Castle Roland

Nightfall: Full Moon

by Roland

In Progress

Chapter 8

Published: 19 Sep 16

Nightfall: Full Moon

Copyright © 2016 by Roland
All Rights Reserved

"You did it again…" Lugh said as he walked into the room that Devin was sleeping in, with Hank sitting in a chair in the corner. They were in the only room that was sun proof. Lugh's personal room that he said to have Devin use.

"Yeah." Hank said simply, then sighed. "I just couldn't let him go, knowing that he actually wanted this."

"Well I know one person who is just as anxious as you are right now." Lugh said with a small laugh as he sat in one of the other chairs in the room. "I really think Jared found someone he likes, and who likes him back."

"Yeah I know." Hank said with a sigh. "And he's waiting outside isn't he?"

Lugh laughed and nodded. "Yeah."

Hank sighed again, then stood up, walked over to the bed where he placed a hand on Devin's forehead. He closed his eyes, and didn't move for several moments. Finally he let his hand drop, looked at Lugh and nodded. "Go ahead and let him in."

Lugh turned, walked to the door, and barely opened it before Jared was rushing into the room. "Is he okay?" He asked in a rush as he moved to stand next to Hank, looking down at the boy on the bed.

"You know we won't know till he wakes up." Hank said softly, then continued. "It's all up to him now. Either he'll wake up as one of us or he won't wake at all."

"When… when do you think we'll know?" Jared said just as softly.

"It all depends on how strong he'll be. The earlier he wakes up, the more powerful he'll be. Usually it's four to five days, but I've heard of some who've woken in three, or who haven't for a week. We just won't know."

"But you're old, and Runi helped." Jared said, trying to convince everyone that Devin would be fine.

Hank tried not to smile at Jared's comment about how old he was, since the teen looked to be older than Hank. "I'm sure that will help, but you have to realize… Not everyone who gets turned actually wakes up."

"Then we'll have to deal with what he'll be like after he wakes." Lugh added, keeping his voice to the same level as the others.

"What do ya mean?" Jared asked very slowly.

"Well, we all know he wanted it. But when he wakes up and sees what he will have to do to survive… well even those that claimed they wanted to be turned, don't always handle that part of things very well."

Jared sighed and looked back down at Devin laying on the bed. He was silent for almost a full minute, before he sighed again and put his hand on Devin's chest. "He'll be fine. I just know it."

"I'm sure he will be." Hank said as he placed his hand on top of Jared's. "I know you'll help as much…" Hank said, then stopped. He looked across the room, as his eyes lost focus. Lugh immediately went on high alert. He started to turn when Hank growled out and flashed past him, almost tearing the door off the hinges as he threw it open. The only thing Lugh saw was Hank's eyes burning bright red, and his fangs fully extended.

Hank flew down the steps, barely touching any of them. When he got to the first floor, he reached behind his back, and drew his sword, which caused everyone that was there to gasp in shock, but then find their own weapons, as Hank made a beeline for the front door. Before he got halfway across the room, a loud knock echoed throughout the house.

Hank stopped then took a deep breath to calm himself some. Lugh was by his side in a moment, hefting the large axe he used in the fight the night before. Everyone was looking at Hank waiting to see what he wanted to do.

Finally an evil smile formed on his face, as he sheathed his sword. He looked around the room, and motioned for everyone to lower their weapons. He calmly walked over and sat in a high backed chair, then looked at Lugh. "Please answer the door. It's Lord Anton. No matter what he says, do not allow yourself to do anything but bow and smile. We're gonna play this in a way that he's not expecting." Hank took a moment to look at everyone. "That means that you all need to stay calm until you see me not being calm. You only speak if I ask you to, and only if I ask you to. And address me as Master or Lord."

Lugh grinned and quickly leaned the axe against the wall, then straightened his shirt. "Oh this is gonna be good." He said as he quickly moved to the door, took a deep breath, then opened the door. "Lord Anton!" Lugh practically gushed out. "How wonderful it is for you to visit our humble home."

"Yes, yes." The man said quickly. "Where is my Childe, and the Half Life upstart?" Lugh looked at the Elder, who appeared to be about his age, and the two other Vampires standing behind the Elder. The three of them looked down their noses at Lugh, who simply bowed. "Of course Lord Anton. If you will follow me, I will lead you to Master Dayton."

The three Vampires followed Lugh into the living room where Hank was seated in the chair, most of the rest were arrayed behind him. Hank waited till Lord Anton was close, then he sighed and stood. "Lord Anton, what an unexpected surprise!" He said in an obviously fake happy tone. "Would you and your men like some refreshments?"

"NO!" Anton said irritably. "I was told that you took my Childe, and I have come to take him back."

"Oh… well that's quite impossible." Hank said as he sat back down, then folded his right leg over his left. "I have dispatched one of my friends to bring him up here. But, I am surprised that you would want him back, after all he was working with Scavengers as they attacked me and my friends."

"And you think anyone is going to believe what you have to say?" Anton sneered down at the boy who didn't look fazed at all.

"Oh, I doubt they will believe me, especially since all the local House Lords are secretly working with the Scavengers. However, when Elder Franklin reveals all he knows to the Council Lord…" Hank paused, then tensed as he saw that Anton was about to lose his temper. The attack didn't come though, since at that moment, Jazz and Jennifer walked into the room with a shirtless Franklin between them.

All three of the Vampires gasped as they saw the slowly bleeding wound on the other's chest. Anton was about to lose it when Hank stood up and spoke. "Oh, my apologies Lord Anton. I guess I forgot to mention that last night, while defending my friends, I happened to 'accidentally' stake Franklin. It's rather unfortunate, but, well you know what happens in the heat of battle." It was obvious by the tone of Hank's voice that he was neither sorry, nor was it an accident. Even if staking another Vampire was all but forbidden, in the situation, Hank was well within his rights to defend himself however he could.

Anton looked from Franklin to Hank, as his fangs descended, and his eyes flashed red. He was just about to attack when Lugh spoke up. "Lord Anton, I would strongly suggest not doing anything rash."

Anton whirled around and looked at Lugh with undisguised anger. "How dare you…"

Lugh interrupted the man as he lifted his hand and showed him a small device, which he kept his finger in the middle of. Hank grinned as he spoke up. "This house has about forty pounds of high explosives rigged to blow if Lugh removes his finger from that device. I am fairly certain that, even with how powerful you are, you would not be able to survive that sort of blast." Hank smiled as he sat back down. "Why don't you have a seat, and we can discuss this like civilized individuals?"

Anton relaxed himself, but when he turned back towards Hank, his eyes still burned brightly with barely suppressed rage. When he made no move to sit, Hank's grin got wider, showing his own fangs. "Or if you prefer, we can end this all here and now." Anton stepped back as if struck.

Hank stood up and took two steps forward, getting rather close to the man. "Lord Anton." Hank said slowly and clearly, in a language that many in the room did not know, nor had any Human heard in thousands of years. "I formally challenge you to an Elder Duel. Do you accept?"

Lord Anton almost fell over in shock. He couldn't believe that a Half Life would even know that language, let alone speak it. Equally as shocking, was this Half Life challenging him to an Elder's Duel. However, Anton was, by no means young. He was almost an Ancient, and no Half Life, Elder or not, was going to best him.

Anton squared himself, and spoke the tradition response. "You will have only this one chance to rescind the challenge. Do you wish to?"

"I do not." Hank said just as formally. "You have attacked my family, and myself. You have called my honor into question, and have shown yourself to be working with the Scavengers. Such a violation of the Concords requires me to end your existence." Hank said as he slowly drew his sword from the sheath strapped to his back.

"You have no chance." Anton said as he held out his hand to one of the Vampires with him. Unlike the small katana that Hank was using, the sword that Anton was handed was a long curved scimitar. The blade itself was almost as tall as Hank. Hank circled around Anton, then slowly backed up till he was almost to the door. Without breaking eye contact, Hank reached behind him with his mind, and opened the door. He then backed out till he was in the middle of the front yard, before he stopped. "I give you this one chance to yield." Hank said as he stood up straight, and brought his sword up vertically in front of him in salute, much as a fencer would do at the start of a match.

Anton laughed dismissively, never bothering to return the customary salute, before he attacked. Some people may have been caught off guard when Anton did not give the proper show of respect for a duel, but Hank had expected it.

Anton thought to end it quickly, with a blow meant to take Hank's head. He wasn't counting on Hank being as fast or as skilled as he was. Hank easily deflected the blow, then used his smaller size to get in close to the man. With all his strength, Hank delivered an uppercut with his off hand, sending the man flying backwards. Hank tried to rush and close the distance quickly, but Anton, being nearly an Ancient, was not only extremely tough, but also very fast. Before Hank was halfway there, Anton was back on his feet. The two charged each other, and the clashing of blades quickly rang throughout the area.

The two fought faster than any Human, and even some of the younger Vampires could follow. Less than thirty seconds after the fight really started, they broke apart, both of them showing small cuts received at the edge of the other's blade. "You're not bad." Hank said with a fang-filled grin.

"Why you little…" Anton screamed, then charged. Hank was playing a dangerous game and he knew it. He was good, but he was over a hundred years younger than Anton, not nearly as strong, but thankfully he was just as fast. However, he knew he could not last for very long against the man. The only option he had was to force the man to make a mistake.

He jumped well back from Anton's latest round of attacks and actually started to laugh. "I haven't had this much fun in a long time…. but really, you need to stop holding back! I was told you were actually good!"

Anton growled and launched himself at Hank again. They traded blows for almost a full minute, till Hank had to back off again. The bigger and heavier sword that Anton was using made Hank afraid that the man could break his Katana, even being as well made as it was, it was still a shorter, lighter blade.

Hank didn't give Anton any time to recover though, as he went right back into the fight, making sure he kept himself close to Anton so the man couldn't use the weight and reach of the blade to his advantage. Hank's sword was quicker, but Anton was an expert swordsman, and knew how to fight with his sword, even with as close as Hank was keeping himself.

Anton poised himself to attack Hank again, but Hank surprised him by racing forward and engaging Anton first. He knew he needed to end the fight fast. Again the blades danced with incredible speed, sparks sometimes flying from them. Anton was good, there was no question about that. He wasn't prepared for Hank to be as good as he was, but the Half Life wasn't up to Anton's skills. He waited till he saw an opening, then with speed quicker than even Hank suspected he had, Anton struck, drawing his blade deep across Hank's abdomen.

What Anton didn't expect was the fact that Hank left himself open on purpose. Even as the blade opened up a nasty wound on his stomach, Hank pushed the pain away as he was taught to do so many years ago. He spun off to the side, just like Anton would have expected from a blow like he just delivered, however, instead of trying to disengage, Hank spun around fully, bringing his blade around at frightening speed. Before Anton could realize he was in danger, Hank's smaller sword cut into his neck, traveled all the way across, till it came out the other side.

Anton had a look of shock on his face, until his body realized that his head had been separated from his body. Even as Anton's body was turning to dust, Hank was falling to the ground, trying to keep his intestines inside his body. However, he was still alive, whereas Anton was not.

Hank turned towards the two Vampires who came with Anton, but stopped to wave Lugh off as the older man ran towards him. He stumbled towards them, keeping his sword at the ready. He raised his sword pointing it at them. "Your Master is dead. House Anton is now House Dayton. The Concords give you two choices. Either you submit to my authority and swear an oath to me as your new Master, or you flee, never being allowed into a House. The choice is yours."

The two Vampires looked at each other, then back at Hank. One looked rather angry, while the other one had a very neutral expression on his face. The angry one was about to speak when another, much younger voice sounded. "It would be in your best interest to accept."

The two Vampires turned and saw Runi calmly walking up the the group. "If you refuse, then you will be considered Houseless, one step above a Scavenger." Runi walked up next to Hank, who took a step back, clearly letting Runi handle things. Lugh took that moment to come up to Hank to see how badly the boy was wounded.

"Who the fuck do you think you are kid?" The angry one spat out.

Runi simply smiled at the man for a moment before he closed his eyes. When he opened them, both Vampires gasped, and were almost driven to their knees by the sheer weight of his presence. Runi had dropped the shields that kept other Vampires from feeling his presence. When Runi spoke, his voice took on an almost demonic tenor. "I am He who the legends whispered about. I am He whose name is no longer spoken." Runi took a step forward, and this time, both Vampires were driven to their knees. "I am Runihora, The Destroyer!"

He stepped back, then turned and moved over to Hank, who was now sitting on the ground, with Lugh standing over him. He glanced back to make sure the two Vampires were still watching, then looked back at Hank. "Please rise Lord Dayton."

Lugh wanted to argue, but Hank stopped him with a look. Even though Runi knew the pain that Hank was in must have been excruciating, he still struggled to his feet, even waving off Lugh's attempt to help. Runi stood there impassively till Hank was standing tall in front of him, one hand still holding his abdomen.

"It would be improper for our new House Lord to be showing signs of injury when he accepts the spoils that he has gained." Runi grinned at Hank as he reached out and placed his hand over Hank's injury. Nothing happened for a moment but then everyone could see a light coming from under Runi's hand. Hank fought it, but all too soon he couldn't help but scream in agony as Runi's gift forced his intestine to knit back together, the separated muscles to heal, and the skin to close back up.

"How?" Lugh said with a gasp. Healing gifts were all but unheard of in the Vampire society, and those few that had something similar were not able to do much at all.

Runi pulled his hand back as Hank dropped to his knees panting for breath. He turned and smiled at Lugh. "When someone sees as many years as I have, you tend to pick up some… tricks." He then turned back to the two men, and his smile disappeared.

They were looking at him with awe, and couldn't even think of what to say. They were both Elders, they had seen a lot in their time, and even the most powerful Vampire they had met did not even come close to the power they felt coming off this boy. "You try my patience." Runi said as he stepped forward. "MAKE YOUR CHOICE!"

"Would someone care to explain what the fuck just happened?" Lugh asked after the two Vampires left. Runi had told them to go back to the House, and let everyone know of their new Master. As well as the fact that he would be there in the next couple of days to take their formal oaths.

Runi looked at Hank who nodded. He was about to answer when he turned towards the road and smiled. "I will be happy to explain, as soon as the newest additions to our small group get here." Lugh was about to ask what Runi meant when they saw headlights start to come up the driveway.

Everyone watched as the truck came to a stop in the driveway, then all four doors opened, and Colt was the first one out, followed by Chris, her little brother, then her parents.

As the group made their way to where Runi and the rest were standing, Chris sniffed a few times, then looked at Colt with a sour expression. "They're all dead."

"Yes we are." Runi said with a smile, then stepped forward and turned to address the group of Vampires. "This family will be staying with us for a time." He motioned to Chris first. "Christina is another one of the Wolf Folk, and will be a member of Colt's pack." He saw many of the people nodding in acceptance. "Her parents are Daniel Sr., Sheila, and her little brother is Danny. Daniel is also a martial arts and weapons instructor. I think we may be able to find a use for him."

He saw Hank and Lugh nod, before he spoke again. "If your new House Lord is agreeable, I think a few of you need to go out and obtain some food for young Master Devin. When he wakes, he will be hungry."

Hank nodded then turned to the rest. "After what has happened the last few nights, I think we all need to feed. Also I would prefer if you all go as a group."

Seeing that everyone nodded in agreement, Runi nodded. "Wise. Hank, Lugh, if you two would stay behind, I think there needs to be some discussions on what is going to happen from this point forward." He then turned to Colt. "If you don't mind, why don't you show the Perrys where they can take their rest later on. That way they can relieve themselves of their luggage, as well as allow the youngest one to rest."

"Sounds good." Colt said, even while Danny was trying to argue that he wasn't tired. Of course he lost the argument when he yawned, but, to an eleven-year-old, that didn't matter. Runi watched with a smile as the family went inside, a smile that faded when he turned and looked at where the former House Lord had turned to dust.

Ten minutes later, Chris, her parents and Colt came out to the porch where Runi, Hank and Lugh were waiting. Danny had easily succumbed to sleep as soon as he found a bed to sleep in.

Runi smiled, and motioned for them to sit. Once everyone was comfortable, Runi sighed then spoke. "First off, I wish to apologize to you." He said as he addressed Chris's parents. "You all have been thrust into the middle of something that could easily turn into a war within the Vampire Society. We will, of course, do all we can to protect you, but obviously you are all in danger."

Sheila's eyes were wide as she looked around. "What if, what if we left, went somewhere else?"

Runi sighed a deeper sigh and shook his head. "That is, of course, your choice, however, Christina will need to remain behind." He raised his hand to stop Sheila's protest, and continued. "I am sorry to say this, but your daughter needs to be taught to control the Beast within her. Without that training, she could easily succumb to the Beast, and become much like the monsters that you read about in stories. Not to mention the fact that if any Vampires find out about her, she will be hunted, and killed… along with her family."

"What?" Daniel said in shock. "Why?"

Runi stood up and started to pace. "There is a lot that all of you will need to learn. The history of the Wolf Folk and the Vampires chief among them. I will go into greater detail in the future, but for now, I will only hit the high points." He paused as he gathered his thoughts, then spoke while still pacing. "Roughly 3000 years ago, the ruler of the Vampire People, the Lord of Twilight, decided that he should be the ruler of, not just the Vampires, but also the Wolf Folk." Runi had to pause as two guttural growls were heard. He glanced over and saw both Colt and Christina were on the verge of shifting to their War Forms, just at the mention of someone 'ruling' them.

Runi smiled, and motioned for both of them to relax. He turned back and looked at a shocked Sheila and Daniel. "Obviously, he did not understand the Wolf Folk as well as he should have. He figured that since the Wolf Folk were smaller in number, and could not create others of their kind as quickly as we could, that they would not risk a war that they could not win. Unfortunately, the Wolf Folk, as you just saw, did not take kindly to someone trying to rule them. War did come to the two peoples, and while the Vampires took great losses in that war, the Werewolves were killed to the last."

"If they were all killed, how can there be any now?" Daniel asked as he sat back, enthralled in the story that was unfolding.

"Simple…" Runi said with a smile. "The reason that Vampires created more of their kind than the Wolf Folk is because Werewolves are born that way. I have been told that the current lore of werewolves, say that they can become Werewolves by the bite of another. That is not true. Wolf Folk are born, just like normal Humans. Also, The Wolf Folk can interbreed with Humans."

"Which means that Humans are able to give birth to Werewolves." Shelia said softly. "I remember that from my nursing education. If the gene that creates a Werewolf is found in Humans, then they could appear at random."

"That is correct." Runi said with a smile. "When a child is born with the Wolf in them, it remains hidden till shortly before they have their first change. However, as that time grows closer, they are able to be 'felt' by other supernaturals. Obviously Wolves would sense it first, but Vampires can as well. Since the end of the war, Vampires have been finding and killing the Wolves before they can change. Unfortunately for Colt, the Vampires had tried to kill his family before they made a mistake and caused his first shift." Colt's head hung down, and everyone could see the tears fall. Chris reached over and took his hand, giving it a squeeze for comfort. He slowly raised his head, and smiled a small smile of thanks, before wiping away his tears.

Runi turned back to Sheila and Daniel. "Early this evening, Colt sensed the Wolf inside of Christina, and we went to investigate. Unfortunately, Colt is still very new to being a Wolf, and, while I know a lot, I do not know everything about the Wolf Folk. We did not know that getting as close as we did would force Christina's Wolf to emerge."

"Wait a minute…" Daniel said as he struggled to take this all in. "You said that Vampires can sense when a Wolf is close to changing?"


"So… ummm… How long...umm." Daniel couldn't get the question out, but Runi knew what he was trying to ask.

"A week at the most." The answer caused Daniel to sit back in utter shock. "My guess is the Vampires already know about your daughter, and were making plans to kill her, and all of you."

"Oh my God…" Sheila breathed out, as she also sat back in shock.

Lugh stood up causing all eyes to turn towards him. "I think this would be a good place to pause for a few minutes. Would anyone like a drink?"

Both Daniel and Sheila said they would, which caused Lugh to smile in understanding, then go into the house to fetch them. Runi looked at Chris and spoke. "Would you like to continue to listen to this, or would you like to have Colt take you out into the woods, and teach you how to take charge of your Wolf Form?"

She looked at Colt expectantly, then back to Runi. "I… I think I need to learn as much about this as I can." Runi nodded in understanding, then motioned for Colt to head out.

"Only the Wolf Form, Colt. I think it would be best if I were there to watch over the first 'voluntary' shift into the War Form." Runi spoke in a very serious tone, to which Colt nodded in agreement. Moments later, the two teenagers were running for the woods.

Lugh shortly returned with drinks for everyone, after handing them out, he sat and looked to Runi. "I hate to sound rude, but… can someone please explain what happened this evening?"

Runi nodded and grinned at Hank. "Well since you are the new House Lord, why don't you do it."

"Gee thanks." Hank replied before he drained his drink, leaned forward in his chair, and looked at the two adults. "Since you don't know any of the history, let me explain what's happened over the last few days, and especially about someone named Deacon…"

It didn't take Hank very long to go over the deeds of the last few days but he did have to stop several times so that either he, or Runi could explain things. "So that leads us to what happened tonight…" Hank said as he sat back to gather his thoughts.

"When Lord Anton came here, demanding his Childe be returned to him, I saw that I had the perfect opportunity to turn everything in the local area on its ear." Hank turned and looked at Lugh before going into greater detail. "You know about the Council, but there are more than a few laws that are only taught to those Elders who need to know, or, like I did, were taught by someone who was a House Lord." He turned to look at the Perrys, that he knew needed more explanation.

"First off, what I am about to get into is not something that any normal Human would be likely to ever learn. However, given that you will likely be staying here, and you, and especially your daughter will be working with us, I feel it is only right that you know more than a Human normally would." Daniel nodded his thanks, so Hank continued.

"In every major city, there are what we call Houses. These Houses are the backbone of normal, proper Vampire Society. They are meant to help control the population of Vampires, by requiring its members to get permission before turning someone into a Vampire. It enforces the edicts of both the Regional and World Vampire Councils. They control a section of the city, and all that happens within it. Three times in the past, I have applied for House Status, and have been denied."

"Why?" Sheila asked, becoming spellbound by this glimpse into a world she never knew existed. Hank was about to respond when all of them had their attention drawn to the woods as they heard two Wolfs howling close by. Hank smiled then shook his head as he turned his attention back to the Perrys.

"I'm a Half Life." Hank said simply. When he saw that neither of the Humans understood, he sighed, and explained more. “A Half Life is someone who was turned into a Vampire before they became an adult. Because we did not live for very long 'in the light', as we like to say, then we are not able to lead… at least that's what they like to think."

"That doesn't make much sense." Daniel said with a shake of his head.

"I agree." Hank nodded. "Especially since, I was into my teen years when I was turned. Back then, I was close to marrying and starting a family."

"Then why?" Sheila asked, letting her question fade out.

Lugh was the one that answered. "From what I have seen, it is a relatively new standard for Vampires, mostly, I think, due to the fact that a majority of Vampires have been turned within the last hundred years. During that time, it has become fashionable to believe that children cannot handle having to do the same things that adults have to. Most people believe that children need to be sheltered from the world around them, and when they aren't able to be, they are often pitied. I have heard more than one Vampire say that we should end the existence of Half Lifes, simply as a kindness, since they shouldn't have to live like the rest of us do."

Hank just shook his head in disgust, while Runi didn't show any emotion to what was being said. "But…" Hank said after Lugh fell silent. "As far as what happened tonight, one of the Concord laws..." He paused and explained for the Perrys. "The laws that govern all of Vampire Society, states that an Elder may challenge another Elder for control of the House. Now normally, that is done within a House. However, there have been several times in history where Houses were merged due to such a duel."

Before anyone could say anything else, their eyes were drawn to the wood line where two Wolves came loping up towards the house. The first one was a light brown in color, and was about six inches taller at the shoulder than the other who had almost blood red fur. When they reached the house, the red one went up to Daniel and sat on her haunches right next to his leg. Chris then looked up at her father, let her tongue fall out to the side, and pressed into his side, much like a dog looking for pets. Daniel looked down at her, then to the rest. "Okay, I think my daughter is trying to drive me insane." That got loud laughs from everyone, while Christina just looked around with a wolfy grin.

Hank just shook his head as he looked at Runi. "Why do I have a feeling that things have gone from bad to interesting?"

Runi smiled to himself, and nodded. "As it was once said, 'may you live in interesting times'. I do believe we are doing just that." He then looked at Colt and Christina. "We are almost done with this part of the conversation. If you would both please go back out, shift, and come back, I think the next part of the discussion will need to include you both."

Colt nodded, then tossed his head to indicate that Christina should follow him. She took two steps away from her father, then turned around, walked up and put her front paws on his legs, then leaned forward and gave him a big lick from his chin to his forehead. As everyone else laughed, she turned and trotted after Colt. "She is so much YOUR daughter…" Sheila said with a grin.

Once the laughter finally died, Hank took up where he had left off. "To bring this all to a close, with my killing of Lord Anton tonight, I have effectively taken over his House. The Council has no choice but to accept me as an equal. That is until I inform the Council Lord of the fact that the other four Houses were also working with the Scavengers."

"I've heard that name a few times tonight." Sheila said as she half-raised her hand. "Who, or what are they?"

Runi was the one who answered. "They are those that have broken away from, or were Sired from those outside of the Houses. They do not follow the ways of the Vampire Society, and often times feed on their own kind. They are the ones that the Human legends are based on, and are the greatest threat to Humans finding out about us."

"One of the main tenants of the Concords is that the House must oppose the Scavengers at all times." Hank added. "I had always wondered if the Houses weren't working with the Scavengers, but never had proof till now." He looked over towards the trees in time to see Christina and Colt walk out from them. Quickly he finished his thoughts. "To be honest, I don't know what will happen from here, but my Sire was one who faithfully followed the Concords, since, as he said, the wisdom of their writing was far beyond any wisdom he may have. I agreed with him then, and I still agree with him now."

"That is so amazing!" Christina said as she came bounding onto the porch and plopped down in the chair next to her father. "I can't believe the feelings I got when I was running through the woods in my Wolf Form. I mean it.. it just felt so natural."

"It should." Runi said with a grin. "It is as much a part of you as breathing is now." He moved over, and knelt before the chair she was sitting in. "Tell me pup… can you feel the Wolf? Can you feel it just below the surface, speaking to you, urging you to run? Wanting to hunt…" Runi's voice was soft, almost hypnotic. Chris's parents saw her lean forward, getting an almost blissful look on her face as she listened to his words. "... to feel the earth speed beneath your paws, as you chase your prey. To feel the blood of your prey dripping down your teeth as you feast? Do you want to look up at Luna, at the moon, and cry out your thanks to her for making you as you are?" Runi's words brought her right to the edge of shifting before he backed up slightly. "Always keep the Wolf that close, for its instincts and senses will always serve you. Do not ignore what your Wolf tells you, for it will keep you alive when nothing else will."

Runi stepped back and it was several seconds where everyone watched Christina as she was still leaning forward, and her eyes were shifting back and forth from her normal green eyes to the yellow of a Wolf. Finally she sat back and shook her head. "Damn…." She whispered out.

Grinning Runi moved back to his seat, sat down then spoke. "Don't ever lose that closeness to your Wolf. It is the worst thing that can happen to one of your kind."

"Yeah…" Christina said lost in thought.

"Why Chris?" Daniel said looking back and forth between his daughter and Runi.

Runi looked at him for a few moments before shaking his head. "I know not." He sat back and took a drink, before continuing. "What I do know is that the Wolf Folk can and did interbreed with Humans. Often times, one of the Folk were born to those who had their blood running through their veins, yet could not shift themselves."

"So you're saying that one of our ancestors was a Werewolf?" Sheila asked.

"Yes." Runi answered simply while nodding. "It had to come from both of you, and even then it was not guaranteed. Even when two Wolves mated, it did not always mean that the child would be able to shift. As far as I know, two Wolves mating did not even make it a better chance that the child would shift."

"So my parents and Clay could have been Werewolves?" Colt asked, speaking up for the first time.

Runi turned and looked at him before slowly shaking his head. "No… Neither of your parents had Wolf blood in them."

"What?" Colt asked clearly confused. "But you just said that both parents had to have Wolf blood in them for the child to be a shifter."

"Yes I did." Runi said as he stood up and walked over to Colt only stopping when he was close enough to reach out and put a hand on the taller boy's shoulder. Looking up into his eyes, Runi broke the news to him. "One of the reasons that it took the Vampires so long to find you is that you were adopted."

"What?" Colt squeaked out. "How… how do you know."

"As you know, the night I found you, I went back to your home to gather your things, as well as clothes for both of us. One of the things I found, which had the scent of the female Vampire that got away, was papers declaring that your parents adopted you."

Colt shook his head, then sat down heavily, tears flowing from his eyes. Runi dropped to his knees in front of him, and took both of his hands, forcing the boy to meet his eyes. "Please believe me when I say that your parents were your parents. Parents of love rather than blood. There are other items that I took that night that will prove this to you. However, now is not the time for you to see them. Please have trust in me in that."

Colt searched Runi's eyes for several long moments before he finally nodded, then started to cry openly. Sheila quickly moved from her seat, and gently moved Runi out of the way to engulf the crying boy in her arms. It didn't matter that Colt wasn't her child, all she saw was a boy that needed a mother's embrace.

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