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Rated: 13+ · Campfire Creative · Fiction · Fantasy · #1008286
They are the last hope for survival. The lives of all creatures are on the line.
[Introduction]
** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **


Shadows of The Night


The Controversy

In the lands of Heldar, creatures of shadow live within the same walls as the good Heldarian people. The vampires, wraiths, and other creatures are thought to all be evil and are blamed for the crime and misfortunate that take place within Heldar’s capital city, Sylia. But not all creatures of shadow are as they seem. There are those who do not mean the villagers any harm. These creatures cannot live in peace, though, for they must hide their identity or risk being killed.

The law of Sylia required that if any creatures were found, they were to be imprisoned or killed. With this law in tact, the rebels persisted in their violent behavior with even more fervor than before. While evil wizards, werewolves, and necromancers kept practicing, the innocents continued to pay the penalty.

The creatures of shadow differ on their views of normal people. The rebels want to eliminate all humans, while the innocents wish to live in peace with them.


The History

The innocents were not able to stop the actions of the rebels, so they aimed to change the view of the villagers. Innocents came out, hoping to be trusted and live in peace. Instead, they were put in jail or were murdered. This further encouraged the rebels to kill, causing the villagers to maintain punishment. Something had to be done. A secret group was formed. The group was created to stop the ways of the rebels, and to finally change the views of the villagers. The group and its members were soon known as Shadows of The Night.

As time passed, the amount of crimes decreased. A new hope had been formed. The time was coming. Soon innocents would be able to reveal themselves and be free from lives of fear. Then the rebels revolted. They attacked, wanting to break the newly forming alliance between the innocents and the villagers. The pact had been broken, and the innocents were forced to stay in hiding.


The Decision...

The innocents have since been wavering. Some have chosen to join the rebels, no longer having any hope in humans. Of those who are left, it was decided that they had to continue fighting for peace. The innocents now look to the Shadows of The Night for they are the last hope for survival. If they do not find a way to peace, either all the creatures shall perish, or all the humans will.


¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥


Here are the races to choose from. One character each for each race.
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Vampire: They look much like humans, except with pale complexions since they can only stand the sun for a couple hours. They do not have fangs, nor can they shape shift in any way. They have long lives, aging at 1/10 the rate of humans, but they are not immortal. They also have enhanced speed, strength, and senses. ~Remiel Evadne (male); Shadows Member/Rebel Sympathizer: taken by Aiken4LOTR

Half-Vampire: In order to become a half-vampire or vampire, one must be blooded, not bitten. Half-vampires are not as fully blooded as vampires. Because of this, they age only 1/5 the rate of humans and can stand the sun. They also have enhanced speed, strength and senses, but not as much as full vampires. ~Adrianna Corbett (female); Shadows Member (innocent): taken by trixy-hobbitz

*Note: Both full and half-vampires need human blood to survive. Those that are innocents do not kill those they drink from. The rebels most likely kill the humans they take blood from.

Lich: They are wizards who use their power, which is considered to be black magic, to extend their lives. Typically, they look like humans with very sunken skin, almost skeletal; though, they do have very intelligent-looking eyes. More than often they are very evil, only adding to the misconceptions that the villagers have of creatures of shadow. ~Khaleel (male); Neutral: taken by xzar

Shadow Wraith: These creatures are pure shadow. A shadow wraith is a darkened form either cursed or pure evil that hides from day in a black cloak. They can change into the form of a human if a blacksmith wields them their initials in silver and they wear it. They are, by nature, secretive, vindictive, and cruel creatures. ~Zaro Crypton (male); Rebel: taken by withersman

Werewolf: The full moon is a trigger for their transformation, but werewolves do have the choice to shift when they want. Younger werewolves have little control over when they transform, the older and more experienced they are, the more control they have. They look like humans when not transformed. Some may show signs of being broader, taller, or harrier than average humans. ~Meleena Conner (female); Neutral: taken by White Tiger

Necromancer: They are wizards that are capable of divining secrets from the corpses of fallen comrades. They can raise and control the dead, and it’s been said that they are also able to restore vitality to the living. ~Lyesandra D'Urberville (female); Shadows Member (Innocent): taken by Professor Q: Live from Detroit

*Note1* Your character may either be an innocent or a rebel. Three (minimum) must be innocents in the group Shadows of The Night.

This cf is now FULL!


*Bullet*Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you! *Smile*

Six months ago…

A young man sat at a table in the corner of a tavern. The place was dark, only lit sparingly by candles scattered throughout the rooms. A dull roar could always be heard there, for the tavern was never empty. Despite the chaos and life inside its walls, the man stood out. With a soft, slightly pale, peach complexion and golden brown hair, he did not appear as the others did. He was not dark, ugly, or inhuman like several creatures. He did not appear to belong to any race of darkness. He did not even possess the pale skin and the dark features of vampires, the creatures most closely related to humans.

“Take it,” a voice urged as a vial was thrust into the young man’s lap. “You need it, Remiel. You’re looking sickly.” Remiel nodded and reluctantly picked the vial up. Though small in size, its contents were immeasurable to his survival and health. The thick, deep red liquid was in perfect condition. Its previous owner had been very healthy. No longer was he in such good standing. Popping the cork from the top, the fumes escaped and hovered in the air. Now every part of the tavern smelled of blood.

“One of these days you are going to have to prove your allegiance,” his friend stated, watching as Remiel titled the vial down into his mouth, consuming all it held. “With tension mounting, you must prove that you are willing to kill for your people, like you did in your early days.”

Remiel paused, his eyes remaining on the vial that rest in his hands. Licking the last drops from his lips, he raised his dark, amethyst gaze and spoke. “But Vincent, what if I don’t want to kill anymore?”

Remiel’s friend chuckled as he ran his fingers through his raven hair. Vincent stood up from the table. He was tall and strong, his skin a pale white, and the look in his eyes as fervent as ever. “Watch your mouth, Remiel. You do not want to be mistaken for an innocent.”

Remiel looked down in shame. Vincent had been his friend and mentor for many years. These thoughts of not killing and doubt had only recently clouded his mind. He knew better though. The innocents were traitors to all creatures of the night, turning their backs on the ancient traditions of shadow. And as for the villagers, they were not worthy of life.

“Sorry, Vincent,” Remiel responded softly. “I do not know what has gotten into me. I really do want to prove my allegiance in this war. I want to show that I am worthy of being a creature of shadow.”

Vincent stood, looking regal in his robes that were darker than the night. “But you still are not ready to kill again, are you?” He inquired. Remiel hesitated before slowly shaking his head. “Very well then. I know someone that may have a role for you to play in this war.”

*****

The room was dark. Shadows encircled them all. And although the tavern could usually be considered a dreary place, where they now stood made it seem bright and sunny. Vincent stood a few feet ahead talking into the darkness. Remiel was standing closer to the door. A female escort was by his side. She appeared very strong and capable, more so than even the strongest of humans. And though she looked human, Remiel knew better. He was trying to contain his excitement for he had never been this close to a Werewolf before.

“Remiel Evadne, please step forward.” Remiel had not heard the voice at first, for he had been scanning the Werewolf’s features from the corner of his eye. Finally, the Werewolf nudged him, and Remiel heard his name be repeated.

Remiel walked forward almost blindly, as there was little light to follow. Out of nowhere, he felt a hand grasp his arm and pull him forward. Remiel had been worried at first by the person’s strong grip, but he did not sense any real threat or danger. Straining his eyes, Remiel saw Vincent’s dark blue gaze before him. Vincent’s smile melted some of Remiel’s fear as they stood in the cold, dark room.

“He is ready for you,” he spoke majestically. Remiel then knew they were in the presence of someone of great importance. Vincent pulled Remiel closer to him and whispered gently into his ear, “And he does have a role for you. Make the most of it, my friend.” With that, Vincent pushed Remiel forward a bit and then began to back away.

Remiel stood in place and did not move or speak. He listened intently, trying to figure out what was going on. Just then he heard a faint jingling. Remiel’s shoulders relaxed. It was dark in the room because the room was full of Shadow Wraiths. The jingling was that of silver.

“Remiel Evadne, your friend spoke the truth. I do have a role for you to play.” The wraith said. “For some reason, your willingness to kill for your people has ceased. That is a matter that is usually punishable by death. However, you still show the desire to prove your allegiance in this war. For that, I must give you a task. Listen well or be ready to pay the price.”

“Remiel, you do not look like a vampire at first glance. You could easily pass for a human if you surrounded yourself in their midst. You are the only one of your kind to not possess the outer appearance of a vampire. We do not think of that as a bad thing, though. We think of it as an advantage. A tool we can use in this war,” the wraith continued. “Your task is to deliver a letter to the king’s palace. You must appear as a human that has intercepted something of great importance. The letter is a fake, but its purpose is very real. It will be a message from us to the innocents, thanking them for helping us plan this attack. The letter is meant to ruin the relationship the innocents have been building with the villagers. If you do not succeed, the attack will fail. We will lose the war, and your punishment will be resumed.”

Remiel stood in silence as the voice paused. He could not believe what was being asked of him. He felt amazed of the trust being put in him. But what he felt greatest of all was appreciation. He was grateful that his people had found a part for him to play in this war, a part that did not require him to kill. Just then, Remiel heard footsteps behind him. Vincent had returned with the Werewolf at his side.

“The woman beside me shall be known as the huntress. She is a mercenary that has been hired to help you complete your task,” Vincent explained. “Her job is to guard you. After the letter has been delivered, you must return here and let us know. She, however, will be sent into battle. Not to fight, but to let all the rebels know that the innocents are not to be killed.”

“But why are we not to kill the innocents? Aren’t they traitors?” Remiel asked in confusion.

“Very good question,” the Shadow Wraith said. There was a slight pause, and a faint jingling could be heard once more. The wraith then stepped out into what little light there was. He was now in human form.

“Zaro...” Remiel said in awe. Vincent had often talked about his good friend Zaro, a powerful Shadow Wraith that was leading the war against the villagers.

“The innocents may be traitors, but if we kill them it would look as if we were enemies. According to the note you’ll be delivering, we are secretly working together. Besides, when this is all done, we may pardon them of their treason if they plead for forgiveness.”

“But what about the Shadows of the Night?” The huntress asked, speaking for the first time.

Zaro seemed disgusted by her words. Nevertheless, he answered her. “Our first task is to break the ties between the innocents and the villagers. We will deal with the Shadows later, for they too are innocents and shall have to beg for mercy or face death.” He seemed agitated by the mention of this group. Remiel had heard about it before, but he knew little about it. Zaro then turned to face Remiel, and trying to regain his composure, he added, “As long as the delivery of the letter is successful, things will go our way.”

“So, what do you say?” Vincent asked as he stepped forward and placed his hand on Remiel’s shoulder. “Are you in?”

*****

The present

Remiel now sat with a different sort of letter in his hands. The first had saved his life and changed the opinions that many rebels had of him. Vincent couldn’t have been more proud, and Zaro was greatly impressed. Remiel had succeeded in delivering the note, and in doing so, he set the tone for the rest of the war.

The letter Remiel now held could be seen in two very different ways. It meant hope for the innocents. But to him, it could only mean death. Remiel read the incantation on the letter out loud. He then felt a burning sensation on the inside of his wrist. Pulling up his sleeve, he saw that it had been done. A circle with an “S” etched inside of it was now engraved into his skin. The circle represented the moon, and the “S” stood for the Shadows of The Night. The group had been recruiting to replace its members that had either died or left. He had completed the group. He was the last member it needed. The Shadows of The Night were ready to return, and Remiel was now a traitor.

“There you are, Remiel,” Vincent spoke as he entered the room.

Remiel quickly stuffed the letter inside his cloak and stood to face his friend. “Vincent, I am sorry I took so long. I was just thinking about all that has happened.”

“That’s understandable,” Vincent replied. “Zaro was sure that this war would take years to fight. It’s been six months, and things are already going our way. Of course, we owe that all to you.”

Remiel had to keep himself from cringing. A few months ago he had been reveling in his success and the adoration that the creatures of darkness showered him with. But things had changed. He could not ignore the feelings of doubt that had been plaguing him since before the attack. And he knew that joining in the killing was not right. He felt guilty about delivering the letter and starting the war. And now he felt guilty about the mark that he bore on his wrist. He felt all of these things so strongly, but he did not know what they meant.

“Vincent, you go ahead. I’ll join you later.” Remiel said, his voice clearly indicating that he needed to be alone. Vincent nodded in understanding and left the young vampire in his room.

Remiel waited for Vincent’s footsteps to fade. When all he could hear was the crackling of the fireplace, he pulled the letter out from his robes. He threw the letter into the fire and watched as the flames consumed his secret. Pulling up his sleeve, he looked at the mark on his wrist. Remiel closed his eyes and began to pray. He could only hope that he would soon find the answers he was looking for.

A Non-Existent User
Zaro Crypton stood on the balcony of the castle the rebels had captured. The smell of boiling armor and the sound of clanging steel brought a sickening grin to his face. The shadow wraith was pleased with the progress of the war. Very pleased. In six months, his army had quadrupled, opposing forces were knee deep in dead and cringed in fear when his name was heard, and he had already captured an enemy stronghold. His yellow eyes scanned the terrain below, watching a garrison of his soldiers march into the open. A march they did with perfection, power, and glory. It was his achievement. He did everything. He brought the rebels to height of their new and ever growing power. A brisk wind blew, causing the cape of Zaro to wave up and down. The breeze was hot, most likely from the burning town he and his army just left a few hours ago.

“Didn’t expect to find you here.” a voice came from behind. Zaro turned around to see a woman, dressed in warrior’s armor, patiently waiting for him. She was curved nicely and her ebony silk like hair trailed down to her waist. Her skin was a grayish tone, but transparent. The sight of her made the Shadow Wraith smile. It was not only her beauty that made him smile, but what information she might have for him.

“Tasia, I see you have returned.” The woman bowed and Zaro approached her, his figure towering over hers.

“What do you have for me?” he asked; his voice now bold and serious.

“It’s important that I inform you, the innocents and humans are assembled. From the looks of it, an attack is being planned to retake this fortress.” Zaro’s face dropped in disgust. How many more beatings would his enemies have to take to realize the Rebel’s uprising?

“We’ll just have to meet them won’t we?” Tasia nodded and took another breath to speak.

“I predict that they will be here in a matter of a few days. As of now, their army only consists of foot soldiers. I also believe they are unaware of the most recent attack. Most likely they will reside there.” Now, it was time for Zaro to nod.

“Excellent work Tasia. After you rest up, immediately return to the human forces. I’m going to need you to keep tabs on them. Report back if anything changes.” Zaro ordered.

“Understood sir.” With that Tasia morphed into her shadow state and vanished from sight. Deciding to go in the fortress, Zaro walked away from his location. The stretched hall to the fortress was lighted with lanterns that cast yellow beams throughout. A few soldiers were walking down the hall from the opposite direction, most likely going to the weapons room. They stopped and waited for Zaro to pass, saluting him as they waited. Zaro saluted them in return and continued his tread to the War Room. He stepped inside to an empty room, which had its walls littered with amounts of maps. In the center of the room, a table stood with an even larger map stretched across it. He walked over to the table and looked over the map. Red marks were his targets. He had several.

“There you are. I’ve been looking all over for you.” the voice of Vincent came. Zaro looked up to see the vampire step into the War Room.

“Has Tasia come back from her stealth mission?” He asked.

“Yes. She did well.” Zaro answered. Vincent nodded with satisfaction.

“What do you have planned?” he asked. Zaro overlooked the map once again before speaking.

“First of all, we will need to capture Sylia. The government resides there and that’s what we need to take out. That’s our primary objective in this war. Overthrow the government.” He explained.

“Agreed.” Vincent stated. He then grabbed his chin and studied the map along with Zaro.

“But, in order to do that we will need to destroy the enemy forces. We will attack here and then here. Setting base at these locations will bring us closer to the capital. As well as increase our manpower.” Zaro stated, pointing at the according marks. Vincent understood Zaro’s choices and did not argue with them.

“Where is Remiel?” Zaro asked suddenly, catching Vincent off guard.

“I wouldn’t know sir. I haven’t seen him for the last few hours.”

“When you do find him, tell him I want to see him.”

“May I ask what for sir?” Vincent asked, raising a concerned brow for Remiel. The vampire had been acting strange for the past few weeks, but was only seen by Vincent’s eyes. Zaro looked up at him, giving Vincent the look of anger.

“I apologize sir.”

“Thank you.” Zaro said rather sharply. “We will need to approach the lich that seems to have a name in the darker regions of Heldar.”

“Khaleel?” Vincent questioned.

“Yes. Khaleel.”

“But sir, he has claimed neutral to the war. Getting him on our side will be rather difficult.” Vincent revealed.

“And that I know Vincent. Which is why I already have everything planned.”

“What is it?”

“I’m going to meet him solo. And if he refuses, he’ll just have to pay with his life.” Zaro said darkly. Vincent just put his head down.

“There’s something that I’ve been meaning to tell you Zaro.” Vincent said. The Shadow Wraith looked up, a look of dark concern on his face.

“What is it?”

“There are whispers that the Shadows of the Night are regrouping.” This news made Zaro nearly freeze. But he held his strong composure in front of Vincent.

“The Shadows of the Night regrouping?” Zaro said in disbelief.

“Yes.”

“Well, they are just whispers. We will deal with that theory later. As of now, our focus is on Sylia.” Zaro confirmed. Vincent nodded.

“Yes sir.” With that, Zaro dismissed him and went back into his own world to plan for his takeovers.
A Non-Existent User
The market was crowded and filled with the noises of a busy weekday morning with the cries and salutations of the street vendors, women shopping and children playing. Everyone was dressed lightly for the warm weather save for one woman making her way through the crowd. She wore a dark cloak, the hood pulled over her head to cover the greater part of her face. A long scarf was wrapped around her neck and her skirt brushed against the ground as she walked. The market-goers did not give her strange looks though; she was a regular to the market, or more specifically the inn in its center.

Brushing into the main room of the inn, she lowered her hood, revealing a pair of pale blue eyes. A delicate smile lit her face as she spotted a scruffy looking man at one of the tables. She quickly took a seat next to him and he nodded in recognition, “Adrianna, I was wondering when you would show up…”

“I wouldn’t let you down Amergin, you should know that by now.”

Amergin smiled wryly, “I know, I know…”

Frowning thoughtfully, Adrianna paused for a moment before asking, “Do you know where Lyesandra is?”

“I’m sorry, I have heard no news of her as of late. Why do you want to know?”

Adrianna shrugged lightly, “I…it has just been a while since I have seen her and I wish to speak with her of the newest recruits we have gotten together…I have yet to see them and I know that she has at least spoken to them once.”

“Are you sure it isn’t that you need to be revitalized?”

Adrianna blushed lightly and looked down at the table, her brown hair falling in front of her face as Amergin sighed lowering his voice to a murmur, “Look, Adrianna, if you need blood you could just ask…I could get it for you.”

She shook her head fervently, looking at her human friend in near distress, “Oh, no, I couldn’t! No…I…please, we’ve been over this before…”

“Adrianna…”

“I will be fine,” she said soothingly, “If I cannot find Lyesandra soon I promise you that I will take care of things. As of now, we need to focus more on the task at hand.”

“Keeping you on your feet?”

“No, keeping the rebels from striking again! We know that they are planning something, we just need to figure out when and where! We were so close before to bridging the gap between humans and the creatures of the night…If we could just keep the rebels back for a little while longer…” Her sentence ran off and she paused for a long moment before speaking again, “All I want is for humans and creatures of the night to live in peace. To do that, the rebels must be stopped.”
Leaves crunched, color bleached from their edges, life gone from them as from the bodies that rotted beneath them. Lichen-covered tombstones stood cracked and crumbling, the names all but gone from their once smooth surfaces, worn away by time and forlorn anonymity, forgotten by the living world around them; a world that continued to tick and grow despite the torpid stillness so evident in the dilapidated cemetary. In stark contrast, the sky above burned white-blue, the sun throbbed in an incandescent gold, and the deep verdigris of the trees bloomed in celebration of vitality; birds sung, flowers basked in the day's warmth, and a breeze blustered, almost in mockery of the putrefaction so near. Beneath the ground, the dead whispered, reaching unsuccessfully as life called to them; screaming now, yearning, wishing, but caught in their own mortality.

Lyesandra D'Urberville reached out to them with her gift, soothing them, opening the path to the afterlife and guiding them to the entrence. Too long they had been dead for her to breathe life into their lungs, to beat blood back into their hearts and brain and muscles. She was strong, one of the prominent members of her kind, but life could only be returned to the recently dead, or the evil spirits could reach through and snatch the body instead of the deceased's soul. The dead of the cemetary gone now into paradise, the earth in which their bodies had lain could reach out and grab life, becoming united with the earth spirit once again. Smiling softly a smile that didn't leave her full pink lips, Lyesandra stepped softly between the tombstones and delighted in the music of the breeze and the silence of the dead.

"Lyesandra." The word was soft, a whisper, but it was enough for her to hear it. She stopped and turned, bringing up pale, willowy figures to push back a grey hood. A beautiful face emerged into the sunlight; oval and as pale as the rest of her, with high cheekbones, a thin nose and a strong, yet delicate chin. Color emerged on her cheeks as the warmth hit them, and her pale lips darkened to a rose pink, even as her smile reached her magnificent aquamarine eyes, which sparkled with something close to happiness. Her arms reached up and pulled her coal black curls free from her cloak and allowed them to tumble down her back.

"Khaleel. You look well." Lyesandra headed toward the Lich, feeling out the death and life within him. He would be needing a boost soon or vitality would slip and she would have to open the path to the afterlife once again this day.

Something of a laugh escaped from the emaciated form. Perhaps his lungs has withered; it would not be a surprise of nothing but magick was keeping him alive at this point. "Do not lie to me, Lyesandra. And do not play games. The Rebel leader wishes to meet with me. Alone."

Lyesandra's eyes narrowed, her lips pursing in annoyance and disbelief. "You've declared yourself neutral in the war. Why would the Rebels even dare to sway you?" She gasped in exasperation, throwing her hands into the air and shaking her head. "Have they no sense of the rules of war?"

"Of course not." Lyesandra couldn't remember the last time Khaleel had shown true emotion. His entire being seemed neutralized and unable of radicalism in either direction. "It is their nature to push or destroy anything that doesn't go their way."

"When?"

Khaleel gazed at the sun. "Sundown. Here, in my cemetary."

Lyesandra nodded. "You did not tell me there were dead that had not been freed yet. That was wrong of you."

"I enjoyed the company, even that of the suffering dead. It is better than nothing. I am closer to dead than alive, anyway." Wisdom sparked in the lich's deep eyes, and Lyesandra sighed.

"I've let them go. It is time for you to leave your cemetary, anyway. Come with me. I would not force you to pick sides, Khaleel. You know this as well."

Khaleel did not move; he did not blink, nor breathe, nor could Lyesandra hear blood pump through his veins. "Yes. Yes, I will come with you. Better to be Neutral and alive than Neutral and dead. But, I would meet with Zaro first and make my judgement of him."

"I will not ask you what you make of him. Unless you wish to volunteer information, I will not make you. This is my promise to you, Khaleel."

The lich bowed deep at the waist. "I understand, believe, and accept your promise. Listen for my call amongst the whisperings of the Dead."

Lyesandra bowed in return. "May the Paths be open." She turned to leave, pulling the hood up and pushing her face back into shadow.

"Lyesandra," Khaleel called. Stopping, she turned and waited for him to speak again. "I have heard whispers that the Shadows of the Night is being reformed. What truth is there in this?"

Smiling, Lyesandra said nothing. Khaleel chuckled, his laugh still dry and unhuman. "You take care, Lyesandra. Reforming the Shadows will not remain secret long."

"I don't need secrets; I need disbelief. As long as Zaro believes the rumours to be untrue, the Shadows will bloom in the night."

Khaleel nodded. "May the Shadow Paths be long for you, Necromancer."
*****


The marketplace bustled, the crowd's buzzing intermittently broken by the cries of merchants and hawkers. Lyesandra weaved through the throng, avoiding the stares of the men and the jealous looks of the women. She had removed the gray cloak and wore now a low-cut emerald dress that swayed voluminously at the ankles and over the bodice of which poured the tops of her ample chest. Sleeveless and form-fitting, the dress had been designed to flaunt her curves and draw attention, the daring dress served as protection for the young Necromancer. She hid in plain sight, and no one thought that such a beautiful woman could possibly be a creature of shadow. And it had worked thusfar.

Stepping into the cool shade of the inn at the center of the marketplace, Lyesandra searched the crowd and headed toward a particular table at the back of the in. "Adrianna," she greeted, her voice feminine and sweet. Noticing the scruffy young man sitting across from her friend, Lyesandra lowered her voice, becoming more sultry and sensuous. "Amergin."

A lascivious grin spread across the man's face. "Lyesandra! We were speaking of you but a few moments ago."

"I know. I was meeting with Khaleel." Lyesandra sat next to Adrianna and called for the barkeep to bring her an ale. "The Rebel leader, Zaro, has requested a one-on-one meeting with him. I've opened the paths for him to escape into if he so wishes- a place where no Shadow Wraith can go- and he will be journeying with us."

"You got the lich to join us?" Adrianna's tone belied her disbelief. "How?"

Lyesandra shook her head. "I didn't. I merely made sure that he wouldn't join the rebels. I've helped him remain alive for so long- even a lich's power has its limits- that we've become as close to friends as a lich can become with anyone. He has given his word that he will not join the rebels."

Amergin nodded, his eyes rising for a moment from Lyesandra's ample cleavage. Adrianna rolled her eyes, but smiled; Lyesandra gathered, in a sense, some of her power from the sexual attention she garnered. Sexuality was limited, as known by all, to the living; for Lyesandra to flaunt sexuality and give in to her sensual nature was to give her the life she needed to dominate the dead. "So, how will you know he is here?"

"I will hear and feel him on the paths." Lyesandra looked at Adrianna and frowned, displeased with what she saw. "You haven't fed. Death crowds you. Why won't you eat?"

Adrianna sighed. "I hate doing it. And I knew I would meet with you today, so I was hoping that you could...you know...give me a boost?"

Lyesandra looked around, sighed, and dunked a finger into Adrianna's ale. Leaning over to give Amergin a chance to marvel at the full impact of her bosom and drinking in the life from his arousal, Lyesandra channeled it and poured the vitality into Adrianna's pint. "Drink," she said, taking her finger from the mug and sucking it dry. Amergin licked his lips. "I will be back."

Adrianna nodded and watched as Lyesandra led Amergin upself to reward him for giving her power, as unaware of his gift as he remained. "Come, Amergin...I will calm your nerves."
Meleena sat back in her chair as she scrolled through some text books and loose papers, looking the actual part of the scholar that she was. Her messy brown hair pulled carelessly back into a ponytail as she chewed around a mouthful of apple. She smiled at a few random people, though mostly seeming uninterested in the people around her, lost in her books as always.

It was daylight hours, and Meleena found no better time to lounge around on her studies, making sure she knew the latest lingo and up-to-date hype going around the world. She had been a bookworm since she was a child, those long long years ago. On the outside no one could ever think that Meleena was anything but the artsy young woman that she played herself to be. But inside she was far older than she looked, with a reputation of blood feud.

In contrast to the day, at night Meleena pulled back her hair in cornrows, gothed up her make-up and clothing and changed into a completely different per- ahem- werewolf. She became known as the Huntress. A neutral to the war of Innocents and Rebels, but someone that everyone knew in one form or the other unless she really didn't feel they should know.

It wasn't exactly that she was neutral. She found the Rebels' causes idiotic. But she couldn't be considered an Innocent either for she did kill her victims when she wanted. Murderers, rapists, any that she didn't deem worthy of life, she would stalk for the better part of days and strike when they least expected it. This gave her both thrill and a sense of vigilantism, but the Innocents weren't quite so thrilled with her choice of being a so-called hero. She didn't seem to mind so much though, she always was a bit independent, even in the causes of war.

Despite this though, she couldn't exactly be ignored either. The Innocents knew how powerful she was and how much she was valued over in this war itself. The books and papers she was reading weren't exactly 'innocent'. They were commands from a messenger of the Innocent's general asking for aid from the Huntress to escort their members to a secret base for a conference. Meleena had neither obliged nor refused the papers but she knew they were looking for an answer soon.

No matter what job she took she was a mercenary for hire. She claimed neither side and found that if the Innocents paid her for a job she shouldn't disregard the Rebels either. But despite any response to either sides of the war, she would not kill. It was her bottom line. She would escort, she would guard and protect but killing was out of the question no matter how much they paid her.

Meleena gathered up the papers in her hands and placed them back in the envelope they were packaged in. She didn't know why exactly she was hesitating about the offer. She supposed if she did this then she would in fact be apart of this war one way or the other. And despite not picking a side they may see her as having done so even by escorting though that wasn't the case. She was just trying to survive and her money was growing low. Even werewolves had to have a place to sleep at night, she wasn't a rabid dog afterall.

~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~**~*~

Meleena stood outside staring up at the moon. She wore black leather from head to toe, her grey eyes scanning the town of Sylia from her perch. She could hear a set of footsteps falling behind her, though she didn't pay much attention, there were tons of people setting up camp and walking on twigs and anything else that laid beneath their feet.

"Huntress." She could hear a deep voice state from over her shoulder.

Meleena turned around and saw a tall male with ebony skin staring at her. He immediately bowed his head and his dark eyes looked into hers as he straightened. "What is it Asere?" She asked, her voice confident as she addressed the fellow lycan.

"The camp is set up, we await the arrival of Commodore in the morn. He sent two scouts ahead of him, warning us of his arrival." He replied to her, informing her of the situation.

Meleena looked back at the small group of lycans. There weren't many of them, but at least a good dozen, all tucked in their tents or talking to each other just outside. She pulled at her dog tags and turned back away. "We'll be ready when they come." She stared back off at the moon, being entranced by it as any lycan would be.

The truth that Meleena was one of the oldest lycans alive had earned her a valuable position in the whole of the lycan population though she preferred to be alone. She commanded about a dozen of the younger, being subject to the command of a certain lycan they called the Commodore. It was to him that she owed her allegiance, not the Innocents or the Rebels. Each of the lycans were given their own choice on the war at large, as long as they neither killed or harmed a fellow werewolf. Like Meleena, the Commodore was neutral to the war and most of the armies followed his suit. It was rumored that the Huntress could get him to change his mind if she wanted.

Meleena signaled to Asere as she turned around once more. "Position the guards, and make sure they keep watch. Expect attack from any side. Trust no one but the Commodore and his captains, do you hear me?"

"Yes Ma'am." He inclined his head and trotted off, leaving her to think. Everyone within the camp awaiting the arrival of their fellow kin. Meleena more than anyone else.
A Non-Existent User
Lina Topol briskly scrubbed her hands and sighed heavily, letting the cool lather rinse them dry. A woman's work was rarely simple and that went double when you were also a mage in the employ of the court. Most of her duties kept her on her toes all day with barely enough time for her own pursuits, but some things were worth making time for. Taking her hands out of the water and shaking them dry, Lina inspected them before nodding to herself in satisfaction and returning to the bedroom. The room was more than enough for her needs, if a little on the small side. Perhaps her age and the comfort she had experienced had made her soft, but if she could not indulge herself a little at the end of a hard day with plush pillows and space enough for her study then her demeanour would slip and that simply would not do when she was on official duty. Scanning the room for a towel to dry her hands, Lina frowned. As neat as it was, it seemed that someone had neglected to provide the basics. Walking slowly to the window, Lina glanced around as though there were someone there to chide her as she wiped her hands clean on the curtain. A small smile creased the lines around her motherly eyes yet only pricked at the side of her lips. Not since she was a small child had she felt so naughty!

Turning to face the bed, Lina placed both hands on hips and tutted to herself. After his wife had died, the man had put up quite the fight. Of course he had never got within two paces of her, but larger faster men than he had died quicker. She had been a little nervous before she entered the house. After all, she had never solely relied on the dead arts before, but if her rouse were to work it was absolutely essential that only the markings of necromancy were present. Looking out of the bedroom door the crumpled form of the woman lay in a corridor beyond which the sounds of the market rang out. Not only had all the life been wrung out of the woman but so too had all the water. The dessicated corpse that lay there would have been unidentifiable had it not been for the dress that the corpse still awkwardly wore. Where once the dress had clung to the curves and outline of the body – in a manner that was altogether far too revealing for Lina's liking – now it raised and dipped over bones and ribs raising little higher than the floor along the woman's long calves. No doubt what little was left of the bone would crumble at the slightest touch, Lina thought, raising a finger to her chin.

Turning her attention back to the bed, Lina wrinkled her nose as she considered the aftermath of the mans death. Exposing his nakedness had been worse than disembowelling him and both had taken up a great deal of her time. The only way that she could explain what she had done with him was to grasp a hold of his spirit and give it a good shake. He had shaken as if possessed, his face turning a shade of blue that hinted at his fate. She had foolishly not considered her own safety as she pushed him on the bed as he entered his death throes and it had been a miracle that she had not been hit by a flailing arm or leg. Still, it was preferable to trying to lug the body onto the bed. Now that the scene was set, all that was left to do was to summon the players.

She had little knowledge of the Paths – her knowledge of magery was rooted more in the physical – but she knew enough to be able to open them enough to draw outside attention. She had corked the two souls up in their bodies and even now she could hear them rattling around like the bone dice her daddy had made her when she was a child. Willing the paths to open, she finally bade the spirits to leave their bodies into the embrace of death, but not the type that they expected. She could feel the evil pulsate from the Path that she had willed open and although she was loathe to do it, sometimes you had to deal with a demon to catch one. The souls struggled but they were as powerless to resist the pull as water is in a a bucket with a hole. As the souls were sucked into oblivion and the Path began to close Lina returned to the side chamber and emptied the water out of the small window knowing that the reddish tint would be lost to the soil.

Placing the wooden basin back on its perch, Lina stared out of the window straight on to the brick wall of the opposite building. The White Hallowed or the Hallows as they were known, would not tolerate the practice of necromancy within the city walls, or outside it for that matter. However they did not blindly walk into a dangerous situation without being prepared for the worst. At this very moment they were doubtlessly rushing about, arming themselves with enough enchantments and elixirs to stop the armies of those accursed rebels in their tracks in preparation to investigate the cottage. This would give Lina enough time to leave and perhaps even entice that slut here.

The mere thought of that woman caused Lina's mouth to tighten and her usual warm eyes to narrow. More a walking pair of breasts than a woman, Lina's extensive spy network had provided ample evidence that Lyesandra D'Urberville practised the dark arts. Of course she had know the girl many years before that when she little more than a child and even then she had sensed something of the devil about her. Back then she had been weak and unwilling to end the life of a child regardless of the evil it bore. If she had had her time again she would have struck her down as she sat playing but now it was an irrelevance. Now the girl was a woman and a black hearted harlot at that but she was no fool. Doubtless she knew the implications of an act of necromancy within the city borders as well as Lina did and she would be reluctant to investigate as long as the Hallows may be close by. From what she could tell, she had a strong interfering streak and perhaps that would prove too much for her common sense, but whether she appeared or not this was merely the first step in Lina's plan. Anybody who saw the necromancer and knew of the naked man would connect the two. Lina spluttered in disgust and began rubbing her hands together furiously. Everything about the girl said that she was a common whore, the type to sleep with another woman's husband and now that same man lay dead by the dark arts. Her spies would spread the whispers that D'Urberville and the man were involved as subtly as a cool spring breeze, and allow the Hallows to deduce the rest. If that were not enough, more damning evidence could be created.

Pulling the hood up and over her head, Lina awkwardly fingered her scarf as she wrapped it over her mouth and headed toward the door. She had long since set the enchantments that would confuse anyone who attempted to discover her involvement in that house and any attempt at divination would result in a maze like chase and more than likely a sore head for the fool that decided to persist. Slipping out of the crack that she provided for herself in the door, Lina joined the throng of people that walked the streets, her form appearing in a different way to each and every one who set eyes upon her. The outside world could go to the hells as far as she was concerned, but whilst there was a decent bone in her body standards would be set and adhered to in her city – the practice of necromancy being but the first.

-------------------------------------------------

Meleena frowned, finding little solace in the cool glow of the moon. The Commodore was only a few hours away and she now found herself playing host to a Lich – an eventuality that had not been altogether unexpected but nevertheless posed an interesting problem. Although Khaleel's neutrality had meshed well with her policy of non-interference and had made him a useful ally in the past, as an enemy of The Shadow Wraith his very presence may unwittingly drag her and the lycans into the war. It was only after he appeared, hunched over and using his skeletal entourage as support that she had fully understood what had happened. As he hobbled away to his encampment she had fired off question after question, matching his every laboured pace. She had to know what she was dealing with. The Lich was usually painfully secretive, but perhaps due to his injuries and a clouded mind with one touch he had shown her everything. Everything he had seen, felt and experienced.

Although she had heard every word exchanged between the Lich and Crypton, it all seemed to fade like an old memory as the experience unfolded. The Wraith suddenly attacked and what followed was a furious exchange of spells, which the Lich seemed to have the upper hand in. Suddenly she was aware of a distortion behind the Wraith and something shimmered. She wasn't sure if the thought was her own or the Lich's, but it became very apparent that the gate that had brought the Wraith there was still open, behind which was sat a coven of spell casters. Using the gate as a focus, the Wraith's mages began their own magical assault. Although the Lich was forced to spread his defences thinner he seemed to be able to stand fast against the combined might of the Wraith. One spell felt different and a blue light shot forth from the portal and bathed the Lich in its glow, sidestepping his defences. The Lich paused for a second, unsure of what had happened but quickly rallied and fired a shot back through the portal. The casting of the spell seemed to have stalled the coven as much as the Lich and she felt one of their number contort and shrivel in the face of the Lich's power.

Suddenly the Wraith hammered spell after spell upon the Lich, breaking his defences and threatening to overwhelm him. Blow after blow landed upon him and the pain that rushed through him echoed through her mind. Sensing the Wraiths triumph, he seemed to ready himself for a mortal blow when she felt the 'Paths' open. She wasn't exactly sure what they were, but she felt the whispers of the dead come from within them. For a moment it looked as though the Lich would flee into them, but instead he ripped them wider and began stripping souls from within forcing it open with his willpower. As his power grew infinitely, she felt something close to panic come from the Wraith and at the same time a pale faced woman flashed in her mind, screaming in rage and sorrow. As the Lich released the power the Paths folded in upon themselves, as the destructive energy ripped through his Tomb and through the portal. The Wraith seemed caught within the energy yet she knew that he had escaped.


At that point, the Lich had also fled as his mausoleum collapsed inward, past saturation point from the powerful magic. That had been several hours ago and the last she had seen of the Lich had been when he had retreated to the sanctuary that he had prepared in her camp. She had assigned one of her men to stay with the Lich, something that he would usually have denied her. Since then she had put the word out to her best scouts to report back on the situation within the main Rebel encampment. Activity seemed to have increased there and she had had reports that a huge explosion that had lit the night sky had ripped out of the side of their latest acquisition, a castle that had been held by the Innocents until very recently. But that couldn't have been linked with the Lich – could it?

Hearing footsteps approach, Meleena turned to face the lycan that she had assigned to the Lich. He approached with amazing speed and grace, a testament to the power of the moon. “Huntress, our guest...” he began, uncharacteristically stalling his words slightly.

“Yes?” Meleena replied cooly.

“The Lich... is in the grip of a raging fever.” Inwardly, Meleena felt a burst of surprise but her exterior remained composed.

“A fever.” She stated back.

“Yes... and he is bleeding heavily.”

“Then send a physician to him. There will be time for questions later.” she said, although whether she spoke for his benefit or just her own she wasn't sure. As the lycan scampered away, Meleena raised a thoughtful hand to her chin. She had much to think on. Her guest may have just forced her hand in the upcoming war. With the Commodore en route the very least that she had to do was to prepare for the worst.


Remiel inhaled deeply, taking in the fresh breeze that swept through the marketplace. His heightened senses allowed him to fully experience the sights, sounds and smells of the bustling life in Sylia. Although he had no magical powers, he had lately felt as though standing in the midst of the living revitalized him. It was funny; a few months ago he would’ve never been caught standing in the midst of the villagers. They were, after all, his enemies.

“Oh sorry, pardon me,” a young woman said sweetly as she rushed past Remiel. She had fair skin, thick golden curls, and incredibly bright blue eyes. Her radiant features made her stand out in the crowd, and for some reason, she had chosen to run into a rebel. Her arm briefly brushed against the vampire’s, and Remiel couldn’t help but smile as she kindly batted her eyelashes. He nodded in understanding, sending the beauty on her way. As he stood there, Remiel wondered how different that encounter might’ve been had she known he was a rebel. If she had any inkling of his true identity, she wouldn’t have been so kind.

He watched as the woman made her way towards the inn and restaurant of the city. Remiel bit down on his lip, quite tempted to follow her there. He saw her enter through the door, and he gazed in through the windows. That inn differed greatly from the tavern he usually called home. Beer and food abounded within the walls of the villagers’ inn, but so did laughter. Not that the rebels didn’t laugh, but it was different. Their laughter came from a different place. The villagers laughed in joy and friendship. As for the rebels, their laughter was hollow of these sentiments. Remiel’s soft smile slowly faded as he lowered his gaze and shook his head. Was he going soft? Why was he suddenly being drawn to the ways of the villagers? He was a vampire, a rebel, a creature of shadow. It was one thing that he no longer wanted to kill; but the thought of him envying the life of villagers, of innocents, was intolerable. If Zaro could read his thoughts, Remiel realized, he would surely be dead.

Remiel looked up and slowly took a step towards the inn. As he did this, he suddenly felt a body rapidly push against his. Wind whipped against him and a whirling sound filled his ears as he was thrust against a brick wall. His hands scurried to the shots of pain throbbing in the back of his head as he leaned over, grimacing in pain. “I’m sorry if that hurt, but I had to stop you,” a familiar voice said. Remiel stood up and sighed in relief when he saw his friend. “You shouldn’t be here around these people. It does not bode well for your reputation,” Vincent continued. “We were willing to overlook your reluctance to kill, but this, you being around villagers, it makes you look weak. It makes you look almost as if you want to be with them, be like them. You cannot want that, my friend, not if you value your life.”

Remiel leaned back against the wall and let his legs collapse beneath him. Vincent dashed to his side, supporting his friend’s dwindling body. “Zaro has been asking to see you, and I fear it may be because of your odd behavior lately. You’ve been avoiding everyone, even all your friends at our tavern, and I know you haven’t been taking care of yourself. I cannot let him see you in this condition. You need blood...” he said, pausing slightly, “but I cannot get it for you anymore.”

Remiel looked up into Vincent’s dark blue gaze, afraid of what this meant. “I can’t, not now, not anymore…there’s no one around.”

“I will not let you see Zaro until you have gotten your own blood,” Vincent stated firmly as he wrapped his arm around Remiel’s back in order to help him stand. “And there most certainly is someone around.” There was a slight smirk across the elder vampire’s face. “Your lady friend is in the tavern down and across the road. All you need is a little bit of blood to freshen you up. Besides, it would be disrespectful to meet with Zaro in this unhealthy manner.”

Remiel nodded and pulled away from Vincent, taking a moment to compose himself so he could stand on his own. He waved his hand in surrender and began to walk toward the inn. “One more thing,” Vincent spoke as he stood in the alley. “Zaro had an unsuccessful meeting with the Lich. His mood, consequently, is not very generous. I suggest you bring him good news by killing your victim. Remiel, if you let her live, Zaro will not look kindly upon you.” Remiel halted as his eyes widened in shock. He knew this day was coming, but he wasn’t expecting it so soon. Reluctantly, he nodded his head and continued on his way. Vincent watched Remiel for a moment before slowly closing his eyes. He stood there hoping that his friend would do the right thing. If he didn’t, Vincent knew that tonight’s meeting with Zaro would be fatal.

*****

Remiel was breathing heavily as he entered the inn and seated himself at the bar. That had been a close encounter. It was fortunate that Vincent had not waited any longer to intervene. If he had, Remiel’s true secret could have been revealed.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” a soft voice said. Remiel panicked as he looked up. To his relief, it was not the beautiful blonde sitting beside him, but rather a woman with brown hair and pale blue eyes. “My name is Adrianna Corbett, and you, you must be Remiel.” He nodded and extended his hand. “Don’t be nervous,” she said as she gently grasped Remiel’s shaking hand. “Thank you for coming. I know you can’t stay, but here are some instructions for you in this letter. I didn’t want to send it in case the wrong person got their hands on it.”

“That’s a good idea, it seems everyone thinks I’ve been acting strangely,” Remiel spoke quietly. “If anyone finds a letter this detailed and treacherous in my possession, it’s payable by death.”

“Well then, be very careful,” Adrianna said as she began to stand. “You will be given more details later. Expect an escort to meet you here at the tavern at the specified time tomorrow night; she is known as the Huntress. She will make sure you arrive safely for our first meeting. There you will meet the others, and we shall begin.”

“Begin what?” Remiel inquired. He knew of the Shadows group’s intentions, but he had never heard of the methods they used. He had no idea how they fought against the rebels.

“That information is not safe, not even here in Sylia,” Adrianna replied. “Do not worry, you will be told in due time. Here, why don’t I treat you to a drink to calm your nerves. Amergin, if you please,” she said as she motioned to the owner of the inn. “Enjoy and take care, Remiel Evadne.” With that, she stood and left the inn, rushing out into the streets.

Remiel quickly drank down the concoction that was set before him. It was not as refreshing as blood, but it worked. He could feel his shoulders begin to relax as he used the liquor to turn off all the extra thoughts buzzing through his mind. He did not want to worry about the Shadows of The Night or his meeting with Zaro later this evening. Right now, he had to focus on doing the one thing he didn’t want to do: kill for blood. He just hoped the blonde would stay away and save herself.

*****

Remiel stood in the hallway, nervously pacing back and forth. Zaro was nearly ready to see him; he just wasn’t so sure if he was ready to see the Wraith. He stopped every few steps and was forced to rub his forehead as bursts of pain penetrated his mind. He stood, for the first time, not wanting to see Zaro. He didn’t have bad news for him; according to Vincent, Remiel came bearing great news. The great news, however, did not sit so well in the young vampire’s stomach, as flashes of moments from earlier in the evening bombarded his thoughts. He wanted to vomit at the thought of the blood that was now in his system, the blood that was keeping him alive and well. Alidaya—with her bouncing blonde curls and startlingly beautiful, blue eyes—could no longer boast the same livelihood.

A Non-Existent User
Zaro stood in the War Room, furious as he had ever been. The meeting with the Lich did not go as planned and it just happened to destroy a bit of his fortress. He was so close to killing Khaleel. His life was right in his palm. But everything shattered. Had the Lich been eliminated, he would definitely have the upper hand in the war. Now, it was apparent that the Lich would side with the innocents and other groups that would help them. It also didn’t help that the Shadows of the Night were rumored to be returning. However, the shadow wraith shook away the thoughts, knowing that if his anger took the best of him, it would cloud his judgment and destroy his concentration.

The doors opened and the vampire Reimel walked in. The sight of the creature just made a snarl curl on Zaro’s face. His suspicions of the vampire were still very high and the way he had been acting did not make things easier for him. The vampire looked a bit nervous as Zaro’s yellow eyes violently looked him up and down. The shadow wraith just rolled his eyes and turned his back to the vampire.

“So do you come to me with something I want to here?” He asked sharply. Reimel did not answer right away, which made Zaro look over his shoulder.

“Yes sir…I have killed tonight.” He revealed. This did not do anything to Zaro. His scowl still existed when he turned to face Reimel.

“If you have killed as you say, why do I hear regret in your voice?” he asked. Reimel showed no emotion.

“I have no regret sir. It was a simple human. One of the virus that plagues this world.” The vampire said. Zaro crossed his arms and just stared at the vampire.

“Hmph. I guess that is acceptable. Be gone. I have other things to pursue. But let this be a final warning Reimel. If you disappoint me one more time, it will be your last.” He said, venom coursing in every syllable. Without further ado, Reimel bowed and left. Grabbing his sword, which lay on the table, Zaro left the War Room. He had things to do. Things that he knew only he could get done.

© Copyright 2005 Aiken4LOTR, xx-xx, xx-xx, Professor Q: Live from Detroit, White Tiger, xx-xx, (known as GROUP).
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