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Sylum Interview: Nicolaus Meridius

Sylum Interview: Nicolaus Meridius

Interview with Nicolaus Meridius

Getting an interview with Sylum’s Clan Leader was difficult, since he knew what was coming. It took a call to Thomas to get it set up, since Nick was conveniently not returning any phone calls, emails, or text messages.

In the end he had been out maneuvered.

Cal McAffrey waited for him in his office, with pen, paper and a list of questions.

Nico sighed when he saw him. “Don’t think being part of the family will stop me from kicking you out.”

He grinned. “Thomas assured your schedule was cleared.”

“Traitor.” He glared at the Caretaker.

Thomas gave him a reassuring smile, and pushed him into his office. “I’ll make sure to bring some tea and cookies, Master Nico.” He closed the door behind him, leaving the Clan Leader alone with the reporter.

“I swear I won’t bite.”

Nico made his way to his desk, taking the seat and staring at the newest member of the family. “Let’s get this over with.”

Cal pulled out a few pieces of paper and set it next to him, then grabbed a pen. He’s learned that a recorder doesn’t sit will with most Vampires. He sat back in the chair, and gave him an encouraging smile.

“This is going to suck.” Nick groaned. He knew he should have fled to Vegas when he had the chance.

“Does it help to know you have less questions than Ernesto?”

“Not really.” He gave him a look then waved his hand at him. “Okay, give it to me.”

“Speaking of Ernesto. What’s up with the barns?”

One of his eyebrows went up at the question, and with a sigh he leaned back in his chair. “That’s not really me. Yeah I guess it’s out that Sofya and mine’s wedding night was in a barn, where Meridia was conceived, but that is the only true barn in my life. Ernesto is the barn man. I prefer the Captains Quarters on Pirate ships.”

“Speaking of Meridia.”

“Watch it! There are still things I won’t discuss.” He gave him a pointed look. He was a very private man, and some things stayed in the dark.

Though telling that to a journalist usually meant they went looking for it all the more.

Especially one who had the tenacity and stubbornness of the Meridii.

“When did you meeting John Rhys? And what led to his Turning?”

“Actually that’s a long story that would take up more time than either of us have. But I can give you the cliff notes. John was Gwenhwyfar’s bodyguard, actually the Head of her Guard. And the first time I laid eyes on him, he was covered in blood, having taken down the last of the soldiers who had kidnap the King of the Britain’s future Queen. When Arthur charged him, thinking that he was the villain, it was one of the few times I’ve seen The Great King flattened. John set out to find his charge.” He smiled softly at the memory of the moment when he realized the large Welshman was his tiny baby Meridia. “It was after we found her, it was realized he had been wounded. If we had tended to it earlier, he may have survived it, but with the secondary battle and subsequent wounds he was on deaths door. And I was not going to lose her again.”

“With John now part of the family, is all your family back to you? Well at least the ones you know about?” He asked with interest.

“My Roman family has mostly returned to me. The one who I have still haven’t seen is my dear wife Julia.” Nico answered with a small side smile. “I even have family returned I didn’t know about.”

“Harold.” He asked with a glint in his eye.

“I know you didn’t get that from either John or Harold, so I’m guessing Harvey.” As he knew full well, that despite the fact Lady Heather has accepted, in her own way, that Harold and Nico are her children, she still doesn’t truly accept Harold and rarely talks about him. Harvey on the other hand, embraced his niece and nephew.

“A good reporter protects their sources.” He laughed lightly, before looking back down at his notes. “Do you have a favorite child? Either in their first lives or now?”

“A good parent never has a favorite.” Nico shook his head. “I love all my children equally but each are special in different ways. Antonio, was my first born son he will always be my first born son, even as Timothy Quinn. Meridia was my first born, daughter of Sofya, which means she’ll always have a dear place the others don’t. Here’s the thing John doesn’t need me, that doesn’t mean we aren’t close. He just doesn’t need me in his life, like Tony and Speed do. And well I don’t need him in my life, as much as I need Tony and Speed in my life. Gloria was my triumph the one I never got in Rome, and little Theo was my blessing and curse. He carried the Meridii name, yet at the loss of his mother. And now Abby is very independent and makes me proud, and Sam is the only one who wants to follow the ways of Rome.” He glanced over to a framed photo of the family together. Cal followed his gaze to see the image of the five kids, looking in all purposes doing their best to annoy each other. “Tony and Speed will always be the closest to me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them all.”

“How does Tony handle you being an Assassin” Nico gave him a look, but Cal continued on. “You must know that I know things that most people don’t know.”

“Dilios. You’ve tapped into Dilios.”

“Yes.” He nodded giving Nico a wink. “Yes I did.”

He chuckled and waved the reporter onwards. “How does Tony being a Templar handle you being an Assassin.”

“See the key point in this Tony isn’t a Templar in the meaning you’re using.” Nico leaned forward, arms folded on his desk. “He’s a Knight of the Temple, not a Templar Knight. He follows the true path of a Knight. He works to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, heal the sick. He doesn’t keep anything locked up, what he owns is owned by everyone. His life is and will always be dedicated to the betterment of others. He is a man of God.”

Cal blinked a few times, a bit surprised by the statement.

“The Templar Knights, want to control man. They use their wealth to influence others for their benefit. They’ll be charitable and help ‘the downtrodden’ but they do not get on their knees to pray. They do not dedicate their lives for others. It is all about them. It is all about their power. And they are about controlling the weak and forcing them to live according to their moral code. So no Tony and I do not have a problem. As a matter of fact Tony is the Sire to the most famous of us Assassins, and is proud of that Childe.”

“So Speed doesn’t have to get between you two.”

“Not on this occasion. Doesn’t mean he hasn’t got between us on other incidents, very much like Tony has gotten between me and Speed, and I’ve gotten between them. This is how we work, and why even after all these centuries we are bonded together.”

“Speaking of ‘must famous of us Assassins’ how did you meet Ezio?”

“That’s as long of a story as meeting John.” Nico laughed lightly, leaning back into his chair. “Ezio overheard Tony talking to one of the Templars – he was trying to figure out what they were doing in Venice, as it was rare to see them in that particular city at the time. Ezio made the assumption that Tony was one of them. Then was a bit confused when his kill didn’t stick. After the third time Tony woke up dead, the two sat down and have a conversation.”

“And that’s that?”

“A few years later we all ended up back in Rome. With the Borgia’s in control, something had to be done, so we set out to help where we could. Tony infiltrated the Vatican, with now Monseigneur Kiernan, Speed went after the wolf cult, and I worked with Ezio. To this day I hate the Forum Ruins.”

“Is this when you trained to be an Assassin?”

Nico grew very quiet, to the point Cal wondered if he was going to answer the question. He always knew that there were things a few Vampires wouldn’t talk about, Ernesto’s relationship with his family was one of them, and he knew elements of his relationship with his Mate or what his Mate did was another.

“I found my way to Masyaf after the death of Warren. I needed the discipline along with the comfort and strength of Ezio. It was from that I became an Assassin.” He answered simply.

It was everything, yet nothing all at the same time.

“If you could take a different path during the entirety of your Vampire life, what would you do differently and why?”

“There is no different path. I’m on the one I’m meant to be on. Are there decisions I regretted? Yes. Are there moments in time I wish I could’ve handled differently? Yes. But I wouldn’t change any of it. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.”

The answer wasn’t that shocking, he had heard it from a lot of Vampires, and even humans.

“Okay so you’re a trained Assassin, working now as SWAT, have been a General on many occasions, and once a CSI.”

“Where is this going?” Nico gave him a curious look.

“Is there anyone you’re a bit afraid of? Like some of your HuntersRiddick? Or your Sire?”

Laughter wasn’t the answer Cal had expected. Maybe a snort, or an eyeroll. But full on laughter was a bit shocking, and somewhat contagious. He had to admit Nico had a nice laugh, and the smile made him look so much younger.

“No.” Nico coughed, took a sip of water that at one point Thomas had snuck onto his desk. He coughed a few more times, sipped more water. “I have a healthy respect for many Vampires. My Sire for one, but I do not fear her. We have our differences, over many things, but I love Heather dearly. As for my Hunters? I admire them. They are good at what they do, they have grown in the years I’ve known them. But I don’t fear them. Riddick and I have had moments, but I was there at his worst, so he has earned my respect as I have earned his. Being an Assassin you learn to let your fear go, not control you. If there is anything I fear is losing my family again. But if I were to, the death and destruction I would bring upon those who took them would make Methos look like a pissed pussy cat.”

Cal nodded. He competently believed him.

“Speaking of CSI?”

“Is this going to be about Gil?” He slumped in his chair.

“Yes. So how hard was it hide behind ‘Nicky’ the cute Texas boy?” Cal had heard the epic stories that came out of Vegas: the good, the bad, and the ugly. He also knew the two men had a good relationship, one built out of the ashes. Gil was still, and likely will always be protective of Nick, despite not needing to be, but he’s also learned that Nico was a force to be reckoned with.

“Nicky was a good guy. I actually liked Nicky, and after some shit that was going down not just here but all over, it was nice not being Nicolaus Meridius.” It was actually said in that booming commentator voice, which made Cal chuckle for a few moments. To the point he had to cough a few times and drink some water. “Done?” Cal nodded. “I don’t like being treated like an idiot, but then no one does. And as I settled in Vegas, it was harder to just be the hapless fool so many wanted me to be.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s hard sometimes to reconcile the Roman from the 4th and 5th Centuries to the CSI Level Three in the 21st Century.” He asked, wondering how it would be for himself in a hundred years. “You’re one of the oldest of Vampires so far I’ve interviewed. Eowyn has talked about the difference, but then she prefers the 21st Century considering she can be a doctor without getting burned at the stake.”

“Well at the moment, some people seem to thinking turning back time to a ‘simpler Godly’ time is a good idea.”

Cal and Nico both eyerolled.

“There are moments it’s difficult. I walked into the camp, and my orders was obeyed. I was head of the Meridii family, and my word was law. Though being the Clan Leader is very familiar. This Clan isn’t run as a democracy. No Clan does. But I also had to earn my men’s respect back in 5th Century. I just didn’t walk into my role as General. What annoyed me mostly with Gil, was that I was worked hard, and was learning new things. But was still being treated like a recruit. But really that’s old news, we’ve both moved on from that.”

“What about the world around you?”

“I’m not sure I’m following?” Nico gave him a questioning look.

“Your instincts from then and now, how you lived. Is it hard to be a Roman General from the 5th Century in a 21st Century world?”

“You’re still a baby Vampire. The one thing you will learn. Nothing changes. Oh yes societies, shift and move. Cultures and people move around. Empires come and go. But those things, those moments that make life still the same. Governments are still shit. People still don’t like other people because of ‘insert variety of stupid reasons here’. Families will be the best and worst thing. Wars will be fought over everything from boundary disputes to my God is better than your God. Those who have will want to keep everything from those who do not have. The only difference is I can’t put on my Roman gear and ride a horse down Main Street. Will it is New Orleans so I probably could get away with it. Some things have improved. It’s nice to see the world finally realize indoor plumbing that us Romans had in the first place is a good thing. Let alone the glory of baths. Advancements in medicine, science, technology has been amazing, I do agree with Pope Saint Patrick of Conclave that we are so focused on seeing if we can, and not worrying if we should. We have a long way to go in treating everyone equal. Hell I saw more equality on my Mate’s pirate ship, than in some business in downtown. Society will always have its issues, its learning how to live with them, fight against them if need be, and push them into the next level of evolution.”

“Having seen and experience so much of what this world has to offer what do you miss the most? The food? The people? What do you truly miss besides those you’ve lost?” Cal was enjoying this interview it was going in places he had never expected.

“I miss standing on the Red Stallion on a still night, and staring at the stars with no cares, but being by my Mates side. I miss laying in the grass in Ireland, listening to my boy tell me old Irish folklore. I miss standing next to Tony on a battlefield as he prayed for those who had died and feel the strength of his faith. I miss seeing the world, traveling without thought or worries.”

“So what now?”

“Now I sit on the porch, and listen to my family all around me, usually curled up next to my Mate. Though I will say I miss my mother’s cooking. Thomas has done amazing job of recreating some traditional Roman meals, but no one cooks like mom. And well eating whole sparrows today is very frowned upon.”

“So is there anything in this modern world that irritates you to no end? That makes you think that ‘insert historical character’ got it right all those years ago?” Cal asked.

“I guess it depends on who you picked historically? There are moments in time I think Nero got it right by burning it to the ground oh was that Sherman? Though my own boys have set a fire or two over the years. You can’t stop progress no matter how hard the conservatives try and let me tell you they’ve been trying since before Rome hell I’m sure Alexander could bitch a few times about that. The amount of times I hear ‘oh woman in my day didn’t wear the skirts that short’ or ‘men in my day didn’t wear their hair long like a sissy boy’ and half the time I’m like dudes have you seen Elizabethan tights? Cause they don’t leave much to the imagination. And seriously check out ancient Roman tunics, especially Marc Antony he liked his skirts short though yes he has the thighs to pull them off. And they seem to forget that most men wore their hair long, up until a century ago, mainly because a good pair of scissors was hard to find.” He rolled his eyes. “I would like sometimes to point out ancient cultures that had no problem with same sex relationships and say ‘see they got it right what the hell is your problem’. But then that particular argument has been going on for centuries to the point the history books still call Hephaestion a ‘great friend’ to Alexander.”

Both eye rolls were epic.

“Speaking of Nero did he really play the fiddle while Rome burned?”

Nico frowned. “Wrong time period. About 400 years ahead of me. Might want to ask Van Helsing that particular question.”

“Okay let’s move on to some less philosophical questions.” Cal looked through his papers, then grinned at his interviewee. “Okay so how did you get to New Orleans? I mean you’re a Roman through and through, so why here? What did Remy do to persuade you to come here?”

“He told me I was needed here.” He answered simply. “Besides I wasn’t going to fight Remus or Romulus for Italy. But in all honesty. Remy told me I had to be here, so here I am.”

“Will ever leave New Orleans? Disappear from life?” He asked though his mind was working overtime on what Nico met by his answer. Maybe he should talk to Remy if he could find the guy.

“I have no intentions of leaving New Orleans, at least at this time. If I have to disappear, as Nicholas Grant or another pseudonym, then likely I would go back to Rome for a while, or even the Medjai.”

“So you’re here to stay.”

“At the moment yes, I’ve learned early in life that fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing.”

“True. If you had asked me years ago, I would be interviewing a 1600 year old Roman General I would’ve likely laughed. The path that led me to where I’m at is not one I would’ve expected.” Cal gave a rare insight to his own thinking. “Who was the most influence on your path?”
“Marcus. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I didn’t choose it, but I am here now. As a matter of fact all those things in my life that have made me the person I am, are not those I hold dear.”

“Is there anything in your life you would like to change wait I kinda asked that, I mean. Do you like who you are, or do you think you will this is not coming out right.” Cal looked extremely frustrated. “Basically everyone has bad habits or personality traits that annoy others are you who you are or will you change in time?”

“If one doesn’t grow, one becomes a problem. Yeah I’ll change and grow like everyone else. Sometimes it takes a few years, sometimes centuries. A Vampires needs to have growth if you’re going to survive as long as I have you have to adjust to the new times, and see the negative within yourself and become a better person. No one is perfect, just leaves room to grow.”

“Would you say keeping secrets from your Mate is one of those things you’ve worked on?”

Nico gave him a pointed look, one that actually made Cal squirm. “First off I rarely keep secrets from Warrick. We’ve had bad moments of disconnect where we’re not communicating effectively. I also have about 1400 years on him, and a lot of history. There are things I haven’t told him because I don’t think about it or it’s not my story to tell. There’s also moments we have a don’t ask don’t tell policy this works both ways. But in all honestly there are things Warrick knows about me the kids don’t. There are things we know about each other that others don’t. And there are things I have purposely kept from him, I won’t lie, but the reasons for it are my reasons he’s also learned to know the difference between me not telling him something versus keeping secrets. He’s also learned that there are things I have to keep secret, and its not on him. As I know there are things he has to keep secret, and that is not on me. We’ve recently gotten through a rough spot, but hey we’ve been together for over 200 years and all couples hit those moments, but we got through it.”

“He proposed didn’t he?”

“Yes he did.” Nico smiled brightly, his hand fiddling with his wedding ring.

“So what did you get him for the wedding?”

“Well since he ruined me for our very own wedding night way back in 1723, I got him the one thing he wanted the most.” Cal sat up intently listening. “Me. I got a friend to put an app on his phone, a GPS that connects to the chip in my ring. He can find me anywhere. And I can find him just as quickly.”

“That’s actually kinda romantic.”

“We also went sailing for six weeks on our honeymoon.”

“Speaking of”

“No you don’t get details about that.”

Cal laughed. “No, as a 1600 year old Vampire do you have a bucket list? What’s your #1 on said Bucket List?”

Nico’s eyes went wide, as he contemplated the question. He opened his mouth a few times, then closed it, frowning slightly. “I know Warrick’s is a threesome, he’s still narrowing down with who” He saw Cal’s curious look. “No I’m not saying who.”

“Ernesto?”

“His Mate would kill us.”

“Let alone the guilt trip from the Pope.”

“This is very true.”

“I’ve seen other worlds I don’t know run the Vampire Council.” He shook his head. “Kidding, not seriously I don’t want that job.”

“So you have any words of advice to Imenand or maybe the US President.”

“Well that was an odd one.” Nico frowned at him.

“Hey I try to fit them where they fit best so?” Cal pointed his pen at him.

“Not really. Santos is doing a decent job, but we all know the wave of conservatism is going to sweep the next election, and anything I say will be a waste of time.”

“Last few random questions: Favorite snack? What do you like to do on your free time? Any Phobias? And do you consider yourself right brain or left brain? And lastly favorite Time period?”

“And I thought the last question was random.” Nico shook his head, chuckling lightly. “Okay snacks? A slice of good cake. A Mediterranean style dish. Chips and salsa. Left or right brain, a mixture, though more left. I’m not very creative, except when planning battles. I do not like to be enclosed, to many times buried alive. So yes, I have claustrophobia. Favorite Time Period. Well outside Rome? Late 1800’s England it was a time when Sherlock and I actually fought together, despite Ripper and the epic shit storm that was. For a moment it was the two of us against the world.”

“What is your relationship with your brother?”

“Better now.” He admitted honestly.

“And Aurelius and Laelius?” Cal asked.

“Neal hasn’t tried to steal anything, well at least not that I know of, so this is good, and Elliot is settled with his Mate, watching over Neal which is also good. I admit their situation, with their Mates was not something I was expecting, but works for them.”

“Well that’s the last of my questions.”

“Oh Thank God!” Nico smiled as he stood, taking Cal’s hand. “I don’t envy you your job.”

“It’s been fun honestly. I’ve learned a lot interviewing random Vampires.”

“Who’s next on your list?”

Cal groaned. “I’m not even sure how I’m going to wrangle the crew, but it would seem the next set is the Metal benders. I’m not even sure what surname to use.”

Nico’s eyes went wide. “Good luck.”

“Thanks! I’m going to need it.”

With a loud sigh, Nico slumped back into his desk chair.  He eyes the small liquor cabinet trying to figure out if he wanted to get up and make himself a drink or just melt into the leather chair.

Just as he was shifting to get up the door reopened, Cal standing there with a sheepish grin.

“No.”

“Yes.”

“No.”

Cal just sat back in his seat.  “Got a few more questions.  I got growled at by Kenway, and remembered the last few I had.”

Nico kept moving towards the cabinet and fixed himself a drink, before sitting back down.  He didn’t offer one to Cal. “Okay let’s get this over with.”

“What was your relationship with Kenway before the ‘wizards’ and him being Aubrey but not Aubrey?”  It was an interesting tale that not many knew the whole story.  It had fascinated Cal the moment he had met the burly pirate that had moments of a softer side.

“I didn’t have one.”  Nico shrugged.  “I never met Captain Edward Kenway while he sailed on the Jackdaw, that was Warrick.  I only knew him at first as Admiral Jack Aubrey, he was the one who came up to my door and knocked.  It was the first time I had seen my brother return to me after all these years.  Losing Jack back in 2006 hurt like hell.  Getting him back … Kenway back few years later was a blessing and a curse.”

“So then your relationship with him now?”

“Is a learning curve.  He is my brother, in every way.  He’s also Jack Aubrey, the emotions he can pull out of violin is heart wrenching, and he is Kenway.  It’s a walking land mind half the time, yet I’ve learned to navigate it.  I love my brother dearly.  There are moments that I hate the wizards for what they’ve done to him, but thankful as he’s by myside.”

Cal blinked a few times.

“Don’t worry there are few people who can wrap their brain around this whole thing.  And no one understands Sparrow so it’s not surprising he gets it completely.”  He gave the reporter a smirk.

“What happens if Kenway finds his Mate, maybe it’s not Stephen’s soul, while Jack is waiting for Stephen? I think I confused myself. Is there even a chance Stephen will come back?”

Nico downed the rest of his drink, and then sat up.

“Kenway is Aubrey – Aubrey is Kenway.  So his Mate will always be Stephen.  No one knows if or when a soul will come back, this whole situation is one vast big wizard experiment.  I’m sure Stephen is right now negotiating with Saint Peter to get on the nearest elevator back down here.  He’s going to be a different person, one who can deal with the uniqueness that is Kenway/Aubrey.  Though Stephen had a good head on his shoulders, and didn’t take shit from his Mate.  Ever since those bastards got involved we are literally living one moment at a time, navigating between three different personalities inhabiting one soul – they are all the same person, it’s just rare they all are this mixed.  But then well Ernesto has a unique experience as does John.  So this is just one more thing where we have to go with the mystery.”

“My head hurts.”

“Welcome to the club.”

“Does it all matter?”  He asked.  “I mean so what if he’s Captain Edward Kenway or Admiral Jack Aubrey or Artorius Flavius Meridius.”

“No.”  Nico smiled at him. “Because he’s my brother, and that’s the most important thing.”

“I interviewed him a bit when I got all the pirates together, he’s unique.”

“It’s a Meridii trait.”

“So what happens if I have to interview the Meridii.”

“Well you saw what happened the last time we all got together for a family reunion.”

Cal wasn’t sure if he wanted to laugh, glare or pour himself a drink.

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