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Trish's blue eyes stared at her mother, the young woman rising from her seat, Lucas rising from his knees in front of her as well, everyone around them staring at the two in shock.
"Mother. . .it. . .it can't be!" she said softly, Vivian's blue eyes staring at her daughter.
"I'm sorry. . .I'm sorry, Patricia. I. . .I never wanted you to know! It. . .it was never supposed to be known by you or Lucas!" Vivian sobbed, Henderson's arm going around his wife, his blue eyes staring at his daughter.
Trish's eyes turned when a hand went to her chin, her wetting blue pools staring into two violet pools of brotherly love.
"The past was not of your doing, Patricia. Or in fact of your mother's doing. What you need to focus on is the life you've had, and the love you've had. Mom's and especially Dad's." Lucas said, the young woman staring at him, Andrew now standing at her side.
"I. . .I am not. . ."
"You're you, Trisha. The you our parents loved and created. You are a symbol of their uniting love. Not a creation of a young man's evilness. Your soul is filled with goodness and love. You are your mother's daughter. And your heart is seasoned with your always known father's love."
Henderson teared up, Trish moving from her brother's side, her parents rising to their feet, the young woman stopping in front of her mother, staring into her blue eyes filled with tears.
"He's. . .that man's my father?" she softly said, Vivian's blue eyes wet.
"I'm sorry, Patricia. I wasn't strong enough. . .I didn't. . .I didn't see what he was doing! I wasn't strong enough to fight. . .!" she sobbed, Trish pulling her mother into her arms.
Her blue eyes met her father's, Henderson staring at her with tearful love.
"I loved you from the first moment I met you on the day of your birth, Trisha. As I've loved your mother. To my heart and soul you are my daughter. My love was always yours. And. . .and it still is." he said, Trish releasing her mother gently, staring into her blue eyes.
"It doesn't make sense, Mom. I'm almost twenty-four. That evening long ago happened only twenty-two years ago."
Vivian's eyes met her daughter's, and then her son's, Lucas quietly staring at her.
"The night of my sinning happened before that night of Lucas' parents' disappearance and the ball."
Lucas walked up to his family, staring at his mother.
"It happened over a year before that last meeting of the Pompous Darlings. You were already an infant of only a few months, I having left you in Wales with Henderson." Vivian said, Henderson's arm going around her, her blue eyes meeting her husband's.
"Henderson and I had fallen in love, meeting the first year we attended college. A few months after that it happened, when I'd returned here for a short vacation by myself during a downtime at school. Haven was here then, and we were left alone one evening. He said he had a gift for me, the two of us enjoying a happy evening together. The gift my evil brother gave me was hurt and sin." she said, Henderson staring into her blue eyes.
"Mom, did. . .did he. . .?" Trish softly said, Vivian's eyes meeting her blue.
"No, Trish. It wasn't exactly rape. I was given drinks, and I became incapable of fighting against what he wanted. I eventually gave in against his demands. And I've hated myself ever since for it." she said, Henderson's arm going around her again.
"You were trapped, Mom. What you did after showed the depth of your courage." Lucas said, Vivian staring at her son, her eyes meeting her daughter's again.
"I told Henderson when I returned to London, his love unflinching. He forgave me my mistake. The mistake of trusting someone as family. His forgiving beauty still echoes in my soul."
The man smiled, everyone staring at their total love for each other.
"I loved her then, I love her now. She was deceived and hurt by a charlatan, and my love healed her soul. And I accepted the creation that came from that deception because of what it meant for me. It was a small child of beauty and love. And I've tried to be her father since the day she was born in my arms."
Trish teared up, staring at her father.
"You. . .you are my father, Dad. Love is the truth of that."
"I returned here to Kurucu's Haven after you were born. Lewis and Henderson were the only two who knew of my pain. Lewis' giving heart made me realize that I had to tell my family. That I had to show the monster living in its midst."
Lewis smiled at his old friend, remembering the day in England when she'd confessed to him of the man's defilement of her soul.
His love and giving guidance had made her reveal the truth to her Henderson, the man showing no lowering in his eyes in his love for her.
And he'd accepted the child as his own, its beauty capturing his soul.
"I saw before me two people who loved each other, who would love the child forthcoming. For that child would grow in the love they showed." Lewis said, looking at his friend.
Vivian teared up at her friend, her eyes going to Trish's blue again.
"I'm sorry, Patricia. I'm sorry for not having the strength to fight him."
Trish moved again, her hand going to her mother's cheek.
"Oh, Mom. Don't be sorry for the creation of my being. Be happy with the greater creation you've both created. I am your daughter, I am not his unknown child. And I am my father's daughter, my loving father's daughter." Trish cried, Henderson and Vivian both crying as well, the two pulling the young woman into their arms.
Josh walked up to Lucas, his tearing eyes meeting his blue, his man putting his arm around him.
"This is so surprising, Lucas. So unbelievably surprising." he said, Lucas nodding.
"Our lives are surprising, my Joshua. The Belmont and Carlisle families are indeed surprising." he said, meeting his grandfather's green irises, the man showing soft emotion in his emerald pools.
Lucas walked up to the three of his family, all their blue eyes meeting his violet.
"We are a family. Neither the truthful past, nor the pain suffered by us, will ever change that. A family is love. We love each other. The past can't hold a candle to the love it creates."
The three moved, pulling Lucas into their midst, the four hugging deeply, everyone surrounding them looking on with showing love.
Lucas parted from the three, his violet eyes meeting his mother's tearful blue.
"You are wrong, Mom. You are strong. Strong in your convictions to walk the path of life. To give your daughter and your nephew your showing love. To protect my parents from my uncle's evil. To protect your friends from the following evil. All of you made a promise to my parents to keep them safe. The core of all five of you was your love. Lewis has benefited from it, so have you. The love you five created was strong, courageous and joined. It cost one his life, one his now pain-free soul and the other three paths of hurt and sorrow. But the love still shines there."
Vivian looked at Lewis, the minister walking up to them, his blue eyes staring into Lucas' violet pools.
"Your words are steeped in truth, Lucas. The five of us were ironclad in our loyalty to each other. We stood together when Vivian was hurt by Haven, when your parents were threatened, and when they had to disappear. And we stand together now. Jacques gave his life for their love, for our love. We honour him by continuing to show that love to each other."
Lucas nodded, looking around the veranda.
"You continue on the path with courage and love. And now it's greater because mine is there as well." Lucas said, everyone smiling at him.
Finn walked up to them, Lucas looking at his friend.
"So your aunt--your adoptive mother, Vivian--was deceived and seduced by Haven? And you knew about it Henderson, before that last time everyone came here?"
"Yes, Finn. And Trish was born just before that time as well." Lucas said, Finn nodding.
His blue eyes looked at Henderson.
"I saw your face when Haven appeared, Henderson. You looked like you wanted to kill him." Finn said, Henderson nodding, his arm going around his wife again.
"No one hurts those I love, Finn. It took all of my resolve to stop myself from throwing that man off this veranda."
Finn nodded, Lucas's hand going to his father's shoulder.
"Your decorum and resolve benefited you, Dad. Haven Marlowe is a dangerous man. It's best to not challenge him. I'll protect all of you from him, Dad."
Henderson nodded at his son, Vivian's blue eyes meeting his.
"What happened to your parents after that, Luke? That bastard said your father was poisoned." Finn said, looking towards Emerson, the man having been standing quietly away from them, staring at all of them.
Lucas broke his hold on his sister, their eyes meeting.
He walked over to Emerson, the man staring into his violet pools.
"We've heard the stories of giving love. Of parental love giving its children unconditional love. Dad accepting Trishy's love as his own. Mom accepting her past and moving on with her new daughter's love, showing that child a loving home. My parents sacrificing their own lives perhaps for my safety. You confronting your adoptive son against the pain he gave your adoptive daughter. But perhaps you and my grandmother gave a greater sacrifice."
Emerson's eyes went to Vivian, the woman staring at him with confusion.
"What are you talking of, Lucas?" she said, Lucas looking back at his mother, then his violet eyes meeting Lewis' blue staring pools.
"I think you should continue your story, Reverend." Lucas said, Josh walking up to his man again.
Lucas smiled at him as Josh put his arm around him again, Lucas meeting Lance and Justin's gazes, the two smiling at him with love.
"Alright, Lucas. But perhaps we should take a break. The hour is approaching dinner." the minister said, Lucas smiling at him, the young man leaning against the railing again, Josh leaning against it as well.
"We can dine of truth first, Lewis. Its meal will make our hearts heal."
The minister nodded, looking at Emerson.
"Lewis is right, Lucas. We should best save the past for a later time." Emerson said, his eyes not meeting Lucas' violet, the young man's hand going to his shoulder.
"Sit down, Grandfather, please. It's time your heart found its own healing love. I am what you need. In all times, on all paths."
Emerson stared at Lucas, seeing so much love in his violet eyes, his own green pools showing deep emotion.
"I. . .I loved them all, Lucas. How can I face that truth?"
Lucas' arm went around the older man, his lips kissing his cheek.
"By showing your soul, Grandfather. By showing us all your true soul."
The man lowered his eyes again, sitting down in his vacated chair again, everyone returning to their seats, Vivian the last to sit down again, staring at Emerson.
Trish joined her and her father, Andrew sitting down beside his fiancée.
Lucas smiled around at everyone, his violet pools staring at the minister.
"Continue, servant of God. Reveal the truth, monstrous and evil, but giving and sacrificial. And then I'll voice my own truths. The meal will be filling."
The clergyman looked at him with confusion, reluctantly nodding his head.
"With God I continue, with hope and faith I speak. With your giving grace I see."
Lucas smiled, the minister's voice filling the veranda again.
Twenty-two years earlier
Emerson closed the hidden doorway behind him, its sealed secrecy closed again.
He looked around the library, seeing no one in the room.
He walked over to the bar, staring at the unfinished drink sitting on top of its surface, where Haven had abandoned it.
He looked at the clock on the mantle of the fireplace below the portrait, reading the hour as one.
A soft rap came to the door, Emerson bidding enter.
Grayson walked into the library, Lewis following him.
"The house is closed up, Emerson. The guests have all gone. Although one seems to be missing. We've searched everywhere. The caterer thinks he took off earlier unseen." Grayson said, Emerson staring at him.
"Yes, a young man, one of the bartenders I believe."
Lewis and Grayson traded looks, staring at the older man.
"How did you know? Have you seen him? Where is he, Emerson? Tell us and we'll throw him out."
"There is no reason to throw him out, Lewis. He is beyond threat or aid." the man said, raising the glass of brandy, turning it over and pouring its contents onto the floor, the two men looking at him with confusion as they watched the liquid wet the hardwood flooring.
"Where is Haven?" Emerson said, Grayson looking at him.
"He's downstairs in the receiving room with the rest of the family, as you requested. Everyone's waiting there." Emerson nodded, placing the glass back on the bar's wooden surface.
"Before you face him again, we need to talk in private, Emerson." the lawyer said, looking at Lewis.
Lewis began to leave, the lord of the house stopping his movement with his hand.
"Stay, Lewis. My friend's digressions hold no sway in my heart, nor should they in anyone's. His love is entrenched in all of us, myself the most."
Grayson stared at his friend in shock, Emerson walking up to him, his hand going to his shoulder.
"I love you, Grayson. The dearest, devoted, giving friend of my heart. I know the monster snared you within his net. As he did my daughter."
Lewis looked totally surprised, staring at the handsome lawyer, Grayson's eyes lowering.
"In much the same way, Emerson. He plied me with alcohol, and then seduction. And that turned to blackmail. It was the reasoning behind my involvement with the Governors and their quick ascension of him to the board."
"He got you drunk, seduced you, then blackmailed you into making the Governors select him as chairman at twenty-two."
Grayson nodded, the man suddenly going to his knees before his friend.
"Forgive me, Emerson! I am as much a deceiver as he. I have brought hurt to you and to Vivian. If I had stood up to him, I could have spared his hurting her, and his eyes going to gaining control of your business!"
Grayson's eyes raised, staring into his friend's green pools.
"I will leave now, and forever leave your sight. You do not need my cowardice in your life."
Emerson's hand went to his friend's shoulder again.
"I need not your forgiveness, only your devotional love, Gray.
And that I've
always had. Our friendship shall never falter, my friend."
The lawyer teared up, Emerson bringing him up to his feet again, the two staring at each other.
"I am the only one here who should seek forgiveness, Gray."
"You, Emerson? For what do you need forgiveness?" Lewis said, the man staring at the future minister.
"For not seeing what surrounded me. I've always
known that evil was here, was simmering below the surface. Biding its time until
it found the one."
"The one for what?" Grayson said, Emerson's eyes going to the portrait, the other two glancing at it.
"For the seed of control, of evil and of desire. Haven's been seduced, my friends. And his soul's now lost to the void of eternal evil."
The two looked surprised, Grayson staring at his friend.
"What do you mean, Em?"
"I found your missing guest, Grayson. Or should I say I found what was left of him. He was devoured by a creature of wanton destruction. His carcass lays half eaten in a hidden room within this house's depths."
The two men looked stunned, Grayson's face going white.
"It was. . .Haven?" He stuttered, Lewis staring at Emerson with shock.
"No, I don't think it was totally Haven, although I know the man knew the victim. As I know you did as well, Grayson."
The lawyer nodded, staring at his friend.
"I saw Haven and a bartender named Shilo Harmon go into a bathroom upstairs this evening."
"Yes, as I saw them a few years ago in the north garden's pool. I know Haven was keeping the man well housed in Ridgehaven for many years. He was a servant to the man's needs.." Emerson said, his eyes going to the bar beside his desk.
"You knew of their trysts?" Lewis said with surprise, the older man nodding
"Yes, Lewd, friend of my children. I have had my eyes on Haven's dealings for quite some time. It is always best to keep your enemies close to watch their seduction. It was a seduction I couldn't stop." Emerson said, the man walking up to the fireplace, staring up at the portrait above him.
"A seduction none of us could stop." he softly said, the man sighing.
Grayson and Lewis exchanged glances, the older man turning his head, both staring into his green eyes, seeing the changing life in those eyes, and the focusing courage and determination.
"You are my dearest friend, Grayson. And you are a man of faith and devotion, Lewis. I shall need both of you tonight. For it's time to draw out the monster and save all of them."
The two men traded looks, Emerson's body turning, staring at both.
"But first you need to know the truth, of what I am, and of what I must do."
An hour later Emerson watched his dearest friend and another man of budding faith walk silently out of his library, the two carrying a truth within their souls.
Both souls held a greater faith and a greater understanding of life within them.
Emerson sighed, leaning against the fireplace mantle, staring into the dying fire below it.
I do not have your courage, Father.
But I have your love.
And I love all of them.
For their freedom and my son's most of all, I shall do what must be done.
The man's head raised, staring up at the portrait.
"Come forth, servant of evil. Come forth to justice. I know you hide in the shadows."
The man's green eyes turned, scanning the room, the darkness of its corners shedding no movement.
"Show yourself, Kurucu's minion. As you've shown yourself to all of us."
Emerson's eyes caught a congealing movement in the far dark corner of the room near the bar.
A form stepped out of the shadows, Emerson's green eyes staring into two other identical green pools, a handsome face walking out of the darkness.
"Hello, Emerson. Second last of the line. I feel the courage has centered." the man said, Emerson staring at him.
"I fear not that which has been sated. I found your unfinished meal."
The man softly smiled, his hand going to his lips, wiping them softly.
"Youthful and succulent, tasty with filled eroticism. He was indeed delicious."
"He was a young man of no consequence whom you destroyed. You are evil incarnate."
"Haven tasted him, I only thought it fair I should as well. I overindulged myself."
The man smiled, walking over to the bar on his left, staring at the bottles held within it.
"I am life and I am the drink of life, Emerson Belmont. You know the truth in all that. You heed the truth and you tow the line."
"It ends here, sir." Emerson said, the man's eyes going towards his, their greenness glowing.
"It ends never, son of Joshua, grandson of Emmanuel. Your lineage follows its destiny."
Emerson stared at the man, their eyes locked on each other's.
"I'm throwing him out of this house, monster. His heart is yours. And my son's is mine."
The man smiled, his eyes going to the portrait hanging above the fireplace.
"They are all mine, Emerson. And you know that's true."
"Yes, I know the deep truth in that. And I also know the courage now laying within my heart. I finally see what must be done."
The man smiled, picking up a bottle of Napoleon brandy out of the bar's cabinet, staring at the bottle's old label.
"I knew the man whose name dons this bottle. He was a small, short tyrant but a controlling disciple nonetheless. I took great joy in leading him onward in his conquests. All men can be controlled, you just need to know the charm to control them. You know I know your charm, Emerson."
The man's green eyes stared at the apparition before him, seeing the deadness of its green irises.
"Leave my family out of this, minion!"
The man smiled, then laughed, setting the bottle on the bar's surface, staring at Emerson.
"Your family--whether of blood or of fate--are all within this, Emerson. You know the truth of that. As you know that there is no escape from the one's desires."
"I will sacrifice everything to see them safe, to
see them free of your evil."
The man laughed again, smiling at Emerson, his green eyes softly glowing again.
"You have nothing to sacrifice, least of all your life, as you well know." he said, the man walking up to Emerson, Emerson backing up against his desk.
The image walked up to the fireplace, staring up at the portrait.
"The Trinity is set. Your son is the last of the three. It is time he takes his place at the nexus of the three. It is time you go on to the Guardianship."
"That is not for another twenty years!"
The man's eyes met Emerson's again.
"It is when the master says it is. And he now states that you've overextended your existence. You worry him. You are delving in things that mustn't be trifled with. Haven's time has come, as has Tristan's. And your time now comes to an end."
"If it's death you wish to mete out I'll gladly fight you
till the end of
The man laughed again, smiling at Emerson.
"Come, Belmont. Showing courage at the end? A little late perhaps?"
A knock came to the door, a soft voice sounding from the hall.
"Emerson? Are you alright?" a feminine voice said.
The man stared at Emerson.
"Say your goodbyes to her, and prepare for the final night." the man said, his image instantly disappearing from the room.
Emerson stared at the man's vanished form, staring towards the door.
The door opened, Francesca walking into the room.
"You didn't answer me, my love." she said, walking across the room, Emerson's arms going around her.
He hugged her close, the woman feeling a soft desperation in his embrace, his lips going to hers, she feeling his total love.
"Are you alright, my love? You seem emotional, and there was a greatness of love in that kiss."
"I love you, Franny. I love you so much!"
"What's wrong, Emerson?"
Emerson stared into her violet eyes seeing the soft glow deep within them.
"Your magic simmers, my love. We don't have much time, shorter than we had hoped."
Francesca stared at her husband, his hand going to her chest, rubbing the soft skin there.
She felt the man placing something into her hand, the woman feeling its warmth.
"We must hurry. The shadow is coming."
The woman's eyes widened with emotion, the man holding her close again.
She stared into his green eyes, seeing the deep emotion there.
"For your love and for theirs, I am ready, my
"As am I, Francesca. You need to go to them. They'll need your love tonight as well as mine."
She nodded, breaking her hold on her husband, her lips meeting his again.
"I hope your souls shine tonight, my love. For your sake and for theirs."
"And what of your own soul, my angel of love?"
She smiled, staring into his green eyes.
"It was given to you forever, Emerson. You have the
only claim to it."
Emerson teared up, the woman wiping the tear from his cheek, smiling at him.
"For love and destiny, for him and his future love." she said, the woman quietly walking to the door, turning and looking at her husband.
"I love you, Emerson. In this life and the next." she said, lowering her eyes, walking out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Emerson lowered his eyes, his heart filled with her love.
"Such touching sweetness. She is a creature of average beauty though."
Emerson's body turned, staring into two green intense eyes, the man shown again, seated in his desk's chair.
"She is love and she is my life. She is a sparrow of love and you are a vulture of evil." Emerson said, the man in the chair moving, his hands going around Emerson's throat in a flash, gripping around it like a vice.
"She will scream as they all do. Perhaps I should allow you to watch."
Emerson struggled, the eyes staring at him widening with glowing brightness.
"Never. . .with my last. . ." he struggled to say, the man feeling the darkness engulfing his mind.
"Soon enough, old one." the man said, releasing his hold on Emerson, the man falling to the floor unconscious.
The man smiled, walking over to the bar, picking up the bottle of Napoleon brandy, walking back to Emerson.
He grabbed the man's hand, beginning to drag him to the fireplace, the man hitting the hidden catch on the buffalo head, the doorway opening.
The man smiled down at the man as he pulled him through into the darkness.
"Let the fun begin."
He laughed, disappearing with Emerson behind the closing door.
Tristan stared at his brother, Haven leering towards him.
The younger man sat in a wing chair by the fireplace in the large Receiving Room, staring at his brother seated with his wife.
Vivian sat on another sofa, Lewis and Jacques seated on both sides of her.
Grayson stood by the fireplace, his eyes on Haven.
"Where is Father? It is late and I'm tired." Haven said, smiling at Grayson.
"You stay put, Haven. I told Emerson I'd keep your here till he joined us. No one goes to bed until this is all hashed out." Grayson said, Haven staring at him again.
"My, you've become Father's lion of courage, old boy."
"I'm his friend, Haven. I will always stand by him."
Haven laughed, looking towards his brother and Savannah.
"Who needs friends when one can have anyone. And I mean anyone." he smiled, Tristan glaring at him.
"Be quiet, Haven. There will be time enough soon for you and I to voice our thoughts." Tristan said, Savannah rubbing his shoulder beside him.
Haven's eyes wandered, going up to the portrait hanging above the large fireplace, the young man staring at Tristan's newly commissioned portrait, the man central on his horse in the picture.
"An interesting portrait, Trist. It's not often you see a jackass riding a horse."
Tristan began to move, Savannah using all her hand's strength to keep him on the couch.
"He's baiting you, Tricky. Calmness, my love."
The door of the Receiving Room opened, Francesca walking into the room, her eyes meeting everyone's, lastly stopping on Haven.
She ignored him, walking over to her daughter, Vivian standing up.
"You should be resting, dear. This is too emotional
for you. You don't need to hear or see the drama about to unfold."
"I'm alright, Mother. I needed to be here. This concerns myself as well. I can face him and all of you."
Francesca smiled at her daughter, kissing her cheek, Vivian's eyes going to the necklace her mother wore.
"Mom. . .why do you. . .?"
The woman's finger went to her daughter's lips, smiling at her.
"Why do I stand beside you? Because, I love you. You have done nothing wrong, my child." she said, the woman wrapping the shawl she wore around her arms around her chest, pulling it closer to her body, Vivian's eyes seeing the necklace disappear into its folds.
"My it is cool in here! Put another log on the fire, Grayson. Emerson needs to have the heating system redone. It's July and this room holds a frigid coolness." she said, Grayson nodding at her, meeting her violet eyes.
"As you wish, Franny." he smiled, picking up a log from the log bin, opening the grate and adding it to the smouldering embers.
Francesca walked over to her other daughter, sitting down beside her son, Savannah and Tristan both kissing her cheek, the older woman smiling at both of them.
"Emerson will be here, shortly. He's just centering himself."
"Our father is in no way centered, Mother." Haven said, her violet eyes looking towards him.
"He is the center of our universe, Haven. I think you've forgotten that."
The young man smiled, staring at his adoptive father's second wife.
"And you've forgotten the mother that ran this place before you. Sweet Isadora had courage. Too bad she died so tragic. Mother, I indeed miss."
Tristan's eyes glared at the young man, hearing the hidden insult in his brother's voice.
"Now see here, Haven!" Tristan said, Francesca's hand going to his shoulder, the man surrounded by Carlisle beauty.
"Your brother is not himself, Tristan. Your father will deal with that."
Everyone quietly looked at the woman, Francesca's eyes lowering.
A few minutes later the room's door opened, Emerson walking into the room, everyone staring at him.
"Thank you all for waiting to retire. I'm sorry that I was detained."
"Everything alright, Emerson?" Grayson said, the older man looking into his blue eyes.
"No, Grayson. It is not, my friend." Emerson said, closing the door behind him.
Grayson's eyes went to the liquor bottle Emerson held in his hand, the man's eyes meeting Lewis' in silent puzzlement.
"Please sit down, Grayson." Emerson said, the lawyer nodding, sitting down in an armchair across from Haven, the young man staring at his father.
"We've discussed this already, sir. You stated your intentions upstairs, Father. I'm leaving in the morning."
Emerson's green eyes went to his adoptive son's brown pools, the man walking up to the fireplace beside him, staring up at his son's portrait above its mantle.
"You are not going anywhere, Haven. You're staying here in Kurucu's Haven."
Everyone looked surprised, no more so than Tristan, the young man rising from his seat.
"Father, have you lost your mind?! He's a simmering monster!"
Emerson turned, staring at his son, Tristan seeing the seriousness in his father's green pools.
"I know well what the young man is, Tristan. As I
know what you are."
The young man stared at his father, Francesca rising to her son's side.
"What's changed, Emerson?"
"My eyes have opened, Francesca. I see the deceit, debauchery and the conniving plotting surrounding me. It's time I took charge of my family. And to do that I will need to rescind the leadership of Belmont Industries. I shall leave it in your capable hands, Haven. I see the greatness of your intelligence and your corporate behaviour."
Haven smiled, rising from his chair, Grayson rising from his as well.
"Well played, Father. There is hope for you after all." Haven smirked, Emerson staring at Grayson.
"Before you say a word, Grayson, my word is final.
Haven will lead Belmont Industries forward. It is in capable hands. I
will not deviate from that request."
Grayson stared at his friend, shock showing on his face.
"But, Emerson! Why. . .why now?"
Emerson sighed, looking at Haven, then at his son.
"My family has wavered from its task, from its destiny. My son is at a crossroads. It is time I led him forward to where he must go. It is time you walked into your destiny, Tristan."
Lewis rose from his seat, Jacques rising as well, both showing concern crossing their faces.
Vivian rose as well, staring at Tristan.
"Father, what. . .what are you saying?" she said, Emerson staring towards her.
"Silence, Vivian. You don't need to voice tonight what we all already know. I have a daughter who isn't chasten anymore. A daughter of dubious inclination. The seed of evil has entered you."
Vivian stared at her father in shock, Francesca walking up to him.
"Emerson! That's your daughter, and my child you're speaking to."
"Silence, wife! I am the head of this house."
Everyone stared at the man, his form one of challenging, erect, authority.
"What has gotten into you, Father?" Tristan said, his father staring at him.
"Truth, my son. The truth of what my family's been
doing to me."
Savannah rose from her seat, staring at her father.
"We have only ever been loving you, Father."
Emerson ignored her, staring at his son.
"You will leave school immediately, Tristan. You will return here and take up the mantle of your birthright. The path has solidified for both of us. The Trinity begins."
Tristan's face showed total shock, Haven staring at both of them with confusion.
"That. . .that's impossible, Father! There is still over twenty years of life span till then!" the younger man said, Emerson staring at his son.
"Give me two glasses, Haven. I want to toast my son's coming of age."
Haven stared at his father for a moment, then glanced at the bottle in his father's hand, the young man smiling widely.
"Certainly, Father. It would be my pleasure to witness the pact of the Belmont soul." the young man smiled, walking over to the bar near the window, picking up two highball glasses, walking back to his father with a soft smile on his face.
"Come, Tristan. It is time to return to your destiny. Father is right. Honour him with that request. Leave Belmont Industries in my charge. We shall both prosper from its increasing wealth. The name Belmont will ring through the ages with its power!" Haven smiled, Tristan staring at his contemptuous brother.
Tristan's eyes met his father's again, Emerson softly smiling at him.
"Come, Tristan. Let us be the family we should be." Emerson said, staring towards Grayson.
"Initiate proceedings in the morning, Mr. Wainwright. I want Haven Marlowe's name changed to Belmont. From this day forward he shall be my legal son."
"Emerson, you can't be serious?!" Francesca said, staring at her husband, staring into his green determined eyes.
She looked puzzled, her hand going to her throat.
"What is wrong, woman? Haven't you ever seen a man charged with family duty? You are my wife and you shall cower to my demands."
Francesca stared at her husband, the woman's eyes going to Grayson's concerned blue.
"You heard our father, Tristan. Drink a toast to his charged greatness. The Belmont clan is one." Haven said, Emerson raising the bottle of Napoleon brandy showing in his hand.
"This bottle is older than any of us, son. It is only fitting that history and life destine together."
Tristan stared around at everyone, Savannah's arm going around him.
"Please, Tristan. Drink it for his sake, and then we'll make our choice." she said, Tristan's eyes meeting hers.
Tristan's green eyes returned to his father's green, Haven smiling as Emerson opened the bottle, pouring the rich brown liquid into two glasses.
Haven smiled, handing Tristan a glass, the young man staring with anger at his brother, his green eyes glancing at his father, the older man showing a look of deep compassion.
"For the family and our honour, Tristan. For myself, your father."
Tristan sighed, raising the glass.
"I will toast you, Father. You and your love. But I will not agree to this travesty." Tristan said, saluting his father, the young man downing the glass' contents.
Haven smiled, staring at his brother.
"I am leaving, you are correct, Father. But it is not to school I shall return. I am leaving this house, this evil and this monstrosity you now call your son. I hate all that you just stated and I shall never walk this house again!"
Tristan moved, Emerson's face showing a sudden anger, everyone showing total shock, the man moving with surprising speed, his hand slapping his son across the face, Tristan falling to his knees in shock, Savannah screaming.
"Tristan!" she screamed, moving towards her man, Francesca's arm going around her, stopping her.
Lewis saw the changing looks on Emerson's face, the young man realizing the truth.
"You will be a Belmont, and you will be my son! And
you will be a Kurucu!" Emerson said, his face suddenly beginning to morph
into a showing monster.
Everyone gasped, Vivian and Savannah both screaming.
Lewis moved with surprising speed, the young man rushing in front of Tristan as the monster before him reached out for him, its claw-like hands going to the man's throat.
"I feel your piety, sinful excuse for a bastard priest!" Emerson said, his hand moving with lightning speed, Lewis thrown across the room, colliding with Jacques, the two going to the floor.
Tristan stared with shock at the monster before him, his green eyes widening with showing fear.
"What. . .what are you?" he cried, the monster advancing on him.
"I am your destiny, Belmont! And I am your nightmares!"
Tristan screamed as the monster lunged at him, the young man preparing for the impacting force, a sudden movement to his left widening his eyes more.
"No, Mother!" he screamed, a hand going between him and his father, the young man staring at a teardrop shaped red stone hitting the monster's face, the monster screaming with horrific bone-chilling loudness, its hand grabbing hold of Francesca's necklace-enclosed hand.
The room suddenly erupted in a bright white light, everyone blinded by it.
Then as suddenly as it came the light was gone.
Everyone rose to their feet, staring around the room.
Emerson the monster and Francesca were both gone.
Everyone's eyes were on Lucas, the stone hanging around his neck showing through his open shirt seemed to suddenly glow.
Lucas stared around at everyone, Vivian's tearful eyes meeting his, Reverend Saunders' blue eyes locked on his as well.
"And so the night is shown, with all its showing monsters." Lucas said, the young man walking out of Josh's arms, Josh's blue eyes following his every move.
He traded looks with Justin and Lance, all three following Lucas' path.
The young man didn't walk far.
He stood before his grandfather's chair, staring down at him.
"You. . .you shouldn't have delved into the past, my. . .my grandson. Old monsters may come again."
Lucas knelt before the older man, taking his hands in his, the old man trembling.
"Look into my eyes, Grandfather. The violet love of your forgotten dreams."
Emerson's head raised, staring into Lucas' violet pools.
"So violet like hers, Lucas. You have her love within you. The love she gave so freely, even unto the end."
"Her love mirrored your own, Grandfather. For you prepared out of necessity, the sacrifice all that you loved."
Emerson trembled, Lucas' finger going to his cheek, wiping a tear from it that had rolled down.
"That monster showing that night wasn't you, Grandfather. It was the monster of our past, the evil of our souls."
.you don't understand, Lucas. None of you can grasp
what. . .what it is. I have tried all my life. And any hopes of freeing ourselves
from it have been in vain."
"Like the hope you showed that night, Grandfather?"
Emerson's eyes widened a bit, Lucas smiling at him.
The young man rose from his knees, staring at the minister.
"A very detailed story, Reverend Saunders. I believe you had many discussions with Grandfather and Grayson after that night in the next few days after."
Grayson's eyes met Lewis', the minister's meeting Lucas again.
"Yes, Lucas. They both filled me in on the circumstances and the truths all showed."
Lucas nodded, Grayson's eyes meeting his.
Lucas looked at the minister again, smiling at him.
"Thank you for trying to save my father's life, Lewd. You showed your love in that, your own sacrifice."
The minister nodded his head, joining his hands before him.
"I would have done it for any of the five. They were in all
essence my brothers and sisters."
Vivian teared up, her eyes meeting her son's.
"The monster who walked into the Receiving Room that night was not your father, Mom. It was the apparition that confronted my Grandfather in his library. You were trapped in the center of this house, deep within the hidden room, weren't you, Grandfather?"
Emerson's eyes raised, staring at Lucas, then at Vivian.
"I. . .I awoke there the next morning, its door now unlocked. I walked upstairs to find everyone staring at me with vileness, with loathing and fear."
"You then realized that your plan had bore some truth."
Emerson looked shocked, Lucas walking up to him again, gently rising him out of his chair.
"It is not hard to see that you and my grandmother created a scheme, a final hope to impede the monster, to risk all to have all."
"I loved them all, Lucas! I. . .we. . .we could not risk all. My Francesca risked all, and lost all." Emerson sobbed, his head lowering, Vivian moving across the veranda, Lucas quietly watching her.
She walked up to her stepfather, staring at him.
"You. . .you were not the monster. You. . .you and she. . .you both. . .!" she cried, Emerson's head raising, staring into her blue eyes.
"I loved you and your sister, Vivacious. As much as I loved my son. And I loved your mother even more. She. . .she. . .she thought. . ."
"She thought up the plan of the final gamble. That the magic that came from the monster might be used against it."
Emerson's eyes went to the stone around Lucas' neck.
"Your grandmother was a woman of hidden magic, Lucas. A magic of her own ancestral truth."
"I know, Grandfather. For I feel that magic mixed with the other."
Lucas smiled at him and Vivian, the young man sighing.
"I have the greater magic, Grandfather. For you and my mothers, for your love and hers I risk this."
Everyone looked confused, Lucas' hand going to the stone around his throat.
"For love everything is worth the risk. What is life without love?"
The stone in his hand suddenly trembled, Lucas gasping, Emerson and Vivian looking at him with concern.
"Lucas. . .what are you. . .?" Emerson said, his words cut off by a sudden burst of white light.
The veranda was as if the sun had dropped down into its center, the light blinding and radiating at everyone.
As suddenly as it came it was gone.
Lucas staggered, Josh and Justin at his sides in a flash, the young man gasping.
"Welcome. . .to the true path. . ." Lucas said, the young man collapsing into Josh's arms.
Everyone looked with worry at the young man, all of them on their feet.
Their concern was forgotten when a new voice entered the quiet late afternoon silence.
"Em? Is. . .is that you?"
Emerson's green eyes moved, their emerald centers widening with shock.
Standing in the doorway into the house was his long-lost wife, Francesca.
Vivian screamed, the woman rushing across the veranda into her mother's widening arms.
End of Chapter 71
And the lost past walks into the present's sunshine.
The lost Francesca returned to life and her husband's home.
The day of monsters and evil now revealed, all parties now showing their truths.
But is there more hidden behind those truths?
What of Haven?
What of the apparition of evil monstrousness?
The path widens and deepens.
Let's hope the author has a life raft.
I'd hate to drown in my imagination.
But man, what a way to go!