There is no denying that fear is a very useful emotion for the living on the world of Nosgoth. Though hubris might mark it as a sign of weakness, humans have come to remember it for what it is: a survival mechanism.

            The mortals of Nosgoth have a saying: “The only time you shouldn’t be afraid is when you’re dead.” The vampires have long known of this adage. They find it amusing. Humanity has come to embrace its fear, because they truly cannot live without it.

            Raziel, once a vampire but now something new, had in a relative matter of moments gone from being the leader of the strongest clan of undead warriors on the planet to the implacable enemy of the entire vampire race. Since then he had come to appreciate the perils faced by humans. Raziel still recognized little of value in mortal wisdom. In some ways he remained a vampire at heart, but there was one thing he had learned from the race of slaves: when surrounded by enemies, your only choices were outright defiance or careful seclusion.

            As he now found himself inside a teeming hive of the arguably most dangerous vampires on the planet, floating six miles off the ground with no allies to be found, he had wisely chosen the latter.

            Raziel, the Reaver of Souls, marched briskly along the length of a masterfully crafted tunnel that curved around the central cavity of the Tower of Turel. It was a huge passage, thirty feet in height. The walls swept upward in a long graceful arc to a point high above the floor, where a flat plane of ceiling traveled along the middle of the passageway. From this highest reach, clan flags decorated with Turel’s symbol in silver thread hung at regular intervals. Not a fold or edge of the pennants made a move, for since his entrance Raziel had wisely chosen not to return to the Material Plane unless necessary. In the Spectral Realm he was certain of at least a measure of safety and concealment.

            Had Raziel not known better, he would have thought that the floor of the passage had been distorted by the shift between dimensions. However, this was not the case. While unusual, the design was intentional. On either side of the wide walkway there were two smaller trails, both a good seven feet below the height of the rest of the floor. The ground rose at a sharp angle from these sidewalks and then flattened out abruptly to form the main thoroughfare. The reason behind this intricacy was so that when Turel or a visiting clan leader went along this path, any lesser vampires would descend to the lower levels to let them by.

            It was a familiar route to Raziel. In a time he had come to learn was centuries in the past, he had trod down this very same hall with his five brothers by his side. Turel had invited them all to tour his newly finished fortress, and of course the vampire lords, bored nowadays with their ceaseless existences, had been only too happy to come. Kain had neglected to present himself, being preoccupied with affairs known only to him, and Raziel recalled how disappointed his sibling had been when their father had not arrived. But even this had not been enough to dim Turel’s euphoria for long. Raziel had never seen his younger brother so excited, Turel had been brimming with an energy and pride that was noticeably lacking in the others. But this had not lasted long, as they had all, Raziel included, been quickly infected by Turel’s joyful mood. Strolling along the raised middle-way, with their host commenting ecstatically and pointing out the architecture and reliefs which adorned the walls, Kain’s children experienced a sense of camaraderie and contentment that they had not felt for centuries. Ages of suspicion and detachment had seemed to melt away as they all marveled at what Turel had wrought. Even Melchiah dropped his habitual melancholy and participated in conversation, and Zephon oddly refrained from making any comments at his younger brother’s expense. The two of them actually laughed together at one point, certainly a first. Turel was at his best, and his brothers were captivated as he explained the number of human slaves and precise calculations that had gone into the nearly 200 years of the Tower’s making. Many hours later, after exploring the castle from the depths of the four auxiliary structures to the very heights of Turel’s throne hall, the Council members had repaired to a comfortably secluded antechamber which Turel informed them was reserved solely for their private use. There they relaxed in the luxurious atmosphere, drinking the rich, intoxicating blood of the beautiful human slaves who danced and flirted around the hulking columns in sensuous attempts to arouse their masters’ hunger.

            It was an unforgettable day. Reclining in their lazy splendor, the six warriors enjoyed some light conversation. Melchiah was enthralled by Rahab’s explanations of a preservative solution he had discovered that kept dead human skin supple and fine. Zephon was telling a joke to Dumah, who laughed so hard that the blood he was drinking spurted out his nose. This caused the whole room to erupt with merriment, and Raziel had drawn Turel off to one side. Arm around his younger brother’s shoulder, he had congratulated him, not only on the Tower, but also at bringing them all together like this. Turel had beamed with pleasure.

            “You do not know how much that means to me,” he had said. “Thank you, Raziel.”

            Recalling this moment, Raziel paused in his explorations. We were so close, Turel and I, he thought. We hunted and laughed together. Our children were good friends too.

            At the thought of his clan, Raziel’s fists clenched in fury. His body trembled as he remembered Kain’s lofty pronouncement of their total annihilation.

            “And now I will kill Turel,” he swore murderously.

            But again his thoughts strayed. Could he really blame Turel for abandoning him, even executing him? The decree had come from Kain, its severity typical of his justice.  They had followed his orders all their lives, his will was unchallenged, least of all by Raziel. How then could he have expected Turel to go against their Father, when he himself knew with what devotion and love Kain’s second-born had viewed their sire? Could he look his brother in the face, no matter how changed it was, and tell him that he had to die?

            “I must,” he whispered to the empty corridor, and resumed his gait.

            He could not help but notice that he was walking more slowly than before.




            Thank you, Raziel.

            Turel stared abstractedly into space. He had been remembering that day, that glorious day when he had first shown his brothers his completed home. They had all been so impressed, especially Raziel. It was a wonderful feeling. If only Father could have been there…

            Turel blinked. He had not thought about this in centuries. Why now?

            Vaguely he realized someone was addressing him. With an effort he brought himself back to the present.

            Anhat, Turel’s third lieutenant, charged with overseeing the Tower’s human population, was making a report. Trying to concentrate on his words, Turel again became unpleasantly aware of the rumble of disjointed conversations coming from the dozens of Turelim guards who now clustered warily about his throne hall, eyes flickering from left to right in readiness of unexpected attacks.

            “…ld disturbances,” Anhat was saying. “Some have actually voiced pleas for weapons and to be allowed to patrol the halls, but given their limited experience, it should go without saying that…”

            The noise was leaving a high-pitched whine in Turel’s sensitive ears. Leaning back on his throne, he passed one massive hand before his eyes and gritted his teeth. The light globes implanted in the walls were at full intensity, dispelling the comforting darkness that usually enveloped the throne room. Stress built up in his mind and was aggravated by every worrisome doubt. Was the citadel properly enhanced? Had his children been sufficiently warned of the danger? Turel sat and obsessed over his fate, painfully aware of how many lives besides his own depended on his orders.

Anhat had apparently spoken his fill and was awaiting instructions. Having not been paying much attention, Turel hardly saw why he had to say anything on the matter. But it seemed his lieutenants were incapable of acting without his consent.

The Turelim prince stretched his bulk forward and focused his attention on Anhat. Though standing several feet away, the vampire still found himself taking an involuntary step back. In the Turelim Pride, where age and status were of paramount importance, it was a rare vampire who got the chance to speak with their lord. Anhat, while a lieutenant, was not a member of the upper echelons, and as such he had not had as much contact with his master as had Ellich De and Jehamiah. For the relatively young warrior, it was a nerve-wracking experience. Turel was notoriously unpredictable.

Having been born after the purge of the Razielim, Anhat supposed he had risen as far as he could go. Controlling the human religion which supplied them with food was not exactly viewed as a noble task, but it was a necessary and valuable one that Anhat performed with pride. On the extremely rare occasions when a leader of the Pride in the outside world was permanently killed, Turel himself would choose their replacements, usually from the upper echelons. But once or twice in the past, a low-ranking vampire had distinguished itself so forcefully that even Turel had taken notice, and had appointed them to lead the settled enclaves that made up the majority of the Pride. Anhat had little hope of such an honor for himself, but he was still pleased to be of some service to his master. And besides, he thought, lineage wasn’t everything. Look at the Atlas Legions…

“I will not tolerate humans running loose in my halls,” Turel suddenly growled, and Anhat snapped to attention. “The very idea is an affront to the children of Kain.”

The lieutenant was nervous now for a different reason. He was a fool to have mentioned that part. Even with his limited understanding of how Turel’s mind worked, he should have realized the ancient vampire would take that as a personal slight. Anhat well knew that while Turel enjoyed toying with the pitiful human priests who groveled for his permission to accept new members into their ranks, more often than not he felt insulted by their efforts and ended up killing them. This in now way disturbed the other humans because according to their beliefs, being slain and eaten by a vampire was the next best thing to becoming one. Anhat sometimes wondered if things were viewed differently in the outside world.

But now was no time for pondering the unknown, he had to appease his lord’s wrath quickly. Anhat dropped to one knee. “I will oversee the deaths of the offenders myself, master. As I said, the population was increasing beyond the dens’ capacities, and the warriors will be pleased to have a bit more to feed on today.” Though afraid, he managed to meet Turel’s gaze without trembling.

The lord of the Turelim’s eyes hooded over, and his mouth twisted in an inscrutable grimace. “More,” he whispered. “Oh yes, much more than that.” Gazing out beyond Anhat, his face had taken on a hungry pall, and the lieutenant could not now suppress a shudder.

Turel chuckled deep in his throat. “All.”

Anhat started. “My prince?”

Turel’s eyes bore into his deputy’s. “Kill them all,” he said softly.

This was totally unexpected. “All of the worshippers, sir?”

“Yesssss,” Turel hissed, a mad gleam in his eyes. “The warriors must be at full strength to deal with him, they must be fed. Employ the new recruits to aid your troops in distributing the food quickly.” Turel’s gleeful face loomed before his offspring. “We can always grow more when the danger is passed, Anhat. You will still retain your position, my loyal lieutenant.”

Anhat nodded uncertainly.

Turel settled back and flicked a claw idly in parting. “You are dismissed, my son.”

            Anhat backed away bowing, then turned to leave. He would have to press the vampires under his command hard if they were to organize the feeding of every inhabitant of the castle. The new recruits would be almost more trouble than they were worth. Never enough time, he despaired.

            Meanwhile, Turel’s good humor had quickly vanished, but he gave no outward sign. The piercing light and constant noise of his security precautions were wearing on his patience, and he was not nearly so relaxed as he appeared to his followers. He had to maintain the pretence, however. It would do them no good to see their leader unnerved. Fortunate that no one had been present to see his initial reaction upon learning of Raziel’s inexplicable intrusion.

            The troubled vampire prince looked out upon his brood. Even if all went according to his designs, was this how he would spend the rest of eternity? Questioning his every action, agonizing in secret over the possible implications for his people? Is this what Kain had to deal with since his empire’s conception? If so, then Turel was finally beginning to perceive some reason for why his father had so easily abandoned his duties.

But he could still not forgive it. If one sought power, then that person must be willing to accept the responsibility incumbent upon that goal. A true king rules over his subjects, he does not own them. Though he still adored him, Turel now had to admit that his Father had not always governed wisely, sometimes choosing his own short-sighted personal needs over the benefit and well-being of his subjects. This whole furor over Raziel was entirely the result of Kain’s arrogance. Nor were his errors in judgment limited to his role as king. Kain had been severely lacking as a parent, styling himself more like a God who demanded their worship and need give nothing back in return. What Turel would not have given to have his sire treat him, just once, as an equal. But then, he supposed, when had he, Turel, ever comported himself as more than Kain’s servant? Perhaps after the matter of his brother was settled, when his own rule was established and he had accepted the responsibilities thereby attained, he and his father could finally sit down and view each other with a newfound respect and understanding. This was a dream Turel had long sought after, and its fruition was all now dependent on Raziel’s end.

            Turel shifted slightly on his seat and closed his eyes. He was not going to lose. He had planned well for this. Raziel had no surprises and no allies to call upon, he would lurk out of sight, hiding whenever possible, but eventually he would have to reveal himself.

            And then Turel would finish him.




            Elsewhere, Raziel had encountered an unforeseen obstacle.

            His previous familiarity with the layout of the fortress had led him to believe he would be able to travel a fair distance before being forced to revert to the Material Plane.

Raziel was not afraid to engage the Turelim but neither was he foolishly eager. He was now used to being in enemy territory, but never like this.

            The corridor he had been traveling on wound around the interior of the Tower. From it branched off four hallways that each correspondingly led to one of the outlying buildings which surrounded the edifice. The upper span of the central Tower could only be reached by proceeding through these substructures. There had once been a contraption in the central shaft that used cables and weights to carry clan leaders to the upper levels quickly, but even if it was still there, it was useless in the Spectral Realm and far too dangerous to attempt in the physical world. So Raziel had taken the longer but safer route, thinking there would be fewer distractions.

            He had not counted on Turel changing the design of his lair.

            At each of the formerly open entrances to the lesser towers, Raziel now found his progress blocked by great closed doors. He had visited all of them now, in the hopes that at least one had been ajar when he had crossed dimensions. But this had not been the case.

            Raziel was suspicious. He could see no explanation for these doors, except for one, and the prospect chilled him. Was it possible that they had been placed here specifically to bar his way in the Spectral Realm?

            Did Turel know about his newfound existence as a spectral being?

            The thought had not occurred to Raziel before. True, most vampires retained only lingering impressions of their time spent in transition from human to demigod, and only those who had died and been brought back to life were familiar with the afterlife. But Raziel already knew that his brothers the clan leaders, and undoubtedly Kain himself, could shift between dimensions to a certain degree. They knew of the Spectral Plane’s existence, and therefore possibly some of the rules that governed it, like how physical objects were immovable and near totally impassable. This explained the otherwise useless gates.

            Always before, Raziel’s ability to shift from flesh to spirit had been his secret weapon, an unexpected gift that had now become so natural for him he barely gave it a second thought. This talent enabled him to overcome seemingly impossible tasks in the real world and escape untenable situations. It had been his guarantee that he could actually breach this vampire-infested deathtrap and emerge victorious. But now nothing was certain, and revenge might be as far out of reach as before he had learned how to enter the Tower.

            Raziel considered the problem. What else had Turel arranged in preparation of his coming?

            There was no way of knowing, and no sense in remaining here if the only way he was going to get to Turel was through another dimension. A planar portal was located only a few yards from the door he now stood before. Crossing over to it, Raziel prepared to don his bodily form once again. He had a good idea what awaited him back there. He had been expecting his battles in the Tower to be mainly against Sluagh and the occasional vampire wraith. Apparently things were going to get a lot more physical.

            As his claws moved in the sinuous sweep that invoked the Shift Glyph, the world around Raziel began to twist and reform. Dark, muted blue-green was replaced by dried blood and the gray of human organs. Impervious spiritual barriers became marble and granite, and Raziel found himself staring at clan markings on the broad back of a Turelim vampire.

            His arrival did not go unnoticed. Cries echoed in the air, and the giant before him began to turn.

            Without hesitation, Raziel swept the Soul Reaver up. The Turelim, a fledgling, came about sharply and its misty gray orbs met Raziel’s glowing eyes just as the weapon sliced into its neck, decapitating it. The Reaver of Souls wasted no time and sprang quickly to one side as telekinetic blasts hammered into the spot he had just vacated, cracking the stone and flinging the Turelim’s corpse high into the air.

            He was running as soon as his feet touched the floor. Weaving from left to right, he charged the huge double doors, which were now guarded by at least a dozen furiously shouting Turelim. The confusion caused by Raziel’s sudden arrival had rapidly worn off, and these seasoned warriors were swift to react. While half remained at the door, the rest broke off to either side, giving them all a clear shot of their target. The Turelim began to draw upon their psychic attacks.

            But Raziel had not been lax. In the time it took them to mount their assault, he had already been calling forth his magic. As the first vampire focused its concentration to fire, Raziel brought up his arms and flames sprouted from his talons. Instantly a wave of supernatural immolation swept out on all sides, alighting every vampire for fifty feet down the corridor into flaming torches. Shouts of alarm became howls of despair, and soon each of them flopped over in gruesome stacks of crisped flesh, their souls flying free as the fires died out.

            Raziel did not spare the bobbing orbs of life a glance. He did not need to look to know this passageway had been filled with Turelim, and the ones far down the hall who had been out of reach of his spell were heading his way already. Force projectiles  smashed into the walls and floor all around him, and he lunged towards the doors. Grasping their handles with both hands, he pulled back with all his strength, and the massive portals began to swing wide.

 Turelim were bounding down the tunnel on all fours, snarling madly. Those behind them were aiming their attacks at long range, and while none had hit Raziel yet, some were colliding with the doors, knocking them back inward.

Straining his titan muscles to their limit, Raziel heaved out, and the portals flung open. Seizing the opportunity, he sprang forward just as the entrance was blasted shut…

And reeled back as a telekinetic blast hit him in the chest. The Soul Reaver vanished.

Loping towards him, a Turelim pack was fast approaching. Another shot clipped Raziel’s head, spinning him around, and he collapsed. The lead vampire gave a cry of triumph and leapt in for the kill…

And Raziel brought his hands together in a loud clap.

A shrill scream of sound tore apart the air. Magically enhanced, it pierced the vampire’s oversized ears. Raziel rolled to one side and scrambled up, just as the charging vampires hit the ground and the leader skidded forward, cracking its skull against the door.

The vampires thrashed on the floor, ears oozing blood and faces contorted with pain. Aware that the effects were temporary, Raziel vaulted over their bodies and took off down the hall.

His situation was bad. Already wounded, without the Soul Reaver he would lose energy on the Material Plane. But he dared not discard his body. This corridor was about a hundred yards in length, and if Raziel guessed correctly, he would probably find another guarded door at the end. Behind him the pack was already coming out of its daze, and from the sound of things they were being reinforced by the ones entering from the grand corridor. There was no mistake. He was going to have to fight his way through.

Raziel rounded a bend in the passage and cursed angrily. Sure enough, another band of Turelim was milling about a set of large doors. He halted and considered hastily. His spell energy was limited, and although he knew he might regret it later, in this instance he would accept the cost. But he would still try to make it as low as possible.

The Sound Glyph had worked before, but the enemy was probably out of range. So it would have to be the Water Glyph. Without further ado, he called the spell to mind and released its power.

A storm of aqua energy burst forth and flooded down the corridor. The guardian Turelim who had just been moving forward fell to the floor, crying in agony, the magic eating into their flesh like acid.

Raziel did not bother to commiserate. The pack was closing in from behind. He ran down the remaining yards to the stone barriers. Already the afflicted Turelim were about to recover. As he raced past their trembling forms, a force projectile streamed past him and impacted with the wall, followed closely by another.

Raziel did not slacken his pace as he approached the doors. Instead he increased it, and as the stunned Turelim were rising to their feet, Raziel raised his hands in the air again.

Screams of warning rang out, but before any reaction could be made, Raziel clenched his talons and sprang forward with a wild cry, driving his fists into both doors.

            Though crafted of solid granite and secured with iron fastenings, the stone portals could not withstand the unearthly power caged in those arms. The hinges wrenched out of the walls with a violent snap, and both slabs toppled backwards to hit the floor with a resounding crash.

But before they touched the ground, Raziel had already incanted the spell which transferred him to his home in the Spectral Plane, leaving the Turelim mob to gape in amazement at the spot he had just vacated.

Word spread swiftly of this first encounter.




The Tower of Turel is a huge, convoluted structure, and since its construction it has undergone almost constant renovation, both large and small. Halls are converted, dens are expanded, passages are created and quickly abandoned. Some areas have much more traffic than others. But in all the mountain fortress, only rooms that are forgotten even by those who designed them are visited less than the Open Eye, lair of the most supremely gifted Turelim who control the movement of Turel’s capital.

Jehamiah was one of the few Turelim who frequented this spot regularly. As first lieutenant, it was his duty to relay Turel’s commands to these reclusive prodigies. Sometimes he resented it. After all, he was a warrior, whose talents lay mainly in killing, an area in which only his father could claim to be his equal. He was not a messenger, and would have gladly foisted off this task on an underling, except that Turel was suspicious of anyone he did not know well, and his solitary habits kept that group limited. And truth be told, on some level Jehamiah was secretly proud at being so trusted by his parent. He always cherished anything that brought them closer together.

So after being summoned by Turel, Jehamiah had gone directly to this deserted hall several floors down from the throne room. He approached the solid metal gates and located a hidden latch set into the raised reliefs. Pressing it, he moved back as the doors slid open to reveal the chamber.

Stepping inside, Jehamiah did not bother to examine the room but went straight to his target. The Open Eye had once been a private dining hall, and then a trophy room. But now it served as the laboratory and living quarters of the leaders of the Atlas Legions, the mystical army that was ranked by power, not lineage. These specific Turelim, gifted with an understanding and control of their clan’s telekinetic powers surpassed only by Turel, never left this room. Since the Tower had first neglected nature’s pull and soared above the clouds, this place had been the control room of the massive undertaking, the brain that guided the Tower’s journey according to its master’s will. They ate and worked here in private, dedicated only to the development of their powers and the safety of the fortress.

The head of this solitary group was Ellich De, second lieutenant to the lord of the Turelim, and it was he whom Jehamiah now sought out.

Ellich De was in his usual position, standing in a ring of seven other Turelim that encircled the magical metal globe that represented Nosgoth and enabled them to guide the Tower’s course. He was a large Turelim, but strangely guant. He lacked the bulk so generously endowed on Jehamiah, but Ellich De differed from the traditional Turelim figure in one other important aspect: exuding from his skin, blue sparks of mystical energy crackled and snapped, rising up to disappear into the air. It was a very important distinction, the mark of a vampire who had died and been brought back to life after many years. This was part of the reason why Jehamiah detested Ellich De.

Turel’s first lieutenant knew that he was loyal to his sire, he even loved him, though he did not pretend to understand him. Why else would Jehamiah have been willing to spend the past few centuries walled up in this floating stone barge, deprived of the blood and carnage he so desperately craved? There was no doubt he was a dedicated son.

But Ellich De was more than just loyal. He was fanatical. Neither human nor vampire had wielded the weapon that had pierced his heart and consigned his soul to the afterlife. Ellich De had done it himself. When Turel had first conceived his plan to permanently lift the Tower from the bonds of the earth, his second lieutenant had been the most enthusiastic and determined to bring it about. After the work was progressing smoothly, Ellich De went to his father and proposed a huge self-sacrifice.

Knowing that a vampire reborn was stronger and possessed of enhanced power, he offered to kill himself and remain in the underworld until the preparations were finished. Turel, amazed at the depths of his son’s loyalty, had agreed. So one night, before a hushed and respectful crowd clustered in the throne hall, Ellich De had used his power to raise a spear from the ground and, without a second of hesitation, sent it whistling into his chest with such force that it lifted him off his feet and impaled him against a wall. He had screamed, of course, but that had not been enough for Jehamiah. He had been certain that the lunatic wouldn’t go through with it in the end. But for nearly a century after that, Ellich De’s corpse had remained on display there, a source of persistent questions and rumors. When all was finally in readiness, Turel himself had removed the spear amid much fanfare, and his loyal son had returned to oversee the Tower’s first flight as a life vampire.

It was an insane act, but ever since then Turel had looked upon his mystical offspring with a certain affection that Jehamiah felt lacking. His relationship with his brother was subdued at best, homicidal at worst.

As Jehamiah approached, Ellich De turned his attention from his work and bared his fangs in a mad grin. Though no longer concentrating, his hands still continued to emit a steady stream of telekinetic force that swept over the red globe, turning it slowly as it hung in midair. As usual, none of the other vampires paid Jehamiah any heed. This was not out of disrespect, but because they lacked the level of control that Ellich boasted to enable them to divide their thoughts from their task.

“Welcome, oh battle-scarred warmonger,” Ellich De spoke in a false lilt that immediately grated on Jehamiah’s nerves. “We have not yet supped today. Are you sent to convey it to us?”

“Is the Open Eye closed, or have you gone blind, magician?” Jehamiah snarled back. “I bring only word from our lord. And if you are so weak with hunger, I advise you to bite your tongue!”

Ellich’s grin grew, if anything, even wider. “Jehamiah,” he chuckled in amusement. “I had no inkling of such cleverness on your part. Truly a messenger does indeed develop a facility for wordplay.”

Jehamiah’s blood was already up, and it was all he could do to keep from ripping that smug expression off of Ellich De’s face. He forced himself to lower his twitching claws and brought to mind Turel’s orders.

“Our lord wishes you to know that the traitor Raziel has been independently sighted in the lower halls, and he has already dispatched several of our kin by primitive magics.”

“Ahhh,” Ellich De breathed softly. “This explains the mystic vibrations I detected earlier.”

Probably the maggots still crawling in your brain, lunatic, Jehamiah sneered inwardly. Out loud he spoke, “Turel has also ordered that the Cages be made ready at a moment’s notice, and all warriors will soon be given fresh drink. I suppose that includes you.”

Ellich De returned his gleaming scarlet eyes to the Nosgoth globe, but the smile did not leave his face. “Anything else?” he drawled carelessly.

“No,” Jehamiah rasped murderously.

“Then be so kind as to inform the master that his orders will be carried out with the utmost haste. As always, I remain his ready servant.”

Jehamiah spat contemptuously on the floor and turned to leave.

“Oh, Jehamiah,” Ellich De called pleasantly. “Should you encounter my meal on your way out, do be good and send it right in.”

Jehamiah’s body stiffened, his fists clenched into lethal balls of bone. Then he jerked forward and left the room without another glance.

Striding angrily down the hall, he came upon a group of ecstatically chattering human worshippers led by one of Anhat’s vampires. The crowd parted deferentially to let him by. As he passed his arm snapped out and collared a young male by the robes. He dragged the wretch down the corridor, and all the while it was sobbing in joy and heaping blessings on his head. Jehamiah beat it against a wall a few times to shut it up. He shook his head in disgust. When the assault began, he could once again return to a world where humans shrieked in fear at the sight of him. Finally he would be able to live as he was meant to.

And perhaps when Turel was hailed as the Clan King, he would not notice the loss of his second lieutenant.



                                                To be continued