By Dream Janus
Disclaimer: All rights are protected and the story cannot be reproduced without permission.
This story is a work of fiction and contains scenes of gay sex between consenting individuals. If you find this offensive, are under the age of 18, it is illegal wherever you are to read this, stop reading now. Leave this site. If you are offended by harsh language, please exit this page immediately. You have been warned. This work of fiction is property of myself and may not be copied or used in any way without my express consent.
Much thanks and appreciation goes to Rubilacxe, my editor and second set of eyes.
Note from Dream Janus: If you enjoy reading "The Breed" you may also enjoy reading the prequel "I Antino". A note about this chapter You will notice that this chapter is the longest chapter so far in the story, the reason is that several things had to be brought out all together and I could not cut the chapter off early as it would have disrupted the information flow. There are several things in this chapter that will take several chapters or more to get figured out...
Chapter 11 "The Darkness Begins"
Ray sat in his dark mahogany office at the desk. The desk phone was in his hand. Ray was thinking of the last two nights in which Ray slept with Mike, George slept with Ray, George slept with Mike, Ray slept with Rex, Rex slept with Ray, Rex slept with Mike and Mike slept with Rex. Ray had isolated himself from the others in the house to take this call. He knew this call would either make his job a lot easier or much harder. "This is Toban," he said into the receiver.
"This is Ryall medical calling with the genetic analysis of the victims and the chemical analysis of the substance in question," answered a woman's voice over the phone.
"I am ready," Ray answered firmly.
"Firstly, we analyzed each victim expecting to find some form of human genetic abnormality to explain the reason for their deaths. The test did not reveal any `human' abnormality to explain their deaths, but it was revealed that each of them had similar reasons for their deaths."
"Please explain that," Ray said. He thought he understood where she was going but he wanted to be totally clear and did not want any errors.
"The normal human has twenty three pair of chromosomes that make up their DNA. Breed has between thirty-two and sixty-four pairs depending on the specific species." The woman began to explain.
Ray nodded to himself as he began to remember basic High School Science with a bit of Breed Science thrown in.
"Well as the Breed genetic structure is blended with human the Breed side begins to fall apart and become extra parts that are useless, and for the most part undetectable by present day human genetic tests." She continued to explain. "The more human genetic code is added to the breed the less breed the person becomes." She then remembered who she was talking to and added, "As you are well aware."
"The victims all had broken Breed genetic structure in their DNA." The woman finally said with a hint of embarrassment in her voice. "The percentage had to have been 1/8 or less." She then choked up. "They all were of the same Breed genus as well, Their DNA was ghoul."
Ray closed his eyes and blinked back tears. That meant the drug was at least partially toxic to him as well. It also meant that the blood enemies the Regia'an were almost assuredly involved in the drugs. "Let me guess," Ray interrupted. "The drug has at least one component in it that is made of ghoul."
"That is correct, Lord Toban." The woman said sadly. "It appears to be powdered Ghoul mixed with Cocaine, Ecstasy, Butyl Nitrate or Poppers and caffeine crystals. The consistency is heavy on the Cocaine and Ecstasy with caffeine and Ghoul being like a filler and the Butyl Nitrate being a bonding agent." She sighed. "It is a very addictive and powerful drug, it is impossible to just try it and not be hooked. Coming down or off of it is probably very painful, if not deadly."
Ray grimaced as he thought of the two boys upstairs who were going through their third day of withdrawals from the drug. Karl and Junior spent their time watching David, when David slept one or the other of the boys would slip away and get some rest. Ray, George and Mike alternated taking care of Jody, who seemed to be doing better than David. Rex alternated between taking care of David and Jody, feeling more responsible for the care of David.
Ray leaned forward and put his elbow on the desk. "Thank you for the information. Please forward the full report to the Ancient, Joshua Dal`gen'gel`na of the Symbiotic Council, Harold Walert of the Clean-up and Disposal Alliance as well as a copy for my records."
Ray then hung up the phone. He put his head down on the desk and began to cry. Ray felt his emotional barriers and protections crumbling. His emotions permeated the room and began to fill the other rooms in the house. Ray began to sob uncontrollably. The shadow tendrils on his arms and chest began to grow, twist and darken. The tendrils continued to grow and extend until they grew down his back and stomach. It was pulsing with dark energy.
Ray's emotions leaked through the house in such a way that when it reached the kitchen, Davey and Ruth both felt the sadness and shivered. They looked at each other. Davey then climbed into Ruth's arms. They then went looking for the cause of the feeling. Ruth figured it was the master of the house but did not know where he was in the house.
When Ray's emotional wave reached the living room, Mike and Rex were snuggling when they both felt the wave of sadness. They looked at each other and immediately got up, Rex still holding on the Mike's hand. Rex mentally transmitted [George, Ray is having a MAJOR problem!]
"I already know," George said gruffly as he walked down the stairs into the living room. "All three of us need to go."
As the three of them were heading toward Ray's, office they were met in the hall by Ruth and Davey. "What's going on?" Ruth asked.
"It appears that Lord Toban received some very bad news," George began to explain, "and it is getting the best of him."
Davey began to cry. "Lor' Tob'n nee he'p," he said and then began to wail.
Ruth and Mike began to cuddle Davey as all of them made it to the office. George opened the pale oak door without knocking. He then walked in the office followed by Ruth carrying Davey, Mike and Rex. Rex shut the door after he entered.
George began to walk over to the slumped form of Ray. The look of concern was etched on his face as he noticed the shadow tendrils had continued to grow on his body and were actually beginning to expand off of his body. George was becoming worried for Ray's health and well being. He wanted to hug his Zomé and make it all go away.
Davey began to wiggle out of his mother's arms as they entered the darkened room. He wanted to go to his idol's side and give him lots of hugs. Davey didn't like the idea that Lord Toban could have hurt feeling. Davey wanted to help as much as he could even if it meant giving him his teddy bear "Mr. Ribby". Davey finally got out of his mother's arms and ran to Ray's side crying.
Ray was surprised to feel the hands of George and Davey touch his shoulders. He was so far gone emotionally that he did not feel them enter the room. Ray's face was streaked with tears, but the shocking thing was the sight of his eyes. His eyes were solid black with no other color or white. Ray gathered up Davey into his lap and hugged him gently he then reached for George and hugged him as well. Ray's eyes remained the same black color as he hugged them. Slowly his emotional barriers and protections began to rebuild themselves. Ray's emotional stability began to return.
Mike and Rex walked in closer to Ray and joined in the hug. When Rex noticed that Ruth was standing back he pulled her into the hug as well causing some minor laughing from all of them. Mike kissed the top of Ray's head. That caused a shadow tendril to stick to his lips and pull away from Ray's head slightly. Rex and George both noticed the tendrils reaction and looked at each other but kept quiet.
Ray closed his eyes and sighed, "All of the victims were 1/8 ghoul or less but all had some ghoul and the drug has ghoul in it as well." His voice cracked with the stress. "It seems the Regia'an are behind the drug and it is addictive from the very first time it's used."
"Damn," George growled. "No wonder you were out of it."
"Who are these Rega..Regi whoevers?" Mike asked softly.
"Reg-Ia-Yan," Rex pronounced slowly, "or the singular Reg-Ia-Ya." He pulled Mike away slightly. "They are what we call a blood enemy, meaning that every member of the conclave and human helper is expected to try to kill them on sight, or die trying." He then sat himself and Mike down on a dark leather sofa. "The Regia'an were at one time a member of the Conclave, but refused to stop the ritualistic murders of other member of the Conclave. They not only fed on humans and lower animals to survive but on Ghouls, Thrope Wolves and Thrope Rats for sport. They are related to the Ghoul in some ways but they are also related to Thrope Felines in others."
Mike looked horrified as he listened to the explanation. It also intrigued him that there were so many other forms of Breed that he had not even heard of yet. Mike realized that his new life was totally different than the one he had been saved from, but it had its own dangers and adventure.
"Thrope Wolves, Thrope Rats, Ghouls and the common cat seem to be able to feel the Regia'an even when they are hiding. That is probably why Ray was chosen for this job." Rex explained further. "Being part wolf, part ghoul and a Shadow Lord makes a very good combination."
On the other side of the room, Ray continued to receive hugs and other loving from Davey and George. Ruth stood by watching with a smile on her face. George stroked Ray's face occasionally with two fingers. He watched as the tendrils slowed their growth and stopped. "We need to talk about your shadow infection, Ray," he said softly.
"Charlett is not sure it is an infection" Ray said just as softly. "I think it is some kind of mutation or blending with one of my powers that has gone weird."
"Well, you need to get it checked by both the Shadow Lord Council and the Shadow Knight Enclave to show that it is not an infection and does not pose a treat to the Conclave," George responded, gently kissing his Zomé.
"I would take it that was an Ancient command?" Ray asked kissing him back flicking his tongue across George's nose.
"Yeah, it was," George said with softened eyes, ruffling Davey's hair and then kissing Ray's nose.
"I will go Thursday to the Enclave and the upcoming Monday to Council," Ray said then he French kissed George.
"Good," George said smacking his lips as he continued to French kiss Ray. He noticed that as they kissed, Ray's eyes faded back to their normal brown. George sighed with relief and enjoyment.
That evening Ray was called into the living room by George. "You have some visitors coming this evening Lord Toban, They are very skittish and have asked for an audience with you, because I asked them for a favor in watching the drug house and the dealers. They asked only to meet you, no other payment." He explained as he led Ray into the room and set him down in the only recliner in the room, almost like a throne.
"I know you have heard of them but they have been in hiding for several years, except for the annual Conclave meetings as they cannot speak English and they are somewhat obviously not normal." George continued to explain. He then thought transmitted. [I sent Rex, Mike, Ruth and Davey to the Movies because they tend to create a reaction in bears that is a bit too playful and a reaction in humans that is not nice and I didn't want to chance an incident.] George then smiled, "David Senior is still here. He has had dealings with them before and will let them in the gate for us."
George walked to the veranda double doors and opened them. The night air filled the room, causing both Ray and George to tingle with desire to run freely in the night. George groaned slightly and rolled his head popping his neck. His eyes gleamed in momentary excitement. George took a deep breath and the moment passed with a deep shudder.
<May/Can/Permission to we/us/I enter the home/house/abode of the Lord Toban and Master Gew'org of the Great Conclave?> came a squeaky voice in De'wann.
George turned on his heels toward the double doors and responded <You may/should/will advance and be recognized/examined/greeted/welcomed/befriended.>
Ray almost stood but noticed that George made a hand motion that told him to remain seated. He returned to his comfortable position and tried to relax. Ray could feel their presence but he could not identify who they were and that bothered him.
Three small forms in grey robes with hoods entered the room walking through the veranda double doors. The one in the back was carrying a black backpack. The first robed form was wearing a silver necklace with a ruby centered amulet. The second robed form was wearing an identical silver necklace but with a sapphire centered amulet. The third robed form wore no necklace at all.
The ruby wearing robed figure stepped forward and bowed. <I/me is/am Tæll'râk of the Rodentia (Thrope Rat Clan name),> squeaked the hidden voice in a tone that Ray thought must have been female. <I/me is/am Chieftess/Female leader/Alpha Female,> confirming Ray's belief. She then removed the hood hiding her head and face. The small female had the size of a primordial dwarf standing at approximately 3 foot tall with fine features that showed definite rat-like characteristics. Ray remembered that in his "Breed Anatomy" classes that Rats tended to be more susceptible to genetic phage, which caused the loss of human specific features and appearance and possible unwanted changes.
The ruby wearing robed figure then stepped forward and bowed. < I/me is/am Tæmer'nar of the Rodentia,> squeaked a more obviously masculine voice. <I/me is/am Chief/Male leader/Alpha Male>. He then removed the hood hiding his head and face. The small male also was the size of a primordial dwarf but was standing at approximately 3 ¼ feet tall. His features were fine and high but were more human in appearance than his mates, but his eyes shifted back and forth in an uneasy manner.
Both Thrope Rats looked at Ray and then to George with slightly fearful eyes. Ray smiled warmly at both of them and then spoke softly in De'wann, <I/me Lord Toban welcomes/befriend/greets/receives Chieftess/Female leader/Alpha Female Tæll'râk of the Rodentia and welcomes/befriend/greets/receives Chief/Male leader/Alpha Male Tæmer'nar of the Rodentia to my home and friendship.>
Tæll'râk and Tæmer'nar both bowed toward Ray and smiled broadly, but their eyes shifted back and forth uneasily. They were shocked when George motioned for them to sit in a nearby kelly green sofa. Both of the small people quickly beamed at their hosts in surprise and climbed up onto the sofa and sat down swiftly. The third silent, still cloaked person moved and stood beside the sofa, removed the backpack and held it tightly.
<We are pleased to meet the fulfillment of the Great Mother's Prophecy of "The Bridge for Us All",> Tæll'râk squeaked with exhilaration. Her tiny hands quivered noticeably with excitement. Tæll'râk then looked at the third Thrope Rat and motioned toward Ray. The third person moved slowly toward Ray with the backpack outstretched.
[Remember to not speak directly to the slave and try not to even look directly in their eyes.] George projected to Ray. He hid the fact the fact that the mention of the prophecy by Tæll'râk disturbed him and he had an idea what was in the backpack. [Do not take anything that you are not comfortable in accepting, but do not refuse it, if you feel you might want to accept it in the future,] George advised wisely.
The silent slave opened the backpack as it placed the pack on the carpeted floor. The slave withdrew a octagonal cut diamond the size of its small fist. The slave's hands shook slightly as it began to hand the diamond to Ray.
<The Shal'narl (having no English translation) diamond,> Tæmer'nar squeaked.
George stepped between the slave and Ray taking the diamond gently from the slaves outstretched hand. He bowed to Tæll'râk and Tæmer'nar silent and showed the diamond to Ray. [Look but don't touch it till later,] He transmitted.
The slave then withdrew a dagger from the backpack. In the slave's hands in looked more like a vicious sword than a dagger. The dagger's blade five metals: Titanium, Gold, Silver, Copper and Brass twisted and fused together into a single blade with a small portion of the center missing. The hilt was made of Lead with ornate scroll work and a rectangular hole in its center.
<The Dagger of Bridges,> Tæll'râk explained in excitement.
<Also Known as the Sword of Infinity,> Tæmer'nar continued with equal excitement.
<Yes and it is not completed,> George said with a benign smile. He was now glad that he did not allow Ray to touch the diamond, as it could be slotted into the hilt of the dagger and would have possibly caused a lot of problems for his Zomé at this time. George allowed Ray to go ahead and take the dagger, if he chose to do so.
Ray took the dagger in his left hand and turned the weapon into the light. He noticed that the divided blade was indeed sharp, but it looked like it was missing at least two or three parts to be totally complete. Ray did not want to appear ignorant or to offend the leaders of a Clan, so he smiled and bowed his head to both Tæll'râk and Tæmer'nar.
The slave then removed a signet pin from the backpack and held it out toward Ray. Silently Tæll'râk and Tæmer'nar waited to see the Lord's response to this unexpected turn of events. They knew that they had given him some very powerful artifacts, but was it enough for him to ally himself with them at this point and time? They gambled that his youth, inexperience and lack of other clan ties would bear in their favor.
Ray saw the signet pin blinked twice and smiled. He knew immediately what they were thinking and he was not against allying himself with the Rat's but he needed to prove to them, the other clans, the Conclave as well as himself that he was worthy of the title and power of Lord, so he planned on making a deal first.
< Chieftess/Female leader/Alpha Female Tæll'râk of the Rodentia and Chief/Male leader/Alpha Male Tæmer'nar of the Rodentia, I/me accept your gifts of friendship/allegiance at this time I/me am honor bound to complete/finish/end a contract/agreement/oath bound I/me have with the Symbiotic Council that is/was/will be dealing with a/the blood enemy/Regia'an before I can accept/agree/ally with a sign/signet of anyone/others/another. I ask/plead/request for time to be given/granted/allowed until Conclave (approximately 6 weeks),> Ray said softly and calmly, hoping to not offend them.
When the name < blood enemy/Regia'an> was spoken all three of the Thrope Rats hissed in anger. Tæll'râk and Tæmer'nar began chattering away in their clan language rapidly, so fast that neither Ray nor George could understand them. The Thrope Rat leaders' hands flew about animatedly as they talked. Finally they stopped talking and Tæmer'nar then spoke softly. <We/us apologize/ beg to be forgiven no disrespect/abuse/hurt meant/offered. We offer one thousand eyes to help Lord Toban and Master Gew'org with this honor bound to complete/finish/end a contract/agreement/oath bound with the Symbiotic Council that is/was/will be dealing with a/the blood enemy/Regia'an.> They then hissed in anger again.
[You are now more or less expected to accept their new offer or they will be very offended,] George projected.
<I/me accept/agree,> Ray responded, just as he received the thought projection from George. He smiled at the Thrope Rat leaders and then winked at George. [Yeah, I know,] he shot back with a bit of a telepathic laugh.
Later that evening George walked into Ray's office carrying the dagger in one hand and the diamond in the other. His face showed the stress that he had been hiding from Ray all evening. George walked to the wall of bookcases and pulled on a decorative lamp on the middle shelf of the bookcase.
The bookcase slide apart revealing a hidden panel. In the hidden panel was a small cache of modern and medieval weapons and a small empty shelf. George placed the dagger and the diamond on the shelf and pulled the same lamp a second time. The bookcase slid back into place again hiding its secrets.
George then moved to the left of that bookcase to another bookcase and removed an ancient looking leather bound book. He opened it and thumb through it until he came to the page he was looking for. His face fell as he read.
Lady Elzabeth prediction 1769
The `Bridge For Us All' will be born of mixed and hidden blood, both of the darkness and the light, mind of darkness and heart of light.
Shunned by the greatest and accepted by the least, Raised up by the oldest and loved by the youngest.
Bound in blood by love to the Internal Protector and the Dark Sacrifice,
He will be forged in life, death, rebirth and immortality to weld the Dagger of Bridges, Sword of Infinity and the Sword of Unity,
Binding the darkness to the light for all eternity.
The `Bridge For Us All' will create love from destruction, know sorrow and love. Be Father and Mother to us all. Be the greatest of us all.
There was more that followed but George had refreshed his memory and marked the page. He then went to the desk, wrote a letter, sealed it and placed it in the draw where he kept his private papers. George then decided it was time for bed.
The negative realm gave Ray a unique vantage point to spy on the goings on at the drug house. He could stand directly in front of the house in the shadow of the old oak tree and be totally invisible to everyone and everything around him, but still be able to see everything that was going on at the house. Ray had been watching the house now for about three weeks, Rex, Karl and Junior helped him observe from other locations at alternating times.
Ray had read the report that Rex and Karl had written and watched the dealers that they felt "something was not quite right" and Ray agreed that something was different about them. After a couple weeks it finally clicked. In his report to the Symbiotic Council, Ray identified the non-addicted dealers as "potential mixed breed Regia'an/Humans and to be treated as a greater threat than full blood Regia'an because they could not be sensed as easily as their full blood cousins".
Ray, Rex, Karl and Junior's reports began to show the progressive increase in dealer activity, but consistent `New' to `Old' user activity. To Ray this represented that they intended to create a second drug house in the very near future and that the money generated by the drugs was not intended to make anyone rich, the dealers, the suppliers or even the manufacturers. The thing that bothered Ray was what the real intention of the drug was if it was not to make someone rich? Was it a form of breed racial genocide? Or was it intended to create a class of humans dependant on the drug and as such willing to be slaves for it? It was almost time for Ray to file his report to Antino, the Symbiotic Council and the Ghouls. He then knew he was expected to destroy the drug house and the dealers, both human and those suspected of being potential mixed breed Regia'an/Humans.
Ray came home from a night of surveillance to find the manor house's driveway filled with cars. He slipped into the house silently and found that the ruling council of the Shadow Knight Enclave was seated in his living room with George and Rex. Ray bowed respectfully to each member of the council and then stood behind his two Zoméa.
"What do I owe the honor of this meeting?" Ray asked in calm voice, though he suspected it had to do with the belief that he had a shadow infection and the Rat clan visit.
"Lord Toban," Charlett said softly. Her red dress matched her lips perfectly. Her raven black hair moving slowly as she stood to speak. "We are here to assist you in proving that you are not shadow infected, as this is troublesome to both you and the Enclave." She smiled and walked toward Ray.
"Please strip so that we may see the shadow markings," said an older vampire woman that Ray thought was named Theresa.
Ray thought for a moment to play as if he had some real modesty, but decided against it and bent over to remove his shoes and socks. He then quickly removed his shirt revealing his well defined chest muscles and the shadow tendrils on his arms, chest and stomach. Without blinking an eye, Ray then buttoned his jeans unzipped the zipper and slid them to the floor. He never wore any underwear anymore so he now was totally exposed to a room full of people, most who were strangers.
Theresa stood and walked around Ray examining the shadow tendrils. "Do they continue to grow?" she asked.
"Yes," Ray responded.
Theresa then touched two of the tendrils and watched in a mixture of amusement and astonishment as they followed her fingers and lifted off of Ray's skin. She then twisted them and caused them to combine, forming into a new design. Theresa then flicked her finger and the tendrils released returning to Ray's skin, but remained in its new form and design.
Theresa then withdrew a white dagger from her belt. The dagger had an almost ethereal glow to the metal and the hilt was white clay. The blade itself actually had no cutting edge. Theresa gently touched the flat of the blade to Ray's skin directly on one of the tendrils on Ray's back and watched the reaction.
Ray did not react when the blade touched his skin, but the tendril did. The color of the tendril drained and flowed away from the blade. Theresa did notice that the tendril itself did not shrink away, just the color. She then spoke, "It is not viral in nature," As she walked to the front of Ray's body.
Theresa lifted Ray's right hand and examined his wrist closely and then looked even closer at his neck. She then swiftly and silently stabbed Ray in the neck at the point where the shadow necklace was connected. Ray was stunned at the motion, but was even more stunned that he did not feel anything. A moment later, the black remains of the necklace fell from around Ray's neck as she removed the dagger.
"Double Damn!" Ray screamed.
"My apologies Lord Toban," Theresa said with a slightly bowed head. "I had to strike without your knowledge, or the shadow energy would have attempted to protect you." She bowed even deeper. "I can now destroy the bracelet's link as well, without scaring you this time."
Theresa then put the dagger against the point where the bracelet was on Ray's right wrist and pushed. The daggers blade slipped into the shadows and emerged out the other side of Ray's wrist from the opposite shadow. She then withdrew the blade and watched as the bracelet disintegrated.
A group gasp was heard as they expected the tendrils to retreat now that their source was cut off, but instead they expanded covering the remaining untouched surfaces of his skin. His face became covered in what looked like massive dark black tribal tattoos. His fingers and toes took on a dark almost black color to the very skin itself. Once all of Ray's body was covered with shadow tendrils in the form of tribal tattoo-like marks, his eyes also turned black. Ray looked down at his body and then at Theresa.
"Focus your thoughts," Theresa demanded. "See the tendrils as part of you, an extension of who you are, like your mental abilities." She continued to walk around Ray as she talked.
Ray did as she directed. He began to feel the tendrils were like an arm, a hand, an eye, an ear or weapon all at once but able to be separate at the same time as well. Ray felt energy draw up into his eyes, hands, mind and the tendrils all at the same time. He knew that the energy came from his attack on Mike's father and his fight with Paul, he could `taste' it.
"You cannot go around marked up with shadow energy like this" Theresa said as she continued to walk around Ray. "Draw the energy into you, Feel it withdraw from your skin into your body."
Ray concentrated on her words and tried to do as she instructed. The tendrils began to withdraw into his body, the color of his fingers and toes began returning to normal. Ray's skin was almost back to normal, when something felt like it caught in Ray's mind. He could not absorb anymore of the shadow energy, Ray dropped his head.
Theresa noticed that Ray was no longer able to absorb the shadow energy, but the remaining energy showed on part of his face and across part of his chest. "That does not look right Toban, Try to stabilize the external appearance."
Ray closed his eyes and concentrated but was not able to visualize how he wanted to look. Then an image of him with black tribal tattoo markings appeared strongly in his mind. He turned slightly looked at George and Rex and then smiled. "Thanks for the help Zoméa." Ray then refocused and allowed the energy to flow into the image that George and Rex transmitted to him. He now had tribal markings from just above his wrists to just above his shoulders on each arm. Ray's eyes slowly reverted to normal.
"Well, School won't like it too much," Quipped Rex. "But you look sexy as hell."
"Yeah, you can expect to be forced to wear long sleeves, if the School administration has their way," George agreed.
The room echoed with laughter for a moment. Theresa then motioned for everyone to quite down. "Is it agreed that this is not an infection?"
The room again echoed with several voices, "Agreed."
"Any opposed?" Theresa asked out of decorum courtesy.
The room remained silent for a moment as everyone looked at each other. Then slowly smiles began to form on everyone's faces. They then clapped and cheered that their portion of the examination was complete. Each member of the ruling council over the next hour shook Ray's hand and excused themselves to return to their own homes.
That night Ray fell into bed after kissing and being kissed by Rex, Mike and George. Moments later Mike joined him on his right side, Thirty minutes later they were followed by Rex who slept on Mike's right side. An hour after that George joined then by slipping into the bed on Ray's left side. George spooned behind Ray who turned to face Mike, Mike turned to face Rex and Rex faced Mike.
The same night that Ray's report to Antino, the Symbiotic Council and the Ghouls was due was the day that Band Camp began for Ray and Mike. Needless to say it was a very chaotic day. Rex had to again get Karl and Junior from the Junkyard where they had returned and now lived with David. Plus George had to pick up Jody at his house. Plus everyone was expected at the manor by Ruth and Davey for breakfast.
Breakfast went off without a hitch until Davey decided that he had to go to Band Camp with George, Ray, Mike and Jody or all sorts of bad things would happen. Davey just knew that he and Mr. Ribby were the only ones that could protect them. It took both Ray and Mike both promising the tearful boy that they would be safe and that Davey and Mr. Ribby could go to one of the football games that year to get Davey to allow them to go.
Once they were in the car all four of the guys broke into good natured laughter. Jody's red slightly curly hair fell into his green eyes as he laughed. His somewhat pudgy body quivered with each laugh. Ray and Mike both were glad to see their friend had been restored to his pre-drug habit health. No one spoke to Jody of that time in his life; they felt it was not needed. Jody felt he owed Ray, Mike, Rex and George his life though. Everyone but Ray was dressed in tee shirts. Ray was dressed in a long sleeve shirt and a sleeveless tee-shirt.
The school parking lot was a hive of activity as George pulled into a parking place. Lowell Johnson, the new drum major was standing in the center of the parking lot in a pair of blue and gold shorts and blue Warrior tee shirt trying to direct the freshman and their impatient parents to the band room. Lowell's handsome face showed that he was stressed even though he had a smile plastered on his face. The drum major whistle hung impotently on a chain around his neck.
As they approached, Ray got a mischievous gleam in his eye and then thought transmitted to George, Rex and Mike [FRESHMAN ATTENTION!]. The moment they got with in a few feet of the chaos all four of them yelled "FRESHMAN ATTENTION!" Their voices echoed off the surrounding buildings as one voice. All the new freshman band members and their parents froze in fright, several of the sophomore band members sprung to attention out of habit. The whole area echoed in silence.
The sophomores slowly realized what they had done and began to laugh at themselves. George smiled at the parents of the new freshmen and said, "Parents over here for a moment please." Ray winked at Lowell who said softly, "Thanks," and then focused on the freshmen. "Follow these guys and they will make sure you get to the band room." Ray walked up to Lowell and bumped knuckles with him, trying hard not to laugh.
George introduced himself to the parents as Ray and Mike's guardian and Rex's brother. He explained that the parents were expected to wait until the children got settled in the band room to find out the schedule. He went into detail about the band's activities last year, being that Ray and Mike both were freshmen. George became an instant hit with the parents and the parents momentarily forgot to be overly protective of their little angels.
Ray and Mike led the new freshmen down the Annex hallway to the band room. Several of the freshman boys and a few of the girls took an instant liking to Mike, as he was very close to their size. Ray smiled and winked at Mike as they walked. "How many of you are going to be in the sax section this year?" Ray asked innocently.
A small boy and a slightly pudgy girl raised their hands, Ray and Mike both noticed another gangly boy almost raised his hand as well. "I play baritone Sax and Mike here plays Alto," Ray said conversationally. He then looked at the gangly boy and said, "You almost raised your hand, what's up?"
The boy freckled face blushed red for being singled out this early. "I don't play sax, but I want to change instruments." He admitted softly.
"That is cool" Ray said "Mr. Borden allows us to change instruments if we want and the band needs another sound more." He then grinned "Let me guess, you play clarinet and want to change because clarinet is too wimpy."
The boy blushed three shades of red and hung his head. He certainly did not want someone as cool looking as Ray to catch him like that, specially the first day of band camp.
"Zomé take the others on in" Ray said to Mike. "I need to talk with..."
"Steve" The boy answered softly.
"I need to talk to my buddy Steve here for a minute." Ray continued. "Tell Mr. Borden I am here if he asks."
Mike nodded and ushered the other freshman into the band room as quickly as possible. He smiled to himself after catching Ray's use of the De'wann term of endearment in public. Mike did not know how many other breed kids went to school there, but if they were within ear shot Ray just outted both of them and it felt great to Mike.
Ray led Steve off to one side of the band room door and spoke to him in a near whisper. "When I came here last year, I also played clarinet and was the only boy. Mr. Borden saw that I was miserable and asked me if I would like to try something new. I now play the baritone sax for the marching band, the contrabass clarinet, bass clarinet and baritone sax for the Concert Band." Ray smiled real big. "Mr. Borden has me practice with the sax's, the bass line and during concert band the clarinets as well." He patted Steve's pale shoulder lightly. "You sit with me and I will suggest that you play bari sax in Marching Band and bass clarinet in Concert Band."
Steve beamed with the idea and smiled, "That sounds great."
Ray found Mr. Borden the moment they entered the band room and asked about assigning Steve to the baritone sax. Mr. Borden agreed with Ray's suggestion with a smile. He then looked at how Ray was dressed and knitted his eye brows. "Ray you know that it will get too hot for you to wear two shirts."
"Yes sir, but I did not know how the school would react to my arms, so I covered them up." Ray explained.
Mr. Borden had a feeling that he was going to be slightly upset with his favorite sax player, but he said. "Let's see..."
Ray unbuttoned the teal long sleeve shirt and took it off as quickly as he could. He knew the reaction to his transformation would be extreme. Ray held his breath as the shirts covering left one arm and then the other.
A room wide gasp could be heard by Ray when he revealed the tribal tattoo like markings left by the shadow tendrils. Both Mr. Borden's and Steve's eyes were bugged out at the sight. Ray figured that as conservative as Mr. Borden was, he would have him put his shirt right back on.
"School doesn't officially start for another four weeks," Mr. Borden said flatly, but loud enough to be heard by the band members. "Between now and then I will have them give us a school policy on this, but the band camp policy is cooler is better." He then smiled gravely and said softly, "Just make sure you classmates know it is not acceptable for everyone to get the same thing."
"Of course," Ray said with a lopsided smile.
The remainder of the day at band camp for Ray was filled dealing with questions about his tattoos and him explaining that they cost several thousand dollars for each arm and were very painful. Ray felt that in a way it was not lying in that if the other students were to try and duplicate it, the process would indeed cost that much and be very painful.
Mike dealt with questions about living with George and indirectly about Ray's tattoos. He felt some jealously during the day as he watched Ray and Steve talking during music practice and occasionally joking during marching practice. Mike did not like sharing Ray's attention with another boy, Rex and George didn't count because they were different. This new kid was just too `human'.
Ray could feel that Mike was upset about something on the ride home, but every time he or George would try and talk with him he got snippy with them both. He did not like it when Mike acted this way, there were too many things going on right now for him to deal with Mike not being willing to talk things out. Ray finally got tired of the cold shoulder routine from Mike so he returned the favor and ignored Mike the rest of the way home.
By the time they reached the gate at the manor house, Mike was not sure if he wanted to scream at Ray, hit him or cry in frustration on his shoulder. He hated having the tables turned on him. Mike felt like he deserved to be angry at Ray and Ray had no right to get angry with him.
When the car finally stopped at the house, Ray quickly got out and walked into the house without a word, by now he was furious with the way Mike was acting and did not want to overact and possibly hurt the boy, emotionally or physically. He quickly entered into his office and shut the door. Ray was about mad enough that his emotions were going to reverse and he was going to start crying, that was never good.
George was fed-up with the situation and began to assert his right as the Alpha Zomé. "We are going to talk, NOW!" He growled at Mike. George then strongly but carefully pulled Mike out of the car by his arm and shoulder.
"Here is what I figure is going on," George said as he glared into Mike's eyes. "I think something happened today that got you set in jealous mode."
Mike bowed his head sadly but did not say anything. He knew better than to try and lie his way out of it. George would see through it and not appreciate the reasons.
"Ok, that is settled," George said in confirmation. "Let's get some things understood." George then relaxed the hold on Mike's arm. "First, in our world Ray is an ADULT with Adult responsibilities and needs. It is only in the human world that Ray is treated as a CHILD. In most ways Ray is more Breed than Human, so it is very hard for him to walk the fine line between the two worlds," George said ticking off on a finger.
"Second, Ray as Lord Toban has the added responsibility of being the youngest Shadow Lord in the History of the Clans, and he is the first non-vampire to be a Shadow Lord in around a hundred years. That is some heavy shit even for a full blood breed to deal with, let alone someone who spent all their life being told they were worthless, by almost everyone," George ticked off a second finger.
"Third, he feels responsible for everyone in this house, not only for our safety and our needs, but also for our wants and our happiness. He treats everyone as equals and that is unheard of in our world," George ticked off a third finger.
"Fourth, what we did to protect you was expensive and being that you have no way of paying Ray back according to our laws he could have made you into a slave instead of a Felmar or a Zomé. But Ray and I did it out of love and concern for you and without thought of payback," George ticked off a forth finger.
"Fifth, who has Ray been spending all of his time with when he is not working?" George said softly. "Rex is off watching the drug house for Ray and I have obligations to protect not only Ray's property and well being but I am still honor bound to do what I can to protect the Ancient."
By now Mike was in tears, he realized that he was being silly for getting jealous about anything Ray did without him and he would need to learn to communicate better. Mike remained silent and tried to turn toward the house. He froze when George did not release him immediately and realized that he owed George an apology as well. "I am sorry, I should not have let it get to me this way, or let things get this far out of control."
George relaxed his grip on Mike and then released him. He then ruffled Mike's hair and smiled. "Go clean up your mess."
The timid knock on the office door immediately told Ray that Mike finally was ready to tell him what was really going on. A small part of him didn't want to hear the reason for Mike's attitude; it was just too much stress on his already strained emotions to deal with something out of left field. Ray realized he was expected to be the `bigger man' in this situation and at least listen so "Come in"
Mike walked into the darkened office with his head down. He really felt like shit for treating Ray so badly. "I am sorry I have been an ass this afternoon" Mike said almost whispering. "I got jealous."
Ray was not sure what to expect as the reason for Mike's actions but he was floor. "You were jealous?" He asked in shock. "Of what..." he sputtered "Of who?"
"You and that new kid Steve" Mike said with the same soft whispering voice.
"Double fucking damn" Ray said "Mike, I was being friendly to the guy, he was nervous about being the only guy in the clarinet section so he transferred to our section." He explained. "I guess I am going to have to bring you more into the family to make you feel secure with your place in my heart," Ray said with a bit of leer. "Get your ass over here." He then held his arms wide open.
Mike grinned sheepishly and rushed into Ray's arms. They cuddled for a moment and Mike began to melt into Ray's arms. He felt so very foolish, for being jealous. Now he began to worry what Ray meant by bringing him more into the family.
That evening just before sunset, Ray was sitting in the living room watching television with Davey, Rex and Mike when George entered the room and motioned to Ray. Ray nodded as he began to rise from his favorite chair. When he reached the sofa he gently pulled Mike to his feet as well and then looked at George. George was slightly surprised that Mike was coming with them, but did not object or say anything as it was Ray's choice and right.
Once in the car and heading down the street Mike finally spoke. "Where are we going?"
Ray smiled and turned to Mike. "As you know I have a meeting tonight about the drug house."
Mike nodded in agreement.
"I told you earlier that I was going to have to bring you more into the family and that is also what we are going to do at the same time," Ray explained. "You are going to be meeting a few more people that are in the family and making an oath with me."
"And ME," George interjected suddenly.
"And George," Ray agreed with a smile, "that seals you to the family forever."
"I bet it is going to hurt?" Mike said seriously but with a smile.
"Yeah we make a blood oath to each other and you make it to the Conclave, to protect all secrets from all outsiders and defend it with your life," Ray said solemnly.
When they arrived at the restaurant, George and Mike waited outside as Ray went inside. Inside Ray was met by Antino and Elzabeth who were overseeing the servants and slaves preparations for the meeting. Antino was dressed in blue sports coat and jeans. Elzabeth was in a low cut dress that showed her ample cleavage. At Ray's open display of his shadow markings Antino smiled, but he immediately realized something was on his young protégé's mind.
"Speak openly, Toban," Antino said before he was even greeted by Ray.
"Well, at least let the boy give me a kiss first," interject Elzabeth in a playful tone.
Ray turned to Antino and hugged him tightly, giving his a full kiss on the lips. [Hello Antino,] he transmitted with love and admiration.
Ray then turned to Elzabeth hugging her tightly and kissed her on both of the cheeks, smiled and then said, "Hi, Mother, I see you and the twins are doing well." He of course was joking about her well endowed breasts.
Elzabeth smiled and just kissed Ray on the cheek saying, "Yes, we are doing fine." Her accent and speech pattern that she used in public were muted and replaced with perfect modern English.
Ray then turned back toward Antino and answered his unasked question, "Blood oath between self, George and Mike."
"They are outside then," Antino said without even blinking.
Ray nodded and then smiled as he noticed that Elzabeth was smiling at him in a mothering sort of way. "He deserves it and would die to protect our family," Ray said softly.
"I already know," Antino acknowledged with a slight smile.
Ray nodded in a slight bow and then turned and walked back outside. When he caught sight of Mike and George he motioned for them to come into the restaurant. Ray was getting nervous and it actually felt good to him to feel this way, it made him feel alive.
Mike entered the restaurant holding onto George's arm for security and as soon as he was able to reach Ray he also latched onto him. Mike was scared but also excited with what was going on and what might go on tonight. His heart was beating very rapidly, something he knew both of his Zoméa could easily hear. Mike's face was flush with blood when he first laid eyes on the décor of the restaurant, plus the sights that were Elzabeth and Antino.
"My dear you scaring the shit out outta that there boy," Elzabeth said with giggle slapping playfully at Antino as if he was the cause of Mike's nerves and fear.
"Yes, Mother," Antino said, smiling as he gave her an exaggerated bow.
Ray and George busted out laughing. For a brief moment Mike was dumbfounded and then realized that they were playing around for his benefit and he then also laughed and began to relax some.
"Mike, I would like to introduce to you Lady Elzabeth the Leader of the Conclave Elders which is our ruling council, Leader of the Shadow Lords making her my boss, one of the few vampiric prophets and Mother to us all."
Mike bowed his head and softly said, "ma'am."
"You either look at my Ta-tas or my eyes when talking to me young man" Elzabeth said with a smile. "That ways I know ya like me."
Mike blushed and then looked briefly at her ample to overflowing breasts and then smiled as he looked her directly in the eyes. "It is nice to meet you."
Ray laughed softly and then said, "Mike I would also like to introduce you to Lord Antino, The Ancient. The oldest of all Vampires in the United States."
Mike blanched and felt his knees begin to buckle as he felt faint. Antino quickly reached for the terrified boy and embraced him in a gentle but powerful hug. Mike felt his consciousness begin to drift until he looked into the eyes of the thing that he feared the most and did not see hunger, hatred or any other violent intent only concern.
"No my boy you are not going to faint over me," Antino said softly but with a command in his voice that no one human or breed was capable of refusing.
"Yes, my lord," Mike said softly and out of focus, his mind swimming to the surface to obey Antino's command.
Moments later after Mike had recovered; Ray and George were holding him in a gently three-way hug as Ray explained what was going to happen.
"We are all three going to make a cut across the palms of our hands, just deep enough to make it bleed," Ray explained softly. "You are then going to swear that all that you see, hear, learn and know about us will forever be secret and if you ever reveal it, you understand that your life is over, that someone from the Conclave will be sent to kill you."
"We are going to swear to protect your life with our lives," George continued the explanation for Ray.
"Is this like a marriage ceremony?" Mike asked.
"No" Antino interjected "But if you decide that you want to marry one or more of the three of them, It can be done."
Mike looked at Antino in surprise. He was shocked that the leader of the entire Breed community would be so accepting of their relationship. Mike started to ask a question when he heard Elzabeth begin to giggle and work herself into a roaring laughter.
"My dear boy" Elzabeth said between laughter. "Antino is so open minded that to be any more open his mind would have to be the sky. I am the only female he has been with in 1200 years and that was almost a thousand years ago."
"I think he would re-write Clan law for his protégé if he needed to," Elzabeth said with a big smile on her face. "I can't blame him though."
Ray blushed and said, "Let's get the ceremony over with so we can do other things". He of course knew that she was right but it still embarrassed him.
George withdrew a simple dagger from his boot sheath and handed it to Ray. He was aware that his young lord would feel the pain of their shared Zomé but it was required that he do it.
Ray gently grasped Mike's left hand and kissed it. He then quickly and suddenly slid the dagger blade across Mike's palm. Ray held Mike's hand tight as he attempted to pull it back out of reflex. Ray then sliced this own left palm and slapped them together forcefully.
[Speak the words now,] Ray projected into Mike's mind.
"By this blood, I pledge my life and loyalty to the Breed and the Conclave, To the Ancient Antino, Lord Toban and Master George. If I ever speak of things that should remain hidden, my life is forfeit and worthless," Mike said with authority. "Is that good enough?" Mike then asked.
"Sounds good to me," said Harry Walert the ghoul, as he walked into the room. "Am I early?"
"Yes, Harry, as usual," answered Antino with a smile, "and that was just fine, Mike."
George took the dagger from Ray and sliced his hand as well.
"I Lord Toban pledge my honor to protect you from this day forth from all harm, human and breed alike," Ray said with a voice that while soft reverberated in the room with power and authority.
George then took Mike's hand from Ray and said, "I, Master Gew'org, pledge my honor to protect you from this day forth from all harm, human and breed alike." He then leaned forward and kissed Mike on the lips gently while still holding the bloody hand.
Ray leaned in also and joined the kissing and almost immediately all three of them began to moan and growl in excitement. Ray was ready to go home and have his way with Mike and let George have his way with him all at the same time. Mike could mount Rex if he chose.
Elzabeth stood nearby leaning on a table. She was watching the three kissing. A mixture of joy and sadness filled her heart as tears rolled down her face. She kept repeating, "Bound in blood by love to the Internal Protector and the Dark Sacrifice".
Editor's Comments: Now that was an impressive chapter! The links between these Zoméa are now bound into the family. But there is still the Conclave meeting and what they would have to do about the Regia'an.