-Unknown-

The sound of footsteps could be heard walking in the darkness. Those unaccustomed to the darkness would be unable to navigate the complex underground corridors, well those of the mortal variety anyway. The owner of the footsteps continued to walked through the darkness with ease, comforted by the absence of light. The person often thought that it was much easier navigating in the pitch dark than in the daylight. There was something about giving up ones' senses to the surrounding darkness and allowing for ones' body to be guided of its own accord. Of course these corridors thrummed with familiarity as it was a place of frequent visits many years ago. The body recollected these stone covered walls like it was second nature. The stones themselves were built with a mixture of sandstone and granite. Traces of limestone could also be found within these walls and their doors as its density made it stronger under heavy pressure. A lot of care and engineering went into building this particular section of the much larger structure that stood atop this dreary underground chamber, where many inhabitants of this fortress considered it to be ahead of its time when it was first created.

The footsteps began to speed up in anticipation as the person approached their location. A sad but low tune could be heard echoing throughout the halls as the person raised their fingers to the stone and let them slide along the walls as their destination was in sight. Suddenly, the footsteps stopped. A heavy door stood in the way of the visitor. The door itself was secure just as the stone walls that lined the entirety of this underground maze were. Thicker stones ran along the outer part of the door in an inversed U-shape. The door itself was made out of steel and reinforced with black rectangular strips of oxidized zirconium that were kept in place by bolts. A small square was imbedded at the top center of the door, which acted as some kind of window into the room on the other side. But, bars aligned the inside of this opening, making visibility of the occupant in the room minimal.

The visitor continue to hum their tune, this time a little louder, almost to notify the occupant of their presence or perhaps to frighten them before they met their end. The visitor reached in their pocket and unsheathed a set of keys. The keys were inserted in the keyhole and turned, a sound resonated from the door signaling it had been opened. The door made no sound as it was pushed open with inhuman like ease. As secure as the door was this meant that its weight increased many fold. This after all was a prison and no being that was not gifted with supernatural strength could ever hope to possess the necessary force to open it. Even if that were the case, they would remain forever lost in the complex underground maze, yes, this prison was built to be inescapable as it was built to be impenetrable and indestructible. One could wander these halls in darkness for eternity or as long as time allowed. Until, a wandering being such as the visitor preyed upon them to end their suffering. This was as close to hell as mortals and even immortals would come to damnation.

The visitor scanned the room teasingly in the hopes of imbedding even more fear into the occupant of the dingy and dark room. The walls of this holding chamber were built much like its exterior. The stones imbued with sandstone, granite and limestone circled the entirety of the room in linear rows, leaving not a single opening aside from the entrance. That meant that darkness befell any encased in this cell. The air in the cell was stale, which served to heighten other scents such as emotions. These emotions varied of course depending on whoever inhabited the cell but the most common emotion that coated the stiffness of the air aside from bodily odor, was fear. Oh how sweet fear tasted in the air especially at its peak, the visitor licked their lips deliciously but was unable to detect this sweet emotion.

Hm, not yet that is. Thought the visitor.

That is why this visit was necessary, to completely break their psyche. They continued darkly.

As the visitor's eyes finally focused on the occupant in the room and took in their appearance. Where the occupant was located, two square plates were firmly secured higher up on the wall that was across from the door the visitor just entered. Two thick interlocking metallic chains were anchored to either side of these plates. If you were to follow these chains from their origin, they proceeded in an upwards suspension. Where the chains ended, round metal cuffs were restraining a set of hands and if one were to look further down-which is where the eyes of the visitor had fixated their gaze, stood a man of unknown origins with his dirty bare feet barely touching the cold stone floor. He was bound and bloodied and his body was kept suspended by these chains. His head hung low and his brown locks were matted to his face, covered in sweat and grime. The man was stripped of his shirt and shoes but was given the courtesy of keeping his pants. His chest rose almost imperceptibly but enough air was entering his lungs to show that he still remained alive. Upon a first glance of the beat up man, there was evidence of an intense struggle that seemed to have taken place in which he received the brunt of it.

The visitor eyed the prisoner predatorily, waiting for him to say something about their presence. The visitor had gone out of their way to let the prisoner know of their impending arrival on purpose otherwise they would have never known. It may have made the game more exciting if the visitor masked their presence and kept silent then spoke in the cell. That would have accelerated the fear but for only a short while. No, what the visitor wanted was prolonged fear. A fear that would remain at the consciousness of the prisoner's mind and become ingrained in the body. The sort of fear that elicited the best scent that was so utterly delicious one could taste it in the air long after the visitor's departure from the cell.

To the visitor's slight delight, the prisoner decided to speak first, perhaps tiring of the silence on top of the accompanying darkness. But the words that came from that parched mouth were short of fearful.

"You filthy bi-" He began.

"Oh, I thought something more delicious would come out of those blasphemous lips of yours. Like a scream, a cry for help or better yet a plea for life." The visitor cut him off tauntingly.

"Never!" The prisoner spat, as if the mere though disgusted him.

The visitor approached the man with deliberate footsteps, they made sure not to get too close as the very smell of him remained pungent to the visitor. They reached behind the man's body to where the chains were located. They allowed for their nails to trace the circular interlocking chains, the sound piercing to the ears as it reverberated in the small quarters. The nails turned to sharp claws and the sound only amplified until it was akin to the screech of a banshee. The man tried to hide his reaction but the flinch was perceptible to the visitor nonetheless. They smirked in return. The man still choose to keep his head low. The visitor went back and forth along the chains that kept the man barely standing, who now was seemingly unperturbed by the high-pitched metallic sound that was being emitted. The man, continued to remain unflinching throughout the remainder of the ordeal. Aside from flinching that one time, he did not move again, much to the visitor's disappointment.

Abruptly, the visitor stopped their administrations on the chains and changed positions. They gripped the chain closest to them that was keeping one of the arms of the prisoner suspended and pulled harshly. The man jerked violently and one side of the man's face became visible. Like the rest of his body, grime and blood coated a good portion of the face but his eyes remained closed. Not in a frightened or pained sort of way, there was no tension in the skin surrounding his eyes nor were his brows furrowed in concentration. He just simply had his eyes closed. Was he envisioning himself in a far away place or numbing himself from his ordeal, the visitor could not tell but the challenge only fueled the predator inside.

The visitor then twisted the chains to the point where bones could be heard creaking and still the prisoner remained silent. His lips remained in a firm line as if unbothered by the happenings around him.

"I wonder, how long you will last from my ministrations?" The visitor asked.

The prisoner continued to hold his silence.

"Let me tell you a story, you urâciune." The visitor began as they started to adjust the tension in the chains by repositioning them.

"A long long time ago, there existed a people. They thrived and lived out of the eye of human settlements. They never sought to engage with them you know. They knew that intermingling with mortals would only bring about disaster. As history seems to have shown us, don't you think?" The visitor then moved to the other chain on the opposite side to administer the same kind of treatment.

"For very long while, mortals were not even cognizant of the existence of these peopl-"

"You dare call yourselves people." The prisoner finally spoke or more like scoffed at the ridiculousness of such a statement.

"peoples. Just as these people stayed away from mortals, mortals inadvertently did the same. Stories and myths about the territories and lands in which to avoid settlements had begun to get passed down through the generations. There of course being no basis for such stories, merely speculation but mortals obeyed this rule like they obeyed their own laws." The visitor continued to speak uninterrupted as if the prisoner had said nothing but they placed more emphasis on the so-called problematic word that the prisoner contested.

"Odd, isn't it? Why would mortals avoid these places if they were not even aware of what they were steering clear from in the first place?" The visitor said it mock thoughtfulness.

"We have too have speculated, you know. Maybe this is an instance of mortals innate self-preservation at its best." The visitor continued, chuckling lowly.

"Could your people sense the danger and catastrophe that would be brought to fruition if ever our peoples came across each other?" Asked the visitor, actually seeking a response this time.

"Hmm." The visitor prompted by tugging on the chain much harder than they did on the other side, this time a definite crack echoed throughout the room accompanied by a sharp intake of breath.

"Your disgusting kind, had no business being in human land in the first place!" The man yelled as sweat trickled along the side of his face, in nervousness or fear, that was the question.

"We had no business being in human land in the first place." The visitor repeated hollowly.

Ignoring the initial pungent smell of the man, the visitor got a little closer.

"What an interesting declaration coming from someone who is hardly three decades old. Our peoples have been around much longer than your entire species have taken collective breaths. We have seen the rise and fall of nations, witnessed wars that have shaped mortal civilizations and everything else in between. But you say we had no business being on human land. "

The visitor took another step closer.

"On the contrary, you had no business entering our land." The visitor rebuked with finality that left no room for a rebuttal.

This time, the prisoners lips twitched, maybe in slight irritation at the truth or aggravation at the falsehood. Who was to know.

The visitor moved back in front of the prisoner, retaining that safe distance. But the visitor felt a shift in the air, amidst the scent of staleness there was a faint smell of emotions. The emotions began to shift erratically and not one stayed in the air for very long, but alas the visitor had begun to creep into the prisoners psyche.

"But one day, after many years apart a mortal broke that rule and entered into the forbidden territory." The visitor continued ominously.

"Who, pray tell do you think that was, hm?" Asked the visitor with a slight undertone of warning, once again seeking a definite answer.

The prisoner gritted their teeth in response.

"So you do know." The visitor affirmed.

"I did not think you urâciuni were aware of your history and that of your forefathers". Mused the visitor.

"What right have you to speak of them." Growled the man.

"Right?" The visitor lifted an elegant brow.

"Your ancestor brought forth a series of irreparable events and his legacy and deplorable research continues to fuel you today." The visitor responded with a hint of anger for the first time.

"Ha, nothing that wasn't deserved." The prisoner said in a humorous tone.

The visitor slowly raised their hand and began to slowly tighten their grasp as if something lay nestled in their hand and they were squeezing it. The prisoner began to cough, the intensity of the cough escalated the tighter the hand clenched its fingers.

"You will regret those words." The visitor responded emotionlessly but a cold fury began to arise.

"Regret." Laughed the prisoner after a coughing fit.

"I doubt that, we will finish what we started." They rasped out as the coughing grew worse.

"Starting with that princess." The words barely escaping his throat as he felt his trachea tightening unnaturally. But the prisoner lifted his head for the first time, looking in the direction he thought stood his tormentor.

With such a threat said out in the open, a cruel smirk began to form on the lips of the visitor while the sensation of pinpricks began to envelop their eyes. A telling sign that they began to glow.

As the prisoner noticed a growing shine in the darkness, they soon realized they were the eyes of his tormentor he mirrored a smirk of his own.

"Hit a nerve, have I?" The prisoner wheezed out, now at the cusp of losing all oxygen.

"A weakling who is low in the ranks and furthest related to that man making such a grandiose threat. That is the epitome of desperation, the likes of you will never even breathe in the same vicinity as the prinţesă." The visitor's tone started off amused but ended viciously.

The prisoner unable to respond began to struggle against the restraints. The visitor slowly released their hold and the prisoners gasps and coughs filled the room.

"Tell me what I want to know. Where is your leader?" The visitor demanded with an edge in their voice.

"You think I would tell you." The prisoners scoffed hoarsely.

"Oh, I think you will. If you do not know, someone else will. I just need a name." The visitor gleamed happily.

Suddenly, in the air the whirlwind of emotions began to calm down. When the prisoner had begun to lose breath, bursts of fear sprung in the air but that was a short ecstasy, now the air permeated with it and the visitor relished in it.

The visitor stared unblinkingly in the unnatural amaranthine eyes of the prisoner which now held fear deep in its irises.

"We will do what we should have done to you urâciuni years ago. You say that we are unnatural, but it is you who is the most abnormal of all. Your line should be wiped out of existence. You could have lived a peaceful and uninterrupted life, had your ancestor not dabbled in what he should have left alone. Now your existence is being rejected by the very beings you are so disgusted by. How does it feel, for a monster to denounce another monster." Smirked the visitor sickeningly.

Deep down the prisoner had come to accept his fate, this did not mean he did not fear what awaited him. As he looked back into the glowing eyes of the monster before him he asserted to himself that their cause was not wrong nor were they as abnormal or monstrous as the one before him proclaimed. No the founding ancestor bestowed upon them gifts. Gifts that would eradicate these demons. Yes, they would prevail.

But what was this uneasiness that gripped him? Was it the one who stood before him which caused this feeling in the pit of his stomach? He could not tell. But something, something was informing him that perhaps, this time they had made a terrible mistake.

With that thought, the glowing eyes descended upon him.

Screams could be heard from the underground chambers, they reverberated through the stone walls and smirks graced the faces of those above.


-Isabella-

I winced for the umpteenth time in the span of an hour, I grit my teeth slightly as I tried to ignore the incessant ache that was not only ailing my head but my chest. It felt like something wanted to burst out of my entire being but I had somehow managed to keep it at bay. Since awakening, I realized that these sharp pains and periods of unawareness and unconsciousness-moments in which I could not keep track of time nor remember what transpired (my latest feeding escapade comes to mind), were becoming more frequent. Normally, I would have discussed this with Celestina while other minor and trivial matters with my female attendants but her lines of communication were not as readily available as they once were. I frowned at the thought, perhaps another attempt at reaching her was in order but discreetly of course. The last thing I want is a phone call from Father or Mother, I shivered at the mere thought but then froze, wait. Now things might actually be different, if Father's intention was for me to gather allies does this mean I am not really banned from going back into Transylvania. Hmmm...I might try my luck and attempt to reach out to my parents. If not with the cellular device then perhaps through our legătură regală.

I sighed as I put the book I was attempting to read down. The tale of Antigone with her unwavering familial ties and acts of civil disobedience was just not cutting it for me. The words on the pages felt like mere gibberish and I remained on the same page for the entire hour of my stay in Aro's private library which was thankfully connected to the room that I have come to know as my personal chambers. I had too many thoughts going in and out of my mind, I just could not concentrate on the words of the pages. Having had enough of sitting down and staring into nothingness I stood. I walked around the room, stretching my muscles as my fingers grazed along the spines of Aro's books. Unsurprisingly, this man had quite the extensive collection, it seemed like he had books and writings stretching as far back as the Classical Antiquity period. How he managed to get his hands on such prized possessions has led me to some very promising speculations. Primarily, who could say no to Aro Volturi. That man could be devilishly charming when he wanted to and even without knowingly putting up airs, people are swayed in his favor, always. I rolled my eyes at the thought.

As I walked around the large space, my fingers continued to graze at whatever was in my reach. I thought back to what we learned during the "grand" meeting in the throne room. There were things I had kept hidden from everyone (my Father's ashes being one of them) but that was because I was not in a place (mentally) in which I could simply divulge everything to them. Especially since I was uncertain of everyone's stance on me. Part of the painful past I revealed back at the Cullen's house was enough "bonding" I was going to do with these contemporary vampires, were my thoughts at the time. But once they offered to help me, knowing it could mean death after everything that had transpired before all those revelations-mainly, picking a fight with Edward then Jane which led to the untimely destruction of Esme's living room (I still cringed at my deplorable behavior), they were still willing to put their lives at stake. The Cullen's seem to be doing it out of the pureness of their nature but I feel like the Volturi only did it out of fear of me and respect of their leader's decision. That reminded me, I should try and make amends with both Jane and Alec and see if there is any lasting damage that I may have caused her. I may be perceived as unfeeling and harsh but I know when to set my pride aside if I perhaps took things a little too far. Either way, an apology was necessary but I do expect to receive a genuine one from Jane as well. I am not a bleeding heart after all, it is give and take and I like equal returns. If not for her taunting, my nature could have stayed hidden much longer then it did.

I made my way over to a few priceless art pieces in Aro's library admiring the history that oozed out of them. Aro really was a collector, one with very old taste. But given his origins perhaps the attraction to ancient things is a byproduct of this. Now, that is something to pose to him at a later time. Perhaps when they finished their conversation. But knowing that man, getting straight answers would be like pulling teeth. He would speak in riddles or some other nonsense. I began seriously doubting whether it was worth that endless frustration. Speaking of which, I am unable to hear the discussion currently taking place in the throne room. I don't know how that sly charmer pulled this off but I cannot hear a single thing coming from the throne room, it's not even like the distance between the library and throne room is grand either, it may be a bit harder on other supernatural beings but for a pure-blood this distance was nothing short of a cake walk. I wonder if my inability to hear what was transpiring in the throne room had something to do with our connection or another ability of Aro's that he "failed" to mention. I rolled my eyes at the thought.

"Aro and his annoying little secrets. He can take them to the grave if he so wishes" I huffed in annoyance.

"I hope you heard me as well." I add in mild irritation.

Realizing how childish I was being, I quickly cleared my throat wondering why my sense of reason suddenly left me and gently straightened my clothes out of habit.

A thought suddenly came to me as I was mid-way through straightening the cuffs of my blouse. I can not believe I nearly forgot about this.

The Romanian Coven.

I remember the distaste on the expressions of all the Volturi when Carlisle and Esme spoke about employing their services. I particularly noticed the way Marcus eyes shown with a deep-seated hatred, an emotion I never quite expected to witness from him. I knew Marcus did not wear his emotions on his sleeve but this was the most emotion I've seen him display so far. What exactly would make Marcus so angry or even portray such an intense emotion, as I though back Marcus really only showed any genuine emotion when he talked to me about Didyme so maybe it is related to her. I do not see the vampires of this time- amid their many flaws, suddenly dying from ailments or ending their lives willingly either. The only way is, being killed. Was the Romanian coven perhaps involved? I did not want to believe that to be true, otherwise this would complicate things. Particularly the relations I wish to forge with my fellow kin. Regardless of their history and my speculations, it seems like there is some dark history there which saddens me as they feel like my own people, we are of course from the same nation which I would like to believe makes them brethren to me. I wonder why my parents failed to mention that these newer vampires were in fact much closer to us than I originally thought. I could have started my investigation there then gone to Forks after being acquainted. I wonder why they did not do this? I would surely not have been as surprised by the Cullen's had I met others before them but then again I do not believe anything could have prepared me for the oddity that is the Cullen Coven. There are many practices of theirs that I find confusing and simply defy the core nature of a vampire. Primarily their diet. I shivered at the thought of drinking from animals...

I hardly call that being a vegetarian, you're merely making the jobs of humans that much easier. I mused.

I would imagine hunters in the area would be put out as much of the bigger game has already been hunted. That poses another question, do they have a a set hunting ground or do they go to various ones as to not arouse suspicion. Hmm, that is something worth bringing up at a later date (I really should have inquired about this before). I realized that even with my short stay in Forks, Washington I did not know very much about the beings I was sent here to "observe"-now knowing that this was all in my Father's plans to gather as many allies as possible, but nevertheless, aside from the things I was able to detect quite easily such as their gifts I do not know them as they are ad what they were before. I do not know much about their own history or how they came to be in the first place. Most interestingly, I do not even know how the Cullen coven became the Cullen's. I wonder what Carlisle's story is. I do remember briefly seeing a painting of what looked like Carlisle by Aro's side as almost an advisor with another man with dark brown hair on Aro's other side.

I sighed realizing there is still much I do not know about my newfound allies, but I steeled myself vowing that along with the other covens that plan to arrive in a few days I will learn all that I can to better utilize them in battle and have as very few casualties as possible. I do not need anymore on my consciousness.

Amidst my wandering, I found myself stationed by one of the many windows in the mini library. I gazed at the moon and noticed it was fully out tonight, it shined similarly to how my eyes did when I was particularly angry but I had to admit that not even the moon could match the brilliance of my own eyes when they were in their natural pure-blood state. As I gazed at the moon, I found myself growing lost in its depths. I tilting my head slightly to the side as I was engrossed in it until suddenly, the sharp pains returned in full force. Clutching my head did not help to alleviate any of the pain I was experiencing. I began reaching out for something, anything that could make this pain go away.

Why was I having this reaction, what was happening to me all of a sudden?

The pain became unrelenting and travelled down to my chest, I stumbled away from the window and my hands gripped the sides of a nearby table in an attempt to steady myself. My breathing became labored, I felt a heat like no other traverse throughout my entire body. I held back the urge to scream at the intensity. I felt like I was being enveloped. Heat should not affect me, I could not understand why I was experiencing such an adverse reaction. I began to wonder if perhaps I lit one of my hands on fire. I looked down at both hands that were holding onto the table for dear life and realized that no flames or traces of it had been summoned. I hissed lowly, trying to focus on grounding myself. But my mind kept wandering and my vision began to blur.

As I continued to stare ahead, wondering if I was seeing illusions, images began to flicker in front of me, no people. My people.

Uncle Lucian was seated on a window seat across from the window I had just occupied. He was not looking in my direction but my breathing became more erratic as I realized what I was seeing. I could see his head titling in my direction, then slowly, ever so slowly he turned to look at me with a blank expression.

I saw his mouth moving but words were not coming out. Or perhaps I had lost my hearing like with everything else and I just was unable to hear him. I could however read his lips.

"Do...not...become as... wea- weak as... them... Isa-bella." I struggled to say, the pain making it difficult to string coherent sentences together.

Where have I heard this before. I thought. Urgh, I couldn't think. I couldn't think! My mind was consumed with the fire and the pain!

Think. Think! THINK! I yelled at my mind in frustration.

Slowly, the memory of me and Uncle Lucian talking just after the bloodshed that occurred taking the lives of my siblings flashed in my mind. I remember, when I was feeling distraught, these were the words my Uncle told me. To be strong and brave because I am the last. With renewed strength, I tried to push back whatever it was trying to consume me to no avail.

Feeling like I was losing the battle again, I reached out in the direction of my Uncle in a silent plea for help. His eyes seemed to have softened for a split second before returning blank. He slowly shook his head.

"This must happen." He whispered. In my shock at hearing his voice, I stopped breathing.

"Uncle Lu-." I tried calling out before another spasm of pain coursed through my body. Forcing me to nearly keel over, my hands nearly sliding off the tables' surface. When I could finally catch my breath, I looked up once more to find Uncle Lucian gone. My head whipped around the room, trying to see if maybe he moved to another area of the library but it was vacant.

A particularly sharp pain throbbed inside what felt like my skull. This immediately made me stand upright as the pain in my chest began to ease. I felt like my senses began to go haywire. My vision blurred worse then before and I could hear what felt like static in my ears which felt beyond sensitive, more so than usual. I could even begin to make out the conversation occurring in the throne room but I could not focus entirely on what was being said. I could only make out noises or maybe it was shouting. I could hear Marcus' distraught voice and Aro's calming tone. What on earth was going on in there, why was Marcus so upset? I slowly shook my head, the conversation occurring between the three brother aside, all of my senses felt even more heightened than normal. I could feel a dull pinprick sensation in my cornea and my teeth began to ache.

Was I returning to my vampiric form? But why was it so painful. Normally it felt like a veil being peeled off my body.

I could sense myself starting to sway and once again images of a forgotten past began to resurface right before my very eyes. I saw Ana my older sister doing consecutive pirouettes as she always used to do in her signature red pointe shoes. Her body was as elegant and graceful as always, I kept the tears that wanted to fall at bay. Since that day I refused to cry anymore. I needed to be strong so that their deaths were not in vain. I had to but the longer I looked at my sister, the more I found myself losing the fight.

As Ana was getting her arms into position for an arabesque, she suddenly turned to me.

"Isabella".

I felt a dull ache in my heart as I heard her voice after so many years. I felt like I would have forgotten how she looked and sounded like but my mind must have fought to remember. Her light brown locks that she inherited from our Mother, her shining golden eyes and that sweet voice. It was all the same. Before I could call out to her. Diana suddenly appeared from behind Ana laughing as Ana fixated her gaze on our mischievous sister, smirking slightly. Of course she had a book in hand and smiled beautifully at Ana. Diana's gaze suddenly shifted and focused on me.

"Isabella." She called softly, she like myself had our father's dark chestnut hair, the only difference being our eyes. Just like my other siblings, she shared the bright Aurelian eyes but the depths of Diana's eyes held a thirst for knowledge with a childlike curiosity.

"Isabella." I heard a gruff voice call out. Off to the side stood Grigore with his arms crossed as usual as he watched us girls vigilantly. Making sure we kept ourselves out of trouble but that we were safe as well.

"Isabella." This time I heard two sets of voices calling for me, as I turned my head to the side I could see my oldest brother Aurel and my second oldest brother Dragomir walking towards Ana and Diana.

I began to question my sanity and whether what I was seeing was real. It felt so real. They felt and looked completely solid. I refused to believe that what I was seeing were incorporeal entities. It just couldn't be. In my shock of seeing all my siblings gathered around me, I almost forgot about the pain, initially I felt numb as I watched my siblings one after the other appear before me but once my shock began to wear off and questions, I felt the flare of pain in my head which told me I thought wrong and the pain was ever present, perhaps worse now than before. I saw small sparks of light entering my vision and felt my body slowly giving way. The static I thought I was hearing began to become more clear and pronounced. It wasn't static but a voice, as I was losing my vision my sense of hearing became more acute as I stopped focusing on the illusions or whatever it was I was seeing that stood before me.

The voice I was hearing was.. it sounded like...my voice. I was speaking- no I was calling out to myself. But, this wasn't making any sens-.

Before I could finish my thought, I felt my body finally giving in to the pain and allowing myself to get consumed. Before I fell to the floor I felt five pairs of familiar hands catch me and gently pick me up, placing me on a more comfortable setting.

"Don't be afraid little Isabella, everything will be alright." I heard the voices of my siblings all murmur together.

Then the darkness that I had fought for so long finally won.

It consumed me and I knew no more.


-Aro-

After watching Isabella's departure and paying particular attention to her pretty pert culo, I resumed the conversation between my brothers and myself. I made sure that prying little ears would be unable to hear the contents of this conversation. I know our guard wouldn't be the problem as they wouldn't dare but there is another occupant within these castle walls who is far more than capable. I expected to hear an earful from her when I returned, I smirked internally. Picturing the way her eyebrows would knit together in annoyance, as her eyes narrowed, followed by a small little pout that would only be discernible to no one but myself.

"Aro." Caius suddenly called as I began to fall deeper into thoughts of Isabella.

"Hm." I hummed back in response.

"There must be a reason why you asked everyone to leave, including your mate. Or did you just keep us back to gaze at the entry way?" Caius said with slight impatience.

I allowed for a smile to form on my lips and swiveled my gaze back onto my brothers as if nothing had occurred.

"What do you think brothers?" I asked, as my hands rested on the armrests of my throne.

"About what?" Snapped Caius, having lost what little patience remained which probably was not very much to begin with.

"You want our input?" Marcus wondered surprisingly while lifting a delicate dark brow in my direction, having understood immediately.

"Input on what? What are you two talking about?" Caius growled exasperatedly.

Marcus-ignoring Caius and his tantrums, just snorted softly trying not to show his interest in why I wished for them to voice their own thoughts.

I decided to throw Caius a bone and raised a pointed eyebrow in his direction.

"Aro for goodness sake. Enough of the ridd-" Caius stopped mid rant in which I am sure he would have continued to express his immense displeasure at being kept in the dark and my incessant teasing. But I could see a shift in his red eyes as something dawned on him.

Honestly Caius, even after all these years together you still struggle to understand the way my mind works. I thought disparagingly.

"Why do you care what we think? Just do whatever you wish as always." Caius responded repositioning himself in his throne, bristling dismissively. This was a habit of his when he felt slightly embarrassed. He only ever did that in front of us of course. Marcus and I shared a secret look, mirth filling our eyes.

Ignoring Caius' sudden lapse of well, stupidity, I resumed the discussion.

"Firstly, I believe we should assign the tasks before the arrival of the other covens. I do not want any arguments to ensue of who should do what." I spoke when I had the attention of both Caius and Marcus.

I could see Caius resting his elbow on the armrest of his throne and used the back of his hand to support his chin. His eyes were focused and any hint of hostility was lost but a scowl still formed on his features. This was his way of showing that he was being attentive and that he would try to remain open minded but no promises would be made.

"That sounds simple enough, but is that the real reason you wanted us to stay behind." Caius deadpanned in his usual frigid tone.

Marcus raised his hand as a sign of peace.

"Let us listen to what he has to say before we judge him so harshly, brother." His voice took on its monotonous timbre but I felt that there was something different about it.

Before when Marcus spoke, I would overlook anything he said out of pure disinterest but this time my attention was not diverted from the words he spoke but instead I found myself almost intrigued as to what he had to say. I mentally smiled at myself, seeing as how my plan had worked. The purpose of the battle between Sulpicia and Isabella was not entirely for the reason I had given in the throne room not too long ago.

This was an opportunity to get Marcus to open up to someone and as much as it pained me to do so, I allowed him to get near Isabella while I trained my vixen of an ex-wife. Out of everyone, I understood that Isabella could relate to Marcus the most seeing as how they both suffered from tragic losses. Allowing for both of them to open up a little bit more. Marcus had grieved for far too long and during his long mourning period the Covens began to become dubious of the Volturi's power because of the loss of Didyme and Marcus' unstable mental state. I even went as far as using Chelsea's ability to keep him with the Volturi when he wished to end his life and join my sister. This was something I could no longer tolerate not to mention the fact that I had to stay with a very forlorn and moody Marcus for many years. I needed not only Marcus' ability but his support as well, his tranquil demeanor and interpersonal skills were essential to contrast Caius' devilishly strategic yet oftentimes violent methods.

"I believe that Jasper should be in charge of the training of the guards and the remaining clans that will be arriving." Caius motioned.

Breaking away from my thoughts, I nodded my head in agreement along with Marcus who had decided to participate in the discussion for once.

"I would like to aid him to provide reinforcement. Jasper may have lived as the feared God of War in the South for many years but he specializes in offensive and defensive techniques that could only be used on normal vampires, particularly newborns. That will only take him so far, seeing as how the enemy is still unknown we can safely assume that whoever it is might be stronger." I explained.

Caius stared at me intently, then slowly nodded his head.

"I assume that you wish for Isabella to be by your side." He prompted.

Unabashedly, I nodded my head in obviousness.

Caius rolled his icy red eyes at me to which I ignored.

"She can educate the vampires on the pure blood's long history not to mention help with training." I offered as an explanation even though it was relatively obvious. It was also because I did not want her near any other male but myself, but I choice not to voice this particular concern.

"We do not object to your choice brother nor your reasoning." Marcus said peacefully, sounding less monotonous while Caius nodded slowly again.

"I will be in charge of any strategic planning that is involved." Caius announced.

Marcus and I both rolled our eyes.

"I believe that Demetri, Heidi and Felix could be of use to you as well." I added.

Caius made a disgruntled sound but did not object.

"As you have your mate by your side, I wish to have mine as well." He supplemented.

"No objection." Marcus and I replied simultaneously.

Satisfied, Caius turned towards Marcus.

"What will you do?" He asked genuinely curious.

"I will help to strengthen the bonds between the clans." He responded with ease.

Both Caius' and my eyes widened in surprised and we both did a double take.

"Pardon?" I blinked, not believing what I was hearing.

"What?" Caius burst rudely.

"Must I repeat myself?" Marcus retorted not fazed by either of our reactions.

Caius and I shared a look.

"Do as you wish. But might I add the inclusion of Carlisle in this task. For the most part Carlisle has sustained healthy and amicable relationships with many of the other covens. He might be of help too in your uh diplomatic duties" I said with humor.

Caius merely huffed but did not disagree.

"The remainder of the guard can be rotated as we see fit to help wherever necessary. What do you think brothers?" Marcus added.

Caius and I nodded our heads in approval while sharing a secret look much like Marcus and I did earlier. The meaning we were conveying through our eyes reflected within each others. Having Marcus resume an active role in his duties made us reminisce of the past but it also brought a sense of completion to our brotherhood. One we haven't felt for many years. It was a welcomed change. Suddenly my ears picked up on something.

"Aro and his annoying little secrets. He can take them to the grave if he so wishes." I heard Isabella huff in annoyance.

"I hope you heard me as well." She then added and I could hear the irritation emanating in her tone.

I chuckled to myself, amused that Isabella had finally come to the realization of what I had done. This further confirmed to me that I can definitely expect to hear an earful from my spitfire of a mate later on.

"What amuses you so brother." Caius drawled, I looked in his direction and saw a hint of amusement in his eyes while Marcus smiled slightly. It seemed like they did not hear my mates' complaints but could take a guess at what caused my reaction.

"Oh, nothing." I responded innocently.

My brothers just smirked disbelieving my claim but dropped their line of inquiry.

"Brothers, there is another matter worth discussing." Caius suddenly spoke in a serious manner.

Marcus and I gazed at him curiously.

"What would that be dearest brother." I wondered, although I had a faint idea of where this was leading. If what I thought was right then I feared we may lose the Marcus that was making strides to return to us.

"The Romanians." Caius all but spat.

The room shifted and seemed to grow colder. I looked at Marcus with hidden worry.

On the surface, Marcus' expression seemed passive and unchanging but Caius and I knew better. There was a storm that was taking place in his gaze. A storm that hid an even greater emotion. Cold unbridled rage.

Marcus' nostrils flared slightly as if the mere thought of that coven incurred an immense wrath.

"I am sorry brother." Caius apologized, a flash of remorse sparked in eyes. Many believe that Caius is not one to apologize and that maybe so, to others that is. But when it is just the three of us, Caius apologizes and concedes much more often than people think. He was after all the youngest of us three and Marcus and I often found ourselves treating him as the little brother.

Marcus waved his hand dismissively, waving off the concern. Caius and I knew to tread lightly henceforth.

"Nothing can really be done now, they seem to have agreed to whatever terms the Cullen's formulated." I spoke carefully.

"But, why would they agree and what are these terms? Unle-."

"We will deal with it as it comes." I interrupted Caius, seeing the way Marcus was clenching one of the armrest of his throne. I gave Caius a pointed look which he understood immediately.

"Ah, yes of course. Where shall we station them?"

"I believe in the same wing as the rest of the other covens visiting, perhaps a bit further down from the others." I answered.

I then prepared myself for what I would say next, knowing full well this may unleash the anger Marcus was carefully holding back.

"I also believe," I began to say slowly.

"that we should not become hostile with them either until we can understand their intentions." I finished. The reaction-as I predicted, was instantaneous.

A sharp crack resounded in the throne room as Caius' eyes widened slightly in fear.

"Brothers, you do not mean to tell me that we shall be housing those parassiti while welcoming them with open arms." Marcus' tone was sharp.

Caius remained silent, fearing to misspeak.

"That is not what I was saying Marcus." I responded calmly.

"Then what are you suggesting!" Marcus snapped. I reigned in my own annoyance at the way Marcus of all people was choosing to speak to me but I reminded myself that there was a valid reason for it and he showed admirable strength for all these years.

"I am merely stating that to avoid any.. internal conflicts we must omit our hostility temporarily." I was trying to choose my words carefully but there was no possible way to put this nicely to appease Marcus.

He snarled.

"Internal conflicts! Either those idiots have completely grown senile or they wish to end their measly existence! They are coming to us for a change! They will be right in our grasps and instead you want to make peace with them!"

"Marcus, our battle is not with them at the moment." I answered in the same calming way.

"Why not! When will an opportunity such as this fall on our laps?!" Caius was looking between myself and Marcus anxiously as things began to escalate much further than I wished.

I sighed.

"She's gone Aro. Gone! They took her! They took her away from me! You two must understand, if such a tragedy were to ever befall your mates would you not want to exact the same kind of retribution?!" Marcus' voice began to break with emotion.

Caius and I looked away.

"Neither of you can begin to understand how I feel! Aro, did you not think I would not suspect what you have been doing for all these years. Keeping me tied to the Volturi, even when I begged for you to let me die!" Marcus' tone became more accusing.

"Brother, please." Caius spoke for the first time since this back and forth between Marcus and I started. His tone was much more gentle than its usual abrasiveness and was almost pleading.

"Leave me be, Caius!" Marcus snarled.

"It is so easy for you to talk such deluded fantasies of peace, but if it were you! If it were Isabella, would you be so opt to allow for your enemies to live when they are within reach?!" Marcus lashed out.

"Keeping me here, tied to the Volturi all for your selfish purposes of keeping the image of the Volturi in tact! You did not think I would not hear the whispers and the rumors? 'News of the Volturi losing power due to their weakest link.' " Marcus spat in a mocking tone.

"Marcus." I warned.

"No! You expected me to live on in eternity with this pain, without a single regard for how I felt!" Marcus stood at this point, showing no sign of stopping anytime soon. Caius began to shift in his throne, readying himself in case a fight broke out.

"Marcus." My voice took on an edgier tone, warning Marcus that he needed to reign himself in. Immediately.

As Marcus began another bout of angry accusations, I felt the link between myself and Isabella suddenly pulsate. It was odd, something was very wrong. The link was fading in and out at varying speeds and I could not enter her mind as usual. I could feel twinges of sharp pains through the link that steadily increased in intensity. I was unable to focus on calming Marcus down as Isabella began to flood my entire being. A particularly sharp pain jabbed my skull causing me to gasp out loud.

This sound seemed to quell Marcus' anger for a moment as he stared at me, the cloud of anger seemed to dissipate from his eyes briefly. Caius stood immediately. They began to approach me, never having heard such a sound escape my mouth.

"Aro." Marcus called, his voice resuming to its normal timbre.

"Isabella." I whispered, I winced slightly as another sharp pain passed through me.

"What is wrong?" Caius asked on high alert.

I shook my head to rid itself of the pain. I could feel it leaving.

"I am not sure, something... something is very wrong."

Just as I said this, I could feel our link vanish completely. It was silent, no pulse and no movement. Just gone. My eyes widened with a fear that has never graced my eyes and my brothers gazes hardened as they realized the seriousness of the situation.

Without even looking at them, I was speeding off to my private library where I last detected the presence of my mate. I could hear the distinctive footsteps of my brothers as they followed suit. As I ran many terrifying thoughts entered my mind, was this perhaps how Marcus felt when he was rushing back to retrieve Didyme? The dread was unbearable, the thought of not knowing what happened. It was almost too much to bear. My first thought was someone had harmed her and my anger flared to unprecedented levels at the mere thought, but I realized I would have felt this through our link. No, this was not caused by a third party. Such a thing would not make the link vanish like this.

Could it be... I thought back to the time where she disappeared for six hours and the immense worry I felt not knowing where she was and being unable to communicate to her. The link faded just as it did today, but I was still able to feel the presence of our link, though it was faint. But this, this is completely different. Our link just disappeared. I was beginning to wonder if it was tied to the startling change, I noticed within her and I wondered if she had begun to sense it herself.


Finally, a new chapter has been posted. This is a little over 9K words of mystery rolled up in three different perspectives! A nice long chapter for my long awaited comeback eh? I haven't made a chapter this long since chapter 23. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy! Not sure when the next update will be but I am hoping to roll one out sometime this month so no worries, I won't disappear for another six years again (too soon?).

The languages used in this chapter are a total of two I believe. Romanian and Italian. Here are the translations:

Romanian:

-Urâciune : abomination

-Urâciuni : abominations

-Prinţesă : Princess

-legătură regală : Royal connection

Italian:

-Culo : Butt (I hope this is not the vulgar way to say it but this is all I could really find. According to word reference this is also slang)

-Parassiti : Vermin

Ah and in case y'all forgot the meaning behind Isabella's siblings names here they are:

Aurel the golden child;

Dragomir the precious child of peace;

Grigore the vigilant child;

Ana the graceful one;

Diana the divine one.

Until next time!

-Maria