Castle Roland

Nightfall: Full Moon

by Roland

In Progress

Chapter 2

Published: 27 Jun 16

Nightfall: Full Moon

Copyright © 2016 by Roland
All Rights Reserved

Lugh looked up as a knock came on his office door.

"Come in." He said softly, knowing the person on the other side of the door would be able to hear him. Looking over the computer screen that showed the financials of his small warehousing company, Lugh smiled when Bryan walked into the office.

"You wanted to see me?" The boy asked somewhat nervously.

"Yeah Bryan, come on in." Lugh said as he stood from behind the desk. "Have a seat." He said as he sat on the small couch he had in there. Bryan, still rather nervous chose to sit on one of the chairs opposite of the desk. A move that Lugh noted, and expected, even if he was hoping that the boy would be willing for a little closer contact.

"First off," Lugh started as he smiled a reassuring smile at Bryan. "You're not in any trouble. You should know that, since you have never given anyone trouble since you got here." Even though Lugh knew the answer to his next question he asked it anyway.

"You've been here what, six years so far?" The boy just nodded his head, causing his coal black hair to fall in front of his eyes.

Nodding more to himself than to Bryan, Lugh smiled. "Also… a little birdie told me that you took your High School Graduation Test last night." Bryan blushed enough to where Lugh saw it even though his hair was covering his face. "How'd it go?"

"I passed." Bryan said after a moment's hesitation.

Lugh grinned at the boy. "I knew you could do it!" He praised, which caused Bryan to blush even more. "I think this calls for a celebration!"

"Uhh, whatcha mean?" Bryan asked, suddenly very nervous.

"Don't worry, I know you don't want a big deal made of it." Lugh said as he stood up and moved to the long conference table that was part of his office. He picked up a wrapped package, and brought it over to the boy. "This is just a little something to not only show you how proud we are, but also as a thank you for everything you do for the rest of the kids here."

Bryan looked up, and Lugh could finally see the emerald green eyes that had been hidden behind his hair till that moment. The eyes were full of shock, and Lugh fought the urge to allow his anger to surface, over what made this boy so painfully shy, with no self-worth. Pushing it down as hard as he could, Lugh simply smiled and held the box out to the boy. "You…. you got something for me?"

"Yes, Bryan." Lugh said, while keeping the smile firmly in place, and his anger deeply buried. "I know it's hard for you to accept that other people like to do nice things for you. I know you never knew what a real family was like, before you came here. I also know how hard it is to forget fifteen years of training. But please know, we are a family here. A family that not only wants you here, but also loves you."

Lugh saw a flash of fear in Bryan's eyes. Mentally cursing himself for going too far, Lugh tried to figure out how to stop the boy in front of him from bolting. Bryan closed his eyes for a moment, and Lugh let out a deep breath of relief when the fear wasn't there. "I… I…. Thank you." Bryan said softly as he slowly reached out and took the box in his hands.

With almost painful carefulness, Bryan slowly unwrapped the box, then opened it up. He stared at the contents for a few moments before he looked up at Lugh. "I pulled a few strings, and got you a pre-release." Lugh said softly as Bryan reached in and pulled out a book by Bryan's favorite author. A book that wouldn't be released until next month. Bryan has been saving every penny he could to try and buy it, but didn't think he would be able to.

"Look inside." Lugh said softly. Bryan reverently opened up the cover, and almost burst into tears.

"How?" He managed to squeak out.

"Bryan… Compared to some of the things I have to do, getting her to autograph the book and dedicate it to you, wasn't that hard." Lugh said with a smile.

"It had to cost you…" Bryan started but Lugh shook his head and cut him off.

"Nowhere near what it's worth to see you happy. There's something else in there." Lugh said, trying to deflect Bryan's thoughts to what else was there.

It took a moment, but Bryan finally put the book to the side, and then pulled out the envelope that was also in the box. He opened it up, and pulled out a driver's license, complete with his name on it. Bryan's look was so completely lost that it almost made Lugh chuckle. "You do know how to drive right?"

"Yeah…" Bryan still was completely confused by the official document.

"Well, you're over twenty now, you should have a license." Lugh said, and knew they were about to have a minor argument, but it was one that Lugh knew he would win.

"But I look fifteen!" For the first time his voice rising above a whisper. "No cop will believe this is real."

"Oh, it's real alright." Lugh said, his grin growing. "Look in the upper left corner. To most people that will look like a smudge. But to anyone who knows about us, which includes a good number of the police, they will know that you are one of us." Lugh paused, then shrugged. "Even if they don't, you know enough to make them think you're older."

"I don't like doing that to people's minds." Bryan said, his head dropping down, and his hair covering his eyes again.

"I know you don't, and you know the rules I have about people using their mental gifts against normal people, but there are times when they are needed." Lugh knelt down in front of the boy and put his hand reassuringly on his knee. "Out of everyone I've taken in, you're the one I have the least worry about abusing your powers." Bryan's eyes flew up and met Lugh's. The boy couldn't believe that his mentor, his hero would trust him that much. Lugh met his eyes and just nodded his head. "Yes Bryan… I trust you the most when it comes to our powers."

"Thank you." Bryan muttered after a moment, not really trusting his voice to say more.

Lugh patted his knee and stood up. "Now, I'm sorry to do this, and make your night of celebration go bad, but..." Lugh hesitated and Bryan looked up, and nodded.

"I need to go out and feed." Bryan said in a voice that was completely resigned to his fate.

Lugh nodded and forced a smile. "Don't worry, Jennifer already knows, and will be around to help make sure you don't have any nightmares."

Blushing in embarrassment, Bryan just nodded while letting his hair hide his face again. It took a moment to get himself under control, but then he looked up and surprised Lugh with a question. "Is there anyone else that needs to go to? Maybe Jared?"

Lugh couldn't keep his eyes from going wide in surprise, but he quickly recovered and thought for a moment. "Well it's about three days early, but I don't think it will be a problem. Are you sure though, this'll only be his fifth feeding?"

Bryan nodded quickly. "I know Hank took him out, so he knows how to do it, but, well, I remember how hard it was for me, and well… I just don't want him to have to do it alone." Bryan said in a surprisingly strong voice.

Lugh smiled and nodded to Bryan. "If he's willing, then I think that's a great idea. Thank you for thinking about him."

Bryan smiled while blushing brightly. He stood up quickly, and Lugh expected a quick escape, which is what almost happened. Bryan grabbed his new driver's license and the book, then turned to head out but stopped at the last moment. Lugh was about to ask if something was wrong when Bryan turned around. Without making eye contact, Bryan quickly moved up to Lugh and wrapped his arms around the man. It only lasted a second, but it was the first time that Lugh, or anyone else that he knew about, got a hug from the incredibly shy boy.

Bryan was out the door before Lugh could recover enough. When he did though, his knees about gave out, and he found himself sitting on the chair that Bryan had just been sitting in, tears freely flowing down his face, but a mile-wide smile on his face.

Hank watched from the shadows as Bryan and Jared spoke softly, then left the warehouse. He shook his head as he felt Lugh walk up next to him. "You want me to follow them." Hank said, more a statement than a question.

"Yeah." Lugh said with a deep sigh. "With all the Scavenger activity, I want someone to follow them. However, since it was Bryan's idea to take Jared out, I wasn't gonna stop it."

Hank looked at Lugh with surprise then smiled. "Maybe he's finally starting to accept that he's a Vampire, and ain't gonna get better."

"Perhaps." Lugh said with a sigh. "He's been turned longer than I have, but he's never really accepted what's happened. I hope that it's finally happening. He's too nice a kid."

"That's part of the problem." Hank said simply then slipped out of the room to follow the two boys.

Lugh sighed to himself as he watched the young kid walk out of the building. Well young in looks anyways. Hank was actually the oldest one that called Lugh's warehouse a home. He shook his head, then walked out into what was the main area of their home. His smile was plastered back on his face as he walked around, and spent some time talking to each of the 'kids' there. Once again he was reminded that, while they may look like teenagers, many of them were much older than that.

Hank was bored as he watched the two Fledglings walk down the streets, trying to get the courage up to actually do what they came to do. A few times he wanted to stop them and point out perfect targets for them, but he knew he couldn't. While it may have been a long, long time since he was turned, he did still remember how it felt the first couple times he had to feed.

Hank was sure it was going to be an all-night affair when he saw Bryan nudge Jared and then point down an alleyway. Hank moved quickly across the roof he was on, and looked down into the alley. What he saw almost made him decide to feed. "What's going on down here!" He heard Jared’s voice cry out from the entry. The distraction allowed the teenaged boy to escape the grip of the two guys that were trying to rip his clothes off.

"Get outta here!" The first one said as he turned towards Bryan and Jared. "Unless you wanna be next."

While the first one was talking, the other one grabbed the kid, hauled him to his feet, and sucker punched him hard in the gut, knocking the wind from the boy's lungs. "Don't go nowhere… we're gonna get what we paid for, and then some."

"I don't think so." Bryan said in a cold voice that actually made Hank raise his eyebrows in surprise. Bryan had never been really forceful before. But this time, the ice in his voice caused Hank to really wanna see what this kid could do.

Bryan turned to Jared and spoke softly enough to where the men couldn't hear him, but Hank easily could. "When I move, get to the boy as fast as you can. Don't get involved unless they try to get to him okay?"

Jared looked like he wanted to argue, but Bryan already started to move. He took two steps towards the men, then he went to full speed, which for Bryan was faster than most Vampires his age. Before either man knew what was happening, Bryan was right in the middle of them. The problem was, while Bryan may have been fast, he wasn't really strong. When he hit the first guy, it did little more than stagger him a step back. The other problem was, Bryan really didn't know how to fight.

The second man threw a punch that connected with the side of Bryan's stomach, causing the teen to spin around. Hank was impressed to see Bryan use that momentum to hit the second man, and actually bring the man down to his knees. Bryan was shocked too, since he just stopped and looked down at where the man was kneeling.

The first man was about to take that moment and kick Bryan but a flying kick from the side, took the man off his feet. When Bryan looked, Jared was standing there with a smile on his face, but also in a martial arts stance of some sort. "Sorry, but I wanted to get involved. I took five years of Karate."

Bryan smiled, and moved quickly out of the way, making his way over to the boy who was just starting to get his breath back. "Hey… it's okay." Bryan said as he knelt down, and put a hand on the boy's shoulder. The boy tried to scoot back, but he really had no place to go. Bryan wasn't too worried about that, as he looked up in time to see Jared had allowed both men to get up, and they were now facing him down.

The second man opened his mouth to say something when Jared interrupted him. "Oh come on now. Let's not play any of the fancy word games where you tell me you're gonna kick my ass, just do it already huh?" Hank had to put his hand over his mouth to stop from laughing, but the boy's words had the desired effect. Both men charged him at the same time.

Knowing he was tougher than he used to be, Jared allowed the first man's blow to land, and he performed a perfect roundhouse kick to the second. One thing he really wasn't prepared for was how much stronger he was than he was before he was turned. The man's neck snapped, and he spun twice before he hit the ground already dead.

He knew better than to dwell on that right away, as he turned towards the other man. He blocked the first punch, then performed a two hit combo that left the man on his knees gasping for breath. The next kick left the man lying on his side unconscious.

Jared looked over to Bryan and smiled. He had only taken a single step towards the other two boys when he heard clapping come from the main street. He spun around ready for another fight, but faltered when he saw four guys standing there, the middle one clapping his hands. He quickly looked to the other end of the alley only to see three other guys there. "Well, well, well…" The man said as he stopped clapping. "If it isn't a couple of Hank's Half Lifes."

"Fuck…" Bryan breathed out as he quickly looked around for a way to get out of there.

"Who are they?" Jared asked softly.

"Scavengers." Bryan said as he grabbed the Human boy and pulled him to his feet. "Look if we have to run, just hang on to me, okay?"

"Oh you won't be able to run." The man said with a laugh. "But don't worry, we're not gonna cause your final death tonight. We just want you to give a message to Hank for us."

Having heard enough of this, Hank dropped down from the rooftop, landing right next to Jared. "Why don't you give your message to me Deacon?"

All the Vampires stopped, a few of them suddenly looking very nervous. "Ahhh… there you are. How very convenient. Tell you what. You give us what we want, and we'll let your two little Half Lifes go."

"Like I would believe anything you have to say." Hank said as he moved forward. "But since you seem to be in such a giving mood, I think I'll be in one as well. And I'll give you the same deal. You let me drain you of all your blood, and I'll let your goons go." Hank stopped for a moment. "Oh wait, your blood's too weak to do anything for me. Hell, it's probably too weak to give a Fledgling more than a sugar high."

When he closed the distance between Jared, Bryan and the Human boy, and the Scavengers, Hank stopped, reached behind his back, and drew two slightly curved swords. "Now, here's how it's gonna work. You know as well as I do that, while the seven of you MIGHT be able to take me, I'll take most if not all of you with me. You don't strike me as the kind that likes to do anything where you might get hurt, so why don't you just walk away, and we'll pick this up some other night."

"There's no way you can take all of us." Deacon said with a sneer, but already some of his guys were starting to wonder.

"He won't have to." Jared said as he moved up. "I'll be good for at least one, maybe two of you. Meaning he'll only have to deal with five. Hell, if he lets me borrow one of those swords, I'll take all three of the ones behind us."

Hank looked over his shoulder at the boy and smiled. With a flip of his wrist he tossed the sword, which Jared easily caught out of mid-air. The teen spun the blade a few times in his hands, getting the feel for it, but also showing the Scavengers that he knew how to use it. "So what's it gonna be Deacon…. you really willing to fight with even odds?"

Deacon took a step back, while motioning for the rest to back off some. "You better watch it Hank, one of these days, we will get you, and then your blood will be ours."

"You still don't get it do you Deacon. I know what you want my blood for, and before you have a chance to get it, I'll bleed it out all over the ground. So why don't you end this silly little game, go back to the sewers you crawled out of, and leave me and mine alone. If you don't I WILL end your existence, just like I should have done the first time I met you." Deacon didn't reply to Hank, he simply turned and left the alley, the other Vampires following closely behind.

"Holy shit…" Bryan said as he and the Human came rushing up to them. The Human boy was being supported by Bryan, and was looking a bit the worse for wear. "Are you guys okay?"

"We're fine, but I don't think your new friend is doing all that well." Hank said as he took the sword back from Jared, and sheathed them both behind his back. He stepped over and lifted the Human's head to look him in the eyes, well eye, since one was already swollen shut. "What's your name?" Hank asked trying to see just how out of it the boy was.

"Devin…" The boy wheezed out, then coughed.

When Hank saw the blood he sighed and shook his head. "Okay, he's coming with us. Bryan, you carry him as gently as you can, Jared you lead, I'll follow. While I doubt Deacon will try anything, I ain't taking no chances." Jared looked like he wanted to say something, but was hesitating.

"What?" Hank asked somewhat irritably.

"Well Bryan still needs to feed…" Jared said quickly.

"Shit… that's why you were out here." Hank shook his head as he quickly took Devin from Bryan's grasp. "That one’s still alive." He said while pointing to the Human that Jared hadn't killed. "Make it quick."

Bryan sighed, but nodded and moved over to the Human. Without a moment's hesitation, Bryan grabbed the guy and bit down hard into his neck. Minutes later, they were leaving the alley.

Lugh spent a few hours talking to the kids at the warehouse, catching up on the Vampire gossip, and generally keeping up on what everyone was doing. Finally he decided they needed to check up on the business side of things, so Lugh went over to where Jazz was set up at his computers. The sixteen-year-old looking boy was their resident computer wiz, as well as Lugh's 'night time' business manager. "How's it going Jazz?"

The boy looked up from his triple monitor set up and smiled at Lugh. "You're doing great boss."

"No, that means WE'RE doing great." Lugh said with a grin. Jazz still hadn't gotten used to the fact that not only was he earning a paycheck, but last week Lugh had actually given part of the company to Jazz, since the boy had made him so much money already, Lugh decided to give him a personal stake in it, and see if the boy made them both more.

Jazz grinned while he nodded, then turned back to his computer screens. "Well, we just landed another contract with the top producer of pet food, to supply the entire Philly area. That alone is gonna boost profits, but… well, you're gonna need to hire some more people. This'll probably send us working round the clock." The last part was said with somewhat of a worried frown. Something that Lugh knew the reason behind.

"Don't worry about that." Lugh said with a smile, as he pulled over a chair and sat down next to Jazz. "Let me in," he said. Jazz nodded, and scooted over so Lugh could have access to the keyboard and mouse.

He tapped away for a few moments before he brought up the specs of a warehouse. "This is a warehouse about three blocks over. The owners contacted Bill earlier today to see if we would be interested in buying it. With what you just told me, I think we may want to." He paused and looked at Jazz. "What do you think?" Lugh slid back and let Jazz take over again, as the boy started to look over the specs of the building.

After a few minutes, he sat back and nodded. "Yeah, with that one, plus what we have here, we'll not only be able to handle the new contract, but also a couple other smaller ones. I know we used up a lot of space to make this home sun proof, and still keep it safe from other people, but by adding the other building in, we'll be adding about half again as many square feet. Assuming we can max it out by the end of the year, we should be able to cover the added expenses easily."

"That's pretty much what I was thinking. Plus I plan on taking a bit of that building and making another safe house. We've gotten a bit cozy here." Lugh chuckled, and so did Jazz, although he also blushed a bit. "Well, with Alex and I now sharing a room…"

Lugh grinned as he looked at Jazz, then ruffled his hair. "I take it things are going good between you two then?"

"You could say that." A voice said from behind them. When they turned around, there was a young woman standing there with her hands on her hips. "Now, are you done keeping Jazz away from me?"

"Sorry Alex!" Lugh said with a chuckle, "I didn't know you had anything planned for the evening."

"Well we don't… but I did just get done making tacos…" That's all she got out when Jazz, as well as several of the other kids jumped to their feet and ran towards the kitchen, Jazz grabbing a quick kiss on the way by.

Lugh laughed as he took a few moments to shut down Jazz's computers and tidy up a bit in the main room before joining the others in the kitchen.

He stood in the doorway for a moment with a smile on his face. They may have been a strange family, but a family they were. He looked around at all the faces and couldn't help but feel both happy, and a bit sad. These were all teenagers when they were turned, or as the other Vampires liked to call them, Half Lifes. Lugh shook his head again, and moved in to sit down with everyone else.

Conversation at the table was light as most everyone was focused on Alex's tacos, even Lugh was surprised at how good the tacos tasted. He was about to ask her what she did to them, when the door opened to the kitchen area, and everyone stopped and looked. Before Lugh knew he did it, he was on his feet next to Bryan, Hank, Jared and a Human teen he didn't know. "What happened?" He all but demanded.

"Deacon." Was all that Hank said, but it was enough for everyone there to growl in anger and disgust.

"What the hell does that asshole want now?" Jazz asked trying to contain his anger.

"Me." Hank said simply, but the glare from Lugh caused him to elaborate. "Okay look. I found out a couple months ago that Deacon found some old Vampire Text. In it there's information about a ritual called 'The Soul Drink'. If done right, it would allow a Vampire to consume the soul of another. Taking all the Vampire's strengths, and knowledge, and adding them to your own."

"Holy shit…" Jenny breathed out. "That doesn't work… does it?"

Hank looked up, and met her eyes, then met the eyes of everyone else in the room before he spoke. "Yes, actually it does." The room was dead silent for several moments until Hank let out a long sigh. "Okay, I guess it's edu-mi-cation time." His attempt at a joke fell flat as no one laughed. "Tell you what. Give me a few minutes to eat Alex's tacos, and let Bryan get his new Human to bed, then we'll have a history lesson."

No one moved for a moment before Lugh spoke up. "That sounds good. Come on Bryan, let's get him set up in one of the rooms, I wanna have a look and see how bad he's hurt, then we need to make sure he doesn't wake up till tomorrow night at the earliest."

When Lugh and Bryan came back, they found everyone had moved into the main living area. Everyone knew this would be a serious conversation, as none of the TVs or computers were being used. Everyone was accounted for, and sitting around the room waiting to hear what was going to be talked about. This wasn't that abnormal, as they often had meetings like this, especially when someone new was added to the small group. However, they knew tonight would be different than normal, as Hank was going to share some knowledge with them, knowledge that none of them had.

Even though no one there knew just how old Hank was, they knew he was considered an Elder, a Vampire that has seen at least two hundred and fifty years in Darkness. Since none of them had seen more than twenty years of Darkness, when Hank decided to teach, they all listened.

Hank sat down and sighed, grabbed his current favorite drink, Code Red Mountain Dew, took a big drink and sighed again before he spoke. "First off, everything that I am about to talk about, does not leave this room. Not only will I be sharing more about myself than I like many people knowing, but I'll also be telling you all, things that usually are only taught to those who live a rather long time in Darkness."

He waited till he got nods from everyone before he continued. "First off, and this is mostly for Jared's benefit, let's go over a few things that a good Sire should teach his Childe. Now I know many of you never learned even the basics till you got here, but I need to make sure that you all know certain things before this will make sense, so…" Hank looked at Jared, who started to squirm a bit in his chair. "What are the standard age groups for Vampires, and how long must one live in Darkness to be in those groups?"

Jared leaned back and thought for a moment. "Well, first there's the Fledglings. Those are the Vampires that are still under their Sire's direct control, generally about twenty years." Hank nodded and smiled at him to continue. "Then there's the Juvenile Vampires. They're anywhere up to one hundred years old, and don't answer to their Sire anymore, but also don't have that protection."

"Good so far, what's next?" Hank asked with a smile.

Jared thought for a few seconds before he continued. "Next are the Senior Vampires. They range from one hundred to two hundred and fifty years old. Elders go from two hundred and fifty to five hundred years old. Finally the Ancients are from five hundred and beyond."

"Very good." Hank said as he stood up and started to pace in front of the group. This was Hank in teaching mode, and they all knew it. "Now what Deacon found is a text that explains a ritual called Soul Drinking. From what I understand, all the Ancients, and some of the Elders know about it. However, it's very rarely taught to anyone under the rank of Elder, simply because of the frenzy it would cause. I mean just look at what Deacon's doing. He found out a bit of information, and is ready to throw away his life to try and get the power that I've gathered. Now Deacon may be a Senior Vampire… a very young one, but a Senior none the less. But there is something very important that his text did not tell him, and probably couldn't tell him."

Hank paused for a moment, mostly for dramatic effect, before he continued. "What the text didn't tell him is that, if he were to try it on me, he would have to fight to make it work. See, if someone were willing to allow their Soul to be Drunk, then just about anyone can do it. However, if the one being drunk from isn't willing… well, the Soul WILL fight back."

Hank paused as he looked around the room before he moved back over to his seat and sat back down. "You're all wondering how I know this, and how I know what happens during it. It's because I've done it before."

"What do you mean?" Lugh finally asked.

"I mean, I not only know the Ritual, but I've done it. When my Sire finally decided it was his time to go, he didn't want to simply Greet the Sun like so many others, what a waste. No, he wanted everything that he had gained and learned in life to be passed on to his Childe…. Me."

When Hank paused, Bryan opened his mouth to ask the question that was on everyone's mind, but Hank beat him to it. "Don't ask me how old I am, cause I won't tell you. What I will tell you is that Richard, my Sire, was an Ancient."

OK. Chapter 2... you either like it or you don't. Let Roland know:

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