Time for Chapter Eight. Just Chapter nine and then the epilogue left of Lover’s Requiem until I start a new project for Fridays. Hope you enjoy this one!
CHAPTER EIGHT –THE SHIP OF PILLS AND NEEDED THINGS
It took less than a minute for Koios and Anahita to find themselves surrounded by Diu and his court. They were completely boxed in and only by the slashing of Anahita’s sword were they able to keep enough room around them that they were not completely overrun.
There were moments when Koios found himself face to face with those who he thought he knew as friends. Some were dressed in normal clothes, jeans and shirts that he had seen them in time and time again. Others were clothed for this particular night, wearing what one might expect out of a traditional vampire: cloaks, black, and high collars. They were playing their part well in this dance of demons tonight.
One came at him with a long dagger, expertly wielding it, slashing away at Koios anytime he got too close to the other. The press of opponents became stronger and began to force Anahita and himself to separate while making him travel closer and closer to the dagger wielder with every step. He hissed out in pain when he felt it bite into his skin, drawing a line etched in red across his lower back to his hip. With a growl, he spun and began to recklessly attack the one who had injured him, fighting to both kill his opponent and to get back to Anahita.
From the moments that he could spare to look at her, she seemed to be holding her own against the horde. But Diu was still standing to the side, directing the fight with a small smile on his face. There would be occasional advances towards him by the angel at Koios’ side, but the elder vampire seemed to always know just when they would be, and sent more of his court against her. It did not take long before she was overwhelmed with attackers.
Time seemed to stop for Koios as he watched, as though he was outside of all of it, peering in through a small window in time on the current fight. He saw her spinning around, sword flashing in the parking lot lights, dark blood covering the steel.
His attention was pulled to Diu, who was directing members of his Court, those he had named family, those who he created, be sent to their deaths. The name Anahita had given him—The One Who Takes—suddenly made sense in such a glaring way that he was shocked with himself for not having seen it before. Diu didn’t just take the lives of the living to create more of his—of their—kind, he also threw it all away when he felt like it.
As Koios saw his standing to the side, hands in pockets, wandering around like he was on a stroll through the city, he finally understood what it meant to see red. Bastard didn’t fight his own fights, didn’t even care enough about those who he had said were family and he would protect. With a shout, he rushed back to himself, to the fight, to Brigett.
Ten years ago, he had damned himself to save her, only to find that it had been in vain then. But now, he was stronger, faster, and understood that he would do anything to save her, even if it once again meant death for him. He had promised her that he would help to keep her safe. Now he could finally keep that promise.
Grabbing the vampire closest to him, Koios pulled him close, using him as a human shield against knife and fists. The bloody furrow across his back seemed to dull in pain until it was gone, though he could still feel it dripping down his back on occasion. The enemy who had made the wound was near him again, and Koios flung himself at his hand, intent on wrenching the dagger from his hand so he might have a weapon in what seemed an endless onslaught.
Hands caught on hands, grasping at clothes and skin, pulling on hair and kicking to get away from one another as they grappled on the ground for control of the situation. “I won’t let you take her from me again,” Koios growled out, letting the demon within him take control of his body. In a moment of pure instinct, he lunged for the neck of the older vampire and began to drain him dry. Others tried to pull him off, but he held fast until motion beneath him ceased and he rose with dagger in hand, already slashing at those who were near enough to reach.
With his new weapon, he was able to clear a path through the circle surrounding him for long enough to escape its confines. Free to move once more, he turned and ran towards where he had last seen Anahita. With demon instinct still in control, he was able to move once again at speeds mortal eyes would not have ever been able to see. A leap, and he was next to Anahita, wings that he hadn’t remembered creating outstretched behind him, blocking her from more attacks while she recovered.
“Koios,” he heard her whisper behind him, voice weaker than he remembered. “What are you doing?”
“I don’t plan on leaving you again, Brigett. Never. I will never give you up again,” he told her, firm, unwavering assurance in his words that shocked even him. “I will go to hell before I live a life without you,” he finished quietly.
“Touching,” Diu called out from across the parking lot turned battlefield. “If hell is what you want, hell is what you’ll get, Koios.” He began to walk towards them, his court stopping what little fighting remained once the two lovers had rejoined. “Why do you insist on fighting me? You’re smart. I wouldn’t have turned you had that not been the case. You know as well as I do that you can’t possibly win this fight.”
“It’s not about winning,” came Anahita’s response. Rising with the help of her sword as a cane, she moved to stand beside Koios. “It was never about winning a fight against you, Diu.”
“Oh? What was it then, angel? To try to redeem me?” Diu let out a laugh that sounded harsh against the quiet midnight air around them. “And if I repent now, will all be forgiven?” His smile was cruel, though the tone was deadly serious. “What of my Court? Will they be forgiven of their sins as well if I say they are? We are vampires, angel. We do not care of forgiveness and there hereafter. The here and now is our domain, making the world ripe and ready for change so it does not stagnate and falter. Were it not for us, humanity would remain in the dark ages, content to spend their lives farming. Instead, they were forced to find ways to light the night, to build more impressive buildings to keep us away so they might live. We are what they want to be. Immortal, forever. “
“There are some that still care of the hereafter, Diu,” Koios told him, stepping forward to meet him. “When I met you, when you said you would save me, I believed in it so strongly that I was willing to go with you in hopes that I might live long enough to see Brigett again.”
The two were mere feet away from one another when Diu raised his hand. Koios stopped in his tracks, watching, waiting. “Even now, Koios, you obey me. You long to be with Brigett again. You still love. Weaknesses in vampires, perhaps, but a strength in humans to not let go. I understand. This strength of will is another trait I saw in you when I went to welcome you into the Court.” Diu reached out to place a hand on his shoulder. “Come back to me, Koios. Was I ever unkind? Did I not give you everything that you asked for?” He motioned to the left with his next words, “Emaline misses you, Koios. Would you take away the family she chose so soon after her own family died on her?”
Attention was drawn from Diu to where he pointed with his hand, where a small red-headed child was peering out from behind one of the cars that was parked overnight. Her face was pale, though it was with fear and not from lack of sunlight. “Koios!” she called out to him when she saw him looking.
“My name,” he said quietly, “is James.”
Diu shook his head sadly. “It is a pity to see Koios die then. He was a remarkable vampire. James is nothing more than a man, and easily killed.”
James never saw the stake that plunged through his heart as he died a second time.
TRIVIA: This chapter was the hardest to write. I had no idea what I wanted to happen in it aside from “giant fight”. So, I put it off and put it off until a week became a month, a year, and then 4 years. When August’s Camp NaNo came around, this was the first on my list of projects to complete. Word Wars really helped me push through it, and it turned out even better than I had hoped.
Also, it’s this chapter when Diu really comes into his own as a character and I start to love him, even though he’s…well…a bastard.