The Prince of House Vladd
Copyright © 2011, 2015 by Arthur
Copyright © 2011, 2015 by Arthur
Don Pedro Santee sat back as the darkness of the final night his guests would stay with him, descended around the Hacienda, he had tried to read his guests at various times of their short stay but was not surprised that he could get no entry into their deepest thoughts, it was a well known fact that any Prince of the old blood was almost impossible to read and those around him would be protected by the same laws.
Don Pedro's real interest was in the two small boys, he did not want to raise any problems by trying to read them until the last minute of their stay, the fact the boys had no visible aura was a little unsettling but he was sure he would find out their inner most thoughts soon enough.
The memory of the boys lack of aura brought Don Pedro to his feet, his guests had decided to rest for most of the night as they were leaving to travel further south in the morning, their Limo had undergone some changes while it was in Don Pedro's garage and those that could not work in the light of the sun were now protected by blacked out windows and a black screen between the front seat and the rear passenger compartment.
Don Pedro made his way to his library, the room was covered in shelves from floor to ceiling, all were filled to overflowing with scrolls, manuscripts and large sets of tomes, all showed great age, in the center of the room was a small reading dais, on it was a large volume of the holy bible, the cover was encrusted with gold and small jewels, inside it was hand scripted and painted in the tradition of the old Roman Church, Don Pedro knew it was a copy printed in 1496 of the original bible of His Catholic Majesty Constantine, it was one of a few pieces left from his old lifetime.
Don Pedro went to a metal bound chest at the side of the small dais, taking out a large key from the nearby reading desk, he opened the chest, inside was a variety of old armour and a set of clothes from the 1500's, lifting a cloth covered parcel from the chest, Don Pedro opened it carefully on the desk.
The book was very old; its cover was of thick brown leather, well tanned and embossed with symbols of Christianity, in Latin the words on the cover read:
THE LIFE AND TRAVELS OF DON FRANCISCO VASQUEZ DE CORONADO
Don Pedro carefully opened the old diary and began at the hand written page of 1542, before starting to read he let his mind wander back to the months before the last fateful trip with Coronado.
As usual the weather had been hot and dry, the men had been quietly complaining that the fabled seven cities of gold seemed no closer; Coronado ignored their quiet protests and continued on his quest to fill his coffers with the valuables of this strange and barren land, only the persistent raids of the heathen savages slowed him down, even his four Jesuit Priests were beginning to doubt the truth of the legend of the seven cities.
Pedro had been a boy of fourteen years; it was his duty to take care of Coronado's needs, both in and out of his bed, Pedro had been with the great Coronado for only five months and already he was beginning to succumb to the deserts around them, turning the velum pages he read on as he neared the page he was looking for, the life and beliefs of Coronado jumped from the pages, all of them seemed so childish now and Don Pedro wondered why he was ever taken in by them.
The next to last page before the one he wanted, made him pause, this was the day everything changed for the young boy, Coronado's hand writing was a little unsteady, not like his normal firm hand, Don Pedro read again the entry for the 16 June 1542.
16 Juno 1542 Ano Domini
My servant Pedro was taken by savages last eve, I will miss the boy as he was a good and dedicated servant, may god permit him a quick death at the hands of the savages for they are known for their savagery towards captives, I will pray for my lost Servant and may god protect his soul.
17 Juno 1542 Ano Domini
This day god has answered my prayers, beyond all hope, my servant Pedro has been returned to me although he is sadly wounded in mind and spirit, he now has an aversion to the daylight hours and is only able to carry out his duties in the dark of night, what have the savages done to the spirit of such a young boy, I fear for him as do the Priests for they think he has been taken by the devil and should be cast out of camp before he infects the troops, I will have to give this greater thought.
Don Pedro turned to the next page in the diary, here was what he had been looking for, the first part was still painful for him to read but the second would surely confirm his original worries and thoughts.
21 Juno 1542 Ano Domini
A sad and depressing day as well as a day to bring hope to the hearts and minds of the men and the Priests, The men and Priests have made it impossible for me to retain my servant Pedro and I have had to banish him from our midst, the poor boy has been sent into the wilds, may god rest his soul.
I have just this past hour, received a visit of an unearthly type, the Priests tried to dissuade me from accepting the invitation from the Heathen MAJIK MAN, but I felt it may be of use in finding directions to the Seven Cities of Gold, alas I was mistaken for the old Majik Man had only words of warning for my ears and thus I write them in the blood of Christ The Savour in the hope the prophesy will not arrive and for others to take heed of.
FROM THE NORTH WILL COME THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS WHO WALKS IN THE LIGHT OF DAY.
HE WILL WALK WITH THE ONE WHO IS THE KEEPER OF SPIRIT SONGS ON HIS RIGHT HAND.
HE WILL WALK WITH THE TWO WHO ARE GOOD AND EVIL ON HIS LEFT HAND.
WHEN THE TIME IS PAST HE WILL RETURN TO THE NORTH AND LAY WASTE TO THAT WHICH MAN HAS BUILT AND ALL WILL TREMBLE AS HE PASSES FOR HIS LEFT HAND IS THE DESTROYER AND HIS RIGHT HAND IS THE BRINGER OF OLD WAYS AND ALL WILL BOW TO THEIR WILL.
Don Pedro reread the prophesy and thought he now understood why his guests had come at such a time, if old Coronado's words were true, then the north had a great deal to worry about, with a sigh he closed the old diary and thanked his lucky stars he was on the right side, if the two boys were who the prophesy said they were, then the lack of an aura would be explained, he wondered if he should mention this prophesy to the young Prince, after a little pause, Don Pedro decided to keep it to himself, prophesy's were not to be trifled with, what would happen, would happen, Don Pedro left his library and returned to the main hall and set about giving orders to his staff to make everything ready for his guests departure.
An hour before dawn saw Don Pedro's guests ready to leave, the limo was waiting out by the front steps and the Princes guards had already got on board and were waiting for their Prince, Peter gave a small bow to Don Pedro before saying his good byes.
"Don Pedro, I would like to thank you for your excellent hospitality, if there is ever anything you wish of me then you only have to ask."
"Thank you My Lord, I only hope we have the chance to meet again and that everything will turn out for the better to the North."
"I'm sure that it will all turn out for the good in the end, Don Pedro, again our thanks."
Peter reached out a hand and shook firmly with Don Pedro as did Swiftwing, the two boys only looked at the old Vampire and smiled as they held hands with each other, Don Pedro watched the small group walk towards the Limo, it struck him how similar they were to the prophesy, the Indian consort walking on the right and the two little boys walking on the left as they held hands, Don Pedro decided he would try to read the boys and so, very gently he sent out his thoughts towards the two small boys.
Suddenly Don Pedro found himself on hands and knees, all he could remember was a darkness and then a bright flash of light in his head, he looked up from his place on the veranda steps, the two small boys were looking at him with a big smile on their faces, at the same time, both boys shook their heads and gave him a little boy wave with their fingers then they turned and went on and climbed into the Limo.
Don Pedro felt a humming in his head, at his age there should have been no one around except for one born a true blood, that could have resisted his attempt and no one that he could think of that could bypass his own defences so easily, especially such young boys that were not even Vampire, Don Pedro felt a tremble in his limbs at what might have been unleashed had he been an enemy.
Don Pedro gave thanks to whatever gods had protected him from the boys as he watched the Limo pull away from the Hacienda, a sudden lingering thought still in his mind along with the innocent picture of the little blonde boy, "don't be a naughty man" Don Pedro sighed and returned to his home, it would soon be light and, unlike the Prince, he could not resist the pull of the sun.
Peter knew they would be on the road for well over six hours before they could stop at an airfield just outside Mexico City, there Ramon Delgardo had organised a small charter plane to take them all the way down to the Yucatan Peninsular where he had a large, well protected new compound ready for them to move into, most of Peters equipment and people from the old homestead had already gone on ahead, when they arrived later in the night everything would be ready and in working order for them.
Sin Yu, Mbeda and Jason were encased in their black cloth, zip fronted shrouds and were in there day sleep in the rear of the Limo, Caleb was driving with Levi by his side, also in the rear behind the dark windows were Peter and Swiftwing, the small form of Quetz was asleep on Swiftwing's lap while Tezca was sitting between Swiftwing and Peter and holding onto Quetz small hand as he looked through the tinted window of the Limo at the passing country side, although there was not a lot to see apart from the endless sand and occasional rocky outcrop with shrivelled sage brush and cacti.
It was well into the afternoon before they pulled into the private air strip, off to the side sat a twin engine 402 Cessna, its blades lazily turning as the Limo came closer, around the aircraft were six large men, they stood immobile as they watched the black Limo pull closer to where they waited, Peter could see by their aura that they were all human and by their stance they were all armed.
The planes windows were fully blacked out and the short steps were down and waiting for passengers, Levi had changed places with Caleb some two hours earlier, he now drew the Limo up close to the waiting plane and pulled to a halt, one of the humans stepped forward and opened the rear door, when it was open and he could see the group of boys inside he asked no one in particular.
"Are you his Lordship, Prince Vladd?"
Peter replied easily.
"Yes, I'm Prince Vladd."
"Welcome Prince Vladd, Senor Delgardo has everything ready for you, do you need any help?"
"Yes, could you see that my three friends are comfortable in the plane before we board?"
Quickly the man spoke in Spanish and three of the guards ran over and carefully lifted the three sleeping vampires from the Limo, with little effort they carried the black shrouded boys to the plane and placed them carefully onto three seats that had been laid down to make small beds, Peter thanked the man and followed Swiftwing and the two small boys onto the plane, it was only minutes later and they were airborne.
When the small twin engine plane reached its best altitude, it turned south east and set its course for the Yucatan, the flight would take until just after sundown, another private air strip had been made ready for them, again Peter checked his Ipad to make sure everything was in readiness for their arrival, everything from the old house as well as all the staff and guard details had gone on ahead a week ago, by the time they arrived, all his security systems would be in full operation, in the back of his mind he was still worried about House Vaga, with the odds now against them, it was going to be a hard time for the street boys.
Just as the last glimmer of daylight was leaving the sky, the small plane began its descent down to a small landing strip hidden in the jungle of the Yucatan, it could just barely be seen in the approaching darkness as two lines of wavering dots of light amid the dark foliage and high trees that surrounded the flowing hills, Sin Yu and the others had been released from their shrouds and were now sitting in the upright seats watching the land below them rush past the little plane.
The engine revs slowed and the aircraft seemed to hang in the air as it lined up with the small strip of lights, seconds later and Peter felt the wheels bump slightly on the bare ground of the landing strip, the aircraft slowed its engines and ran slowly to a stop at the far end, as the pilot shut down the engines, Peter heard the latch of the door being released then a rush of fresh scent laden air rushed into the small plane, they had arrived.
As the group of eight boys stepped down from their transport, they saw a small group of people waiting for them, Peter soon was able to pick out the distinguished figure of Ramon Delgardo as he stood at the front of the reception committee, behind the group were four older model Hummers, they still carried their military paint work and were mud splattered and scratched by the heavy bush along the narrow muddy track that led away from the jungle air strip.
Delgardo stepped forward and greeted Peter and the others, then with hardly any time to waste, he ushered them into the Hummers and they set off along the dark rough road, Delgardo told Peter they would take about half an hour to get to the place he had chosen for their new homestead, he hoped Peter and his friends would find it good enough for their needs.
Peter thanked the Vampire and said he was grateful for any help he was offered at a time like this, the two boys had not gone unnoticed by Delgardo but he kept his thoughts to himself, or so he thought, the boys looked very young and innocent but there was something in their young eyes he was not sure of, they smiled willingly at Delgardo and made no effort to talk to him but sat between their new Daddies and held hands.
While all the Vampires could easily see in the darkness, the drivers were human as Peter could tell by their auras, the lights of the cars were on full and the muddy track was lit up as bright as day, as they came closer to their new home, Peter got the impression of something large looming out of the approaching jungle, adjusting his eye-sight he could just make out the looming shape of a square shaped pyramid through the thinning trees.
Only minutes had passed from when Peter had seen the shape in the darkness and when they were pulling into the clearing, there were a large number of the native people standing back close to the jungle, in the open clearing was the tall square shape of a very old pyramid, its outer steps were sparsely covered in vines and small pockets of shrubs and long leaves hanging down towards the ground.
As the Hummers pulled up in the clearing, Peter felt the two boys stiffen beside him, quickly grasping a small hand in his he asked Quetz what was wrong.
"Nothing Daddy P, we're both just happy to be home, it'll be ok soon, you'll see."
Peter looked around outside the confines of the Hummer, the group of natives had grown and there were now more than a hundred standing in the shadows, Delgardo got out of the Hummer and called to four of the older natives in a dialect Peter could not place, suddenly a large number of powerful lights came on and flooded the clearing in bright light, the natives never moved.
Peter led the others out of their vehicles, as soon as the two small boys stepped out, there was a humming of soft spoken voices from those gathered under the shadow of the jungle, Peter then saw the four older men stiffen and take a few steps toward the boys, the men were all dressed in similar garb although each was a little different.
The oldest was dressed in a type of woven breech clout that hung from waist to his knees, it was coloured in a variety of bright colours that seemed to be the main tones of the area, around his shoulders was a thick heavy cloak of some unknown fabric and covered in many different bird feathers making a variety of patterns, again in the same four basic colours, on his head was a tall feathered head dress made up with both feathers and long flowing plumes, around his arms and ankles were both beaded and metal bands, the anklets were made of a type of large seed and rattled when the old man moved, the arm bands were of metal that looked to be gold and were embossed with signs and symbols, the old mans face had a minimum of paint, only a wide band of yellow running from the middle of his forehead to the tip of his nose, the other three had the same stripe but of a different colour.
It seemed to Peter's eyes that almost everything the old men wore was based on the same four colours, red, green, white and orange, in the hands of the old men were a strange type of rattle and in the other was a long shafted spear but of different shapes, near the top were four flat fingers that stood out from each side of the shaft, on the top of each spear like shaft were different heads, the oldest man had one of the sun, the next was of a stylised birds head, the next was of the head of a jaguar and the last was a stylised snake, Peter felt movement beside him.
As the four old men began to sing and chant in an unheard language of long ago, the two boys clasped hands and without a word moved towards the old men, Peter could not see it but, the eyes of the two boys had become cloudy and their demeanour seemed to grow as they moved forward, now Peter saw that only the four old men were standing, all the other natives present were on the ground bowing with their heads on the ground as the two boys walked up close to the old men.
With a gesture from the two free hands of both boys, the four old men stopped and as quick as their age would permit them, they sank to the ground and rested their heads on the bare earth, from Tezca came the voice of an older teen, it held power and authority in it as it spoke in the ancient language of the Toltec, it seemed no one but the four old men could understand the words, a stillness had come over the whole area as even the night creatures were silenced by the strong voice of the long dead and now returned god Tezcatlipoca and his second spirit Quetzlcoatl, the rise of the Toltec was at hand, the gods of good and evil had returned to their people.
When the distant voice of the old god finished speaking through Tezca, the two boys relaxed and the oldest of the men lifted his head and asked a question of the boys, the two boys put their heads together and then nodded to the old man, they were still using the ancient language in its purest form which very few could speak in this day and age.
The old man called out loudly and soon four young boys emerged from the mass of bowed natives, they were about ten or eleven years old, each wore a very small piece of white clothe around their waist and had only two small metal bracelets on their ankles, their faces had been covered with a bright yellow paint and their eyes surrounded in black, the boys quickly went to the front of the two boys and sank to their knees and bowed their heads to the ground, they stayed that way without moving as the old man continued talking to the two boys from his position on the ground, his forehead still firmly on the ground in abeyance to his returned gods.
When the old man had finished speaking there was total silence all around then, even the jungle seemed to recognise the special occasion of the return of the two young gods, suddenly, from the far reaches of the jungle came the high pitched shrieking cry of a lone jaguar, the sound echoed throughout the silent jungle and, as if it was a sign, the jungle refilled with the noises of the night animals, the tension in the air disappeared and everything returned to normal except for the bowed natives.
With little effort, Quetz called out in a local dialect and the natives, almost tentiveley, lifted their eyes to the two small boys that stood alone in front of them, only the four boys still on the ground did not move until Tezca and Quetz turned back and rejoined the others grouped to the side watching the event.
Quetz went and clasped the hand of Swiftwing and Tezca did the same with Peter, as they stood there beside their two new Fathers, the four boys immediately knelt beside them again, two to each of the small gods, immediately Peter could feel the pull of the power now invested in his two sons, as he glanced back to where the large gathering of tribesmen had been he saw that the clearing was now empty apart from themselves and the four new additions.
Peter heard a gasp of breath and turned to see the wide staring eyes of Ramon Delgardo looking around the empty clearing, with an unsteady voice he said to Peter.
"I'm sorry My Lord, I didn't know this was going to happen, we had no idea they were even here."
"There's nothing to apologise for Ramon, it seems my boys were expected, now where's our home, I can't see any house here, is it further on?"
"No My Lord, this is it, you'll find it's full of secrets, this was believed to have once been a temple of the ancient Toltec, it has many hidden doors and passages, from the outside it looks much like any of the pyramids that can be found all over the Americas but this one was special, it's been said it was the birthplace of Quetzalli and Tezcatlipoca, if your sons are the reincarnations it's a wonder they don't know the place for what it is?"
A small voice spoke up from Swiftwing's side; there was an underlying cheekiness in it.
"Oh we know it's our home, do you want us to show you all the doorways and passages?"
If Vampires could blush then Ramon's face would have been bright red at the implied rebuke in the small voice, Peter interrupted and asked Quetz.
"Ok my son, take us home, I need to see all my people before the sun rises and sends most of them to bed."
"Ok Daddy P, come on, this way."
Quetz led the group around to the other side of the pyramid, as he walked along the side of the large base wall of hewn blocks of granite, he looked to be reading the symbols carved deeply into the stone, as if he recognised every mark, Quetz mumbled softly to himself, finally he stopped in front of a carving of a stylised serpent, its eyes were overlarge and its jaws were wide open as though about to swallow something.
Quetz looked around the ground for a moment and then picked up a dried stick and, with a little smile at his new Father, pushed the stick into one of the eye sockets, with a loud cracking sound, the edges of the eyes socket snapped shut and cut through the stick with ease, Peter heard a small giggle from Quetz as he dropped the cut stick.
"See, Daddy P, it still works."
"What are you talking about, son?"
"It's an old trap; if you aren't one of us then it cuts off your hand."
"What do you mean, 'one of us'?"
"Me or Tezca, we can open this door but no one else can, if you want to get inside now you have to climb right up to the top, that's right, isn't it Senor Delgardo?"
"Yes, yes it is, but how did you know about this, there's no door here, people have been working on this pyramid for a long time and no doors apart from the one at the top have ever been found."
"Because this is our home, me and Tezca know every nook and cranny in it, where you have made my Daddy P's new home is only the temple part, most of it you haven't seen yet, only Tezca and me can open the rest, you watch."
Without further thought, Quetz stuck his hand into the same eye socket that had cut the stick in half, there was no sound and action, with a smile, Quetz felt around and then sighed as a loud click came from where his hand and forearm were buried in the eye socket, seconds later and there came a deep rumbling sound deep within the pyramid, slowly, and much to the surprise of those gathered around the small blonde boy, two large squares of solid rock pulled back into the pyramid and then, with more grinding and rumbling, the stones began to pull apart and disappear into the wall leaving a large and dark passage way leading into the depths of the stone edifice.
Quetz pulled his small hand from the hole and, with a familiar smile, led the group inside, as he entered, something from deep in the dark passage hissed and, with no hand touching anything, a long row of old fashioned torches began to light as though by magic, the first thing Peter and the others saw as the light increased was two tall totems, both appeared to be made of solid gold and stood well over three metres high, the detail in the workmanship was beyond anything any of the group had ever seen, in the shimmering light of the torches, the reptiles seemed to be writhing and their scaly bodies appeared to be moving in sinuous ways, Quetz reached out and ran his hand over the tall totems and then moved on.
Quetz led them deeper into the pyramid, the passage was wide and dry, only a thin film of old dust was disturbed as they moved as quietly as they could, the haunting silence of the place gave them an unerring feeling of age and power, it took only a few minutes more before they walked into a large open area, the walls of solid stone disappeared into the gloom as they took in the sheer size and scope of the room.
At the centre of the room was a large stone dais, it went up for seven steps and at the top were two identical golden thrones, the workmanship and scroll work were so detailed it seemed to be moving and telling its story as they watched, without a pause, both boys let go of their Fathers hands and climbed the steps, as they trod on each step and went to the next, the one below them pulled back into the dais until the boys were standing beside the thrones and all the steps had disappeared into the solid looking block of the dais, they were now close to seven feet above the others and, to an ordinary human, untouchable to any mans hand.
The boys looked down at their friends and gave a small wave and smiles.
"See Daddy P, we know all the secrets, this is our home now."
Turning towards the two thrones, the two boys went and sat, as they did, more hidden torches came to life and for the first time the group saw how big the room really was, Peter and the others looked around in awe at what they had stepped into, even with their own enhanced vision, they had not been able to see into the darkest corners before the torches came to life.
Behind him Peter heard the sound of soft whimpering, turning around he saw the four boys lying on their stomachs, their heads buried as far into the stone floor as they could get, Peter looked up at his two new sons as they sat in the golden thrones, everything in the huge room seemed to fit the boys and they looked comfortable and at ease as they sat there looking around the room, Peter called up to them.
"What's wrong with these boys?"
"Oh nothing daddy P, they're just worried about when we are going to sacrifice them."
"They're the sacrifice boys from the people, it's ok Daddy P, we're not going to kill them like the old days, now we have to wait for our bodies to get strong and then we just take a little energy from them each five days, just like you and Daddy S do with bad men's blood but we have to have boys energy that haven't done sex things with girls."
"When do you do that, Quetz?"
"Soon, before we had to be big boys but now we will start to need the energy thing sooner, I don't know why it's changed, maybe it's this new world."
"Ok, but do they know they won't die?"
"Oh, I never thought of that Daddy P, maybe we should tell them."
"Yes, maybe you should, why don't you come down now and we can go and have something to eat and a rest, it's been a long few days."
"Ok, Daddy P, come on Tezca, lets go eat."
The two boys rose from the thrones and, as they stepped closer to the edge of the dais the steps began to reappear from the smooth blank walls and the two boys walked calmly down as the steps reappeared, soon they were holding hands with their Fathers and leading them to a far corner of the huge room, with a movement of his fingers over another carved pattern, Tezca opened another passage and they went on their way, Peter noticed that the floor was now sloping upward, they were headed towards the top of the pyramid and the known temple of the sun where their friends and house hold waited for them.
As the group rose inside the pyramid, the only sound that could be heard was the occassional soft sniffle of one of the sacrifice boys at the rear until the soft voice of Tezca said something in the old dialect and the four boys seemed to relax and the tears quietened although they could still feel a little tension coming from the boys.
As they rose to the top of the pyramid, neither Quetz nor Tezca would explain to their Fathers what the level held as they passed through one large room after another, each with its own secrets, even to the long lived Vampires, the riches they saw and the size and scope of the building inside the pyramid startled them, here was the finest of the ancient art of stone working and craftsmanship, they saw room after room piled high with gold and silver artifacts as well as rough cut gem stones that lay littering the stone floors, from what Peter and his friends could see, there was by far, more than a kings ransom hidden deep in the pyramids secret rooms and levels, the conquistadors had no real idea of what they had missed.
It was ten minutes before the group finally came out into the main hall of the temple from a secret passage, Peter thought back to the winding, sloping path they had followed but could only remember parts of it but he felt as though they had followed a route that led around the outer walls of the levels but crossed from one side to the other as they went up, it was certainly a maze and Peter had lost count of how many times either Quetz or Tezca had stopped to push, pull or poke a symbol on one of the decorations that lined the walls and passages.
The boys had said they were disarming traps that had waited for centuries and were even no just as dangerous, at their entrance into the temple, The group heard a loud gasp and then cheers as their patiently waiting friends saw them appear from the blank walls, the temple was a hive of activity but the two small boys had only one thing on their minds and the smell of Millie's cooking took precedence over everything else as far as they were concerned, letting go of the Fathers hands, the boys took off at a run towards a side room from which came the smell of food, the four young sacrifice boys were hot on their heels but keeping a respectful distance from their gods.
Peter and Swiftwing looked around the temple, they were standing in the main room from which many smaller passages went off in all directions, only a large stone alter at the far end remained untouched, the central area had been turned into their security and admin room as well as a reception area, everything was made mobile so that the room could be cleared if needed for anything else.
Ramon Delgardo told them about the number of rooms for their own personal use and how the communications ariels had been hidden deep in the surrounding jungle, only the black cables leading to the top of the pyramid told of any habitation and even they were made to look more like natural vines from the jungle, it would take someone that knew they were there to find them, Delgardo also told Peter that the natives they had seen on arrival would not divulge their whereabouts because of the two small boys.
Slowly the new arrivals began to feel safe and, although it was not their home, they felt relaxed at the natural feel to the place, Peter could tell by the look on Swiftwing's face, that his lover was quite happy to be here among the old trees and vines of the jungle even though it was not his normal locale, the humidity made it obvious they were no longer in the barrenness of Swiftwing's ancestors.
As the days passed, everyone settled into their routines, it was only the daily appearance of piles of fresh foods that appeared on the lower steps of the pyramid each morning that made the new guests a little more alert, even with outside guards on patrol, no one was ever seen delivering the foodstuffs, although Peter and the others were assured by their two boys that it was the natives of the jungle that were doing it, it was their way of offerings to the returned gods, as they explained all this the two boys would giggle and make faces that were not what little gods should do.
It was during the second week that Peter was called to the top of the pyramid steps, as he came outside from the depths of the temple, he saw waiting for him the four old men, this time they were dressed in old worn normal clothes but still held their long spear staffs, the original elder approached Peter and introduced himself in old Spanish as the leading elder of the tribes, as if he knew what he was doing, Peter offered them food and drink as the sun was high and it was evident that the old men were a little uncomfortable in the humid heat.
After they had eaten a little, the old men began to talk so fast Peter could not follow them, suddenly the four old men were on their knees and then bent forward with their heads on the floor, from behind Peter came the young voice of Quetz.
"Daddy P, he says that we have to go with them, we'll be back in four days and he wants you to clear the temple room for the ceremony."
"Thank you son, do you know what the ceremony is for?"
"Yes Daddy P, it's for us to grow up."
Quetz spoke rapidly to the old men who were still on their knees with their heads down, at a mumbled reply from the leader; Quetz told Peter and Swiftwing what was going on.
"He said as you are our Daddies you can be there but everyone else must leave the temple for the day, I told him we're ready now so he can take us, ok, Daddy P, don't worry, we'll be back in four days then we can grow up and be big boys."
Peter could not take in how trusting the small boy was, he had just got here and now he was quite happy leaving with strangers for four days to do only god knows what but he could not say no, it was something the boys knew about and he had to trust them, he just hoped it was all going to be alright.
Five minutes later and the four old men, along with the four sacrifice boys and the two young ones, were out of sight in the nearby jungle, suddenly Peter felt a loneliness he had never felt before, the sudden disappearance of his two new sons was like an ache deep inside his chest, only the near loss of Swiftwing when he was injured had made him feel the same.
Over the next four days, Peter set in motion the requirements of moving everything out of the temple, on the morning of the fourth day it was empty and only Peter and Swiftwing were left to stand and wait for the return of their two young sons, as the first rays of the sun hit the top of the pyramid, a sound like chanting could be heard approaching from the depths of the jungle.
Peter and Swiftwing tried to see into the cover of green but even their extra strong eye sight could not make out anything until the first of the trees close to the jungle edge began to move and, suddenly they saw the head of a parade of traditionally dressed natives, bright colours, feathers and plumes as well as gold bracelets and the rattle of seed anklets began to fill the clearing as more and more of the people walked and half danced from the cover of the trees.
The two boys soon lost count of the people as they began to fill the clearing until the pyramid was totally surrounded by them, only a narrow path leading to the steps of the pyramid was left clear, Peter estimated at a rough guess there were over one thousand people, men, women, children, all were there.
As if a switch had been thrown, the mass of chanting people suddenly went totally quiet, as if they were all attached by an invisible string, everyone, even down to the youngest child, fell to their knees and then placed their heads on the ground with their arms outstretched in front of them.
From the jungles edge and in line with the cleared space, the four old men appeared, in their centre were Quetz and Tezca, the two small boys were naked except for a small gold belt and cup that covered their boy parts, the boys were painted in the four primary colours, a different one for each leg or arm, their torsos were covered in a fine gold dust and their heads had been shaved clean, in the place of their hair were two gold circles, each ending in a snakes head facing the front, the boys looked calm but solemn as they walked between the older men.
Slowly, and with a dignity that Peter had never seen before in boys so young, the small procession made its way to the bottom of the pyramid and then began to take the long climb to the top, once the group of six were seven steps up, the rest of the crowd began to rise and quietly make their way towards the steps and began to climb them at the same pace as the ones above them.
Slowly the procession made its way upwards, Peter and Swiftwing stood silently at the top and to the side of the steps watching the large crowd climb, when the group of six arrived at the top, the leader of the elders indicated for Peter and Swiftwing to take a place, one on each side of the two boys.
The procession of eight now made its way into the sanctum of the temple, the crowds behind them filing silently in until the large hall was filled around the walls, the area in the center was left empty and, as Peter looked around, he saw that at the end of the crowd of people were a number of men with large clay pots and four large covered boxes from which came some very angry growls, each cage took four men to carry and each large clay pot took two.
The people assembled around the outer limits of the temple went to their knees and then prostrated themselves on the stone floor, not a sound was heard until the old man at the head of the eight began a slow chant, as he did so, a ray of sunlight lit up something Peter had never seen, it was a large gold disc embossed to look like the sun, as the ray of light hit this it lit up the room and shone down directly on the two young boys in the center of the room, at a signal from the elder, the four men moved to four large stone pillars and raised their hands to the sconces that held unlit torches.
Peter and Swiftwing were now standing at the edge of cleared floor and the two young boys stood alone in the center, the ray of sunlight lit them in a glow so bright it was like a search light, as the light got to its brightest, the four old men pulled down on the sconces, with a deep rumble and a vibration under their feet, a section of floor about six metres square slowly sank into the floor lowering the boys in a smooth descent.
Once the boys were nearly three metres below the rest of the room, the section stopped sinking but the beam of sunlight was still on them, next the men with the clay jars went to the edge of the newly opened pit and opened the jars then tilted them enough so their contents could slide free.
Much to Peter and Swiftwing's horror, they saw sliding from the jars were four huge Boa Constrictors, these relatives of the Anaconda, were nearly twenty feet long and as thick as a mans torso, the snakes dropped the three metres into the hole and immediately coiled themselves, one to each side of the sunken arena, the two boys stood perfectly still and totally unconcerned as the huge snakes reared their heads and began to sway back and forth as though sizing up their next meal.
Next were the men with the four boxes, they took them close to the edge and then very carefully opened one end, like a jet powered bundle of black spotted yellow fury, four Jaguars leapt into the arena and began to stalk around the remaining space, occasionally screaming at the coiled snakes.
Peter and Swiftwing felt as much as heard the deep rumble under their feet as, from the sides of the manmade arena came four large slabs of stone, within a minute the two boys were buried under the floor and only the muffled screams of the cats could be heard, Peter and Swiftwing began to tremble as they felt totally powerless to act and save their new sons.
Slowly the chanting rose as the sounds from under the floor diminished until there was nothing but silence, Peter and Swiftwing could do nothing for their boys, the crowd stayed quiet and unmoving, only the exceptional hearing of the two Vampires could detect the sound of the crowds breathing in the still air.
The long wait never seemed to end and still the room was deathly quiet, even the hidden pit was silent, from the jungle below, nothing stirred and no sounds were heard, Peter and Swiftwing could only stand and wait, their self taught patience was the only thing keeping them from taking some type of action, although they didn't know what or how, they could only wait and hope their sons were ok.
It started as a low hum of sound and then grew as the crowd of waiting people took up an ancient chant, from behind Peter and Swiftwing, the wall behind the alter began to open, once it was wide enough, from its depths came first the four Jaguars.
They stalked slowly out of the darkness and settled at the center of each side at the base of the stone alter, next came the huge snakes, they slithered to the four corners of the alter and took up their coiled stance with their heads raised in defiance and threat.
From the room behind the two Vampires came a shuffling sound and the four sacrifice boys came forward, their eyes told of their drugged state as they made their way to the alter and climbed up where they then lay down side by side, once all was ready, the two Vampires watched as, from the darkness came the steady slap of four bare feet on the cold stone.
Peter and Swiftwing stared in disbelief as two teens, one pale and the other dark skinned walked to the alter and took a boy in their arms, with careful placement, the two teens then buried their mouths into the sacrifice boys shoulders and stayed still as they let the energy flow into them, when they thought the boys had given enough, they turned to the next boy each and repeated the process.
With their Vampire vision, Peter and Swiftwing could see the aura of the four boys dim but not die; the two teens had taken only enough life energy from the boys to sustain themselves. Once finished, the two teens turned to the mass of people and they seemed to be glowing with a vital energy that made their very souls sing, it was now that the two Vampires could see that the teens were really their two new sons but older, their eyes showed the wisdom of ages but their youthful looks showed only the maturity of young teens.
The Vampires sharp hearing soon detected a small scratching coming from the darkest corner behind the alter, slowly they watched as two of the largest scorpions they had ever seen came scuttling from the darkness, both were well over the size of two hands and were jet black, their exo-skeletons shone in the bright sunlight still pouring in from the holes in the sides of the temple wall near the roof as they moved steadily towards the two teens.
Peter watched as both boys knelt on the floor and held out their left hand to the huge scorpions, with hardly a pause the scorpions ran up the arms of the teens and then settled on their forearms, the legs were wrapped around the boys arm and the tail was straight out and laying over the wrist and back of the hand, it was a bizarre looking wrist bracelet.
A silence descended over the temple as the two boys raised their right hands and held them above the black scorpions and, just as they smashed their right hand down on the top of the scorpion, the insects raised their venomous barb and drove it into the back of the boys hands, a small grimace could be seen on the boy's faces as the barb hit and began to pump its venom into them.
At the exact same time as the barb entered the boys hands, a sudden darkness covered the sunlight and the room became black as night, at the same time there was a loud crack of thunder directly above the temple, for minutes nothing stirred in the large room, no sound could be heard and no movement could be detected, it was as though, for those few minutes, the world had paused for breath.
It started as a small glimmer of light and then steadily grew until once again the room was full of light but, not from the sun, it was from the two boys standing in the centre of the room, slowly the light dimmed and was taken over by hundreds of torches catching light around the walls, only Peter, Swiftwing and the four elders raised their eyes to where the boys stood, a simultaneous gasp came from both Vampires as they saw their sons.
The two teens stood upright in front of the alter, both the snakes and the Jaguars had disappeared, instead, in their place, on the left forearm where the live scorpion had been there was now a detailed black tattoo of the large insect, it was correct right down to the joints of the legs, on the upper left arm was the beginning of the Jaguars yellow and black spotted tail, it wound around their upper arm until it came to their young shoulders where it widened and became the hindquarters, it then rolled over the shoulder and the forequarters and head were resting on their young chests, the detailing of the Jaguars made them look alive.
On their right arm, from wrist to shoulder, were the coils of the Boa Constrictor, it wound its way around their arms until it reached their shoulder, it was then that the head flowed over and down onto the chest where the square stylised head of a Toltec serpent of immaculate detail rested, from the faces of the two teens shone a light of power and ages of knowledge, the chants of the people in the great temple increased until nothing could be heard but the ancient words of adoration for the return of their gods, the left hand of death and destruction, and the right hand of justice and life.