Reluctantly Iris opened her right hand to show Eddie the crescent nail imprints dug deeply into her skin with her blood still clotting. There hadn't been a huge amount spilled but enough to create the needed magic. Eddie nodded, and Charlotte gave him points for not licking his fangs. She saw they peeked out of his lips just a bit. The vampiric control needed to keep fangs in with so much magic dancing and sparking around the room where so much blood had been spilled was getting to them all. Glances around at her fellow vampires she saw longer than required canines for them all were becoming a problem. Charlotte knew that she wasn't the only one hiding her toothy smile.
"You have some power, witch-spawn." Eddie said while working his tongue around his incisors.
He wasn't strumming yet with full vampiric desire but he definitely was working to keep that in check -- as they all were. Charlotte knew that Eddie keeping his cool was helping them leash their inner hungers. If he went for Iris' jugular it would be a feeding frenzy in mere seconds, they were all stretched so tight. Old vampires in the midst of blood-driven frenzy tended to be epic in how many deaths could quickly occur. History had buried more than just the truth with time. Blood frenzies of vampires, contrary to Hollywood's portrayals of them, didn't bring a massive influx of new fledglings but shredded, mutilated, drained and torn very human corpses. Which was not nearly as lovely nor as cinematic as the movies would have the passive humans think. It wasn't like real vampires wanted to correct the mistaken views any time soon either, because it was safer that way for all involved. Humans weren't ready for vampires in any way other than deep in the night and in the shadows in the 'fictional' books and movies. Certainly not prime time at six with talking heads on the television discussing vampiric dietary needs and how best to handle the 'new' citizens.
Legs hissed out her anger softly while Kegs wrapped a large arm around her shoulders, supporting her while also not-so-casually holding her in place. She leaned against him and looked more than a bit confused by her own reactions. She didn't like not being in control of herself; Charlotte could tell. Kegs realized if Legs went fangs out for Iris or the two humans in front of Eddie there would be bad repercussions. Toby must have had the same thoughts because he was eyeing Legs as if checking for signs of stress and strain. And Charlotte figured he was also looking for how he could quickly take her down before she caused any more problems. She'd be more than happy to get his back if he needed any help with Legs. Hell, if the drama dragged on too long she might just take the initiative and snap Legs into her reality. A girl could dream -- Charlotte reluctantly pushed the thought aside.
Iris was frozen by the energy rippling around the room. It was then Charlotte noticed that Iris' palm was covered with sparkling blue bits of magic. The lights were hypnotic and strangely compelling to Charlotte. Shaking her head and quickly glancing away she kept the observation to herself.
"What the hell?" Of course, Toby had noticed. He took a step back and looked ready to slam anyone who moved wrong into the next millennium. Given how long he had been around that wasn't an exaggeration but more along the lines of one of his vampiric talents.
The kid looked panic-stricken at the outburst from the normally quiet and extremely large vampire. Her eyes widened from behind her glasses and they all could hear her heart quicken with fear. The scent of fear mixed with blood. Charlotte found herself thinking in all the wrong ways about the child. She knew better than fanging into any underage human. She was already in enough trouble with the head vampires -- no need for her to add to her list of transgressions. Even with that thought dancing loosely around in her head she decided to interfere yet again. Loudly she said, "Screw that. Let's go ahead and wake up the sleepers and then have Legs find out what they know."
She caught Eddie's eyes and he nodded his approval. A strange warmth washed over her. She hated that she was so pleased to have his blessing. Charlotte hadn't realized that she missed the company of stronger vampires so much. Mentally she snarled at Kenyon. A few -- very few -- of his vampires were old given his nature and personality. There was decidedly a large gap between the European vampires and the infrastructure they held high and what Kenyon did with his vampire club. He liked to keep the younger fledglings around and under his fangs and thumb.
"Iris, you are in charge of snapping your mom's witch leash from the humans," Eddie came forward and thankfully his fangs were put away.
Iris darted a look at Legs and said, "She doesn't want me to. She will cause harm."
Carefully ignoring the child's belligerent tone Charlotte looked over to her and asked, "Iris, why do you think that?"
"Because she's dual natured," Iris mumbled. Her lower lip pushed out a bit from admitting any information. Iris was of the age where she was rarely asked her opinion much less listened to by adults. Her answer was heard loudly.
There was no air left in the room since everyone sucked in the oxygen with an unconscious reflex. Fear was the least of what was scenting the room. The vampires and Iris spun to look at Legs being gripped by Kegs. She was struggling silently to get free. Eddie calmly went to Legs and looked deeply into her eyes.
"You are correct." It was all Eddie said. Kegs sagged momentarily losing his grip on his vampire. Lightning fast she sprung free aiming for Iris with claws out and fangs poised to drain the child. Toby simply clubbed her unconscious with his clenched fist again. Kegs stepped back and all the emotions he had quickly were bottled up and firmly hidden. His eyes reflected no feeling for his mate. He was a soldier for his master.
Eddie went to Legs and said, "Toby, take her to the basement."
Charlotte watched a shudder crawl over Toby's skin as he calmly obeyed his vampire leader. Whatever was in the basement caused even Toby to worry. Given there weren't very many basements in Southern California that Charlotte knew even existed, she found it interesting that Eddie's had one. So she concluded that whatever was down there wasn't simply a room with a strong set of locks and a few holy objects to keep the vampire in place but something a bit more vicious. She had no desire to see the basement that worried Toby anytime soon.
Kegs stood solidly against the wall and said not a word while Legs was physically carried from the room by Toby. He had to have realized Legs was something beyond the normal vampire, Charlotte thought. Then she saw in his eyes the fear and confusion. He didn't have a clue his lover had been tainted in any way. She nearly felt bad for Kegs finding out so suddenly and in front of powerful vampires. Whatever Kegs had known or suspected didn't matter anymore now that it was all out in the open.
Eddie looked at Iris and ignored the other two vampires asking, "Girl, if Kegs and Charlotte take off their sleep command what will happen?"
The child frowned and carefully thought about the question before she replied, "Well, if I take off mom's protection spell and then your vampires release them they will sit up and want to flee." A frown crossed her face as she tried to finish her thought. The vampires could tell that she was choosing her words carefully. She came out with, "I doubt they will say much at first." She knew that Eddie could simply fang in and find out what he wanted. Eddie was looking for some more information before he started that chain of events. You didn't get to be an old vampire without looking before you leaped.
"But they can be persuaded to talk." Iris finished with and moved slowly out of Eddie's reach.
Kegs had yet to move from the wall he was nearly propped up against. The military stance he had adopted while waiting for Eddie to give commands looked odd to her. Charlotte wondered how many wars her old pal had fought in as a vampire. It was a good way to slurp down some prime blood in extreme conditions. Fear and glory in war weren't that far apart when it came to exhilarating sips taken by vampires from the men and women in battle. Vampires fought side by side with humans for centuries because of the ripe blood available running through the veins of the soldiers and support personnel on the field.
Eddie was well aware of the temperament of Kegs and courteously avoided making it any worse on the vampire by acknowledging the vampire's pain and feelings of betrayal. Toby came back into the room in time to hear Iris' comment about persuasion and a smile danced across his lips at the notion. Charlotte saw that he hadn't come back empty handed either. He had a pair of collars and leashes. The humans were quickly shackled like dogs. They didn't seem to have any objections. Of course, they were still out solid and didn't have much say in the matter. Once the collars were on he tossed the lead to Garry's collar over to Eddie while keeping Janice's firmly in his hand. Iris didn't mutter a sound. She seemed to find it acceptable, but then Charlotte had gathered she didn't much care for the two.
Iris' right fist clenched quickly and Charlotte smelled the blood before she actually saw it. And they all saw it because once the two were leashed Iris went in front of them and began whispering up some magic with archaic words and phrases that spilled from her lips easily. She then smacked both of them on the forehead with a blood stained hand leaving an imprint of her palm in the middle. The bright red blood was scented with purity and magic. Not a single fang was flashed because the witch-spawn wasn't giving a blood donation but messing with things none of them wanted to get in between. Hissing out the last bit of her spell she said, "Okay, you can lift your part. Quickly now before the blood dries."
She didn't have to tell them twice; both Kegs and Charlotte did their part in mere seconds and stepped back. Neither of them wanted to find out what happened when the blood dried. The symbol of blood markings kept them all on edge. The archaic witchcraft had a calling to the vampires -- the blood to blood as it were.
Ozone smell raced around the enclosed room and the blood stains on the floor wisped up and seemed to dance over the skin of the two humans. Garry was the first to rouse and snarled, "Damn, what was that?"
Janice growled, "Witching magic!" She looked around slowly then stopped on Iris.
"The child is here!" There wasn't a warm fuzzy feeling of happiness shading those words but an accusation. Charlotte figured that Iris wasn't exactly a favorite of Janice.
Then they noticed the number of vampires and the brand new neckwear around their throats. Toby hadn't gone for the cheap plastic collars from the dollar store but the pricier S&M kind of heavy black leather strips with links of steel decorating them. Useful for multiple leashes or simple ornamentation depending on one's bend. Janice's eyes, focused on Garry's leash, ran up it and saw Eddie holding the end, and then she yanked her head to find someone was also holding her lead. Fury ran over her features with not a drop of fear -- she didn't care that they were vampires.
Pain was Garry's second reaction answering Charlotte's earlier question as to whose ankles were hitting the stairs on the way up. He was still half curled on the floor and had tried to get up. His left leg collapsed beneath his effort. Janice lunged for her friend and found out that Toby wasn't shy about pulling her back roughly to his feet.
Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2007-04-09