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: I now have a presence in Yahoo groups and MSN Groups.
On Yahoo it is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dream_janus_stories/
On MSN it is http://groups.msn.com/DreamJanusStories
If you want, I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Another Note: This chapter marks the expected half way point of this story. I am expecting to only have 30 chapters, but if it needs it, up to 35 chapters.
Chapter 15 "Bridge for us all"
Toban ran down the stone corridor. The catacomb-like tunnels of the Conclave's maze levels smelled of sweat, blood and mildly of death. Toban was aware that the air around him was changing every so slightly, he realized that this meant that the tunnel was going to open up into a cavernous chamber at any moment. As expected the tunnel ended by opening up to a large chamber.
The chamber appeared to be a bombed out cityscape in that the floor was constructed like the street of any large city with an intersection and shells of burned out cars and even included a fire hydrant. The rest of the area was filled with assorted sized buildings; some even looked liked skyscrapers, even though they ended at the roof of the cavern. There was a flashing traffic light in the intersection as well as a mailbox and a couple of alleyways.
Toban knew the purpose of this area was to get across the cavern and stop any attackers, all the while using the surroundings for cover and to aid in surprising the opponents. He had been informed that in most of the course he was only to subdue any attackers, but if he came across anyone with a blue collar they were going to be fighting to the death and so should he. The Conclave maze was setup not only to be a training and testing course, but also as a form of punishment for others.
Toban extended the shadow energy around his body and took a deep breath. His eyes darkened into solid black as the energy solidified around him. Toban then flexed his hands and reformed them into claws. His fingers thickened and darkened with the shadow energy into vicious claws. Toban was ready to battle.
The moment Toban walked into the cavern a large Thrope wolf jumped on top of one of the burned out car shells. Toban did not recognize the Thorpe's smell so he knew that he was not from any of the area clans. The Thrope growled menacingly, but made no attempt to cross the cavern to attack. Toban tucked and rolled into the area just inside the cavern, he then threw something from his hands.
The things that Toban threw from his hands were shadow energy in the shape of thrown daggers. These shadow daggers flew across the cavern at astounding speed surprising the Thrope. The first dagger struck the Thrope in the left shoulder in such force that it caused him to twist his upper body on impact. The second dagger also hit but this one struck him in the forehead. Immediately the Thrope dropped hard onto the top of the car.
In a room some distance away from the maze complex was a conference room holding a bank of monitors that observed the whole maze. A technician sat in front of them and kept the center monitor focused on Toban's movements. Occasionally he would tap a control on the large control panel and then tapped another control displayed on a touch screen monitor, when he was done a picture of the ongoing action was displayed on the monitor screen.
At the conference table sat Charlett, Elzabeth and Nigel busy watching the monitor in the center of the table. Charlett and Elzabeth were both enraptured by Toban's actions and Nigel looked somewhere between ill and enraged. Antino passed back and forth watching the monitors.
Antino looked over the technician's shoulder and asked, "The shadow weapon that he just created, was it the typical shadow dagger?"
"No," Charlett answered from the conference table. "This is the typical shadow dagger." She then produced a shadow weapon that was three quarters of an inch across and six inches long. She then pointed at the monitor in the center of the table. "That is at least twice that across and at least 8 or 9 inches long."
The technician changed the video on the monitor with an excited, "Look at this."
The video clip in question was moment after the second shadow dagger struck the Thrope. It was focused on Toban. The video clip showed a white halo around Toban's head for a brief second and then it was gone.
"That is definitely not shadow based," Charlett announced.
"No, it is Shadow Lord based," Elzabeth squealed. "It is a variation of a Soul Tapping blast. My boy just absorbed at least 2 years of life from that Thrope wolf."
"What does that prove?" Nigel said with a slight growl.
"It proves that the Shadow energy in Toban is not an infection but has combined with his Shadow Lord power and enhances it," Antino answered with a cold stare at Nigel, "proving that your assumption was false."
Nigel smiled and said, "I think the Full Conclave would have other ideas about that Ancient" He brought his hands together and tapped his fingers together. "I plan on bringing this to the Full Conclaves attention next month at the annual meeting.
Antino looked at Nigel with pure hatred. "So how long have you had it out for Toban? Is this something new or have you wanted him dead for a long time?
"I will not allow a mixed breed...Mmm," he stopped himself just before saying mutt, "to be in line for the Bear throne." Nigel was power hungry, but not stupid. He realized that the slight slip of the tongue was not enough to get him killed, but was enough to enrage the Ancient. Nigel knew not to push further or the Ancient would find some valid reason to have him killed, dramatically.
As expected, Antino was livid with the larger man, but he turned to him and smiled. "The boy has a bigger role to play than to be King of another clan of dying out Thropes." This was an intentional dig about the population numbers of the Bears dwindling instead of stay constant or increasing. No one could dispute the fact that the Bears were loosing numbers each generation.
"Oh, Yes," Nigel scoffed, "the legendary Bridge."
It was now Elzabeth's turn to be angry. "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." Her voice took on a faraway quality.
"Shunned by the greatest and accepted by the least, Raised up by the oldest and loved by the youngest." Elzabeth's eyes glowed with an almost manic brilliance.
"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, the Sword of Infinity and the Sword of Unity," Her face began to glow with a white halo.
"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."
"The bridge shall sway in the winds of change but be eternal in New Life," Elzabeth said in an almost whisper.
"The Ancient shall bow to the love of the bridge and swear allegiance to his power."
Everyone in the room had heard the prophecy before and was surprised that Elzabeth was not restored to her former mind when it was finished.
"The time comes for when the bridge shall be completed," Elzabeth continued unexpectedly.
"Only one piece remains. The Dark Sacrifice is mistaken, the true enemy is from within and the truth is not yet revealed," Elzabeth then promptly passed out.
Antino memorized the new portion of the message and then began trying to figure it out. He recognized that the first part meant that it was almost time. The second was a bit confusing for a moment and then Antino realized that Toban was even more unique than he was before. The drug reaction had caused him to have a small amount of tissue that was necrotic or dead, wolf, bear, human, ghoul and dead.
"What piece is missing?" he thought to himself.
The part about the Dark Sacrifice being mistaken actually brought Antino some relief, He realized that George believed himself to be the Sacrifice and planned to sacrifice his life for his Zomé. With it being mistaken, that meant either no death was needed or someone other than George would be dying.
The true enemy portion bothered Antino as that meant someone close to either him or Toban was actually working against them. Nigel was a known enemy to Toban so he was the one spoke of by Elzabeth.
Nigel looked at the now prone form of Elzabeth with the appearance of someone who had just heard the worst news in his life. Instead of waiting for her to wake as the others were apparently doing, Nigel excused himself and fled the room.
Thirty minutes later in the locker room outside the maze, Ray was showering. He ran his fingers across a new bruise on his chest, which he received from the one and only blue collar in the whole maze. The blue collar was slightly demented Vampire that was sentenced there apparently for feeding in a no feeding zone of town. He dispatched the raving vampire with a quick Shadow claw to the chest, removing the offender's heart.
Ray needed the shower to remove all the blood and sweat. Vampire blood was taboo to drink for the Thropes. Even though he was no longer a member of the Clans, he still felt as if it was taboo. Ray realized that his muscles should have been at least aching but other than being tired and having the new bruise he was not hurt. He absently mindedly caressed his well developed chest as he relaxed in the hot water.
The muffled and muted sounds of cheering roused Ray out of his momentary mental fog and brought him back to awareness. He focused for a moment and was able to get a directional location on where the sounds were coming from, an air conditioning vent just outside the shower room. After a moments thought Ray figured out that the vent went up inside the wall, so that meant the sounds came from somewhere directly above him.
Ray toweled dry after his shower. By now he realized that the cheering had stopped momentarily and then increased dramatically for a brief time and then returned to a constant murmur of sound. By the time he was fully dressed Ray decided to investigate the sound. It would be an adventure of sorts as he was not at all familiar with the lower level of the Conclave complex.
After leaving the locker room, Ray hunted down and found a staircase that led up to the next floor. He found that the next level up was much noisier than the one he was on. The cheering he heard down below as amplified and he was able to follow the noise. When he felt that he was almost to the noise, Ray found himself in a long concrete hallway. He followed the hall until it opened into an arena style area with stadium style seating.
The seats were full of cheering people; Vampires, wolves, bears, Ghouls and some humans. In the center of all the seating was a sunken octagon shaped pit area with two fighters in the center. Ray noticed that each chair had a remote control and seemed to be able to take bets from the person sitting in the seat. The whole environment fascinated Ray to the point that he drifted slowly down toward the pit so he could see the fighting better.
What Ray did not notice was that as he descended the stairs he was noticed by the audience and as he descended, more and more people became aware of his presence and began to stare. The arena slowly began to grow quieter and quieter, until everyone's eyes were on Ray and the audience was silent. The vampire and wolf fighters even took notice of the sound difference and stood transfixed by Ray's presence.
Ray was brought back to reality when the fighters stopped fighting. He then realized that the arena was also silent and slowly looked around for the cause. Ray did not realize that he was the cause until a young looking man hurried up to him speaking very quickly. "Welcome Lord Toban, I am Arena Master Tally."
Ray blushed as it finally dawned on him that he was the cause of the fight stopping and the arena falling silent. "Please continue, don't stop on my account."
Ray quickly was ushered in to the office of Arena Master Tally. The fight in the pit resumed. Even though he was being encouraged to follow the Arena Master, the fighting men drew Ray's attention. His heart began beating faster as the smell of the physically active men reached his nose. The smell grew stronger as they began to battle.
The Arena office was small dark and dank. The size was just large enough to have a paper packed wooden desk, wooden desk chair and an old filing cabinet. The walls had several charts on them, all written in De'wann. The ceiling was a criss-crossed of heating and cooling duct work. Anyone that walked into the office could easily tell that the Arena Master only used the room rarely at best.
By the time that Ray was in the office, he had made a decision. He wanted to battle at least once in the arena pit. Arena master Tally blanched when Ray informed him of his interest. Everyone knew that Lord Toban was under the protection of the Ancient and if anyone touched him, it was a death sentence. Tally knew that even though that was the case, he could not refuse the desire outwardly or that would also upset both the Ancient and the young lord.
"Lord Toban, please," Tally began all the while trying not whine in discomfort. "You know that the Ancient would slaughter anyone who laid a hand on you, even in the Arena Pit." He then sighed, "Especially in the Pit!"
Ray understood the Ancient's law and was very frustrated with it at the moment. The training session had not tired him out but actually made him more aggressive. He wanted to beat on someone or something. "Too bad Paul isn't here," Ray thought to himself. He smiled at Tally and said, "I'll contact the Ancient about this."
Tally almost became terrified that the young lord was angered. He began to sputter and stammer trying to get a complete word out. Tally reached onto his desk for his phone, but by the time he dug it out from under the paperwork, he noticed that Ray already had his cell phone in hand.
"Hi, Antino, it is me," Ray began speaking into his cell phone. "Yeah I am down in the arena office."
The sound of Antino's laughter was heard echoing from the cell phones speaker. "I will be right there." The phone then went silent.
Tally was now almost in shock as he realized that the Ancient was going to be in his office within a few moments. He began to shuffle through the massive amount of paper work that was lumped all over his desk. Tally was obviously nervous to Ray, but in another way he felt it was funny.
A few moments later Antino walked into the office without knocking or giving away his approach. The moment that Tally saw Antino in his office, he dropped to the floor on his knees with his head bowed reverently. As he dove for the ground he accidently hit some of the papers on his desk, causing a mini avalanche of paperwork across his back.
Both Antino and Ray burst out laughing as they watched the groveling man on the floor with papers spilling over his muscular back and butt. Antino recovered quickly and told Tally to stand. He did not require this man's fear and respect to be shown in such a dramatic way. Antino smiled as Ray offered the older man a hand up as he attempted to stand. Tally momentarily attempted to stand without the proffered help, but ended up having to use it when his knees did not obey his directions. Tally's eyes still remained focused on the floor as he waited for Antino or Ray to speak.
"If Lord Toban wishes to fight in your arena pit," Antino began, "I see no reason that my directive cannot be modified to aid in allowing him to do so."
Moments later the three of them walked into the room known as the `bull pin'. The room was 10 foot long by 15 foot wide and was furnished with nothing but locker room style benches and metal chairs. There were several men in the room, vampires, wolves and bears mostly and a single human, all dressed in shorts with their hands taped in hopes that they would be called for a fight. A skinny male wolf was propped on a bench with his chest on the bench itself. His left leg was cocked behind his head and was absent mindedly scratching his ear with it. At the same time he was also sharpening his finger nails with a small nail file.
The moment that one of the men noticed that Antino was in the room, he dropped to the floor in submission to Antino. One by one the men quickly noticed Antino and dropped to the floor as well, they all had their head down in submission. Unlike with Tally, Antino did not tell the fighters to look at him or even stand. He wanted their respect and attention more so than their friendship.
"I know that all of you have heard my directive that NO ONE will ever touch Lord Toban under penalty of death." Antino began, "but Lord Toban wishes to know the rush of battling in the pit."
Antino rolled his eyes in mock frustration, "I am going to modify my directive." He then took on the aura of the Ancient. "I direct to all that are here that Lord Toban may battle in the pit as often as he sees fit, those who battle with him are exempt from the previous directive, as long as it is within the walls of the pit or within the confines of organized training."
Each of the bowing men looked around to each other not really knowing if this was real or not until Antino softly said, "I wager $250,000 that Lord Toban shall win his first match." Their eyes grew wide as Arena Master Tally said, "I'll take that wager."
"One request I have is that Lord Toban's first fight be with someone who is breed," he said looking directly at the tall muscled human who was still bowed respectfully. He then spoke, "If it is to be a Pyre (vampire), no older than negative two hundred (less than two hundred years since their change)." He then looked at a couple of the vampires that he knew were over three hundred years. Everyone knew that a vampire that was over two hundred years were stronger than most other breeds.
"Agreed," Tally and the fighters all said at once.
"If and when Lord Toban fights another battle in the arena pit, I see no reason to have this request in effect," Antino said with a mischievous grin.
Two hours later Ray was again in the locker room shower. He had a guest in the shower with him; a young bear fighter was also in the shower with him. The other man had introduced himself as Tobias before they fought in the pit. Both young men were now bruised but both were smiling.
Tobias was happy that even though he lost the fight to Lord Toban, he had gained the friendship of the young Lord. He was also happy that as the first person to be allowed to fight with Lord Toban he had gained notoriety. He then smiled as he thought of the money that he had made that night.
The rules of pit fighting were that both fighters got a base percentage of 10% of all the income from their specific fight; if they won they received an additional 5%. The arena made money from entry fees, food sales and of course the wagers. Usually their cut was between $1,000 and $5,000 a fight, but Tobias' cut tonight was over $25,000.
Tobias could finally get out of the flea bag hotel that had been his home for the last few months, the only home he had known since he began training to fight in the pits. He actually hoped that the connection he felt with Lord Toban would blossom into a true friendship. Tobias never had any real friends and he hoped that Toban could be one for him.
At the same time, Ray was deep in thought about the night's events. He enjoyed the feeling of the battle he had just been in, but at the same time he felt as if he owed the young man that now shared the same shower room with him something more. Ray realized that Tobias had trained hard to battle in the arena pit and was beaten by a worthless untrained mutt upstart.
"Double damn," Ray mumbled.
The sound of the young Lord's swearing brought Tobias out of his own thoughts bringing concern to his face and eyes. Tobias hurried over to the young Lord and with a bowed head asked "Lord Toban, what is wrong? How may I help you?"
Ray looked into Tobias' eyes and saw the fear and concern the slightly older man had for him. He smiled weakly and said, "Nothing but fighting old ghosts and ways of thinking." He then reached out and one arm hugged Tobias "Nothing to fear."
Later that night Ray sat at his desk in his office. He had logged onto his computer and was looking at his financial records. Ray did not want the $37,650 he had won to go into his general account, so he divided it up. $10,000 was set aside as a start of college tuition for Davy, another $10,000 was set aside for Shanny as well. The other $17,650 was set put in the college accounts that he had already set up for Valen and Toby.
Ray heard his office door open and close quietly and his sense of smell told him that George had entered the room and was silently watching him. Ray felt the warm arms of his alpha Zomé circle around him and hug him gently. Ray looked into George's deep eyes and felt a warmth envelope him.
"I heard you had an interesting evening at Conclave," George said softly with a hint of lust in his voice.
Ray smiled and then kissed George on the nose. "Yeah it was fun," He then kissed George on the lips. "Antino and some counsel members had me run an exercise in the maze and then I found that I liked fighting in the arena pit." He kissed George again, this time with a French kiss. "I also made a friend, I think."
"Well I heard all about it, except you making a friend from a very proud Antino," George said with a small smile. "He told me to make sure you got plenty of rest as tomorrow is the first day of school."
Ray was willingly led from his office and up the stairs into their bedroom. Rex and Mike were already in bed waiting for Ray and George to join them. Within moments George had stripped Ray of his clothing and led him to the bed. Rex and Mike each grasped a hand and pulled Ray into the bed giggling. The super wide super long king sized began to bounce as the four guys began to enjoy each other with wild abandon.
The love shared in that bed relaxed all four of the Zoméa. They slept peacefully with arms and legs thrown over bodies without a care. Mike was the first to wake from the sex induced sleep. He felt Ray's hard dick in his ass, His own dick was wedged in Rex's tight ass. Mike knew that Ray also had George's extra large dick deep in his butt. It was their favorite way to fall asleep.
Mike was happy with his new life, but he felt as if everyone else was so much more than him. He was the only human after all, so much weaker than the others, so inferior. Mike knew that he was loved, but he did not feel like he was contributing anything to their wellbeing. He had to find something that contributed.
Almost as if they knew his thoughts, Rex flexed his ass muscles at the same time that Ray flexed his dick and tightened his grip on Mike. For a moment Mike thought he had woken them up, but when he realized that neither of their breathing had changed, he relaxed. A moment later he felt the slightly calloused hand of George rubbing his back. Mike knew that George was awake and knew something was wrong.
"Let's go see what we can get for breakfast," George said softly playfully pinching Mike's small ass.
George knew that he had to start the process and slowly withdrew from inside Ray. Ray almost immediately rolled on to his back, dislodging himself from Mike. Mike then slowly withdrew from Rex. They both then quietly began to get off the bed. A moment later they both were wearing identical bath robes, heading downstairs to the kitchen.
"So what is up?" George said pointedly looking directly into Mike's eyes.
"Nothing," Mike responded but looked away.
"Bullshit, love," George said without emotion. "You can't keep eye contact. Something is wrong."
Mike sighed and a single tear welled in his eye just before falling. "I am worthless to the family." He said softly as he walked to the refrigerator.
"Again that is bullshit," George said as his face softened. "While it is true that you don't have our strength or speed, you do have the heart that we all lack and need." He smiled weakly and pulled Mike out of the refrigerator and into a tight hug. "I am the wisdom and protection of the family. Rex is the agility and strength, You are our heart and what keeps us honest with others and ourselves, Ray is the lynch pin that melds us together even with that he doesn't know the extent of what his future holds and how he fits in it."
Mike nodded grimly, "I just wish there was more I could do to provide or help everyone."
George smiled and nodded, "Ok, great. I think I can find something for you to do, after school. I will take a few days though."
Ruth stood just outside of hearing distance observing George and Mike. She waited until the obvious tension lessened and then walked into the kitchen. "Good morning guys, scrambled Canadian omelets this morning?" Even without waiting for an answer, she went to the refrigerator and began collecting the ingredients for their breakfast. Without asking she poured a single glass of the O negative that was stored in the refrigerator and placed it on the table at Ray's place.
A few moments passed as George kept a loose hold on Mike. They loosened their hold when Davey bounced in the kitchen with a big smile. Davey noticed that they were holding each other but did not say anything. To him love was love, regardless of who loved whom. He happily sat down in his spot at the table on the right of Ray's and looked expectantly at his mother, waiting for food.
Shanny was the next to enter the kitchen, her cat-like eyes scanned the room and quietly took her seat next to Davey. She never looked back toward Ruth as she waited for breakfast. Shanny cocked her head and appeared to listen to something, a smile then formed on her feline-like face. A moment later Ray and Rex walked into the kitchen. Shanny's head followed Ray from the moment he entered the room until he took his place at the head of the table, a smile never left her face.
"I have a big favor to ask of the masters," Ruth began. She immediately dropped her head when she noticed Ray's eyes showing his dislike of the term master. "Let me restate then," she began with a smile. "David and I have a doctor's appointment this morning; it is at the same time that Davey needs to be at Kindergarten."
"No more needs to be said, Ruth," Rex said softly. "I will take the pup to school."
"I am not a pup," Davey squealed. "I am kid."
Mike, George and Ray burst out in laughter.
"Oh so you are a kid," Rex said with a smile, "A baby goat."
"I see the resemblance now," Mike quipped.
Everyone burst out with laughter then as they watched the surprised face of Davey as he worked out what was really said. Davey then grinned and said, "That not what I mean."
Ruth began to plate up the scrambled omelet for everyone. She and Mike were plated a single potion each, Davey and Shanny were plated a three quarter portion each. Ray, Rex and George were each plated double portions. Ruth's husband David was plated a portion and a half. David's portion immediately went into the microwave as he had not yet awakened.
Grape juice and milk were poured for each of the children and coffee was poured for everyone else; a glass of orange juice joined the glass of O negative for Ray. A plate of toast soon was placed on the table as well. Everyone began eating only after everyone else was served.
Ray began his meal by drinking the blood in a single attempt. The life force in the blood immediately warmed Ray and he felt the bruises on his body begin to heal. After a euphoric moment, he then began to wolf down the breakfast as if he had not eaten in days.
Later at school during zero hour, Mike and Ray walked on to the marching band practice field. They were both wearing their `grubby' marching band practice sweat pants and tee shirts. Mike and Ray were surrounded by other members of the band. Mr. Borden was happy that Ray was finally back in shape for marching. Steve was due back today as well, pleasing not only Mr. Borden, but Ray as well.
Steve walked up to Ray as soon as he saw him. The blending between Steve and his symbiote was complete. His heart had been healed by the symbiote and the healers at the hospital. The new world that the symbiote opened in Steve's senses still amazed him. The whole of the Breed history was already absorbed into the symbiote, so Steve did not need to be brought up to speed by anyone, he just knew already.
Steve shook hands with Ray and smiled. "It is great to finally meet you, Lord Toban." He said in a conspiratorial whisper.
Ray smiled and whispered back, "Ray when at school, thank you."
Steve bowed his head and said "Of course, Lord." They both knew that it was in respectful jest.
"This is sooo cool" Steve said with excitement.
"We will talk about everything after school," Ray began, "You are of course expected to join everyone at Bundy Burgers for lunch, my treat."
After marching practice and getting dressed, Steve, Ray and Mike went to concert band practice. Jon the drum major was walking through the different sections of the band room placing music on the stands as he passed. Ray and Mike both paused briefly to take in the sight of the drum major.
Jon was tall and thin, thinner than Ray usually liked but Jon's thinness was made up for with highly defined muscles and an extra large bulge that was obvious even in regular clothing. His light brown hair was almost blonde and his light blue eyes were attractive to everyone as was his infectious smile. Jon's thin body weaved though the sea of music stands with ease and grace. Both Ray and Mike knew that even though he was a fantasy and great to look at, Jon was hopelessly straight with a girlfriend.
They both stopped day dreaming about Jon before anyone would notice and walked to their separate sections. Steve was already sitting in his chair next to Ray's. [I caught that stare,] Steve transmitted to Ray with humorous feeling behind it.
[I see you have already learned the basics of thought transmission,] Ray shot back he then transmitted an image of nude boy moving slowly forward, to Steve. He then smiled as Steve wiggled uncomfortably as his cock rose to attention.
[Yeah, I already know,] Ray transmitted, making sure that the emotions of compassion and concern were behind the thought. He smiled and said, "We are cool, we will clear the air later." Ray then winked and sat down.
After Concert band, Ray was distracted as he traveled the hallway out into the school's quad and crossed into the main building. He did not notice that he had attracted the attention of Coach Carter, the wrestling coach and the boys' dean. What attracted his attention was two fold: first, Ray had gained muscle mass since he was a freshman and secondly. Coach Carter noticed a bit of the shadow tendrils briefly exposed from under his shirt.
"Hey, McFearsome!" Coach Carter's bass voice echoed in the hall. As the wrestling coach and boys' dean, he was used to the boys immediately cowering to his bellow. It surprised him when Ray did not respond immediately, but instead looked around and then walked slowly in his direction, instead of the hustle he was used to seeing in the other boys.
"Yes, Coach Carter?" Ray responded smoothly and without fear all the while looking the man directly in the eyes, something else that the coach as not used to happening. Ray had been unsuccessfully recruited to the wrestling team last year and did not want a repeat performance.
"I thought I saw a tattoo under your shirt," Coach Carter said in his typical rumbling voice.
"You did," Ray responded coldly. He did not like the coach and did not care if it showed or not. He was never in trouble so he never had to go in front of the man, but he still did not like the way the coach treated the other guys. Ray then began to unbutton his long sleeved shirt to show the coach that one, he was proud of the markings and two, that he was not afraid of the man.
When Ray had opened the shirt and showed that he had a wife beater style tee shirt underneath, several of the female and a few male students stopped to watch the spectacle. Once his upper chest was revealed, the extent of the tendrils was obvious. They covered most of Ray's chest and back as well as his arms.
This display of testosterone began to infuriate Coach Carter. No boy was going to show him up in the halls of `his' school. His eyes flared with anger and the emotion was enraged as he noticed that Ray's eyes never left his own. Ray was showing no fear to the man who was used to instilling fear in the students.
"Displaying of gang related tattoos is against the rules and I can give you detention for it," Coach Carter said.
"It is true that the rules say that," Ray responded with the same cold voice, "but as it was you who asked if I had them, I was only showing them at your request." Ray then began to re-button his shirt without haste. "It is your right to give me that detention, but it is my right to file a grievance to the school board about the circumstances to the school board to have it rescinded."
"Plus," Ray said once his shirt was fully buttoned again, "they are tribal, not gang related."
Coach Carter then humphed and walked to his office without another word. He realized that if another student made a grievance to the board, he would loose the title as boys' dean and have to teach history or math instead. This situation was not worth the aggravation. "McFearsome probably can't even wrestle," Coach Carter thought to himself as he shut the door of his office.
Ray was tense after the interaction with the coach as he walked to his second hour U.S History class. The sign on the closed door said Mr. Salvar, just like his printed out schedule showed. The moment he opened the door, Ray's blood ran cold. His senses went into overload as the feeling of a Regia'a permeated the air. Almost immediately Ray's eyes fell on the teacher.
The teacher was of course new to Ray and to the school. He had shaggy brown hair and eyes, but an obvious feline grace. Ray immediately realized that the Regia'an teacher had obviously altered his facial appearance to appear human. His necrotic tissue deep inside his body seemed to pulse with anger. A nearly feral growl escaped Ray as he looked at the teacher with hatred.
Mr. Salvar (properly spelled Sal'var) noticed that the door was open but no one came into the room. His eyes grew wide when he noticed that Ray was standing in the doorway with a murderous glare in his eyes. Mr. Salvar immediately knew that something had to be done quickly; he lowered his hands to his sided palms out. It was the breed symbol for submission and truce. He then walked slowly toward Ray with his eyes down.
"I know who you are, Lord Toban," Mr. Salvar whispered well below the hearing of humans, but within Ray's range. "I am a talŷan (blood traitor) Regia'a," he whispered.
Ray knew that there were a small group of Regia'an that had followed the Conclave edict and were traitors to their race, but loyal to the Conclave. This knowledge did not make him calmer or happier to deal with this man. "Show me your mark, talŷan," Ray whispered.
Mr. Salvar raised his shaggy bangs and moved them to the side, showing the glyph of the Ancient. "He did not send me," he answered before being asked.
"Trust is earned, talŷan," Ray said as he walked slowly into the room and sat down. The desk he chose was at the back of the class furthest away from Mr. Salvar's desk. The statement was enough to show the teacher that he may have had Antino's trust, but not Ray's; he would have to earn that.
Mike walked in a few moments later and as a human was totally oblivious to the fact that their teacher was a member of enemy race until Ray sent the thought to him. [Salvar is a Regia'an, a talŷan, but a Regia'an nonetheless]. The thought also included the meaning of talŷan and the mark, but also the distrust that Ray held for the man. Mike sat next to Ray without a word, occasionally glancing at the man with fear.
All of 2nd hour was tense for Mr. Salvar and Ray. The strange thing for Mr. Salvar was that Mike was so fearful of him and he did not know why. It did dawn on him that the young lord and Mike were friends but that did not account for the fear as far as he was concerned. When the class was over the students began to file out of the classroom quickly. "Mike, may I speak with you for a moment?"
Mike blanched with fear when he was called back. Ray turned back as well with fury in his eyes. They both looked at the teacher, one with pure fear the other with rage. "I only asked to speak with Mike," Mr. Salvar said attempting to take the tone of teacher with Ray.
"I am aware of that," Ray said with venom in his voice. "You are not permitted to speak to any of my Zoméa without me being present as well, talŷan, especially Mike!"
Mr. Salvar dropped his head immediately and whispered loud enough for Mike to hear; "Now I understand the fear in his eyes."
"All I wished to know was why Mike seemed so afraid of me," Mr. Salvar said softly, "Now I know, I am talŷan."
Mike actually gained his voice and softly said, "No, it was one of your race that nearly killed my Zomé and I don't trust that it cannot happen again."
"I understand," Mr. Salvar said with a bowed head. He was attempting to make a connection with Mike by calling him back, but found instead someone who could be an even bigger enemy than the young lord. His day had definitely gone to shits and Mr. Salvar was not happy with this turn of events. Unlike his brother Wilber Sal'var, he had no plans to bring harm to anyone, especially the small human in front of him, or even the young lord.
3rd Hour AP math flew by for Ray as if the class was only half as long as it really was. The teacher was funny even though trigonometry was boring for Ray. Mike had English Composition and hated both the teacher and the subject; he would rather be learning De'wann or something that had meaning to him.
After 3rd hour was the schools open lunch period. 45 minutes of freedom to eat in the cafeteria, or go off campus for lunch at one the many fast food restaurants. Ray quickly collected Rex, Mike and Steve before heading off to their favorite restaurant, Bundy Burgers.
Bundy Burgers was just starting to get busy with the school lunch rush with everyone arrived. Ray smiled at the human waitress, who he did not know and told her that they needed a table for four. Very quickly they were seated and their orders taken, Ray, Rex and Mike had the usual, Steve had a chicken salad.
"Ok does everyone agree to talk about this with thought transmissions instead of verbally for more privacy?" Ray asked. Rex and Steve agreed quickly but a confused Mike just looked between them with confusion written all over his face. "I can make it where you can hear and speak just like us, for the time being." Ray said answering the unasked question.
"Ok cool." Mike answered with a smile; Ray touched him on the shoulder to establish the needed link. He then touched Rex and Steve as well.
[This way no one but us can hear the conversation, even if they are telepathic,] Ray explained as soon as everyone had been linked.
Ray winked at Steve and projected, [We all know that you are gay Steve. None of us are going to say or do anything against you, we are also.]
[You are all gay?] Steve projected with a hint of surprise.
[Yeah and more than that,] Mike interjected happily. [We and George are all lovers too]
[ALL FOUR,] Steve projected in surprise.
[Yes, we are all Zoméa,] Rex interjected with a sly grin.
[Does anyone know?] Steve asked.
[Only one other person at school, but she is also Breed.] Ray responded. [We are out to family and the Breed,] He said with a laugh. [Remember I am the youngest Lord and I am both Antino's and Elzabeth's protégé, so I really can't hide anything from anybody.]
The high nasal sounding thoughts of a symbiote then asked [You are the Zomé of Battle Master Gew'org?]
Ray and Mike both smiled and responded, [Yes].
Ray then leaned forward and explained, [Rex is George's brother so that is not happening and George is exclusively a top, but the rest of us are versatile.]
Steve blushed with understanding as he thought about all the possible combinations and with how much ease Ray spoke about their relationship. It was refreshing being that his mother and his relationship was one of secrets, secrets about each other and from each other. Even before he became a host, they had secrets.
The rest of the day was spent by Ray in his 4th Hour AP English class, 5th Hour Jazz band and 6th hour Business Education; by Mike in his 4th Hour Algebra class, 5th Hour Biology class and 6th hour History. Rex as a senior member of the Business Education Classes only had a 5 class day, with the 6th hour allowing him to have a job. His job of record was working for A.T.A, Incorporated. What the school did not know was that A.T.A stood for `Antino The Ancient', Antino's corporation for running his vast holdings and Rex's job was to act as intercessor between the Havens, the junkyard and Conclave.
After school, George was waiting at Davey's elementary school. He was leaning on the car with his arms crossed. As the small children began to leave the school, George's massive size drew their attention. None of the children appeared to be brave enough to the massive man, but none of them thought anything about staring at him openly.
"Unca George!" Davey squealed as he flew out of the front door of the school. He ran toward George with a big smile and at full speed. The moment he reached the clot of children Davey squealed again "That is my Unca, you dummies." He then launched himself at George.
George smiled to himself at being called Davey's uncle. He was proud that the young pup thought of him as an Uncle. George readied himself to catch Davey even before the boy had reached the cluster of children. When Davey launched himself, George was able to catch him and then hugged him tightly to his body.
"I had a good day, Unca George," Davey said with a wink.
George laughed as he realized that the small boy was playing it up for his schoolmates. It was then that George decided to get into the act and protect the boy at the same time. He growled loudly and with his deep voice said, "No one been bugging you, HAVE THEY!" He then glared at a group of boys that he felt could have been the bullies of the school. George noticed that each of them swallowed a couple of times in fear.
Davey scrunched up his face in surprise, but then it dawned on him what George was up to and he switched gears quickly. "Oh no, Unca George, but I will tell you if someone does."
George hugged the boy frame of Davey to him and then opened the car's passenger door allowing Davey to crawl in quickly. As soon as he was in the car, Davey locked himself into the seatbelt and began giggling to himself. He liked being able to play with the large man and loved the feeling of protection from George.
That night Ray and Sherry were in the backyard practicing attacks and blocks. After the third time, Sherry was able to get past Ray's defenses with simple moves, she became frustrated and dropped her hands, showing it was time to rest. "Lord Toban, you need to focus. What is going on in that head of yours?"
Ray dropped his hands and looked down toward the ground, "I am thinking about what happened at school today." Ray heaved a sigh and then spoke, "We have a new teacher, He is a Regia'an." He left out the fact that he was a talŷan, just to see what Sherry's reaction would be.
"HE IS A WHAT!?" Sherry screamed in surprise.
"He said he was a talŷan (blood traitor), but I didn't really believe him," Ray said softly as he dried his brow with a nearby towel.
Sherry calmed down slightly and said, "There are very few talŷan and even fewer male talŷan Regia'an. Did he have a mark of a protector?" Her face was glistening with her own sweat.
"He had the Ancient's mark," Ray said knowing the conversation was not going to go the way he would like.
"OH!" Sherry squealed, "That has to be Sylvester Sal'var" she continued saying while lowering her voice. "You can trust him, I know that for certain."
"Why is that?" Ray asked with a hand on his hip.
"Sylvester is trusted enough that he is a frequent visitor in the Ancient's bed." Sherry stated matter of factly.
Editor's Comments: Well, isn't that a fascinating chapter! So much going on and the Bridge for us all as well... so the next chapter should be coming soon, at least I, for one, hope so! J