Bad News

IC Time: Early evening, May 21
Location: Stasia's room, Castle Volterra
Synopsis: In a well-rehearsed speech, Aro breaks some tragic news to the newest Guard member.
Submitted by: Stasia

Holding his laptop in his right arm, Aro stops outside of Stasia's door and knocks twice politely. His expression isn't happy. Already his brows are knit, lips pressed together in worry… it would seem evident that he's bringing bad news.

The spring night in Volterra is almost unseasonably warm. The sky is dotted with stars and the moon casts a soft illumination below. In other words, the night is far too lovely to spend within the castle walls. Stasia is dressed for an evening foray, khaki slacks that taper into a pair of hiking boots and a loose white peasant-blouse that covers her arms and obscures the telltale tattoo. Her brown curls are artfully tousled, in the manner that some women pay stylists a fortune to obtain. She is to meet Santiago in the entryway, her escort for the evening.

The gold-eyed vampire pauses, hearing the knock at her door. She moves to answer it. Surprise at seeing Aro calling is quickly overcome by concern at whatever has upset him so. "Please, come inside." she murmurs, moving to allow the ancient to pass.

Aro allows himself to smile in a somewhat somber manner to the younger vampire before stepping inside, glancing around the room and taking in its decorations. "Good evening, young one. How are you?" He studies her, as if trying to determine her state of mind before his announcement. He sets the laptop down on the cherrywood table, opening it and logging in as he sits. "Care to sit? I realize you might be going out, but I have some pertinent news."

"I am well, my lord." Stasia replies, still looking concerned. Not for what the news might be, but the fact that Aro is obviously upset by it. She sits where indicated, crossing her legs at the ankles in an old-world fashion, despite the fact that she wears "man's clothing". A sidelong glance is directed at the laptop. "What is wrong?"

The Forks Forum website is already loaded on the laptop, but he doesn't yet pass it over to Stasia, instead angling his body toward hers and frowning for a moment longer and clasping his hands in his lap. "As you know, we keep on top of the world news, in Forks, in particular at the moment. This disturbing bit of news was brought to my attention but a few hours ago and I thought I should be the first to tell you." He waste no more time, not wanting to cause too much drama, but his voice changes into a slower, gentler tone, well-practiced, and perhaps first used with his own 'brother,' Marcus. "Your relatives — the Starks over in Forks — were murdered in their home the other night. The newspaper cites wild wolves, but I believe there is another culprit." Aro waits a beat, but doesn't want to give her the opportunity to race into action, so he adds: "Theresa is flying out as we speak to investigate the matter and find the werewolves that did this."

For an instant, the young vampire goes completely still, shocked by the news. Her gold eyes blink once. Twice. "What…?" Comes a choked whisper. The violent reaction hasn't happened yet…. but once she wraps her mind around this, it can't be far away.

Aro ponders giving Stasia the laptop. He also contemplates its durability and decides against it, thinking she might throw it or something, and really, he hasn't backed up his files in awhile, though Marcus was bugging him. "It's senseless, I know… I don't understand it, myself. The werewolves can be violent and unpredictable creatures, not unlike the newborns of our kind." He pauses, deliberately awkward, as if trying to find words that he has secretly already played in his head. "In this extremely difficult time, just know we are /all/ on your side. We will be finding the culprit and supporting you. Let me know if there's anything you need." He tenses, ready for the violent reaction, and ready to move or grab her, if necessary.

And there it is. A vampire's mind works much faster than a human's and with only a few exceptions, a vampire's emotions run much hotter. Stasia has always prided herself on her self-control, that her instincts are her servants that come and go at her command. But the combined shock, grief, rage and guilt washes over her like a tsunami. With an inarticulate cry of pain she lashes out at the nearest piece of furniture, which happens to be the cherrywood table bearing the unfortunate laptop. The antique is shattered to splinters and indeed, blunt force trauma and technology do not mesh well. The chair is the next to go, thrown against the stone wall hard enough to crack the frame. Another grief-filled cry and the young vampire crumples to the floor, pulling her arms and legs tight around her body protectively. Her small form shudders with tearless sobs.

In a blur of motion, Aro moves to save the computer, but the angles are all wrong — the computer flips with the table, and Aro's reach isn't long enough at the moment to save it. He stands quite still for a moment, filmly eyes flashing noticably as he looks down at the ruined machine. Then he remembers his role. He softens his features to a look of pity and turns around in time to watch the chair go, and Stasia fall to the floor in a ball. He looms over her for a brief moment, not understanding her pain — no, there had not been anyone in the past century or two whom he cared enough about to feel a shread of pain for when they were removed for the Earth. Still, his face displays an outward sort of warmth as he leans down in one motion to pick up the smaller vampire and take her to the couch.

Stasia is completely unaware of the ruined furniture, or Aro's unfortunate laptop, or rather, it doesn't register yet. She passively allows herself to be carried, in fact, that seems to comfort her at some level. The sobs continue, now against the velvet cloak instead of in her protective ball. She doesn't speak yet, the grief continuing to run its course.

Aro did not anticipate this part. The practiced motions, the speech, and the laptop were all part of it. He was going to leave when the tears started though, perhaps having Chelsea step in as he made his way out. But now that Stasia was effectively in his lap, he isn't quite sure how leaving would go over. He pats her back reassuringly for a few moments, but then seeks to touch the tip of her chin as if to turn her face upward — in the process, getting a glimpse of her thoughts. Had the hatred for the wolves begun yet? "So much pain you've have to experience, young one… it isn't fair. But you will get through this. I promise."

Predictably, Stasia's thoughts are a jumbled and confused mess. Grief is paramount. Though she didn't know these humans well, they were of her blood. It ties back to distant memories of losing her closer family, but also the idea that her entire mortal line is extinguished. Perhaps it has something to do with surviving a genocide, but it is very important to her that her blood does not end with the Nazis. Beyond that is guilt: she shouldn't have left them, or did finding them in the first place seal their fate? And yes, rage… that simmering need for vengence that is generally a quiet part of her personality, is bubbling at the edges. Find whoever did this and destroy them. Last time that rage was stirred, her wrath expanded decades over six continents.

Stasia allows her chin to be lifted. There are no tears, of course, but the gold irises have darkened with the intensity of her emotion. "It hurts." She whispers. Sanity hasn't quite returned yet, but it's starting to.

The rage was expected, but not to this degree — he would have to find something to occupy her rage, surely, else risk the "old" Stasia coming back. Aro looks thoughtful for a moment before he nods understandingly. "I know." He doesn't, but it sounds convincing, and he is angry enough about his laptop to expression real emotion. "We will find whoever did this and they will be destroyed," he says, speaking from her thoughts. "Don't blame yourself… it couldn't have been helped. The werewolves are unpredictable. They can be your friend in one instance, and enemy the next."

The darkened gold eyes blink again, becoming more focused as the young vampire pulls her emotions and instincts to heel. It hurts. But she's been hurt before and survived. She can endure this, too. The effort of regaining control is almost palpatible.

Stasia takes a slow breath, banishing the last of the sobs. First she realizes exactly where she is and her expression goes from pain, to shock, to embarassment. "I'm sorry!" She breathes, humiliated that Aro should see her like this. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." The memory of the cracked chair, the smashed antique table, gifts, and the destroyed laptop comes back. On top of everything else, she's crushed. "I'm sorry." She whispers again.

Aro raises an eyebrow in genuine surprise. "Why?" He waits a beat, and then understands. "It's okay to lose control, you know. You try and suppress it so, young one, but a rush of emotion like that is one of the few things that keeps you still linked to the human world… and your former self." It was true enough, and something he frequently reached out for in the centuries he lived in. It was at times difficult to access such emotions, but he still could — unlike Marcus. Aro's thoughts drift back to the present situation. "Don't be sorry. Be upset, be angry… it's allowed, you know," he says, somewhat teasingly.

If Stasia lived to be a thousand years old, she never would have expected to find herself essentially sitting in the lap of the ancient vampire. She ducks her head shyly, not sure how she got here and not sure what to do about it now. "I broke the table." She murmurs. "And the chair. And your computer. I'm sorry." There is a slow breath, "I am angry, too." She can feel the flames of it licking at her, though she has it compartmentalized to avoid doing any more property damage.

"Material things can be replaced," Aro says easily, though not without one last remorseful glance at the laptop. Perhaps Dax could salvage the harddrive. "You cannot be replaced, however." A frown flickers at the corner of his lips. "I think you should stay in Volterra while the murderers are hunted down and brought here. Then, of course, you may have final say in their fate, when they are caught." He's careful to make it sound more like a suggestion, although it is an order. "You should know that we have been monitoring the werewolf problem. We're already developing a solution to prevent anything like this from happening again."

Stasia's head comes up at that. She wanted to find them herself, naturally. The idea of sitting idle while someone else does this rankles her. "But.." Even that tiny voice of defiance is difficult, giving the attention her psyche has been given by a certain talented someone. She immediately regrets the outburst, as minimal as it was. Her eyes lower again, trying to accept Aro's 'suggestion'. But that's difficult.

Aro looks anxiously toward the door, fearing he might need Chelsea, but is relieved to see Stasia defer her defiance. He touches her hair lightly. "I hope you don't think it unreasonable. I made a point earlier about control… it can be good to let loose sometimes. Other times, not so much. I beg you, once you are in a more stable mindset, to think of the impact of this situation on vampire and wolf relations in general. It must be handled delicately, without emotion, but with logical thinking. You, of all people, might understand that, when you let your sadness run its course. But I know my logic falls on deaf ears… so be angry. Break apart your entire room, if you wish." Aro shifts to try and set Stasia in her own place on the couch, in preparation to make an exit and let her have time to herself in a moment. Watched, of course, by the guards in the hall.

Once Aro moves to relocate her, Stasia slides over of her own accord. "Please," she murmurs, after a moment's silence. "I need to run. The room is too small." She looks up then, pleading eyes. In lieu of her vengence, she needs fresh air and no walls.

"I understand." Aro stands and moves aside, heading for the door and opening it with ease. "Come back soon," he says quietly, standing in the hall. Incidentally, Demetri, the guard outside, is thrown a look — it would seem Stasia might have company from afar on her run.

Stasia is too involved with her own conflicting emotions to notice that Demetri has been tapped for this task, or else she would be unhappy about that. "Thank you." She says quietly, letting the master vampire depart. It will be a few moments later before she is ready to leave for her own run in the countryside.

Demetri is determined, this time, to keep track of the younger vampire. Aro, on the other hand, imparts a hand on Stasia's shoulder and then leaves for his room.

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