Watch the World Burn

BY : Jadiona
Category: Twilight Series > AU/AR
Dragon prints: 306
Disclaimer: Disclaimer: I am not Stephenie Meyer, so I do not own the rights to the Twilight Saga. I also don't make any monetary value from posting. I just enjoy decimating the characters' lives.

FAGE 12. Never Too Late to Start Anew
Written for:
Lovely Black Butterfly
Written By: Jadiona
Pre-Reader: Alyscia
Beta: monica03
Rating: M

Watch the World Burn

The screaming could be heard in the pavilion, more than two kilometers away from where the humans undergoing the conversion currently were being held.

The human Isabella had bitten was among those in transition. Sadly, the same couldn't be said about the most promising of the lot they'd brought back from the mainland.

Isabella had known Jessica was too new to their life – a mere sixty years young – to go on a scouting party, but Master Eleazar hadn't listened to Isabella's advice. As such, Jessica had been the one who attempted to turn the young Grecian by the name of Edward.

Jessica had lost control. After all, it had been her first taste of real human blood.

Frankly, most of them that lived on Atlantis never got to try the true nectar of fresh blood. Instead, they spent their entire life drinking the artificial blood that the Masters, Sasha and Carmen, had made when they'd first discovered this land.

With Eleazar leading them – Angelica, Michael, Erickson, and Isabella – traveled by boat to the mainland twice a year to scout for new humans to turn. But this scouting trip they'd brought Jessica along, a new possible scout.

After the fiasco of losing the potential telepath, Isabella doubted the young one would be allowed to go again.

Though Isabella couldn't be certain. It wasn't like accidents never happened.

She glanced back toward the ward as more screams rent the air before continuing on her way to the castle. The three days of unending pain that would make the four potentials they'd returned with into members of the Everlasting was always the most disturbing part of what she did.

The ward where the humans remained until their transition was complete and they learned control was far enough from the major cities on Atlantis that most of their kind never heard the humans' cries.

Every once and awhile, Isabella wished she lived in another city, but she had an elevated status because one of the Supreme Masters had changed her.

Given her status, she was afforded permission to live in Zaelia. It was the only city in all of Atlantis where beings other than Everlasting lived – including Black Dogs and human slaves. In fact, she herself had a human 'slave.'

She stopped at the large, gilded double doors, crossing her arms behind her back as she waited on the guards to open them for her.

It took only a few seconds for the doors to swing open, two of the elite guards on the other side. Ironically, neither of them were members of the Everlasting.

Both Jacob and Embry were Black Dogs.

She headed inside, almost immediately stopping when the sound of little feet running hit her ears. Isabella turned to face the side corridor, opening her arms just in time to catch Vasilii.

"Master Isa! Where you be?"

She chuckled. "I'm a scout, not a master. You know this." She wasn't a hundred percent certain why she bothered to correct the child as she knew Vasilii would continue to call her a master. But she corrected him every time, anyway.

There were only three young children who were Everlasting, and they all lived in the castle.

As a rule, they only changed humans who had reached puberty.

In fact, over her years as a scout, she had torn her share of young women and men from their families during the trips to the mainland.

But Vasilii, along with the other two young ones, Claire and Vanessa, were special. Master Sasha had changed them. And as one of the inventors of their sustenance, she was allowed such luxuries.

Isabella kissed Vasilii on the nose before putting him down. "Run along now, young one. I have business to attend to."

She continued down the main corridor without waiting to make sure Vasilii didn't leave the castle, as she knew the Black Dogs would handle that.

The main corridor was elegantly decorated with fancy paintings, gilded mirrors, rugs of the finest silk, and sculptures of crystal, gold, and bronze. Even though she still remembered her first trip down the corridor more than a thousand years prior, it was a sight that never ceased to amaze her.

Isabella stopped briefly in front of one of the mirrors, glancing at her reflection. She reached up, touching the skin under her left eye as she stared at the reflection of red. Usually, her eyes were an icy silver, the same as all the Everlasting. But the few gulps of human blood she'd taken from Emmett, before sealing the bite, had been enough to change her eye color to the strange burgundy reflecting back at her.

She knew from experience that it would take more than a month for the red to disappear completely.

Her fingers brushed down her cheek and throat before she turned on her heel and continued to her intended destination.

She entered the great hall and made her way to the thrones, dropping to her knees and bowing her head when she reached a respectable distance from the chairs.

"Rise, Isabella."

She looked up at the man sitting on the largest throne as she stood. Of the seven Supreme Masters in the semi-circle of chairs, Astaroth was easily the most intimidating – with his giant frame and muscular body.

At least he was to most.

But Astaroth was the being who'd changed her.

And because of that, she was afraid of none of them. She glanced at the rest of the Supreme Masters, nodding at each of them in turn.

On the far left of the half-moon was Hilda. She had wild red hair that flowed around her pale face. Her eyes were closed, but Isabella knew if she opened them, they would be pitch black, with no change from pupil to iris to sclera. The myths surrounding her varied greatly and were completely unconfirmable, but Isabella knew she was the oldest of their kind – there was even a chance that was the original, though she doubted that myth.

To her right was Benito, the youngest of the Supreme Masters, both physically and literally. At only three hundred years, he was a mere one-fourth the age of Isabella, but he had a mind for war the likes of which none of the others had. He had an olive complexion to his skin – hinting that he was once much darker – and had short black hair.

Next was Luca, an imposing man who was changed later in life. He had long, dark brown hair that he usually kept pulled back in a leather band and was about two meters tall.

On the right side of Astaroth, the first was Boris. He was the least imposing of the Supreme Masters, with a dwarf-like smallness, and short auburn hair. In spite of his small stature, he was likely the most dangerous of them, having the ability to start fires with his mind. In fact, he was the only one of the seven that had an actual ability.

After him was Sancar. He was only a little shorter than Astaroth but was far skinnier. His skin was the palest of them, and he had white hair – no one in their right mind would call it blond.

And finally, there was Pire, the only woman aside from Hilda among them. Pire had the same sort of beauty as described of some of the goddesses of Greece and Rome.

"What do you have to report?" Boris asked.

"I'm sure Master Eleazar has already advised everything to you. We brought back twelve slaves and five potentials; two soldiers, a succubus, a clairvoyant, and a telepath. Only four of the potentials are currently undergoing the change. The fifth did not survive."

"And why didn't the telepath survive, Eleazar wasn't clear on that."

"As you know, Jessica went with us to the mainland as part of our scouting party. Between spending the two weeks around so many humans and then returning with the humans on the ship... She was too young and shouldn't have been allotted the option to change any of our potentials. But she wanted to change the Grecian she'd discovered. I don't know if Master Eleazar had a moment of weakness with her or if he simply had too much faith in her."

"So, it's your opinion that the fault lies with Eleazar?" Pire spoke up.

"It's no one's fault. Human blood is always a temptation for our kind. I've killed my share of potentials since I became a scout, as have the rest of them."

"And where do you think the four that survived should go?" Astaroth asked

She hated when he asked such questions of her, for though she knew he wanted her to take on the position of a Master, she didn't. She preferred being a scout. Isabella answered his question, anyway, as she knew they expected it of her. "The two soldiers need to go to any of the border cities; Nairrazar, Nightrich, Gaerith, or Nutagon. The succubus would probably fit in in Crosta. And the clairvoyant... well, if it was up to me, I'd keep her here. As we all know, future sight is a rare gift."

She paused briefly, looking away. "Perhaps she can give you insight into how to capture Vladimir. Or has he been found and brought back yet?"

"No, Master Liam and his team of Black Dogs so far haven't been successful in finding the traitor. Though they've sent news that he apparently has been busy turning others – a soldier like him by the name of Stefan, as well as a couple women."

Isabella crossed her arms over her chest. "The longer he stays gone, the greater the risk to our way of life. He needs brought home or killed outright. As does anyone he has changed."

"You think we don't know that?" Astaroth's caustic voice boomed.

She flinched.

"I know that you know all of this, but this land has been our safe haven for thousands of years. Having Everlastings roaming the mainlands is a disaster. Him making others only makes this issue worse." Honestly, she wasn't sure how Vladimir would have figured out to change another. Though the practice of turning humans wasn't a secret, it wasn't spoken about either, and a simple soldier who lived in Nutagon shouldn't have known it.

"We know," Hilda said. "He will be dealt with. Even if I have to hunt him down, myself."

All of the others stared at her – Boris and Luca with open mouths – though Hilda's eyes remained closed.

After a moment of absolute silence, Astaroth looked back at Isabella. "And what have you decided to do about James?"

She looked at the ground, avoiding her creator's eyes. "He doesn't wish to be changed."

"When has that ever stopped you? You've turned well over two thousand humans in the last eight hundred years. None of which volunteered to be turned."

"That's different. None of them was my ma –" she cut herself off before she finished that word; her kind didn't have human mates "– my slave. I've had him for more than half his life. I respect the fact that he appreciates his mortality."

"That's your choice, I suppose. And as one of my children, I've allowed you many liberties, including keeping a slave – your James, as it so happens. But slaves have a limited life expectancy here, and you know that. Ten years is the normal limit, and he's been with you for sixteen. If he won't be turned, then he must be put down. By the next full moon."

"I understand." She bowed slightly. "May I be excused? Or is there more you need from me?"

"You can go, Isabella."

She stood from her bow and left the grand hall, following the corridor back to main doors, which were opened as she approached.

She quickly headed home.

Caius heard when Isabella started walking up the pathway. He glanced toward the bedchamber, knowing he should wake James, but he wanted some time alone with her.

Though he had a comfortable platonic love for James, part of him despised the human. Because James was Isabella's mate.

And yet, Isabella was his.

The only thing that made it bearable, if not a hundred percent acceptable, was the fact that he knew she loved him.

Of course, considering that they'd been together for eight hundred and twenty-three years, it would probably be impossible for her not to love him.

"How was the scouting trip?" he asked as soon as she opened the door.

"There are four potentials undergoing the change. We also brought back some slaves." Her lip turned up in a slight snarl at the last word, before she looked away.

"What is it?" Human slaves were just a part of a Zaelia, and so he knew it wasn't that.

"I have about three weeks to convince my slave –" the snarl reappeared "– to be turned, or I have to kill him."

"Just bite him and get it done with. He may be saying he doesn't want it, yet once you've done it, then he'll be with you for the rest of eternity. It might take him a few decades, but eventually, he'll get over it and forgive you."

"If I thought some part of him wanted to be one of us... but I know he doesn't. I can't go against his wishes, Caius."

He couldn't understand why, though. He'd seen what little relationship she was capable of having with James – merely light touches and chaste kisses. Though he knew they'd been more intimate a few times in private. He also knew how dangerous that intimacy was. Humans were simply too fragile.

"You've changed a ton of humans. Hell, you changed me."

"Yes, I remember. Even if I didn't have a perfect memory, I'd remember. You were my first, Caius. And because you were my first, I took too much interest. It was why I convinced Astaroth that I wanted you as a personal guard rather than shipping you off to one of the border cities where you belonged. You were meant to be a general, after all."

He grinned slightly. "I was meant to be with you. You know it."

She shook her head but didn't answer his words. "But James is..." She shrugged. "He's my mate. I can feel it in here –" Isabella touched her chest briefly "– and I can't, I won't, refute his wishes. And he's always been quite clear ever since I brought him home that he wanted to remain human."

"And what of your desires? Of your pain when he dies? He should understand what it costs you."

"Humans are not capable of feeling the depth of emotion that our kind do. Though he loves me, it is a human love, which in all reality, our kind have more feelings for our enemies than humans do for the love of their life. They're just physically incapable of such depth. And besides, even if he was an Everlasting, there's no guarantee that I'm his mate. As is already proven between us, mate bonds can, unfortunately, go one way."

Caius looked away.

Isabella reached out and took his face in her hands. "Don't get me wrong, my Caius, I do love you. I gave you my heart a long time ago, and that will never change. It's only because of that love that I'm even capable of considering a future where James won't be there."

"What are you two talking about?" James asked as he came out of the bedchamber, stretching his arms above his head as he yawned. He was shirtless, though he wore a leather collar around his neck.

Caius eyed the toned muscles on the human's chest, begrudgingly admitting to himself that he found James handsome – as he did any time he saw the man without his shirt. Though he knew he would never act on any desire he might have for the man.

"About the future," Isabella replied as she stepped away from Caius and moved over to James, giving James a gentle kiss on the lips.

"What about the future?" James' eyes suggested he had a pretty good idea of what they'd been talking about.

"We'll talk about it when Caius and I get back from Nairrazar."

Caius frowned slightly but didn't dispute Isabella's words. Though, if it was his mate, he'd tell them right away.

"Why are we here again?" Caius asked.

Isabella knew running with Caius to Nairrazar had been cowardly, but she wasn't ready to argue with James again. She wasn't ready to lose... wasn't ready to give him up.

"I just needed to run for a bit, needed to breathe."

"You can't escape this order, you know that."

"Sure, I can." She nodded her head at the crystal blue ocean about a thousand meters below them.

"Fine, you could run if you want. Hell, we both could. That won't save James. The only thing that will save his life is changing him. And the only thing that will save his humanity is killing him. And as for us running away... not even Astaroth being your maker would save us from being hunted down and destroyed. And you know it."

"They still haven't found Vladimir. And he's been gone for more than a year."

"And he's the first one in how long?"

She scowled. "He's the first in my life that's actually made it to the mainland."

"Which is four hundred and some odd years more than me –"

He stopped as the earth underneath them suddenly shook, several of the large boulders dropping off the edge of the cliff and into the ocean.

The shaking stopped almost as soon as it began, having only lasted a few seconds.

"What the fuck was that?" Caius demanded.

Isabella didn't bother to answer him as she looked around, before staring up at one of the cylindrical mountains that littered the island – feeling the deeper vibration under her feet.

"Caius, I need you to go into Nairrazar and find Master Irina."

"Why?"

"Because the earth is moving, and I'm not sure what is about to happen."

Before he could say anything, everything shook again, but this time a cavernous rumble from the mountain accompanied it.

"Go, Caius!"

"And where are you going?"

"I have to head back for James."

Caius looked like he wanted to argue, but she didn't wait, taking off at a dead run.

James felt the earth shake beneath his feet for the fifth time in under two hours. He'd been a young boy living on the streets in Athens when there had been a massive quake, and so he remembered the feeling. But he wasn't sure what was going on aside from that as the smell of sulfur had slowly been getting stronger, and the strange growling and groaning sounds were completely unfamiliar to him.

The front door of the villa smashed open, and a massive black dog stepped inside a moment before a naked man stood in the dog's place.

"We must go."

James took a step back, shaking his head. "Who the hell are you?"

He couldn't stop himself from looking at the man's body. He was well hung, even while flaccid.

"Jacob. One of the Supreme Masters has ordered evacuation of the city, but they don't care for your kind. I'm supposed to be rounding up the Everlasting. The thing is, I know what you mean to Supreme Master Astaroth's child. So you must come with me. It's your only hope of survival!"

"What do you mean?" He stepped further back as the man, Jacob, came closer.

"Can't you smell it? The earth will soon be raining fire. We need to get out of here."

James took another step back, losing his footing as the earth shook yet again.

Jacob darted forward, physically picking him up, and carrying him out of the house over his shoulder, grumbling, "I don't have time to argue with a human."

Isabella only stopped briefly at her house, finding the door smashed and James gone before following the scent of the Black Dog away from her home and to the castle.

Any other time she would have stopped to stare at the two towers that had fallen to the ground, but she ignored them as she headed into the inside of the castle, finding the double doors wide open.

Just off the entrance, she fell to her knees.

James' lay a mere thirty feet from her, his head at an unnatural angle.

She could tell without moving any closer that he was dead.

Isabella wasn't sure how long she was kneeled there before the feeling of the next shake forced her into action.

Forcing herself not to think about it, she stepped over to James and gently picked him up before carrying him out of the castle.

She didn't make it far before she had to stop. The earth rumbled loudly as a voluminous roar shook the air, a glowing black and red projectile flying through the air and landing mere feet in front of her.

Isabella jumped back as the ground around the large stone started to burn.

A quick look around revealed that her entire world was slowly catching fire.

The earth shook again.



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