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Welcome to Seattle

Prologue:  Memories

He was back in the deep snows of his homeland, stalking the wolves that were feeding on his sheep. Well, not his sheep exactly, but his family’s. As the oldest son, it was his duty to keep the herd safe. So he was out here, knee deep in snow, tracking the wolf that had killed the last one and had the beast in his sights as the sun started its slow decent beyond the horizon. Something caught his ear then, which should’ve been impossible with the wind whipping by, but some said his hearing was a gift. The men came out from behind the trees, slowly surrounding him in a circle, cutting off any retreat. They were ragged and heavily clothed and by the looks of them, they meant no good. He was in trouble, but if he could break through the line he could lose the men in the deep snows.

His bow fell into the snow as he drew his saber and balanced his feet as two of them neared. They didn’t even have weapons, so he felt a little more confident; he was wrong. Slicing at one high in the shoulder, he spun to the back and stabbed one in the chest, yanking the blade free as one clawed at his back. They were fast, faster than he had ever seen anyone move, and they weren’t behaving as normal bandits might at being attacked so boldly. That’s when he noticed they weren’t really bleeding at all, despite the grievous wounds he had inflicted. They came at him with bare hands, their fingernails cutting into his skin through the heavy winter clothing. Soon his blood soaked the pristine white blanket of the Valdai Hills of Russia as he begged and pleaded with his attackers to no avail.

When he next awoke, surprised that he wasn’t dead, he was surrounded in darkness—cold, damp, darkness. He knew he wasn’t dead mainly because of how hungry he felt; that gnawing hunger that rips through your gut when you would do almost anything to stop it. He moved and was pelted by bits of dirt and panic set in… he was in the ground! Frantically he clawed at the frozen soil and tore it apart as he screamed his life away trying to get out. He must’ve been near the surface as he heard deep voices, slowing his ascent.

“If the boy makes it.”

“He will, he’s a strong one. He’s got to be what, all of twenty winters? Did you see the size of him?”

“Well we’ve lost others to the madness, he could be another.”

“Once he’s out we’ll see if we train him. He’ll turn fully once he drinks. Have no fear, this one will be magnificent.

He clamped down on his growing fear and stopped, listening to the ones that had almost killed him; they were waiting for him. The men wanted him to break free so they could claim him as theirs, as it sounded like they only wanted strong ones. And I was turned? Turned how? he thought, as he closed his eyes to keep the fear from rising. How long he sat there, in the ground, starving so much it hurt, he didn’t know, but suddenly the voices grew angry.

“We can’t stay any longer, the sun comes.”

“I was sure he would make it.”

“Well we have no more time, Let’s away before the sun claims us as well.”

He waited longer still, then once he was satisfied that they were gone, he clawed the rest of the way out and rolled in the snow to freedom. Sucking great breaths of air that he didn’t even need, he got up and felt his skin start to itch; the sun. He remembered the fear in their voices so he ran with all he could to the old farm near his family’s land, he used to play there as a young boy and the owners loved him. Head down and sticking to the shade of the trees he ran, plowing great swaths through the deep snow. He got to the barn and snuck in the back, his large frame barely fitting. Of the four horses that usually were kept here, only one remained, and his intent was to ride it, but then the hunger hit. He wondered why no one came out to see what the noise was, as he slaughtered the horse and drank his fill, but then the realization at what he had done came over him. He sat back in horror and revulsion at the sight of the horse and looked down at his clothes, covered in the guts of the animal. Weariness started to take him then as the sun grew bolder in the sky, and he crawled into the loft and slept.

When he awoke, the sun setting low in the sky, he was fresh and hale, feeling stronger than he ever had. He made his way out and back to his family, finding the entire farm vacant. He searched and found the bodies piled in the back room, lifeless and empty of blood. This is where the men came to escape the sun. Crying out he dropped to his knees and cursed the men for what they had done, to both his family and himself. Screaming like this, he awoke from his reverie.

Chapter One:  When it rains…

Sabin Borokova awoke in his coffin with a start, then closed his eyes and calmed down. Vampires didn’t dream exactly, but the memories of their beginnings often plagued their sleep when trouble was on their mind. He hadn’t thought about his first days in a very long time, considering that he was well over two hundred years old. He pushed open the casket and got out, smoothing his clothes and stretching as was his normal routine. He walked through the cave to his wardrobe and pulled out his black suit coat, throwing it on and looking in the mirror, chuckling to himself. While it was true that you couldn’t see a vampire in a reflective surface, other vampires could. He struck a pose and nodded, pleased with how the jacket fit his large frame. He still looked as he did all those years ago, with his very long black hair and his six and a half foot tall frame. He weighed about two hundred and seventy pounds and his black eyes were alluring to say the least. Only looking like you were in your early twenties sounded great to most people, but after this long Sabin knew it wasn’t ideal.

He checked his phone and was relieved that there were no messages; for once. He walked over to the wall and pressed the red button and waited as the wall slid aside, revealing the staircase that wound up to the mausoleum. His lair was hidden very well in one of the most popular cemeteries in Seattle; Lakeview Cemetery, home to Bruce Lee and his son Brandon Lee. He opened to cement door and bathed in the moonlight as he strolled across the grounds, making very little noise. Soon he was driving north through the University District to his club, The Asylum. He hadn’t gone one mile before his phone rang, the Beatles ring tone “Love me do” pervading his senses. He didn’t like the song, or the group, which was why he had put it for his Lord; match made in heaven. Sabin opened the phone and took a corner at almost fifty, smiling into the night air. “Yes Dorian, how may I help you this night?”

“Oh ‘ello Shadow seems we’ve a bit of a disturbance near your bar.”

“It’s a club.”

“What’eva, See to it please.”

The phone went quiet and Sabin, who was called Shadow to most other vampires in the city, put it down on the seat next to him. Dorian Grey had one of those personalities that you had to learn to like; sadly, Sabin never had.

Dorian Grey, the infamous immortal that was linked to that stupid painting, how the mortals would laugh if they only knew he had been a vampire the whole time. Really who would believe in having a picture capture your soul anyway? He thought, then thought better of it since he was a myth as well. Another mile and a half and he was pulling up to the Asylum.

The Asylum, a nightclub on the corner of NE 46th street and 26th Ave NE, was hopping and since it was Wednesday, that meant women’s night. The huge sign hanging above the club was in Egyptian font and the cool marble steps led into a dark atmosphere banging with music. Live bands were the thing here, and with the close proximity to the University, there were no shortage of kids wanting to relax, drink, and chill out. Tables were strewn over to small decks of floor and a wrought iron staircase led to a balcony over hanging the stage. The balcony was for management, and is where Sabin hung out and met anyone he needed to do business with. Tonight Dark jade played on stage and the all female band was cranking out some of his favorites. Covering songs like Pull me under, Broken man and the dawn, and Man on the silver mountain, they really got the crowd pumped up for the night. He climbed the stairs, nodding to his bouncers Ace and Lazlo, two other vampires that worked under him. These two had an affinity for bikes and were part of the Hells Angels before they were turned.

“Evening boss.,” Ace said, nodding politely.

“Been quiet boys?” Sabin asked as he walked slowly up the stairs.

“Yes sir.”

Sabin and Lazlo both turned to look at the front door as their senses kicked in. Vampires could always sense other vampires when they got close enough. This one though was well known to the pair and they smiled as she walked in, her hips swaying seductively. Sophia D’valiant was the manager of the club and one time day watcher of Sabin. He had turned her a year ago and she had taken the night to night running of the club into her own hands. She was a book worm before he had introduced her to the intoxicating vampire blood that ran through his veins, and it had done something to her, sexualized her in a way that was both magnificent and dangerous.

“Up here Sophia,” Sabin called over the music as he sat finished his ascent to his couch and picked up the book he was reading. Some vampire in Louisiana causing trouble, he hadn’t gotten far into it yet but it was a page turner.

“What’s up boss?” Sophia purred as she walked up onto the balcony. She was dressed in a black long skirt with a ruffled top that hung on her slender shoulders. His short black hair and vibrant green eyes spoke of intelligence, but her slight five foot frame and slender waist usually diverted the eyes elsewhere. On purpose.

“Dorian says there’s trouble near the club so I’m not staying tonight. Keep it quiet with the boys tonight though will you?” Sabin wanted to make sure she was here, watching the floor, not in the back feeding on the locals that wanted to have their way with her. Thanks to the euphoria that came with their bite, not many noticed that they were being attacked until it was too late. If you did it only a little then they may never know, until they notice the wounds later. Most never bother to think twice as they heal fast.

“Got it, no sex.” She frowned and sat down in the chair behind the desk, having a full view of the front door, “Just let me know when it’s clear though, a girl can’t hold out forever you know.”

“You’ll live, no pun intended.” Sabin got up and put his book down, taking off his suit coat and walking down the stairs. He went to his car and opened the trunk, putting on his twin swords and strapping on his revolver. He threw on a long coat to cover the weapons and started walking the misty streets, eyes roaming for what could’ve bothered the Lord of Seattle this time. It was the Lord’s job to keep the vampires of his city in line. If too many people were killed or bodies were left to discover too often, then people would start looking into things. Worse, sloppy kills could result in vampires being arrested and if they ever found out about the existence of vampires then their careful life of staying in the shadows would be over. So it was Sabin’s job, as the Lord’s Blade, to keep the peace and make sure everyone listened, and he was very good at his job.

He felt his swords under his long coat and smiled at the memory of how he got them. The twin swords, katana’s actually, were folded steel from Japan, circa 1860. He had trained with Saigo Sauske on the island of Amami Oshima for three years, and then moved on once more. His whole life had been that. Stay for a time then move on. He had even met with the infamous Rasputin, a fellow Russian, in the year 1910. He checked his pistols to make sure that they were loaded with silver bullets and put them back in their holsters as well. His revolvers were newer, first printing of the 1956 .44 Magnum revolvers. He wasn’t exactly a collector, but he got around a bit. In fact when someone looked into his eyes and said he had been around he usually laughed and said they were right. If they only knew.

Sabin walked the streets around the whole of 46th street, and back around to NE 45th street. Nothing out of the ordinary, then he saw it. An alley just down the road was blocked by a van suspiciously and he could hear muffled screams. Inhuman screams. He ran head down and leapt up over the van, landing with his blades out and spinning in case it was a rogue wolf. It was worse. Whatever had happened was over and the torn body of the werewolf lay in a deep pool of blood next to the ravaged body of a vampire. This would blast what little peace they had with the wolves and throw the city back into a warzone. He looked over the bodies closer and saw that both were slashed by the same type of attack. “So they were both killed by someone else, not by each other.” He said aloud, turning the bodies over. It wouldn’t matter though, the wolves wouldn’t listen to the m if there was a dead body and no one to punish. He took out his phone and reluctantly called the number he had been dreading. It rang and rang until a male voice answered from the other end.

“This had better be good,” Myst said, his business-like voice seemingly stressed.

“Well that’s not a good tone from someone usually telling me to cheer up,” Sabin said, feeling the other shoe was about to drop.

“Sorry Shadow, been working on some bad news myself. What do you need?” Myst had a bad feeling and not just because he was a worker of Fate.

“I’ve got a dead wolf and dead vampire, together.”

Myst whistled softly over the phone. “Yeah that would make your night pretty bad. Sadly I have a dead Wizard and one of the Created slain on our grounds as well.” He paused, shaking his dice and throwing them. All 6’s. “I’m willing to bet their all connected.”

“Well this just went from bad to death real fast.” Sabin looked around, noticing that the van driver’s door was open. “I’ll call you if I get anything else Myst.”

“Sounds good, same here.”

Sabin hung up and put away his swords. Vampires rarely needed weapons, but with the amount of supernatural creatures that shared the city of Seattle, you just never knew what you may run into. All part of his job. He loaded the bodies into the van and got in, finding the keys in the ignition. The interior smelled of wet dog, and could guess that it belonged to the deceased werewolf. He drove off with the two in the back and wished that for once he could have a quiet night.

Chapter Two:  … It pours

Marcus Lawkland walked across his office and stared out his window at the setting sun. He knew that today’s business deals would go through tomorrow without a hitch. He should know; he used enough magic to make it happen. He keyed the intercom and buzzed his secretary. “Melissa, can you send a message to Lyssa?” He used his happy voice so as to not worry the mortal that there was anything wrong.

“Sure Mr. Lawkland, what is the message?” she asked, nervous whenever she talked to the gorgeous man that was her boss.

“Just say that I will call next week, plans have changed slightly.” Marcus shut off the speaker and undid his tie. He was almost six feet tall with short black hair and silver eyes. He always told people that they were light blue, and most people bought it. Mortals were like that; always believing what was the easiest explanation. His slim build hid a body of honed muscle, and a very fit physique, hidden mostly behind expensive clothes and a winning smile. Marcus was the C.E.O of his own company, Lawkland enterprises, and he made his fortune off of other people’s failures.

Marcus, or Myst as the wizards called him, was one of the supernatural creatures that inhabited the world called a mage. They looked just like mortals—they ate and drank and grew old—yet they could control forces that would break most people’s minds; all before breakfast. He heard his phone ring and laughed at the ring tone. It was Fade to Black By Metallica and could only be his fellow mage Katie. Katie was a worker of Death, dealing with destroying spirits and such, but was one of the happiest people he knew, which was strange for someone that close to the underworld. “Hello Katie, what can I do for you?” he answered, wondering why the woman was calling him this late.

“You may have a slight problem, Myst,” she said without a hint of happy anyway near her voice. “Look out your window.”

“Katie, I’m on the 42nd floor,” Marcus said, worried that if something had her that frazzled that it couldn’t be good. He marveled again that she disdained her wizard name. Hated it so much that no one, not even the High Council, called her by it anymore; there had been enough death.

“Right, sorry. Well it looks like a wizard and maybe one of the Created have gotten into a bit of a fight in your lobby. I came in and found them dead a few minutes ago.”

“I’ll be right down.” He replied curtly, hanging up and setting his phone down. This definitely wasn’t good. He knew of only two of the created in Seattle, and they had almost killed one last year on accident. Two steps towards his private elevator and his phone rang again, this time the ringtone was Vampires by Godsmack. “Oh for the love of Arcadia,” he swore, knowing that it had to be Shadow. He walked over and picked up the phone and his set of six-sided dice. They helped him relax. “This had better be good.” Myst said, his happy mood crumbling quickly.

“Well that’s not a good tone from someone usually telling me to cheer up.” Shadow said, an unusual edge to his voice that he only got when he didn’t get to kill something.

“Sorry Shadow, been working on some bad news myself. What do you need?” Myst had a bad feeling and not just because he was a worker of Fate.

“I’ve got a dead wolf and dead vampire, together.”

Myst whistled softly into the phone. “Yeah that would make your night pretty bad. Sadly I have a dead Wizard and one of the Created slain on our grounds as well.” He paused, shaking his dice and throwing them. All 6’s. “I’m willing to bet their all connected.”

“Well this just went from bad to death real fast.” Shadow said, his voice getting to that point that Myst referred to as ‘Imminent death.’ “I’ll call you if I get anything else Myst.”

“Sounds good, same here.” Myst hung up and walked again to the elevator. Most people disdained working with vampires, but he actually liked some of them. Unlike most books and movies, vampires came in types. No two were alike in their powers or abilities. Some were canny fighters, some were feral beasts, and still others were dark businessmen with a taste for power. Shadow was a bit of all three. Mages are just as bad, he thought, knowing that there were many different kinds of workers. Fate, Death, Time, even Elemental, though they were rare. He reached the bottom of the tower and saw Katie waiting for him. She was short, all of five foot two, and a measly one hundred and twenty pounds. Her long black hair and blue eyes made her seem harmless, yet anyone who thought that was in for a surprise of their very short life.

“Almost fell asleep, glad you could make it,” Katie teased, knowing that the man was busy.

“Shadow called, he has more deaths over by the club.” Myst looked down at the bodies and called upon his Sight to determine what may have killed them.

“More wizards dead?”

“No a vampire and wolf.”

“Oh that’s bad, I bet Dorian is super pissed,” Katie said, knowing that the vampire Lord would be calling for blood, pun intended. Each supernatural race had someone to answer to, whether it was a Lord, a High Council, or an Alpha.

“I can only imagine. Look, the mage was killed by strangulation, but the Created’s hands are clean.” Myst looked at the Created and saw that it had been stabbed by a sharp blade over twenty times, in at least three places. “Whoever did this tried to make it look like they killed each other, but any wizard worth his dust would figure that out.”

“Oh then this is probably a trap then,” Katie said, smiling. She mentally threw up a shield of death and looked around, itching to kill something. Then she heard the soft crack from one of the bodies. “Myst?”

Myst looked down and saw a swarm of black beetles coming from both bodies, cracking open like a dried husk out of nowhere. No. Not beetles, scarabs. Thousands of them. “Back to the elevator Katie!” Myst grabbed at her hand and pulled with a hiss through his teeth; her shield almost taking his hand off.

“Sorry, but I don’t run from beetles.” She closed her eyes and summoned a wave of flesh tearing force at the swarm, shredding them like paper before a razor storm. She smiled, until the next hundred or so swarmed behind them and kept coming.

“They’re not beetles, they’re…”

“Scarabs, yeah I see that now.”Katie  turned and headed for the shiny metal doors with Myst but knew that they wouldn’t be safe there either. Then she heard her lover’s voice from the front doors.

“Faerarleyfi piera o-Sakaor!” Ragnar called to the scarabs in his ancient Nordic tongue. The huge man strode though the double glass doors ready for a fight, and these tiny beetles would have one if they didn’t heed the will of Thor. He saw the scarabs stop and quiver, uncertain to which command they should listen to, and Ragnar signaled to his friends to run. “Now, let’s away before those things shake off my command.”

“You know, you’re the best Mummy I know,” Katie said, squeezing his arm in thanks.

“I’m the only Mummy you know,” He answered his little heart.

Chapter Three:  In a Tightening Web

Ragnar paced on his boat as the sun rode low in the Seattle sky. Katie was supposed to be here soon, and it wasn’t like her to not be on time. Especially when they were going to be naked for hours. He walked off of his wooden boat and was halfway to his car, looking at his phone and trying for the hundredth time to figure out this texting thing, when the knife went into his stomach. He didn’t even flinch. “Really? A knife?” he said calmly, dropping his phone into his pocket and punching the little man across the lot. Being mostly sand helped a lot with muggers, but it got annoying hiding the bodies. That is why I tolerate Shadow, he thought, walking over to the little man to finish the job, He knows the best places to get rid of bodies. His wound was already closing and only his shirt was ruined. Just another thing to aggravate him this night. “Listen little man, you should know…” That’s all Ragnar got to say as he was kicked back to his boat by the man, which should’ve been nigh impossible. By the time he stood up the man was gone.

He got in his el-Camino and drove to Lawkland tower, where Katie was during the day today working on her magic stuff. Ragnar looked in the rear view and smiled at his blond visage. Blond and blue eyed like most of the Vikings in his time, Ragnar was extremely old, but could only remember some things. The curse of being a mummy was losing those memories you held dear. One day I’ll awaken and not remember Katie, that day will be a sad day indeed, He thought as he drove, though most likely she won’t let me forget, stubborn woman. His phone rang then, and he fumbled getting it out of his pocket as he drove. He opened it and almost dropped it twice before getting it right. “Hell Device!” He screamed into the air, hating this new technology that he had to adapt to. “Hello?”

“Good evening Ragnar, drop your phone again?” Shadow asked from the other end.

“Shut up. What can I do for you, dark  lord?” Ragnar liked this vampire, he had a sense of humor and he liked killing other vampires.

“I’ve got some murders that are kind of weird, you at home?”

“No I am on the way to Lawkland tower, meet me there.” He hung up and realized that he forgot something. He opened the phone again and dialed Shadow. The vampire picked up on the first ring.

“Yes Ragnar?”

“I forgot to say goodbye. Goodbye.” Then he hung up as he pulled in front of the tower. If shadow also had someone killing people, was it the same man that attacked him? He got out and turned looking through the glass doors as Myst and Katie were attacked by Egyptian scarabs. Thousands of them! He strode through the glass doors and recited a charm from his people against evil. “Faerarleyfi piera o-Sakaor!” Ragnar called to the scarabs in his ancient Nordic tongue. He was ready for a fight, and these tiny beetles would have one if they didn’t heed the will of Thor. He saw the scarabs stop and quiver, uncertain to which command they should listen to, and Ragnar signaled to his friends to run. “Now, let’s away before those things shake off my command.”

“You know, you’re the best Mummy I know.” Katie said, squeezing his arm in thanks.

“I’m the only Mummy you know.” He answered his little heart. He walked outside and saw Myst lock the doors with magic and take out his phone. That’s when he saw that there were no people around. “Katie, what did you do to the people?” Ragnar asked in his scolding voice.

“Calm down, I just put up a simple ward that made anyone coming into the building want to leave.” She laughed, they all thought the worst of her, and that was how she liked it. Just then a van pulled up, screeching its brakes at the last minute. Everyone backed up, except Myst, who was still on the phone. Then they all relaxed as Shadow stepped out.

“Anymore dead yet?” he asked, all business for once. Seeing most of his friends all in one place was disturbing. Hopefully they didn’t find any more dead creatures anywhere else.

“No, but someone tried to kill me.” Ragnar said as a matter-of-fact.

“Really? How did that go?” Shadow asked, knowing how powerful the mummy was. Mummies could withstand damn near anything except fire, and get up within minutes even if they dropped.

“It didn’t stick.” He answered, not giving any details that weren’t necessary yet. He played his cards close to his chest in all things.

Myst hung up and turned around, his eyes searching the van for any clues with his Sight. He found nothing, but then he saw Ragnar’s stomach and jumped forward, pushing everyone back. “Ragnar, what happened to your stomach?” It looked like a magic was buried deep within him, which should’ve been impossible given that he was supernatural and not really alive.

“That’s where the guy stabbed me, why?” He grew serious then and took his shirt off right there on the street. A car drove by and almost crashed looking at the shirtless man.

Alarmed, Katie looked at her love with her Sight as well, but she saw different things with her calling. “Dear spirits, he’s being dragged down to the underworld!” She could see tiny motes of black swirling around the magical wound and they were pulling towards the ground. Inch by inch they were making progress.

“That’s not possible,” Ragnar said, searching his memory for anything like this. Nothing came up. “Maybe it will go away if I get to my boat?” he asked, going for his car.

“I’ll meet you there, I’m going to get these bodies into the van and then go. That way I’ll have all of the bodies to get rid of in one shot.” Shadow walked towards the doors in a hurry.

“You won’t get in they’ve been locked with…” Myst started to say, but he saw Shadow grab the handles and yank the doors clean off of the wall brackets. He looked at them strangely, like he didn’t know why they did that, then tossed them aside, walking in.”Vampires.” He muttered, walking around the building to his own car. He got in the vintage 1980 Stingray Corvette and peeled out towards the Center for Wooden Boats.

Across the street the woman watched them all go, like ants scattering at a picnic gone bad. Her plans were working, spreading the paranoia among the elite supernatural entities around the city. Soon they would be at each other’s throats and the war she dreamed of would come. Only then would she be rid of these troublesome creatures and she could go back to taking over the city from that pestering Dorian Grey. She knew of him from the olden days, and though her skin had stretched out a bit over her frame, she would still be recognized by him at the least. When he saw her he would know that his doom had come.

Victoria Madison was a wizard, but not any wizard like those prattling fools and their petty spells. No, she was a Lich and part of a sect of wizards called the Gramarye. They practiced deep magic, forbidden magic, spells so powerful that some demons shied away from them. She was of average height and weight, but only illusions kept the people around her from screaming in fear at her countenance. Her once deep black hair was wispy and gray, and her eyes had lost their blue shine and now throbbed a deep black. She shrugged and walked away, her wards keeping anyone from accidently bumping into her. Her skin was so cold that they might be burned from the contact, not that she would care, she lost what humanity she had a long time ago. No, if that happened then she might alert her enemies to her presence…she couldn’t have that yet. She had to start the war first.

Chapter Four:   The Powder keg

Jason Strong was one of the best bartenders in Seattle. He worked at the Palomino Restaurant & Bar in the U.S. Bank Centre building and was also the Alpha for the Tower Syndicate. He was in his mid thirties, but seemed like he was twenty with his wolf metabolism. He had very full dark hair and sported a goatee. The Tower syndicate was the name for his pack of werewolves he had drawn together, with the rest of the packs all living out in the suburbs and even the eastern mountains. Jason had just started his break in the back room when one of the waitresses called for him 

“You have a call on Line 1, handsome,” Delphine said, her voice almost purring.

“Who is it?” Jason asked, drying his hands on a dish rag

“She said you’d know, I figured it was a lady friend,” Delphine teased, turning around and heading back out to the floor.

This troubled him a little bit; he had no lady friends. Jason punched the line and spoke clearly. “This is Jason, how may I help you?”

“Oh well it’s not really anything you can do for me, werewolf, It’s what I can do for you,” the sultry voice said from the other side of the phone.

“Jason looked around and closed the door to the back room. “Look, I don’t know who you are but..”

“And it will stay that way for now. Listen. The vampires have killed one of your pack and are hiding the body as we speak. If you go to the Center for Wooden Boats tonight you might just stop them.” Then the line went dead.

Jason crushed the receiver in his hands and sat down heavily, Grabbing a bottle off of the shelf and swigging straight brandy. This was going to get ugly and he would have to call the pack out for the confrontation. If it were true, then that vampire Lord would have a fight on his hands this night. He had gone to great lengths to get this treaty in place with the vampires, and it had benefitted everyone. Now it seems that they broke it, and he would have to answer that or lose his standing among the pack. Damn, he really liked that English bastard too. He needed to get word out to the wolves in the suburbs and the eastern mountains too. They all needed to hear this. Jason grabbed his coat and ran out, calling to the boss that he had an emergency. So much for a relaxing night, he thought, as he took the elevator down all three stories to his car. Jason called the other Alpha’s as he drove, then called his pack; after that, he dialed Dorian.

The Asylum Nightclub, Upper Balcony.

Dorian was enjoying the music and the brandy as he waited for his lover, Isabella. Bella was one of those vampires that you just couldn’t stop looking at, gorgeous to a fault, she was a dancer and choreographer and loved to throw herself onto a dance floor and just let go. She would dance for hours, her undead stamina fast outweighing those mortals hitting on her. Sometimes she would take a man for the night, feeding off of him until he slept, but she always came back for Dorian. He saw the waitress come up the stairs with another bottle and curtsied, just the way he liked. “Why thanks mum, right good job tonight,” he said, charming her and compelling her to leave. She turned woodenly and walked down the stairs quickly. She probably was going to ask him something. But he didn’t feel like it tonight. He opened up his wrist and let the blood drip into the bottle, mixing pleasantly so he could drink it without distaste. Then his night tanked as his phone rang. The ringtone was not one he heard often, nor did he want to. It was playing Hungry like the Wolf by Duran Duran. “Right, what can I do for you, Jason?” Dorian asked casually. He had really hoped that Sabin had handled this.

“A little bird tells me you’re killing werewolves, Mr. Grey,” Jason said with barely controlled rage. He had to control it while driving, wouldn’t want to change in the car.

“So formal. Well to answer that,  I wouldn’t know anything about talking birds Mr. Strong. Have you a body to show me?” He was pushing him he knew, but he couldn’t appear weak. Besides he was fairly sure he could take the Alpha. Reasonably sure.

“Enough with the fancy words, Grey! Meet me at the Center for Wooden boats in thirty.”

The line went dead as the werewolf hung up. Not good. Ragnar would be pissed that they were on his stomping ground. Dorian smiled and called Bella as he walked down and got into his car. It went straight to voicemail as he started the antique red Jaguar. “G’eve luv, ‘ave to step out for a bit. Nasty business to tend to. Be back soon.” He hung up and roared through the city, not even bothering to watch for police. So of course he got pulled over. He actually pulled over for once, as a chase would put him even further behind now. As the officer came up Dorian lowered his window and smiled, making eye contact with the man and getting ready. “Right sorry bout that, pedal got a bit stuck there guvna.”

“License and registration sir.”

“Well I think you had better take the call on your radio. Fairly sure they want you to go check your house sir.” He let his power go and could feel the man’s resistance crumble away. This is what Dorian Grey lived for. The feel of the power.

“Drive safely sir, I have to go check out my house.”

“Right you do that.” Dorian called after the man. Then he took off once more, trying to stay focused. He was almost there, and for once Dorian didn’t know what he was going to do. He was hoping Shadow had figured out what was going on and who killed who, but he hadn’t heard anything for hours. Someone would have to pay, that was for certain. This treaty was the most important thing that had happened in the supernatural world in centuries, and he was at the center of it. He had to make this work.

Rooftop across from the Center for Wooden Boats

Victoria looked down upon the parking lot and smiled. There was that ridiculous El-Camino and the rest of the creatures that she despised. Then she spied the antique Jaguar and just knew it was Dorian. The car just screamed ‘Look at me.’ She quietly chanted and brought a guardian into this world, pulling from the bones buried deep under the pavement. There were always bones buried deep. She saw it rise in front of the plank leading to the mummy’s boat. “That will slow you down a bit and give my spell some time to fester,” Victoria said to herself. If left too long, the spell would take what little soul the thing had left and forcibly wrench it out of the shell of a body it was using and drag it to the underworld. He would survive, to be sure, but his cult would need a new body and when he came back, he would certainly forget all of his friends he had made here in the city.

She sat down then, ready for the show she had planned so carefully for, and snickered madly to herself. There was a small chance that she might be spotted, but a confrontation was not out of the realm of possibility. She had planned on killing them later, but if forced to, she could up her time table. He only one to worry about was that death mage. That girl could actually give her a run for her money. Victoria checked her wards once more just in case. No, I’m more than ready for that one, she thought to herself as they started arguing. Let the fun begin.

Chapter Five:  It all becomes clear.

Ragnar pulled in and saw the others come in behind him. He got out and almost dropped to a knee, his stomach twisting in a sort of pain he wasn’t used to. Myst ran over and helped him up, with Katie fretting furiously over him. He did not need this right now. “Would you both get off me!” He stood and lurched to the boat, knowing that the powerful wards would dismiss whatever was in him. He saw the red Jaguar pull up and rolled his eyes. The last thing he needed was that British dandy in his face. He took another five steps and the ground rumbled, cracking right in front of him as a huge skeleton like thing crawled out of the ground to bar his way. “All right, now I know what to do!” he called, pulling his broadsword off of his back and going to meet his foe. If he could hit something then he would feel better.

Myst saw the thing crawl up out of the ground and knew that something powerful was indeed after them all. Only a master could’ve crafted the spell that infected the huge Nordic warrior like that, and to call bones up and form them together that fast was power personified. Not. Good. He quickly spun a Fate ward around him so that attacks may miss, and then tried to dispel the creature.. No luck.

“Wha a fuck is that?” Dorian called out as he got out of his car and saw what was fighting Ragnar. Dorian was in a bad mood, but seeing that thing pretty much cleared his mind. He checked to see if his pistols were loose in their holsters, ready to draw them if need be, they were loaded with silver rounds, of course, but he prayed he didn’t need them. “So, more fun is on the way,” Dorian called out walking up towards the gang. “Where’s Shadow?”

Katie turned to see Dorian coming and shook her head. Leave it to him to show up when they needed him. How does he do that? she wondered to herself. Katie tried to dispel the monster and failed again, her spell bouncing off of powerful wards placed upon it, Thank God Ragnar was as good as he was with that blade. He was taking it apart. Literally. “What do you mean more fun? What did you do?”

“Oh not me luv. The wolves think we killed their own, and now they want blood. Someone is stirring up ma city and I’m not thrilled one little bit.” Dorian searched his pockets and frowned, “You ‘ave a cig?”

“No, Dorian, I do not.”

“Pity.” He heard bikes and cars rev, and knew that the wolves were here. At least there wasn’t a body. Behind them a white van was driving slowly, like they were bringing their own little present. Dorian sighed, setting his feet apart for quick maneuvering. He really didn’t want to do this.

Jason pulled up and leapt out, rage twisting his features already. “How dare you attack us!” he turned and three more were out and walking quickly towards the vampire Lord and female.

“Katie, would you mind luv? I really don’t want to start shooting. Think you can stop them with a wall or something?” he asked, not really knowing what she could or couldn’t do.

“Or something,” Katie said, closing her eyes and casting one of her more potent spells. She saw the men falter, all of the strength draining out of them at once. Then they screamed and started changing and new strength flooded back into them. “Oops.”

“What do you mean oops luv?”

“Guys, bigger problems!” Myst was backing away slowly, getting his enchanted mace out and wondering what happened to his luck today. Ragnar had dropped the creature and when it hit the ground it broke into a thousand spiders of all shapes and sizes, swarming over the Norseman who was backing away.

Ragnar was beyond mad. He was almost on his boat when those spiders swarmed him. He focused his ire down deep and channeled his power in a focused blast and tore a hole through them and ran, leaping onto his boat and collapsing. He could feel the magic dissolving already. He looked back and saw his friends being backed up by the endless swarm and almost charged back down the plank, but he stopped as he saw someone on the neighboring roof. Then he saw his friend show up and knew just the guy to get up there. “Shadow! Rooftop!” He yelled at the top of his lungs, pointing and walking down the plank slowly this time. His broadsword light in his rejuvenated hands.

Shadow leaped out of the van to the surprise of the changing wolves. He saw Katie, Dorian, and Myst backing towards the wolves fighting a swarm of spiders and could hear Katie freaking out. She hated spiders. He caught the Alpha’s arm and with all of his strength, pulled the werewolf around and held him for a moment. There was a reason he was the Lord’s Blade. “Listen Strong, we didn’t kill anyone. Someone has planned all of this to get us here for an ambush. Get your wolves out of here!” He tried to get through the Alpha’s rage and get him to really listen. It sank in as Jason turned and grabbed his pack mate. But was too late.

Three of the werewolves had spiders on them and were howling in pain. They shook for a minute, then their arms fell limp, puppets of whatever had summoned those spiders. “No!” Jason howled, backing away with the large vampire. He knew then that he had indeed been duped, and now his friends would suffer.

“Shadow! Rooftop!”

Shadow looked up as Ragnar yelled and smiled. It was one of his favorite tactics against snipers and Ragnar had remembered.        “Take them out Strong, they aren’t your friends anymore.” He said before he was off and running, fingering his swords in anticipation. He ran up to the building and didn’t slow, leaping straight up and grabbing the ledge, pulling himself up. He climbed the side of the building in record speed, reaching the top and seeing a woman. She was just starting to stand when he pulled his swords and she lazily sent a blast of something at him. This is going to hurt. He thought, as he tried to dodge out of the way.

Katie heard Ragnar as well and blasted the spiders once more. She hated spiders. “Die fuckers!” She yelled, reducing another pile to ash as the werewolves battled their leader. “Dorian, do something to help him, Myst and I have these guys under control.”

“We do?” Myst said, releasing another blast of heavenly light at the swarm. It was starting to slow down, but they were still coming and he was getting tired.

“Oh, right. I’m on it.” Dorian said, turning and taking aim at the three possessed wolves. “Sorry lads,” Dorian called as he started firing. As quick as they were, and werewolves were fast. They still couldn’t get out of the way of Dorian’s guns. He had one in each hand, ad fired like the gunslingers of myth, shooting with deadly accuracy and without pause. Hit after hit with silver bullets took down the odds, and he saw the Alpha tear the last one’s head clean off. Pretty sure I could’ve taken him…relatively sure, he thought as he looked to the roof where Shadow had gone. He would love to know who had done this so he could hunt down every single relative of theirs and kill them slowly. Then he heard the sirens and knew he was up once again. “All right, who wants to go ‘elp im?” he asked, pointing to the roof. No one’s hands went up. “Well I have to ‘andle the cops so it can’t be me,” he said, walking towards the three police cars screeching into the parking lot. This was going to be a bit difficult. Thank god he was powerful.

Ragnar ran for the building, trying to think of how to get up there and remembered that he knew two wizards. “Hey, you two done with those spiders yet?” he asked, calling over the din of battle. He could see Dorian talking to the cops, subtly controlling their minds and keeping them away. He always marveled at how easy he made it look, when everyone else said it was hard.

“Hold on man.” Myst said, looking at the building and seeing what he could do. He saw a fire escape on the far side and flicked his wrist, sending the ladder down. “Use that.”

“Thanks!” He could’ve reached that had he seen it, damn those smug bastards. He climbed up and heard the fight above and winced a couple of times at hearing his friend cry out. Not much ever made Shadow cry out.

Shadow dodged again and rolled towards the woman, trying to get closer to swing again. He had hit her only once, and after taking that hit the woman made damn sure he would never get another. She hit him with a large ball of black lightning and he cried out more from shock then pain, and he dropped to a knee. Have to throw her off guard. He thought to himself as he rolled to avoid another, smaller, blast. He stood and  healed himself as much as he could, going on the defensive and dodging most of her attacks. Her magic seemed relentless and he couldn’t find an opening. Thankfully he was older than most vampires so he could take more punishment, but he couldn’t do this all night. He decided to use the one thing he had been working on for years, a power he had cultivated through his other powers. He concentrated then stood and walked towards her, lowering his weapons slightly. This was going to hurt.

Victoria was impressed with the vampire. She hadn’t seen anyone this hardy in a long while, not that she was worried, far from it. She just had a kind of respect for anyone that could stand against her spells for this long. She was about to start on a wall that would emulate sunlight, just to finish it when the man stood, seemingly fine. His wounds were closed and the burns were gone. If he had healed all that damage that quick then he was playing with her. He was ancient. “It won’t help you fang, you all drop eventually.” She spat at him, conjuring a trio of wooden spears instead. It wasn’t as quick as a wall of light, but it would hurt him just as bad. Being made of wood also had a chance to drop him instantly if she hit his heart, and she was a good shot. She needed to see him fall, needed to show him that she was better. The wooden spears flew at him and he threw up his twin blades, blocking one of them, but the rest hit him with no apparent effect. “What?!” She backed up, and hit a wall. Funny, I was sure I was in the middle of the roof, she thought, starting to turn sideways to get out of the way of the incoming vampire. Then strong hands wrapped around her throat and squeezed, cutting off her air, thankfully she really didn’t need to breathe as a lich. Victoria croaked out a defensive barrier to overlap the one she already had, and sent electricity coursing through her attacker. The grip didn’t lessen in the slightest. She might not need to breathe, but she needed a head.

Ragnar had crept up behind the focused age and was about to strike when she backed up into him. The opportunity was too perfect, dropping his sword, useless this close, he wrapped his hands around her throat to cut off her air and just used his brute strength to squeeze the life out of her. No one was more amazed than he was when she jolted him with electricity, he took the shock and just bit down, clamping his hands tighter and squeezing with everything he had. “You. Will. Die!” He said, through clenched teeth.

Shadow was hurting. Two wooden spears had pierced him, thankfully not through the heart, but they still did massive damage. His power was working though, as she thought nothing had happened. It was part of the way he disappeared from sight, except he made his wounds invisible from sight. People attacking him would think he was fine, even though he was actually getting hurt. It served to demoralize his opponents, like now, but wasn’t full proof. Then he saw Ragnar behind her and smiled, rushing the mage and stabbing her through the heart with both blades, almost tearing her in half. She screamed in pain, writhing in the mummy’s grasp and kicking out at Shadow, so he spun, tearing the blades free and cutting deep into her body, as Ragnar pulled straight up, tearing her body in half and throwing her off of the roof. “Think we got her?” Shadow asked, knowing that she must be dead.

“If not they can pick up our slack down there, that shock really hurt,” Ragnar said, then he really noticed how Shadow was limping. “You’re trying that thing you were working on aren’t you?” The large Norseman asked, wondering how bad the vampire really was.

“Yeah, it worked but..” He dropped the power and sat down heavily, trying to heal as much as he could. He really needed to feed soon or he was going to be in trouble. He would’ve taken the mage, but he didn’t trust those magic wielders. Too many curses could pop up in their systems sometimes. “Let’s go get a drink, they can finish up without us.” They took the fire escape, and walked to the El-Camino, driving away with the others wondering what just happened.

Epilogue:  Back to normal?

Marcus Lawkland paced around his office and heard his email ping. He went to his computer and saw that it was an email from Dorian. It read that the treaty was safe and the wolves were calmed down. It went on to thank him for his part and offer the usual accolades. Marcus was glad that it all worked out, as he left right after the fighting was done. He had to make sure that the High Council knew that it was a rogue mage attacking the city. What was worse was when he examined the body, he found traces of something that wasn’t supposed to exist. She had been a Lich, a special wizard that was rumored to make pacts with powerful creatures from the underworld to remain powerful even after death. Even worse than that,  he found a sigil on her thigh that marked her as property; whose property he hadn’t discovered as yet.  He had researched all night here at the office and had found obscure notes on something called the Gramarye; a secret cabal that worshiped something very powerful called Aamon. He was about to look that up when his intercom buzzed.

“Mister Lawkland? Call on line 1.” The intercom clicked loudly in the quiet of his office. When had the music shut off? He thought as he walked to the desk, picking up his lucky dice, savoring in the voice of his gorgeous secretary pervade the room. “Who is it Meredith?” He asked, half in thought over this lost cabal of evil mages. He was going to have to call on some favors, maybe even get in touch with Hikaru, a fae warrior here in Seattle.

“It’s a Mr. Aamon. Says you took something from him?”

Aamon? Oh great fuck it couldn’t be? He thought, as he pressed the button and lifted the receiver. “This is Lawkland.”

“Mr. Lawkland my name is Aamon and I’m greatly disappointed that you broke what belonged to me. I’ve spent considerable centuries cultivating that woman and I’m a little upset with you and your friends at the moment.” The Demon Marquis said, in that sultry tone he liked to use with most mortals. He was eons old, older than most living creatures in general, and when he was upset, well, it was never good.

“Well I don’t know what to say milord.” Marcus mocked, wondering how many people would want to stand against a demon prince. He would have to look him up on the internet after and see how bad this was going to be. “Did you want her back?”

“You didn’t burn the body?” Aamon asked incredulously. How incompetent were these beings.

“Oh well of course we burned her, but we saved the ashes in a pink vase. Expensive little thing really, but only the best for those that try to kill me.” His voice was starting to shake, but he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. How powerful was this thing, to make his nerves shake like this without cause.

“Oh, well then very good, I’ll take that then. Thank you very much.” Aamon said, genuinely pleased, as he paused to let his aura sink in. Even over the phone he could instill fear.

Marcus glanced over to where the pink vase was and noticed that it was gone. Taken right from inside his most powerful wards and without him even noticing. He had a real bad feeling about this

“Oh you weren’t kidding, this vase is expensive. I commend you on your taste sir.” He waited again, giving the mage a bit to breathe through the shock. “Oh and Mr. Lawkland? Just know that not many ever walk away from upsetting me. Consider yourself lucky.” With that he disconnected the call.

Marcus Lawkland, or Myst as the other wizards knew of him, snapped out of his stupor and staggered back from his desk. He stood there, trying to breathe and calm down, rolling his lucky dice in his hand. “As a matter of fact I do.” He said to absolutely no one as he rolled the dice on the desk and watched them come up all 6’s once more. Now he had to tell the others about the ashes……and their new adversary, whoever, or whatever he is.

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