The Cross

Lucian grabbed her arm and dragged her inside the mansion, the door automatically closing behind them. He threw her to the ground and snarled. “How dare you judge me?” She looked up at him, but not into his eyes for fear of what she might see there. The marble ground beneath her was lit by a few dim oil-lamps that hung from the walls and the golden candelabra that hung from the ceiling. The flames never went out and yet the place was still cold when entered. “You can’t judge me.” He growled, by now the whole coven had gathered in the main hall, their gathering was silent as they gazed on. She looked to them briefly; she saw faces of shock, sorrow, anger, justice.  She looked back to Lucian just in time to see his hand come crashing down on her cheek, leaving her cheeks a blistering red. “Look at me when I speak!” She knew this was the least that she was going to get, first the talk, then action.

“I told you, he will remain the pianist. You will not fraternise with humans unless you wish to feed from them!” He circled her like a vulture, a vulture that had fallen upon easy prey. “Yet you directly disobeyed me right under my nose Roxanne! Now you are on first name basis with a human you haven’t even drunk from.” His voice became calmer, but she knew he was only thinking. “A human, a simple, pathetic human, you should know better! Why do you constantly go after him, when I am right here, ready to give you everything!” His voice rose and she knew that his question needed no answer. “Now, under the rules of the coven, for breaking rules of conduct around humans and obeying a superior you shall be punished.”

“Talk over.”

He grabbed her left arm, pulling her up into the air so she dangled from his grip like a ragdoll. He gently slipped off her shoes, flinging them to one side before tearing at her dress. She closed her eyes, fighting back reality. Her porcelain, slender body was almost perfect, apart from the slight imperfection on her back. Only Lucian had previously known about this, now as she was all too aware, he was going to make it public news. Upon her back, to which she had kept so subtly covered was a giant cross. It was not a tattoo, but more a scar, a burn mark. It spanned across both her shoulder blades and ran from the bottom of her neck to the very bottom of her back.

Lucian held her close, in one final embrace, whispering a soft “sorry” into her ear before he told two of his guards to hold her. They hoisted her up by her arms, forcing her body into the shape of the cross, like she had been so long ago. Although she forced back the re-surfacing memories she could not hold them long. Her eyes firmly shut Lucian re-told the tale of her mark. Although it meant nothing to the coven he knew it was her most feared punishment.

“The 1800’s, Roxanne here had just been turned. The church had been searching for demonic presences in her town.”  He stopped the story to kiss her cheek softly, pushing her hair behind her ears. “In the midst of the chaos, the town burnt to the ground for the church to find the source of the scourge they found... Roxanne, their ‘taint’. Roxanne was stripped and hoisted into the air for all to see, there they took a shining silver cross and imbedded her skin with their mark, so wherever she went she would carry a warning. A warning to all vampires that dare cross her path, then, before her eyes, her sire was burnt.” He concluded the story and a simultaneous gasp came from the audience, more of sympathy than shock. Roxanne bit back the tears that flowed behind her eyes as Lucian pulled forth the memory, making it surface in her mind.

The guards lowered her into Lucian’s arms and he smiled, “its okay.” He smiled, running his hands through her hair. “Justice has been done. Come, I will find you some blood and some clean clothes and we’ll talk this over.” Roxanne kept her eyes screwed shut. “Great. We get to ‘talk.’” She thought as soon as she knew he was out of her mind. He carried her up the stairs and in through the big oak doors that led to his room. The room was all velvet and mahogany finishes. Gold accented furniture and rich parquet floors. She had never seen his room before but she knew it looked like this, it was so... Lucian.

He laid her on his giant bed, placing a low-cut dress beside her. A back-less, low-cut dress, she narrowed her eyes. “I’m not wearing that!” She cried and Lucian shot her a deadly serious look. “Yes, you are. We all know now and you won’t be going out for a while, so what does it matter?” He smiled, his voice changing from a heavy demand to a lighter, friendly tone; which Roxanne didn’t buy for a minute. She slipped on the dress and bowed politely and thanked him, forcing a smile to her lips. She got up from the bed and Lucian appeared in front of her holding two glasses of dark red liquid.

“Lucian, let me go.” She pleaded, longing to just leave to her room and see Apollo again. He shook his head. “Not until you drink that.” He smiled, sitting down as if it were going to take her the rest of the night. Roxanne put it to her lips and drank it in one, savouring the sweet taste it held. She opened the doors and turned to Lucian. “I don’t want to talk.” She murmured. “Good evening.” She bowed politely and walked from his room, ignoring the stares she got from the other vampires.

She forced her way through the door to her room and sighed, slamming the door shut behind her. She lit the two candles that sat at her bedside and picked a book from her small shelf above it before settling down on the bed. She let out a long sigh and patted the bed beside her. Apollo panted heavily and excitedly jumped up onto the bed. “One day Apollo. One day this place will be a distant memory.” She stroked his fur as he laid his head on her lap, letting out a faint whine. She pushed the events that had just happened to the back of her mind, allowing it to become another one of Lucian’s snaps. She shook her head and opened the dusty book, a first edition of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” She smiled, “what a nice woman she was.” She mumbled absently to herself before diving into pages of the book, allowing the story to take over her mind alleviating everything that had just happened, but still she couldn’t help but think of Alistair and the loud ramblings coming from down the hall.

The End

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