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.
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.