“You saved my ass! How the sam-hill did you know?” He is looking over at me with tears in his eyes. He has just witnessed the deaths of some of his best friends.
“The master of the House of Goropholo warned me when I killed him. A better opponent I have never known. One of the few truly honorable vampire clan-lords. I did not put his head on a pike. I burned it with his body.” I bowed my head. “I did not pike any heads at the House of Amorphos either, but not for the same reason.”
“Then why not?” He is suddenly interested in my doings.
“Because most of them were already dead from a disease. Either Kalkolides or Morani is waging a form of vampire germ warfare. I had no choice but to burn the dead there. can’t afford to take the chance that the virus or bacteria will mutate and become deadly for humans as well.” I look over at him. “I am sorry about your friends. They would have been wiser to listen. But I will still like your company. Though I will understand if you decide to take your leave.”
“I have nowhere else to go. I will accompany you as long as you will have me. Maybe we can learn from each other as we go along.” He smiles sadly.
“We will have to find another way through their defenses. A secret entrance or something. These places always have a hidden way in. I use them when exiting them after setting them ablaze. Unlike you two, I can fly over the traps. I can carry you in and set you on the fortified walls. It’ll leave me vulnerable. But, perhaps, it is worth it.” I am trying to come up with a plan.
“Will they reset the traps that were just triggered?” He has just brought my attention to something. I look through my field glasses.
“No. They haven’t. I think they will leave them down so the ghouls and zombies can go in and devour your dead buddies. Perhaps we can use that to our advantage.” I smile. He nods.
Dark fall is here. I am ready to make my move. I look at my companions. “Stay behind me. I will lead you through the traps and make sure you do not trigger any more. If you friends are still alive, we will have to kill them. They will be entering the change soon and we do not need more mindless suck-heads to complicate things.”
I can sense the woman is hiding a dark secret. But I won’t concern myself with it until we are through here. Right now, we have a twofold mission. Kill their friends to avoid allowing them to become additions to the vampire population. And kill the Morani clan.
I lead them into the proverbial minefield. I allow them to do the honors where their friends are concerned. The woman takes the first one.
“You always were a bastard, Cypher. I hated you and you knew it. And you did everything you could to make me feel worthless. you forced yourself on me every night until D.H. caught you and took me into his protection.” I can hear her every whispered word as if they are being uttered aloud. “Even then, you bided your time and sought to lead a group that you had no hand in building.” I hear her battle axe come down on the neck of the dead man.
I wonder if Demon Hunter has heard. Her words make the dead man’s earlier reactions easier to understand. I shake my head. I hear D.H.’s sword come down upon the neck of another.
They dispatch the last two and then we are almost through the perilous part of our journey. As we do, I am getting a clearer picture of how life was among the so-called Peacemakers. From what I have just heard, it was far from peaceful for the female member.
I stop at the base of the wall. I turn to my companions. “Do either of you have a crossbow?”
“Why, yes. We both do. Why?” Demon Hunter answers my request.
“I need you both to load them. Cock them. And be ready to fire and reload as quick as possible.” I am adamant. “And aim for their heads. Not their bodies. Kill the brain, kill the beast.”
“How do you want us to do this?” She is now ready.
“Aim in opposite directions. Keep them from approaching us.” I throw open my cloak and step behind them. “You might feel a little discomfort. But don’t worry. It will only be temporary. I hope you aren’t afraid of heights.”
“Why?” Her request is simple.
“Because we’re about to do some flying.” I spread my wings and flap a couple of times until I lift off. then I silently flap to gain altitude. We rise above the wall and they begin firing. I hear the audible thok of the bolts as they hit the foreheads of the vampire guards. Almost sound like they’re hitting overripe melons. I release my riders on the lookout ledge and drop between them. I slip my own crossbow around and begin firing across the compound at the guards on the other side.
“Duck.” I command as I turn toward Demon Hunter. He instinctively does so. As does she. I throw the boomerang-like blade. And take out the whole army lining the top of the wall. I grab it out of mid-air as it returns.
“Cool!” She breathes in awe.
I smile. “Thanks. time to draw swords and slaughter every suck-head we find in here. Then I will go and confront Morani. And his family.”
They nod. We are on our way. I bust in the door to the parapet tower. We hack our way through a dwindling line of vampire soldiers until we reach the garrison. I leave Demon Hunter and his female companion to finish with the garrison and go through the door I know leads directly into the throne room.
The youngest Morani launches himself at me. I cut him in half. One half flies in one direction. The other goes the other.
The twins cross swords with me, but fail to notice the second sword. I take their heads simultaneously. Madame Morani charges me, screaming in anger. And loses her head.
Master Morani laughs maniacally. “I see that Amorphos sent a good one this time. But you must be infected as well.”
“No.” I am smiling. “And Amorphos did not send me.” I toss the three swords in my possession onto the dais before him. “Surely the Atrides messenger informed you that I was coming?”
“You!” He is livid.
I smile grimly. “Yes. Me. You were warned that death was coming. And it was coming fast. You assumed that Amorphos was going to be the one. But Amorphos didn’t even have the desire. Hell. When I found him, he was as good as dead anyway. And begged me to kill him. Just to end his misery.”
He grins. “Good. The virus works. Now, I can gain control of Kalkolides’ power and make it my own.” he leans backward and lets go with an evil laugh. I use his flamboyance to my advantage. I lean forward and pick up the tainted Amorphos sword. I stab him with it and sink it deep. He doubles over. surprised.
“And how are you going to do that?” I smile as his sword falls to the floor harmlessly and he grasps the hilt of the Amorphos blade. “You are also now infected. And if you are true to form of most biological weapons developers, you still haven’t made an antidote.”
“Oh, God, no! What have you done?!?” He is gasping in shock as the virus begins to take hold.
“Oh, don’t worry. You won’t die from it. But you are going to die.” I swing my sword and take his head off. “The blade was clean. I washed it, you fool.” I pull the blade out of his dead abdomen. And reach over to pick his sword up. I walk over to the other two swords and pick them up too.