By Dream Janus
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Much thanks and appreciation goes to AHH, my editor and second set of eyes.
Note from Dream Janus: This story is a prequel to "The Breed" and as such may give a bit of back story on characters in that story. As you will notice this is written in first person unlike "The Breed".
I spent the next hundred years in mourning for my sire and friend. I actually began to haunt graveyards and alleyways and became more monster than man. That was until I came across the second human I ever fell in love with.
His name was Tobias; he was a waif of a child that I found crying over a mass grave one night. Apparently his parents and older sister had all been taken by the plague in the same day. He had become an orphan. Even though the boy's face was smeared with tears and mud, he was angelically beautiful. I went to him and spoke gently and told him my name. He never feared me, even though the remains of my last meal were very evident on my mouth and face.
Tobias and I spoke for over an hour in that cold graveyard. He became more and more tired with each passing moment and I more and more in love. I noticed that he was tired and offered him a safe and happy home free of the worry of the orphanage or the work houses and was delighted when he accepted. I took him to the house that I had taken over and gave him a gentle bath that night before bed. I wrapped in my arms and held him as a father should as we both slept.
From that moment on I never returned to graveyards except with him to visit his parents and my life revolved around making that boy happy. The house became his home, He became my boy and I became his uncle. I never was inappropriate with Tobias, but we slept each night hold each other protectively. Tobias grew into a fine youth and into a fine man and I remained eternal. Tobias never questioned my eternal nature; he just took it in stride.
He eventually began to fancy the fairer sex, bringing mixed feeling from me. He brought many questions to our nightly embrace and I answered them as correctly as I could at that time. Eventually he even began to date and was married. My heart felt the mixture of pride and loss that a parent must feel when their child leaves them for a spouse. Tobias and his wife Margerette had three children, Tobias Jr., Joseph and Maret. I began to follow my new family's growth with added interest. Tobias Jr. married a sickly young woman who gave him a son who he named Tobias III. Maret married a tax collector and gave him three sons (Jon, Phillip, Willham), two daughters (Maret and Elzabeth) and died with a fourth son in childbirth. Joseph never married and spent many nights visiting with his great uncle, me.
As my Tobias' life came to a close he told me that Maret's husband was not a good man and was abusive to not only to her when she was alive but also to the boys and the girls. He explained that the man had made the Maret (his daughter) into a tavern wench because she was not as pretty as Elzabeth, who he had made into a common streetwalker. I was already furious! My Tobias' grandchildren forced to be WHORES by their own father! I planned on killing the man. Tobias held my fury in check as he told my more of the horror that the man had put his own children through. He was using Phillip for his own personal sexual pleasures, selling the youngest, Willham to men for their sexual use. It appeared that he had made Jon into some from of low class dandy (Gigolo) to please the higher class women who enjoyed slumming. Now I was livid. This man had to die and these children had to be saved. I cried as I held my Tobias' lifeless body and promised that I would protect his family for him, a promise I have kept to this very day, to the best of my abilities.
I contacted my one and only confidedant in all matters other than my Tobias, His Joseph. We agreed to smuggle the children out to his home once things began to happen and allow them to live with him, with financial help from me, of course. I then set my plan into action, it was rather simple make a child or two disappear and make him feel like he was being followed, repeat, repeat, Kill.
I easily talked Phillip and Maret into coming with me to their uncle's home and promised that no one would ever touch them again without their permission. I then haunted their father for a week, allowing him to catch fleeting glances of me but nothing more. He was fully aware that two of his children had disappeared without a trace, one of them from his very home.
The second phase of my plan was not as easy as the first. Willham was very willing to go even though he was scared that he was only going to be used by his uncle, until I told him that Phillip and Maret were already there. The problem was Elzabeth, she did not want to go to her uncle's she wanted to remain with me and would only go to her uncle's after she received a promise from me that I would visit often. A promise is something I cannot break. This time I haunted their father for a month. I realized of all the children Jon was in the least abused position, but I also knew that as I played this mind game, that could change and was prepared, just in case. I came to find out later how wrong I was.
When I went to rescue, Jon he burst out in tears when he saw me. At first I thought it was in fear; but he was happy to finally see his rescuer. He was a very sensitive boy and realized after Phillip and Maret disappeared what was going on. He had been praying that they would all be taken next. He revealed to me that he was interested in boys and his father had been punishing him over and over by making him sleep with fat ugly old rich women. I held the boy and apologized that I had not rescued him earlier.
I took Jon to his uncle personally and found that his brothers and sisters had all began to adjust to their new life fairly well. Joseph had them with a tutor they had began to learn the basics of everything they had missed under their father's care. Jon was immediately surrounded by his brothers, sisters and shortly after by their uncle. I did notice that Elzabeth kept watching me as often as she could and would smile when caught.
I returned to my business at hand, their father, who now knew that all of his children were gone and was in the process of attempting to flee. Thinking he would have a better chance under the cover of darkness, he waited until till then to make his escape, which was his downfall. I attacked his wagon as it left the city and toyed with him most of the night as if I were nothing more than a mortal highwayman. When I felt he could not be any more scared, I revealed who and what I was and for what crimes against my adopted family he was going to die. Of course he begged for mercy and I laughed at him and fed, slowly intentionally ripping his throat out as I drank, allowing him to scream for as long as he could. I then tore into the body as if I were an animal, not out of rage but to free it's insides to the elements and the creatures of nature so they may feast on him and hide his wretched carcass.
I cleaned myself in a nearby stream and returned to my normal life. I watched over my adopted family for the next five years without incident. I spoiled them with gifts on birthdays and holidays and the regular as well as surprise visits, but in that fifth year everything changed. The house was attacked by bandits and everyone except Jon and Elzabeth were found murdered. Jon was found wounded and near death, but eventually survived. Elzabeth was found in the smallest bedroom crying naked, her mind all but gone.
I took both Jon and Elzabeth under my personal protection from that moment on. I nursed Jon's physical wounds and Elzabeth's mental wounds. Jon eventually grew into my daytime protector and my confidant. Elzabeth mind eventually was restored, but in restoring it came two unexpected side effects. First, she had second sight (psychic) and she developed a unique way of talking and reacting to people. Second, her school girl crush of me had developed into full blown love, something at the time I shared for her.
As her only living relative, I spoke to Jon about this development in length. He asked if I planned to make her like me and I told him that I would not unless she asked and then only as a last resort to death. He then asked if children were possible and I said that I did not know. I now know that they are possible but it is difficult on the human mother. I was actually surprised that he never asked about me marrying her, but from that day forth I was no longer his uncle, but his brother-in-law and she was my wife. I guess he thought I couldn't enter a church.
Six months later Elzabeth came to me and told me she believed herself to be pregnant, it was found to be true. A year later she gave birth to a son. (The gestation period is a bit longer for a ½ breed Vampire). Our son's name was Thomas, it was obvious that he was of mixed parentage from his birth; he had very pale skin and a set on retractable canines already. We later learned he was what was called a dhampir.
Thomas grew as a normal child would until he reached puberty and then the process of aging slowed. He was fed rare and raw meat as well as fruit and vegetables to keep his blood lust in check and keep his human side fed. He was never allowed straight blood; we did not know the reaction he would have to it. His body never was wounded for very long and as he aged his ability to heal increased. He was as strong as his Uncle Jon by the time he was seven years of age and all of his discipline became my responsibility from that moment on.
I continued to watch over Jon's family after he got married and had children.
In Thomas' 17th year, Elzabeth came down with Influenza and took to her bed. In that day and age the flu, as it is now called, killed more often than not and it looked like Elzabeth was going to die. We all set around her bed and Jon asked her if she wanted to survive or to pass peacefully, as he held a pillow ready to put his own sister out of her misery. I told Elzabeth that if she chose my path that there was no guarantee that we would remain together forever as forever is a very long time and people do drift apart.
I don't know if she understood at that time, but in the future it was clear that she did understand. Needless to say, she nodded. I took her that very night and made her into what became the 2nd most powerful Vampire in all the United States and one of the most respected in the world. She woke four nights later and fed, but was terrified by her own violence that she refused to do it any more almost to the point of killing herself. Her mothering instincts had crossed over with her.
It took some doing but she and I developed a network of `donors' who were willing to give some of their blood to her for money, food and/or shelter on regular bases. It was the first time we setup a `donor network' but it would not be the last and it was the template for the Conclave's donor system. Another thing that surprised me was that in all my years as a vampire, I had never noticed another vampire in my travels and Elzabeth began focusing my attention on the number there were in the world and it was staggering.
She was drawn to the younger ones, those new to the change like herself but who unlike herself either did not have a sire who remained or whose sire had been killed. She became their surrogate sire, their `Mother'. Eventually the name stuck and even I began to call her that. The only one who had the power to call her away from her mothering was her own child Thomas, who rarely called on her for anything, but when he did she flew to his side ready to love, nurture, protect or kill as the situation dictated.
I monitored Jon's children and their children having children, mourning when Jon passed from this world.
She even neglected me, though I did not see it as neglect. I was busy creating a new system of government within the vampire under-culture, just as she was busy being the mother hen to orphaned vampire newborns. It wasn't until one hundred and fifty years had passed and our Thomas was an old man ready to pass from this life that we all came back together.
We asked Thomas if he want to attempt to become a full Vampire and he did. Both Elzabeth and I took our son, who we brought into this world, out of the world in hopes of restoring him as a vampire. We waited for fourteen days by the body, each hoping that he would return, but in truth knowing he would not. Our son was gone from this world and beyond our touch. We could not look at each other any more without regret.
Elzabeth and I did not speak or even enter into the same city or Country if we could help it for another hundred and seventy years after Thomas died. We both learned during that time that dhampirs can never be changed to full vampire, but we both still felt responsible. We threw ourselves into our individual work instead.
I continued to watch over Jon's lineage over the centuries and up until this very day...Lady Elzabeth does not know.
So ends the 2nd Chapter of "I Antino"
Note from Dream Janus: I am curious now that the 2nd chapter is completed what you the readers think of the prequel. Feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Editor's comments: Such an interesting chapter that really helps to make Antino more understandable and what drives him.