28: Onus

Kristopher raised a brow at his sister’s reaction. Stepping around his sister to see what was in the box; a devious smile forming. “I’m sure I can find a use for it.” He collected the box and brought it o his room where he carefully moved the necklace into a small, charmed leather pouch. What was better than a potentially cursed gift? One that traced back to someone else’s well known house.

“According to the ladies in waiting; you’re onus is due to awaken soon.” Evangeline confirmed, studying her daughter’s reaction. Aleera’s eyes widened slightly though she casually plucked a cherry from the stem. “Soon can mean anything from a few days to a full year” Popping the cherry in her mouth she quickly swallowed before continuing, “It should be interesting though. It’s been years since I’ve seen mine last.” Aleera offered a rarely seen natural smile. Evangeline nodded in agreement. Unlike her daughter she had never experienced an onus- mainly because the ladies in waiting bestowed them, most onuses preferred to stay in hibernation, and prior ladies in waiting mandated restrictions. In her own reign there had been whispers of her considering reversing the mandates, but they were grossly misinformed. After all, while Evangeline had never been properly granted one…she’d certainly acquired a volatile parallel.

From an open window a several birds flew in to leave a number of letters on the Lady’s desk while a few delivered them personally. Evangeline accepted each one, graciously trading it for one of the berries or slices of meat at her disposal. Setting the letters aside she kept one wearing the Xiradis insignia. Aleera; having noted the Xiradis stamp, remained silent while Evangeline read it’s contents. “Autumn wants to send her second son here for the summer.” Evangeline summarized, blue eyes squinting at the reasons. “That’s different.” Aleera commented. “It seems he is failing to meet Xiradis standards and they are requesting we apply our tactics.” Evangeline passed the note to her daughter.

“From what I’ve seen…he’s certainly not meeting their expectations or preferences, but neither would most of our men.” Aleera racked her brain for any memory of the lesser brother. “His behavior and antics are more in line with Draghi preferences though he requires polishing.” Meeting her mother’s eyes it became clear. “He needs to arrive as soon as possible so he can be integrated with summer schedules.” As Aleera spoke, Evangeline flicked her fingers so a quill began scribbling away an acceptance letter. “He will need to be chaperoned.” Evangeline reminded the young witch.

Aleera nodded. “Someone who can hold his attention or intimidate him. Markus shares his lycanthropy while being the closest so ‘middle’ between our ideologies; Antoinette is sure to hold his attention; and I can apply pressure when required.” Her thoughts were working through multiple scenarios as she spoke. “So they will share responsibility of him with you as an overseer.” Evangeline clarified. “With a few additives of course, but we’ll see if it’s necessary.” Aleera took a sip of her smoothie. “Markus won’t be pleased that he’s taking on a charge this summer.” Evangeline could practically envision her son’s trademark expression. “I’ll share the news.” Aleera waited until she finished her crepe before giving her mother a parting kiss on the cheek and leaving her to a solitary breakfast.

With Aleera gone Evangeline read over the contents of the acceptance letter. It was brief simply saying she would accept the boy into her home under the condition that he arrive within twenty four hours so he could be properly accommodated into summer schedules. She had just sent the letter off when another arrived- this time from Eloise. Given this particular boy’s history with her children she decided it would be best to discuss with her Illych.

Maksim naturally yielded at the presence of their father though his gaze stayed fixed on his brother for a moment longer. Markus leaned back in his chair, releasing a silent exhale and focusing his attention on their father bright disposition. Antoinette immediately lifted one of the cloches again, a bright smile forming at the sight of food. She had a theory he’d set a charm so the food would only appear once he did and for the past ten years she hadn’t seen it change ONCE. Seraphina nodded softly, “Okay.” She offered a polite smile before serving herself. Out of all the options she chose an egg, oats, and a pomegranate. Antoinette had already loaded up her plate and Markus’ with a bit of everything by the time Illych got to her. “That’s us.” Antoinette murmured, holding her hand for a fist bump from Markus. “Who’s Volk?” The blonde looked to Markus for clarification, but Markus was resignedly watching his father put MORE food on his plate. He gave his father a dull expression. “Alright.” As far as Markus was concerned there was no reason to retort or else Illych might add more trips- ten trips- ALL the trips. Maksim was neither surprised or affected by his father’s words towards him. A twitch of a smile appeared at the mention of Zarya. “Of course.” The youngest son agreed easily.

“Good morning.” Aleera appeared the entrance of the dining hall. “There’s been a change of plan.” Walking along the table she came to a stop between Antoinette and Markus’ chairs, curling her fingers over the backs to lean down so she was eye level.. “Xsaysara will be under your wings this summer.” Glancing between the both of them she then settled on Markus, “More specifically- your wing.” Her smile was met by the most exasperated expression Markus could muster. “Why the hell is he our problem?” Markus asked. “And why the whole summer?” Antoinette chimed in. Aleera tapped the underneath of Markus’ chin, “Because mother wills it and your frustration may do him good.” Aleera answered, “If you need a break; that’s where Antoinette comes in.” She added .”And if I need a break?” Antoinette questioned. Aleera turned her gaze towards her sister, “That’s where I come in.” The look in Aleera’s eyes made it clear they were not to defer to her until it was imperative. “…Okay. We could use a new sparing partner. Markus and I are at a stalemate, anyway.” Antoinette shrugged, smiling easily as she returned to her food. Markus’ jaw clenched as he weighed his options. “Fine. When does he get here and what am I supposed to do with him.” He meant it as a question, but his irritation was apparent. Aleera paid no mind- werewolves tended to run hot and frankly she understood her brother’s frustration, “Within twenty four hours and I’m sure you can already guess.”

Maksim watched the conversation with muted interest. So the forgotten middle child was going to be spending the season with them? How potentially devastating if the son wasn’t so hilariously inept. The only question worth asking would of been: how many females do you think he’ll sleep with by summer’s end? Glancing at Seraphina he could see she was wholly absorbed in her sparsely filled plate. Seraphina watched Markus quietly. The full moon was approaching soon and given her Markus’ behavior…”Father.” She kept her voice low. “When is the first trip you planned?” She asked with a discreet glance towards Markus.

Damian was already seated at the table when Xiilthara flew in to rest on his arm, a Draghi crested envelope in it’s beak. “She replied.” He didn’t even bother reading it simply passed it on to his wife. It was her predicament after all. He didn’t even intend to be the one to tell Xsaysara the news if Evangeline did intend to take him. All of his sons were for the most part invested in their mother anyway. Checking the time he wondered if the first day of summer would result in one or more of his children slipping up. He was sure his wife would be all too pleased to see it.

A servant entered the room and knelt at Damian’s side. “A request has been put in for the Maris and Stefan to be allotted more interaction with the host.” The servant spoke directly and quietly. Damian stiffed. “No. Keep interactions limited to birthdays and holidays. The boy is of age now.” He answered bluntly. “And Dimitrov?” The servant asked. Damian’s gaze flickered down in thought, “Once a week.” With Damian’s answer the servant disappeared into the hall. Damian straightened up, not bothering to glance in the direction of his wife. There were certain things he refused to budge on and the host was one of them. He’d already relented enough in allowed two children to happen.

Mina opened her eyes to find herself in her sole company; morning light filtering through charmed windows to dance off the intricate interior of her sleeping chamber. Almost the entire space was consumed by plush bedding and pillows spanning in all directions. Pushing herself upright she crawled to the edge until her foot came to rest on icy tile. She pulled on an ornate robe and pushed the double doors open to reveal more solitude. “He has denied the request…” “As we knew he would…” The Djinn’s voices echoed off the walls, following Mina into the bathhouse. In the reflection of the steaming water she could see herself and the two Djinn at her side.

Some time later she emerged from the bath, wet footprints making her path she entered the greenhouse where a meal was waiting. Settling in a chair she began to eat. The room itself was filled to the brim with varying live fauna to create the effect of being outside, but even the windows were stained allowing her no view of what actually existed on the other side. “We have visitors scheduled…” “Will you be present….?” The Djinn asked while Mina ate at a zombie like pace. “Depends. Who is it?” Mina asked

Ailsa stood in a dirt pit, scrapping with other young beasts when she caught a glimpse of her runt of a brother. Kicking an irrelevant werewolf away she approached her brother. Nilkaus had already noticed her and moved into a defensive stance. A spark lit in Ailsa’s eyes with her crouching down once before lunging straight for his throat. Niklaus had to be quick on his feet to maneuver away but still took a nasty gash on his shoulder while his teeth just missed her. Ailsa wasted no time swiping at him and lunging again. Niklaus took claws to the face and dove down to clamp his jaw on her legs. Ailsa squealed and immediately growled. Ignoring the temporary pain in her leg she went again and again until her brother’s fur carried a satisfying sheen of drying blood. Niklaus refused to waiver and continued to ward off until she could no longer place her weight on all four paws.

Rhiagan stood in the shadows of the weathered castle, watching his two siblings fight one another. From the corner of his eye he spotted flash of dirty blonde hair just as Ailsa lunged for Niklaus’ throat before Ailsa was sent tumbling back by the force of Freya’s arm. At the sight of Freya, Ailsa growled but Freya stood her ground. Ailsa crouched low to the ground again, attempting to circle Freya who didn’t take her eyes off the wolf. Ailsa lunged past Freya in an attempt to reach Niklaus, but Freya locked her claws into the girl’s coat and tossed her into a wall where a number of weapons stood ready. Seeing the weapons Freya flew over in an instant, slicing a weapon out of her sister’s now humanoid hand and drawing her claws back to pierce the girl’s shoulders. Ailsa whipped herself to the side just as Freya’s hand slammed down so it went into a bucket of holy water. Freya’s scream was murder on her siblings ears, but she quickly used her other hand to back hand Ailsa back into the dirt.

Wiping the blood from her face Ailsa simply smiled in amusement.

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Bitten – Elena FIght Scenes

(Ailsa Gaunt)