Marcus is shocked by what is revealed.
“Has he left the room at all?” Carolyn asked as they reached the top of the stairs.
Not wanting to tell her the truth yet not wanting to lie he asked his own question. “Were you aware he’d been given permission to turn Casey when she believed the time was right?” This was a question that had been on his mind since learning the Ingredior Utriusque had bonded with another Pure.
Carolyn nodded, “Yes, I did know.”
Jacob had hoped she’d elaborate but unfortunately she did not.
“This is the room.” Jacob said leading her down the hallway. He knocked then pushed the door open.
Marcus was seated in a chair by the windows. “Hello Carolyn.” His voice was void of any emotion.
“Marcus.” Carolyn walked over and when he stood she kissed his lips.
Jacob stood silently watching the exchange.
Carolyn glanced over at the bed. “Do you not feel her awakening growing near?”
Marcus glared at Jacob believing he’d told her.
“Jacob had told me nothing.” Carolyn said not missing the exchange. “I am curious because she is Ingredior Utriusque.”
Marcus forced himself to seem unconcerned. “I do not feel anything. No connection at all.”
Carolyn’s eyes fell on Casey. “At the moment the bond I share with her is also gone.” She smiled, “However I am sure that is simply because she is Ingredior Utriusque.”
“Marcus.” Jacob said knowing it was time to inform the Pure of His Excellence’s wishes and what was happening downstairs. “The turning of a Ingredior Utriusque has caused much excitement in our world. Many Pures even older than Carolyn have arrived.”
Marcus’s eyes flashed but he quickly got his emotions under control. “Really?”
Carolyn was watching Marcus closely. “It is true.” She confirmed. “I know of at least six Pures in attendance who are older than I.”
“And several more are rumored to be coming.” Jacob added.
Marcus looked around the room. “Gonna be sorta crowded in here.” Before Jacob had a chance to speak he asked, “Uh Annabelle tell you I’ve chosen the blood bound to be used?”
Again before Jacob could speak Carolyn asked, “You’ve chosen a blood bound? Who?”
Marcus shrugged, “Just a young girl who is blood bound to Annabelle.”
“Actually her grandmother was Annabelle’s blood bound years ago.” Jacob added.
This caused Carolyn’s interest to peak. “Really?”
“Annabelle saved the girls grandmother from death when she was a child.” Jacob explained hoping Carolyn would accept that as a reason theirs had been such a deep bond.
“Oh, I had heard that.” Carolyn nodded. “The girl stayed with Annabelle most of her life, correct?”
“Until Annabelle and her child left that life.” Jacob answered.
“So how is it the granddaughter came to be Annabelle’s blood bound?” Carolyn asked.
This time the look that passed between Jacob and Marcus was one of concern. Admitting to another Pure that Marcus had allowed Casey to bring a mortal into the Healer world could be a concern.
Carolyn was watching the two men. “It is a simple question.”
It was a question Marcus felt he should handle. “The girls name is Annie. Casey had known her since she was a child. She believed she would be a good blood bound for Annabelle.”
Carolyn considered this a moment. “So this Annie was introduced to Annabelle?”
Marcus nodded. “I bonded her to me first wanting to make sure she’d be a good blood bound. When I believed she would be I brought her here.”
“Oh so this blood bound you wanted to use has actually been bound to you?”
Marcus didn’t like the way this conversation was going. “There is nothing wrong with me choosing a blood bound of mine to teach my child. Besides you know Annabelle is also bound to me.”
Carolyn nodded, “Yes, I have heard that.” She glanced over at Jacob, “Having the protection of another Pure for your child is a good thing, correct?”
Now it was Jacob who became nervous about the conversation. “I did not believe my child needed any extra protection.” He lied. “It was her decision to bond with Marcus.”
“Her child is also bonded to you, correct?” Carolyn was looking at Marcus again.
“Yes but why are we discussing this?” Marcus said barely controlling his anger.
Carolyn laughed, “Just trying to understand the family ties. It is obvious those ties are strong.”
“Carolyn, do you feel something is amiss with our actions?” Jacob forced himself to ask not letting the emotion he was feeling be heard in his voice.
Carolyn stared at Jacob a moment then smiled, “Of course not. But you and Marcus should be going now.”
“What?” Marcus growled.
Jacob locked eyes with him. “His Excellence has planned a very different celebration for the Ingredior Utriusque’s awakening. She will be brought downstairs when she awakens.”
Marcus clinched his fists at his side trying to control his anger. “What exactly does that mean?”
Jacob sighed, “I am not sure. His Excellence has simply told me how he wanted things prepared. The Ingredior Utriusque will be brought down to the ballroom where they are gathering at the moment.”
“Are we to be graced with His Excellence’s presence?” Marcus asked slowly finding it very difficult to keep the anger from his voice.
Carolyn actually laughed. “Oh Lord, Marcus. Better get that anger under control.”
Both men turned to her in shock.
Carolyn shrugged. “As a Pure I understand Marcus is not happy with this development. When we turn a mortal we like to believe we are in control of what happens to our child.”
Marcus was grateful for this out. “Yeah, that’s right.”
“However.” Carolyn went on. “As a Pure I know you understand that what His Excellence wants takes precedence.”
“Fine.” Marcus said regaining his control momentarily. “I will bring Casey down as soon as she awakens.” He paused, “Assuming she does.”
“Either way this day is monumental to our kind.” Carolyn said softly. “We shall finally know if a Ingredior Utriusque can be welcomed into our world.”
Marcus nodded unable to speak.
Jacob could see the struggle in his friend’s eyes. He hated what he must say. “His Excellence wants you to join the other Pures.”
“What?” Marcus cried out.
“He wishes me to bring her down.” Carolyn said.
Marcus’s eyes flashed in anger. “She is my child. I should be the first face she sees when she awakens.”
Jacob sighed, “I understand how you feel however…”
Angrily Marcus cut him off. “This is turning into a fuckin’ three ring circus. I didn’t want this for her.”
Jacob glanced nervously over at Carolyn then back at Marcus hoping he’d understand he must control his emotions.
“Marcus.” Carolyn said softly. “While I understand your feelings you must realize had she been simply a mortal it wouldn’t be this way.”
“She is still my child.” Marcus growled.
Walking over Carolyn placed both of her hands on his arms then looked into his eyes. “She understood this would happen.”
Marcus’s topaz eyes grew large. “What? You can’t know that.”
“I do know that.” Carolyn said softly. She reached up to gently stroke his cheek with her fingertip. “And she knew how difficult this would be for you.”
“I’m just pissed.” Marcus answered as a Pure not allowing himself to be any other way. “I don’t like not being in control.”
“Yes we Pures do have a problem with that.” Carolyn smiled sadly. “But the fact remains when His Excellence is involved we lose that control.” She took a step back then turned to Jacob. “You and Marcus need to go now. I am sure there are many Pures eager to talk to you both.”
Marcus realized he was trapped. To defy His Excellence in front of other Pures would be the ultimate mistake, a mistake that would not only affect him but those under his protection. “Fine.” He muttered. However, before leaving the room his eyes couldn’t stop from glancing at Casey one final time.
“Please bring Elena downstairs.” Anna said walking into the nursery.
“She’s sleeping.” Annie answered. Hours earlier Anna had sent her here with the excuse she was watching over the baby. Now however many were demanding to see the newest Pure.
“They wish to see her.” Anna sighed. “I’m sorry. I had hoped you would be able to remain here with the baby.”
Annie smiled, “It’s okay. I will take her down.” However when she saw Anna’s tears she ran to her. “What is it?”
“I hate that I must act as if I have no real emotional attachment to her.” Anna whispered glancing over at the sleeping child.
“Anna, I know you love her and I know it’s hard for you to pretend you don’t. But it’s okay. Soon they will all be gone and things will go back to the way they were before.”
“I fear that will never happen.” Anna said sadly as she wiped her eyes. “I just passed Marcus and Jacob coming from Casey’s room. I have never seen the look that covered Marcus’s face. I fear tonight will change everything for us.”
Annie wanted to give her hope. “Marcus will hold it together. Deep down while he can’t show it I know he cares for all of us especially Casey.”
Knowing she must get her emotions back under control Anna took a deep breath then said. “Bring the child.”
Annie nodded understanding that for his point foreword tonight Anna must be what appeared to be a correct Healer and she was simply a blood bound.
“What the fuck?” Marcus grabbed Jacob’s arm when the reached the foot of the steps. He pulled him into an empty corner of the entrance hall. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Jacob had expected this anger. “I did not know until a few hours ago what His Excellence would demand.”
“Fine.” Marcus growled, “I get you have to do what he wants but you could have told me sooner.”
“Yes I must do what he wants and so must you.” Jacob reminded him.
“This is such bullshit.” Marcus muttered.
“You must get control.” Jacob said softly. “When you walk into that room you must leave this anger behind.”
Knowing Jacob spoke the truth Marcus released his arm. “Sorry.”
Jacob nodded. “Come.”
“Wait.” Marcus grabbed his arm again. “Just who is here?”
Deciding it was best to warn Marcus Jacob said. “Many older Pures some you may never have met. Many who are younger than you and I. However there is one here….”
“Marcus, Jacob.” William walked towards them. “I was wondering when you’d join us.”
Jacob was surprised when Marcus smiled, “William I didn’t know you’d be here.” Inside he was seething but hid the fact well.
“I wouldn’t miss this for anything.” William said. “Must say though I was shocked when I heard you’d turned the Ingredior Utriusque. But then I understand that you don’t need permission when it’s what His Excellence wants.”
"That’s true.” Marcus said evenly.
“So even though she’s your child I heard Carolyn will be the one with her when she awakens.” William smirked.
Marcus knew he was baiting him. “Yeah, not that it matters. Casey is mine.”
William was enjoying this. “Well yours and Carolyn’s.”
Jacob wanted this to stop. “William how many have arrived now?”
Not wanting to anger the head of the high council William answered. “Not sure, Jacob but the room is filling up.” Still he couldn’t stop himself from adding. “Your child just showed up with her blood bound who is holding our newest Pure.” He looked over at Marcus. “I respect that Annabelle is yours and you don’t share but think I could entertain that blood bound of hers?”
Marcus’s eyes flashed. “Nope you can’t. That blood bound with Anna is also bound to me.” He took a step towards the Pure. “And you know how I don’t like to share.”
William automatically took a step back. “Hey, just asking. Thought you might consider it since I shared my blood bound with you at the last party.”
“You didn’t share her with me, I took her.” Marcus growled. “And I kept her.”
“Yeah well age does have its advantages.” William responded trying to hold his ground. “By the way I’ve seen a lot of Pures older than you here tonight.”
“Your point?” Marcus ground out.
William smiled, “Hey, just mentioning it. I mean other than Carolyn and now Jacob I don’t think I’ve ever seen you anywhere where there are Pures older than you. Might make your failure to share a bit difficult for you.”
Jacob had had enough. “William if I did not know better it would sound to me that you are taunting another Pure.”
William nervously glanced at him. “Sorry Jacob I didn’t mean for it to seem that way.” He definitely didn’t want the head of the high council upset. “I’ll see you both soon.” With that he left the hallway heading back to the ballroom.
“What the fuck is he doing here?’ Marcus exploded.
“His Excellence wanted him to be present.” Jacob answered.
“Does His Excellence know what William has been doing to his blood bounds?”
As much as Jacob would have liked to lie he simply nodded.
“And that’s okay with him? He doesn’t mind that a Pure has been harming mortals? What the fuck has happened to our world?”
“I am sure he has his reasons for wanting William here.” Jacob said softly.
Marcus started to walk away but turned suddenly. “You know it fuckin pains me to say but in a way I hope she don’t awaken. The Healer world has gone to shit. She’s too good to be part of it.”
Jacob’s sorrow was deep as he watched the Pure walk away. He too understood what Marcus felt.
Jacob walked into the ballroom and was relieved to see that in his absence Katherine was staying close to Annabelle. She understood how difficult this was for his child and had promised to look after her in an inconspicuous way. Gerard stood at his Makers side and next to him was Annie holding the baby Pure. They were conversing with Jacqueline a Pure who was a few hundred years younger than himself. He also saw that Marcus was talking to one of the oldest Pures in the room. This gave him hope seeing that Marcus appeared to be respecting the belief that the oldest Pures were to be held in high regard. He chose to join the two men.
“Jacob.” Ellis greeted him. “It is good to see you.”
“Good to see you too.” Jacob smiled.
“Marcus and I were just discussing the Ingredior Utriusque.” Ellis explained. “I was just about to tell him I have encountered a Ingredior Utriusque before.”
“Really?” Jacob was surprised.
Ellis nodded. “Yes, it was back in the sixteenth century.”
Marcus was very interested in this subject. “Tell me about it please.”
“Well.” Ellis reflected. “She was very beautiful. I knew as soon as I tasted her blood she was unique. I took her to His Excellence and he confirmed my suspicions that she was Ingredior Utriusque.”
“His Excellence met her?” Marcus asked.
“Yes.” Ellis nodded. “However he did not seem to show as much interest in her as he has in your Ingredior Utriusque. He simple acknowledged what she was but nothing more was said.”
“And you chose not to turn her?” Marcus asked.
“I had no desire to do so. She was an excellent blood bound but the fact that His Excellence did not seem overly pleased by her bothered me. I believe the Pure’s blood that flowed through her veins originated from a Pure who was not held in high esteem by His Excellence. While he never said this it is the feeling I got.” Ellis smiled, “And I would greatly appreciate it if neither of you repeated this story. I believe perhaps I should have kept quiet on the subject.”
“Of course.” Jacob answered for both of them. “We understand.”
Marcus did not want to completely drop the subject. “How many Ingredior Utriusque have walked the earth to your knowledge?”
Ellis smiled, “Counting the two you encountered….I know of two others. And let me say the fact that you have had not one but two bound to you has caused quite a stir in our world. When I first hear I could hardly believe it. Ingredior Utriusque are so rare. Never before has the Pure blood made it self known so closely together. Mother and daughter, correct?”
Marcus nodded, “Yes, the mother Christa, was actually brought into our world as Annabelle’s blood bound.”
Ellis smiled at Jacob. “I spoke to your child earlier, she is lovely. I’m sure you are proud she was chosen to raise our newest Pure.”
“Indeed.” Jacob nodded.
Marcus was fighting to appear calm but speaking to this Pure who had actually encountered a Ingredior Utriusque before was raising so many questions. “Ellis, your Ingredior Utriusque, did she give birth?”
“No.” Ellis sighed, “She remained my blood bound until her death at an early age. I have often wondered had she coupled with a mortal would her child have been a Ingredior Utriusque?”
Marcus tried but could not help from asking, “Do you know any information about the Ingredior Utriusque who was unsuccessfully turned?”
“Just what His Excellence has told me.” Ellis said softly glancing around to make sure their conversation was still private. “His regret was deep.”
“His regret?” Marcus repeated as fear began to tingle down his spine. “He was close to the Ingredior Utriusque?”
Ellis was visibly stunned. “You do not know.”
Marcus clinched his fits tightly fighting to control his emotions. “Know what?” He feared the answer.
“It was His Excellence who tried to turn the Ingredior Utriusque.” Ellis said lowering his voice. “I am sorry I truly believed he had revealed this to you.” He glanced around seeing more and more Pures arriving. “Please excuse me.”
Jacob spoke in a low voice. “Marcus, this changes nothing.”
“Did you know?” Marcus looked into his eyes. “Please, tell me the truth.”
“I did not.” Jacob admitted truthfully.
“Then His Excellence has lied.” Marcus ground out as his eyes flashed with anger. “He led us to believe that he was not the one who had tried unsuccessfully to turn the Ingredior Utriusque. He said nothing had been recoded. He made it sound like he had little knowledge.”
“Marcus, do not lose control.” Jacob warned. “And never again voice the opinion that His Excellence lied.”
“But he fuckin’ did.”
Jacob glanced around. “We can not discuss this now.”
“What is there to discuss? If His Excellence could not turn a Ingredior Utriusque then there is no way I could. Casey will not awaken. She is truly dead.” He turned and walked towards the door.
“What’s going on?” Gerard had seen what he believed was a heated argument between he two Pures.
“You must follow Marcus and speak with him. He must return.”
Gerard had never seen Jacob look so upset. “What the hell is going on? What happened?”
Jacob saw another Pure heading towards them. “I can not explain it now. Just know you must get him back here.”
Gerard nodded. As he passed Anna their eyes connected. He smiled hoping she would understand he couldn’t stop. He didn’t know what had just happened but Jacob’s reaction had him frightened. He made his way out of the ballroom heading in the direction he’d seen Marcus take.
Not finding Marcus anywhere inside Gerard slipped out the back door, took a few steps then cleared his mind praying he would be able to pick up on the Pure’s emotions. It had been a while since they had bonded and he now wished that it hadn’t only been Anna caring for Marcus. Had he given blood to the Pure he would have insisted they bond. The importance of their connection had always been a top priority. While he deeply cared for the Pure he knew that Marcus’s protection was important for himself and Anna.
Suddenly he titled his head. He began walking towards the cliffs instinctively knowing it was there he would find the Pure.
“Please just leave me alone.” Marcus said as Gerard neared.
“Can’t.” Gerard answered as he took a seat on the stone bench next to Marcus. “Care about you too damn much. Now tell me what the fuck just happened in there?”
Marcus stared out into the darkness, the sound of the waves crashing the only clue to the waters below. “I’m done.”
Gerard was now clearly feeling his despair. “What happened?”
Still avoiding the question Marcus said softly. “I began my existence here in this land. Seems right it should end here.”
Fear caused Gerard to grab his arm. “What kind of shit are you talking? End it here? I don’t know what the fuck happened but whatever it is….:” He paused. “Please Marcus; tell me what’s going on?”
Marcus turned to him. “His Excellence is the one who tried and failed to turn a Ingredior Utriusque”
"Oh.” Gerard said his eyes growing wide, “Oh shit.”
Marcus turned away. “You know it’s fuckin’ hard to realize that everything you once believed was a lie.”
“His Excellence is one of the oldest Pures in existence. The belief has always been that the older the Pure the more pure their blood. As far as I know there is only one who still walks the earth older than His Excellence. I have always respected him believing he represented what our race once was. We were noble; we understood our place in this world.” He laughed without humor. “How stupid I was. I wanted to believe that once we were good but it was all a lie.”
“I was there when he told you about the Ingredior Utriusque who failed to be turned. He didn’t exactly lie, he didn’t say it wasn’t him who tried to turn the Ingredior Utriusque”
“He led us all to believe it was not him.”
“Okay so what if it was? That don’t change shit.”
Marcus sighed, “Gerard you’re grasping at straws. Of course it changes everything. Not only have I lost respect for His Excellence and the Healer world I’ve lost Casey.”
“You don’t know that.”
“His fuckin’ Pure blood couldn’t turn her why would you believe mine could?” Marcus yelled. “Answer me.”
Gerard wanted desperately to give him hope. “Maybe it’s not the Pure blood that matters. Maybe it’s the Ingredior Utriusque. Casey is like no other. She changed an older respected Pure, made him realize he could love, not as a Pure but as a mortal. Then again maybe it is your blood that will make the difference. Deep down I believe you’ve always been different.”
Marcus’s eyes narrowed. “Is this were you’re gonna point out I’m wrong?”
Gerard took a deep breath, “Yeah, it is. I still remember that night Anna and I stayed with you in Vegas. I heard what you said to her, that you wished if you could feel human love it would be for her.” When Marcus turned away Gerard grabbed his arm making him turn back. “I think you always had the ability to love like that. It was buried deep inside you. Casey unburied it. She made you realize you were more than you ever thought you could be.”
“And none of this matters now that she’s gone.” Marcus ground out losing patience.
“You don’t fuckin’ know she’s gone.” Gerard said returning his anger. “But instead of facing this, being in there waiting for the time for her to awaken you are out here acting like a pathetic, sorry little bitch.”
Before Gerard knew what was happening Marcus lifted him off the bench throwing him to the ground. “Get up.”
Gerard tasted his own blood seeping from the cut on his head where he’d hit a rock. Stumbling he’d just gotten to his feet when Marcus smashed his fist into his mouth. “Don’t you ever fuckin’ talk to me like that again.”
Slowly Gerard crawled to his feet. He knew as a Healer he would heal soon but he also knew this Pure could inflect a lot of damage. “I fuckin’ said it because you need to hear it.” He wiped the blood from his lip before adding. “And because I love you, you stupid mother fucker.”
Marcus went still. Several minutes passed. Finally Gerard asked, “Done beating the shit out of me?”
“Fuck.” Marcus’s voice shook. He grabbed Gerard. “Here.” He bit into his arm then placed it in front of the young Healer. “My blood will heal you much faster.”
“Don’t need it.” Gerard said shaking his head. “Fuck.” He cried out as the motion caused pain.
“Gerard, drink.” Marcus said softly. “There isn’t much time. I can’t feel it but within the hour three days will have passed.”
“You’re going back in?” Gerard needed to hear him say it.
“Yeah, I’m fuckin’ going back in there.” Marcus sighed. When Gerard took his arm and began feeding Marcus wrapped his other arm around him. “And for the record…I love you too you stupid fucker.”