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Finn rose from his seat, staring at the older man staring into Lucas' violet pools.
"You're two hundred years old??!! That's freaking impossible!" The young Welshman said, Lucas' violet pools going to his friend's blue pools, seeing the surprised look registered on his face and on all the faces staring at him.
"No it's not, Finny. It's easy to see when you look at my family's heritage." Lucas said with calmness, his violet eyes staring at his grandfather again.
"What do you mean, Lucky?" Josh said, Lucas' eyes going to his blue surprised pools, most everyone on the veranda showing the same surprised, shocked look on their faces.
Lucas' eyes met his grandfather's green pools, their hands still joined together Lucas squeezing his grandfather's strong hands in his.
"You know, don't you Lucas?" his grandfather said, Lucas softly smiling at him.
"I felt the showing truth, Grandfather." Lucas said, his violet eyes looking around the veranda, focusing lastly on Josh's blue pools.
"The statues around the Cavadeum are the showing truth, Josh."
"The statues, Luke?" Finn said, his blue eyes still showing awed disbelief.
"Yes, Finn. The ten of history and heritage. They are in reality the only ten of my lineage. There are no others."
Josh walked up to Lucas, staring into his violet pools.
"You mean. . .that's all of them? There are no other ancestors?! They. . .they were all long lived?!" Josh said, Lucas looking at his grandfather again, Emerson sighing, his green eyes meeting Josh's blue pools.
"You are very intelligent, Lucas. You saw through the hidden showing truth. The book again?"
The young man nodded, staring at his grandfather.
"Emmanuel wrote in his journal of the passing of Kavinus, Alsarius' lost--then found again--love. And how at the ending of that man's long life Alsarius and his son were both still showing youthful images. I reasoned out that both were long of life, longer than Kavinus' lifespan. But their love was unchanged. He died surrounded by their flowing love. That to me was the important part."
The older man nodded, staring at Lucas.
"So you're saying. . .that those ten. . .that that is your whole lineage, Lucas?" Andrew said, he and Trish both staring at Emerson, the man's eyes lowering again, the man drawn into the center of attention.
"Yes, Drew. Those ten images are the ten courageous ancestors of my past, of my
heritage. Each lived a long life of destiny, courage and love. There were no
others. Am I correct, Grandfather?"
Emerson's eyes met his grandson's, the older man nodding.
"Yes, Lucas. I am the ninth on the path of destiny. Your father is the tenth."
"And Joshua? The Joshua who I assumed talked to me in my visions, or the representation of him?"
"Joshua Belmont--the founder of Belmont Industries--was my own father, Lucas."
Everyone looked stunned, Lucas nodding at his grandfather.
"And Emmanuel Belmont was your grandfather. The path now focuses."
Emerson nodded, the man letting go of Lucas' hands, the older man sitting down in his seat again, Lucas staring at him.
"Yes, Lucas. It is my own grandfather's journal you possess. Stories he wrote there I heard from his own son. I know all the paths of greatness that our forefathers walked, including Alsarius', and his unified love with Kavinus. They were the beginnings of our destiny. Of our path."
Finn walked up to Lucas and Josh, his blue eyes staring at Lucas.
"This. . .this can't be, Luke! What you're suggesting, what he's saying! It's. . .it's impossible!" he said again, the young man trying to wrap his mind around such a proclamation.
"I could say it a thousand different ways but it still remains the same reality, Finny. My family is one of magical longevity. It's real--and yes--it's true." Lucas said, Josh putting his arm around him, feeling his lover's murmuring emotions.
"I'm sorry, Luke. I wasn't trying to deny it, only trying to grasp its truth." Finn said, Lucas softly smiling at his friend's showing love.
"I know, Finny. It's a hard truth to digest, but it is there nonetheless." Lucas said, looking at his grandfather again, Emerson's green eyes quietly looking at him again.
Lucas' eyes went to Grayson's and Horace's blue pools, both men staring at Emerson, Lucas seeing the looks of understanding on their faces.
"I can see that your dear old friends have known this truth for some time, Grandfather. And their love remains unchanged." Lucas said, Grayson's blue eyes meeting his violet, Lucas smiling at the older man, Grayson seeing the unchanged love shining in the young man's soulful eyes.
"Yes, Lucas. I have known for most of my life. And it hasn't made any difference in my acceptance of your grandfather's giving soul." Grayson said, Lucas smiling again at the lawyer.
"Or mine, or my father's, Lucas. We both have doctored this remarkable man for all our adult lives. I know the greatness of his longevity and his health." the doctor said, Lucas nodding, his violet eyes meeting his grandfather's green again.
"But the time wanes, Grandfather. Neither you nor your ancestors could live forever."
"No, Lucas we couldn't, or can't. That is the saving grace of the Trinity. Or perhaps its curse."
Vivian moved, walking up to Emerson's chair, the woman kneeling before the older man, taking his hands in hers, her blue eyes staring at him.
"Did Mother know, Emerson?" she said, Emerson staring into her blue pools.
"Yes, Vivacious. I could never have kept that secret from her. I told her at the dawning of our love. It didn't change her love for me. She even said that it made me even more special. That she had fallen in love with a man of giving, unending love. Her love was so real, so genuine. I only wish. . ." he softly said, Lucas staring down at his grandfather, his hand going to his aunt's shoulder, she looking up at him.
"You only wish that you could have lived that long life with her?" Lucas said, Emerson nodding.
"I waited over three quarters of my life to find her love, Lucas. And for me it passed within a heartbeat. It was so real, so fulfilling. I would have loved to have it always. In a sense I do. For she still walks in my dreams." the older man said, Lucas nodding.
Emerson's eyes met Vivian's, Lucas quietly looking at her.
"I will see her soon enough, again." he said, Vivian staring at him.
"How. . .how long shall you live, Emerson? What is your lifespan?" she said, the man's eyes meeting Lucas', the young man's eyes staring at him with calm love.
The older man sighed, staring into his former daughter's blue pools of wondrous love.
"I will pass onto the next path next year, Vivacious. On my two hundredth birthday I shall pass from this life."
Everyone looked stunned, Vivian's eyes showing deep shock.
"You. . .you will die on that specific day?!" she said, her face showing disbelief, others showing it as well.
"Destiny is precise, especially for my family." Lucas said, Emerson's green eyes meeting his violet again.
"Fate is even more precise, my grandson." the older man said, Lucas feeling Josh's arm tighten around him.
"What's going on here, Lucky? How can your grandfather know when he's going to die?" he said, Lucas' violet pools meeting his Beamy's.
Lucas sighed, leaning against the veranda's railing, Emerson staring at him, the young man feeling Josh lean against him.
"I was hoping you could relate to all of us that reality, Grandfather. I've come up with my own scenario, but I'm not sure if it's correct."
The older man nodded, his eyes going around to everyone, Grayson's hand going to the man's shoulder.
"I think it's time you confided in your grandson's love the reality of your existence, Em." he said, Vivian rising to her feet, staring at the lawyer.
"You know everything don't you, Grayson?" she said, the man nodding.
"He is my dearest friend, Vivian. He has been my mentor, my employer and most of all, my friend. I would give my life and my love for him in all ways. I stand by him as his friend." the man said, Emerson's hand going to his old friend's hand resting on his shoulder.
"I could not ask for a greater comrade, Grayson. Please everyone, sit down." the man said, Vivian returning to her seat beside her husband, Finn returning to his seat, Josh and Lucas remaining against the railing, the young man staring at his grandfather.
The older man looked around at everyone, his eyes finally meeting Lucas' again.
"I see before me your dearest friends and family, Lucas. You are my grandson.
And that reality gives you the right to hear the truth as I know it. And their
love for you earns them the right to hear it as well."
Lucas nodded, Lewis' blue eyes meeting Emerson's.
"You showed the greatness of your courageous heart that day long ago, Emerson. And I accepted the vision you painted for me. And I have walked with its faithful truth for the last twenty years."
Vivian's blue eyes stared at her old friend, Lewis walking up to her, staring at her.
"You know what's going on here as well, Lewd?" she said, rising from her seat again, the minister nodding his head.
"Yes, Vivacious. Emerson confided in me that day long ago. For we joined with a pact of necessity. For him I would have sacrificed everything." Reverend Saunders said, Vivian staring into his blue healed eyes.
"It almost came to that, good Reverend." Lucas said, his voice drawing everyone's eyes.
Vivian stared at Lucas, the young man's eyes filled with quiet love.
"It was painful, Lucas. But the result was my good friend's safety." Lewis said, Vivian looking at him.
"And my aunt's endangerment." Lucas said, the minister's head lowering.
"I didn't know that that assassin knew of your involvement, Vivian. For the danger you were subjected to, I sincerely apologize. Please forgive me for making him focus on you next."
Her hand went to her friend's shoulder, their eyes meeting again.
"You were and are always my friend, Lewd. We all sacrificed much to keep them both safe."
"And for good reason."
Vivian's eyes went to Lucas' violet pools again, Lucas softly smiling at her.
"Sit down, Mom. I think I've reasoned much of it out. May I begin, Grandfather?"
Emerson nodded, staring at his grandson.
Everyone returned to their seats, Lucas still leaning against the veranda railing, Josh standing beside him, his arm around him.
"My father learned the truth of his family's destiny that day, didn't he Grandfather?"
Emerson looked surprised, Lucas staring at him with calm love.
"Yes. . .yes, Lucas. For the protection of a friend--for the giving interference of that friend--he learned the truth of his family's destiny. And that truth is what drove him from this house, from my soul." Emerson said, Lucas moving, walking up to his chair, and kneeling before him.
"No, Grandfather. I believe you have that reasoning wrong."
Emerson stared at his grandson, Lucas leaning forward and kissing the man's forehead, their eyes locked on each other.
"My father left this house for only one reason."
"And what reason was that, Lucas?" Grayson said, Lucas' violet pools meeting his blue.
"To save you all, Grayson. You most of all, Grandfather."
Emerson's green eyes stared at Lucas with surprise, his grandson standing again.
"You weren't the only one who created a fabrication to protect those you loved,
"What. . .what do you mean, Lucas?" Emerson said with emotion, Lucas smiling down at him.
"The first deception was my father's decision to leave, Grandfather. And that deception fooled the source of all this."
Emerson looked confused, Lucas softly smiling at him again
Lucas moved, returning to Josh's side, their eyes meeting.
"I love you, Lucas. Nothing here changes that."
Lucas smiled, seeing and hearing Josh's total devoted love.
"I know, my Josh."
Josh smiled, Lucas turning his eyes again to everyone, Lewis and Vivian staring at him, the two sitting down again, Lucas staring at his grandfather again.
"You were saddened by the truth you told your son that weekend, Grandfather. For you thought it drove him from your love. It didn't, Grandfather. It brought his love for you to the foreground."
Lewis stared at the young man standing against the railing, Lucas' eyes meeting his, the minister seeing a lot of focused love in those violet pools.
"Tristan left that day in a fit of ferocious anger, Lucas. After that previous evening's moments he left this house in a mad rush of silent, angry hurt." Grayson said, Lucas staring at the lawyer.
The two Mavises walked out onto the veranda, Finn's mother carrying a tray containing a pitcher of lemonade and several glasses, Mavis the cook carrying another pitcher.
"Perfect timing, ladies. I was feeling a bit parched. And I have much to voice." Lucas said, smiling at the two, the two smiling back, placing the tray and pitcher on the coffee table in front of Vivian's couch, Lucas smiling as Mavis filled a glass, walking up to her son's best friend.
"Thanks, Momma Mavis. Like warm summer days back in Pembroke."
The robust woman smiled, kissing his cheek, she and the other Mavis joining their husbands on their couches, the two men quietly voicing to them the afternoons' realities.
Lucas smiled at them and their widening eyes, his violet pools focusing again.
Their vibrant violet irises focused on his grandfather.
"How old is my father, Grandfather?"
Emerson sighed, staring at Lucas.
"He's ninety-nine, Lucas."
Mavis Delaney gasped, Finn looking at his mother, his hand going in hers, he seated beside his parents, Skyler at his side.
"And next October he will be one hundred?"
Emerson nodded, staring at his grandson with surprise.
"Yes, Lucas. He will have reached the century mark."
"And how long had he known that he was long lived? When he disappeared over twenty years ago he would have been in his late seventies."
"We are all told on our twentieth birthday, Lucas. The creed of our family's pact is revealed then. We then must take up the path destined us. We all chose how we would live that life, how we would pass that time of enlightenment."
"And my father chose to be as normal as you yourself chose?"
Emerson smiled, nodding his head again.
"Yes, Lucas. He decided to live a life of knowledge, of literary studies and youthful friendships. The Pompous Darlings were not the first group he assembled around him. But they were the most loving." Emerson said, Lewis smiling at him.
"Three times he walked a path of scholastic enhancement, attending three of the most prestigious universities in this world. The last was where he met Lewis and Jacques. And through myself he met Vivian and Savannah."
Lucas nodded, looking at his aunt, Vivian's blue eyes on Emerson.
"What part of his destiny did you reveal to him that weekend of the monster's apparition?" Lucas said, Emerson's eyes staring at him.
"The final part, Lucas."
"The meaning of the Trinity?" Lucas said, Emerson's eyes widening with surprise.
"Lucas. . .you cannot. . .it is unknown to anyone. . .but. . .?"
"But they of the pact?"
Emerson's eyes lowered, Lucas sighing again.
Josh's blue eyes met his violet, Lucas softly smiling at him.
"My family is shrouded in mystery, life and love. I think it's time to air the truths of destiny."
Emerson stared at his grandson.
"I know of the room, Grandfather."
Emerson's eyes widened again, the man showing a soft look of stunned emotion.
"I will not venture there until I know everything, Grandfather. And until I rectify what Joshua asked of me."
Emerson stood up from his chair, trembling as he walked up to his grandson.
"My father gave all, Lucas. I will not let you destroy him."
Everyone looked confused, Lucas' hand going to his grandfather's shoulder.
"I would never destroy him, Grandfather. For I love him, misguided as he is, but loving no less."
"He tried to stop it, Lucas. To end the cycle."
"And in the end perhaps he was given a remission."
Emerson nodded, Josh looking at the two men.
"A remission? Was your father ill, Emerson?"
Emerson's green eyes looked into Josh's blue.
"No, Josh. He was trying to evade destiny. And that in the end cost him his soul. And the monster thrust him into the Void. And I know my son resides there as well."
Lucas stared at his grandfather, gently guiding him back to his chair, the older man sitting down again.
"Rest, Grandfather. Let my love calm your soul. And truth is a greater balm for
Emerson stared at Lucas, the young man smiling at him.
"To start this off, we need to know what happened that night twenty years ago." Lucas said, looking at Grayson, Lewis and Vivian.
"Lucas, that day is forever lodged in our memories." Lewis said, Vivian staring at him, the minister's hand going in hers.
"I think it's time that you told him the truth, Vivacious. He didn't know them
or the choice they made. And you don't know the choice Emerson made."
"I know what happened to my mother and to my sister and her husband. Evil took all of them." she said, her eyes tearing, her head lowering.
Emerson's head lowered as well, Lucas looking between the two.
"No, Mom. Destiny took my mother and father from us. And love took my grandmother."
Emerson's eyes raised, staring at his grandson, his older handsome face showing deep emotion.
Lucas stared at both, the young man focusing again on both of them.
"She hasn't been mentioned much. Her not being here, or her disappearance. You don't speak of her, Mom."
Vivian's eyes raised again, Lucas seeing the deep emotion showing in those wet blue pools.
"How. . .how did you know that. . .that my mother disappeared?" Vivian sobbed, Lucas walking up to her, pulling her up into his arms, holding her close.
"Because I've looked behind the shields, Mom. Behind the steel walls you and Grandfather have created for various reasons. And neither of you can understand that the other's isn't real."
Vivian's body moved back, staring at her adoptive son.
"What do you mean, Lucas?" she said, her eyes going to Emerson's green.
"I mean that it's time the voice of reason and healed faith showed all that happened." Lucas said, his violet eyes staring down into Reverend Saunders' blue pools.
The minister stared up into Lucas' violet pools, seeing the calm love shining there.
"You know all, I sense, good Reverend. I think you need to lighten some souls. Your path of faith begins today." Lucas said, the young man walking back to Josh, Lewis' blue pools following his every move.
Lucas took Josh's hand, the young man leading him to a large wicker chair close to his grandfather, by the staircase leading down to the front lawn, Lucas sitting down in it, pulling Josh into his lap.
"Let the past show, Reverend. And guide them to her love." Lucas said, his violet irises staring at the man of faith.
The man stood up, staring at Vivian.
"Your nephew is a soul of giving love, Vivacious. And an intellectual soul of surprising foresight and knowledge. I sense you know much, Lucas." the man said, staring at the younger man, Lucas nodding at him.
Lewis' eyes focused on Vivian, smiling at her.
"Sit down, Viv. I think you need to hear all of it." he said, his eyes meeting Lucas' again, the young man nodding again.
The minister folded his hands in front of him, Vivian sitting down in front of him, Henderson's arm going around her, she glancing at her nephew.
"Open the past, Reverend Saunders. And then I can focus on all their futures."
The man looked surprised, then nodded his head.
"That day, as Vivian said, is lodged in all of our souls. For each of us for different reasons. Some for love, some for deceit and some for the wrongness of our lives."
Vivian stared at her old friend, Lewis' rich baritone voice filling the quiet veranda.
Twenty-Two Years Earlier
Lewis smiled, the young man in the center of his friends.
"Take the picture, Grayson." the man smiled, his friends all smiling as well, the five seated and surrounded by their youthful love.
The lawyer standing in front of them in the library snapped the camera button, a flash filling all of their eyes.
"There you go! The Pompous Darlings immortalized." he said, smiling widely.
Vivian and her sister both smiled, their youthful beauty bringing a smile to the older man.
"And two angels sit amongst the devils." he smiled, Haven laughing from behind the couch.
"Tristan's more like a horny devil." the younger man said, Savannah blushing, Tristan glaring at his brother behind him, the younger man standing at the back of the couch they all sat on.
"You spying again, Puck?" Tristan said, the younger man sticking his tongue out at him, Vivian laughing.
"Leave the boy alone, Tristan." Savannah said, her smile melting Tristan's heart.
"I haven't seen him in months. Nor has the Tickle Demon!" Tristan said, rushing from his seat, tackling his brother, the young man screaming as Tristan knocked him to the floor, his fingers finding the younger man's armpits.
"Stop, Tristan! That's enough!" the young man screamed, Tristan laughing, finally giving in to the young man's begging.
He smiled, standing up and giving the young man a hand up, the two staring at each other.
"God, I've missed you, Puck!" the older man said, Haven's fingers going to his coiffed hair.
"I'm no longer Puck, Tristan. I've grown since you left." the man said, Tristan smiling at his younger adoptive brother.
"I have eyes, Haven. You're growing into a handsome man. The girls must be
following you everywhere."
The young man stared at him, fixing his disheveled appearance.
"I'm twenty-six, Tristan. I am a man." Haven said, Tristan smiling at him.
"Sorry, brother. To me you'll always be Puck, the mischievous imp." Tristan smiled, Savannah smiling at him.
"And I see my older brother has found his soulmate." Haven said, staring at Savannah.
Tristan smiled, his arm going around her.
"Paths crossed, lives shared. Our sibling friendship turned to love, Haven. Our college life created a new love." he smiled, staring at his father's stepdaughter.
Haven stared at the two, his brown eyes showing calmness.
"We all want copies, Grayson." Lewis smiled, the lawyer smiling and closing off the camera.
"I'll make sure you all have them before you leave." he smiled, the door of the library opening.
Into the room walked Emerson, his arm around a woman in her late fifties, her face showing a weathered regal beauty, Savannah and Vivian smiled at their mother.
"There you all are! We thought you were lost." Francesca Carlisle Belmont smiled, Tristan hugging her as she walked up to him.
"The first I long to see, the last to hold in my arms. Hello, Mother!" he smiled, she kissing his cheek.
"Our boy's even more handsome, Em." she smiled, Emerson smiling at his wife, his stepdaughters rising from their seats, enveloping him in a tight hug.
"Our angels have returned! It is good to see both of you! And my wayward son!" Emerson said, smiling at his son in his wife's arms.
"One big happy family, Father." Haven said, still standing behind the couch, Emerson's eyes meeting his.
"Yes, Haven. One big happy, reunited family." Emerson said, Grayson quietly looking at his old friend.
Emerson smiled, Lewis and Jacques shaking the man's offered hand, Tristan introducing both to his father.
"An honour, kind sir." Lewis said, Emerson smiling at him.
"A boy of outstanding faith. That faith shall carry you far, Lewis." the older man said, Lewis looking at him with confusion.
Tristan laughed, patting his friend's shoulder.
"Lewd here is too rambunctious to ever be faithful, Father." Tristan said, Lewis blushing a bit, Vivian laughing at her friend.
"Paths walk where they must, son." Emerson said, Tristan meeting his father's gaze.
"Good to have you home again, son." he smiled, Tristan moving forward and hugging his father tightly, Emerson feeling his showing love.
"Your love always draws me back." he said, Emerson tearing up.
"That and this house's destiny." the man said, Tristan releasing his father.
"Yes, Father. Destiny's path." he said, Francesca's eyes moving between the two.
"I have a full kitchen prepared with Mavis' favourite dishes, Tristan. She's been cooking nonstop since word of your returning love reached her ears."
Tristan laughed, his arm going around his friend Lewis.
"You're going to eat till you explode, Lewd! A future parson needs a jovial roundness."
Everyone laughed, following Emerson and his wife out of the library, Haven watching them all leave.
Tristan looked back at him as he closed the door, the younger man smiling at him.
"I'm going to change for dinner, Tristan. See you in the dining room."
Tristan smiled, closing the door behind him.
Haven's brown eyes stared at the closed door, the mask he'd worn for the last hour leaving his face.
His face turned to brooding anger, the young man's hand going towards the fireplace mantle, hitting the buffalo's head.
The young man moved through the opening doorway, disappearing behind its closing secrecy.
Everyone sat on the veranda, the late June's warmth receding behind the coming darkness.
"A meal of total satisfaction, my love. Mavis' recipes double. I shall grow old and fat on her and your deliciousness." Emerson said, Francesca smiling at him.
"Indeed it was, sir." Jacques smiled, the Frenchman leaning against the veranda's railing, smoking a cigarette, Horace standing beside him, the middle aged doctor smiling at his friend and his wife.
"Mavis and Francesca are devious in their manipulations, Emerson. We're both being coaxed into a sedated state. There must be shopping afoot."
Francesca laughed, Horace smiling at her.
"We love our husbands. Their contented lethargic souls are easier to catch." she said, Emerson and Horace both laughing.
The younger people surrounding them laughed and smiled, Tristan's eyes meeting Savannah's, her mother smiling at both.
"We have news, Father." Tristan said, the young man standing up, Savannah rising as well, Francesca's eyes going to her husband's, Emerson sighing, the man rising up as well, his wife joining him at his side.
"If you're about to state your love for each other, there's no point. Your mother and I have both felt its blossoming truth." Emerson said, smiling at Savannah and then his son.
Both looked surprised, their eyes meeting, Tristan's hand going in hers.
"It just happened, Father. We. . .we saw it in each other's eyes. Friendship and sibling love gave way to a greater love. I love her, Father."
"And I love her mother, Tristan. I think we've both been given our greatest
Tristan and Savannah both teared up, rushing into their parents' arms, those around them smiling widely, taking in the touching scene.
Haven sat in a wicker chair by the staircase, silently staring at all four.
"We're happy for you, both of you. Love is yours. That's all we ever wanted for you." Francesca said, the younger couple tearing up, Tristan kissing her cheek.
"We love you and Father, Mother." he said, both tearing up again.
The four chatted, others hugging them, Haven rising from his seat and shaking his brother's hand, then gently kissing Savannah's cheek.
"Congratulations, brother. You have your heart's desires. I congratulate you." the younger man said, his face showing calm quietness.
"Thank you, Puck."
Haven's eyes darkened, Tristan smiling at him.
"I know, I know! Thank you, Haven."
The young man looked at his father, Emerson staring at him.
"I shall excuse myself. I have a previous engagement." the young man said, bowing to his father, Tristan staring at him.
"Good evening, Father. I shall return late." the young man said, moving across the veranda, disappearing down the staircase, Emerson walking to the railing, staring at his younger adopted son, Tristan walking up to him.
"Is something wrong, Father? Haven seems to be very standoffish. He's been very quiet, even for himself."
Emerson's eyes met Tristan's.
"I'm not totally sure, son. He's been very moody these last few months, disappearing often, avoiding myself and Francesca." Emerson said, Grayson staring at him.
"He's become a simmering demon, Emerson. I've found him wandering all over this old place at all hours. I've tried talking to him and he just ignores me." the lawyer said, Tristan looking at his father.
"How is he doing at Belmont?" the young man said, Emerson staring at his son.
"He's doing very well, Tristan. He's moving up the ranks, a junior vice president at twenty-two. Shrewd, resourceful and focused. It's like he's two different people. An executive marvel and a simmering brooding teenager. Although the teenage years are over."
Tristan nodded, his hand going to his father's shoulder.
"Youthful bravado and maturing life. I was the same, Father. And you didn't disown me."
Emerson smiled, kissing his son's cheek.
"No I didn't, son. And you were even more brooding for a longer period of time."
Tristan's eyes went to his friends, everyone smiling at him.
"We need to talk later, son. I've something to explain to you."
"Alright, Father. And I have something to discuss as well."
Both smiled at each other, Tristan rejoining his friends, the group laughing and talking again, Emerson sitting down beside his wife.
Grayson leaned against the veranda railing, staring out towards the estate's stone bridge, seeing Haven's car disappearing across it.
His eyes moved around the veranda, focusing on the young man laughing beside Tristan.
The man's eyes met Grayson's, the lawyer smiling at him.
Grayson's eyes went back out into the falling darkness.
The lawyer's face darkened, his thoughts his own.
Emerson stood in front of the fireplace, staring up at the portrait in front of him, staring up at the three.
"I'm sorry, Tristan. I would give heaven and earth to save you from this fate. As my own father stated to me so long ago."
His body turned, staring into two green eyes of focused, stunned surprise.
"Why now, Father? Why now when I've made a future for myself?" the younger man said, Emerson's eyes meeting his son's.
"You had to know, Tristan. I could not let you walk blindly into it. A few years early, but now was necessary."
The young man rose from his seat, walking up to his father, his hand going to his shoulder.
"Because I have found love?"
The man nodded, Tristan staring at his father.
"Does Mother know?"
"Yes, Tristan. I found love as well. She had every right to know. As does Savannah. For the obvious reason." Emerson said, Tristan staring at his father.
"Show me the room, Father. I have earned that right."
Emerson's eyes teared up.
"I have forgotten how mature you've grown, Tristan."
The younger man smiled at his father.
"I am seventy-seven, Father. I wouldn't be classed as a youth."
Emerson smiled, nodding his head.
"Yes, my son. But your looks are of thirty. And your soul of an even younger age. Thrice you have walked that youthful path. Doesn't it ever tire?"
"No, Father. For I made the choice to live life to its fullest. As have you. Mother's smile and your own attest to that."
The older man smiled.
"Come, Tristan. I shall show you the path to the secrets." the man said, his hand going to the bison's head at the end of the mantle, Tristan watching as the man pulled its horn downward, the hidden entrance moving open beside the fireplace.
"I thought I knew all this house's secrets. Does it know of this room?"
"No, Tristan. Keep its secret in your hidden soul."
"Alright, Father. I shall show it no secrets."
Emerson nodded, the man moving to the entrance, Tristan following him.
Emerson suddenly stopped, his keen eyes staring towards the floor, Tristan stopping behind him.
"What is it, Father?"
Emerson leaned down, his fingers going to the dust on the floor's wooden planks.
He stood again, looking down into the darkened corridor.
"Someone's been through here, Tristan." he softly said, Tristan looking at him with surprise.
"Who, Father? I thought you alone know of it?"
"Correct, my son. I and my father only. And he can no longer traverse this path." the older man said, looking back at his son.
"Follow close, Tristan. Deceit is in the air."
Tristan nodded, following his father in silence.
Everyone stared at Emerson, Lewis stopping his narration.
"A secret passage and a hidden room? Are they still there?" Grayson said, Emerson's green eyes meeting his blue.
"Yes, they are still there, Gray."
The lawyer nodded, staring at his old friends.
"All those forgotten times that you disappeared from the library. I now see where you disappeared to."
Emerson stared at his old friend.
"I am sorry, Gray. I couldn't tell you or even Francesca of it."
The lawyer nodded again, Emerson looking around the room.
"Please keep its location to yourselves, everyone. And have fair warning. The path and the room are guarded well. It is dangerous to walk down that path. It is well protected. Life-threateningly protected."
Everyone nodded, looking towards Lucas.
The young man was staring at his grandfather.
"What lays hidden there, Grandfather?"
The older man stared at his grandson.
"I was told by my own father--and he by his--that it is a room of magic and destiny."
"Have you been in it?" Grayson said, his old friend's eyes meeting his.
"Yes, Gray. I have traversed its dimensions."
"What's there?" Lance said, Justin seated beside him, he about to ask the same question.
Lucas' eyes were on his friends, Emerson's eyes meeting Lance's.
"At the moment an empty altar, three empty vessels laying upon it. And the walls are marked by many paintings."
"What do you mean empty vessels?" Henderson asked, his wife looking at her nephew.
"They originally housed three gifts of magic." Emerson said, Lucas' violet eyes meeting his green.
Lucas' hand went to his throat, his fingers caressing the stone hanging there.
"Yes, Lucas. Your necklace was one of the three gifts." Emerson said, Lucas nodding.
"The other two being the journal and the key?"
Emerson nodded, staring at his grandson.
"They were hidden there for many years, Lucas. The journal placed there by my grandfather himself. The necklace you wear is called the Bloodrop of Love. It is older than eons. Father always speculated that perhaps Alsarius himself once wore it. No Belmont heir since has worn it."
"No one?" Finn said, staring at the red stone hanging from Lucas' open collared shirt.
"No one, Finn." Emerson said, Lucas quietly staring at his grandfather.
"It is laced with magic, Grandfather. I awoke from the pool one morning with it
hanging from my neck. I found it on an altar in my pool's center."
The older man looked surprised, staring at Lucas.
"It disappeared on its own one morning, Lucas. Father always said that it was a beacon of destiny. Perhaps it just needed the correct soul to find it."
"I didn't find it, Grandfather. I believe it found me. And now I cannot shun it. It comes back to me always."
Emerson shook his head in wonder, staring at Lucas.
"I did not believe the legends, Lucas. The legends of its greatness. I sense it feeds your soul with truth."
"Life feeds my soul with truth, Grandfather. And love fills it."
Josh smiled, Lucas having been looking at him when he spoke.
"What of the journal and key, Grandfather?"
The older man sighed, looking at his grandson.
"My own father asked me to give it to you, Lucas. When a newness walked onto the path I was to send the two to their owner. That the newness of your breath of life would need answers. That was all he said."
"The ever riddling, ever devious man your father was--and is--Grandfather."
Emerson smiled, Lucas smiling back.
'You've read the journal, Emerson?" Vivian said, Emerson's eyes meeting hers.
"No, Vivian. The only one who's read it before Lucas was its writer." the man said, everyone looking with surprise at Lucas.
"I had opened the case and flipped through it, Lucas. It revealed only blankness, as had to my father." Emerson said, looking at him.
"But why is it so important that I read it, Grandfather?" Lucas said, the older man sighing again.
"I do not know, Lucas. The history you've read was known to all of us, the descendants of Alsarius. I knew of his fateful voyage down into the tomb, and of his reappearance later, and his saving his lost love." Emerson said, Lucas nodding.
"There must be more hidden within its pages." the young man said, Emerson quietly staring at him.
"All I know is that father told me that Grandfather risked much in creating it. For it wouldn't have allowed its existence."
"It? You mean the monster?" Finn said, staring at Lucas.
Emerson's eyes went around, everyone staring at him.
"Yes, Finn. The monster that watches all of us. Several of the men of courage had received its rebuke, its anger. My father was the last. And I am too much of a coward to do the same." Emerson said, Lucas pushing Josh up, the young man rising and going to his grandfather's chair again.
He knelt before him, kissing his cheek.
"You are no such thing, Grandfather. Perhaps you have the greatest courage of all of us." he said, Emerson staring into his grandson' violet pools.
"I see a greater depth of courage hidden within your violet pools, Lucas. Even more violet streaked than my beloved Francesca." the older man said, Lucas smiling at him.
"I am a Belmont, Grandfather. Courage runs through all our veins. From the Arabian forefather to myself. And each generation was more courageous." Lucas said, standing up again.
Emerson stared up at his grandson, seeing the total love showing in his violet eyes, Lucas' hand going to the stone hanging around his throat.
"It begins." he softly said, Emerson the only one hearing his voice.
"Continue with your story, Lewis. Walk into the day's reality." Lucas said, his eyes meeting the minister's.
Lewis was about to speak when the veranda's quietness was broken by a new voice.
"A fool's path is always walked by a fool. And I'm back in a house of fools."
All eyes turned, Emerson's darkening, Lucas' violet pools staring into the brown eyes of a tall, handsome middle-aged man.
Jefferson stood at the man's side, having guided him to the veranda.
"And this must be Tristan's bastard son. As handsome and foolish as my brother."
Lucas' violet pools stared into Haven Marlowe's brown eyes, the veranda doused in silence.
End of Chapter 69
And the elusive Haven Marlowe now returns to Kurucu's Haven.
What is the story behind him and his brother's animosity?
What is he doing now at his adoptive father's door?
And why does he show up just when Lewis was about to reveal that day of terror so long ago?
I think you know the answer.
I'm so very devilish!
This will be the last chapter of this year, the upcoming weeks a festive time of
family and love.
At this time I'd like to wish all of you a festive season of laughter, love, happiness and dreams.
To my editor, the merriest of holidays, memories a large part of it.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
God bless us, everyone.