PART TWO – THE HOUSE OF THOTH
Chapter 8 – Daughter
At first cock-crow the ghosts must go, back to their quiet graves below. ~ Theodosia Garrision
New Years Eve, 2005, Castello di Tullevette
From the inner chamber of her room, Serena Tullevette was screaming. She frantically tossed her clothes in a heap on the floor. “None of these outfits will simply do.” She cursed as her faithful servant handed her dress after dress; Serena in return rejected each with a toss to the floor. Serena huffed. The old woman was trying her patience, but in fact could not imagine a life without Margareta, the woman who had nursed and cared for her since the day she was born. She trusted Margareta her in every aspect of her daily life. Some days however, Serena’s actions were not of love or even of trust they were spiteful and malevolent like her father.
Serena continued her spoiled display of attention for several minutes. Pacing the floor of her eccentric bedroom, until the carpet was about to show signs of ardent abuse. A bedroom that was more like palace within a palace far exceeded most Tuscan homes let alone a mere sleeping quarter. But the Conte rarely said no to his daughter’s wilds and somewhat ostentatious whims.
The decorum, of the room luxurious decorated in the finest linens and silks from Egypt and Asia from the four-poster king-size bed built of the finest mahogany with carved headboard and meticulously inlaid rubies and emeralds to the matching armoire and chairs whose gems glistened in the sunlight. The linens draped the windows were of thick dark burgundy velvet which matched the black velvet duvet and blood-red pillows which covered the bed. To the left and right of the bed, two Murano glass lamps perched atop identical mahogany end tables.
The moderate sized bathroom consumed half of the bedroom, more akin to a tropical jungle; palm trees, ferns, and other tropical plants. A full size spa, closely resembling a small swimming pool, was centrally located and inserted into the mushroom colored ceramic floor tiles, large enough to accommodate at least ten guests comfortably. A walk-in shower constructed against the far wall was encased on three sides with glass. Taupe and light tan ceramic tiles covered the wall, floor, and ceiling. A state of the art toilet and bidet were situated around the corner of the copper sink basin, and just out of sight.
Her closet filled the rest of the room – the size of a mini boutique; the wall cupboard housed more shoes than Imelda Marcos, handbags, and clothes which were all smartly arranged by color, for which the two women, Serena and Margareta now stood arguing over dresses. Serena wandered nude out of her room, to fetch her black book from the rustic desk at the far side of the room that provided a wondrous view of the vineyard she scanned over her appointments briefly then returned to the closet.
Margareta, you are the best!” Whatever would I do without you?”
“Probably wither up and die I suspect,” the slight framed woman replied with a warm tone in her voice. She dressed simply, in standard black maid uniform, with white lace apron and white-collar. Her light grayish hair held on top her head in a bun. Serena knew while Margareta had indeed made an attempt at a joke, she was correct. She knew she would be lost without her. Margareta was like a member of her family and had been employed by the Conte since before Serena was born. Most were too afraid to appear remotely disobedient, or face the wrath of the master of the house, Conte Tullevette. Margareta was different. And gained a certain respect from Serena as well as the master of the house – The Conte.
“You are so cruel. Do you know what papa is planning for tonight?” She chided.
“No my Lady.”
“I hope it is about the party!” She gleamed with excitement.
“Okay, how do I look?” she stood in a black dress with blood-red accents, and black pumps, her dark hair loose, falling just below her shoulders, clipped up on one side with a ruby and diamond hair clip, in the shape of a dragon.
“Perfetto.” Serena bolted out the door and down the long corridor and down the stairs to the family dining area.
“So Papa what was so urgent I had to rearrange my schedule?” she asked as she entered the simple Tuscan dining area with Florentine decor. Russet colored ceramic tile floor, rectangular dining table made of the finest mango wood, large ceramic vases placed throughout the room, Murano glass chandelier, wormwood buffet table covered with a handmade Belgian lace cloth, holding two ceramic candle stick holders with tall burnt orange candles and matching ceramic tray providing refuge to a Riedel glass wine decanter. The walls were an inviting sunshine yellow and windows covered with shutters in lieu of draperies.
“Well good evening to you too, my dear.” I am so pleased you could find the time to join me. It seems you never have the time for your papa these days.” He replied genuinely.
“Well, Papa you know this was such short notice; I was to open the club tonight, Lucian better be there covering for me.” She replied trying not to sound too annoyed. She didn’t want to upset her father in case he wanted to discuss the party.
“I wanted to discuss with you, yours and Lucian’s 30th birthday. This year’s affair will be one in which you both will embrace your heritage and be welcomed into the family as heir to the Thirteenth House of Thoth.” The Conte proudly explained.
“Serena’s usually dark eyes beamed golden with excitement to finally be honored as a member of the House of Thoth, however she had no idea she would be named heir to the Thirteenth House. “Oh my goodness Papa, what are you saying?” knowing in part it was an honor among true bloods marked as a chosen one to serve as leader. She was unclear of what her role exactly entailed, but certainly it translated in her mind as power and with power came money. And power and money were two items she sought.
“My dear, as is tradition you both will partake in the ancient rite of passage. I have already spoken of details with Lucian. Neither of you need concern yourselves with them now. I assure you everything will be explained in due course. Meanwhile, in special honor of your thirtieth birthday I will host a lavish masquerade ball. I’ve taken the liberty to arrange the event as the affair will be a night you both will never forget.”
“A costume party? Isn’t that a bit old fashion?” she stated, disappointed. Her spoiled nature was on display as she tried not to pout. “Well, I suppose a costume affair would be okay. How many people have you invited?”
“A masquerade ball,” he corrected her. “And I have invited one hundred or so of the family members and another hundred or so of our closest friends.”
“But Papa it will take me an eternity to find an proper costume, especially for such a lavish affair.” She whined disappointingly.
“You needn’t worry, my dear. It so happens I have already chosen your costume.”
“Oh Papa how could you, that is so unfair,” she cried, unquestionably disenchanted, and pouted like a child. “Whatever am I to wear?”
“It is a surprise. Your costume will be waiting for you in plenty of time for the party. And don’t look so disappointed. You will love it. I promise.”
“I can hardly wait,” she retorted with even less enthusiasm.
“Serena really, you are entirely too old to pout like a five-year old. I will have none of that.”
“Fine, but I really don’t see why you won’t let me find a suitable costume.”
“Did you or did you not just finish telling me, not five minutes ago, you would not have time to find a suitable costume?”
“Well, yes I suppose I did.”
“Then our conversation is over.”
“I will expect you to wear what you will find in your room and I will hear nothing of it again.” He got up from the table and abruptly left the room.
Well this evening did not go as she had plan, and certainly wouldn’t do. However, becoming an heir was a surprise, which screamed celebration. Serena scoped the room. Alone again. Her papa always so abrupt. She threw her napkin on the table and stomped off.
Serena hoped Lucian had turned up at the club. Her twin often found it more appealing to tramp around, and was quite the player with both woman and men. Serena learned to keep up her guard and ensure his mind was on task with her business. While Lucian was at times frustrating, the plus side to his relentless womanizing was from time to time she too could partake in the fun, on her terms of course. The thought aroused her and brought an immediate grin and to her otherwise frustrated face.
Wasting no time, she quickly changed clothes not bothering to sequester Margareta for help as the woman more than likely would give her ‘motherly’ advice she, venturing out so late at night. It simply was not lady like. She smiled. Perhaps she was right for once, but Serena didn’t care. Her cravings were of late too much for her to resist. She had to feed.
She pulled a delicious floor length silk red dress by Dior from her closet. A V-neck, exquisitely baring the plumpness of her cleavage, V-back to cut to the curvature of her buttocks flowing skirt scarcely touching the floor, and seductive silver sandals barely peeking out. She pulled her silky black hair up into a French twist with the same dragon clip, loose ringlets brushing up against the side of her face. Ruby and diamond necklace, matching earrings set in platinum, hung from the tiny lobes of her ears. She looked ravishing. She gazed into the floor length mirror in admiration of herself and then grabbed a small silver clutch dialed her cell phone and hurriedly down the stairs.
“Lucian, thank the gods you are there. Papa as usual did not stick around for dinner. I will see you around nine thirty.” She hung up the phone and dialed the house line.
“Tobias, tell Henri I need a lift to the heliport!”