She reached across the carriage and took her daughters hand, giving it a slight squeeze. It was more for herself than anyone else, she needed to know she had someone there to depend on…and Alice was the only person she could stand now. “Come” she finally said, her voice cracking slightly. With that she knocked against the side of the carriage, she heard shuffling before the carriage tilted to the sight. The driver had climbed down and Bess could see him heading to the door to open it. He did so and held his hand out for the Roxburg matriarch. Once she reached the ground Bess opened the umbrella that she had brought with her, slinging it up onto her shoulder she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Counting to 10 slowly Bess tilted her head up and opened her eye.
Alice had been helped out of the carriage behind her and was stood beside her mother, before Bess could stop herself She linked arms with Alice, holding onto her tightly for fear that she might collapse. I can be brave she told herself, over and over. I can be brave for my children…they need me. Glancing to Alice she nodded gently, conveying that she was ready to go.
Marie arrived shortly after Levi Bianchi, dressed in her finest but most solemnest dress. She allowed the young Lord his moment at the casket before stepping up to pay her own respects.
“May Death Guide You Upon Swift Wings.” she murmured in Russian.
She turned toward The Roxburgs and nodded to each in turn before moving off to the side.
Elvira stood arm-in-arm with both Virgo on one side of her and Bart on the other. She had not spoken as of yet, and watched people come and go to pay their respects to her father. When Esme arrived, Elvira barely took notice, still within the depths of overwhelming loss. Esme stepped into her line of vision, placing a hand upon her chest and Elvira froze in place, drawing a deep breath in shock. “You grieve for one that is still with us…” the woman stated. Elvira was caught in her gaze. “What? What do you mean?” she murmured, her voice a dull whisper. But the woman had already walked away, taking a seat in one of the chairs provided.
Elvira shook her head, trying to put those cryptic words from her mind. She looked around taking note of who attended the service and spotted something the rocked her temper into the stratosphere.
“That bitch! How DARE she show her traitorous face here!” she snarled, moving to intercept her former sister. There was to be a bloodbath if no one stopped her on her quest.
Deidre arrived to the services on the winds of a cloud, taking a seat upon the branch of a tree directly over the casket. She stared upon the sad faces, feeling ever ounce of their pain, wishing it didn’t have to be so. This was a very different Deidre than what her family was used to seeing.
A whisper in the wind brought her head around and she stared off into the distance, eyes vacant.
“What was sundered and undone…something wicked this way come.” she whispered.
When Ezekiel arrived at the cemetery, he had to stop for a moment. After making sure he was collected, he moved forward towards where Amos’s funeral was being held. His eyes scanned over everyone as he approached, and he quickly found each of his friend’s family members. Not bothering to hesitate in the slightest, he made his way over to Bess. “Milady.” Bowing slowly, he murmured his words quietly. “I am sorry. I… If you need anything – anything at all – do not hesitate to ask, Bess. I am here to help you and your family in any way possible.” Slowly straightening up once more, the demon swallowed slowly. Of all the possibilities to cross his mind… Amos dying had never been one. Ezekiel was in shock, and he knew he could nothing to help, an he hated that he hadn’t gone to make sure Amos and his family was okay after everyone left the ball. Now… Now, he would do anything for the Roxburg family. Amos had been a great friend, as was Bess. He would do anything for Bess and her family. As he looked at her, his eyes shining with unshed tears, Ezekiel nodded slwoly, as if communicating just that to her.
Bartholomew had been doing his duty, and thanking each party that arrived, shaking hands and sharing a quiet word when the mourners expressed their condolences and grief. Bart had risen to the challenge of being the new head of the family, especially since he knew his mother Bess, would be struggling to contain her grief and sorrow at this time. Since their father’s death, she had kept to herself, which was to be expected, since Bess and Amos were a very private couple, and shared a romance that stretched on for centuries.
Fanny and Lurch kept back from the crowd. Neither were Roxburgs, though they both felt so very deeply for the family’s loss. Fanny kept on sniffing behind her veil of netting, and kept having to raise her kerchief up under her veil to dab her eyes. Lurch was the picture of sorrow, holding up the umbrella for Fanny but otherwise looking completely lost. He was a proud part of the Roxburg household, and this was the worst moment he could recall in the family’s history.
The Count, Virgo had kept himself close to Elvira, knowing she needed that pillar of strength for when the time came. Course, he instantly picked up on the scent of Edward, who arrived but hung back from the rest of the mourners. With an eyebrow raised, he continued to watch, for he knew that the lover of Edward, and one of Amos’s killers would not be able to resist seeing her love. Sure enough, Juliette appeared, and there was one hell of a reunion going on. The Count knew this would be bad, the moment that Elvira caught sight of them. Again it was a predictable situation.
“That bitch! How DARE she show her traitorous face here!”
As Elvira was about to move to intercept her sister from getting anywhere near the casket, the Count stealth fully moved his arm around her waist and drew her back to him, whispering in her ear.
“My heart, I know you seek to do her harm, but remember this is your Father’s funeral, and I dare say he is watching.”
Would she listen?
That stopped Elvira in her tracks. She looked up into Virgo’s eyes, mesmerized by them. “I am sorry, darling.” she murmured. “But she does not deserve to be here.” she growled looking upon Juliette, who looked to be sobbing uncontrollably. Good! I hope she suffers as much as she’s made us suffer! Turning her back upon Juliette, she turned to rest her cheek over Virgo’s heart, letting its steady rhythm calm her like no other.
Despite the number of mortals who attended the funeral, only those of the Faith and the majority of the supernaturals would notice the vision in pure white who appeared next.
Her Holy Aura flared about Her brightly as the Angel, Evangeline stepped up to the empty casket, resting a hand upon the white rose Levi had placed upon it previously. Beneath Her palm, the once drooping flower bloomed beautiful and bright, a Blessing to the One Who Had Fallen, to aid him in his transition into the next life. Her wings quivered in mourning as She turned away, her aura dimming slightly in sadness.
Across from her, she saw Jonathon standing with Winnie and Henny and her eyes caught and held with his. No one noticed this exchange…except possibly two gossipy matchmakers.
The casket was all she could focus on.
It all was to real, a wreath of white roses adorned the light wooden coffin. The thing was balanced above the grave and whilst Bess knew fine right that there was no body inside, it was all to real for her. She tensed beside Alice before bringing her umbrella down and closing it. She placed it before her, a vice like grip on the carved handle. “He didn’t like white roses” she heard herself say gently “He liked red”. The white seemed like a mockery, like he was on his way to heaven as they all stood here. Bess wanted to rip the flowers from the coffin, she wanted to tear them apart and scream as she did so.
But she stayed still and stoic by her daughter. Milady. Bess turned her head a fraction of an inch at the sound of that familiar voice. “Ezekiel…” she breathed, almost in relief, but there was no tone to her voice…it was dead. She gave her friend a slight nod at his words “Thank you…i know how well you and…Amos got on” Her voice cracked as she said his name, it was the first time she had done so without sobbing. As he stood on beside her Bess glanced back to the coffin and inhaled sharply before giving Alices hand a gentle squeeze, Bess wanted to start the ceremony, get it over and done with so she could go home…but she knew that if she opened her mouth again she would start crying…and she didn’t know if she would be able to stop it.
“I… I’m sorry.” Moving forward, he wrapped his arms around Bess in a tight, yet gentle, hug. “I am so sorry.” After only a moment, the demon stepped back, swallowing as he looked away. He blinked several times before looking back at his friend and her daughter. He tried to smile – he really did – but all that seemed to happen was his lips turned upwards before quickly falling down once more. Glancing over at the white roses on the coffin, he understood Bess. The white rose… it stood for innocence, purity. It was a mockery to Amos. “Would you like me to remove it, Milady?”
Even as Ezekiel spoke, Isabella was arriving at the funeral. She had heard of his passing, though she had not heard the complete story…. She did know, though, that Juliette had been involved… and had been practically disowned by her family. Pursing her lips, the woman slowly made her way up the isles. In her hands, she carried a fairly large bouquet of roses. There were at least twenty, and they were all in full bloom. The roses were crimson in color, of course. Of all the times that she had visited the Roxburg’s home, she had noticed how often the vases had been filled with red roses. There wasn’t a time that she’d been there that she hadn’t seen at least two vases filled with large bouquets of the crimson-colored flower. Her lithe form trembled slightly as she walked up to the coffin. She did not belong – she was Juliette’s friend, after all. How would the family react? How could she expect them to even want her there?
Even though she had not known Amos well, she had at least known that he was a great man. She respected him… and it may not be much, but this was her attempt at showing that. Swallowing, Isabella walked up to the casket and laid the roses down on top of it. She noticed the white rose, but only chose to place the red roses closer to the top of the casket. As she began to turn around, though, she suddenly plucked one from the bouquet. It was the largest of the roses – and quite possibly the most beautiful of the bouquet. Hands trembling lightly as she approached the Lady Bess, she stopped in front of her with a curtsy. Isabella’s eyes rose to glance over the woman’s face before she pressed the rose gently into Bess’s hand. As she pulled back, she gave another silent curtsy and turned, walking quickly to the other side of the procession, her hands trembling softly as she folded them behind her back. How would Bess react? She’d never really spoken to the woman, save for on a few rare occasions. All Bess knew of her was that she was Juliette’s friend.
Edward had indeed expected his beloved to be there, though, not like this. Being of magic, he knows all too well of the many ways one can conceal themselves, and he had bet on the fact that Juliette would come, and would have adorned one of these many disguises. He was right. Yet, alas, she stood before him. No longer hidden after appearing in an instant and out of no where, then instantly, his eyes caught hers. Though, he didn’t need to look to know of the feelings she held within her at that moment. The tears that slowly traveled her cheeks, they brought sorrow to Edwards heart. IIt was then, he realized, he was far from ready to see her. He didn’t move, nor did he speak, and it seemed he could scarcely breathe, yet his body stood straight, tall, strong and his eyes held hers with an unrelenting grip. Was he mad? Was he sad? Was his heart full of regret, or was it pain that plagued him? Perhaps it was all of these, yet none. However, her question brought the thoughts into one, and his answer came to him. It was all.
She tilted his head, and his eyes began to water, as he stared harder into hers. He could feel the transfer begining within her, the grip her demoness held losening on her heart. Yet, she remained in it’s control, at least for now. “Edward…you’re alive. I thought you were dead. You did not come to me after the ball. ” she said as she burried her face in his chest. His body shivered, and his soul erupted, as his arms slowly lifted around her, taking her into his embrace and resting his lips upon the top of her head, which he kissed gently. “Will you ever forgive me for leaving you?” Would he? Of course he would, there was no other he loved more in this world. Yet, he could not help but feel the pain of it all. He’d become quite the emotional rag doll since his change into what he was now. As stated earlier, he’s mad, hurt, sad, pained by her leaving him, and not even returning with everything that went on to check on him. Even after the amazing moment they shared, and her words to him. “‘Edward, if you die, I shall never go on!’ Do you not remember your words to me, my love? Those that came from mouth of loving woman, that pierced heart and soul like the sharpest of blades can pierce the flesh, those that should have meant no more than truth. Yet here you stand, merely in tears at your renewed sight of me, where I am doing all I could from erupting within myself, and landing on you, my love. I am hurt, mad, saddened, and pained by what you did, as you gave no decensy to check back on me. Though, I shall forever forgive. As we fight for what is ours, we must always be ready for the unexpected, and as you are mine, I shall forever expect the worst, as much as the best. Though I may hope for one, and despair upon the other, both come and go within our lives, and they must be encountered, and triumphed. By forgiving you, by not even caring for anything other than your embrace, I triumph over an obstacle.”He disregarded her question about his marking another, yet, he could not ignore what happened immediately afterwards.
Her locket shone a briliant wight, to pierce the darkness, and as soon as it had, her body crumpled to the floor, the pain obvious on her face. Due to their kspiritual, and mental link, he could feel all that went through her in that single moment, and all Edward could do, was fall beside her and embrace her within his arms. All he could do, was hold the woman he loved and held so dear, the woman he’d die for, without a second thought or instance.
“You grieve for one that is still with us…”
These words were spoken, and though true, were only such in a way that is unexpected. Their grief was held for a man that was known to them as Amos Roxburg, the rock for all of the Demon population in Victorian London, who had fallen to the blade of one of his own. It was a scandal unlike any other, and for it, mercy was granted. You see, with chaos, comes War, and as an act of war, possibly plague. However, there is one thing beyond evident that relates the two, something far different, and eternal. for even in peace, it exists. Death.
The image appeared beside Esme, an it sat in the chair directly beside her. the man it took form of was Amos Roxburg himself, or, what is to be believed as him. In all honety, it was not him. It was Death, the Tamer of Plague, and Reaper of Souls. The Kinslayer, born of the one killed by Kin. “You cause yet more grief in the words, my Love. Do not forget, it is not actually he who will return, but I in his stead.” His eyes fell upon her. “HAd you forgotten in the excitement to have me return to you?” He smiled, and winked. Death was the Ultimate Plague, the ultimate and eternal war, the worst strife. Death was everything, that one other was not, and now, Death went by a name, one well known, and one that shall forever be remembered. Amos Roxburg.
Juliette could only stare at Edward as he spoke of his feelings. God, she hurt him again. Why did he stay with her when she caused so much pain? She knew deep in her heart he deserved someone more worthy of his love. And yet, she was still a selfish creature he refused to give him up…for now. Looking up into his eyes, she wrapped her arms around his neck and sank her fingers into his hair. Her voice was desperate as she spoke to him “Please, please do not be angry with me. Lillith has such a hold on me. I cannot go anywhere without her knowing. If she knew I went to see you, you would certainly die. She does not want me distracted…” Looking at the ground then, she murmured bitterly “It seems there is always someone I must fear when it comes to being with you…There are always obstacles in our paths.” Because he did not acknowledge the mating question, her heart felt heavy.
But then his arms were around her as she fell to the ground, her body giving in to all its desires to be loved and held like that. Turning her body so she was completely engulfed by his embrace, she continued to sob pitifully. She could sense Elvira’s anger like a warm fog around her, and Juliette could only assume it was because of the man beside the succubus that she was even still alive. While Edward held her so tenderly in her moment of her greatest need, she knew then and there that she would follow him to hell and back. Always, always had she treated him like he were nothing. Juliette now truly understood the lengths he had gone for her their whole relationship, and she wanted nothing more than to show him she wanted him, needed him to escape this demon within her. Pulling back, she grabbed his face and stared into his eyes “I love you, Edward. I love you. I won’t succumb to this darkness, not when you offer me so much forgiveness. Your love will be the light that shall destroy my eternal darkness.” With that, she stood up slowly and turned to face her family. There were no words she could offer, so she only nodded at Elvira so her sister would know that Juliette was quite hated by the Roxburgs, and rightly so. Turning to her father’s casket, she whispered “May you find eternal peace, father…Please forgive me.” Turning around, she buried her face into Edward’s chest again and waited for the ceremony to start.
Esme had felt his presence before she even saw the image of Death next to her. And oh, did she feel him. Her skin prickled as though she were sitting too close to a flame and her heart began to gallop like a wild horse. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath to calm herself as his words washed over her like a tidal wave. She smiled slightly, despite herself, and murmured so softly for his ears alone “You call me your love as if you still wish to possess me for yourself…Always so adamant, no matter what lifetime you are living….” Her eyes opened and she turned to face him. He winked and she thought she was about to become undone. Cursing herself inwardly, she forced herself to look away. No matter who Death was, he always managed to capture her heart despite the deep hatred she held. Why should this time be any different. He spoke to her as though they were close lovers and in this life, she was a werewolf. As such, she could feel the instant pull to him and Esme knew this man was her soul mate. Gritting her teeth, she did not dare allow him to know she had realized this. No, he musn’t have control. Crossing her arms, she turned to look at him to whisper “And when will you really return to us, Amos Roxburg?”