The darkness acted like a cloak, hiding the woman from view as she walked silently through the darkened forest. Only her sharpened senses stopped her from stumbling her way through the forest to the meeting place. She padded silently into the clearing, the decided upon meeting place, unsurprised to find she was the last to arrive. The light from the full moon cast an eery glow on the clearing, illuminating the eleven other pale faced individuals.
"How nice of you to join us Lydia" Alexander Craven drawled out. Lydia didn't so much as offer the older grey haired man a second glance.
"Oh leave it Alexander. We have much more pressing matters to discuss" Lydia's eyes flickered to the woman that stood meters to Alexander's right. She stood tall, her blonde hair pinned back allowing for a clearer view of her face. She had obviously been pretty at one point, but the years had not been as kind to her as they had been to the others.
"You are right Florence" Lydia bowed her head in shame, because she was right. The twelve vampire royals. The head of their houses never met all at once. It was just too dangerous. They had risked everything by coming here. But they had everything to lose if they didn't. Lydia De Clare looked around herself at the representatives of each family. Most of which were only vaguely familiar to her. Alexander Craven stood on the opposite side of the clearing to Lydia, he was the unspoken leader in this moment. His name itself was enough to send most people running int he opposite direction. His reputation proceeded him. Florence Caldwell was another near that struck fear into people's hearts.. Her cool demeanor and calculated looks accompanied by her sharp tongue and disapproving tone were enough to send any one running for the hills. In complete contrast, the small, plump man that could be no one else but Ernest Laval looked too much like a kindly grandfather to scare anyone.
Kaden Nordskov, whose appearance was still youthful despite being close to fifty, an age where most human's were at least beginning to grey. But as a vampire, he was still considered an inexperienced child. He had been a hasty replacement after the death of his grandfather.
The O'Callaghan twin was, much like the Nordskov heir, still young. Something that had very little place in a group dominated by older generations. The signature red hair and green eyes of the O'Callaghan family only served to further set her apart from the other heirs. The rest of which were older, more experienced vampires. A polite was of saying they were stuck up bastards that only cared about themelves.
Despite how long she had served as heir to the De Clare family. She still could not tell the heir of the Paulet family from the heir of the Musgrave family. One was a bald gentleman with stern pointed features that were always set in a frown. The other was a tall gentleman who fixed the entire clearing with a glare that sent shivers down Lydia's spine.
The Calthorpe heir was the final of the four woman in the clearing. Her almond eyes stared around the clearing, her expression set in one of boredom. Nadir Bielke, a thin small man stood beside her. He used his common appearance and forgettable features to his advantage most of the time, and now could be found standing half in the shadows. Watching the other heirs closely as if waiting on them attacking. The De Montagu heir stood away from the other. He'd mastered a blank look that masked his emotions entirely. His grey eyes looked almost dead,, something that made Lydia quickly look away to the next person in the clearing.
William Falsen was the only one who offered her a flicker of a smile. His lips tugged up into a half smile that never quite reached his silver eyes. The Falsen's and the De Clare's had been friends for centuries. He was merely keeping up traditions. Lydia offered a formal nod in his direction as a sign of acknowledgment. Instantly the smile he'd worked to make appear disappeared, and he returned his expression to the serious one he'd worn only moments before.
"I trust we all know why we are here?" Alexander asked, sending Lydia a pointed look. One she chose to ignore, instead joining the others in a stiff nod of agreement.
"The brotherhood have resurfaced" Alexander informed them anyway. "Just as the prophecy said they would. The same prophecy that promised a saviour for us. Someone capable of defeating these monsters"
"Are we any further forward in finding this saviour?" Lydia spoke up, much to Alexander's obvious annoyance.
"No" Florence replied cooly "And our clues remain the same. Mysterious and confusing"
"So what do we do?" It was the O'Callaghan heir that spoke up.
"We wait" Alexander responded "We continue with our lives, starting with the choosing ceremony tomorrow. And we trust the saviour will come forward when they are needed."
It was four hours till sunset when the doors to the grey concrete building opened, allowing the trail of smartly dressed teenage dhampir's to step out of the building and onto the deserted street. They walked without a word to anyone around them, a mix between a solemn and an excited expression on each of their faced. The girl that trailed along at the back however, didn't share the same look as her peer's did. Her long red hair was curled and expertly pinned to the top of her head in an elegant updo, her maroon chiffon dress clung to her hourglass figure, framing her figure perfectly. But the most noticeable thing about her was her face. Or rather the expression she wore. Her face had contorted into a scowl, her piercing grey eyes glaring at anyone who got too close. She glared at the blonde boy as he slipped back to walk beside her.
Noah merely laughed at her glare, he'd grown use to her strange attitude and bold front.
"Cheer up Bailey" He grinned at the closest person he had to family, his eyes glinting with the same mischief they always held.
"Easy for you to say" She scowled at him, folding her arms as she spoke. "You aren't the one that has a life of being used and abused looming before you."
"Well that's one way to put being a feeder" He admitted, letting a laugh escape from him as he draped an arm over her shoulders.
"That's the only way to put it" She deadpanned, shrugging his arm off her shoulders. She didn't want to be comforted, not when she knew what was coming for her.
"There's still a chance you won't become a feeder" He pointed out
Bailey let out a snort of laughter. "Please. 99.9 percent of all female dhampir's become feeders"
"What about the other 0.1%" He asked raising an eyebrow at her.
She folded her arms again as a dark smirk crossed onto her face. "They kill themselves before they can become a feeder."
His grin faded slightly before he rolled his eyes at her, his mood soured "Such a delight to be around as always Bailey"
His voice held the same joky tone it always did, but she knew her slightly harsh comment had scared him. She let loose a tired sigh, letting her arms fall to her side and her scowl drop.
"Still hoping for a protector job?" She asked, more to break the silence than because she needed to hear his answer. She already knew his answer.
Sure enough, he raised an eyebrow at her as if asking if she really needed to ask. She gave a challenging look in return.
"Of course" He responded "It beats sitting at a desk all day" Bailey nodded, managing to keep a smile on her face. But she'd give anything for that to be an option for her. Male dhampirs hade limited options, it was true. Dhampir's were limited in all their choices. Male dhampir's could be protectors, medics, administrators or yes feeders. There were no other options. But they were options all the same. Female dhampir's. Well female dhampir's were only ever chosen to be feeders.
The pair lapsed into the same silence that those around them held, as finally they rounded the corner and the building came into view.
Of course. She'd seen the building from miles back. It wasn't as if you could miss the monsrosety they called a government building. It was massive. It towered over everything, including the buildings surrounding it. It was made almost entirely of black material, making it much darker than the buildings around it. It was probably a tactic to scare people out of going against the government. Well it worked, Bailey was terrified as she stared at the building. And as they entered, she couldn't help but feel like they were entering the belly of the beast.
The first thing that hit her as they entered the lobby of the building was the noise. The overwhelming sounds that were only amplified by her enhanced hearing. By the looks on the faces around her. They were struggling to adapt too. By the time she'd adjusted, the group had made their way to the opposite side of the room, an advantage point if she'd ever seen one. She watched her surroundings carefully, identifying dhampir's and vampires alike. The vampire's were here only to find out what their future prospects were to be like. She felt her glare return as she caught sight of a vampire, who appeared to be in his early twenty's, watching her closely. And not being subtle about it. She had to admit, he was rather cute. But that was beside the point. He merely smirked as she glared at him, her whole body tensing up.
"Hey" She felt a hand placed reassuring on her shoulder and looked up to find Noah watching her carefully, she knew he'd seen the vampire. She nodded, getting his silent warning. She forced herself to loosen up. And just in time it seemed.
She looked round as a grey haired woman entered, her hair pinned tightly up in a bun that seemed to pull her face up with it.
"If you'd come with me please" She snapped irritably. As if she wanted to be doing anything apart from this. Bailey cast one last look at Noah before she followed quietly behind the woman.
They were led quickly down corridor after corridor, until they stopped outside a set of massive double doors.
"Female's to the right, males to the left" She informed them before she pushed open the door and entered.
Unlike when she'd entered the lobby, the meeting room of the council was silent. Bailey kept her head down as she entered, splitting off to the right as she'd been instructed and stopping in her place at the B's. For a while, no one said anything, allowing for the rest of the dhampir's to file in.
Only then did the grey haired man rise to his feet, his presence alone commanded silence.
"Welcome" Alexander Craven said in a tone that said he really wasn't happy they were here "As you know. Today is the day you're future's will be decided. It has been a tradition that has been continued since you're race began. And today, we plan to continue that tradition. You will each step forward and allow our seer to peer into your future. Only then will she determine what your future holds. If the male's would kindly step forward. We will begin with you"
And without another word, the ceremony began. Bailey was too far back to really look at the seer. And honestly she wasn't sure she wanted to see the woman who'd condemn her to her fate.
The ceremony moved quickly. Quicker than she expected, it might have had something to do with the amount of escape routes she tried to find before the seer reached her. Of which there were twenty Only three of which allowed her to get out without getting seen. And twelve of which involved things that were only really semi legal. She tuned in quick enough to find Noah had been given a protector's job, and someone named Scott had been given an admin job. By which point it was already too late to put any of the escape plans into action because it was their turn.
As one they moved forward, each holding a grim expression as they came under the scrutiny of the council of vampires and guests. Bailey gritted her teeth, keeping her head low as the seer moved along the line. Naming person after person as a feeder. She felt the person on her left move away to join the other feeders and Bailey saw a pair of black flats stop in front of her.
She had to force herself to look up. Bit by bit she did, taking in the woman's ceremonial dress until she stopped at her withered face. She was surprised by how kind the vampire appeared. Her brown eyes were soft and caring. And did she see a little pity in them? Yes.
"You're hand Miss Attwood?" The seer asked, a forced smile on her face. Bailey did her best to glare at the woman as she rested her hand in hers.
The seer was silent, the only change being the blank look and glazed over eyes that overtook her features. When the seer returned she looked sad. Bailey yanked her hand out of the woman's grasp.
"Let me guess?" She hissed lowly, her temper rising up "Feeder"
She didn't wait for the seer to speak, she began to walk across to the feeders.
"Protector" The seer's voice rang out, halting Bailey in her steps. She half turned to face the seer, surprise evident on her face. "You're to be a protector"