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 Transylvania - Vampire Tales

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yanamari

yanamari

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Transylvania - Vampire Tales Empty
PostSubject: Transylvania - Vampire Tales   Transylvania - Vampire Tales EmptyFri Nov 11, 2011 12:02 am

DA:V Malachite

Candlelight flickered in dangerous guttering. The room would soon fall into false darkness as the dawn rose dangerous and bleak over the Carpathians. Sleep would claim him soon, yet Malachite remained in his chair, staring, thinking. The boy, for to call him a man was ludicrious by kindred standards, had snared him. Despite how he fought these thoughts, he circled in them, endless as those chained fools he detailed in the Parable of the Cave.

His eyes, haunted by shadows and a need to be given walls, pleaded to Malachite as Rustovitch's lad Stefan sat before him. Just moments before, the boy sat in this very chair and cried bloody tears over the loss of his vanity. The shell of noblity had failed him, as it failed them all one time or another in Malachite's grand company. It was a talent the Patriarch encouraged and groomed in his lesser. But Malachite was anything but that tedium of lesser.

He raised his hand, so easy to see despite the darkness. Thin, chalk white skin shrunken gaunt over his bones as hard as the Carpathians he laid within. How the mountains hated this man, wishing to crumble the very walls upon him and feast on his vitae. Potent and touched by that of the Methusalah Michael. The just and the beautiful.

And for a moment, he considered the stain of red on the tips. He had caressed away those tears of Stefan, gently. The Tzimisce was soft and supple, filled with vigor of the newly risen. Part of him despised what would come. He would break him, tenderly with force, to recreate those fragile sentimentalities with steel resolve and purpose. His divine work, the teacher for the student. Yet, within, a part of him that still held to the teaching of the church railed to let the boy go. Sweet and pleasent, teach him how to be just not powerful. Encourage the rose that bloomed within him, and not replace it with thorns and shadow.

The candle failed and died in the remaining wetness of melted wax. And a soft feather movement came near Malachite. He did not shriek or pull his hidden dagger. He knew this one, his child, his love. Hands held him, pulled him to their embrace. The Three and their eternal love for their sire. With careful fingers in the dark they treasured him, removing the beautiful velvet garments, dressing him in their cloaked forms.

Yet, as Malachite laid with The Three over him, feeling their needle-sharp teeth feed upon his blood, he could not help but kiss the fingers stained with the lad's tears than taste of his children's throats.


Last edited by yanamari on Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:24 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Transylvania - Vampire Tales   Transylvania - Vampire Tales EmptyFri Nov 11, 2011 12:02 am

DA:V Zelios

With careful tending, Zelios laid the lord upon his own bed. The thick pillows covered in the reliefs of Byzantine gardens and Egyptian serpents were a bier fit for kings, though he doubted this lord would realize that bit of knowledge. Gold threaded through the fabric, a maze of filaments holding small gems and bits of ivory in their knots. Upon the golds, emeralds, and russets, the youthful man looked so pale and small.

Eyes heavy lidded, tipped in scales of drowsiness by Zelios' powerful words, Lord Stefan of Tzimisce was laid low into the throws of rest and slumber. Desperately he fought for purchase, each fear and emotion winking out as if the sun itself rose in the sky. The sleep of death's respite. He had laiun without his earth the night before. Such a pity, making him such a delectible target for the other powers within the walls of Tihuta Pass. The Mason could not allow this to happen. He was bound by word and honor. None of Tzimisce would fall into the hands of his clan without truly knowing what they faced. He would protect them if they would not protect themselves.

"Zelios," the young man spoke in his tired rich voice, "You are a liar."

Turning his gaze upon the youngling, Zelios shook his stony face, now more insightful and keen than the softness of servitude he displayed every night.

"No, my lord. I am your savior. Sleep and rest. You are safe here." Hands so tender, he touched Stefan's face, closing his eyes. With a slight tug, the thick blankets of the horselords of Arabia were pulled around him. Such wealth of travel and knowledge. How little they truly knew beyond their education by Cappadocian hands. For a moment, he pitied and hated the lord. "What I would have given to learn from such as she. But oh, she knew that hunger. Never be too careful, my lord. Enemies watch and wait, vipers in corners you would not expect to find. And allies, in far stranger places..."

Rising from his bent state, Zelios stood tall. No more stooping or bending while alone, or with the sleeping prince. Behind his masks, worn without the needs of his clan's power, he watched intently the machinations of power. Malachite sighed in intrigue and lust. Yosef paced in distaste and despair. The brothers yawned in boredom. The ladies spoke venom words about those they professed to ally with. The madman slumbered in torpor. The ghosts fluttered through the halls seeking vengeance and play. The sorcerer sought answers through blind eyes. The philosopher sought a path to follow after only glancing down each.

Turning from the sleeping youth, the Mason faced the worktable of thick stone. Upon it lay a thin layer of virgin linen, so fine and pure it glowed in the soft candlelight. Adding coals to a bronze brazier, he warmed his body for the ardous task of his mind and memory. Sitting in his favorite straight-backed chair, he prepared for the work ahead of him by Dipping his hands into a simple bowl of water and speaking soft prayers.

"O Christ our God, in all times and every hour You are worshipped and glorified both in heaven and on earth. You are long-suffering and generous in your mercy and compassion. You love the just and show mercy to the sinner, calling all people to salvation through the promise of blessings to come. Deem, O Lord, at this very hour, to receive our supplications and to direct our lives in the path of your commandments. Sanctify our souls; purify our bodies; set aright our minds; cleanse our thoughts; deliver us from all affliction, trouble and distress; surround us with Your holy angels so that, guided and guarded in their camp, we may attain oneness of faith and the knowledge of Your unspeakable glory. For You are blessed for ever and ever. Amen."

The warming air of the brazier burned away the dripping water from the sharp-edged panes of Zelios's hands. Gray and hard as the Carpathians, the Nosferatu often wondered if some great mind decided his fate in stone. The irony of his change and perfection of forms was not lost on the intellectual of architecture and mystic design. He was purpose given form. But what goal, what desire crafted the change in his body? The curse of Absimiliard took the flesh and forced it into rude pantomines of humanity. Only the Tzimisce were so skilled to mold flesh in accord with darkness' design.

What power could twist the architecture student, the scholar of ancient forms and geomancy into such a paraody of a body but that clan? Yet he knew his blood, his clan, was not so that one of the fiends, but of the monsters. A pact, lost to the ages perhaps or never quit understood. It was the only conclusion he could come to. A Tzimisce Lord and a Nosferatu Rat.

No shiver ran down his spine as he considered the possibility again, one such lord asleep in his own bed. Zelios conquered such fears long ago, in distant lands. Nothing drove anxiety deep in his heart without his terrible logic tearing it to pieces first. If he was human, he would have scoffed and taken a liberal drink of vodka. But that age of his life was long since past. Dust and memory. And these lords, oh how apprehension filled him. Not in the jest of horror but in lack of tolerance. How could they ignore the power of one of their own. How could they allow another of their household to tempt the dark powers, letting them enter his mind as a pasttime or pleasure? Did they not understand what terror wished to suckle upon their bones and blood?

Perhaps, he was listening? Removing the linen from the table, Zielios continued to work the magic of his fingers upon the marble slab. Memory well within of his first great masterpiece. Ceoris. He rebuilt it halls, rooms, and dungeons with terrible precision. Squeals and moans of the twisted stone filtered softly through the room as he worked.

"These are the leaders of our coming time? I feel our future's spent ingloriously. You know of what I speak. The madmen fell into the darkness of his spent soul. He has left his mind to wandering after being filled with holy light. Why? What vision did he see that could wrought such change? I believe the Lord Marius may know. His curiosity will be the slow plunder of this house of the Demon Prince. Perhaps he is the link used by the Voice That Tempts. I know not; such things are far more your arena, my friend."

A wall raised between his careful fingers as he spoke in his flat, logical voice. "Yet, I have seen the young koldunic falter in his steps, gripping his head as if caught in delirium. Something terrible has filled this home, tossing it in his magical sight. Yet all of my tests prove nothing untoward has occurred. What could cause the mind's eye of Mikail to fail where my mystical science does not? It is vexing to not have you here, but I understand the needs of court. Perhaps another of your house could entertain these youthful lords and the foreign lady? Yes...perhaps...Sasha."

Falling quiet, he continued to ply his fingers upon the marble, shifting and molding it as if clay. Each brick, each ediface he molded returned him to the place of his first working. Ceoris. And the Tremere. Immediately after his Embrace by his sire, Zelios was entrusted to the sorcerer usurpers. The horrors he witnessed, screams he heard. They haunted his mind and soul, weighing upon him. The memories so chaotic in his dreams were now whole, distinct. The Dracon saw to reopening the experiences for him with the help of his grandchild Mycah. The magics wrought burned deep within him. Those flesh worms wriggling through his hard flesh as if it was the marble now under his fingers. The screams he uttered bringing such sweet smiles to that ancient, as if petting a dog or comforting a child. How it burned still.

Sitting back, panting as if still alive, Zelios felt the memories overwhelm his waking mind. "Ceoris. Marble set with mortor of stone crushed from the Carpathians and quartz from Byzantium. Blood of virgins tempered by their unholy altars. The shining power and horror of it. Hannibal, sire, why would you leave me among them? Were you perhaps so caught by their power and offers? Or perhaps, were you working for the Tzimisce all along? Did the Fiends not believe our minds could be so touched as to remove all remembrance of where I laid those stone bricks?"

Closing his eyes, the Mason fought for purchase against a sea of fear and pain. The tortures of the Tremere forgotten for over a hundred years. Now so fresh as to have been committed yesterday. "Mycah, why have you not responded? I must speak with you. I fear time is no longer with us. One of their kind must know. One must come to realize...the truth..." No words or winds came to Zelios as they had before.

He remained so still as to become stone itself. Thoughts and questions warred in his mind. But the conclusions changed not. One of the young lords must be spoken to and entreated into the alliance. If Rustovitch was the Demon Prince, all were lost.

Whispers of silken movement gave away the waking of the young lord. Moving still and careful, Zelios continued to work on the marble until the proper moment.

"Zelios, where are we?" Stefan spoke. His words were not in fear or anger of what had been done. Simply he wished an explantion of where.

Giving a false start as if caught off guard, the Mason covered his work in the linen. "We are in the safety of my creation. These halls have always been mine alone. My brethren know not of their existance or entrace." Fixing the youngling in his stare, he hardened his face, letting go of the mask he wore for the Rustovitch brood.

"We have much to discuss, Stefan. Of a great many things..."
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PostSubject: Re: Transylvania - Vampire Tales   Transylvania - Vampire Tales EmptyThu Jul 05, 2012 9:16 pm

DAV: Anatole

"How has it come to this? The wallow of the pigs is not lower than the threaded tapestries of their lives. So much pain and anger, hatred and need. For the debased ideals of an existence fatted upon the glut and agony of mortals and lessers? So many souls become chattel and scorn. So many words I lead to slaughter and damnation."

The words tumbled free from the pale lips. Each sound round, full, articulate despite the whispering. Hands worn and calloused smoothed the fabric of a borrowed tunic over muscled thighs. There he sat, speaking to no one perhaps but himself.

"I wonder at times, if these fools can understand the prattling of my continued voice. Oh the annoyance of it must do nothing but grate on nerves until frayed beyond repair. How sometimes I wish I could make just one see and understand. I wonder if my fate is so tied to the madness forced upon Cassandra. She spoke her truths, whoring herself to any that would listen."

His eyes glistened in wonder, face animated as a knight's looking upon a blessed virgin. "How pained she must have been, living alone within the nightmare of knowing. And all others, were they not truly the mad ones? Unable to glean the bitter visions spewing from her lips as brandywine?"

Softer he spoke for a single moment. "Am I so ensconced in madness? A world that refuses to listen while I ply it with truth? How fickle is the mistress of the mind? How strange her lack of quality in honor and reproach?"

Silence followed. Then the slight tumbling of rocks and dust. Rubbing his fingers again, Anatole noticed how stained with dust they were. Eternal, constant, consuming. He would never be truly clean. No matter how he washed or toiled upon his appearance, would it matter? Would any consider him anything but mad and ridiculous? "Perhaps I should have been killed? Perhaps I should have slipped upon that final blade, letting my heart beat its last?"

The yawning chasm of darkness at his feet seemed to ask a question. No matter how he felt, he had to answer it. The whispering questions were horrific. And yet, he could not stop talking to it. He knew this hole was not natural. The roof of a long hidden tomb expelled and destroyed from within as if some beast forced its way out into the open sky.

Not but twenty feet above, Anatole could hear the slithering movement of feet on rocks stop. He knew it was one of Rustovitch's children, staring so intently at his head. Oh please! Go away! Save yourself from what still lurks, milord! It is folly and danger! By God, save him lest he come into danger! Hear me oh lord!

But he could not speak it, only answer the questions put forth by the hollow below him. "War. I once thought myself a grand warrior. I romanticized saving my nation and home from the horrors of ancient feuds and invading barbarians. How utterly hollow those hopes and dreams truly were. Nothing of war was as I thought it. And in that battle, oh how I wish now my heart had stopped. Damn the life rudely given. Lord God, forgive your servant for never knowing the error of that most dark wish to live and fight again. How I failed you."

The rumbling of earth tremored into Anatole. It began the previous month through to today, through every ringing step he took on the path from Biztritz to here. And now, it thundered in his bones, threatening to tear him apart. A single tear trembled down his face as he shook in such small motions never to be seen by the naked eye. "Lord, bless and protect...your servant...by God. The agony..."

Anatole felt he would fall into crumbled pieces, as the stones around him. And featherlight, he felt it. With every mote of will, he fought against what he knew came. Lord Marius sought his mind. My Lord, no...no...

Visions filled Anatole, choked him in their hunger. The child sat above him in the coffin promised for his eternal slumber. But what floated and moved around the child, so horrible, was not of heaven's make. Only the cruelty of hell could be this thing.

The child spoke for it, interceding, possessed. "Chosen? Would you be chosen? To carry the words that must be spoken to those who must wake to hear them? I seek the chosen. You are not him. But oh, oh my child, what I could give you. What destiny I could writ on your soul. Flayed and forlorn, you would beg for heaven's mercy and finally mine. But I have not the mercy to give."

Anatole screamed in his tomb. He knew what it sought, but damn if he would let it within his mind. The vision of the throne! He seeks the voice of the ancients. It must not be. Can never be! God! Do not forsake your chosen!

And there he was, Marius. He could feel him digging into his mind. The pillage of his thoughts, the most sacred of memories. How he slathered his dark discontent upon them. I am lost, so lost. Shall nothing remain sacred in this age of devils? Why must I suffer by the hands of the demon's kin?

Anatole expected to die, or perhaps he hoped for it. But what came was hope, aid, and love. Gabriel arose within, the memory of meeting the warrior of the Host. Anatole remembered that day in the church, when he bowed to one knee before his king to war against the heathens. Gabriel had shown through, come before him. He laid his sword upon his shoulders, marking him as his own.

Now he shown strong again. The image, the memory, and then the Angel. The demon and child screamed in hatred, a call of battle. The two gathered in force, his soul the balance of the tithe, of win or loss. Yet, Anatole could not hate Marius. How could the devil's own know the war they fought between them? When he looked upon Anatole, he saw only a low clan Kindred. The Tzimisce lord did not see the gleaming armor, burning sword, or crown of golden thorns.

The battle spiralled into eternity. Yet, when he collapsed, skin warmed as if in the sun's bright rays, Anatole knew so much more. He could speak the language of the child demon. He could hear the words of God. Only he could stop what the Dark One wanted. Salvation would only come through the test of his soul. For he alone could contend with and consume the dark seed that waited for fertile soil. For a singular moment, Anatole saw the unfurling future before his feet. He would have two paths to follow. But each was the same. The choice made long ago, Anatole was never to enter Heaven's gates.

But, oh, how heaven demanded so much more of its chosen. To show true faith, Anatole would face the fires of hell and freely provide for them a home in his heart. The truth burned away the last happy memories of his life. The love of his mother long since passed into shadow. The camaraderie of his best friend Beckett. The smile and love of his lady fair, dearest Lucita.

And his pure trust in God.

Rain fell upon Anatole's face, warm and red. Lucita. She cried for him, burying her face in his golden hair. How he wanted to reach out and console her as he had for years and years. But nothing could warm the cold he felt now. And turning from the light, he entered the darkness of torpor.
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PostSubject: Re: Transylvania - Vampire Tales   Transylvania - Vampire Tales EmptyThu Jul 05, 2012 9:17 pm

Mycah

Blood spat in a thick congealed mass on the stonework. It was not the first time the floor had tasted of its guests, but it was a first for the Kindred to spat their own upon it.

Shaking as the child he once was, Mycah leaned heavily on his wooden chair. The world spun and tumbled in his vision, despite the wideness or closed clenching of his eyes. It began within the earth and spiraled up through him. Strange and powerful, it battered him as his sire had long ago upon finding him deep within the sacred libraries and hidden tomes.

Water dripped down the sides of a small table. A split formed down the center of the metal bowl, through the wooden table, and harshly into the stone floor. Voivode Radu would be displeased, but displeasure was a common fixture between Mycah and his betters. Life would be incomplete without the rush of danger and thrill of sinning against the simplest of hospitalities. Such things smacked treasonous in the long run of the nights, especially in this home.

The Lord Rustovitch was without his childer, without support in the great meetings. And in sublime fashion, the old traditions of Fosterage brought Mycah under that man's power and needs...again. Yet, he did not break, only bent beneath the weight and requirementsof such a devious mind. For Rustovitch held so many dark desires of pain and torture to lay into Mycah's flesh. And in the moment of punishment, he reveled in the pleasure of it. And Rustovitch was foiled again. But Mycah, as well as the rest of the night court knew, that was only temporary.

And that is why he first thought of the ancient lord as the heart of this perplexing breaking of his scrying. What other power so potent and so hateful could have sensed his careful weaving and cut it short in such a grand display of power? Yet, as the dizziness slowly gave way to a mere flutter of discomfort, he considered the scrying ended by some other spectacular display.

Spying on his compatriot was becoming a far more taxing thing than he thought previously. The Carpathians felt fractured and broken, the energies twisted by some force beyond God's creation. It reminded him of the past. He reminded him of his first true master. He sat heavily in his wooden chair, straight-backed and harsh. And he dreamed...

-------------- -------------------------------- ------------

"Acolyte, why do you not complete the tasks given when ordered by the elder prelate?" The man's face was hawkish, which is to say it looked as a vulture nibbling on its rancid prey while the old man puttered with a long quill over a parchment. Bushy eyebrows raised gregariously over beady eyes of mundane brown. His fingers were stained heavily, turning his flesh black from ink. Nothing about this shabby man bespoke of the power he rcould weild. The follower of the ancient hermetic magics could have smote the entirety of the Danube River if he so wished it! Yet, here he was, dealing with a meager student with lackluster attention.

The lad sat in mimicry of the lord, sitting in robes much more rich and flamboyant. His thick curling hair and whisper of a beard graced his fair skin well. A noble...and a rather bored one at that. Yet somehow he had attained a position in their illustrious order. The lad moved his wand of a dark wood in wayward motions as he waited for an answer. And Mycah gave it in a simple way.

He looked back with raised eyebrows to the lord's own handwriting. And it was simply...gone. "Preposterous!" He huffed in annoyance and a twinge of fear send a drop of sweat down his spine. How did the boy slip so easily beyond his own rotes?

The lad sighed elegantly and shrugged. "I'll be going now." He stated with obvious disdain as the door swung open. Rising, he turned his back to the lord without a bow, and strode purposefully into the hall. He would pay for it, the insult and magics, yet part of him celebrated this small victory. Sopping at his neck, he counted his prayers and remaining lives left.

"Mycah, you scad, when will you learn?" He asked himself this question everytime. And seemingly on cue, everytime he was answered by some occurrance. A door opened down the hall and through it walked a creature of amazing beauty. Arched brows thin and curved framed a lovely set of eyes, gray with touches of brown. Thin lips pursed in displeasure at being spied. Yet the posture, courtly and refined, moved with grace despite the heavy brocade and velvet. The man moved past Mycah smelling of sage and windblown climes. His curling black hair and thick beard hid little of the feminine cast of jaw and neck. Near him pattered the careful walk of a hunting cat. It growled low and menacing, as delectable and terrible as its owner who controlled it through look alone.

"Im laudnum ex..." Mycah whispered as the man moved through the hallway. Time ceased as he flicked his wand and crumbled bread in the other...and raising it to his lips, mycah tasted the lips of the gentleman. Strangely, he felt the man taste him back. Yet no magics were formed, no movement of hand no whisper of words? For that moment, the man looked to Mycah, and their souls touched.

Several others stormed from the doorway, wands prepared. Warrior sorcerers one and all. And yet, Mycah knew nothing of their kind could stop this creature, no more than a chicken could best the hunting cat.

He calmly walked out of the hallway, through the arched outer door, and into the snow. There he stopped, waiting.

Mycah was already moving before he had considered deciding. He would follow this man. Anywhere. In the courtyard, the world spun and tumbled, flipping upon him as the man turned and caught Mycah's wrist. He placed himself in the path of cast wall of flames. They died in a hush upon the man's hissing words.

Bonds of power coursed through Mycah, filling the other. Bone protruded from the stranger's hand through Mycah's, draining him slowly with powerful bliss. Words ripped from th young man's throat. Arching he carved magics forbidden by the order, yet found and learned by the young noble. And the creature perceived the morsel he gathered for simple indulgence to be so much more.

And the world resounded with the awe of Mycah's working.

-------------- -------------------------------- ------------

Time passed into blackness...blackness into white. The past was lost again from Mycah, despite the journey to it. Behind his closed eyes, he considered what would prompt the vision of his leaving the chantry. With care, he awoke in his chair, as he had so long ago in the snow. And like before, his head cradled in the lap of the Dracon.

"What are you doing, my grandchild?"

Monstrous. Despite his beauty and power, his knowledge craved dearly by Mycah's own desires, he could only think of this word when looking into his Great Grandsire's eyes. He would become like this thing. Although the Tzimisce considered him a terrible boon and grand artificer of flesh and will, Mycah knew only too well how very much they underestimated the Dracon.

Fear filled Mycah as cold winds the Carpathains. And again, he could not answer but only fight for his survival as those perfect fangs bit into his exposed throat. Identity became a swirling of he and him. In the age of mortality, Mycah knew nothing of fear. In this late age, he was a student of it, scholarly taught through the touches and tenderness of the frozen emperor of flesh.

Perhaps it would end here, his machinations. Careful and delicate, the Dracon tore through Mycah's flesh as he did his mind. The arching and terror of the ecstatic neonate did little to sate the ancient. But the ambition and power within him enlivened awe. The futility of Mycah would become the greatest creation of the Dracon.

And the dream was entrusted...again...
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PostSubject: Re: Transylvania - Vampire Tales   Transylvania - Vampire Tales EmptyThu Jul 05, 2012 9:17 pm

Rustovitch and Sasha

The paleness of sky gave way to a majestic sunset. In the failing moment as light dimmed to darkness, it found a way ever so carefully through the clouds. As if seeking a final struggle for life, its rays filtering through the clouds thinning to reveal the night stars fell upon the snow capped Carpathians. The dazzling glow a mezmorizing dance of fairwell or hopes for a return. For Rustovitch, it always reminded him of fingernails trying to grasp stone.

Straining against the bonds of sleep, the elder rose from his bed to watch those final rays play upon the wall. With each passing decade into century, looking upon the display on the stonework hurt less, yet intrigued him more. Self-destruction was not a path he was wont to follow, but the reminder of the day always loomed on the horizon for the damned. His children had so much to learn of such pains and terrors. In time, they would begin to understand.

As the sun faded its last, true waking came to the aging lord. Closing his eyes, he willed himself to stand. The room filled with the sound of his flesh scraping upon itself as metal against rock. A hot bath, steaming and pure waited upon him. And as was his custom, he forced a pitiful wretch of a child into it, determining it was safe. One was never too careful in these times. Although scalded, the girl did not die. Sighing in relief, he entered the water, letting his flesh drift away in the depths. It would soon become tepid as his flesh was wont to be too cold, much like the Carpathians. But better cold than hot, for hot flesh lends to hot thinking. His sire told him that during his rigorous training to become a tyranical leader. What would his sire think now as his child rose to such power?

A thought puzzled near his, then another. Within moments, the entire castle buzzed as hornets from a nest. Rubbing his aching brow, Vladamir knew it would only worsen. The youthful and their constant chattering; the elders and their continual preening. The game never ended in the long nights. What he would give for a moment's peace in his own castle, far from this populace of overwrought warlords. But Rustovitch knew he dare not allow any, not even his own childer, know the secrets of his heart, to rest in his home with his family around him.

How long since I watched the skies over my kingdom? How long since I felt the Northern winds blow over the battlements? This castle is a ruin to me, nothing of my own to comfort me, none of the earth and stone to rest within and gain true peace. How I miss my sons, youthful and brash. This war that comes will last for centuries. First Ceoris, then Jurgen, and finally...each other. No sacred tie will bind us. Nothing but folly...

Opening his eyes, Rustovitch saw his flesh was whole, pale and flexible, not the stone of his self-preserving form for sleep. Rising from the water, it fell in rivets as rains against the mountains. With care, he stepped from the tub, enjoying the feel of linen cloth rubbed against him. The mortals took care of their lord in loving fear. Voiceless, eyeless, they bent to touch and sound alone for his desire and pleasure. This night agreed with him.

Turning from their touch, the lord of lords, king of kings so like God and his son Jesus, entered the study of his chambers. Here other vampires waited. Each step shivered the flesh of his skin until the perfection of form entered that room. Hidden armor of black chitin formed under sensitive cloaks of black and purple velvet. It shined in the candlelight as the locks of a woman, granting him insights on his prey. The rise of blood to skin, the figit of finger or twitch of eye. His eyes lit with an inner fire, picking out the spiritual details of the assembled lords, probing ever so carefully for whispers around them.

Youthful lords met with Rustovitch this night. Each was eager to carry the banner of the Voivode of Voivodes as promised by his son Nicoli. The opportunity had its merits and its flaws, learning that one sought connections to lands held by Nova, the others by lands of other voivodes not keen to Rustovitch's plans.

They spoke long into the early hours, far more than normally awarded for such as these. The careful postering continued as the elder schooled the neonates on the finer points of business and power. Imbuing words with vitae, his hold on them became strong still. Soon he would have an army worthy of his greatest dreams. He should remember to thank his son for the gift of the western lords.

And teasingly, from the corners of the room, came another thought. It moved and prowled in a sinuous way, as smoke curling through a room on an errant breeze. Sensing the thoughts within it before it reached him, Rustovitch hid the flinch he feels. Myca wished an audience with the Voivode. Perhaps he worked for his great-grandsire the Dracon. Or perhaps, he sought this for his own agendas. Whatever the case, it was a meeting he refrained from having for many years. Perhaps now...was a good time...

Reaching through the rooms, seeking through stone and flesh, he found the mind that sent the tendril of thought. It tasted so like Myca, but what he found was anything but. Sasha remained in a meditative trance, sitting with the power circle of Myca. The flavor of thought simply being the circle of stones and runes compiled to broaden the koldun rituals performed within it. Despite his disparagment with the lad, his childer daughter was much more pleasing.

Reaching through thoughts with the power of his koldunism, he captured the mind at its source, before the tendril could reach him. What do you want, child? The directness had the intended affect as he watched and felt the youthful woman shiver, jumping in her skin. Forehead creasing, she thought back, My lord, if you are available-

With ease, he killed her line of thinking, answering faster than she could formulate questions. Within the hour. Here. Looking up at his guests, never missing a word of conversation, the royal lord ended his council with the newly inducted of his throne. Turning to his loyal ghoul, he met his eyes. Ages of conversation passed between lord and servant, letters to be sent, considerations to be made. And with a final moment of spent blood into his ring, he lifted it for the ancient manservant to kiss. The passing through the ring ensured the thoughts would remain hidden.

Casting his hand, he motioned for the others hidden by his magics and their natural abilities to leave. Few knew of his secrets, those Nosferatu indebted to his blood and bound by his power. What they learned became his secrets, dragged out of their screaming bodies in private, sacred rituals. Sometimes he could not help but delve into their flesh, seeking to divine the truth of their curse. After the century of servic, they forgot why they hated him and simply accepted their place.

Lights dimmed. The scents of blossoms filled the room, rare taken with care from his gardens. Running the blood petals against his cheek, he crooned in wonder at the ecstasy of their touch. Perhaps one day Stefan's gardens would be so exsquisite as his own. The rose was a treasure from his private collection, born to blossom as long as it was lain within the blood of the pure. Once tasting of the blackest heart, it would wither into ash. Sometimes, he considered placing it in his own to weigh his soul.

A soft knock upon the door gave rise to the lord to speak. An hour had passed though he could swear he had only dallied with the rose for a few minutes. Turning, the door opened with a thought, allowed the vision to enter. Simple and pure, like his daughter Salovina. Her eyes had not adjusted to the gloom, seeking out the lord as he moved shadow to shadow, coming alongside. He moved far too quickly for her eyes to catch, leaning in and tasting of her fear and desire, a history formed around her face, seething beyond her simple flesh. By God, how virginal she was in comparison to her honorless sire. For the barest moment, he considered stabbing her heart with the rose in his hand.

She could not speak or find words, searching for the lord. Some trembling took control of her form. But finally, the whisper came. "Lord Rustovitch?" IN the soft timber of that question, he knew she was his prize, fought for through the moment of darkness and hesitation when surrounded by his presence. So many typically were...

He appeared, taking her outstreched hand, leading her to a seat. His eyes caught hers as they widened, frightened of the lord that so easily sprung upon her. A quiver at the edge of her lip showed she knew he was always there. That alone regained his interest.

"Sasha," the spoken word carried a flavor of all that she was. "Dearest Sasha, why do you come seeking me? Have you been daring my wrath? Perhaps hoping this frozen heart had some care for your sire?" He stood there, poised with her willingly in his grasp, one arm around her middle, the other pinning her wrist in a terrible display of vulnerability.

Her voice caught. "My lord, I only though, perhaps we could speak..." No more words could escape. His eyes grew cold and terrible, their depths glowing with an unknown thought. He brought her wrist to his lips, crushing the fine bones. Ivory fangs dug deep into her flesh, quickly sucking the very life from her veins. Eyes opened wide, thoughts circled, and a swooning cry escaped her lips. His Kiss was deep, drowning, and carrying away any resolve she may have.

Still she struggled to speak. And Rustovitch could taste the heady mixture of evil tempered with grace so cunningly hidden behind veils of innocense. Blood could always tell all to him. His palette was quite sensitive to such things. If only she was older, if only her sire was not Myca, perhaps he would have entreated her into his home and bed. But this was a deadly viper, on a most desparate mission.

"My...Lord...please I come to speak...great danger..." Her eyes fluttered ever closer to torpored death. Yet something within the fragile woman spoke to Rustovitch of something more. And tenatively, she spoke words she had not spoken in ages. A language he had read with difficulty and spoken to Meisai at length about. The language of the Magi. Despite the lack of power in her body, something most certainly struggled for power and purchase against him.

Tearing his fangs from her flesh, her hand fell from her arm, a limp thing upon the floor. With the barest thought, Sasha stopped the flow of her life to that wound. "Your...sons..." was all she could utter until darkness took her. Rustovitch watched the mind, so close to complete sleep, struggle to rise. But there was not enough blood in the child's body to sustain it. With a slight grin, he moved his bloody fangs to his own hand, and laid deep into the flesh. Sacred vitae split into her throat.

Without hesitation, the creature grasped his wrist in a frenzied need, suckling the fresh vitae. He had her and her dispicable sire. Whether bond by another or not, it was only a matter of time and power. "Ah Sasha, am I not loving and true?" He face twisted in sadistic love, providing her with the blood she needed and the bond of his servitude.

Tossing her to a waiting chair, he fetched her cold hand and a square of cloth. As he stepped away, he moved to the doors of his personal chambers. Returning his glance to the one that followed him, he spoke directly to the young woman. "Clean yourself up and tomorrow we will speak of this danger...and our new arrangement. Good night."

Closing the double doors against her pleas, Rustovitch savored the blood that burned in him and chastized himself for almost falling to the loneliness that hungered in his heart. Power before all. He would own this world. And when his conquest was complete, then and only then, would be consider the issue of a queen.
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