Advent

By sali5506

Advent by Sali5506
OVERATURE

Twenty years ago



The sky was lit ablaze as it snowed ashes and a little girl of about five clasped some in her hand expecting to feel something frozen. Humming to herself, she smudged her white dress trying to clean her hand off. The screaming was still loud and she knew she should have continued running. Her mother had told her to run to the woods that had no trail to get away from the bad creatures. The little girl scurried through the bushes holding on to the necklaces her parents had given her. The sun and moon necklaces that locked together to form an eclipse around her neck. They told her she would be safe with them, that they would guide her. When they hurried her off, they set fire to their little village and prepared to face the creatures of the night.

The little girl tripped and fell, scratching her arm with the rocks she fell on. She gasped because she was bleeding and knew that there was no use in running anymore.

“Are you lost?” Kristophe D’Alba asked deprecatingly towering over the bewildered child, whose brown eyes shone with amazement at seeing this man appear right in front of her. Kristophe scratched his black goatee considering what to do with the child, the scent of magick in her blood made him sick. All in all he knew he had to kill her, she was a witch after all and the others had just about wiped out everyone in the village. His job had been to search for something his master had asked for, he couldn’t be bothered with the labor of an ordinary fiend. His job was much more important and he had already found several artifacts. His thoughts were interrupted by a strange noise coming from the little girl, Kristophe tried hard to remember when he last heard it. Seeing the tears flowing down her eyes, he remembered that the last time he saw a child cry was centuries ago. When he was young and had to leave for boarding school, his little brother Vincent fell apart in front of him. It would be the last time he would have sympathy for his little brother.

Kristophe wondered if the kid being a witch was really worth him taking time out to kill it. It didn’t do anything to him, hadn’t attacked or anything. He was used to killing witches that attacked him first. He didn’t do the dirty work. The crying got louder and he was able to figure some of the things she was crying about.

“Wha-why did you kill my family?” She asked simply in between sobs.

This wasn’t a question Kristophe was unfamiliar with, no doubt there were countless children that had lost loved ones because of his need. It wasn’t until now that he had heard it clearly and yet the circumstance was different. He didn’t help destroy this child’s family out of necessity. Before his locked up conscience would wake from its slumber, Kristophe felt an impulse to take the child away from the burning city. To just do what he did to any accidental witnesses he didn’t feel like killing. And he just happened to feel like letting this child live.

“We’ve got to get you out of here.” He said bending down to be at eye-level with the little girl. He had lied. “I’m sorry this is happening to you. I promise I’ll make it go away. But first we have to get out here. I swear you’ll be safe.” He extended his hand to her and looked over to the flames behind them. He heard his brother call his name, the brother that wasn’t supposed to be there and had undoubtedly decided to make an appearance to steal some glory. “Give me your hand, we have to go now. If that other vampire sees you, we’ll have to kill you. He doesn’t have any sympathy.”

The little girl looked behind her to see the man in black at a distance and whimpered. The other vampire made her feel scared and her necklace suddenly felt really hot. “Ok.” She put her little brown hand in his pale hand and they disappeared.

*****

Vincent D’ Alba looked over at the bodies of the dead witches and continued to look for Kristophe. The smoke in his eyes made them water and he looked up at the sky painted in hues of grey, orange, and black with a frowning crescent moon. Standing above the dust and ash, he felt a strange need and turned to look at the woods beyond where he saw Kristophe fade. “Damn you for always getting in my way!” Vincent furiously stomped on the ground, he knew Kristophe took what he wanted to find. He wanted to finally find the artifacts, the glory. He believed his brother took what he needed. He hated Kristophe for getting the opportunity to look good in the eyes of their people. Vincent detested that he was always regarded as lesser than Kristophe. Just the little brother and Wolfgang’s other favorite.

Wolfgang Kensington was the leader of the Thorn Clan of vampires, the most powerful clan in existence for possessing the largest collection of the artifacts of the Father of the vampires. Their records had the lore of the ancient kingdom of Lindonkova and of the First of the vampires, Emperor Vitrivius, who scattered many of his belongings around the world to fulfill the prophecy he set up to come back after his tyrannical reign was stopped. He was the reason witches and vampires were always at war. Only he had the power to bring back the kingdom that encased in it the source of power that long ago turned humans into witches, vampires, and shape shifters. Most importantly to vampires, it held the power to rule over society and breed humans as food. The witches fought to prevent this resurrection from occurring and also searched for Vitrivius’ artifacts in order to hide them. Lord Wolfgang became one of the first fanatical believers of the prophecy and dedicated centuries to finding as many artifacts as his clan could to be granted the privilege to rule with King Vitrivius upon his return. He waged war with the witches often to get what he wanted, knowing full well the fates favored him because of the power stored in the artifacts he had in his possession.

Vincent always found Wolfgang’s reliance on the artifacts strange and unnerving. He liked to believe he controlled his luck, not ancient trinkets. But sometimes even he admitted that they did seem to radiate some sort of authority because no other clan dared to go against the Thorn Clan.

“Fuck!” Vincent cursed as he was stabbed in the shoulder blade with a tainted knife that had remaining traces of Solixer, the witch concoction that prevented vampires from being able to fade, among diminishing other abilities. He turned to face his attacker.

A staggering, badly burnt male witch glared at him with severe blue eyes. “A D’Alba!” He laughed. “I traveled far to protect my family. I’ll die killing you for them.” He prepared to summon fire, his element and the only thing that could kill a vampire rather quickly if they were engulfed by it.

Vincent thought he was done for as the Solixer began to work through his bloodstream. He had to act quickly and looked over to the wall of fire. He could jump, it would be unexpected. There was a chance he wouldn’t be strong enough and fall into the flames but it was worth a shot. As the fire shot out of the witch’s hands, Vincent ran a little ways toward it and grabbed the witch as he jumped over the fire licking the forest. He dropped his attacker into the flames as he landed swiftly and met a fellow vampire on the other side.

“Cesar, little help here.” Vincent shouted motioning to the burning witch that began to make the flames bend toward Vincent and the Hispanic vampire they brought with them to help them get around Mexico in order to find where the Soluna coven had hidden.

“Oh shit!” Cesar Romero sighed exasperatedly, dropping the body he had been carrying and pulled two guns out. He tossed one to Vincent, his Desert Eagle. Both vampires began shooting at the witch in the fire as they ran back. Vryon shot his 45 usp. “Vince, why the hell didn’t you have your gun?”

“Because obviously you stole it.” Vincent muttered putting his Desert Eagle, mark three, in his jacket.

“Well when it comes to witches you know well they have an upper hand with their magic. You always get fucked up when you go one on one with a witch, Vince. That’s why we put a bullet in them to stop their hocus pocus bullshit.”

“You know, I still don’t know why Wolfgang gave you control of California.” Vincent said as he began fix his black hair that had begun to go back to curly from his sweat.

“I know their way of life there and made my investments. The game there, it’s always changing. Sorry I’m not a Renaissance-man, Vinny Italiano.”

Vincent grabbed Cesar by the throat and squeezed. “Don’t you ever call me Vinny.”

Cesar evanesced out of his grip and chuckled. “Don’t mess with the only person that can take you out of here. Don’t think I won’t just leave your ass in the middle of this roast fest. Your grip is weak. I know the wizard freak stabbed you, fool, the knife is still in your back.”

*****
It was nearing noon when Kristophe and the little girl walked to the corner of the local orphanage in the rainy city by the sea. By her request, he took her to her hometown. It was where she had lived before her family had to leave the states to run from the vampires. It was the least he could do, she wanted to feel at home although she wouldn’t remember a thing. “Is it going to hurt mister?” She asked innocently.

Kristophe bent down to meet her eye-level. “No, but I’m not sure of the repercussions erasing your memory will have on you in the long run.”

“What?” the little girl asked confused.

Kristophe chuckled, embarrassed that he was speaking to the child as if she were an adult. “I don’t know what’s going to happen when I make you forget what you are. You’ll have no idea about your powers and I’m not sure how that’s going to affect you when you get bigger.”

“Why can’t I keep my powers? I haven’t gotten all of them yet. Mommy said some things I have to learn and some things I’ll just be able to do when I need to.” The little girl said not knowing how to feel. “I don’t think they can go away. Why do you want them to?”

“People are going to come after you if they know what you are. You need to be safe at least until you’re old enough to defend yourself.” Kristophe explained.

“But who’s going to tell me?”

Kristophe thought for a second. “I will. I’m going to leave some instructions for the people who are going to take care of you. When the time comes they’ll know what to do. So are you ready?”

“Yeah I think so, but I want you to give you something.” She said removing the silver crescent moon piece and its chain. She put it in Kristophe’s hand. “It isn’t for you, it will find the person it belongs to.”

Kristophe put the necklace in his pocket feeling the cold silver and began to wonder if he should store the little girl’s necklace in a safe deposit box at a bank in town along with the letters he expected to write to her. He assumed it was pure gold and she was too young to understand the worth humans would give it. “Hey, let me take the other necklace from you. I don’t want someone stealing it from you, so I’m going to put it away somewhere nearby. When you get older you can go get it. I promise you’ll get it back.”

The little girl clasped her necklace feeling its warmth and closed her eyes as she took it off. “Pinky promise?” She said extending her pinky.

“Pinky promise?” Kristophe asked unsure of what was going on. “uhh…what is that?”

“Pinky promise means that if you break the promise, I break your pinky. So stick your pinky out like this.” She showed him how she did it and he did the same as she wrapped her small pinky around his. “We locked pinkies so you really can’t break the promise, okay?”

He laughed at her innocence. It was amusing to him that she really thought she could break his pinky. “Sure, whatever you say kid.” He said feeling uncomfortably childlike as she handed her necklace to him. “Okay, it’s time. I’ve got to get going and take care of things. I have to go inside with you, go to the bank and put your things away, then come back here and put information in your file that only you will be able to use when you get older. So this will be the last time you’ll see me. You won’t recognize me the next time I drop by.”

The little girl hugged him. “Thank you for saving me.” She said and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “I’m ready.”

Kristophe felt as if he was missing something, he was amazed by the hope and trust in the little one. He remembered when he enjoyed spending time with his brother as a child. “Keep your eyes open.” He said as he put his hand behind her head and found the pressure point on her skull that he needed to press down on. He looked into her eyes and absorbed two years worth of memories. He wanted to take it all so she could have complete amnesia of who she was without forgetting how to walk and talk. She needed to forget who she was so she could be safe where he was going to take her. He had never given anyone full amnesia before. At the most he only absorbed the memory of his existence from someone. He hoped it worked as he put his hand on her neck and pushed down on the spot that would put her to sleep. When she fell into his arms, he carried her into the orphanage while thinking of what story he would tell the attendants.

*****
Fifteen year old Elyze Hathaway felt as if her world was falling apart. She locked herself in her room during the memorial for the Soluna Coven, the coven her father had come from. It had been destroyed by the Thorn Clan of vampires and her whole family on her father’s side was dead including her dad. He had gone to help them hide when the sweeps had begun. The vampires somehow found a way to locate the witches in the Soluna Coven that lived on the West Coast and began to raid their homes for artifacts. They killed everyone that stood in their way. It had gotten so bad that all who were left relocated to Mexico, where their ancestors settled after the Great War of Lindonkova.

Elyze cried into her pillow bitterly, she hated the idea of Lindonkova. It was the reason she kept losing her family. Being a witch seemed to be centered on making sure the prophecy would never happen and fighting vampires like they had for hundreds of years. The vampires were obsessed with bringing back the first of their kind and restoring the ancient kingdom of Lindonkova.

Mark Wharton, Elyze’s boyfriend, entered her room. “Locking your door won’t keep me out, that chunk of metal didn’t stand a change against me!” He said rubbing his hands together and Elyze saw the damage he had made. Her knob and locks were melted, she put her head back down on her pillow and Mark laughed. “Should be practicing how to seal yourself in.” He said sitting on her bed and pulling her into his arms.

Elyze looked up from the pillow and scoffed at him. “Show off!” She rolled her eyes.

Mark shrugged. “Maybe you should practice more. Everyone is expecting you to be one of the most powerful witches in the coven because you’re the daughter of the high priestess! In a year you’ll be as good as me.”

Elyze pursed her lips and gave Mark a caustic look. “As good? Really?” She laughed. “Just because you’re older you and got to start training earlier than I did doesn’t mean you’ll be better than me!” Elyze snapped back, her blue eyes coming alive.

“Whatever Elle. Let’s see if you’ll prove me wrong.” Mark said.

“I will.” Elyze said raising an eyebrow and tossing her long black hair over her shoulder.

“Good, we’re going to need you. The vampires are moving quickly and we need to be ready for any type of attack. We might have to go to war, too many of our kind are dying. ” He murmured seriously.

Elyze’s eyes flared as bright as the blue in a flame. “War?” She inhaled sharply. “War? I am so tired of Lindonkova! All this fighting for some mythical fabled place! It probably doesn’t exist! We’re fighting over some legend, over word of mouth. Who was around to know it even existed?”

“Don’t say things like that!” Mark said looking over to the door. “Right now isn’t the time to speak your mind against the grand council. They’re all here. What would the sovereign Lady Lihelia think?” he said referring to the first of their kind.

“How do we know she exists too?” Elyze asked.

Mark flinched. “Well we’re here aren’t we? Elle, you haven’t been taught the history of what happened during the last Great War of Lindonkova.”

Elyze sighed. “Lihelia and Vitrivius were destroyed by each other’s guardians since they couldn’t kill each other. They left their kinds to fight their battles until they could return. She won’t return unless he does and he’s trying to.”

Mark shook his head. “You really need to watch what you’re saying. I can’t believe you’re talking about the Sovereign Lady Lihelia that way. She gave us a duty and we are to adhere to it.”

“For how much longer? Why do we have to be born into this, live through it and die for it. It’s stupid! Why did this all begin?”

Mark began to recite the story he was told. “Vitrivius and his kind wanted to live in a world where vampires ruled society and humans were bred as food. His Empress was forced to leave him because as the First of the witches, she had a duty to those who chose to remain pure. She became Sovereign Lady Lihelia, leader of the witches. They did not accede to his plan and fought against it feeling that Vitrivius was going too far. They had the sense to realize the well of power that Lihelia discovered had become a bonding dependence. They had taken too much of it and used it for all they could even to bring back the dead. It had been Lihelia, who in desperation took of it when her husband had been pronounced dead after his pride in his powers led him to face an opposing army alone and lose. Reviving Vitrivius came with many consequences and one was the need for blood in order to keep his heart pumping. His body had even evolved to fit his needs and instinct showed him what he could do. Believing himself invincible, for at those times vampires could go out in the daylight, he was given the idea to turn the leaders of his army into vampires.”

“Did they make you memorize that?” Elyze asked wide eyed. “What then? They went around biting people day and night?”

“That’s when Lady Lihelia and her guardian began to curse the vampires. They forced them into the night and gave them weaknesses. They could no longer drain witches for some reason. They cut off a major blood supply. When vampires tried feeding off witches they got poisoned. Lady Lihelia had to delve into dark magick and it was too much. It was the end of the beginning because until then it is said that we lived under the Emperor and Empress. Her actions were seen as betrayal of the worst kind, she had only picked to protect her people. Both sides called to be divided and each leader had to defend their own, thus tearing Vitrivius and Lihelia apart. They knew they had to face each other in the end. Each was the strongest of their kind and each side wanted more power than the other. For years it was a never ending battle with filled violence, death, betrayal, and corruption on all sides.”

“It’s still a never ending battle!” Elyze cried. “To top it off many are running off to hide from the vampires after the greatest of our kind have been killed. Your parents want you as far from me as possible. I know you came to tell me you’re moving.”

“I came to tell you that I’ll come back to you.” Mark countered. “As soon as I can. I love you.”

“Don’t say that! I’ll see proof of it if it’s true! I’m losing everyone that matters to me and you’re just….” Elyze refused to look at him and crossed her arms.

“I don’t want to give you hope but your brother wrote to us from the Thorn Estate and gave us really good news.” Mark admitted.

Elyze jumped into his arms and kissed him. “What is it? What is it?” She smiled excitedly at hearing there was news from her brother and cousin, who had infiltrated Thorn Manor as human servants.

“Wolfgang is going to sacrifice himself. Take it however you want.” Mark said.

“Yes! That fanatical monster is so pathetic! I hope he kicks himself in the land of the dead for being stupid. Ha! I bet he won’t come back and this is all a hoax.” Elyze laughed.

“What ever you say. But he is going to name a successor and they’ll continue his plans.” He added.

“Well knowing my brother, I know he has a plan.” Clasping Mark’s hands in hers she got her face close to his. “It’s perfect. When it happens the whole clan will be weak! I bet the D’ Alba brothers are going to try to kill each other to replace Wolfgang. Brad is so smart. He’ll be the greatest high priest! You don’t even have to tell me their plan. I know it, Brad and George are going to kill the D’ Alba’s and make it look like they died killing each other.”

*****

Standing in the terrace atop Thorn Manor, Kristophe shook his head conflicted about how to feel toward his Master’s decision. It’s not that he didn’t believe in the prophecy, he just didn’t deny the possibility that it might just be some myth. But then again it might not, in his centuries he had seen many things relating to the objects that shocked him or seemed too fateful. He owed a lot to Wolfgang and so he followed his word. Out of the plans Wolfgang had, Kristophe did not support his sacrificing himself. There was a chance he was doing it for nothing and the empire he built would go on without him. He tried to persuade his master not to do it or at least wait until some of their other endeavors were taken care of. Kristophe had ideas to cater to the vampire community and unify them. Of course to Wolfgang he sold it as uniting everyone for the second coming. Kristophe wanted to connect with the other vampires, most lived on their own and abided by the rules if they believed in them. The main powerful clans were so out of touch with the vampires that lived among the humans that whenever something went wrong and someone had to be punished for breaking a law, it caused hatred among the classes.

The majority of vampires lived harsh lives. They had to try to fit in as to not be discovered for who they were. Many had to work, had to move around a lot, be careful when they picked their victims and protect themselves from being destroyed. Meanwhile the clans lived carelessly and with enough money to distribute to the vampires around where they resided. But they only kept to themselves and looked down upon the others. Most acted like gods and watched those they should be looking after just to torture them or find excuses to kill them. They called it their way of population control.

Kristophe had many ideas but since Wolfgang announced his sacrifice, he decided that he would forget about his plans. He knew they would never come to fruition under his brother’s rule. There was no doubt in Kristophe’s mind that Wolfgang would pick Vincent as the new leader of the Thorn Estate. His brother was the favored one, the spoiled one, the one that got everything he wanted and did as he pleased.

“Thinking about who he’s going to pick?” Daphne Townsend asked shyly, her dark blonde bangs covering her eyes. She approached Kristophe uneasily as she always had for the last couple hundred years.

“No, just planning what I’m going to do.” Kristophe said nonchalantly, not even meeting her eye. He generally avoided the quiet one in their clan, she stared at him too much, that and she was always with Calice. The vampire-witch tended to dig her claws into Kristophe at any opportunity for various reasons at a time, while her waspish lackey sunk into the shadows. Daphne was her waspish lackey.

“As our leader?” Daphne flattered him.

Kristophe turned to look at her for an instant with a sardonic smile and looked over her. “You know he’s going to pick Vincent. My dear brother is very strong willed and that reminds Wolfgang of his beginnings as he never forgets to remind us.”

“But he trusts you. He only says that to Vince when he defies his orders, like a slap on the wrist. You on the other hand, are more like his second in command, he always seeks you opinion on matters. You’re more rational than Vincent and there’s just no way he can rule over all of us. He’s too temperamental and wants things his way. No one would stand for that. I know I won’t, the day he rules will be the day I leave and follow my brother’s lead. Go underground and guerilla like.” Daphne exaggerated, shaking her head.

Kristophe snorted. “Lucas just drifts to try to find a way to bring Wolfgang down, no rebellion stands a chance. They just make futile statements. They have no one with respectable enough reputation to lead them. Although, people really do hate my brother so maybe….” Kristophe began to think that perhaps people would protest Vincent getting chosen.

“If he rules Kristophe, it will be like the end of the world. No one knows what to expect from him and there will be no one to stop him. He could do something really stupid and condemn us all. I don’t know! Sure hope Wolfgang really thinks it through and doesn’t pick his little prince.” Daphne said half joking.

Kristophe laughed. “He was tutored by Machiavelli. Personally I couldn’t stand the guy. But,” he sighed, thinking about his brother. “Vincent will do fine, maybe the load will make him responsible. He’ll get things done and I’m sure Calice will help him out substantially. She’ll make sure he doesn’t forget Wolfgang’s requests.”

“And what exactly will you be doing?” Daphne asked.

“I will finally take a vacation. Very extended one, a century or two, get a cabin in the countryside of Europe and work on my music. You know, write a couple symphonies. I’ve done so much as a lord of this estate and I’m tired. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not graciously admitting defeat. My competition with Vincent has always been just sport for me and the tasks I’ve done for Wolfgang, I’ve done because I felt I had to as a lord of his estate. He’s like a father to me and sure I want to impress him but I just don’t want to be the most powerful vampire on earth! I just want to have enough power to do as I wish for once and only worry about myself. I think I finally deserve some “me” time. ”

Daphne cut him off. “But Vincent only thinks of himself, so what’s the difference?”

“If I were put in that situation, nothing would get done. I’ve only had to answer to one person and that’s Wolfgang. Not our whole world. If I were our leader I’d be worried because I would have to balance my life with the lives of others. And that’s impossible because you know I get caught up in my work. It’s too much of something I don’t want. I couldn’t block everyone out of my head and focus on my goals the way Vincent can. He is unwavering and cunning. His flaws can be reasonable traits a leader needs.”

A different voice cut in, “Let me just get this straight, you’re saying Vincent would make a better leader than you?” Calice purred as she sauntered over to Kristophe, her pressed hair swaying in the light wind.

“He actually wants to be a leader, Cal. This isn’t about him being better than me. It’s like you’re asking me if Vincent’s a better painter than me when you know I hate to paint.” Kristophe replied noticing that Daphne disappeared. “I’ve got to get my things ready. Vincent won’t hesitate to kick me out.”

Calice smiled and got real close to him. “So how about we go into you room and I’ll help you pack.” She kissed him lightly.

“That eager to have me to yourself?” Kristophe asked. “Worried Vincent will forbid you to see me ever again? Or are you going to have him take you as his wife so you can be our leader too?”

Calice smirked. “Insecure about me?”

“Cal, I know I could have you if I wanted. I’m just trying to decipher your statements to see if you know more about Wolfgang’s plans. I know you’ve been sharing his bed to try to get him to stay. Figured as much when you stopped outwardly trying to provoke Vincent and me into fights for having fuck rights over you.” Kristophe said acidly.

“Oh I know you two love me!” Calice said clenching her electricity wrapped fists. “You’re all just too ashamed to admit it because you hate that I can’t pick over any of you. And here I am for all and you hate it! I’m just dying inside because my lord, my love is leaving.” She burst into tears.

Kristophe was used to her and walked away. He knew she was a delusional whore and tended to take off as soon as he got what he needed from her services. Up in the terrace she had a chance but gave him too much time to mull over the offer.
Walking through the halls, Kristophe took special notice of his surroundings, the green marble floors of the second story, the Victorian tapestry and all the objects lined up against the walls. He didn’t evanesce so he could engrain the ambiance of his home into his memory.
*****
Vincent was on his second bottle of champagne. The first glass of it was poured by Cesar, another vampire congratulating him for his imminent promotion. All the guests that had arrived flocked to Vincent so they could begin to establish camaraderie with him. No one wanted to get on his bad side. “So I think that we should establish blood letting brothels in all major cities. Lots of humans want in and I think we should take what we can from them. I mean we’ve got to pretend to be human too of course, seem like extreme fanatics…”

Everyone listened avidly, some in support of him and others just to get on his good side. No one was sure that Vincent was just assuming he was going to get chosen because Kristophe was already praising him. Many were still consumed by the fact that their great leader Wolfgang was going to leave. His daughter, Sylvia, a blonde vampiress with big blue eyes would not stop the waterworks. Although she was turned at age twenty she did not stop acting like a child. She was Wolfgang’s little princess and acted like one. Her pink lips quivered as she spoke to Kristophe. “B-but Krissy Cuddles!! I don’t want you to leave me! I don’t want to lose you too! My daddy is overreacting and I don’t care how many human dolls he gives me it won’t ever make up for breaking apart my family! I mean if daddy picks you, Vinny will leave. But if he picks Vinny, he’ll kick you out. No matter what, this place won’t ever be the same! Why is he doing this to me? He said he’d do anything for me! But no he lied! When he picks you, you’ll always be busy and Vinny will be gone. What if he hates me?”

Kristophe froze when she said “When he picks you” and grabbed her shoulders. “What-did-you-say?”

Sylvia hugged him close and continued to make a fuss. “When he picks Vinny, he’ll be busy too and you’ll be banished or something.” She continued to whine in her high pitched voice and cry in his arms.

Kristophe didn’t want Sylvia acting this way, she meant a lot to him because she was like the sister he never had. “I’ll talk to him, right now okay?”

“Okey dokey." She sniffled, her golden curls bouncing.

Kristophe made his way through the crowd gathered around his brother. “I need to speak to my dear little brother while I still have the authority to be able to address him as I would like.”

Vincent beamed and lifted his glass. “Here’s to Kristophe D’ Alba, resigned member of the Thorn estate, wanderer of the world. To your symphonies.”

Kristophe got a glass and lifted it up. “And to you brother, it’s your time to show us how great of a leader you can be. Don’t fuck up.” The last words he spoke were stern. They toasted with the crowd and Kristophe motioned for Vincent to follow. It’s important, he communicated mentally.

‘But’- Vincent looked back to the crowd indecisively.

‘I would like to say my goodbyes, while you’ll still have me around.’ Kristophe began to lead him to his small office that had all his belongings packed up.

Once inside, Vincent looked around and wondered if Kristophe knew for certain that Wolfgang was going to pick him. He was overwhelmed and as much as he wanted to lead he didn’t wish for it so soon. Secretly, Vincent was insecure because he liked being in control. And for him to be thrust into a situation made him question himself. Deep inside he wondered if he was ready but knew even if he wasn’t he would go for it anyway because he could. His sheer will got him through things.

“What are you thinking?” Kristophe asked noticing Vincent’s open facial expressions. As his brother he could recognize that reluctant look in Vincent’s face. “I can see the bewilderment in your eyes. You better know what you’re doing Vinny.”

“Don’t call me that!” Vincent snapped edgily and forced his expression to show his usual obstinate demeanor.

Kristophe put his hand on his brother’s shoulder. “Just want to say it while I can. Thinking about calling you lord or master-“ Kristophe coughed as he said the words. “makes the bile rise from my throat. I’ll settle for calling you brother, it’s something you can’t change, Vinny.”

“You’ll address me as I please, Kristophe, when the time comes. Now, what do you want?” Vincent asked moving to the mirror hung on the wall and fixing the collar on his new white leather jacket that had a black stripe on it. He fixed his slicked black-brown hair and looked at his brother’s reflection. Vincent was envious of Kristophe’s looks, he looked like a man. He was of course; Kristophe was changed when he was twenty-four and had a natural swarthy tan from their father’s Italian merchant side. As a vampire the blood they consumed gave them a slight glow that maintained their natural color until the blood began to run out and then they became paler. Kristophe’s nose was very prominent and he always kept his facial hair neatly trimmed in a goatee to accentuate his long face. His eyes were dark brown and almost looked black like his slightly thick eyebrows. He would always look like someone who had just become a man, he was well built.

Vincent however, was alabaster pale like their Irish mother, had high cheekbones and big brown eyes beneath thinner eyebrows than Kristophe’s. He could not pull off any stern expression if not for his perfectly chiseled jaw that when clenched made his cheekbones stick out giving him one of the most handsome angry faces. But even then his eyes were so bare and only women would easily give in to his whims while males had to be beaten in order to submit to him. Vincent was a ruthless fighter and very masochistic when it came to proving himself. Although he was a little bit thinner than Kristophe, he was still slightly built but he looked really young. He looked twenty-one, very boyish, and deathly. But that was not because of his current condition. When he was alive, he was very sick.

The doctors had said that it would be a miracle if he lived past fifteen and finally at age twenty-one he had been dying. Kristophe had changed him to save him from the disease he had been born with, the disease that made him have a weak immune system and unable to go out too much. His parents forbade him from being outside and he rarely stepped foot outside their home in Italy. Vincent hated that Kristophe was able to live a life while he never really had. His whole existence never changed except that being turned made him stronger. Vincent was used to the dark; it was all he had ever known.

“Thinking about the past aren’t you?” Kristophe asked having noticed his brother’s gaze into the mirror and knew he was looking elsewhere than where he was presently. He chuckled knowingly. “You always were a child of the darkness. With the condition you were born with and all. It seems almost fated that you would become what you are going to be.”

Vincent clenched his jaw at Kristophe jeering him and glared. It was then that he saw something shine behind his brother and noticed that it was hanging off the arm of one of the statues he had made for Kristophe. It was the crescent moon necklace the little girl gave him. Vincent, unaware of this, turned and walked toward it as if it was calling him to it. Kristophe took a step in front of him. “Only someone who was raised with the night knows it well enough to be the ruler of it.”

This broke Vincent’s trance and he turned to Kristophe. “You’re just fucking with me aren’t you? Waiting for me to crash and burn so you can turn around and take everything for yourself?”

Before Kristophe could answer he noticed a dagger heading toward him from the reflection in the mirror. He side-stepped and caught the hilt over his shoulder. “Solixer?”

“What?” Vincent asked as he felt something graze his arm and tear at his new jacket. “Not again! Fuck!”

The witches George and Brad created a barrier to the door. Brad summoned the elements around him and tiny sparks of light began to fly at Vincent. Reacting swiftly, Vincent grabbed the mirror and deflected the attack. The sparks flew back at the witch and tore parts of his face. Meanwhile Kristophe faded into shadow form as he could because he had really nothing to drink and was not hit by Solixer. George looked around him. Although vampires could hold great tolerance for alcohol it still impaired some of their abilities. If they managed to drink enough, they couldn’t evanesce safely because their awareness and control of their bodies would be diluted. They would risk appearing at the wrong place. Vincent was not drunk but he did have enough alcohol in his system to impair him. He did however maintain his quick wit and craftiness. The mirror had broken and Vincent grabbed a big shard and continued to deflect the light sparks as walked toward his assailant leaving a trail of his own blood in his wake. “I bought this jacket especially for tonight’s announcement and you find it fit to fuck it up?”

“Amazing! The vampire is more worried about his jacket than the life he is about to lose.” Brad shouted incredulously as he dodged his own attacks with his knife.

George looked around him carefully, while Kristophe remained in shadow form. He had missed his shot and Kristophe seemed to be toying with him. He felt a surge of particles fly past him and he fell to the ground. Kristophe’s laughter echoed in the room. “Why don’t you just kill me already?” George asked angrily.

Kristophe appeared above George and in an instant his own dagger pinned him to the floor from the center of his palm. “Where’s the fun in that?” Kristophe asked. Howling in pain, George felt himself begin to lose control of his powers. He knew he was caught in the spider web. He hoped there was still a chance Brad would complete his task without using powers that would let everyone know it was a witch attack. Kristophe resumed taunting him. “What possessed you to do this?” He asked beginning to step on George’s thumb. “Who sent you?”

“Bite me!” George laughed knowing full well that Vampires would get poisoned with witch blood.

“Kristophe a little help here!” Vincent shouted trying to come up with something to do.

Kristophe looked over and saw how the other two were doing. Vincent and Brad kept going back and forth and back and forth. Kristophe shrugged. “Nah, it looks like a fair fight and besides why would the new leader of the vampires need my help? Carry on. The witches still think they’re going to escape this one. They want to frame us.”

“Nice.” Vincent replied unenthused and resumed fighting.

Kristophe turned back to the witch who spit at him almost immediately. “Now why would you do such a disrespectful thing as that?” Before the witch could spit again Kristophe broke his nose. “One bone down, a couple more to go before you die. So tell me…who sent you?” He asked picking up George’s legs.

“Didn’t think you swung that way! Damn you perverted leech.” George cried.

Kristophe lifted his legs higher. “You son of bitch!” he kicked the bottom of the witch’s tail bone as to paralyze him.

“I won’t talk, just kill me already!”

Kristophe raised an eyebrow. “I don’t think so. I want to have fun with this. Leaving you paralyzed, bleeding, and with your arm amputated.”

“But my arm isn’t-“

Kristophe put one foot on his shoulder and pulled his free hand, ripping it off. “What were you saying?”

Brad lost his concentration and Vincent got his chance to lunge. He slashed Brad’s eyes so he wouldn’t be able to see where he was and attack. “Yeah try your sparky shit now!” Vincent laughed and began to tear Brad’s limbs, covering himself with more blood.

“You’re fucking up your jacket even more.” Kristophe noted looking at his watch. “The meeting is about to begin.”

Vincent dumped the Brad’s body over George’s. They were dying and as the brother’s began to walk out they felt the warmth escape the room. Kristophe reacted swiftly as the fire emanated from Brad and he evanesced with his brother into the meeting hall.

*****
Kristophe played with the chain of the crescent moon necklace as everyone found a seat in the meeting hall. The fire put off the meeting for two hours while it had to be put out and the only thing that made it was the necklace. Kristophe was pretty pissed because the necklace wasn’t even really his and his grand piano was charred beyond repair. It was the only thing he really cared about. Sitting across Vincent, he noticed his brother beginning to sweat and not blink as he looked at the moon he had on the chain. Noticing this he began to swing the necklace slowly letting the moon catch the light. Vincent’s eyes followed intently as he tapped with table with his fingers incessantly. Kristophe laughed and his laughter snapped Vincent back into reality.

“Where did you get that?” He asked.

“He found it the day we wiped out the Soluna coven.” Calice piped in as she sat next to Kristophe. “You want it don’t you?”

“Is it an artifact?” Vincent asked.

Kristophe took the moon and gnawed lightly on a corner. “Doesn’t taste like it.”

Calice gave Wolfgang, who finally sat at the head of table, a furtive look and before she could answer Wolfgang responded wearily. “No, it’s just some trinket. Vincent, you look a little more pallid than usual. Not on narcotics are you?” He looked Vincent directly in the eye with his steel blue eyes. Wolfgang was a blond vampire who looked like he was changed in his late forties to mid fifties. He hoped to come back in a more youthful state if Vitrivius permitted him.

“No, not at all.” Vincent said nervously tearing his gaze away from the necklace.

“Can we get this over with?” Sylvia squawked glaring at her father who gave her a stern look.

Kristophe relaxed into his chair and continued to rub the chain as he took a sip of his wine. Most regional leaders were at the meeting and also had a glass to take the edge off what they were going to witness after Wolfgang’s formal address. The scroll Kristophe retrieved had the spell Calice had to perform to make sure that Wolfgang would transition correctly into the land of the dead. The procedure was very dangerous and most did not want to witness it. Kristophe looked out the window at the pyre that had been going since when the meeting was supposed to begin. In fact, they had to use some of the fire from the room incident to keep it going. Presently, the fire seemed to be going out again. “Hey I think the pyre is about to …and there it goes.”

Vincent began to laugh and Wolfgang shot him a look.

“Why are you two acting so immature?” Sylvia shouted making everyone focus on her tantrum.

“Look who’s talking.” Vincent replied offhandedly.

As the last people to witness the meeting settled in Wolfgang turned to Daphne. “Daphne, get the fire going, I don’t care how! just go! Your presence is unnecessary.”

“As you wish master.” Daphne whispered looking down as she left the room flustered. She knew she would probably have to fan the flames herself. But even then Wolfgang wouldn’t be happy with her. This depressed her, she thought she maybe would never get a chance to.

At the head of the long table, Wolfgang was able to look at everyone. He looked at the men who sat opposite each other to his sides. Kristophe and Vincent. Kristophe, his prodigy and Vincent, his favorite. He was so proud of them both and excited about what he had planned for them. Smiling he spoke, “Esteemed gathered guests, Welcome. Now as you all know for centuries, besides ruling havoc, instigating wars between the mortals, defending our creeds against the witches and maintaining our otherworldly affairs; I have led the clan that has helped our progenitor, Lord Vitrivius, carry on his will. His blessings have made us the most powerful clan ever in existence and it is now time as the leader for me to give myself to his cause. By sacrificing myself I will set into motion, with my blood and ashes, the gears that will bring upon his prophecy. You will live it, you will travel the road he has set out for you and I will see you at the end of the world as you know it.”

Kristophe tried not to yawn, he didn’t know why he was so bold. Maybe it was because he believed he would have nothing to do with the politics of the underworld anymore and so he just wanted to meeting to be over already. The D’Alba Villa was ready for him and he began to wonder if the piano was in good condition. He also needed a new wardrobe. Wolfgang cut off his thoughts.

“It is time to name my successor. I have always known this day would come and since my first born son Paul was killed shortly after being turned, I waited years to pick my first vampiric spawn. I searched for the perfect candidate and found a man carved out of the fresh ideas of the Renaissance. A graduate of the Trivium, a model man of affairs. Kristophe D’Alba, the merchant who would have grown to be a very powerful figure in Italy killed by me to have his potential unleashed into a world of longer lasting prominence. How was I to know that one of his first mistakes as a vampire would further prove his wisdom? Turning his brother Vincent was against the law. A law punishable by death for the act of acting as a superior. Initially, I was going to have Vincent executed and Kristophe punished severely. But Vincent’s determination made him reckless and he challenged me! Having nothing to lose he gambled big and I gave him tasks that were supposed to kill him. Tasks I believed so difficult, that I would have never put Kristophe up to them. Vincent came out victorious and with a knack at finding artifacts. I took it as a sign and the night that he walked through those doors, after retrieving the remains of my wife and son, I considered him my own. He of course had Kristophe’s support to get him to be accepted and so I saw my first spawn’s logic as further proof that I had not made a mistake. The brother’s would be my sons. They made me more proud than I had ever been about my children. Over the years these two have competed to show who is the best out of both. In my mind I needed to figure who would be ready to rule. It was an easy choice considering what I needed in a ruler but internally I battled with myself for the other. And so the time has come to name my choice.” He turned to Vinny, who was already standing proudly. “Here stands Vincent D’ Alba. Debonair, passionate, quick witted, manipulative, willful, a true warrior. Someone I can throw into any situation and see the situation adapt to him. My dear headstrong boy.” He stopped and took a breath as he stared at Vincent and thought, Boy… therein lies the catch. “You have many good traits a vampire needs all except the most important one. You do not care about those around you in any way, shape, or form. You don’t even love yourself as much as you believe you do. Love is something that you have never known and confuse it with gaining satisfaction in all the wrong places. There are things you have delayed dealing with, things you should have faced before you reached your deathbed. Your mentality is still the one of a sheltered dying boy who sees everything around him as toys in the home you grew up in. You treat everything unfeelingly and with great confidence. You have no sense of responsibility and so you are not ready. You live as if each day will be your last although you’re an immortal and know it. You see what you can take, work to get it and then toss it away. Nothing fills the void in you. This empire won’t just be treated as a trophy on your quest to be able to be happy with yourself. I know the potential is there but it’s encased in the house you built around your being. You need to get out of yourself and find something that will give you the key to unlock your destiny. I am dismayed that in the centuries you’ve existed as one of us, you have not matured one bit. Perhaps halting your growth was the mistake but what other choice did Kristophe have? I ask myself this and it is the only unease I will have going into the land of the dead. I love you son, and I am worried about you. I hope I did not fail you. I hope your brother won’t fail you because I know what this will do to you. You are going to head down a road that I wish you wouldn’t. But I also know that it will define Kristophe as a leader. However he deals with you, I hope you live to give yourself a chance.” Wolfgang turned to Kristophe, while a hot faced Vincent sunk into his chair dazedly and looked down. “On your feet, son.” Wolfgang commanded as Kristophe rose slowly. “I’ll always wonder if Vincent being thrown into this would have been the key but it’s a chance I can’t take. Kristophe, you are ready, you have always been ready. You were molded for this from birth and I know you are responsible. Over the years I have always known I could count on you with anything and you have never let me down. You have had your own share of trials and have come out of them level headed. I know you will continue my plan, Vitrivius’ plan, because you are grateful for all that you are given. You don’t just look forward and forget all that has been fought for. You may not know it, but you were made for this. And here it is…I give you our world, it’s in your hands now. Do what you want with it, just keep in mind all that has been done so far. I know you will.” Wolfgang put his clan ring in Kristophe’s hand and patted him on the shoulder. “I present to you Lord Kristophe D’Alba, Master of the Thorn estate, ruler of our kind.”

Everyone stood to applaud him, their smiles sincere. Kristophe turned to face his brother who had intense hatred in his eyes. Kristophe’s heart sank, he knew he had just lost the only person that he loved most in the world. Helpless, he swallowed hard and clutched the necklace tighter debating whether or not to give it to him. He desperately wished he could give his brother something to hold on to before he flew off the handle. But it was too late, Vincent would never take him or Wolfgang into consideration ever again. He finally had no one and Kristophe wondered if there was some good that could come of Vincent being on his own. Wolfgang was right and perhaps they only inhibited Vincent. But now, Kristophe was worried because he knew Vincent. He knew his brother was going to do something. At least his brother had some idea, Kristophe felt clueless. He didn’t anticipate this, he wanted to write his symphony.

Everything around the D’ Alba brothers seemed like muted static. Vincent was so shocked that like his brother only internally was he reacting. Thoughts of killing Kristophe played in his head. He felt betrayed and confused. He refused to think about what had just happened too much. He would throw that in the back of his congested mind. Only plans to ruin Kristophe and take control ran through his head and he quietly eased himself into a snakelike coil, seeming observant. He didn’t clap, he just watched and looked for anything he could use. His eyes met Calice’s, she gave him a sympathetic look. Smiling he knew of ways to take out his frustration in the mean time.

Wolfgang watched Vincent carefully and projected last minute commands into Calice’s mind. His dark enchantress liked to indulge Vincent as well and Wolfgang wanted her to be careful. In anticipation of Vincent’s ways with that particular woman, Wolfgang made sure she got as much power as she needed. Even certain rights to Kristophe, which would be made clear to him in other ways. She would have to be very careful and Kristophe extremely delicate with her. Wolfgang shook his head but felt assured that Kristophe could not do anything worse to her than what he had time to do before he was named ruler.

The applause died down. Wolfgang stepped aside and made sure Kristophe was at the head of the table. “Now let’s get on with the ceremony. Master Kristophe, you lead. ” Wolfgang said the reflection of the pyre in his eyes.

Leading, however, was the last thing Kristophe wanted to do.

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Advent

Created: Jan 22, 2010

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