Nos Faux Ratu Ch. 03byEvil Alpaca©
This story is a bit wordy and fairly long, so if you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to look elsewhere.
The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between these character and events and any real person or events is strictly coincidental . . . and pretty darn impressive seeing as it is a science fiction story. Do not reproduce or copy this story without the consent of the author.
In my magical, mixed-up world, characters don't worry about STDs or unwanted pregnancies except occasionally as a plot device. The author encourages the practice of safe (and hopefully satisfying) sex.
While this is a science-fiction story, it may at different points contain sexual behavior that might fall into other categories. You can rest assured however that there will be NO depictions of Non-Consent, Mind Control, or Incest for any purpose other than as plot devices, and certainly not for sexual arousal. Anything else is fair game.
Jenna's hands were trembling as she lifted the coffee cup to her lips. She was insane for coming here, she knew that. Death knew she would be here, at a specific time. Any moment now, the Nightwalkers would pick her up. But she had to sit here, one more time, the sun on her face and warm coffee on her lips.
She had not slept a wink in the last twenty-four hours. The fear had kept her awake. She was afraid that they would come during the morning hours and drag her from her sanctuary like they had fifteen years earlier. She was afraid of the numbness that threatened to overtake her every nerve. She was afraid of what it would be like without hot showers and coffee, smoke and whiskey.
Jenna wanted to write Nessa a note, apologizing for her failure. The vampire deserved to know what was coming. She would find a way to send a message tonight, before the end came. She would not be taken from her home again. She watched the children leaving school while chatting on their comms units and laughing with their friends, then closed her eyes, fighting the pain that was welling up from deep inside.
"I will never understand why you chose this place," said a familiar voice. "Why this shop? Why this time?"
She slowly opened her eyes and fixed them on Nigel, who had taken his customary seat across from her. "I'm a creature of habit, I suppose. Where are the others? I'm assuming they are around somewhere."
Nigel leaned back and looked at the same school that she had been, briefly wondering if April was there thinking of him. "Actually, I came alone. No one else knows about this spot, so I figured that we could have a cup of coffee and a conversation."
She sighed. "You moved the sword, didn't you?"
"Moi? Help a prisoner escape? My dear Jenna, that would be treasonous."
"Why? You made it clear --"
"You are my friend," he interrupted. "You are a good person and a loyal soldier. I don't know what the Fool's plan is, but you do not deserve to die. Unfortunately, the Hanged Man is one of those dispatched to retrieve you, and I doubt that even you will stand against him."
She smiled, though she felt no warmth. "Go," she told him. "Don't throw your life and career away because of me."
"Why are you doing this?' he asked. "You could still make things right."
"The Fool wants to capture a real vampire, experiment on it, then kill the rest. He wants an edge over the corporations. It just shows that he is no better than they are. I won't betray Nessa," she said solemnly. "I will not be party to thoughts of genocide, however unlikely. You need to talk reason to him. If the Nightwalkers and the DoD follow through with the Fool's plan, then they will die. I truly believe that. This is a war that does not need to happen."
"I can try, but the Fool is somewhat incensed at the moment."
"Nigel, I'm sorry I doubted you. I'm sorry I sucker-punched you."
He smiled. "I should have expected it." He cocked his head. "So what do you want to do?"
"Have one last cup of coffee with an old friend," she whispered, looking away.
"We'll just call it a cup," he said, praying that it would in fact not be the last.
That evening . . .
The Five of Swords was ready for death. He had tried hard to be tough when these . . . things . . . had taken him the previous night. But they were patient, and they were cruel, and they had claws and teeth. He had never seen anything like them, but he had heard of them. Old stories, old movies, old legends. A fake vampire had been captured by real werewolves. It was almost funny. He would laugh if doing so would not cause more blood to come shooting out of his mouth.
"So what do we know?" Garon Pegg asked of one of his lieutenants.
"There are seventy-eight of them, funded and supported by the Department of Defense. They're named after the old Tarot decks, with Minor and Major Arcana. Created by bioengineering and advanced training. The Minor Arcana are foot soldiers, the Major Arcana are supposed to be the bad asses."
Another werewolf, Simon Glicker, stepped forward. "Apparently, someone called 'The Empress' had left the reservation, and they're hunting her down. She's supposed to be one of their most dangerous ones. Guy named 'The Fool' is in charge. We got an idea of who to keep an eye out for, but they all pretty much dress the same. We know where their headquarters is and what their patterns are."
"Excellent. I think that this informant has given us everything that he needs. Send samples of his blood back to the lab so that we can find out what they did to him. We may be able to use the technology." Garon then grabbed the man's head and ripped it off his shoulders. "Contact the Council and inform them of our progress. Heck, let that vampire bitch know as well. Her days of incompetent leadership are numbered."
Elsewhere . . .
Jenna had scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed, but all the cleansing agents and hot water in the world could not wash away the thin layer of ice she still felt. Ever since she had left the coffee shop, everything had been getting colder. Would tonight be the night they found her? Would the failed experiment known as her life finally end? Would she never see him again?
She stepped out of her shower and, for one of the few times in her life, she almost screamed like a girl.
"I thought you were going to broil yourself alive in there," Nessa said, sitting comfortably in Jenna's computer chair.
"How . . . but my security --" Jenna babbled, looking around to see how anyone could have gotten by the layers and layers of security precautions.
"Your security is impeccable," Nessa told her, staring at that long, lithe, muscular body that was dripping wet and delightfully naked. "But it isn't airtight. I can turn into mist, remember?"
Jenna realized that she was being viewed, and she actually blushed. She could not remember the last time she had blushed. She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around herself.
"Don't do that on my account," Nessa purred in spite of herself. 'Damn, that is one beautiful woman.'
"You have no right to come here," Jenna hissed. "This is my home --"
"You've been to mine."
"You invited me. I didn't invite you."
"You hunted me there. Big difference." The redhead leaned back. "You're looking kind of hostile. Are we going to fight again, because there's other things I can think of that we could do with you in that state of undress."
"How dare you!" Jenna growled.
"Fine, no pleasure, so it's down to business. I needed to know how your visit with the boss went, and you had not checked in. Garon captured one of your people and tortured him. I'm assuming now that he knows everything about your organization. He and his men are pretty good at what they do."
"And you know this how?"
"He left the body in front of my bar and the head on a trashcan with a note in his mouth. He wanted to make a statement."
Jenna still felt very uncomfortable. No one besides her had been in the church since she purchased it. And she was mostly naked. And she did not like the way Nessa kept staring at her legs. "Well I'm not going to be of any help to you, so you can just go."
"Well, it's my home and --"
"No, why can't you be of help to me?"
"I gave my boss . . . former boss . . . the short and sweet version. No names, no places, and I didn't mention any other races besides vampires. He decided that he wants to capture one of you, use you in experiments, then kill off the rest so no one else can do the same."
Nessa raised an eyebrow. "So he's a complete a-hole. So why is he your ex-boss?"
"I . . . he . . . there was this problem --" Jenna was wondering when she completely lost her marbles. She had never had this kind of problem expressing herself before. Of course, she rarely expressed anything.
"You wouldn't do it, so he fired you."
"Put me in the brig and was probably arranging my execution, but yeah. Pretty much."
"So now what?"
Jenna leaned against her shower door. "It's only a matter of time before they find me. I figure that when they catch me . . . I want it to be here."
"A last stand?"
"It just seems appropriate," Jenna whispered. "Now please leave. I can't do anything for you."
"I disagree. I think you could do a lot for me," Nessa replied.
Jenna felt a chill. "Don't speak to me like that. Not here."
"I actually meant that you could come work for me," Nessa said, "but let's talk about that."
"About what happened here. Avery told me everything he remembered and I looked at all the old vids. Your name got left out, probably because you were a minor. And he said that you claimed that you loved the guy when they tried to take you out?"
"Please leave." Jenna did not want to have this conversation.
"He killed your family. Despite what you said, you had no choice. He tortured and raped --"
"I asked you to leave."
Jenna was momentarily stunned. "You don't get to say no!"
"Or what? You'll call the local security forces? Or maybe you'll call the Nightwalkers, the military organization who is already hunting you, and try to have the real vampire removed from your church fortress? The one you don't want anyone to know about? And since we both know that you have no chance against me in a fight --"
"Don't be so sure about that," Jenna replied, her pride getting the better of her.
"You want to go again?" Nessa said, her eyes brightening a bit. This is the Jenna that she would rather see, the one who still had some fight left in her.
"Think you can do it without your whole 'turn to mist'?"
"Ah, so you're one of those people who claims that they want a straight up fight, but only on their terms with the other person handicapped. I could just as easily claim that you're cheating by being biomodified." Nessa smiled broadly. "But I promise, no turning to mist and no flying. But to make sure that you don't have any tricks up your sleeve, we both fight nude."
Jenna gave her would-be opponent a blank stare. "You can't take anything seriously, can you?"
"Oh, I take the notion of wrestling with a naked woman quite seriously, particularly the most beautiful one that I've seen in centuries. You win, and I leave and you never see me again unless you want to. I win, you come work for me and maybe we can solve this whole situation with as little bloodshed as possible."
Jenna was a little dumbfounded. 'Work for Nessa? Nude wrestling? Most beautiful woman . . . Okay, she's just trying to fuck with my head,' Jenna thought. She did not want to acknowledge how well it was working. Worse yet, Nessa already knew what Jenna was going to say, because the redhead was getting undressed.
"In the original Olympics, this is the way wrestling went down. Think of it as honoring history."
Jenna did not want to take off her towel. She knew that Nessa's words were just to get under her skin, but she did not like the way that her skin was reacting. But she wasn't going to back down. This was her home. She was going to reclaim it if it was the last thing she ever did. Which it might be. She tossed the towel onto the ground.
"Ready to party?" Nessa asked.
Jenna had always considered trash-talking to be a waste of time, so she just struck out. She accepted that Nessa was faster and probably stronger, but that only meant that she would have to fight smarter.
Nessa blocked the opening volley with ease, then shoved her like it was a playground brawl. Jenna staggered back out of her living area and into the maze, Nessa on her heels. Once the vampire's feet were all the way inside, Jenna jumped straight up, put a hand on one wall, a foot on the other wall, then kicked at Nessa's face. Nessa was fast and was able to dodge most of the blow, but she was still clipped hard enough to spin her around.
The vampire did not look perturbed, but rather appeared impressed. "And here I was thinking that this was going to be a walk in the park." She had forgotten one basic rule of combat . . . never underestimate one's opponent on her home turf.
Nessa stepped forward quickly, dodging another kick and punching upward. Keeping herself seven feet off the ground, Jenna managed to roll away in a stylish and acrobatic move. It reminded Nessa of an old Chinese martial arts movie. She rolled forward, underneath Jenna's kicks, then launched up from the floor and grabbed the Nightwalker's foot. She pulled Jenna down off the ceiling while avoiding other kicks, then slammed her opponent onto the ground.
Jenna grunted in pain, but immediately pulled her leg inward, drawing Nessa with it, then she thrust out again and pounded the redhead against wall of the maze. She got to her feet and bolted further into the maze.
The fight went on for much longer than Nessa expected, with Jenna using everything at her disposal. But after fifteen minutes of high-intensity, high-speed hand-to-hand combat was exhausting, even for a Nightwalker. There were no breaks, no rounds, and no time to hide.
Jenna swung a roundhouse that was too slow and too high, allowing Nessa to duck underneath while hooking that arm, then spinning Jenna around into a reverse arm-bar. When the taller woman swung her other elbow back in an attempt to dislodge the the vampire, Nessa caught that as well. With both arms locked in a chicken-wing, she fell backwards and wrapped her legs around Jenna's waist.
"Submit," Nessa whispered.
That word angered Jenna. She had submitted once, and it had destroyed her. She tried flinging her head and managed to connect with Nessa's nose, but the vampire released one arm and wrapped it around Jenna's throat. She sunk the sleeper hold in.
"Game, set, and match," Nessa said.
Jenna would not give up. Maybe she could push Nessa enough that she would kill her by accident. Better never to wake up --
"Not gonna happen," the vampire whispered into Jenna's ear. "You're mine, fair and square."
"No," Jenna whispered desperately. She could not "belong" to someone again. "No!" But the more Jenna struggled, the closer to drifting into darkness she became.
Without warning, Nessa released her hold, pushing Jenna away to gasp for breath. How many times had she crawled on these rough stones? Begging for her life? Begging for her death? Pleading simply because He had enjoying listening to her do so?
"So you won't own up to your side of the bargain?" Nessa asked. "No passion, no direction, and now, no honor?"
"You can't shame someone . . . (gasp) . . . with no soul," Jenna said, trying to get to her feet.
Nessa looked down at her companion, then yanked her to her feet. "Hate to break it to you, but you have a soul. You've beaten it into submission, but it's still there. Anabella felt it, but you've hidden it away. That man . . . the Messenger? He couldn't take it away. It's the one thing that we all have that can never be killed, only surrendered."
"I did --"
"You did what a fifteen year old girl needed to in order to survive. Is this what your parents died for?"
"My parents died because --"
"What? Because a maniac convinced you that the decision was truly yours? You still think that it was your fault?"
"You have no idea what it was like."
"Then let me understand," Nessa said. "I need you. I am attempting to stop a short-term bloodbath and a long term war. I've got a misogynistic werewolf who would love to kill every last one of your people and either discredit or kill me, and now it turns out that your boss is an egomaniac and a sociopath with intentions on world domination. If I see no other choice, I WILL kill them all and let the powers that be sort it all out later, but I don't want to do that. I want you at my side. And I want you out of . . . of this," she added, waving her hand around and indicating the church.
"Why? You don't know me. You don't owe me anything."
"Sometimes, people just want to do something nice. Jenna, I value my existence. I savor every moment of it. Yes, I've seen friends and loved ones die, and it hurts every time, but I have met the most amazing beings you can imagine. What was done to you . . . there aren't even words for it. I'm offended at my very core that your life has been made so empty by some psycho, and it makes me want to give you that life back. If your life hurts so much and you're so miserable, what do you really have to lose? Or are you clinging to your wounds out of some warped sense of propriety?"
Jenna turned around and headed back towards her living area at the center of the maze. She could not respond. She did not have the first idea of how.
"You've surrounded yourself with so many walls," Nessa said, giving pursuit. "Are you protecting yourself, or just hiding?"
"You don't know me," Jenna reiterated.
"Something I intend to correct," Nessa said, spinning the other woman around and pinning her body-to-body against the wall. Both women were very aware of the other's flesh. Nessa found it enticing, while Jenna felt terrified. "Will you honor our accord?"
Despite her legendary control of her own physiology, Jenna's heart was beating a million times a minutes, or at least that's how it felt. The question came back to her mind, 'What do I have to lose?'
"All right, you win," she whispered, staring down at those mischievous yet compassionate green eyes.
"I prefer win-win situations," Nessa replied. "Now, it's time for initiation." Jenna tried to pull away, but Nessa was stronger. "No sex," the redhead whispered. "Not unless you want it. I just want to let --" Nessa whispered, kissing Jenna's neck, "-- me --" she continued, her fangs growing, " -- in."
"Why? What --"
"I just want to see a little bit of who you really are. And I promise, it won't hurt a bit."
Jenna still did not understand. Was she really going to let a vampire bite her as part of a job interview?
"Are you ready?"
"Yes," Jenna whispered for reasons she could not even grasp. Nessa was right. It didn't hurt.
Nessa sank her fangs into that beautiful skin, happy in the knowledge that the puncture wounds would close up behind them. This skin was flawless. Jenna's blood tasted different than anything she had imbibed before, but that was not why she was here. She wanted to see into in the woman's mind. Soon, she almost wished that she could not.
A person's mind, memory, and soul took on many forms. For the most part, they were wide open plains, with patches of sunshine and shadow, with roads crossing here and there and tying it all together. Nessa's own soul plain resembled a metropolis, as she had so many connecting memories.
Jenna's soul plain was as eerie of a place as Nessa had ever seen. There were only four structures structures as far as her third eye could see. The first three were castles, but of widely varying sizes, shapes, and materials. The three castles sat at equal distances from each other on the edge of a great stone circle. In the center of circle stood a lone stone tower.