Copyright Notice - This story is copyright ©2009 by DragonFire.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author.
If you are offended by descriptions of gay sex between consenting males, or if the law in your area forbids you to read this, leave this story now. If not, welcome and please read on.
CHAPTER 4: AFTERMATH
I felt very dizzy, and dropped to my knees holding my head. What the hell just happened?
In what seemed like only moments, I sensed a flurry of activity going on around me, but I was too weak to move. My whole body felt as if it was operating on reserves, and my head was pounding with the dull, resonating sound of bells. Someone who I knew instinctively wasn’t Matt had their arm around me, but I just couldn’t bring myself to look up, and I damned well couldn’t hear them if they were saying anything. Matt...I felt my gut wrench as I visualised what had happened; and with what little strength remained, I tried to struggle to my feet. My legs, however, betrayed me and refused to co-operate. The arm that was around my waist seemed to be holding me steady, and I finally turned my head to see who this person was.
Squinting my eyes, I tried to get clarity to my otherwise blurred vision. Even through the quagmire that had enveloped my brain, I could see that this guy was ruggedly handsome; maybe in his late twenties, early thirties. Long dark hair cascaded over his broad shoulders, and brown piercing eyes were looking at me with concern. His dark bushy eyebrows were narrowed and full lips moving, but nothing seemed to be coming out.
“Easy now young one, just stay still and relax for a few moments.” I blinked at him in astonishment; he said something but I’ll be damned if I saw his lips move that time! Shit, now I’m imagining some really fucked up crap on top of everything else!
There was a chuckling in my head, “No, not your imagination this time. Although it is a little disconcerting at first, but in time you will get used to it. For now, let us get you inside and away from this furore.” Shaking my head in resignation, and faux surprise, I couldn’t put up any resistance as he lifted me to my feet. My legs threatened to buckle, but the firm grip he had on me in kept me upright. My thoughts quickly returned to Matt, who I still hadn’t seen since...
I scanned the direction he had gone, and total despair gripped me as his lifeless body was picked up by one of the security detail. Struggling furiously against the arm that held me, I tried to get to him, but the stranger held onto me with a firm grip. My god, what the hell happened? Had I really done this? One minute I was trying to get into the car, the next something seemed to explode out from inside of me.
“Relax, Gary, the time for questions will come, but not now. Matthew will be fine; there is no need to worry yourself. He was just knocked unconscious from your...surprise. But he will be on his feet in no time at all.” I was so confused as to what the hell was going on, what exactly was it within me that had caused this?
I pushed all those nagging questions aside for now as Matt was carried passed us, and we followed behind slowly. I was still unsteady on my feet, but the stranger kept my body vertical. I paid no attention to my surroundings as we entered the Manor; my focus was totally on my lover and my primordial need to be close to him at this moment.
After ascending a large staircase, we were led into a suite, where Matt was carefully placed on the bed. I finally won the battle to free myself and crawled over to his inert form, where I wrapped myself around him. Tears that were welling in my eyes flowed freely now, and my body began to shake with the realisation that I had almost lost him. Someone put a hand on my shoulder, and I felt the beast inside me start to rage. I snarled, shrugging it off angrily and tightened my grip on Matt. I felt a natural, primal urge to protect him, and god help anyone that came close to harm him. The hand never returned and I knew we were finally alone. I breathed that scent I loved so much as I buried my face in the nape of his neck; my senses seemingly alert to any pending intrusion.
The slow movement of Matt’s chest calmed me, and the tears subsided as I started to reminisce on what had happened since I met this man, and how drastically my life had changed. I’d been turned from an ordinary guy into a vampire and supposedly made enemies I had never even met. I’d been attacked at my weakest point and almost slain. I’d killed someone so that I could live and ended up in a war I knew nothing about, but above everything, I had found love for the first time. It was then realisation struck me. Everything was secondary to this man I held in my arms right now, the man I had hurt without intending to. The fact that I had done this to Matt, however unwittingly, caused the deepest pain inside of me. It was in that moment I found some sort of clarity. I knew then, that I would have to bury my fears and face whatever was to come. If I didn’t, whatever was inside me could explode again, and next time I, or whoever was around me, may not be so lucky.
Katrina’s fingernails slowly tapped her desk as she digested the news being relayed to her by a messenger. As he progressed, her nails slowly dug into the wood as the anger built inside, threatening to blow at any given moment.
“So what you’re telling me is that we’ve heard nothing from Lord Edmunds?” The edge to Katrina’s voice was palpable, but her exterior remained strangely calm.
“No, my Lady, nothing. We have contacted his house and they tell us that his Lordship never returned before sunrise. One can only assume that either he failed in his mission, or that the hour was so late he had to find refuge from the dawn. That said, it has been two hours since awakening and all contact has thus failed...”
Letting out the breath she was holding, she tried to calm herself before speaking again. “He’s dead, I can feel it.” The bitterness in her voice was apparent. Shaking her head, she rubbed her temples to ease the building pressure. “Has our informant any news?”
“Not as yet, my Lady, but it is still early. We do expect to hear from him very shortly.”
“I want to be notified as soon as contact has been made; and if they did escape, I want them found,” she growled, leaning back in her chair.
“Yes, my Lady.” The messenger bowed his head and quickly left the room lest the Lady Katrina’s mood darkened further.
“Edmunds, Edmunds, Edmunds....I fear your bravado has cost you dear, my foolish friend,” she muttered under her breath. Edmunds had always been full of himself, she mused; he was notorious for playing with his victims, and now it seemed, his luck had run out. His talents should have been more than enough to deal with the situation, quickly too. But no, he had to do it his way; and make no qualms about it, she was sure he had paid the ultimate price.
This latest development could indeed cause a problem. Striking whilst the abomination was fresh was crucial to her plan, and now that had failed. Getting up from behind the desk, Katrina slowly paced the large office and contemplated her next move. The element of surprise was gone; they would be expecting an attack. She knew already that the house Matthew and his mate had occupied was now empty, no real surprise. There was no doubt in her mind that they had indeed escaped; the real question was....where? She had an inkling, but would wait for conformation before any action was taken.
Matthew. Her eyes narrowed at even the thought of him; anger that had been slowly simmering inside of her boiled over. She took her frustration out on a nearby table, which shattered into pieces from the devastating impact with the sole of her boot. Katrina clenched her fists in frustration; her mortal enemy had got one up on her this time, but, she vowed, she would take what was most precious to him, one way or another.
Sometime later, a knock on the door caught her attention as she stared into the darkness outside the window. Her gaze never left the shadows as the messenger was ushered in by her defender.
“Any news?” she barked, impatience getting the better of her.
“Yes, my Lady. But I fear you will not be pleased.” She finally turned her head, scowling at him in annoyance.
“I’ll be the judge of that, out with it.” The deadly tone made the messenger pale.
“Umm, well, my Lady, they are currently taking refuge at Viscount Crane’s manor....”
Katrina frowned internally and nodded her head. She expected as much, and that could pose a problem.
“And, umm, we’ve had conformation of Lord Edmund’s death, but it was not at the hands of Lord Matthew, my Lady.” She raised her eyebrow; that was unexpected!
“You mean to tell me that his mate took his head?” she asked, surprised.
“Yes, my Lady. It would seem that the hunger took him earlier than expected and...”
“His Lordship was playing the ass and paid the price,” Katrina finished for him, and he nodded in conformation. “This means we have a bigger problem than anticipated, now that his mate has...” She left the rest unspoken; they both knew what this meant.
Shaking her head, she ran her fingers through her long hair. If the elders found out about her mistake there would be hell to pay. She needed to clean this mess up quickly, and quietly, but to go against house Crane? For that she would need a lot of help, and Katrina knew exactly where to get it.
Time to call in some favours, she thought to herself, as a smile threatened to creep onto her otherwise emotionless face.
Movement below me brought me to consciousness, and I was instantly alert to the fact that Matt was staring to stir from his enforced slumber. The golden hues of dawn that were filtering into the room indicated that we had slept through the night. I lifted myself from the comfort of Matt’s body, wincing slightly at the stiffness that had settled in, only to be jerked back down by the strong hands which were now placed on my back.
“And where do you think you’re going, sweet cheeks?” he whispered huskily into my ear, as his hands glided down my back before coming to rest on my ass. I lifted my head slightly from where it had landed on his shoulder and was greeted by Matt’s cocky grin and twinkling eyes. A huge wave of relief coursed through me, and tears started to well again as visions from the evening before flashed before me. I gripped him tightly, almost squeezing the breath from his body.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to...” His lips swallowed the rest of my sentence and his tongue made sure that I said nothing further. For someone who had been knocked unconscious the evening before, it certainly hadn’t seemed to have affected his libido! The fact that we were naked, and making love, within seconds showed that there were no side effects to what had happened to him. If anything, it seemed to have made him hornier and more aggressive than he normally was, and that’s saying something! Not that I was complaining, of course. I needed this wild passionate sex as much as he did, and dear god was he ever passionate.
As we lay in the afterglow, the previous evening’s events crept to the forefront of my mind again, and, as if sensing this, Matt pulled me closer to his hard body. He started to run a hand through my hair, whilst the other drew feather circles on my back.
“You have to stop blaming yourself, babe, as none of this is your fault.” He said softly in my ear, “I should have explained a few more things to you than I did, and for that I’m sorry.” He kissed the top of my head, and I snuggled up even closer to him, not willing to have the moment broken just yet. “I never, in a million years, expected it to manifest itself so quickly inside you.”
I let out a sigh, but then something came back to me from the evening before. I had no idea if it would work or not, but, what the hell. “So what exactly is it inside me that caused that...whatever it was to happen?” I thought. Well it was worth a try I presumed. If I could hear that guy in my head last night, chances are.....
Matt took me by the shoulders and held me slightly away from himself, surprise written all over his face. Fuck, it must have worked! “Well, it’s good to know that I can surprise you once in awhile” I grinned at him.
He shook his head and smiled. “And who exactly taught you how to do that little trick?”
“He didn’t teach me exactly, and he never gave me his name either, but he helped me upstairs after....after you got hurt.” My mood darkened again as I recalled his lifeless form.
He pulled me back into his body, and wrapped his arms tightly round me. “You’ve met the Viscount, I see.”
“How the hell did you know that?” I asked surprised, not even I knew who it was and I was awake!
“You pictured him in your head whilst you were projecting to me. Don’t worry, we’ll teach you how to tighten that up, we can’t have all our bedroom secrets broadcast here there and everywhere!” I baulked at that statement, horrified at the idea of complete strangers knowing my deepest thoughts.
“You’re kidding right?” I said aloud this time. Whilst talking in our heads was quite novel, I wasn’t totally comfortable with the idea just yet, it still kind of weirded me out.
“Of course I am, you have to concentrate the thought, but you seem to have it down pretty good at the minute,” he stated, “As to what’s inside you, I think its best we wait until we go downstairs, I have a feeling the Viscount wants to go through things with you personally.” I sighed in frustration at the delay. “Come on, let’s take a shower and get dressed. I believe we’re expected downstairs in a half hour.” I looked at him quizzically wondering how he knew that, but he just tapped his head in response and I understood immediately. Don’t these people ever use phones?
After we came out of the shower, I noticed that my things had been brought up to the suite and unpacked. They certainly do things fast round here! With little time to spare, we got dressed and quickly made our way to the staircase. It was here I finally noticed my surroundings for the first time, and my breath caught in my throat at the sheer opulence of it all. My eyes were drawn to a huge coat of arms above a double doorway in the entrance hall below - two cranes gracefully situated on either side of a dragon and a tiger, seemingly sizing each other up. Various works of art graced the walls of the staircase we were on, and its opposite number over on the far side. Ivory marble with black and silver flecks adorned the floors both where we were stood and downstairs, and large pillars made of the same material sparkled in the sunlight which poured through the massive arched windows. An expensive looking circular table sat in the middle of the entrance hall, and on it rested a huge arrangement of flowers looking out of place in this monstrous hallway. As I looked up, I saw two large banners with the same crest hanging from the ceiling above.
“Impressive, isn’t it?” Matt’s voice brought me out of my visual orgy, and I rolled my eyes at his understatement.
“Impressive is not quite the word I’d use to describe all this, but it’s pretty damn close. Wow, I’ve never seen anything quite like this, ever. It’s like something you see in a movie, not in real life.” I shook my head in wonder as I took it all in again.
“Well, the one thing you can’t say about Joseph, is that he’s understated.” I snorted at this comment, as Matt put his arm round my waist and led me down the stairs.
“Okay, as I said yesterday, he doesn’t particularly like all the formalities, so when we go in just address him as ‘My Liege’ with a slight bow of the head. That’s all that’s required, it’s more showing respect than anything.” I stopped in my tracks as a thought occurred to me.
“Shit, he’s not going to be very impressed with me after yesterday’s spectacle, I did put your car in the front of his house, and I think I almost took his hand off in the bedroom upstairs....”
“That wasn’t your fault, and he knows that. If he’s going to be angry, then it’ll be directed at me for not explaining things a lot sooner. So please, babe, don’t worry.” Any further conversation was interrupted by a soft cough from the bottom of the stairs, and I think my face paled when I saw who it was. Marcus! Fuck, with everything that had gone on I’d totally forgotten about him, he was caught up in my little accident yesterday as well.
“No need, my Lord, I’m none the worse for wear, and as his Lordship has just explained it wasn’t your fault. So please, stop blaming yourself.” He smiled kindly. “Now, if you’ll please follow me, the Viscount is expecting you.”
He turned and started to walk towards a door I hadn’t seen from the vantage point I had on the balcony. Knocking once, he opened it and waited for us to pass through. Matt, going first, led me into what looked like a large library. The room was in stark contrast to the hallway from which we’d just come. Solid wooden floors softly echoed our footsteps, and large bookshelves dominated the walls on three sides. A large, unlit fireplace was prominent on the wall facing us and above it was a painting of the Viscount himself, dressed in some kind of light armour. Some six feet in front of the hearth was a massive, rectangular coffee table, which was flanked by two large leather sofas, one of which was occupied by the Viscount.
Following Matt’s lead we walked halfway through the room before coming to a stop.
“My Liege,” we both said at the same time, whilst giving a slight bow of the head. He smiled and stood up to greet us, drawing Matt and I into a hug.
“It’s good to see you’re up and about Matthew, that was quite an entrance you two made yesterday,” he said, chuckling. I think I went about three shades of red and found something very interesting to look at on the floor.
“I’m sorry My Liege, I.....”
“Now Gary, there’s no need to be embarrassed, it couldn’t be helped. Let us all take a seat and have some coffee whilst we talk; and please call me Joseph, I detest all that formal nonsense.” I think I about drooled at the thought of coffee, I hadn’t had any in what seemed like forever.
I seated myself at the far end of the sofa nearest the fireplace, and the only way Matt could have gotten closer to me would be if he sat in my lap. I looked at him in question, and he just gave me a goofy smile which about melted my heart. Rolling my eyes, I took the proffered cup of java from Marcus, and then finally we were all settled.
“I know, Gary, that you must have a few questions that you need answers to, and hopefully by the time we’re done here, most of them will be answered,” Joseph started, “By no means are we going to get through everything today, so we will cover the basics and leave the details for later.
“Now, would I be wrong in thinking yesterday’s little display warrants explanation first?” Well, fuck me sideways with a beer can, no shit Sherlock! I almost felt like rolling my eyes, but refrained.
Matt spluttered his coffee everywhere, and I looked at him wondering what the hell he was doing......before the penny dropped. As I glanced at the Viscount, a small smile had crept to the sides of his mouth; I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole!
“Maybe we can try that activity later, Gary, but for now, how about we deal with yesterday first?” I merely nodded at him; my face felt like it was burning up with embarrassment. Matt laughing in my head didn’t help matters....fucker.
“Everyone in our caste, Gary, is born into the Light with a latent gift. Normally, it takes months to develop, but I have a feeling yours would come much sooner, if yesterday is any indication.” I was confused as hell, but I let him continue, “These gifts can be anything from telekinesis, levitation, mind control, or I’ve even known people to walk through solid matter. We simply won’t know what yours is until it’s ready to show itself.” I sat there stunned as he explained all this, but it still didn’t clarify what happened yesterday.
“In the case of Atra, though, the gifts go only to those of the strongest bloodline – direct descendents if you like – of noble blood. Fifth or sixth generation new borns are unlikely to receive anything at all. But, if a human is made by a noble, then a gift will manifest itself.
“Now, not only are we born with these gifts, but we can also acquire them as well, which is precisely what you have done.”
Okay, back up just one second, how the hell have I acquired a gift? I’ve hardly done anything.
“You see, when we kill someone from the dark with a strong bloodline, their gifts naturally pass to the victor, in this case you. In addition, acquiring new gifts seems to enhance our natural abilities and reflexes. Despite the best efforts of our scientists, we have never quite worked out how, or even why, this happens. You caught quite a prize in Lord Edmunds, Gary; I shall be very interested to see the results of that in you.” I sat there stunned at what I was hearing; this was like something out of a science fiction movie.
“I know it was a confusing time for you, but when you killed Lord Edmunds, did you feel anything.... unusual?” I thought back to the time in the woods, wondering what wasn’t unusual about it! Then something crossed my mind that I had dismissed at the time.
“Kind of yeah, it’s still really fuzzy... but I remember a sort of tingling sensation, and I really didn’t think anything of it,” I said in a hushed voice.
“Well, I think that’s all the conformation we need. We know what one of his gifts is, at least; but if he had any more, which I’m positive he did, they’ve yet to make themselves known. It is important that we start your training as soon as possible, so when they do manifest, you are able to control them and avoid accidents like yesterday,” he finished.
I took a large gulp of my now cold coffee and digested these new facts that were just presented to me. What was unnerving, I believe, was the fact that I had these things inside me, and none of us had any idea what they were. Apart, of course, from the one that had made a somewhat explosive entrance yesterday. Then I remembered the promise I had made to myself last night, and resolved to do all I could to stop anything like that from happening again.
“Are you ok, babe?” Matt asked me gently, his hand rubbing the back of my neck.
“Yeah, I think so; it’s just an awful lot to take on board. To find out I have these....gifts inside me without knowing what they are is kinda daunting.”
“We understand Gary; it’s happened to all of us. But you’re in the best place to learn about them and, more importantly, control them,” Joseph said with a smile, “We shall start your training this afternoon.” I gave him a small smile, and nodded in acceptance.
“Now, I understand you were a little confused yesterday about our titles, Matthew really should have gone over that with you before now.” He said, giving Matt a disapproving look. “It really is quite simple, as my heir and first generation born Matthew has the title of Lord, you as his bonded share that title. Second generation are Barons, thereafter it fails to matter because the blood line gets weaker. We have our own hierarchy here, which doesn’t follow the traditional pattern of modern nobility. The Aduro have, after all, been around a lot longer than they have.”
I think my mouth about hit the floor, Joseph made Matthew? And what’s this about an heir?
“Just how old are you?” I asked Matt. He looked distinctly uncomfortable.
“Umm, just over two hundred years old,” he said quietly. Oh! Strangely enough, I was relieved, go figure. I think having a two thousand year old sitting across from me and still barely looking thirty sort of helped. From the way Joseph was talking, I thought Matt was a lot older. But something didn’t add up.
“I did have other firsts before Matthew,” he said looking at me, “However, an attack by the Atra took them from me some two hundred years ago, and I had to start over. But now is not the time to go into such things.” He was clearly uncomfortable talking about the subject, so I didn’t press the issue.
I put my hand on Matt’s thigh to indicate that all was well between us, and he flashed me a grateful smile.
For an old geezer, you don’t look so bad. I smirked at him. He just rolled his eyes and elbowed me in the side.
“There is one other thing we have to touch on before we get on with the day. Normally we wouldn’t bring this up just yet, but seeing how fast you’re developing, I feel we have very little choice,” Joseph said, looking me straight in the eye. I was starting to feel uncomfortable again.
Matt started to get antsy next to me as well and I got the impression I wasn’t going to like this.
“We have one more ability, which only manifests in some of us. But you need to be aware, just in case,” Joseph started, “Aside from the transformation you have endured already, which I know was uncomfortable for you...” Yeah right, that was an understatement. “...there is a possibility, a reasonably high one in your case, that you will be able to transform into some kind of a canine.”
I think I just stared at him waiting for the punch line of the joke! It never came. I looked at Matt, but his face was deadly serious as well.
“You’re taking the piss, surely?” I spluttered. He couldn’t be serious, but as I looked between the two of them, it began to sink in that this was no joke. Looking directly at Matt I said, “Can you do this...thing?”
He nodded, and as I looked towards Joseph he gave me an affirmative nod as well.
“Which is why I say there is a reasonably high probability that you will have this ability as well. It is not as bad as it sounds, Gary. The transformation doesn’t hurt in the least. The only reason you felt pain when you changed last time was because you were so early into this life and it literally forced itself out of you. Once you start to practise with it, you will find there is very little pain, if any.”
This was a lot to take in, first the gifts and now these transformations. I was a little sceptical that it wouldn’t hurt, I have to say, because I remembered the pain vividly from the woods. But, I reasoned, these guys have been doing this for a long time and so they should know what they were talking about, right? I really hoped that this was it, and nothing else was ready to jump out of the box at me.
“So, are there any more surprises?” I hesitantly asked, smiling gratefully at Marcus as he gave me a refill.
Joseph smiled, “No, Gary, I believe we have covered everything we need to for now. I am sure you will have more questions along the way, but please, feel free to ask anything.” The smile on his face faded slightly as he paused in thought for a moment. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few other matters to attend to.” We stood up, Matt bowed his head slightly and I followed suit, then Joseph followed by Marcus, was out the door. Strange! I looked at Matt who just shrugged his shoulders at me; I really hoped it wasn’t bad news.
Sitting back down, Matt looked at me with concern. “Are you really okay with everything? I know it’s an awful lot to take in, and digest, in one hit.”
I was silent for a moment as I processed all this new information. “I’m not going to lie, babe, and say it all sits okay with me, because it doesn’t. Some of it is so way out there; it’s difficult to get my head round it. I suppose it’ll just take time, and it seems that’s something I now have plenty of!”
“I do know what it’s like; I guess I’d just forgotten how scary the whole thing can be for someone new to the light. When you start training and using everything for the first time, I think you’ll start to feel a little differently about it all.”
I certainly hope so. I had a feeling this was going to be like school all over again....and I hated school. I knew this had to be done, though, and I was determined to learn quickly. After the events of the last couple of days, who knows what’s round the corner. One thing was for certain; there was no way in hell I was getting caught with my pants round my ankles. I looked at Matt and smiled; no, I had far too much to lose if that happened.
To be continued.........................
© 2009 DragonFire
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