Standard Disclaimer: I think that I'll stop using the word STANDARD, it'll save on electrical ink and we should all conserve. Thanks of course to the brilliant lckybr and thank you to all of the readers...this was fun. Oh yes, I still own nada and will earn even less from this.
The axe fell from Angelito's hand as the human servant to Musette slid down the stone wall. He drew a deep breath and tried to clear the stars from his vision. His mistress was still in the fight though. He watched her as she killed another wolf, and then felt his distress. She launched herself at the Master of Beasts. Padma was crazed, the woman Rain had returned two nights ago. The council had intervened in the ownership dispute and ordered more meetings, they wanted the girl to testify. All he knew was that Belle Morte had granted the woman asylum and Padma had exploded, ignoring the council's edict, he gathered his soldiers and invaded Belle's territory.
There were bodies everywhere. The Traveler moved unseen, just a specter of power. He watched as Marcus and Hrolf, two of Padma's favored wolves tore apart one of Belle's vampires. The white haired man screaming as he lay in a puddle of borrowed blood, armless and soon to be headless. After the deathblow, Traveler moved on, watching as Belle's lion Raimondo was locked in bloody battle with two of Padma's hyenas. Just as they did in nature, these beasts performed their deadly dance. Raimondo broke the back of one and then caught the other in his jaws, ripping out her throat in a spectacular spray of blood. He could feel a headache forming as he struggled to think of a way to placate Belle for this intrusion. Not that he was Padma's nursemaid, but the Indian was easily manipulated and the Traveler counted on his vote more often than not. No, he had to find a way for the Master of Beasts to get out of this intact
Captain Thomas Carswell fired his Enfield rifle with the silvered ammunition at the wereLion that only weeks before served his master. Karrick had gotten behind Gideon as the tiger was trying to keep Belle's cats from surrounding their master Padma. The shot took Karrick in the shoulder, knocking him back violently. It easily could have been a killing shot, between the eyes, but Thomas didn't want to kill unnecessarily. He hoped that this madness would pass before something unforgivable occurred. Even if his master's side won, the council might order all of their deaths. There were several times in his forsaken life that he would not have minded dying, even though it would likely take Gideon and Padma with him. But recently, the old Maha Raj had really tried to temper himself. The woman had uncovered a deep longing and a buried pain within the master's heart. What he did for Gareth and Emily gave hope that there might be absolution for the vampire.
Belle lounged on her bed and sent power to her vampires and the strength of her will to the cats. She smiled as she watched Jean-Claude, Requiem, and Asher prancing around with their rapiers as they made themselves into her protectors. As if she, The Belle Morte would need to rely on others for her own defense. Allowing anyone to fight in her name was a privilege for them, but make no mistake, Padma would not enjoy it if she took to the battlefield. She watched through borrowed eyes as Angelito pulled his petite mistress to safety while others had the Indian distracted. She sent more of her energy to Musette to heal the damage the Master of Beasts had done. All of this Padma wrought in his growing madness, pursuing a foolish prophecy. Rain had told her all of it. She scoffed as her eyes were drawn to the girl. Rain was unhappily sitting on the red velvet sofa with her legs folded underneath her. There was some great power to her, even now Belle could feel it struggling to wake up. The Seductress kept the girl sated and well liquored and drugged as a way to moderate that power...she wondered if it wouldn't have been a good idea to tell Padma that when she sent her over...
Catching the leaping tiger, Arturo spun the two of them into a wall. Using all of his vampiric strength he killed the cat, and since it was Padma they were fighting, he fed from the furred body before dropping it. Spitting out orange hair, he turned back to the fight and launched himself at the beast master as Padma was about to separate Clovis's head from her body. Knocking the enraged lord aside he pushed the redhead behind him. It was hard enough to find a woman that took pleasure with the formidable assets that he could bring to the bedroom; he wasn't going to allow her to be killed in a fit of stupidity. Padma surged back into him and the two giants locked arms. Straining for every drop of power that he could muster, he held the bloodthirsty lord off, but only for a moment. Padma proved yet again why he was a council member and overpowered the large Frenchman. After a viscous head butt, the Indian was about to go for the kill when the whole hall rumbled as if in anger. Blocks fell and many lost their footing as everything on the ceiling and walls crashed to the floor. Broken crystal shards saturated in blood gave the room the appearance of a nightmare winter wonderland.
"Enough, Padma!" the Earthmover roared. Two of his Lamias at his back, the twin silver snakes each carrying rifles. The Dragon, Morte D'Amour and Balthazar came into the chamber with their own guards trailing after.
The Master of Beasts was just standing there breathing hard, with blood dripping down his face, some of it even his own, as he watched and weighed the council's force. Finally the red haze of blood lust passed and he let Arturo scurry away from him. With a small bow, he acknowledged the other council members, and that the fight was over. Stepping over several horrendously wounded and begging combatants, he slowly made his way to where the rest of the council waited.
The doors at the end of the hall crashed open and a furious Belle Morte stormed out. The dark seductive force of her enraged power preceded her and covered all within the room. The cries of the mortally wounded quieted and many of them willingly gave the last of their life's energy to this wonderful vision of beauty, to aid her in any way they could and even as they died, they did so happily. She flowed through the room bathed in anger and disregarded the adoring dead, as she went right past a startled Padma to stop inches from Oliver's face. "How dare you use that cursed power in my home! Do you have any idea of the value of my possessions that you may have broken? I demand restitution....this madness," she waved a hand at the sea of body parts and bloody smiling corpses," is repaired simply with more recruitment. The damage you have done is worse, some of my treasures are irreplaceable!" She finished screaming into the man's face...The unsettled and somewhat abashed man's face.
"I am sorry, Belle, I was not thinking..."
"Obviously you were not," she interrupted, "But since you acknowledge that you have erred, I am sure we will come to a fair resolution at tomorrow's Council meeting." Turning to Padma she continued. "As for you, Master of Beasts, I harbored you no ill intentions. I only wished to seek the Council's guidance. I was going to follow whatever ruling we agreed on, if she was to be returned to you, then she would have been...all of this was unnecessary." Her eyes began to calculate the bounty she would require. Happily knowing that her plan had worked, she could now see why the Traveler liked having Padma around so much.
"I need..." He stopped talking as Rain walked into the room followed by Belle's three bed toys. She walked straight over to him and his heart soared, until he looked into the darkness within her eyes. "Rain, I.."
"Stop," she commanded standing tall and proud in front of him, ignoring everyone else in the room. "I know in your own twisted way, you think you love me. But I'm not the one, Padma. I am not going to be the mother of your child. If that's true, then she is still out there and I think you should go find her and leave me alone."
"Rain, you are upset, let us not talk about this now." He held his hand out to her. She stared at it for a long time before continuing.
"If I'm forced to go back to you, I'll just run away again. If you lock me up, I'll kill you. If I can't do that, then I swear to you, Padma, I swear to god, and your father that I will kill myself...Go find her, Master of Beasts, go find the woman who is supposed to be your wife. It's not me..."
"Do not speak foolishly..," he commanded as he grabbed her left arm with his offered hand. In the blink of an eye, fast enough to even impress the battle hardened witnesses, she twisted her body towards him, driving her right elbow so hard into his chest, that the sound of his breaking sternum echoed in the silent room like a gunshot. Still moving in a blur of contained violence she delivered three massive forearm blasts that shattered the vampire master's right arm and broke his grip on her. For a moment, surprise drifted across her face before she backed away, assuming a defensive stance.
No sound came from any in the crowd of spectators to this drama. All eyes watched the Beast Lord and waited, as the warmth of passion slowly receded in his eyes to be followed by the coldness that they all recognized. Showing no reaction for his damaged body, Padma looked around, as if for the first time, and spied all of the wreckage, the blood, the dead, the other council members, and finally his chilling gaze settled back on the one whom he had embraced before his own father, the one who had almost fooled him and begged to leave him even now, the one who was not worthy and would have to be punished...
"Yes...well...Lady Rain. You have been of value to me. Through your body, I have found moments of a life that I desire for myself. The true one is out there somewhere and I will find her." He stared at her for a long moment, raising the level of tension between them both and causing whatever manner of beast within her to unfurl before him. Suddenly acting the gentleman he was born to be, he continued, "Goodbye, Lady Rain, I wish you well, as always I am your devoted servant." He then bowed to her, arm hanging at his side, and called his remaining followers together and left without another word...