September 1, 2017 at 5:32 am #3475
It was raining.
Wind rustled through the trees as raindrops fell unbidden amongst the shadows of Krasburg. Somewhere in the distance a lonely owl hooted, the world slept, but the shadows watched.
Her body lay there, crumpled and alone, soaking in the pooling water in the pavilion by a sole iron lamppost, that splashed light across the cobblestoned yard. She was a former Queen, though why anyone would want to be Queen of this place he did not know. This was the price she was paying for her arrogance and betrayal. She was to be violently torn from the world, flesh ripped, body splintered, and, perhaps with the death of the city’s King, her very spirit and will to live likewise extinguished amongst the broken cobblestones of her former empire.
Two heartbeats signalled the retainers watching, waiting for the sun to claim her. He could hear them in the stillness, and the predator crept forward, blade in hand. He allowed a footstep to ring in the pavilion, bringing their attention to a corridor of naught but wind and shadow. One man grunted, taking a drag from his cigarette as he untucked the revolver from the strap at his waist. Flickering drew his attention to the lamp post, with its flood of light seemingly drawn back by encroaching darkness. The retainer stopped, listening again, but heard only rain.
Blade in hand, the predator stepped from the world of shadow behind the second retainer, calmly sliding the sharpest point between the man’s ribcage as his hand gripped to cover the ghoul’s mouth. The body jerked violently, eyes wide, muffling a scream, and then the heartbeat began to fade, and the retainer’s symphony of life came to a quiet end. The predator firmly stomped the stone floor, his step echoing loudly and, startling the first retainer, who whirled around gun in hand. Screaming out he fired, but too slow, as the flying body of his comrade slammed into him with such force that it sent him flying hard against the lamp post with a loud clang. Then there were hands, cold, dead, hands of inky shadow that were around him, gripping him, pulling him up onto the iron pole, holding him tight, forcing the air from his lungs.
Choking desperately, his dying partner crumpled at his feet, the remaining retainer stared into the corridor of darkness to see his assailant emerge, its blade wet and dripping with blood. Combing his gloved hand through his hair, the predator moved around the iron pole, the heartbeat of the last, pathetic piece of resistance thundering in his ears. He peered up at the man through ink black eyes, his voice cold and cruel; “Children shouldn’t be out late at night. There are some very bad men about.” A blurred motion separated head from shoulders in a shower of blood and viscera. Alec calmly wiped the blade against the corpse’s shirt and let it fall as the hands of shadow receded, slinking away into their primordial form.
Blood pooled at his feet as he stepped methodically over to the body of Katerina, former Queen of Krasburg, former ally in New York, traitor, oath breaker and Lasombra, for that is why she was here. Her Clan marked her, as it always had, but she had believed herself safe here. Lasombra did not rule by the grace of others, but through their strength and brutality. She had forgotten this. How peaceful she looked, he thought, as he slid his blade away and knelt on one knee, peering at the punctured wounds that adorned her body. Caesar’s own body was never so callously disregarded; these Ventrue must have hated her.
Dawn was breaking. The cooling blood from the dead ghoul was beginning to pool around her, a beautiful montage of white, black, gray and red that perhaps any Toreador would appreciate. What could have been? What should have been. The world was broken, and in a way, she was part of that. The small slaughter here might have brought her a small joy, perhaps. He would not know until he met his own end, whenever that may be, but not yet. No, not yet. But for her, he thought, her time had come. From his inside pocket he pulled out a single rose, thorns prickling along its stem, and he placed it above her bosom, his hand brushing her bloodied, mattered hair aside to show the porcelain features of her ruined face. She looked calm, despite the horrific betrayal. She looked ready. He pressed his finger tips to her lips, murmuring softly; “Abyssus abyssum invocat; maybe now you will find peace.”
Alec stood, stepping away from the approaching blood as it neared him, which had continued to run along and around her body.
Dawn was coming.
A new world was emerging.
As he walked towards the fading shadows, back to his ancestral home, his fortress and his own people, he could not help but believe that what he felt was a slight pang of pity that there was now one less Lasombra in world ripe for claiming it. Such was the price of failure.
Failure for him, therefore, was not ever going to be an option.
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