Castle Roland

The Prince of House Vladd

by Arthur


Chapter 3

Posted: 21 Jan 16


Copyright © 2010, 2015 by Arthur

As the limousine made its way towards the club, in the financial district of the same city, six men sat around a long conference table. All looked healthy and wealthy, some might say, even, wise, as they sat back in their deep leather, high-backed chairs. Five of them looked obviously human, one obviously a vampire, his sallow skin setting him apart from the others; he was the only one that seemed totally at ease. Except for the vampire, all the men looked to be in their mid to late thirties, the vampire looked no more than twenty one, although, if the others could see his aura, they would realise he was a lot older than that.

At the head of the table, Simon Chapman opened the meeting.

"Well gentlemen, looks as though the time has finally arrived, what do we know and where do we start?"

Steven Chase, the third son of the CEO of the Chase Manhattan Banking empire, was the next to speak.

"I was able to use the old mans password and computer to check out the kids current account, to date, the total income on deposit is just over $27 million in cash assets, Simon, you would know what his total holdings in property and investments would be."

"To date, his total holdings and investments come to around $400 million, so the kid has a shit load of assets for him to keep a track of. I think our plan can reap a nice reward for all of us as long as we don't get too greedy."

Next to speak was Michael Riley, he had just been promoted to Captain of the Central City Police Department, both he, and his wife, liked to live a little beyond their means, so, any little extra's that Michael could come by, would be gratefully received.

"How're we gonna keep it from the kid?"

"Easily." replied Simon Chapman, "He's just a kid, not even out of high school yet, between Steven and myself we can make a lot of things disappear without his knowing anything about it."

The quiet, youthful voice of the vampire broke the hush.

"Don't get cocky, you have to remember he's a vampire, not only a vampire, but one bred to a royal house, he will eventually have extra's that even other vampires don't have. We're lucky for the moment as he won't get them all until he feeds for the first time, so, we have a good month to set everything in motion, once that's done, he won't be able to follow how it was done or be able to track any of it."

The others nodded their heads in agreement; this was one of those moments in history that very rarely came along, a kid with too much money and no clue how to look after it. Each of the men could see the dollar signs flashing before their eyes, the glint of greed was like a beacon to their grasping hands, only the vampire had no interest, or need, for the money, his motives were not only secret, but darker and more sublime.

Simon looked at the other two men whom had not, as yet spoken.

"Gilliard, can you take care of any legality that might arise?"

Gilliard Thomes was the second in command at the head office of Home Land Security, this gave him unlimited access to many secrets that the government liked to keep hidden, his meteoric rise through the ranks of the security agency proved his ability in this arena.

"That won't be a problem; if it's needed we can always fabricate something to take him out of the picture as a last resort."

"Gregor, how about muscle if we need it?"

Gregor Antovich was a very urbane looking man, apart from his heavy square build that made him look like the typical Russian KGB agent, Gregor liked to dress in very expensive suits that befitted the fourth highest ranked Russian mafia executive. He was always softly spoken, his accent had a strong hint of British and his gestures were soft and flowing with not a hint of affectation. Only Gregor's eyes told the truth of the matter, dark blue blocks of frozen ice stared out at the world telling anyone that took notice, that these were the eyes of an emotionless killer. His craft was learnt on the back streets of Moscow, Leningrad, Berlin and Paris, they were lessons he had learnt from the age of eleven, now at thirty six, he was the youngest to ever reach the giddy heights of the Mafia Council.

"There's no problem if we need muscle, Simon, I can get as many as you need from the homeland, no one will know them, all I'll need is entry visa's from Gilliard for them."

"Good, if we get desperate and need them, I'm sure everything will be done to help you."

Gilliard nodded towards Gregor in tacit agreement. Simon looked at his co-conspirators.

"Well, gentlemen, of that's all for now, I suggest we go out and have a good dinner, that is, unless you have something to add?" Simon looked over to the vampire.

"No, nothing at this time, as I said, the boy will not know anything for at least a month, until he feeds for the first time, just mark my words, when he has fed he will be very powerful and, if he is anything like his Father, he will be able to read you like a book, so be careful."

"You don't have to worry about that, none of us are in the, er, inner circle, we probably will never meet him in person."

That said, the vampire flowed to his feet and moved quickly out of the office.

'Fools, bloody fools, they have no idea what's coming their way.' the vampire mused to himself as he dropped from the thirtieth floor to the alley behind the office block. Landing quietly on his feet like a cat, he sent out his senses, casting for a scent that would mean food.

As Peter sat with his fingers entwined with those of Simon's he gently rubbed his thumb over the boys soft skin, his thoughts wandered over what he would see when they got to the club, he imagined that, like the stories on the internet, it would be in a seedy, run down part of town to hide from normal humans any clue as to the realities going on inside.

To Peter's surprise, the limo turned into the centre of the city, unknown to Peter or the others, the club was only five blocks away from the meeting place of the conspirators. As they drove down the block, Peter could see in the distance, quite a crowd standing outside a modern looking night club, the neon lights over the canopy glared out the message that this was the home of the "Club Souless."

As the limo passed the crowded side-walk, Peter estimated that there were close to a hundred people waiting to enter, the limousine pulled up smoothly to the curbside, in front of them, just past the canopy, was a double parking space with a reserved sign painted on it, Sin Yu leand over to Peter and said.

"That's for your car, each of your clubs has the same so you don't have to worry about finding a parking spot, also, the car's always close to hand if you need it in a hurry."

Peter nodded his head, feeling a little embarrassed about his privileges. When the limo had come to a halt, Mbeda jumped from his seat and ran around to open the door for him, Peter slid out of the car with Simon still holding his hand, closely followed by Sin Yu and Dmitri.

Peter turned toward the doorway and saw two of the biggest men he had ever seen. Both men were well over 6'6" tall and, to Peter looked as though they weighed well over 250lbs each, the starkness was accentuated by their differences. The one on the left of the doorway was an Albino; the other was so black he was almost shining blue.

Both doormen turned their eyes on Peter and his group, their expressions were like cast iron, Sin Yu whispered in Peter's ear.

"Just show your ring."

Peter walked up to the two giants and lifted his right hand so the men could see his house crest, not a flicker of recognition passed over the men's faces as they looked at the diminutive teen standing before them, the black man gave the slightest of nods and switched on a mic that was hugging his cheek. Although the man was whispering, Peter could clearly hear what was said.

"Tell the manager that the Prince is here."

With the faintest of smiles, the black man reached behind him and opened the door for Peter and his guests to enter. Peter politely nodded his head as though he had been doing this for years, although his slight blush belied the fact, and lead his group inside, turning to Sin Yu Peter asked.

"They don't seem happy."

Sin Yu smiled back at Peter.

"Oh, to them that was as close to belly laughing as they get."

"Who are they then?"

"What did you see of their aura?"

"Well, both were showing a sort of black and dark brown aura."

"That's the aura of the canines, the werewolves."

"Werewolves, really, I though they were our enemies?"

"No, only two days either side of the full moon is when you have to stay away from them, any other time they are handy to have around, as you can see."

"Are they all that big?"

"No most are about average when in human form, but there are a couple that are bigger than those two."

As the boys had been talking, a man of about 25 rushed up to them, a great big smile on his face, with a low bow to Peter he said.

"My Lord, welcome to Club Souless, please let me escort you and your friends to your private table."

"Ahh... thank you...ah" quickly the mans name popped into Peter's head. "William"

The man beamed as Peter spoke his name, the politeness of most vampires to a Symbiot like him was usually only a grunt, he liked the new young Prince already.

Peter's group were lead to a table set in a booth at the far end of the club so that they had a comprehensive view of the entire club. As he looked around, Peter began to take in the different aura's of the patrons, the blue of the vampires were the predominant ones but, mixed in were a few of the black/brown of werewolves, the red of humans, and Peter saw for the first time, three new aura's.

In the centre of the dance floor was a young man of about 25, he had long, almost white blonde hair with black tips, his features were very classical Greek and his body slender like a willow branch, he was dancing with six teenage girls, all showed an aura of white with a small shimmer of pink, the next was a small number of teen boys and girls who all had an aura of mauve with streaks of yellow, the last was a single young man who stood between two large pot plants near the entrance, his features were more like a Native American, he looked to be about 19 years old, a single long braid of black hair hung down his back, almost to his waist, around his neck was a beaded necklace. The boy's aura was a solid dark green that appeared to reach out to the two pot plants, he was the only one in the room with that colour.

Peter turned to Sin Yu, who had just finished ordering, drinks for the table.

"Can I ask you about all these new auras, Sin YU?"

"Of course, what do you need to know?"

"Well the guy and six girls on the dance floor, they're showing up white with a little pink."

"Well unlike us, who can only be males, our blood will kill any female unless they are of the founding blood like you, all the other species are either heterosexual or bisexual, of course there are gay guys amongst them as well but the majority of them are mainly hetro, now that little group are avian, birds of prey, you will usually see them in groups like that, the boy can have any number of females around him, they chase him not the other way round. They also feed on fresh meat rather than just blood like most of the others. If it comes to a fight with them a vampire will usually win but, he will take a lot of damage, they're not as strong but they are very very fast and once they morph into a bird they of course can fly, and when they are in a group, well, you can get the idea."

"OK, what about the teens with the mauve and yellow streaks?"

"Ah yes, those are felines, usually they morph into leopards, jaguars and occasionally there will be a tiger, now they, like the werewolves, are very strong, in a fight with them you need to use your speed and ability to levitate, unlike the werewolves, who have strength and power to spare and a very good recovery ability, the felines can be hurt with fast attacks and don't recover as quickly. Well that covers all the aura's that you will probably ever meet."

"Not quite."


"What about the boy with the solid green aura."

" is he?"

The shock in Sin Yu's voice startled Peter as he looked again at the slender boy standing between the pot plants, the boy was looking back at Peter intently, Peter's eyes locked onto those of the boy as Sin Yu looked in the same direction.

"It can't be, Peter, those people never come out into the public eye, never." Sin Yu said emphatically.

The boy began to smile at Peter and then, as clear as though he was standing next to Peter, a voice in his head spoke.

'Hello young Prince, I know you want me to join you but the time is not right, I just came to see what you looked like, and, you fulfil all my expectations.'

Peter's face flushed at the soft sexuality of the figure and the caress of the voice in his head, Peter tried to read the boys mind, suddenly he was hit with a black wall, the boy shook his head and Peter heard clearly in his head again.

'Naughty, naughty, young Prince, there will be time for that later.'

With a quick glance at Sin Yu he then turned back to the boy, there was no one there, the boy had, in the blink of an eye, disappeared.

"I...I" Peter stammered.

"Shit, something's going on Peter, I don't know what it could be, but it can't be good if he showed up."

"What do you mean Sin YU, and who was he?"

"He was a Shaman, they're very very powerful humans but even more than human, it's said they can travel in dreams, they can shape-shift and also call on forces even the strongest of vampires can't fight against. I've heard of them but very few people of the night have ever seen one, there must be something bad going to happen, the only time they've been known to show themselves is in a time of great disaster."

"He... he talked to me, in my head, it was as clear as though he was standing next to me, I tried to read him but all I got was a black wall."

Sin Yu paused, looking intently at Peter as he tried to make sense of it all. Suddenly Peter became aware of the buzzing in his head, he shook his head a couple of times to clear it but the buzzing only got stronger.

"What's wrong, Peter?" Asked Sin Yu.

"My heads buzzing like a chain saw, I can't get rid of it."

Sin Yu smiled and began to explain to Peter what was going on.

"Sorry Peter, I should have told you before, once you've fed on a human for the first time, all your extra's start to come in, it happens when you're under stress or if not, then they come in over a couple of days. What you're hearing is the thoughts of all the people in the club, to tone it down, just imagine a brick wall in your head, keep concentrating on it until its very thick, once you've done that it should stop, if you want to hear someone, all you have to do is concentrate just on that person and listen to them or read them, which ever you want to do."

Sin Yu watched as Peter closed his eyes and began to concentrate, a few minutes later, Peter opened his eyes and smiled at Sin Yu.

"Ahh, that's better, now, why couldn't I read the shaman?"

"He's too powerful, no one can read them unless they want you too, but now you can use the same on him, just imagine your brick wall and he will get the idea."

Peter sighed with relief as his head cleared just as a hush settled over the club, looking up at the sudden hush, Peter blushed, everyone in the club had turned to his table and was staring at the small group sitting there. Unknown to Peter, the reason for the sudden interest was, that in the five years of the club operating, no one had ever been seen sitting at the special reserved table, now there were six young teens, suddenly the MC spoke over the mic.

"Patrons of Club Souless, please welcome to our humble club, Prince Poitr Vladd, our new prince and honoured guest."

A sudden burst of clapping and even a few cheers rang out around the club as a spotlight highlighted Peter and his group at their table, all the vampires in the club gave Peter a deep bow while the other people of the night gave a small nod of their heads, Peter acknowledge their gestures with a nod of his own and soon the music was on again, the crowd returned to their dancing as a hub bub of sound grew once again.

Peter reached for Simon's hand.

"Want to dance?"

"Sure." Simon's smile beamed back at him.

The two boys stood up and made their way onto the dance floor just as Jason and Mbeda did the same. As soon as the boys took the dance floor, a large gap opened for them as the patrons moved back to give them space, small bows and head nods accompanied with welcoming smiles met them as they moved into each others arms and began to move slowly to the music. Peter, as with Simon, noticed the immediate hardness pushing against each other and they smiled into each others eyes at their body's reactions.

On the edge of a red sandstone cliff, deep in the desert-lands of Arizona, sat a slim Native American boy, his skin was the colour of reddish bronze, his hair was raven black and fell down his back in a thick plaited braid. The teen's shoulders were like those of a swimmer which lead down to a narrow waist and slim hips, which were covered with a doe skin breach clout.

The teen's legs were crossed over each other as he sat by the small fire, they also were firm but not overly muscled, on his feet were a pair of calf length moccasins. His face was a picture of serenity and peace, his eyes closed and the faintest of smiles upon his full lips.

Opening his eyes and clasping his hands together over his chest, the teen rose to his feet, he gave a bow to the directions of the four winds, north, south, east and west, next he stamped out the last of the small fire that had the lingering smell of peyote still hanging in the air, with a sigh of satisfaction. The boy turned towards his home, the final words of his Grandfather, the last true chief of the apache, still clear in the teen's mind.

'There will come a time in your life, when the spirits will call you to the side of a Prince of the night that walks in the day, your union will be blessed by the spirits and together you will conquer an evil that could destroy all of the children, but, there will be a heavy price to pay for that victory, be ready my grandson, for you and the Prince will be all that stands in the way of defeat in the final battle.'

Now the boy had seen his Prince, the instant feel of a bond was easily felt, that the Prince was so damned cute, also helped.

As the music heated up, Peter and Simon decided they needed to cool off so returned to the table, Jason and Mbeda not far behind, Sin Yu and Dmitri were holding hands, to an outsider, the two boys looked relaxed and deeply into each other, a more observant person might have noticed the continual movement of their eyes as they watched everything and everyone while their Prince was on the dance floor.

Peter and the other five boys sat as they had been when they first entered, drinks were on the table and Sin Yu and Dmitri had already finished the best part of half their glasses, for Jason and Mbeda were two bottles of imported beer, for Peter and Simon were two glasses that looked like coke but Peters accelerated senses picked up the distinct aroma of spirits.

"What's this, Sin Yu?"

"Bacardi and coke, you'll like it."

"But I'm only fifteen remember, it's illegal for anyone my age to drink alcohol."

Sin Yu and the other three boys openly laughed at Peters concern for the legalities of drinking, finally Sin Yu said.

"Peter, you're a vampire, you live on other peoples blood and then dispose of them, do you really think a few drinks is going to put you in danger of being arrested for underage drinking? Besides, our systems make it almost impossible to get drunk, we get a little buzz after a while but to get drunk we would have to drink about ten times that of a human, even then it wouldn't worry us to much. Go on, drink up, you'll like it, I guarantee it, besides, we don't get hangovers, so just relax and enjoy yourself."

Peter gave the others a nervous smile and lifted the glass to his lips, the first sip was unusual, so, of course he had to take another, a deep warmth spread through his stomach as the liquor coursed it's way through his system, Sin Yu was right, it did taste good, it was nowhere near the fiery taste he had expected, this he could get used to. Peter gave a laughing snort as he tried to imagine the look on his late school mates faces, if they could only see him now, sitting in a night club, drinking liquor, holding hands with a cute boy and every where around him other denizens of the night giving him a smile, a nod or a bow.

Peter relaxed back into his seat, Simon quickly snuggled into his side and laid his head on Peter's shoulder as they watched the other dancers. Peter was fascinated by the avian boy and his companions, while they were moving in time to the music, it was also obvious that they had their own moves, they were graceful and intricate, each girl moving with lithe steps towards the boy, then, as if at a hidden signal, the girl would flow backwards and another would take her place, it was like watching some type of mating dance on TV.

Jason noticed peter's interest in the group and commented.

"They're beautiful to watch, aren't they Peter?"

"Yes, it's like watching wild birds in a mating ritual, like on TV nature shows."

"Well from what I know about them, that's pretty close to the truth, each girl is trying to be the one for the boy's attention later tonight."

"Well it's certainly beautiful to watch."

"That's true, it is."

Peter continued to watch as he gently ran his hand up and down the side of Simon which elicited a soft purring from the boy, Peter felt complete as he surveyed Club Souless and its patrons. There were so many different dance styles, each type of species had a different style, the avian, graceful, lithe and sexual, the felines, smooth, powerful and a little predatory, the humans, slightly out of synch but energetic if a little clumsy to Peters now accelerated senses, the vampires moved with grace and at speeds defying the imagination, most moves unseen without the aid of vampiric senses, the canines were more into moshing, heavy on contact and power. It was an unusual mix of dance styles that fascinated Peter in their differences.

"Sin Yu?"

“Yes Peter?"

"I want to start thinking about staff for the house; do you think we can ask the other species to join us in some form or other?"

"I'm sure you could ask, Peter, but what the answers would be is anyone's guess, they don't normally work together unless there's something in it for them."

"How should I go about it?"

"Well, first, you'll have to get together with their respective sire's, or alpha's, then it would be a matter of negotiation, but why do you want any of them around the house, you can easily use your own simbo's for any duties?"

"True, but what if we're attacked by other species, the simbo's could not fight them off, they don't have the strength or speed that would be needed."

"Ahh, yes, I see where you're going, well if you want to, it's worth a try."

"So how would I go about getting to meet these others?"

"I would suggest you contact a member of each species and ask them to carry a message to their superiors."

"Great, thanks."

Peter sat and contemplated his first moves, for a boy as young as himself, Peter knew he would have to rely on the imbedded memories of his father, maybe in time, he would be able to start to make more of his own decisions based on accumulated experience. He knew he was lucky to have Sin Yu, as the more experienced 60 year old vampire would be able to guide him though his early years to establish his own house.

Carefully Peter began to concentrate on the six avian girls, within seconds he was able to detect that all six girls could morph into Falcons, moving his attention to the boy, Peter saw a proud golden eagle, suddenly the boy stopped dancing, and, with a little hesitation, surveyed the crowded club until he finally rested his eyes on Peter. Giving Peter a slight frown, he nodded his head in greeting.

Sin Yu's voice sounded next to Peter's ear.

"You're going to have to be more careful than that, try to move in softer next time, mind you, the avian are very sensitive so it's not bad for a first try, invite the boy over."

Peter smiled at the boy with a look of apology and swept his hand towards their table in invitation. The boy smiled slightly and whispered the girls, who resumed the dance among themselves as the boy made his way towards Peter's table.

"Good evening, Prince Vladd, thank you for your invitation, you're very good, I almost didn't pick you up, how may I be of service?"

"Thank you for joining us, I don't know your name?"

"Didn't you pick it up when you were scanning me?"

"No, as soon a I realised you were aware of me, I thought it better not be so invasive."

"Well I thank you for that, Prince Vladd, now my name is Gresham, as you have seen, I'm of the avian."

Peter stood and pushed his hand forward for a quick shake with Gresham's.

"Please join us; I would like your help."

"Why would you need any help from the avian, Prince Vladd."

"Call me Peter, please, I want to make contact with whoever is in charge of your people here in the city, can you help me?"

"That would be Grossler, he's the leader of the avian here, I can probably get a message to him, but he's a very busy man and it may take a few days, is there some way I can contact you?"

"Sin Yu, have we got a phone number for Gresham?"

"Yes my Lord."

Peter noticed the immediate change to formality in front of a stranger, Sin Yu took a small note book from his pocket and wrote a number on it, tearing it out, he handed it to Gresham.

"This will get someone any time of the day or night." Sin Yu said to Gresham as he handed the paper to him.

Gresham turned to Peter again.

"And your message Prince....sorry...Peter?"

"Could you ask him if it would be ok to have a meeting with me at his convenience?"

"Certainly, I'll pass it on for you."

"Thank you Gresham, would you like to join us for a drink?"

"Thank you, no, but maybe I can have a rain check, I better get back to the others before we have a chicken fight going on." Gresham said with abroad smile and a wink.

Peter laughed and watched as Gresham returned to his girls on the dance floor, Peter finished his drink, as he put the empty glass on the table, a young vampire, even by his aura, Peter could tell he was young, no more than 14 years old, placed a new drink before him and the others. Peter looked up into a pair of the deepest green eyes he had ever seen.

"Thank you, uhm," the boys name flashed into his mind. "Max."

The boy smiled with embarrassment as Peter spoke to him and turned to leave; suddenly Peter saw another picture in the boys mind.

"Wait, Max, come back."

Max returned and bowed to Peter.

"My Lord."

"Earlier tonight I opened my presents, the first envelope I opened was from a person called Max, that was you right?"

"Probably my Lord, I did send a present to you with a friend, I'm sorry, it wasn't much but it was all I had."

Peter looked at Max with new eyes as the boy showed embarrassment at the trivial attempt at a present.

"Max, you don't need to be embarrassed, your gift was not only the first I opened but was really the only one that truly touched my heart, I could feel that the giver had done all he could. I want to ask you, How did you manage to give all you had and where do you live, who's house do you live in?"

"I...I don't have a house, My Lord." Max's head sank down on his chest as he whispered; "I'm only a Vaga." The hint of a pinkish tear rolled down max's cheek.

Peter looked over to Sin YU in askance.

"A 'Vaga' My Lord, is a vampire that has no house and his sire is unknown, they live the best they can on the streets and get what money they can, any way they can, it's not much of a life for a vampire, seeing as how long we live. A lot of them go to the sun after a while as they see no real hope in their life."

"Go to the sun?"

"Stay up after dawn and let the sun kill them, it's a horrible way for a vampire to die, but they see no way out."

Peter looked again at the despondent boy.


"Yes My Lord?"

"Take your tray back to the bar and return here, you're coming home with us, if you want to stay, then, you can become part of my house."

Max looked up into Peter's face, his expression showed he didn't quite understand what was just said, and then it began to dawn on him. The Prince of Vladd wanted him in his 'house'. Real tears began to run down his cheeks as the enormity of the offer sank in, with a very deep bow, Max turned to return the tray.

"Oh... and Max!"

"Yes My Lord?"

"Bring a drink for yourself."

"Really? Thank you My Lord."

Max hurried away, a huge smile plastered over his young face. Sin Yu and the other boy's laughed at the bouncy step of Max as he went to the bar. Jason spoke as he chuckled.

"Well that won't do your reputation any damage and you've got your first staff member."

Peter smiled and then a though hit him.

"Sin Yu, how much do I have in the bank?"

"I don't know Peter, we can check it out when we get back if you wish, why?"

"Well, I'm the Prince, right? So I'm responsible for all of the vampires in my area, that's got to include the...ah...vaga's as well?"

"Yeesss." Sin YU said drawing out the word.

"Well if I have enough in the bank, why don't I buy a property and turn it into a shelter for the 'Vaga', at least they'll have somewhere to go when the sun rises."

"That could be expensive Peter."

"I've got to have enough for something as worth while as that, surely, besides, what else is money for, if I'm going to be a Prince then it's my duty, as I see it."

"Very true Peter, and, yes, I think it's a worth while investment, also, if you register it as a charity, you'll get a nice tax break, so in the long run, it won't be that expensive, it's a wonder no one has thought of it before."

"I think that a lot of the old vampires just don't think of any new ones now days, they've been around for so long it just doesn't cross their minds."

"By the way, what does, 'Vaga' mean?"

"Vagrant. Any turned vampire that the sire doesn't acknowledge or is just to perverse to take care of. Sometimes the vampire goes a little nuts or is too inexperienced to truly know what they are doing. A lot of the Vaga are accidents committed by other young Vaga that don't realise what they've done until to late and then they don't know what to do about it."

"Well then, that's our first project for tomorrow." Peter said, just as Max gingerly sat on the very edge of the seat with his small shoulders hunched as though trying to remain invisible to all these powerful Vampires, Peter looked down at Simon and nodded towards Max, Simon lifted an eyebrow in askance. Peter nodded again to Max, suddenly Simon caught on and, lifting himself from Peter's shoulder, he reached out and wrapped his arm around Max's waist and drew him further onto the seat behind the table.

Just as Max was drawn to Simon's side, the Manager, William, arrived at the table.

"My Lord, is the boy bothering you?"

"The boy? What boy?"

"Uhm. The Vaga boy".

Peter looked coolly at William.

"There is no Vaga here William, but, I do have a new staff member of my house, is that who you mean, William?"

The last word was said with a very dead and dangerous voice. William caught on quickly and bowed his head as he answered. "My sincere apologies My Lord, I must have been mistaken, I'm terribly sorry for your inconvenience."

Feeling magnanimous, Peter smiled up at William.

"No apologies needed William, just a mistake I'm sure."

Recognising a chance get out with a little honour intact, William began to back away.

"Thank you My Lord."

Peter looked at the stare of sheer gratitude on Max's face, no one in his entire short time as a vampire, had ever protected him from the dislike of others. Max had just found someone to spend his hero worship on. He relaxed into the slim arm holding his waist and his self esteem shot through the roof. At last he felt as though he belonged somewhere in this dark world of vampires.

Peter looked at the thin young boy under Simon's arm.

"Max, how long have you been turned?"

"About two months, My Lord." Max said in a soft voice.

"You can just call me Peter, Max, I don't like titles and things like that, now who was your sire, and why didn't he look after you?"

"Oh, I couldn't call you by your name, My Lord, it wouldn't be right. As to my sire, he was just a vampire boy not much older than me. I think he didn't really know what he was doing, or he just made a mistake. All I can remember of that night was being in a dark alley and this cute boy said "Hi" before I could reply he was on me and biting me. I thought I was dead but when I woke up it was still dark and an older guy was standing over me shaking his head. He was letting some blood drip into my mouth from his wrist. I didn't really and truly understand what was going on. I soon fainted and when I woke up in the night I was lying on a cement floor in the basement of an old factory, there was no one around, I was all alone."

Tears were now falling down the boys cheeks as the group sat and listened to the boys story, as he continued, a look of hopelessness came over his young face.

"I got up and when I went outside it was dark, no street lights or anything, but I could see as clear as daylight, I...I, think it was about then that I really knew what had happened, I went searching for some help but couldn't find anyone, so I went and sat in a park, I sat there alone all night and then the sun started to come up, I felt really tired and the first rays of the sun began to burn my skin, I suddenly remembered the vampire stories on TV and knew I had to hide or the sun would kill me, I just made it into an old building across the road and hid for the day, I was really scared."

Peter sat there with pink tears streaming down his face, ok, he was born a vampire, he had no say in it, but this boy was just taken for food and then left to die, at that moment Peter swore to himself he would put an end to this style of indiscriminate feeding, the opening of the safe house for Vega's would only be the start.

Peter concentrated again as Max continued. "When I woke up I realised I couldn't go home, my parents are very religious and they wouldn't understand so I knew I was on my own. It was then I realised also that I wasn't hungry and I didn't get cold, also all the people showed up with this sort of light around them, they were all different colours, but I didn't know what they meant. After a few weeks of just walking around at night and watching everybody, I started to get this really strong pain in my stomach, my bones ached and I started to sweat pinkish sweat something terrible. The next night, my fangs dropped for the first time, the pain was terrible, I couldn't get them to go back up, all I could see was this blood red colour everywhere, and all the people outside smelt so good, I just wanted to drink them dry. I saw an older guy in an alley watching me, I thought know...wanted a young boy for... you do things with. He had this dark blue light, I didn't know what it was and I was just so hungry, I rushed at him and tried to bite him, he... He just lifted me up and smiled at me, and then he said."Wrong choice little new blood."

"Then he held me at arms length and asked me about how I was turned, when I had told him what had happened he just smiled and nodded his head. He took me to the bad side of town and explained to me how to feed and who to drink from, afterwards he explained some of the things that had been worrying me and I didn't know about, then he brought me to this club and asked Mr William to give me a part time job so I could buy some new clothes, I was still wearing my old ones and they stank and were really dirty. I've been working a couple of nights a week since then and was able to get a small room and some new clothes."

"Th...that's quite a story Max, I'm really sorry you had to go through all that, and none of it was your fault, I'm sorry, really sorry, I'm serious when I said I want you to come and work for me in my house, and I want you to tell me more about the life of a Vaga later, so I can know what to do to help them." Peter said.

Max bobbed his head up and down in agreement, the soft tears drying quickly on his face as he truly, for the first time, realised he was safe at last. Peter turned to Sin Yu.

"What's the time, Sin YU?"

"Just after 3am, Peter."

"I think it's time to call it a night, by the time we get home it's going to be close to daylight and Max has to see where he's going to be living from now on."

As he finished speaking, Peter got to his feet and the rest followed, William was quickly by his side.

"My Lord, are you leaving us?"

"Yes William, Thank you for your hospitality, it's been quite a night, thank you."

"Thank you My Lord, but, it is your club after all." William replied with a smile.

Peter smiled back and then began to lead the others from the club. Once outside, Peter turned to the large black werewolf.

"May I ask you something?"

A gruff, "My Lord?" was the reply.

"I want to have a meeting with all the heads of each species, could you carry a message to your senior Alpha and ask him if he would contact me for a meeting?"

Again in the same gruff voice, the werewolf answered him.

"I'm not anyone's messenger, but for you My Lord, I'll pass it on."

"Thank you, if you can do that for me then maybe one day I can repay the favour."

A gruff, "hmph!" was the reply. Peter stepped to the sidewalk as Jason backed the limousine up for Peter and the others to get in. Peter said to no one in particular, "Those guys are really polite aren't they?"

The others chuckled and settled in their seats as Jason pulled away into the night time traffic. As they travelled, Peter sent out his senses to locate Levi, he was sitting in Peter's lounge/office with Caleb resting on his shoulder as they watched TV. Peter sent out his message to him.

'We have a new guest Levi; can we get a room ready for him?'

Peter heard the distinct reply from Levi.

'Yes Peter, where would you like him to be put?'

'I think the spare room next to me for now, he'll be working for us from now on, he can have his own room on the first floor later when we get some more staff to keep him company.'

'Very good Peter, we'll get it ready now.'

Peter closed the contact and sitting back in his seat, asked Sin Yu.

"Can we make a detour down to the other side of town? I want to take a quick look down there."

Sin Yu switched on the intercom and gave the instructions to Jason. The limo turned at the next intersection and began to enter a more seedy looking area. Half the street lights were out and the buildings were becoming more and more derelict the further they went. Although the shadows were dark, Peter could easily see into them, a lot of the shadows hid boys of varying ages, some with the distinct blue of vampires and others with the reds of humans, occasionally he saw the black/brown of a werewolf.

The majority of the boy's though, seemed to be vampires, all had one thing in common, a look of dejected hopelessness, going through each night much the same as the last had been. To Peter it looked depressing and hopeless, he had to do something to give them hope, he felt deep inside himself that, if nothing was done about it then there could be serious trouble sometime in the future for all of vampire kind.

Suddenly, Peter called for Jason to halt the limo. 'That's it!' Peter thought to himself as he looked up at the derelict building at the side of the road. It was built of solid sandstone blocks, sometime, Peter guessed, in the 1920's. The warehouse was five stories high and stretched almost the length of the block and was about half a block wide. On each end of the building was an empty lot surrounded with rusting netting and the lots were covered in thick weeds, rusted cars and broken masonry.

"Let's go have look inside, Sin Yu." said Peter.

Immediately, Mbeda jumped from the limo and came around to open the door for Peter and the others, Sin Yu looked around and with a slight nod to Jason said, "Stay with the car, you others stay close to the Prince, I can smell trouble in the air." Sin Yu was on alert and Peter could feel it, there was a sudden tenseness around the group.

"What's wrong Sin Yu? I don't see anything to worry about."

"Send out your senses, Peter, there's a lot of vamps gathering around here, they don't get limo's down here and you are a stranger. Vaga's don't trust strangers."

Peter began to send out his senses and, sure enough, he could feel the mass of vampires gathering in the dark alleys and hidden doorways of the street. The air was tense with expectation and danger was an underlying feeling. Sin Yu took a position at the head of the group. Dmitri and Mbeda took up the rear with the other three boys in the middle, the group started towards the sealed doors of the building.

Peter took note of the boarded up lower floor windows and the heavily nailed up door, the windows of the upper floors were empty like the dead eyes of a corpse, all the glass had been knocked out of them long ago. Piles of rubbish and debris were scattered along the front of the building and long grass was two feet high around the steps leading to the double doors.

As Peter and the others stopped on the landing, Sin Yu walked towards the doors. Suddenly, Sin Yu seemed to disappear before Peters eyes. Next he heard someone banging behind the doors. With a crashing sound of splintering timbers, the doors slammed open showing a grinning Sin Yu standing in the opening.

"Enter my Prince." He said with a sweeping motion of his hand and a small bow, grinning from ear to ear.

Smiling at Sin Yu's gesture, Peter lead the others through the broken door. With his vampire eyes, Peter could easily see everything around him. It was obvious from the start that the local Vaga had found another way into the building as it was very obviously in use by others as a doss house. Looking further Peter could see that all the walls had been pulled down and only the outer walls and ceiling with the very heavy staircase were still intact.

As they moved further into the building, Peter could make out a square block looking room with a heavy metal door in a far corner. Pointing to it, Peter said, "Let's have a look over there, Sin Yu."

The group filed behind Peter as he made his way towards the strange looking door. As he reached out for the steel bar of the door, Sin Yu and the other two Vampires, Dmitri and Mbeda turned with speed towards the entrance. Peter spun around with them in time to see a mass of boys entering the building. There had to be close to fifty Vaga boys, all of whom had a very nasty look on their faces. Some held pieces of iron bar, others had their fangs out as well as wooden stakes of varying length.

Sin Yu stepped to the front as he reached under his coat and withdrew a pair of Tanto, one in each hand. Dmitri and Mbeda held 9mm Berettas. This last seemed strange to Peter as even he knew a bullet wouldn't really harm a vampire, unless the bullets were made from silver, but also remembered what his father had told him about silver only being a major irritation.

Sin Yu called out to the Mass of Vaga. "Halt where you are. You come any further at your own risk. This is Prince Poitr Vladd of the house of Vladd the Impaler and your Prince. Put your weapons down and return outside, this is no business of yours."

Three older vampires moved forward to face Sin Yu, their fangs showing and their sharp nails extended. Although the vampires looked only in their late teens, Peter could see that their aura's were darker than the other Vaga around them.

One of the three spoke up. "Who says you vamps are the Princes? We three are the bosses down here. This is our territory, no one else's. Besides, there's only six of you and more than fifty of us. You don't stand a chance, buddy."

"Maybe, maybe not. But I can guarantee that you'll go first." said Sin Yu.

Suddenly, Max ran forward to stand between Sin Yu and the Vaga.

"I vouche for the Prince, he's invited me to work in his house. He is the Prince Vladd!" yelled Max.

The three Vaga looked at Max as he stood between the two groups.

"Max? Max, is that really you?"

"Yes Torson and he's really the Prince."

"Who is? This guy? This is the Prince?"

"No, stupid." Max pointed to Peter as he stepped forward to make himself seen. "That's the Prince."

"Prove it!" replied the Vaga.

As calmly as he could, Peter walked over to the Vaga and lifted his right hand so the boy could see his house ring. Staring at the ring, the Vaga swallowed and then turned to all the Vaga behind him.

"Stand down, he's really the Prince."

There was an immediate lessening of the tension in the air as the other Vaga began to relax, Torson turned back to face Peter and his small group.

"Forgive us My Lord, we didn't expect anyone of your status to bother coming down here. Those that do are only usually looking for pleasure... we have to defend ourselves. I hope you understand, it was not meant as an insult to you."

Peter smiled at the Vaga, Torson, and nodded his head in acceptance of the explanation.

"No problem, Torson. I'm happy that you have at least tried to keep some sort of order down here."

"Thank you My Lord, we are all your humble servants, if I may ask why you're here?"

"I'm thinking of buying this building."

Before Peter could explain further, Torson began to show signs of irritation. Peter quickly but softly read Torsons thoughts. All Torson was concerned with was the needs of the Vaga if this place was closed off to them. Many had nowhere else to go for protection from the daylight. Peter quickly laid to rest Torson's fears.

"After talking to Max. I wanted to do something for the Vaga. If I can buy this building, I want to turn it into a safe house for you. I'll also need someone to run it and keep order once it's finished... are you interested?"

Torson looked at Peter with an intensity Peter had never seen before.

"You really want to do that for the Vaga? I mean, My Lord, there's not much profit in a safe house, if any. Why would a member of a royal house want to do anything for the likes of us?"

"For that very reason, Torson."

"I'm sorry My Lord, I don't understand."

"For the very reason, that no one has ever done anything for you. Yet you all try to accept what you have and make the best of it. Look Torson, I'm still trying to get the hang of being a Prince, but one thing I do know about it, and that's that I am responsible for all of us in this state. If that's the case then it's my responsibility to see that you're all helped as much as can be done for you."

Torson seemed nonplussed at the declaration from the Prince. No one in all his years, had ever thought of helping the Vaga. If this Prince was true to his word, then he would have the full co-operation of all the Vaga. Torson would see to that personally, he vowed to himself.

"My Lord," Torson asked,"what do you plan and how can we help?"

"At this stage Torson, I need to see what we have here. Then there'll be the planning to do for the improvements and the actual work on the building. First I have to find out who owns it and see about buying it. Perhaps you can help me there?"

"Certainly My Lord, the building is owned by the 'Cenotaph Corporation' I don't know where their head office is, most of us have been here for over ten years and no one has ever come around looking at it."

Sin Yu interrupted suddenly. "The Cenotaph Corporation?" Sin Yu began to laugh and Peter turned to him.

"What's so funny, Sin Yu."

Sin Yu continued to chuckle as he explained. "The corporation is one of yours My Lord. You already own the building."

Peter suddenly saw the funny side of it and joined Sin Yu in laughing as smiles grew on the faces of the others around them.

Dmitri leaned in close to Sin Yu and whispered into his ear, Sin Yu looked at Peter and then said.

"I'm sorry My Lord, The sun will be up in an hour and a half, we have to get back home and these vampires need to find shelter. Perhaps we can have a meeting with Torson tomorrow night to make some more plans?"

"Thank you Sin Yu. Torson would that be ok with you? Could you come out to my place tomorrow night to continue making plans?"

"As you wish My Lord, but where and how?"

"The limo will be here just after dusk, bring as many as you think fit to help. We've got to start on this as soon as possible."

"Thank you My Lord, we'll be ready." Torson gave Peter a deep bow and signalled for the other Vaga to do the same as Peter and his group started for the now broken door and entered the limo for home.


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