Trigger Warning: Domestic Violence and Murder
When Aurelia Bradford realised she was pregnant, the news wasn’t met with joy like a mother-to-be would. There was no love in her mind, no happiness in sharing it with her husband. Only fear and worry filled her mind, thoughts and ideas on how she would keep this child safe from the clutches of the monster that her husband had become.Yet another child would be separated from Aurelia’s cradle and she wasn’t sure her husband would keep her alive if she feigned the loss of yet another child.
So even before Cornelia Bradford was born, her life had been foreshadowed by the penultimate choices that would lead to the complete monstrosity, sheer darkness that was soon to transform Abraxas Bradford, pushing him over the brink of sanity till he had completely surrendered to its cause. Not even the love for his daughter or his utter devotion to his wife could save him anymore.
If one were to trace back the roots of Abraxas’s insanity, they’d get lost in the long vines of abuse and manipulation that he had been subjected to throughout his childhood and teenage years. Though a successful gangster, one of the deadliest the world had seen, Aurelia Bradford knew very well that Abraxas was not invulnerable and betrayal stung him deep. She was also aware that he loved her enough to not harm her should she ever betray him.
So the rumour mills started and churned out a brilliant story of Aurelia’s infidelity. Hushed whispers of the man she had invited to her chambers circling around the whole of New York and inevitably reaching Abraxas’s ears. The idea of his loving and faithful wife taking another man to her bed had him enraged and violent, as it should have and he was ready to strike down whoever dared seduce his wife and impregnate her.
He stormed back home one night, furious and ready to set things straight, a knife safely secured between his fingers. Aurelia was out in the balcony of their million-dollar mansion, clad in a navy blue silk robe with moonlight falling on her pale skin - an ethereal sight that would have reined in any man, let alone her husband. But Abraxas had made a vow to himself, to teach her a lesson and in the struggle between his love and his blind rage, his fingers came around her neck, slamming his wife against the wall, almost choking her. But as Aurelia looked deep into his cold eyes, her own warm gaze challenging, not even flinching under his grip, Abraxas was suddenly reminded of the first day they had met and how he had madly fallen in love with her right at first instance. The knife had slashed into his palm under his tight grip, battling his inner demons that called out for him to slide the blade along her throat instead and as the first few drops of blood trickled down to the floor, Abraxas finally won the battle and stepped back, disappearing into his office, leaving Aurelia alone as she fell to her knees on the floor.
Throughout the months leading to the birth of the child, Abraxas was aloof, half of his mind telling him that the idea of his woman with another man might have had been just another rumour started by one of the opposing leaders to tear apart his Damnation from within, while the other half still couldn’t look Aurelia in the eye and not picture her froclicking with another man while he’d be away on business. Her growing condition only fuelled the anger he was struggling to contain.
Aurelia on the other hand had been hoping for Abraxas to disown her and the child, praying that the rumours would get to him and he’d abandon them and let them fend for themselves. But she had underestimated her husband’s devotion to her and although he had grown distant and she could feel him fighting the urge to rip her apart or throw her onto the streets, she couldn’t help but admire his inner resilience. Almost regretting her actions. Not only had she made him face the death of their first child, the heir to the Bradford empire and the Damnation clan, but now she had him questioning the legitimacy of their second child and deep down, if she hadn’t been so devoted to the cause of motherhood, she would be regretting the choices she had made, she was sure.
Chapter 1: New York
The birth of Cornelia Bradford, unlike her dead older sibling, had not been a celebrated affair. In a small hospital in Brooklyn, away from the splendours of the Manhattan high-rises that her father ruled over, Aurelia gave birth to her second child after 14 hours of long labour at 3am on 4th September, 1989, welcoming a baby girl into her life.
Cornelia’s childhood was not as fairytale-y as most of her friends’. Neither was it exactly a happy one. While her mocha hues had melted her father’s cold heart to some extent, and the mid-few years of her toddler life, he had been, well, less evil than he turned out in the future, Cornelia never truly felt his love.
The furthest memory she has as a happy family, and perhaps the only one was Christmas when she was six and Abraxas and Aurelia had come together to take her to one of the giant shopping complexes in New York. Cornelia remembers all her fingers wrapped around her father’s index as he guided her through shops after shops of toys and dresses and whatnot. It was a land of fantasy for the young toddler as Abraxas bought out almost the entire mall and that was perhaps the first and last time she had truly felt happy.
Growing up amidst gangsters, Cornelia was made to train vigorously right from when she could walk. Blades, hands and sticks, she had mastered them all at a very early age. Her heart, however, always lied with the guns. Something about pulling the trigger on her enemies, amused her. It almost worried Aurelia to see her play with weapons from such a young age, but knowing her heritage, she wasn’t exactly surprised.
Cornelia was better than all the other children in the Damnation and by the time she was 10, she would even duel with Abraxas, surprising even him by her agility and resilience. And the more powerful she got, without her knowledge, she began walking all over the mobster’s ego, slowly fuelling an anger that had been only shimmering beneath layers of self-control.
Abraxas had begun to distance himself once again and the only form of love Cornelia received was from her mother. She was fiercely protective over her, and often when Abraxas would look at the young child with piercing blue eyes poorly hiding the rage, or come charging at her after a fight with his wife, Aurelia would step between them and despite the circumstances, she’d calm him down enough for him to never lay a hand upon the young girl.
Cornelia never understood the coldness and she grew up resenting herself, thinking she wasn’t good enough for her father to be proud of. This led her to sought more rigorous training with the warriors of the gang. She’d spend all her afternoons and evenings in the training room, battling men after men, young and old, wanting to prove to her father that she was worth something.
Aurelia, however, didn’t appreciate Cornelia falling deep into the gang business. If anything, she was scared it would corrupt her pure heart and lead her down a dark path much like her father. However, Cornelia was not ready to listen to her mother’s objections. She was adamant on proving to her father her worth. That she was capable of being the heir to his empire, and have a space in his heart despite what everyone thought of her.
On the eve of her twelfth birthday, Cornelia remembers walking out of her room to the living room to find her parents fighting. She had often seen them arguing but this felt different. For some reason, the rage was now fully burning and for the first time, the young preteen watched her father lay a hand on her mother.
He slammed Aurelia against the bookshelves and as she fought him, throwing punches at his face and stomach, he’d counter most of them, and the ones he didn’t left him bleeding and bruised just as much as she was wounded. It reached the point where the screams had died down and Abraxas finally dug out the knife he had wanted to slit her throat with all those years ago, ready to aim it at his wife’s heart when Cornelia shrieked and the world seemed to freeze.
Both the parents looked at the young girl as she jumped between them and something in Abraxas finally clicked back as he stepped back, away from the two and disappeared once again into the night, leaving behind the blade he had intended to end Aurelia’s life with. A blade that had unintentionally become a morbid gift from her father on her birthday.
At once Aurelia decided she was walking out of this life with her daughter. With newfound determination, she packed her bags and with a confused but more than obedient and scared Cornelia, she walked out of the Damnation Castle and away from the New York empire. Pulling a few strings, she took a private jet, off-record to Britain and as the plane flew across the Atlantic, a sleepy twelve-year old, cuddled next to her mother, peace was finally beginning to shower upon them, the idea of a happy ending not too far from their grasp now.
Chapter 2: England
London was a breath of fresh air to both Aurelia and Cornelia and soon the young 12 year old was put into a Boarding School, safe and away from Abraxas’s reach. After much protest and wanting to stay with her mother, Cornelia finally agreed and a new chapter of her life began, one of the brighter parts of her life where she changed almost completely, almost like a load had been lifted from her shoulders.
Cornelia soon became one of the preppy popular girls, a carefree party-animal and a frequent wild-child. The only way she was saved from falling into trouble in more than one occasion was because of her straight A grades. She was however, never the typical Queen B who would bring others down. It was like the light that had slowly dimmed in the darkness in New York, was finally shining through.
Cornelia made many friends during her time there. Aaron Lockhart, her male best friend, a poor loner that helped her in one of her lessons first and they were quickly friends. Then there was Ashley Reddington, an innocent book-worm that Cornelia had taken immense pleasure in corrupting with parties and booze. And finally there was Josh Evans, a senior who Cornelia instantly connected with after they met at her second-last year in the institution.
Though suppressed, Cornelia remembers her days in Boarding school as one of the happiest. Or well, as far as happiness could go, which wasn’t too far obviously.
18th birthday, days before Graduation, Cornelia came home to celebrate with her mother, only to find the most horrific sight no child should ever come across. The happiness soon filtered away, leaving behind rage and sorrow, a miserable combination that had her fall to her knees at the scene. There she was, her mother, lying on the floor with her heart ripped out, dead for what seemed like only a couple of hours.
A new thirst for vengeance soon crept up her mind as Cornelia vowed to find whoever was behind this. She worked tirelessly, closing herself up once again from everyone, not even attending her High-School Prom or even graduation. She pushed away every contact, friends, acquaintances, even Julian and Ashley. The only person who managed to stay by her side was Josh, but that wasn’t out of her own free will. Despite her trying to push him away time and time again, Josh stayed by her side throughout her grieving process, even offering to move in with her in her mother’s apartment till she found a better place.
Nightmares plagued her sleep, and the scene of her mother lying on the apartment floor played in her mind every time she drifted into thoughts. So, she pledged to work tirelessly, day and night and not focus on anything but bringing justice to her mother’s killer. Eventually, she joined the police forces and was one of their youngest recruits in the top officers list. Josh stood by her throughout it all like a support system she never thought she needed.
Eventually there was a break in the case and who else could it be other than her daddy dearest, Abraxas Bradford. Overjoyed that they finally had enough evidence to lock him up, Cornelia at once met up with Josh and in the rush of excitement and relief, the two finally kissed, starting one of the first romances that Cornelia was going to encounter.
It finally felt like things were beginning to settle down and the happiness was going to
return once again. Abraxas would soon be convicted, she had found an amazing partner in Josh and hadn’t realised how madly she had been in love with him until they’d kissed, and her peers at work also seemed to praise her for her work.
But of course, fate has always had some hidden surprise or the other for Cornelia, and the night before Abraxas’s arrest, all of the evidence incriminating him suddenly disappeared much to the young officer’s horror.
There was absolutely no proof. No evidence leading back to Abraxas and the frustration had set in deep. Amidst the chaos, Josh suggested they go through all the boxes in her mother’s apartment to look for anything that might help them rebuild the case against her mobster father.
It was during this time that Cornelia stumbled upon a particular diary that she didn’t quite pay much attention to before. A black leather-bound, it happened to be her mother’s journal, which held details of her life in a form of a story that was too hard to believe at first. The journal spoke of the supernaturals, and Cornelia’s heritage, revealing that the very angelic bloodline flowed in her veins, just like it did in both of her parents’. It was a hard contrast, Aurelia admitted in her journal, Abraxas, the reincarnation devil himself, was an angel-spawn in reality, almost ironic when on the other hand, her mother was pure light, just like she expected Cornelia to be, light radiating from all curves of her heart.
It was obviously difficult to believe but when Josh revealed that his parents were Initia’s and the gene had skipped him, slowly but surely, she began to grasp at the idea of the supernatural world - one she had never been in contact with before. The journal also spoke about other species as and when Aurelia came across them. It did begin to make sense, the purple tinge in her mocha optics, the scars on her back and the ability to tell when someone was lying. She often considered her inhuman strength result of the fights she had mastered growing up but it appeared now it had something to do with the heavenly blood running in her veins.
Her mother’s case was dropped and Cornelia was allowed to only reopen it if she had any sufficient clues. Disheartened and angered, she was persuaded by Josh to take up a new case to keep her mind off the morbid thoughts while she adjusted to the newfound idea of the existence of supernatural beings.
Chapter 3: Vegas
This new case led her to Vegas on a trail of fight clubs and that is where she met Dex Ravenspire. During a series of interviews, Dex helped deliver valuable information that led her to slowly but surely unravel all the illegal fighting rings. Despite the fact that he was tactful in covering his involvement in any of them, Cornelia had found out about it but decided to stay quiet as long as he cooperated.
Soon enough, the case was closed and Cornelia was thrown into the spotlight of praise and admiration, even getting herself a promotion which had her overjoyed. Detective Cornelia Bradford had a nice ring to it. However, even after the case was closed, she found herself meeting with Dex again and again. She found a friend in him, and surprisingly Josh was happy that she was rebuilding her life and making friends despite how close she and Dex were getting over the weeks.
One night, Dex revealed to her about his involvement in the previous case and Cornelia only chuckled, telling him that she had already figured it out. In return for this act of trust, the now-Detective opened up, for the first time about her true feelings regarding her mother’s death, her father’s impact, the abuse, not all of the darkness in her life, it was more than she had ever shared, even to Josh. There was a certain attraction to him, in almost a comforting way and once she had started speaking, she couldn’t stop.
From then on, their meetings grew more and more frequent and Cornelia was overjoyed when Dex wanted to change his life around and join the police forces. Their friendship didn’t last long however, when Cornelia received a transferral letter that put her as the second-in-command of the Vice Department of Evermore Police all the way across the Atlantic, in Colorado. Although she was thrilled by the offer, there was a certain disappointment in the fact that it would mean she would have to part from Daniel, as he had revealed his true name to be and in that moment of realisation, Cornelia pushed back anymore feelings that might have peeked through, even as she felt the jolt of electricity run down her spine when he leaned in for a goodbye kiss, a single tear rolling down her cheek and washing away with it all hopes of a future that would include him.
On reaching home, she was in for another shock when Josh revealed to her that he had been diagnosed with cancer when he was a child and that it had now returned. The news was met with horror and immense support, Cornelia promising that they’d get better treatment for him once they were in Evermore.
The next few weeks, Cornelia spent most of her days packing, accompanying Josh to the hospital and calling all the best doctors her contacts would allow for the fastest treatment. Rumours floated that her blood could heal him but she wasn’t willing to take the risk. Josh however, was positive of their future together and despite Cornelia’s cynicism, he managed to not let his disease come in the way of planning out their happy ending.
Fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, Cornelia learnt soon enough when she was alone the night before their move across the Atlantic, waiting for Josh to come home from a trip to the supermarket when an unfateful call rang through the apartment.
Josh was killed in a car crash that night, and with his death shattered all hopes and dreams. But Josh had always wanted for her to see the light in every situation, to not let go of the goodness that shone in her heart, and out of respect for him, a heartbroken Cornelia took the flight to Evermore and settled there, wanting desperate for a fresh start away from the demons of her past.
Chapter 4: Evermore
A new chapter of Cornelia's life started as she came to Evermore City. The young nephilim quickly became a star detective in the City, with her partner, Harrison Chadwick. Things were beginning to become normal and Cornelia had slowly started to see the light in all situation. She started caring for others again, making friends, opening upto a lot of people, something she hadn't done since her mother's death. And then, she was offered the post of Ambassador, for the Nephilim. The brunette wasn't really sure of this idea at first, but seeing how the previous ambassador trusted her with the work, even though they had known each other for like, two weeks, she knew she was capable of it. Cornelia was never someone who would back down and this time too, she didn't. And now, Cornelia is the ambassador for the Nephilims.
However, life seems to keep screwing up with Cornelia. Just as she thought she could have a new beginning, let go of her demons and move on from her mother and Josh's deaths and let go of her vengeance for the sake of her own happiness, fate took a turn. This time bringing her Abraxas back in the picture. Harrison Chadwick's father had known dirty secrets about the Damnation. And to cover up his track, Abraxas killed senior Chadwick. And years later as an act of revenge, he kidnapped Harrison Chadwick. Cornelia as usual tried to save the day with the help of Leona d'Fierro and finally they tricked her father and brought Harrison back home. But that wasn't all. One day, after Harrison and Leona had a short meet and greet with Cornelia, walked down the roads and a sound was heard...the sound of a gun shooting, and the sound of Cornelia's heart building up the walls that she had successfully torn down in the past few days.
Harrison Chadwick died that day. Who killed him? Well, it was none other than the gangster Cornelia grew up calling 'father'. The proof that he was behind it? A lovely text message that followed the gun-shot: "Love, daddy." and a bouquet of flowers that were delivered to her house after the funeral as a reminder of Abraxas’s existence.
Cornelia was torn apart again, another person she cared about died... and she couldn't do a thing. The nephilim blames herself for Harrison's death no matter what others say. She stole Leona and Harrison's happiness from them. She stole Leona's love from her. It was her fault. She couldn't do anything to save him. From that day, Cornelia stopped caring, caring too deeply for anyone, afraid they might end up dead too. She wants vengeance for what her father did. She wants to see him suffer for killing anyone and everyone, especially those who mattered to her. Unbeknownst to Cornelia, the darkness that was in her was now slowly invading her mind again, taking her back to the years when her mother died and she stopped caring, in fear the people she cared about would die again…
But Cornelia Bradford and complications seem to be best friends. It was a few days after Harrison's death when the detective stumbled upon the infamous Sebastian d'Fierro, psychotic mass-murderer and Leona's eldest brother. The two bickered right from the beginning, but like they say, hate is the beginning of a true lovestory, the phoenix and angel-child after overcoming several difficulties and ego-clashes, finally gave into their feelings. He tore down all her walls and she made him see the light in his world of darkness. Starting the second epic lovestory of her immortal life.
Happiness is always short-lived. Seven months after the two got in a secret relationship to protect each other from their enemies, things were going well. Cornelia could feel her old self returning - the one who cared and lived life to the fullest. Sebastian had brought out the best part in her, one she thought she had lost forever and Josh was struggling to bring back. But everything came shattering down, however when one evening, the phoenix asked to meet up by the river - a place the couple treated as a sanctuary.
The very place where their love story had begun was where Sebastian ended it. The reason? He was scared. He was protecting her from his past. He was choosing to run away for her good. She lost yet another person she cared about; no, loved.
But while she was falling for the oldest d'Fierro, her life was taking turns she didn't imagine would be possible. Days after the comet that made Cornelia's sufferings immortal and gifted her with wings, a dark haired male crossed paths with her. The two met at a graveyard where they bickered for some time, before parting ways. However, it was only after the two had met again in an alley, where the detective held a gun to his chest and shot him in his leg that he finally revealed his name.
Soon after discovering she had an older half-brother and a half-sister, Clarissa Bradford, things began to get more and more complicated for the angel-child. Abraxas hearing about these two new editions to the family, grew more ruthless; dangerous. He sent numerous assassins a day after the three of them and knowing the Twins' history of working with a League of trained murderers made Cornelia question their safety. But as if that wasn't enough, one rainy day, Cornelia was met with another storm.
The secrets and lies had begun to create a fine mesh around Cornelia, trapping her within this world of love and deceit. She was unsure of her next move, unable to differentiate between right and wrong when it came to her siblings. Clarissa was understanding, Jonathan was noble, But Isaiah? Isaiah was dangerous. He was a psychopath one step away from taking after their father. So she did what she thought was the next best thing - lock him in her basement, for three months.
However, it was only after Sebastian ran away from all the promises that he had made that Cornelia, in a state of anger and despair, freed the psychopathic assassin, leading him to tempt her into a fight with a gang of Abraxas' men. It didn't of course end well because, heartbroken and infuriated, the detective for the first time took a life. She can still recall the criminal's last breath ghosting over the hilt of her knife as she struck him with the blade; the warmth of the blood dripping down the tip as she plunged the knife into his heart; his echoes of pain as he finally succumbed to death. It tore her. Cornelia Bradford had officially committed the most evil of sins - murder.
She wanted to flee the city, run away from all the memories that haunted her - Sebastian leaving her, Isaiah calling her a 'curse', her killing a man and the lust for that feeling of power that consumed her when she murdered the male. She needed to be away. It was then that Leona and Alexander proposed taking her on a trip around the world. The newly engaged had seen sense in keeping Cornelia away from Evermore till she was...stable, once again. For a year they travelled to every exotic destination, every ancient city and lived life to the fullest. Cornelia had begun to be able to breathe again without feeling like there were a dozen knifes stabbing at her heart. She felt herself once more, alive and hopeful.