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Comicality

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Comicality last won the day on October 20 2012

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11,041 I Should Own Stock In This Place

About Comicality

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    Comsie

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    Bisexual, leaning male
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    Chicago, IL

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  1. Comicality

    Darker Themes

    There are going to be times, every now and again...when the written content of your stories may take a very dark turn, or veer off into situations that are somewhat uncomfortable for other readers to absorb as readily as they do some of your 'brighter' themes. This can be an intimidating atmosphere for you to thrive in. The gritty realities and graphic nature of the story that you want to tell may be too much for some of your readers to handle or understand. But, while there is the temptation to avoid darker themes and controversial material at all costs, especially with the sheer brutality of the typical ′internet comment section′ working against you...I say GO for it anyway! They′ll get over it. The people who pretend to be the most offended by the story you wrote have NO problem ripping the author to shreds with their opinions. So you might as well balance things out by treating them the same way when you′re writing what′s in your heart. Hehehe, that being said, there are ways to tell a ′heavy′ tale without having it totally wreck the lives of the people absorbing it for the first time. Still, there are some stories with sensitive, and sometimes disturbing, details that deserve to be told. Whether your reading public is ready for it or not isn′t your concern. They have the option to stop reading. Period. But, as a writer, you have the right to bleed through your words and tell your story any way that you see fit. You just have to find a way to keep things ′accessible′ so at least some of your audience can latch onto it, and appreciate it for what it is. That′s the topic that I′m going to tackle today. So let′s get DARK! The thing about many of these darker themed stories you may read online...is that they often come from a very personal place in the heart of the writer. It′s not always an author trying to be dark for the sake of being dark. Sometimes, it′s a much needed healing process, translated into fiction and created to convey some kind of message or express some sort of personal tragedy. Stories of loss, heartbreak, suicide, rape, physical or emotional abuse...they can be extremely hard to digest for some readers. And if they take it too close to heart, they may end up turning away from the project instead of dealing with the turmoil the story is putting them through. That′s understandable. But if this is a story that you really want to tell, something you really want to put out there for public consumption, then do it. Why not? Get it off of your chest. Share it with other people who might relate and feel even closer to the work than you do. You may touch something deep within them that they haven′t fully dealt with themselves. So every paragraph may end up being a therapy session for the both of you. Again, these stories are often very personal in nature. You′ll never find a more exposed artist than one who is delivering you an unrestricted look at their pain. There′s a rawness in it. Strip every piece of armor away and speak from the heart. It connects to an audience in a way that your ′happy go lucky′ romance stories just can′t. So, if you′ve been holding off on giving a dark themed story a try...maybe you′ll change your mind and step up to the plate after you finish this article. Hehehe, I′d love to read it! But, then again, I happen to be a very dark individual, myself, at times. So that′s just me. There are a lot of readers out there who use fiction as an escape from the problems and stressful impact of the world at large. They may be looking for something cheerful, or uplifting, or inspirational. But that may not be the kind of story that you want to tell. And that can shake a percentage of your audience out of their comfort zone in ways that they weren′t looking for and don′t appreciate in the long run. When it came to some very painful memories about my own past, and I felt the need to talk about it and add them to one or two of the stories that I was writing for the site...I had some difficulty with it at first. I dealt with some extremely abusive memories growing up in a household with a father that was...ummm, less than fatherly. I remember adding ′elements′ of that abusive relationship in a few stories, but I clearly wasn′t ready to tackle that situation yet. Especially when I added it (Briefly) to ″New Kid In School″. If you notice, that plot point was rather quickly written out of the story, and never brought up again. I simply wasn′t practiced enough to take the theme head on like I wanted to. Not at that time. In ″Gone From Daylight″, I tried to do the same, but it was a side story until I was more comfortable talking about it. However...when the time came where I really wanted to tell a ′no holds barred′ account from my personal experience with physical domestic abuse...I started writing ″My Only Escape″, and that was the right time for me to do so. That was my release. A lot of that story is autobiographical, and I still have moments where I have to deal with the aftermath of what happened way back then, even when I would rather leave it behind for good. But it was a story that I felt was dying to get out, and since it′s first chapter, I have received sooooo many emails from people who could relate in one way or another. Emails of support, and sympathy, and encouragement, as well as messages of people who had gone through similar experiences (Or who were younger, and experiencing them currently). I have NO regrets, whatsoever, about finally writing that story, and waiting for a time when I was emotionally stable enough to get it right. If you have a painful part of your past that you want to bring to the screen, and tell from a perspective that only others in your position can truly understand...then don′t wait. Do it. Pour your whole heart and soul into it. Let your voice be heard, and know that your writing had an impact on your readers that they′ll remember. Good or bad. Three things to remember when writing a story that may come off as a bit disturbing to your readers, are as follows... Give it meaning! If you′re going to sink into some truly dark themes and bring that into your story, make sure that you′re doing it for a legitimate reason. NOT for shock value. Shock value doesn′t last long, and will ultimately just become a part of your story that people would rather forget about instead of taking it to heart. If you′re going to have a rape scene, or a drug overdose...a suicide attempt, or someone battling terminal cancer...then I think writers should make sure that it is actually a part of the main character′s growth and evolution as a person. Don′t just throw it in there as some kind of sucker punch to your audience. That′s just plain MEAN! Hehehe! If a character of yours has recently beaten Leukemia? Then have that be a part of his or her personality. What outlook do they have on life now? Maybe they′re super excited to get back to living their lives. Maybe they′re angry at the time they lost battling the disease. Who knows? That′s up to you. But let it be known that the dark circumstances of the story had some meaning, and some impact on how the rest of the story plays out. Don′t go overboard! Scenes of extreme violence and sexual abuse are hard to read. If it′s a part of your story, and you don′t want to pull punches about the reality of what happened…then use your own judgment when it comes to what you say and what you don′t say. I′m not saying that you shouldn′t include some of the graphic details needed to get your point across...but keep in mind what your goal is. You don′t want to depress and disgust your audience. Evoking sympathy and an emotional bond, capable of getting your readership to cheer for your main character is great! But let′s not drag our readers down so low that they can′t recover. Learn to ′allude′ to certain parts of your story, and go into painful details about others. As always, its important to find a balance. Don′t ′bully′ your audience into sharing a truly disgusting experience in a way that overpowers every other aspect of the story that you′re trying to tell. I think it′s important to not let the dark content take center stage, when it′s the characters and how they deal with the content that should be the focus of your story. Give us hope! No matter how horrible a character′s life may seem, no matter how graphic you are with the details of their suffering...readers will struggle through it if they think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Give us a few brief glimpses of joy. A possible solution to the tragedies they′re facing from chapter to chapter. If all you′re bringing to the table kis pain and murder and rape and misery...your audience will eventually get turned off and go elsewhere for a story that doesn′t make them feel like shit every time they read it. BUT...if you dispense some truly awful scenes here and there, but combine them with possible ways out of their situation...opportunities to experience some level of happiness if only they could get away...then people will keep reading. They may be disturbed and disgusted by the events that are currently taking place...but with just a few hints at a hopeful outcome, they will continue to read to see if things get better or that justice is served for the character involved. Be proud of that. It means that you told a great story and that people sympathize with your situations, no matter how dark they may be. This doesn′t mean that every story has to have a happy ending. It just means that you have to give your readers a break from the misery every now and then, to let them believe that things are not as dark as they may seem. At least for a little while. Think of it the same way as swimming underwater. Let your readers come up to the surface for a breath of fresh air every now and then before they drown. K? The world isn′t always a happy place. Not by any means. And the stories of the abused, the less fortunate, and those in turmoil, are just as important as the uplifting stories that are told elsewhere. But there′s a skillful way to deliver that message without sending your audience running for the hills. As always, I hope this helps you out! And I′ll be back soon for more! ((Hugz))
  2. Comicality

    You know...I'd think this would be easy...

    Right up there with "Poke Her Face" and "I Was Porn This Gay"!
  3. Comicality

    Chapter 1

    Well, what has changed over the past two years or so, is that I've been going back to my older stories and re-editing them, word for word. There are stories that I began years ago, that are full of errors and mistakes and open tags in the code, etc. I feel that I have grown into a much more experienced writer since then. So a lot of the stories that haven't been updated in a long time are going through rewrites, so the new chapters will blend smoothly with the older ones. If you read any of the stories that I turned into ebooks on Amazon, they have all been completely redone. I, literally, went through every single line of dialogue, every paragraph, every scene, every loophole, and did my best to fix it up. So that's why some stories have been without an update for so long. I never stop working on them though. Hehehe, promise! And some of those incomplete stories? You might want to give them a peek. You might like those the best.
  4. Comicality

    You know...I'd think this would be easy...

    Thanks to all of you! ((Hugz)) I really do appreciate it. I know that people will assume I'm being thin skinned or oversensitive, but I'm not. Every single time something like this happens, the authors are told to ignore it. We're supposed to just say 'to hell with them'. Turn the cheek, pay them no mind, don't let it bother you. Well, you know what? It DOES bother me. Because I don't treat other people like that and never felt the need to. We continue to spare the rod and spoil the child. These little passive aggressive tantrums get flung around on the internet and these people are total jerks to us with NO consequence! They never get any better. Any more patient. Any more sympathetic with the people they criticize. No. I don't agree with that. I'm going to stand up and say, "Hey jackass...knock it off!" I'm a human being with feelings like everybody else. And I work so hard on this website that I wouldn't even have the *TIME* to sit down at a keyboard and type out a snotty remark like that. Hard work that I do to entertain YOU! And that's what people have to say to me? So yeah...let THEM feel like shit for a little while. Instead of always tossing it on my shoulders and waiting for me to be the bigger person. I don't mind getting right there in the mud with you, if you want to take it there. Now then, sorry for the disruption. Back to life.
  5. But, apparently, it's not. So let me make something very clear, here and now... Nobody OWNS me or my ability to write stories. Nobody. Every single word that I publish here or anywhere else online is a free expression of who I am, and what I'm willing to freely SHARE with the rest of you. You are not 'entitled' to anything that I create. You are not in 'control' of this. If you have control issues, or dependency issues, or have something in your life that is causing you great distress or discomfort...and you need my stories to use as a form of escape from those issues...that is NOT my problem. Nor is it my responsibility. I am SO grateful for you guys who love and support and appreciate what I do. And I hope that you know that, because you've written to me personally, and I've responded to you personally to say 'thank you'. I read your comments, I read your reviews, I've made it my mission to react to every single comment that I've gotten over the past 6 months or so. I LOVE you all! But don't EVER think that you can shoot a snotty comment my way or 'humiliate' me into doing your bidding when you haven't spent a single DIME to get access to the quality entertainment that I've given you for more years than most of you have been online. STOP IT!!! I don't owe you a fucking THING! You can support me, or you can keep your mouth shut! Thanks to you, everybody is on punishment. I'm not posting anything. Everybody has to wait, because you're too arrogant to wait for quality content to be posted on this site. To my real friends online? Those who always leave a comment or want to see new chapters of their faves, go ahead and email me. But to those who think they can control me and choose to be nasty in order to FORCE me to do what they want? You guys have to wait an extra week now. Keep it up? I'll add another week's delay. All I ask is that you not be a DICK to me! And you can't seem to work that out. So let's make this a lesson in anger management. KNOCK IT OFF!!! Or you get nothing from me ever again! How's that?
  6. Of course, I think some of these are more 'flaws' than attributes...and some of the last five I can't do anything about (No siblings, no blue eyes, and I don't know about my mom's morning sickness! Hehehe!), but HEY...I'll take it! Yay! That's my weird ego moment for the day! https://youtu.be/ASthCF9OiCw
  7. HAPPY BELATED B-DAY, COMSIE!!!!! I hope you had an awesome day!! ❤️🎂🎊🍾🎉🎁🛍

  8. Comicality

    Exposition

    Not long ago, I wrote a short article on the concept of ″Show, Don′t Tell″, and made sure to add that both sides of the equation are needed to tell a good story. When it comes to exposition, it is the skillful use of both show and tell in unison that can give your story a smooth and natural feel, while still giving the audience the tools it needs to fully understand what′s going on. Finding a way to finesse both sides takes a little practice, but once you nail it down, it will pretty much become automatic in your writing process. So that′s the topic for today! Let′s talk ′exposition′! Exposition is basically a way to fill your readers in on everything that′s going on with your story. Details like time, location, character details, what period the story takes place in, and more. Who are these characters? Where did they come from? What is their background? It′s fuel for the imagination, and it gets the writers and their readers on the same page as far as kicking things off and keeping them going from beginning to end. This is especially important if writing something from the supernatural or science fiction/fantasy genre, or in a story that takes place during some sort of past era or during a historical event. The world building aspect makes exposition super important so your readers can grab onto the rules of society and boundaries put in place for what they′re about to read. Now, exposition is a bit more ′tell′ than ′show′, but I′ve always thought that it was important to figure out how to find a decent balance between the two, regardless. Doing it out of balance can slow the entire flow of your story, and that′s not good. There are two ways of delivering exposition...narration (Or simply what you write about the characters and their situation) and dialogue (What the characters say out loud to one another). Without balance...giving an entire ′info dump′ of narration all at once can seem a little complicated and boring. While having a character deliver 100 years worth of backstory in one long winded speech can seem weird and unnecessary. It would be like randomly asking a stranger on the bus how they′re doing and having them tell you their life story without so much as taking a break to realize that you only wanted to hear, ″Fine. How are you?″ as a response. We want to give readers details, but we don′t want it to be a stumbling block in the story itself. Not easy, but possible. One thing that I′ve learned over time is that exposition goes a lot smoother when it′s spread out over time. Not only does it keep your audience from getting bored, but it actually makes future chapters more engaging as your audience finds out a little bit more information as they keep reading. Things get a little deeper, layers are added, characters become more developed. It builds momentum in your storytelling. Much better than explaining everything all at once in the first ten pages of your story and having everyone try to remember it all for later use. Many readers look at exposition and treat a lot of the info as, ″Is this going to be on the test?″ So trying to cram a ton of details into their brain all at once can be a bit of an overwhelming experience. Trim it down. Think about what′s most important for them to know right away, tell them what they need to know to get started, and then add more details along the way. I′ve always found that it works out better that way in terms of reader involvement. So, how do we choose between ′showing′ and ′telling′ when it comes to delivering the important information? And how do we trim it down in an efficient manner? When I first started writing stories on Nifty, I used to always make sure that I mentioned the fact that my main character was gay. I was still brand new to writing gay fiction, and I always felt it was necessary to make that distinction so my readers wouldn′t suddenly be caught off guard. That...was totally unnecessary. Hehehe! I was writing gay fiction on a gay website for gay readers. There was hardly any ′surprise′ involved when it came to the fact that my main character was a homosexual. So I don′t feel the need to add that detail anymore. That can be ′shown′ to anyone reading, simply by stating the fact that this is a boy who finds another boy attractive. The fact that he′s gay is demonstrated through his feelings and his actions, and the audience will immediately come to the conclusion of, ″Oh, so he′s gay. Got it. Moving on.″ Done. The information has been delivered, and I didn′t have to muddy up the waters by explaining to my readers what′s going on. They got the memo, now let′s keep going. You can ′tell′ your readers what they need to know without actually ′telling′ them at all. Use your prose to set up situations that will deliver the message you want them to receive. Like...you could begin a story like this: ′It was a particularly cold Winter night. I was huddled in a tent with three other soldiers, dreading the next battle against the Confederates that was sure to come just before dawn. I think about my dearest sister Eliza, back home...and I pray that her and the baby are alright.′ Now...in those first few sentences, you can cover a lot of ground in setting the stage for your audience. What has this small section suggested to us as readers? We know that it′s Winter time. We know that our main character is a soldier during a time of war. We know what side he′s fighting for and what side he′s fighting against. We know that he′s frightened and worried about going into battle. We know that a battle is quickly approaching. We know that has a sister, named Eliza, and that she has a baby back home, and he loves them both dearly. There we go. ALL of that information was given to your readers in the first three sentences of your story, and your audience is immediately engaged in what′s going on, and intrigued by what might happen next. You don′t have to explain the entire history of the Civil War, or talk about the horrors of combat, or mention that the soldier is straight or gay or anything like that. The audience has the foundation set for the story you′re trying to tell, and that′s all they need for right now. Later on, maybe you write a scene where the soldier wakes up the next morning, and while feeding on breakfast rations, your main character looks over and sees another soldier that he thinks is beautiful beyond words. (″Oh, so the main character is gay″) You can use that moment to mention that he′s been camping out with them for the past three months, you can give his infatuation a name and a description, you might hint at a few friendly moments between them that gives your audience a hint of their relationship...and then jump right back to the main plot of the story. Just give bits and pieces of information at a time when it′s useful, and keep your momentum going forward. Don′t stop for an info dump of details that aren′t directly relevant to that particular scene. The same goes for all stories. At the very beginning of ″Jesse-101″, I started off with a bit of narrative exposition to detail an event that led up to the exact point where the story begins. Something that I felt was necessary to set the stage. But after those first few paragraphs, the main character, Tristan, is simply talking to his best friend, Lori, in his bedroom. While the opening scene is mostly dialogue, I tried to use their back and forth conversation to deliver the exposition needed for the audience to get a clear picture of what was going on and dive right in with no further explanation. Just from their banter, you learn that Tristan is in high school, he′s only out to his best friends and no one else, that he and Lori share a history of friendship together, that Tristan sees himself as being a bit ′sissy-ish′ and doesn′t have much in common with other boys his age, that he′s dealing with a recent rejection...that one conversation delivers a TON of needed information to the readers about the story, but without just having me write the details down in a narrative with no human interaction or emotional involvement. The bonus to giving exposition through dialogue is that you not only get important details and story plot points out there, but you get a sense of your characters′ personalities as well. You kill two birds with one stone, and you flawlessly move from ′tell′ to ′show′ without your audience even being aware of it. See? It′s all magic! Hehehe! So...all in all, exposition is a part of writing a good story. It′s necessary. I know that there are critics who will pick it apart and try to make the ′E′ word something awful and lazy and worthy of dismissal, but it′s not. It is a necessary function when it comes to telling an effective tale and bringing people into the world that you′ve created. Don′t be afraid to give your readers a map to navigate through the situations that you′ve got planned for them, but don′t be afraid to have faith in their intelligence either. The actions and dialogue of your characters will infer and display the story details your readers need to know for them to understand what′s happening without you telling them directly. They′ll get it. ″Oh, this person is taking an insulin shot every morning before breakfast. He must be diabetic.″ Or, ″The main character is being woken up by his mom opening the shades and telling him to come down for breakfast. He must be a teenager.″ Or, ″This guy is wearing a skin-tight costume, and he′s perched on a rooftop looking down at the dark city landscape for criminals doing wrong. He must be some sort of hero or vigilante.″ Whatever. ′Tell′ in some parts. ′Show′ in other parts. And train yourself to know the difference, and what will be most effective in any given situation. Ok, I′ve babbled on for long enough! Stop reading this and get back to writing! The world needs more of your genius! Hmmm...I wonder if this whole article counts as exposition. Food for thought, I guess. Best of luck! And I hope this helps!
  9. A glimpse into the world of the mysterious Vampire Elders of "Gone From Daylight", this new spinoff is certain to raise an eyebrow or two! Be warned, this DOES tie in directly to the "GFD" series, so there are major SPOILERS in this if you haven't read the original yet! Enjoy! And let me know what you think! https://www.gayauthors.org/story/comicality/gfd-circle-nocturnus/
  10. Comicality

    GFD: Circle Nocturnus 2

    "GFD: Circle Nocturnus 2" It was a level of deafening silence that I had never herd before that took over the other Elders in that conference room. A tension that threatened to crush us all from its building intensity. Julian stood back in the shadows with the others, but I could practically taste the shock in the air around me. Lord Zarius didn't make a comment until the depth of what he was saying had begun to truly sink in with the others. And even then, the skeptic's role was the first to be played by all. Mistress Simone leaned back in her chair, and was the first to speak. "What intelligence do you have to support such a wild assumption?" "I assure you, Simone...the information collected is sound." Zarius informed her. "We received confirmation a few months ago from vampires in our sector that came to believe that the vampire Mimic was a reality, and we sent out scouts to thoroughly research the claims made by each and every single one of them. We began generating lists of potential targets in the area and came up with nothing. A least not at first. But somehow...new rumors resurfaced with frightening accuracy. And they do fit in with the teachings of the Mimic prophecy. We have reason to believe...that our recent findings are true. It IS happening again." Beraad wiped some extra food crumblings from his chin, wheezing and grunting like a fatigued hedgehog, and said, "How many times have we found ourselves, sitting here at this table, having this discussion? Huh? Vampire Mimic? Psh! Many potentials, many mistakes. The prophecy is dead. It no longer applies to the new testaments, the ones we are writing now. I say we ignore these new reports, get back to business, and make ourselves some money out there. Enough of this old world foolishness." "But what if the rumors are true, Beraad?" Zarius replied. "What if we are dealing with the coming of a genuine prophet, beyond our understanding?" Simone added, "Or an angel of darkness, waiting to destroy us all?" The council turned their attention towards her as she continued. "Is that not what many of the vampire scriptures have foretold? Is that not the tragedy and horror that we faced and fought against with the last of his kind?" I had to speak. "There is NO reason to believe that this new vampire is a threat to anyone. He's displayed no harmful or malicious intent at all. Many of the scriptures also described the Vampire Mimic as a being of pure light. The one who can bring balance and peace to everything we know of as a species." "You CAN'T believe in this silliness." Olujimi said. "I, too, have read the many scriptures surrounding the Mimic mythology, both good and evil...and it is a farfetched ideology to think that such a thing is even possible." "How will we know if we never give it a chance?" I said. "EVERY potential Mimic that has been born into darkness over the last six centuries, whether it has been a random rumor or not, has been hunted down and terminated before it was able to reach maturity. Every last one. It's been a series of vile witch hunts with no merit, whatsoever. And now Olujimi is convinced that it is impossible for a true Mimic to even exist? These two ideas don't match at all." Masato put down his pen for a second, and said, "How can such a creature maintain his sanity? How can a soul, born out of such intense suffering, be anything less than a demon himself? How can one so unstable be trusted with this level of power and not be expected to completely lose his mind in the process?" "The legend of the Vampire Mimic says that he was born out of LOVE...not suffering and pain. And it is that love that will keep him balanced until he has discovered the path he needs to take towards his awakening. The path that will, ultimately, save us all." I told them, but I could already see the council turning a deaf ear to my argument. "We can't afford to be this irrational." "The true question is...how do we proceed forward with what we have found out so far?" Navius said, leaning back in his chair and pressing the most negative parts of the issue. Zarius said, "It seems Romero has reason to believe that we should first see what this newblood has to offer before decisions are made on how to carry out his execution." I told the council, "We have to take this opportunity to, perhaps, LEARN from this new arrival in our world. To allow him to spread his teachings. He may be the key to finally awakening the rest of us and bringing about the Vampire Dawn..." "Oh PLEASE!" Navius interrupted with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Vampire Dawn. This is not a circle for discussing fables and folktales. We are concerned with facts and hard hitting evidence." "The Dawn is an honored philosophy that could easily unite both daylight and darkness once and for all. On all levels. Imagine a world where such clarity and acceptance is possible. Maybe even 'common'. If we just give the Mimic an opportunity to mature..." "MATURE???" Navius said. "May I remind the Circle of what happened the LAST time a Mimic was allowed to 'mature'. Hundreds of vampire lives were lost. HUNDREDS! Twenty three highly skilled hunters had to sacrifice themselves, JUST to bring an end to his wave of havoc and bloodshed. And now you want to allow it to happen again?" "We can't base the value of this new Mimic on the mistakes of one born into darkness centuries ago. That's ridiculous." I said. But Navius just smirked, "More often than not...history has a tendency to repeat itself, lest we learn from our mistakes." Then added. "It has been scribbled into the scriptures themselves. Chances are, the boy is already falling from grace. Ready to lay waste to everything that he touches. We cannot wait until he has gone completely insane and pushes forward with a devastating attack before we are able to take the proper precautionary measures to stop him." Lord Zarius attempted to calm the argument by redirecting our attention back to the video screens. "As you can see...with the recent events that have been taking place all over the city in the past 8 months...we definitely have a reason to be concerned. A 'threat' is coming." As he went through the list of incidents, I felt Julian send me a mental message. "What's going on? I thought Mimics were just a story?" "Apparently not. With all of the documented ancient accounts, scriptures, and prophecies, I always had faith that at least ONE of them had to have existed at some point, if not many." "But then...why do they wanna kill him?" He asked. "The same reason anyone would wanna kill anybody...they're afraid of him, Julian." I said. "That's why they want to keep the Vampire Dawn a secret. It's a threat to their control. To their hold over the city itself. Especially to Elders like Navius and Beraad who thrive on their constant manipulation of the people. They don't want anyone in darkness to find out that there is a creature out there more powerful than they are. It would shift the balance of god-like power to the chosen one instead of their cutthroat band of assassins and shadowed puppet politicians. They can't have that." The meeting continued. "The amount of violence displayed in each of these attacks was said to have been committed by a newblood. And a halflife at that." Navius said, noticing that Piotr didn't even blink when the term was used at our table. "Gyms, habitats, clubs...all destroyed. By the same young vampire. Blond hair, blue eyes." Beraad grinned. "Mmmmm, he sounds sexy. Got any nude photos to back up your claim?" Ignoring Beraad's comments, I brought out my paperwork, and put it on the table. "Not quite true. If I may turn the council's attention to these documents, you'll see that many of these new reports describe a newblood teenage boy committing these acts as well...but he had reddish brown hair, and dark green eyes. This is not something that you could mistake for blond hair and blue eyes, even during the violence of a scuffle. In fact, we've had MORE reports of this other boy's actions than the original reports. This is not the same person." Navius shook his head with a chuckle. "Are you so hell-bent on proving your point that you would attempt to sway the Circle with such insignificant details?" "How is the true identity of this menacing attacker considered an insignificant detail?" I asked. "You're attempting to quickly push forth a deadly agenda without knowing all of the facts beforehand. You're talking about murdering an innocent boy for something he didn't do." "And YOU'RE talking about putting the whole of our species in jeopardy by romanticizing over an old forgotten legend that you know nothing about." "That 'old forgotten legend' is detailed, at length, in the same collection of scriptures you seem to be using and twisting around to prove that your plans of extermination are justified, is it not?" I asked. But Navius was persistent. "What I am using...is a collected database of undeniable evidence to determine a pattern of behavior. Or have you forgotten the 'truth' of the situation? That EVERY documented Vampire Mimic in our long reaching recorded history...EVERY one...has gone mad. INSANE with power! Causing an apocalyptic amount of damage before he, himself, was destroyed." "Not all of them." I said. "You forget at least two instances. You forget India. You forget Japan. Where the Mimics were allowed to grow, to find their purpose...and they made huge achievements in our culture and our level of understanding. They advanced our kind far beyond where we were at that point in time. And if we just give this one potential a chance, we may be able to go even further." Olujimi said, "Suicides. Both of the 'successful' Mimics you speak of. I know the legends as well. Individuals who could not handle their positions as prophets and scholars. Pushed to an overwhelming level of stress and fatigue. This is what we have to go on as a righteous example of a true Mimic?" "What is IMPORTANT here, is that these vampires were willing to die for what they believed in. And it is because of their message that we were able to take a giant step forward towards a period of true enlightenment." I said, but Navius, again, dismissed my words. "Abnormalities in an already abnormal cycle of events." Simone raised the question, "If this new anomaly IS the threat we fear him to be, what then? What security measures do we have in place to battle such a thing?" They weren't listening to me. NONE of them! Zarius spoke to us all. "I'm afraid that any measures that we have in place now, and any strategies that we formulate in the future, will be both unpredictable and untested." "Well, what does THAT mean?" Beraad huffed. Lord Zarius took a very grim stance on the matter. "What I am saying...is that none of us in this room have been 'aged' enough to have ever had any experience with the last Mimic to walk in darkness. That part of our history had already been passed down and diluted even before we crossed over. All first hand knowledge of the Mimic, how he was born into darkness, how he was corrupted, and how he was destroyed, is lost forever." Piotr's boyish voice spread out across the table, his heavy Russian accent still evident, even after all these years. "What of the Vampire Versai? It was my understanding that he had survived the assault, and had passed his knowledge on to a powerful reader before the great fire. One who was calling himself, 'Zero'. What of his involvement?" Navius responded. "The Vampire Zero, I'm afraid, is no longer with us. Whatever secrets he held, along with Versai's knowledge of the actual Mimic event...they died with him." "Then we are lost." Simone answered. "Not if we act quickly." Navius assured her. "Our prime objective should be to eliminate the threat before he realizes exactly who and what he really is and what he is capable of. The boy is strong, but he is young. Just now coming into his own. We can strike while he is still confused and unable to fully defend himself." I spoke up, almost in desperation. "Are you hearing yourselves? He's a CHILD, for crying out loud! And here we are, a circle of Elders, plotting his destruction." Piotr spoke again. His voice was always such a rarity at these meetings. "My sire was an Elder when I crossed over long ago. He used to tell me stories of the Vampire Mimic by the fire at night. He told me that he was a despicable and vicious beast. A horror among men and vampire alike. I know of the favorable depictions of the chosen one in the scriptures, I've heard of this being, created by love and light. Destined to bring a message of prosperity and peace to the world when we needed it most. But can we really take that chance?" He turned to me and said, "I graciously accept your argument, Romero. But we will need more proof. This takes more than a matter of blind faith. There can be no mistakes." Olujimi added, "If we are exposed...if this boy causes enough tragedy and destruction to draw attention to the rest of our kind...the humans WILL retaliate. The upset in the balance will cause their governments to break the treaty. They have to. If the population found out that their own government was willingly allowing them to be fed upon by a parasitic race of vampires, there would be anarchy. They will deny all knowledge, and come after us with everything they have got. It will be a slaughter!" Masato spoke up, "No one believes that this boy has anything but pain and suffering to offer the rest of us. And what of the iluminirae? The oldest living vampires among us all? They will not tolerate such negligence." I exchanged a look with Zarius, who unfortunately had to be truthful. "I have spoken with some of the iluminirae...in Washington DC, London, Beijing, Cairo, Rome...all of them are deeply concerned. They want a decision before dawn on how we plan to handle this situation. There can be no further delay." One of Simone's advisers approached the table, and whispered something in her ear before she addressed the council. "And what of the Vampire Comicality?" "What of him?" Navius sneered. "Was he not one of your many chosen safeguards for handling this very situation? He has begun writing his scriptures again. In fact, his newest additions have, reportedly, been coming in faster and more frequently than ever. I doubt there are many vampires who believe in the prophecy more than he does. Is this a possible sign that we should consider in these talks?" "Heh...is that ridiculous man still writing stories about his fairy tale messiah?" Masato asked. "I would say that his vision of the Vampire Mimic is beyond optimistic. A dream that will never come to pass. He is blinded by his unfounded faith." I told them, "He has been of GREAT service to this council over the years. His scriptures and passages have been followed and respected by vampires from every corner of the globe..." "...And yet, he is just as mad and as useless as the degenerates that hear his word." Navius said. "So 'great' is he? A man of service to the Circle Nocturnus? Such a profound misjudgment of character, Romero." Navius turned to Lord Zarius and slid a folder of papers across the table. "While we have been in contact with the Vampire Comicality and asked for his full compliance in investigating these reports...it appears that he has been lying to all of us since the whispers of a Mimic began." Zarius frowned his face slightly. "You have proof of this, Navius?" "Yes. Indeed I do. In fact, not only has he been hiding the existence of the Vampire Mimic from the Elders for quite some time...but we have reason to believe that he has actually been training the boy to fight!" Olujimi asked, "To fight? Fight who?" And Navius answered, "To fight...US." Clearly upset...insulted...Lord Zarius sat back down in his seat and stared down at the table. Attempting to hold his anger at bay. "Have any among you spoken with the Vampire Comicality since this treason was made known to us?" Masato replied, "He is aware of our impending response, Lord Zarius. He knows that his treachery will not go unpunished. And he knows that his betrayal of the Circle's wishes have tagged him for execution." Zarius lowered his head. "And what did he say?" "He has agreed to face his execution with grace, and turn himself in to the council...but first, he says he must finish the scriptures on which he is working..." Zarius pounded the table with his fist. "That is not GOOD enough! There will BE no more scriptures written by Comicality! I want him FOUND, and in our custody!" He said angrily. "Seal off his entire catalogue in the Nifty archives, and any vampire library that carries his message. I want a complete information lockdown, and all of his works withheld from public viewing. If Comicality tries to add anything further, I want hunters there to collect him and bring him in for termination. This is a disgrace! His incompetence led to the maturation of a MONSTER...a creature that threatens to ruin ALL that we have built! He has broken ancient laws that were put into place for our very survival. This will not be tolerated." "Funny you should mention that, Lord Zarius." Navius said with another wicked grin. "It appears that the Nifty Archive in the IceZone has recently been the victim of a sudden attack. It was partially destroyed, and is still under reconstruction at this very moment...the texts within, including Comicality's, are being moved to other libraries until repairs have been made." He looked over at me, slyly. "Same blond halflife...same blue eyes. And on the same evening that many of our psychics within the area claimed to have seen the supposed 'chosen one' with their own eyes. This is no coincidence." Olujimi stated strongly, "The boy must be destroyed. Already the tragic events have begun!" Beraad added, "It's obvious he is already losing control. How much longer can we afford to wait before he's too strong for our hunters to silence?" I stood up at the table, hoping to get them to hear my pleas. "May I please beg for all of you to listen to me. Just this once. To consider what we are talking about." I said. "I realize that you all look at me as though I am a lesser vempirae because of my age...but I have spent a century learning our customs, studying our legends, contemplating the ways of our kind. I understand the fear and concern of those on the council, and it is not without reason that you feel this way. But the legend of the vampire Mimic and the Dawn are, perhaps, the most IMPORTANT and prolific philosophies of our time. Despite what has happened in the past, or even what is happening now, there is no reason to believe that the boy is anything other than confused. Scared. And without proper guidance." Looking around the table, I had their attention...but they didn't seem to be softening at all on their decision. "Don't you see? He could actually BE the chosen one. For centuries, all of his predecessors, any vampires even showing SIGNS of potentially being a Mimic...have been hunted down and slaughtered without any question as to whether or not it was necessary. And what has been the end result? Countless wars, global disasters, holocausts and genocides, riots and uprisings and horrors on a level that could have been prevented if the message was allowed to thrive as it was meant to. Is your faith so fragile? Your reasoning so blind? That you would execute this boy before he has the opportunity to share with us a message that could possibly redeem us from all that we have done?" Simone said, "It is our duty to neutralize threats BEFORE they happen, Romero. If we wait, he will become too powerful for even the best of us to challenge him." "So we slay him? And all who are like him? One after the other? Out of fear? Why?" I asked. "What is there to be so frightened of? We are being given a precious gift. For the first time in 600 years, the fates have provided us with another chance to experience a level of awakening that has been lost since the oldest of us have walked the Earth. Instead of taking advantage of it...we fear and persecute anything and everything different from us. We reject growth, we shun those with radical ideas, we attack new information with skepticism, and mockery, and HATE! Why? So we can maintain control over the population in our tiny little sector of town? Keep them on puppet strings and breed a civilization of virtual sleepwalkers with no goals or desires except for the ones we allow them to have? Have we come so far from daylight that we have forgotten the importance of our individuality, our independence...maybe even our humanity?" I asked them. "If we hunt this innocent boy down, and he truly is the chosen one, then we lose. We ALL suffer from not having heard his message. To do this would not only be an act of ignorance, but of sheer brutality." Navius, as I expected, rejected the idea. "Over and over, we all listen to Romero whine and complain about our treatment of the other potentials. The same argument, again and again. He has no concern for the well being of the MILLIONS of vampires walking in darkness. No. He has let his bleeding heart care more for these random abnormalities than for the whole of our kind, personally feeling the sting of guilt for each one that we destroy. But since you've chosen to take it upon yourself to ask such questions...let me ask YOU one..." He said. "What if you're wrong? Hmmm? If WE'RE wrong, then we lose one newblood vampire, and life goes on. But if you're wrong...we're talking about the unraveling of a foolproof system that has ensured our survival for thousands of years. Are you going to able to carry the burden of thousands of murdered vampires on your conscience? When our kind is being hunted down like dogs in the streets by panicked humans who neither know or care about how particularly 'special' we are...will you still feel the same way about the dangerous entities that you tried to save for 'emotion's' sake?" Navius then looked around the table. "Romero knows the details of the coming prophecy. I'm sure we all do. He's claiming to be the expert here. So ask yourselves...what happens...when the Mimic's sire dies? What happens when he goes all out to protect him? ALREADY he has displayed great acts of rage and violence...but we are talking about a tortured soul who has only ONE anchor left in this life that leads him back to his so-called peace of mind. What happens when that anchor is gone...and there is only fury and suffering left behind?" I paused. A dangerous thing when addressing the members of the Circle Nocturnus on such a solemn evening. I didn't know exactly how to answer at first, but I tried to push forward with a notion that I knew was going to be met with opposition right away. "I am only asking that we embrace the boy for as long as we can. We can bring him here. We can question him, learn about him, offer him some level of advice and guidance...direction and purpose. With the proper teaching, he can lead us all into the Vampire Dawn and we can restore the faith for the future Mimics to come. The vampires at this table are NOT deities. As much as we'd like to believe we are, we are no better and no worse than the other vampires out there, fighting to understand where they belong in the world. This is our opportunity to advance together, as one. Wasn't that the purpose of crossing over into darkness in the first place? There was a time when learning from our differences was what really mattered. Where did that Utopian mentality go to? What will we lose if he turns out to be the one? Our imaginary control? Our money making businesses, our petty politics, our falsely perceived 'greatness'? Maybe all of the above. But isn't it worth it...if it makes the world a better place? Can't we give up the control and the money and the shadows and the secrecy for the chance to elevate to something with greater meaning?" "He talks nonsense." Beraad said. "This council, and many others, are approaching a disgusting and irreversible state of corruption. It has become more of a chess game to maintain order and satisfy egos while keeping up the appearance that we are doing it for the good of the people, than a service for the well being of the people we claim to protect. Keeping our pockets fat while looming over the others who live in sewers and abandoned buildings, or who turn to spice dealing and prostitution, in order to keep themselves in a protective habitat and safe from daylight so they don't PERISH in the poverty stricken areas we allow them to dwell in without escape. I dare any one of you to trade places with them. There are SOME vempirae at this very table that would do anything to keep another source of power from coming into existence. And it is that imaginary threat that keeps us all in this violent circle of chaos and murder." I said. Mistress Simone was outraged. "Hold your tongue, Romero! How DARE a vampire of such unimpressive age address the rest of the council this way." Beraad asked me, "And what are YOU willing to sacrifice, Romero? How much are you willing to give up, for a fabled message that may never come?" And I answered, quite simply, "Everything." Lord Zarius looked at me, and gave me a gracious nod. Finally, at last, someone heard me. "Perhaps Romero has a point. Until we have reason to think the Mimic is unstable...we should be able to reach out to the child and assess his mental state before giving him a death sentence." Navius, still attempting to protect his position of power, stood up at the table, and sent his adviser to the conference room door. "You want a reason, Lord Zarius? I can provide you with one." Navius looked back at me and gave me a wink. "You see, MY information, unlike Romero's, doesn't come from dusty old books and vampire pseudo-religious dogma. It comes from current events, and spectators to the horror that is soon to come crashing down upon us. You see...I have a witness." He said, and the doors opened behind us. In walked a young vampire. Perhaps 25 years of age, but with a significant number of years in darkness. He approached the table, and everyone turned to see him. "Ladies and gentlemen of the council...let me introduce to you one of our most productive promoters in the fighting arena circuit. This...is Soren." Soren bowed to one knee in front of the Circle, and Zarius was first to address him. "Vampire Soren...Navius here tells us that you were an eye witness to the Mimic's capabilities. Is this accurate?" "Yes, sir. I have seen him with my own eyes. And I have seen the damage that he can do." Soren answered. Navius asked him, "Go on, Soren. Tell them what you told me." Soren seemed a bit shaky in front of the council, but I listened with great interest. "I first encountered the Mimic at my arena. He participated in the tournaments under the name 'Renegade'. I assume, to gather more extras from my fighters and become even stronger than he already was. I saw him again at the IceZone, after my fighters had been brutally attacked to the point of not being able to enter and perform their scheduled competitions. We were forced to forfeit all of our matches for the weekend. I confronted the boy about the matter, and requested that he help me rebuild me business, to pay tribute to Vampire Elder Beraad as expected..." He said, getting a nod from Beraad for being the obedient lapdog that he was. "Then...the boy instantly threatened me with violence when I merely asked for his assistance." Piotr spoke. "Threatened you? Threatened you how?" "He said...if the council will pardon the expression...that he would 'Fucking KILL me', sir." Soren replied. "He was quite serious." Navius turned to the table. "He would 'Fucking KILL him'. Those were his words. This is the 'stable' creature that Romero wants us to embrace." Masato asked, "What provoked this particular threat, Soren?" "Nothing, sir. I mentioned his sire, and he went ballistic." He said. "He was blond, with blue eyes. His name is Justin. And his sire's name is Taryn. This I know for certain." Again, Navius was pleased. "Is this not the behavior we have come to expect from a demon on the brink of madness? This attack was only the beginning. Soren...please continue." Soren told us, "After the IceZone incident, I attempted to restore my business from scratch while my fighters healed themselves. I only wanted to generate more funds to make up for what I lost. And then...the Mimic suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He had returned to carry out the details of his threat. Complete, unprovoked, hostility. He destroyed everything he came into contact with, and took my best warriors down with it." Zarius seemed suspicious. "This hardly sounds plausible, Soren. You expect us to believe that this halflife boy attacked you for no considerable reason, whatsoever?" "I would not lie to the council, sir. What I witnessed was an unprecedented level of uncontrolled rage. The things that boy could do...words cannot explain." I spoke up, "This is ridiculous. Why would he threaten this man and then lead a full blown attack on a fighting arena promoter if he didn't have a definitive reason to do so?" But Soren kept going, "He was INSANE! My entire warehouse and everything in the surrounding area was torn to pieces! I lost MANY of my best officers, including my own personal bodyguard, in a single night. He was a monster!!!" He said. "I saw...with my own eyes...a beast rise up from within him. An evil creature made PURELY of shadows and darkness grew out of his intense anger and consumed him. Giant black wings, fangs...unimaginable power! Never before had I seen such destruction. He tore through that place like a whirlwind, my soldiers savagely torn to shreds by this creature's level of unrestrained madness. I was lucky to escape that place with my life." Navius said, "Do we need any more proof? Do we need to wait for more destructive evidence to appear before we agree on what needs to be done?" Just then, I got another mental message from Julian who was trying his best to remain silent during the meeting, but was forced to let me know his current thoughts on what was happening. "He's lying." He said. "What?" "That Soren guy...he's lying. Or at least HALF lying! I can sense it." "JULIAN! I WARNED you not to read anyone's mind!" I snapped. "You said not to read an ELDER'S mind." "I said NOBODY'S but mine!" I scolded him, but he stood firm on his discovery. "Doesn't mean he's not lying about this. He's not being honest. Romey, you've GOT to tell them! You've got to make them believe." He said, and I struggled with trying to find an opening to even accuse this 'Soren' vampire of any untruths. "Just...SHHHH! Ok?" I told Julian. And then I turned to address the council. "Lord Zarius, I have reason to believe that Navius' so-called witness is not telling us the whole truth about his encounters with alleged Mimic." Zarius gave me a look. "On what grounds do you make this accusation, Romero?" I didn't have much of an answer for that, unfortunately. I couldn't tell them that I brought a reader to the Circle. Instead, I turned to Soren. "You said the Mimic attacked you out of pure rage. Madness. What could have gotten him so angry, in your opinion?" "I don't know." Soren answered. "He was...simply out of control." "Did he demonstrate this loss of control in your arena?" "What?" I repeated. "I am asking you...if at any time...this 'insane monster' demonstrated a loss of control in your 'Stronghold' fighting arena? It seems that a vampire with that level of immense power would have somehow revealed these unbalanced tendencies while fighting in the ring. Right? Maybe something that could have alerted you to some level of instability long before his...unprovoked attack on your warehouse. It's doubtful that he would be able to hide his malice and mean-spirited abilities from you. Especially in a place where fighting and aggression is pushed to such high extremes." "He...he simply wanted to gain more power. That's why he was in the arena. He must have been trying to hide it, like you said. But, even then, from the moment I met him, I knew that there was something evil brewing inside of him..." "And yet, upon seeing him at the IceZone, you approached him again. A second time. Is this right? You made him an offer to help you generate some much needed revenue for your arena. Are we to believe that you wanted, or needed, assistance from an unpredictable vampire psychopath that you claimed not to trust in the first place?" I said, but Navius swiftly moved in to interfere with my questioning. "A beast with large black wings and fangs. A destroyed warehouse! MORE vampire lives lost! An outright threat, when mention of his sire was made, a threat that was carried out with great cruelty. A merciless vampire with nothing on his mind other than how to protect his own sire from a prophecy that is inevitably going to come true no matter WHAT he does to try and prevent it." Navius looked towards Lord Zarius and said, "Sir...if we do not act now, we risk losing the opportunity to act at ALL. The child grows stronger each and every night. The last vampire Mimic nearly destroyed our entire civilization, and that was without the technological advances in communication and surveillance that we have in this day and age. Not to mention that the last Mimic had a MUCH smaller population of vampire extras to draw from back then. In this city, alone, there are enough extra abilities to make this new demon nearly invincible in a very short amount time! It is CRUCIAL that we take a stand and settle this now. Or there may be no time left for any of us." The table, again, went silent...and despite Lord Zarius truly giving my opinion its equal weight among the others...I could tell from his expression that it might not be enough to sway the others. "To all of the Circle Nocturnus, who vote to have the Mimic targeted for execution...please say so now." Navius was the first to place his palms on the table, and say, "Aye." Piotr was next. "Aye. It must be done." Then Simone. "Aye." Olujimi. "Aye." Beraad. "Aye." And Masato. "Aye." Zarius met eyes with me, and even though I knew my vote wouldn't count at all, I stood my ground, and I told them, "Nay." Zarius didn't even have to say anything. It had been decided, and that means the boy didn't have much longer to live. Zarius spoke to Masato. "Green light hunter deployment immediately. I want the boy taken care of as soon as possible. Reroute all of our best sources to targeting the threat...and taking it out as quickly as possible." I stood up. "Lord Zarius, with all due respect, I feel that you are making a terrible mistake. I beg you to reconsider." "I am deeply sorry, Romero. But in light of this new evidence, it appears that the Mimic is already heading down the path to darkness and feeding his psychosis instead of rising above it. It is simply a chance that we cannot afford to take." I desperately tried to fight for him. "I officially approach the council to ask for more time." "There can be no further time given. The iluminirae want an answer by dawn." "Then I demand to speak to them directly..." Zarius gave me a signal to sit back down. And he said, "As always Romero, your fight is commendable. But, I am sorry. We have to do what must be done. Before it is too late. It is our duty, as well as our burden." Angry, I sat back down, and clenched my fists as I heard the usual death sentence given out to yet another innocent. The way it always has been. And the cycle of fear and death continues. "Masato...what are the chances of getting a task force of hunters ready for action within the next 72 hours?" Masato put down his pen, and cleared his throat. "We...seem to be having a slight 'problem' with the best of our agents, Lord Zarius." "What kind of problem?" "I have recently gotten word from Adviser Elias Sneed...and it appears that Mistress Katrina has had bit of an upheaval in her own facility. The hunter, 'Exile', has recently left her employ. And he was one of the best." Masato said quietly. "It also appears that he has taken her recent crossover, Orion, with him. Neither of them have been found." "Has the whole world gone insane?" Zarius grunted. "We can definitely acquire some quality hunters for this particular objective, but our most experienced problem solvers are tied up at the moment. Not a problem that can't be solved though. We're looking into the matter as we speak." "Good. I want this Mimic found and dealt with. Quickly. And as soon as the Vampire Comicality's location is confirmed...I want you to take care of the execution personally, Masato. There can be no further mistakes. He MUST be held accountable for his betrayal of this council and to all of vampire kind." Zarius spoke the words, and I felt my spirit dying with ever second that passed by me. Another potential that I couldn't save. Another life lost...senselessly tossed into the abyss, while the powers that be stay in control. Not even Zarius could stand up for me. "This meeting is adjourned. I will inform the iluminirae of our plans." And it was just over. All of it. There was nothing more that I could do. As the Elders got up from the table, Navius looked me in the eye, and gave me a wicked smirk. "Perhaps when you're older, you'll understand, Romero. Power never fades. Only a weak morality does that." The Elders left the room, and Zarius came to comfort me. "We're doing the right thing." "No, Zarius. We're not." I said defiantly. "The Circle Nocturnus hasn't just failed me...it has failed us all." And with that, I took Julian and walked out. Julian was right on my heels, a worried look on his beautiful face, and an angry look on mine. He finally began to speak out loud as we approached the limo. "So what's gonna happen now??? Can't they change they're minds?" "It's not likely. It's out of my hands." "So they're gonna kill him?" I looked back into Julian's eyes, and I said, "Unfortunately, this is how things are done. My hands are tied. Let's just hope that this Mimic has learned what he needs to know to defend himself. And to keep the hunters at bay until he is able to overcome the demons in his past. If not...then he is lost." I said, almost tearing up at the thought of it. "Hopefully, Julian, the fates will be with us all..."
  11. Comicality

    GFD: Circle Nocturnus

    "GFD: Circle Nocturnus" It is a dark old mansion that sits by the placid surface of Lake. It is fenced in, surrounded by a thick cover of trees and bushes...and a long driveway made up of old bricks, that lead up to a circular parking area with a large working fountain in the middle. A dark collection of long black limos have been lined up in front of the house, shining like dark slivers of glass in the light of the full moon. As my driver takes us onto the property, the fence is closed and locked behind us, and security teams of hunters step out of the shadows to watch over the property and provide us all with the heavy security needed for such an important meeting. Attended by such important people. It is obvious that we are some of the last to arrive. I look over to my right to see my vampire childe, Julian, anxiously tapping his fingers against his thighs, practically bouncing around in the back seat of our limousine. I was beginning to regret bringing him along with me tonight. He is still SO young. And while I love him with every fiber of my being...he has only been a vampire for 6 short years, and he has never met another vampire Elder except for me. Much less the high governing Elders of this area and many others that he'll be seeing tonight. Their traditions are much different from the vampires of today. To the point where the oldest of us, the 'vempirae'...or even OLDER than the council itself, the 'iluminirae'...might seem like an almost entirely different species to him. It may be too soon to bring him into this part of my existence. I promised to allow him a bit more access, but I can already tell that he is too eager to contain himself. I really should have left him behind tonight. Because if this meeting is about what I THINK it's about...there is some very dark work that we have ahead of us. Chances are, they will object to having such a newblood at our table. "How many of them are gonna be there, Romey? Lots, I'll bet!" Julian grinned happily. His neatly cut, blond bangs dancing back and forth across his light blue optrix as he gave me a boyish smile. He was only 15 when he crossed over, and even though he remains physically unchanged, I swear, he grows more beautiful each day. I, on the other hand, have been wandering the streets of Chicago since Al Capone was still knocking over paperboy stands for some kid's lunch money. I may have crossed over at the age of 17, myself...but I guarantee you, I am MUCH much older. I have seen this once small industrial city grow into the massive metropolis it is today. It happened so very fast back then. I've seen its skyscrapers built from the ground up. I've seen it run by blatant bullies and thugs...and I now see it run by secretive political bullies and thugs. I've seen the night skies set ablaze with the light of the great Chicago fire...and I've seen the glory of the World's Fair celebrate its revival in all its brilliance. I once passed H.H. Holmes in the street, picking up on some of his mental images as we nearly collided with one another. Seems we were both looking for a fresh victim that night. I've been a witness to soooo much, and have gathered more experiences than Julian has questions to ask about. And yet, despite the nearly impossible age gap between me and my childe...we still found and maintain a love that I am confident will stand the test of time and beyond. Something about him...his youth, his excitement, his eagerness to explore and experience and absorb ALL that he possibly can at all times...it rejuvenated the life within me. It made me remember what it was like to see the world with fresh eyes again. And for that, I am truly grateful. However...when dealing with the other Elders on the council tonight...that delightful energy will have to be nearly suffocated out of him and pressed to the very bottom of his stomach. And the utmost form of poise and respect must be put there to replace it on the surface. They won't tolerate his naiveté. Not even for a moment. Not tonight. "Which one is the oldest one, Romey? Can I, like, talk to them? Omigod, I've got SO many questions!" Julian peeped. "Romero, Julian. When you're in there, you must call me Romero. No nicknames. Understood?" I told him, and then I put my hand on top of his to keep him from patting his thighs. "And you HAVE to stop fidgeting. They take offense when you fidget. You're a VERY young vampire to them, Julian, and they're going to notice that right away. The key to being allowed to stay within the walls of the mansion during our meeting is to show great respect and self control." "I know, I know. I am...I'm just...this is so COOL, you know???" He leaned over to hug me around the neck and I should have been trying to calm him down more, but...there was always something so soft and affectionate about his embrace. Sincerity in its purest form. I had no choice but to hold him close, and place a tender kiss on his lips. I can't believe I'm sneaking him in here as my 'assistant'. A READER at that! He has been bugging me for the last three years to let him sit in on a meeting with the rst of the circle. I finally surrendered and agreed to let him come as long as he let me train him on Vempirae etiquette and approach. And now...here he is. On tonight of all nights. Sighhhh...what have I done? "Alright, Julian...you remember what we discussed. Right? It's EXTREMELY important that you follow what I taught you to the very letter of the law. This is serious. Elders aren't like other vampires. Especially the traditional ones from the old world. You have to follow certain 'rules of engagement' when you're in their presence. Timelessness makes them...touchy about things like that." "Ok, no prob. I gotchya." He smiled. "Stop smiling." I said, and he tried...but with a gentle blush, the smirk broke through his defenses regardless. And it was so contagious that I couldn't help but to smile myself for a moment. So beautiful. So VERY beautiful. There was a time, shortly after my 125th birthday that I swear I went an entire year without so much as cracking a single smile. Time wasted. I was worried that I had exhausted my sense of humor for good. But humor consists mostly with a sense of 'surprise'...and how does one surprise a century old vampire? All that time...I had convinced myself that there weren't going to be many chances left to laugh during my stay in darkness. And here Julian is again, proving me wrong. There truly are a few unexpected tricks left in this life of mine. We giggled to ourselves for a moment as the limo drove us up to the house, and I leaned over to give him a quick kiss on the lips. "Ok...for real this time. Pay attention." I said. "When you're in there, you're supposed to be my assistant. You don't speak unless spoken to. And if you ARE spoken to, you answer in SHORT phrases, if not just 'yes' or 'no' answers. Try not to stare, and don't make any sudden or jerky movements, they don't like it." His knees were bouncing again and I pushed my hand down to stop them. "DON'T fidget, Julian...it makes you look nervous. If YOU Look nervous, that makes THEM nervous. So try to control that as best as you can, ok?" "Ok." He said, taking a deep breath. "Give me your optrix." I said, and he took them out of his eyes to hand them to me. Allowing his amazing vampire glow to shine through. "You have to show an Elder your true eyes at all times. Anything less is a sign of disrespect. And NEVER bare your fangs at any time! You understand? It's like...giving them a middle finger or something, you'll basically be picking a fight. You don't want that." God, I hope I had taught him enough over the last few weeks to get us through this. I was taking a HUGE chance here. "Romey..." Julian smiled, then corrected himself, "Sighhh...Romero...it'll be FINE! I won't embarrass you, I promise." I took his smooth pale cheeks in my hands, feeling the porcelain smooth flesh against my palms, and I gave his moist, ruby, lips a lover's kiss torelax him. And possibly relax myself in the process. "You could never embarrass me, Julian. Not ever." He grinned, but then I added, "However...if you piss one of them off, they're liable to kill us both. So...keep that in mind, will you?" Our limo came to a stop, and our driver got out to open the door for us. "Sweet! Eek! This is it! Ok...I'm calm! I'm calm!" Julian panted. "REMEMBER...the second we get out of this car, you don't read ANYBODY'S mind but mine! Ok? The Elders can easily detect these things. Reading an Elder's mind within the confidentiality of the Circle is considered an act of treason, so DON'T do it! If you want to communicate, mentally, back and forth with ME, that's fine. But you start poking around in someone else's head, and you'll take a shiv in the heart right there and then. I won't be able to protect you. Do you understand?" "Yes, sir." He smiled. "STOP SMILING!!!" I giggled. "Hehehe, sorry." The limo door opened, and our eyes connected briefly before he stepped out. I followed, and immediately he formed a mental link with me as we went to walk towards the front door. At least we could communicate without the others hearing. For a little while, anyway. I never know what they can and can't sense. We Elders are definitely known for keeping our secrets. Any violation of that means immediate execution. No discussion. I hope Julian can keep his excitement under control. The mansion loomed over us, black as the night itself, at least a century old. But secure enough for the governing Elders to meet in secret whenever there were matters of great importance to discuss. Each Elder had their own selection of personal bodyguards and protectors that accompanied them everywhere that they went. Some were visible in the open areas, and some were hidden in the shadows. For this heightened level of security, my suspicions about tonight being extremely important were confirmed. A few of the guards at the door bowed their heads slightly when they recognized me, and I allowed Julian to enter the mansion first, before quietly walking in behind him. We were scanned, physically, for weapons in the foyer. Then scanned, mentally, by some of the experienced readers standing in front of the door. Two men, in black suits, that skillfully ran through our 'surface' thoughts, without going any deeper. They were looking for signs of aggression, deception, fear...I was worried that Julian's wild excitement would have them stop him at the door. But I think they recognized him as a younger vampire, giving him somewhat of a handicap, and let him in anyway. The light was so dim in the main hall that the bulbs barely served their purpose. The center of the giant mansion was spacious...to the point where you felt as though it could swallow you up and never release you again. High ceilings that disappeared into the darkness above you, and two winding staircases that snaked their way around either side of a giant hanging chandelier. Spread out in the main hall, were the other Elders in attendance for this meeting. Vampires well over 200 years old, mostly, or nearing that age. I am the youngest member of the council at only 156 years in darkness. An achievement, sure, but until a vampire has reached their bicentennial, they can't even begin to fathom the idea of eternity. At least that's what I've constantly been told by the powers that elected me to be here. Because of my apparent youth...there are many times when they look down on my voice within the Circle. But the oldest of us, the governing mage of the Circle Nocturnus here in this sector, knows that my reasoning is sound. That my opinion has merit. It has proven to be a necessary component of their decision making process. I'm hoping that will come in handy tonight. I looked to my right, and saw Julian fidgeting again as he saw the other Elders moving into the large room around him. Each one with their own private entourage of advisers and assassins alike. I had to silently communicate with Julian before the rapid beating of his antsy heart caused him to explode. "Julian...stillness. Remember?" "Right...right." He said back to me, psychically. "Wow...they don't look much older than we do. Are they really THAT old?" "Most of them remember when the United States first became a country, believe me. But, like everything else, they've updated and adapted to the current times. While keeping their cultural knowledge and individual traditions in tact. We are all reaching forward into eternity, seeking the ultimate answers, evolving through the illusion of time to find the boundary...and look beyond it." "That is soooo wicked..." He said. "Do you really think they'll instantly know that I'm...you know...so young?" Julian asked, almost feeling a pinch of humiliation for it. "They knew the second you walked in the door." I told him. "Your youth is evident in everything you do. An Elder knows the difference. But don't worry...to them...even I'M young." "You still look pretty to me, OLD man!" He said, and he started to smile, but then corrected himself and held it back. We both moved forward, and the Elders acknowledged me with a silent nod from a distance. Discussing matters of the city with one another as they allowed us to pass. Their hunter bodyguards always blatantly stared you in the eye when you passed them. Every time. Hands ready on whatever weapons they were carrying with them. Ready to cut you in two if you made any sudden movements. That's their job. Their ONLY job. Julian was staring in amazement. I could practically feel the energetic tingles radiating from him as he trembled in the presence of the others. I had to keep talking to him. At least until he got used to the idea. "Don't stare." "I'm sorry." He said. "Try to stay with me here, ok? Short, casual, glances. I'll give you a quick break down on who everyone is." I told him. "Don't worry about the hunters watching you. You won't sneak any glances past them, they'll catch you every time and stare right back at you. Every single hunter in this room is keeping an eye on everything around them at all times, watching VERY closely, and their gaze will follow you no matter where you go. It can be unsettling at first, but you'll grow accustomed to it in time." "Ok..." He said. Even in his mental messages, his boyish whine sounded adorable. But I could already tell that the paranoia behind being stared at with such brazen intensity was beginning to make him feel awkward. It was shameless the way they burned a hole right through you with their unapologetic gaze, but it was a part of the job that I had gotten used to over the years. To our left was a woman in a long, sleek, red dress. With long black hair hanging to the small of her back. She crossed over around the age of 40...but that was 236 years ago. "You see the woman to the left?" I secretly asked Julian, keeping him focused. "That is Mistress Simone. She traveled here from Romania just over a century ago. She's been a high ranking member of the Circle Nocturnus for nearly 75 years now." I saw Julian staring again, and had to make sure that he remembered to look away. "Now...the reason all of her bodyguards and her adviser are women is because she doesn't trust men at all. None. Rumor has it that she was very much in love with her sire once...but when she found out that he had been having a lurid love affair behind her back...she had him dismembered, put the pieces into an iron treasure chest, and let it sink to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean...where he still lies to this day. Crying out, waking up each night to drown all over again. He can't even turn himself to ash, as the depths of the ocean are too far down for daylight to reach him. Hell of a punishment." "Jesus!" "Indeed. Don't let the calm face and dark red lipstick fool you. She's quite rational...but she can be truly heartless when she feels the need. And she likes for it to HURT. Long lasting agony that is meant to provide the maximum amount of suffering." Two of the other Elders were in conversation in another corner of the room. One of them, A large, broad shouldered, African man, with a bald head covered in tribal tattoos, and had a long visible scar across his throat. The other, a blind, Asian man, about 35 years old, with shoulder length black hair, and dressed in an extremely expensive suit. "Now...over here, Julian, are two very important Elders on the council. The one on the right is Vampire Elder Olujimi. He hails from Zaire, and he is our link between the human world and the vampire world. He negotiates the treaties, he maintains the balance, and it's his job to make sure that this connection between the two worlds is kept SECRET! There's a legend that the scar on his neck happened AFTER his crossover, and it never healed completely. It's been said that an assassin actually cut his head OFF...and he was somehow able to 're-attach' it in just one sleep cycle. I don't know if there is any truth to that, but I DO know that Olujimi was a warrior and a king in his homeland before he crossed over into darkness...and he's gotten more ruthless since then. So anything is possible." Julian's eyes got big, and I saw the other Elder reach into his pocket to answer his cell phone. "Yes...so it is done? I am pleased." He said, his eyes completely white from his blindness. No pupils at all. "Payments will be transferred into your respective accounts within the hour." He hung up the phone, and returned his attention to Olujimi. "It appears that one of our little 'problems' has recently been taken care of in the IceZone sector. The target has been silenced. There will be no future pirated radio broadcasts." Olujimi nodded. His voice a deep baritone that rattled in his chest when he spoke. "This is a good thing. I trust you are still checking for others using this same hidden frequency?" "Indeed, we are. Soon...all vampires attempting to hide their actions from us will suffer a very serious set of consequences. This, I can guarantee." "Who's that?" Julian asked. "The blind Asian is Vampire Elder Masato. He's 288 years old, and he is one of the main 'problem solvers' in the Circle. If any of our ancient laws are being violated by this new and growing population of modern vampires, if any information is leaked or withheld, if there is any threat of exposure whatsoever....Masato is the one that makes the call." "Makes the call? Meaning what?" Julian asked. "Meaning...you get an unexpected 'visitor'..." I told him. "...Your very LAST 'visitor', to be specific. Masato is in touch with all of the hunter training sites on the continent. Assassin contracts are written, and payments are delivered. Just pray he never writes your name down. Ever. Even though Masato is blind...he can still write clearly, keep notes, and return to somehow 'read' them later. It is legend that once Masato scribes your name in his book of targets...you die within three days' time. Even without hiring an assassin." "Whoah...is that true?" "Who knows? When these Elders crossed over, myths and legends were seen as the gospel truth. The world was a very different place back then. But for what it's worth, that's one legend that I don't care to put to the test." I said. I then turned Julian's attention to the big, bloated, vampire stuffing his face with food by the large fireplace. "The giant PIG of a man you see by the steps is Vampire Elder Beraad. Very old. Has Viking blood in him." I saw Julian make a face as the 450 pound vampire reached into a metal bucket to grab a sloppy handful of mixed meat. It looked like some chicken, some ham, some crumbled, greasy, ground beef, and a piece of raw fish...and he shoved the whole thing in his mouth at once. Breathing heavy as chunks of half chewed slop fell out of his gaping maw, some of it smeared on his face. "Dude...that's SO sick! Ugh!" Julian made a frown, but was quick to straighten up when he noticed Beraad's hunter detail prctically assaulting him with an overly attentive stare. At that moment, Beraad picked up a second bucket that he kept at his side. And once he had chewed all the flavor he could out of the garbage he had pushed into his open mouth...he lifted the second bucket and spit out the disgusting 'mush' in a sickening ball of waste, so as not to swallow any of it and cause himself any pain later from digesting anything other than the blood of the innocent. He let out a rude belch before one of his advisers handed him a black silk napkin to wipe his mouth and chin. "Beraad's job is to control the heft of our underground finances. The money made from the clubs, from the fighting arenas, the safeguard marks, the blood dealers...all have to be taxed and the money pushed back into the system. Disgusting as he may be, his numbers are never wrong. He can mathematically calculate all budgets and percentages faster than most computers. And whatever is left over, he greedily hordes for himself." The front door opened again, and another Elder showed up with a few adviser of his own. In appearance, he was just a 12 year old boy. Small in stature with an almost feminine frame. Tiny shoulders, and a neatly cut chestnut brown mop on his head. He was dressed in a black suit with a tie, his black shoes shining, even in this dim light. He was also wearing dark sunglasses and a pair of black gloves, which he calmly removed once inside, and handed it to his right hand adviser to place gently in a briefcase. Julian let a smile cross his lips, and I nudged him in the side. "Awww, no way! He's so cute! Is he, like..." "An Elder? Yes. That is the Vampire Elder Piotr. And I suggest that you take the word 'cute' out of your vocabulary when talking about him. He may just be one of the most ruthless Vempirae Elders in this room." I said, and Julian watched in disbelief as the young boy found an exquisite antique chair against the wall, and politely sat down, his adult male entourage dutifully taking positions on both sides of him. Piotr was always so quiet. So delicate in his voice and his movements. But, truth be told, many have been slaughtered under his reign...and he's never lost a moment's sleep over it. "Piotr is over 350 years into his crossover. He comes from a very old criminal order in Russia, when there WAS no government and each settlement had to pretty much fend for themselves. The four men he brought with him are more than just his advisers, they are his lovers as well. They are his four husbands. And even then, he goes out to look for more. He demands older males, always. His own body never developed before he was bitten, so a fully matured body is what he is looking for. He also has a fetish for humans. But with them...once he's done with the sex, he bleeds them quick, disposes of the bodies, and goes right back to business like some kind of black widow spider." I said. "Piotr's very traditional. He maintains the laws and keeps a firm grasp in all of our activities. He uses fear to prevent anarchy, or so he says. I honestly think he enjoys watching them die. He has a zero tolerance for...well...everything. He's done things that would make Hitler blush." "I suddenly don't want to ask anyone here any questions about anything anymore." Julian said. "They're all so...demented. Why so much violence and murder?" "Unfortunately, there is no line drawn in the sand for many modern vampires today. How do you govern over a species that feeds off of the living on a monthly basis. Vampires that think they are 'gods'. Our decisions are difficult, but they're put into place to keep the balance and stop this whole process from suddenly spinning out of control. The worlds of daylight and darkness...if they were to suddenly collide with one another before both worlds were ready to accept the impact of it...the results would be catastrophic." Julian quickly looked over my shoulder. "I think that 'guy' is coming over." I turned around, and tried to hold back a growl as I saw one of my most hated members of the Circle. Standing at over six feet, his long dark hair coming down to his cheeks, evil eyes staring at me with a wicked smile as he began to approach. He was in his 30's when he crossed over, but that was a few centuries before now. "That is Vampire Navius. He controls all forms of communication with the other Elders and vampires in higher places than what exists in our private sector. He collects information from every knowledgeable source in the country. It's his job to know everything that is to be known at all times. And in case you were wondering...he's an asshole." It was the last thing I was able to send Julian mentally before Navius greeted me with a fake smile and an invasive stare at Julian. "The great Vampire Romero. I am so very pleased to see that you have come to grace us with your presence this evening." Then he looked at Julian, and squinted his eyes slightly. "And I see that you've brought...a guest." I was quick to tell him, "This is Julian. He's my adviser for the evening." "An adviser for an adviser. How quaint." He said in a snotty tone. "And such a lovely adviser at that. So...young. You usually come alone, Romero. What changed your mind?" He was already prying. Already trying to push his way in to find out what was going on. Julian was frozen, attempting to keep his eyes down. "This was an important meeting. I wanted him present." Julian was trembling slightly, and it only made Navius smirk wickedly at him. "Why so nervous, child? You're among friends, I assure you." He said, with a reptilian tone of voice. "I'm...ok, sir." He stuttered, about to rattle himself to pieces. "For such an 'important meeting', Romero, I find it awkward that you would bring with you such obvious distractions. In fact, I find it insulting." He said. "The Circle Nocturnus does not have a nursery." "Maybe what it needs is some new blood. Something refreshing, instead of conformist. Perhaps that is why the Circle is constantly making the same mistakes without learning the proper lessons presented to them." I said, challenging him, but only with a subtle change in demeanor. "So then...you DO know what tonight's meeting is about then?" Navius grinned. "I can already see you getting fired up with the same old arguments that you have been giving us for the last three decades. But I can guarantee you...you will continue to get the same response you always have. We will not jeopardize everything we have worked so hard to maintain for the last few centuries over your optimistic vision of misplaced hope." "The council knows true wisdom when it hears it. And they know that, eventually, this violent cycle of ours has to come to an end. We can't continue to keep wiping 'potentials' out of existence over a few rumors alone." "Ahhh...but THIS time, Romero...it's not just rumors and hearsay." Navius said, his smirk widening before my eyes. "It's not a guess, it's not a hoax, it's not a myth. This time, I have evidence to prove its legitimacy. And your petty quarrels and debates aren't going to do you a bit of good. Not this time. All Masato needs is the proper authorization, and it is finished. This meeting is nothing more than a polite formality to keep the other members of the Circle informed. A shell game, to satisfy those in control." "Well...we shall see, won't we?" I told him. "Indeed, we shall." Navius sneered. And it was then that we all heard the opening of a door at the top of the winding staircase. All eyes turned upward, and a much older man, with long white hair and a white goat tee to match, stepped to the edge of the balcony. Lord Zarius, the oldest of us all, and leading member of the Circle Nocturnus. With a calm wave of his arm, he greeted us, and began his graceful decent down the stairs to begin the meeting. Julian nearly shook himself sick at the very sight of him. He had read many scriptures, many legends, of Lord Zarius since his crossover. Text dating further back than anything he could ever imagine. He was beyond fascination as the gentlemen reached the floor of the main hall, and shook hands with the other members of the council. He was impressed beyond his ability to speak. Hold onto your grace, Julian. Don't slip. The doors were opened to the conference room, and all of the Elders began to head towards it. I watched as Mistress Simone was allowed to enter first. Anything less was considered rude. She would not stand for it. Olujimi and Masato entered shortly after Navius, and Piotr silently walked forward...being cut off by Beraad. A known molester, Beraad never passed up an opportunity to openly drool over the attractive young lad. "Mmmm, the passions you arouse in me, boy." Beraad lewdly sucked his middle finger into his mouth at the sight of him. "My, my, my...you look good enough to eat." "Solu tedumeo..." Piotr sneered. Even offended, his soft, high pitched, voice hardly seemed threatening at all. The boy said nothing else, and walked into the conference room without looking in Beraad's direction again. "What did he say?" Julian asked. "It's an old language. VERY old. I'll teach you the basics of it one day. Hehehe, translated, it means...'You disgust me'." I said. I began to walk towards the door myself, when Lord Zarius himself came over to speak to me. Julian noticed his approach and he nearly fainted from a sudden lack of oxygen. "Lord Zarius." I bowed my head with respect, and he put a hand on my shoulder to set me at ease. "I understand that this assembly was put together on very short notice, Romero, but it was imperative that this meeting be held tonight." He said, his voice was soothing. A bit gravely, but comforting. Like that of an old uncle or a grandfather, dispersing words of wisdom for the ages. But despite his friendly face, I could tell the deep level of concern in his tone. "I understand. When I caught word of the announcement, I knew that I had to come." I said. "Navius says that he has actual proof this time. Is this true?" Zarius looked me in the eye, and attempted to forge a counterfeit smile. "Romero...I understand that, as a part of the Circle, you are considered to be...a very young candidate. I realize that the other Elders often see your reasoning as irrational. Inexperienced. Unsound." Then he patted me on the shoulder again. "But as far as I am concerned, your inclusion in the Circle Nocturnus is one of the most important perspectives that we can ever hope to have. You are not bound by antiquated beliefs and age old mythologies the way so many of the others are. You've proven to be worthy of your seat on the council...and I guarantee you that you will be treated fairly tonight during these proceedings." He said. "I know that you must feel as though all of your arguments in the past years have gone unheard. But this is not the case." "With all due respect, sir...I doubt my arguments were what the other Elders were judging me upon." I said, and Zarius took his arm from my shoulder. "The other potentials were destroyed only after serious consideration for an alternative from the members of this council. Nothing else could be done." He said. "You couldn't have saved them, Romero. You made a valiant effort, and that is commendable. But what we are dealing with now is much too important to be taken lightly." Zarius was a friend. A good friend. And I believed him to be a fair man of the highest caliber. But I have to admit that I was disappointed in his stance on this. "That's why I am here, sir. So that it won't be taken lightly." He gave me a nod, and then looked over at Julian, who was staring in awe, and squirming in his own skin. "Good evening, little one." Zarius said, and I had to nudge Julian to get him to speak. "Oof...uh...h-h-hi..." He squeaked. "...I mean, hello. I mean... greetings...Master Elder Vampire Lord Zarius, sir..." Zarius smiled with delight. "Zarius will be fine. Too many titles attached to one name breeds arrogance." He shook Julian's hand, and the boy grasped it softly, as though it were a baby bird with a broken wing. "I am soooo honored, right now. I've read EVERYTHING you've ever written. Every scripture. I've studied your work from front to back ever since my crossover. You've truly written some beautiful and inspiring passages." He sighed, still holding the man's hand unknowingly. "Thank you." Zarius said, smiling. It was good to see that Julian's contagious youth isn't just wasted on me. Zarius turned back to me and said, "Charming boy." "Yes. Julian here is my adviser for the evening. He won't be any trouble, I promise you. He simply wants to sit in on the proceedings and..." "Oh nonsense." Zarius said. "The young one is more than welcome, provided he understands the confidentiality of the situation." He then leaned forward to whisper, "And I may be a very old vampire...but the concept of involuntary love and affection predates us all. I know an 'adviser' when I see one, Romero." He told me with a wink. "I also know the sparkle of renewed life in the eyes of one of my dearest friends when it comes to love. For what it's worth, I'm happy for you both." I grinned a bit, and saw Julian blush deeply as a huge smile broke out on his face. "Thank you, sir." "Come. We have urgent matters to discuss." Zarius led us both into the conference room. A large circular black marble table sat in the center of the room. With seats all around it, one for each of the members. A harsh white light cast its beam on the table itself, and the table alone. The rest of the room was always kept pitch black, with the exception of a series of dimly lit video screens on the wall. You could only see the council members...their assassins stayed hidden in the darkness surrounding them. This was the Circle Nocturnus...the governing Elders of Sector 9 in Chicago...and this is where the balance was built, and where it is kept. Navius stared at me mischievously from across the table, and Zarius led us in a short spoken motto in verzpertillio before bringing the meeting to order. A motto that, in short, means...'to bring the morals of daylight into darkness, and serve the dire needs of our kind with no ill intent.' That said, Lord Zarius stood up from his seat, and addressed the council. An image appeared on the video screen behind him. It was an old abandoned house, that looked as though it had been completely destroyed from the inside out. Only rubble was left behind. "I am certain that many of you in this room, if not all of you, have been hearing the accumulated whispers of what has been happening on the streets, right here, in our very sector. An unprecedented event that, as you know...affects us all. Not just as a council...but as a species. Despite the previous ambitious hoaxes, despite the pseudo-religious dogma, despite the fanatic searches and the outright denial of most random claims...it appears that we may actually have a valid reason to be concerned this time. And from what we have gathered so far...this new arrival in our world has been exceptionally disturbing." Masato took out his notepad, and began writing instantly. Blindly recording the conversation word for word. While Mistress Simone slowly leaned forward with interest. Zarius looked back at the video screen for a moment. "A few days ago, I received word that Vampire Elder Tim's habitat had been completely decimated. While it is almost certain that he is still alive somewhere, he has yet to resurface." He said, now circling the table. "The reports that we have been getting in the last few weeks have been unsettling. And they are becoming more and more frequent. To the degree that I can say, without fear of sounding rash, that there is some validity in their statements." The table got extremely quiet. Until Olujimi spoke, "We have been through this before. We have heard the scandals, we have tested the potentials, we have searched far and wide for any evidence for what was foretold to us. And there has been no sign of a true account. Not a single one." "This time, it's different." Navius said. "How? How is this different?" "There have been witnesses." Navius smiled. And Zarius confirmed his findings, changing the pictures on the screen. "That is correct. Some of our most trusted psychics have foreseen his coming. Here, in the IceZone...nearly 50 witnesses. Here...on Navy Pier...hundreds more. These vampires are not all believers. Not like we are. The very legend itself has passed itself on into obscurity. Made out to be a fairy tale from the old world. And yet...these same vampires have reported, with great piety, that they have actually SEEN him with their own eyes." Zarius gave the rest of the table a very serious look. "What we are dealing with has not been a part of our kind's existence for more than 600 years of darkness. I am informing the Circle Nocturnus that we may have an extremely sensitive issue approaching on the horizon. One that could either mean our enlightened salvation...or our total annihilation. Ladies and gentlemen of the council...it is believed that a true vampire Mimic now walks among us. Right now...at this very moment. And before this meeting is finished, we will be forced to decide whether we plan to embrace this potentially dangerous anomaly...or destroy it...once and for all."
  12. Comicality

    GFD: Circle Nocturnus

    I want to let everyone know that this story ties into chapters of the original "Gone From Daylight" storyline! There are spoilers within if you haven't read it yet! This spinoff gives us a dark look at the mysterious Vampire Elders of Chicago. When a new threat arrives in darkness, possibly bringing madness and death along with it, the Elders must get to together to discuss an effective plan of action to deal with it. But will cooler heads prevail and can a peaceful solution be achieved? Or will fear and corruption lead them to a much deadlier option? The clock is ticking, and tough choices must be made before it's too late!
  13. Comicality

    SWEET!!! It's official for Ruel now! XD

    Still going, full steam ahead! It's also really cool that he gets to stay in the studio and have a hands-on approach and final say in his own music. ALWAYS a good thing for any artist! Things are looking good! And a short interview, as well...
  14. Comicality

    Chapter 25

    I won't. Promise.
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