Authors: Requiem (v5.0)
By Greg Hair
Published by wayHUGE Media
Copyright Greg Hair 2012
Chapter 1: Requiem
LillyAnna paced outside the foot of the bell tower on Poveglia Island, the full, pale, Venetian moon high-lighting her pixie-cut, chestnut-brown hair from high above. Bianca, Catalina, and Jacinda sat on the dark ground.
“I can’t explain it,” said LillyAnna. “It’s just a really strong feeling I got.”
“You two have a much stronger connection now, since Savannah,” Catalina said.
“So what do I do?”
“Try to focus,” said Bianca. “Use that connection to your advantage. If there’s really something wrong, we need to find him. Focus your emotion on him, and him alone. You’ll probably be able to pick up some sensations, feelings. Focus your senses on what he may be experiencing.”
“You know,” began Jacinda, her long dark hair billowing across her bare, cocoa-colored shoulders, “Landon and Ryker, being Consuls, have a connection, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ryker—“
Suddenly, the Danish vampire came running out of the island’s main building, the Octagon, toward the bell tower. He stopped in his tracks when he came to LillyAnna, staring at her, an expression of panic on his face.
“You feel it, too, don’t you?” she asked.
Ryker nodded, his short blond hair and goatee glowing in the moonlight. “Let’s find him,” he said.
Moments later, with the three girls, and Connor, Jacinda’s pale, Irish, vampire boyfriend in tow, LillyAnna and Ryker made their way down various canals, searching for Landon.
“So where is he?” asked Connor.
LillyAnna and Ryker looked at each other. “I don’t know,” she said. “It feels like…”
“Like what?” asked Jacinda.
“Well…like I’m drinking a lot.”
“That’s not unusual. He’s probably at a bar,” said Connor.
“Yes, there’s alcohol involved,” began Ryker, “I can taste it. But that’s not what she’s talking about. It’s like I’ve had an incredible amount of water to drink. Too much. Like I’m taking on a lot of water.”
“So,” said Catalina, the bronze-skinned Mexican vampire, “it feels like—“
“Like drowning,” LillyAnna said, beginning to understand the sensation. “Oh, God.”
Closing her eyes, she pictured Landon in her head, thinking about their night in Savannah. Her pulse quickened. The memory of how she felt inside, how he felt on her skin, as they made love in the abandoned room above the bar. Her breathing increased. Suddenly, her eyes flashed open.
“That way,” she said, pointing to the right.
The vessel coasted next to a walkway that outlined one of Venice’s many squares. The boat rocked as all the passengers disembarked.
“This is it,” said LillyAnna. “I can smell him. His scent’s still in the air.”
“I feel him, too,” said Ryker. “Everyone walk the edge in various directions. Look into the water as far as you can. He’s right here. Somewhere.”
Then, facing the nearest bar, he began drifting to the left. LillyAnna followed as the teens branched off to the right.
They found themselves staring down a shadowed alley behind the bar. She watched as Ryker turned back toward the water and gazed out. His eyes flashed blue and widened.
The full moon’s reflection danced across the waves and ripples from the many gondolas carrying lovers throughout Venice’s waterways. Soft, romantic music from violins filled the air.
“There,” Ryker whispered, pointing about fifty feet from the dock. Without another word, he dove into the canal.
Reddening her eyes, LillyAnna followed Ryker’s silhouette, watching him swim to the bottom, approaching what appeared to be a coffin.
“Oh, God,” she said to herself, understanding that foul play was at the heart of the situation.
Seeing the vampire attempt to pull out a silver pipe through the top, then stop, she watched as he paused, then rolled the casket to its side and pulled the bar out from underneath. The lid opened slowly, sending bubbles rushing to the surface.
Landon rolled out, his eyes closed and his hands covering his stomach, as if protecting a wound. Even in the dark of the lagoon, LillyAnna made out a color change of the water surrounding his body. Red.
Suddenly, he moved. Slowly pushing himself up from the canal bed, then floating back down, just as gently as he had risen, to one knee. Ryker, still on the bottom, kept his distance.
Landon’s arms drifted away from his midsection, seemingly hanging in mid-air to his sides. His eyes thrust open.
LillyAnna, from sixteen feet above, saw his piercing red stare through the black water, the white lights from the street lamps shimmering off the surface. She watched as his slim, muscular build gave way to the outpouring of the beast within. His torn clothes drifted away.
Like a ballistic missile launched from a submarine, Landon shot out of the water, one of his rear claws cutting a swatch in LillyAnna’s torso, from shoulder to navel, as he used her body like a springboard, propelling himself further, higher.
Onto the roof of the bar that fronted the plaza, and into the night Landon raced as LillyAnna collapsed to the pavement. In seconds, a dripping wet Ryker knelt by her side.
“I’m okay,” she winced. “You gotta go after him. He’s probably going after whoever put him down there, but he’s blinded by rage. The wrong person’s gonna get killed.”
“You sure you’re okay? It’s a really deep gash. You’re losing a lot of blood.”
“You know I’ll be fine in just a minute. You gotta hurry after him, though.”
“Okay. Connor and the others are on their way back. Return with them to the island. I’ll be there soon—with Landon.”
Ryker stood, his icy blue eyes almost looking through her, and turned his gaze skyward.
Up he shot toward the heavens, taking flight into the night as the teens returned to LillyAnna’s side. He watched from high above as she changed form to heal, then changed back to human again, boarding the boat with the others to go home to the island of Poveglia.
Scanning Venice from thousands of feet up, Ryker spotted a large, fast-moving mass leaping across canals, making its way across the city.
Through the night air Ryker flew, racing over domed Cathedrals, Gothic buildings, and aquatic roads. Within seconds he was flying parallel with the beast below.
Seeing the werewolf wobble as it ran, nearly tripping over its large paws several times, and pick up speed as it neared the Grand Canal, Ryker knew Landon wouldn’t be able to make the jump due to the intoxicating effects of the full moon. He swooped down, catching Landon in mid-air as he jumped the waterway. The Dane was not, however, prepared for such a dramatic and quickened increase in weight, as they crashed into the nearest building—the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.
Bursting through the church’s doors, Landon and Ryker rolled down the central nave, knocking over pews as they went, separating and stopping just short of the high altar.
Landon stood high and unsteady on his large, powerful legs and howled. His red fur bristled in the slight breeze that blew through the building. Nearby statues vibrated from the resonance of his vocal chords. Ryker backed away, signaling his unwillingness to fight.
Landon suddenly decreased his wide stance and lowered his towering frame, seeming to come to his senses, realizing that he was facing his friend, and that he was drunk off the moon. In seconds he reverted to human form, standing naked before the saints and angels of the Venetian basilica.
“Why did you stop me?” he asked.
“You’re welcome, by the way. For saving your life.”
“Yeah, thanks. Why did you stop me? Do you know what I was doing?”
“Sure. You were going after the guy that put you at the bottom of the canal. And normally, I’d let you go, but you were out of control. Do you know that you nearly killed LillyAnna when you came out of the water?”
Landon looked at the floor, his eyes darting from side to side.
“No. I didn’t know that. I wasn’t paying attention. Is she okay?”
“She’s fine. So what happened? Who put you down there? That was quite the elaborate grave someone constructed for you. Wasn’t a spur of the moment thing.”
“It was Nicholas. Or, one of his men, rather. Gar was his name. He found me drinking at the bar where you found me. We were having drinks together, talking. One thing led to another.”
“Did you not hear what I said? Nicholas sent one of his men down here to kill me—and he almost succeeded.”
“Yes, I heard you. And it was drinking that allowed you to be manipulated into the situation, wasn’t it?”
“What’s your point?”
“You already know. Anyway, the guy’s long gone by now. We need to get back. You should check on LillyAnna.” Ryker turned, heading back out the church, picking up and straightening pews as he went. “I’m glad we found you. And you need some clothes.”
Reaching the shattered remains of the doors, Ryker looked back to see Landon still standing, staring, at the altar.
“You coming?” he asked.
Landon turned slowly and began toward the exit. “Thank you,” he said. “You and LillyAnna. For saving my life.”
“It’s the ones back there that you were staring at who you should really be thanking,” Ryker said, motioning to the statues. “If it weren’t for a higher power, LillyAnna and I wouldn’t have had the ability to find you. Our connections are like guidance systems. You used to have faith in something greater than yourself. Now, you only seem to find faith at the bottom of a bottle. Which appears to be working out really well for you.”
Landon said nothing, following Ryker out of the church and back toward Poveglia.
Chapter 2: Requiem
Nicholas, dressed in a dark, Italian suit, waited at the edge of the woods, on the top of the hill, that bordered Loch Awe. He waited, listening, for the sounds of sex to end. Moments later, Serinda emerged from within the trees.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, still pulling her jeans up as she neared the werewolf, her long, dark hair mussed up from recent activity.
“Nothing. Just enjoying the sounds of nature.”
Her face made no effort to hide the disgust she felt. “You’re always standing outside somewhere, listening to us.”
“I’d like for you to go down and check on our guest,” he said, ignoring her last remark. “Make sure she’s comfortable.”
Nicholas watched Serinda head down the slope toward Kilchurn Castle, as Jamie approached from behind. “And send Tsukiko up here,” he said quietly. He knew she heard him.
“What’s going—,” began Jamie, stopping when Nicholas raised his hand to quiet the teen. The elder continued watching Serinda make her way to the castle as he spoke to his amazingly handsome, blond protégé.
“Never forget,” said Nicholas, “vampires have an acute sense of hearing just as we do.”
Seeing Serinda reach Kilchurn and enter, Nicholas turned to face Jamie.
“You’re progressing much quicker than I ever could have anticipated. I know that you had a moment of moral weakness when we talked in the church ruins on the small island in the loch. Nothing will get someone through that valley and onto a peak of clarity like sex. And now that you’re getting back on your feet, we need to talk about what’s coming.”
“Okay, I’m listening.”
“In order to bring more of both species to our side, which we obviously need after seeing what Landon and his friends are capable of, we need to solidify the union between you and Serinda.”
“What are you talking about?”
“A wedding, my dear boy.”
“A wedding? I’m not getting married.”
Nicholas walked slowly toward Jamie, taking a deliberate approach.
“You will do whatever is necessary to ensure the death of your father and the others. That includes getting married. A matrimonial union between werewolf and vampire will guarantee the numbers that we need to finish them and place you on the new throne we will create.”
A cold, brisk Scottish wind swept across the lake and up to their vantage point.
“You are the one I’ve waited so long for,” Nicholas continued. “The one who can restore our rightful place as gods. The only way to do that is to destroy all vampires and those werewolves that side with the Consuls. We need the numbers that your marriage will bring in order to wipe out Landon’s forces. Then, finally, order will be restored and you placed on high.
“No more kneeling to Consuls, no more sharing the power with half-consumers of life, those wasters of precious blood who then leave behind rotting carcasses. Vampires are the rot that is eating away at our power and livelihood.
“Plus, there are too many werewolves and vampires that will refuse to follow me, as I was so close to the previous Consuls at Burghausen. There will be a great canyon filled with mistrust on their part. But, you, the son of Landon Murphy, the boy who rallies to take down his own father and who marries a vampire, you they will follow. Then we will destroy those vampires that survive, and the remaining werewolves will fall to their knees at your feet. No longer will there be a shared stage. No more Consuls. We will have one ruler—an emperor. You.”
Nicholas stopped upon hearing Tsukiko approach the hilltop.
“You sent for me?” she asked, both her long, black dress and long, black hair blowing in the wind. The dress revealed that she wore nothing else underneath, showcasing the body that was so coveted, and used, at Burghausen.
“Yes, my dear. I need you to take Serinda to Edinburgh, and help her find a dress.”
“A dress? For what?” asked Tsukiko.
“Why, for her wedding to young Jamie, of course.”
Tuskiko’s mouth dropped open.
“She’ll never agree to marry me,” said the teen.
“She will,” began Nicholas. “She desires power. That’s why she killed Gabriel and is now with you. You are now the Alpha, whether it be werewolf, or vampire. And make no mistake, women want the Alpha. When she sees that you are to become king, she will do what it takes to make sure that happens, to make sure she becomes queen.”
“But you said we were going to kill all the vampires. What makes you think she’ll go along with that? And what happens to her?”
“What happens to her, I’ll leave up to you. And she’ll go along with it because, even if she’s the only vampire left, especially if she’s the only vampire left, she will be the only vampire queen in the world, ruling over werewolves and humans alike. How can that not be enticing?”
“Okay,” said Jamie. “You’ve convinced me.”
“Remember your teachings from The Prince. You must do what is necessary; make those around you believe what you need them to in order to accomplish your goals. Use those around as you see fit, never making them the wiser. People want to believe, to be led, to be fed that food which you deem to be most nourishing to them.”
“Now,” Nicholas continued, returning to Tsukiko, “take her to Edinburgh. Let her pick the dress she wants. Money is no object.”
“We’ll leave immediately,” she said.
“By the way, how is the other vampire doing?”
“Good,” Nicholas said, smiling as Tsukiko left him and Jamie standing atop the hill. “Jamie, you should go find something to do.”
“What do you mean? What are you gonna do? Just stand up here on a hill?”
“I have to get something for our guest.”
“Well, I’ll go with you. There’s nothing to do here.”
“You definitely do not have the stomach for what I am going to do. No, find something else to do. Just don’t do anything stupid like Tsukiko did in the village. I don’t want to have to clean up your mess, too.”
With that, Nicholas began his descent down the hill and, reaching the bottom, turned away from Kilchurn Castle, forging his own path through the heather.
A short time later, he entered a tiny, picturesque town outside Edinburgh. The gray Scottish skies covered the land like a cold blanket. Children, and feral domesticated animals, played and roamed in the streets. The speed of the passing cars mimicked that of the slow moving clouds above.
Nicholas, in his fine Italian suit, approached a stranger—an elderly woman leaving a market on the street.
“Excuse me,” he began, “I’m looking for my niece, my sister’s child. My sister is a drug addled wench and left her daughter on the steps of a nearby church. I’m here to reclaim the child. Can you tell where I would find the local housing for abandoned children?”
“Oh, my dear boy,” said the woman, in a Scottish accent as thick as the gray hair upon her head. “I’m so sorry to hear that. Of course, of course. You’re not far from the place at all.” The old woman proceeded to supply Nicholas with the necessary directions, often interspersing the coordinates with various apologies for his situation, while lightly and lovingly, touching his arm. “I hope that helps. And I do so hope that you find the child you’re looking for.”
“Oh, I’m sure I’ll find the child,” said Nicholas, all the while thinking how he’d like to remove the old woman’s head for laying her fingers on him. “Thank you, so much. You’ve been a wonderful help.”
“God bless you, my boy.”
“God has played a much bigger role in my life than you can possibly imagine,” he replied.
“Good, good. You take care, now.” She said, continuing on her walk with her large, brown bag of groceries.
“Toodles,” he said, lowering his head, raising his hand, and wriggling his fingers, a sarcastic smile stretching from ear to ear.
Nicholas followed the woman’s direction and, moments later, found the care home he was looking for.
“Yes, sir, may help you?” asked the woman behind the front desk as he entered.
“Hmm,” he said, looking around the foyer, noticing a lack of surveillance cameras. “Well, the trust that those who really run this place have in their fellow man certainly doesn’t hurt. But, no. You, yourself, can’t help me.” He pulled out a thermos from an inside coat pocket, sitting it on the desk.
“Keeps cold things cold, and hot things hot,” he said, looking down and tapping the top of the canister. Then he resumed eye contact with the receptionist. “Don’t worry. I can get what I came here for, myself.”
A short time later, Nicholas emerged from the gothic façade, tucking the now blood-spattered thermos back into his coat. The screams from inside the building trickled onto the street outside.
As passers-by ran toward his location, the werewolf casually descended the gray stone steps that led into the care home, and headed back toward Loch Awe.