Blogophilia 16.10: Cyprus Part 2
It’s time again for Blogophilia, the fun blog group where Martien gives participants prompts to use in thier wekly blogs. This week’s prompts are:
And we’re continuing the Cyprus story. I had hoped to finish it, but I haven’t decided where to go. Initially I was planning to go on and push through to the next big incident (which is discussed in the novel series as having happened in the past) but now I am thinking of just wrapping this little incident up instead and doing a long conversation scene between the two of them that set s things up for what happens between this story and the novels.
Anyway, the group got called to investigate an attack on a nearby coven. They have basically just arrived, and while Sadihra – who Cyprus is in love with – talks to the vampiress that called in the incident, her sister, Jilsenna, has pulled Cyprus off with her to look around:
They circled the den; a charming little house that looked as normal as any other. When they reached the backside, Jilsenna came to a stop, hands on her hips, eyes moving over the lack of damage. “Sadihra loves Wolfe.”
Cyprus could only blink at the sudden pronouncement.
“I know you plan to wear her down eventually, and you may. You are pretty enough to look at and your poetry is better than any he could attempt.”
Cyprus pressed his lips together and looked away. That Sadihra would share it…but of course she would. Jilsenna was her sister. What was a sister for if not that? Still…
“You are sweet and exciting and different, and as I said, you might turn her head for a moment, but I know my sister and it will only be for a moment. The quick heat and passion will disappear as quickly as it appeared, and she will go back to Wolfe, if he will have her, and you will be left with nothing, assuming you even still want her once you’ve had her.”
“Of course I would,” he bit out, then caught himself.
Jilsenna pressed back a smile. “Maybe. Or maybe you will find that the quest is more alluring than actually possessing. But who can say.” She stepped away from him, and her friendly air slipped away, like changing out one shirt for another. “You’d do well to consider my advice and let this go before it goes too far. In the meantime, I think we’re done with this investigation.”
Cyprus didn’t reply as he followed her back to the others. Sadihra flashed her sister a look seemed to say, “Did you talk to him?” and Cyprus’ spirits sank lower. Had she really set up that conversation as well as shared his letters to her?
Maybe Jilsenna knew more than she’d said.
Though the vampiress – Trina, so Sadihra called her – tried to distract them, the Scharfrichterinnen moved the investigation inside. Cyprus could smell a male vampire somewhere. Maybe upstairs? He assumed the Scharfrichterinnen would call him down for questioning soon enough. Had it been just Sadihra he’d have asked, but Jilsenna was the kind who’d rebuke him for speaking out of turn.
They moved quickly through small, neat rooms, to a back sitting room. There, chairs were overturned and blood was splattered up the wall. Among the carnage lay a ruined magazine, a broken lamp, and in the far corner a red shoe.
“This is where it happened?” Sadihra asked.
Trina twisted her hands. “Yes. Yes. Carmella was here, reading, when they barged in.”
“How did they get in again?” Jilsenna asked.
“Through the door.” Trina pointed. “We leave it unlatched except during our day slumber.”
“And there was only you and Carmella here?” Sadihra pressed.
“Yes, yes.” Trina nodded urgently, but her eyes strayed to the attic.
“And there’s no one else here now?” Sadihra asked sharply.
The vampiress shook her head and Cyprus frowned. He sniffed again. There was definitely a male upstairs.
“Then you won’t mind if we check?” Jilsenna said sarcastically.
Trina gave a small yelp as the Scharfrichterin climbed the ladder the attic access, but made no move to stop her.
Sadihra moved behind her. Their eyes met, and Jilsenna slipped around to the back of the ladder, on hand hanging on and the other ready to push the attic door open. Cyprus stepped closer, body tensed in expectation.
Sadihra nodded and Jilsenna pushed the door open. Sadihra reached up and grabbed something. She pulled with a snarl and flung a body to the floor. The male struggled to stand, but Cyprus tackled him before he could, dodging swinging limbs.
Jilsenna bent and pried something from their attacker’s hand. It was a red high heeled shoe; the match to the one in the living room.
“You should have let me just clean it up!” he bellowed.
“Clean up the mess from your murder, you mean?” Jilsenna turned the shoe over in her hand. “Obviously she wanted you to pay for your crime.”
“My crime?” he cried. “She killed her, and then wanted to blame Paulie’s coven-”
“Elke!” Trina cried. “How can you tell such lies?”
He stopped struggling to laugh. “Are you joking? You don’t expect them to believe…I wasn’t even here when it happened!”
Cypurs watched Sadihra as she looked from his prisoner to the vampiress, and back again. A decision seemed to settle on her brow and, with a nod, she motioned Cyprus to stand down.
He shook his head and tried to point out the folly of releasing their suspect – a suspect who’d already attacked Jilsenna – but Sadihra’s expression only grew harder. With nothing else to do, he reluctantly stood, glaring a warning at his prisoner. If the vampire so much as stepped near Sadihra he’d snap his neck.
Elke stood. He brushed himself off, then glared at Trina. With a squeal, the vampiress ducked behind Milkavich. “It was him!” she cried. “He made me lie. He threatened me!”
“Are you serious?” Elke demanded.
Sadihra motioned them both to silence. “First, who are you? Second, if you’re innocent, why were you hiding?”
“I’m Elke, fledgling of Paulie. And I was hiding because Trina stuffed me in the attic and told me to be quiet so I didn’t ruin her plan.”
“Liar!” Trina cried. “Look! He had one of my sister’s shoes!”
“Because you tossed it into the attic after me!” he cried.
Not a mind reader, Cyprus couldn’t tell who was lying, but his demon eye powers could do something more; he could see into the future- or to a possible future. He closed his eyes and concentrated on Trina; pictured her tightly curled hair, and her overzealous eyeshadow. He saw her standing in the court, heard her squeal her innocence, and then he saw a hazy shape lead her away, her hands bound.
She would be found guilty.
He opened his eyes to find Sadihra looking at him. With a nod, he motioned to Trina. Sadihra gave him the smallest of smiles, and clamped her hand around the vampiress’ wrist. “You are under arrest. You will come with us to the Stronghold.”
Trina tried to pull away. “But I haven’t done anything! He-” She faltered. Her face hardened as she realized that wouldn’t work. “There are no laws against killing your coven mates!”
“No, but there are laws against filing false complaints and trying to frame another coven for the deed,” Jilsenna said.
Jilsenna took the prisoner out to the van, flanked by Lance and Milkavich. Cyprus hesitated to follow. He still didn’t trust Elke.
Sadihra apparently felt the same. “You said you are a member of Pauli’s coven, correct?”
“No,” he replied. “Paulie was my master, but I split with the coven. I was born a follower of Zoroastrianism and though I gave in to evil thinking, I decided it was time to correct my balance, and return to the right path.”
Cyprus recognized the name of the religion, though he didn’t know much about it. “That doesn’t explain what you’re doing here.”
Sadihra gave him a sharp look for cutting in, but pressed, “Why are you here, Elke?”
“Trina and I…we have a relationship. When I came to see her, she’d already killed her sister and told me that she’d called the Sodalitas and planned to blame Paulie’s coven. When I left Paulie, it wasn’t under pleasant terms, so I was willing to go along. I know it was wrong – knew it was wrong when I agreed – but…” He trailed off and shrugged.
“Why were you hiding?” Sadihra asked sharply.
“Trina was afraid that my presence would complicate things. She said you’d ask for my identity and once you found out I was from Paulie’s coven, it would make it look suspicious.”
“She could have worked it to her advantage,” Sadihra said. “You left under bad circumstances and came here. They could have attacked to get revenge on you.”
“The bad circumstances were one sided,” Elke muttered. “They wouldn’t bother over me.”
“I see. And why did she want to blame them? Was it revenge that they’d wronged you?”
He scoffed. “She wants the hunting ground. She and Carmella fought often over whether to go to war for it.”
“I assume Carmella didn’t want to?” Sadihra stopped him from answering to ask, “Where is your den?”
“About thirty-two kilometers from here.”
“Good. Return to it, and stay there. Someone will summon you to testify. If they don’t find you, you’ll be hunted down and arrested as an accomplice.”
Elke nodded his understanding and Sadihra turned to Cyprus. “Come.”
With a final warning glare at Elke, he followed her out of the house. Sadihra stopped just outside the door and turned back, lips parted as if to speak, when Lance came around the corner. He stopped, snapped a salute and asked, “Are we ready to leave, Scharfrichterin?”
Whatever she’d have said disappeared and she barked a quick, “Yes,” then motioned them to the vehicle.
They stuffed the prisoner in the back, between Cyprus and Milkavich. The vampiress’ trembling, distraught persona was gone, replaced by a cold, angry woman. During the ten minute trip, she stared straight ahead, her lips pressed together. When they arrived at the Stronghold, Milkavich led her inside, Jilsenna on his heels.
Sadihra swung out of the vehicle and glanced at Cyprus. “Meet me for a drink,” she murmured, and then marched away as if she’d never spoken.
Lance arched an eyebrow. “Did I just hear what I think I heard?”
Cyprus closed the car up. “That depends what you thought you heard.”
“I thought I heard her invite you for a drink?”
Cyprus shrugged and tried to hide his smile. Perhaps it was working. Perhaps tonight she’d finally give in. It could be the moment that he looked back on later and said “It was the best night of my life.”
Or the worst. She might tell you to go to hell.
Anything was possible.
Part 3 next week then
And now for guesses:
Bonus: Dave Coon, & Jay Sole
Picture: Christopher Mitchell
1. Peeping Tom 2. Just a peek 3. hello in there 4. Do you have any Gray Poupon? 5.”let me see!” 6. Taking a peek 7. peep show 8. “how did they get a piano in there?” 9. They should get some curtains 10. looking in 11. come for a visit 12. just visiting 13. Tastes like brick 14. Anybody home? 15.This is not a tree 16. I see you. 17. You can’t hide from us. 18. Where are you? 19. Have any cookies? 20. Would you like to buy some cookies?