Karin: Homo Sapiens Nocturni
The three stood outside the abandoned factory in New York City. It had been a long trail to that place. The time had finally come for the 11 of the 12 remaining households to fall. He was still contemplating what to do with the one household that seemed to want to live in peace, and he was not sure if he should let them stand or not. They still were what they were, and he never really trusted them or that half of himself. In the past seven months, the hunting down of the households had been an interesting trek, but as time passed, an easier and easier one. What was worse was that none of the three there could figure out why it was becoming so, yet, indeed it was. By the time they reached this point, only three houses remained, and the 20 or so of the House Cathong had been chased from Detroit to that point. Now was the time to finish this. "Are you ready Crystal?" he said, looking over to the undead that had managed to fight her primal instincts and retain her humanity.
"For Zach, and for what they did to me, I could not be more ready!" Crystal responded as she locked and loaded her M-8 with the special rounds. He then looked to his left at Shin and said, "Keep enough ammunition on you, and remember to anticipate their moves."
"Will do, chief," Shin responded, and prepared the combination .50 caliber Desert Eagle and a device he had invented for the task at hand. He then took a low tone, firm and harsh, and said, "Let's do this!"
With that, Blade kicked open the door and Crystal immediately started to lay down suppressive fire. As she did, the two undead at the door began to glow and dissolve into ash as the garlic laden rounds found their marks. Quickly and systematically they moved from room to room, looking for their targets. As they did, they were being watched.
Ever since they found out the existence of the households of undead, being run by some so-called pure blood vampires, (which were, in reality, the child of two undead who used their blood to activate their sexual organs enough to birth a vampire child, and a comparably powerful one at that,) they had been on the hunt. Once the empress found out about them, what they did, and what they meant to the future, she gave the immediate order to have them eliminated. She sent the seven best that she had to deal with it. They had not seen action like this for five years, but they had always been ready for the fight. They called themselves Die Kaiserenhand—The Empress' Hand—and they were the deadliest combination of fighters their world had to offer. As they started their assault, they discovered all about this world that, somehow, had managed to keep itself hidden from their world as much as they had done with themselves and the rest of the planet. However, things had changed, and a symbiosis was now forming between humans and they, into which the world of Homo sapiens nocturni could finally find peace, and a way to be a benefit to the world at large. Now that they knew what had caused the myths all those centuries, they could put and end to it forever. However, what became interesting to one of them was the discovery of another group that felt they had a vested interest in doing as they had been doing. He had always heard rumors of another dhampir moving around, and what he could do, but he had always written them off as rumors. Yet, now he stood below them, aiding them in their task unknowingly. Still, he did not know how long it would be before they crossed paths, and he figured that, considering one of those "pure bloods" were there, he may just have to announce himself. "What do you think," asked the elder woman beside him, "Do we move in?"
"Not yet," he said, "Let him move in and deal with things. If it gets hot, we jump in."
"Is that wise, big brother?" said the younger female.
"It will be fine," he answered, "Let's just tail him, but have weapons ready."
All the vampires charged their FL-FAN and prepared to attack, while all the humans readied their AK-47, all weapons being charged with garlic laden rounds. They loved the fact that it could kill them so easily. "Are you ready?" asked Jean-Claude.
"Achtung, Baby!" they all responded, and followed the trio down the hall.
As they went, they found maybe two more, and quickly eliminated them, and this they did not like. It should not be that easy! "Blade, you know what's up!" warned Shin.
"They're leading us to a central location, I know," said Blade, "But we are fighting on their ground, so they choose the place of the last stand—not the way I want it."
Soon, they were in the main manufacturing area, and it was spacious, with a high ceiling, and much in the way of old, nonfunctioning factory gear of chains, empty vats, and conveyors that had not operated for 16 years, and probably would not move if you begged them to. However, for what they needed to do, it meant a ton of obstacles and many hiding places. In other words, it was the perfect place for an ambush. All three of them felt as exposed as the entered, knowing they could be hit from every angle. Shin had good instincts, and began to feel the movement coming in as she shifted position and opened fire on two undead descending on them. They quickly dissolved, but more were on the move. They fired several stray rounds, but they could not get a bead on the target. Blade and Crystal kept on the move, but it was hard to dodge their return fire. The undead had similar rounds to what they were using, but for Crystal, any wound would be fatal. Blade would ignore it, but Shin was toast like any other human. Yet, it was odd. Instead of being chewed up, they felt like they were being herded. Soon, the three were back to back, and the action slowed. They ended up surrounded by about 17 undead, and then a door opened. In walked in a man who was about 6'10" in height that looked big and mean. In his arms was a girl that looked no more than 12 years old, but, in all honesty, was centuries old. She was what they would have called a pure blood, but, for some reason, she liked retaining this image. She was carried because she figured that she should not walk if she did not have to. "Hans, that's far enough," she said, and he set her down. "Blade, I am disappointed in you," said the girl, "I cannot believe that you walked into this."
"You have to do what you have to do," Blade said, "Even if it means this, Cassandra."
"Too bad, though," Cassandra said with a sigh, "I was hoping for more than this, because, if you took care of them, I know I always have Hans. However, the first thing I want to do is watch you watch your good human friend suffer for every single one of us he destroyed."
With a motion of her finger, three of the undead began to approach. It was then that the other set of eyes were ready to pounce. With a shout of "NOW," a bad night was about to descend for House Cathong.
The undead were detecting the swift movement, but they were not ready for what happened next. Very loud automatic fire was flying, and quite accurate. The rounds were finding the undead, but not coming near the three in the center. Hans was moving swiftly to protect Cassandra, but he found a whole lot of Blade on top of him. Shin blew away the three that were moving at him, while Crystal was letting her M-8 sing, using her war experience do the talking for her. Things were moving so fast, it was hard to tell the intent of the newcomers. Crystal and Shin managed to take cover just as two of the newcomers dropped beside them. Next to crystal was a woman about 5'4', with purple colored brunette hair, wearing a leather unitard that fit tight on her, shoulder firing a high caliber assault rifle as if it were a sport .22. Crystal was about to shoot, but the newcomer screamed, "Keep firing, Crystal!"
For a moment, she was shocked that this girl knew her name, but then she saw the threat, and joined the fight. Meanwhile, next to Shin was a man in a ninja outfit from head to toe, complete with a utility belt and tonto, but with an AK-47 and clip sacks. He wanted to attack, but the man said, "Don't worry about me; worry about them!"
While this was going on, Blade was going hand to hand with Hans, and was, at first, having a time with him. Blade was good, fast, strong, and smart. He had face things like this before, but, with all the confusion around, but there was that momentary lapse of watching what was going on that made him miscalculate, and Hans got the better of him. As he hit the ground hard, Blade lost the sword that he was trying to draw—the sword made of the silver that was just as deadly as the garlic. Blade was trying to get his bearings when Hans moved in and was ready to finish off Blade. Just as he raised it up, a new face appeared with a swift kick to the chest. "You've tried him," said the large man who just arrived, and who was pulling out a saber, "Now play with me!"
By this point, all the undead were gone except for Hans, and Cassandra was looking around for help, but she was finding none. She then swung around to see a woman about 5'3" land as deftly in front of her as a gymnast, wearing a knee length pleated black skirt, black tights and sneakers, a black Cracker Jack top and black face scarf. He had a full head of calf length blonde hair with a slight lavender tint to it, tied back with a large black bow. She slung her FAN on her back mess style and pulled out a dragon headed katana which was colored black, and held it out before her. "Pure blood, eh?" she said in a confident, quiet voice, "No, my dear, you don't compare to the real thing from which your kind came, and who is a perversion of that. I don't like throwing around the term 'abomination' lightly, because this is what someone once called my big brother, and Blade. In truth, you are the abomination, the child of abominations. Your time has come, and you are extinct."
"Foolish child!" she thundered, "You are the one who is dead! You just haven't figured it out!"
With great speed and agility, she moved at Anjou, but she soon found that her opponent was just as fast, if not a hair faster. She sidestepped and put a foot into her backside, slamming her hard to the floor. She growled in rage, in that, no one in history had ever treated her like that before. Violence was a new thing to her, but that did not mean that she did not know what to do when she needed to do it. She turned to face the girl but she was not there. What was there was the girl's sword, and another in a unitard with a black face scarf brandishing a Toledo Salamanca broadsword stood before her. "We are not like you," she snarled, "and we shall not kill you without a fighting chance, unlike you, who would have slit our throats if you could. Pick that up and defend yourself!"
She did not need to be told twice, as she swiftly moved and took the blade, ready to fight.
Crystal and Shin moved in to help Blade and see if he was all right. While that was happening, Jean-Claude, (in his customary broad brimmed preacher's hat, black boots, trench coat, combat pants and scarf; wearing the black leather fingerless gloves and the Marines dress blue top underneath the trench coat,) was engaging Hans. Like a whirlwind, they clashed and struggled. Hans could not believe the ease with which his opponent was moving and attacking. Jean-Claude had managed a couple of cuts, but nothing of significance. Hans could not believe that he had been touched. However, he saw and opening and put a nice gash on his left thigh. Hans thought that this was it, and expected him to disintegrate right there before him. Yet, all that happened was that the gash healed quickly, and his opponent let out a growl. Hans could not believe it. Not even the best undead could heal like that. Only a pure blood could do that, and even then, it was limited. Jean-Claude moved in, but Hans deflected the blow. However, both swords flew out of their hands, but Jean-Claude did not skip a beat, moving in with a clothesline. Hans went tail over teat and landed hard. He was enraged, but he was up to the task. They began a hand to hand fight, but it seemed that Jean-Claude was the better trained of the two, seeming to combine four different styles with the ease of a 60 year old master. Hans was tall, big, and strong, but he did not know how to fight tall. Jean-Claude was about 13 inches shorter, weighed 320 lbs, but it was compact, and he looked like he weighed about 50 lbs lighter. He was a juggernaut, and Hans never faced anything like this before. He had fought other undead, but nothing like this. Hans began to get frustrated and tried a kick which he telegraphed badly. Jean-Claude gave him a leg sweep and dropped him on his back. When Hans turned over to try to get up Jean-Claude was on his back, locking him into a hold. About this time, Blade had gained his feet and he was retrieving his sword when he saw something he thought he never would see. He heard the stranger say, "You cost me blood, now you will know what it is like to have made people suffer in the way you have."
He then pulled down his scarf just enough to expose his mouth, and Blade was then shocked to see the fangs, which were longer than what he had ever seen on any other vampire. As Crystal and Shin came over, they were even more surprised to watch him bite Hans and drink heavily. Hans screamed, never having been violated like that before. He now wanted it to stop. Blade did not know if he should applaud, or kill the stranger with Hans. After about three minutes, he pulled out in delight, and then flung him at Blade, who then skewered Hans, turning him into a pile of undead slag.
Cassandra and Karin clashed, Cassandra finding that her instincts were serving her well. However this was not Hans, but her diminutive stature made her an even match for Karin. Karin had faced her own kind before, so she was deft at this, but she also knew she was fighting a scared and enraged opponent. Her opponent had, in one passage of time, watched what was left of her house perish around her, and she was the last. She was still defiant, saying, "As soon as I cut out your spleen and feast upon it, I shall destroy your friends and rebuild the house! You shall pay dearly!"
Karin had heard this before. She had come a long way from the scared and weak Fount of Psyche she had been. Fighting three wars, two over her, and being turned into a pure blood as she ought to have been had hardened her, Hondo's training helping much. She was now far savvier and more confident in whom and what she was; no longer the timid rabbit, but a killer she-wolf. Still, Cassandra had many years of experience, and she was giving Karin a fight. "Like I thought, you are no match for me!" snapped Cassandra, but Karin then said, "I have a few tricks up my sleeve!"
Seemingly out of nowhere came a cloud of bats to surround her. Anjou had taught her to control bats just like any other vampire, and she was putting hers to good use. Cassandra screamed and was calling foul, but Karin said, "It's all in the arsenal, honey, and if you really knew with what you deal, you would have allowed yourself to fry in the sun long ago. It's over!"
As Cassandra was seeing clear to make an attack on Karin, Karin was already on top of her. She found a Toledo Salamanca hilt deep in her chest, and her face went to that of rage to complete dread and loss. The bats moved away, and said, "Die you spawn of Hell!"
She shoved her boot into Cassandra's chest beside the sword, and in one move pulled it out and took off her head in a spinning move. In a flash of light and dust, the House of Cathong was no more.
As Blade was contemplating his next move, Jean-Claude moved to the center of the room and shouted, "Die Kaiserinhand!"
Six voices responded, "Achtung, Baby!"
They all gathered, (Karin, Anjou, Jean-Claude, Hondo, Vincent, Kenta, and Weiner,) and stared a short after actions review. "Well done, team!" said Jean-Claude, "Everything went as planned, and I don't see anything that we did wrong."
"Good thing we moved in when we did," added Kenta.
"Yeah, but now I am hungry!" said Wiener.
"There was plenty of greed around you, you should have pounced when you could," responded Vincent.
"He was too busy securing the perimeter," said Hondo, "But this is New York; I'm sure he can find something."
"Then let's get our feeds who needs them, and let's go for pizza!" stated Jean-Claude, and everyone cheered about that proposal.
Anjou then said, "We do have to cover our tracks, though."
"Good point, Muff," said Jean-Claude, "Let's save the city some time and money and torch the place. There's nothing around here it will catch, and it will get rid of some of the blight around here."
By this point, Jean-Claude already had his mask on, but Blade was getting ready to move in. To him, a vampire was a vampire, save for Crystal, and they all had to go. However, Jean-Claude just looked at him and said, "You three need to clear out quickly. I don't know how fast this will spread."
"Now just wait one minute!" Blade snapped, not willing that any of them would leave, but Jean-Claude raised his hand and said, "And you would kill the ones that saved your lives?"
That backed off Blade for a moment, and then he watched in amazement when five of them emitted what were essentially flame throwers as they set the place on fire. They then moved out with lightning speed, and Blade and Co. had no time to argue with them. When they made it outside, they looked for the seven, but they were gone. Once they were a safe distance, Crystal then asked, "Do you have any clue who they were?"
"Absolutely none!" said Blade, very frustrated.
"The guy that looked like a linebacker seemed like you, but nowhere near moody," said Shin smiling. Blade just looked at him, in no mood to be humorous. He just said, "There is one more household in New York. They'll be ecstatic that Cathong is gone, and they may stick their heads out for us long enough to have them chopped out. Start getting the contacts together, find out how and where they operate."
"Well, its house Amayah," said Shin, "You know they won't be an easy take!"
"Never would have expected it," said Blade, and then he turned to Crystal, and said, "In the meantime, I need you to find out who this Kaiserinhand is, find out how they're connected, see if they are apart of Amayah, or if they are independent. If they are some kind of house that is trying to form in the absence of things, they too need to be shut down! Shin, do you almost have the headquarters ready?"
"Right in the heart of the Bronx," said Shin, "It's so 'in the open' that it's invisible—just the way you like it!"
"Then get your rest because you have work to do," said Blade, "Meanwhile, you and I are going to find out who that was."
As they sat to pizza, they were now out of their disguises, looking more civilian and normal. As they ate, general banter started. "It's too bad Blade doesn't trust us," said Karin.
Jean-Claude sighed and said, "I know. Empress Sophia so wants him in the Clan, and to help his friends have a safe haven."
"From what I understand," said Hondo, "he trusts very few. Considering what I found out about his past, I can understand why."
"How do the other three feel?" asked Kenta.
"Duke Michael and Duchess Sheila said to go easy on him," said Anjou, "but Grand Duchess Kannon seems to think that he needs to meet the Clan in full so he knows that he has friends."
Wiener then said, "Sophia seems to agree with the Grand Duchess, and she also thinks that, if they are investigating, we need to feed him whatever information we can and give him the notion that we can be trusted. Sooner or later, we will have to fight side by side. The sooner he learns of true vampires, he may catch the vision, and do all he can to accelerate the Dream."
"A dream that's swiftly becoming a reality," added Vincent, "I mean, in Japan alone we have about 3,000 in the Clan, and back in Bangor they have about 100. They're mostly college students. However, some are in the ROTC program, and they may just spread things in the military."
"Well, there is our kind in there," said Jean-Claude, "and they have been in Japan, exposed to things. It's not like it's a secret amongst our kind, and if they hook up, there's no telling how fast it would spread."
Hondo then asked, "Well, what's left?"
"There are two households left," said Anjou, "There is the House Amayah, and House Lichen in Oregon."
"What do we know about them?" asked Vincent.
Jean-Claude thought for a moment, and said, "Well, Amayah, we need more information, but Lichen is interesting. They long ago swore off killing, and they have no one in charge that is their version of a pure blood. They would want to live in peace, and I think there is a chance to convert them."
"How would we do that?" asked Vincent.
"There are 100 pints of the fount blood left," said Karin, "I talked to daddy about this. There are only 55 of them left, and if we could turn them into pure bloods, it could rescue their house, and give them a chance. We have actually helped them indirectly, because they were being hunted before all this started. They represent how good things could be, and the other power hungry fools don't want that. Now that we have been at work, they have a chance. The loss of those 55 pints would hurt, but at the same time, with what we seek to do with them, they are exactly who we seek to rescue."
"Then let's get some rest and get to work first thing after sundown," said Jean-Claude, as they clanked their colas together, ready for the next challenge.