Yuki recounted the story to the three men around the table. Guinevere, with a scowl, watched the expressions of the men, trying to gauge their feelings on this situation. Wogan looked paler than usual and looked ill, Caleb was blatantly pissed off, and Bernard was in despair. Once the story was over, Yuki remained standing behind Guinevere, next to an armored Samuel.
“What do you propose we do, Your Majesty?” Wogan spoke in a mere whisper. Guinevere’s scowl deepened.
“Obviously we arrest the snake.”
“But-” A wave of Guinevere’s hand commanded silence from Wogan. I’ll just have to apologize later. There’s no time for this shit.
“But what Lord Hemlock? Don’t tell me you don’t believe my human. Because I have proof I’ve been saving for an occasion like this.” She reached down to her boot and pulled a piece of paper from it. She unfolded it and handed it to Caleb. “This isn’t the first time he’s attempted regicide. It was before any of you men were born and he conspired with my grandmother to kill his brother.” The paper made it’s way around the table: it was a printed copy of the letter. “Obviously the real letter is in a safe place, because I’m not a fool. This situation just proved I’m right to not trust anyone but myself and my humans.”
Bernard handed the letter back to her with a somber expression. She handed it to Yuki, which she slipped into her pocket. “Your Majesty, what do you plan to do once he’s arrested? Surely there’s a punishment for treason and regicide.” Guinevere nodded with a sigh.
“There is, but that punishment won’t work on him. Like me, he has built up an immunity to the sun. We could always starve him, but he might preserve his powers to escape his cell and attack my humans.” Just then the idea hit her. “What if…we imprison him for life.” The men looked at her with confusion.
“So…for eternity? No offence ma’am but all that time with opportunities to harm you? Killing him is the only option.” Caleb looked to the other men to speak out against it, but Guinevere continued her thought.
“When I say ‘for life’ I mean a human one. I have the ingredients for humanity, which is something he absolutely despises.” Guinevere couldn’t help but smirk. I would get to see him wither away and die…slowly and painfully. The men, and even Yuki gasped.
“Gwen, you know humanity is reserved for the most extreme of crimes.” She looked to her uncle.
“And you think this isn’t extreme? He murdered my father, your master. And I’m one-hundred percent sure he murdered your sister-in-law and your nephew. He tried to kill your queen! What more would it take for it to be considered extreme, please enlighten me uncle.” He looked down at the table, silent. “That’s what I thought.”
“I don’t think he means the punishment is extreme, I think he means the mark on your soul would be extreme. I’ve read about this, ma’am. It’s why the punishment is rarely ever used…it creates a mark on the brewers soul, and since you’re the only one here in the hollow with knowledge and the ingredients, you would be the brewer. He’s worried about what would happen to you if you carried this out.” Wogan spoke up and Guinevere considered his words. What harm could it really do if I do it three times?
“Let me worry about my soul, you three worry about preparing his cell and arresting that snake. We have until the next full moon, when the wolfsbane is at it’s strongest. I don’t want to leave any trace of vampirism.” She looked to Caleb. “Also, I need something from you Caleb. I need you to temporarily adopt his teenagers, at least until the punishment is carried out.”
“Gwen…” Bernard’s worried tone from before had turned into pure sadness. “Don’t tell me you’re going to humanize his children too. They’re innocent.”
“My family was innocent! YUKI is innocent. I would gladly blacken my soul three times if that meant Van Gould’s family could never come after mine.” She felt a small hand on her shoulder.
“Your Majesty, please think about this rationally.” Yuki’s voice was small, but forceful. “You’re thinking with your emotions right now, and while they may have good intentions, it’s not you. You’re merciful, and kind. Please don’t lose yourself.” Oh Yuki…sweet child. Maybe one day she’ll understand.
“I’m sorry Yuki, it’s the only way.” Yuki pulled her hand from Guinevere’s shoulder and stepped back. “He may be my great-uncle, but he sure as hell is no Straud…he’s just the son of a vampire and a human servant. So Van Gould’s line must end just like he tried to do with the Straud line.”
“If you’re positive this is the way, we have no choice but to accept it and help carry it out.” Caleb, of course she could count on Caleb to understand.
“We’ll go ready his sell and collect him.” The sadness on Bernard’s face, and the sadness in his voice almost made Guinevere regret her decision. Wogan remained silent, she knew this would be the hardest on him since he and Van Gould were friends.
“Then it’s settled, meeting adjourned.” Guinevere rose from her seat and walked up the stairs, flanked by her humans. The men followed and left the castle.