Oh, she knew she had to sleep some on the plane, or at least try to but she hadn’t read the books they had retrieved from the Cullen House and she hadn’t exactly told her family what Carlisle had told her, frankly, the story he told sounded similar but she couldn’t put her finger on it.
“Carlisle Cullen told me that the Volturi were created in the Old World,” Bella said as she started to read through the first book. She was nestled in Kol’s lap on one of the sofa’s the private plane had and felt comfortable, safe. “The continent of Scandinavia, to be precise, before moving to Italy and settling in a place called Volterra. Apparently, their leader didn’t want to stay in the cold for a long period of time and Carlisle believed that another reason was that their leader had a spat with her sister, who moved to the New World with her young family,” she said before stopping at a page and stared at it. “So, that was over a thousand years ago, around the time you came to the New World.”
“Scandinavia?” Klaus questioned as he looked at Elijah. “It’s highly unlikely but why do I have the feeling that we might know who set up the Volturi?”
“Can you read that?” Kol softly asked as he pointed at some text. He had already recognized it as a mix of Ancient Runes and Italian, perhaps Latin, and he had only grasped the idea of the words. When Bella shook her head, Kol sighed. “I hate the be the bearer of bad news, but I think that our family is responsible for the start of the Volturi,” he told his family. “From what I can read is that there once were two sisters who were taken from their village by Vikings. They both dabbled in Magic, the elder sister being more into it than the younger. To keep them both safe, the Elder sister performed magic for the Vikings. When the youngest sister fell in love with one of their captors, the elder sister got mad. It was worse when the younger dared to ask the elder for help when she couldn’t conceive.”
“I think I heard something about that,” Elijah said thoughtfully. “But I can’t remember much of it.”
“The elder sister reluctantly helped her younger sister, but telling her that she was going to come for her first born and every firstborn in the new generation. Five years later, the elder sister held true to her word and took the daughter born to her sister and left for Italy.”
“I do recognize that name,” Bella said as she pointed at the Ancient Runes. “That says Esther, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Kol let out a breath and pointed at the other name. “That was Esther’s sister Dahlia,” he said before pointing at the other name which was closer to Esther’s. “And that name is Freya.”
Elijah got to his feet and took the book out of Bella’s lap and read. “Impossible,” he muttered. “Freya died because of consumption. Mother and Mikael moved us to the New World because of this, because the word was that people were healthy and strong.”
“Are you saying that our deranged aunt is the reason the Volturi exist?” Rebekah blinked. “I know that we as a family are the source of a lot of hurt, but we’d never do something as twisted as this… well… apart from Elijah’s elite society, of course.”
“They weren’t evil, just egotistical,” Elijah chided his sister as he continued to read. “This does sound like it has everything to do with our aunt, and our sister who didn’t die from consumption. She was merely taken by Dahlia. Citing that first-born witches from their line had immense power and that Dahlia was the only one who could control that power.”
“In any case, Dahlia went on to gather followers who were interested in immortality. Even back then she wanted to live forever, or at least find a way. When word came from the New World that her sister had actually succeeded with creating the first vampires, and hearing what we were, Dahlia got angry and was going to find a way without having to rely on the blood of others to survive,” Elijah continued as he sat down with the book. “Dahlia still had friends amongst the settlement in the New World and they followed her teachings and it was then that they discovered a being of energy, a side effect from the spell mother created, even though their child had been with them for nearly 20 summers.”
“And we know the rest of the story,” Kol said as he put his arms around Bella.
“Well, yes, but not the rest of Dahlia’s story,” Elijah said as he continued to thumb through the pages. “Dahlia and Freya worked hard on gathering followers and had quite a few. Thinking of ways to harness the power of that energy being, but all Freya wanted was to be reunited with her family. Her real family, and sabotaged most of the attempts. When Ylva disappeared, Dahlia flew into a rage and killed Freya, binding her essence and making her do Dahlia’s bidding, basically enslaving her and using her for her power.”
“Dahlia eventually died, but the ones who are in charge keep using Freya as a means to an end. For a long time, the cult was forgotten about with its members still looking for that energy being, until rumors started about the energy being having returned. And then disappeared after a few years. They tried mapping the cycle but it was completely random.”
“The Volturi have witches and mediums in their ranks and some ghosts told them about their encounter with someone really special, but wouldn’t say who it was.”
“Carlisle said they had Dark Witches on their side,” Bella said, not liking what she was hearing and she could tell that Kol wasn’t liking it either. The Volturi had known more about her than previously known. She then let out a breath. “He said that even you couldn’t help me take the Volturi down and that it was best to turn myself in. They believe they have special cages for someone like me so I can’t escape. I think something along the lines of those locks and portals in the Cullen House.”
“They don’t know us, darling,” Kol said encouragingly. “And we’re going to take them all down.”
“Carlisle said that if I’d turn myself in, or get caught, they’d likely experiment on me or try to… uh… breed me.”
“Absolutely not going to happen!” Myriam and Kol chorused. “What the hell?”
“He said because I’m not human, human rights don’t apply,” Bella shrugged, letting out a small yawn. “But I do want to take them down or die trying. Enough is enough. What if there’s someone else like me? One they don’t know of? Would they be hunted down, too?”
“To be fair, I don’t see why they don’t want to turn into vampires. If they want immortality, that’s the way to go,” Myriam shrugged.
“Well, because they might want to live a normal life, perhaps?” Rebekah countered. “Have children? You can’t do that when you’re a vampire.”
“If that’s the only thing,” Klaus shrugged. “Perhaps we should turn them all.”
“That wouldn’t stop them in their endless pursuit,” Elijah replied. “They have been after Bella for over a thousand years, what’s to say turning them would stop them from trying to capture her?”
Kol sighed as he gently caressed Bella’s back as she had fallen asleep in his arms. “I know a coven of friendly witches near Rome, perhaps they would like to help us out.”
Myriam had grabbed one of the other books and agreed with Kol. “These ‘rituals’ in this book are elaborate spells, I think we could do with some witchy help. Of course, I’ll be doing the best I can from my end, but to be honest, this whole thing might get a bit too much for all of us,” she then looked at Elijah and pointed at the book. “I suspect they have a list of members in there, can you do a count?”
“It won’t be up to date.”
“We’ll get an estimate. They won’t be all at Volterra, and will likely be spread around the world, as would I do if I’d have a slimy group like this, but Volterra will hold their leaders and likely a bunch of followers,” she said as she put the book back down and gently lifted Bella off of Kol’s lap and put her down on one of the beds. Myriam covered her with a blanket and sat down next to Kol. “Now… you were anxious at the Rez and you disrespected Bella’s wishes at her childhood home, talk to me.”
“No, it’s not. Talk to me,” she smiled at him as she ran her hand through his hair.
Kol let out a breath and looked at his siblings who were too focused on the books and Jeremy was nodding off, but he already knew. “I think Bella’s overdoing things and she’s crossing the line too much. What if she gets taken away from me?”
Myriam smiled then. “When people have a good relationship and everything goes well, that question pops up all the time. It’s just that little bit of doubt and self-preservation that’s nagging. Doom thinking. It can drive someone mad with worry and cause them not to enjoy their life as much as they should.”
“That’s just it,” he sighed. “This is the first time ever… well, since Ylva, which was basically the first version of her, that I feel this way. I don’t want her to leave me, Myriam. I want her to be careful. She slept for 3 days after the Cullen House, then we dove straight into punishing the Quileutes with Bella tapping into her darkness and not a day later we’re jetting off to Italy to take care of the Volturi, which will also likely cause her to do things out of revenge or hate instead of the light that she is. She barely used her gifts, only to talk to spirits, and now she’s doing everything and I’m afraid that Ylva and her will discuss this and come to the conclusion that she’s once again too powerful for her own good.”
“And you’re immortal, you’ll find her again if she does.”
Kol scowled as he pushed Myriam away from him. “I don’t want a new version, I want her! She’s bloody overdoing it and I’m afraid the whole darkness is my fault. Our fault. She saw Ylva, for fuck’s sake! Jeremy told me they were chatting while we were taking care of the tribe! That’s not supposed to happen!”
Kol rolled his eyes at his sister-in-law. “Nik.”
“Ylva and Bella are the same being, the same creature. For Ylva to show, Bella must be either getting stronger, or she’s fragmenting,” Klaus replied with a sigh. “You don’t know what it looked like in her head. There was a smaller version of her present as well, and who knows other attempts that were hiding.” Klaus let out another breath and then smiled. “However, before we jump to conclusions, this could also be a positive thing, that Bella’s evolving into her own person.”
“But we don’t know that,” when Kol first got to know Bella he couldn’t wait to explore her dark side but now that they were actually exploring just that, or perhaps because she was infected by the family’s dark side, he wasn’t so sure if they should continue doing this. She deserved better.
“We don’t know anything,” Klaus told him. “The only one who might know for sure is Bella, but even she might not know everything about herself.”
“But what if I lose her, Nik?”
“Then we will do everything in our power to get her back to you. To us,” he said with full confidence. “We’ve done stranger things.” And Kol was right, his brother hadn’t been this smitten with anyone since Ylva. He only had casual flings or was boxed and he had claimed Bella as his perhaps three days after their first encounter? It had taken Klaus a while to claim Myriam as his, but that was because he refused himself from feeling anything other than rage, betrayal, and paranoia, that love was something foreign. Kol was more emotional than him and Bella was the perfect fit for his brother. It would be a shame indeed if she’d disappear again.
Bella woke up in a very soft and fluffy bed which was very disorientating because hadn’t she fallen asleep on the plane? She felt around her and felt Kol’s familiar form right next to her. “Oh, good,” she let out a breath as she rolled into him and looked at him, he was wide awake and looking back at her. “Hello.”
“You were out for a whole day,” he scolded her as he pushed her hair out of her face. “Three days after the Cullen House… another couple of days after the first trip there… Bella, what if dealing with the Volturi makes you sleep forever?”
She softly kissed him. “You worry too much.”
“I should,” he replied sharply. “You’re mine and I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
Bella sighed as she gently caressed his cheek. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I don’t want you to be afraid or anxious about anything. But I know one thing for sure. You’re immortal and so am I. Even if something would happen, I will find my way back to you. That’s a promise.”
“And I’ll keep looking for you if you do.”
She kissed him tenderly after she’d felt him somewhat calm down. “Now, where are we?”
Kol let out a sigh. “We’re in our home in Rome, so we can all recharge and have a little break.”
“Is there a bathroom attached to this room?” Bella asked cheekily.
“Let’s have some fun, you and I,” she smiled at him as she pulled him off the bed with her and started to strip. “Come.”
The decision was to spend some time in Rome, making friendly with some local witches from covens Kol had met prior and for Bella to relax. She didn’t like Rome much, even with all of her growth in her abilities, it was difficult to tune out the roaming spirits of such an ancient city. She could have used the little angel statue that Myriam had given her on their first trip out of New Orleans but she didn’t want that, she needed to be sharp and in control, and the angel statue was just making things easier.
Oh, how Bella wished to be normal. She had resigned herself to be the freak, the one who spoke to spirits and listened to their stories, and she couldn’t wait to try to do something without her gifts, like writing or cooking. Bella was excited for that, her whole being buzzed with the anticipation of having a regular life, with her boyfriend, and no spirits involved. Only when she wanted to. Even if that meant carrying that angel statue everywhere she went.
She loved talking to the spirits and tell their stories and had believed she had to keep on doing that forever, Bella never had a way to make it stop, if only temporarily and with help from Kol and his family – her family – it could stop.
But it didn’t mean that she was going to sightsee in Rome. The house was remarkably quiet, but that was likely because Myriam had protected it a little for her. It allowed her to think, to put things on paper and update her blog – without revealing where she was. Just that she was traveling and that it was going to help her put things in perspective. The last year had been insane, surely her followers would understand if there’d be a change? She would still tell stories, just only on her website and not with all the equipment and youtube. No.
Even now, her inbox was pinging like crazy as she was sitting on her laptop and she was afraid to open twitter. She’d been an idiot for broadcasting her abilities in the first place.
Sighing, she closed her laptop and walked out of the library and went to find Kol. When she couldn’t find him, she joined Myriam and Klaus in his little study. “Kol’s making nice with the witches,” Myriam smiled at her. “Just because they said they’d help, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to make an effort. Jeremy tagged along with him.”
“I just want to get this over with,” Bella replied softly as she pulled her legs up and rested her head on her knees. “I’ve already put you guys through enough and I…”
“Nonsense,” Klaus replied as he put down his paintbrush. “Elijah and I have been wanting to go after the Volturi for a long time, but since they weren’t interested in us vampires, we let it go. Now that they actually want you, our latest member of our family, we will actually act upon our initial idea. Finding out that their palace might be well guarded was a surprise to us and you’re just going to have to be a little bit more patient for a few more days so that we are certain we have all the help we can get, and have more knowledge of what’s to come.”
“We want to do this right, Bella, and not everything should fall onto you,” Myriam smiled at her as she gently rubbed her back. “There are plenty of former members of the Volturi who know what the inside looks like, and Elijah’s tracking them down for information. He has been for the last few days. Rebekah has been shopping and complaining that she wanted to do that with you.”
“I’m not going out,” Bella shook her head. “This city is Ancient!”
“So is Volterra. It’s best if you get overwhelmed now then when we are in Volterra.”
Bella let out a breath and nodded. She knew Myriam was right and she had experienced a lot of spirits around her before, New Orleans was crawling with them, but Rome? “Fine, but I want Kol and Jeremy with me when I go outside.”
“Why are you so scared?” Myriam asked kindly as Klaus left the room. “I don’t know you any better than you’d dive into spirits head first, no matter how crowded the city might be.”
“I just want to be my best when we head to Volterra, that’s all,” Bella sighed. “I don’t know, I just feel this big sense of dread whenever I think about going after the Volturi.”
Myriam smiled then. “It’s good to be anxious about going to battle, but don’t let the fear overtake you. You’re not alone, Bella, you’ve got us standing right beside you. I’m sure that setting foot in Rome will be alright for you. Nothing’s changed, has there? Perhaps you’re picking up on Kol’s anxiety just a little bit?”
Bella let out a breath. Myriam was making sense. Of course she was.
“Rome is an amazing city and I’m sure that Kol would love to show you around,” Myriam smiled as she shot him a quick message on the phone. “So, freshen yourself up and get ready, because he’ll be home in a bit,” Myriam pulled Bella to her feet and gently pushed her towards her and Kol’s bedroom. “Get some Gelato on me.”
“Ready?” Kol smiled at her as he opened the door out of the house and into the busy street. “Rome is a lot of fun, and Jer and I found this great little restaurant where we can have something to eat. Kinda reminiscent of that little restaurant we went to in New Orleans with him.”
“Oh, the one with Candi?” Bella replied playfully as she looped her arm through Kol’s and took a deep breath before nodding. “Let’s do this.” Oh, she had closed herself off as well as she could with the full intention of enjoying herself. She’d never been to Italy before but had always planned on road tripping around Europe and go to haunted places to tell the stories of the spirits in other countries.
However, maybe in the future. For now, she was done with it. She wanted to be normal. Ish. But still needed to figure out what she was going to do after they had taken care of the Volturi. Writing books about the stories she’d accumulated over the years sounded great, but that was also doing things for the spirits.
“What are you thinking about?” Kol asked as they were walking down the street.
“About what we’ve discussed before,” Bella replied with a sigh. “Finding a new passion for after we’re done with the Volturi.”
Bella shrugged. “Writing is fun, but I suppose that would mean that I was going to make money off of the backs of dead people. Cooking is fun, too, but I’d never be able to make restaurant quality food. Technically I’m useless in other departments.”
“Then don’t. We’ll just travel the world for a very long time and have fun,” Kol smiled at her. “Have a lot of sex in the wildest places…”
“Dude,” Jeremy sighed. “Seriously?”
“Well you don’t have to be involved, Jeremy,” Kol rolled his eyes at him before looking back at Bella. “And perhaps, during our travels, you find something else you’d like to do. If it were up to me, you would just enjoy life. Do whatever. You don’t have to find anything to pass your time with. No pressure, darling.”
Bella sighed as she nodded and looked around. They were near the Trevi fountain that Kol wanted her to see and experience. He told her how ordinary humans thought it’d bring them luck or vertility or eternal love. “I just want to be productive.”
“We can be productive all day in bed,” Kol grinned.
She laughed as she elbowed him in his side. “Fine. I’ll worship you and your gorgeous body every day for as long as I shall live.”
“Which is like forever.”
“Yep,” she nodded. Bella was feeling a bit better, mostly because Kol had managed to make his emotions about puppies and rainbows, just like Jeremy and she felt she could relax a little. Myriam had been right, Rome wasn’t any different from New Orleans, just some of the spirits were older and Bella had formed a little white light bubble around herself to keep them away. She was off-duty. “So show me Rome,” she smiled at him. “And when we tire of Jeremy you can show me parts of Rome that you want to keep away from him.”
“Hey!” Jeremy let out a whine. “You wanted me with!”
“I did,” Bella nodded as she looped her free arm through his. “You’re the only two I fully trust with who I am and what I am. And I want us to have some fun together. And then I want some Rome-alone time with my boyfriend.”