The State Of The Union

IC Time: May 13
Location: Castle Volterra: Private Sitting Room
Synopsis: Aro and Caius discuss recent events and the future.
Submitted by: Caius

This evening finds Caius in the sitting room. He is tense, restless, despite the recent feeding (courtesy of Heidi). The ancient paces between the library and the sitting area, then pauses, folding his arms.

"This room is always a comfort to me," Aro expresses as he soundlessly enters and closes the door behind him. "I think it's the books. Always concrete, unchanging." He takes his usual seat and smiles at Caius. "We have much to discuss, though. So many issues are at the top of my mind, but there is one I don't believe we've really put on the table yet. Kiri." He's wasting no time getting into the thick of things.
"Kiri." Caius echoes. Marcus is, unsurprisingly, not present for the conference and Caius wastes no time in simply talking around him. Marcus seldom chooses to contribute anyway. "There is something coming, brother. You must feel it and you know I do, too. Kiri's disappearance might be the only warning we will get."

Caius isn't the only one to notice Marcus's absence. "Our brother says he is feeling especially apathetic today and wishes not to join us." Aro's expression reveals a ghost of a smirk as he pokes fun at the other Volturi member. He takes a moment to sink back into the more serious matter of Kiri, and then tilts his head slightly. "I understand what you're hinting at, but one guard member, Caius? She was curious. Poked her head in too many places. Plus, her thoughts we often full of self-loathing, especially in the beginning. She may have staged it… I just think there are a lot of factors going on here that would be more likely than what you're hinting at." He smiles very confidently. "Nobody would dare intentionally mess with the coven; it would be suicide."

Caius shakes his head, white hair swishing against his cloak. "Winning a throne is not half as hard as keeping it, Aro. There are always those who watch us jealousy, waiting for a weakness, waiting for a chance to strike." He pauses, "I would rather assume the worst and be over-prepared, than to be caught unawares. We will need to send a team out to look for her, regardless."

Aro listens, his smile unfaltering. "Weakness? We've worked hard to eliminate most of those. I think you may be slightly paranoid, but erring on the side of precaution might be best. Especially since we do have many guards not on assignments now." He swivels his chair, glancing at a map framed on the wall, various pins stuck into it where populations of known covens exist. "So we start with the plane, of course, though I know we already examined it. But aside from that, known areas of past rebellion might be good to look into." He lists off some places and at the end nearly laughs and adds, "Perhaps Romania, too?"

Caius's lips tighten. "We should have eliminated them entirely, Aro. Leave a sapling standing and soon enough, there will be an oak tree." He pauses, "Some scouting into those areas could prove advantageous, but it is a shot in the dark, at best. The plane itself left little clue. And Demetri is still unable to find her?"

"Demetri cannot find her. I don't doubt his abilities, if that is what you're hinting at," Aro says, lips turning down at the corners. "If she was somewhere in the world, he would have at the very least, a hint, I should think. She was eliminated, I'm sure of it, brother." He eyes the map again. "Ahh, yes, but it was quite fun to watch their faces as their entire empire crumbled upon them. And they suffered a worse fate, don't you think? They had to live under /our/ laws all of the years… but if we do happen to find them, perhaps they have endured the punishment long enough. We may as well have them done away with," he agrees.

"I don't doubt Demetri. If he cannot find her, the most likely outcome is that she -has- been destroyed. And since not even our friend, Carlisle, was able to successfully commit suicide, it's probable that the deed was done by someone else. The question is, whether it was something random, or calculated." Clearly, Caius is of the opinion that it's the latter of the two. "I think we should start at the plane site itself and work from there. Look for security footage or other clues that we missed. If we find evidence to suggest Romania, or Mexico, or any of the other troubled areas, then we can send another team."
Aro nods slowly. "I highly doubt it was random. Obviously, someone wanted Kiri specifically destroyed. As I mentioned earlier though, we cannot be sure it wasn't a personal folly of hers. I admittedly hadn't gotten a reading on her in awhile. However, precaution is a must, and I like your ideas. I'd like to keep Stasia and Inari here — as we discussed, they're liabilities. But Theresa has served us well in the field, I think we should send her, and perhaps Dax…"

Caius considers, "This might not be a bad mission for the younger ones to cut their teeth upon. It is unlikely there will be immediate danger and I don't forsee that it would put them in a situation where their loyalties would be severely tested." He pauses. "Theresa is always reliable and Dax would be suited as well. Dante, perhaps. It may be something too subtle for Aldo…" Another pause, "… whenever he decides to return from Forks. I'm giving him a bit of leash, for the moment."

"Aldo has been grating on my nerves," Aro remarks. "True, he is certainly one that can get the job done without much nonsense, but his pride is almost too high. He rudely interrupted my first meeting with Stasia blabbering on about the wolf problem. Maybe he's too eager for attention." Aro closes his eyes, impatient with the younger one for a moment. "Moving on… Stasia and Abbey, the female wolf." He opens his eyes. "They knew each other and have felt mutual respect for each other. If Stasia finds out we have her in the dungeons, it could weaken our bonds. Chelsea, of course, could try and break those bonds, but I still feel we might be able to create some fear and loathing of the wolves in Stasia. It could be part of the so-called negiotiations with them. Have them kill a human she likes, or even attack her 'suddenly.'"

"Which is why I allowed the wolf to savage Aldo before unleasing Jane. He needs to learn temperance, caution. And that he is not the most powerful creature around. Aldo needs something else as well. He is a thug that enjoys his work and while that is fine for skirmishes, it's a liability in a siege. Endurance requires having something to fight for, which Aldo does not have." Caius resumes his pacing. "Stasia and the wolf.. This is going to require delicacy and eliminating as many uncertainties as possible. How do you intend to manipulate the she-wolf into doing her part?"

Aro watches Caius pace, still reclined in one of the plush chairs. "You certainly seem to have figured Aldo out — good," he comment simply. "As for the wolf, we can use Chelsea again, but we also have the threat of her life. We have two, after all. If worse comes to worse… hmm. If we decide we cannot trust the wolf to dispose of a human relative of Stasia, we could hire one of our humans to do so. William is in Forks. It would be easy to frame the wolf." He pauses. "I apologize. I have many ideas, I'm not sure which is best. The alternate is to have Abbey or Aset somehow harm Stasia and make it appear like we had no part, but that would be too hard."

"The male is the most dangerous of the two. I would rather we put him down." Caius pauses in his pacing, frowning. "We did, however, receive a message from another wolf in Forks. I do not know if it is a Child of the Moon or one of the others, but she is offering an exchange. Herself for the other two. And she implies that she is the most useful to us." At last, he moves to sit. "I would normally scoff at such a thing, but it may be worth seeing what she brings to the table. Perhaps she could be convinced to act in Forks, as a token of goodwill."

Aro chuckles. "Surely she must be a a shifter or a young Child of the Moon if she thinks she can negiotiate a fair trade with the Volturi?" he muses lightly. "After all, we did not exactly keep our deals in the most recent war with the Children of the Moon." He ponders the consequences. "That might be a good idea, brother. However, the deal, ultimately, we cannot go through with. The two in the dungeons know too much and will surely seek to build an army against us. We could, however, agree to the exchange only to have 'snipers' — so to speak — take the two wolves out quietly and discreetly before they even return to the states."

"We can see what she has to offer and use what we can from it. If what she offers is useless, we simply decline." Caius regards his brother sidelong, "But you did not bring them here just to turn them loose again. Even manipulating them to bind the girl closer isn't enough. You have something else in mind and you haven't told me yet."

"I thought her offer was merely her for them? There was more?" Aro raises a brow. His brother's question gains a long moment of silence as Aro steeples his fingers together. "You won't like it, but keep in mind it's the first step in working towards a goal." Without further hesitation, he elaborates: "Imagine the Volturi not being a faction of just the most powerful race on Earth and a few humans, but a faction of the most powerful beings on Earth, a few humans, and our loyal pets, the werewolves." He pauses, ready for Caius's disapproval. "I'm talking into the future. Perhaps even centuries. But if we could get ahold of some of the current key Children of the Moon as well as their saliva, we could begin to create new Children of the Moon solely for our purpose and manipulation. End game? Our strength grows ten-fold and we eliminate the enemy by means not tried before."

Caius takes a slow, unnecessary breath, then releases it. Of course, his first impulse is to reject it out of hand. But nagging at the edge of his awareness is the certainty that Something Is Wrong. Three thousand years of instinct screams at him to prepare for a storm. He has lived long enough not to dismiss these feelings, regardless if there is something tangible or not. Something Is Wrong. And he knows it.

"It's dangerous." Caius replies, at length. "Very dangerous." Not the storm of disapproval that Aro might have expected, which may give pause.

Aro doesn't ignore the breath Caius took, nor his pause. No flying of the hands or angry glares. Aro rises fluidly. "Are you the one now holding out on me, brother? I know the danger of the situation. I want your opinion — I truly value it, you know," he adds, softening some.
Caius reaches out his hand, in response.

Aro 's filmy red eyes fix on Caius's for a moment before going to his hand, which he grasps firmly for less than a minute, absorbing any new thoughts since the last time Caius exchanged information with Aro. Of course, he is interested in the wolves, and he finds his answer quickly. "An instinct, then? We can wait. We have time, centuries of time, brother. Perhaps these two prisoners are not right for this. We have the DNA, and we can get the saliva to do testing now that technology is up to date. That alone is a first step. But then it remains what we will /do/ with the two wolves.

Aro's assessment was correct. Caius /is/ a little paranoid. But that paranoia is one reason he has been walking the earth for three thousand years. He seems implications everywhere. Kiri's disappearance is given the most weight, the final piece. But there are other, smaller pieces. Aset's threat and his mocking words. Even the mild defiance of young Inari is viewed as heavy with nuance. It's more of instinct or a gut feeling as opposed to something specific, but Caius's "normal" level of paranoia has been kicked up a notch. It's also not a matter of *if* there is a threat. The threat exists. He's absolutely certain of that fact, even without supporting evidence. He just doesn't know what it is. Caius wants the coven tighter, more cohesive. He wants the newer and younger members prepared to stand against this unnamed threat. Kiri's disappearance was a gift. They were given the gift of time.

"Collect the samples. Learn from them what we can. But we may not have centuries to wait, brother." Caius replies softly.

"And we cannot keep them in the dungeons forever. From our conversation, it seems to me that if we do not find this 'deal' offered by the one in Forks acceptable — or even if we do — we should plan for the assissination of the prisoners." He looks toward the door; it is obvious someone is coming by the sound of footsteps. "We will talk again soon. Have a good day, then." It is, after all, still early in Volterra.

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