Chapter 4 – An Introduction
Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
November 6, 1975, de la Mort, France
The door was ajar to the Château boardroom. Raised voices streamed into the hallway as Rostov and Stephan padded their way toward the room. Inside, men dressed in designer suits, pale shirts, and the finest Italian leather shoes stood randomly, questioning the reasoning behind such a meeting and with such urgency. Rostov inspected the men, each members of House of Thoth as he walked through the doorway. Most of the men stood near the fireplace hearth and thirteen vacant chairs surrounding a deep walnut colored table. Two shivering men had taken seats on the sofa with earnest attempts at getting warm. Four bottles of 1965 Saumur-Château de la Mort Cabernet Sauvignon was opened to allow time to open up the flavors of the wine. Another bottle of Cabernet Franc stood upright next to two large pewter carafes filled with a viscous crimson colored cocktail. Crystal stemware and pewter chalices were placed in front of each chair and papers were haphazardly covering the table.
Stephan’s eye captured Rostov; a strange sensation, came over him, as he watched his uncle closely. Both me were all to familiar the significance of the meeting. Stephan also was well aware someone, or a number of family members that in all likelihood was responsible for the massacre that happened mere nights ago. The other’s he wasn’t so sure of whether they ha heard the new from Rostov personally the other night, perhaps he stayed up long enough to call each of the men. He hadn’t said. Stephan’s glances could not make out a guilty man. Rostov had to have been wrong with his assumptions. None were responsible for this act upon the family. He couldn’t, however, believe anyone in the room was responsible. Just in case he was wrong, he wore, like others in the room, wore a circular solid gold timepiece, much like early 16th century pieces. A long gold chain held the timepiece with an emblem engraved on the face. The emblem was nearly two inches in diameter held together with a clasp.. On the outside was the family insignia, or crest – planetary signs for Mars and Venus, each etched at respective corners. The entire emblem was similar to a horizontal diamond with a cross bearing orb at the crest, at the right point was the hand mirror symbol for Venus, at the base of the crest was the symbol for the Moon positioned down over that of the sun, the left point held a symbol of a shield and spear of Mars, at the upper right above Mars, Ceres introverted, and at its opposite, Ceres with its handle down sickle, and at the base below Mars, was an image of a scythe, and its opposite, a thunderbolt or ‘Z’. Inside, the timepiece, held a small amount of the blood of their father, Caius Thoth I. The vial would provide safety from whoever it was, if anyone in this room from harm. Stephan comforts as he stroked the emblem.
Yet, there was really, no other alternative. Rostov had to be correct. The means, by which the bodies were slaughtered, certainly was unique. There was only one way in which one’s immortality could be erased and that was by removing ones soul from the body. This maneuver was not merely a means of death, it was more of a means of sending one’s self to face the wrath of Haides – King of the Underworld. Only a select number of the family knew of this method, or was privy to such information. It was held secret within the inner circle, Stephan questioned to himself as to why the meeting agenda had been held secret, but, soon realized that Rostov had suspected someone close, someone in the inner circle was suspected. He overheard the rumors. There had been other rumors outside the family as well. A massacre was difficult to keep from the news media, even if some of the police and news media were branded with the curse themselves, he found it difficult to believe someone close to the inner circle had been responsible for such heinous crimes. If a member of the inner circle was responsible, there was no telling who he had hired to help him carry out such a task and cover-up. Nearly 50 family members of his family had been found mutilated on Halloween, just before the clock chimed midnight. While most of the deaths had remained out of the news, some of those who were murdered, such as Inanna and Dagan Akkadian were difficult to keep secret, Dagan was the current Swiss Ambassador to the United States and was about to announce his candidacy for president of the United States. Such influential people, were certain to make the headlines this is for certain, however, one would surely have to cover ones tracks carefully, so as not to be caught. All of the press began making the headlines, much to the chagrin of Rostov and himself. The mess would require sending out the cleaners to confiscate evidence so that members of their house could conduct their own investigation as to who was the responsible, even if that meant cleaning up after one of their own.
He imagined others in the room felt similarly, at least those who had nothing to do with the murders. His eyes wandered toward the men who now occupied the space, their voices loud and unruly. His mind rescinded to his early years when his grandfather Caius still walked among them. His grandfather explained the significance of their bloodline and that of their horrific curse.
“It was because your grandmother Inanna’s great sacrifice that we are of such fantastic bloodline; unlike any mortal who walks or will walk upon this earth. For you see she loved me more than her own life and sacrificed herself so that I might walk amongst the living, and that our children and their children would live to rule the mortal realm in perpetuity. This is why I am your only grandparent living.
For you see your grandmother was the daughter of Haides, god of the Underworld, and she herself a goddess. But alas, our love was never to be; it was forbidden for a mortal to love a god or goddess. Her sister Lilith saw to it that we would never be happy or live out our lives in piece we so desperately sought. The day we entered the Underworld, Lilith in all her trickery, cursed us both: Inanna to serve out her life in the Underworld; mine to return to the land of mortals, but no longer a mortal, an immortal man, bestowed with the curse to feast off the blood of the living for all eternity.
From the look in your eyes my dearest Stephanos, I see confusion consumes you as to how your birth or those of your father, aunts and uncles were possible. Lilith planned well. When Lilith demanded, Inanna and I were allowed marital unions, merely so that my seed would pass into her and a child would result from each union. And each child Inanna bore, I was forced to the Underworld to acquire the child. And as quickly expelled to the worldly plane to raise it; until it became the final time for which I was cast down. The pattern occurred thirteen times.
Unbeknownst to Lilith, only HeKet cast her weight on our fate. She prophesized that Inanna’s final union would result in twins; two daughters; the final birth of both, would result in the birth being twins, of which one would be a daughter. This child would hold within her the power to rule over both worlds and if the stars aligned with dawn, one day she could possibly hold the ability to end the curse.” Caius spoke.
Stephan remembered his grandfather’s words as if he had just spoken them. His eyes shut, then looked upon the room once more. He stood observing his family and those who represented The House of Thoth, the thirteen bloodlines of Caius Thoth. Now the bloodlines have converged, each being represented by a ruler chosen by the Council of Five, and anointed by the gods to oversee the family dealing including their financial assets, secrets, and ultimately report to the Council of Five.
The members began to file around the boardroom table. Stephan noted Rostov he was in deep thought, likely outlining the agenda of the meeting in his head. Stephan followed close behind and took a seat immediately to Rostov’s right. As was tradition, one chair remained vacant next to Rostov, which held in fondest memory of the family patriarch Caius Thoth. The eldest son, Thoth’s first-born – Caius II Thoth, once sat in the second which now lay vacant. Only Stephan knew of his whereabouts, the remainder of the family had not heard from since the days of Saint Peter. Caius’ affairs were mysteriously looked after. The Council had been convinced that since his affairs were in order, he remained alive, but chose to live afar. They had hoped one day he would return to serve at the head of the House.
Rostov meanwhile was all too quick to fill as Elder considering he was the second eldest son of Thoth. He held no hope for Caius’ return. The final vacant chair had previously been Inanna’s chair. She had served well as the ruler of the thirteenth bloodline, the Akkadian bloodline for centuries. As the ancient laws dictated, that upon the death of Inanna, her female heir , her child, a daughter would hold the seat. Caius I and Inanna I, had three daughters, – Ma’at, Alja, Alastriona and Inanna. Only Inanna was the thirteenth daughter and as such ruled the thirteenth house, the Akkadian bloodline. Her sisters Ma’at, Alja, and Alstriona were also allowed seats over seeing their family’s wellbeing. However, only Inanna, the thirteenth daughter was allowed to have a female heir to serve in the capacity of Elder within the Council of five. No one ever questioned Caius’ reasoning; they merely abided by his law.
Markus Hadrian joined the men at the table. As typical, he sported an objectionable mood. He gave his brother, Rostov an evil glare as he took his seat. The two brothers had been the center of much discourse throughout Thoth history, more years than either cared to remember and today likely would be no different.
Erric Vanskiiver approached the table eyeing the chair between his two cousins Stephan and Clovis. Erric preferred to be called either Erric or Vanskiiver as he like a majority of the family randomly changed names to avoid detection. Erric’s given name was Lord Erricaius Aloysius Augustulus Thoth Vanskiiver. Similar to the majority of Thoth men, Erric had handsome appearance, and tall distinguished frame; his hair was the color of golden straw, and his eyes the color of shiny emeralds. And also, like all Thoth men, he wore on his right hand the characteristic gold insignia ring, his embellished with a sizable white diamond, which signified he was the fourth elder in the Council of Five. The true Gem of HeKet, a brilliant twenty- carat flawless white diamond was held in one of five family tombs each erected at undisclosed locations for security. Erric, like Stephan also carried the pocket watch with Caius Blood, his grandfather’s blood with him at all times. When he was young he was told that the pocket watch would protect him, as would the contents inside. He shrugged it off to being a stupid family tradition, because there were so many he insisted.
“Ah Clovis, how are things in Brussels, I trust the family is well?” he inquired with a note of politeness and nothing more and took a seat.
“The family is quite well, thank you.” Clovis replied, his eyes widened, and peered curiously at Vanskiiver. His sudden interest in Clovis’ family drew the attention of the others in the room.
Clovis III Ramses Caius Thoth Makars ruled over the fifth bloodline; he a fourth generation Thoth displayed similar Scandinavian features to Vanskiiver, strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. He wore a family insignia ring on his right hand; his bore no stone in the center, his merely pure gold, which bore the family-crest of the House of Thoth. Clovis travelled from Brussels where he and his family resided. He like others within the upper ranks of the bloodline was responsible for the financial operations of the family in Belgium, France, and The Netherlands.
Before Vanskiiver could prod Clovis further, the entire table gazed up as Conte Tullevette made his grand entrance, arrogantly parading himself into the room like a dignitary. “Good evening gentlemen,” Dragan Draganos Caius Thoth Tullevette Milev uttered with his gravelly and heavily accented Italian. He grabbed his chair and immediately reached for one of the pewter chalices. The others glared, annoyed by his typical animated entrance and pompous attitude. Dragon could care little what others thought of him, he was a second generation Thoth, the son of Draganos Caius Thoth Amun Milev, the seventh son born of Thoth. He was shrewd and infinitely wicked, and was known as Conte Tullevette, a name he condescendingly coined in the early 15th Century after delightfully killing the original Conte Tullevette by consuming him before the staff.
Joesept Constantinos Caius Thoth Surran was the next member to take a seat. He glanced sharply around the table, and sat with visual reluctance next to the Conte. Joesept was striking, slightly resembling Marlon Brando in his slimmer days, with eyes of light golden brown, dark sandy brown hair, and a continual presence of a darkened five o’clock shadowy beard. His frame was slightly thick-set, and his face round, his hair a warm brunette. Joesept served as the ruler of the Eighth bloodline, which originated within Egypt a descendant of Queen Ma’at.
Seated adjacent to Joesept was his cousin, Ephraim Elijah Caius Thoth Galerius. Ephraim ruled the ninth bloodline from the region of Israel and West Bank. His features unique to other members of his family, while, the majority of Thoth men were tall and muscular build, Ephraim was short and stocky, with raven hair and wolf-like eyes of light cobalt. He was a mild mannered man of little words except when conducting business ventures when his darker side emerged into that of a cunning cobra, sweeping in for the kill and almost always taking his opponents by surprise.
Hasib Georges Caius Thoth Couvintunje, took the name of Georges Covington within business world, he sat next to Ephraim. Georges was a tall and muscular build, smooth sun kissed skin, light brown hair, and dark jet eyes set under a thicken brow. He was overtly outspoken and his speech heavily accented with New South Wales Australian intonation. He carried himself with a slight limp, the result of a near death experience he often boasted and oddly never recovered; Since their kind always healed no one could understand how or why he was left with a limp. A remnant of his wilder days, he surmised, or perhaps due to the fact it happed before he had transformed. No one knew, and now, he had excepted the fact. He walked sometimes with a cane with a brilliant amber stone at the crest. Georges was of the tenth bloodline.
Sirrus Augustine Caius Thoth Milesan was from the eleventh bloodline. Black Irish with a thick Celtic accent his burly frame intimidating; he stood upward of six feet eleven inches resembling a body builder, which ironically matched his boisterous persona. He loved Irish whiskey and the ladies, and was never far from a young blonde when he travelled.
Dragos III Caius Thoth Milev Rau stood near the bar. His features unlike most of the other men in the room: straight jet black hair and eyes with a slight slant; nose long and narrow. His skin tone was nearly a translucent, pale yellow even. He wavered as if he were unsure he wanted to remain in the room or discretely sneak out the door; a mysterious quality which matched his good looks and charm. He had been seated at the bar. He grabbed a pewter chalice and twirled around like a child, filled the chalice with crimson liquid, and swirled back around facing the boardroom table. He hopped off and took a seat in the twelfth chair. Stephan gathered, from the look of distraction, he would have preferred to have stayed at his estate outside Hong Kong, out of the family limelight anywhere, than having been ordered to France for this meeting. His annoyance voiced clearly in his soft-spoken greeting as he took his place at the table.
The remaining vacant chair once held the leader of the thirteenth bloodline, Inanna Caius Thoth Akkadian. Her absence detected by each man who sat around the table; their thoughts unspoken but the grief of her absence apparent in each of their eyes.
After a brief moment of silence to remember Inanna, Rostov stood, and greeted his guests, followed by his inaugural address, “Since the dawn of time the roles by which each of you sitting in this room behold have not been taken lightly. It has been in our nature to ensure the declaration of silence has been upheld, even in death.
Each of you as adherents of the House of Thoth, upon accepting his birthright has journeyed through a series of ancient rituals passed down through the generations. Each generation of initiates solemnly attested to uphold the secrecy of our existence, our ancient knowledge, and arcane treasures in our possession.
Each understands it is strictly forbidden to reveal the agenda of our gatherings or conversations pertaining to our bloodline, finances or other business dealings with anyone outside of this room, regardless of whether they are within the family or mere mortal. Whoever dares fail in their allegiance to the House of Thoth shall be put to death in the ways of the gods and our ancestors. So it has been conveyed, as it has been commanded over the course of our existence, so it shall be done. In the name of the gods, and our father Caius Thoth the great ruler of our kind and in the name of his sons and daughters, thy will be done.”
Rostov continued raising his pewter chalice in a toast, “This meeting shall be brought to order with the sacrificial drink of life. All hail to Thoth! All hail to our kind!” And in unison the table repeated with Rostov. “All hail to Thoth! All hail to our kind!” And they drank from their respective chalices.
“I have called this meeting in to order to discuss with you the tragic events which fell upon our house but one week ago.” He lowered his head. “As most in this room are aware, the entire Thirteenth House has been eradicated. Everyone, including its leader, my sister Inanna, her husband Dagan, and their newborn twins Alexandra and Alexander all murdered along with all those possessing pure Akkadian blood.”
The room gasped.
“Unfortunately, we know little as to why they the Thirteenth House of Thoth were the target of such a barbaric act, or who was responsible for their murders of fifty living Akkadian’s.
Understand this council has been diligently probing for answers with little resolve at this juncture. Know we will not stop until the person or persons responsible are found and tried in the ancient ways of the House of Thoth. We will have vengeance for their deaths.
Today we are here to determine the replacement for the Akkadian business interests. Secondly, we seek your help to identify and persecute those out to destroy the family Thoth.” Rostov laid out for the group.
The meeting was laborious strained even, and continued over the course of long three days. Tempers were brought to the verge of pandemonium. But in the end a decision was forged.
“As would be customary the seat would have gone to Inanna’s Husband, then to the daughter, followed by the next surviving true blood relative. Considering Inanna, Dagan, and the twins were the last remaining true blood members of the Thirteenth House of Thoth, the Council was forced to select the next female of true bloodline.” Rostov announced.
The room silenced as Rostov was about to reveal the successor.
“The Council has chosen Luciana Zerena Caius Thoth Akkadian Milev, who is known on this day as Serena Tullevette, Inanna’s niece and Dragan’s new born daughter.” Rostov announced.”
Gasps were heard around the table, followed by questions flaring around the room.
“If you may be so kind as to let me continue,” Rostov voiced.
“Dragan considering Zerena is your daughter it will be your responsibility to mentor her in our ways. And it will be you, whom will hold her place within council, until she reaches her thirtieth birthday. At which time, she will undergo the customary rite of passage and you will step down at her indoctrination as the fifth Council member.”
“Understood, and thank you, this is a most gracious honor.” The Conte earnestly replied. His face gleamed.
“While the House issues appear to be settled, the matter of the gem and missing documents lay unresolved. To be sure, the Council has assigned their best agents to continue the search.” Rostov concluded.
Markus Hadrian was restless, obviously discontented by the outcome of the meeting. It was common knowledge he held little hope that by the time Zerena became of age and came into power the missing gem would be located. His disappointment clearly visible. “She is not worthy of such a role in this House.” He whispered. “Thirty years.”