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 email@example.com.
Chapter 17 "Joinings, the Conclave and such"
Antino was sitting in his Conclave office examining reports from the southwestern Conclaves and Havens growing more and more frustrated with what he read. The southwestern area would soon need more of his attention then he was willing to give at this time and he was not happy about it. Antino was frustrated already enough to be violent when Nigel stormed into his office unannounced and in a very foul mood.
"Did you ever get the report on the blood of that human that your protégé has taken up with?!" Nigel asked in a very nasty and loud voice. He did not even bow or give any other sign of respect upon entering the office. Thus Nigel was making several major breaches in protocol and decorum both in personal respect but in respect of the station of the Ancient.
Antino glared at the audacity of Bear King to enter his office without at least knocking first. He became pissed at the man that he already had little and almost no respect for. .The man was a usurper and need to be taken down a few pegs, but presently Antino was bound by the law. Antino stood placing the annoying report down on his desk and bared his fangs growling at Nigel as his fury grew. He extended his power as Ancient outward and surrounded the much bigger man with a psychic field, he then forced it downward, causing Nigel's frame to bend to his will and slowly fold into a submissive bow and finally collapse onto his knees on the floor.
"YOU FORGET YOUR PLACE, BEAR!" Antino roared as his normally handsome face began to transform into a very sharp and almost demonic mask showing his true vampiric nature. His lips drooled with yellowish spittle as his fangs continued to descend further than any other vampires. Antino jumped over the desk and stalked up to Nigel at speeds that no human eyes would have been able to see.
[I AM THE ANCIENT OF ALL!] Antino blasted into Nigel's head with such force that it snapped his head back without even touching him. The energy in the room crackled as Antino forced deeper into Nigel's mind.
[I AM THE ANCIENT OF ALL!] Antino repeated again with the same result. More energy and deeper into the mind he bore.
[I AM THE ANCIENT OF ALL! NONE ARE ABOVE ME!] Antino blasted this time his clawed hands were around Nigel's throat and thick blood had begun to drip quickly from Nigel's nose. The bleeding was created by the brain aneurysm that Antino had formed with the continued mental assault and brought to life by squeezing his throat.
[You do well to remember that!] Antino then transmitted in a normal tone. He then released the physical hold on the Bear king, but only loosened the mental hold enough that Nigel was able to crawl to a nearby chair. Nigel was not yet allowed to raise enough to sit on the chair or even speak.
Nigel realized that he had over stepped his place with the Ancient, a mistake he would not make again. He only hoped that when the International Conclave members arrived that they could see reason and have Antino reassigned or removed. Then maybe he could have a position of power on the ruling counsel, either here on internationally.
Even though Antino was not a natural mind reader like most of the Shadow Counsel, Elzabeth or even Charlett, he knew that Nigel was up to no good and had already set up plans of his own: to help Nigel self destruct in the most public of ways. The only question was if Ray or his Grandmother would be present to enjoy the downfall of the man who caused them so much grief. Antino pondered this as he returned to his desk and withdrew the folder that held the information that Nigel was so worried about.
Antino withdrew the file from his left side desk drawer and threw it into the floor in front of Nigel. He still did not allow the man to rise to his feet. "There is the report with the proper marking and seals," Antino said with a disdainful growl.
"You will find that the boy, Mike, is 100% human and the only things unique about him are that he has the red and black markers for being a host and apparently has a natural affinity for our languages and shadow energy," Antino continued. They both knew that the black marker meant that at least one of Mike's ancestors had a parent that was a host for a symbiote when they were conceived, but nothing else remained.
"He is going to be trained in our languages and our laws as soon as they get back from their Kalænar (Joining trip -- like honeymoon)," Antino said with an evil smile.
Nigel knew that there was nothing that he could do to stop the Joining, Kalænar or the training as they all fell under the authority of the Conclave and he could not even punish the Bears that helped with the planning. Nigel wiped the blood from his nose with the back of his hand and was shocked by the amount that he had bled.
"NOW GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY OFFICE," Antino then roared. .He was tired of even looking at Nigel. He allowed the man only the ability to crawl to the door and then freed him totally only as Nigel left the office. Antino slowly walked back to his desk and then looked at the report that had earlier offended him and flung it across the room in anger and a throaty growl.
Meanwhile downstairs in the main ballroom, dozens of people from several different tribes, clans, packs and families were buzzing around the massive room preparing it for the Joining that was coming up the following day. It was a 300 yard long and 100 yard wide Victorian style room with large crystal chandeliers in the ceiling and a single 30 foot diamond, crystal, silver and gold chandelier in the center of the room. It had already been converted into a combination wedding hall and reception area decorated in three shades of blue with hints of gold and silver.
Elzabeth and Charlett both stood at opposite ends of the hall silent and were telepathically directing the others in their actives, occasionally checking with each other to verify small points and keep things flowing smoothly, both had large smiles on their faces, everything was ahead of schedule by several hours. Their eyes flowed across the room with an easy grace that came with centuries of practice.
Jeremiah walked into the room wearing another lavender outfit that was a combination of men's and women's clothing and a wide brimmed hat with a large peacock feather. He made a grand flourish with his left hand holding a lavender lace handkerchief. Jeremiah whistled and then began to clap in appreciation at the appearance of the main ballroom and the work that everyone had completed so far. He was followed by several women who pushed carts of artificial and live flower arrangements. The flower arrangements were different shades of white and blue.
Several women were decorating the tables in the reception area when a very pissed off Nigel stormed into the room. They immediately stopped their work and dropped their eyes as he passed. Nigel noticed each and every one of the woman as members of his clan. He slowed his progress and when he finally reached the center of the room stopped and glared at each and every one of them powerlessly, at least for the moment he felt. Nigel's rage intensified and he slapped a floral table centerpiece, sending the flowers and stems flying in all directions.
The woman that surrounded the area all gasped in fear as the watched the angry Bear King shred the small table decoration in his rage. Lady Charlett and Jeremiah both walked quickly toward Nigel from different directions in an attempt to stop his tirade before it became too extreme and it had to be taken before the whole Conclave and be dealt with as a criminal matter.
Lady Elzabeth just shook her head and then snapped her fingers toward a near by servant girl. "Come here, hunny," She said sweetly, but forcefully.
The girl immediately stopped and took out a small pad and pen eager to follow Elzabeth's commands. Her eyes gleamed as she looked from the floor and up to Elzabeth's ample bosom and back to the floor. Everyone knew that Elzabeth was one to follow without question, never cross, help when you could and you would be richly rewarded.
"Make out a invoice for his high folutune Highness, Lord Nigel," Elzabeth began. "The there man just bought himself three of them there center flowers. The one he just now is destroy'yn, another to replace that'n and a third as a gif to the boys, just to piss him off," She finished with a little girl giggle.
The servant girl nodded silently writing every word on the pad
"Make it in triple," Elzabeth said softly. "Send the first to the Conclave treasurer, the second to the Ancient and the third to his Highness." Her normal speech was replaced by a regal nature that had been crafted over her true nature through the centuries. "That Bastard will not get away with destroying the boys big day on my watch," Elzabeth growled in a very protective manner.
The girl smiled and then bowed, "By your leave Lady?"
"Of course sweetie," Elzabeth said. "Come find me when it is done and will give you something for the bother."
The girl bow again with a smile and took two steps backward and quickly disappeared to complete her new task.
Jeremiah at the same time had reached Nigel and was standing across the table from him and glared at him in abject disbelief. "As old as you are you should know better or at least have better self control," Jeremiah said forcefully and then added as an after thought, "Lord Highness." He could not actually stand the king of the Bears as he knew the man was a pretender the throne; but being that he was a vampire, Jeremiah held his tongue.
"Master Jeremiah," Nigel finally said forcing himself to calm down, "I am sorry for my outburst." Both he and Jeremiah knew that this was a lie but decorum dictated that it be given anyway. The floral arrangement was long since destroyed and the container was likewise also beyond repair as it was presently in the clawed hands of Nigel being bent in half.
"I am sure that you understand that I must ask you to leave the area for the time being." Jeremiah said with a cold and emotionless voice, his eyes cold as ice as well. The chocolate colored man was ready to strike if the need arose.
"Of course," Nigel said throwing the mangled floral container on the floor with a loud clank and stalked out of the room without further word or incident. He did not slow even though several people had to slow or stop for him.
Jeremiah watched as Nigel left the room noticing that Charlett had disappeared moments after Nigel dropped the container. He figured that she had gone into the shadow realm and was going to follow Nigel to see what he was up to and report back, either to the Ancient or Elzabeth. He would have also followed but knew that Nigel would have been on the look out for him now.
At the mansion George was in the Library talking to Ray about his upcoming introduction to the National and International Conclaves. George had already handed the Sword of Infinity to Ray. The Shal'narl diamond remained un-slotted and in the wall safe, away from harm. The Signet pins of the Ghouls, Symbiotes, Rats and Wolves were displayed on his collar with pride, showing that he and they had formed allegiances.
"Remember that the International Ancient is not going to act friendly toward you and will try to challenge your words, action and maybe even your thoughts," George schooled. "He is older than Antino but not by much," he revealed.
"I don't know if Shin is going to like you as a person or not, but that is not his job, it is to test you according to the rules," George continued to explain. "He is going to try to make you doubt yourself and who and what you are. Remember that we are behind you and you have a large number of people other than us who want to see you succeed."
"Yeah, but there are those that want to see me fail as well," Ray said in an exhausted voice.
"That is true," George said drawing his love into his massive chest. "But if you allow that thought to run your life, you've already lost." He then kissed Ray softly on the lips comforting him more so than drawing the youngster's passion out.
A dual sounding soft knocking on the door separated Ray and George from their gentle hugging kiss. George walked slowly to the door and opened it to find the tiny forms of Davey and Shanny looking up at him with smiles on their expectant faces. Both Ray and George smiled as they realized that their study time was over and their scheduled time to be with the little ones had started.
Ray quickly placed the specially sharpened dagger on the desk and followed George into the hall, soon being one of two horses in a game of Cowboy and Indian girl. The game mutated into a tickling match with the little ones being the ones to get tickled and then finally airplane and spaceship, Ray being the provider of the airplane and George being the provider of the spaceship, then into bed for the night.
The next morning was a flurry of activity as the whole house was alive with everyone making preparations for the Joining that evening. Ruth was pressing David, Davey, Shanny and her outfits for that evening. David was making sure that the smaller children made it to school on time and with everything that they needed. The guys were running around in varied states of dress looking for different things that they needed or thought they needed to get dressed. None of them went to school as their nerves would have caused them to forget everything that went on that day. Rosann and Iris both came to the house and helped each of the guys separately with their chosen outfits for the night events.
As a human without any allegiances, Mike had a clean cut white linen suite with baby blue shirt, blood red carnation and black loafer shoes. He felt he was the most nervous of the group but in fact was the second most nervous. Mike kept pacing in his room until George stopped him with a soft kiss.
"Isn't it bad luck to see each other before hand, or something?" Mike asked with a weak smile.
"That is a straight human marriage superstition." George said with another kiss on Mike's cheek. "We are neither straight nor getting married, remember."
"Right," Mike said with a bigger smile and a rising cock in his pants. "We are going to be Joined." He then licked George's neck in a very bear-like manner.
The older Conclave Master was dressed in a dark blue linen suit with a gold and silver sash. A white carnation and white ruffled shirt and white tie-up dress shoes. The sash had only a single pin on it, the insignia of the Ancient on the shoulder.
Mike made sure not to wrinkle George's clothes as he kissed him silently and passionately. They both knew that they must look their best at the joining so they kept their growing passion in check as much as possible. When they felt that they could handle it no longer they forced themselves to stop and began grooming each other instead, making their hair perfect instead.
As a young Master of the Conclave, Rex wore a blue line suit with a white, silver and red sash, no carnation, a black shirt and black tie-up dress shoes. The sash colors showed Rex's status in the Conclave itself and the sash showed several pins of allegiance to tribes, clans, packs and families as well. The only pin that was noticeable missing was the pin of the bears and in it place was the pin of the wolves.
The most nervous person in the whole house was Ray, His mind was filled with everything that he had to do that night and had to have help dressing by his grandmother. He wore a royal blue linen suit, a gold, silver, red and black sash; a powder blue shirt and royal blue tie-up dress shoes. On the sash he wore the insignia of the Ancient on the shoulder, the pin of the Shadow Counsel, and symbols the Ghouls, Symbiotes, Rats and Wolves as well as his honorific as an Elite Fighter of the Arena Pit.
Everyone in the house wore some shade of blue that night either as a main color or as an accent color. Davey intentionally matched Ray's suit, Shanny and Ruth both matched with triple tone blue tea dresses, David wore a dark blue formal suit that accidentally matched what Rosann was wearing. Ira wore an incandescent blue floor length dress that caught each and every light in the area.
The lights in the main ballroom had been turned down until only the outer electric torches and only the great chandler were the only light in the room, giving the room an eerie yet romantic feeling. A center stage had been setup in the center of the room with a clear podium which was flanked by living vines and flowers of a variety. Two steps separated the main floor from the stage itself. Surrounding the stage on all four sides were seating with only two areas roped off. A small section roped off with a white rope near the podium and a much larger section roped off with a black rope behind the stage.
Half an hour before the scheduled time for the ceremony to begin the crowd began to enter the ballroom. Everyone took silent notice of the black roped off area and began seating according to some long standing seating arrangement that was prearranged. A section to the left and to the right of the black section was left empty. To the left of that sat the bears to the right sat the wolves. To the left of the bears sat the symbiotes and to the right of the wolves sat the ghouls, To the left of the symbiotes sat the Talmar'marn and to the right of the ghouls sat the rats, (when they showed up), and finally were the guests and the humans on the left of the Talmar'marn and right of the rats.
Five minutes before the ceremony was to begin a small string quintet set down to the left of the stage and began to play a soft classical melody. Within two minutes the section to the left of the black roped off section begin to fill with born vampires (those who were vampires from the day they were born), and the section on the right began to fill with changed vampires (those who were bitten). The white roped off section was filled by Iris, Rosann, Toby, Valen, Ruth, David, Shanny Sylvester Sal'var and Sherry. Within a minute of the scheduled start of the Ceremony the black section filled with the members of the Conclave Counsel.
Antino and Elzabeth both appeared almost instantaneous beside each other in front of the podium at the exact moment the ceremony began; both were dressed in bright white, Antino in a three piece suit and Elzabeth in a hooped dress.
"[WHO COMES BEFORE THIS GATHERING TO BE JOINED?]" Antino yelled, projecting into the room.
"[I DO,]" Toban responded both verbally and telepathically so all could understand and could hear "[Lord Toban, member of the Conclave, member of the shadow Counsel, protégé of the Lady Elzabeth, student of the Lady Charlett, Child of the Shade and protégé of the Ancient of us all, Domus of the Symbious, Delman of the Canius and Chilmara of the Rodentia.]"
The music fell silent as Toban approached the stage. A look of cold determination was on his face as he walked quickly to the stage without looking to the left or right. Everything was gone from his mind except what was required of him at that very moment and what was needed to make it happen. Once Toban arrived at the stage he kneeled before both Antino and Elzabeth.
"[Rise my protégé and stand tall,]" Antino stated clearly for all to hear.
"[Who do you wish to join with at this time?]" Elzabeth asked as Toban stood.
"[I wish to join in a Zoméa with three others,] Toban stated without emotion.
"[Is there any who fault Lord Toban a Zoméa Joining?]" Antino asked to those in the audience.
The audience remained silent.
"[A Zoméa Joining is allowable,]" ,echoed the baritone voice of Marcus from the Conclave Counsel area. His dark eyes flashed with amusement.
"[Who is the Alpha Zomé in your Zoméa?]" Elzabeth asked with a knowing smile.
"[Master George Argustus, My Guardian, Guard and Friend of the Ancient of us all, Guard of the Conclave to the Breed, Major in the Herojan conflict and Allegant for the Central Conference,]" Toban announced with pride and a large smile.
"[What dowry does he bring?"]" surprisingly Linda's shrill voice asked from the Conclave Counsel area.
"[The Shal'narl diamond and the security code to all my bank accounts, present and future,]" ,announced George boldly as he walked forward and stopped several feet away, bowing at the waist.
"[That is an acceptable dowry Master Guardian,]" Charlett announced as appeared from a nearby shadow. She placed the larger bracelet on George's arm locking it into place linking it with the smaller one.
George then approached and stood by Toban.
"[Who is your beta Zomé in your Zoméa?]" asked Elzabeth with an even larger smile.
"[Master Rex Argustus, Shartus of the Arena Pit, Nelpha of the Havens, Guard of the Conclave to the Breed and Corporal in the Herojan conflict,]" Toban again announced with equal pride and the same smile.
"[What dowry does he bring?"]" Marie asked from the Conclave Counsel area in a nasal voice.
"[The treasury of the Herojan Zanzar and my first claw,]" announced Rex boldly as he walked forward and stopped several feet away bowing at the waist.
"[That is an acceptable dowry Master Shartus,]" Charlett announced and then walked over to Rex and placed a matching bracelet on Rex's arm just as she had done with George, locking it into place.
Rex then approached and stood by Toban.
"[Who is your theta Zomé in your Zoméa?]" asked Elzabeth with the largest smile yet.
"[Mister Michael Thomas, a human with the gift of music and language as well as the fierce nature of the Kodiak and the speed of the Feral Cat and cunning of the greatest of all Vampires,]" Toban said with a loving smile on his face and a feral gleam in his heart.
Mike walked up to the same point as the other two with out a word being spoken and bowed. Antino flared in mock anger but it still frightened Mike to his very core just the same.
"[How dare this human just walk up to us without even a dowry or a known family to sponsor him!]" Antino roared.
[Who will sponsor this poor, young human in this Joining?] asked Elzabeth.
[Who will sponsor this poor, young human in this Joining?] echoed Charlett.
[Who will sponsor this poor, young human in this Joining?] echoed Marcus a third time.
They knew that the Symbiotes would stand and sponsor Mike as it had been pre-planned. What they did not know was that as the Symbiotes stood, so did the Ghouls, Rats, Wolves and the Talmar'marn. The room fell silent as each group looked around at each other in shock and surprise. Each of the four men began to tear up in their own way, both Ray and Mike began cried openly. At that very moment the grand doors of the ballroom opened and the three tall forms dressed in floor length robes walked into the room as well.
"[The Guild of the Librum wishes to sponsor the young human in his Joining and his future endeavors Ancient, are we too late?]" spoke a male voice that sounded as if it was as old as time itself.
Every person in attendance with the exception of Antino bowed as the three walked by them and remained that way. Elzabeth bowed and did not look up as they approached the stage. George, Rex and Ray all bowed as well. Mike was confused and began to bow until he saw a quick shake of the head from Antino, and then he remained upright.
"[The Librum has perfect timing, Guild Master,]" Antino said with a smile.
"[Very good, our portion of the dowry is for private ears only, Ancient, and shall also include a Kalænar gift as well for all four Zoméa,] the man again responded.
"[We can accept that from the Librum,]" Marcus answered immediately.
"[We of the Symbious lay claim to the human!]" came a yell from the Symbiote ranks.
"[We of the Talmar'marn lay claim to the human!]" came a yell from the Talmar'marn ranks, followed by a cheer.
"[We/Us of the Rodentia lay claim/call to the human!]" came a squeaked yell from the Rat ranks, followed by a thunders amount of squeaking.
"[We of the Ghouls lay claim to the human!]" came a yell from the Ghoul ranks, followed by stomping of feet.
"[We of the Canius lay claim to the human!]" came a yell from the Wolf ranks followed by ear splitting howls.
Antino smiled at the outpouring of support for the small human and then waved his hand to quiet the noise. Once the room was silent he asked, ["Does anyone see a reason why this cannot be accepted?]"
A single voice range out, "[I do!]"
"[Speak your mind,]" Antino said without emotion, but he was almost positive of whose voice that had spoken.
Nigel stood from his place at the front of the Bears and smiled evilly. "[What has this Child done to merit this type of loyalty from so many different clans of the breed?]" he said with an overly dramatic flourish of his hand. "[I believe nothing and it is nothing more than familiarity with those he wishes to bond with and to garner the favor of those in high power.]"
"[I understand your statement Lord Highness of the Lupine,]" Antino began with a cold fury beginning in his heart.
"[How many agree with your Highnesses opinion?]" directing his question to the bears alone.
Less than 10% stood to agree with Nigel's opinion. This showing made Nigel furious. He quickly sat down and looked around nervously.
Iris locked eyes with Antino and they both nodded. She then stood up and said, "[Pardon me, Ancient; I call for a vote of no confidence against the Lord Highness Nigel of the Lupine.]
[It is ordered,] Antino said quickly.
Immediately approximately 70 to 80% of the bears stood up including Iris, everyone noticed that some of the original 10% also voted in this as well.
"[Lord Nigel, I see that those here do not have confidence in your rule as King and as the Ancient I temporarily suspend your rule, until the National Conclave next month at which time a full vote shall be held for your rule. I further rule that in your stead, Master Thomas of the Lupine shall act as regent.]"
Nigel was so angry that he was unable to speak and instead rushed out of the room. He was quickly followed by three plain clothed security vampires, who had been warned that something like this might happen.
"[Now, is there anyone else that has a problem with this?]" Antino asked looking around.
"[Anyone want to back out?]" Antino asked when he received no answer.
"[The Symbiotes please give their portion of the dowry?]"? Elzabeth asked.
"[Half a million dollars and our allegiance,]" the Symbiotes responded.
"[The Talmar'marn please give their portion of the dowry?]" Elzabeth asked.
"[The Jade fork and our allegiance,]" the Talmar'marn said.
"[The Rodentia please give their portion of the dowry?]" Elzabeth asked.
"[The First Avenue train yard and our allegiance,]" the Rats squeaked
"[The Ghouls please give their portion of the dowry?]"? Elzabeth asked.
"[Three quarters of a million dollars and our allegiance,]" the Ghouls echoed
"[The Canius please give their portion of the dowry?]" Elzabeth asked.
"[The Shall'dan ruby and our allegiance,]" the Wolves howled.
"[That is an acceptable dowry, Librum Michael,]" Marcus said standing to his feet clapping.
"[That is a very acceptable dowry, Librum Michael,]" Charlett said with a big smile. She placed the larger bracelet on Mike's arm locking it into place linking it with the smaller one. Charlett then walked over to Toban and did the same to him. She brought them all together and released a small amount of her shadow energy into each the bracelets, permanently locking them and binding the four of them together.
"[As the bracelets are now bound in love, so are their lives now bound,]" Charlett said in a loud voice.
"[This Joining is complete,]" Antino and Elzabeth said in unison.
Over the next twenty minutes members of each of the groups visited with the new Joined mates and Mike received a pin for each of his new allegiances, as well as the appropriate paperwork for his dowry to be given to Toban. Members of the Bears also visited with them and also wished them well, which surprised Toban and Mike both.
The Three from the Librum drew the joined mates Elzabeth and Antino into a smaller room just outside of the main ballroom so they could talk. The one who spoke for the three withdrew a small box and opened it revealing a large opal.
"We grant the human tutelage in all linguistic skills and laws that he shall seek as well as his acceptance in the Librum," spoke a small female voice beside the Librum Guild Master.
"We grant the Lord Toban full access to the Librum database, via his computer interface for all his future jobs and accounts," ,the Librum Guild Master said in soft English.
"We grant the Master Guardian access to our tactical libraries and records so that he may continue to protect his Zoméa and us all to the best of his abilities," said the third voice with a youthful vigor and timber.
"We grant the Master Shartus access to our weapon libraries so that his skills may remain sharp are his senses and claws in the protection of his Zoméa and us all," said the female voice.
"This is the Opal of Y'AlnarFal," the ancient voice of the Librum Guild Master said softly. "I am sure most everyone knows what this and everything else that has been gathered tonight means."
"The Sword of Infinity, Shal'narl diamond, Jade fork, Shall'dan ruby, Opal of Y'AlnarFal and the Bridge For Us all being brought together means that once combined that the Prophecy would be fulfilled," George said with a sad finality in his voice.
"Fear not," Elzabeth said with a smile. "You have misinterpreted the prophecy." She then held out her hands toward Toban with a blank look. "The bridge is not yet complete."
Toban looked at each of them with confusion on his face. He and Mike shook their heads; both of them knew that now was not the time to worry about all of this. Now was party time.
Over the next two hours the large ballroom was alive with dancing and talking, three large buffet tables were setup parallel to each other. The tables were each filled with a variety of different foods. Every few feet there was a small flag sticking out of the table, one table was green, another was orange and the last was red. This intrigued Mike and he pointed it out to Rex questioningly.
"Oh that," Rex said with a smile. He then pointed to the table with the green flags. "That table is for the food that anyone can eat, except ghouls." He began to explain. "Mostly human based foods and stuff like that."
Rex then pointed at the table with the orange flags. "That table most everybody can eat, but with caution, some of the foods can upset a human's stomach or a ghoul's," he continued to explain. "It is mostly Thrope foods, but you can eat some with out any real problem, other than maybe a tummy ache."
"The red tables," Rex said as he waved toward the tables with the red flags on them, ",are for the Ghouls and the Rats," the tone of disgust barely hidden in his voice. "The food on that table is rancid, old or rotten. Only their stomachs can handle it."
Rex then turned Mike away from the buffet tables and almost ran into a very muscular pale man walking around with a tube hanging from his neck and no shirt on. The tube was held on his neck by surgical tape and held shut by a steel clamp. The man's eyes were rolling about the room and he looked as if he was about to pass out.
Rex and Mike Immediately grabbed the man. Rex grabbed for a tag that was around his neck and read the information on the tag. "It says he has one more punch left." Rex said to Mike and then he realized that Mike did not understand.
"This man is a donor," Rex began to explain, "someone, who freely gives blood to vampires for money, sex, the rush or favors.". He then showed the card to Mike. "The Vamps like some blood types better than others, so the donors are typed, sexed, aged and then given a number of punches. The number of punches is the number of times he or she can be fed on during a party." Rex flipped the man's tag in disgust. "Either this one was not watching how many times he got fed on or someone miscounted on his punches, He's lost a bit too much blood."
Rex raised his hand above his head and made a motion like he was snapping his fingers and was immediately met by two of Antino's Fang Children. They looked up at Rex with reverence and questioning.
"This one has had too much fun, take him to the back and get him something to eat to help his blood count," Rex said in a tone that left no room for misunderstanding. Both of the Fangs knew that the he meant business and the man was not to be hurt in any way. They quickly helped the man and all three disappeared.
"Now, I know they were not human, but what in the hell were they?" Mike asked in shock.
Rex laughed and hugged Mike gently. "They are Fangs, kind of a half vampire. They are made when a human drinks a vampire's blood, but is not drained of their own blood. They are not nearly as strong as a regular vampire and they still age, just really slow. They are immune to the sun but it hurts and they cannot go against the orders of their maker."
"Who is their maker and how many are there?" Mike asked with shudder.
"Antino made most of them and five and half out of six are his," Rex answered.
"The sixth one is a special case and you already met him. Remember Tyler from the Haven? He is the sixth, he was made illegally, his maker was destroyed and Antino sort of adopted him, so he is more like a three quarter than a half," Rex tried to explain with a strange look on his face. "He has a bit more freedom than the others."
Mike was shocked in the difference between Tyler and the two boys that he had just seen, Tyler was more like Antino in his behavior and actions and less feral, unlike the two boys that had just left. They were almost animals in comparison.
On the dance floor, Toban and George were dancing to a slow waltz next to Antino and Elzabeth. Both couples looked as if they were a million miles away as they were in the other arms, but in reality all four of them were using their differing abilities to scan the area for trouble. Elzabeth was making sure that the slaves and servants were all being taking proper care of and treated correctly. Antino was making sure that the unhappy elements of the breed remained silent at least for the night. George was keeping a stealthy awareness on Rex and Mike from a distance and Toban was scanning the club several levels above for any human related trouble.
Toban had a feeling of dread for several days and the closer they got to the day of the joining the more intense it became. He knew that the dread was not about the Joining but something happening about the same time as the Joining, for a brief time he had thought it was Nigel's interference, but that proved not to be true. Toban now knew that it had to be surrounding the club or something after the Joining.
At the exact same moment Elzabeth and Toban froze on the dance floor, their bodies as rigid as diamonds and their eyes blank, focused on nothing and everything at the same time. Both of them were aware of the same activity but for different reasons. There had been a shooting outside the club that involved both servants and club goers.
The moment that Elzabeth and Toban froze, Antino and George broke away from them. Antino and George both went into guarded stances. George whistled and waited for Rex and Mike to join him and Antino. A moment later, they both were beside them ready to help.
Elzabeth had contacted all the slaves and servants in the Conclave complex and issued a "Red Alert". She also issued a "Scatter Alert" for those that were outside the complex. At this issuance of the alerts everyone did as the Alerts dictated. Those under the "Red Alert" left the common areas and locked themselves in secure areas. Those under the "Scatter Alert" left the area in a hurry and returned to their homes to await new orders.
Toban contacted Bill, the bartender of the club with a telepathic message and an order. [This is Ray, we have a Red Alert! Prepare for a club wide black out in two minutes.] His thoughts were growling with anger. [I am coming in hot and loaded for battle!] Even though Bill was not a telepath or telepathic in any way Toban was able to feel a confirming feeling flow from the man several levels above them and through the many yards of soil and rock.
Toban allowed the shadow energy to fill him totally. His eyes gleamed with the black energy as the energy coursed though his body, every vein in his body filled with energy. Toban allowed the change take over his body as he extended the shadow energy out of his body and into the surrounding air. His features began to morph, warp and change as his clothing were replaced by the shadow energy tendrils and the area became a living shadow.
[George, Rex, Mike, prepare for transport to the club for a Red Alert (gunfire) situation,], Toban transmitted. He also transmitted all the information that he received about the situation to each of them. As he transmitted the information, the living shadow grew until it was under the three of the as well. The moment the shadow had covered their whole bodies, Toban's eyes momentarily turned white and the four of them immediately faded into the shadow realm.
[I am sending back-up and at least two cleanup crews, ASAP,] Antino sent toward them but in a general broadcast. He then turned to the whole room and transmitted. "[We need three teams to get upstairs to the club and act as backup, need a couple cleanup crews as well.]".
He waited a few moments as the people began to move and get organized and shouted, "[Let's go people!! GO! GO!]" He then ran for the nearest elevator.
Bill waited the two minutes as ordered by Ray and then hit the hidden emergency switch and the club was immediately cast into a total darkness and silence for a brief second. That second was long enough for the human mind to realize that the lights and music had gone off and for the women in the club to scream. It was also long enough for Toban, Rex, George and Mike to appear in the Club, near the back door. They took the confusion created by the darkness to slip out the backdoor and into the alley, the same alley that Shanny had been found months before.
In the alley, they noticed several people running toward them and away from the street. A gunshot echoed causing the people running to scream and run faster. Toban cast a small area of the shadow realm. Where he fully changed into his animalistic form merged with his shadow energy, Rex and George also changed into their animal forms as well, Mike remained in a semi-solid state, half way between the normal world and that of the shadow.
The Zoméa all ran down the alley way the opposite way that the others ran, until they came to the street side entrance of the alley. Ray and George's blood boiled when they saw the cause of the gunfire, Rex and Mike noticed the change in their Zoméa, but kept their focus on the crazed unshaved face of the gun wielding murder standing over the bodies of two people, the face of Paul.
The look in Paul's eyes showed that he no longer was in touch with the reality in any way. In any other situation people may have actually felt sorry for him, but as a murderous lunatic even the most compassionate would want to see him put out of other people's misery.
Toban broke ranks from the others with a simple, [I will take care of this bastard.] His features returned to human in appearance, but the shadow energy continued to build around him warping the very structure of the street and buildings as he passed.
"Paul, it is Ray," Toban began. "You need to stop this before some other people get hurt and we have to kill you," he said with no sincerity or intention of letting the man survive the night.
Paul turned and looked at Toban through glassy eyes and then said, "Ray... you... little... SON OF A BITCH, NO ACCOUNT FAGGOT..." He began to get wound up and started to wave the .45 mm gun in the general direction of Toban. Paul began to move toward Toban and bumped into the bloody body of the man that he had already killed. He absentmindedly looked down and was momentarily confused by it being in his way. Paul then shot the already dead body in the head, splattering more brains on the street.
Toban, Rex and Mike were incensed by Paul's actions and moved to attack him from three different directions from the front. George was already stalking around behind a nearby building and missed Paul's disturbing actions. Toban extended his shadow energy until it touched Paul.
Paul screamed as the shadow energy's tendril reached into his already crazed mind and created a fear from his fevered awareness. His eyes rolled into his head as Toban approached. The last known action Paul did on this earth was pull the trigger of the gun, then time became forever in a single instant. Toban absorbed him into both the psychic realm and the shadow realm at the same moment, make time act as if it was standing still.
In the exact same instant of time everything reversed its color and black became white and white became black. Paul felt as if his skin was ripped of the bone and then returned to the muscle inside out, each and every molecule of air causing unending pain to each and every nerve in his body. The memories of every nasty and evil thing that he had ever done to every living creature or person replayed in his mind over and over again, from the stand point of the creature or person. He felt as if he was raped both anally and orally over and over. Plus, Paul felt as if he was beaten over and over. This torture repeated itself one million times in a millionth of a second and Toban held him in this torture for two minutes, only until his heart gave out and he died of self-induced fright. His body was never actually touched.
Editor's comments: Gosh, now that was some Chapter! Whew! Talk about highs and lows, but we do have the Joining and we finally see the end of Paul. What more can be in line for our Joined quartet? Perhaps we will learn more about their Kalænar.