- My feet hurt.
Megan frowned at him, putting a well shaped finger to her perfect Cupid's bow lips.
- Shh. Be quiet.
The young man, Michael, was carrying her bags, mainly the long, tubeshaped one, but he wasn't doing it happily. In fact, he was getting slightly pissed off.
- Y'know, I might just be some lowly cabdriver who got dragged into this by mistake, but you don't have to mmf, mf, mf...
The last three words were muffled as she put her hand over his mouth (damn, she smelled good) and looked up at the sky. Why was she looking...ah. Three pale figures in expensive clothes were swooping down on them, whooping and hollering.
The first went very silent as the claws of what was Megan until a second ago ripped its throat out followed by a second backhand blow that separated the head from the shoulders, upon which the body turned into a fine dust sprinkling across the area. The other two backed down, but Megan leapt into the air with inhuman grace, grabbing one of them, twisting around using the vampire as leverage, slamming him into his friend, causing them both to fall to the ground. Before they even had time to get up she was holding clawed hands against their chests, ready to rip their hearts out.
- Where do you gather, who is your master??
The first vampire spit at her, and faster than Michael could see the vampire had turned into a rotting corpse several years old, a hole in its chest. The second vampire started babbling.
- An old mansion not far from here, you can't miss it, it has no windows, we gather there because we felt compelled to, and Mistress is our current ruler oh please don't kill me!
Megan gave a toothy grin, and then repeated the process with the second leech.
- Request denied.
Michael stared at the remains of the vampires for a few seconds, then shook his head.
- You know, has it occurred to you that maybe not all vampires are bad?
The werecat turned a fierce looking head towards him, looked him up and down, then snorted.
-Tell that to their victims.
They continued on. Maybe he should tell her? No. Not yet.
Marcel stared at the ceiling, wondering what to do. Okay. So his mistress had managed to awaken the Old Ones, the first vampires, and started the end of the world. This was, supposedly what every vampire had been waiting for since the very beginning of time.
But if this was what he had waited for, why did he feel so miserable?
It might have had something to do with the fact that in spite of what many thought, he hadn't killed. Ever. He had lived out the 18th century as a travelling barber, drawing a little blood here and there, never killing, never biting. The 19th had been similar, but he had used his knowledge of the human body to work as a surgeon instead, and he was proud knowing that he had never lost a patient. During the 20th century, he had blessed the coming of the blood banks, since they allowed him to feed however much he wanted to without endangering anyone. This might also be why he had never been exposed, due to his caution and personal beliefs of pacifism. He'd even helped start up the Red Cross...
- Marcel! Come here, our masters grow hungry!
Oh dear, not again...the Old Ones were a bunch of homicidal maniacs who gorged themselves in blood, bawling incoherent things at each other and sometimes throwing body parts at each other like children having a food fight. He wondered again why he had gotten involved with his mistress.
- Okay, I think I got it down pat...so the Final Night is the apocalypse, right?
Megan shrugged, poking at the fire with a tree branch.
- Not really. The prophecies I read weren't very precise, but they all said it could be stopped.
- Oh. Great. How?
She shrugged again, he noticed with interest the way her chest and muscles moved when she did that. He noticed he had started humming silently to himself. For christ's sake, she's a monster! A werewolf, uh, cat, who rips out throats and does other violent things to those who annoy her...and that was probably why he found her so sexy. Damn.
- Look, uh, there's something I got to tell you...
She looked up with interest, oh man, those green eyes...
- Have you ever heard of the legends of dhampir?
Her eyes narrowed.
- Yeah. Half human children of vampires...according to legend they could see vampires when they were invisible, and wrestle them to the ground...most anthropologists claimed they were just con artists making a living off superstitious people...
The last part wasn't well known. He stared at her with surprise, causing an embarrassed grin.
- I studied anthropology in college.
- Well, anyway, the reason I mention this is because...
And this was the point where he noticed the gleaming red eyes surrounding them.
Marcel watched with a disgusted grimace as the Old One named Shaykeel ripped off the head of some poor human and shoved his fanged maw into the throat of his victim, gulping down the blood like a sponge. He wished again he could do something, but he was weak by even the standards of the one who turned him into a vampire, and getting up and at it now would only cause his own death as well as that of the poor humans. He shared an uneasy look with Tom, his own childe, who like him had never killed. This wasn't the way things were supposed to be, he felt this in his gut. Monsters. If he could, he'd...
- You'd what, Marcel?
He gave a start, as his mistress floated by him. She smiled, revealing perfect white teeth, Her fangs weren't out, which made her oddly humanlooking. She'd been reading his mind, as usual.
- Nothing, mistress...
She smiled. Scary old b....
- Good. Keep that in mind.
Yeah, he'd keep it in mind allright...if everything worked out okay with his ally and his underlings, this whole nightmare would soon be over...
Michael yanked at his chains a little. Solid iron, although those holding Megan were solid silver. Neat.
- Will you stop that? You won't be able to break them, I promise...
He cursed silently to himself for a few seconds, then turned towards her.
- Look, I never got the chance to...
- Michel! My boy, how glad I am to see you!
Damn. Now she'd never trust him...because the man who had moved into the room was none other than that blonde man in the Armani suit who had overseen their capture.
- Hi dad...
Megan stared at them both, her nostrils flaring wide, the silver probably the only thing keeping her from killing them both.
- You're one of them, you little creep! How the hell did you move in the sunlight?
Oh man, this was not what he'd wanted...Marcel raising an eyebrow.
- You never told her? Why, Michel, shame on you!
He blushed a little.
- No, I'm not one of them...I'm one of me...
He pulled the chains loose with barely an effort, he might not be as strong as her, but he could pack a wallop when needed...
Marcel smiled proudly, grabbing his shoulder.
- Miss Parker, allow me to introduce my half-human son, Michel. He is what some call a dhampir.
At least her gawking expression was worth it...
The First stared at his blood-gorged childer, as they lay there, assimilating their meals. Pathetic. Was this what they had slept so long for? Feasting on human blood? When he had brought these into his ranks so very long ago (sacrificing a lambdamn, why didn't he think of that?), they had been the sharpest minds to be had, mathematicians, theologians, philosophersand now they were like retarded children. A spatter of blood showered the left side of his face as another human was gutted by Shaykeel. The blood was instantly absorbed by his skin, leaving it as perfect and unblemished as it had always been.
- Great Master?
He turned. Ah, his great grandchilder, that blonde little creaturethe only non-humanborn of his kind.he didn't even bother to move his lips to answer.
The woman shuddered visibly, a trickle of blood meandering its way down from her nostril towards her perfect lips. So weak...his blood had become so diluted
- Look, the only reason why I didn't tell you before was because I saw your attitude towards anyone you merely suspected to be a vampireremember the sniper? Besides, I'm not a vampire, my father has never killed, and could you please take your claws away from my throat?
There was a long period of silence, before a silky sound told him that the inchlong claws were nowhere near his throat.
- Thank you. Now, I don't suppose you'd like to cooperate with us on something?
She stared at him with barely hidden contempt.
- Why should I work with leeches? Or their little bastards?
- That hurts. Especially since Marcel and my mother actually got married. And I wasn't born until three years after that.
Michel rubbed his sore throat, gingerly touching the clawmarks left by her razorsharp fingertips. Thank goodness she was listening, for once.
- Look, the majority of the younger vampires are tired of the scheming and warring of their elders, and now that Final Night has begun, and the real Elders have come back, we're more than a little afraid of the consequences. Y'see, no matter how bad you think things have been with us hiding behind most societies, things will definitely get worse under the Elders. Marcel here has seen them. I think his description summed it up pretty well: complete retards with enough strength to crack open a mountain range. Fortunately, they've just finishedeating
Megan raised her head and stared at Marcel with cold hatred oozing from her eyes.
- "Eating"? Murdering, you mean?
Marcel simply nodded, his face expressionless. Noone in the room knew he had that face because he had vomited up his own "dinner" of deer blood a mere ten minutes earlier, after having seen the Elders feed. Michel continued.
- Anyway, we have more than twenty thousand of us who would like towell, there's no fine way of putting it, we'd like to help you kack the Elders. They're dangerous psychos who needs killing, and when they're dead, we can start rebuilding our society.
She stared at the dhampir for a long time, pure disbelief on her face. Then she laughed, quite loudly, in an almost insane manner.
- Do you people have any idea how long I've waited for this opportunity? And now it's handed to me on a plate by their own young? Oh, this is simply priceless
Marcel frowned, but Michel raised a hand to calm his father.
- Does that mean you'll do it?
The First slumbered. His sleep was restless, and full of bad dreams, as always, and once more he had the Dream.
It was a gigantic field. Any grass on it had been burned away by some form of fire hot enough to scorch the very earth, turning it into glass. And then his view swept outwards, showing the field from above. It was a battlefield. Burning skeletons lay scattered about the field, some human-looking, some not so humanlooking, some were amalgams between man and beast, others were so far from man or beast that their origins could not be earthly. And on each side wason one side was an army. Thousands upon thousands of shapes of all sizes, none close enough to make out clearly. On the other side was a small group of tall shapes. Somehow, the smaller group was the deadlier.
And as the army rushed towards the small group, the earth began erupting all over the field, lightning striking down from the skies, gouts of flame sweeping across the field, andhere the dream ended. As always. Apart from that feeling that he would not be around to see this, he retained little memory of the dream. As always.
He opened his eyes, disentangling his marble-like muscular arm from the sleeping blonde creature lying beside him. He had worn her out. Still, she had been good companionship. Very few were strong enough to stand against hislusts, without being crushed.
They stood on the lawn, her and a huge gathering of vampires. Several thousand fit in on the lawn itself, however crowded, and the other dozens of thousands hovered above the field, pale shapes against the starless night. She sighed.
- I need elevation if it's going to carry through this crowd.
Without a word, Michel held out two hands, allowing her to climb up on his shoulders. He carried her massive halfhuman form without a hint of strain.
She looked about. This place would not do. They needed a larger areaand she knew where. A few miles away was a large grasslands plains, kept that way by a large movie studio since the late 20th century, to use in large budget movies. 3D technology and holographic projectors had made that obsolete, but it was cheaper keeping the field than selling it. She should know. She owned part of the studio.
As she gathered air, the quiet mumbling of the crowd fell silent. Some hadn't even seen her before, most didn't know creatures like her existed. She allowed herself a tight smile. Let them see her and remember this in their nightmares, those who lived through this. A reminder of what waited when you started hurting human society
She released the air, her roar so loud and powerful that several trees shook off their leaves. The eardeafening sound caused most of the vampires to cover their ears in pain, and she heard the few windows there were on the mansion behind them shatter. She had never done this before. But this was a unique occasion.
It took a minute. Two. Three. Then, suddenly, the faint sounds of howling drifted towards them...the Warcry was being carried into the world.
The First screamed in pain, his ears bleeding. That roarit couldn't beno. Not now. Not now! The last time he had heard that sound
The roar didn't stop. Once it had been released, it echoed throughout valleys, across oceans, followed by howls, shrieks, roars, and sounds no human had heard in millennias.
Underneath the Himalayas, the last dragons moved in their eons long slumber, awakeneing. Entire mountainsides opened, as the long serpentine behemoths once more tried their wings, causing small storms by their very movement.
In Africa, the roar was joined, and suddenly the fighting between the various werecat kinds ceased, as they all vanished from plain sight, entering that plane from which no human had returned since Orpheus and the last of the shamans died.
In Europe, the same happened among the last of the Loup de Garou, and beneath ancient, dusty castle ruins, men who had lived for millennia with nothing but their own power halting their aging, raised their heads from dusty tomes and magical circles, and began gathering their instruments of war.
Beneath Mt Etna, a stone sarcophagus of ancient Celt design was split in half, the inhabitant taking his Sword of Swords from its resting place in an anvil on a stone, Leaping astride a horse of black hide, his banner unfurling into a stylized bear in red against white. On the remaining pieces of the sarcophagus the words "Hic Iacet" could still be read.
In the South American Jungles, the roar was echoed by the yowls of the Jaguar men and women, who like their distant African and European cousins vanished from man's sight.
And finally, a young Velorian heard the noise. Strangely, since she was so near its origin. As it pierced the streets of Los Angeles, everything else fell silent. And in her heart she felta violent sense of need. She neededto be somewhere. Somewhereto the East.
The First frowned at the small piece of flimsy pressed wood upon which the declaration of war stood. It wasn't phrased like one. But its meaning was clear enough. "Bite me." Signed with the pawprint of a large cat.
Crumpling the paper into tiny specks of dust, he screamed out in rage and hate. The nerve!
- D'you think he understood my message?
The faint sounds of inhuman screams of rage reached the grassland plain.
- Yep. I'd say he'll be here in a matter of minutes
She grinned. And then turned to watch how more and more creatures of mankinds darkest dreams filled the fields.
Shaykeel dreamed of blood. Rivers of blood, all gushing towards his mouth, drenching him to his eyeballs in the deep red stuff, letting him drinkthen suddenly the dream was removed as an all too clear voice rang in his head.
As he sat up, rubbing blood out of his eyes, stifling a belch, he noticed his siblings awakening all around him. His belly and veins were so full of human blood that his skin actually held normal lifelike temperature, not an easy feat in a ten thousand years old body. The First stood in the doorway, naked as always, staring at them with his glowing red eyes, pure rage curling his lips into a sneering grimace.
WE HAVE WORK TO DO. THE CHANGERS, THE NAMERS, THE WYRMS AND OUR OWN CHILDREN ARE REBELLING AGAINST US. IT IS HIGH TIME TO PUT THEM IN THEIR PROPER PLACES.
Shaykeel grinned. More blood. He followed his Master, his body transforming as he walked.
Megan frowned. Only four true magi? Merlin, of course, he had followed his nephew here, but who were these other three? They were an odd sort. One was dressed in a long black trenchcoat, his black hair crewcut, a pair of round sunglasses covering his eyes. He looked more like a goth than a mage. The second was a young woman with deep auburn hair, dressed in the white robes of an ancient Celtic druidess, holding a large pouch in her right hand, the other painting her face with a blue, unhealthy looking facepaint of some sort. The thirdshe suddenly realized that he wasn't wearing make-up. Half his face was truly skeletal, the other half that of a black man in his thirties, on his head a tall top hat with a chicken feather stuck into the dark ribbon encircling it. His outfit was a tuxedo, one half bone white, the other midnight black. The gothy one held out a hand.
- Pleased to meet you, miss. Marcus Marcus Marcus III hereyes, that is my name, no, it isn't a joke, it's a family name. Literally. Me and the other Shadow Council members here are happy to be of some service. Frankly I've been waiting for a chance to kick vampire ass since I first heard of them.
The barrage of words swarmed over her, until she realized the man was working a charm on her, she immediately released his hand, frowning at him.
-Sorry. Old habit.
The woman introduced herself as "Vervain", and the man in the top hat just said "The day before Sunday, and my title is easy to figure out once you have that". Weirdos. Then again, they weren't the weirdest creatures here. Andwere those trolls? It had to be, those eight foot blue forms in archaic armor and weapons, with horns and yellow wolven eyes, the women ruggedly beautioful, the men as handsome as the bears that are about to rip out your intestinesshe shook her head. She thought they'd vanished for good in that Arion debacle in 2000showed what she knew. And then there were.the Things. She didn't even want to look too hard at them, in case she found something or someone she recognized on them.
As she turned away from her makeshift army, she saw the first signs of the impending battle. The air was darkening visibly, even considering the moonless, starless unnatural night. And the mansionhouse far off in the distance was burning.
And then they were upon them.
The magi shook the earth, called down the elements, scorched the air and land with fireballs and unnameable energies, the werefolk charged forth tooth and claw, the Things made the very fabric of Reality shimmer as they struck at the essence of the implacable foe, dragons soared and breathed fire, trolls fought with maul, sword and fists
And then the entire battle ceased. Hovering fifty feet above it was The First, and by his side
It was almost funny. The woman wore a blue uniform of extremely tight cut, showing more skin than a stripper. Her golden hair fell to her waist, encircling her like a golden halo, contrasting against the tanned skin. Blue eyes almost glowed (they did glow, didn't they?), above a perfect nordic face. But that broad smile of hers revealedinchlong fangs. And then, with a beautiful little laugh, she started killing indiscriminately. Beams of energy sliced through Elder and shapechanger alike, searing the ground into glass. Futile attempts at bringing her down were interrupted with contemptuous slaps that pulverized bodies, iof they were not simply vaporized by those wondrous blue eyes.
Suddenly a slim, tanned hand poked her shoulder.
- Excuse me?
The vampire Velorian turned, staring intothe face of a woman that might as well be her sister. Only this one was very much alive.
The punch severed the hybrid vampire's head from her body, sending it flying, as the perfect body crumpled to the ground. Kara Zorel rubbed her hands together, wiping off gore. She rarely killed. This was an exception.
She turned, only to be mesmerized by the impossibly handsome giant in front of her.
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD IT WAS FOR MY CHILDER TO SEPARATE HER FROM THE SCOUTING PARTY SHE CAME TO THIS WORLD WITH? NOT TO MENTION DEFEATING HER LONG ENOUGH TO BE TURNED
The vampire moved towards her, still smiling. She looked around, only able to move her head, and realized that noone else could see this. He was invisible to all.
A slender body barrelled into the First Vampire, only distracting it, but it was very much enough to allow Kara to fly away as fast as she could. Brave though she were, suicide did not fit in her life plan.
They tumbled to the ground, impossibly, the far weaker creature holding him should never have been able to even budge him. The First turned, his beautiful face marred by a grotesque grimace of inhuman rage, only to facethe halfhuman offspring of one of his weakest grandchildren. He laughed, swatting the boy aside with enough force to rip the boys arm off in a spray of blood.
And then, as his mind was still distracted by the boy, a set of manacles encircled his right arm.
He flexed, to brush them off, and screamed in pain as searing lightning poured through his atrophied veins. He raised his head to look at the seemingly flimsy metal handcuffs, only to stare at the small crosses engraved all around the metal. Howironic. A quick, darkfurred female arm grabbed the other end of the manacles, encircling his other wrist. he felt his unholy strength ebbing from his body. Was this it? Millennia of waiting, only to be captured like an animal? Another set of handcuffs encircled his ankles. He fell to the ground, unable to move.
The battlefield was silent. The last of the Elders had been tracked down and destroyed. The various creatures, what little was left of them, had left. All that remained were the inanimate body of the First Vampire, sprawled on the ground, and a few hundred of the youngest vampires. Michel came limping towards them, his right arm a short stump that was allready growing into an arm. Regeneration seemed to be one of the perks of being a dhampir.
Michel shook his head. Then he turned his eyes on the body on the ground in front of him.
- Sowhy haven't you killed him yet?
Megan pointed at the forehead of the First. A small glyph of some unknown language was etched into his skin, probably before he became a vampire.
- He's warded. And if he is who I think he is, killing him is the last thing we would want to do.
Michel simply gave her a confused blank face. She sighed. Didn't anyone read the Bible anymore? Be that as it maywhat was she going to do with the body?
- Umwe're leaving. Oh, and one last thing.
She looked up. Michel stood there, looking slightly nervous, his vampiric "cousins" standing in a small crowd behind him.
- We've decided to make a few laws among ourselves. Uh. Here they are. We won't take blood without permission. We won't influence mortal politics or their society. We won't let our battles spill into the streets. Um. This is all just the basic rules, we'll have to make a few more later on.
She gave them a cold grin, that caused more than one vampire to turn his eyes away.
- Fine by me. The second you break them, howeverlet's just say I won't grow old for a loooong time
The vampires looked so grateful and afraid at the same time that she almost laughed out loud. They'd be held in control by pure fear, if nothing else.
As they flew and ran off into the night, not wanting to stay for the coming day (it would come, now that those upholding the Night were dead). And she frowned at The First Vampire.
-Whatever am I to do with you, fangy?
An hour later, she slowly wandered off, dragging a large bag that had a suspicious humanoid shape after her, letting it hit every single rock she could find in her path. Sure, she couldn't kill the guythe bible never said anything about hurting him
Kara Zorel awoke with the sun, yawning loudly. She turned to look at her alarm clock, and froze. What theshe had lost a whole day sleeping? Man, she must've been tired.
It was kind of funny. She had this vague memory that she had dreamed something important. But the feeling faded.