “I-I couldn’t….I don’t wanna hurt anyone else. I couldn’t control it before, but I can now. Enough people have gotten hurt because of me. I won’t allow myself to hurt anyone ever again,” I reply. “Sweetheart, defending yourself isn’t hurting anyone. It’s called protecting yourself from those who are trying to hurt you,” Thatcher soothes. “You think I don’t know the difference? All I can see every time I close my eyes are the faces of the innocent people I’ve killed. I will not inflict any violence if I can help it. Besides, there’s only one person in this realm who I would love to get my hands on. Carolin will get hers very soon!” I reply. Turning to Lestat I say, “I was actually looking for you. Charlotte asked me to find you. She’s waiting for both of us in the enchantment room.” He shoots me a little wink and replies, “Then we shouldn’t keep her waiting.” I give a nod in agreement and Lestat follows me to the enchantment room. 

Upon entering the enchantment room, Charlotte’s smile turns into concern as her eyes look up to meet mine. Gasping Charlotte says, “Good gracious child! What happened to you? Ya look like you’ve gotten into a fight with a lion!” Thatcher’s lycan cousin is what happened, but he’s been taken care of,” I reply. Caressing my cheek Charlotte says, “Lycan cousin? I’m not sure if I even want to know how exactly that happened. Don’t you worry. I’m sure Thatcher will deal with him as he sees fit.” Turning towards Lestat and approaching the cauldron Charlotte says, “The Hand Of Glory and the potion are both ready. All that’s left to do is cast the spell to open the veil and get the answers we’ve been searching for. We need to get Princess Juliana well and back to her rightful age. Of course, we’ll also need a sacred place to perform this spell. Do you have a mausoleum in your cemetery?” “As a matter of fact, we do. Only the Royals are buried in there. Follow me, I’ll take you to it,” I reply. “Wait just a second,” Charlotte says as she motions for me to come to her. As I approach her she says, “Consider this as your first lesson my child. Grab onto our hands, and think of your destination. Don’t think of anything else but the mausoleum. This is the fastest way to get there and time is running out. We need the moon to be full or the spell won’t work,” she explains. 

Grabbing Lestat’s and Charlotte’s hands, I focus on the old building in the cemetery. It’s the only building that had survived the attack of the Lycans that killed the previous king and queen of Blue Haven. Before opening my eyes, the smell of mildew, black mold, and death fills the air, and that’s when I knew we have arrived in the mausoleum. The sound of Charlotte lighting the torches brings me back from my thoughts. As I quickly look around inside of the old building, I notice hundreds of names engraved on the walls, and a few crypts scattered around with names engraved on the stone. “You’re learning pretty fast Majesty. With a little practice you will be able to fast travel on your own,” she says turning towards me smiling. Charlotte then places the hand of glory down on one of the crypts and positions 6 white candles around it. Once everything is in order, Charlotte deposits the staff of Merlin in the palm of the hand of glory. “Come you two. We need to form a circle in front of the hand before splashing it with these vials of potion,” she says holding out her hands signaling for us to take our places. Lestat extends his hand, and I place mine in his as we hold hands with Charlotte in the circle. A few moments of silence fills the room before she splashes her vial of the black potion onto the staff.

 “We come to you, the circle of three to gain your wisdom and your guidance. The power of three commands you to open the lock to the dead men’s knock! No lock or bolt can keep the dead men asleep. The veil opens wide as wide might me.” Charlotte chants. Holding our hands up, she signals for Lestat and I to splash the remaining veils of potion onto the hand. Grabbing the small veils from our pockets, we toss the remaining liquid onto the object and join hands with Charlotte once again. Taking a deep breath she continues, “When the sun has set and the moon is bright, once thought lost can be reunited. Life for death and death for life.  Now open the door between living and Dead. With the staff of Sidhe in Hand of glory, I lift the veil to the other side!” Suddenly a gust of wind flows through the room and brilliant bright light beams right after, blinding us all. After the strange wind settles, and the intense light vanishes, the three of us stand trying to get our eyes to adjust to the dim room once again. “Are you just going to stand there, or are you going to welcome me?” a familiar voice says. Blinking my eyes finally getting them to adjust, I turn around to see who has just spoken and I can’t believe my eyes. Gasping I choke out, “Mom!?” Smiling sweetly she replies, “Yes my darling! It’s me!”

Pulling her into a tight hug I say, “Mom! I can’t believe it’s you! I have missed you so much!” With tears streaming down her rosy cheeks she replies, “I’ve missed you too my darling!” “Ehem! What am I? Chopped liver?” I hear a familiar man’s voice call out. ‘It can’t be?’ I think to myself. Releasing my mother from our embrace, I look beside her to find my father standing straight and tall waiting for me to respond. As I stand mouth agape he says, “Well, aren’t you going to say anything, or are you just going to stand there and stare at me all night?” he asks. “I-I’m sorry it’s just that…..I never thought I would see you again!” I finally manage to say. Rushing over to him, I hug him tightly before saying, “I’ve missed you too daddy!” “I’m sorry to rush this little family reunion, but we have a limited amount of time before I have to close the veil,” Charlotte interrupts. “Which is a very stupid thing you did my dear. We died and went to the other side, where we were supposed to stay. Now you opened the veil there’s nothing to stop the others from getting out!” Richard says. “The others? You mean there’s more of you?” Charlotte questions. Shaking his head he replies, “You really didn’t think that we were the only ones there did you?”  As Charlotte begins to speak, Richard interjects. “The other side was created by Amara, a very old enchantress. Her brother, Tyrion was a very well known enchanter who used to help people in need. Until one day Amara created the other side for her brother and every other supernatural creature that should die.”

Releasing my father from his embrace I reply, “That’s awful! Just why would Amara create the other side for her own brother?” “Ehem. We don’t have time for stories,” Charlotte says folding her arms sternly. “No offense Majesty, but you better make time!” Richard scolds. Charlotte puts her hands on her hips and sighs deeply, before gesturing towards Richard to continue. “Now where was I?” Richard questions. “You were telling us why Amara created the other side for Tyrion and other supernaturals,” I remind him. “That’s right!” Richard remembers. 


Tyrion used to do some wonderful things for his people including healing them from illnesses. Then one day he met a Lady of the court named Amelia and the two fell head over heels in love. In just a few months the couple was married and not long after that they were expecting their first child. In just nine months, their son Keenan was born, only for Tyrion to find out he wasn’t the father. Enraged, Tyrion took the boy and threw him into the river, and then turned on his wife.


Gasping, I clasp my hands to my mouth before saying, “The poor baby! Was his wife able to escape him?” “Sadly no,” Richard said before continuing the story. 


He strangled her to death. When Amara found out about what he had done, she threatened to banish him from the kingdom. Tyrion then got down on his knees and told Amara he never intended to hurt anyone, and promised he would never put his hands on anyone ever again.

Two years passed by as his anger brewed inside of him. He began to seek virgin ladies and courted them until he found another to claim as his favorite. Amara had finally had enough of his nonsense and confronted him about his behavior. He told her that he meant no harm, and he was just simply trying to find the perfect match for him. Amara nodded in response and gave him her last and final warning about his behavior at court. Tyrion shrugged off her warning and continued courting several different ladies a week. A few months later, Tyrion told all of the ladies he had been courting to meet him by the river when the sky grew dark, and if one of them could convince him she was the one he was destined to be with, he would take her as his bride. Only none of the women he had charmed expected to find over a hundred ladies waiting to see him. “What is the meaning of this? I thought you asked me here to prove myself to you? You’re just like most of the men in this land! Filthy pigs!” one of the women shouted before she spat in his face. Angered by what the lady had said, Tyrion softly chanted something under his breath, and all of the women fell into a deep sleep. Tyrion was so angry that he took all of their lives that night, and bathed in their blood before hiding their bodies. 

Four years later, Amara decided to expand the castle’s walls down by the river. As Amara was sitting in her study one foggy morning, one of the guards announced the builder Samuel. “Sorry to intrude Milady, but he says it’s important,” The guard told her. “Very well. Send him in,” Amara told the guard. He gave a bow before leaving the room and let Samuel in. “Mr. Samuel, what can I do for you,” Amara asked. “Milady! It’s just awful,” Samuel said frantically. Amara rose from her chair before she asked, “What is it? What’s awful!?” “Six-hundred women Milady! We found over six-hundred women!” Samuel barely managed to say before he fell to the floor in shock. Amara raced to the door and twisted the handle before she shouted for the maid to quickly bring her some water. Momentarily, the maid returned with a vase of water and handed it to Amara. “Thank you. That will be all,” Amara told the maid. She kneeled down by Samuel, and gently lifted his head and helped him drink the water. After he calmed down a bit, Amara asked him what he was talking about before he collapsed. “I bring some grave news Milady. Rather sad and horrible news really,” Samuel told her. “Go on. What is it? What has you so scared?” Amara asked. “Well. We were digging. Of course, we were digging,” Samuel began but Amara quickly interjected. 

“Samuel, you’re rambling. Take a few deep breaths and then try to explain,” Amara soothed. “While we were digging, part of the ground gave way, and we recovered six-hundred bodies. All of which were women. It’s looked like it was a bloodbath Milady,” Samuel explained. “Six-hundred women!? That’s awful! Were you able to identify any of them so we may send word to their families? Those innocent women should be laid to rest as soon as possible!” Amara gasped. “I was able to identify only one of the women. I’m sad to say she was someone close to you. It looked as if she hasn’t been dead for that long though. I would say she passed away late last night, maybe early this morning,” Samuel told her. “Someone close to me? Who is she?” Amara asked. “I-I’m afraid it’s Lady Catelyn Milady!” Samuel sadly told her. “Lady Catelyn? Are you sure?” Amara asked downheartedly. “Take me to her,” Amara demanded. Samuel gave a nod in agreement, and the two headed out of the castle. Momentarily, they arrived by the river. Amara gasped in shock to see all of the lifeless corpses laid in a row on the riverside, and her only hope is for someone to identify them. “Over there Milady!” Samuel said as he gestured for Amara to follow him. She followed him until he came to a sudden stop by a beautiful patch of wildflowers. “I think whoever did this favored Lady Catelyn,” Samuel told her. 

“What makes you think that?” Amara asked curiously. “Well….because he buried her near the waterfall and her body was placed in the middle of this patch of wildflowers. After all, this is a very romantic spot. I think whoever did this was planning to propose, or maybe even confessed his love for her. Perhaps she rejected him and he became angry with her?” Samuel told her. Amara slowly pushed passed him so she could get a better look at Lady Catelyn. She knelt down slowly at the sight of her best friend who appears to be sleeping. “Oh my dear sweet friend,” Amara said as tears slid down her rosy cheeks. “Who did this to you?” Amara asked Catelyn’s lifeless corpse. She grabbed Catelyn’s hand, and flashes or memories of what happened before her life came to a horrific end came to her. Catelyn and her lover followed the river north, and as they walked along she would collect a wildflower or two that sparked her interest. As they came upon a bend in the river, the rushing of water could be heard not far off. The banks of the river were filled with wildflowers of every color imaginable, and soon a great waterfall stood before them in the distance. Its rushing water crashing into the large rocks below it, made the scenery surreal, and she drew in her breathe at the captivating sight. Her lover edged his hand toward hers ever so slightly, until she felt his fingertips brush her hand. She unfurled her fingers and let his entwine around hers until she could feel the heat of his palm pressed against her own.

Catelyn’s long blonde hair glistened in the moonlight as it swayed back and forth at her waistline. The cool midnight breeze brushed against her porcelain skin as the young man turned towards her and tenderly grabbed her waist. “Let’s stop here for just a moment,” Amara heard a familiar voice ask in her vision. He kissed her softly as her fingers entwined in his hair when he suddenly stops, leaving her yearning for more. As Catelyn opened her eyes and locked them on her male companion, Amara could see his face for the very first time through the eyes of her best friend. Facing her lover, Tyrion took a knee before he took her hands in his. “Lady Catelyn, I have loved you for as long as I can remember. You’re beautiful, kind, caring, and special in every way imaginable. I’m forever yours just as you are forever mine. Will you marry me?” Tyrion asked. Catelyn gasped with disbelief, “I-I’m sorry, but I can’t marry you. I’m betrothed to another. I didn’t intend to fall in love with you, it just sort of happened.” Tears welled up in Tyrion’s eyes as he heard her say those words. “How can you say that? I’ve been courting you for quite some time now. Why didn’t you tell me this sooner!?” he said angrily. “My father only informed me about my betrothal yesterday. I just didn’t know how to break the news to you. I tried to get him to see just how much we love each other, but he just wouldn’t listen to me,” she replied in sadness.

Rage took over the sadness, and without warning, Tyrion shoved Catelyn to the ground before shouting and cursing at her, “You little harlot! What is with all of you so called women!? Every time I get close to one of you, I get the end of the shaft! All of you floozies are all the same! Take what you can get from a good man and then leave them! Well, I’m done being the good guy, you can bet on that!” “B-But I-” Catelyn began but Tyrion quickly interjected. “There’s nothing you can possibly say to excuse your behavior!” he yelled before he grabbed her by her hair and jerked her off the ground and brought her body close to him. He then spun her around and grabbed her arms firmly before he continued to yell, “Catelyn, I loved you. You were my one true love and you ruined everything!” Tears pored from her eyes before she replied, “Is this the way you treat the one you love? If this is love I don’t want it! I can see why Amelia left you!” Tyrion slid his sword from its’ sheath before yelling once more, “I’ve had enough of your nonsense! You want to be with him, then so be it! If I can’t have you, then no one can!” Tyrion then slid the blade into her stomach and shoved her down to the ground before he fed on her and drained all of her blood.”

“That’s awful Daddy! Did Amara find her brother and punish him for what he did to all of those poor women!?” I sadly ask. Richard sighs before saying, “Yes she did, and that’s why she created the other side.” “I noticed you said he fed on her. Was he a vampire? How did Amara find out Tyrion killed the rest of those women?” I ask curiously. Shaking his head Richard replies, “No he wasn’t. He was turned years earlier by his wife who was a Lanterian. Amara found out he was the one preying on women by touching them and seeing their last memories.”  Gasping Charlotte says, “I-I had no idea. I heard this story before, but I was told it was just a story and Amara was just a myth!” “Well, she’s far from a myth! Now that you opened the veil, you not only let us out but every other supernatural being as well as Amara and Tyrion! Who knows what kind of havoc he will cause, and she won’t rest until her brother is back where he belongs!” Richard explains. “I wouldn’t have opened the veil, but your grand-daughter needs help! She said you told her if we open the veil you would know what to do!” Charlotte informs. Richard sighs in disbelief, “I have been watching over my family, but I haven’t talked to anyone. It’s Morgana! She has the ability to disguise herself and make you see what you want to see. Take us to our grand-daughter, and we’ll see what we can do to help.” Charlotte gives a nod and teleports the five of them to little Juliana’s room. 




***************************Credits****************************

Ruby, Luke, Oceania, and Kolt are creations of silverwolf_6677 and her Facebook Page Stranger Than SimFiction

***************************Builds****************************

The Mausoleum by jlwind

Blue Haven Castle by lmfordham (Me) 

Princes” Hill Palace is the creation of Lyhandros  Love Nova Vita  (Tumblr) and his Facebook page Lovenovavita.

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Chapter – 74

A few weeks later…..

The gentle morning breeze flows through my bedroom windows. As I lay my head on Lestat’s chest, I think about how lucky I am to have him. Wrapping his arm around me and smiling he says, “Good morning Darling. How did you sleep?”  “I think that’s the best sleep  I’ve had in months. Can we just stay here for the rest of the day?” I reply with a grin. “As much as I would love to just stay in bed with you all day, we simply can’t do that. It’s been a few weeks since you said you would talk to Thatcher. Have you spoken to him about your plans? Not that I’m complaining about lying here with you, but we can’t keep sneaking around and avoiding him forever. You have to tell him something. I don’t think I can keep this a secret much longer. I wanna tell the world that we’re together, and show everyone just how happy we are.” he says. My smile turns into a slight frown before saying, “I haven’t spoken with him yet. I just want it to be us for now before we tell everyone. Call me selfish, but I want to keep you all to myself. I’ve waited for this moment since you left Brendlewood.” “I don’t call it selfish love, but it’s not fair to him if we keep sneaking around behind his back,” Lestat says. I give a little sigh before saying, “Yeah….you’re right. I just can’t bring myself to look him in the eye and tell him that it’s over. I don’t wanna hurt him. Then again, that’s all I’ve done these past few months. I’ve hurt everyone I love and care about, including you. I’m so sorry my love. I never meant for any of this. I’m going to find Thatcher and talk to him.” I tell him as I get up and get ready for the day.

After dressing for the day, I exit the bathroom to only find Lestat had already dressed and left the room. I then leave my chambers to find Thatcher. Rounding the corner I bump right into the maid Molly. Dropping her mop bucket Molly says, “Oh! Majesty! I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. I’m so sorry!” Giving a little giggle I reply, “It’s quite alright. Nothing to be sorry for. We all get lost in our thoughts from time to time.” I then get down on my knees to help her wipe up the water that’s now on the floor. “Majesty, you don’t have to do that,” she says. “Nonsense. If it wouldn’t have been for me being in such a hurry, this wouldn’t have happened.” I reply with a smile. With the two of us wiping up the mess, the floor is dry in no time at all. “Thank you Majesty, but you really didn’t have to do that,” she says. “I know I didn’t, but I wanted to. Maybe you can help me in return?” I question. “Sure, Majesty. What do you need me to help you with?” she asks. “I was just on my way to see the king. Do you by chance know where I can find him?” I inquire. “Of course. I just passed him in the royal garden. He was just admiring the sunrise,” she explains. “Thank you so much, Molly. I better be on my way, before he decides to be on the move again.” I tell her. Molly gives a little bow, and thanks me before I head to the garden.

Upon entering the garden, I notice Thatcher sitting on a nearby bench, looking as if he’s deep in thought. Approaching him, I ask, “Mind if I join you?” “Sure,” he says before moving over to make room for me to take a seat. A few moments of silence spread between us, before I say, “I’m sorry I bit you. I really didn’t mean to hurt you.” “It’s alright. I know you weren’t in your right mind. If you were as you are now, you wouldn’t have hurt me, or anyone else for that matter,” he replies. “Thatcher, why did you send Lestat to come look for me instead of you?” I ask curiously. “I sent him because lately, it seems like he can get through to you in ways that I can’t. You listen to him. You trust him, even when you can’t trust me,” he says in sadness. I didn’t mean it….” I begin but Thatcher interjects. “C’mon Shel….after everything we’ve been through you can admit it.” Shaking my head, I reply, “You have been so strong for me. Trying to help me. Fighting for the woman who chose you. The woman that I was when I died in my own bed. I love you so much for wanting to find a cure because I want nothing more than to get her back. Because the woman that I’ve become is different and somehow darker. I’ve changed. What I want….” “What you want, or who you want?” he interrupts. Glancing down to the ground, before looking back up at him I reply, “Something’s changed….between Lestat and I. Much more than it was before. It’s like everything that I felt for him before I was turned into a vampire….”

“It’s been magnified. I know. Lestat explained this whole vampire feely thing before you turned. I just-I don’t understand. After everything that’s happened between the two of you, you’re still wanting to give him another chance. He left you, hurt and all alone. Then you were captured, and he takes your memories away and makes you believe the two of you never split up. Suddenly that’s okay with you? My love, if you could just remember….” he says, but I interject. “But he did, and nothing can change that. I know that I loved you, and we were happy….I-I’m sorry, but I just don’t feel that way anymore. I don’t remember how it felt to love you,” I tell him. “My darling, what you feel for Lestat, isn’t real. You know what’s real? It’s the way you felt for me,” he says before rising from his seat and taking my hand in his. Pulling me close to him, we begin moving in a circular motion in the grass. As he spins me around in a slow dance he says, “Our first dance together was in Brendlewood castle. We had a Christmas celebration after your divorce. As we were dancing, something magical happened. Everyone else faded away, and it was just the two of us in that ballroom.” “You’re trying to stir up memories. I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I tell him worriedly. “Look, I waited for you to wake up, hoping things would go back to normal so I could be with you,” Thatcher explains. I let out a sigh before saying, “I know. Look, do you want me to feel guilty? Because trust me I already do. I feel horrible. What else do you want me to say? I don’t remember the feeling of being in love with you.”

“After all this time, and everything we have been through, there’s no way that every feeling we shared has been erased. Some things just can’t be erased, Shel. My feelings for you will never change. I’ll love you until the last beat of my heart,” Thatcher says in a brittle tone. “This just all feels so very wrong. I-I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come,” I tell him as tears fill my eyes. Grabbing my left hand, Thatcher places it onto his chest. “What about this Shel? Does this feel wrong?” he asks as I feel the beat of his heart. Shaking my head I reply, “I’m sorry. I know we had an amazing life together, but when I look into your eyes, I feel like I’m looking at a complete stranger.” Darling, please don’t do this, I love you. With Alex missing, and without you the kingdom will fall to Ector, and our children will be in danger. Do you really want that to happen to our family?” Thatcher begs. “Look, I care about you. I do. It’s just that…I’m not in love with you. I-I need time to think things over. Just give me some space,” I reply. “Sweetheart I…” he begins but I quickly interrupt. “Just leave me alone,” I whisper before running towards the castle. 

Upon opening the doors, I run right into Lestat. “How did your talk go,” he asks as if he already knows the answer. “Please Lestat, not now. I need some time to think things through. I need some space,” I reply before heading to the sitting room. Opening the door, I notice the room empty, so I head over to the mini bar to pour myself a bourbon. “What do you mean you need some space? Didn’t seem like you needed it this morning,” Lestat says as he enters the room. Grabbing my glass off the bar, I head over to the couch and sink into it. Tears spill from my eyes before saying, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t love him, but if I leave then the children will suffer for my actions. I know what I want and who I want. Darling, I want to be with you, and take over your stepmother’s kingdom. Then there’s Thatcher. The guy who everyone loves and adores. I care about him, but I don’t love him. Ugh! This is all so confusing, and I hate being confused!” Leaning against the shelf of the fireplace Lestat says, “Then it’s clear on what you must do.” “Don’t say it! Don’t you dare say it!” I say frustratedly. “You have to be with him. There’s no way out of it. I love you, and the children, and I can’t watch them suffer. He loves you, darling. He’ll take care of you, all of you. He would do anything for you,” he says downheartedly. “No! I can’t and won’t be with him! My mind is made up. I don’t want to be with him, it’s you that I want. Darling, can’t you read between the lines? It’s always been you!” I tell him affectionately.

“You’re sure this is what you want?” he asks. Placing my hands on his cheeks I reply, “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life!” Grabbing me firmly, but lovingly, he places a kiss on my forehead before saying, “Hearing those words come from you makes me feel at ease, and I haven’t been happier. I just hope Thatcher can let you and the children go. I love you so much sweetheart, and I’ll spend the rest of my immortality showing you.” “My love, you don’t have to show me how much you love me. I already know. You have been there for me, fought for me, and disobeyed your stepmother to save me. You already have shown me love in every possible way there is,” I tell him as I place a kiss on his cheek. Suddenly the doors burst open, and two of the king’s royal guards rush inside and bow before me. Turning to face them I shout, “Just what is the meaning of this!?” “You may rise,” I continue. “I’m sorry to interrupt Majesty, but the king needs you at once! There’s some sort of a problem with Princess Juliana.” Glancing back at Lestat with an apologetic look, he replies, “Your daughter needs you. Go take care of her, we can meet up later.” “Thank you, darling. This is why I love you so much!” I reply before placing a kiss on his cheek and follow the guards to the nursery.

Upon arriving in the nursery, Thatcher who seems very worried approaches me. “What is it? Where’s Juliana?” I ask fearfully. “Juliana is in her room with the nanny. I’m afraid something has happened. The doctors can’t figure out what’s going on, and neither can Lady Elizabeth. Follow me, and you can see for yourself,” Thatcher replies. I give a little nod, and follow him to Juliana’s room down the hall. As we enter her room, the nanny sits on Juliana’s bedside holding a cool cloth to her forehead. As I get a little closer, I notice what looks like an 8-year-old child laying in bed. “W-what is this? Juliana is just a toddler. Who is this stranger in her bed?” I ask. Turning to face me, Thatcher says, “It started out with a fever, and then she began aging. The doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with her, or why she’s aging so fast. Didn’t Tulip say she would age slower than normal children?” Gasping I reply, “My poor little girl! Tulip said she’s special and will age slower than normal children. she also said Juliana has the gift of being able to see the dead, but she didn’t say how this gift would affect her. Did you ask Elizabeth why this might be happening?” “She did come to see if there was something she could do, but she knows just as much as we do. Even Elizabeth doesn’t know what’s wrong with her,” Thatcher replies.

‘How can this happen to her, and why?’ I wonder. A gentle knock on the door disturbs me from my thoughts, and Thatcher opens the door to find Farah on the other side. “I’m sorry to barge in unannounced like this Majesties. I’m afraid I’ve come with some grave news. Archer and his men have returned from their journey with a badly injured woman. She claims to be the former queen of Stone Ridge. Archer brought her to the infirmary where the doctor can properly examine her,” Farah explains. Placing my hand on Thatcher’s shoulder, I say, “It sounds like Katherine! She’s been searching for the wizard for months now. I must go to see her!” Turning towards me Thatcher says, I think it’s best if the doctor sees her first. We don’t know what’s happened to her, or if the wizard has some sort of spell on her.” “Very well then. I’ll just sit here with Juliana for a while before returning to my chambers,” I reply. Giving a nod in agreement, Thatcher follows Farah out into the hall and closes the door behind them. Pulling Farah towards him, Thatcher embraces her in his arms. “I’ve missed you so much, darling. Can I meet you in your chambers? I have something important I would like to discuss with you,” Farah says. “Of course. Meet me there in about an hour. I’m curious as to who this woman is, and I need to speak with Archer,” Thatcher replies and kisses her tenderly, before the two part ways.

Upon entering the infirmary, Thatcher notices Archer giving orders to the nurse to inform him if Katherine’s condition changes. Clearing his throat Thatcher asks, “Do we know anything about this woman?” Turning to face Thatcher, Archer replies, “I haven’t been able to get much out of her due to her being in this weakened form. However, I do have a name. She claims to be Katherine Debenshire, the formal Queen of Stone Ridge. She mumbled something about a wizard and an ambush before going into a coma. Majesty, she’s also a vampire. Could she possibly be related to Carolin and Kristen?” Slowly getting closer to her bed, Thatcher says, “This woman is exactly who she says she is. She left Brendlewood to find the wizard several months ago and never returned. She’s no relation to the preposterous Carolin and her family! She’s no other than Shelly’s stepmother. Hopefully, she has brought good news of this wizard. Shelly’s life depends on it!” “I’m sure Katherine has some good news, but what will we do if her mission went sour? Do you have a backup plan Majesty?” Archer replies. “If her journey didn’t go as planned, then we’ll come up with something. I have no idea what we would be up against. For now, one can only hope we get some good news. I have a meeting I need to attend. Inform me if there are any changes in Katherine’s condition,” Thatcher says. Archer then gives a bow, before Thatcher leaves the room.

A few moments later, Thatcher enters his chambers to find Farah sitting on the sofa by the fireplace. Rising from her seat, Farah says, “I was beginning to think you weren’t coming my love.” “I’m sorry darling, I got held up in the infirmary. I see you’ve been busy while I was away,” Thatcher says pointing out the candles and wine. “You know I love to decorate. Your room seemed so dark and bare. I just felt I needed to brighten it up a bit. How’s the woman Archer found? I hope she’s not badly hurt,” Farah replies. “I’m not sure if she’s going to survive. She’s in a coma and is very weak,” Thatcher says downheartedly. “You care for this mystery woman. Do you know her?” Farah asks curiously. With a heavy sigh, Thatcher replies, “She’s exactly as you described her to me, and is Shelly’s stepmother. She’s a very kind and noble woman. It just bothers me to see her in such a fragile state.” Smiling slightly, Farah takes Thatcher’s hand and leads him over to the sofa by the roaring fire. “I’m sure she’ll be just fine. She has one of the best doctors with her. This evening is supposed to be about you and me, and frankly, you’re distracted with your king duties. It’s my turn to distract you from everything,” she says as she kisses him passionately. 

As she unbuckles his belt, Thatcher grabs her hands, “Farah, You know I have feelings for you, but this has to stop. I can’t do this anymore. I’m still a married man.” “Then why do you still call me sweet names, such as darling and sweetheart? You have told me that you love me and you always have. Even when you thought I was dead,” she tells him.  “That’s true, but I’m very much in love with my wife. If I expect her to give me another chance at all when her feelings for me return, then I have to stop this. I think it’s best if you retire to your chambers for the night,” Thatcher tells her. “Not just yet. I’m not sure how else to tell you this, but I’m….pregnant!” Farah says. “Are you sure? We’ve only been together a couple of times. Is the baby even mine?” he asks. “I’m positive I’m pregnant you dimwit! I started seeing the midwife when I began feeling sick every morning, and I didn’t receive my monthly bleed. Considering you’re the only man I have been seeing, the baby is yours,” Farah explains. Sinking into the couch he says, “What do you plan on telling everyone? Are you keeping the baby?” “Well, I plan on telling everyone the truth. My father didn’t raise a liar. As for the baby, I’m keeping it. There’s no way I would ever have an abortion, to even think about something like that shames my family! I plan on raising the baby myself.” Farah replies frustratedly.

“Very well then. I’ll respect your wishes. Our child will be well taken care of, and I’ll do everything that I can to make sure the baby gets everything that he or she needs,” Thatcher tells her. “Darling, don’t you get it? You can have everything you ever wanted. You can have me and your wife if you take me as your mistress,” Farah says excitedly. “I-I don’t think that’s a good idea. With Shelly being a vampire, and not being able to control her temper, you and our unborn child would be in grave danger. I can’t put you in the middle of all this. I have to think of yours and our child’s safety. I can get you a cottage in the village if you would like, but I don’t think staying in the castle is safe for you,” Thatcher replies. Folding her arms Farah says, “You would cast me and our child out of your life just like that!? My family has stayed here in the castle long before I was even born! We were supposed to be married for crying out loud! You said you would respect my wishes. This has always been my home, and I’m not leaving!” Alright! Have it your way, but we just simply cannot be together. It shouldn’t have even gone this far, but I let my emotions get in the way. I’ll have the maids make up a big enough room for you and the baby. What has happened between us can never happen again!” Thatcher scoffs.

A few moments of silence spread between the two until the sound of someone knocking on the door interrupts Thatcher’s thoughts. Cracking the door open, and peering out into the hall, he notices Archer standing on the opposite side. “Sorry for the intrusion Majesty, but there’s an issue in the infirmary which requires your immediate attention,” Archer informs. “I’ll be out in just a minute. You can tell me the rest then,” Thatcher replies before closing the door. Turning to Farah Thatcher says, “We’ll finish this conversation later. Something really important has come up.” “More important than me and our child?” Farah says putting her hands on her hips. “Don’t you go there! Archer says this matter is very important. I think the safety of this realm is more important at the moment!” Thatcher sneers before leaving the room. “As you were saying before I came out of my chambers?” Thatcher questions as he approaches Archer. “The former queen of Stone Ridge has woken Majesty. She says she has news for you about the wizard, and she’s asking for Her Majesty,” Archer replies. “Very well. I’ll head to the infirmary now, and you can let Shelly know her stepmother is asking for her,” Thatcher replies. Archer gives a bow before heading to the queen’s chambers.

Meanwhile, in the sitting room, Lestat sits on the couch drinking his bourbon as Charlotte enters the room. “My dear boy, are you alright? You look like you’ve lost your best friend. Is there anything I can do to help?” she asks approaching him. Lestat sighs deeply, before explaining to Charlotte what happened with Shelly and Thatcher earlier. “I love her, and I can’t bear to lose her again. I shouldn’t have left to begin with!” he continues in sadness. She takes a seat next to him on the couch and hugs him tightly. Stroking his hair she says, “I don’t like seeing you like this. I wish I could snap my fingers and make this feeling go away. Sadly, this is something only you can overcome. My child, you know in your heart who Shelly’s supposed to be with. I know you love her, but do you love her enough to let her go if she should choose Thatcher?” Charlotte asks. “Aunt Charlotte, I would do anything for her. I would end my immortal life if that’s what it takes! I only want to see her and the children happy. We were happy together once, but I ruined that. I missed so much while I was away,” Lestat tells her. “You came to me to seek help. Have you told or at least showed her?” Charlotte asks. “I’ve shown her everything, including what happened to me as a child. I’m just at wit’s end. I don’t know what else to do,” Lestat explains.

There is one thing you can do for her, and I know it would mean the world to her if you did,” Charlotte says. Breaking from their hug, Lestat says, “I’ve done everything I know of to try and make her happy. If there’s something else I can do that would mean something, please tell me, because I’m all out of ideas.” Smiling sweetly, Charlotte says, “My child, you are a Lanterian, which means you’re nothing like the others. You now possess the same powers as I do, which means you can not only perform spells, but you can also give Shelly back what was taken from her. Something she hasn’t been able to regain.” “You mean I have the power to give all of Shelly’s memories back to her!? Lestat says ecstatically. “Yes, my child. Now that you have this new power, I trust you won’t be selfish with her, and give her the one thing that has been missing for many months now?” Charlotte asks. “Just what makes you so sure I want those memories back? He has Farah, and I’m happy with Lestat. Why can’t everyone just be happy for us and leave us alone!?” I shout as I enter the room. Rising from her seat, Charlotte gives a little bow before saying, “Majesty, I didn’t mean any harm. I just figured you would want all of your memories. Don’t you want to remember how Thatcher made you feel?”

“Why should I care how Thatcher made me feel? If he cared for me, he wouldn’t have slept with that tramp of his in the first place!” I shout again. “All due respect Majesty, but you hated my nephew before he even took the memories of Thatcher away from you,” Charlotte says. Grabbing Charlotte’s hand Lestat whispers, “What are you doing? You’re going to anger her, and we’ll all be locked up!” Holding up a finger Charlotte continues, “Majesty, I can assure you that your husband loves you very much. He didn’t pursue Farah at all, it was her who pursued him. It’s never too late to make things right. Lestat can give you the rest of your memories back if you would like.” “Majesty, the king needs you in the infirmary at once!” a familiar voice calls out from behind me. Turning around, I notice Archer standing in the doorway. “Is there something wrong with Katherine?” I ask worriedly. “No Milady. Katherine is awake, and she’s been asking for you,” Archer replies. “Thank you, Archer. Would you mind escorting me to her?” I ask. “Not at all Majesty,” he replies before I take his arm. “Is everything alright Milady? It looked as if they were upsetting you when I entered the room,” Archer asks. “Not at all. We were just discussing Katherine’s illness and the oddness of Juliana’s aging,” I reply.

Upon entering the infirmary, I glance across the room to find Katherine sitting up in her bed talking with Thatcher. Turning towards me, Thatcher motions for me to join them in their conversation. I give a nod in agreement and head over to the bed, and take a seat in a nearby chair. Katherine places her hand in mine before saying, “I’m so glad to see you again. I’m so sorry for all you have been through. Being a new vampire is hard. Your father never wanted this for you, but he would be happy just to have you alive. Thatcher has filled me in on some of what has happened while I was away, but I feel you should be the one to fill me in on the rest.” “You had us all afraid we wouldn’t see you again. I’m so glad you’re here! We have so much to catch up on,” I reply. Darling, can I speak with you for a moment,” Thatcher asks motioning towards the door. “Of course,” I reply before I tell Katherine “I’ll be right back.” I then follow Thatcher right outside of the infirmary. Turning towards me he says, “I’m not sure how to break this to you Shel, but she doesn’t have much time left. The wizard put a nasty spell on her. One that no one can break. Charlotte has tried to break the spell herself, but nothing works. She gave her something for the pain to make her more comfortable, but she only has a few hours left.”

Silent tears slide down my cheeks as I take in the news I just received. Thatcher wraps his arms around me in a tight hug before saying, “Just be with her darling. We have done everything we can do to make her comfortable. If you should need me, I’ll be here for you as I always have been. I know I wasn’t there when your father passed, and I’m truly sorry I wasn’t. I should have been there for you always.” I give a little nod before wiping the tears from my eyes and enter the room to be with Katherine. Smiling sweetly, Katherine takes my hand again as I sit back down in the chair. “How are you feeling?” I ask. Katherine glances down and softly says, “Not well I’m afraid. I don’t want to worry anyone though, especially you. You have been through so much but look at you. Even after everything you have been through, you’re still a strong woman. Richard would be so proud of the woman you have become.” “I’m not so sure of that. I have done a lot of awful things,” I reply before informing her of everything that has happened since she left Brendlewood. “Nonsense my dear. You didn’t know what you were doing. It’s hard to control the hunger when you’re a new vampire. It’s happened even to the best of us. Your father would’ve understood that. He loved you very much, and he only wanted to see you happy,” Katherine says. “Wait….what did you just say?” I question. “I-I simply said your father loved you and only wanted to see you happy,” Katherine replies. “You’re right! I know exactly what I must do. Thank you so much, Katherine!” I say before she grabs my hand once more. 

“Just a moment child, there are a few more things I need to say before you go. Now sit back down and listen!” Katherine instructs. I give her a nod in agreement and quickly take a seat before she begins to speak. “Rumor has it, King Cade of Brendlewood wants to be rid of all vampires. I’m sure your friend Charlotte can help you. Even I know you’re not just a vampire. It was Lestat’s blood that turned you. Just like Lestat you have Lanterian in your bloodline. I’ve heard the rumors and whispers in this castle. The maids and nobles are always buzzing about how Lestat was half Lanterian, and Charlotte turned his bloodline pure. Surely between the two of them, they can help you. I’m afraid something might happen to you if you don’t seek help. The Fae of Brendlewood has had enough of being in the middle of the war between the Vampires, Lycans, and Humans. They’ve been gathering armies from nearby kingdoms so they can not only defeat Carolin, but wipe out any Vampires and Lycans they come across,” Katherine explains.  Gasping with disbelief, I manage to say, “But I’m one of their best friends. Surely they would spare my life?” “I’m sorry my dear, but that’s where you’re wrong. Friend or no friend, they won’t take any chances. If you’re a vampire, then you’re in grave danger. As for the wizard, I knew Merlin had passed a very long time ago and gave his powers to his only son. From that moment on, before a wizard dies, his powers are given to the next heir of his family,” Katherine says. 

“If Charlotte agrees to help me, will I still have to worry about the surrounding kingdoms coming for me?” I ask. “Considering the Lanterians are a peaceful race, I highly doubt you have anything to worry about. Like faeries and enchantresses, they use magic to help and heal others, unless they feel threatened,” she says. “What about one of the ancestors of the wizard? Did you manage to find one of them?” I ask. “As I was approaching the edge of the forest, heading into the prairie, I was attacked by a Lycan. Although I was bitten, I was still able to fight him off. I was barely able to make it to the realm where I found Merlin’s Great Grandson Alderan. Unlike Merlin who was an honorable man, Alderan was quite cold and cruel. Even though he could clearly see I needed help, he continued to ignore the fact that I was dying. If it wasn’t for his wife Odessa, I wouldn’t have left their realm alive. She conjured up a potion to slow down the process of the Lycan venom. 

When we discussed your predicament, he completely went mad. He shouted some words I don’t care to repeat, I’ll just leave it as they weren’t very nice. He said to tell you that if you know what’s good for you, you’ll return to Thatcher or he’ll kill you himself. Shortly after our argument, he cast a spell to enhance my condition once I reached the forest, and said to let that be a warning to you,” she explains. “Surely he wouldn’t,-” I begin but Katherine quickly interjects. “Take it from me, sweetheart he would. His power has completely gone to his head, and I can assure you Alderan has gone mad. However, my time here is running out. Find Lestat and Charlotte and seek their help. Go now my dear,” Katherine tells me. “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. I’ll never forget it. Can I ask one last thing before I go?” I ask. She gives a little nod and smiles in return. “When you see my father, can you tell him I’ve never stopped thinking of him and tell him I love him?” I ask her. She smiles sweetly before saying, “I certainly will. I know we haven’t known each other long, but the way your father spoke of you makes me feel like I’ve known you for a century. I love you as I would my own daughter. Now you must go find your friends, and get their help.” I give a little nod and hug her tightly before leaving the room.

Rushing into the sitting room, I find Charlotte and Lestat sitting on the sofa chatting away about his new powers. Leaning against the fireplace, and catching my breath I manage to say, “Thank goodness you’re still here!” Is everything alright Majesty?” Charlotte asks curiously. “Well, not really,” I reply before informing them of the information Katherine had given me about Brendlewood and Alderan. “There’s something else I need to ask other than to turn me,” I continue turning towards them. “What is it darling? You can tell us anything,” Lestat asks. “Thanks to Katherine, I know what I need to do,” I reply. “What is it dear? We’ll do everything to help if we can,” Charlotte asks. “Katherine reminded me of who I am, and what my father would want for me. Is it too late for one of you to give the rest of my memories back to me?” I ask. “Y-You decided you want your memories? Is this going to change anything for us, and what I mean to you?” Lestat asks downheartedly. “I’m not sure, but it’s what my father would have wanted. He wouldn’t want me walking around with pieces of my life missing. He always told me that he wanted me to live a full life. How can I do that when pieces of it are still missing?” I reply. Very well then. Lestat will give back what he has taken. Won’t you my son?” Charlotte says turning towards him. Running his fingers through his hair Lestat gives a heavy sigh before saying, “If this is what you truly want, then yes, I’ll give them to you.” “Are you sure this is what you want my dear? Getting the rest of your memories back could change everything, and people could get hurt,” Charlotte asks. 

“I’m sure this is what I want, and it’s what my father would want. Without the remaining parts of my memories, I feel as if there’s something missing. When I look at Thatcher, I feel like I’m looking at a complete stranger. I just want to feel like myself again,” I explain. “Then I know what I must do,” Lestat says rising from his seat and approaching me. He gently runs his fingers through my hair and says, “Please don’t forget how much I love you. If you decide to be with Thatcher after this, I won’t say it won’t hurt, but I’ll understand.” Gently caressing his cheeks, I place a tender kiss on his lips before saying, “I won’t forget you, my love. How could I? You have always been a huge part of my life, and I never completely stopped loving you. I’ll always love you know matter what happens.” After placing a kiss on my forehead, he says a few magical words before biting his wrist. “The spell is ready for you. All you have to do is feed on me, and every memory that’s missing will come back to you.” Gently taking his wrist, and placing it to my lips, I begin to feed on him. Falling to the ground, from every memory of meeting Thatcher to every single feeling I ever felt for him comes flooding back. Lestat quickly falls to his knees, embracing me, and asking if I’m alright. As the spell completes, I open my eyes, and in a weakened voice, I reply, “Yes. I’m alright my love.” “I’ll go get the doctor. I’ll be right back,” Lestat says and rushes off. Slowly getting up and rising to my feet, Charlotte asks, “Are you alright?” “I-I’m fine. A little dizzy, but other than that I feel fine,” I reply. “Are you sure you feel alright? The spell can sometimes be a little overwhelming,” Charlotte says with a smile. Turning towards Charlotte, I reply, “I’m fine. Truly I am. I don’t feel sick and I’m not in pain. However, I only have one problem left.” “And what’s that my dear?” Charlotte asks in a concerned tone. “Not only have my feelings for Thatcher returned, but I also love Lestat,” I reply. “Just what are you trying to say, my dear? You sound confused,” Charlotte asks. “What I’m saying is, I’m in love with both of them. How can I possibly choose one of them?” I explain.

 
 

Chapter – 73

Later that night in the queens chambers, Shelly sits up on her bed, and stretches before rubbing her eyes. “Morning Darlin. Sleep well?” Lestat asks. “As a matter of fact, I did. How exactly did I get here? The last thing that I remember is running towards your mother and Charlotte. I don’t remember anything after that” I tell him. “I can explain that…” Lestat begins, but a gentle knock on the door interrupts him. “Come in,” I call out. “Sorry to intrude, but his Majesty wishes to see you in the sitting room.” Elizabeth tells me. I let out a sigh and reply, “I wonder what he wants with me now? He better not be trying anything stupid. Tell him I’ll be down in just a minute. I just want to clean up and put on a fresh gown.” Elizabeth smiles slightly, before giving a bow and leaving the room to inform Thatcher.

As Lestat and I enter the sitting room, Lestat closes the door behind them, before we approach Thatcher. “Alright, you got me here. Just what is it that you want?” I ask. “Darling….” Thatcher begins, but I quickly interject. “Don’t call me that! I told you I never loved you or Lestat. Now, lets get on with whatever you’re up to, and get this over with!” Shelly retorts. “Very well then. Charlotte, Elizabeth, won’t you please join us in our conversation?” Thatcher calls out. The two enter the room, carrying the twin boys, wrapped snugly in their royal blue and silver blankets. As they approach Thatcher, they give a little curtsy and address him. “You may rise” Thatcher tells them. Turning to Shelly Thatcher smiles before saying, “I thought it’s time for you to meet your sons….our sons. Archer found our first born right where Kristen said we would find him. I’m not sure what to name him, so I thought I would leave it up to you. If you think you can control your hunger, I’ll allow you to hold them.” Shelly crosses her arms sternly and coldly replies, “I knew you were up to something. Why would I care to hold them? They were born in my past life, one that I no longer care about. Not to mention, they’re human. All I have to say is, they aren’t mine, but yours. You obviously care about the little weaklings, so you can have them. They’ll make a poor excuse for a king one day, just like their father!” 

Thatcher frowns at what he had just heard. He never thought he would hear those harsh words come from Shelly. The door opens again, this time, the nanny enters the room, carrying a little girl wrapped in pink. She hands the little one over to Thatcher, before bowing and leaving the room. “What about our daughter Juliana? Shelly, you can’t tell me you stopped caring about her as well.” Thatcher says. Shelly shakes her head, “You truly are a moron! What part of the children are from my old life don’t you understand? I don’t care about you or anyone else! You can stop trying to get me to turn my humanity back on because it isn’t going to happen! I’m living a stress-free life. I don’t have to worry about anyone, and I certainly don’t feel pain. I can live my immortal life in peace. Look at it this way, you’re a free man. You can be with Farah if you wish to do so. I know there’s a part of you that’s still in love with her, and the two of you have my blessing. Move on with your life Thatcher. I don’t wish to be a part of it anymore.” A few moments later, the maids and the nanny enter the room, to take the babies back up to the nursery, before leaving again.

The doors then burst open again, and this time, Tristan and Melina enter the room excitedly. Smelling the fresh scent of faerie, Shelly looks at Melina as if she’s a delicious meal. Lestat catching Shelly’s expression instantly rushes over to her. “You can’t do this Shel…she’s your daughter,” Lestat whispers. “Do I really need to explain myself to you again? She’s nothing more than food,” Shelly says coldly. “Is everything alright?” Thatcher asks carefully as Tristan and Melina approach him. “We’ve come with some wonderful news! We’re engaged!” Melina announces. Extending her hand, the brilliant diamond sparkles on the band. Smiling widely Thatcher says, “Congratulations my dear! I think a feast is in order to celebrate your union. I’m happy for the two of you!” Leaning over to Tristan Thatcher whispers, “If you hurt her, I’ll have your head. Don’t take that as a threat, that’s a promise.” “Sir, I’ve loved Melina since the day I laid eyes on her. The only thing I want more than anything in the world is to spend the rest of my life making her happy. I would never hurt her. You have my word.” Tristan whispers in return. Pulling Melina into a hug Thatcher says, “You have my blessing. As the two of you know, Shelly isn’t very well, and I think it would be safer if we held off on the wedding until she feels up to it. Now, if you would be so kind as to tell Colette to prepare for the feast. Inform her the celebration shall take place tomorrow evening at sun set.” “Sir, we appreciate everything you’re doing for us. We just want to thank you,” Tristan tells him. 

Thatcher smiles before saying, “You’re very welcome. The two of you deserve the very best, and that you shall have. Now, you two run along now, and talk to Colette.” Tristan gives a nod in agreement before Melina gives a little curtsy, and the two exit the room. “Awe. Why did you have to make them leave? We could have had a lot of fun, or couldn’t you handle the thought of me sinking my teeth into their delicate skin?” Shelly sneers. “Darling, you need to turn your humanity back on. If you were to hurt anyone, you would never forgive yourself,” Thatcher says. “I told you to stop calling me that! Now, if you don’t mind, I’m heading down to the grand hall for a drink. I’ve had enough of all this small talk.” Shelly tells the others, before turning to leave the room. “Wait! Majesty! you know this isn’t right. Your husband and Lestat care about you. You know deep down what you’re doing, and how you’re acting isn’t you. I met you when Lestat brought you to the cottage in the village of Moonlit Falls, and you were such a sweet young woman. As much as you don’t want to turn your humanity back on, you really need to listen to your friends and family. Please turn it back on. You’re going to end up losing everyone you love and care about, if you keep going on like this, or even wind up getting yourself killed,” Charlotte tells her as she places her hands on Shelly’s shoulders.

“I don’t want or need your help! The young woman you met at the cottage so long ago, is gone and isn’t coming back. That’s just the way it is. Now, I must be on my way. I really can use a drink. I have grown tiresome of all your small talk,” Shelly says before leaving the room. “Majesty, I really must be heading to my kingdom, to gather the men you had asked for. I’ll return with them shortly,” Charlotte tells Thatcher. “Very well. Thank you for all your help, Your Highness. You certainly have been a lot of help,” Thatcher replies. “I’m sorry things didn’t go as planned. I was really hoping she would come to her senses once she has seen the children. I’m happy I could be at your service,” Charlotte says. “I wish she would just turn her humanity back on, so we could at least try to get things back to normal. I’m all out of ideas of what to do in this situation. Enough about that though. Please be careful on the trip to your kingdom” Thatcher says. “Trip? Oh, my dear, there won’t be a trip. I just teleport where-ever I want to go. I just simply concentrate on my destination, wave my hands in the air like so,” she says before disappearing altogether. “I really need to learn how to travel like that,” Thatcher thinks to himself.

Lestat lets out a sigh before asking, So…what do you propose we do with Shelly?” “I think it’s best if I lock her up in one of the dungeon cells where she can’t hurt anyone. At least until we can figure out what to do with her,” Thatcher replies. “All due respect Majesty, that’s the worst thing you can do. I think I may have a plan, but you’ll have to trust me,” Lestat says. “I’ll do anything to help her. What’s your plan?” Thatcher asks. “I would tell you, but there’s a problem with that. Even though Shelly’s not in the room with us, she can hear our conversation. Lanterians and vampires can hear conversations at a great distance. We can also hear heartbeats. That’s how we can determine if someone’s lying to us. If you’re telling the truth, your heart beats at a steady pace, when one is lying….then the beat of the heart begins to race,” Lestat explains. Thatcher takes a deep breath before asking, “So, what are we going to do now?” “Come with me into the grand hall, and follow my lead. No matter what happens, you must play along with what I’m telling her,” Lestat whispers. Thatcher gives a hesitant nod, and follows Lestat down to the grand hall. 

Upon entering the grand hall, Thatcher and Lestat walk in on Shelly throwing bottles of rum and wine at one of the maids. “Can’t you get anything right!? I asked you for a simple bottle of whiskey, and you bring me rum instead!” Shelly shouts angrily. “I-I’m sorry Majesty. It won’t happen again,” The maid Edith apologizes. “You’re damn right it won’t happen again!” Shelly shouts. She then lunges at the maid and sinks her teeth into her neck. “No! Shelly, stop!” Thatcher shouts walking towards her. Blocking Thatcher from going any further Lestat says, “You can’t just approach her like this, she’ll kill you!” “Then what do you propose we do? Stand here and watch?” Thatcher sarcastically asks. “I suggest you let me handle her. That would be the safest thing for you to do,” Lestat says. Holding a finger up Thatcher says, “We’ve tried that remember? We’ve tried doing things your way, and you failed miserably.” “For crying out loud, Majesty. I’m looking out for her. Do you know how guilty she will feel if she hurt you? That’s it! I think I know what to do!” Lestat explains. Releasing her fangs from the maid’s neck Shelly says, “You know I can hear the two of you scheming right? Awe. Are you poor pitiful fools still trying to figure out what to do with me? Well, I have your answer. The answer to your plan is to simply do nothing. Considering there’s nothing you really can do, other than kill me, and everyone knows the two of you don’t want to do that. You two dim wits are so much in love with me it’s pathetic.”

The maid lies weak in Shelly’s arms, not to far from death. “Please, spare my life Majesty. I’ll make sure I get everything right from now on,” the maid pleads as she gasps for every breath of air. A sickening smile spreads across Shelly’s face before saying, “Sure. I’ll spare your pathetic life.” Shelly then plunges her hand through the maid’s chest, and pulls out her heart, before crushing it in her hand. Dropping the maid’s lifeless corpse to the floor, Shelly turns to Thatcher and Lestat before saying, “Let this be a lesson to both of you. I will not be told what to do, and I won’t turn my humanity on. From now on, if the two of you try to plot against me, I’ll find another maid, or perhaps a villager to feast on. Perhaps I’ll just find your darling Farah and feast on her. I’m done playing games with the two of you!” Nerissa enters the room and notices the maid lying lifeless on the floor. Approaching her, she shouts, “Stop this madness! Shel…Majesty, I know you well enough to know when you snap out of this, you’re going to hate yourself. After all, we’re friends, and I know that you really don’t want to do this. Taking a life is something you would never do. Remember? It was you who told me all life is beautiful.” “That was before I realized how great I would feel as I do now. As for us being friends….we were never really friends. In fact, I don’t need you either. I release you from the duty of being my lady. You’re no longer welcome here, you’re free to leave at once,” Shelly tells her coldly.

Tears stream down Nerissa’s cheeks after hearing what Shelly just told her. “If that’s how you really feel, then I’ll just be on my way,” Nerissa replies. “I really do think that’s best for all of us. We don’t need someone like you lurking about,” Shelly tells her before leaving the room. “I’m sorry Nerissa, she didn’t mean what she said. You’re always welcome here. When she turns her emotions back on, you’ll see, Thatcher says. “I’ve got an idea of my own, but I need to find Tristan and Melina,” Nerissa tells Thatcher and Lestat before leaving the room. As she rounds the corner, she bumps right into Melina. “Mph. Nerissa, is everything alright?” Melina asks concerned. 

Wiping the tears from her cheeks, Nerissa says, “It’s just your mother. With her humanity off she can be quite….cruel. She said the most horrible things, but I know she doesn’t mean any of them. I do have an idea though. Actually, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. What would you think if I asked you and Tristan to accompany me to the kingdom of Learia? Since Brendlewood can’t be found, I can’t help but to think that maybe they would know how to at least contact them.” “Melina! There you are! I was just looking for you. The plan for the feast is all settled. Colette’s preparing the meal now as we speak,” Tristan informs. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to bail out on our celebration. My mother needs help, and Nerissa thinks Brendlewood can possibly help her. She has asked us to join her in her journey to Learia since the kingdom of Brendlewood can’t be found,” Melina explains. “If she can help, then we must leave at once. Your mother needs all of the help she can get!” Tristan replies. The three agree to the trip to Learia and head down to the barn to get ready for the long journey ahead. 

Meanwhile in the grand hall…….


Turning towards Thatcher Lestat says, “Majesty, I need to head upstairs to gather the things I need to set my plan in motion. Please, don’t approach Shelly until I come back here to get you.” Thatcher gives a nod in agreement before Lestat exits the room and heads upstairs. A gentle knock breaks Thatcher from his thoughts, and the maid Lilly enters the room, with a few others to clean the mess Shelly left behind. “Sorry for the intrusion Majesty. We’ll be out of your way in just a few moments,” she informs. Pouring himself a drink at the mini bar Thatcher says, “You and your fellow servants must be devastated. Edith was a good worker and a great listener. I’m sorry you all have lost one so close to you.” The maids thank him in return and exit the room after cleaning up. Grabbing another drink, Thatcher sits at the piano and begins to play the kingdom’s fanfare. “I always thought that you play really well,” Shelly says as she listens. He rises from his seat before she says, “There’s no need to stop. Just because my humanity is off, doesn’t mean that I still don’t have a good ear for music.” “Shelly, are you sure you won’t turn it back on?” Thatcher questions. Approaching him, she presses her index finger against his lips, and says, “Shh. I don’t even want to think about that right now. I came in here because there’s something I need and want from you.” “What is it, my love?” Thatcher whispers. Shelly gently presses her lips against his and kisses him tenderly. 

He unties the laces on the back of her gown, kissing her passionately. Slowly breaking from their kiss, Thatcher lets out a little sigh, “Are you sure this is what you want?” She gives a little nod and begins kissing his neck, before sinking her teeth into him. He lets out a little gasp before saying, “Darling stop. You can’t control yourself just yet.” Shelly squeezes him tightly, sucking on his neck, and moaning before Thatcher falls to the ground. She looks down on Thatcher in disbelief, “Cm’on. Get up. I’m still hungry. My heads fuzzy, I can’t think straight, and I need more. “Shelly….stop….please,” Thatcher pleads. His head falls back to the floor with a soft ‘thud’ before Shelly says, “But you taste so good!” With a sickening smile, she jerks Thatcher off the floor and goes for his neck again. Kristen enters the room, mouth agape. Within a flash, she grabs Shelly by the throat and pins her against the wall. Shelly tries to push Kristen off of her before Kristen says, “You can’t do this anymore. You’re cut off.” “Let GO of ME!” I shout. “Stop it!” Kristen tells her. “Enough!” Lestat calls out as he jerks Thatcher off the ground to a standing position. “You’re acting like a little-spoiled brat! You know that? You think that we can’t punish you for what you’ve been doing. Well….maybe I can’t punish you, but I can sure punish him.” Lestat sneers. 

“Shelly…..” Thatcher begins, but Lestat squeezes the back of his neck, motioning him to be quiet. “Seriously? You think this is going to make me…..” I begin, but Lestat quickly interjects. “Shut up! I’m done playing nice! Thatcher wanted to have you locked up. Maybe I should have let him do so, but my love for you clouded my judgment. Turn your emotions back on right now Shelly, or I’ll give you something to feel sad about! I’ll kill your precious husband right here in front of you!” Lestat says. “Lestat, stop this….” Kristen says, but Lestat interrupts. Forcing Thatcher to kneel down, Lestat says, “Don’t Lestat me! If she doesn’t love anyone, prove it! If I’m wrong…what difference does it make? One less king to worry about, and less competition for me.” Staring into Lestat’s eyes I coldly say, “You wouldn’t do that! I know, because you would lose all possibility of you and your sister to take over Dragon Valley. You’re bluffing!” Frustrated at Shelly’s response, Lestat angrily snaps Thatcher’s neck. Kristen releases me from her grasp, as Thatcher’s lifeless body falls to the floor with a hard ‘THUD.’ I let out a gasp and take a step towards Thatcher. Frozen in my tracks, I gaze from Lestat to Thatcher and take several quick breaths in disbelief. As I take a few more hesitant steps towards Thatcher, tears fill my eyes. 

“How about now? Do you feel anything now?” Lestat says. Standing mouth agape, I can’t find the words to say. I just can’t believe he’s gone. I did this to him. There’s no one else to blame but myself! “Are you angry that I just turned your husband into a lifeless corpse? Or are you sad, because the guy that everyone loved the most is just a decomposing pile of bones?” Remember when the two of you first met? Just a young man, warm heart, goofy smile, with his whole life ahead of him?” Lestat asks. Kneeling down and lifting Thatcher’s hand up, showing the ring that he’s wearing Lestat continues, “Guess it was a good idea for him to be wearing this.” I let out a sigh of relief, before falling to my knees, and holding his hand. Sobbing uncontrollably, I manage to say, “Oh, gosh, Thatcher.” Placing his hand on his chest, I begin to caress his cheek. “Do you feel the weight lifting off of your chest? That’s joy because your husband isn’t dead. Shelly….that’s emotion. That’s your humanity.” Lestat explains. Taking a few more deep breaths, reality begins to kick in. ‘How could I do this to him? Why did it have to get to this point to get me to turn my emotions back on?’ I think to myself. Reaching out to grab my hand, Lestat says, “Shelly, you’re going to be alright.” Avoiding his grasp I say, “No, no, no! It’s not alright!” Rising from his knees, Lestat approaches me by the mini bar. “What..what did I do? I almost killed him….and Lady Regina….and the other maid who brought me rum instead of wine.” I sob as I remember all the horrible things I’ve done. 

Kristen tries to comfort me, but I push her away. “That maid…” I begin before Lestat tries to grab my hand. Jerking my hand away from him I sob, No, no, no. I killed that maid. She was an innocent person, and I killed her!” Punching the mini bar, tears of anger and frustration, and sadness stream down my cheeks. Lestat grabs my hands, and gently says, “Hey! Look at me, I know this stage, okay. You’re being overwhelmed by your emotions. Look, you just have to focus on one thing.” No! I can’t….I-I can’t,” I sob uncontrollably. “Just find that one thing that makes you happy and strong. It’s in there, and once you find it, just latch onto it. Channel everything you’re feeling at this moment, and channel it into one emotion. Find the number one thing inside of you that makes you want to live,” Lestat says. 

Shaking my head, I reply, “I killed all of those people. How am I supposed to live with myself knowing what I did?” Come on Shel….find it and let it in,” Lestat tells me. A few moments of silence spreads between us, as I find the things that make make the strongest, and what makes me want to live. I think of my past with Lestat, my children, meeting Thatcher, and my friends in Brendlewood. I then begin to calm myself, as each breath becomes more slow and steady. “That’s it, let it in. That’s good. Slow deep breaths Shelly,” Lestat says soothingly. Taking a few steps back, I get hit with a splitting headache. Placing my hands on my temples, I let out a scream, before taking a few more deep, but slow breaths. Placing a hand on my shoulder Lestat asks, “Are you okay?” Shaking my head I reply before heading into the sitting room, “No. I’m not okay, but I know if I give it some time, it’ll get better.” “Should I talk to her? It wasn’t so long ago that you helped me turn my emotions back on. Maybe if I talk to her it would help,” Kristen offers. “Sister, after all of the awful things you have done, I can honestly tell you that she hates you. I’m the one who should talk to her. If you really want to help, summon the guards and have them take Thatcher to his quarters to rest comfortably,” Lestat says before exiting the room.

Upon entering the sitting room, Lestat notices Shelly sitting on the sofa by the roaring fireplace. Grabbing a nearby fleece blanket, he wraps it around her before asking, “How are you feeling?” “The pain, the grief, and the shame…. are all still there, but I get it now. Shutting my emotions off was a cheat. I mean, you put up a wall, and shut out everything that makes you who you are. Nothing effects you….nothing matters. You don’t feel anything except for emptiness….but things do matter…..people and human life matters. I’ve done things that can’t be undone, and now I know there’s something I need to do about that.” Darling, what you need to do is rest. Take it easy for a couple of days, maybe even a few years,” Lestat replies. I-I’m done resting. I have to get ready. I have so much to do,” I tell him. “Wait…what are you talking about?” Lestat inquires. “Think about it. Isn’t it obvious? Go back to everything that has happened since the day our children were born. There’s one person who brought us to this….who ruined our lives….our children’s lives. Just look at yourself….everything that’s happened to you, she did that. She sided with the lycans, and sent them after my family. She turned you into a vampire. It all comes down to Carolin. You said to focus on one thing that would make me the strongest. So I did. I focused on hate, and I loathe her so much!” I explain.

Smiling slightly, Lestat says, “Darling….that’s not exactly what I meant. Shelly, Carolin isn’t worth your time. Even if you spend five minutes of your life loathing her, she wins.”  “Not if I kill her before she gets the chance to hurt anyone else,” I reply coldly. “Look, you’re the one who said to focus on something else, so I did,” I continue. “Yes…but, I thought it would have been love, or compassion. Not Hate. You can’t win against her Shelly. She’s five-hundred years older than you. However, if you hold off on this wanting to kill her spree, you will have the army of your kingdom on your side. All you have to do is wait, and perhaps train while you’re waiting. You have an alliance with Brendlewood, and Moonlit Falls. You my dear, will be stronger than before. Come with me, I have a few people who have been waiting patiently to meet you,” Lestat tells me. Giving a little nod I follow him to the second floor of the castle, until we suddenly come to a stop in front of one of the doors. Taking out a piece of cloth from his pocket, Lestat ties it snug around my eyes. “Really? a blindfold? You can’t be serious. How am I supposed to meet these people like this?” I ask. “Don’t be silly. You won’t be keeping this on the whole time,” he chuckles. He takes my hands and guides me into the room, before we once again come to a stop. “Alright, you can take it off now,” he says. Removing the blindfold from my eyes, I blink frequently to adjust to the well lit room. 

Looking around the room, I notice Thatcher sitting in the rocking chair in between the bassinets. Slowly rocking a baby wrapped snug in his blanket. “Shelly, this little one is our son, Elijah. He was the second born son. Our first born son, and heir to the throne is here, in this bassinet,” Thatcher says. Tears stream down my cheeks as I look down on the twin boys. I-I remember you saying your men found them in a nearby village, just like Kristen said,” I reply. Falling to my knees, I sob at the memory of telling Thatcher I didn’t care about them. “What is it Shel?” Thatcher asks. “What kind of a mother am I? The first time I ever laid eyes on them, I said I didn’t care or want them. What kind of a mother says that?” I cry. Lestat kneels down beside me and says, “Shel, you’re emotions were off. You didn’t mean those things, we all know that. You have something alot of us rarely get, and that’s a second chance to make things right.” “He’s right darling. You weren’t in your right mind. Now you have a second chance with me and our children,” Thatcher adds. A little hand sits on my shoulder. Turning my head, I come face to face with a little girl, who can’t be more than two years old. Smiling at her, I study her face curiously. The girl’s head is adorned with curly jet black colored hair, and her little royal purple eyes blink at me curiously. Glancing up at Thatcher he says, “Shelly, this is Juliana. Lestat made sure she returned to us safely.” Tears pore from my eyes, as I pick the little toddler up and sit her in my lap. “I-I never thought I would see her again. Lestat, you have done so much for me, and I’m grateful to still have you in my life. Thank you so much!” I tell him as I snuggle Juliana close. 

Lestat, who is feeling rather uncomfortable says, “Majesty, you and your family have been through so much. I think you could all could use some time alone. I’ll be down the hall if you should need me.” Smiling slightly Thatcher says, “Very well. Thank you for everything.” Lestat gives a little nod and tells him that he’s welcome, before leaving the room. A few moments later, I exit the room and find Lestat still out in the hall. His eyes look saddened as if he were about to break down and cry. Gently pulling him into a hug, I say, “Thank you darling for bringing my family back together. It’s been so long since I have laid eyes on Juliana, and you made it so it’s possible. Don’t think for a second that this changes anything though. I love you, I always have.” Lifting my head to face him, I notice the tears streaming down his cheeks. “Darling, I can’t be with you. You belong with Thatcher. You’re his queen, and you have a family with him. Maybe things would be different if I hadn’t left, but I did, and I can’t change what happened,” Lestat tells me. “Darling, didn’t you hear what I just said!? I love you, and this doesn’t change anything. I want to be with you,” I reply. “Then what will you do about Thatcher? You know he will fight for you. He would rather see me dead, than allow you be with me.” Lestat says. “You let me handle Thatcher. You don’t know him the way I do. He would want me to be happy, and it’s you who makes me happy. I’ll meet you in my chambers in a couple of hours.” I tell him before heading back into the nursery.

Started work last week

Susul. Hello Simmers. I just wanted to let you all know that I really appreciate all of you who follow me and read my stories. Sadly the time has come where I had to go back to work. I have crazy hours which makes it difficult for me to be able to take any screenshots and get any writing done. This story is so close to coming to an end, but I just can’t find the time to write at the moment. By the time I get home, I’m so tired that I just go to bed, and in the morning, I have enough time to wake up, and start getting ready for the day. All I can really say is, keep an eye out for posts. I just don’t know when I can get one out. I have one chapter finished, all it needs are the pictures, but I just can’t find the time. Hope I can get Chapter – 73 out sometime this week. Thanks again for being so patient.

Chapter – 72

Almost a week has passed since Shelly left the kingdom. Every day the maids scurry about, performing their daily duties in hopes for her reestablishment, while the villagers live in fear of her extended absence. Lestat searched far and wide for any signs of Shelly, but sadly has returned empty handed. As he enters the foyer of the castle, Elizabeth stands, smiling slightly. “Judging by the look on your face, you haven’t had any luck in finding her. I on the other hand, think I know just where to find her” she tells him. His frown turns into a smile before saying, “I hope you’ve had more luck than I have, because I have searched everywhere I can think of. I’ve found trails of bodies across the country, but she was no where in sight.” “I had a vision of her, but I must ask you a question before I go further into detail.” Looking rather puzzled Lestat replies, “Of course Mother. You can ask me anything.” “Are you sure she turned her humanity off? I’m asking you this, because she returned to Dragon Valley to take on Carolin by herself.” “I saw her turn it off right before my very own eyes. Judging the way she treated Thatcher and I before she left, only confirms that she turned it off. What kind of a question is that?” Lestat says frustratedly. “Calm down my son, I’m getting to the point. Which is, she tried to kill Carolin by giving her some of the dead man’s blood that you gave Kristen. Naturally, since she isn’t as strong as most of the vampires there, she failed. She’s been arrested for attempted murder on the queen, and is locked in the dungeon. I’m afraid she’s scheduled to be executed within two days. You must go to her, and get her out of there before it’s too late!” Elizabeth exclaims.

Lestat hugs his mother tightly, “Thank you. I’ll bring her back, I promise.” Breaking their embrace Elizabeth says, “I know you will my son, but don’t you think for a second that I’m going to allow you to go there by yourself. I’m coming with you!” “Mother, I can’t allow you to come with me. It’s dangerous there, and the kingdom is overrun with vampires and lycans” Lestat says. “Which is exactly my point! I’m not going to let you go there alone! Besides, I know of a spell that will put the whole kingdom to sleep. We can get in there, get Shelly and Juliana, and get out of there without being seen” Elizabeth explains. “Well, then there’s no time to waste! Let’s get going!” Lestat says as he turns to face the door. “Wait. Why would we travel by horse, when my way is so much faster?” Elizabeth questions. “I thought only witches can travel by their magic” Lestat says. “Nonsense my dear boy. Just take my hand, and and we’ll be there in no time” she replies. Lestat then places his hand in hers, and Elizabeth closes her eyes, and begins chanting. Within a few moments, they’re standing on the border of Dragon Valley. “Now this is what I call fast travel!” Lestat says. “Now, I need a few moments of quiet, so I can begin the spell” Elizabeth tells him. Lestat gives a little nod, and watches his mother sprinkle a little bit of this and a little bit of that onto the threshold of Dragon Valley, before she begins chanting again.

Momentarily, Elizabeth opens her eyes and says, “Alright, everything is in order. The only thing that’s left to do now is to enter the castle, and get them out of there as fast as we can. The spell will only last for a few hours.” Turning to Elizabeth Lestat says, “Now, it’s time to show you a little magic. Climb onto my back as if I were giving you a piggyback ride, and we’ll be inside of the castle within the blink of an eye.” Elizabeth gives a smile in return as she climbs onto her son’s back. He grabs her firmly behind the legs so she doesn’t fall off, and within a flash, Lestat’s standing in the foyer of the castle. Carefully letting his mother’s feet touch the floor he says, “Do you know the way to the witch’s tower? I think it might be wise to get the little princess, considering Shelly’s humanity is still off.” Turning to Lestat, Elizabeth replies, “You won’t have to worry about Shelly. The spell I used has put all of the vampires and lycans in this Kingdom to sleep. Go get Shelly, and take her some place safe. I’ll get Juliana.” “I don’t think it’s very wise to split up like this. I think we should stick together” Lestat adds. “No, my son. Your Grandmother is still here. I can feel her magic. She can take you hostage, and use you against me. You mustn’t go with me. Just do as I said, and get Shelly out of here. I’ll take care of the rest” Elizabeth replies. Lestat gives a nod in agreement, and hugs his mother before saying, “Please be careful. I just got you back, don’t leave me again.” “Oh my son. I’ll be just fine, I promise. Time is ticking, you must go now. Get Shelly to safety” she says. Lestat agrees, and heads down to the dungeon to free Shelly.

Elizabeth closes her eyes, and begins to chant in old Latin, and within a few moments, she’s standing in front of the door leading into the witches tower. As she places her hands in front of the entrance, she can feel the magic coming from the force shield that protects the room from anyone who tries to enter. Grabbing a piece of paper from her corset, she recites the words, “Ilya ye man termáre- -esse front -o sina door must n- manwa or te cannot minn.” Within moments of the spell being broken, the shield disintegrates, and Elizabeth enters the room to find Juliana asleep on the altar, and Morgana stirring ingredients into the cauldron. Elizabeth slowly eases her way into the room, and approaches the altar, where Juliana lays. As Elizabeth scoops Juliana into her arms, the baby lets out a little whimper. Morgana quickly turns to notice the baby missing, and no one around her. Grabbing onto her amulet, she gets a vision of Elizabeth just outside of the castle’s doors, waiting for Lestat and Shelly. Furious at the very sight of someone trying to take the baby, Morgana waves her hands in the air, and teleport’s herself into the foyer to meet the very person who’s trying to steal the baby. Elizabeth gasps at the sight of Morgana, who is standing in front of her. “Well, well, well. Look who we have here. What are you some kind of kidnapper? Just how did you get past my shield? Hmm? No matter. I’ll just take care of you right now” Morgana says. “Wait! Aren’t you the least bit curious of who I am, or why I would be here to take the baby in the first place?” Elizabeth questions.

With a puzzled look Morgana replies, “Not in the very least, but I do find it a little odd how a complete stranger could take down my shield, and march into the room without being seen. So, yes. Do tell.” “Well, you see Morgana….I’m your daughter. That is how I knew how to take down your shield” Elizabeth explains. “Impossible! My daughter died a long time ago” Morgana says. “I can assure you that your daughter is very much alive, and is standing right before you” Elizabeth tells her. “If you are indeed my daughter, tell me something that she would only know” Morgana replies. Elizabeth nods in agreement before saying, “My father died before I was born. You taught me all about magic, and that our magic is pure and comes from the earth when I was a little girl. You and I used to have a strong bond, that is until I wanted to move into the village of Dragon Valley, in which you forbade me to do so.” “Lizzy?” Morgana questions. Smiling widely, Elizabeth says, “Yes, Mama, it’s me!” Morgana furrows her brow in anger before saying, “How dare you! How dare you come here, and interrupt my progress of the Queen’s orders! I told you if you left, it would be as if I never had a daughter. I’ve lived my life in peace, until now! Give me the child, and I’ll let you walk out of here alive. If you refuse, I’ll put you in a coma-like state until the day you take your very last breath!” Elizabeth’s smile turns to concern, “You know I can’t do that, and you know this isn’t right. If you’re afraid of the Queen, please let me help you.”

“A sickening smile spreads across Morgana’s face, “Me? Afraid of the queen? Ha! Don’t make me laugh! You poor stupid child. I don’t need your help! I am one of the most powerful witches in the realm. Even you can’t defeat me!” Just then Lestat rushes over to his mother and whispers. “Shelly’s gone! I freed her from the dungeon, and as I reached the forest with her, she came to and snapped my neck. I don’t know how long I have been out…but she’s gone!” “Awe. What’s the matter Elizabeth? Your bastard son return with more bad news? I can see the look of defeat written all over your faces!” Morgana laughs. Lestat clenches his teeth, and gets ready to lunge at her, before Elizabeth pulls him back shaking her head. “No my son. This is my fight, not yours. Listen, the spell must be wearing off. Quickly take little Juliana to her father in Blue Haven. I have a spell over the kingdom so that if anyone means any harm, they will fail to get in! Go now, my son, as fast as you can!” Elizabeth tells him. Lestat gently takes the baby from his mother, as Morgana bursts into a fit of laughter. Elizabeth and Lestat exchange confused looks, before Morgana begins to speak, “Do you really think that your measly little spells can defeat me? You can take the child wherever you like, but I will find her, and continue the Queen’s orders. There’s no magic that can take me down. You might as well just hand the child over to me.”

“Leave now, my son! I’ll handle your grandmother” Elizabeth instructs. “Mother, I can’t leave you. Surely you know that she’ll kill you!” Lestat says worriedly. “My son, that wasn’t a request, it was an order. Now, go!” Elizabeth commands. Lestat gives a nod, and within a flash, he and Juliana disappear into the night. Shaking her head Morgan says, “Tisk, tisk, tisk. Now you’re all alone, and with no one to help you. Hmm. Just what should I do with you?” After pondering about what sort of nasty things she can do to Elizabeth, Morgana continues, “Ah! I have just the thing!” Morgana waves her hands around in front of her, as she begins chanting. A pink mist surrounds Elizabeth, before she screams out in agony. “Oh, we’re just getting started my dear, and I can promise you, that it will only feel much worse than this! I’ll teach you to interrupt another witch’s spell!” Morgana says. “Let her go, before I put you down witch!” a woman’s voice calls out from behind. “I highly doubt that, but your welcome to try!” Morgana says as she continues to torture Elizabeth. Bolts of lightening surrounds Morgana, before entering her hands and traveling through her arms. Elizabeth falls to the ground, and the stranger helps her to her feet. “Quickly, grab my hand, and we’ll take care of her, once and for all” the strange woman calls out. Elizabeth gives a quick, but hesitant nod, and takes the woman’s hand, and link together as one, before the two begin to chant, “Omarh tosdoa wha eteleht- us -o sina evaile ar send -yes ana helliolo!”

Morgana clenches her fists, screaming in pain. “This isn’t possible. What’s happening to me?” Morgana manages to say, before her body grows limp, and falls into a coma-like-state. Removing her hand from the stranger’s grasp, Elizabeth turns to her and says, “What exactly did we do to her, and just who are you?” The woman replies, “I’m Charlotte, Larson. Don’t worry my dear. We didn’t harm her. The only thing we did, was drain her of her powers. She won’t be able to harm the little princess, or anyone else ever again.” Elizabeth stands, mouth agape before saying, “Charlotte? You mean the Elder Queen of Moonlight Falls?” Charlotte gives a little nod and says, “The very same my dear. I’m sure you have alot of questions for me, but unless you want to answer to Carolin, I suggest we be on our way.” “Where exactly are you heading?” Elizabeth wonders. “In one of my visions, I could see that you will need plenty of help. I came here to help you, and then return with you to Blue Haven” Charlotte replies. “Are you sure it’s a wise decision to come back with me? The King isn’t to keen on your kind” Elizabeth says. “Yes, well, I’m sure he’ll change his mind when he meets me, and hears what I have to say. After all, I am here to help. With me and my kingdom as an ally, Carolin might as well start packing. I’ve grown tired of Carolin’s wickedness, and kingdoms falling at her command. The word of Learia falling was devastating news, and I will not stand for that to happen again!” Charlotte explains.

Suddenly Shelly rushes towards us, with Lestat on her heals. Elizabeth places her hands on her hips before asking, “What is the meaning of this, and where’s Juliana!?” Stopping in his tracks Lestat says in a panic, “Don’t worry. Juliana’s with Thatcher in Blue Haven. Sorry Mother! There’s no time to explain! I saved Shelly from a witch who was going feast on her…..that is until she figured out that she wasn’t human. I also believe this witch is behind all of the disappearances of the children from the surrounding villages.” Lestat’s eyes widen as he notices Charlotte standing beside his mother. “Aunt Charlotte! What brings you here?” Lestat asks her curiously. “My dear boy, you know that I have my visions, and if things look rather ugly, I often come to help. In this case, Morgana won’t be endangering anyone else for a while” Charlotte replies. Within a snap of her fingers, Shelly falls to the ground. Lestat rushes to her side and cradles her in his arms, before looking up at Charlotte. “What happened to her?” he asks. Smiling slightly Charlotte says, “She’s perfectly fine. She’ll be asleep for a couple of hours. We can’t take any chances on her running off again, before we reach Blue Haven.” “A very wise idea indeed. Now, if you’ll both take my hand, we’ll be inside of the castle within the blink of an eye” Elizabeth says. Lestat, holding Shelly with his left arm, grabs hold of Charlotte’s hand as she takes Elizabeth’s, and teleport to the castle.

Upon entering the castle, the four of them appear before Thatcher in the throne room, who is performing his daily court duties. “What is the meaning of this, and who is this strange woman you brought into my kingdom without permission!? Thatcher yells, rising from his seat. Elizabeth turns to Lestat and instructs him to see that Shelly gets to her chambers, and that her guards are with her, before returning to the throne room. Lestat tells her that he will, and carries Shelly upstairs to her chambers. Charlotte gives a little bow, “Majesty, I do apologize for the intrusion. I’m Charlotte, Queen of Moonlight Falls, and I helped rescue your daughter from Carolin’s grasp. I’ve been meaning to speak with you for quite some time, but I wasn’t able to locate your kingdom until now.” Thatcher raises a brow, “What makes me so sure that you’re any different from the other foul creatures that are here!? Let me guess. You want to help us the way Kristen has helped this kingdom? Help yourself to our blood and take whatever you want? Is that your plan?” Smiling sweetly Charlotte replies, “I can assure you that isn’t my plan at all. I’m nothing like Kristen or Carolin, but I’m not like King Stephan either. In fact I’m not a vampire.” “If you’re not a vampire, then what are you to be exact?” Thatcher interrupts.

“I’m a Lanterian, which is short for the old ones. We’re also known as a blood witch. I’m cursed, kind of like Lestat’s father, but much different. Instead of being turned like Lestat, I was born this way. I stopped aging when I turned the age of eighteen. His grandfather, Alaric, is the same as me. He too was born this way. We are like vampires in many ways, but not the same. We are good, and can be cured, the vampires, however, can’t be cured” Charlotte says in sadness. “Alaric and I choose to remain this way, despite of what his mother’s wishes were. We chose a different path because this is the only way we have ever known” Charlotte explains. Thatcher ponders for a moment before saying, “How do I know you aren’t lying to me?” Moving closer to Thatcher, Charlotte places her hands on his cheeks. Showing him visions of her past and present. Thatcher lets out a gasp. Flopping back into his throne Thatcher says, “Sh-she’s telling the truth! Will we constantly have to live in fear that Carolin or some other vampire will come and kill us?”

“If you join me in an alliance, you’ll have my protection. Carolin wouldn’t dare try to start a war with your kingdom. I can assure you that your realm will be perfectly safe. The vampires and lycans will not come into my territory. I can honestly say, that Alaric and I are the only two people who Carolin fears. I have an army that would crush her within a snap of a finger, no matter how many vampires and lycans she has under her wing. Carolin thinks she’s so powerful, because she was the one who gathered the blood from Shelly to have Morgana create the moon rings, in attempt to take down the surrounding kingdoms.” Charlotte replies. “So…do you drink blood like the vampires?” Thatcher inquires. “Yes, we do, but our villagers donate blood to us, and we take care of them in return. We don’t force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. Think of it as we have our own blood bank. Our skin is really sensitive, but we can go out in the daylight, because of a spell the wizard’s son, Nolan found. That allowed him to create a potion for us. There are no others like us, only Alaric and I are cursed. However, I am the only one of our kind who can perform magic spells. Think of me as a hybrid witch with an army” Charlotte explains. “So you can guaranteed the safety of me and my people?” Thatcher questions. “You have my word!” Charlotte replies.

Rising from his seat, he shakes hands with Charlotte to seal the deal, before Lestat enters the room. Turning her attention back to Charlotte Elizabeth questions, “What of your grandson, Lestat, is he like you or is he like Carolin?” “Lestat was turned by Carolin, but he has Lanterian in his bloodline. There’s only one way to know for sure though” Charlotte replies. Turning to Lestat Charlotte calls him over to her. Approaching her, she places her hands on his cheeks, closes her eyes, and takes a long hard look into the day he was turned. Opening her eyes she says, “He’s mostly like Carolin, only he’s not heartless like she is. He cares about his family and the people around him. In fact, I think I can fix it to where he’s not like that evil queen at all.” “How exactly can you do that?” Lestat asks rather puzzled. “Now this is where I can show just how marvelous my magic really is. Elizabeth, would you be a dear, and grab the goblet over there on the table?” Charlotte asks. Elizabeth says she will, before quickly grabbing the goblet and handing it to her.

Charlotte thanks her in return, before biting her wrist, and holding it over the goblet, allowing some of her blood to trickle into it. She then closes her eyes and recites the words, “Símen tye termáre- yenya me perina veteribus, -esse faila pretium, tye indóme n- quanta Lanterea!” Once the spell is complete, she hands the goblet over to Lestat and instructs him to drink it. “Is it…safe for me to drink?” he asks. Charlotte gives a little frown before saying, “I wouldn’t be giving it to my only Great Grandson if it wasn’t safe for you to drink, now would I?” “I suppose not. After all, if you wanted to kill me, you wouldn’t have helped me after the lycans bit me” he replies before drinking the liquid from the goblet. Taking the cup from him Charlotte asks, “Well, how do you feel?” “I feel….different. It’s like I have all this magic burning inside of me, and I don’t really crave blood. I mean, the hunger is there, but not like it was before” he replies. “That means you’re not a vampire anymore. You can come home with us, where you’ll remain safe” she tells him. “What about Shelly? I can’t just leave her with her humanity turned off!” Lestat says. “Like you would leave her alone anyway” Thatcher sneers. “Don’t you dare go there! I’ve done nothing but help her! Where were you when she was captured by Carolin, not just once, but TWICE! Both of those times she was supposed to be in your care!” Lestat shouts.

Thatcher raises a brow in disbelief, “What about when you left her!? Do you know how much she cried for you at night!? You really wanna talk about taking care of her, I don’t call wiping out her memory, and placing new ones, or turning her into one of those things helping her at all! So if you really want to start pointing fingers at someone, why don’t you start with yourself!?” “That’s enough of this nonsense! You two arguing isn’t going to change anything!” Charlotte shouts. The two men quickly nod their heads in agreement, before apologizing and giving her a yes ma’am, before quieting down altogether. Turning her attention to Lestat and changing the subject Charlotte says, “Now, you were telling me, before we left Dragon Valley, about the witch who had Shelly as her hostage. Can you tell me a little more about her?” “Well, the best way to describe her is, when you first meet her she’s stunningly gorgeous, and quite friendly. You know the type. Long golden blonde hair, blue eyes, slender build, big….bust” Lestat begins. Charlotte shoots him the death stare, telling him to “get to the point.” “The type of girl a man can only dream of. She lures you to her little cottage deep within the forest, and wants you to eat all of the delicious meals she prepares to fatten you up. As soon as she thinks she’s have enough fattened up enough, she eats the very flesh from your bones. I could feel the presence of children there, but there were none to be found. This creature kind of reminds me of the old fairy-tale, Hansel and Gretel. Only she’s different. I only thought of that story, because I remember reading it to Melina when she was young” Lestat continues.

“I know of just the creature you’re talking about. If my memory serves me right, she’s called an Empusa, but it wouldn’t make any sense for her to take Shelly. An Empusa normally takes on a human form, either male or female, and acts just like the witch in your story book. Normally she feeds on children, not other mystical creatures, such as Shelly. That is, unless she is really a male who is looking to find a mate, and mistook Shelly as a human. I bet the creature was really mad when he or she found out Shelly is a vampire” Charlotte explicates. “She couldn’t have been a male. She tried to kiss me!” Lestat adds. Charlotte lets out a little giggle before continuing, “Then perhaps your little creature friend is a little confused, or maybe he’s bisexual….” Lestat then turns all shades of green, before running out of the room. “Well…that’s interesting, and we have had children in the village come up missing, but we thought perhaps the lycans were taking them to turn them. We never thought we would encounter one of those creatures, in fact I have never heard of them until now” Thatcher says. “Nor would you. These creatures are rare, and are hardly ever heard of. We encountered a nest of them in my kingdom two hundred years ago. I thought we had torched them all, but in this case I was wrong. There’s only one way to kill this creature, and that is by fire. It doesn’t have any other weaknesses. We must capture it and kill it, before anymore innocent people get hurt!” Charlotte tells him.

“Just how do you propose we capture a creature such as this?” Thatcher questions. Glancing at Thatcher, Charlotte smiles sweetly, “That’s easy, we just need live bait.” “Sounds like a plan. Just who will we get to be the bait?” Thatcher asks. Looking up at Charlotte, Thatcher notices the way she’s looking at him. “Oh no! Don’t look at me! I’ve been through enough of this mystical-supernatural garbage to last me a lifetime! She kissed Lestat, maybe she would prefer to have him instead” Thatcher says as Lestat enters the room. “I heard that! There’s no way I’m letting that he-she thing near me again!” Lestat shouts. Suddenly, the doors behind them fly open, and Archer enters the room, carrying a small bundle in his arms. He gives a bow, before Thatcher tells him he can rise. Approaching Thatcher he says, We found your son, just like Kristen said we would. The couple didn’t put up a fight, but they weren’t happy that we took the baby either. Can’t say as I blame them though. They have been taking care of him for a few months now. Majesty, may I speak freely?” Archer says. Thatcher tells him that he may, and Archer continues, “I couldn’t help but to overhear you talking about needing bait to capture something. I would like to volunteer, that is as long as I have back-up.” “Archer, there’s no way in hell I’m letting you go in there! You’re not only my best friend, but my best man as well. I’ll go in your place” Thatcher tells him.

“All due respect Majesty, you have a wife and children. I on the other hand, am not married, and I don’t have any children who would mourn me. It would be an honor to kill whatever this thing is to ensure the safety of our people. Please let me take this journey. Let me slay this beast for you and our villagers” Archer replies. Turning to Charlotte, Thatcher asks, “Do you think you can help us get rid of this creature?” “I can have fifty men or more ready to journey with your friend within a few moments Majesty” Charlotte replies. “Very well then. Archer, you may have this run, but I beg you to be careful. You have always been like a brother to me. Besides, my children will need their uncle to help their father keep them safe” Thatcher tells him. With a puzzled look, Archer questions, “Uncle?” Approaching Archer Thatcher says, “That’s just what I said. You have always been there when I needed you the most. Like it or not, you’re now a part of this family. Take a knee my brother.” Archer smiles slightly as he takes a knee before his king. Grabbing his sword, Thatcher says, “I hereby dub you from General, to Duke of Blue Haven. It is an honor from this day forward, to call you my brother, and my children shall know you as their uncle. You may rise, Duke Bronswick.” “I-I don’t know what to say Majesty. Thank you!” Archer tells him. “There’s no need to thank me brother. Now you have family to come back to, and await for your return. Please be careful” Thatcher replies. “I’ll return to you and your family Majesty. I promise” Archer tells him. Thatcher smiles widely before saying, “I’ll hold you to it! Now, go on and get armored up.” Archer gives a bow before handing the baby over to Thatcher, and heading to his chambers.

Turning his attention back to Charlotte Thatcher says, “Getting back to our conversation we were having just moments ago. You said you have an idea of how to get Shelly to turn her humanity back on?” “Yes Majesty. She hasn’t seen Juliana in such a long time. Has she had contact with the other children that reside here?” Charlotte questions. Thatcher then explains everything that happened with Shelly upon her arrival to his kingdom, before continuing, “So you see, we’ve had to keep Shelly from Elijah. We couldn’t take any chances on her trying to feed from him, but what does this have to do with her humanity being off?” “I see….however, I do think this is exactly how to get her to turn her humanity on. Do you think you can arrange the children to be in one of the rooms together? I think if we reunite Shelly with your children, she will snap out of this nonsense” Charlotte explains. Stepping forward, Elizabeth says, “Actually, I don’t think that’s a very wise decision My Lord. I do, however know of something else that will help….something that made her want to turn her humanity off in the first place.” “Well come on, out with it then” Thatcher scoffs. “Her brother, Logan…he’s still very much alive. I replicated the stone in his ring, and made him a necklace to wear. He was wearing that necklace when Kristen signaled her men to kill him. Maybe if she see’s him, she’ll turn it back on.”

Raising a brow in frustration Thatcher huffs, “And you’re just now telling us this!? How could you think this information wasn’t important enough to inform me!” “Majesty, I needed to be sure Kristen’s humanity was back on, and she wouldn’t try to have Logan killed again. You know how Shelly feels about her brother. Look at what she’s done to keep herself from feeling the pain of losing him” Elizabeth explains. “Listen witch, I don’t care who you are, from now on if I find out you’re with-holding information from me, I will have you arrested and charged with treason. Do I make myself clear!?  Thatcher shouts. Folding her arms, Elizabeth mutters, “Crystal clear, Majesty.” Turning back to Charlotte Thatcher says, “I’ll gather the children in the nursery. When Shelly wakes, I’ll summon her into the room.” “Sounds like a plan Majesty. Only, there isn’t much time left before she wakes. We need to hurry!” Charlotte says. The baby gives a little cry, and Thatcher looks down at him smiling proudly. Charlotte smiles sweetly, before clearing her throat, signaling they need to get everything ready before Shelly awakens. Thatcher gives a quick nod, and the three of them follow him upstairs to get Elijah and Juliana.

Chapter – 71

“Which one of you gets it first?” Thatcher asks as he glances from Noel to Abel. “P-Please don’t kill us. We’re only following orders” Abel pleads. Elbowing Abel in the stomach, Noel says, “Shut up will you! Geez, you sound like a whining baby. We are vampires, we don’t beg the humans for anything!” ‘These guys are thicker than two short planks’ I think to myself. “Do you know which cell he’s in?” Thatcher asks. Shaking my head I reply, “Do you have this under control, so I can take a look around” I ask. “Yes I will keep an eye on these goons, go ahead and get him out of there.” Immediately I rush to the cells and start searching them frantically for Lestat. Swinging the last door open to see an empty bed the realization hits me, “he’s not here” I yell to Thatcher. “Didn’t your witch friend say he would be here?” Thatcher yells back. “Yes, but obviously he isn’t. All of the cells are empty, without a trace of him. Perhaps there’s another hidden passage?” I inquire approaching him. Thatcher shakes his head and says, “I’m afraid not. This is the only one, perhaps your witch friend was wrong about Lestat’s whereabouts?” Suddenly Noel grabs Thatcher’s sword and casts it aside. “You pathetic human, you didn’t really think that sword would kill us did you?” Noel sneers. “It would have if he decapitated your head!” I say sarcastically. Showing his fangs angrily, Noel lunges at Thatcher and suddenly falls to floor screaming out in pain, along with Abel. “What’s happening to them?” Thatcher questions. Before I’m able to answer his question, the sound of a woman chanting in Old Latin comes from behind us. Turning to face the woman, I notice no other than Elizabeth.

Glancing up at me, she says, “He’s in the last cell of the dungeon. You must hurry child, before Kristen’s two idiots come to their senses.” “But he’s not in there! I have searched every one of those cells” I explain. Elizabeth ponders for a moment before motioning us to follow her. She swings the dungeon door open, and asks Thatcher to stand guard outside of the room, as she hands him his sword. Thatcher agrees and takes his place in front of the door, and the two of us enter the dungeon cell. “You see, he’s not there!” I tell her. She smiles sweetly and says “nonsense child. He’s right in front of you.” “B-but I don’t see” I begin but she quickly interjects. Putting a finger to her mouth, she motions for me to be quiet. I give a nod in agreement, and watch her closely, as she waves her hands over the bed, and begins to chant again. Momentarily, a very faint image of Lestat appears on top of the bed, and within a few moments, his body turns into a solid form. Turning to me she says, “Kristen’s witch friend must have put a spell on these old dungeon cells. Lestat was here the whole time. You just couldn’t see him, because he was cloaked. In fact, no one would have seen him, unless you know of the very spell she used. Listen to me rambling on when we still have work to do! Go on now, pull the dagger out!” Reaching down, I pull the dagger from his chest, but nothing happens. “Why isn’t he waking up?” I ask worriedly. “Sometimes these things take some time.” she replies. Suddenly Lestat feels energy coursing through his very being as if being struck by lightning, jolting from his slumber, Lestat sits up, gasping for air.

“What happened? Where am I?” he asks. Sitting down beside him on the bed I reply, “It’s alright sweetheart. Kristen thought she won again, by taking someone that I care about away from me. Naturally she failed, thanks to your mother.” Lestat glances at me, and then notices the dagger that I’m holding in my hand. “Where did you get that dagger?” he questions. “I-I pulled it out of your chest. This is the dagger Kristen stabbed you with” I reply. A fit of uncontrollable rage washes over Lesat and he vanishes. “Now where do you suppose he ran off to? I hope he’s not going to try anything stupid” I ask. Elizabeth smiles sweetly, “Knowing my son the way I do, he’s planning to attack Kristen the smart way. My guess is that he’s heading to the forest to feed, and gain his strength. He can’t take on an elder vampire while he’s in this weakened form. That dagger that you’re holding, it really took it’s toll on him. Carolin’s witch made it to weaken him, to put him in a coma-like state.  May I see the dagger dear? I might be able to lift the spell on it, so that it can’t harm him again.” “I can’t believe this is happening. Seems to me he was better off without his stepmother’s side of the family in his life. All they do is hurt him. How can individuals such as Carolin and Kristen be so cruel? I mean after all, Carolin did raise him, and Kristen is his half sister” I inquire as I hand her the dagger.

Taking the dagger from my hand, she thanks me before replying, “The thing is deary, Carolin has a cold heart, and well, she only cares about herself. She doesn’t even care for her kingdom, or her husband. She only married him because the villagers wouldn’t accept a single queen, and they feared her. They needed a king, not only have an heir, but to lead them and to teach them. They needed to feel safe and secure. Although, they didn’t know she would marry such an aberrant failure, who’s willing to agree with almost anything that she see’s fit. Sadly their daughter turned out just like her mother. Cold, and cruel. The only difference is, Kristen at least has a heart. You just have to make her find it. I saw her heart melt in one of my visions. One where she had a baby boy. I also saw it break when she asked Thistle and Alex to raise it as their own. Like I said, she has a heart, you just have to make her find it.” I sit mouth agape before saying, “Kristen had a child? When did that happen?” Elizabeth gives a little smile, “All in good time dear, all in good time. Now, be quiet for just a moment, so I can concentrate only on the dagger, ok?” I give a nod in agreement, and watch her as she begins to chant. The silver dagger, slowly floats into the air, as Elizabeth continues chanting. A few moments pass, before Elizabeth throws the dagger onto the floor. “No! It can’t be! It’s impossible!” she shouts. “What’s impossible?” I ask. Shakily she replies, “I know the witch who put the spell on the dagger, and who is also holding your daughter hostage!”

I let out a little gasp before asking, “Who is she, and how do you know her?” As Elizabeth gets her thoughts under control, she slowly explains, “The witch’s name is Morgana. I know her because she is my mother. She taught me all about spell casting when I was young. I assumed she was dead after all of these years. I don’t know how she’s still alive, or what has happened to her since I moved to the village of Dragon Valley many years ago.” “Well, what can Carolin possibly want from her?” I ask curiously. “Carolin must have found her. Perhaps she persuaded her to join her kingdom. I don’t think my mother would have joined her willingly, because she always hated vampires, and hated the fact that the kingdom was ruled by them. I’m not exactly sure why my mother would have joined Carolin, but whatever the reason is, it must be huge” she says.

A few moments of silence spreads between us as I take in the new information. “Do you think Juliana is alright? You don’t think she would hurt her do you?” I ask but get no response. Turning my head towards her, I can clearly see that she’s in a daze. Rising from my seat, and placing a hand on her shoulder, I ask, “Hey, are you alright?” “Elizabeth, snap out of it!” I continue as I give her shoulder a little shake. Slowly blinking her eyes, as she snaps back into reality, she replies, “We need to find Lestat and gather a meeting with Thatcher in the throne room as quick as possible. I just had a vision, and we need to act rather quickly. I’m afraid this means life and death for your daughter!” “Life and death? For Juliana? Do explain!” I demand as I cross my arms. “Since Carolin took Juliana from Brendlewood, she’s been trying to figure out a way to drain her of her powers. In the vision I just had, I witnessed Morgana find a spell that will surely drain the little Princess. Of course she has to cast a spell that will age Juliana into a ten year old child” she explains. “A ten year old child!? Why does she need Juliana to be ten years old?” I ask. “Because, that’s how old your daughter will be when she begins to develop her powers. Carolin’s afraid if she waits until Juliana’s an adult, she will have more than enough power to bring her kingdom down. Well, I don’t think I need to explain it any further, as you know Carolin, and if she’s afraid of something, well…she needs to destroy it! Now, as I was saying, we need to find my son, and gather the three of you in the throne room!” Elizabeth replies. Giving a quick nod, I follow Elizabeth and Thatcher out of the basement and back to the finely decorated part of the castle. Pulling Elizabeth off to the side, I tell her that I’m going to head to the forest to find Lestat, and bring him back to the castle safely. She gives me a friendly hug in return, and tells me to be careful. I tell her that I will, and head out to the forest to begin my search.

As I enter the forest, the cold wind howls as the colorful fall leaves spill from the trees. Fall is among us, and in a few months, the snow will begin to fall. ‘The perfect weather for making snowmen, and for snowball fights’ I think to myself. It seems like I’ve been searching for hours, as I arrive in the center of the forest. A very loud ‘Crack’ sound comes from one of the trees in front of me, as it begins to fall. Running as fast as I can to get out of the path of the tree, I run right into Lestat. Turning to face me, his eyes widen in surprise before saying, “Shelly, you shouldn’t have come.” Smiling slightly I reply, “I had to find you. You’re mother had a vision, and needs us to meet with her and Thatcher in the throne room. She said it could mean life and death for Juliana.” “I mean you shouldn’t have come, because there’s a hunter on my tail. I’m sure we can lose him though. C’mon, I’ll race you back to the castle.” “Ha! Are you sure you can beat me? I mean you know I’m a little faster than most new vampires” I kid. Lestat gives me a little wink, before taking off as fast as he can. “Hey! That’s cheating!” I shout before chasing after him. As I catch up to him, Lestat says, “I think it’s wise if you enter the castle alone. By now I’m sure that my sister has found out that I’m no longer her prisoner. Don’t worry love, I can still get in. All I have to do is use a little vamp power to scale the walls. I’ll find you later. I would tell you where to meet up, but if Kristen confronts you, she will think that you’re lying and compel you to tell her where I am.” I frown at the thought of Kristen capturing him again, and I agree to his terms, before we enter the castle separately.

Upon entering the castle, Kristen greets me in the foyer. “Well now, this is a surprise. I set a trap for my brother, and behold I catch his lover instead. Come, join me in the sitting room” she says grimly. Giving a nod in agreement, I follow her into the other room. Standing in front of the fireplace, I can’t help but wonder what she has up her sleeve. Slowly approaching me, she continues, “I know you have been with my brother, and that you helped him escape. Don’t try to deny it, the two of you were seen in the forest together. You can either tell me where my brother is, or I can compel you to tell me. Either way, I will get the information that I want. So, we can do this the easy way, or the hard way. The choice is yours.” Folding my arms, I reply, “Just what makes you think that I will tell you anything?” Pointing her scraggly finger at me she says, “I have ways of making you talk.” Kristen then snaps her fingers, and her guards bring Logan to her. My eyes widen in shock as my brother approaches her with his hands bound together. “You let him go or I’ll-” I begin but she quickly interrupts. Folding her arms and squinting her eyes, she says, “Or you’ll what!? There’s nothing you can do. You can’t beat me, and you know that. Besides, I don’t want to hurt your precious brother. In fact I want to make a deal with you. More of a trade really. Your brother for mine!” Pondering for a moment I inquire, “If I tell you where Lestat is, you’ll let my brother go?” “You have my word” Kristen replies. “Just like that?” I carefully question. Shaking her head she says, “Just like that.” “But I don’t know where he is. You can compel me if you want to, but I can’t tell you where he is, if I don’t exactly know where he is” I reply. “Then it’s the end for poor Logan here. Such a pity” she says as she grabs him by the throat.

“No-wait! I don’t know exactly where he is, but I can tell you where to begin to look” I blurt out. Shoving Logan into the hands of her guards, Kristen approaches me and questions, “Where exactly do I start looking for my brother?” “He’s somewhere in the castle. That’s all I can tell you.” Grabbing me by the arms, and looking deep into my eyes, she says, “Nonsense. My brother wouldn’t be so stupid as to hide here. I have eyes all over this castle, surely someone would have seen him.” “I wasn’t lying. I told you that I don’t know where he is” I tell her. Her pupils grow small, and the color of her eyes go dark as she compels me to tell her where Lestat is. “Alright you little tramp, I’m going to ask you one last time. Where is my brother?” Kristen asks angrily. “I told you, I don’t know where he is. All I know is that he’s somewhere here in the castle” I explain. Slowly letting go of my arms, Kristen says with a conniving expression, “We’re going to play a little game. You either find him and bring him to me, or you can kiss your brother goodbye.” “Why would I bring him to you? All you and your mother have ever done is hurt him!” I yell. 

Grabbing me by the throat and lifting me off the floor, she says, “I’ve grown tired of your nonsense. The only reason I have put up with you this long, is because of my brother’s love for you. He betrayed me by killing Austin, when all he did was leave my mother’s realm to help us take her down!” Before I’m able to respond to what she had just said, Thatcher enters the room flanked by his guards, with his sword ready. “Take your hands off of my wife!” Thatcher shouts. Turning his attention to Archer, Thatcher says, “Arrest that creature for the act of treason!” Archer gives a nod before saying, “Miss Lioncourt, you are under arrest for treason, and the disloyalty of the King and Queen of Blue Haven. Guards, take her away!” As Thatcher’s guards surround Kristen, Archer approaches her with iron cuffs. Kristen loosens her grip from my throat, and I fall to the floor with a hard ‘thud’. “Do you really think you can take me that easily? That I would be willing to let you put me behind bars? I think not!” she sneers. Back-handing Archer, he falls to the floor and hits his head on one of the tables, knocking him out cold. She then snaps her fingers, and her guards attack the men and hold them hostage. Within a flash, she grabs Thatcher’s sword, and casts it outside of the window. Grabbing Thatcher by the neck she says, “Did you really think that a pathetic mortal like you could defeat me? Such a pity that I have to kill you. Don’t worry, I’ll let you die quick and painless, so as not to suffer.” 

Kristen then sinks her fangs into his neck, before Lestat shouts, “Leave these people alone. T’is I that you want, and I am standing here before you. I won’t let you harm these innocent people. I’m not going anywhere, and I’ll go with you willingly.” Rushing to Lestat’s side, I hug him tightly before whispering in his ear, “Sweetheart, no! You can’t go with her, she’ll kill you!” He kisses me gently on the cheek and whispers, “She’ll kill all of you if I don’t. I swore to your parents that I would protect you, and I’m not about to break that promise. I have to go darling.” Kristen shoves Thatcher down to the floor, and rushes over to Lestat. “My dear brother, playing the savior again I see. Well, never mind that. It’s about time that you came to your senses, but I’m afraid you’re a little too late. You see, your pal Thatcher over there doesn’t have very long to live. I’ve drained him of almost all of his blood. You and I both know that draining him like that will make his pitiful little heart work faster to supply more blood. His heart won’t be able to take it.” Giving her fingers a little snap, her guards kill the king’s men, and approach Logan. Two of her guards hold Logan so he can’t move, as one of the other men removes his ring before snapping his neck. “No!” I yell before rushing to his side. Tears slide down my cheeks, and I stroke his hair. He’s really gone this time, and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop this from happening. Guilt stricken and sorrow washes over me as I weep. I then grab all of the Gin and Rum I can get my hands on, and begin pouring it all over the furniture, floor, and my brother’s body. 

“What are you doing!?” Kristen shouts. “Everything is gone! My husband is dying, my parents and brother are all dead. Now, you’re going to kill the remaining love of my life! I have nothing left! This castle, is nothing but bad memories, ones that I no longer want, so I’m gonna burn it down to the ground!” As I head over to the fireplace, Kristen rushes to my side. Smiling slightly she says, “I can help you.” “I don’t want, nor do I need your help!” I snap. Approaching Lestat, she whispers, “You know what to do to help her. I suggest you do so before I kill the little wench!” Lestat takes me into his arms and hugs me tightly as I sob uncontrollably. “Listen to me darling. I can help you” he says as he wipes the tears from my cheeks. “You don’t understand. Everyone that I love dies! I’m poison Lestat. You better leave me before you die to!” I cry out. “Shhh. It’s alright darling. I’m not going anywhere. I can help you. Please, just let me help you” he says soothingly. “How can you help me?” I ask in between sobs. “Turn your humanity off” he tells me. Thatcher gasping in pain, manages to get to his feet before saying, “No! Shelly, don’t listen to him!” “Just turn off your humanity, and all of the hurt that you’re feeling right now will just go away” Lestat explains. “How do I turn it off?” I ask. “Just reach down, deep inside yourself. You’ll know what to do” he replies. 

Lestat takes a few steps back from Shelly, before Kristen approaches him. “Bravo my brother. I didn’t think that you had it in you!” she sarcastically says. Smiling slightly he replies, “I didn’t.” Giving him a puzzled look, Kristen says, “Oh but you did. You got her to turn her humanity off. A very brave thing to do, considering that you actually love her.” Turning to his sister, Lestat plunges a syringe into her arm, and injects her with a dark red liquid. Grabbing the glass tube, and throwing it to the floor, Kristen says in a weakened voice, “W-what did you do to me?” “I’m sorry sister, but you have caused enough trouble. I injected you with dead man’s blood. Now, my mother can help you, but unless you stop this madness, you can meet your maker!” Lestat tells her. “Y-you would kill your own sister?” she questions before falling to the floor. Kneeling down and smiling slightly, he replies, “I don’t want to kill you, but you’re not really giving me a choice now are you? While you had your plan set into motion, I was planning my own scheme against you.” Rising from the floor, he shouts, “Bring in the prisoner!” A few of Thatcher’s guards bring Ector into the room with his arms bound in front of him. 

“Exactly what are you up to?” Kristen inquires. Rising from the floor, and folding his arms, Lestat replies, “I know that you turned off your humanity, and that is why you have done all of these horrible things to everyone. It’s time for you to turn it back on, or your poor human lover gets it!” “I can’t and won’t do that!” she shouts. “Oh, but you will. You see, I’ve been trying to figure out why you’ve been stringing poor Ector here along, and I finally figured it out. You actually care about him, maybe even love him. Just like I figured out that the two of you share a daughter. Just think sister, if I can find out that you have a daughter out there, I can surely find out where you are hiding her. It won’t be to hard to track her down, just like I can track down Alex and Thistle to find your son! So, what’s it gonna be?” Getting to my feet, I grab the other syringe that’s on the floor next to Kristen, and plunge it into her arm. “Shelly, what are you doing? If you give her too much of that stuff, it will kill her!” Lestat shouts. Smiling slightly, I give a little shrug, before one of Kristen’s guards grabs me. “Let go of me!” I shout as I try to break free of his grasp. “No, Shelly. I’m trying to save my sister, not kill her.” Lestat says. “I don’t care. That bitch deserves to die after everything that she has done to us!” I yell. “Guards, take her Majesty into another room where she won’t cause anymore trouble” Lestat commands Kristen’s guards. They give Kristen a puzzled look, but she quickly gives them a little nod, and they remove me from the room.

Lestat shoves Ector away from him, and rushes to Kristen’s side as he notices her clenching her chest. “Something’s wrong. It’s getting harder to breathe. Am I dying?” she asks him. Cradling his sister, he places his hand on her cheek before saying, “Sister, your skin feels like it’s on fire! I’m afraid you don’t have much longer to live. You have too much of dead man’s blood in your system, and your body can’t handle it.” A look of sadness washes over Kristen’s face, as she turns her humanity back on. “I’ll never get to see my children again, nor will I ever marry. Brother, you have been nothing but good to me, and I have been just horrible to you. I don’t want to die knowing that you hate me, can you find it in your heart to forgive me?” she says as she wipes the tears from her cheeks. Tears fill Lestat’s eyes before saying, “I forgive you Sister. I just wish things could have been better between us. You were always so jealous of me. Even when we were kids, you were always afraid that Father was giving me more attention than you, when in fact, you were his favorite. I was always afraid that I would be a bad father just like he was.” Kristen places her hand on his cheek, “Nonsense Brother. You are a great father. You’re nothing like him. Your children will see that just as I have. I know I don’t have much longer, and I do want to be able to say goodbye to Ector. I just have one last thing I want to tell you” she says. Giving Lestat’s hand a tight squeeze she continues, “When Shelly gave birth to Elijah, he wasn’t the first and only heir of Blue Haven that was born.” 

Lestat sits mouth agape before saying, “Sister, are you thinking clearly? Even the midwife said Shelly and Thatcher had a son. Meaning only one child. She said nothing about twin boys.” Smiling slightly, Kristen replies, “Actually, I compelled the midwife and everyone else who was in Shelly’s quarters to believe there was only one child. I’m thinking very clearly my brother. Two boys were born, and Elijah isn’t their first born. He is the second heir to the throne. The other boy remains hidden.” “So….exactly where is this child?” Lestat asks. In a weakened voice Kristen replies, “I had Thistle take him to a village called Bradford. The town isn’t far from here by horse. If you go there, you’ll find the baby. The villagers there don’t like outsiders, so I’m sure you will find him with out difficulty.” “If the villagers don’t like outsiders, just how did Thistle manage to get a family to care for the baby?” Lestat asks. “That was easy. Thistle is from Bradford, and the villagers know her. It wasn’t hard for her to find foster parents for the child” Kristen replies. “Then I’ll gather my men to search for my son” Thatcher says before falling to the floor.

Meanwhile in the Queen’s chambers, Kristen’s guards stand guard outside of my bedroom door. Quietly I  crack the door open, to see where they are, and quickly close it again. Plopping onto my bed, my thoughts begin to race. ‘Just who does he think he is? He surely can’t think that he can keep me in here. Maybe I should just go back to that room and remove his heart from his chest! That man just loves to be under my skin, but maybe one day he can be of use to me. C’mon Shelly, think. You know you can get out of here, but how can leave this room without being seen and alerting the guards?’ I think to myself. Then it dawns on me! Daylight is approaching, and I know exactly how to lure the guards in here. although this may hurt a bit at first, but then again what’s a little bit of pain?” I think. Flinging the curtains open, the morning sun immediately pores into the room. A smile spreads across my face, as I brace myself against the wall, in the shadows. Taking off my sunlight ring, I quickly throw myself into the harm of the sun’s rays. Screaming out in pain, the guards rush out of the halls, and into my room, where they lead me back into the shadows, and close the curtains. “Majesty, is everything alright” the head guard asks. “Yes, one of the maids must have left the curtains open again. Thank you for coming to my rescue” I tell them. “You’re welcome Majesty. Is there anything you might need, such as ice or maybe something to drink?” the other guard asks. “Actually, there is something you can do, but there are too many ears in this castle” I reply. Motioning them to move in closer as if I were to whisper to them, I quickly reach out and snap both of their necks, before dragging them into my bathroom. 

As I enter the sitting room, I can’t help but to smell the fresh scent of Thatcher’s blood trickling down his neck. Within a flash, I grab Thatcher by the throat, and take a deep breath of the deliciousness I’m about to feast on. “Shelly, put him down! You know this isn’t right!” Lestat calls out. “Oh but it is! You know you want a taste. Why don’t you come over here, and we can finish him off together?” I offer. Rushing to my side, Lestat turns to me and places his hand on my shoulder, before saying, “No. This isn’t you. When you turn your humanity back on, you’ll hate yourself for killing him. I know there’s a part of you that still cares. Just turn it back on darling.” Giving a nod as I act like I’m actually considering on turning on my humanity, I sink my teeth into Thatcher’s neck. Lestat shoves me to the floor, and says, “Stop this madness! Shelly I love you, therefore I can’t allow you to do this!” Glaring at Lestat I reply, “Since when do you control my every move? For a change, I feel alive, I feel….free. You can’t tell me what to do, or try to control me. I’m not that pathetic faerie who was always afraid, and who was too fragile to handle her own affairs. Right now, I don’t care about anything or anyone, and I feel nothing. If you want to protect our food chain, then so be it! I will not protect them. From now on, I’ll treat them as they should be treated, which is for no other than food!” “Darling, I beg of you, please think about what you’re doing. You can’t go on like this. I love you….Thatcher loves you. Do you really want to push us away?” Lestat pleads. 

Getting to my feet, I approach Lestat and look him in the eyes, “I’m sorry, but I don’t love you. I don’t love either of you, nor do I care about the two of you. “Now, I have other things on my agenda. If you don’t mind, I’ll be on my way” I tell him. “Where are you going?” Lestat asks. “That’s just for me to know, and for you not to find out. It has nothing to do with you” I explain. Lestat stands mouth agape not knowing exactly what to say. Glaring at him, I say before leaving the castle, “That’s right, Lestat. For a change, what I say and what I do, has absolutely nothing to do with you or that idiotic human over there.” Lestat kneels in front of Thatcher, before biting his wrist and says, “You need to drink my blood Majesty. It will heal you.” Thatcher pushes Lestat’s arm away and says, “No! I know it can heal me, but with you and all of the other creatures here, how do I know that none of you won’t turn me? I don’t want to become a monster like you!” “Then I’ll have my mother put a spell on your chambers so that supernatural creatures can’t enter. Majesty, with all due respect, if you don’t drink my blood, you will die, and you will never get to meet your oldest son” Lestat tells him before sending for his mother. A brief moment of silence spreads between them, before Thatcher gives a nod in agreement. Lestat then puts his wrist up to Thatcher’s mouth, and he slowly drinks his blood. Within moments, The wounds on Thatcher’s neck begin to heal, and he begins to feel like his normal self.

“You wanted to see me?” Elizabeth says as she enters the room. “Yes. Mother, There was an incident, and I had to help Thatcher by giving him some of my blood. Can you put a spell on his quarters to keep supernatural beings out. He’s afraid that one of us might turn him” Lestat explains. She gives a nod in agreement, and waves her hands in the air as she chants, and then suddenly stops. Turning to Thatcher she says, “It is done. You won’t have to worry about any supernatural beings bothering you.” Smiling slightly, Thatcher thanks her. “Mother, I know this is alot to ask, but do you think you can help my sister now that she’s turned her humanity back on? I don’t think she’ll be giving us anymore problems” Lestat asks. “I do have a potion that can help her, but are you sure she won’t be stirring up anymore trouble around here?” Elizabeth asks. Lestat then tells her that he’s completely sure. Giving a nod in agreement, she gives the potion to Kristen, before disappearing once more. “Guards, can you see that my sister gets to her quarters? Her Majesty needs her rest” Lestat instructs. The guards give a bow in return, and carry Kristen up to her bed. Helping Thatcher to his feet, Lestat says, “Come now Majesty, let’s gather your men, and find your son.” “No, Archer will be leading my men for the journey as soon as he wakes, so no need for you to go along. You just find Shelly, and get her to come to her senses!” Thatcher instructs. “Very well, Majesty. I’m pretty sure I know of just the place to find her. However, with her humanity turned off, it may take some time to get her to turn it back on and bring her home safely. She attacked you, so you know just how dangerous she is” Lestat explains.

“Sorry to interrupt Majesty, but there’s a messenger from Stoneridge here to see you” one of Thatcher’s guards informs him. “Stoneridge sending word here? Please, by all means, send him in” Thatcher replies. The guard gives a bow, before leaving the room, and returning with the messenger. “Majesty, King Rohan and Queen Isabelle instructed me to bring you and your queen this letter” he says as he hands the sealed paper to him. “What is your name?” Thatcher asks. “My name’s Atkins, Majesty” he replies. “Thank you Atkins. Please stay while I read the letter, just in case I should need to send one in return” Thatcher says. “Yes, Majesty” Atkins replies.Thatcher slowly reads the letter, as a smile forms across his face. “Majesty, what is it? Is anyone hurt? Are they under attack and need our assistance?” Lestat asks. Thatcher places a hand on Lestat’s shoulder, you’re to be congratulated. Rohan and Isabelle have a son and heir to the throne. You’re a grandfather! Congratulations!” Lestat smiles widely, “A grandfather? I never thought I would live to see the day.” “Congratulations to you as well Majesty, for you too are a grandfather, since you’re married to Shelly” Lestat points out. Thatcher clears his throat, “Yes, well….thank you. Now about Shelly, you should head out to find her, I’m going to write a letter in return to congratulate the new parents on their new addition to their family.” Lestat then gives a bow, before heading down to the barn to ready his horse.

Chapter – 70

“I can’t just sit back and do nothing! I’ve got to go after him!” I think to myself. No sooner does that thought cross my mind, I turn to head towards the stairs as my two guards approach me. “Majesty, we need you to remain in your quarters where you will be safe. I’m afraid enemies have broken inside the castle gates!” Caleb informs me. Gasping, I ask where Lestat is, and my guards inform me that he too is trying to keep the enemy from getting inside of the castle. “Elijah! I have to get my son!” I shout. Shaking his head, Lorenzo replies,”It’s far too dangerous Majesty. You’re better off staying in your room where it’s safe.” Listening to their hearts beat as I glance from one to the other, I can tell they’re becoming nervous as their hearts begin to race. It’s almost as if they’re hiding something from me. “The two of you are acting pretty weird. Normally if I needed help with something, you would go out of your way for me. Do you not want me to get my son? Is that it?” I ask curiously. 

The two exchange glances before replying anxiously, “N-no Majesty. If you need us to take you to your son, then we’ll do so!” “I’m….getting a strange vibe from the two of you. I don’t think the enemy is outside of the castle at all. I think Carolin’s goons have been here the whole time, spying on ME!” I shout as my eyes begin to glow in anger. A low growl comes from the two guards, proving that I was right. Showing my fangs, I grab Lorenzo by the throat choking him, before saying, “You! I trusted you!” Rage washes over me, and I throw Lorenzo clear across the room, before turning to the other impostor. I then grab Caleb who looks more scared than anything. Plunging my hand through his chest, and removing his heart, I turn my head towards Lorenzo. “You can tell your so called queen that I have had it with her! Tell her that if she wants me, to come get me herself, and to leave my son alone!” I hiss as I crumble Caleb’s heart in my bare hand. Petrified, Lorenzo replies, “I’ll relay the message, only it won’t do any good! It’s not you that she wants, it’s the child. She wants Blue Haven for herself, and she’ll do anything to get it! When that child grows older, he will be the next heir to the throne. As long as there’s an heir to the throne, that heir has rights, not only to the castle, but to the realm as well. Her Majesty can’t have anyone getting in the way of having the most powerful kingdom.”

Suddenly, Thatcher, Lestat, and the General, followed by the twenty-five men that accompanied Thatcher back to the castle, emerge from the stairs. The men draw out their swords, and point them at Lorenzo. “Trader! We overheard every word you had just said. When I led my men to the village to clear out the lycan trash, you can imagine my surprise when I over heard a female lycan tell your alpha that Carolin lead them into a trap….that they weren’t supposed to breach the castle walls. They were the decoys in which your queen sent to get me away from my kingdom! You were sent to spy on my queen, and to kill my son….my ONLY son! Oh believe me when I say that you aren’t going anywhere! You’re under arrest for treason, and the disloyalty of the King and Queen of Blue Haven! Guards, take this man away!” Thatcher shouts. “I’m not going anywhere with you, and you can’t capture me either!” the lycan sneers before jumping out of the window and landing on his feet. “Seize that creature! We can’t have him returning to that demon queen of his!” Thatcher orders. The men give a bow, and head out to begin looking for Lorenzo. 

“Darling, are you alright?” Lestat asks as Thatcher and his general turn to leave the halls. Shakily I give a nod, and tell him that I am before he continues, “I was so afraid that he might have hurt you.” “I knew something was wrong when they were trying to convince me that I would be safer in my chambers. I figured it all out when their hearts began to race, and they became more nervous when I asked them to accompany me to get our son. He is our son isn’t he?” I inquire. “Of course he is darling, why do you ask?” he reassures. Giving a little frown I reply, “Well….it’s just that Thatcher keeps saying that Elijah’s his son, and the way he talked to that lycan. It’s almost as if he was telling him that I am his queen, but that’s impossible. I would remember something like that wouldn’t I?” “Yes, my darling you would. Just give it some time. I’m sure you will regain all of your memories, but you can’t rush these things. It will all come back to you all in good time. When that time does come, you will have some questions for me, and I’ll be happy to answer them all, but only when you get them back” Lestat says. “Well I wish they would hurry up already! It’s frustrating when you have to listen to others tell you about your past when you can’t remember it yourself!” I reply. 

What about Austin?” I ask. “What of him? You were right Shelly, I shouldn’t be going after him, especially alone” he says apologetically. Wrapping me in his arms, before kissing me tenderly, he continues, “Shel, stop worrying. You will get your memories back, I promise. Until then, enjoy what’s happening right here, right now.” “Mmmm. I like the way that sounds already. I love you” I whisper. Caressing my neck with his lips, he whispers, “And I love you. Shall we move this into your chambers?” I let out a little moan, before giving a nod in agreement as he presses me up against the door to my room. Feeling around frantically for the doorknob, he kisses me passionately as his hands slide down my lower back. After a few moments of searching, I finally find the knob and give it a little twist. The door swings open, when I hear what sounds like someone clearing their throat. Glancing over Lestat’s shoulder, a tall, slender, blonde man, with blue eyes, stands before us. Lestat gives a sigh, before turning to face him. “Tristan!? How did you…when did you come to court?” Lestat asks clearly knowing who he is. “I came with Melina. I found her when she was searching for the kingdom. Sir, may I speak with you in private?” Tristan asks. “Do you mind darling?” Lestat asks me. Smiling slightly, I tell him that it’s alright and that I’ll keep the bed warm for him. He gives an a apologetic smile, before placing a kiss on my cheek, and follows Tristan into the other room. 

“What’s this all about son?” Lestat asks. “Well, as you know, I have loved Melina for a very long time, and since you are her father, I need to speak with you.” Well, go on son. I’m all ears” Lestat replies. “May I have your daughter’s hand in marriage? I know I’m not a prince, nor am I of royalty, but I love her!” Tristan continues. Lestat ponders for a moment before replying, “Has my daughter told you that she would marry you?” Tristan looks at the floor, before looking back up at Lestat, “Well….no. I haven’t asked her yet. I wanted to do this the honorable and right way, which was to ask you first.” “All I have to say is, ask her. If she says yes, then you have my blessing!” Lestat replies. Tristan beams, “Really!? Thank you Sir! I’m gonna go and ask her. I planned this whole romantic picnic thing in the royal garden.” Lestat chuckles before saying, “Just know this, if you hurt her, you’ll have to answer to me!” “Yes Sir!” Tristan replies before heading down to the garden. 

Returning to Shelly’s chambers, Lestat climbs into bed with her, thinking they can pick up where they left off, only to find her asleep. Rolling onto his side, he moves a few strands of hair from her face. She gives a little smile in return, before the nightmares start rolling in. “I can’t handle this. You have to remember me, you must. Lestat I love you so much, and I have waited so long for your return. Luke and Luna need you, just as our other children and myself do. Please come back to me” she says as she sleeps. It is then that Lestat realizes that she’s dreaming about the time he had lost his memories. When he had forgotten her, and his family. ‘How can I continue to put her through this, knowing what I went through when I lost my memories. Angry or not, I have got to tell her the truth, although she may hate me for it. I just hope she can find it in her heart to forgive me’ he thinks to himself. Slowly climbing out of bed, he returns to his chambers to find Logan still asleep. Taking comfort by the roaring flames of the fireplace, he sits thinking about how he’s going to explain to Shelly about everything that he’s done.

Meanwhile back in the queen’s chambers, Shelly continues to toss and turn in her bed as she dreams of her past. Jolting from my slumber, I swing my legs over the side of my bed, wiping the tears and sweat from my face, I take in the horrible dream I just experienced. I had woken up in a strange place, with strange people asking me all sorts of questions about some robbery that had taken place in their village. ‘There’s no way it could have been real. After all these years, why would I dream something so horrible about the kingdom my mother used to tell me stories about?’ I think to myself. Looking around my room, I notice Lestat hasn’t returned. Thinking maybe he went downstairs to have a cup of coffee, I get dressed and head down the hall. As I enter the landing on the second floor, I hear Thatcher talking to someone in the study. ‘I never did thank him for rescuing me and my son. Since I’m right here, I might as well do so’ I think to myself. Opening the door I let out a gasp. There in the study I find Thatcher and a brunette with their arms around one another, locked in a passionate kiss. Hearing the door opening, Thatcher glances up from his lover. His eyes widen at the sight of me, and he breaks from their kiss. “I-I’m sorry Majesty. I didn’t mean to…UGH! I’ve always had bad timing. I-I should go” I tell him as I turn to head out of the door. 

Grabbing his shirt, he follows me out into the hall. “Shelly, I didn’t intend for this to happen. She came to thank me for saving her life” Thatcher begins but I quickly interject. “There’s no need to explain yourself to me. I heard you in there talking to someone. I should have knocked first. I’m sorry for interrupting” I reply turning away from him. He then grabs me by the arm, and I turn to face him. “I don’t know why I’m jealous. It’s not like you and I have ever been together, nor have we been in a relationship, but every inch of me wants to remove her head from her shoulders!” I continue. His deep purple eyes lock on mine as he begins to speak again. His gentle voice fades into the distance, and I’m hit with yet another splitting headache. “Shelly, are you alright?” Thatcher calls out worriedly as he catches me before falling to the floor. After fifteen minutes of trying to get me to respond, I finally snap back into reality. Fluttering my eyes open, in a weakened voice, I’m able to tell him that I’m alright. As I try to get up, Thatcher says, “Are you sure you should be getting up so soon? I mean shouldn’t you relax for a minute or two?” Getting to my feet, I tell him, “I’m a vampire. You know, basically already dead. So there’s no need to really worry. You’re the one who should be worried.”

Turning to leave the room, Thatcher grabs my arm before saying, “Just what am I supposed to be worried about?” Locking my eyes on his I reply, ” Every time I get these headaches, years of memories rush back to me.” “So you remember everything?” he asks. “Well, not everything. There are still things that are still a blur, but as for you, I remember you, and I remember Brendlewood.” Smiling widely he replies, “Oh my gosh! Shelly, That’s great news!” Hugging me tightly he continues, “I think a feast is in order! This is an occasion to celebrate!” Breaking from his hug I reply, “Well maybe to you this is a joyous occasion, but gathering from what I just saw in your study, just tells me that you were hoping that I didn’t gain my memories back.” His smile turns to a frown before saying, “How can you say that? I sat by your bedside the whole time, waiting for you to wake up. I even had to sit there and watch to your ex-husband flaunt all over you. Every time I tried to tell you about our past, you would become irritable. I just didn’t want you to hurt anyone.” 

Pulling me close, he continues, “Darling, I just want us to be the way that we were before all of this.” Anger washes over me, and I shove him away from me before saying, “Well maybe I don’t feel the same way you do. Just because I remember you and our life together, doesn’t mean that I feel the same way. Things have changed between us. Wasn’t it you who told me that you didn’t know if you could cope me being a vampire? And wasn’t it you who said that you hate my kind?” “Well…yes, but….”Thatcher begins but I quickly interject. “Then kindly tell me, if you hate my kind, and you don’t think that you can bare to be with me because I’m a vampire, just how is it that you love me!?” A brief moment of silence spreads between us before I continue, ” That’s just what I thought! You can’t cope with all of this. Sorry I wasted your time! Maybe your lover who’s still waiting in your study will still have you!” Storming up the stairs, I hear Thatcher calling out to me, but I’m to angry to even look at him. As I open the door to my chambers, Lestat approaches me. “Darling is everything alright?” he asks. Rage suddenly takes over the anger, and I give a hard slap to his face. “How DARE you! How could you do that to me!? Make forget my friends, my children, my husband! Did you really think that would win you a second chance!? You made me believe Elijah was our son and that we were still married!” 

Running his fingers through his hair, he says, “Shel, you don’t understand…-” “Oh I understand plenty!” I shout. As he tries to comfort me, I say, “Don’t Lestat….you’ve done enough!” Grabbing me by the arms, his vibrant red eyes lock on mine, “I don’t want to hurt you. I only want to show you everything that has happened. If you feed from me and concentrate on seeing my memories, you will see what I have been telling you is the truth.” I try to break from his embrace, but I’m no match for him. “There’s no point in trying to run away. Since you clearly won’t listen to me, maybe when you see for yourself, you’ll see things in a different perspective” he says. His pupils grow small, and the color of his eyes beam bright as he compels me to feed from him. Nodding in agreement, I sink my teeth into his wrist. “That’s it, now concentrate on me” he says. I close my eyes and concentrate on finding his memories. Flashes of everything he has done since he was taken from his mother rush to me. The day we met, our wedding day, the fight we had before he left Brendlewood, and everything that has happened at Carolin’s castle until the present comes to me. His eyes then change back to normal and the muscles in his arms relax. As he lets go of my arms, tears slide down his cheeks before saying, “There you have it. My whole life was nothing but a lie. I wanted to tell you about your past with Thatcher many times, but I didn’t want to confuse you and make you angry. A vampire with a temper is a very bad combination for innocent people. But, that wasn’t the only thing holding me back Shelly. I don’t want to lose you either. I’ve never felt this way about anyone. It’s always been you Shel. No one can ever take your place.”

“Why did you compel me before you left Brendlewood? You made me believe that you left me, and that you weren’t going to come back” I ask. “I did that for your protection. If I had told you that I was leaving, I know exactly what you would have done. You would have tried to follow me and talk me out of it. I wasn’t just a vampire anymore, but a hybrid lycan, which is basically a lycan on steroids. Brendlewood was crawling with faeries, including you. The hunger was growing stronger so I had to leave. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, or you in that matter. I told you that I wanted to leave to seek help from Charlotte, but you begged me to stay. No matter how hard I tried to explain to you why I had to leave, you insisted on coming with me. I couldn’t put you in that kind of danger, so I had no choice but to compel you.” “I remember all of that now, but what I don’t get is why you would tell me to move on” I say. ” I told you to move on because I didn’t think I could be cured. I knew nothing of the lycan removal spell, that is until I found Charlotte and asked her for help. But you already know all of that now, so why do you ask?” I let out a sigh before saying, “Maybe I just needed to hear that from you.” Now you know everything that has happened in my absence, and why I came to Stone Ridge to find you” he explains. Rubbing the back of his neck he continues, “Now the question is, what will you do about Thatcher?” 

“What of that goon!? He’s only a mere human, who should be treated as nothing more than food!” Austin interrupts. Furrowing a brow I say, “You better hold your tongue!” Erick smirks, “Or else what? You’re gonna kill us? We joined up with Kristen. If you kill us, you will have to answer to her!” “Just who says I’m scared of that old bitty?” I question before fake lunging at him. Erick lets out a girlish scream and hides behind Austin before shaking his fists and scolding me, “That wasn’t funny!” Lestat points a finger at Austin, “You have alot of nerve to approach us after everything you have done!” Austin shrugs before shaking his index finger, “You know something, I don’t regret it either. I’d do it again if I had the chance! After all, she is very tasty!” Lestat furrows his brow in anger before shouting, “You ever lay a hand on her again I’ll kill you!” “Ya know, I’m just gonna let the two of you duke it out!” Erick says as he backs away slowly, before bolting down the stairs. Austin smirks at the fact that he knows Lestat’s temper, and just how far he can push him before he gets enraged. Letting out a little chuckle, Austin says slyly, “You have everything I ever wanted. You have Shelly by your side, and you have a kingdom in which one day you will run.” Snapping his fingers, Austin continues, “Oh that’s right! You really aren’t a prince are you? You’re just the King’s bastard son! I guess you don’t really have a pot to piss in now do you!?” Rage washes over Lestat and his eyes glow vibrant red once again. Fear stricken, Austin runs as fast as he can downstairs, with Lestat right behind him. “Lestat! Wait!” I shout running as quick as I can to catch up to him.

Momentarily, the sounds of yelling and furniture being thrown around in the sitting room echo throughout the halls. Rounding the corner, I bump right into Erick, who is guarding the doorway that leads into the library. “Ah so you want to join the party too? Might as well watch your boy toy get what’s coming to him!” he sneers. Lestat glances toward the door as it shuts behind Erick who is holding me hostage. “Oh the things we’re going to do to you! It’ll be just like old times. I’ll make sure you enjoy every minute of it,” he says before licking my cheek. Turning to look to see who’s winning the fight, Austin breaks one of the legs off of the chairs, and runs after Lestat who is rushing towards Erick and I. “Look out!” I scream. Quickly turning around, he grabs Austin by the arm, and plunges his hand through his chest. Austin screams out in agony before Lestat grabs his heart and rips it from his chest, and crushes it in his bare hands.

Austin’s body then grows limp and his eyes roll to the back of his head. “No! Erick yells before turning his anger on me. Grabbing him by the throat, I shake my head and tell him, “Earlier, I gave Austin mercy, and look what happened. I don’t want to kill you, but I will if I have to!” Kristen enters the room which is now trashed due to the fight between Austin and Lestat. “What in the world happened in here!” she yells. before any of us can get a word in she continues, “Never mind. Lestat….Brother, we’re supposed to be keeping the peace, not murdering others who ask to join us” she says as she places a hand on his shoulder. “Sister, these are the two lycan goons who held us hostage in their little hideaway. He broke a leg off of the chair to make a stake, and he tried to kill me. I didn’t have a choice but to kill him” Lestat explains. Pondering for a moment, she says, “I’m sorry brother, but you just leave me no choice.” Taking the dagger from her skirts, she plunges it into Lestat’s chest. His eyes widen before they close, and he falls to the floor.

Letting Erick go from my grasp, he falls to the floor with a big ‘THUD’. Pointing and shaking her scraggly index finger at me, she says, “ah, ah, ah. I can’t have you sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. Now don’t be foolish. Run along and find Thatcher. I’m sure that king of yours would love to spend some time with you. I’ll take care of my dear brother.” “B-but you killed him, you self centered BITCH!”I shout in anger. “I’d watch your tongue if I were you! You may be stronger than these two fools, but you’re no match for me. I can rip you to shreds within a blink of an eye!” she says evilly. Within a flash, she’s standing in front of me, and she grabs me by the arms, getting me to my feet. Bringing me closer so that we’re face to face, she locks her eyes on mine. Her glowing red eyes widen as she compels me to leave the room. I try to fight off her compulsion, but it’s a big ole fail. She’s right, it’s a non-winning battle with her. No matter how hard I try I can’t fight off her compulsion. Giving a little nod, I agree to find Thatcher. Smiling sweetly she says, “Now that’s a good girl. run along while I clean up this mess.” Loosening her grip from my arms, I leave the room to find Thatcher. ‘Maybe finding Thatcher is a good thing. Maybe he can put an end to this mess, or maybe Logan can help. Logan! I had forgotten about my dear brother. He should be waking soon. If he’s the hybrid that Elizabeth was talking about, perhaps he can help’ I think to myself. Rushing up the stairs and into Lestat’s quarters, Logan’s still laying on the bed sound asleep. I really hate to wake him, but he might be my only hope!

Sitting next to Logan on the bed nudging him, I whisper, “Logan, I need you to get up now. I really need your help!” Wiping the sleep from his eyes, he asks where he is and how he got here. “You’re in Lestat’s quarters. His mother helped you before you were able to complete the change. Brother, I really need you to get up! Lestat’s in trouble and you might be the only one who can help me” I tell him. Sitting up and stretching before letting out a yawn, he says, “What’s going on and how can I help?” I then fill him in on what I had remembered about Austin and the lycan hideout, the fight, and what Kristen had done to Lestat. “I still don’t understand what you want me to do to help. I mean you saw what she did to me” he replies. “Logan, you’re a hybrid wolf! Stronger than both races. As long as you wear that ring, you will have more power than any of them. The moon is still full, and I have seen with my own eyes that you have power. With that kind of power….” I begin to explain, but once again am interrupted. “With that power comes responsibility. If you don’t know how to control it, alot of innocent people will die. Do you really want that kind of blood on your hands?” Elizabeth says as she enters the room. “Elizabeth….how is it that you always show up when there’s trouble?” I blurt out.

Smiling slightly she says, “You have always been my family. You took me in as one of your ladies when I had no where to go. I owe you my life for the kindness you and my son have shown me. Just because I’m not around much, doesn’t mean that I don’t know when you’re in trouble. You have seen what I’m capable of when we were in the forest. I have visions of those who are close to me if they should be in trouble. Logan can’t help you because he doesn’t know how to control the wolf side of him yet, however I can help you.” “You can help? Lestat is dead, how can you help?” I ask. “Oh pish-posh, he isn’t dead. Kristen sneaked in here while you and Lestat were out hunting, and stole that dagger that he had taken from one of Carolin’s guards, before the two of you escaped her castle. If you remove the dagger he will awaken, but you must be prepared. He’s gonna be pretty thirsty, not to mention pissed when he wakes up” Elizabeth informs. “I watched him die, there’s no way he can possibly be asleep” I reply. Elizabeth smiles slightly, “I can assure you that he is very much alive. Carolin had her witch put a spell on that dagger so it will only put him to sleep. I promise you, that if you pull out the dagger, he will wake up.” “Just how am I supposed to find him without Logan sniffing out his trail?” I ask. “Kristen isn’t stupid, she moved the body far beneath this castle. There are hidden tunnels throughout the keep. When Cade helped Thatcher rebuild the castle, he added the old with the new. In one of my visions, I saw Lestat being dragged through a wall in the basement. Perhaps there’s a hidden door down there, but he is still here. I can feel it! Thatcher lived here when he was just a boy, maybe he would know his way around” she replies. Hugging her tightly, I thank her before exiting the room to find Thatcher.

As I frantically search the castle for Thatcher, I hear him with someone in his chambers. Hesitantly, I give a gentle knock on the door. “Who is it?” he asks. “Thatcher, it’s Shelly. Can I come in?” I ask. “Just a minute” he replies. Momentarily, he slowly unlocks the door before opening it, and he invites me in. Glancing around the room, I notice two empty plates and a candle that lay on a nearby table with two wine glasses. Clearly indicating that he had company. A few moments of awkward silence spreads between us, and I can’t help but to think that his lady friend might still be here. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t important” I tell him breaking silence. Clearing his throat he replies, “Yes. Well, is there something I can do for you?” “I need your help. Kristen took Lestat, and all I know is that he’s below the castle somewhere. You know this place better than anyone, are there any secret passages in the basement?” I ask. “Just what makes you so sure that I will help you find that creature!?” he asks frustratedly. “Because you’re a good man, and because he has helped you when I first turned into a vampire. Face it Thatcher, if it wasn’t for him, I would have killed you!” I say. “If it wasn’t for him, you wouldn’t be the creature you are now, and I would still have my wife!” he yells. “No, you’re right Thatcher, I wouldn’t be the creature I am now, because I would be dead right now!” I shout back.

As the two of us argue back and forth, a woman’s voice shouts, “Stop it! Both of you! Thatcher, what is wrong with you! This isn’t you! Clearly, she needs your help or she wouldn’t have come to you!” “And you are?” I ask folding my arms. “I’m Farah. Thatcher and I are good friends. In fact we have know each other since my family and I lived here in the castle before it fell” she explains. Turning to Thatcher she continues, “I have known you my entire life, and you have never acted like this. Surely this poor girl needs your help. The real you would do anything to help someone. Now go on and help her!” Pondering for a moment Thatcher says, “You’re right my dear. I will help her. We’ll carry on our conversation when I return.” Farah gives a warm smile before he kisses her on the cheek, and we exit the room. As we stroll along the castle corridors, Thatcher stops before feeling along one of the walls. “If I’m not mistaken, there’s a hidden passage here that leads to the basement” he says. “Wait. It looks like there’s a crack here in the paneling” I tell him. As I run my fingers in between the crevice of the wall, it makes a clicking sound, and the door swings open. Cobwebs fill the entrance as Thatcher holds his candle in the doorway. “Looks as if someone hasn’t been down this way in a long time. Stay close. We don’t know who or what could be down there” Thatcher says.

Closing my eyes, I follow Thatcher through the tunnels. The air smells damp and musty. A really good hiding spot for anyone who doesn’t wish to be found. Rounding the corner, we come to an old stone staircase. “This is the way. I’m surprised these old stairs are still here. We’re almost there now. C’mon and we’ll see if we can find him” Thatcher says. Grabbing hold of the railing, I follow him deep down below the castle. Away from the finely decorated rooms, away from the delicious smells of the kitchen, away from the servants and the maids. As we step off of the stairs and onto the platform, the cold gray walls of the basement now surround us. Cobwebs are caked in every corner, and the only sign of light comes from our candle. “Are you sure he’s down here? I mean there’s no sign that anyone has been down here for quite some time?” Thatcher questions. Shaking my head I reply, “I’m not exactly sure. All Elizabeth said was she saw someone dragging him through one of the tunnels in the basement.” Thatcher lets out a little sigh before saying, “If my memory serves me correctly, there’s another passage behind one of these old bookcases.” “Do you have any idea which shelf it would be?” I ask. Pondering for a brief moment, Thatcher replies, “I think it was this one!”

Thatcher approaches one of the shelves that contains a bust sculpture. He gives it a little twist, and a tiny shelf pops out of the side of the bookcase, revealing a lever. Thatcher gives it a tug, only to find that it’s jammed in it’s place. “Here, let me give it a try.” I tell him. “It’s no use, it’s stuck. You can’t open it” he says. Grabbing hold of the lever, I give it one big pull, and the wall swings open. “Well I stand outsmarted, once again by a vampire. Couldn’t you have at least made it look like you had a hard time opening the door?” Thatcher asks sarcastically. “I could have if I actually knew my strength. I’m still getting used to this whole vampire thing” I reply. Holding his candle up, we enter the tunnel. As we near the end of the cold, damp hall, we notice dim lights in the distance. Thatcher puts a finger up to his lips, motioning me to be quiet. I give a little nod, and lean against the wall as Thatcher pulls out his sword. “Shhh. It sounds like someone’s coming” we hear a raspy voice say. “Hello. Is anyone there?” another man’s voice calls out. “Ah forget it Noel. There’s no one there. You’re hearing things. I am getting a little hungry though. Can’t we go upstairs to get something to eat?” the man asks. “You heard Kristen. We’re supposed to stay here and not let her brother out of our site. You see what she did to him? Imagine what she would do to us if we disobeyed her orders. Here, have a couple of my cookies. It should at least take the edge off the hunger” Noel says. As Thatcher nears the archway, his toe hits a tiny rock, making it roll in the room with the other men. “You see, I told you someone is here!” Noel shouts. The men enter the tunnel, and they immediately put their hands up in defeat, as Thatcher points his sword towards them.