Blood and Leather

Hounds! No, I don't the four legged kind with fur. Hounds are black skeletal creatures from the Nightlands. Even though extremely dangerous, the creatures were semi-intelligent automatons similar to golems from mythology. Hounds are often sent out to hunt down supernatural creatures. There were at least six of them behind me. There might even be more from the movement I could see. I was not sure if they were after me as I snuck as fast as I could down the alleyway to try and escape from the creatures. There was no way I could fight so many of the creatures. Two, maybe three, I could deal with but not six or more. The best I could do is try and escape from them. I moved as fast down the alley as I could while still trying to keep quiet. While they were incredible trackers, at least they were not very intelligent and could be tricked sometimes.

At the other end of the alley were three figures. They did not appear to be more hounds but they could be some other servants of the Nightlords. Some servants of the Nightlords appeared to be completely human. I ducked in behind an old rusted dumpster, hoping to stay hidden from both sides. It was still several hours until the sun would rise and if I had to, I might be able to hide in the dumpster until nightfall if I had to wait that long. It would not be the first time and likely not the last. My life had changed drastically since Dark Day.

The Hounds ignored where I was hiding and converged on the three figures. I was able to get a bit look at the figures. Two appeared to be male while one appeared to be female. They also appeared to all be human although it did not mean that they actually were. I was right when I thought that there were more than six of them. There were ten Hounds. At least there did not appear to be a Hound Master. The black skeletal creatures growled as they converged on the three figures. I should not get involved with them. There was no way which I could fight ten Hounds by myself but how could I just let these people die. I had once been a cop and it was a police officer's job to protect the innocent. It was still a hard reflex to restrain. I got ready to spring on the Hounds. Maybe I could distract them long enough for the three people to escape and then make a run for it myself.

Suddenly the three figures began to change. They were Nightbane and it was most likely that the Hounds were hunting them all along not me. Nightbane were supernatural creatures themselves who often fought against the Nightlord's and their minions. They could transform into strange looking beings which could look like almost anything. Some were hideous while others were just strange. Some could be described as wonderful, appearing to be angels. That is something I know little about. Even though I had dealt with a number of them since I changed myself, I had no idea why they changed into specific forms. There forms were always the same to my knowledge. In general they were extremely tough and had an unusual array of different special abilities.

The larger of the two males transformed to something which appeared to be a giant humanoid bear with razor sharp claws which appeared to glint as if they were made from metal. The other male transformed into something which appeared to be some kind of half man and half machine although the pieces seemed to be grafted into his flesh in some a fashion to look like they were put into him by a mad butcher. One of his arms appeared to be a robot arm and one of his eyes was replaced by a large round lense which stuck out from its socket. The final one, the woman, transformed to look like Frankenstein’s bride from an old movie complete with a white beehive hairdo with black lightning bolts on either side. Her arms were wrapped with razor wire which appeared to dig cruelly into her flesh and blood dripped out from the wounds caused by the razor wire.

The Hounds charged them almost as one. I could see that the Nightbane Bear was extremely experienced by the way he moved. There were stories that some of the Nightbane were hundred or even thousands of years old so some were extremely experienced. The other two showed far less experience from their action although the male appeared to have military training from his stance. I had learned how to judge a person's fighting experience when I had been a police officer. Even with the extreme experience the Nightbane Bear showed, ten Hounds seemed to be more than they could deal with.

I warred with myself for several moments, going between just staying hidden or helping against the Hounds. I tried to tell myself that getting involved was too dangerous but in the end helping them out won out. There was no reason I should but I found myself jumping over the dumpster and into the combat. I pulled out the twin MAC-10 submachine-guns which I carried. They were the only thing which had allowed me to escape the police station after I had changed. The same day I stopped being a police officer. The weapons had been taken from an evidence locker and had once belonged to a drug dealer. I burst fired both submachine-guns into the closest of the Hounds. I must have sprayed twenty rounds into the creature and all it did was turn towards me and began to charge at me instead. As it charged, I sprayed more rounds into it. It finally dropped. They are extremely tough and it takes a lot to take one down.

I could see that the Nightbane Bear was shredding one of the Hounds and appeared to be incredibly strong. The other two Nightbane appeared to be holding their own as well. The female was throwing bolts of darkness at the hounds while the male was also engaging in hand to hand. Still, there was no real time for me to reflect on how the others were doing.

This time a pair of Hounds turned towards me and began charging. I opened fire at the closest. Both of my guns clicked empty. There would be no time to reload before they were on me with their Dark Blades so slinged both of my submachine-guns on my shoulder. A Dark Blade swing at me. I parried the flat of the blade with my arm and dived under the creature's guard. I punched at the Hound's head. Unfortunately, I don't have the claws of a true vampire although I do have their strength. The creature swing its blade in a short stroke. This time the blade scored a deep gouge in my shoulder cutting into my vest and creating a wound that bled messily. Still it was not too bad. I would heal in time but would have to survive the fight first.

The other Hound stabbed his Dark Blade at me as well. I pushed the Hound I was fighting with into the path of the blade. The blade speared the creature but it did not die. As it prepared for another swing at me, I punched at it again and watched the creature finally collapse. It had taken almost twenty round of forty-five hollow points, two punches, and a Dark Blade through it back before it went down. The Hound collapsing ripped the Dark Blade from the other creature attacking me.

I could not spare a glance at the others and instead charged the remaining Hound which was attacking me before it could pull its dark blade from the collapsed figure. Instead it let go of its weapon and went to punch at me. I blocked and was able to get a good blow into its chest. It took me six more punches before it went down and it was able to hit me twice more before it went down. The punch of a supernatural creature was not like that of a normal and one of these creatures could literally rip a car apart. Still, I would heal the injuries and should take me less than ten minutes.

Turning towards the others to see how they were doing, I pulled two fresh magazines from my trench coat and prepared to reload my MAC-10s. The Nightbane Bear had managed to rip two of the attacking Hounds apart and was fighting a third. He had a few gouged but they appeared pretty minor. The other male looked far worse hurt but had managed to take down one and was fighting a second. The woman had resorted to hand to hand but she appeared to be uninjured. A Dark Blade struck at her but instead of hitting flesh, hit some kind of field which created sparks as it was struck. Unfortunately, neither of her opponents were down although one was pretty bad damaged.

Once reloaded, I opened fire on the Hound attacking the female Nightbane which looked worse hurt of the two. Instead of spraying and using up all my ammunition, I took my time and double tapped with both submachine-guns into the creature. I needed to be more conservative with ammunition and could not afford to spray indiscriminately. It took me a couple of double taps but it went down. In the mean time, the Nightbane Bear had torn apart his third opponents and charged at the second Hound attacking the female Nightbane. The Nightbane Cyborg had managed to take down his second opponent but was pretty badly hurt and was limping. Like me, he would heal quickly. The final Hound went down in a flurry of blows from the Nightbane Bear. I would not care to fight him myself from what I had seen.

Suddenly, three sets of eyes turned towards me. Tthe Nightbane Cyborg mechanical appearing eye was a round greenish blue lense but the effect was the same. The shutter of his cyborg eye, which looked like the shutter of a camera, focused on injuries. No human could take what I could and live. I was obviously not a Nightbane either. Besides, I have heard that Nightbane can sense other of their kind. Suddenly, I realized that my fangs were extended and highly visible from the stress of the fight. Many Nightbane do not like vampires very much. The female spoke, "Blood sucker! The Undead!" There was suspicion in her voice. I might have helped them fight off the Nightlord minions but they did not know how far they could trust me. Trust was hard to come by since Dark Day to be honest. Especially when vampires often tried to kill Nightbane as well.

Not quite right to be honest. A vampire had tried to turn me but something unexpected had happened. I spoke, "Not Undead but Wampyre! Half Vampire!" I had to drink blood like a normal vampire but could survive for longer without it. I also could survive sunlight although it still burned. I was actually probably tougher than a normal vampire although normal bullets could kill me. Silver and wood were not the bane that they were for true vampires.

Before the woman could speak again, the Nightbane Bear spoke, "Peace, she helped us against the Hounds and deserves some trust because of it." The voice was in a rumbling tone, almost a growl. Still, that could just be due to his bear form. He locked eyes with me although it is impossible to tell any kind of expression. His next words were, "I go by Kodiak." Kodiak turned to the Cyborg and stated, "He is just Borg and the lady is known as the Bride."

I replied, "Gabriella. I thought the Hounds were after me at first." I decided to open up my mind. Becoming a Wampyre had given me psychic abilities and while I could not actually read minds, I could at least read emotional states. As far as I know, Nightbane never had psychic abilities. Some can block psychic abilities but it seemed that none of these could. There appeared to be suspicion in all three minds although there was something akin to hope. Maybe they thought that I could help them. There was also attraction from the Kodiak. Kind of nice actually. It did not seem that I was too bad looking although most of my hunts for gentleman company was to get blood. I often went to clubs and picked up men which I would pretend to have a blood drink fetish. Even though cut from the Hound's blade, I wore a black leather vest and black leather pants which I knew showed off my figure quite well. Since becoming a Wampyre, I never had to watch my weight again.

Kodiak turned toward me, "I think we should find somewhere safer to talk." I answered by simply nodding my head. We left the alley behind.

It was an old ruined hotel where we hid out. Like many things before Dark Day, it had once been grand although had not been particularly large. Maybe it had simply been drove out of business by the much larger hotels which had taken over the area. It had been about five floors and there was the remnants of a swimming pool filled with mucky green water in the back. Now many of the building's windows had been smashed out and the building was derelict. The building was filthy and only squatters lived here now. We were barricaded in the basement. I had hidden in worse places including dumpsters although I usually preferred to rent a room at a cheap hotel. Since the day I became a Wampyre, I have been basically homeless. A hot shower would have been nice. Soon the sun would rise. I figured it was less then twenty minutes and it was good to get under cover. In the next evening, I would need to look for someone for blood but for now, I was surviving. Since Dark Day, that was main the goal of most people. More people simply disappeared every day. I knew some of the mysteries behind that but I did not know all of them. I was not sure if anyone really did.

My three companions had transformed back into their human forms soon after they had made their introduction. I had heard the forms called their 'Facade' but there were still much easier to deal with. The one known as Kodiak was older than I though. He looked to be in his early forties with graying hair and long sideburns and mustache like I had seen from Civil War movies. Dress him up in a Union uniform and he would look like an extra from Gettysburg. Even so, he still was pretty handsome. I have heard that Nightbane retain their human age of when they first change. The other male appeared to be in his late twenties and his hair was cut in a very short military cut. The woman was a mousy blond in her human form. She appeared to be in her early twenties.

There was no power in the crumbling hotel and the Nightbane were eating cold MREs. Basically, military rations. You could buy them at many military surplus stores. A battered kerosene lantern was all we had for light. Chairs had been pulled from the upper floors and we sat in a circle around the lantern. It did not really matter. My night vision was as good in many ways to my day vision before I became a half vampire.

For the longest time we simply sat quietly with the only sounds nearby being of them eating their MREs and the dripping of water. There were sounds from outside as well including the sound of a siren. It was rare that the police would go out after dark anymore. Suddenly, Kodiak cleared his throat and spoke, "So Gabriella, do you mind telling us a bit about yourself and what you were doing in the alley?" He seemed to be the speaker for the group for the most part and the others still did not quite trust me.

Nodding my head, I cleared my throat. "I used to be a cop. One night I was on patrol. It was after Dark Day but someone had to. I was ambushed by a group of vampires who decided to change me into a vampire as well. Maybe they wanted me as a pet or maybe just the status of turning a cop." I decided not to tell them what the vampires had done to me before trying to change me. In addition to bleeding me almost dry, they beat and raped me. Continuing on, I stated "They failed. After I become a Wampyre, I killed several of them and the rest fled. I tried to go back to the police station but everything had changed. Officers I had known and considered friends tried to kill me. I had to fight my way out and have been on the run since. I have gone from city to city, just trying to survive although trying to help those who fight against the Nightlords and vampires when I can."

Kodiak nodded in return, "O.K., I am trying to decide if I can trust you and how far. We can use any help which we can find and a ex-cop could be of great help. I have been around a while and have dealt with both vampires and Wampyres. I was a soldier in the Civil War where I served in the Twentieth Maine during the Battle of Gettysburg. I also fought in both the First and Second World Wars. I fought because I believed in America then. Now this country has been taken over by the Nightlords." He turned towards his two companions, "Borg is an ex soldier as well but from more recent times. He served in Desert Storm but was ambushed one day in training by Nightlord Minions. It was then that he transformed for the first time and he was the only one of his unit to survive. Technically he is a deserter but..." I added mentally, "But the Army would kill him anyway of they found out what he is." Kodiak paused for several moments before adding, "Bride is a skilled sorceress." From the tone of his voice, I suspected that he did nto know much more than that.

"I don't know what I can say which will make you trust me," I responded. "All I can say is that there will be nothing left if the Nightlords take over completely. As well, if I served the Nightlords myself, I would most likely have simply helped the Hounds."

Kodiak stated, "The Night Prince who virtually rules this city in the service of his Nightlord has been collecting information on other Nightlords and their minions. It includes various dirty secrets as well as who has alliances with each other. It appears that most of the Nightlords do not completely trust each other and this is for attempting to control other Nightlords and blackmailing others. If we can steal the information, we can use the information to find Nightlords, their minions, and their human collaborators."

"What form is it in?" I asked him. I expected that it would most likely be kept is some sort of computer format. Computer skills is something I have a little of but cannot be considered and expert and hoped that one of the Nightbane knew a bit about computers if the files were on computer.

"The Night Prince does not appear to trust computers," Kodiak responded. "He appears to think that someone could hack into his computer for the information. Instead, it appears that all of the information is kept on paper."

"Were are these documents being kept," was the next question I asked.

"The Night Prince runs a security company known as ABR Security and I believe that documents are kept in their main offices. He goes by the name Mr Prince and little is known about him. The name 'Mr Prince' is not all that original for a Night Prince but what can you say. It is a thirty story building and his office is on the top floor." came Kodiak's response. I had heard of that security company. It was one of the largest security companies in the country and did security for many of the larger corporations. Of course it would be a perfect way for the Nightlords to replace the executives in large corporations. Simply bypass their own security and replace the executive with a doppleganger. They were exact duplicates of people which the Nightlords got from somewhere.

Mr Prince was an interesting name for a Night Prince. I continued my questions with, "What kind of security does the Night Prince have on his office and the building in general." The building probably had massive internal security and would be next to impossible to get inside. It could also be expected that the building would be patrolled by both dopplegangers and by Hollow Men. Hollow Men are some weird kind of body created by giant insects. They could often be distinguished from normal humans because of a lack of facial expressions. I had to fight several of them when I had to escape from my police precinct. I did not known what they were at that time though. They often dressed up like FBI agents with dark sunglasses and were often called "MIB" for "Men In Black."

With that, Kodiak shook his head. This was followed by, "I am not really sure." That was something we had to find out before any attempt against the Night Prince and his secret record. We? Had I really already began thinking of myself as part of their team? I guess so. I had a potential idea on how I might be able to get information on the security procedures at the target. It would have to wait until nightfall though.

"I guess I am in," I replied.

The two younger Nightbane had retired to other basement rooms and hopefully had gone to sleep. They had managed to scrounge some old mattresses from the upper floors of the hotel and had made themselves as comfortable as they could. The Mattresses were filthy but I suspected they had laid blankets over them. Still, I just could not sleep. Maybe I could feel the thirst for blood coming on. It was distracting sometimes. I hoped that my new companions would understand the need for blood. There was still some mistrust and I doubted they would be willing to provide the blood I would need.

Kodiak was sitting in the chair opposite me and the lantern had been extinguished. We had said little to each other since the others had retired. I looked up at him at the same time he did. Our eyes locked with each other. My eyes were dark brown, almost black since becoming a Wampyr. His eyes were a gorgeous grey. I could feel his attraction for me through my empathy. If anything, it was even stronger than it had been when I sensed his emotions earlier. He was not unattractive himself and found myself staring into his eyes a long time. I guess I was attracted to him as well.

To find blood to quench my thirst, I had been with a great number of men since I had become a Wampyr. Still, I had been with no one except to satisfied my blood thirst and they had seemed empty somehow. I could not have stayed with any of them even I had become attached. They would soon be drained dry. To be honest, most of my relationships even before I became a vampire were empty. Most were just to satisfy the needs of my body and I suspected than many of the men I had been with to just considered sex with me to be the conquest of a female police officer. None had lasted more than a few days. I have never been one to go to bars to find men until I was forced to for feeding. Most would likely have called me a Tomboy before I became a Wampyr.

I could definitely feel myself attracted to him myself and a slow arousal building in my body. Likely part of my attraction was surviving a major fight. It was part of a bodies affirmation of life after a close brush with death. It was something which seemed to transcend me becoming a Wampyr. There was no reason to fight the attraction. If we did, it would likely just cause more tension. I could not help but wonder how many woman he had been with in his lifetime of over a century and half. There was a certain nervous feeling in the back of my mind that I could not measure up to his standards.

We both found ourselves standing up and suddenly I could feel warm arms wrapped around me and warm lips on mine. They were soft and gentle yet still demanding. My arms wrapped around him at the same time. While he was broader in the shoulders than I was, he was only slightly taller than I was and we locked together perfectly. I had to fight to keep my canines retracted. I did not want to bite into his lip and break the mood. Did he have to fight from transforming into his bear form. I found my tongue exploring his mouth and in turn his did the same. While my body was not as cold as a true vampire, I was still cold to the touch and his arms felt wonderful It is hard to say how long we just remained like that, lips locked together and arms wrapped around each other. It felt wonderful and it had been so long. There was the concern that the others might come in with us like this but it just felt right.

Eventually Kodiak stepped back and stated, "Gabriella, female form of Gabriel. Angel of Vengeance. You are an angel with your pale white skin. You almost glow. Call me Thomas. It was the name I was given long ago and carried it before I even became Kodiak." It was true. Before become a Wampyr, I had a nice tan but my skin had become just about white since transforming.

Kodiak's, no, Thomas's hands moved towards the buttons of my black leather vest. His hands froze there as if afraid to go further. I took a deep breath and stated, "Thomas, I want this as bad as you do! I have been alone too much!" I would not expect some who had been around as long as he had to be shy around a woman.

My statement seem to decide him. His hands undid the top button of my vest and then went to the next one. Even though extremely gentle, his hands felt like fire on bare skin. Soon the vest dropped off to the side and I had not wore a bra under them, not being extremely well endowed and being more slim than anything else.

I cannot recall having stripped but it seemed like within seconds that my leather pants were off and my underwear was on top of a pile of my leather clothing. My panties were black lace thong and the only thing other than leather that I had worn. Before becoming a Wampyr, I likely would have dared dress like this. There was enough rationality left in my mind to hope that I had managed to rip none of it. I did not want to have to steal new clothing so soon.

After he had finished stripping himself, Thomas laid down a blanket so that we would not be making love directly on the filthy basement floor. Gently he lowered me to the blanket and then it seemed like he was all over my body. His skill was incredible but then again he had over a century and a half to perfect it. While in his human form, I was the tougher of the two of us but that did not seem to be slowing him down any. He cupped my right breast just before his mouth locked onto the nipple above his strong hands. I found myself reciprocating, slowly exploring his body with my hands and mouth. Time seemed to stop and I was dizzy from the pleasure. His hands and mouth continued, passing lower, finally bringing me to a climax. It seemed to explode inside of me and was a climax like I had never had before.

It was only then that he entered me and full filled his own needs. I shared in his pleasure more fully than I had with any previous lovers, pushing myself against him. After he climaxed, we just laid wrapped around each other. It was about eight in the morning and the sun had risen high by this time. I was fighting exhaustion. I could see that he was fighting sleep as well. I don't know who fell asleep first but we slept still wrapped around each other.

I woke up with Thomas still wrapped around me. Maybe it was me who was wrapped around him. His heat had warmed my body and felt wonderful. There was hope in my heart taht it would not just be a single time. I figured it was around six in the evening and that the sun was setting. It would soon be time to get up and see what I could find out about the security of the ABR Security company. Still, I knew I needed to feed first.

I tried to untangle myself from Thomas without waking him but it was fruitless. His grey eyes locked on mine and he smiled. I stated, "We need to get up and work on finding out how to get into the building. First though I need to find someone I feed from." The need for blood was beginning to press on me to be honest.

He looked at me sadly. My heart seemed to lodge in my throat. Apparently, I disgusted him and our bridge was broken. Suddenly the sadness seemed to become something different. There was a bit of pity but there was something else as well. He stated, "I believe you can feed from a Nightbane" and stuck out his left wrist. It was true that as long as a Nightbane transformed to his Morpheus form that all of his blood would be replenished.

Gently, I took his wrist and allowed my canines to extend. Kneeling while I held his arm, I pieced the skin of the wrist with my razor sharp teeth and began drinking slowly. The neck was never a place which I liked to drink from. Energy slowly flowed into me with the warm blood. This was the first time which I had drunk the blood of a Nightbane. This was the first time I had ever fed from a Nightbane and it was definitely richer than normal human blood somehow. I had tried animal blood before. It would stay down, unlike normal food, but seemed to be thin like water and be of no value.

After I felt myself restored, I retracted my canine and wrapped my hand around his wrist to stop the bleeding. He grabbed my other wrist and pulled me close. His blood still dripped from my lips but he did not seem to care. Our mouths again locked. It felt just as wonderful as the first time and I forgot about time again. He seemed to be able to accept what I was after all. It was so tempting to pull him to the floor but I fought the urge. There were too much work which we had to do tonight.

I broke our embrace with much regret and started looking for my cloths.

Somehow known of my cloths had gotten ripped during the lead up to our love making. It would have been nice to have a change of underwear but they were in my locker. As well, a shower would feel wonderful. Just as soon as I had finished getting all of black leather on, the other two Nightbane had come into the room. Thomas had told me to call him Kodiak in their presence for the moment at least.

Periodically, I saw Thomas glancing at me and I could not help but glance at him as well. The Bride and Borg both had suspicious expressions. Thomas and I had decided not to tell them what had happened between us this morning. It would likely complicate the situation. Still, I hoped that there was something between us.

"I think I have a plan on how to get the intelligence we need to get into the security facility." I stated to the Nightbane as they sat in the circle. Continuing on, "What we need to do is find an employee of the company who is knowledgeable about their security while also either a human or a doppleganger. Need to make sure that they are not a psychic either. I will use suggestion to question them about the security without raising any warning."

Thomas nodded his head in agreement with my plan and asked, "What will you need for your idea?"

"I will need to get some cloths which are less conspicuous than what I am wearing now as well as a blond wig or something similar." My short black hair with red highlights was very distinctive. As you might expect, I am wanted by the police. "I am thinking that whoever I find should be ambushed in a bar and will need some kind of party dress or jeans. I have some stuff in a locker in the bus station but don't know if anything is suitable. I think I might need to buy or steal some of what I need."

Thomas pulled a wad of bills out the front of his jean pockets and handed me some of it. I looked at the wad of bills he handed me. Probably a couple of hundred here at least. It should be plenty for what I need.

The Nightbane know as Borg spoke up, "I have some decent computer skills. If I can find an hot spot or an Internet Cafe, I can likely find a list of executives and other people in the company who might know the security of the building. From the list, maybe we can find some likely candidates for you to question?" It sounded like a good idea to me, at least in theory. I nodded my head in response.

Thomas then spoke up again, "If you are able to find the information which we need, I was thinking that we would try for an assault tomorrow evening or maybe early morning. Still, I have to warn you about Night Princes. I have only ever fought one before and the team I was with almost all died in the battle. Night Princes are masters of illusion. Their illusions can feel incredibly real and it is almost impossible to tell illusion from reality. I have been told that while the illusions cannot actually kill, they can make you think you are dead. It leaves you crippled and they kill you while you are defenseless in that state. All I can say is trust nothing you see."

With that, it was time to head outside to the grey light of the just set sun.

I had found myself in an S&M bar called "The Golden Chain." S&M stands for Sado-Masochism and it is the enjoyment of inflicting pain or having pain inflicted on yourself depending on which side you are on. Most was consensual. With all the horror after Dark Day, you would have thought such things would no longer be interesting but there seems to people who still want such dubious pleasures. I guess I could accept the idea if it is between two consenting adults but it was still something I had trouble dealing with.

I was dressed in a pink blouse which left my midriff exposed and a set of worn blue jeans. The Jeans were from my locker but the blouse was new. With the long curly blond wig and fake silicone breasts, I hoped I looked like the perfect prey. Not quite innocent, definitely someone they could seduce, but not really the type to be in such a bar. Maybe someone who came into the bar by accident. Hopefully anyone looking at me would also pay more intention to my endowments than my face.

I pretended that I did not know that it was an S&M bar. The truth was that I might not have know if I had been a police officer. The decorations suggested S&M but were more subtle than one might expect. All of the activities seemed to occur behind closed doors. The building appeared to be definitely soundproofed. If I had worn my black leather, I likely would have been given the wrong impression and considered a dominatrix not potential prey. I likely would have gotten men coming up to me wanting to be spanked in that case. Still not my style.

I had followed one of the candidates into the bar. Unfortunately, the computer searches had not really brought up anything valuable. The respect and fear those around him gave when he was leaving the office for the night showed clearly that he was someone important. He had left the officer around nine and it was now after ten. In physical appearance, he appeared normal. In his mid thirties, he had an expression which inspired trust. Of course his mind showed something quite different. The impressions I had gotten from his emotional state were horrible. He obviously got his pleasure from the pain of others. He likely would serve a Night Prince willingly just for the chance to torture others. He obviously did not care about the consensual part of S& M.

Many serial killers had worked as security officers. One of the best known was one of the Hillside Stranglers. If my target was not a serial rapist and serial killer, I would be highly surprised. Stunned or Shocked might be better words. I had change my plans on how to deal with him. There was no way I would allow him to do this with any woman ever again. Still, his mind was that of a human from his emotions, not some kind of supernatural creature. Supernatural minds just felt different for some reason to me.

Several men had already approached me and offered to buy me drinks. Pretty scummy, in other situations I might have allowed them to and showed them a time which they would not expect with predator and prey reversed. Through the use of suggestion, I had managed to get the men to look elsewhere. From the amount of interest I received, at least I seem to have succeeded in portraying being potential prey. I just hoped that he would come to my table soon. I looked up as someone sat down at my table. It was him. He looked at me with challenging eyes, "Stan, you are such a beautiful girl to be in a place like this."

Looking up just a little, I smiled and stated, "I am Cindy. New in town and don't know anyone around here. Caught a bus from Kansas looking for a job. I am almost out of money as well." with a touch of suggestion to the words. As best I could I projected fear and apprehension. I hoped his thoughts would jump to the idea that no one would miss me if I disappeared. From the broadening of his smile, it seemed likely that he was thinking just those thoughts. His emotions also appeared to agree with his face.

He replied, "I am the assistant director of operation at ABR Security." Unvoiced was that I should consider him safe and trustworthy because he is a executive at a security company.

Taking a deep breath as if relaxing, I responded, "I don't know where is safe to go in this town and as I said a moment ago, I need to find a job soon." Again, I added the strength of suggestion to what I said. My expression was one which I had worked hard to perfect in the need to find blood donors. The smile said that I would go home with him and sleep with him if he was willing to help me.

His hand clasped mine and he responded, "My company is always hiring motivated employees. I am sure I can find an appropriate position for you. As well, I might be able to put you up for the night in my place." The other hand of his came under the table to clasp my leg a moment later. His voice was slick, seeming to accept that I was willing to sleep with him if he could find me a job. It happened more often than most would be willing to admit. Of course, I could tell from his sick emotional state that he had a lot more planned than that. I wished yet again that I could read his mind to tell exactly what he was thinking.

He though the deal was sealed and pulled me roughly up from the table. There was barely time to grab my battered purse as he dragged me up. I let myself be lead from the bar and to his car. Of course I could have thrown him across the room if I had wished. He only thought he knew what tonight would bring. There was secret satisfaction in that.

It was Friday night and I had found out in the car that he was not expected back to work until Monday. During the car ride, he had groped me including pitting his hand inside my pants and blouse. As we had left the city, his hands had become rougher. I did not resist any of his advances, wanting to get to somewhere quiet before revealing my real plans for him. He had locked the doors from his side to make sure that I could not escape.

Wherever he was driving was a fair amount out of town and into the country. He had been driving for at least three quarters of an hour. I was trying to pay attention to his driving so I could find my way back. The road was not as well maintained as those closer to the city and the ride was a bit rough. The area was almost desert but there was still life to be seen and heard. I heard what sounded like the baying of a wolf. Maybe a werewolf. Savage creatures but they also fought against the Nightlords.

Suddenly he pulled his BMW into a driveway. Of course he drove a black BMW. It was pretty much an executives car of choice. Never knew what was so special about them. I used to know a mechanic who talked about how expensive the cars were to repaired. The grey interior said money and likely cost more than I would have made in two years when I had been a cop. This one still had the new car smell in it.

Next to where he parked his expensive sedan, there was a black SUV. The house was impressive. It was a two story edifice on a decent sized hill. There were no other homes nearby. He seemed to like his privacy. Maybe some of his games were done outside. The house had a large porch in front and I would guess that there were a couple of dozen rooms in the house at least. Damn, I saw movement. Two figures appeared to be patrolling security. We were not alone. This would complicate the situation severely. Before he opened the door, I asked, "I see some people on the porch, how many others do you have here?" I pushed the suggestion into his mind to tell me. I pitched my voice so that he thought I might simply be being shy among so many strangers

"Do not worry, there are simply security. I keep a couple of them." With that, he climbed out of the car and went to my side. Against, he grabbed my hands roughly and began dragging me towards the house. I could feel from their minds that they were Hollow Men. Their lack of facial expression made it quite clear what they were anyway and they wore the typical sunglasses which they almost always wore. Each was armed with a submachine-gun, an Uzi. I had a couple of ideas on how to deal with them but they would have to wait.

Stan told me as we entered the door, "I have a surprise I would like to show you in the basement." Hopefully the basement would be soundproofed. He dragged me over to a heavy appearing door and unlocked it. Roughly, he pushed me through the doorway and the door closed ominously behind him. He pushed me down the stairs. His expression changed from one of friendliness to cruelty. Obviously, the friendly act was at an end now that he thought he had me trapped.

The sight which greeted me at the bottom of the stairs was something to behold. The walls were bare concrete. Stocks, chains, plyers, and whips were they least of the stuff to be seen down here. There was an expensive camera as well. Obviously he liked to film what he did as well. There were signs of dried blood on the floor. This was his play room. The term dungeon might actually fit better.

He grabbed my hands and tried to twist them behind my back. He was extremely surprised when I reversed the grip and twisted so that his hands were behind his back instead. He appeared to work out but was no match for a Wampyr. I whispered back, "I think you chose the wrong girl this time, Stan!" As he turned his head to look at me, I smiles and allowed my long canines to show.

I heard him gulp and then, "What do you want?" The fear on his face was quite obvious. He was a monster who had likely raped and killed dozens of women yet was a coward deep inside. I guess I was a bit blood thirsty because I enjoyed his fear immensely.

"All I want is information. I promise that if you answer my questions truthfully that you will live through my questioning. If you don't, well..." Focusing psychic suggestion on him so he would believe me and would answer my questions. I allowed the silence to get oppressive before speaking again. It would be interesting how I could keep my promise to him. There was no way I would allow him to do this to another woman. If I had found a member of the company that just wanted to have what most of us would consider a good time, I would have been much more gentle and persuasive. Stan deserved whatever he got.

"You will tell about how many girls you have done this too." I asked while twisting his arm to the point where it just about dislocated. I heard what sounded like bones crunching. This was obviously not police approved techniques.

"I, ah, twenty eight," he replied. His breathing sounded like he was about to puke from the pain. Apparently he had no tolerance for pain himself.

Near the doorway was a set of chains and manacles. I dragged him over to where the bondage devices were and locked his left wrist in one. It shut with a heavy click. "Well, I have to let you know that I am likely not as good at torture as you are so I am more likely to break stuff than you are." With that, I closed the second manacle around his left wrist. I note that they were a bit tight. Obviously, they were meant for someone a bit smaller.

It was time for the real questioning to begin. "I am interested to know the security at the ABR building? First question is how many security personnel are in the building at night?" He just stared at me, not being willing to answer. Fine. I stepped back a pace and began pressing a foot in his groin, "I asked you a question."

"Sixteen, sometimes twenty." come out from behind the pain.

Continuing to press my food into this groin, I stated, "Isn't it a good thing that you sound proofed the basement? Now, what are they? Are they humans, dopplegangers, Hollow Men, or something else? Are there any Hounds?"

After a moment he responded, "No Hounds. About half are Hollow Men. The rest could be either humans or dopplegangers."

"So tell me, why are there no Hounds?" was the next question I asked.

"Well, they are summoned when needed. The company president, Mr Prince, brings them in when needed." was his response.

"So what is needed to get access to the building?" I asked next. He seemed reluctant to answer. I planted a quick kick on his right knee and was rewarded by a loud scream. The leg was at a twisted angle and would need major reconstructive surgery for him to walk on it again. Tears were in his eyes.

"Alright! Alright! All employees have to have an I.D. card to gain entrance into the building. There is a key pass scanner which unlocks the doors. Right inside is a pair of security officers, usually human, who then visually check people as they enter."

"Do you know where the new project is being kept? The work gathering information about other Nightlords and their minions." I asked next.

"I...They will kill me if they find out I told you." He responded.

I grabbed his left arm, held is steady, and broke his ring and pinky fingers, "So what do you think I am going to do if you don't answer my questions?"

He looked into my eyes and gulped. "Mr Prince keeps it in his office."

"Now, how do I get into Mr Prince's office?"

"I, I don't know." I gave him a violent look. He continued, "You can only enter his office if he allows you in. You have to invited. He only invites people for special meetings, to either reward of punish. He rarely leaves either."

Night Princes could be quite paranoid beings. I had some ideas on how to get through security although getting to his office would be tricky.

Questioning had taken longer than I initially expected. I had him draw a complete set of floor diagrams for the building which where crude but still usable. Twisting his arm until it popped did not help his ability to write and draw. As I promised, I left Stan alive. Still, with his left arm broken, his other one badly twisted, both legs broken, and still chained to the wall, he would not be raping and murdering any more women anytime soon. Several fingers were also broken and I had craved the word "Rapist" on his forehead and "Murderer" in his chest with a knife I had found among his 'toys.' It was something that I never would have done when I had been a police officer and even doing it to this kind of scum hurt inside. It felt wrong but I needed answers and I did not have time to be gentle. It was tempting to feed and if I had not earlier, I would have.

Still, there had been plenty of time to search his house. Obviously he was well paid for selling out humanity. In searching his home, I found his safe which contained over ten thousand dollars and several hundred thousand dollars worth of jewelry. He was happy to give me the combination. Some might have come from his victims but I had to suspect that he was robbing the houses he was suppose to guard. Call me a thief if you want but I have often been forced to rob to survive since becoming what I am. I preferred to rob from those who were criminals themselves. It is not like I can keep a steady job and early an honest income.

As well as having a huge amount of money, Stan had an incredible gun collection. Most were Glock nine millimeter pistols but he had a nice .45 Colt 1911 pistol which I decided to keep for myself. I have never really liked Glock pistols although many people seem to really like them. I would have prefer a Smith and Wesson over the Colt but I still preferred the Colt over a Glock. There was also a nice collection of heavier weapons in his armory as well including a half dozen fully automatic AK-47 rifles and Uzi submachine-guns. Even before the Preserver Party took over the government, such weapons had been illegal. He had a huge amount of ammunition for all of his weapons. Since the Preserver took over the government, it has been harder and harder to get ammunition. Finally, he even had several sets of body armor which could in quite handy.

Once I had disposed of the two Hollow Men, I loaded all of the supplies into his SUV. It was an overpriced model, a Lexus, but still very nice. He seemed to always buy the best and most expensive. The Hollow Men and the bugs inside were easy to dispose of and I hid the bodies inside of the house. The only trick was to take both of them without them being able to report what happened. It is always best to cover your tracks as much as possible. Any bodily remnants I leave tend to evaporate under direct sunlight so I don't have to worry too much about trace evidence. I am already wanted but still caution is always a good idea. Hopefully it would be several days before anyone checks on him. Depending on how much a disruption we caused at the company officers, it might even be longer than that.

I got back into the city just before sunrise. There was an old abandoned garage which I had scouted out earlier near our new hiding place. It was the perfect place to stash the SUV and most of the weapons. Before locking the vehicle, I grabbed the money, jewelry, pistols, and most of the pistol ammunition. They all fit into a backpack which I had also found in his home.

Instead of going back to the abandoned hotel, we had agreed on renting a motel room on the outskirts of the city. It was a fairly cheap one but at least it would mean hot water and clean towels. I got to the door to our shared room just as the sun was peaking up from a pair of hills. It burned my exposed skin but unlike a true vampire, I can survive short periods in sunlight. I am weaker in sunlight but even fairly light shade will allow my regeneration to allow me to heal. Thomas opened the door almost as soon as I knocked on the door. Obviously he had been waiting for me to return and thought I saw concern on his face.

It was good to get out of the sunlight and even better when Thomas wrapped his arms around me.

The motel room only had two beds and very little privacy for any of us. Still, it was clean. I had thoughts about sneaking into the bathroom with Thomas for a little while but it did not look like it would work that way. All three Nightbane had been awake and waiting for me when I had returned. I had to tell them all what had happened while I had been with Stan. At least they let me take a shower first. The hot water had felt wonderful. Borg stated openly that he thought I should have just killed Stan and the other two seemed to agree. To be honest, I had thought about it myself.

I had handed each of my new companions a Glock along with several magazines. Both Thomas and Borg seemed to know how to use the pistols but the Bride did not seem to be very familiar with one. I tried to show her the basic as best I could but she would need practice before I would feel confident with her ability to handle the weapon. Borg seemed very interested in the heavier weapons inside the SUV as well. I did not see any way which we could carry them into the office building. We would need to ditch the SUV later on and find a less conspicuous vehicle. I was think either an older truck or van. I had also carefully pulled out the drawings which I had Stan create for me and we discussed a long time about the layout of the building and how we would gain entrance.

Finally the younger Nightbane went to sleep or at least pretended to. Thomas and I just talked for a while. I found out that he had been married six times during his life but each had died. He had married regular humans each time. I wondered how a person could survive inside when those around you keep dying from the relentless press of time. If my battles did not kill me, I would have to worry about that myself. I had heard of Wampyres who were as old as the older Nightbane although I had never met one.

After we had talked about him, Thomas asked me, "So how do feel about becoming a Wampyr?" It was something which I had thought about a lot but no one had ever actually asked me about it. In some ways I was still coming to terms with it. When I did not answer right away he stated, "You don't have to answer if you do not want to!"

"No, I don't mind. Just give me a few minutes to collect my thoughts?" I responded. Thomas nodded his head. A bit shaky I started with, "Since being a little girl, I always wanted to be a cop. I always wanted to right the wrongs and protect the innocent. I never was able to make detective. I guess I might have been too pushy about it. Since Dark Day, I was just scared. There were monsters I just could not fight. I did not know what they were but I knew that they were there. As a Wampyr, I can fight these things. Someone has to and at least I can now. Sometimes the strength as a Wampyr is nothing short of incredible. The ability to survive what would have been a death wound before I changed."

A few seconds later I continued with, "I am not extremely bitter but sometimes it feels like I lost something. I can never live as a normal person again." Echoing my earlier thoughts, I stated, "Since becoming a Wampyre, I have never had a home. I have been running from place to place since then."

He came up to me and began hugging me. I doubt we could keep our secret unknown from our companions at this rate. When I was in the police force, I always knew who was sleeping with whom. I felt myself crying and rubbed my index finger under my eye. There was a slight stain of red on it. Blood! Blood defined my life now. Thomas stated, "I understand. Just remember that you are not alone. I am with you."

Maybe what I really needed was someone. I had been alone ever since I had become a Wampyr. We just stayed wrapped around each other and fell asleep. Not alone at least for today.

It was time to test if all of our preparation would work. Each of us were dressed in the uniform of the ABR security company. While the uniforms were manufactured in Mexico, a local business sewed the patches on the uniforms. It was easy to simply steal four uniforms from there. There was a tendency that if you looked like you belonged that people would assume that you belonged. The uniform would help with that. I also had decided to wear the blond wig which I had used yesterday.

We had taken Stan's SUV and had parked in next to the office building. It had all the proper stickers so it would not be towed. Depending on how the infiltration of the building went, we might use it to escape as well. After that, it would be time to ditch it though. Thomas told me that they had a Ford Bronco hidden in an abandoned warehouse about ten miles outside of the city.

I also had Stan's key card and planned to use it to get inside the building. The main system recorded the key card but the information was not transmitted to the guard station inside the door. The building was daunting for some reason. It was the normal steel and glass structure but there just seemed to be something different about. Maybe it was what I knew was inside.

The card was in my hand and I passed it through the scanner. The lights on the scanner turned form red to green and the door opened with a slight whooshing sound. The glass looked extremely thick as if it was armored. I stepped through with my three Nightbane companions behind me. Not just Thomas but the other two seemed to be more trusting of me as well. Of course is was embarrassing that Thomas and I woke up together with the two of them watching us.

The Bride, who told me to call her Becky in her human form, had cast a spell on each of our pistols so that they would be more effective against hounds and other supernatural servants of the Nightlords. She said that the enchantment would only last for twelve hours but we should be long gone before then. I carried the Colt pistol in a holster on my side and the other three had the Glocks which I had acquired for them. My MAC 10 submachine-guns would likely draw too much attention and Borg could not carry any of the AK-47 rifles for the same reason. The pistols were to be expected from the security guards and would not be suspicious.

Just after the door was the main guard station. Two people sat there, a man and a woman, dressed in the same uniforms we were in. They might have been human or their might have been dopplegangers, it is almost impossible to tell which they were. The guards looked at us with some interest but no real concern. Obviously, they did not recognize us and they wondered who we were. Of course, there were always new hires so it was impossible to everybody. All security companies have high turnovers. That was true everywhere.

Avoiding them would be stupid so instead I headed straight for them. "Hi, my name is Cindy Smith, I have to pick up some radios and other equipment. These three are with me. Yes, we know where we need to get them." With that, I put my psychic energies into suggesting that we were normal employees and not to detain us. If it did not work, we would have a firefight right here. Each were armed with Uzi submachine-guns, it seemed to be a popular weapon with this company. They were wearing body armor while we were not. I was not sure how common it was.

Still, my psychic persuasion seemed to work and they simply nodded their heads. We headed for the nearest elevator. Thomas pressed the button for the third floor. It was comforting when the doors closed and we were out of their sight. That was were the radios were kept according to what Stan had told me. The plan was to take the stairs up to the top floor where Mr Prince's office was.

There was no one when we got off the elevator and slipped into the stairwell. Everything went fine until the tenth floor. We were climbing up the stairwell when we met a set of guards patrolling the building. There were human, or dopplegangers, not Hollow Men. Like with the guards at the door, I tried to convince them that we belonged through psychic suggestion but found out that one of them was a psychic. She detected what I was trying to do. She drew her weapon and suddenly four Uzi submachine-guns were pointed at us and we were being told to get on the ground. One of the guards was reaching for his radio to report what was happening.

It would take several moments for the Nightbane to transform so it would be up to me to distract the attackers. We had not discussed it but I knew that it was how the situation would work. I was tough but bullets still could hurt or kill. Normal bullets will simply bounce off the hide of a true vampire. That is not a gift I inherited when transformed into a Wampyr but it is extremely hard to hurt with normal metal weapons including bullets. Of course, holy water does not effect me and sunlight does not burn me as quickly as it does a true vampire so I think the situation breaks even.

I caught them by surprise by charging the woman and getting inside her guard before she could fire. My fist took her hard in her jaw but even with strength, she did not drop instantly. She tried to bring around the Uzi but I was able to block the barrel and a second punch to the face knocked her down. She was pretty tough for a human actually. I don't know if before I became a Wampyr that I could take two his like that either.

Suddenly one of the guards opened fire on me with a short burst from his Uzi. The sound of the weapon echoed incredibly loudly through the stairway. There was no way I could dodge and was hit by his burst. The rounds staggered me although I would heal in time if we won this fight. A normal human would be badly hurt or dead from the burst. At least it appeared that they were paying attention to me instead of my companions. I was on him before he could fire again. With a punch to his gut, he doubled over. Likely the blow had at least cracked ribs. While he was still stunned, I grabbed him and threw him down the stairs.

Not wasting any time, Thomas has transformed into Kodiak while I had been fighting. A claw almost ripped one of the guards in half. There is no way that these guards did not know what actually went on. I could feel no mercy for them as a result. The Borg had finally transformed into his Nightbane form and finished off the last of the guards with a punch of a bionic appearing fist.

There was no way to know if the one with the radio got his warning out but it was best to expect that either he did or that someone had heard the shots. The stairway might be soundproof but it might not be either. I grabbed a pair of Uzi submachine-guns and started running up the stairs. Uzi submachine-guns are not favorite choice but this was no time to be choosy. Our only chance would be to get to the top floor before guards started reacting. Borg also grabbed the remaining submachine-gun. The fourth had gone down the stairwell with the guard I had tossed down there.

Running full out for me is about equal to an Olympic runner but with virtually unlimited endurance. There are definite advantages of being a Wampyr. My bullet wounds were also healing but it would likely take a few minutes. I looked back periodically but Thomas and the others were both keeping up with me. They had decided to stay in their Nightbane forms.

Suddenly a door opened and a guard drew his submachine-gun. Before the guard could fire, I fired a burst out of both of the Uzi submachine-guns which I had acquired from the last batch of guards. He spun away from the impact and the door closed behind him. There was no way to know if he was alive or dead. I simply continued running.

It was not until we almost reached the top floor that we ran into stiff resistance. Eight of them. From their appearance and lack of facial expression they were Hollow Men. Actually, half of them were male in form and the other half were female in form. They were tougher than normal humans but not as tough as a Hound. Suddenly, a submachine-gun sprayed and I jumped over the rail and down the stairs to the next level to avoid being hit. Thomas and the others stopped at the same time. We did not have much time before reinforcement would be climbing the stairs behind us and trap us. Problem was that they would chew us to pieces with their submachine-guns if we just charged.

Becky whispered, "I will cast a spell which creates a powerful blinding light. As soon as it goes off, we all charge the guards and attack." I nodded my head and saw that Thomas and Borg both nodded their heads in agreement as well. She counted down with her fingers and at one, we covered our eyes. The bright light could be seen even with my eyes closed.

I knew what I had to do and charged the Hollow Men while they were still blinded. Caught one with a long burst from both of my weapons. The one which I targeted went down and the bug broke out from its human shaped cocoon. I wish I had time to stomp it but several of the Hollow Men sprayed at us as we charged but most of the rounds did not come close although a single round struck me in the thigh. It slowed me down a bit but I continued to charge.

While still charging, I aimed at a second Hollow Man and let loose with the Uzi submachine-guns. This one also went down under the hail of nine millimeter rounds. I heard another submachine-gun go off and saw the Borg spraying it against the Hollow Man he was attacking. It took a second burst for his target to get shredded to the point where the bug decided to abandon its cocoon as well.

The odds at this stage were far better than they had been previously. It was now only five against our four. I took the closest with a kick which I threw all my strength against him. The kick knocked the creature down but not out. Down on one knee from the kick, I sprayed a long burst against him with the Uzi in my left hand. The weapon locked open on an empty chamber.

Thomas had entered close melee range and was doing an excellent job shredding one of the Hollow Man. The Borg was punching at his opponent and seemed to be slowly winning his battle. Finally Becky had drawn a long bladed dagger and was fighting the fourth Hollow Man. It might be made from the same material as a Dark Blade from its appearance. She had gotten a pair of good stabs into the creatures chest but it had only suffered minor damage so far. I could only wonder why she had not used it when she was fighting the hounds the day before yesterday.

It was only moments after I had finished off my third opponent that Thomas finished off his opponent. He turned on the final remain Hollow Man which was undamaged while I turned to help Becky. It appeared that Borg was doing pretty well against his opponent and would not need any help. Becky actually was doing pretty well herself but I wanted to finish the fight as quickly as possible. I punched the creature in the lower back as she drove the blade into its chest yet again just a moment later.

Not allowing it to draw back, I grabbed the Hollow Man and she pulled the blade through where the sternum would be in a human and up to the things neck. Suddenly the head of the shell ripped away and the creature tried to escape. A stomp of my foot prevented it from getting very far.

All the other Hollow Men were down. I grabbed one of their Uzi submachine-guns and a few clips of ammo and continued running up the stairs. The only hope was that we could reach the Night Prince before he could fully prepare.

We made it. Nothing else had blocked our way in our made rush up the stairs. It was a bit surprising but we had not had to fight anyone else on the top floor as we headed for the Night Prince's office. This top floor was incredibly richly appointed. Obviously, the Night Prince enjoyed his money and power. The door to his office was in front of us. It looked like solid wood and likely cost a fortune. On the door was the name "Mr Prince" written in black on a gold plaque.

I motioned for both to stop and I quickly changed out the magazines in both of my Uzi submachine-guns for new ones. The old ones were not empty but I doubted there would be time to reload once the fight had begun.

I quickly went to one side of the door. Thomas stood beside me with the other two Nightbane on the other side of the door. Pressed flat against the wall, I tried the door handle. It was unlocked. Now this made me nervous. I flung open the door.

From inside the room came a strong voice, "Enter, I have been expecting you!" I looked at Thomas who just shrugged. What could be done. I stepped out from behind the wall. I started walking into the room. I could hear that my Nightbane companions were doing the same thing.

If I had thought the rest of the top floor was opulent, his office was incredible. In the back of the room was a huge framed painting of the current president of the United States. The carpet was literally so deep that you could sink into it. Still that was not what truly caught my attention. Seated behind an oak desk was a older looking man dressed in an expensive business suit. Like I had been told by Thomas about Night Princes, he appeared completely human and was quite handsome. On the desk was a horror which stunned me for a moment. On the desk was a small child chained. I figured she was four or five. The child was dressed in a white dress and was chained to the desk with think iron chains. In the man's, or better the Night Prince's, hand was a dagger at the girls throat. There was no one else in the room.

"Drop the guns or the girl dies." is what he said next. I knew that the girl was going to be killed no matter what I did but did not know what to do. I threw down both submachine-guns. Maybe there would be a better chance if I just stalled for time. A moment later, I knew that the thought was foolish. He waved his hand and twenty guards appeared in the room to either side.

"You can do many things with illusion including keeping a whole army invisible." His voice was gloating. Glancing out of the corners of my eyes, I saw that half appeared to be Hollow Men and the other half appeared to be either normal humans or dopplegangers. Each were armed with submachine-guns just like I had dropped. They were all pointed at us. I did not see anyway we could fight them. Still, were they illusion or reality. They looked real to me but how could I tell for sure.

I suddenly heard chanting behind me and the guards fired their submachine-guns. The guards all disappeared as if they had never been. They had been illusion and Becky had negated the massive illusion. The girl chained to the desk was also an illusion, no more real than the guards. She disappeared along with the guards.

I could feel my canines lengthening in anger and made a jump for the desk which he was behind. He jumped back from the desk and suddenly there were five of him instead of just one. Then suddenly there were ten. Which one was really him? In each of their hands were two handed curved swords. The blades appeared to be over six feet long. One of the figures swung his razor sharp curved blade at me which I was able to jump out of the way just in time. It had been aimed straight at my neck and with his strength behind it could have been deadly even for me.

He could simply produce more and more illusions of himself, making it impossible to fight him. Even Becky negating his illusions would not stop him from producing more. She also needed to save some magic for our escape. It was impossible to tell by smell which one was really him, the illusion even included smell. Suddenly, I had an idea. Thomas had said nothing about a Night Prince being psychic. I opened up my empathy and only one of the figures had any emotions to be felt. The emotions were as vile as anything I had ever felt and made me feel greasy just from the. That was him. I knew who to attack.

I dived under a second sword swing and round house kicked him in the side, catching the Night Prince by surprise. He did stumble for a moment but quickly recovered and I had to dodge another sword swing. It would only be a matter of time until he got a telling blow with his sword. I had no way of blocking the huge weapon. I have always preferred to use my gun than a sword even though I had taken martial arts. The other were engaged in fighting his illusions. It was just me against him.

When he swung the sword again, I dove back and drew the Colt 1911 and fired a double tap into his chest. I hoped the enchantment which Becky had put on the weapon was still active and had not been dispelled when she had negated the illusions. He charged me while I was still on the ground in an attempt to force me against a wall. Jumping back again, I fired a second double tap at him. This time he was able to dodge my rounds and a pair of holes were blown in the wall behind him next to the picture of the President.

He tried to charge and I fired again at him, missing again. It is extremely hard to aim a pistol when someone is swinging a six foot sword at you. Fighting a sword in close quarters is extremely difficult. I knew I only had two more rounds and I would need to reload after that. It was very unlikely he would give me the time to reload. It would also be nice to have something like a PR-24 which I could use to parry that damn blade.

He stabbed with the heavy blade and I was unable to dodge it this time. It took me in the chest and penetrated into my lung. No normal sword, even backed with his supernatural strength could have hurt me so bad. If I had been human, I would have been dead. Instead, I was only badly hurt and damn it hurt. There were definite advantages of being a Wampyr. It would mend in time. The blade stuck for just a moment and I fired the last two rounds into him, catching him right in the neck almost decapitating him. The pistol slide locked back with the final round. The other four figures simply disappeared.

I grabbed at the sword and pulled with all of my strength. It hurt like I cannot describe and I screamed from the pain put at least I was able to get it out. I used it to prop myself up. My lung was knitting and I would survive. This enchantment which Becky put on my pistol was incredibly effective. I had to wonder if there was a way of doing it permanently. I drew a ragged breath and loaded a fresh magazine into the 1911. It was difficult to do while using the sword to stand up. I fired a whole magazine into him to make sure he did not get up and reloaded again.

We were not done, we still needed to find the records of the Night Prince. Suddenly, Thomas noticed how bad I was hurt and ran over to were I was standing, propped up against the wall using the sword as a brace. "How bad is it," came his first words.

The pain made it hard for me to get the words out but I managed, "I will recover." That simple act of talking caused me to cough up blood. He grabbed my arm holding the sword and helped me walk to the center of the room, grabbing the sword up with his other hand as if it had no weight to it. Normally I could as well but not at the moment.

Thomas looked carefully at the sword and stated, "I recognize the sword. It originally belonged to a Nightbane named Nara but she was killed soon after Dark Day. No one knew what happened to her sword but it is believed to have been forged from several Dark Blade and then further enchanted by a powerful Sorcerer." I glanced over to him but could not see any emotion in his bear face.

I had no real skill with a sword and the weapon would do me little good. My breathing had improved and I no longer bled from my mouth as I spoke, "If you want the sword, I would like that someone with some interest in the weapon would take it instead of me." Thomas just nodded his head.

While I had been recovering, The Borg and Becky had been shredding the room, looking for the files. They pulled all the cabinets from his desk. Without luck, they were drawn to the two others doors in the room other than the door which we entered through. Obviously he did not hide the files in his main office.

The Borg opened the first one. The room was incredible with the walls papered in what looked like gold. There was an expensive canopied bed which appeared that it might be a genuine antique. Obviously the Night Prince loved his luxuries. Thomas stayed with me but the other two Nightbane ripped up that room as well and had as little luck as they had in the first room.

They then went to the third room. The door was looked unlike the other room. The Borg was getting ready to punch the door but Becky simply walked up to the door and pressed on the lock and she mumbled a few words. Magic words because just a moment later, a click was heard from it. As the door opened, I could see that it was quite substantial. Maybe he kept the records here. Unfortunately the records were not in there, it was something far worse.

Like Stan, the Night Prince had his own private torture chamber. The walls and floor were bare concrete and the ceiling appeared to be thick steel plate. One the sides of the room were cages with thick steel mesh lining the walls. In the center of the room was a heavy steel chair which had various restraints and stuff that I did not even known what it was. There was a naked woman's body in the chair and around the chair was a pool of blood which had partially dried. It was obvious that she was dead.

I was staring at the chair when I heard a moan from one of the cells. There were still prisoners in here. A face could be seen in the bars and the woman, at least I guessed it was a woman, looked frightened out of her mind. Suddenly I realized that my canines were still elongated from the stress of battle. As well, my three companions were not what anyone could consider normal. I had recovered a bit and could at least walk reasonably well on my own now.

There was only one thing I could think to do. It works far better on those that are willing but I can induce sleep in others. I locked eyes with her and slowly willed her to sleep. I was eventually rewarded with her eyes slowly closing and her slumping to the bare concrete. Like the dead woman in the chair, she was completely naked. I was about to unlatch the door but Thomas beat me to it, ripping the heavy mesh door right off its hinges with the tortured sound of steel shredding. He then picked up the woman. She was emaciated and I had no idea what we could do with her. Still, we had to take her out of this place.

It was obvious that this room did not contain the files we were looking for and we went back into the office. Maybe the documents were on another floor. I found myself looking at the picture of the president on the back wall. The Preserver party. How I hated the party. How I hated him. A blackheart who had destroyed the country. I wondered what he was. A Nightlord probably. Suddenly I wondered, what was behind the painting? I limped over to where the painting hung and pulled it off the wall. I was right! There was a safe behind the painting. So obvious we had almost missed it.

Becky was beside me in a flash and laying her hands on the dials to open the safe. After her mumbling a few words, the locks suddenly clicked. She grabbed the handle and pulled the safe open. In it were many folders which Becky immediately grabbed the top one. She looked inside and locked eyes with me for just a moment before nodding her head. They were what were looking for! We could finally get out of here!

There was some money in the safe which I stuffed as much as I could quickly into my pockets. It would get added to the money which I had stolen from Stan. Hopefully between the money I had stolen over the last few days, I could make survival just a bit easier. I ran for the Night Prince's sleeping chambers and grabbed a blanket to wrap the girl in. The spell should last for an hour and depending on how exhausted she was, might last far longer.

The plan for escape was simple although we would need to get to the windows. As we reached the window, a van pulled in front of the door and a group of figures ran into the door. These were armed with M-4 combat rifles and appeared to be wearing heavy body armor. I looked around carefully at the places where SWAT might have put snipers and I did not see anyone. I had tried out for SWAT while I was a police officer but it was incredibly difficult for a woman to get into them. Still as a result of trying to get into SWAT, I knew a bit about them. I also did not see anyone outside the building guarding for potential escapes. Most likely they wanted to keep it quiet. Thomas smashed out the window and Becky cast a spell at us on at a time with Thomas carrying the sleeping girl. As soon as the spell was cast, I jumped. At first, I fell quickly but slowed down as I got closer to the ground.

We ran for Stan's SUV before anyone figured out what we had done.

I have always been a city girl but I have to admit the country can be a lot of fun. Thomas knew of a safe house which we could hide for a while. It was an old farm house which somehow had survived the calamities which had driven most farmers out of business. It took us the better part of two days to get there and had to cross several state lines. I drove during the day and laid covered by a thick tarp to protect myself from the sunlight during the day.

We ditched the Lexus at the same warehouse where Thomas had stored his Bronco. It would have been foolish to drive such a recognizable vehicle. If anyone remembered the vehicle, they could figure out are destination. The building was crumbling and had been long abandoned. The tan Bronco was a bit beat up but was otherwise in good shape.

The man who runs the farm was a Nightbane who was an old friend, and I mean old friend, of Thomas. They appear to have known each other since around the time of the Civil War although did not seem to have seen each other in a few years. His wife was Sorceress who had come up with some kind of magic to make the farm invisible to the Nightlords and their minions. I tried to listen in on her emotions only to be blocked. She was not a Nightbane and he mind did not seem to be that of a human. It had a slight alien feeling about it in the brief time before she blocked me. She never said anything to me about it and was somehow able to somehow help the girl who we had rescued. The girl is presently working on the farm.

Our hosts seemed surprisingly unconcerned about me. They know what I am and did not seem to care. They set me up a small room in the basement. The walls were a bit on the plain side but the room was quite comfortable as well as beings dark and cool. The first morning was wonderful. Thomas joined me in my basement room and we made love. If anything it was even better than the first time. It began with a slow tender kiss and proceeded from there. Of course, we did not have to worry about others walking in on us. It seemed that we made love for hours, slowly exploring each other's bodies. We collapsed together, completely exhausted. It would have been impossible to keep it secret for the others so we just went ahead and told them. From their expressions, it was obvious that they already knew. So much for secrets.

I know that soon I will have to go back to fighting but it is nice to have a reprieve. I have been doing little but running and fighting since I became a Wampyr and I know now that I was close to the ragged edge. I hope Thomas is with me when I leave. I don't know if it is 'True Love' but I want him and he wants me. At least for now, that is enough.

[ Nightbane® is a registered trademark owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc.]

By Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2006, Kitsune. All rights reserved.