Adventuring through twisted time.

“Feed us, feed us. Please, we are hungry, Shadow. Ever so hungry.”

The eerie hauntings of the Elders whined within each nook and cranny of her mind in a series of screams which beckoned her from her slumber; striking features crunched together as the morning light broke through the barrier of her eyelashes. With cupped fists, she rubbed her eyes with the back of her hands before sitting up and on the edge of her bed; the sounds of her sisters on the other side of the door caused her to shake her head. Yet, it was not her sisters that got her to get ready quickly, it was her. -  Matron, they called her; nothing more, nothing less. The name haunted the hallways of Hallows Hill Manor, echoed round spacious rooms and more importantly, it etched itself to the back of every young banshee’s throat. “Yes Matron, No Matron” Robotic, monotonic and lifeless; character, personality and individuality all relentlessly stripped from her children, plucked with precision and ease.They are one of the same; they are a moulding of her. Those that dared to defy her would be punished in the most undesirable of ways; as Ciara found out.

Beneath the deafening silence of the many footsteps coming to a halt and the sounds of girls holding their breath; Ciara could hear the faint ticking of the Matron’s shoes, causing her to make her bed as quickly as possible only to stand beside it with a childlike grin upon her features. Without a knock and without warning, The Matron barged into her room, her own mist covered gaze roaming around the state of the room before falling upon Ciara, she took one step closer. She smiled, a wicked curvature possessed aging lips, crows feet appeared at the edges of each eye and the back of bony fingers ran the length of Ciara’s flushed cheek. “If you do not feed them well today, it will not be you we will punish” The Matron cooed close to her ear, chilling breath freezing the lobe that it brushed over whilst a sinister laugh escaped her lips. “The Scream Chamber will reopen but, this time, the girl will be forced to swallow her scream" The air around the two women became palpable, so much so that Ciara began to hum a cheery tune, with a slight sway of her head. “Good girl, now go.” A kiss as sickly as nectar was placed upon her cheek, her tone ominous as it departed the tip of her tongue. Ciara gave her a child like smile with an agreeable nod.

Hallows Hill Manor stood tall, dying wisteria climbed the aged building as a permanent coating of mist painted the buildings bricks. Overindulging shrubbery nipped eagerly at passing ankles, whilst the distant whispers of the deceased echoed from the woodland’s deep belly. Skeletal branches waved in the breeze, beckoning anyone in who crosses it's path; wanting to swallow an individual whole within its shadows. Ciara found herself staring into the temptress for a few moments before setting off to find her prey this evening. The preselected male was not hard to find, he was a predictable creature and would be found in The Crowhurst bar, once again, cheating on his wife. The bitter taste of alcohol tickled hungry taste buds, the distant screams of her sisters screams rang in the distant air as she made her way towards his table; sitting opposite him with a wide grin.

“Shadow! Pleasure to meet ya!” Her Irish accent rolled effortlessly from her tongue; a wide grin on her features created dimples within her cheeks. The evening continued, a constant flow of conversations, laughter and flirtatious touching; of course, she had no intention of following through with her suggestive ways - it had been many, many years since she allowed a man to touch her or for her to touch him in that way. Ciara slithered her fingers through the gaps that his provided, there was a skip in her step as they left the bar and the man followed her eagerly. “Your name surely isn't Shhhadow" He slurred his repeated words as she guided him into one of the darkened alleys which looked as if it had fallen victim to an apocalypse; rubbish littered the floor and a singular rat scurried along the obstacles. Ciara grimaced internally at the scene, the screams in head growing in volume, in eagerness but also in sinister delight. 

“Feed us"

“Scream him”

“Shatter every bone in him"

They taunted her, urged her on as if they could control the very muscles in her body; she pressed the male against the wall, his hands found her waist much to her dismay before he leaned in to kiss her. Ciara allowed one kiss; the literal kiss of death before pulling her head back. “Say hello to Mister Devil for me when you get there! His dark magic gave me a second life” A light, teasing giggle bypassed her lips as he looked down at her in confusion and in silence. “Nooo, this is when you say, Yes Ciara, I will say hello to him for you. Go on, say it.” She pouted and prodded his shoulder.

“I knew you were too good to be normal” The male stammered and attempted to get away from his space between her and the wall; he only got so far before she channelled the scream which had been clawing at her lungs. Within seconds, his bones were licked with lightning as they cracked within his body and he dropped like thunder to the ground. Ciara managed to stand before him - her mouth wide as the scream erupted from her, windows cracking in the nearby radius as blood soon trickled from his ears, eyes and mouth. He looked up at her, pleading for her to stop but little did he know that her Elders were already feasting upon his soul. Her eyes had fully succumbed to the mist as the scream possessed her briefly, her fingers gave him a little wriggle of a goodbye before he fully crumbled into a mess on the floor. Once she was sure he was gone, Ciara let out a prolonged exhale and leaned her hands on her thighs to catch her breath once again, wincing somewhat as her lungs cracked themselves ever so slightly at the pressure.

Fingers ran through her sun kissed locks vigorously as she composed herself. “Cor Blimey Cici, that was a good one. Good job" She grinned to herself before giving herself a pat on the back and going on her merry way. Just as she was about to reach the entrance of the alleyway, the moonlight rested against another man on his way home; she caught his profile and frowned. His hair, how he carried himself - Ciara tilted her head to the side like a confused puppy. “It couldn't be…. Dimitri?”

“It's him, look at him walking without a worry. As if your death didn't affect him”

Curiosity and a forgotten anger carried her forwards, remaining in the comfort of the shadows as she followed him.

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Sleep. It never came easy through the years, growing worse as those years passed and when sleep would, at last, come to cradle his mind it was haunting or restless. He longed for a peace that would never come and what plagued him further was one of his affinities was peace but he could not help himself. Then he met Ciara and at first, his sleeplessness grew even worse because now he had to be sure she would not try something had he fallen asleep while locked away with her. She had to earn his trust and eventually, she won his heart so sleep, at last, came easy and the god of Peace and Joy finally found his tranquillity and ebullience. When he lost her he lost that too and as sad as it is to say, Madeline did not help in that regard, she was not his peace, though she desperately tried. She went through incredible lengths and drastic measures just do have her father look at her and be at peace or see a shimmer of delight in his gaze but nothing ever brought it. He felt bad too, believing something had to be wrong with him because how could someone look at their own child and not be happy? 

I stirred into a half-awake state feeling at a touch on my cheek, had I slept? I could not recall the last time I slept so well I did not even realise I had fallen asleep. A took a deep breath and melted farther into my bed, her scent swirling into my breath as the memory of last night rewound in my mind. I could feel a faint smile grow at the edges of my lips as I began to slowly wake fully. I blinked a few times as my vision cleared and the fullness of the actual rest I had achieved registered within me. I jumped when I did not see her there with me however and for the quickest of moments, I questioned my sanity until I caught her and her gaze as she peered back at me. My eyes dropped from hers as I processed this and forced myself from the bed, I grabbed something to put on and once I was descent approached her to say something, but nothing came. 

He forwarded his brow with his mouth a gap, the intent to speak at the tip of his tongue. He chose not to instead, humming his thoughts away as he closed his mouth as walked passed her and out the room. He froze at the moment he did not see their daughter, the emptiness of his home is evident, there is no delightful smell of breakfast or fresh coffee, no bouncy happy dog coming to greet him, Madeline is not there to wish him good morning with a bright smile despite either they went to bed angry with each other. He takes a heavily burdened breath as he very quickly realises the blessing he had but also what it must have been like for Madeline waking up to not have her father there. He groaned as he rubbed his eyes and headed to the kitchen to brew a fresh batch of coffee, his eyes quickly glance to Ciara as she emerges from the room. He honestly does not know what to do he wants to say good morning but is still hurt by her trying to sneak out. "I hope you slept well enough." He, at last, says not wanting to be spiteful or petty towards her despite his own feelings. He poured his coffee and got a mug out for her just in case, trotting to catch her right as she reached the front door and blocking her from leaving. He cupped the side of her face trying to look into her eyes with a forward brow, his left hand reaching for hers to play with the wedding ring still on her finger. "Stay for breakfast at least? After that, you can leave and never have to see me again if that is what you want, though I really can not promise that." He spoke softly and with a glint of hope in his voice. 

The possibilities of how The Matron would torture her for spending more than one night away from the Manor were endless; yet, Ciara always believed that the damage was already done and there was very little that the woman could do to her. With that, and the fact she had very little in the world to care for and about, it left The Matron with very little options other than to try and torture more of her Children in front of Ciara’s eyes which would consequently put her in the bad books of many of her sisters. At this moment in time, Ciara had managed to obtain the balance of them being fearful of her and thus respected by them; if that were to change into something focused on anger and hatred, she would be overrun and bullied herself which was something she could not have. And so, when Dimitri had caught her trying to sneak on some clothes and leave the room, her stomach dropped and she swallowed back the frustration of being caught. 

Yet the frustration continued to turn in her stomach as he remained silent, silent in his anger towards her in fear of her response; which was necessary as she had always been some form of ticking time bomb. Ciara bit down upon her tongue and forced on the high heels once more and despite the very welcoming aromas coming from the kitchen, she attempted to head straight to the door, without a second glance or even a utterance of a goodbye. Yet, when he forced himself between her and the door, her lips formed a straight line and her eyes narrowed into slim slits; despite her look trying to look menacing, and perhaps it would have done to the mundane eye, to Dimitri, she probably looked like a child, or maybe a teenager being refused what they desired. 

Ciara let out a steadying breath as his touch continued to calm her, yet the touch itself almost seemed to act as an alarm bell for the Elders within her mind. Their headache growing from a dull ache to a slight hum behind her eyes; she couldn’t deny him breakfast, could she? 

Trying to silence us, Petal?

The words sounded as if she had her head underwater, and because of that, she couldn’t even try to make head or tail of what they said but she knew the tone all too well and because of that; Ciara flipped. Her arms violently swung his gentle touches away from her and she backed up - her stance being like that of an animal ready to pounce. “You don’t understand! I have every capability of killing you or making your life an absolute living nightmare!” She hissed at the stubborn man before her. “You think I won’t because you think past Ciara still lives in here?” She roughly prodded at her temples as a slight delusional laugh left her. “If I don’t leave now, or kill or hurt you in some way, The Matron will be here herself” She glanced over his shoulder to the closed door just to make sure she couldn’t hear any footsteps coming towards them. 

 Dimitri had lived through so much pain you would think he would numb to it by now and yet feeling her violently swing his touch away hurt more than anything else. He stayed quiet as she spat her words at him and eventually a pained closed mouth smile while his eyes never broke contact with hers and without hesitation he stepped out of her way. The only reason he stopped her again was to simply remove the wedding ring from her finger from the night before and he let her go as quickly as he was able to get it off. He turned his attention towards his coffee and stirred it keeping his back to her, he was tired of fighting for everything, for peace and some sense of love. Dimitri stilled a moment and closed his eyes as he took deep breaths slowly coming to certain terms in his life he had been fighting for so long. 

"You are mad at the wrong people... Or... Woman rather." I took a sip of my coffee and let its warmth soothe me as it went down and its aroma wafted in my face and helped me settle further. I knew she was still there, she was quiet but my stairs would give her up, her heels would click and the stairs would creak no matter how light-footed or gentle you stepped. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes as I held my mug close to my chest. "You are mad at me, fine. Hate me. Hate me for not saving you as I said I would, I know I do. To hate Madeline though..." I dropped my head and tsked my tongue. "... Both of you are victims to the matron and her "master plan"." I set my mug down as I turned around and looked at her finally before walking towards my front door and leaned on it. "You are mad at someone who should be a banshee just like you when really it is all the matrons doing and it is with her you should be mad with." I shrugged and my painful smile was now just a scowl and I could no longer hide how truly tired of all of this I was, not from her. I rubbed my eyes and them the bridge of my nose with my thumb and forefinger and huffed. "Tell the matron Madeline is somewhere safe, she will never have her and I do not care any longer if she comes to kill me."

"Goodbye Miss Devlin." I shut the door and walked away. 

It was hard these days to be able to direct her anger, her frustration and her sense of being a victim to the right person; these days, her prey were the ones to feel her wrath. It was not unknown in the Banshee community, and that of the Reapers, that Ciara Devlin, The Lady of The Shadows to prolong the death in a slow and painful matter. These days, and in recent years, that was the only release Ciara could ever feel - and she flourished in their cries; it gave her a sense of adrenaline like no other. Yes, the buzz was brief but it also kept The Matron off her back because she was doing what she was told to do. Yet, it had been so long that Ciara had almost forgotten the anger, and the hatred she felt for The Matron; it was almost like she suffered from Stockholm Syndrome where she began to like the elder Banshee; after all, despite her very backward, and questionable methods - the woman was like a Mother to her. 

Yet, when Dimitri stepped up and began telling her she was redirecting her hatred towards the wrong person and reading behind the lines - he meant himself, Ciara pouted her lips. “I am mad at her, I’m mad at everyone.. Including myself so that emotion isn’t specifically for your nor Madeline.” She counteracted - hell, if it were easy, she probably would have tried to take her own undead life from the moment she was reanimated into the world but alas. Ciara waited until Dimitri had finished his final speech before granting her access to the front door; she noted his message, and bobbed her head slightly as she repeated it a few times so she did not forget. After all, The Matron would require, and demand answers from her when she returned; and really, she didn’t know how she would deal with such a conversation as the poor girl was incredibly conflicted. Her loyalty and love with Dimitri to the fear and somewhat blurred respect she held for The Matron. 

Ciara took a steadying breath, nodded to herself and left the apartment; she dared to look back at The Eternal Being as she descended down the stairs. At the door, she stole the umbrella once again to shield her from the sun as she made her way back to Hallows Hill Manor. Upon arrival, it was not surprising that The Matron was there, waiting for her; her body leaning against the door frame and the ball of her foot tapping against the wooden floorboards. 

“You couldn’t kill The Eternal, no? Why not” She asked sternly and grasped Ciara by the scuff of her neck to direct her back to her office where she would need to explain herself.  

Ciara sat down. “I tried, bloody hell did I try but it appears my scream isn’t strong enough. It only gives an Eternal a migraine!” She explained, she was probably giving too much away but not the fact that even if she tried with all her might, she simply couldn’t bring herself to kill him. The Matron sat on the other side of the table and rolled her lips in thought. 

“I can smell him all over you. Clearly you didn’t even try and kill him with mundane efforts. My Little Petal, you could have done so much better. You had the upper hand when you seduced him to kill him” The woman tsk’ed under her breath, and Ciara could see the evilness develop within her mind, particularly when she was informed that Madeline was now out of the City and somewhere, where she could never find her. “Get some rest. It appears we will have to pay him a visit.”

The hours of rest that Ciara managed to get were restless, she didn’t know what The Matron was planning when the two of them went together to visit Dimitri. Yet, somehow, Ciara felt like a small child as the two women wandered through his art shop together; Ciara, to almost hide herself, and her shame wore a larger hat and kept her face down so that she would not be immediately noticeable to him when he appeared. 

The Matron walked up to the kiosk and rang the little bell, notifying she wished to be served. “Customer service is incredibly poor these days” 

The silence that encased him should not have been nee to him but this was deafening and as he stood in his home alone for the first time in decades that silence began to drown him. Dimitri had grown used to the sounds of joy Ciara brought into his life, with her laughter and terrible jokes or stories either true or myths she heard from the ladies at the pleasure house to the clients she took. When she was gone she left behind the mini her whose screams and cries for her mother replaced the sounds Ciara left behind and as Madeline grew the sounds in the home changed too. She very quickly filled the space with music, the sounds of her humming and light singing, the rare occurrence of her laughter that sounded so much like her mothers, and her gentle voice after some time that soothed Dimitri on a bad day. Now as he stood here completely alone there was nothing but a deafening silence and numbing sense of loneliness.

I swallowed the lump in my throat as I scanned around and saw nothing but the signs of my family having been together in one room like a dream I always prayed for. Yet the truth behind our reunion and the turbulence that laid between Ciara and Madeline was something I wish I could have accounted for and I wish I could jave. I wish I had known Ciara was alive, what she was now and more about the Banshee's as a whole to understand her better if only to prepare her for the introduction to the darker featured spitting image of her. I ran my hands over my face and back and forth through my hair before finishing my coffee washing off the traces of yesterday and heading downstairs to keep the shop closed. I started for a moment at the patrons waiting to enter all upset to see my face and not another very quickly realising whom they had come to see. Those old rumours of the painter's wife echoing in my ears and making me realise first-hand how big of an issue this rumour was now that I was faced with it. I should have listened to Maddie when she first presented this as a problem but instead of heeding her words however here I was caught dumbfounded by the disappointed tiny crowd outside as I shooed them off, all because I was not "The elusive painter's wife" But just the painter. 

Silence returned to encase him again once the crowd was gone and he was in his shop below his home alone, all the times he had come down to find his daughter smiling despite the rumours, creeps, and perverts she faced every morning played in his head. He turned to look around let his memories play out before him before he approached the painting Ciara stopped to admire just yesterday. Dimitri let his hand rest upon the unsmooth paint on the rough canvas as he heard Madeline's raspy voice nervously try to talk to her mother about it. He huffed and walked to the back of the shop hoping to get some paperwork done since Madeline was not here to do it before he heard the fateful ring of the bell. He took his time coming back because he knew who it was already, no one threatens The Matron expecting to just not show up.

"Mmm yes well that is what happens when you throw the customer service representative out of the second-floor window." I snarled as I approached with my eyes locked on The Matron; I would never forgive her for that. "I should have told you she died but then that is what you wanted out of the moment and you would have known it was a lie." I spat my words out at first until they turned into a huff. My eyes avoided Ciara, out of spite, anger but mostly heartbreak as I took a breath and stepped to the side gesturing for them to head up the steps; welcoming them into my home even though neither of them deserved the courtesy. I followed after them trying to figure out where I wanted this to go and what I wanted out of this interaction, maybe The Matron would be me to it and fight but I know that is not what I wanted. I wanted the truth and I wanted Ciara to hear it from the Matron's mouth though I don't she would ever give me that closure willing. I waited for a response from The Matron when we arrived upstairs, waiting to see what she would think of Madeline's handiwork with the window she was thrown out of. Turning the shattered glass and traumatic experience into something beautiful; the stained glass window in the middle of my windows was not there for just show. Madeline insisted on fixing it herself and when I came home that day there it was filling the room with vivid colours as the warm sun hit for the first time. I walked off and grabbed something from a nearby shelf. "I can not tell you why but Madeline was very insistent on you getting this." I scoffed handing off the item to The Matron. I had seen Madeline work on this piece using the large shard of glass that nearly killed her and turning into a very macabre inspired art piece almost as if she knew The Matron would love it as much as she could love anything. 

Ciara couldn’t get her head round why The Matron had insisted that she came along to the shop; all Ciara would do would be to prevent any understanding between Dimitri and the Queen bee. All she would do was pose as a treasure, a trophy and a means of The Matron showing off that Ciara belonged to her and no one else. In truth, Ciara belonged to no-one, at least in her denial she did - but the truth is, Ciara had always and always will belong to someone else; it is all she had ever known. Firstly there was Quinn, and then to every man and even the women that would frequent her rooms; for the time they paid for, she was theres and now, even in death, she belonged to not just The Matron, but also The Elders. It was truly a morbid thought to know she was nothing more than a possession to be shown off to others but the power of dissociation Ciara had made the thought, the reality so much easier to deal with. And so, it was with that she came obediently to the shop. 

In her time, she had thought many times of leaving The Matron and doing her own thing but the pull to The Elders Remains was at all time high and the tug they had on her would be too much to ignore; after all, Ciara, and her Sisters all needed The Elders for survival. She kept her head down low, and out of what she could only describe as unconscious comfort, went to stand opposite the painting which she was admiring only a few hours ago. And although her eyes were completely and utterly focused on the painting her ears were elsewhere as the two others in the room conversed. 

The Matron snorted and actually let out a laugh which was an unusual occurrence. Oh yes! I had completely forgotten about that day. Oh what a marvellous time that was even though the outcome had I truly desired never came” The woman clicked her fingers in a ‘darn it’ motion before snorting somewhat. “Although, I can’t say that is truly the reason why she isn’t here today, firing off her such sweet smile as customers swarm into the place. She isn’t here because hasn’t wanted to be here, and my dear Petal over there gave her the ignition to finally get up and leave this place… To leave you”

“Petal, dear. Time to go upstairs”

And off the three of them went, up the creaky wooden floorboards to the now very empty and rather sad home; even Ciara could feel the difference in the room from when she first entered it yesterday morning with the welcoming aroma of breakfast. The blonde child-like Banshee sat on the sofa where her and Madeline had shared an experience which ultimately created an understanding between the two; she had no idea why The Matron wanted to be here, but alas, there was always some method to her very own madness. 

The Matron placed a hand upon her very still albeit somewhat beating heart as Dimitri handed her a piece of Madeline’s artwork. “My dear Sunflower has always had such an eye of making Death beautiful” She spoke with such admiration as she examined the piece; her tone, her comment would make anyone question her love for the young girl who was by no means related to her nor truly had a relationship with. “I’m glad she thought of me, although it saddens me that it has taken this long for this to find my hands” She placed the art piece into the inside pocket of her blazer before taking a few steps around the apartment to familiarise herself with the building she had not seen in a very long time. “The reason for our visit is to discuss this” She pointed between both Dimitri and Ciara. 

“It is clear that Ciara has the incapability to kill you. And in fact, it was probably dumb of me to even consider one to kill an Eternal - you probably have one weapon that could do such a thing” It was no lie that The Matron had considered this long ago, and she kicked herself for not sending Ciara out to find it sooner. “So, we have to live in harmony together and I suppose I can share my child with you” The Matron sounded reluctant and anyone who knew her, knew there would be some ulterior motive. “Ciara can freely roam between here and Hallows Hill Manor on the condition you do not, for any reason, prevent her from killing with motive. We have to feed our Elders to remain alive” She took a seat. “Please tell me you have champagne in the house, I’m incredibly dehydrated… Do be a dear” 

Ciara shook her head as Dimitri too, offered her a glass as her eyebrows were furrowed in The Matron’s direction; although as she waited for Dimitri’s response, she  could feel the anger for him too - for him to agree to such a decision. As the two continued to converse and The Matron continuing to tell him the conditions of this… Arrangement, Ciara was about to burst and rightly so - The Banshee stood, and almost with it a scream as her words left her. “I am NOT some toy you can share between you! For hundreds of years, I have always been a possession to someone but fuck this, you two can have each other a-a-nd share the struggles of finding Madeline” Ciara was turning red, and one could imagine the steam coming out of her ears. 

She had nowhere to go, but that vampire Dimitri took her too… She was sure he would have plenty of rooms to offer once he could forgive her for shattering every piece of glass and mirror in his mansion. Ciara stood there, pouting in anger at the two of them and her fingers curled into a fist as she considered her options. 

From the moment her fingers slipped the artwork out of his and into her pocket a perpetual tick began to echo in the back of his mind. He could not remember the last time he had scrapped himself together enough to be as fully functioning as he was at this very moment, alone that is. He lost that about himself when he lost Ciara, his composer, but somehow along the way always seemed to gain someone who cared enough to help him while he was just lost in the dark. Seeing Ciara again, sharing even the faintest of moments with her yesterday, where the woman he once knew shone through and made it clear she was still there, forced him to reset. 

I felt as though someone had hit a factory reset button and then left me on my own to figure it out. I had a long way to go but I needed to find my sense of self once more and establish that I was okay without help from now on but also a changed man from the help. I was processing this all on top of what the Matron was saying so when she requested a drink I inclined her out of muscle memory and did the same with Ciara. I was trying to remain the calm man she once knew fully aware that I was not him any longer; halting only faintly at the mention of one weapon that could kill my kind, trying as I may to not make the halt too obvious. 

He halted again when the Matron laid out her ultimatum before him seemingly giving him very few options. "I can only stand by and let her kill whomever the Elders need for as long as the Eternal King deems I can. The moment he says no more is the moment I must in some way intervene." He retorted, entertaining this opportunity to hopefully open up the conversation for him to give her another ultimatum. He could not really say whether he was even considering this one he just saw it as a way to come to some sort of compromise that everyone especially Ciara agreed on. So every time the Matron rebuttaled so did he, trying to provide a perspective or challenge the Matron might not have considered previously. 

In all of this, I had not once regarded Ciara fully mainly because I knew she was only there to get a rise out of me. Additionally, I might have been a little cross with her still from earlier but I was still deciding if I truly blamed her or was just being selfishly bitter. So when her outburst shot through the conversation with the Matron and me I scorned myself for not including her in this as this was all about her, to begin with. I dropped my head and twisted my mouth just trying not to sink in my seat as my shame sat on my chest and weighted me down. I was silent, deafeningly so that I was not entirely sure if the ladies were even talking or arguing among themselves and just assuming I was listening. "I do not want to own her." My voice at last cut in. "I never did." I rolled my shoulders back and rose my head to look each of them in the eye. "I wanted her to have the ability to choose. Even if that meant she one day left me behind." I ran my hand over the hair on my chin and rose with a huff. "And she did... Leave me. Just not in the way I wanted." I took a very deep breath to relieve myself of the weight in my chest as I peered out the nearby window. "Give her freedom." I spun and held the Matrons gaze. "Give her freedom to do whatever she wants and as long as she... What did you say? Feed the Elders was it? She can keep that freedom." My gaze fell onto Ciara's as my voice faded. "And if she doesn't want to spend her newfound freedom with me... So be it." I spoke clear but soft and offered a soft smile her way. This was not what I initially wanted from the Matron but given the path of the conversation this was for the best and I would get what I wanted out of the Matron later. 

It came as no surprise to Ciara that she exploded the way that she did, however, from the look from Dimi and The Matron - they did not. Of course, Dimi seemed a lot more remorseful for not considering Ciara in the conversation nor considering her feelings; considering she was once owned by a man and the only thing that had changed was that her owner was now a powerful woman. The Matron, as usual had a set in stone face, it was expressionless and completely cold. Ciara looked between the two, debating her next step, yet as usual, The Matron turned to Dimitri and continued their conversation; perhaps she knew that Ciara had nowhere to go and soon enough would end up back at Hallows Hill looking for a place to rest.

“Dimitri, my dear. The Eternal King wouldn’t even think of doing such a thing.” The Matron laughed into her glass with a shake of her head. “Our Elders and consequently The Sisterhood are linked to an Eternal and they need us” She paused for a moment. “Our very screams help the reapers find and deliver the souls into the designated realm” 

Ciara rolled her eyes, her nails began digging into her palms - so much so that blood slowly began to exit the wound. In all honesty, and Ciara knew this, she knew that she had no escape from The Matron; none whatsoever. The only freedom she could ever truly have would be if someone killed The Matron, and as far as she was aware, The Matron had a loyal following. However, for someone to be so cold and manipulative, surely there would be someone out there who would be stupid enough to try such a thing. The thoughts were whirling inside Ciara’s head like a tornado, she couldn’t do it - no way. The Matron was as close to a Mother as she could get and regardless of their relationship, they did love the other in their own special way. 

The Banshee began to make her way towards the door, this conversation would not grant her full freedom, she would always be linked to The Matron and to The Elders; hell, The Elders lived in her head. However, the voice of The Matron stopped Ciara in her tracks. 

“Not complete freedom, no. That would never work, even if I ever wanted that to happen. Ciara has a deep connection to me and The Elders that nevermind how far she went, she would and will always be drawn back to us. Silly child.” She mocked The Eternal. The Matron downed the remains of her drink. “However, I’m sure you and I can be civil enough to allow her to do as she wishes. After all, now I come to think of it - what I truly desire will only ever happen if you’re alive” 

Ciara had no idea what The Matron was talking about but as she paused towards the door; she glanced over her shoulder at the two conversing. Her gut was doing somersaults - they looked far too cosy for her liking. There was more there, more between them than she could muster up but she knew, deep down it had something to do with Madeline. 

Dimitri squinted his eyes at The Matron's mockery as he was not only sure he was older than her but also unsure about if she was trying to gaslight him. This was the first he had heard of the Banshee's being linked to The Eternals and his king but the more he thought on the matter the more he realized just how out of touch he was with his own kind, or everyone in fact. His mind had been consumed by grief and fear for so long that he fell out of touch with reality itself. Today had been a very grounding and sobering day thus far and it was still only morning. He sipped his drink as The Matron continued on and it made him remember Quinn and that remembrance made him wonder who was worse? They both seemed to have their pros and cons and both required Ciara to keep a body count. 

I should have run away with her back then even if it meant we spent the rest of our time on the run. We would have figured it out, had Madeline, and been happy as fugitives.  I let out a heavy sigh at my thoughts though it seemed it was to The Matron's words and shook my head, swirling my drink around my cup. If I asked Cici how she was holding up, how she felt about this all if she was okay? Would the elders hear us? Would she even tell me the truth? Was that something she could do? Maybe last night was our only chance and I fear I squandered it. "I agree if Ciara does..." I say dismissively as my eyes move from the Matron to Ciara who was still near the door. "...On one condition..." 

She, Cici, was The Matron's Queen piece and everyone else, Madeline included was just a pawn. That is unless she got what she wanted from the girl but if that ever happened he feared the game would change to a new one and be entirely in The Matron's favour. She was clever, keeping him in the dark about what she wanted with their daughter and in fact keeping Ciara in the dark about her having a daughter with him, to begin with. Would the game change in his favour if Ciara believed the truth about Madeline? "Fine." He, at last, broke his calculative silence "but my one condition is you have to tell Ciara who she is to Madeline." He finished his drink as he finished his words and sat on the sofa which faced them both. 

In truth, Ciara didn't know what she wanted or who she actually was. She knew that she had never been alone - physically speaking; from Quinn in the Brothel to her untimely death to living in Hallows Hill Manor with The Matron and The Sisterhood. And so, if she walked out that door, how on Earth would she survive out there alone? The thought infuriated her that she wasn't capable of being alone in the world, the lack of experience was alarming. Ultimately, there were two options for her at that moment, live harmoniously with The Matron and Dimi or battle it out there in the real world not knowing how to do the basics; such as paying bills or merging with society and making Friends. Ciara pinched the bridge of her nose, she was too powerful and well… crazy to play the victim here; arguably, too stubborn too. Also, she was dead for crying out loud, fitting in with normal society was not possible. 

Ciara glanced between the two, just as her hand fell upon the door handle; there was a truth somewhere that The Matron had to share before Dimi would enter this agreement to her flexible freedom. In truth, Ciara probably knew that Maddie was her daughter; it was undeniable that the two had a connection when Maddie took her to a different dimension of visions or whatever it was. 

The Matron locked her grey gaze with Ciara; a smirk twitching at the corner of her lips. “The Eternal has not lied to you, My Dear Petal. Madeline is your daughter” The Matron paused, her tongue pushed against the inner side of her cheek. “She died with you, but alas… Too slippery for her to stay with you or I in the Eternal Life of Death” 

Ciara nodded and glanced down to her fingers and slowly nodded. “And this is the only secret the two of you share? Perhaps it’s you I should be getting jealous of” Ciara was really grasping at straws here as she accused The Matron and Dimitri having an emotional affair and in that moment, she huffed and stormed out of the apartment. For the first time in her second lifespan, she decided to take herself to get a drink; an innocent drink without an ulterior motive. 

The smoke was heavy in the bar and she slid through the mass of bodies with ease; ordering a glass of wine to which she stared into the bottom of. 


The Matron’s smile grew watching her Child storm out of the apartment and she turned to The Eternal with a mocking grin. “You wanted her to have freedom.”  She tsk’ed under her breath and left the building also; she had other children to look after, after all. 

Laying in this brief wait was torture because he did not expect the truth out of The Matron everything but in fact. So when the truth spewed from her mouth he felt like a minor victory had been won and shifted softly but that was soon dashed against the rocks when she uttered "too slippery for her to stay with you or I...". Now that piqued his interest. For so long he was so consumed by grief and despair that it blinded him and now that his vision was clearing he was picking up on all the things that should have been obvious. He was in slight disbelief even hearing her say those words so clearly, there was no way this was planned. That from the beginning The Matron had Ciara and Madeline murdered just to dig her nails into them. 

I could not allow myself to fall into the darkness of those thoughts, at least, not now. "W... What!?" I blink and stutter at Ciara's words, shivering in disgust at her implications. I opened my mouth to deny it but alas she was gone, stormed off like the dark cloud she had become. "That I did." I shot back at The Matron because I was perfectly fine with Cici deciding she needed space. I ran my hands through my hair and took a much needed deep breath after The Matron left. I looked around needing a drink but all I had was wine and that certainly was not strong enough and I did not want to head to the pub but buying a bottle from the local liquor shop seemed perfect. 

He took his time strolling to the liquor shop so he could try and clear his head but he was worried and confused. He was worried about where Ciara might have gone off to and confused about what The Matron said back there. He gazed through each storefront window as he passed by until he passes the local pub and spots her blonde hair at the bar. He contemplates if he should leave her be or go in deciding on the latter as he approaches and orders a cognac on the rocks. He sits beside her in silence and drinks "back where we started it seems mon amour, sitting at a bar in pure awkward silence." he says above the music and crowd around them. 

The glass of wine appeared to be bottomless, and she had forgotten just how many glasses she had consumed; the only known fact was the bottle of wine or two that sat just in front of her. Her perfectly painted nails picked at the nuts which sat in the bowl on top of the bar, to which the barman continued to top up. Ciara wondered just how much she would need to drink to prevent him from serving her any further; and despite not having an ulterior motive, she wouldn’t be shy to threaten him with death should he decline her. The noise surrounding her was loud enough to drown out the Elders within her mind and for that she was thankful, although they would have known better to bark orders at her this evening, but on the other hand, murder may just energise her and remind her of who she was until this latest mission of killing her alive and kicking beloved.

The last few weeks created havoc behind her eyes as she forced herself to think of all the actions and conversations which took place to have her sit here in the sour mood that encompassed her. What a mess her life had been and not only that, how much of a life she has missed because of The Matron’s desire to keep her on a tightened leash to do her evil bidding to the world; and with that, Cici considered what her life would be like now that there was an element of freedom and time to do as she pleased. “Fab” She grinned widely and clapped her hands together as a new bottle appeared before her until a shiver ran down her spine at the newly found presence to her left. 

“Welcome to the Timeless society we live in” Ciara mused into glass as she finally gained insight to the phrase and how The Eternals truly messed with time. “It doesn’t look like time has been that much of a friend to you, the grey hairs are showing” The wine had added a lightness to her tone, playfulness teasing the atmosphere around them. Perhaps now The Elders have drowned out, she could attempt to have some form of adult conversation with the man who captured her heart. “What have you been doing all these years?” She slid the bowl of nuts towards him to share.  

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Chosen Citizen

Citizen of the Realm Ciara Devlin
Vote for april

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