“Still on the ano, I see, Storm,” Isabella laughed.
“You really thought I’d quit?” Storm replied with a lopsided grin.
“Well, I thought Annabelle’s schizo behaviour would make you change your mind about it.”
He laughed and sucked down another toke. “Annabelle’s family has a long line of schizophrenia, Ib, we’ve discussed this.”
Isabella laughed and shook her head slightly. “How is she now, anyway?”
“Clean,” was all he said with a shrug.
“He cut down not long after you left.”
“What about you though?”
“Want the list?” Storm asked with a raised eyebrow and a cheeky smile.
“You never listen to anyone, do you?” Isabella said in a slightly sad tone.
“No one except your ex-lover, my dear,” he chuckled.
Just then, a man in a black hooded cape walked into the room and everyone stood immediately, bowing their heads. As Beth moved to do the same, Isabella put a hand on her leg and shook her head. When the man reached the head table, he sat down in the empty chair to the left of Evil. The whole room sat down simultaneously.
“Sorry I’m late,” said the man, throwing his hood back. “Souls to collect and all.”
The man looked very similar in appearance to Evil, though his eyes were a dark red, and his hair a golden yellow.
“Azra, you work far too hard,” Evil laughed, clapping him on the back.
“Unlike you, little brother, I do not have minions to do my work for me,” he said, gesturing to all those sat at the tables.
Evil chuckled, grinning. Isabella got sucked into conversation with Evil and Azra, about what though Beth wasn’t entirely sure. She didn’t recognise any of the names so she couldn’t really participate.
“You’re wondering who that is?” Storm asked, nodding his head at Azra. He’d finished his cigarette and was pulling out another of a different kind.
“Who is he?”
“That’s Azra, the first Elder. He’s Evil’s eldest brother.”
“He mentioned souls.”
“He’s Death, essentially. He collects the souls of the dead. Can’t do everyone, of course, mainly those who are important to Fate and Destiny.” His eyes instantly moved to the other side of the room, to where the small table was.
Beth was surprised to see that a man and a woman were now sat there. She hadn’t even noticed them enter.
“That’s Fate and Destiny,” Storm said quietly. “They oversee the whole of the universe, making sure everything fits together perfectly. They are the parents of six of the seven Elders.”
“Who’s the seventh then?” Beth asked.
“Aneska, the vampire Queen. As the first vampire, she was declared an Elder which, I’m told, surprised everyone because the only Elders they knew were the six Children.”
“I know Aneska,” she said, nodding.
“Oh, yes; your fiancé’s blood mother.”
“How do you know about our engagement?”
“It’s my job to know this sort of thing.”
“And what job is that exactly?” she asked, uncomfortable that he knew about her personal information.
“I’m Evil’s personal guard for most of the time. I came in this morning when I was told about our... new arrivals,” he said, looking her up and down.
“Isabella I know well, but you and your friends...”