Crossover: Forever Knight/Dark Shadows

Summary:
Brutal killings and mysterious symbols left at crime scenes force Detectives Nick Knight and Don Schanke to track down a preternatural predator. However, the clues soon lead to an old estate - Collinwood - and something even more sinister.

Author's Notes:
This story is set in the year 1995.
In the "Forever Knight" timeline this story takes place towards the end of season 2, sometime after Bad Blood.
In the "Dark Shadows" timeline this story takes place after the end of the series.


Chapter 1

A heavy gust of wind whipped through the small cluster of trees to his left. The dim light of the streetlamp a few yards away lightly touched the trees with a diffused yellow light as the leaves and branches swayed in the wind. A suspiciously crimson substance clung to the base of the nearest tree trunk, and grass surrounding the victim, catching the light like some morbid morning dew.

'Leu garoul.' Nick Knight heaved a long suffering sigh at the heavy feeling of dread.

He hated werewolves.

Sure, he could sympathize with their situation, but it was hard to reason with a preternatural wolf.

It was possible that, as an eight hundred year old bloodsucking creature of the night, he wasn't really one to talk, but he'd had enough encounters with the beasts in the past to know how brutally lethal they could be. The proof of such primal force was lying before him… in pieces.

Nick closed his eyes, momentarily shutting out the gory sight. He drew in a deep breath, fighting down his own preternatural urges. Am I any better?' The thought entered his mind, unbidden, and with it came the hunger.

Blood.

It was the first scent that registered in Nick's mind. With a tight clench of his jaw he ignored his instinctual desires and confirmed his initial suspicion. The faint odor of a werewolf still lingered on the corpse, and hung heavy in the air surrounding them.

"Man oh man, get a load of that!" Schanke declared, pushing past Nick. "Reminds me of the sicko who tore up that football player."

Nick opened his eyes, once again taking in the carnage. He'd seen werewolf victims before, but had hoped to never see another. In this day and age, werewolves were few and far between. The supernatural paranoia during the 1500s that spawned mass witch hunts not only killed countless innocents, but a great deal of the unnatural creatures who wore the guise of humans as well. Werewolves were not spared from the hunts. Indeed, in Europe the pursuit of the feral beasts outnumbered that of witch hunts for a time.

"You don't think we have some sort of copycat, do ya?" Schanke asked, referring to their last eerily familiar case. That time a vampire had been the culprit. Little did Schanke know that he'd helped stop non other than Jack the Ripper.

"I don't think so, Schank. Looks more like…" Pausing, he belatedly wondered if he should tell Schanke what he knew, or let Natalie explain it once she arrived and had a good look at the body. At Schanke's impatient glare, Nick decided that it really couldn't hurt to tell him, since his partner was bound to hear it sooner or later. "Seems more like an animal attack. Maybe some sort of wild dog or wolf."

Nick slowly circled the crime scene, and then stopped when he got a clear view of the neck wound. Motioning Schanke over, he pointed to the deep gashes across the neck. "Unless you know a guy who can nearly decapitate someone with his fingernails, I'd say our suspect has large, sharp claws."

Schanke grunted appreciatively at the observation. "Maybe someone forgot to feed their cat."

Nick quirked an eyebrow at his partner, but didn't bother to comment. If the werewolf was just passing through, then there may not be much problem. Everyone would just chalk it up to another mysterious animal attack and be done with it.

On the other hand, if a werewolf who was unable to control his transformations or urges had picked Toronto as a place of residence then they were in for a hell of a case.


Outside of Bedbur, Germany
1589

The sound of something in the nearby foliage caused Nicolas to halt his horse so that he could listen more closely, and his keen senses picked up a heartbeat ahead. His Arabian snorted in distaste, shifting its weight anxiously. Whether this action was caused by the nearby visitor or from the unwanted break in its stride, he could not be sure.

Deciding that the sounds were distinctly animal in nature, Nicolas spurred his horse onward, both toward the mysterious animal and his destination. He did not have the luxury of time, and a wild animal was hardly a concern to one of his special constitution.

Although the thick clouds and morning mist that normally hung low in the air around the Rhine River and nearby villages of Collin and Bedbur would provide him some protection to the morning light, he didn't wish to stretch his luck, or cause himself unwanted attention at his arrival in Bedbur.

The sounds of the animal only accompanied his travels for a short time before they too disappeared into the dense forest. The animal did not leave, however, without a lengthy bay of adieu, and Nicolas' question of what had been in the dense foliage was efficiently answered.

At least, that is what he believed at the time. He didn't give the unremarkable event much thought until the next evening.


Nick shook himself out of his reverie when he heard Natalie approaching behind him. "Hey Nat," Nick greeted without turning around, still preoccupied with the thought of having to track down a werewolf in Toronto. He was going to have to fill Natalie in once she got the body back to the morgue.

"A little late, aren't we Dr. Lambert?" Schanke chided playfully.

"Sorry guys. It's been a busy night," she said by way of explanation as she took her first look at the body. After a moment, she shook her head and muttered, "What is it about a full moon that makes the world go crazy?"

Pulling on a pair of latex gloves, Natalie quickly got down to the grisly task of examining the body. Nick felt the vampire stir within him, attempting to break down the walls of his self control. Leaving Natalie to her job, he moved away from the body and toward the patch of trees nearby.

He really hated the bloody ones. It wasn't the sight that bothered him. He'd witnessed far too much death, murder and war in his long life to be squeamish about the harsh realities of life. What truly bothered him was his reaction to such scenes. The most powerful reminder of his lost humanity was the hunger that gnawed at him now; the hunger and urge to prey on the humans bustling hurriedly around him, oblivious of his true nature. The vampire's desires surfaced forcefully, as they always did when there was the heavy scent of blood in the air.

Heaven help his miserably damned soul, he missed the hunt. Even now, as he fought to regain his humanity in whatever way he could, part of him longed for the hunter's challenge… and worst of all, the kill. He loathed the thoughts that stirred in his mind, and after a moment, was able to regain his control by focusing on the case before him.

Studying the blood spattered trees, Nick looked for any evidence the leu garoul may have left behind. It didn't take long. About four feet up from the ground, scratched into the bark of the center tree, was an oddly familiar looking symbol.

As Nick leaned in for a closer look, he was able to decipher what was roughly drawn into the bark. It had been so long since he'd seen the symbol, it had taken a moment for its meaning to register.

It was an inverted labrys; an ancient symbol that he'd been familiar with even before he was brought across, as a knight in the crusades.

Things had just gotten a whole lot stranger.

Frowning, Nick looked up from the symbol as Schanke called him over to hear Natalie's preliminary report. Nick walked back over to join his partner and waiting M.E., stopping only to point out the newly discovered symbol to the crime scene photographer. It was against his better judgment, but it was going to be found either way, and he didn't want to explain why he hadn't told anyone about a symbol he'd been standing in front of for several minutes.

"I'd say the time of death was between 10 and 11pm. At first glance, it looks like a pretty brutal animal attack. I'll have to take her back to the lab to pinpoint an exact cause of death, although I'd say blood loss would be a fairly accurate guess at this point." Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that they were beginning to bag the body. "Do we have a positive ID?" she asked after a moment, turning back towards Nick and Schanke.

"Not yet," Nick answered. "No ID found on the body. Looks like she was out for a late night jog. No one saw what happened, although several people did hear her screams."

"Yup, nothing much to go on there, either. No one saw anyone or anything other than the victim," Schanke finished, rubbing his palms together in a futile attempt to thaw his frozen hands.

Natalie nodded. "Guess I better get started then. I'll let you two know as soon as I have something."

"Let's roll, partner!" Schanke announced as Natalie walked away. "Nothing more we can do here," he added, hurrying back towards Nick's caddy before Nick even acknowledged his words.

"Yeah," Nick agreed distractedly as he watched forensics poor over every inch of the crime scene. He slowly made his way back to the caddy, and a rather frozen looking partner, with the image of the inverted labrys still fresh in his mind.


Terminology

Labrys – A double headed axe. Although it had different meanings to different cultures, to the Romans it was the symbol of Justice. Inverted, it was the sign of anti-justice.

Leu Garoul – Old French for werewolf... and for those who may be tempted to correct my French:
Loup-Garou: French, from Old French leu garoul : leu, wolf (from Latin lupus; see wkwo- inAppendix I) + garoul, werewolf (of Germanic origin; see w-ro- in Appendix I).