I found something that needed fixing, so I added it.

Chapter 18 So many Stories

And so after my meeting with the Councilors I went free. Or almost free they did give me a minder whatever they chose to call her...

I drove carefully aware that Lacey sat in the back without a seatbelt. I felt her amusement. We can't die that way her thought came to me.

How do you know? What does it take to kill one of us? I knew that was a question I needed to answer. , if not now then in the future. I glanced at her in the rear view and she stuck her tongue out at me. I grinned and turned onto the road that led to my studio.

It was in an area that had many warehouses. My studio was actually located in half of one of the smaller warehouses. At one time I had rented it, but the owner had come into hard times when I had some extra money. I had been able to buy it for an affordable price. I rented out the other half to a friend of mine.

Soon I came up to the back. It had one of those large automatic doors, large enough to bring a truck through. That was another feature I liked. There was a road of sorts that ran through the center of the building. It made it easier to load my car or the odd truck I rented when it was a sculpture I was moving. I leaned out the opened window and punched in the code and waited for the door to open. The two women were silent as I drove in. Lacey had seen this once before and Jade was too busy looking around in curiosity.

Once in I stopped again as a man walked up. "Mr. Stone?" he said.

I nodded "I have a couple of friends who wanted to see my studio" I said waiting for him to raise the bar.

He looked at me in surprise. He was a regular and knew that I never brought anyone here. Especially women and here I had two in the car with me. He looked at them covertly as he hit the button to let me through.

"You'd think you've never brought anyone here before from his reaction" Jade commented as she looked around.

"I haven't," I said as I parked near the door that led to my studio. It was one of those doors that slid up like a garage. It had a large open and next to it was a regular sized door. That was the one I used when I wasn't moving a large piece.

"Why not?" she asked looking at me again.

"That damned article" I growled. She looked at me in question while Lacey fought back a grin. "The top ten bachelors article. Ever since then I've had to avoid bringing women here. They tended to take it as an invitation."

"Oh" she said and Lacey made a slight chocking sound. I glanced at her in irritation before opening the door and waving them in.

I reached around Lacey and hit the light switch. Light flooded the area. I had made sure it was the kind of light bulbs that mimic the look of daylight. Often I would come and work all night and I needed decent light to do it. Now that I thought about it things might work out anyway. I could always work at night again. There was no reason why I couldn't. The only thing I had to figure out was how to get my new material. I couldn't even stay awake during the day let alone stand in the sunlight.

"Lacey?" I asked.

"Hmm?" she was looking at one of my sculptures and running her hand down the side of it.

I almost lost my train of thought but recalled myself to the moment "How long is it before we can stay awake during the day?" I asked.

She glanced at me in surprise then answered, "Usually when one approaches a hundred years of age. That's why it's custom to wait until then to make a child." she flushed at that.

"Why is that?" I asked curious.

"Because in the old days it was more dangerous to be a Vampire. It was considered necessary for a sire to be able to protect their child during the day if need be."

"I can understand that. But why haven't they changed that law now that things are better?" I really wondered about that. Laws needed to change with the circumstances.

"It doesn't work that way for the Council" she said softly. "Most of them are old, older than you can imagine. They are caught in the past. Bogged down in the traditions. Change would not come easy for them."

"Sometimes it's a case of change or die," I said thoughtfully.

"Yes, but I think some of them would rather die" she finally said.

Hart glanced over at Alicia and she smiled at him. He smiled back but his eyes were glazing with the basic materials they had been asked to read. School; he almost laughed at the thought. He thought he had left school behind along with his life when he chose the change.

"I almost expect to go to the chalkboard and write fifty times. I will not create a child," he whispered to Alicia.

She chocked back a laugh and Quake looked up from his book. He frowned as the two of them pretended to be engrossed in their books. He sighed "Yeah I know yer wanting to be with each other rather than the reading. But ye got to read this. Hart yer need a punishment of sorts. I feel for ye but fer the Council to be appeased ye have to have punishment and this fits yer crime," he said.

"I know. I'm surprised you would do this for me" he said looking at his one-time nemesis.

"I've been where ye are and I chose differently. Sometimes I still wonder what if? What if I had the courage to buck tradition?" Quake sighed and glanced up with sorrowful eyes.

Alicia looked up in curiosity "Who was she?"

"Her name was Maderna, at least that was what she had been called then," he said heavily.

"You were too young to change her?" Alicia asked.

"No, but it was forbidden to me. To any of us."

"Why?" she asked putting her book aside. She leaned forward to listen.

"She was a queen and married. The council didn't allow nobility to be turned unless it was in the plan to cement an alliance. There was no alliance needed there," he said softly caught in the memories.

"Why?" she asked jarring him from his thoughts.

He shook his head and waved back to the books both she and Hart had been neglecting "Never yer mind. Get back to yer reading ye only have a year to learn this."

She sighed; his story had been so much more fascinating than this.

Late in the night after Quake pronounced himself satisfied with the evenings study Alicia and Hart were able to walk the gardens until it was time to go to their rooms to sleep for the day. She looked up at her love as he walked. "We really are lucky aren't we?" she said softly.

He looked back at her with a slight smile "Yes, our stories aren't that uncommon to this existence. And I hate to say it, but things end badly more often than not. Even when the lovers come together. Time or eternity can dull the bond. What was strong can crumble and two lovers can drift away from each other. I have heard many of these stories, far more than the happy ones" he said sadly.

"That won't happen to us?" she asked appalled at the thought.

"No. Not if we don't allow it. He said in a stronger voice.

She hugged him tightly and he returned it fiercely, they would never allow it to happen. Their coming together was too precious to allow it.

Deimetris sat back in the chair in his study; he closed his eyes and sipped slowly from his glass of blood. Sometimes he wondered what life would have been like if he hadn't chosen the path he had taken. When Fedrian came to him his wife had just died in childbirth and he had seen no reason to remain in the human realm. He just wanted to escape.

And when his legendary cousin came to him he didn't resist him. He had chosen to follow him and thus had found a new destiny. He was given a new direction, but sometimes when alone in the early morning when his charges had left for their days rest. He remembered and mourned for his lost love. And he ached for her.

And sometimes he had wondered at what had happened to their son. He had watched distantly for centuries. Never close enough to see their daily lives but closely enough to keep track of the bloodlines. It felt like he kept a piece of her alive this way.

He laughed slightly at a thought. He wondered what the new Elder would say if he knew. Deimetris was his forefather. Distant it was true, but he felt the connection for all that. The man reminded him of her. Her fire and determination, her loyalty. He had greatly enjoyed hearing how he had faced down the entire Council in defence of his love.

Fendrian was the only one of the Council that knew that fact. He was sure of that. But Fendrian would never betray his blood. And he thought perhaps there were those of the Council that would be disturbed at the thought of a new Clan being connected in this way so soon.

It was bad enough that it had ties of direct crossblood with Earlian; but if it were known that the Elder of this new Clan and the Second of Clan Kiendra were blood relatives it could cause discord. Maybe some day in the future it would be safe to tell his distant son. Maybe someday, he could only hope.