The Protectors
Author: Fox Wild

Chapter 31
What Is Victory?

Chapter 31

 

What Is Victory?

 

 

 

It was an hour before nightfall.  This was the time slated for Snow and Bait to give their formal show that would be the precursor to the night’s events and the actual attack.  By now, every werewolf that was supposed to be there, should’ve arrived.

 

Hovlek was with Squat when Bait called out over the radio asking for a status report.

 

“Squat, do we have enough numbers?  How many do you estimate we have?”  Bait asked.

 

Squat was smiling large and was about to report back when Hovlek stopped him.

 

“Squat, Hovlek has this one, does Squat mind?”  Hovlek said to him.

 

Squat chuckled.  “No, not at all Hovlek, it’s all yours.”

 

Hovlek smiled back with a small bow and keyed his radio to answer Bait.  “Inquisitor Bait, Hovlek reporting.  Hovlek tell Bait, we have werewolf sign the likes of which God has never seen!”  He started laughing hard when he released the transmit button of his radio pack.

 

Containing himself he keyed up again and finished his report.  “It is the best estimate of Kevashka and Lord Mort, two million one hundred thousand are here at the service of Monarchs Lady Snow and Lord Bait!”  Hovlek’s voice was full of pride for what they had accomplished and the support their kin had shown by their presence.

 

Snow and Bait looked at each other.  They had been worrying about having enough forces to invade the coven and deal with the horde.  At least five hundred thousand was the needed numbers, minimum.  Whatever they had done right, was paying off.  Werewolves from all over the world had dropped everything to assist them, once they had dealt with Clay who seemed to be the main source of dissension.

 

“I guess we’ll be able to handle what’s left of the horde.”  Bait said to her as the impact of the numbers registered in his brain.  “Do we even need to drop the bomb?”

 

Snow looked off.  It was a logical question, unfortunately, so was the answer.

 

“Yes.  Alexander’s horde is considerably more than we even have here.  With what we have now, we not only will be able to defeat the horde, we’ll be able to contain it here instead of fighting across the city.  Wiping out as many as we can with the bomb is what makes that possible.  Now, if we destroy half of the horde, it’s a one to one battle.”  She informed him.

 

Bait hadn’t realized how large the horde was.  She hadn’t filled him in on that detail yet.  Seven had just recently given an accurate estimate thanks to his listening device.  Lord Mort, Kevashka and Snow had been estimating half a million forces needed under the assumption of twice as many vampires lurked below.  They had used what recruitment numbers they had from field reports.

 

Those numbers were highly skewed. 

 

“You haven’t read Seven’s report yet have you?”  She asked.

 

Bait shook his head, still floored by the sheer number of vampires below them.

 

“Thanks to Jibble, Seven was able to make some adjustments.  He just sent it out an hour ago.  He estimates around five million in the horde.”  Snow informed him.  “Plus, with what our new allies have told us, Alexander’s been storing vampires in hibernation for a couple hundred years.  The recruiting parties have been taking humans and keeping them alive for their blood to bring those in hibernation back.”  She sighed.

 

Bait shook his head again.  “And that’s how he was able to keep his horde hidden from us.”  He surmised.  The thought crossed his mind that this was also why his wife wanted to find a way to rehydrate a vampire without needing live human.

 

“Between that, and help from Clay, who held back information.”  Snow added.

 

“And no watchers kept the immortals blind.”  He followed her line of thought.

 

“Yup.”  Snow snipped with a cross tone.

 

Sea Mist came bounding up.  “Hey, you two have to get on stage, time to start the real deal here.”  She said to them with a perky attitude.

 

Bait looked over at Sea Mist.  “So how exactly does this work now?  Kettle drums and sound vibrations?”

 

Sea chortled.  “Yes, the bass beat will cause harmonics that will create fractures along the dome of the cavern, just like the blasting did only this time starting at the surface.  With the circle we build around it, the edge of the fracture will start about four feet in front of the drum line.  Seven helped me design the drums to create a line of ELF tones in the rock.  It’s really freaking neat!”

 

Sea Mist was very excited to use music as an attack.  Snow and Bait understood the basic mechanics of what was being done, in a way they were creating an earthquake that would drop the top in on their foes.

 

“How many drummers do you have?”  Snow asked.

 

Sea Mist snorted.  “We had panned for about thirty thousand, we have many more than that.  Their drums aren’t tuned and built like the rest, but they will add to the percussion effect.”

 

They nodded at her.  And hoped it would work.  If it didn’t, they’d be in for a shit storm.

 

Sea Mist was urging them to get to the stage, Snow and Bait put on their sunglasses, she picked up her black bag, and they followed Sea Mist to the stage.

 

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Alexander smashed the table she was next to with a fist.  She still had the advantage of numbers.  The werewolves may have blocked an exit or two, but not all of them.  And there was the building on the surface.  She was certain they didn’t know it opened up into a large exit for her horde.

 

Had they known that, they wouldn’t have setup around it.  She smiled.  This might work out well after all, with her enemies nicely condensed around her they’d be easier to attack all at once.

 

“Get the horde ready!  Mitchell!”  She bellowed.

 

“Yes my dark master.”  He replied as he slinked up to her.

 

“Tell the horde to get ready, I want them all near the top and ready to open the main hatch.  Flip that building, that church open and I want them to pour up into the night sky and down onto the werewolves from above!”  She ordered.

 

She turned and paced a few steps then turned back to Mitchell.  “Have them go the second of nightfall.  The werewolves will be expecting us to wait.  Yes.  They will at that.  Everyone to the top!”

 

Mitchell gave an excited face to his master.  “Excellent, most excellent master, you are so very right!  We will catch them off guard and destroy them for your glory!”

 

Alexander sneered at him.  “I’m so happy you approve.  Why are you still here?!  We have less than an hour!  Get the horde ready!”  She screamed.

 

Mitchell bowed fast and made for the door.  He paused outside the door, he face wasn’t excited anymore.  The horde, all at the top?  That might be just what they want.  He thought to himself.  His master had been making bad judgments about their enemies, underestimating them at every turn.

 

He walked off slowly, giving the door to Alexander’s tub room a look as he thought.  His master just might not be around much longer.  That would leave Mitchell in a bit of a spot.  With this thought in mind he hurried off and gave out Alexander’s orders.

 

-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-

 

Hovlek had volunteered to do the introduction song before Snow and Bait put on their Blues Brothers bit.  He followed the script and opted to do Mini The Moocher as the lead in.  A few people, including Snow and Bait, were a bit worried about this.  None present had ever really heard him sing, outside of Iko.

 

The slow blues progression started and Hovlek did his part so far.  He strutted and moved with the horns that blew the beat.

 

Hey folks here’s a story ‘bout Mini the moocher, she was a low down hoochie coocher.  She was the roughest toughest frail, but Mini had a heart as big as a whale!  Hovlek belted out.

 

Smokey joined him on stage, he danced in and stood by, taking to cutting across the front of where Hovlek stood.  He was being a true ham as Hovlek sang.

 

She messed around with a bloke named Smokey!  She loved him though he was cokie.  He took her down to China town, and he showed her how to kick the gong around! 

 

The crowd was well in tune with Hovlek, singing their part perfectly.  Mud backed Hovlek up with a trumpet which she was equally as good with as she was her selection of saxophones. 

 

“When he sings, he’s good.  I never would have expected that.”  Bait said with a chuckle.

 

They watched as he did Cab Calloway justice. 

 

Snow nodded.  “We just need a use for glue now.”

 

Bait rolled his eyes at her with a groan.  The song was nearing it’s end now, soon they would be taking to the back stage and setting up for their entrance.

 

The crowd started cheering as Hovlek took his bow to them.  Snow and Bait gave each other a look and a smile, then started for the backstage entrance.  The lights on the stage went down after Hovlek left.  Though it was still daylight, it did give a bit of a darkening effect to the overall stage. 

 

The band was dressed to the nines now, black tails and ties.  They looked every bit upper class high society now, like true big band from the days of swing, the all familiar sound of the Blues Brothers intro started.

 

Cody started walking onto the stage from the front left.  The fast beat of the band became loud as he waved to the audience.  He went to the old Marconi styled microphone, which was live now and not a prop.  He would introduce them then they would do their songs.  Once they finished they would be in the audience to watch the rest of the show.  At sundown, the fun began.  Sea Mist’s drummers would be setting up while Snow and Bait performed.

 

Cody leaned into the microphone and began his introduction in Blues Brothers fashion. 

 

Good evening ladies and gentleman and welcome to the coven of Alexander.  Well here it is early in the twenty-first century, you know so much of the music we hear today is preprogrammed electronic bullshit, we never get a chance to hear master bluesmen performing their craft anymore.  By the year two thousand fifty the music known as the blues will exist only in the classic disc section of your local public library, if those still exist.  So tonight, ladies and gentlemen, while we still can, let us welcome, she born in Embarrass Minnesota, he born in Providence, the one in Rhode Island, the blues band of Monarchs Snow and Bait!  The Blues Wolves!

 

When Cody finished the band standing about eight feet behind him parted and let Snow and Bait come through to the roar of the crowd which nearly drowned out the music.

 

They approached the microphone waving, dressed in Blues Brothers style.  Snow carried an attaché case in her right hand, handcuffed to her wrist.  As the music died down and the crowd followed its cue to quiet, two people dressed similarly to Snow and Bait came to Snow and unlocked the handcuffs and removed them from her.

 

She set the case down next to her as an assistant came up to Bait and brought him his guitar.  Bait leaned into the microphone.

 

“Thank you!  Thank you very much, we’re very thankful that so many of you made the trek here to be with us tonight at Bash Two, Alexander’s Downfall!”

 

The crowd roared again and Bait waited for them to have their moment.  Once they had simmered down, he continued with his introduction.

 

“We are the blues combination of Snow and Bait, The Blues Wolves!  Sing along if you know this one!”  Bait announced then gave a head nod to the band and the song started with Bait leading off on the lead guitar.

 

Comin’ to ya, on a dusty road, good lovin’ I gotta truck load...  Bait sang, the crowd quickly followed with applause.

 

Snow and Bait danced on stage as they performed Soul Man.  Snow didn’t play anything yet but did harmonize with the Bait and the backup singers.  She made a big production out of unlocking and opening her attaché case and removing her harmonica.  She played her part then stowed the mouth organ in a pocket for later use.

 

The crowd roared again when they finished, chants of their names rambled through the audience.  The Monarchs hammed it up and bowed and waved to the crowd along with ‘thank you’ shouted out to their fans.

 

Bait leaned to the microphone again.  “This next song is an old King Floyd tune called Groove Me.  And just like the Blues Brothers, we’ve changed it a bit.” 

 

Some hoots came from the audience.  The reggae beat started.  Bait did the vocals and played lead again.  Snow grooved next to him.  Sea Mist walked out doing her own groovin’ dance while smoking a large fat joint.

 

She went to Bait and made encouraging motions with her hands and even offered him a toke.  He only sang a line at her then returned to paying attention to the audience. 

 

…but when I come to this country babe I bring a little surprise for you.  Bait sang to Sea Mist.

 

She returned her line, “What did you bring me mon?

 

…seventy five pounds of lambs bread from Jamaica babe!  Bait sang.

 

The song ended and he introduced the next bit they would do.  He had to twist her arm, figuratively, but Snow agreed to do it, for the Blues Brothers theme.

 

“I promised Lady Snow she could do a song,”  He said to the crowd then looked at Snow, “you’re going to do a song, right Snow?”

 

Looking at the crowd she leaned to the microphone and said, “Yup”, then leaned back with a smile.

 

“Alright this is a song by the Chips, Snow!”  Bait announced then threw his arm out towards his mate and the band followed his lead and started playing.

 

Snow centered herself on the microphone and did her best baritone scat singing.  hrm, do that again,” she sang making Bait laugh.

 

She was entertaining the audience well, her goofy dancing with the song and facial movements added a lot to her performance. 

 

What-a-ya want for nothing? R-r-r-r-r-r-r-rubber biscuit?  Snow sang with a high pitched giggle at the end.

 

The band played the closing rhythm and Snow stepped to the side of the microphone and bowed to her audience as Bait did his part.

 

“Snow ladies and gentleman, your Trustee, Snow!  I’m her mate, Bait!”  He said with a laugh he couldn’t contain any longer. 

 

Again the applause roared out from the crowd.

 

Bait leaned into the microphone again and made his next announcement.

 

He made a flagging motion with his hand and the stage rotated towards the church building of Alexander, the crowd was thinner there not having as much depth to stand in.

 

“I’d like to dedicate this next song to Alexander.”  He said and the crowd started booing and jeering. 

 

Insults against Alexander were shouted out and Bait with Snow doing the same made downward motions with their palms flat in front of them for the crowd to calm down.

 

“Alexander!  You’ve done some underhanded deals, you laid some grand schemes.  All you’ve been doing sport, is messing with the kid.”  Bait continued then pointed to the band and they took off.

 

What’s this I hear, there’s a whole lotta talk.  People say, try to put the kid down yeah, yeah.  Tell Bait what you did.  C-call it what you want, I call it messing with the kid!  Bait pointed at the church while he sang.

 

Ace was in the band now, she played a Les Paul and handled the guitar rhythm fill part.

 

…hey Snow, you wanna mess with the kid?”

 

“No, no, Bait, I don’t wanna mess with the kid.”  Snow responded with a gruff voice.

 

Bait turned around and faced the band.  How bout you guys back there, you wanna mess with the kid?

 

No, no Bait, we don’t want to mess with the kid.  The band responded.

 

Next he held out his hands to the audience.  How bout you people out there, you wanna mess with the kid? 

 

“NO!”  The audience yelled back.

 

Mud came forward and played her saxophone, leaning into her rips.  She made a sax do things you wouldn’t believe could be done on a sax.

 

The closing Blues Brothers music started up right after Bait ended his song.  Snow put her harmonica back into the case and the two men returned and handcuffed it to her wrist again.  They bowed and waved to their audience, making a right sweep across the front of the stage then moving back left where they exited the stage.

 

Blade Dance and Squat came out onto the stage and introduce themselves.  They took over with some hard core classic rock songs that really got the audience pumped up.  Sea Mist was back in the greenroom building with Snow and Bait.

 

“Awesome job lizard tails.  Got me impressed.”  She told them and gave each a sock in the arm.  “I was worried though when I heard Snow was going to sing.”  She tossed her head back and laughed.  “I was afraid you’d sing like you play.” 

 

She gave Snow a concerned look.  “You know, for a werewolf, you seem a little lax in the music talent department.”

 

Snow made a mocking face at her sister and flipped her the bird. 

 

Hovlek overhead what was said, even though Sea was only being playful and wasn’t truly serious, she was still stating her perception of Snow’s talent.  She wasn’t known for her musical ability.

 

Hovlek strode right up to Sea Mist getting right in her face.  He snorted at her hard enough her hair flew from the blast.

 

“Hey, you don’t have to live up to the bull part of your name you know!”  She said backing from him and waving her hand across her face.

 

Hovlek grabbed Snow by the arm.  “Snow comes with Hovlek.  Put sister in small place.”  He said and started pulling her along while looking at Sea Mist over a shoulder.  “Big mouth go to audience, get put in small place.”  He told Sea.

 

She raised an eyebrow at him and shrugged.  “Fine, she wants to be embarrassed, so be it.  Come on Bait, lets go watch, geez I was only joking, people can’t take a joke anymore.”

 

“Well, she is touchy about that, shutting up would have been a good idea.”  He scolded at her while he followed.

 

In his mind he was expecting something, Hovlek wouldn’t have drug Snow off like that if he didn’t know something the others didn’t.  He smiled to himself with this thought.

 

Snow was trying to argue with Hovlek as he drug her along.

 

“Enough, Snow needs to show all, who and what Snow is.  Hovlek will be there with Snow.  Hovlek knows.”  He said to her, pausing only to tap his temple when he said he knew.

 

The two walked across the stage while the first song Blade Dance and Squat were playing was nearing the finish, but Hovlek didn’t wait for that.

 

“Halt, Hovlek says halt!  Stop playing!”  He yelled causing a sudden silence from both the stage and crowd.

 

“What’s he saying?”  Bait asked Sea Mist.

 

They were standing at the front of the stage with the crowd.

 

Sea Mist reached into her dim-pocket and pulled out a small white wooden folding chair and put it behind Bait then pulled one for herself.  Bait looked around as she did this and saw others doing the same thing.

 

“Opera chair, sit.  Hovlek’s calling for an opera, it’s a werewolf opera.”  Sea Mist told Bait.  She looked down at the ground after she sat down.  “I’m sorry your Grace, I should’ve kept my mouth shut.”

 

Bait nodded with only half attention on Sea.  He was watching the audience as they produced a chair and sat down.  “What, do you all carry chairs with you?”

 

Sea Mist nodded, “Yes, opera chairs, you never know when one might break out.”  She answered with a shrug.

 

He looked over at her with a raised eyebrow.  Hovlek started calling for the orchestra pit.  People were moving all over stage making the changes needed to play the opera he had demanded.  Soon, all were in place and Cody came to where the orchestra was and took place as conductor.

 

Cody raised his baton up and held his position as he looked over the orchestra.  He had changed clothes now and was in a tuxedo with tails and a white bowtie.  He was watching Snow and Hovlek out of the corner of his eye waiting.

 

Hovlek gave a nod and Cody brought the orchestra to life with a movement of his baton.  He looked every bit the professional conductor.

 

Snow had closed her eyes and listened to the music as it ramped up.  Her body swayed and moved with the music until the time for her to sing came.  Her eyes opened, and from her mouth came a pure solid operatic voice of majesty. 

 

Bait smiled as he observed from his side vision the shocked open mouthed reaction of Sea Mist.  He himself was very impressed as he listened to his lover sing in such a beautiful voice that carried across the field and woods.  Her range was amazing, she climbed to the highest notes then dropped octaves and carried the low tones with ease. 

 

She moved along the stage as she sang, turning to Hovlek at the right time as though she had rehearsed the opera just for this performance.

 

“She… she’s remarkable!”  Sea commented.

 

Bait nodded.  “Yes, she could give Renee Fleming a run for her money with singing like that!”

 

Now Bait joined Sea Mist in the open mouthed shocked expression, Hovlek sang out with a deep clear voice that rumbled through the air.

 

The crowd was in a hush throughout the entire performance Snow and Hovlek gave.  When they bowed at their finish, all stood from their seats, applauded and cried for an encore.  Snow whispered to Hovlek who talked to Cody who then instructed the orchestra on what to play next.

 

The piece was a solo part for Snow.  Her clear crisp and full ranged voice filled the dusk air.  Though the audience begged for more, she took her bows and retreated from the stage, giving it over to her brother and Blade Dance.

 

“Let that be a lesson to you pumpkin-head.”  Bait said to Sea Mist while they made their way back to the greenroom.

 

-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-

 

“Ten minutes till nightfall, ten minutes!  Sea Mist, Ace, everyone else, ten minutes get on stage!”  Kevashka yelled into the greenroom. 

 

Snow keyed her radio.  “WeiBoing, start passing out your energy drink!”  She ordered.

 

Caffeinated werewolves, this would be interesting.

 

It was time for Sea Mist to take the reigns again on stage.  She would perform and lead into the song that the drums would take over. 

 

“Drums are set Sea, got the extras set the best I could.”  Seven told her.

 

“Thanks Seven, this better work or we’re frelled.”  She was feeling ill. 

 

It was her idea to use the drums to cause the fracture.  Seven had counted on her to get the frequencies of the drums right.  Sea Mist was feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders right now.

 

“Maybe we should test them one more time… now while we can.”  She said to Seven, her face conveyed her worry.

 

He looked at her, into her.  Seven slowly walked up to her with a kind smile and place a hand on each of her shoulders.  He looked her deep in the eyes then leaned his head forward and touched his forehead to hers for a moment then looked her in the eyes again.

 

“Dear one, we are ready, you have done the best you can.  That is all anyone can ask of you.  Your work is good, you logic sound.  No pun intended.  It will work Sea, I feel it in me bones I do.”  He smile again and kissed her on the forehead.  “That dome is coming down because of you.”

 

His words made her feel better.  He had been very supportive of her on this entire idea.  If anyone among them knew whether or not it would work, it was Seven.

 

“Thanks.”  She replied with a light smile still tainted with worry, a little less than before.

 

“Come on Marshal Sea Mist, on stage now!  Time, time, time!”  Kevashka yelled again.

 

“Right!”  Sea Mist said trying to sound confidant. 

 

She walked with meaning from the greenroom and to the stage.  Ace was already on stage and set when Sea Mist arrived.  She looked at her and smiled.  Having her there somehow made it easier on her.  Ace looked up to her, Sea didn't know why, but she liked it.

 

Looking around the stage she felt better.  On stage is where she felt at home.  Eight minutes now.  The lights that aimed at the stage were dark and in the dusk light, it looked darkened.  Sea took a deep breath, she had to begin now if she were to keep things in time.  Time… it all came down to her and keeping things to the precise second.

 

Sea Mist took her place behind a crate she would use as her prop to show from after the music started.  She felt like she was going to toss on stage right now.  She’d never had stage fright in her life, now was not the time for the first case of it.

 

She looked up, Ace was looking right at her.  Sea Mist froze, she didn’t want her to see her like this.  Ace smiled gently and bowed her head to Sea slowly.

 

“Right.”  Sea Mist said quietly to herself.  She keyed her radio.  “Go!”  She said.

 

A single loud gonging bass drum sounded off.  A half second later a second beat hit.  The sheet of metal used to simulate thunder filled in between the two beats.  Two seconds passed then the third hit followed by the rattle of thunder.  A cymbal crashed and was electronically reverberated. 

 

The synthesized reverse of the thunder sound came in and the techno rap beat started and Sea slithered up onto the crate in the skin tight outfit she wore.  After each of the first four lines she sang, Sea struck a different sexy pose.  She started on her hands and knees moving seductively and ended with her bottom sticking out towards the audience looking back at them.

 

A single spotlight lit Sea Mist when she started.

 

Sexy boys,

Fancy boys,

Playboys,

Bad boys.”

 

She rolled backwards off the crate and popped herself out from the shoulders up from the side of the crate, switched to the other side, then popped up at the top in the same way with each of the first three lines, leaping onto the top of the crate with the forth.

 

I fink you freaky and I like you a lot!

 

I fink you freaky and I like you a lot!

 

I fink you freaky and I like you a lot!

 

I fink you freaky and I like you a lot!

 

The main techno beat came in large.  Sea Mist danced wildly on the top of the crate.  Wolves came charging from hiding in the back of the stage and moved around in various rhythms with the pumping beat.  Ace ran across the stage while Sea danced, the wolves circled around her and she jumped high in the air, changed into a duck and landed in Sea Mist’s outstretched hands.

 

Sea looked the duck in the eyes then turned her face and the duck’s to the crowd and started singing again.

 

Motherfrellers get buzzed off the spice that I bring, guess who’s got the party jumping?  Sea tossed the duck (Ace) into the air and she flew off and circled the stage.

 

Glow in the dark rave, aura pumping.  It’s nice and different, yo! Frell the system…

 

Ace flew back and Sea held her facing the audience again while she sang.  She tossed Ace back into the air again and danced wildly with the wolves as she sang.  This time when the duck landed it was on the stage down from Sea Mist and Ace returned to herself again and danced across the stage and passed close behind Sea Mist and down the other side of the stage.

 

The stage lights flashed and moved across the floor show that was going on.  Wolves changed into werewolves and danced while others remained wolves and ran between them jumping.  The werewolves took to chasing after them and doing summersaults in the air.

 

The crowd was jumping and pumping fists in the air as the song progressed.  Looking out from the stage it looked like a sea of people moving with the tide.  Sea Mist had her song timed at three minutes fifty seconds.  She wouldn’t miss a beat or fermata a note, she would be perfect.  She kept that thought in mind as she worked.

 

Ace leapt into the air again and changed to her duck form and flew to Sea Mist when she started the chorus again.

 

Sea Mist could feel Seven at the controls as Blade Dance’s voice was held electronically as he came from back center stage walking forward holding his note until he stepped with a hop onto the top of the crate and did a long step down from it with his arms outstretched.

 

Hold… … … up!  Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute-minute, Jesus Christ… yo my man DJ High Tek, shit, this motherfrelling beat is nice.  Back in the day them dwankies didn’t want to believe in us…

 

Ace did a squatting dance as she moved around Blade Dance in a circle. 

 

From the side of the crowd as he made his way to his place for the attack, Bait looked back at the stage and hesitated for a moment.  His face was less than approving of what he saw.  He broke his gaze and moved off.

 

As Sea Mist finished the song, without waiting for anyone else she charged from the stage while the beat was ending and ran to where the drums were.  She stripped from her clothes as she ran, talking into her radio.  No time for a dressing room, she had lingered in back too long.

 

Mud ran up to where she would pass, Kevashka was moving a bit down the line with Max, Grey and Meadow taking places further down the path Sea Mist was on.  As she passed each they handed an article of clothing for her next show.  The show must go on and a good performer would always improvise and keep moving.

 

Good was an understatement about Sea Mist.

 

“Drummers to the ready!!”  Sea Mist bellowed into the seconds from nightfall air.

 

Most were already standing at their drums.  By the time Sea Mist turned around to face the drummers nearest her, all had their mallets in hand and poised to strike. 

 

Striking an Elvis pose with one hand pointing up at a near forty-five degree angle; the other held downward in line as much as she could with her other hand and her head down, Sea Mist signaled the band to start.

 

Blade Dance spoke the beginning.  Yo, what’s up, think you can frell with someone like us?  He started scat sounding a electronic drum set.

 

Vikki, with his bottom bass voice thudded the next line.  What you mean, someone like us?  He started the drums.  There were three steel drums in front of him, he pounded them one by one down the line and when he struck the final drum, on the next beat all of the drums sounded.

 

Deafening didn’t begin to describe the sound that exploded from the circle around the building that marked Alexander’s current home. 

 

The glass in the building blew from the few windows in it.  Unseen by the werewolves, the same thing happened to the unfortunate day walkers inside the building.  It was a good thing werewolves regenerated, else they all would have been stone deaf instantly.

 

Fortunately for Bait, he had the good sense to be prepared.  He had inserted foam earplugs into his ears and placed protective muffs over his ears on the outside.  The force of the sound still caused him pain though, not to mention the rest of his body.

 

Vampires, are hollow boned.  Not having a need for marrow, or to say, not having living marrow, what remains inside the bone after a turning soon is consumed by the vampires body.  Leaving them as fragile as a birds. 

 

The other disadvantage of having hollow bones is the effect an insurmountable amount of bass has on the body of a hollow boned creature.  Sea Mist nor any of the others had any idea that their foes had amassed under them and were about to storm from their own hole that would open in the ground.

 

The echoing sound waves in the vampires blew their minds in an entirely new way; first paralyzing them from the echoes inside their bones then scrambling their brains.  It would take a while for the malt shake of brains inside their skulls to regenerate, if at all.

 

The vampires below the brain scrambled vampires were knocked down by their falling comrades, who were experiencing mostly just the paralyzing effects of the sound.  They fell onto the vampires below them with the ones from above them adding to the weight falling on them.  The entire mass of vampire fell into the next layer where the domino effect stopped.

 

This layer of vampires however, was not unaffected by the sound from above.  Alexander’s plan to swarm his enemies failed.

 

Sea Mist was dancing down the circle with a tight face.  Her hands were fists that she pounded the air with as she moved, like a metronome for those playing the drums.  She was feeling the vibrations in the ground and gauging their intensity, frequency and affect on the dome over the coven below.

 

She started thrusting her arms harder, the drummers pounded harder with her.  Sea Mist didn’t hear Cody call out over the command channel, he was getting the stagecoach rolling.

 

The sound of the drums started to have a different sound, but if you listened carefully, you would hear it wasn’t the drums that changed.  The echo from the ground changed, the way the sound moved through it.  Had you been there, what really would have happened to you wasn’t a change in sound at all, rather the vibrations from the ground into your body giving you the illusion of sound is what changed.

 

The earth inside the circle near the inner circle of the day walkers safety zone turned to sand.  The church like building flowed with the sand as it dropped with gravity, no longer having any structure to the wood and material that it was built from.  It was like the building had turned to a liquid.

 

Sea Mist didn’t stop, she kept on her path around the circle, about three feet from the edge of the hole she had created.

 

From over the tree line, a blaze of orange and yellow light burned in the now night sky.  The blaze came closer at a comet’s speed.  Soon the stagecoach was visible and the cry of the coachman as he commanded the team of fire snorting horses.

 

Buffalo Bill Cody was making his final run, with Calamity Jane at his side.  From over the radio, This Means War by AC/DC started to blare.  Where whichever one of the riders brought the song in was at the chorus of the song.

 

The horses pulled up, making their line and the coach arch into the air. They neared the center of the hole, Cody could be seen pulling hard on the reigns, Calamity pulled a box of some kind on a strap from her side to her front.  She was arming the bomb.

 

The horses dove straight down into the pit.

 

“YEE-HAW!”  Cody and Calamity yelled as they descended into the pit.

 

Sea Mist charged away from the pit, the drummers and the crowd all turned around and lay flat on the ground.  The werewolves that Sea Mist landed on, grabbed her and pulled her under them.

 

The explosion was so loud, it couldn’t be heard.  The light coming from the hole, made the sun seem dim. 

 

Every werewolf present was carrying their sword, as would be expected.  Tonight, they had all worn them across their back, at the request of Seven, and the order of Snow.

 

A blue shell formed over the prone werewolves, all their swords spreading out and touching making a dragon scale looking shield over them.

 

The light subsided as fast as it came.  Swords were swords again, the werewolves stood and turned towards the pit.  They didn’t wait for what remained of the horde to come to them.  The edges of the pit looked like a waterfall.

 

-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-

 

Mitchell had always viewed himself as the smartest of Alexander’s slaves.  Even when his master picked some woman to serve as his second, they died while he went on.  To him, that meant he was smarter.

 

Ever since Alexander built this latest coven, Mitchell had his suspicions of how things might end here.  He had come with his dark master from overseas.  At each coven built, he always arranged for his own escape route, this one was no different.  It had actually been the easiest to build an alternate escape route in over ones in cities. 

 

Survival was the prize now.  He left before sunset and was no where near the cave-in caused by the werewolves.  Alexander would hear none of his counsel, which was to be expected.  So he had taken to his private tunnel and was near the exit out now.  The werewolves hadn’t touched this one.

 

He was about twenty feet from making his escape when he froze in place and his mind locked.  Only his eyes moved around on their own while he stood, held by his master’s mind control over him.

 

Alexander came walking up, she had a sexiness to her saunter. 

 

“Mitchell, you little worm.  Leaving without me?”  She said to him.

 

When she came to stand in front of him, though his face didn’t move, he was gawking at her.  What was wrong with her?  Her body?  This sight terrified him more than being caught.

 

He tried to answer her, his mouth wouldn’t work for him.

 

“You’ve done well, thank you for this tunnel, slave.  And the others you built.  Nice to see someone’s been thinking.  Two others right?  Yes, that’s what your mind has.  Do you really think you could build your escape tunnels without my knowing of them?”  Alexander laughed at him.

 

She came close to him and lightly slapped a hand against his face.  She stoked his head laying his hair back down from the mess it had become as he ran down the tunnel.

 

“Dear sweet plotting Mitchell.  Your tunnels will be of great value to me, my army will use them now.  You won’t, but thanks for the effort.”  She said to him then turned away.

 

He could hear the sounds of others coming down the tunnel now.  He couldn’t make a sound as his master walked away from him.  He felt the surge building inside himself.  He couldn’t even piss himself now.  He could only close his eyes as the destructive wave hit him, turning him into a fine mist that fell to the ground and was unnoticed by the vampires that stormed past where Mitchell used to exist.

 

When Alexander cleared the end of the escape tunnel, she ordered her slaves to attack, flanking the werewolves.  She herself changed to her daemon form and charged in.  She only needed to clear the area around the entrance to the portal chamber.  Once she was inside that, she could care less about how the battle went.  When she activated the portal, she would be the winner.

 

-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 had been weighing her options of escape from Jibble’s.  Attacking her host would put them at odds forever.  Was that worth the risk?  Risk or not, she needed to get out.  Nightfall was coming fast.

 

She wasn’t being held prisoner in a formal fashion, she could walk around the rooms of the house and the coven below unhindered.  Eyes followed her wherever she went though.  If she did try and leave, she would do so with resistance. 

 

Despite being under constant observation, she had been left pretty much alone.  No one came to talk with her or provide company.  She actually wanted some.  It had been a long day spent in the comforts of Jibble’s home.  He was an elegant host to say the least.

 

She was sitting in a library room when a man came into the room and addressed her.

 

“Master Jibble would like for you to come to him, Miss Ruthless.”  He said to her when he stood in front of her.

 

He was being very formal, from the way he walked to the way he stood at attention before her.  Ruth wondered what was up, was Jibble going to cage her someplace or just trying to make sure she didn’t try anything by giving her his personal attention?

 

Ruth smiled mostly politely.  She stood slowly rubbing her hands down her legs as she stood.  She felt empty in a way she’d never felt before.  There was something else, a feeling, from inside her that wasn’t… normal.

 

“Of course.  I’ll be along in a minute, after I freshen up.”  She told him hoping he would leave her.

 

He did just that.  He gave her a proper bow then left the room.  Ruth went out of the library to her ‘room’ and changed her clothes.  She splashed some brine water on her face and brushed her hair and checked herself in the mirror.  Only minions and high officers, those with a reasonable amount of their intelligence left, actually cared about their looks.

 

Ruth went to the room Jibble called his receiving room where he met with slaves and those from other covens.  His servants and ladies were with him when she entered.  He commanded them away, even his private guard was told to stand down.

 

Interesting…’ Ruth thought to herself.  Jibble was up to something.  She had that feeling again, not the odd one, rather the good one that something was about to happen in her favor.

 

“Wine?”  Jibble offered.

 

Ruth shook her head.

 

Jibble gave her a look.  “Oh please, don’t be a shit.  It’s a very good year, four I think.”  He said with a smile and poured a glass for her.

 

He took his glass from the table leaving the one he filled for Ruth sitting, he drank from his glass and motioned with a hand at her glass.  Ruth bobbled her head from side to side with a ‘what the hell, why not’ expression and took the drink he offered.

 

It was a good year.  A very smooth wine.  Jibble went and sat in his favorite chair.  One similar was across from him for whomever he was talking with.

 

“Please, sit.  Sundown is soon, I know you’ll be wanting to leave as soon as it’s safe.”  Jibble smiled after he said this.

 

Ruth sat.  He had her interest now, he didn’t intend to keep her as ordered.  Again, interesting.

 

She drank more of her wine, Jibble said nothing.  He apparently was waiting on her.

 

“So, you’re disobeying Fyodor’s orders?”  She finally asked unable to contain herself, and wanting to hurry things along if she were being allowed to leave.

 

This would make things much easier then having to defeat his forces to make her escape.

 

Jibble laughed hard, smacking a hand on the arm of his chair.

 

“Fyodor, ordered!  That’s rich.”  Jibble laughed out.  He composed himself some.  “Fyodor couldn’t order a pizza!”  Jibble took his glass of wine and used it to calm himself as he drank. “Ruthless, dear Ruthless, Fyodor has been tossed out into the noon day sun so many times by his mate.  He always works solo, have you ever wondered why he never commands any of Alexander’s slaves?”

 

Ruth stared back at him, emotionless and cautious.

 

Jibble tittered.  “Because he can’t!  He’s just a little bitch.  Unless Alexander tells his slaves to take directions from Fyodor, he is powerless over them.  Even then, if they don’t like his suggestions, the vampires don’t have to do a thing he tells them.”

 

Jibble stood from his chair, he crossed the room.  He motioned for Ruth to come with.  At the backside of the room they were in was a large curtain.  Grabbing a cord on the one end, Jibble worked at pulling it, opening the curtain.  Behind it was a makeshift wall, and spread out over the wall was Fyodor in parts.

 

His head was mounted six to eight inches above the neck of his torso which was also secured to the wall.  His arms had been detached along with his legs and each mounted just out of regeneration range.  The wall sat in a trough that the blood that continually poured from his parts ran into and was drained off.

 

“This is the great Fyodor!  He is here so I may watch this prick die!”  Jibble broke into a gleeful laugh.

 

He started to snort from his laughing fit and smacked his upper leg with his hand as he laughed at Fyodor.

 

The head of Fyodor tried to talk.  “I stuffed his mouth with rags and sewed it shut.”  Jibble informed Ruth. 

 

“What’s that Fyodor?  Sorry old man, can’t hear you, alls I’m getting here is mumble, mumble, mumble.”  Jibble turned from facing the wall mounted Fyodor and walked back to his chair.

 

Ruth looked Fyodor over with a half cocked smirk.  The sight did please her.  After she’d had her fill of scoffing at him, she joined Jibble where he sat.

 

“I don’t get it, why were you doing what he said before?”  She asked.

 

He shot Ruth a coy look.  “Really now.”  He said then tittered again.  “People make mistakes when they think you’re afraid of them, that they actually have the upper hand.  Fyodor was very sloppy.  Big balled, made it easy to snatch him in the daylight.”  Jibble drank from his glass again as he tittered looking at Fyodor on the wall.

 

“You’re free to leave anytime you want, with my blessing even.  There’s nothing you can do to stop what is going to happen.  Fyodor just never was good at waiting, always trying to get the black daemon here early.  All things in good time, all things in their time.”  Jibble set his glass down and leaned forward at Ruth.

 

“You see, it wouldn’t work until the Trustee and Inquisitor had been revealed.  Fyodor always seemed to miss that little fact.  They are here now, and you are the real black daemon.”  Jibble tittered again.  “And I finally get to watch him die.  Go, have your fun.  You’ll be the one cursed, like I said, you already are.”

 

Ruth understood now.  Jibble didn’t plan anything, he didn’t try and cause things to happen.  He simply watched and waited for things to take their natural course.  He acted only when he saw the timing was right. 

 

She was in the roll she was destined to be in.  Alexander would die, Fyodor and Mindy would follow.  Ruth wondered what became of Mindy, did Jibble have her mounted to another board someplace?  She suspected not, Mindy was of little interest to Jibble.

 

Ruth looked back at Fyodor again.  He couldn’t die, his parts were close enough to try and regenerate together, but not close enough to actually connect.  This kept him from growing new parts, he was suffering at the hands of Jibble until his mate was slain.  This was Jibble’s revenge for years Fyodor’s medaling and causing trouble. 

 

He took great pleasure in the suffering of Fyodor. 

 

Jibble got out of his chair, walked to where Fyodor was.  He went to a table near where Fyodor was mounted and picked up a spray bottle.  He squirted the spray on the cut end parts of Fyodor.  Muffled screams came from his head.

 

Jibble looked back at Ruth as she watched.  “Saltwater spray.  Good for him, no?”

 

Ruth smiled and nodded as she got out of her chair.

 

“I’ll be leaving right away then.  Thank you for your hospitality Jibble.”  Ruth told him with a smile of fulfillment on her face.

 

Jibble turned to her and gave her another bow.  “Fly safe.”  He said to her.

 

There was something in his parting smile that bothered Ruth.  It was as though he knew something, something that would affect her but he wasn’t about to tell her.  Forcing him was not an option either.

 

She finished her wine fast then went to the door and let herself out.  Making her way to the front door, no one bothered her.  She opened the door and looked out to the night sky.  Ruth changed her form and flew off towards where Alexander would be battling the werewolves.

 

-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-

 

One fringe benefit of Fyodor having competed the memories in her head, was knowing where to find Mindy.  She also knew how their ‘security’ was set up such as it was. 

 

Ruth keyed in the access code into the control pad, deactivating the alarm system and unlocking the door for her.  Once inside Mindy’s home, she reactivated the system with a pleasant smile on her lips from the warming thoughts in her head. 

 

While she’d gloated over Fyodor with Jibble, she’d used the time constructively.  He was alive, like Mindy was, but had tricked her vision.  As she studied the parts of Fyodor, she learned how to see them, how to know their movements like she would a human.  She learned how to hunt Mindy.

 

Inside her nemesis’s home, Ruth sniffed out where she was.  Neither Fyodor nor his daughter had the ability to slip in and out of the shadows as she did.  She used this to her advantage as well.  When she located where Mindy was, Ruth slipped into the shadows and walked behind her.

 

Mindy looked around, Ruth made a note of this.  Her foe could apparently sense her in the room.  Ruth slipped to a closet, went in and returned from the shadows.  She had a good vantage of the room and Mindy.

 

Ruth watched as Mindy checked her alarm system and made sure the door was locked.  She was holding a werewolf blade while she moved about.  Ruth waited as Mindy checked the rooms of her home.  She had a spray bottle like the one Jibble used on Fyodor.  She’d mist the air occasionally as she checked out her house.

 

Again Fyodor’s blood helped with the memories.  Mindy was using holy water to see if a vampire, or minion, was hiding from her in the shadows.  Good to know that worked. 

 

Mindy made the rounds of the house again.  She stood across from where Ruth was watching from and looking around the room with her short sword in one hand and the bottle in the other.  Mindy sighed and chuckled.  She was thinking she was being silly and jumping at spooks that weren’t there.

 

Ruth smiled watching her.  She moved towards the closet Ruth was in.  Ruth pulled back into one side of the closet and pushed the clothes hanging inside in front of her.  Mindy opened the door, Ruth was ready. 

 

Mindy sighed and shook her head as she put the sword into the back corner of the closet, opposite Ruth.  Then she tossed the bottle on the floor of the closet and shut the door walking away humming.

 

Peaking back through the louvers of the door, Ruth saw Mindy pick up her cell phone and look at it.

 

“Come on daddy, call me!”  She muttered at the phone.

 

Mindy took the phone with as she walked towards the bathroom.  Moments later the shower started.  If she followed her normal ritual, Mindy would use the toilet while the shower warmed then get in for about half an hour.

 

While she waited to hear Mindy actually in the shower, Ruth reached for the bottle.  After lightly touching it to make sure there wasn’t any holy water on it, she picked it up and put it in the front corner across from the sword.

 

Ruth flipped through the clothes and found a leather outfit of Mindy’s that she’d actually hung up instead of piling on the floor of the closet.  Taking her dagger she cut the legs of the outfit into several strips and used part to cover her hand.  She grabbed the sword by the blade and then wrapped the hilt with the strips of leather. 

 

A change in sound caught her ears.  Mindy was in the shower now.  Perfect.  Ruth freely opened the closet door, picking up the bottle as she left.

 

Carefully removing the sprayer top she dumped the contents into the sink and rinsed it down with the tap,  She rinsed the bottle itself and used the tap water to pump the rest of the holy water out of the sprayer then pumped it empty. 

 

Ruth tested the small amount of water left on the bottle with a finger.  Nothing.  Then she pulled her pants down and put the bottle right up to her urethra.  “Ahh.”  Ruth let out as she relieved herself into the bottle.  She pushed some and put everything that was inside her into the bottle filling it almost as much as it had been with the holy water.

 

She replaced the spray top and pumped it towards the sink until it started to squirt again.  Ruth rinsed the sink again.  Mindy started singing in the shower.

 

Going back to the closet Ruth gathered the sword by it’s wrapped hilt.  She took it with her into Mindy’s bedroom.  Ruth smiled when she saw how her bedroom was set up.  She really was an S&M freak after all.  Perfect.  Ruth lifted the mattress and put the sword under it.

 

Mindy still would be in the shower a while so Ruth took her time as she checked out the rest of the house.  Anything that might be a weapon against her she took the time to either disable or hide.  There honestly wasn’t much else.

 

Mindy may have been an S&M freak, but she was also a prissy bitch.  Ruth found a box of party favors for decorating with.  Some said happy new year while others were for Saint Patrick’s Day and birthdays.  In the bedroom closet were many frilly preppy dresses and clothes.

 

Ruth took the boxes of party favors and made a quick display in the kitchen across from the bathroom where Mindy would see it when she came out. 

 

She simply threw the boxes of unused decorations into the living room. 

 

Putting on a delighted smile Ruth walked right into the bathroom.  Mindy was singing up a storm now.  She’d be done soon.  Ruth looked at the assortment of powders, oils and perfumes Mindy had on her vanity.  She had a vast assortment of high end makeup to go with them. 

 

Ruth looked at the bath oils.  She took the largest bottle, removed the top and poured it onto the tile floor at the doorway just inside the bathroom.  She took another and did the same on the other side of the threshold of the door.

 

With a finger she wrote ‘Hi There!’ in the condensate on the mirror then slipped into the shadows.

 

Ruth went into the shower with Mindy.  She smiled at her from her shadow hiding place then stepped by her touching her as she went.

 

Mindy shivered in the hot water.  “What the frell!”  She screamed and ripped the shower curtain back quickly stepping from the shower while flicking shampoo suds from her face and eyes.

 

She looked back into the shower.  “Who the frell is there?  I’ll frelling kill you!  Is that you Ruth?”  She yelled into the empty looking shower.

 

Ruth made a mocking smile that Mindy couldn’t see and waved with the ends of her fingers from her palm facing Mindy.

 

Mindy turned, she saw what was written on the mirror, made an angry noise then charged from the bathroom.

 

When she hit the oil Ruth had dumped on the floor she slipped, tried to catch herself with the edge of the vanity only to find it was oiled as well and went face first to the floor.

 

Ruth used her body to step on as she went over her, giving a little leap and landed on the other side of the next patch of oil.  She hummed to herself as she went to the kitchen.

 

Mindy yelled as she thrashed about trying to get up from the slippery surface.  She finally grabbed the frame of the doorway and put a food on the threshold and stood, then stepped forward in a rush.  She slid on the oiled tile on the other side of the door on one foot, trying to catch her balance.  Her foot went out from under her and Mindy landed on her back.

 

Ruth watched with amusement.  She was out of the shadows and leaning back against the counter area in front of where  she had put up the decorations.

 

“You cunt!  You’re dead!”  Mindy screamed. 

 

She was slipping fast as she tried to make her way on the tile, now covered from head to toe in the slippery oil.  She was out of the puddle of it but still was slick and fell again.  She rolled to the side getting on carpet and stood.

 

Ruth chortled at her and gave her another wave, this time not from the shadows.

 

Mindy cussed under her breath, reached to a curtain and pulled it from the window and used it to wipe herself off, especially her feet.  She looked at Ruth and made more threats.

 

“You… your so going to suffer for this.”  She ended with.

 

Ruth shrugged.  “Kill me, go ahead.  Then you have no one to take your curse, Alexander lives and you do too.  Forever.” 

 

She stood from her leaning against the counter, turned and started casually walking out of the kitchen away from Mindy and stepped into the shadows.  Once in the shadows, Ruth turned around and walked the other way. 

 

Mindy rushed forward, avoiding any oil spots and grabbed the spray bottle from the counter.

 

“Frelling happy Saint Patrick’s day, I’ll give you some frelling Saint Patrick’s day!”  Mindy yelled then started spraying the bottle in the direction she’d seen Ruth walk towards.

 

She continued pumping the sprayer as she stepped forward frantically looking around.  The mist hit her.

 

“Gack!  Frelling piss, shit bitch!”  She yelled gagging from the spray in her face and mouth.  She threw the bottle and ran out of the kitchen to the closet she had the sword in.

 

Opening the door Mindy quickly reached for the sword.  “Frell!”  She screamed into the closet.

 

Ruth came from the shadows while Mindy was bent into the closet.  When she screamed Ruth bent her raised leg and kicked her hard in the ass sending her forward, crashing into the corner of the closet.

 

It took a moment for Mindy to recover from the broken neck she received when Ruth kicked her into the corner.  She snapped back fast once she could move again and lashed out at the air around her.  “Bitch!  Come out and fight fair!”

 

Mindy doubled over in pain and blood ejected from her mouth when Ruth came into view and ran her through her stomach with her werewolf slayer.  Ruth pulled the sword from her as fast as she’d put it in her.  With a severed spine, Mindy crumpled to the floor and Ruth kicked her in the head.

 

“Fair?  Whoever told you life was fair?”  Ruth said.

 

Still holding the sword in her right hand, Ruth let out a satirical laugh while turning her back on Mindy and stepping into the shadows again.

 

Mindy regenerated and climbed to her feet again.  She looked around frantically, and went to the closet by the door to grab the wood fibered cord she had used on Ruth last time.  It was there, cut into small sections laying on the floor of the closet.

 

She turned and charged for the bathroom, this time stepping over the oil and onto the threshold.  She grabbed her phone and quickly dialed it.  She looked back over her shoulder while holding the phone to her ear.

 

“Hello, daddy, Ruth’s at my house, she’s frelling with me hiding in the shadows, she’s… who is this?”  Mindy was faced into the bathroom again, confused by the voice on the other end of the call.

 

Ruth wasn’t in the shadows when she walked up to Mindy.  Her focus was on the phone, she was easily distracted.  Not a very good quality in combat.  Ruth drove her dagger into the back of Mindy’s neck at the top of her spinal cord.  She went limp.

 

Ruth twisted the dagger back and forth a little while Mindy made noises that weren’t pleasant sounding.  Holding her up, Ruth looked into the toilet.

 

“You know, it’s really disgusting that you don’t flush when your finished.”  She told Mindy.

 

Mindy knew what was coming next, and we can guess that as well.  Ruth thrust Mindy’s head, face first, into the filled toilet bowl.  She lifted her and slammed her back into her own shit several times before holding her down in the soiled water with the hilt of her dagger and flushing.

 

When she pulled Mindy up she spat out chunks of her own feces which was also smeared across her face and hanging in her hair.

 

Hoisting her up by the dagger Ruth pitched her towards the shower removing Mindy from her dagger.

 

When she was finally able to move again, Mindy looked into the empty bathroom.  “Cunt!”  She screamed.

 

She flipped the shower on quick and rinsed her face, hair and mouth.  She didn’t bother to use a towel at all and charged from the room.  Again she hit the oil, slid and flew out the door landing in the second pool of oil.

 

Ruth was standing propped against the wall on the outside of the bathroom door.  “And you called me stupid.”  Ruth laughed and casually walked away as Mindy righted herself again.

 

Mindy was calling curses at Ruth while she used the curtain again to wipe herself off.  She looked around the kitchen. 

 

Mindy’s eyes popped wide again along with her mouth as Ruth’s dagger went through the back of her head again, severing her spine once more.  This time Ruth hoisted her and hauled her into the bedroom and placed her on the bed with the dagger still in her.

 

“I’m afraid daddy isn’t going to be able to help you.  He’s quite literally nailed to a wall.  Jibble made a nice wall mount out of him, in pieces.”  Ruth leaned into Mindy’s face.  “I like that idea.”  She said smoothly to her foe.

 

Ruth walked from the room leaving Mindy paralyzed and trying to regenerate which only caused more pain.  She returned with a small heavy bag.

 

“I was going to do the exact same thing to you that Jibble did to your daddy, however, seeing your bedroom, I’ve come up with a plan of my own.  I am a fast learner.”  Ruth grinned devilishly at Mindy.

 

Going to an open wall, Ruth knocked on it till she found a stud.  Next she opened the bag and took a large railroad spike from the bag and a small sledgehammer.  She place both near the wall then returned to Mindy.

 

Ruth picked Mindy up by her hair and hurled her at the wall while still holding onto her hair.  The dagger was sticking out the front of her neck.

 

Ruth flipped her around, removed the dagger then picked up the spike and hammer while holding Mindy in place with a knee.  Turning her around Ruth used the head of the hammer to position Mindy against the wall then placed the spike at the healing mark of where the dagger had been.  Mindy was just getting her arms back when Ruth hammered the spike through her neck and spine, securing her to the wall unable to move.

 

Mindy hung midway up the wall, her limbs dangled lifeless.  Ruth walked over to where Mindy had a pleasure swing hung from the ceiling of her bedroom.

 

“I’ve always wanted to try one of these.  Are they as much fun as I’ve heard?”  Ruth looked back at Mindy.

 

Ruth giggled.

 

“You know, your daddy, Fyodor the wall display, he put his blood in me, you should know that anyways.”  Ruth stood in front of Mindy talking like she were speaking with a friend.  “Yes, I’m sure you do.  Anyways, when he did this, he gave me most of his memories.  He managed to block a few that he didn’t want me to know, but he couldn’t block all of them.”

 

Mindy gurgled, her body twitched.

 

“That’s gotta suck, regenerating and going through the death pains that never really finish their task.  Not being able to die.”  Ruth had a mocking sympathetic expression.

 

Ruth laughed, amusing herself.

 

With a sigh of delight, Ruth went to the bed and lifted the mattress and pulled the werewolf sword from hiding.  She looked at Mindy with venom. 

 

“I may not be able to kill you, but you are going to die tonight along with your daddy and mommy.  And you are so going to suffer on your last night.”  Ruth’s face was the epitome of evil. 

 

“I know how you and Fyodor have been playing both sides of the field.  He flits between Alexander, vampires and the werewolves.”  She gave Mindy a convicting look.  “While you take your place among the ranks of the werewolves.  Playing them for Fyodor.  Laying your traps and plots, all for your own desire.”

 

Ruth put the sword to one of Mindy’s arms and shoved it into her shoulder.  She gave the blade a twist and moved it, severing the arm from Mindy’s body. 

 

She put the sword on the bed and Mindy watched as Ruth took her arm and placed it where it would belong in the pleasure swing and secured it.  She had it positioned so the end of her arm that was cut would be a good eight inches or so away from the torso had there been one in the swing.  Just close enough for the body to try and regenerate but not far enough away that a new arm would grow.

 

“And you talk about being fair?”  Ruth said bringing the sword back and taking Mindy’s other arm then putting the sword back on the bed and taking the arm to the swing where she secured it in the same manner she’d done the other one.

 

Ruth did the same as she removed Mindy’s legs and placed them in the swing.  Once she had both legs in place she went to her bag again and pulled a small bow saw from it.  She returned to Mindy and with slow motions, cut off her head above where the spike was.

 

With the aid of plastic food wrap and duct tape, Ruth secured the head of Mindy in its place on the swing.  An arm was starting to grow where she’d removed the first one.  Ruth cut it off and picked up the remaining torso and placed it in the swing and secured it with more plastic wrap and duct tape.

 

To be on the safe side, the parts of Mindy were trying to grow to each other, Ruth went to the kitchen and collected some bowls and dishes.  She used the duct tape to place them over the places the limbs and head had been severed from.

 

“There, all set now.  How do you feel?  Tape isn’t to tight is it?”  Ruth asked. 

 

Mindy’s head made some insulting noises.

 

Ruth laughed, went to the bed, picked up the sword, placed it in her bag and sat down.  She removed her boots, but not her socks.  Then she took her pants off and pulled her panties off.  She gave the crotch of her panties a sniff.

 

“Smells like me.”  She said then balled them up and grabbed the roll of duct tape.

 

Using the dagger she pried Mindy’s mouth open and stuffed the panties into her mouth, making sure the moist crotch was against her tongue, then taped over her mouth so she wouldn’t be able to spit the panties out.

 

Ruth looked at her with a smile.  “You said you liked how I tasted.  I want you to taste me when you die.”  She said with a smirk.

 

Ruth walked into the bathroom and retrieved the phone from the slippery floor Mindy had tried to call for help from her father with and used the curtain to wipe the oil from it.  She returned, activated the camera and took a few pictures of Mindy in the pleasure swing.

 

She looked through the pictures she’d taken, picked the best one and sent it to Fyodor’s phone.  In the text part of the photo message she put “From Mindy with love” and sent it.  Jibble had the phone, Ruth knew he’d show it to Fyodor’s head.

 

With her vengeance served fresh, Ruth went out into the house again and rutted through Mindy’s belongings, taking what she wanted.  She looted her cash and credit cards from her purse.  She also found Mindy’s car keys.

 

Ruth walked back to the bedroom holding up the keys.  “Hey Mindy, mind if I borrow your car?”  She asked as though she were asking a friend.

 

Ruth laughed at herself, jingled the keys and said “Thanks Mindy, you’re such a good friend!”

 

As Ruth passed through the living room on her way to the attached garage, she turned on the stereo, put a disk in the player and pressed play.

 

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…” came from the speakers.  Ruth smiled, she sang along with the song as she went out to take Mindy’s car and go to where the werewolves were having a concert.

 

She’d watch from a safe distance.

 

-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-

 

Their bomb attack had easily taken out half of Alexander’s horde.  The battle was now a one to one fight at best.  Alexander had been spotted twice.  The large red daemon fled every time werewolves moved to engage ‘her’.  Their orders were not to worry about her and to keep the battle where they started.  Once she fled, they didn’t follow.

 

Bait had his reasons for this, starting with the portal.  He rationalized that the portal and entrance to it, were not within the coven itself.  He believed that it was separate from the coven, but very nearby.  He also concluded that Alexander would try and make a break for the portal room to try and finish activating it.

 

How right he was.  Alexander was commanding her forces in a way that made both Snow and Bait figure they were right about the entrance.  She wanted the werewolves gone from where they were and was trying to bait them away. 

 

The third time Alexander showed up, some twenty thousand werewolves turned their backs to her and mooned her.  This wasn’t the exact thing Bait had in mind when he sent out his order that the troops taunt her, but it worked and was worth a laugh.

 

Alexander’s horde was on the short end of the stick.  Many werewolves had fallen in battle, but even more vampires were no more.  After the mooning, She became enraged and sent what forces she had with her towards the main fold of the battle.  She herself started flanking around.

 

-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-

 

Following the old codes, the women folk of the werewolves were ordered to stay back from the hand to hand combat.  In the times past, the ladies were the ranged archers of werewolf battles.  This was fine by Sea Mist, she preferred using her bow anyways.

 

She’d found a nice place to sit aloft in a tree.  She had a good view of the ground and would draw her bow and shoot unseen by her foes on the ground.  This usually gave opportunity for her mate to demonstrate his new style, which was not only very effective but also fun to watch.  At least Sea Mist thought so.

 

She’d changed her compound bow into a crossbow, keeping it loaded next to her on the large tree branch she was perched on.  She was reading a book while keeping a lookout out for vampires that might happen her way. 

 

When one did, she’d grab the bow with one hand, aim and fire.  She and Blade Dance had a rhythm going, he’d bait them in, she’d shoot and he’d finish the job.  It worked well.  Things had slowed down, thus the crossbow and book.  Their job was to keep any strays from getting away.

 

Sea Mist waved over at Ace in a tree some three hundred yards away.  Ace would use a bolos or a bow for her air attack with Tuesday further down.  The men from her new unit were on the ground and handled the sword play. 

 

Like her sister, Tuesday preferred the in your face hand to hand fight.  Unlike her sister, Tuesday didn’t argue about becoming a ranged fighter.  Protecting the women from rape was a high priority.  That might be why the womenfolk of were-kind were better shots.  Blade Dance might be the exception to that rule, however, his porcupine fired an abundance of bolts at his target.

 

Sea Mist spotted another vampire.  Without breaking from her book, she didn’t have eyes anyways anymore, she clutched her crossbow, fired and set it down.  Blade Dance moved in and finished the job.  The bow reset itself.

 

Sea Mist saw a dark object come from above.  She grabbed her crossbow and wheeled in the direction of the shape.

 

“Whoa, hold up sisterhood!”  Ruth said to her with her hands raised at her sides.  “I didn’t come to fight, only to watch.  Okay?”

 

“If you didn’t come to fight, then you shouldn’t have come.”  Sea Mist said briskly to her still holding the crossbow aimed at her heart.

 

Ruth sighed with her hands still up.  “It’s not a good night to die.  I just want to see Alexander fall.  Truce for tonight?”

 

Sea Mist read her with her inner sight.  Ruth wasn’t lying.  This puzzled Sea Mist some, this vampire, now minion, was curious.

 

“Fine.  Truce.  But do anything to piss me off, and you’re puppy chow, got it?”  Sea retorted.

 

She still held the crossbow at Ruth.  Ruth’s eyes moved between the crossbow and Sea Mist’s face several times.

 

“Ahem?”  Came from Ruth who kept her hands raised.

 

Sea Mist sighed and returned the crossbow to the branch she had had it on.  “Whatever.”

 

Ruth lowered her arms and moved closer to Sea Mist who watched her every move and sat down next to her on the branch of the tree.

 

There was a tense silence as they sat side by side.  Suddenly Sea Mist stiffened.  “Ace! NO!”  She yelled holding up a hand in the direction Ace was, with her bow in hand fully pulled back and aimed right at Ruth’s head.

 

Sea Mist keyed her radio.  “We’re under a truce here, don’t shoot!  Please!”  She’d given her word, and aimed to keep it.

 

Ace’s face held anger, but she relaxed the string of the bow.  She looked hard at Ruth for a second then pointed her index and middle finger of her right hand at her own eyes, then aimed them at Ruth and repeated the action several times.

 

“She will be watching you too.”  Sea Mist said.

 

“Yeah, I’m sure she will.”  Ruth sounded depressed at that moment.

 

Sea Mist looked off and sighed hard leaning on her hands pressed against her legs.  After a moment she sat upright and started digging in her pockets.

 

“So, why’d you come here?  You could watch without sitting with me.”  Sea said as she put the joint she pulled out in her lips and lit it.

 

Ruth shrugged.  “Conversation?”  She said with a shrug.

 

Sea pulled on the joint a few times getting it lit good then handed it to Ruth.  She gave Sea Mist a questioning suspicious look and didn’t move.

 

“No worries, Mort grew this.  He doesn’t use holy water like I do.  I’m a hydro grower, he uses soil and thinks using holy water to grow plants is a waste of holy water.  I think it’s a great use of it.”  Sea Mist answered her look.

 

“Cool.”  Ruth said and took the joint and smoked with Sea Mist.

 

At one point Sea Mist was about to take the joint back but forced it back into Ruth’s hand.  “Hold on, got a live one, well, never mind.”  Sea said then pulled her bow up as a bow and fired four rapid arrows at a vampire that was taking to wing.

 

Ruth had an amazed look on her face with wide eyes.  “Shit!”

 

Sea Mist snickered.  The vampire fell and blew.

 

Ruth scooted down the branch a foot or so from Sea Mist who only giggled.  It was nice her talent had that effect on the minion.

 

“You know, we aren’t so different, you and I.”  Ruth said still watching Sea Mist.

 

About that time Blade Dance showed from the shadows, his sword right at Ruth’s neck as he stood beside her on the limb of the tree.

 

Sea Mist caught the movement, she could see Ruth had her werewolf slayer aimed upwards at his groin.

 

“Blade, thanks but… I made a truce agreement… you are my mate so…”  Sea Mist said to him.

 

“Really?  Why would you… shit, never mind.”  He pulled the blade away from Ruth’s neck and looked at her. 

 

She moved her blade away from his groin.  “Do I need this?”  She quarried. 

 

Blade Dance cocked a grin.  “No, not at all.  Please just let it drop to the ground, we’ll be happy to dispose of it for you.”  He answered.

 

Ruth rolled her eyes at him.

 

Blade looked at his mate.  “Want me to stay here with you lover?” 

 

Sea shook her head.  “Girl talk, you know.  And you’re needed on the ground man.  You know, hand to hand is your thing now.”  She gave him a snarky grin.

 

He nodded in response to her, “This one is curious.”  He said motioning to Ruth then jumped from the branch to the ground.

 

“He’ll keep it quiet, so will Ace.  Neither one probably wants anyone to know I’m with you.”  Sea told Ruth with a sideways look.

 

The two finished the joint and sat in silence for a few minutes.

 

“And just for the record, you and I are nothing alike.”  Sea Mist finally responded to Ruth’s earlier comment.  “For starters, I don’t suck the life out of humans.”

 

Ruth snorted.  “I didn’t ask for that, it’s the only way I can survive”

 

Sea Mist’s expression became hard.  “You made your choice.”

 

“Some choice, be food or become a vampire, live or die, I chose to live.”  Ruth shot back.

 

“Thus, you chose to be a killer.  You could have chosen not to be what you are, most humans would’ve chosen death over becoming a murderer.  Your love of yourself and self importance were your determining factors, not the good of others.”  Sea Mist reasoned.

 

Ruth thought back to the night she had to choose.  She remembered the girl licking the blood from her fingers of the young man she had chosen.  Death to him was better than becoming a vampire.  She remembered how she felt at that moment, the questioning inside her.

 

Sea Mist turned her head away.  “Now you kill innocent people just to live.  How many people have to die so you can live… exist on?”  Her words were condemning.

 

Ruth’s head hung down.  She’d never thought about her situation at her turning like Sea Mist put it now.  In hindsight, she may have chosen differently knowing what she knew now.  But it was too late, she’d made her choice and was living out the results of her choice now.  Choices that made her the cursed.

 

“I wouldn’t say I feed on the innocent, not anymore.”  Ruth responded in a diminished voice.

 

Sea Mist turned her head back towards Ruth.  “You still feed off of humans, same-same as I can tell.”

 

“I feed off of… bad people, ones that… deserve it.”  Ruth answered.

 

“Oh, like the cop you ate, the one you took the squad car from to stop my sister and her mate, yeah, I’m sure a cop really deserved it.  What’d they do to deserve it?  Write one of your day walkers a ticket?”  Sea Mist had a very snide tone in her voice.

 

“She, a highway patrol, she used her job to take drugs from people, give them the appearance of an easy out by letting them go with a warning and surrender of their contraband.  Then she’d sell the drugs through her own little network of dealers.”  Ruth looked to Sea Mist.

 

“She had prostitutes paying her ‘protection money’, unless they wanted to get busted.  Not exactly the cream of the crop cop wise.  I’ve fed on organized crime bosses, pimps, rapists, embezzlers, two people who were selling young girls into white slavery, even a murderer.”  Ruth stopped and looked down to the ground.

 

Sea Mist gave her a confused look.  “So, you’re like the Dexter vampire minion thing?”

 

Ruth shrugged.

 

“Hardly justifies your existence.  Doesn’t make you like me at all.”  Sea concluded.

 

“We both do impulsive things, like letting me sit here with you.  We both try and dodge our responsibility in things, both like to be the life of the party.  Take pride in ourselves where we shouldn’t, defy authority.”  Ruth offered.

 

Sea Mist snorted. 

 

“We both frell things up and have others clean up our messes.”  Ruth said looking at where Sea Mist’s eyes should be.

 

Sea Mist looked away, Ruth’s words hit home at a point.

 

“Neither of us intend to hurt the people closest to us, but we do.”  Ruth added.

 

Sea Mist stood on her branch.  “Okay, whatever, I’m going to another tree, no more truce.  Keeping company with the enemy… whatever.”  She said then jumped to the ground and bounded off.

 

Ruth watched her go.  She regretted the future time when she and Sea Mist would have to face each other in combat, but it was bound to happen. 

 

“Another time, another place Sea Mist, we may have been friends.”  Ruth said to the air.

 

“This isn’t that time or place.  I suggest you leave.”  Ace’s voice said from behind her.

 

Ruth turned fast.  Ace had her bow pulled back and an arrow aimed at her head.  Ruth assumed she hadn’t come alone.  She could feel around her in the shadows that she was right.  With a sigh, she thrust herself from the branch and took to the air.

 

-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-

 

Hovlek and Vikki were side by side unleashing their madness on their foes as Alexander’s forces stormed in.  As a barrage of slayer swords flew into them, Hovlek slammed into his brother knocking him out of the way and taking the majority of the blows, two that would have ended his brothers life.

 

He was badly hurt.  Vikki was untouched from the initial attack and returned to his brother with a roar.  Though badly wounded, Hovlek never relented in his attack.  He raged on with a silver sword through his chest and out his back. 

 

Vikki’s arms moved like lightning, leveling several of their main attackers with each thrust of his sword.  Max popped out of the fray, Pack Sergeant Poik was stuck at his side.  Poik loosed several arrows and Max cut loose with his shotgun in rapid fire. 

 

The vampires closest to Max and Poik turned on them, this gave Vikki the chance to block a blow coming to his brother, and remove the sword that Hovlek seemed to be ignoring. 

 

“Thank you, brother! Aha! Together…”  Hovlek said, then spun his pole arm through nine bodies.  “The heads I leave for Vikki!”  He said with an insane laugh and rushed forward for more.

 

“Hovlek, together we should pull back!”  Vikki yelled while pointing beyond the vampires in front of them.

 

Hovlek took a slight moment to look where his brother pointed.

 

“Agree!”  Hovlek said and waved an arm at Max and Poik.

 

The four turned and ran from the battle.  They passed between two parts of the stands and stopped at the back of the high risers of the stands, turned and faced their enemies that had charged after them.

 

Max was beside Vikki, Poik was on Hovlek’s side while the brothers stood shoulder to shoulder and roared at the onslaught of vampires coming at them.  Those in front encountered the unstoppable blows of the Viking like warriors.  The rest encountered the plotting of Vikki and his gorilla style of fighting.

 

The vampires were bottlenecked between two rows of risers.  Squat’s Squads were laying in wait per Vikki’s orders.  Snow commanded the release of the archers over and between the four fighters, once the arrows connected, from under the stands poured Squat’s men with their women firing arrows in from deeper under the stands. 

 

When the vampires realized the trap that they had been baited into, they turned to retreat.  What they hadn’t noticed was the women folk of the werewolf kin heading to the uppermost parts of the stands.  From there they lobbed in Seven-ades, the new name for the light grenades Seven had invented.

 

Their supply was limited, so good solid strategy was required.  Only a handful of vampires escaped this attack.

 

On the other side of the battle field, a wall of Hells Angel’s werewolves along with IRA members from the werewolf line were with Lord Mort.  Mort carried no sword.  His fists were his weapons.  With a single blow he would turn to pulp the head of his attackers.  Sometimes he would simply grab the vampire and rip the head off.

 

He was dressed in heavy black plate armor.  He looked like he should be on the back of a warhorse instead of walking across the battle field.  Swords could not penetrate the armor he wore, but it also meant he could not change form and was slowed some by the restraints the armor encumbered to his movements. 

 

Lord Mort moved at the front of a V formation of the troops with him.  This current batch of vampires they had moving backwards.  They had now driven them to the edge of the pit that used to be their home. 

 

Mort yelled a werewolf word, all the men with him dropped prone on the ground.  The vampires had a moment of misunderstanding as to what was going on, the actions of their foes made no sense to them. 

 

Only Lord Mort stood, in his armor.

 

For each man in combat, there was a female behind with a bow.  The arrows that hit Lord Mort didn’t penetrate or even dent his armor.  The vampires that didn’t die from the arrow barrage, were badly wounded now. 

 

Another word came from Lord Mort.  The fighters stood again, their swords were a blur as they finished off the last of the vampires on this front. 

 

Lord Mort turned off and stormed in another direction, the renegade werewolves followed with to the next battle.

 

-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-

 

“They’re heading off to the north.  I see Alexander.  She’s ordering them off that way.”  Kevashka reported to command.  “Our forces have stopped at their range.”

 

Snow nodded when she heard the radio as she shot her bow.  Her arrow caught a vampire through the back of the neck.  One of her kin rushed in to complete the decapitation.  “Received Kevashka.”

 

Alexander was trying to bait them again, to the north.  “Everyone, stay on point, do not leave the yard, do not follow them.”  Snow called out over the radio. 

 

The order was that all stay in the compound area they had set up around the coven.  She was ensuring that in the heat of battle no one forgot that.  Everyone had drank plenty of WeiBoing’s brew and all were frantically caffeinated.  It seemed to be working well all in all.

 

“Archers, form up on me.”  Snow called out.

 

As the women she commanded fell into place with her, they moved to the flanking side of where the vampires had headed to in an attempt to bait them off.  She formed her archers into a half circle and had them ready their bows.

 

“Release”  She said letting her own bow sing.

 

The confusion caused by their archer attack in combination with the men breaking off their attack and returning to the main grounds on the vampires made them easy targets for the second volley of arrows.  By the time the third cloud of arrows hit they had started to disperse, a good two thirds of them had fallen. 

 

“Back to home point!”  Snow ordered, and the forty-some thousand women with her responded.

 

-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-

 

Alexander ripped the arrows from her body and cursed at the werewolves.

 

“Archers?!  These feeble creatures, afraid to face me themselves!”  She yelled to herself.

 

Her every attempt to lure the werewolves away from the portal room had failed.  They stayed as a well formed and organized group.  Her forces that went off, leading werewolves after them ended up alone in the woods only to be impaled with arrows from the cowardly women of the werewolves.

 

Her memories flashed.  This was all very familiar to her.  Where was Fyodor when she needed him?  He had promised this tactic wouldn’t be used anymore.  He’d seen to it somehow that the werewolves had taken more direct means to fight against her.

 

“Freller always fails me!”  Alexander screamed into the air.

 

Her eyes caught something, someone.  There was a flash, then something hit her.  Bait, he was at a… turret?  Yes!  The shell from it hit her.  He was a long ways off, fighting like a woman, like a werewolf woman hitting at her from a long range.  Coward.

 

Alexander reached into her chest and ripped the glowing ball from herself and threw it as hard as she could back towards Bait.  Then she charged towards the tower that was constructed for his turret.

 

He fired it again.  This time she was able to dodge the projectile.  Apparently the human thought he could build a big enough gun to take her out.  He would soon learn how wrong he was.  Alexander raged harder towards the tower Bait felt safe on.

 

If anything, tonight would see the end of that bastard, she would feed from him and love it!  She closed further on his perch, he had reloaded the turret and was preparing to fire again.  She held her course, he would be expecting her to dodge again and fire to the side.  She would hold her course.  He thought he knew her so well.

 

Alexander screamed as the round hit her, he hadn’t fired off to the side.  Bastard!  She ripped the round from her body again.  The light burned her and caused pain, but nothing more.  She would return that pain to him.  She crushed the large light emitting bullet in her large red hands.

 

He was the only one giving her any resistance, good, they would soon see the errors of their tactics, changing them on her as they had.  Their archery would mean nothing to Bait.  He was going to be her lunch!

 

As she passed a small group of werewolves that were engaging her slaves, she lashed out with a clawed hand and sliced several werewolves into parts.  Her slaves had best appreciate her help and make the best of the advantage she gave them.

 

The tower Bait was on rose to about her height in her daemon form.  He had loaded the turret and was going to blast her in the face when she lashed out at the stand.

 

Bait jumped back and fell from the tower, no, he wasn’t falling.  He was sliding?  Alexander saw the cable that was attached to the tower that Bait was using as a zip line to escape her.  Why?  It was almost as if he had expected…

 

The turret exploded creating a blinding light.  He had set a foolish trap for her.  She lashed out through the momentary blindness the light blast caused, smashing the rickety structure to the ground in small pieces.

 

Her vision cleared, the cable Bait had used was on the ground.  She looked around for the other end.  There he was!  He was on the back of a dirt bike.  He kicked the motorcycle to life and started away from her as fast as he could.

 

As the motorbike whined Alexander laughed.  He was now away from the safety of his werewolf cohorts.  There were no others following after him to protect him.  He had apparently not thought of her giving chase.  She could outrun the motorbike he was on even in human form.

 

Foolish human.  Soon, lunch time!

 

She followed Bait down a path, she knew where it led.  He’d be out of road soon, unless he planned on swimming the lake.  She took an easier pace following him as this thought made it’s way through her enraged mind.  And as she had surmised, he wiped the bike out a short distance from the lake.

 

He started running.  He must realize his time was up.  Alexander laughed her deep daemon laugh.  “You are out of running room human Bait!”

 

A squeak, something was turning, a device.  She looked as the mate of Sea Mist’s porcupine went off, bolts ripped into her body.  She roared and ripped them from her.  She couldn’t remember its name, nor did she care.  The foolish creature fled the area after seeing her.  Bait was on his own now, even if the damn thing called for help for the human.

 

She would have him drained before they could get here. 

 

He was only a momentary distraction, and only extended the life of Bait a few seconds.  Alexander looked to where Bait was.  He had ran down the small dock in the lake and had untied the boat there and was making his way across with the aid of the small motor it had.

 

She laughed again, he amused her now.  This boat was even slower than his bike, he clearly wasn’t thinking things through very well.  She enjoyed that she caused this lack of foresight in humans.  She changed to her flight form and took to the air, heading towards Bait’s boat.

 

His motor apparently failed him in the middle of the lake.  He had seen her coming and picked up a gun that looked like it was designed to fire a grappling hook of some manner.  Foolish.  She landed in the bow of the boat and changed to her human form.

 

She enjoyed the look of desire he gave her.  “I’m irresistible to all human males.”  Alexander informed him.  “You are filled with desire for me, for my body, aren’t you?”  It was a power long lost inside of herself since she was made a man.  Now herself again, her comeliness was coming out in force.

 

“Desire is hardly the word I’d use.  Grotesque, that comes closer, you look like you have something trying to get out of you.”  The human spoke to her.

 

The human’s words barely daunted her, he was clearly lying.  He had to be full of want for her perfect form.  She was, after all, the first woman.

 

“That is merely the well diggers awaiting their birth from the mother of all!”  Alexander announced with joy.

 

Her thoughts caught her for a moment.  Why did she say birth?  She felt her body churn inside.  Something was inside her.  Disregarding the movement from her body she challenged Bait.

 

“Ahh, another useless weapon, go ahead, shoot pitiful human.  Get your last shot in before I dine on you.”  She said and held her arms out wide from her shoulders giving him a clear shot. 

 

Alexander laughed hard with her head back as Bait took aim at the center of her.  He braced himself in the boat the best he could.  With a thunderous boom the weapon fired.

 

Alexander looked down as the pain of the projectile ripping through her burned in her.  Inconceivable!  The steel of the weapon shouldn’t have been able to pierce her skin, unless it was… werewolf metal.  She snapped her head up and looked at Bait with a bewildered look.

 

He had dropped the firing device.  What had gone through her was a grappling hook, four barbs were extended on her back.  The shaft came most of the way through her and had a chain attached to it,  the rest of the chain was coiled on the bottom of the boat.

 

She grabbed at the chain and yanked on it.  The metal burned her hands and the part through her wouldn’t pull out, it was designed not to come back out.  He’d led her into his own trap!

 

Bait had turned from facing her and squatted to pick up an anchor.  It was a classic navel style with arrowed ends on the U shaped bottom of it.  It was obviously very heavy from the way the human struggled with it.

 

Alexander reached out fast and grabbed Bait by the shoulder.  “Go ahead, drop it!  You’re coming down with me and I can’t drown.”  She snarled at the human. 

 

As he turned with the anchor Alexander saw a chalk message written on the side of the anchor that was facing her.  “Ruth was here” it said.

 

A worried look crossed Alexander’s face.  Bait had the anchor over the edge of the boat.

 

He glared at her.  “You know what five hundred bishops can do?”  He quipped at her.  “Bless a lake!”  The human snarled back at her as he released the anchor from his hands.

 

She loosed her grip on him as his words hit her ears, grasping the chain again and pulling as hard as she could.  The barbs of the grapple through her only grew thicker and longer securing itself more to her.  The sound of the chain rattling on the edge of the boat drew her eyes to it.  Her face was filled with panic.  This wasn’t happening!

 

The chain snapped taunt and the hollow boned minion was pulled with.  She lashed out to grab at the edge of the boat as it pulled her over, flipping the boat almost over but flinging Bait into the water with her.

 

Alexander made a last ditch grab at Bait’s feet but missed as the anchor pulled her down and her body started to burn and the water began to boil around her.  Down into the depths of the blessed lake, the water churned from the abomination within its suffocating grasp.

 

-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 paddled his way to the surface from being flung into the lake.  The water was turbulent from the minion being consumed in it.  The entire surface of the lake was like the top of a kettle at a full rolling boil now.

 

He was watching through the water where Alexander went under, the source of the churn.  “Get out of the water…” he said in a distant voice.  “Get out of the water!”  He yelled to himself, this time with urgency.

 

Bait scramble-paddled towards the boat and hurriedly grasped the side and pulled himself up.  He swung a leg over the side and pulled with all his might and rolled himself into the boat.

 

He was just inside when the water around the boat burst up like steam jets.  The sound produced was very high pitched and extremely loud.  The boat rose up on the surge from the depths of the lake, it rocked and bobbed on the motion of the water and its paint started to peal from it.  The wood of the boat started to make noise.  The water was having an effect on it, it was changing, it became petrified. 

 

The screaming of the lake seemed to last an eternity while Bait sheltered himself on the bottom of the boat.  Even though the wood was now a stone like petrified wood, it stayed afloat.  He’d raised the motor as Alexander landed.  Now he saw why he felt the need to do that.

 

“Get out of the water.”  He said as he watched the steam billow into the sky from the lake around him.  “Thanks Kicks.”

 

The sound subsided and the lake ceased it’s boiling.  Moments later it was as calm as it had been when he’d ran to it.  The air though, had a foul smell in it.  The last evidence of Alexander.

 

-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-

 

Alexander

 

The anchor pulled her down, down, deep below the surface, bubbles churning from her hide as though she were submerged in acid.  Raging and with a silent roar she again tried ripping the grapple from her, again, the living metal only wrapped further around her, its weight pulling her down to the bottom.

 

Pain, that was all there was, all that existed, the water burned her eyes, her mouth, her everything.  She roared.  Out of habit after she roared, she inhaled to roar again only to have her chest fill with holy water.  She lurched forward as her body contorted from the convulsions racking it.  Her eyes closed.  Her end was closing in, she raged out cursing the names of Snow and Bait the human.  Her eyes came open.

 

Sitting cross-legged across from her was a girl of blonde locks in tight curls.  Her face radiated a smile.  The were-child she had taken hostage in her failed attempt to bait Bait. 

 

“Hello Alexander, I know you remember me, you knew me as Worm.  I’m not happy to meet you.  I am the last thing you will see before you die Alexander.  You bitch!  And when you do die, you have the curse of Bait.  Forever and ever no matter what you do, I am the only face you will see and mine is the only voice you will hear, forever and ever.”

 

Worm smiled large.

 

In a loud teasing, taunting, and rhythmic high pitched voice Worm repeated: “Bait’s coming for Alexander! … Bait’s coming for Alexander! …”

 

She turned from Worm and closed her eyes, she still saw her face.  She could still hear her calling out.  She roared to cover the sound of her voice, but her roar came out as a little girl’s voice and all she could say was ‘Bait’s coming for Alexander!’ …

 

-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 lowered the boat motor and tried to fire it.  A not so good sound came from part of it when it started.  He jerked it up again and saw the bottom part that was in the spray of the water, had turned to stone.

 

“Get out of the water.”  He said again realizing the boat, it’s wood, had protected him. 

 

Grabbing the oars he locked them in place and started rowing towards shore and the dock.  The lake wasn’t that large, and he put everything he had into rowing arriving at the shore in about five minutes.  He actually rowed the boat a bit faster than the small motor would have pushed it.

 

He looped the rope over a dock support and started towards land.  He could see a figure some fifty feet from the end of the dock.  He doubled over as a bout of nausea took him over.  Wiping the puke from his face that hung from his lips, he looked towards the form again.  It was on the ground and something was sticking up from it.  A cold chill ran through him.

 

The form was about the size of a werewolf.  Who had come to help him?  Had Blade Dance failed to get away in time?  He broke into a run for the slain friend.

 

When he got to where she lay, he recognized the werewolf form of Snow.  A fine silver javelin was through her, the head of a vampire in her mouth. 

 

Bait first pulled the head from her mouth and threw it aside.  She was on her back, he went to her side as the werewolf form subsided and Snow returned.  This always happens to a werewolf when they die, they return to their pure form.

 

“NO!”  He cried out clutching her shoulders and looking into her still eyes.

 

He grabbed the javelin and yanked it from her, pulling her up with it.  When she fell back to the ground a noise came from her.  He put is fingers to her neck.  Nothing.  He reached to her thigh and pressed in with two fingers.  Faint, very faint, a pulse.

 

He grabbed at his pockets.  He didn’t have any bottles or his weapons.  Holy water was what werewolves used to heal themselves when this badly gone.  Snow wouldn’t last much longer.  Nor would he. 

 

His mind raced.  Solutions!  What was at hand?  The lake!  It was holy water, but was it still after Alexander was consumed by it?  He heard a sound.

 

Off to the edge of the path someone was stumbling as they tried to walk.  Bait looked, turned on his werewolf sight and saw a disorientated vampire.  He had been a servant of Alexander’s and survived the death of his master.  But his mind was gone.

 

The vampire noticed Bait and stumbled towards him clutching his stomach.  He looked lost.

 

“Hi.”  The vampire said.

 

Bait didn’t move or speak.

 

“I feel hungry, I think I’m hungry.  Do you have anything to eat?”  He said to Bait.

 

Bait contained his anger.  “Yes, but you need to clean up first.”  He looked to the lake.  “Take a swim, just jump off the end of the dock, then we can eat.” 

 

The vampire looked off towards the lake and smiled while nodding.

 

“Yeah, sure, okay.  Take a swim.”  He looked at Bait grinning like a moron.  “I can do that, I used to swim really good.”  The vampire stumbled off towards the lake, muttering to himself.

 

Time was short, Bait wished the damn thing would hurry up.  He was at the end of the dock now, he held his nose and jumped, tucking his legs up and plunging into the water.

 

There was a blast as the lost, master-less vampire connected with the water.  It was still blessed.

 

Bait ran to the boat and looked in.  He remembered a can or bucket being in the boat, was it still there? 

 

He grabbed the coffee can that was for bailing the boat out and leaned over the opposite side of the dock and filled the can then ran to where his lover lay dying. 

 

He sloshed the top layer of water out of the can to get rid of the leaves and grime floating on top.  Snow was lifeless, the hole in her chest hadn’t closed any.  He hoped, prayed he wasn’t to late.

 

He positioned the can over the wound in her chest and started pouring a small stream of water into the hole in his lover.  The water ran into her, he poured more and faster.  The can was almost empty when a white foam started bubbling like hydrogen peroxide from her chest.

 

Bait stopped pouring for a second, then poured the last of the can onto and into Snow.  He went to her face, put a hand behind her neck and head and raised her to him and held her close. 

 

“Please!”  He cried.  “I need you lover!”  He sobbed as he pulled her tighter to him.  “I love you more than life itself Snow!”

 

Sound, from above.  A shrieking pained sound, loud.  He didn’t look.  He’d die with Snow in his arms if the attack came.  The sound grew closer and louder.  Something was hitting tree branches hard and fast.  A muffled thud near him.  Whatever, whoever it was had landed hard, had hit the ground in an impact.  He opened his eyes and looked in the direction of the gasping voice.

 

Ruth.  She was what hit the ground.  Her head raised his direction.  “Help me!”  She gasped.

 

The sight of her, what was happening to her held his eyes.  Horror was in her eyes, her body, under the skin, something moved.  Many something’s Bait realized.

 

“You have to help her.”  Snow weakly whispered.

 

Her voice brought his attention to her.  He looked at her, joy filled him that she lived, confusion from her request upon returning to him.

 

“Help her!  You must!  And thank you lover.”  Snow whispered with a cough.

 

He was locked in her eyes.  They spoke to him, she’d seen or knew something.  It was important, and she told him to help Ruth.  He didn’t understand nor question the why, he only knew Snow had made that her first, and possibly last request.  She was alive, but wasn’t regenerating.

 

Bait’s head moved, his jaw worked like he was speaking.  Snow’s eyes spoke to him again.  Gently, he laid her on the ground and turned to Ruth.  Something moved up her neck, about the size of a large rabbit.  Her face was unfathomable pain and agony. 

 

“I got a bad feeling about this.”  He muttered as he started to move towards Ruth.

 

“Don’t say that!”  Snow whispered hard then fell back coughing. 

 

Bait’s face held no empathy for Ruth.  “Help you how?  I’m willing to take your head.”

 

Ruth tried to make a no movement with her head, she winced instead.

 

“Not good, won’t work.  Destroy… destroy portal.”  She managed to say through the pain of what was happening to her.  “Activated… it… darkness… didn’t need Alexander… to activate it when he died.”

 

Her body started thrashing, from what was inside her that was getting larger.  It looked like many.

 

“Pump house, I can… open the door.”  Ruth gasped. 

 

Bait looked away as he remembered the grounds around the church.  The small white pump house was off on the end of the property.  They’d used the spigot on the outside of it for fresh water.  snZm checked to make sure it wasn’t tainted by the vampires, they’d been right at the entrance unknowingly.

 

Looking back to where Snow lay, he stood.  Her eyes met his again, she was getting weaker and the wound in her chest was bleeding hard now.  Her eyes told him to go.  You must save the human race.

 

Rushing he went to Ruth and picked her up.  She stunk worse than before.  She was very heavy.  Alexander had rocked the end of the boat, raising the stern from the water when she landed on it.  She was heavy too, but the anchor had pulled her under with ease.  Whatever had been in Alexander was now in Ruth.

 

Bait started running carrying her towards the pump house.

 

He remembered the warning on the ripped page as he trudged on to the pump house.  The meaning in it now relevant and in his arms.  He felt the well diggers move under Ruth’s skin.  They weren’t coming through the portal, the portal was what projected them into this world to be born from the minion host.  Alexander was part of the original creation, chosen to give birth to the end of humanity for the darkness.

 

The price of her downfall, the most painful birth of all.  The curse had been passed to Ruth.  The well diggers would come from her body, destroying her in the process and storm for the well.  The location didn’t matter, they would travel like he had through the division between light and dark where the two never met.

 

Had Ruth read the warning intended for her, she would have destroyed the portal herself.

 

Bait ran harder to help save Ruth.  Save her and he would save himself, the werewolves and most importantly, humankind.  He pushed his legs to move faster.

 

Drawn by the sound of Ruth screaming towards the earth, werewolf kin had started towards the lake.  Hovlek and Vikki were in the lead. 

 

They saw whom he was carrying, question filled their faces.

 

“We have to get to the pump house!”  Bait screamed.

 

They didn’t question.

 

“Give it… her to me, Hovlek will carry you Bait.”  Vikki rumbled out.

 

In a flash Vikki took Ruth from his arms with a disgusted face.  Hovlek had turned with his brother facing the direction of the pump house but stopped and held his arms out so Bait could ride him piggybacked. 

 

Both brothers changed into their werewolf forms and pressed on harder towards the pump house passing through the crowd of kin that was approaching fast behind them.  The crowd turned and started charging back with them.

 

-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-

 

Inside the pump house Ruth called for Hovlek to help hold her up so she could open the doorway to the portal chamber.  Her body was bloated with the well diggers who fought from inside her to stop her.  Bones were moved to unnatural locations.  Vikki stabbed at her arms with a dagger to stop the diggers from making their way to the bones in her arms. 

 

Ruth twisted a gate valve handle a counted distance, then had Hovlek move her to the other side of the pump so she could operate more controls that would open the secret door.

 

She screamed repeatedly while she worked as the diggers fought against her. 

 

The door came into view and opened.  A wall swung open and the ethereal staircase on the other side of the door was now accessible.  It went down into the ground a good fifty feet.  Hovlek turned and lowered Ruth to the floor while Bait and Vikki went down the stairs.

 

Ruth weakly raised what remained of her internally mutilated arm towards his face.  She brushed her hand with a jerky gentle movement across his face.

 

“Hurry.”  She garbled out with loving eyes.  “I…”

 

A bloody red mutant shaped hand shot from Ruth’s mouth and flailed about trying to grab something and pull itself out.  Hovlek’s blade flew from its hold and severed the arm.  It fell and fumbled around the floor.

 

Ruth’s jaw was split wide from the size of the muscled arm which the other end of was lodged in her throat.  Her eyes looked dead now.

 

Hovlek knew she wasn’t though.

 

He charged down the stairs where the others had gone.

 

A large red portal, vertical in the center of the chamber blazed at him when he arrived.  Bait and Vikki were facing it.

 

“How do we destroy this?”  Vikki asked.

 

Bait shook his head slowly with a gaped mouth in answer as he stared at the portal.

 

Hovlek moved and stood between the two men and looked at the portal with them.  He placed his hands on his hips and sieved through the knowledge he had accumulated over the centuries.  The only knowledge he had about a portal being destroyed was the common knowledge of Oskar and his hammer.

 

“How to destroy, Hovlek does not know Lord Bait.”  He told the Inquisitor.

 

“The same way Shoshanna destroyed the last portal of Darkness.”  Kicks’ voice said from behind them.

 

The three men turned fast.  Kicks had shown up.  Not one word of him being seen.  Not one attempt from him to contact them.  Now, he simply walks into the middle of things.

 

“Kicks…”  Bait started.

 

Kicks was looking at the portal.  He smiled.  After a second he looked at Bait.

 

“Brother, this is my part.  I know now.  All between us, is perfect.”  Kicks looked back to the portal.

 

Kicks started walking forward, in even, slow, confidant steps.  His accepting and understanding smile never left his face.

 

“Only a life can break the portal, werewolf or human.  I am a Protector.”  Kicks said with an assuring voice.

 

As Kicks stepped into the portal the three standing around it turned and shielded their faces from the smoke that billowed with a caustic red streamed light.  As he passed through the membrane of the portal that was suspended in what looked like the top edge of a stone well, started to collapse in on itself, sucking the edges in as though the membrane were a sheet hung over a doorway and Kicks was pulling it with him as he walked forward.

 

A screaming rush of sound and wind deafened those in the room and flowed into the portal.  A deep but shrill clap of sound in a single burst told of the end of the portal.

 

The room was clear, the smoke gone along with the stench that had filled the air.  The three men straightened and lowered their hands from their faces as they looked to where the portal had been.

 

Now, only a large black cut rock remained atop a small granite cylinder of stone supporting it.

 

Bait looked around with the others.  They were in a field.  Off from the stone that held the obelisk the portal had been built from was a stone well in the ground.  Bait started moving towards it, the wind started to blow hard lifting the sand around with it, pelting him.  The closer he got to the well, the harder the wind blew.

 

Looking into the well he saw a black void tunnel.  This is where the well diggers would have gone and created a passage for the darkness.  The well that Oskar had destroyed.

 

Bait looked around.  He saw Kicks walking from one side towards him.

 

“Best mend that fence.”  Kicks told him then faded into nothing.

 

“Mend the fence…”  Bait said as he looked around the field, he checked his hip.  No hammer.

 

Bait moved around the well, inspecting the ground.  He saw something a few yards away, something sticking up from the ground like a short pole.  His mind questioned, he hurried to the pole. 

 

It had a shape that made Bait think of a handle, it was about two and a half feet long.  Grabbing it he tried to pull it from the ground.  It wouldn’t move, he rocked it back and fourth in the ground and struggled with it.  Finally the ground broke loose and Bait ripped the large battle hammer from the ground.

 

Though he’d never seen it before, he recognized it as the hammer of Oskar.  It was chipped and scarred from many battles and age. 

 

As he held the first living metal weapon in his hands, he felt life flow from him into it.  The hammer fed from him, but not in the manner a vampire fed from a human.  What the hammer took from him returned to him stronger.  Soon, the battle hammer glowed with new life.

 

Bait knew what to do now.  He turned and walked to the well.  He looked the stone edge of the well over, there, that was the keystone. 

 

He raised the hammer above his head and swung it down hard.  The head of the hammer flashed with blue hued light as it hit the stone. Bait raised the hammer and swung it again onto the keystone of the well.  Again and again the hammer swung, light blazed with each blow until the keystone fell free and Bait’s final blow caused the well to collapse in on itself.

 

The wind stopped blowing, the sun beamed onto the sandy field he stood in.  Bait looked to his hip, a dimensional pouch was on his side, he slipped the hammer into it.  The sun flared and the field was gone. 

 

Looking around, the others were staring at him.  Hovlek and Vikki gave him approving nods.

 

“That leave only one more problem to be deal with.”  Hovlek said, drawing his pole arm from his back.

 

He turned and trucked up the stairs to where he had laid Ruth.  Vikki followed, Bait after him.  The dark minion would become their next major foe if left alive, well, for a vampire that is.

 

“She’s gone!”  Hovlek said, not sounding very surprised.  He looked around the pump house then leaned out the door and looked around quickly before returning to Bait.

 

He had an expectant half smirk on his face.  “That was to be expected.”  Bait told Hovlek and planted a hand on warrior’s shoulder.

 

Bait passed by Hovlek out of the pump house and started walking slowly.  Vikki and Hovlek followed behind, all with worn out faces.

 

A figure was coming towards them through the scattered trees that remained.  A warmth started in Bait’s being.

 

“Snow!”  He cried out and started running towards the figure.

 

“Sea Mist badger breath, Snow’s on my back.”  The joyful voice called back.

 

He arrived at Sea Mist with the others in tow.  Snow was riding on Sea Mist’s back, she was weak but was alive and had regenerated enough to hold on to her sister for a ride back to help. 

 

As Sea Mist unloaded her sister to the arms of her lover, a sadness washed over her.  They had their victory.  But it felt like a loss to her.  Two hours before sunrise now.  That meant Bait was down to seven days.  A week to enjoy the festivities that would follow and their formal coronation.  According to the legend.

 

And a week to select whom would take their places when Bait died and her sister followed him.

 

And this was victory?

 

 

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