(Isabel shares some information…)
Godric didn’t show. Cara wasn’t sure if she was relieved or upset; though she guessed it didn’t really matter in the long run. Godric didn’t show.
Surprisingly enough, the vampire knocking on her door an hour after sunset was Isabel. She duly apologized for not calling before dropping by, but said that she wanted to personally thank the human for her help and kindness. Cara happily invited the vampiress into her apartment, and tried not to show her disappointment when she found out that Isabel was alone.
She was exceptionally glad to note that Isabel was completely recovered from her horrible ordeal, and said as much. This naturally led to a long discussion of vampire healing powers (amazing), which led to a nice discussion of other vampire powers (there were many but there was no guarantee that a vampire would receive or develop any), which led to a discussion of…many, many other things.
They had a very nice, very long, very informative visit, and not once did Cara get the feeling that Isabel was politely snooping for information. Much.
Isabel found herself unexpectedly at ease with Cara. She owed this human her life and was glad to show her more respect than what she would normally give a human, but she was very pleasantly surprised with how effortless it was to relax around her.
As a general rule, vampires felt it necessary to shield themselves behind a stoic, unemotional facade, but it was surprisingly easy to lower her shields around this human. There was something heart-warmingly genuine about her.
She had been strongly requested (tasked, really) by her Maker to furtively gather what information she could about Cara and to politely answer all questions asked of her. The first request was a bit surprising. The second? Absolutely shocking. Vampires were incredibly secretive by nature, choice, and necessity.
She wondered if Cara suspected that she was trying to gather information for Godric, but if she did, she said nothing. She just dodged her questions like a pro. After a while, Isabel gave up trying to pry anything out of her, and just settled into the lively conversation.
Although she tried to hide it, Isabel quickly realized Cara was interested in Godric. She may not have asked many questions about him, but when Isabel would slyly bring his name into the conversation, her eyes would sparkle a bit more and her focus would sharpen. Another human may not have noticed such minute reactions, but Isabel did.
It didn’t take Isabel long to understand Godric’s curiosity about the lovely female, either. She was bright, inquisitive, intelligent, funny, kind, and definitely attractive. Even so, she had never known her Master to take such an active interest in anyone. Interesting…
During all the time she’d known him, he’d never shown a penchant for “pets”. During her earlier years he’d had a few very casual companions, but he hadn’t been at all close to them. Mostly he would satisfy his natural feed and fuck tendencies discreetly, though rarely of late. From what Isabel knew of her Maker, she was inclined to believe that he’d never actually been seriously involved with anyone.
A few of his oldest acquaintances had hinted vaguely about his much wilder centuries, but they were only in their 500’s and 600’s, so they didn’t know him from way back when.
Godric was well over 2000 years old, probably more like 2100 years old she guessed, so there was much that no one knew about him. From what had been hinted, Godric used to be an extremely live wire: hungry, amorous, fierce, almost savage. He’d been quite…untamed.
Though she had to admit that, even to her, he was an enigma. The Godric she knew was peaceful, calm, kind, a bit reserved, and considerate of both humans and vampires.
He radiated massive but restrained power, and was never cruel or thoughtless. His punishments were always just, and tended to be merciful when possible. He would never abuse his power or authority, and rarely raised hand. He rarely raised his voice, either, for there was hardly ever any need. When he entered a room, everyone just seemed to know that he was a force to be reckoned with, and automatically deferred to him. Few were the fools who chose to disrespect Godric.
She had witnessed the rare times when he or one of his own was threatened. Such challengers did not fared well. Although Godric did not condone unnecessary violence and preferred to live peacefully, he could quite quickly become a terrifying force of nature.
Isabel wondered exactly how forthright she should to Cara. Godric had told her to truthfully answer all questions, but she did not wish to frighten the girl or overwhelm her with too much information. Also, there were just some things he would need to answer himself should such issues arise.
It was amazing how often the topic returned to Godric. Cara didn’t know if her interest in him was that obvious, or if that’s just how the conversation happened to go, but either way, the information she gained during the conversation made her very happy…and curious to learn more.
She was rather proud of her restraint in not asking all the billions of questions buzzing around in her head. She did discover quite a bit of relevant and interesting information about both vampires in general and Godric in specific. Some things were kind of hard to take in, though.
“So, each state has a king or a queen? And that monarch literally controls all the vampires in their state, with fealty and everything? Seriously? ” This just seemed preposterous. Really? A feudal system of vampire politics in America, in THIS day and age?
“Yes, seriously,” Isabel nodded as she chuckled. “And believe it or not, the system here is much more relaxed and moderate than in Europe and Asia. There, vampire kings and queens do not treat humans with nearly as much…dignity…as they do here. Godric was asked to help reform the old laws and customs here to provide a much more tolerant way of life.”
“Why was he involved? When did this happen?”
“Along with several other very old vampires, Godric was chosen because of his vast experience and intelligence, and also because of his understanding and tolerance of humans. He is one of the oldest and most respected vampires living in the Americas. He was invited to head the development and implementation of the new order because of his respected standing in the vampire hierarchy. He redefined the responsibilities and privileges of the American monarchies, and he helped create a new, more moderate, governing system.” Isabel sounded rightfully proud of her Maker.
“Although he could not erase the old customs, he did manage to bring them more up to date. The vampire hierarchy could tell as early as the 1900’s that the old, intolerant, ways were no longer effective. At the time, our greatest objective was to avoid detection, but we knew that with changes in the human world, and the advent of modern technologies, this would not be possible for very much longer. The Council was created to help ensure our survival in this new age of technology.” Isabel paused to sip her True Blood and give Cara a chance to voice any questions.
Cara nodded her head and she digested this new information. She wasn’t surprised to learn that Godric was so incredibly respected. He seemed to have a very calm persona, but even in her inexperienced humanity she could sense that his laid-back facade hid vast power. There was something beautifully, sadly ancient in his eyes. Well, until his mischievous side surfaced, at any rate…
“This is a lot to take in, honestly. I’m still shocked that there are kings and queens here in America, ya know? Why do vampires need monarchies like this?”
“I understand your reaction. If it seems feudal, that’s because it is. Our system of government is actually much more modern than it was even before the Great Reveal.”
“It was worse?”
“Oh, yes. In times past, a king or queen had complete control over not only every vampire in their state, but over the humans, too. The humans just didn’t know this. That concept trickled down to every vampire. If a vampire wanted a human, he or she just took the human, no questions asked. Most times glamour was used to keep the humans from causing problems, but often, the human was simply either drained during feeding, or killed when no longer useful. To an extent, some of the old rules do still apply. No matter how evolved some of us are, there will always be vampires who don’t want to mainstream, who want to lord it over less powerful vampires and, of course, humans.”
Isabel paused to ponder her next words. She didn’t want to scare the human, but the human needed to know some of the harsher realities of their world. Godric has specifically instructed her to make sure that Cara knew some of the more unfortunate facts.
“Vampires are a very strong, stubborn, willful species. We just are. Whichever personality traits were strongest in us when we were human become much stronger when we’re turned. If we had a specific talent or ability, like dancing or accounting, it becomes a stronger talent or ability after turning. The same goes for aggression or greed or lascivious behavior. Fighting and torture, theft and war were not uncommon. So, a strong-willed society needs strong-willed rulers. Our kings and queens must be able to control the wildest among us to help ensure our survival. In times past, that meant doing what had to be done to keep us undetected as a species. Now, it means doing what is necessary to make us appear less-threatening to help with the mainstreaming movement. The more “in control” we seem, the less threatening we appear to the public at large.”
“Our laws will seem brutal to you,” Isabel continued. “Although they aren’t as archaic as they used to be, and still are in some parts of the world, still, they are different that what you are accustomed to.”
“Like what?” Cara dared to ask, even though she wasn’t sure she wanted to know.
“Well, depending on the offense, punishments can range from taking all of a vampire’s assets, including their humans, to being chained for a determined amount of time in silver, pulling one or both of a vampire’s fangs, amputating anything from one finger to a whole limb…” Isabel’s voice faltered when she noticed the blood draining from Cara’s face.
“I’m sorry, Cara. I know this must sound very brutal to you, but you have to remember, vampires tend to be brutal creatures. Some would argue that it’s in our nature, while others, like Godric, feel that such brutality exists only because of a lack of self-discipline.”
Cara cleared her throat and sipped her coffee. “One of those nature versus nurture things?”
“Yes. If we teach our young ones self-control, and if we can show the benefits of restraint, or at least of living quietly, to our older vampires, then we are more likely to be able to live within the current global society. But if we fail to evolve, then our place in this world is not assured.”
“That makes sense. If we let ourselves run amok, then we get used to acting out of control, and our behavior will get worse and worse because “worse” becomes the norm,” Cara thought aloud, continuing with the ideas still zinging around in her head. “But if we retain some dignity, and don’t allow ourselves to follow our basest instincts or our lowest urges, then our standards of behavior would have to elevate beyond the base level.”
“Exactly!” Exclaimed Isabel. “That is exactly what many of us believe. If we hold ourselves to a higher standard, we will not only act better, but be better in the long run.”
“So, let me see if I have this right. Before the 1900’s, vampires were still living under the radar, but they tended to be wild and brutal, fighting amongst themselves, stealing and killing humans when and where they wanted, just doing it quietly. Then, a group of y’all got together and figured out that you couldn’t keep living like that because of changes in the human world, mainly technology, so y’all created a council made up of several old vampires. The purpose of this council was to change how the kings and queens ruled, make the laws more modern, and to try to change the old customs that no longer worked in the changing human world. Am I on track so far?”
Isabel nodded, unaccountably proud of her new…friend? Vampires didn’t make friends very easily or often. She thought perhaps this Cara would, indeed, make a nice friend, even if she was human.
“And because Godric is so old, respected and wise, he was chosen along with several others to revamp the vamp political system to bring it up-to-date, and to try to help change the old customs because they just didn’t work in the modern world…” Cara couldn’t help but grin at her play on words.
Isabel surprised herself by snickering along with the human.
“How old is Godric, anyway?” Cara astonished them both by finally asking.
“I’m not exactly sure, but he’s between 2000 and 2100 years old.”
Cara’s mouth actually fell open in stunned disbelief. She felt it, but couldn’t stop it.
“Uh…um…” She cleared her throat, then tried again. “Two…two THOUSAND years old? Over TWO THOUSAND YEARS OLD??” Geez, she thought, I hope he had good life insurance.
She decided her empty coffee cup needed filling.
*I hope this provides some background info, and that it made sense, lol. Hope you liked!*