In a world of chaotic order, a wiseman will have to choose- life or something even more!!!
He turned around as fast as he could! A bluish beam had flashed through the evaporating body of his comrade, passing inches from his face! “Run!” he thought, but his legs were quicker than his thoughts! He turned left, towards the door, dodging a few flashes of light directed at him! Left, right, left, right, went his legs at accelerated rates, his body bending at the corners. He was not sure when he had found himself on the spiral stairs, but he knew his pursuers were getting closer to him! They had holstered their weapons, in order to prolong the enjoyable hunt! He ran, and ran, tripped and ran again. Tripped again, no someone had caught his leg! A foot to the face, a push from the ground and he was on the run again! Shouts from behind, no, do not listen, just a few more turns and he would be on the exit! “And then, then what?” he quivered as he barely missed a whizzing knife! |
Suddenly the cramped spiral corridor widened into a spacious, but empty room. He leaped a few more wide steps and stopped! “Now what?” his shoulders drooped! In front of him was a door that led to the outside, where the sun was! If he went out he would burn for sure! He turned around! Three, four, five… six of the bastards! He had a binary choice with an equal result- stay with the enemy in the dark and be slaughtered, or go out and burn in the sun! He did not think! Turn around and run! Run for the door! Then hope for a shade! Someone shouted something, but he did not hear! There were footsteps after him, but not quick enough! The door suddenly opened, he fell to his knees, eyes painfully shut!
|“Stop...” Phoebe put out her hand to stop Serena.|
“What is it...?” Serena asked in a whisper.
Phoebe placed a finger to her lips, telling Serena to keep quiet. Phoebe listened; she closed her eyes and slowly put a hand on the hilt of the sword hanging from her hip. As she was listening, Serena was looking. She turned around in silent circles, and tried to penetrate the darkness.
The trees in the woods were so close together that they blocked out the light of the moon almost completely, she wished that they could have stopped for the night, she felt uncomfortable in the woods at night; like someone was constantly watching them, but Phoebe had insisted that they keep moving.
While Serena was trying to see through the darkness, Phoebe touched her arm. Serena choked on a scream as Phoebe quickly put a hand over her mouth. She put her mouth to Serena’s ear and whispered, “I can’t hear anything, but try, just try to stay quiet!” After a moment of making sure that Serena understood Phoebe removed her hand, “Let’s go.” She whispered; Serena took hold onto Phoebe’s hand and held it tight.
The two girls moved slowly and silently through the thick, dark woods. Phoebe listened to every sound, every crack of a stick and fall of a leaf, any sign of something different, something out of the ordinary.
She had felt as though they were being watched from the moment they entered the great woods two days before, as though every move that they made was being examined; making the hairs on the back of her neck prick up.
Phoebe had been in woods before, her and Serena spent most of their life hiding out in them, she knew them well, but this one... There was something very different about this one. It was so dark in here, even in the daytime. Phoebe wasn’t even sure that “woods” was the right word; the place looked more like a forest with so many trees extremely close together. Woods she had been in, forests not so much. There were too many places to hide.
If it was a forest, it was very damp and clammy, so cold now at night that she could see her breath before her like smoke as she breathed through her mouth. She held her breath, afraid that someone might see, breathing through her nose wasn’t much better, but it would have to do.
The floor was covered in a thin layer of mist that flowed around their feet as they walked; it rippled like water with each movement.
After a few moments of walking nearly blind in the dark forest Phoebe froze, she heard what sounded like someone laughing; the sound of it brought goose bumps all over her already freezing body. The laughter was close, too close. She heard whispers, thought she heard whispers... she couldn't understand what they were saying, like they were to far away.
Serena had not moved her hold on Phoebe's hand had tightened considerably; she was staring straight ahead with wide eyes, although she still could not see anything. The loss of sight made it worse Serena thought, she felt blind, having to rely only on her ears and touch, she hated it, not knowing what was in front of her until she came to it, only then finding out that she did not want to touch it.
Serena still had not moved a muscle out of fear when, suddenly, they heard a loud growl, like a lion, Phoebe turned towards the sound and her hand was torn out of Serena's tight grip.
"Serena!" Phoebe screamed, "Run!" It was all so sudden that Phoebe didn't see who, or what jumped her, not that she could have been able to see it in this dark, but as she was trying to free herself from the grip of whatever had her she noticed that the body held no warmth, it's touch was cold, cold as ice and she was already frozen. The two bodies were rolling around the ground until the other was on top of her; through the numbness of her body she felt a sharp pain in her shoulder, she felt the sharp teeth rip through her skin, she couldn't even scream. The vampire was making sucking noises that made her stomach turn; she could feel the blood being drained from her body. She started clawing and kicking violently at the beast. Vampire, she thought, damn it I should have known! She tried to grab the sword at her hip, one hand trying to release it while the other attempting to push the vampire's head away. Phoebe was losing blood quickly, she could see stars dancing before her eyes, she felt weak. She heard a 'click' and pulled the sword free from the scabbard, she managed to stab the sword into the vampire's side and it let go of her with a low, deep growl. Through the darkness Phoebe could see the glow of the vampire's pale, white skin, the glow of its bright, yellow eyes staring directly at her with a look of utter contempt, as though it wanted nothing more than to rip her body into pieces. All of a sudden, the vampire gave a loud howl; it arched its back as though in pain and then turned slowly to face its attacker. Phoebe couldn't see anything but the faint gleam of a sword a few steps away. The vampire obviously could see, as well as the attacker; who raised the sword, at the same time the vampire pounced and grabbed onto whoever it was. Phoebe heard a grunt; she guessed that the vampire had used its teeth. Curse the darkness! She thought, she wished that she could see what was going on, wished she could help, this was her fight. As she listened, she heard a lot of grunts, curses, ripping, howling, and finally, a slurred, deep growl. Silence, but for the heavy breathing of someone walking towards her.
Phoebe realised that she had been holding her breath the whole time, but when she took a deep breath she remembered why she held it, the moment that she took the breath a fierce pain shot through her left arm where the vampire had bitten, she cried out in pain, tears coming to her eyes, her shoulder throbbing painfully as though she had been stabbed a thousand times all over her body. Phoebe couldn't see who had saved her, but she saw the gleam of the large sword again. The sword reflected a red light; she turned and saw fires on burning sticks moving rapidly in and out of the trees. While she was watching in confusion, she felt a hand grab hers and pull her up roughly; she lost her balance and fell forward onto the person.
"Whoa now, watch yourself." A voice said, a man's voice, gruff but gentle. He put his arm around her waist to support her and she cried out again. "It got you?" He asked.
Phoebe nodded, then realised that he wouldn't be able to see, "Yes." She said weakly, she was still seeing stars and felt as though she might faint, she leaned into the man. "My shoulder..."
"Alright then, come one, let’s get you somewhere safe." The man half carried Phoebe through the trees, he didn't seem deterred by her weight at all, even though he too was injured, he didn't seem to notice it.
Suddenly, Phoebe remembered Serena. "Wait!" She yelled.
"What?" She had surprised the man. "What is it?"
"Serena! My niece! I told her to run... to get... to get... away..." Phoebe was losing consciousness, her words slurring.
The man picked her up in his arms and continued walking, "It's alright, we found her, she's safe." He told her, the last words that she heard as she passed out into a never-ending blackness.
Phoebe sat on the look out post in the early dawn keeping watch. She sat in the bell tower of the cathedral that served as tribes home, the church was huge and dilapidated, but it served their purpose well of keeping the vampires out. It was so old that no one, not even Amerson who found it, knew the name; she found out when her and her niece were brought here by the tribe that they called the church “Ameretat”, it means “immortal”, in what language she didn’t know but it fit well she thought. Ameretat looked so broken down from the outside; it had bricks and paint falling off, vines and all kinds of creeping plants completely covering the whole left side of the building slowly making its way right up to the bell tower where Phoebe sat, the roof of the bell tower was hardly a roof anymore with only the frame to keep it up, all of the windows in the building were broken or missing, birds constantly found their way inside. The tribe would have boarded the window frames up, but even though the cathedral was a holy place where the vampire could not enter, they didn’t want to take any chances, so, the windows were always, even in the freezing, snow filled winters and the burning summers, kept wide open, letting the bright sun shine through always. Through all of the destruction that this grand church had seen, Ameretat lived through it all, she was immortal. It seem that nothing could be bring her down Phoebe thought, softly rubbing her hand on the ground where she sat, feeling the rough, flaking surface. Immortal, it was a good name for a church. The tribe was named after her, the Ameretat Tribe, the Immortal Tribe, Phoebe liked it very much; it made her feel like they were going to live forever. Maybe not, but she would at least try.
She sat just on the edge of the tower with a warm, thick blanket around her shoulders. The sun was beginning to rise, meaning that Phoebe’s shift was coming to an end. She could hear the annoying squeaking of metal on metal as a light wind blew through the air; lightly rocking the bell back and forth. The breeze was warm, it was going to be a hot day today, Phoebe sighed and made a pouting face, she didn’t like the summer; it would get so hot and humid that you had no energy for anything; if they had an attack from vampires she found it very hard to fight when she was already sweaty and dehydrated. The heat of summer sucked a person completely dry of everything, especially their spirit. But as much as she hated the summer the mornings were absolutely beautiful. Phoebe kept every early morning watch, starting from 4am-6am, she loved it; being able to watch the rise of the sun every morning and see the city all around her come alive, the bright light replacing the dark night, seeing this each day gave her some kind of hope, hope that one day soon they will be free of the vampires, their world will be theirs once again.
From her high perch Phoebe heard the loud growls of vampires caught in the sunlight, and if she looked hard she could see some trying to find their way back through the shadows cast by the buildings, crawling under rubble before the light touched them. She was thankful that she didn’t have any night time watches, seeing the city come alive not with the light of the sun but with the darkness of night; sprawling with thousands of vampires, hearing the screams of captured humans and the horrifying laughs of their attackers.
The city that they occupied would once have been called “Edmonton”, but so many years had passed that no one remembered things like that, they made up there own names now, names that suited the feeling and look of the cities after so many years of disasters and neglect. To reflect the city now, the people called it “Thanatos”, loosely meaning “City of Death”. “City of Death” was certainly the right word for it. As Phoebe looked out over it she saw many buildings just like the cathedral she sat on, all of them covered in weeds, most could hardly be called buildings anymore they were so broken down, barely noticeable. Rubble covered the streets; many buildings were leaning dangerously to one side that it looked as though the light touch of a bird landing on it would tip it completely over. But still they stood, filled with vampires, doing what Phoebe didn’t know. Directly in front of her view stood the largest and tallest building, Phoebe knew that’s where the important vampires stayed. It seemed to be two buildings joined together in the middle only by two bridge-type walkways to connect them, they didn’t seem to be that long in distance from where Phoebe sat but she thought that they were probably quite far apart, one was a few levels above the other, she wondered how many floors it did have but she couldn’t count them all from where she was. “One day I will take an army in there and destroy them all.” Phoebe whispered quietly to herself.
She turned around to the stairs leading up to the bell tower, hearing footsteps. After a moment, she saw a young boy come through. She smiled noticing the familiar face.
“Dace! Have to come to join me again?” Phoebe asked, motioning for him to sit next to her.
The boy smiled but shook his head. “Sorry Phoebe, not today. I am here on business.” He said with a frown. Dace was 13 years old, a little older than Serena. He was a tall, skinny thing with big ears that stuck right out and a small, pointy nose that didn’t match the ears, other than those things Dace was a strong, bright boy and very mature for his age. On most occasions Dace came and sat with Phoebe to watch the sun rise, he liked to hear of Phoebe’s adventures; he felt close to her, like a brother. His family were taken by vampires, much the same story as most people in the tribe, but he seemed to feel that Phoebe understood him more than the others.
Phoebe rose from the ledge and went to the boy, “Business? Not Garrick I hope!”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Dace sighed. “Once again I must do as “he-who-wishes-to-be-king” orders or else I will have bathroom duty for a whole month!” Garrick, the eldest son of Amerson and Italis; the two that began the Ameretat Tribe, was proud and obnoxious, always threatening the young ones to do his dirty work and trying to manipulating the older ones to agree with him that he should be the leader of the tribe. Key word here is “trying”, he only, fortunately, had a few followers and Phoebe was sure that most of them had been threatened into in.
Upon hearing this information Phoebe said nothing, she threw the blanket onto the floor and stormed down the creaking stairs, Dace following behind, having to run to keep up with her fast pace.
Once down the stairs, they came into a hallway, on the right side it was taken up by doors, most likely bedrooms, when you turned to the left it was a balcony, the hall was going right around the top level of the church so you could see down into the level below. Phoebe walked over to the balcony and looked down, there were only a few people awake; just sitting around on the old, broken couches talking just a bit too loudly. Behind her a door closed, turning toward the sound Phoebe saw a very short woman, Ramaia, walk out bleary eyed, her hair sticking up at odd angles. Ramaia yawned, putting a hand over her mouth, when she was done she noticed Phoebe and Dace watching her with amused faces. She looked at them stunned for a moment, and then quickly ran back into her room. She wasn’t sure if Dace noticed or not but Phoebe realised that the room that Ramaia had spent the night it was not her room, she smiled to herself; she would have to talk to Ramaia later.
She turned her attention back to the people on the floor below, “Goren, Deynak, Caradoc, Atara…” Phoebe named those that she saw, “… Rhea, Daivat… Garrick! Right.” Phoebe found him lounging on a sofa by himself; he was conversing with Rhea and Daivat who were sitting on the floor next to him. Phoebe new that Rhea and Daivat were part of Garrick’s little group, Rhea was a tall, thick women with long, strawberry red hair, Phoebe thought her very man-like with her broad shoulders and small chest, she never said anything though, Rhea was as strong as an ox and had a temper that could scare away a vampire; no one crossed her unless they were asking for a broken nose. As for Daivat, he was the complete opposite to Garrick, they were as close to friends as you could be to Garrick, so, where he had nice feature’s, seemingly perfect nose and gorgeous brown eyes the same colour as his always perfectly combed back dark, brown hair, and his perfectly toned muscles that Phoebe could see now through his always too tight shirts, Daivat was… boring. That was the only word Phoebe could think of to describe the man. He had a very crooked nose that was too big; his eyes were a cloudy grey colour that reminded her of a bad storm. The man was skinny with very little muscle and always wore clothes too big for him, as she watched him from the balcony, Phoebe saw that he was trying to grow a beard; the thought of Daivat even able to grow any facial hair was something to laugh at, this calmed her down and made her smile to herself again.
“Wait here.” She told Dace, and went to find the staircase.
Phoebe walked purposefully slowly over to Garrick and his “friends”, she wanted him to see her. He must have known what she was doing because he didn’t say anything until she was directly in front of him; Rhea and Daivat had stood up to make room. They were expecting me she thought.
Garrick, very slowly, sat up on the couch and gave a big smile to Phoebe. With all of his good looks Phoebe could not help but feel disgusted and flush red at the same time; embarrassed because he smiled at her and disgusted because she liked it.
“So, you got my message then.” Garrick said, still smiling.
Hearing this reminded Phoebe of the reason why she had stormed down here to face him, it made her furious. Her faced now flushed with rage. “How dare you use Dace and all the other young kids like that! You could not have gone up to the bell tower to get me yourself, or at least send one of… them to do it could you!?” She yelled, pointing to Rhea and Daivat. She was standing there fuming with her hands clenched by her side.
Garrick didn’t even flinch as Phoebe yelled at him, he still smiled wickedly at her, and it was starting to make Phoebe nervous.
Slowly, he stood up from the couch as though with great effort, and faced Phoebe.
Garrick put a hand on her arm and began to stroke her shoulder lightly, she felt a sudden desire to punch him, to destroy that perfect nose of his; instead, she roughly pushed his hand aside. “Don’t touch me!”
He gave a sad sigh and shrugged. “Ah well.”
“Are you going to answer me?” Phoebe asked.
He made a face although thinking really hard about it then simply replied, “No.”
“What do you mean no?” She yelled again at him.
This just made him smile even more, he wants this she thought, the sick man wants, even likes me like this!
“No, I’m not going to answer…”
“Because you can’t...”
“Because I don’t have to nor want to! I do not need to explain myself to you!” Garrick was getting annoyed with this girl, he felt himself becoming very mad; No Garrick! He told himself, not over this, not in front of everyone…
He quickly composed himself, taking a few deep breaths and continued, “Look, why don’t we settle this… disagreement, like adults…” He leaned in close to her, smelling her, “… like man and women.”
Phoebe felt her stomach turn, she was disgusted by the implications he was suggesting. She heard Daivat snickering in the background and felt her rage building up again, she felt her hand, as though in slow motion, rise and slap Garrick right across his cheek; her nails cutting the skin.
“You sick bastard!” She snarled at him between her teeth.
Garrick put a hand to his cheek and winced as he touched the cut; he looked at his hand and saw blood. He looked at Phoebe with great resentment; inside she was silently freaking out but didn’t want him to see it. All around them it seemed as though every person in the tribe was awake and crowding around the pair, up on the balcony Dace had gathered just about every young person to catch a good view, when she had slapped Garrick everyone, almost everyone, began cheering and clapping, she could hear the loudest the children, some shouting curses happily at him; Dace hit one boy who was swearing over the head, then continued his applaud, a big smile covering his skinny face.
Phoebe was cursing herself, stupid, stupid, stupid! She thought. She was probably right. Garrick looked like he was ready to kill her; the same went for Rhea and Daivat who were furious. After a short while of competing glares at each other, Garrick came close to Phoebe; not breaking eye contact, he leaned in close to her and brought his lips to her ear and whispered,
“You are going to wish that you never did that.”
“If you touch, even think about the children I swear I will hurt you, more than a little cut across the cheek.” She whispered back.
Garrick glared at her for the last time, a small trickle of blood running down the side of his face, than he turned around and walked off, calling for Rhea and Daivat to follow. Before Rhea went she slowly came to face Phoebe, she stood so close to her that Phoebe could smell Rhea’s nasty breath, like nothing she had ever smelt before, it made her want to gag. She was almost a whole head taller than Phoebe but she didn’t back down, she stared back into those evil looking eyes.
“You touch Garrick again… I will hand you straight to the vampires. He is mine, you hear?”
Phoebe had to hold back a laugh, Rhea likes Garrick? She thinks that I like him!? “I can’t promise that I wont slap him again, but are you sure his ‘your’s’? Has he looked at you?” Woops, I shouldn’t have said that, Phoebe thought immediately after she said it.
Rhea’s face started, almost glowing, a deep red colour, like a badly bruised tomato.
“Phoebe!” A man called out. Phoebe recognised the voice as Goren, the one who had saved her from the woods not too long ago. The women were still standing close together, Rhea seemed to be getting redder by the second but neither had moved, the man who had called out stepped between them, in front of Phoebe, and pushed Rhea back. “Get out!” Goren yelled at her, pointing to the doorway. Rhea, still beet red, not taking her eyes off Phoebe, backed away to the door and stormed out; they could hear her loud footsteps stomping away down the hall.
After a while, Goren turned around to face everyone, “You can leave now. It’s over.” He said quietly, everyone heard his silent commanding voice and quickly made their way out of the room, talking in low whispers to each other.
Phoebe had turned to watch the people leave, she looked up to the balcony to see Dace beaming down at her, she gave a small back and watched him walk away; once everyone had left, she slowly turned to Goren, his arms were crossed over his chest and he was just staring at her with a look of great disappointment on his face.
“I’m sorry.” Phoebe said quietly, avoiding his gaze.
He took a deep breath and lowered his arms, his face softened. “Why do you always insist of getting in the way of Garrick, every time Phoebe? You would think that you would have leant to stay away by now!” Phoebe still couldn’t look at him. He continued, “Have you forgotten the first time he got to you and you bit back? Do you remember what Rhea did?”
“Yes Goren! Yes I remember! She punched me, I know!” Phoebe said annoyed.
“Than why do you keep doing it?” Goren insisted.
Phoebe sat down on the old, broken couch suddenly very weary. “I don’t know. There is just something about her that… really annoys me.”
Goren sighed and sat down next to her. “I’m sorry.”
“What for?” Phoebe asked, looking at him.
He shrugged, “For always getting on your back about it, every time you get in it with those guys I think I may as well have just left you for the vampires to take.” Goren was looking down at his hands, fiddling with them.
“You wish you hadn’t saved me.” It wasn’t a question and it made Goren turn to her in surprise.
“No! No that’s not what I meant!”
“Goren, its okay…”
“No, Phoebe really! I meant that when you get in it Garrick and that… they could kill you, you would be no better off than if I had left you to the vamps that night.” He was trying to hard to fix what he had said Phoebe just had to smile at him.
He always tried so hard to please her. After he brought her back to the safe house just on the border of the woods where her and Serena were wondering, he stayed by her side the entire time while she was healing. She loved him for that.
Phoebe placed her hand softly on the side of his face. “It’s okay; I know you wouldn’t have left me.” She released her hand and stood up from the couch, stretching. “Now, I haven’t slept all morning so… I’m going to bed! Come on…”
She reached down and pulled Goren up, “I thought you meant that, that I wish I hadn’t have saved you.” Goren said.
Phoebe laughed, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to sound like that.”
The pair began to make their way towards a door, heading down some stairs to the lower level where Phoebe and Serena’s room was, they continued talking.
“Well it sounded bad.”
“I know; I’m sorry!” She laughed
Goren put an arm around her shoulders, “Just promise me, no more fights with Rhea. She scares the crap out of me.”
|He felt light burn slightly his whole body! There were cries of agony behind him but he only cursed! Something was wrong! The sun… was… shady!|
His eyes slowly opened! A huge body was shading most of him! The man was tall and large! From what he could see, he wore a very long black mantel, and a huge, sharp-top hat! He could not see anything, because of the light! He crawled backwards as the black-coated man took a long step in! The door shut noisily and the numb darkness flooded the room, healing his senses!
“Who, the fuck, are you?” someone shouted from behind! He turned around, looking at the two remaining enemies and four piles of ashes!
“Hey, you a Tremere?” a sharp voice spoke behind him! He turned around, looking at a pair of amber eyes! “Yes!” came immediately as an answer from his mouth! “Name?” dead-blue lips widened, revealing enlarged dog teeth! “Lukra!“ he answered as if by a command!
“Hey I asked you a question, fucker?” someone shouted again! The young vampire turned around as he saw the stranger raise his arm! The unlucky wretch who had spoken was already reaching for his chest, the second after that falling apart! Lukra felt a lash of a hand behind him and the second enemy flew back into a wall, falling unconscious!
“How?” the youngster’s mouth whispered!
“You want to know? You want to live longer? Then kill him!” said the black-coated man. A long, crimson double-bladed sword fell, stabbing through the concrete like butter. Lukra stood up, and took the handle. He now realized that it was covered with tiny sharp thorns. His hands ached, but there was no time to loose! He pulled the sword up! It was heavy and the thorns were piercing deep in his palms, but he could still keep it steady! He turned around slowly! His opponent was slowly waking, standing up unsteady! Lukra shouted as terrifyingly as he could and ran towards the staggering vampire! The bastard pulled his blaster but Lukra was already too close! The young vampire rose the blade up and pushed it with all his might and ability to neglecting the pain! The sword sliced the gun in two along with the vampire’s hand! The metallic body pierced the ground leaving sparks, black blood and cries of agony in its path! The wounded vampire fell back, holding his hand! Lukra pulled the blade but it would not move! Shit! The wounded vampire pulled a short sword out and ran towards the youngster cursing in the process! He gave a last pull and the sword rose in the air again! A second shout came from his mouth and as the vampire got in range, Lukra slammed the sword down with closed eyes! When he opened them again, there was nothing but a sliced-in-half sword in front!
“Hmm, you might have what it takes to be my student.” Someone said behind him. A long muscular hand took hold of the blade and Lukra let go. “So what do you think? Want me to teach you?” said the vampire behind him.
“Yes.” he said exhaustedly.
“Good! My name is Cathal, and I will make you regret your answer very soon.”
“Soooo… what will you teach me?” asked Lukra. They had been walking through a thick forest, slashing their way through the thorny bushes, for hours! After telling his name, the mysterious vampire had stopped talking completely. When the night had come, he opened the door and started walking forward, and the youngster had followed, but the silence got him.
Cathal suddenly stopped. His hand rоsе and patted the tree on his left. Lukra came closer and saw an insignia engraved on the bark. It was a howling black wolf. It had three perpendicular lines carved over it, as if someone wanted to scratch the sign.
"What is that?"
"The symbol of the Gangrel..." said the master, and slowly turned around. "... someone wanted to take over some of their territory."
"How do you know it is some of it?"
"A mile before I saw the same sign but it was not scratched." said the black coated Tremere. "I wonder who is stupid enough to take over their territory."
"Yeah, they'd have to be mad or something." laughed the student.
"That they are, and even more!" said Cathal, as if he knew something.
“What's that supposed to mean? Hellooo?” Lukra waved his hands, but there was no answer. In a few seconds they saw a wide path in front of them. They took it and in a few miles they stopped! The scene of a wrecked city appeared. “Great, a ruin, that’s what we need now! At least there should be some blood left there, right?”
“This is the city of my master! Where he was born, sired and lived! Watch your mouth!” said Cathal sharply.
“Your studying starts from this moment! From now on, I am not Cathal to you! You will call me only master!”
“What?” the youngster shouted in confusion.
“From now on, I will call you a good-for-nothing bum for that is what you are to me! You will learn what I teach you and in the end I will give you a test that will in most cases endanger your life. If you win, you will be called a better name by me. When I start calling your real name, you can consider yourself graduated. If you fail you die!”
“What if I prefer to stop taking lessons?”
“You die! Being my student means you belong to me! Your very essence is mine! You can free yourself from me, only if you become strong enough, and to do that you must survive my teachings.” Cathal said calmly! Lukra’s head fell! “No worries, good-for-nothing bum! If you succeed you will be given the chance to kill me for all the shit I put you through. You understand?” asked the black-coated vampire. Lukra nodded. “Good, this concludes the lesson for today! In exactly an hour the sun will have fully risen! Your exam is to find a hiding spot in the city before getting illuminated! If you try and berry yourself in the ground I will personally dig you out, and you know I can stand the sun while you can’t!”
“You're wasting darkness! RUN!!!”
“How did I really come to be a student of a psychotic vampire like Cathal?” he thought as he fell to the wall of a building. He had just barely missed the first beams of the morning sun. He was panting hard, trying to catch his breath!
“What took you so long?” asked someone in front of him.
“What… how…?” stammered Lukra. Cathal was right in front, sitting on the sun, looking as if he had been waiting for quite some time now.
“You lack stamina, we’ll do that again tomorrow!” he said calmly.
“No stamina? I haven’t fed for a whole day, you bastard” thought the youngster.
“Well, you’ll have to stay here until I return with food. Here let me help you!” said the teacher, picking his student up. With a powerful burst of energy, the student waslaunched at a window on the second floor of the house, which wall they were using for cover.
“Gee, you shouldn’t have!” sounded Lukra’s pained voice from inside.
|The sound of laughter carried throughout the silent, empty city. Phoebe sat on the safest part she could find of the crumbling wall surrounding the only patch of fresh green grass in the whole of the city, it wasn’t much, located at the rear of the Cathedral; but it was enough to satisfy the children. As she sat Phoebe watched over the kids playing while the rest of the adults went hunting, for vampires and food. Some of the adults had found a nest of Malkavian vampires hiding in the forest just behind the church. They don’t come out much, at all for that matter, but they were there; which was a big enough reason for Garrick to kill them. |
While Phoebe sat there thinking, she heard a scream, immediately she jumped from the broken wall and turned towards the sound. She took a sigh of relief as she saw a few of the younger kids pounce on her niece Serena, making her fall to the ground, all the other kids saw and came running over to jump on her; Serena was laughing, a wonderful sound to Phoebe, and tickling the children. Laughter was a luxury they didn’t have often anymore. Parents’ always anxious and worried, children living in fear, pushing all hope away.
Satisfied Phoebe went to sit back up on the wall, it was a beautiful day, the sun shining brightly, Phoebe had to laugh, catching the joy that the children were spreading; it was a good day today she thought. That happy thought didn’t stay for long though, everyone else was out in the forest; a dangerous place for anyone, even during the day time. They had lost many good fighters in those woods.
Just as Phoebe was ready to hoist herself onto the wall as big gust of wind blew through, as it did her eyes wandered towards a hill cliff some hundred metres behind the cathedral. She saw a figure standing on the edge of the cliff, the figure was covered from head to foot in black, or so it seemed from her distance, she did notice a large red coat, billowing out from the wind. The figure also wore a large brimmed hat. Odd she thought; all that clothing on such a hot day? For some reason Phoebe felt compelled to get closer to the figure on the hill, one part of her pushing her forward, another advising that she stay, even retreat inside. But that part was small compared to the desire to find out who the figure was.
She completely forgot about watching the kids, Serena, all of them; as she walked almost mindlessly up that cliff. There was small hidden path that led right up to the top, Phoebe had never been up there and didn’t even know about this path yet she followed it as though she travelled it every day.
The time it took to climb the hill should have taken longer than what it did although Phoebe didn’t notice anything, the sound of laughter from the children was lost to her, she couldn’t hear anything but the loud pounding of her heart in her ears.
One second Phoebe was walking the path the next she was at the top, making her way to the figure on the edge. The person hadn’t moved an inch she realised. She kept walking closer, once she was directly behind the person she put her hand out to touch them on the shoulder, but before her skin even touched the dark red cloak a sword was just toughing the skin on her neck, she hadn’t even seen the sword, how could I miss that? She thought confused. Glancing down at it Phoebe saw that it was gigantic, bigger than she had ever seen before, and red, the red blade reflecting the sun. She felt as though her heart had stopped in fright, her eyes wide in fear, sweat starting to roll down her face. Her eyes followed along the blade to the dark red hilt, up the arm of the figure until she found the persons eyes. As she did the hairs on the back of her neck pricked up and a violent shiver ran down her spin, the eyes were a bright yellow, like a cat; in her mind Phoebe saw the image of a lion attacking a deer, the eyes full of power, hate and hunger. A vampire! She should have listened to the other part of her telling her to run into the church. Recognition must have shown on her face because suddenly the sword was removed but she found herself standing dangerously on the edge of the cliff, her feet right on the angle, a strong hand was the only thing keeping her from falling. Phoebe didn’t find time to scream but she couldn’t breathe, whether from holding her breath or the suddenness had taken the breath right out of her she didn’t know. Her whole body was tense and as her mind caught up to the situation she grabbed onto the figure holding her up by the front of her shirt and gasped, trying not to look down; fear was plain on her face, the blood drained out of it from the fright.
While Phoebe was still trying to register what was going on the figure placed the other hand on her breast, cupping it and squeezing slightly. This seemingly rude gesture normally would have caused Phoebe to go crazy with hatred, yet she closed her eyes and relished the strange feeling, she felt a strange pleasure from having this person touch her. Once the hand let go and pulled her back up off the edge Phoebe felt disappointed and upset that they had let go, but once she was free to stand on solid ground she took in this strange person. Phoebe tried to avoid the eyes this time and examined his face; a man he most certainly was. He had a long, sharp nose, thin red lips and a high chin, his big hat cast a shadow across his face but she knew that his skin would be pale with almost a blue tinge to it. Looking at the rest the man Phoebe saw broad shoulders, pronounced by his small waist. He was dressed in all black just as she thought; he wore what seemed to be a thick leather one-piece suit, and gloves, she didn’t notice while he was holding and feeling her but the large, strong hands were covered in leather gloves, the only colour on his besides his yellow eyes was the dark red mantle hanging over his wide shoulders, the mantle was dirty and ripped as though he had been travelling for days.
She didn’t know if she could speak, the sight of this vampire gave her weird feelings, feelings that for some reason felt good, but she wanted to know who it was. Phoebe finally took a deep breath, calming her pounding heart and the sudden butterflies in her stomach.
“Who...” It came out in a whisper, although she knew he could have heard her she tried again, louder, “Who are you?”
Nothing, the man hadn’t moved a muscle since he pulled her back, she didn’t want to look in his eyes again but she could feel his gaze upon her, bearing into her like a knife cutting away each layer of her skin, looking into her very soul.
Again Phoebe felt compelled to meet his piercing lion’s gaze, she did so slowly, trying to prepare herself for the feelings that she knew would come, good and bad feelings. Nothing could prepare anyone for looking into those eyes; the image of the lion came back along with the violent tremble down her spin. This time she found that she couldn’t remove her eyes from his, she stared openly, unable to blink, unable to breath.
Almost as quickly as the knife to her throat the strange vampire had his lips on her neck, the feelings that overcame her were indescribable. Phoebe felt pleasure and pain, happiness and fear within her. She was waiting for the sharp, searing pain of fangs piercing her skin and feeling of blood being sucked from her body, but it never came. Soon she realised that the vampire was not sucking blood but her skin, his fangs were pressing into her neck but not hard enough to pierce it. It was an odd sensation; Phoebe had images of kissing the vampire, willingly letting him bite her and rip her clothes off touching her bare skin. While these sexual images went though her mind Phoebe unconsciously wrapped her hands around the vampire’s neck, pressing his head closer to her, as she did this she heard him snarl violently and release her, pushing her away. In an instant the fantasies stopped, Phoebe put a hand to her neck; she wasn’t sure what he had done but there was no blood. She felt frightened all of a sudden, and disappointed that he had stopped. She looked at him and saw that he was breathing heavily although there was no need for him to breathe at all. The vampire put a gloved hand to his mouth, he looked surprised and confused at Phoebe; she just looked scared, not knowing what had just transpired. For a time it seemed as though the world stood still, not a sound could be heard but for their heavy breathing, after what seemed like hours of staring at each other the vampire turned to leave.
“Wait!” Phoebe called, she had taken a step forward before she realised she didn’t know why she said that. Seeing him leave for some reason made her feel sad, not complete if he left her, a strange feeling.
He kept his back to her but finally the vampire spoke, “My name is Cathal.” With the huge red sword in one hand and the tattered red cloak trailing behind him, the vampire left. Phoebe just stood staring at the retreating vampire. “Cathal” She whispered to herself. If he heard he didn’t show it, as he walked slowly down the hill Phoebe thought she saw something drip down the blade of the sword he carried, blood maybe? Her thoughts were too confused to make any sense of anything, the fright of the sword and hanging off the edge of a cliff soon caught up to her and she fainted, whispering his name again as she fell to the ground.
There was a heavy smell around him. He was not sure what it was, but it was nasty! His steps grew louder with his approach. The old remnants of a six story building were enough to house at least eight people. There was a long corridor still standing, which roof was tilted a little to the left, while the room on its far end was bent on the other way, painting a rather Picasso scenario, which was enriched with his crack-shaped shadow. He walked steady, as if he did not care that the floor could break down any minute. There were pieces left of a glass chandelier left on the floor in front of the door, which he skillfully evaded. He knocked on the door twice.
“What? Who is it?” asked a shabby voice.
“It is I, you good-for-nothing bum! Get out, it’s night already.”
“But I’m not finished!”
“Good-for-nothing bum, I gave you over ten hours of feeding. You should be thankful I was able to find you something as tasty as her.”
“I’m still feeding.” the last shout came. Cathal stamped twice, then opened the door which fell down on the floor. His eyes widened as he saw the shudder-walled room. On the floor Lukra had put a few dusty rugs and on them was the beaten, bruised and violated body of a young woman. Her battered skin was loosing its pink color, slowly turning into white, having already turned blue at some spots, her clothes torn and thrown in different directions! Her face had one big print from a hand on the left cheek! Her eyes were closed, but Cathal knew that she had been crying for quite some time now. And her neck had been bitten twice. Lukra was on her, naked and still working her, as if he did not mind his master was here. Cathal approached his student and with a powerful slap threw him on his back.
“That’s for making me wait, and for the lack of dignity.” He said as he lowered towards the chest of the girl. She was a beautiful thing. With a long, blond hair and milk- white skin, small lips and huge breasts, too big for her own good. Her body had a nice form even though she was a little bit on the fat side. Lukra stood up, holding his cheek. “At least you haven’t drained her dry. I’d kill you if you have.”
“You told me not to drain her, you never said not to fuck her.”
“No, but if you had the smallest dignity you would have stopped the moment I arrived and saluted me as a more superior, which makes you disrespectful as well. You’re on very thin ice, good-for-nothing worm!”
“Yes, you degraded with that last one. Now put some clothes on, pick her up and let’s go.”
“Our headquarters, of course!”
Now let me introduce you to Lukra! As a young boy, who still had no contact with the Upper Floors, he had lived a happy and naïve life. His mother and father had quite a lot of children, but even so, were taking care of them well. They lived in the underground of the Crimson Ziggurat, one of the first vampire cities of its time. The yearly quota for the human families there was one child! His parents had been caught with four of his biggest brothers, so every year his mother had to give out one of them. After he became nine he was finally taken by a tax-collector, and made into servant. He had luck to be employed by the elder of the Tremere clan, Krolun, who was a very easy man to serve. He needed only seclusion. In time a young student of Krolun, took interest in Lukra, and before he knew it, he was sired. This became a cannon fodder for the young Neonate, who now obediently followed the mysterious vampire. Why did he want to teach him? Why such strange and hard lessons, as learning how not to drain a person dry, how to escape the light? And why did he have to carry around this half-dead girl? His pale, rugged face, gave out a wild young nature, hid those questions. His shoulder-length brown hair always had a few locks to cover his black eyes that shivered all around. Not being particularly tall or brawny but rather skinny, made him look like an ant in front of his master. These questions, were hidden with a calm face, but relentlessly surfaced from his brain in the form of quiet snivels, which slightly annoyed Cathal. They had just left the ruins, traveling on the outskirts of the shadowy woods, when suddenly they came to a tall and rather lengthy stone fence. Around the middle of it, stood the entrance, which gates were laying on the ground not far away from it. The fence was embroidered with roots and weeds, some of which had withered, and the moon was painting an eerie scene with its ghostly glow.
“Wow!” exclaimed the Neonate, as they made a trail on the fresh meadow for the first time in who knows how many years. “So is this where your master lived?”
“Yes!” he answered calmly. “I haven’t been here for almost Millennium. I hope my lab is still here. Stop!” he ordered the last one.
“What?” asked Lukra looking in front. “What is it?”
“A circlet of protection! Observe, good-for-nothing worm.” He said as he took off his glove and waved an arm in front. Every time that his hand went in front, the air around it heated and his palm turned black.
“Yes like an invisible force field that damages all that crosses its path.”
“How will we go through?”
“We won’t? You’re going to break it.”
“I am?” the Neonate said as his master stepped back. The old vampire told the youngster to leave the girl on the ground and pulled from his pocket a small tree bark.
“Now put this bark in front of the circlet. Wait for it to turn black, then indigo and then crimson. When it turns crimson, try and break the bark in half.” As Lukra did as he was told, he felt his fingers burning, but kept holding the piece of tree. In a few seconds it turned it really did turn black, after which the pain increased. Even so, Lukra did not let go of the bark. Soon after it turned into dark blue, and the student’s hands started shaking. Incredible pain shot a powerful shiver over his whole body as the bark turned red. The youngster was wondering how he could break the bark in half, when he barely could hold it. Somehow he found strength to bend it. Suddenly he realized that the pain did not increase. It was not like the sword. The bark had a certain level of damage that it bestowed upon the receiver, but to go beyond it was impossible. It took him all his strength and will power, but in one swift push, the bark broke. From the two pieces started gushing black blood, and a strong gush of wind, blew his hair back. “Good, very good, good-for-nothing-student of mine. See you took steps forward in your training. Now pick her up and follow me!”
The Dorleaque Mansion was old and abandoned. Its once rocky walls were now falling apart! Its stairs were bent down, the old silver doors looked surprisingly new. The rocky fence, which the two vampires were walking through, was a preparation for the true result of the test of time. Cathal had anticipated the decay and disorder, but not the loneliness that this great house had learned for so many centuries. Its broken windows and shattered columns spoke of the pain and disasters that had bestowed it and a few pits scattered around the withering garden were evidence of bombings. As they walked the stairs, Lukra could not help but see the shock in his master. His slow walking, his sad face, the freely hanging hands, the student was amazed to be a witness of something that he thought he may never see in his master- fear.
“I don’t believe it. I though that Krolun gave his word to keep this place tidy. What is the meaning of this?” he snarled. At first Lukra had thought that he had heard this name from somewhere but his master waved it away as they came to the door. The black-clothed vampire took the large door knobs and pulled with all his might. The doors opened with a painful creak and he darkness crept from the house, retreating at the sight of the moonlight.
“I still don’t understand what we need her for?”
“Patience, good-for-nothing student of mine. All good things come… to those who wait!” Cathal said as he entered the mansion.
“I hear your voice on the wind
And I hear you call out my name
"Listen, my child," you say to me
"I am the voice of your history
Be not afraid, come follow me
Answer my call, and I'll set you free"
I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice that always is calling you
I am the voice, I will remain
I am the voice in the fields when the summer's gone
The dance of the leaves when the autumn winds blow
Ne'er do I sleep thoughout all the cold winter long
I am the force that in springtime will grow
I am the voice of the past that will always be
Filled with my sorrow and blood in my fields
I am the voice of the future, bring me your peace
Bring me your peace, and my wounds, they will heal
I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice that always is calling you
I am the voice
I am the voice of the past that will always be
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice of the future
I am the voice, I am the voice
I am the voice, I am the voice”
As the sad, siren-like voice faded away into the inky black night, a wide pair of silvery blue eyes closed and rose red lips closed and curled into the hint of a smile. The stunned silence of the select crowd gathered at the foot of the miniature amphitheater stationed at the head of an overhanging cliff. The dull roar of the raging river below the thousand foot drop played as the base behind the flitting tune of the songstress’ selection. The onyx haired vampress gave a sinuous bow and stepped with feline grace down the chiseled steps, only to stop and kneel before the sprawled form of a rugged and buff vampire male with glittering and malicious eyes. Those eyes narrows as they looked into the adoring and almost mindless expression of love that the upturned face of the female exuded like a pale aura.
“First Hand Alora, your songs are as magnificent as always.” He trailed off, his raspy voice of one whose been punched in the throat one too many times. His eyes softened slightly as he reached out with a calloused hand and caressed the cheek of the kneeling woman with almost a caring embrace. “My beloved…” His voice was no more than a whisper, the sound reaching only the ears of the radiantly smiling woman at his feet.
“Get out of my way you blubbering buffoon before I rip your jaw out of that jabbering maw of yours!” A caustic female voice rang over the hushed crowd and the male flinched so hard that his hand leapt away from the face of the black haired woman as if it had been burned. Swearing a number of few choice oaths, the man lurched to his feet as Alora stood demurely at his side.
“Be calm mine beloved Titan. Tis but mine blood relative, for truth she is rash, but she is mine only sister.” The calm and musical voice of the First Hand seemed to calm the building rage that flickered in the dead eyes of the brawler who whirled to face the commotion at the entranceway to the walled in gallery. A female vampire of medium height and build was effectively removing all other vampires from her path towards the leader of the renegade Brujah pack by either shoving them to the side or simply punching them in the face with such force that they immediately collapsed into twitching heaps. Her eyes were ablaze with such burning animosity that they seemed to grow green from some unquenchable fire within her cursed soul.
“Ah there is our feared leader, sitting idly by and watching his little bird sing her heart away like a caged little canary scenting the poisonous gas on the wind. But where are my manners?” Throwing her right arm high into the air, she hooked it under her ample bosom and gave a bow that somehow reached into the depths of sarcasm and drew out a new level of insulting slime that had yet been expressed in the presence of Titan the Vicious without ending in execution on the spot. But so was the attitude of the Sword, the vivacious woman who had literally hacked her way through half a regiment of Gangrel rogues to get to the position she so dangerously abused. “Forgive me, Dread Titan, your Second Hand is merely filled with the blood craze that fills one with exuberant joy after a fresh kill. The kindred that have trespassed onto our land lay face down in stagnant pools of their own blood. Tell me, shall I take my men to the human camps that have sprung up around here? One might find it useful to have lunch around tomorrow.” A cruel smirk carved its way over the strangely angelic face that was framed by flaming red hair.
“Silence your insolent tongue before I have it carved out Darma.” Titan snapped, waving a thick arm at the half-bent Brujah before him. Said woman smirked evilly and laughed softly, her thin frame straightening to attention. “But of course Titan. The fool is the one who barks at the rabid dog.” Rolling his eyes to the star spotted heavens, Titan sighed heavily and with a great show of patience. He raised his meaty fingers and ran them down his grizzled and beard stubbled face. “No, leave the humans be. They will serve their purpose in time. I have a different task for you, though this one requires stealth instead of your usual slice and dice.”
“I live only to serve the cause.” Darma purred, bowing so low that her nose nearly touched her knees.
|The alleyways of Venice, half destroyed by the cataclysm very few stood and few of those were in any position to be walked on. The buildings crumbling into the water and the canals lengthened and widened as the buildings crash to the water. Yet still despite the dismal condition of the area if you looked hard enough you could see remnants of life. Humans and wild dogs and rats, children of the sun basked in its glory. The night however brings a whole new scene, nocturnal creatures crept in on the city their steps unnaturally light and their speed unnaturally brisk. These creatures were like the owl of the bat stalking in the night for the prey that thrives during the day. Praying on them when they are weak but in a land where predators rule the night the cunning adapt. And so it was that on this day the majority of the humans would leave the city of Venice by barge to reach the resistance in the wilds of Canada. They thought the sun would be all the protection they would need. They were wrong. The vampires had concocted a new way to hunt humans even in the day. |
The Vampires had robbed their indentured humans, Familiars, of their sanity transforming them into wild rabid bests. Through an electronic collar they could instantly put a familiar to sleep or kill them if necessary. They unleashed these humans upon humans during the day to hunt and kill resistance fighters. They had heard whisperings of a resistance in Venice so they unleashed the familiars.
What they did not anticipate was that someone was strong enough to stand against all of the familiars. What they did not expect was one of their own fighting against their cause. But there he stood, a tall statuesque protector in front of the group of humans as the familiars rushed towards them. In Black armor with a pistol in one hand and a blade in the other.
The familiars swarmed onto the man and started clawing and biting him with no avail as the armor was thick. He quickly ran his blade trough one and blasted the second one reducing him to ashes. He began to hack his way through the familiars. The humans watched in awe only for a moment and the extreme strength and resilience of what they thought was a man. One by one familiars fell to his blade and his gun but his strength was diminishing as he was in the sun and even through the thick black of his armor the sun was penetrating and beginning to burn his flesh and siphon his power away. As he started to feel the weight of his armor upon his shoulders he glanced back at the boat the last of the humans were in but they were signaling towards him. The man could almost smell the cool dark of the ship’s hull so without even a second thought he used his remaining strength to dive away from the rabid familiars and into the hull of the ship. He made it just in time and behind him the familiars were dropping into the waters attempting to climb the hull of the ship to no avail. They had made it.
After a few minutes of sailing the ships cloaking mechanism kicked in (as to avoid being destroyed by a passing necropolis) and the ship accelerated. The darkness of the ship’s hull brought a cooling sensation to the vampire as the burns he had endured whilst in the sunlight washed away in rippling waves of darkness restoring his strength simultaneously. After he had healed he noticed the crowd of humans surrounding him whispering. He stood up sharply and gazed around to see that the hull was totally full of human refugees. Though the scent of blood screamed at him from every corner of the ship he was perfectly in control, he had gotten used to being around humans. A man approached his who seemed to look like he was in charge.
“Who are you?” asked the man
“The names Jrad, You are?” replied Jrad in a somewhat dry tone. He had no interest in these pleasantries.
“My name is Doyle I am the leader of these people I arranged for the transport and rescue.”
“Some rescue “
“I did not expect the vampires to know about the ship. I guess we were just lucky you happened by. What were those things that you fought off? They looked human but-“
“They were human, turned insane by their vampire masters. The fangers use them to hunt humans. I was expecting the familiars but I was unaware of your operation. If I didn’t know then the vamps definitely didn’t my finger is way closer to the pulse when it comes to resistance movements. You just happened to pick the wrong day.”
“Just as well you are here with us now and the resistance could always use a man like you the way you fought off those things was almost supernatural.”
“That was just the armor I built it myself based off pre war power armor designs it enhances strength and speed.”
“Could you build more?”
“Not for you I’m afraid”
“Just as well who knows how well the Canadian resistance is equipped they might have enough to beat even your fancy gadgets”
At this Jrad just laughed and sat back down removing his helmet and pulling a small flask from a compartment in his armor. The suit was a pretty advance piece of machinery but the strength and speed were all him, Vampire traits. He had designed the suit with needles and a mechanized beating heart to simulate heat and blood circulation making him appear human as long as it was on. This of course was only to the sight of other humans as a vampire would have no problem identifying him as the Vampire he was. In the flask was a mix of several different types of animal blood made to most efficiently emulate human blood to keep up his strength.
The boat was full of humans who were almost all staring directly at him, his armor, guns and blades. He didn’t mind, he was used to being a spectacle. He surveyed the hull to see what supplies they had. When he spotted a grouping of crates he walked towards them. He saw that there was no weapons just food and random other supplies, some resistance. He returned to his spot on the boat and closed his eyes feigning sleep. It was going to be a long trip.