I tracked down the earliest vampire story I ever wrote for today, as it keeps me from having to think though the medicine. This was from 11th grade and I actually did research on the Vatican for this. The last line was something I heard a friend say once and I knew I needed to find a way to use it one day.
The red sun setting over St. Peter’s dome cast an almost angelic aura about the edges. The papal blessing had ended not five minutes ago, but already the streets were near empty. The small cafés had already closed for the night and the only sounds that could be heard with any clarity were the singing of vespers from inside the two walled cloisters and the monasteries. The ancient buildings’ long shadows fell upon the ground while smaller shadows landed at odd angles, eating up the little sunlight that managed to sneak past the gothic architecture.
Hidden in one of obsidian shadows on a smaller building was what looked like a marble angel. Its large, outstretched wings were lifted into the air, as was its face and hands. A soft breeze ruffles the angel’s wings. It slowly lowered its arms and head to crouch down on the roof a moment. Then, without warning, it leapt to the empty streets below. The cloak, which had given the illusion of wings before, floated to the ground behind it, sweeping the pebbles at the feet of the fallen angel as it walked. Every so often, it would pass under a small pool of light from a lone streetlamp. When that happened, there was a small flash of metal from its left side before a hand reached out for the edge of the cloak, wrapping the angel from view.
Not long after its walk began, the fallen angel stopped outside one of the many sanctuaries and drew back its hood. Wavy black hair blended with the night while chocolate eyes peered out from underneath the licorice strands that fell over his face. The candlelight reflecting on the stained glass windows danced with the shadows on his face. There was sudden movement as he turned to face a noise that only he could hear. A figure dressed as night itself approached from out of an alleyway. A trenchcoat danced behind her every step, dark blonde hair mirroring its every move. The only thing that marked her differently than an average teen tourist was a small gun slung over her hip. She stopped a respectful distance away and bowed low for a moment, whispering into the darkness, “Prince of Stars.”
Inclining his head slightly, he smiled. “Emaline Noctum. It’s wonderful to see you again, however much your Latin has suffered in your absence.”
“Bain,” she said, softly touching the Mediterranean features about his face, “you know I’ve spoken nothing but French for the past 200 years. I’ve had little reason to speak Latin in France, even as a member of the Noctum Sect. I have no doubt that it will return whence it came when I must use it daily once more.”
He gently removed her hand from his face and replaced it by her side. “And how was France?”
“As well as can be expected. There’s no dress code for anyone. People are constantly wearing clothing that shrinks above their knees or is much too tight. Hideous.” She shuddered slightly. “But enough of that. Tell me, what has happened with the Noctum Sect since I’ve been away.”
“Well, the others have grown much more active in the past couple of months—“
“The Diu Sect?”
He nodded. “Aye. They’ve been going out of their way to hunt down those in the clergy. Why, just this last week, they tried to—“
“Kill His Holiness?” Bain looked at her in mild shock for a moment. “Word travels fast in our kind. Especially in France. You should know that by now. I heard about it not twelve hours after it happened.”
“A pity mortals can not learn to have a communication system like ours.”
“Agreed. But we digress. Did the Lord of Night send you to greet my return, then?”
“Emaline, does it truly matter?”
Bain sighed. “Fine then. No, Alaric did not send me to greet you. In truth, he does not even know you have returned. He grows older than most of us, as if the Mortal rule is creeping upon his body like the plague of old. He is beginning to lose touch with the world around him, not even realizing that it is the Diu Sect who is causing all of this trouble. There is talk of a revolution. That he will be taken to Greet the Mane. But that is not reason for you being here. I sent out the call to you myself. You see, Emaline, I have found where the Diu Sect keeps itself and I believe that we might be able to make our way into their sanctuary and destroy them all.”
She gasped quietly. “But…but Bain! The Codex—““Damno the Codex! Don’t you think I know what it says? But this is different Emaline Noctum!”
“How is it different?” she yelled out. “We’re meddling in the affairs of mortals. Guarding the clergy is enough. The Elders are already on our backs about our comings and goings. If the entirety of the Diu Sect were suddenly destroyed, what do you think would happen to us? Chances are, they would force every single one of use to Greet the Mane. And then who would the Swiss Guards turn to to protect His Holiness at night?”
“So you refuse a request of the Prince of Stars?”
“No,” she spat out, “I refuse a request of Bain Noctum.”
“But not the Prince of Stars?”
She saw the glint of metal from under his cloak as he pulled it away and recognized it as the symbol of his office, the Sword of Stars. A quiet sigh escaped her lips. “No. I can not refuse a request of the Prince of Stars. But I wish to make it known that I am completely against this plan. Nothing good can—“
“Quite honestly, I don’t give a damn about what you think of the plan. We’ll meet here tomorrow night once nox notis falls.” Then, turning his heel, the Prince of Stars disappeared with a swirling cloak as he returned to the hidden home of the Noctum Sect.
Silently, Emaline made her way over to the doors of the basilica and fell against them, sinking down onto her booted feet. Her trenchcoat fell to the ground in a pool as well, leaving her ivory skin bare to the Vatican night. The wooden and iron doors began to dig into her back so she shifted her body weight a bit to alleviate the pain. She wiped a hand across her eyes and came away with a small puddle of blood-tinged tears. This isn’t fair! How can Bain expect me to kill my own… She pounded the strong door with her fist in frustration. Without a sound, it swung open on well oiled hinges to reveal the interior of the old building.
The flagstone floor reflected the small candles pilgrims had lit earlier that day. A statue of a smiling virgin Mary was the first thing she saw when she glanced inside. An almost tangible aura of peace was being offered and she had the sudden urge to go inside, if only for a moment.
She shrugged on her coat once more and walked softly into the holy place. Her boots sounded strange on the floor, sounding loud due to the sheer size even though she walked carefully. Off the worn path of the stone floor was an old oak confessional. It had been decades since she had been in one, and even then, it had been for the purposes of feeding. And yet… And yet I have the sudden urge to pass through that crushed velvet curtain and proclaim my sins to whoever happens to be listening. For there is a great pax about the place. Not a hint of mal anywhere.
Changing course in mid-step, she headed for the box and passed through the curtain of privacy. The air in the small room was still, but it whispered ideas of past sins into her ears. Kneeling down onto the ground, she bowed her head and whispered, “Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.”
“Tell me of them, my daughter,” a voice replied in rusty Latin.
Then, continuing on in a rumbling Italian, “For although the time set aside for confession has passed, a man of cloth will always have time for one of his flock.” It was the voice of an elder man. It was the voice of a priest. And judging fro the small bit that she could see of him, he either had short grey hair or was bald. “My daughter…”
“Emaline,” she broke in. “My name is Emaline.”
She could hear the smile in his voice when he spoke again. “Very well, Emaline. What is your trouble?”
She struggled a moment to call Italian to her mind. It was another language she had not spoken for many years. Haltingly, she began to speak. “I…I don’t quite know where to begin. I guess, in the end, it all comes down to whether or not I should do something. Someone I know seeks to have me take part in a task I do not wish to perform. But if I do not take part, there will be dire consequences to pay. I’m lost. Hopelessly lost. And I don’t know where to turn.” When she had finished speaking, there was silence for a moment. In that silence, she realized that at some point in her talking, she had lapsed back into Latin once more instead of the Italian she has been trying to speak.
Eventually, the priest spoke, “Emaline, if, in your heart, you know something is wrong, don’t do it. Follow your heart and your beliefs and you shall go far. Further than if you ventured out blindly following.”
She let out an unneeded breath. In her mind, a plan was already beginning to form. She knew what she had to do now. “Thank you, Father.”
“Thank you, Emaline. I hope to hear your voice speaking such master of the ancient language again one day.” She gave no answer to him though, for she had already departed the basilica with hardly a whisper in her wake.
Entering into the main audience chamber of the Noctum Sect, Emaline saw that Bain was standing at the Lord of Night’s side. Good. That shall make this easier then, if there is a witness, she decided. Walking up to the throne, she dropped her coat and bowed to Alaric, ignoring the Prince of Stars completely. “My lord,” she began, “I wish to challenge the Prince of Stars in ritual comminus for his position. He has let his hatred of the Diu Sect to cloud his judgment and is no longer fit to hold such a position of authority.”<
“Why you filthy little—“
“Silence!” Alaric glared at them. “A challenge. Very well. I do not wish for any death on this day, however. Therefore, a fight to First Blood is called. Does this agree with the combatants?”
“Aye, it does,” Bain spat out. Emaline only nodded.
“Very well. Begin.”
Before Alaric could even finish the word, Bain was already rushing Emaline, pulling out his sword on the way to her. Slowly but surely, she stepped calmly out of his way, sticking her foot out to trip him. He did, but quickly recovered to hit her with the Sword of Stars. The flat of the blade connected with her hand, causing her to wince in pain, but no blood was drawn. Just as calmly as before, she grabbed his arm and twisted it about, causing him to drop the metal weapon to the stone floor. He howled in pain as she moved it back far enough to break with a sickening snap. Then, she let it go. The fractured arm hung at an odd angle by his side. It looked disgusting, even to one who had lived through the Black Plague. The sight made her want to vomit. But her body would no longer allow for such an event to happen
Still, the fight was not over.Without thinking, she dropped the sword, rolled to one side, pulled out her small gun and fired a single shot. It hit Bain square in the heart. He began to shudder and convulse violently, foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog. “You…you shot…shot me…Why?” he demanded to know.
“Because the leader of the Diu Sect is Kuroi Daikirai Diu, my brother. And I refuse to kill family.” She turned and walked away from him towards Alaric.
“What was that?” he whispered, amazed at seeing one of his own killed by what looked like a simple bullet.
“A silver case around a piece of wood. The silver shatters on impact, leaving the wood to penetrate the body,” she replied scornfully.
“But why shoot him?”
“Because I forgot my knife!”