Nightfall: Full Moon
Copyright © 2016 by Roland
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved
Runi stayed silent as they walked away from the alley, allowing Hank to have the mental conversation he was having. He decided not to tell Hank that he was 'thinking too loudly', and more than once, Runi had to stop from laughing at what Hank was saying. But he could also sense how much this meant to Hank, so Runi kept his mouth shut.
"Lord…" Hank started but Runi held up his hand to stop him.
"Please do me the honor of calling me by my given name. Honorifics have their place, but at times like these, they simply get in the way. So, please call me Runi."
"As you wish." Hank said somewhat uncomfortably. He may not like the idea of calling someone this powerful by anything other than the proper address for someone of his age and power. But he was not about to disrespect Runi either. "I just wanted to let you know that the other people at our house have never had to welcome an Ancient before. I beg that you not hold their lack of knowledge against them."
Runi nodded. "I will not." Runi stopped walking and the other three stopped as well. "It does disturb me though, that the Concords have been broken like this."
Hank nodded in agreement, however, Jared couldn't help himself. "The Concords?"
Runi turned and looked at him as if he had three heads. "You do not even know of the Concords?"
Jared took a few steps back in fear, which caused Runi to soften considerably. "I am sorry if I frightened you, young one. I am just finding the things you say difficult to believe. Please feel free to speak as you normally would, and I will answer what I can." Jared hesitantly nodded, which caused Runi to smile, then motioned for Hank to continue to lead them. Once they were all walking, Runi started to speak. "The Concords are the laws that all Vampires are supposed to live by. They are sometimes called the Blood Laws, in case you have ever heard that term. They are what set up the Houses, and the Councils. They set forth the ways that the Vampires as a whole will live, and what they are and are not allowed to do. One of the most important laws in the Concords is that a Sire takes a responsibility to their Childe when they are turned. Normally a Childe would be under a Sire's protection and tutelage for the entire time they are a Fledgling, about twenty years."
"I was somewhat of a slow learner." Hank said with a smile. "I wasn't released from my Sire's care till I was almost thirty years in Darkness."
"What other laws are there?" Jared asked completely entranced by what he was learning.
"Well." Runi started as he slipped into teacher mode. "It was almost unheard of for a Vampire to be turned without them knowing what they were getting into. It is entirely improper to change someone without their consent. That makes for many problems, which I think you can attest to."
"Yeah…" Jared said softly, then spoke louder. "I mean it hasn't been terrible with Lugh and everyone else, but… Well let's just say I would not have chosen to become a Vampire if I had the choice."
Runi simply nodded, but stayed quiet as he sensed that the young Vampire was dealing with his own demons. Finally Jared turned and looked at Colt. "Would it be bad to ask what you are?"
Colt couldn't help but laugh, but also shook his head. "Nope. I'm a Werewolf."
"I thought so!" Hank said excitedly. Then turned to Runi. "From what my Sire told me one time, all the Werewolves were hunted down and killed."
"That they were. However, since Humans and Werewolves could interbreed, the only way to truly force the Wolf Folk into extinction, would have been to kill all the Humans. They killed all that were known, and then started to hunt down all they could find that were about to shift. Thankfully, Colt was able to fight back. Then I found him, and began to train him in the ways of the Wolves."
"But you're a Vampire." Jared said. "I thought Werewolves and Vampires hated each other. At least, that's what the movies always said."
"I am not sure what these movies are you speak of, but I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that for a very long time, longer than I have been around, the Wolf Folk and the Vampires were not only allies, but also friends, and companions. It was not until the Lord of Twilight decided that he should rule over all supernaturals that the Wolves fought the Vampires. Unfortunately for the Wolves, the Vampires were much more numerous, and eventually wore them down."
"Wow…" Jared and Colt said together, then looked at each other and laughed.
Jared couldn't help himself. "So what's it like? You know, being able to shift and stuff."
"At first it was kinda freaky, and it hurt like hell!" Colt answered with a grin. "Both changing into and changing back to Human, hurt. But the changing back to Human hurt worse. However, the more I did it, the more natural it became. Now, well I can feel both the Wolf Form, and the War Form just below the surface, ready to come out if needed."
"War Form?" Jared asked confused.
"Yeah. When I changed out of the Wolf Form, the first form you saw me as, I shifted into the War Form to fight those guys." Colt answered
"It was really cool to watch you rip into the Scavengers like that." Jared said with a grin, and almost a bit of hero worship.
"Yeah… that was the first real fight I've been in, and, as weird as it may sound, it felt really good."
"As it should." Runi said softly. "The Wolf Folk were created for combat. You finally got to do what your Beast was made for."
The group fell silent for a few moments, before Jared spoke up again. "What are the Houses you talked about. Is that sort of like the house that Lugh has for us?"
"If I may?" Hank said looking at Runi, who simply nodded. "No, when Runi talks about Houses, he's talking about the official Houses, not just where a group of Vampires are staying. The Houses are the ruling body of a local area. They make up the House Council, with its leader being a member of the Ancient Council."
Runi couldn't help but chuckle at the lost look on Jared and Colt's faces. "This is why a Childe isn't released for about twenty years. It takes that long to really learn how to be a part of the Vampire Society."
Jared laughed softly. "And here I thought it was mostly just everyone for themselves."
"No." Runi replied emphatically. "That's the way the Scavengers operate. The whole reason for the Concords was to combat the scourge that are the Scavengers."
"Why?" Colt asked simply.
"Scavengers only care for themselves, and what power they can gain. They care not for the laws, nor for making sure that we are not found out by the Humans." Runi stated.
"They have also recently started to hunt the other Vampires to try and gain their powers." Hank added.
"You mean it's not just Deacon?" Jared asked, to which Hank shook his head.
"The Houses are not fighting them?" Runi asked.
"No. The Houses around here are afraid of the Scavengers." Hank replied, which caused a low growl to come from Runi.
"That will change." Runi said with finality.
Nothing else was said for a few moments, before Hank stopped them outside of a warehouse. "We're here." Hank said before he started towards the side door.
As they approached, Runi smiled as he saw a lone, young-looking girl standing in front of the door. He reached out with his mind and found that she was pretty strong for being barely a Juvenile. The thing that impressed him the most though was the fact that she was able to keep the fear and uncertainty that she was feeling from reaching her stony features.
When they got close, she bowed low, then opened the door, and motioned for the small group to enter. Once inside, she closed the door and moved to the front of the group. "Lord, if you would please follow me." She said directing that to Runi, who nodded, but did not let his features change at all. He wanted to keep his features as stony as she did.
He followed her down a long corridor before coming to another closed door. The girl did not stop, simply opened the door, and stepped quickly inside. Runi hesitated for only a moment, allowing her to get into position before he stepped forward into the room. "May I present to you, Lord Runihora, Ancient of the Vampire People, and his companion, Colt."
Runi walked in as everyone bowed lowly. He took a moment to look around the room, not letting his features slip at all, even though he wanted to sigh. When he stepped fully into the living area of the house, he nodded to the girl in thanks. Moving past the four who remained bowed, Runi made towards the man that was standing near the middle of the room.
Off to the right, in a corner of the room was a single Human that was simply standing there watching. Runi knew that this was the Human that was going to be fed from, and someone in the room was keeping his mind broken down, so he just stood there.
Behind the man in the middle stood two others, both of them dressed in all white, meaning they were Humans, not that Runi needed the indication, since he knew before he even stepped in the room. One was an adult, and stood just behind the man, and the other was a young teen who stood a bit further behind.
When Runi got close to the man, the man bowed, which signaled the two Humans behind to also bow, as low as they possibly could. The humans stayed bowed, even as the man stood back up. The girl moved forward and spoke loudly. "May it please the Lord, I present Lugh Gailbreath. The Protector and Ruler of this House and all within its walls."
Without acknowledging the girl, Runi nodded to Lugh and spoke. "Thank you for allowing me entrance into your House."
"The Honor is ours." Lugh said as he bowed again. "If it would please you, may I introduce to you those that call this place home."
"Of course." Runi said, smiling for the first time.
Lugh stepped forward, and both of them turned towards where the rest of the Vampires were standing, having risen from their bow. "First, I would like to introduce the second oldest member of the House, Connie Blackstar." Runi nodded to the girl who had introduced him.
Lugh then motioned towards the black haired, sixteen-year-old looking boy. "Next we have Jazz, Decker, Jennifer, Bryan, and finally Alexandra."
Runi nodded to each as Lugh said their names, then turned with Lugh to look at the Humans, who were still bowed. "My Bonded, William Turner, and a prospect, Devin Granger."
Runi looked hard at Devin, then walked over and stood in front of the boy. Devin made sure to stay bowed, at least until Runi reached down, and gently lifted his head, till he was able to look into the Human's eyes. "So you are thinking about becoming as we are."
"Ye… Yes, Lord." Devin stuttered.
"You have nothing to fear from me Human. It would be rude to feed off of someone else's Prospect. I just wish to see if you have what it takes." Runi said, then stared deep into the boy's eyes. Devin wasn't sure why, but he relaxed at Runi's words, even going so far as to not drop his eyes, when Runi met his. Of course, everyone else knew that Runi was now in control of the young Human, and rifling through his memories.
For more than a minute, no one spoke as Runi stared into Devin's eyes. Finally he dropped his hand, and released his control, before turning back, and looking at Lugh. "He will be a strong one I think."
"Thank you Lord." Lugh said, not really sure what else to say at that moment. Runi then looked over at the Human that was being controlled and motioned towards him.
"Release that one." He said, and a moment later the man slumped, then looked around with wild eyes. He opened his mouth to scream, but then closed it so hard that two of his teeth chipped. "You have chosen well." Runi said as the Human started to walk towards him. "This one will atone for his sins, with his life." Runi then looked at Lugh and smiled. "Would you feed with me?"
Lugh nodded, and stepped up next to Runi, while the Human walked up, and offered each of them one of his wrists. Lugh waited until Runi had started to feed before he started. Moments later, the Human fell at their feet, dead.
Bill stepped forward, but waited until Lugh nodded before he reached down to drag the Human out of the room. "Allow the Prospect to assist you." Runi said, looking at Devin. The boy hesitated only a moment, before he moved over to help Bill drag the body from the room.
Once they were gone, Runi turned and looked at Lugh, then Hank, then the rest. "My thanks to each of you. I know that before tonight, Hank was the only one to know how to properly greet an Ancient. Even though you do not have the proper number of people, you still did a very good job, with very little time to prepare. You have all done a great credit to your House." Runi paused and let the words sink in before he moved over to a chair.
"Now, unless anyone objects, let us dispense with formalities. I would ask that you all call me Runi. Honorifics have their place and you have all shown that you can properly honor those that deserve it. For the frank conversations that are to come, they would only get in the way."
No one moved until Hank started to chuckle. "Guys, an Ancient just asked you very nicely to be yourselves. It would be rather rude to not do as he asked." Hank then moved over to another chair, and sat. That broke the tension, and everyone quickly found someplace to sit.
Taking his seat, Runi looked around at everyone, his eyes finally landing on Lugh. "If I may ask, how did this House come to be?"
Lugh sighed, then sat back in his seat. He took a moment to gather his thoughts, then he spoke. "It all started about seven years ago. I had gotten out of the military after my twenty years, and came home to run the family business. See, my grandfather had started this warehouse, when shipping became a big thing here. He passed it onto my father, who passed it on to me, when he died ten years ago. William, my Bonded, had been running the business while I was still serving.
"Anyways, I had been back for about four months when I started to notice a few people coming in and out of the warehouse at night. When I was finally able to confront them…" Lugh paused as he smiled at Connie and Jazz, who blushed slightly. "I found out that they were just homeless kids. I couldn't just kick them out, so I let them stay. A few months later, I found out that they were Vampires." He paused again to laugh. "Talk about a shock, but, since I caught Connie feeding, I kinda couldn't deny the truth."
"You were still Human?" Runi asked, to which Lugh nodded. "You didn't make them leave?"
"No." Lugh said as he shook his head. "I mean sure, I was scared, but no matter what else they may have been, I still saw kids. By that point, they had been helping out around the warehouse at night. And well, I got to know them. I knew they weren't bad kids."
"How did you get turned?" Runi asked.
"Would you be offended if I declined to answer that?" Lugh asked nervously.
Runi cocked his head to the side, but then shook it. "No. Everyone should be allowed to have their secrets, or not speak about things they do not wish to." Runi then looked first at Hank, then to Lugh, and back again. "Would either of you like to explain to me why a Fledgling holds the responsibility of House Lord, when there is an obvious Elder here, who knows the ancient ways."
Hank looked down at the floor, then up at Runi. "I'm sorry to say this Lord…" Runi did not miss the use of the title, which meant he wasn't going to like what he heard next. He wasn't wrong. "In this day and age, even as an Elder, I would not be permitted to become a House Lord."
"Why not?" Runi asked simply.
"Because I'm a Half Life."
"The Fledgling Jared said something of the same sort. Please explain what this 'Half Life' is." Runi asked in a barely suppressed growl.
Hank sighed and stood up, starting to pace. "A Half Life is someone who was turned before they reached adulthood."
"And that matters why?" Runi's confusion was clear to everyone.
"Because other Vampires will never see anything other than a child when they look at us." Hank's anger was evident.
"Simply because most of the Vampires of today feel that Half Lifes are children." Lugh said in his soft voice. "As has been said to me several times, children should be seen and not heard."
"I see." Runi said softly.
"The one time I did inquire about House status, I was bluntly told that it would not be accepted." Hank said sadly. "Since that time, I have tried to keep my head down, and not bring trouble to this place."
Runi was about to reply when he saw Colt out of the corner of his eye. The boy was sniffing at the air. Before Runi could ask, Colt jumped to his feet, his clothing was shredded from his body as he snap shifted to War Form. He had just turned towards the way they came in when they heard the front door get blown in. Colt didn't bother with the door to the room they were in, he just ran through it, letting out a roar of challenge as he did.
As everyone jumped to their feet, they heard a scream from the back part of the living area. "DEVIN!" Hank cried, and was off like a shot, Jared right behind him.
Runi immediately took command, and pointed to the two youngest Vampires in the room, other than Lugh. "You two… stay here. If anything gets past Colt, take them. There are only about ten at the front door, but there's a lot more at the back." He then drew his sword and ran out the way that Hank and Jared went.
Lugh ran over to the wall, and hit a spot, causing a weapons cache to open up. He grabbed two 12-gauge shotguns, and tossed them to Alex and Bryan, the two that Runi told to stay there. He then grabbed a double-bladed broad axe, and ran out behind Runi, as the rest were grabbing weapons and following.
Hank crashed through the door to the back just in time to see a Vampire drop Devin's body to the ground, next to William's. Without even thinking about it, Hank drew back and threw his sword with all his strength. His aim was true, as just as the Vampire looked up, the sword entered his chest, picking him up off his feet and impaling him into the cement wall behind.
Hank didn't slow, he saw another Vampire turn towards him, and attacked him with a ferocity not seen by many creatures. He didn't even slow as he ran by the Vampire, grabbed him and threw him through several of the other attacking Vampires. This gave Hank enough time to draw his other sword, and before Jared even got into the room, three Scavengers were dusted as their heads came off. Hank spared a glance at Devin to see the boy barely moving. "Protect Devin!" Hank ordered. Jared then jumped over a Vampire and landed in a crouch over top of the injured Human.
Hank counted no less than twenty Vampires that were now facing off against him. He was preparing to attack when he heard a voice that caused him to shiver in fear, even though it wasn't directed at him. "YOU DARE TO ATTACK AN ANCIENT!" Runi's voice was heard, as suddenly Hank saw the smaller Vampire standing next to him. "YOU DARE ATTACK RUNIHURA?" Several of the Vampires stepped back in fear as Runi spoke, but they weren't allowed to move very far. Runi attacked, with Hank only a step behind him.
While intense, the fight only lasted a few seconds as Lugh, Connie, Decker, Jenny, and Jazz joined in the fight. While they only stayed to the fringes of the fight, they did get their fair share, with Lugh, Decker, and Connie all taking injuries. The defining moment of the fight came when Runi, faster than even most of the Vampires could follow, ran through the crowd, and cut off their escape. At that point, it was Hank on one side, Runi on the other, and both of them were cutting a bloody swath through the attacking Vampires. Some of them tried to throw down their weapons, but neither Hank nor Runi were in the mood to take prisoners. All surrendering got them was a quick death.
When the fighting stopped, Hank walked over to the Vampire that was still impaled to the wall. He didn't care that he could smell smoke, all he cared about was that he knew this Vampire, and his being there was going to cause a lot of issues. The Vampire was trying to grab the sword that pierced his chest, but didn't have the strength to do anything. Hank shook his head, grabbed the hilt, and yanked it out of the wall, causing the Vampire to scream in unimaginable pain, and slump to the floor.
"That was a good shot, although I do not believe this Elder would agree with me." Runi said as he looked the Vampire over. "You destroyed his heart. He will live, until he starves to death."
"I know." Hank said with disgust as he kicked the now sobbing Vampire, then turned and ran over to Devin.
Alex looked at Bryan after everyone else ran out of the room. "What the hell's going on?" She asked, then motioned towards the door. "And what the hell was that thing?"
Bryan didn't answer right away as the growls, snarls, roars, and screams grew louder. He almost wanted to go down the hallway and look to see what was happening, but thought better of it, when he saw some part of a Vampire get thrown into the hallway only to dissolve into dust. "I… I uhhh… No clue." He finally stuttered out.
"I smell smoke." He added after a few moments, then started to look around to see where it was coming from. He wasn't able to look too long, as suddenly two adult Vampires came running into the room, screaming that they surrender, and trying to hide against the wall. Before Bryan or Alex could do more than raise their shotguns, Colt came back into the room, in his Wolf Form, he calmly walked over to the two, sat down in front of them, stared, then started to pant with his tongue lolling out. Both Vampires could swear the Wolf was grinning. When one tried to move, Colt started to growl, making it very clear that they weren't supposed to move.
"Can you help him?" Jared asked Hank through his tears.
"I… I don't know." He said as he gently moved Jared away, then knelt beside Devin. "Come on kid." Hank said as he put pressure on the neck wounds.
Devin gasped in pain then looked around, his eyes starting to go glassy. His mouth moved as his eyes fell on Hank, but no one could hear what he said. Hank bent down closer to the kid's mouth. "Please…" Devin said hoarsely. "Turn me."
Hank sat back and shook his head. "I… I can't."
"Why not?" Jared asked, almost frantically. "Runi said that people need to know what they are getting into before being turned, he does! He asked for it!"
"We don't have everything we'd need. I'd need more blood. If I tried to turn him now, it might kill us both." Hank said as his own tears started to form.
"Use mine." Runi said softly. "My blood's strong enough to not only turn him, but also keep you from having to use too much of your own."
"Isn't that against the Concords?" Hank asked in confusion.
"Only because very few know how to regulate how much blood is given. I know how to do it, and it's the only choice at the moment." Runi glanced back down at Devin only to see the boy's eyes close. "You have to do it now."
Hank's eyes shot down to Devin and he cursed. He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them back up. His eyes now flared red, as his fangs dropped once again from his gums. He used his fangs to rip open his wrist, then shoved it into Devin's mouth. "Come on kid, drink." He said forcefully.
Everyone else had been watching quietly, but when Devin started to drink, it broke Lugh from his trance. "We need to go; the warehouse is burning." He turned and ran back towards the front of the building. With reluctant nods, everyone, except for Hank, Runi and Jared followed him out.
When they got back to the main living area, the smoke was starting to really fill the place up. Lugh took one look at Colt and the two Vampires he was 'holding'. Shaking his head, he sighed. "If they move, rip out their hearts."
Colt looked over and gave a toothy grin, that almost made Lugh shiver. Turning to everyone else, he spoke clearly. "We've talked about what to do if we have to move quickly. Get everything you need, we got less than five minutes. Meet me at the vans."
The last ones to make it to the vans were Jared, carrying Devin, Hank, carrying the impaled Elder, and Runi bringing up the rear. Lugh sighed as he looked at the warehouse, which was now in flames, then put the van in gear, and drove away. "What about the other two prisoners?" Lugh asked.
"Yum." Was all the response Colt gave.
At first everything was quiet, at least until they passed the line of fire trucks. "Where we going?" Hank finally asked as he cradled Devin's head in his lap.
"My parent's old house. We should be able to make it there right before the sun comes up. The basement's been fitted for our use, if I ever needed it. We'll be fine there for today, then figure out what to do tomorrow night?"
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