Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:31 pm

Tommen's long legs matched Naitachel's strides easily. "What exactly do you plan on doing?" he asked as they jogged. He had already run himself nearly ragged.

<Phoning Lalika, if I may. She would be able to learn if the girl yet lives at least. Then perhaps I may cheat once more... I can but hope such will help us yet again,> Nait answered. At least telepathic arguments were fast--they hadn't gone so far from the place Soraya had been captive. <The effort alone must be made, nonetheless, for the girl's sake... not to mention our own.>

Taggert was still directing his men in their search for his daughter, and the culprits as well.

<Just don't overdo it. We're far from holy water and sacred ground,> Tommen warned, knowing Radu would never forgive him if he let something happen to Naitachel. <But yes, I agree. Mom’s just been through a lot and is scared,> he tried to explain on Soraya's behalf.

Turning toward them as they returned, Taggert huffed. "I thought you civilians had moved off to safety?"

<True enough. Not to mention we have Anapa possibly... Heavens, I hope I am wrong there. Such is not one I do not wish to meet right now myself...> He had to dance a bit on his toes to slow to a stop, an elegant but inhuman motion much like the prancing in place of a horse. <Yes, and she had good reason to fear. But risk or no, some things are simply the "best" thing to do.> "Much as urgency calls at home, I thought I might still offer what aid I may. One is still at risk, as far as we know, after all," he told Taggert a touch breathlessly.

Tommen glanced at the seraph questioningly, but held his tongue. <If more trouble comes our way, just give me as much heads up as you can,> he said, looking back at Taggert. "Have you found anything at all?" Tom asked the general.

Taggert nodded, not trusting himself to speak in that instant.

<With this one, I am not sure I can,> Nait warned uneasily. His eyebrows rose in concern. "She is...?" he asked, unable to finish. <You can sense Terhon, easily enough, but this... this is far more...>

<Terhon... you mean there is a Mara nearby?> Tommen asked, though he awaited Taggert's word on Ashley's whereabouts.

"What do you need us to do?" a young, slightly built marine with blue green eyes asked, flanked by a very muscular brunette man and an athletically built red-haired woman.

<Silver is not just a Mara, Tommen... He is far, far more... Possibly the first mage to ever exist. The wingless one, yet winged by his own design, if that gives you any idea of what he might be capable of. And yes... I fear him,> Naitachel admitted.

"Stay with these two. Protect them. Give them whatever they need to help us find my daughter," Taggert ordered.

"So you haven't found her yet," Tom stated, then glanced at the seraph. <Any clue on where to start? I can always try sniffing her out, if I have to.>

"Nothing yet," Taggert answered Tommen. "We've still got room to cover, though."

------------

The jolt made Brianna yelp again, though she covered her mouth with her hands to keep further sound from escaping. What good was hiding if she gave away her position? still, she hated not knowing what was happening.

"Found it," a voice from outside the cabinet announced triumphantly. The cry was immediately followed by a sickening wet thump.

"Lucky you," Katarina deadpanned.

Deciding it was best if she heard nothing, Brianna closed her eyes tightly and covered her ears with her hands, trying hard not to cry at the thought that her uncle and trusted friends were out there fighting a deadly fight while her family was out trying to locate her missing mother. There she remained, hands clasped firmly over her ears, refusing to open her eyes and quietly praying it would all be over soon and that Radu, Kris and Kat would be safe.

-------------

"I need a map of this area, and below as well, if you have such? Otherwise, I but need cell phone reception..." Nait told them, drawing his phone from his pocket.

"Have you wandered underground?" Tom asked, knowing how dangerous that suggestion might be, given the traps that had been set there.

<If neither works, then yes, we may as well try helping them search below,> Nait agreed with Tommen. He flicked open his phone and dialed Lalika again... But it rang and rang and rang, not connecting...

The red-head pulled out a map as the muscular man fished around for his phone.

"Not yet," the slight-built man answered Tommen. "We had two teams down there, but it got ugly for one already. We await word from the other."

With a grimace, Nait hung up and tried again. This time he actually reached a mailbox. "Lalika here, 1300 Elysium Fields. Please leave a message and I'll get back to you." In the background was such beautiful ethereal singing--it couldn't possibly be human, and how it could even be produced was impossible to say.

Instead of a beep, something squeaked, "MEEP!"

Noting Naitachel's expression, Tommen asked, <Is everything alright?> His gaze was firmly planted on the search teams. <Maybe I can head down, then. Not that it's safe for anyone, but I might have the best luck.> "Ugly how?" he asked aloud, wondering what sort of traps they might encounter.

"Floor dropped. Spike grating crashed from the top," the young man shuddered.

“Lalika, if you will, please contact myself about Miss Ashley Taggert. I imagine you were called away, but this is rather urgent. Thank you." Naitachel hung up again with a sigh. "Heavens, of all times for Lalika to be busy..." <When you do, I will join you. For now, best we stick together as Mircea suggested.> He winced at the description of the traps involved. <I cannot disarm much more, however, I fear. That place drains me swiftly.>

"It sounds worse than an Indiana Jones movie," Tom commented wryly, glancing toward the still-open floor hatch.

Tommen nodded in understanding at Naitachel. <I don't know if I can completely shield you if we do go down, though,> he said. <I'd have to go ahead of you to make sure it was safe.>

<Better we remain up here, then, or only explore what is already determined clear by them. I would rather we risk neither of us in such condition. Soraya and Vlad would be very much angry with me should I allow you to serious danger or harm, nor would I forgive myself.> "If I may try the maps, then?" Nait asked wearily.

The redhead handed him the map and peered over his shoulder.

Tom remained planted next to Naitachel as the map was handed over, hoping this worked once more without completely draining the seraph.
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:33 pm


The limos arrived at the manor, Mircea diving out before it was stopped and making a mad dash for the house, Min, Vlad and Jina right on his heels.

The only thing that mattered was Brianna, and though she remained a bit shaky, Soraya sprinted in as well, trying to sense out her daughter.

Brianna remained hidden in the cupboard, hands over ears, eyes shut, shielded for fear of what might leak through.

The lack of sensing left Soraya in a near panic. "Bri!" she nearly sobbed.

The sound of them running in the front prompted a call from the one keeping watch to cry into his walkie-talkie. "...Phoenix has landed... clear out..."

Soraya ran as fast as her human legs allowed toward the East Wing...

The place was in shambles. Antique furniture was smashed, books were torn, paintings were shredded. Blood was spattered and smeared throughout the rooms. There was no sign of movement...

Bri?" Soraya called, grabbing to Vlad's arm to steady herself. "Radu?"

Vlad held his wife close, struggling against the sharing of her panic as his uncle and siblings moved around him.

---------

Naitachel accepted the map with a polite nod, then crouched down to lay it out on the ground, weighing down the corners with pebbles. Settling on his knees before it, he took a deep breath, closing his eyes and reaching a hand over it...

Tom watched Nait expectantly, hoping for an answer so that they could get to the girl.

Naitachel set his palm down on the map. "Somewhere here..." Slender, elegant fingers curled so he could use just one to indicate a bit more definitively...

Tom tensed as he watched Naitachel work.

"There!" Nait set one finger down on the map again, opening his eyes.

For a moment, the very air seemed to rise in static electricity--then a deep boom rumbled nearby, the crack of thunder--on a clear night.


-----------
<Go to your mother,> Radu told Bri. <It's safe now.>

The sound of Radu's voice cut through the self-imposed silence, though it took a few moments for the words to sink in. "Mommy!" she called finally as she began struggling with the door to exit, sending out nearly overwhelming panic and relief.

The sound of her voice spurred Soraya into action, and it was only moments before she had run to the piano cabinet in question and thrown open the doors, reaching in in nearly the same motion to collect Brianna and clutch her tightly.

Brianna had simultaneously thrown herself into Soraya's arms and clung to her tightly, sobbing.

Vlad was there with them, drawing both wife and child into his arms.

Soraya leaned in to Vlad and held Brianna tightly, finally allowing her own emotion to overwhelm her as she showered Bri with grateful kisses and cried.

Michael moved to his parents and sister, and in a rarer display of emotion himself, joined in the hug.

Kris and Katarina were ushered through by Min and Jina. "...Seeing Dr. Kelly..." Jina finished what she was saying to them. "I'll have someone drive you."

"We're fine," Katarina argued. "Bumps and bruises and scratches that heal..."

Soraya paused long enough to look up at Kris and Katrina, and sniffling, uttered a, "Thank you." She didn't know exactly what had happened, but it was clear that they had protected Brianna dearly. She knew the depth of emotion in her tone would tell them just how much she owed them.

"The baby," Kris tried to tell them before spying her. "Ah good... you've found her." Kat nodded. Kris smiled. "We are honored to serve our house, Missus." he told her.

"Yeah, she's safe," Michael said, releasing his family and moving to help Katarina. "Here. Lean on me," he offered.

Kat leaned against him, even as she protested. "It's little, sir. Very little."

Michael shook his head at the beauty that was Katarina. "And I'm the queen of Tanzania," he quipped at her attempt to minimize her injuries. "I'll accompany you if you like."

Brianna's tear-streaked face emerged long enough to see that Kat and Kris were safe, and she smiled at them, though she remained as she was, in her parents' arms, unwilling to release her newly recovered mother.
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:35 pm

Naitachel winced and yanked his hand back from the map, blanching. "I... fear that is all I can offer anymore." <I dare not try more.> That was a reprimand if he'd ever heard one, and unmistakable at that!

"Do you know that area?" Tommen asked aloud, pointing on the map to the same spot for the soldiers' sakes. <Then no more,> Tom told Naitachel quietly. <Seems you've literally done more than enough.>

"Wow, that was freaky," the redhead breathed, looking up into the clear, starry sky. "What the heck?"

"My Gran would say the Gods are displeased," the muscular man answered, giving her a nudge as he looked at the map. "Reese, notify the Admiral to search vector 230. We'll stay with the civvies."

The slightly built man nodded and double timed it to Taggert.

"I can go help," Tom answered, knowing it was likely futile. Why would these men, who knew nothing about his abilities, allow him to go in?

Naitachel sat back on his heels. "I am sorry." He looked up at Tommen and shook his head. <I am not certain we should, after that answer.>

Tom paced the area, a bit frustrated. <Because you can't use any more cheating... I might be able to do something, to keep more soldiers form dying.>

Collecting the map, Naitachel rose to his feet, sighing. <Then I go with you. As I said, best we stay together.> He paused, and eyed his cell phone a moment, worried... "Think we should call...? To see how the others are?" he asked softly.

Tom nodded. He had been trying to ignore the knot in his stomach, but he did want to know what was going on at home.

"We can't take civvies into danger, sir. Taggert said to guard you. We guard you. That don't mean throw you to the pit with the rest of the dead, less you want your Baw bags in a sling, which I don', thanks," the tall muscular man told Tommen.

"Doesn't seem like there's much more we'll be able to do here," Tom told Naitachel, obviously frustrated by the answer. Still, he wasn't about to push the issue now, for fear of revealing more of himself and his kin than was necessary.

-------------



"It's never good to explain our... differences..." Kat told Michael. "And Kris. They never look the same at him. Please. We stay here and rest. We heal. We clean up the mess. It's good."

"Dr. Kelly understands," Michael assured her. "Please. For me?" he asked, smiling crookedly at her.

Katarina wanted to refuse. She wanted to deny him or at least argue her point. She couldn't do it, though. She was not, after all, immune to the charm of Michael Prince. "Very well," she sighed, leaning upon him.

"What happened here?" Soraya finally managed to ask despite her rampant emotions.

Michael's smile widened, obviously pleased. "Good. I'll stay with you, like I said," he told her as he led her toward the car, glancing back at his parents and sending them a mental affectionate nudge, before leading her out.

"Bad men come to break things and threatened," Kristov answered with a painful shrug. "We fight alongside the ghost to drive them back. They run when you get home, but..." He gestured to the space around them. "They leave a mess behind."

Soraya nodded in understanding, cradling Brianna's head against hers as she set one more kiss on top of the girl's bed. "So long as you are all safe," she said, resting her own head against Vlad.

"Let's go, Shorty," Jina told Kristov. "Follow your other half out..."

Kris started to protest the nickname, then thought better of it. He knew full well he was short. There was no point in arguing it.

The redhead returned Michael's loving nudge as he led Kat out.

"Are you okay, Mommy?" Brianna finally asked, when she was controlled enough to ask after what had happened to her mother.

"I am fine," Soraya assured the girl. "Much happier now that I have you in my arms, safe and sound," she smiled. "And now that your father can hold us both tightly."
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:38 pm

Hesitantly, concerned, Naitachel flipped open his phone again and dialed home, holding it up with two fingers a bit away from himself to prevent frying the unlucky device. Hopefully everything was okay, and they had raced for naught but the amusement of that voice... "Let us check in, then, and if all is well, best we head home, if we can do nothing more," the Seraph sighed softly.

Tom again nodded.

"Prince residence," a Hispanic sounding female answered.

"Naitachel here. Has anyone else returned yet?" Nait inquired hopefully.

"We're all alive," Min assured him. "All of us."

Naitachel flashed Tom a smile of relief. "We will be returning home shortly, then," Naitachel informed Min. "We are of no more use here. See you at home, and thank you..."

"See you soon," Min answered, his voice filled with affection and relief.

Tom's own posture relaxed at Naitachel's smile. <Thank the gods,> he said, more than a little relieved.

Flipping the phone shut, Naitachel tucked it into his pocket, and glanced at their guards. "I think best we head home, then. I left my bike over there...?" Nodding at the muscular man, he requested, "If you might tell the Admiral that we are departing?"

The muscular man did so, only to receive the order, "Accompany them home, ensure they arrive safe, then get back here," Taggert told them.

Tom swallowed hard. "I can drive the bike home," he offered, not sure Naitachel was equal to the task in his state.

Nodding to the muscular man, Nait led the way to his motorbike. "I hope you have some means of your own, Mister...?" Nait asked the fellow. <Please do,> he agreed with Tommen. His feet were dragging already.

<You okay?> Tom asked with concern. It was no use to leave for home if the seraph was already ailing. <Should we go straight to a church if we find one nearby?>

"Chapman, sir," he answered. "Gavin Chapman. And we've got an SUV we can drive you in. Can secure the bike to the back."

Naitachel shook his head at Tommen's concern. <Our home is on ley lines. I shall recover the slower amid such compared to a chapel or church, but I shan't have need of fast recovery, so it is no matter. Besides, I wish to see if...> Nait trailed, concerned about Brianna and Radu... He arched a brow at Chapman, then nodded. "That sounds like a good idea, Tommen. If you would, Mister Chapman?" he requested. "And thank you."

Tom nodded and helped move Nait's bike closer to the SUV in question.

"Sure things. Reese, Greyman. Let's get them loaded up," Chapman ordered. "You guys settle in. I'll load your bike up."

"Thank you," Tom said, opening the door and indicating Naitachel should get in first.

"Thank you." Naitachel drew his crutches from their sling on the side of the motorbike, then slid into the backmost seat of the SUV, settling across it with a sigh. <Thank Heaven this is over, at least for us,> Nait told Tommen, much relieved. <Soraya is back and safe. And the rest are well and safe.>

<I actually feel a little sorry for Taggert, though,> Tom admitted. <But yes. Thank God Mom is safe, as well as Radu and Brianna... and us. It got a little scary in there.>

<Yes, it did,> Naitachel agreed. <I can but hope the Admiral finds her alive. But we dare no more. At least we did what we could for his daughter.>

The redhead, Greyman, climbed into the driver's seat. The young man, Reese, climbed into the first set of seats in the back. "You two okay? Were you hurt at all down there?"

"Reese and I are medics," the girl laughed. "Which is why we get Chappy babysitting us while we're out here."

"Just fine," Tommen assured them.

Chapman finished loading the bike and dove into the passenger seat. "Are we all settled then? Let's head out."
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:41 pm

Soraya finally began struggling to rise, though Brianna refused to release her. She was still in the clothing they had made her wear, and she wanted a shower and her own bed.

Vlad helped her to her feet, daughter and all.

Soraya more than gladly kept leaning on Vlad as he helped her rise. <How is Radu?> she asked.

Vlad looked at her, ashamed to admit he hadn't gone to check.

"Our ghost is banged up a bit, but will heal well enough without assistance," Mircea answered her and the rest as well. "Unlike many of his possessions."

Soraya kissed Vlad's cheek. <I thought perhaps Mircea had relayed the information,> she soothed. She hardly wanted him to move away from her, if she could help it.

Soraya nodded at Mircea’s words. Normally she would offer to go shop to replace some of what had been damaged post haste, but the idea of being anywhere but home right now was the furthest from what she wanted to do.

<Thank you,> Soraya sent quietly to Radu, then added, <I am glad to be home.>

"He mourns the loss of his harpsichord and several of his priceless books, but is far more worried for you and the little one. I told him I’d come out here and check on you, since it seems we've got help creeping this way." Mircea nodded toward the entrance to the wing.

<I am very glad you're here as well. I'm so sorry I couldn't help bring you back...> Radu replied.

Several of the manor staff were, indeed, beginning to move in, eyes wide with disbelief at the state of the place. "Mister Radu's things," one of the women sobbed. "His beautiful beautiful things..."

<Please, do not apologize,> Soraya said. She glanced at the door, then back toward the rear of the wing. "Do I have time to go see him?" she asked, meaning the ghost.

Mircea shook his head slightly, nodding toward the sobbing woman.

--------------------

Naitachel shook his head. "We are well enough... just tired, I think. But thank you for your concern. Whoever was behind the intercom there, however, is a cruel creature..." Sighing, the Seraph glanced out the window.

"Yeah, we caught on t' that," Chapman nodded. "We’re to look in on your missing one before leaving you all be, it seems."

"They are all well, at home," Nait assured Chapman. "I called to ask."

Again, Tom seemed most pleased to hear Naitachel's assurances. "She's probably going to be overwhelmed with my father and everyone else looking after her as it is," he agreed. "I wouldn't worry too much about her."

Naitachel abruptly jerked back from the window, almost cowering as he backed up against Tommen. Mentally he caught at the young vampire. <Shield tightly!> he commanded.

Without questioning why, Tom did as bid, but looked at him in puzzlement. Was this the more-than-Mara that Nait had warned about earlier?

What felt like a watching feeling washed over the SUV, heavy as a lead elephant and almost palpable in the air. It was amused, but rather in the way of a cat looking over a group of pigeons... But it passed over and on...

--------------------

Soraya sighed and nodded in Mircea’s direction.

"Come, we're not to be here," another tried to draw her away. "I'm sorry. I know we're not supposed to be here. It's just that we heard noises earlier and thought..." She left off, crossing herself instead. "I'm so sorry," she whispered. "If we'd known..."

"We heard the noises, but the ghost is heard sometimes playing and such..." the first told them. "We thought he was angry..."

<You've got to leave off the music, Uncle. The staff hears it,> Min warned Radu with a sigh, sad to have to isolate him further.

The redhead cradled Brianna tightly to her as the staff spoke. "Better to leave the noise alone, then, for fear of angering him further," Soraya said aloud, tiredly. She didn't know which was worse - her hunger, fatigue, or the need for a hot shower to remove the rest of the chill she felt to her core.

"That's what we thought," the first told her. "If we'd thought that someone could do this..." She looked at the blood. "Who was in here?"

Soraya sighed and shifted Brianna's weight in her arms. Her stomach growled loudly at that moment. "Brianna was, but she is unhurt, merely frightened," she answered. "Though I would like to get her out of here, if I could," she looked at the staff expectantly.

Hearing that the child was in the middle of all of that, the servants flew into action. "Oh, poor child," the first said. "Let's get you some hot chocolate, okay?"

"And some food for you," the second said, noting the growling of Soraya's stomach.

Brianna's arms tightened around Soraya's neck. "I'm staying with Mommy," she insisted. Soraya smiled tiredly at them both. "Perhaps I can have you deliver both to Vlad and I's suite?" she suggested gently. Soraya shifted Brianna's weight in her arms again, trying to keep her from slipping.

"Of course, Missus," the first one said. "I'll bring it right up."
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:46 pm

Greyman pulled in past the gate and up the long drive toward the manor.

"Security seems pretty lax around here," Chapman commented. "Someone should be monitoring that gate."

"He's right," Reese agreed quietly. "You're going to want to beef things up, for your own safety."

"There has been a bit of chaos, but yes, we shall have to do something about that," Nait agreed quietly, gathering his crutches up.

"I’m sure my father and uncles are already on that," Tom agreed. He hated the idea that even with their particular skills, they hadn't been able to keep all of this from happening.

"Do you want us to try to arrange something until yours is in place?" Chapman asked. "I'm sure the admiral would be willing. He seemed to put high priority on your safety."

Naitachel gestured for Tommen to precede him out of the SUV once it came to a halt. "Thank you, but better not. We truly should set up our own, and I am certain there shall be opinions in the matter. Do save yourselves several headaches and leave it to us."

Tom did so, agreeing with Naitachel's answer. He doubted his elders would much care to have someone else arranging security for them.

Chapman hesitated, then nodded. "Alright. If you're sure." He held out his hand. "Good luck, sirs."

Tom took Chapman's hand and shook it firmly. "Thank you. For everything. And good luck."

Naitachel also shook Chapman's hand. "Yes, thank you very much for your help and suggestions. And we wish you the best in your own search. If anything arises on our end, we shan't hesitate to call."

Greyman and Reese said their goodbyes as Chapman unloaded Nait's bike, then they loaded back up to return to their unit, as ordered.

"And if you need anything, call us," Tom offered before they left. He waited until they were just out of sight before turning toward his own home and quickly dashing in. He needed to see all was well with his own eyes.

---------------

"We help clean this up?" the second servant asked the others as Mircea and Min started picking up the torn books.

Soraya smiled gratefully, and began walking through the crowd, hoping they would think nothing more about her odd attire than she had been interrupted at an inopportune moment by Bri. "When did you get so heavy?" she asked Brianna, smoothing her hair as she set walking, glancing back to see if Vlad, not to mention the majority of the crowd, followed. If nothing else, she could clear out prying eyes so that the others could get to salvaging what was left of Radu's precious items.

-----------------------

Naitachel wheeled his bike into the garage, then made certain the doors were closed before wearily entering home himself. Immediately, he sought to check on Soraya, having to fight the urge to check on his mate. Too many others were around, so he dared not, not when Radu was supposed to be dead.

He was in time to see Soraya, Vlad, and Brianna ascending the stairs, and smiled to himself in relief. Instead, he turned to the family room and settled unceremoniously on the couch, exhausted physically and emotionally, though he was recovering as he'd told Tommen. He knew that for appearances sake, to retain their secret for Radu’s safety, he dare not go to the east wing yet. <Are you hurt? How bad?> he asked Radu, concerned, eager to hear his mate's thoughts and feel his mental touch, if only to be assured Radu was still around and conscious at least.

Tommen had likewise seen Vlad and Soraya ascend, and had received a quick hug and kiss from his mother before he went to the East Wing where there was apparently some cleanup to do.

<Scrapes and scratches. Nothing serious,> Radu answered tiredly. He sounded angry, frustrated and upset.

<Were they seeking something, or someone?> Nait asked, tail flicking in irritation. He wanted to be there. He wanted to hug Radu and ease his turmoil, comfort and soothe. But he still had to remain a minute, to hold back at least briefly, lest others catch on that a precious life may've been at stake there. Only a few minutes, granted, but even that was frustrating.

<Yes,> Radu answered simply.

<What, and who?> Nait inquired, worried.

<Research... and researcher...> Radu answered. <Barring that... a pawn to get what they wanted. Not one among us would refuse to trade them what they wanted for... her...>

<They were looking for you, then?> Nait asked, worry kicking up a notch. Resignedly, he rose and clicked for the east wing. He knew the damage would bite deep, considering the sadness the others were emitting. He had no doubt any of them would give anything for Brianna... Poor child.

<They were to seek out the research and confirm I was dead,> Radu confirmed. <And to find Brianna. They intended to take her.>

Breath catching in his throat, the Seraph eyed the devastation, saddened by items of past happy memories now destroyed, their nostalgia forever lost, of things he knew that gave Radu such joy now useless and pieces... desecrated... Slowly he picked his way through the mess, leaving crutches by the door. <Oh, Radu... I am so sorry...> But at least they were safe and alive... <Do you think... they learned you yet live?> he asked, a hint of fear touching his heart. He wasn't sure he could go through another similar attack to Radu like what almost killed him finally.
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:49 pm

Vlad followed Soraya up, unwilling to be parted from his wife and child yet. The others would see to his uncle's possessions. They were just things, after all, however rare. Not one was more valuable than what he'd almost lost.

Soraya was glad Vlad followed, though she frowned at the fact that the crowd hadn't dissipated as much as she had hoped. Still, the others could handle that. The quiet familiarity of the room she shared with her husband enveloped her as soon as she walked in, bringing on a fresh wave of emotion she quickly had to suppress for Brianna's sake. Instead, she smiled down at her daughter. "Will you go to your father? My arms are tired," she said, "and I need to bathe." As she spoke to Brianna, she looked up at Vlad. <You have no idea how good it is to be home,> she told him.

<I know I'm not letting you out of my sight again. Either of you,> Vlad replied.

Soraya nodded, eyes growing tearful as she stepped toward Vlad again. <Deal,> she agreed hastily.

Soraya remained nestled in Vlad's arms a few long moments, long enough to feel Brianna become more lax in her arms. <I think she may be asleep.> She smiled. Her arms were, by this time, extremely tired, and she gently laid her daughter upon the bed.

Once Brianna had been set down, still sleeping, on the bed, Soraya wearily made her way to their restroom and began running herself a bath. "How did you find me?" she asked Vlad.

"Matty's computers and Nait's connections. They make a good team," Vlad answered, adding a bit of lavender oil to the water to help relax her.

Soraya nodded and closed her eyes a moment. She knew she should want to talk about it, but she was actually glad no one had asked her about her time in their hands. She wasn't ready to relay all of that to them. "And you?" she finally asked, after removing the clothing she never wanted to see again. "How are you?" This couldn't have been easy on him.

"I'm tired. Frazzled. Relieved," Vlad answered honestly. "Grateful... so grateful to have you home..."

Soraya sighed and embraced Vlad again, this time to offer comfort rather than receive it. "It seems you need rest just as badly as I do."

"I have all I need now that you're home," Vlad disagreed. "I couldn't sleep. Not yet."

Soraya released him and nodded. She swallowed hard, however, as she admitted, "I... am a little afraid of falling asleep. Will you stay nearby?" That was as close as she had come to sharing what she had been through as she struggled to repress the images and feelings that threatened to overwhelm her.

"I'm not going anywhere," Vlad assured her.

Soraya nodded, and held to him a few extra moments, as though afraid to release him completely, before she forced herself to do as much and enter the warm water. "I am... sorry," she finally said. "It happened so fast. I had no time to react, but I should have been able to..." she said, merely touching the surface of the guilt she felt, and the terror.

"There was nothing you could have done. You're not to blame for this. You have nothing to apologize for," Vlad corrected emphatically.

Soraya nodded, blinking back tears. "But if I had gotten away, Brianna would never have been threatened... and Radu's things..." She closed her eyes and dunked her head under the water, trying to wash everything away. Her red hair, though still short, floated atop the surface, a red swirl, before she reemerged.

-------------------

<I think they know we're hard to kill and just wanted to make sure,> Radu answered sadly.

Naitachel touched a broken piece of the harpsichord sadly with light fingers. <Do they suspect you are alive now, though, do you think?> he asked uneasily. <Where are you?> Nait asked as well.

<I'm in the back bedroom. There were so many threatening entrance Mircea thought it best to wait here,> Radu replied.

Edging cautiously around the ruined piano and remains of the harp and couch, now so intertwined as to be almost lovers, the Seraph worked his way towards the back bedroom. Finally he reached out and pushed what remained of the door aside, wincing and jumping slightly as the hinge broke and it fell to the ground. "Heavens," he breathed in awe.

Radu moved stiffly to greet him, drawing him close and holding him as if he'd been ages away from him.

Naitachel wrapped Radu tightly in his arms and wings, burying his face against his mate's shoulder, trying to withhold tears at the devastation and scent of Radu's blood, among others spilled. <Thank Heaven you are well, and safe,> he breathed.

Radu nodded. <And Soraya? Is she alright? I was unable to check on her or the child...> He shook his head. <Poor thing. She was so frightened. Kristov got to her and hid her, but I'm not sure where or how. Our enemies are far too organized.>

<Soraya is whole, though whoever held her was one for mental games, it seemed, toying with us and almost capturing the lot of us when we arrived. Whoever it was, they escaped with some new knowledge of what we may do, I fear... but I am certain Soraya's scars are more mental than physical as a result, and how deep I cannot tell. Brianna was unhurt, but clearly much terrified by all this, and refusing to let go of her. Vlad seemed not so different, to be honest...> The Seraph ducked his head under Radu's chin like a cat, relaxing with a deep sigh. He was exhausted and had pushed his luck with greater powers as it was. <We did not find the lost girl of Taggert's, I fear. Had we... perhaps more than that one's life might be spared, but they might be called off us, at least. One less foe would be nice...>

Radu nodded. <I'll reach out to... other contacts... and see if we may yet assist him in finding her... and these new enemies.>

<We can but hope they shan't make another play for anyone for a while... And we truly need better security. Taggert's men commented on how we have very little in place when we returned.> Scarlet tears escaped the corners of his eyes, partly simply reaction to all this emotional upheaval, and physical devastation... and the sense of loss all over the east wing. <I would like a respite from all this fear and mayhem,> the Seraph admitted shyly, wistfully, almost sounding like a child for once. So much chaos and tragedy in such a short time, so much responsibility and worry and fear... He felt overwhelmed.

<I understand, beloved,> Radu answered. As much as he would hate to have him any distance from him, he couldn't deny him anything he needed.
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:52 pm

Mircea directed the cleanup, trying hard not to wince as he looked over the ruined tomes from their homeland. He knelt beside the children's book he'd favored when reading to his nieces and nephews centuries ago. Radu's desk, one of the few pieces he'd carried across the seas when they'd left their lands, was beyond repair.

Tommen placed a hand on Mircea's shoulder as he entered. Even he felt this loss. He couldn't imagine how deeply this hurt his Uncle. "I'll get that," he said to one of those helping clean up as he went to retrieve the broken pieces of a porcelain bibelot that he knew had been meaningful to his uncles.

Mircea let Tommen take over parts of the cleanup, the losses of their family heirlooms far too painful and infuriating for him in that moment. His brother had tended and treasured these things for 4 thousand years. He could not accept that they should now lie in ruins around him. He considered his brother's gentle nature and how things had proceeded over the last few weeks and his temper flared. This could not go unanswered.

---------------------


<Brianna was protected. She is safe, even now. And as sad as the loss of belongings are, they are devoid of all value in comparison to what we saved today,> Vlad assured her. <I would rather mourn books than loved ones. We will move past their loss. I could not move past yours.>

Soraya nodded and silently chastised herself. Here Vlad had just told her how frazzled and tired he was and still she was going on about her own guilt. He was right. They would move on, as would she. "You are right. I am sorry," she apologized again with an understanding smile. "Would you wash my back?" she asked, trying to focus on a more mundane activity, though another questions truck her. "How long was I gone?" She had had no way of telling, with the sensory deprivation down below.

Vlad moved to scrub her back. "Beloved, please. Do not apologize. If anything it is I who should apologize. It took us far too long to find you. It should never have taken us 26 hours to bring you home." He shook his head. "I am so sorry."

Soraya turned at took Vlad's hand in hers. "How could you have come faster? They obviously knew me, knew what I could do, knew what we could do. They had taken measures against you finding me any faster. You found me..." She stumbled over her words a moment, as if changing what she was about to say. "That is all that matters." She narrowly refrained from saying that he had found her before they had dissected her alive. That would only have upset him further. "At least I only have one more day to account for to my professors... probably two, actually," she said, knowing she wouldn't go tomorrow.

"They've offered three for funeral services," Vlad reminded her. "I suggest we make use of all of them."

Soraya nodded weakly. There was one more question she needed to ask, though bringing it up frightened her. "Has Naitachel told you anything about the girl... the one who was with me?"

"Not really. I know she was Admiral Taggert's daughter, and I know that we didn't find her. I know nothing more," Vlad replied.

Soraya's grip tightened momentarily. "You did not find her," she echoed sadly. "I... I think I may have gotten her killed," Soraya admitted.

"How?" Vlad asked. "What happened?"

The redhead swallowed hard, and though the water in the bath was still relatively warm, she was suddenly shivering. She quickly averted her eyes to the side. She had been dreading that question, though she was the one who had brought up the topic. "I am not sure. They were freezing us both, said that to save us I needed to set fire to some kindle nearby to warm us up... I tried to tell them that warming her up too quickly would kill her, but they refused to listen, so I kindled what was closest to me... They said I had failed, that I had chosen myself over her, and killed her... It all went black..." She covered her face with her hands, trying to retain her quickly deteriorating composure.

"You were right. You tried to protect her. If they would kill her for that attempt, then they likely intended to no matter what you did," Vlad told her, holding up a towel for her to wrap up in.

Soraya slowly stood and walked in to the open towel without argument. "I know. Logically, I know," she sighed.

"And that doesn't help... I know... but it will, eventually," Vlad assured her, avoiding the 'I hope' that came unbidden.
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Soraya on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:56 pm

<I... I cannot yet, though. There is so much more that must be done... I am not even certain where to start...> The very thought of it made Naitachel tired. <I am at my wits' end...>

Radu held him, stroking his hair. <None will blame you for taking the time you need. You have not done so yet. Claim that the recent loss has finally caught up with you. Leave the rest in Vlad or Mircea's hands and take what time you need. None will fault you for it.>

<I wish I could, but I fear for all our safety until we have further protective measures established... And I need aid them in that,> Nait admitted sadly. <I cannot leave Vlad and Min wondering if we have security that is questionable and staff in danger of betraying us... I just wish the fear to end...> Burying his face against Radu's shirt, he sighed. <I only express a silly desire. Forgive me. I am certain we all wish for this to be over, for quiet lives once more... and I am whining like a petulant child.>

<Do not confuse whining with being honest, beloved. I am grateful you tell me how you feel. I would not choose to discourage it. As for the practicality of it... perhaps you could take some time after those measures are in place?> Radu suggested. Sensing the need for comfort and safety throughout his kin, he tried to push down his own anger and sorrow, fear and frustration. Those things didn't help anyone.

Naitachel hugged Radu all the tighter, trying to offer what comfort he may to Radu, and simply let his scarlet tears run for them both. <Perhaps then,> he agreed quietly, though not certain he'd have a chance then, either, considering the recent tragedies just piling on top one another so swiftly.

Naitachel wiped at his tears with the back of a hand finally, having let them out of his system, and simply savored Radu's solid presence beside him. After a moment, he lifted his head to offer his mate a kiss under the chin (about all he could reach at this moment, held this tightly), an affectionate touch and a distraction and benediction of sorts--or so he hoped--from the pain and loss all around. They still had each other, at least.

Radu smiled as Naitachel kissed his chin. Loosening his hold a bit, he looked down into Naitachel's eyes. "You need to rest, beloved. You've exhausted yourself and need to recharge."

Nait nodded, smiling bravely, at least a bit more emotionally recovered now. "I shall. Do... you mind if I stay with you for a time, while I do so?" He could meditate anywhere in their home due to the ley lines, but he just wanted to enjoy feeling Radu’s presence near as he did so.

"Of course," Radu answered as if that should have been obvious. "Always, beloved."


------------------------


Mircea and the rest finished cleaning up the destruction of the east wing.

The moment that was done, he took out his cell, dialed a series of 7's and concentrated on Martaand.

"Yello?" came the cheerful return. "Wazzzzaaaap?"

"Greetings," Mircea's reply came, its tone deep with pain and anger. "I have need of your assistance."

Martaand was silent a long moment, then quietly, "Wanna fill me in, condensed version? I'm at a secure location, if you are... Can't get much tighter than this, to be honest. Crazy Vatican..."

Mircea filled him in quickly, ending with the simple statement, "This cannot be left unanswered."

"Can you find a target, though? And what do you want to do?" Martaand asked, worried.

"Oh, I'll find a target," Mircea assured him. "And when I do I'll rip their throats out and leave them to bleed out upon the pavement unless you've a better suggestion."

"Why not raid them?" Martaand asked. "Just get any info they have of value, set their stuff back to square one, and leave their place in a crumpled heap? I mean, I think we can help with that, at least," Martaand offered. "You know our policy on killing, though..."

"I can agree to taking them back to square one, and I won't ask any of you to kill," Mircea agreed, though he carefully avoided agreeing not to do any killing himself.

Martaand sighed, flustered. "Well, tell you what. Call me when you got the place and time. I think Safiyah's free, and she's best for the job. Most of us stand out in the dark, but luckily she's made sneaking about a science. Plus she's... got the Purifying power to knock out the entire Eastern grid when she keys things right with Michelle's blade. Still figuring that out myself. Anyway, keep the blood down a bit, okay? I mean, I bet the secretary's not exactly the one gunning for us, okay?"

"Done," Mircea agreed, knowing that keeping the blood down a 'bit' was highly subjective and easily enough argued in a pinch.

Martaand puffed a sigh. "In that case, I'll catch you later, Uncle Mircea. I gotta pop out of this shoebox the Vatican calls their vault. Seriously, those old geezers need to do some spring cleaning in here..."

"You're welcomed to stay here with us," Mircea invited for the billionth time, missing his 'children' more than he'd ever admit.

"I'd love to, but if you're being hunted I'm better off here, pigheaded religious freaks or not. Best if they don't know there's more of us around, or there'll be a worldwide manhunt. We can't afford that, Uncle Mircea. Our missions are too important." Martaand's voice softened. "You wouldn't believe how much I'd love your brand of thinking straightening this lot out, though. I mean, a few knocked heads might do wonders."

"Anyway, take care, Uncle Mircea. We love you guys," Martaand offered, signing off.

"I love you, as well, Martaand. Come home soon," Mircea answered before hanging up the phone.


------------------

Soraya settled into the warmth of the towel. "We will get through this together, as we always have," she answered. "I will be fine." She reached up and kissed her husband tenderly, then teasingly said, "I would take it further, but we have a sleeping child in our bed."

"Yes, well... I suppose I shall have to settle for cuddling you both tonight," Vlad grinned mirthlessly. "I can't imagine wanting to let go of either of you for a while, at any rate.

Soraya nodded in agreement. Truth be told, she was exhausted, and would likely have fallen asleep anyways. "Cuddling sounds heavenly. Exactly what I need." She gently pulled away from him and retrieved a set of comfortable pajamas she had set out and put them on before returning to the bedroom. "We should try to get her into her own pj's, but I am afraid of disturbing her," Soraya commented tenderly.

“She's fine as she is tonight. We'll worry about conventions tomorrow night," Vlad agreed.

As gently as she could, Soraya removed the girl's shoes, at least, then settled atop the covers next to her, wrapping her in her arms. "Home," she breathed happily, indicating Vlad should join them.

Vlad didn't hesitate. He snuggled up to his wife and child and remained, relaxed but wakeful, guarding over them as they slept.

"I love you," Soraya whispered as she drifted off into what she hoped would be dreamless sleep. Those inconspicuous words seemed so important in moments like these.

"I love you too," Vlad whispered as she slept. "Always..."

The hot chocolate and meal delivered by the maids, probably while Soraya was in the bath, remained where they were, untouched in favor of the closeness of family.


Last edited by Soraya on Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Funerals, A Disappearance And Rescue

Post  Prince on Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:37 pm

Vlad held her as she slept, thanking the Gods though he knew full well had no interest in him and his own, for returning his heart to him and vowing never to let another harm her again.

Mircea decided to forgo the praying in favor of doing something more immediate. He went to Matty's room, entering without waiting for an invitation. "Boy, we've an add to write," he announced without preamble. Matty simply looked up and smiled, slowly turning his computer so that his uncle might see what he'd been doing...

"Job Posting: Chief of security needed for large local family. Will be responsible for safety of all family members both at home and off grounds, as well as all properties..." The add went on to request references, proving extensive knowledge of weapons and surveillance, as well as hand to hand and armed fighting skills.

Mircea nodded his approval. "Get it sent." He watched as Matty deftly clicked keys and the add became attached to all major job search publications available. "They scared her," Mircea told Matty quietly as he watched the boy work. "They scared us all. We can't let that happen again."
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