AUTUMN: [Since I had returned from the beyond I had spent as much time with Tohrment as I could. For the brief moments we were apart, he was still in charge of heading the Brotherhood after all, I asked Lassiter every question I could think of to try and figure out what had happened. He claimed he still had no idea, that he was trying to ask his boss, but so far… nothing. We had gone over the Fade Ceremony and what had happened after a million and one times and still nothing made sense. Tohrment on the other hand wanted to avoid all conversation of our time apart, the Fade Ceremony, and my return. In a way I wished I could go on as if nothing had happened, but I couldn’t. Frustrated with his stubbornness I had stormed out of our room informing him I would talk to him when he could act like an adult. That is what had me out near the city with the excuse of shopping for gifts for the young. It was impulsive, and not exactly the smartest thing I had ever done, I realized now as I worried my lower lip and looked at my surroundings. I had a vague idea of where I was, Xhexania had brought me down here once before. Nodding my head, I had just decided to make my way to ZeroSum for a ride home when I saw him. My breath froze in my throat as I looked at the tall sinewy figure of the Symphath who had taken me all those many years ago. I had thought he had been executed but now I couldn’t recall. You would think a moment like that would be crystal clear in your memory, even after all these years. But all I could see in my head was me… chained in that cellar as he had his way with me. The feeling of those long fingers caressing every inch of my flesh. I shuddered involuntarily. I needed to get out of here. He was getting nearer but I couldn’t make my feet move. He was within breathing distance when my feet finally listened to my brain and I headed straight for the one place that held the one who could help me. Running as fast as my legs could carry me I sobbed out a cry as I gripped the forearm of the giant male in front of me] Rehvenge! I must speak with Rehvenge. Now!
REHVENGE: [Any busier and I was thinking I should just move my fucking bed into my office. I expelled a breath, rubbed a hand over my Mohawk. Hoping to get home soon to have time with my shellan before she forgot what I looked like. I tapped fingers on the laptop to the next file that needed my attention. Trying to fake being a legitimate business, masking all the under the table endeavors, took more of my time than anything else. The taxman was going to love me this year for the revenue I was bringing in] “boss, we got us a situation out here, hysterical girl insisting she sees you, what’s your orders, shall I get rid? ” [A brow cocked as Big Tony’s voice came through the radio laid flat on my desk. Another drunk reveller no doubt. The life of a club owner having to show a mediocre interest in being social, but I caught the edge of a feminine voice in the background that gave me pause from telling hint o do just that, my doorman was right, hysterical indeed was this females state. I rose, grabbed the sword stick I needed to keep my balance and strode out of the office, along the corridor with the myriad of doors all Of which was hiding someone’s dirty proclivity…. And through the belly of the club until I had reached the inner hallway to the bouncers station. I came up short, a brow loftily raised seeing who the female in question was. She was shaking uncontrollably, her pallor was this side of being white as flour. And her grid was on fire with panic. I reached out a hand to Xhex’s mahmen, nodding subtly to my efficient staff who had stopped her from advancing inside yet had done it in such a way that wouldn’t have my second in command killing them all later for putting hands on her mother] I have this, big Tony… Carry on with your duties. [I changed the tempo of my voice, the blare of the music almost drowning me out, but I could see she was distressed about something] come with me, Autumn… It’s going to be okay, and you can tell me what all this is about… [I saw Trez heading from the security office, his dark eyes clashing with mine, he’d seen the female on the cams. I transmitted a message inside his grid to locate Xhex for me and send her through, whatever was doing she’d want to know]
AUTUMN: [I was held outside the front of the club by the doorman while he contacted Rehvenge. Even with the loud music from inside the club I could hear what the male was saying. He wanted to get rid of me, thinking I was some hysterical female trying to use that as an excuse to get inside. Maybe sometime in the future I would be able to look back on all this and laugh at the description. I had been raised to be quiet and delicate and then gone to the calm serenity of the Other Side. Never, had I been hysterical. Just thinking of my upbringing had me recalling that face again. Of being returned to my father after my rescue and being dismissed as soiled goods. I was on the verge of hysterical sobbing as I finally saw Rehvenge appear at the door. Never in my life did I dream I would be so happy to see the male in front of me. I tried to focus on breathing calmly as he guided me gently through the club to his office. It was quite quick actually, considering how fast the humans all moved out of his way. Once inside the quiet of his office I turned and grabbed his arm, staring pleadingly up at him. The words rushed past my lips in a voice I didn’t recognize as my own] I am sorry to impose on you like this, but I need your help. You are the only one who can help me. [Too many thoughts and memories were rushing through my head, making it hard to focus. I held on tight to the male in front of me and stared into amethyst eyes. When all he did was raise a brow I blurted out what I had seen] I saw him, Rehvenge. The male who… the male who kidnapped me. I thought he had been killed by his father for disgracing their family. That is what I had always been told. But it was a lie. He is alive and he is here. In Caldwell. He can’t be.. he can’t… [I finally broke. I could no longer contain the fear that was gripping my throat in a vice like grip, just as he had done all those many years ago]
XHEX: “…the male who kidnapped me.” *The soft, quickly spoken words rang loud as church bells in Xhex’s dome as she pushed open the hidden panel door leading from the secure hallway in the heart of the club—which only Rehv, the shadows, and herself used. Wood cracked under her fingers, shattered by the force of her anger coming to a boil. All these months she’d hung on by a thread. Rehv’s brain scrambled eggs. Trez and iAm bickering like teen boys. Autumn, the mahmen she’d barely gotten to know, dead and entombed before Xhex could say goodbye. And just as suddenly, back from the dead. To say Xhex’s mind was the center of Fucked-up Land, complete with its own set of nausea-inducing thrill rides, was the most hilarious understatement of the century. The panic in Autumn’s voice wasn’t so amusing. Xhex strode into Rehv’s office, not missing the sudden tension in her mahmen’s shoulders at her approach. Way to go, genius, Xhex scolded herself, You’ve become the boogeyman your only blooded family fears.* Where is he, Autumn? I’ll fix this shit right now. *Try as she might, her anger slipped its leash. No one else, no matter who the fuck they thought they were, would touch Autumn again.*
REHVENGE: [A minute ticked by and then a second to join it. Listening to the frightened tone in the female’s throat was enough to set the tick in my jaw. Another symphath in my town? impossible. I policed that shit, they all knew up at the colony what would happen if I ever caught wind of a stray dog wandering the streets with the normals. There wasn’t much in the way of comforting Autumn without me getting into her grid and doing it manually from the inside, but taking the sitch in question that would be a bad idea, I kept well back from that, and pressed a glass of water into her palms, hearing the approach of Xhex’s gray matter long before she showed her pissed off face. Ditching one female for the other, I strode over and got in her grille, making sure she was in my eye view to see how fucking serious I was about what I was going to say next. If her Sire was wandering his happy ass around somewhere nearby then it was the last place Xhex needed to be. A face full of impassive disdain when my own memory of a fucked up family resurfaced like a bad smell I was never able to be fully rid of] You are going to make sure your mahmen is settled, feel me? I got this, I’ll scout around, see what I can pick up. Do not move from this office Xhex [the last fucking thing anyone needed to know was there was another symphath besides me here. I’d protected my second in command all these years from the colony, I wasn’t about to let her parade outside waving a red fucking flag for a sineater to clock her, and not when her grid was registering on the “could give ten fucks, I will eat your liver” scale. When she tried to look away I dipped my head, voice lowered for only her] I mean it, Xhex. you keep your fucking ass here, your mahmen needs you now [I had all the info from Autumn, and with steady strides I was out my office, taking the back door, sending out my feelers immediately… if it was true, that she wasn’t having some kind of breakdown from her recent death event, and her past had come calling.. I’d sense that fucker]
XHEX: That cocksucking, sanctimonious son of a motherfucker … . *Had a damn good point. Even if Xhex didn’t want to admit it. She’d read his concern loud and clear as the furry hem of his coat vanished around the corner. A symphath in town, even if not her presumed deceased sire, spelled trouble. As far as she knew, Rehv and herself were the only free range symphaths left. Thanks in no small part to their vampire halves allowing them to blend in better than their snake-like brethren. A shudder raked down Xhex’s spine. Autumn made a similar movement. Seeing the female’s panicked eyes and defensive stance hurt like a dagger to Xhex’s gut.* Shit. Look, Rehv is good at this. If there’s a stray dog sniffing around town, he’ll euthanize it before you can blink. *Something Xhex wanted to do herself so badly, her vision glossed over nice and red. Autumn’s frenzied grid flashed like a limping gazelle, luring Xhex’s inner predator closer. Just a little push. That’s all it’d take to send the female over the edge. Xhex curled her hand into a fist, digging her short nails into the heel of her hand to stave off her darker instincts.* Do you need anything, Autumn?
AUTUMN: [Clutching the glass of water to my chest like it would protect me from harm. I watched as Xhexania entered the office and Rehvenge approached her, instructing her to stay within. Her body was strung tight and the look in her eyes was pure evil. But I was in agreeance with Rehvenge on this, I did not want Xhexania anywhere near that symphath. I had no idea how or why he was in this town, but if he had gotten word that she had lived he could only mean to do her harm. I stood frozen to the spot as Rehvenge left the office and Xhexania approached me. Nodding my head woodenly at her statement] I trust the male to do what is right, for all parties involved. [A picture of the symphaths face flashed once again in my minds eye. A repulsive shiver ran through my body] You cannot seek him out, Xhexania. You must promise me. If he finds out you are alive, nothing good will come of it.
REHVENGE: [Whether it was a pure coincidence of my symphath luck working overtime, but it didn’t take me long as I dematerialized from street to street, combing the back alleys, feelers out stretched… before I sensed another of my kind nearby. motherfucker… I was still settling my score for what the symphath’s had taken away from me, it was always there no matter what I was doing, bubbling beneath my surface, the need to act out my revenge as dark and as painful as I could for the year I had lost with my shellan and son. There was no stone up North that a sineater could hide from me. And I was well on the way to eradicating every last dog for whatever part they played in taking my memory. I guessed it was a by product this new mind leech was about to feel my temper, too, not only for what he had done to bring my friend into this world, but simply for the race he was. In this I was very fucking much prejudice. I thought of Xhex and how we’d had to shield her for years, a half breed, was something of a taint in both worlds…thought of the conversation we’d had, no matter her tough exterior I knew my second in command’s feelings on her birth and her mahmen, especially the male I was stalking through the dark night… I caught sight of him up ahead, and taking the surprise approach I appeared before him, reforming quickly. A sneer, sharp as cut glass all over my mug… the androgynous male startled, knew who I was instantly, his grid going to the fucking moon and back to try and block me. Foolish male] “My…my Lord.. your highness!” [he took to a bow so fucking fake It would have been a service to put him down there and then, but where would the justice be for Xhex and Autumn if I’d done that.. and within a minute of roaming inside his sludge of a mind, I had the answers I needed. This was the male in question, why he was in Caldwell… his shunning from his family… and that locked away memory of when he had held the fallen chosen captive and the depravity that followed. The sneer curled my lip, fingers clenched around my red cane] “I….I…I know I am breaking the law, My Lord.. please let me explain" [He didn’t know it yet, but it was far too late for any words he could spew to give meaning… For Xhex and her mahmen, so my friend did not have to wipe out the male who had given her life…no, I would do that for her.. I smiled, giving him a false sense of security.. he was living his last moments on this earth..]
XHEX: *Over the course of half an hour, Xhex developed a shitton of nervous ticks. Compulsively pacing back and forth in front of Rehv’s abandoned desk. Checking her watch every thirty seconds. Jumping like a cranked-out chihuahua anytime a door opened or closed hard enough to rattle the office doors. Pathetic.* Where the fuck are you? *Patience was not a virtue she’d ever possessed or would ever possess. Instant gratification was the name of the game. Damn Rehv and Autumn for clipping her wings on this kill. If she were out there, putting her nervous energy to use instead of holding her impotent dick in Rehv’s office, it’d give her a purpose. Sure, she was to keep her mahmen safe and calm. It wasn’t enough. Not nearly enough to wash the flashes of abuse flung her way from Autumn’s hectic mind.* I make no promises, Autumn. None. *Another bitchslap from the female’s mind. Chains. A basement. Alien hands climbing up her thighs.* Damnit. You have to think about something else. Fluffy rabbits in sunshine or some shit. *Xhex turned to face her mahmen.* How have things been since you came back?
AUTUMN: [I hadn’t moved since I entered the office. Glass of water still held against my chest. I watched as Xhex paced the office, full of impotent fury. I knew, had been told, that she did as Rehvenge did. That she fought against the evil among our race. But even knowing of her accomplishments in battle I would not, could not allow her to face her sire. Just the thought had images of her conception resurfacing in my mind, the urge to vomit finally forced me to take a seat] I shall try to keep those memories from the forefront of my mind. But as you said, I cannot promise anything. [taking a sip of the water, I exhaled a slow breath. Tohrment. I would need to let him know what was happening. But I was hesitant, for I knew that once he found out he would want to be out looking for the symphath as well. No. It was better for everyone if Rehvenge was the only one out looking for the monster in question. No one would be able to argue whatever justice he dealt out if he were to find the rogue symphath] Things are… slowly returning to normal since I have returned.
XHEX: *Autumn’s words barely made a ripple across the vast, churning ocean of Xhex’s mind. She made the appropriate noises, half listening to the female’s words. it took every ounce of concentration she possessed to keep her shit together with each passing second without word from Rehv. Had he found the bastard? Was it indeed her sire? A small, microscopic portion of her wanted to meet the male face-to-face. See where the screwed up half of her genetics came from. And then she’d rip off his head, skin it, and make the flesh into a handbag for Autumn. With a coin purse created from the fucker’s nutsack. Xhex rolled her head in a slow half circle to loosen the tension riding her shoulders like it was the Kentucky Derby. No good. She was wound too tight.* Tohr better be treating you right. *He’d get the purse treatment, too, if not.* Give me a sec, okay? *Xhex gave her mahmen her back and fished out her cell. With a swipe of her thumb, she opened Rehv’s message history and typed in a text: Where R U? Kill the fucker & come bk now or I’m finding U.*
REHVENGE: [It was done. Messy business, and yet necessary. I had thought to send the symphath back to the colony, have him detained in a dungeon or cage for the foreseeable. But one, I didn’t want someone such as him breathing in the same air, and two, his grid held secrets of other deeds he had exacted as he had with Autumn, on other females over the decades, vampires and human alike. All more depraved than the last and his only chance of survival had gone just like that. My shred of decency shredded. The only visual evidence of any fracas was a scrape on my knuckles, most of my damage had come from within. And now his broken mind and body was being transported to his last resting place, a watery grave at the bottom of the Hudson. I’d put the call through to disreputable males I knew, for a decent sum would dispose of anything and anyone, no questions asked. Once the headlights of their vehicle disappeared in the distance, I grabbed out my cell, my lips smirking almost hearing the impatience in Xhex’s tone reading her text. A fast shift of molecules and I was back outside my club, striding inside and headed back to the office, rubbing a pristine white handkerchief over the blood on my hand. My office aura seemed calmer than when I had left. Good. I smiled across at Autumn, she was still wary of me but there was nothing I could do about that. And then I caught those gun metal grays piercing me like fucking two darts, felt the push on my grid, a cock of my brow, she was fishing to find out what had happened] You’re such an unruly brat, Xhex. I told you I would return, and here I am. [I needed a scotch. Killing was thirsty work. I’d taken my first long pull of the amber liquid, both females watching me. One more pissed and impatient than the other. I only needed to nod for the impatient one to catch my silent meaning, before sliding my gaze over to her mahmen] He won’t be of a worry to you any longer, Autumn. You have my word on this [Now I had only one thought, no regret of what I’d done, it was long overdue, to give a friend and her mother some ease… but finding out what I’d fished from his grid, I had to wonder, was there some half siblings of Xhex out there somewhere… and the fuck did I tell her?]
XHEX: *Brat this, Xhex thought as she sneered and finally stopped wearing a path in Rehv’s carpet. It felt like he’d cut her strings. The nervous energy that’d kept her going up to this point stopped. But her mind didn’t. Xhex felt the relief from Autumn, a cool ocean breeze across her rapid-firing grid. The female would be okay now. That meant the world to Xhex. It really did. Something didn’t sit right with the texture of Rehv’s grid as he nursed his scotch. She prodded deeper and was met with the mental equivalent of a middle finger.* Not to sound ungrateful, but are you sure it was him? *This whole thing hit way too close to home. The calm Xhex usually operated behind was obliterated the second she felt her mahmen’s panic. This is why she never wanted to be close to anyone. Ever. Loved ones had a way of screwing shit up. Most of the time unintentionally, which made it so much harder to deal with.*
AUTUMN: [conversation had ceased after Xhexania’s comment about Tohrment. I had no answer to that, and right now I didn’t really feel like discussing our relationship. So I sat. I couldn’t stand to watch her pace any longer so I looked around the office and tried to keep my thoughts neutral. The room was more comfortable than I would have thought for the type of club it was. But it was obvious that it belonged to someone who was used to the best in life. My curious scanning a were interrupted as Rehvenge walked casually into the room. I tried to return his smile but my fear had returned with his arrival. I watched as he fixed himself a drink and took a slow drink. It took another minute before his words fully sunk in…’He won’t be of a worry to you any longer, Autumn. You have my word on this’. I’m not sure I had ever been so relieved in my life. Standing at Xhexanias question I stood and walked to stand before them both] I believe if I had been wrong he would have informed us upon entering the room. [turning to fully face the male I offered a genuine smile] I am indebted to you. You do not know how grateful I am for your help in this. That said [i took a moment to look between them] I would appreciate it if neither of you mentioned this to Tohrment. He has been through enough recently and if he were to hear that the symphath had been within breathing distance of me I do not know how he would react. And I do not wish to know. [at a nod from them both I exhaled a pent up breath and nodded in return] Now I would appreciate it if you took me home, Xhexania. #ThePastIsDead