Edward Cullen warns Bella Swan early on in “New Moon,” that you don’t want to provoke the Volturi. However, that’s exactly what Edward plans to do when he later believes his sweetheart has bit the dust.
What are the Volturi? In Stephenie Meyer’s ubiquitous Twilight universe they are a sort of vampire ruling class led by a trio of three thousand year old dudes: Aro, Marcus and Caius. They live on a lavish estate in the Italian city of Volterra which they rarely leave, except under extreme circumstances.
You would think practically indestructible vampires don’t need bodyguards, but these guys have several, made up of vampires mostly chosen for their “special” abilities. One of the most special is Jane, an angelic-looking lass who, with a single glance, can cause someone to feel that they are in excruciating pain. Aro also has a special talent – he can instantly read thoughts and see memories of anybody he touches.Having affected a reputation of being civilized art patrons, the Volturi have long taken it upon themselves to enforce the few rules of the vampire world. Rule numero uno: don’t tell the humans. If the Volturi hear about any outlaw vamps, anywhere in the world, causing a disturbance that might give away the secret of their existence, they promptly dispatch members of the guard to “punish” the offenders. It’s not easy to kill a vampire, but it can be done. There’s no need to go into the gruesome details, except to say it involves ripping off body parts. Another big no-no: don’t change any kids. Newbie vamps are uncontrollable enough – can you imagine the temper tantrum from a bratty, vampire kid?
Edward’s dad, Carlisle, lived with the Volturi for a while, earlier in his lengthy lifetime. They liked and respected him but didn’t see eye to eye on the diet thing. While Carlisle and his family have adopted a “vegetarian” lifestyle, the Volturi and the majority of other vamps are avid blood drinkers. The Volturi can almost be described as a combination of a royal family and the Mob. The unsuspecting humans of Volterra are paying protection by having such a safe and refined city – they just don’t know it. Aro and his clan, in keeping with their upstanding image, don’t hunt in their own city – their meals are brought to them from outside, usually by the sexy Heidi, who lures visitors to the manor on the pretense that they are taking a tour. This means the citizens of Volterra are spared being someone’s dinner.
Ironically, Bella’s first face to face encounter with the Volturi is during the Saint Marcos Day festival that celebrates a legend about a missionary who, centuries ago, rid the city of vampires. The festival is named after the Volturi’s Marcus, who was actually that so-called missionary. The guys probably get a big chuckle out of this yearly celebration.
Bella ends up in Volterra, because you’ll recall, Edward has gone there to “irritate” the Volturi when he mistakenly thinks she’s dead and in true Romeo and Juliet style, doesn’t want to live without her. Bella rushes there with his sister, Alice, to prove she’s alive. After they are almost massacred by the Volturi, the family makes Edward and Bella an offer they can’t refuse – turn Bella into a vampire sometime soon and nobody has to die. Edward balks at the idea but Bella who’s always been up for it, can’t complain. The Volturi promises to visit in on them to see if their instructions have been followed. You can be sure they’ll do just that.
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