Hello, readers! My goodness, it's been such a long time since I've updated this story. I'm sorry for keeping those who still follow me waiting. I've been meaning to update for a while; things are crazy as of late lol work, and writing my script (and trying to find another job) is what I've been doing. I'm not in college anymore, so things are somewhat "less stressful" if you will. And if you're a new reader, please read this story from the beginning or you'll be confused lol and do forgive the "fan-girl" writing from my early chapters in each of my stories; I swear, I wanted to slap myself, having read my old work. I can't believe I used to write like that…yet, it still got me reviews :D Anyways, I'm hoping to update more often; I can't let my creativity die anymore, so here's to my readers, old and new. ENJOY! :D
Regina awoke with a start, sweat beading above her brows as she sat up in bed. She'd been feverish for a few days now, and without Zephon to help or comfort her, she didn't know what to do. Was it the vampirism? Had her body been too weak to contain the so-called "gift" that Zephon had given her?
Regina rose and crossed the room to the exit. No one seemed to be on duty, so she walked down the hall until she ran into a servant.
"Oh, excuse me, Lady Regina. How clumsy of me," he said, rubbing his hands together in a nervous motion. "Is there anything you require?"
Regina looked at the servant with hazy eyes. Feeling a sense of weakness, she leaned against the wall for support and rubbed her forehead of the gathered sweat. "Is Lord Raziel available? I need to speak with him…urgently."
The servant cringed slightly and looked down. "I'm sorry, my lady, but he is not. In fact our master is nowhere near these grounds." The servant looked up apologetically. "He and the other lords had an important matter to attend to."
Regina squinted, trying to remember if Raziel had mentioned anything of importance, other than the "services" he had offered.
Now the servant squinted. "You are aware of what's going on, aren't you?"
"Not really. I've actually been out for a few days. But, please, enlighten me if you would?"
The servant licked his lips, trying to avoid Regina's eyes. "Something went wrong with-" He stopped, unsure of how to put the matter lightly. "The Sarafan have done something terrible-"
"Come on, just say it. I don't feel very good—"
"Zephon was taken by the Sarafan, my lady."
Regina was stunned—dead, like her soul had suddenly escaped her body. Her mouth was moving, but no sound came out.
"I couldn't get the exact details; I only heard snippets of chatter amongst the soldiers, so forgive me. It would seem Lord Raziel left with the others in order to get Lord Zephon back, but he didn't say when. That's all I know."
Without a word, Regina ran—suddenly springing back to life—all the way down to the entrance of the Razielim mansion. Servants eyed her cautiously, thinking she'd gone mad and wanted to escape captivity. She opened the heavy door and stepped into the sunlight, her skin sizzling on contact. She nearly threw herself back inside and shut the door with a loud slam that echoed through every hall. Regina put her back to the door, and watched as her skin healed in moments.
The servant, who had spoken to her before, appeared in a panic. "What are you doing, trying to kill yourself?" He pulled Regina further into the foyer. "I know it's tempting when you have nothing to do, but could you possibly commit suicide on someone else's shift?"
Regina touched her skin, now sensitive to touch. "Why did that happen to me? I don't understand it. Raziel and Zephon walk freely in the sun without so much as a wisp of smoke on them."
"My lady, you must understand…Lords Raziel and Zephon have been vampires for a very long time; their immunity to the sunlight has stayed with them as they grew. You are a "fledgling" and fledglings are not immune, at least until they are much older. From now on, you cannot just go into the daylight."
Regina shook her head, everything becoming a blur. How would she reach Zephon now? She'd have to wait until dark to leave the mansion, yet even so, she had no idea where Zephon was anyhow. And her fever was worsening every day; she was in no shape to do anything.
Suddenly, an overwhelming sense of vertigo caught Regina by surprise. The whole room spinned out of control. She grabbed her head to make it stop, but nothing could stop the dizziness, and she collapsed on the ground.
Gargas looked out into the mob of enraged citizens as they battled the Sarafan soldiers to gain access to Zephon, who had his head down, staring at the guillotine in front of him.
"They want your blood," Gargas said bluntly, trying not to show compassion.
"Thank you for pointing out the obvious," Zephon mumbled and looked up at the mob. "But unless they can get me from here they won't have it." He looked up at Gargas, squinting at his figure eclipsing the sun. "I suppose you'll get promoted for this…it's too bad I won't be around to see it. I'm sorry to ruin your fan club as well," he snickered. "Even though you're the only member." Zephon's snickers turned into uncontrollable laughter.
Gargas watched the vampire lord laugh himself silly. "You truly have gone mad, Zephon. God save you…"
The vampire's laughter ceased, remembering that he was going to be killed; he had put it out of his mind the whole time he'd been up there. He'd try telling himself that he was being exploited, displayed like an exotic animal that was on the verge of extinction…but it didn't last. The thought of God saving him seemed hopeless in his mind. Zephon was a fiend, a murderer, and he had no one to blame but himself. Zephon felt his body give up and slump on its own. He stared at the guillotine once again.
Gargas watched him return to his dead-like state. As much as he'd like to do something, Gargas could not. Someone would see and he'd be labeled as a traitor—to his soldiers and his people.
Out of impulse, Gargas screamed, "What did you say, fiend?" at the top of his lungs and knelt beside Zephon, with a fist full of his raven hair. Zephon looked at Gargas in confusion, which vanished instantly and turned to anger.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Zephon seethed. "Have you gone mad?"
Gargas looked around, seeing if his plan had worked. A concerned guard approached him, with his hand hovering over his sword.
"Is everything alright, sir?"
Gargas smiled. "Yes, I'm fine. I was just trying to teach this vampire scum to hold his tongue. He's got a poisonous one." The guard nodded, perplexed, and took to his post.
Gargas sighed and returned his attention back to the vampire. "Forgive me, but it's not like I can just converse with you…"
"So you have to blow-out my ear drums instead?" Zephon tried to look at the general, but was hindered by gloved hands. Gargas saw Zephon's discomfort and loosened his grip on his hair. "Please…do me a favor and stop trying to win over my affection…or whatever…it's getting very tiresome."
"Zephon, please…I just want to apologize—
"For what?" Zephon growled, bearing his full-length fangs. "For doing business with my kin? For imprisoning me and torturing me? Or maybe it was for the kiss?" Zephon paused. His eyes formed tears; he clenched his jaw tightly. "Hell..." He put his head down and sobbed silently. "I don't even know anymore. When I'm dead, this will all go away; all this pain will vanish."
Gargas released Zephon's hair entirely and rose slowly. He let his gaze scan the crowd, watching how desperately they wanted to get over the barriers, how his soldiers did everything they could to stop them…it was all chaos. And for what? Gargas looked down at Zephon, who took short breaths as his sobs disappeared. 'For him?' Gargas thought. He sighed and reached around his waist and pulled out a set of keys.
Zephon heard the clinking sound and slowly looked up at the human, and then to his hands, where he saw the shiny keys held firmly in his grasp. Zephon held back a smile. This was it, he would be free. Just as Gargas was about to kneel, something fast, something lethal, hit him in the chest, right through his armor. Zephon was shocked, watching Gargas' injured body fall backwards onto the platform. The vampire saw an arrow deep into Gargas' ribcage. Zephon looked around, fearful that the arrow might have been for him not Gargas, and that the poor shot archer was somewhere close and out of sight.
A scream erupted. Zephon turned to see the concerned guard struck with several arrows in his body; he was down in a second. Upon seeing this everyone began to panic and run for their lives. Afraid that he'd be next, Zephon moved to Gargas, hoping to get the keys and free himself from his chains. Just as he was about to grab the keys, a figure landed in front of him, nearly crushing Gargas and his own talons.
"Need some help?"
Zephon couldn't contain his joy and smiled, actually smiled. "Raziel…" Zephon said dryly. He cleared his throat. "How-how did you find me?" Tears began to form again.
Raziel knelt and unlocked Zephon from his prison before wiping his sibling's tears. "We share the same soul, Zephon…it's impossible to escape when we are inseparable." The firstborn looked down at Gargas, his mood suddenly changing to anger. "So this is the bastard that's been giving you hell, hm?"
Zephon struggled with his words. Gargas was the man who took him from the Cathedral, and yes, he was the man who had him tortured and bound for days, but at the same time Gargas had saved him from things far worse—immediate annihilation and the Sarafan Lord, whoever he was.
Raziel felt put a talon to Gargas' throat, feeling a slow, but throbbing pulse. The vampire's face fell into disappointment. "I was sure the archer got a fatal shot." He turned to Zephon. "No matter. Would you like me to rid this vermin from your presence?"
Zephon furrowed his brows. "You have my thanks for saving me, Raziel, but since when have I allowed you to finish my job?" Raziel said nothing and firmly held his gaze at Zephon. "I will take care of him. Please," Zephon looked around and pointed to Dumah struggling to fight off three knights, "help where help is needed."
Raziel glanced at Dumah, and back at Zephon. He nodded. "I respect that, Zephon." He stood and drew his sword. "When you are finished, find me. Lord Kain will take us home." And Raziel was off.
Zephon nearly gagged at the mention of his master. The spider lord was in such a mess that he wasn't sure how Lord Kain would react once they met again. He could see it now, how his master would scream so loud, humans at the Citadel would hear him. Next, he'd probably beat Zephon senseless for falling so easily into a Sarafan trap. 'Oh, the possibilities,' he thought.
"Zephon…" Gargas whispered. Zephon almost forgot about the injured general and knelt by his head.
"I am here," the vampire said. "You're going to be alright, Gargas," he lied.
Gargas smiled. "You can't fool me you idiot. I've been around war too long to know when a man is safe and when a man is a goner." He coughed harshly and closed his eyes. "You and I both know what I am…"
"An obsessive fan-boy," Zephon grinned. Gargas smiled and released a few harsh coughs. Zephon could see that Gargas' time was limited; his heart would stop beating and death would take him. Zephon reached out and held Gargas' face, catching the Sarafan general off guard. "I can save you," the vampire whispered, almost hoping the human would accept his offer.
Gargas smirked and began to cry without any restraint. "You know I could not do that, Zephon. It's against all I stand for."
"It will be the same once you are bitten, except you will be on my side. The pain is temporary. Th-There's a guarantee you will be among my senior officers…a-a-and your son—
"My son," Gargas whispered and stared into Zephon's eyes, deep in thought. "You have to take him…please…"
"That is not what I'm asking you—
"You said you wanted to save me, so save my son in my place," Gargas said firmly. "He is young and healthy…"
Zephon shook his head. "I will not condemn a child, Gargas. You are dying, and that's the only reason I'm offering an alternative to death. But your son?" He shook his head again. "You will never see him again."
"Then teach him about vampires and my kind. Teach him all that you know…" Gargas smiled. "You don't have to turn him, but at least be the father that I never could…promise me."
"You bastard," Zephon said through gritted teeth. "What did I just say? What about your wife?"
"Tell her that Lucas and I were killed in a horrible accident."
"Promise me, Zephon."
Zephon looked away and bared his fangs in anger, wishing someone would kill him now so that he didn't have to take this stupid oath. He hated humans, hated their ways; they were weak and selfish…why would he father one?
The vampire looked back to Gargas, fangs still bared. "You have my word," he said bitterly. "But you're making a mistake."
Gargas sighed in relief and smiled. He closed his eyes. "The only mistake I made was refusing to keep an open mind. Please take good care of my child." Gargas released his last breath then.
Zephon growled, deeply regretting the promise. 'As if I'm not in enough trouble already,' he thought and stood. He looked away from Gargas and leapt off the platform. Closest to him was Rahab, having just struck down a guard with an axe. He panted hard and, seeing Zephon defenseless, pulled him to his side and ran for shelter.
"Thank God!" He embraced Zephon tightly and kissed his forehead. "You're alive!"
"Barely," Zephon replied, wiping the kiss away.
"Come, we must get you home, quickly!"
"Wait, Rahab, I need you to help me with something. I have to enter the stronghold…"
"You're out of your mind, Zephon. That's suicide and you know it."
"You don't know how many times I've been told that, Rahab, but I must get inside; there's something I have to do. Just trust me."
Rahab looked hard into Zephon's eyes as though he were firing laser beams. But Zephon was serious; he never asked anyone to trust him if he didn't mean it. Rahab sighed. "What is it you want me to do?"
Regina stirred awake, sweating profusely with her heart beating fast in her chest. Standing over her were several servants- one with a pitcher of blood, another with a fan trying to keep Regina cool.
"Stand aside, everyone. Let me through." A Razielim doctor came barging in the room with his medical bag trailing at his side.
"She's still burning up. We don't know what it is," said a female servant.
"That's because you're not a doctor," the doctor replied before removing his coat. "Leave it to me, and I'll see what I can do." He looked at Regina and examined her face, pulling the skin under her eyes, and checking her throat. Regina watched him with blurred vision and noticed the small, gleaming fangs just barely visible behind his wire-like mustache.
"Hmm…" the doctor said aloud. "I wonder…" Then he stopped, tilting his head as if he had heard something. He gave Regina squinted eyes. "It can't be…"
Battling through the stronghold, Zephon, Rahab and a group of mages moved as quickly as possible. They picked up random groups of soldiers here and there, but avoided any serious trouble; the heavily armored glyph knights would provide more than enough trouble; their glyph magic would render the mages powerless.
Zephon sniffed the air and turned down another hall, trying to remember where Gargas' office was.
"Please tell me what we are doing here, Zephon?" said Rahab nervously. "I don't want to run into trouble we can't handle. Father will be looking for us."
"It's down this way!" Zephon replied, suddenly making a sharp turn, nearly cutting everyone off. They stopped at a large steel door. "Wait outside," Zephon commanded and opened the door with every ounce of strength he had left. The room was candle lit, and at Gargas' desk sat Lucas with his head buried in his arms. He looked up at Zephon. The vampire could tell the boy had been crying.
"What do you want? Come to kill me as well? Go ahead, I'm not afraid!"
"I don't want to kill you, Lucas. I've come to take you away from here," Zephon replied, trying to be compassionate.
"Sure. And I suppose once I'm out the door, you'll share the spoils with the other fiends behind you."
Rahab poked his head in. "What the hell is going on?" Rahab's eyes met Lucas' and he became enraged. "You mean we came in here for a human boy? A fucking human boy? We could've been killed-
"But we weren't, Rahab. I made a promise to his father before he died, and I follow through with my promises."
Lucas came out from behind his father's desk, with a face full of sorrow. "My father is dead?"
The vampire lords turned their attention back to Lucas, feeling a bit sorry for the boy.
"Yes," replied Zephon. "I made him a promise to look after you. Now I don't care what the hell you have to say about it; you should know by now I don't put up with your shit."
A mage burst into the room, panic over his face. "We need to leave, now!"
Zephon rushed over to Lucas and grabbed him. The boy repeatedly hit Zephon across his back and flailed like a fish out of water. Zephon ignored the small "pats" and lead the group down another hall. He could hear heavy footsteps with clanking armor to go with them. He turned slightly and saw a handful of knights on their tails.
"Move your asses!" Zephon yelled as he pushed his body to run harder.
"Don't look back!" Rahab screamed. "We need a smoke shield!"
One of the mages created a small cloud of black smoke in his palms, and tossed it behind them. In an instant the knights were enveloped in darkness, tripping and coughing; they stopped in their tracks and tried waving the smoke away.
"Nice work," Rahab said. He stole a glance at Zephon, who looked extremely exhausted. "Oh, Zephon…I do believe you would scare not only a nun, but everyone in the entire church."
"And I do believe your brains have shriveled up just like your balls." Rahab only smiled in return.
"The shame you have brought onto our kind is worse than all the shame throughout history put together. You're very lucky I'm far too exhausted to deal with you right now." Kain gripped the Soul Reaver hard enough, that if it had not been indestructible it would've easily shattered. He sat on his throne, starring daggers at Zephon in front of him. Raziel and the other lords stood around him and watched, not daring to interrupt their master. Who could blame Kain for being angry?
"This matter will wait until tomorrow, Zephon. The fact that you're home safe gladdens me…but by allowing yourself to be captured so easily sickens me. I suppose I should be more disappointed in myself, seeing as though I have not taught you as well as I thought." Kain paused for a moment to consider his reaver. "It will not happen again, will it?"
Zephon looked as though he wanted to cry. He looked at his master with complete and utter shame. "No, sire."
Raziel sighed, almost feeling that putting such faith in Zephon might have been his downfall. Perhaps if he had thought out the situation with the Sarafan, Zephon might not have been taken so easily. Raziel glanced at Turel, who looked as though he felt a fraction of Zephon's sting by his master. Dumah was in the clouds as usual, looking back and forth between Kain and Zephon, probably wondering what was going on. Rahab's eyes were closed, listening intently with his head down. Melchiah moved slightly towards Rahab, away from his master's throne, probably feeling the heat coming off of him.
"Good." Kain looked to Raziel and the others. "Have any of you anything to say to your brother?" Everyone looked as though they were struck with a lighting bolt.
"God…" Zephon whispered, bracing himself for the possible poison that would be coming out of his brothers' mouths.
"Not to add further insult to our lord's words, Zephon, but I must agree with what he has said," Raziel said, holding a hard poker face.
"You would," Zephon mumbled.
"Silence," Kain instructed. Zephon pinched his lips together.
"However," Raziel began, "I am very thankful that you are home. You are my blood, and as much as we disagree from time to time, you are my brother and I love you." Zephon rolled his eyes, and snickers from the others leaked out. "Yes, I said love, you cold-blooded beasts. May the Cathedral prosper so as long as you're its ruler."
Zephon nodded, surprised that Raziel would actually be kind without the sprinkles of sarcasm behind every word.
"Did Raziel actually say something nice?" said Turel. Raziel shot him a look, but said nothing. The compliments and scolding continued, except when it came to Melchiah. As far as Zephon knew, he didn't say anything hurtful. But what did he know? After Raziel's words, he drowned everyone else's out. And when they finished, Kain stood, gave his final words and disappeared.
Zephon remained in the center of his brothers, hoping they would flock out before him. But when they didn't move, Zephon took the initiative and walked away. They followed behind, conversing, and once again, leaving Zephon to himself. The spider lord didn't feel as though anything changed. He felt the odd one out again. But that was ok…he was home.
A hand on his shoulder made him jump. It was Raziel.
"Just so you know I had Regina transported to the Cathedral. My servants tell me she's in bed resting, and has been sick for a few days—
"Sick? What happened?" Zephon said in a panic. "Is she ok?"
"Calm down. From what I was told, yes, she's fine. There's just…something you should know." Raziel rubbed the back of his neck, suddenly feeling somewhat nervous.
"Tell me, you idiot! If this means life or death—
"Shut up!" Raziel growled. "I'm not going to tell you if you're being a prick. Relax."
Zephon just lowered his voice. "Tell me."
"I don't know if this is true…I don't see how it could be anyway, but…" Raziel took a deep breath. "Regina is pregnant."
Zephon rushed into the Cathedral without a word to anyone. He ran to the top floor and nearly threw his doors off their hinges. Regina opened her eyes weakly. The vampire doctor and servants that were there quickly moved out of the way.
"What has happened? Tell me!" He pointed to the doctor.
"What happened?" Zephon shouted.
"Zephon…my love?" Regina whispered.
Zephon went to her side and kissed her. "I have returned, Regina. I-Raziel told me…that you're pregnant. Is this true?"
Regina sighed. "That's what I'm told-
"But how? I am sterile and so are you. I don't understand!
"If I may, Lord Zephon," began the doctor. "The only possible theory we have is that you made love before she was fully turned."
Zephon shook his head in frustration. "No, that still doesn't explain my doing."
"True. But vampires cannot have children with each other. How do we know humans and vampires cannot bear children?"
"That's preposterous," spat Zephon. "If that were true, we'd have thousands by now." Zephon gave Regina a questionable look. He leaned in close. "Unless…you were sleeping around before we made love the first time…"
Regina slapped Zephon as hard as she could. The vampire lord touched his face; he was fuming. "How dare you?" Regina seethed. "Do you really think me as that kind of person? You twisted freak. I bet confinement finally got the best of you."
Zephon lunged forward and grabbed Regina by the shoulders. "Don't lie to me! Tell me the truth! This cannot be my child—it can't!" The doctor and servants grabbed ahold of Zephon to pull him back. No use. Regina began crying uncontrollably and rolled over to leave the bed.
"I can't believe you!" She screamed. "You bastard, I knew you were too good to be true. I'm leaving."
Zephon laughed haughtily, just like the first time he and Regina had met—when the two were complete strangers, vampire and human. "Really? You don't have anywhere to go!"
Without another word, Regina stormed out of the room. Zephon didn't bother to chase after her. He just shook his head in disbelief…or was it uncertainty? He growled and brought a pillow to his face and screamed, so much that when he was finished his face was a tomato red. The doctor and servants quickly escaped out the door. Zephon paid no heed. Instead he stood and made his way to the courtyard, where his carriage waited.
The driver saluted him and opened the carriage door. Zephon nodded and the driver moved away. The vampire lord climbed in and ordered the driver to take off. To his left, a sleeping Lucas rested against the seat peacefully.
After some time, Lucas opened his eyes. Zephon hadn't noticed him, being too occupied with looking out the window. The human teen touched his vampire "father's" shoulder. Zephon jumped slightly.
"Where are we?" Lucas asked, tiredness still in his eyes.
Zephon considered him for a minute and gave a half-smile. He reached over and rubbed Lucas' shaved head. "Anywhere but home."
"But why? I thought the Cathedral was home?"
Zephon sighed. "You are young…I don't expect you to understand. There are problems that are happening now, problems that I cannot solve at the moment. We have to go away for a while to plan."
Zephon knew this conversation was going nowhere. He chuckled and patted Lucas' head. "Nevermind for now. Rest your head. I'll wake you when we're there."
Lucas shrugged his shoulders and yawned, moving over to rest his head on Zephon's shoulder. "Yes, sir," the teen mumbled and was fast asleep once more.
Zephon clenched his jaw. He thought back to Demetrius and how, long ago, he had done the same thing to Zephon when he was first made. But those days were gone. Those ties were gone. As far as Zephon was concerned, he had no kin, not after what he suffered. Not one of his children was present during his rescue. Not one! And now, he had little sympathy for any of them. Regina had to calm herself and be alone; that's why Zephon let her be. Was he still in love? He didn't know.
Lucas' snoring caused brought Zephon out of his own thoughts. He looked over the human's face and smiled. He then turned to the window once more.
"Sleep well…my son."
And that is the end of this chapter. Not much more to go, I'm afraid. Maybe that's a good thing? Haha A change of pace and probably some stuff you didn't expect, but in order to find out what happens, stay tuned for my next update. Hope you all enjoyed…if there's anyone left lol Feel free to leave any comments, opinions, suggestions…reviews aren't required, but I appreciate them. Thanks! –Lil V :D