“You are a sweet young woman but I know there is fire and determination in you. Do not let the dark places – cold and shadowed – swallow up that fire.”
I read those words for what must have been the hundredth time. I’m not sure if they knew how well-timed that message was. Perhaps they did. Maybe they’ve been watching me more closely than I realized. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I might need watching now and then, though I believe my Cabal will fill that role well from now on.
The Threads of Fate formed our Cabal on the last day of spring. We were a little bullied into it by the Consilium, but I thought it was the right path forward anyway and the Tarot reading I did as part of our shared ritual made that even clearer. I think my Grandmother would have been proud. I’m beginning to feel more and more comfortable around them, which is a rarity for me. I don’t like letting people in, it just makes it that much harder when they leave…but this group makes me feel like I belong to something important.
The next night, we all met again. Maybe that will be a more common occurrence now that we’ve officially joined up in the eyes of the Consilium. Ace asked if we could join him in rescuing the creature known as Greg from his horrendous captor at Fort Adams. We had planned to meet at the Athenaeum at 18:00. I had the day off, so I decided to go early and find what I could about the creature we might be fighting that night. Alyssa Lissandro sounded like a fiercesom and deranged individual and I wanted to ensure we were all prepared.
I’m not new to research, but I am new to the occult side of research, so I asked Ardent for his assistance. I provided him with a description of Alyssa Lissandro and he thought she was most likely a vampire. So, I read a few books on vampires to see how we could best fight one. I quickly learned that my gun wouldn’t be as useful as I hoped…swords or knives would be better and fire and sunlight best. Makes sense, as corpses don’t bleed from bullet wounds as much from being cut open and vampires are essentially magically walking corpses.
I read a bit more before and found out the shape-shifting ones are a Clan of vampires known as “Gangrel”. They apparently have the ability to change into animals, like Dracula. I read briefly about another Clan called the Tremere that apparently other vampires fear due to their ability to caste magic and most notably, fire magic. The apparently come from eastern Europe but also known to occur in North America…so it could be one of them or a Gangrel…I wonder if the Tremere are Mages that have been turned into vampires? Or Sleep Walkers? It’s an interesting theory that I’ll have to look into in more detail when I have the time.
Holy symbols, against popular films and TV shows, don’t seem to have any impact on them…unless someone has true faith behind it. Or maybe a Mage just put power behind a symbol. It’s not something I want to risk trying in a fight either way. I also discovered that vampires are faster than normal and stronger than normal. I have a feeling my friends could make themselves as such as well.
I thought about what I could do in a fight against a vampire. My gun, I assumed I would be able to hurt it but not as much as I hoped. I really don’t like relying on my Death magic to harm anything…it is incredibly disturbing what I can do. Fascinating in some ways, but still very disturbing. Guess I was bringing a gun to a sword fight.
Around 17:30 Ardent let me know they’d be closing “soon”. I had forgotten the library closes at 18:00 on Fridays. I guess we wouldn’t be meeting there afterall. I texted the group and asked if Chucks would work instead. Ace asked if we could get the library to stay open longer. I couldn’t find Ardent and Franklin sounded like the last thing he wanted to do was stay open just so a few people could meet there. So, in the end, I just told Franklin we would find somewhere else to meet. I’d rather stay on the good side of those that run our unique library.
In the end we all met at Chuck’s around 18:00. TLM was a bit late, but I figured some would be due to a last minute change in venues. We discussed tactics for a bit. Everyone shared how they’d be useful (or not) in a fight and I shared what I had read regarding vampires. I didn’t think I’d be very useful in the upcoming fight as I’m best with a gun and I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea of rotting someone’s flesh. I was even sure that would work against undead things…probably, but it’s not like I’ve tried.
After our discussion, we headed to Fort Adams and parked our cars. Things became rather strange right away as Wanderer told us he had come from the future where we had set off an alarm because some spirits saw us. It was a bit confusing, to be honest, but Advokat said he could hide us from the spirits just as Voland could hide us from others. I don’t know if any of our actions changed as Wanderer told us some things, but I am assuming not everything. Is there a butterfly affect when it comes to Time magic? That would be a scary thing to mess with. Either way, I assume Wanderer had to go through a very similar exploration night twice. I wonder how tiring that could be? Might explain why he is a man of few words.
Before heading right up the hill and into the nearby fort, TLM started a ritual to improve our weapons. This combined with Nabu’s Fate magic would make all of our guns rather formidable. Rituals take time, so while they were doing that I called up some of my police buddies and had them run the plates on the two other cars in the lot. Nothing suspicious, thankfully…just some locals enjoying the nice weather.
As we headed to the fort, Nabu told us he would have to lead the way due to the nature of the Fate spell he was using to locate Greg. As he had already let us know he wasn’t much of a combatant, but could provide a high level of support with his Fate magic, I thought it best to give him my kevlar vest for the evening and Ace stuck as close to Nabu as he could. This was the best we could do.
Eventually, Nabu’s magic lead us to a collapsed tunnel. There was a large bit of blood on one area of the rubble that looked almost like someone was using blood to create that sponge effect you see on pottery. I used a bit of magic for the first time in front of my fellow Will Workers to determine a bit more about the blood itself. It was disturbingly similar to the blood the police found at Waterfire…made of many different blood types. When I described this, Nabu said he saw Alyssa in a vision turning into a pool of blood and perhaps this was made by her. Wanderer confirmed this by seeing back in time and actually witnessing her go into the rubble as a pool of blood about two weeks ago. I have to say…if all Will Workers decided to do police work, we wouldn’t have a single unsolved murder left. Maybe I should ask them to help me figure out what happened to my parents? Maybe not…
We needed to continue on, so TLM did what he apparently does best and simply changed the substance of the rocks to something else and we continued on down a few sets of stairs into the most horrific scene I have ever seen. I’m a homicide detective and I’ve seen a lot of things that I wish I hadn’t, but this was on an entirely different level. Voland prepared us for it, so we knew it was coming…but having someone tell you they saw a room decorated with blood fountains, wall hangings made of skin and other body parts and an entire couch made out of human tissues, isn’t the same as actually seeing it. I may not sleep for a week after that.
As much as I did not want to, I opened up my Mage sight and tried to make sense of what I was seeing on a detached, academic level. That was one thing I learned as a police officer, detach yourself from the crime committed and you’ll be able to keep your mind clear and figure out the who and they why. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the “why” of any of this, but it was clear what we were looking at was once upon living human beings. The natural decay was suspended and the skin itself was grown on different individuals and farmed to make what we were all seeing. Wanderer confirmed what I expected, both death and time were suspended to make these horrendous decorations last for months.
Part of me recognized that someone with my talents could do this as well and I shivered as Nabu and I searched the area to see if there was anything we could determine about Alyssa. There was a cold anger building up inside of me as I looked more and more at what this awful creature had done. She perverted death. She took human teeth and shaped them into a design on a couch that was once actual people. She was vile.
The next room was Alyssa’s twisted idea of a family dinning room with a long table made of human ribs and taut skin membrane and legs made out of leg bones. Nabu commented about how there were eight chairs around the table and eight of us. I’m hoping that’s just a coincidence but I’m being to realize that coincidences don’t seem to be a thing too often in this world I’ve awakened to. Wanderer looked back in time again and came out rather quickly. He informed us that Alyssa was feeding off of people’s blood magically and making them into things. He was vague and I’m suspecting unable to truly explain what he saw or didn’t want to think about it too hard. It was becoming very apparent to me that this undead thing needed to be destroyed. She was taking lives and distorting them into something horrible.
The next room had a large tube-like structure made of human membrane and bones with a thin layer of dirt in it. Vampires are known to sleep in the dirt of their homelands and once we discussed this, TLM was quick to change the dirt into a gaseous form and destroy the gas with fire. TLM is efficient and well, a little eager to destroy things. Though, I don’t object to his destruction of this particular pile of dirt.
We continued on…coming across an iron door that was actually more like a wall than a door. After a bit of inspection from Voland who can see in all directions and around corners, TLM shrank it the wall/door and we passed through it easily. Eventually we came upon another door, though this one had bars at the top and a lock on it. Myself and Nabu looked through the bars with the aid of night vision from TLM. We saw a number of small, almost dog like creatures roaming around as well as a few human sized ones. I used my Mage sight yet again and saw, to my dismay, these creature’s souls were still intact. I felt that cold anger within me swell.
When I told the group this, Nabu said he might be able to release them, but the group agreed that destroying or releasing the spirits was more of a priority. TLM did not seem to see the different in a creature, like the flowers we had seen at the old Fairyland park that had a fracture of a soul and those one’s souls were whole. He also seemed to think that killing them would “release” them. Though true, Nabu’s way seemed kinder. T
I couldn’t see the spirits myself but Nabu could with Advokat’s help. Nabu was able to release most of the spirits, but one remained and it somehow inhabited one of the creatures and took down the lock on the door that was separating us from them. At that point, TLM shot his rifle and between TLM’s rifle and Ace’s lightning Magic, they quickly took out the creatures in the lab area. My companions were truly deadly and it was a bit frightening seeing how quickly they were able to deal with all the creatures Alyssa had likely made. I just hope TLM was right and this was just another way to release those poor souls from their misery.
The lab had a desktop computer, various scientific equipment, and some very strange soccer-ball sized eggs. Adianni grabbed the computer as Nabu used his Fate magic on Jack so the “dog” could find Greg. I followed Ace and Jack and as we approached one of the creatures that had wings made of sharp bones, Jack said, “This is the one.” I knew he wasn’t just a dog. I hope he didn’t mind all those times I patted his head…
Ace started to talk with Greg, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. So I stood guard, drawing my gun but pointing it downwards as not to appear threatening and waited. Soon enough, a fight broke out as Alyssa made an appearance.
TLM shouted, “Now,” indicating he would be reversing gravity in the room I was currently standing in with Ace and Jack, so I ran out of there. Ace and Jack both were flying now, so the gravity didn’t have an impact on them…but it sure did a number on all of the creatures and Alyssa. My companions are quick and efficient and easily took out all of the creatures and Alyssa herself before I had a chance to even aim my gun and fire.
I was sickened by what we had to do because of this lady. We had to destroy creatures with souls in order to free them. It was the right thing to do, but perhaps not the wisest. And part of me knew that with the abilities I possess, I could someday fall as low as this undead thing. Her abilities were so similar to my own. And there was a moment when she fell that I wanted to truly destroy her, suck the essence from her so she could never do this again. And I would have too if Voland hadn’t told us at that moment this wasn’t Alyssa but some man that had treated her poorly that she changed and made into a replica of her. I don’t think Voland knows it, but he prevented me from doing something I was sure to regret and I am thankful for that. Addiction has always been a problem for me and I’m not sure how easily it would have been to turn back from what I almost did that night.