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Terror Firma logos: Created for Terror Firma by “the Deranged Artisan”, not for public use
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“Its an interesting offer but I think I would need to know more.” I responded.
“Well don’t take too long to consider the offer, it won’t be on the table for long.” The Vanguard proclaimed.
“Well you know I still need to find my daughter.”
“Well that’s not entirely true.”
“What do you…”
I was interrupted by a voice coming from behind him.
“Hello daddy.” Uttered the voice.
The voice was undoubtedly that of my daughter, but it was different, as if all the innocence she had in her had been sucked away. I turned to see her in a mixture of joy and fear.
“Christine sweetie where have you been?” I asked delicately.
“Its all your fault. Mother is dead and I’m… I’m… oh why didn’t you just die when you had the chance?”
“Sweetie I… I…”
“It’s no use plague bearer. Your disease is hers and she will never forgive you for it. Your strain has bred true as it were, she commands the plague just as well as you if not better.” Pronounced the Vanguard.
Johann turns back to him clearly infuriated by his words.
“What did you do to her you bastard?” I asked with an increasingly riled tone.
In my anger I attempted to charge for him, but the two Reeves pushed me with what looked like a gentle push, but it caused ne to fall back against the wall, landing on my ass, causing the wall to crack behind my body though I myself was unharmed.
“You can’t… you can’t do this.” I managed to say though clearly demoralised.
“But I can. If it’s any consolation your daughter has requested that I not spill your blood as long as you do not interfere in our affairs as per our arrangement.” Attested the Vanguard.
“What arrangement?” I asked bringing my head to up to look at him.
“We have made a pact of sorts, a power share. I do not need your help truthfully. Your daughter has already begun the groundwork.”
“The groundwork for what?”
“Who do you see everywhere? Who walks from place to place invisible?”
“You don’t mean…”
“Plague Doctors. Germany will be ours by the end of the year and the whole of Europe will fall soon after and then the entire world, its all thanks to Christine and her Asclepian Vipers as they call themselves.”
“The people who are supposed to be there to help… they will be doing the exact opposite?”
“Purer than a priest, more hidden than a shadow.”
“Every Plague Doctor?”
“No but any Plague Doctor. As much as I’ve enjoyed our conversation Johann, we really must be getting on. You can see yourself out.”
Christine knelt in front of me to be eye level with me
“Christine, how could you?” I asked her.
She put her lips against my ear.
“I will betray him, just as you betrayed me. We will meet again daddy.” She whispered softly down my ear canal causing me to shudder slightly.
Finding myself unable to reply I scrambled to my feet and I left leave the crypt never to return.
Deborah Gordan’s eyes opened sluggishly, her initially blurry vision was met with a sack of repulsive flesh. She jolted back to headboard of her bed. She was still fully dressed.
“Out of everything you’ve been through and you still seem most uncomfortable with my dog.” Chuckled Johann who was sat at a chair near the end of her bed.
Cerberus jumped from off her bed and led on his side by his master’s choice of seat; the three heads laying on top of each other.
“Well have you looked at it?” She enquired a little defensively.
“Frequently. Don’t forget we are dead things; you and I do not look much better than him.”
“Well never mind that… were you watching me?” She asked a little creeped out.
“Recovering from the Passage can be a very traumatic process. I’d hate for my new Legatee to experience Quietus so early on in her new life.”
She looked over what he was wearing, like always it was his business suit.
“Don’t you ever change? I’m surprised that thing doesn’t smell, or do you have back up ones or something?” She asked.
“Vetostryx don’t sweat Deborah. We don’t have much in the way of bodily fluids.”
She raises an eyebrow at him with a cheeky smile.
“Well that explains a lot.”
“You can also no longer get pregnant.”
Her smile fades and she place her hands on her stomach looking down at it.
“You mean I can never have… kids?”
“The Passage is the closest you will ever be able to do.”
“And I take it sex is out too.”
“Not entirely but nothing will come of it. Generally, it will need to be combined with Concordance, the act of two vampires sharing their Ichor, their blood that is, for it to be pleasurable.”
She looks up at him and nods.
“Blood must really be something huh?”
“You could say that. Contained in every drop is the spark of life, the spark is what we truly feed of; blood is simply the vessel in which it is most commonly carried.”
“I’ve seen vampire movies and stuff but how does it actually work?”
“Well our bodies are home to Erebians, these darkness spirits, specifically Onyxlarvae, they are like bugs or insects.”
“That’s horrible to think about.”
“Each of us has our own Swarm living inside us. The Swarm keeps our bodies and brains alive in exchange for Vitalis, life energy in other words. Its not well understood what Vitalis does for them exactly but its generally assumed it keeps them in some manner ‘alive’ directly.”
“So, they are like parasites?”
“No not at all. The relationship is symbiotic, our bodies are the perfect environment for them, we give them Vitalis and they keep us alive.” He responds with a slight shake of the head.
“I’m not sure I want to know anymore about this at least for now.”
“As you wish.”
She stretched out her legs and placed them over the edge of the bed and slowly got to her feet.
“So, what now?” She asks tilting her head slightly to him.
“Well I need you to help me get to the bottom of something.”
“And what’s that?”
“Remember how the new building got blown up?”
“I had almost forgotten after things that have happened since.”
“Well it was a terrorist attack but not in the way you might think. Cell Nation is an Estate of the Stygian Brotherhood who do nothing but destroy and spread hatred.”
“An Estate? The what Brotherhood?”
“Right, Vetostryx society is dominated by three main groups known as the Commonwealths; these are Draco Invictus, the Society of Masks and the Stygian Brotherhood. Each of the Commonwealths is comprised of smaller groups known as Estates.”
“I take it the Brotherhood isn’t the side you are on?”
“I am part of Hydran Industries which is part of Draco Invictus.”
“So, where do we go from here?”
“Mr Fields has tracked the Cell responsible for the attack to an abandoned warehouse about ten miles away.”
“Is he a vampire too? Don’t tell me he’s a vampire too.”
“He’s my Nectary, my servant.”
“When a Vetostryx feeds off an Oblate, a human I mean, continually over an extended period the body and mind slowly submit until they feel compelled to become your servant effectively.”
“Few things in this life are. You are going to have to get used to it.”
“Is that what your daughter did Johann?”
“Don’t you dare! Don’t you ever speak to me about that!”
She looked down then back to him.
“I’m sorry. How do we get to this warehouse?”
“We will take the Borru Shape and fly there.”
“One small problem with that. I don’t know how to do that.”
“Assuming the Borru Shape is the simplest thing you could do as one of our kind.”
“That may be true, but I still don’t know how to do it.”
“Its instinctive, don’t over think it. Simply think about yourself turning into a raven.”
She closed her eyes and pictured herself turning into a raven for a few minutes before opening her eyes again.
“This is ridiculous, this is never going to work.”
“Deborah it already did, you’re a raven.”
“What are you…”
She looked down at her body and she had indeed changed into a raven, from the clawed feet to the wings and night tinted feathers.
“Wait what happened to my clothes?” She enquired.
“I’ll explain later.” He responded.
Deborah watched as Johann slowly shrank and metamorphosed into the familiar bird form.
“Follow me.” He ordered before flying out the open window.
A little surprised by the sudden departure Deborah fluttered after him. He was already flying above the next building over the road, in an attempt to catch up with him she flapped with all her might and charged in his general direction narrowly missing the antenna on the building opposite, finding him already gone from above that rooftop. She tried not to panic, landing down on the before mentioned antenna and looked around for him. She saw him a few blocks away seemingly already at the warehouse. She soared down from the rooftop towards him, accidentally knocking into a traffic light on her descent beginning to fall towards the road. Johann swooped in, literally, catching her and carrying her over to the roof of the warehouse. Johann was first to reassume his normal appearance and Deborah followed suit. She laughed a little in hopes of brushing off what had just happened.
“Don’t worry my first flight was terrible, you did well.” He assured her.
“Well I guess I’ll just have to get used to it won’t I?” She responded.
“That’s right. So, one Cell is usually comprised of a small group of Revenants, that is fresh Vetostryx, a slightly older but still pretty young leader and their Nectaries. Something we shouldn’t really have trouble handling.”
“So how do we go about this?”
“Well first we jump down and we just walk in the front door.”
“That simple huh? We can just jump from buildings like that?”
“Yep that simple. Small buildings like this we can jump down without much trouble.”
The two headed to the side of the roof and Johann jumped effortlessly landing on his feet. Deborah was nervous but decided to take the leap without any encouragement required. She had a little more difficulty, having to steady herself with her hands but quickly getting to her feet.
“Not too bad.” She remarked.
“The older you get the easier things will be.” He responded.
He swung the door open wide with a loud extended clanging sound and he held it open for her to go in first. He slipped in behind and allowed the door to slam shut. They could see a figured obscured by the darkness, being vampires, they should be able to see who it was without any difficulty, but this was no simple absence of light.
“Hello daddy. Kind of you to finally make it and guess what mummy is here for a family reunion.” Exclaimed the figure.