tagSci-Fi & FantasyDeadly Friends/Unexpected Enemies 01

Deadly Friends/Unexpected Enemies 01


*No one thinks Love is necessary until they have it*

(This chapter is sex-lite; be warned)

Death is only the Beginning

Marissa stepped out of the sedan; black glasses stripped with red, crimson trench coat, red boots that included knee guards, black tights, and magenta blouse. Had she felt amorous enough they would have been shown the silk lace black panties and bra, but Marissa hadn't let anyone that emotionally close in decades – almost a century now and that last time hadn't ended well.

Marissa counted herself as one of the ten strongest powers along the East Coast. Until one hundred and fifty years ago, that they were so many powers so close to one another hadn't been a problem. They had all (but one) been exiles from the Old World – Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The population of humans, and thus the Night Siders, had been small and the distance between Holds seemed great enough.

Then came the railroads, the Industrial Revolution, and automobiles (plus the paved roads that followed right after); distances shrunk and populations soared. Old allies fell to newcomers, the Failing (the inability to keep up and the resultant fall into obsolesce until the world became too unfamiliar a place for you to function in), or even to power struggles in their own organizations.

She could hardly complain though; she hadn't suffered the Failing, she'd grown her brood and her power to levels unimagined by her sire with that one's deep desires to rule from the frozen forests and towns of what was now called Russia (she'd never called it the Soviet Union – she had vampire cousins, aunts and uncles perish to the cruel experiments of the KGB), and crushed numerous rivals in the intervening century.

Nearly twenty years ago though another rival, Armand, came from the bottomless pit of those envious of her status and prestige. It had been the scion of a now-deceased enemy, well-prepared and strong. Armand had destroyed a subsidiary associate in a blitz move, but came craving peace with her on his belly. She should have annihilated him then but ...

Night Siders didn't exist in a vacuum; they created structures inside each city, be they Fey, Vampire, Shifter, or Spirit. Each such structure owed allegiance to a Liege Lord, such as Marissa, who owed fealty to a Dominator (from the Latin) who ruled a designated region. The Dominators in turn reported to the Council of Night. There were rumors of a council within the Council, or even one Dark King, or Queen, who ruled over them; something she been quietly looking into for some time.

Armand's move had been 'messy' and the Council was concerned that further conflict would make things worse in the Daylight World so they sent in a mediator to establish a peace between the two. Marissa, knowing they wouldn't give her Armand's head, asked for a third of his domain instead. She had made Armand accept the deal, grovel before her ... and she had prepared for the next round.

Five years ago Armand had come for her with more force than she thought he could muster, but she had not been caught napping. The very night after a mid-day fire had burned down her favorite home she'd launched her counterstrike. She'd hurt and embarrassed him more than he thought she could and he had grown cautious.

He had wounded her organization, but the price was him never sleeping in the same place twice and skulking about always in shadow – always in fear. In the past three months he had become more desperate and vicious to the point that things had spilled over to the Daylight World once again. The Council stepped in once more calling for a cessation of hostilities.

This led her to this meeting in the Bronx to be mediated by a Council of Night representative. Both parties could bring two bodyguards, but that was it. The ambassador didn't want another bloodbath. Failing to comply, or violating the sanctity of the parley, would bring down the full force of the Council of Night which was the surest way to end one's existence, so here she was.

Her bodyguards were the Fey Tegus mes' lauda and the Vampire George Upton. Neither one was her best soldier; those were defending her interests just in case Armand decided to be petulant. Tegus was a wandering mercenary, but they had a history and more importantly, he was in her debt. George was a warrior youngling of a close friend on the West Coast who had sent him back to New York to experience some of what Night Side life had to offer in a different city.

As they crossed the street, Marissa saw a figure coming up the sidewalk in their direction. Marissa studied him while she moved – a human male in his early twenties, with two shoulder holsters and ... one at his back and another in an ankle holster? Someone was out for a night on the town, but he was human and not her problem.

Gordon fidgeted nervously causing Marissa to wave him off and Tegus to smirk at Gordon's inexperience. Tegus was millennia old and only the curse that called all Fey to let their dreams bleed into reality kept him, and his breed, from being the best fighters in Creation. Fey were equal parts frighteningly proficient and needlessly flamboyant in all they did which, in Marissa's mind, made them wonderful lays but lousy lovers.

The human reached the doorway first, opened it and then held it for Marissa silently.

"No, you first," she told the man. He nodded and headed in, immediately heading upstairs where Marissa went looking for the basement. She hesitated inside long enough to get a feel for the place, scent the air, and study her environment.

It was an old tenement, probably a firetrap, and inhabited mostly by the indigent and drug users. There was a heavy chemical scent from upstairs that lay slightly beyond the human sensory range. There was also a strange, unfamiliar vibration in the air.

"We don't want to be late," Tegus reminded her when she tried to concentrate on the taint and track its origin.

Marissa sighed and headed to the basement door and headed down. Not even Armand was dumb enough to break a Council of Night parley and Armand valued his own vampiric existence above all else. The greatest asset the basement held was that it had been cleared of all subsidiary walls, creating one large open space broken up by support columns.

The openness also revealed to Marissa that she was alone with her guards; there was no moderator and no Armand. Tegus sensed her unease and turned to look up the stairs they had only then come down.

"I don't like this," Gordon whispered. "Marissa, we should leave." Marissa gave a cur nod and motioned Gordon behind her as she backed up. She owed it to her friend on the West Coast to bring her offspring out of this alive.

"That won't be necessary," a dry voice, devoid of life, spoke out from the darkness. Three figures stepped out of the far brick wall.

"You are the representative from the Council?" she asked.

"No," the leftmost figure spoke in a rasping voice, "I am Armand's messenger."

"Get out of here," she whispered urgently to her cohorts. To the thing before her, "The Council will not be happy with this," she warned. "Where is their representative?"

Marissa's sixth sense felt it before her ears picked up the noise of Tegus' steel clearing his scabbard, casting out his power, crashing the illusion beneath the reality he had enacted.

She spun, words forming on her lips telling Gordon to look out but it was too late. She caught Gordon's head leaping from his shoulders in a fountain of blood.

"Tegus! I hold a debt over you," she screamed at her former ally. Fey were bound by their debts.

"Not anymore Bitch," he sneered evilly, "and the Council of Night says 'hey'." Marissa dodged under his backstroke and kicked Tegus hard enough to send him rolling several feet away. Regrets and reason mattered little right then. She could figure all of this out later but right now she had to stay alive. Marissa bolted up the stairs, taking them three at a time.

She opened the door and squatted to avoid the large clawed hand that nearly tore her breasts off; a werewolf and she could hear another behind it. She slammed the door and raced back down and straight into Tegus, bowling him over. She somersaulted over his prone form, rising and running ... where? The three 'things' she'd seen earlier were rapidly closing with her, short curved blades at the ready in one hand and small crossbows in the other. Their faces were drawn and gaunt in such an extreme way that they could only be one thing – mummies.

She had lived her entire life and met only one of these rare Night Siders; now in the last seconds of her life she was getting to meet three of these immortals at one time. The closest one shot its crossbow and missed. She kept running at them, bent over and grabbed a broken brick and hurled it at the middle one right as he shot her. This bolt took her an inch above her right breast, searing her with unnatural agony.

Her brick struck true, shattering the middle creature's chin into dust and bone fragments. The thing staggered but was by no means dead or even disabled. She bolted between the middle and right mummies but the right one slashed deeply along her side, cutting along the hip bone. The left-most one, the only one to speak, withheld his shot and took steady aim at her.

While she was past the mummies, she was running out of room. At the last instant she caught sight of an abnormality in the ceiling above her; the floor had rotted away, been replaced but was now rotting once more. Marissa jumped up, grabbed a water pipe running along the ceiling roof and swung up with the aim of propelling her feet, followed by the rest of her, on to the first level.

It wasn't a great plan, but her backward glance showed Tegus and two werewolves closing fast. Marissa was sure she could take one werewolf; age and experience gave her the edge. She might take two werewolves but would be hours recovering. Tegus was nearly her equal; Tegus, two werewolves, and three mummies, whose real capabilities she knew only by conjecture, was certain to earn her a painful, violent end.

She grabbed the pipe, felt searing fire lance through her back, slicing between the vertebrae and heart; lucky and damning at the same time. Marissa refused to lose her grip, finished the maneuver and blasted through the rotting ceiling, the first level floor and tumbled uncontrollably into the wrecked space.

Her body answered her commands, allowing her to push up, go to one knee then stand and run for the closest window. The anguish from her shoulder wound began spreading out. She ripped the bolt out because while most poisons didn't work on vampires, a few select, specially prepared toxins would work their way to the heart and paralyze her.

There seemed to be nothing she could do about the one in her back; right now she had to get to some kind of public space where they were far less likely to press their advantage. It wasn't much of a plan but it was all she had. She threw her body through the closest window, getting ready to shatter glass and spill to the pavement of the alley beyond.

Marissa could hardly have been more surprised when she bounced off the frail glass and landed back in the room, driving the bolt in her back even deeper. Magic! Some kind of warding magic that stopped the egress of Night Siders; she was going to die. Only that unconquerable will that had driven her for three centuries stopped her from staying on the floor and accepting her fate.

The first mummy through the hole in the floor got a boot to the skull and tumbled back down. Marissa rode the momentum of the kick, stood and ripped the closest door off its hinges. The first werewolf bursting into the room from the hall took the door as a body shot. She didn't put - her through the wall, but the female werewolf's body made a permanent imprint.

The second werewolf salivated as it came on next. Marissa switched up the door to use as a battering ram and charged into it.

"I'll kill you Leech," the beast snarled. Werewolves are bigger and stronger than Vampires but they were mortal; they were born, grew old and died. Vampires grew older and stronger as long as they stayed sane.

Marissa drove the door into the werewolf, hitting from throat to stomach and knocking the wind out of her assassin and it off its feet. She let it keep the door, added insult to injury by landing on the thing while running over the monster. Hope against hope she ran with all her might and rocketed into the door - and bounced back.

A third werewolf - a third - grappled with her as she tried to rise. The bolt in her back was injecting a freezing venom into her heart; she only had a minute, maybe two, of mobility left. That probably didn't matter because her current attacker was pressing down on her with slavering jaws snapping for her face.

Bang! Bang! Two gunshots rang out in rapid succession, impacting the werewolf on top of her and throwing it to the front door. The beast shrugged off the blows and regarded the newest player as it regained its feet.

"Shoot it in the head!" Marissa screamed to the young man who had entered with her. Most likely the human was shitting himself as he got a good look at what he just shot but Marissa refused to give up.

Marissa could see two mummies racing her way as she pushed herself against the wall and up. The werewolf flicked its eyes over to Marissa, snarling, then back to the man. That was all the man needed; his gun fired and a chunk of the werewolf's head exploded away. Even as it staggered a second shot virtually decapitated it.

In a vague, drugged out way, her mind struggled to understand who this guy was. All she knew was when she hurriedly staggered up the stairs toward him; his gun moved by a fraction and the gun fired once, twice, three times. Marissa realized he wasn't shooting at her but at the closest mummy.

The first two appeared to have been center-mass which had little to no effect. The third shot sheared off the mummy's wrist, causing its hand and blade to fly off out of sight. Marissa's kick knocked it through the railing, back to the first floor. Now she could get up and race past the human. Two more shots rang out then nothing for a brief second succeeded by a rapid crescendo of a smaller caliber firearm.

She took just enough time at the second story landing to see the man racing after her, a different gun in his off-hand. Marissa saw the stairs going up but was becoming too weak to run.

"How many of those hairy things were there?" the man asked as he slipped an arm through her arm, pulling her along.

"Five, I think ... including the one you killed," she panted. Marissa didn't need to breath but the pain in her chest was so intense it was her only way of release. "Three of those other 'dry' things, plus one - something else."

"Scratch two more hairies then," he stated with an icy calm, "plus one of those undead things."

'By what dark light did this human manage to kill three werewolves in less than thirty seconds?' Marissa wondered. Her thoughts were curtailed by the man swerving away from the stairs and into one of the apartments. Even with her diminished sense she could smell blood, death, and the horrendous stench of chemicals. She was in a meth lab filled with what were most likely dead meth dealers.

The man clearly had formulated a plan and the Night Side Lady was rapidly approaching helplessness in his grasp. He flipped out a knife, stabbed a barrel of some noxious substance and dumped his empty handgun in the gathering pool. They stumbled into the next room as the mummy, this one jawless, came rushing into the room followed by a werewolf.

It took them a split second to track Marissa and the gunman but that was all he needed. The human tossed Marissa aside and under some cover. She heard the oncoming footsteps and so the man's gun switch from the door the assassins had come through to ...

The explosion lifted Marissa off the wall and onto her face. The man went somewhere else.

Marissa pushed herself up and struggled to stand. Her unlikely savior was half-buried under the door that had separated them from the meth lab but he seemed concussed. As she pulled the door off of him her ears picked up slightly unsteady steps from the next room over. She pulled the dagger she kept in her boot and readied herself. The human had reduced the odds to one werewolves, one mummy and Tegus.

"You were always too stupid to realize what was best for you," Tegus coughed. He was suffering burns and blast damage. Sadly he still had his blade and his insufferable ego.

"Why?" Marissa slurred. "I had your debt. We had history."

"The Council transferred one of your debts to me, freeing me from my obligation. I only accepted the bargain if they let me be the one to kill you," he gloated. "As for why, you conceited cunt, you told me 'no'. No one tells me 'no'."

Marissa set herself for one final lunge; one last act of pointless vengeance but all Tegus did was laugh and step back.

"The rich thing is I don't even have to do a thing," he mocked her. "Your body is shutting down and soon I'll take up to roof and watch as the Sun takes you. I'll make sure to use a tarp to let the light creep along your body. I want you to be a long time in dying, but first there is one last task we need to perform."

The man broke Tegus' tirade by moaning in pain, rolling onto his side and curling in a fetal ball.

"The hitman was a nice trick Marissa," Tegus sneered. "There was no way for him break up our little plan, being hardly more than a flea, so I don't know what you were thinking."

"He's not mine, I swear," Marissa shrugged. "Remember I didn't know you were going to break the parley you cock-sucking, limp dick, ball-less wonder."

Tegus glared at her, leaned forward then laughed and stepped back. Marissa could barely stand now. She was done for and that she would go fail not only in life but in the lives of her people ate at her soul like a caustic cancer. At the last second Tegus flinched; he tried to dodge but first bullet hit him dead center between the eyes. The second shot clipped him just below the left nipple and the third shattered his sternum.

Tegus flopped back into the other room while Marissa turned to keep an eye on that door. The man was slow to stand up – humans recovered so slowly and healed even slower. He still kept his gun pointed at the door but it didn't' matter. He had a .22 revolver, his ankle holster weapon no doubt and he'd used three of his six bullets.

"Guns don't work," she muttered to him. The wounds would slow him down, but Fey were more spirit than flesh and bone. To his credit the hitman didn't blanch or run away.

"He's still going to pay for pissing me off," Tegus grumbled as he came back into view.

"Miss, hold this whiny faggot at bay; there is an assault rifle in the other room. I am going to blow his fucking knees off," the human related with utter calm.

He had his effect though; Tegus came stalking forward. Marissa stabbed at the elf futilely and Tegus batted her small blade aside, smashed his pummel into her face and ran her through as she fell down. The elven steel hurt far more than any mortal forged weapon. Her heart shuddered and descended to a tiny flicker and there was nothing she could do.

She had the briefest glimpse of the man diving on a corpse while her near-fatal blow was struck but she was beginning to believe that she and Tegus should have known better. Two barrels of a ten gauge shotgun drilled into Tegus at less than eight feet. It was like a great wind picked him in an angry fist and pummeled him into the wall.

The man didn't stop there. He came on wielding the sawed off shotgun like some Mohican War Club and began wailing into the downed warrior. Tegus would still kill him but he was certainly paying a higher price in pain than he imagined he would; this human was in superb stamina because it was more than thirty seconds before Tegus had healed enough to lash out. Had the remaining enemies come on – Dark Oblivion; the whole building was on fire!

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