Battle for Blood Ch. 05byEliya©
René looked up from his pacing. "What guests?"
"I guess we will have to wait and see," Cole said, casting a glance at Landsman.
Landsman raised his hands in mock surrender. "I didn't know if they were going to come. I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up."
"Who?" Medea asked, affronted. She never did like to be left out of anything. As she spoke that sound of several heavy footsteps sounded in the hallway. A young vampire whom Cole recognized as one of the house staff scurried into the room.
"They..." he began breathlessly. "Um..." he said again, casting a glance around the very intimidating room. "I'd like to announce..." he was cut off. The door opened sharply. In the doorway stood a very large man, flanked by several other men and women. Each one of them wore a deep blue armor, uniform in its make up. Cole blinked for a moment, remembering how he had first seen Shane. She had worn something very similar: were-hunting armor. Hers had been light tan, stitched together with leather thongs. These vampires wore thicker, heavier armor clasped with curling metal. Landsman rose as they marched into the room.
"Olrun, thank you for coming," Landsman said. Olrun stood a full half a head taller than Cole and nearly twice as wide. The midnight blue vest stretched across his enormous torso as if it were second skin, weighing nothing at all. The room was silent as the huge blond vampire looked over them all. His pale eyes rested on Cole. The Viking inclined his head slightly; Cole returned the gesture. Olrun turned back to Landsman, inclining his head further.
"Was nothing, council chief Landsman. I'm glad you called." The man's voice was as big as his body. The room quieted further. Cole was impressed. Moments before it had seemed like nothing would get these morons to shut up. He remembered the Viking humans; they had had this effect before as he recalled. The troop behind Olrun was no less impressive. All the vampires in his wake were old, strong and dangerous looking. They were the Night Guards, an ancient vampire warrior group whose service had waxed and waned over many centuries. The last time they had been called up was nearly 500 years ago to handle some incidents involving the Spanish Inquisition. Since then vampires had mostly stayed out of state affairs. The fellowship had faded, it's members going their own way. It appeared they had answered the call to regroup once again.
"We are discussing the current situation with the wolves. I believe you have been informed about the rising armies. Please, gentlemen, take your seats." Olrun and two of his captains took seats at the table. The others found seats further away. One perched himself high up on a chest of drawers in the corner, moving with such liquid grace as to catch Cole's attention. Cole was startled by the smiling face that shown back at him; he had not seen this vampire in many years. Einar winked at him. Cole couldn't help but smile back. Things were going to get interesting.
"Perhaps you should tell us precisely what you know about the werewolves whereabouts and movements," Olrun gestured at the table. No one volunteered. René sat down with a thud, his smooth demeanor had suffered greatly in the past few days. He seemed to be more anxious than most about the lack of direction they had. Cole couldn't really blame him. Many vampires never considered death as an actual inevitability of existence. Cole had embraced the knowledge that he would die some day over a millennium ago. Funny how that had kept him going for so long.
"We know their headquarters are located in the Nevada desert in an old military instillation," Landsman began. His tired voice sounded much like a bored teenager reciting declensions to his teacher. "We've had reports that there is an organized effort to train and unify the packs of the northern continent, along with the consolidation of some of the south American wolves who have been coming over the border in fairly large numbers. Many of the new wolves are being trained and some of the wild ones are being educated. We know there is also a hub of activity in New York city. We suspect this base is being used by a vampire who is colluding with the wolves as no wolf would confine him or herself to an urban area. The identity of this vampire has yet to be uncovered. We are monitoring transmissions and have informants within peripheral packs. However, it appears that wolves once loyal to vampires have begun turning on them or disappearing."
Olrun gave Landsman a scrutinizing look. Even though his age was evident in his eyes, Landsman still had many mannerisms of a teenage boy. It could take an ancient vampire like Olrun some time to get used to speaking to him. "Excuse me for asking, but is there really much cause to concern ourselves with this war? Any 50 year old vampire could take on his fair share of wolves, especially if so many of them are made. What is so different about this threat?"
Landsman didn't answer immediately, giving the other council members an opportunity to start talking again. Medea glared at Janus, "Apparently it is a global movement that needs to be annihilated," she spat.
"Better to fight than to run with our tail between our legs," Janus snapped back.
"Did you learn that trick from your pet wolf?" Medea gave him an evil smirk. She had a terrible habit of bringing someone's private life out in public. Janus looked like he was going to rip off her head.
"Keep your mouth shut, crone! I'd trade you for a wolf any day you useless bag of bones." Janus jumped form his seat, eyes blazing.
"If I may be so bold as to suggest that we simply speak with the wolves, we may be able to reach some sort of accord," René spoke up, brightening as if he had just had some brilliant idea.
"We've tried that," Landsman said patiently. "Medea and Janus please sit down. This will not do."
"Why not hire a plane and drop a bomb on their location?" René said helpfully, sounding slightly dazed.
"Did I just hear you suggest we bomb them or did I misunderstand because of your ridiculous accent?" Luke, a junior council member, joined the fray.
"Weren't you just talking peace? What the hell is the matter with you?" screamed another councilman, whose name Cole hadn't bothered learning.
There was suddenly an outburst of shouts. Each of the council members, jumping from their seats to curse and shout at the ones across from them. The noise was deafening as it echoed off the ceiling and walls. Olrun and his fellow Night Guards looked slightly surprised at the ensuing chaos. Landsman tried briefly to get everyone to quite down but ended up slumping back in his chair defeated.
Cole watched them shout. Part of him wanted to laugh at the ridiculous spectacle that these ancient beings were able to make of themselves. His mouth twisted in a half smile as he listened to the chorus of noises in the room. He let himself enjoy a moment more of the scene before him before sighing internally. This is what you get for caring, he said to himself. He shoved his weight off the wall and stood with both feet planted, crossing his arms over his chest. He was not as big as Olrun but he still made an intimidating figure when he wanted to.
"Enough," he said. He did not raise his voice above a normal speaking level but he put his power into the word. The effect was instantaneous. The words literally died in their throats as they all turned to him, staring at him with uniform expressions of shock. Even Landsman looked surprised. Cole did not realize it, but the air around him rippled with his power, his eyes glowed in the darkness of the corner where he stood and his voice had literally shot through the mind of every vampire in the room. Beyond the meeting room vampires paused, feeling a powerful presence in their minds.
"I think it is time for the council to retire," Cole continued. His voice remained steady, cutting across in the silent room. Not even the sound of breathing interrupted the quiet. "When you return you will be treated as adults only if you can act like one. There will be no more of this." No one moved. They continued staring at him, wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
"Go," he said again. There was a brief scramble as members of the council started for the door. Cole kept the smirk off his face. He quite liked to see them scurrying around because of him. "René," Cole said as the vampire passed close to him. "Go eat something. You look like hell." The Frenchman nodded without offering a response and fled the room. Cole looked after him, had he really been that scary?
Landsman had stayed in his seat, relief clear in his face as he looked at Cole. "Oh thank god," he muttered as the door closed behind the last one of them. The members of the Night Guard were also looking at Cole strangely. He gave them a small frown. Why was everyone looking at him like he had grown another head?
Cole moved to sit at the table with Landsman and Olrun. Cole took notice of Olrun's captains for the first time. One was a tall woman with mouse brown hair and a soft, beautiful face. If her weapons and place at Olrun's right hand were any indication her looks were very deceiving. The other was a small man, Japanese by origin if Cole guessed correctly.
Olrun noticed his gaze. "These are my captains, Innis Alasdear and Haru of Oshima."
Cole nodded at them. "My name is Cole." He felt, rather than saw Einar's smile. Cole had never stayed with a name for long. No doubt some of these vampires knew him as something different, but he decided to go with his current name, the one Shane knew him by. He took a moment to gauge the significance of the Night Guard's presence. "How many of you are there left?"
"We sent out the call. 60 or so have responded. We expect we will have at least a hundred by the end of the week. They are gathering now at headquarters in Denmark." Innis spoke with a sing-song accent, one too thick to be gotten rid of easily.
"Then I propose this," Cole said, glancing over at Landsman. "The wolves are not organized by nature. There must be some sort of organizing body. If we destroy this individual or group, we will effectively end the war before it begins. We have only a few weeks till midsummer when we believe they will attack. I believe it is time to take out their headquarters. Now that we actually have a fighting force it might be possible."
Olrun nodded. "I agree. How much information do you have about these headquarters?" Both men turned to Landsman who refused to meet their eyes.
"I have the blueprints of the entire compound," he said quietly. Cole raised an eyebrow. There was something he was not saying.
"Wonderful. Then lets pool the intelligence we have and start planning," Olrun said, clearly not picking up on Landsman's strange mood.
"What else is there Council Chief?" Cole said softly. The same silence fell on the room as he spoke. Landsman looked up at him for the first time since he had cleared the council from the room. Landsman looked confused. This was not the same vampire he had known for almost as long as he had been made. Cole looked at him now with and intuition and instinct that only came with time. It seemed the most ancient of them all was finally gathering his years behind him and becoming a vampire as powerful as his age. There would be no hiding things from him anymore. Landsman sighed. He went over and picked up a phone against the wall. He pressed a button and waited.
"Bring me the contents of the safe," was all he said before hanging up. He then turned back to the rest of the group, his eyes flicking over the gathered fellowship. Several of the members had taken the vacated council member's seats.
"Things have not been easy here since Council Chief Ze'ev resigned. The upset at his sudden departure was not easily settled and I spent several decades dealing with it until he killed himself and I had to begin the process all over again." Landman nodded at Cole. "You remember the state of the council and our population here. It was enough to bring you out of whatever it is you were doing with yourself in the seventies." Cole let the barb go. Landsman had never looked so drawn, so old, as he did now.
"Ze'ev was in possession of something that had been passed to him by his maker," Landsman continued. The assembly shifted nervously. Ze'ev had been well known in the vampire world not only as the oldest amongst them, but the last vampire made of an original. There was not a vampire left today who had any direct knowledge of the originals. Ze'ev had been made to continue the work of his maker, he always said. No one was quite sure what that meant.
At that moment the human steward, who Cole had almost killed on the first night of his visit, arrived with a small bundle in his hands along with a normal looking folder. The man practically threw the things at Landsman before fleeing out the door. Landsman carefully unwrapped the package revealing a small, ordinary looking wooden box with ivory inlays. Cole raised his eyebrows. It was an ancient Egyptian design.
"This was delivered to me by one of the vampires in Ze'ev's household after the ancient one's death. At first we did not know what to make of it. As you see, it contains nothing." Landsman showed them the inside of the empty box. "When the vampire who brought it was questioned he indicated that something had been stolen out of it though he was not sure what it had held. We had Iris look at it," Landsman mentioned the council's head historian, a 500 year old vampire who had spent most of those years reading every book ever written. "She analyzed it and told us that it had once held a piece of papyrus, from a very, very long time ago.
"We did some more digging, consulting anyone we could find on the matter. Long story short, Iris found that the owner of the box, not fully trusting the longevity of the parchment, had carved the contents of the parchment on a false bottom of the box." Landsman stopped. The dramatic pause was unnecessary. If an inscription had survived from the originals it was of incredible importance. Without realizing it, all of the vampires in the room were leaning forward, waiting for him to continue.
"What we found was...troubling to say the least. It seems it was a prophecy about the three bloodlines. By the time we had it translated the wolves had already organized beyond our wildest expectations. In fact, it was the day after we had learned what the text said that you were taken by the wolves." Landsman looked at Cole again. "We are far, far behind in this conflict and our time is almost out."
"What does it say?" Cole asked.
"Iris has translated it," Landsman said, drawing out a page from the folder and passing it to Cole. "We aren't sure entirely what to make of it, but we expect that they were planning on using you for this." Cole gave Landsman a brief look of confusion before turning to the page in front of him. He read the text several times before it began to sink in.
"Well, don't keep us all waiting," Einar's melodious voice called out from the far end of the room. Cole looked up at them and then read the words before him aloud.
The first, a beast of life and death, the starting point for all the rest
The second's blood is still and dead. They only live when on others fed.
With wolves the third has mixed their own, to cause blood impure and shifting bone.
One of both bloods will suffice, to bring before us as sacrifice
With the death of one, the third will rise.
With the second death, the rest's demise.
And with the coming of a thousand suns, the battle for blood has been won."
There you have it. Let me know what you think!
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