Legal disclaimers: I don't own or lay claim to BloodRayne the character, the game or anything which is directly connected to these properties, they all belong to the computer company Majesco, I'm just borrowing them to write a fictional story set in the world of BloodRayne. The character of the Magdalena is also not mine, she belongs to Top Cow comics I believe. However, all original characters, plotlines and ideas created for the purposes of this story belong to me. Therefore, please ask before borrowing any of them.

Disclaimers: Due to particular subject matter and some graphic violence, this story will not be to everyone's tastes. For example, if you find the idea of BloodRayne being attracted to another woman unthinkable, you should not read this story. However, more seriously, segments of the story are set during World War II and involve actions and activities some people may find repulsive. Apologies for any offence taken in advance, but I never write anything like this without good reason. Please bear that in mind. Feedback and Reviews would be appreciated and I will do my best to answer anyone who does so. Feel free to Flame, I appreciate everything constructive.

Lost

Eastern France, 1943

In the village of Briem, named after a long-ago forgotten founder, there had never been much to be seen. A small grey stone church, cream-painted brick and dark wood houses so old they almost seemed as though they should have been thatched despite slate roofs. An old stone mill with slowly turning sails moved by the summer wind sat atop a hillside just outside the village, a slight river brown with mud and compost running near it. A grey road ran through the entire village, passing by the mill on the way, where it turned off onto a dirt track.

These things were all that there was, they formed and made the village of Briem. They were nothing, it was nothing. Everything was illuminated in the warm summer sun, cooled by the wind to a pleasant touch of heat and light. The sun was high in the bright blue sky, some few wispy white clouds drifted by, shading nothing. It was a perfect, brilliant summer day.

None of it helped, none of it meant anything, not now, not to him. Father Jacob Matthews stood in the street outside his church and felt Death lay its cold fingers across his Soul. He wanted to Pray, to beg, to plead. But he didn't, he couldn't. He looked again at the sight that had cursed his eyes, stolen his breath and scorched his heart to a cinder.

"Please, I beg of you, do not do this" he said again, slowly, not even trying to keep the desperation and fear from his voice any more. They could smell his fear in any case, he didn't doubt it, particularly her. He had stared through the Gates of Hell, looking down at his damnation was his answer.

The woman kneeling over the bloody body wore the dark black uniform of the SS, the Deaths Head skulls evident in the sun on the collar of her shirt. Black leather boots creaked as she moved, reaching down slowly and carefully to close the dead mans eyes. As she moved her curly ice-blonde hair shimmered in the light, highlighted her fine features as the uniform did her slender, curved body, hard muscle shifting as she did.

The woman was a thing of beauty, a creation of imagination and fantasy to stir the blood and speed the heart, but now she seemed more as Death's Angel come amongst them. She stood slowly away from the corpse with liquid animal grace and directed a look at him he could only describe as feral. Her dark-brown eyes were chips of Arctic ice, he felt as though he was paddling the River Styx merely meeting them. She could not have been more striking, a sensual, devastating vision of the flesh, young and beautiful, a thing to die for. What she was in truth? He knew not.

The man dead at her feet was one of hers, a soldier sent to guard them, dressed in a dark Wehrmacht uniform. His helmet was damaged, a chunk of skull was missing from where blood and brains mixed with traces of bone flooded out to the soft ground. His rifle was missing, no one knew who'd done it. What the Germans knew, what she knew, what he knew, was that a villager had done it. Other soldiers had surrounded everyone in the village gathered in the village square, two hundred men, women and children, shaking, scared, weeping and Praying, asking God for forgiveness, looking to him for help. He had nothing to give, he knew of no help he could possibly summon or be of. They were, he didn't doubt, all going to die.

Later, he would wish that he had been right. Prayer, then, meant nothing to him.

"In the name of God, there are women and children here. In His name, I ask of you forgiveness. He who committed this act not know what he did and will be judged before Heaven for his Sins" said Father Matthews, his voice so quiet he almost felt as though he was fading like a ghost and had as little meaning. It changed nothing, he knew she heard every word.

She strode over to him, glanced up and down his soft, middle aged body-then slammed a fist into his stomach with awful strength. He doubled over and threw up before he collapsed on his face, falling into a pile of limp pain, stinking of fear. His scalp hit the hard ground and he felt the grit bite, felt blood drip down his face over his cheek. He didn't move, but she strode away.

She strode up to a mother and father with a young child-Pierre Ducos, his Wife Isabella, their ten year old Lena-then stopped, knelt in front of them. For a moment. He noticed, for a terrible moment of time that would be frozen in his mind for the rest of his long life, that the fingernails on her right hand seemed to have grown, become more shaped and hard, like claws... Her arm whipped across so quick he glimpsed blood flicker in the air before his numbed mind took in the sight of little Lena dead on the ground, her throat torn out.

Pierre screamed and lunged at the woman, but a casual backhand took his eyes out of his head as well as shredding his nose and upper face. He reeled back, his face a nightmare of blood and bone, screamed once and fell over backwards, hands clamped over his face as his white shirt turned thick with his blood. He was already dead. Isabella took a step away and then stopped, a breath before a soldier shot her in the head with an almost casual pistol shot that put her down beside her husband and child.

The woman soldier brought her hand up to her face and licked the blood off of her fingernails-her claws, before she turned to face the horrified, sickened Father Matthews again. He almost died at the sight.

Her eyes had changed. Brown humanity had changed to gold, a vertical, slender iris had become the centre, a thing darker than the Abyss, deeper than the reach of Hell itself. Her teeth were shifting, becoming sharper, more pointed, her fingernails were shifting and growing longer. Her body was almost rippling, as though muscle and bone were shifting underneath her skin.

He'd been about to ask God just what of Earth could do such things as he had witnessed here, but now he knew. Something shrivelled and died inside him at the knowledge. She wasn't human...

"God is not here today, Priest" she said, slowly, quietly, her voice almost a growl but still sweet as honey and nectar to the ears. He felt physically ill even thinking of that, now. "So you must take his place. Choose" she continued, waving wide to everyone gathered around them, his people, his Flock. He felt a terrible cold settle deep inside him, some part of him knew what was coming.

"I don't-" he began, trying to stand up, but she didn't wait for him to finish. She was, he believed, enjoying this.

"They are your "Flock". Where you lead, they follow, yes? So choose. Twelve Disciples of yours will survive here. Choose" she said, golden eyes swallowing him whole and spitting out the remnants, black centres gorging on his Soul.

"I can't do that" he said, finally getting to his feet, trembling and weak. She couldn't mean that, there had to be something he could do, something he could say. "Take me, instead. I am their Shepherd, their Sins begin and end with me. Let that be an end to it" he said, hoping against hope...

"Ha" replied the woman, before reaching down and tearing off Pierre's arm. He was already dead, but he still jerked when she did it. Blood drenched the ground around her, then her uniform-then her, as she bit deep into the flesh and tore out a broad chunk. Everyone but the other soldiers were speechless and far worse than lost in fear and fright at the sight, even as she slowly chewed the flesh and swallowed it, needle-sharp fangs emerging from her mouth as she worked her mouth. Blood coated her like a human sacrifice. Father Matthews wanted to throw up. He didn't, he couldn't do anything at all.

"You have no more choices here, Priest. Choose" she repeated, one last time.

Slowly, with the terrible, lethal finality of Death itself, Father Matthews arm came up, his hand clenched-his finger pointed. Then again, again, nine more times after that. He chose his Disciples, knowing that she and the soldiers would merely have killed them all if he'd refused.

It took him a long, terrible hour, a time in his life which never had real meaning to him again. After that, the killing began, then the burning, whoops, cries, laughter and growls of beasts, creatures and soldiers drunk on slaughter, pain, bloodlust and drink.

As he led his Disciples away, he felt the man he had been for all of these years leave him and stay far away behind, that man stayed and watched everyone and everything he knew be utterly destroyed, the land salted. The man who led his Disciples away to the truth of what could come next never looked back. His heart and mind were already broken...

Berlin, Germany, 1945

Sister Victoria slowly, carefully, made her way up and out of the bunker, past dead, bloody bodies, scattered shell casings, half-burnt papers and weapons tossed and toppled everywhere. The crack of gunfire was still a constant in the near and far distance, explosions rang out and echoed almost constantly, screams and wails sounded everywhere. A howling whine echoed not far away, which she recognised as an artillery shell falling, then a flash-crack of massive detonation echoed all around before a terrible crashing, rolling roar of sound echoed, shaking the ground itself with impact as a big building collapsed nearby. Entire blocks of masonry, huge shards of glass and bits and pieces of furniture flew and were flung past, half a roof carving a deep cut into shattered mud and tarmac ground nearby before utterly disintegrating.

The War was over, the Third Reich had lost, but its insane leader wouldn't admit it and had gone on planning further conquest, victories and the future of the thousand-year Reich from his bunker at the heart of a collapsing Empire he had completely lost any grasp on. A fanatic and a demagogue to the very last, blind to whatever truth didn't suit him, Adolph Hitler had kept those near him in thrall regardless of everything-until she'd come in.

Now mere woman could breach the Fuhrer's bunker, it was an impossibility. Even as she'd slaughtered his guards left and right, gunning down everyone standing with her Schmeisser and her pistol, one weapon in each hand, bullets cracking into walls and doors, sparking off of steel and shattering wood, puncturing plaster, he'd screamed defiance like a madman. Raising high the Spear of Destiny, clutched hard in his hand-utter desecration-he'd drawn his Lunger and opened fire himself, declaring that he would never be defeated.

Easily avoiding his futile attack, she'd shown him the error of his ways-literally, as she'd used her gift of Redemption Sight to force the short madman to confront himself with everything he'd ever done, the truth burning into that tattered black rag he'd called a Soul. A second later he'd put his pistol in his own mouth and blown the back of his head off. She'd simply retrieved the Spear, sheathed it across her back in the straps provided and left, job done. One couldn't get personally involved in these things, no matter the abomination. The Church knew what had to be done, she was merely its chosen tool...

She looked out into the nightmare wasteland of collapsing Berlin, dying in pieces around its dead leader as the Russians drove inside. The Reich Chancellery was gone, a shattered, shredded ruin from which the Hammer and Sickle flag now flew, bathed in the bloody red of Soviet triumph. Every building in sight was shattered, smashed, ruined or simply destroyed. People cowered in cellars, hid in dark alleys or just ran away in futile desperation, broken and starving, the only thing left for them to make futile efforts at survival.

Animals were killed, butchered and eaten on the streets, people's throats were slit for rotten apples and dull knives, money was worthless except as firewood. Rotten, ruined clothes failed to cover peoples skin and bones, blood, bodies and metal of every kind-bullets, shells, ruined tanks, the remains of people lives in the form of plates and cutlery-were everywhere, covered every surface. A cold wind cut to the bone and sliced away life faster and sharper than any blade while at any moment a piece of the dying War could strike down anyone, a shell obliterating a lost soul scavenging for food and survival. Fires burned everywhere, but not one of them was for warmth. What pitiful little was left was going up in smoke literally in front of those who needed it most...

War was Hell Sister Victoria, sometimes known as the Magdalena, had been taught, told and shown countless dozens of times. This, though...this was Hell in full sight, sound and fury drawn up to Earth fought before God. One could only experience this, never talk or "know" about it... She said a quick Prayer for those left behind, crossing herself at what she saw and heard-then she saw something else. Someone, that made her blood run cold with fury and anger...

She saw the long, powerful, dark-black furred form-a Panther, here in Berlin-lope past a nearby building slowly, darting from cover to cover. It-she-had been heading for the Bunker, but had slowed down sharply on seeing her. The Hidden Inquisition's records were exact and meticulously kept, even in this time of War and chaos, even after everything. More importantly, she was the Magdalena, no evil escaped her sight-and she knew monstrosity when she saw it. Only one Demon of that kind had ever worked for the Reich, one's whose actions and reputation were things of dark myth even now...

...Rakshasa...

She snapped her Schmeisser up and opened fire, the automatic pistol clattering loudly as bullets spat out at the Demon. The Demon span fast just as she moved, leaping through an empty window inside a building where it vanished, even as bullets chewed up stone and plaster where it had been standing a second before. She sprinted for the building, ignoring scattered, ruined human shapes and figures fleeing at a stumbling run from the sudden violence, leapt through the window and landed in a crouch, weapons steady, ready... It was empty.

She rose slowly to a standing position, sweeping back and forth for any clues, noting the scratches of claw marks on the stone floor and fragments of carpet left. Sharp brown eyes traced them as her chestnut hair hung behind her, shifting over her shoulder in a loose tail held at the base of her skull... The Demon had gone upstairs, up into the shattered upper floors of the building. There were three floors to this building, largely destroyed by shellfire, fire and looting. She didn't need to test the steps and supports to tell for certain that the entire structure was on the point of collapse, but she wouldn't let that stop her. To kill one such as this...

She walked slowly and carefully up the stairs to the first floor, one weapon out and aimed, one ready at all times. Her thick black boots protected her feet and lower legs from shrapnel and debris, her grey trousers, cream blouse, black sweater and dark-blue coat covered the rest. She'd been wearing gloves, but she'd taken them off before going into the Bunker to be sure she was at her best. Aside from her firearms she had a nine-inch combat knife in a sheath strapped to her left forearm while a grenade, plus spare ammunition, was stored in her backpack under the Spear of Destiny, beside her supplies and gear. She'd walked and run considerable distances to get here, she'd do the same to get out again. She just hoped she had what she needed to deal with this Demon...

She heard the soft thump of boot on floor somewhere overhead, flattened herself against the wall and froze, trying to prepare for anything. The Rakshasa had to have shifted into its human form for her to be hearing what she had, but why?

"Peek a boo, I see you..." called a woman's voice-from directly ahead of her! Sister Victoria leapt forwards up the stairs at a dead sprint, burst out into the main room of the second floor, Schmeisser blazing-and almost died.

The floor wasn't there, the outer walls were still mainly standing but the centre of the building had been gutted by some massive impact which had dropped the rest of the buildings insides on top of the ground floor roof. The ten-foot fall wouldn't have killed her, but it would have given her opponent the seconds she needed to kill her, so she dropped her Schmeisser and grabbed hold of the doorframes bottom edge one-handed, twisting violently in mid-air. The jerk almost took her shoulder out of the socket but she held on, straining every muscle in her arm as she had to catch her dead weight added to that of her gear and weapons.

Stupid. Stupid. STUPID! she couldn't help but think, even as she straightened and bent her legs to provide herself leverage that would enable her to pull herself back up one-handed. It hurt-

Two hands suddenly grabbed both of hers and lifted her up as though she weighed nothing, to her shock. She found herself face-to-face with a very beautiful woman-whose nature, despite her smile, was given away by vertical black-slit golden irises.

...Rakshasa...

Before Sister Victoria could do anything, the woman leaned forwards and kissed her full on the lips, seemingly enjoying it-before she bit down hard on Sister Victoria's lower lip, teeth tearing right through. Sister Victoria screamed in pain and thrashed, legs kicking the woman's legs and lower chest, before the woman threw her away, using her good arm as a lever. The pain was unbelievable as the arm bent in ways nature had never intended, not breaking by some miracle even as she dropped her gun-long before her back and head slammed into stone and concrete, into sharp rubble, before she broke right through that and on into the ground floor.

The impact of falling to the ground floor through the battered first floor roof snapped several ribs and a leg, lacerating flailing arms and hands, ripping her face open as a jagged board edge nearly took out an eye. The landing blasted the air from her lungs and she felt something soft pop inside her chest as the broken ribs cut inside her. A sudden cough sprayed blood everywhere, which answered that question. A lung was punctured, which meant she was going to die... She felt a sticky warmth slowly spreading out beneath her even as she feebly tried to move, soaking into her clothes...

"...Bitch...Demon Wwwk..." Sister Victoria managed, being forced to stop as blood tried to flood her throat, forcing her to cough again. The Demon, Rakshasa, leapt from the first-floor doorway through the hole in the roof down to her side. She landed with inhuman liquid grace, then knelt down to look Sister Victoria in the eyes.

"True, but you forgot to add evil mass-murdering monster, black hearted bitch, one or two other titles I've earned. A shame, you had potential..." said Rakshasa, the tips of her fingers caressing Sister Victoria's cheek before going on to caress a breast. Sister Victoria couldn't have been more revolted. Men and women lay with each other, never two of one kind together-

Rakshasa's free hand suddenly drove into her ribs, then on into her chest. She couldn't even scream as she felt claws cut into her guts-then her life shrank to nothing as she saw her own heart, dragged almost out of her chest, still beating in the Demon's hand. For a moment, at least, before Rakshasa bit down into it, which meant she missed Sister Victoria's last act.

Sister Victoria's right hand slowly rose, then was momentarily surrounded by a strange shimmer that caught Rakshasa's eyes-before the whole world fell away forever. Redemption Sight, it was the ultimate reward and skill of the Magdalena, both in training and heritage. No one was immune.

The last thing Sister Victoria ever heard made her smile. The Demon woman, Rakshasa, screaming...

Paris, six months later

The woman known to a select few as BloodRayne sat at the bar of the Marseilles restaurant, trying to simply stop and think after far too long on her feet and out of her mind, fed a never-ending number of monsters, an awful amount of rich, thick blood, ideas and possibilities which had almost literally torn her mind in half. It was the closest thing to a break she'd had for too many years-and, more disturbingly, she wasn't sure precisely what she was doing or why any longer...

In real terms, since the beginning of WWII in 39', she'd been run ragged all over the world fighting every kind of creature, monster and enemy of the Brimstone Society that could ever even be conceived of. She'd fought, slaughtered, butchered, killed and terrorised her way through a War that had very nearly set the whole world on fire, killed so many living things she didn't dream of anything but blood and the need for more any longer, met and killed a Lover and never, ever seen or even heard of her father, Kagan. She'd committed acts of monstrosity and abomination to stop worse, done things she'd once never even imagined herself capable of to get the job done-and, very recently, come to the conclusion that if the only means she had to define herself by was the amount of slaughter she'd committed, the names she'd destroyed, she had no definition of herself.

Who was she? What was she? She didn't know, not anymore. She didn't know that she ever had, not really. The Dhampir BloodRayne was a weapon of conflict for the Brimstone Society, her...employer? Example? Mentor of-a-sort? But, she'd once been just a young woman called Rayne, a youth searching for answers she'd never quite found. Who was she, now? Did she even still exist?

Rayne, BloodRayne, who was she? What was she? In her own mind, what did she do? What really mattered to her? Hell, if she wanted to start at the beginning, what was her name? What was her favourite colour?

Suddenly, seated alone in the restaurant with a long, slender glass of dark red wine in her hand, she felt very, very alone in the world...

Trying to distract herself, even though her sole real purpose here was really only taking the time to think things through if she could, she let her senses expand and took in the room around her, let herself sense her own form and body fully. The tall wooden chair didn't have a cushion, so it was almost uncomfortable despite the sculpted design. That, a fact which was almost funny, was the first thing she noticed.

Then there was the slight breeze pulling at her hair, down and loose around her shoulders falling loose down her back as she so rarely wore it. Her hair was a brilliant, flaming bloody red in colour, except for two thick strands of black that fell to either side. Emerald-green eyes shone, almost searing the mind of anyone who met them with a devastatingly effective combination of intelligence and adamantine will, highlighting a creamy-skinned, fine-featured face enhanced by full, bee-stung ruby red lips, a face more than a few men had called strikingly beautiful. Around her neck hung the necklace holding the Brimstone medallion, the symbol of the Society being one she didn't like to dwell on too much these days.

A curvaceous, hard-muscled slender body was hardly concealed by her close-fitting jet-black evening gown, with a design that caressed her curves and highlighted her figure with intent. High heeled black evening shoes would do nothing to help her run, or even move quickly if she needed to, but she was five-eight naturally and the heels raised her to five-ten. Every little helped, since men tended to respect women they had to look up at to look in the eye more in her experience. The fact was, in all likelihood she would be taking someone "home" to her hotel room tonight, she was in the mood. As well as that, the exhaustion a good, rough roll would induce, with any luck, a dreamless sleep that would actually allow her real rest for once. That was her intent, anyway...

The restaurant was open and stocked, with three brick walls and a glass front, the kitchen contained inside, delicious smells drifting out across her sensitive nose as they cooked. Candles placed in some number all about provided a gentle illumination-more than she needed with her eyesight-while well-dressed waiters almost drifted past every customer according to need and want, somehow always there when needed. Tables were pleasantly laid out with pale white tablecloths, big, full candle holders lit in the centre of each table while dark red serviettes were folded around cutlery at every set place.

Nothing the restaurant could fix or do hadn't been fixed or left undone, none of that was the problem. The problem was people. The restaurant, designed to seat at least fifty, had only fifteen at best in it. The reason wasn't just willingness to dine out, either, despite the fact no-one could quite believe, even now, that the terrible War and even worse Occupation were both finally, at long last, over. The reason was, really, money, since the French Economy had effectively collapsed under the Vichy regime, which had taken Nazi orders which had as good as led to the destruction of France as a nation. If she wasn't living on the Brimstone Societies coin, she wouldn't have been in the restaurant herself.

Even neighbours who had known each other for decades before the War were no longer talking, the clouds of fear, distrust and hatred sowed by the Nazi's would takes years to dissipate, if they ever did. Things no one spoke of, or even thought of, had been done during the dark, terrible years no one wanted to think about, that few even would, terrible, terrible things. Those who had seen and heard the trains, the screams, knew most of it. Only people like BloodRayne, who wished she didn't, knew the rest.

She sipped her wine-it wasn't even close to being blood, but it was strong-flavoured, which helped-and shook her head. Paris was the city of romance, freedom, possibility and chance-or so she'd always heard, in her brief visits during and before the War when she'd been passing through on her way to somewhere else, often at some speed. She'd talked to people who'd known Paris for decades-even centuries, although that was a secret she didn't discuss-so it had seemed a very good idea when she'd decided on her Holiday. Now? Now, she was discovering that she hadn't thought it through, again, a reflection of the fact that, except in a fight, she rarely thought any distance ahead. Paris was still a battered, scarred and wounded survivor of the War now, but given a few years it would recover, cities like it always did. She should have asked to go to New York, even though she'd only been there once and...Well, the Society didn't know what had actually happened there. She could have even have gotten back in touch with Henry...

She heard the door open and looked around, although not too sharply since she didn't want to draw attention to herself. Her eyes widened, this was interesting...

Dark-brown eagles eyes, sharp and penetrating as steel in flesh. Ice blond hair that fell loose to her waist, thick and silky. A body worth killing for, long-limbed and hard-muscled, topped by the kind of fine-featured beauty that would have made a Renaissance artist weep. Graceful and elegant in a sense better imagined than described, all surrounded by a deep blue silk dress that was cut low enough at the front to reveal a hint of cleavage. Not a hint of hesitation, not a tremor in her step, she didn't even seem to bother looking around the room before striding over to a chair almost within touching distance of Rayne herself, where she sat smoothly, tossing long hair over her shoulder, strands attractively framing her face.

An assured beauty backed by a strong, assured intellect, Rayne could tell. Just like she could tell something else: the woman wasn't completely human, if she ever had been that. Too much in the way of sharp edges, hard areas and an ugly, almost threatening stink-at least to her nose-that reminded her of Werewolves in the form of traces of damp fur stench and blood only almost hidden by the wind and pelt scent. Too warm, too, Rayne's senses were being set off by inhuman body heat that had to make the woman uncomfortable at a bar designed for humans at the very least, as well as traces of other, worse things, but that was where things got...odd.

She wasn't a Werewolf, Rayne knew all of the signs for those, a plus of having killed so many over the years was you learnt what to look for. She wasn't a Vampire, the steady heartbeat and body heat made that obvious-which meant something else. She didn't have a mental encyclopaedia of every form of monster, Demon and supernatural creature in the known and unknown worlds, she looked that sort of thing up in the Brimstone Archives every time, but she knew she didn't know just what she was dealing with here...

"Whiskey, straight up, large glass. In fact, leave the bottle" ordered the woman, voice like sweetness and sex to the ears, a bedroom voice if ever she'd heard one. As she said it Rayne's nose finally sorted through the scents she'd been absorbing and realised something new. Alcohol, it was a very strong stink all over the woman and in her breath. Just how much had she had to drink? She didn't seem drunk, but with some that was impossible anyway...

The Waiter served her without question, evidently recognising her, passing out a large glass full of Whiskey and the rest of the bottle. She paused a moment, looked around-her gaze seemed to pause on Rayne for a second-spotted one of the more attractive young men and raised her glass to him, before tossing the whole glass back, fast. Rayne blinked, if there was any physical humanity left in there at all then that was not a good idea...

"You remind me of me, but I don't think its for the same reasons, Red. Want to talk about it?" said the woman, abruptly. Rayne blinked, thought about it-then moved to the chair next to the woman. What the Hell, she was off-duty...

"I'll trade you this. You answer mine, I'll answer yours, fair?" said Rayne, settling down next to the woman.

"Fine, although you may not like the answer, "Brimstone"" replied the woman, with a deliberate glance at Rayne's medallion. Rayne felt a momentary flash of irritation, but forced it down.

"My names Rayne, I work for the Brimstone Society, they don't own me. How about you?" replied Rayne, almost snapping at the other woman.

"The Society doesn't have that kind of wealth, I'm done with causes after what I saw it all come to in Berlin in 45'. To answer your question, though, I was an archaeologist during the War and an Explorer before that, I've had several "employers" over the years. My turn. I was born September 23rd 1901, India, to Audrey Masaville and Togoth, a Rakshasa Demon. My mothers husband was Father Paul Masaville, he and my mother were Missionaries. You?" asked the woman.

"January 3rd 1913, the USA, New Orleans. My fathers name was...is...Kagan...he ...seduced...my mother, Monica Derayne. My turn...what's your name?" replied Rayne. Even as she spoke, she couldn't quite believe just how easily she was discussing these things. She never, ever discussed her personal history, so what was she doing here?

"Rakshasa, my friends call me Rak, very few people get to call me Audrey. What about you? Do you mean the Kagan?" replied Rakshasa, raising an eyebrow as she stared at Rayne intently. Rayne didn't like the look on her face...

"BloodRayne, my friends call me Rayne... What do you mean, the Kagan?" replied Rayne, meeting Rakshasa's eyes dead on. Rakshasa just smiled.

"I told you...I was on my way out of India in 20' when I met him. He was handsome, dangerous and brilliant, knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it. Do you want me to go on?" asked Rakshasa, smirking.

"NO! Yuck..." muttered Rayne, disgusted, before she spotted Rakshasa's eyes lift and track something outside the restaurant. Rakshasa's expression changed suddenly, from a slightly depressed, almost teasing look to one of dead seriousness.

"Rayne...are they with you?" asked Rakshasa, slowly. Rayne turned herself, to see half a dozen shadowed figures-armed figures-just standing around outside the restaurant windows and doors in the darkness. They weren't moving, not even shifting from foot to foot-they weren't breathing, either. The dozen figures standing across the road were even worse. Rayne's eyesight let her make out the fact that some of them were missing body parts-hands, arms, even parts of skulls. They all had injuries, fatal injuries, one had had half of its skull caved in, a second its chest crushed, a third had been completely disembowelled and was walking around with shrivelled, rotting red-grey intestines and organs in full view. All of them were dressed in the rotting remnants of uniforms of some sort...

Vampires. Zombies. A lot of them, in post-War Paris, outside a restaurant she happened to be in, effectively alone. If this was coincidence she was ten feet tall, bright green and lived underwater... "No" she said, quietly, even as the other occupants of the restaurant began to notice the figures outside, which made them shift and stir nervously...

"RRRAAAYYNNNEEE!" bellowed one of the Vampires, the central, tallest one. Long dark hair falling to his shoulders, long, handsome face, dressed in brown leathers and chain mail. A big man, armed with a Longsword, chain-mail shirt and shield by the look of it. Typical Vampire thinking regarding fighting up to date, Rayne thought. The others all had similar armaments and armour, although the Zombies were unarmed. Of course, given that nothing but smashing or tearing them to pieces would permanently stop them, that wasn't really much help...

"Definitely not, no one I know would try to kill without using a gun or trying to bite me when I'm not looking, everyone I've met whose survived knows better. You?" asked Rayne.

"People who try to kill me don't survive the experience, flippancy will be more appropriate if we live by the way. Are you armed?" replied Rakshasa, pushing her chair back and standing up.

"No, but I'll make do with theirs" replied Rayne, letting her lips part to show her extended fangs since the Waiters were all staring out of the windows at the figures outside-the Vampires all charged at once. Yet again, Rayne reflected, anyone who believed that Vampires couldn't enter an abode uninvited and tried to convince others of that should be hung, drawn and quartered...

Things suddenly happened very fast.

The charging Vampires smashed through the glass front of the restaurant and ran inside as though the shattered glass was nothing, smashing anything in their way out of it with blade, boot and fist as necessary. Blood exploded from wounds, spraying walls, floor and ceiling, body parts were flung aside and around like nothing, screaming started and hit such a pitch within seconds Rayne's super-sensitive hearing almost made her go deaf.

Rakshasa's body seemed to fall in on itself before exploding outwards into a monstrous, huge black shape that slammed into the charging Vampires and smashed four of them flat before they knew what had hit them. Rayne barely had time to take in the sight of a six-foot long eight hundred pound jet-black Panther with huge, black eyes illuminated by vertical gold slits and what appeared to be sharp ridges of hard bone erupting out of its back before the screaming intensified to an impossible pitch, nine-inch claws flicking out of the Panthers paws to cut the nearest Vampire in half right across the chest, the hideously wounded Vampire falling to the floor in two pieces soaked in an instant by a massive pool of its own blood. It reared out of the tangle and bit down on a second Vampires head so hard that a vigorous shake and wrench decapitated the creature, the ruined body instantly starting to burn. A third Vampire stabbed the Panther in the chest with a dagger while the fourth was pinned down momentarily by the massive weight atop it.

The leader and his remaining soldier jumped past the Panther and came after her directly. She grabbed her chair and threw it at the leader, who smashed it aside with his shield, before back flipping onto the bar and grabbing Rakshasa's discarded bottle of whiskey. Rolling in a perfectly timed sideways flip she expertly dodged the leaders slashing sword and blocked the second Vampires attack by smashing the bottle in his face.

Even as he reeled backwards, alcohol in his eyes and glass in his face, she grabbed the nearest lit candle and threw it like a throwing knife so hard it stuck in his forehead and knocked him off his feet. His face caught fire, a fire which quickly reached down his neck and began to spread. His screams of agony came from places so deep inside the sounds didn't belong on Earth.

The leader came at her again, this time so hard that his strike shattered the bar from top to bottom, cleaving through thick wood backed by steel even as she jumped backwards out of the way. She quickly spotted an army rifle under the bar-and a bayonet hung in a safety sheath beside it. She just hoped she'd have time to grab it...

Rakshasa, deep into her feral, savage nature as the truth of the beast, didn't even notice the dagger strike which struck into her breastbone and stopped dead, wedged by massive, hard muscle and thick, solid bone. She slammed a paw down onto the Vampires head as hard as she could, smashing his head into wooden floor hard enough to mangle and smash his skull even as her claws shredded meat, bone and brain. Even that wasn't enough to kill a Vampire-but she let go as the last Vampire wrenched free and drew back his battleaxe. They both attacked at the same time, but her slashing attack took his face off as well shattering the haft of the axe before he could strike, the blade falling on his head and cutting right down to his shoulders.

She bit its head off and spat it out, the body instantly starting to burn, before turning to see how Rayne was doing. The answer was a shock...

Rayne grabbed the rifle and just got clear before the Vampire nearly shattered the bar with a stroke of massive physical strength. She rolled frantically sideways, snatching the bayonet from the floor, flinging the sheath away before screwing the bayonet onto the rifle even as she jumped to her feet and back, the big Vampire literally tearing the bar right out of the ground to get at her.

Finally ready, she advanced her weapon-then attacked, hard and fast. The rifle was steel-bound hard wood, but his sword was solid sharp steel and he was clearly strong enough to bend steel in his bare hands. She just hoped that it was enough...

High stab, low slash, spinning kick, feint and nick the shield as a shadow strike-he was good, too good to be easily overcome. She was sure she could take him, though-right up to the moment when she slipped on a patch of spilt alcohol and lost her footing. He didn't hesitate, blink or even question his chance, within a breath his sword lanced forwards and pierced her ribcage, her chest entirely, collapsing a lung and nicking her spine as it punched out of her back with such force behind the blade that the sword was buried in the wall behind her deep and hard enough to keep her on her feet.

If a strike like that had hit her heart, as she suspected he'd intended, it wasn't impossible that she would have suffered True Death. Her awful scream, torn from the depths of her guts so deep inside that it seemed far away from her, let her know that the possibility wasn't so far away at all at that moment...

"Don't make this harder than it has to be, BloodRayne" he hissed in her ear, voice hard and sharp, feral and savage. He reached up and tore away the top of her dress, baring her breasts, before his fangs fell and he bit deeply into her left breast. Feeling her blood forcibly drawn in a form of Vampiric Rape, Rayne's screamed redoubled even as she fought with every ounce of physical and mental strength she had left to get loose, beating her attacker around chest, shoulders and legs, but he was as solid and steady as rock. It was no good, she was going into shock from the massive injury, the horrendous loss of blood was only making matters worse, fast. Her body wasn't healing, wasn't even trying, her life, her strength were literally draining right out of her, being drained right out of her-

The Vampire suddenly let go of her, wrenched the sword right out of her and span around to put his own back to the wall, his swords edge across her throat. If he hadn't held her up, she would have simply collapsed, her eyesight was fading in and out-but it was still enough for her to see that, of her-their-attackers, the only survivor was the leader. The burned Vampire was starting break apart, his heart cooked and destroyed, all four of the attackers Rakshasa had tackled were destroyed, mere piles of smouldering ashes on the floor... Sobbing people, mere mortals, were still scattered everywhere, all hurt, she dimly registered.

All Rayne could think was that Rakshasa hadn't been so much as hinting at what she was capable of when she said no one survived trying to kill her. Four armed Vampires shredded and dead in less than five minutes? At her best, Rayne would have been hard- pressed to beat that, even to match it.

Rakshasa's body fell in on itself again, the knife falling to the floor with a thump stained with blood and, when she stood up straight, the woman Rayne had met stood there again, right down to perfectly settled evening gown, an almost-healed small cut evident just atop her dress in her chest. It was almost enough to make her blink, or laugh if she'd had the strength left. As it was, she could feel blood running from between her lips out of her mouth, feel the too-fast loss of blood out of her massive chest injury, feel her body starting to go cold. She was...dying? She was an Agent of the Brimstone Society, a Dhampir-a woman who had far too much left to see and do in the world, far too much life left to her. She couldn't die like this...

"She's dead anyway, Werewoman, let her die and nothing more has to happen here and now. Don't...I'll kill you too" snarled the Vampire, slowly.

"Let me make something clear for you, Vampire. I can think of a dozen ways to kill you before you can move, I can think of a thousand ways to make you suffer, worse things than you could ever imagine in a thousand years. I can do anything at all I want to you faster than you can think, let alone move. I know what your going to do before you do it because I can read your mind, your body language and your eyes. If I wanted to badly enough I could make you pluck out your eyes and hand them to me. I can and will do these things to you, because you mean nothing to me. She, though, is going to live a while yet, so to save her life I'll make you a deal. Are you following me so far?" asked Rakshasa, staring straight at the Vampire.

"...Yes" replied the Vampire, after a moment, clearly trying to decide whether or not Rakshasa was serious. By the tone of voice and sudden tremble of his hand, he'd quickly realised that she was as serious as death itself. Rayne, again, wondered who she was to get through to even Vampires like this...?

"Good, because this is a one-time offer. Me for her. Take my blood and leave her as she is, live or die. You can smell it, I know you can, you can taste the power and the strength in me if you've any talent at all. You can take what I have and become some little part of what I am. Do you understand? With my strength you can survive your Masters anger and you know it... Come along, I won't fight" said Rakshasa, shifting her head to one side to bare her throat.

The Vampire lost it, threw Rayne to the floor and leapt on Rakshasa, staggering her. His fangs cut deep into her flesh, almost to the bone, he ripped and tore at her throat, opening up the wound to make the blood flow quickly. When it did it was phenomenal, warmth and life and pure, unadulterated power being drawn straight into him. He was almost overwhelmed, before he realised that something was terribly wrong as it started in his throat, his belly...

Rayne didn't understand what was happening when the Vampire suddenly jerked away from Rakshasa's neck, Rakshasa immediately slapping a hand over the wound. The Vampire staggered backwards, seemingly choking, coughing-then he erupted in a sheet of unearthly black fire, a momentary howl of animal pain rising to an impossible pitch before simply ending as he disappeared, not even ashes being left...

Rayne, shaking and shivering in terrible pain, managed to look straight at Rakshasa again. Black, tar-like blood was running down her neck over her shoulder, running over and around her hand where it stuck, on skin and silk. Nothing remotely human had blood like that, not anything like that. What was this woman, for pities sake?

"Demon blood, idiot. Tasted good, didn't it?" said Rakshasa, even as Rayne dimly registered the fact that drops of Rakshasa's blood were burning small holes in the floor beside her. That was before Rakshasa's eyes came around to meet hers-and the woman winked as she removed the hand from the wound in her throat. The wound was already almost completely healed...

"Hold on, Rayne..." said Rakshasa, looking around sharply and sniffing the air. She abruptly leapt over to where a mortal man's body was lying under a table, one arm ripped clean away at the shoulder, landing in a crouch with the same animal grace she'd displayed in her Panther form. She tossed the table away one-handed as though it was made of paper, picked up the man and leapt back over to Rayne. He was still alive, even Rayne's failing senses could tell that, but just barely. He was bleeding slowly from his ruined shoulder, but that wasn't what was killing him. His heartbeat was slow and erratic, his breathing was too fast and shallow, his eyes were glassy. He was in deep Shock and that, added to the pain of his injuries, was shutting down his body. He was dying because nobody knew how to save him...

"Rayne, he's dead anyway so I need you to listen. Well, actually, I need to ask you something. Don't hate me for this?" said Rakshasa, even as she carefully manoeuvred the man over Rayne's prone form.

Rayne suddenly knew what was coming... She didn't want this, she couldn't do this. No... She couldn't even speak to say something, couldn't move even a finger...

Rakshasa manoeuvred the mans throat over the slumped Rayne's mouth-then tore his throat out with her claws. Blood literally drenched Rayne's head and face, splashed across her chest-but most, by far, flowed into her mouth and down her throat, from where it reached her stomach and spread out into the rest of her body. Her barely beating heart suddenly beat so hard and fast that she halfway imagined it would crack a rib before, unable to stop herself as her Vampiric nature overwhelmed her weakened rational mind, she dragged herself up and sank her fangs deep into the dying man's throat. The flow, if anything, only increased and became all the sweeter-

Despite her needs, despite her base desires, an appalling effort of Will finally freed her from slavery to a part of her nature she didn't want to know more about. She managed to retract her fangs and dragged herself free from the mans throat, almost choking, before flailing hands and kicking feet found purchase, digging into walls and scraping against the floor. She dragged herself free and to her knees, crawled clear before scrambling halfway to her feet-then screamed, so long, loud and horrible that she almost couldn't imagine that that awful noise was her...

"Rayne, calm down-" came Rakshasa's voice from behind her, a hand gently settling on her shoulder-Rayne span and punched Rakshasa full in the face as hard as she could, not stopping to think that striking a being who had just slaughtered four armed and armoured Vampires right in front of her before saving her life might not be at all wise. The force of the blow, with all of Rayne's considerable strength behind it, would have killed any human, most Vampires would have been staggered by it at least. Rakshasa's head barely moved as Rayne's fist landed on her nose, only for a trickle of blood to issue from her left nostril.

She reached up slowly and wiped it away-before a hand full of sharpened claws was suddenly around Rayne's neck with an awful strength behind it Rayne knew she couldn't hope to match. "Rayne, because I like you, you get one shot. Not ever again though, clear? Or I'll take your skin off with the edge of a diamond and dissolve your thumbs in acid. Now, I think we need to go? We can call these people help from safety" said Rakshasa, looking meaningfully at the injured and still terrified surviving mortals-who would realise that they were safe in moments at best.

Much as Rayne hated to admit it, Rakshasa was right. She was no Doctor or Surgeon, which was what these people needed. More to the point, after what they'd just seen here... Rayne glanced outside at the still immobile Zombies, confused. "First, I do not drink human blood unless its life or death, so don't ever force-feed me again unless it's a similar situation. Second, what about them?" she asked, pointing.

Rakshasa glanced at her, then turned, spread both arms to encompass all of the Zombies and spoke a set of very specific words that Rayne didn't need to be told were a Spell as the words seemed to cut into her brain, grate in her ears, pull at her mind. Nothing happened for a moment...then a Zombie collapsed and fell to dust and pieces, followed by another, another. Finally, by all of them.

All Rayne could do was blink, then simply say "Wow" as she watched the spectacle. She knew enough about Mysticism and the arcane to be sure that raising even a single Undead, even a mindless husk like a Zombie, was not something undertaken lightly. It required considerable power to penetrate the Veil that separated life and death, so the raising of a number of Undead required a Mage of considerable power, maybe even a Sorcerer. To cut those kind of ties so cleanly also required both considerable skill and power. She looked at Rakshasa with a very slight sense of respect and maybe a trace of fear. She really needed to find out more about this woman, this...Demon? She'd mentioned Demon Blood, what did that mean anyway?

"Done. Shall we go now? I would rather be gone far before they turn up with Pitchforks, Stakes and torches myself" said Rakshasa, this time simply starting to walk out of the restaurant. Rayne, still a little weak from her healing injuries and blood loss, tried to pull up the front of her dress and took a moment to compose herself before walking after Rakshasa slowly and carefully, gaining strength and confidence as she moved...

She stopped, surprised as Rakshasa turned around abruptly, an odd look on her face. Rakshasa raised her right hand and placed it on Rayne's wounded breast, the gesture an unmistakable caress. Rayne shivered, should have slapped the hand away, told the woman she had no interest in that. She didn't, even as the hand moved to the other breast before ending up over Rayne's heart, smooth, silky skin, warm, perfect and gentle, making the pain she was suffering all fade away to nothing. Rayne could feel her heartbeat against that hand, feel the steady pulse in Rakshasa's own body...

Rakshasa leaned into her and placed a tender kiss on her lips, the kind of heat erupting from that brush of contact which made Rayne almost wish they were alone and safe right now. Almost. She liked it rough and there was no question Rakshasa could play both very rough and very passionate, none at all... The fact that her one and only real Lover before now-she'd had plenty of flings, her life got very lonely sometimes and men could be very willing when confronted with a willing woman like her-had been a man, even though he'd ended up betraying and being slaughtered by her, was barely enough. After all, it wasn't as though she'd never considered it...

"Later. Lets go" said Rakshasa, with the slightest of smiles. With that, she turned and ran off at a steady, loping run. Rayne, having managed to secure the top of her dress again at last, followed. She really did hope that this woman was everything she seemed...just what did she really mean by that, though?

Unknown location

The tall, dark-haired and eyed man smiled, his strikingly handsome features shifting attractively to highlight high cheekbones. His black hair fell in a lion's mane to his white shirt collar while his deep, dark brown eyes sparkled with intelligence, glinting with a trace of an truly ugly darkness barely hidden beneath the surface. His shirt was open down the front, close-fitting black trousers and his bare chest outlining hard, defined muscle and a dark, if oddly almost pale, skin. Bare feet settled on the cool stone floor of his chamber, allowing him to easily count every separate scrap of silica underfoot with his heightened senses. He was Kagan, titled the Master Vampire-and he was immensely enjoying what he was seeing and hearing now.

In the broad chamber, spreading twenty feet in all directions, a massive Kings bed sat to the rear area, far away from the broad single entrance. Old banners, ancient weapons of all descriptions and a massive variety of trophies and paraphernalia no one else understood the meaning of lay everywhere about, bar on the bed itself. In the centre of the chamber a massive fire pit had been dug out of the floor that flooded the entire chamber with heat and light when lit, as it was now.

The fire pit was also Kagan's centre and focus of power, dug into one of the few places on the Earth where Lay Lines converged to form and focus massive energies, if one knew how. Kagan did, so the creation and construction involved had only made sense. At this moment he was watching, through a window in space and time a spell had created which a thought maintained, his favourite child-not that she'd ever know-slaughter yet more of his minions, sent to turn her, not kill her, of course.

Ah, the strength, the skill she displayed, the powers she took in she didn't even know she had. He'd been disappointed to notice the Rakshasa Demons presence, let alone its interference, but he could sense, smell and see a heart blacker than the Devil's own hand beating in that one's chest. Rayne would have killed them all anyway, of course, she always found a way, but, with the formidable, powerful Demon woman by her side, especially with the bond they already shared which would likely only strengthen over time... He could see and sense all manner and matter of opportunities there.

BloodRayne. Why hadn't he paid more attention when, as no more than a girl, she'd started slaughtering her way towards him in America and then on through Europe, before being captured by the Police, only to be taken and trained by the Brimstone Society? Simple. Despite her evident talent, he had many children and he'd arrogantly believed that no half-caste bitch would ever amount to anything, truly. His arrogance, then, would have swamped entire worlds. Now he knew better, had been taught better, had learnt better. BloodRayne was more special and truly unique than she so much as possibly guessed at, even the Brimstone Society didn't realise what he knew now for a fact...

Sweet times were coming, a War, new worlds and bright horizons turned red with sweet blood, black with the fires of Hell. BloodRayne was the key, whether she knew it or not...

"Hmf...Kagan? Watching her again? I appreciate your reasons and understand your concerns, but believe me, you have to wait. All good things and everything great comes to the patient in time" said his lovers voice from behind him, even as she walked up to stand next to him. She was belting on a jade-green robe that fell easily to her feet, but he still caught glimpses of deep, full curves and flawless skin, smooth, creamy flesh. He looked up at her face-and was caught cold, again, by those impossible eyes, an uncanny mix of emerald and jade green but truly neither, instead some mesmerising, impossible mixture of colour and possibility that could never be imagined. Long, ravens wing jet black hair fell easily to her waist loose and down even as he watched...

It was said that Angels were created of perfection, forged into perfection and brought to perfection through the Will of God himself. Male and female, they were gifts made and granted by an absolute which could not create any less than an impossible possibility of humanities perfection clothed in the flesh and blood of mortals made and sustained by Gods divine Will. What that made the Devil, he couldn't even begin to guess at. What that made the thing of luxury and possibility, fantasy and imagination, perfection given firm and full form standing by him now? His mind wasn't intended to handle or imagine concepts of that nature. He didn't care.

She said her name was Lilith, creator of the Lilim, mother of Cain, origin of their entire race...

"Besides" she continued, not looking at him or even paying him the slightest trace of attention, "I've been waiting for this since before that slut Eve's children crawled out of the oceans the first time. I've been thinking about this since before the Fall, when I spoke of possibilities and chances with Samael, made plans and passed thoughts which came to nothing. My children built up the Silver City only to be claimed by the hundred on the Word of God? For my actions? The sins were his and hers, none of mine. Damn them all..." spat out Lilith, before pausing for a moment. Slowly, she smiled again.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn..." she called out to the air, as though reaching out to something...

Brimstone Manor

"So the Lords of Brimstone welcome a brother into their ranks and ask of him only this: that he help us fight evil and atrocity wherever and whenever it be found, with all the strength of his body, mind and will. It is our destiny. So say all. Aye" said the tall old man, face and body hidden beneath a blood-red robe touched on the outside of the hood by streaks of silver, the only markings of his rank. If asked, all present would only have said that he was the first among equals.

"Aye" repeated all of the Brimstone Lords assembled in the closed, broad central hall of Brimstone Manor, every man dressed in the same dark, bloody red robe that hid every feature. The word was spoken by forty-nine voices, the fiftieth man there being finally introduced to the fold. The sound of the words echoed around the solid stone chamber, echoing from dark wooden boards and timbers that made up the fronting of the walls and the structure of the roof. It almost seemed a minute later before the word died away again.

The lone man stepped forwards to the centre of the room, to be surrounded by all of his fellow Lords. He spread his arms wide and spoke to them all at once.

"God has abandoned us here on this world he made for us we share with monster, mockery and obscenity. He no longer cares or acts in our favour or against, so we must act ourselves. The truth is life and light, the lie is darkness and the foul forgotten knowledge of this world which must be lost forever and more. We fight for our future and that of our children, our children's children and more. This is a War, we only win or die. For myself, I choose to fight. Join me, Lords of Brimstone, as I join you in this great and final struggle for the truth of history itself" said the man, before being handed a simple wooden goblet full of some slick, liquid substance, dark red and thick in nature. He knew what it was, he didn't care.

All of the other Lords raised their own goblets, passed out from a table near the door, then drank with him as he swallowed deep and long until it all was gone. Blood, thick and sweet and pure and true, the one part in ten that renewed and restored...

The first Lord to speak reached up and removed his hood, revealing the face of a man in his late sixties with iron-grey hair cut right down to the scalp, ice-cold arctic-blue eyes and an aquiline, aristocratic face of fine features. His eyes and features were cool, cold and almost empty of even emotion, but the slight smile that creased his worn lips was genuine and real to the eye.

The new Lord removed his own hood, revealing a still hard middle-aged face. His eyes were slate grey, harder than granite and sharper than any diamonds edge, while his hair, in his mid fifties, was still jet-black, if thinning. His face had never been handsome, but now it was so utterly devoid of expression that, despite its soft edges and easy shape, few could ever look at him and see even humanity in the man. He'd been a gentle man once, incapable of hurting even a fly and willing to forgive any Sin with Penance and Absolution given true. He'd have done anything for anyone and given his life in service without a thought. He would still do the latter, but for an entirely different cause now, for very different reasons.

"Welcome, Jacob Matthews, most welcome and be known to all. A little different to the Church, isn't it?" said the first Lord, looking Matthews in the eyes. Matthews didn't pause or even blink.

"God is dead and gone, Lord Cordover. Faith is nothing without belief, possibility is nothing without action. I saw the bodies opened and burning, I heard them all die and I stopped believing that there was such a thing as Sin in mans heart and Soul. Evil is a thing of Creation which must be fought by Good and free Will. That is who I am, the Church is a forgotten nothing, a tragedy created from past mistakes. I only hope I can aid our cause in whatever way is necessary" replied Matthews, not once showing the slightest sign of any emotion, not in his eyes or about his face.

Lord Cordover just smiled...

The End...of the beginning.

To be continued in:

THE BLOODLINE WARS.