The Edicts were rules to follow by every citizen of the four lands- Valeria, Mythweald, Woville and Bonelake. Rules that set laws so that the council could keep the peace and harmony though she doubted it was working well. The rules were strict yet they were broken time and time.
Leo wanting her in the council had made her feel ecstatic. He wanted her to work with him, to be part of his other world she wasn't much aware of. In the world they lived in, humans weren't preferred to work in the council as much as vampires were given position and female humans were the last ones who were taken in. She had heard it from Leo himself.
With him being part of the council which was an integral part of the law, Vivian made sure to read the pages properly. She wanted to clear the exams for Charlotte. To find the man named Rory who was responsible for her death.
She turned the page in the quiet room, placing the book from the table to her lap to read. A few minutes later, she put the book back on the table while leaning forward to read the next Edict which was on humans.
Unlike the book, she was given to read by Lord Nicholas where the laws were in order, this book was sectioned with laws with respect to kinds. The first pages were for the humans, the next for the vampires which were followed by the pureblooded vampires before ending with the white witches. The black witches weren't mentioned as they were considered to be outlaws.
She was still reading the Edicts on humans, Edict one hundred and seven which stated:
'No human will put a plea forward to the council if he or she is found to be guilty of offering blood to the night creature. The circumstance of place and time with more than two witnesses to testify the statement of the victim needs to be brought in. If a falsified statement is passed, the human shall face a penalty.'
Turning the pages, she wondered how much longer she would have to study about the humans before she would reach the one for vampires. She didn't know when her eyes had closed as she slept with her head placed on the open book on the table.
It was nine in the night when Leonard arrived back to the mansion. Letting Jan take his overcoat, he made his way straight to the study room to find Vivian sleeping soundly. The fire in the corner of the room burnt brightly meaning Jan had either come here himself to add the logs or had sent one of the maids to make sure there were light and heat in the cold weather of Bonelake.
Her lips were slightly parted, air passing in and out of the delicate lips. She seemed far too comfortable to be woken up. She hadn't slept well as usual but he could tell she was trying to catch some sleep despite the things she had seen and come to know.
Leonard had learnt about the world as he grew up under the shadow of Sir Malcolm Rufus and Lord Nicholas. He had learnt about what death meant closely when Nicholas had fed one of the vampires to his beloved wolfs. On contrary to him, Vivian hadn't experienced it until his parent's death. She had been strong though, strong enough to digest what was happening to her that constantly breaking down.
As fragile and naive she appeared to be, that wasn't the case.
Leo had learnt and studied her. From her happiness to her fears and the way she was. He was the only one who knew her like the back of his hand.
Vivian could be clumsy by breaking vases or other intricate objects but she had grown to be intuitive. Her thoughts were gathered. He leaned in to see what she was studying and saw it was the Edict number four. The book was his personal collection. He had written and bound it himself into sections. A book one wouldn't find as there were personalized notes added into the book.
Her hair covered her eyes. Pushing the hair away he saw her open her eyes drowsily.
"You are back," she murmured, pulling herself back so that she could rest her back on the chair, "I fell asleep," she said in realization to see him nod.
"So it seems. I will go to my room and join you in the dining room. You can close the books if you're done for the day," he said which made her wonder if he had forgotten about asking her questions after she was done with the hundred pages of the book. As if reading her mind, he said, "I haven't forgotten about it. It's your first day. I will ask you questions tomorrow," he placed his hand on her head, gently as if patting he then left the room.
Vivian looked at the pocket watch which she had placed on the table. It was past nine in the night. When did she fall asleep? Instead of closing the book, she began counting the pages backwards before bookmarking until where she had read with a pencil. Once she was done with the counting, she smiled brightly.
"One hundred and eleven pages," she proudly said the number of pages she had gone through. Another round of revision tomorrow morning would do good to her.
Closing and placing the book aside she walked out of the study room heading towards the dining room when she saw one of the former maid friends of her smile at her. She returned back the smile and went to sit in the dining room where Leonard came after two minutes.
"Where did you go?" she asked as he took a seat at the table.
"To my room?" he tilted his head before a small smile threatened to touch his lips, "Maximilian found bodies of humans in the village. It was deranged vampires who had attacked the village. Luckily he was there when it happened."
"Deranged?" asked Vivian who wasn't familiar with the term when it came to this situation.
"Vampires who have their cores corrupted. Cores can be corrupted in two ways. One by consuming the potion which had been making rounds in all the four lands or it can happen when a human is undergoing a transformation. Transiting from human to turn to a half vampire."
"The success rate doesn't sound good," stated Vivian as the smell of warm food entered the room.
"It isn't. It never has. The probability ratio isn't low when it comes to turning humans to as vampires. That's how vampires have to come to exist. First was the existence of pureblooded vampires and then came the vampires and half-vampires."
"How did the black witches come into existence?" asked Vivian curious. She understood about the vampires but what about the black witches?
"There's no record for it but a tale goes by folklore in Woville like this- A creature of the darkest dark during the night, soiled the innocent soul of the magical being. Creating an existence which is an abomination which can be never told," he said, taking the knife and fork in his hand, he cut it through the meat on his plate, "The dark creature is none other than the pureblooded vampires and the magical being here I believe is referred to the white witches. Long ago, something happened which was not to happen by someone which we all have to face."
Vivian nodded her head. She wondered if she could find more on it but at the same time, she knew it wouldn't be possible. The folklore clearly said 'An abomination which can never be told'. It would mean that no one was allowed to speak out of shame of what their ancestors did.
"It isn't just the humans who cause problems but the vampires equally cause nuisance, which the council intervene to keep the peace. You will find that the council has many units and subunits. They work separately but in the end, it's all about keeping the law and order," explained Leo. Vivian put her food in her mouth while her eyes were on Leo, making sure to listen to him, "The new joiners don't get to pick their division. It is the responsibility of the higher-ups. They will test you with the paper and the second exam to see where you would be best suited. That is if you clear the exams."
Swallowing her food quickly she asked, "Does that mean we might not work together?" a worried crease formed on her forehead. There would be no point joining the council if she wasn't going to work under or with Leo so that she could catch hold of Rory and the ones who were behind making the potions."
"Don't worry about that. Your goal is to clear the exams. I will take care of the rest from there. But," he said pausing his hands on picking up the meat, "Keep in mind that the councillors are kind when it comes to hiring women for the jobs. Especially humans. It won't be an easy task so you'll have to use everything you have learnt until now," he advised.
Vivian nodded her head. Making a mental note as the rest of their dinner proceeded. She knew it wasn't easy to be part of the council.
For Leo who had excelled in almost all the areas, it would have been a piece of cake to pass the exams. One would think it was as easy to breathe but what they didn't know was that it was difficult to breath when pushed into the water.
When the maids came to pick their plates, Leo said, "I am glad I got you to study with me when we were young."
Leonard could still remember the time when she was shy yet she followed him like an annoying fly which he didn't mind. Secretly he enjoyed the attention when they were children. Still did. He remembered the time she had drawn the lamb which had been the reason he had to leave the Carmichael mansion.
Instead of learning to write sentences from the book he had given her, she had taken her time to draw on it. Vivian had been bright though. She had shown interest in books. More than his deceased cousin, Charlotte.
"What are you drawing?" young Leo asked from where he sat.
She continued scribbling on the slate for a few seconds, bringing the slate in front of her, she exclaimed with a smile, "Billy!" It was the lamb she loved to spend her time with.
Her drawings were odd but then not everyone could be precise like him. There were circular drawings with four stick-like legs. The ears looked like the one's cat did, "That looks..." he trailed trying to get the right word so that she could understand but not knowing what to say, he settled with, "That's nice. Here give it to me," he said taking the slate and chalk from her. Once he finished drawing with Vivian leaning close to it, Vivian said,
"You draw Billy good, Leo."
"Of course, I do. My previous governor taught me about arts and how important it is," he responded, raising his hand he flicked on her forehead.
"Ah!" Vivian rubbed her forehead.
"Stop drawing and start writing. I need to read myself," after ten minutes Paul came to fetch the children for lunch.
Thinking about it now, it made him smile. They shared good memories with each other. He then heard Vivian speak, "I am too. Thank you for looking after me," her words polite and gentle.
"I will always look after you, Vivi," he replied back.