by Josephine Leonard, Contributing Writer
Twelve men paraded through thick foliage at the edge of Lutetia. Their togas concealed under black cloaks. The year was 425 B.C., 456 years before Christ would feel the pain of crucifixion and 2339 years before Hitler would begin WWI. Grass crackled. Twigs snapped under the weight of the men as they took their places. Behind the altar was a single man, his robe twice as thick as those who stood before him. “In the darkness we rise.” Caine announced.
The fire flared as if trying to char the very gates of heaven. On this, All Hollows Eve, Caine would make his presence known. He would no longer stand in the background. From this point forward, his will would be done. God could meet him on his own terms.
The twelve figures stood forming a half-circle, arms open. Caine gazed down at his Childe.
Isa inhaled and opened her eyes. She was outside. Why? She looked up at Caine and tried to lift her wrist. The limb stopped short. Isa turned her head. She was tied to an altar. “Caine.”
Caine never meant to catch her gaze, still he found himself staring into her eyes. He had spent countless nights caressing her pale slender form and enjoying her human warmth. Had things been different, he might have untied her. However, tonight she would be the blood of life, the mother of a new beginning.
Caine felt her terror through their shared link. It was a foreign emotion. Not once had he felt fear from her, not even on their first meeting. Caine had thought her incapable of it.
It was a cool morning as Caine nudged his horse into a slow gallop along the western road – full moon lighting his path. He had perhaps two hours of nightfall left and a coach to catch. Normally, he would have fed by now. Days ago. It was his Childe’s fault. Kyle’s constant questions and need for explanation was a nuisance. He didn’t like Jaq. Jaq didn’t deserve to be turned. “Pain in the ass.”
Caine shook off the thoughts. The coach was just ahead. He would feed, then deal with his Childe. Caine breathed the scent of damp air, ripe berries, and… What was this? A maiden? Pulling his horse up short, he caught sight of a dark haired peasant. She was perhaps 100 paces into the field.
Caine rode close enough for his horse to huff into her dark hair before she turned her head.
“Can I help you?” She asked, gaze flipping between Caine and his horse.
“Yes.” Caine said. “I was with the carriage.”
“They passed a few moments ago. The road doesn’t fork until you reach Durocortorum. You could still catch them.”
“Thank you.” Caine said before regarding her half full basket. “Picking berries so early?”
She looked at his curiously before answering. “Breakfast.” She replied and motioned towards the stately dwelling atop the closest hill.
“I see…” He replied with a smile. “Do you get many visitors?”
Caine made a thoughtful sound. “Slave?”
“No.” She said.
He extended his hand and grasped hers briefly. “Caine.” He offered as an introduction.
“Camille.” She said as she glanced at his hand.
“Cool morning.” He leaned down and brought her hand to his mouth before kissing the back of it. “It is a pleasure to meet you.”
Their conversation lasted a few more minutes before Caine kicked his horse into a gallop. He found the coach about a millarium down the road. Startling the horses was the easy part. When they went wild, Caine leapt from his horse onto the coach and grabbed the door handle. He yanked it open to find two startled male passengers. Pushing his way inside, he easily disarmed the daggers from their hands and tossed them out of the rampaging coach. Seconds later Caine’s fangs impacted his first victim’s throat. He moaned when the first pulse of blood filled his mouth. He was starving. With one hand he held his current victim in place. Caine’s other hand wrapped around the throat of the second man half suffocating him. Moments later, the first man was dead. Caine turned towards his next victim as his tongue lashed out across his fangs to catch the blood that threatened to drip. Half a second later, his embedded his fangs into the panicked male’s throat. Caine could taste the man’s panic, and it drove him to sink his fangs deeper into his neck.
Caine pulled up with a slight groan once the second man was dead. They never lasted long enough, but Caine felt better. He could feel his skin returning to its former suppleness. His veins no longer ached. Pushing the door open, he leapt from the coach and watched as the horses jerked it chaotically down the dirt road. The passengers were dead, and the driver had his hands full trying to stop the panicked stallions.
Caine chuckled darkly as his horse trotted alongside him and stopped allowing him to mount. He was home by the fifth hour and traversing the large stone and mud estate looking for Kyle. Caine found his childe in the sitting room on the west side of the house looking over a clay tablet with a stylus in his hand. “Kyle.” He greeted.
“Welcome back, Sire.” Kyle responded looking up.
“How was your evening?”
“Decent.” He responded. “I expected you back over an hour ago.”
“I was delayed. I found a woman alongside the road picking berries.”
Kyle laughed. “You stopped to talk to a peasant?”
Caine’s gaze narrowed briefly. “Not just any peasant. A female that will help us perpetuate the darkness.”
“You aren’t serious.”
“I am quite serious.” Caine responded. “I plan to talk to her further tomorrow night. I am certain that she is the woman that the scrolls mention.”
“Just like Jaq is the dark male mentioned in the scrolls. It’s all ridiculous.”
“Just wait, Childe. There are going to be changes and Jaq and Camille will help me propagate them. We will rise again.”
Caine spent the next two months visiting her during the early evening hours while she harvested berries. He learned that her family made wine and bread and sold it at the market in the village square. From that point on Caine had made a point to buy vast amounts of their products. He had even sent his ghouled servant to speak with her father. The resulting deal was an increase in wine production.
Caine then took the barrels of wine and mixed them with blood before allowing them to distill for another month. It was in this way that he now had enough blood-wine stored in his cellar to last three lifetimes.
It was late Dumannios when Caine finally asked Camille to come with him. At first, she refused stating that her family needed her to help them with their expanding business. Undaunted, Caine continued his persuasion and by the end of the cold-time, she lived with him.
It was during this time that Caine began to reread the ancient scrolls and tablets that documented his change and the realms of heaven and hell. He hoped to find forgotten passages that would explain how she would help him in his dark quest. However, after extensive meditation and research into the darkness, Caine realized that it would not be her fate to reside by his side. No, Camille would have a far darker fate at his cold hands.
At that point, Caine had closed the debautcherous parchment and tossed it to the floor, one hand moving to massage his aching temples. He vowed that the beautiful and sweet tempered woman would have no knowledge of her fate. Part of him had wanted to make sure that she didn’t try to escape. The other part simply wanted to spare her from the horrible knowledge for as long as possible…
Smirking darkly at his remembrance, Caine continued. He had to continue. The darkness would rise again. No matter how much he wanted Camille by his side, it was not to be. He resisted the urge to sigh. “There is a heaven, and there is a HELL! And since there is a Hell, I call upon the dark gods; Chaos, Apep, Osirus, and Set, to grant us Life Everlasting!” He roared, his final words punctuated by the sound of his ceremonial dagger plunging into the woman’s chest, spilling forth her vital fluid. Her pained scream was silenced a moment later when he sank his fangs into her pulseless neck, making the last of her final death a painless, sweet ecstasy.
One man out of the 13 watched the tableau before him with wide, open eyes as the woman’s life was stolen from her. Jaq’s smile was calm and calculating as he remembered the young fledgling from two nights ago. She had mesmerized him with her innocent beauty as he had watched her bathe at the stream close to their home. She had taken the change well from what he understood. Caine had been talking about it the night he had done it, and Jaq had absorbed every word. He knew he would be next. He had been groomed for this day every day for the last ten years, and in that moment when he watched her in the stream; he had become taken with her. Unwittingly, he had made his presence known. The snap of a twig betrayed his location and his thoughts.
However, instead of becoming startled and covering herself, she beckoned him closer. Jaq surprised himself with his response when he stepped forward and accepted her offer. Her arms had been cold against his skin; a combination of her pulseless body and the cold water, but that hadn’t stopped them from enjoying each other’s company. They had even made plans to meet again. Jaq was determined for form an eternal alliance with her.
It was later that night, early morning, when Caine had told him of his plans for the woman. Inwardly, Jaq had been shocked and enraged. Outwardly, he remained calm and neutral as if Caine’s way were the only way. However, in his mind treasonous plans began forming; plans that would affect him for eternity if he were caught. Of course, if he were caught, he would die. It was that simple. If Caine got word of his plans, his fate would be sealed in blood.
Coming out of his dark thoughts, Jaq chuckled quietly at the scene. Not everything was as it appeared. The woman was dead; or rather, a woman was dead. In the next moment, Jaq was jolted fully into the here and now when two men grabbed him by the arms and pulled him forward. Glancing around chaotically for half a second, he finally regained his composure as they lead him towards the altar.
“Stoke the FIRE!” Caine roared into the night, as his next victim was lead towards him.
The remaining men and women continued chanting in rhythmic voices that seemed to cause the air to ripple with their verbal pulse. Walking around the altar flanked by the two men holding him, the man with long straight black hair smiled darkly. Jaq’s expression was cold and contemplative as if he knew more than he should have, and perhaps he did. This was the day when he would walk amongst the ranks of the elite and the terrible.
In the background, the fire raged, snapping and crackling loudly as a few of the damp twigs sizzled and exploded. The resulting shadows cast long lines across the clearing furthering the contrast between the light and the dark.
Another man, stood within the half circle watching the dark mass lead by his Sire. Kyle Blackwell’s gaze was leery as he watched Jaq pulled from amongst the ranks. This did not fill Kyle with a sense of relief as it did the others. In fact, he was quite dismayed and perhaps the only one in the group of 13 to dislike the happenings. He did not trust Jaq Dark. The man’s eyes were too black and cold for a human’s. It was as if the warm pulse of his blood never touched his eyes, and that made Kyle nervous. He inhaled. He had been looking for ways to dethrone the man for the past fifty years, but Caine held him up on an infinite pedestal. Jaq was to become the next great warrior. Kyle disagreed, but his words fell on deaf ears. Caine would not listen. Jaq would be his new childe. That also infuriated Kyle. Jaq would forever be 100 years younger, but forever placed ahead.
Jaq stood before Caine contemplating the dark and darker shadows as his mentor stepped forward. He didn’t even have time to gasp at the pierce of sharp canines into his neck before he was overwhelmed with the ebb and flow of his own blood, his life, pulsing into the elder vampire.
Caine pulled Jaq into a tight embrace, sucking hard at his neck, pulling the mortal life from his veins. However, instead of hearing a pained scream from his momentary victim, he was rewarded with low pleasured moans. It proved to Caine that the man he had chosen was not afraid of his fate and embraced it with open arms.
As the man fell from Caine’s arms, he recited the call of the ancients while kneeling down and slitting his wrist with the same dagger that had taken the life from the woman on his altar. Placing his wrist to the dying man’s mouth, he urged him to drink, to taste the new being offered to him.
Behind the two dark figures, the flames flared darkly. The paler shades of blue turning black as the white flares of heat slowly shifted to shades of blood red. Overhead, a red drop seemed to smear and coat across the moon turning its white face maroon as the man began to drink from the slowly bleeding wrist; his moans of ecstasy drowned out by the steady chanting.
Suddenly, the man choked and jerked backwards pulling away from the oozing wrist. Collapsed on the ground, he writhed gasping for air that didn’t fill his lungs nor make the pain go away. His once pounding heart fluttered in the rhythm of death. It was then that the realization of what was happening caused a flood of panic. He screamed and clenched his rolling stomach as he attempted to hold onto a life that was forever gone.
Unbeknownst to both men, the entire field began to rumble and roar as if a giant earthquake were about to split open the very ground beneath them. The blackest of the shadows began to ooze forth from the flames. It seemed to consume the alter, grass and blood red haze as it grew in length and width.
Standing, Caine’s eyes went wide as he caught a glimpse of the raging fire and growing darkness. Stepping back quickly, he stumbled away from the onslaught of living darkness. As it closed upon the man, Caine heard his followers chanting calling upon that darkness, voices becoming a frenzy of harsh sounds and chaotic syllables.
Seconds later, the darkness consumed the spasming male. Not even Caine could see through the inky blackness. It was as if a jellyfish had simply sprayed the entire area around his new childe. Even his screams of agony could no longer be heard, and Caine stood back with his now silent followers gawking at the scene.
Time seemed to pass slowly. Slow enough to cause Caine to wonder what was happening within that impenetrable darkness. Caine moved to step into the inky black mess just as a hand fell upon his shoulder. It was Kyle. “Wait.” Kyle ordered and motioned towards the mess.
Just as Caine turned his gaze towards the solid black wall, the shadows began to dissipate as if they had only been a thick fog. Left in the wake was his new Childe gasping for air and kneeling on his knees as if he had been looking up at something. His childe’s eyes, however, were wild and still focused on the lessening flames of the fire. Caine had the strangest feeling that something had gone wrong during the ritual, but he was hard pressed as to what. The woman’s blood had tasted different, but he had attributed that to the ‘change’.
Eventually, Caine walked over to his Childe and offered his hand while speaking the last few words that would close the ceremony. “Rise, my Childe.” He couldn’t help but notice the man’s gold and shadow rimmed eyes as he helped him to his feet. It gave Caine a slight pause, before he spoke again in soothing tones. “It has now begun.”
Steadying his Childe by the arm, Caine lead him in front of his followers to the waiting horses that would take them home. Jaq mounted his black horse with ease as he smiled darkly. He knew the trip home would be uneventful as they traversed the countryside. In fact, their path would take them by Camille’s old home, but she wasn’t there. Jaq knew that for a fact. In fact, Jaq would see her soon; resting upon his bed, waiting for him to return, changed. This was just the beginning…
Josephine Leonard has spent more than a decade studying the bible, and she was a Roman Catholic for much of her young life. She believes that everyone should read the bible at least once. It's an extremely interesting book. It's got some very good oral history, and it has some good life lessons. It's also the basis for many different religions. A few religions that use the bible are, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, the Amish and many non-denominational churches preach from the bible.
Aside from Roman Catholicism, Josephine Leonard has also studied the occult from satanism to witchcraft and the Wiccan Mysteries. Some of her favorite books are The Dark Sacrament, The Visitation by Frank Peretti, The Book of Enoch and Servants of Satan. She even has a copy of the Satanic bible (terribly written) and The Satanic Rituals (extremely horribly written). She isn't necessarily a follower of one religion, but rather chooses to study them all and pull certain beliefs and moral values from all of the above.
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