Charlotte’s phone remained quiet, as though Patrick and Eliza knew she was not of their world. It gave her space for her to discover her true nature. She wrestled with her thirst, unsatisfied by plasma fruit blends. Caleb made her focus on control in a dark, meditative state. Plumes of purple smoke billowed around her as she levitated, leg crossed, and eyes closed. Acute hearing picked out footsteps, voices, a scuttling spider and a mouse’s breath. Her mind connected to the gift of immortality. She reached into her own memories, letting slip a giggle. Caleb pondered her, confused. Charlotte recalled a long slobbering tongue, fuzzy hair and wet snout of their dog Sparky; she could feel the warm breath on her face as Sparky licked. The vividness of her memories concerned Caleb. He kept silent, hoping her gifts were more akin to his than routed in her mental state.
Utilising her power and increasing its effectiveness would make her a formidable opponent. He led her outside into the darkness, the cool, damp air, refreshing against her skin. Charlotte inhaled; she had not taken a breath for purposes other than talking since she awoke. The fresh, earthy scent filled her nostrils, the relief of being above ground evident in her smile.
Caleb demonstrated his speed, moving behind her, knocking her off balance. He held her in position mid-fall, pulling her back into his arms. There would be ample time to explore, to show her Forgotten Hollow, its midnight beauty. He spun her; chest pressed against her back. Caleb nudged her feet apart, front foot grounded, the back used to pivot. Charlotte wiggled her hips against him, unable to focus with him so close. He gritted his teeth, ignoring how this action attempted to distract him. Caleb extended and rotated her wrists, drawing them back into a guarded position. He curled them round, hooking the elbow, stroking her cheek with his. Caleb squatted, forcing Charlotte with him. He drove upwards with an emphasis on hitting the chin. The strength possessed by Charlotte surprised him, but it was useless if she was not a fighter. She looked disappointed, hoping to embrace her first steps in the darkened world. Instead, Caleb took a guarded stance opposite her, coaching through the punches. He knocked each throw away, as they danced in a circular motion.
Charlotte lacked his speed, experience and discipline. As a fledgling Vampire, Charlotte expected a lot from herself. She wondered if Caleb’s focus on self-control stopped her powers from manifesting. She retreated into the books, a place she found comfort. She was unsure what gifts she hoped to achieve. Charlotte eyed the pages with deepening interest. If she were worthy at the level of Grand Master, could she accomplish those coveted abilities? Vampires reaching this level were often given unique roles within their houses.
A house is a vampire collective. There was one house in existence, Strauss, with Vlad at the helm. The Caster’s decision to curb the occult presence in the world meant this would remain the case. Roles were destiny, the Ministry of Magic could not deny this. Mediums were sought for their knowledge and understanding of the magics that bound them. Charlotte clutched the book, drawn into Caleb’s world by love, this would be hers one day. Besides, House Vatore-Grace would reach beyond this hamlet, bringing together human and occult.