Castle Roland

The Prince of House Vladd

by Arthur


Chapter 11

Posted: 17 Mar 16


Copyright © 2010, 2016 by Arthur

Peter's sobs seemed to time themselves to the rhythm of Swiftwing's blood flow as the bright red source of life flowed from the open wound in his chest. Peter clasped him closely as the sobs racked his body. Levi was the first to take hold of Peters shoulder and try to pull him away from his young lover but without success. Peter just held on tighter to the wounded boy.

"My love, my love, don't go, please I need you so much, I'm so sorry my love, I should have stopped him, I...I was too slow, please, please, don't go."

From a long way away a voice began to penetrate Peter's torn soul as Levi tried to shake his shoulder for attention. Peter lashed out but missed his intended target that was a blur before his misted eyes.

"Get away, get away from him, he's dying, my love is dying, don't you fucking understand."

The total distress in Peter's voice sent a shiver through Levi. He shook the distraught boy harder and yelled loudly in his ear.


The loud strident voice finally penetrated Peters over stressed mind.

"What? What do you mean, he's dying, can't you see that?"

"You can save him Peter, for crying out loud, you're a vampire. Ask him if he'll let you turn him, quickly, before he's gone to far."

The frightened look on Peters face slowly faded as what Levi had said sank into his head. 'Of course, he was a vampire, he could save his lover, but would Swiftwing agree.'

Peter bent close to Swiftwing's ear.

"My love, my love, I can save you, please, please let me turn you. I love you so much, I can't let you go. My love, please let me turn you?"

Swiftwing's eyes fluttered open, the darkness was so close now. The pain in his chest was diminishing with every rattling breath he took. In the distance he could hear his lovers voice begging frantically. What was he saying? The voice was so far away, he didn't want to go down the dark passage that stretched out before him. His lover, his beautiful Prince, did he say he could be saved? He couldn't leave his Prince, not now that he had found his soul mate. With his last wavering strength, Swiftwing gave a slight nod of agreement. Peter wasted no more time as his Fathers memories of how to turn a human rushed into his head. His fangs buried deeply into the young tender bronze flesh laying in his arms.

As the last of Swiftwing's blood filtered past his lips, Peter felt and saw all of his lovers memories. The old grandfather that had reared Swiftwing since he had been a small boy of eight. The boy running naked in an open desert. Mysterious nights sitting at his grandfathers fire listening to the stories of the spirits. The practice that went on for years to learn about the weapons of his ancestors. How to shape shift and use mother natures gifts to enhance his training. All of this became clear to Peter as the blood seeped into his throat.

As Swiftwing's heart beat lowered further to the point of no return, Peter withdrew his fangs and with a quick slice of his thumb nail, opened a vein in his wrist and pressed it firmly to the blueing lips of his lover. The first drops ran down Swiftwing's chin but enough dribbled into his mouth to start the first process of his turning, Peter looked up into the searching eyes of Levi.

"Was I in time, will he make it? Please, tell me, I can't lose him."

Levi nodded his head. "Yes, you were in time. Now let me take him in the house. He'll probably stay asleep for two or three days as his system adjusts. What do you want done with the survivor?"

Peter looked at the young man being held by Caleb. He appeared to be no more than twenty years old. The look on his face was one of utter terror as he saw the fangs still projecting from Peter's mouth.

"Take him to one of the cells, keep him alone and separate from the others up there. Make sure you strip him totally so he can't hide anything. I'll attend to him when I'm sure my love has recovered."

Levi nodded towards Caleb who immediately clamped a strong hand on the boys shoulder and steered him towards the house. Levi lifted Swiftwing tenderly and carried him also towards the house. Peter followed along behind, still in a state of dread for his boyfriend.

Once they had all returned to the house, Peter lead Levi with the comatose body of Swiftwing, up to their bedroom. Levi started at the thought of having the limp boy in the same room as Peter.

"Peter, there's going to be quite a mess. I don't think your bed should be the place for him. Let me take him into the spare room, we can strip it down and let him lay there."

"Why? I don't want to leave him alone, not for this."

"He won't be alone, besides you should know deep down that he isn't aware of you just now. Let's put him in there, he'll still be close and you can look in on him whenever you want to."

Finally, Peter saw the sense of the action and allowed Levi to take his lover into the spare room for his turning. Already Peter could begin to smell the first odour of his lovers turning, as Levi lay Swiftwing on the stripped bed, the mattress quickly covered with a sheet of plastic. Both vampires could see the beginning of a strange green growth starting to edge its way over Swiftwing's body, much like a dark green mould, the smell of decay rising quickly from the forming mass.

"I've never seen that happen before," commented Levi as he stared open mouthed at the encroaching mass.

Peter just stared in disbelief at what was happening. There was nothing in his Fathers memories of this ever happening before either. Peter began to tremble at the thought of something going wrong with his lovers turning. Slow tears began to slip unnoticed down his young cheeks as he took in the sight before him. Everything seemed wrong but he didn't know what to do about it all.

Slowly Levi reached out and took Peter by the shoulder and led him from the room until they were standing beside Peter's bed.

"You need to rest Peter, all this has been a shock for you, just lay down and rest for a while. You need to relax and let your blood do it's work. I know it all looks strange with that mass thing but maybe it's in his blood, you know, his Shaman abilities. Maybe it's some sort of protection for him. You rest, later we can both go and look at him again."

Peter's numbed senses just accepted Levi's advice and with resignation on his face, Peter collapsed on the bed. The smell of the other room still in his nostrils, Levi leant over the exhausted Prince and pulled up a light cover so that Peter was comfortable and then left the resting boy to himself. Levi went down to the main hall and called for Trantor. Once the butler had appeared, Levi gave instructions for the man to go upstairs and clear out the spare room. The smell would not worry Trantor as he had been in the service of vampires for most of his life and would be aware of what was happening to the comatose Swiftwing.

Peter awoke several hours later. The rank smell seemed to have disappeared to be replaced by the heady scent of green woods. Peter rose from his bed and quickly made his way into where Swiftwing lay. The sight that met his bleary eyes startled him at first. On the once clean bed lay a large mound of thick green moss. No human form could be seen under it. From all sides thin tendrils stretched out towards the wood panelling on the walls. Where the tendrils touched the wood, there were bleached marks, as though the moss was drawing the very substance of the wood from the walls.

Peter became aware of his other guardians now moving around the house, he had slept through the day until the evening. Peter sent out a mind call for Sin Yu, if anyone knew what was going on with Swiftwing it would be the older vampire. It took only minutes for Sin Yu to join Peter in the spare room. Peter looked up at Sin Yu from his position on the side of the moss covered bed. "What's happening to him? What's all this stuff doing here?"

"I don't know Peter, I've never heard of anything like this. Mind you, there's never been a Shaman turned before either. So all this is new. I suggest we just wait and see what happens, it's all we can do. I'm sure he'll be alright, this is all new for everyone."

Sin Yu lay a hand on Peters shoulder as a reminder that all his friends and guardians were there for him in this time of trauma. Peter sighed in his resignation and acceptance of the facts before them, again looking up at Sin Yu he said, "Let's go and see to that prisoner, I want to find out what's going on."

Sin Yu nodded in agreement and followed Peter from the fresh smelling room where his lover lay under the covering of moss. Once in the main hall, Peter called all his guardians and the off duty security guards, setting a cordon around the room. Peter sent Mbeda up to get the prisoner to bring him down to the hall. Within minutes the terrified young man was standing in front of Peter.

As he had instructed, the boy was naked, he looked to Peter as though he had not had a decent meal in a long time. He was thin and a little undernourished, his ribs showed through his skin and his arms and legs were thin and under strength. The mop of black curly hair was a little unkempt and needed trimming. Fear and terror showed in the dark eyes.

The young mans knees were shaking and his face covered in a thin film of sweat. He knew what he was standing in front of. His home country had had stories of vampires for centuries, although this was the first time he had actually been in the presence of a real one. The young boy standing in front of him seemed like any other teen boy that he might have gone to school with but the dead-pan look on the young face sent shivers of fear through him.

"What's your name?"

The language was hard to understand, his English was very rudimentary, but he got the idea that the young boy wanted to know his name.

"Estaphan." said the young man, all trace of feeling had left the voice.

Next the young man found himself spread on the floor. His cheek felt on fire as he tasted a drop of blood on his lip from the three deep gouges in his cheek. He hadn't even seen the young boy move. Estaphan lifted his head to look up at the young vampire with terror in his eyes.

"I am Prince Poitr Vladd of the House of Vladd the Impaler. You will address me as My Lord, do you understand?"

Estaphan could only nod his head. This boy vampire was a descendant of the most feared man in his countries history. The notorious actions of the Impaler were well recorded in all his homes history books, and here stood a direct descendant of that same butcher. Estaphan knew he was not going to see another day if this boy vampire was even half as callous as his ancestor.

"Why did you come to my home to kill? And be warned, if you lie to me I will know and for each lie you will lose blood, painfully."

Estaphan struggled to his knees and looked up at the young face above him. In very broken English, Estaphan tried to tell his story, trying desperately to make this incarnation of the most evil man in his homes history understand why he was there. Peter stood above him, arms folded. His eyes never leaving the terrified face of the young man kneeling on the floor below him.

"Uhm... Lord, I... uhm, road boy... uhm, no family, no house, no work. I... uhm sell me, food, sleep place. One man come, tell me, come work in America. Eat good, uhm, plenty money, good work. Lord, I not know what work... he uhm, bring me here, say... Shoot all people here, you be rich boy, Lord."

Peter stared down at the young man without expression. It took the young man a while to stumble with the language and get his story out.

"What was the mans name?"

"Lord, name Dmitri, he shoot brown boy."

'Damn' thought Peter he was already dead and he was the one that could have told him who was behind the attack. It seemed that this boy was just cannon fodder for the attack. Peter looked down at the boy again, his thoughts racing through his mind as he worked out the pros and cons of what he had in mind.

"Do you want to live?"

Estaphan leant forward until his head was on the floor.

"Please Lord, I not die, I not die." his voice was broken with sobs as he pleaded with Peter for his life.

"Look at me!" the boy lifted his head until he was staring fearfully in the yes of the young vampire.

"If I let you live, you will be a bound servant in my house till you are old and die, do you understand me?"

"Yes Lord. I Ahh, serve you Lord, all time, Lord. I promise my word."

"I don't need your word, once you are bonded to my house, I'll know where you are at all times, I'll also know what you are thinking all the time, do you still agree?"

"Yes Lord, Yes Lord... all time, please I not die."

"Stand up."

Estaphan slowly rose to his feet, the tears still tumbling down his thin face as he looked at the fangs projecting from Peters mouth. Swiftly Peter bit Estaphan on the neck and turning the boys wrist, set his ring mark, followed by the two bars. Removing his fangs from the boy he slit his own wrist and let a small amount of blood drip over the shivering lips of Estaphan. The seal had been set. All of the boys memories were now his own and he was able to see that the boy had been telling the truth. He was, after all, no more than an innocent in the affair.

Peter released the boy from his grip and called for Trantor. When he appeared, Peter gave him his instructions. "Trantor, this is Estaphan. Take him to the kitchen and find a solid meal for him. He's to be taught better English and find something around the house for him to do. He's bonded for life so make him earn his living."

"Yes My Lord. Come boy."

Grasping Estaphan's arm lightly he lead him from the room towards the kitchen. When they had disappeared Peter looked around at the security guards, picking one out he asked him. "What were the explosions we heard?"

"That was your marksman. He spotted two vans along the road so took them out with two depleted uranium rounds. They're both still parked down the road. He thought it would cut off their escape if needed, My Lord."

"Tell him I'm pleased with his decision and he did the right thing. Can you get the vans or what's left of them, back here? Maybe there's something inside we can use to find who set this up. Also look around for any cell phones or radio equipment that might hold a clue."

"Yes My Lord, we'll get to it at once."

"Sin Yu, do we have anyone that could check those vehicles out?"

"No Peter, but there's a Feline that works for the Police forensics. Maybe you could contact Queen Sheeva for permission to use him?"

"Good, I'll go and do that now. Levi, you and Caleb should go and get some rest. We can handle it from here, after this morning you both need a break."

"Thanks Peter. Come on you, lets go get a rest." Levi said to Caleb with a smile. Somehow Peter didn't think it would be resting that the twins would be doing.

Peter dialled the number he had for the Feline queen, it was answered almost immediately.


"Your Highness, it's Poitr Vladd."

"Hello Prince Vladd, what can I do for you today?"

"I am asking for a favour, we had an attack on my house this morning and..."

"Prince Vladd! I hope you are not insinuating that the folk of the Feline were involved."

"Certainly not, your Highness. It was humans, foreigners, I'm trying to track down the leaders now. We have the remains of two vehicles here and I was hoping you would allow us to make contact with the Feline that works for the police forensics to check them out for evidence?"

"An attack, but who would be fool enough to attack one of the strongest houses of the folk, were any of you hurt?"

"Only myself and my partner, I... I... had... to turn him to save him." the sound of tears in Peter's voice told the queen how really traumatic the event had been on the young Prince.

"You will have the full co-operation of all the feline folk, Prince Vladd. My order will go out within the next few minutes. If there's anything else we can do, please let us know. Have you contacted any of the other folk?"

"No your Highness. I felt it was aimed only at us. I didn't want to cause any unnecessary problems for the others."

"I would suggest, Prince Vladd, that you contact the leaders of all the other folk immediately. If this is an attack on our way of life then they should be alerted to it. Besides, we all have a pact now. We are bound to honour it. An attack on one of us is and attack on all of us."

"I... I... thank you your Highness. I'll try to make contact with the other leaders and inform them."

"How is your partner doing?"

"He's in his death sleep at the moment. I'm hoping he will reawaken tomorrow or the next day. Its all very strange, it's not like any other turning that my advisors have ever seen."

"What's happened, Prince Vladd? I can hear the distress in your voice?"

"It's just that he has become covered in all this sort of green moss, we can't see his body under it. I'm... I'm worried something will happen to him and he won't be the same boy I love." tears rolled down Peters cheeks at the thought of his lovers body lying under the thick green mat. Queen Sheeva picked up on Peter's distress again.

"Listen Prince Vladd, he's from the Shaman lineage. I've never heard of one of them being turned before. I know it must be very hard for you, but you must trust to mother nature to know what it's doing. The Shaman people were very special people. Just put your faith in them and him."

Peter felt a little better now that he had shared with the Queen. She was a very wise person in many respects and it was her words that began to set his mind at rest.

"Thank you, your Highness. I'll try to do that, it's just... I love him so much and it hurt so deeply to have to turn him."

"You must put your feelings aside for a little longer Prince Vladd. You have a lot more of the folk to protect at the moment."

"Yes, yes, you're right. Thank you again. I'll get onto that right away. Goodbye your Highness and again, thank you."

"Anytime young Prince, just call. You'll find that after our meeting the other night, you have a lot of friends within the folk for what you are trying to do. Just call any of them if you need help in the future."

"Yes, I will. Again, thank you."

Peter hung up the phone and went to find Sin Yu whom he found down stairs watching TV with the other three guardians. Peter sat in an empty chair with a heavy sigh. Sin Yu looked over at him. "He's going to be alright Peter. It's just that he's not like your ordinary human."

Peter absently nodded his head in understanding. "I know, it's just I love him so much, the thought of losing him is just too much."

"You won't be losing him, you'll see. Now how did you get on with the Queen?"

"It's ok, she said she will contact all her feline folk and instruct them to help us at any time. So you can try and get a hold of the guy at Police headquarters and see when he can come and look those vans over."

"I'll go and do that now. I'm sure there will be a number for him somewhere."

As Sin Yu rose from his chair another alert sounded in the house. Startled, all the guardians ran for their weapons as one of the security guards appeared from the hallway. "My Lord, there's been another breach of the main wall. A Feline just jumped it and is heading for the house now."

As Peter picked up his Katana, which he had left on a table near the door when he had come in earlier, the other four guardians arrived fully armed.

"I think it's ok. It must be the one we're looking for, the queen said she would issue the order immediately. Although I didn't expect it to be this quick. Let's go see who it is?"

"Don't be in a rush Peter, it's only been a couple of minutes since you made the call. He couldn't get here that quick, let's do this properly. Steven, you and Mbeda take each side of Peter. Dmitri and I will take the lead. Ready?"

At a nod from the others and with Peter surrounded by his guardians, they made it to the door and opened it to see the figure of a cheetah morphing into a young man of about 25 years old. As the morphing completed, the young man pulled on a pair of spandex shorts and, with a smile to Peter he bowed low with open hands to show he was not armed.

"My Lord, I am Tony, Her highness has instructed me to come and help you."

"How did you get here so quickly? It's only been a few minutes." asked Peter.

"I'm sorry My Lord, I was hungry and out hunting close by when I got Her Highnesses call. She said it was most urgent so I came running. It's what Cheetahs do very well." said Tony with a small smile.

Peter smiled back and the other four relaxed there defensive stances.

"Thank you Tony. I'll make sure your Queen is informed of your quick reaction to our call. Did Her Majesty mention what it was about?"

"No My Lord, she just said it was most important that I got here as soon as possible."

"Please come in, I'll explain it all inside. if your still hungry I can get you a meal from the cells."

"Thank you My Lord, yes I would appreciate a meal, it's very close to the moon and that's not a good time for me to be hungry."

Peter nodded and then looked over at Steven. Steven nodded and left the room to bring one of the prisoners to the hall. While Steven was away, Peter began to tell Tony what had happened earlier in the day. As soon as he had finished, Tony said. "I'll give them a cursory look over now and if it looks as though there is anything there, I'll need to go and get one of my kits to test it properly."

"Thank you Tony, anything you can give us will help. Ah, here's your meal. Where would you like to take him?"

"If you would be so kind as to release him out in the woods. I like to have my meals on the run, as it were." said Tony with a slightly embarrassed smile.

"Steven, take that piece of shit out to the gate and release him."

The prisoner, a man of middle years but very solidly built, looked at Peter with a sneer as though to say, 'you little idiot, you'll never catch me again.' Steven lead the man outside and to the gate. Once there he opened the gate and pushed the man through, telling him to run like hell. The man need no further encouragement. He was glad to be free from the weird house and all the young teens strutting around like kings. Besides, he was not fond of little homo's, he'd killed enough of them before. He took off running, glad to be free of all the bullshit. Now he could get back to what he did best.

Staying on the edge of the roadway, he began a slow jog down the road. He knew he was a long way from the city and it would take him most of the night to get back. Being naked didn't help either. He would have to steal some clothes somewhere before he got to civilisation. As he jogged along he heard a strange soft sound coming from the tress lining the roadside. A soft hissing voice came to his ears, "You better run faster than that."

The words turned into a soft coughing grunt as the man was startled into increasing his pace. In the darkness he couldn't see to much but he was well aware of a soft padding sound coming closer to him. Suddenly he heard a deep snarl behind him, turning his head he was just in time to see the lithe form of a cheetah flying through the air towards him. The sharp teeth digging into his neck was the last thing he felt as he fell under the speed and weight of the cat.

Half an hour later there was a knock on the front door. Trantor opened it and Tony came in, his slim stomach was now distended and he had a satisfied look on his face. Bowing to Peter he said, "Thank you My Lord. It's a pity he couldn't run faster but he still made a pleasant meal."

"My pleasure Tony. Now would you like to look over those two vans?"

"Yes and what happened to the bodies?"

"They've been put in the cellar, it's colder down there. Would you like to see them as well?"

"Yes. I'll do the vans first and then take a look at the bodies. There might be something on them to tell us more."

"Mbeda, would you take our guest out to the vans and get anything he needs for his investigation? Afterwards, take him down to the cellar to look over the bodies."

Mbeda nodded in assent and with a gesture towards the back of the house, lead Tony away.

"Do you think he will find anything, Sin Yu?" asked Peter.

"If there's anything there to find, I'm sure he'll find it Peter."

It was three hours later before Tony returned to the main hall. His face was a study of deep concentration as he stood before Peter.

"My Lord, I'm going to need to get my kit from the city. There's a lot there but I need to make some deeper investigations to make sure I've got everything."

"When would you like to continue with it, Tony?"

"Right now is good, if your Lordship would be so kind as to have a car for me. The sooner I get it all done the sooner you will have some real answers. I have a feeling that there's not much time so I better do it now."

"Steven can you take Tony into the city and bring him back?"

"Yes Peter, I'll get him there and back in under two hours. Is there anything else you need while I'm in there?"

"No, this is of prime importance, anything else can wait."

Steven nodded and lead Tony out to the garage, minutes later Peter heard the sound of the BMW roaring towards the gates. Peter looked over to Sin Yu. "I'm going to go and look at Swiftwing. Can you check the house for me? I know I should be in training today but I can't think straight until he's back with us."

"You go ahead Peter, there's nothing we can do now until Tony gets back and gives you his report."

Peter adjourned to his bedroom and then through to where Swiftwing lay under his green covering. The first thing Peter noticed was that the scent in the air had again changed. Now there was the smell of flowers in the room. Looking at the bed he could see that small red flowers had broken out all over the green moss. The tendrils that had been working their way up the walls had disappeared and in their place were only the stark white bleach marks where they had been.

Peter knelt beside the bed of his lover. The heady odour of the flowers became almost intoxicating as his highly sensitive sense took it in. As though in a dream, Peter began to have strange hallucinations of Swiftwing's life as well as strange dream like images of spirits whirling around the room above Swiftwing. Peter tried to shake his head to clear away the images surrounding him but, it was to no avail. They only seemed to multiply the harder he tried to dispel them.

Something deep inside Peter seemed to resonate within his chest. It was like a deep rolling drum beat. Shaking his head to rid himself of the slight dizziness, Peter rose from his knees and left the room. It was as though both Swiftwing and he were being reborn in another form, still vampiric, but something more. Something deeper and more powerful.

Peter went to his bed and lay down, his head still feeling the effects of the heady aroma of the flowers. Peter closed his eyes and was soon asleep. Three hours later, Peter awoke to the sound of his phone ringing in the office. Quickly he got off the bed and walked through to his office, lifting the receiver he asked, "Yes, who's this?"

"Peter, it's me, your Father. I've just heard you were attacked this morning, what happened?"

Peter retold the events of the morning to his Father and the actions he had taken to find out the perpetrators.

"Well son, keep me informed. If this is a strike against our house we might need the help of the council. Let me know when you have something concrete to work on."

"Yes Dad, but I want to try and fix this myself. You gave me charge here so I have to take what actions I deem fit, but if anything comes up that's a threat to all of us, I'll contact you immediately."

"Ok, Son. You do what you feel is right, but keep me informed, ok?"

"Yes Dad."

Peter hung up the phone and returned to his room glancing at Swiftwing's room as he walked past the door, the flower smell was still strong in the air.

Gregor Antovich rolled over in his bed, pushing the young girl to the side as he reached out to answer the ringing phone as he mumbled to himself, 'Why do these bastards have to call at 3am?'

"Yes?" he asked.

"You failed, what happened?" the voice was as cold as the blood of the vampire himself.

"I don't know, I haven't heard anything back from them."

"They're all dead you bloody fool. You don't send twenty men after a vampire, idiot."

"But it was daytime, they all sleep in the day. There would have only been his human guards." Gregor's voice was getting more guttural and sharp as he heard the insults.

"He's a bloody daywalker you fool. And he has two other guardians that were bred just the same. He can't stand too much harsh sunlight but he can operate very well during the day. Also his security guards were trained overseas by the SAS and those bastards make the SEALs look like school girls. You should have sent all the men you have then they would have had a good chance by sheer numbers. As it is all you've done is warn him that he's under attack. Now it's going to be ten times as hard to get too him, you bloody fool."

"But.... but, you should have told me all this, if you had I would have sent everyone and a few extras as well."

"I told you too send in a full attack, that meant everyone. Now we have to hope there's nothing on the dead guys to tell them anything. You better get onto your contacts and start getting more men here as quick as you can. If he tracks you down, you're going to need an army to stop him. The only good thing to come out of this is the fact that one of your men killed his boyfriend and there you were lucky, he was a Shaman."

"A Shaman, what the fuck is a Shaman?"

"If you ever meet one, you better hope he's feel well disposed towards you. If you think a vampire is powerful you just don't want too meet a Shaman. They're more ancient than us and have powers that can make life very uncomfortable for everyone. Fortunately, there's not many of them left. If we're lucky, that one might have been the only one left. If so, then at least you got something right."

"How many new men should I send for?"

"As many as you can get into the country, we're going to need all of them. Make sure that Thomes has all the details."

Gregor didn't get a chance to answer as the phone gave the buzzing sound of a dead line, the vampire had hung up on him. Gregor groaned as he looked down at the young girl still asleep on his bed. Slapping her hard across the cheek to wake her, he rolled her over on her back and forcefully spread her young legs, mounting her quickly he began to savagely ram himself deeply into her young flesh as she cried out in pain. Gregor ignored her pleas as he turned his pent up anger onto her.

Peter yawned as he awoke with the sound of the shutters descending for the day. His senses told him that the four guardians had retired to their rooms and that Levi and Caleb were downstairs having breakfast with the security guards. After his shower and checking in on Swiftwing, he went to join them. At the table a very tired looking Tony sat with a cup of coffee in his hands, as he saw Peter enter he rose to his feet.

"Good morning My Lord. I have my preliminary report ready for you."

"Thank you Tony and good morning. Just give me the short version of it, please."

"The vans are government issued and registered, department unknown so they will be from some security division at a guess. The men are all of central European descent, mainly Slavic, some are definitely Romanian. Not much on their bodies to tell who they are but by the look of most of them, I would guess they are from the lower edge or criminal element of the streets. One or two had jewellery that was cheap but pointed to the same area's, I'm sorry that's about all I can tell you at this stage, there's nothing on them to say who sent them."

"Thank you Tony, do you wish to stay here and rest or would you like me to get you home?"

"I had better start back to the city, My Lord. I still have work at headquarters to take care of."

"Ok, Levi, could you take Tony to where ever he needs to go, and Tony, my sincere thanks for all your hard work, I'll make sure your Queen knows how much you did for us, again, thank you."

"Any time My Lord. I have instruction from my Queen to be at your service whenever needed."

"Thank you again, Levi will take you home."

Tony followed Levi from the hall and within minutes the other two heard the sound of the Beemer leaving the estate. Peter turned to the security guards at the table. "Who was the marksman?" he asked them.

A short Hispanic man stood up. He was only about 5'8" tall but well developed in the shoulders and chest, his hips were slim and his legs looked lithe under the tight uniform.

"My congratulations, your work on the vans was exceptional. Even had we lost they wouldn't have had any transport to escape in. There'll be a special bonus in your pay this month for your quick thinking, you have my gratitude."

"Thank you My Lord." the man seemed to have a slight blush at being singled out for special attention.

"Caleb, when Levi gets back, I want to go and have a look at Ellis Street. I have a bad feeling that it's going to need to be completed sooner rather than later."

"Do you think it's wise to go out at a time like this Peter?"

"We'll take the limo with two extra security guards. I don't think they will be ready to mount another attack so soon but I had better be ready just in case."

"Well... ok, but make sure you don't get separated from us."

"I won't." Peter smiled at the concern on Caleb's face as he returned to the lift to go up and once again check on Swiftwing. His mind was a whirl of thoughts and images as he stood beside the bed where his lover lay under the flower covered moss.

Four hours later, just after midday, the limo pulled up outside the Ellis Street building. The whole area seemed in an uproar of tools and machinery with men coming and going from the front of the building. Out on the front steps, his right hip hitched up on a half empty pallet of bricks, sat Jake. As he saw the limo pull to a halt he smiled and threw one finger to his forehead in acknowledgement of Peters arrival.

The two security guards were the first from the limo, they took up positions of defence as Peter, Levi and Caleb got out of the back. Peter smiled broadly at the relaxed figure of Jake as he saw the werewolf rise to his feet.

"Hey spunky, come to visit the hard working men?" Jake's smile was from ear to ear as he took Peter's hand in his own.

"Hi Jake, how's it all going down here?"

"Better than I thought. Even most of the Vaga are helping where they can. There's a lot of talented kids amongst them, it's a wonder no one looked to them before today."

Peter stepped back and looked at the old building. On the outside there was very little difference apart from the dark tinted windows that had replaced the broken glass that had been set in the frames before. The door was wider and new but looked like any other wooden doorway. At each end of the main building, the superette and the club were well under way and looked as though they would be ready within weeks.

Peter gave Jake a questioning look.

"Don't worry little guy. The windows are all 4" armour glass, the door is backed up with a steel drop door behind it and there's an electronic warning system being installed right now. Each of the live-in guests will receive a card that'll give them entrance, anyone else will have to ring the bell to get in. Want to have a look over the inside?"

Peter just stood nodding his head, he didn't think they would be that far advanced yet. It had only been a few weeks since they had started. Jake had been right, his men knew how to work fast. Peter followed the large figure of Jake through the door, the entrance had been deepened by several feet so that anyone entering could not see further than the desk at the end of the short passage.

"If they get unwanted visitors, there's a drop door at the end of this short passage and the one just behind the front door. During an alert they both drop and trap anyone in the passage. It'll take a thermal lance to get through the doors." Jake explained to Peter.

Peter moved on into the room. What had once been a large empty concrete box was now unrecognisable. The desk Peter had seen from the entrance was actually behind a clear thick glass sheet. It stretched from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. At each end was a shiny steel door with a card reader where a door handle would have been. The floor was now ground and polished stone. Behind the desk was a thick stone wall that separated the rest of the reception from the rear area, split only by the two opposing passages for the guests to enter the back.

"Behind the wall is the main office and a conference room with a bathroom and small kitchen. There's extra bedrooms in there for emergencies, they're protected by the stone wall. The glass is all bullet proof, it'll take a .50 cal bullet easily. The entrance to the lower floors is also hidden behind the wall so you can't see it unless you're told it's there. The left door takes you to the lower floors, the right one is to the upper floors. There's a trap door under the desk if they need to get out of there in a hurry."

Peter looked up and smiled at the proud look on Jakes face.

"It's great Jake, I never even thought it would be like this. How much more is there to go?"

"Not much more in the heavy construction area, most of it's already finished. They're just starting on the escape tunnels now. Most of the rest is just fitting out the rooms and putting in the security features as well as finishing the two buildings at the ends. The humans have been doing the club and superette, we thought it better to keep them out of here for obvious reasons. They wanted to argue at first but we had a small chat about it and they decided to let us do it." Jake smiled broadly at the thought of the chat he had had to have with the humans.

Peter looked at the open grinning face of the werewolf and guessed how the chat had gone.

"How long do you think it will all take to finish, Jake?"

"Hmm, to finish installing all the electronics and security systems, fit all the rooms out and check security, I'd say about two weeks should do it. How's that sound, little Prince?"

"Great! It's a lot quicker than I thought it would be but after yesterday, I'm glad it's going so fast. I don't think we have much more time left to get them safe."

"Yeah, I heard about the attack. Is everything ok with you?"

Jake could see the pensive look on the young vampires face. "What's wrong Peter? What aren't you telling me?"

"They shot my lover, I... I had to turn him to save him. I'm not sure how it's going to turn out, everything is going strange with his turning." Peter's eyes began to fill with tears as he remembered his lovers plight. Peter felt two large arms encircle his small slim waist as Jake pulled him into a hug and whispered quietly in his young ear.

"He'll be ok Peter. If he's not dead yet then it'll all turn out right. Just be patient and wait and see. He'll be back in your arms in no time."

Peter could only nod his head against the large chest as his tears began to dry. With a small shudder and a last sob, he lifted back from Jake's hug and tried to smile.

"I know it will Jake, it's just... well it's just I miss him so much and each time I think of how close I was to losing him... well it brings it all back again."

Jake rubbed gently on the back of Peter's head to sooth him a little.

"Just think of it this way, if he turns properly, you'll both have a long life together. Had he stayed human, you would have had to watch him fade away as you stayed the same. Maybe this was meant to be Peter."

Peter slowly nodded his head as the reality hit him. Jake was right, he would have had to watch his lover fade into old age as he himself stayed young and alive. Slowly, Peters heavy heart began to lift. It was true, he would have many years with his boyfriend now. Shaking his head to clear away the earlier heavy thoughts, he concentrated again on the renovations.

"I noticed that there's no balconies for the avians yet, are they going in last?"

"No, they looked at it and decided they wanted the outer walls to stay the same. They said they could fly directly into the main room so we fitted electronic sliding doors where the outside windows are. The receiver has been set to their body signature so it will automatically allow them once they break the beam, but keep anyone else out that doesn't fit their own special signature." replied Jake.

"Can we go down and look at the sub-basement?"

"Sure, follow me."

Jake swiped a card through the reader on the left hand door, it swished open almost soundlessly. The three boys followed Jake to the re-enforced door of the sub-basement. It was also controlled by a card reader. Once activated, the door slid silently into the floor and faint red lights came on along the steps leading downwards. Jake lead the way down. At the bottom of the steps Jake stopped.

"Take a look above your head Peter, that steel panel fixed to the ceiling drops down in an emergency and locks in place sealing the access off from the living area. It can only be opened from the other side. There's another three doors further along. Each one can be dropped as the rooms on the left and right are cleared so there's a steel barrier dropped as each part is cleared. They're made of high grade 6" armoured steel. By the time anyone breaks through them, the residents can be out of the escape tunnels and away free. We've left the main passage wide on purpose so that there won't be any worry about congestion in emergencies. The two lower floors are the same set up. I'd show you the rooms but they're all full with the Vaga just now, although there's still some free room's right down on the last floor."

"No, it's ok Jake, this is fantastic! They'll all be safe here, that's all I needed to know. Let's go up again, I need to get back to the house. Thanks Jake for everything, its exactly what I wanted it to be."

Peter gave Jake a hug and then they all turned to the steps and after a couple of minutes were back outside the building. Peter smiled broadly as he looked again at the results of his dream to bring all the folk together. After another hug with Jake, Peter waved and got into the limo. The security guards last to enter. With a last wave to the werewolf, the limo turned and set out for home.

On his return home, Peter called for Trantor. Once the butler was present he gave his orders. "Trantor, I want the two boys kept out of our room until Swiftwing has recovered. Levi, I would like Sin Yu to take them down stairs and train them in combat. I want everyone here to be able to defend the house if needed. Trantor, how is the new boy?"

"He's still a bit fearful My Lord, but he's beginning to relax a little. I've set him in the kitchen for now but I see no reason that he should not be taught to serve in the dining room as well. He and Alfred seem to have hit it off although they are both fencing around the subject as yet, but I think they might end up with each other in the end. It's rather amusing to see them trying not to look at each other, My Lord." stated Trantor with a wide grin on his face.

Peter laughed for the first time since the attack as he tried to picture the over exuberant Alfred and the scared new boy making eyes at each other.

Peter left the others in the hall and made his way back to his own room. The first thing to hit him was the slightly decayed smell in the room. It wasn't unpleasant but reminded Peter of a wet and damp forest covered with last years dead leaves and laying wet on the ground in an Autumn morning.

Quickly Peter ran into the spare room. There was still no sign of Swiftwing under the moss but Peter could see immediately that the moss was becoming brown around the edges as though dying. The flowers of earlier had already died and their bare stalks stuck up out of the shrinking moss. Peter sighed with impatience and returned to his office desk.

Opening his console, Peter idly played with the different programs until suddenly a flash of inspiration caught him. Opening a design program, Peter began to doodle aimlessly. Slowly a picture emerged, it was nothing intentional, just an idle doodle. Peter looked more closely at it and began to make some alterations. Suddenly it dawned fully on him what he had on the page. Adding his house crest above the drawing, Peter looked again at the page, a small grin spread over his face.

On the page was an animal similar to a griffon. It had the feet and body of a feline, the wings of an avian and the head of a wolf but with extra long fangs. His house crest was above it and below were his two lines. Peter sighed with contentment, this would be the signet of house Vaga. He would get one made to hang above the door of Ellis Street so everyone knew what the house was and that it was under his protection. Peter was suddenly hit with a wide mouthed yawn, maybe a small nap wouldn't hurt, it had been a long day.

Peter saved the page and closed down the console, soon he was laying on his bed. The scent of the moss decay still in his nostrils as his eyes closed, 'please, please, let him rise soon' Peter thought as he began to drift into sleep.


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