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.
"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?"
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."
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..."