The Protectors
Author: Fox Wild

Chapter 29
The Prism Effect

Chapter 29

 

 

The Prism Effect

 

 

 

Jibble sat without talking for the first several miles of their drive after they left House Squat.  This was making Ruth a touch nervous and edgy.  She was already put off by him even being there, that wasn’t something she had taken into consideration in her plotting. 

 

Finally he spoke.

 

“That really was a not so bright stunt you pulled.  Going to the werewolves for personal advice.”  Jibble said with caution in his voice.  He looked over at her as she drove.  “How many of your turned do you have left?  There’ve been more than just Melvin hasn’t there?”  Jibble was very perceptive.

 

Ruth felt like throwing up, but vampires and minions, couldn’t do that.  “Almost all of them, I have maybe ten left… out of two hundred.  They all decided to take a walk on a sunny day.”  Her voice was very distraught.

 

A soft chuckle came from Jibble as he smiled tightly.  “You’ve been picking smart people.  The problem is, you haven’t been picking the right smart people.  Anyone you turn, or your vampires, they must be of the right… quality.  Moral, people who are just inside, lovers of life, are not people that suit our needs and desires.  Alexander, despite himself, was eloquent at this, something you should have learned from him from his blood.  Use his knowledge.  You’ll do better.”

 

Ruth drove on.  Neither spoke for the next five minutes or so.

 

“I need your help Jibble, I… I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I… things inside.”  Ruth stopped, she didn't know how to explain what was happening to her.

 

Jibble smiled knowingly.  “You’ve never had the time to adjust.  Pointedly, you were just hurled into your position, even Bait’s human wife had years to adapt and become accustomed to her new life before she became Alexander’s hand maiden.  But you have the additional burden of being a minion now.  That is a lot for anyone to handle.”

 

There was a few more minutes of silence, Ruth pulled off to the side of the road and stopped.

 

“There’s something I have to do.  You can have the car, I prefer flying to driving anyways.”  Ruth said as she put the car in park and opened the door.

 

Jibble got out of his side, he would rather drive anyways.  As they crossed paths at the front of the Cadillac Jibble stopped her.

 

“The last minion I helped was Alexander, and that didn’t exactly work out in my favor.”  He looked hard at her for a moment.  “I will help you Ruthless, don’t ask why, I’m just going to.  Perhaps your freshness will be the difference between you and Alexander.  I can see you have something you feel you need to do.  Bring your people to my house, I will put them up and ensure they don’t go for sunny walks.”

 

Ruth nodded and gave him a faint smile.  “Thanks Jibble, They’ll be there before dawn.  I do have something, doesn’t matter what, I won’t be at your place till tomorrow after nightfall, but I will be there.”

 

Jibble walked past Ruth and climbed into the drivers side of the car.  Ruth took a running start from the front of the car, leapt into the air and changed taking to the night sky.

 

As Jibble drove off he watched Ruth rise into the night sky.  “I will help you Ruthless, if only to assure a better place for myself in the end you black daemon bitch.  Keep your enemies as close as you can.  Makes them easier to get rid of when they trust you and don’t see it coming.”  He said quietly to himself.

 

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Day 10

 

Snow and Bait had gone back to bed after the antics with Ruth.  What happened didn’t make a lick of sense to either of them, but neither were going to lose any sleep over her.

 

Now though, Sea Mist was rousting them.  “Come on toe suckers, getting near dawn, don’t want to miss out on our performance this morning, got something special for today.”  She chirped as she woke them up.  “And Dreghert is brining you gifts today, did I say gifts?  I meant troops, or did I have it right the first time?  Gift troops?  Oh, does this guitar make my ass look big?”  Sea Mist rattled on then fell back in a chair laughing.

 

Bait groaned at her then rolled to the side and kissed Snow on the cheek; she wanted a better kiss and snatched him by the back of the head and pulled him to her lips.

 

“Oh yeah, give him some tongue now, side to side and be sure not to touch the uvula, bad juju you flick that with your tongue.”  Sea Mist playfully chided as she watched them.

 

Both Snow and Bait started laughing, shaking their heads and finally looking at Sea Mist.

 

“Pain in the ass!”  They said in unison at her, which only cause her to join in the laughter again, and theirs to grow.

 

Sea Mist was the first to regain herself and talk.  “Okay squid lickers, lets get dressed and get ready.  Ace will be our conductor, is that right?  She’s not really conducting, more like the inspiration behind the act this morning; for our dear sweet Ruthie, gack, I just threw up a little; oh, sorry Bait, that’s your bag.” 

 

Pillows hit Sea Mist now, though her two victims did roust from bed and started dressing.

 

“So, did you two sand humpers get some decent Z’s?”  Sea Mist asked as she sat on a small table.

 

Bait looked over at her as he latched his belt.  “Yeah, I did, feel great, thanks.”  He looked at Snow.  “How bout you lover?”

 

Snow smiled big.  “Yeah!  Frelling awesome sleeps.  Been an age since I slept like that, best part was you beside me lover.”

 

They took a private moment as they looked at each other with tender smiles.

 

“I’m right here!”  Sea Mist griped.

 

“Yes, we know, your scent lingers like old socks.”  Bait said while still locking eyes with Snow in their moment.

 

Sea Mist scoffed then outright laughed.  “That’s the spirit Bait-ball.”

 

“So, besides Ace being the um, inspiration was it?  What is this big deal this morning?”  Snow asked from the bathroom door as she grabbed her hairbrush.

 

“Well, not one hundred percent sure why, but Ruth was somehow involved in Ace’s choice.  I think it rocks personally, she wants to send the bitch her own personal message.  We need some rehearsal time as I’m sure neither of you are familiar with the work she wants us to do.”  Sea Mist explained as her cohorts finished dressing and brushing.

 

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“Okay, from the top, one more time.  We have to roll stick chasers.”  Sea Mist barked back at her band.

 

Bait shook his head and Ace giggled again. 

 

“So tell me my young little were-child, where is it that someone of your age knows Ace Frehley’s music?”  Bait asked her with a raised eyebrow.

 

Ace flipped a hand at him with a chuckle.  “My mother, she said Ace did his best work after he left Kiss.  I’d have to agree.”  Ace made a face and nodded.  “According to my father, my mother was a bit of a head-banger, whatever that means.”

 

“Alright, here we go, one, two... one, two, three, four!”  Sea Mist yelled and Bait pointed to her as she began.

 

Her hair flew as she started the song again, banging her head.  Ace looked back, taking her hand from her own guitar and gave Bait the thumbs up now getting what head-banger meant.

 

Squat led them off on the drums and they started their final rehearsal before taking to the rooftops.  Ace naturally played lead.

 

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Ruth went to the top of the building she had been at the last two times she heard music.  This time the scent of werewolf was strong and close, she followed her nose in the direction of the scent.  On the building closest to hers she could see them.  They were facing her and had a band set up.

 

The girl she had tried to entice to serve her was center front of the group, Ruth opened her mouth wide and hissed at them.

 

One, two, three…  Ace called out and the drummer Ruth knew as Squat started a marching beat.

 

Ace began playing the intro with the rest of the band members.

 

Then Ace sang the lyrics to a song Ruth thought she knew.  It was before her time and she didn’t know it well, but it seemed to the girl she had tried her tricks on it held some significant meaning.

 

It was back in the winter of fourteen, there’s the reason I remember it well  Ace pointed at Ruth.

 

I was slippin’ and slidin’, disobedient and drivin’ and bringin’ me closer to hell…

 

Ace leaned into her guitar and rocked it up as she played her part of the instrumental bars.  Sea Mist was on her left, Snow on her right with their mates beside them playing.  All were dressed like rock stars, except for Snow and Bait who looked like men in black wanna-be’s.  Ruth almost could laugh at the sight, if it wasn’t so pointed and convicting to her.  She knew the song now.

 

And the devil” Ace pointed at Ruth again, “sat in the passengers side of Delorean’s automobile, she said hey Acey Acey let’s not be silly there’s a life out there to steal…

 

The rest of the band joined in singing the chorus.

 

Rock soldiers come, rock soldiers go.

And some hear the drum, and some never know…

Hey, rock soldiers, how do we know?

 

Ace took lead vocals again, “Ace is back and she told you so!

 

Ace ripped on the lead, Sea Mist head-banged and Ace joined her.

 

With a trooper in the mirror, and Ruth on my right, we went wrong way down a one way road hitting everyone in site.

 

I cried I am invincible, said I was high above the law.  But my only high was just a lie and now I’m glad I saw.

 

The chorus singers took over, following with the march call of hup, two, three, four, rock, two, three, four then Ace returned to lead.

 

Friends say they’ll stay with you, right through the danger zone.  But the closer you get to that fiery hole, you’ll have to make your choice your own.

 

When I think of how my life was spared from that near fatal wreck, if the darkness wants to play his card game now… he’s gonna play with out ACE in his deck!” Ace stepped forward with one leg and half knelt, giving Ruth the bird with an ornery face.

 

Ruth scowled at her with loathing and pure hate.

 

Ace set her guitar down fast while the band played the finish of the song, she jumped from the building and became a crow, and with her from the building below, a thousand and more took to wing and swarmed towards Ruth.

 

Seeing what was coming at her, and remembering the last crow, she jumped to the other side of the building and dove off, changing as she fell. 

 

The crows were fast and followed her down, pecking at her and grabbing her hair.  She flailed her arms at them knocking some away.  She couldn’t take them all on and before she made it to safety, the largest crow of them all sunk it’s talons into her face and struck out at her eyes.  It’s aim was true and pulled her first eye out, Ruth swung at it and it’s blue beak turned and snipped at her hand.  She jerked her hand back as two of her fingers were removed, then the bird turned and took her other eye.

 

Ruth crashed to the ground hard, unable to see.  The crows were still on her, pecking and grabbing whatever part of her they could.  She was practically bald by the time her eyes regenerated and she could see the way to the manhole of her lair.  Once in, the crows still on her she killed, ripping their wings from their bodies then kicking the remains around.

 

“Frelling little bitch!”  She screamed.  The cawing of many crows erupted from outside of the manhole. 

 

Ruth cursed the crows and made her way to her vault.  It was a good thing she was leaving for Jibble’s, this place wouldn’t be safe, not even for the day.  Ace had sent a message, she was Day Watch now, and dawn wasn’t far off.  Plus now, Ace knew where her lair was.

 

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Jibble’s Rolls Royce had a hole in the floor with a sleeve that protected her from light.  She climbed from her lair into his blacked out car.

 

“I really am taking a serious risk rescuing you like this.  Trustee Snow may take this as a violation of our deal.  You better be worth the risk.”  Jibble said to her as she situated herself in the seat of the 1928 classic luxury car.

 

Ruth looked at him coldly.  “You must think I am, else you wouldn’t have come.”

 

Jibble held a steel glare on her as he snickered.  “Go!”  Jibble said to the day walker in the front and the car sped off.

 

Ruth pulled a small box from her pocket with a lever on the top.  She looked back to where they had been and waited, then clicked the lever several times.  The explosives she had planted in the old utility vault detonated collapsing the vault for good, and keeping werewolves from looking through it.

 

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Dreghert arrived at the time he had said.  His leaders were taken into a private meeting with the command team and briefed on new orders and operations.  All were very pleased with what had transpired, the most approval was on the manner the new commanders and Monarchs were handling the leading of werewolves with. 

 

They all committed themselves to the service of Snow and the authority of the Inquisitor.  After the meeting broke, arrangements began for transport and travel of their people to the new battlefront for them.  They now had nearly four hundred thousand werewolves in their army. 

 

Snow called for Tuesday.  When she arrived Snow told her Bait had an assignment for her, something new.  “I’m disbanding the Enforcers permanently.”  He began.

 

Tuesday turned around and started walking for the door.  “Bullshit, I’m gone.”  She said without looking back.

 

Snow stood by the door and spoke with a three toned voice.  “You will stay and do as ordered.”

 

Tuesday stopped short.  Her eyes were angry.  “Yes your Grace.”  She answered unwillingly inside.  No choice was being offered.

 

“Go back to the Inquisitor and show respect.”  Snow continued to order.

 

Tuesday went back and stood before Bait.

 

“With the changes we are making, there will be no need for enforcers.  Trustee Snow has seen wise to create a new unit, a Day Watch Unit.  Ace will in her time take command of that unit, until then, you and your team that you will hand pick will be this unit.  You will be responsible for it’s construction, training and duty structure.”  Bait told Tuesday.

 

Her brow furrowed.  “Excuse me?  A Day Watch Unit?”

 

Snow came beside her mate and spoke.  “Yes, the Day Watch will handle day walkers, and by handle…”

 

“I get it.”  Tuesday said cutting her off as a smile formed on her face.  “Instead of enforcers against our own, we will be the enforcers against the aids of the vampire.”  Tuesday broke into a cackling laugh.  “I like it, that will really cut their abilities down, no day walkers, they’ll be stuck to what they can do during the night.”

 

Snow and Bait looked at each other with knowing smiles.  “You got it Tuesday, still walking and calling bullshit?”  Bait asked.

 

Tuesday stopped laughing.  Bait’s hidden meaning carried to her quickly.  “No your Grace, I was in error.”  She looked down for a moment.

 

With a sigh, Tuesday went on.  “It’s been many years since I could trust anyone, Clay caused a lot of damage.  Werewolves didn’t trust each other, family members suddenly disappearing.  Kin put up for judgment on charges that two, three hundred years ago, never would have been dreamt of.”  Her face went down again before she looked to Snow and finished.  “I can see now this has changed.  You are pure, and you are our Monarchs.  I know this by your actions.  I heard what you did for Darby.  I respect that.”

 

The feeling in the room was good.  They had demonstrated themselves to were-kind.  They didn’t have to try, just be who and what they were.  Acceptance was spreading, now with Dreghert in support, they were bringing everyone back together and working towards the same unified goal, without fear of persecution.

 

Tuesday chewed on her lower lip, her face bent as she thought.  Finally her mind was made up.  “I have always commanded the Enforcers, they were my creation.  I had to try and restore order, do away with the flaws in our ways.”  Tuesday shook her head at her ideas.  “My people are many, we aren’t in Dreghert’s fold, I had to keep us separate.  I hid us by using others from specific chosen registered clans for parts of our operations.”

 

Tuesday stood straight and proud now.  “Trustee Snow, I offer to you my people, we are just over one hundred and seventy five thousand.”

 

Snow held a calm face, between her and Bait many thoughts were exchanged. “Thank you.”  She said to Tuesday.  “I humbly accept your offer and welcome your people back home.  Under our rule, they will have no reason to separate from their kin again.”

 

Tuesday smiled and knelt properly before her Monarchs, something she had been waiting centuries to do.

 

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“This doesn’t make any sense, this isn’t a book of law, rituals, conduct, how to act, this is nothing more then a book of manners.”  Exten said tossing the book Bait had retrieved from the secret library of his father’s.

 

Bait had a hard expression.  “I know, it isn’t what I expected.”

 

“Are you sure he gave you the right book?  That you grabbed the right one?  Syllables of Conduct, not law.  The book of law is just that, a book of our laws, the original law, not what we have taken as our laws.  What Clay used to enslave, imprison and try his takeover.  This just isn’t right.”  Exten affirmed.

 

Bait was hoping he had some insight into the meaning of the book, he had read it cover to cover forwards and backwards using the translated werewolf language means, it made sense reading that way, but it wasn’t law.

 

“It has to be the right book.  Why else would it have been put in my care, hidden.  I thought either you or Cody had brought it, you have no idea who it might have been, if they still live?”  Bait asked.

 

Exten shook his head.

 

Bait picked up the book and looked at it again.

 

Exten had an idea.  “Maybe there’s some kind of code it’s written in besides the language translation, have you tried any ancient codes?  I’m sure whoever made it, would have taken extra precautions to ensure it wasn’t discovered by accident.” 

 

Bait shook his head.  “There aren’t any ancient codes, thought about that, came up dry… unless you know of any.”

 

Exten shook his head no.

 

They were pacing and thinking when Seven joined the party.

 

“Well chum, I think I may have something thanks to our friend Jibble’s cooperation.”  He snickered at his own perception of his humor.

 

Exten looked at Bait.  “Jibble?  What were you doing with him anyways?”

 

Bait cocked a smirk Sam Elliot style.  “Seven’s contacts gave me werewolf sight, we studied Jibble’s eyes to make vampire sight available to us, so their charms wouldn’t stop us from seeing things.”

 

Exten’s smirk matched Baits.  “Now that’s genius.  Truly.”

 

“Vegetarian side dishes?  What you doing with a cookbook chum?”  Seven said looking at the book Bait and Exten were mulling over.

 

Bait snapped his attention to Seven, Exten looked at him with a confused look.

 

“Say that again?  Do you have your new programming in the contacts you’re wearing now?”  Bait asked with intensity. 

 

“I, ah… hrm.”  Seven stammered and pulled his radio pack that controlled the contacts.  “Look at that, I do, must have forgotten to turn it off, my mistake.”

 

“No, don’t turn it off, read the title of the book again.”  Bait said handing it to him.

 

Seven did as asked and repeated the title as a vegetarian cookbook.  Bait told him to read from the pages.  He listened for a few moments as Seven read recipes for side dishes. 

 

“Shite, thought you were onto something.  Guess that was to keep vampires from taking it, no way they’d touch that.”  Exten said glumly.  “I bet they’d wash their hands after handling it.”  He gave a melancholy laugh.

 

“Lolith!”  Bait said unexpectedly.  He grabbed the book from Seven and took off at a run.

 

Seven looked at Exten who returned the bewildered look.  They took off to catch up with Bait.

 

He went to the bulwark.  Inside he went to where barrels of holy water were stored, grabbing a small hatchet he busted the top of a barrel open then pulled the boards from it leaving the top open.  He grabbed the book and plunged it into the water then pulled the book out.

 

The color of the cover started to run and drip into the water.  The book turned red then became purple, the color of the Master of Clans.  The title changed as well, there in bold print ‘Protector’s Law’ was written.

 

Bait started laughing as he held the book up.  “Wash to see!  Lolith said something like that about ‘washing to see.’  She was telling me how to read the book!”

 

Bait charged off with the book in hand to his office in their quarters and started reading the true law of the werewolves.

 

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Alexander checked her look in the mirror again.  She really did favor the bustier over the modern bra.  The glitter she had gotten from one of her slaves really made her skin sparkle, like blood in the moonlight.  She felt positively radiant today.

 

She smiled at the thought that she would soon be rid of the werewolves for good. 

 

What was that? 

 

Something moved.  Something on her skin, no, it looked more like under it.  She flexed her arm.  Muscles, large taunt muscles.  She watched her arm as she flexed her muscles.

 

She felt ill again, the feeling washed over her quickly.  There, in her leg, something moved, a muscle again?  No, it was her imagination playing with her, she had been a man for so long, that would mess with any woman’s mind.  At last free of that.

 

“Dark Master Alexander?”  The slave said with trepidation as it approached her glory.

 

“What is it slave.  Speak fast, I have things to do that are more important than you.”  She turned so she could see the back of the bustier in the mirror.

 

Mitchell was unsure of what to think of his master’s new appearance as of late, this was still trying to sink into his head.  “More on the billboards and advertisements my dark Master.”  He said and feebly extended his hand with the report on the recent additions to the landscape and airways.

 

Without looking Alexander swung a hand back knocking the papers from her slave’s hands.

 

“I care not about werewolf drivel, HA!  The small ones are trying to rattle my cage, that is all and I tell you I am un-rattled, quite the opposite.  That is nothing more than the dying gasps of the breed.”

 

Mitchell was hurriedly scooping up the pages.  “Then you want us to do nothing regarding this concert that is to take place here?”  He asked as he tried to align the pages into a neat stack again.

 

Alexander laughed hard and turned towards him.  “Let them come!  They can witness their end first hand as the darkness crosses through the portal I have built.”  She laughed again, this time Mitchell joined in nervously.

 

“Aw, dear poor… what was your name again?”  Alexander said disinterestedly. 

 

“Mitchell, master.”  He answered then gave a short high pitched nervous laugh again. 

 

“Like I care, anyways, Mitchell, once I open the portal, the werewolves are finished, forever.  It’s finished, now I just need to fully energize it, then BOOM!  No more where’s the puppies!”  Alexander laughed at her own joke of a pun.

 

Mitchell set the papers on a table by Alexander and started to slink away while she laughed and looked herself over in the mirror again.  Quietly, ever so quietly he opened the door and backed through, keeping an eye out for his master until he was clear of it.

 

He went back to the dark room he stayed in with other slaves, wading through the trash and filth that had accumulated.  Alexander’s demands for cleaning only extended to area’s he… she frequented or would pass through.  Now, even that had waned. 

 

“How’d it go Mitch, you look like you shit your pants again.”  A female slave said to him.

 

He gave a thin smile.  “Not so well, Alexander is still a… woman.  Doesn’t look like… it’s going to change back this time.”  He looked away from the woman and shuffled off.

 

“Great.”  She said with a smirk.  “Maybe us womens will finally get the upper hand now that our master’s a bitch like us.”  She said and laughed to herself.

 

Mitchell turned his head and covered it as he walked, shielding his face.  The woman who had spoken to him suddenly shrieked then blew up sending a splatter of her remains into the air.  After the plopping of her falling parts stopped he looked at himself and smiled.

 

“Heh, that time, it all missed me!”  He said in a happy tone.  He looked to where she had been standing.  “I’d mind your tongue missy, talk like that will get you killed.”  He smiled and walked away.

 

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“I’m tellin’ ye it’s true, full moon’s comin’ early.  In two days.”  WeiBoing told Bait.  “Pack Sergeant Poik, he’s like me too, he watches the cycles.  It’s just part of our regular duties, watch the cycles, note any changes.  ‘Ave been very few over the ages, and small at that, normal if’n you would.  Nuttin’ like this ever.  He’s done did it, I’m tellin’ ye, Alexander’s finished the portal, heh, Wheatly would be proud.”  Hovlek’s sister laughed at her joke that Bait missed completely.

 

“Who’s Wheatly?”  He asked having never heard of this werewolf.

 

“Oh,” WeiBoing uttered in realization.  “It’s, ah, um, well you see, a game, Portal 2, I, um I mean… we, not Hovlek, he’d never… well he might, I guess we’ve never asked him, he just doesn’t seem the type.” 

 

Bait held up a hand at her, he didn’t need or want to know more.  “A game, I get it, never mind, about the moon and the cycle being off, if Alexander has it finished, why’s he waiting?”

 

WeiBoing’s face went slack with her mouth open and her eyes wandered off.  A long moment passed then her mouth shut and she twisted her lips around and ‘hmm’d’.

 

“Well, not knowing for sure mind ye, me’s best guess would be, and a good guesser I am, he needs power.  The moon focuses where he get’s his from, he built the frelling bugger, frell that bastard, spot on that the thing he built, gets er pow’r from the same place, needs to charge up.”  She was nodding fast by the time she ended her spiel. 

 

“Shit!”  Bait said.

 

“Shit, yes, shit!”  WeiBoing agreed, but for different reasons.

 

Bait scoffed with a ‘I missed it, I’m a dumb ass’ look on his face.

 

“I should have know!  It had to happen early or else there wouldn’t be time for…”  His eyes went to WeiBoing again.  “Thanks WeiBoing, you’re right, I see no or have any objections to your logic, get your brother, Sea Mist and Snow, I want you to tell them what you’ve told me.”  He started to walk towards the door and past her.  “Oh, and get Pack Sergeant Poik in the room too, I want to hear what he has to say.”

 

WeiBoing saluted.  “Right away governor, you’re Grace!”  She said then followed Bait out of the room.

 

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“That means we’ll have to move sooner then right?”  Sea Mist asked after Bait had gone over what WeiBoing and Pack Sergeant Poik informed them of.

 

Bait sighed.  “Yeah, it does.  How much work do you have to do to get ready for our concert?”  He asked her.

 

Sea Mist shrugged.  “Not a lot as far as needing stuff, we have everything from the bash, from our den and from several other dens.  The hard part will be getting it all moved to the location, then there is the set up.  Do that and get ready for the attack?  Frell, we need a lot of help now.”

 

His face turned into a smirk.

 

“What?  What’d you think up?”  Sea Mist asked, Snow was giving him her look with the same question.

 

He chuckled a moment before answering.  “You gave us the answer cutie, invitations to be sent out to every den, clan and wagging tail out there: Bash Two, the downfall of Alexander.  Come all and bring your instruments and party favors.  Helping set up is your admission price.”

 

Cocking her head towards him with an accepting poise Sea Mist told him, “You know our ways well human, you take to us as though born to our ways.  Yes, indeed, a party will get all hands on deck in a hurry.  Good idea yak snot.”

 

“You think you can pull everything off in two days Sea?”  Snow asked with a touch of concern.

 

“Have to, no other options.  Alexander’s got that portal finished, and we need to drop the roof in on him.”  Sea Mist said with a shrug.

 

Kevashka piped in with something they had yet to resolve.  “That still leaves getting all of the explosives Calamity Jane has cooked up to the center and bottom of that pit fast.  Dropping them in won’t work, and we have to set them off deep in.”

 

Sea Mist gave her a look.  “Explosives?  Why do we need those if we are cracking the top of his coven open?”

 

Snow responded.  “Because, Calamity has explosives that stretch an atom to it’s limits, without splitting it.  That creates an intense light, even brighter than Bait’s Venus lights, and with the material she is using, it will be very effective against the horde that will spill out, we need to take as many of the horde in that coven out right away as we can.”

 

“And for that, centered the best we can and down to the bottom fast then BOOM!  Knock the horde down to a manageable size.”  Bait said.

 

Sea Mist nodded and turned away in thought.

 

“At the request of the inquisitor, I’m calling a meeting of all clan heads and field commanders, sergeant major and up.  Get the word out, I want everyone here within three hours.”  Snow ordered.

 

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Even Ace was called in for the meeting.  The assembly area was filled, all non command grade ranks were sent out of the den into the sun, which none complained about, nor not having to work while the meeting was held.  Most were stressed from the long days and the break was a welcomed event.

 

Dreghert was introduced to everyone who hadn’t met him yet.  He spoke on his forces that were pouring into the area.  This was welcomed news, and knowing that the werewolves that had once left the ranks of were-kind were joining in, boosted the morale.

 

Then Snow made the formal announcement that Dreghert was her commanding General.  This seemed to cause a sudden hush in the room.  She explained her reasoning, the field commanders didn’t respond vocally but many heads nodded in approval.  Dreghert stepped forward again after Snow finished.

 

“As commanding General of this operation, I commit my forces and every werewolf to the service of our Monarchs, Lady Snow, Trustee, and Lord Bait, Inquisitor.  We return to the ranks of our kin not because of duty to them, but because of what they have shown us about themselves!  They are not like the Clay was and his reprehensible ways, they have bonded to me that we will follow the old law, the true law of our kind.  No more shall any werewolf have to fear persecution for doing their blood bound duty.  This is why I support the Monarchs and command everyone to do the same.”  Dreghert raised his arms when he finished his speech to the people who he now commanded.

 

Snow stood and the room quieted again.  “Inquisitor Bait will tell you of the law and how we are going to follow it.  It is by my order, without any objection that I give this order.  We are of one mind on this, Inquisitor Bait.”  She said with a hand held out to him.

 

Bait stepped forward, the crowd was still in a hush.  “What I am going to reveal to you, may upset some of you, others will welcome it.  War is supposed to be brutal, if you try and civilize it, it loses it’s effectiveness.  A wise woman told me that, and she is right.  There are reasons for things, reasons we may not understand, but we have to accept our ways and follow them.” 

 

He looked around the room at the faces watching him.  “We are of one mind, the Trustee and I, we have no objections.”  Bait reached into a pocket near his chest and pulled out the purple book of werewolf law and held the cover out for all to see.

 

The room was gasped in a hush.

 

“I have read this book, and we have strayed, but we are returning to the path of our kin!”  He said proudly.

 

A chant started.  “Hail the Trustee, Hail the Inquisitor, hail Snow, hail Bait, hail the Monarchs!”  The room was filled with volume as the chant repeated many times.

 

Slowly the chant died down on it’s own.  Bait opened the book and read from it then looked up.  “We are to pillage and plunder the keeps of our adversaries, so that we may know what they know.  Rape the women.  This is a barbaric act, but with a purpose.”

 

“We’re to rape vampire females?”  General Gueydan cried out from the crowd.

 

Bait lowered his head and nodded.  “Yes, quiet and I will explain the reasons.”

 

The room fell silent.

 

“Only in werewolf form are the men of our kin to do this act.  It is through this act that watchers are created, they are shadow creatures that exist in the fractures.  The effect of the rape by a werewolf male is instant.  The vampire is impregnated and will flee her master and seek refuge.  In three days time, from her corrupted womb a shadow creature emerges and takes to the fractures.”  Bait paused for a moment to let his people absorb and understand.

 

“I know, this sounds barbaric in our times, but it is the way of our kin and was done in the past for this reason, to create the shadow creatures.  The neutrals as they are called used to be filled with these creatures.  They are important because they give the immortals sight.  The neutrals are empty now, that is why they did not see what has been happening.  Because there are no watchers left.”

 

The crowd was still, no one even moved.

 

“Turning a human to save their life is not a crime.  If wounded and dying they ask you to help them in any way, that is their choice, you will not be judged for a forced turning, you have done what was asked of you.  Anything beyond that is not for you to decide, that falls on the bishops.”  Bait smiled at his people.

 

This was something Clay had forbid.  When Corn Stalk was brought to him for judgment, he felt no objections to her act and understood from a perspective given to him by his position.

 

He went on to read the entirety of the book to those attending.  Snow followed by stating under her rule, the law, and only the law would be obeyed.  If rules they had followed were not in the law, they would not be adhered to.

 

When she finished speaking, the chant started again, this time even louder.

 

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The next topic discussed was the issue of dens, for this, the Monarchs called for a live broadcast to all werewolves.  Gueydan and Dreghert’s people, though not a part of the formal clans, did monitor broadcasts from the registered clans and dens, Dreghert instructed all to watch when Snow and Bait made this broadcast.

 

“Our dens will no longer be our homes.  In times past, our people lived above ground, we are returning to this.”  Snow began.  “Our dens were intended to be our strongholds, our citadels in times of need.  They were never intended for us to live in permanently.  A den should be a place of work and learning, a place where young ones attend class and where we prepare and meet before operations but our daily lives must be kept in the light of day.”

 

Snow smiled knowingly at the camera then to the audience of leaders in the assembly area of House Squat.

 

“There is more, and I intend to change the law not one iota.  The quarters in the dens of our past kin, were for humans that were in service to us and in training to become one of our kin.  We have separated from this as Inquisitor Bait has told you and shown you in the reading of the law.  This is something that we are going to return to; selecting humans to work with us as half turned in preparation to become werewolves.  This ability has been abused by Clay in his quest for power, Inquisitor Bait.”  Snow turned the speaking over to her mate.

 

Bait stepped forward and did as Snow had done, smiled to the camera then to the audience.

 

“I’d like to introduce to you, House Squat’s first half turned, John Smith.  It is because of him we know about what Clay was planning with half turned humans.”

 

John stepped forward from the chair he sat at, bowed and returned then Bait continued.  “ Clay would keep these people prisoner in dens, locked in their quarters for the first five years of their time.  After that he would put them out into the public with vampires as their mentors.  Leaving them unfinished in their turning until they ravaged against all living things.”  Bait stopped as the reaction from the audience erupted, angry sounds came from all.

 

Once the room quieted, Bait went on.  “Because of John’s work, not knowing we are the protectors of humankind, he has learned where Clay has hidden his primary operation for keeping humans prisoner as half turned.  Today, we will send teams in and see what can be salvaged of them.  If they are too far gone, which will be determined by Physician of the Third Order River Stone, with sadness, they will have to be destroyed.”

 

“Why would he do such a thing?  I don’t understand this, how could a werewolf, a protector do such a thing?”  One of the people from the floor yelled out.

 

Bait looked down, his face was hollow now.  “Greed, lust for power.  His choices were bad ones.  He conspired with Alexander and the darkness to cause distraction from the vampires.  He wanted humans to fear us instead of the vampires and their minion masters.  Deception was his goal.”

 

Gueydan stepped up and joined the Monarchs on the raised area they spoke from.  His face held no smile, no frown, only a silent pleasure.

 

“In two days time, our Monarchs are throwing a second bash, all are invited.  This bash is a bash against Alexander and his horde.  The bash begins promptly at four in the afternoon here in Pacific Standard Time.  We are going to turn Alexander’s coven into the largest mosh-pit ever.  Our strong suit as the Inquisitor has learned, is our ability to party like no other race, this is our battle tactic.  Destroy our enemies and make a party out of it!”  Gueydan said.

 

The full reaction of the crowd cannot be described in human words.  The noise and physical reaction was tremendous to say the least.  Werewolves were at their best when they had fun and were being themselves.  This bash would be a savage party of slayers, like that of Viking warriors.

 

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An hour or so after the meeting and broadcast finished, Sea Mist had a private meeting with her sister and Bait.  She walked from their quarters with her head held high, Snow and Bait on the other hand, had sullen faces.  Once out the door and it closed behind her, Sea Mist walked away with her head down and body wilted.

 

Blade Dance walked into their quarters and found his mate crying.  He went up to her where she sat on the corner of the bed and placed a hand on her shoulder as he sat down next to her.

 

“Sea, what is it lover, why the tears?”  He asked gently.

 

Turning to him she wrapped her arms around him and placed her face in the space between his head and shoulder and started sobbing hard.

 

“I’m so sorry my lover, I’m so terribly sorry for what I have done to you.”  She said and broke into a sob she couldn’t talk through.

 

Blade Dance petted the back of her hand and said soothing words of assurance that everything would be fine.  He held her close until her sobbing died down and she spoke again.

 

“I’m so sorry Blade, I… I had to do it, I’m so very sorry!”  She said and raised her face to his as their eyes met.

 

Blade Dance looked at her with a lost look.  “Why do you keep apologizing?  You’ve done nothing to me.  Your over reacting I’m sure, tell me what worries you, we’ll talk this out, you’ll feel better then.”  He put his hand under her chin, leaned in and kissed her with a soft kind smile.

 

Sea Mist looked away shaking her head.  “No, you don’t understand, it won’t be okay.  You’ll go with me.”  She started crying again.  “I had to do it, who else could.  It has to be center and down.”

 

Blade Dance looked at her with confusion with an edge of doom.  “What are you talking about Sea, be clear please.”  He leaned back from his mate and took all of her in as he looked at her.

 

Screaming, Sea Mist threw her head back then looked down between them, unable to look her mate in the eyes.

 

“I volunteered, I volunteered to load the Sikorsky with the explosive and fly it into the hole when we collapse it in.  It was the only way.  I volunteered, and I’m taking you with me no matter what, when I go…”  Her sobbing returned.

 

Blade felt like he had been punched in the stomach by Hovlek.  It took a moment for his breath to return.

 

“Can’t you do that through the remote control?”  He asked, even though inside he felt she already had considered that option.

 

Sea Mist shook her head.  “Won’t work, flying into the pit, have to adjust for obstacles, have to aim and see the bottom and head for it, possibly dodge falling shit.  Frell, I had to, no one else could do it and get the explosives there fast enough.  I’m so sorry lover, I didn’t realize what I had done to you till after I volunteered, I was selfish and only thought of myself.”  She broke again and sobbed hard.

 

Blade Dance held her again.  “I’d hardly call sacrificing yourself an act of selfishness.”  He said as he tried to come to grips with his own fate. 

 

“Yes it was, I didn’t even talk to you first, I should’ve said something before I went off and gave you a death sentence!”  Sea said with self loathing.

 

“Enough!”  Blade Dance said with force.  “I was not to be considered, you knew what my answer would be and I give it to you now, do what you must, you have no fault from me, you did what was right and best for human kind.  You’re my hero lover.” 

 

Sea Mist raised her head again and looked at the face of her mate.  She fell to him again.  “Thank you lover, I’m still sorry, but thank you for understanding.”

 

Blade Dance held Sea close and hid the tears that fell from his face as his lover sobbed.

 

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Night was drawing near when Gueydan and his troops returned from the den the half turned of Clay were held at, there were several hundred people there.  They were already nearly completely feral and most couldn’t have been saved had they been able to make a choice.  Clay had timed their demise very well.

 

Only a handful were still sentient enough to even speak, about thirty in all.  Of those only two had not fully succumb to the influence of the vampires that maintained them.  Their soul had not gone black and when they saw real werewolves, begged that their misery be ended.  These two were separated from the rest of the pack. 

 

Three had been chained to a wall, the third that they claimed wouldn’t cooperate with their vampire trainers just like they hadn’t had been beheaded in front of them to help ‘change their minds’ about not working with them.  A few more hours and their masters would return to finish them.

 

There had been day walkers nearby to guard the place during the day and taunt the half turned into a full rage.  Other than that, no one else would be there till after night fall.  The place had been build by Clay and never consecrated so his ‘allies’ would be able to enter the place.

 

When Gueydan walked back into House Squat to report, looking at him covered in blood was all Snow and Bait needed to see to know how it had gone.

 

“Two your Grace, that is all of over three hundred half turned we could save.  The rest were in terrible states, not even a mind left.”  Gueydan reported ending with a long faced sigh.

 

Both Monarchs nodded in understanding.  Their faces replicated his in emotion.  The last of Clay’s treachery was finished, but at what cost?  Had they been able to act a week earlier, maybe, just maybe, more could have been saved.

 

“You don’t have to go out tonight Gueydan, nor any of the people with you.”  Snow said with consideration.

 

Gueydan shook his head at her.  “No, thank you your Grace, but no.  Like I, they will want some payback.  Sitting here, after what we saw and had to do, that would make us down.”

 

Snow nodded and looked at Bait.  Their minds touched for a moment and she looked back at Gueydan.

 

“Thank you for what you have done, I understand your need.  Team up with Sea Mist and Blade Dance, she… both will need some strong company tonight.”  Snow said to him.

 

Gueydan’s head turned slightly to one side as he looked at Snow.

 

She knew he wanted to ask why, but out of respect would not.  Freewill, that would allow her not to tell him; honesty demanded she tell him.

 

“She volunteered to load her helicopter with the explosives and fly them to the bottom.”  She said as her heart sank even further.  My only sister, and I allowed this, what have I done…’.

 

Gueydan bowed his head to them, he held for a moment then turned and walked from them.  He stopped and turned his head back some towards them as though he were going to speak, but looked forward again and walked off. 

 

Sometimes the best comfort you can offer someone, is to say nothing.

 

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Gueydan brought his people that had been with him at the pit of Clay the humans had been held and forced to be half turned to where Blade Dance and Sea Mist were getting ready to leave.  When they arrived at where they were to set up their small street band, Sea said she wouldn’t play tonight.

 

“Not in the mood tonight; no music in me.”  She said with a long face looking at Gueydan.  “I’m going to be more direct.”  She held up her bow and changed it into two battle hammers instead.

 

Blade Dance came to her side.  “I’m not in the mood either love-mate, I’ll go with you.”

 

“No!”  Sea Mist said spinning towards him.  “I need you to play, make music for me since I cannot, please.  I know I ask a lot of you after what I have done to us, please, for me, make music.”  She was near tears.

 

Bladed Dance’s head nodded ever so slightly and he looked off and turned around, walking back to the area the band was setting up.  “For you my life, and only for you will I play tonight.”  He said as he walked.

 

As Sea Mist made ready and started to walk away, Blade Dance sat down on a stool behind a microphone and picked up a twelve string acoustic guitar.  The others that were set up didn’t know what he intended to play.  One werewolf with a horn of some type started towards him when Blade began playing a slow melody.  He stopped and listened.

 

She was morning, and I was nighttime… I one day woke up to find her lying, beside my bed… …I softly said… …come take me!

 

As Sea Mist walked, the music he began to play took hold of her, when her lover’s voice touched her, she stuttered in her steps.

 

As Blade Dance sang on, the drummer started a quiet beat, and others filled in and followed Blade as he played filling the air with gentle passionate music.

 

For I’ve been lonely in need of someone… as though I’d done someone wrong somewhere, but I don’t know where… I don’t know where, come lately. 

 

You are the sun, I am the moon, you are the words, I am the tune - play me.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Sea Mist went into the night solo.  There was no caution or planning in her actions this night, she simply was.

 

She stayed in range of Blade Dance’s voice, and as the music wafted across her ears, she walked boldly into a building of vampires.  She burst into a scream and wielded the hammers charging at the nearest vampire she saw. 

 

He was caught off guard, “you are the sun…” she cried out as she brought the hammer down from above onto his skull bursting it like a water balloon.  She launched into the next vampire while crying, “I am the moon” bringing a side swath of the other hammer into his head.

 

The others in the room scattered, expecting more werewolves to be with her and possibly coming from the shadows.

 

With both hammers held above her head in an open area of the room she cried out. “you are the words I am the tune, play me!”  Then charged towards three vampires, striking the first, a female, in the head with both hammers coming together on her head.  Spreading her arms she struck the other two then in turn pummeled them with her hammer blows.

 

Vampires swarmed on her now, she didn’t change form.  She raged in her human form against her foes and she was too much for all seventeen of them that remained.

 

Her hammers were a blur as she moved, smashing vampires wherever she could get a blow in.  She never paused, only switched between screaming and singing, even after Blade had finished the song which she was no longer able to hear.

 

When Sea Mist finished off the room, she stood in the middle, blood covered and panting heavy from her efforts and stared.  Her face was twisted in anger and battle-lust.  She had released only a portion of the emotion pent up inside of her.  She needed more to be released.

 

Charging from the building, she headed off towards a small coven that was on the menu for tonight, but later then when she was charging towards it; she was moving away from help and support.  This was her night.

 

Sea Mist didn’t survey the coven, didn’t check the numbers or guard positions, she did nothing like she should have.  Instead, she ran up the side of a building, over its top and leapt into the air with her hammers extended.  The guards saw her only because of her battle scream as she landed. 

 

They turned at her, but it was too late.  Her hammers bludgeoned them into nonexistence.  She kicked in the door, intending on charging in and waling on everything in sight, but three other guards saw her actions and had sounded the alarm to the others inside.  She was knocked back from the door she kicked open and went flying backwards as two dozen or so vampires stormed her.

 

Her rage was strong, she leveled many vampires in her flurry of attacks, but at least forty more vampires joined the battle.  Her hammers were knocked from her, the leader of the coven had her held, he wanted her kill for himself.

 

“Snotty little were-cunt aren’t you.”  Cracks said to her as he leaned in gloating over her.

 

With chide served with, Sea Mist spat blood and mucus in his face.  “Eat shit and die maggot breath!”  She yelled at him, still in her rage.

 

He laughed with a slow laugh with a smirk of ‘your finished’ on his face.

 

“Yes, a snotty little cunt you are.”  Cracks said as he raised his sword, aimed the point at her chest then moved it in slowly.

 

He pressed it against her left breast.  “This girl’s packin some big ones, maybe we should give her some reduction surgery first.”  Cracks said giving a look to his slaves with a maniacal laugh.

 

“Yeah Cracks, cut her good!”  One of his cronies said as he laughed with his master.

 

“Lob one off, we’ll play catch with it!”  One of the female vampires said, clearly jealous of Sea’s build compared to her own.

 

Sea Mist screamed in rage, broke an arm free and punched Cracks in the mouth, several teeth fell to the ground and his jawbone protruded out the back of his head.  Several others rushed to secure her again as he pulled his chin out, reset himself and regenerated.

 

“Bitch, for that, I am going to make this hurt as much as I can!”  Cracks yelled in her face with spit flying from his mouth.

 

He held the tip of his sword over hear heart for a moment, then moved it down to her belly.  He pulled back intending to plunge the blade into her abdomen, not to kill her but to make her suffer.

 

“Ahem.”  A younger voice said from off to one side of the group on Sea Mist. 

 

There were a good thirty vampires around her close in, the rest seemed to have either gone inside, or elsewhere.

 

Cracks looked in the direction of the sound.  A young and smiling man stood about twenty feet from them.  His hands clasped politely in front of him.

 

“Pardon me, but I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Cracks isn’t it?  Yes, mate, that’s your name.”  The young man said ever so politely.

 

“Who the frell are you?”  Cracks asked as his eyes darted around near where the man stood looking for the help he had brought with.

 

Those with Cracks looked around nervously, sniffing the air and looking for more werewolves.

 

Sea turned her beaten face towards the person speaking to see who it was that had come to recue her.  “Seven.”  She gurgled as blood ran down her throat.

 

“I must tell you, Cracks, you are holding her Majesty, Lady Sea Mist, blood sister and kin of Monarch Trustee Lady Snow, and she, as do I sir, have objections to this.”  Seven reached to his belt and tapped at the radio pack there.  The link he had preprogrammed opened and music came from the device.

 

…in a castle dark or fortress strong, with chains upon my feet…” Blade Dance’s voice sang from the speakers hidden on Seven that played through the radio pack.

 

“And her, I must say, I can fight for as her Grace Lady Snow has ordered I protect her.”  Seven straightened, the smile on his face grew.  “As to your query Cracks, I’m the Guardian.” 

 

Seven changed, for the first time into his true form, a form he now had since his father’s passing.  The large red werewolf form of the Guardian, towering seventy feet above the now cowering vampires.  His head lunged forward scooping up everyone there, including Sea Mist.

 

The Guardian lifted his head straight up and he bit down once, then Sea Mist felt a soft warm wetness press against her.  The Guardian pursed his lips and pushed Sea Mist from his mouth, letting her fall towards the ground.  His jaw moved again as he chewed, once more then he swallowed the vampires whole, mostly.

 

He changed back to himself and rushed forward, catching Sea Mist before she landed.  He placed her on the ground and reached to a dim-pocket and pulled a small bottle from it.  He pulled the cork from it and held the bottle to her lips.

 

“Drink Lady, drink and be well.”  He said.

 

Sea Mist drank the holy water.  She coughed a couple times as she sat upright.  “Thank you.”  She said weakly.

 

“Now, my friend, I do hope this ends your solo running.”  He said to her.

 

“…If you could read my mind love, what a tale my thoughts could tell, just like an old time movie, bout a ghost from a wishing well…  Came from the speakers he had hidden.

 

Sea Mist guffawed while crying.  “You brought him to me.”  She said as she listened to her lover’s voice over the radio pack.  She turned her face to Seven.  “How did you know… how did you find me?”

 

Seven pointed back.  Fairuza came from the mist and walked up, with Cody at her side.

 

“I told Cody here, he took it from there.  Once he told Snow, well, what else would she do for you?”  Fairuza shrugged.  “Good Cavalry Scout, he found you and led Seven here on her orders.”

 

Fairuza held a hand down to Sea Mist.  She looked up at her for a moment then took her hand and stood, then she looked to Cody.  “Cavalry Scout, thanks Cody, I owe you one.”  She looked back to Fairuza.  “Didn’t know visions could do that.”

 

Fairuza laughed wide mouthed.  “Oh lizard slobber, vision?  Really now, you of all people should know better than that.”  She said then turned, walked into the mist and was gone.

 

Sea Mist scoffed.  “Between her and Sam Elliot showing, I swear I’ve lost my marbles.”

 

“Don’t worry,” Fairuza’s voice called from the mist that was fading, “I’ve got your marbles, they’re safe.”

 

“Let’s be getting back with the others.”  Seven said reaching for the radio pack.

 

“No, leave it on please, I need to hear his voice.”  Sea said to Seven.

 

He gave her and understanding look and nod, held out his arm crooked at the elbow and walked her along back to where her sister was waiting while Sea Mist sang along with her mate.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Snow was very relieved when Seven and Cody brought Sea Mist back to her.  Blade Dance was still playing and singing, and now smiling at her.

 

Running to her mate Sea Mist threw her arms around him and kissed him like she hadn’t seen him in a hundred years.

 

“Nuff crazy stuff?”  He said to her with a smile while trying to move the guitar from between them.

 

“Yes.”  She answered when she released him from her grip and bounced in front of him. 

 

She backed up a bit and took the guitar from him.  “I have one I want to dedicate to you, country bumpkin.”  She said with a toothy grin as the others gathered around and watched.

 

Sea Mist conferred with the band for a moment then took center stage as it were while Blade Dance moved off and stood at the front of her audience.

 

It took her a moment to speak.  “This is dedicated to my lover, my rock, my sanity.  Thanks for putting up with me… and understanding.  This is for you Blade!”  She said and the band started to play as she positioned the twelve string and played along.

 

Well, who wipes me off when I get gravy on my shirt?  And who knows exactly where to kiss me when I hurt?  And who’d made love with me on satin sheets or in the dirt?  You babe, you’re my bestest friend.

 

Blade Dance started grinning from ear to ear, he joined the others when they started clapping along with the song.

 

Who takes me home,” Sea Mist held up her fingers near her lips like she was smoking a joint, “when I get to stoned to dance… and who bravely puts up with my attitude and my rants… and who discreetly whispers I forgot to put on a shirt?” She waggled her chest while pushing it forward, You babe, you’re my bestest friend.

 

Those watching laughed.

 

And who comes down and bails me out when I get in a jam,” Sea started to choke up as tears began to fall from her face.

 

and helps me tell the police where I live and who I am… and who pats my back when no one else could give a dam… you babe, you’re my bestest friend.  Sea couldn’t sing anymore, the emotions were too strong as they came out.

 

Sea Mist led into the instrumental section fumbling on the strings.  Bait stepped to her and took the guitar from her and pointed to Blade Dance.  She smile at Bait with her tear streaked face then went to her lover and the two started dancing as Bait took over for her.

 

He sang with his best Mac Davis sound.

 

Who can be as gentle as a sparrow in my hand… meaner then a junkyard dog when she’s fighting for her man.  And who’s the only one I’ll ever love or understand… you babe, you’re my bestest friend… talking bout you babe… you’re my bestest friend.

 

It didn’t need to be said, as Sea Mist looked into the eyes of the man who would stand beside her through anything; she knew he was the reason why help had come.  He did as she asked and didn’t stop playing… playing love songs to her.

 

When he finished the song for Sea, Bait handed the guitar to someone and walked off towards the back of where the street band had set up in the small park triangle and sat down by himself on a small bench near a tree.

 

He had his elbows resting on his knees and his chin rested on the heels of his palms while he tapped the index fingers of each hand against his lips, watching and thinking.

 

“You can’t let that girl do that you know.”  Sam’s voice said from behind.

 

He walked up and sat down next to Bait as they looked at each other.

 

Bait sighed and looked forward again.

 

Sam looked across and watched Sea Mist and Blade Dance as the band started up.

 

Lump sat alone in a boggy marsh, totally motionless except for her heart,…

 

“She volunteered, I hoped Snow would have some objection…”  He sighed again, “She doesn’t like this anymore than I do.”  Bait had a lost look on his face.

 

Sam shook his head and looked back to him.  “Bait, there has to be some other alternative, you can’t let her go.”  His voice was as hard as his face.

 

Bait turned his face to Sam.  “Then you tell me what it is, because I’ve got nothing, no objections and no other options.”  Bait dropped his hands still keeping his elbows on his knees.  “Frell!”

 

Standing up suddenly Bait left Sam sitting by himself and went to find Snow.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Night.  Safety, at least from the sun.  Ruth used to love the night and its mysteries.  Now she hated it.  She’d wanted to continue herself no matter what the cost, now she questioned that decision. 

 

“You’re planning on going someplace, Ruth?”  Jibble said when he came out onto the balcony of the third story of his home she was standing at watching the moon.

 

She slowly looked over at him, took in what she saw then looked back to the moon as it rose.

 

“Things I have to do.”  She said in a low pained voice..

 

Jibble stood beside her and placed his hands on the railing of the balcony.  “I made an agreement with the Monarchs.”

 

Ruth answered fast.  “That deal is between you and them, it doesn’t include me.”

 

“You’re staying with me, that makes you part of my coven.”  He answered back.

 

Shaking her head Ruth faced him.  “No, it doesn’t.  I’m a minion, they would have to make a deal with me, and that is the last thing they will do.  Your deal won’t be broken because of me, you already know that.”

 

The two looked at each other for a moment.

 

Jibble sighed and relented his insistence.  “What is it dear Ruthless, that is so important?  Stay, let the werewolves have Alexander, don’t be a part of this… whatever is to happen.”

 

Ruth extended her wings as she changed forms.  “Things I have to do, you know how it goes Jibble.  Things I have to do.”  She said then leapt into the air and took flight heading towards the big city.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

She made a high pass over the city just to get the scent of the air before she veered south and headed away from the populace and into a more rural area.  Checking the woods before she landed near the edge of a wetland area, no one around, nothing moving.  She landed and approached a tree that was hollow.  She gave another look around and sniffed long, caution was a must. 

 

Ruth reached into the hollow of the tree and pulled a full sized brown paper bag that was rolled over closing it out from the hollow.  She looked around cautiously every few seconds.  Opening the bag she took a heavy mil plastic wrapped object out.  She undid the plastic, placed it in the bag and looked at the soft leather wrap in her hands.  She stuffed the bag and the plastic back in the tree and walked away from it while looking at the bundle in her hands.

 

She sat down on a log a few yards away, untied the leather thong that bound it and flipped the leather off from the book it held.  She had stolen it from Alexander.  He had yet to miss it, he had no need of it now actually; the portal was constructed and he had memorized all the incantations in it.

 

Ruth opened the back cover of the book, where the last page should be.  It had been ripped from the book.  Setting the book opened as she had it on the log Ruth pulled a soft rod of charcoal from a pocket.  The book was hand written, having been created before the advent of the printing press; written with an inkwell and scribe’s pen.  She used the soft charcoal on the paper on the back cover on the inside.

 

“Nothing.”  She said with a disappointed expression.  Then she did the same to the blank back of the page that was now the last page, again, nothing. 

 

She blew the charcoal dust from the book, closed it then wrapped it up again in the leather.  She held open her coat and stuffed the book into the saddlebag she wore with the strap over her opposing shoulder.

 

Taking a few running steps Ruth launched herself into the air again and flew off.  It was time to take a big chance.

 

She landed outside of an accounting firm building in a business district of the city.  She looked the place over then made her way around back.  The back door was unlocked, as she expected it would be.  She also knew she was being watched.

 

Once on the third floor Ruth started walking the halls of the building.  He would come to her soon enough, once he was sure she was alone and this wasn’t a trap.

 

“And you are here why?”  Fyodor said from behind her as she smiled having picked up his scent and heard him.

 

Ruth turned to face him, keeping her smile on, only changing it to that of a welcoming look.

 

“Where else could I meet you safely and without tipping big red off?”  She didn’t even like to say his name anymore.

 

Fyodor smiled.  “It’s good to see you still alive, I was certain he would have taken you out by now, but if he hasn’t, then you’re safe for the next few days.”

 

“Which is part of what I came to talk to you about, what happens when… before he can open his portal.  I have a feeling…”  Ruth trailed off and looked down for a moment then looked back to Fyodor.

 

He was nodding, understanding what she felt, or knew.

 

“Alexander is going to be hit hard by the werewolves, I have sensed it too.”  Fyodor spoke almost with a happy tone.

 

Fyodor started to walk closer to Ruth, she stepped towards him at the same time.  They came to within a couple feet of each other.

 

“It is good to see you Ruth, I’ve missed you.  I know that sounds corny, but I have.”  His voice was sincere.

 

Ruth returned a large smile to him.  “You too, in all this mess, you’re the only person I’ve missed.”  That was mostly true, almost.

 

Fyodor held his hands out at his sides.  “Again, you are here why?  More than just a casual visit I assume.”

 

She sighed and slouched a touch.  Back to business. “We both know, well, have assumed, the werewolves are going to win this in the end.  Alexander is frelling up big time, word has it he’s not him anymore, he’s become a woman.”

 

Fyodor nodded with a look down at his feet when she said this, he face said he knew this too before he spoke.

 

“Yes, I’ve seen her personally.  Very vain as a woman, even more than he was when he was… himself.  What do you make of this?”  He asked.

 

Ruth guffawed.  “Frell, I was hoping you’d have some insight on it, I’m frelling lost.  It doesn’t make any sense, I’ve tried looking around for answers in books and asking the few people I could.  Nobody knows anything, and they weren’t hiding anything either.”

 

Fyodor sighed and flared his eyes.  “Same here, nada.”  He waited for Ruth now.

 

She could tell he was putting her on the spot, wanting her to get to the point, sooner was better than later.  No point in delaying any longer, she’d pretty much let the cat out of the bag as it were.

 

“I want you to join me, you know I’m a minion now, even more powerful than Alexander.  I’m a black minion.”  Ruth looked at his face hard, wanting to catch even the tiniest twinge of reaction.  Nothing.

 

“I know.  How could I not.  I thought that’s what this was about.  Actually surprised it took you this long to come and make your offer.”  He said with metered stride in his speaking.

 

Fyodor was keeping anything that was inside him hidden, very well.  He must feel like he was on a thin wire right now Ruth thought.  Alexander most likely wasn’t keeping an eye on Fyodor’s mind, but he wouldn’t risk that.

 

This time it was Ruth that held her hands out at her sides and looked at him with a ‘well?’ expression. 

 

“We’ll have to move out fast, once he realizes I’m gone, he’ll send everyone to find me.”  Fyodor told her.

 

“No shit, so that’s a yes then?”  He had to actually say he would serve her, else she wouldn’t be able to act.  He knew this as well as she did.

 

He closed his eyes slowly and held them that way for a long moment; with a heavy breath, he looked at Ruth again.

 

“Yes, I will leave Alexander and serve you.”  He finally said.

 

Ruth smiled softly.  “Thank you Fyodor, I really mean that.  I won’t fail to recognize your loyalty and friendship like he did, I promise.”  She said and held her arm out to him to feed from and become hers.

 

Fyodor looked around quickly and nervously, he had to move now, Alexander would know now what was about to happen.  His slaves were too far away right now to stop it, Ruth wouldn’t have come if they had been. 

 

He knelt before her and held her arm in front of his mouth.  He took a quick inhale and exhale, opened his mouth and extended his fangs then bit down.

 

Ruth felt him bite her, he was hers now.  She intended on letting him take a good amount from her so he’d be stronger than he was from his former master.  Her vision blurred, she’d never done anything like this before and the memories from Alexander were hazy at best and useless to determine if this was normal.

 

Warmth, she could feel it in her arm.  She suddenly realized he wasn’t feeding from her, he was pushing blood into her, his blood, and it was warm!  Inconceivable!  She thought, he couldn’t have warm blood, if he did that meant… 

 

Ruth slammed a palm against Fyodor’s head knocking him from her arm and ripping her flesh apart as he flew from her.  His blood was in her, the memories, what she had from Alexander, Fyodor’s, they were merging.  Alexander’s memories had been incomplete.  Fyodor’s blood finished them, she could understand them now, all of them.

 

She had stumbled backwards when she knocked Fyodor from her, she was dizzy, very dizzy and disorientated.  She tried to focus, she could hear something, it gurgled and warbled in her ears.  What was she hearing?

 

Laughter, Fyodor was laughing… at her!  What the frell?  What was going on here?  He had tricked her.  He had wanted her to ask him to join her, so he could inject her with his blood; his warm living blood!  That was impossible.  Nothing living could live as long as Fyodor had, even the werewolves were only around for about five hundred years.

 

Her vision was fuzzy, getting dark now.  She felt herself fall to the ground, she felt ill.  She saw now, Fyodor’s blood had completed her memories.

 

She didn’t know how long she’d been in that state, she didn’t pass completely out, but she might’ve well have.  Fyodor could have done anything to her, but he only stood over her looking down at her and laughing.  That laugh, cold, evil, sure.  The trap, had been Fyodor’s for her.

 

Ruth sat up, propping herself on her outstretched arm.  She was still woozy but could see again.  She tried to look at Fyodor, her muscles hurt, her entire body hurt especially her head.

 

“Now you know everything.”  He said with a loathsome grin of success.  “Yes, I want Alexander to die, just, not for the reasons you had come up with, dullard.” 

 

“You… your… that’s impossible!”  Ruth stammered out.

 

Fyodor laughed.  “Don’t be daft bitch.  Now you know, I’m the original creation, and Alexander, she was made for me.”  He laughed again.  “The curse, for her disobedience.  I cannot die until there is someone to take her place, someone who’d betray her as she betrayed me!”

 

Ruth’s mind reeled.

 

Fyodor squatted down and looked her in the eyes.  “Humans have called us by many names, depending on their story of creation, I think Adam and Eve is the one best suited to your understanding.  Yes, it is true.  I was Adam, and Alexander was Eve, made from my own flesh to be my friend, companion, my help-mate.”

 

He laughed hard now.  “My help-mate; so easily deceived by the Darkness, believed everything he told her out of his jealousy.”  His face went still.  “And like a love struck fool I listened to her, I was naive!  A fool is what I was!  I knew better, but she wanted what the Darkness had told her.  She wanted the knowledge.”

 

“So you ate together.”  Ruth said using her knowledge of the story of creation, it wasn’t all in what Fyodor’s blood had given her, the memories didn’t quite go that far back. 

 

Fyodor laughed again.  “What?  You think it was a tree-fruit; an apple or something like that?  You think it was a tree we took fruit from and ate?  Foolish woman.  Have you no mind?”

 

She looked at him lost.

 

“Interesting how humans love to interpreter things to their advantage, missing what is there.  Tree, fruit, bah, your family lineage, what do you commonly refer to that as?  Are you quick enough to figure that out?” 

 

Ruth’s eyes narrowed.  “My family tree?”  She answered with question.

 

Fyodor laughed harshly at her.  “Very good simpleton, your family tree, the tree of knowledge.  The separation was caused by disobedience, having knowledge, and what are your children?  They are called your fruit!  That’s what the downfall of man was, something you love, sex, that was the fruit we consumed!  Each other!

 

He scoffed at her again with a glazed catch of his eyes on her.  “Children are innocent, think differently, see things differently, then they have sex for the first time and wham!  Everything’s different isn’t it?”

 

The truth of what he said hit Ruth hard, she understood what he was saying all too well.

 

He looked at her with narrow eyes and a loathsome smirk.  “Yes, you know from your own experience, the first time a boy entered you, your world changed didn’t it?  You now had the knowledge.”

 

Her head was whirling now. 

 

“Alexander, as she is known as now; she’s had many different names, she had followed the Darkness, led me into disobedience.  Her curse was to walk on the side of darkness, dead, because she caused death.  I was left on the side of light and life.  We were torn from our garden home and cast here!  This vile place!”  He looked off for a moment.  “I do miss the garden.”

 

“The garden still exists?”  Ruth asked in a stupor.

 

“Frell!  You are a moron aren’t you?  Yes, safe from the eyes of humankind where they can never touch or see it.”  He told her.

 

“Where?  Humans have looked everywhere on Earth.”  She tried to make some quick assessments from her knowledge and what had come to her from the mixing of blood in her.  “Atlantis?”

 

Fyodor scoffed at her.  “Earth, what is Earth?  If you were born on another planet, wouldn’t that be your Earth then?  Your morning star, covered in a veil that humans have never penetrated, though their scientists have tried.  NASA sent probes there, lost in the clouds.”  He was enjoying mocking her.

 

“Venus.”  Ruth whispered to herself mostly.

 

“No shit, look who just got off the short bus.  Took you long enough to come to me.  Thought for sure I’d have to wait again.”  Fyodor said with conceit at her.

 

She was unsure of his meaning, wait again?  What did he mean my that?

 

He scoffed at her again as though he knew her thoughts.

 

“You think you’re the first?  There have been many black minions, you’ve just been the first to make it this far.  All the rest frelled up and were rooted out by my mate, you know, Alexander.  The Darkness hates females, because I loved the gift of the creator, he therefore hated women, cursed her to be a man.  Further separated me from her, couldn’t even have that.  Made her a man.  Only now, in the end does she take her true gender.”

 

Fyodor stood up, reached down and grabbed Ruth’s hand and jerked her up.  “You wanted to defeat Alexander, and I have helped you do so, helped you ensure the werewolves would win and kill him.  Only when Alexander is dead, can I go home.  Only when ‘she’ is defeated, with someone to take her cursed place, can we both finally die and go home!  Our curse held many things, the worst was to live on for eternity in the world we had caused.”

 

Ruth saw now, when Alexander died, she would take… her place.  A cold she had never felt before rippled through her.  Fyodor turned and started walking away.

 

Ruth wanted to call out after him, but there was no point.  What would she say?  Help me please?  Don’t let this happen to me?  She had undermined Alexander every step of the way with every chance she had.  Now she realized her lust for revenge had made her build her own trap, this was all her doing.

 

She turned and ran back the way she had come in, she was in terror now.  She was to shaken to fly so she found a small alcove in a building away from where Fyodor had his building and hid as she worked through her new knowledge.

 

The book she had, that told Alexander how to build the portal, how to empower it.  Fyodor had been the one who found it.  He was the one that ripped the last page from the book, why?  He had blocked the memory of what was on the page from her when he injected himself into her.

 

Fyodor knew what was wrong in the werewolf world, he had taken steps to make sure they would be strong enough to win, he had shadowed the influence of the Darkness on them, separated them into two groups.  So many memories, too much to take in at one time.

 

He had passed his curse on to her, and Alexander’s would come onto her when ‘she’ died.  She had been a proud fool, walked right into the trap thinking she was being so cleaver.  But now what could she do?  If she stopped the werewolves from winning, that would be her end then.

 

And if she did nothing and let it happen, she would be the cursed one for the rest of eternity, she would never be able to trap another, she had no… mate.

 

“I’m so frelled.”  Ruth said from her knees.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Bait was driving since Snow wanted to work via her tablet.  He refused to partake in the latest werewolf craze of tablets.  The smart phone radio pack was as close as he got; to him it was like holding a windows computer in his hand without being htc. 

 

They had stayed with Sea Mist and Blade Dance for a few hours, now the drive home was relaxing.  Bait had gone through both water canisters he carried, half of a canister for the shotgun and Snow informed him her blades needed sharpening.  She was favoring her double ended blades.

 

She made him think of Blood Rayne when she used them, which had been typical.  He wasn’t sure why she’d switched to using a duce over her single handed oversized pistol gripped slicer-dicer pair.

 

Now… had her choice played a part?  Regardless, she now wielded the pair again, and he did enjoy seeing her work.  Made her ass move in the cutest way.  The shimmer of the moonlight on her taunt breasts with the crests of her dime sized nipples sparkling in his eyes was a majestic sight to behold.

 

Sunlight had done their love-life good on both sides, his and hers.  They had taken an early leave of the night; work had been cited as the reason, and logically believable too with all the additional werewolves coming in.  Most of the command team was back on the command deck dealing with… everything!

 

Sea Mist was a warrant officer rank.  Marshall, it had it’s privileges.  Her main con-function-function as she termed it, was to observe and report. ‘I’m queen JAFO’, she had said of her duty, more than once.

 

“What-chya reading prairie muffin?”  Bait said to Snow as he drove down the two lane road lined with trees, and deer.

 

“Hm, Hovlek’s personnel file.”  She said in a half-brained response, she kept her concentration on the tablet like a teenaged girl on her texting.  “I asked him if it was alright.”

 

Bait smiled to himself.

 

Bait rounded a bend in the road, eight more miles till the turnoff down the three miles stretch of dirt road to House Squat and the hot tub with a naked Snow.

 

He saw red and blue reflections on the trees as he came around, white speckled flashes came from the needles of the pines.  Tapping the break he released the cruise control and coasted till the brightness of the reflections of the emergency lights grew strong enough he knew he was close.  He pressed the breaks and prepared for blocked lanes.

 

There seemed to be only one squad car from the lights he was seeing in the trees.  His years as a cop taught him how to gauge an accident he was responding to or other situation by the lights reflected off of buildings.  The same physics held down a country lane.

 

The SUV came around the corner into view of the squad car.  It must be a bad accident and backup hadn’t arrived yet; the highway patrol squad was across the middle of the road blocking both lanes.

 

Snow looked up as the breaks engaged harder than what she would have expected as normal.  “I got a bad feeling about this.”  She said.

 

Bait’s head slowly turned to her as the vehicle rolled then came to a full stop.

 

His face was expressionless.

 

“What?”  Snow said with a puzzled look accompanied by her bringing her upturned palms near her shoulders on bent elbows.

 

“Don’t say that.”  He retorted with a crisp snap in his voice.

 

They both opened their doors and began climbing out.  Because of old habits, Bait glanced in the mirror mounted on the door and used it to get a back visual of the road behind the car.  Snow’s training with years of battle experience made her look back.

 

Ruth was walking towards them, her face was venomous and feral.  Battle and rage were in her eyes.  Her black coat flipped in the wind caused by her fast walk.  Bait was looking at her with a sideways slant of his head.

 

He walked towards the back of their vehicle, Snow stood off to the side of the passenger door and gauged the situation before moving in.  She advanced towards Ruth about eight feet behind her mate.  She was about ten feet from the car now, Bait was about the same distance from Ruth when he stopped and held up his palm to her telling her to halt her advance.

 

Ruth gave a growling hiss at him and flashed her teeth with a wide mouth to him.  Her hands came from her sides and with them a pistol, aimed at Bait’s head.

 

“Hold!”  He said, but not to Ruth. 

 

Snow knew he was talking to her.

 

She kept closing on him until the gun was inches from his face; her hand shook.  She made a powerful hiss again; she was trying hard to pull the trigger.

 

“Ruth, you don’t even have the safety off.”  He said with a mocking voice.

 

She screamed then threw the pistol on the ground.  It landed aimed away from them and discharged.

 

Bait started laughing at her.  “You really need to learn, we can pull your leg for thirty seconds before we laugh.” 

 

Ruth showed Bait her daemon face as she roared in his.

 

He took a step back from her, reached into his pocket and took out a tin.  He opened it and took a small round mint from it and returned the tin to his pocket.  Bait quickly grabbed Ruth’s hand and placed the mint in it then released his hold on her hand.

 

“Eat that, it’ll make one of the two of us much happier.”  He said with a cocky smirk and wink.

 

Ruth lashed out with her hand, swinging on his face.  Her hand slowed to a near stop and passed before his lips and didn’t so much as brush his skin.

 

Snow snorted then guffawed with an extremely amused glib in her sound.

 

Ruth drew her sword as she charged at Snow.  When she arrived, the swing that was moving towards Snow’s neck, rose and went over her head.  The following attempt at plunging the blade into the chest of the Trustee failed also with the point of the blade halting a half inch from her shirt.

 

“Black Bimbo here can't attack us.  Cool beans, sucks for you though I bet.”  Snow said with gleeful chide with a hand on her hip as she smirked at Ruth.

 

“Frell you shit eater!”  Ruth raged at Snow.

 

As she took a step backwards, Ruth returned her sword to it’s home then changed into her black daemon form, towering over fifty feet above with a monstrous mouth of teeth.  Opening her jaws as wide as she could, Ruth brought her head down onto Snow.  The ends of her elongated jaw smashed into the ground, completely engulfing Snow in her mouth.

 

Ruth held her position, she was struggling.  Her mouth wasn’t stuck in the ground to the point she couldn’t move, she was simply unable to harm Snow.

 

After a few more moments Ruth lifted her mouth from over Snow.

 

“You really do need that mint,” Snow said looking up at Ruth then looked to her lover, “better give her another, more like… just give her the whole pack.” 

 

Ruth bent her neck and bellowed down on Snow.

 

“You give towels with your showers cat-box breath?”  Snow retorted to the bellow of slobber.

 

Ruth raged out again then after looking at the unimpressed faces of both Monarchs, changed to her human form glaring at them.

 

Snow surveyed her, read her.

 

“Frelling kill me!  I’m attacking you!”  Ruth screamed, her face was actually getting some color in it, a kind of purple with a hint of crimson.

 

“Just take a walk in the sunshine barf breath.”  Bait said to Ruth.

 

“Frell you!”  Ruth said with rich anger snapping her head towards him.

 

In a quick motion she looked back to Snow.

 

“What, valiant pussy licker here’s afraid to take on a black minion?  Pussy-wussy-puppy pisser?  Afraid to take on the big bad Ruth?”

 

Snow returned an honest giggle.

 

“Oh please, look what’s talking.  Kibbles and bits here talking all smack and sassy, can’t even shoot a man in the face.  So, are we eating salad now?”  Snow wiggled a finger at Ruth.

 

Bait chuckled.

 

Snow and Ruth locked eyes.  Snow had stopped laughing, she snorted once and gave Ruth a pathetic look.

 

“She’s cursed somehow, I can sense it.  If we kill her, we take her place, we’re the only ones that can.”  Snow recited as she read Ruth.

 

Turning fast, Ruth stormed away from Snow; she didn’t look Bait’s direction as she passed by him on her way, away.

 

When Ruth was about fifteen feet away, she started to take off her coat, then once off folded it over an arm and removed the side bag she had strapped over her shoulder.  She swung it around in a circle along her side several times then let go of it so it would fly towards Snow and Bait.

 

The bag was mid-arc when Ruth spoke.

 

“I’m not asking for your help, help yourselves and you help me, there’s a book in the bag.  Have your human teach you to read.”  Ruth said loudly.

 

“What about the cop that was in this cruiser you stole?”  Bait said knowing the answer, but he still had to ask.

 

“I needed a quick snack, she made a nice bag lunch.”  Ruth said crossly. 

 

Two jumping steps later, she took to the not so friendly skies.

 

Snow and Bait turned and walked to their SUV.  Bait picked up the bag and removed the book on his way by leaving the bag itself on the road.

 

“That was rather amusing, and interesting.”  Bait said as he opened his door and got in handing the book to Snow.

 

“And then some.”  Snow answered.

 

They drove off; after a few minutes Bait asked a question.

 

“What was that you were talking about, her being cursed, us taking her place?”

 

Snow smiled and looked over.  “I’m afraid for that answer, Inquisitor, you have to talk to Shyhon.”

 

He gave her a side look.  “You’re kidding right?”

 

Snow answered with a chuckle.  “Fraid not, didn’t use freewill with sparky back there, not going to with you either.  That’s what I feel is right, you get to talk to Shyhon.”

 

Bait looked back to the road fulltime now with a nod.

 

“Then, I gotta talk to Shyhon. “  He commented.

 

Snow opened the book in her lap and started reading.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

I’ve got a tiger by the tail it’s plain to see…  Came softly from the Wi-Fi speakers around the hot tub.

 

Seven had found a much more practical way of incorporating the radio and phone features into the quarters.  Snow slowly plodded up the stairs; Bait had been waiting about ten minutes using the time to get the place ready for his mate.

 

The pleasure, gratitude and amusement in Snow’s voice was thanks enough to Bait. 

 

“Well, done lover, the hot tub was a given highpoint to my day;  now you’ve totally rocked my world”  Snow said as she looked from candle to candle he had lit and placed around the room; on about every available nook.

 

Snow looked over to the source of the music.  “Can we put something on from this millennium?”  She gave him a sideways look as she rocked back and forth with her hips.

 

He bowed and held out a hand at her.  “As you wish.”

 

She picked up the remote control and turned on the TV mounted on the wall between the two sets of music speakers with the radio speakers right above the TV.  Another Seven Systems setup.  Heavy on the setup part.

 

Her mate waited for her to disrobe and climbed into the warmth of the tub with her.  Snow flipped through the channels until she found news and stopped there.  Bait was already stretched out and in relax mode extreme, now she joined him in that position.

 

“You’re getting as bad as me; you used to complain about my always having the news on.”  Her lover stated from his state of relaxation.

 

With a snort she retorted, “Yup, and you always said it was important to keep an eye on what the world was hot on, ‘there just might be a useful bite in the news’ you’d tell me.  Back at-chya.”

 

He snickered at her idiom reuse at his expense.  True enough, he had said that many times, they seemed to be rubbing off on each other more and more.  Also, with all that had been happening and with the new directives it was a good idea to see what the locals were reporting.

 

They tipped between banter and actual work talk until a news blurb caught both their attentions.

 

…he’s the director of operation here at the airport.  The female reporter turned to the man she just introduced.  That’s correct Karen, with all flights completely booked for the United States, flights that were slated for cancelation due to lack of tickets sold have been removed from that list and are now themselves, full to capacity with many people on the waiting list should there be any cancelations. 

 

The reporter asked another question.  We reported earlier that there may be additional flights being added to cover the sudden influx of travelers, can you tell us anymore on whether these flights have actually been added?

 

As of right now, three flights have been added to the commercial flights already.  Layover flights have been changed to immediate return flights with a crew change.  Right now, even the charter airlines are running full with all of their planes chartered to the US with most heading for California.  Those landing in other cities like New York have had all the flights to California booked as well.

 

Have airport officials, or anyone for that matter been able to explain the sudden travel to California?  I personally have only been able to get answers from people that said they were heading there for vacation.  The reporter asked.

 

The airport official smiled nervously.  No Karen, it seems to be the latest craze with everyone from Ireland to Australia and all points in between taking a sudden interest in visiting California.  We can assure everyone that there is not an impending terrorist attack of any kind that people are fleeing from.  It seems fun in the sun is the primary motivator.

 

Snow looked at Bait with an anxious smile.  “They’re coming, they’re all coming!”  She said with an excited voice.

 

He nodded in agreement as he watched the screen.  “Go with your strong suits, nothing like a party to get everyone here.” 

 

“It was all you lover.”  Snow put a grateful supportive hand on his shoulder.

 

“It was both of us lover.  I couldn’t have done it without your support.”  He answered back.

 

Snow sighed, this caused Bait to look over at her.  “Now what do we do with everyone when they get here though?”

 

He looked at her silently as he thought.  He looked to the TV and watched the reporter as she tried talking to one of the people waiting in line.  Bait could tell the person was a werewolf.  She had asked him his reason for his traveling at this particular time.

 

The man smiled and patted the woman on the shoulder.  “Aye lass, when your kin calls and says we need help, you just drop everything and go to them.”  He said then simply turned and walked from the reporter leaving her to only look back into the camera.

 

And, well, there you have it.  This man… that man is heading to help family.  The reporter smiled nervously at the camera, the man had left before she had finished with him and she had nothing to fill her time with now.  Back to you Rory.  She finally said blinking fast.

 

“And I think that is your answer lover, they’re coming to help their kin, and their kin are going to find a place for them.”  Bait looked at her and smiled.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Snow was sitting off in a corner of the command deck brushing her hair while Bait and Dreghert talked.  He had asked Bait about his proof that Clay was involved in providing Lolith with the plans for his grenade.

 

Bait laid the plans they had taken from her lair out on a table.

 

“And you said these didn’t come from Beautiful Flower?  Then who gave them to her?”  Dreghert asked.

 

Bait looked at the plans for a moment without doing anything, then he picked the top page up and held it up high.  He was holding it towards one of the ceiling lights.

 

“See that water mark?”  He asked Dreghert.

 

He leaned in to see what Bait was showing him.  “Yes, that’s Clay’s mark.” 

 

“Right, and the ink used to draw them is hand made.  I’ve had it tested, Allahna wasn’t happy about it, but she did confirm the ink was made by her boss, Seven.  He drew these plans and gave them to Lolith, via Clay.”  Bait said.

 

Dreghert’s forehead tightened.  “What?  Why would he do that?  That doesn’t make any sense.”

 

“It does when you look at it right.  Seven knew his invention would be a major benefit, he also knew the light wouldn’t actually harm his kin.  Once a vampire used the grenade made by Lolith, he’d naturally be the one asked to analyze the new invention.  Once he was, he only needed to confirm it was from his own design.”

 

Bait pointed to a mark on the bottom right corner of the print.  “That is a print number, this indicates it’s the second set of three sets of master prints.  He used Clay paper, they’d want to know what he was drafting that was important enough that our little inventor used this high grade of paper.  He’d only use this grade for a master print he intended on reproducing for manufacture.  That was all he needed to do.  Clay had Beautiful Flower force Darby into stealing his plans and hand them off to a currier that Clay provided.”

 

Bait set the paper down and looked at Dreghert.  “Clay kept them from his crony, Beautiful Flower and passed them to Lolith to have her read them and make something from them that would benefit his cause.  She betrayed Clay, and passed her design off to the vampires as an anti-werewolf design that they willingly took after the success of the shotgun.  Once we knew of the grenade and saw it as useful, we ordered Seven to finish it.”

 

Dreghert smiled and gave an understanding facial movement.  “Aye, he knew something was afoot, and laid his own trap to root out the source.  Yes, and get his permission to finish what he started.  Aye, it all makes perfect sense now.” 

 

“Exactly, got them to show their hand and made them do his work for him.  He’s a crafty one.”  Bait said as he tapped at the page of the print.

 

Snow had finished her brushing and was walking up to them as she finished talking over the radio.  “I’ll tell him, thanks.”

 

Bait and Dreghert looked at her.  “Sea Mist, they’re loading up the semi-trucks now.  She wants them to be ready to roll at first light.  We’ve got a lot to do in the morning.”  She said with a tired face.

 

Bait sighed.  “Yup, and there isn’t much we can do here anymore.  We should hit the sack, start early and be as fresh as we can.”  He held his stomach for a moment.

 

Snow agreed.  “With everything the other dens are shipping to us, we should be ready for bash two.”

 

“We’ll have to be.”  He confirmed.

 

Once the semis arrived, there would be a quick inventory.  Then move everything to Alexander’s ‘church’ on his eighth day remaining.  His hour glass had nearly run it’s sand down.

 

River Stone’s medicine had helped but still he was subject to the sickness that would rack his body.  Snow wanted to work more, but time down with her mate was a higher priority right now.  Their time had grown suddenly shorter.  One more day till operation go time.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

 Ruth looked at her watch again, a Rolex she had taken from her supper.  She’d been waiting several hours for the puppies now.  Their performance was still a little bit off, they might be setting up right now.

 

She’d acquired a small table and a lounge chair and brought them to the roof of her building she perched on.  A bottle of wine and a glass sat on the table.  She was ready for their performance this time.  She considered that they may not show.

 

“Naw, they’ll be here.”  She spoke to the few birds that were there. 

 

She uncorked the wine to let it breathe, then sat down and waited.  This would be the final concert she would attend.  She looked over at the body of the man she had fed from.  She really didn’t need to feed, she just wanted to make her last meal a good one, and this man, he was a bad man for sure. 

 

Rich, powerful, mean.  Many people, humans, had suffered because of him.  Suffered while he became fat on their pain.  It seemed appropriate that her last act as a minion of the darkness was to rid the world of him.

 

That scent.  Ruth looked up, sniffing the air.  Yes!  That was Sea Mist’s sweet scent, and with her was Snow.  Bait would be there for sure, but his scent wasn’t as strong as a werewolf’s.  They were together, Sea’s mate’s scent was in her nose now.  There he was, Bait had finally arrived in her nostrils.

 

“Ding dong, the gangs all here!”  She quipped as she reached for the bottle of wine and poured from the bottle to the glass.

 

She raised the glass to her lips, closed her eyes and drank slowly, savoring the flavor of the expensive and sexy wine.  Her eyes opened as she brought the glass away from her lips.  This was her vintage moment.

 

Ruth stood from the chair, faced the direction of the scents and yelled.

 

“I want to hear the song you first played for me.  The Bill Withers song, it’s one of my favorites!”  She yelled as loud as she could, then sat back down.

 

She refilled her glass and drank more as she waited.  This time, it was just a four piece band, wait… one more scent.  A sadness hit her now, a fifth member had joined for tonight.  Hovlek.

 

The ever familiar thump of the bass started, Ruth smiled.  Apparently the band did take requests.  This time from her chair, she sang along.

 

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…it’s not warm when she’s away…

 

Ruth snapped her fingers and her face showed real feeling with the music as she sang with.  When the music finished Ruth stood and walked to the edge of the building closest to where the band had set up over the horizon.

 

“I’m going away.”  She whispered to the wind.  “And I will be gone to stay.”

 

She turned and went back to her makeshift settee and drank her wine.  Sunrise was closing in, and she wouldn’t miss this one.  “Morning’s kiss, that’s what you call it right Snow-job?”  She said to the birds.

 

Draining the last of the wine from the bottle into the glass Ruth stood.  The first warning signs of daybreak started to show.  Ruth pulled out her iPod and put the ear-buds in place.  Flipping through the music on it she stopped at Joan Jett’s Light Of Day.  It would have to do.

 

Ruth banged her head as Joan sang the ‘one, two, one, two, three, four’ and took up her air guitar as the music started.  She paused long enough to crank up the volume all the way.

 

“Drivin five hundred miles, got a hundred to go yeah!”  Ruth screeched out as she tried to sing along.

 

She was rocking her body with the solo drum beat of the song, unaware of anyone else on the roof.  She stopped and opened her eyes facing the rising sun.  It just broke crest of the horizon.  Ruth smiled to the sun as a foot connected with her head, knocking her down.

 

Doing a handspring Ruth righted herself and turned to fight.  There was no one there.  Then, whoever it was rammed into her, grabbing her and picking her up.  Their head was behind her back, she couldn’t see who it was.  Jibble?  No, it was a woman.  Was Alexander saving her?  Inconceivable! 

 

They smashed into the small outcrop of building that came out of the roof to give a cover to the stairs to the roof beside the elevator room.  They fell about three stories down the middle of the stairs before she caught a railing and pulled them off course down.  They hit part of the stairs and rolled onto the floor in the stairwell.

 

“Mindy?!”  Ruth stepped back from her… murderer when she saw who it was that had ‘saved’ her.

 

Slow clapping came from behind her.  Ruth turned quick from Mindy’s smiling face.  Fyodor was walking out from the door out of the stairs, clapping slow.

 

“Do you really think I’d let you off the hook that easy?”  He asked as he looked at her as though she were a foolish child.

 

Ruth looked back to where Mindy was, then to Fyodor again, her confusion radiated from her face.

 

“What the frell?”  She said as she kept looking between the two.

 

There was no place for her to escape, Mindy blocked the stairs up, and Fyodor the stairs down.  She thought about jumping down the middle again, but doubted she’d make it.

 

“Oh, forgive me, you two haven’t been properly introduced yet.”  Fyodor said with a cocky successful smirk.  “Ruth, this is my daughter Mindy, Mindy, you remember Ruth right?”  He motioned between them with a hand as he made his comical introduction.

 

“Oh daddy, how could I forget Ruthless, so easy to trick.”  Mindy said with a giggle that didn’t sound like anything Ruth  would have expected from the bubble-head.

 

Mindy didn’t seem bubble-headed at all now.  It had all been a rouse from the beginning.

 

“Oh, yes, we did pick you.  Like she said, you were all too easy to trick, so eager to be tricked.”  Fyodor said.

 

Ruth really hated his face right now, the way he wore his superior smile. 

 

Fyodor was right in her grill now.  “I can’t let you simply walk into the sun like that, no, no Ruthie.  That just wouldn’t serve my plan well.”

 

“She’s your daughter?”  Ruth said from confusion.

 

Fyodor’s eyebrows raised and he sighed giving the impression that Ruth bored him.

 

“Still riding the short bus are we?”  He began, with a condescending look.  “Yes, the product of our disobedience.  You really should use that lump three feet above your ass for something.”

 

He came to her side and put his arm around Ruth’s shoulders, she tried to move away but he forced her to stay.

 

“Tut, tut now, don’t be rude.  You see, just like her parents, she can’t leave this place until mommy is dead, and if you take a walk in the sunshine, well, we don’t want to have to wait for the next sucker.  You’re going to play your part if I have to bury you someplace deep until Alexander is thwarted.”  Fyodor kissed her on the cheek.

 

Mindy came up to her and licked her other cheek.  “Mmm, still tasty Ruthless.”

 

Mindy was quick, a lot quicker than Ruth had seen.  She wrapped a wood fibered cord around Ruth’s neck and pulled her back to a wall.  She slipped the two ends of the cord together and cinched it around her neck then hooked the other end to something on the wall leaving Ruth facing out.

 

The cord would cut off her head, then one of her two assailants would replace her head and force her to regenerate.  The fiber burned into her skin, was this what silver felt like to a werewolf?

 

“You can’t break this cord, it’s wood fibered as I… think you might have figured out.  Have you?”  Mindy quipped.

 

“Yeah, and if I try to take my own head off, you’ll just stick it back on.”  Ruth said coldly.

 

Fyodor smiled as Mindy giggled.  “I do think you have it Ruth, finally getting off the short bus.”  He brushed his hand across her face after he insulted her again.

 

Ruth knew that look in his eyes, knew what was about to happen.

 

Fyodor’s hand moved to her shirt and started unbuttoning it.  Mindy helped and undid the ties of her boots.  Ruth looked off at the exit sign above the door as her clothes were removed.  Fyodor was going to rape her.  Mindy would have her fun too probably, maybe just enjoy the show.  Mindy did like to watch.

 

Fyodor handed each of her feet to Mindy over Ruth’s shoulders and she held them there.  Ruth’s mind drifted back to the day in the park.  She looked at the hilt of Fyodor’s sword.  He laughed an evil laugh as he slapped his erect penis against her pelvic bone and clitoris.  He pulled back and shoved into her as hard as he could, bones broke in her from the force.

 

Ruth was limp as he thrust himself repeatedly on her.  Her arms flailed at her sides with each forward motion of her rapist.  Her head bounced off of her shoulder and leg.  Mindy watched, laughed and encouraged her father.

 

Ruth felt his release inside of her, he leaned in over her as he vocalized his pleasure.  Ruth grabbed the hilt of the sword.

 

She screamed as it burned her hand and electrified her.  Fyodor lurched with the shocking feeling that ran through her.

 

“Yeah baby, that it, hold that sword, I’m going to cum again!”  Fyodor growled out looking her in the eyes.

 

He had a werewolf sword.  She pulled her smoking hand from it finally. 

 

“Fill her good dad!”  Mindy yelled as she pulled Ruth’s legs back further.

 

Ruth was near unconscious when Fyodor pulled himself from her and turned to pull up his pants.  This seemed all to familiar to her.  Only this time she wouldn’t get her revenge by killing her rapist.  Mindy released her legs.

 

Something was shoved into the back of Ruth’s head, it caused her mouth to open and her fangs to extend.  She tried to look around but couldn’t move her head.  Then she saw what Mindy had in her hands, a rabbit.  She bent the animals head opening it’s neck to Ruth’s fangs and shoved the animal onto her fangs, forcing her to feed from it.

 

-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-The-Protectors-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-O-o-O-o-O-o-O-

 

Ruth actually enjoyed her time with the mind of a rabbit.  She saw and remembered everything that happened to her.  Mindy had dressed her in a white ballroom gown.  Her and Fyodor had hauled her out into the hallway to the elevator.  This early there wasn’t anyone in the building, and they had clearly planned this out well.

 

In the basement parking garage was a classic limousine with blacked windows for her in the back.  As it turned out, both father and daughter were alive and immune to the effects of sunlight.  Mindy drove while Fyodor sat with Ruth in the back waiting for the effects of the bunny blood to wear off.

 

When he realized she was coming out of the stupor from the animal mind, he took something from his pocket and put a finger in then rubbed his gloved finger on her gums.

 

“A paralytic, just to make sure you don’t try anything.”  He said with a smile.

 

It worked, Ruth couldn’t move her limbs at all.  She tried to speak.

 

“Where are you taking me?”  She slurred out.

 

“To your old friend Jibble’s.  He’ll be keeping an eye on you for us.”  Fyodor said with disinterest as he looked out the dark window.  “Minnie, how much longer?”

 

She looked at the speedometer before answering.  “Couple hours, two and a half, should be there by then daddy.”  She answered sounding more like the Mindy Ruth remembered.

 

While he looked on at the scenery as it passed Fyodor spoke to Ruth.

 

“Jibble serves a different master than our Alexander, Jibble is a nasty coward also.  He’ll do as he’s told and keep you safe till tomorrow night, after that I don’t give a shit what you do.  Alexander will be finished and you…” he looked over at Ruth now, his smile made her skin crawl, “well, you know what happens to you now don’t you.”  He ended laughing hard.

 

When they parked in the yard at Jibble’s front door, Fyodor stuffed Ruth into a body bag sealing her in from the light.  She could feel Mindy help as she was pulled from the car.  Fyodor spoke to Jibble’s day walkers, barking orders at them.

 

It sounded as though they didn’t argue any.  She heard the front door close behind them and she was dropped to the floor with a thud.

 

Mindy opened the bag, Jibble was standing at her head.

 

“You’ll keep her here till I tell you otherwise Jibble, or I’ll throw your nigger ass into the noonday sun!”  Fyodor yelled at her host.  “You understand what I’m telling you, you stupid coward?”

 

Jibble’s face spoke volumes about how he felt about Fyodor right now.  Ruth’s mind connected memories, it wasn’t Alexander that was the vilest of bigots, she had gotten it from her mate, Fyodor.  He was the fair skinned and haired, like his daughter was.  Alexander, or Eve, was the dark skinned and haired one.  He hated her for getting them kicked out of the garden, off of the garden was more accurate.

 

“Do whatever you want with this kike bitch, have your fun, I don’t care honestly, as long as she never sets foot outside of this house again, clear?”  Fyodor yelled.

 

Jibble nodded his head meekly.  Ruth saw his eyes, meek was not a word to describe what she saw in his eyes.  Jibble was acting his part.  Ruth saw that now, Fyodor and Mindy apparently had not.  Was this good for her or not?  She’d have to wait it out to find out.  She was Jibble’s for now.

 

Mindy kicked Ruth in the side while she lay in the body bag on her way out of the door behind her father.  What a pair they turned out to be, so dark inside.  Ruth would have to find a way to break free from Jibble, foil their plans by taking a walk in the sunlight.

 

Two vampires sealed the door closed.  Jibble knelt beside her, he had a syringe in his hand and stuck it in her jugular.  Whatever he put in her, released her from her paralysis. 

 

“Stand up slow and understand this.  I’m not about to let you out of this house, during the day.”  Jibble said to her with a solid look.

 

Ruth did as he instructed, and understood why.  Had she tried to stand normally, she’d have fallen fast.

 

“Why do you help him?”  Ruth asked as one of Jibble’s women came to her and helped her stand and walk as Jibble led them to a room.

 

“I don’t, I’m helping myself, and every other minion that’s had more than our fill of Fyodor and what he does.”  Jibble answered as he walked beside Ruth.

 

He looked over at her.  “We want Fyodor and his spawn gone, for good.  Now I do hope you can understand why.”

 

Ruth used her completed memories.  Fyodor had been manipulating everything.  It was him that helped Agent Duncan Galt and his team break open the coven his wife had run to.  Fyodor liked things run his way.  He was responsible for more minion deaths than the werewolves.  Ruth understood now.

 

With Fyodor gone, and Mindy though she wasn’t quite as hated as her father, the minions would free of them.  Alexander wasn’t the problem, Fyodor was.  If a minion didn’t do as Fyodor and Mindy ordered, they would soon vanish.  The minions feared them.  Fear breeds betrayal.

 

Ruth wondered as she sat in a chair if Fyodor knew this.  She suspected he did but didn’t care.  He may even want it, it would serve his desire to finally be allowed to die.  The only thing Fyodor needed now was Ruth to exist until the werewolves iced Alexander.  Alexander was the key, she kept Fyodor and Mindy, alive.  When Alexander died, the curse would transfer to Ruth and they would die.

 

And Jibble would help keep her alive, just to be rid of Fyodor.  How different things were than what they had originally seemed.

 

“Yes, I know, you get the curse.  Truth is, you already have it.  Immortality.  We minions would rather have just one problem instead of three.  Think of it this way, you’re the lesser of the evils we have to face.”  Jibble said to her.

 

Ruth looked around the room.  It looked like she and Jibble were alone here.  She could feel the presence of other eyes on her.  She’d have to sit here in her gilded cage for now.

 

 

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