Chapter I -- An Age of Innocence
I was born in the Republic of Venezia in the year 1774. Obviously, I was named after the great composer, Antonio Vivaldi. Five minutes after I arrived, my sister, Luna, came into the world. We both grew up in a stout, wealthy Catholic home, with three elder brothers: Sebastian, Leonardo, and Raphael. Our whole family was Initia; everyone being fire specialists. We were teased about it quite often, as Fierro basically means fire. So it was no surprise when my sister and I turned out to be fire specialists as well. The only thing was, we were seven when it became obvious. The Magister always said it was queer that two so young could specialise so quickly. But our family joy was short lived, as a plague swept through Italy shortly after our seventh birthday. My siblings remained unharmed, but my parents weren't so lucky.
Not much later, I realized faint red lines started forming down my back, forming odd patterns and shapes. I was scared out of my young mind. I scrubbed as hard as I could, trying to get them off my back and scratched as hard as I could. No matter what I did, they wouldn't come off. Thankfully, as I was born in a wealthy Italian family in the Renaissance era, I could wear long gowns to cover up what I saw at the time as imperfections on my back. Giving up on getting rid of them, I simply tried my hardest to ignore them. I focussed on living my childhood to the fullest, going to my lessons to improve my skill over fire. My siblings and I were extremely close and told each other everything. The only exception was my secret about the lines. Something told me I should keep that to myself. That something kept me alive.
I grew to be one of the most talented fire specialists in our clan; closely matched only by my twin. I realized I could generate it, as in produce fire out of thin air, and manipulate it to do whatever I pleased. As I grew into my teen years, the lines became clearer down my back as they grew as well, extending to the sides of my torso and extending down towards my thighs. Soon, even the expert fire specialist realized that we were too powerful for him to teach, we being my twin and myself. That's when the Magister said he would instruct us.
One day, when I was around the age of seventeen, I realized my sister and I would be late for our lesson with the Magister if she didn't get ready quickly enough. It was a common occurrence; my sister making all of us late. I ran up to her door, knocking frantically and yelling for her to hurry up. Finding her door was unlocked, I simply pushed it open. Through the thin layer of my sister's shift, I saw lines. I simply blinked in shock as she begged me not to say anything. With a sigh, I hiked up my dress to my thighs, showing her the lines that had formed on the upper half. We couldn't be mad at each other: for ten years we had kept the same secret about ourselves from each other. We agreed never to talk about it unless we were alone in our own rooms, behind locked doors. But on that one day, even when I was being taught by the Magister, I couldn't get the thought out of my head that I wasn't the only one. My sister had similar markings. What if there were more like us?
From that day on, I spent every waking moment in the library trying to find some sort of record of why I was like this. I soon gained the affection of a scribe my age there: Mattao Agrassi. I told him I wasn't looking for a relationship, but that never stopped him from staring at me. I had to be careful, I realized as I looked through many books. It was only months later when I found something I could use: an old leather bound book. Engraved in gold was the name Nikolai Dravén. Seeing that the earliest entry was in the year 205 AD, I simply flipped through, out of curiosity. I read of the same lines forming down his back, and the same extreme control over fire. Not wanting to be caught, I hid the book under my dress. I went straight up to my room and locked the door, spending the next few months reading over it. Nikolai Dravén called himself a Phoenix. The lines forming down my back would form wings, I realized that I could will them to become real. I spent all my time preparing for my maturity as a Phoenix. Of course, I shared my knowledge with my sister. We both spent our nights reading over the journal. The one thing that stuck out to us, however, was one specific entry: Nikolai Dravén was shunned by the Initia, left in exile to survive on his own. "The Initia will and forever see Phoenixes as a threat; an abomination of nature," he wrote. "Once discovered, a Phoenix will be cast out."
At the age of nineteen, I matured. The lines down my back did indeed form wings, but turned from their red color to an inky black. My sister's wings, however, turned a deep, cobalt blue instead. Our control over fire was far ahead than anyone from the Initia, including the Magister. I was the more powerful one, but my sister wasn't far behind. One day, we foolishly decided to go for a swim in the lake not far from the clan. Due to what I say bad luck, Mattao decided to follow us like the pervert he was. However, once seeing the wings on our back, he decided to be a snitch and told the Magister. I suppose he knew about Phoenixes: he was a scribe after all. We were called to the Magister's tower, where we usually had our lessons. He told us he suspected us of being Phoenixes; we were, after all, far too powerful. So, he gave us an ultimatum: either we leave, or he kills our brothers. Luna and I agreed to leave, as long as our elder brothers weren't harmed.
We ran back to our house and packed, leaving notes for our brothers. I kept Nikolai Dravén's journal in my satchel, of course, so I could ensure the survival of my sister's and my own. As we readied the horses, I heard the sound of the execution horns. Wondering which poor soul was going to have his head chopped off, my sister and I rode into the city square, the heavy hoods of our robes shielding our faces from recognition. To my horror, I saw my three brothers on the stand. Before I could do anything, the three executioners swung, and that was the end for them. Anger flooded through me as I dismounted Ebony, my black stallion. Fire flew from my fingertips, burning the three executioners to a crisp. Screams of horror flooded my ears, but that wasn't it for me. No, I looked the Magister in the eyes. I saw fear cloud those jade irises of his, realising his proud display of power wasn't the best idea. I felt my wings peel off my back, and with that I burnt him too, watching him squirm as the red flames licked his body. As I walked towards Ebony again, I noticed my reflection in the waterway; my wings were black flames.
With that, Luna and I left Venice.
Chapter II -- A Woman Scorned.
We travelled all around the globe, not settling down. In Nikolai Dravén's notebook, we knew we would age gradually, and be reborn whenever we pleased. But I always had this urge to find more of my kind: to make sure no harm came to them. My sister found it foolish, but gave in after a while. First, we realized we needed our own place. My sister suggested Pompeii, finding it kind of ironic. Nikolai Dravén stated in his journal that he thought the city of Pompeii was destroyed by the rage of a Phoenix. We headed there and rebuilt it to it's former glory.
It was there, we started to build our empire. At first, it wasn't because of anything more than providing a safe haven for more of our kind. However, when I heard their stories, stories of how the Initia showed no mercy, that's when my thirst for vengeance took hold. In their stories, I remembered the pain of losing my brothers to a power-hungry Magister. I discovered that so many flocked to me because of the story of what I'd done in Venice--how I'd fought back.
It was then that I realised that I was different from the others. I could feel the presence of my kind, and I knew how to find those who were lost. I tore through Nikolai's journals after remembering an entry that spoke of such a thing. After about a week, I found it---according to the journals, I possessed what Draven called "the leader gene." My people would sense it in me, would find me from places far away, and would follow my lead by instinct.
As my flock grew, I would hear more and more of the injustice that the Phoenix faced from the Initia. My rage festered, and I grew determined to make the Initia tribes who wronged my people pay for their crimes. There was no one to stop me---only my sister would tell me to be careful, and so I set out to do just that. That was how my reputation built, and how my name reached the Ailwards.
Two members of the Ailward Guard tracked me down in Normandy, France, after I encountered and Initia tribe there who had wronged some members of my flock. They told me that I had been summoned to the Isle of Skye, where the Ailwards Aspects wished to speak with me. I sensed that I didn't have much of a choice---throughout my travels, I had heard of the Ailwards, and those who defied them often paid a heavy price.
Of course, the Aspects were not too pleased with my "killing spree." I simply told them that I sought out justice---how could they want to punish me and not judge the Initia for their crimes? So, we came to an agreement: I, as a leader, was permitted to seek revenge ONLY if the Aspects failed to do so. I was to contact them as soon as I heard of a Phoenix being harmed by Initia, and if they didn't act or if my flock was threatened, only then was I allowed to defend my people. The agreement was fair, and I stayed in contact with the Ailwards for the rest of my life.
Because of the many years that went by, I chose to be reborn once. I was growing old, and my body was starting to show age. Nikolai Draven said that once we felt ourselves decay, we would be reborn. It didn't hurt as I let myself be consumed by flames, seeing the black flames lick across my skin. I saw my skin fall to ashes. In the mirror, I saw my sharp features begin to crumble. I closed my eyes, and I let myself fall.
When I opened my eyes, I was a new person. I looked slightly older, my skin was paler, my hair was still a fiery red, my eyes were blue and wider, not the almond-shaped green hues I was born with. I was taller with longer arms and legs for days. I looked like some type of Celtic warrior, and I wasn't too upset with the change.
My reputation continued to grow over the many years. To my people, I became their fearless leader who would protect them against any harm. To outsiders, I was an unstable woman--a ticking time bomb. That was when I ran into the Ailwards once more., where they expressed their concerns over my worst curse: insanity.
Nikolai Draven spoke of the curse of leaders in his journal. As a result of being a leader, I would slowly be driven to insanity with every kill. All my people would suffer from a similar fate, but the leaders suffered at a quicker pace from this curse. I would feel its effects in due time, and that was when I stopped seeking out revenge as much, and let the Ailwards do their job.
Chapter III -- Making A Monster.
I found myself in Brazil in the late 1800s, where I was seeking out more Phoenixes. Luna was my second-in-command, and took over leading the flock in my absence. Word had reached me of many of my kind who were facing the hatred of the Initia, and were being massacred. I reached out to the Ailwards, who agreed to send a few of their guards to keep the peace while I rounded up my people, and would convince them to come back to Pompeii with me and make their home there.
As per our agreement, I only killed the Initia in self-defence, when they would come hunting for me. I did say my reputation grew, and my name spread across the sea. Many Initia figured that killing me was some sort of prize that would elevate their rank, and so I had to constantly be on the move.
It was there when I met a Nephilim man by the name of Abraxas Bradford. He was a young man who was eager to rise through the ranks of a crime family. For some reason, he caught my attention, and I offered him my assistance. I saw quite a bit of potential in him, and he agreed to offer my kind protection in South America if I agreed to help him take over the family. I agreed--I didn't want to stress out the Phoenixes who travelled with me and risk their lives as I travelled from city to city. It would be safer for them to gather in one place and wait for my return before flying over the ocean to Pompeii. Little did I know that this decision would haunt me for the rest of my days.
Abraxas and I began an affair over time. It was one of those things that just made sense. There was a sort of sexual tension between us, although there was no feelings. It was a fun way to pass the time, and part of our pillow talk would consist of plans of forming a coup to overthrow the current crime lord in Rio de Janeiro.
The coup was successful, and Abraxas became the crime lord of the city. He kept his word and made a safe house for my people, allowing me to travel in South America with a peace of mind, knowing that my people were not in danger. I would come back to Rio occasionally when I brought back the Phoenixes I saved, and Abraxas and I would have the occasional conversations. I was never in the city long enough to hear of the horrors of his rule.
The Ailward Guard would find me later, and confront me for endorsing such a man. I was confused--Abraxas didn't seem like a big concern. That was when they would tell me of how he would torture his enemies in order to possess their assets. He was risking the secret of the supernatural, and was the textbook definition of a tyrant. It was never my intention to hurt innocent people--I genuinely thought that Abraxas would be a fair leader.
I confronted Abraxas upon returning to Rio, and he confessed to everything. "Fear was the only way to secure my rule," he would say to me. This horrified me, and I cut ties with the Nephilim. I warned him that if he continued down this path, he would meet death sooner rather than later. There were others watching him, I would tell him. And with that, I would gather my people, and leave South America for good. Little did he know that I told the Ailward Guard everything I knew about him when he refused to change his ways: his strengths, his weaknesses, and his darkest secrets. They would plan a coup which would bring upon the end of his reign in Rio. I thought that would be the last I heard from him, but fate would have other plans for me.
Chapter IV -- A Brave New World.
It was in the 1920s when Luna and I would hear word of a place by the name of Evermore City. It was a place where the supernatural lived in harmony, where we wouldn't be hurt or hunted. The only problem was that it was on the other side of the world from Pompeii -- it was in Colorado; a southeastern state in the USA.
The decision to move took a shorter time than I expected -- the entire flock was eager to make our home in a safe haven. We migrated quickly, and made our home in the mountain range. There, I started building a villa on the highest mountain, big enough for our entire tribe to live together.
As the leader of the Phoenix flock here in Evermore, I soon was granted the title Ambassador. I would represent the interests and concerns of my people to the other ambassadors as we made decisions for the city in everyone's best interest. Of course, there was an Initia tribe in Evermore as well, but it was in my people's best interests for us to be at peace.
Things went well for the remainder of the 20th century, but it was during the 21st centuries when things went downhill. A massacre changed the dynamic of the city--people were wary of each other, and old animosities arose once more to divide a once-united community. Many of my people would perish, but so would many others from the other species.
It was around this time when I grew closer to Harrison Chadwick and Cornelia Bradford: detective partners in the ECPD. There had been a series of murders, where people had been burnt to a crisp, beyond recognition. However, when I looked at the bodies, I knew that it wasn't the work of a Phoenix--it was the work of someone who wanted it to look like a Phoenix was on a killing spree. I was lucky that both the detectives believed me, and took my word that it was a frame job. Together, we would work towards finding out who exactly was behind the killings.
A twist of fate would lead to me saving Cornelia's life. I was flying over the city when I noticed a shoot-out happening. Cornelia had been shot and was bleeding profusely, and the other cops with her had died. I quickly incapacitated the shooters and took the Nephilim woman back to the mountains, where I healed her with my tears and nursed her back to health. Little did I know that this would spark off a mighty friendship between us both. That didn't happen right away, as Cornelia was always wary of my 'psychotic' mannerisms.
My relationship with Harrison blossomed in a different way. The more time we spent together, the more I realised that I was developing feelings for the dhampir. This scared me, as I'd never felt so passionately for anyone before. However, Harrison assured me that we would be okay, that this was a good thing, and that we should pursue it. Soon, we began a romantic relationship.
Alas, the surprises would not end. Shortly after Harrison and I got together, a man entered my life, and it would shock me to my core. I would not recognise his face when he entered my home, but as a leader, I knew his aura was familiar.
It was my brother: Raphael.
It was the happiest day of my life, seeing my brother alive. I truly believed that all three of my brothers had perished, but Raph' assured me that it wasn't the case. See, my leader gene hadn't matured when they were executed, so I wasn't able to sense that they too were Phoenixes. The Magister believed that they were Initia too, and only executed them to prove to Luna and me that we had no power. What no one knew was that Raphael was in love with the Magister's daughter, an Initia's daughter by the name of Begonia. On the night before their execution, she hired the services of a Dark Diviner, who cast an illusion spell over three convicted rapists and murders, making them look like my three brothers. This allowed my brothers to escape, though they left Begonia behind. They knew if she came with them, it would raise suspicions as to why, risking the revelation of their con. They didn't know that Luna and I were like them, although they had their suspicions, and so the three parted ways to reduce to risk of being recognised and caught. It was only recently that Raphael received word that Luna and I had settled in Evermore, and without hesitation, he came here to reunite with us. I couldn't believe my ears, but it had to be true. He knew so much about our childhood, there was no doubt that the man before me was a brother. I was the happiest I'd ever been: knowing my family was alive, and in love with a person who seemed the perfect man. Everything was marvellous.
Of course, things would go terribly wrong. I was stupid not to make the connection between Abraxas and Cornelia--their shared surname should have raised some alarm bells in my head, but I didn't think twice about it. It had to be a coincidence. It would be then that Cornelia would reveal that this man was her father, and he was seeking revenge on his daughter. I just happened to be a happy surprise for him when he realised that he could hurt the both of us by taking Harrison prisoner: his daughter's best friend, and his ex-lover's new love interest.
Harrison was horribly tortured, and we were sent videos each day of his sufferings. Cornelia and I believed that we could fool him, and we rescued Harrison. We thought we'd actually gotten away with it, but Abraxas must have known we'd attempt such a feat. Harrison, Cornelia, and I had just met in a diner, Harrison still recovering from his wound, where we reminisced about finally besting Abraxas. We didn't even consider that he would discover our trickery and take his revenge. It was only when the bullet went through Harrison's heart and when he lay dying on the sidewalk that we realised that this was Abraxas's plan the entire time My tears would not be able to save him, and the dhampir died in my arms.
Chapter V -- Grief.
The pain of losing Harrison brought upon another rebirth. It happened in the cemetery, with Cornelia by my side at Harrison's headstone. Gone was my fiery red hair, replaced by long ebony locks. My skin was as pale as porcelain, and my eyes were a mixture of turquoise, teal, and jade. I'd read about extreme grief bringing about a rebirth, but I'd never thought that it would happen to me. Cornelia watched as black flamed consumed my body, and this event would somehow bond us for the rest of time.
That day would be one filled with surprises, for on the way back from the graveyard, we would encounter two men. Instantly, I knew one was a leader like me, and that they were both related. It took another moment to realise that I recognised their auras, although their faces were not familiar. It took a few teasing lines for me to realise who they were, and why they were speaking to me.
Sebastian and Leonardo: the other two of my brothers.
I could not believe my eyes. I couldn't believe that they were here, in Evermore. Just like Raphael, they had heard word of Luna and I settling in Evermore and making a home for our kind, and they journeyed from far away to make our family whole again. If the grief from losing Harrison wasn't so fresh, I would have been overjoyed. I invited them to stay in the villa with the rest of the flock, and they agreed. Having my family together would help bring me out of my rut, and help me come back to normal. However, that would take a long, long time.
The Initia didn't help my grief much. Aurora Deveraux, the Magister of the Initia tribe would constantly try to terrorise my flock, along with her siblings. This would lead to her brother, Romeo, dying at my twin's hand. It was in self-defence, as he tried came to our home and tried to kill her. However, Aurora didn't see it that way, and in her grief, she came to my home to kill my sister in return. I couldn't let Luna die, and so I ended up having to end her life. I burnt her corpse and let her ashes float away in the mountain breeze so no one would know of what had happened. It was the only way to keep my people safe.
The Magister who followed was a nightmare: her name was Sierra Reigns. She had two brothers by the names of Adolf and Cedric. I'm rather sure that they came from hell itself, as they were murderous and vile.
Now would be a good time to mention Jason Karter. He was a Korean mercenary, and would later come to join my flock as my bodyguard. He became more than a friend me, a brother in all but blood. I loved him as much as my family, and he, along with my family, would carry me through my grief. He would end up meeting Roxanne Halloran in the flock, and they would soon expect a child.
That was when the Reigns siblings decided to come make our lives absolute hell.
They would end up kidnapping Leonardo and torture him, but Jason Karter would be his rescuer. This angered the siblings, who would end up attacking an expecting Roxanne Halloran. This resulted in her miscarriage, angering Jason. Jason would end up killing Adolf Reigns, which caused an unrest in the city.
You may be wondering where was I when all this was going down. Due to my grief, the schizophrenia associated with the leader gene was heightened. I was losing my mind, seeing the ghost of Harrison haunting my every corner. Word of my condition soon reached the Ailward, and they considered dumping me in a pit so my insanity would not cost innocent lives, as many leaders had done before.
There was one person who kept me from falling over the edge, and to him, I owe my life.
Chapter VI -- Alexander.
I met Alexander Warren in a park one day, when I was reading through one of Nikolai's journals. He ended up sitting next to me, and recognised the journals. He apparently knew the legendary Phoenix himself, and told me much about him. I guess he could sense the insanity festering in my mind, and he offered his aid in keeping it at bay.
He was a great help, reminding me to watch my actions, and was always there during my breakdowns. However, I found myself falling in love with the Nephilim. This terrified me, after what happened with Harrison. I was so worried that my enemies would end up killing him, or that I would lose him one way or another, and find myself in the arms of grief once more. So I pushed him away, telling him that I wasn't ready for a relationship, and I forced a wall around my heart so that I would never be hurt again.
Keeping away from Alex like that hurt me more than words could say, which pushed me closer and closer to insanity. I was rather lucky that me pushing him away didn't stop him from wanting to help me. He asked Malva, at the Ailward Aspect of Magic, to make me a ring that would stop the insanity from taking a hold of my mind. Apparently, she owed him a favour, and he used it to save me.
Malva, however, had other plans. She wanted to toss me in a pit, and so when I put on the ring, I fell into a deep sleep.
Alex stopped her from taking me, and forced her to undo her magic. She finally conceded, and I awoke to see no shadow of Harrison haunting the corners of my vision, nor the echoing voices in my head. It was quiet, and it was normal. Tears filled my eyes when I realised the magic had worked, and looking at Alex then, I knew that I couldn't let my past get in the way of something good. It was not what Harrison would have wanted. So I told him there and then that I was ready, and that I loved him. I kissed him, and then began the great love of my life.
Things went well for us. As an immortal supernatural warrior, Alex could defend himself from whatever came his way. He took care of me, and I took care of him. It came as a surprise when he proposed to me the morning after a wild night in Vegas that until now I still can't remember much of, and we got married in front of our friends and my family in September 2016. He became Alexander d'Fierro, and for the first time in my life, I thought nothing could go wrong.
Chapter VII -- Ice.
I found myself captured in the year 2018. It was ironic that my captors weren’t enemies of mine, but of my husband. He was taken too, and they wanted to make him pay for some crime that had happened too long ago. I was his punishment, as I was pushed into a river, powerless as the water filled my lungs, and I breathed my last breath.
It was the pitiful end of Leona d’Fierro, the great Phoenix.
Only, it wasn't a full end to my life. I felt the familiar sensations of flames lick my body. However, this time, these fires weren’t the vantablack flames that coursed through my veins, but blue--a bright, bold blue.
I awoke alone by the side of the river, alone, but my face was not the one I recognised. Gone was my ivory skin and ebony locks that tumbled down my back, for they'd now been replaced by golden-tanned skin with wavy mahogany locks. I had been reborn, but not as a Phoenix--a Niveis. I’d heard of them from my travels. I knew what this meant: this was my last life, and it would be forever. I mourned the loss of my powers of fire for a week, and then I started to teach myself how to wield water and ice as my weapon. I hated what I was---especially what it represented---but my thirst for my revenge pulled me through my rage and grief. I would not let this get in my way for delivering justice, and reminding those why my name was so feared. A part of me did wonder, if my kidnappers knew so much about my husband and I, surely they must have known that the only way to completely end our life cycles was to plunge a gold dagger through our hearts. It didn't make sense why they chose to drown me, but I chose to think more about that when I finally had the chance to confront them. Once I gathered my strength, I hunted for my killers. I travelled around the world for three months, but I came no closer to find my killers or my husband.
Frustrated, I returned to the place I called home once more, knowing that there was only one person in the world who could help me find my killers, and find Alexander: Cornelia Bradford. Alas, fate really had it in for me this time, for when I arrived in the city, I'd heard that she had died at Abraxas's hand. The only consolation was that devil was finally dead, but the guilt I felt for letting him live in the first place haunted me. Fortunately, a turn of events found her alive, but not entirely well: she'd lost most of her memories. I was determined to help her through and gain back what she'd lost, but she would be no help to me to find my killers and Alexander.
Even though Cornelia was alive, I'd never felt more alone. My siblings were gone, who knew where, and my flock had dissolved. No one knew what happened to them, only that they left not long after I was captured. I had no one to turn to, and it felt like all hope was lost...
Word then reached me of a man, a human man, who could possibly help me. His name was Everson Echo, and he was the Head of Intel of the Organisation. My informant told me that if this man couldn't track him down, no one could. So I broke into his office, laying in wait for him to walk into the door. When he did, he seemed to know exactly who I was, even with my new face. That surprised me somewhat, and after proposing the job to him, he agreed to do it. Finally, finding those who wronged me seemed like a possible goal...
~ TBC ~