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Lover’s Requiem: Chapter Eight

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.


Lover’s Requiem: Chapter Four

Posting this quick before I go off to work, so no suspense waiting for it while I wait to get off of work.  Have a good day all, and please tell me what you think of it so far!

 

CHAPTER FOUR- PRETTY PEOPLE NEVER LIE, VAMPIRES NEVER REALLY DIE

Koios was the first awake.  Unlike every other time that it happened though, he did not wait around for the others of Diu’s Court to wake and join him in the communal room.  He was dressed in black and was out of the door into the twilight of the near set sun just as the others were beginning to stir.

His hunt was quick this time.  In his rush to make it to the church, he did not think of his own limitations for once.  He grabbed at the first person that he came across and drained them to near death.  Blood still on his lips and too much spilt on the ground around him, his hunger was not yet sated.  He left the alley quick enough to appear to be nothing more than a moving shadow to anyone watching and immediately tracked down another prey.  He was letting his vampiric nature take control of his body for once and it was reveling in it.

After one more near death and one feeding that resulted in not only a large blood loss, but also a loss of life, Koios was on his way to the church.  With power and energy in excess from all that he had done that night, he had no problem in quickly getting to it.  His running was so quick that the landscape blurred even to his own enhanced eyesight.  Any jumps that he made propelled him high into the air and across the little light that the moon gave off so that he was nothing more than a sudden silhouette against it.  He was truly a stalker and a hunter in the night for once in his ten year tenure of being a vampire.

And it was fun.

When he reached the entrance to the church, he finally slowed to a walk.  As he approached the steps that led inside, he found that he was unable to get any closer than just the doors.  Even getting that close was something that was hard to do.  Confused and knowing that he had gone inside just the night before, he pushed himself forward until he touched the doors in order to push them open.  Just like that, he was in sudden pain.  It was as though he was looking back on the crosses that were inside the way he had the night before.  Only a hundred times more painful.

He slowly backed away, hissing slightly as he bared his blood spattered teeth to it.

Something wrong?” asked a voice from behind him.

He twirled around and found himself facing Anahita again.  This time, she wasn’t glowing and had no wings.  She looked only a bit like Bridgett though, which was always a good thing in his book.  Although he had been sure it was her in his dream last night, he wasn’t positive now that he was faced with the real thing.  “Anahita,” he said curtly in way of greeting.

“Something wrong?”

“No.  Everything’s fine,” came his quick reply.

“Then shall we go inside?”  She walked to the doors of the church and pushed them over before going inside.  Once across the threshold, she stopped and turned back to look at him.  “You coming?”

“I…I can’t get inside.”

She nodded.  “I see.”  There was a pause and then, “How much blood did you take tonight?”

“No more than usual.”

“How much more than usual was spilt?”

Koios looked away from her and up to the stars.  “Enough,” he replied after a moment.  “I can’t get in because of that, can I?  It’s because I let the demon in me take control.”  Anahita nodded to him from her place inside the church.  “So, now what?” he asked.  “It’s not like I can walk inside and we can talk there.”

“There is another place,” she said after a moment.”

“Where?”

“Graveyard.  About ten minutes walking at human speed away from here.  Vampires of any court won’t go there after dark.  After all, there’s no fresh blood there, is there?”

He looked at her.  “Meet you there then?”   Before she could truly reply, he was off and running in the direction that she had just motioned in.  He reached it in about three minutes, spending a great deal of the energy that he had gained that night.  Which was probably for the best, he determined, if he was going to spend the night talking to an angel.  Considering what had happened at the church with his demon aspect at the front of his being, he wasn’t really sure he want to know what would happen if he spent any large amount of time with an angel while his demon was still in control.

Not knowing where they were going to meet once there, he paused just outside of the gates, searching for any sign of Anahita.  He saw a brighter area towards the left and through some trees and moved towards it.  Pushing through the branches, he saw Anahita sitting on a rock, waiting for him.

She was as bright as a full moon reflecting on freshly fallen snow and was full of grace even though she was just sitting.  When he stepped into her circle of light, it dimmed a bit.  Was it her own choice or was it from the darkness that he found himself consumed in?  He wasn’t sure, nor was he sure if he really wanted to know.

“Do you remember your dream from last night?” she asked in way of greeting.

He moved to take a seat next to her on the rock.  “Yes.  And, before you ask, yes, I believe it truly happened as well.  You are Bridgett.  However, you are more Anahita now than the girl that I…that James loved.”  He swallowed hard at his error.  It had been years since he had even considered himself as James.  Koios was who he was and who he was going to stay.  He looked at her.  “Who is it?” he asked, repeating the same question he had asked in the dream

“The-One-Who-Takes,” she replied with a small smile.

“The-One-Who-Takes?” An eyebrow was raised.  “Does he have a name that is more name like and less of a description?”

Anahita licked her lips nervously.  “He does.  But I’m not sure if I should tell you.  You won’t like it.”

“Who is it?” he demanded to know through clenched teeth.

“Diu.”

There was complete silence in the graveyard.  Only the sounds of the night could be heard.  Somewhere nearby, an owl hooted and then swooped down to capture some poor unlucky mouse.  The quiet wings were deafening in comparison to the silence that was found in the clearing between the angel and the vampire.

“No.  There’s no way it’s Diu,” Koios said forcefully.

“How can you be sure?  He’s the one who has turned every single person who is in his Court.  Young and old.  And every one of them has had something tragic happen to the other people they were with.”  Anahita looked down at the grass below her feet before drawing in a quiet breath.  “He was the one who killed me.”

“There’s no way he could have killed you!” he shouted at her.  “He was with me the entire time after I was shot.”   He leapt up from the rock and began pacing about.  “He turned me and was with me until I found your broken body and the body of the thief.  There was no way that he could have gotten away, killed you and then have returned to walk beside me and me not notice that he was gone.”

“I didn’t mean him directly,” she spat at him, standing as well.  “Some of his Court actually killed me.  But it was on his order.  They killed the thief too.”

“Who cares about a damn beggar?  He was going to go the hell anyway!”

“Are you so sure of that?” she asked.  The sudden softness of her voice was such a contrast to Koios shouting that it made him stop cold in his walking.  “He wasn’t trying to kill us.  Just get money so that his children could eat that night.”

“It doesn’t matter,” he spat out at her.  “It was his fault that it all happened anyways.”  He walked to the edge of the clearing before turning to look over his shoulder at her.  “I’m leaving.  Going back to the Court.”

“Koios,” Anahita spoke.  It was the first time that she had ever called him by any other name but James.  It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to keep him from leaving as he turned completely around to look at her.  “Please.  Don’t block off your mind.  You were open-minded in life.  Why are you boxing yourself in now in death?”

“Vampires never really die,” he responded wryly.  “Humans do, but when we turn to dust, we are just that, dust.”  A sardonic grin graced his features and it made him look even more ghoulish in the pale light that was around the two of them.  “Ashes to ashes.”

“Will you at least think about what I have said?” she asked him as she approached.  A hand was gently placed on his shoulder as she looked him straight in the eyes.  She knew that she could see the hurt and confusion that he held and wondered, briefly, just what he was able to see in her.

“Yes,” Koios said softly, before leaning down and brushing her lips with his.  “I can promise that much.  There will be no way that I can not.”

“Then can I ask one more thing?”

“What?”

“Is there a way that I might be able to be connected with you?  In case you change your mind about Diu and want to talk about it with me?”

He stepped away from her, running a hand through his hair.  “There is a way,” he began slowly.  “But I doubt that you’re going to like it.  Plus, I haven’t a clue on if it’s allowed or not.  Especially with you.”

“I…I don’t understand.  What—“

He licked his lips in apprehension before interrupting her sentence.  “Biting.  Blood exchange.  I’m connected with you and you are connected with me.”

She blinked at him for a moment.  “Are you insane?”

He shrugged and laughed slightly.  “More than likely.  Was in life, can’t see why that should be different now.”

“You’d turn an angel?”

“Not turn,” he said quickly.  “Never turn.  I wouldn’t force this existence on anyone who didn’t want it.  Sure, it’s great to live forever, but not when you have to live off blood.”  Koios looked at her.  “I believe you said the same thing last night in the dream.”

This time, it was Anahita who flinched.  “Then never mind.  I will not take blood.”

“Good, because I wasn’t exactly offering.  I was just saying that was the only option that we had.”  He stalked back to the shadows of the trees and stood there for a moment.  “How will I know?”

“Know what?”

“If you need to see me again.  Or what if I decide that I need to see you?”

She gave him a sad smile.  “No blood exchange means no contact outside of dreams.”

He just stared at her before disappearing into the shadows of the trees.  A moment later, he came back with a single red rose the color of the blood he had been drinking that night.  With a mock bow, he handed it to her.  “For you, angel.”  She took it, thinking that he had taken it from one of the graves and planned on dropping it as soon as he was gone.  She did not steal from the dead.

What she would never know was that Koios had used the last of the excess energy he had gained that night into asking the small flower for faster growth and bloom so that he might give it to her.

No response came to him from her lips, so he simply nodded his goodbye and became one with the night.  Anahita waited until she was sure that he was gone before putting the rose on the rock and disappearing in a silent, but blinding, flash of light.

Unseen by all, the rose took root.

°°°°
Trivia: It was in this chapter that I really started to create what the “vampire mythos” was for this story. I took other ideas out there, and then played with them until they became my own. I think it ended up working really well.


Writing Updates

It’s pretty amazing what can happen in a week.  I’ve gone from being an unknown in the authoring world, having self published a short story ages old, to being able to go find myself on the Barnes and Noble website.  It’s a pretty heady experience, if I’m completely honest.

I’m still working on Lover’s Requiem, and am in the search for a new and better title.  Characters have begun acting on their own and revealing things that I never knew about them.  Just last night a villain showed that he used to be religious before he was a vampire, and actually still believed it, even as he was dying.  I did not see that coming at all.  Of course, it did mean I had to rapidly go learn some Latin and Greek phrases.  Thank goodness for choir training!  I at least knew Kyrie Eleison!

I have two chapters and an epilogue left of Lover’s before that’s finished, and one of the chapters might be omitted–or pushed together with the other–so I’m closer than I ever thought I would be to finishing it.

Next I plan to try my hand at a satire piece, simply because I have this great opening for what was originally going to be a novel.  I know now that there is no way I could turn this into drama, because there isn’t really a plot to it, or a good way to make it longer without ruining the character’s voice.  And let me tell you…she has a voice and will not take no for an answer.

The 11th marks the start (and finish) of the writing contest Erika Eby and I have decided to enter into together, so expect some insanity that day, as well as my entries to be posted here when they are finished.

Being a NaNo rebel this month has been really productive so far, and has given me the ability to finish up projects that have been in the works for a while and have the support and the pushing to get through them all.

I think my next big project will be figuring out how to make a cover for Lover’s and editing it.  That promises to be a month in itself, I think


Lover’s Requiem: Chapter One

I’m posting this a few hours early as it’s the Racine County Fair this week.  I’ll be at the fairgrounds all day tomorrow, pretty much through Sunday, so I wouldn’t have time unless I did it now.  Trivia for this chapter at the end.  Here’s where the dark starts, people.

CHAPTER ONE- OUR FRIEND LAZARUS SLEEPS

Every day, he dreamed of that night. The soft touch of Brigett’s lips against his own. The love they had shared before the thief and his gun had shattered the night and their world. Diu, the vampire who had rescued him, helping him to his feet after the transformation had been complete for the time being. Taking off to find Brigett, only to find her and the thief dead a few alleys over, killed by who knew what. His dejected return to Diu who took him under his wing–literally– and brought him back to the oversized basement that served as a home for Diu and the others. For Diu was not the only one of his kind in the city, though he was among the oldest.

Diu had helped him to finish the transformation that night, performing the final transfusion that would change him for all eternity. When he had asked about the black wings, Diu had only smiled and didn’t bother to explain their presence beyond the word, “Magic.”

As he slowly slipped to a deep sleep, Diu told him that he would need a new name. He was no longer James. And he knew the elder vampire spoke true. A name came to him while he though about it. “Koios,” he said softly, not knowing where it had come from. He knew that he liked it though, and that it fit, so the name remained. “I am Koios.”

“Welcome, Koios,” Diu said with a small bow.

Every day, Koios dreamed of that night. And every night, he tried to forget it.

He was one of the undead now. Dead, but brought back to life much the way Lazarus had been returned to life by Jesus in the Bible. There had been no blood involved with that miracle. And no damnation of the soul.

When the sun went down, he awoke with his usual start of fear. The small room, no larger than a walk in closet, was pitch black as usual. Always, for the briefest of moments, he was afraid that he was dead once more. Then the feeling past and he remembered where he was.

Koios rose from his small bed and pulled on his pure black clothes he had taken to wearing. His hunger coursed though him, a reminder that he would need to feed that night for sure. If he did not, he would risk weakness that would render him unable to do anything but just lay there.

He stepped out of his room and found that, as usual, he was the first one awake. Their lair was little more than a forgotten basement of an abandoned building on the bad side of town. It had been divided into two parts: a communal room and the sleeping area, full of the closet-like rooms. No one ever bothered them though, or even seemed to know of their existence.

The communal room had several couches that Koios believed were just as old as Diu, if not older. Some of their number were sprawled across them, the dawn having caught them before they could retreat to the know safety of their rooms. The one called Lupus was wearing nothing more that a pair of jeans and had an old book spread open across his bare chest. Koios approached him and lifted the book to see what it was. “Dracula,” he muttered, a small grin on his face. Stoker’s novel was a source of never ending amusement for the vampires. The idea that they could change into animals or mist was laughable. There were a few things in the novel that were true, however, such as how to kill one of their own and the effects of sunlight.

Koios replaced the book and looked over at the clock on the wall. The days were growing longer now, though snow was still heavy upon the ground. The sun had just gone down and it was already almost six-thirty.

A noise from another part of his home drew his attention away from the clock. The noise was faint; if he had still been human, he could not have heard it. The others were waking.

In what almost amounted to a rush of bodies, the rest of the vampires joined Koios in the communal room. Lupus woke with a start behind him, nearly dropping the book on the ground. With his lightning fast reflexes though, he was able to catch it inches before it touched the hard stone floor.

The vampires gathered about, some slumping into couches and chairs while the rest remained standing, talking with one another. It was a mortal’s equivalent of a family gathering. Only this one happened every night.<

Koios wandered among them, smiling and nodding as needed. Off in the corner, he caught sight of the youngest member of there family: a girl maybe fourteen. Blood stained trails inched down her face as she tried to cry. Koios ran through is mental list of names and determined hers to be Emaline. She had been transformed by Diu a few nights ago after she and her family had been victims of a robbery turned gang fight when others had showed up.

He knelt down next to her and wiped away a tear of blood. "Emaline," he spoke soothingly, using all the charm he had learned during his ten year tenure as a vampire. "It's alright, Emaline. You have nothing to be afraid of."

"I'm not afraid," she hiccupped out.

"Then what is it?"

"I miss my family."

Koios gave her a gentle smile that hid his teeth. It wouldn't do to frighten the girl even more. "I know. But we are your family now. And though it hurts, you must stay strong. We are the few, the lucky," he said, quoting almost word for word what Diu had told him that night after he had seen Brigett's broken body there before him. "We are eternal."

"But my family isn't here!" she said, staring up at his pale face.

He gently reached out to grab her hand. His was near white, having lost all pigmentation long ago since he was no longer in the sun. Hers, on the other hand, was still tan with color. "We will stand by you as if you were our own flesh and blood," he said softly. "I will take care of you."

"You mean it?" she questioned quietly.

"With all my heart and upon the Codex I swear it." He rose, taking her with him. "Come. Let's see if I might go out early with you so that you might get something to eat."

"Like McDonalds?"

Koios cringed inwardly. Emaline still wasn't totally aware of what it meant to be vampire. She didn't know that she wouldn't be able to stomach anything but the blood and its energy for the rest of eternity of that she would remain as a fourteen-year-old forever. But he couldn't bring himself to be the one to tell her that. So instead, he nodded and said, "Perhaps." Then he looked over his shoulder at the room that was nearly full. He held out his hand to her again. "Shall we go, my tiny Lazarus?"

She took it and looked up his tall, thin frame to the face obscured by hair. "Who is Lazarus?"

"A character, or a person if you'd rather, in the Bible. He was one Jesus supposedly brought back to life after he had died," he explained, thereby exhausting his knowledge of the Bible and the majority of the stories within.

Like Diu did with me," Emaline said as she caught on.

"Like he did for most all of us here," Koios said softly. He led her over to an open spot by one of the couches and sat down. She followed suit.

“What's your name?" she asked suddenly.

He was caught off guard by the question. She had to repeat it a second time before he was able to answer. "I'm Koios," he told her.

"No. Your real name."

He gritted his teeth together in an attempt to control his anger. He could not attack her. She was but a fledgling, fresh into her life as a vampire. "I am Koios," he repeated, enunciating every syllable to every word.

"How did Diu save you?"

"What?"

"My parents and I were caught in a robbery gone wrong. Diu came and offered to change me so that I would be able to help my parents," Emaline explained. "I said yes. But my parents were both dead by the time I got to them." She looked up at his face once more. "What about you?"

Koios looked away and sighed quietly. Talking of Brigett and the past was something he tried not to do. It was also something he tried to forget. "I was shot trying to keep safe the one that I loved," he said simply.

"Do you still love her?"

"Yes," he admitted. "But it doesn't matter now. She died the same night I did." Koios sighed again. He was doing that more than he used to lately. "That was in another life though. I try to forget about it. As should you. You are no longer Miley." He ignored her shocked expression and continued on. "You are Emaline, beget of Diu, a member of Diu's Court." He looked up and saw that the vampire in question had finally entered the room. "Let's go get some food."

In the ten years since Koios had first seen him, Diu hadn't changed. His raven hair was still shoulder length and very straight. He green eyes were still bright and full of unshared laughter. Black, as with most everyone, remained the color of choice. The one thing that set him apart from the others was the way he carried himself. He looked older than his body, which was true. He was still in the visage of the 25-year-old he had been when he had been killed. But he was close to 300 now. Even so, he looked far older, worries no other had to face weighing upon his flawless and ageless face. The black wings Koios had come to associate with Diu were folded and behind him, blending with the duster had had on top of his clothes.

Koios nodded respectfully to him as he passed him by. Diu saw that he had Emaline in tow and gave him the briefest of smiles. "Take good care of her," he told him.

"I will," Koios responded, opening the door that lead to the world outside. He paused for a moment, breathing in the smell of the city night. Smoke, fear, sweat, tears; it was all there, each easy to pick out from the other. "Lazarus awakens," he said softly. Then he took off into the night in search of a meal.

°°°°
Trivia: I had to go searching to see who Lazarus was aside from a character in Dr. Who. I honestly had no idea, and had never heard of them before I started writing this. So what Koios says is truth for me as well.


Lover’s Requiem: PrologueI

Today starts a serial story called Lover’s Requiem.  I’m still working on finishing it, and I’m hoping that being forced to finish it so I can post it makes me work on it more.  This is all a rough draft of the novella as well.  I hope to be able to provide little bits of trivia about the writings as well as I continue on with it posting it.

Without further ado, here is Lover’s Requiem.

PROLOGUE- CROSSING THE RIVER STYX

The boy and the girl had been in love for as long as they could remember. Sometimes, it felt like forever in their minds. They knew each other so well that they could know what the other was thinking. Indeed, the two rarely had to say a complete sentence when talking.

He was tall, all lanky arms and legs. His hair was a mop of black strands that were in constant disarray. It was rare he went anywhere without at least one piece of black clothing on him. He was classified as a “freak” by others of society and often avoided because of it. But he didn’t care; he was comfortable with who he was. He had dark green eyes that darted everywhere, taking everything in. And his name, though later rejected, was James.

She was tall as well, but the height suited her. She did not look like a puppy still growing into his paws as James sometimes did. She was thin, wiry. Her long blonde hair matched her body. Her eyes were the blue of a warm ocean, though they were often narrowed in cynicism. She wore Celtic jewelry, silver in color, on her body in at least one place every day. Her skin matched her clothes: pale, almost ivory. At the time, she went by the name of Brigett.

The two stood in sharp contrast to one another. People wondered how they had fallen in love. Some days, they themselves wondered just how it had happened. But a look into each other’s eyes, and it became glaringly obvious once more: they were meant for each other.

But events greater than even their love were occurring, by beings more powerful than the two could imagine. And it was not long after James’s twentieth birthday that the first of these events transpired.

The two had gone out to one of the fancier restaurants in the city. She, dressed in a white dress, appeared to be an angel. He wore a black tux; even the shirt was the color of midnight. Together, they were two halves of the same picture, an idea that was lent credence once one realized they each had a half of the same Celtic knot on a chain about their necks.

The night was perfect when they left the small French restaurant. Uncountable stars filled the sky while the moon was just this side of dark. In the darkness of one alleyway, they waited for their cab, kissing in the dark. Neither paid much attention to what was going on about them.

As such, it was impossible for them to hear the approach of the thief on quiet feet.<

"Your money," he ordered, jamming the barrel of the pistol into the small of James's back. "Or I kill the girl."

James slowly nodded and reached into his back pocket drawing out his wallet. He pulled out the $40.00 that had been in it and passed it to the thief.

"All of it," the thief ordered.

"That's all I have," he replied softly.

"Then I take the girl," came the answer, the gun shifting over to train on Brigett.

"Run, Brigett!" James told her. She took off down the street. James threw himself at the thief in an attempt to give his love more time to escape. Frightened, the thief's finger twitched and the gun spat out a bullet. It ripped through James's body and bounced harmlessly off the brick building behind him.

James fell to the ground and lay on top of the thief. Still in shock, the thief pulled himself out from underneath the dying James and stared at him. Then, he transferred the gaze to the gun in his hand. He hadn't meant to kill anyone, just scare them. Money forgotten, he began to run in the direction Brigett had gone.

James lay on the sidewalk, the dark night growing darker around him as he lost contact with the world. He heard a fluttering noise from above and then a face appeared in his narrowing field of vision. At first, he assumed that it was only something he had created in his mind during his last moments.

Then the person knelt down beside him. "I can save you," he told James in a quiet voice. "But it must be your choice."

"What do you mean?"

The being pulled back his lips from his teeth and let that be his answer. "You know what I am."

"Yes. Vampire."

"I can save you," he repeated. "But it must be your choice. Do you wish to be like me in order to remain in this world a little longer?"

James though of Brigett, a girl whom he would do anything for. If he died, he would never see her again. Never again would he hear her voice or feel her feather light touch as her fingers tied his tie. For her, he would do anything; even become one of the damned. "Let me live," he whispered to the vampire.

"Very well," was the quiet reply. And he lowered his head and began to transform him.

~~~~~~~

Trivia: each chapter name, and the entire idea for this story, actually, comes from the CD called "Lover's Requiem" by the group "I Am Ghost".


Vatican Vamps

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.

VATICAN VAMPS

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?”

“Yes.”

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!”


A Short Story

This was probably one of the first pieces of anything that took place in a pure Fantasy setting.  I wrote it for a creative writing class I was in, and no one really knew what to think of it, especially since the professor was a poet.  It’s not the best thing I have ever written, and it sounded a lot better in my head than it ended up turning out on paper.  If you have any questions or comments on it, please let me know!

 Being
There was a time when magic still roamed the land and was not yet confined by the now powerful Actung.  It was a time before the Black Machines came and Beings still walked among us.  The Tarot Riders were the strongest fighters the world had ever known and were hired only by the richest of the Lords of the Land or by those who had nothing left to lose.  The only two who didn’t work only for the Lords were the Empress and the Fool.  The best of the Riders, they took jobs for only those who had just causes and who could look past the heritage of the Empress.  They were also the only ones who could Return a Being with any success for more than a few hours.  When they Returned, the Being did not come back until it was released once again.
            When the two first met, the Empress was but twenty summers and the Fool has seen only one more than she.  And neither of the two had yet earned the Tarot.
~~~
            “Spot is taken,” grumbled the man.  His features were hidden in the shadows cast by both cloak and hearth fire.  His voice was deep, but not overly so.  Rae didn’t think that he could possibly be any older than her recently married brother.
            “Just for me, or for everyone?” she asked, sitting down across the table from him.  “Because I saw someone get up from here not a half bell ago and he hasn’t come back yet.”  She pulled off her traveling cape and placed it on the wood bench.  Her movement let the fire light in the tavern hit her hair and face, revealing tell-tale black hair and red eyes.
            “Especially you,” he growled out.  “Your kind isn’t welcomed here.”
            Rae raised a hand to the tavernkeep, ordering a drink.   “My kind?  Do you mean me being a woman?  Because I must say, I do see a dearth of those here as well.”
            He didn’t respond and they sat in silence in the corner.
            “Why are you still here?  I thought I made it clear that you weren’t welcome here.”
            Rae yawned.  “One, it’s cold out.  I highly doubt you want to be out in the snow either.  Two, I saw no signs that said that I wasn’t welcome.  And look!” she motioned to her drink.  “My money spends just as good as yours.”
            “You…you….” He sputtered.  “You insufferable….”
            She grinned.  “Thank you.  I try.”
            He reached beneath his cloak, going for the sword she was sure was beneath.  Her body stiffened, a dagger falling into her hand from a sheath on her wrist.  Why was it that every time she tried to get a drink, someone took offense to her being there?  Now she was going to have to fight for her food again, pay for damages, then go find somewhere else to spend the night and hope that the scene…
            “Being of Fire!  In sight of the town!”
            The yelled warning was enough to quiet the entire tavern.  The majority of the people sat in shock as the news sank in.  A Being of Fire could destroy the town in seconds if he made it this far.  Rae and her companion were the first to leap up out of their seats, followed by the off-duty members of the town Watch.  “Can you summon anything?” Rae asked him as they ran into the streets. 
            “Simple sprites.  Nothing that can take out that,” he said, nodding towards the hulking figure made of flames lumbering towards them.  “I’m a swordsman, not a spellslinger.”
            “Good thing I am then.” 
            Their animosity towards one another was forgotten in the heat of battle.  Like all good fighters, they were able to put aside arguments at a moment’s notice and resume them later on once the threat of death had been avoided. “I’m Caleb, by the way.”
            “Rae.”
“You’ve got a plan?”
“I do.  I need you to guard my back though.  Once I start slinging, I can’t protect myself.”
“What’s the plan?”
“I Return it.”
“Just yourself?”
“Unless there are other slingers in the Watch.”
Caleb nodded and drew his sword as they continued moving on towards the edge of Kingsguard Town.  While the rest stopped just past the gates, Rae ran further up along the dirt path.  The heat coming from the Being could be felt even from where she was standing, a good two hundred yards away from it.  The air shifted and bent around the massive Being’s heat, like the air bends around a hot fire’s coals.  She closed her eyes and reached for the Fire inside of herself.  Though it was no where near as strong as the Fire that was inside of the Being, there was still enough there.  :Why are you here: she asked it, using her Fire as a channel.
:PAIN! DESTROY! MASTER! FREEDOM! FIRE! DESTROY!:
It was impossible to get anything coherent out of the Being.  That was the way most Returnings happened though.  A Being was ripped from its home element and forced to manifest.  While some Beings, like those of Air and Water were easy to control or command, Fire was a Being of a different nature entirely.
“Any slingers in the Watch?” she heard Caleb yell behind her. 
“Me!” another one yelled out.
“To me!” Rae said.  “Link and we can Return it.”
The slinger in the Watch was next to her in a moment, extending power to her.  Rae grabbed at it, connecting the Fire of her own with the power of the other.  There was something familiar about it, but she was so deep in channeling now that she couldn’t spare a thought as to what it was. If she lost concentration now, the power she held would burn them both.
“Do you know how to Return?” she asked the Watchmember.
“Seen it done, but I haven’t done it meself.”
“Then just let me do the work and grab what you offer.”  Rae shut down the part of her that she had been using to speak and focused everything on the Return.  With her heritage, it was easy to reach into the elemental plane that was needed.
The world faded away around her and she was in a world of fire, lakes of lava and smoke covering the sky.  The heat was almost unbearable, but she endured.  Somewhere in this world, there was a hole that the Being had been called out of.  There would be a colder feeling around the area that the hole was, where the heat and fire could escape and the cooler air of her world would reach through.  Experience in Returning Beings before would help her to find the subtle place where the hole was.  She expected it to be hard.  But as soon as she focused on finding the hole, the cooler air of her plane blasted her.
Some idiot hadn’t pulled the Being though.  He had blasted through the wall into the elemental plane and dragged the poor thing out.  No wonder it was in pain.  She would be in pain too if she was pulled through a wall between worlds.  It would be like being thrown at the wall of the tavern she had been in, only passing through it while still keeping the pain.  There were some things that were not meant to happen.
But it was through that hole that Rae would have to convince the Being to Return.  And then seal it up before Rae could leave the plane. 
By the time she had gotten though to the Being, it was about to enter the town.  Instead of destroying it though, it turned and walked back the way it came, listening to the call that Rae was putting out to it.  There was another shimmer in the air around it that Caleb and the Watch saw before it disappeared. 
A moment later, Rae opened her eyes, released the link that the slinger had given her and fell to her knees.  Caleb was by her side along with half of the Watch in an instant.  “You okay?”
“I’ll be fine,” she said, waving them off.  “That was the hardest Return I’ve ever done though.  Someone had literally torn the poor thing out of his world and into ours.  The pain that he was feeling was immense and it was almost too late by the time I reached it.”
“But it wasn’t.”
She shook her head.  “No.  I just wish I knew who the idiot was that called a Bring here so close to town.”  Rae looked around.  “Is anyone hurt?”
“Nothing that the Waterwitch healers can’t take care of.”
“I can help a bit too.  I’m no where near as good as my mom was, but I’m alright in the field.”
“Your mom was a Waterwitch?” Caleb asked, surprised.
“Still is as far as I know.”
“A Waterwitch with a Fireling child,” he murmured as he helped her up.  “One who wants to help others rather than gain power to destroy.  Will wonders never cease…”
“I certainly hope not.  Besides, it’s our actions that make us evil, not who we are.”  She wrapped an arm around his shoulders in an attempt to stay upright longer before leaning towards the tavern.  “What say you to a drink?  I wouldn’t mind finishing my wine and you look like you need a good ale.”
Caleb laughed, blue eyes sparkling in the sun.  “I do, at that.”