Chapter Twenty Four

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Training Day

Victoria had never been inside a castle before, but it was exactly as how she imagined one would look. Tall stone walls and drafty rooms filled corridor after corridor. Each room they passed seemed bigger than the next. When they stopped at the kitchen, her eyes grew big and her stomach rumbled. It was enormous and filled with people.

Several men bustled in, wearing similar grey tunics. They greeted them kindly, then picked up several trays and bustled out just as quickly. Women dashed around carrying away dirty pots and replacing them with clean ones. Whatever they were cooking smelled fantastic.

Ava led them to a round table large enough to accommodate all seven of them. A plump man strolled over and spat out a list of things he had available for them to eat. Most of it was things she had never heard of before and so she settled for a roasted turkey leg and hot tomato soup. A loaf of fresh bread accompanied her meal and it crackled divinely when she sliced in to it.

Enjoying it immensely, she sopped up the last of the soup with a piece of bread and pushed her bowl away in embarrassment. The others joked at her ability to eat so quickly. After they had all finished, and their plates cleared away, Ava showed them to their rooms. Ayden left the group first as his room resided in a different location than theirs did.

As they came to another long hall of rooms, Evangeline spoke to Ava, "Is there a room that is big enough for all of us perhaps?"

Ava laughed angelically and paused in front of a large wooden door.

Opening it, she motioned for them to enter. Inside the huge room were five, four-poster beds. Each one made of ebony, and carved with the most intricate patterns. Placed to one side of the room in a half circle, the beds left the rest of the room open and filled with beautiful items. Victoria wandered the room and examined things randomly. There was a small chaise placed at the end of every bed, each one a different pattern or color.

A vanity equipped with girly things sat neatly tucked away in a corner. A gigantic wardrobe full of clothes sat open as if waiting for them. Scenic paintings covered the walls, and her eye fell on one that was different from the numerous landscapes that hung. It was a depiction of five pregnant women, standing in front of the castle under the night sky, while a blue star was falling over them.

She thought she recognized one of them.

"That's your mother, there." Ava said behind her, pointing at the woman on the far left.

It was a remarkable resemblance. She recognized her mother's stern face and platinum hair even though it was much longer. The other girls ventured over and admired the painting as Ava pointed out whose mother was where. Victoria remembered that aside from herself and Ryhan, none of the others had ever met their mothers. Suddenly feeling bad for the way she left her mother, she thought she ought to find a way to get a message to her and let her know that she was all right.

"You're mothers wanted to sleep together as well. They were inseparable. Your bond was evident, even then." Ava said to them.

Thinking back on everything that had happened and the things they had done, there was no denying their power was great, but she was not convinced their bond was as strong as Ava implied. Lillian acted as if she could barely stand her, and Ryhan and Alex were constantly fighting. Evangeline got tired of keeping everyone calm and levelheaded. If their bond was so great, Victoria thought it should be easier to be around one another. Perhaps that would come with time.

"Through that door is a washroom, the tub is filled and ready for whomever would like to use it. Just ring the bell when you need fresh water and someone will be happy to oblige." Ava said, then added, "Get a good night's rest, tomorrow morning you start training with me."

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