“Where did they find her?” Elena wasn’t sure if she wanted to know the next part of the story, but she found that she was curious about it nonetheless.
“They searched all night and finally found her in a warehouse on the edge of town. She had been taken by four men, brothers, whose family owned the warehouse and all the land surrounding it. If they had been on the run from humans it would have been an ideal place to hide. Since they were running from Klaus it just became an isolated place to die instead.”
“You are sure she’s here brother?” He could not take this much longer, one more false lead and he would burn the entire city to the ground in his rage.
“Klaus, brother, my sources are rarely wrong as you know. If these are the men who took her then here is where they would have fled to.”
“Very well then, let’s not waste any more time standing here.” Klaus made to leave, striding purposefully towards the warehouse’s large doors, when Elijah grabbed his arm stopping him in his tracks.
“Brother?” He did not have time for this.
“These men were working with that coven who entrapped us before, would it not be wiser to look first?” Elijah was right of course, in his anger he had almost made a grievous error. It would do him no good to find Caroline only to be trapped, immobile once more, unable to aid her.
“You are right brother, forgive me, in my haste to find her I nearly rushed forward without thought. Thank you.”
“You go that way, I shall come around the other side, the roof has small windows for ventilation on all sides, we should be able to see everything from there.”
The metal roof was slick from rain but with their skills they transversed it easily. Looking in through the small fogged windows they both froze. One in horror, the other in rage.
Klaus stood in front of Stefan and tried to keep his voice even as he talked about everything that happened all those years ago. He had long since forgiven his dear sister, mostly due to his darling Caroline’s intervention and wisdom. She had never held a grudge against either of them, it simply wasn’t in her nature to blame either Stefan or Rebekah for the things that had happened to her in Chicago. He was not so forgiving.
He would torture Stefan and his little band of friends soon enough, but first he wanted him to know, he wanted them all to know why. He had many reasons for wanting to cause them all harm, but this one was the most grievous and they would all hear of it before they began. They needed to know and more importantly he needed to tell them. He hadn’t realized how much rage he was feeling towards his one time friend until now, he needed to work through it. The curse would be lifted soon and his life with Caroline would start fresh, he would not bring all this hatred with him, he would release it the only way left to him to do so. Through pain.
“Do you know what I saw when I looked through that dirty little window? Hmmm? What, no guesses? Well you’re no fun at all. If you’re not going to play the game I suppose I’ll just have to tell you what I saw happening to my darling Caroline in that grungy, little warehouse.”
Caroline had been stripped down to her underthings, her new dress lay in tatters off to the side. She was strapped down to a metal chair in the center of the room, the smoking ropes obviously drenched in vervain to keep her contained. The four men who had taken his beloved girl were all standing around her just out of reach holding weapons. Weapons that had obviously already used against her if the amount of blood already coating her flesh was any indication.
They had tortured her.
He would kill them all. He would bathe in their blood, laughing as they gurgled out their last pathetic breath. The only questions left to him were how to do it, and whether he would kill their families before or after he tore them limb from limb.
Hearing one of the soon to be dead men speak up forced him to focus on his next move. Looking around he didn’t see anything that would indicate that the witches had given them any aid beyond providing the distraction. Good, that would make this much easier.
“I don’t know Jeff, seems a shame to waste a pretty girl like this. Monster or not she’s still mighty fine to look at. I wouldn’t mind having me a go.”
That repugnant vermin was suggesting…
He didn’t even finish the thought before another, likely the one called Jeff stepped forward crouched down at eye level with Caroline and made him see red for the second time that night.
“I know what you mean Hayden, I wouldn’t mind a taste myself.” Leaning even closer he ran his tongue up Caroline’s face.
Letting out a roar of pure rage he jumped down through the window and landed in the center of them all next to Caroline.
“What did he do to them?” Elena could understand why Klaus would have been upset. If someone had done something like that to someone she had cared about she might be mad enough to kill them too.
“Well, according to what I always heard of it, at first Klaus only knocked them all out. He sent Elijah to go locate their families and bring them all back to the warehouse while he watched the men and took care of Caroline. He called one of his minions and had Caroline taken back to their home after compelling her to sleep until he returned to her. What he did after those men woke however, that is why people truly fear Klaus and revere Caroline.”
Elena could hear the unsteady fear in Rose’s voice and knew that even now almost a century later even thinking about what happened that night, let alone talking about it, still had the power to terrify her. She wanted to ask her to stop, to tell her that she didn’t need to know, but she was going into the lion’s den in a few hours and she did need to know this.
Closing her eyes she took a deep breath and just listened as the horror of that night unfolded around her and in her own mind. She could picture it as Rose spoke the words and it was horrifying.
Klaus paused for a moment drawing in a deep breath to help calm himself even though he did not truly need it. Even thinking of that night always got his blood boiling.
“When those degenerates finally woke from the little nap I forced them to take, the first sight that greeted their blurry eyes was that of their families. Wives, children, nieces, and nephews, all of them there waiting. I hadn’t killed them yet because I wanted them to see their final moments and for everyone to know exactly who had caused all of it and why. When the last ones broken body finally hit the dirty floor and the pleas for mercy fell silent I went to work on the men themselves. I had a different death in store for each of them. They had all earned something equally special for their crimes. I have lived a very long time and in that time I had learned my fair share of ways to kill and destroy, I used all of my knowledge for those men.”
He looked around the room from Stefan, to Damon, to Bonnie, and dear Matt. All of them were enraptured by the tale he told them. As well they should be, for it was of a fate they would soon share.
“First there was the vile bastard who had declared how lovely it would be to hear my darling girl beg for mercy as they each took their turn with her, only for that small kindness to be denied her. For him I decided to make him beg. I used a technique I had seen used many times before though I had never used it myself before that night, its common title is crushing, have you ever heard of it? I doubt any of you would unless you had seen it in a history book, its hay-day was a bit before even your time mister Salvatore. It was used frequently in both Europe and America in its infancy to try and gain pleas or confessions whichever was required. The accused would be stretched out on a flat surface in this case I used a table, I tied his limbs to the legs to keep him from being able to squirm too much. Once he was secure, his dead loved ones within his line of sight of course, I began to pile bricks onto his body. Normally once the desired results were achieved the crushing would stop and the accused would be sentenced to whatever fate awaited him, unfortunately for Mr. Sullivan Collins, the result I wanted was to hear his pleas for mercy. The more he begged me to kill him the more bricks I layed on, until finally the weight became too great a burden and his chest collapsed putting pressure on his lungs and heart until a few minutes later he died. Suffocated.
“Next came a Mr. Jeff Collins, the fool who had licked along my loves face. He had dared to place his tongue on her skin! For him I decided on a Columbian Necktie, a little too quick for what he’d done but I managed to put my own spin on it, with the help of my healing blood. I slit his throat, reaching in through the new hole I had created I grabbed his offending tongue and pulled it back down and out through his neck. Then I used my blood to partially heal him that way, unable to speak with his tongue so busy elsewhere. He slowly bled out, in fact if I remember correctly he was the last of them to finally die. Hmmm, yes, he got to see the fate of his remaining siblings before he crossed over to the other side.
“After him came Hayden Collins, the man who had originally taken her from the club. They were all involved of course, it was a family effort after all, but he was the one who had drugged her with vervain. He was the one who had taken her from me, it was his hands that had dragged her away. For his offense, I decided to use a method I learned during my time in Asia. I stripped him naked before suspending him upside down in front of his remaining audience, his eldest brother Braden. When he was fully secured I grabbed my sword, one that Caroline herself had gifted to me long ago, and I began to slowly cut him in half. I started at his groin and worked my way down an inch at a time. To do this right you must make sure to suspend the person upside down that way the brain will receive enough blood to keep the person conscious until the large vessels of the abdomen are severed, which if you do it right could take hours. It did for Hayden anyway.
“Finally it was time for the ring leader, the eldest, Braden Collins. By this point the entire warehouse was bathed in the blood of his family and their bodies littered the ground, he very much wanted to die. I thought about denying him that, about compelling him to live on forever alone. Then I remembered how my sweet Caroline had looked tied to that chair as they taunted and tortured her and the impulse passed. For him I decided to honor my Norse heritage, I decided to turn him into a blood eagle. This was one of the worst punishments a Norseman could be condemned to endure the only thing surpassing it in cruelty was exile, and they had to endure it in silence, one scream and they would be banned from Valhalla cast out to never feast with the gods or look upon the faces of their fallen brethren. I had Elijah hold him face down, on the same table I had used for his dearly departed brother Sullivan. I cut deeply into the skin along his spine breaking his ribs as I went so that they resembled blood stained wings. It was quite beautiful really. Then I reached in and pulled his lungs out through the cuts I had made in his back, making sure to pour some salt on it all of course so he wouldn’t get an infection. Let me tell you, he would never have made it to Valhalla, that boy was quite the screamer.”
Elijah looked over the entire warehouse, and his brother’s handiwork and found that he approved wholeheartedly. While normally he abhorred such displays of nonsensical violence, for once he and his brother were in full agreement. These men had harmed their family, they had deserved everything that had been done to them.
“Yes, I must be getting back to Caroline, we should head home.”
Elena sat back against the wall, having slid down against it some time before. That was horrible! No wonder no one ever went after Caroline after that. If that was what Klaus did to people even when she survived she didn’t even want to think about what he would do if she were to ever die. Looking up at the clock as it began to chime for the hour she knew that it was time for her to go. That was it, the story was done, now it was time to face the here and now.
It was time to face Klaus.
Elena walked up towards the mansion on the hill with a deep feeling of dread warring within her with a strange feeling of euphoria. This would all be over soon, one way or another she would be free. She only hoped that her friends would be safe, that their lives wouldn’t be taken from them because of her.
Reaching the door she brought her hand up to knock only for the door to slide open to reveal a beautiful blonde girl waiting on the other side of it.
“Hello Elena, I’m Caroline, do come in. We’ve been expecting you.”
Well that wasn’t ominous, like at all. Deciding to just let things progress normally and politely for the moment she pasted on her most sincere smile, given the circumstances she wasn’t surprised about how fake it looked, and greeted the woman standing in front of her.
“Hello Caroline, it’s nice to meet you. I’ve heard quite a lot about you these last few days.”
“Yes, from Rose, so I’ve heard. You know I never pegged her for the story telling type, but I suppose after Trevor’s unfortunate end she was bound to change in some way. She had to do something to fill the hours of loneliness.”
How did she know about Rose? The others wouldn’t have told her, would they? She shrugged it off, it was unimportant at this point how they knew, they did know. Would they go after Rose for her part in this, for helping them. But why? All that Rose did was fill them in on some history so they would actually stop fighting them, they couldn’t blame her for that. Could they? No! They wouldn’t, Rose would be fine, she’d already left town and was out of their reach.
“If you’ll follow me Ms. Gilbert, I’ll show you into the den where you can find the rest of your ragtag group of friends. I’m sure you’re eager to see them again. I know they’re eager to see you. Especially the human, you know the one, the quarterback.”
Matt? They couldn’t have hurt Matt, he had nothing to do with any of this. Matt would be fine, he had to be. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if he wasn’t. Not that she was going to be living for very long either way.
Stepping through the doorway she was stunned into stillness. There they all were, her friends, hanging by their wrists from the ceiling. Matt, Bonnie and Damon in the corners and Stefan hanging in the center of the room as though on display. Of course she now knew that Klaus would have ample reason to hate her lover the most with the history they shared. Speaking of Klaus there he stood dead center of it all, like a magician center stage before his waiting audience. He even had the smirk of superiority to complete the look.
“Welcome Elena. Shall we begin?”
Yes, they should begin, it was time to negotiate. She had begun to open her mouth to do just that when his words stopped her cold.
“Don’t waste your breath attempting to negotiate. Why would I negotiate for something that I now have regardless? Here you stand. The moonstone has been retrieved, the werewolf Lockwood boy waits chained in the cellar as we speak, my witch eagerly awaits my instructions to begin, and I have three vampires to choose from for the final element of the sacrifice. Quite simply my dear you have nothing to offer in a negotiation, you’ve overplayed your hand sweetheart.” Throughout the entire speech Klaus remained smug and certain of success, but she only really heard one part of the whole grandiose speech.
Three vampires? Stefan, Damon, and –
“Oh yes of course, say hello to your friends darling Rose.”
Turning she found Rose’s terrified eyes meeting hers. Oh no. But he only needed one vampire for the ritual, why would he grab Rose when he didn’t really need her?
“To answer the question so plainly written on your face. Rose is a back up, a failsafe just in case I decide to allow another fate to befall the brothers Salvatore. I have not yet decided if I should honor them with a place in the ritual. I’m not sure they deserve it.”
He hadn’t decided, she had time to save them. She would feel bad about Rose of course, but Rose wasn’t Stefan or Damon. If it came down to a choice the answer was simple really. Just as she was gearing up to plead for their lives she finally saw it. That light in Klaus’s eyes. He was playing with her. He already knew exactly what he was going to do, and nothing she said or did would stop him now, he just wanted to pass the time by watching her try.
“Oh, you are clever aren’t you darling. I have to say, by far, you are the smartest of all the doppelgängers I’ve had the misfortune to become acquainted with in my longer than average life. The others would have begged and pleaded with me until their voices broke and their throats were raw. You are smart. Only question now is how smart are you?”
She knew what he meant. Was she smart enough to give up? To give in to his plans. Was she smart enough to guess the consequences of fighting back? He already had a witch of his own, he didn’t need Bonnie, if she played this right her best friend could be freed. There was no use for Matt at all, he too could walk out of this. He only needed one vampire, two of them could walk out of here. While she was fairly certain that the vampire he would use would be Stefan no matter what she said or did, that still meant Rose and Damon could live. Was she smart enough to save them or dumb enough to kill them all?
Taking a step further into the room she met his eyes for a moment and knew her answer. The truth of it was that the answer had always been the same, since the beginning. She would save them if she could.
“I won’t fight you.”
“Excellent, darling, shall we get started then.”
Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes. She didn’t want to die, but she wouldn’t let others die for her either. This was the only way. Feeling Caroline grab her from behind she felt the world around her shift and change. Caroline had picked her up and was running towards something at top speed. Once the world stopped moving around her she opened her eyes to find a clearing in the woods, with a witch and Elijah, someone she could only assume was Elijah waiting for them. This was it, her end.
Stefan watched helplessly as the girl he loved more than anything closed her eyes and accepted her death before being rushed away from him. This could not be happening. They had a plan. They were supposed to be able to prevent this.
“Don’t worry ripper, I’m sure you’ll see her again, in the afterlife. If such a place truly exists for our kind.”
“You aren’t letting any of us go are you?”
“On the contrary my old friend. The Bennett witch and the quarterback will be freed shortly. Once this is over my brother Elijah will decide the fate of Rose here, it seemed only fitting since he did the same for Trevor after all. Damon will be remaining here in the cellar for a time, I’m afraid his life won’t be quite what he’s used to, but he did bring harm to my darling Caroline and that can’t be so easily forgiven. Take heart that he will live a very long time after you are gone. As for you, you are going to help me break a curse that should never have been placed to begin with. Your death will hold the meaning that your life never did.”
Clapping his hands together Klaus let his excitement and his vampiric nature show on his face.
“Shall we get started then?”